The Light

I see it, both literally and figuratively. The light at the end of the seemingly never-ending tunnel of winter is visible and getting closer each day. The changing of the clocks (annoying as it might be) ushered in with it a changing of the weather. The sun has been shining on and off for the past three days. THIS is the part of winter when hope returns. The day has arrived when the end is in sight and you realize that we’ll get there eventually.

Yesterday I left the house with no hat, no gloves, and no boots! I wore sunglasses. I took the kids on their scooters around the neighborhood after school. The hideous black mountains have ben reduced to hills surrounded by puddles filled with cigarette butts that are rapidly being rinsed away by the store owner’s hoses each morning.


I’m sure there will still be some bumps and potholes on the way out. This is probably not the end of hats and gloves quite yet. I’ve yet to see the first green tendrils pushing up through snow. But I’m hopeful that it’s coming soon.

Buried Under Winter


As the snow tumbles down for what feels like the millionth time in the last three months, I find myself resigned to it’s inevitability. It’s the part of the winter where the cold, gray, and ice have completely taken over everything and it feels like the sun will never show itself again. The dreary days seem to stretch on as far back as I can remember and as far forward as I can see. It is the part of winter where I realize I’ve been buried up to my eyeballs and didn’t even see it happening.

Here in New York, the fluffy white flakes settle down and cover everything in a sheen of pretty for about 10 hours before they begin to morph into something sinister. First the piles at the sides of the streets and sidewalks fill with cigarette butts and dog shit. Then they begin to gray and then to blacken. A week after the storm, what remains are iced-over mountains of detritus and soot; hulking black humps punctuated by discarded rubber gloves, soda cans, flyers for discount suits and threading salons, and lost mittens of all shapes and sizes. How does the filth pile up so quickly?


The drudgery of pulling on boots and zipping up jackets, of slogging through slush and shivering against the wind, have become second nature. We don’t even notice it anymore. No one stops to chat at school dropoff. There are no shared walks to here or there. The parks are filled with ice and puddles and not fit for squealing, running groups of children who’ve been sitting at school all day. Every trip is a hurry in from the cold. It is lonely and long and dark.

So as the snow falls and falls and falls and I prepare to lace up my boots yet again to go out into the winter, I keep telling myself one thing…Spring is going to feel SOOOOO good!

When I Think I Can’t…Yoga

I know that I’ve talked about it here a million times and I’m sure that people in my life are sick of hearing it, but yoga has changed my life in so many ways that it’s hard not to talk about it. Where once anxiety waited around every turn, preying on my weaknesses, telling me that I would never amount to anything and that each little task was a mountain to climb, I now have tools to keep it away and keep myself strong. Where I once saw the words “no,” “I can’t,” “never,” I now start to see “I can” and “I will.” Anxiety still lives down inside of me, sometimes bubbling up to take over, but now it is easier to push it back down and make it behave. Anxiety now lives largely in the background, leaving the rest to be filled with living life. Some of this is because I found a great psychiatrist. Some of it is because I’ve gotten older and more comfortable with myself. But a large part of the credit goes to yoga.

Because so much of my anxiety is centered around my body and health, yoga is an excellent counter to it. If I can control what my body does in so many ways, there is less room to find fault with it. Add a little meditation and breathing to interrupt those ruminations and yoga is the perfect recipe for my particular brand of anxiety.

I still find myself daunted by certain tasks, especially those that might interrupt the calm(ish) little life I’ve got going here. But it has come to a point where my life needs a shake-up. I need to push past the “I can’t” and into the “I will.” So again, I’m turning to yoga

7 years ago I couldn’t do this.


5 years ago I couldn’t do this.


1 year ago I couldn’t do this.


If I can hold warrior II, balance on my arms, and freakin STAND on my HEAD, I can do anything right? At least, that’s what I tell myself when my mind is full of doubts. Yoga reminds me that I am strong, that I can overcome fear, and that I have control. With that on my side, the only thing left to do is to move forward.

