Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

christmas time is here...

Not to be a copycat or anything, but I love how my cousin of The Howard Bunch always shares her Christmas card on her here's mine.  (and can I just say how much I LOVE all things Tiny Prints?! Seriously the best thing ever!  They make me want to send personalized cards for every. single. holiday.  Real or imagined.  I may require a second job to justify the added expense, but it would be so worth it!)

*photos from Maui and NYC, 2013

Monday, December 16, 2013

trouble with a capital 't'

I'm sure you're wondering what could possibly be the cause of trouble at this time of year.  The answer, my friends, is simple: holiday baking.  Tis the season to make all kinds of grand and gloriously delectable goodies, and I suddenly have cravings to make one of everything!  Okay, maybe that's a slight exaggeration, but I love the smell of something yummy baking in the oven, and, of course, the added bonus of having said yumminess available for emergency snacking or just because.  This year (in addition to our traditional 7-layer cookies and Christmas morning coffee cake) I want to make a cinnamon roll cake and re-visit a personal fav, cranberry/orange/cornmeal cake.  (The latter is NOT for the faint of heart.  It makes a million and one muffins or a seriously huge cake.)  That's a lot of goodies to have around the house and doesn't exactly aid ones goal of not gaining weight this holiday season.  What to do?!!!!  

(knowing myself as well as I do, I predict I'll do the baking anyway and then find a few unsuspecting passersby (aka friends) to share with.  When the mood strikes, act, right?!  And just think about how happy my taste buds will be.) 

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

the lights of NYC (as seen from the 86th floor)

Happily, my attempt to conquer my fear of heights continued a few days after the trek to Lady Liberty's crown, and we went to the 86th floor of the good 'ole Empire State Building.  We planned to go during daylight hours, however as fate would have it rained all day Thursday so Friday was much busier than we planned.  We were at the Cort Theatre by 10:00 to buy rush tickets for No Man's Land, walked to Rockefeller Plaza, St. Patrick's Cathedral, met my godmother and family for lunch, saw the Rockettes show, and then made our way to the ESB to (finally!) make this happen.  I fully intended to stay inside the viewing area and not venture outside, however the construction was so well done I felt remarkably secure. (the picture below may tell a slightly different story!)  I was okay walking around the perimeter and taking in the gorgeous view of my favorite part of NYC: the lights. Seeing the Chrysler Building from this view at night was breathtaking.  So was the Brooklyn Bridge.  And the ice rink, parks, Met Life Building, and lights!  Lights everywhere!  I'm so glad I didn't allow fear to hold me back and saw this for myself.

Aside from the fact it was freezing, I look a little unsure about standing this close to the edge...

thought of the morning

Friday, November 15, 2013

poem for the ages

No matter how many times I read this, I never tire of these beautiful words.  Especially the part about "huddled masses yearning to breathe free."

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
"Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she
With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!

Or this awe-inspiring view. Sometimes I wonder if I would have the courage to start over in a foreign land and how it would feel to see this beacon of hope for the first time.

my date with liberty (otherwise known as how to climb a corkscrew)

Heights and I DO NOT get along.  I've made it a point throughout my entire life to avoid these extremes and have gladly kept my feet on the ground while family and friends have reached for the stars.  (Fortunately for me, they've shared their fabulous photos of trips to the top of the Eiffel Tower, Rockefeller Plaza, etc, etc!)  That said, I've missed out on some incredible views and several months ago decided to take the plunge: purchase crown access tickets to the Statue of Liberty!  I've been to Liberty Island twice, however both times I've only gone up as far as the pedestal.  This time around my dad and brother wanted to go all the way, and since it was only an extra $3 I figured I could back out at the last minute with minimal financial damage.  :-)

Finally, the day came.  It was a sunny Tuesday morning, and I was determined to finish the day knowing I had conquered this fear.  I even decided to disclose my ambition to the world and posted the following on Facebook - Today's objective: conquer extreme dislike of heights and climb to the top of Lady Liberty. Everything went smoothly, and when we climbed to the pedestal I made it a point to NOT look up. I knew if I saw how far it was to the top I would lose my resolve and all would be lost.

