Thursday, July 30, 2009

I'm off to Chicago!

I'm off to Chicago for a long weekend away with my dear friends Jes and Gennaro. Jes is from outside of Chicago, so I'll be getting a first-rate tour from a native -- Yankees/White Sox game included! (Although she would argue it's a White Sox/Yankees game.)

I'll report back when I return. Have a terrific weekend.



P.S. Thanks for all the thoughtful responses about my Aug 19 decision. I spoke to my dad and we both agreed to think about what we want to do. I'm thinking maybe cemetery in the morning and a funny movie in the afternoon! Bruno, anyone?!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Should I take the day off on August 19?

Hi there,

Sometimes I write to tell you things, but other times, like tonight, I need your advice.

August 19 is the date my mom passed away. (Is there actually a term for this "holiday"? The only one that seems right is deathiversary, but that's pretty dark, even for me!) Anyway, for the past 7 years, I've always taken that day off from work. At first it was out of fear of breaking down at work, but later it became out of respect for my mom, my family, and myself.

Now, as August approaches, I've already begun anticipating the date. But today I thought, "It's been 7 years, do I really still need to take the day off?"

I'm torn. Part of me likes my family's tradition: My dad, brother, and I go to the cemetery and out to lunch (similar to what we did on my mom's birthday). I also don't subscribe to the idea that grief has a time limit. Although lately I've been curious about what joy I could find if grief did have a time limit, which I guess is the reason behind wanting to treat this August 19 -- 7 years later -- a little differently.

What do you think?

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Birthday date night recap

Hi everyone,

I hope you're having a nice weekend. Right now it feels like hurricane weather in Brooklyn... lots of wind and rain. It makes me want to curl up in bed, but I'll write to you first.

So, the birthday date night was a lot of fun. Let me tell you all about it!

Mark texted me to meet him at Brooklyn Heights Wine Bar, where the night started with exotic cocktails (he tried a Whiskey Fig Fizz; I tried a Cherry Caipirinha) and yummy appetizers. We chattered about interesting articles we each had read in Wired magazine, reminisced about our second date aboard the "classy" Staten Island Ferry, and chirped on and on about lots of other topics.

Energy charged across our little table, as if it were indeed a date back from our early days. Even our waitress felt it, so she granted Mark's request to let us watch the bartender as she made his fancy cocktail. While at the bar, we befriended some of the bar dwellers and soon several eyes were on the bartender as she prepared his beverage (which included fig preserves and an egg white). That's one of the things I love about Mark: he makes friends wherever he goes. Sally had that quality, too. (Random women in the grocery store used to spill their problems to her!).

Dinner followed at a fancy restaurant nearby called Le Petit Marche. We sat at a great table right up front looking outside onto the sidewalk. I found out later that Mark had asked them to save that table for us. So romantic!

At dinner we talked about the balance between our little "family" (the two of us living together) and our immediate families who raised us. Between Mark and I moving in together, my dad selling my childhood house, and me turning another year older, I feel a sudden lurch into womanhood that sometimes feels exciting and sometimes feels rattling.

As a little girl, my mother often scolded me on birthdays. She'd climb into my bed the night before, put her arms around me, and say, "Didn't I tell you not to get a year older?" Since I was the youngest, she wanted me to stay her baby. This often made me feel guilty so I'd roll my eyes and say, "Mom, I have to get older!" Now, years later, I feel the same way: like there's nothing I can do to stop time, and even if I could, I wouldn't want to -- I have to get older.

Have you ever had this feeling: the recognition that right now, right in this very moment, you're growing up fast?

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Belated birthday dinner

Mark's taking me out for a belated birthday dinner tonight. I'm excited! Since moving in together, date nights have become a little few & far between. I don't know where we're going, just the cross streets. I love the surprise factor. It brings me back to our early dating days where we would each try to out-do each other on date ideas.

