Happy Halloween

Today is the day that the waking household will have to listen to the dog bark between 6 and 8 pm.  When you live in an apartment building you hang a little sign over your doorknob, and the trick or treaters have a designated time slot to come a knockin. My daughter has gone from candy getter to candy accompanier (our neighbor down the hall is now ten- when she was younger she asked my daughter to go around the building with her) and now she is thrilled to be candy giver.  She will sit at the dining room table doing homework and wait for the bell to ring.  We are giving out, I think M&M’s and whatever else came in the assortment pack we buy. Hopefully nothing I like.

Last year my daughter wore devil horns and a red shirt that said “PRADA”. Though she loved the costume, she found it was annoying to have people come up to her, squint, and them say “OMG that’s so funny”. This year she specifically said she did not want a clever costume.  She also wanted to go the group costume route- which means she left the house this morning donning my husbands oxford cloth shirt and tie, jean shorts, sunglasses and a baseball cap.  They’re calling the look “frat boy”. On a funny note, my daughter never got to dress up for Halloween at school until high school- the closest they came was having the 4th graders dress up as their favorite literary character (that was the year my daughter was heavy into American Girl and she went as 70s child Julie) She also had a “party costume” which was a red riding hood capelet- but that’s a whole other story.

Now I don’t usually dress up for Halloween- I just take my broom out and leave it on display. But if I were to dress up I think I would go the pirate route…there’s something earthy and raw about a pirate- I think it’s time for me to explore that side of my personality…

But for now- Have a great day and don’t eat too much candy!!

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A Different Type of Gratitude

When I jotted down notes for today’s blog my intention was to complain about something my Husband did. Nothing major, just something annoying.  Then last week I was talking to a friend, and I asked if in my blog I wasn’t particularly nice towards my husband.  The response: well, you do sort of paint him in a negative light.

So I thought about that. And I realized it’s true. When I blog about my Husband I tend to complain, or write when he does something wrong.  Of course, sometimes the stuff he does is so stupid it’s funny, other times it’s because he’s really pissed me off. It’s easy to write about these things- funny and angry practically write themselves- the words just flow onto the page.

This is the thing about long term relationships (19 years)- it’s easy to pick on the flaws- you’re just more aware of them.  At the onset of a relationship you sweep the negative under the rug, you figure you can work on it later.  The beginning is all about the good: presents, sex, fun. But as years go by….

On Saturdays I have been trying to focus on the good parts of my life- the little things that I am grateful for. And I admit, even when I am trying to focus on all the good in my life, I still undercredit my Husband. I forget about the things he does which make my life easier and better. It becomes so easy to miss all the good because it’s so easy to focus on the bad or annoying.

So…going forward…I am going to try to think about the good things my Husband does. I am going to try to not let the little stuff drive me crazy (and as I write this I’m annoyed because he did something insignificant to most but to me it took my out of my morning ritual and it’s eating away at my brain) but I’m going to try to remember the good that he does.

I guess that’s the key to successful, long term relationships: the ability to let the positive shine thought and let the negative slide to the background. There should be a relationship journal where every night you must write down one bad thing and three good things about your significant other. This way, you get to vent, but you also get to praise. You get to look at your SO in a better light, while accepting that they are human and have faults. It’s all about perspective: how we choose to view the people we are with.

Resolution Style: The Update

As December turned to January, I made a pact to up my style game.  At the close of last year I felt that my wardrobe was just bleh, and bleh wardrobe morphed into bleh mindset.  So I began my journey to style.

First off- it is really hard to add style to your life, especially if you are a minimalist, understated sort of person. Where do you start? How do I add a little flair while still retaining my personality? And how do I do all this when I hate shopping? I even wrote a follow up blog detailing my difficulty in working towards this goal.

Enter Stitchfix- the monthly service that sends you clothes. This was great for me: I was able to add some great pieces to my wardrobe with little personal fuss.  I also tried things that I might not have tried otherwise.  This step alone added something- I went a little out of my comfort zone- just enough to add a little zip.

Then I really began playing with accessories.  As I normally start out with a neutral black palette, adding things really helps. I began playing with texture and shape and I daresay color. I started going a little bolder with my jewelry.  And it helped.  I felt better walking out of the door every day. Friends commented on my look and on my choices.  I knew I was on the right track.

