Tuesday, January 31, 2012


This morning while we were having breakfast, I told Hudson about the new baby in his teacher's belly. He acted unimpressed (though secretly I know he was a little jealous about having to share Whitney with some baby...) As he went about his business I couldn't help but think of my friend Sharon and how, if she'd been there, she would have corrected me: "You know, technically, the baby's not in her belly, it's in her uterus."

You see, Sharon Bay (yes, THE Sharon Bay) speaks the truth. Always. As a parent, she's taken the stance that honesty is the best policy. TMI? Nonexistent in her world. She's pretty much the only person that makes me blush on a regular basis.

When her daughter asked her where babies come from, she bought her a book that explained the whole process. Soup to nuts (literally.) When asked if the Easter Bunny was real, she replied, "I'll tell you the truth if you really want me to." Her daughter wisely replied, "Um, nah, it's ok."

As for Logan and I, we make a sport of having fun with facts and being slightly inappropriate. The man at the bakery with the fluffy white beard? "Huddy, look! It's SANTA!" When someone bends over to pick something up? "Huddy, go smack 'em in the butt!" Vagina? Penis?? No, thank you. We prefer chachi and weenie.

Hudson will find out soon enough that babies don't actually come from bellies and that the bumps on a woman's chest are technically called breasts. For now, I love that he runs around the house carrying the latest issue of GQ yelling, "BOOBIES BOOBIES BOOBIES!"

Monday, January 30, 2012


My son Hudson can spot an airplane from miles away. In the mornings, on our drive to school, we'll hear him making the sound... Eeeeeeeeeiiiiiiioon! I'll turn around and he'll be pointing at a tiny spec in the sky. Sure enough, there it'll be. It's not surprising that he's so obsessed with planes, really. His grandfather was a pilot, his mom grew up going to air shows, and in his own short life he's been on well over 50 of them.

I was thinking today of how much I miss traveling, which is ironic given the fact that not only have we been away more than we've been home over the past couple of years, but I was actually in the process of buying plane tickets when the thought struck. I just don't think it really counts when 99% of the trips have been work related, including this latest one.

Yep. Today I booked my first trip back to DC for business. It's just a couple of days, but they're monumental as they represent my first nights ever away from Hudson. I wish it was for something better.

I won't lie: the idea of two, consecutive, uninterrupted nights of sleep is so exciting. But at the same time, this whole thing is a little sad. I feel guilty about having time to myself when it means Logan will have even less of it himself. I'm nervous that Hudson will be upset that I left him and not like me anymore when I get home. I'm worried about winter travel and the flight delays that might keep me from getting back on time. And what if when it finally comes time to enjoy my freedom, I won't actually be able to sleep??

I wish there was a way to take my boys with me. Maybe, when I go, they'll spot my little spec in the sky and say hi.

SIDEBAR: To make up for my guilt about traveling alone, I think tomorrow I'll add 4 more to Hudson's total tally and book the flights for our first-ever Brown family beach week. Pawleys Island, here we come! Too bad we have to wait until July to get there.

Sunday, January 29, 2012


It used to be that, no matter how long, uninteresting, or down right terrible a book was, I would force myself to finish it before I could move on to something new. Then, somewhere along the way, I realized that life's too short to do things you don't want to do. That it's OK to switch things up.

Yesterday, I didn't really feel like going to gymnastics (especially after last week's debacle). I was sensing that Hudson felt the same way, but I thought that perhaps I was projecting my feelings onto him. I flipped through the parental Roladex of responsibility in my head... Do we go because it's good to have routine? Do we go because I paid for the whole month and it's not really that cheap? Do we go because following through on commitments is the right thing to do?

I called him over, looked him in the eye and said, "OK, Hud. Would you like to go to gymnastics today or would you like to go on an adventure outside with Momma instead?" It was not a fair question. He doesn't really know what gymnastics is, and I'd said the magic words: adventure and outside. He b-lined it to the mud room, grabbed his jacket and my boots and yelled: "MOMMA!"

Off we went.

