Friday, February 28, 2014

Defining Moments

True, most of life is made up by the everyday tiny moments.   The meals, the conversations, the bedtime stories...   The things that happen while we're busy making big plans.  I believe that and try not to take for granted the ordinary days.   While at times monotonous, we truly are living the "good old days" and being present and grateful for them is a ticket to inner contentment.

But life is also made up of a series of defining moments.  Different for each of us - they are the BIG things --- the choices, changes, and commitments that alter the trajectory of life.   Today is a defining day.  We closed on our new home.  The house is a dream come true.   A result of many years of hardwork, plans in practice, and a lot of good grace.  I would be remiss to not acknowledge that I was "born on third base", making it to home plate wasn't nearly the same struggle for me as it is for others.  I was born into a stable and loving family, in a country that rewards hardwork and makes things possible. That said, it wasn't the straightest path or the easiest road.  There was sacrifice and a lot of postponed satisfaction.  Today --- it feels truly worth it.

Among other reasons, it is a defining moment because this house will dictate who my son meets, what education he receives, and what his future dreams become.  This house will be our home.  It will be a place for both the ordinary and the extraordinary.  I am so grateful, so proud, so happy, so humbled.  Today a dream came true.

Thursday, February 27, 2014


As a mother, I am a leader.  I don't need to be a "manager" in the corporate sense to empower people and make a positive change.  I am a leader in my household --- and hopefully I'm a good example to my son as well as his nanny and the people that help make our family a well oiled machine.

I appreciate this line on leadership via the ever-controversial, Sheryl Sandberg.   While I fundamentally disagree with a lot of what she says, I also think there is value to her words.  I would caution Ms. Sandberg to be careful about over-generalizing.  Not all of us are after the same goals.   Our aspirations and ways in which we feel personal fulfillment are as unique as the circumstances we are in.  That said, I appreciate the dialogue she's opened.   And I appreciate these lines on leadership, as I find it very relevant to the type of parent I hope to be. 

 ""Leadership is about making others better as a result of your presence and making sure that impact lasts in your absence.""  

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

TEDx Somerville

Woot-woot!  Just registered to attend TEDx in nearby Somerville.   I am thrilled because I love the TED series and have always wondered what it would be like to attend in person.   Will it be like a concert where the live experience blows the recording out of the water?   That would be great.  Either way, it's something I've long wanted to do and I'm so happy to have the opportunity.

One point for Facebook!  A "weak tie" friend posted it on her page, otherwise I never would have known.  People criticize social media as being a waste of time, but I actually think it has enriched my life in many ways.  

TEDx Somerville is being held Saturday, March 30 from noon to 6pm.  Can't wait!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

What I learned III

Meg Jay's, "Why 30 is not the new 20" created a lot of buzz.   A lot of people were offended that Jay generalized a "happy life" as a traditional life with a marriage, children, enjoyable career.  Sure, there are outliers and people that fundamentally don't seek those goals, but I think most of us do seek to be loved and content.   I also think many of the critics are just being defensive towards their lack of effectiveness in their 20's.   Regardless of your opinion, the talk was provocative and said something that needs more debate.  I agree with Jay.  30 is not the new 20.  

This is not my opinion. These are the facts. We know that 80 percent of life's most defining moments take place by age 35.

So when we think about child development, we all know that the first five years are a critical period for language and attachment in the brain. It's a time when your ordinary, day-to-day life has an inordinate impact on who you will become. But what we hear less about is that there's such a thing as adult development, and our 20s are that critical period of adult development.

Leonard Bernstein said that to achieve great things, you need a plan and not quite enough time. Isn't that true? So what do you think happens when you pat a twentysomething on the head and you say, "You have 10 extra years to start your life"? Nothing happens. You have robbed that person of his urgency and ambition, and absolutely nothing happens.

...I told Emma to forget about having an identity crisis and get some identity capital. By get identity capital, I mean do something that adds value to who you are. Do something that's an investment in who you might want to be next. I didn't know the future of Emma's career, and no one knows the future of work, but I do know this: Identity capital begets identity capital. So now is the time for that cross-country job, that internship, that startup you want to try. I'm not discounting twentysomething exploration here, but I am discounting exploration that's not supposed to count, which, by the way, is not exploration. That's procrastination.

