Friday, March 1, 2019

It's Over

That's it. February of 2019 is over. Every year, for as long as I can remember, I embrace February 1st with considerable optimism.  I swear to myself that I am going to surrender and settle into the coziness of the long, dark winter nights. I vow to start and complete a substantial indoor house project, plant seedlings, read a book a week.

As usual, it didn't go as planned. The high I was feeling after a late January trip to sunny California lasted only about a week. Then I fell right into my battle with February. By the 22nd, it was a full-on war, and I was losing. No downstairs molding or trim got painted. The only seedlings growing were on someone else's Pinterest page. I started Wuthering Heights 4 times and never made it past Chapter 7.

I took Vitamin D, juiced green vegetables, went to yoga, met friends out for dinner and still felt like I couldn't maneuver past my foggy February brain. I could sleep at any given moment for eight straight hours and still want more. I dreamed of snow days that never came and drove back and forth to work every Monday through Friday. My life, it's not hard. So, why are these 28 days so exhausting? Why do my legs feel like they're filled with cement in February? Why can’t I get one thing done?
I didn't even eat any ice cream this year. And all that green juice? I was so hopeful this February was going to be different.

Today I'm going to copy and paste all the things from my February to-do list to March. The forecast for the weeks ahead looks cold and snowy, but somehow March has a promising ring to it. The days are getting longer. The chances of seeing a dry patch of pavement are excellent. I'm feeling lighter already.

Adios February. My fleece pajamas and I will try winning the battle with you again next year.

Thursday, February 14, 2019

A Valentines Day Love Letter

I planted an Amaryllis bulb New Years Day. This past week I've watched it start to bloom. This morning, on Valentines Day, it's all the way open, and its bright red petals are spectacular.

I'm opening up a little bit more each day too, to the possibility that there might be someone out there that I could love.
Or want to date.
Or talk about my day with.
I've tried a little. Not too hard. I'd say I average a solid B minus for effort.

I see my pattern of behavior. I get annoyed and tire quickly at the end of the day. I smile, nod my head politely to something I am half listening to while willing him out of my house with my eyes after a short time, wondering if he would get the hint faster if I just opened the door and threw his shoes and car keys out on the lawn.

I tell myself not to get discouraged. I promise to try again but need a minute to think about you. About you and me. What worked. What didn't. I take notes. I doodle little hearts and flowers around the border of a piece of paper that I throw in the garbage. I Marie Kondo the house. Make tidy rows of carefully folded socks. The closet is all mine.

Sharing the same house.
Half of the couch.
Half of the bed.
Half of a bagel.
I've witnessed couples doing this for years on end and they still seem to be smitten with each other.
Would anyone ever say out loud that they found the mere sound of their partners breathing to be loathsome? Could you say "I love you, but loving you every day, forever seems like such a long time at the moment. Could you please leave the room for a while so that I might have the chance to miss you?"  Or do you smile and nod and will them with your eyes to please stop their nose from making that horrible whistling noise so that you never hurt their feelings.

I know how lucky I am. I have so much gratitude for a fresh start every single day that I wake up. It's another chance to do better.
Learn something.

Every once in a while in Upstate New York, the sun shines on my face, and I can feel the place in my heart that brightens at the possibility of you.
Whoever you are.
Where ever you are.

So, cheers to Valentines Day. I am sitting at an unapologetic table for one with a bouquet of pink and white glitter hearts and a flickering votive candle. I'm not disappointed. It smells like cupcakes and possibilities.

I don't feel red and flashy like my Amaryllis, but I'm opening up a little bit more each day to the possibility of you.

Happy Valentines Day.

Sunday, August 19, 2018

A Few Things I Forgot to Say

Dear Lily,

I had a long time alone in the car yesterday to think of all things I forgot to tell you before I drove away and left you to live in a dorm with strangers, 518 miles from home.

 - Wear your retainer as prescribed. I know what all of your teeth look like. If any of them move, you owe me $5000. I'm not kidding.

- Don't eat too much junk food. Go for a walk or watch puppy videos if you get stressed out. That whole you are what you eat thing is for real. Please make sure there is a green vegetable on your plate at dinner.

- Try new stuff. I'm going to do that too. I tried shrimp and grits yesterday. I don't think grits is in my DNA. We are Polenta people. I'm still glad I decided to try it.

