Shit is getting real. Or so Mayor De Blasio tells us.

Sunday afternoon we start to get ‘warning’ texts from our East Coast family and friends asking is we are ok for the impending storm. It was a balmy 8 degrees (celcius) outside, the sun was shining, and even if snow was on its way, it was hardly something that merited any kind of reaction from us.

We snickered, rolled our eyes, and carried on with lovely Sunday afternoons in the Village and Soho, casually strolling, sipping, munching, and takin’ in our happy Sunday NYC afternoons.

And then De Blasio went and pooped on our parade. Or just did his job, I guess.  It was his urging of NYC residents to ‘take this storm seriously’  that caught our unwaveringly law-abiding, rule-following, stay-in-line selves to take pause. So wait, this actually is something, beyond normal CNN-FoxNews-Americana-default-hysteria for the sake of hours of news filler? This storm might actually be legit? And might actually temporarily cripple this city? (not to mention the 50+ million other residents neighbouring NYC.)

Thinking it would be really unfortunate if the dummies from Canada were the ones ill-prepared for a snowstorm, regardless of how severe it promised to be, we did the necessary ‘prepping’, filling all water bottles, stocking up on groceries, charging devices, and ensuring candles, lighters, and blankets were all easily accessible. And then we went to bed, anticipating little more than a dusting this morning, and expecting a business-as-usual day.

Uuuurrrch. It wasn’t until early afternoon, but the warning signals intensified- first, after-school programs cancelled, then warning that pre-school had secured hotels to keep staff in town for emergency-coverage only tomorrow, then public schools being cancelled, and then a final urging from the Mayor to ‘get home and stay home’ tomorrow.

I usually don’t get to do kid pick-up as I work later at the office, but given the schedule and juggling required with cancelled after-school, I got to pick Nora up today. I actually participated in parental bantering (normally something I too easily shy away from), hearing stories about Sandy, and listening to peoples’ predictions about how this storm would compare. And welcoming an invite to meet at the field behind our house at 1pm for a snow date tomorrow to give working parents and kids a break from being holed up in our apartments for the day tomorrow.

While the snow has been steady since early afternoon, and I’ve seen four, FOUR graders scrape our piddly little (inconsequential, might I point out) street THREE times since 6 pm tonight, it doesn’t yet seem to be an overwhelmingly crippling scenario.

But then I remember how much different it must be to receive 2 feet of snow in a city like this, versus a city/town in Canada, where infrastructure just accommodates for such a change. Roads, machines, sanding, and disposal plans are second-nature. In addition, in other places a family with 2 small children might have a car, to begin with. Getting your kid to and from school might be more hazardous via vehicle, but you don’t need to worry as much about whether or not your poor little kid can actually WALK the route in the wind, the cold, the snow…Sure, snow in Calgary, for example, is just something you deal with. But introducing an exposed little kid to this without the comfort of a car, and reliant on a <non-running> subway, or a <completely unavailable> taxi as an alternative to walking takes on a whole new meaning.

We’ve been getting a lot of teasing today from our <smug> Canadian country-men, scoffing at our reaction, at our apparent new softness. And sure,  relatively,  these conditions don’t yet seem as extreme as what we’ve dealt with in the northern deep-freeze.  <firstly- it only makes me realize how shitty those conditions really can be, and makes me think that while I might find comfort in romanticizing the ‘strength’ and ‘resilience’ that a climate like this teaches us, it ultimately just makes us cold and grumpy. or makes me that way, anyway.>  But the means to respond to this weather is different, and that’s what makes this a bit difficult.

I’m kind of excited, to be honest. This is ‘the’ news right now! And we’re in it!

And really I do hope that nothing really bad happens to any communities.

And while we watch it unfold, we’ll monitor our water, ensure devices stay charged, and keep tabs on food supplies. And ration the beer.


Long weekends rule

Wrapping up our first long weekend of 2015.
It’s remarkable what one extra day on a weekend can do for the normal cycles of a unit…
Friday night feels like a huge accomplishment on most weeks, especially now in our lives here where a good amount of energy still is going into the mechanics of getting everyone where they need to be, shifting modes from readying, to commuting, to working, to familying, and to absorbing our special surroundings.
It’s such a fine balance between making-the-most, and allowing for rest and recovery, and it is still ( maybe it always will be) something that I think I struggle to be conscious of.
Having even just one extra day to play with adds such a welcomed level of flow, of space, of balance. Friday night felt a bit less like of an exhausted exhale, and a bit more like a refreshing inhale, knowing that we’d have a bit more give to our unwinding time.
We had no plans, and the weekend unfolded into a relaxed, spontaneous, and comfortable few days.
Not to mention the very important reason for this weekend’s extension.
Brett and I watched Selma. And we learned a lot. And will be doing more reading and reflecting. Of course.
And we’ve reflected in turn on how this translates to the lives of little ones… It’s the balance again between celebrating in the fact that our kids in 2015 haven’t been exposed to , nor do they comprehend the struggles that Martin Luther King Jr. represents, and in also ensuring that in an age-appropriate way, they understand what his spirit, his sacrifices, his courage ask of us to carry on.

