Tuesday, February 28, 2012


Much like the drivers in yesterday's rain-delayed Daytona 500, I've been running at full throttle in a single direction lately, with no end in sight. And the season's only beginning.

In the two weeks since my last post, I've missed some pretty special birthdays and anniversaries, rushed through bedtime stories, skipped lunches altogether, and generally willed every day away in hopes that the next one would be better, calmer, quieter, more fun.

Instead, each new day has brought with it another seemingly insurmountable pile of work and yet another life lesson to learn. The most recent being: As a boss, I'm not always going to be everyone's best friend. Quite the contrary, I might actually be their worst nightmare.
Isn't this how you're supposed to do it??
It used to be that a day at the office might be crazy, a client might piss us off or a co-worker might drive us crazy, but when it was all said and done we'd sit around together and gossip about it. These days, I'm lucky if I have a moment to say hi to the good friend that sits right next to me or to the other that couldn't sit farther. And, I'm even luckier if the sitting around and gossiping isn't about me.

I've been told I've gotten too serious (really?) and that I need to loosen up* (REALLY??) If only the bosses I had in my 20s could see me now! Of course, they can't see me. No one can. I'm always in meetings.

With performance reviews well under way, continuous improvement is really top of mind. I want to make sure that I'm actually helping others achieve their greatest potential and do their best work. Even more so, I want to make sure I'm doing the same myself—both in the office and out.

As I sit here tonight on what would technically be the last day of yet another crazy month, I give thanks in advance to the Gregorian gods for their little gift of an extra day tomorrow and continue to hope for the best.

*Seriously, Tim, that's just how I sneeze! There's nothing wrong with it.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012


During my 7 month stint in DC, I worked—mostly peripherally—with a woman named Kelley. She would walk into our offices for meetings about once a week, in her perfectly pressed outfits and her perfectly straight bright red hair, and intimidate the hell out of me. It didn't help that she worked in a finance capacity, bringing in millions of dollars in grants with the swift and efficient stroke of her pen. (Yes, I know she probably types her funding proposals on a laptop, but whatever. That doesn't sound as good.)

After a couple of months, not talking at all shifted to bantering over who got to eat the only chocolate croissant on the pastry tray at the meeting. Out of nowhere, it seemed, the caterer stopped including them and we found ourselves back at square one. Except somehow, I can't remember when or why, we started emailing each other.

Turns out, we have a ton in common, she's pretty hilarious, and she's a BAKER. (Why she couldn't bake her own chocolate croissants instead of eating all of mine, is beyond me.) Unfortunately, I left DC before we were able to solidify our relationship with some good old fashioned hanging out.

Then, yesterday, we once again found ourselves together in a meeting in DC. Immediately afterward, she asked if I had a minute to talk. Thinking she wanted to vent about work, I whisked her down to the building's cafeteria. Imagine my surprise when prim and proper Kelley let loose a barrage of profanity sprinkled with words like FLOWERS and MAKE UP and INVITE LIST and HAIR...

Wait a second, I thought. She wants to talk to me about her wedding plans? OMG, we're actually friends!

As she went on, I continued to think about how life never really ceases to amaze me. And that felt pretty good. Almost as good as my new friend trusting me with her secrets and frustrations about a day that can quickly spiral from wedded wonder into something bigger and badder than you could every imagine. Not Michael Jackson Bad, bad bad. 

We chatted for much less time than I would have wanted and certainly less than the topic warranted, but by the end of it I knew it wouldn't be the last time we spoke. And it wouldn't matter if we were in the same place. Hopefully, in some small way, I'll be able to make a difference in her big day (or at the very least help her get to and through it.) And hopefully, we'll be able to share much more than chocolate croissants in the future.

It's looking like 2012 might just turn out to be the year of friendships. And that sounds pretty good to me.

Monday, February 13, 2012


Last week, I asked a friend if it would be OK for me to share a link to his blog with another friend. He said, yes, of course, the more readers, the better. At first, this struck me as an odd concept since I'd always seen The Long Meander as a way of putting my own thoughts and feelings down on "paper". An exercise for me more than for others. This despite the fact that I regularly find myself obsessing over my stats page. How many readers have I had today? What's my best-read post? (It's a tie between Brass Tacks and Gifts... Two of my earliest posts. Should I be worried???) It was when I started to consider that by posting really late at night my links were being buried in people's newsfeeds in the morning, thus greatly reducing my readership, that I realized maybe he was on to something.

