Tag Archives: New York

Sooo out of my element…

12 Oct

Every time I hear a Southern accent I cringe slightly. And every time I hear a northern one my ears perk up as I try to locate the source. That’s been my week, in a nutshell.

I know it will get easier. I know it will get better. Transition is hard on everyone, and certainly aggravated with a two year old in tow, who is also feeling a bit displaced and confused. We spent every morning this week with him shrieking, “No like school!! No want to go!! No, mommmmmmmy!!” It was heartbreaking. This is a kid who’s always loved going to daycare. He loved his teachers, he loved his friends. He would race me inside the school every morning, and then practically push me out the door because he was a “big boy” who didn’t need his mama. Talk about disruption to our lives… this isn’t easy on ANY of us.

I spent a lot of this week thinking about the things I took for granted living in New York. Things like:

  • General sophistication that comes with a New York state of mind. Not that people here aren’t “sophisticated” in their own right. It’s just… different. Any New Yorker will know exactly what I mean. Are we elitist? Yup. No question. Are we apologetic for it? Nope.
  • Access to things that other people just don’t have. Like being able to sit in on a taping of “Watch What Happens Live” with Andy Cohen. Or sitting next to Richard Gere in a local restaurant. Or being in the audience for a VH1 Storytellers concert. Or getting to see the inner workings of Dan Barber’s kitchen at Blue Hill at Stone Barns. I know that sounds very “celebutante” of me, but it’s true! Those experiences are SO New York.
  • The narrow, uneven back roads. The Saw Mill Parkway. The Merritt. Seriously, the roads down here are in perfect condition, they are super wide, and it’s a breeze driving anywhere. You could probably do it with your eyes closed. But isn’t there something sort of charming about winding up the Saw Mill? I never thought about it until I wasn’t doing it anymore. And yep, I miss those twists and turns and dangerously narrow lanes.
  • Relatively easy access into creative communities. I clearly need to find my way, and figure out where the creatives hang out and work and play, but for now I’m just a little bit missing my smarty pants peeps who inspire me, make me laugh and teach me new stuff.

Hmmph. Today the North Carolina State Fair opened. This is apparently the biggest deal in the world to North Carolinians. We are thinking about hitting it up this weekend, so be on the lookout for a post about fried soda, pig races and pie contests. In the meantime, go out and enjoy New York… grit, grime, bad attitudes and all. And take me with you in spirit…

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I’m So Busy.

3 Jul

Chillin’ out maxin’ relaxin’ all cool…

And quite frankly, I’m OVER saying “I’m so busy.” So when I read this piece in The New York Times the other day, I felt a weight lifted off me. It was not three hours before reading the piece that I sat in a diner having a cup of coffee with one of my very BFFs, answering the questions “How are you? How’s life? Work?” with the canned response: “Good! Sooo busy. I’m reeeeaaaaally busy at the moment.”

This has become my standard answer. Except it’s all self-inflicted, so who am I kidding? I decided to become a community organizer and cobble together some town event to bring buzz and interest to the neighborhood. I took on each of my clients. I decided to be a mom. I signed up for all of this! Why am I kvetching about how “busy” I am? STFU, me.

Those who know me know I’ve been contemplating moving out of NY with my family for a little while now. I have such a love/hate relationship with New York, and honestly, is that healthy? It can’t be, right? Maybe that explains a lot of things.  I hate how hard you have to push to succeed here. I hate how unfriendly and “annoyed” (and BUSY!) people always seem. I hate how inconvenienced everyone acts over the smallest gesture. I hate that I feel guilty if I’m not tied to my computer for 10 hours a day, at the beck and call of my current and future clients, and past ones too, maybe. Like clients returning from the dead. I’m willing to get arthritis and tight shoulders and bad eyesight and develop poor posture, for zombie clients who could emerge from the dead.

It seems like in New York, we push ourselves to stupid limits in both business and pleasure. What happened to just chilling out? What happened to being able to enjoy “quiet time” without spending it on our iPhone? Case in point: I sat on the commuter train for an hour yesterday, and had my Kindle with me. I’m reading Game of Thrones, Book 1. It’s AMAZING. Yet there I was, still sitting with my iPhone on my lap too, glancing over at it every time I clicked the next page to see if I had new emails. I mean, REALLY? I can’t tear myself away for one hour of uninterrupted reading? STFU, me.

So as the July 4th holiday is upon us, and as I stress out that I can’t go completely off the grid for a few days of family time to celebrate and relax, I hope you’ll learn from my mistakes and really just CHILL… Everything else can wait.

Happy holidays, ya’ll!

Americans do it all wrong.

27 Jun

Vacation is over. As we pulled into our driveway on Sunday night — after a 9-hour drive from the Outer Banks — it hit me: American “vacations” are a sham. That’s right… this whole one-week holiday is a bunch of B.S. One week is hardly enough time to unwind from the intensity and obligation and responsibility of life, let alone actually enjoy the time and relax and de-stress.

In Europe, the standard for many is 5-6 weeks vacation. And often, employees take four of those in succession during the summer, so they can go on “holiday.” Meaning, they close up shop and just head off to Croatia, or the south of France, or Sydney, or to their villa in northern Italy, so they can live an alterna-life for long enough for it to count, spending loads of time with their families, hosting guests and boisterous dinner parties, riding bikes into town, reading novels (plural)… all the things we Americans don’t have time to do during our measly one-week away, because we’re trying to make the most of every minute; which inevitably means activity planning and organizing and  stressing when we’re supposed to be “off duty.” And while many of us get more than one-week vacation for the year, who among us could actually take 2+ weeks in a row away from our job duties and responsibilities without fear of everything falling apart, or our job being in jeopardy? Not this girl.

