Monday, November 11, 2013

Mail Me a Hug

I have this coat; it's puffy, brown, zips and buttons down the front and has a furry hood.  I refer to it as my "burrito jacket" because that is how I feel stuffed inside this thing.  It is unbelievably warm and resilient to wind, rain, sleet, snow and even provides a cushy buffer in a hail storm: it's the perfect answer to winter. 

This jacket and I first came to know each other back in 2007 when I was living in Santa Fe, New Mexico during the holidays (which, as a side note, is a VERY cold place in the winter months due to the dry desert climate and high elevation). My parents came to visit me for Thanksgiving that year and the jacket was a gift from my mom; I have worn it relentlessly every winter since.  

However, upon "preparing" for this "trip" to New York, I had made some bizarre choice to leave it behind.  Mind you, it is enormous.  And as the early signs of winter encroached upon the East Coast, I suddenly realized my glaring mistake.  Oh my God, I'm going to freeze to death before making it to the train. 

I suppose I overestimated my ability to tough it out in my layers and down vest.  No sir, there are just some storms, some conditions that require a little added protection.  

Okay...I should have packed the damn jacket. 

My mom is practically a meteorologist.  She spends, what must be hours, charting and plotting the weather conditions from both ends of the United States.  When I lived in the South, she would regularly track the volatile activity of the cold fronts clashing with the warm southern air.  If there was a storm coming, mom would be the first to know even from a thousand miles away.  

So is it any wonder that with mixed rain and snow flurries on the horizon, I received a package in the mail containing none other than my beloved burrito jacket?!?! 

I opened the box at the post office and immediately wrapped myself in the warm coat.  It was more than a feeling of warmth though.  It was, honest to God, as if for a moment I could feel my mom give me a hug.  

Suddenly, I felt invincible. I'm protected. I'm warm. I'm loved. I'm never alone. Walking the streets of Manhattan, armed with down feathers and a hug, I am pretty sure I will be okay.  And I have my mom, the U.S. Postal Service and Anne Klein to thank for that. 

Sometimes we don't always know how a simple gesture can impact a person's life.  We can't imagine how mailing a jacket could be like mailing a hug.  Who would have thought that possible anyway?  But I can assure you one thing: 'if it fits it ships'...  And love always finds a way to fit.

I've slept with the jacket over me for the past few nights.  Guess I needed a little more than my warmest winter jacket.  I've just needed a hug or two, from mom. And I got that... surprisingly by mail. 


Never on Sunday

1 1/2 oz Gin
1/2 oz Fresh squeezed lime juice
Generous splash of Fresh Squeezed Ginger
1/2 oz Creme de Cassis 
Splash of Simple Syrup
Splash of Soda
On the Rocks

Friday, November 1, 2013

It's Not You, It's Me

One month ago, I arrived in New York; and ever since that first moment when my feet hit the long stretch of concrete, my mind has been a complete mess of muddled mush.

Imagine the fastest, highest, wildest roller coaster ride you've ever been on in your life.  The world around you flashes by in an instant.  Strands of hair whip you across your face, whether it's your own hair or the person sitting next to you.  You have no idea what has possessed you to stand in line for what feels like an eternity, only to get whipped in the face, jerked from side to side and nearly losing your lunch.  

You step off the roller coaster and have absolutely no recollection of what you saw as you were being hurled through the air along the winding track, but you are fairly certain it was amazing because it felt amazing.  My friends, that is the only way I know how to describe the past four weeks of my life in New York City. 

Each day has been a surprise, an exercise, a conflict, a challenge, an enlightenment.  

I have felt happy, intimidated, courageous, lonely, afflicted, creative, tired, observant and every now and then: defeated.  

Every moment has demanded some measure of concentration: even if only to close my eyes and try to let go of the events of the given day.  In this city, while working full time at a new job and still living out of two suitcases, even the seemingly simple and natural act of sleeping requires a concentrated effort.  

My writing had been set aside these past few weeks, as I opted to take in what I saw, rather than share it with the world as I had been this past summer.  

The lack of stability and familiarity has burdened my thoughts and mind in such a way that is difficult to articulate.  And as I sat on the shore of the East River along Brooklyn's busy borough, I wondered; Am I happy?

And much like the meager attempt to enjoy the view from a speeding roller coaster, I began to see happiness in a similarly blurred and mysterious way.  I had ventured out of Manhattan in an effort to see the sunset; something that is very difficult to do in an otherwise completely vertical city. And as I sat there gazing across the river, I began to laugh a little as the sun sank behind the entire island of Manhattan, still blocked by the skyscrapers that line the entire radius of the city.

It was funny, because in that moment, I realized how much effort it is going to take to survive here.

Am I happy here?  Was I really ever happy anywhere?

For short stints of time, yes, I felt happy.  Skipping around from place to place trying to outrun, outsmart, outmaneuver myself.  But time and time again, the void followed.

And now, as I sit at my computer and finally bring myself back to my writing, I realize that the void is not where I reside, but rather what has always been residing within me.

It is terrifying to finally understand that I need to face my fears, and hopefully believe in myself enough to follow my dreams.

New York City is only the backdrop of this story I have decided to share with you.  And I will tell you this much; it is a character all its own.


Peach Bellini

Fresh Peach puree
Glass of Prosecco