Snow Silence

It’s 7AM. It’s dark. It’s quiet. The normal bustle and sounds of activity that fill the air are muffled. This is a snow storm before the plows.

White covers everything. The wind is illustrated in white. The picture changes every minute. And it is quiet.

A quiet so deep it is usually experienced in the country, not in a metropolis like New York. Snow is the one thing that seems to bring the noise to its knees.

As I sit in the dark, I enjoy these last bits of silence. My fingers on the keyboard break it and pollute it. Sounds of plows and snow blowers are creeping into the silent space. Eventually it will be no longer and the noises will creep back in.

Until I must surrender to the sound, I will return to the dark and soak in this rare silence.

Snow Silence

Rocks in my Head

Sometimes there are days when I feel like I have rocks in my head.

Shake, shake, shake.

And sitting at my desk, feels futile because the ideas are difficult to come. Every word feels forced.

Rattle, rattle, rattle.

Unfortunately, these days seem to always come when I am on deadline, when I need to feel and be ON. So I type…

Tap, tap, tap.

Each labored word that comes chips away at the internal rocks turning them into pebbles. I can maneuver around pebbles.

Rocks in my Head


tea bag_always learn

Yesterday this was my tea bag. And it seems apt for today’s writing. It is back to school for Baby A—who should now be called Kid A (cue the Radiohead)—after holiday break. He wasn’t happy; he isn’t a fan of school. He doesn’t think he is learning anything.

I loved school as a kid. I even played school. And even today, it is my job to learn. As I told A., if I don’t learn something new everyday then I am not doing my job. Meaning I’m not asking enough questions, talking to enough people, or reading enough. It’s important for me to be curious. Luckily, he is too, so I can sometimes play teacher again.

Curiosity is one of the things I enjoy about him and as he gets older I hope that it doesn’t wane. The challenge now is to show him that school can help him unlock and solve the questions he is asking. And whether he realizes it or not, that’s when he’s learning.



Why Thank You Everything

When I started this blog in 2009, we were living in Arizona, my son had just been born, and I was looking for a way to warm up before writing my paying gigs. I was watching a lot of news, and it was depressing, and sometimes terrifying. It’s almost 2016 and things are just as bleak as they were when Thank You Everything started.

I haven’t been diligent writing here over the past few years, but each time I do the response is wonderful. Thank You Everything was started to help me (and, I hoped, others) express gratitude and appreciation for what surrounds us. Whether it is the amNewYork paper people at the subway stops at Bryant Park or West 81st Street, the random blue jay that doesn’t fly away as I get closer, or even the silence and stillness of an apartment when my family is asleep. These people, things, and moments need to be cherished.

As we enter 2016, it’s easy to get swallowed up by the hate, fear-mongering, and violence that surrounds us. Saying thank you for every thing, every being, every moment, every thought, every belief, is more important than ever if we don’t want to live in a world of fear and destruction. I am a big believer in the philosophy that the energy you send out into the world is the energy you receive, and that every action has a consequence. During this coming year, please join me in sending out kindness, understanding, and gratitude to all. Hopefully, the good vibes will prevail.

Why Thank You Everything

My Yoga Mat, My Island

The alarm goes off at 5:15 am. It is dark, it is cold, but I wiggle out of bed anyway. In the blackness, I grab my clothes and head to the bathroom to get dressed. Afterward I will make my way to the door, grabbing my yoga mat and coat on the way. I always take the mat. Clutching it, I make my way to the yoga studio near my apartment.

Starting my days on my yoga mat insures I will breathe today. Deep inhales and exhales through the nose, the air tumbling through the small space in my nasal cavity before it makes its way into my lungs. The rhythm and fluidity of these breaths reflect how I am doing, whether my body feels good or is in pain, or whether my mind is betraying or benefitting me.

This hour allows me the luxury of just breathing, not thinking. So rarely do I focus on the moment at hand — mindfulness — instead allowing my mind to wander to all the other things in life. My yoga mat, which has been with me for at least a decade, is my island, allowing me the solitude to just focus on my body using my breathing as my guide.

