Wednesday, November 26, 2014


I sit here at my desk on this regular Tuesday morning. It's a pretty unremarkable day outside. A little too warm for November, a little overcast. The streets of midtown are overflowing with the performers who will do their thing during Thursday's Thanksgiving Day Parade and the tourists who have come to watch. The tree at Rockefeller Center stands, unlit, surrounded by scaffolding and the workers who are preparing it for its big moment in just over a week. The leaves are falling off of the trees on my street and the orange and yellow lights that decorated the houses in my neighborhood are being replaced by the white lights that hail December's impending arrival. We are working on some home improvement projects and we ordered a snowblower. Tonight when I get home we will pack up for tomorrow's road trip to Pittsburgh to be with my family for Thanksgiving, and maybe we'll build a fire and celebrate tomorrow's first snowfall of the year, all the while hoping it doesn't get in the way of our travels. I have lists upon lists in my head of things to pack, things to bring, things I need to remember. I'm considering having a Chanukah party.

Everything is normal. Everything is exactly as it should be.

And yet.

And yet, I find myself feeling glued to this ordinary moment on this ordinary day two days before Thanksgiving. I find myself filled to the brim with a heaping dose of happiness and gratitude for these moments and these days. For whatever twist of fate led me to this place, and for the divine hands that guide me through. And coming off of a rough and tumble year, this is nothing except miraculous.

November has flown by and December is just around the corner. And these days, these middle days, where fall is almost over and winter is just over the horizon, have always been my favorite. These days of cold air, red noses and holiday Starbucks cups. Of snows big enough to be pretty but not so big that they ruin plans and require shovels. Of happiness and of gratitude. These days of giving thanks. Because I have so damn much to be thankful for.

For family.

For parents.

For sisters.

For brothers where there were once only sisters.

For the kiddos my sisters keep giving me to love.

For this guy.

For friends. The ones I have known all my life and the ones who are new and the ones I met here in this strange and wonderful world of blogging.

For strength and resilience, because it turns out that I possess these qualities in abundance and they found me exactly when I needed them most.

For the place I call home and the place I used to call home. For the fact that I can have both of them - the quiet and the noise.

For the gift of writing. Of being able to put my thoughts into words on a page and to publish them to be read. It's not always easy and it's not always pretty, but for better or worse, it's my way.

For the incredible ways that life can still surprise.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Friday, November 14, 2014

".....think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive"

"When you arise in the morning, think of what a precious privilege
it is to be alive - to breathe, to enjoy, to think, to love."

-Marcus Aurelius

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Throwback Thursday: Blind Date

Ever wonder how David and I met?

Yes? Well, let me tell you. It was the end of my second year of law school and I was deep into studying for finals, sure that if I did well it would push my ranking straight to the top of the class. The only thing standing between me and greatness, I was also sure, was a pesky blind date that I couldn't say no to since my sister was the one who set it up.

So I put down my books, got dressed, and went out, against my better judgment.

It was the last first date I ever went on and I wrote about it a couple of years ago.

For today's throwback Thursday post, here is that story.


Blind Date

Rascal Flatts was rocking in the background as I stared at my reflection in the mirror and wondered what, exactly, I was thinking when I agreed to go on this blind date.

I hated blind dates. My middle sister had gotten married almost a year before, and ever since then, countless friends of my mom had tried to set me up with a revolving door of single Jewish boys. They felt sorry for me because my younger sister was married, and I was still single. The horror.

Forget about the fact that I was a 24 year old, second year law student living in Manhattan with my best friends. And that I had positively zero interest in getting married just then. I was a single Jewish girl living in New York City, and my younger sister was already married. It just disturbed the natural order.

I generally tried to avoid these painful outings, if at all possible. I had any number of excuses. I was overwhelmed with school work - I was a second year law student after all. I was tired. I already had plans. Maybe some other time (maybe never). And when none of these excuses worked, I lied, often and without a qualm. I was already dating someone. I just got out of a complicated relationship. And once, memorably, I don't want to get married. Ever.

But this was a blind date I couldn't avoid.

I had been hearing about this boy for the better part of a year. He was the older brother of my youngest sister's best friend. The girls were seventeen, and they and their friends decided it would be just so awesome if L's sister married A's brother. It was my sister, and I couldn't really say no.

