Goodbye, New York: 19 days left

Goodbye, March. Goodbye, winter. Goodbye snow and snowboots. (But hello still scarves and warm coats and rain boots, because Berkeley isn't San Diego).

We have to get rid of our plants. Can't import them to California. Can't fly with them or send them with movers. For a while I resisted this. My Nana's violets! Our wedding hoya. My Plucky plant and Noah's birth plant, among others.

But slowly I've realized that it's alright because there will be more plants out there to buy and nurture and help grow. I'll find good homes for our special greenery and then I'll let it go because my Nana's violets aren't my Nana. Our wedding hoya isn't our marriage. My business is built on more than its flora symbol and my son grows like a weed anyway, so who needs a birth plant?

Last week in Portland I needed to reground myself so I rented a zipcar and drove out to the woods. Those are the kinds of plants I need now... the native kinds that pump giant amounts of oxygen back into the atmosphere. I think California has plenty.

I am so looking forward to nature in our lives. xx


Goodbye, New York: 25 days left

I landed in Portland an hour ago. I'm here for a conference for the rest of the week and, for the record, I still love this damn city so much.

Tonight I'm hitting the hay at our old stomping grounds, everyone's favorite Ace. Can hardly wait for Powell's and Stumptown in the morning. 


Goodbye New York: 26 days left

I'm writing this on my phone, in bed, where I have been since 9:30pm. That could have easily been 9pm.

We are early risers now.

And there is something wonderful about embracing that fact and making it part of the rhythm of our days instead of apologizing for it or running ourselves into the ground in order to appear differently to others.

This is why Berkeley feels a better fit than San Francisco. This is why NYC was burned out for us, the pace and the zip car stress of returning it on time and the lack of space to store Christmas decorations. We are ready for a different, slower, more spread-out life.

We are ready for it.


Goodbye, New York: 27 days left

Me and the new mama!

Because I grew up an hour from NYC and went to college 2 hours from here, a lot of people I went to school with live nearby. I've been so lucky to live near some of my best girlfriends from college; over the past six years we've gone to a million restaurants, hosted bachelorette parties and 30th birthday parties and baby showers and gone to alumni happy hours together.

Today I drove to New Jersey to meet the new son of a great friend and to brunch with my girlfriends for the last time before we leave. I learned two important things:

1. I will always, always get lost driving out of the Holland Tunnel.
2. New babies are SO SMALL! My guy is officially not a baby anymore.

One saving grace of moving to California is that so many people want to visit. Girlfriends definitely included!


Goodbye, New York: 28 days left

Let's focus on the real reason we're leaving NYC: the only chance I have of getting my family on a reality TV show is to move to California.

Keeping up with the Eptings, coming soon.

(For real, though, I already can't wait for my family to visit.)


Goodbye, New York: 29 days left

New York, 2008

The only way I know to truly time travel is to visit places I knew earlier in my life. Allentown, PA is 18-22 years old, notebooks and candy runs to Wegmans and such youth, despite what the law says. France will always mean mid-20s to me, kissing strangers and wine and chasing the last metro home.

But New York is where I really became an adult. And in the future when I time travel back here, the muscle-memory of Manhattan will transport me back to the days when I was finally gainfully employed and going somewhere.

Brooklyn, by the by, is where I became a wife and mother. Brooklyn will forever carry the feel of a family of three - all the love and the grit of it.

I've turned a corner. Tonight, for the first time, I see this move as a flag staked for this precious moment in time when we were young and our son was just a baby boy and we were doing the best we could with what we had.

I'm glad to be closing the chapter on Brooklyn now, before it takes on the memory of an older Noah. In this way, we stop time. Noah will always be 18 months in Brooklyn. All it will take to bring us back is a walk down Court Street, remembering the parks and the benches we stopped at, the playdates and the pediatrician appointments.

The reality of this age won't last for long, but our memories of it are carved here, on the streets and in the bricks of the neighborhood, forever.


Goodbye, New York: 30 days left

Goodbye Book Court, where I bought hundreds of dollars of books, some as gifts and many for myself. I've spent so many hours hanging out there, reading on the couches, poking through books about history and psychology and flipping through new fiction. And, lately, the children's section.

What is it about a neighborhood bookstore that rings so strongly of community? When we think about public spaces, libraries and bookstores are crucial to making a place feel like home to me.