I'll let ya know where we end up and how it is!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

My mother's plates

You eat your food on them. You put them in the dishwasher. You place them in your cabinet. Plates don't get a whole lot of credit, but these plates here are very special to me. They belonged to my parents -- a wedding gift from my dad's parents -- and now they belong to me.

As a kid, these were not our everyday plates; these were the plates we used for company. This means that when I look at these plates I see a full table with extra chairs, hear my mom's too-loud laugh, and taste my dad's famous baked ziti. My mom always had a thing for butterflies, and once imagined herself as a butterfly in a poem she wrote, so the beautiful blue butterflies on the plate make me feel like she's with me in my new home.

Since my dad is selling our house, the house of my childhood, he gave me this set of dishware as part of Operation: Bardach Clean-Up. I was happy he wanted to give them to me, and I'm happy to have something I use every day that reminds me of my mom.

Do you have a favorite item from your parents?

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

A very happy birthday celebration

Hi everyone!

Yesterday was my birthday. What a happy day!

I spent my work day doing a video shoot for It's a new cooking series that stars Prevention magazine's editor-in-chief. I write the scripts, buy and prep all the food, and direct the shoot. It's exhausting and exhilarating. My favorite moment was when our editor-in-chief shook a margarita on-camera... and forgot to hold the top of the cocktail shaker. Let's just say Tequila was in the air! (Click here to see a clip of me starring in a video about avocados.)

Work was also accompanied by a party my coworkers threw me, Dunkin' Donuts and beautiful sunflowers included. So sweet!

After work, I headed out with Mark and a handful of friends to see the Brooklyn Cyclones, a minor league baseball team that plays out in Coney Island. From the stadium, you can see the beach, The Cyclone, and the Wonder Wheel (Coney Island's main attractions). I don't think I watched even one full inning of the game. I was too busy chatting with friends, dancing to the pop music being blasted, and finding some reason to laugh.

I really felt so happy yesterday. Things just seem in place and as they should be. Sometimes this makes me nervous, like if I make any sudden movements everything could change. But then I try to tell myself that life has to keep moving and changing, and all I have to do is enjoy the ride. (After all, I'm only 27!).

Do you think happiness is just a frame of mind and we could find it anytime we want, or is happiness based on outside circumstances going on?

Monday, July 13, 2009

This just in: Kim Jong Il has pancreatic cancer

According to, South Korean leader Kim Jong Il has pancreatic cancer. He's 67.

It feels like so many celebs and public figures are coming down with pancreatic cancer: Patrick Swayze. Steve Jobs. Ruth Ginsberg. And now Kim Jong Il. Do you think pancreatic cancer is more prevalent, or do you think there's just more awareness around it?

Sunday, July 12, 2009

No I haven't forgotten about you

Hi friends,

It's been a bit of a hiatus since I last wrote, huh? This past weekend my girlfriends asked, "So... where have the blogs been?" I shrugged: "It's summer...?" Excuse = lame!

Summer so far has been very Dickens: the best of times, the worst of times. For me, it's honestly been the best of times. I love my new apartment and I really love living with Mark. His friends recently asked how I liked my new "roommate." I said that mostly it's been very normal and nice, kinda quiet and peaceful. For example, right now he's in the office designing a resume for our resume company and I'm lying in bed blogging. We have our alone time but it's wonderful knowing he's a wall away. His friends, joking around, said, "So what I'm hearing is that it's not extraordinary!" But nope, it's that, too.

So while I'm in the best of times, over in newly-moved-in honeymoon-ville, my friends are having a rough go of it. Boyfriends are breaking their hearts, family stress is dragging them down, job loss (or fear of it) is prevalent.

Being happy while your friends are sad just seems unfair. I often wish I could spread the wealth, like blowing one of those poofy weeds where all the seeds scatter. Sometimes I think I'm allowed to be happy now because of all the sadness I experienced when Sally died. Not in an "I deserve it" way. It's more a feeling like there are only so many sobs in the universe and I used up a lot of my quota then. I hope my friends are using up their quota now and will be happy soon, too.

Saying some prayer for my girls tonight.