In much trivial news, I’ve realized that I think I need to do some research for my own camera. I’m thrilled with our Lumix, and either I just need to pack less kid sh#* into my day-pack ( 48 less stuffies/fruit pouches/goldfish/cars/water bottles) in order to accommodate a camera around my neck, or I need to research an option light-enough to grab pics while shuffling strollers and corralling my whirling-dervish of a 5 year old on ‘active’ nyc streets. The photo content here is too good not to have something more accessible than my iPhone.
Until then, this’ll suffice.



Snow daze

Clearly I am accustomed to snowy and cold weather. But I’m entirely unprepared to deal with actually needing to get anywhere ( or my kids) in this weather, by foot. SUVs and all-wheel drive have been the default for needing to be anywhere up until now.

We woke to what looked like smoke filling the street. It was blowing snow. Not smoke.
And of course when I had calls starting the minute I arrived at work, so shifting schedules wasn’t really an option.

I hurriedly bundled the boy into a snowsuit, although the intention had been to toss us both into a taxi for the $5 ride to his preschool.
No taxis. And the one that did approach was scooped by a more assertive ( desperate) parent with 3 screaming kids in tow- he wins.
So- already nearing being late, I picked up all 40 pounds of the boy, and started walking.
We live in a pretty windy corner of the city, so that added an extra lovely dimension. ( by this point I’m already resigning myself to that fact that the Mexican food ( and drinks) I was going to insist we hold off on and instead cook in tonight, will happen . I’m spent. And it’s 8:15.)

We arrive at preschool eventually, and I swiftly carry on the way, getting sprayed by both a snow blower guy (zero attempt to even slightly shift the trajectory of his spray) and a salt sprinkler guy.

And then I see an equally resigned dad, crouched over his wailing kid, face-down in the snow, trying to muster his parental patience asking his son ‘ what hurts? What HURTS? WHAT HURTS?’
He eventually lifts the stay-puffed-marshmallow-man- scarecrow kid up, dusts him off, and they carry on their snowy, manual way, two glistening beads of snot decorating the sad little kid’s face.

I’m spent- and it’s not even 9 am!!

And my freshly-styled hair really should just have a toque on for the remainder of the day.

Happy Friday!
Here’s two random street shots along the way.



Back at it

It’s the last night of our first holiday since moving to NYC, and, like many others, I’m feeling that normal mix of rest, calm, and dread.
The fact that that normal feeling is what is in front of me, is again testament to the fact that we are feeling more and more comfortable and ‘settled’ with our new home; we’re continuing to progress along the path from foreign newcomers, slowly towards locals. That final ‘arrival’ is still very far off, but we are nevertheless travelling along this path…
And having had 10 consecutive days off, more or less, here, as a focused little unit, in our focused little home, has allowed (forced) for some more reflection… What does belonging feel like for a 5 and 3 year old? What does home mean to them? What do they need to feel the security they need to try new things, to learn new things, to grow?
And what does it mean to really begin to integrate into the day-to-day of a community, versus cautiously living on the edge and looking in? And is there anything wrong with living on that outside edge? On your own, maybe not, but with kids is that ok? Is that fair?

Like a lot of people this time of year, the minute I felt a bit of a lift in the weight that the last couple of months has brought ( really, all manageable, just with an extra noted girth), I got sick. Useless-couldn’t-get-out-of-bed for 4 days sick.
And that sort of sucked. In it’s own accord, but it had an especially new flavouring in an apartment where there was nowhere to go, either for sick, throbbing headache, body-hurting me, nor for the energetic, just-let-me-bash-a-dog-with-my-lightsabre-already kids…
It also taught a very important lesson in terms of what family-time, quality-time, holiday-time really needed to mean, this time around, anyway…
It’s a balance in going and seeing and experiencing actively as an engaged family…., and in allowing everyone to find comfort and happiness and peace in being at home, simply. Playing, pretending, exploring within the safety and calm of a home. Your new home.


It’s been a roller coaster couple of months, and thinking back to the beginning stages of this adventure again returns me to the head shake.

This weekend brought 2 key milestones for me:

1. The kids started swimming lessons at the gym right below our building- we are legitimately part of this whole game of real enrolled activities here.

2. We bought our first membership here- to the f#*$ing amazing American Museum of Natural History . Cards and everything. Boosh. A goddamned lifelong dream come true for both Brett and I. So nuts.

Today we paid a visit to said museum and walked passed the the very first playground that we took the kids to upon moving here… And they both recognized it happily.

One wacky day at a time.
Saying thanks, doing the best we can, and taking it all in.
And enjoying some final Hawkins until healthy eating habits resume.