Let’s Catch Up

It has been a while since I wrote. Been a while since I even thought of writing, to be honest. In the words of John Lennon, “Life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans” and it it holds true even now, decades after he said it.

I turned a year older recently. Had my peeps around for a bite of birthday cake while TO manned or should I say preteened a live sundae counter. Kids were happy, dentists will be made happier still somewhere down the line.

The year started off well enough but came with a few hard knocks rather soon into the first week of January with us losing a loved family member and in March me losing someone very dear to me. My process of grieving is usually to write about my feelings or the person who has gone and pay them a tribute in some way but this time around it’s been rather hard and the words don’t want to come forth.

Apart from giving it time, I suppose there’s not much one can do but not everyone’s life is one we can celebrate in toto once they pass. Some lives you look back at and hope for all the turmoil they were in or caused, they gained a modicum of peace somewhere and didn’t feel agony or fear in their last moments. I find it a crushing thought to even imagine anyone I’ve cared about experiencing pain in their final moments. But one must try to accept what life throws their way, however jarring to the senses and move forward. I read an article sometime back about moving on vs moving forward; found it made sense. Posting it here for those who don’t mind a bit of gyaan but not an avalanche of it.

This morning when I started off with my morning routine of Wordle and a quick crossword, I realized how much TO’s influenced my life. The child isn’t a Ross Geller in the making from what I have understood. He can love dinosaurs and other buried prehistoric creatures without wanting to devote time in academia to truly enjoy it. The reptiles he loves have become integrated into our lives and our minds. One of the clues this morning in the New York Times Quick Crossword was Spitting _________ (a five lettter word) and I automatically filled in cobra. Once the crossword was filled, I found it was a different word entirely. Once upon a time I’d have been able to lead with the other word more easily but now life has a place which is dedicated to animal quizzes on road trips and amorphous plans around the world to see dangerous creatures or the slithering ones.

With summer break on the horizon along with exams, our days are busy and minds busier still. Hopefully the writing bug bites me again and I reenter the blogosphere properly and soon!

Ciao.

In Memorium: Kulsum Aapa

My aunt died recently. She was actually my husband’s aunt but the distinction wasn’t ever really a thing. In Urdu, Aapa means elder sister and that’s how I heard her referred to by many of people around her. My husband’s family speaks Telugu and typically she would have been referred to as Peddamma (elder mother/aunt) but somehow my husband, his sister and their cousins always referred to her as ‘Aunty’. Being a new bride in a family culturally different from mine, I was trying hard to fit in and strike a balance and the right notes with the in-laws especially and tried out a few names for her but somehow Aapa seemed to suit her best. And as she forthrightly told me soon after I got married, “Call me what you want, my name isn’t going to change is it? You should call me what you feel like.” And so Aapa stuck.

She was from a family that was quite different from mine, my parents’ as well as my in-laws’,but she never highlighted the differences and seemed to always take things in her stride. She once told me, quite cheekily, how she and my uncle eloped and seemed to be happily reliving those days and told me how we had done things more conservatively and not been as daring as them!

When a person passes there’s usually a burst of emotions which include regret for not having spent enough time with them or feeling their loss but I think what I realise I miss most is the opportunity to have learnt more from her. Apart from being a teacher and being quite qualified (she had a Ph.D), she had a vast repertoire of life experiences that she used to share but she was always very mindful of what she said and if the person on the receiving end was receptive or not. A lot of people think age gives them more latitude to speak freely, especially to those younger than them but Aapa was not such a person. While she was forthright she was very aware of peoples’ sense of privacy, their personal space and respected both in a culture where elders are deferred to in many or most things.

She and I were the two daughters-in-law of the family, my mother-in-law having passed long ago, and she would occasionally smile impishly at me and gesture at our husbands and say,” See what we put up with!” She kept an immaculate home, was the consummate hostess and was infinitely warm and welcoming. I cannot recall a time I have gone there and not had even the simplest of home food urged upon me with warmth and affection. She was gregarious but not flamboyant, she was articulate and not verbose and most importantly she was a very genuine person who was very affectionate.

