The Answer is: No

Last week a blogging friend asked if I was ever scared living in NYC, what with the recent incidents, and obviously, the past incidents.  They asked if I changed routines or patterns, avoided doing things.

Quite simply, the answer is No.  I did not change habits.  I do not avoid things.  I continue with my life the same way I always have.  Well mostly.  I am now more aware of my surroundings.   I pay attention to what is around me.  But honestly, I live in an urban environment, so I’ve always paid attention.  And I wasn’t even 30 when the first attempt was made to disrupt the lives of me, and those around me, so being aware is just ingrained.

So I just live my life, every day, the way I want and need it to be.

Am I scared?

Every day.

There is not a day that goes by that I don’t think about the endless stream of things that could happen that would shatter my existence.  But this list is long, and includes incidents of many kinds.  I can not stop bad things from happening.  Once you realize that you are powerless, you can begin to live your life with some sort normalcy.  Because we are basically powerless, and there is no such thing as normal.

Now you see why I am a bit of a super organized, control freak.  I have a need to keep things in order, because I know so much is out of my control.  I have to have some sort of order in a world of chaos.

But I go to sporting events and concerts, things with very large audiences.  And I get to these places an hour early because I know that there will be a security check.  I bring a small bag, because many venues have size restrictions.  When I went to the ballet last month, I needed to take my coat off before I went through the metal detector, because coats needed to be scanned separately. Yes, airport style detectors are a norm of my life- I don’t think my daughter has ever entered a large public space that did not include her having to walk through one- she is always amazed when we are traveling and she does not need to go through security to enter someplace.

We have placards on walls stating “If you see something, say something.”  This is the New York motto.  We aren’t the city that never sleeps- we are the city that reports suspicious packages, and notice if things look awry.  This was one of the first things I taught my daughter- if something doesn’t look right, tell an authority.  Trust your instincts.  My daughter learned this at 3 years old. This is the norm.  This is how we live our lives.

I guess it all boils down to an ugly truth.  The question is not what if something happens.  The question is when will something happen.  Because something will happen.  There will always be an incident, though they come in various forms.

Truth be told, I have become a bit desensitized to events around me.  I check on husband and daughter- I use where’s my phone to make sure I know where they are.  I check on my friends.  But it’s back to real life really quickly.  We know the rules of the drill and we just perform them and get on with it.  These routines, these drills- they are a part of our lives.  They are the norm.  Incident check list is just another to-do list.

Today, my husband and daughter will ride the subway to work and to school just like they always do.  He will ride an elevator to a very high floor in a lower Manhattan office building. I will enter very large and very crowded places.  I will walk my dog on urban streets.   We were at a concert last night, we will be at a museum this weekend, we will visit parts of the city awash with decorations.  We will continue on.

We will continue on, because that is what life is.  Life is facing what’s our there, head on.  Life is meeting the challenges that face us day to day.  And life is worth living to the fullest.

Peace to you all!

One of those days!

I am having massive computer problems today!  The upside is, I’ve had time to start to catch up on blogs that I haven’t read.  The bad news is, the post I intended to write today is pushed off till tomorrow because I can’t write on my phone or iPad.  That’s just one of my many weirdisms.  So today, I share a picture of one of our tree ornaments.   Our Christmas tree is filled with cats and dogs, because I kind if love them.   My day will get better though because I get to meet up with one of my favorite people today, and that’s my other favorite thing about the holidays….getting a chance to see my friends!!

Till tomorrow!

On the Upswing

I’m back!!  Sort of!!

I had a horrible cold last week.  No, not the flu that is invading New York right now, but an icky cold none the less.  My goal was to prevent it from blossoming into the dreaded flu.  I had a stuffy nose and red eyes, achy joints and general tiredness.  My normally high voice had the dulcet tones of Demi Moore- I like the sexy voice, but hate the reason behind it.  It was also a bit chilly in NYC last week- temperatures hovered in the twenties.  Did I mention how I hate the cold?

