Take Advantage Of Your Surroundings

So- it’s been too long since my last post and I owe you an explanation. No excuses. I love to write and whether I am insanely busy or not, I have to make time for what is important to me. I switched jobs- the non-profit world did not pan out as expected. A disappointment but it was time to move on. I’m back practicing law — it is a terrific opportunity and I feel refreshed and ready to take on a big job with a great deal of responsibility. I worked in this field for eight years and then left to pursue a non-legal career.

Sometimes, you don’t know the value of what you have until it’s gone. That’s very cliche – I know. Yet sometimes it really rings true. With that said, I started to think about what other things I have taken for granted in my life- or simply failed to realize the beauty in something right in front of my face.

Like the fantastic hike that Jay and I have been doing regularly which I wrote about in the Spring- the trail in Cold Spring Harbor, New York. Except we have been more than walking the trail- I’d say we’ve been going on trail runs – running about 85% of the trail each time. On one of our weekend trail runs, before all the snow started!! – I met a runner who said that the Caumsett Park hike in Lloyd Neck, New York can be challenging as well. She highly recommended it for a change of scenery.


The following weekend, we hiked the Caumsett Park trail and although it was mainly flat terrain, there was one long, steep hill towards the end of the hike. We hiked about 4 miles in total- running about 2 flat miles on pavement and packed dirt. The run was peppered with things we have not seen on our usual trail run.






Along the way we ran past the beach, penned horses and magnificent trees.








Although different from our usual hike/run, it was a good, solid workout that I highly recommend……





Off to lunch!


At our favorite Mexican lunch spot, Jay and I reminisced about how we used to take the kids all the time to Caumsett Park, first in their strollers and then with their bikes. We remembered all the fun we had picnicking in the park with friends and their kids. It’s unbelievable that we have not been back to this beautiful park in more than ten years.

It feels like I’m always so busy doing so many things at once – all the time – that I forget to look around and see where I am and what I am doing. Does anyone else feel this way?  Instead of always looking for the next best thing – what about going back to the things we loved years ago?

Eating the guacamole at lunch made me think about the avocado plant I grew with my father when I was a kid. Why haven’t I ever done that? Right then and there I decided that I’m going to buy an avocado and grow my own plant! The next day, I bought a ripe avocado at the farmer’s market.  I called my dad and got the instructions on how to turn my avocado pit into an avocado plant.


I’ll take progress photos and include the benefits of avocados and my bruschetta recipe in my next post.

Adios, amigos! Ciao!



A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Triathlon……

Okay, so it wasn’t really funny. It was not funny at all.  A week before the New York City triathlon, my son had an accident- not life threatening, thank heavens, but devastating. He broke his leg in two places and was in sheer agony.  His surgery was scheduled for the day before the race. I didn’t defer the race right away because I thought he would have surgery and everything would be fine.  I figured he would leave the hospital and I would see him at home, after the race.  However, in the days preceding his surgery, when I saw the kind of pain he was in, I just knew that I would not be in the proper frame of mind to compete in the race.

This triathlon was supposed to be fun, a challenge, a goal. While I had done several sprint triathlons, I had never competed in an Olympic triathlon. I was all ready- I had bought a new racing bike and a wet suit. I biked early in the mornings and swam laps in the bay. Yet none of those things would matter to me knowing that my son was suffering.

There would be other races. In fact, several weeks later, when my son was firmly in rehab and working on walking again, I competed in a sprint triathlon.  It was exciting and fun and definitely challenging as the water was as choppy as an ocean swim. Yet, in the back of my mind, I couldn’t help but feel a bit of a let down since I had done these distances before- 15 years before.


After the race, I immediately thought that I would do an Olympic distance triathlon in a few weeks, before the season ended. However, when I really thought about how much I had taken on in my life in the past few months, I reassessed my priorities. My new job has been taking up an enormous amount of time- and rightfully so. Let’s just say that 10 hour work days are the norm. With the start of the new job, I had packed a house, moved to a condo,  and my son had the accident. To top it off, for many reasons, we are still living in boxes without any furniture. All the while I am still trying to keep up with the blog, workout, volunteer and be a member of the Social Committee at my new residence.

