Firsts, and all that they mean.

I am here to live out loud. ~Emile Zola

New schools and teams. New bands and choruses. New subjects and topics. New employees. New clients. New organizations and responsibilities.

New chapters.


The newness echoes, reminding me of the passing of time. I’m drawn to lament it. Aren’t we all, at least to some degree? And then, another reminder, this one more acute. More purposeful. More adamant.

Of course it passes.

It’s meant to pass. Meant to be this way. It’s the order of things. Of life. Stopping, braking, digging in, all of it is futile. All of it is senseless.

Because of course time passes. As it should. Time passing means Firsts, and Firsts mean energy and blessings and opportunity.

Firsts = Life


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The wonder of growing bananas in Buffalo.

Reflect upon your present blessings, of which every man has many – not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some. ~Charles Dickens

It was that kind of year, the misfortune kind. A frightening diagnosis and all that it entailed.


And it was the year we grew bananas in Buffalo. A blessings year.

A wow-when-does-that-happen-how-could-I-be-so-lucky-and-friends-and-confidantes kind of year.

The best kind of year.

It didn’t take much effort from us.

But it took a load of magic from a banana tree. (and some helpers along the way)

A banana tree that came to live – in a pot – in our garden during the summer of 2013.


It was sunk into the ground, right behind the pergola. It grew leaves the brightest green and, over time, each leaf tattered in the wind, reminiscent of trips to the Caribbean.

And, then, it was gone.

And I really thought it was gone, our gardener hauling it away to the compost pile.

But then this spring, on a chilly but brightly-sunny weekday, it came back – and it was our tree!

Over-wintered at a local nursery in unseasonably-warm temperatures and lots of humidity. Someone else nurtured our banana tree during the dark days of winter, unknown to us.

And so, it became sunk into the ground in its pot once again, this time with a hand of green bananas.


And so we learned about bananas.

In Latin, the plants are called Musa paradisiaca.

Paradise, anyone?

A bunch of them naturally connected to each other is called a hand.


They require heat and sun and humidity, usually taking 75 days to ripen from when they first appear.

And we did it in Buffalo. Without really thinking it would happen.

Perhaps it was the boatloads of rain.

Perhaps it was the several scorching-hot weeks (although we did have our share of chilly days and nights).

Or, perhaps, it was just meant to be. 

A reminder that we need not worry about the how of it. A reminder that wonder happens even when we’re not looking. A reminder that struggle isn’t always necessary.

And that a few helpers can change everything about what we believe is possible.



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Love. now.

She’s mad but she’s magic. There’s no lie in her fire.                 ~Charles Bukowski


You are love, he said.

They love you.

She dismissed it.

You are love, she said.

They love you.

She demurred.

You are it, now, strong, the strongest.

She thought of magic, of truth.

She thought.

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 Everything is a gift of the universe — even joy, anger, jealousy, frustration, or separateness. Everything is perfect either for our growth or our enjoyment.  ~Ken Keyes, Jr.


When the night sounds linger into day.

When all is still.

When the hydrangea bursts forth, covering the path.

When the blueberries are ripe, sweet.

When a glance, no words, says it all.

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It’s there, through the cracks.

If you start to think the problem is “out there,” stop yourself. That thought is the problem. ~Stephen Covey


I don’t know Stephen Covey although he’s certainly famous enough. But I do know his words. Know them as an imprint on my soul.

For sometimes it doesn’t work out.

Whatever it is; it can be elusive and often downright impossible. And it’s in the not-working-out where the beauty lies.

It’s in the cracks on the facade, the slivers in the pavement, the tears in the fabric.

What beauty there is in the not-working-out, allowing for whatever is to be to be present.

To be noticed.

To be honored.

And, yes, even to be celebrated.


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In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer.  ~Albert Camus

And it grows.


And grows.


And grows some more.


And, truly. . .


It’s all that matters.


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Wanting it.

It’s spring fever. That is what the name of it is. And when you’ve got it, you want – oh, you don’t quite know what it is you do want, but it just fairly makes your heart ache, you want it so!  ~Mark Twain

AlliumI don’t think it needs to be spring fever. I think it can be summer fever, too.

Hell, why can’t it be winter fever if that feels right?

What’s important, I think, is knowing that you want it. And maybe – just maybe – you don’t even yet know what it is.  And that’s okay. It’s okay to not know, and it’s okay to be in the dark.

I can hardly believe I actually wrote that last line.

Okay to not know?

Yes, okay.


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Will, skill, and a heaping dose of caring.

Champions aren’t made in gyms. Champions are made from something they have deep inside them: A desire, a dream, a vision. They have to have last-minute stamina, they have to be a little faster, they have to have the skill and the will. But the will must be stronger than the skill.  ~Muhammed Ali 

Locals will know the Ride for Roswell. It’s a giant fundraising event, centered around riding bicycles – from a 3-mile family route to an over 100-mile one – on a Saturday in June. It is 8,000 riders strong.

And it’s tomorrow.

R4R 2014 shirt

In the years I’ve ridden – with my children, family, friends, clients, and my firm – I’ve held onto a sense of gratitude and wonder, actually, for what a profound event this is. It supports research and patient care at one of the nation’s few comprehensive cancer centers, which fortunately happens to be in my figurative backyard.

It’s a day of wonder because it’s a celebration above all other things. Celebrating life. Celebrating change. Celebrating progress.

This year’s Ride means something else, something more, because I’ve now had first-hand experience at Roswell and so the researchers and surgeons, the anesthesiologists and residents, the fellows and nurses, the caregivers and schedulers, the door-openers and room service deliverers, the T-E-A-M, are more than theoretical helpers.

They’re now real to me. Real in that I know their names. Know about their families. Know where they vacation. Have shared laughs and Valentine’s Day cookies.

Have been cut up and put back together by them.

They are people who work hard. Who remain cheerful amidst pain and sadness and schedules that are non-stop. Who accommodate. Who try.

They are people who care. I think that’s it, actually. Peel back the layers – and there are many, of course, because humans are complicated – but just peel ’em back and at their core, they are people who care.

I believe they care deeply about their craft, their scientific and intellectual challenges, being precise, being careful, and being thoughtful. They care deeply in a meaningful way about those for whom they care.

And so, we Ride.

And we celebrate.

Peloton street 2014

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On the eve.

“Anticipating pain was like enduring it twice. Why not anticipate pleasure instead?”  -Robin Hobb, Renegade’s Magic


Although I only recently read this passage, the concept is oh-so-familiar to me.  I think about it a lot, in fact.

I think about it when there’s something coming down the pike that I know won’t be terribly fun (read: I’m dreading it).

So now I think: so what? What’s the worst that can happen?

Well, it might not work out. I may feel embarrassed. Others could look down on my effort, or on me for that matter.

I. could. fail.

And then I ask again: so what?  It’s in that second {so what?} where I think the truth, the soul center, lies.

Because if you truly and deeply can say that the so what? doesn’t matter anymore, then there’s peace. And positivity.


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Begin now. Even if just a little. . .

“Begin doing what you want to do now. We are not living in eternity. We have only this moment, sparkling like a star in our hand and melting like a snowflake.”     -Francis Bacon

IMG_7526Start a little. Start a lot.

Begin a little. Begin a lot.

Read the book. Drink the wine. Take the walk. Hold the hand.

Take the step.

{Maybe even the jump.}

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