Monday, February 28, 2011

ice cream.

Five little first graders sit around the table. They are all eating snack. Goldfish, most probably. Their feet barely reach the floor. They are discussing appearances. "So you are chocolate, you're chocolate too." The whole group nods in agreeance, so she continues..."I'm vanilla, he's vanilla..." They all stop to stare at the last child to be pointed to, wondering what will be said about this one. "...and you're. um. you're tan." A smile of assurance spreads across tan's face and they all again nod to show they wholeheartedly agree.

The teacher, being the good teacher he is, decides this is the perfect opportunity to push these children to think even deeply about an already complex topic. It's what we call a "teachable moment" in the classroom.

He crouches down to be at eye level with them, you know, to really drive the point home. "Why do you think it is that we are all different?"

The conversation stops, all eyes turn to him, and then back to the little girl making the original ice cream flavor distinctions. "We aren't different!" she says, without hesitation and with a little underlying chuckle, "we just have different color skin!"

They all laugh and turn back to their goldfish.

Why are kids so much smarter than the rest of us?

s l o w i n g d o w n

restricted breathing. short. quick. not slowing down but allowing the mind to race and race. feeling overwhelmed and trapped. not sure exactly why yet completely aware that a fundamental shift in thought and function will need to occur for true remedy.

s l o w i n g the pace. one step at a time. mindful that it is more important to just be present. tired of the spinning wheels. tired of the monotony. s l o w e r pace.

needing the type of breath that goes deep. needing clarity of mind. need for oxygen to reach.

trying desperately to keep up. spinning wheels, racing heart (and not just from the caffeine).

appreciation comes from actually being in the moment long enough to recognize what to be grateful for.

Friday, February 25, 2011

rain day.

There are days when, as I strap on my rain boots and open my umbrella, push the door open to the pouring rain, I want nothing more than to curl up on my couch, cup of tea in hand, and watch the weather from inside the comfort of my own home. I picture that image in my mind. "That's what days like this are for," I'll literally say out loud to myself as I trudge through the wetness, umbrella no longer able to protect me from the sharp raindrops now coming in from every direction. "I should be at home".

Today, finally, after years of uttering those words, I got to sit on my couch, still in PJ's, tea cup in hand, watching the rain hit the window panel - creating a blurry facade.

So much better from the inside.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Mile End

Mile End. Mile End. Mile End.

My friend Allison has been telling me about Mile End for about a year now. Raved about the roast beef sandwiches. Said the poutine is to die for.

So it just happened that today, on a day filled with the 101 errands that must get done in lieu of actual vacation, I stumbled upon this quaint little eatery in Boerum Hill off of Hoyt. It just happened to be that at that moment, I looked up. The otherwise unassuming black canvas would have been passed by had I not had Allison's voice in my head.

Mile End. Mile End. Mile End.

It's one of those days when you have a set agenda and then something pops up so ridiculously necessary to partake of, that your plans swerve and alter, actually happy that you decided to cheat on them.


It happened first last Friday. I walked up to the parent of a 1st grader at our school to ask him about a project we were working on, and as we spoke he pulled out of a white paper bag, a small, donut sphere covered in cinnamon and sugar. "Um, where did you get that?" I asked - completely stopping mid-sentence in whatever point I was trying to make.

Dough. He said. And proceeded to tell me how Choice Market had a shop where they do all their baking and that the storefront is a donut shop - Dough. I was thrilled - a donut shop right here in our own neighborhood? OK, so it borders Clinton Hill and Bed Stuy, but still.

Later that day, I walked into a classroom as my co-worker described a new donut shop in her area. There it was again - Dough.

I spent the last 5 days in Toronto with my donut obsessed friend. Which naturally rubbed off on me and made me crave them, all throughout Canada. Finally back in New York City, I met up with my friend Russ for a quick hello in the Bank of America tower in mid-town. "Guess what?" he says, "There is a new donut shop in our neighborhood!" "DOUGH!" We practically yell the word at the same moment. He showed me the New York Times article ( listing it among other such establishments that I know and love - Peter Pan and Doughnut Plant.

So that was that. Mentioned 3 times in the span of a week (with a donut craving brewing all the while) meant that I needed to go find this place. And I did. It was the end of their work day so most options were gone (which of course means another visit is in order), but the donut with chai tea filling was my favorite. Waiting for many, many more visits.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

it's receding

I have been trying for weeks to schedule my dentist appointment for a routine cleaning. I had to cancel a few times, finding a day and time that worked for both me and the hygienist seemed impossible. Finally, in my last attempt to make an appointment, the receptionist said...well, we could do Wednesday but your appointment would be with the doctor himself, not the hygienist.

Well that to me sounded like a win-win situation. I get to make an appointment on a day that works for me and I also get a real dentist to do my cleaning? Perfect. Great.

Wednesday rolls around and off I go. Proud of myself for being 15 minutes early for my appointment, I settle into the dentist chair. Who likes a visit to the dentist? No one. They are probably one of the least liked doctors to visit. I mean no one can look good with their mouths pried open and lips stretched so far you fear it'll stay that way. And that suction water vacuum? The worst! Dribble everywhere, hoping there is only good news after this visit, one that sounds like, "Great, I'll see you in another 6 months for your next cleaning."

The doctor finally comes. Puts on his gloves and goes to work, stopping literally every 30 seconds to ask me to close my mouth so that suction vacuum can clear the saliva, telling me to only breath through my nose. And then it hit me. It wasn't a win-win situation to have a doctor do your cleaning. They have the hygienist do it for a reason. And one of the MOST IMPORTANT of those reasons is this: you can at least semi-enjoy your cleaning and get all the bad news at the end when the doctor comes in for a few minutes. But not today. While his hands were wedged DEEP inside my mouth to scrape and pick, he also gave me the diagnosis, every step of the way. "You feel that? That's a cavity." "Yup, there is another one." "How do you brush anyway?" "Do you have soft bristles or hard ones?" And finally, my personal favorite, "Your gums, they are receding".