After walking around the base of the lovely lady and taking several photos, it was time.  We showed our crown reservation wristbands to the park ranger on duty, and he slowly and very deliberately gave us the following instructions: take your time, watch your head, and use the handrails.  I remember thinking that sounded a little odd.  I mean, really, what's so hard about climbing a few hundred stairs?  There were over one hundred to get to the pedestal, and I wasn't too out of breath after that set so I wasn't very concerned. Now, have you see this page?  I swear I read the info about how to book tickets, locker requirements, number of steps, etc, but somehow I have absolutely no recollection about this staircase.  Double helix? What the heck is that?  Well, it took about ninety seconds to figure out, and let me tell you, I was having some serious second thoughts about this expedition.  The stairs were steep, staircase dark, and handrails were an absolute must.  About halfway up we stopped for a little meeting and the discussion began.  "Do you think we should continue?"  "I'm freaking out." "I'm not too sure about this."  "Can we go down the up?" You get the idea.  I was already feeling very out of my element and wasn't too sure how stable this staircase really was.  I honestly didn't think I could do it and didn't really care if it was against the rules to go down the wrong way.  Not to mention how foolish I might look.  Did. Not. Matter.  Fortunately, about this time, Adam decided he had come all this way and was going to make it to the top.  He grabbed hold of the handrail and went for it.  His action gave me the courage to continue, and Dad followed suit.  Something about all these stairs reminded Dad of a song he sang on long car trips as a child: 99 bottles of beer on the wall / 99 bottles of beer / take one down and pass it around / 98 bottles of beer on the wall.  Well, as a joke he started singing it, I picked it up, and crazy as it sounds that song was my lifesaver. It distracted me long enough to not think about how high up I really was (and how there was nothing on the other side of the barrier) and let me focus on the lyrics (which I usually mess up).  The next thing I knew I was there!!!

Proof I did indeed make it to the top.  (I look so proud of myself. :-/)

Unfortunately, the view left much to be desired. Yes, you could see part of the harbor, but it wasn't the pretty part, and in order to see the torch and tablet you had to literally get down on your knees to see out those windows.  For someone already sure the catwalk she was standing on was unstable, the idea of bending way over wasn't exactly the best idea. :-)  We stayed in the crown area for several minutes (I may or may not have hung onto a supporting beam for dear life) and chatted with the two park rangers stationed at the top.  When two other brave souls arrived for their moment of glory in the crown we decided it was time to go down. I honestly thought this part would be easier, but it was WORSE!  Not only was the incline extremely steep, but you couldn't see the steps. I gripped both handrails and felt my way down hoping I could correctly judge where the next step was.  Arriving at the pedestal level was the best feeling ever.  The three of us walked outside for some fresh air and congratulated ourselves on this seriously amazing accomplishment.  I did it -- and survived with quite the story to tell -- but who knew the experience would be so crazy!

Looking up

Looking down (this was the section that actually had lights)

Thursday, November 14, 2013

meet charlie

This is Charlie.  We met him on chilly fall morning in New York City when we decided to enjoy breakfast in Central Park.  There we were seated on a park bench eating bagels and drinking coffee (well, two of us were enjoying coffee -- Dad had hot chocolate.) when we noticed a lady walking a very cute dog.  The next thing we knew, this little guy planted himself right in front of me and started making doe eyes at my bagel. Obviously, I'm not about to give human food to an unknown canine so the three of us made small talk and engaged in a rather one sided conversation with Charlie while his doggie mama made little to no attempt to move him along and continued her phone conversation right in front of us!  So there we are awkwardly trying not to eavesdrop on what was clearly a business call while Charlie watches us eat.  The woman apologized a couple of times and told the person on the other end of the phone that her dog was, "begging food from some people in the park," but she still didn't try to move him along.  When she eventually off the phone she apologized again and explained that while Charlie had eaten breakfast, food was his weakness.  Duh!!! I think he liked us because he still wouldn't move when his mama tugged on his leash and suggested they continue their walk.  You can tell who rules the roost in that household!

