Saturday, October 30, 2010

46 versus 45

45 was a particularly banner year. My dream book was published. Whoopi Goldberg and Dr. Oz both thanked me for what we put out into the world. I was on national TV, did countless interviews, successfully navigated social media, had an amazing book launch party, was written about in the New Yorker. I  did my first film projects, built websites and blogs, had thoughts and words flowing through me all the time.

46? My brother is struggling with dialysis. My sister's struggling with a bipolar diagnosis and getting the right meds to get her back to comfortable. Almost 2 months out I'm still struggling with injuries from my bike fall. It's shocking how slowly I'm healing. I can't practice yoga anymore. I've lost almost all my design clients. I've been dealing with school issues and growing up issues and more family stuff than I thought I could handle. I started taking meds when I couldn't cope anymore.

My creativity's gone missing.

The things I've identified myself as for so long have disappeared, been taken away, are on hiatus.

What's basically impossible to comprehend is that I'm happier now. More grounded. Better able to handle all that's thrown at me.

I got a puppy who's changed all of us. I'm a PTA president and, with the most amazing people, have accomplished great things just since September.

I'm a more open friend. I'm a more involved parent. I'm a better partner.

Most of all, I'm nicer to myself.

I'm accepting where I am instead of beating myself up about where I'm not. I gave up exercising in pain and am giving my body time to heal. I've learned to recognize when it all gets to be too much and not to push past that.

I take naps when I need to.

I stare off into space when I'm too exhausted to do anything else.

I eat chocolate (organic dark) when I have the urge.

I got my hair cut off, my nose pierced. I'm thinking about tattoos.

I'm indulging in retail therapy. Apparently this is the fall of grey and ruffles, both things I've never even considered before.

I'm changing. I'm growing. I'm learning to let go and find strength in weakness.

The wisdom that comes with getting older is priceless. I wouldn't trade it for anything.

Friday, October 29, 2010


I am strong.


I am strong.

Stronger than I ever imagined I could be. Stronger I'd bet than most people gave or give me credit for.

I can handle all that's going on around me and not fall to pieces.

That's not to say I don't crack sometimes.

But in the midst of insanity I'm still grateful, still having fun, still loving, still finding silver linings and bright spots and hope.

This is sounding embarrassingly like a Hallmark card but even that's ok. I guess I'm sending an I'm-proud-of-you card to myself right now.

Someone today called me a strong woman and said I'm not a kid, that I've lived and survived. Age is my badge of honor, the wisdom I've acquired, the common sense and grounded-ness, that helps me hold it all together. I wouldn't trade this age for any other in my past.

Damn. What an amazing thing to feel.

And to own.

46. Who'd have thought I'd be here so remarkably proud of how far I've come and how excited about how far I still have to go?

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

today is hard

That's it.

Today is hard.

I'm having trouble putting on a happy face, acting like all is/will be fine, being a cheerleader.

I want to crawl into a corner and fall asleep until tomorrow.

I want a guarantee that all will work out so I can muster up energy to go on.

But, there's no such thing.

Maybe things will get better. Maybe they won't.

I hate (HATE) not knowing. I hate things being out of my control. I hate waiting and trying so hard not to spin, not to wonder, not to live in what ifs.

But, that's what today is.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

my tipping point

Today was a breaking the camel's back kind of day. I found out what too much was. I stared it down and then shut it out.

One thing I've learned is to recognize how much I can handle and to refuse to take on more when I can't.

Today I couldn't. And it was big. Life changing. It had/has the potential to change much of the foundation of my life. It's something that isn't mine but indirectly affects me profoundly. Everything could change drastically, dramatically, permanently.

And that's all I can say.

Honestly, that's all I can feel. I can't absorb it, think about it, process it. I can only detach and watch, with my eyes squeezed tight, just peeking furtive glances when a lull flows by.

This is when my anorexic past comes in super handy. I'm can compartmentalize so efficiently, so effectively, that in spite of the chaos and confusion I'm surrounded by, I'm functioning. I'm holding on. I'm dealing.

But, at the moment, I'm not feeling. And for now that's ok.

Monday, October 25, 2010

what to write

I'm finding right now that I'm drawing many blanks. I stare down things on my to-do list and just can't do them.

It's not that I'm not getting lots done. I am. I'm always busy. I never stop working. It's 8:40, I haven't eaten dinner yet and it's the first moment I've had to write—it's been a day of nonstop stuff.

