New Year’s – again? (as in, already?)

December 31, 2010 at 1:57 pm | Posted in little bug, Little O, music, not yet written, NYC, read this, running, SAHM, Starbucks, tax law is sexy, the firm, Uncategorized, wine, yoga | 1 Comment
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You know I love New Year’s resolutions. Two years ago, my resolutions were clearly defined and yet highly unattainable. Last year, they centered around  simply finding happiness (hot showers, more wine, more yoga…). I understand why people eschew resolutions in that they set unachievable expectations, leading to disappointment, etc. etc.  Looking back over the past two years, it’s clear that I’m not one who makes resolutions and actually sticks to them, but I do get a lot of pleasure out of making them (in that I set up some sort of idealized vision of the future?). This year, I’m less able to articulate my New Year’s resolutions — I have some vague ideas about living more simply, lowering instead of raising my expectations, and trying to exist in some sort of more tempered universe. Of course, in the back of my head is a little voice saying, “Run more! More yoga! Spend less money!” but at the end of the year that included birth and death and health issues and lots and lots of sleepless nights — and somehow, in the midst of it all, a growing sense of contentment — I’m going to resist the urge (at least publicly) to enumerate my Resolutions.

Instead, my friend Lindsey had a fun and introspective little survey/questionnaire on her blog this morning, which I’m going to adopt. I’m answering these less thoughtfully than I otherwise might (blogging, as I am today, in the short window of Little O’s nap!) But maybe that will make my answers more honest.

What did you do in 2010 that you’d never done before? I spent seven months as a stay-at-home mom. I took a weekend trip to Florida with my college girlfriends. I participated in a competitive blogging challenge. I went three (almost four — since September 1, basically) months without running. This last one sounds like a crazy thing to list, but it actually imparted to me an important lesson. I used to think I needed to exercise for weight-maintenance. Eleven months of nursing, however, took care of that for me, and I realized that running in fact gave me much more than the ability to wear skinny jeans. If I have any resolutions at all for 2011, it is to remember that running keeps me sane, not thin.

Did you keep your new year’s resolutions and will you make more for 2011? Of course not. And of course — albeit with a more measured approach, I hope.

Did anyone close to you give birth? Yes! I did! But also my sister. And several close friends and seemingly half the tax department at my firm (literally — nine women in my relatively small department had babies this year!).

Did anyone close to you die? My great-uncle. And, just last week, a close family friend.

What countries did you visit? None. Sigh. Again, if I do have a resolution for 2011, it is to “remember Italy” (a metaphor and theme in a striking book I read recently, This Is Not the Story You Think It Is by Laura Munson — see Lindsey’s interview with her, here) — although in my case, it would “Remember Paris.” More on this in another post.

What would you like to have in 2011 that you lacked in 2010? Patience. Acceptance. Faith. Confidence.

What was your biggest achievement in 2010? Having a healthy baby would have to be it. But I’m also proud of myself for going back to my job. It wasn’t clear I was going to, but I do think it was the right choice, and perhaps the first time in my life I’ve done something truly rational, career-wise.

What was your biggest failure? A few work-related ones come to mind. But mostly I regret the times I’ve been short-tempered with Little Bug and a less-than-present daughter, sister, friend, and wife. I didn’t put down my iPhone/work email enough to stay focused on my family.

Did you suffer illness or injury? I feel like I’ve been sick a lot this year — an immune system no doubt compromised by severe sleep deprivation and preschool germs.

What is the best thing you bought? My iPhone and Pilates. (Am I a yuppie or what?)

Where did most of your money go? Starbucks and J. Crew. Ha ha, just kidding. Sort of.

What did you get really excited about? My girls’ weekend in Florida. My husband would tell me that I’m being all “Joy Luck Club,” but oh, god, there was something so refreshing and invigorating and inspiring about spending three days with the women who were with me when I became the woman I am, the women who have been there for me for the biggest hardships and greatest joys in my life, the women with whom I speak an abbreviated shorthand language and who can finish my sentences. And now, at this stage of our lives, the women with whom I can discuss my career, daycare, siblings, husbands and parents. Even though they may not be part of my day-to-day life, the are a part of the foundation of my life.

