Subway Acts Of Kindness

As I stepped on the train yesterday morning, the car was nearly empty. There was a striking woman in a dove gray dress–clearly new–sitting in the middle of the train and two empty seats next to her. As is polite subway etiquette, when possible, I left an empty seat between us, and sat down.

By the time we got to the next express stop, the train was filling up, and a man sat between us. He had a bag and a cup of coffee. He started fidgeting with his earbuds to get into “commuter mode”–coffee, music, in transit. Well, things weren’t going so well, the cord from his earphones got tangled around the cup, and before we left the station, the cup became unbalanced, fell out of his grip the lid disengaged and spilled all over the dove gray dress.

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The Gift of Time

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Me, age 22, by the pool at our family weekend house, August 1997 (yes, I’ve always had short hair)

Last weekend we went to stay with some friends at their weekend house in Upstate New York‘s Hudson Valley. It was a lovely break from a city weekend which can become a bit tedious come late August…and their home was amazing. I say amazing for a few reasons: the company, the hospitality and food were all incredible. But upon further reflection, the weekend reminded me of my own childhood getaways to the Hudson Valley–particularly watching another family enact their own lovely and loving everyday ballet–and I caught myself saying: “I remember…” more than once (sometimes aloud and sometimes to myself).

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Inexpensive Date Ideas

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Coffee, muffins and Scrabble for iPad in Marcus Garvey Park, Harlem, NYC

I’m a big believer in dating. The excitement, the energy, the getting dressed up and primping for the other person… And then of course the actual experience of having time together, knowing smiles and flirting across the table, brushing hands and fumbling fingers. In particular, I don’t think married people date enough.

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Dream Makers

20130511-180612.jpgI heard someone use the term “dream maker” the other day, as in: everyone needs a dream maker. It immediately resonated with me and, of course, I agreed completely. We all need a dream maker, a champion, a partner-in-crime…

To me, a dream maker is someone who helps me see beyond the physical and non-physical obstacles that come between idea and actualization, between a seed of belief and full-on faith, between “this could be” to “this will be..and here’s how.” I thought about the dream makers I’ve encountered in my life–family, teachers, friends, bosses, colleagues–and I have a list of about five so I am fortunate that each one taught me something different adding to the tapestry of actualization, faith, this will be and how… But the biggest piece, the final piece (and–for me at least–the hardest) is more ongoing: knowing my value.

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Gifts of Adventure

20130504-233933.jpgOne of my very dear friends has a travel photography blog, and it’s amazing. Her talent and fearlessness constantly inspire me and I am moved by her passion and commitment. She travels, camera in hand, to Bhutan, Botswana, Morocco and other remote and exotic places exquisitely documenting her journeys and combining two of her passions.

Although I’m not ready to go on safari tomorrow, her adventures have inspired me to explore ideas that tap back into passions I have set-aside because they weren’t practical and deconstruct the barriers, fears and confines I have erected because…well, because I did. This is what I uncovered…

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Spring Essentials and Welcoming Change

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A cherry blossom in midtown

The changing of seasons is always a signal for me that it’s time for change–change in scenery, wardrobe, attitude (even a minor adjustment can bring upon an entirely new outlook). It’s always wonderful when being a gift-giver can also be an opportunity to act as a catalyst for positive change, particularly for someone you love. Now I’m fully aware that meaningful change isn’t as easy as slipping into a new pair of pants, but sometimes small things can add up and that’s all we need to cobble together an attitude adjustment.

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Things That Say Spring

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Image Courtesy of Marcio Jose Bastos Silva / Shutterstock.com

Even though last week was the official start of spring, those of us in the north east aren’t quite feeling it yet. I won’t postulate about climate change and how a mere twenty years ago I was running around Central Park, the same time of year in cutoffs and a t-shirt during daylight hours (oops, I guess I just did)… but I will say that my insides are aching for a warm, delightful spring day and all that entails. So instead of dreaming, I thought I would put pen to paper (or finger to keypad as it were) and strut down memory lane until Mother Nature complies, as we know she ultimately will.

Top ten things that say spring:

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Looking Back: Birthday Celebrations For My Son

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Spring is almost here and in my house, that means it’s almost time for a birthday party…for a little boy–my youngest, no less. Every year he gets excited about six weeks beforehand and starts dropping not-very-subtle hints about what he wants for his birthday, and where he wants his party. This year he is turning the big 1-0 and he’s all about computers and baseball–if you can’t catch it or code it, it’s impossible to get much of his attention for very long. He wants a robotics and game design party–yes, this exists–but maybe because it’s a landmark year (ten feels special and monumental to me) this got me thinking about all the different parties we’ve had over the years (don’t worry, I’ve omitted any duplications).

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Totally Awesome Gifts for Babies, Kids and Teens

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This Holiday season I have a total of ten kids to buy for (one is still in-uterero), and that’s before I get to my own two. I love shopping for kids…no really, I do. What I don’t always love–but actually do appreciate in a weird kind of way–is how brutally honest kids can be about whether a gift truly is cool or not. They have no filter at all and don’t feel the need to pretend to love those argyle socks and brown braided belt. Why should they…psst: don’t get a kid a belt and socks from Crewcuts when they want a Transformer from Target. Anyway, I went on a search for some cool kid-picks that could pass-muster with even the most brutally honest recipient and I have to say I think there might even be one or two adult cross-overs in contention, (does that make them automatically uncool though??). *Sigh*

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One For Them, One For You: Book Gifts

Image courtesy of Kittisak / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Call me old-fashioned but there’s something about a reading a text with a cover and a spine that can be folded back and dog-eared that is so comforting. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve read a number of books on my iPad and that was a great experience, but sometimes I need a real tactile read–I guess I’m book-polar. These books are some new and new-ish picks that make great gifts, and–as the title of this post suggests–ones you may also want to get for yourself: one for them and one for you.

Happy reading!

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