Thursday, January 31, 2013

Stormy Nights, Clear Mornings

Those of us living in the tri-state area had a bit of excitement last night.

Yesterday was a crappy weather day. It was muggy and grey, with the threat of rain looming. More April-like than January-like, I thought. News was that a monster storm was coming, and when I left my office at six to head home, the flags around the Rockefeller Center Ice Rink were already whipping in the increasing wind. 

By the time I got home the rain had already started, so what were we to do but build a fire, make hamburgers, and settle in for the night with a little Law & Order: SVU?

When I went up to bed it was still raining, but nothing too crazy. I thought maybe the weather predictions were exaggerated, although after experiencing Hurricane Sandy a few months ago and all the devastation she wrought, I am pretty cautious about underestimating any kind of weather event.

It was four o'clock in the morning when I was shocked awake by massive claps of thunder, and the sound of our outdoor shutters banging against the house right outside my window. And I sleep with super-powered ear plugs every single night, so that I could hear the storm through them was instantly a sign that this was a big one. 

Once I recovered from the unexpected jolt, we were both awake, and lay there in the dark, listening as the storm raged, until it finally settled down. It was quite romantic, really. Our first storm in the new house.

I fell back to sleep at some point, and woke up for real a couple hours later. The wind was still howling, but the rain had stopped.

And as I drove to the train, I was greeted with this view. The storm clouds drifting away, leaving clear skies behind them:


We were pretty lucky. Turns out there were bunch of power outages on the streets around us that won't be resolved until later tonight, and there were trees down everywhere in a scene uncomfortably reminiscent of the one exactly three months ago. 

And farther up the Metro North line, the storm wreaked havoc. I know because when I got to my train station this morning, I was greeted by this:


You know it's bad when they don't tell you how late the train is, just that it's late. For a train system that is almost scarily punctual, this was an strange morning.

But right now the skies are a beautiful blue, winter makes its return tomorrow, Thursday night is pizza night, and Grey's Anatomy and Scandal are new. 

So really, all is right with the world.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

The Shoe Shine


Life in Manhattan is not easy. I learned this lesson over and over again during my nearly eight years in the city. Between the lightning fast pace, crowded subways, tiny apartment living, and hugely inflated prices, city living is not for the faint of heart.

But there are things that the city offers that make the life just a little less difficult.

Take 24 hour delivery for example. And I'm not just talking about from the hundreds of restaurants all around the island. For a price, you can get literally anything delivered to the door of your apartment at any hour of the day or night. From prescriptions, to clothes, to movies and popcorn, there is a service for that.

Or 24 hour grocery stores on every corner. I tend to do my cooking and baking later at night, and also forget ingredients with a startling frequency. No big deal though when all I had to do is throw a coat over my sweatpants and dirty t-shirt and run down the street.

Or winter weather gear. In some places, forgetting your hat or gloves at home in frigid temperatures means that you will walk around for the rest of the day with red ears and frozen fingers. Not so in Manhattan. Just stop at one of the street vendors that line Manhattan's avenues, and for a mere five dollars your extremities will be warm once more.

I, myself took advantage of these offerings many times during my tenure in this city. And now that I no longer live here, when I find myself out of vanilla at ten o'clock at night or when I forget to pick up my dry cleaning, I miss some of those conveniences of city life.

But there is one convenience of Manhattan living that I never availed myself of during my time here in the city.

The Shoe Shine.

The Shoe Shine first came to my attention during my first week at my first job out of law school.

At eleven o'clock every morning a girl walked through the office with a rolling suitcase, and stopped at each open door asking the men if they would like a shoe shine. And the men would remove their shoes, hand them to the girl along with a twenty dollar bill, and sit for the next 20 minutes in their socks as she opened her suitcase, and proceeded to shine the shoes right there on the floor while the men waited. And for the next hour, the smell of show polish permeated the entire office.

I have had a couple of jobs since then, and they have all been in different buildings. But the one common thread running through them all is the existence of the shoe shine girl.

It seems that men who work in Manhattan have really dull shoes.

Well. I don't live in Manhattan anymore, but I still work here. And every morning I take the train into the city and arrive at Grand Central Station to start my workday. And on the very first day of my commute when I got to Grand Central, what do I see, but a shoe shine station, that one up there, right in the middle of the walkway to the 47th Street exit for people who aren't lucky enough to have a shoe shine girl in the office. It was 8:30 in the morning, and five banker-types were sitting in the chairs and reading some financial paper or another as men scurried around shining their shoes.

And I guess it just strikes me as funny that in this era of technological superiority where there is an app for everything and we spend half our lives immersed in one screen or another, men still sit up in high chairs, reading newspapers, having their shoes shined as the world rushes by them.

Kind of dreamy and old fashioned, right?

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

You Never Forget Your First Time

They say you never forget your first time.

I haven't.

I was seventeen.

It was a damp and grey Sunday. I was home alone. Rain was spattering on the windows as I cast about for something to do.

I turned on the TV, and then turned it off. There was nothing to watch. I opened a mystery I had started the day before, but it wouldn't hold my interest. I set it aside.

I lay back on the couch, wondering at the sluggish passage of time on quiet, rainy days.

And then it happened.

It started as an idle curiosity. Something I had heard so much about, but never experienced for myself. Today seemed as good a day as any to try something new.

Something mysterious.

I began slowly. Tentatively. Shyly almost.

But the deeper in I sank, the faster the waves of pleasure rolled. And I wondered how I had missed out on something so delicious for so long.

I thought for a minute how I should feel ashamed in some way. But I didn't.

I felt strong. I felt alive.

I lost track of time. The rain stopped. The sky darkened. But I stayed there, absorbing the wonder of this virgin outing.

Already knowing with certainty that I would return soon. And often.

As the finale drew near, I unconsciously picked up the pace. Straining for a resolution. Wishing it would never end.

I was a woman possessed.

The garage door opened. The phone rang. And rang again. I heard it all dimly, as if I was at the bottom of a pool and the sounds were coming from dry land. And I ignored it all.

I stayed on the couch.

Remained fixed in place.

Unable to move;

until the final, satisfying conclusion.

Exhausted, exhilarated, already ready to try again.

No, I'll never forget the very first time -

I read a romance novel.

This post is in honor of yesterday's 200th anniversary of the publication of Pride and Prejudice, the book that set the stage for my beloved romance novels of modern day. 

Lady Jane, generations of women thank you.


For a different version of my first brush with romance novels, check out the very first post I ever wrote on this blog.