Which was why, on a late April night, with my federal income tax final exam a mere week away, I was putting on makeup, when I really wanted to be in sweatpants memorizing facts about cost basis and depreciation. I had a real shot at Dean's List: High Honors that semester, and I wanted it more than anything.

I wanted it more than I wanted to be choosing between brown and light purple eye shadow. I wanted it more than I wanted to be deciding whether to wear light or dark jeans, and whether I needed a coat for the unpredictable April weather.

We were meeting for dessert, but were we sitting outside or inside? Would there be a walk afterwards? Should I wear comfortable shoes, or the far cuter heels I could barely walk ten feet in?

These were not the kinds of questions I wanted to be dealing with in late April.

For three years of my life late April was for dirty clothes, unwashed hair, and dark-circled eyes. For pens, highlighters and textbooks. For ungodly amounts of caffeine, and junk food when I remembered to eat at all. For cramming thousands of arcane facts and figures into my head and regurgitating the information on command in service of the law school gods.

No, late April was not for blind dates.

Yet here I was, dressed for the first time in a week, and fighting a losing battle with concealer on the aforementioned dark circles.

Screw it, I thought. I'm tired. He'll just have to deal with the circles.

Grabbing my coat and a bag I hoped contained all the necessities, I rushed downstairs to catch the bus that should have been pulling up to the curb outside my building in exactly a minute.

The bus was late. As I stood under a darkening sky, two minutes from being late myself, I mentally cursed my sister, and swore that this would be the last blind date I ever went on for the rest of my life.

It was.

That blind date?

Is now my husband.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Friday Fall Color

Finally, some color on a street that has been far too 
green so far this seasons for my fall-loving tastes

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Throwback Thursday: A Blood Drive Memory

This morning as I walked in to my office, I passed a blood drive being held in the lobby of my building. The blood drive is an annual event and last year I participated in it with some other people from my firm.

I am not the best at giving blood. Before last year, the only time that I had ever donated in my life was the summer between my second and third years of law school when I was working at a small law firm and there was a drive in the office park. It didn't go very well.

But on the off chance that the bad experience was a one-time thing, I decided to give it a go again last year. Turns out, it wasn't a one-time thing, and it didn't go so well.

But afterwards, I decided to write the story of that very first time. 

Here again, is that story


The Day I Should Have Eaten Breakfast. And Worn Pants.

Sitting in the passenger seat of the junior partner's car, it occurred to me that I may have been about to embarrass myself Above the Law style.

When I took the law firm job for my second law school summer, I promised myself that I wouldn't be one of those summer associates who would do anything to impress a partner. But here I was, a mere three weeks into my twelve-week gig, doing exactly that.

It all started with a firm-wide e-mail two days before.

There was a blood-drive in an office park a few blocks away, and the partners were asking for volunteers to get a good showing from our office. I said I would go. I had never given blood before, but figured it couldn't be that bad. I googled around to find out how I could prepare, and all of the websites said to make sure to eat a lot and drink plenty of fluids to avoid getting light-headed.

No problem.

Unless the day of the blood drive turns into a frantic mess and your ride knocks on your office door before you have time for breakfast, lunch, or your mid-morning snack.

I grabbed a handful of Hershey Kisses for the ride over and prayed to whatever god was listening to get me through this unscathed.

I was hoping to watch someone else donate before it was my turn, but no such luck. I ended up at the front of the line and took my seat, surrounded by twelve other lawyers from my firm.

The nurse hooked me up easily and as the blood started to flow, I laughed at myself for worrying. When the bag was full, another nurse handed me a package of Oreos and a bottle of cranberry juice and told me sit for a few minutes. Thrilled with the snack selection, I thought that maybe I would make donating blood a habit from now on.

The buzzing in my ears was so dull at first that I thought I was imagining it.

But then it grew louder, drowning out the chatter that filled the Red Cross trailer, and bringing with it a wave of nausea that knocked me back in my chair. I tried to lift my arm to get a nurse's attention, but before I had the chance my vision grayed around the edges and I felt myself falling back into the black.

My feet were the first things I saw when I drifted awake.