(Charlie & Mama eventually moved on and only made it to the next bench before the little canine found someone else with food.  What can I say, the guy thinks with his stomach!)

This is a not-so-flattering picture of us with Charlie

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Monday, November 11, 2013

ellis island and a used bookstore in greenwich

I am finally the proud owner of this book!  

I first became aware of Wilkes work several years ago.  I was fascinated with the idea of photographing the buildings of Ellis Island as they are today: dilapidated, forgotten, and yet, hauntingly beautiful. At the time, Ghosts of Freedom retailed for $60.  Then it went out of print, and the cheapest I could find it for on line was $100!  Well, much as I wanted to add this to my collection, I'm not wasting a perfectly good Ben Franklin on a book that probably isn't worth that much, no matter how amazing the photography.  :-)   During my most recent trip to visit Lady Liberty I noticed they were selling it in the gift shop, but again, it was $100.  Fast forward two days and we were traipsing through Greenwich Village (in the rain no less) looking for a used bookstore so my brother could buy a book on NY art deco for Le Girlfriend.  A friend of his recommended a specific store, and let me tell you, it was quite the find.  It was cramped, a bit dark, and seriously smelled like old books.  The storekeeper was not the most friendly individual I've ever met and pretty much ignored us the entire time we were there. So much for the iconic NYC used bookstore experience depicted in the movies.  Anyway, after doing a little browsing myself, I sat down to wait for my brother to make his selection, and it was then I saw it.  Wilkes book was sitting right there in front of me.  I may or may not have done an internal happy dance when I saw it was only $35!!! Naturally, I bought it...on the day we walked 42 blocks to Grand Central the rain.  (We won't even talk about the shenanigans I went through to get it home in a suitcase with my other literary finds. Thank God for brothers who pack light.) 

Monday, October 21, 2013

Friday, October 4, 2013

all the single ladies

In what is sure to be a random collection of thoughts and ideas, many of which will bear no relation to each other, I've decided to spend a few minutes writing about a movie I genuinely adore.  As you may or may not know, I am a HUGE Jane Austen fan.  It all started with Pride and Prejudice (Colin Firth's version, of course) and went downhill from there.  I've read the books, seen my favorite movies and mini-series countless times, and, in my true-to-self fashion, have a opinion about them all.  Pride and Prejudice remains my favorite of the Austen classics, however the other night I re-visited Persuasion.  I actually haven't watched this movie since I was a young teenager, and my recollections of that experience aren't particularly memorable.  I thought the story was boring, slow, and our protagonist, Anne Elliot, came across as understated and sub-par when compared to Austen's other heroines such as Lizzie Bennett or Emma Woodhouse.  (add actors Colin Firth and Jeremy Northam to the mix, and you have a match made in heaven. Yes, I may be swooning about now...)

Ciaran Hinds as Captain Wentworth & Amanda Root as Anne Elliot

Fast forward fifteen years, and my reaction was, " different. In fact, it's quite the opposite."  (yes, I'm now inserting P&P quotes...) I would liken the experience to seeing an old friend after a lengthy absence.  We didn't exactly pick up where we left off, but there was a familiarity that made it easy to jump back in and accept each other as we are now.  What made it different?  Age, life experience, and maybe a little more maturity. I now know what it's like to be older and still unmarried.  I've lost a loved one.  And even though Anne isn't the eldest of the three daughters, she certainly carries that responsibility, and I get that too.  Then there's the romantic aspect, the idea of waiting for true love, and hoping against hope that one day you too will fall head over heels.