- Go to the dances and parties and wear your new dress.  It's gorgeous on you. No one else knows anyone either. Just find one person you can talk to. If that one person is a boy, remember to get your own drink. I haven't been a teenager for a while but know that things haven't changed that much. A young man will go to exceptional measures to charm the pants off you. Be charmed. Have fun. Be safe.

- I have never seen an area so populated with deer! You're going to be dodging them left and right! Keep your eyes on the road. Stay in your car and call Dad or me if you ever break down. Maybe get that campus security guys number too. What was his name? I can't remember.

- Take a lot of photos. You have a talent for capturing moments. You'll want to remember all this one day.

- Don't look at your phone while you're eating.

- Do you have any idea how smart and funny and beautiful you are? I look back on photos of myself when I was your age and wish I knew then that I had it all going on. Maybe seeing that while you're in the thick of it is impossible and part of growing up. Trust me, you have it all going on.

- If you ever feel shaky in your shoes, too stressed, too much anxiety, go outside. Take your shoes off. Feel the grass under your feet. Shut your eyes. Take deep breaths. Listen to the birds. I truly believe a few minutes of this can cure almost anything.

- I'm sure I'll think of more things to tell you that you will inevitably roll your eyes at to will me to stop. Know that I can't help myself. I can't turn this off. I'm honestly not worried about the big picture stuff with you. I am confident that I raised an intelligent, ambitious, motivated woman. I'm just going to fuss a little. Be patient with me.

- Don't slouch. Look people straight in the eye and speak kindly and confidently.

This is my first Sunday morning in the house without you. It's way too quiet. I'm sad that I don't hear your familiar sounds. I've read and am fascinated by the significant transformation a person can go through in forty days. It's mystical. It's practical. It seems to be a reasonable amount of time to try to adjust to a new way of living.

So, for the next 40 days, I am going to write feverishly.

I am going to paint the bathroom.

I am going to get ready for you to come home for Thanksgiving.

I am going to look for my favorite hiking socks that you swore you didn't pack and walk the dog a lot.

In 46 days I am going to drive 518 miles to see your beautiful face.

I love you with every bit of my heart,


Thursday, July 12, 2018


I'm not good at goodbyes. I might even be the worst goodbyer ever.  A goodbye is too much. Too final. I can't bear to think that I'll never see you again. So, I'll give you a high five. Tell you I'll see you in a little bit even though i'm not sure what tomorrow might bring. And then I'll take off and cry like a baby at the thought of not seeing your face again. I'll rush to find a pen to document every detail about our time together so I never forget. Please don't ever forget me either. I already miss you and I'm still right here, watching the whole thing from the top of this tree.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018


Today I am fifty years old. 50!!!!! Half of 100. I'm amused by how it sounds. It doesn't seem to fit me yet.
When I started the 100 day project I had no idea that it would be ending on my birthday. I never looked ahead. I just started with day 1 and showed up. Everyday. I never had a stock pile of birds and essays ready to go. Most days I would think of something while I was walking the dog or driving in the car. I noticed that I needed to be outdoors to be inspired. I liked that I called no re-dos or edits. I wouldn't have kept going if I tried to make this anything more than a quick sketch and a couple of words. It was definitely, without a doubt, the most vulnerable thing I have ever done. Who do I think I am to call myself and artist or a writer?
Hitting the publish button got easier as I got nice comments from people. I went from having a couple of people reading my blog to 200 a day. I got faster at sketching and started doodling birds with bikinis. I never once felt like the project was a chore. I love that I did this.
It's ending tomorrow and I am fifty years old. My daughter is leaving for college next month. These two things are right on the edge of freaking me out but i'm going to continue to show up everyday and figure out what this next part of my life is all about. It's exciting. And scary. But mostly exciting. For both of us. This kid is going to do great things. She's my most beautiful birdy.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

The Chase

The thing I like most about your dog? If given the choice between a bird and a red squirrel, your dog always chooses to chase the red squirrel.
Damn fool. (the squirrel, not the dog)

Monday, July 9, 2018


There is only a baby bird in an egg that has been fertilized. Sat on. Made warm. Loved a little. Incubated. So, why is it that you hold your breath when you crack an egg in anticipation of a baby chick falling out into your missing bowl?
In all your years of cracking eggs, has this ever happened? No? I didn't think so.