Monday, June 29, 2009


I love this building! I pass it along my way home, when I walk down on the water front, and I always stop to admire it. I love the way it is all on its own, and feels like an old building fully restored. The color is always stunning when the sun is setting. And today, when I stopped to admire it, I noticed three men on the roof, looking back down at me - or, more accurately, at the sunset behind me. Lovely.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Joint Effort

Today, Michael had to work. Because I love him, I went too!

I met Michael at 30 Rock; he rushed up to the office after our weight training class, while I stayed behind for yoga and errand-running. By the time I made it uptown, he had already logged in an impressive 4 hours. We were both happy to leave the neighborhood today, because the Gay Pride Parade ends about 2 blocks from our apartment. Though a worthy cause indeed, the Parade turns our neighborhood upside down, and seriously limits our mobility. Streets to our north and east are blocked off and police baracades keep us close.

So, when Michael received word that he needed to come in today, I happily tagged along. When I was growing up, I would occasionally do the same thing with my mom. We would both pack our bags, me with coloring books and homework and she with typical
professional needs - including a leatherbound organizer that never left her side. I can't imagine what a pain it must have been for my mom (and, for that matter, Michael), dragging me into the office on a weekend. But I enjoy these little glimpses into my loved ones' professional lives. When they tell stories about their work days, I can actually see the events playing out, all in their office contexts. And I feel like I leave a little mark in these spaces too.

In any event, these trips give me what I love most - time with my family.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Afternoon in the Park

The shocking realities of today:
  1. It was a Saturday.
  2. The sun was shinning.
  3. Michael didn't have to work.
  4. We got to visit with friends.
  5. We were in New York.
These thrilling facts made this a relaxing, refreshing and enjoyable Saturday. In addition to our regular Saturday routine, we celebrated the day with Mona, John, Anna and the ever adorable Naomi. Here's a picture to prove the point:

My Work Week

This week was a successful, and exhausting, one at work. It began with an intern & new staff orientation and fiscal year fiesta and ended with a brief glimpse of the new commissioner and time working through the logistics of a spend down. Friday's workday ended at 7, but the whole week was worth the effort. My amazing bosses were very grateful for the efforts I put forth - always a rewarding and gratifying experience. And the highlight came when one of my bosses called me, "the backbone of our office."

While I do find myself exhausted with the rhythms of working, I'm so grateful to be where I am now. We're doing important work - making fruits and veggies cheaper and easier to buy, improving school and daycare environments so kids eat better and move more, and increasing the accessibility of aerobics and physical activity. And I work with such an outstanding group of people. Truly, I am constantly inspired by them. I've been in the workforce long enough to know what a unique experience this is, and I hope to savor it as long as possible.

One of the projects I'm working on right now would expand free fitness classes at schools in low income neighborhoods. It's an exciting prospect, and has the potential to both increase fitness levels and provide some income to working women. We'll see how far this goes, but just being a part of a team willing to think about new initiatives is a thrill.

Here are some pictures from our fiscal year fiesta!

Rhonda, Landon and Jalene
Christina, Jenny and Jalene
Our Summer Interns
Rhonda, Liz and Cathy
Rachel, Kristin, Gabrielle, Alyson, Donya and Karyn

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Oh Happy Days

Today, I had fun at the office. It started with a breakfast meeting, the highlight of which were the strawberries I brought in from the farmers market around the corner from our building. Then most of the day was spent rushing around, in meetings all over the place. But then, one of my bosses said nice thing to me and brightened the afternoon.

Yay for uplifting moments!

Sunday, June 21, 2009


I took a walk in the rain today. Sometimes that just can't be helped. The clouds rolled in quickly this evening, starting north over the Bronx and coming down through the City. Or so it seemed from the street. The threat came while I was already walking around in our neighborhood, and when the rain finally began, it felt like a great release. And then the sunshine fought its way out, showing off a slow sliver of what summer could be. Despite the cool chill that the rain brought on, I walked by the water and felt soothed by the rough tides in the Hudson River.

Lately I've been feeling restless. Perhaps most of us have, given the weather we're facing this June. But today that urge was almost overwhelming.

My forth year in college, when I started to feel like Charlottesville was just a little too small, I would get in my car and drive. Aimless. I would hop on 64 West, and go for an hour or two. Just feeling the road under me and the freedom of going for as long as I could stand it would help calm me down. It would help quiet my restlessness.

I haven't yet learned how to regain my sense of calm in the City when the impulsive need to leave hits me. Obviously, the best option is to hop on a bus, in a plane, on a train and go off on our own adventure. But that seems to be harder and harder to do.

In any event, I know seeing the sun would help quiet this urge. Maybe tomorrow?

Thursday, June 18, 2009


Okay, I'm going to sound crazy. Or like an old, cranky person. But who is teaching people how to make resumes these days?!??! In the past few months, I've reviewed many resumes at work and I've been shocked by what I've seen.

Inspired by an NPR piece from this morning, I've decided to put together a list of my recommendations:
  1. Unless you are applying to be a professor, your resume should be ONE PAGE. Learn how to edit!

  2. A job should only be listed only once, not twice or three times under different headings. It looks like you're trying to cover up a lack of experience.

  3. Your email address should be professional. Out of courtesy I will refrain from sharing the absurd addresses I've seen, but come on people! This isn't hard.

  4. Your resume should be in PDF form.

  5. Your entire resume should be ordered from most recent to least recent. Or at least it should be in the same order across sections.
And I could keep going. But that would make me crazy.

Sorry for the rant! I guess I've spent too much time in the office as of late...


