Rationally Fearful- Part 1

So where were we……

Oh yeah….fear……

I am logical.

Fear is illogical.

Therefore, I am not fearful.

Ha- said the theorem guy.

I am afraid of heights.  More specifically, I’m afraid of falling.  As I am not a window washer or a trapeze artist, this does not impact me in my daily life.  I am able to food shop, clean (though my cleaning skills are debatable), walk my dog, etc- with no blips.  The time when this fear rears its angry head most often is when I am on vacation.

And you know I was just on vacation.

Let’s start with the lighthouse.  We went to visit Nobska Lighthouse in Falmouth.  It’s a beautiful, old lighthouse (1876), which normally affords a wonderful view of Martha’s Vineyard.  Due to technical difficulties (fog) we were unable to see MV, but it didn’t matter- the whole setting was beautiful.  Nobska is officially 40 feet high( though our guide told us 39- so, if I’m wrong- sorry- but I’m not fact checking any more than this)

Yeah, 40 feet, which is probably as tall as a giant, but not particularly tall.

So we climbed the first set of 15 steps.  15 spiral steps.  Did I tell you I don’t love tight spaces either?

And I made it to the first level.  Whew.

Then I realized there is a ladder to go up to the top- to see the actual light.  A tight, spiral ladder with very steep steps.  Miniscule handrail.  Ummmm- do I really need to see the light?  Could it be any different than the lightbulb in my house?  But- I waited for twenty minutes for the tour of the lighthouse, and the tour is only given once a week……so…….well I went up the ladder.

And I’m at the top- and the guide is telling us the history of the lighthouse- but I’m only half listening, because I am fixated on the tight, spiral ladder that is going to lead me down.  And the big first step.  With the tiniest of handrails.  That I have to descend backwards.  While I’m afraid of heights, tight spaces and falling.

Hmmmm

Now I will freely admit, that this was not particularly high, nor tight, nor scary.  The ladder to the top was maybe 8 steps.  Toddlers and people in wheel chairs were able to handle this (no- not really- but you get the idea of how simple and non- terrifying this was)

And I told our guide that I might be joining him for the rest of the day, because I didn’t think I’d make it down.  I don’t think he was amused.

I took off my flip flops, because no one was meant to scale tight spiral ladders in flip flops….said a prayer to every deity I could think of….held onto the little handrail for dear life- and climbed down the arduous 8 steps.

When I made it to the bottom, shoes in hand- I high fived every one.  Not really- they were too busy thinking I was crazy.  Or they’d gotten a peak at my bright pink thing as I was descending the ladder.  Probably a combination of both, because as I was scared of this lighthouse, the sight of my backside in a hot pink thong is even scarier.

And now you’re thinking- how did someone who is afraid of heights go hiking in Acadia…..

Tune in tomorrow for the second part of my fearful life…..

 

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Sunday Wrap Up

As I’ve been away, I’m going to give you a brief glimpse of my vacation:

Falmouth/Plymouth/Cape Cop- Massachusetts

I almost felt like I was stepping back in time when I went to the Western Cape.  We stayed in motor lodges that were owned by locals.  It was nice to walk into reception and be greeted by homemade strawberry muffins and pleasant conversation.  People here care about their community.

Highlight: Whale watching.  We used Captain John out of Plymouth (who were exceptional) but all companies seemed pretty good.  The day we went out the naturalist (a guide experienced in what you could see) was able to recognize 6 different whales, including a calf.  We had an exceptional day for whale watching.

Can’t miss:  Local strawberries.  They were best strawberries I’ve ever tasted.  Try anything that includes strawberries- ice cream, muffins, salad, shortcake….

Low point: Beach shelter……

Boston

For Met/Giant fans, we really loved Boston.  This is really a great city.

Suggestion: Stay in downtown Boston.  It’s more expensive, but worth it for the convenience and ambiance.  Also, we found a self-park lot that made parking very affordable.

Highlight: My family loves history.  We liked walking the Freedom Trail- we appreciated the way Boston incorporates history into the city.

Can’t Miss: Pastries in the North End- there are a few bakeries in the North End that serve delicious cream puffs, cannoli, etc.  Worth the very long lines.

