Spoiled By Springsteen

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44891_10151371661141457_1238195171_nMy husband and I both grew up at the Jersey Shore, both on barrier islands. I in Ocean City (Exit 25) and he in Chadwick Beach (Exit 82). It’s not much of a surprise, then, that we ended up living in Alameda, an Island City off the coast of Oakland. The need to be surrounded by water is just in our DNA.

A strong desire to live near the beach isn’t the only genetic imprinting that happens when one grows up at The Jersey Shore. There are other predispositions: abiding love for soft pretzels, boardwalks, and soft serve; memories of horseshoe crabs (in decline now due to pollution), jellyfish, and sand crabs; and perhaps the most deeply rooted of all, an almost reverent devotion to the music of Bruce Springsteen.

At the risk of sounding blasphemous, I didn’t become a complete devotee until I was in my 20s. It was 1995 and my then-boyfriend and I packed up our yellow Ryder truck and set out from the dead-end street near his parents’ home on our move to San Francisco. Fittingly, Thunder Road played as our wheels took us slowly away from the place we’d known all our lives. Following The Boss’s command: We were getting out while we were young.
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We’ ll Always Have Paris

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Hundreds of environmentalists arrange their bodies to form a message of hope and peace in front of the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France, December 6, 2015, as the World Climate Change Conference 2015 (COP21) continues at Le Bourget near the French capital. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier - RTX1XF6Y

Hundreds of environmentalists arrange their bodies to form a message of hope and peace in front of the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France, December 6, 2015, as the World Climate Change Conference 2015 (COP21) continues at Le Bourget near the French capital. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier – RTX1XF6Y

Editor’s Note: This piece was written in three separate settings, which accounts for the lapses in time and space. 

My family and I are scheduled to fly to Paris in a week. It’s a trip we’ve been looking forward to for months. Imagining ourselves strolling down the narrow cobblestone streets, pausing to enjoy a croissant and cafe at one of Paris’ ubiquitous and adorable bistros; walking along the banks of the Seine, visiting the Louvre; wandering the stalls in the expansive flea markets in search of antique treasures…has been an all-consuming pastime since we decided to go.

And then the events of last Friday night unfolded. I was in a meeting when I received an email from my brother-in-law that simply read, “Tragic news coming out of Paris right now…”. He didn’t go into details, and I couldn’t respond in the middle of my meeting, so it was hours before I understood fully what had happened.

Readers who don’t know me well (and even some who do) might be surprised to learn that I secretly call myself Worst-Case Scenario Girl. Why? Because if there is even a whiff of danger afoot, my mind immediately goes to the, you guessed it, worst-case scenario. It seems my new pastime was imagining all the terrible things that could—and in my mind definitely would—go wrong in Paris.
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Fast Times

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I’m in the middle of a weeklong  Master Cleanse fast and just realized I have spent the last half-hour browsing recipes for golden lentil soup. I guess this would be a good time to collect my thoughts and feelings about how this fast is going so far. Time to refocus the mind!

Although this fast has become trendy among a certain celeb set, I first heard of the cleanse eleven years ago when it was still something only the crunchy hippies in our circle of friends were doing. And I mean that in the nicest possible way, of course.

After watching my husband go through the, um, process for a week, I decided to give it a try. While it’s true that you can lose a fair amount of weight (mostly water and…some other stuff), that wasn’t my primary motivation. I had just had my second miscarriage and was feeling pretty down about it. We had been trying for years and just couldn’t make it stick. When I heard about the cleanse I thought it might help me “clean out the pipes” so to speak, set the right conditions for trying to conceive again.

I should mention here that going into my first cleanse I was a stone-cold caffeine junky. I could easily have 6-8 cups of coffee a day. It really bothered me to feel so enslaved to something. I knew it would be hard to give it up for the fast, but I also knew that I wanted to prove to myself that I didn’t really need it. Continue reading »


Doing It For Themselves

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adultraisebookWe’re midway through our summer vacation and the word “bored” has come up countless times already. For a generation of kids that has summer camp choices out the wazoo, I say, “you don’t know what being bored looks like!”

Perhaps by virtue of growing up at the beach, or by being raised in a family without bucketloads of disposable income, my friends and I learned how to occupy our time in the summer without intervention from our parents. If we dared to utter the “b” word, our parents would open the screen door and tell us not to get hit by it on our way outside. They didn’t arrange playdates for us before kicking us into the outdoors, either. And we certainly didn’t have to wonder if any of our friends would be “available”. We just walked (or biked —  gasp —by ourselves) around the neighborhood picking up friends along the way. We made our own fun. And it was fun.   Continue reading »


Lean On Me

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IMG_8742I’ve just come back from tucking my son, six, into bed. We snuggled up under his brown comforter, in his baseball-themed bedroom, and read stories about soup-making animals and art-making kids. When story time came to a close, I wrapped my arms around his small frame from behind and planted a kiss upon his cheek. Pulling him closer to me, I whispered in his ear, “You are my sweet, sweet, boy. I just love you so much.” “I love you too, Mama,” he replied. A few minutes passed and we just held onto each other there in silence. My busy boy—my soccer playing, basketball dribbling, lego-building boy, who always seems to be on the go—was here in my arms, quiet, letting me love on him. I pulled him closer, breathing him in. It was delicious.

Then out of nowhere he begins sobbing. My first thought was that something had happened at school earlier that day and he was reliving it now, in the silence, and struggling with whether and how to tell me what had had happened. He had more than once been on the receiving end of a certain bully’s ire last year, so, it was plausible.

What’s wrong, Bud?,” I ask, “Did something happen today at school?” His small frame shakes as he cries harder.

Something just popped into my head that you died.” Continue reading »