When he feel asleep in the backpack just a few blocks from the house, I was relieved that we hadn't gone to class. He woke up about 30 minutes later and discovered that our adventure included a trip to the local bakery (one of three visit this weekend!). We shared a delicious—and totally inappropriate for breakfast—raspberry filled cupcake, walked down to the farm to check out the sheep (BAAAH!) and the pigs (MOOO!), and then headed over to the children's reading room at the town library. As it turns out, our change of plans resulted in 4 hours of quality hang time. So much better than a 30 minute drive each way sandwiching 45 minutes of toddler gymnastics (no matter how great the class would've been.) And I was proud that I was, in what I realize is a somewhat insignificant way, setting an example for my son to switch things up and do what makes him happy.

As lay here in bed tonight, I'm practicing what I preach. In addition to the computer in my lap and the 7 magazines on the floor, strewn across my bed are the five and a half books I'm reading right now. And it feels pretty good.

Thursday, January 26, 2012


In a meeting today my co-worker asked, "So wait, am I the d-bag in this situation?" It was then I realized that my mastery of non-sequiturs is still strong, and that maybe, just maybe, normal people don't drop references to last night's episode of (fill in favorite TV show name here) like it's real life. I guess I watch a lot of TV. But I truly believe that those of you who don't are really missing out.

Take, for instance, the woman I was meeting with: Grace. It would be totally acceptable if she just hadn't gotten around to watching "The Story of the 50"—by far the funniest episode of the show New Girl yet. After all, I only saw it on Tuesday and it aired on January 17. (I watch everything OnDemand during naps, or on my iPad once Hudson turns in for the night.) But she didn't even know Zooey Deschanel had her own show!  Grace practically is Jess Day (except with shorter hair and no bangs) and she doesn't even know she exists. Tragic!

Alison informed me today that she doesn't have cable. That would be fine if her doppelganger wasn't starring in the totally awesome Fx show Justified. (Have you seen that Stetson?!) Last night we finally got around to watching the premier of Season 3. Ava Crowder was so badass in this episode that I wondered why she and I don't get beers together more often. Then I remembered that Alison and Ava aren't actually the same person. And that's fine with me, since the farm down the road is way more convenient than the one down in Harlan County. I just hope I don't call her fiance Boyd the first time I meet him.

In college, my friend Sarah's friend told me that I was a dead ringer for Madeiline Stowe. At the time, it didn't mean much. Now? I'M FAMOUS! Sure, I'd rather be Emily Thorne—or Amanda Clarke, if you will—but I'll take my sweet Revenge any which way I can. Let's not forget: Hudson's middle name is Hampton. It's like it was all meant to be!

So, OK, maybe the office isn't the best place to slip into my fantasy world, especially if people don't recognize it when we get there. Or maybe they just need to come over to watch a marathon of all of my favorites on our super fabulous 40" flat screen TV. 


Wednesday, January 25, 2012


Lately, I've been having to explain myself a lot. But in a totally unexpected way. This week alone I've made the following conflicting statements on more than one occasion:
"No, seriously, I'm not as young as you think I am."
"Goodness, how old do you think I am!?"
Turns out 35 isn't just middle aged, it's the middle of nowhere. The age when you don't quite fit in and no one takes you seriously. 

Just the other day we stopped by our friends' house to congratulate them on their 25th wedding anniversary. Their son Max answered the door. Being half way between his age and his parents', he didn't quite know what to do with us. "My folks aren't here," he said, "but you guys can come in, I guess."

I remember when my mom was 35. It actually doesn't seem that long ago. But, now that I'm that old, does that mean she's really old? And if so, what does that make my grammy? Old enough, I guess, to be faced with a pretty tough decision.

Las dos Marias.
This week, she too has had to explain herself in what I'm sure, to her, is a totally unexpected way. After years of living quietly and happily in her own home, abuela told my mom and my tia that she no longer feels comfortable living alone. So she's moving to a new place, one we affectionately call "casita" where she'll be safe, happy, and well taken care of. I can't really imagine how my mom must feel, but I know I'm wishing there wasn't a 12 hour plane ride keeping me from being there to welcome my grammy home.

I guess we're never quite where we thought we would be, no matter how old we are.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012


They say that if you don't have something nice to say, you shouldn't say anything at all. Well, if that's the case, I may as well pack up my blogger bags and call it a day. Alas, I've never been one to follow the rules.