What song will always remind you of 2010? Have I listened to so little music that I can’t answer this? Probably, however, something country (since that is all Tim and I seem to listen to these days). I really like that song Welcome to the Future by Brad Paisley, though I suspect that was not released in 2010. OK, so, maybe I’ll make another resolution: listen to more music. It makes me happy — just as Glee made me so so happy this year.

Compared to this time last year, are you:

— happier or sadder? Happier
— thinner or fatter? Well, as I was eight months pregnant, this isn’t really a fair question!
— richer or poorer? It’s probably not a good thing that I can’t really answer this literally, but I imagine that since we spent most of 2010 paying two mortgages, poorer!

What do you wish you’d done more of? I wish I’d written more — here on this blog and elsewhere. I have a great idea for another blog, but I can’t seem to find the time to make it happen. I wish I could let myself go with my children — really play with them, focus on them wholly, without thinking about what’s next (be it cleaning up lunch, or what’s for dinner, or how much work I have, or even who has posted what on Facebook).

What do you wish you’d done less of? I wish I had spent less time agonizing over my job — both preemptively before I went back and then also on a daily basis once I was back. I think it affected my relationships with my family. It’s just a job. It’s not the greatest, most important job in the world, it’s not the end of the world, and I’m not a victim. I have to remember this.

How did you spend Christmas? As we do every year, in New Jersey, with my whole big crazy family. We snuggled in during a blizzard and took Little Bug in to New York City to the Museum of Natural History the day after the blizzard — rather ill-advised when it took us 4.5 hours and four different trains to get home!

Favorite TV program? Glee and The Good Wife.

Favorite books? I actually had a lot of time to read and finished more books than I have in years, both fiction and nonfiction. In the former category, the three books that stand out are: Dear Money by Martha McPhee, Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese, and Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand by Helen Simonson. They weren’t earthshaking, but I just loved each one. In the nonfiction realm I really liked No Ordinary Time by Doris Kearns Goodwin (the Roosevelts on the home front in WWII) and The Gift of an Ordinary Day by Katrina Kenison.

Favorite films? I only saw one movie in the theater this year — Eat, Pray, Love. (But I loved it. Sue me for my questionable taste!) Recently, I’ve seen The Town and The Kids are Alright on OnDemand, and, surprisingly, liked both (as you know, my taste in movies runs towards the saccharine, e.g., Eat Pray Love…)

What did you do on your birthday and how old were you? I can’t even really remember my 36th birthday! Luckily, I blogged about it. It was spring, and I was still home on maternity leave, and Tim took me to a local Italian joint for dinner because I was craving a real Bolognese.

What one thing would have made your year more satisfying? Just knowing from the start that I was going to go back to my job and that it would all be OK.

How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2010? I have to divide this in to two parts: January – September and September – December. In the former, it was black yoga pants and spit-up stained black t-shirts. In the latter, it was black Theory pants or skirt and cashmere cardigans or blazers.

What kept you sane? Red wine. For reals. And phone calls with my mother. Daily, sometimes twice a day. Also, emails and texts from my hilarious friends.

Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2010? You are not your job. In fact, I suspect that nobody really cares what you do except for you. You’re not a victim of some amorphous FIRM that is out to get you (a la John Grisham?) — you’ve made your choice and you can unmake it at any time. You’re not trapped.  Also, even though you may get frustrated that your husband doesn’t like to hash out the nuances of your day, he is listening. More important: baby boys may not sleep and pre-school girls may whine, but it’s all doable. You can be much happier being grateful for what you have than wanting more, more, always more — this easier said than done, of course, especially for me, but slowly, slowly I feel like I’m on the verge of grasping this. I haven’t actually grasped it yet, but at least its a tangible concept now, something I can turn over in my mind, rather than something completely inaccessible.

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Me at 36

May 12, 2010 at 4:30 am | Posted in running, SAHM, Starbucks, the 'burbs, Uncategorized, wine, yoga | 14 Comments

(Today’s Five for Ten topic is Happiness)

I have a birthday this week. Today, in fact. I can no longer claim I am in my lower- (or even, really, mid-) 30s. I have wrinkles on my forehead and my dimples seem to be elongating into deep smile lines. I’m in the midst of the three-month postpartum hair evacuation. (My hair quite literally falls out in clumps with every shower.) While supposedly I have lost all of the weight I gained with the baby, things have settled a bit differently. I’m not sure my clothes quite fit correctly (e.g., button-down blouses and jeans).

