Black Ice

At the heart of the matter, it’s not so much the season itself which I loathe. It’s really more so about the cold and especially, the ice. I have good right to as well! I have been in three accidents involving black ice.
BI Parts 1 and 2, “Built Strong”…Thanksgiving Night, 2003. Driving back from Oak brook, Illinois (Ashish’s). I hit black ice on Roosevelt Road while changing lanes. I was in my candy apple red, 64 1/2 fastback. Thank goodness I was surrounded by steel as those cars don’t have seat belts [My father later installed a lap belt, with the odd disclaimer that it may be better for me to be thrown from the car than have it explode as the gas tank is in the rear- “thanks, Dad!”]. I recall pumping [manual steering and breaks], fish tailing and then loosing it as I tried to keep track of where I was with the positioning of the light post in view. If I had 5 more feet, I would have straightened it out and been fine. I didn’t have that 5 feet I so needed. I ended in a ditch. I literally crawled out of the car. The battery was knocked out, so I didn’t even have headlights. I was now a sitting duck. A couple with an infant stopped and asked me if I was okay. They took me to a hotel off the road so I could call my father. I never did get their names. I think of them as angels though. My father was judging ChevyVette Fest at the time, in downtown Chicago. He said he was “on his way.” I also called, my then, boyfriend, Ashish. I was a bit fuzzy with directions. I now understand, I was in shock. By the time my father was on the scene, an ambulance, fire truck and police were all surrounding the scene. I recall being in the back of the ambulance and being asked my birth date, who was president, etc. I refused any treatment as I was going to college, paying my way and I had no health insurance. My father showed up just as the tow truck arrived. He spoke to him about towing the mustang directly home. All of the emergency vehicles left the scene. I was sitting in my father’s pick-up truck on the shoulder of the road when I looked at my father and the tow truck guy yell, in-sync, “Nooooo!” I turned my head to see a Jeep Cherokee sliding directly toward my father’s truck. I could see the look of helplessness and fear on the drivers face. I remember just trying to relax my muscles. The side of my head hit the passenger window. Alas, I was back in the ditch. The exact same ditch, I was just in. Someone obviously wanted me in the ditch! My future mother-in-law was in town… I have my suspicions! haha. Better yet, “thank you” to my guardian angel who saved me that night- twice. Ashish did show up after ditch, part II. He drove me home…no more incidents to report on this night.
BI, Part 3: “Welcome to Minnesota!”…Again, Thanksgiving! We were returning from our trip back to visit everyone in the Chicagoland area for Thanksgiving. We lived in Rochester at the time. As soon as we crossed the Mississippi, just past Lacrosse (where Ashish proposed to me), cruising along at 70MPH on I-90, we hit black ice. Folks, let me tell you from experience, that whole “three times a charm” thing is way overrated. I remember sliding across lanes of traffic, headed toward yet another ditch and just grabbing a hold of Ashish’s hand and telling him, “I love you.” I just think of that moment and I feel the intense love and passion that I hold with my every breath for Ashish. [Mental note to self; Remind Ashish of this endearing love and affection by displaying it more often.] I actually couldn’t get out of my door because it slammed into a post of sorts [perhaps a mile-marker]. Ironically, there was a squad car down the way a bit with his lights on. He came back to us quickly and gave us the advice of, “If your car drives, it’s best to get back on the road and out of this spot.” He helped us take off some trim that was hanging on the car, and pushed us out of the ditch. I drove the rest of the way and was never so happy to see the Rochester exit!

Michael Pollan

During their visit, a friend and I had been discussing this very topic. She sent me an e-mail today with updated information. I felt it was important enough to pass on… I especially found it appropriate, after a weekend of “feasting.” (Thanks, Fran!)
“Changing the Way We Eat”, Bill Moyers Journal, PBS.

A food crisis plagues America. Or, so believe Michael Pollan and manyactivists across the U.S. Some might find it difficult to comprehend that oneof the richest countries in the world suffering from food issues, but Michael Pollan lays out what ails America and the case for reform in “Farmer in Chief”an open letter published in THE NEW YORK TIMES MAGAZINE.

