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Wednesday, December 31, 2014

A Sunday Evening Hello ~9

December 21, 2014

Christmas Time in New York

Life over the last two months had been a whirlwind leading up to Lindy’s visit, like being inside a snow globe with little respite between giddy shakes of joy, repeatedly, giddy shakes of joy, in the adventures and overabundance of emotional uplifting this city has brought me.

There is something undeniably magical that occurs as the snow falls here in New York City, especially in the mist of snow flurries while standing on the stoop of a church, eagerly awaiting the start of a parade with childlike wonderment. No longer was it a flip of a switch on the TV, but really right before my own eyes and thousands of others who lined the sidewalks, shivering from the briskness of the cold air, stood there waiting too. Having to blink my eyes several times to clear away the tears of joy, the rows of motorcycles police began to move, sirens whirling and blaring by as the first sites of the famous yellow starred balloons came into view signaling the beginning of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade here along Central Park West. It was a dazzling parade as the magnificent balloons came into view one by one. Nodding and waving to the crowds below, they sailed past, high above the crowd, but yet so close that I could feel their enormity, as they flounced in the wind. The whole time, my mind kept saying, “I can’t believe I’m really here!” A dream came true that day for me as thoughts of wanting to be a balloon handler the next time could not be hushed.

At Christmas time, the entire city seems to dress up in variations of glittering lights, bringing a magical luster to many of the beloved landmarks from a tiny tree in the middle of the pond in Central Park to a gargantuan tree at Rockefeller Center. Each day as I traveled to and from work, I could see the production for the upcoming holiday come to life. It wasn’t until Lindy and I etched our way down Fifth Avenue towards Rockefeller Plaza did the glow of the evening, take your breath away. Oh so beautiful! The Herald angels brightened the plaza and ice-skaters twirled and spilled on the ice as a man got down on his knee, the crowd silenced, witnessing a proposal, then a loud cheer erupted with the kiss. How romantic…Lindy and I both wistfully feeling envious of that exchange of love. While across Sixth Avenue, visitors flocked to Radio City Music Hall to see the Christmas Spectacular featuring the Rockettes, our soon to be destination of one of New York’s Christmas time traditions.

During Lindy’s stay here, the splendor of the festivity of holiday flare was all abound. The Empire State building with it’s dazzling display of Christmas colors. Grand Central Terminal hosting a sensational laser light show that’s repeated throughout the day in it’s main concourse, and bustles with a colorful Holiday Fair in Vanderbilt Hall. Uptown has the Plaza Hotel with a beautiful Christmas tree in its entrance hall, the cities glorious holiday window displays from all the big department stores, to the twinkling star that dangles above Fifth Avenue by Tiffany’s, ahh, yes, Macy’s Santa… making it a very magical time to be in New York.

As for Penelope, she took to her first snow here very delicately, lingering ever so long before she would pee, always needing to shake off the snowflakes every couple of minutes. With her only outing when Lindy was here, I believe she enjoyed her walk to the ferry, zig zagging around the city streets. Being the mommy that I am, she stayed safely snuggled up in her carrier around Times Square, and was lulled to sleep from the rocking of the train, on our ride home. Very special memories of our first Christmas time in New York were created with Lindy’s visit. I(we)miss her fiercely. All in all we have a nice little routine, but we will surely miss our Christmas tree guys on the corner with their friendly, “hello’s” and snippets of Douglas fur branches to take home, when the season comes to a close too.

Love and doggy kisses,

Jane and Penelope

A Sunday Evening Hello ~8

December 7, 2014

“How many days?”
I have had such terrible separation anxiety over having to leave my laptop behind at the biggest, most expansive, cube building right smack dab in the middle of New York! So what, huh? Ok. Next door to FAO Swartz? Kiddie corner from Central Park? Well??? It was for a whole week!
Everything on my laptop was coming to a slooooow, slooooow motionless pause that even the Apple support guy said, after two hours of chatting away, almost forgetting what we were doing, “Time for surgical repair ASAP.” The best news of all…it would be on Apple at NO cost. Hallelujah! So here I am writing to you from a brand new laptop, that zips about quicker than Santa on his sleigh! 
To what is really in my heart at that moment was the miracle and the grandeur knowing that the steering of this ship, I call Jane in NY, is out of my hands. If I could just describe the awe inspiring, stirring within my soul, as I looked about at the expansiveness of the city, still star struck, after climbing up the spiral glass stairs of the Apple Store(with my new laptop) out onto the streets of NY, being an emotional fullness that I could hardly contain. I did as what I have been finding myself doing more and more frequently, I called my mom. 
As I was telling the tale of my latest adventure, I began to share with her my surroundings as we both walked almost hand in hand over the next hour along Central Park West, past the Plaza Hotel, to Columbus Circle and all around the Holiday Market, chatting away. We giggle and laughed at many things as I was in the best company a girl in NY could have, my mom.
My mom. How would you describe the feeling I feel towards her? Somewhat indescribable. I have to say I’ve fallen love with my mom all over again. I had an infinity for her as a child with the terrible separation anxiety episodes then too, with having to go to Kindergarten and the deep desires to skip class when I would come home for lunch getting all wrapped up in her soap operas, just so I could spend time with her.
She has become my biggest supporter, a voice that always expresses to me what it is I am living, without me requiring or even asking for a thing. Selfishly, I am soaking it all up and knowingly, I know that voice has been there all along, I just haven't been willing to share so much of myself with her over the years. Our mother’s opinion always matters and hits a chord welcomed or not. I am no longer afraid to share in the loving exchange one way or the other.
“I am so proud of you. You are finally living the life you always wanted and where you belong.” (Little does she know or maybe she does, but there is still one more place in this lifetime for me to be.) “Have you made any friends yet?” Yep, that’s my mom. “I love you, my baby girl.”
“I love you bunches too mama.” I can never say those six words without choking up.
Just having her know that I am OK is everything to her. I know from that place that calls inside of me about my own children, it is all that is needed to know. That I am OK.
Until next time, 
Jane and Penelope