In all honesty, I was surprised how closely I identified with Austen's understated, yet oh so magnificent heroine (played in 1995 by the incomparable Amanda Root).  So much of Austen's subtext and gentle undercurrents jumped out at me in a new way.  Take this seemingly random, meaningless exchange between Anne and her sister, Mary, for example.  Here, Anne comes to visit her nervous, fretful (married) younger sister after their father's financial irresponsibility forced them to rent out their family home and move to another part of the county. Because Anne is perceived as boring and quiet it is assumed she would not want to insert herself in new social scene, and therefore is the logical person to stay behind and see their new tenants are comfortably settled and then visit Mary.

Mary Musgrove: Anne, why could you not have come sooner?
Anne Elliot: My dear Mary, I really have had so much to do.
Mary Musgrove: Do? What can you possibly have had to do?
Anne Elliot: A great many things I assure you.
Mary Musgrove: Well. Dear me.

Maybe you're reading this and thinking, huh?  What does that have to do with you?  Simply put, because sometimes I feel like Anne.  Now, I know I don't live in the 1800s or have horrid sisters, but I do know what it's like to have people assume I have nothing important to do because I'm not fulfilling a 'traditional' role of wife or mother.  Sometimes it feels like us single girls (and guys too) are lost in the shuffle, and all too often, people assume the attitude of Mary Musgrove.  For the life of her she can't understand why her unmarried sister could not have visited sooner.  After all, Mary is 'ailing' and needs her sister to tend to the daily chores and childcare so she can get out of the house. Think, "Fetch me my smelling salts whilst I faint," and you get the idea. Somehow in the course of this familial visit, Anne becomes a nursemaid, psychiatrist, surrogate mother, confident to every person within walking distance, and I wouldn't be surprised if some housework was thrown into the mix. And why shouldn't she since she has nothing else to do.  As those of singles know, this idea couldn't be further from the truth.  Even if we aren't taking care of a family or cooking meals for the hubby, we are often engaged in some sort of caretaker role whether that be for ourselves or others and still have to cook, clean, do laundry, and run errands like everyone else.

I'm not sure why this hit me so strongly, except that this came up in a recent conversation with a friend and the what-do-I-do-with-my-life question has been on the brain.  It seems everywhere I look someone is posting an article about being a working mother or the art of homemaking or why they chose not to have children, etc, etc, etc.  The comments I read about being single are usually negative and blow off this season as a whirlwind of frivolous clubbing and one night stands. I'm not saying there's anything wrong with being a working mom or staying at home with the children, but it just seems to me that our society is paying so much attention to this side of life and neglecting the area of responsible singleness that many in our generation face.  Economic hardship has, in a manner of speaking, forced us to stay at home longer or pushed the so-called American dream farther and farther out of reach.  People assume that because we still live at home or don't have children or are unmarried, that means our lives are free of responsibility, because, like Anne Elliot, we must have nothing to do.  (I warned you this would be random!)  

I know I'm not a particularly witty or engaging writer, and I don't think I'm saying this very well.  However, when I decided I wanted to blog on a more regular basis, I promised myself I wouldn't hold back because my writing wasn't perfect or my ideas were irrelevant. Maybe they'll mean something and maybe they won't.
Either way, I like the idea of sending these thoughts into the cosmic void, and while I could revise this for the next several weeks, I'm not going to.  I'll post this, written as I am today, no matter how random or disjointed these paragraphs may be.

So, before I climb off my soapbox and take my head out of the clouds, let me simply say that as much as I love the romantic side of Persuasion (and believe me, I do!), I think there's more to Jane Austen than meets the eye. Her writing speaks to the individual on many levels, and I'm sure I have barely scratched the surface to the subtly and nuances present within her writing.

And with that, I think I'll go watch the ending.  Again.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Friday, September 20, 2013


I woke up early this morning and had one of those I-can't-remember-what-day-it-is moments. Then I remembered it's Friday, AND I'm working from home today.  It was enough to make me smile...before I went back to sleep that is. :-)  Hooray for simple pleasures!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

talk about the destination wedding

On our last day in Maui my dad, aunt, and I drove to the Grand Wailea (a Waldorf-Astoria hotel for those of you in the know) so I could see where my cousin was married.  The grounds were expansive, gorgeously kept, and so very Hawaii.  After hearing about this place for years, it was such a thrill to FINALLY see it firsthand.  I'm not big on the idea of destination weddings since they tend to exclude those who can't afford the plane ticket, however I can see why this was the perfect location to tie the knot.

