Thursday, November 28, 2013

Giving Thanks

For Family

For Sisters

For The Men They Love

And For Their Babies

For My Man

For The Home We Built

And For His Family That Has Become Mine

For Best Friends

That Are Forever Friends

For this life. Beautiful. Messy. Mine.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Sure Signs Thanksgiving Is On The Way...

If you live or work in Manhattan, as I do, there are certain signs that the holiday season is about to kick into full swing. More than just the selling of holiday cards at the Papyrus on 6th Avenue which have pretty much been available since September, or the Christmas decorations on Radio City Music Hall which have been up since October because of the Radio City Christmas Spectacular.

I'm talking about the signs that start to pop up during Thanksgiving week. The decorations and the people who are absent one day, appear the next day out of nowhere, and become to quickly and neatly ingrained into the landscape of Midtown Manhattan that you can hardly remember a day when they weren't there.

Yesterday on my way to work I stumbled upon three such signs:

The Rock Center Christmas Tree Star

The lit up trees and the ornaments stacked in the fountain

Dancers for the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade
The season is officially underway.

Happy day before Thanksgiving to you and yours.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Awards, Awards, Awards

As most of you know, I am in the middle of a blogging challenge called NaBloPoMo, or, National Blog Posting month, where I blog every day of the month of November, or for thirty days straight. It's a little tricky, but also a lot of fun.

One of the best parts has been reading posts from bloggers I wasn't entirely familiar with before this month began. I have Yeah Write and its massive NaBloPoMo grid to thank for that.

Recently, I have been the recipient of two awards from bloggers I have met recently. I got the Liebster Award from the lovely Michelle DeLorge at Scattered Wrecks, and I got the Sunshine Award from the incomparable Jake at Jake vs. The City.

The rules for the awards are similar. I write eleven random facts about myself, answer eleven questions posed to me by the giver of the award, and bestow these awards on some other bloggers of my choice. As I have been the recipient of The Liebster before, I have already divulged some little known facts about myself here, but who couldn't use a few more?

Here they are, in no random order:
  1. I can't remember the last time I slept through the night. I sleep pretty well, but I wake up at least once in the middle of the night, every single night.
  2. You all know I love romance novels, but did you know that I love post-9/11 spy novels too?
  3. And YA novels about dystopian futures? I just finished the first book in the Divergent trilogy, and am re-reading The Hunger Games trilogy too.
  4. I saw all 8 Harry Potter movies at midnight on the night they came out.
  5. And also both Sex and the City movies.
  6. I keep a handwritten red notebook filled with recipes. Not everything should be done online.
  7. I love to cook but I rarely use cookbooks, relying instead on the aforementioned red notebook.
  8. This year is the very first Thanksgiving in my entire life that I am not going to be with my parents. I'll be at my in-law's house for an epic Thanksgivukah (Thanksgiving + Chanukah) celebration, in honor of the last time Thanksgiving and Chanukah will overlap for more than 70,000 years.
  9. I get a weekly manicure. It's one of my biggest indulgences, but I never feel completely put together without one.
  10. In my house, when it snows we get to have special snow day treats. Think: doughnuts, cookies, grilled cheese, hot cocoa. It's a tradition held over from when my sisters and I were little, and I want to maintain it forever.
  11. Sometimes I imagine what life would be like if I had a brother, and I can't ever get that picture in my head. sisters are the best.
And here are my answers to Michelle's questions. She asked us to pick our favorite movies in 11 different genres:
  1. Drama - A League of Their Own
  2. Comedy - It's a tie...Crazy, Stupid, Love and Pitch Perfect
  3. Romantic Comedy - You've Got Mail
  4. Romantic Drama - The American President
  5. Epic - Apollo 13
  6. Animated - Toy Story, the original
  7. Biopic - The Social Network. Weird, I know, but I can't help but watch it every time it's on.
  8. Historical - Does Pearl Harbor count? Because I really, really love that movie. 
  9. Sci-Fi - Is Harry Potter sci-fi? Because, magic. I say it does.
  10. Foreign - I just can't with foreign films. This might make me uncultured. I'm not so sure I care.
  11. Mystery - The Life of David Gale
And here are my answers to Jake's:
  1. If you were an animal, what would it be? - A leopard, because I like the spots
  2. What is your favorite book and why? - This one is hard, because I have so many favorites, depending on the genre and what I'm in the mood for. But I think my all time, never goes out of style favorite is Just As Long As We're Together, by Judy Blume
  3. If you could have 1 superhero power, what would it be? - To fly
  4. What's your favorite color? - Purple
  5. What strange thing do you do when you get ready in the morning? - Follow a routine that never, ever varies. If it does, I imagine all kinds of bad things that will befall me during the day.
  6. What's your favorite movie? - I have lots of favorites, see above. But my all time most favorite is definitely The American President.
  7. If you could go one place in the world, where would it be? - Italy
  8. Harry, Ron, or Hermione? - Hermione. Smart, cool, and a really good friend
  9. iPhone or Droid? - Droid all the way
  10. Staying in and watching a movie, or going out to a movie theatre? - Staying in, I'm a homebody.
  11. Why did you start blogging? - Mostly because I had a lot to say, and I was tired of keeping it all in.
Thank you so much Michelle and Jake...Stay tuned for my nominees!