A Sunday Evening Hello ~7

November 17, 2014

A Late Sunday Evening Hello…from New York City, 
♫♪ Hine ma tov uma na-im Shevet achim gam yachad…
To my surprise and delight, my week started out with a ride on the crosstown bus with twins Jack and Josh, who are almost 4. The last time I saw these two was with their nanny. They were both busy eating raisins out of a box. Josh, ever so carefully one at a time, while Jack trying to fit as many fingers in his box as possible. This time, squirmy Josh kept his legs sprawled out so Jack couldn't sit on the only seat by me, causing a slight ruckus of whining from them both. The game of ducking heads in the tunnels as we went through Central Park, they call the kids jungle, changed the tune coming from our bus. Thank goodness there were four tunnels! All this time, Jack hung onto his LL Bean catalogue page, rather importantly, sharing his “L” lesson, in between singing his song, after all the tunnels disappeared from sight. These two are so adorable. Later that day, guess who was on the same bus as me? Yep, they came and sat by me on the bus ride back too. Jack couldn’t wait to sing his song to me again. ♫♪ Hine ma tov uma na-im…
I love looking up at the sky and breathing in the morning air as I walk the three blocks to work after getting off the bus. It still amazes me, the beauty of the buildings, the yellow blurs from taxis going by, and the honking of the horns playing their musical tunes of “hurry-up”. Why do I keep telling myself, I'm in New York? Feels incredible! Today the lady on the same bus ride with Jack and Josh this morning, sitting near us, mentioned it was Sesame Street’s 45th birthday! Good ‘Ol Synchronicity, knowing that occasionally, creeping into the forefront of my mind, was my interview with Sesame Workshop coming up later in the week. 
It has been a rather crammed packed week with many train rides, often feeling like an ant, emerging out into the open from the tunnels below, going from the rattling and whoosh of the trains going by, to the majestic of the skyscrapers with a completely different ensemble of busyness and a welcoming melody of life. There is an endless array of aspiration that New York offers, a tremendous variety and sources of excitement to fill ones creative spirit. I have found inspiration in an abundance of supply for that which is beckoning inside—books, kids, and writing. Some of which are: 
Exploring ‘The New School’ off of 14th Street, in Greenwich Village, which hosted New School students along with SCBWI members, a free agents panel. I sat in an auditorium with an entourage of writers drenched in the litany of literary discussion, in learning how agents deal with submissions. It was nice to put actual faces to agents that I’ve researched and read about. Agents from Pippin Properties, New Leaf Literary, and Trident Media Group were there, who deal mainly with children’s literature. 
And yes, Sesame Street. A very basic interview, but one that I interjected “Jane” into easily. A once in a lifetime experience going through security, up the elevators, out into the world of Big Bird, Cookie Monster, and Elmo…only in New York. The adrenaline crash left me sitting out in the plaza of the Lincoln Center, across the street, while I took some time until I could start to feel like myself again. This was like all of my New York City moments rolled into one huge ball of Bata Bing emotional joy. I was zonked out the rest of the day.
You may get excited waiting to see your favorite band in concert, a movie, maybe a ball game as I do in attending kid’s stuff like meeting some of my favorite authors and illustrators from my favorite children’s books at the Eight Annual Children’s Book Fair. Who would of thunk that there are over 30 published children’s authors living in Brooklyn? Ya, I know it’s New York.
Upon entering the lobby of the Brooklyn Museum this last Saturday, instantly I was surrounded by chatterings from children perched on their tiptoes, tucked under their parent’s arm, leaning over tables—tables with little stack of books, displaying fanciful illustrations beckoning to be picked up and read. Amazement spread over my face to see so many Brooklyn children’s authors all in one place. Shifting my way in and around each table, peering through every little gape of space, I began searching for my favorites. Amongst over the 30 authors, I found Melissa Guion (Baby Penguins Everywhere), Sophie Blackall (Ivy & Bean), and Abby Hanlon (Dory Fantasmagory), that I just had to talk to. Looking back over my shoulder upon leaving, I took in one last blast of sweet childhood joy from the chorus of little voices booming all around, with towers of balloons that seem to dance as they floated in the air. I could hardly wait to open each book, reaching into my bag, taking one out at a time. Peering at the autographs, I was touched by the special notes inside, feeling my heart bursting with immense satisfaction that my eyes watered up as I sat on the train ride home. 
Tonight, on the train I just happen to have Brielle and Aston(two little ones with their mom) who were on their way to Symphony Space on the UWS too! They were incredibly sweet… "Oh I'm going to sit by you. Will you walk with us?”
This was the night for the Terrific Tails! A Celebration of E.B. White (aka, Charlotte’s Web, Stuart Little, and The Trumpet Swan) with reading performances by Jane Curtin, David Hyde Pierce, Liev Schreiber, and Naomi Watts to name a few. BTW Jane Curtin was hysterical with her interpretational reading and character voice. To be in a theater, stage in center, balcony above, to people filing in with a murmur of anticipation all in celebration of EB White, was nice. I knew this would be a moment to surrender all thoughts, to capture the essence of an author, who made a lasting contribution towards children's literature. 
I turned and there beside me, they were Brielle and Aston, the happiest as little bugs could be, beaming up at me as if I was made of magic. Chattering away more excited about riding home with me than the show. I was touched by two angels tonight! It's easy to sniffle to keep the drips at bay, but the eye tear ducts are completely different. I’m afraid my pupils sat in puddles for most of the train ride home. Thoughts kept filling them back up. Dang it! Lil voices echoing my name “Jane"!
And lastly, to my absolute BEST DAY of the week event, was this past Friday for the Open House at Random House! Out of all the places, experiences, and environments I’ve been in since arriving in NY, this one resonated with me the most. I could feel my heart beating with excitement all day long. I usually get a rush of excitement walking up the subway steps to see where I’ve been placed this time, but not this time. I was excited before I even got off the train! I walked my way down Broadway to Random House for the big event. I was greeted in the book-lined lobby, given my credentials for admission, and sent up to the 2nd floor to gather my limited edition Lands’ End tote bags full of–what else?–books! Including “Duck & Goose” by Tad Hills, “Love Lashes and Lipstick" by Mally Roncal, “There Was a Little Girl” by Brooke Shields, and “Unbroken” by Laura Hillenbrand, all who would be speaking during the panel sessions, doing books signing plus other authors and more stuff. (I’ll put a picture of my goodies below in the comments). 
Besides meeting the president of Random House after leaving the 14th floor from the cocktail party, I was deeply moved by the panel session of “Unbroken”. All the executives(Random House Team) who had their hands on the production and sales of this book were on the panel. It was one of those moments when you got to experience a once in a lifetime occurrence over a pretty phenomenal book. Some of them could hardly talk without showing emotion or tears, describing their role of bringing this book to life, along with a first time preview screening of the movie, being brought to the big screen by actress and director Angelina Jolie. 
I was pleasantly surprised by the whole encompassing experience, including the candid discussions of the panel members, talking with the authors, (I had a great talks with Tad Hills, Mally Roncal, and Brooke Shields at the book signings), and the stirring of my interest in all of it. I felt like a princess at a royal ball, treated to many surprises and a little of Fairy Godmothers’ magic. I could ramble on forever about all the details, but my eyes are getting pretty heavy by now as the hour slips into midnight here. 
I can’t forget to talk about my Miss Penelope. She or we, took a vacation from doggie adventures this week. That's ok because when I teased her on one of our walks with the choice of the subway steps right at the park entrance, she chose the park as her direction to go. I'm sure she and her furry house guest managed to have a few adventures when left alone. There is always a rug to straighten, a curtain to close, chair pads to be picked up, blankets to be unraveled, and two innocent sleeping culprits waiting my arrival when I come home.
I'm purely touched by New York. What you give seems to come back in the most heartfelt ways. And this, I say thank you.
Hugs and doggy kisses,
Jane and Penelope

