Sunday, April 29, 2012

Day 145

Every once in awhile Jon and I start talking about how maybe we should move out of Vermont - it's far from our families... the winters are brutal (though not this year!)... the salaries and cost of living seem a little out of sync... 

Then, we have a day like this: 

... And we start counting all of the reasons (beyond Shelburne Farms) that we love this place: bright blue skies, expanses of green, trickling brooks, amazing friends, the Spielpalast Cabaret (and all of talented artists in town), forward-thinking business people, dog-friendly businesses, Church Street, the farmer's market, the Intervale, the Art Hop, the Lake, the mountains... So many things we've yet to discover, people we've yet to meet.

It's really hard to imagine ever leaving.

Day 144

End of my day: My grocery-shopping partner (who shall go unnamed) thought it'd be funny to slither like a snake on his belly through the produce section, grab a butterfly net in the seasonal display (cheap toys) by the pharmacy to swat around the organic cereals ... and sprint away from me, screaming. I know the "right" thing to do would have been to return what was in my basket and march ourselves straight out of the store, but that would require retracing lots of steps -- creating additional opportunities for missteps -- or asking a store associate to do the returning for us, which just didn't seem fair. So after grabbing a few more things, continually corralling my crazy-making shopping companion, I made a beeline for the wine aisle and grabbed a bottle of pinot noir. It crashed into little pieces and poured out a blood-red puddle on the driveway at home, a beautiful mess. Devastating. At least we had beer.

Tomorrow is a new day.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Day 143

Today was a long day at the end of a long week. I worked 17 hours yesterday - at the office. I am not complaining (or maybe I am? or am I bragging? hmmm... perhaps this mention was entirely unnecessary - yes, I think so - but now it's out). Anyway, I shouldn't be complaining because I still have a job after my company did a big round of lay-offs on Tuesday. And it happens to be a job I like. A lot. 

Regardless, my work week was a little out of balance and ended on a somewhat stressful note. Full confession: Today, from 4:55 to 5:10 pm or so, I cried in the car. (Yeah, yeah, me crying is like someone else sneezing... but after lots of days that require precarious work/life juggling and too few hours of sleep, I break down.) 

If this shark were chasing me, on land, I think I might be able
to run a 10K at a 8-minute-mile pace. Just maybe.

Luckily, I have great friends who pick me up. Ri made me and the boys dinner - pork tenderloin, sweet potato fries and baked beans, mmmm - while Jon took his turn at working late (on a Friday, poor guy). Note: the dinner invite was not in response to my cranky, weepy state. It came hours before the tears. 

And when I brought the boys home to put them to bed, Ri came with me, while Jon stayed to watched the NFL draft with Chris. The idea was to have a glass of wine when they were tucked in but bedtime took longer than expected. 

And then... then... I check the mail to find that my incredibly thoughtful friend Amy sent me a running mix (!!!) that she'd made for me--and this insanely realistic-looking shark card. Which is awesome and hilarious. Sharks terrify me--and, yet, I am obsessed.

My friends rock. I am lucky, lucky girl. (Yes, HT and Dibs, your tribute is coming. Be patient.)

Day 142

Reason #947 Julian rocks my world:
This morning, Jules jumped up from the breakfast table and ran upstairs. When I shouted up to ask what he was  doing, he responded: "I'm getting dressed. I'm picking out my beauuuutiful shirt."

He asked me to come up to his room. I grabbed Kai and climbed the stairs. Yes, Julian needed help. But not getting dressed. Poor guy couldn't decide which of the five "Sunny Days" Ts he wanted to wear. Mostly because the sixth one - the one he really wanted to wear - was in the wash. He asked me to present his available, laundered Sunny Days shirts one by one. After considering the options for a moment - he actually tapped his finger to his lip and said "hmm" - he made his selection: "the one with Bert and Ernie." His choice exuded confidence, like a magazine fashion director. Then, he ordered me and Kai back downstairs.

A few moments later, Julian appeared, sporting his special shirt tucked into his silky (polyester) Adidas pants. Which were on backwards.  He was beaming proudly, a big kid. Beauuuuutiful.
The winning shirt. The underpants.
Jules has a full "Sunny Days" wardrobe, thanks to
Grandma Kathie and Aunt Kate

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Day 140

I've been in a surly mood for the last couple of days. I suspect it's because I'm spread a little thin and shadowing behind my own expectations of who I should be: a laid-back (HA!) witty, calm woman who excels at work and at home, who doesn't lose patience with a curious kid, who writes thank you notes on time, who returns wine glasses and casserole dishes and always remembers a birthday. Falling short, I am.

