So many things that excite me and intrigue me and interest me

So many ideas that I want to explore

So many actions I want to take

So many I think I have to or I should

I can't choose. I don't want to choose. 

But time.

Time makes me feel like I have to.

Right now.


The right one.

Only one.

Running out of time.

Don't choose wrong.

Stop wasting time.



In the last year or two, with two teens in a post-COVID world (not post-COVID as in its over, but post-COVID as in we now have that experience under our belt), more than any other time since becoming a parent 16 years ago, I have been mourning the phase they are in and freaking out that we're "running out of time" as a family of four in this iteration and dynamic. I know we will always be a family of four, but more than ever, I'm doing the predicting and planning for the changes and getting a bit sad about it in advance. Prior to this, I have been pretty happy to move from one stage to the next and not really been sad about baby, toddler, elementary years passing. I'm planning moments and trips and trying to "soak it all in" before we lose our high school junior to the world.

On the flip side...I am experiencing some positive moments in this stage as I continuously learn to let go and I don't want to forget those either. My two teens are now often not home until 5 or 6pm on weekdays, sometimes later. I have been working primarily from home since the pandemic began, and, as of a year ago, went back into full-time consulting, which gives me control over my time in a way that I haven't had in years.

Today, I had a delicious breakfast with a friend at a new restaurant in the neighborhood at 8:30am. Later, I had to unexpectedly run something across town at school dismissal time. For 10+ years, if I was at an office or at home, that was just not even possible. Or I certainly wouldn't have thought it was without jumping over several logistical hurdles. When I got home, I realized, for the second day in a row, that my eating schedule was way off and I hadn't eaten lunch and I was hungry. So I ate dinner at 4pm without concern for timing or when the kids would be here or eat. There's plenty in the fridge for them to heat up and they have not been so into the forced family dinners of late, so I'm relaxing the schedule, especially when B is not in town.

While I'm long over the excitement of not having to pay for childcare, the concept of being able to do what I want when I want without having to think about 800 other things or deal with a bunch of logistical planning, lifts the invisible weight off in a way I hadn't predicted and puts a little pep in my step (so does the extra coffee I had at breakfast). I realize as I type that these may seem and may be -- what's the difference? -- super tiny, nearly unmentionable things that don't merit much excitement for the reader, but they give me mini-bursts of joy and I'll take as many of those as I can get.




Love You

I'm in a mood this week where I feel like I have 800 things to write about and nothing all at the same time. My head is racing, my thoughts and emotions are all over the place and I can't seem to stay focused on any one thing for long enough to make progress, but that's another post altogether.

B and I are spending more time apart these days due to his work being part-time in another city, which means we're texting even more than is typical, which is a lot. Something we do and have always done is tell each other that we love the other when we get off the phone or sign off on text, even if it's just for a few hours. I know others do this as well for all sorts of reasons or no reasons at all.

A lot of the time I think I say it or write it because I want him to know no matter what happens in his day, or in the next few hours, I have his back, I'm here to support him, even when I don't know what to say or how to show it otherwise. Sometimes, it's forgiveness, like I love you even though this conversation didn't work for me or I appreciate that you tried. And sometimes, it's without much thought at all. We rarely don't "sign off" for the night and if we were to sign off without saying it, it would definitely be noticeable.

However, many times, whether spoken or written, I write, "love you," without the "I" - likely a vast majority of the time when I'm not thinking any of the particular thoughts above or if nothing dramatic has taken place, which I think is most of the time. Why do I drop the "I"? I know with others -- like friends or other family, sometimes they say they love me and I get weird and uncomfortable and that's why I do it in response: "love you too." I mean I do love them, but I'm not so comfortable owning it. But why do I do it with B? Is it short hand? A time saver to say one less letter? Is there more to it? Am I uncomfortable even expressing it with him for some reason? I don't think so. Does it even matter or have less impact on the receiver. I think he uses "I" more than I do but I can't be sure. If I say it in my head to myself I do think it has less impact without the "I." It feels less personal, less deep.

It could be that my coffee hasn't kicked in yet, but I'm definitely going to test out using the "I" all the time, with B, with the kids, with my friends. Watch out world. I love you.