Of course with all of the social media platforms out there today, I sometimes find myself trying to decide which would be most appropriate for the particular item I feel like sharing at any given moment. In the spirit of relevant, valuable content, I hesitate to blog about something that might be more appropriate for, say, a Facebook status update, or even a Tweet. But, here I am, a whole week since my last post (an eerily foreshadowing post, am I right?????) with a million little things I want to share with my readers. Whoever you may be. Here, tonight, I share but one.

Home is wherever you are.

Within the span of 6 hours yesterday, I found myself in three different cities, all of which I can honestly call home. I left Vermont in tears. Missing my husband and my young son, who I was leaving for the first time ever, before I even got out of the car at the airport. Fifty-seven minutes after take off from BTV, I landed at Laguardia, the airport I could throw a rock at from my awesome, old three bedroom, one-and-a-half bath apartment in Astoria way back in the day. The airport at which the traffic control tower windows were now covered with signs that read, on one side: CHAMPIONS; on the other: GIANTS. It was so wonderful to be home in NY. The city I love so much. The city Nicci brought me back to so vividly in her own post earlier in the week.

The visit was short-lived, as not 30 minutes later, I boarded my next flight. This time to DCA.

Just liked we'd known each other forever, the neighbor we'd shared for only 7 short months came to pick me up from the airport. When I walked into her house, her son Charlie gave me the biggest hug I think I've ever gotten from ANYONE and said, "HUDDY!?" It was at the same time heartbreaking and heartwarming. I was home again. Again.

Kim and Tori, my DC family, joined me for dinner at one of my favorite restaurants on 8th Street. We laughed and gossiped about the silliest, most wonderful things. It was perfect.

Tomorrow at 3:10, I'll once again get on a plane. This time, a direct flight back to my other home. Hopefully I'll make it back in time to join my two Valentines for a nice dinner, followed by an epic round of bedtime stories.

When I got home from a business dinner tonight, I had an email from a friend, complaining that I hadnt posted to my blog in a while. It was my neighbor, Kim. I peeked out the window to see if they were still up, but alas. They were probably upstairs having storytime of their own.

I am honored and thrilled that just four short days from now, those same neighbors that welcomed us into their home, knowing full well we planned to abandon them eventually, will be getting on a plane themselves to visit us in Vermont for the long holiday weekend.

Hurry home, Kim, Paul, and Charlie! We can't wait to have you.

Monday, February 6, 2012


Back in college, I lost two really good friends on account of the same boy. One because I somehow managed to ruin all chances of her ever dating said boy. The other, after my heart-wrenching breakup from said boy, because she returned the favor. I guess maybe, just maybe, I lost them both because of me.*

Truth be told, I would take those two friends over that silly boy any day of the week. But as Anne and Dave—two friends that are masters of mixed metaphors—would say: hindsight is 50/50.

I always knew.
Not surprisingly, friends are on my mind a lot lately. But today, in a whole new way. You see, today, I found out that someone I don't really like very much is friends with someone I like a lot. Hmph.

Upon learning this disconcerting fact, I couldn't help but be reminded of my famous Whitney and Bobby theory: While everyone was wondering why Whitney stayed with that abusive, philandering, drug addict, I believed that apple couldn't be too far from the tree. Not far at all. (Yes, I just sourced TMZ. Booya!)

Years ago, I would have been overcome by self-doubt, thinking that I must be missing something huge about the one friend if she like the person I didn't. The older—and only slightly more mature—me, is overcome by a different kind of self-doubt, thinking: the fact that the friend I like likes someone I kind of don't, must mean I'm missing something wonderful about them, right? Could be. I've definitely been wrong before (except about the other Browns, when I was totally right).

Here's the thing about me: I don't really like sharing friends. Especially with people I don't approve of. There, I said it. On the topic of friends, I'm brattier and more possessive than my two year old who runs around all day yelling mine, Mine, MINE!

So now I'm overcome with a new thought: Is 35 too old to learn how to share?

*As luck would have it, I reconnected with one of the friends from college a couple of years ago, and just recently (if you count Facebook) with the other. I feel pretty lucky about both.