A Sunday Evening Hello ~6

November 9, 2014

Sunday Evening Hello…from New York City,
Life is not all La Di Da, but I have to say my life lately is the most la di da-ish it has ever been. In a good way. It is like trying on a new pair of comfy shoes for the first time, being eager to wear them out, and they end up being the pair you grab for time and time again. That is how New York is feeling to me.
I found myself grinning on the inside and telling myself, “This is the BEST day” while sitting amidst the greenery of Central Park, in the middle of Manhattan, where the sun was seeping through the brightly colored leaves in the trees. Penelope and I took one of our many rests from shuffling all our paws through the pile of leaves that lay scattered up against the edges of the paths, with one of the many statues nearby when this feeling came rushing in. 
You may think I’m crazy on this one, but I found a dog themed, dog-friendly adventure tour of Central Park, called Bark Post(a Stray Boots tour). To find our way around on the tour, I had to complete challenge questions on a scavenger hunt from an app on my phone, in order to progress to the next destination. We started at the Guggenheim Museum off of 5th Ave. and made our way around, behind the Met, and through the East side of the park. Sometimes we both were easily distracted, often going in circles, but learning historical tidbits and doggy facts, while seeing Central Park in a completely different fun way. Did you know that dog walkers here can earn easily up to $4,000/month if they had up to 300 dogs to walk? That was one of our fun tidbits on the tour.
Ahh, there is something about looking through the trees and seeing the beautiful skyscrapers of Manhattan with the legendary Plaza Hotel unfolding into view as we headed around The Pond, on our way out of the Park. Let’s just say that after several miles, motorized boats, a few turtles, statues of Balto, Alice in Wonderland and Hans Christian Anderson, going under bridges with trumpets playing, ice skaters on the rink, that Penelope was most fascinated with the horses. She stood dead in her tracks, almost trembling with tourrets sounding barks when the horse and buggies went by. In the end, she eagerly crawled into her carrier, laid out flat like a pancake, as I zipped her up before we headed down the subway stairs.
The freedom I feel come Friday afternoons, is like the feeling of being a kid, waiting in line for the Magic Mountain ride at Disney Land. I have the whole weekend off to create with however I want! That was the thought in my head in-between the urges of sleep, fighting to keep my eyelids open, on the train ride home this past Friday. Sometimes I get mesmerized watching the motions of the train car in front of me rocking back and forth, up and down, that it begins to lull me to sleep. I was easily jolted awake this time as I zipped up, stepping out into the cold air, getting off the train, when my phone awoke with a signal and started to make it’s musical tones. In my inbox was a message from HR at Sesame Street wanting to meet with me in person ASAP next week for an interview. Getting that message is like being at the tipsy top of the roller coaster ride right before you plunge straight down, kind of feeling, to start my weekend off with. Whoo Hooo! Not soon after that, the familiar tightening of the tummy began.
I remember going to Kindergarten and dreading every step of the way except for the step towards my mom as she waited for me on the corner when the day was all over. 
I was anxious about leaving what was familiar to me(home) and often made up stories on the playground of when I fell or tripped or did something utterly embarrassing, that it was somebody’s fault other than my own. My stomach hurt all the time and I had these terrible stomach tightening when ever I got called on especially for show-n-tell! I hated show-n-tell. I would often fantasize about what I could bring that would be the coolest thing in the world and make me instantly liked by everyone. I don’t remember having many friends, but I do remember sitting around that circle in a horrible angst dreading every minute as my turn crept closer. That phase didn’t last long, but even to this day the familiar stomach tightening still happens. Well let's hope I don’t get too anxious and just cruise through this interview with lots of confidence.
Right now I am listening to my iTunes song, “Star” by Break of Reality, as I write. Just last night, I was at an underground venue in the East Village, bathed in dim lights and old fashioned movie seats, was a classical-rock quartet playing(3 Cello’s, and a percussionist), called Break of Reality. I truly enjoyed the sounds as the music rose into heightened crescendo’s from a wonderful unison of musical play amongst them. I loved the joy, passion, emotion, life, playing hard, as they became one with their instruments, with such power. The acoustics reverberated all around me with moments that easily became a transcendent experience with my eyes closed.
C'est vraiment superbe!
After the concert and a short train ride later, I ended up at St. Marks Place to Pomme Frites, for a taste of some Belgium fries with many different dipping sauces to choose from like roasted garlic mayo, black truffle mayo, and the mango chutney mayo. I kept a little trinket of ketchup nearby to go with my parmesan and herb sauce just in case. OH, My tummy felt so pudgy when I was done! 
I guess getting ready for an interview this week after having one of the best days ever, isn’t such a bad thing? Everything is happening at once this coming week. Oi, makes me exhausted thinking about it all; agents panel, interview, Open House at Random House, Children’s Book Fair, and Symphony Space for E.B.White Celebration. Taking one wee step and one thing at a time works very well for me even though this NYC adventure has been anything but WEE.
Writing to all of you is like re-living the best parts of my week and I'm loving that! I hope you are enjoying it too.
Hugs and doggy kisses,
Jane and Penelope