None of it for me.

Writing is for me but I can't seem to do that lately. An errant thought floats by but I lose it before it turns into something. I'm planning meetings well into November but can't think of what to do in the next 5 minutes.

I've got a middle school party to plan decorations for and I've got nothing.

I know I have a whole list of these but I'm too lost to even get them out of my head and onto the keyboard.

Right now the Giants are on, Gracie's sitting on my lap with the squeakiest football ever produced, Jack' obsessing about spy cameras and I can't think.

But that's ok.

Perhaps I'll try having thoughts tomorrow.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

culture clash

We had relatives visiting from out of town this weekend. In the middle of all the absurdity and chaos.

It could have been overwhelming. It could have been a disaster. It could have been the extra piece that put me over the edge. Instead, it was lovely. They were delightful. It was nothing short of therapeutic to look at our lives from a different point of view and appreciate all that we have, when it's so easy to take it all for granted.

Things like having 2 bagel shops within a block to choose from. That should we need gluten free food, funky clothes in atypical sizes, fresh fruit, crepes, a farmer's market, a happening park, japanese, thai, mexican, middle eastern, korean, chinese, italian food, it's all within walking distance. That there are almost more people on the streets late at night than during the day. How lovely it is to have a doorman to open doors for you. The thrill you get when you snag a cab when too many other people are trying to do the same thing. Pushing elevator buttons every time you come home. Seeing the Empire State Building looming north when you're out for a stroll.

The beauty of the city at dusk.

The joy of people watching.

How lovely it is to crash after a long day wandering through neighborhood after neighborhood.

Their amazement made stop for a moment and be amazed too.

There was still craziness. Getting Iz to a movie with friends while Jack was at a Halloween party that I volunteered for clean up duty on, while feeding and walking the dog and overseeing countless loads of laundry being done for my sister. I logged in hours of extra-curricular cleaning, spent more time in excel hell, played tour guide and shopping companion and plan organizer.

But having people around who aren't usually here shined a light on remarkable things in my life that too easily get forgotten in the every day crush.

Right now Jon and Jack are playing ping pong on our makeshift ping pong table. Iz is reading (as always). Gracie is happily chewing a bone. And I'm about to take a nap, full of gratitude for the little things in my life.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

saving someone

I've sort of hit the wall. At least I felt that way at 8:06 after an iffy night's sleep, horrendous dreams, and both a shoulder and knee that ached no matter which way I turned.

But, at 9:06 my energy's flooding back. Today I've got to make an impromptu costume for a dog parade which is happening this afternoon. It's the big halloween bash for Jack at his school. I volunteered for clean up duty after that. We've got guests in town who've never been to NYC before. Oh, and I have an apartment cleaning (not mine) to mastermind. Someone's coming in less than an hour to do loads and loads of laundry.

That's not what I want to write about though. I want to write about saving someone. Someone I know, a good friend, is about to lose his apartment. $4000 would fix everything. In the general scheme of things it's not that much money to some, it's astronomical to others, to him it's the difference between having a home and being out on the streets.

He's a music teacher and when the recession hit half his students disappeared. Lessons didn't rank up there as a necessity when money got tight and jobs were lost. It's been more than a year of struggling, hard, to keep up but this is basically the end of the line.

I want to help.

I need to help.

I'm compelled in a crazy way to do something.

I think, actually I know, it's because I'm surrounded by people I can't help, not in a life-changing way. I can be supportive, but I can't fix things. Can't.

This week my brother is having surgery. Again. My sister's coming home from the hospital. Again. I'll be there for both. I'll be a support system, a cheerleader, a snack-bringer. An advocate, a chauffeur, an annoying extra jewish mother. I'll do everything I can which will probably help in the moment. Not life changing stuff though.

And so, back to my friend who's teetering on the edge. That's a situation that can be fixed. FIXED. Rectified. Improved.

And I can feel powerful instead of powerless by helping.

Ah. That's it.

I don't want to feel powerless to the people I love. I wish I could make things better.

And so, when I can, I think I have no choice but to do it.

Friday, October 22, 2010

responsibility in chaos

Yesterday I met a twitter friend of mine for breakfast. It's the second time we've seen each other in person but I feel like I've known her for far longer—a very kindred spirit. She told me the last time we'd met something I'd said stayed with her. And I have to say, I was thrilled she mentioned it because it's a wise thought I have no memory of having uttered. And it's the common thread running through my life at the moment:

responsibility in chaos

I have no idea to what I was referring. When we first met my life was in a completely different place than it is now. I don't know that on a significant level, I was taking that much responsibility for things. Or that all that much chaos was going on.