So I made the decision to not train for the Olympic triathlon. I packed my wetsuit away where it will remain for a few months. My race season is over for now. As I contemplated my decision, I realized that everything had become too much. I had taken on more responsibilities than I could conceivably handle in a short amount of time.

Why do we do these things to ourselves? Why do we overcommit ourselves to things that we know are over our heads? Why is it that sometimes when the words, “No problem, I can do it” come flying out of our mouths, do we wish we could retract them? Is it the innate competitiveness in us? Is it FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out)? Must we keep doing- day in and day out- keep pushing- always? I can’t be the only one who does this.

I think I know why I sometimes take on too many responsibilities or commitments at one time. It’s because I am always striving to be the best person that I can be- and for me that means taking on a full plate of work, activities and commitments. I foolishly believe that I can handle anything- keep piling it on- if it is important- I can do it. “Yes, I can help out at the soup kitchen”- even though I am involved in many other volunteer commitments; “Yes, I will get up and run with you at 6am”- even though I will be out super late the previous night; “Yes, I will volunteer for the Social Committee”- even though I have zero free time.

As I get older, I am re-evaluating exactly what projects I have time for and yes- I have learned to say “No.” It is difficult for me because I always want to help or lend a hand when I can and I sometimes do not realize until after I have said “Yes” that I really should have said,”No.”

However, I’m still learning and as I wrote in one of my previous blogs, “You can teach an old dog new tricks.”


The Joy Of Gym Showers

So I have a whole new respect for those people who work out at a gym, shower and then head to work. I recently had the displeasure of experiencing this life altering encounter when I started swimming for the triathlon that I am participating in- in a few weeks. My painstaking preparation the night before should have been a harbinger of things to come.  After packing four bags for the gym, I was physically and mentally exhausted.


My regular gym bag was filled with my work clothes, work shoes and assorted gym paraphernalia. Being a very low maintenance girl, I packed minimal clothing to get me through the work day- no jewelry, no accessories. My swim bag was stuffed with two towels, one for after the pool and one for after the shower. That bag also contained various Ziploc bags so that I would be super organized after my swim; one bag for my goggles and swim cap; one bag for my make-up; one bag for my face moisturizer and deodorant and one bag clearly marked, “shower flip-flops.” Another small bag contained a shirt and shorts to wear after the shower and plastic bags to put my wet towels and bathing suit. I also had my pocketbook. Low maintenance still requires a great deal of work.

Stuffing my bags into a narrow locker, I broke a fingernail and scraped two knuckles. I don’t need a locker- I need a cabana. Why don’t they have cabanas here? How about at least a double locker for all my crap? I can’t be the only one who feels this way. What’s going to happen in the winter. How the heck will I get my winter coat and snow boots into this puny locker?

The one mile swim went well and once out of the pool, I felt relieved and confident. Other then the chlorine stinging my bloody knuckles, I felt elated. Until the shower…..


I’m very laid back when it comes to most things. I love camping. Okay, I’ve only been camping once…….on the grounds of a mansion……for one night. It was a fundraiser. But that’s beside the point. I would go camping again. I just haven’t had the opportunity. Really.

Low monthly fee should not mean low standards. A reasonably priced gym does not mean that I should be subjected to sub-humane showering facilities. When I say that the shower curtain was moldy, I am being kind. When I say that the cracked tile was prevalent, I am not exaggerating. When I say that it was one of the filthiest places I’ve ever showered, I am being generous.

Hesitantly, I hang my towel on the hook outside the shower curtain but still inside my shower stall. I line up my all-in-one body wash/shampoo bottle and my conditioner on the slanted bench underneath my hanging towel. I quickly turn on the water. After I say a thankful prayer that the water is hot, I lather up like I’m anticipating a fire drill. I hurriedly take the rubber band out of my hair and there it goes. The hair band springs out of my hand, onto the dirty, cracked tile floor. I can’t help but stare as it circles the drain. Oh well, I rationalize that there is a reason that hair bands are sold 10 in a pack at the Dollar Store.