And then further down Court Street, Cafe Pedlar. Last summer Chris watched Noah every Sunday morning so I could take my journal to this cafe, sit and think. Was I crazy to quit my job? What was my purpose in life? What was the point of me?

This is the place I read an amazing piece of writing that called me to start Plucky. It's also where Noah and I hung out, eating muffins and spotting dogs last summer. I'm excited to find a new place in Berkeley for people watching and maybe even Stumptown.


Goodbye, New York: 31 days left

Today marks one month til we leave New York. I've been having trouble finding closure on leaving. Marking off to-do list items has left me head-down, with not much awareness of how much our life is about to change.

Then I remembered how much more in-tune I felt with having a baby once I started the Dear Tiny blog. I've decided to post a photo on this blog each day leading up to our departure, a way of saying thanks and goodbye to a city that has given me a career, husband, son and two cats. (Among a million other things).

After all, this blog was originally started to say goodbye to NYC. My very first post in May 2006 was about leaving Central Park on my way to grad school in Paris. That feels like a really long time ago.

Today I say goodbye to the Statue of Liberty, who you can see from our balcony, and our view of Brooklyn. (See her? In the middle there? Wayyyy back?). In the six years I've lived in Brooklyn, I never visited the Statue of Liberty even though I see her every day. Crazy, right?

That's just how life is.


On preservation.

In preparing for this move, I've had to make lots of decisions lately. Obviously there are huge (ginormous!) decisions about where to live and what car we should buy and all that jazz. But I'm talking more about the infinitesimal decisions about our stuff. Objects. Belongings. And what, exactly, is worth carting across the country.

A while back I designated a small drawer in Noah's dresser where I shoved all of the holiday cards he received, baby cards, baptism notes, you name it. He gets a daily sheet from daycare that lists out some things he did that day and when there's a particularly salacious one (i.e. TODAY NOAH BIT SOMEONE), I shove that in the drawer too. And now with this impending move, it has come time to scrapbook this stuff or get rid of it.

This morning while he played in the living room, I stood at the kitchen counter with it all in front of me. What was the goal? To keep every single piece of communication? To represent an array of the people in his life who send him notes? To document his first 12 months? 24 months?

I admit, I felt a little daunted. I mean, what does one even do with the umbilical cord stub that is currently in a ziplock baggie? (THROW IT OUT. I know.)

I've been reading lots of books on Feng Shui lately, about how objects should bring energy to a space and not deplete it. Is there a framed photo that reminds you (sadly) of your grandma every time you look at it? Get rid of it! Instead choose an object that reminds you of her positively (maybe her old perfume bottle, perhaps) and throw out the rest. The books I'm reading make a lot of sense about the way clutter builds and slows down our ability to move freely in our homes. When you keep something out of guilt, you have a bad feeling every time you walk past it - which could be many times a day. That means you're re-feeling the bad over and over. You better believe that has an impact on your mental state!

I think about what the world will be like when Noah is old enough to care about his baby book. He will have access to thousands of digital photos of himself. He will never have enough time to read all of the Instagram and Facebook and blog entries that his parents wrote about him... and so, when he is faced with that volume of information, I can only assume one thing: some of the whole will be enough. Even glancing through some photos will reveal how young his parents were when he was small. A few notes from grandparents and aunts and uncles will reinforce what he knows to be true (that he is very loved). But 99% of the objects and memorabilia in his life are not worth physically preserving.

I know this can be true because we preserve events and love and people and presences silently, in ourselves, anyway. It's mental DNA. I call my uncle when I don't know how to fix my toilet - not because he sent me Thanksgiving cards every year, but because the relationship that was built via those frequent communications allows me to feel comfortable picking up the phone. It's the energy underneath the objects that count, not the objects themselves.

When I was a sophomore in college, I went to Ireland with a literature class. Several months after returning home, I heard that one of the girls on the trip had recently gone through a really tough time - her parents' house had caught fire and burned down. Nothing was left, no photos or baby blankets, no wedding candlesticks or souvenirs from Ireland. Several of us printed photos from the trip and pulled something from our own Ireland souvenir stash to give to her. She was very grateful.

Dealing with the stuff I own is easier when I remember this story. It could all go up in flames, every single object that we own. And yet we will still be who we are.

I'll hold onto what serves us about Noah's first few years - the love, the memories - and keep a few key things, enough to fill a baby book perhaps. But the rest is going. As my Feng Shui books say - moving out what you don't need makes space for new, great things to come in. I can definitely get behind that.