Thursday, July 29, 2010

It was a good day

Yesterday was nothing but delightful from beginning to end. I can't think of the last time, if ever, I spent a day content, engaged, happy, satisfied. Nothing extraordinary happened, there were no super highs (and therefore no crazy lows), it was just good.

As the kids headed out to camp—it was a friend's turn to take them downtown—I got a text from my oldest friends who happened to be in the city. She's also the person who rescues animals and sent Gracie to us. We met for spur-of-the-moment coffee with our puppies and ended up for a couple of hours chatting away in Washington Square Park, surrounded by flowers, shade from trees keeping us almost cool, the fountain dancing in the background. I dropped Gracie at home and then headed to an hour and a half yoga class with one of my all time, most delicious teachers who'd been gone for a year but is now back at Laughing Lotus. Even more of a bonus, one of my favorite songs was on her soundtrack for the day and I moved to a groove that was transportational, which isn't a word but that's what it was. Class ended with the deepest, juiciest shavasana ever.

As if that wasn't enough, my teacher and I went to Westville for lunch: I had a yummy Greek salad and sweet potato fries, which were perfection. From there I headed to Soho, stopped by delightful pup shop called Doggy Style, then picked up everyone at camp. We stopped by Eileen's Cheesecake before heading home.

Gracie had been at my sister's for the afternoon, so after an intense I-missed-you-so-much lovefest, and a few mellow moments, my friend from the morning and her pup stopped by. It was her birthday (the real reason for the cheesecake stop) and the mini celebration turned into ordering dinner and spending hours hanging out and catching up. After watermelon, more Westville: broccoli with garlic, pesto mashed potatoes, string beans with almonds and hearts of palm with roasted pepper, and cheesecake: regular, strawberry, dulce du leche, chocolate, oreo and mocha, it was time to end the day.

The stars aligned in a super mellow way. No one whined. No one fought. There were no arguments or altercations. No moments of stress. Everyone co-existed peacefully, calmly, contendedly.

I got in bed, so grateful for my family, my friends, my practice, my puppy, my home, my life, where I am, who I am.

It was a good day.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

it's not me

I am who I am. Messy. Complicated. Melodramatic at times. Far easier than I used to be but sometimes still rigid. My expectations aren't high, to me, but to others perhaps I expect too much. I'm a good listener. Am as supportive as I possibly can be. I want to help whenever/however I can. I am enthusiastic. Motivated. Involved. Anxious. Neurotic at times. Driven, although lately that seems to have taken a back seat to mellow contentment. I have excellent manners. I can be needy at times but only when something's being held out for me as if it's a promise and then it never comes through.

I hurt. But I don't hold grudges.

I don't change. Not really.

But people around me do and I'm not sure why love turns to hate. Interest turns to distain. Friendships fade or disappear with no explanation.

And then, sometimes, things swing back the other way and I'm left reeling, confused, not sure what made the difference.

Why do I bother trying to make things better?

Why am I the one who continually has to forgive and accept?

Why do I still hurt when I've been here so many times?

Will I ever be able to shrug my shoulders and move on?

Saturday, July 24, 2010

switching gears

I'm trying to keep 2 daily blogs going but it's not so easy. In fact, it's more than a bit challenging as I've been challenged lately to find anything to write about at all.

I've got glimmers of ideas.

But they're too faint to grab ahold of.

I've got posts and articles people have asked for.

But I can't seem to get any of them going.

I've lost my creativity in the moment.

But I'm not totally and completely freaked out by that (most of the time anyway).

And so, today, please check out my new blog:

Life with Gracie

Friday, July 23, 2010

back to anxiety

It's been awhile since I've written from down deep. It's been awhile since I've been down deep—the past month or so has been all about floating, existing on the surface, being more in the moment than I generally am. Living with less anxiety.

It's been lovely.

I haven't worried about what's next. There's been no panic about no projects. No drive to make things happen. I've been hype-free. I've been anxiety free and let me tell you, it's an amazing place. I didn't realize, until meds kicked in, that I've been anxious all the time for as long as I can remember. Not having that pit in my stomach, that clenching in my jaw, that dread that at any time the heat would rise in my head, my heart would start pounding and panic would drown me has been freeing.