Here’s what else is going on at 36.

Coffee. My automatic coffee maker is getting more attention than Starbucks. This, for those who know me, is shocking. But I can no longer think clearly without a cup of coffee right away. Like, there is no time to even get to Starbucks. My mother always said, “I just can’t function without my first cup of coffee,” and I kind of laughed at what I thought was motherly exaggeration, but I get it now. Before Tim leaves in the mornings (which is usually while I’m still tucked into bed with the baby), I beg him to throw the coffee. Now, we did buy one of those coffee pots that you can program to turn on automatically, but far be it from me to actually remember to do so each night. I read recently that one tip to getting your baby to sleep through the night is to give up caffeine entirely. Ah, the Catch-22.

The ‘burbs. In addition to a grill and a swingset, we now also own some patio furniture and all sorts of lawn equipment (long and short trimmers, a fertilizer spreader, etc., et al), and we drive around town critically noting other people’s yards and gardens. And I think I am becoming more sure about our new town. I can still hop on the Red Line and into the city in 15-20 minutes (the other night I even visited a friend up the northern reaches of Cambridge via the Red Line!). I’m also slowly starting to meet some “friends” in town, as people start to emerge from the long winter. No one that I could call up yet and invite over for dinner, really, but perhaps a playground date. One friend, herself now a two-year veteran of a different suburb, tells me that I have to be extra bold when making new friends. “Get their cell numbers and text them!” she told me. “You have to stalk at this stage in life!”

Along those lines, at 36, with small children, I’ve realized that one’s social life necessarily revolves around others with children the same ages or else one actually will have no social life. Getting together with other couples, then, goes something like this: 8:30 a.m. brunch at the diner or 11 a.m. lunch at someone’s house while the preschoolers run around in the sprinkler (extra points when Bloody Mary’s are served along with the coffee) or a 5 p.m. barbeque. And, of course, even these earlier get-togethers happen more frequently than “date nights” because it is easier to drag the children along than deal with a babysitter. Some of my close friends have children older than mine, and some have no children, and — while they remain dear friends — we just do not get together as couples. It’s easier for me to see these friends one-on-one (and, since that in itself involves leaving children home with either Daddy or a sitter, this does not happen as frequently as I’d wish).

Little buglets and the existential questions they raise. I have really enjoyed this time at home on my maternity leave. Does this surprise me? A bit. I had looked forward to not working perhaps more than being at home (there is a difference). But it turns out that I like knowing what my daughter had for lunch (because I made it) and what time she woke up from her nap and, especially, our car rides home from preschool when, on the verge of her nap, she tells me (somewhat deliriously) about her morning (“Remember, today, at school when we learned about spider webs and CHARLOTTE’S WEB and horses eat HAY and pigs eat SCRAPS and Michael Foley liked the ORANGE popsicle best but Michael Murray liked the green one…”). At the same time, I do know that for various reasons I’ll be going back to work in the fall. I had told myself that I wouldn’t even think about work, or what comes next work-wise, until Little O was three months old. So only recently have I started to reconsider the inherent value in being home with one’s children versus the continuity of one’s career, and the conversations this balance has started with friends — both close friends and people with whom I’ve become reacquainted since having children — have been provocative and encouraging.

One close friend accurately and bluntly identified one of the issues I grapple with the most — that of affirmation (whether internal or external) of my law degree. She told me, “You have to ask yourself whether you are always going to want to wear a t-shirt that proclaims, ‘I made law review and worked at [BigLaw Firm].'” This from a woman who used to manage billions of dollars before leaving the corporate world to stay home with her children — but who would never, ever mention this unless you got to know her and asked. She lives in the present, and I so admire that, and her point to me was whether, if I pursued a career that was less intense, I’d always be justifying my decision. Or could I accept that different choices provide meaning and value in different ways.  [The subtext to this, I feel compelled to point out — again — is that I have a choice. I’m not talking about the “Mommy Wars” choice to work or stay at home, but, rather, knowing that I do want to work, to choose in what capacity I will do so:  big, fancy, stressful job with lots of cache, or a less-stressful, less-lucrative job that would allow me to work part-time but that may not “use” my law degree? Obviously, the former is attractive to me for all of sorts of intellectual and self-validating reasons and the latter attractive because, as it turns out, I like spending time with my children.] These are the more weighty issues that preoccupy me at 36.