My husband’s anecdotes about her are a mix of amusing and endearing ones because coming from a small town that he does, Aapa was the most exotic person he had ever encountered and seeing her as a small boy imprinted various memories of her in his mind which have stuck to this day. He was in awe of her and in time realised that she held him with quite a bit of affection as well. She had an old rather dinged up platter that she would use to make “double ka meetha” at home. I have never seen her make it in anything else. Even if she was invited to dinner at someone’s place and she showed up with dessert, that less than stylish platter made its appearance although its contents were always impeccable! The double ka meetha was always in appearance during a dinner at my home or whenever we had dinner at theirs. She once told me in her Hyderabadi dialect, “Tumharey miyaan ko yeh pasand isiliye main banati” (your husband is very fond of this that’s why I make it).

Aapa was quite a taskmaster and was very clear about what she considered as “proper”. I recall her running the rather large house with household help who were trained to do things right and do them well. When as she grew older, she never seemed to cut corners about how a house was to be run; especially hers. There was a method to the way we were served, we ate and it was never slapdash or too casual. All meals were at the dinning table, there was good conversation and there was always a sweet, usually home cooked, to round off the food.

I honestly don’t know as much as I ought to about her accomplishments but she was definitely the shining star our family. She took care of my grandmother-in-law for years, kept up on her reading, was extremely socially and politically conscious and hosted salons where she and my Uncle discussed and took forward steps that benefitted the city we live in and the people. Where many people get on a pulpit or rant, Aapa would actually show up and get things done and in the process she drew around herself a group of like-minded people who inspired her and were in turn, inspired by her.

She was a good grandmother to my son as well. She encouraged all his little scribbles, pretended to get scared by his dragon during his How To Train Your Dragon phase and kept encouraging him towards more creative pursuits. Unlike many of The Bengali side of my son’s relatives, she never asked about his academics, his performance but often asked what made him happy. It’s a perspective I’m yet to learn to embrace entirely if I’m honest.

Dhoop Chhaun, the home which was in her family for ages, has been the hub of our meetings and where my family congregates. While our grandmother was alive there was a steady stream of people who would come in and pay their respects but even after her demise, the house has always been synonymous with Aapa and her presence. Even as a much younger child my son had labeled it ‘Dadi’s house’ so evident was it for everyone.

I think I’ll always remember her as pottering around the house in one of her numerous kaftans, calling out instructions in the kitchen and switching between her clipped English diction with the family or guests to the traditional Hyderabadi she used with the staff. She always had a compliment for us, a huge smile and was effortlessly elegant. And she will be missed, terribly.

2021…A Year In Retrospect

I usually end up thinking of a year in a particular manner towards its end. Like 2018 was “The Year Of Road Trips“. 2019 now in hind sight, is “The Year It Was All Fine Before Downhill Became The Norm” 2020 was “The Year The Pandemic Hit” and 2021 had been “A Hodgepodge Year” all the way through!

While I don’t like to dwell on death and anything morbid overly much; I don’t recall any other year where the phone rang so many times with the news of someone’s demise. It got to a point where I’d ask my folks each time they rang up,”Who is it this time?”. Needless to say, a lot of people went before their time and it takes a while to reflect and then try to move past it.

As a family, we had a few more downs than ups but we managed to sneak in some good times nonetheless- a nice road trip full of songs, ‘are we there yets‘, junk food, room service, a beautiful stone sunken bathtub that TO and I were fighting over while another instance had me scrambling to find footing in a 5.5 ft of water while TO frolicked like a little otter and laughed at his mother’s clumsy efforts to not drink up half the pool!

2021 had been so fluid that it was half over before I realized it. It feels like I sleepwalked through parts of it and other parts I wish I had. But the highs thankfully balance out the utter lows.

On a slightly more somber note- mental health has become the need of the hour now. Whether it’s due to a prolonged state of having been indoors or being in a state of flux about the state of the world around us, but mental health now occupies center stage like never before.

People are realizing the immense benefit of talking to someone who is a professional. They help you gain perspective, fight your demons and also help you keep a hold onto your reality and sanity at times. Especially in a society where going to a shrink is still somewhat of a taboo and therapists rarely get their due; mental health professionals have been busier than ever before with parents and children alike lining up to seek help adjusting to the new circumstances they find themselves in.