Then a few weeks ago I wrote about my favorite black dress, and I described how I accessorized it different ways for different occasions.  My friend Cozy commented on how she like the styles I was able to create…and it was at that moment I realized that I had done it- I had worked my way towards creating a personal style that made me feel good about myself, made me feel unique, made me feel put together. Last year at this time I felt I was sort of hiding in my clothing.  I don’t feel like that anymore.

So yesterday when I met up with my daughter for lunch, she looked at my slightly above the knee grey dress, knee length down vest, knee high boots (I have a thing for knees apparently) grey cuff bracelet and silver pendent and she said “Look at you Mom. I like the look.  it’s totally you.”

And I smiled to myself. I wanted to switch up my wardrobe a little and I did it, but I’m still exactly who I am. Just a little more so.

 

Week In Review October 28

We had some glorious weather this week, and some awful weather, and it always amazes me how much weather effects my mood.  I did manage to fit I some fun stuff though.

To See (well- not really) “First Man” theaters.  Imagine taking one of the most exciting events in history and science (space exploration) and turning the story into the most bland two hours and twenty one minutes possible.

To Read: “One Day in December” by Josie Silver.  This wasn’t a deep book, nor was it a throwaway read. Its the story of two people, ten years and fate.  I quite liked it. A different take on a love story.

To See Live: “The Lifespan of a Fact” Studio 54, Broadway.  Let’s start with the cast: Harry Potter, Bobby Cannavale, and Cherry Jones.  All excellent.  And the play- one of the sharpest works I’ve seen in awhile.  Limited run in NYC- but if you’re here…

To Visit: Neue Galerie NYC “Franz Marc and August Macke 1909-1914. Well curated exhibit showcasing the works of these two artists, and how they influenced one another.  Some really beautiful pieces.  (and if you’re here, you might as well visit women in gold…)

To Eat: Ramen. I know that everyone has a food they associate with fall. One of mine is ramen.  Now, I don’t mean the .39 package you get at the market- I mean the ramen that has broth that is so complex you forget about everything else in your life, because you just want to concentrate on the big bowl in front of you.  Add noodles and some sprouts and chicken or pork.  Happy, happy, happy.  This particular bowl of yummy was found at Totto Ramen on West 52nd Street.  So good I will be dreaming about it for weeks to come.

To Do: Murder Mystery Dinner as performed by The Murder Mystery Co. at the Hilton Garden Inn Manhattan.  This was totally silly, and totally kitsch, but I enjoyed it.  Now, my biggest problem was that they assigned rolls to theater goers, and some were more willing to participate than others, so this took away a little from the question and answer portion of the event.  My friends and I did not win, but we did enjoy the event.  I admit, I would love to do a murder mystery weekend- I really belong in a cozy mystery.

To Reflect: My daughter officially ended her High School tennis career this past Tuesday. Her team had the odd distinction of being the eight seed, which meant they had buys for the first two rounds, a decent opponent for round three, but the absolute best team in the league for the fourth round.  But, it was an amazing four years for her, as she was co-captain for three years, won multiple team spirit awards and finished off with a 7-3 regular season record and one playoff win. Her senior poster now sits above her desk, and another part of her life has come to a close.   Insert tear.

 

 

 

Gratitude Saturday October 27

It is a wet, grey day in NYC- if I could predict the future I would say that rain paraphernalia will be on my list next week. We had no hot water in our building last night. Stuff happens. Here’s to the small things that are bigger than we realize.

  1. hot water from the faucet
  2. fuzzy slippers that look like bears
  3. friends that you can talk to
  4. advances in medicine
  5. laughter
  6. naps on the couch
  7. inside jokes
  8. really good hand cream
  9. opportunity
  10. little tissue packs
  11. when your kid makes the decision you secretly want them to make but you don’t want to push the issue

Nice &%$ Grandma

I went to the gym last week, did my usual hour on the elliptical. As I was watching HGTV, the guy on the elliptical next to me started chatting me up, in a pleasant manner.  He was age appropriate and rather attractive, so I was enjoying the banter.  I admit, though I am totally in love, the positive affirmation from someone I don’t know did make me feel good.

