Please check out my new blog here! http://realtismoi.wordpress.com.
Please check out my new blog here! http://realtismoi.wordpress.com.
On June 21, 2000 I was walking home from work around 6PM. As was my habit, I called my dad and we had a chat as I walked home. He asked how my day was. At the time I was working at a very fun online hip hop company. Very fun except that we realized we had no business model and no chance of survival on our own, so one year after graduating from business school I was likely to be out of a job. I had more than $90,000 of graduate school debt so living without a job in NYC was not a fun prospect.
I was stressed...STRESSED! What was I going to do? The bubble was bursting. My world was going up in flames.
So that is what I told my dad. At 28 years old with a degree from Harvard Business School, my life was in tatters and ruins.
The I asked "So, how are you?" and he said:
"Today was a good day. I took a walk around the block."
He had cancer at the time. Treatment was terrible and going for a walk was a big deal. How's that for perspective.
We got off the phone and I got to thinking. Whenever people asked how my dad was doing they always asked "How is his spirit?" I suppose this is a relevant question for a priest but you hear it all the time. People are sick. How are their spirits? Spirit matters. Spirit keeps people positive. Spirit keeps you moving in the right direction. Don't forget about your spirit.
At the time, coincidentally (but maybe not really coincindentally...), I was standing in front of the Rising Dragon tattoo parlor on 23rd street. So I walked in and said "I would like a tattoo that says spirit."
So right then and there, I branded myself for good with a symbol to always remember my inner being. Ironically, I forget it's there at times (back right hip). My daughter asked me about it the other day. And after telling her "No way on earth will you even CONSIDER getting one before you are 21!" I told her I got it because my dad told me to.
He saw it a few weeks after I got it, and after the shock and awe wore off, he decided he kind of liked it.
I am looking for a clever, punchy last sentence here but am coming up short. What I will say is, that was $55.00 well spent.
I like lists. I LIVE for lists. Most of my lists are in Excel. I also live for Excel. Recently I came across an old Excel file that had notes on things I'd experienced that were BIG. We are talking major sensations. Memories. Things you re-tell at a bar over a great bottle of wine. Some of which I never want to experience again, and others which I hope to get to again. Here is what I found:
I write this blog because I have a terrible memory. A memory so bad, I forget to write this blog.
My memory was not always this bad. It's gotten worse with age, kids, the onset of technology that does everything for us (who needs to remember directions when your phone tells you where to go). But what I don't want to forget are those moments with family that mean so much, and that kids will ask about later. I always get nostalgic this time of year (you know, THE DAD THING) and today is no exception. Recently, I've started a new project with my mother emailing her random questions about her life (favorite sandwich as a kid; first time she had pizza; why she took flamenco and when she has spare time, she replies. It's magical. She gets a kick out of the prompt and inevitably writes about more than I asked. Nostalgic fun.
However. She cannot seem to remember much about when my sister and I were kids. What her daily life was like. Was it really THAT bad? Has it been blocked out? Perhaps. Not wanting to follow a similar fate, I shall start there. When my kids ask me "What was your typical day like" I would like to have an answer because frankly, it's been nuts lately. And when my husband and I are old I would like some proof that we did all we could (so they will take pity on us and move us to a luxurious island). So here is what the days have been like:
Midnight - been sleeping for maybe 30 minutes; a child wakes and cries, the other walks into our room to tell us he's crying. We debate the Cry It Out strategy, tell ourselves we won't do it because of neighbors, cave, snuggle baby and drop him into the crib back to sleep. Who cares that the doc says he should be sleeping through the night.
4:41AM - damn it, I care that the doctor says he should be sleeping through the night...seriously, awake again? Fine, I cave again. He goes back to sleep.
6:30AM - I start hitting snooze. I am not and fear I never will be a morning person.
7AM - Floppy haired child "Want my milk." (someone else is not a morning person) "I barely understand you when you don't say Please" "Please can I have my milk?" Really, who needs an alarm clock with a soothing wake up like that.
The next hour is a blur. Showers; hair; makeup; did you go potty; finish packing lunches; where are my shoes; "Can I take my rocking horse to school?" "No." "But I really want to take my rocking horse to school!" "Still no"; download NYTimes; grab pumping accessories (men, if this is TMI, too bad. welcome to what women deal with); is that rollup fruit snack really THAT bad for her breakfast? oh wait, the baby! he needs socks. toss him in the bucket. avery grab your bag. no I cannot carry it. lock the house. I forgot my phone. do we each have a kid? I'm going to be late for a call! meet me at the subway. drop off kid. two kisses. ok a super arm hug fly baby kiss with sparkles.
