Tag Archives: Personal

Brinksmanship

There was this thing we did when the first cold snap hit. We’d watch as the kids from the South and the West started to shiver, realizing that during this, their freshman year, they were woefully ill equipped for the New England winter ahead. We’d breathe in the Boston air, slowly, allowing it to fill our lungs. Chuckle, almost silently, telling them Just wait, this is nothing. You don’t know cold it can get. We would go on to tell them, our friends, how there would be a day in the not-so-distant future where their hair would freeze because they hadn’t fully dried it and, well, temperatures being what they are at that time of year…

It’s happened to me every year since that one. I’ve left my house thinking that I’m ready for the day only to discover otherwise. This year, it was in August. Covered in layers and less than one hundred miles from the Arctic Circle, it turns out, I didn’t how cold it can get.

It’s a learning experience, as most things are. Years ago, I was practicing sort of brinksmanship, colored by the arrogance of youth. These days? Well, things circle back on themselves.

Last year, I was talking about hurricanes and new homes. Or of rebuilding, anyway. Before that, it was new hearts.

Last week, I walked the main floor of Presbetyre in New Orleans’s Jackson Square immersed in the details of how Katrina transformed the city. Of the levees breaking and the Superdome. Of the people stranded on their roofs for days on end. I had to step away from the images in order to catch my breath. It was a year to the day that I had finally made it back to New York after being stranded in London for almost a week because of Sandy. Suddenly, I was back on the flight, suspended over Manhattan, circling the city, unsure of what I might see once I landed but desperate to see it.

Patterns emerge if you look closely enough.

It’s time for another. Four years ago today, my father received a new heart. In the years that have followed, I’ve written about it here and here), always with same request. It’s time again: register to be an organ donor.

I can’t remember where I started this thought. I suppose it doesn’t matter. I’ll get back there eventually.

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Donate Life

Forgive me—I’ve tried to stay away from the deeply personal here, with a few exceptions, but, well, simply put: this is one of them.

A year ago today, my father received a heart transplant.

It was a whirlwind, to say the least, after a year filled with so much waiting. I’ll spare you the details because, quite honestly, it’s still a little hard to discuss. And, I’m not sure that I would believe any of it, despite having lived through it. I’ll just say that after so much uncertainty, it was a happy ending for my family.

To say I wouldn’t change anything would, of course, be a lie. I would give anything to have years of health for my family. Or, for being able to know that what’s in store going forward and, certainly at the time, for being able to know that things would turn out alright in the end.

But, life doesn’t work in such ways. The best we can hope for, I think, it to make it through stronger and better for the experience, having learned something about ourselves and those we love.

So why am I mentioning this?

If only for a plea that you’ll sign up to be an organ donor today.

Click here for more information.

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On the New Year

I know, I know, it’s an off-kilter photo.

But, the sentiments are spot on.

L’Shana Tova.

Wishing you all a very happy 5772. May you be inscribed in the book of life.

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This Shape of Things We’re In

As it turns out, that the immense physical pain I mentioned a few weeks back was far more severe than I imagined. Instead of running through these days, I’ve slowed to the limp.

So, no more just pushing through it for me. Instead, it’s a stomach full of painkillers for now and a trip to the doctor planned for later this week.

The correct expression, I think is it never rains, it pours.

And, yet, most of the time, I’m finding the bright moments. It’s been a tough series of days, of cleaning house and the like, of unexpected reminders and hard conversations.

But, they’ve been days filled with joy, too.

There was watching a friend’s first child get baptized. The amazing and fortuitously timed trip of dear friends from Switzerland which resulted in a weekend filled with far too much gluttony—I may not be able to eat pork buns for a long, long time, in fact. A conversation with an old friend that went late into the night and helped put things in perspective.

I’ve made some exciting plans for the future, as well. These, I think, will stick.

So, I’m keeping busy, and moving forward, knowing that while sometimes change is shocking and heartbreaking, that doesn’t mean it’s all bad. As with anything, there are lessons to be learned in all of this. I’m sure of it.

I’ll get back to sharing my table with you all again soon.

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The Fact Is

There’s no easy way to say this: the Refrigerate After Opening kitchen is suddenly, and unexpectedly, down a member.

It was awful and cliche and everything else expected. But, no less painful.

This morning, I was using a running training program at the gym and midway through the workout, I couldn’t think of anything else but the physical pain. All I wanted to do was quit. I didn’t, if only because I realized that the only way to get through it was, quite simply, to get through it.

Then, I had the pathetic thought that the training program lasted for nine weeks and I was in week two, so in another seven weeks time, hopefully I’ll be able to run more and hurt less on all counts. Only time will tell, I suppose.

At any rate, I apologize for the personal post. All of this is really to say that I have some posts scheduled, so you’ll see those. But, after that, I plan on taking a break while I wrap my head around cooking for one. I’ve spent my life in the kitchen and don’t expect that to stop. So, I’ll be back at some point in the not so distant future, I hope.

Be well in the meantime. And, of course, eat well.

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