Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Bonne Annee!

We celebrated by sneaking up to one of our favorite old Brooklyn haunts, Bar Tabac. They had a sweet little prix fixe, awesome 70s/80s tunes, and the foxiest French servers. The perfect place to wear your sequin mini skirt like it's no big deal. 

Fulfilling on my birthday resolution to get to the city more often! Why wait til January?

Happy new year wherever you are! 

Thursday, December 26, 2013

And Just Like That--

Christmas was here and gone!

Santa stopped by my mom's on Christmas Eve and give Lil SevPrez the red car she's been asking about. It's a Cobra that seems to go about 40 mph... OK maybe not quite but with a 2 year old at the helm it might as well be. On Christmas morning the big hit was a massive sticker book. She wouldn't put it down which had her attempting to open the rest of her gifts with one hand. 

Her other grandmother got her a baby doll that you can feed and give a paci to, which was spot on. She opened it and said "messy school!" That's the class she goes to on Tuesday, and her Mema was thoughtful enough to get her the thing she plays with every week. 

Ho ho ho!

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Casting Aside Opinion

"Zen Master Jizo said that 'not knowing is the most intimate thing.' Not knowing means to be open to all eventualities, to not prejudge a person or situation. If your mind is full of preconceived notions, there is no room for an unbiased view. It is like when your hands are full of objects -- you cannot pick up anything new. A closed mind causes separation and suspicion. Like an umbrella, a mind is only useful when it is open. The first step toward maintaining an open mind is to understand the nature of mind or self."

-Gerry Shishin Wick Sensei

Sunday, December 1, 2013


I was wished a Happy Birthsgiving, my birthday falling on Thanksgiving weekend as it sometimes does, and I couldn't believe I had never heard that one before. 

It was a great weekend. Cold, but filled with family, food, shopping, and the outdoors. What more do you want?!

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving

Greetings from Maine

Running across the river...

And through the University of Maine.

Aunt Rose's infamous Chex Mix.

Peggy's pumpkin pie!

And I started knitting again! An infinity scarf with tassels.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

10 More Things

My birthday is almost here. It's sneaking up on me this year. With so much going on, the days just fly by: three restaurants to open, condos to build, and a two year old to raise. I'm going to be 32. I haven't thought much about it except that it sounds a little more mature than I am used to saying but that it also feels right.

Reflecting back on this year, I can see it was seminal. My daughter is growing into a person. The proud flesh of my marriage. My growth as a leader at work. A mountainous marathon under my belt. Best friends getting married. An old friend that passed. It has run the gamut.

It feels like I should throw some feathers in the wind -- put some prayers into the future. So with that, ten more things.

1. Take a storytelling class. Finish my essay "The Greatest." Be on stage.
2. Go to the Met more. Go to the city more. It's a pleasure, remember!
3. Go to a Korean spa and have an awkward naked experience but be profoundly exfoliated as a result.
4. Speak more Spanish.
5. Go to Europe with the Mr. And maybe The Baby. Let's go to South America too to visit the cousins.
6. Have another baby. Maybe lots of babies. Don't worry so much about the future.
7. Move. To a beautiful old house!
8. Watch less TV. Way less. Create more.
9. Eat more vegetables. (All of us).
10. Go for it. Really. Make a run at the best life ever.

Monday, November 11, 2013

The Wrong Woman, The Wrong Man

It Was Like This: You Were Happy
by Jane Hirshfield

It was like this:
you were happy, then you were sad,
then happy again, then not.

It went on.
You were innocent or you were guilty.
Actions were taken, or not.

At times you spoke, at other times you were silent.
Mostly, it seems you were silent—what could you say?

Now it is almost over.

Like a lover, your life bends down and kisses your life.

It does this not in forgiveness—
between you, there is nothing to forgive—
but with the simple nod of a baker at the moment
he sees the bread is finished with transformation.

Eating, too, is a thing now only for others.

It doesn't matter what they will make of you
or your days: they will be wrong,
they will miss the wrong woman, miss the wrong man,
all the stories they tell will be tales of their own invention.

Your story was this: you were happy, then you were sad,
you slept, you awakened.
Sometimes you ate roasted chestnuts, sometimes persimmons.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Speaking of Marriage

My college roommate got married last weekend!  