As I put the body wash/shampoo bottle down on the slanted shelf, by accident, my right arm swipes the moldy shower curtain. I let out a shrill as if giant cockroaches have just been let loose on me.  With one eye watching the sliding conditioner bottle, I quickly rewash the part of my arm that graced the shower curtain.  I thanked the powers that be that I was wearing my shower flip flops.  As I grab the conditioner bottle, the body wash/shampoo bottle falls on the putrid floor and yes, my knee brushed against the shower curtain.  I shrieked again, quickly washed off my knee and the body wash/shampoo bottle and seriously thought about throwing away these shower flip flops after this experience. After all, they were a bargain at the Dollar Store.  No, I can’t buy new shower flip flops every time I shower at the gym. They’re not disposable. Now there’s an idea. Disposable shower flip flops- 10 in a pack. I may be onto something. Thank goodness I made sure to label the shower flip flop bag.


As I quickly conditioned my hair, I realized that if they sell shower curtains at the Dollar Store, I’ll buy one and bring my own shower curtain tomorrow.  The amount of time I am spending trying to evade the shower curtain is ridiculous. I’m like a contortionist, trying to catch the sliding body wash/shampoo and conditioner bottles while playing keep away with the moldy shower curtain. It’s a very special dance that I’m doing here.

With the shower experience taking much longer than anticipated, I had little time to blow dry my hair, put-on minimal makeup and get dressed.  In my shorts, shirt and shower flip flops, I quickly blew dry my hair. In my haste, the little clip in my hair, flew into the air and bounced along the bathroom floor. In slow motion, I watched the hair clip roll into a puddle of water that originated from a nondescript brown stain on the ceiling, just slightly above me. Ugh- back to the Dollar Store.

All dressed, I changed into my work shoes and stuffed my shower flip flops into their plastic bag. I then tossed my hair brush, body wash/shampoo and conditioner into the last plastic bag. I sealed the bag shut and as I turned it over to put into my gym bag, I saw it. In clearly marked letters were the words I wrote last night, “shower flip flops.” Back to the Dollar Store….




I’m A Tourist In My Own City!!

Recently, I had the fantastic experience of walking across the Brooklyn Bridge in Brooklyn, New York. The idea was born a few years ago, while at a hockey tournament with my son, Corey, in Sweden. For ten days, Corey lived with a Swedish host family whose son played on the same team. The parents of the players were housed in a nearby hotel. One day, the parents met with the host families for a trip to a local museum, the Vasa. The Vasa Museum is a maritime museum in Stockholm built around an almost fully intact, 7th century ship. In 1628, Vasa, a 64-gun warship, sank on her maiden voyage. Since the museum opened in 1990, it is the most visited museum in Scandanavia.


What was interesting to me was that before our visit to the Vasa Museum, my son’s host family had never been to this popular attraction that was only fifteen minutes from their house. This experience made me think about how many tourist attractions in New York City that I, myself had never visited. On the plane ride home from Sweden, I made a list of places to visit and attractions to see in my home city.

One month after we returned from our trip, Corey and I went to the top of the Empire State Building. That spring, we toured around Manhattan on a Circle Line Cruise. The following fall the whole family visited Ellis Island, the Statute of Liberty and the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum. Last year, I visited the Cloisters, a unique branch of the Metropolitan Museum of Art which exhibits art, architecture and artifacts from Medieval Europe, located in Fort Tryon Park in Upper Manhattan.

I have seen two performances of Shakespeare in the Park at the beautiful, outdoor Delacorte Theatre and walked through Central Park to the observation deck of Belvedere Castle. In my younger days, during Christmastime, I ice skated with friends on the rink in Rockefeller Center with a bird’s eye view of the towering tree.