The less-weighty issues include:

How many followers do I have on Twitter? Why didn’t I think of the concept behind my new favorite TV show, The Good Wife, before its writers? (I should have.) Did I waste money on my Kindle because the iPad is so much cooler and I want one? When do I make the seasonal switch from red wine to Oyster Bay Sauv Blanc? Are all the inchworms falling from the sky going to destroy my trees and how many carpenter ants should one see in one day before calling the exterminator (two? six? ten?)? Can I sneak in a run before the babysitter leaves or should I suck it up and take out the double-jogger? When will my hair stop falling out? Will I ever, ever sleep past 7 a.m. again? Should I go to BlogHer in August? Should we have our neighbors over for cocktails, even though we don’t know very many of them? What is the suburban protocol after one moves to a new neighborhood?

In Conclusion. At 36 I am:  a woman with two advanced degrees, two children, two mortgages, and two cars. I am still a voracious coffee-and-wine consumer, reader, and pop-culture junkie. I used to be a voracious yogi and runner, and while I miss the intensity of these pursuits, I can accept why I had to dial it down. I love my family fiercely, including my large extended family of aunts and uncles and sisters and step-parent and my many, many in-laws. I love my friends, too, in ways I could not have foreseen a decade ago. I notice that I am getting older chronologically in that those close to me are getting older, too — my children, my parents. But I don’t mind it, really, and I do like the mellowing part — more so mind than body, of course. My sister remarked recently that I’m so much more relaxed these days. Maybe this is because I’m on maternity leave and not working, but I’d also like to think it’s just me.

New Year’s, again

December 30, 2009 at 7:00 am | Posted in gastronomy, little bug, running, Starbucks, the firm, Uncategorized, weekend, wine, yoga | Leave a comment
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Last year my resolutions were regimented and ambitious and accompanied by this photo:

Unabashed self-improvement, complete with a killer bod. This year, when I’m quickly moving into end-of-pregnancy, out-of-breath lethargy and clearly will be starting my new year at a decided fitness disadvantage, I almost have to laugh at last year’s idealism.

So I’ll be a bit more realistic. I really do love making New Year’s resolutions — I love a challenge, and I love self-improvement. I love setting goals and diving head-first into meeting them, even if they are forgotten in a few weeks. The planning and that initial, exhilarating dive energize me.

Gretchen Rubin, who writes a blog called the Happiness Project (and has a new book out by the same name, which I pre-ordered, of course!), had some thoughtful suggestions for die-hard resolvers such as myself:

  • Ask: “What would make me happier?
  • Ask: “What is a concrete action that would bring about change?
  • Ask: “Am I a ‘yes’ resolver or a ‘no’ resolver?”
  • Ask: “Am I starting small enough?
  • Ask: “How am I going to hold myself accountable?”

With these tips in mind for 2010, I considered not that which would make me better (e.g., eat healthier, lose weight, etc.), nor anything rigidly goal-related (with a baby and a six-month work hiatus rapidly approaching, I just have no idea how anything career-related is going to sort itself out — and I’m not going to try to force anything, e.g., “bill more hours” or “turn blog into advertising bonanza”). Instead, I considered that which, simply, might make me happier.

What does actually make me truly happy? I didn’t consider the obvious yet existential stuff — such as my daughter laying her head on my shoulder or my husband rolling over and putting his arm around me in the early early mornings for a few more minutes of sleep. But almost guilty, materialistic pleasures — what if I tried to embrace these with the resolution to be, well, just happier

What makes me happy:

1.  Very very long very very hot showers. 
2.  Saturday morning yoga with Claire or Rhea at Baron Baptiste.
3.  4.5 mile runs when the stars are aligned (pleasant conditions, before breakfast or as the sun sets, a good running mix)
4.  Starbucks grande soy no foam no water chai (oh, but these are SO bad for you, so perhaps they are best saved for an occasional indulgence of which that I will try to be mindful in the moment — see #9, below).
5.  Opening a new bottle of red wine — from the sound of the cork popping, to that first swirl and smell, to pouring another glass. I love the ritual as much as anything else.
6.  Afternoon naps on the weekends (especially if they follow either #2 or #3).
7.  Friday nights, with wine, in front of the TV and a good dinner of something with pasta and cheese with Tim (though depending on how much wine, #2 or #3 may not be as pleasant).
8.  People and US Weekly.
9.  Catching myself in the present, as brief or startling as it may be: hearing a song in the car that links past to present; running; yoga; wine; reading a passage in a book or magazine or blog that strikes me as true and real. 