I have never seen anyone so excited to get married. It was life affirming to see such pure joy in two people's commitment. It made me feel proud to be married.

She is from Massachusetts and found an amazing place to get married, New Marlborough, in the Berkshires. The ceremony was in a meeting house that was built in 1771, and the reception and lodging was just down the street at the Gedney Farm, two old barns that have been converted. There was no TV, no cell reception, no wifi, no nothing. Just old friends, good people, and the excitement of two people coming together to spend the rest of their lives together. And peak foliage. Did I mention peak foliage? 

All together awesome sauce.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Sharing a Poem: Love and Marriage

For What Binds Us
by Jane Hirshfield
There are names for what binds us:
strong forces, weak forces.
Look around, you can see them:
the skin that forms in a half-empty cup,
nails rusting into the places they join,
joints dovetailed on their own weight.
The way things stay so solidly
wherever they've been set down-
and gravity, scientists say, is weak.
And see how the flesh grows back
across a wound, with a great vehemence,
more strong
than the simple, untested surface before.
There's a name for it on horses,
when it comes back darker and raised: proud flesh,
as all flesh
is proud of its wounds, wears them
as honors given out after battle,
small triumphs pinned to the chest-
And when two people have loved each other
see how it is like a
scar between their bodies,
stronger, darker, and proud;
how the black cord makes of them a single fabric
that nothing can tear or mend.

"For What Binds Us," by Jane Hirshfield from Of Gravity and Angels (Wesleyan University Press).

Thursday, September 26, 2013


Jumping in the waves, pants be damned!
Happy to be reporting from the first vacation the Mr. has ever planned. In ten years. It's really something.

We are enjoying a lovely house in North Beach on Long Beach Island, steps from the beach and the bay. There's a park with playgrounds and tennis courts around the corner that I can't wait to hit up!!! I am grooming P to love tennis in hopes that she'll want to be our ball girl while we play. 

The beach up here has been replenished since Sandy, which means sand has been pumped ashore from the ocean floor. The beach is huge, with a big hill of sand that you have to walk over before you can see the waves breaking. At this time of year it has a post apocalyptic feel. But there are tons of shells, the water's warm, and no one's around. It's a life-maker.

We found a great restaurant that just opened in June called Arlington. From the looks of the sign I knew exactly what it would be -- new American/farm to table. We did a U-y and were psyched to end up at a place that had good drink, food, decor. In a beach town there are usually so many bad restaurants to avoid. Smelly carpets, bad seafood. It took the vacation to another level to find great food.

Big sky beach.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Postcards Of Brussels

A beautiful, safe, clean, European city. A fine time and I hope to go back -- and have more time to shop, since all the stores close at 6:30 (proof of a less capitalist society). The best part of the trip was that we did good work and met some great people!

Saturday, September 7, 2013


Landed in Brussels early this morning, took a short nap, got some brunch, shopped, then headed off to Antwerp for impromptu dinner with the client big cheese. He had us up to his penthouse apartment high above the big shopping street and cooked us dinner. Really nice to feel home while away. 

Not your average everyday experience and I'm glad to have it after my recent weeks. Love being around all the different languages (Flemish, German, French) and has me wanting to go after Spamish again and maybe even some French pronunciation. 

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

10 Things

Last week I learned on Facebook that the boy that was my freshman year of college passed away, "suddenly and unexpectedly," to quote his obituary. We drifted apart in college and I haven't talked to him since we graduated, more or less, which was ten years ago. Though I probably would have never talked to him again -- I even hid his profile from my Facebook feed, because our friendship seemed outdated and lopsided, like I would always care more that he did -- I feel the loss tremendously. 

He was such an unbelievably self-possessed spirit. When I met him, along with a few other truly excellent individuals on the sidewalk outside of the Rubin Dormitory on 5th Ave & 10th Street, it felt like I found my people. He loved music, and we spent the year of 1999-2000 going to live shows in the city or blasting music in our dorm rooms. He went on to be a live music sound engineer, and he travelled the world in that capacity. I don't know what exactly took him from this Earth so soon, but I suspect it wasn't good. 