Monday, November 25, 2013

Welcome Back Winter (and my blue running jacket)

The very first thing I do when I wake up on Sunday morning is check the weather, mostly so I know how to dress for my run.

For the past three plus years, Sunday has been my long run day. Depending on the time of year, and whether I am training for anything, long run can mean as little as three miles, and as many as ten. But regardless of how long I plan on being outside, the one thing I have learned in these three years of running is that the easiest way to completely ruin a run is to dress wrong, and I've made some pretty big mistakes in my day.

The 2 degree night running hills in Central Park where I didn't wear a jacket and forgot my gloves comes to mind. Or the time it was in the 70s and I decided that my 3/4 running pants were a good idea instead of shorts. Or the time I wore summer socks in February and I honestly thought I would lose toes due to frostbite.

One can't be a runner and not go through these kinds of wardrobe malfunctions. But over the years, I have gotten a lot better at predicting what I should be wearing, depending on the weather.

I knew it was supposed to be cold and windy yesterday, but I didn't know exactly how cold and windy we were talking. So when I woke up, far later than normal, and checked my Accuweather app, here is what I found:

A real feel of 4 degrees and 40 mile per hour wind gusts? Sounds just perfect for an outdoor run. (I'm being half serious. I love running in the cold. I could do without the wind).

So I donned my running tights, long sleeve shirt and jacket, grabbed gloves and a hat, and was out the door. It was my first real run in tights and a jacket, and I was thrilled with the result.

I had to cut the run a little short due to wind gusts pushing me off the path every 2 minutes, but it felt great to be out there in the blazing sunshine and frigid air. Running in the cold makes me feel fierce and it makes me feel alive.

Welcome back winter. My blue running jacket and I have missed you.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Baby It's Cold Outside

It feels like January outside, so it's obviously a day for pj's and the best L.L. Bean slippers in the world. 

This is how winter Sundays are meant to be spent.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Happy Birthday to the Coolest Chick Around

Something you may not know about me?

I have a grandma who is really, really cool.

This cool:

And today is her birthday.

Happy, happy birthday Grammy Reet.

We love you.


Sam, David, Katie, Ari, Avi, Koby, Lou, Rick, Michelle, Julie, Andy and Becca

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Photo Evidence

So as you may know, I have a little trouble giving blood. I've done it twice in my life, and both times have ended in a bit of a mess. You can read the stories here and here. As I lay there after the second time, 2 weeks ago today, I decided that maybe it's just not for me.

But that didn't stop me from photo-documenting the second experience for posterity. There wasn't a place for pictures in my post yesterday, and since I'm NaBloPoMoing it this month, it seemed like a better idea to post the pictures entirely separately, thereby fulfilling my posting requirements for NaBloPoMo Day 21. Win-Win.

So, here, for your viewing satisfaction, is photo proof of my second blood-donating disaster. A series I like to call, "At Least I Was Wearing Pants"

Cupcake dessert after lunch in preparation for the blood drive.
Or, just an excuse to eat a really good cupcake.

They tried to make the whole thing private.
They failed.

