Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Day 366...

... of 366. Which means this is blog is a wrap. And I'm sad to see it end. Really. 

I loved coming here and working out my days in words. I loved capturing this time in the boys' lives, day by day, often telling their stories in their words, full of sweet idiosyncrasies, so transient. I loved hearing from friends that they could totally relate to my world, as it seemed parallel to theirs. And I love that I have this record of my 36th year. 

I just turned 37. 

This year really was a good was a good one. No, I did not accomplish all I set out to do. I'm still afraid of sharks and driving in most metropolitan areas, I have not learned to sew like my Mom and I'm not sure my running pace has improved at all. 

But I definitely am more grateful. I am so very grateful I get to share my life with three quirky, fun, smart, passionate, loud guys. I am grateful for the family I was born into and the family I've chosen in my closest friends. I am thankful for all of my friends and so glad that I've reconnected with many of them this year. 

I know that I'm incredibly lucky to be doing work I love. I am even luckier in that I like my co-workers. A lot. 

I am grateful for good health - all around. For finally figuring out how to get back to dancing (and for Jon who made that happen). For music. For libraries. For the fact that my two little boys love music and libraries. I could go on and on. But I won't. 

Because it's time to move on. I'm 37 now. It's Day 1 and I'm aiming for another awesome year, one guided by new goals. No, I won't be writing about it here... but maybe I will write about it here. Periodically. We'll see. Join me if you'd like. 

Monday, December 3, 2012

Day 365

So tonight, after good many moments of anti-grace, I opened up an Energizing Green Yogi tea packet (it took all I had not to uncork a bottle of wine), and got this guy: "Grace brings contentment."

Teas readings
Awesome. Wise. But how the hell do you get grace? Is it something learned? I bet maybe if you practice really hard you can acquire grace. And I don't seem to have much time for practicing things. (Though I'd better start practicing my  dances - cause rumor has it, I'm spaced front-and-center in two pieces at the Flynn showcase performance next Monday night... and I'm still trying to learn some of the choreography we covered when I was sick. And find a fedora. Anyone? Anyone?)

But actually I've been working hard at keeping calm(er) while carrying on - and I do think it helps. Sure, I may still be showing somewhat subtle signs of freak-outs: biting my lip while reviewing a to-do list ... pretzel-wrapping a kid - who socked me in the arm and refused to sit in time out - in my legs (not one of my proudest moments, for sure), sobbing ... Right: subtle is just sometimes.

...  but when I work hard, the effort of staying calm creates awareness somehow. I notice how others are keeping their shit together. I feel the solidarity and see the silent (or not-so-silent) shows of support of others who've been there, or who are there with me now.

And knowing that we're all in this together... that makes me calm. er. Calmer. And a little more content.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

The real Day 364

I am grateful for this guy. (The one behind the Santa suit.)

He's a fantastic father, great partner, faithful bud to Demps and ├╝ber-awesome in-law (to other Miccos). He's rarely the "perp" in instances of inequality that seem to plague many, if not most, relationships, especially after kids. (Guess that means...). He's an anal engineer with concern for international conflicts, an appreciation for all things art and a sharp wit. He knows that, for me, running and dancing are nearly as necessary for keeping on as food and water are. And he claims to PREFER women with bodacious bottoms who gravitate toward nerdy glasses and have a tendency to chop off their hair every three years or so.

Lucky me.

Tell me: who are you grateful for today? (and why?)

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Day "364" (again, not really)

Swipe on bright-red lipstick.
Paint my fingernails poppy.
Slip on a pair of scarlet cashmere socks (that one's Olin's).
Pour a glass of pinot. 

Apparently my most common strategies for embracing the day with a sense of empowerment—and powering down happily (er... the wine)—center around the color red

It's funny how little rituals (of all colors) can boost your confidence, instantly enhance your mood...

... like how drinking from my Danmade Ninja monkey mug makes me feel like I know how to pick out awesome things and truly appreciate them... Or how writing with an Ink Joy pen makes me feel organized. 

... like how continuously framing a potentially hive-inducing work project as a  fantastically exhilarating opportunity (and being lucky enough to be working with people who reinforce that idea) keeps excitement from dissolving into anxiety.

... and like how celebrating sparkly new snow with two wide-eyed little boys, I forget about slippery roads and scraping windows and really start to feel what I was trying so hard to sound enthusiastic saying...  "Isn't it beautiful?" 

Because, really, it is. 

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Day 364 (again... and still not really)

My little boys lately are seeming not so little. More and more, Jules is showing moments of maturity: some come in the form of Buddha-like insights, others in stern safety reminders shouted at Kai... Kai who of late has taken to wearing his Mets hat everywhere. And a Batman cape - often with nothing underneath. 

But they're still little boys - who snuggle, who squabble over the Christmas train, who want to be read to and rocked, who spontaneously reach for each others' hands, who find all sorts of "treasures" and sneak them into my pockets. Which I love. So much it makes me teary to think that this tender time will end - soon. And I worry that during so many of these sweet moments I've been too tired and distracted and too concerned about "bad" behavior to have savored them thoroughly.