Certainly many would argue that as an American, with the freedoms and opportunities available to me, I shouldn’t be complaining. And I suppose that’s one way of looking at it. Except that I’m not one for living the status quo — I like to ruffle the feathers and spark the conversation.

This all comes at a time when my hubby and I are re-evaluating our life and where we live and trying to decide if it’s where we ultimately want to be. Overwhelmed by the stress and necessity of New York, and the strain this frenetically paced lifestyle puts on people… it just gives me pause. I don’t have solutions or answers. I just know I would love me some 4 weeks of uninterrupted “holiday!” Why is that concept so obscure to us Americans!? Aren’t we the same people who created the Real Housewives enterprise? Those crazies vacation all year round! (When they’re not paying someone to slap their name on a Pinot Grigio label or tacky pocketbook.)

How do you feel about all of this? Do you think we work too hard for too little? What would you do differently if you could be fully in control of your life and your destiny?

Words of Wisdom Wednesday

27 Jun

Yes. Yes there is.

I’m Having Second Thoughts

18 Jan

Ten years ago, the thought of being anywhere other than New York gave me slight heart palpitations, almost always followed by a nervous laugh and a “yeah right.” Then, after six years of NYC bachelorette-dom, in a miracle akin to Noah and his Ark, I was packed up, two by two and shoe by shoe, and whisked to “The North” by my now-husband, to play out a suburban fantasy that involved aprons and brownies and SUVs and book clubs.

I’ve grown to like the place I live, embracing the lifestyle and supporting the community in any way that makes sense to me. I mean, it will never be as vibrant and culturally diverse as the Lower East Side, or as boho as the Upper West (my two homes prior) but it’ll do. For now.

That was certainly how I felt until recently. Our creaky old house, having already undergone one major renovation in the year leading up to my son’s birth, is now under our scrutinizing eyes once again as we unravel the scrolled list of “to-dos” this place requires. The garage, a separate structure with an attached “caretaker’s apartment,” currently looks like something out of a Stephen King novel. Our kitchen is outdated. Our landscaping is a mess. (Did I mention there’s 1.4 acres of it to maintain?) And generally, my adoration for old houses and the “charm” that comes with them has wilted away along with any plants I’ve tried to keep alive during my time here. The word “charm” has officially been banished from my vocabulary.

Aside from my house and all it’s quirks and faults, New York is just started to really tick me off. The expense of living here is tempered by the proximity to the city, the access to a wealth of high paying jobs, and good schools. But honestly, at what cost?

I don’t necessarily know if the grass is greener anywhere else, but I’m guessing it is. I’m guessing that residents of North Carolina laugh all the way to the bank at us crazy New Yorkers who spend small, outrageous fortunes to live here. I would think that Southern Californians even, with their fairly high real estate costs, are at least saying “well at least we’ve got great weather.” What is it that’s so great about New York?

Don’t get me wrong. I love, love my friends and family dearly. I adore my neighbors. And it would be very hard to leave them. But I do not love keeping up with the Jones’ (or the Kardashians). I do not love the greed. I do not love the rat race. I do not love the frenetic pace. I do not love green eggs and ham. I do not love them, Sam I am.

Have you had second thoughts about living in New York? Where would you consider moving if you were faced with an opportunity?

What I’ve Learned From The Real Housewives.

23 Oct

Andy Cohen's got the 411.

  1. It’s very bourgeois to drive yourself. Unless you are driving to the plastic surgeon. Or you live in Atlanta, or New Jersey – those Housewives have a product placement deal with Range Rover. If you’re in Beverly Hills, or New York, you better call up your local livery because it’s all about being driven around while you drink champagne, check your Google Alerts, and gossip-text your BFF.
  2. Housewives should eat out as often as possible, in high-visibility restaurants. But don’t ever eat. Sure, order food. It’s the appropriate thing to do to order something and have it placed in front of you, so as to appear human. But that $42 salad should go untouched. Just move the leaves around a bit and call it a day.
  3. Nothing is sacred. That means feel free to share your sex doings with the world, bash your friends in print, and wear a bathing suit (or 12) in front of the camera.
  4. Family portraits should be taken 6 times a year. Be certain to color coordinate the children to the living room, the living room to the in-laws, and the in-laws to the dog. And never, NEVER sit on the same couch twice.
  5. Holiday gatherings serve two purposes: To (1) stand in your new kitchen and brag about how quickly you’ve managed to rise out of bankruptcy, and (2) to show off how tall a tower you can make out of cannolis.
  6. It’s perfectly acceptable to be a mean girl. In fact, it’s a requirement. Don’t ever forget it. (Bitch.)
  7. The fact that someone is sitting 2.5 feet away from you should never deter you from talking smack about them. It’s a plus! At least if they’re within earshot, you won’t have to wait impatiently for the gossip mill to get to work. Consider it the most efficient method!
  8. Sunglasses should cost no less than $25,000. I mean really. Who needs college funds for their children? If you don’t protect your eyes by encrusting them in diamonds so as to repel the sun’s rays, you won’t be able to “see” them graduate anyway!
  9. Teenage daughters may be evil, but when they disrespect you on national TV, it’s recommended to buy them a new car. You know what they say…keep your friends close, keep your lazy, disrespectful teen out of the house, driving her drunk friends around in a brand new automobile. And when all else fails, throw her a big, lavish party.
  10. Speaking of parties, make sure to ALWAYS stir the family drama pot when hosting or attending a family gathering. Nothing is more genuine than the apologies that come after fists (or wine glasses) are thrown. Get it out! Air those grievances!
  11. Sing it, sister. Sure, you can’t hold a tune to save your life. But you know what? That’s got absolutely NOTHING to do with being a singer. Convince the hubby of your future in pop stardom, and introduce him to your partner – Auto-tune. Lalalalalalalalala!