Children Are Human Too

no children

Ok, this is one that gets me all sorts of fired up so bear with me while I get my thoughts out. I am of the opinion that people under the age of say, 17, deserve to exist as a part of society. I think that they are valid human beings and as such I think they have a right to leave their homes and be a part of the world in places that are not playgrounds, schools, or chain family restaurants. I do NOT think they should be everywhere all the time. They should probably not play at factories, or at research libraries, or at upscale restaurants after 8pm. I am the first one to be annoyed when there is a screaming toddler at the next table when I’m out for a late-night, date night with my husband. Children are children and (for the most part) do not have the self-control that adults do and therefor cannot be expected to behave properly in all situations. That said, I get seriously pissed off when people act like the very presence of children, just out in the neighborhood, is not just an annoyance, but an affront to adults.

Living in New York, just walking a few blocks, we encounter countless people. More often than I expect, there are people who are appalled that a person who has not yet reached physical maturity is allowed to walk on the same sidewalk as them. Did you know that children are generally shorter than adults and that adults might *gasp* have to be aware of their surroundings in order to not bash into them as they hurry to wherever it is they’re going? It’s true.

I have encountered plenty of people who feel it is their duty to tell me that children don’t belong on the sidewalk. I hear a lot of “Hey, watch your kid!” and “Could you please control him?” as my children walk by my side. Sometimes they even have the audacity to bounce or skip which I’m sure it’s just to draw the ire of random strangers walking by. I usually quickly shout back that I am “so sorry that my child dared to exist!” or something else that it seems only serves to fuel their vitriol for the youth of the world. I’m not quite sure how we’re supposed to get anywhere or do anything. Maybe we’re supposed to just stay inside all day. Should there be designated lanes for us like there are for bikers, lest we accidentally get in the way of some adult in a hurry?

I treat my children like human beings under the assumption that, in fact, they are. I wonder how much contact these anti-child people have with actual children and I worry that the answer is anything other than “none.” I hear a lot of people say things like, “I don’t like kids.” Worse, I hear a lot of parents say things like, “I don’t like kids, except for my own.” I used to think that I didn’t enjoy children. I didn’t see very many of them. Then my friends started having babies. I found that children were often pleasant to be around and that they actually had things to offer to help me grow in my own humanity. I have found that kids (maybe aside from toddlers) are annoying in public about as often as adults are, although they may be louder. Unlike adults, children have the excuse of not having as much self-control, life experience, or knowledge of social norms.

Now, as a mother, I enjoy spending time with children. I like my kids’ friends. I look forward to being the chaperone on the field trips because I get to chat with the kids in the class. I’m the first to volunteer to help with an art project, because I am awed by what kids come up with when given minimal direction. The ideas that children have about the world are, in my opinion, invaluable. I honestly believe that most adults would benefit from a good discussion about why mountains exist with a 4-year-old or a conversation about the value of sharks with a 7-year-old.

I’m not saying that everyone has to “like kids” or even spend time with them. I am certainly not in any way advocating that everyone should have children of their own. I am saying that everyone has to tolerate and even respect them when they are out and about in public. I am saying that children deserve to be there just as much you or I. Overall, what I’m saying is, if you don’t like my kids, or any kids, being out in the world with you, will you kindly keep your damn mouth shut! Unless it comes to the demise of our species, they aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. Perhaps you long for the days when children were to be “seen and not heard.” Since I’m willing to bet that most people aren’t too keen to go back to the days when women stayed in the kitchen, men were the sole rule makers, and the sight of a bare ankle was scandalous, let’s go with the idea that children are real people and not property. If you’re on board with those things, then by all means, yell at me about my kids on the sidewalk…you probably need the outlet!

What Am I Giving Today?


Not…one…fuck! Oh wait, did I just say “fuck” in a blog post without using an asterisk? Damn straight I did. Why? Well, obviously because I don’t give a fuck.

Last night Declan woke with a fever around 3:30. I was in and out of his room laying with him, taking his temp, and doling out tiny cups of children’s Tylenol. When I finally got him to sleep it was after 5 and I lay in bed worrying. What will I do with him all day at home? What if he’s still sick Saturday and he can’t go to the in-laws so the husband and I can actually talk to each other for once? What if we never get a time to go out? What if we get divorced? What if that pain near my bellybutton is appendicitis? What if I don’t realize it and it bursts and I die of sepsis?