But, here’s the thing. You can never let yourself get too cocky…

A short time later I was running errands (my daughter had pre ordered her Halloween costume and I told her I would pick it up at Party City). As I was walking home, some random person shouted:

“Nice Ass Grandma”

Of course I relayed this story to my friends.  I got the following responses:

  1. OMG- I just told my Husband and he’s hysterical
  2. Well, at least he thought it was nice
  3. GILF
  4. On behalf of all men I apologize
  5. Only in NYC
  6. Tell me more about the attractive guy at the gym

What was my response?

GRANDMA.  He referred to me as a Grandma?

Now, I realize I am old enough to be a Grandma.  I know that there are plenty of women my age who are Grandma’s.  My cousin D, who is six years younger than me, just found out she is going to be a Grandma.  So I get that.  But I just don’t feel like a Grandma.

What does a Grandma feel like? I don’t really know, except to say that I don’t feel like one. When I think Grandma I think cozy cardigan sweaters, and little wire rim glasses- sort of like Mrs. Claus.  And I know that’s not how Grandma’s look nowadays.  I know Grandma’s can be hip and cool and fun.  My Mom, obviously a Grandma, still looks youthful.  But there’s just something about the connotation…

I know I have to come to the understanding that I am getting older.  And getting older is not a bad thing- as we’ve stated before, it’s better than the alternative.  I need to accept the fact that I am still the same person I have always been, but with a few extra lines and dryer skin, and knees that hurt when I take the stairs too quickly. But it’s OK. I know that one day I will be a very cool Grandma….

My Song

“I love music, any kind of music”.

I didn’t write that line. That credit belongs to the iconic songwriting duo Gamble and Huff, as was sung by the O’Jays. And that simple line sums up quite neatly how I feel about music.

What is it about tunes and lyrics, hearing musicians play instruments and singers sing songs, that makes many of us feel good? What makes some songs become popular? What makes some songs stay in people’s minds forever?

There are some theories.  I know there’s a mathematical formula about beats per minute that supposedly is found in many chart toppers. Certain singers have voices that are just so pure that people will listen because the vocals are that incredible. There are musicians that play their instruments so well that you can’t help but be in awe of them. But those are just theories…and there is no universal song that everyone loves. Every listener takes something out of a song, a piece of work. Everyone has music that just speaks to them.

One of my songs is “Iris” written by Johnny Rzeznick.  There is something about this song that resonates with me, and also every other Goo Goo Dolls fan as evidenced by the crowd singing the chorus at the concert I attended recently. And of course my blog sister Cynthia, who has written about this song as well.

And I’d give up forever to touch you
‘Cause I know that you feel me somehow
You’re the closest to heaven that I’ll ever be
And I don’t want to go home right now
And all I can taste is this moment
And all I can breathe is your life
And sooner or later it’s over
I just don’t wanna miss you tonight
And I don’t want the world to see me
‘Cause I don’t think that they’d understand
When everything’s meant to be broken
I just want you to know who I am
And you can’t fight the tears that ain’t coming
Or the moment of truth in your lies
When everything feels like the movies
Yeah you bleed just to know you’re alive
© BMG Rights Management

So what is it about this song? Why does it grab my attention? Seriously, other than the obvious romantic stuff (cause we all know I’m not particularly romantic), what captivates me?

And of course, what are the songs that captivate you? Which songs will always be on the playlist in her heart?

 

 

Who ya gonna call….

Stressbusters.

When life gets stressful, which it will, what do you do?

I’ve whined of late about how my head is going to explode as I watch my family, my friends and myself get through some tough times. And we all need coping mechanisms to get us through the tough times. Today, I’m going to give you the things that work for me.