Monday, January 28, 2013

The Robot In My Living Room: A Follow-Up


There was an overwhelming response to my post Friday where I wrote about the surprise waiting for me when I walked into my house last Thursday night in the form of David sitting on the floor surrounded by tools, building a life-sized robot. Turns out, people think a robot in the living room is pretty cool, if that robot happens to be R2-D2.

Well, there is a bit more to the story.

All week last week small packages were arriving at the house addressed to David. This is not too terribly unusual, and I did with them what I usually do when the packages are addressed to him. I stack them up by the door, and forget that they exist.

It was a little strange that, when I left for work on Thursday, the packages were still sitting in the foyer, unopened, but ok, I thought.

Well.

Turns out that most of the robot's parts were delivered to David's downtown office, and it was there that he did the bulk of the assembly. Thursday afternoon when he left the office he brought R2 along. As he was loading his new friend into the car, it seems a bit of a crowd gathered to take pictures and ask all sorts of questions about why in the world a normal looking guy would be toting an extremely realistic model of one of Star Wars' most beloved characters on a very regular Thursday afternoon. Wanting to give them a bit of a story, David told them that he had been contracted to build the R2 for the new J.J. Abrams directed Star Wars movie expected sometime in 2015.

As you can imagine, the crowd went wild.

By late Thursday night, the robot was built, but there were a couple things missing.

Cue the packages stacked by the door.

One by one David opened them. And every time he removed the contents of one of the packages, he shouted with glee, and ran with it into the kitchen where I was making dinner to show it to me, and tell me what it was for.

A remote control to turn the head.

A circuit board for flashing lights.

A second circuit board and remote control for sound.

Wheels for movement.

So when all is said and done, I will have a flashing, rolling, beeping R2 flying around my house, just like the movies.

And he's pretty cute really. But my only question is, can I teach him to do laundry?

Oh, and also, there is talk of adding a fully functional C-3PO to our family when R2 is finally done. No need to take your kids to the theater to see Star Wars, guys. Just bring them on over to Casa Merel. We'll provide the entertainment.

Friday, January 25, 2013

When I Get Home At Night, I Never Know Quite What I Might Find

So when I got home last night, I walked in the door to this scene:


Then this happened:


And this:


And this:


And this:


And finally, after an emergency trip to Home Depot for glue and replacement screws, this:


I now have a fully functional robot in my living room. Someone is adorably excited about the news of new Star Wars movies on the horizon...

Thursday, January 24, 2013

This is Winter

My Car. This Morning.
It was nine degrees outside when I left for work this morning. That's pretty cold. So cold, in fact, that my car never warmed up enough to use the heater for the entirety of my ten minute drive to the train station. So cold that after walking without gloves so that I could finish reading an American Idol recap on my phone during the half a block between where I park my car and the train platform I was pretty sure my fingertips had just frozen solid and cracked off. So cold that my phone, after being outside for just a couple of minutes, was doing that weird sluggish thing smart phones do in the cold, making the reading of the aforementioned American Idol recap awfully difficult.

It's brutally cold.

But you know what? It's also winter. January in New York. This is what's supposed to happen in January in New York. We haven't felt winter like this in the past few years due to scary global warming, but let us not forget that while every meteorologist in the northeast is talking about this week-long cold spell like it has never happened before, forty-five and fifty degree days in January is just not normal.

Winter has always been my favorite time of year. Maybe it's because I grew up in Pittsburgh, which is basically a frozen, snowy tundra from Thanksgiving through May. Or maybe it's because I spent my high school years in Florida where there is no winter. Or maybe it's because I spent college in Boston, where it was so cold that I now have a shelf of sweaters in my closet I call my "Boston Sweaters," because they are too heavy and hot to wear anywhere else (except maybe this week, in New York).

Most of my best childhood memories are winter memories. Playing "snow olympics" outside with my friends. Hot chocolate and cookies on snow days. Walking to the local movie theater when the snow was too high to drive. Ice skating on the outdoor rink until I couldn't feel my fingers or toes.

And my adult memories too. Sledding down a massive hill on my college campus on trays we stole from the cafeteria. Running double digits for the first time in a snow-covered Central Park. Walking eight blocks in a raging blizzard when we decided we just had to eat at the famed Shake Shack that very night, and then deciding to walk some more to a diner for dessert. Curling up in front of the fire in our new living room as frigid wind howls outside.

No, nothing beats the winter.

But for anyone who is counting the minutes until winter moves on and spring takes its place, head on over to Rockefeller Center ice skating rink, where there is an oasis waiting, just for you.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Smiles, Laughter and Sparkly Memories: Two Years

Grandma and her Grandchildren
October 10, 2010. My Wedding Day
Two years ago today, we lost the matriarch of our family, my Grandma Freda. And although under Jewish law we generally commemorate the anniversary of a death based on the Hebrew calendar, which is a lunar calendar, it is this particular date in January that sticks in my mind. It was a Sunday. I was mid-way through training for my first half-marathon, and I found out as just as I was leaving for a seven mile run. After I got off the phone with my mom, I took that run through a snow covered Central Park, comforted by my most favorite place during my most favorite time of year, and by the memories of a woman who walked through each and every day of her life with a smile.