So when we got up this morning and the husband took Brady to school so that Declan could sleep in and feel better, I made a decision. Today would be “don’t give a fuck” day. We would watch TV and use the iPad and do whatever makes D happy and lets me relax for a God damned minute. See, I’m always feeling as if I need to care more, and not just more, but ohsomuchmore. In reality I think it is imperative that I care less. Not ohsomuchless, but certainly less.

I often feel as if every problem I encounter is MY problem. I worry about things from the dump being built in our neighborhood to the overwhelming issue of climate change. I ponder how the class and race issues in this country can ever be solved. I worry about my mom and my sister and my nieces. I worry about my kids. I worry what the other moms at school think of my newly purple hair. While much of this is good and I know that it is good, I also cannot let these things consume me. I cannot solve all the problems of the world. Sometimes I cannot even solve the problems of my apartment. My worry is like an armor that I build around me to keep the bad things from happening. This does not work, but my brain tells me it will. It tells me that if I just know all the problems and worry about all the problems, things will be ok. This is a lie. Feeling these problems around me constantly helps no one and leaves me feeling crushed, drained, and useless.

So today, I am letting myself (and Declan, I guess) off the hook. I don’t have to stop the dump or save the preschool or make sure that the kids are being stimulated in a developmentally appropriate manner while eating organic vegetables from BPA-free, recyclable plates. I just need to keep us all alive and in decent order. We can eat pizza and watch a movie and (gasp!) not clean up immediately.

Today I am not giving a fuck and it feels FAN-TAB-ULOUS! That pain near my belly button has melted away and somehow I actually got a bunch of freelance work done. Many people, perhaps too many people, live this way day-to-day. I think the evidence of that is all around us. But I can’t make up for their lack of caring by caring extra. What I can do is give myself a little break. I can go back to my worries with a renewed spirit and a fresh perspective. Maybe I can manage to cut some of my concerns from the list and leave them to someone else. I can definitely give my kids, or my husband, or even (maybe) myself that extra minute, without feeling like I should be somewhere else, trying to do some other thing, at the exact same moment. And I can enjoy it. At least for today…

The Dairy Life, Yoga Withdrawal, and Writing Critiques

I’ve been on a deadline (per usual this time of year) so I haven’t been writing much. But today my next job is late so I am free…FREE I SAY! There are ton of things I’ve been wanting to put up here, but then time passed and I didn’t have time and blah, blah, anyway I’m putting it all right here in one little post so here ya go.

Declan can eat dairy! It’s such a bizarre concept. Monday morning at 9am my husband called me to say that the allergist’s office had called him and offered us a 10:00 appointment for Declan’s food challenge. Despite my begging my sitter to come when she wanted to cancel so that I could make my afternoon deadline, I said “Holy crap, I’ll be there!” I dropped everything, put some yogurt and milk in a cooler bag, grabbed the kid, and hopped in a cab to West Side.

Declan was seriously an angel and colored and played with his toys and barely even looked at the iPad for the nearly 3 hours we were at the office. He ate his yogurt and drank his milk with no argument. Halfway through his cheeks got red and we worried a bit, but some time in the waiting room where it was cooler solved the problem. He made it through the last waiting period and showed no reaction. I couldn’t believe it. The allergist said that if he tolerated a full serving of dairy the next morning, then he would be clear and have no restrictions. Declan is a dairy eater! I no longer have to worry about his grabbing Go-gurts or cheese puffs. He can have cheese sticks for a snack! I made chicken and dumplings this week because I hadn’t been able to make creamy soup in years. Other than a little tummy discomfort and his insisting for the first two days that he can only eat dairy, Declan’s been fine. It’s kind of amazing.

Playing so nicely.

Playing so nicely.


Silly, dairy-eating boy.

Which brings me to yoga withdrawal. As of right now, I have not taken a yoga class in 13 days and it SUCKS. I do not do well without my yoga. My anxiety is left to fester and grow and take hold without my asana practice. It is not a good scene. But 13 days ago I took a very back-bendy class which left my lower back ridiculously tight. That night, like every night, Declan came into my room at 2am. I carried him back to his bed and as I lowered his 35lb body into the lower bunk, something really bad happened in my lower back. I could barely stand back up. I then endured several days of spasms and pain and stiffness and general awfulness and, of course, no yoga.

