The City of Good Gloveless Neighbors

Buffalo, my hometown, is often referred to as “the city of good neighbors.” However, recently I found myself thinking the same could be said for many places, including my current residence. A few weeks ago New Jersey  received more snow. My town, Robbinsville, has a small “Town Center,” which offers quick access to common conveniences. This particular snowy day the town and building management hadn’t plowed the public and private roads, which made for challenging driving conditions. I was desperate for some snowstorm essentials so I ventured out for a quick car ride. One turn onto the main road and I recognized the error of my weather-related arrogance.

I got stuck. My car wasn’t moving and I didn’t have gloves, a hat, or shovel. I sat in my car, completely bewildered, pondering my next course of action, which made for awkward and painful silence. Suddenly, a man offered to dig me out while I tried to drive forward. Five minutes passed but there was no change. By this time I had noticed this poor man was without gloves as well, which only made me feel worse. Just when I thought we were doomed, another man appeared and started digging my car out of the snow. This stranger, like the previous one, had no gloves. I sat in my car, listening to their commands, watching them work, completely in awe of their time and tenacious spirits. Finally, after ten long and cold minutes the car was freed from the snow and I was on my way. They didn’t want me to stop the car, mostly out of fear it would get stuck again, so I waved to them as I shouted my gratitude through the window. I left feeling thankful for their neighborly and noble efforts, which saved me from madness and panic.

To the strangers who helped me free my car from snow and slush outside of Dolce and Clementes’s, thank you.

“What wisdom can you find that is greater than kindness?” Jean Jacques Rousseau

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So long, Shirley

I’ve cried twice today. I’ve misplaced my emotional spool and I’m completely unwound. Like thread, my heart is delicate.  My reasons for tears vary, but whenever I’m sad and nostalgic I find myself looking for a safe haven.  Yesterday was challenging, today exhausting, and so on. Essentially, there’s varied reasons for my emotional release.  In an attempt to conquer an emotional pit, I’ve sought out comfort within a profound peak.

Yesterday Shirley Temple died.  This iconic woman gave me delightful dreams, mocktail mania, and fervor for film. Shirley Temple was sensational. She was innocent, sweet, talented, and tenacious.  I proudly mimicked her roles as a young girl, which despite the chagrin of my brothers, gave me simple and pure joy. Her career as a child was astounding, but her pursuits as a woman were even more admirable and awesome.  And so when life hands me challenges, I revert back to childhood comforts.

Sometimes it’s the sacredness of something or someone that rushes us back to reality. However, we return slightly better,  less delicate, stronger, and ready to thread our way through challenges because we allowed ourselves a moment. So long, Shirley. You gave me a moment today and hundreds before then too. You were magic.

Snow

This winter has felt more like Buffalo as opposed to New Jersey. It’s snowing again in the Garden State, which means school was canceled and I’m home alone. I love snow days.  When I’m snowed in I tend to do my best thinking, writing, and dreaming. Here’s to a day filled with all three, which means a positive and productive start to the week.

The Magic of Misconception

I’ve liked cities for a long time. Sometimes, despite my suburban sanctuary, I still crave an urban environment. The chaos of a city ignites and invigorates my thoughts. Particularly, losing myself in the backdrop of Manhattan remains one of my favorite pastimes.

I’ve lived a lot of my life leaving comfort, embracing change, and surrendering to the unfamiliar and unexpected. I’ve loved all of my adventures and opportunities, each of which sparked growth, inspiration, and relationships. There’s true beauty in the act and art of self-discovery, so I’m eternally grateful for every experience. With this noted, the decision to become a suburban gal was intimidating and awkward. To begin, it’s difficult to be further from friends. At this stage of life many of my favorite and faithful friends remain engrossed by their urban utopia. While I see them often, it’s different from past gatherings. The train ride certainly puts distance into perspective. Eateries, coffee cafes, or watering holes were easily located and visited within city limits. I was surrounded by shopping, which while dangerous, was equally delightful.  Living in the city was expensive, but awesome, and there are days where I miss it immensely.

However, the trepidation of suburbia has long been surrendered. Each day I’m mesmerized by the magic of misconception. I was nervous about suburban lifestyle, but I’ve adapted to its quirks and adopted it for its quality. I thought I wouldn’t find as good of food or fun, and while different, it’s excellent by its own standards. In fact, there’s a superiority to suburban life.  There’s a quietness that’s rare but refreshing, which is warmly welcoming. I’ve calmed down, slightly, which has made me venture in new directions and dreams.  I’ve found new eateries, coffee cafes, and watering holes, which are filled with charm and character. There is magic in misconception because I’ve been surprised and satisfied by suburbia.

Generally, we venture out on Friday to celebrate the end of another week and to savor suburbia. Cheers to another week and to the magic of misconception.

Celebrate

I’ve loved my birthday for as long as I can remember. I’ve collected hundreds of memories from childhood but my favorite and most treasured are birthdays. Growing up my parents never ceased to amaze me with their enthusiasm for birthdays. While I always felt cherished, I especially basked in their love and light on my birthday. From a breakfast of choice to small but special surprises throughout the day, I savored every second of my birthday.

Throughout the years not much has changed. I love birthdays. I love celebrating people on the day they were born and I relish celebrating my day as well. It’s a day of reflection and sentiment.

Last night I prayed in gratitude for another beautiful year in this awesome life. This world, its people, and its possibilities continually amaze me. Today is a day of small celebrations. I have no grandiose party planned or extravagant meal in the works.  Rather, I’m spending the day doing what I love surrounded by the people I love. The best gift is recognition and appreciation for another year of this lovely life.

Here’s to another year. 

Yankee Doodle Tap Room

The Yankee Doodle Tap Room is one of my favorite places in all of Princeton. Situated in the heart of Palmer Square, it’s the perfect place to relax and revisit Princetonian charm. If you visit in the winter months look for me near the fireplace, which warms my heart as much as it does my toes. Inscribed in the hearth is the classic text “Rest Traveller, Rest, and Banish Thoughts of Care;
Drink to Thy Friends and Recommend Them Here.” Every time I find myself fortunate to visit the bar I stare at the words and recognize their truth as any or every worry escapes me. The dark wooden walls and older but charming decor create a cozy atmosphere where one can’t help but toast to winter, friendship, and the fire!

Welcome, 2014

This past December was busy and beautiful. To begin, New Jersey gave this Buffalo gal some snow and I spent my days enjoying the weather and preparing for seasonal festivities. I embraced  my previous post and embarked upon “Random Acts of Christmas Kindness.” It was an awesome feat, which resulted in many memorable and magical moments.

While I won’t detail every single act I will say I learned something profoundly important about giving and its impact, which simply put is its powerful extension beyond our imagination. In providing small but sincere acts of kindness I witnessed the pure joy it brought to faces and places, which hopefully created a chain of continual spirit and smiles. While the intention was to be as selfless as possible I found myself feeling more fulfilled, focused, and restored. In being kinder I became more reflective, appreciative, and determined. I’m entering 2014 with a better sense of purpose and direction. Essentially, I’m ready to embrace and enjoy the year.

This December I joined a fantastic new gym, met some new neighbors, hosted family and friends, and fell more in love with my husband and partner-in-crime. Life is wonderful, I am blessed, and I wish you and yours health and happiness this new year.

In suburban bliss,

Katie