Low point: We didn’t have time to see Museum of Fine Arts- I misjudged timing.  Also, we climbed to the top of bunker hill monument- my legs were not happy….

Bar Harbor/Acadia- Maine

LOVE THIS PLACE!  I had never been to Maine before, and I am so glad I finally got here.  The location is spectacular- ocean, mountains, vista……everything!  Worth a visit!

Highlight: Bluenose Inn.  I have never stayed in a place that I loved as much as this.  It’s not on the ocean, but across the street- we still had a great view.  5 minute drive to downtown Bar Harbor and Acadia- so location is perfect.  Rooms are beautiful– we were in main building and our room had a fire place with a settee before it.  I could have sat there for hours…..In the evening they have a wonderful pianist in the Great Room.  After dinner we would sit there and play board games, drink tea and eat whatever snack we had picked up in town.  Perfection.

Can’t miss:  Acadia.  It’s just gorgeous, whether you want a strenuous hike, a meander, or a drive- it’s all worth it.  We did the boat tour with a park ranger (Sea Princess out of Northeast Harbor)- Amazing- we saw porpoises, seals, a bald eagle and other amazing birds- we also got lucky with the amount of sightings we had.

Low point:  Leaving.

Amherst Massachusetts

High point: Emily Dickinson Museum.  They have her shawl, writing desk and bed.  Docents are very knowledgeable.

Low Point: It was very foggy when we were driving there.  Not fun.

We also visited some colleges, but I’ll explore those in a different post!

Also:

I read “The Circle” by Dave Eggers.  I am imploring you- if anyone has read this book, please contact me.  Or if anyone reads this book, contact me after.  Need to discuss it!  That’s a recommend from me- most thought provoking book I’ve read in years.

 

Morning

I was all set to write about fear this morning.  Because I have a lot of fears.  And phobias.  And idiosyncrasies.  And what I like to call quirks.  I have these things today.  I had them yesterday.  I’ll have them tomorrow.

So maybe I’ll write about them tomorrow.

But today….

I’m going to go hiking.

It rained on our way up to Maine yesterday.  But it’s clear now- a bit overcast, but I think I see the sun in the distance.  It’s a crisp 55 degrees, but that’s OK.  Because it’s beautiful out here.

And though it looks like I’m writing- I’m not- I’m just throwing words on a page.

See you tomorrow.  The picture is from my balcony this morning.

A fish tale

Papa Bear, Mama Bear and Teenage Bear went on a vacation to New England.  In the far off land of Cape Cod, they crossed many bridges and found an enlightened sandy forest surrounded by water.  This was paradise.  Though the coast could be rocky under their paws, the water was surprisingly warm and clear.  They enjoyed frolicking in the gentle waves, the salty water misting their fur.  They struggled a bit with their beach tent, and no one was there to help them- perhaps they should not have brought a Met towel and Met blanket, and worn a Giants cap, but we never said the Bear family was smart…..But tent aside, their time in this village by the sea was magical……

Papa Bear and Teenage Bear enjoyed fish- not the sport of catching them, but the task of eating them.  They found little food huts and partook of clams and lobsters and quahogs- many of them caught that morning.  Mama Bear- she’s a little bit of a pain though.  Mama Bear doesn’t really like seafood- she’s OK with a bite of lobster roll, or a few spoons of calm chowder- but she doesn’t like it enough to base a whole meal out of it.  So Mama Bear ate a lot of salad.  She didn’t complain, because just as seafood was fresh- the fruits and vegetables were some of the best she had ever got her paws on- ( she even briefly thought about what it would be like to live close to the land, but then she realized how far Sephora was and that idea went out the window)

Mama Bear felt a little weird,  being in this land that loved the bounty of the sea, yet not really wanting to partake.  Is it bad to not like seafood?  She prided herself on being an individual, and not succumbing to pier pressure- but she couldn’t help but think she was the odd person out.  And true- she has tried seafood in the past- and she loved food- but to her, lobsters were just “eh”, salmon was bland, and oysters were okay if they were fried.

