Tuesday, October 30, 2012


View from my apartment. Still angry sky. Hudson river in the background.
10/30/2012, 12:20pm
The storm is over. The actual rain and wind I mean.

But here in Manhattan, the storm is really far from over.

Yesterday morning, when I wrote this post, the rain and wind were still minimal, people were outside, and the whole thing seemed quite far away, exciting even. We hunkered down in our apartment in pajamas, ate comfort food, and watched movies. We enjoyed being together, having this time out from our normally busy routines. I got an e-mail that work was to be closed again on Tuesday, and thought how nice it would be to have another day off.

But a few hours later, everything was different.

As the worst of the storm began to pass over the city, the water started rising. And then the pictures from lower Manhattan started rolling in. The streets were flooded. A crane was dangling above 57th street, swaying in the increasing wind. The World Trade Center site was inundated. Power was lost in the entire southern half of the city. A building facade was completely blown off, exposing the apartments inside. Generators failed in the NYU hospital, and tiny babies had to be evacuated into punishing rain and wind. And the water continued to flow in.

I got updates from my best friends, hunkered down in Hoboken, New Jersey, right on the bank of the Hudson River. Streets were flooded, power was touch and go, but they were ok. This morning, power was off completely but still, they are ok.

I heard from Sister L, who lives higher up in Manhattan than I do. Her apartment building was shaking, the lights were flickering just a little bit, but she, too, was ok.

I got in touch with my cousins in the East Village. Power was out, and streets were flooded, but they were safe.

But as I continued flipping through pictures of the devastation that had occurred before the storm was even over, my heart was, and still is, aching. The city is still reeling from the shock, and the clean-up has only just begun. Businesses remain shuttered, and it could be days before subways are back in service, and all the power is restored.

But I feel lucky, so incredibly lucky, that my little corner of the Upper West Side remains all powered up, and that my family, both by blood and heart, are safe. And will stay safe, as long as the recovery takes.

It has been a scary 24 hours here in NYC. And now the clean-up begins. Looking forward to brighter, sun-shinier days ahead.

Monday, October 29, 2012


Storm's coming.

Well, actually, it's already here. We have been hearing about Frankenstorm/ Snowicane/Snoreastercane Sandy for days now. We have been urged to prepare. To make sure we have enough food, water, flashlights, batteries, and candles to last us until the end of time. And the residents of the Upper West Side of Manhattan sure took that advice in stride.

That was the line yesterday afternoon just to get in to the Trader Joe's down the block from my apartment. Because nothing will do but that we have organic produce and free trade coffee when we hunker down for the storm.

But I joke. In all seriousness, this seemed like a storm we should take seriously. It's a red-letter day when the Governor orders the entire New York City transit system shut down, so that was ominous enough to give everyone pause. Since our move to the new house was postponed until Friday because of the weather, I joined right in on the preparations, although I skipped the organic produce and free trade coffee in favor of regular old Folgers, and stuff to make grilled cheese and cookies. Priorities, right?

Since there are no subways, buses, or trains, and the bridges and tunnels were shutting down, my office is closed for at least today, and likely until they get the subways and buses back up and running once the storm is over. And seriously, I feel exactly the same was I did when I was growing up in Pittsburgh, and school closed for a blizzard. Completely, and utterly ecstatic.

This morning when I woke up, the weather didn't look so bad, and I was curious if the wind was as strong as it sounded whistling against our 23rd floor windows, so I got dressed and headed outside to check it out. Most of the businesses along my street are closed today, but my corner deli is certainly open.

Nothing shuts these guys down.

There were people on the streets, and the wind wasn't terrible, so I thought it might be fun to take a quick run through the windy park with all the leaves dancing around. I quickly ran back upstairs, threw on some running gear, and headed to the park. I failed to mention that most of the people on the streets were other runners. We are a strange breed, to be sure. There is just something fierce about running in the elements. Even (especially) a hurricane.

But when I got to the park, I was greeted by this:

My normal 72nd street entrance was barricaded, and there were literally guards at the gate. It seemed the Mayor decided that the city parks were unsafe, and closed them for the duration of the storm. The wind wasn't terrible, I wasn't really afraid of getting hit in the head by any falling trees or branches, and I know the park better than anyone, including all the backdoor ways to get in, so I decided to sneak in for a quick run along the deserted roads. Maybe not my most intelligent idea, but once I started thinking about a park run during the outer bands of a hurricane, I was obsessed. So I walked a few blocks in each direction, but lo and behold, they got every single one of my secret entrances, including this rarely used staircase behind Tavern on the Green.