Hours later, we were all gathered around my parents' dining room table in Pittsburgh thinking, laughing and talking about the woman who was our greatest role model for a life well lived. The woman who taught us everything we know about filling a family - and a life - with sweetness and joy. At the funeral, my sisters, cousins and I stood together and shared our memories with all the people who gathered with us to celebrate and remember. And this is what we said: 
When we were little, most of us spent a lot of our time at the farm, visiting Grandma Freda and Grandpa Leonard. While we all had a great time picking dandelions, swimming in the lake, going on treasure hunts, and playing in the tire sandbox, I think what we remember most were the pies. Mostly apple, sometimes cherry, occasionally blueberry, and always delicious; served through the little window in the kitchen. It was at the farm, at such young ages, that Grandma Freda taught us about the importance of dessert.
And the lesson didn't end with pies at the farm. Wherever Grandma Freda was, there was always something sweet. Cookies, her signature coffee cake, a chocolate bar broken up into little pieces, and homemade ice cream on the farm for breakfast (“it’s calcium after all”). After dinner, before dinner, in the middle of the day, the timing never seemed to matter. When we were younger we mostly cared about the cookies, but as we got older we all came to understand that they meant something more than just a fun treat. 
To Grandma Freda, dessert was her way of injecting a little extra something special into every day. It meant taking an ordinary dinner (or breakfast or lunch or snack), and making it just a little more fun. 
We would soon learn that dessert isn't the only way to make a day extra special. Grandma taught us that a pedicure just isn't a pedicure unless the polish is red, a bath just isn't a bath unless there are bubbles right up to the top, a little sparkle or some sequins, or even a dress full of pearls never hurt anyone, and eyeglasses just won’t do unless they have something red, pink, or green around the frames. We grew up hearing “honey don’t you just want to put on some color with that plain black top?” and because of Grandma Freda, an outfit, no matter how casual, is not complete without some jewelry to top it off.
Over the years, we also grew used to making sense out of Grandma’s frequent mispronunciations  The restaurant “Gilliftys,” she called “Gulfittys,” the actor “Walter Mathau” she called “Walter Mattau,” “Rick Santorum” was “Rick Santorium,” and her caregiver, “Mary Jo,” she called “Betty Jo,” until the day Mary Jo took a different job. Now, every time a Rosen inevitably mispronounces something we all just look, shake our heads, and say “Grandma?” 
Just last week, after living in Southwestern Pennsylvania for almost 70 years, Grandma’s true Steeler pride came out for the very first time. She was yelling and cursing at the TV, and could barely contain herself when they won. And the very next day, while watching the Patriots-Jets game Grandma said, “This is no Steeler game. These teams look like kids out there.”
If there’s one thing to be said about Grandma Freda, it’s that she was sharp as a tack.  Not only was she an accomplished world class bridge player, she was never without a Sudoku book, and NEVER missed an episode of Jeopardy. A lot of the time she was more aware of what was going on than her daughters, and sometimes her grandchildren, whether it came to politics- she read the Post Gazette and the New York Times, and listened to NPR faithfully - or directions - telling you where the turn is going to be miles before you reach it (except she never could seem to find a direct route from Candy Rama to Brewsters. She was convinced such a thing didn’t exist). 
As the head of a loud, crazy, and sometimes chaotic family, Grandma Freda always got right to the point.  She had her work cut out for her, but we couldn't have asked for a better role model. Smart, funny, independent, never judgmental, fiercely loyal, and always loving, Grandma Freda made us into the adults that we are. She taught the 8 of us the importance of family when she would casually say, “don’t you think we should call your cousin?” And she taught us the importance of acceptance when we would ask her how she felt about someone and she would respond with a simple, “what's not to like?”
With all the stories, fun and laughter comes an amazing woman who we are all lucky to have had as a part of our lives for so long. Her apartment was always open to us, and there was nothing quite as satisfying as walking through the doors. She kept us all together if we ever started to drift apart, and her contagious optimism and sense of humor created a family full of laughter and love. We are grateful for the gifts that she has given us, and are lucky to be able to pass along her shining legacy. Her tiny feet left us big footsteps to fill.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Illness and an Interview

Tongues of nausea curled in my stomach and cold sweat slid down my back as I smiled thinly at the senior partner sitting across the table from me, trying to give the impression of a cool, confident attorney, rather than the impression of someone who desperately needed to find a bathroom to throw up in.

I had thought it was a stroke of luck that I called in sick to work on the very day the partner requested an interview.

It was a week before that she called me at my office. The trusts & estates group I had interned with during my third year of law school was losing their associate, and she tracked me down to ask if I was interested in returning to the firm. I had just started to consider changing jobs, so I was intrigued, and sent along the resume and writing sample that she requested. She told me that I would be a bit of a non-traditional hire, since I was coming from the world of private wealth management rather than a law firm, and it might take her a couple of days to get approval to bring me in for an interview.

When six days passed without word, I figured she had moved on to candidates with shinier pedigrees than I possessed, and I decided to move on to other things in my head, starting with a most delicious business lunch with some colleagues at the stately Four Seasons Hotel restaurant in Midtown Manhattan.

The seventh day after her call was a Friday. I had woken up at four in the morning with an upset stomach and a low fever, and decided not to go to work.

I got her e-mail at eight that morning telling me that she would like to interview me and since time was of the essence, could I please come in at four that very afternoon. I responded that of course I could, and mentally patted myself on the back for calling in sick, thereby avoiding the need for an awkward excuse to leave work early to go interview for another job. Maybe I was a tiny bit pale and nauseous from whatever virus was making its way through my system, but I could power through it.

Or maybe not.

I got sicker with every hour that passed. My fever crept higher, and my trips to the bathroom got more frequent. All the water that I drank first thing in the morning in an effort to flush out the virus came back up, unpleasantly, and I couldn't keep anything down. By two thirty I was curled in a fetal position on the bathroom floor thinking that I would rather be dead than move a single muscle.

But with one hour before I had to leave for the interview that I certainly couldn't cancel only six hours after I scheduled it, I didn't have much of a choice.

Sitting on the floor of the shower, I washed my hair and did my best to stay upright as I got out the blow dryer. I dug a suit out of my closet and put on a loose blouse that covered the back of the skirt that I only zipped up halfway to avoid further aggravating my increasingly unpredictable stomach. Against my better judgment, I dry swallowed two Tylenol in an attempt to bring my fever down, and crept out of my apartment and into a cab.

By the time I got to the firm a mere twenty blocks from my apartment I was exhausted from the effort it took to just keep my head up. I checked in at reception and headed straight to the bathroom to try and put myself back together. I mopped up the mascara that had pooled under my eyes, wiped the sweat off the back of my neck, rolled some gloss on my dry, cracked lips, and prayed to whatever god would listen to just help me through the next hour.

By the time the partner picked me up at reception and led me into a conference room, the Tylenol I had taken was threatening to come back up, and I realized that applying flavored lip gloss when I was in such a delicate state was a huge mistake. I did my best to answer her questions while staying as still as possible, and  smiling through clenched teeth to keep from throwing up all over the table.

When the interview was over I ran straight to the bathroom and then home where I got into bed and didn't get out again for three days. When, by day three, my symptoms showed no signs of improvement I went to the doctor who did a whole battery of tests to figure out what was wrong with me.

A week later and still sick, I got two calls on the very same day.

I had Salmonella, courtesy of that lunch at the Four Seasons.

And I got the job.


Monday, January 21, 2013

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Own Your Guns, But Lets Have Some Limits Please

A month has passed since the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings. And out of the anger and tears and grief and despair a conversation has begun.

Yesterday afternoon, with many of the families of the Sandy Hook victims looking on, President Obama signed twenty-three executive actions to strengthen background checks and expand safety programs in schools, and laid out his proposals for Congressional action related to gun control.

But before the President even scheduled his press conference, the NRA leadership was out in force speaking against any kind of gun regulation at all. And we were once again treated to a round of interviews and a well-rehearsed diatribe on the Second Amendment and the right to bear arms that has only gotten louder since NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre's press conference the week after the Newtown shooting.