A Sunday Evening Hello ~5

November 2, 2014

Hello...from NYC,
Are dogs allowed in your store?…Yes!
Feeling like a kid with saggy crotch fleece lined tights, adrenaline rushing through my veins, I rushed down two flights of subway stairs, through the turnstile with an 18 pound carrier in tow, out onto the platform. Grinning like a Cheshire cat in my own marathon race today, we were off to the ultimate playground for book lovers, the “Strand” bookstore. Penelope’s early afternoon potty break went from a quick sidewalk pee to an adventure. Two trains later, we were in the East village, not too far from Union Square, soon after I heard the voice on the other end of the phone say, “Yes.” 
The Strand is Larger than life! It has three floors, jammed with rows of towering shelves piled high with books(and crowds of people), a fairyland… enrapturing one in an imaginational wonderland where time disappears! That’s if you are a book lover like me. Penelope just pranced about, tightly tucked by my side, with a few stolen moments of slumber as I sat parked on a bench buried in my own little pile of treasures. There are some places you walk into and it just swallows you whole, saggy crotched tights, furry friend sporting her new red winter coat, and all! 
Today was the running of the New York City Marathon(worlds largest), which means lots of detours with road closures as nearly 50,000 runners in a 26.2 mile race, run throughout all the five boroughs, across five city bridges before ending amid cheering crowds in Central Park. Yesterday, after waking to the familiar pitter pattering on the little white box sticking out from my window, making it a soggy day, an indoor kind of day, a day for Hulu, Netflix, jammies, and hot tea day, left me dying to get out today. With the marathon making it quite a bit of a challenge to do much, the “Strand” seemed like the perfect getaway place.
Earlier in the week, I enjoyed having dinner at a French Bistro called, Cafe Loup in the old West Village. It was softly lit, creating a warm ambiance, with a witty, eccentric waiter, named Phillip, and a bar that is flat-out-beautiful, kind of place. Then sharing a subway ride with a friend for part of the way home, on the infamous EXPRESS train, that I covet as they go by every morning on my commute, made it a nice evening. Although I have to say, nothing is better than standing on the platform with four track in front of you, wearing a skirt, as the trains on the middle tracks(EXPRESS trains) zoom by. Their steel roaring thunderous hum rattling by, as the ground shakes, with a huge swoosh of air blowing up and around you, like the winds along Lake Shore Drive, in a picturesque moment…you feel like Marilyn Monroe, barely able to hold your skirt down! Yes, a giggle moment that I love!
And Oh, I can’t forget to mention Halloween! I saw dogs in costumes, people on train with blood dripping down onto their skin to little ones on their way to school with patches of fun sticking out thru their coats, and the staff at The Food Emporium poking fun at one another’s costumes while arranging the cupcakes loaded with spooky decor in the display case. The most bizarre feeling happened after I got off the train on my way home. I turned the corner and it hit me like a scene from the movie, Back to the Future. The streets were lined on both sides for several blocks with nothing but hoards of kids all in costumes, trick or treating in and out of all the stores. Gremlins, ghouls, witches, princesses, you name it, as I tried to weave my way home. It freaked me out in a cool kind of way. I never knew we had so many kids in the neighborhood! The day was so much livelier with laughter more prevalent all around. I definitely enjoyed the hums and sounds, larger and livelier orchestra of life. Thank you Halloween. 
Nowhere else in the world can you simultaneously feel the exhilarating pulse of a vibrant city on one block, to feeling like you’ve opened up a stage door and walked into a completely different movie set on the next block, then being in New York City. With each new venture out, the city presents me with different things that perpetually make me a helpless admirer. It is like falling in love and getting lost in the heart pounding rush of excitement. “Joie de vivre.”
I'm in love with NYC
I love my place
I love the way I’m feeling
I love the scattering of squirrels rustling about on the trails
The color of red bleeding through the crisp fallen leaves
The photos and words that capture all these feelings
cherishing the memories they are creating.
I’m in love with NYC
I love the Pennies that appear unexpectedly
I love Penelope having these experiences with me
I love the berries that cling to trees branches
The uncanny gorgeous fall sweater wearing weather
The abundance of possibilities for me here
opening further the wonder in my heart.
I’m in love with NYC
I love the sound of steel from trains braking
I love Penelope’s bark of hello on the other side of the door
I love the familiar smell of my plug ins
The feeling of falling in love again with life
The “Joie de vivre” that erupts into all my thoughts
creating stories for me to write.
I’m in love with NYC
I love the smiles from strangers passing by
I love the laughter of the ticket booth lady as I forget to swipe my card
I love the feeling of sophistication that arises in me
The diversity of interesting people I've conversed with
The languages and accents spoken
mixing into an explosion of cultures from place to place.
I’m in love with NYC
I love the historic brownstones along the quiet streets
I love the sharing of a train ride with a new friend
I love the theaters, Juilliard's School, music in subways, artistry of food vendors, and all the museums
The little neighborhood groceries and deli’s on every block
The casualness of furry companions walking about with their shoppers
to a feeling of importance that emanates from places, people, cars, taxis that I pass by.
I love knowing that tomorrow's will have more “I loves” just waiting for me to experience them as I discover the mystery of why I am here.
Until next time, 
Jane and Penelope

