March madness at the mad cafe

What a whirlwind these last two weeks have been!  Between tax work, Anna’s swim meets out of town and other stresses, it’s been a heavy load.  The good news is that work is being streamlined relatively well given the amount, Anna has reached three Junior Olympic times and competing in a couple of weeks, and the other stresses have been worked out fairly well.

I haven’t posted anything in nearly two weeks mainly because I find having very little time to myself.  I also haven’t been cooking much and therefore sharing recipes isn’t as inspirational at the moment!  But, having said that, I know this will shift once tax season is over when I’ll be more active in mad cafe!

March has always been a very reflective month for me.  Growing up in Greece, people celebrate namedays much more than birthdays… So, tradition has it that on the day of your nameday you have to take people out to treat them, or you host a party at home to receive friends and family who want to wish you well.  For example, if you know someone who celebrates their nameday as George or John (very common names in Greece), then you better call them to wish them Xronia Polla (“Many Years of Life”).  If you don’t call, or forget you are in big trouble because people literally get offended if you didn’t think of them.  It causes stupid drama that’s unnecessary in my opinion.

I have always always been absolutely horrible with namedays.  First, I’m not religious so I don’t keep track of the Saints Calendar, and unless someone tells me about a nameday I won’t think of calling those who I know are celebrating.  I think my close friends know that about me, because for some reason I remember birthdays.  Those are more important to me than namedays.  It probably doesn’t help that there is no nameday for Aphrodite!  She’s clumped in with other obscure and classical Greek names that celebrate on some made up day of September 1st for “All Other Saints Day.”  It’s the stupidest thing, in my opinion, and thankfully not many people wish me happy nameday, as it would only annoy me!

Now that we’re grown up, more people than I expected will wish me happy birthday, undoubtedly prompted by LinkedIn or Facebook.  But, there’s always a few I can count on to think of me without those reminders.

My father, Anthony, around age 21.. yes, I know, I look a lot like him

So, I think of March as a very transitional month.  It used to be when Daylight savings time would be around my birthday at the end of the month… now it’s closer to the middle of the month.  My father passed away on March 31st 1998, so my birthday has generally been a bittersweet celebration since.  Finally, March generally shows the first signs of spring (well, depending on where you live), which is always a hint of warmer and longer days.

Some of my closest friends from growing up to now… from all over have March birthdays, including: March 1, March 8, March 11, March 13, March 20, and March 29.  I have a unique connection each one of them, I think we all kind of relate and understand each other’s miseries.

In Greece, March is notorious for unpredictable and inconsistent weather… natives say “Μάρτης, γδάρτης και κακός παλουκοκαυτης,” which I really have no clue how to translate.  Basically, it refers to March as bloodsucking cold and dreary, forcing people to burn more logs than they have.

Or something similar to that effect.

Now I need to think of a recipe that will match that!




the handful makes all the difference

The tax workload is starting to drive us up the wall now.  While most people were probably enjoying a nice and quiet Valentine’s Day dinner, Michael and I were busy with new and existing clients.  We have started going out to client sites now in Boston, and I’m down here helping on the back end of things.  I’m noticing we have gotten busier earlier this season, though a lot of people still have not received all their tax documents… making it more challenging to get returns out the door.

Every year, about a month or so before my birthday, I think about the year that’s gone by, pondering on what I have gained/let go, learned/forgotten and where I can improve.  Now that 40 is pretty much staring at me intently, a lot of things are starting to make more sense now.  Age has never really scared me, in fact I’m proud of my years and will continue to do my best to be as healthy as possible.  Admittedly, it is annoying with technology at times and grasping new techie things, so instead of fighting it– I guess I just learn to accept and embrace change.  Good thing Anna helps me with tech issues!

So, some of you have asked me directly about the precious “handful” I keep talking about.  The handful is basically the people I feel most connected to, and for one reason or another, they have become very special to me.  Generally, as I’ve mentioned before, aside from my immediate family, I don’t let a lot of people in because I simply don’t want to.  It takes a lot to invest in human relationships and, personally, the meaningful ones are ultimately the ones worth it.  Yes, of course I have a network of acquaintances built-in like everyone else, for work, community, etc.  But, it’s the precious few that are special because I trust and go to them instinctively, and rely on their input and opinions.

Watching the waves crash in the Pacific.

I also feel connected to these people because I can just be… myself around them!  If someone makes it on the “handful,” then they stay there.  I’ve never really lost anyone… sometimes one of the fingers won’t move for a while, or it needs a mini cast, but it’s always there!

The handful has evolved with time somewhat in the sense that I’ve been lucky to meet some great people in my thirties.  So, basically, the handful from my twenties just carried forward… I suppose I’m up to two handfuls now, but the essence remains the same.  I also try to let those people know (in my own way for each person) how much they mean to me as part of my life.  Hopefully, when I reach that level of understanding with each one, I feel happy!

Who are on the handful?  It’s actually a variety of personalities!  Mainly confirmed introverts, like me, with a tremendous mental ability to process things and understand nuances.  All of them have incredible empathy and are generally very thoughtful.  And ultimately they are all very sensitive… some guard it more than others.  A couple are very practical in their thinking, and the others are hopeless romantics.  None of them has reached their potential yet, because they continue to show so much promise.  What I love about the handful is that when I spend time, or share things with each person, I feel uplifted and understood, not beaten down or filled with negativity.

Keep toxicity, jealousy and negativity away with love and humor.

Cheers to the handful 🙂

More recipes soon.  It was tacos at the mad cafe last night…