Wednesday, December 31, 2014

31: New Years Eve


December 31st. New York Eve. New York City.

It was cold outside this morning. Maybe the coldest it has been all month so far. For the first time, I wore my new winter coat to work and the new winter accessories I spent way too much time picking out at Nordstrom Rack to match the coat, and I was unreasonably excited about this small detail. It's the little things, right?

We say that all the time. It's the little things. We don't even really think all that hard about what it means. But 2014 made me really see just how important those little things are. This was a hard year.  One day soon I will tell the story of this year, and then you'll know. And I understand now that it was the little things, those small pleasures, that kept me moving forward when the whole year seemed designed to bring me to my knees, time after time.

Like ordering pizza and eating it in front of the TV. Or binge watching season 1 of The West Wing for the 47th time. Or my favorite romance novel of all time with the cover practically worn off from years re-reading. Or red nail polish. Or sitting outside in the summer time. Or eating dinner with my sister at 10:30 at night at my kitchen table. Or the fluffy purple bathrobe that was a gift from my best friend who loved hers so much that she got one for me too. Or meeting David in the city after work to go home together. Or a really good piece of candy. Or french fries. Or the first sips of my morning coffee outside, just as the sun comes up. Or wearing my brand new winter coat for the very first time.

It's these things that keep me - and, I suspect, many of you too - grounded in the here and now when our brains want to take off on a flight of what-ifs and worst case scenarios, or when we just want to curl up into a ball of self-pity and defeat. These are the things that make life sweet, even when life is being a big, fat bitch.

This morning, as is my habit, I left my house through the back door. For a minute I just stood on the deck. The sky was clear and the sun was rising. I saw the lovely older couple who lives next door through their kitchen window, making coffee and smiling at each other. My neighbors on the other side dragged their paper recycling to the curb and I thought how irritated they would be when they realized that paper recycling isn't being picked up today because of New Years. I thought of David, still sleeping upstairs, and my parents starting their day in Pittsburgh, and my sisters in Ohio making breakfast and chasing kids. And I looked at the house rising behind me - the one with the back yard we love and the snow shovel that lives on the front porch all year round - that was so strange and new when we first moved in but that now holds more than two years worth of memories things and clutter and all the things that mean home. And I remembered something that my sister said to me when we were talking on the phone yesterday: "This is the only life that we get." And she is so right.

This is it. These things and these moments that make up our days are all we get, and sometimes they're hard and there's not much we can do about that except make ourselves see the good and enjoy the little things and be thankful for them because those little things are what help us to keep swimming when the seas are choppy and the current threatens to pull us under.

Like a minute of quiet grace on a cold winter morning as the sun is rising.

If this past year has taught me anything, it's that this life that I am living is a good one. That I am lucky in my family and my friends and the place I have made my home. And I've learned that the knocks that I take and the ones that are still to come are part of my story and that they make me a more interesting and maybe even a more thoughtful person.

So here's to taking the bad with the good, to holding the people we love close to us, and to making the most of this one and only life.

Happy New Year.

Friday, December 26, 2014

26


You know, just a guy dressed like Santa, hanging out on Christmas Eve at Rockefeller Center.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Monday, December 15, 2014

15




The two best text message exchanges of all time.

This is why best friends are best friends.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

9


I like the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree best just like this.

A rainy day. A deserted plaza. Bright lights against the gloom.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Thursday, December 4, 2014

4. Mayhem in Manhattan

Trying to get from work to Grand Central Station on the night of the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree lighting when every cross street is blocked and police are literally barricading crosswalks.

Next year I'm either staying home or sleeping in my office.



Monday, December 1, 2014

December 1: First Snow

December.

I'm not sure how this happened, but fall is pretty much over and we are full-speed ahead into winter and into this month that is notoriously crazy. I may not celebrate Christmas, but between some trips, various holiday parties, some special projects, and the garden variety end of year insanity that comes with being a trusts & estates lawyer, it's shaping up to be a busy, slightly crazy thirty-one days.

One of the reasons I have always liked December is that the everything changes for these four weeks. The world is awash in various hues of red, green, silver and gold, radio stations forego their regularly scheduled programs for Christmas carols, and as much as the holiday season in New York City drives me insane, there is so much to see during this lead up to the new year.

So, while my world keeps on spinning, from now until New Years I am going to post a picture a day of life at the very end of 2014. This time of year can pass by so fast, and this year I am willing it to slow down a little so that I can enjoy the season of craziness and fun before the cold gets irritating, the snow turns slushy and brown, and I start dreaming of warm summer days again. I think taking pictures might be just the way to make that happen.


This first picture comes from the Poconos last Wednesday as we made our way from New York to Pittsburgh for Thanksgiving. It may not have been the smartest idea to drive through the mountains directly through the very first snow of the year, but we made it safe and sound, and it certainly made for some excellent photography.

Happy December. Wishing everyone a month of peace, happiness, gratitude and beautiful moments.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Thankful


I sit here at my desk on this regular Tuesday morning. It's a pretty unremarkable day outside. A little too warm for November, a little overcast. The streets of midtown are overflowing with the performers who will do their thing during Thursday's Thanksgiving Day Parade and the tourists who have come to watch. The tree at Rockefeller Center stands, unlit, surrounded by scaffolding and the workers who are preparing it for its big moment in just over a week. The leaves are falling off of the trees on my street and the orange and yellow lights that decorated the houses in my neighborhood are being replaced by the white lights that hail December's impending arrival. We are working on some home improvement projects and we ordered a snowblower. Tonight when I get home we will pack up for tomorrow's road trip to Pittsburgh to be with my family for Thanksgiving, and maybe we'll build a fire and celebrate tomorrow's first snowfall of the year, all the while hoping it doesn't get in the way of our travels. I have lists upon lists in my head of things to pack, things to bring, things I need to remember. I'm considering having a Chanukah party.