Anger, Anxiety, and Sadness

Sure, they're all related. For me, they seem to drive reactions depending on my mood, oh, and life experience. I'm in my second round of CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy), something I was sure I'd written about here before but a search is turning up nada. This particular form of therapy has been a game changer for me previously (about 8 years ago) and I'm already noticing a shift this time around (5 sessions in).

What I had forgotten about therapy is that doing the work can be exhausting and make me feel things I wasn't planning (gasp) to feel. I have no idea if this is a sign it's working, but I'm going to go with that to keep myself motivated. My headline 8 years ago was anxiety, specifically related to health, triggered by a vague diagnosis and some ill-worded commentary and behavior by a medical professional -- that and my propensity for anxiety. My headline this time was anger. Not new to me and something I often tell people about in the jokey tone I'm so comfortable with: "I'm filled with rage." If only I were kidding.

Turns out that things I tell other people are true are actually true. That a lot of the anger is hiding things like shame and sadness, and, even, on occasion, anxiety, my trusty BFF. I've been parsing out the triggers and the thoughts and the "cognitive distortions" as I go, and, at the very least, it has been fun -- yes, I find it fun -- to take the time to notice and dissect the different elements of a situation when I react (aka scream and yell). I'm crying a tiny bit more which has been a relief, but also, exhausting.

And of course because I want to solve all the things, I'm hopeful that somehow we'll unlock my migraine situation with this work. Fingers crossed. 

Energy and Abundance

Poetry and resolutions



New beginnings

It's just another day

So just like those

I can choose to begin again


To recommit 




On the days, moments, I can

Find the possibility

And focus on my energy and abundance

Here I go.




Years of patience, passion, perseverance

Decision-making, adventures, scares.

Making a family together, making

Memories so deep that it’s impossible

To remember them all.


We (I) couldn’t be luckier

Than to have found the person 

Who makes the upside down world

Seem not so bad—or

In emergencies shield us (me) from it all.


It’s the luck that binds us—

The fact that we both feel it

Almost every day—gratitude

For each other and this life.

And the hard work, yes, that too.


The attempts at continuous improvement

For you, for me, for us.

To make the puzzle pieces go together

Just a little more smoothly next time—  

With a little less yelling (again, me).


When I pause to think about that

Luck thing

It takes my breath away.

You (me too) keep coming back no

Matter what.


This (we) life.

I couldn’t have dreamed it if I tried.


K+B forever (more)

22 Years

Tribute In Light photo
U.S. Air Force photo/Denise Gould

I can still smell it. But that's not how the day started. As thousands of New Yorkers have reported for 22 years, I remember how clear the day was, how lovely the weather was -- almost springlike. For years, I remembered what I was wearing that day, but I no longer do. I thought before I forget anymore of it, I would actually write some of it down, something I don't think I've done before, but maybe I have and I've forgotten that too. 

Springlike, yes. It was Primary day. I walked just a few blocks from my West Village apartment to the elementary school to cast my vote for Mark Green. I went early, during the 7 o'clock hour, because it was only my second day on the job working for President Clinton in his new office on 125th Street and I wanted to be there early. Early I was. It was just me and the construction workers who were finishing up the interior construction of the office -- trim, electric plates, counter tops, etc. I can't remember what we heard or saw first, but someone said to turn on the TV, so we did and saw that what was then believed to be a small plane, had flown in to one of the towers. We then looked out the window, where our view allowed us to see all the way down to the World Trade Center and saw the billowing smoke coming out of the tower. Our view was way out of scale because of the distance so it looked much smaller than it was, but the fact that we could see it out the window was astonishing.

As the Today Show team (and the rest of the planet) was figuring out in real time what was happening and reporting a sentence at a time as eye witness accounts and tips came in, a second plane hit (warning: Today show live coverage of second plane hitting) the other tower a mere 17 minutes after the first one. The conversation immediately turned from questioning terrorism to confirming it. This time we immediately turned toward the window and saw the plumes of smoke double in size. By this time, most of the staff of the President's office had arrived, probably 6-8 of us in total. The President and a few other staff were in Australia for his speaking engagements. 