Only it's back.

It started 2 days ago. Just a feeling of unease and then last night, sitting in the cramped upstairs of a falafel restaurant, I felt panic return like a hard kick in the stomach. I nervously waited for it to take over. It didn't but just worrying that it would plunged me back to a place of darkness.

The crazy thing was that it had been an amazing day. I did a 20 mile bike ride, by myself, something I'd never been brave enough to do before. There were moments, riding up the Hudson, light sparkling on the water, shining through leaves, wind and speed keeping me cool on the bright sunny day I was filled with joy. With happiness. With completeness (that was more on the way there, the way back my legs had moments of struggle). And then I saw a movie by myself, another first. I hadn't planned to but I was blown off at the last moment and there I was. The popcorn was great. The movie was terrific. And I was fine.

So, why the panic?

Could be that after weeks of floating we've got a schedule again and I'm back to running places and time constraints. Could be that after weeks of general mellowness there's full scale complaining and whining going on at my house at the moment. It's hard to take so much negative on. Could be that below feeling fine about not being immersed in a project maybe that's not ok for me—I miss being busy, digging into something, researching, learning, discovering.

I miss my drive. I miss my passion. I miss my edge.

I miss phone calls and interviews and plans.

I miss having a schedule, setting goals, knowing what I want to do.

Only I don't know what I want to do.

It's out there. I have to believe I'm not done yet. I can't have reached my pinnacle and will now only slide downhill. Deep in my heart I know that's not true.

(sort of).

Thursday, July 22, 2010

a different kind of accomplishment

This morning I biked to the George Washington Bridge and back. By myself. Which is something I never thought I'd do. I had plans to ride with a friend but at the last minute something came up and she couldn't make it.

I could have gone to yoga.

I could have worked on the many projects I should be working on.

I could have cleaned my apartment, taken the puppy for a long walk, caught up on bills and paperwork.

Instead, I got on my bike and headed to the west side highway planning to ride to 125th Street and back. But, as I approached Fairway and saw the bridge in the not too distance, I kept going.

There was a moment, as I entered a secluded part of the path, way up north, tall leafy trees casting dappled shade, birds chirping, not a soul, a car, a sign of urban life anywhere, all I could do was laugh. It was perfect. Beautiful to the point of almost unbelievable.

I was happy.

I am happy.

This is a really lovely place. Feeling brave enough to tackle things that mere months ago I would never have considered. To push my body hard. To push my ego even harder. To not be driven to accomplish "things" but instead revel in the intangible.

There was another moment, as I flew past tennis courts that I sensed what enlightenment was. Not that I'm there. Not that I think I ever will be. But it flitted past and I felt, saw, knew it's possible to be beyond yourself, to let go of the trappings of what you think you're supposed to be doing and swim in the bigness of it all.

I had a really good morning. And I'm going to bask in it as long as I can.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

soul deep commitment

Today in yoga my bright light teacher talked about powerful commitments, dedicating yourself to something so completely, so whole-heartedly, so deeply you are compelled, driven to make it a reality. Believing in something so much with every ounce of your being, you have no choice but to take it as far as you possibly can and then some. And, if you don't feel that way about what you think is your direction, your project, your goal, set it on fire and let it go.


My head exploded. My heart felt lighter than it has in too long.

Let it go.

A quick tangent . . . much to my delight, my honor, my thrill, she used me as an example—how I'd written a book and did everything within my power to share it with the world. And how after the constant talking, emailing, facebooking, blogging, tweeting, working, believing, I ended up on The View. Trust me, that was something so far beyond anything I could have imagined, but there I was, because I poured my soul into something I believed needed to be out in the world.

Now back to the exploding head.

I don't feel that way about anything right now. FLOW flowed through me. It was something that was meant to be. I was a conduit to start a conversation that was long overdue.  I fought so damn hard to make it happen. I literally poured blood into that project. I've never worked for so many months on the edge of a breakdown. I've never doubted myself so much. I've never been so proud. I've never had opportunities and experiences like the ones that came my way for having written it.

I don't need to do it again.