Ice coffee. Subway. Hi again, honey. We missed the good train.
8:45 - 9:15 AHHHH, work. You know how this goes... calls/ meetings/ analysis/ pump/ fret/ calls/ emails/ guilty no time for pumping/ call/ meeting and then....my god it's 5:16PM and if we don't get kids by 6PM they charge $2.00 a minute (True. Not my typical hyperbole).
RUN to subway. Hit people in the way. Be "THAT PERSON" moving others along. Down the stairs, through the turnstile, round the corner, up the stairs, across the platform, down the stairs and if I am LUCKY, the train.
5:50PM Brooklyn! Grab kids in nick of time. Yes we can go get a smoothie. Please do not run too far I have your brother and cannot chase you. Time for home - THIS way. Hold my hand please. Schlep 4 bags 2 kids and a stroller upstairs. Try not to rip one pair of pants that look good post-pregnancy. Into the house. Dinner for older child, bathe younger child, TV for older child (don't judge, you know you do it), feed younger child, younger child to bed, bathe older child (a moment of peace as she now seems to need "alone time" in her bath), books, milk, bed. and by now it's 8:30PM.
Oh it's so great to sit down...but wait! Start packing lunches, fold laundry, open mail, check email, finish incomplete work task, respond to work emails that came in starting at 6PM...
We forgot to eat dinner....10PM or later.
There you have it. Sound familiar? Conclusions:
1. It's "constant" is a phrase you hear over and over with kids
2. HOW do people do it with more than two kids and careers, etc.?
3. Thank goodness for a good husband. This is my day OR his day. We share.
And you know what is really interesting...I love it. When traveling for work, which is not infrequent, I miss it. The lunches, the conversation, the singing with Avery while she is in the bath, the new sounds Aiden makes, the reflections we discuss on the day and the two teeth. With both kids I missed the first teeth. Someone else pointed them out to me - I think I was gone when they emerged both times.
It's all so worth remembering. It goes too fast. So write it down and cherish it, every little morsel.
I am not a morning person.
That said, last night I went to sleep excited for today. And today is basically a work day. What a nice thing that is!
But I still struggle in the morning. So here is what eases the "open your eyes and get out of bed" pain:
And recently, the morning is all about flowers. I walk through what little remains of the flower district on my way to work. The un-vased flowers are all bound together in heaping bundles of like colors, contained in brown paper. And they are just gorgeous. Take a look at the pic below.
Still not a morning person, but not a grump. How do you start your day? What are a few of your favorite things?
Has it really been since March?
The days are long but the months are short.
Notes on today:
A Dora bandaid on my ankle
Two sleeping kids. Two.
A barking dog. Not ours.
Two cats lazing about.
Fresh tomatoes from our backyard...thanks to my husband.
Back to work yesterday, and that went fine.
Lots of thoughts and reflections on maternity leave. Will post later.
Delicious fancy tuna salad eaten in front of the open fridge at 11:30pm.
About four books being read simultaneously...two of which are pretty compelling. Other two feel like "shoulds"
Two games of Words with Friends..been going since last week.
Breeze through the back door. And busted AC. So thank goodness for the breeze.
Someone's house alarm is going off nearby.
Pleasant anticipation of tomorrow morning's caffeine fix :-)
Our coats no longer zip, our feet won't fit our shoes. We haven't seen our toes for weeks. We've got the pregnant blues.
We waddle to and from our tasks like ducks with 'roids, OH BOO. Our backs are sore, its all a bore! We've got the pregnant blues.
It started with the barfing, night sweats and fatigue...then came a moment in the clear! The second tri, we'd need.
But then the moment passed - we're back! With symptoms yuck galore. All leading to the birth of a child we'll sure adore...
Pubic pains, o' lack of sleep, and headaches two or ten. Reflux, heartburn and congestion...CRIPE, when will it end?!?
No sushi, soft cheese, beer or wine, the righteous do declare. To them we say "bahh humbug you!" And darn it all, screw them!
With lots more weeks to go we shout, "oh say it isn't true!" We may just burst or stay in bed. We've got the pregnant blues.