A recent ABC/Washington post poll shows that, for the first time ever, more Americans view the NRA unfavorably than favorably. Not a huge surprise when the people speaking out for your cause are people like LaPierre, Executive Director of Gun Owners for America Larry Pratt, and Alex Jones, the conservative radio host who started the petition to get Piers Morgan deported and then showed up on Piers Morgan Tonight and gave an interview so insane that Glenn Beck said it sounded like the ravings of a fascist. And when Glenn Beck calls one of the faces of the pro-gun lobby a fascist, you know that something has gone terribly wrong.

This radical interpretation of the Second Amendment is most certainly not what the framers of the Constitution intended. What the framers actually did intend has been the subject of complex scholarly debate throughout most of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, and I am not a Constitutional expert. But after five semesters of Constitutional Law and an internship with the Anti-Defamation League I do have a pretty strong grasp on the concept of freedom.

Contained in the Bill of Rights to the Constitution are amendments guaranteeing certain personal freedoms that we enjoy as citizens of the United States. Most of them are pretty familiar to anyone who took a civics class in elementary school. They are, among others, freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom to assemble, freedom to petition the government for redress, and yes, the right to bear arms.

And what all of these freedoms have in common is the idea that the government may step in and place reasonable limits on our freedoms when those limits serve a strong governmental objective. I have written about this before, and I think that it bears repeating.

We are given the freedom of speech until our words will create a clear and present danger, incite immediate violence, or would interfere with a legitimate government interest. We have freedom of religion unless that religion practices human sacrifice, or it means children will die because their parents refuse to give them medicine to treat common illnesses. We have freedom of the press but are not permitted to publish falsities. We have the freedom to peaceably assemble, but cities are still permitted to place reasonable restrictions on the time, place and manner of assembly to keep the peace and maintain public spaces.

Every freedom has its limits. This is the price we pay for living in a civilized society. So I have a really hard time understanding why the pro-gun lobby thinks that the Second Amendment and the right to bear arms is the only freedom we are afforded as Americans that should be virtually limitless.

In 2008, for the very first time, the Supreme Court upheld the individual right to bear arms in the case District of Columbia v. Heller. The majority determined that the Second Amendment protects an individual's right to possess a firearm for traditionally lawful purposes, such as self-defense within the home. The case was obviously hailed as a victory for the gun lobby, and gun enthusiasts celebrated. But what is striking about this decision for me is that in his majority opinion, Justice Scalia also dedicated three pages to explaining that the Court's decision in Heller should not be understood to cast doubt on longstanding limits on possession of firearms such as concealed weapons prohibitions, prohibitions on possession of firearms by felons or the mentally ill, or laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of firearms. 

The pro-gun lobby is screaming about tyranny, and the socialist government "coming to get our guns." And while some of us would love nothing more than to outlaw gun ownership entirely and then go door to door to collect the ones that are already out there, as reasonable human beings we understand that that position is both unreasonable and impossible. President Obama himself has said that he does not oppose the right of people to own guns in their homes for their protection.

All we are saying is that we want our streets and our schools and our malls and our movie theaters to be safe. We want our children to not be taken from us before they really get a chance to live. We want to walk freely and without fear. In other words, own your guns if that's what you want, but we would like some limits please. And the Supreme Court said that we can have them.

But the NRA says no. For the past twenty-four hours every news show on TV has had someone from the pro-gun lobby explaining why the measures proposed by the President yesterday would only serve to curb the rights of law abiding citizens, and warned of a difficult road in Congress if these measures ever make it to the floor. 

A Texas state representative said that he was planning to introduce legislation in the Texas state house making it illegal to enforce a federal guns ban. Thousands of gun enthusiasts took to the internet to warn about a power grab by the Obama administration. Officials in at least three states vowed to resist any new gun laws. And in a video that went viral in the wake of the President's press conference, the head of a Tennessee gun training company called on all the "patriots" to "get ready to fight" if the Obama administration attempts to place restrictions on gun ownership, and vowed to start killing people if this conversation goes "one inch further." 

See, it's the hypocrisy that gets me. You can't say out of one side of your mouth that Obama's proposal would only serve to infringe upon the rights of law-abiding gun owners and then out of the other side talk about killing people if this goes even one step further, even if those murders would be most likely be committed with weapons purchased legally.

But that has always been the NRA's problem.

In his press conference a week after the Newtown shooting, LaPierre chided the American people for thinking for even a second that regulating firearms would do a thing to prevent any future gun violence. No, he said, it is our culture of gory movies and video games that stoke the flames of violence. Get rid of those and we will surely see a reduction in gun deaths. So imagine our collective surprise when, mere weeks after that press conference, the NRA released a gaming app for iPhone that helps players learn how to shoot by allowing them to choose among a number of rifles and handguns, shoot at targets and earn points for accuracy. And understand our shock when the App was initially rated as appropriate for children as young as four.

And they have spent weeks explaining how we shouldn't be wasting our time and money regulating certain types of firearms, but we should instead direct our resources towards placing armed guards and better security measures in schools, and are now coming out in full force against the executive actions signed by the President today, one of which involves increasing school safety measures. 

And they talk on and on about mass shootings being committed by the mentally ill without addressing the fact that the vast majority of the guns involved in these crimes are gun purchased legally, without so much as a background check.

Look, we don't want your guns, we really don't, as long as you buy them legally and own them safely. We might not like it, but it's really not up to us to judge. The Supreme Court says that the Second Amendment affords you this right, and we will be respectful of that. But you know what? You need to be respectful of us to. Of our right to be safe and protect our families. Of our right to life and to live without fear.

The President's proposal and his executive actions are not radical or tyrannical or a serious abuse of his executive power. And the new gun laws signed in to law in New York this week are not the first step in a move towards fascism. They are a measured response to a tragedy that has become all too common in this country, and to a serious public health crisis that shows no signs of abating. And arming more people and combing the streets to detain the mentally ill isn't going to fix it.

Truth be told, there is no easy fix. Of this I am sure. But banning military assault rifles, providing for background checks for all weapons purchases, outlawing high capacity magazines, and starting a meaningful national conversation about how to solve our gun violence problem are steps in the right direction.

So lets start there.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Don't Sweat the Small Stuff


"Don't sweat the small stuff." The phrase I have been forcing through my mind for the past four days.

So as you know, a couple of months ago we moved into our new house. After six weeks of construction, we finally got all settled in December. And other than an issue with the painting that our painters are coming to fix this week, everything had been going just swimmingly.