On one hand, it didn't change my life profoundly. No one's knocking on my door with brilliant offers. My day to day is basically the same as it's always been. On the other hand, I've grown more than I knew I could, I would. Having lived the hype, the frenzy, the roller coaster I know, deep down, I don't need that to make me happy.

Once was fine.

Once was a dream.

Struggling to recapture it isn't my path.

Having said that, yet again, I have no idea what the hell my path is. Yet again, I'm staring down emptiness. Yet again, I don't know what to do next.

This time though, I'm standing in a place of contentment, of pride, of accomplishment. I made my dream project a reality.

That was my icing. What's next will be the chocolate sprinkles.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

I just am

I'm alternate side parking, sitting in my car, my puppy lounging in the back seat. It's hot but not as sticky as it's been. The kids are at camp until 4. I've got the entire day by myself and except for a vet appointment, no other concrete things on the schedule.

Maybe a yoga class.

Maybe not. Turns out I have bursitis in my shoulder and that's what's been hurting so much. A month of anti-inflammatories and icing like mad should do the trick.

So, perhaps I'll take a nap.

I have tons of cleaning to do. Paperwork to dive into. Organizing to take care of.

I could bake a cake.

I could sort through my clothes and get rid of things I don't wear anymore.

I could fix the chipped purple nail polish on my right foot.

I could tackle much bigger things, but I'm not going to even mention them because I know that won't happen.

Perhaps I'll take a nap.

That's a worthwhile goal.

Monday, July 19, 2010

lost in the not knowing

Sometimes I get utterly and completely stuck when I have too many options, none of which is quite the right fit. Very often they deal with technology which makes it all the more challenging as I don't really know enough to choose between things. But, here I am again, trying to figure it all out.

I just encountered another one. For some reason the calendar on my big computer isn't synced to my laptop or iphone so even though I know I've got stuff planned, I can't see it.

How do I fix it?



Back to my original dilemma. I'm trying to start a blog about Gracie. My first question: blogger or wordpress? Blogger is so much easier but there's not a lot of room for personalization. Having said that, worpress is basically impossible for me to figure out. I can't imagine there to be a more complicated interface (except for which I believe is someone's cruel joke). I registered my domain name, and am all set to start this daily tribute to my delightful pup, but I'm stuck in technology apathy. I can't make a decision. I don't know what to do. I'm playing with templates, forwarding and masking, rerouting and figuring out ip addresses and all sorts of stuff that's way over my head.

I have nothing to show for any of it though.

I could go the iweb route - do exactly what I want and then figure out where and how to host.

That's an option I hadn't really thought about until now.

Shit. Now I have something else to consider.

And all I wanted to do was write about my pup and post cute photos . . .

Time to dive back into hosting and mapping and all that nonsense. But at least Gracie's sitting next to me and keeping me company while I struggle.

She really helps.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

A week of firsts

Gracie's been with us for a little over a week and the things I've done, many I'd never even considered, are mind-boggling. I can start with that I'm sitting on the floor with her and a spit covered bone is in my lap. Every time she knocks it off I pick it up, not minding the wet drool dripping off. If you knew me in the real world, you'd be shocked. I'm not a dog person and slobber is one of my least favorite things.

I deal with dog food, which makes me gag every time I open the bag.

I pick poop up off crowded NYC streets.

I am up and out of my house every morning before 7, barely changed out of pjs, not having combed my hair, my face covered with that post-wakeup oily sheen.

I spent part of last night in a stinky dog run, getting covered in grit and dust as dogs flew by stirring up the gravel. Gracie had a blast and infiltrated another family on the far side of the run. Happily sitting in a girl's lap, cuddling up next to the dad, we half seriously wondered if she'd remember us when it was time to go home. At one point though, she saw us and raced as fast as she could (which is pretty damn fast) back to us.

I participated in my very first puppy bath, during which 4 people and a very dusty dog piled into a too small bathroom with coconut shampoo, treats, and a shower sprayer. There were also many brushes and a blow dryer involved.

I've never talked to so many strangers and have been striking up conversations with the most unlikely people on our multiple walks every day.

I had to interrupt this post to clean puppy vomit off the floor.