But here I am. Responsible for too much in full-scale, hard to believe it's really happening chaos.

People wonder how I'm functioning. How I'm holding it together. How I'm making it through every day.

I think it's by being responsible and taking charge of the things I can and letting go of the very many things I can't. It's not easy. I've had a couple of major meltdowns of my own. I've been paralyzed by fear, by anger, by frustration. I'm overwhelmed and scared. But doing something, anything helps. And accomplishments, no matter how small, in the face of all this insanity, feels huge.

Having said that, some things (many things I'm sure) are slipping through the cracks. I still haven't made a halloween costume for Gracie and the dog parade is tomorrow. We're having people come stay with us for the weekend and I'm sure my apartment could be much cleaner. I've got a parking ticket to pay, paperwork to take care of, an endless database of 1000 families plod through. I've got a line of middle school merchandise to design. An apartment, not my own, to clean and countless loads of laundry to get done. Homework issues to buckle down and contend with. Doctor appointments and tests to schedule. Iz needs to be checked for glasses. She's been needing an orthodontist follow up visit for so long it's embarrassing. Oh, I need to schedule dentist appointments. A mammogram. My teeth need cleaning.


But, I ran a really successful PTA meeting this week. We're making a difference and both parents and the administration have been nothing but grateful and supportive. I'm setting up a communication system from nothing and reached 718 email addresses yesterday. That's huge. My 4 loads of laundry from yesterday is already folded and put away (I'm terrible at that part). My apartment is actually pretty neat. I replaced the jacket Jack lost last week this morning, got a new hoodie for Iz and long sleeved shirts for me.

I put all my shoes away.

The pup's been walked. Twice.

I'm eating and that alone is super positive when I'm stressed. Not only that, I haven't been to yoga in more than a week. Not going is far better for me right now than practicing in pain.

I found a pretty fabulous new old coat on ebay this week. 1960s grey wool, double breasted, patch pockets, sort of slouchy and comfy while being obviously retro.

I've got next week organized with stuff both for me and everyone else. At the moment, it seems almost manageable.

I'm doing what I can to keep me in a place that's sort of sane and reasonable, able to cope when everything else isn't.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

dipping back into the gratitude pool

In the midst of all this craziness, this pressure and uncertainty and endless juggling (I cracked, badly, last night), I am grateful.

Seriously, deeply grateful.

I am so ridiculously thankful that I'm married to someone who is still my rock after all these years, who knows me so well he can help me get back on track when I lose my way, who I'm still happy to see every day. And if it wasn't for him, I wouldn't have time to do all the things I want to/need to/have to do.

I appreciate my family tremendously. My mom and stepfather, who are always there, who love me and support me and make things easier in whatever ways they can. They have so much on their collective plate and yet always have time for me.

I am grateful for my brother and sister who are both struggling with lifelong issues. I would do anything for either one of them and know, if the situation reversed, they'd be there for me.

I'm finding that as I open up more in the real world, my friends have caring, thoughtful, honest, there. And I'm learning that talking it out instead of keeping it in really does help.

And then there's Gracie, who bubbles with glee every time she sees me. And the love and happiness that bubbles back is keeping me sane these days.

Love and gratitude go a long, long way when life feels bleaker than it should.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

right now

I was in the middle of a lovely post about how wonderful it is to have my delicious, happy, enthusiastic puppy to come home to in the middle of all this craziness. About how she's helping me to stay sane in the insanity. About how much I appreciate being in those moments with her as my days slip away from me.

But, I can't right now.

It's been a day that still has hours to go, that started hours before the sun came up.

Jack woke me with a bad dream at 4 after which we both had trouble falling asleep.

I got up late. Late to get ready and head out for a meeting with the District 2 chancellor for a quality review of Izzy's middle school.

After that was an impromptu PTA meeting.

A hike through the east village looking for fabric for a dog Halloween costume.

A meeting with a cleaning specialist about an apartment job that's too big for me.

An appointment at the orthopedist with a result of 3 MRIs to have instead of one.

Scream-fests about homework.

And still I have:

dinner to make, a mattress to order, a bat-mitzvah paper I have to oversee revisions on, a nightmare excel project I have hours more of, more phone calls with more relatives, more fights between more children, 3 design projects, writing that was due last week, more laundry to tackle than I can bare to think about.

