Happy 2nd Birthday Lucy Liberty!

When I head out for a night on the town with her aunties, I always tell my pup, Lucy: “Mama is going out to find you a daddy! I promise I’ll be home later!” I’ve yet to come home with a um, father, for Lucy, but I don’t think she minds.

She’s just one little ball of happiness, all the time. 

When I made the (very, very quick) decision to bring Lucy Liberty into my life, I only thought of how much work it would be. When would I have time to walk her? What if I wasn’t home on time? What kind of food should I feed her? How much will it cost to take her to the vet? What if she wasn’t healthy? How would I take trips? Would anyone want to date a girl with a dog?

But what I instantly discovered was that all of the time, money and stress was worth it for all of the joy she gives me each and every single day. If I needed to fall apart about my dad’s health problems, she would be there to lick the tears off of my face. When I was frustrated with another date gone bad, she would be there to share her squeaky toy with me and bark me into reality. When I just didn’t feel like getting out of bed on a bright, sunny (or cold and snowy) Sunday, she’s snuggle me outside to enjoy the beauty of New York.

From patience to hope, thank you, Lucy Liberty, for teaching me some hard lessons in the most loving way. I’m thankful for you, little pup and can’t wait to have many more woofs and adventures with you!

Here are just a few of my favorite photos this year of you (because we all know I take WAY too many!)

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Just helping Mom write her blog…

Valentine's Day, every single day.

Valentine’s Day, every single day.

 

Meeting her Auntie Ash from Boston

Meeting her Auntie Ash from Boston

 

Hanging out with her pal Liam

Hanging out with her pal Liam

 

Celebrating Halloween at Mom and Uncle Jim's annual BYOP(umpkin) party!

Celebrating Halloween at Mom and Uncle Jim’s annual BYOP(umpkin) party!

 

Lucy hearts selfies.

Lucy hearts selfies.

 

I love you, too Lucy!

I love you, too Lucy!

Dog days of summer

Dog days of summer

Just relaxing with Uncle Jim and her pal Suzie

Just relaxing with Uncle Jim and her pal Suzie

Visiting North Carolina for the Fourth of July!

Visiting North Carolina for the Fourth of July!

 

Central Park is my playground.

Central Park is my playground.

Happy Mother's Day, mom!

Happy Mother’s Day, mom!

Spring!

Spring!

Wine and dine with Auntie M

Wine and dine with Auntie M

 

Merry Christmas with her pal Shorty!

Merry Christmas with her pal Shorty!

Just snuggling with Grandmommy

Just snuggling with Grandmommy

Becoming a celebrity in the New York Post - first photoshoot!

Becoming a celebrity in the New York Post – first photoshoot!

Lucy was not in the mood to have her photo taken.

Lucy was not in the mood to have her photo taken.

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Lucy's first dog bed from Pottery Barn!

Lucy’s first dog bed from Pottery Barn!

Another selfie, mom?

Another selfie, mom?

Fall is my favorite!

Fall is my favorite!

Central Park playdate with my auntie K and buddy Dylan!

Central Park playdate with my auntie K and buddy Dylan!

Just hanging out in Central Park with my Auntie J!

Just hanging out in Central Park with my Auntie J!

 

Grandpoppy makes me smile!

Grandpoppy makes me smile!

I'm two!!!

I’m two!!!

 

 

 

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I Want To Meet Someone

I want to meet someone.

Those five words lingered in my head, even as I tried to ignore that they were there. I distracted myself with thoughts of other things and by making to-do lists in my head. I pretended this desire wasn’t bubbling beneath me — but as I sat, overlooking the Hudson with Lucy fast-asleep in puppy dreamland in Riverside Park on Sunday — I couldn’t stop the message my heart sent to my mind.

I want to meet someone.

Though powerful and constant — it’s not a helpless feeling or a dissatisfied longing. It’s different than it was years ago. I don’t feel like something is missing or part of me is still void — I’m not lusting after every man I see or pulling strings and squinting my eyes to make it work with every dude who buys me dinner. I feel no rush and no pressure, no need to speed along a road that I’m not sure how to navigate yet. I don’t believe it’s impossible to find happiness and I do believe I’m meant for a long-term love– and still. Still – after (many) failed relationships, hundreds of blogs debating where I stand on love and loveless and loving, endless conversations with my ever-so patient friends– I still want it.

I still want to fall in love.

But the craving has changed. It’s not wistful and romantic (well, only a little). I’m not looking to be completed or rescued. I’m not hoping to make a married man out of a guy who doesn’t even like to date or is totally emotionally unavailable. I’m not making myself something I’m not so I can be granted the so-called coveted title of girlfriend.

Instead– I want to meet someone… like me?