I had to try HARD to smile when he finished and said, "Don't your teeth feel so smooth now?"

"And you need to make two more appointments in the next months..."

I sprinted out that door.

Thursday, February 10, 2011


why do i love TV so much?

there is just something about it that makes all your nerves relax, even after a 12 hour day. and it's the most ridiculous shows that i get addicted to. the ones with a plot that repeats every other month, but by which i am still completely shocked and surprised. worse still are the trash reality shows that are utterly embarrassing to watch with anyone who doesn't share the same hobby.

but curling up on my fluffy white couch, cup of tea in hand, allowing brain to numb over, mesmerized by the colors and the lights, it's a part of the day i look so forward to.

why do i love TV so much?

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

the rock climber's gift

I met this rock climbing instructor - Chris. Nice guy. I asked him - what do you do? He said - I teach people to climb rocks.

And for some reason, finally, it hit me. The beauty of how different we all truly are. I have no desire in the world to ever climb a rock. But the fact that this is someone else's passion?! The fact that he makes a living by teaching other people where to grab on, how to make the right move, how to manuveur up the side of cliff - crazy!

This makes me appreciative for all the people in the world. All the people who don't like the things I like and are good at all the things I'm not good at. Because that's the only way that things get done and the world moves forward.

I was in a lecture years ago and I heard someone say - you have to find the quality that is deep within you and you need to find a way to make that shine. There is one thing that you are really good at - there is a unique way that the virtues latent within you have come together to form who you are. You have that find that thing, and offer it to the world. If you don't, you're doing the world a disservice.

It's true. We have to find what we are each good at. Find what our own strength is. What our personal gift is. And then, we have to offer it. It's like finding it and then letting it go, almost like it wasn't ours to begin with. That's where the humility comes in. For it's counterpart, the ego, can corrupt what was once beautiful.

Service. Humility. Finding our path. Offering it, generously.

summer lovin'

I've realized something. Every time I am tired of the weather in New York, I plan a vacation. Most of my summer plans are born in January/February. I am now in the process of planning summer. Beaches and hot sun are on the horizon. So is lack of funds. Such a dilemma.

You walk outside and your legs freeze, no matter how many pairs of pants you have on; you dream of the ocean.

You look at yourself in the mirror and are horrified by the milky white of your skin; you dream of the sun.

It's looking Hawaii. That's what it's looking.

Last winter must not have been that bad. I stayed in NYC in the summer.

Monday, February 7, 2011


I have this incredible little niece. I've spoken only once of her before on this blog, and she was really only alluded to. I've been putting off writing about her because I had all this pressure on myself to do her justice through my words, as if this introduction would be the one and only way I'd be able to speak of her. So I figured it's best to just put it out there - let it be known that she exists and is quite simply the little light of my life. I don't quite remember what my family did before she came. Although somehow we survived 32 years without her, these last 5 months have been so incredibly meaningful for all of us that her existence seems to have always been permanent.

She spent the last week here in my home in Brooklyn. I rushed home each day from work to be with feet moving faster than they ever have to trek through the snow and the slush and hurry up to my 3rd floor apartment where I'd swing the door open to be greeted with her little teeny tiny smile that lifts her cheeks and scrunches her eyes. She is, to put it bluntly, marvelous. With her, each care and worry dissipates and meaning is restored. Her small little hand circles around my index finger and my heart melts just a little. I'm certain everyone feels this way about their own niece/nephew/child/grandchild, what have you, but when it's yours you think no one else understands the feeling. You think no one else knows how much your heart explodes with love for this new gift.

Each moment is cherished.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

the things they leave behind...

i have the total honor of working with people i really love. not many people get to say that, but thankfully, i do. from the staff at school, to the kids in the classrooms, to the parents - many of whom give so much of their time, energy, and love to make our school what it is. nothing like dedicated parents.

when i lost my grandmother it was incredible the number of people who sent their love and showed their encouragement. in many ways, it was from those that i least expected it from. one such person was a parent of students of mine from 2 years ago in kindergarten. i admire her for many things, one of which is for her ability to successfully raise twins, and MOST of which is for the way she has given those two the gift of creativity by allowing them to experiment and try. her support during this difficult time was not expected, but it was indeed appreciated.

as is the case many times with grieving, a week after it happens, people kinda assume that you are over it, or at least should be. "this whole grieving thing is hard." i'll often remark. "STILL?!??" is the response i'll get. which is understandable. no one wants to see you sad, upset, or having a hard time. it's easier, and you're more fun, the other way.

the other morning, this one particular parent stopped me in the hall to see how i was doing, once again offering her support. we got to talking and i shared something that i have myself only recently come to realize - that this incident has allowed me the ability to handle things without allowing the little stuff stress me out. things just feel more manageable, i don't worry as much as i did before. it's more of a "things will work out" attitude. it's new for me. and refreshing.

she listened to me share this realization and finally said - you see, this is what she left behind for you. each of them leave something behind for us. that's yours.

i like thinking of it like that. like this is the life gift she has given me. it suddenly made my grandmother feel so much closer.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011


what on earth happened to January? how did it already come and go? sandwiched somewhere in between sleet and anticipation of snow days.

just when you think the sidewalks are cleared. just when you think you might be able to resurrect those shoes that sit gathering dust in your closet, longing to be worn. just when the hope for a sign of the suns glimmer begins to bud. it all starts over again.

and that's what happened to January.