September 2018, check.

My mind has taken years to unwind from an academic calendar. It’s Q4. Not the start of school or a few weeks into the semester. We’re in the final 92 days of 2018 and I am ready to take on some big challenges.

But looking back, we closed out Q3 in style:

  • Exercise (make room for one non-WIP workout per week): 19 bootcamp workouts this month plus lots of great outdoor time. Still trying to figure out how to go spinning or go swimming or go running. But I have time to figure that out (and some out of town travel that will force me to figure it out, too).
  • Allowance for the kids: Nada.
  • Read 30 books this year: Read 2 books this month and started a third. For the first time in my entire adult life I read a book in a week. It helped that I was riveted and couldn’t put it down. Both books were captivating.
    • Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCann
    • The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah
  • Write regularly: I have been on a writing hiatus. Not sure why–the layers of life plus using the morning time to do other things has left me with no big progress on anything this month. That’s okay.
  • 1 hike per month, preferably with the kids: A full day of outdoor ropes course and ziplines with the girls was a highlight of the month. They were brave and adventurous. We went on a boat. I fit in a nice long walk with a friend. And we spent time at a faire (the renaissance faire that is).
  • 1 date night: How did we let a whole month pass with no proper alone adult time. There was a quick dinner we had while the girls were doing their own thing. But no date night?
  • Donate blood 6 times: I’m due to donate but couldn’t find the time to get to a drive. Lots of opportunities to squeeze this in at the start of October. Still on track to get in the 6 total donations.
  • Volunteer once a month: We got back to volunteering with the dog rescue organization and logged a few hours at an adoption event. It was a gorgeous day and we spent it sitting outdoors, petting dogs. Not bad.
  • Self care (once per quarter): Nada again. I’ve been sleeping a lot–does the nap on Yom Kippur count?
  • Experiment with podcasting: I am motivated to get equipment but that’s about where it ends for me right now.
  • Find new opportunities to speak in front of an audience: In an unexpected turn of events, I am now going to tell a story at the Best of Valley Voices Story Slam in Northampton. It’s a storytelling show in a big theater with a bigger audience. Feeling lucky and nervous.
  • Capture my “best thing all week” every week all year long (52 total): Going strong.
  • Financial planning for the household: Nothing happening.
  • Get our unfinished rooms completed: Swapped out some furniture in our living room thanks to my family offloading some of their furniture. Starting to plan for some updates to the girls’ rooms.
  • Crochet regularly: Meh. I started something to keep my hands busy. Will be a good goal while I watch the girls’ dance classes.

Additional September highlights:

  • School got going–4th grade and 2nd grade are solidly elementary school age
  • Outdoor music festival in Hartford
  • Holidays with family
  • Celebrating a friend’s 40th
  • Boat time (saw littlest Weiner go tubing for first time)
  • Got a promotion at work
  • Ropes course
  • Renaissance Faire

Life is a snowball rolling down a hill. October is upon us….

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August 2018, check.

I never think summer is over when August is over. In the northeast, it’s hot well into October and sometimes we get a few sunny skies in November, too. It’s a cruel change of heart around Thanksgiving but I can recall a few years when we rode scooters in sweatshirts as December approached. So I’m not waving the white flag on summer just yet. Especially after the month of August we’ve had.