God, Mayor Bloomberg, don't you trust people to just stay out when you tell them to?

Anyway, I was relegated to a run on the east side of Central Park West, looking into the park as I motored along.

It's kind of eerie completely empty like this, isn't it?

I finished my run, and after a quick stop for bagels (priorities, I told you), I made it home in the ever strengthening wind.

We will be hanging out here for at least the next day or two, and it's kind of fun, actually. The only caveat is that, since we were supposed to be moving today, we have already transferred our cable over to the new house, leaving us without cable in our apartment, while we are stuck inside for the storm. And if there two people less likely to be stuck inside without cable, it is us. I mean, last year, during the day and a half we were stuck inside during Hurricane Irene we watched a season and a half of The West Wing. That's dedication.

But my man never lets me down. Between a portable 4G modem, Hulu, a Netflix subscription, an HDMI cable hooking up a computer to our TV, downloaded movies, and ABC, CW, CBS, Showtime and HBO Apps for both of our iPads, it's like the cable isn't even gone.

Stay safe everyone, and stay entertained. Looks like we are settling in for a long haul.

Bring it on, Sandy.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Farewell, Old Friend

When my alarm went off this morning, I was completely exhausted. I considered resetting it so I could sleep for another hour, but I didn't. Instead, I got up, donned my running clothes, and made my way to the park to run. And I am glad I did. Because this morning, more than any other morning in recent memory, I was thankful for my morning routine.

This is my last Friday in Manhattan. On Monday morning, assuming we are not all washed away by the monster storm headed in this direction, the movers are coming to pack up our apartment, and move us to our new house.

And I am ready.

I didn't feel ready last week, or even a few days ago, but now I do. We have been busy these past couple of days. Finishing up the construction in the new house, organizing the apartment for the move, and buying the many, many things that one needs when they move into a new house. And with all the preparation, I started to get excited for our new place, and our (semi) new life. 

And on this last Friday, I am thinking about my life in Manhattan, and my favorite place in the city. I have written at length about my love of Central Park. But now that I only have two mornings runs left, I am feeling the loss of my favorite place even more acutely. I know that there will be roads to run in my new home. I have even begun planning routes. But they won't be in this park.

This park is a part of me. This is the place where I fell in love. Where I learned to run, and more importantly, where I learned to love to run. It is the place I go to think and to feel. To process, and to enjoy.

And on Monday, I will run its roads one last time. For an hour, I will forget about moving vans, and construction, and new houses, and change, and I will run. I will join my army of runners and circle the loops that have become my home. And as I exit the park one last time, I will glance back for just a minute at the place that has shaped me, and made me, and helped me find my way.

I am forever grateful to Central Park. 

Farewell, old friend. I'll miss you.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Beware of the Female Vote

In the current presidential election, much has been said about the female vote. What it means, who will get it, and how important it is. The candidates have spent millions of dollars courting women voters. At both the Republican and Democratic national conventions the candidates' wives stood before crowded convention floors and spoke about their most important roles: mothers. The candidates themselves spent much time in speeches discussing their own mothers, and praising their wives for the raising of the children. All of this, ostensibly, was to appeal to women across the country watching on TV. To me, it seemed a little like pandering, but political experts say that it works, so what do I know?

Well, according to a recent CNN editorial, it may all be for naught. 

Yesterday, CNN posted an editorial on its website discussing a "scientific" study that suggested that women's votes are influenced by their hormones, and they are more likely to vote for a certain candidate depending on what time of the month it is.

When I managed to get my raging hormones under control long enough to pull my face out of the Ben & Jerry's and read the study, here is what I learned:

Researchers discovered that during a woman's most fertile time of the month (i.e. when estrogen levels are at their highest), single women were more likely to vote for Obama, whereas committed women (i.e. women in relationships, not women who are actually committed, although with all of those hormones racing, who knows?) were more likely to vote for Romney.