This weekend sucked.

On Saturday morning, Hudson and I headed to our weekly gymnastics class. We go for him really, but this week he didn't want to be there. Of course he couldn't just tell me what he wanted to do (since he's still holding out on using his words*), he instead continued to perfect his patented, perfectly pitched whine. Needless to say, the experience was less than stellar.

Later in the day, I slipped and fell down the stairs at our house. I bruised my back and my wrist, and pulled every muscle in my neck. On Sunday, I sliced off the top of my finger trying to open the plastic packaging on one of Hudson's new toys. To top off the weekend, I wrote an entire blog post only to have the site crash. I lost everything.

Then it was Monday. Back to work. But this was no ordinary Monday. It was the day of our open house. What seemed like hundreds of strangers (no one actually counted) filled the office from 8 to 11 touring our new space and celebrating the company's 25th anniversary. Definitely a good cause, but... Oy. By three o'clock, it felt like Friday. Only there were still four days to go.

I had to do something to break the spell, so today, I snuck out for a few hours and met a friend for lunch. (Sidebar: I had not one, but two great lunch date options today!**) Our conversation went everywhere in just the right ways. From kids to careers, from disappointments to dreams, from books to, well, books, and from questioning the past to coming up with some fanciful ideas for the future.

She shared stories from her own life that made me feel normal. She enlightened me about friendships and the huge role proximity plays in their growth and survival. And she reminded me that for every bad day, there's was a warm, rainy day with lunch.

It was exactly what I needed.

This is the photo that went with the post I lost on Sunday.
Feel free to make of it what you will.

**See also: post title.

Friday, January 20, 2012


They say it's a virtue, but anyone who knows me will tell you, patience is not one that comes naturally.

Allow me, if you will, a rant this evening. If people would just say exactly what they mean and mean exactly what they say, life would be so much easier. At the very least, my days at work would be that much more productive.

Hudson knows what I mean. I practice the art of straight shooting with him every day.

This whole week he has been perfecting the use of his new catch phrase: "oh no!" When he senses me trying to block him out, he seems only to get louder and louder... "Oh No!! OH NO!!!!"

At the sink in the bathroom, he outstretched his arms and kept yelling those words. I walked right up to him, crouched to eye level and said, "Hudson! You either say the word water, wash, or hand or you get out of the bathroom!" He gave me his patented stink eye and I walked right out. A few seconds later I heard a little voice say, "water?"

Now that I could work with. Together, we washed his hands.

As for the person that robbed me of the only hour I had to get actual work done today I say, your verbal skills are, well... OH NO!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012


Friends are a funny. I mean, sure, they make us laugh and all. But really, it's more than that. They come in—and out—of our lives when we least expect it. And let's face it, the good ones will do some pretty crazy things for us. My friends help me remember.

My friend Sharon and I used to share an office together. Throughout my pregnancy she took it upon herself to make sure I ate well and drank enough water. After I had Hudson, she reminded me every time I needed to pump and even let me do it in our office (though I suspect that closing the blinds and locking the door was as much for her as it was for me.) In the new office, another friend reminds me to go to the bathroom. Reluctantly, and subtly, but still.

Yesterday I got a note from my very first best friend. Turns out she read my blog and liked it enough to drop me a line and tell me so. Though we haven't spoken in years, the memories of the adventures we shared together are vivid. She's the only person that knows about my first kiss. Well, her and the boy who was on the receiving end (reluctantly so, I think, but still.)

I've always been amazed by the lifers. People, particularly girls, that have an unbreakable bond with the same group of friends they've had forever. I've never really been one of those people. My friends are more like wishies. You know, the puffy white balls that used to be dandelions? The ones we pick up, marvel at, and then blow on and set free in hopes that our wish will come true?

My friend Maryanne and I lived near each other in Queens for years. We rode the same subways, worked in the same industry. We even moved to Vermont the same year. The funny part was finding all of this out, since we didn't actually meet until we got here and ended up working at the same company. She lives around the block again and whenever work, travel and ordinary life don't get in our way, we get to hang out and talk about the old days we never shared.