A week later it was finally feeling less painful and more mobile, but I wanted to give it time. The thought of doing a forward fold was kind of terrifying. Actually, it’s still pretty scary, but I’ll be in class tonight. It’s an instructor I know well and trust and I’ll be talking to her beforehand to make sure I don’t do anything to re-injure myself. Back pain is the WORST! I can honestly see how people with back problems get hooked on pain medication. You need your back for everything!

And the writing critiques. A few weeks ago I sent four of my poems to my husband’s aunt to read. She is pretty much one of my favorite people. She’s been a professional writer in many capacities and has also taught writing and she recently got her MFA in poetry. I respect her writing and her opinion so I asked her if she would read some of my stuff. I saw her at Thanksgiving and she told me she’d be sending me her thoughts and not to worry. But I worried.

A few days later I got her response and its’ several pages long. I read the first paragraph and realized I wouldn’t be able to finish. Due to the aforementioned deadline and back pain (and maybe just a tiny bit of fear), I wasn’t able to sit down to go through it. Today, I am free. I should read her thoughts. I should sit with my poems while I have the chance. But I am paralyzed. I am writing on my blog, but I am afraid to open that attachment and read her words. It’s been quite a few years since I’ve handed over my work to another writer and I don’t know if I’m ready. I get so married to my words that I find it hard to think about changing them. I have flashbacks to college writing workshops where I picked to pieces by vengeful English students. I am trying to get up the courage. It’s the next thing I’ll do…I swear.

Thanksgiving in NYC

Hands down, one of my favorite things about living in New York City is Thanksgiving. Long, long ago, when the husband and I were just dating and I was still in college, I started coming here to his family for Thanksgiving…and the parade! I have ALWAYS loved parades and the best one of all is the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Every year, my house was filled with the sounds of parade coverage as we lounged in the living room waiting to go to my grandma’s to feast. When I had a chance to actually attend in person, I jumped at it…and kept going every year after.

I have so many parade memories that they sort of start to meld together into one awesome parade: there was the year we had brunch at Jean Georges and watched from the patio, the year my sister-in-law and I froze to death and laughed at a family near us that had a comment for EVERYTHING, the year my mom and sister came up and we took selfies with the balloons before it was cool (with a real camera no less), the year we watched from an apartment high above Central Park West, the year Declan was a tiny baby in the Bjorn.

But two years ago, we said no more. It got to be a hassle getting the kids there and then getting them ready to go to the in-laws. So instead we went to the balloon inflating the night before. NEVER go to the balloon inflating!!! It is a nightmare that knows no equal where people are herded like cattle past giant cartoon characters captured in nets. We escaped into the subway halfway through!

So last year we scrapped the whole parade. It was sad, but it was relaxing. This year, we were all prepared to watch on TV and hang out at home. But after 40 minutes of interviews with sitcom stars, commercials, and clips from Broadway shows, Brady and I couldn’t take anymore. So we went for a little walk and got us some parade action.

What a Day!

Today was a doozy of a day. It started with it becoming arctic cold overnight, which I guess happened in most of the Northern Hemisphere since I kept reading that there were freezing temperatures in all 50 states. Here are some of the bad/annoying/irritating things that happened today:

– Declan’s slight, morning head-stuffiness morphed into an actual cold, no lie, en route to the allergist.

– We were sent home by the allergist with no food challenge and a hope of a cancellation in the near future.

– Despite not having the food challenge I still went all the way to the West Side in the freezing cold and spent $30 on cabs.

– Declan’s actual cold became a terrible cold.


– TWO people walked right past me in the line at the grocery store as if I wasn’t there waiting too! (Cutting in line is my #1 pet peeve.)

– My two pairs of warm boots arrived from Zappos and NEITHER fit me and it promises to be just as cold again tomorrow.

– I had to drag my children into the cold and dark to volunteer for the last CSA shift to make my volunteer quota for the season.

– Declan created this masterpiece on the wall in the hallway.


– I got my period. (Sorry for the TMI, but seriously, it’s the day that just won’t stop giving.)

