Monday, June 30, 2014

The Day The Supreme Court Said That Corporations Are People And Women Are Not

 "In a decision of startling breadth...the exemption sought by Hobby Lobby and Conestoga...would deny legions of women who do not hold their employers' beliefs access to contraceptive coverage."

-Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg
Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby
June 30, 2014 

Friday, June 27, 2014


The ache for home lives in all of us, the safe place where we can go as we are and not be questioned.
Maya Angelou 

Thursday, June 26, 2014

A Movie Night In New York City Looks Like This

I really, really hate sad books. And movies. So imagine my surprise about a year ago when I found myself reading - and loving - The Fault In Our Stars.

When I heard it was going to be made into a movie, nothing would do but that I see it. And last night I did. I met a friend for dinner, and after a quick trip to Dylan's Candy Bar for snacks, we headed next door to a tiny movie theater that was like a time warp back to the 80s, save for the electronic paper towel dispensers in the bathrooms.

I loved the movie so much that even the mouse that ran across the theater floor at one point didn't distract from the magic (although the shrieks of the group of the 13 year old girls sitting in front of us almost did).

When I left the theater I was a bit of a soggy mess, but in a cathartic, these tears feel really good way. If you haven't read the book or seen the movie, I suggest you go read it and see it, right away. Don't let the sadness deter you. It's a beautiful romance in print and on-screen, and definitely one not to be missed.

Because, bulk candy bins

Old school theater

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Lessons From The Big City

I was on the phone with one of my sisters the other night when she mentioned that, while she was talking to me, she was cleaning up her house from a barbecue dinner she had with my other sister. And as it always happens when I hear about the two of them getting together, I felt a little stab of sadness that they were together without me.

This isn't an unusual occurrence; on the contrary, it happens all the time because they both live in Cleveland, Ohio, while I have made my home in New York. We talk and visit all the time and we keep in touch through near daily e-mails, FaceTimes and the like, but it's hard to replicate the kind of closeness that comes from living in the same city, and sharing all the little moments that make up a life, even though we try as hard as we possibly can.

But the truth is, as much as I miss my sisters, I wouldn't trade my life in New York for anything right now. I love this city. This city where I moved right after college that grew me up. This city I left but still return to every day for work. This city that gave me a career I love, a man I love, and friends that have become family. This city that has taught me to embrace all the different parts of myself that used to seem contradictory but that now seem utterly right.

I read a post last week called Go To New York and it made me think about all the lessons that I learned over my years in the city. I let my mind wander back nine years and, awash in memories, I came up with this. These are the things I learned from New York:

You will feel a little sick as you watch your parents drive away after they move you into your first New York City apartment. You will want to jump back in the car and beg them to take you home. Resist that urge. You think that you'll be terrified to be alone in the city but surprise yourself by waking up the next morning not scared at all.

Embrace the fact that you will, at one point, take the wrong subway and end up in Brooklyn. Just go with it. Eventually you'll find your way back.

Learn to navigate Central Park. Learn all the different ways to walk straight through from west to east, but don't forget to sometimes veer off the path and take the long way.

Learn the mileage of all the loops of Central Park and run them without music. There is so much to see and to hear and you don't want to drown it all out.

And while you're at it, it would also be helpful to learn the location of all of the public bathrooms in the Park. You never know when one might come in handy, especially when you are rounding 110th Street in the middle of a 10 mile run and have already had 2 gallons of water because it's also 110 degrees outside.

New York City is a grid. If you remember that bigger means uptown and smaller means downtown, you can get anywhere you need to go above Houston Street. 

Once in awhile stop and give a tourist directions and remember that there was once a time when you didn't know that Madison came after 5th either.

You can, in fact, walk 20 blocks in heels.

Bloomingdales. Macy's on 34th Street. South Street Seaport. The Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lighting. The Empire State Building. Chelsea Piers. These are all places you need to go to once, but once is definitely enough.