And as Mama Bear’s often do- she felt bad when her family didn’t choose a seafood restaurant out of deference to her.  Mama Bear felt guilty if her family wasn’t getting maximum enjoyment out of every moment- she unrealistically wanted them to be happy always.  Mama Bear often put herself last.

Mama Bear knows she has to get over feeling guilty about enjoying herself, or putting herself first.  This is something Mama Bear needs to work on.

And that’s how we end our tale today:  it’s Ok for Mama Bear to put herself first- she just needs to figure out how to do it.  And Mama Bear is probably going to have a list about this in the near future.

Two Positives- One Negative

Did you ever have to give someone a review?  When I needed to give performance feedback, I  always said 2 positive things that the person did and 1 negative.  This seems fair to me- acknowledge the good, and give them something to work on.  This week I needed to review my performance, because everyone needs a self check every now and then.  So here are my personal positives, and negative.

Positive:  I finally corrected the time on my blog.  For some reason, when I set up my blog, my day ended at 4pm New York time.  For someone with OCD like tendencies- this was a tad annoying.  I finally figured out what I had done wrong, and I am happy to say my blog time corresponds with my real time.

Positive:  I learned how to schedule blog posts.  As I think WordPress was solely created to humble me, I was amazed that I learned how to do this task.  It was a life saver for me this week when I had pre-written a few posts but wanted to scatter their publishing.  One of my odd tendencies is the need to publish things in the morning.

Negative:  The dreaded beach shelter, and how I gave up.  (I don’t like sitting on the beach in the sun- I prefer to sit under an umbrella.  I hate being hot and I have trouble reading when the sun is directly overhead- but that’s not the negative- I’m actually proud of my inability to sit in the sun)

Last week we purchased a foldable beach tent.  It takes up way less room in the trunk than an umbrella, but would provide me with needed shade.  I was so happy….  until I tried to put the beach shelter together.

Step 1- Assemble collapsible polesOK- that was easy.  

Step 2- Find front of shelterIs this the front?  Or is this the front?  I frantically turn shelter over and over, attempting to figure out which side it the front.  A big “F” would be helpful about now.  I’m not quite sure where the front is

Step 3- Slide short pole through top point F, continuing to bottom(WHAT?  The pole goes through what hole?)  Is it supposed to form a straight line?  Wait- which holes are supposed to connect?

Step 3(Hmmmmm)

Step 3(Is this right?)

Step 3 (Maybe this isn’t the front of the tent)

Where’s the picture?  the pic looks like back of tent?  Why do the instructions say front of tent if poles go down back of tent?  Is there a utube video of someone putting tent together?

Scratch head

Look at picture, instructions, and tent- continue this for half an hour- just staring at these three individual things

*&%$# this.

Angrily throw all things in a pile.  Fail at attempting to fold very large tent back into very small carrying tote

I sat on my chair.  Fuming.

I gave up.

I don’t like giving up, but I also don’t like wasting time on things that seem futile.  This is supposed to be my first day of vacation.  This is supposed to be a time to relax.  I’m supposed to be having fun.  Yet I sat there, frustrated at my inability to read directions, my inability to figure out what the front was, and how to attach the poles.  I guess there are multiple negatives- inability to assemble beach shelter, and low frustration point.

I didn’t want to attempt the shelter again- but I could change my attitude.  I put on extra sun block, stole my husbands hat, sat in the beach chair and read.  And had a great time.

I didn’t make another attempt to try to assmble the beach shelter while on Cape Cod, but I’m going to give it a go in Maine in a few days.  I don’t like giving up, but during my short vacation with my family, I would rather concentrate on the important things- relaxing, having fun and spending time with my family.  At the end of the day- putting together the beach shelter just wasn’t that important.

 

 

 

Advice to Parents- Tradition

 

Dear Parents of Children under the age of 5,

You all know that I hate giving advice.  Really I do.  But sometimes I need to impart my wisdom on you all.  And really, no matter what stage of life you’re in, kids or not, you really should read anyway.

When your children are young-  start traditions.

What do I mean by traditions?  I mean any type of event that your family can do, that is done on a somewhat rotational basis. (sort of like Christmas in July…I never thought I could get so much mileage out of something)

Why have traditions?

