the hyphens that define my life

Countdown to Thanksgiving is ON! November 20, 2013

Filed under: Family — multihyphenatedme @ 9:41 pm
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Christmas music is already playing around the clock on certain radio stations.  Stores are having pre-holiday sales to beat the rush.  Though I have some presents purchased, I am not counting down to Christmas, there are too many milestones to meet and plenty of other stuff to do than listen to Christmas music before Thanksgiving has past.

My Thanksgiving preparations start a week in advance.  Tonight I went to the grocery store and took advantage of the super low turkey price and bought an eleven pound bird to make the ultimate stock for the stuffing and gravy.  I’ll share my stock recipe tomorrow.

Cleaning and polishing will happen this weekend.  Don’t worry, I won’t bore you with these details, just know they are happening.

In addition to planning Thanksgiving, we will also partake in bits and pieces of Hanukkah.  We light candles every night, play dreidel for chocolate gelt and, my favorite part, make latkes and matzo ball soup Wednesday night next week to kick off our long weekend.  We aren’t Jewish, we don’t even pretend to know what we’re doing (except I make some awesome latkes), but we appreciate the traditions of other cultures, so why not. Just don’t tell my kids gifts are involved, what they don’t know, won’t hurt them.

Turkey prep, no school, no work, house cleaning and polishing, Hanukkah festivities are all great and we’re excited for next week to arrive; however, none of these are what has us SUPER excited.  What has us jumping up and down in anticipation is the arrival of our nineteen year old daughter/sister that we haven’t seen since JULY!  Ooooh we can’t wait!

I use her arrival to put off everything my kids want.  My nine year old wants egg nog, not until your sister gets here.  My eight year old wants everything, no, not until your sister gets here.  My husband wants to know when he gets a break from his project list, after our daughter gets here.  The best part is that they are so accepting of this rule.  You’re right, we’ll wait.

I hope she realizes how loved and missed she is and the explosion of emotion that will greet her late Tuesday night.  Of course, little miss Southern California will be in a state of shock from the ice cold temperatures we’re having right now.  I’ll remind her to wear, not pack, her down coat.

Not only will my family be together, my nest full, we ALSO get to eat pie and date bars and latkes and so many other fantastic holiday foods.  Isn’t that what Thanksgiving is about?  Bringing together the ones you love and sharing a delicious meal. HAPPINESS! I can’t wait.  The fun starts tomorrow.  My house will smell like Thanksgiving early tomorrow morning, as soon as the stock is made.


Cornucopia Religion July 10, 2013

Filed under: Life — multihyphenatedme @ 12:01 am
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There are two topics you’re not supposed to discuss in mixed company, politics and religion. Politics are so convoluted and ridiculous, I don’t want to discuss politics unless it is to rile my unwavering Republican mother-in- law.  We spar politics in good fun but we know our audience.

Religion is not my strongest suit, forgive me if I offend or misspeak. No preaching allowed or accepted, thank you very much.

I have a strong Catholic extended family.  My oldest aunt is a nun, Sister Phyllis Ann with Sisters of Mercy, now retired, approaching her 70th year in the convent.  Catholicism is in my blood.  My immediate family didn’t practice Catholicism or any religion beyond dinner prayers, weddings, and holidays so I know some but religion was not a strong influence in my upbringing.  My husband  comes from deep Catholic roots attending weekly mass, Catholic elementary schools and Loyola Jesuit High School.  His mother wanted Vince to become a priest.  I find this hilarious.  I haven’t been struck by lightning yet, confirming God has a sense of humor too.

When our worlds collided, Vince and I did what came naturally, we turned away from Catholicism because it didn’t suit our lifestyle. We were yogis, attending advanced level Ashtanga yoga classes 2-3 times per week.  We were practicing Buddhism.  We had a Buddhist wedding.  Namaste, the light in me bows to the light in you.

Since our family has grown exponentially. we have not had a strong religious focus in our home. We say prayers, follow traditions and practices but we have never joined a church as a married couple or family. We weren’t inclined when we lived in Arizona, the religious atmosphere was thick in Orange County but the churches didn’t fit with us.  Now that we’re in Washington, I am suddenly inclined to go to church.  Why?  I don’t know.  Trace and I want to go to St. Paul’s Cathedral, an Episcopal Church which I know nothing about other than the Episcopal Church was created during the American Revolution to separate from the Anglican Church of England.  Huh, how about that.

Costco is probably not the place to seek religion yet on my first trip to Spokane’s gigantic Costco, I found myself stalking a nun.  A nun!  In Costco!  Shopping!  Tell me when this has happened to you, because this was my first nun sighting in Costco.  She was in full habit, head to toe whites.   I spotted her in the cheese section.  I tried to take her photograph for proof but felt too stupid and couldn’t go through with it.  Our next interaction was in the freezer section.  We were both buying the megamix pack of ice cream novelties.  I wanted to ask her which church she was affiliated but I backed down.  I am not shy, what was wrong with me?  Out of respect, I couldn’t interrupt her with my ridiculousness.

Back home, with my internet powers activated, I found The Sisters of Mary Immaculate Queen in Spokane, also known as “The Singing Nuns”, who wear full habit.  Awesome.  The Singing Nuns will perform their 18th annual Christmas Evermore Concert.   Mount St. Michael is a traditional Roman Catholic Parish we may have to check out.

I am a Mormon Magnet.  Don’t take offense, it is true.  I attract Mormons.  It’s my overexuberant, cheerful, DIY approach, plus my passel of kids.  The LDS church and I have conflicting personalities thought.

I have adopted Jewish religious traditions into our family life.  For Hanukkah we have a menorah and light a candle for each of the 8 holy nights.  We have chocolate gelt and play dradel and eat potato pancakes too.  I don’t know the prayers, but I have some story books and read Hanukkah stories to the kids.  I have never been to temple and don’t see Judaism as a fit for our lives either.

Today is the first day of Ramadan, celebrated by our Muslim friends.  We discussed the month of Ramadan tonight with the kids.  Ramadan is a time of spiritual reflection, improvement and increased devotion and worship. Ramadan is m obligatory month of fasting.  No food or drinking liquids between sunrise and sunset.  Summertime days are 14 hours long and hot.  In Spokane today, from sunrise to sunset, the day last 15 hours and 45 minutes.  The days aren’t short.  That only leaves 8 hours and 15 minutes for sleeping, but the night is when, during Ramadan,  you eat and drink, prepare the next meal and clean up. Ramadan Mubarak to my friends celebrating Ramadan.  I can’t join you in your fast, but I support your efforts and faith.

I am a fan of Cornucopia Religion, the best bits and pieces of all religions lumped into one where every day is a holiday of something.  Wouldn’t that be fun?  My husband can start a band, I may just have to start a new religion.  Everyone is accepted, no purple Kool-Aid allowed, otherwise anything goes according to the rules we establish as we go along.  Pretty much how I run the rest of my life.