The researcher behind this study, Kristina Durante from the University of Texas (a woman, God help us, so, depending on her time of the month when she wrote this study, maybe we can't really trust the information at all), explained that when single women are ovulating, they feel "sexier," and therefore lean more towards liberal views on issues such as abortion, contraception, and marriage equality. However, married women tend to take the opposite viewpoint because they are overcompensating for those pesky hormones that are telling them to have sex with other men. Basically, married, ovulating women will vote for Romney as a way of "convincing themselves that they're not the type to give in to such sexual urges." 

So Romney, you may want to start that matchmaking service right away to get women married before election day. But please, for the love of all that is holy, make sure those women are marrying men. Because if they marry other women, that household will have DOUBLE the hormones coursing about. The horror.

And Obama, turns out that you might want to dial it down on the "let everyone marry, marriage equality" shtick - because married ladies are so less likely to vote for you. 

I mean, I'm married, and I'm surprised that I can even find my WAY to the voting booth when it's that time of the month, much less make an educated decision about a candidate. Because really, all I want to be doing is sitting on the couch in sweatpants, up to my neck in french fries and chocolate, sobbing big fat tears as I watch The Notebook over and over again.

It's pure insanity that women are able to own property, walk the streets unaccompanied, and work for a living amid these raging hormones, much less pull a lever to choose the leader of the free world. 

Look, I get that the debates are over, and election day is just over the horizon, and the cable news networks are running out of things to talk about. But honestly, CNN, can't you do better than this? 

The backlash to this article was instantaneous, prompting CNN to remove the article from its website, stating that "some elements of the story did not meet the editorial standards of CNN." And the author of the story has taken to Twitter to defend herself, tweeting that she "was reporting on a study to be published in a peer-review journal and included skepticism in the story," and that she "did not conduct the study." Great. That's kind of like Todd Akin coming forward now to say he was just explaining the studies that have been conducted regarding pregnancy and rape, but doesn't really believe them.

Any multitude of things can influence the outcome of an election. The weather. Those pesky undecided voters. Spray tans. Debate performance. Hidden videos at $50,000 a plate fundraisersCollege transcripts and passport records. Men.

And oh yeah, what about the men?

My biggest problem here, and the biggest problem of the many thousands of furious people who have commented on this CNN story, is the idea that women are emotional, fire-breathing lunatics whereas men are beacons of non-hormonal stability. I can't help but disagree. I mean, have you ever watched a presidential debate? Or been to a football game? Or seen a GoDaddy.com commercial? 

No, men certainly have never let hormonal surges influence their decision-making. It is just us estrogen-laden women whose lady-parts run on overdrive when faced with such disparate choices during our time of the month that can't seem to make up our minds in an educated fashion.

It must be true. The science says so.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012


The sky was already darkening as my mom left to take my youngest sister to her violin lesson across town.

My dad was at work, and my middle sister and I were home. Alone.

It was our first year living in Jacksonville, Florida, and we had started to get used to some of the stranger quirks of life in the deep south. The slow pace. The accents. The endless strip malls. The wide open spaces.

But we couldn't get used to the storms.

Every summer afternoon around four o'clock the clouds started to gather, and the sky darkened. The wind kicked up, and the air grew heavy with ominous humidity. Lightning sizzled across the darkened sky, and thunder rumbled in the distance. It moved closer and closer until it was right on top of us.

Then came the rain.

On this particular summer day, as the elements did their daily dance, the garage door ground to a close, and the taillights of my mom's car disappeared down the driveway. As jagged bolts of lightning slashed across the sky, my stomach knotted in a vicious case of separation anxiety. I was fourteen, but I hated being home alone in the storms.

I sat on the couch and tried to focus on the TV. Four half-hour shows until my mom came home. Thirty seconds later I was up again, watching the gathering storm. I went up to my room and opened a book, but only managed a single page before I was back at the downstairs windows.

This storm seemed worse than usual.

I knew that standing so close to the windows was a bad idea. I had been in the south long enough to hear violent stories of trees and patio furniture flying through the glass. But I couldn't step away.

As the rain beat down on the house, my sister joined me at the window in time to watch half a tree crash down across our backyard. My sister was never afraid of anything, but at that moment her eyes were wide, and her face a deathly pale, mirroring my own, I was sure. We knew we should get away from the windows, but somehow, hearing the storm without seeing it was the scariest prospect of all. So my sister and I watched, as the battle raged outside.