  1. They are Kodak moments.  I have pictures of my daughter at the same sign for the past 12 years.  If I were to line up the photos, it would be like a flip book of her becoming a teenager.
  2. They are instant flash backs- they root you to a certain time and a certain place- and when your kids were young
  3. They’re fun
  4. Everyone will really look forward to them
  5. When your kids get older, they will have their own lives.  They will have too much homework, part time jobs, practices and friends.  But they will find time for traditions
  6. Because kids really do grow up too fast

Real Life Example:

School is a big part of many children’s lives.  After completing Kindergarten I thought that my daughter deserved a celebration.  When I asked her what she wanted to do, she asked if we could go to dinner at Cowgirl.  Cowgirl is a fun restaurant filled with foods that I don’t allow her to go eat on a consistent basic- I don’t mind junk food, (I actually love food that is not healthy) but for the most part we eat healthy.  Her favorite thing at Cowgirl is their special dessert- vanilla ice cream coated with cocoa powder, topped with whipped cream, and little pats of yellow icing.  It is surrounded by chocolate sauce, and topped with chopped up pistachio.  It is built to resemble a baked potato.  When you are 5, (and older) this place is heaven.  And we started coming to this place on the last day of school.

This year, my daughter was in Costa Rica on the traditional last day of school (in high school in NYC, this “day” is actually 10 minutes of running in to get your report card and then exiting the building as quickly as humanly possible), so we weren’t able to do our tradition till last week.  We sat at the table and talked.  We spoke of upcoming college tours, AP classes, and the PSAT.  It was a stark reminder that there weren’t going to be too many more report card day dinners at Cowgirl.

When we ordered, I admit I let my daughter go a little crazy.  She asked if we could order just appetizers, and I thought- sure- how big are apps anyway?  OK- here’s the problem with going to a restaurant only once a year- you forget how big the portions are.  Even the appetizers.

Very long story short:  My daughter ate too much.  Too much veggie quesadilla.  Too much Frito pie (yes- Frito pie- they open up a bag of Fritos and plop veggie chili, cheese and sour cream on top).  too much strawberry lemonade, too much ice cream baked potato.  Too much.

We decided to walk home, it’s probably about a mile, mile and a half, but we needed to digest.  Well, I needed to digest.  The Daughter….well, lets just say she really wasn’t feeling well.  At all.  She looked at me, and said “I think I’m going to be……..blhhhhhhh”  I’m happy we were at a corner with a trash can, and that I steered her there just in time.  I took out my tissues (Moms carry tissues) and wiped her face, her hair, her hands (because she tried to catch it…..I told her that was probably not a great idea.)

Me:  You OK?

Daughter:  I feel much better now.  Wow, I haven’t thrown up since third grade,  Wow, and we’re on Charles Street- that’s ironic- upchuck on chuck street…….

Me:  Do you need anything?

Daughter: I’m sorry.

Me:  Don’t be sorry.  It’s ok.  I’m glad you’re feeling better.

Daughter:  Thank you for taking care of me.  I love you.

And she held my hand as we walked.  And I kissed the top of her head.  At this moment she looked so young, so vulnerable.  I didn’t see the sophisticated teen wardrobe, I didn’t see the high school junior.  I saw all those Cowgirl dinners flash before my eyes. I saw my baby, because she’ll always be my baby- no matter how old she is.

When we got home, she smiled and hugged me.

Daughter:  Thanks Mommy.  That really was a great night.  Vomit and all.

Me: It was a great night.  Love you!

But in my head, this is what I said:

Me:  Thank you for giving me great memories,  Thank you for being an amazing daughter.  I am going to miss these days.  But we’ll always have Cowgirl.

 

 

‘Twas the Weekend Before Vacation….

and all through the house, not a creature was stirring because I sent the husband and daughter to my parents in New Jersey…..

I know that’s not how the song goes- but it’s the tune I wanted to sing.  Planning for vacation is a little bit of a travail.