There are still people screaming at me.

Phone calls to return.

Guilt to try to shrug off but I can't.

I can't.

Monday, October 18, 2010

is there hope?

It seems like I'm spending so much time and energy these days on hope. Giving hope. Sharing hope. Supporting hope.


Hoping beyond hope that everything will be ok.

But it won't be. It can't be. There is no place we get to, take a deep breath and sigh that we've arrive.

It's all a journey filled with joy and pain, love and fear.

I get so scared sometimes that I'll be swept away by the negatives parts. I'm terrified of not just of what will go wrong but will I be able to cope.

And here I am. Coping but teetering on the edge.

I started to panic before my MRI even started yesterday. Bathed in sweat, blood rushing to my face, I apologized politely and went home. I couldn't handle it.

Today, visiting my sister, I had glimmers of coming undone, of not being able to handle the present.

I'm pretty lost at the moment.

And feeling like I have no right to be.

This has always been my place in my family. I'm the healthy one, the care-taker, the go-to person to get things done. I've always done it because I'm so grateful not to be the one in crisis. I'm so guilty that people I love have to suffer so intensely.

There's no other way that I can help.

And so I do what I can until I can't anymore and my own fraying starts.

My edges are ungluing.

I have an endless list of all I need to do, much/most for other people. And I can't get my head or heart or energy around any of it.

I don't know how to get me out of this place.

It's getting harder to help everyone else when I can't help myself.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

I am not healing

There's almost never a moment I'm pain free. And I feel terrible even saying that because the pain I'm in is nothing compared to what people around me are going through.

But it makes it hard getting through the day.

I had a dream last night that I was trying to get up into firefly (a super challenging yoga arm balance) which I can sort of kind of do for a second or two and in my dream I would have been flying only pain was shooting through my hand. I woke up wondering if I had actually tried the pose in my sleep my palm was throbbing so tenderly.

I figured something out, lying there one of the many times I woke up last night, my head throbbing, my back aching, my arm immobilized, my knee frozen, unable to find a sliver of space that I was comfortable in, that perhaps I'm not healing as my subconscious way of dealing with all that I have to deal with.

One of the worst parts of all this is my way of dealing is yoga and I can't do it anymore. I keep trying. I keep injuring myself. I pulled something in my shoulder blade last week because of all the extra weight I was putting on my right side because my left hand can't handle pressure.

Anxiety is coming back. Slowly creeping in. I'm getting nervous in elevators. I don't want to go anywhere, be social, put myself out into the world. I'm barely getting through every day doing the barest of essentials.

I want to curl up in a ball, find a relatively pain free position, and stare off into space for awhile.

But, instead, I have to deal with 2 kids who have too much homework to do. An apartment that needs some serious straightening. Tons of PTA paperwork I took on when I shouldn't have. Halloween costumes to figure out. Breakfasts to make. I have to find a writer's notebook, stamps, envelopes, all for other people, nothing for me.

My head is still pounding.

My shoulder is still aching.

My knee is getting worse every day.

I want today to be over and it hasn't even started yet.

Friday, October 15, 2010

ranking struggle

Right now, people near and dear to me are struggling with very different issues.

One's got a physical body that's failing.

Another's got psychological challenges that aren't under control yet.

A third is in complete financial crisis, with basically no way out of all the debt.

I can't help any of them, not really, no matter how much I want to.

When things are that intense, at that level, my chatter and ability to distract doesn't really help. I have no solutions. I have no answers. I can't guarantee that things will get better. I can believe with all my heart they will but in the scheme of things, that isn't anything but me trying to find a way to cope with it all.

And so, all I can do is be here. To listen. To love. To hope.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

body fail

When I was in high school I inherited my mom's old Plymouth Valiant. A 1972 olive car I dubbed The Green Machine. It was a well-constructed steel tank that could withstand just about everything.

Until it died. Or at least stopped starting.

I sat in my driveway, turning the key, listing that that awful grinding noise, waiting for the engine to catch but it didn't.

Turns out I was supposed to have the oil checked on a regular basis and have it refilled when it was running low.

I didn't know.

My poor car was literally running on empty until its last gasp.

Bodies are like that too. Unless we maintain them, Care for them, take care of them, eventually something will go wrong

Yes, I know that even when you take fantastic care of yourself it's no guarantee, but giving your body all the support you can, can only help.

Or so I'd like to believe.

