Down the Rabbit Hole

My summer has flown by- not in a good way, not in a bad way, but definitely not in a “I worked out religiously (unless you count 30 straight days) sort of way.” Following my 30 day stint with Bikram, I wanted a break from the expectation of working out. I wanted to sleep until 11 and not have any responsibility associated with sweating or doing laundry. I realize that the last two are obligatory in the summer. Whatever.

The other day my dad came into town from Florida so the family got together for our yearly barbecue. There were a lot of “so, what have you be doing lately?” kind of questions. I couldn’t actually think of anything other than finishing yoga! I did not bike ride around as frequently as usual, or run, or see people from far away. I have no idea how I spent my summer, and that is scary! What have I done?

OK, truth be told I did plan a lot of my wedding. Dress, bridesmaids, their dresses, DJ, florist, photographer. As a result, I have also gone off the deep end on the internet- the rabbit hole, so to speak. Hours would go by and I had created a new Pinterest board, but I didn’t have anything to really show for it except for a make believe fantasy wedding that looks pretty much like every other rustic chic Pinterest wedding. And today I hit an all time low and I went shopping on amazon:

Pug-Dogs-Cake-Topper-Figurine--CLONSure, it’s cute, and yes I love pugs, but girl- you need a life. Time to get off the couch… put some makeup on, make myself presentable to the world. I think I’m even going to go crazy and go into Manhattan. I need a little culture in my life.

Luna

I believe that truly learning about life comes from experience- it has to be authentically earned from moments we come across whether they are positive or negative. Whatever the moral of the story may be, it’s what that connection imparts in us that helps to define our understanding of the world. Life lessons have come to me from all corners of my tiny universe but one that I have learned greatly from is my relationship with my dog, Luna.

My dog taught me patience- half lab, half crazy, Luna was never the easiest pup to own and though her name came from her dark color that reminded me of the night sky, we would often refer to her as Luna-tic. From the time she was a puppy she made no discrepancies in her hatred towards all humans not in her family. Sure, her incessant barking at strangers was bearable as a little black puff ball, but as she got older and stronger it could scare the pants off of a grown-ass man. A lovely midday walk could result in a 90 pound dog taking me on a drag as she launched her body at a tender little child passing by on the street. I chose the word tender because I imagine that Luna would use that word to describe the child. She looked like she wanted a steak dinner. Because of her difficult behavior, we were forced to keep her bound to the confines of our small raised ranch in the quiet hills of Westchester, New York. As an avid pet lover, it was disappointing that our dog would never be the hiking partner I dreamed of. Or would she.

When I say that Luna will take you on a drag it’s because she truly will, but after becoming a closet Dog Whisperer admirer I began to use Caesar’s training methods on Luna on a regular basis in the Summer of 2007- I was a bored college student home on break and I made it my mission to tame the wild beast. Every day I would take her leash, bring her to the car, and go down to the bike path, choosing the least desirable time for bike riders, joggers, and children to be present (for fear of their safety.)

Day in, day out, this became our routine, 10 miles on the bike path, just me and my dog. If I so much as walked by her leash her head would perk up. I had to be careful with my words around her and even spelling the word car became part of her repertoire. We were bonded by the bike path and overtime she learned that if she even so much as gave a human the side-eye it was back in the car. We are nice in this family, Luna! We don’t eat our friends! I can’t tell you that she became this human loving, child canoodling, dog, and I’m not even convinced that if given the chance she would never eat a child, but within a summer she learned that if she wanted to run, she had to play by the rules. I learned a lot too. I learned the love and bond a person can develop with a pet is remarkable. I learned that hard work and perseverance paid off and I learned to never quit, and never say never. Many people would have quit on Luna a long time ago, but our family loved that dog.

This non-quitting attitude carried into the following year as Luna got sick and stopped walking. The veterinarian put her on a medication but she was given too much and her liver and kidneys went into failure. As a family we discussed at great lengths what to do with our sick, but young dog. The decision was to bring her to another veterinarian and give her a chance. This vet practices holistic medication and today Luna receives acupuncture on a weekly basis- I can’t make this up, that’s how loved this dog is.

Luna getting accupuncture

Luna getting acupuncture

At times we questioned what was the right thing to do. There was never an easy answer, but I will tell you that the right decision was made. Today she can no longer run, but she has been given six extra years of life that were almost taken from her. Since receiving treatment she has regained the ability to walk though she struggles to do long distances. This dog is a fighter, a wise old lady, a family guardian. She is stoic, but humble, and the boss of the other dogs in the house. I admire her.

The summer of 2007 we connected over those walks and developed this secret bond that only she and I will ever understand. I can never thank her enough for those memories. Today I no longer live at home but when I am home she still gets excited when I walk towards the door or near her leash. It breaks my heart to know that times will never be like they were seven years ago, but we both still remember, and that’s a beautiful thing.

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Gifts for a Badass

People always want to know the level of Jew you are when you’re Jewish.

Real life questions I’ve received: so, does your dad have curls on his head.
Real life answer: roll my eyes.

While we weren’t the most religious part of the tribe, my family was never Hanukkah Bush Jews, meaning, we didn’t decorate for Christmas or exchange gifts, and there was never a Santa in my household. Or a Hanukkah Harry if you were curious. In actuality, we loved being stereotypical Jews on christmas- hang out, get Chinese food, and see a movie.

