Mani Monday – Back to Writing Edition

I want my green juice.  But if I walk to get it, my newly cut and styled hair will be ruined.  The sunny summer mornings of Los Angeles summer have moved on to fog.  The marine layer will burn off soon, but thick, be-careful-you-don’t-miss-a pedestrian-in-the-crosswalk fog will stick around.  It’s the same fog I grew up with and learned to drive in.  The summer fog I suffered through as a young professional in San Francisco.  If anti-humidity hair spray had existed in high school and San Francisco I’m certain my life would have been different.

I am exhausted.  I won’t sleep that much during September.  I decide to drive. Driving is something I don’t love about Los Angeles.  I always look for opportunities to walk. I am constantly convincing my son and husband that it’s not that far between errands.  I refuse to subscribe to “Nobody walks in LA”.  We do walk, but it’s typically a hike.  I want to walk in my day to day life and effortlessly stay leaner as I did in my years living in New York.  I get in the car, within a minute I hear Ryan Adams singing “New York, New York”.  “farewell to the city and the love of my life” and I sigh.  I did not leave the love of my life there.  In fact, magically the love of my life, my New York City born and bred husband, was waiting for me in Los Angeles.  I would wait many years to meet him in Santa Monica.  Maybe I passed him on the street when he was visiting his father in Greenwich Village only a few blocks from where I lived, when I wondered if the love of my life was “out there’”.  New York City was the love of my life then. I felt at ease and happy even with all the noise and congestion.  The constant buzzing energy of New York City was a perfect match for my energy and of course, the walking.

I chug the juice in the car.  Saturdays provide a rare privilege where I can drink my green juice on an empty stomach and wait to drink my coffee.  It is the preferred method for maximum benefit from celery juice.  Something that is much harder (impossible) on a weekday with school drop off.  I bring back juice for my husband.  He has his with his coffee.  My son and husband are in their father and son Saturday morning routine watching a show about cars while my son operates the Nespresso machine. He is a charming barista.  “Do you guys want eggs?” I ask tentatively as not to interrupt them.  “Are they the fluffy kind you made last week?”  “Yes” I reply as my wrist starts to hurt as I try to get the perfect scramble and I hope in in my exhaustion that I got the temperature on the stove right. I sigh with gratitude.

I am here in this LA kitchen making eggs for this family that I was not sure I would ever have 17 years ago.  17 years ago, on Sunday, September 9, 2001, I was exploring the Cloisters with a friend. I had no idea what the following Tuesday would bring.  There is an innocence to that summer that will never be the same.  This summer I turned 50.  Yes, I am a half century old.  With the birthday came another level of gratitude and a shedding of a few insecurities.  Suddenly how I looked in my swimsuit became far less important than swimming with my kid. By freeing myself of some of that I managed to capture a little bit of the innocence of summer of 2001 that I spent on the beach on weekends (Spring Lake, NJ style) and in Europe and Alaska.  The world feels even crazier than it did in 2001.   If you told me then who would be running things, I would have laughed.  In fact, I think our current president laughed about that himself.  One thing is clear, things can change beyond our wildest expectations.  I am holding on to the little moments with my family; the smile on my son’s face, perfectly made eggs that he eats, the beauty around me.  The fact that I am here.  I survived that day.  I was there. You can read more about my account of September 11, 2001 here and here.

This week’s mani is for back to school.  It was designed by my son who came to my appointment right before school started.   School is back in session.  I will put pencil to paper and get back to writing.  To achieve that summer innocence, I took some time off from the blog.  I’m back.  It may look a little different going forward and the schedule may be less consistent.  But I’m here – and I’ll return when I have something more to say.

Happy Monday!

XO,

JAE

 

 

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Mani Monday – September 11th Edition

I will never forget.

I will never forget how lucky I was and am.

I will never forget the sounds of the plane and the sounds of the crash.

I will never forget the texture of the air.

I will never forget the horror.

I will never forget the kindness and compassion that I felt from fellow New Yorkers in the days and weeks after.

I will never forget.

This week’s mani honors the Twin Towers and September 11, 2001.  The colors are “Make the Cut” and “Surrounded by Studs” both by Essie Gel Couture.  The manicure and nail art are by Olive & June.

XO,

JAE

I wrote about my experience on September 11, 2001 in New York last year here.