In trying to find some meaning in his death, I thought about my life when I knew him. I dove headlong into memories, and read almost every page of my old journals and poetry books. I found email exchanges with old friends, and was washed over with the person I was more than a decade ago. I was searching for something, or someone, who could go with me through this life, steadfastly. For one short period of time, my friend Adam was that person. 

The fierce openness with which I searched for something to fill me up scares me now. I would never want to go back to that, but I do miss that feeling of not knowing what will happen next, or who I might meet that would bend my life. When a piece of paper 7 inches wide and 1 inch tall fell out of my journal with a list of things 10 things I wanted to do, I saw a reflection of a girl that I forgot I was. 

I've had my head down, in a lot of ways, for a lot of years. I've been plugging away. At what? Inner peace, love, family, sophisticated ladydom, tax paying... Adam's death has me picking my head up and wondering, what do I really want? I used to feel like I had nothing to lose and a real sense of what I could be. Now that I have a lot of things that I want, it's hard to resist the temptation to hold on too tight. Can I throw my hat up in the air of adventure to see where it lands in 2013 like I did in 2003? It's started an interesting conversation.

10 things --
1. learn how to use quark
2. be a hard core babysitter of jamie carly alexandra
3. take really long bike rides
3. get freckly
4. find an excellent apartment
5. write for the new yorker vogue nyt magazine jane
6. find a nice guy
7. start a dance troop
8. drive through canada, mexico
9. go to cuba and speak lots of spanish
10. move to rome

If you'll notice, my list of ten actually consists of eleven, as I have two number 3s. I've never been as conscientious as I pretend to be.

I'll miss you Adam. You were a kindred spirit, a spitfire and a savior. I loved you, like so many others.

Friday, August 30, 2013


I commissioned a watercolor from my brother for the invite.

The Little One turned 2!

We had a party at the house. Theme: red balloons, since balloons are one of her absolutely favorite things. Once again the weather held out. We had a morning party with bagels, cream cheese, and lox; granola, yogurt, and fruit; and of course, lollipops, cupcakes, red balloon cookies, and brownies! She played ball with her cousins. She wore a red party hat. She was pushed around on her new Radio Flyer tricycle. It was one of the best days of her life so far. Here's to many many more. 

Monday, August 26, 2013

New Acquisitions

The Little One and I have been going on mother-daughter trips to Marshalls lately. It's kind of the best. Any kind of mother-daughter recreational activity is something to be really cherished, and the retail therapy is a great bonus. Today we stopped at the bagel place in the same shopping center and had my little girl's favorite lunch -- a bagel with cream cheese and a side of lox. She gobbles up the lox like a penguin. We sat outside and she was delighted by her food, the people and pets passing by on their way to a pet store, the flags, everything. It was the perfect temperature. A perfect date.

Later we went to the beach -- our seventh time this summer! -- and stayed til after the lifeguards left. We practiced drawing pictures in the sand with our toes, building and decorating sand castles, chasing birds, and saying "blimp!"The three of us cuddled and counted to twenty and giggled until it was time to eat dinner. 

It was a perfect Sunday and I have some sweet new shoes to boot. It may seem excessive but I have had to throw two pairs of shoes three pairs of shoes (including the best black sandals ever made!) out in the past month because they literally fell apart. 

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Summer Day Of Fun 2013

We riffed on Smitten Kitchen's hand pies with peaches instead of rhubarb, our crust instead of hers, and circles instead of squares, with America's #1 Next Door Neighbor. Verdict? Very delicious but very labor intensive. Next time we'll make them bigger.

We went antiquing in our own neck of the woods and found a limited number of gems, but the upside was seeing the antique stores packed with customers on a summer Sunday. 

Then we went to The Annex for oysters, shrimp, and wine. We examined our purchases (JFK cards for my brother's bday) and my dad joined us for more apps and stimulating conversation. He is preaching at his church this Sunday and we were sharing thoughts on his scripture.

... I love that I just wrote that. We grew up "with morals," not religion, but I enjoy everyone in my family on a journey to find their own path to inner peace as we grow.