So with relatives visiting from out of town, my husband and I thought it would be the perfect time to take a walk across Brooklyn Bridge. We took the train to Brooklyn and spent some time at the Brooklyn Bridge Park before we walked across the bridge. The park spans between Pier 1- Pier 6 and is located between Atlantic Avenue and Furman Street in Brooklyn. There is a bike lane, a kids’ water playground, sand volleyball courts and beautiful landscaping. We wished we had more time to spend in the park and vowed to return again soon.

When we finally arrived at the bridge, we walked from Brooklyn to Manhattan so that the scenic New York City skyline was in view at all times. Opened in 1883, the famous bridge was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1964. The bridge which spans 1.1 miles in each direction, proved to be a comfortable walk. We encountered bikers and walkers alike and everyone courteously shared the pathway.



Along the way, we saw clusters of locked padlocks of all shapes and colors. We later learned that the locks, dubbed the “Love Padlocks” are left by people who visit the bridge and attach a padlock with their name and that of their of significant other, written or engraved on the padlock and then they throw the key into the water below as a romantic gesture.



After walking through the Brooklyn Bridge Park and then across the bridge, we were tired and hungry. In my opinion, there is nothing that screams native New York better than a pastrami on rye from the famous Katz’s Delicatessen.



Since opening in 1888, Katz’s has remained a Lower East Side favorite among locals and tourists alike. If not pastrami on rye, then how about a little tongue? Leave it to my husband to seize the moment and create a memorable photo op that had our waiter rolling his eyes. Amid the hysterical laughter from our relatives, I was too embarrassed to admit to the waiter that my husband and I are native New Yorkers.










At the end of  another memorable day with visiting family, I tried to think of other landmarks and attractions that I have yet to explore- in my own city. Maybe this post will make you think about the attractions in your city that people from other cities or other countries come to experience. What museums and attractions have you not yet explored in your city?

Thanks to Jay for the great photos!



My New Job, 10K Run , Commitment and Passion

If someone told me that within a span of two months, my husband and I would sell the house our family has lived in for 17 years, I would change careers (after 23 years) and leave the job I have had for over eight years- I would have said- YOU ARE CRAZY!

But yes, that is all happening right now. I am pleased and excited to report that I am now working at the Hebrew Home at Riverdale. I am working with the Development team on Annual Giving and Events.  For those of you who do not know about the Hebrew Home, it is a remarkable place filled with passionate, bright, dedicated people. It is a non-profit geriatric care organization dedicated to providing a full range of senior care services- from independent living to the most intense level of nursing care.


My job is in fundraising, with marketing, public relations, and writing mixed in. If you are fortunate enough to work for an organization that you are passionate about, you are a lucky person. I am working with a group of hard working, intelligent, compassionate people and I can’t say enough wonderful things about my immediate boss. I feel pretty lucky these days.

In the hopes of bonding with my co-workers and to get a rigorous workout, I entered a 10k run with people from my new work place.  What better way to get to know my fellow co-workers and bosses than to run alongside each other? Unfortunately, before I committed to the 10k run, I failed to review the race map which indicated “challenging, steep hills” peppered along the race course. I could have backed out and ran the 5k instead but I already told my new co-worker triathlete friend that I would run the 10k with her. How would that look if I backed out of the 10k? Like a lack of commitment on my part. Not good at all.


The morning of the race, I left my house at 6:30 a.m., armed with mapquest directions as to how to get from point A (the parking area at the nearby high school) to point B (the race start). Even with GPS and mapquest, I am woefully navigationally challenged. So I did what I usually do when I am alone and concerned about finding the right place to be- I glommed onto the first non-threatening race participant that I saw and chatted it up as I followed her to the registration table. Thank you Hillary from Riverdale.

I eventually met up with my new friend Jessica and with seasoned runners David and George.  Together we stood at the starting line, waiting with bated breath for the fog horn to signal the start of the race. We all hoped to pace ourselves for the challenging run and were unsure if we would wind up running the course together. However, after only a few minutes of running with David and Jessica, my adrenalin kicked in and I started running too fast. I ran a bit ahead of the others until my labored breathing on the steep hills forced me to slow down. The rolling inclines came at such a steady pace that I wondered if the race course was up hill in both directions.