Like the rest of the city, our phones were not working for the most part, but we kept trying, and for some reason mine could get an outside line. We were able to reach the President and team and brief them on the situation. There was some concern, given all the unknowns, that being in the President's office in the tallest building in the neighborhood was a security risk. Less than a year earlier and for years before that, due to multiple attacks on Americans at home and abroad, this same President had been hunting down terrorists, including Osama Bin Laden. They decided to evacuate the building. I think the first tower collapsed sometime during this decision-making process. I think some people may have stayed, and I remember being one of the first to leave. As my colleague and I waited for the elevator we turned toward the window and saw the second tower collapse in the distance. We looked at each other speechless. It was too much to process. There were no words.

I started walking down 125th Street. Some people had small tvs in their store fronts. Other than seeing the people who were watching it on tv, I remember it being hard to tell who knew and who didn't know what had happened. Some were talking about it, others seemed to be blissfully unaware. It may seem hard to fathom now, but before smart phones and everyone being connected to the internet all the time, it was very possible to not know things. And New York is a big place. 125th Street is more than 10 miles north of Ground Zero. I wanted to tell people, but what on earth could you say? And I also needed to keep moving.

Meeting up with Brian was the next event on my personal timeline. I remember not being able to get through to each other. He was on campus at Columbia and had had early morning crew practice. My sister could somehow reach both of us and he started walking toward me as I walked toward him. We found each other on a sidewalk, and I think we were much closer to my office than campus at that point. He had class and we decided to go to it. It feels like a weird decision looking back, but I figured I would wait outside if class was still happening. I had absolutely zero desire to be alone. When we got to his class, his professor invited me in to join them. Class was not happening per se but he had a radio on and was live processing what was being reported on the chalkboard. There were about 10 people in class. I think this went on for about an hour. We were all pretty quiet, but together, and I'm still thankful to that professor for inviting me in and for giving us something to focus on, to begin to wrap our heads around what was happening in a concrete way with others.

After class, we planned to go back to Brian's on the upper west side. I lived below 14th Street and at that point, I think they were telling everyone to not go downtown. While it was only a little more than 30 blocks (1.5 miles) from where we were, Brian had been carrying his crew and school bag all day and we had already walked several miles. A bus pulled up heading downtown and we were excited for the option. Trains had been shut down and buses were running for free. I remember a plastic bag over the token machine. The bus was packed like nothing we'd ever seen, but everyone made room and the driver was warm and kind, and we were immediately "in this together" with everyone on board. And, then, for reasons we'll never know, the bus turned left and went across town to the East side. We looked at each other but I remember little about the emotions in that moment...I'm pretty sure we were still happy to just be on that bus. It was the most normal and familiar place we could be, squished together with other New Yorkers doing something we did every day.

At the first stop on the east side, we got off and made our way through Central Park back to the upper west side. The peacefulness, the quiet, the people laying on the grass who didn't know what had happened. We were in the same place but living in two different worlds. They would find out soon enough, but it was surreal. We made it back to Brian's where he had his three tvs in his living area (of course) and just started watching. I made contact with my roommate who made her way to Brian's later in the afternoon and we all just watched and cried and watched. We talked to family. I don't remember going to sleep, but I do remember going out to grab slices of pizza that night and that's when the smell came. The burning, metallic smell that I did not revisit until the Canadian wildfire smoke visited us earlier this year.

I don't remember going in to work the next day, but I did work from home. I couldn't tell you what I did, but likely something related to press, comments from the President, briefings for his next events. At some point in those first couple of days, my roommate and I made our way back downtown where we had to show ID to go to our apartment to get some belongings and leave again. It was a ghost town downtown. And the flyers. We lived right near a hospital and the flyers with beautiful faces of missing people were everywhere, and they remained for months, maybe longer. No one dared give up hope in the aftermath. I remember that. We would be in this together. Forever.

Postscript: Until earlier this year, I had not come within blocks of Ground Zero. I have refused the museum, the memorial, all of it. I couldn't do it. Even writing about it now brings tears that don't flow this easily for anything else. I have participated in many commemoration events around the city and done many things privately, but I just couldn't go there. I finally let Brian take me to the reflecting pools one night last winter when we were very nearby and there were almost no people because of how frigid it was. I had seen so many images and videos of the area, and one of my children even studied the Freedom Tower for more than a year. But the vastness of it. I wasn't prepared. I had been in those buildings and under those buildings in the mall and subway so many times. Standing there, I was forced to again reckon with the magnitude of the loss. I'm not talking about the buildings themselves of course. The gaping holes in the ground horrifically represent the massive loss of lives and the way of life "before."