The occasional text from my old friend Amie in Colorado reminds of the woman who gave me the courage to listen to my soul. And a quick beer on a school night with my new friend Alison reminds me that there are cool people yet to meet in the world, and somehow, magically they find me.

Monday, January 16, 2012


Last week, my new boss gave us all a bit of homework. She asked each of us to research marketing trends predicted for 2012 and prepare a summary of our favorites to present at our next staff meeting. It was an unprecedented move for our group on many fronts, not the least of which was setting the tone that we are actually responsible for knowing a little something about the field we proclaim to be experts in.

A few of the 'trends' really struck me, both in my own research and in the presentations of others. The first is the notion of white space: minimal text, clean design. The next, a focus on content that is relevant and valuable to customers. These predictions are more mind boggling than earth shattering. I mean, seriously...  Marketing has been around since the the dawn of man, and brands like Apple and VW mastered white space years ago. At the very least, relevant and valuable content should be standard not novel.

The trouble is, no matter how much we want to jump on the trend-wagon, or try and replicate the success of those great, big, wonderful brands, it just won't work unless we know why we're here in the first place. Don't take my word for it. Let Simon Sinek tell you himself. He says it way better than I ever could.

There was, however, one trend I was thrilled to see. It made me smile, and not in a sarcastic way.

Print. Is. Not. Dead.

Though the article didn't say as much, I'm pretty convinced that I am single-handedly responsible for its salvation.

My addiction to magazines runs deep. Off the top of my head, I can think of 13 magazines that grace my mailbox on a regular basis. They're like old friends that stop by the house every week or every month, just to say hi and maybe tell me a good story.

Here's some relevant and valuable information: New York magazine's Approval Matrix is the smartest social and pop-culture commentary around. For the totally pink-fluff version of the same concept, I recommend Entertainment Weekly's The Bullseye. I'd link you to the graphic on their web site, except it's not there. It's only in their print edition, or on blogs that post scans of the print version online. Real Simple has amazing recipes that, sure, you can pull up online, but I prefer flipping through the magazine each month and tearing out the ones that strike my fancy. Vanity Fair is like the crazy old Aunt that drives me crazy because she lives in the past (seriously, people, enough with the Jackie O!), but I can't live without her. What did I buy my son on his 1 month birthday? Why, a subscription to Gentleman's Quarterly, of course.

Maybe it's because I began my career in publishing, or because I love to read. Maybe it's because I'm a control freak or maybe it's because print is just my speed. Whatever the reason, I can't seem to give it up. And I just don't want to.

Go ahead, treat yourself to a little something nice.

Friday, January 13, 2012


In the summer of 2005, I went to see the New York Yankees play ball over 50 times. At the time, my job at In Style was all consuming—twelve to fifteen hour days were the norm. But on those magical days, all bets were off. I'd throw on my team shirt, grab my puffy hand, and yell "Game Night!" as I ran to the elevator to catch the subway up to the Bronx, just barely making it to the Stadium in time for the 7:05 start. Getting up for work the next morning was always brutal.

These days, brutal doesn't even begin to describe the mornings or the hectic pace of our day-to-day lives. More often than not, I'm startled awake by a little man in the next room calling for mom (and milk)—usually between 4 and 5. Then, it's rush rush rush to get everyone showered, dressed and out the door. The end of the day is much of the same. Rush rush rush to pick up Hudson from school, drive home, make a fire, fix dinner and sit down as a family to eat. We might find a minute or two to squeeze in some train time before bath and by 8, well, it's bed time for Woozy. Then its rush, rush, rush to do chores and put away all of Huddy's toys. Maybe even do some laundry. And in between all of the rushing is a full day of work. Now where's the magic in that?
Go Yanks!

Tonight was a little different. Tonight, we skipped the chores and sat down to watch a movie: Moneyball. If you haven't seen the movie, you should. It's awesome. When it ended, I was sitting at the edge of my seat thinking, OK, so maybe there's still a little magic left out there after all.

A lot of people say they don't like baseball because it's just too slow. Too slow? That's the best part! (Well, that and the stats. I love stats!) But seriously, though. Where else but at a baseball game can you detach from the rest of the world for at least 3 hours, all the while, getting the opportunity to be a part of history? After all, every inning in every game is its own chapter in the season's book. And regardless of where your team ends up in October, every April brings new hope.