I mean, in August we did all of the things…

  • Exercise (make room for one non-WIP workout per week): 16 bootcamp workouts this month plus one amazing outdoor bike ride. I fit in one game of softball plus lots of outdoor time.
  • Allowance for the kids: Crickets though in an unexpected turn of events, the girls decided to use some of their saved money to buy themselves something small and I was inspired by their earnestness. We will resurrect this goal for the children now that school has started.
  • Read 30 books this year: Read 2 books this month and started a third. Time at the beach certainly helped. 14 books complete but that means 16 until my goal is reached. I’m going to have to push hard but it’s going to be tough to read four books a month for the next four months. Tough but not impossible.
    • The Rules of Magic by Alice Hoffman
    • Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman
  • Write regularly: I thought I was in a writing rut but the truth is I have been writing all summer. I took a break from working on this side project when our extended houseguest took over my dedicated writing space. Since we returned from our vacation two weeks ago, I’ve been trying to get into a routine. But I just took stock and I wrote close to 4,000 words this summer, so I’m going to feel good about that and keep pushing ahead.
  • 1 hike per month, preferably with the kids: We didn’t hike but we did spend lots of time outdoors. There was an outdoor bike ride and lots of time on the beach on vacation. There was a full day of walking around Boston. We got in our steps for sure.
  • 1 date night: No explicit date night all month. We did get lots of great family time but no just us time save a quick lunch or coffee meetup during the day.
  • Donate blood 6 times: Fifth donation due up at the end of September. On track to complete 6 by the end of the year.
  • Volunteer once a month: More volunteering with a friend’s campaign including poll standing and postcard writing. She won the primary so there will be more volunteer opportunities in the coming months until Election Day.
  • Self care (once per quarter): Nada. I received a gift that will help jumpstart a routine.
  • Experiment with podcasting: Yup, nothing to report
  • Find new opportunities to speak in front of an audience: This continues to be a tough goal. I did pitch some new stories to a storytelling group but beyond that, it’s been crickets on this goal.
  • Capture my “best thing all week” every week all year long (52 total): Going strong.
  • Financial planning for the household: Nothing happening.
  • Get our unfinished rooms completed: Furniture arrived for the porch and we have assembled the room! We spent most of our vacation looking for beachy items and the room is nearly done.
  • Crochet regularly: I made a hat on our drive to Cape Cod and had a skein of yarn within arm’s reach most of vacation.

Additional August highlights:

  • Adventures with our Israeli houseguest, including an incredible meetup at the Boston Public Garden
  • Spending a sunny Saturday at the girls’ summer camp
  • Taking the girls to see The Lion King
  • Poll standing and seeing my friend win her primary run
  • Chatham 2018
    • Biking with the girls to the beach
    • Day trip to Nantucket
    • Exceptional sunny days at the beach
    • Beach days with our West Hartford friends
    • Making it through the entire band concert
    • Our lovely cottage
  • Last few days before school vacation ended–starting a new school year
  • Another super backyard musical–this year it was Frozen (even though it was boiling hot on the night of the performance)
  • Cousins moving to town

On to the fall…..

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July 2018, check.

July was madness. It was joyful and thrilling and relaxing and amazing. We were a family of three, then four again then five. We celebrated a 7th birthday, picked up our oldest from her first month away at camp, hosted one of the Israeli scouts living in our community for the summer. We did literally all of the things you could do.

So in July:

  • Exercise (make room for one non-WIP workout per week): 21 bootcamp workouts this month! I also got in two softball games–played catcher, hit the ball into the outfield!
  • Allowance for the kids: Crickets.
  • Read 30 books this year: Read 1 book this month so that means I’ve finished 13 books this year. Planning on lots of reading at the beach.
    • Big Little Man: In Search of my Asian Self by Alex Tizon
  • Write regularly: You see, it was a busy month. I wrote a fair amount at the start of the month. Then life got insane and I just read and slept.
  • 1 hike per month, preferably with the kids: One amazing hike with husband and youngest–there was scrambling over rocks and almost getting lost and me carrying my little on my back uphill for almost ten minutes. It was awesome!
  • 1 date night: 2 date nights plus some more free time. We had our wedding anniversary and a night at a show.
  • Donate blood 6 times: Fourth donation complete! Super happy about my progress.
  • Volunteer once a month: No dog volunteering this month. Instead I volunteered with a friend’s campaign for state representative. I believe in her and I was tired of feeling helpless. I spent two nights door knocking (both nights my little one joined me) and I wrote almost 30 postcards to local constituents.
  • Self care (once per quarter): No progress here. It was so busy but that’s not an excuse.
  • Experiment with podcasting: Yup, nothing to report
  • Find new opportunities to speak in front of an audience: Nothing this month. I was asked to give a keynote at work so I’m looking forward to a new opportunity to give an extended talk.
  • Capture my “best thing all week” every week all year long (52 total): Going strong.
  • Financial planning for the household: Nothing happening.
  • Get our unfinished rooms completed: Work complete on the three season room we’re now calling the beach porch. Ordered furniture in July and items have arrived. So close!
  • Crochet regularly: A quiet month for crocheting again but this month there will be more sitting.