Giving Thanks

Growing up, Thanksgiving was a time to take a mini-vacation from school and feast upon Mom’s home cooking. It wasn’t a time for reflection. As I’ve grown, married the most wonderful man and our love perpetuated into the form of two little blessings, I have become reflective. I also feel incredibly blessed.

I recall the first Thanksgiving after my Mom was no longer with us on earth. I cooked for my entire family [my brother is 10 years older and sister 12 years older]. I was 17 and made a turkey, stuffing, sweet potatoes [with marshmallows on top], salad, buns, cranberries, even chocolate cake. Basically, I replicated my Mom’s entire menu because I thought by keeping things just as they were for the holidays, I would in turn be keeping her alive. In which was partly true. However, I was “pretending” that a Mommy fairy came in and did everything and I wasn’t really facing the fact that Mom was…gone. I so wanted to fill my childhood house up with the love, laughter and light that my Mom’s presence instantly brought. My sister and her family came over, as well as my brother as his… I remember them taking food home with them and some comment from one of my siblings about how they didn’t need to take any turkey because they also made a turkey at home. They said something about enjoying leftovers. Here I was just hoping to enjoy their company.

The following Thanksgiving, I stayed home by myself because my sister her her own celebration and my brother had his own. They couldn’t decide where to have it, and they each wanted it at their collective homes. So, I felt like I didn’t have a place to go… I felt like an outsider looking in. They had their homes and their families… My Dad went to both of their dinners. Each of them later complained about who’s house my father went to first~ as if he were to play favorites. Maybe that wouldn’t have been an issue if they could have gotten their act together and just celebrated together. I sat alone, in the dark on the sofa in the living room watching pictures of family celebrations on the tv. My Dad came home and sat with me. We cried a little together. We talked about how my Mom would spend so much time cooking and reminisced so much over her menu, I thought I could smell the dishes cooking in the kitchen.

Never again will I have to sit alone on a holiday and feel as though my best moments were memories past. I am now able to live and make memories and new traditions, with my own families and share those experiences with my dear friends. In some ways, Thanksgiving is still about the food. haha. 🙂 I make a lot of my Mom’s dishes, with a twist. However, we also add an Indian dish and a tofu turkey! I think she’d be pretty proud to join us at our table.

We are thankful for the many blessings bestowed upon us:

All praise to God for…

~Our Health~Two wonderful, smart, beautiful little boys~Strong and loving marriage~Friendships/Family~Our home [and that we are not living in fear of losing it]~Food, on the table, and that we’ve never known hunger~That our children have never known any wants, and they we can provide for them~Our talents and skills~That I’m able to be a full time mother to our children and stay at home with them~That we can afford to start off Nishad’s education in the best environment~ That we take initiative to put family first and our children’s best interest above and beyond

All praise to God, the almighty, for his continuing guidance of ~opening our minds to parenting in his reflection~opening our minds to learning and building upon knowledge~opening our minds to free ourselves of prejudices and ignorance~opening our minds to daily miracles and endless possibilities~opening our minds to confidence, pride and freedom and courage to speak the truth and our mind~ …and that we live in a country that allows us to speak so freely

All praise to God for ~opening our heart to love ~opening our eyes to compassion~opening our hands to give and be generous~opening our soul to search and strive to be better human-beings

Special Blessings to those in our military who can not be with their loved ones. Special Blessings sent to those brothers and sister around the globe who are victims of injustice and violence…especially, in Bombay.

All praise to Mother Earth, for she is our perfect planet. A planet that sustains life in which we have air to breath and a harvest to prepare for such a feast!

Lucky 7

Grab Your Calender and Get a Pen! Here’s some great ideas to with as a family to shake the beginning of the Winter’s Blues.

1. Grand Meander. On Saturday, December 6th, Saint Paul is holding the “Grand Meander.” It’s a great time and really gets me in the holiday spirit! There are so many things to do…all one really needs to come is a warm heart and lots of layers! There are so many cool stores to check out, get your holiday shopping done and eat lunch or dinner at.