On April 4, 2010, I went into labor. It was opening day. On the 7th, Hudson was born (I know, RIGHT??) and the Yanks beat the Red Sox 3-1 at Fenway. Meanwhile, on that same day back in New York, the old stadium was coming down. Specifically, the section between home plate and third. The very same section where my seats had been that glorious summer so long ago.

It's true what they say: It's hard not to be romantic about baseball. Sometimes I wish it was like the old days, with the freedom to come and go as I pleased. But more than that, I look forward to passing on my love for the sport and taking Hudson to his very first game.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012


OK, so, you remember the sweater Joey Potter wore for like 5 minutes in that one episode of Dawson's Creek? You know, back in the first season when J Crew was the exclusive wardrobe provider for the cast (and, seemingly, the entire student body at Bucknell)? It was the blue v-neck sweater with the argyle pattern across the chest?

No? Hmmm. Weird. I do.

On 11-11-2001, the sweater was already 3 years old.
I could argue that I remember it simply because I was obsessed with the show and because I was actually wearing the sweater when she walked on screen with hers (for real!) Truth be told, though, I remember it so vividly because I still have the sweater. And every once in a while, when it's so cold outside I can't even think about a decent outfit, I still wear it.

The trouble is, I wore a uniform for 13 years of my life. The only thing I ever had to worry about were shoes and socks, and the occasional boxer shorts we'd wear to keep the boys from sneaking peeks when we walked up the stairs at school.

As an adult, the idea of having to wear something different every day, let alone go shopping for it, has caused more than its fair share of panic attacks. It's pathetic really. And being married to the guy that looks like he stepped out of the Brooks Brothers catalog every morning doesn't really help.

In DC, I had to dress up for work almost every day, so I had to take the bull by the horns and buy myself some nice—and current—clothing. I psyched myself up for a week and then one day at lunch, I stormed Banana Republic and made out like a bandit. After a while, I actually got used to mixing things up. I even bought a new pair of heels!

Then we moved back to Vermont.

It's really, really hard to get excited about fashion when your daily accessories include 30lb Sorel boots and a giant, black down jacket that makes you look like a charred Stay Puft Marshmallow Man. But I'm doing my best. As impractical as it is, I'm committed to pretending it's already spring and walking around in my cutesy ballerina flats (without socks!)

Now comes the hard part. Giving up the stuff I've been hoarding since college "just in case" in order to make room for the new goodies I've picked up since. I need to accept the fact that when it comes right down to it, there's only one thing any of us should remember about The Creek: JOEY PICKED PACEY!! And don't you forget it, Leary.

Sunday, January 8, 2012


My mother-in-law Pam is an artist. Her mediums include story telling and practical jokes, but her specialty is hunting. There's not a church sale or consignment shop in the entire state of North Carolina that Grammy Pammy hasn't picked over in search of the latest and greatest treats for her grand kids. On a recent outing, she bagged a nearly-new LL Bean winter coat just Hudson's size. A few days later she returned to the scene for more and, in conversation with the shop's owner, mentioned she'd found a rock in the coat's pocket. The woman was mortified, as she carefully screens everything that comes through her doors. But she'd misunderstood Pam's intent in telling the story. She loved the rock for the secrets it held. The little boy that had worn the coat last was a master of adventure. The rock was the evidence.

This morning as I was getting dressed, I put my foot through the leg of my freshly laundered khakis. Out the other end popped a pair of striped pink panties. They too were clean, but I was annoyed that they hadn't been shaken out of the pants before they went through the wash. I needed only one guess to identify who ran the load (hint: it wasn't me or Huddy.)

I'd been thinking of suggesting to Logan that we formally divvy up the chores at the house, with me taking laundry. The pink-panty incident reignited the idea. I think we would all agree that our whites would be whiter and the number of lip balms and screws found in the dryer after every load would be greatly reduced with me in charge. On the flip side, we'd probably end up with a backlog of dirty clothes from time to time because, quite frankly, I'm a bit afraid of the basement.