July highlights:

  • Anniversary celebration date night
  • My organization moved offices–I’m now around the corner from my husband and get to see him during the day and it’s awesome.
  • Went to happy hour
  • Date night seeing In the Heights
  • Political volunteering
  • Celebrating a 7th birthday at hibachi dinner and then with a painting party
  • Picking up oldest from camp
  • Concert in the park
  • Boating–first time paddleboarding
  • Mystic Aquarium and lobster rolls

It might be halfway through August but we’ll be pressing on through the end of the summer…..

 

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June 2018, check.

June is always the end of something. No matter how much we try to make it about summer kickoff and the start of something fun, it always feel melancholy to me. Melancholy and sunny. We saw the end of lots of things in June: dance class and softball and school. School year commitments eventually fizzled and we are back in the summer groove. It’s a little different this year with our oldest daughter away at overnight camp for the first time.

Making progress in June:

  • Exercise (make room for one non-WIP workout per week): 16 bootcamp workouts this month! Had a few strange injuries but working through them and ready to keep pushing through the summer.
  • Allowance for the kids: Crickets.
  • Read 30 books this year: Read 2 books this month so that means I’ve finished 11 books this year. Will have to push a little harder over the summer. It’s been a great goal to pursue.
    • Beautiful Ruins by Jesse Walter
    • All Who Go Do Not Return by Shulem Deen
  • Write regularly: You see, it was a busy month. So there were no new blog posts.
  • 1 hike per month, preferably with the kids: Lots of outdoors time but no official hikes.
  • 1 date night: Squeezed in two group date nights, including a concert at the casino!
  • Donate blood 6 times: Next donation in mid-July.
  • Volunteer once a month: We fit in a volunteer day at the end of the month. It was a scorcher but we got to play with puppies, helping them to get adopted!
  • Self care (once per quarter): No progress here. I received a birthday gift that will help–three months of massages. Planning to get this taken care of as quickly as possible.
  • Experiment with podcasting: Yup, nothing to report
  • Find new opportunities to speak in front of an audience: I appeared in a storytelling show during the first week of the month in Holyoke. I was the last to tell my story in a competitive storytelling show–this is a favorable spot in the lineup. I am so super proud of the story I told AND how I told it (specifically without crying). Alas, one of the storytellers filled the audience with supportive listeners and thus I didn’t make it into the top three. It was an exhilarating night nonetheless.
  • Capture my “best thing all week” every week all year long (52 total): Going strong.
  • Financial planning for the household: Nothing happening.
  • Get our unfinished rooms completed: Work to begin in July.
  • Crochet regularly: A quiet month for crocheting again but this month there will be more sitting.

Other June highlights:

  • Dance recital day for our girls
  • Watching my husband chair an event at our JCC
  • All of the end of the year stuff for my daughters at school
  • Watching my girls finish out the softball season
  • Dropping off my oldest at overnight camp for an entire month
  • First lobster rolls of the summer
  • Pool time
  • Moving offices at work (and being around the corner from husband’s office)

Summer is squarely here. It feels like it is slipping through my fingers but I am gripping it with all of my strength. Staying in the moment, not wishing it away, even if we’re in the middle of a heat wave.

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May 2018, check.

May was longer than long. May was like three months packed into one month. My husband and I turned 40. We’re hanging on for dear life through the obstacle course of the end of the school year.

I was able to get a few things done:

  • Exercise (make room for one non-WIP workout per week): 21 bootcamp workouts this month! Supremely proud that i can still climb the rope and now I’m deadlifting over 100 pounds!
  • Allowance for the kids: Crickets.
  • Read 30 books this year: Read 1 book this month so that means I’ve finished 9 books. Will have to push a little harder over the summer. It’s been a great goal to pursue.
    • A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles
  • Write regularly: Published one blog post about my birthday.
  • 1 hike per month, preferably with the kids: We did not hike anywhere this month. We were outdoors and we did get to visit our pool for the first time this summer. I did finally invest in proper hiking shoes so I’m excited to hit the trails this summer!
  • 1 date night: We had an amazing birthday dinner to celebrate 40! Plus we had a fun night out with some friends to do an escape room and dinner.
  • Donate blood 6 times: 3rd donation completed on May 22nd. Next donation due in mid-July!
  • Volunteer once a month: Volunteering with the dog rescue was not in the cards this month. The schedule for the children was packed. So in June we’ll be dedicating more time to this.
  • Self care (once per quarter): Big haircut on this last day of the month but beyond that, three months running with no dedicated self-care. It’s a pattern developing. What can I do to fix this?
  • Experiment with podcasting: Haven’t yet acquired the equipment but working on the idea. Both are necessary pieces of the equation.
  • Find new opportunities to speak in front of an audience: Huzzah! I “auditioned” for a storytelling show in Holyoke by leaving the first line of my story on their voicemail and my story was picked for a night of competitive storytelling!
  • Capture my “best thing all week” every week all year long (52 total): Going strong–been capturing something every week and just looked to see some incredible highlights so far.
  • Financial planning for the household: Crickets.
  • Get our unfinished rooms completed: Have the estimate for porch work and hopefully getting started in June. Started to scope out furniture for the porch.
  • Crochet regularly: A quiet month for crocheting but that’s because I did lots of driving and we didn’t do a lot of sitting.

Other May highlights:

  • Celebrating my 40th birthday
  • Celebrating my husband’s 40th birthday
  • Special grown up dinner date out for our birthdays
  • Good health news for friends and family
  • Sadie’s first guitar recital
  • A visit from NJ friends on their way home from Boston
  • So much softball!

June, June, June. You’re already hugging me with your activities and milestones. Just warm it up a little around here, please.

Summer is calling.

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Being 40: 40 things I know

  1. I turned 40 this week and the day was supreme.
  2. All day, though, I had thoughts running circles around my brain. I needed a place to put them so I could return to them some time in the future. Looking back on my 35th, 36th, and 38th birthdays, I’m glad I took the time to write things down.
  3. In my 39th year of life I admitted out loud that I was I’m Type A, so a list seemed like the best place for these thoughts.
  4. I love a list because I love ticking things off that list. What can I say? I am goal-oriented. I’m not even a little bashful about being goal-oriented. (I think it’s what people love and loathe most about me).
  5. I don’t always need a list. Some days, I can let the universe decide what happens.
  6. I’m likely one of the few people on the planet that is stoked to turn 40.
  7. Someone once told me that big birthdays aren’t earth shattering when you’re happy with where you are in life.
  8. For this reason, I haven’t worried for a moment about turning 40.
  9. Turning 40, I feel like the best version of myself.
  10. And I don’t know if I buy into the idea that 40 is the new 30 or that 40 is “so young” as those pushing 50 have told me. I never cared about how aging will show up as wrinkles on my face or gray hairs. I am not starting now.
  11. 40 feels substantial to me, like I’ve accumulated enough time on the planet to know something but I still have so much to learn and explore. I hope I never stop feeling that way as the decades tick by.
  12. I hope that my girls have a clear memory of me on this birthday.
  13. My girls don’t know it yet but I cannot find the words to thank whatever higher power delivered them to me.
  14. I don’t have enough good memories of my own parents being forty but I hope they felt this happy.
  15. Even though I think everyone deserves a parade on their birthday, I am pretty happy to be 8 days older than my husband.
  16. Marriage is about as weird as I thought it would be, but we’re doing pretty well twelve years in.
  17. I am the luckiest person alive to be married to someone who has grown into life with me, sharing the same passage of time in lockstep.
  18. But after twelve years of marriage and 17 years of togetherness, your husband will still surprise you by baking you a cheesecake on your 40th birthday. And the cheesecake will remind you of your mom who also baked cheesecake. And you might feel sad about her missing your birthday for the 11th time. But this new husband-baked cheesecake fills that space for now.
  19. Even though your husband is an expert baker, the fire department may have to visit your house twice to help with some baking mishaps. The story of the cheesecake will keep your entertained for a long time (at least until you turn 50).
  20. And eating that cheesecake, I didn’t even sweat it. I work out, I take care of myself, and I can eat cheesecake if I want. And I will eat it for breakfast if I feel like it.
  21. I feel more together than I ever have–like I’m really living my personal philosophy:
  22. You have to be able to carry your own (physical and emotional) baggage in life. (I’m doing this)
  23. Life is not fair. (I know this to be true)
  24. Things happen the way they should and for a reason. (I know it doesn’t explain all of life’s injustices but it works for me)
  25. No one is immune from feeling fear or experiencing trauma. (No one)
  26. If you keep your eyes up and your heart open, you can stay an optimist. (Truth)
  27. There is so much to be optimistic about, too. It’s important to remind myself of this because it is so hard to unsee the universe when you start to see it with sociological lenses.
  28. It can be difficult to sustain my personal optimism but I fear the alternative so I just smile.
  29. I care so much about being good at what I do that my max effort is out of range with normal humans.
  30. Sometimes, I do like time alone.
  31. I am my most calm when standing over the stove, stirring something that will feed my family.
  32. But most of the time, I prefer the company of people (or voices).
  33. I am so proud of the friendships I have and the relationships I’ve fostered.
  34. There is no shortage of time and attention I want to give every single person who crosses my path.
  35. I don’t see turning 40 as passage into some new club or confirmation that now I have to change my worldview. I just hope that I’ll continue to feel this sense of confidence and fulfillment.
  36. I hope this year will be the start of many more years of planning and doing, like writing that play, writing that book, learning to draw, learning French or starting that podcast.
  37. There is no time to waste because there is a slim margin between life is great and life is chaos.
  38. I fear that slim line tremendously, but don’t know how to plan for falling over or stepping on it. I don’t think you can plan, so I don’t think about it. More simply, today is all we have.
  39. So this year (as in most years), I’ll hope (for good things) and I’ll pray (for patience) and I’ll smile.
  40. And I’ll remind myself (continuously) to be easy on myself, to move slowly and to enjoy the view.