And, just for fun, here are some of my favorite photos from our visit:

Who wouldn't want to get married in this cute chapel?

Walking into the lobby

Monet's waterlilies are among my favorite works of art, so I couldn't resist this photo-op

Monday, September 16, 2013

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Thursday, August 22, 2013

how to spot an introvert

Great article via the Huffington Post.  I can't believe how many of these I identify with.  Not that I didn't already know I was an introvert, but this proves it.


Think you can spot an introvert in a crowd? Think again. Although the stereotypical introvert may be the one at the party who's hanging out alone by the food table fiddling with an iPhone, the "social butterfly" can just as easily have an introverted personality.
"Spotting the introvert can be harder than finding Waldo," Sophia Dembling, author of "The Introvert's Way: Living a Quiet Life in a Noisy World," tells The Huffington Post. "A lot of introverts can pass as extroverts."
People are frequently unaware that they’re introverts -– especially if they’re not shy -- because they may not realize that being an introvert is about more than just cultivating time alone. Instead, it can be more instructive to pay attention to whether they're losing or gaining energy from being around others, even if the company of friends gives them pleasure.
“Introversion is a basic temperament, so the social aspect -- which is what people focus on -- is really a small part of being an introvert," Dr. Marti Olsen Laney, psychotherapist and author of "The Introvert Advantage," said in a Mensa discussion. "It affects everything in your life.”
Despite the growing conversation around introversion, it remains a frequently misunderstood personality trait. As recently as 2010, the American Psychiatric Association even considered classifying "introverted personality" as a disorder by listing it in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-5), a manual used to diagnose mental illness.
But more and more introverts are speaking out about what it really means to be a "quiet" type. Not sure if you're an innie or an outie? See if any of these 23 telltale signs of introversion apply to you.
1. You find small talk incredibly cumbersome.
Introverts are notoriously small talk-phobic, as they find idle chatter to be a source of anxiety, or at least annoyance. For many quiet types, chitchat can feel disingenuous.
“Let's clear one thing up: Introverts do not hate small talk because we dislike people," Laurie Helgoe writes in "Introvert Power: Why Your Inner Life Is Your Hidden Strength." "We hate small talk because we hate the barrier it creates between people.”
2. You go to parties -– but not to meet people.
If you're an introvert, you may sometimes enjoy going to parties, but chances are, you're not going because you're excited to meet new people. At a party, most introverts would rather spend time with people they already know and feel comfortable around. If you happen to meet a new person that you connect with, great -- but meeting people is rarely the goal.
3. You often feel alone in a crowd.
Ever feel like an outsider in the middle of social gatherings and group activities, even with people you know?
"If you tend to find yourself feeling alone in a crowd, you might be an introvert," says Dembling. "We might let friends or activities pick us, rather than extending our own invitations."
4. Networking makes you feel like a phony.
Networking (read: small-talk with the end goal of advancing your career) can feel particularly disingenuous for introverts, who crave authenticity in their interactions.
"Networking is stressful if we do it in the ways that are stressful to us," Dembling says, advising introverts to network in small, intimate groups rather than at large mixers.
5. You've been called "too intense."
book nietzsche
Do you have a penchant for philosophical conversations and a love of thought-provoking books and movies? If so, you're a textbook introvert.
"Introverts like to jump into the deep end," says Dembling.
6. You're easily distracted.
While extroverts tend to get bored easily when they don't have enough to do, introverts have the opposite problem -- they get easily distracted and overwhelmed in environments with an excess of stimulation.
"Extroverts are commonly found to be more easily bored than introverts on monotonous tasks, probably because they require and thrive on high levels of stimulation," Clark University researchers wrote in a paper published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. "In contrast, introverts are more easily distracted than extroverts and, hence, prefer relatively unstimulating environments."
7. Downtime doesn’t feel unproductive to you.
home lounging coffee
One of the most fundamental characteristics of introverts is that they need time alone to recharge their batteries. Whereas an extrovert might get bored or antsy spending a day at home alone with tea and a stack of magazines, this sort of down time feels necessary and satisfying to an introvert.
8. Giving a talk in front of 500 people is less stressful than having to mingle with those people afterwards.
Introverts can be excellent leaders and public speakers -- and although they're stereotyped as being the shrinking violet, they don't necessarily shy away from the spotlight. Performers like Lady Gaga, Christina Aguilera and Emma Watson allidentify as introverts, and an estimated 40 percent of CEOs have introverted personalities. Instead, an introvert might struggle more with meeting and greeting large groups of people on an individual basis.
