September 30

Today is a really sad day.
It marks the painful anniversary of the passing of my brother and his wife’s beautiful boy, Thomas.
3 years ago.

We think of Thomas every day. We see his zest, his spunk, his sweetness, his tenderness, his humour, his kindness, his enthusiasm, his curiosity, his bravery, his strength, his hope… Everyday.
Sometimes in the actions that we take, sometimes in the actions our own children take… Sometimes in our memories.

It’ll be different this year, not being physically close to where Thomas was. Seems obvious enough, but it marks another change in how I reflect on and remember someone gone… all from a very changed vantage point.

It is comforting as well to see the amazing team behind Peloton 65 back in Calgary carrying on the gruelling fight, while also preserving Thomas’ memory. Those are some strong people…

The other day at school Nora came home with an assignment. We were asked to tell the story about how she got her name. This is a bit of what I sent back to her teacher.
Miss you, little man…

The story of Nora’s name

Nora is our first child and we decided not to find out if we were having a boy or a girl.
Thankfully she was a girl, as we were having a really difficult time finding a name that we liked for a boy!
Nora was due 2 days before her cousin Thomas’ birthday, so we made a deal that if she was actually born 2 days late on his birthday, he’d get to name the baby…! His 5 year old self decided on ‘Lightning’ for a boy, and ‘Sophie’ for a girl- while Sophie is a beautiful name, is was also the name of his Jack Russell…

Thankfully for the baby’s sake, but not Nora’s Mom’s sake, she was actually 10 days late, so Thomas didn’t get to chose the name.

Living in a Bubble

It’s even getting a bit overdone for me saying this, but, really, moving here has been consuming. It has had to be in order to make sure that our little guys are looked after, that we minimize the anxiety, and that we enjoy ourselves… We’ve been extremely self-absorbed, with the best of intentions for all of us, and I’d say we’re adjusting really well and enjoying ourselves.

But I must admit. Being preoccupied by finding out the best way to get my kid new rubber boots (where’s the Superstore that I can get in my giant car and drive to at 8:30pm on a Tuesday night?), or picking up a new garbage pail for under the kitchen sink (do i just order off of amazon or find a 2 foot wide hardware store that carries the most random of things, from potting soil, to screws, to chains?), and learning that I can get wine at the drugstore, but not at the grocery store, to learning the ins and outs of an awesome, but intense new job- it all comes at the cost of not having a f*&%ing clue what is going on in NEWS.  I am by no means making excuses. Just recognizing my limitations.

So when people back in Calgary were asking how the city was with the Peoples Climate March, and then asking how things were 2 days later with the UN General Assembly going on…. and I had to actually google WTF was going on here, outside of my insular (how ironic is that in a city of 8 million), I realized just how much I’d been focusing on the move of my little unit. We’re so tiny, and so insignificant, and so fragile…! So I’ve since done some reading. I’m more aware.

And along the way this week, I’ve taken in some hilarious experiences that have rattled me out of my little world, and have started to open me up to some wacky New York experiences:

1. Nora and I stumbled across our first TV filming while walking the dog the other morning. ‘Excuse me ma’am. Please just wait a minute. We’re just filming a scene. CUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUT. Ok. You may proceed, ma’am.’

2. Later this week I was purchasing a sandwich at a place near work, and as the girl was ringing it in asked me ‘and do you work at the UN?’ I looked entirely bewildered. And she replied ‘If you do, there’s a 10% employee discount. So do you work at the UN?’ I shook my head. For more than one reason.

3. I was late getting home the other day, because 2 roads on my way to the subway were entirely blocked. And lined with dump trucks full of sand. And loads of suited guys with curly wires hanging from their ears. Forsure Secret Service. Or something.

4. And then on the way home from dinner, a perfectly harmless guy in a slightly worn tweed jacket and chucks approached us with a full on notebook, of the paper variety, and asked if we lived in the neighbourhood. Because we live a few blocks over, and are trying to be respectful of the very distinct neighbourhood deliniations (our misread, not anyone else’s), we say, ‘well, technically, no. we’re just a few blocks over, but what can we do for you?’ (that was Brett being much friendlier than me.) And he replies ‘Oh- i’m a journalist with the New York Times and I’m writing a piece on how residents of Tribeca feel about Taylor Swift now living here.’

