I am working from home today, already done with the mandatory call to the my overseas parole officer, children are busy partying in the pajamas, and husband is taking one last lunch with the men before he gets confined in estrogen central for two weeks. By the way, did you notice? The world didn’t end today. That means back to balancing parents-parenting-co-parent with work and Cliffmas, and of course virtual socialization and writing. This morning, a dear friend shared Marlo Thomas’s article “Twelve things to do when it’s cold outside“.
Marlo says “Closet Cleaning”. Thank you, but no thank you. My closet doesn’t get cleaned in the middle of the winter. There is nothing I can put away, there is nothing I can donate, yet. My closet cleaning will have to wait until we draw curtains on Winter, or for that matter, Summer. End of the season children will have a lot to donate, because they are most likely to outgrow all that stuff by next winter. Also, the bill ‘No More Hangars” was passed into law, thereby controlling clutter. I clean up my pantry before the holiday season starts. By Holidays I mean, when we kick off the Holidays sometimes in second week of October, for Diwali, not late November during Thanksgiving. The deep cleaners clean up the rest of the house, and clean up the pantry, and paperwork. I like a clean pantry, and a clean oven before I start by winter baking. So, that’s not happening now.
Speaking of cleaning, there is one part of the house that I never volunteer to clean. Our fridge. On any given Friday, there will be at least five cups of Nesquick, and three cups of coffee in the fridge. It’s my husband’s job to dispose that stuff. I don’t do it, partly because I am bound by habit. When I was little, I would take a sip of my milk and run to school. My mother would put it in the fridge and give it to our servant’s daughter when they came later for work. It didn’t bother my mother that she gave left overs, and it didn’t bother our servant that it was my left over. On rare days that I was finished, she would get a fresh batch though. She didn’t like it much, it didn’t have cream in it. Same thing with my lunch box. She would wait for me to come from school so that she could eat my left over pastries. Sometimes I saved pastries just so that she could taste them. Last year when we visited India, my children wanted to know if grandma had slaves in the house. Oh no, grandma corrected, they are my household help. But back when I was growing up, Bai was the maid servant, not help/assistance, and Bai was a term used to address servants only until Mallika Sherawat danced “Jalebi Bai”! Moving on, Marlo suggests accent wall coloring. In my opinion, winter is not a good time. First of all, the sun is softer than the rest of the year. Bright and festive atmosphere rules the mood, and you might end up picking a color you will regret later. Texturing won’t give the desired results, some parts drying faster than others. I would wait till Summer, or at least Spring.
But I am inspired by Marlo’s article, here is my twelve for when it’s cold.. no matter what cold means for a Californian.
- Middle of the day is my witching hour, but it’s nothing a cup of coffee cannot fix. It’s only in winter that the afternoon is so cold, I actually enjoy the warmth of the coffee. After I pour out my coffee, I leave the lid of the Espresso ajar, letting the steamy aroma of the ground coffee escape, and fill the kitchen. Heavenly!
- Colors! Red, green and gold in a shade that complement my olive skin. I don’t like the loud reds and greens of Spring and Summer, but the winter shades exude warmth that I can carry off. My closet is filled with dresses in these colors, though I prefer the legion of my black tops over blue jeans with a scarf on a regular day.
- Red. Taylor Swift’s red. Not her album, even though the little one croons “trouble trouble” nonstop! I mean her signature red lipstick. I didn’t wear red lipstick until recently. I am told Merlot is more my color by the Divas behind the coloring desk makeup counter. But, no thanks, this year I will rock the red that I like, not what you think I will like, or people will like on me. Red is RED this year.
- Yellow Gold Jewelry! Admit it. If you are an Indian girl, you own a stash of yellow gold jewelry no matter how much platinum you wear now. That’s how we roll in India. I have my fair share, accumulated before/during wedding, and daddy dear adds on here and there, on my birthdays. Winter is the only time where they actually blend in with my clothes, and the surroundings. Bling is not blingy enough when your neighbor is wearing green and gold ornament for earrings!
- Those parties is pretty clothes, where they serve an itty-bitty dish on a huge platter. It’s done so well, for a moment you wonder if it’s only for display, or for consumption. But after coming home, hungry girl raids the pantry, dips a piece of Panettone in coffee because a classy dinner is beautiful, never filling!
- Cuddling in the bed with my girls in the mornings. The two week vacation is the best part of our winter! There are no extracurricular activities, there is no school, mommy shuttle takes off while daddy plays chauffer. Work isn’t very crazy, and most importantly, California sometimes isn’t that cold, you can actually hit the beach for New Years, and hike most of the days. These are truly the days I relax and unwind without planning the next thing.
- Red toes with gold bands! Underneath those boots and soft socks is a beautiful pedicure of red and gold that I rarely get to show off, but I love painting my nails in those festive colors anyway. Christmas begins with the toes, and it only fades and chips after new year’s, right when I take the lights and wreaths off.
- Boots! I didn’t wear boots till I was thirty, and when a coworker asked me, I proudly said “Never in my life”. Of course I got a lecture on how I haven’t lived yet, and bought my first pair of uglies. Hooked on since then, the collection is growing. Not just me, all three of us are slaves to boots. In this house where mother doesn’t wait with fresh baked cookies when children come home from school, the mother-daughter bonding happens over shoes!
- My skin! I never break out during winter, and all the discoloration of spring and summer thanks to my nonstop outdoor activities fades away, giving that luminous look. I am not the facial and bleach kind, leave alone the botox and filler kind! But winter heals my skin, prepares it for another brutal summer come next year. It’s nice, once in a while not to have my badges of youth!
- Pajamas! I love sitting in the house in my pajamas, wearing soft socks, sliding on the wood floor sometimes like a little child, and not worrying about anyone knocking on the door. At six. Reading something on the sofa, relaxing already in the evening, without having to dress decently and stand guard to the children scootering and biking outside. Bliss!
- Food. I love every winter food, as long as it’s not meat based. I love the warm creamy sauces, mildly spiced, melting in the mouth delicacies. I love the personal sized cakes in pretty containers, I love the cookies from around the world, I love the Tiramisu in any form, and most of all, I love the Panettone! Religiously I buy every single dessert item at Costco and Trader Joes, and enjoy each one without worrying about the weight they would add. Winter clothes are forgiving, thankfully, and come January I can hit the gym without guilt!
- Private calls to my parole officer, Mommy dearest. It’s nice, to go on a video chat with the rest of the family, but there is nothing like mommy-baby time. Dad sleeps early, thanks to the time change, and I get to work from home, thanks to the occasional rain that disrupts Californian life. We talk a lot, sometimes for two hours, and even though we don’t gossip about anyone, it’s nice to have that privacy.
And there I hit the “H U N D R E D”! I have lost many of my Sulekha blogs from 06-09 era, and have completely lost many pre-2003, but here it is, hundredth on the blog spot, before we end 2012. Thank you reading my blogs, and becoming a part of my mundane life, however boring it is at times. I love you all, for loving me.. and encouraging me, especially this special friend who has read each one of my blog and commented..