Anger + Gratitude

-Insert_image_here-.svgSo, when I feel the way I feel right now, the last thing I ever do is write it down for the world to see. But in a year in which I promised that I would let myself be more vulnerable out in the world, here I am. I have client work to finish and packing to do, both of which I'm enormously grateful for, but boy am I angry too. I think I've been angry my whole life. I could write several posts (and maybe I will) on my own psychoanalysis of the source(s) of and reason(s) for the anger, but what comes up again and again for me is that I shouldn't be angry.

I have so much. The list is endless. The basics have always been covered. The more than basics have always been covered. There have been so many luxuries. There still are. I work my tush off but I was born on third base. SO many people work their tushes off and don't get to experience a fraction of what I have. I am so grateful for the small moments, the agency, the flexibility, the time. I am so thankful for my family, my framily, and my friends. There are moments every single day that I think to myself how lucky I am. I cry about it. I say it randomly to the kids, to Brian.

But today. This week. It's hard. All the things are happening at once. I feel overwhelmed. I'm mad I'm overwhelmed. I beat myself up, berate myself, tell myself I must be doing it wrong. Relationships are misfiring, timing is bad on all sorts of health-related and work-related things. I'm scared and anxious about small things and big things and future things that I'm making up. Objective me knows it will all be okay and could give a short TED talk on control issues.

And here's the thing. Tomorrow, after nearly 20 years, I get to go back to PARIS...are you hanging up on me now? I am. How on earth could I feel like crying and screaming and being upset about all of these other things, half of which will resolve themselves shortly, when I get to go to PARIS tomorrow?

So, if I was my friend, I would say, of course you're scared and angry and overwhelmed. You have a lot on your plate. You're anxious about the trip. You've been looking forward to this for YEARS. You've put so much time and thought into planning and you're spending a lot of money. You want your whole family to enjoy it, but you're afraid you might not even go. You've had many trips and gatherings canceled these last few years, some pretty special ones. You're always waiting for the other shoe to drop--even before COVID, which is why COVID wasn't as hard for you as it was for others. You'd been planning for it for a lifetime. It's okay. I got you.

In fact, one of my real-life BFFs just the other day reminded me that I can move on from anger and let things go without saying I don't deserve to feel the anger in the first place, whether it's at someone else I love or not. I can be grateful for something and angry about it all at the same time. I know this. I counsel other people about holding multiple realities at once. All. The. Time. But I'm mad. At me. For even having the feelings.

One more for you before I get back to work. Much of the reason I don't post things like this is that I don't want people to comfort me [almost ever]. I wrote a poem during COVID and people said really nice things in the comments (thank you!) and they made me ANGRY. I was shouting, "it's a poem, people." So, if, after reading this, you are inclined to be compassionate or empathetic, just be gentle with me and know that I know my reaction is often mismatched.

It's me. Not you.

À bientôt.

Ton amie,


*And yes, I'll insert an image when I return. Couldn't resist an attempt at humor after writing this drivel.*

What are you afraid of?

Fear Clip ArtI've taken quite a bit of time to reflect these last few months during my sabbatical from paid work, sometimes more formally through prompts and journaling and The Artist's Way notebook, sometimes less formally, like in the shower or during yoga or after reading something--yes, I read things now...anytime my brain has a little space to breathe. Magically, it appears that when I'm not working 60-70 hours a week, it seems to have more space than usual.

One of the questions that has kept coming up during this time in different ways has been, "what are you afraid of?"

As someone who often sees myself as straddling two personas -- one anxious, overbearing, questioning, worrying and the other go getter, risk taking, YOLO -- and with people in my life who often surprise me when they tell me they see me as one or the other, it seems like a decent question to ask. I see it as a not-so-distant cousin of, "what would you do if you knew you could not fail?" or another favorite, "what's the worst that could happen?"

For some reason, "what are you afraid of?" seems more digestible to me, more direct, more in-the-moment. It's something I can answer pretty easily without thinking too hard. And, it works for the big stuff and the small stuff. It also helps me easily separate anxiety and fear and distinguish between things I can control (short list) and things I can't (infinite list).