My friend Lindsey has been featuring a series on her blog called Present Tense, in which she asks bloggers about the moments in which they are truly present. It’s interesting to read about what the idea of “being present” means to others, and it’s also nice to know that it is as difficult for others as it is for me.

As for resolutions, then (and thinking back to last year’s), cleaning up the house and cooking  — while I enjoy the results of both, and am learning to love the process of the latter, especially with a glass of #5 in hand — don’t necessarily bring me immediate pleasure, as aspirational as they are.  Maybe, then, all of these things that do bring real relaxation and happiness serve as subconscious conduits to #9? Is that the point?

As I embark on a year that promises a few changes, the clean house will happen or it won’t (remember this post ?). Perhaps clearing a path for some of these less lofty moments – and acknowledging how much I enjoy them – can lead ultimately to #9.

Littlge Buggy Update: Fall

October 26, 2009 at 9:53 am | Posted in little bug, the 'burbs, weekend, yoga | Leave a comment

As I’ve written about before, one of my biggest flaws as a parent — bigger, perhaps, then still giving my 2.3 year old a bottle of milk in her crib every night — is that I am terrible at documenting Little Buggy’s childhood. I don’t have a baby book or photo albums, nor do I update photos in frames. Probably because I take so very few photos.

Case in point: we had half a dozen or so of Little Buggy’s “friends” over on Sunday for a Pumpkin Carving party. It was chaos. And a hoot. (Damage done: one bruised forehead, two bloody lips [including my own!], one broken toy piano key. Not too bad!) And I didn’t take one photo. Hopefully, others will send me theirs, but I was too busy carving pumpkins, refreshing sippy cups, and pouring white wine.

Ah, if I only had an iPhone, I keep telling myself. My rationale is that the iPhone would be semi-permanently attached to my personage, making picture taking unavoidable. The few shots I have to Little Bug this fall are from Tim’s iPhone (see?), but capture pretty well this stage in our lives.

raking leaves

Raking leaves yesterday, a picture perfect Indian summer day in the suburbs. (Note the swing set in the background!)

yoga

Taken Thursday night and emailed to me while I worked late. Little Buggy had donned one of my yoga tank tops and was “doing yoga” in our bedroom. I’m assuming her arms are making their way into “mountain pose”?

13.1

May 21, 2009 at 10:45 am | Posted in running, weekend, yoga | 3 Comments
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I am running a half-marathon on Sunday. I write this not to self-glorify, but to ask why. Why am I doing this? I am a remarkably slow — steady and consistent, but slow — runner. I run a 10-minute mile when both sprinting and slogging. My knees turn in and my legs flail out (to the point where little kids watching me run often imitate me mockingly. Quincy once kindly told me I was like a young calf, or colt, but, in short, it’s not pretty). I’m a fair-weather runner. I like to run at 7 a.m. on a spring or fall morning, or just before sunset on a similarly warm but not humid day. I like to run with my iPod. And I like to run with people who will run slowly enough to chat with me — the list is short! In no way do I consider myself a “real” runner, such as my marathon-running husband who will head out for his “usual” 12-mile Sunday run no matter the weather or, as I’ve noted previously, no matter how much wine he has consumed the night before.

I’ve run one marathon (when 13 years younger and 13 pounds lighter), and two other half marathons. When I’m “training” for one of these longer races, I have to remember that I feel like crap until I have run for about 45 minutes. Then I feel good for about 30 minutes, and then I feel like crap again. Usually, it’s blisters, or just plain aerobic fatigue. Why do I sign up for these races? (1) I feel like I need to get in shape, and the looming challenge of a race is all that will motivate me and (2) that’s about it.

Here’s what does feel good: after you come home from an eight, nine, or 10-mile training run and are showered and have eaten whatever you feel like because you’ve just burned 2,000 calories and then and walk around ever so slightly sore in the hips for the rest of the day. Here’s what also feels good: sitting in a diner immediately after the race, salty sweat dried on your face, proudly wearing a race-issued long-sleeved t-shirt, drinking a chocolate milkshake or coffee and eating diner pancakes. And, also, knowing that a six-mile run is no longer a daunting, long-ish run, but, rather, just an everyday run.