We couldn't remember what we did last year. I think we may have taken the year off, unadvisedly, in retrospect. But for the record, 2011, 2010.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Breaking Our Record

The beach has never been my natural habitat. Despite growing up a mile from the ocean, I'm a fair-skinned freckled gal and could never be classified as a beach bum. But now my daughter loves the beach, which changes everything for me. It's the only place where time flies with a two year old. Once you give up the aversion to sand being everywhere, you can really relax and have fun. She loves digging in the sand, jumping in the waves, chasing the birds, cleaning off shells, pointing at the planes, and going in the ocean with mom and dad. It's truly the best.

We just tied our personal record for the summer of six visits (which doesn't sound like a lot!) and I know we'll be going back for more. 

Oh, and Little SP will be able to keep track with us... She's counting to 10!!!

Tomato City

Tomatoes are warming up the front stoop for pumpkins in the fall. We've taken to harvesting our crops early since we have soooo many and our tomato plants outgrew their stakes and cages leaving our garden a bit chaotic. 

Tomatoes make quite the festive summer touch!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Brotherly Love

Check out this amazing watercolor my brother painted and gave to us for our sixth wedding anniversary. He is a visionary architect and has recently taken up watercolors as a new medium to express his creativity. Acquiring my favorite of his pieces prompted me to entirely shift the display of art in our whole house.

It's pretty much the first thing you see in our house upon entry.

Please note the surfboards that I painted my other brother in the early 90s. It is the only thing that survived from everything I made during art lessons. I'm glad sentimentality kept someone from throwing it out, and that my dad thought to bring it to my house when he cleaned out the garage. I'd be willing to give it back, but only if asked really nicely.

Rounding out the new vignette are some floral prints I've found antiquing, a print of a woman with cropped hair laying in a field next to a basket of blueberries that used to be my Grammy's, a Chagall I cropped from a calendar collection, and an original painting of a Paris street scene by our now deceased family friend and B-movie star Norma Eberhardt Dauphin. We have three of Norma's pieces in Baby SevPrez's room and they are unbelievably awesome.

There's nothing like original art in your home.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

In Bloom

With all the peonies and rhododendrons we've planted, I actually brought myself to cut some flowers to bring inside today. Fresh peonies smell unbelievable! The whole yard is perfumed.

With peonies, whose bursting blooms cause their stems to arch to the ground, cutting actually feels like the right thing to do. When all of our hydrangeas are in bloom we will be approaching cutting garden status, something I've always dreamed of. No guilt!

Monday, May 20, 2013

The Champ Is Here

The 2013 Sugarloaf Marathon is in the bag. It takes a village to run a marathon.

There is a sign when you get to Carrabassett Valley that says, "From here on your life will never be the same." Not so sure it's true, but then the whole experience felt like a dream state. I was intimidated and in denial until about 12 hours before the race. My last two weeks leading up to the big day were full of bad runs, missed workouts, and work stress. The thing that got me most psyched up to run was a vivid dream in which I overslept, missed the race, and felt so embarrassed and short-changed. I woke up before my alarm went off determined to make the trip worthwhile.

The reality of running a marathon in the biggest ski resort east of the Rockies really hit me as we drove up to the hotel. Mr. SevPrez and I started laughing hysterically as the mountains came into view. I considered calling my dad, who was going to drive up with our next door neighbor the next morning at the crack of dawn, and telling him not to come. Only I couldn't, because Sugarloaf is in Central Nowheresville and I had no cell service.

I started to question everything. I realized it was two days before the race and I hadn't received an email from the race director. Did I register?! I did, back in November, and I got one confirmation email. That was my first sign that this race would be no frills.

There were about 500 runners. They don't close the road down. The crowd is composed if only the loved ones of other runners. It's a straight 26 mile shot down one road, with a turn only at the very end so you are sure not to see the finish.

I felt better than I've ever felt for 22 miles. I went out steady at about a 9:30 pace for the first 7 miles, before the hills got serious. At about mile 12 they receded and I got back down to a 9:30 pace and held it til about mile 18. From there it crept up a bit but I felt strong and was rallying when others were fading. But at mile 22 there was a slight crest in the road and it killed my spirit. That and the reality that "only 4 more miles" was actually "oh my god, 4 more miles? Everything hurts and I am so done."