It’s never fun to be sick.  But it really stinks this time of year because there is just so much to do.  While attempting to rest I was trying to keep track of Christmas and Hanukkah.  I was trying not to strangle my Mother over food options for the holiday.  On a side note, I love food, but I don’t really care that much about what gets eaten on a holiday.  To me a holiday is about getting together with family.  The minute the meal becomes more important is the minute you lose me.  My mother is also a control freak.  The meal is at my house yet she is still dictating what we will eat.  This is driving me a little bit crazy.  OK.  Not a little bit.  It is driving me full on batshit nuts.  She may not survive the holidays and you all may be bailing me out.  And remember this- I admit I am a control freak-I own it.  Imagine dealing with a HUGE control freak who will not admit to being a control freak, and who thinks they are the most laid back person in the world.  Good times.  I am so annoyed with my Mother right now I would like to cancel Christmas with her and I know there will be a fight between now and Sunday.  I’m irrational about it as we speak, and I don’t think any amount of deep breathing or meditation is going to calm me down.  Even writing this is making me more incensed…..so I think it’s time to move on.

The other really bad thing about being sick in the middle of December is the sheer number of commitments that you have.  I am not a particularly social person, and even I’m inundated with invites.  While trying to hash out my cold, I had two dinners and two parties to attend.  Plus two school obligations that I really needed to be at. And two lunches. All in 4 days, so those of you doing the math realize that I had multiple commitments sometimes. Oh, and my Husbands birthday was right smack in the middle of that.  Add on his mini celebration too.   The days leading to January 2 will be much the same.  Living is a remote cabin in the woods with no internet connection is starting to look good right now.

Did I get any writing done?  No.  I had not a creative bone in my body.  Did I read anything?  Nope.  My eyes were irritated and if I sat down with any material I promptly fell asleep.  Did I scratch anything off my to do list?  Absolutely not.  I think I have about 1000 things to get done.  My house is a disaster area.  Have I been to the gym?  No.  Walking across my apartment was a travail.

So today is one of catch up.  I will work my way through my list.  I will try not to yell at my Mother.  I will try to settle in and read and write a bit.  I will exercise  my poor tired body.

And I promise tomorrows post will be more fun and interesting!!

One More Day

I am feeling much better than I was yesterday, but I am still not 100%!  Thank you for all the kind thoughts and wishes!!

I am resting (and for me even a day of rest begins at 6am) and am still not up to being particularly clever or fun, but I promise you I will be back on Monday with more silly tales of my life!!

xoxo  Peace and love to you all!!

Under the Weather

Would love to know origination of this phrase, but am still under the weather.  Alas, my mind is so bogged up, thinking and wordplay are even harder than normal.  I hope I feel a bit better tomorrow, but as for now, hot tea, rest and HGTV are in my future.

Love and good thoughts to all!

LA Waking

Holiday Traditions

Ok.  I know none of you are surprised that I love the holidays and that we have some traditions in our household.  But here’s a little roundup of what we do.

We are a multi religious household.  I am somewhat Catholic and my Husband is somewhat Jewish.  This makes my daughter culturally religious.  We celebrate both Catholic and Jewish holidays.