You're deciding your life right now.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Gratitude for the ordinary

In this week's e-course, Brene reminded us that when people suffer a tragedy what they often miss most about their "former" lives are the most simple of things.   So, on that note - I'm taking extra careful notice of the tiniest moments that I treasure in my day.   Here, to start this Monday:

1. My baby's soft hands, his perfect smell, the way he cuddles right into the side of my body like he's meant for nowhere else but that spot.
2. My husband, who not only loves me but is an amazing dad.  Last night he and J were having a dance party...  He would dance, the baby would giggle uncontrollably and run into his legs for a hug.  And again...  And again....
3. The proximity of high quality food --- a weekend trip to Formaggio always reminds me what a wonderful place I get to call home.
4. An amazing nanny --- who shows up full of love every morning.  Eager to spend time with J and help our family in any way possible...  including sending this tired mom off to work with a piping hot bowl of homemade oatmeal this morning.  thank you!!
5.  Audiobooks.  My new hobby.   This morning I wrapped up The Great Gatsby.  

And a photo from an ordinary moment.  J is into everything!   Exactly as a 15 month old curious, active boy should be....

Friday, February 21, 2014

Happy Housewarming

I can't say that I won't be treating myself to a few nice things upon the purchase of the new house.  But really, I've worked and saved since I was 22 in hopes that this day would arrive.   So if I want a particular rug, or light fixture or ....return address stamp, well then - so be it.  

I'm going to place an order for one of these breathtaking return address stamps.  I have a weakness for calligraphy and since the likelihood of me ever learning the craft are slim to none, maybe I can learn to stamp.   Just looking at it makes me happy!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014


When all else fails, I've been making lots of risotto.  It's great because as long as you have some good Arborio rice in your cabinet and some stalk (chicken, beef or veggie will do), you can have a decent meal.   I mostly improvise with whatever we have on hand ---- this weekend I did mushroom, artichoke and chicken.  A few weeks ago chicken and broccoli.   And before that this delicious mushroom one via Barefoot Contessa.  I think I'll try this bacon, leek and pea inspiration from Martha next.  I skip the cheese because my husband can't eat it and I don't need the extra calories.  The rice is creamy on its own and seasoned correctly, we really don't miss the cheese.  Bon Appetit!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Almost 15 months

Baby Joe, you're closing in on 15 months.  A little snapshot of what you're up to these days.

**Walking, walking, walking.   You carry your little toys now too while you go from place to place.  Always so proud of yourself as you get to where you need to be.
**You snap your fingers when you want someone to sing to you.  We're going to try and capture it on video because its really priceless.
**Favorite book - no question, Brown Bear Brown Bear.   You flip through it so many times every day
**Favorite toy - still your collection of balls - soccer balls, bouncy balls, small and large.  You entertain yourself, play pass with us, hide them, roll them, look for them.
**You are quick to give a stranger a smile and then play shy.  You like to be tucked right next to mama on the couch for your nap.  You are curious about everything happening around you.  Sometimes you get frustrated but you're an overwhelmingly very content, easy to please, happy natured little soul.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Happy Valentine's Day

I am surrounded by so much love.  And I am grateful beyond measure.  My parents - who's limitless and unconditional love is my most wonderful example.  Through their love, I have always known that I am enough - maybe there is no greater gift than that.  My siblings who support me always, who lead the way.  Who teach me about ethics, responsibility, generosity, and achievement.    My friends - my wonderful friends that are close by and far away but who love me just the way I am.  Who can make me laugh like no other or feel understood when I don't even understand it myself.  

And my guys - R&J.  "You are the sky.  Everything else is just weather." - Pema Chodron.   Forever and ever.  I love you. 

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Pool Season

As we get hit with yet another winter snow storm, I'll let my mind drift to our new swimming pool.  I never pictured myself to have a house with a pool but our new pad had one and since it's there --- let's see how it goes.   Summer is not my favorite season so maybe having a place to actually cool off will make it more enjoyable.   ...and if Joseph's love for swimming lessons is any indication, I think he will be a happy little fish!  

That said, how about some inspiration from remarkable pools I've visited.

The coolest pool I've been to - Austin's Saint Cecilia.   What a treasure!

All white at Miami's Delano - tres chic! 

ME Cancun wins for best infinity pool!  

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

National Geographics

My husband insists on keeping every issue of National Geographic.  "It's my collection" he argues when I unsuccessfully try to convince him to toss them.   Admittedly, he doesn't horde much else so if he wants to keep these stacks, so be it.   Fight the fights worth fighting, right.  

