Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Taking Stock This Week

It's a Wednesday over here, which means this is short and sweet. 

Cooking: Not much. We made tacos on Monday, went out for burgers on Tuesday and had some lentil suit that my mother-in-law made tonight.

Drinking: At the farmer’s market this afternoon (it’s on Wednesdays here, so I try and go during lunch), I finally tried the tea at Teagevity. The line is usually long, but it’s totally worth it—the hibiscus pineapple iced tea was awesome.

Reading: Ugh, still slogging through My Antonia. I think I made it a couple pages since last week.

Making: Plans

Wanting: A manicure/pedicure

Looking: For photos to hang up in the living room. We’re finally committing to finishing this room, and wall art is up high on the list

Deciding: To officially change my work hours to 9-5. I had been doing 8-4, but I love having the extra time in the morning where I don’t feel like we’re waking up and rushing out of the house.

Wondering: What to do about Luca’s birthday in a couple months

Wishing: That the longer days could last a little longer—it started getting dark around 7:30 and well, it’s probably all downhill from here

Enjoying: The slower mornings. Slower is a relative word and doesn’t involve meditation in any way.

Watching: I watched the last episode of Party of Five last/today (fell asleep last night) and man, I just love 90s dramas. I watched the show back in high school though honestly, I didn’t remember much. It was dramatic and totally unrealistic and I loved it.

Hoping: For good weather this weekend—we’ve got two parties and lots of relaxing to do

Wearing:  Right now? Pajamas.

Marveling: At the possibilities

Loving: When Luca laughs those deep belly laughs

Snacking: On these crackers, which I bought for Luca but have taken over, basically

Bookmarking: This article on being a working mom. I have so much to say about that topic that half the time I don’t even know where to start. But I found so much of this piece to be true—except the part about making it to every one of your kids’ games. Like I commented on the post where I saw this, my mom stayed home and she didn’t even make it to all of them.

Feeling: Tired.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Things I Wish I Did That I Do Not

  • Use a planner. Without fail, at the start of every year, I think: I’m gonna buy a planner this year! And I’m gonna fill it with not only all the things I have to do, but all the things that inspire me and all the random notes and thoughts I have that pop up throughout the day. And of course, I’m going to use a variety of colored markers and cute little drawings and I’m going to look back on it the following December and think, wow, what a productive year I had! And without fail, every year I buy one, use it for a couple weeks, and then it gets crumpled up in my bag, tossed on the counter and eventually makes it way to a pile of junk I never look at again.
  • Upload photos in a timely manner. Am I the only one who suddenly, out of the blue, worries that all my photos are going to be lost forever so I make sure to upload them all—and then forget about it until the next time that frantic thought goes through my head? No? Just me, I guess.
  • Organize my Tupperware. Well, this makes me sound straight out of 1962. But this afternoon I was looking for a Tupperware for my salad from lunch and I couldn’t find one top and bottom to match. And then they all fell when I pulled one down from the shelf, just like in a really bad movie about a really disorganized person. It’s a mess. One day it’s going to all be coordinated and organized and it’ll take me one minute to put things away instead of 10.
  • Go to bed when I’m tired. Just like that meme that I can’t seem to find right now (but I did find this one, which is pretty accurate), I’ll sit down on the couch and then 10 minutes later, I’m likely asleep. But instead of getting up off the couch like a normal person and going to bed, I’ll just keep sleeping until I wake up and it’s midnight and I have to drag my tired ass to bed. Then I’ll wind up scrolling through my phone for another half hour and before I know it, it’s 1am and my human alarm clock is going to be up in 5 hours.

 I'm curious: what do you wish you did that you don't? 

Monday, August 29, 2016

Movie Night

Before tonight, I hadn’t been to the movies since 2014. I don’t know if that makes me sad, because going to see a movie is fun or smart, because going to see a movie is almost as expensive as my monthly Netflix AND Hulu subscriptions combined.

Either way, I broke the streak tonight and went to see Bad Moms with Melissa and Laura. (I realize this is making me sound like the cliché to end all clichés. New mom doesn’t have time to go to the movies! Mom goes with her mom friends to see a movie about other moms who are also tired and late to everything all the time!)

The movie itself was both better and worse than I expected it to be. Better because I thought the three main actors had great chemistry and you could tell they were actually laughing for real in some scenes. We were laughing throughout, too, don’t get me wrong—it’s a fun movie, if nothing else. But, when we left the theater my friends and I were wondering out loud if that’s really what it’s like with the PTA and all that once your kids are school age. (Ours are all 2, so we haven’t really dealt with that yet…)

But actual movie reviewers have highlighted the downsides better than I could. Especially this, from the review on Slate:

“But Bad Moms’ essential message—to the extent it has one, beyond the thesis that partying with your besties rules—is that, rather than overturn the systems that cordon off “moms” from the rest of society by attempting to keep them at once as sacrosanct and as powerless as possible, women should look for the evil within the women around them—that the problem is other women, who seek their oppression for personal reasons of vengeance or jealousy.” 
I thought that was pretty on point--the whole thing is worth a read. 

But, like I said, it was a fun movie regardless—and I’m glad we went to see it. If for no other reason then I got to hang out with MY friends for two hours and can finally say I’ve seen a movie in the last year that wasn’t from the vantage point of my couch.

photo credit: Vintage Roxy Theatre Marquee Sign, NY: 1956 Movie Premiere of Rodgers and Hammerstein's "Carousel" via photopin (license)

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Weekend Scenes

It's been a good weekend over here. The weather was that perfect end-of-summer kind, where it was hot but you know that, at least on the East Coast, it's all coming to and end sooner than you'd like, so you don't care much. We spent all three days out and about.

