In the last few years, my perspective has changed dramatically. Once upon a time, I believed that all my decisions had been made and the future held only more stagnation. It was like I was a participant in some organized game with the only object being to “land” on particular spaces in a mostly consistent order. You know, college – travel – meet – marry – have beautiful babies – focus all attention and assets on the growing children – feel alone in the chaos – stay quiet and still.
Once that game ended, I could have easily been cast adrift, but I’m not really a rudderless kind of woman. Instead, I’ve been discovering parts of myself I didn’t know existed. Life has changed so much! I’ve been challenging myself physically and have felt myself being pushed creatively and professionally like never before. I feel alive every day.
The comforts of yesterday have been knocked off my personal map by new waves of inspiration and excitement and I no longer wake up and wonder what’s on the other side of the ocean. Instead, I look around and see the sky, the sun, the moon, the light, the clouds…all sorts of things which compel me to want to look closer and explore.
I can’t speak for Columbus, but, for me, it is definitely about the journey.
From Louise Erdich:
“Life will break you. Nobody can protect you from that, and living alone won’t either, for solitude will also break you with its yearning. You have to love. You have to feel. It is the reason you are here on earth. You are here to risk your heart. You are here to be swallowed up. And when it happens that you are broken, or betrayed, or left, or hurt, or death brushes near, let yourself sit by an apple tree and listen to the apples falling all around you in heaps, wasting their sweetness. Tell yourself you tasted as many as you could.”
- The Painted Drum
Go eat some apples – now.
Do you ever wonder why certain people enter our lives? The whole timing of the introduction of individuals, the circles overlapping for some random length of time, interests me and makes me wonder why some people come and stay, others come and are gone, and still others come and go repeatedly. What does it mean? Is it a lesson about ourselves or an opportunity to learn about, and from, others? And when, if ever, do questions like this get answered?
Although I have a core group of friends who have been along for the ride for 30+ years, I remain open to meeting new people. The various spheres of my life; mom, educator, server, writer, photographer, expose me to potential friends every single day, just as I imagine you must be in your own lives. Why is it that some of these potential friends have an impact upon us while others make not a mark?
Someone once blew through my life at a speed that can only be described as Ferrari fast. The surprise of his attentions, and the pleasure they prompted in me, left me feeling conflicted. My heart was firmly in the hands of another, yet I felt an interest in this person that I found puzzling. Why now? Was the appearance of this person a message to be deciphered? What was the lesson?
The message I ultimately chose to embrace was that my heart has a limitless capacity for love. I knew that the one who held my heart was perfect for me, yet, I also knew that if things did not go as hoped, I would still ultimately be happy. I believe that sometimes those people who pass through our lives like shooting stars, do so not to show us what we’re missing, but more to remind us of what we have.
Maybe I’m simple or I have a low threshold for happiness. I’m not really sure, but what I do know is I had a fantastically, perfect weekend. As the weekend progressed, I mentally inventoried each special little thing that cumulatively gave me one of my favorite birthday celebrations ever. Noting 46 of these items was an easy feat to achieve.
- Early morning surprise drive-by with birthday wishes
- A Happy Birthday text from my son. (He was upstairs when he sent it to me.)
- Birthday cards at work
- Facebook birthday messages, especially when they contained the word “inspiring.”
- A pedicure and manicure to begin my weekend
- The tuna roll I inhaled
- A gigantic salted caramel mocha sipped pond-side in the sunshine
- Thoughtfully selected, thoughtfully wrapped presents.
- Reading a funny book aloud with a friend
- Receiving a handcrafted card from Quinn
- Listening to Quinn explain the handcrafted card he gave me. It involves superpowers, popcorn falling from the sky and the sentiment that he “lives” me.
- That run that I took as the sky began to darken and the sliver of moon that led me back home.
- Finding the perfect thing to wear for my birthday dinner.
- Reading a special card.
- That parking space on the corner of State and Lark.
- A tasty sparkling rose from New Mexico, Gruet.
I wish you could smell this pasta!!!
- The pasta that was worth every moment of self-denial, house made tagliatelle with a cinghiale Bolognese at the bar at the Wine Bar and Bistro on Lark.
- The tasty glass of Spanish granache that accompanied my pasta and the beautifully rare hangar steak that I enjoyed as my main course.