Someone with a heart that often feels too big for his chest. Someone who can see the good — the possible — in every part of his life, and especially with me. With us. Someone who captivates me, pulls me close and lets me fly. I want to meet someone who accepts himself and does what he can to understand the world. Someone who likes to read and run, travel and learn — explore and make mistakes, dream and slow down. Someone who makes me want to be a better me and be part of a better we than he has before. I want to meet someone who knows how to love– who wants love— who may be afraid of it, but tries it anyway. Who knows how important it is. Someone who has goals for himself and plans he will break for the right thing, the right person, the right place – the right time. Someone who is happy with the someone and the something and the somewhere he is.

I want to meet someone who likes the way the city rests on Sundays and how it’s the perfect day to wake up late, make love and eat pancakes. Someone who wants a family just as much as they want an amazing, fulfilling career, and knows you’ll never be able to be perfect at either. I want to meet who thinks about his future further than Saturday night and deeper than one night stands and tequila shots in Murray Hill. Someone who wants to try new things but also likes to be a regular at places he can’t and won’t stop going to. Someone who knows how to kiss without being rough and knows that love isn’t always enough– but it’s always worth whatever it brings or makes you learn.

I want to meet someone who challenges me and yet, makes me feel comfortable in my running clothes, without any makeup, without any hesitations. Someone who wants to know what I know, who wants to see the town I grew up in. Who can’t wait to share a beer with my dad or go on a walk with my mom. Someone who comes from a place I admire and has a laugh I long to hear. Touch I want to feel. I want to meet someone who is strong enough to stand next to me and sweet enough to let me fall into him when I need it. Or even when I don’t, but want it. Someone who remembers the things I say and can hear the things I don’t, someone who will be there today, tomorrow – always. I want to meet someone who wouldn’t want to be anywhere else but here, with me. (And Lucy.)

I want to meet someone.

Someone out there in this big city, living on some street I’ve crossed a million times, taking some train at the same time, thinking about when he would meet… someone like me.

Liberated By Lucy

On my 24th birthday last week, I was feeling antsy.

In fact– all the weeks leading up to my birthday I had felt anxious and unsure, wondering what my last year of the early twenties would bring me and what I should do next. I found myself lusting after expensive things and fancy travels, men in pressed suits and visions of apartments that are rent controlled with views of the park. I was wishing and hoping for a huge change that would rock my world in the most exquisite of ways, that would shift my negatives to positives and my fears into flights.

But maybe those things were less realistic and more idealistic, I thought as I walked from the subway to Union Square to meet my friend M. I’ve been lucky to experience so much so quickly. I’m happy in a job that brings me happiness each day,  and while the floors are old and the walls dusty, my name is on the lease of an apartment that feels like home. My friends are as thoughtful as they are entertaining, bringing me the best support and experiences I could ask for. And yet, though the weather was the perfect blend of summer days and fall mornings, I felt like something was missing. Like something had to transform for me, just as the seasons were doing. Like I needed to take a plunge and try something I hadn’t before. Something I’d always been scared of doing.

Many friends said I needed a man  — and while I won’t disagree that I’d love a love affair of sorts, it wasn’t romance I ached for as much as I longed to… nest. To really let my roots run as deep as the subway passages and make my stay in NYC more permanent than the zip code I write on the back of cards.

I considered redecorating but that felt silly when I know I won’t be at this apartment forever — and paint and drapery is both as expensive as it is unnecessary. I dreamed about recreating my wardrobe and putting the old out to find another life to indulge in the new I simply don’t need. I thought about starting another blog until I felt guilty about not updating this one as much as I would like. (Sorry, y’all.)

It’s true, even walking from store to store and giggling with M about the things that only best friends can find funny, I couldn’t shake the feeling that I needed to do something. To own something, to try something, to go or to stay or to run or to sit still. Or to what? I couldn’t put my finger on what it was that was making me so uneasy, when really, everything in my life (give or take) was rather, well, easy.

And then I saw Lucy.

Or, rather a seven pound, six-month-old Maltese and Pomeranian mix at a pet store in the West Village. Not just any pet store though — it’s the one I always go to when I’ve had a stressful day or something is causing my heart to ache apart. It’s the one that’s near my friend K’s apartment and the one I’ve stumbled into far too many times after a boozy brunch to ooh-and-aww at the puppies that I wished weren’t trapped in tiny cages. But this time was different. This time — Lucy was there. Though I’ve never had this feeling about a man, when I saw her… I just knew. I knew when she climbed into my lap effortlessly and snuggled herself asleep that I’d be taking her home.

And I did…

I always knew that having a dog would be part of my life in New York. I had considered it further down the road — when I was in a shining, healthy, functional relationship. Or when I was newly married in a newly-remodeled apartment with my new husband who I adored. Maybe the puppy would be the precursor to babies — you know, practice? But as this city has taught me time-and-time again, nothing quite goes as planned. And the best thing you can do is just to roll with what feels right. Admittedly, I’m not the best puppy mom that ever was — I’m neurotic and incredibly worrisome, plus a little freaked out by mostly everything she does or doesn’t do. I don’t have the most patience but I’m learning. I’m getting to know this lovely little dog who in a week, has already brought so much joy — so much love — to my life.