On the topic of health, traveling( while curtailed for many of us for a long time) has become a renewed stress buster which cannot be denied. Whether it’s on the back of a bike, in a car or just making plans for a sunnier day in the future; traveling has been the solace many of us have been seeking for the past year and a half. And I am profoundly happy and grateful that I got to meet a few of my favorite people multiple times this year although it was a challenge and a half remembering to not drink too much water so I didn’t have to use the loo while flying or the first time when I did travel and I wore gloves, two masks, a shield and had the disinfectant wipes ready to be whipped out at the blink of an eye!

Courtesy the “prevalent situation” (it’s my way of doing a J.K Rowling’s He Who Shall Not Be Named)2021 also became ‘The Year Of The Vaccine’. Whether it was the difficult faced while registering ourselves for it, waiting for it to reach us, the initial jab, the secondary jab and the debate around the booster shot, our lives had been centered around vaccines, their efficacy and all the hopes we’d pinned on them.

I think the message that rang in loud and clear during the past year has been to not necessarily wait for a rainy day and be in a more carpe diem mode. Also, celebrate little things more because waiting for the special occasions could leave you twiddling your thumbs for a good long while. And while I really detest platitudes, I have realised (yet again) how much I and my family have to be grateful for. We are far richer than I realised courtesy the people we have in our lives. Doesn’t matter if you they are a few continents or just a phone call away but seeing a beloved face over a cup of coffee has often meant the world to me in the last year.

I’ve also grown older. Sadly. Mainly in my head. I don’t see value in Roblox. I wish all the piggies would fall down a never-ending hole and never come back. I am also quite the hypocritical parent who has indulged herself thoroughly in a few things (eg: horror movies) but has serious reservations at the thought of her child watching them. Nevermind I was younger than him when I saw Jason and Meyers hacking their way through summer camps and small town America but the thought of my kid seeing blood and gore disturbs me. I am not chill. At all. I also have no patience for Hello Neighbor, Sonic the Hedgehog and cricket talk. Oh god! If I hear one more play being analysed by Red and TO I might cut the cable connection! Happily.

To sum up, I rang out 2021 with a laugh and started 2022 on the same note. Let’s hope it’s a sign of the times to come. Salut!

Discussions on life and beyond

TO’s ideas about life and death are shaped quite a bit by the things he sees online. And since he sees more grown- up content these days vis-a-vis Mickey Mouse Club House, Noddy et al, death is portrayed more in the Occidental way than it is the Oriental or Indian way. He’s seen characters who visit graves of their loved ones and thinks that’s the way we roll too. Of course, till now he’s been lucky to not lose anyone he really loves.

Last evening the topic of me and Red not being there came up. Dunno how exactly but it might have arisen out of the talk about TO growing up and doing things more by himself without our help or our supervision. And when he gets going about the future he paints a very elaborate picture. It’s seldom a few things mentioned offhand; it’s always a well-etched scenario.

So yesterday TO started off by saying, “When you and P die I’ll have to do things on my own. But I’ll visit your graves and let you know how I’m doing.” Instead of going “awww” I told him a bit tersely (I was in the middle of a challenging puzzle) that “we wouldn’t be buried because we’d be cremated as per our religion. To that the answer came, “I wouldn’t burn you!! (horrified tone). I’ll bury you so you’ll always be there and I’ll put flowers on your grave and if you become ghosts you’ll have a place to go back to after you come see how I’m doing.”

This kind of long-term logistical planning really needs a pat on the back.

And Poof! It was gone…

I really don’t like pigeons. They are nature’s poop-factories and the bane of statues everywhere. They’re like these neurotic birds who keep walking in circles, bobbing their heads while they lay their dumb eggs everywhere they aren’t supposed to be building a nest and then pooping around it as well. Stupid birds.

The parapet outside TO’s room is guano-central and possibly a pigeon graveyard. There have been quite a few dead chicks there over the last year and wouldn’t you know it; the adult birds just keep doing their weird walk and keep walking over the decomposing body. Talk about being stoic!

I’ve never seen a pigeon catch a caterpillar, eat a spider or even a house lizard. All those useful things are done by eagle-eyed owls, raptors and other non-stupid birds. But pigeons will dance around, poop, dance around again and then fly off. Their version of Eat, Pray, Love could very well be

Anyhoo, the reason for my tirade is that I was driving down the road where right from the people to the stray dogs all moved away but two pigeons were doing their round’n’round zombie walk. I honked and expected to see a flurry of wings but instead there was a puff of feathers in the driver’s side window. And then there was a lump in the road…with another bird still going on its merry circular way.