Friday night we went to dinner and then spent some time at the park. Luca fell asleep as soon as we got home, so we wound up watching two episodes of Homeland and I'm even more addicted as time goes on. 

On Saturday, Karen and I took Luca up to Muscoot Farm for the morning. It's small and manageable and the perfect size for toddlers. And while he seemed to like checking out the animals and told us all the sounds they make, the highlight for my almost 2-year-old was all tractors. I swear, I don't know how this kid got so obsessed with all things trucks, cars, trains, farm equipment...

After the farm, we went for lunch and then to Blue Pig for ice cream. I hadn't ever been and they have a cute little outdoor patio that also houses kid-sized chairs and tables. The mojito sorbet was everything. My food photography skills are lacking, but the ice cream definitely wasn't. 

When we got home Luca took a 2 hour nap, so I had some downtime to write and watch TV and, eventually, actually straighten up the house, while John was on a hike with my brother.

On Sunday, we went to a local diner for breakfast, which we haven't done in forever. Again, excuse the badly lit food photography here, but you know, it was a diner. After that we decided to go for a long walk over at Rockefeller State Park, which has the best views of the Hudson River.

All these fun things were mixed with some cleaning and laundry and putting painter's tape up on the living room wall to figure out the best way to lay out some pictures. There was a quick trip to Zara and an afternoon at my parents house where John and Carmine pulled up a rug and we ate pasta and fresh tomato salad.

Here's to a week that's as good as the weekend. 

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Shifting Perspectives

What I’m about to write is the kind of thing that’s really, painfully obvious. But lately, I’ve been thinking about how grateful I am for the fact that our perspective on life is constantly changing and evolving.  

That our opinions and our actions can change and that there are times we can be acutely aware of it happening—of there being a line where we think, I would have said that in the past, or I wouldn’t have been so open to that idea or I wouldn’t have looked at things like that. When experience, or something like it, makes you pause for a second.

When you realize growing up isn’t this thing that happens somewhere between 15 and 30. That you don’t, in fact, emerge from the other side of the heartbreak and the all nighters and the low-paying jobs with a fully intact personality.  

That we can begin to understand that grace and empathy are vital for most things in life, both for ourselves (Living room a mess? Bathroom not clean? Kid eating pasta for the third night in a row?) and everyone around us.

And maybe we always knew it? Still, sometimes it’s nice to remember that it’s there, and that we can be thankful that it is. That we’re letting it happen and growing right along with it.

Friday, August 26, 2016

8-Minute Memoir: Letters

I saw this over on Life of Bon and figured this 100 days project was as good a time as any to write some of these myself. (The original, with all the prompts, is by Ann Dee Ellis.) I'm going to jump in and out of this when the topic strikes--this one, on "little things," totally did. Oh and full disclosure, while I wrote the first draft in 8 minutes (maybe 10?), I totally went back and edited it because I can't help myself. 

I am sitting cross-legged on the bed in our first apartment. The walls are yellow, which we painted one summer afternoon before going to a party in Brooklyn. It’s not the exact color we wanted, but it would do. We’d only live there for another two years, anyway.

All over the bed are the contents of one of my many “memory boxes.” It’s a childish name for an almost-30 year old to use, but it’s what my mom called them when she bought them for me when I was in middle school, in high school. When I would stuff them full with folded up notes and movie ticket stubs and pages ripped from magazines. My teenage years, captured and catalogued.

We are packing up this apartment to move into a new house. One that’s not too far away, but where we imagine we will make a life. One where we’ll say, this is where we bought our first baby home and where we’ll paint the walls bright colors and marvel at the lack of outlets in the bathrooms and take too long to hang photos.

I’m emptying the contents of one of those memory boxes. The one with all the letters. The envelopes are white, with blue and red and white Air Mail stripes on the sides. You’ve probably seen them. The insides are scribbled in blue and black ink, and sometimes, from one particular pair of sisters, written in markers and covered in stickers. They are pages pulled from notebooks, they are written on graph paper, they are on loose leaf paper that you have to make sure are arranged in the right order.

The collection dates sometime between 1997 and, maybe, 2002. They’re the letters I’d write back and forth with my friends from Italy after having spent a summer with them—letters we’d write before we really used email, though there are a few of those too, printed out, with an AOL address at the top. This was before you could send a text or a WhatsApp message, before FaceTime and Facebook.

I’d come home from school, pick the letter out from the pile of mail on the kitchen counter. Sometimes I wouldn’t open it right away, delaying the feeling it brought because it would take 10 minutes to read, and maybe months to get another one. Eighth grade got busy like that.

Sitting on the bed, sifting through them, I think how these letters are a direct connection to this person that I was, that I used to be, that I probably still am. These adventures and experiences that were so new to my 13-, 14-, 15-, 16-year-old self.

Sometimes, I think back to those summers and wonder if they meant the same to other people as they did to me. Maybe they did, maybe they didn’t. But then, today, almost 20 years later, I see photos and videos on Facebook—a new way to write—and I see familiar faces and familiar sentiments. The places we’d sit or walk or talk are still there, still part of all of it—same as it is for me.

As I collect the letters and put them, piece-by-piece, back in that memory box, I feel nostalgic. I feel lucky.

And then I close up the box, pack it up with all the other boxes, and wait for it to be moved to the new house.