She’s getting to know me too, and my schedule and this “gigantic” apartment that’s near the biggest, most exciting park in the whole wide world — or at least, almost as thrilling as the trash outside. I’m running more than ever, now that my alarm is set earlier, forcing me to get up to relieve a bladder that’s not mine. My room has never been as tidy or organized as it is now, for fear that something as small as a piece of a paper could be dangerous to something furry and adorable. I keep to a routine and I watch my money, knowing that anything could spring up and I need to be prepared to care for something that depends on me fully. Plus, you know, she’s enrolled in puppy obedience school already, hence why she’s passed out in my lap as I write this blog on Sunday evening.

Maybe what I needed — what I felt was missing — was unconditional love. Was something to come home to. Sure, that could be in the form of a boyfriend, and I know (somewhere deep in this only slightly-bitter heart) that I’ll find someone special enough to share this life with one day. But for now, Lucy is the perfect companion. And like her middle name after the lady of New York herself, Lucy Liberty is teaching me to liberate myself from all of those silly two-year, five-year or ten-year plans I had for myself. To liberate myself from worrying about what’s next or if I’m doing everything right. Because really, there’s no way to ever know. And nothing ever turns out just as you thought it would.

Instead though, something sweeter does.

Dudes and Dogs

So my roommate got a kitten. She’s tiny with piercing blue eyes and her name isBowie.

When she started flirting with the idea, browsing Craigslist looking for eligible animals that were rescued or abandoned and now up for auction or for free – I admit I was a little jealous.

I’ve never quite been a cat-person, though I grew up with one who recently passed away. His name was Indiana Jones Tigar, named after one of my favorite series as a kid. We nicknamed him Indy, and he was adventurous and quick, always getting away from me with a smirk that spoke louder than his meow. And then of course, there’s M’s baby Milo, who as my “godson” is permanently embedded in my heart and I’ll admit, that when the earthquake shook New York, I wondered how he was alone in M’s apartment.

And now, there’s yet another kitten sashaying into my life and with her arrival, my heart sinks just a bit. While some women at my age, God bless ‘em, feel like they’re achin’ to have kids, I’m achin’ for a pet.

Specifically, one of those puppies with sad, sad eyes from the Humane Society commercials. Or maybe one that’s across the street from my friend K’s apartment in the WestVillage– the one that every time I walk past it on my way to her place, I fight the urge to ask just how much is that puppy in the window?

The time isn’t ticking on my ovaries anymore than it’s ticking on my ability to support a dog right now, but I have this overwhelming desire to own one. I want to come home after a glorious day at work, followed by drinks with my favorites, to a wagging-puppy-dog-tail that’s excited to see me and will lay by my feet at night. I want to have responsibility for something else, something to take care of, something to depend on me, something that’ll grow because of my loving nature and guidance.

Rationally though, I know I’m not in the right time of my life to adopt a dog. While I could support it financially, I couldn’t give it the time and attention it deserves and that it would crave. Walking a dog through Central Parkwhen it’s painted with an earthy palette while wearing my fleece peacoat seems beautiful and idealistic, but it’s quite unrealistic.

Animals, like relationships, aren’t as cute as we imagine and far more work than we’d like to realize. I’m fully aware of this truth, both with puppies and men (quite similar if you think about it…), and yet, I still want them both. I’m not sure which tail is cuter, frankly.

But sometimes, the right decisions and the hard decisions are one-in-the-same. Being an adult means sucking up what you want to decide what’s best. Ensuring your life and your happiness continue to excel means getting rid of those things, those people, or those ideas that hold you back. Even if one of them happens to be the image of a rescued, wet-nosed pup who adores you. Maybe even a man who adores you, too – though he’s not the best for you, as much as you’d like him to be.

Because when you take the plunge and commit to a puppy or to a guy, you’re promising to come home each night, just as you said you would. You pledge to be there to fill their bowl and build their ego, stroke their cute little heads when they need encouragement or to be soothed. To excitedly call their name, even if they’re not really doing anything you are getting excited about, and to play with them, regardless if you’re tired and have a headache or not.

Men and puppies require attention and time, both things that aren’t difficult to sacrifice when you have many other things that fulfill you. But the fever that comes with dudes and dogs is one that’s rather difficult to extinguish.

But I fight the puppy-fever by volunteering to help others with their pets. By giving Milo andBowiean extra pat on their tiny kitten heads, by complimenting dog owners on their adorable pets, by volunteering when I can at shelters. By bookmarking photos of dogs I’d like to have and stopping at every rescue center or puppy-for-sale store I see.

And man-fever? Well, I still have 26 days to figure out how to battle that high.