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Today I am grateful for warm blankets and hot tea. For plumbing that works (to take the ick away), 

And thankful most of all for a life that has been relatively violence free.

Although generally not celebrated in the US, the days between Nov 25th, the International Day Against Violence Against Women (VAW) and Dec 10, Human Rights Day, are known as known as the 16 Days of Activism, symbolically linking the two to show that VAW is a violation of Human Rights).

Let’s be aware of the multitudes of violence against women that permeate our lives and let’s do something, anything to stop it. This is something we ALL need to do, as a human family. Live, love, laugh. And end the violence.

Long time no write. I can list all the excuses, because that’s what they are, but I want this to be a positive post, and since all my “excuses” are really positive wonderful things that have happened this year, I will not turn them into negatives. But I digress.

This year I am very thankful for so much.

I am thankful for the grace of the sun shining down on me even when it is freezing. I am grateful for an office with windows, really for an office, let’s be honest for a job that I want to make a 3.5 hour daily commute for.

I am thankful for friends, for the knowledge that there are people on whose couches I can crash at a moments notice and stay on for weeks, for the comfort of knowing I can call so many either bawling or in fits of giggles and I will be welcomed with the same open arms, even more so if I offer to cook 🙂

I am thankful for a husband who pushes me farther, higher, even though he is secretly envious that I have a job that sends me off to travel (not really, but really).

I am thankful for planes, trains, and automobiles. For our ability to communicate, for skype, for the fact that people can now communicate face to face across the world untethered to anything. For people in my life that I can genuinely pick up with whether it has been a year or ten since the last time we saw each other. I am grateful that home is truly a state of mind that encompasses SO MUCH!

I am grateful for the beautiful roof over my head, appreciative of the fact that even though we haven’t unpacked, Deep and I can laugh about how neither of us sees the point even as we trip and fall over the boxes.

I am thankful for children who grow up to be beautiful, poignant, stunning, thoughtful adults, whose cheeks I can pinch and say, “I knew you when you were thiiiis high.”

This and so much more, both tangible and not makes my journey worth the bumps.

Ok, now a days it’s one of many “homes” (my aren’t we fancy), but I’ll be heading to Kenya with my husby in tow (for the first time). Here is our (potential) itinerary:

**Click to open the whole calendar

I’m watching “I Can Be President: A Kid’s-Eye View, and I can’t help notice that the kids generally have a sense of fairness and equality, they talk about how a president should know everything, that they should work hard, that if they were president they would make sure people would not loose their jobs and if they did how they would help these people. they talk about giving help to the homeless and protecting equal rights (of women), and really I can’t help wonder whether children with their clear cut view of right and wrong are born democrats.

Because as the parties stand now, not the behind the scenes politicking, but according to the crazy 24 hour news cycle rhetoric, I honestly can’t understand how you can be a thinking human being and even contemplate electing any one of those GOP candidates.

Using the Kony2012 campaign model, if the kids get it, why can’t you?

I was browsing the interwebs and I came across HijabMan’s post, “Three Beautiful Things Thursday…” If you’ve never heard about him you should check out his website. He’s funny, charming and has an incredible love story, not to mention this epic journey through his faith. I really admire him, and more importantly his Facebook updates generally educate or entertain me.

Back to the point, he asked for readers to leave a comment about something beautiful, and I was just remembering the conversation I had with my mom earlier today. So I wrote a little brief thing, thinking nothing of it:

Today I was reminded just how lucky we are. I was talking to my mom who is in Kenya right now, and it just reminded me how far my family has come. In 2 generations, we have gone from being illiterate, to becoming a family of gainfully employed professionals. We have overcome poverty, we have traveled the world, we have experienced new and wonderful ways of living and most importantly we have been open to it. And that is beautiful.

But as I began typing the words, I realized this is a much much longer post. In fact it may be more than a post, a book, several volumes worth of history waiting to be written.

Before I get ahead of myself, let me start here: right now my husband and I are in a state of complete and utter flux. We are living in LA, I am unemployed and my husband just gave notice on his job, we have several months on our lease but don’t know whether we will be here to service it, we’re trying to conceive, and we have no idea what our next move is (we only know it’s eastward). Although I am not truly worried, I am anxious about finding a job, about not being able to conceive/having a hard time adopting, about finding a great job and then getting pregnant right after (remember that dastard Murphy), and about what kind of expectations await us when we move closer to our families.

And yet, I am not worried. Not really. Not like my mother was worried that even though both her and my dad were highly educated professionals, they would not be able to educate us (they did). Not like her mother who had to worry about being kicked out of a country she was born into. You see I have a comparatively easy life. Not easy by many standards, we all have our crosses to bear, but comparatively, my husband and I are so fine.

We will never be homeless, or have to worry about making the rent. We are highly educated and highly motivated to work. We love our chosen professions. My parents have continually, repeatedly taken me in  when I worked close enough to where they live, and over the years have actually learned to treat me like an adult (and not the 17 year old who lived with them full-time before college). We will never lack for food. We will always have good clothing, and nice shoes. We even own luxury items like computers and smartphones. We are lucky.

There’s been a lot of hype in the media about the Ocupy Wallstreet movement talking about the 99% of Americans not standing for the greed of the 1%. And for the most part I agree.

But the truth is, and here’s the shocker America, you also need to be grateful (not that things can’t be even better) because generally speaking, we’re doing alright.

At least my husband and I are. Because even though I worked only 6 months last year, our combined income puts us in the top 2% worldwide. And that’s not bad for the granddaughter and grandson of (some very smart) farmers, laborers, and illiterate housewives.

I wanted to take a look back to see how my visions of what my wedding would look like played out when push came to shove. Thanks to my AMAZING friends, I personally think that reality actually transcended my vision. I had some amazing vendors and in the end my wedding was everything it could be (if it couldn’t be in Kenya 🙂

I’ll start with the amazing work of Prabha Bhambhri, who did my mandap. When I showed most vendors an image of my dream mandap they said they could modify and cover and drape one of their existing (ornate) mandaps to create something like what I wanted. Prabha auntie was the first to say that not only would she give me exactly what I wanted, but that she was so excited to see a bride want this kind of style. Instead of judging me for my smaller budget, she said it was refreshing and on the day of when she came to personally oversee the construction of my mandap, she even complimented some other design choices I had made, and said she would use them in the future. This means a lot for someone who wanted an elegant wedding but didn’t think it should cost us our family savings.

Here is the mandap I wanted:

Outdoor Mandap

From Design 2 Decor Inc

And beyond my wildest dreams (after what all the other vendors told me) here is what I got:

my magical mandap

She actually managed to put in more flowers, they were real flowers, and she made it look so dreamy! Here’s an upclose image of the flowers:

_MG_1096

 

I had written this in December 2006 on another blog that has since been made private, so I’m re-posting here.

A girl's best friend?Of all the zany things I say on my shaadi/indian dating/general online dating world profiles, the one statement I make about not wearing diamonds often gets the most attention. I get asked if I just like being subversive, or if I just am one of those people who likes rubbing people the wrong way, or (my personal favorite) whether I just like cheap gifts/men (this boy deserves a post of his own).

Maybe I get this reaction because the diamond has become the standard measure of a man’s love for his woman, the bigger, the brighter, the more bling-bling the better; the more expensive, the greater his love, and when I reject this measure, some men don’t quite know how to react. Whatever the case, my objection to this particular stone dates far back, to before the bloody nature of the diamond was quite “public,” before movies like Bond made not liking diamonds acceptable, and maybe even a little sexy.

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