 

Mani Friday – I ♥ NY Edition

On Monday I wrote about my experience at Ground Zero on September 11, 2001 in Sliding Doors.  New York is definitely one of my favorite cities in the world and it holds a special place in my heart.  A friend gave me a I NY tee shirt during my visit back after I had moved to California.  The anniversary of this horrific and tragic day makes me want to hug all those close to me and give New York a big hug.

The color is “Alpine Snow” by OPI.  The manicure and nail art are by Olive & June.

Happy Friday!

XO,

JAE

Sliding Doors

It was any other Tuesday morning except that I had an early, by New York standards (9:30 am), meeting and an evening event.  It was warm out so I choose a dress (gingham) and packed makeup in my bag, which made it a bit heavier, so I could freshen up before the evening event (a company town hall).  I headed to the subway at Union Square.  I missed a train on the N/R line by seconds. The doors closed right in front of me, just like in the 1998 movie “Sliding Doors”.   I took the next train and exited at the World Trade Center. I walked out, headed toward my office at 90 West Street just after 9 am and looked at my watch to see if I had time to stop at the farmers market on Cedar Street before my meeting. Suddenly One Liberty Plaza was vibrating and I heard the sound of a plane.  I wondered who was flying so low. The next thing I heard was a huge explosion. I took my Wall Street Journal out of my bag to hold it over my head and took off running. There was a texture to the explosion and debris that I will never forget. I felt like an extra in an action movie. A calmness came over me and and an inner voice said I would be o.k., but I just needed to get out of there. I continued to move quickly until debris was no longer falling on me. I called my mother in California and got right through. I wanted her to know that a small plane had crashed into the World Trade Center and that I was fine. I did not want her worrying when she watched the Today Show later that morning. I then continued walking up the West Side to my apartment in the West Village. As I was walking someone said something about an attack on Washington, DC.  Just after that, I watched the second plane come screaming over Manhattan and crash into the second tower. I wanted to get home, but also wondered if the Empire State Building was next. I got home in time to watch the towers fall on TV.  I burst into tears.  I sent an email to friends and family.  The sound of an airplane flying overhead made the hair on the back of my neck stand up and triggered a fight or flight response for years after.

The flatlay below is the navy and white gingham dress I was wearing. Sadly the shoes (navy blue slides with a heel)  and bag were discarded in a closet clean out. The dress is like armor or a super hero costume to me. I literally ran for my life in it.   I could have been seconds earlier and made the train I missed. Two people who worked in my building at 90 West Street were in the elevator when the first plane hit. The power surged and they were trapped in the elevator and died of smoke inhalation. If not for those sliding doors, I could have been in the elevator.  I was so lucky.  I am so grateful.

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Dress by Linda St. John

We all lived in horror, but kindness and compassion was overflowing. It was amazing to make eye contact with so many people in the days that followed and feel an overwhelming sense of community. It was hard to leave New York. I love New York and always have. We visited almost two years years ago when my husband ran the marathon. I visited the memorial and had a moment when I was looking at the names on the wall where I looked for my own name.  If I had made the first subway train and the sliding doors had not closed in front of me,  my parallel path may have led to my death.  For a moment I had the chills and had to remind myself that I was still here (in this dimension) and that yes, the doors had closed in front of me.  It was surreal.  For a long time after September 11th  I really did not sweat the small stuff.  Fifteen years later I need to catch myself when I start fretting small stuff.

On September 11th this year, I visited Legoland with my son and husband which included flying in a Legoland plane with my son (what a contrast to fifteen years ago).   My son had questions about the reflecting pools and Freedom Tower in MiniLand. I told him about that day and how two buildings were intentionally destroyed and how I had run. There was a mini figure running near the memorial. He said “look mommy there you are”. HERE I AM! There I WAS.  How lucky I am to be here NOW.

The world was forever changed that day. There is an innocence that existed up until September 10th that is no longer. With that loss of innocence comes a reminder to not take anything for granted.

Tonight as I was putting the final touches on this post, I went to a meditation class.  Before the class, I pulled a card randomly from a pile of inspirational quotes.  I pulled this quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson “When I first open my eyes upon the morning meadows and look out upon the beautiful world, I thank god that I am alive.”

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J. Crew New York Tee

XO,

 

JAE