You can never have too many $5 pashminas. Stop standing in front of the street vendor for half an hour asking yourself if you really need the green one that's really similar to the other green one you bought last week. The answer is invariably yes.

Take yourself out for breakfast. Sit by the window and eat eggs and watch the city rush by.

That drink called the Red Devil may taste like a Shirley Temple, but it will make you feel like death in the morning. Don't drink the second one.

New York has a way of magnifying emotions. Laughter is louder, happiness is bigger, grief is deeper and sadness is stronger. 

At least once a summer, go to an outdoor movie in Central Park. Sit on The Great Lawn with thousands of people and look south towards the buildings soaring over the trees. 

Celebrate. Celebrate birthdays, holidays, new jobs, new apartments, and Tuesdays and remember the places where you did. And when your best friend wants to meet you and your brand new fiance at 11pm on 73rd and Amsterdam to celebrate 10 minutes after you get engaged, go. It will be your favorite city memory.

Some of your most important moments will take place at 2 in the morning in a New York City diner.

Buy a really good umbrella and the very best rainboots you can find. You won't want to spend the money. Spend it anyway. The first time you get caught in a downpour with no subway in sight, you'll be glad you did.

Don't take the M96 cross-town bus. Ever. You can walk faster than that bus drives. But take the M5. All the time. It can get you basically everywhere you need to go.

Find one coffee shop, bagel store, and nail place you love and go there all the time. It feels good to be recognized in a city where it's easy to be completely invisible a lot of the time.

Notice the man who helps a stranger carry a stroller up the subway stairs and the woman who lets you go ahead of her in the Fairway check-out line because you only have 2 things and she had a whole cart-full. There is a surprising amount of humanity in this concrete jungle.

You'll love the city even though you always assumed you would hate it. The fast pace. The grit and the glamour. The people. The way it feels both small and impossibly huge all at the same time. All of it.

You think you'll just be here for a few years but then a few turns into almost a decade and the day you drive away you'll feel like you're leaving a piece of your heart behind because New York is a city that gets inside and changes you.

When you come back to the city - every day for work or on the weekends to meet friends - you will see yourself on every corner as you were. As a fresh college graduate new to the big city. Carrying a bag filled with heavy law books. Strolling hand-in-hand with the man you will marry. As a newly-wed. Laughter. Celebrations. Tears. Fears.

Because this is the place that made you. These are the streets that tell your stories.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Summer Reading

My To-Read Shelf

I've always been a reader.

As anyone who reads this blog regularly knows, romance novels are my books of choice, but I also love mysteries, post 9/11 CIA spy novels, and I even take the occasional foray into non-fiction, if the subject interests me (and many of them do).

I read all the time. I read my way into the city for work in the morning, and  I read my way home. Sometimes if I'm in the middle of a chapter or right at the end of a book I'll read as I walk the NYC streets from Grand Central Station to work. I read all day on Saturday, stretched out on my family room couch during the winter, and outside in our outdoor oasis when summer comes calling.

And it's not enough for me to just read the books. I have to own them. I am a huge re-reader, so I need to have not just my favorites, but pretty much everything that I have ever read - readily accessible just in case I'm in the mood for it again.

And if I don't have at least five or six books stacked up and waiting to be read, I start to get antsy. 

One of the major benefits of moving to the suburbs is the built in bookshelves that line two entire walls in the family room, and one of the very bottom shelves is designated my "to-read" shelf. I don't - can't - possibly wait until I finish a book to buy my next one. Instead, all I do is go to my to-read shelf and decide what I'm in the mood for.

On any given day there is a mixture of genres and authors just waiting for their chance to be opened. Right now I have, among others, the next five books in J.D. Robb's excellent futuristic "in death" romance/mystery series, a John Grisham book I somehow managed to miss, some Elin Hildrebrand because it's summer and no one writes summer better, and a little non-fiction in the form of The Wolf of Wall Street, the fabulous Nora Ephron anthology, and Bringing In Finn, a beautiful and thoughtful gift that showed up in my mail one day from my fellow blogger and lovely friend Christie Tate.