I have never killed anything barring mosquitoes and a few bugs here and there and as much as I dislike those poopsters, I didn’t want to run one over either.

Aaargh. Stupid neck-jerking, feather-shedding, statue-defiling feathery puffs!

The Bad-Isms

I don’t usually write too many serious blog posts. Barring the fact that it reaches an audience that may not be in the mood for something grim and somber; I have a particular audience where I thrash things out to my heart’s content (usually). Thankfully some of those people are close-by and I get to see them as often as I’d like. With a few others a continent away but still very deeply entrenched in the discussions about the state of the world, fairness and everything that deviates from them.

I had written this a few days ago and it had helped me get some stuff off my chest. My worries and feelings about the prevailing situations in a particular part of the world.

A few days ago, two particularly close friends and I were talking about the same issue again and I realised that in the name of Democracy there actually isn’t a lot of tolerance in certain parts of the world. Especially in one that touts itself as the vanguard of the ideal. Jingoism is the name of the game. However twisted that game may be.

Children coming from other countries, whether they come to stay for a short duration or migrate, are prevailed upon to recite the Pledge of Allegiance and know the Star Spangled Banner without any reasons given beyond that this is how things are done here.

I understand being loyal to the country you are staying in. But why force patriotism onto kids belonging to other countries at ages when they are too young to reason things out for themselves? Does it help in any way to have them loudly pledging any allegiance? Is it something they’re doing out of compulsion/habit or is it organic?

From 3rd to 7th grade I pledged my allegiance every school day without fail and if you woke me up from my sleep today and asked me to do it, I would be able to perform on autopilot. And while it didn’t harm me in anyway to do so back then, I don’t recall a single teacher of ours attempting to get to know anything about the other cultural and racial backgrounds barring having us draw our country’s flag and tacking it up on the noticeboard at the back of the room along with our pictures next to it. That doesn’t really spell acceptance and inclusion to the adult me.

Ethnic equality concept and racial justice symbol as a black and white crumpled paper shaped as a human head on old rustic wood background with contrasting tones as a metaphor for social race issues.

And circling back to the burning topic of racism, while we did religiously follow Black History Month in our school, we didn’t process beyond Abraham Lincoln, the Emancipation Proclamation, Rosa Parks and Dr.King. I didn’t study in the US beyond the first few months of junior high but even then, I learnt more about other notable people from the movement by watching movies- Medgar Evers et al. Books pertaining to the segregation seemed restricted to Roll Of Thunder Hear My Cry.

However, when it came to the Holocaust we were given an exhaustive look into things. Quite a few of our teachers were Jewish and had known of people who were in the concentration camps or had lost family members in pogroms. Names like Treblinka, Dachau and Auschwitz became part of our everyday vocabulary. Our class’s annual program was A Fiddler On the Roof one year.

This is not to say that am equating the Holocaust with the injustices doled out to the African-American people. But inhumanity is inhumanity. There were lynchings in the Deep South, forced breedings to create superior race of slaves who would be sturdier, work longer, better and cut down the need to employ too many people and in turn save their owners money. None of this was taught.

Maybe it was found to be unpalatable for 12 or 13 year olds. But being exposed to the horrors of the Holocaust via Fredrich, When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit, The Number On My Grandfather’s Arm and of course, The Diary of Anne Frank were all deemed as being perfectly suitable. Of course it goes without saying that atrocities in any other part of the world were never even touched upon. I guess they leave that for college and for people who chose to know more on their own steam.

I’m not complaining about getting to know about these atrocities one way or the other. But as an adult, it does seem like one race’s history and legacy was prioritised over another. And that’s not right.

And that’s what really stands out for me at the end of the day- whatever is happening is not right! The shootings, the custodial deaths, the riots and looting in the wake of these deaths. None of it is right! And it doesn’t seem like it’s going to get rectified anytime soon.

Till then, people lining the streets holding up signs, hashtags trending on social media and speaking out wherever and whenever the opportunity comes up, is the sole recourse of those who care and those who are the most impacted.

It Matters. Period.

Long post alert.

I am no “bleeding-hearts” liberal. Neither am I a “ranting” right-winger. I can like one and dislike the other and vice versa, based on situations. I am no die-hard. Because to do so would be to become absolutes and people are rarely just one thing. The one thing we can count on with surety is the gray in them.