And then something wonderful happened.   Joslyn at Simple Lovely posted this image.   National Geographics almost posing as an art installation.   What a lovely compromise.   Image saved!


Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Bossypants Review

I started reading Tina Fey's Bossypants when I was home on maternity leave.  I wanted something light and easy to pick up while nursing.   I liked it.  I think she had a lot of insightful things to say interwoven with some real laugh-out-loud lines.   ....but I also felt it was too long and sometimes the jokes seemed a bit forced.   Coincidently, I feel the same about SNL.   They do produce some funny sketches but they always seem to go too long and leave me wanting it to end instead of wanting more...
That said, I would give Bossypants a B+.  Especially good if you're kind of a distracted reader, like me.  I started it in November 2012 and finished it in January 2014.   Not because it was epic but because I would get tired of it, leave it alone for awhile, and then pick it up again.  While it was written like a novel, there was no need to read it at once.   To me, it read more like a series of short stories...  David Sedaris-esque.   (for the record, I find Sedaris much more witty).    Unlike Sedaris, however, I appreciated Tina Fey's words regarding women in the workplace and motherhood.   She had a few really worthwhile things to say.

All in all, I'd say it was good and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it.  I liked the second half of the book more than the first half.   And finishing a book these days gives me a legitimate sense of accomplishment!

A few good ones:
 “Whatever the problem, be part of the solution. Don’t just sit around raising questions and pointing out obstacles.” 

"....That must be what I look like to anyone with a real problem - active duty soldier, homeless person, Chilean Miner etc. A little tiny person with nothing to worry about running in circles, worried out of her mind." 

“In most cases being a good boss means hiring talented people and then getting out of their way.”

“I only hope that one day I can frighten my daughter this much. Right now, she's not scared of my husband or me at all. I think it's a problem. I was a freshman home from college the first time my dad said, "You're going out at ten p.m.? I don't think so," and I just laughed and said, "It's fine." I feel like my daughter will be doing that to me by age six.

How can I give her what Don Fey gave me? The gift of anxiety. The fear of getting in trouble. The knowledge that while you are loved, you are not above the law. The Worldwide Parental Anxiety System is failing if this many of us have made sex tapes.” 

“Don’t waste your energy trying to educate or change opinions; go over, under, through, and opinions will change organically when you’re the boss. Or they won’t. Who cares? Do your thing, and don’t care if they like it.” 


Friday, February 7, 2014


With the purchase of the new house, I've got interiors on my mind.   Here are a few pics that convey what I will try to achieve in our space ---- a relaxed feeling that mixes traditional/timeless with some fun and interesting elements.   I am consistently drawn to natural materials - wood, stone, leather.  I prefer a look that's a little "undone" vs. something that looks too calculated.  

Stay tuned.  My amazingly talented childhood friend and interior designer (Hi, Mel!) is going to help me with some e-design.   In the meantime, here are a few images that make me happy.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Baby Steps

My little boy --- last night you started to walk!!   You've taken steps before but last night you did it entirely on your own, nobody to catch you on the other side.  Just walking ---- from one toy to the next. Wow.  My baby is transitioning to toddler right before our very eyes.   You have so much to say too.  You're constantly exploring your voice and making different pitches, noises, trying to sound out different things.  I can't wait to hear what you have to say.

Perhaps walking on your own is the first major step in the direction of independence.  You won't need to rely quite so heavily on mama anymore.   My boy, may we both remember the true essence of parenting --- to leave unto this world a human being who will leave things better than the way he found them.  I will help you in the very best way I know how to become a fully functioning, self-assured adult. So, today it's baby steps and tomorrow will be something more grand.  I wish you nothing but confidence and safety on your journey.

Monday, February 3, 2014

What I learned II

Wow.  Andrew Solomon's, "Depression. The Secret we Share" is a TED Talk not to be missed.  It has haunted me since I listened to it weeks ago.  Chances are, if you don't struggle yourself someone very close to you does and for that, I recommend that everyone takes a listen to his genius lecture.

One particular line of his that I have not been able to let go of is: "The opposite of depression is not happiness, but vitality."  

On this Monday morning as we mourn the loss of yet another great artist, Phillip Seymor Hoffman, I ask you to take 20 minutes and listen to this one.  

(Picasso's The Blue Room (1901) was one of his first paintings in his well known Blue Period.  Most scholars agree this period marked the beginning of a severe depression for him and much of the work done in this time portrayed images of poverty, isolation and despair)