Since we closed on the house, every time a homeowner heard that we bought something they would smile and say "welcome to the club," and mention something about the thrills and woes of being a homeowner. Well, despite some anxiety about leaving Manhattan for the suburbs, a few construction hiccups along the way and the unanticipated purchase of a new washer and dryer, I hadn't seen many of the woes.

Until this past weekend that is.

Saturday night I went to the basement to throw in a load of laundry, and heard an ominous drip coming from somewhere. On further investigation, I found some water leaking from a valve in a pipe that runs under the first floor bathroom. It wasn't very much, just a tiny slow drip, but with horror stories flashing through my mind (mostly made up by my very fluid imagination) of slow drips that become massive problems, I got David to come down and take a look. He tried to tighten the valve to stop the drip, but the drip became a steady trickle. We tried a bunch of things, but couldn't stop it on our own. We needed a plumber.

Luckily, we have a friend who got his plumbing license a couple years ago, and said he could come first thing Sunday morning. We got the trickle back to a slow drip, stuck a bucket under the valve, and went upstairs to go on with our night. But the leak was right under my feet and totally unforgettable - not in a good way - so I didn't sleep much, and ran down to check the bucket approximately a thousand times until morning. It's probably worth mentioning that the drip didn't even fill up half the bucket in twelve hours.

The plumber arrived bright and early Sunday morning toting a huge bag filled with parts, and he thought he could have the problem fixed in no time. Famous last words. Nine hours and an entire section of replacement pipe later he finally finished the job, and stuck around for another hour to monitor the leak to make sure everything stayed dry, which it did.

And as he was making his fixes he kept saying the same thing: "old plumbing."

Now, intellectually we knew when we bought a house that was built in 1923 things would be old and I was ok with that because I loved the idea of owning an old house. And when we got the house inspected before we signed the contract the inspector told us that the house was incredibly well built and well maintained, but that some of the plumbing was outdated and would require slow updating over time. And I know that there is no such thing as a perfect house and that brand new houses have their issues too. And I know that old plumbing means that sometimes things will leak and need to be replaced. And I know that these kinds of small leaks are really no big deal.

But I have anxiety over it all anyway.

I am generally pretty good about keeping it all under control, and don't usually have anxiety beyond what would be considered normal and reasonable. But not for the past couple days. Since the leak was fixed, before I leave for work and when I get home I run down to the basement to check and make sure nothing is wet at the site of Sunday's drama. And I glance around to check for puddles of water where there shouldn't be any. And last night I may or may not have freaked out just a little when I heard some dripping, only to realize that it was just the rain drumming on the family room skylight.

And I may or may not have had a big glass of wine to calm down before I went to bed. And I don't drink. Like, ever. It's just not my thing.

I know that these kinds of things go hand-in-hand with home ownership and it happens to everyone. But I am still getting used to the idea of owning something more than just clothes, shoes and lots of romance novels, and generally prefer that everything be in working order. I hate feeling out of control, and when things go wrong in my house, that is exactly how I feel.

So now I'm trying to force myself into a different mindset. It happened, and it was annoying and a little scary. And it will probably happen again at some point. But we own a solid house that we saved for, and that we love, and that we are really proud of. And that's the most important thing.

So my new vow is to try even harder than usual not to sweat the small stuff. And, as Richard Carlson says, it really is all small stuff.

Even basement leaks.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Crazy-Town

I saw the text as I left my office for the day.

"What time are you coming over?"

It was a totally normal question for a Thursday night. Thursday night was our stay-in date night. It was the night that I went over, we watched The Office, and enjoyed being together at the end of the long week. Thursday nights were my favorite nights. But that Thursday night he may as well have asked me to don a French maid uniform and clean his apartment, such was the depth of my annoyance.

It wasn't his fault, I did this to myself. He was amazing, and merely an innocent bystander to my mania. I told myself I wasn't going to be one of those girls, and for a long time I avoided it, but as February turned into March, I started growing fangs.

We had a trip planned at the beginning of April to my parents' house in Florida to be with my entire family for two weeks. It was the last time that we were all going to be together in that house before my parents moved back to Pittsburgh, and it was going to be an epic celebration. And I just knew he would propose before that, so we could all celebrate together. But I didn't know when. And I knew that he had the ring. But I didn't know where. And as our departure date drew closer, I took a downward spiral into crazy-town.

Every time he did something a bit out of the ordinary, my heart rate kicked up. I planned and calculated and wondered. Every day I woke up and thought "today is the day."

I knew that my hyper-awareness was exceedingly unattractive and completely unlike me, but I couldn't seem to shut it down.

So when he asked when I would be over that Thursday night, I told him I had a few things to do, and I would be over later.

I met my sister for a dinner that lasted longer than I intended. And I stopped at the grocery store. And when I was in my kitchen unloading my bags I decided to whip up the brownies I promised I would bring to a dinner I was going to the following night.

No rush, I thought.

It was after nine by the time I headed over to his apartment, clad in my oldest sweatpants, battered Uggs, and a sweatshirt that had certainly seen better days. As I walked into the lobby of his building, my phone rang. It was him. He said that he was running late and wasn't home yet, which infuriated me, mostly because my decision to passive-aggressively show up late for our regularly scheduled Thursday night activities was thwarted. Then he said that he needed to do some internet research that night on a potential business partner, but he didn't have time so since I was there anyway, could I please do it?

I protested. The research sounded pretty unnecessary, but he was insistent.

"Fine," I said, and hung up.

Forty-five minutes later he walked in. He picked up another computer and told me he would help me out so that we could finish the research quickly and get on with our night. A few minutes of silence passed before he told me he had found something he wanted me to take a look at and asked me to sign on to G-Chat so he could send me the link.

With an unnecessarily loud sigh of frustration, I signed on to G-Chat, and less then a second later the link popped up on my screen.

http://www.samwillyoumarryme.com/.

I clicked yes.

Engagement Night.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Ten Great Movie Moments and Quotes

I decided to do something new today. Every week, Stasha from The Good Life hosts Monday Listicles, where someone thinks up a topic, and bloggers come up with top ten lists in response. This week, Ally from Just a Normal Mom suggested the topic Ten Best Movie Quotes, or Ten Best Movie Moments, and being somewhat of a pop culture fanatic obsessed with things like last night's Golden Globes or next month's Academy Awards, I couldn't resist.

Since it's Monday, and on Monday I have a hard time making decisions on just about anything, I couldn't decide whether to go with movie quotes or movie moments, so I figured I would do a combination of the two.  So, in no particular order, here are my most favorite movie moments and quotes, an eclectic mix, much like myself.

1. "The Dirty Dancing Move" from Crazy, Stupid Love. Ryan Gosling. Emma Stone. I think the clip speaks for itself.