Despite being halfway across the world from the troubles in USA, I am still bothered by the way things seem to be playing out there. It doesn’t directly impact me sitting in India but given that a “super-power” of the world still acts colourblind in this day and age, is nothing short of disappointing to say the least and my mind shudders to think of the worst.

As a child in 1992, seeing the live coverage of the L.A riots in the aftermath of the Rodney King incident, I wasn’t impacted much because L.A and New York were faaar apart. We did discuss it in my class and from what I remember, not too many of the kids focused on the color of King’s skin. They did think it was “messed-up” to attack an unarmed man though.

Fast forward a few decades and we now have the BLM movement gaining momentum once again because of 3 unnecessary deaths in very short intervals in 2020. The fact that there had to be a movement stating that Black Lives Matter, is a cause for concern. Why shouldn’t it matter? And to counteract it with another movement called All Lives Matter seems like a farce.

Throughout human history, the times when being humane hasn’t been the default order of the day are during times of abject poverty and hunger; when people killed to stay alive or during the regimes of despots when genocide took place to showcase might or to shut down the dissenters.

But sitting in 2020 with the kind of advances that have happened in science, technology the world over, to have to iterate that there’s a value attached to a human life that goes beyond the color of the skin, is a giant step back. We cannot afford to devolve especially at a time when people ought to be rallying together to stay safe and work at rebuilding.

I look at any kind of police or armed force (the official ones and not the mercenary kinds) as a necessary evil. Our societies are huge and self-regulation isn’t practiced by all. The establishment of “peace keepers” and the judiciary is essentially for that- keeping the peace and for disciplining the malcontents who continue to buck the limits of legal norms and cause disruptions.

I am not naive enough to long for Utopia but a march in the opposite direction goes against everything that I want from the world where my child is growing up.

utopia dystopia
Image courtesy: Veronicasicoe.com

It boggles the mind that a policeman would choose to subdue a potential suspect by kneeling on his neck. And continue to do so for close to 10 minutes. It also boggles the mind that a country allows for such laxity in owning and handling firearms that anyone who seems to running away is automatically taken to be guilty and can be fired upon. A woman whose car is spotted outside the residence of a suspected drug dealer, can have her home broken into and get fired upon without having a chance to answer questions defending herself.

The Death of Justice. — Steemit

It would seem that justice, in this day and age, is not blind to color but seems deaf to cries as well.

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Oh-Cult!

I had a LONG discussion, just before bedtime, with TO about Annabelle. How the whole thing came about, why a doll of all things, how possession takes place, how a possessed item can go on a killing spree and how it was different from Child’s Play. Just what every mother wants for her child to dwell on before he closes his eyes for the night and dreams happy thoughts.

But I am glad that he’s asking questions and showing interest in things which have greatly entertained me while I was growing up and continue to do so even now.

While I’ve stopped going into raptures at the thought of a horror moviethon or stopped setting up playlists for Halloween and Friday the 13th, I still enjoy the silent menace of Meyers, the freakishness of Freddy and the…the…dang! There aren’t any horror adjectives that alliteratively go with Jason. Sorry dude..you’ll always be my go-to undead villain though.

See the source image

Among the newer scary movies, the Conjuring-verse isn’t unique by any means but it’s well-executed. With demonic dolls, spooky spectral and nasty nuns (see what I did there? Alliterate this baby!); the series is slick, has enough creepy moments without getting into utter gore and becoming a slash fest.

I mean while buckets of blood and entrails had their allure once upon a time, nothing can beat the chill of an evil spirit advancing steadily toward someone while they’re back-up against a wall with nowhere to go! Or maybe something a bit more innocuous like suddenly seeing someone who shouldn’t be there.

But before the whole world, especially my father, starts judging me about my topic of discussion with my only flesh and blood, let me just say that time spent together with the parents in any kind of an activity that brings enjoyment, is an investment in good memories for a lifetime. Even ones with horror movies.

My memories of horror movies are mainly linked with my mother. Not because she’s demonic (the woman’s practically a saint!) but because she stuck up for me when my father used to make a noise about me watching rated-R stuff and watching people get killed by creatures/beings who keep coming back even after being killed in each installment of a series.

She didn’t mind that there would be blood and that a 10 year old would be watching something that would lead to a lifetime’s interest in the creepy and spooky. It was a fun mother-daughter activity that my father cringed at and I think that was part of the allure.