It's an eclectic mix but well, I'm an eclectic sort of girl.

So if you're looking for me this summer, I'll be the one sitting outside, drink in hand and sunglasses on, surrounded by unread books. And really, there's no better place to be.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Weekend Scenes: A Road Trip, Family, And A Bridal Shower

This past weekend we road tripped back to Maryland where my sisters, my mom and I were hosting a Sunday morning bridal shower for one of my cousins who will be walking down this aisle to marry her man this August.

It was a beautiful weekend capped off by a beautiful morning of women gathered together to shower the bride with wishes for the very best of everything.

And as I stood behind my aunt's living room couch handing off presents to the bride-to-be, I took a long look around. My cousin sitting in her bridal throne next to her mom - my dad's sister. My grandmother sitting quietly in the corner of the room, smiling as she watched her fourth granddaughter open presents. My mom sitting on the couch, laughing with her two sisters. My phone buzzing with text messages from my sisters and some other cousins who couldn't be there in person but wanted a play-by-play of the action. My cousin's fiance coming back at the end of the shower, flowers and stunning necklace in hand. David and my dad chatting as the men returned from their morning exile and the shower drew to a close.

All the most important people in my life in the very same room - in person and in spirit. And I thought, not for the first time, how lucky I am that these people are my people. That I get to have them as family and as friends. That we get to share all of the moments - small and large - that make up our lives.

Mazel tov, J&J. Thanks for finding each other so we could have these weekends together. August can't come soon enough.

Trip down - top down

Vodka bar because, of course


My mom and her sisters

Mom and dad

Party clothes off, getting ready for long drives home

Taking the scenic route home. A little bit of a longer drive, but infinitely worth it.

Friday, June 20, 2014

A Good Morning Laugh

Tuesday night, David was searching for his iced coffee, to no avail.

Wednesday morning when I left for work, I found it on my car.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Date Night As The Sun Sets

Week nights in our house are relatively predictable, and just the way we like them. We both work longish hours, and are rarely home together at the same time before 7:30 at night.

By the time we shuffle home we are tired, hungry, and eager to get out of work clothes and get to the relaxation portion of the day. Luckily, we are both serious TV lovers, so our nights generally involve dinner while watching one or more of our overlapping shows.

Both of our jobs involve a great deal of talking to other people during the day, and at night we are just burned out. A few hours spent together not talking is exactly what we need.

This is how our weeknights have looked for nearly all of the seven years we have been together, and definitely for all of the four years we have been married. It works for us.

But every now and then, a change in pace is just exactly right.

Like last night.

Last night we decided to go out. Yesterday was a ferociously hot day, but last night was a gorgeous night. So we jumped in the car, put the top down and headed to a nearby Westchester town with a strip of restaurants along the Hudson River.

We chose one with seating right on the water, and got our table just as the sun was starting to set. For a few hours we sat and we ate and we talked and we spent a summer night the way that summer nights are meant to be.

Not bad for a random Wednesday. Not bad at all.

View From The Table

Hello GWB

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Summer Days

Morning is my favorite time of day; especially in the summer.

Summer nights have their place too, with their romantic, balmy breezes and sultry heat, but it's the mornings that pull at me. That get me out of bed and outside where the neighborhood is quiet, the sun is already shining, and the long, long day stretches out ahead of me.

Never can I remember a summer I've soaked in quite like this one. Maybe it's because winter in New York was practically apocalyptic, or maybe it's because I had a rough go of it for a few weeks there in the spring, but whatever the reason, I can't seem to get enough of the summer.

Every day when I wake up my back yard beckons me. I've been drinking smoothies and Slurpees constantly. I'm on the hunt for molds to make my own popsicles. My sunglasses have left practically permanent indentations on my nose, and I've been relishing our top-down drives

Usually around the time of our first 90 degree day I find myself counting the minutes until fall comes again, with its cool air and shorter days. But not this year. This year, I am squeezing every bit of heat and light out of summer that I can.