9. When you get on the subway, you sit at the end of the bench -– not in the middle.
sitting alone subway
Whenever possible, introverts tend to avoid being surrounded by people on all sides.
"We're likely to sit in places where we can get away when we're ready to -- easily," says Dembling. "When I go to the theater, I want the aisle seat or the back seat."
10. You start to shut down after you’ve been active for too long.
Do you start to get tired and unresponsive after you've been out and about for too long? It's likely because you’re trying to conserve energy. Everything introverts do in the outside world causes them to expend energy, after which they'll need to go back and replenish their stores in a quiet environment, says Dembling. Short of a quiet place to go, many introverts will resort to zoning out.
11. You're in a relationship with an extrovert.
couple having fun
It's true that opposites attract, and introverts frequently gravitate towards outgoing extroverts who encourage them to have fun and not take themselves too seriously.
"Introverts are sometimes drawn to extroverts because they like being able to ride their 'fun bubble,'" Dembling says.
12. You'd rather be an expert at one thing than try to do everything.
The dominant brain pathways introverts use is one that allows you to focus and think about things for a while, so they’re geared toward intense study and developing expertise, according to Olsen Laney.
13. You actively avoid any shows that might involve audience participation.
Because really, is anything more terrifying?
14. You screen all your calls -- even from friends.
iphone finger
You may not pick up your phone even from people you like, but you’ll call them back as soon as you’re mentally prepared and have gathered the energy for the conversation.
"To me, a ringing phone is like having somebody jump out of a closet and go 'BOO!,'" says Dembling. "I do like having a long, nice phone call with a friend -- as long as it's not jumping out of the sky at me."
15. You notice details that others don't.
The upside of being overwhelmed by too much stimuli is that introverts often have a keen eye for detail, noticing things that may escape others around them. Researchhas found that introverts exhibit increased brain activity when processing visual information, as compared to extroverts.
16. You have a constantly running inner monologue.
business social media
“Extroverts don’t have the same internal talking as we do,” says Olsen Laney. “Most introverts need to think first and talk later."
17. You have low blood pressure.
2006 Japanese study found that introverts tend to have lower blood pressure than their extroverted counterparts.
18. You’ve been called an “old soul” -– since your 20s.
lost in thought
Introverts observe and take in a lot of information, and they think before they speak, leading them to appear wise to others.
"Introverts tend to think hard and be analytical," says Dembling. "That can make them seem wise."
19. You don't feel "high" from your surroundings
concert crowd
Neurochemically speaking, things like huge parties just aren’t your thing. Extroverts and introverts differ significantly in how their brains process experiences through "reward" centers.
Researchers demonstrated this phenomenon by giving Ritalin -- the ADHD drug that stimulates dopamine production in the brain -- to introverted and extroverted college students. They found that extroverts were more likely to associate the feeling of euphoria achieved by the rush of dopamine with the environment they were in. Introverts, by contrast, did not connect the feeling of reward to their surroundings. The study "suggests that introverts have a fundamental difference in how strongly they process rewards from their environment, with the brains of introverts weighing internal cues more strongly than external motivational and reward cues," explained LiveScience's Tia Ghose.
20. You look at the big picture.
When describing the way that introverts think, Jung explained that they're more interested in ideas and the big picture rather than facts and details. Of course, many introverts excel in detail-oriented tasks -- but they often have a mind for more abstract concepts as well.
"Introverts do really enjoy abstract discussion," says Dembling.
21. You’ve been told to “come out of your shell.”
introverts class participation
Many introverted children come to believe that there's something "wrong" with them if they're naturally less outspoken and assertive than their peers. Introverted adults often say that as children, they were told to come out of their shells or participate more in class.
22. You’re a writer.
Introverts are often better at communicating in writing than in person, and many are drawn to the solitary, creative profession of writing. Most introverts -- like "Harry Potter" author J.K. Rowling -- say that they feel most creatively charged when they have time to be alone with their thoughts.
23. You alternate between phases of work and solitude, and periods of social activity.
Introverts can move around their introverted “set point” which determines how they need to balance solitude with social activity. But when they move too much -- possibly by over-exerting themselves with too much socializing and busyness -- they get stressed and need to come back to themselves, according Olsen Laney. This may manifest as going through periods of heightened social activity, and then balancing it out with a period of inwardness and solitude.
"There's a recovery point that seems to be correlated with how much interaction you've done," says Dembling. "We all have our own private cycles."