Confused, I slid my eyes around trying to get my bearings and took in the scene. I didn't have the energy to lift up my head, so all I could do was lay there covered in ice packs and drops of the cranberry juice I had spilled, my legs straight up in the air and my skirt inching dangerously high, as all the other lawyers gathered around me, their faces masks of concern.

And think about how much I wished I was wearing pants.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

A Flash of Recognition and a Memory

When I saw her crossing the street in front of the train station, I had a flash of recognition. I searched my memories and grasped onto one from two years ago.

The same staccato rhythm of high heels tapping the pavement. A swirling of skirt. A shimmy of hips. A hat gracing a head of flowing raven hair. A black cape replacing the red jacket I remember from that cold December day when it was all still new and the Lady In Red made me smile when not much else did.

I don't think it's an accident that I saw this stranger again just half a day after writing about home and life and happiness and change. Only this time, she didn't have to make me smile. 

Because I already was.

Monday, November 3, 2014

The Best Place There Is

Thursday October 30, 2014. 7:30am.

Before kids walk neighborhoods laden down with bags of candy, before we turn the clocks back an hour, and before the sun starts to set a full two hours before I leave my office in the evenings, there are a few very dark mornings.

On those dark mornings the sky has barely begun to lighten for my 6:40am wake-up. And if I get up early to run on any of those days my neighborhood pitch black, and some stars are still visible as I start to make my way up the street.

On one of those dark days last week, I had an early meeting and needed to be in Manhattan by 7:30. It was still full dark when I drove to the train station. As the train barreled towards the city, the light started to creep up on the horizon, and the sun rose just as I walked out of Grand Central so that looking south down Lexington Avenue, the sky was awash in color that bounced off the buildings and for one incredible second, made the entire street seem like it was brushed in gold.

But despite my luck in walking out of Grand Central at the exact moment of sunrise and the beauty of the sun rising over Manhattan to greet a new day, a second later I almost got run down by an intrepid banker on a City Bike and then shoved out of the way in a crosswalk by someone who was obviously horrendously late for something and my very first thought was that I couldn't wait until the sun rose early enough for me to catch that moment at home.

At home.

This week is the two year anniversary of our move to the suburbs. The anniversary of the day our movers packed our apartment and moved our stuff twenty miles north. The day we had to sleep on the floor of our new bedroom because the movers somehow managed to screw up a thirty minute drive and didn't show up at the house until 24 hours after their expected arrival. And the day that started at least six months of my fervent wishing that it had all been a terrible dream and that we had not, in fact, bought that house in the suburbs after all.

I have written about those days a whole lot over these past twenty-four months and looking back over those posts is so interesting to me because I can see the very real evolution of my feelings for our new place. At the beginning they were so complicated and wrapped up in a blanket of "I wish I lived there and not here," and they changed over time to "that was then and this is now," but two years later, they are something different entirely.

Once upon a time it was new and scary and I wondered if I would ever get used to the creaking floors and rattling pipes and having to climb up and down the stairs and get into the car to get groceries. Once upon a time I compared every part of our new life to our old life, and our new life somehow always failed to measure up.

Two years ago I could barely even pick out White Plains on a map, but two years later, our new place isn't new anymore. It isn't just where we live because we don't live in Manhattan anymore, and it isn't the slightest bit complicated. It's home. Plain and simple. And looking back on the last two years I don't feel sentimental anymore about our life in the city. I don't miss it or feel nostalgic for those bygone days.  What I do feel, plain and simple, is a heaping dose of gratitude for whatever higher powers conspired to put us in this place that has given us friends and a community and a life. Where we have grass and trees and space and quiet and each other.

It was hard - so, so hard - to do what we did and pick up and leave everything we knew, and I wouldn't do those first few months over again for all the money in the world. But you know what? I got through them. We got through them. I kind of laugh at myself when I look back and I wish I could just hug that girl I was then with the wild-eyes and swirling cloud of anxiety and tell her to dial it down a notch because she can't make the kitchen guys work harder or the plumber get there faster and sometimes the roof just leaks and the boiler doesn't work and she is doing the best that she can and really, it all gets better from here.

And it does. Because tonight after work I am going to get on a train and head north. And when I get there I am going to walk into my house and kiss my man and change my clothes and sit on the couch and watch something amazing on TV and just breathe.

Because I'll be home. And that's the best place there is.