5. And then there’s Leo.  Allegedgly he lives near us. Who cares. This is rad.

2 things I need to invest in here in NYC

1. Good quality, supportive, comfortable flats.

2. Small to medium sized backpack

I transitioned from sandles to boots today, the weather starting to show signs of shifting to fall, I mean Autumn weather.
It’s beautiful outside, and I am looking forward to seeing this version of the leaves changing. Someone at work yesterday talked about fall being her favourite season, because it’s her strongest wardrobe…! I agree. Layering is so much more fun than exposing…
But the shoe situation must be amended with my new commuting plan. I didn’t realize how much i’d been givin’ ‘er while charging forward to work in my flat sandles.
Today as I hobbled along uneven cobbled streets, teetering forward so very awkwardly and feeling my shins tightening with my precarious navigating in (NOT stilettos even) heels, I realized this was not sustainable. So a few shoes will be in order. Such a cliche. But my shins and hips and ass, and probably my head, will thank me.

As for the backpack, perhaps the need for this will be lessened when I am more stable on my feet, and my current imbalanced shoulder bag situation makes walking less of a challenge. But I still think that for weekend kid stuff a backpack is in order. And not the 86 gallon Himalayan tracking pack that Brett brought. With waist straps. And whistles and inflatable flares and shit.
Small enough so that I won’t kill my back by wearing it all day, but big enough to hold the water bottles, wipes, toys, pens, notebooks, snacks and whatever random artifact that the kid is attached to that day, that I would have previously jammed into the bottom of a stroller, or my backseat of the car. The stroller works for housing this crap until we hop on the subway, when it needs to be collapsed to make it up and down the stairs. Collapsing something that has layers of kid crap in between the metal bars is not an awesome thing to attempt on a hot, crowded, and noisy subway…

I’ve done some evaluating, and I’ve decided on a Hershel.
Then I’ll fit in with these adorable little nerds



The 7, 1, A, M and everything in between

I took the wrong train home last night.
I got confused as to which stop I was at, and made the mistake of assuming both tracks at this station were going in the same direction. Turns out, that happens at a different station.
And so, already leaving work later than I’d hoped and making it through an intense day, and anxious to shift gears into Mom and Kid mode, I daftly boarded an express train going in the complete opposite direction.
Instead of 2 very quick stops to my express train that would have had me home in 20 short and uneventful minutes, I went 20 minutes whizzing through Manhattan and over in to Queens. Those easy 20 minutes slipping through my hands…. Imagining me getting further and further from home.
Pull it together. Remember the logic of the subway system, turn around, and start over.
Funny the moments that almost break you for a second. It didn’t last long, but I felt for a brief time like crumpling to the dirty floor in the subway car…
Some people do sudoku to give their aging brains a work out. I just move to NYC and exercise the shit out of it getting to and from work…
(Kind of a sad truth.)
Note to self- I really need to figure out how to decipher the signage for the 7 train; the tracks look the same- clearly they’re not.

My biggest regret throughout this mishap- not using the washroom at the office before heading out on the commute.


Monday morning Panic

I don’t think this adjustment is going to necessarily be a linear process. There are some obvious steps that need to happen. But I am expecting that the overall gravity of the change is going to hit me again and again, in different contexts, with different triggers, and with varying degrees of both discomfort and excitement attached.

It’s all good. And this was the right thing for us to do. No question. We’ve been chased out of our cave, and while the bright lights and loud sounds out in this big world are exciting, they are new, unexpected, and a bit overwhelming at times.

My age is also a funny thing for this change. I feel like I have enough life experience ( read: humility) to not be stunned or paralyzed 100% of the time throughout this change. And yet I’m old enough to have some patterns, preferences and protections established. And a change like this inherently disrupts and challenges those safeties. Not bad. Just different.

