I'm still cool????

I love my mom. I really do. It's just that from an early age I remember looking at the woman and thinking, "Man, she's weird." I'm not talking typical teenage, "Omigawd, can you believe she's my mother!" stuff. No. I remember thinking this at 6 years old. If there was ever a time I wanted to be just like her, it happened before I was old enough to remember.

What my teen relationship with my mother looked like...

Our relationship is much better as we got older, acknowledging the other one is completely strange, but loving them just the same. This is pretty much what I thought all mother daughter relationships were, until I had my daughter. I would never have gone up to my mom and say, "Hey that telenovela you are watching seems cool. Can I watch it?" or "What is that strange dish you are enjoying? Can I have some?" My daughter never grew out of the mimicking mom stage and I was stunned when she expressed an interest in Dr. Who and spicy Indian food (my mom was too - not at the Dr. Who part, but she feels very annoyed her picky eater grew up to be a foodie with foodies-in-training for kids).

She turned 11 early this week, and so far it shows no signs of abating. This terrifies me slightly. Oh sure, I expected it as a baby, and it's amazing to have a steady buddy for Chicken Saagwala and Sailor Moon nights, but I think of all the other things she could emulate - my annoyance at being predisposed to being curvy instead of willowy, my tendency to run myself into the ground to get things done and ignore my health until the last possible minute, my predisposition to keep hurt inward and soldier on until I am ready to snap. No I don't want that legacy passed on. Just like mommy? Oh please gods NO!

But then at the orthodontist's office earlier this week (yeah, she's got mommy's crooked teeth too, poor thing) she got into a conversation with me over the 80's music playing in the office. I explained to her how big of a star Madonna was back in the day and how so many little girls copied her look as Madonna-wanna-bes.

"That's stupid," she said. "Why not just be yourself?"

The orthodontist smiled at us both, and I breathed a sigh of relief.

I'm glad she still thinks I'm cool and shows an interest in all the things I like ("Can I have matcha creme brulee mom?") but I'm most glad she knows that ultimately the best thing to be is herself.

Yeah, I hope she doesn't pick up my swearing either - that's something my mom and I do share LOL

Country Mouse Meets City Mouse

So last weekend was a big adventure for me. I went to NYC on my own for a bridal shower and had the chance to meet and hang out with an on-line friend, Magaly Guerrero. On-line stuff friendships can be strange. I've compared it to falling down the rabbit hole into Wonderland, where the only thing you can be certain of is that things will be quite odd! But I've had a lot of luck when I've met on-line friends in real life, and meeting Magaly was no exception. We hit it off like a pair of giddy teens, messing with our hair, staying up late and going anyplace NYC's subway system could take us.

Although I grew up in New Jersey, my parents had a fear loathing of the city, so most of my experience with is was when I went to the museum or theater as part of school field trips. There was one time near the end of college I went with friends to the Village (though that was the first time I ever tried Indian food...mmmmmmm), but that was much less involved than last weekend's explorations! Magaly was a fabulous hostess and tour guide, so while I can't say I fully got over the sensory overload aspect of visiting (Times Square...so many flashing lights), I'm a bit less intimidated by the city in general.

It was a valuable experience, in that I got to see stuff I rarely ever got to see back in my sleepy suburb, both good and bad. Its the contrasts that really struck me, like hearing some fun music from one of the many street performers and then seeing someone snort drugs right in front of me on the subway. There were the appetizing aromas of the food in Chinatown and then the much less delightful smells that came from the Hudson and some of our fellow subway passengers. It's one thing to hear about a place, and another to jump in with two feet and really experience it! I'm pretty sure some of the details of the trip are going to rattle around in my head and come out as flavor text in a story or two.

While I wish I could have spent a bit more time experiencing the Big Apple (LOL, can I reserve a spot on the futon for later this year Magaly?), I was dead tired by the time I dragged my butt back on the train for home. And I think when all is said and done, I'm a PA girl. I love the city near me, Philadelphia. I love the hills of home. There's something about this area that just feels like it's part of me. Maybe I'll change my mind when I get older, and there's always the chance the weather will drive me insane someday, but here, where I'm typing this blog post and looking at the view from my back door, is where I've put down my roots. And I think I'd like to live out the rest of my days here.

But I still want to visit Japan someday. Just sayin'