Monday, August 19, 2013

pardon the mess

I seem to be craving simplicity in my life and thought it was about time my blog reflected the sentiment. :-) So, here's the new and improved 'do.'  Now, I wish I was all technologically savvy and could truly customize the design like others I know, but sadly I lack the essential talent needed to make this happen. (translation: I don't really care how to manipulate these pages and therefore never take the time to learn nor do I want to start from scratch)  So, until I figure out how to change the fonts, sizes, etc, and truly make this my own, please pardon the mess.

(In other news, is anyone else as excited as I am to see the first family photos of the wee prince?!!!!!  Yes, I am a little royal crazy. )

just do it

A dear friend posted this link on Facebook the other day and it made me realize how I've come to embrace this idea of using special items now.  The idea of not saving things for special occasions really hit home after my mother passed away.  For most of my life, I was a I'm-going-to-wait-for-the-perfect-moment-to-use-that kind of girl, and consequently, have missed out on exotic chocolates and fun candles because they lost their scent (or taste!) before I could enjoy them. I have tucked special items in a drawer with the intent of pulling them out "at the right time" only to forget about them altogether. Or promised to do things with friends and through a series of unfortunate events had to scrap said plans because life got in the way.  Then one day I had an epiphany, though I didn't recognize it at the time.  Three weeks before my mother was diagnosed with cancer we finally did something we had been talking about for years.  And I mean YEARS.  Yes, it was fun and spontaneous, but it wasn't until later I realized just how precious that memory had become. I was also a little sad we didn't do it earlier. I've always endeavored to not live with regret, no matter how large or small.  So, if I'm going to spend the money to travel I might as well make the most of the experience.  And if something costs a little bit more money so what?  Who knows when (or if) I'll be back.  If someone gives me a gift certificate and I know how I want to use, then why wait six months to make the purchase? This sentiment is neither profound or new, but it has changed how I live my life. When I knew I wanted to use my dad's Christmas money for that longed for iPad, I bought it.  :-)  When someone suggests going out for frozen yogurt or another food related excursion (as often happens in my home) I'm more open to the idea. (I'm trying to not count calories quite as much...)  If I randomly decide I'd like to go ice skating or to the Getty I actually go.  I'm definitely a work in progress and still feel the pull of never-ending household chores, work projects, closets I really ought to clean, errands that need to be run, etc, etc, etc.  But when I'm completely burnt out by life's mundane details something usually reminds me to cherish every moment and make each day count.  Today, that reminder was Natalie's very timely article.