Last night, while working and a tiny bit miserable about it (I'd wanted to watch a movie... or simply go to sleep), I asked my Facebook friends to tell me how to bust out of a bad mood. Immediately dozens of great suggestions came pouring in.  They ranged from porn to Stevie Wonder; yoga to - my favorite - this incredibly entertaining video (thank you, Shana!)  Instantly, I was happier. (Less productive but happier.) Ah, the power of social support. 

Tonight, I did watch a movie (Young Adult, with Charlize Theron- excellent film, I thought) but, again, am settling into some work. Grrrr... I want to go to bed but I know I'll be even more annoyed if I don't plow through. So... I'm relying on a few little things to boost my mood. Right now, they are

1. Red wine
2. Poppy-painted nails
3. Remembering that abundance is a good problem to have
4. Replaying this one-of-a-kind request, made by Jules at 9:14 or so, when he called me up for a final back pat (and a restart of his Elizabeth Mitchell CD): "Mom, can you please make my Cheerios soggy right now while I sleep? While the moon shines and there are stars? Can you?"

Why, yes. Yes, I can. 

Friday, April 20, 2012

Day 136

This is today's to-do list. It's definitely not comprehensive - missing two big work calls and everything after the workday ends but it's snippets of direction, to help me refocus when I start doing something like... um, reading 25 journal articles that are only tangentially related to my work or cutting up the cantaloupe in my fridge--you know, just so it's ready to eat at a moment's notice.

My to-do review
Anyhow, an hour or so ago, I glanced at this list. At first, I felt stressed. Then... I felt lucky.

1. "Fitness Annotated" - I sent in the backup (plus an annotated draft) for the approved version of a magazine feature I've been working on FOR. EVER. Thrilled that it's wrapped but also grateful that I landed an assignment on a topic that I pitched (because it's so near and dear to me) and also that I got to work with a lovely editor and connect with eloquent psychologists, fascinating researchers and amazing "real" women.

2. I went for a "Run." With Ri and Digs. At 10 a.m. Because Friday is a home day. Yes, I am lucky and I know it.

3. "Read." I wrote this last night at 11:15 and, quite honestly, I don't know what I wanted myself to read today. I have several layouts for custom pub projects with fast-approaching deadlines that I brought home to review today and I'm pretty sure that that's what I meant. But that "read"-ing is a responsibility on my list makes me smile. I love to read. I'm going to pretend that I *must* read a novel. (But not actually do it - because I have a lot of work things to read.) Need a novel rec? Check this awesome list my FB friends helped me build.

4. "Organize Wt. Manag." This means sort through the GIANT pile of journal articles on obesity and behavior change (the ones I've been moving back and forth from the dining room table to the counter corner for weeks) to figure out just what I need to read to be able to pass pre-test that admits me to a three-day training workshop on the science of weight management. (It's through the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.) LOVE that my work pays me to keep learning in this area...

5. "Hotel for JBF Awards." I have to find and book a hotel for the James Beard Awards. Because the EatingWell story that I edited (and the fabulous Melinda Wenner Moyer wrote!) on toxins in our food and environment was nominated for an award. So exciting! I also have to figure out the cheapest/fastest way to get from Manhattan to Newark for a 7:30 a.m. flight so I can get back to prep for the boys' birthday party. Shuttle from Grand Central area or train from Penn Station? Help! It affects where I stay.

6. "Mtg - marathon." Um... I have no idea what this means because I do not have a meeting about a marathon. I do know that I have to register my VCM relay team... which I've been putting off because we haven't nailed down a clever name yet. Any ideas? Team includes me, Ri, Lisa, Kate (coming in from the 'burgh), my sister-in-law to be, Casey (coming in from Ohio) - so excited for the weekend. My bro and mom will be coming to cheer us on too.

And, oh yes, I must buy olive oil, juice and parsley. (Other things too).

In sum, here's why today's to-do list makes me feel lucky... I get paid to do work I love: write all sorts of content centered on health and wellness. (Right now), I have a somewhat flexible working arrangement that, twice a week, let's me run during the day and even toss in a load of laundry. I have exciting things to look forward to: family visits! award ceremonies! marathons! (Then there's the awesome kids, the kick-ass husband, the perfect dog.)

IMPORTANT NOTE: I am not always grateful about my to-dos. If you know me, you already know this.

SECOND IMPORTANT NOTE: I am not bragging. I am reminding myself why I am lucky so that, in five minutes, when I'm stressing about how none of this is done and how I should have been doing it instead of writing this blog, I can read this post.

Happy Friday!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Day 125 - 134

I was away on the most amazing trip last week, with my boys, visiting old friends and all of Jon's family. I am overwhelmed with the awesomeness of the trip (Scranton, PA > Charlotte, NC > Calabash, NC > Somers, NY > NYC) and so, on this late-night of getting back to my blog, I'm not going to write about my epic adventure at all. (Recap to come.) Tonight, I'm simply going to share what greeted me at the office this morning, my first day back.