My brother's body is failing right now. It can't be fixed. It'll never be better. At best it'll get to a manageable place where there aren't ER visits and infections and dizziness and a host of other unexpected problems.

It's scaring the shit out of me.

There are no absolutes. No guarantees. No assurances that you'll avoid pain and suffering and illness along with basic wear and tear.

But you can take responsibility as much as possible.

Maybe that's sort of pie in the sky.

But it's helping me get through my day to day.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


It's fall. The air is cool and crisp. The light has a sharp edge. Deep breaths both chill and tickle going down.

And I don't know what to wear.

I stand, stumped, in front of my overpacked closet, overwhelmed by options.

There is such a thing as too many choices.

I tend to find a favorite each season - my go to coat and scarf combo that always works.

Last year's isn't working anymore. The 1970s faux suede, whip stitched, chunky half-belt with brass buttons. I lived in this jacket last spring. But today it didn't feel right.

I paired it with this möbius loop scarf I knit in shades of pinks and browns with some oranges thrown in. I'm not sure I really like the look - the scarf itself is lovely but it all doesn't feel like it's working together.

Maybe it's me. Maybe I'm different. Maybe I'm trying to fit into who I was not who I am.

Whew. That's something to think about.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


I don't have much to say today. The past week has pretty much wiped me out.

But . . .

I'm grateful to be alone.

I'm grateful there's not an emergency to deal with, phone calls to make, information to relay.

I'm grateful that it's cool and cloudy and I don't have anywhere I have to be.

I'm grateful my apartment is cozy and warm and relatively neat. That I did all the laundry yesterday. That there's enough food keep me out of the supermarket for a couple of days.

I'm grateful that I'm healing, slowly, but it's happening little by little, every day.

I'm grateful I didn't have a breakdown in the middle of everyone else's stress (although I did almost faint during my brother's crisis which he'll never let me forget).

I'm grateful to have the time and space to sit still. That's a luxury I'm seriously appreciating right now.

It's important to remember life is good even when chaos threatens to overtake you.

Monday, October 11, 2010

This is me complaining

I'm tired. Fucking tired.


At wit's end.


Wiped out.


My brother and sister are in different hospitals and there's not much I can do for either one. My own family is showing ever deepening cracks. They're scared too and perhaps my full disclosure stance is too much for everyone. 

There are hurt feelings. People not talking. Crazy behavior. Miscommunication. As if the illnesses weren't enough. 

I've taken on more than I can handle but I can't imagine handling it any differently. 

Having said all that, it's a beautiful day. I'm taking a break from it all and stopped off for a pedicure. Sitting still with someone draping hot towels across my sore legs is delightful. My kids are upstairs, exploring a new game together. My nose is starting to heal from the piercing. And GLEE is on tomorrow. 

Sent from my iPhone

Sunday, October 10, 2010

reality list

The other day I wrote out my whine list - an effective technique I use to get all my complaining out in one sweeping gesture.

It helped.

Today I'm trying something along the same lines although I'm not whining. I'm stating. It's a reality list and I hope by getting it out instead of holding it in, somehow I'll feel not quite so overwhelmed and helpless and lost.

I am the oldest of 3. At the moment my 2 siblings are in 2 different hospitals on opposite ends of Manhattan for 2 completely different kinds of things. Neither situation is curable. Both are manageable and at the moment teams of people are working around the clock trying to figure out how to best manage. There are bright moments and times it all feels bleak. For a person who desperately needs to make people feel better and fix whatever possible, there's just about nothing I can do for either one.

Other people in my family aren't handling this well at all and I could expect nothing less to be perfectly honest. But, sadly, I can't take on that too. I'm learning there's a limit to how much drama and disaster I can handle at any given moment. I've had to shut it off at times, to maintain my sanity.

My kids are having a hard time with me being so distracted. I don't blame them in the least. This is scary for them too and I'm often not entirely present, or even here, to help.

My body itself is a mess. My MRI for today got cancelled last night as my doctor's office neglected to send in a referral. I can't lift my right arm. My left leg is still bruised and swollen. My left palm can't support any weight. Such small things compared to what I'm watching others go through, but it makes getting through the day all the more difficult.

My apartment is bordering on disaster. I have more laundry to do than I can possibly carry. And I volunteered to take on my sister's apartment as well. I feel like if I had a trained team of 10 I might be able to pull it off. But, it's just me and I need to whip things into shape by the time she gets home.

