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Posts Tagged ‘neighbors’

Screen shot 2012-12-16 at · Dec 16 @ 4.39.32 PM

This weekend feels so strange… not really the weekend before Christmas but I am definitely feeling the pressure of heading into the week before Christmas. Because let’s be realistic; there will not be a lot of people working next Monday. It is basically an upcoming 4-day weekend with the celebration of Christmas. In fact, each time I look at the calendar, I think, “gosh it is almost Christmas!” It is coming so quickly!

Have you been feeling this, too?

Therefore, this was a weekend of preparation. That is how I spent my holiday celebration time of which I have been blogging for the past 2 weeks.

Day 14: Friday: Made plans for Christmas Eve. Wanted to be certain I had a plan. I will be staying in the city this year and not returning to Rochester to my family’s so for me it was important to have a plan. Which church service was I attending, what volunteer work would I be doing, where would I celebrate with friends before church? All the details got worked out. Plan in place.

Day 15: Saturday: A beautiful day in NYC. Warmish for this time of year and a day that I had set aside entirely for fun. No work. Just “me time”. That “me time” included the most relaxing walk through NOHO and SOHO- looking in store windows with all holiday items displayed in the window. So much creativity and happiness everywhere. Plus, the walk was with my best friend who I had not seen since before the Hurricane due to all kinds of obstacles so this was just a wonderful, leisurely holiday celebration.

Day 16: Sunday: Since I decided not to send all my hundreds of holiday cards this year, I wanted to make a mini-plan for holiday greetings and beyond. Sitting quietly with a cup of coffee, I wrote a mini-list of family members who deserved a holiday greeting from me- regardless of the fact that my work life is so uber-busy that I determined that I would not be sending out cards.  I decided that family members would be the exception.  I then made a list of friends and clients who I wanted to be certain to celebrate. That list will be tackled after the New Year with a deliberate sit-down in a coffee shop to write individual notes to each one. I would rather sent a heart-felt note to wish them a Happy New Year than a generic holiday greeting just to get it in under the wire of December 31. Hopefully, they will all feel the same!

Now, we head into the week before Christmas. Wow.

Be Merry and Bright!

Screen shot 2012-12-16 at · Dec 16 @ 4.39.00 PM

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Screen shot 2012-12-06 at · Dec 6 @ 6.28.22 AM

In my quest to enjoy the holiday season one day at a time from December 1 through December 25 (and who knows- maybe this will continue straight through New Years Day), day 5 and 6 were all about planning. Planning forward.

  • The holiday cards came out and now scream at me from across the room
  • The decorations were found (they were secretly tucked away in this one-bedroom Manhattan apartment and required a “if you were a Christmas decoration where would you be hiding?” moment)
  • Since I have not joined a church since moving to Washington Heights, I needed to scope out options for Christmas Eve
  • RSVPed to several holiday get-togethers
  • Changed my Facebook cover photo to include the Rockefeller Plaza Tree and the gorgeous angels (my favorite)

So while I would have liked it better if I was VISITING the Rockefeller tree as my holiday activity to blog about, I will say that there are some wonderful plans in motion for the remainder of the month thanks to my planning.

What have you got planned?

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starbucks

 

This was a short, but super fun holiday moment for the blog.

Day 4 in my quest to find something celebratory about the holiday season brought the fun to me…

As I waited at the Starbucks bar for my Grande Americano (one of many for the day!), the holiday music was playing overhead. So I…. yup… started humming and then singing softly and then realized that I was not alone. The barista making my drink was singing. So we smiled and got a little louder at which point other customers and other baristas joined in and soon we were all singing “Winter Wonderland” together.

When it was over, we all cheered, giggled, hi-fived and went on drinking our coffee!

Love my neighborhood.

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New Apartment Building in a New Neighborhood.

Yesterday, I decided to decorate the door to be more welcoming at the holidays as the “new girl” in my building!

Hung this wreath in the morning and when I arrived home, it made me so happy to come up the stairs and see this greeting me!