2. The Hollidazzle Parade. Beginning Friday, November 28th until December 21st every Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Each parade begins at 6:30pm on Nicollet Mall between 12th and 4th Streets. Bundle up, bring a few big blankets, the stroller for the kids, come early. Many people have made a tradition out of this and claim their favorite spot year after year. We’re actually making a weekend of it. Some hotels have “Hollidazzle Packages” available and the parade is only steps away from the comfort of your room. Here are a few: Marriott, Hyatt.

3. Macy’s Display. Ok, Ok…it’s no “Chicago” State Street Display (it’s actually inside the store on the 8th floor). Despite rude people last year, we’ll attempt it again this year. Why did I include it, if it wasn’t that fun last year? Well, because the previous year it was a lot of fun…everything deserves a second chance! Somewhere in the wee-bit of the costumes and decorations, I’m reminded of a familiar place. Frango’s, picking out a dancer ornament every year and the magic of the season… It all depends on when you go though. Try to avoid high traffic weekends and spare yourself the Tylenol (the line started on the 5th floor last year when we were there!). The elevators are a nightmare to catch, especially with a stroller…come mentally prepared! Avoid exiting through “Santa’s Workshop” after the display. This will avoid setting you up for an unexpected purchases that your child “has” to have.

4. Como Conservatory Holiday Garden Show. I’m never disappointed when we visit Como. Take the kids on an indoor walk and leave invigorated- filled with color and ready to face the cold, head on! December 6th through January 19th.

5. Otsego Santa Day. OK, I’m a bit bias here, but it IS a FREE event that the park and recreation commission sponsors, coordinates and runs! Bring your letter to Santa, visit with him, have some cookies, refreshments and enjoy a sleigh ride in the park- all free! Saturday, December 13th at 10AM until 1PM. Otsego City Hall.

6. Dance in the New Year, Family Style at the Children’s Museum! Another hang out that doesn’t disappoint! Fun for kids and parents alike. Here’s a way to jump start some fun for the new year ahead: December 31st from 6PM until 8:30PM. This is a special event.

7. The Saint Paul Winter Carnival. See, there is that name again…Saint Paul! You HAVE to love this city. Be sure to check out the parade on Saturday, January 24th.


Our friends arrived this morning. Two, fresh from the Ocean, off the shores of Maine, flown in…direct from sea, to boat, to plane, to plate! Okay, okay, we had to cook them too! But I don’t like to think about that part. This is the second time we’ve ordered them. We tried a different company this time. De-lobsterous! Yum. I know, I know..How could I? Would it help it I said we let them roam in the fridge before we cook them? It’s “suppose” to numb them a bit so they aren’t so…never mind.

For a side I made broiled veggies with garlic and Rosemary seasoning. For dessert, I made a homade New York cheese cake. Nishad was prompted to talk about Auntie Kelly because, after all, it IS a New York cheese cake! It was worth the effort! Creamy, rich…definitely not a time to count calories!

Ashish picked up Nishad from school today. It was great for Arun and I to work on sounds, play and climb! Ashish, Nishad and Saiful (Ashish’s co-worker) went out for an Indian lunch together (Yes! Arun and I were jealous!) and then checked out the new cell phones. My gift to Ashish this year is a new cell phone of his choice. Boy, does he need one! Being an IT Guru…he deserves it! The problem is, because he knows so much about how everything works…he is a lot harder to please than the average person. It may take him some time to decide. Since he already had the IPOD Touch, he doesn’t want an IPHONE. I can’t wait to see what choice he comes up with! By the time the guys came home, Nishad was asleep and slept until 5:30PM!
Next week Nishad’s school has it’s Thanksgiving Feast! I recall working in the two previous Montessori schools~ They always made the holidays meaningful, festive and always connected it globally. It was always an extra level of collaboration and unity for the children…as one community- the schools entire population. I’m so excited for Nishad!
I am VERY happy it’s the weekend. We had a busy week in our household!