This Saturday is the Summer Solstice - the year's longest day, and once it's over the earth will take its turn back towards the dark. But before that turn is complete there are barbecues and ice cream and pool days to enjoy. There are top down drives, lazy days, outdoor runs and family weekends.

This is summer. And it is everything I need.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Running The Track

When I was growing up, my parents were both long-distance runners. As it sometimes is with parents who love something so fiercely, they tried to get my sisters and me to pick up the sport. The three of us just weren't having it, but that didn't stop my parents from trying.

Four or five times a week my parents would run the streets of Pittsburgh together. But every now and then they would gather my sisters and me up and head to the track at Carnegie Mellon University, just a mile or so from the house where I grew up, and it is there that some of my earliest memories live. We would sit in the bleachers or play on the edge of the football field while my parents circled the track over and over again, urging us to join in for a lap or two every time they passed by. The answer was always a resounding "no."

It took me twenty years to finally realize that my parents were exactly right; running was the sport that fit me like the proverbial glove. I loved the solo hours out on the streets, the exhaustion and elation of a long run, and the triumphant race finishes. I even loved the aching muscles, runs in the freezing cold or sweltering heat, and the equal mix of pain and pleasure that comes with being a runner.

But lately, that has all escaped me. 

For a bunch of reasons, I had to cut way, way back on running for the past few months. As in, for almost four months, I couldn't run at all.

One day I'll tell that story, but that's not the story I'm writing today.

Even once I was given the green light to start running again, I had a really hard time getting back into the swing of things. The runners out there will understand. Starting again after being away for so many months might as well be starting from scratch and well, that just plain sucks. I kept making excuses to cut my runs short or to avoid them completely and do some kind of other exercise instead, but when you're a runner, sometimes no other exercise will suffice. Sometimes you just have to run.

So yesterday. Yesterday morning I woke up and, as per usual, my first thoughts were filled with all the things I had to do instead of running. Obviously something had to be done. So instead of going to the gym or to my regular running path, I decided to try something different. 

I laced up my shoes, headed for the track at the local high school down the street from my house, and ran there. And the run was hard. Really hard. But there was something else too. Circling the track with its familiar red rubber coating, I thought about my parents and the love of running they passed to me, and everything that once attracted me to this mysterious and miraculous sport. 

And for the first time in months, I felt strong. For the first time in months, I ended a run already looking forward to my next one. 

I am a runner.

And I'm out of excuses not to be.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Father's Day 2014

Happy Father's Day

to the very best father of daughters that there is.

We love you!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

From Newtown to Oregon and the Seventy-Four In Between

There was a school shooting in small town outside of Portland, Oregon yesterday. You probably already know that. Or maybe you don't, because there seems to be distressingly little news about it. No special reports on TV. No banner headlines.

Allow me to recap. A 15 year old boy came to school with an AR-15 assault rifle, a paper bag filled with ammunition, and some knives for back-up. He opened fire, killing one student and injuring more before turning his gun on himself.

The scene has become frighteningly familiar. Students and teachers are filmed from a birds-eye view streaming out of the school. Frantic parents huddle nearby, waiting for word on whether their children are alive or dead. At some point we learn how many were killed. The name of the shooter is released and some neighbor or friend of the family remarks on how he was "such a nice boy" and how they "can't imagine how this could have happened."

People on both sides of the gun-control debate dust off their arguments and start yelling while forgetting to listen. And finally, whatever president happens to be in power at the time gives an angry speech about how this can't keep happening.

But the thing is, it does keep happening. As a matter of fact, it has happened approximately 74 times since the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown a mere seventeen months ago. It has happened so many times that, in a horrifying display of capitalism that should make us all want to crawl into bed and pull the covers over our heads, a company decided to cash in on it and create a bullet proof blanket to sell to schools for kids and teachers to use during the massacres.

I wish I could think of something profound to say. Something that adds to the debate in a meaningful way. That will make sense of the reasons why one of the most advanced nations in the world can't get together to pass real laws to prevent the body count from rising even higher than it already has. That will help lessen the fear that parents feel when they send their kids to school and that we now feel when we go to the mall or the movies or any other largely public place where we used to go without wondering whether we would come out alive.