Sunday will be tough. The longest run I’ve done while training this time around is 10 miles (for previous half-marathons I’ve gotten in 12 miles), but I will excuse this with balance this out against my full-time job. I ran 6.5 on Tuesday (felt good), 4.5 this morning (felt awful, but will chalk it up to not drinking enough water last night? I hope?) and will run three tomorrow and will try to go to yoga on Saturday morning. And will then cross my fingers!

 

Equinox

March 22, 2009 at 6:08 pm | Posted in little bug, Starbucks, weekend, yoga | Leave a comment
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spring-light

Spring light

I think the spring equinox got to me this weekend. Is the equinox supposed to make one feel more balanced and calm? I have felt more on edge for the past three days than I have in months. Perhaps it is the light, very sharp and yellow, yet still not giving much warmth. I worked from home on Friday, and I was embarassingly unproductive (which leaves me starting this week feeling nervous …) I know part of the problem was my mind racing over the whole fellowship/sabbatical offering.

I was really looking forward to Saturday — Margo and I signed up for a day-long yoga intensive at a hotel on the waterfront with Baron Baptiste. I’ve been doing yoga at his studios in Cambridge and Brookline since I moved to Boston in 2003, and just before I started law school I went to Hawaii for a 10-day teacher training with him. Say what you want about commercially “famous” yoga teachers (the common complaint is their supposed cult-like status) — they become popular for a reason, and usually they are phenomenal teachers.  (I also used to study with Shiva Rea in L.A., back when she only taught a few classes a week at Yoga Works — now she travels the world teaching at conferences and has her own clothing line and videos.) I do think Baron is inspiring live — so much energy —  and I was looking forward to getting some yoga mojo back, not to mention a day to myself and five or six hours of serious, sweaty yoga.

But the inevitable happened — after burning the candle at both ends to launch the new website (www.weei.com), Tim started getting a sore throat on Friday night. He barely got out of bed all weekend, and so my yoga intensive (for which I had already paid, of course) went out the window. Instead, I took the Little Bug to see her grandmother and uncle (Tim’s mom and brother) Saturday morning (a trip Tim was to make), and we did errands. This morning we got up early and met Lindsey and Whit for a chilly walk to Starbucks and a playground in Cambridge. Then a nap, then the market, then Sesame while I cooked dinner — and now my weekend is over. I’m not sure I feel either rested or organized for the week ahead. I feel unsettled about my job security (but who doesn’t…). I am enervated and am craving a bit of stability.

An ongoing dilemma

February 24, 2009 at 7:47 pm | Posted in running, yoga | Leave a comment
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As you may recall, I lists and schedules. I like making them up; sticking to them is more difficult (but, when I do, I feel good about myself).

As you may also recall, however, I find it inordinately difficult to fit exercise in my day. I always think, “if I were just more disciplined I would … get up early/ run during lunch/ work out after the baby goes to bed/ eat less.” If I could just stick to the rigorous, hypothetical daily schedules I invent for myself, I could make the time. I am not, however, disciplined, so it seems I’m destined for continuous self-flagellation. And I’m tired of it — something has to give.

Last week I decided it would be the scale. It went into hiding. But it’s hard not to be a bit OCD about weighing yourself. (My friend Nell told me that, after breaking down and buying a scale, even her husband took to weighing himself several times a day, often reporting to her how his weight fluctuated from hour to hour. See? I’m not alone.)

This week, I tried changing up my routine. Normally if I’m going to work out I need to do it first thing in the morning. But, of course, how hard is that in the cold, dark winter? So I planned to switch things up a bit: I’d get up early, still, but instead of running or going to yoga, I’d have a more leisurely shower, would cook breakfast for the baby, maybe send a few emails — and, I could also leave for work earlier (7:30ish) thus giving me a window to exercise at the end of the day. The result? No workouts yet — it’s Tuesday night, and while I could zip to the gym right now (at 7:30), I can tell you now that it’s not happening.