A Sunday Evening Hello ~4

October 26, 2014

Our Sunday Night Hello from NYC…
The winners were being announced as Penelope and I attended our first official event here in NYC, The Inwoof Halloween Contest. Cute little Daisy with the leather cap and pirate sweater didn’t win in the judges eyes, but Penelope sure caught the attention of Daisy’s. How can a dog not like any other kind of dog breed but Cavaliers? Can they really tell the difference? Daisy evidently can and if she were a judge, she would of chosen Penelope, who came as herself, for she had outgrown her bee costume from last year. Most of the dogs had shed their costumes by the time the prizes were given and soon after, we were off running out the gate, straight over to the farmer’s market. Penelope’s prize was soon found as she carried around a shrunken green something or other. Her prize might have been an apple I would guess, but there are so many strange vegetables I don’t recognize that it could of easily been anything.
The kid, Miss Penelope, is being real easy on me. She is starting to signal her need for a bathroom break in ways that I am starting to take notice. I caught her sitting by the front door all nice and dainty, doing all she could, but clear her throat, to tell me to come on mom, time to go! Like right now licking my hand as I’m trying to type and playing with her pawsies on the keyboard as I bat it away, then she immediately puts it right back thinking its a game. There comes a time in the evening when I can’t put off taking Penelope out for her “nigh, nigh pee” or I just get too grumpy and it is way too quiet on the streets. If I try to wait as long as I can at night, then her morning pee time is not so urgent to where I can do my business before she needs to go. See, it’s all about timing. It sure is different raising an apartment dog over our days of spoiling with a doggie door and a backyard.
A couple of nights ago, no sooner had we stepped out from our entryway onto the sidewalk, there they were, a silky white schnauzer and a young man hidden beneath his baseball cap. Both of us were wrapped up in our dark blue sweat jackets doing the last pit stop of the day with our kids. I soon got to know him as Marcus. We walked and talked as he shared all sorts of good advice about winter care for Penelope with the salt and snow hazards for her paws and how I should get myself a pair of Uggs. He swears by his pair. He also suggested a trail for us right past the train station that takes you alongside the East River where Bette Midler supposedly put a boat house. Is all we have to do is just keep walking two blocks past the best all around pizza place,(he has known of them and their pizza since he was 3!) and the path is right there. 
I came to learn that Marcus works with private clients who have autistic teens, as a teacher, helping(change behaviors) to prep them for public schools. Two of his clients one being Robert De Niro’s son, Elliot and another who wrote a book about autism and was invited to the White House to meet President Obama. Even though he lives in a building behind us, he walked us back and no sooner did he appear, he disappeared. I turned to look back, no sign of them anywhere. I thought about all the unique people I am meeting and he definitely is one of them. By the way, we tried out the trail today. I can’t get over how I can walk a few blocks in any direction just about and land at different parks where there are plenty of woodsy type trails. A comment I made upon my last day in Arizona was that I hoped to find a place to live that is by a park. Well…who knew…4 parks!
One of Penelope’s NY essentials was put to the test. The roar of the trains, the enclosure of the black little case, and the rocking back and forth as I carried her, didn’t seem to jar Penelope as I took her on her biggest adventure yet since we’ve been to NY. It was her first subway ride. I have been biting at the bit ever since I bought that carrier to officially use it. Poor Peeps, with all I have put her through and will continually, I’m sure of. Anyway, like a proud momma, I continue to take pictures of all her firsts. 
Penelope came along as I revisited the Upper West Side(UWS), strolling along 89th street to Riverside Park, down along the Hudson, conversing with the ladies who attend the community garden and others, as I gazed back in time, reminiscing from my first visit here. A different feel, not as a star struck lover, as I once was, but more as if it all is becoming a part of me now. Some of the places we passed by, being just as they were, etched in my memory, others as if looking into and through a completely different lens. My heart leaped with bounds of joy and pride of our accomplishment as I walked and carried Miss P about.
I’m still wide eyes with wonder as cute lil tykes conversations continue on the cross town bus ride. This last one was about how many times a day this little guy believes he cries. Holding up, four fingers he said, ”Maybe I cry this many times a day. I skip my cry, if I cry 1, I don't cry 2 or 3 and I cry 4.” His nanny gave him a look as if saying are you sure that’s all? I actually rode on a bus where the driver had to tell people at the stop to wait for the next bus. We were too full AND It was! I had to giggle out loud one day, when our bus became a dam in the middle of the 5th Ave. intersection, with miles of cars and taxi’s jammed up honking like mad on one side and looking over my other shoulder at the open glory of 5th Ave. These buses must have an invisible bumper guard all the way around them. The way these huge boats maneuver through tight spaces and streets is miraculous. I just sit back and enjoy the ride.
I’m finding which part of the train platform to stand on that will get me a good seat on the train, quickest direction to walk getting out of the subway, how to stand in a line during rush hour times in order to load a bus, timing the walk signal at intersections for crossing the streets, to how much to load on my Metro Card for the week, all in all as others move about robotically, I just keep my light shinning while enjoying the rhythm of the big city.
Learning how to navigate your way through and in NYC is like an obstacle course, maybe not for the faint of heart, but as with anywhere, you listen and get a feel for the language of it, marvel at its magnificence, and you will find innumerable treasures all around. Yes, I’m still finding my “Pennies from Heaven”, meeting new people and filling up my calendar with events that pop up. The following week coming up is a big week for me as more things keep popping up. Everyday presents new possibilities, new adventures…even to having cocktails and dinner with a group of women after work one night this week. The newness of NYC is wearing off, but the thunder in my being is loud and strong knowing that as this moving into the city chapter closes the next one is already beginning.
The phone calls, messages, and new connections are so appreciated, even the calls I get with tears from missing me, just know sometimes your goodbyes leave me in tears too.
Big hugs and doggy kisses from NY,
Jane and Penelope