But, it was ok. It's all ok. In fact, I'd take the stuff I'm not thrilled with any day for the delight and joy this puppy brings.

Can't write anymore. Time for walk 2 of the day . . .

A week of firsts

Gracie's been with us for a little over a week and the things I've done, many I'd never even considered, are mind-boggling. I can start with that I'm sitting on the floor with her and a spit covered bone in my lap. Every time she knocks it off I pick it up, not minding the wet drool dripping off. If you knew me in the real world, you'd be shocked. I'm not a dog person and slobber is one of my least favorite things.

I deal with dog food, which makes me gag every time I open the bag.

I pick poop up off crowded NYC streets.

I am up and out of my house every morning before 7, barely changed out of pjs, not having combed my hair, my face covered with that post) wakeup oily sheen.

I spent part of last night in a stinky dog run, getting covered in grit and dust as dogs flew by stirring up the gravel. Gracie had a blast and infiltrated another family on the far side if the run. Happily sitting in a girl's lap, cuddling up next to the dad, we half seriously wondered if she'd remember us when it was time to go home. At one point she saw us bs raced as fast as she could (which is pretty damn fast) back to us.

I participated in my very first puppy bath, during which 4 people and a very dusty dog piled into a too small bathroom with coconut shampoo, treats, a sprayer. There were also many brushes and a blow dryer involved.

I've never talked to so many strangers and have been striking up conversations with the mist unlikely people on our multiple walks every day.

I had to interrupt this post to clean puppy vomit off the floor.

But, it was ok. It's all ok. In fact, I'd take the stuff I'm not thrilled with any day for the delight and joy this puppy brings.

Can't write anymore. Time for walk 2 of the day . . .

Saturday, July 17, 2010

best intentions

I meant to write today. I truly did. The post was called dancing with meds. It was going to be about how much less anxiety I'm feeling and whether part of that could be I'm really ready to not be so anxious, that maybe the meds jump started me to a place I should have been.

I love it here. I'm feeling fine about accomplishing nothing more than making it through the day with the good outweighing the bad. And I'm hoping creativity and drive will cone flooding back again. I miss them. But not enough to stop feeling this way.

Friday, July 16, 2010

happiness is a cute puppy

These days I'm finding moments of pure happiness.

It's the puppy.

She's so damn cheerful it's just about impossible not to be too when you're around her.

People stop us on the street just to scratch her ears or rub her belly. And when someone pays attention to her, in that moment they become her best friend.

She makes the moment everything there is.

She is love.

She is joy.

She is fluffy and delicious and sweet.

My jaded cynical self spends way too much time playing fetch or sitting on the floor with Gracie in my lap, ravaging a plush bone or teething toy.

I chat to everyone's whose paths we cross out on the street.

I'm sure my pre-puppy self would be cringing right now, just for having thought the above thoughts. But life with Gracie is a far less judgmental place.

My heart swells watch Jack play tug of war with her.

My smile stretches as far as it possibly can when Iz walks her so comfortably down the street.

I don't even mind picking up poop.

This is all pretty shocking. I didn't want a dog. And now I can't imagine life without her.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

the past 4 months

I realized yesterday that it's only been 4 months since FLOW had its media frenzy, that I was on The View, Fox News, that I was quoted in the Times. That sales seemed to be sky rocketing. That interviews were plentiful. That every day people were writing, talking, blogging about my book.

I thought FLOW would be my game changer, the project that would take me to the next level.


But that's not what I was planning on writing about. In these past 4 months so much, too much has happened. I've had to juggle so many disparate things. I've been processing other people's healthy scares and issues, both emotional and physical, failing businesses, my own loss of work as budgets are slashed and clients disappear. I took on a PTA presidency in a school that needs tremendous support without having done anything like this before. I've lost touch with friends who meant the world to me and were a part of my daily life. One ended our relationship with a blunt email saying we'd never be in touch again. Another two have disappeared and are rarely heard from. I've gotten into the best shape of my life but now have to sit still waiting for an injury to heal. I turned 46. I celebrated my 22nd anniversary. My oldest is almost a teenager. We got a puppy.

I am lonely. I don't know who my friends are anymore. Everything seems to be shifting, changing. It all could be for the better but nothing's happening to fill the void yet.

