Archive for ‘Renewal’

July 6, 2010

Target on a Tuesday

This is it, the last day of my Renewal.  I had one main goal for today: to go to Target.  To me, the best part about not working a regular 9-5 job (or retirement!) is that you can go to Target on a weekday – a Tuesday, perhaps – at 10:30 in the morning, when NO ONE ELSE IS THERE.  You can park right next to the entrance, choose whatever cart or basket you’d like, and stroll the store at a leisurely pace buying things you need (toilet paper), things you think you need (travel-sized Clorox wipes), and things you can admit you don’t need at all, but really, really want (parmesan goldfish crackers).

Mission accomplished.

And actually, that applies to this entire six week experience.  I had to make some tough choices about where I wanted to be when, but think I made the right ones.  I know I’ll get back to the Hudson River Valley to see the Roosevelt home; I’ll spend more time at the beach next summer; I’ll get back to NYC to see my buddies who live there.   And if I must go back to Spain to see the Guggenheim in Bilbao, or explore Ronda and Cadiz, then I’ll just have to make it happen.

What I appreciated most about this time away from work was the time itself.  While it did fly by overall, it moved slowly enough for me to enjoy.  I got to write and be carefree and put 100% of my energy into the things that interest me most – spending time with friends and family, cooking, reading books.  I also had enough time for reflection, to look at what I’d like to continue to improve about myself, like letting go and worrying less, letting whatever happens, happen.  The best part is that will be helpful at work too!

My friend, Lauren (Rhetta), told me that the main partner at her old law firm used to instruct his staff (upon returning from their sabbaticals) to make a list of things they wanted to accomplish and/or improve about their work and working styles.  I thought that was a great idea, and I’m going to take it one step further by sharing my list with all of you.  Yes, you can help keep me honest (especially those of you who work with me)!  Again, my overall theme is, “letting go.”

  1. Leave work at a reasonable hour so I can spend more time doing the things I love – being with family and friends, yoga, cooking, blogging(!), etc. (which will ultimately make me a happier employee).
  2. Delegate, delegate, delegate (see # 1).
  3. Remember that it’s ok if some people aren’t happy with my decisions, especially when I follow my gut and know the decisions are right for me, for my team, for our work, etc.
  4. Leave the office – and all it’s glorious trappings of work and worries – at the office (will also help me enjoy # 1 more).
  5. Focus on the parts of my job that I really like – managing staff, developing new ideas and ways to advance my team’s work, and providing project leadership.
  6. Take a walk around the block during the day from time to time.  Stand up to take phone calls and even answer email. (I don’t miss sitting all day.)
  7. Take at least a two-week vacation next year.  One week is not long enough to unplug completely.  (Neither is two, but it’s better than 1!)
  8. Schedule lunches, coffees and meetings with co-workers and colleagues I either admire or whose company I enjoy, especially on days when my calendar is more open.

I could probably add ten more, but I am trying to let go and all.  This is a great start and will be a good reminder list down the road.  In the meantime, I do plan to keep blogging here.  I really enjoyed writing about this adventure, and want to see if I can transition to sharing the everyday now.  Thank you again for all of your comments, emails, and encouragement.

Parmesan goldfish, here I come.

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July 6, 2010

Nothing Could Be Finer

Last stop, North Carolina.  It was a wonderfully relaxing way to end the travel portion of my renewal, and great to spend so much time with my family in places I love – Atlantic Beach and Raleigh, NC.

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July 6, 2010

Spain Wrap-up

There’s so much more to tell about Spain, and I’m already two weeks into the inevitable memory fade that happens after even the most wonderful vacations!  I did write a few quick posts from my phone in JFK, but the stupid wi-fi network there ate them somehow.  (When I find the little gnome that keeps doing this to me…let’s just say he’d better watch his pint-sized back.)  So for posterity’s sake, here is a brief Spain wrap-up, in my favorite form – the LIST.

General highlights of the trip:

  • Bike tour through the Penedes wine region, and the rosé cava we sampled there, via large pours that cannot technically be called a “tasting” because that connotes merely a few sips in the glass
  • The Gaudi architecture in Barcelona surpassed my expectations
  • Everything about Hotel Esplendido in Sollier, Mallorca – the pools, views, massage, food, staff…
  • The Alhambra in Granada
  • Mosaics and tile everywhere – Barcelona, Granada, Seville…
  • Getting lost in Seville (and the accompanying relief when we found our hotel each night)
  • Stumbling upon a soccer rally in San Sebastian for their local team

Food highlights:

  • Tapas and eating late
  • Jambon everything – sandwiches, croquetas, even by itself
  • Tomato bread (essentially fresh tomatoes rubbed onto bread)
  • Our picnic in Parc Guell
  • Churros dipped in hot chocolate
  • Sangria at Hotel Espendido on Mallorca
  • Thxoli wine in San Sebastian
  • Dinners at Pla and Bar Mut in Barcelona

And finally, the photos:

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July 1, 2010

Niecelet Wins

I’ve had a wonderful time in NC visiting ALL my family, but my niecelet (my cousin’s daughter feels like a niece, so “niecelet” gets around the technicalities) wins first post/update. You would win if you had on silver chucks and a pink tutu too.

June 21, 2010


See this group of older guys on the beach and how they’re all shirtless? I was wearing 3 layers when I took this. Even better, many of them had already taken a morning dip in the sea.  Adam and I did manage to take our shoes off eventually, but we cheated by waiting for the afternoon heat and sun.

June 21, 2010

Good Sport Award

The award goes to Adam, who got drenched from behind by a wave that crashed unexpectedly high against the sea wall in San Sebastian. I did manage to ask if he was ok before I started laughing.

June 21, 2010

Tough Girls

We were going to buy these sunglasses but we thought they made us look too mean.

June 18, 2010


A woman conducting museum visitor surveys thought I belonged in this age category. Yesterday my cab driver asked if I was here on a college graduation trip. I am officially moving to London.

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June 18, 2010


I’m sitting outside one of my favorite museums in the world, the Victoria and Albert museum in London. Do you have a museum that you feel is “yours?” The V&A is mine.

We met when I was 22 and living in London after I graduated from college. My roommates couldn’t come with me for some reason, so I set out on my own to this place. It sounds sort of odd, but I’d never been to a museum by myself before and had no idea how wonderful it could be. I skipped whole rooms and then lingered as long as I wanted in others. It was heaven.

And now here I am again. Beth’s flat is a 10 minute walk away and I have the day to myself. I plan to lose track of time and skip and linger as much as I want. In a strange way, this is the first time it’s really hit me that I’m on this renewal. The cooking class and trip to Spain were all-consuming in the best ways, but this is the place I’ve had time for getting lost – in an exhbit, in my thoughts, you name it. It’s heaven all over again.

June 14, 2010

Poor Adam

Adam had to celebrate his birthday away from his friends, poor thing. Fortunately he was consoled by sangria and views like this.

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