  1. Hanukkah.  We light candles and give presents and eat little bits of chocolate “gelt”.  As last night was the first night, I say Happy Hanukkah to all!
  2. We have a Christmas Tree.  We get a small (about 5 feet) real tree.  There was a shortage this year, so most of the tree vendors that come down for the holiday were not here.  Luckily, my local corner store sells trees.  I like a real tree cause of the smell.  I also do not have room to store an artificial tree.
  3. Gingerbread house.  My daughter and I decorate one every year .  When she was little we did the graham crackers on milk carton variety.  Then we bought the kits where you build a house.  We now buy a pre-assembled one.  So much easier.  But we love to decorate them.  Not well- we are not particularly creative, but it’s fun.
  4. Holiday show.  every year we go to a holiday themed show.  In the past we have seen The Nutcracker, A Christmas Story and It’s a Wonderful Life done live on stage (it was done as a radio broadcast)  This year we will be seeing Pentatonix.
  5. Seasonal City Decorations.  NYC is a great place to see holiday decorations.  One night we go to see what we consider our favorites.  the windows of Bergdorf Goodman, Lord and Taylor and Saks Fifth Avenue.  The Tree at Rockefeller Center.  The brightly lit stores on Fifth Avenue, including the big light bow outside of Cartier.  Big festive recreations of holiday string lights on 6th ave.  The little tree and Menorah at Madison Square Park.  The copy of A Christmas Carol at the Morgan Library.  My favorite though, is the baroque tree at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.  It’s just beautiful.
  6. Christmas Cards.  I still send out cards with pictures of my daughter and pets.  We display the cards that we receive.  I like it- it makes me feel good.
  7. Holiday movies.  It’s a Wonderful Life.  Miracle on 34th Street.  A Christmas Carol.  Santa Claus id Coming to Town, The Grinch, A Christmas Story.  These make me smile and feel good.
  8. Presents.  enough said.
  9. Christamas Carols.  Lots of them.

I’m sure we have more, but I have a bit of a cold, so my mind is muddled.  I’m now going to drink hot tea, and get under a blanket for a bit.  It’s a bit chilly in NYC, I have things that must get done in a bit, but right now, I must try to let the cold medicine work a little.

Cheers to all!!

That’s What I Like About You

My blog friend G Sandwich wrote a great post the other day about writing.  Sometimes as a journalist she (and every other journalist in the known world) would need to file copy, so they would “milk” an already written article – basically rewrite the story using mainly the same facts.  The other option is to write a “follow-up”.  This is where the majority of the new story is actually new, but just brings up different viewpoints or more info.  Here’s hoping that todays post is a follow-up and not a milk.

Last week I wrote about saying I Love you unconditionally.   My blogging friend Deep As Thought commented that sometimes she would like important people in her life to say, not necessarily I love you (though I think everyone wants that) but “I like you because ….”  That got me thinking.

Growing up, my Mother was very critical.  In 3rd grade, I remember getting a 95 on a test.  I was proud of myself.  I went home and told my Mom.  her response: “Well, if you’d studied harder you would have had a 100.” ( No- my Mother was not nominated for parent of the year that year, or any year since.)  These words from my Mother never got less harsh as time passed, but guess what, my grades got worse.  I stopped studying and doing homework.  How I managed to escape High School with an average somewhere in the B range is a testament to being somehow smart enough to get through a test. What I lacked in actual book knowledge I made up for in an uncanny ability to figure out multiple choice questions.  In my teenage mind, my Mother was not going to appreciate anything I did, so why should I try? No- I hadn’t yet learned the art of doing things for myself.  Again, my Mom was so controlling, I didn’t think having my own thoughts and actions was possible. She did not like who I was. Thanks Mom.

My Mothers words and actions continued to dominate my thoughts and actions.  This lasted for way too long.  I had a long line of mistakes and missteps that can be directly attributed to my weird relationship with her.  Because at the root of everything, my Mother did not like me.  She did not like what I did.  She had comments about my weight, choice in friends, what I wore, what I read, how I spent my free time.  There was little in my life she did not criticize.  As a child and a teenager and young adult, even as a real adult, it did not feel great to think that my Mother didn’t like me.  It sort of zaps your confidence.  Well, not sort of.  It  totally zaps your confidence.  And if you don’t feel confident, then you really can’t succeed at anything,  you really can’t ever be happy.  You walk around with a feeling of not being worthy of anything.  This is not a great path to be on.  It is a dizzying downward spiral.  It is a spiral that is hard to recover from.

All because my Mother never said “I like….”