 

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April 2018, check.

Spring is here–except you’d almost never know it given the wacky New England weather. It rained this month. It snowed this month. The sun shone strong and it broke 70 degrees more than once. I wore rain boots and snow boots.

The world has not made up its mind about which way we’re headed. So we wait patienyl for winter to settle down and for spring to emerge.

I was able to get a few things done:

  • Exercise (make room for one non-WIP workout per week): 14 bootcamps plus 2 workouts on our cruise.
  • Allowance for the kids: Totally off the wagon. Have to figure out how to regroup and recover in May.
  • Read 30 books this year: Read 3 books this month! All three were incredible!
    • Euphoria by Lily King
    • Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate
    • You Will Know My by Megan Abbott
  • Write regularly: Published one blog post I’d been working on for month.
  • 1 hike per month, preferably with the kids: Yes! On the first nice weekend of the year, Emily and I hit the trails with a friend and our cousins.
  • 1 date night: Crickets. But I feel like we will be getting some good time in together next month.
  • Donate blood 6 times: Due to donate for the third time next month.
  • Volunteer once a month: Volunteered at our second dog rescue event and our dog was adopted. So many good vibes from helping and snuggling with dogs.
  • Self care (once per quarter): Two months running with no dedicated self-care. It’s a pattern developing.
  • Experiment with podcasting: Picked out the equipment I need (and want) and planning to acquire the equipment this month. New experiment is coming.
  • Find new opportunities to speak in front of an audience: Found a new storytelling opportunity and pitched a story to them.
  • Capture my “best thing all week” every week all year long (52 total): Going strong–been capturing something every week and just looked to see some incredible highlights so far.
  • Financial planning for the household: Crickets.
  • Get our unfinished rooms completed: Brought in the contractor to talk about finishing off the porch. Started to scope out furniture for the porch, too. Waiting on an estimate and looking forward to having the work done early summer.
  • Crochet regularly: Made a baby hat while on vacation and still finishing Sadie’s scarf which is now for next year.

Other April highlights:

  • First family cruise
  • Jewish cooking club is finally off the ground–helped coordinate the first session: kugel!
  • Our friend is home from the hospital and feeling better
  • Softball is starting
  • We saw Chelsea Clinton speak

April showers had better quit in here in the northeast. We’re over tons of rain and ready for May flowers, being outside, seeing friends and family and kicking off summer!

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