There's still the puppy, the PTA, the 4 projects I'm supposed to be working on. The day to day homework, cooking, kid juggle. Science projects. Family history paper. Halloween costumes (which are never taken lightly in my house).

But last night, as I struggled through a yoga class, the teacher said something that resonated deeply. There's nothing you can do but be. Ride it out. Let it crash over you or carry you to the tops of powerful waves. You can't control things. You can't change them. But you can breathe through them and know it won't stay this was forever.

When I was in labor with Jack—no drugs whatsoever—my mantra was "it's only temporary." I'm holding on to that today.

Friday, October 8, 2010

what to do when you don't know how to pray

This post is about my brother who's not doing very well right now. He's on dialysis and his port clogged to the point of angioplasty, which didn't work. He's in the hospital now and they're trying to figure out what to do next.

He's been ill since he was a baby and has had far far more than his fair share of illness and pain over the years.

But, he persevered.

He is smart, determined, single-minded, successful outrageously opinionated, funny, goofy, thoughtful. He's always marched to his own drummer and found a way to make it work.

We have a ridiculous secret handshake.

We share a love of pineapple and watermelon.

His puns consistently make me groan (and sometimes laugh).

I know he's always there for me.

But today I don't know how to be there for him.

My mindless chatter and silly stories don't work when it's this serious. Fainting, which I almost did yesterday when I stopped by to visit? Not the ticket. All that's left is putting myself aside and listening.

There are no answers. There are no guarantees. I can't make this better. I'm just praying someone can. I'm praying with all my heart only I don't really know how to pray. But I hope someone, something is listening.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

straight out whining

Please be forewarned folks - I need a place to vent while things in the real world are nothing short of chaotic at the moment. In my house, when things get overwhelming, I make a whine list (I feel like that should be trademarked) and get it all off my chest and out of my head in one dramatic recitation.

It helps to state it out loud instead of swirling around in my head.

And so, should you want to share in my current craziness, stick around. If that doesn't sound appealing, this is when you should stop reading. But I'm thinking this will end on an upswing, so your call.

1. SNOT. I'm fighting a cold. I've been achy for a couple of days and woke up stuffy. While that's not really something major to whine about, I'm not sure how to blow my nose with a new piercing. I can't neti pot, which I usually do every day, and so my head feels extra clogged.

2. PTA. I'm in charge of communications to 1014 families, many of whom don't speak English and don't have computers. Pulling contact information together is nothing short of daunting and everyone's waiting for me to turn things around when I'm not sure I can.

3. FAMILY. 2 people in my family are not well right now. And I'm not talking minor stuff - I'm talking serious, life threatening stuff. At the moment both are in crisis and I can't do anything to help either one. It's heartbreaking and frustrating. For one, much of the responsibility for day to day dealing is falling to me and I don't know how to do this. I'm scared.

4. BODY. I'm not recovering anymore from my bike fall. My hand still hurts all the time. My knee is still swollen and bruised. And my shoulder, the one that hurt before is back is now aching more than ever. But, I haven't had time to go for an MRI or even call the doctor back about next steps.

5. YOGA/BIKING. I can't do either and my mind and body are protesting. I miss them so, both the physical challenge and the mental break.

6. HOME. We had to clean our stuff out of basement storage while they reorganize the space and there are now 4 bikes, plus trunks and endless bags of crap in my apartment that shouldn't be here. I feel like I'm navigating a junk yard every time I try to find something.

7. DESK. I'm inundated with paperwork I can't get to because I haven't had time or energy to focus on cleaning everything.

8. WRITING. When? How? I haven't had a moment to concentrate and all the ideas I've had are floating away from me, balloons getting ever smaller in the sky.

9. PIZZA. I LOVE pizza but god help me, I don't think I can stand eating it for yet another day.

10. WHINING. All my attention spent on the above has been really hard on my kids who don't completely understand and so they're fighting for my attention.

To counter the above:

1. This cold won't last forever and I LOVE my piercing.
2. I'm helping this fantastic NYC public school move to a new level.
3. I have faith they'll both be ok in the end.
4. I'll recover eventually.
5. Both will be waiting for me when I'm ready.
6. In a couple of weeks my living room will be sparse again.
7. It'll get done.
8. I'm writing now.
9. I can never not love pizza.
10. Whining is a part of life.