We all want to be liked, especially by our parents.  Shouldn’t the assumption be that a parent likes their child?  As a Mother, I know I want my daughter to feel loved, liked and appreciated every day.  I make sure I praise her about the things she does well at, give constructive criticism if the situation warrants it, thank her when she does something nice, and tell her I love her.  (Don’t worry- I screw up a lot too- I’m sure one day she will write a blog and tell you all the horrible things I did…)  But I really try.

So here’s your homework assignment.  Really think about why you like all the people in your life.  Think about their positive attributes that draw you to them.  Tell them.  Tell the people in your life why you like them.

Here’s my list:

  1. I like it when my husband takes out dog out for the 10pm walk, because if I’m home I like to be in my pajamas by then.  He knows this is important to me, which is why he does it.
  2. I like it that my daughter comes home and takes care of school work right away.  This makes my life so easy.  I have never had the dreaded homework fight.
  3. I like my best friend S because she is a vault.  I can tell her anything and she will not even share it with her husband.  Everyone needs a friend like that.
  4. I like my friend G because she will always tell you the truth.  Sometimes I need the reality.
  5. I like my friend M because she is completely realistic.  She knows that sometimes life has to be ugly, and she will guide me through the cold hard facts.
  6. I like my friend A because she is truly the funniest, most sarcastic person I;ve ever met.  No matter what the situation, she finds the humor, no matter how dark.  I need this type of person in my life.
  7. I like my friend SF because he is willing to argue with me.  We differ on certain subjects, and he’s never afraid to engage, even though he’s always wrong.
  8. I like my friend M2 because she loves culture.  I need a friend I can go to a museum, concert or whatever with because those experiences are fun to share

I could go on and on and on, but you get the idea.

Tell someone you like them.  It really means a lot.  They will like it.

 

You’ve Got Style

I think you guys might know I’m sort of having a love affair with Stitchfix (for the record I am receiving no compensation from them, though given the amount of time I talk about them I probably should)  For the uninitiated, Stitchfix is the perfect solution to either someone who doesn’t like to shop, or someone who doesn’t really know how to make the most of their wardrobe.  You fill out a very detailed questionnaire, and then they send you five items of clothing/accessories whenever you schedule it.  I think it’s brilliant.

I have now done two boxes, and will get delivery of my next box sometime at the end of the month.  I have been extremely fortunate in that every thing the stylist has sent me has been something I really liked (or loved) and was a great piece for my wardrobe.  The fit has also been spot on.  This amazes me- how they could find me black jeans better than I have bought myself is shocking to me.

Here’s the catch.  I was brutally honest when I filled out the questionnaire.  I gave my actual weight and body type.  I explained the “flaws” and how I try to correct them.  (my fatal flaw is being short waisted.  My ribs end and my hips begin, so I can really look like I have no waist.  I choose things that elongate me, and give me the appearance of curves.  I also have nice legs and arms, so I tend to wear clothes that highlight one of these areas.  I like knowing my strengths and weaknesses, so to speak.

But, even though I don’t really know how to be stylish, I know what my style is.  I like classic clothes in neutral colors (who am I kidding- I wear black and grey, with sometimes white or pink). I like clothes with simple lines and not a great deal of fuss.  My favorite look this season has been black faux leather trimmed leggings, a long black tunic/t shirt and a knee length grey cardigan with either black suede sneakers or black booties.  Big necklace, big stud earrings.   I am not girly.  I am not boho.  I am not dramatic.  I am simple….I do like a fun accessory, funky necklace or shoe, and I am willing to try a trend.  (I went to a party the other night sporting a pale pink shimmery shirt with those little flutter like sleeves that are so popular now.  I felt a little fun and different)

Ok- I’ve given you details and description (i’m learning that my novel is lacking this, so, lucky you, I am practicing with you)

But where am I going?

One of my really close friends tried Stitchfix.  She HATED it.  Absolutely hated it.

Why?