My Yoga Mat, My Island

The Jealousy List: What I Wish I Wrote

As a writer there are always stories that you wish you wrote and topics that you uncovered. There are too many characters, events, and viewpoints to discuss, and never enough time in the day to give them all the attention that they deserve — at least for one person.

Luckily, the world is full of many talented (and brave) journalists and writers so those stories can be told. Below is a list, honestly just a sample, of some of the articles that I came across in 2015 that I wish I had written. If you have stories that you wish you penned, please let me know in the comments section.

Go Ahead, Let Yourself Go — Details 

Even though this article was written in 2007 for the now-defunct Details magazine, I just discovered it this year. It’s a wonderful commentary about what happens to men when they don’t care about their appearance any longer. Considering that I write A LOT of fitness, nutrition and weight loss articles, I love the idea about talking about being sedentary, gaining weight, and just not giving a damn.

The Stories of the Six Men Who Caught the Cubs’ Historic Home Run Balls — Yahoo Sports

Wrigley Field is the first place that I saw a baseball game and I have been a lifelong Cubs fan ever since. From the lede paragraph to the each man’s tale, this article is crafted so well to interlace the bleachers, the moment, and the man. Even if you aren’t a sports fan, this story is an entertaining read.

Unexpected Honey Study Shows Woes of Nutrition Research — New York Times 

Nutrition is such a hot-bed topic and it is a tricky one to report on. This article explains why that is: nutrition research is flawed. This no-nonsense approach explaining the why we shouldn’t believe all the nutrition headlines we read.

Read Before You Speak — Los Angeles Times

When two college students refused to read the assigned curriculum, David Ulin took to his keyboard to explain why it is important to read (and be exposed to) different viewpoints, characters, and situations that may not make you comfortable. I remember reading Black Boy by Richard Wright and The Front Runner by Patricia Nell Warren while in school. They were sometimes difficult to read because of their depictions of violence (Black Boy) and homosexuality (The Front Runner), but over 20 years later they are memorable. They helped me understand viewpoints that are very different than my own.

The Fight Over Plastic Bags is About a Lot More Then How You Get Your Groceries Home — New York 

Consider this: a plastic bag is manufactured to be used for 12 minutes. Millions of dollars are spent to dispose of them. These are just two of the staggering numbers reported in this article. This article is a bit New York centric but it is interesting and written with humor.

Thank you for reading and please share your Jealousy List.

The Jealousy List: What I Wish I Wrote

What Cancer Has Taught Me

It took a grandfather, a grandmother, an uncle, a best friend’s father, a mentor,a pet and a childhood friend. Cousins, my mother and other friends have beat it and others I know are fighting it—all different types but all cancer. My grandmother (the previously mentioned one) even hoped that my father had it because it was more acceptable than the disease he was really fighting, HIV (it was the 80s).

Cancer is how I learned about death. At seven years old, when cancer took my uncle and grandfather, I learned that we could get sick and die. As time went on, when people died it seemed that cancer was the culprit. But as I got older, cancer no longer represented the grim reaper. Instead, its presence brought out strength and depth of character in its victims. As they fought their version of this disease, they powered through their lives as mothers, fathers, wives, husbands, and friends while the treatment ravaged their bodies but not their soul.

When I was young, cancer scared me. As an adult, it terrifies me. Not because how it would affect me, but how it would affect my family. I know how sickness and death can effect those on the sidelines and it is something I never want them to endure. Recently, a childhood friend lost her battle with breast cancer and while I thought about how she must have suffered through chemo, I found myself thinking about how she, despite her public fight with the disease, how she and her family dealt with the disease and the time leading up to her death: What she might have said to her two young sons and how they felt then, and even, now.

Cancer develops through a number of cell mutations that occur because of a perfect storm. When it hits full force it can bring out the strength and will of the victim’s character. Because of this horrendous disease, I learned to mourn the passing of loved ones; I witnessed strength and grace of people who will be forever a part of my consciousness; and I examined my own mortality because of those around me. It is part of my life experience, albeit I have always been on the sidelines, that has influenced the person that I have become.

What Cancer Has Taught Me