Remember how I joined the gym at work for lunchtime runs? Too stressful (you never know who may want to meet with you while you’re gone…) Other ideas: One work friend walks to and from the train every day. (I’m too wimpy to make the 40-minute-each-way walk. Plus, I’m always lugging my laptop back and forth…) Another friend, a full-time bond-trader with two kids, says she stays skinny basically because she’s too busy to eat during the workday (at least she admits it!) — she literally can’t leave the trading desk.

I know, I know, I should want to exercise for how it makes me feel. And it does make me feel good, but I seem to lack the ability to summon that knowledge on a consistent basis. I do manage to workout two or three times a week, and maybe I can learn to be satisfied with that — but that also might entail giving up my Starbucks-cheese-Starbucks-more cheese-red wine & crackers & cheese diet. (Did I mention my lack of discipline?) Somehow, I just have it in my head that I should be able to get in the five or six weekly workouts I used to (back in my low-metabolism/pre-baby days). Don’t let the fact that I’m running a half-marathon in early April fool you. Last year at this time I was upping my mileage to about 16-20 miles/week. Last week I got in 13. This week, I’ll be lucky if I do the same.

Anyway, this isn’t meant to be so much an indulgence of self-pity and loathing as me trying to sort out my relationship with exercise and food while also working full-time and, of course, trying to spend my free time with my family and also sleeping sometimes. Maybe there is just no solution, but the Type A person in me can’t let go of the idea that if I were just more… something … I could do it.

One word

February 6, 2009 at 10:47 am | Posted in little bug, Starbucks, wine, yoga | Leave a comment
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Facebook viral craze #2

Where is your cell phone: charging
Your father: missed
Your favorite thing: yoga*
Your dream last night: wedding
Your favorite drink: red wine
Your dream/goal: novel
The room you are in: office
Your fear: loss
Where do you want to be in 6 years: waterside
Muffin: sugar!
One of your wish list items: house
Where you grew up: Jers
The last thing you did: Starbucks
What are you wearing: Theory pants
Your TV: flat
Your pets: never
Your computer: Dell
Your life: real
Your mood: impatient
Missing someone: My Little Bug
Your car: CRV
Favorite store: Whole Foods
Your summer: LBI
Your favorite color: green
When is the last time you laughed: last night
Last time you cried: Monday
Three people who email me: Kara, Lindsey, Mom
Three of my favorite foods: sushi, pizza, Starbucks (does that count?)
Three places I would rather be right now: Sun Valley (skiing), home (with Little Bug playing), vacation (napping/drinking vin).

*I tried to take the word “thing” literally. I guess yoga’s not a “thing,” but it’s more concrete than other favorite “things,” like drinking wine with friends, or Friday night after work when I give Little Bug a bath and then crash on the couch with Tim and a week’s worth of DVR’d TV shows. Maybe I’m not as materialistic as I had thought. I can’t think of a favorite “thing,” per se. My Blackberry (lame!) My KitchenAid mixer? My thick, down winter parka?

25 random things, etc.

February 2, 2009 at 4:57 pm | Posted in decor, law school, little bug, NYC, read this, running, Starbucks, tax law is sexy, wine, yoga | Leave a comment
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Are you on Facebook? No? Then you are missing the internet craze of the month, the viral “25 Random Things About Me.” It’s wonderfully self-indulgent.

The instructions: Once you’ve been tagged, you are supposed to write a note with 25 random things, facts, habits, or goals about you. At the end, choose 25 people to be tagged. You have to tag the person who tagged you. If I tagged you, it’s because I want to know more about you.

(To do this, go to “notes” under tabs on your profile page, paste these instructions in the body of the note, type your 25 random things, tag 25 people (in the right hand corner of the app) then click publish.)

My list:

1. Waiting nine years after to college to go to law school — and then going to law school — was the best decision I have ever made.

2. Don’t think I’m crazy: I also loved law school, even when I missed five weeks of classes because I was too nauseous with morning sickness to drive to school.

3. I’m a far, far better (happier) person today than I was 5, 10, 15 years ago. As my mother would say (quoting “The Velveteen Rabbit”) I’ve been “rubbed real.”