Here’s my pre-vacation to do list:

  1. Scrub litter box
  2. make sure there are adequate amounts of pet food
  3. laundry
  4. bring suitcases up from storage locker
  5. clean out fridge
  6. gather beach essentials
  7. print out all confirmations/tickets- I realize I have all this info on my phone, but I like to have my ducks in a labeled manila folder
  8. straighten and clean house so I do not get a lecture from my Mom (who is pet sitting) about the wobbly state of my apartment
  9. go over my packing list and check it twice
  10. pack my things
  11. write and schedule blog posts (which probably won’t work because I am just a tad nutty about my writing, and even if I manage to write in advance, I will rethink every single word I wrote and on the morning something is scheduled to publish I will probably be frantically retooling)

Now I know what you’re thinking:  shouldn’t my family be around to help?

No.

Absolutely not.

My family is not a help.  I love them- but at that stage they are a hindrance.  Early Sunday evening is enough time for them to get their things ready.  I’m assuming they completed their assignment of creating a packing list.  I’m also assuming my husband will forget underwear, so I will make sure I pack that for him.

And….

I’m going to spend two weeks with them.

In one hotel room.

Mama needs two days to herself.

And remember that list?  All of that was fit in between 2 and 4pm Sunday.  The following is what I did the rest of the weekend.

  1. gym- spinning and body conditioning.
  2. trading bon mots with amazing members of blogging community, including  indulging in Jude Law fantasy (thanks Jay)
  3. Watching Christmas movies on Hallmark Mystery Channel- KIDDING!! but was upset when I switched to that channel and did not see a Monk or Columbo marathon
  4. binge watched British Baking Show, which is new in America but actually aired last year in Britain, so please no spoilers
  5. finished book I was reading, much to the delight of Goodreads
  6. laid on couch, dog at my feet, cat on my head, and just stared at the ceiling

And….

By sending family to my parents- I get credit for my parents getting to spend time with granddaughter, and I didn’t have to endure a conversation with my Mother as to why I wear a sportsbra when I play tennis, and why I don’t care that sportsbra doesn’t give me a good shape and flattens the girls(fyi- nothing can flatten my girls), and how it’s not a good idea to wear a regular bra when playing sports, and no, I don’t care about how I look in a sportsbra.

So on that note….

Happy July to all, and to all a good week

*****this blog has been pre-recorded******

A Note to the Blogs I Follow

Dear Blogs I Follow,

I will be on vacation for the better part of two weeks (or worse, depending on my family).

I love reading and/or looking at your photos.  I look forward to this every day.  Sometimes I read your posts when I clearly should be doing other things.  Goodreads sent me a warning email that I am falling behind in my reading challenge- yes- I was scolded by Goodreads. My ever growing to do list is not happy that you all are so amazing at everything you do!  Neither are my cat and dog who are constantly nudging my hands as I try to read on my iPad. (sometimes my cat will keep touching the like button, and it looks as if I can’t make up my mind as to whether or not I like a post.  My cat is also responsible for following the S&M bloggers- really- the cat)

Though I am supposed to have Wi-Fi at all the locations I am going (because really- doesn’t every one decide on hotels based on free wifi?) one never knows if the wifi gods are going to be in your favor.  While my goal is to read your blogs on a consistent basis, I can’t guarantee the timeliness in which I will read them.

Also, My pesky wonderful family may actually want to yell at me spend time with me.  They really are a hindrance wonderful group to spend time with.

But……

I will read and comment on all your blogs (though it might take me till real Christmas) Keep writing.  Your posts inspire me every day- to be a better person (but I am still middling at best, so step up your game), to be thankful for what I have and not worry about what I don’t, and to remember that we are all alike yet unique at the same time.

When You Can’t Really Say No-

Text from the Husband on discussing vacation plans:

Husband: Can we stop by nephew’s camp?  It’s on way- maybe a quick lunch?

Me:

It is not your imagination.  There really is nothing typed.  Because I didn’t respond.  Because this isn’t really “asking” me something. this is telling me something.  This is telling me something the Husband knows I don’t want to do, but really, how bad a person am I if I say no?