And so I save these little pebbles and stash these tiny wood chips on shelves in my office. #importantreminders

Monday, November 26, 2012

Day "364" (but not really)

Tonight, when I was reading J books/tucking him into bed, he said to me, "Daddy always wants to run faster than me but I tell him all the time, 'it doesn't matter who wins, it's about having fun.'"


First, let the record show that Olin is not a freakishly competitive man who sprints past his four-and-a-half-old shouting over his shoulder that the kid can suck his dust. (Jules, in fact, was flipping the players in this conversation around.) But I loved this little PSA. And perhaps I needed it... 

I have this toxic tendency to focus on the goal and forget about the joy of the journey. I have this inclination to see the thing that isn't "perfect" among all that really is. I do this in all sorts of situations... and I aim my critiques at all sorts of people: family members, friends, colleagues and, not least of all, myself. I get annoyed with myself for being too loud, too frank, too self-absorbed, too messy, too work-focused, too lazy, too distractible. I can convince myself - usually temporarily - that I am a bad mom, a bad friend, a bad daughter, sister, dog owner, a bad writer/editor, etc. 

Here's the irony: I earned a master's degree in part teaching people how to feel good about themselves, how to transform negative thoughts into positive ones, how to squash catastrophic thinking, how to acknowledge their victories, big and small,  and to move on quickly when they weren't happy with how they were behaving. And, in fact, I was quite good at it.

Next week I'm on to a new year, with new resolutions. And right now, I'm resolving to notice what's  good, what's beautiful, what's right, what's true, what's inspiring and what's authentically awesome. About everything and everyone around me. And about myself. #37goals
So right.

PS: While we're embracing imperfection... I'm like a whole week off with my math. No clue where that happened. But I knew it would. And now my sloppy math is making me smile. 

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Day 359

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving, the official end date of my "Vegan Till Thanksgiving" experiment... which has been a totally enlightening and fun challenge.

Before I list what I learned in the process, a couple of confessions (my Catholic upbringing has raised me to reveal these sorts of transgressions): 

  • I splashed real milk into my coffee on three occasions.
  • I ate many, many bittersweet chocolate chips (which I assumed were vegan and then learned that the brand I bought were not). 
Now... what I learned: 
  • I can live without ice cream and cheese pretty easily. This came as a major shock to me.
  • I'm not a huge fan of non-dairy "milk" products, particularly in my coffee. The coconut milk creamer was acceptable; soy lattes (purchased only out - I only bought almond milk and coconut milk creamer at home) were good. 
Last day for coconut milk creamer in this Danmade cup
  • I drink less coffee and more green tea when I'm not doing dairy.
  • I eat more and less healthfully when I'm following a vegan diet: more vegetables and beans and far fewer saturated fats (and fatty "junk") but probably more carb-y snacks, like tortilla chips and Triscuits. Also... 
  • For me a vegan diet is not a way to shed pounds. I didn't weigh in (weight loss wasn't a goal) but suspect I stayed the same or gained, as I ate loads of avocados and nuts - which are staples in my diet typically anyway - and extra servings of higher-cal carbs (wild rice, say) in place of fish.
  • Speaking of fish, I missed it a lot - particularly when we went out for sushi to celebrate Lauren's new job. (I ordered a sweet potato tempura roll - again, not as healthy as my typical yellowtail scallion... but perhaps comparable to a spicy tuna).
  • Eating out wasn't as hard as I thought it'd be. At the Bluebird Tavern (not really a "vegetarian" place) I had the most amazing meal... just requested that my roasted beet salad come without the cheese and the dressing and that they leave the smoked bacon butter off the Pickled Tomatoes on Toast. Which were AMAZING.
  • I should have been better about taking a multivitamin. (I did OK with the calcium supplement and somewhat OK with the omega-3s but didn't pick up a multi till last week). And when my arm broke out in hives the other night after prolonged content with a wet sweatshirt sleeve (incurred during bath-time duty) I was convinced I had a vitamin B12 deficiency and would soon start seeing signs of irreversible nerve damage. Ridiculous given that I'd had my fair share of fortified veggie products.
  • I have such respect for the commitment it takes to follow a 100% vegan diet (looking at you, Shannon and Mindy!)
  • I thought even more about where my food comes than I normally do. The other night, when the boys didn't want to finish their milk at dinner, I found myself saying, "it's fine if you don't want to finish but next time let's not take so much. The cows work really hard to make that milk." 
Upshot of the entire experiment: Tomorrow, I will feast on turkey and everything else on Mike B's table. Yum! After that, I will live on a little more vegan than I was in October - "veganish,"  a la Mark Bittman, as a friend pointed out. (Here's what's definitely coming back: milk in my coffee, fish, non-vegan foods served by friends, probably yogurt, definitely "good" cheeses.)