Delightful view of the post-donation snack table from my chair.
Nurse comes over and tells me to uncross legs.
I comply.

Donation goes bad. Legs once again up in the air.

And headrest down. View of the ceiling.

Headrest down even further. Ice packs appear.
Decide to investigate putting recessed lighting in my house.

$5 Starbucks giftcard as a thank you for donating.
For my troubles.

Grande Peppermint Mocha purchased with the aforementioned
Starbucks gift card + 75 of my own cents because who knew you
now needed to take out a mortgage to buy a Starbucks drink?

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

The Day I Ate Breakfast. And Wore Pants.

As the elevator made its way down to the lobby of my building, my stomach churned, my hands got clammy and for a second I considered getting straight back on the elevator on the first floor and going back upstairs.

But I didn't

Instead I forced my feet to move, and pointed them in the direction of the blood drive registration table, set up in a corner of the gargantuan lobby and sectioned off by blue fabric curtains.

"Have you ever given blood before?" asked the volunteer manning the table.

"Yes, once," I replied, trying to convey through the desperate tone of my voice and a wild look in my eye the absolute horror of that particular situation.

I filled out the paperwork and sat down to wait, wondering all the while how I managed to get myself into this situation a second time. I was working at a different law firm in a different building with different colleagues, but the result was strikingly similar. Me, volunteering to give blood in solidarity with the other lawyers.

I tried to calm my racing heart by thinking about all the ways that this time was different from the last time. I was six years older. I spent the day hydrating. I ate breakfast and then a great lunch at a firm event, complete with one whole cupcake and the frosting from a second. No way would it happen again.

But the voices of my demons shouted and I was considering conceding defeat and heading back up to my office when they called my name.

I climbed awkwardly into the chair that the nurse pointed to, and waited again while she tended to a few other donors. My forty story building housed no fewer than two other law firms and offices for two major financial institutions and the lobby was teeming with people heading towards the Starbucks on the far end for their afternoon caffeine jolt to push through the last hours of the workday.

If something embarrassing happened, it wouldn't be just the few lawyers from my firm that would see, but the whole damn building.

But nothing would happen, I promised myself. Willed myself to believe. Last time was a fluke. A one time freak occurrence brought on by too much stress and not enough food.

I could do it this time.

Fueled by positive thinking and the promise of juice and all the Oreos I could eat once it was over, I extended my arm, and was once again hooked up by a nurse with a bright smile and a sunny disposition.

I was still connected to the bag when I heard the familiar buzzing in my ears and a wave of nausea once again knocked me back in my chair. This time the nurse was right there, and flew straight into action. She shoved a bottle of juice into my hand and swung the top of the chair down and the bottom half up as she unhooked me from the machine.

And as I once again laid, covered in ice packs with my legs straight up in the air and passersby gawking, all I could think was, at least this time I'm wearing pants.

Believe it or not this story happened a mere thirteen days
ago in the lobby of the building in which I now sit.

Click here for some photo evidence of the occasion.

And, if you are so inclined, head on over and read my piece
from last week's Yeah Write where I wrote about my other
unfortunately hilarious experience with blood donation.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Happy Birthday Sister L!

Happy birthday to my most favorite dentist-to-be.

And lots of luck on your very first dental school finals.

Study like crazy now because next week in New York, we're celebrating.


Monday, November 18, 2013

A Little Downtime In My Happiest Place

I kind of love this picture

David took this picture over the weekend.

It was dark outside and I was in my most favorite position - in my reading room in the shadow of my bookshelves, lying on the couch covered in pillows and blankets, romance novel in hand.

The past two weeks have been filled with appointments and commitments and events of the very best kind - my best friend's wedding, my sister-in-law's engagement, and more. But after fourteen nonstop days, this past weekend I was ready for a little downtime.

And I took it.

I could - and do - happily lay like this for entire days at a time, soaking in Nora's words as the hours pass and day moves into night. No computers, no phones, no TVs or iAnythings. Just me, my books, and this past weekend David, capturing the moment for posterity.

This, more than anything in the world, is my happy place.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Saturday, November 16, 2013

It's About That Time Of Year

The Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree is up, waiting for its lights to be lit.