And now, I feel better. Off to get 2 kids off to school, walk the dog, the pharmacy, a class parent meeting, move the car, clean the apartment, battle excel and hundreds of emails and see what the day brings.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

67 minutes left in the day

I've meant to write on and off for the entire day but it wasn't meant to be.

There are times when my life isn't mine. When my days are spent focused on people who need my energy, time, thoughtfulness, attention. Who need me to listen, to support, to encourage, to empathize. Who need me more than I need me.

I'm hoping to resurface soon.

More than ever though, I'm grateful for the life I have and the family and friends I love.

Meantime, I'm still loving my hair. And my pierced nose.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010


I wanted to write today. I was all set to recap yesterday's nose piercing (yes folks, I'm talking about mine). But, my day got derailed and I'm too drained to write, talk, think.

We'll do the nose tomorrow.

Monday, October 4, 2010

it's not summer anymore

Fall is in the air. As I'm sitting here in my car (for those of you who don't already know, I do NYC alternate side parking which means I sit in my car 2 mornings a week so I can park for free), the tips of my fingers are going numb. My flip flops are under my desk, not on my feet. I'm wearing a long sleeved shirt. And (this is the good part), I delved into my coat collection. This is the part of fall that I love. There are so many beautiful, funky, outrageous coats crammed in my closet and each has a distinct feeling that's right for the day, the outfit, the weather. I've found, now that my vintage collection is a few years old, I generally have a couple that get worn all the time, others that get broken out once a season.

Looking out my window this morning and seeing grey and dark, I pondered jacket selections. Even though it's on the chilly side, I'm not ready for the super fall jackets. And as it's drizzling, rain options seemed appropriate. For the past few days I've been wearing a sparkly beige faux crocodile textured 1960s rain coat. I found it in a vintage shop in Vermont where it was on half price special—it cost 4 dollars instead of 8. And it's stunning. Paired with a long fuschia scarf wrapped twice around my neck, or a hot pink one with orange flowers, or a black wrapped trimmed with pom pons, it's been perfect.

But today is chillier than that. I broke out the jacket I bought last week at the Maker Faire in Queens. While it was labeled a 60s jacket, I find that hard to believe. It's brand new and the zippers and contruction aren't vintage. But, it was impossible not to buy. Black velvet, cropped short, printed with hot pink and orange poppies up the sleeves and body, leaves of olive and brown edging the petals. While I never wear short jackets this was the second I bought this fall.

But then, the scarf. I pulled five or so out of my closet and couldn't decide which worked best. Long fuschia cotton with embroidered flowers at the ends felt too summery. The hand knit deep orange in linen/mohair wasn't quite bright enough. The black with pom pons felt too drab. The mobius loop I knit last winter in shades of pink, orange and brown matched best but I wasn't sure the style was right. The red and orange wrap overwhelmed everything else. I almost ran back to get another batch but I had to take Jack to school. Mobius loop it was. Is. And it's fine.

I bet the next time I go out today I'll be in something else entirely

And damn, that makes me happy.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

THE change

An anonymous poster here recently said that exposing so much of myself is detrimental to my children. My mother occasionally says the same thing. That I share too much. That there are things I should keep private. That words I post here can and will be held against me (or something along those lines).

I've been thinking about why I don't just delete the negative and move on. To be honest, those comments make me think. Am I a narcissist? Am I harming my kids? Is there a bright line between appropriate and too much? It never hurts to stand back and look at what I put out into the world from a more objective point of view.

I woke up this morning wanting to write about my body. And after mulling about it for a couple of hours, analyzing possible ramifications, projecting what my family might think or feel . . . I'm writing about my body. I put a book out into the world about menstruation and in my house we talk. We discuss. We know. Is this better than the silence I grew up with?

I don't know. Time will tell.

But for today I'm talking periods again. Specifically mine. For years, ever since having kids, it's pretty pretty damn regular. No surprises. Late every once in awhile. Less cramps than when I was younger. I'm happy to get it. I know my body's working the way it's supposed to.

While I was working on FLOW (and no, I don't think it's a coincidence), my period sped up. It now appears every 23 or 24 days, the first day bringing mind-blowing, double-me-over a hot water bottle cramps, crazy heavy flow for 24 hours and then it tapers off quickly.

But then, last month, it was a week early. That meant it was just over two weeks since my last one. And it was intense. Heavy for 4 days. In fact, it freaked me out a bit. This month? It barely started and then disappeared. I went through my monthly craving for sweets, the teeth-gritting bad mood, feeling bloated and cranky. I spent the past 3 days waiting for it to kick into gear and do its thing, but that seems to not be happening.