When I found the lint screen covered in cornmeal this afternoon, I thought to myself, that's IT. I'm taking over. But then, as I folded the laundry, I reached in to one of Hudson's pockets and came out with a fist full of cornmeal. And I remembered the crafts table at school. Cornmeal.

I sat down on the couch, held the pants to my chest and smiled.

Hudson on a swing at Grammy Pammy's.
The lip balm, the panties, the cornmeal... All of it is just evidence of one thing:

A life well-lived.

As for who does the laundry? I think I'll wait until the new house is built to decide. Hopefully that basement won't be as scary.

Saturday, January 7, 2012


Three days ago, I started having trouble sleeping. Two days ago, I tried again. (Same results.) Yesterday it became official: insomnia. My brain just won't accept that bedtime means quitting time. My husband Logan asks what's on my mind. Well... everything. Doing a good job at work, at raising my son, at being a wife, at being a friend. Most of all, though, I've become obsessed with one thing lately: me. 

I know how that must sound, so please, let me explain.

Logan and his Man Fort.
At age 13, Logan saw his first solar panel and decided that he wanted to work in the energy field. So he did, and does, but a professional career wasn't enough. He also teaches about energy in an awesome class at UVM. On the side? Whatever Logan dreams up, he creates. Building, sewing, cooking, welding, you name it. He can do pretty much everything.

Out of college, my brother Pat got a job at a graphic design and sign shop. He thought it was pretty cool, so he quit his job and opened his own business. That was over 10 years ago, and he's still going strong. Oh, and he builds cars, too. Seemingly from scratch.

My friend Nicci has been published countless times as an expert in nutrition, parenting, and more. After hours (from what I understand, waaaaaay after hours) she writes an incredibly smart and terribly funny blog that I await every day like a crazed fan. I'm never disappointed.

I could go on and on. The point is, I'm surrounded by people that have found their passions, continue to find new ones, and pursue them every day. Me? I'm still trying to figure mine out.

I recently asked my brother-in-law Nic (who has not only written for but has also been featured in the New York Times, for crying out loud), "When will I figure out what I can contribute to the world?" He responded, "I'm pretty sure one Hudson Brown counts as a major contribution to the world." He's right, of course, but it's only a matter of time before I can no longer claim responsibility for Hudson's awesomeness. That will be all his. And I'll be back at square one.

Don't get me wrong, I've done a lot that I'm very proud of. My first job out of college was at Rolling Stone and my career has been pretty much uphill from there. Sure, I've written and designed, but I'm not a writer and I'm certainly not a designer. I've managed and produced some pretty cool events, but no one's really ever going to remember any of them—except maybe one, though it definitely won't be me they're remembering. I can crochet, but so can everyone else (and besides, I haven't picked up a hook in over a year). I have four beautiful letterpresses, but they're all in storage collecting dust. I feel like I am, too. 

I want to do something fun. Something amazing. 

Today, I'll probably lie awake in bed all night again trying to figure out what that something is.

In the meantime, tell me: What's your passion? (I may just have to steal it.)

Tuesday, January 3, 2012


Eight months ago we packed our bags, our cats, and our baby, and moved to DC to help open a new corporate office and launch a new division for our company. We told ourselves that, in the end, the only way we'd know the move had been worth it was if we were as sad on the day we left DC as we were when we drove south out of Burlington. 

It was so very worth it.

Washington, DC

While we were away, the Vermont office went through a major reorganization, moved to an entirely different building, and hired about a million new employees. On top of that, I was named to a newly created position (a massively broad one) to return to. Today was my first day.

It took me a while to find my desk. I had to ask where to hang up my coat, where to find IT, where to get water and go to the bathroom. Every other person I saw was a complete stranger. It was odd. 

My new boss found me standing quietly in front of the coffee machine. No mug. She said I looked kind of comatose. I told her I don't even drink coffee. I'd been staring at the name of the machine: cool beans. We had a running joke in the DC office about the expression and the machine made me miss them. It made me think of how Shanika cried for three days before we moved back, insisting that our leaving was "just whack."