2. "I came here tonight because when you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible." When Harry Met Sally


3. The entirety of the movie You've Got Mail. For your viewing satisfaction, I stumbled upon this You Tube clip of the movie's most memorable scenes:


4. President Andrew Shepherd's big speech at the end of The American President. I have seen this movie approximately five thousand times (so deep is my love for Aaron Sorkin), and this scene never, ever fails to give me chills.


5. The moment in Indian Summer where eight friends arrive, as adults, back at the camp where they spend the summers of their childhood. For some crazy reason, a lot of people have never seen, or even heard of, this movie. If you ever spend a summer (or twelve, like me) at sleep-away camp, see this movie immediately.


6. "Words are, in my not-so-humble opinion, our most inexhaustible source of magic. Capable of both inflicting injury, and remedying it." - Dumbledore to Harry at King's Cross Station, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II. I'm cheating a little here because this is actually one of my favorite quotes from all of the Harry Potter books, but I thought that the movie did the entire scene brilliantly.


7. "Hulk, Smash" - Captain America to the Hulk, The Avengers


8. George, Nina and Annie meet with the wedding planner, Franck Eggelhoffer for the first time - Father of the Bride


9. The final scene of Sex and the City (the movie). I could watch this over and over.


10. Jane and Kevin sing Benny and the Jets - 27 Dresses. People love to hate this movie. I just love it.



Friday, January 11, 2013

Strong Woman Campaign

A few weeks ago I stumbled across Mandy Fox's blog The Fur Files. Mandy Fox is one cool lady. Aside from her amazing blog, she writes romance novels and literary erotica under her own name and under the pen name Fern DeVilliers. She calls her work an "artful blend of brains and loins," which is, lets face it, exactly the kind of book that gets me going, and the best way to describe the hundreds of romance novels that line my living room bookshelves. I'm pretty sure that Mandy is my soul sister, and am so happy that I discovered her work.

Awhile back Mandy started the Strong Woman Campaign, encouraging women and girls to live their lives to the fullest, support each other, and be the best that they can be. She asked the members of the campaign to answers some questions about themselves, and every Friday on her blog she features someone in her post. And today, I am incredibly honored to be that person.

Check out the post here.

And while you are there, take the time to read some of her other posts. She is a brilliant and intuitive writer, and I can't wait to read more from her.

Thanks Mandy!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

An Ode to TV

63 inches of awesome
On this blog, I have used thousands of words in homage to my love of reading, romance novels, and writing. My bookshelves are stacked with hundreds of romance novels, stacks of mysteries, and even the occasional non-fiction for when the mood strikes. I spend many happy hours sitting on the couch in my new family room reading page after page. And I spend many happy (and often frustrating) hours writing words on this blog. And I love all of those. Words have been an important part of me for as long as I can remember and to be able to read them and write them is a privilege for which I am incredibly grateful.

But I am a woman of many interests.

So it is not just reading and writing that consume my extra-curricular hours. There is something else near and dear to me that I don't spend nearly as much time talking about on the pages of this blog. My TV watching habits. And I use the word habit lightly, because what it really is, is a full-blown obsession matched only by my zeal to collect all the books Nora Roberts has ever penned.

I have always loved TV, but I can pinpoint exactly when TV watching stopped being an enjoyable event and started to become a passion complete with charts scheduling my shows, anxiety about missing episodes, and a full slate of programming year round.

It was 2005. The fall. College graduation was behind me, and I was about a month into my first year of law school with all the stress, sleepless nights and competition that entailed. I was living in my law school's dorm in the East Village and the air practically vibrated with intensity and barely concealed nerves. Needless to say, I only lasted a year in the dorm before I moved on to the wonder of the Upper West Side. But it was in that dorm room filled with big, scary books that I began escaping into TV.

For years and years I escaped through books. And during my first year in law school I still did, and regularly. But with all the tension that law school wrought, I needed something more. And I found that something more in a 13 inch television that sat on top of my miniature dresser in an equally miniature bedroom.

It started off innocently, as obsessions often do. I figured law school was no excuse not to keep up with the shows that I already watched, so I made sure that I was always home in time for my four or five regulars. And then one night when I couldn't settle down I discovered back-to-back re-runs of The Nanny, which quickly became appointment television for me. Then I decided to re-watch all the seasons of The West Wing in preparation for the final season that had just begun. And it was fall, so I figured I would surf around and try to pick up some new shows too. Some new shows became approximately eight new shows.

Before long I had far too much TV on my schedule to watch it when it was actually on, so I called Time Warner Cable, and three days later a delightful technician arrived to install my very first DVR box so I could start recording my TV to watch whenever I wanted. And after I started watching with a DVR I noticed a funny thing happen. My grades started to rise in proportion to the amount of TV I was watching, but not the way you think. The more TV I watched, the higher my grades were. I was on to something for sure. So I continued to study and I continued to watch, and I got my very first A+, and I was thrilled with myself.

When I was studying for finals at the end of my second year (and also catching up on the entire First Season of Brothers & Sisters, having just discovered it that spring), two things happened simultaneously to kick my TV habit up a couple of notches. The first was that I discovered TV blogs. Now, not only could I watch my favorite shows, but I could read about them too. I immersed myself in spoilers, and recaps, and news about renewals, cancellations, and new shows on the horizon.

And the second was that I met David, and in him I found my TV equal. I picked up some of his shows, he picked up some of mine, and we discovered some new ones together. In the early stages of our relationship, where most couples would go out, we often stayed in. With take-out, a couch, his giant TV, and each other we had exactly everything we needed. And by the time we got married and moved in together we were watching more than thirty shows between us. There was no way that all this TV could fit on a single DVR, and we decided that when it came to our shows we were absolutely above compromise, so our tiny Manhattan apartment boasted two plasma televisions, each complete with their own DVR. His and hers, and it suited us just fine. We own a house now, but our TV watching habits haven't changed at all. Each and every night you can still find us in front of our shows, sometimes together and sometimes apart, content down to the tips of our toes.  I sometimes wonder how it would have worked had I met someone who didn't share my passion for TV. I think the answer is, it just wouldn't have.

Sometimes people ask me how I have time for it all. A full time job, a blog, running, a serious romance novel habit and a TV obsession. I say, you make time for what's important. I guess I could be spending my time learning more law, or volunteering, or curing cancer or something like that, but Grey's Anatomy and Scandal come back from winter hiatus tonight and I love me some Shonda Rhimes, so I'm going to be pretty busy.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Steeler Pride


Their season may be over, but I bleed black and gold 365 days a year.

And now my car does too.