Now, as a Jewish girl in a predominantly Irish / Italian catholic town, you would think I would stick out like poor old Rudolph, but unlike Rudolph I never needed to cover up my true identity. What I’m saying is, I was invited to play the reindeer games! Lucky me! I spent quite a few christmas eve’s with my best friends family enjoying the most delicious foods you have ever tasted and spending quality time with wonderful people. I think they were prepping me for my pseudo Christian life in the future. Everyone knew it was bound to happen that I would wind up with a nice Christian boy. Even in the Jewish pre school I went to, the only boy I wanted to play with was Hunter, the only little Christian boy in class. Thank you for just trying to prepare me for my future of christmas dinners, a Christmas tree (even though I am totally calling it a Hanukkah bush), and misleading my unborn children about that guy in the red suit- don’t get preachy on me about that statement, folks. Its my blog. I will offend Santa if I want to. Now I spend the holiday with John’s clan but those memories are always so special to me.

On Christmas Eve we go out to dinner at a place we go to every year. This meant that unlike Christmas morning where no makeup and pajamas suffice, I had to get ready.

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My big decision for Christmas Eve. What color, what color? When your most challenging decision of the day is lipstick, it’s going to be a damn good day!

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Lipstick decided. Fur is fake.

We met up with family and friends and had a table going with thirteen people. We laughed, ate, fought over politics, and possibly offended nearby patrons of the restaurant- it was a great time.

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John and I headed home to exchange gifts with each other. As a girl who loves bling I have to admit that I requested no jewelry- true statement. And he held to it and bought me gifts that any person that has a blog about running and staying active would want. A nike fuel band! A package for kick boxing! An SD card for my new camera! He’s the best! Athletic gear is a girls best friend! And boxing gloves – with a special note attached if you saw my previous post. For John, I got him new running sneakers and snowboarding gloves. An active couple? Us? Not one year ago.

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I immediately sat down at the computer and set up my new toy- the fuel band. The fuel band measures and tracks your daily activity as you set up goals. So I got some kind of jewelry. I will do a full review on it next week I want to see how it works this week. We tucked in early and got ready for Christmas Day.

I love christmas morning because it means no fuss. I showered, threw my hair up in a wet bun, put on my casual clothes that could simultaneously look cute and fit an expanding waistline, and headed over to John’s family’s home for French toast and eggnog with an extra special treat in it. After filling our bellies we sat around to unwrap gifts prior to heading over to our next location for Christmas dinner.

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Of course he gets the crock pot. No one trusts me with cooking devices. He also got truffle oil! Cooking time!

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I know this season can be a huge challenge despite the message it brings with it. As much as we adore our family, the pressures of running around, cooking, cleaning, and purchasing can take a toll on us. And as much as we adore our family, they can drive us crazy and they usually do. More crazy than we knew was possible. But I love family. And that’s why I’ve always loved Christmas. And clearly it’s not a religious holiday for me, and I understand that for many it is, but I love the message. I love love, and I love family, and I love togetherness. Isn’t that what this season is all about? That and food. Love, food, happiness, togetherness, and family. It doesn’t matter what religion you were born into, you can appreciate those things.

Happy holidays everyone! I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas- I know I did.

Stuffed like a Bird

I may have had stuffing for dinner, second dinner, and breakfast. I then proceeded to finish all of the leftover stuffing this afternoon. I’m not sure there is any greater side, or possibly it’s the fact that eating stuffing is relegated for this special time of the year. I got so stuffed on stuffing I think I’m good until next turkey day.

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I am thankful for stuffing.

But enough being ridiculous, I’m thankful for the warm home I can always come back to and spend hours laughing with my bizarre family.

This year there was a lot to allow myself to get bogged down in. Hurricanes and health problems topping the chart. But that doesn’t come to mind when I think about the year as a whole. I think of making changes and progress in my own life. I think about my growing family which just added the most beautiful new member this year. I think about creating new friendships with amazing people that have recently entered my life and I adore. I think about building stronger friendships with the people who just get me because they’ve been stuck with me for that long. I think about my relationship and how fortunate I am to have someone that truly loves me, which is saying a lot.

I am thankful for two functioning legs that I have taken for granted all of my life. They have at times been a source of frustration when they caused me pain. At times they have been a source of insecurity when they rubbed together. They have carried me on mountain hikes with friends. They have taken me throughout the windy streets of unknown cities. They are now what allows me to run. I am so thankful for them.

Last night my mom gave me an awesome present and reminder:

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Run hard when it’s hard to run.

I have so much to be appreciative for this year. And now some new inspiration to get to the gym. Running is never easy, but knowing I have supportive people in my life who have my best interest in heart has made this year extra special. I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday and was able to reflect on the good in their life as well.

Visiting Hours

May of 2009 ended my senior year of college which means I have been out of college longer than I was in college.  Guh.  Eight years after my freshman year and now my baby brother is in his freshman year at my very own alma mater.  It was his decision to go and probably has absolutely nothing to do with me, but I’m so proud I could squeeze him to pieces.  While pretending his decision to go has everything to do with me.  

After waking up with no alarm, hip-hip-hooray for that, I did a quick two miler with John and got ready to escape the Island because my baby broseph was in town and I needed to squeeze him to pieces.  We hit the road for a scenic, and beautiful, 2 hour drive north to spend some quality time with my family.

So what do you do when you travel to see your family? My family eats.  First stop, lunch.  There is this place in my town that has obscene breakfast foods.

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So obviously, when faced with obscene breakfast foods get the craziest one… behold, a canoli pancake.

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me, brother, mom

me, brother, mom

The rest of the afternoon we spent making fun of each other and being ridiculous- There is no other way.  Thankfully the middle child wasn’t there or it would have been a slaughterhouse of mockery.  We are mean to each other in the only way siblings can be, with love.  I did get to help my brother with an improv skit he has to do for an acting class.

Assignment:

you are doing something in a rush. props needed.

So, behold.  Me teaching my youngest brother how to apply makeup.  He will be playing a girl getting ready for a first date.

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Perfect way to start the week.