It is all worth it, yes indeed, a child's a true delight. But all we ask is a FULL NIGHT'S SLEEP!!! And with that say we say, GOOD NIGHT.
**it is a blessing and a gift. the blessing/gift that keeps on giving :-)
I claim no originality here, I simply tell a tale of success and raw indulgence.
Snow snow and more snow. In the fridge, what to make? And what to make to eat in less than 15 minutes?
Get out a big pot, fill with water, high high heat. Yes, we are going pasta here.
Second pan onto the stove. Large. Add a couple tablespoons of olive oil. Cut up 3 pieces of bacon. Into the pan on medium high heat. Smash a clove of garlic - basically still whole so you can get it out. Also, in with the bacon. Get out 3 eggs. Grate a bunch of parmesan while the bacon cooks. Once the bacon is about crispy, turn off the heat.
Is the water boiling? Yes indeed. Lots of salt into the water. Pasta - 1 lb of whatever you have. I like Spaghettini. Set timer for 9 minutes. Put your collander in the sink (Boy Scout motto - be prepared).
When the timer has dwindled to 2 minutes, turn your heat back on under the bacon pan - medium heat. Discard the garlic clove (ciao, bella). Add a few red pepper flakes. Crack the 3 eggs into the pan - it's like you are frying them. Do not be tempted to turn the heat up. We are looking for really runny, not ready to eat yet fried eggs.
Use a mug to grab a mugful of the pasta cooking water. Drain your pasta. Turn 2/3s*** of it into the pan over the eggs and bacon. MIX MIX MIX. Drop your cheese in. MIX MIX MIX. If it looks a bit dry, add some pasta water from your mug. Lots of black pepper. Salt to taste. You are tasting, yes? You get it - MIX!
Two dishes. Pasta into the dishes. More cheese on top. More pepper. Don't hesitate. If I need to tell you what to do next, well, nevermind.
** For extra credit you could have chopped a scallion or two while the pasta was cooking. If you did - good for you. Put this on top of your pasta now.
It's an even more simple carbonara. It's done in less than 15 minutes. It's absolutely delicious. I would share a picture but it demands to be eaten right away, and really, who am I to quibble. It's simple and easy but demanding and sinful - not only must you eat it right away, but you must eat it all. It does not keep. Oh well. I was taught not to let food go to waste. Eat it all.
*** I made 1 lb and used only 2/3. I kept 1/3 for leftover plain pasta. It's just good to have around.
The Knicks are playing the Trailblazers on our TV. The Cats and The Daugher are sleeping. Tuesday but feels like Wednesday. The belly is getting bigger. The flutters come with increasing frequency (ladies who've had children, you know what I mean). Nice steal, Chandler and nice shot Felton! The husband is searching for a hotel in London for a quick trip. Harumph. Already, three plows have come down our NYC street unlike last time when they were nowhere in sight for THREE days. The snow falls heavily and the red beans, in anticipation of tomorrow's rice, simmer away on the stove. They are snuggling with ham hocks, garlic and onions...other ingredients to come...even though it's nearly 10:30, that is no reason not to be cooking. A chocolate chip cookie. OK...two chocolate chip cookies. And all is well on this ordinary night.
A great dinner with friends. Asleep when the ball dropped. A child who slept through the night. A husband who thought I should have an extra hour of sleep the next morning.
Lamb shanks (started at 6AM!) for New Year's Day lunch, courtesy of my very kind culinary expert of a father in law.
A gathering with friends down the block.
Garlicky Shrimp and Black Eyed Peas (prosperity!). MAKE THIS - BE HAPPY.
Two playdates before noon - one with friends in from San Fran, one with local friends. Fun, and led to a great nap for Avery.
A last day with the tree. The very round, very pretty tree.
The iron pills seem to be working!
Front closet organized.
GO KNICKS!! Happy Knick Year.
Bolognese, made by me, over fresh pasta, made by my husband. Delicious does not begin to describe it.
Easy bed for Avery. Notable as she has been flexing her nearly 3 yr old drama muscles at bedtime.
Matcha tea bath (great gift for someone you love, trust me). Borghese mud mask. New pajamas.
2011 personal budget, created.
West Wing reruns. A good book.
Welcome to 2011.
And a very good night.
How DOES that happen? How does time move so quickly? A wise person said "The days are long but the years are short." Well ain't that the truth.