- The creme brûlée
- The glass of tawny port I sipped with desert
- The enjoyable conversation I shared at the bar with friends
- Neil Young playing during my meal
- Getting a good night’s sleep
- A beautiful morning on the first day of fall
- The soccer game beginning early
- Getting every single chore out of the way prior to my friend’s arrival
- Driving my friend’s stick shift Beetle. I’ve still got it!
Note the crown.
- The sunshine topping off my apricot glow, poolside under a mostly blue sky.
- That dive into the pool which simultaneously took my breath away and confirmed that I was alive.
- Laughing with Will about the disparity between how men and women perceive 4 inches
Crown still in place – lots of candles!
- Being presented with the sickest cake I have ever tasted – Civitello’s Italian rum cake.
- The hot tub!
- Joining the Decades Party.
- Popping that bottle of Prosecco knowing we wouldn’t be driving any place.
- Watching that rain storm creep in.
- My boy making popcorn for movie night.
- Walking a couple of laps in the misty rain.
- A friend stopping by for a night-cap.
- That cake…
- Sleeping soundly in a cozy bed with the windows open.
- Breakfast from All Good Bakers.
- Seeing the faintly yellow reflection of the leaves out my window.
- Another piece of that cake…
- A nap as the sun shined onto my first-flannels-of-the-season made bed.
- A walk through the Honest Weight Harvest Fest in Washington Park
- My run, all 5.66 miles of it, and the best hot shower I could imagine.
Now, when your special day comes around again – be sure to celebrate it. Indulge yourself. Feel special. And, if you need any ideas for having a memorable time, feel free to borrow any of mine. I’ve been blessed with plenty to share.
Filed under aging, birthdays, DelSo, drinking, Eating, favorites, Food, friends, ideas, Lark Street, love, Random, Recommendations, running, Summer, upstate New York, Wine
In the spirit of life being comprised of moments and not years, I offer 45 special moments in time which I was blessed enough to enjoy in my 45th year…
1. Memorial Day Girls’ weekend in Albany.
2. NYC with Liam – from the Met to running in the dark to Brooklyn from the Lower West Side – truly memorable.
3. My first 4 mile run.
4. My first 5 mile run.
5. My first 10K.
6. Running in the desert with the sun shining and the mountains glowing. (is there a theme here?)
7. Mommy and me trip with Quinn to NYC, Washington, D.C. and Baltimore.
8. The Allman Brothers and Santana at SPAC.
9. Running in Central Park on a mild February day. (again?)
10. My brother’s birthday party in Syracuse with the best friends imaginable.
11. A day spent poolside at my friends Will and Raj’s house in Niskayuna
12. Dinner at the bar at Lupa with Mary Lynn
13. The Delmar Turkey Trot followed by Thanksgiving dinner with the McGuire family – in pajamas.
14. Finding DelSo on the map – literally!
15. All Good Bakers opening in my wonderful neighborhood.
16. The IRS confirming that I didn’t owe them $1500. They owe me $1600.
17. Eating a rare burger at the Capital City Gastropub. Ok, that might count as multiple moments because I’ve done it
more than once.
