Sunday, March 17, 2019

I Love New York Once Again, for the Seventh Time

This was probably my seventh trip to New York. There was the first time when Miranda was a baby and I went alone for a conference. The second time I went it was with Rey and it was his first time there. I went for a conference and he had a blast exploring the city alone. I remember that as one of the best trips we ever took, when we had the most fun. There was the time we went when there wasn't a work conference but we did because we had a free stay at a hotel. I went for a conference again in 2008 and Rey went that time too. After my divorce I went with Vicki in 2012, also for a conference. Then the last time I was there I went with both kids. That was in 2013. This time I went with Miranda and we went up to visit Long Island University. This is one of the universities that has accepted her.

Here we are in Brooklyn, NY.
Every time I visit New York I feel like I belong there. It's funny that I do because I really do love Houston. I'm very proud of being from Texas. Part of me thinks I just feel that way because I'm visiting and I don't live there but I have felt that way every single time I'm there. I love the energy, I love taking the subways, I love the feeling of something exciting happening.

I had never been when it snowed! This visit there was a little bit of snow on the ground on Friday when we toured the university in Long Island. Then overnight it snowed and we woke up to snow everywhere, especially on our walk to the Brooklyn Museum. It was still snowing a little when we woke up and looked out the window. It was beautiful but hard to walk around.

We packed a lot into our short weekend trip. We arrived Friday morning and we went straight to LIU and spent the whole afternoon there. Miranda got to sit in on a nursing lab in their state of the art "hospital." They have an amazing setting for the kids to learn and they are going to build them an emergency room across the hall. So cool! LIU is offering her a very generous merit scholarship to attend the School of Health Science and to be a part of the Honors program. We just have to pay for room and board, which is going to be a stretch but we may be able to do it. I feel that if she attends LIU's Health Science program she will be more than prepared to take the MCAT and to apply for medical school.

She's also been accepted into the University of Houston and Sweet Briar but we are waiting to hear from around four more schools.

By the time we were finished at LIU we were tired and starving. We ate as soon as we arrived at Penn Station and then we went on to check into our hotel in the financial district. We'd been up since 3:30 am, with only a short nap on the plane, so we were ready to go to bed!

Saturday we went to the Brooklyn Museum to the see the Frida Kahlo: Appearances Can Be Deceiving exhibit. It was an amazing exhibit that brought together all the different exhibits I've even seen in my life but it was the first time Miranda saw any of it.

I've been a Frida fan since the early 90s so I've seen a lot of her art. Somewhere between 1995 and 1996 I saw an exhibit of her father's photography in Salamanca, Spain. That was a rare and unexpected treat. In another exhibit I saw in the last 25 years I've seen photography by some of her friends, like Tina Modotti. In 1995 I traveled to Mexico City and went to visit Frida's house, the Caza Azul. I definitely did not see as much as her clothes and personal items on that trip. That was because a lot of the personal items in this exhibit were just brought out of storage in 2004.

This exhibit was more about all of those items that are finally out on display. We got to see her clothing, her jewelry and her make-up. We saw her abdominal casts that she wore, with all her artwork on them. They had her prosthetic legs and her custom made shoes. There was some art, but if you are going to see her artwork you'll be disappointed, there is less about her paintings and a lot more about her life, her personal items and many photographs of her. So many photographers were in love with her and wanted to take pictures of her.

After the museum we took the subway up to the upper west side of Manhattan to Zabar's, one of my very favorite places in the world. If I ever live in NY I'm going there every single week. After Zabar's we went back to the hotel to rest and for Miranda to do homework. After that we headed out to see Chicago, Miranda's first musical experience.

After the show we walked to Gray's Papaya and had hot dogs. Miranda took this picture of me in front, to recreate the photo on my blog from 2005, fourteen years ago!

Sunday morning we woke up early and after breakfast we headed to the 9/11 Memorial Museum. I've been visiting New York since 2003 and each visit I've watched the progress. In 2013 when the kids and I were there the two pools were finished. It was definitely an experience to walk through the now finished museum and to hear so many of the heart-wrenching stories again.

I came home and my love for New York was just solidified. I want to live in New York in a tiny apartment like Carrie Bradshaw's. I know that's just a fantasy, especially at my age, but you never know. Seth is still in high school for three more years and we'll see where he ends up for college. Then we will see where I end up.

I want for Miranda to go to the best school who makes her the best offer. I want the best opportunity for her. But I'm not going to lie, if she ends up in New York I will be thrilled. I can live vicariously through her and I can visit her every year.

Sunday, March 10, 2019

See Yourself Like Your Kids See You, With Eyes of Love

A few weeks ago I went to the Rodeo for the first time in a really long time and I went twice, back to back. On the second night there I wore these beautiful earrings that my sister gave me for my birthday, so I asked this woman I hardly know, a friend of a friend, to take a picture of me. You couldn't see the earrings in the first picture so she arranged them and took the picture again. What resulted were these two photos of me that sparked so many likes and comments on social media.

Friends commented that I looked beautiful and I commented that it was just the angle or the lighting, etc.. One friend chastised me to accept the compliments, something I always tell people myself, but then don't follow.

At home I told my daughter about this and she held my face in her hands and told me, "That's how you look. You look just like that right now. You look like that all the time."

Part of me thought that it was my daughter just being nice because I'm her mom and she loves me, but then I stopped. I can't think that way. I need to see myself in those same eyes of love.

Yeah, sometimes photos aren't going to be flattering. Sometimes you can see the wrinkles, the bags under my eyes look bigger than usual because maybe I'm tired. Or the angle shows off my double chin more than usual. When we see photos like that of ourselves we tend to think that's how we always look, but it's not true. We have to stop that negative self-talk.