What’s funny now is looking back at the two of us, huddled on a single couch; me with a Hershey’s pudding cup in my hand and my mother covering my eyes whenever nudity came on the screen and removing her hand whenever the killing started. Because for some reason, all the serial killers, dead or undead, are pervs. They get their rocks off killing people mid-make out session. Total coitus interruptus if there ever was one.

My mom never minded seeing Jason stab someone through the gut with a harpoon or a fireplace poker for that matter. Likewise she was a-ok with Freddy putting some hapless kid’s head through the tv and putting holes in someone else’s body with this knived-gloves.

Once she saw me sit through the Exorcist and The Omen, she knew the blood and gore wouldn’t mess with my head. More importantly I didn’t do what my kid is currently doing- asking an unending series of questions about “why” someone is being killed. Why are they being killed in a particular way. Why did Pennywise eat the kids? Why does Pennywise have a red balloon? Why does he stay in the sewer yada yada yada.

I started off this post with the intent to say that it was a bit tough but terribly interesting talking to my kid about the occult. I ended up missing my mom instead. I think 2020 is turning out to be a year full of revelations. Imagine, missing a 70+ years grandma who knits and sews, whenever I watch horror movies. Slightly incongruous but then such is life. I hope TO and I get to make our own, slightly whacked-out memories in the years to come. I’d love to see his reaction to Pinhead!

See the source image

Harsh Truths

TO learnt a rather tough lesson today- about life, death and how you can’t save everyone.

A pigeon had laid her eggs behind the AC unit on one of our window parapets. It was sheltered from other birds, the strong winds and still gave enough access to the warmth of the sun. 

In due time the eggs appeared and eventually a chick. We’ve been keeping an eye on le chick and seeing the day to day changes in him/her. But the chick was in the infancy stage still and not strong enough to fly.

Today TO came running to me to show me something “very bad” that was happening. A male pigeon was trying to attract the attention of mother pigeon and in the process, with all the flapping of the wings and the clawing that went on, the baby bird got shoved out of the nest and is now slowly dying.

It moved feebly in a rather pathetic creeping manner, trying to get away from the danger and managed to get itself further away from the nest. 

The mother flew away in the entire commotion and now we have a tiny life ebbing out on our window. It’s sad. And what’s worse is that due to the grills on our window we couldn’t access the bird and get it back to the nest and keep it warm somehow.

TO kept hitting the glass to shoo away the bigger birds but they kept at it and in time the baby bird was well and truly done for. And such is the unavoidable aspect of life- bad stuff happens, you don’t get to save everything and everyone you want to and yet there’ll be another nest here again soon. Maybe by the same mother bird. 

Resilience, circle of life or animal instinct, it’s all the same thing at the end of the day…you got to keep soldiering on. Or as Dory said, “Just keep swimming!”

Ta 2018!

I’ve been lazing in bed all day. A semi-cold grounded me. But as always, laziness plays a far more potent role than I ever give credit to.

2018 was a year of massive highs and lows. Saying goodbye for good isn’t ever easy. It’s harder still when it’s out of the blue and leaves you reeling. But thankfully there were the same old comforting things like reptiles and dinos and superhero movies to look forward to, while bingeing on nachos and setting up reading challenges.

I traveled a fair bit and I hope to continue that into 2019 as well. Caught up with the dearly beloved and some others out of a sense of familial responsibility but came away with realizations each time around which have been and will be enlightening in the long run.

We took some tough decisions as a family and girded ourselves up for potential big hitting changes but things haven’t rocked the boat yet. That we are prepared, helps me sleep better at night.

I started on my book. It took me forever to see what was staring at me all along; I needed to talk a bit less and write stuff out a whole lot more. It may never end up on a bookshelf barring my own, but it will get done and soon.

As a family we achieved big milestones of forbearance, discovery and made new memories. We had major laughs, hit our heads against some walls (me more than Red) and in the end decided to suck it up and be grown ups!

More than anything else, this year has been one for generating massive amounts of food for thought. What kind of child to I want to be? What kind of a parent, friend or spouse? And most importantly…how do I want my day-to-day to play out. Am getting to the answers despite the lure of Netflix and Amazon Prime.

Here’s to a fabulous 2019 from me and mine along with a retrospective of the year that was.

Salut!