And then it happened.

Out of the corner of my eye I saw the funnel cloud make its way across my backyard. We watched, frozen in place, as the tornado tore through the grass, and brought down the other half of the tree. Smaller branches cracked against the windows, and our patio furniture blew around until it somehow all ended up in the pool. The tornado lifted up our heavy metal outdoor table with the glass top, and when the table fell back to the ground, the glass remained suspended in mid-air, as if by magic, until it, too, crashed to the ground in a million tiny pieces that mixed with the ferocious rain still beating down on the pool deck.

I thought frantically that we should make a run for the laundry room, the only room in the house without any windows. But before we could move, the storm was over, as quickly as it began. Relief coursed through my veins as the rain stopped and the sky lightened once again.

I thought maybe I imagined the funnel cloud, until I saw pictures on the news of the damage it caused to the rest of my neighborhood.

But our house wasn't touched.

We were safe.

Until the next storm blew through.

Obviously my mind these past couple of weeks has been on my move to the south when I was 14. So honored to share these thoughts with all the amazing folks at Yeah Write, the coolest blogging and writing community around. Go check them out. You won't be sorry.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Rainy Day

When my alarm went off to run this morning the first thing I heard was the sound of the rain beating down on the air conditioner outside of our window. Something you may or may not know is that I really like running in the elements. Rain, snow, heat, cold, I love them all. So it was not the sound of the rain that made me re-think getting out of bed this morning. Instead, it was my complete and utter exhaustion, and lack of sleep last night.

But, thinking ahead to our big move in less than two weeks, and knowing that my morning runs in Central Park are numbered, I dragged myself out of bed and to the park. By the time I got there, there was a break in the rain, and I paused at the top of the hill off of 72nd street just to look for a second. 

Usually by 7am, the park is crowded with runners and bikers, but not this morning. Because of the rain, the park was still quiet, and as empty as I have ever seen it. So for a minute, I stood at the top of the hill, taking in the rain-soaked road and steely sky. I thought that there was something vaguely mysterious about the shot above. The park that I know so well, seen in a different light (and through the filter of my super cool new photo editing app).

I wish I could say that this morning's run through a park shrouded in clouds and mist was a Good Run. One of those transcendental experiences where I feel like I could run forever. It wasn't. It was actually a very, very Bad Run. One of those runs where I feel like I weigh 500 pounds, can't breathe, and can't wait for it to be over.

But actually, this morning the Bad Run was ok with me. Good Runs, Bad Runs, we've been through a lot, this park and I. And for a few more days, I'll take whatever I can get, before it's time to say good-bye.

Thursday, October 18, 2012


Two weeks from today, we are moving. We are packing up the apartment we have lived in together for two years and that D lived in for eight years before that. We are headed north to the suburbs of NYC, to our brand new house with the black shutters and the red door. I really love the red door.

Over the past few weeks there have been millions of pesky little details to attend to. We had to get out of our lease, switch our electricity account to the new house, and sign up for an account to pay for water. (In other news, did you know that in the suburbs you have to pay for water? That was a new one for me.) We had to figure out where to send our first mortgage payment, arrange for an inspection by our insurance company, and start switching our address to the new house, which, as it turns out, is a really, really big job.You would think that there would be a better way to make this address switch by now than contacting every single company and institution that might need to get in touch with you for some unknown reason at some unknown point in the future. And shouldn't everything just be digital by now anyway? My e-mail address never changes.

If those were all the details, that would be more than enough. But there is more.

Because we are not just moving into a new house, we are renovating that house before we move in. As a matter of fact, as I type this, tile is being laid, floors are being refinished, and various fixtures are being installed. There is furniture to buy, paint colors to decide on, and long meandering talks about color schemes, measurements, and appliances.

There are some of these details that I am really, really bad at. It just so happens that those are the same ones that D is masterful at. And vice versa. I am not the least bit interested in choosing movers, picking appliances, or supervising a construction crew, and I barely know how to work a tape measure. D is even less interested in interfacing with banks, lawyers, mortgage companies, insurance brokers, and the various utility companies that are banging down the door for our information.

A word of advice for anyone considering marriage and home-buying anytime in the future: marry someone who is good at the things you are bad at. After the past few months, I am absolutely certain that this is the magic pill for long-term happiness.