So let's just jump right into random thoughts and food. What is happening in our world:
It's 10:30PM on a Tuesday so of course my husband is outside helping our neighbor build a bench. Who does not love Brooklyn?
Was speaking to a friend tonight about Feeding A Toddler. Like two ladies comparing Tupperware collections, we traded tips. Mine - we cook on Sundays for the week. Roast chicken, lasagna, broccoli, pasta, soup. Click here for my lasagna. It comes from Kansas relatives but don't let that stop you. Also, like all good Episcopalians, we always have a ham bone in our freezer, so this week we made ham and white bean soup too (in the slow cooker...first time used since we got it in 2006!). Also make a lot of mac 'n cheese (I like martha's perfect mac n' cheese recipe though she uses WAY too much sauce) and just to spoil some of the fun, I use whole wheat pasta.
Now, don't be fooled. This is all for survival but for sure my daughter eat her fair share of scrambled eggs for dinner, can quote Toy Story and explained the difference between a Mounds and an Almond Joy the other day. That was the other great part of my conversation with said friend, when we shed the sanctimommy B-S, the good stuff comes out. And we are all in the same mommy-boat paddling with one oar behind our backs, no GPS and storms on the horizon.
Does everyone in Beverly Hills have hair extensions codependency issues with their siblings? If you don't know what I am talking about, god bless you, as that means you have NOT watched The Superficial Housewives of Beverly Hills. I have not really watched it, just skimmed you know.
Besides, I have not had the energy to read lately because despite all rational thought to the contrary, we are having Kid Two (coming soon to a house near you! SPRING 2011!) and TV and raspberry sorbet are my new best friends. There are good things - I am a born again Knicks fan. A friend of mine asked "WHY???" Well, I will tell you why. When you don't have the evergy to read you need a substitute. Baseball is over and not much fun without beer; football is on only Sundays and Mondays; so it was either Pro Basketball or ping pong on cable...so I chose the Knicks. I already had the t-shirt you know, so it makes sense.
It is SAD though that my unborn child could play better hoops than the Knicks did against the Bucks tonight. But no matter. As Jay-Z would say, On To The Next One.
And that is that for now. Work is good; the holidays are coming up; family and friends are what matter. I do hope to blog more. Seriously, where would I be without all of this navel gazing? All self indulgence aside, I have not felt much of a voice of late (all that morning sickness you know - and BTW for SURE it was a man who coined it Morning Sickness. He clearly had no idea and his wife must have hated him).
See, I made it a whole catch up post without commenting on politics, the sad state of our nation's well-being or the inability of our leaders to do their jobs. Success.
I feel a little like the posting mojo is lacking. So, I have been taking some time away from posting this summer. Not because I don't have things to say, I have several just not sure I want to say them here.
It has not been idle time. A few notes on things I have learned are harder than I thought:
In other news, things I have done over the past few years that I like thinking about and that make me happy with life and all of it's craziness:
Other things. We were away every - EVERY - weekend in July and it was just great. Vacations are really great because you not only like getting away, you usually like coming back. Win win.
Well, no thesis, people. No start, middle and end and no neat wrap up with a bow. But back on the horse perhaps. If you don't have anything to say to the world, are you living in it?
Culture Note: Have you ever listened to Six Suites for Unaccompanied Cello by Johann Sebastian Bach? If not, take a listen over at Amazon. You may recognize the prelude from the American Express commercial with smiles, which I happen to think is one of the most fabulous ads of all time. All of the suites are amazing. Good music to think by, all by yourself.
In general,when asked "Would you like onions with that?" the answer should be "Yes."
When in doubt, add a little cayenne to homemade soup when it needs that unknown "something".
Am reading Mountains Beyond Mountains and am blown away by Dr. Paul Farmer. Brings up all of those "What will you do with your one wild and precious life" questions.
Right now it's a beautiful breezy Monday evening. My daughter is asleep. My husband has a work event this evening. There is a dog barking outside...people are walking up the street heading home or discussing their dinner at James or Franny's. What a nice night. Peaceful.
Went to bed early last night at 10:30. Got a great night's sleep. Was exhausted all day! So much for that theory.
Am also reading The World According To Garp and though Irving's writing is some of the best I have ever read, darn if I cannot get into the characters. Piddle.
I hope I don't fall into that category of people with young kids who have nothing to talk about but their kids. How awful.