But I've got nothing. Not this time. I am sick and sad and embarrassed to live in country where violence against kids has become so common that it barely rates as news anymore. And I am furious that the people we elect to govern us seem to care more about arguing with each other and pandering to special interests than they do about keeping us safe.

After the Sandy Hook shooting, I had a lot of things to say about gun control, freedom and the law, and I wrote it all down in a post I am particularly proud of, that I am re-posting here. I wrote this piece almost eighteen months ago, but every word still applies.

Nothing has happened. Nothing has been done. People are dying every single day. And we should all be ashamed.

December 17, 2012 
Thoughts On Freedom And Sandy Hook Elementary 
I have so much to say. I don't know what to say. 
These seemingly incongruous thoughts have been the ones rushing through my head at equal turns since I first heard the news on Friday of the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown. My first reaction to the early reports was disbelief. I was sure that the reports - conflicting as they were in those first hours - were mistaken. But as the death toll mounted, and more information was released, it was clear that they were not.
In rapid succession I traveled the stages of grief. For a long while on Friday night, I was stuck in depression. On my way home from work I read articles and looked at pictures of the kids caught in the middle of this terror, and my soul ached for the lives that were taken far before their time. I read testimonials from parents who dropped their kids off at school in the morning, secure in the belief that those kids would be safe. Those parents who spent hours caught in a nightmarish limbo, waiting to see whether their children were alive or dead. And my heart broke - for the parents whose children came back to them, and for the parents whose children never will.
And after depression came anger, and it is there that I stayed, and remain today. Angry at what, exactly, I am not sure. There are so many things. Angry at a God who would wrench the innocence from a school full of children. Angry at the shooter's mother, for teaching her son to love guns. For taking him to the shooting range and for sending the message that guns are toys to enjoy, rather than lethal weapons to fear. Angry at people who saw in the shooter signs of mental illness, yet did nothing. Angry that there are people in this country who believe that the Second Amendment affords them the right to own an assault rifle - a firearm capable of killing hundreds of people in seconds. Angry at the politicians who are too feeble to stand up to the NRA and pass laws to place reasonable restrictions on gun ownership. Angry at those who say that this is an inappropriate time to talk about gun control by spouting a bunch of nonsense about not politicizing a tragedy.
This is the perfect time. And you know when else would have been a perfect time? After thirty-two people were gunned down in 2007 on the Virginia Tech Campus. Or last year after Gabby Giffords was shot in the head - and six people were killed - outside a grocery store in Arizona during a meet and greet. Or after twelve people were killed in Aurora, Colorado this past summer during a midnight showing of Batman. Or after the Kansas City Chiefs linebacker shot and killed his girlfriend and then himself earlier this month. Or after a gunman killed two people during a mass shooting at an Oregon mall just last week. Last. Week. Two mass shootings in a single week.
Honestly, if I hear the phrase "guns don't kill people, people kill people" one more time, I am likely to commit an act of violence myself.
Last week after that Chiefs linebacker shot and killed his girlfriend and then himself NBC's Bob Costas spoke out in favor of gun control. And he was berated for expressing his opinions so soon after the event took place. Well. If a conversation about rational gun control laws in this country is politicizing these unspeakable tragedies, then I say politicize away. That conversation has to start somewhere, sometime, because we can't continue down this path anymore.
