Saturday Short Stack

NPR is holding a writing contest, 600 words due Jan 23, 2011.

NY Restaurant Week is coming up Jan 24th-Feb 6th. The well known venues book up early so if you’ve ever wanted to dine at the Russian Tea Room now’s you chance to do it relatively cheap.

In my corner of the world:

Two weeks until my nieceornephew enters the world. Two months have passed since I began the baby blanket, forgetting I am the slowest knitter in the universe. Maybe sheorhe will accept an ear blanket?



hello again

Back from a blogging sabatical all tan and rosy cheeks. Not really. I may just be the palest gal in NYC, but I am back online just in time to read the endless anti-climactic “Best of-” lists.

Not a big fan of these lists. Isn’t it more fun to think about the year ahead instead of behind us?

Most on my mind is turning 30 in a few months. I cannot tell you how excited I am to exit my twenties. When I was a kid, my dad told me childhood would be the best years of my life. Trapped in a rural development at the end of a culdesac, a middle world with no sidewalks or wild nature, I prayed he was wrong, but did wonder about the best years of my life and if I would recognize them.

Friends and family tell me their twenties were their best years. My twenties could be summed up as the feeling that I was playing a guessing game at the wrong party.

My thirties are going to be awesome. Not the best years, but the better years.

On the agenda is to run 30 miles on my birthday and train for a 2011 marathon. I’m running 4 miles through Central Park with the NY road runners at midnight on New Year’s Eve, which I think is a nice start so long as klutzy (that’s me) doesn’t slip on any ice.

I’m also going to finish my manuscript and build my craft business. I opened an Etsy shop, and I’m almost done converting a mini side room that was packed with boxes into my workshop.


dusting off the workbench

The unpopulated beaches of north Jersey are a godsend. There’s something to be said for an empty stretch of beach on a Saturday in August. And by ‘stretch of beach’, I mean that the closest people were about 100 feet away. During the week, there’s nobody here except for a few flying surfers with giant kites.

My sister lives a whole five blocks from the beach. I came to visit my buddy and swim, and to leave my inertia in Brooklyn. I’m still stuck on the treadmill, but when I get off at the end of the day I have a new venture to turn my attention to. It’s creative and has nothing to do with writing – which is a breath of fresh air.

I’m only half-way through Gone-Away Lake. Not because I’m not enjoying it, it’s just that my sis has shelves and shelves of books and I couldn’t resist picking one up.

refueling on-the-go

August is almost here and I have yet to put my toes in the ocean or a pool or a river, but I’m hoping to change that early next week.

While bronchitis threw me off my running routine for the better part of July, my computer ¬†stepped into the role of treadmill. What I mean to say is that the deadlines keep coming, I keep racing to meet them, but there’s no time for celebration because it’s on to the next. I know I’m not the only freelancer hustling to stay afloat these days so I wonder how others are refueling on-the-go. How to you recharge when there’s no time for anything but work?

Images of sandy bare feet come to mind: Ocean in the background, laptop in the foreground. Unfortunately, as sand destroyed every walkman I took to the beach in high school, I imagine it¬†would not be kind to my laptop. Nor would the sun’s glare, salt air or drips from my fudgie wudgie.

A well made Mojito or Pina Colada is a temporary boost. As is comfort food: dahl, millet, potato beet curry and borscht. My favorite moment this month was during a visit to my sister’s in PA with my 2-yr old niece. We went to the drive-in, laid out a blanket, bought a funnel cake and built a fort with the pillows. I counted the stars and watched my niece experience the magic of confection sugar melting in her mouth for the first time.

Part of staying positive is setting goals and focusing on the bigger picture. The pace has slowed, but that doesn’t mean the direction can’t keep moving forward. One of my favorite things to do is read, and I can always find time for that. So to feed my craft and imagination, I’m going to read 100 children’s books over the next fuel months. A number of children’s writers say the best way to get better at writing for children is to read children’s books, and the New York Public Library has enough kids books to fill several reading lifetimes.

I’m beginning with Gone-Away Lake by Elizabeth Enright.

sleeping with one eye open

Writing a blog feels like standing in an empty room and talking. There’s a recorder in the room, I hit ‘record’, try to make sense of something, hit ‘save’, then leave. Rinse and repeat. Sometimes a nice person googles something, clicks on a link and finds himself falling into my empty room. The door is open so he can leave or hit play. He hits ‘play’ and nods or shrugs then goes on his way, may to wander back and maybe not.

I apologized to my blog for my neglect, it was a private conversation and it forgave me! With that, I am in the empty room opening pages of the last month at random:

  • It’s hot in New York City. On the 4th, I faced the Statue of Liberty while swinging on Governor’s Island. Yes, there are adult swings (and that doesn’t mean something dirty) – they’re raised high and firmly set in the ground. Roseanne Cash played a free concert on the lawn. Most of the songs were selected from a list of 100 Essential Songs that her father made for her. They included Harry Belafonte, Jimmy Rodgers and many that I wish I wrote down. Then we had deliciously frosty pina coladas.
  • Faith No More played one of the best shows I’ve ever seen in my life at the Williamsburg Waterfront. I don’t know how Mike Patton performed in a velvety red suit when I was melting in a tank top, but he re-set my bar as too many nights in little venues made me forget how good good live music can be.
  • I’m going to stop apologizing for reading women’s fiction. Barefoot by Elin Hilderbrand pushed me over. No, I don’t think my boyfriend would like it, at all, but it’s really well written and I loved it.
  • I went to a preview of Grease Sing-along the other night. I was nervous because I grew up loving this movie, and have probably seen it more times than any other film (even my sick movie What About Bob?). They added the lyrics to all the songs in a really fun non-subtitley way, as well as occasional graphics that embellished some of the film’s camp. The good news is that the additions were not intrusive and added to the fun of seeing Grease on the big screen in a theatre full of loud New Yorkers. It’s out on a limited release so if you have the chance, I definitely say go – especially if it plays in a local drive-in.

I don’t remember putting Spain in the finals of my bracket, but I did so apparently I’m tied for first place over a bunch of soccer fanatics. Yay, me.

2011 NYC Half marathon

Registration is now open for NYC’s half marathon in spring 2011. A friend who ran this year said it was fantastic. Because there are always more applicants than vacancies, there’s a late November lottery for runners.

Qualifying time for women 18-39 is 1:37:00 and men is 1:23:00. I’ve never ran a half so I don’t have any times, much less a 1:23. Qualifying marathon times, by the way are 3:23:00 and 2:55:00 for women and men respectively.

I prefer non-city races, but I get why so many people love this race.

Motivation Bruce Lee Style

Motivation for runners, writers, and anyone who intends to do anything.

Via Reddit.

Statue of Bruce Lee

(Photo by BRUCELEE3 via Wikicommons)