4. In high school I wanted to be a U.S. Senator. Now I would like to someday be a speechwriter for a U.S. Senator.

5. This is probably because I have career ADD: I am currently on my 10th job since I graduated from college.

6. My daughter is named after my mother.

7. Speaking of my mother, she is the shining inspiration of my life.

8. I talk on the phone, or email, or both with my mother and my sisters every day.

9. And speaking of my sisters, they are without a doubt my best friends. I wish Erin would move back to Boston already.

10. My husband is one of nine children — he and his twin sister are #s 7 and 8.

11. Here is where I have lived since 1996: New York City; Ketchum, Idaho (Sun Valley); Los Angeles; Paris; Princeton, NJ; Boston.

12. Of the places listed above, I would move back to Ketchum, Paris, or LA in a heartbeat.

13. I am obsessed with interior design — blogs, magazines, etc. I fall asleep at night redecorating the rooms of my apartment in my head.

14. On average (even counting the three months or so I had to give them up while I was pregnant, meaning that there has been many a day when two were consumed), I most likely have had a Starbucks soy chai latte every day since the year 2000. I am, in fact, drinking one right now. (Oh, the money! The calories!)

15. I am a certified yoga instructor.

16. Sundays make me slightly blue, but I love our Sunday family dinners with just Tim, Little Buggy, and me eating spaghetti at meatballs at 5:30 p.m.

17. I don’t drink hard alcohol but make up for it in the amount of red wine I consume.

18. Oh yeah, when I lived in L.A. I worked at a wine store and took classes at UCLA to become a sommelier (did I mention my career ADD?)

19. I have run one marathon and two half-marathons.

20. I used to be a rather intense ashtanga practitioner (every morning at 6 a.m. for 2 years) and almost-vegan.

21. I have been to 29 countries and have: trekked in the Himalayas, visited Ankgor Wat and the Taj Mahal, sailed down the Mekong, seen the wailing wall in Jerusalem and Palmyra in Syria, sunned on the beaches of Rio, hiked the Swiss alps, watched the sun set over the Bosphorus in Istanbul. Those days are long gone, and I’m quite okay with it.

22. That being said, my dream is to live with my family abroad someday, preferably in Paris or London. Do you think they need tax lawyers there?

23. Despite my newest career, I still want to publish a novel. Maybe that will get me back to Paris.

24. I am in absolute awe of the fact that I found my husband, and that we made our incredible child.

25. I truly, truly believe in karma and that everything that happens to you in life — good or bad — leads you to where you are supposed to be.

Yoga at work?

January 24, 2009 at 1:18 pm | Posted in the firm, yoga | 1 Comment
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I was tipped off to a yoga studio across the street from work called YogaPower Studio. It’s a lovely studio — high ceilings, wood floors, exposed brick walls. The classes are a quick 60 or 75 minutes long, and though the room is heated, there are showers in the changing rooms for quick rinse before you head back to work. How do I know this? I snuck out to the Friday 4 p.m. class yesterday. I have been billing about 10 hours a day all week, and already had billed a solid seven for the day (and knew I still had another hour or two to go).  I was kind of spent, yet still had to stay at the office until someone got back to me on something, which I knew they wouldn’t be doing so for at least another hour or two.  I reasoned I could either sit at my desk and surf around Facebook or investigate whether this studio might be a longterm, workable, workday yoga option. 

Exactly 12 minutes after I left my desk I was changed and on my mat waiting for class to start.  And by 5:25 I was changed back into work clothes (albeit somewhat sweaty — glowing? — as I skipped the shower. In my defense, it was the end of the day on Friday…) and back at my desk.  The class was good — a nice, hot room, but I prefer more of a consistent vinyasa flow. Instead, it was one of those classes where the teacher keeps interrupting class to demonstrate all these crazy poses, which really just let her show off what a great yogi she is and which you are then expected to do even though there’s no way you ever could — poses such as “Sleeping Yogi.” (Lie on your back, and then cross your ankles back behind your head, and and then clasp your hands under your butt. Seriously.) So your precious time is wasted feeling kind of defeated.

I’m wary of making a regular habit of heading to the elevator bank at noon with a yoga mat tucked under my arm (you can rent mats, but it costs an extra $4…).  However, I’m glad to know the studio is there for a quick fix. Maybe I’ll keep a spare set of yoga clothes in my file cabinet for windows of opportunity. 

sleeping-yogi

Anna Forrest doing Sleeping Yogi pose. (I should note that Anna Forrest is one of the foremost yogis in the country, and, yet, the instructor actually thought it would be a good idea to include this pose in our little class…)

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