I have no projects going. This is the first time in almost 10 years I'm not frantically pulling something together.

I have to deal with the fact that no one's particularly interested in what's next from me and even though I go into everything jaded, grounded in reality, the disappointment from FLOW is profound.

Anxiety toppled me and I couldn't get out from under it. So now I'm on meds for the first time in my life, despite a significant phobia about medication.

It's felt like every day has brought new drama, new hurt, new struggle.

At this point I feel less sure of what to do next than I ever have.

My foundation has crumbled. My belief in my ability to accomplish has eroded into nothing. My support systems have disappeared and I'm not very good right now at building myself back up from the ashes.

Ok, that was perhaps a bit too dramatic.

And yet, I'm not miserable. In fact, I'm ok.

Perhaps it's not all about accomplishment, about being as busy as possible, about nonstop doing. Maybe I'm learning how to be. Maybe it's ok to process for awhile. Maybe my faith will come back that there's more for me to do.

I'm not sure at the moment.

But I'm ok with that too.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

culture clash

While strange things crop up now and then, I had a conversation this morning that revealed something so outlandish I'm still somewhat reeling.

Last week, while in Vermont, Jon and I were getting ready to leave the kids for a couple of nights to head out on our own. First time ever. Before we hit the road, we did everything we could to set them up and make them comfortable—planning activities, meals, getting things ready for bed. But, as we pulled open the couch in the extra bedroom of a location which must remain anonymous, we encountered what appeared to be a pile of brown seeds tucked neatly in between the mattress and the bed frame. They were small, almost cocoa colored, hundreds and hundreds piled densely together.

It didn't make any sense. Seeds? In a pull out bed? My first thought was they had to be part of some art project that hadn't been put away properly. The anonymous house owner shrieked: MOUSE POOP! which further unnerved the under 12 set. There was no logical explanation readily available to NYC apartment dwellers and everyone blatantly refused to sleep on the couch, which led to a spontaneous musical bed game.

This morning, I was informed the mystery had been gotten to the bottom of.

The seeds had been secreted there by a chipmunk readying him/herself for winter.

And, apparently, that hadn't been the only stash.

A chipmunk sneaking into the house and hiding seeds in sofa cushions was plenty to wrap my head around. But, that's not the end of the story.

Apparently the hole had been plugged last summer and the house had been chipmunk free for a year.

I don't buy it. No one slept in the guest room for a year? No one vacuumed the living room couch cushions?

I'm not quite able to process and deal with the fact that a chipmunk and I had been residing under the same roof. Perhaps at the same time.

Too Green Acres for me.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

family drama

I am surrounded by more illness, more confusion, more pain, more frantic phone calls, more mixed messages, more drama about unrelated issues regarding a variety of people in my family at one time than I can ever remember.

In the midst of all this insanity, I can say with relief none of it is mine. I’m actually ok. I occasionally feel glimmers of panic, of being overwhelmed but the meds keep me from spiraling out of control. Or perhaps, I keep myself calmer—the meds just help me be in a place where I can do that.

I don’t know. But I am grateful.

Yesterday, my yoga teacher talked a bit about her family at the beginning of class and that as she’s getting older, she’s railing against the negativity and fear that’s the basis of her upbringing. I had to laugh, as that’s exactly how I was brought up. Waiting for the other shoe to fall, for bad things to happen, for the inevitable illness and misery to arrive. Because, of course, it would.

It’s almost impossible for me not to fall back into that familiar discomfort. And yet, I fight it. I think perhaps that’s what getting this new puppy is—being present in the moment to experience joy and happiness instead of letting my head spin out of control. Perhaps all this time and energy expended is my way of protecting myself from slipping off the edge of the cliff that’s calling to me. It’s a constructive way of avoiding the downward spiral.

The puppy is my new project. Ah. I just figured it out. I can’t seem to write a book right now, for whatever reason, but I needed something to help me hold it together. She’s it. And what a delicious, love-filled way to heal, not just me, but everyone who let’s her in for a moment or two.

I wish for all the people around me who are struggling that there was less. Less heartache. Less hurt. Less spin. Less blame. Less doubt. Less judgment. Less suffering.