And I'm gearing up for streets clogged with tourists, people who ask me for directions while standing directly in front of their destination, dancers and cheerleaders invading the NYC streets in preparation for the Macys Thanksgiving Day Parade, and the general seasonal insanity.

Don't get me wrong, I love NYC during the holidays.

But I work here and have places to be in a hurry, so I sometimes find myself wanting to scream "it's just a tree" at the top of my lungs.

Friday, November 15, 2013

All The Noras

I took out a Nora Roberts book to read on the train yesterday, and it fell open to this page.

As is my habit, I scanned the list of titles and it occurred to me that I have read every single book in this list.

Every. Single. Book.

I'm pretty proud of that.

And I own them all too.

Especially if it's a Nora.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

The Bottom Shelf Of My Bookcase

When we lived in our tiny Manhattan apartment and bookshelf space was severely limited, they stood in a precarious stack on my nightstand, .

When we moved to our new house and everything was under construction, they were stacked haphazardly in a box, the only one I opened in the weeks before the construction was done and we finally unpacked everything for good.

And now, they have their very own dedicated shelf at the bottom of my bookcase.

They are my books that are waiting to be read.

At any given time I have at least five. If my "to-read" stack dwindles below that I start jonesing and have to make an emergency trip to the Amazon website for more.

Once the books are read they get placed on my bookshelf in their proper place (which is another story for another time), but until then, they all live together on that bottom shelf.

Right now my total is at thirteen. It's an eclectic mix of mystery (because I loved A Time To Kill and am prepping to love the sequel and how can I not read a book written by J.K. Rowling using a pen name), a lot of romance (because I love me some Nora Roberts, even when she's using a pen name), some J. Courtney Sullivan I don't really know how to classify (because someone told me I would probably like it), some YA dystopian futuristic fiction (because I have to prep for the movie), and an anthology of the incomparable Nora Ephron's most popular works (because I desperately need any book that has the complete screenplay from When Harry Met Sally).

But even though it seems like I have enough books to last me awhile, there's no reason to get lazy. Even as I type this with one hand, my other hand is busy scrolling through my phone's Amazon app checking for anything else I might want to read.

Some of you might be thinking, "girl, get a library card." I know. But the thing is, it's not enough for me to just read books. I have to own them. I have to have them on my shelves, be able to look at them, and have anything I want to re-read right at my fingertips. It's been like this ever since I started collecting Baby-Sitters club books when I was seven, and making sure that they were always on my shelves, in the proper order of course.

So, as the weather turns cold in New York, and weekend afternoons outside are numbered, I know what I'll be doing.

What's on your "bottom shelf"?

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Loving The Colder Half of the Year

The grass crunched under my feet as I walked across the front yard to my car this morning.

I keep meaning to start using our back door, since it's both closer to the coffee maker that I use before I leave the house and closer to my car, but I used the front door for the first few months we lived in our house while our kitchen was still under construction and the back door inaccessible, and old habits die hard.

I stopped under our big tree with the golden leaves, and stood in the brilliant sunshine and breathed in the clear, cold air that was left behind in the wake of our first real frost of the season.

And for a minute I wished that you could take a picture of a feeling.

While the entire tri-state area is busy bemoaning this first, quick brush with the winter season that is just over the horizon, I love everything about it.

I love that the cold air is coming in while the brightly-hued fall leaves are still on the trees.

I love the way that a few snowflakes look as they settle on my favorite coat. The one I only get to wear during those brief fall days where it is too cold for a trench coat but not quite cold enough to go full down.

I love waking up in the morning to the hiss of my furnace as it heats our bedroom to a perfect 65 degrees.

I love the first shock of cold when I walk outside to run, and seeing my breath puff out as the chilly wind hits my face and my muscles warm.

And I love the temperature clock on 6th avenue, telling me that the time for gloves, scarves and cozy sweaters is here.

In a few months when the temperature is in the single digits, I might find myself dreaming of the balmy days of summer, but for today, I love this cooler half of the year; fall and these few brushes of cold, reminding me that winter is on its way.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

The Day I Should Have Eaten Breakfast. And Worn Pants.