Lets start with the facts. An op-ed in Saturday's New York Times laid them out all nice and neat. Countries that have strict gun control laws are safer than the ones that don't. Children aged 5-14 in America are 13 times more likely to be killed by a gun than in any other country in the industrialized world. In the United States, firearms kill one person every twenty minutes, or approximately 30,000 people per year. More Americans die in gun deaths in six months then have died in the last 25 years in every terrorist attack on American soil and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, combined.
So. You want to own guns. You want to hunt, and you want to protect yourself and your family. You want to pass along this heritage to your children. And you believe - and will defend to the literal death - that the Second Amendment affords you this right. And maybe it does. Reasonable minds may differ. But the intent of the founding fathers certainly was not that the citizens of this country arm themselves with assault rifles similar to those used by our soldiers in combat. And to allow those weapons to be purchased without so much as a background check.
I have been a student of Constitutional Law, and time after time my professors drilled into my head the ideology behind individual freedoms, and when it is just and acceptable for limits to be placed on those freedoms. 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 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.
Cars can be dangerous, so state legislatures pass laws to make them safer. There are tests to pass before a drivers license can be issued, seat belt laws, speed limits, and laws prohibiting the use of cell phones while driving. OSHA has five pages of laws relating to the use of ladders. School buildings must meet certain safety codes, and cafeteria food is regulated to reduce the risk of food-borne illness. For heaven's sake, even toy guns are regulated by requiring orange tips, so as not to mistake a toy gun for a real gun. But we can't get together and pass reasonable restrictions on actual gun ownership?
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.
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. But it should be a little harder to get a gun, to reduce the risk of these kinds of mass shootings becoming even more commonplace than they already are. Like instituting waiting periods and background checks. Or restricting the sale of certain kinds of ammunition to reduce the number of people who can be killed with a single cartridge. Or banning assault rifles. These are measures that have already been taken in other countries that have dramatically reduced the volume of gun deaths. It's time to take those steps in this country too.
You want to own guns? Fine. Own them. But you better make damn sure that your freedom to own those guns doesn't infringe on our freedom to stay alive while watching a movie, shopping at a mall, going to school, and walking the streets.
Oh but wait, it already has. Because this morning, as parents all over the country drove their children to school, they did so filled with an unspeakable fear. Fear that their children are no longer safe in the one place they should be the safest. Fear that when they hugged their children goodbye it might be the last time. And you can bet that there are some parents who kept their children home today. Or picked them up early on Friday. And because there are twenty families in a town only forty miles from where I sit right now that are planning funerals for first graders. Planning funerals. For first graders. Let that sink in, and then try and tell me that unlimited gun ownership under the Second Amendment is a freedom to be celebrated.
My heart is aching for the twenty families who lost children, the six other families who lost loved ones, and an entire community that has been ripped apart at the seams. But grief and thoughts and prayers simply are not enough. Not this time. Now is the time for action. For writing our elected representatives to tell them that we have had enough. For pushing back when the NRA touts gun ownership as a reasonable means of protection. For keeping assault rifles out of the hands of anyone who is not a soldier on the front lines defending this country from its enemies.
We will never get all the guns back, but as members of a civilized society, it is time to take action. It is time for change. And it is our patriotic duty as Americans to ensure that change comes sooner, rather than later.
We owe it to those twenty children and their families. We owe it to ourselves and our families.
Now is the time for action.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Summer: A TV Lover's Paradise