  1. reading very light novels (they make me smile and remember that there will be silly moments in my future, and happy endings)
  2. organizing things (it helps to make order and calm out of something)
  3. exercise (nothing makes me feel better than breaking a sweat, or lifting weights or just putting one foot in front of the other- you and your body are stronger than you think)
  4. hot bath (lavender salts, your troubles just float away)
  5. cooking/baking (you have to pay attention to a recipe- you don’t have time to worry.  My family has gotten pumpkin scones, pumpkin cookies and yellow cake with chocolate frosting over the past three weeks)
  6. music (I put on music and my shoulders drop down about six inches)
  7. talk to a friend (the other day I just spit out my whole list of stresses to my friend. After I did it I fully exhaled for the first time in a month)
  8. Writing (this blog and my journal have been brain saving)
  9. puzzles/games (this is another example of getting your mind occupied for a little bit so that you’re not dwelling on whatever issues ail you)
  10. getting a good night’s sleep (seriously- lack of sleep isn’t good under the best of circumstances- when you’re stressed it’s worse)
  11. Photography (taking pictures calms me- I’m thinking about light and angle and framing- nothing else)
  12. Playing with my dog and cat (come on- they’re cute and furry and snuggle)

So- what are your favorite methods of stress relief? How do you cope when everything is piling up?

When the Rules Can’t Work

I have rules and routines and procedures for everything.  You know this.  My daughter does too- so much so that is what she wrote her common app essay about.  We thrive on having lists and often do things rote.  It works for us.

One of the oldest rules we have is my meal rule.  When my daughter was in pre school, the year when the stream of activity begins, I made a rule.  Unless someone was out of town, we had to eat three family meals.  It could be breakfast, lunch or dinner, but the three of us had to be around the table together three times per calendar week.

Last week, for the first time in thirteen years, we were not able to do this.

When I was doing my Sunday prep work a few weeks ago, I looked at my calendar, looked at everyone’s commitments and shook my head. Work outings, college meetings, prior engagements, busy lives,  equaled the three of us barely being at home at the same time.

And it made me think of the future.

This rule has gotten us through my daughters formative years.  It has helped us as a family – because we were able to check in with one another- we knew when something was troubling us, we knew what was going on in one another’s lives.  Spending facetime, no phones or electronics, does really help communication.  And we all know communication leads to relationship success, or increases your chance of success anyway.

But I have now faced the harsh reality. Our days of family meals are almost over.  My days with my daughter living down the hall is almost over. There will be new rules and procedures put in place (you know I will have some sort of weekly phone call plan) but my life is about to change.

Ready or not, here it comes.  Glad I have seven months to prepare.

On or Off

As many of you know, I have a Yorkie.  She is extremely adorable and very loving and sweet.  She is also tenacious- she doesn’t give up when she sees something she wants.  She is also very excitable and yappy.20181022_0742317094808898146108947.jpg

Now, as often happens. pets and their owners share some traits.  I too an extremely adorable.  And tenacious. Excitable.  Yappy…. We say the dog has two speeds, off and on- as do I. I am either all in, or asleep…

Now mainly these are not particularly bad traits- just annoying sometimes. And it is often hard to follow where I’m coming from and where I’m going to.  I used to have an assistant who followed me around with a notepad and wrote down everything I said.  She said that I went step 1, step 2, step 15, step 20…etc, because my mind was working so fast my actual talking couldn’t keep up.  I have a friend I email and they laugh because of the amount of spelling mistakes I can make in an email because when I think of something clever my fingers can’t work fast enough to type properly.

As a New Yorker, these traits help- there’s a reason why the phrase is “New York minute”. But even for a NYer- the speed at which I talk is lightening fast.  Italksofastthatsometimespeoplecantunderstandathingthatimsaying. Now my friends- well- they’ve just gotten used to this by now.  And my daughter talks as fast as I do.  This is actually an issue because people will often think we are nervous, but we’re not nervous- we just can’t wait to get things out. (our family joke is lose your breath, lose your turn)

By now, I’m guessing you’re wondering why I am writing about this today.  Well, here’s the thing: I am thinking of starting a podcast.  I’m considering doing book reviews, but you know, my kind of book reviews.  I know I can write them, but I think my personality (not my accent) is suited to talking out a really humorous review.  I think sometimes you just need to hear the inflection.

But…

Italksofast.

I realize the speed at which I do things is part of my personality- part of who I am. But I also know that I have to turn it down 5 or 30 notches in order to be understood. So I’m at a standstill- if I want to try this podcast thing I need to sloooow dowwwwwwn. I just don’t know how to take a breath- to pause.  I don’t exactly know what is between on and off.

What is the middle ground, and how do I get there?