Anyway, despite this overwhelming crush of details currently on our plates, there is one detail - one unknown - that looms in my mind larger than all the others.

I am worried about my TV.

I haven't written much on this blog about my love of TV, but I assure you that it exists, and it quite possibly rivals my love of romance novels. I religiously watch twenty-two different shows, and re-runs of old favorites (think: Gilmore Girls) every week. Some might call me a TV fanatic. And I guess I am.

So you may ask me how I manage to fit in all that TV. There are five prime times every week, and each prime time is three hours long, which equals fifteen hours of prime time a week. Fifteen hours, and twenty-two shows, which means some of my shows overlap with each other. Here is where the invention of the DVR has revolutionized my life. My DVR is a work of art. It is programmed fastidiously, and constantly updated to ensure I never miss a thing. And I don't. In our little New York apartment we actually have two separate DVRs, one for me and one for D, because when it comes to TV, we are above compromise. We each need our own.

And next weekend, the cable company will be switching off the cable in our apartment to transfer the account to our new house. And they might be able to transfer all of the data in my intricately programmed DVR, but they might not be able to. I just don't know. And the new DVR might record my shows next Monday, but it might not. I just don't know. And there is literally nothing that gives me more anxiety than missing one of my shows. Laugh all you want. This is my thing.

And the truth is, I could let myself worry about all sorts of things. I could worry about clothes, and shoes, and various kitchen necessities getting lost in the move. I could worry about the movers transporting my prized romance novel collection. I could worry about whether our new furniture will get delivered on time. I could worry about figuring out where to do my grocery shopping in my new neighborhood, and I could worry about whether I will be able to find my way to the train station and back on the first morning of my new commute to work.

But I am choosing not to worry about these things.

There is so much change coming our way in the next two weeks, and so many details to oversee, that it would be easy to lose sight of the big picture in all of this. So I am choosing not to.

I am worried about my TV. And I figure that everything else will just fall into place.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The House That Was My Home

It was the fire that made me realize the house was no longer my home.

I was thirteen in 1996 when my parents gave us the news. We were leaving Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where my family had lived for nearly four generations, and moving to Jacksonville, Florida. Our family business had been merged with another, larger, business and the casualty was life as I knew it. As I had always known it.

For fourteen years I lived in Jacksonville. I worked there, and went to school there, and tried to build a life there, but I never liked it.

Except for our house. I loved our house.

It stood at the end of a long driveway, not even visible from the street. It was two stories of pink brick, and sat on the bank of a large river that snaked its way through the city. When the enormity of my new life was too much to bear, I took myself to the backyard and to the end of the long dock that stretched out into the river, and I would rock on a wooden swing and stare out at a horizon lit by the wild pinks and reds of sunset. And it was there I would sit as the air grew heavy with the balmy scents of the south. As the tropical darkness enveloped me in its comforting arms. With a backyard like this, I would tell myself, this new life really wasn't so bad after all.

My house was my center. It was my home.

It was a home full of laughter and love and family. A place where I wasn't a stranger to my surroundings. In my first years there, the house played host to countless visitors from my old life, who arrived toting open arms and an exquisite familiarity. And in later years it was filled with new friends, who brought a touch of comfort to a life that never quite stopped being new. When my sisters and I went away to college and beyond, it was never the city that we yearned to return to. It was the house that had become a home.

And after fourteen years, when the business was sold, and our old life in Pittsburgh beckoned once more, it was the house - not the city - that made it hard to say good-bye.

But we did say good-bye, hung a sign in the front yard, and hoped the house would sell, despite the depressed Florida real estate market. No houses were moving, and no one had much hope, so my parents settled in to Pittsburgh as if they had never left, figured that the house would sell when it did, and decided not to worry overmuch about it.

But a few weeks later, much to everyone's surprise, they got an offer on the house. The buyer wanted to pay cash and close quickly. A date was set, papers were signed, and then the house was no longer mine. And relief merged with sadness, because the house really was a good home.

Exactly thirty days after the closing I got the call. It was my mom.

She told me that earlier in the day, the house that was my home had burned to the ground.

There was nothing left.

Not of the house. Not for us. Not in Jacksonville. Not anymore.

I heard words like "electric" and construction" and "possible arson" and that may have been what caused the fire, but that's not what the fire meant. Not to me.