But, all day my yogi-self kept telling me to step back and take a breath, to look at what was happening and see the positive. So, because of that, and because looking at the list above I seriously look like a whiny baby, I will oblige my yogi-self and see the positives.  So here are some of the good/nice/not annoying things that happened today:

– Declan and I stopped at the bookstore and it was story time and he LOVED it! That kids loves songs with hand gestures and being read stories.


– Since Declan didn’t feel good he snuggled me all day. (I didn’t mind the snot that came with it too much.)

– I somehow got in some freelance work.

– Zappos has free shipping and returns.

– The other lovely people who were volunteering saw that I had my kids with me and that it was cold and let me sign in and go home! Yay for nice people! I did do a little restocking of veggies for good measure while we were there.

– Magic Eraser removes pencil on a wall like, well, magic.

– Declan fell immediately asleep and I got to snuggle with Brady a little. He told me about the stories he makes up while he’s falling asleep and it was incredible! It involves him making a legendary basketball shot, being sent to a special middle school in California to play basketball, coming back to New York for high school and leaving basketball to play football and perfecting the “rocket throw.” How cool is this kid?

How’s that for balance? I’m working on it. I really am.

The Food Challenge


I’ve written here before about Declan’s dairy allergy. When he was 9 months old he pulled a cup of milk over onto himself and promptly broke out in hives everywhere it touched his skin–clearly a problem. Again, I’m thankful that I not only breastfed him, but that I was off dairy for my own reasons while I did it. Anyway, a trip to the allergist confirmed that he was allergic (not sensitive, not lactose intolerant, actually really allergic) to milk. We were told to try slowly introducing cooked milk products and see what happened and to come back for a skin test in six months. The allergist assured us that most kids outgrow this allergy by the age of two. She also told us that we would need to carry an EpiPen with us at all times. While the chance of him going into anaphylactic shock was very low, it was still there.

Subsequent skin tests, disappointingly, showed that he was still allergic. Each time that red welt appeared on his skin within seconds of the nurse scratching on the milk. At two, he was still allergic and we were to come back in a year. In the meantime, we should still try more cooked milk products. He was able to eat pizza and grilled cheese. This past August I took him back for a skin test before starting preschool, hoping to avoid the EpiPen paperwork and the worry that he would touch butter while baking in class.

Amazingly, no welt appeared on his arm! I was so relieved! But, the EpiPen paperwork would still have to be done. We still had to do a food challenge to be sure he could tolerate milk. I went to the front desk to schedule the appointment and was told it would be more than THREE MONTHS before we could do the challenge, during which Declan would eat small amounts of some raw dairy product while being closely monitored over the span of a few hours. I was deflated, but still hopeful.

The food challenge is tomorrow. I’ve been waiting and waiting for this day. I have yogurt and chocolate milk and cheese sticks–all foods that he wishes he could eat–in the fridge waiting. He is excited and even told his teachers that he gets to “go to a doctor appointment and eat dairy!” I got the confirmation text from the allergist’s office on Saturday afternoon. It mentioned that there should be “no signs of respiratory symptoms.” So, of course, Declan woke up with a cough on Sunday morning.

He seems ok, but I am FREAKED out! What if they turn us away? What if we have to wait another THREE MONTHS? I feel pretty sure I have a restless night ahead of me. His nose isn’t runny and his cough seems to only be in the morning, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed. He’s a three-year-old and it’s November! Are there any three-year-olds who DON’T have respiratory symptoms in November. I’m aware that there’s a medical reason for this, but come on! Because I need him to have this test. I don’t care about what he can and can’t eat. It’s honestly not that difficult to avoid dairy. I just don’t want to worry anymore. I don’t want to worry that some kid will spill their Horizon milk box on him at the playground and he’ll break out in hives…or worse. I don’t want to have to worry that he’ll get frosting on his skin at a birthday party or grab his brother’s yogurt when he inevitably doesn’t throw it away. I don’t want to have to worry that I mixed up the cereal bowls because I was too tired and accidentally gave him the one with real milk.

I’m also thankful that there’s a possibility that he’s outgrown his allergy. It’s tough to avoid touching certain foods. I feel awful for the kids who have allergies they can’t outgrow and that they will take through adulthood. Good thoughts for us that all goes well tomorrow and Declan happily slurps up some yogurt with no adverse reactions.