18. Receiving a thank you card from a former student who said I inspired him to note his gratitude.
19. Watching Quinn take his first bridge jump.
20. Truly knowing that I am able to support my household, unaided.
21. Falling in love with trail running in Saratoga with my friend, Chrissy.
22. Cross country skiing in October.
23. Having my hand held by a friend held while threading our way through a crowd.
24. Albany’s Last Run with some great girlfriends.
25. Working Lark Fest at the Wine Bar and Bistro on Lark Street.
26. Spending time with college friends who I hadn’t seen in far too long.
27. Finding out that two of my favorite people are expecting two new people.
28. Hot yoga classes on Martha’s Vineyard. Well, actually, finishing a hot yoga class or two on Martha’s Vineyard.
29. Finding the most gorgeous cashmere robe imaginable hanging in my bathroom.
30. Harry Potter marathons with Quinn.
31. That incredible bottle of Spanish wine I enjoyed with my awesome neighbors.
32. The satisfaction of buying and installing air conditioners in my house – all by.myself!
33. Being able to bike 20 miles without any preliminary rides or lasting discomfort.
34. Finding the necessary piece to assemble my dressing table – after more than a year of looking for it.
35. Having an opportunity to volunteer for the Historic Albany Foundation by pouring (and drinking) wine at their event.
36. Drinks on the rooftop at Eataly’s Birreria.
37. Our full moon bonfire at White Crest beach.
38. The first sip of a glass of refreshing rose on a hot day in NYC.
39. Girls’ Gathering in Kingston to begin the Summer of 2012.
40. Running in the soft rain at Albany Muni.
41. Crossing the Bourne Bridge. heading to Wellfleet, listening to Simon & Garfunkel.
42. Going blonde-ish, something I always wanted to do.
43. Getting negative PET Scan results.
44. Feeling my heart beat fast at the mere sight of someone special.
45. Breathing – deeply and with appreciation for all the gifts I receive each day I am alive.
Are wedding anniversaries like phantom limbs? You know, you can kind of still feel them even though they no longer actually exist. The remains of what was once there can create an almost physical twinge despite the fact that it is no longer present as anything but a memory.
Two couples I know recently marked their 20th anniversaries – one with a lovely dinner al fresco, the other with the decision to acknowledge the end of their marital partnership. I guess these examples support the often quoted figure that 50% of marriages end in divorce. Do you think it is possible to predict at a wedding ceremony which marriages are going to remain intact and which are going to end before death doth them part? I don’t. Personally, I don’t believe anyone plans to not live happily ever after.
I know that love and intentions and hopes and dreams were very much a part of my wedding day. I married on an early afternoon so cloudless that our photographer complained about the lack of shadows. The best man saw a majestic blue heron take off as he drove to the ceremony, an obvious sign of nature’s blessings even to the most jaded. We had a totally cool wedding date – month, date and year expressed with a concise number of digits. Perfect.
However, 18 years from that day, as I ran under a cloudy, darkening sky, I wore the marital status “divorced” rather than that beautiful emerald-cut diamond ring I received when I accepted his proposal. Ugh.
As I ran though, I smiled to myself as I recalled that my groom and I found ourselves alone following our wedding reception’s conclusion, red Ford Escort wagon parked in the lot and strung with cans, without the keys to drive ourselves to the next destination. Really. A phone call or two resolved that roadblock, and we joined our friends at their hotel to shuttle to another location for dancing and drinks. We were not ready for our day to end – we were having far too much fun. We all piled into the hotel’s courtesy bus, but as we began to pull away I realized my groom was being left behind. He missed the bus. Literally.
There were, as I said, no clouds. There are no regrets for having spent nearly twenty years sharing my life with a man who I once was very happy to call my husband. Sometimes, though, anniversaries are to be celebrated as the date when two became one, while other times they are simply reminders of a former life, once whole but, now forever severed.
I don’t know about you, but there comes a point in life when I crave routine. July and August are luxuriously lacking in structure for me and the boys. Meals come at odd times and both nights and mornings are much later than usual. We seem to use a lot of gas – for the grill and the family wagon, and I feel like I am constantly watering the flowers, which are beginning to mirror the boys own legginess after a summer of sunshine.
Things have definitely grown, including me. For the past few weeks I’ve been feeling like an overripe fruit from too much wine and ice cream. I miss my gym schedule. Running has been challenging in recent weeks because of a persistent discomfort in my glute/tailbone that just won’t quit and I am hoping that a combination of decreasing my mileage and a change in the humidity level, may help get me back on my game.
The change in the seasons is an inevitable part of life, but this particular transition is the one I find most difficult. Two months of essentially being lazy is about to come to an abrupt end as we ratchet it up for what I consider to be the most hectic time of the year. My family of four will be spending their days in a total of 5 different school buildings where we will each need to adjust to new schedules and school year activities. If I think too much about it, I honestly hyperventilate a little bit, but I try to remind myself that we’ll figure it out because we always do. We’ll be fine.
Life is all about beginnings and endings. Sometimes these chapters are easily defined by the calendar, at other times one must rely upon an internal gauge of when the time has come to make personal changes. While I am sorry to see summer end, fall in upstate New York can certainly be pretty spectacular, right? Apples, riotous foliage, and birthdays are all part of autumn that I love to celebrate. I’ve also learned that the years go by far faster than I ever imagined which means Summer ’13 is practically around the corner.
I think one more trip to Tastee Freeze will make more of a difference to my mental state than to my waistline, so it’s one last ice cream for dinner night for me. Hot fudge and butterscotch.
Filed under musings, Summer