As I struggled to catch my breath, I willed myself not to walk up the hills. During one particularly steep incline, I almost did not make it up without stopping. I felt like I was going to be sick. Foolishly, I did not eat breakfast or drink anything before the race. SInce I usually run or work out on an empty stomach, I figured that I would be fine. Rookie mistake. It won’t happen again.

Another mistake I made was that I did not program my running app to calculate mileage as I ran. I was constantly asking the water volunteers, other runners and strangers along the race route, “How many miles are left? or “What mile is this?” Obviously this was annoying for everyone involved. Another mistake I made was that I wore brand new running sneakers. I know, I know. Big mistake. But my old running sneakers were literally ripped down the sides. I ran in these new sneakers the day before the race for a flat two and a half mile run. Needless to say, I really felt the sting of the bulbous blister on my instep by mile five. It felt absolutely ripe and ready to burst. If only. Instead, I felt the pain and tenderness for two more days. I actually went to work, to a formal meeting, in stretchy wedges- it was that or Birkenstocks with my business suit.


Shout out to Sharon, the 35 year-old mother of three, former Riverdale resident, now New York City transplant, who ran with me the last three and a half miles.  Sharon put up with my incessant questions; “how many more hills until the finish line?”; “are they very steep hills or just a little steep?”; “slow rising steep or holy crap, my neck hurts to look up steep?” Yes, I was THAT runner. By the end of the race, Sharon actually thanked me for talking to her and helping to take her mind off the incredibly difficult hills. I’m just sorry I didn’t get to run more with Jessica since her promise to sing while she ran would probably have helped me to forget my bulging blister and the lack of oxygen in my lungs.


But what really weighed on my mind was the realization that in a few short months, as I run six miles towards the finish line, I will have already swam one mile in the Hudson River and biked 40 miles through Central Park. At least it will be six flat miles.

I am a fast learner. The morning of the New York City Triathlon in August, I will have eaten a healthy breakfast and drank the appropriate amount of fluids, I will be wearing my shiny, new triathlon watch to track my mileage- a birthday present from my husband, which by August I will definitely know how to use- and I will remember to NOT wear new running sneakers.


In the next few months, I look forward to training with Jessica and her triathlete friends as I prepare to ride with The Bicycle Planet cycling group. Shout out to David- see you in August. And if we are running alongside each other- I will shamelessly attempt to engage you in nervous banter. Please humor me.


My (Almost) First Group Bike Ride

So I was supposed to go on my first group bike ride with the Bicycle Planet cycle group last weekend. The night before, I anxiously prepared like a high school freshman getting ready for her first day of school. Backpack or no backpack? Fanny pack? Heavens, no! That screams, “Tourist!.” How many water bottles? Where will I put them anyway? I only have a cage for one water bottle. Sunglasses? Where’s the holder-thing that attaches the sunglasses around my neck so they won’t fall to the ground? So many things to consider.


After figuring this all out, I got up at the insane hour of 6:30 a.m.. For someone like me who still sleeps until 10:00 a.m. on a Sunday morning, I may as well have gotten up at 4:00 a.m. At 7:15 a.m., I rode my bike to the Bicycle Planet store and waited. Slowly, I watched as the other riders convened, one by one. I observed how they methodically removed their bikes from the trunks of their cars, put a towel on the ground and reconnected their bike tires. I watched them carefully pump air into their deflated tires. I heard the clacketty-clack noise of their cycling shoes as they made their way to the meeting spot.  Awed at how professional this group looked, I was starting to rethink my decision to partake in this group ride. After all, I had only been on my bike once…. that morning, as I rode around the block, exactly one time before heading over to the store.