So before you hand me a verdict on “guilty”- lets really look at my case:

  1. I am a strong believer in yearly family vacation (it is one thing my parents did that I thought was a great experience)
  2. Family trip does not need to be long, expensive or exotic
  3. Family trip includes only members of the immediate family.
  4. We have a rule that unless a trip is done to specifically see a friend or family member, we do not visit anyone.  We came up with this rule while prepping for a trip to California and realized that we had more friends/family there than we had days on the trip.  To have seen everyone would have been unrealistic, and we didn’t want to choose one person over another.
  5. We are not a spontaneous lot- we’re those irksome planner types.  I have a pretty solid idea of what we will be doing on each day of the trip.
  6. This trip involves multiple destinations.  When planning out the trip, I have taken into consideration driving distances and scheduled activities.
  7. On the day we are driving to destination D (supposedly near the camp) we will have been on a college tour that morning.  I know we will not be in the vicinity of the camp till past lunch.
  8. The camp is not really “on the way”- it is at least an hour west from the road we need to be on- putting us way off schedule by about 4 hours (if you can’t tell- I don’t like to be off schedule)
  9. My nephews are 8 and 12.  They are at a camp that they love.  When we do see them in real life, it is from behind there cell phones because in the real world- apps rule relatives drool.  Seriously, do they really want to leave, I don’t know swimming and fun, to spend an hour with Uncle Dufus and Aunt Sarcasm?  When they never actually talk to us anyway?
  10. On the day we leave destination D, we are heading to Destination E, and shockingly, another college visit- which has a scheduled time.  It is not logical to try and visit them.
  11. I know the Husband does not really care about visiting the boys.  I know it is his sister goading him- guilting him into not “caring about the family” (but wait- there are at least 15 blogs in that relationship- so I’m stopping at that)
  12. I have literally been planning this trip for 4 months.  (I don’t mean every day- I mean in general)- why was this question posed 3 days before departure?

As of right now- I don’t know what we’re doing.  I don’t like that the Husband has put me in this position, and I have told him that. (People in relationships – think about what you are asking of your partner, and always tell your partner when you are annoyed and what you are annoyed at- this is relationship 101)

So: What’s the verdict?

Sunday Wrap Up

Here’s a little piece of my life this week.  Unless otherwise stated, events take place in New York City.  As always, I paid my way for all the following.  Ratings are 0-5.  Enjoy!

Books

“The Awkward Age: A Novel” Francesca Segal- Awkward is an appropriate word for this book- it truly is awkward.  And I try to avoid siding with men, but I had to agree with the male characters in this book.  This book would appeal to parents of teens.  3.5

Movies

“Casablanca”- Rooftop Cinema.  First of all, here’s looking at you…I haven’t seen this movie in 20 years- but it still holds up.  It is as good today as it was 75 years ago.  4.99.  I saw this movie as part of the Rooftop Cinema series- A rooftop in Brooklyn is equipped with lawn chairs, blankets, rain ponchos, head phones, popcorn machine and a screen.  There is something magical about watching a movie with the Manhattan skyline in the background.  Great experience all around. (except for the 5 flights of stairs, and the restroom being on the second floor.  Venue 4.5

“Falsettos”- Technically, this is a Broadway show that was filmed, so though I saw it at a traditional movie theater, it really is a “live” musical performance.  This was a wonderful show, no matter how you look at it- happy, sad, real and human.  4.8

“Spider-Man: Homecoming”  I loved this movie- possibly one of my favorite superhero movies ever.  I normally prefer my Superheros dark and brooding, but there’s something to be said for youth.  Movie is clever and fun.  Oh, and Ironman is in it……4.8

Food

Cowgirl Hall of Fame- This is Tex-Mex kitsch heaven.  Also least healthy restaurant ever- I believe the lettuce is fried.  Good for groups and children- loud and crazy.  Not for someone looking for a culinary experience.  3.5

Joe’s Pizza- My family calls this place stand-up Joes, because there is a counter, and maybe one stool- you stand up to eat your slice.  But what a slice…If you want a slice of traditional New York pizza, this is the place.  Seriously-  best pizza. 4.9

Aux Merveilleux de Fred- My daughter and I stumbled upon this bakery- it has been around since 1982, and I can’t believe I’d never seen it.  We split a meringue- light and ethereal, but the star would be the brioche.  We didn’t buy a brioche, but they were giving out samples……oh- was this brioche good.  Dream worthy good.  Not quite Paris, but close. 4.5