Magic and karma in the Finger Lakes

Mr. D and I went away last weekend for our anniversary. I had wanted to take a cheap Frontier flight to somewhere fun and different; he wanted to drive to a destination within a four-hour radius. We settled on the Finger Lakes in Upstate New York, and it was perfection.

It’s taken me a while to sit down and try and write about our weekend, and I still don’t know where to start. Perhaps I’d do best to follow the advice from Alice in Wonderland: “Begin at the beginning and go on till you come to the end. Then stop.”

In the beginning, there was Mr. D and me, fighting, crying, praying to the heavens. We went on that awful date in October, back when we weren’t remotely on the same page. That night, I admired the moon while he paid more attention to a Domino’s Pizza sign. Four days later, I fasted for his health and well-being, an early anniversary present that embraced my Hindu roots, while he proceeded to get stoned on the couch.

We fought, we made up. We had passionate sex and he stopped smoking pot, and soon enough, things were back to normal. Not bad normal, but better normal. Happy, like we usually are, but improved, like I had hoped we could be. On Nov. 8, as my parents celebrated their 35th wedding anniversary, we smoked a bowl in their driveway and then walked around the fire in a traditional Hindu wedding ceremony, my mom playing high priestess as our girls lobbed us with handfuls of rice.

Three days later, I woke up and Mr. D read me the most incredible anniversary poem, and I showed him my blog post (and just like our wedding vows, he outdid me again!). I cried, we kissed, and then packed our bags. As I was running around the house, Big A wished on an eyelash. “I think it’s going to come true,” she said. Before I could tell her not to say it out loud, she climbed into my arms and whispered, “I wished for you and daddy to have a good anniversary.”

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Writers, stoners and modern love

Why are writers and stoners my favorite people? Writers are very much in their own heads. Or the process of writing is about being inside your own head. How do you want to say something? How do you tell a particular story? To write is to think about an idea, over and over, to make it meaningful in some way, to parse out the significance. “Now that I understand the significance of everything that happened.”

For stoners—or at least for this particular stoner—I think weed is about very much the same thing. Moments just making sense. Unique insights and clarity.

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Happy Anniversary, Mr. D!

All women want to be princesses, from Carrie Bradshaw to Cinderella. We all want to be beautiful, dress the part, find The One, live happily ever after.

I said that the other night, back when we were going out on our shitty date. You looked so handsome—you always do—and in my stoner reverie, I called you my Prince Charming, though perhaps the better analogy would have been to call you the Jordan Catalano to my Angela Chase (minus the Rayanne Graff mess).

Remember that night about a year back when we went for a 12L ride with our Weed Husband? So much fun. So many laughs and good tunes, but my favorite memory was a single moment on the drive home. You looked so hot in your navy blue shirt, and I wanted to be in your arms, and at that very moment, you played my song, leaned over to kiss me (you have a great lean, even better than Jordan Catalano’s), and quoting Little A, you said, “You’re my favorite best friend.”

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Who is America?

“I am America,” Muhammad Ali once said. “I am the part you won’t recognize. But get used to me.”

He passed away as I was putting together my last project at work, and his quote so poetically addressed to the question I sought to ask, the one that graced my cover page: Who is America? Or rather, If America were a person, who would we be?

It seemed only fitting that it was answered by The Greatest, that it withstands the years, that it reflects and confronts our nation’s history in an honest, even uncomfortable way. Because it isn’t an easy question.

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Good luck, Hillary

Scene: Bedtime, Little A snoring softly in the bed beside us.

Me: Are you excited about the election tomorrow? We’re going to have a new president!

Big A: I’m excited to not have school!

“I’m excited to not have work! I’m excited for a new president, too. But I’m also a little nervous. I really hope Hillary wins.”

“Do you H Donald Trump?”

“No, I don’t hate him. I’m just a little scared of him because he says things that angry people like to hear.”

Peach people, as Big A calls them. Lots of angry peach people who love their firearms a little too much and don’t necessarily believe that women’s rights are human rights or acknowledge that Black Lives Matter. People who want to go back in time to when America was great for their peach parents and grandparents, who didn’t have to compete for jobs against the wider world or the technology of the future. People whose love for the Second Amendment trumps their belief in the First, the very founding principles of America, the freedoms of speech, religion, press and peaceful assembly.

Yes, I am a bit scared. But hopeful, too.

I love my job

That’s not, like, some self-help mantra. Or maybe it is.

I felt like I had some breakthrough on Monday. I was reading an interview with my favorite writer, Cheryl Strayed, whose advice to aspiring writers—“write like a motherfucker”—adorns an empty coffee mug I keep on my office desk. (Empty because I have a naturally over-caffeinated brain).

In the piece—a Q&A on how to write like a mofo—the interviewer mentions Neil Casey, an improv comedian I actually had the recent opportunity to speak with. (Irrelevant to my larger point, but isn’t it cool how sometimes it feels like we’re all connected?). Anyway, their broader conversation was about fame, money, success—all of the things I dream about as a writer and communications professional who understands that marijuana is hot right now and not a single fucking person has tapped the very lucrative mom market. But I digress.

So there’s a point in the article where the interviewer mentions an improv class she’s taking and says,

Someone recently asked [Will Hines, who runs Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre in New York]: “Is improv a road to nowhere?” The question focused on Neil Casey, an improviser who was hired at Saturday Night Live after more than a decade of improvising. Hines responded: “When [Casey] was 20, . . . SNL was not on his mind. . .. If he never got a job, and now I can speak from experience, then he’d only have a life spent being happy behind him. . . . Spend your days in love with what you’re doing as much as fucking possible, and thank the stars for your chances to do that. Be nice and honest and brave and hopeful, and then let it go.” Don’t you love that?

Strayed responded, “I do. That’s exactly it.”

Spend your days in love with what you’re doing as much as fucking possible, and thank the stars for your chances to do that. Be nice and honest and brave and hopeful, and then let it go.

Damn, that spoke to me!

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The only endorsement that matters

There’s only one endorsement that would hold any weight this election season, and it would come from a man who knows more about ruthless ambition, moral ambiguity, corruption, greed and leadership over a vapid, subjugated populace than most in Washington. He is George RR Martin, supreme ruler of Westeros.

“When you play the Game of Thrones, you win or you die,” Martin wrote in the series’ first book. “There is no middle ground.” The words bear eerie forbearance to November 8, when a new ruler will ascend the Iron Throne of America.

On the one side, we have the real-life equivalent of Ramsey, the petulant son whose power from a “very small” multi-million loan from his father helped finance a campaign rooted in resentment and loathing, whose appeal rests almost solely on the pale-skinned masses, those ready to build walls, defend guns and “knock the hell out ISIS.” Perhaps even flay some skin.

Then there’s Tyrion, the smartest person in the room, underestimated throughout her entire career, despised for her ambition, vilified for her networks, resented for her acumen. She is not the Daenerys Targaryen of the Sanders campaign. She would not liberate Meereen without a plan. She is slower, more methodical. Her secrecy serves as evidence of her low cunning, and she sleeps with the enemy in a way that repulses even her most ardent supporters. She may not be likable, but she gets the job done.

Meanwhile, the American Meereenese grow restless.

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