Everything is normal. Everything is exactly as it should be.

And yet.

And yet, I find myself feeling glued to this ordinary moment on this ordinary day two days before Thanksgiving. I find myself filled to the brim with a heaping dose of happiness and gratitude for these moments and these days. For whatever twist of fate led me to this place, and for the divine hands that guide me through. And coming off of a rough and tumble year, this is nothing except miraculous.

November has flown by and December is just around the corner. And these days, these middle days, where fall is almost over and winter is just over the horizon, have always been my favorite. These days of cold air, red noses and holiday Starbucks cups. Of snows big enough to be pretty but not so big that they ruin plans and require shovels. Of happiness and of gratitude. These days of giving thanks. Because I have so damn much to be thankful for.

For family.




For parents.


For sisters.


For brothers where there were once only sisters.


For the kiddos my sisters keep giving me to love.




For this guy.


For friends. The ones I have known all my life and the ones who are new and the ones I met here in this strange and wonderful world of blogging.

For strength and resilience, because it turns out that I possess these qualities in abundance and they found me exactly when I needed them most.

For the place I call home and the place I used to call home. For the fact that I can have both of them - the quiet and the noise.

For the gift of writing. Of being able to put my thoughts into words on a page and to publish them to be read. It's not always easy and it's not always pretty, but for better or worse, it's my way.

For the incredible ways that life can still surprise.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Friday, November 14, 2014

".....think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive"


"When you arise in the morning, think of what a precious privilege
it is to be alive - to breathe, to enjoy, to think, to love."

-Marcus Aurelius

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Throwback Thursday: Blind Date

Ever wonder how David and I met?

Yes? Well, let me tell you. It was the end of my second year of law school and I was deep into studying for finals, sure that if I did well it would push my ranking straight to the top of the class. The only thing standing between me and greatness, I was also sure, was a pesky blind date that I couldn't say no to since my sister was the one who set it up.

So I put down my books, got dressed, and went out, against my better judgment.

It was the last first date I ever went on and I wrote about it a couple of years ago.

For today's throwback Thursday post, here is that story.

**************************************************

Blind Date

Rascal Flatts was rocking in the background as I stared at my reflection in the mirror and wondered what, exactly, I was thinking when I agreed to go on this blind date.

I hated blind dates. My middle sister had gotten married almost a year before, and ever since then, countless friends of my mom had tried to set me up with a revolving door of single Jewish boys. They felt sorry for me because my younger sister was married, and I was still single. The horror.

Forget about the fact that I was a 24 year old, second year law student living in Manhattan with my best friends. And that I had positively zero interest in getting married just then. I was a single Jewish girl living in New York City, and my younger sister was already married. It just disturbed the natural order.

I generally tried to avoid these painful outings, if at all possible. I had any number of excuses. I was overwhelmed with school work - I was a second year law student after all. I was tired. I already had plans. Maybe some other time (maybe never). And when none of these excuses worked, I lied, often and without a qualm. I was already dating someone. I just got out of a complicated relationship. And once, memorably, I don't want to get married. Ever.

But this was a blind date I couldn't avoid.

I had been hearing about this boy for the better part of a year. He was the older brother of my youngest sister's best friend. The girls were seventeen, and they and their friends decided it would be just so awesome if L's sister married A's brother. It was my sister, and I couldn't really say no.

Which was why, on a late April night, with my federal income tax final exam a mere week away, I was putting on makeup, when I really wanted to be in sweatpants memorizing facts about cost basis and depreciation. I had a real shot at Dean's List: High Honors that semester, and I wanted it more than anything.

I wanted it more than I wanted to be choosing between brown and light purple eye shadow. I wanted it more than I wanted to be deciding whether to wear light or dark jeans, and whether I needed a coat for the unpredictable April weather.

We were meeting for dessert, but were we sitting outside or inside? Would there be a walk afterwards? Should I wear comfortable shoes, or the far cuter heels I could barely walk ten feet in?

These were not the kinds of questions I wanted to be dealing with in late April.

For three years of my life late April was for dirty clothes, unwashed hair, and dark-circled eyes. For pens, highlighters and textbooks. For ungodly amounts of caffeine, and junk food when I remembered to eat at all. For cramming thousands of arcane facts and figures into my head and regurgitating the information on command in service of the law school gods.

No, late April was not for blind dates.

Yet here I was, dressed for the first time in a week, and fighting a losing battle with concealer on the aforementioned dark circles.

Screw it, I thought. I'm tired. He'll just have to deal with the circles.

Grabbing my coat and a bag I hoped contained all the necessities, I rushed downstairs to catch the bus that should have been pulling up to the curb outside my building in exactly a minute.

The bus was late. As I stood under a darkening sky, two minutes from being late myself, I mentally cursed my sister, and swore that this would be the last blind date I ever went on for the rest of my life.

It was.

That blind date?

Is now my husband.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Friday Fall Color


Finally, some color on a street that has been far too 
green so far this seasons for my fall-loving tastes