Finally, an official-looking cyclist opened up the bike store and said that anyone could come in if they needed anything. I walked in and waited as he dealt with two customers at the desk. He gave them bikes and fitted them for helmets. When he finished with the couple, I asked the man behind the desk if it will be a problem during this morning’s ride that I am a beginner road rider. I explained that this morning’s one mile ride from my house to the store was my first time on the bike. He said that usually, beginner riders do not have a problem because there is generally a slower group. However, this morning, a significant number of experienced riders will be on the ride.  He suggested that I ride instead with the two people who just picked up their bikes. He said that they, too, were beginner cyclists and were going on a less challenging, local ride.


I was devastated, crushed. I was so psyched for my first group ride. I spoke to Morry Edelstein, the owner of Bicycle Planet, who confirmed that usually, there are a number of beginner riders. He said that when the weather gets warmer, more beginners will show up and I should come back to ride with the group. Enter Shveta and her husband, Raul. Avid spinners, this was their first time on road bikes as well. They welcomed me and together, we rode the paved bike path to Bethpage State Park. Along the way, we wound up getting lost trying to find where the path connects and Raul gave me a quick reminder lesson as to how to properly shift the gears.

As we rode up and down the rolling path, Shveta and I kept assuring each other that we really are in good shape, despite our howling about our searing quads.



As we rode, Shveta and I talked about my husband, who loves to bike and how his back issue prevented him from participating in this ride. I said that my husband would get along well with Raul who kept pace about 50 feet ahead of us. At the end of an hour and a half, Raul estimated that we rode about 15-20 miles.










Shveta and I exchanged telephone numbers, expecting to contact each other when we are ready to join the “regular” Sunday morning cycling group. We enjoyed the beautiful weather, got a rigorous workout, became familiar with our bikes and made new friends. Despite my immediate disappointment that I was not part of the Bicycle Planet cycling group, this smaller group proved to be an enjoyable venture. Sometimes things don’t always turn out as we planned….sometimes they are even better.


Go Take A Hike!!

I mean it, “Go take a hike!” Last weekend, my husband, Jay and I took our pug, Max on a fabulous hike. The dirt trail started in the quaint, one-block town of Cold Spring Harbor, NY. The trail is actually located in Cold Spring Harbor State Park, part of the Nassau-Suffolk Greenbelt Trail, located at 83-141, 25A in Cold Spring Harbor. Parking is easy and there is no entry fee. The adjoining Cold Spring Harbor Library has bathrooms for hikers’ use.


The views are beautiful on this very steep hike. I have heard that if you go in the summertime, you won’t see much of a view through the trees but you will enjoy the benefit of a cool, shaded hike. The hike itself is only 1.25 miles in each direction but it felt like twice that far. Maybe the hike felt longer because we stopped periodically to give Max water or because Max stopped to play with every dog we passed on the hike. Little Max, only 19 pounds with short legs, had to be carried twice uphill on the way back. Although he loved the hike and even ran ahead (on a long leash) in certain spots, the steep hills became challenging for him.


We saw several people using hiking sticks which may be useful for the steep inclines. We also saw a few people jogging the trail which I thought would be really fun until I realized that the steep, jagged path may be a recipe for disaster for an accident-prone person like me. Instead, next time, Jay and I came up with the idea of each of us wearing a 20 lb. weighted vest during the hike.

It sounds like a great idea now- extra cardio- but wait until we are actually trying to walk uphill with our weighted vests. I’m sure there’s a funny blog post in there somewhere.


We ended our hike at the bottom of a hill where the trail met Lawrence HIll Road. If you cross over this road you can enter into Trail View State Park and hike it all the way to Bethpage State Park.

Jay and I will probably hike further next time, wearing our weighted vests, without Max, as the longer hike may be too much for him.


Check out the Long Island Greenbelt Trail online at ligreenbelt.org for hiking maps and trail information. The Long Island Greenbelt Trail Conference is a non-profit organization that has created more than 200 hiking trails on Long Island. A few years ago, I bought an informative book, “Hiking Long Island: A Comprehensive Guide To Parks And Trails” by Lee McAllister. The book features hiking trails and nature walks throughout Long Island.


Happy Hiking!

(view from the parking lot at the base of the trail)