A Sunday Evening Hello ~3

October 19, 2014

Hello from New York,
Today is the first day where the feeling of winter crept into my mind. A day where you follow the sun on whatever side of the street it is, for in the shade, it is burrrrrrr!! I sure hope that my body has been baked from all those years in the Arizona sun so that when winter hits, steam will rise! 
We have a doorman, well unofficially we do. He usually skirts around us when we are going through the door as he holds it open, but yesterday Penelope decided to surprise him. As we passed by, she jumped up on him from behind to say her “Hello” and he jumped, only the other way. I think she made a friend. For the first time ever, he took us up in the elevator. I had to chuckle when Penelope started to lick the back of our doorman's leg all the way up to the 5th floor!
Just earlier in the week, on one of those mornings where Penelope was in need of her red rubber boots from an earlier rain shower, summer came once again with the remembrance and feel of Arizona. Clear skies, warm soft breeze, no need for a sweater weather, just a perfect day for a morning dog walk. Watching the leaves, like twirling stars, showering down from above, falling right in front of us…magical. With each gentle breeze, glittering in the sunlit rays, dew drops perfectly round, streaming down in strings of translucent drops breaking open upon the ground from the trees…magical. 
An early evening venture out walking, found us in an entrapment of two skunks! Tottering about, doing it’s nightly scavenging, Penelope took notice and lunged forward with eager excitement to do her little dance, only to find mom, holding her back, as the bushy tail of one stood straight up. We tried to take a little detour around, only to find another! No, no sprays, at least this time. I do think they are quite acclimated to people at the park, which they call home in this GREAT big city. We stood still as they gradually wandered off. Yes, I giggled, then too. It was only the evening before when Penelope lunged forward wanting to do her greeting dance, I’m sure, but this time it was for a rat, scurrying across the sidewalk, out from the drainage of the gutter. Welcome to city life!
It amazes me how I can walk around NYC and manage to not get hit by a car, run into someone, or trip and fall. I love looking around taking it all in. There is so much to notice, like pennies! I do not know how it happens for out of the blue, my eye catches a penny, right down below in front of me. It never fails and always happens most unexpectedly when my head is far off somewhere thinking, gazing about and sure enough a penny shows up. I find myself giggling about that too. I’ve gathered a pocketful since I’ve arrived. 
I was walking up 61st street on my way home, admiring the beautiful brownstones, when I found one of those pennies. A door to a brownstone, opened up for a delivery as I passed by and what I saw inside took my breath away! The most phenomenal home from my glance, so rich and picturesque. This little spot in all of NYC was worth easily, millions of $. Knowing that there are a lot more spots like those filled with millions of $, amazed me thinking about those places were all here in one city. Just like the thought I have of all these little boxes, stacked on top of one another, with people living in them. Yes, I'm in one of those boxes for now. 
Can I tell you that I love the sound of the subway trains! I love the rush of the express trains going by on the middle tracks, as I wait on the platform for the 1 train, pookie 1 train. Makes your heart speed up! Not as bad as the sound of nails scrapping on a chalkboard but a pretty awesome roar of steel! I saw a great act of kindness as I was leaving the subway on my way to catch the bus, when a man helped a lady who's bag got caught in the sliding doors, push it through. Those doors have the claws of a death grip!
I still enjoy being serenaded by Barbra, needing to join in occasionally, as I dance about in my own artistry preparing myself for work. Thoughts of what to wear, bio to write for a job, finishing touches to add as my room which is slowly evolving to express the sanctuary of me, all floating in and out in between the lyrics. The lyrics still linger with me even as I write on the subway, using my Notepad App on my phone. Thoughts… transposing, emptying, expressing the inner workings of my mind, demanding to be purged out into words, in accompaniment with the Jane, that oversees the details of my life. Sometimes I am astounded by the passing of time, with wonderment, when the words cease. “Where am I?” Only to find the scenery has changed, as I reconnect to my body. 
This has been a week of making a new friend(a singer, an opera singer), settling further into the rhythm of a schedule, doing my first loads of wash, being completely unpacked, submitting a Bio for a job, and running into a couple of NYC creatures that come out when the sun is fading. Oh, and adding some amazing opportunities to my calendar of events(Literary Agent Panel & Open House at Random House) plus a concert at Subculture(Break of Reality), all coming up in November, just the beginning of all the new changes arising.
Hugs, hugs, and more hugs,
Jane and Penelope