More acceptance. More tolerance.

More hope.

It's not impossible to find this place. But it's pretty damn hard sometimes.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Life with Gracie

This morning, as we were enthusiastically walking along 14th Street (let me clarify, I was walking, she was borderline running), we saw a woman sitting on the sidewalk, smoking a cigarette, checking her phone, a sullen look on her face. Gracie bounded over and I tried to pull her away—this was one person who didn't look she was a fan of puppy enthusiasm. But, Gracie persisted and flopped happily into her lap, making herself completely at home.

The woman's face lit up and she laughed. As she scratched Gracie's back, much to the pup's delight, she said her day had now been made. As we walked off, she was still smiling.

It's amazing to watch a little creature bring such joy and happiness into people's lives, if only for a moment or two.

Love that.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

honeymoon stage

I'm completely in love with this puppy ball of fluff. It's been two whole days and I'm already feeling I can't imagine what it would be like without her. She is so damn adorable it almost hurts, sweet, loving, enthusiastic, playful, fun-loving, smart.

She's already house-trained. She sits automatically in the elevator. Is fearless around people and other dogs.

She moves through life radiating positive energy.

She's reduced my brain to mush.

I'm basking in the cuteness glow.

Perhaps I'll be able to put sentences together tomorrow. Maybe get some work done. Perhaps tackle a project. At the moment all I can do is stare at this joyful creature, smile, and be grateful that we found her and she found us.

A day in the life

Manic packing. Westchester hospital visit. Vintage shopping in Brattleboro. Model magic and wooden cars and fire roasted feta cheese with peppers and onions. Shops close at 6. Yard sales. The Office. Possible mouse poop. Musical beds. Oh and a puppy named Gracie the Divine who could very well be ours tomorrow.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

and they called it puppy love

From the second I saw a photo of this puppy, I felt like she was ours. 6 days later she arrived from LAX and after 24 hours it feels like we've always known her.

All I can say is that I'm in love. And that I believe there are times in life when pieces fall easily into place and things that are meant to be, are.

Friday, July 9, 2010

writing in other places

I'm starting to feel like I'm cheating on my blog. I wrote for someone else again today. This time it was a Huffington Post post about media and the LeBron James "story."

It feels SO good to have ideas I need to write starting to pop into my head.

And, I'm starting to miss my daily dose here.

I feel like it's coming back, I'm coming back.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

writing other places

Today I used up my writing energy on a post for the White House Project about why I write and why anyone would be interested. Both good questions. I'll share here once it's published.

Tomorrow I'm in my car yet again and will have plenty of time to blog.

I'm thinking it'll be mostly about our new puppy who's arriving tomorrow.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

lexapro and me

It's been almost 6 weeks since I've been on meds.

There's less jaw-clenching. I'm less fearful. Anxiety's still there at times but it doesn't take over. My head isn't spinning with constant thoughts, worries, ideas and that's both good and bad. I realize that much of my creativity, passion, drive came straight from that over abundance of frenetic energy.

At the moment, I'm ok with it.

I went on this crazy 25 mile bike ride. Without meds, I never would have made it through the first night at the cycling B&B in the middle of nowhere. Cars flying by me at 60 miles an hour would have had me shaking. Riding through backroads with not a soul in sight for miles would have reduced me to tears. Being so far away from the civilization I'm comfortable with would have been too much for me to bear. There were moments when I thought I'd lose it.

But I didn't.

In fact just being on a bike in the city is huge for me. My bike was a birthday present last year and its wheels barely touched pavement. Now? Can't wait to head out on the road again.

We're getting a puppy. Even though we've flirting with the idea for seemingly years, I knew I'd never accept the responsibility, the extra work. And yet here I am.

Our summer is remarkably unstructured. Instead of all camp all the time, there are weeks the kids are home with me. And it's fine (so far, we'll see how long that lasts).

I gave up sugar and don't have that need to soothe myself with chocolate sorbet anymore. I don't have to get lost in something because the hear and now is far more comfortable than it used to be.

These posts are less gut-wrenching and while I miss hearing back from people with thoughtful support, it's a relief not to be in so much pain.