For example, on the work front, I often have to put myself out there in new and different ways with new and different people, and I'm not immune to the insecurity, second guessing, debating different pathways, risks, and decisions. When I ask myself, "what are you afraid of?" I can get right to the root of any procrastination or wavering and pretty quickly determine if I'm not following through because I don't want to do the thing for some reason or other or whether fear is stopping me, and then decide if that fear is worth stopping and, usually, the answer is no.

On the personal front, if I'm entering a new social situation or questioning taking on a responsibility or participating in an activity, it can be really helpful in helping me make fast decisions. Am I afraid, or insecure about something silly, or would I really rather make a different choice? What do I miss out on if I don't make a choice or I say no? What am I afraid of? It's not about not having fear or even telling myself not to be anxious (we anxious birds know how helpful that can be).

I have people in my life say that I don't appear anxious at all, who? me? anxious? I will admit I'm not nearly as anxious or afraid of nearly as many things as I once was, and for most of my life I have pushed through most of my anxiety to DO THE THING because I've been lucky to have a brain that tells me when it is playing tricks on me. Additional huge shout out to therapy and honorable mentions for fear of shame, observing others, and stubbornness, all of which in their own special way remind me that I'll be more sad if I don't do the thing than if I push through.

I see the addition of, "what are you afraid of?" as a tweak or a refinement that helps me assess and move forward--whichever direction I choose--more quickly and confidently, armed with more information about myself than I had before.

So, what are you afraid of?

Whole30 Thoughts

Whole30 LogoBrian and I just completed Whole30 for the second time. The first time we did it was back in September 2018. I didn't document the effort, but do generally remember that we felt better during it (after getting used to it in week one). We were less sluggish, had more energy, were more even keeled, and, importantly for us, we had specific direction on recipes that we found yummy.

Then and now, a key part of what we find enticing about the program is its specificity and simplicity (not to be confused with, "it's easy" as it's not). For various reasons, meal planning, decision-making around what to eat, and comfort and confidence in the kitchen has always been lacking for both of us. Having the restrictions of Whole30 and the recipes to go with it, along with the intentional focus and time required to stick to it, has helped us create habits that last for a while, even after we finish the 30 days.

Whole30 basics:

  • YES: meat, seafood, eggs, vegetables, fruit, natural fats
  • NO: added sugar, alcohol, grains, legumes, dairy

The first time we did it, I was convinced dairy (and specifically, cheese) was going to be the most difficult for me. It was not. Bread was. The first time I also stopped drinking coffee because I could not wrap my head around no milk OR sugar in my coffee so I got rid of caffeine as well. I typically have 1-2 cups (in one serving) per day. It was rough for a week but I got used to it - or my body did anyway.

Four and a half years later, the program has changed slightly. There are a few items that are allowed now that weren't then (e.g. MSG, ghee, peas) and some that were that aren't (e.g. veggie chips). None of these impacted our behaviors but I do love that they pay attention to research and update as needed. The biggest change for us was that when we first did it, it was harder to purchase some items vs. making homemade (e.g. sauces). While this was exciting when we started - some items in the grocery store have a Whole30 stamp of approval or are even Whole 30 branded - we wound up not really using much pre-made stuff this time. There are also many more options for things like almond milk and almond butter than we remembered four years ago, perhaps due to Whole30 and other research on healthy eating.

