Little Things Turns One

Last week I passed an important milestone; my blog, Focus on the Little Things, celebrated its first anniversary. My first post was written on March 2nd, 2010 as I was seating on the couch contemplating my life. I had become so wrapped up in the negative aspects that I was unable to see the countless positive things I had. Thankfully one year later, I was so busy enjoying my life that I didn’t even realize a year had passed.This past year has gone by so quickly and I am certainly in a much better place now than I was last year.

I have found a job that makes me excited to out of bed in the morning. I believe so passionately in the work that I am doing and the organization’s mission. I work with people who have high expectations for me and for themselves and people who strive to make a difference in the way other people live their lives. I am proud to say that I work for Robin Hood.

Matt and I are getting ready to celebrate our wedding in less than four months. And while the planning process got off to a rocky start, things are smooth sailing from now until the big day. Just this morning we were able to check off the last “big ticket item” on our checklist. We can not wait to celebrate this occasion with our friends and family. Already the excitement that other people have shared with us, particularly the two amazing people planning my shower, has been incredible. It is such a good feeling to know that so many other people are just as excited as we are, for us to get married.

After two and a half years, I am slowly starting to adjust to life in New York. No, I am not a Yankees fan, and never will be. But I have come to terms with the fact that Matt and I don’t live in Boston, and probably won’t in the near future. Instead of focusing on the things that I like about Boston that New York lacks, I am trying to focus on the things that New York has that I do like. These things include the following: Central Park, Bleeker Street Pizza, the fact that the Today Show is my local news, Union Square farmers market, Matt Kinsella, riding my bike to Piermont, Rubix Kube and frequent visitors.

This year has been incredible. I owe that to my family, friends and of course Matt. I couldn’t imagine a life without him. He has truly helped me focus on the little things, and sometimes the big things, that make life so amazing.

So thanks for following along… hold on tight, this year is sure to be a good one.

A Valentine’s Day Tradition

I have never really been into the whole Valentine’s Day thing. While I certainly enjoy receiving candy hearts and making homemade valentine’s cards out of red and white paper doilies, I never felt the need to expect boxes of chocolate, a dozen red roses and expensive jewelry. Matt agrees with me on this and we originally celebrated by going out to dinner.

The first year after college, I was working as a consultant, traveling to Princeton,  NJ a fair amount. On Valentine’s Day, I had a 10am flight out to NJ so I wasn’t going to be able to do dinner with Matt. Instead, he suggested that we get brunch at the Four Season before work. It seemed like a good solution, so I went along with it. At 7am in the morning, we sat down to eat and enjoyed a delicious breakfast in a room with a breath-taking view of Boston Common.

There was something nice about going out to breakfast on a week day and in a hotel where the wait staff treats you incredibly nice. I am not sure if it is because they assume you are a guest of the hotel or not, but there was certainly something in the interactions that make you feel really special. Matt and I decided to continue this tradition of celebration Valentine’s Day with a breakfast in various hotel restaurants.

This morning, Matt surprised me by taking me to Norma’s, located in the Parker Meridien. He got the idea from an episode of Gossip Girl, when Nate first met Juliette. So not only did Matt take me out to breakfast, but he was aiming to be as smooth as Nate Archibald – pretty impressive after more than nine years.

Breakfast was amazing. Matt and I both enjoyed ourselves fully and left completely stuffed. It was the best way to start my day and I wouldn’t have wanted to celebrate Valentine’s Day any other way.

Tell Me.

So apparently, there is a big football game this weekend. Well like many Patriots fans around the country, I am not very interested. I am ready for Spring. I am ready for the Red Sox. And I am ready for my boy Dustin.

56 more days till the season opener.

Pace Yourself

With two weeks to go until the Pan Mass Challenge I am starting to feel a mix of emotions: excitement, happiness and a small dose of nervousness. Although the PMC has been the best weekend of my life for the past two years, it is not a weekend that passes without a lot of effort. Biking 190 miles in two days is a challenge: mentally and physically. I have been trying to prepare myself with bike rides in Central Park and riding on my trainer while watching the Tour De France (yes, just call me Dupree, from the movie You Me and Dupree). Unfortunately, a lesson that I have been trying to learn for 27 years, is still posing problems for me; the lesson of pacing oneself.

The other day, I decided to ride 3 laps of the park (each lap is 6 miles). I started out strong averaging 18.5 miles per hour. By the second lap, my average dropped to 18.1 and by the third I was down to 17.4. I went out after it and crashed and burned.

One of my most memorable swims was in the 200 backstroke at the Ivy Championships in 2004. I went hard. I was more than 2 full seconds ahead of the field at the halfway point. Unfortunately, I crashed and burned.

Event 16 – Women’s 200 Yard Backstroke

Molly Brethauer       Harvard       JR

28.05        57.59 (29.54)      1:29.20 (31.61)           2:02.95 (33.75)

I finished the event in 5th place.

During my first half marathon, Boston’s Run To Remember, I ran my first mile in 7 minutes. I finished the race in 1 hour and 58 minutes, making my pace over 9 minutes per mile. Again, I crashed and burned.

Today went I rode 4 laps around the park, I tried to pace myself. I started off nice and easy; however it wasn’t long before another bike rode by me… a girl. Clearly my plan of pacing myself went out the window. I raced around for 2 more loops before complete crashing and burning. On my last loop, my average pace dropped significantly. Thankfully, I finished my ride ahead of the girl who caused me to forget my pace.

So while I am still learning to pace myself in many aspects of my life, I can go to sleep tonight, tired, but feeling victorious. I won. Who cares that no one else in the park knew there was a race going on.