Here we go.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

We'll Be Right Behind You


"You go ahead, we'll be right behind you as soon as we load up these boxes."

The words, spoken by the head mover, calmed me as we prepared to leave our apartment for the last time. This man was in control.

It was three days after Hurricane Sandy swept through New York and New Jersey, leaving broken houses, broken spirits and an unimaginable path of destruction in her wake. The move from our apartment in Manhattan to our new house in Westchester County was supposed to have been on Monday morning. But after listening to the ominous weather predictions over the weekend, we decided to push the move to Friday. Even if we could have made it before the worst of the storm hit Monday evening, the idea of riding it out in a new house with no kitchen, in a neighborhood filled with strangers, and with the threat of being without power for days was far from settling.

No, it was definitely better to wait.

I didn't sleep much Thursday night. The stress of the hurricane, the mild panic I had at the thought of leaving Manhattan after almost eight years, and the anxiety of moving in general combined into a toxic cocktail that left me tossing and turning until the sun began to rise. I probably could have handled any one of these things on its own, but together, they were a force far more powerful than I.

And when the movers knocked on the door at eight AM, I was already pacing the short length of our living room floor, and wishing that the was day over. They rushed in with their boxes, paper and packing tape, and in short order began dismantling the life that David and I had built together over the past two years. There wasn't much for me to do, so I just sat on the couch and watched the mayhem.

After a few hours, mayhem became mild disorder, and before long everything was packed. We had to make a stop at my in-law's house in Riverdale before we headed to our new house, and the head mover told us that the timing would be perfect. He needed about a half hour to load everything else in the truck, which was how long we thought our detour would take, so we would pull up to the house at the same time the movers did. He said that he would give us a call when they were on their way, and told us that everything was under control.

So with a last look at our 72nd Street home, we pointed the car north, and drove away.

Our stop in Riverdale took longer than expected. Curiously, by the time we left, there was still no call from the movers. I called them instead. The loading too had taken longer than expected, but they thought that they would be on the road in a half hour.

Ok, we thought. No problem.

When we got to the new house the movers still had not left the city, and there was little for us to do but sit and wait. I practically shuddered with relief when the phone rang. Surely it was the movers calling to tell us that they were on their way.

It was indeed the movers, but with far less appealing news. It seemed that the driver had accidentally left the truck's lights on while they were packing us, the battery was dead, and they didn't have jumper cables to get it started again. The head mover told us that he sent one of his guys to Home Depot across the park for the cables, and assured us that they would leave the city in no time.

An hour later we found out that they did, indeed, procure jumper cables, but the only cars around were cabs, and with mass transit completely out due to the storm, there was no cab in the city willing to idle for the twenty minutes it would take to get the truck's engine started. And then they found out that the battery was beyond saving. The company was going to have to send a tow truck, along with a new moving truck from their warehouse.

They had no way to estimate how long it would take to get the new truck, and the sun had begun to set. As we sat in the living room of our nearly empty house and as the sky grew dark, the knots in my stomach had knots of their own. I was sure that the anxiety coursing through me was palpable, and wondered that the air around me didn't just vibrate with the intensity of it all.

And then we got the final call. With all the Monday and Tuesday moves pushed to Friday because of the storm, the company didn't have any trucks to spare. There was no possible way for them to get our stuff to us, and we were going to have to wait until morning.

We spent our very first night in our brand new house sleeping on the floor of our bedroom, grateful that we decided to lay carpet, instead of sticking with the hardwood floors.


Monday, January 7, 2013

Morning

Every now and then I miss my old morning routine. The one where I wake up in my Manhattan apartment at 8:30am (on non-running days), and leave at 9 to be sitting at my desk at 9:15. The one that required little effort on my part, and allowed me to practically sleep-walk to work. 

There were obviously things about this routine that were not so good. Like the fact that I could rarely find anything I needed in my teeny-tiny closet. Or the fact that we only had one bathroom that was in our bedroom so I could not possibly get ready for work without waking David up. Or the unpredictable elevators in our building that, more often than not, got stuck for a few minutes between floors 1 and 2, usually when I was sharing the elevator with someone's big, shaggy, drooling dog. Or the absolutely inhuman subway commute. Or the mayhem that greeted me at the front door to my apartment building as the city awoke to meet a new day.

But the 15 minute door-to-door trip is really hard to beat.

And some mornings - like this morning - I wake up already overwhelmed by the magnitude of my commute to work. Not that it's a long trip, but I definitely have to be wide awake to conquer it so that I don't accidentally kill anyone with my car on my drive to the Metro North stop about a mile from my house. And some mornings - like this morning - I'm just not in the mood to be that wide awake. 

Staying up late last night for movie night was probably not my best move, but when we were piling on the couch with blankets, pillows, snacks and a fire in the fireplace I wasn't thinking about 7am. And once I fell asleep, 7am came awfully quickly. So this morning when I walked out of my house I was exhausted, and thinking longingly of my 15 minute commute of latter day.

But as I walked towards my car to start my day I looked up, and saw that view. The trees rising against a backdrop of clouds, rising sun, colorful sky and silence stopped me in my tracks. And in that moment, my exhaustion melted away and I was grateful. 

City living doesn't come with views like this. 

Friday, January 4, 2013

A Really Good Day

Surprise flowers in my office.

Half day at work.

Rita's Ice birthday coupon.

Nordstrom Half Yearly Sale at the Westchester Mall.

50% off sale at Ann Taylor Loft.

Pizza and ice cream for dinner.

A movie in front of the fire.

Thirty is off to a spectacular start.





Thursday, January 3, 2013

Thoughts at Thirty

Today is my thirtieth birthday.

Ten years ago I turned twenty. On my twentieth birthday, no one was thirty. Thirty seemed like the destination at the very end of a particularly long road trip. A destination so far away that I couldn't possibly imagine ever reaching it, or what it would feel like when I finally did.

I was a sophomore in college when I turned twenty, living on the fourth floor of a big dorm that was filled with friends I had made during my freshman year. The year I turned twenty was the year I started to feel like I had finally found my place. I had friends I loved, friends who understood me. Friends to stay up late with, and talk to, and have dance parties to crazy songs with. Friends to study with and eat junk food with, and explore our little world with. I had classes that fascinated me, and professors who challenged me. I had enough college behind me that it felt comfortable and right, and enough college left in front of me that I wasn't yet thinking about what came after.

The year I turned twenty was the year that I had my first real boyfriend. And I like to think that, until we broke up the year I turned turned twenty-two, I learned all the things that you are supposed to learn from your first boyfriend. I learned what real love is supposed to look like (because this was most certainly not it). I learned how to be independent and retain my sense of self in a relationship (mostly because I didn't). And I learned to recognize when a relationship had run its course and when it is time to say goodbye (because I let it drag on far too long).