And then Anna brought me a cupcake and a card. Someone else (I'm still not sure who) left a couple of chocolates on my keyboard. I unpacked my box of stuff and started to settle in. I caught up with a couple of people I was really happy to see and made fun of some others with my new neighbor. Toward the end of the day, I had a meeting to discuss a creative advertising idea for corporate—a meeting in which I found myself ranking people's attractiveness on a scale of small-medium-large (it was totally relevant to the topic, honest.) I walked back to my desk, still laughing at the ridiculousness of our conversation, and looked out the window at the beautiful sunset over Lake Champlain. I realized that in midst of so much change, some things had stayed the same. And they are some of my very favorite things. 

It felt good to be back.

Burlington, VT
Today I felt like the new kid in school looking for someone to have lunch with me. Tomorrow, I try again.

Monday, January 2, 2012


My husband has an expression he likes to use on our son when he's acting up. "Make a better choice, Hudson," he'll say to him casually. I love it not only because it sounds ridiculous said to a toddler, but because nine times out of ten, Hudson will stop in his tracks and find something else to do.

As he slowly begins finding his words, I started developing my own set of mantras for Hudson—two so far. The first is, "Uh-oh doesn't count if you do it on purpose, Huddy." The latest is, "When you hear 'be careful, Hudson', it means something bad is about to happen. So please be careful, Hudson."

As I thought today about this advice we give our son, I  remembered some advice I got from my friend Sara a few weeks ago. She and I were on the phone and I was whining about some major changes that were brewing at work. She stopped me and suggested (in her patented Zen-like way) that I try and focus on the present. Specifically, on the things that are within my control. "How can you make a difference today?" she asked. I, of course, rebutted with a bunch of but... but... but!!! When I eventually got off the phone, I was convinced that she was suggesting the impossible. At least for me. I pride myself on focusing on everything but today, everyone but myself. And then being a martyr about it. (OK, so I'm not proud of that last part.)

All of this thinking took place as I sat on the living room couch avoiding eye contact with the dining room / office / kitchen that was full of stuff we'd yet to put away since moving back to our 900 sq. ft. house in VT after 7 months in our seemingly palatial row house in DC. Just days ago I gave Hudson a run for his money as I threw the biggest tantrum about how small our house is, how we don't have room for any of our things, and how horrible it must be to be a toddler living in a cage (admittedly a little dramatic.)

Then I got an email from my friend Anne featuring happy holiday photos of her not one, not two, but three kids and husband in their beautiful, tidy-as-can-possibly-be 500 sq. ft. apartment in Hoboken. And I thought, what the hell is the matter with me?

So, today I made a better choice and focused on how I could make a difference. Today I got off the couch, cleaned up, and finally finished unpacking.
Today I found the dining room table my husband made for our beautiful, perfect for a toddler (save the open staircase and scalding wood stove), tidy-as-can-possibly be home. Tomorrow, I try again.

Sunday, January 1, 2012


The old 2000 flutes are just perfect for
every bubbly occasion.
I've always loved New Year's Day. 

The idea that the stroke of midnight on this one particular day each year means so much more than that on any other day is simply fascinating. 

Is it cheesy to believe that this day brings the opportunity to start over, to make amends, to dream big, to feel invincible? Sure. So are the commemorative, new millennium champagne flutes I insist on using on special occasions. So, some would argue, is starting a blog. On New Year's Day. Fair enough. But, here we are.

I'm not entirely sure what I'm doing. And I'm not sure anyone will really care. What I do know is that today I'm excited, as I am on this day every year, for what is to come. This is the year my son will turn two. This is the year I'll build a new house with my husband. Beyond that, I haven't a clue. Whatever the future holds, I'd like it to be interesting, creative, important, and fun (or any combination thereof.) 

In the past, I would write a long list of resolutions on New Year's Eve. I wouldn't read them again until the following year when I would highlight the things I'd accomplished, and carry over to the new list any that I hadn't yet, but still had a desire to do. This year, I wanted to try something new. And so I embark on this digital adventure. I suppose most people start a blog with a plan, a goal. At the moment, I have neither. My hope is that, as with everything in my life thus far, it'll be OK to figure it out as I go. So, here I go...

Today I made a 25th wedding anniversary gift for friends. Today I took an afternoon nap. Today I helped my husband clean up our son's barf out of the kitchen sink. Today I drank really good champagne. Today I started a blog. Tomorrow, I try again.