I do miss having a project to dig deep into. I miss losing myself in something, feeling that flow, having ideas pop into my head and needing to turn them into reality.

But I'm hoping that will come back.

It's nice to be me with the volume turned down a bit, to not be caught up in constant drama, to discover living in the grey isn't as boring as I thought it would be.

And, I suppose, even though the writing, creative, brainstorming me is on hiatus, the bike-riding, puppy loving, trying new things me is getting some time in the spotlight.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010


I wanted to write a stirring synopsis of my 25 mile bike ride yesterday through the hills, both on back roads and highways of Southern Vermont, but the day got away from me and now I'm sticking-to-my-chair hot and still have more things to put away than I want to contend with.

I'll say this . . .

It was unnerving. I never thought I could do it. There were hills (2) so intense I had to stop before getting to the top. My heart pounded hard in my chest. My thighs were quaking. Using the lowest possible gear with every driving push I moved an inch. And there were downhills so steep panic rose in my throat as I braked the entire way down.

The temperature rose to 96 while we were on the road.

Much of our day was riding in blazing sun, sometimes on smooth pavement, other times vertical cracks breaking up the road, always heading up or downhill, past open fields, cow pastures, wild flowers, silos and barns.

I had a mind-blowingly delicious salad at Moon Dog Cafe in Chester.

I rediscovered that I hate lemon lime Gatorade.

I never knew I could drink that much water and not have to pee.

There were moments, when I let go of the brakes and I flew downhill that I felt like I was flying.

I never saw so many shades of vibrant green, as leaves etched sharply against the bright blue sky.

As we crossed a bridge, cars flying past on my left, mountains rising steeply behind them, all I could do was smile while gripping my handlebars with white fingers.

I completely, totally, outrageously handled the experience better than I ever would have imagined.

I surprised myself in a great way.

I can't wait to ride longer next time.

Monday, July 5, 2010

the yard sale miracle

I'm in Vermont at the moment, at a bicycle-centric bed and breakfast in the middle of nowhere. Seriously, there is nothing remotely close. If I wanted a cup of coffee or something at a drugstore it would be a 30-40 minute drive to find anything remotely like civilization.

Jon found this place based on my new love of bike riding but let's be honest here. I've been riding on totally flat surfaces up and down the west side highway in Manhattan for 2 or so weeks. That's it. We get to this place (did I mention it's in the middle of nowhere?), with the owner suggesting rides of 40-60 miles. Dirt packed roads, not pristine pavement. Not a flat stretch in sight and after the 2 mile loop we did yesterday to the swimming hole it felt like almost the entire ride was uphill. The other guests we bumped into are serious cyclists. I'm feeling a little insecure about going to breakfast in my ad hoc riding clothes—yoga pants and a tank top and a pair of neon green Keens. My bike is the only hybrid in a rack of serious racers. If we survive 14 miles today I'll be amazed.

But, that's not what I was planning to write about. We experienced a true miracle on our drive up that's worthy of sharing.

On Saturday we spent much of the afternoon in Brattleboro, a town we all adore. Great, great vintage shop, fabulous gift stores, delicious food, amazing coffee, the best falafel's I've ever had (feta cheese makes all the difference), wonderful architecture, mountains and the river due east, more book stores than one can visit . . . all good. This is the first time we had time to linger, having decided to have dinner before we got to my mother in law's. Let's just say that's how we'll be doing things from now own.

We ate at Fireworks—everything was delicious—saving the used bookstore as our after dinner treat before we hopped back in the car.

Only in Brattleboro everything closes at 6. This was nothing short of shocking to NYC kids who are used to easy access all the time. One of us, a voracious reader who had been looking forward most of all to stocking up on books, was beyond consolation. 2 days stuck with nothing to read was a tragedy of epic proportions. Only there was nothing we could do.


Except drive while listening to nonstop moans and complaints.

I kept saying perhaps we'd find something. Somewhere (knowing of course this was just about impossible).

And then, we drove past an unmanned yard sale. Tables of stuff on a random front lawn.

I saw books.

"I SEE BOOKS!" and made Jon turn around.