Sitting in the passenger seat of the junior partner's car, it occurred to me that I may have been about to embarrass myself Above the Law style.

When I took the law firm job for my second law school summer, I promised myself that I wouldn't be one of those summer associates who would do anything to impress a partner. But here I was, a mere three weeks into my twelve-week gig, doing exactly that.

It all started with a firm-wide e-mail two days before.

There was a blood-drive in an office park a few blocks away, and the partners were asking for volunteers to get a good showing from our office. I said I would go. I had never given blood before, but figured it couldn't be that bad. I googled around to find out how I could prepare, and all of the websites said to make sure to eat a lot and drink plenty of fluids to avoid getting light-headed.

No problem.

Unless the day of the blood drive turns into a frantic mess and your ride knocks on your office door before you have time for breakfast, lunch, or your mid-morning snack.

I grabbed a handful of Hershey Kisses for the ride over and prayed to whatever god was listening to get me through this unscathed.

I was hoping to watch someone else donate before it was my turn, but no such luck. I ended up at the front of the line and took my seat, surrounded by twelve other lawyers from my firm.

The nurse hooked me up easily and as the blood started to flow, I laughed at myself for worrying. When the bag was full, another nurse handed me a package of Oreos and a bottle of cranberry juice and told me sit for a few minutes. Thrilled with the snack selection, I thought that maybe I would make donating blood a habit from now on.

The buzzing in my ears was so dull at first that I thought I was imagining it.

But then it grew louder, drowning out the chatter that filled the Red Cross trailer, and bringing with it a wave of nausea that knocked me back in my chair. I tried to lift my arm to get a nurse's attention, but before I had the chance my vision grayed around the edges and I felt myself falling back into the black.

My feet were the first things I saw when I drifted awake.

Confused, I slid my eyes around trying to get my bearings and took in the scene. I didn't have the energy to lift up my head, so all I could do was lay there covered in ice packs and drops of the cranberry juice I had spilled, my legs straight up in the air and my skirt inching dangerously high, as all the other lawyers gathered around me, their faces masks of concern.

And think about how much I wished I was wearing pants.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Running As The Seasons Change

I had forgotten how much I love it.

Running in the fall, that is.

I had forgotten because it has been two years since I have really been able to experience fall running the way it should be experienced.

Last year we moved to the suburbs right at the beginning of the season, and while I started running in our new neighborhood right away, it took me a long time to get my running mojo back. Combine that with a snowstorm the second week in November that basically destroyed any semblance of fall color, and last year was basically a lost season for me.

It was last March that I discovered the place that would become my new running home. After learning to run, and learning to love to run in Central Park, I didn't think I would ever find another place I could call my own.

I was wrong.

It started off as mere curiosity. I had heard talk of a pathway that ran for 13 miles alongside Westchester's Bronx River Parkway. After three years of running in Central Park I wasn't too happy with the street routes that I had been taking, so one Sunday I made my way to the Bronx River Pathway to try it out. It was March, but winter was still taking it's last bite of New York as I started to run on the concrete path. The trees were bare, and the wind was downright frigid, but it was love at first site.

All though the spring, and then the summer, I ran the pathway. It was there that I completed the second half of my training schedule for my second half marathon and watched the change of seasons, all the while wondering what my new beloved running path would look like in a riot of fall colors.

I have not been disappointed.

Running on my pathway this fall, in a place that has finally become my home, I feel more alive than I have in a long, long time. The smoky scents, leaves crunching underfoot, the crisp air and the stunning colors have given me back a vital piece of myself that had been missing for months. And I didn't even realize it was missing until my love of running implanted itself snugly back in my soul.

These past two months have infused me with an energy to run that I have been lacking as of late. And I know, without a doubt, that I have the season to thank. This season of running shorts with long sleeve shirts, and short sleeve shirts with running gloves has given me myself back.

And I am grateful.

Every time I make my way to the pathway to run, I pass a welcome sign at the entrance gate.

And until these past few weeks I hadn't given it much thought. But lately, every time I pass that sign, I smile. Because really, that sign is welcoming me back to myself, back to my life, and back to the utter contentment I feel when I lace up my sneakers and run the path.

It is the sign that, in all seasons, will welcome me home.