The house was telling me that it was time to go. That we were right to leave.

That the house was no longer my home.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Happy Birthday M!

Brandeis University - 2005

College. New York.

Good Decisions. Not-So-Good Decisions.

Law School. Grad School. 

First Jobs. New Jobs.

First Apartments. New Apartments.

First Loves. Last Loves.

New City For You. New City For Me.

Daily E-Mails. Weekly Manicures.

Eleven Years. Forever Friends.

Thank god we get to do it all together.

Happy, Happy, Happy Birthday.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Two Years

Two years ago today I woke up in the city of my childhood. It was early, and the rest of my house was still asleep. For awhile I lay in the quiet, thinking about the day ahead. A day that would be filled with family and friends, love and promises, and change.

It was my wedding day.

It was a day where I would leave a part of my old life behind, and step into something new. And lying there in the quiet of daybreak, I took stock of how I felt. Anxious around the edges - and that was to be expected - but amazingly calm at the center. Extraordinarily happy, on the brink exquisite change.

I was grateful for those quiet, private moments, because the rest of the day was anything but. It was a whirlwind of hair and makeup, last minute plans and pictures. And then, surrounded by sisters, I donned my dress and descended to the crowds below.

Per Jewish tradition, D and I had said good-bye nearly a week before our wedding day, and we would not see each other again until the ceremony began. As I greeted the people who had come to celebrate with me, I felt my anxiety grow. I have never been good with big crowds, and suddenly I was on the biggest stage of all. As the music began, I thought it a miracle that my heart stayed where it belonged, instead of just leaping out of my chest for how hard it was banging.

And then he was there.

The two hundred people in the room blurred into the edges of my vision, as I finally saw my man. In that moment where our eyes met for the first time in days, it was just us, the same as we ever were. My anxiety melted away, and I felt that amazing calm return.

Two years ago we stood before family and friends and said something to each other that was both simple and profound. I choose you. Forever. Always. And we danced and laughed the night away, in celebration of a unique and lasting love. It was a good night, a happy night. Our night.

So tonight, when we both get home from long days away, we will take a moment to celebrate this night, our night. We will look at each other, and we will give thanks for love found, and for really good years. For the two that are behind us, and for all the ones that lay ahead.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012


Something scared my mom, and that is why she is alive to tell the tale.

It was an afternoon in the mid-1960s. The sun hung high in the sky, shining its rays over the acres of fields, and the endlessly flat stretches of road that pervade the landscape of rural America. Towns don't come more rural than Jamestown, Pennsylvania, a tiny dot on the map ninety miles north of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania where my grandfather's family had owned and operated a dairy farm for generations.

My mom was just a girl, not older than ten, and she was lonely. Her two older sisters were off again on some mysterious teenage pursuit. There weren't any kids to play with. Each and every week my grandma would take my mom to the neighboring towns for synagogue youth group activities, and that was where she met all of her friends. But they didn't live in Jamestown. Hardly any kids did.

Jamestown was not a place for kids. It was a place for the rough and tumble farming life. For faces ruddy from the sun, and palms rough from hours of manual labor. For worries about weather and crops. A place where minutes seemed liked hours for an inquisitive ten year old girl, just desperate for some entertainment.

On those long and lonely afternoons, my mom would sometimes play at the store at the edge of the farm where employees of my grandfather sold milk, ice cream, and assorted other dairy products out of a small window. She would get an ice cream cone, talk to the farm workers, and watch the customers coming and going.

My grandfather used to tell her never to go play by the store, especially by herself. But she never listened. To this day, she wishes that she had.

On that day, my mom ran down for her habitual ice cream cone. As she ate it, she explored the side of the store, where large freezer trucks were parked that would soon drive dairy products from the farm all over the county. These trucks held particular interest for my mom. She was fascinated by the large doors in the back that would swing open large enough for a whole person to walk right through for loading and unloading.

As she waited for the workers to come out of the store bearing pallets of milk to load into the trucks, she noticed that the back door to one of the trucks was hanging slightly open. Thinking that my grandfather would prefer the door to be closed when no one was around, she sneaked around the back of the truck, and hoisted herself up onto the back bumper towards the door.

