Gulp, Yelp.

I absolutely LOVE reading reviews people leave on YELP.  Not always for finding new eats, mind you, but for the sheer entertainment factor.

"With nothing for my 3 year old to do (no crayons, no paper to draw on and the noise level was too loud for him to pay attention to his ipad) and still waiting for our salads, my husband ended up taking my son outside for a walk.  Salads came, still no food for my son.  Salads cleared, still no food for my son.  Our dinner finally came but at this point my son was fit to be tied....and so was I because there was still no food for him.  Guess whose dinner came last?!?"

Love the way taking the overwhelmed iPad using 3 year old outside for a walk seems unheard of to this mother.  No one's EVER had to do that before while waiting for their food to be prepared and served to them.  Oh, the horror.  Also, um, bring your own fucking crayons to a restaurant.  Unless it's Chucky Freaking Cheese, restaurants are (shocker) not responsible for entertaining your child.  And ear phones.  He needs earphones.  For the iPad you've given him.  And FOOD.  For the love of Christ, pack that kid some food so he won't have to sit for more than 7 seconds in a restaurant with NO FOOOOOOD!!!  Is this an American attitude-instant gratification thing?  Or just a dopey parenting thing? Hint for next time: Hire a sitter.


Oh Depression, You Auld Acquaintance You...

Oh how I love this photo.  Taken on a trip to Copenhagen, in the cemetery where my grandmother's two cousins (whom I'd never gotten to meet) lie.

2013 was a pretty good year for was the first year, in quite a few, I was kind of sad to say goodbye to.  It  definitely had its ups (our marriage is the strongest it's been in years, our children are doing well, I was given a promotion/raise, the Mister has made GREAT strides in conquering his depression) and, as all years do, its downs (my father in law died very unexpectedly, leaving his wife of nearly 58 years, 6 children, 15 grandchildren and 2 great  grandchildren reeling from the shock of having him die while undergoing "routine procedure").  And that, as we all know it, is life.  The ups and downs are absolutely out of our control, we can only control our response to them.  When life hands you lemons...chuck 'em through your enemy's window.  Or make a meringue and share it with your friends. See there?  The choice is yours!

The Mister's been doing amazingly well with the challenges of fighting a long term, serious clinical depression.  It seems, after  being prescribed every pharmaceutical in the book, undergoing ECT treatments which have permanently damaged his memory, seeing a  very suspect therapist and to add insult to injury having his wife flake out on him, he's taking back some of the happiness he so deserves. He's seeing two excellent  therapists, a  very astute and competent psychiatrist and has seemingly, at long last,  found the magic bullet which has mightily diminished the depression and given him some  feeling, some happiness,  some laughter, some connection to the world back.   I hope, oh how I hope, that his recovery's definitely not just the person dealing with mental health issues who suffers, their partners and families suffer mightily as well.  Depression, particularly treatment resistant depression, is a monster.  A monster with a seemingly bottomless reserve of focus and energy all targeted at the person it is inhabiting!  It is a joy killing, marriage wrecking, family harming nightmare.  Yet we're finally seeing some light at the end of what's been a long, long  tunnel.  *(If this post reaches anyone struggling with depression, feel free to contact me.  We are an open book with the struggle  this has been and will willingly offer any support we can to anyone who may need it.)

Oh, 2014, please be as  kind or kinder than  2013 was to us! My wish, upon the beautiful supermoon smiling in the sky tonight,  for everyone is to live a 2014 overflowing with health, happiness, kindness, friendship, family and love.  xoxo


Just Do It...

Living by the beach provides the ultimate outdoor space for getting fit...mentally and physically.  Eldest daughter and I have been running/walking together lately.  Our town, Long Branch, has a two mile long boardwalk which was ravaged by Superstorm Sandy.  It's still a beautiful route, but just not the same as the old boards...there's a chain link fence now (to keep people off the now-exposed sea wall) and just an asphalt road to run upon.  We drove out to Sandy Hook last Sunday and enjoyed the change of scenery.  The first photo below is of the Sandy Hook Lighthouse (the oldest working lighthouse in the country), the second is looking over from Sandy Hook to Manhattan, the third is North End Beach in Long Branch, the fourth me stretching in Pier Village and the rest are vintage shots of Sandy Hook/Fort Hancock.  I was pretty lazy all last winter and gained the weight to prove it.  By cutting waaaaay down on carbs (my drug of choice) and getting back out to exercise, 12 pounds dropped off pretty effortlessly.  Now to get back to fighting weight I'll have to work a little harder.  Remembering how good it feels after running should help a bit.  Remembering how good it feels to fit in my clothes should help a lot. 