One ‘involved’ mother at the school yard this morning asked if Nora had any siblings. I explained about Eli and she assumed he was home with… Well, probably a nanny. I said that he was at a preschool/ daycare and she replied with a ‘Oh. Wow. that’s really early to have your child in care.’ Thanks, lady. You should have seen her face when I let her know that BOTH his Dad and I work. Full time. Horror.

In a funny way, that type of an encounter of a moderately annoying, nosy, and judgey Mom (ok, ok, maybe I just need my Monday morning coffee to settle me down a bit. How’s that for irony) helped to normalize things again. There are going to be the amazings here- experiences, adventures, stories, sights… just as there are going to be the completely mundane and normal things.

Figuring out the new balance. Without it being a panic.

Funny times…

It’s almost the weekend

Weekend #2 Post-Move is approaching- what to do, what to do, what to do?!?!?

In a previous life I would have been almost entirely consumed (and anxious) at this point in the week in ensuring that the approaching ‘free’ time was thoroughly and actively accounted for.

50% of the time would have been taken up with ‘necessary’ activities; 25 % would have been ‘planned fun’ or ‘enrichment’ or ‘experience’ activities, and 25% would have been busy because I couldn’t imagine not having something slotted in. Needlesstosay, a lot of energy was wasted on the planning of planned stuff.  Plan, plan, plan.

I’m not suggesting that overnight I’ve transformed into a ‘go-with-the-flow’ free-spirit, instantly freed from my planning instincts.

But going through a change like we’ve done with this move has forced a reflection on what sort of activities your life involves. We’ve had no choice but to focus and simplify where our energies have gone, and many of the things that I was filling our lives with previously simply don’t work in this life <right now> where we’ve had to reestablish the basics, like ‘hunting and gathering’ in a grocery-shopping system that is unfamiliar and tricky to navigate, for instance.  Eventually we’ll figure out all of these new systems, but what do I do to avoid slipping back into a lifestyle where open, unplanned time caused a panic, a nervousness, an unease? How do I remain a bit more grounded in deciding between what we really need to busy ourselves with, and what i’m adding to my life to complicate, crowd and stress our family?

All that said, i’m still taking some time while I eat a delicious falafel for lunch to plan out at least a few things this weekend. We are living in New York, after all…


Rainy day


So that was nuts…!
Everyone warned me that commuting is ‘crazy in the rain.’
Of course I didn’t believe them. How much different could it really be?
Humbled. Again.
Think of how busy and crowded and bustling it is with a few million people lining, cramming, shuffling, sitting, standing, ascending, descending, turning, twisting. Repeat.
Then add slippery rain. And most importantly, wet, metal, pokey umbrellas to an already congested space. I nearly wiped out 3 times. Just on watery streets. And I think I had about 86 umbrella’s deposits of water dumped on my 5 foot 4 head by much taller commuters.
At least I turned around in the apartment lobby to grab my own umbrella. That helped a bit.

I am now going to the Duane Reade below the office to get a comb, and some more deodorant or something becuase I feel like I smell like a combination of wet dog and gym gear, from sporting 86 layers of non-breathable, but water proof clothing
And my feet are soggy and my pants are dripping.

I might treat myself to a Starbucks too…!!!

First 5 in 4

We all made it through a full week of living in NYC…!!!

And for me, it marks my first full 5 day week in 4 years, having been fortunate enough to have worked part-time in between kids, and after Eli for nearly 2 years…

So, we made it.
Somehow we managed to go out for supper. The four of us. Functional and happy and enjoying ourselves and our awesome surroundings. A girl at work heard where we were living and immediately insisted that we go to .Bubby’s

And it did not disappoint. Loud enough that we didn’t worry about the maniacs being too loud and crazy. Cool enough that we felt like ‘we were really doing this. We got it. We’re cool.’ And all local, fresh and delicious food. With kick ass cocktails and beers.

There were weaker moments this week where we wondered when the reward would outweigh the effort. And that’ll keep happening. As will the moments where we ask ourselves how in the hell we were so fortunate to arrive for now in the middle of this crazy adventure…

Either way, it’s new. And for where we were, that was what we’d been looking for.
Ups, downs, bumps, bruises, wins, losses, and everything in between…!

Either way- we know where we can score a good piece of American pie…