Because she has absolutely no idea what her style is.  None at all.  She insists to me that she is like me, classic and simple.  I’ve know her for 25 years.  She is not classic and far from simple.  She loves color- her closet is a rainbow.  She loves florals and flowing tops.  She leans towards peasant, boho styles in whatever she chooses.  yet, if you ask her, she will tell you that the last thing she is is Bohemian.  She literally said that to me.  When I asked her what style she is, I gave her a list of choices, and the only clear thing she said was that she is NOT BOHO.

Why is this important?

Take a look at yourself in the mirror.  Accept who you are.  Who you actually are, not the person you are in your mind.  I think people get into problems when the outer you, the you that you represent to the world is not in sync with what’s really going on in your head.  The outer you and the inner you need to match.   Outer and Inner need to come to some sort of agreement.  If they are always battling, you, as a person, are never going to be happy.

Don’t try to be something you’re not.  Be who you are.  And don’t let a spouse, a friend or a parent sway you as to who you really are.  My Mother will often buy me clothes.  In theory this is nice.  In reality, she is buying things that she thinks I should wear, the style she thinks I should be.  I’m 53, and my Mother is still trying to dictate who I am.  Don’t get caught in this.  Be who you are. (FYI- who you are can change.  It is ok to be punk when you’re 30, and boho when you’re 35- that’s just evolving- nothing wrong with that at all as long as you are true to yourself and not trying to morph into someone else’s ideal)

So here’s the takeaway:

  1. I love having someone else pick out my clothes and curate my wardrobe for me
  2. I know who I am and am happy with who I am
  3. Figure out who you are and run with it.  you will be an awesome you!!

 

 

 

What Are the Conditions

A few months ago I read a thing on parenting.  The writer said that people shouldn’t tell their children “I love you”, they should tell them “I love the way you drew that picture of an elephant.” or something like that.    The theory was something along the lines of giving them specifics, but honestly, it’s been at least two months and millions of read words ago, so don’t hold me to that.  But it was something along those lines.

And yes, that thing has been in my mind, albeit the back, since I read it.  Yes.  I overthink things.  I know.  Yes.  Sometimes I wish I could shut off the switch that makes me overthink things and question every single sentence and word choice.  But that’s why I blog, so I can express the myriad thoughts that run around my brain every minute of every day.

But anyway.

I don’t think love should be conditional and/or specific.  I think it’s OK to just love someone.

Now, that being said, I don’t think there is anything wrong with saying to your kid,  “I love the way you get home from school, take a ten minute break, and then start your homework.”  to say to your Husband “I love the way you take the dog out on the last walk of the evening because you know I hate that 10pm walk.”  There is nothing wrong with telling the people you love why you love them. (and conversely, to nicely say, it drives me crazy when you leave wet towels on the bed)

So, here’s my point:  even if my daughter didn’t start her homework early, or my husband didn’t do the late walk, I would still love them.  My love is not conditional upon them doing those tasks.  I am still going to say I love you to them even if they don’t do them.  (though- leave enough wet towels on the bed and I might not say it too often…..)

Do you want to put conditions on love?

Do you want your someone to think that if they stop doing “X” or “Y”, you will not love them anymore?

Do you want people to put conditions on why they love you?

Do you want to constantly worry that if you stop doing something, they won’t love you anymore?

I know I don’t.

Now, that doesn’t mean that you should ever take love for granted.  Or leave wet towels on the bed.  It’s nice to be kind to those in your life, and do things they appreciate.  It’s nice to be thankful of all the little things that they do to make your life easier/better.  But that’s just kindness.  Love and kindness should not be mutually exclusive- they should be present at the same time.

Tell the people you love that you love them.   Just say “I Love You”.   I tell my daughter that every day as she leaves for school.  I want her to hear those words before she starts her day, because sometimes life sucks, and you need to know that someone is in your corner.

Tell them why you love them.  Just because it will make them feel good.

Tell them you love them even thought they leave wet towels on the bed.