(and it jingled every time I open my door or when a neighbor slams theirs – there is a silver lining in all the door slamming!)

my holiday door

But even better is the situation with my neighbor across the hall who has a daughter under two. Since Thanksgiving they have had this Santa on their door and each and every time someone knocks on the door to visit (or when her parents arrive home to greet her) they say “ho ho ho”. She squeals with delight so loudly, I can hear her in my apartment.

santa on the door

Simple pleasures. All it takes is a few decorations on the door to make me smile.

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This morning in my journal writing I got this clear “hit”. Time to celebrate the holidays in a new way. You see I love the holiday time- especially December and the lead into Christmas. So much sparkle and song! But during many holiday seasons past the days fly by and before I know it, it is New Years Day. Very disappointing. It is just not the same finally being in the mood to celebrate in January.

Therefore, I decided to do one “holiday activity” each day for the first 25 days of December and blog about it. Share about it. Celebrate it!

Today’s kick-off was the tree lighting in my neighborhood. Courtesy of the Washington Heights Business Development Council, Fort Washington Collegiate Church and many local businesses.

In August, I moved to Washington Heights and immediately fell in love with the diversity and energy of this magical part of NYC. My best friend calls it “secret NY”.  Today marks the beginning of the holiday season for me in this new neighborhood.  New traditions. New experiences.

The tree lighting ceremony was simple. Children running everywhere- meeting Santa, decorating cookies, singing songs- and then we all gathered around a crooked tree in the front of the churchyard and counted down to the lighting. I stood with some new friends and felt a part of everything. Cheers from the hundreds of neighbors as the tree glowed in colored lights and then we all sang carols.

My idea of a holiday kick-off.

2012-12-01 12.56.20Washington Heights tree lighting

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We all live with neighbors regardless of the structure we inhabit.  It’s tough to be completely isolated no matter how you might try. We must deal with the community at-large. We share a fence or a tree or a park or a sidewalk or a cul-de-sac with others.

For me, here in NYC, it’s apartment living.

And in my estimation, apartment living brings its own brand of crazy.

We share walls, ceilings, floors, hallways in addition to those sidewalks, front stoops and back alleys. Here in my new apartment of just a few months, winter apartment living is in full force. People are inside more due to the cold.  We are all together a lot more. And last night, my little world here was on fire. As I went to bed and tried to get to sleep early, there were kids playing what sounded like a late-night basketball tournament outside because there is no school today. There were Riverdancers upstairs, a poker game next door, a political convention in the hallway- or at least that is what it seemed like as I tried to get to sleep.

And then it struck me (and I laughed aloud)… what do my neighbors think when I scream at the Giants game, when my cats chase each other up and down the hallway like a herd of cattle or when I decide to vacuum at 7 am?

Regardless of where you live, community living is so visible. And as the “new girl” in the building, I am particularly visible. In my frustration, banging on the walls or shouting into the courtyard would just make me the “new crazy girl who lives in 5D” and honestly, when the Giants game is on, I don’t want anyone to “shhhhush” me!

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Image

Many, many hours were spent in the last 72 getting critical information to friends still stranded in some of the most damaged areas in Hurricane Sandy’s path. No power. Running low on food. No heat. Trees in their houses. And without fail-stories of neighborly love and cooperation.   My role? Reports back to their family and friends so they didn’t have to use precious power to do it. I’ve proudly been the communication hub.

Which gas station has fuel available? What is the Mayor reporting on? Where can people volunteer? Which subways are running? Who has power? Was his car damaged? What’s the emergency number for FEMA? Have you spoken to her and does she have heat?

Without access to up-to-date information like the rest of us with power, it is very isolating. For example, it’s kind of important to know that the National Guard is coming for you. It has been heart-wrenching. Imagine believing that you have been forgotten by the government. Believing no one was reporting on the devastation outside your door. <gulp> The idea of being forgotten really struck a nerve with me. In fact, each time I talked about, I could barely breathe.

So powerless. I have cried so many times this week and simply contributed where I could.

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