The year I turned twenty-two was the year I started preparing for what would come next. I spend a summer in Washington D.C. as a constitutional law intern for the Anti-Defamation League, I bought big scary books with LSAT written on the cover and started studying for my future, and I raced to the mail room every day after my 2:00 class to check for the letter that would tell me where that future would be. And with shaking hands one cold late winter day, I opened the one that did. And during a nostalgic, tear-soaked weekend, I graduated from college, and holding the hands of my very best friends, I moved to New York City to start law school. And I learned for the first time that it is possible to be, at the same time, incredibly excited for what lies ahead and impossibly sad for what will be left behind.

When I was twenty-three, I six months in to what would end up being a nearly eight year tenure in Manhattan. And during that first year I learned that I could live anywhere in the world as long as I had my friends with me. I learned how to answer questions about reading I hadn't done. I learned how to walk twenty city blocks in heels. I learned that I could, in fact, study for twelve hours straight without dropping dead, and I learned how to be ok with bad grades when they came. I found a Steelers bar in lower Manhattan and was there watching when the Steelers hoisted their first Lombardi Trophy in twenty-six years. I discovered that I could watch a ton of TV, read lots of romance novels, and still be a good law student, and I discovered that I really like to cook. And I watched Sister K walk down the aisle to marry her incomparable man, and in the two of them learned the real meaning of partnership.

I was a second year law student when I turned twenty-four. That year I got my first A+, decided that Trusts & Estates law was the practice for me, had my very first real law firm job, and went on my first date with the boy I would marry. The year I was twenty-four I learned how to "do" law school. I learned that love - real love - can come when you least expect it, and that it is possible to "just know" in the snap of a finger.

From age twenty-five to age twenty-seven I got an internship that would lead, almost five years later, to the job I have now. I graduated from law school with honors, passed the bar exam, watched as the financial world melted down, and saw the Steelers win another Superbowl. I learned how to be unemployed for awhile, and then how to work in a job that I hated. I learned what it feels like to be laid off, how to have a job for awhile that had nothing to do with my chosen career, how to interview for a position that I really, really wanted, and what it felt like to finally get it. I started to learn that I really enjoyed my own company, and I learned to be comfortable and confident in the decisions I was making.

Late one night, two months after my twenty-seventh birthday the boy I would marry proposed to me on a website, and we started a whirlwind seven months of parties, planning and anticipation. And on a gorgeous fall day of that very same year I stood at the top of my own aisle, and, surrounded by family and friends, walked into my future. That year I learned that it is not flowers, caterers, and dresses that make a wedding unforgettable, but rather the people who gather to celebrate. I learned how to live - and live well - in a tiny New York City apartment. On a whim I signed up for a half-marathon and when I started training I learned that Central Park is my favorite place in the world.

A few weeks after my twenty-eighth birthday my cousins, my sisters and I held each other close as we said goodbye to our grandma - my mom's mom - the woman who gave us life, and love, and laughter and sparkly memories. I ran double digits for the first time, and I suffered a stress fracture that would keep me out of the race for which I had trained so hard. I cried happy tears and danced at Sister L's wedding, I started a brand new job, I watched the Steelers lose a Superbowl, and I celebrated when Sister K gave us all a new baby girl to love. In my twenty-eighth year I learned that I could get through anything as long as I had my family close. I learned that I could survive on nothing but ginger ale and crackers for two weeks after an epic battle with salmonella, and I learned to say yes when an important career move came my way, even if the job was something I thought I would never, ever do.

I started this blog a few weeks after my twenty-ninth birthday, and quickly knew that I had found my place. I started training for - and crossed the finish line of - my first half marathon, and promptly signed up for two more. We bought our first house and started making plans to leave NYC. We made it through Hurricane Sandy, moved into our new home - that was still a construction zone - and started to get to know our new neighborhood. This past year I learned that leaving Manhattan was far more difficult than I ever imagined it would be. I learned that moving is impossibly hard even when the move is good and right. I learned that writing fulfills me in a way that little else can, and that there is a big and completely incredible community of bloggers out there that has helped me, and taught me, and befriended me in the vast cyber universe. I learned that I could live for almost two months without a kitchen, and I learned once again that I can live in complete chaos as long as my romance novels are organized on their shelves.

And today. Today I am thirty. And when I woke up this morning I thought I would feel different - older somehow - but I don't. I feel the same as I felt yesterday, and hopefully the same as I will feel tomorrow. And I am incredibly happy to be where I am, in this place, living this good life with the people closest to me. And now I hit the road for another destination far in the distance that I can't possibly imagine ever reaching, or what it will feel like when I do. But if the next ten years are anything like the last, I know that there really is nothing to worry about at all.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Pictures of New Years

I realized this morning that, aside from my run, I posted precious little about what I actually did on New Years. Here are my four favorite pictures that capture the holiday in all its fun and relaxing glory.

Upper West Side Dinner With Friends

Our Enormous Pile of Firewood


Home on the Living Room Couch in Time For the Ball Drop

New Years Day Pancakes

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Begin (and End) As You Mean To Go On

I don't remember how old I was, but I remember that it was New Years Day and it was snowing, and I was sitting on my parents' bed as they layered up and got ready for a run.

It was freezing outside, and they had just run the day before. I was confused because they didn't usually run two days in a row. I wasn't a runner yet, but both of my parents were. My dad had already run marathons and my mom was just a few years away from her first one. I didn't quite understand the draw of that kind of exercise, but I knew that they loved running and especially loved running together.

Before they headed out I asked why the second run in two days, and my dad said something I will always remember:

"Always end the year with a run, and begin the year with a run."

It would be quite a few more years before I became a runner myself, but once I did, I found myself repeating that mantra as each year drew to a close and a new year began. And even though I, too, rarely run two days in a row, I always find myself lacing up my sneakers in the morning on New Years Eve and again on New Years Day.

I have never been one for new years resolutions; for promising to do things I would most likely never do. But these annual runs are the closest I get. They are a small promise to myself that I am ending a year and starting a year as I mean to go on. As a runner.

And this year was no different. This morning I hit the road for my first run of the year, my second in as many days. I layered up against the frigid air, and as my muscles warmed into their familiar rhythm I felt a sense of pride in what I have trained myself to do these past few years. I had the streets to myself, and I found myself thinking of all the 2012 runs that have passed, and all the 2013 runs still to come.

Always end the year with a run and begin the year with a run.

Check.

                           
                                     New Years Day Run
              
                   Post New Years Run Latte