I finished in 4:25 and change, and honestly, it felt so much faster. I don't know if it's because it was such a hardcore race or because I felt so strong for so long. Either way I really enjoyed it (or 11/13ths of it, anyway). The area is truly beautiful and the people were awesome. So many people came up to us after the race and back at the hotel to thank Baby SevPrez for being the best fan out there. My crew of 4 must have been at five different places on the course at least. And we had a cowbell. It's nice to think your little world really has a positive impact on so many people.

And we got extra sympathy at the restaurant when the little one was roaming around doing her thing. Whatever it takes! Travelling with a toddler is a endurance sport unto itself. Special thanks to Mr.SP for manning the helm all through training and race day.

It was a fantastic experience, but we are thinking maybe no more full distance endurance races til the little one is in college.

Why yes, I am wearing my shirt backwards! Getting dressed at 5am is not my strong suit.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Greenwich Village Snapshot

Still beautiful.

Thanks to @lsdop for thinking of me (and you) as she walked by the tulips and cherry blossoms.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

At The Nursery

Gasko's Family Farm out in Monroe Township is a magical land of plentiful plants for rock bottom prices. We joined the hordes of bickering married couples overwhelmed by the bargains, unwieldy carts, and clotted aisles, enduring it all in the name of a more beautiful lawn.

Baby SevPrez arrived asleep and woke up in her stroller ready to party. She ran all the aisles, and ultimately fell in love with some tiny blue perennials and loaded up 4 of them in the cart. We inspected all the shoots of hosta peeking their way out of the soil, and then packed ourselves into a car that felt like a jungle by the time the last door was closed: one 5' Southern Magnolia, 2 Leland Cypresses, 3 Snowball Spirea (bridal wreath, my favorite flowering bush of all time), 3 Rhodos, 1 Hydrangea, and a few of Pippa's perenials to boot. Couldn't have fit another thing!

Nota bene: Gasko's only accepts cash and checks. Smart, or else you might by the whole farm on plastic.

Monday, April 8, 2013


We were outside in the glorious Northeast spring weather weeding our garden beds and plotting our next moves, when I started pulling down the crazy vines that threaten to suffocate our 15 foot arbor vitaes. Baby SevPrez was pretty excited about this move, even more so when I started making a wreath out of the tamed vines in the yard. I kept telling her to show her daddy how impressive her mom's skills were. I believe I referred to myself as a modern day Betsy Ross... Bear Grylls?! Daniel Boone? Martha Stewart? Somewhere in that area.

Truthfully I was inspired by my mother, who once made a dozen small wreaths for use as the craft at my birthday party. Back in the day, we didn't go to Michaels, we went rogue. To the park! With our own bare hands.  From scratch! No wires, nada. They would end up being decorated by all my elementary school friends and transformed into holiday wreaths.

One of the best parts of motherhood is showing off mom-magic tricks that once blew your mind as a kid. Reliving the most special moments of your own life from the other side is just one of the gifts your child gives you -- true transcendence.

Thursday, April 4, 2013


I'm a crier. It's a thing I do. Weddings, funerals, all types of gatherings of people who are sharing themselves honestly.

Today I was in charge of a group of people. At the end of the day I was moved, and I cried sharing how much it meant to me. I regretted it immediately -- showing weakness when I should have shown strength.

Then I watched this video and felt that tears are one of the most beautiful things a human can produce.


Sunday, March 24, 2013

Half Way There

Training for my second marathon this May in Sugarloaf, Maine. After feeling like I didn't have any time to run and conduct my life, I registered for the race knowing that since it was something I really wanted to do, I would create the time to train. And that's what has happened, with the support of my family (someone's got to pick up my slack around the house).

The biggest revelation so far is that's how life works: in the immortal words of my brother "What you want to do, is do what you want." Also: I can get out the door at 6:30am to run, even in the snow, something I previously believed to be impossible. Who knew?

Easter Grammy

My mom is quite the armchair knitter. Last year she whipped up bunnies for all the kids. This year she casually knits a kid's sweater a week at nights while watching TV, the first incarnation being an oatmeal colored sweater with rainbow buttons (for catching rainbows at Grammy's house) for BabySevPrez. At first the little one proceeded cautiously, but once she found a matchbox car planted in the pocket (!!!) she was all in, and wore the sweater all weekend, including nights over her jammies. Her blue sweater with ladybug buttons was a similar success.