My body is changing.


I "know" this stuff. I researched it. Wrote it. Mulled it over. But it wasn't about me.

Now it is.

I don't like change. Even more, I can't stand the unknown. And, at least as it relates to my body, unknown is going to be a buzzword for the next few years.

I suppose though, it's not just about my period. It's about life. Life is one giant unknown, no matter how much I, we, think we can control it. It's in the learning to let go that I find freedom and strength. Growth. Joy.

So. Maybe this perimenopause thing will be a time to stretch and learn more about myself.

(I'm not holding my breath about that one).

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Thickening skin

I've been thinking lately about social media and the many ways we put ourselves out in the world.

Some people have online personas which have nothing to do with who they are in real life. I've found that out more than once and was shocked watching those two worlds collide. Who I am in social media is me, just me, me being honest, open, sharing from the bottom of my heart and moments when my soul is broken. That's not so easy for me to do in day to day life—I'm more reserved, my walls are pretty solid. Social media me is also braver, hypes better, is more self-assured.

My life online is anonymous in a way, it's easier to share, to open up, to examine. I connect, I flow more when it's just me and my thoughts, my emotions, my experience. I am truly present when I'm here, not caught up in the distractions and juggling of every day life. 

Sometimes I wish my life was more compartmentalized. That I was a doctor or teacher or marine biologist (not really, those are just examples), that I worked in an office and could leave that part of me at the end of the day, behind a closed door. That I wouldn't wake up at 3 in the morning with an idea that I had to get down at that very moment before I lost it. That I was an expert in something and came to projects from that place instead of just as me.

But the edges of my life are blurred. Writer, designer, mother. Creator. Worker. Wife. Business owner. Blogger. Sister. Daughter. PTA president. Yogi. Me in my living room. Me in a coffee shop. Talking to a friend. Having a meeting. Or typing away on my laptop. When I write here, for Huffington Post, for Bust, when I'm writing a book, I bring me to the table. Not professional me or personal me. Just me.

Lately I've been slammed here. For being me. That used to hurt. But the last insult laden blog comment actually made me laugh out loud. It was hard, ridiculous, to imagine someone taking the time and energy to spew such venom at me. Being me.

While this road is never easy and while yes, I can be very complain-y times, I am grateful for the messiness of how my life works. I have opportunities in front of me I never would have imagined. I know inspirational and interesting people. I walk down the street and always find someone to talk to, to listen to, to share with. At 46, which when I was younger I'd thought was ancient, life is full of thrilling things. Challenging things. Pure love. Excitement. Satisfaction. And, yes, frustration. Pain. Drama. Angst.

All valid parts of my life. And all of it is helping me grow into me. 

Where would I be, if the growing, stretching, learning stopped?

If I let other people shut me down?

I'm not willing to find out.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Right now

I don't have it in me to write an entire post today so I thought I'd sort of fill in the blanks for my day so far. And anonymous, if you're lurking, this isn't complaining, it's stating.

I woke up at 7:11 to a rainy, dark sky, somewhat freaked I'd be waking she who must not be named up late.

She wasn't happy.

Fortunately, as there was about to be a meltdown about nothing to wear, I mentioned I'd washed all her cool shirts the night before so she'd have something to wear.

But, the machine apparently turned off mid wash and everything was sopping wet, including her gym uniform.

Blow drying didn't work.

Neither did screaming really loud and slamming doors (that was me).

I threw on clothes and offered to get her to school, as she'd already missed her usual bus.

One of us wasn't wearing rain boots, a rain coat and didn't want to use an umbrella.

That wasn't me but I'm soaked anyway.

We made it to school, with time to spare, only the person I needed to see was stuck in traffic.

Walking home I rubbed a blister onto my pinkie toe and discovered the fabulous new umbrella I was using for the first time doesn't close all the way unless I ram it so hard into my abdomen there must be bruising.

This is all after I went to bed before 10, feeling the very faintest glimmers of a coldy sort of thing.

This morning it's a raging headache.

My period started and then stopped.

The post bike fall pain in my left hand has now spread to my fingers.

My new hair isn't faring well.

I have a delicious puppy on my lap.

A friend is doing a massage therapy appointment in half an hour, for free, to help my leg and palm.

I found a t-shirt by my clothes-less child's favorite design for half price at Filene's Basement.

I'm alone until 3.