A few weeks ago, the Health Department wished a fond farewell to our dear leader, Dr. Thomas Frieden. As an ode to his service, the Department threw him a goodbye party, complete with a photo op for anyone interested in getting a picture.

Well, I was first in line.

Or, not quite, but I was close - #44. And here's my reward! A picture with the head of the CDC! I look huge next to him...

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


Along my route to work, I pass a large warehouse that is frequently used for fun activities - fashion shows, TV shows, movies, etc. I often see them putting sets together, moving huge pieces of equipment into this space, creating VIP photo ops, or organizing throngs of people. This morning, it was Miami!

Here's a shot, just outside this studio, with palm trees all around:

Given the grim weather this month, seeing some palm trees definitely brightened my morning!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Thoughts for a Sunday Night

From my current read, "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle":
"I have a farmer friend who would definitely side with my grandfather on the subject of time's economies. He uses draft animals instead of a tractor. Doesn't it take an eternity to turn a whole field with a horse-driven plow? The answer, he says, is yes. Eternal is the right frame of mind. 'When I'm out there cultivating the corn with a good team in the quiet of the afternoon, watching the birds in the hedgerows, oh my goodness, I could just keep going all day. Kids from the city come out here and ask, "What do you do for fun around here?" I tell them, "I cultivate."'

Now that I'm decades older and much less clever than I was in college, I'm getting better at facing life's routines the way my friend faces his cornfield. I haven't mastered the serene mindset on all household chores (What do you do for fun around here? I scrub pots and pans, okay???), but I might be getting there with cooking. Eternal is the right frame of mind for making food for a family: cooking down the tomatoes into a red-gold oregano-scented sauce for pasta. Before that, harvesting sun-ripened fruits, pinching oregano leaves from their stems, growing these things from seed - yes. A lifetime is what I'm after. Cooking is definitely one of those things we do for fun around here."
A good friend and spiritual guide reminds me that God is found in the tasks of daily life. I grasp tightly to that lesson on Sunday nights, when an entire week of routine chores awaits. I try to remind myself that work is a blessing, that ritual is necessary and my profession is fulfilling. Some nights that is harder to remember than others.

But here's a goal for me: to not rush through each and every task before me, but to take my time and find joy in those efforts. Recently, in the mornings I've been trying to do more yoga breathing and stretching, to find comfort in that early hour, rather than just feeling exhausted. It's become a treasured time.


Isn't he just too adorable?????!?!?!

Saturday, June 6, 2009


My weekend started like this:

The walk home yesterday was marred by lots of wind and enough rain to keep you unhappy and wet. I saw LOTS of umbrellas discarded between work and the gym.

But, everything began to turn around with yoga. On Friday evenings, Renee teaches a class that is absolutely perfect. She goes beyond simple sun salutations, asking us to do insane amounts of stretching to open up hips, work our backs, and get limber. Her body seems to defy all rules of biology and gravity, and it just inspires you to keep pushing. I went farther in Lizard than I have before, and that was very satisfying.

Today has been pleasant as well. Want to know the highlight?? THIS!

That little round green thing is my very first tomato growing!!! Isn't it beautiful?!?? I am praying that my landlord and the squirrels let me keep these plants and veggies growing. I am worried that they are getting too big for the pot - I may have to sacrifice a couple of plants in each pot:

Isn't it amazing how quickly they have grown? Here's a picture from when I planted them just two weeks ago! Anyway, as you can tell, I am terribly excited!!

AND, to top it all off, my friend Melissa finally had her baby boy! Isaac was born on Thursday, and he is a looker!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Wait Wait!

One of my favorite Friday activities is listening to "Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me," the NPR news quiz, on my walk home from work. It's an uplifting bit of radio, generally pretty funny - especially when Paula Poundstone is on.

One of the show's best episodes included an interview with Mavis Staples. The first time it aired, I was on a bus with Michael, traveling from DC to New York. She was utterly captivating. She spoke casually about relationships with Martin Luther King, Jr. and Bob Dylan. Her voice, deep, husky and perfect for the gospel music she's known for, transported me off the bus and into a place full of hope. I remember looking at me as I listened to the podcast, laughing at how much I enjoyed NPR. But that interview, to me, defines oral history.

Last week, they re-aired the 17-minute interview with Ms. Staples, and let me tell you, it's worth a listen. Here's the link. Enjoy!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009


Since late April, our Saturday mornings have been marked by growing excitement. Saturdays are our trips to the farmers market, and as summer approaches, the days of just buying yogurt and pasta dwindle. We've been waiting for the start of this year's growing season, when our bags overflow with leafy veggies and melt-in-your-mouth fruit. In mid-winter, I didn't really believe Michael and I had been eating very locally. But now as tomatoes, sweet corn, and Jersey peaches are on the horizon, I realize we did better this year than in previous winters, because it's been months since those items entered our home.

The veggie that I couldn't wait to see? Asparagus!! I remember last year that asparagus (and rhubarb too) began cropping up at the market in mid-May. They marked the return of delicious veggies to the market. So each week, I've been eager for their arrival.

And then, two weeks ago, they appeared!! Our weekly take home is growing - spinach, sugar snap peas, yogurt, mushrooms, onions, pasta and FINALLY asparagus were last weeks items.

Now I can't wait for the tomatoes!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Olive Kitteridge

Quotes from a lovely read:
"They had fun together these days, they really did. It was as if marriage had been a long, complicated meal, and now there was this lovely dessert."
"What young people didn't know, she thought, lying down beside this man, his hand on her shoulder, her arm: oh, what young people didn't know....And if her platter had been full with the goodness of Henry and she had found it burdensome, had flicked it off crumbs at a time, it was because she had not known what one should know: that day after day was unconsciously squandered."