iPad. The Good Wife. Dark Room. Summer is awesome.

Once upon a time, TV-land in the summer was a dark and desolate place. 

Every May the shows that I depended on, the ones that kept me company through a long, cold winter, came to an end. For nearly four months every year - the "hot" months, if you will - my DVR was heartbreakingly empty, my channel guide mocking me with its constant scroll of re-runs, news and baseball games.

It was as if the network heads themselves had conspired to force us all off our couches to get us outside to enjoy the season. Never much of an outdoor person unless outdoors includes a lounge-chair, a delicious drink and a book, I was relegated to watching movies and the same episodes of Law & Order: SVU, Criminal Minds, and NCIS over and over again.

It was a sad existence, friends.

But happily, that existence is no more.

Because it seems as though the people who run the networks have finally realized that not everyone has a burning desire to hike and bike and spend their summers baking under the scorching sun. They finally understand that the people who watch TV in the fall and winter watch just as much TV in the summer, it's just that, until the last year or two, there was just nothing in the summer worth watching.

But oh how the times have changed. The past two summers have served up such delicious treats as Mistresses, Under The Dome, The Night Shift, Extreme Weight Loss, Sister Wives and Falling Skies. And we can't forget the summer mainstay The Bachelorette, Jack Bauer's harrowing and illustrious return in 24: Live Another Day, and the brand new and highly anticipated Bachelor in Paradise, ABC's replacement for the beloved and dearly-departed Bachelor Pad.

And if you get sick of waiting a week in between episodes of your favorite shows, you can always do what I did and spend and entire Sunday binge-watching the first eight episodes of Netflix's incredible original series Orange Is The New Black. You might, as I did, end up with some pretty insane nightmares about being a prison inmate and wake up with a major TV hangover, but just stick with it. Any season binge watcher will tell you that it'll all be worth it in the end.

And if none of that strikes your fancy, the advent of Netflix and Hulu Plus means that you can spend an entire summer ensconced in marathons of the TV shows that you always meant to watch but never got around to. For example, a few weeks ago I jumped on The Good Wife bandwagon and have now watched my way through three and a half seasons, with a season and a half left to go. I'm not sure how I missed this one the first time around, but I'm definitely making up for lost time, and am considered a re-watch of all of the seasons of Friday Night Lights to combat my post-Good Wife blues that are sure to settle in once I finish season five.

So TV lovers rejoice! No longer do you have to tag along on those hateful outdoor events that define the summer. You can stay inside, in your air-conditioned living rooms, with snacks at the ready, enjoying everything that TV has to offer. And if you still want a little outdoor time, just do what I do and move your TV watching right outside for the very best of both worlds.

My kind of outdoor summer activity

Just make sure to bring your snacks out with you. That walk from the lounge chair to the kitchen can be awfully taxing.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Warm and Dry Outside In The Rain

You would think that when you build an outdoor oasis you would want it to be sunny outside all the time so you could enjoy it.

You would be wrong.

Because it turns out that there is something more romantic than candle-lit dinners, flowers for no reason at all, romance novels, and even a cleaned off and warmed-up car the morning after a foot of snow.

David and I got home at the very same time on Tuesday evening, parking our cars side-by-side in our driveway in the pouring rain. And instead of going straight inside, David headed for our new outdoor living room. I hesitated, thinking of a ruined bag and water-logged shoes from walking across the grass, but I finally relented, and joined him on the couch.

And for a few minutes before the Jewish holiday of Shavuot began and our night took us over we sat, warm and dry, under our massive umbrella, and listened to the rain falling over our heads.

And it was incredible.

Wishing you a weekend filled with ordinary moments that become something extraordinary.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Outdoor Oasis, Part II

It's no secret if you read this blog that it took me awhile to get used to our new neighborhood after our move to the suburbs a little over a year and a half ago. Part of that was because change has never been particularly easy for me, but what else is new? Mostly, I think the move was hard because of when it was.

We made our move when all of lower Manhattan and our new neighborhood were still dark from Hurricane Sandy, and a mere five days after we settled in it started to snow, and didn't stop until spring. 

It's no wonder that for the first few months I dreamed about staking a For Sale sign in the front yard and hightailing it back to the city.

But the seasons go round and winter didn't last forever and eventually spring came. The weather got warmer and people came out of their hibernation and started walking the streets of my neighborhood, and most importantly, we got to work on building what became our outdoor oasis. David built a new deck, we got a grill, and for the summer, we lived outside. We have barbecues with lots of friends, we ate all our meals on the deck, and spend long, lazy summer afternoons outside with books, snacks, and everything you need to make an outdoor home.

Well, this summer we stepped up our game. 

I think the pictures can do it better justice than I can with words, so I present to you, our outdoor living room, courtesy of David, who always seems to know exactly what we need before I even know that what we need exists in the world:

This is where I spent the entire weekend

When I got tired of reading I watched 5 episodes of The Good Wife
because David extended our wifi to reach the yard

Because it's so cool to lay on a couch outside

View of the back of the house

Still outside when the sun set