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.