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Reasons to Turn that Monday Frown Upside Down: Sunday Brunches with Brother Bear

Posted May 16 2011 3:04pm

Goooood morning and HAPPY MONDAY! Thought I’d bring a little sunshine to an otherwise rainy day in many parts of the country :-) . I also considered writing a post on 10 reasons to LUV the rain…but then I read Ali’s post about how everyone talks about the weather, and I definitely agreed. So I’m going to focus on what usually brings a smile to my face any Monday, rain or shine: Sunday brunches with my brother and his fiance. Let me tell you a little bit about this tradition…

The Yin and Yang

My brother and I are complete opposites: I am high-stress, he is laid back; I do not understand the concept of “happy medium” and he believes in living a balanced life; I am good at writing and he is good at math; I enjoy Reddi Whip and I Can’t Believe it’s Not Butter spray and he prefers to eat clean and avoid any processed foods; He likes to dine at eclectic and upscale restaurants, while I still maintain that Chili’s is my favorite restaurant of all time; he has dimples, I have rosy cheeks; he is well-skilled at delivering one line jokes that make a crowd laugh while I generally deliver one-liners that make only me laugh; he likes to fly by the seat of his pants while I become noticeably nervous without a plan….you get the idea.

Yin and Yang

I think some of our recent gchat conversations give a great picture of how our relationship works:

Eric/Jamie discussing Jamie’s new-found discovery of the extravagant food that is Subway sandwiches (on her Budget Diet )

Eric and Jamie discussing Jamie’s imaginary problems:

As you can see, he’s also very well-versed in the art sarcasm, which is another quality I’ve also always admired about my dear brother. But he’s also very very good at helping me realize when I’m being a little crazy (which, let’s be honest, certainly happens every now and then ;-) ).

Like an Annoying Little Puppy

Ever since I knew what the word “cool” meant, I always admired and looked up to my big brother.

Big brother was so much coooooler than me!

In fact, growing up, I would often follow him around like a lost little puppy. Wherever Eric went, I would soon follow. When he played a sport, somehow I’d end up playing it too. When he tried a food, I just had to have it. I’d pretend it was a coincidence, but of course, it was not. For this reason, I think poor brother found me a bit annoying in the early years. Luckily, the older we got, the more he began to accept, and I think even enjoy the fact that he was stuck with me for life (lucky guy!)

Being of the legal age to drink also helped us bond a little bit as well ;-)

Bonding over brewskies

In fact, one of the big reasons I wanted to move to NYC was to be near my big brother again. He had lived here since graduating college in 2003, and I knew I’d be in good hands when I got here. He even helped me find a place only a few blocks away from him. What a guy!

When I first moved to the city, he would kindly invite me to go out with him and his friends so that I could get to know more people.

Curly hair is not my thing...but luckily Eric still let me hang out with his friends even with a mop on my head!

After a while, we settled into a Sunday brunch routine every couple of weeks. This was a a very good routine because Eric knew all of the good brunch spots. One of those Sundays, as we were chatting about how much we both loved NYC, Eric told me that unfortunately, he was being transferred to Washington D.C. As it turned out, my parents, best friend and Eric had all known for a little while, but they were waiting for the “right time” to tell me. (not that I’m EVER dramatic).

Needless to say, I was VERY sad to see the big brother go. After I heard the news, I promptly went to the store, bought a giant bag of pretzels (the go-to stress item), a tub of cream cheese, threw on a chick flick and wallowed in my “sorrow.”

Even a big bag of these covered in globs of cream cheese couldn't cheer me up!

I would have been even more sad, but I knew there was someone in NYC (besides his darling little sister) that might make him come back pretty often: his now-fiance, Julie. Although they had just started dating when he transferred, something told me he would never be able to go too long without seeing her face.

We all knew it was something special...

And I was right. Since D.C. is only a train ride away, over the past year and a half, Eric has been able to come here at least 2 or 3 times a month (he asked Julie to marry him on one of those visits!) . Because he has so many friends here, plus his lovely fiance, he’s usually pretty busy when he comes to town. But lucky for me, he and Julie always reserve the Sunday brunch spot for yours truly :-) So our Sunday Brunch tradition remains in tact, despite the distance.

I look forward to Sunday brunches with them all weekend. And I can always count on few things during those meals:

Good Food

Foccacia breakfast pizza with truffle oil, eggs and cheese- oh my

LOTS of good food.

Breakfast pizza- yes that's an ooy gooey egg in the middle- I let Eric have the yolk ;-)

Fun atmosphere

New Yorkers DEFINITELY hit up Gina la Fornarina on the Upper East Side!

And great conversation…

I could talk to these two for days!

Sometimes, I even make little reminders (in my head) about what to discuss with them. They’re so good at the whole advice thing that I don’t want to forget any of my little “issues” that I need to get their advice about

Lately, we’ve also been talking about their wedding plans, which is a lot of fun! And of course, we always talk about strategies to get me walking down the aisle in the next 10-15 years as well.

Delaying the Good-Bye

When we get done with the meal, I’ll usually walk with them for as long as possible. If they’re going shopping, I’ll say I have something to pick up at the store as well. If they’re headed to the subway, I’ll think of a reason to walk to the subway too. If they’re headed in the opposite direction, I’ll say it’s a beautiful day (even if it’s raining) and I could use the walk (kind of like I used to follow around Eric when I was 12- nothing has changed!)

I like to delay the good-bye as much as possible because I never know for sure when I’ll see Eric next. Our brunch outings usually end like this:

  • Jamie: Bye! Nice seeing you guys!! Julie….can we go to coffee at Dunkin Donuts next week?
  • Julie: Of course!
  • Jamie: Okay…bye bye bye (hug both Julie and Eric). WAIIIIIT! Eric, when will I see you again??
  • Eric: (slight eye roll) I’ll be back within two weeks. We can have brunch.
  • Jamie: Promise? You sure?
  • Eric: Yes, bye. (eye roll increasing)
  • Julie: Errrric, stop: it’s sweet that she likes to see you so much!
  • Jamie: (sensing brother will soon be officially annoyed) Okayyyyy! Byeeee! See you in 2 weeks! Julie, see you ASAP!

This Sunday’s Brother Bear Brunch

Eric was in town this weekend, and since Julie was busy, it was just the two of us. Even though it was raining, he still trekked all the way to the Upper East Side to eat around me. What a nice brother!

He even came to see me in this ugly weather!

We went to this adorable place around the corner called York Grill . And as usual, there was VERY good food. Any restaurant that offers a bread basket with chocolate chip bread is a keeper

Heaven in a bread basket

Brother got huevos rancheros

Yummy!

I got the smoke fish platter (I wasn’t hungry as I had nibbled on items from my Mini Me Kitchen Invasion )

Delicious, light and refreshing

And of course there was great conversation. Along with a quick picture:

He takes better pictures than me...lucky guy

Topics of conversation included my blog, my stress level, my feet (which have been hurting), my dating life (or lack of dating life) and my baking skills. Oh, and I let him talk about himself every now and then too ;-)

Eric and Julie will soon be in the same city but that city has yet to be determined. Lucky for me, until then, I always have Sunday Brunches with Brother Bear to look forward to.

So despite the dreary weather, I’m in a great mood because I got to bond with my big brother yesterday and start the week off on a positive note! (plus I got new running shoes and some new workout attire- but it’s MOSTLY brunch with the brother that put me in the good mood, I swear!)

Check out those shiny kicks...you'll see me a mile away!

Question:

What do you do on Sundays to get yourself pumped up for the week?

Who is your favorite brunch buddy?

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