A Sunday Evening Hello ~2

October 12, 2014

Hi Family & Friends,
I feel like I am slowly gathering twigs and such, building my own little nest (niche) here, week two, in New York City. I’m often sometimes startled by my surprise reaction when I catch myself taking a look out the window…it’s like stepping into a scene in a movie, only it’s your movie and realizing where you are, that you are really here. It is so surreal at times, magical even, like waking up from a long dream and being where you belong all along. Reminds me of Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz, looking for home, clicking her heals, and awaking to the home that was inside her all along.
New York inspires me to write with streams of thoughts flowing through my mind all the time. I wish I had a plug into them, for a download, that would quickly dictate it all out onto a page, flowing seamlessly into a beautiful story. My first week here, the subway would be gently rocking me back and forth with my eyelids becoming very heavy, finding it hard to stay awake for the trip ride home. This week, is all I do is have amazing conversations in my head that I wish I could capture and read over later. 
The subways can get pretty crammed full at times and I don’t know if its better to be sitting down or the one standing up. Front view or butt view, right there at your eye level. Oi, something I just need to get used to. I try not to let pervy thoughts creep up into my mind but they always do. I often wish that I was on the express train running on the track in the middle. It never fails to out race the train I’m on every time. Weirdest thing watching through the window at the other people right along side you all of a sudden become one big blur when your train slows down for the next station. 
My travels this week from work have brought me back into a complete circle with places I’ve been longing for and haven’t thought about until I’ve arrived there. I’ve had some moments of sentimentality getting onto the platform at 86th street where I used to ride the subway everyday the last time I was in NY. I remember it like it was just the other day with the blue barriers, three turnstiles, and the bench to the right where I would often sit as I waited for the train. A very nice feeling, joyful in a sense, knowing though that, that girl then, had NO idea she would be back but on the other side of the tracks(so to speak), not for a visit but to stay, amazes me. Walking down 18th street on my way to my most FAVORITE bookstore in the whole wide world, made my eyes fill with tears that I didn’t want anyone to see. I wanted to absorb them before I stepped foot inside. I had a Cinderella moment, the first time I was in this bookstore a couple of years ago, like stepping into the ball, where everything I’ve dreamt of, all came together at once. Here I was again, feeling my heart skipping in joy knowing that I am back and can come back as often as I like. I LOVE, Books of Wonder! It reminds you of A Shop Around the Corner, from the movie, “You’ve Got Mail”. It is completely a bookshop all for kids. Old and new books line the shelves, signed by the actual authors themselves. This is a place where I can completely express myself and all that I love in one, Books and Kids! 
Oh my God! The cutest little tyke was waiting at the Lincoln Center bus stop along side me, singing The Wheels on the Bus Go Round and Round, circling his arms all in motion with his song. I could of just grabbed him and lifted him up into the air with a great big hug! Little blue jeans with pockets as big as he was, so darn cute! We rode all across Central Park, past the Central Park Zoo, up to Madison Avenue together. Priceless! I do say the kids in Midtown New York are all priceless! They are so chipper, well mannered, bright little stars that brighten my day, always. Such a different culture here and it changes dramatically from each neighborhood to the next. One thing for sure is that the people here, their faces light up with the slightest “Hello” and they ALWAYS greet you back. 
Penelope is still enjoying her walks, and yes, she has had to wear her little red rubber boots, just yesterday, for her morning pee. She’s a champ and I am enjoying having her here with me very much. She’s a perfect city dog not only for her size but she’s quiet, eager to say “Hi” to all the dogs along the way, rarely lifts her head from the inundation of good smells, and has learned to ignore people in general(people here like their space from dogs), and has learned the dog courting dance with other dogs. The dance goes…I see you, I am going to head right over to you, here I come, pulling hard, but wait, pause, head down, noses sniff, then the twirl begins as each take a quick sniff of the others behind, then separate and off to other smells nearby, totally disinterested as the dog walk continues. We’ve been serenaded at the park from Tucker’s dad, who was in the Phantom of the Opera, and didn’t hesitate to give me his whole resume, without missing a beat, to another man who was in Guys and Dolls, which played in Phoenix. We’ve meet so many people, mainly dog walkers, like me, chatting away as our dogs quickly become disinterested and have ended their dance, eager to continue exploring on. I’ve been invited to join while out on our morning stroll today, from a very nice woman, with her dog, Toby. She said they often get together with their dogs for events and just to meet up. I do have to say, that New York is a very dog friendly city. People are either walking in a hurry, pushing baby carriages or strollers(many are nanny’s), or walking their dogs. The Upper East Side and Midtown are the places to live if you have a dog, I believe. Dogs there are welcomed in most stores. I haven’t been in a store where a dog hasn't been.
Enjoy the pictures from this weeks outings. So many changes coming up and I may even have my very first visitor! Yeah!!! Just in time for the Macy Thanksgiving Day Parade! I always said I was going to that some day! Well….
Love and Miss you all!
Jane & Penelope

A Sunday Evening Hello ~1

October 5, 2014
Having my first weekend here off was so needed for a recharging even though I can’t say I took advantage of that. Saturday’s must was a visit to the Farmer’s Market in the pouring rain giving my (EB)rain trench an initiation with the New York weather. It worked famously with only my calves down a wee bit drenched. The bell peppers had an aroma like none you have ever smelled. Carrying off with my treasures after saying ado to some wonderful friendly vendors, I set foot for my first grocery shopping experience, a new library card, and some red rubber dog boots at a local Furry Friends store knowing I had a bladder filled dog at home waiting for her morning walk. 
Upon arriving at home to the chipper bark on the other side of the door, I couldn’t wait to show Penelope her new boots. She took to the boots with NO care in the world! I was shocked how easy it was as we squished squeaked our way to the elevators. Now it took her a few days, with me having to drag her, with all four paws not budging, into the elevator. So these boots where a piece of cake. Penelope is such a sport adjusting to her city life. Thank goodness it was only lightly raining as we headed out for a spot for her to pee.
Can you picture me pulling a mini shopping cart(like luggage on two wheels) down the city streets, up and down stairways, through the security gates at the subway? Well, I’ve acquired one. Becoming a New Yorker slowly but surely. After looking at my loot at the check out later that day, all the way in East Harlem at the Target store, I knew I needed one to help me get back home. I enjoyed this venture even though I was a bit tuckered from my morning, at least it wasn’t raining any more. Had a nice tour on the bus of Harlem, past the Apollo theatre, cross town to the only Target in Manhattan, and yes, two trains later, all for a laundry basket and a few essentials. Then to do it all in reverse.
I’ve meet so many interesting and really helpful people…from a nice man, while waiting for a bus back, after putting my car in storage the day I moved in, gave me the run down on the Metro cards. A dog walker introducing me to the rubber boots for Penelope, on a drizzling day at the park, of where to purchase them. An owner of Pizza Hero’s who giggled at me when I wanted to pay with a debit card and they only took cash. He knew I was new to the hood and began to tell me all about it while sharing pictures with such joy, over the house he is building back at home in Greece. To a train rider who showed me how to use the security gates from that grocery cart experience. Many others, even a woman on the elevator, who is a dog walker that lives on the third floor, volunteering to walk Penelope any time. 
As for today, my intention was to finishing unpacking and get more organized but I was distracted with an urge to do more exploring. We took a long stroll with Penelope at Inwood Hill Park, stopped for hot tea (Many of the stores here are so pet friendly!), another pet store visit to learn about the Halloween dog parade the neighborhood has, talking to my bff on the phone, to writing to all of you while listening to my new Barbra CD. I hope this eases your minds for some of you in your thoughts about how I am doing, adjusting, and getting along. Now that my feet are wet “so to say” at work, this coming week will be busier. I will post pictures when I can.
Love to you ALL! Miss you.
Big hugs and doggy kisses,
Jane & Penelope