At my desk was a package, with my name on it.. and this label:

Receiving a box of booze at your office is amusing itself. But I also got a kick out of the line,"Do not deliver to an intoxicated person." Alcoholism is no laughing matter but all I could picture was someone desperately needing more sauce and, rather than hitting up the local bar or liquor store, deciding instead to wait patiently, despite being bombed, for Big Brown to drop-off this next round of drinks.

PS: I am not only overwhelmed by the awesomeness of my trip. I am overwhelmed by the return to real life: the piles of work, the loads of laundry, the random shoes and books and magazines and half-empty suitcases and toys and pet hair strewn all about the house, the birthday party to plan, the thank you cards to write... but amid it all I am grateful for all of the things in the day - like this package - that make me laugh.

What cracks you up?

Monday, April 9, 2012

Day 120 - Day 125

Last week was full of prep: gearing up for an insanely exciting work-related launch and packing up for an "epic" trip down the East Coast with my boys. All of them, including Demps.

We've been on the road since Friday at 4, and it can't believe how amazing it's been. (Knock, knock on the table.) 

Highlight of Days 124 and 125: Observing Jules and Kai hang with their big-cousin Liam. Feel like I'm getting tiny glimpses into the future. 

Today, grateful for family memories in the making. And for uber-cool 7-year-old nephews.

Medium, small, extra-small. (And, yes, everyone
gets his own ball.)

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Day 119

Psst! Here's a secret formula for (relative) superproductivity = great run + refreshing shower followed by a double latte + darkish coffeehouse surrounded by strangers who talk of things that don't concern me (but do interest me) 

Day 119 latte at New Moon

And here's what doesn't help get it done: 

Semi-warm coffee + semi-sweet chocolate chips + an only semi-tired almost-4-year old who keeps popping up behind me like a little elf. But I get it dude: You want to be sleepy; I want to be super-productive. And we're not having it.

What helps you get the job done? 

Monday, April 2, 2012

Day 118

Apparently, I was not the only one who thought that the latest turn in Mike B.'s in-process children's book was for realz: safari animals, snatched from their natural habitats, were eating kids. (If you've not checked out his blog, you must. Right now.)

I learned that the post was a joke only when I asked Mike if he seriously ran into a rabid badger (!!) on his hike. Ohh... I thought when he told me, feeling like a total loser. Well that's too bad, I told him, because there definitely should be more books for kids about death. (Books like The Tenth Good Thing About Barney, which my friend Jen, a therapist, lent me after I shared, with her, this horrendous "conversation" I had with Jules.) Mike informed me that a lion slaughtering a child was not really this sort of book.

©2012 Michael J. Balzano
Read the story at

Good point.

But then... then... tonight at bedtime, as I stepped in to finish a story that Jon started for Jules, about an explorer who steps off a boat and encounters a beautiful field of purple flowers, Julian chimes in: "And he sees a zebra and he has to hide. But before he can hide, the zebra eats him."

"The zebra eats the boy?" I ask, incredulously. Julian has NOT been privy to my lion-eating-boy conversations with Mike.

"Yes. Sometimes animals eat people," he says matter of factly. "But usually zebras don't eat people." "No, Jules they don't." They never eat people... maybe they bite them. But lions eat people. This is what was running through my head. But remembering the conversation that prompted the Barney book loan, I paused. Instead, I pulled the blankets up around Jules' shoulders, kissed his soft, sweet forehead and said, simply: "Love you buddy. See you in the morning."

Then I went downstairs and wrote Mike a note letting him know that his "joke" story was, indeed, viable.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Day 115 - 117

Since I wrote this post Jon and I have taken to asking ourselves (or each other), "WWUBD?" whenever we've been needing motivation to seize the day. As a result, this past weekend was filled with activity upon activity: we connected with lots of different friends, some we haven't seen in months. We  logged miles on the bike path, hunted eggs, played baseball and unearthed wormies with Jules. We (Jon) saw a horrible 3D movie and (I) lounged with the ladies and Mark West. We took the boys to a great bar coffeehouse to hear sweet music at brunch. We hiked with the dogs. We had family dinner at Ri and Chris's capped off with ice cream sundaes. The entire weekend was awesome.

Now Sunday-night anxiety has set in. This pic - snapped this afternoon during our walk in the woods- sort of sums up how I'm feeling:

It also reminds me of the fantabulous Annie Lamott...  bird by bird, baby. One thing at a time. So... let's get this party started. 

How do you deal with Sunday-night blues?