Saturday, February 4, 2012


In a recent meeting with our rep from Fleischer Jacobs, we got to talking about all of the grown up stuff you never want to think about: Life insurance, trusts, wills. I tuned in and out, as much of it was a bit over my head. It was when I heard her saying, "...so if the two of you were to die in a plane crash, then Hudson would..." that I piped up. 

"We don't have to worry about that," I said. "We always fly together. The three of us." Her response was quick and direct: "You. Must. Do. It. You have got to make time for yourselves. Just the two of you." It was then—when our financial advisor turned marriage counselor / life couch—that it struck me how badly in need of alone time we are.

Aside from the time he's spent at school (or with his nanny in DC), I can count on one hand the total number of hours we've been away from Hudson since the day he was born. It's not that we're overbearing or paranoid first-time parents. Life has just gotten away from us. Not to mention that Hudson's pretty fun to hang out with.

Ever since that meeting, I've been obsessing over what to do about our situation. Take tonight as an example. We were feeling antsy and wanted to get out of the house for a while. We decided eating out would be fun, but our selection of restaurant was more a process of elimination than anything else. Where's the closest place, that serves tasty beverages, that isn't too crowded... AND will be OK with a toddler taking over the joint. The bakery. Again. (No offense to the bakery, of course, it's just that if there's one thing Vermont has, it's restaurants to choose from.)

So we went. Oddly for a Saturday night, we were the only ones there. That was just fine with Hudson. He ran from table to table. He played with all of the utensils. He squished the bread. He smeared his hands all over the windows, glass doors, and bakery case. He rearranged the booster seats, sliding them all over the floor. He climbed up the high chair, pulled down the Melissa & Doug Latches board and threw that around. And that was all before the food came. They were out of the Woodchuck Amber , which totally bummed me out, and by the time we were finished eating we were all exhausted.

By 8:30, Hudson and Logan were both in bed and I was on the couch reading the copy of Kids VT magazine I picked up on our way out of the bakery. Right smack in the middle of it, clearly written to taunt me, was an article about finding the perfect babysitter. Sigh.

My problem is two-fold: I don't like the idea of asking friends for help (they have their own lives, their own kids, there own issues to deal with without having to take on my mine) and the idea of leaving Hudson with someone we don't know doesn't sit well with me. So what's a girl to do?

I have faith that someday we'll figure it out. I just hope it'll be sooner rather than later because I'm not sure how much longer the Kitchen Table Bistro will honor the gift certificate we got as a wedding gift. 

Two and a half years ago.  

Wednesday, February 1, 2012


Today, Logan and I attended our second annual parent/teacher conference at Hudson's school. We met with the head of the "Chickadee" class in a private office where she told us how well Hudson is doing with the transition back, how his language skills are improving, and how amazingly his fine and gross motors skills are developing. Best of all, she told us how funny Hudson is. A total character. We were glowing parents, so proud of our boy. We almost made it out with my pride still intact. Almost.

If there's one thing to know about parent/teacher conferences for kids this age, it's that the issues that come up will more often than not be about the parents. Last year, we spent about 5 minutes of the meeting talking about Hudson. The rest of the time, we got scolded for all of the silly, inappropriate, and downright crazy things we'd done at the expense of the other babies. Correction: Logan had done.

Now, here we were, a year older, clearly none the wiser. We were so close! About to pack up and go. Then Logan offered the teacher $5,000 if she could get Hudson to stop whining within one week. She giggled awkwardly and he immediately upped it to $10,000. Next he said, "If terrorists had your daughter and they wouldn't give her back unless you ranked all of the kids in Hudson's class in order of awesomeness, where would he rank?"

The utmost professional, she managed to change the subject back to the kids. Turns out they're planning a pretty cool theme week. Each day, the kids will learn a new color by cooking food and wearing clothes that match the hue of the day. She mentioned that some of the parents expressed interest in helping out by cooking some of the food. And there it was. The perfect way to end on a high note.

On the tip of my tongue: "Yes! Of course! We'll totally help!"  But before I could get it out, Logan felt compelled to say: "Make sure you don't let Jon Olin and Nicci Micco cook anything... I don't know what they do, but every time I eat their food I get RAGING diarrhea." Totally ridiculous. Totally untrue. Somehow, she found it in her heart to tell us how nice it is when parents have a sense of humor.

Well, at least we have that.