As she reached out for the handle to shove the door closed, she saw something inside the truck. She didn't know what it was, but something was in there, and it scared the wits out of her. Heart racing, palms sweating, she all but flew off the bumper, and raced back towards the store and the relative safety of the long line of customers. She never touched the handle.

When she turned back towards the truck, she saw one of the farm-hands from the store headed towards the open door. He was a massive, grizzly-bear of a man with no neck, and legs like tree-trunks. When he reached the truck, he lifted up his arm to close the door. Whatever was inside that scared my mom, the man didn't see. The minute his hands touched the metal door handle, his whole body was lifted up, and he was thrown back to the ground, unresponsive.

They said there was a short in the truck. That the man was electrocuted.

He survived, but the current that hurt him surely would have killed a tiny ten year old.

My mom never told my grandfather what happened, but she knows. She knows that whatever scared her inside that truck was warning her away. Telling her it wasn't her time.

She knows.

That thing that scared her saved her life.

And she has never forgotten.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Central Park Views

Sometimes it's hard to see the signs of fall in New York City. In this concrete jungle where I have lived these past seven years, trees are few and far between, and never seem to turn those riotous shades of red and orange that signal the changing of the seasons.

But if you frequent Central Park, as I do, the changing of the seasons is more apparent. Three or four days a week I run in the park. During all four seasons, in all kinds of weather, you can find me circling the loops. Lately, as summer turns to fall, and my time in the city comes to a close, I have been paying far more attention to the changes taking place around me. 

It is a beautiful time of year for Central Park. When I walk down this hill into the park I feel transported to a different place in time. Vibrant leaves, spicy scents, and crisp air abound. 

As I enter my last four weeks as a resident of Manhattan, I find myself drawn to the park even more often than normal. It will be these fall park views that will stick in my mind and stay with me as I make my way towards my new home.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Breathe and Re-Boot

I am overwhelmed.

I feel like I am missing things, dropping the ball, making all sorts of mistakes. I feel like I am constantly rushing, playing catch-up, and trying desperately to get to the bottom of an inbox that never quite empties.

Needless to say, this is not my normal state of being. But for about a month each fall during four of the most critical holidays in the Jewish calendar, my ruthlessly organized life and tendency to plan ahead fall by the wayside, in favor of a more spontaneous, live-in-the-moment kind of existence.

Because during these four successive weeks, life stops for seven days. For seven days, over four weeks, I don't go to work, check e-mail, or answer the phone. I don't check Facebook, Twitter or all the other social networking sites I have decided I can't life without. I don't watch TV. I don't read blogs and I don't write on my own. I don't read the hundreds of articles that pile up daily in my Google Reader. I don't do any of these things. 

During these seven days I put all of these things away in favor of quiet mornings, family meals, copious romance novels and long naps. I rest, I think, I dream a little, and sometimes I plan. 

And while it is calm and peaceful during the days that I am disconnected, the minute each holiday comes to an end, I am smacked in the face with a reminder that, while my life stopped for those days, the rest of the world certainly did not. When the sun goes down at each holiday's end, there are work e-mails to return, voice mails to answer, social networking to return to, blogs to read and to write, and fall TV filling up my DVR. There are suitcases to pack, goodbyes to be said, and early-morning flights to catch. 

Sometimes I relish the return to life. But not this year. This year, in the final hours of each holiday, I find myself with my stomach in knots, anticipating the inevitable avalanche when I turn my devices back on. And I wish for time to slow down. That I could stay on the couch, romance novel in hand, for just one more day. That I could spend just a little more time unplugged. That I could keep my brain quiet for just a little longer.

I need a little more quiet.

Because I have a lot going on these days. A full time job, books to read and blogs to write, an apartment to pack up, a city to say good-bye to, and a new house to move in to. And I am overwhelmed. I have moments where I despair of ever seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. And I am not the type to despair of anything. But over the past few weeks, my usual optimism has been escaping me.

So right now, more than ever before, I need these seven days. I am grateful for them, even with the inevitable chaos that follows. These days that require me to press pause. To think about where I have been, and where I am going. To reevaluate what is important and what is not. To stop. These days are a reminder to me that there is something far bigger and more important than myself out there in the vast universe, and it is time to take a look. 

Breathe and reboot. I had forgotten in this past month how badly I need to do this, to relax and recharge. 

But I remember now. 

Breathe and reboot. 

And repeat.