 

House Hunter

Growing up, I lived in the same town from the time I was born right through high school. We moved from a small cape house into my parent’s current house when I was about 5 years old. I was young enough when we moved that I don’t remember much about that process, and I am certain, I wasn’t much help to my parents during it.

After graduating college, I moved to Boston and got to experience the fun of searching for an apartment. The process didn’t take too long and I liked adventuring to different areas of the city. I lived in the same apartment for two years before moving to NYC.

When I moved to the “big apple” I tried to convince Abby that would could find a better apartment than the one she had been living in. Boy was I wrong! After looking at 4-5 places that were smaller than the bathroom I had in Boston, I decided that her place, although old and very far north, was the best we could do on our limited budget. Obviously, we had a great time living together – it didn’t matter where the apartment was or what it looked like.

After moving out, Matt and I were lucky enough to find our current apartment right away. It was a newly constructed building and we got a great deal since construction wasn’t totally complete when we moved in. Although Matt was almost taken to small claims court because he refused to pay our broker the “fee” (yes, he is THAT stubborn), it was a great move. We have now been there for just over a year and just renewed our lease for another year. 

While I would love to buy our own place, and put some of skill to use that I have learned from watching hours and hours of HGTV, it isn’t very realistic since the average place of an apartment in New York City is more than 1.6 million dollars. so until that time I will watch House Hunters, My First Place and Property Virgins on HGTV. At least then, when the time comes for Matt and I to buy a place, I will be fully prepared!

I posted last week that Abby got a new job that will require her to move to Virgina. The area that she will be moving to doesn’t have a lot of places to rent, as it is fairly residential. This means the she will be in the market for a new house. We spend part of day looking online at places online. I found one that I immediately fell in love with: two bedrooms, two bathrooms, newly renovated, a back deck, multiple skylights, a fireplace, and a white picket fence!

Without even seeing the place in person, I was sold. I sent the link to Abby and she shared in my excitement. Unfortunately, after reading the fine print, she informed me that my dream house was in an “active living” community for adults 55+.

Hmmm, maybe I should spend more time watching HGTV to better hone my house hunting skills. Or maybe I should just stop having the same taste as senior citizens.

20 Minutes Till Freedom

As I sit writing this post, I have 20 more minutes until my workday is over and I am free for the weekend. I am going up to Boston this weekend for a wedding and I can not wait to return to the dirty waters of beantown. I packed my Red Sox hat and my “Yankee Suck” chant – I have everything I need for a weekend of fun in the greatest city on earth.

Earlier this week, I called my mom around this same time. We chatted for a few minutes and she told me that she was getting ready to go for a bike ride. I knew that this meant “I want to hang up” but I insisted that she keep talking to me and get me through the last 20 minutes of my work day. We continued chatting about nothing important and every time we came to the end of a topic, there was an awkward pause, followed by my mom asking how much longer she had to keep talking. She started telling me a story, that was actually pretty interesting, about a conversation she had with her friends about wedding bands; a topic that I should care about since Matt and I still have to nail a group down for our wedding. However, as she was in the middle of the story, I looked down at the clock on my computer and realized it was 4 minutes PAST the end of my day. I quickly shut down my computer and interrupted my mother telling her that we had made it to “closing time.” Instead of being insulted that I wasn’t letting her finish her relevant story, she said “well get out of there!”

It is so great to have a mom who understands my priorities when it comes to my job.

On another note, I would like to thank my sister for coming to visit me for lunch this today. For someone who claims to “never go below 59th street,” I really appreciate it!

Lastly, I would like to thank my dad for his mid-day phone call. While I talk to my mom 5-6 times per year (sadly, I am not kidding) a phone call from my dad at lunch time is a rare and special treat. It is like he has a 6th sense and knows when I need some heartfelt dad-loving.

I can’t begin to express just how lucky I am. Doesn’t family rock?

Red Sox Nation

One of the hardest things (if not the hardest thing) about living in New York is the fact people here actually like the Yankees. Whenever I meet a new person, I always ask them… “are you a Yankees fan?” Thankfully, more often than not, the answer is no. Most New Yorkers that I have met, are Mets fans (clearly I only surround myself by intelligent people) or they support another team because they didn’t grow up here. I am happy to report that I have rejected many kids from my school on the sole fact that they are self-proclaimed “die-hard Yankee fans.” Last year, when the World Champions Ticker Tape Parade was marching down the streets near my school, I sat in my office, windows closed, pouting.

Yesterday was a depressing day to be a Boston fan in New York. Matt got tickets to the Celtics/Knicks game last night, and after a very close and very physical game, we ended up 3 points short. As Matt and I walked out of the game, I stupidly said, “At least the Red Sox won.” I was referring to the season opener that was held on Sunday, where the Red Sox made a classic comeback and beat the Yankees 9 to 7. Unfortunately, the game that was coming to a close last night as we were leaving Madison Square Garden, did not end favorably for the Red Sox. I went to sleep cranky and throwing my classic “I hate living in NYC” temper tantrum to Matt. I love my rational that if I still lived in Boston, the Red Sox and Celtics would have won. I guess I could argue that even if they had still lost, it would sting a little less knowing that I was surrounded by others who shared my feelings of misery.

At the start of last night’s game, the Red Sox home opener, a 5-year-old boy took to the field to deliver one of the best psych up speeches in sports history. While, he was recreating a speech given by Herb Brooks, the delivery was all his own. Joshua “Rizzo” Sacco, memorized the speech at age 4 after watching the movie “Miracle” 150 plus times.

This video alone almost makes up for the fact that both the Red Sox and the Celtics lost to New York Teams last night… (almost).