As a goal, Daughter and I may do the Deal 5k in October.  I'll never be fast but at least I can be consistent...

Sandy Hook, once upon a time...

Fort Hancock Hook, Highlands, N.J.

Building 130

 Post Hospital, c. 1930.


Summer in the City...

The Mister and I headed in to Manhattan Friday...according to weather reports, it "felt" like 106, but that didn't stop us from taking a 12 mile walk and enjoying the day. Three weeks ago I cut grains and sugar from my diet as an attempt to a.) lose the weight I started packing on when SuperStormSandy held me hostage for a week with a full-though not functioning-fridge and b.)to try to get my stomach issues under control. After reading a great amount about wheat and it's supposed multitude of evils, I figured it couldn't hurt, so here I am...3 weeks in on a low carb eating plan. Twelve pounds down and my former gut problems have miraculously ceased and desisted. So, seems to be working. And, no, I don't only eat bacon and eggs! Veggies are my mainstay. Went to dinner at Copper Canyon in Atlantic Highlands last night with the Mister, my brother and his beautiful wife. Ordered Shrimp Fajitas, simply omitted the tortillas. Had a tequila (Copper Canyon is renowned for their tequilas)and enjoyed every bite and sip. I'm fairly sure I breached every possible point of good etiquette when I ate guacamole with a fork-but it was entirely worth it. The whole sugar thing is a beast of another color, but so far so good. My birthday is mid-August, so I am looking forward to the piece of amazing coconut cake I'll allow myself to have from either the Flaky Tart, also in Atlantic Highlands OR Smith & Wollensky if we have my birthday dinner in Manhattan. Either way, I am innately grateful for what I have and where I'm at. Life IS good...


Duke Farms on a Hot July Day

Took the week off from work and am enjoying every second of it! The temp is kind of high-mid 90s-but that didn't deter me and the Mister from driving out to Duke Farms in Hillsborough, NJ. What a great place to spend a day. We used their bike-share to get around, which was a fantastic way to see as much of the grounds as we chose to...there is also a tram and walking trails, we biked about 6 miles (he with very little effort, me with a LOT of effort) and just kind of reveled in a day which had no structure, no schedule, no stress!!! You can't help but marvel at the sheer size of the the Mister noted, it would be like owning your own Central Park. Doris Duke lived a most extraordinary life, and her passion for the land is our gift to treasure.


Recent Reads

Our library has an e-book borrowing system, and though I never thought I'd enjoy reading this way, I've become a SmartPhone reading fiend! It's just SO damned convenient...log on, download what you'd like, read away...added bonus is I can read at night without turning on a bedside lamp, thus sparing the Mister the annoyance of trying to sleep with the light on. In any case, I've been ripping through memoirs the past couple of weeks. Here's a brief list of what's been read: "The Girl's Guide to Homelessness" by Brianna Karp Not only has Miss Karp faced a ridiculous amount of turmoil in her short life, she was also thrown for a loop in love. Though it's a memoir, parts of it read as a mystery/thriller. "Found" by Jennifer Lauck. Beautifully written tale of her search for her birth mother, after some daunting and brutal life experiences. "Everything Is Perfect When You're A Liar" by Kelly Oxford. She's gorgeous, funny and unrepentant. Everything I like in a girl. "All I Can Handle:I'm no Mother Teresa" by Kim Stagliano. Kim is the mother of three daughters. All of whom have autism. Her take on life will buoy you no matter who you are, where you're at or what you've gone through. She's funny, smart and grounded and unflinchingly shares her experiences as a Mom and wife who has had a lot to contend with. She's also taken on the role (after some harrowing experiences of her own) of being an amazing advocate for people with autism and their families. "What I Thought I Knew" by Alice Eve Cohen She was 44, in a great romantic relationship after a tough divorce, and raising her beloved daughter in Manhattan. What could go awry? Throw an unexpected, almost medically impossible pregnancy into the mix. Ms. Cohen's bravely written story stuck with me long past the last page.


"Me Want Money"...

Well, it was bound to happen. You can't help but get a little cheesed by the characters hanging around in Times Square. Not the characters of our youth (see: "Taxi Driver" for reference), but the knock-off Muppets and Mickeys which have taken over and attempt to shake down all the unsuspecting tourists they can by taking photos then asking for tips. Cookie Monster Assaults Child Disturbing, to say the least. And of course NY is claiming there is little to be done about them. Ah well...much as the "Windshield Cleaners" of the 70s, and smokers of the 90s, the Skeevy Costume Pandhandlers are sure to fade away eventually.