He laughed at me but I suppose, being as desperate as I was, turned the car around, insisting all the while I had been seeing things that weren't there.

I was right. There were books. Not only that, but age appropriate books that appealed to my crazy reader. She picked three. We left $1.50 in the money box and got back on the road.

The yard sale angels were looking out for us.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

meant to be

I'm not one for long-term planning. When opportunities happen in my life, it's more a fall-in-the-lap sort of thing, not a strategizing, thinking organizing experience.

We bought our apartment after having been given 24 hours to make a decision. We hadn't been planning on moving when the doorman gave us a tip about a possible sale and boom, next thing you know we were scrambling to make it all happen. It did and we've been living here for 10 years.

When we were thinking about possibly becoming parents, barely entertaining the thought of maybe, one day, considering a baby, boom I was pregnant and Iz was on her way. Same thing happened with Jack. I wanted kids 3 years apart and a spring baby. Boom. My kids are 3 years apart and Jack was born in early May.

So, we've been thinking about a dog. Thinking, talking, imagining, dreaming. But, no concrete plans. We've scoured petfinder every once in awhile, researched various breeds, the kids doubted that a puppy would ever come into our lives.

And then 2 days ago the most adorable fluff ball appeared on facebook. A great friend of mine rescues dogs and works her butt off to find them homes. Gracie the Divine, a white maltipoo with apricot ears, needed a family. We all agreed that she was as close to perfect for us as a puppy could be. Even though she was smaller than Jon wanted, a color Iz didn't want, was older than Jack wanted and poops, which I'm not so excited about, we collectively agreed she was the right fit for us.

I'm about to email our yes.

And Gracie Baked Potato will come home.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Today is hard

School is out and I miss my routines. I crave order, structure, schedule. I don't do well staring down nothing. Emptiness. Vistas of unplanned time.

I miss my coffee shop. It closed for good 2 days ago. I miss chatting with the kids behind the counter, talking politics, religion, Lady Gaga vs Madonna.

I miss the friends that have slipped away.

I miss the concrete, set in stone, guaranteed days and dates I knew I'd be with people.

I miss psycho knitting even though it's been ages since we met.

I miss Joe Jrs, the diner across the street. It closed a year ago tomorrow and I still ache when I walk past the empty storefront. There was never a time I went by when someone didn't wave at me. And now it's an empty shell.

I miss my Tuesday/Thursday yoga classes that were the cornerstones of my week. A year out and I still haven't established a regular routine to take their place.

I miss pizza night, wildberry lemonades and having a separate kid table.

I miss the people who listened to me most.

I miss the friends I recently made who've already left town for the summer.

I miss being lost in a project. I miss ideas, thoughts, plans spinning in my head. I miss that excitement. I even miss the disappointment.

I miss emails and phone calls and plans.

I miss being engaged in something, anything, feeling needed, wanted.

I miss feeling relevant. Important.


I miss being a part of something.

Today is hard.

Today I feel lost, floating aimlessly with nothing concrete in sight. And I know, deep down, that the only way I'm going to find what's next is to dig in and make it happen myself.

But I can't seem to do that yet.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Surprised to find myself here

Yesterday I biked 10 miles. Took a yoga class. Walked home from the Manhattan Bridge in Chinatown and then walked to lower Soho for dinner and back. I was in a 7:30 yoga class this morning.

I’m tired. But it’s a good tired. A tired born from physical activity, pushing myself, breathing fresh crisp air, laughing with Jack as he rip-sticked up and down curbs, feeling wind whipping at my back while my heart pounded, twisting into triangles and eagles and pigeons (trust me, none of these were at the same time).

What it’s not is exhaustion from frenetic thought, constant spinning, endless worrying, anxious thoughts racing.

This is really different.

I’m hungry. I’m spent. I’m relaxed. I’m mellow. I’m not compelled to be busy. I’m fine with sitting still. Being in this place, this time, watching people walk by on a crisp, cool, bright morning, walking dogs, watering plants, stopping to chat—it’s pretty delightful.

I don’t care how I look. I don’t have much to say. I’m not sure what I’ll be doing in half an hour, this afternoon, later tonight.

And I’m grateful for that.