After all, why put off til tomorrow what you can do today.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

thought of the day

On days when the world mourns the loss of a 'celebrity,' my thoughts turn to the countless others who passed away on the same day, quietly mourned by family and loved ones, and who may have, in their own special way, touched more people than the public figure the worlds turns its attention towards.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

how do you keep the music playing

"Where words fail, music speaks."  -Hans Christian Andersen

Every so often a piece of music comes along that speaks directly to my soul.  It quietly captures the nuances of my heart and somehow becomes an audible outpouring of the jumble of emotion and (occasional!) craziness I feel inside.  Music has always been a powerful influence in my life, moving me when words fail to do so.  Song lyrics speak to me from my happy-go-lucky moods, to my darkest moments, to anywhere in between.  And just as I can usually remember what I was wearing during key (and as my family likes to remind me, not so key) moments in my life, I also can mark milestones by what song came to the fore during that time.

By now you probably get the idea, and I won't bore you with further attempts at poetic ramblings about how music transcends the mind and personifies the soul. :-)  What prompted this post was rediscovering a piece of music from the movie Pearl Harbor.  I confess I've never seen the film, however Hans Zimmer wrote a masterpiece of a score that I never tire of hearing.  I've included a link to my favorite track entitled "Tennessee" below in case you care to sample the current state of my psyche.

"Music...will help dissolve your perplexities and purify your character and sensibilities, and in time of care and sorrow, will keep a fountain of joy alive in you." -Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Saturday, May 11, 2013


I was twenty-eight when I said goodbye to my mother for the last time. I held her hand and watched her take her last breath. I felt like I must have said I love you a million times; in reality, I probably said it once or twice. That moment is forever etched in my mind and is not one I willingly dwell on.  And understandably so, because that memory carries the echo of shattered dreams and an uncertain future.  Everything I knew to be certain about my life was replaced by a question mark.  It was also the moment I grew up.  All illusions of childhood innocence were gone.  Sure, we think ourselves as grown up and independent, but when the person you relied on more than anyone else is gone, the umbilical cord is broken and we’re truly, finally on our own.  I tell myself how fortunate I was to have twenty-eight years with the world’s best mama, that others only had one year or twelve, and some never met the person who gave them life.  But these sentiments, although they come from a good place, provide very little comfort.  Instead, they remind me of the experiences I’ll recall without Mother at my side.  Memories like weddings, grandchildren, holidays, travel adventures…but mostly, it’s the little things I miss more than anything.  I miss impromptu dinners or shopping trips, spa days, little encouraging cards or e-mails, small gestures to say I’m thinking of you. I miss buying gifts for her and hearing her say I love you.  No relationship is perfect and there were times when we personified the tempestuous mother/daughter stereotype.  Yet, like so many others, I would gladly trade this future for one with my mother, even if it includes stubborn disagreements and a frustration or two. 

It’s been fifteen months since my mother passed away, and I’m still not sure what a future without her looks like. Some days I’m okay with this reality and some days it feels like hell.  What I do know is I want to make her proud. I don’t want to live with regret.  I want to cherish the moments of joy and learn to laugh at myself. I want to take chances and not be afraid to venture into the unknown.  I want memory making to be a priority because that’s what life is made of.  In the words of the brilliant Marvin Hamlish, “So it’s the laughter / we will remember / when we remember the way we were.”  So, Happy Mother's Day to my mama. Even though she's no longer on this earth, I continue to honor the woman she was and pray I carry on her legacy of goodness, compassion, generosity, and love. She is truly the best person I've ever known, and I will never, ever stop loving her.  XO.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

quote wall

you cannot find peace by avoiding life, Leonard.
-the hours

This movie gets to me every time.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

what saturday morning looks like

I decided I was desperately in need of a lazy Saturday morning.  Instead of rushing around and tackling my ever increasing to-do list, I bought myself a coffee and a muffin from my new favorite coffee establishment, grabbed my journal and computer, and caught up on the one TV show I actually watch. It was quite spontaneous and quite wonderful.