Enough red onions. I want Spring!

It seems that every year, as March approaches, I get an urge for red onions and lemon zest. Throw them in everything I can. Why you ask? It must the body clock craving the annual arrival of the fresh flavors of Spring that is (usually) just on the horizon. The season of new beginnings this year is playing havoc with us. A day here and there signals its arrival, then Winter comes back for an encore. New blossoms are soon covered with snow. And, while the last four storms mostly spared the city, the last one, with little snowfall, claimed the tree in front of my house. Gone overnight. The container of snow salt still stands just inside the front door, not yet ready to be taken down to the basement.

I’m growing weary of red onions and lemon zest. We should be enjoying a new crop of fresh peas and asparagus, spring walks and bike rides and generally more time outside. I’ve finished four sweaters for next Christmas and have started my fifth while waiting to escape to the outdoors.

As the first week of April comes to a close, the weather forecasters predict warmer temperatures in a week. Hope they’re right because my fingers hurt and I’m running out of closets to clean.


A Visitor’s Guide to Walking in New York City

Spring has finally sprung in New York. The blossoms on the trees are opening, the air is warm, the sky is blue and bright. The streets are crawling with tourists. Literally, crawling. I watch these visitors, sometimes with a smile, but other times with alarm. Some look so frightened to be thrust into the busy streets, moving cautiously and making it even harder to get around.

IMG_4575 I see them meandering their way across town, often watching, in amazement, the throngs of New Yorkers scurrying around and by them. “What’s the rush?”, they wonder. “Where’s the fire?” “Why are New Yorkers always in such a hurry?” For these visitors, and also for recent transplants, I offer some advice. With a different mindset, it can easily become manageable.

A Visitors’s Guide to Walking in New York City.

New York sidewalks are our highways. At home, you probably get into your cars and SUVs every day and drive with speed and haste to the maul (Yes, that’s how I spell it.), to the groomers (yours or your pets), to school or other activities. There is somewhere to go and you move swiftly towards it, wanting nothing in your way, no detours, no unnecessary stops, no distractions. You would no more entertain the thought of driving at five miles an hour to gaze at the scenery, or stop and smell the roses while driving, than miss a sale at the maul. And, if you find yourselves behind a slow driver on the highway, beware the road rage!

In New York, our feet are our cars. They’re our primary source of transportation. Our mindset is the same as your’s when barreling down the highway. In my view, the same rules should apply on city sidewalks.

  • Slow travelers should stay to the right, allowing room for passing peds.
  • Don’t hog the sidewalks. Avoid the Mother-Father-Sister-Brother walk – 4 people walking side-by-side, moving slowly, holding hands.
  • Unexpected short stops with a throng of people behind you can be dangerous…almost the same as making a short stop in the middle lane on I-95.
  • Pull over to the side to check a map, look something up in a guidebook or make a phone call.
  • Avoid pile-ups and blocking intersections. I’ve never seen anyone successfully hail a cap while standing still on the sidewalk corner while others are trying to cross the street around them.
  • While I’m on cabs, the ones with all the roof lights on are available, no lights means passengers are inside and side lights means the cabs are Off Duty. And please look around to see if someone was there first with their arms up and has first dibs. (Who saw the parking spot first kinda thing.) Our road rage!
  • At any time of day or night, many New Yorkers are on their way to an appointment and are not going to stop while you take a picture with a new camera you haven’t yet learned to use. Be aware of the foot traffic around you, or master Photo Shop and filter us out when you get home.

On a related note, when you’re inside and use escalators, the same rules apply. Stay to your right, leave room for people to pass on your left and don’t stop at the bottom to decide which way to turn. People are coming off the steps behind you.

Your stay in New York will be more pleasant – for you and for us – if you learn to, if not move with the flow, to navigate around it. The City is an exciting and beautiful place to visit. Don’t let ‘navigation stress’ ruin your stay. Enjoy…and bring comfortable shoes!

Scrambling for Spring

I’ve officially pushed back my spring cleaning weekend. The weather is just not cooperating and it seems like it’s too early to change over my closets for warmer weather. But, there’s always a chance it will arrive at any time, with little notice. So now, I have to be  ‘more ready’ to be ready to act quickly. This is worse than waiting for guests to arrive!

Spring — Don’t Stop, It’ll Soon Be Here.

Wish I knew how to imbed music into a post. If I did, Fleetwood Mac’s Don’t Stop would be playing for you right now.

Don’t stop thinking about tomorrow.
Don’t stop, it’ll soon be here.

It’s hard to think ahead to Spring when the weekend brought more snow and the temperature was in the low-20s when I woke up this morning. It’s hard hard hard to keep moving ahead with my spring cleaning prep when it seems like it’ll never happen. My strategy of taking care of little bits at a time helps…as does the right playlist. Don’t Stop — $1.29 on iTunes….worth it.

To help get you started or, for a boost, read about my spring prep strategy – Spring Cleaning Prep – on the evox site (a new favorite of mine). While you’re on the evox site, be sure to see other hints and tips and good common sense about our spring cleaning rituals and a lot of other good stuff….explore, bookmark, register.

Clearing Clutter, Sitting Down

Part 2 of Clearing Clutter Sitting Down. Moving on from electronic cleansing, I hit the bedroom today. Easy stuff first – small piles, noticeable results, sense of accomplishment noted. First task today was cleaning out the makeup basket. Some stuff has been in there way too long and needs to be replaced…especially makeup that’s used around the eyes. Be ruthless here…it could be a health issue. Then, there are things that never lived up to expectations — the sheer tint that wasn’t so much, colors that just didn’t work, goopy mascaras and lipsticks not even worth saving for Halloween. Before you move on, don’t forget to make a list of things that need to be replaced soon. There’s nothing worse than reaching for something that isn’t there anymore.

While most makeup doesn’t have expiration dates, sunscreen does. Check the date. I’ll be honest, I don’t throw expired sunscreen out, but I don’t trust it to protect my skin from the sun’s harmful rays either. Use it as a hand cream, a foot cream, or rub those dry elbows with it. Everything should be this easy to repurpose.

My manicure basket sits alongside the makeup, and I had five minutes to spare. It was full of thick polishes and colors that were just wrong for me. It’s mostly empty now, awaiting new Spring colors. Essie has a new Cashmere Matte I’ve wanted to try. Now I have the room.

In all, I spent maybe twenty minutes, sitting down, list of things to buy included. Just a bit cleared out today, which didn’t take much time away from being out on a beautiful day. Little by little, things are getting done.

Looking Back

From a blog post written on January 26th, the first big snow of the season….

“There’s nothing more calming for me than the flavors of a big pot of stock wafting throughout the house. Yarn, afternoon nap, good book, Netflix…Bed Camp time. Don’t fight it, don’t let it ruffle your feathers. Give in and just enjoy a relaxing, peaceful day at home.”

At what point in the next few months did I lose the novelty of staying at home and settling in for a bout of snow? Probably about the same time I ran out of room in the freezer for more stock. The last few weeks of winter always seem to be the hardest.