I'll be honest, I let National Donut Day pass without being properly acknowledged and have not felt the same since.
Because this is an archive for my kid(s), like any good time capsule we should capture something humdrum. A few of our fridge contents:
Have reached a point where NYC would not be tolerable for me without Brooklyn. Though I did find it amusing that there was a nearly full blown tennis court set up in Times Square today. Amusing before I had a near nasty run in with that dreadful nude cowboy. God he is gross. Get some pants, man.
WHAT is wrong with these Real Housewives??? I really hope people outside of NYC don't think that is normal for NYC women.
Am a little obsessed with the iPad and I am not normally an early tech adopter (am really a V2 kind of gal). If anyone would like to buy me one, feel free. I will test it out for you.
Almost got caught in a tornado in Greenwich, CT yesterday. Not a phrase I ever expected to utter.
My friend Donna wrote THIS BOOK and I am ordering it in hardcover, and cannot wait to read it.
What would you do tomorrow if you won $100 million tonight?
So there you have it. Nothing earth-shattering. Not an insightful, funny or philosophical post. Just the day to day. And a nice one at that.
Another year gone by. I always find myself a little melancholy on my birthday. Not really because I am older; rather, because I am so darn sentimental that marking time generally makes me a little happy and sad and amazed and frightened and hopeful and, well, you know.
I had a lot of thoughts today. Jotted them down as the day went on. In no particular order:
I spent a wonderful weekend with family, this evening with my husband and got a real "Happy Birthday, Mommy!" from Avery. It does not get any better. :-)
It's been a weird week. A few examples below. If the week ends on Saturday, two more days to go, what should I expect? You tell me...
At various times today I noticed people looking at me - nicely, not grossly. More men than women. I assumed I was having a good hair day, only to discover 3 or 4 times that the most important button on my shirt was undone. Have had this shirt for years - never been an issue before. Weird wardrobe malfunction.
I talk to my mom today to ask her about the weather in Virginia only to find out she's in Kansas. What?!?!? Last week she jetted off to Geneva for two days. Weird, I cannot keep track of my mother.
Tonight was Thursday Dinner Treat Night for Avery (i.e. lazy mommy and daddy dinner prep night) so she ate her favorite bagel with salmon cream cheese (such a New York kid), yogurt with honey and strawberries and then at the end asked for...lima beans? Weird but OK. So I rolled with that. Limas you shall have.
I have had a brand new yummy food magazine in my house for three days and have yet to crack it. This is weird.
All day Wednesday I thought it was Tuesday. Very weird, but in a good way.
No more Lent but more often than not have opted out of meat choices this week and last. A little weird.
I would love to say that my mantra of "I will get back to running tomorrow!" is weird but it's not. I keep telling myself, I will get back to running...tomorrow.
I made dry brownies...from a BOX! Très Embarrassing. Who effs up brownies first of all? Second...who effs up brownies from a BOX? Weird.
Have been ever so aware of Springtime's arrival this year - more than ever. Is this an aging thing? I guess if so, that is good weird.
It is definitely weird and frankly BAD that the market is over 11,000 now (although on slim trading). Buckle up people and don't go counting your gains. I predict a bumpy ride at some point again in the next 12 months.
I think it's weird that nobody looks where they are going anymore - what is the rate of blackberry walking accidents? High, weird, and dumb.
One of our cats is snoring. Feline weirdness.
We have to get a new car in about - oh, a month. And we have no idea what we want and frankly are not really thinking about it. This is weird for me - in denial I think. I am a planner and its weird that I am ignoring this reality.
I got on the subway the other day and a woman was loudly preaching Jesus stories as we all, mostly uncaffeinated, rode to work. This is actually not weird - it's NYC and people preach all the time. What WAS weird was that as she preached, desperately seeking refuge from her bluster, I tried to read the advertising banners in front of me and ALL of them *yes, all* where God and Jesus related. I looked beyond my immediate view and the other banners were advertisements for racy thriller novels or dental work for $79.99. Just those near me were all about God. Weird.
Speaking of dental work, one of my best meetings this week was with my dentist and hygienist. I just love my dentist and hygienist. They are just the best. I know this is weird but if you want a referral, let me know. Everyone I send there just loves them.
I work with young companies. I particularly like education companies (especially companies like tutor.com and dimensiou.com). My specialty is finance/stategy/day to day operational combat.