My Life at 45

for-45th-blogAs a child, I never understood why adults were so dismissive of their birthdays. And then, somewhere along the way, I became an adult myself.

This year is a milestone birthday for me. Or perhaps a mid-milestone birthday, as I’m halfway between 40 and 50. I’m at the age where a birthday no longer marks the exciting steps taken away from birth. Instead, it is a step towards an eventual death.

But markers are just arbitrary placements in time; a time whose length none of us knows for certain. If there’s one lesson I’ve learned well during my life it is that time only ever moves forward. Birthday or no, every day edges us forward toward the end. Instead of apathy or anger, I’ve chosen to focus on living every day to its fullest. Continue reading

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On Trump and the U.S. Election by an American in America

rainbow-white-houseI was recently asked by Renée at the Mummy Tries blog to write a post about how I thought a Trump presidency might affect the rest of the world. I waited until just a few days before Election Day to write the piece because my thoughts and opinions were on a roller coaster ride on a daily basis.

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Because I spent my junior year of college abroad, attending the University of Bristol, I know what it’s like to “represent” an entire country’s way of thinking. Although Bristol is in no way a backwater, country town, and other Americans attended the university, I still found that those around me—friends, fellow students, professors, shop owners—were still very much interested in getting the opinion of an American on a variety of subjects. It’s both a difficult and heady position to be in, and I tried to tread carefully because I was under no delusions then, and even less delusions now, that my opinion in any way, shape, or form represents the bulk of Americans. It can be a dangerous thing, indeed, to assume that other people think the way that you do. Continue reading

The Gifts I Want for My Birthday Are Not for Me

giving-giftsNovember is here already, at just about the time we were getting used to the idea of October. The truth is, we’re never quite ready for the steady passing of time, no matter what month the calendar turns to.

I love November because it’s my birthday month. But I also love it because it’s the month when Mother Nature typically gives up those schizophrenic last days of absurd heat and focuses on the predictability of crisp, cold mornings, with the occasional flock of Canadian geese wandering overhead. And I love November because it contains Thanksgiving, my favorite holiday of the year. Continue reading

The Necessity of Perspective

picassoAnybody who has ever taken grade school Art class has learned about perspective. Before it, you drew one-dimensional pictures that seemed to have something missing, because they looked nothing like reality. But with it, your pictures gained the multi-dimensional look of real life.

Perspective gives you a more complete picture of the way things really are. Once you have it, you naturally incorporate it into your art as a habit. You can remove it knowingly, and for a reason, like Cezanne did in some paintings, or layer on multiple perspectives for something entirely new, like Picasso so often did.

As goes art, so goes life. Continue reading

An Open Letter to a Cowardly Neighbor

clinton-kaineYou came, as all good cowards do, under the cover of darkness. Trespassing on our property, not far from where we slept, you removed the political sign we’d just put up a little more than 24 hours before. You removed our neighbor’s sign too–perhaps you craved a matched pair.

This morning, when I took the dog out for her morning pee, I noticed the sign was gone. You might be interested to know that I wasn’t one bit surprised. Neither was my neighbor; nor my husband when I texted him. You see? We all expected you, or someone like you, to remove it eventually: The only unknown in the equation was the exact day and time; not whether we had fools living in our neighborhood. Continue reading

My On-Again, Off-Again Relationship With New York City (or If an Apple a Day Keeps the Doctor Away, Why Did I Get So Sick of the Big Apple?)

New York CityAs a child growing up in the Central New Jersey suburbs, I loved visiting New York City. Back then, my mom was usually the one who took us to the city. A cousin on my dad’s side of the family had a dental practice there, and we’d go in for checkups. She also had family in the Bronx, and I remember at least one visit to the zoo. But the trip that I remember the most was the one that made New York City magical to me: A day in Manhattan around Christmastime. Continue reading

Talking to Strangers

shutterstock_313066517Neither of my children like to sit next to strangers. Whether we’re at the movie theater, on a train, or just waiting in line somewhere, they typically like me or my husband to serve as a buffer between them and the unknown person. I hope they grow out of it–I’m sure they’ll grow out of it–but for now it’s slightly annoying and I do try to get them to stop it. The funny thing, of course, is that we spend so much time when our kids are young warning them about strangers, and then we do a 180-degree turn and try to get them to not be scared of every stranger. Parenting, am I right?

On a trip to New York City yesterday, my daughter said to me, “You like talking to strangers.” It was an interesting observation because I have no doubt many people who think they know me or kind of know me from social media would think that I hate people. But my daughter is right–I DO like talking to strangers. And I typically do it without a conscious thought. Continue reading