Key Takeaways

  • Sugar is (still) in everything. While our eyes were opened to this fact last time - sugar is added to most things in the supermarket, and not just the obvious...bread, ketchup, bacon, everything prepared.
  • I still want sugar in my coffee. I kept the coffee habit going this time. I had switched to oat milk from full fat dairy a while ago and then found out oat milk is not allowed because it contains carrageenan. I switched to unsweetened almond for 30 days and probably had the most difficulty finding coffee that I liked the taste of without my sweetener (usually a tsp of organic cane sugar). I tried a few brands and researched quality throughout the month and really didn't find anything that made up for the sweetness being gone. I did start adding unsweetened cocoa powder toward the end of the month, and that helped some, but didn't convince me to make the switch permanent. Coffee is likely my most emotional food-related experience - I get a lot of joy out of my morning cup. It's a treat, gives me a little jolt. I even sometimes think about it the night before. I can do unsweetened if I have to - I've definitely proved that - but I'm going back to my sugar habit, and likely oat milk too.
  • We over-relied on bacon. I don't remember doing this last time, but we added bacon to more things than I remember doing before. Added it to salads, eggs, other veggie dishes for a little extra flavor and fun. I didn't love how much we had it but it was a nice aid to have on hand.
  • Smoothies and snacks were helpful. These are both discouraged in the program as they don't want you drinking your calories and want you to focus on eating meals. I've always been a small meals and snacks person and don't feel it's an eating "issue" for me and wanted to make sure I was eating enough, because I sometimes ignore hunger to keep working or doing whatever activity I'm engaged in. I made a very simple smoothie a handful of times and also had a fair number of apples and almond butter snacks. The allowed Lara bars were a helpful (though pricey) addition to our routine.
  • We ate more fruits and vegetables and a higher variety of vegetables. This might be obvious and I generally think we're decent on fruit consumption and half-way decent on vegetables. Whole30 made it easier to eat more fruit and vegetables in general. We also (re)learned to cook some vegetables that felt fairly easy and simple and we plan to keep many of them in the regular rotation.
  • Whole30 book recipes were our favorite. The world of Whole30 recipes is vast and there is no shortage of choices. We thought we would try to make things easier on ourselves by joining RealPlans (an official Whole30 partner) to help with meal planning and to get access to additional recipes that we could easily add to our meal plans and auto-populate our shopping list. The usability was decent but we did not find many recipes that we loved. Many of them were also missing details that the inexperienced cook needs (e.g. prep X kind of pan, add Y ingredient). In week two, we turned back to the Whole30 book recipes and really enjoyed many of them. Here are a few we plan to keep in rotation:
    • Baby Back Ribs with Tangy BBQ Sauce
    • Butternut Squash Soup
    • Perfect Burger
    • Chicken Meatballs
    • Classic Chili
    • Perfect Oven-Baked Salmon
    • Banger Sausage Patties w/Sweet Potato Mash and Caramelized Onions
    • Pesto Shrimp with Cherry Tomatoes
    • Romesco Garlic Shrimp (with Zucchini Noodles - we need more practice with these)
    • Roasted Spaghetti Squash
    • Grilled Steak with Garlic-Shallot Puree and Avocado
    • Sauces: Pesto and Tomato sauce

On the whole, we missed added sugar in beverages the most. For me, it was the coffee as described above. For Brian, it was orange juice and ginger ale. A close second on what we missed was treats - mostly of the after dinner variety like cookies and ice cream. We were still providing all of these for the kids, so the temptation was present. We didn't miss most bread or cheese too much - though I would prefer my burger on a bun and we love a good baguette with dinner. I also occasionally craved an English muffin with strawberry jelly. We also didn't really miss pasta, which is a back-up go-to for us as part of dinner.

This time, I was looking to get back into pants that haven't fit since COVID sedentary life took over. Pants (and some dresses) that used to be tight didn't fit, and things that used to fit nicely were tight and too tight. While I have been moving my body a lot more over the fall since quitting my job, and making time for more exercise in general, it wasn't until about halfway through Whole30 that I was able to put a lot of them back in rotation, which is a gratifying feeling for sure.

Our energy was definitely better and I think my mood was more regulated (Brian's mood is pretty regulated all the time ;)). I did get COVID on day 22 which put a damper on working out and energy to make much of anything, but I had a mild case and my appetite remained in tact, so I was able to keep going.

A note about headaches: I started getting headaches in Spring 2017 (the year I turned 40...coincidence?) and started treatment with a specialist later that year. While some medication worked some of the time, I was not able to find anything that worked consistently and it was frustrating to not be able to find a single source of the pain. In 2018, getting rid of headaches was definitely part of the hope for my Whole30 experience. Giving up caffeine did not help and it did not seem to make them disappear even later in the month. This time, I was less hopeful that Whole30 would have an impact because I've worked to figure out triggers for the last few years. I was fairly headache free during the 30 days before COVID hit so not sure what's related to what, but pretty convinced food is not a key issue for my migraines. I do have better medication now that works more consistently and I'm thankful for that.

I'm not sure I'll do this again, but I'm glad we did...and I could NOT and would not have done it without having Brian as my partner in this process and life.

I can't wait for a treat.