For some reason we've been led to believe that thinking we are beautiful is narcissistic and vain. Women are criticized for posting selfies of themselves.

When I hear that criticism I always go back to the poem "Ode to the Selfie," by Megan Falley and Olivia Gatwood.

The last half of the last stanza is amazing.

"Today millions of girls loved themselves
in the face of a world who tells them not to.
And isn’t that small revolution enough?
And isn’t that the greatest revolution of all?"

Why does it have to be such a revolutionary idea to love ourselves? It shouldn't be.

This week I will make it an exercise to see myself like my kids see me, with eyes of love, and to believe that I am just as beautiful as I look in these photos. Will you join me in thinking the same about yourself?

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

I'm Freaking 49 Years Old!

On February 11 I turned 49 years old while in Las Vegas, one of the most fun places in the world. While we were there I asked my best friends Vicki and Angie, "Why did we never come here when we were younger?" I feel like we missed out on a whole bunch of years when we could have really had fun. Unlike now when we are older and tamer. 

In the Cosmopolitan Hotel, where we stayed, in front of a row of pictures from the Silver Slipper. The Silver Slipper was a casino in Paradise, Nevada that operated from September 1950 to November 29, 1988 and was originally owned by Howard Hughes. 

I had an amazing birthday surrounded by two of my best friends, my sister and my niece. There's too much to write so I'll leave it at that for now.

Monday, January 14, 2019

New Year! New Words! Recommit, Cleanse and Repair

Similar to years past I had a slow start to the year. This time I feel like I trudged through the first two weeks of the year and now here we are, already halfway through January and less than one month from my fabulous 49th birthday. It's the last birthday of my 40s and I plan to celebrate in a grand way.  2019 is going to be a MUCH better year than 2018. I know that sounds cliché but after the 2018 I had, it has to be.

I'm on this quest to reach 100 rides on my Peloton bike before my 49th birthday in February and I'm on ride 84. We still have these balloons so I'm just going to get another zero to give to myself on  the day that I complete my 100th ride. 

When the year started I knew that my one big word was going to be Recommit. It's a word that I heard in April and that I added to my words for the year in 2018. It's such an amazing word because it covers a multitude of things. It came from a quote that I read by life coach, Cara Alwill Leyba. She says to "Recommit as many times as you need to.." But my favorite part is, "Failure is an illusion and the idea that you can't start over will do nothing but keep you in a space of sadness." I love that. 

It's taken 14 days into the month but I finally have the rest of my words. I've thought about what I want out of myself this year, what I hope to accomplish, to find the right words. Hopefully this doesn't sound too much like a skin care regimen. My other two words are cleanse and repair. 

Recommit to my goals, healthy eating, exercise, and all the goals I set for myself monthly and weekly. I'll recommit when I reach them and when I don't.

Cleanse covers so many areas. I want to cleanse my life. I want to start eating clean and I want to clean out my house. I want to pack up all the things that I would find completely essential to take with me if the house were burning down and I only had time to grab a few things. Or all the things I would take with me if I was going to live in a little vintage trailer, like the ones I admire.

Repair. I need to to repair my mind, my soul, my courage, my body and my house. I need to repair myself both spiritually and I need to repair my physical surroundings. I'm tired of living with things in disrepair and only I can be the one to fix those things. 

So there you have it. Recommit, cleanse and repair. I can start 2019 now. What is your one word or your words for the year?

Sunday, December 30, 2018

End of Year Recap

Here I am on the eve of New Year's Eve reflecting on a really hard year that came with sadness, pain, but also gifts and blessings.

I read back on my blog posts from 2018 and I cried a little. I know time heals all wounds and as the year has gone by it has gotten easier to cope with the loss of my father.

The thing about losing my father was that it opened up the old wound of losing my mother almost 19 years ago. There's something so final about losing both your parents. It feels like the final step in growing up. Especially for me, who went from parents, to husband, back to having my father in my house and now standing completely alone with my two kids. 

This past year has had interesting discoveries and challenges too. There was the discovery of the, possibly 100 year old, well in my back yard in early May. There was the freak accident when I cut my ankle open the day before Mother's Day, the tree falling on my house, Miranda's surgery on her pilonidal cyst in the summer, and two, not one, times my car keys were destroyed. Then who can forget my heart misdiagnosis of WPW and sick sinus node that ended up being a weird heart, unlike any heart they had seen before. That was actually pretty cool.

There were the trips. One to California alone to see my sister and another to Paris with my best friend, and two trips to Wimberley and the Hill Country with my kids for Spring Break and Summer.

And the best gift I could have given myself this year, my Peloton bike that has changed my relationship with exercise and is reshaping my body, slowly but surely.

This year was a challenging year at work, but I overcame the tough months and I had a lot of good ones and some good bonuses. What I have is a career, not a job, and I am grateful for that. 

I am so thankful for family and friends. I know I am very fortunate to have as many close friends as I do. Not just regular friends. Friends who I love and trust. I know that is rare. I love my sisters and my niece and nephews so much. My two kids Miranda and Seth are godsends so far. They are such good kids over-all. I couldn't have wished for two better kids who do well in school and are respectful and kind. 

One of the best gifts I've been given these past couple of years is to become a great-aunt and to learn that it feels very similar to becoming a grandmother. Who would have known! We welcomed a healthy beautiful new great-niece into our family in October of this year. 

From my family to yours, I wish you a Happy New Year. May you get all that your heart desires in 2019.