My Dearest Love and Best Friend

When I turn away, turn me back around. 
When I try to leave, keep me in your heart. 
If I react and say things, know I am only speaking to myself. 
If I push, step back so that I remember to fall into your arms. 
If I fight, just look into my eyes and tell me you love me anyway. 
Sometimes I forget who I am, and in those moments you remind me... Remember. expands beyond the illusion and never dies. 
I have never invisioned my life without you ever. 
I couldn't fathom that thought into reality. 
No riches, no material goods could ever take the place of the love I sustain for you. 
I knew when I first heard your voice in prayer...that's her.
I fell to my knees thanking God for you with such joys. 
Now I'm on my knees with gratitude and in the greatest despair of my life.
I believe in love, love with another. 
Life without it just isn't gratifying or fufillling, pretty lonely and hard with no one to share in lifes vast journey. 
Geese fly in groups in V formation because it is easier then flying alone.
Love is the Power to change the world. 
Where you learn how to come together in partnership, feel cherished and supported thru commitment. Yes, that kind of love takes work, that love can make quantum leaps to fulfill each others destiny.
So if you ask if I am ok? 
I never invisioned my life without you.
I wish I could say I choose you, our egos are having a party with this heart break. 
But I didn't choose you. 
You were already chosen for me, we just had to hang on.
God wouldn't be disappointed would he? 
I always thought twin flames join to become ONE.
In these moments when you forget who you are, I will remind you and look into your eyes to tell you, I love you.

I love you!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

A Stubborn Love

I have a stubborn love for you. 
The kind that makes me scream, 
makes me mad, 
makes me want to shake some sense into you, 
shake some sense into me. 

A stubborn love that has me envisioning
holding you at night until I fall asleep, 
and making a wish for you while looking up at the stars. 
Just a plain ol' stubborn love 
that let's go enough so forgiveness 
and healing can be shared. 

I love you. 
I don't want to not like you. 
I do think this stubbornness wins out in love
for I do not want any harm to ever come to you, 
especially not from me. 

I just need you to live life the best way you can,
feel joy that moves you to desire more, 
more of you, more of love, 
more from life,
more then we've shared,
more then I have given you,
Because I have a stubborn love for you.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

What "HOME" Means to Me

“Home is the people you are with.” When I heard this today, it made me bawl…well, it did. I instantly felt a connection to those words. I felt a deep intense knowing that described me to a tee. When after all these years, I’ve been trying to think of what home really meant to me?”  My soul (my being) over the past four years, has had this tremendous longing for home, a tug at my heart to just to be home. 

At first, home to me meant; making a home with someone not the place but sharing life with someone, that was where my home was. Slowly it evolved into a searching, a calling you could say, from a sixth sense that somewhere in this great big universe, up in the sky, the stars, is a place that I came from that I call home. Of course, other then the earth itself. Then I moved onto the feeling that is was a place inside of me: a place of peacefulness and I take it with me wherever I go.

Today, I am thinking home is very much inside of me. It arises from the depths of your being if you allow it. Home is the people you are with, whether it is yourself, your relationship or partner, your friend, your coworker, even your pet. It is in ALL, in everything. Home is always that in which you can connect to and express outward to the universe. Home is that piece of you, the light inside that comes out wherever you are at in the moment, stirring and opening the heart to a place of peace.

This peacefulness that washes over you, this feeling I call home, could come in many ways. It can come from your connection to the simplest of things like:  taking depth breaths, being in mediation, laying in someones arms, sight of spastic doggy greetings, the creamy inside of a doughnut that soothes all your tastebuds, driving down the street on the block where you grew up as the sight of your family home emerges, a conversation with someone you really don’t know and smiles appear unexpectedly, a text message out of the blue from someone you care about who is thinking of you, rereading your written words that flowed easily onto a page, tingles from the sparks of your imagination, and from the warmth of a hot shower upon waking on a real cold morning. It is basically everything that makes you feel alive in that moment.

Home is what we are all really working towards, desiring, needing, seeking, striving, longing for. Home is the remembrance, an awakening of a knowingness inside, a familiarity, a calling, a connection, an emotion in ones psyche. The peeling away of blockages-the walls around our hearts, letting the light shine in, awakening home slowly, each time we experience the connection to it all that brings peace within, is home.

I know that is nirvana, that is heaven, that is the oneness, that is the light, that is the home inside all of us. I am so grateful for the things that remind me of the feeling of home; the people, the places, the treasured memories, the tangibles of life, the quietness of nature, the sharing of ones heart, the harmony from the oneness of it all, that’s home. Home is LOVE.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

I Love You, I Hate You

I love you 
I hate you
I miss you
I can’t wait to get away from you.

I’m excited by you
I don’t want to be near you
I melt into you
I breathe when I’m away from you.

My imagination is full of you
I feel empty without you
The seconds are my own
The hours are yours.

My dreams give me courage
Your stares make me weak
Your voice is soothing
Your quietness haunts me.

You and I are confusing
Our love is simple
We are better alone
Our souls are one.

I love you
I hate you
I miss you
I am going away from you.

Friday, July 11, 2014

In My Own Little Corner, In My Own Little Chair...

Maybe it was partly due from growing up in a household being one of nine kids

but I often found myself drifting off into my imagination and becoming

a character from the books I’d read or the movies I would watch.

Fairy tales stories captivated me the most with Cinderella, being my favorite. 

I would sing over and over again Rodgers and Hammerstein’s song from the movie, 

“In my own little corner in my own little chair, I can be whatever I want to be.

On the wing of my fancy I can fly anywhere 

and the world will open it's arms to me…” 

That is why writing is so appealing to me.

I can easily escape into the world of 

the words and images magically flowing in my mind, where the world is wide open,

in my own little corner in my own little chair.

to be continued...

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Love Comes In

Tears rolling down

gathering in pools below,

reflecting back to me the pain and sorrow shown on my face.

Within each breath of stillness, gratitude wants in,

puppy kisses licking up each drop,

renewing me with love.

There is so much that surrounds me,

but one, black and speckled with spots,

needs me most.

Within each brown eyes gaze,

reflecting back to me, joy and loyalty shown on her face.

Puppy squirming with delight, waiting to be loved,

love comes in.