- The smell of my babies. There’s nothing like the fragrance of a newborn baby.
- Snow. This winter just feels a bit barren without it.
- Sleep uninterrupted by bathroom visits, drenched sheets and work related stress.
- Puppy breath.
- Evenings spent at home.
- Eating with abandon – an entire pint of Cherry Garcia, burgers actually on buns, fettuccine Alfredo… Those days are done.
- Free time and extra money to spend making day trips and overnight visits to NYC and other places the boys and I enjoy.
- The sense that I can let go and let down – my guard, my fears, my sense of control.
- Having a house already booked for the beach this summer. This is the first time in more than 15 years that I don’t have a plan in place.
- Being able to feel light in so many different ways. I’m ready to shine again.
Despite having sent out 95 holiday cards, I still feel as if the holidays passed by without nearly enough time for me to make contact with all of the people I had hoped. Shit, I guess I can say the same thing about the entire year. Sometimes I think that TIME is the ultimate 4-letter word.
As I was running yesterday, I started inventorying the year, thinking of places I’ve been, thoughts which have stuck with me and little things which have brought great satisfaction. It was a very full year.
• Taking on the restaurant has been a life changing endeavor. I’m learning so much – about the responsibilities of running a business, how to ask for help when I need it, time management and what my own priorities are.
• Although I am spending less time just hanging out with my guys, it feels like we are actually seeing more of each other. What I mean is, I’m not merely Mom anymore and my sons are no longer just children. We’re each viewing facets of one another that may not have previously been revealed – they’ve become more independent and are developing an understanding about who I am as a business owner and hospitality professional. It’s pretty damn cool.
• I bought a new raincoat, kind of an anorak, prior to my France trip in April that was exactly what I wanted at far less than I expected to pay. That doesn’t happen often.
• The cold doesn’t really bother me, but I need sunshine.
• As far as that France trip goes, I wouldn’t have changed a thing about it. Seeing the beaches of Normandy and the sights of Paris with my oldest son was an unforgettable experience.
• Speaking of beaches, our two weeks on Lieutenant’s Island in Wellfeet were memorable in numerous ways. I was so lucky to spend 2 weeks with my favorite fellas, something I don’t expect to be able to do again for quite some time.
• I saw so much great music in 2015! Highlights were Jack White, Robert Plant (2x!), The Black Keys, Alabama Shakes and Government Mule’s amazing Dark Side set. It’s going to be hard for 2016 to rise above that lineup.
• Getting to my hometown, not once but twice, in 2015 was a real treat. Celebrating a 35 year class reunion and an afternoon spent on a paddleboard on the lake were both fun times.
• I ran a half marathon!
• Miraculously enough, I scored the perfect skinny jeans, like the raincoat, they came from Gap. Online shopping has become the norm for me and when I receive an item that actually fits perfectly, it’s kind of like hitting the jackpot.
• I made my way to NYC a few times, mixing it up by traveling with a special friend, my girlfriends and family. It remains my favorite city in the world.
• Closing out 2015 by spending 4 days with my most fun friends in Nashville was the perfect punctuation to a year filled with new experiences, challenges and accomplishments.
• I can’t wait to see where 2016 takes me. Hope you’ll come along for the ride!
Filed under Boys, Cape Cod, concerts, Europe, Events, Exercise, family, France, friends, holidays, Music, Nashville, NYC, Observations, Random, running, travel, vacation
I’ve long known that when I die, I want to be cremated. It doesn’t make sense to me to take up space in the ground of our already crowded Earth. As a matter of fact, I’d rather not have my remains contained to an urn, either. I’ve already asked my three sons to divide my ashes into 3 vessels (Ziploc, Tupperware, whatever) which they are to use to transport me to my favorite places – Greenwood Lake, the Hudson River and the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Wellfleet, MA. Upon arrival, and probably under cloak of darkness, they are to scatter my physical remains. I hope my sons do it together and make a road trip out of it – maybe with a special play list.
The other night, as I was dozing off, I decided that post-organ donation and prior to cremation, I’d like to donate my body to science. That sounds kind dramatic, doesn’t it? That’s not my intention, what I mean is that I’d like to give medical students the opportunity to dissect and study my body. Not because I’m some phenomenal physical specimen, but because I think I’d like for my body to be appreciated and respected for all the wonderful and challenging experiences it has had during my years of living.
Don’t you think it’s fascinating how much can be gleaned about a person’s life by their body? The scars we each bear are evidence of traumas we have faced and survived, some minor and others graver. The condition of our muscles speaks of their strength, a woman’s pelvic cartilage may reveal the number of children she birthed, and our teeth provide evidence of our overall health and diet. I just find it all so much more interesting than any graveside service could possibly be!
No rush, though. I’ve got a few more scars to collect before I’m ready to go.
When you think of beach food, French pastry probably doesn’t usually come to mind. While I certainly love fried scallops, chowder and s’mores, sometimes I want something a little more refined. For those instances, PB Boulangerie fits the bill perfectly.
Croissant and pain au chocolate
I’ve been interested in getting to this spot for a good number of years, however, the queue has always put me off. This year, though, the gods conspired (Quinn got up early, we needed to take a quick run out to Provincetown and there was a severe weather warning which limited traffic) and we found ourselves there before 8:00 a.m., meaning the line was manageable. While Quinn and Jeter rode the storm out in the car, windows open natch, I took in the selection and settled on 4 croissants, 2 almond croissants, 2 pain au chocolate and 2 jars of apricot jam. Total price: $46.00.
Without exception, everything I tasted was outstanding. The almond croissant (my favorite!) was terrific – flaky, buttery and deliciously almond-y. It was big and I struggled to eat the entire thing, but, you know me, I’m a trooper and managed it just fine. The pain au chocolate was beautifully punctuated with small chunks of chocolate and the traditional croissant was everything a croissant should be.
The jam has been a revelation. Apparently the chef/owner’s mother, Pascaline, visits periodically to make and jar her special preserves and she has a deft hand with the 4 ingredients included – apricots, lavender, vanilla and sugar. So simple, so delectable.
I’m already thinking about sampling the Croque Monsieur I saw on display, as well as expanding my jam collection. PB Boulangerie is the real deal.
As I raced to the beach to catch the impending sunset, I couldn’t help but smile. This, I thought, is what I do. I chase beauty. Here’s a gallery of some of what I was fortunate enough to catch during my recent Wellfleet vacation.
One last thought – while the sky was magnificent to observe as the sun slipped down and away, the most stunning moments were those of the afterglow. Truly understanding that almost makes the sunset foreplay for what comes next.
It’s funny how sometimes two beloved things just don’t work together. For instance, I love ice cream and I love chocolate but I just don’t care for chocolate ice cream. At all. This weird contradictory condition, I’ve learned, also holds true for two of my favorite activities – yoga and paddle boarding.
Earlier this week I headed out to Provincetown for a 9:00 a.m. SUP yoga class at Provincetown Aqua Sports. I had booked and paid for the class online the previous evening and was excited to try something new. Provincetown is lovely in the early morning with plenty of available parking and I arrived at the business in good time. I paid my (petty) $2 fee to rent a locker, got my (mandatory) life vest and joined the other 3 class attendees and the 2 instructors on the beach behind Commercial Street.
There was a brief stretch/warm up before we launched along with general instructions for those inexperienced with paddle boarding. A short time later we headed out into the harbor for class. The tide was fairly low, but the current was swift moving us quickly from east to west. The approach was to paddle to the right and work on our poses as we were propelled by the water to the left. It was somewhat challenging, but I guess I like to work out a little harder. I probably need to just relax a little, right?
I’ve played around with yoga poses in the past on a paddle board and have always dumped when attempting a one-legged downward dog or a side plank. This class did give me a technique to avoid that, specifically moving my foot to the center of the board to maintain balance. That alone made the class worthwhile and I will continue working on my practice on my own board, in my own time. While this class wasn’t really for me I did enjoy my post-class breakfast – a coffee and cinnamon roll from the Portuguese Bakery.
Have any of you taken a SUP yoga class? How did it add up for you?
Since I first became infatuated with Stand Up Paddleboarding (SUP) last year, I’ve sought out opportunities to indulge my urge to be on the water paddling to my heart’s content. In July I had a great time in my hometown with friends tooling around the lake on a windy afternoon in kayaks and on board. This month I got on board in Cape Cod and experienced entirely new conditions and scenery. Let me tell you about it…
On Friday I picked up two paddle boards (along with leashes, paddles and a life vest) from Jack’s. Although they originally couldn’t commit to renting them to me for three days due to scheduling conflicts, ultimately they extended my one-day rental into a three-day at a cost of $127 per board total. We spent two days paddling around at the beach at the end of our road on Lieutenant’s Island. At high tide the tidal marsh fills in and it was quite an adventure to paddle through the tall grasses spying on birds and taking random turns going deeper into the marsh.
On the third day, we put in at the bridge down the road a bit. Again, the tide was high and we actually launched from the side of the road a few hundred yards before the bridge. As Quinn and a gang of other kids jumped from the bridge, we paddled to join him. Going under the bridge took some attention, but the allure of the bay made it a worthwhile effort and we enjoyed the peace of the open water. We headed towards “our” beach but turned around as I had a moment of feeling the need to check in with my jumper.
Assured that all was fine, we again went under the bridge (easier the second time around) and explored the salt marsh taking advantage of the unique view of the island. Aloysius and I then went our separate ways, he heading back towards the car and me ducking under that bridge one last time to take the long paddle to the beach.
I love the independence of being out on the water, pacing myself and feeling the sun on my shoulders and the salt air in my face. If you haven’t already, try it. Stand up paddle boarding – it is what’s up!