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And she’s off…R’s First Kids Triathlon! 8

And she’s off…R’s First Kids Triathlon!

Posted by on Dec 13, 2016 in Bicycling, exercise, facing fears, Facing Forty Upside Down, Favorite Posts, Kid milestone, running, triathlon, Trying new things

10 yo R completed the Zoot Westchester Kids Triathlon 2016 in Rye, NY this fall – I took some time to write the race report because, well, you’ll see. There was much to report! Enjoy. For as long as I can remember, R has been running away from me. Slap slap slap, the sound of her sneakers and laughter floating on the breeze. The imprint on my body from the most recent vigorous hug a reminder that as much as R was here a minute ago, now she’s off. Seeing what’s around the bend. R sometimes gets held up at the start of new things. She was afraid to go into the swimming pool at first. She took several early spills off her bike followed by swearing she was quitting forever. But once she gets going, she keeps going. Never mind that she’s five years younger than her big sister G; R would set her sights on catching up to her at full speed. “I want to do a kids’ triathlon!” she declared after watching me finish the Westchester Olympic Distance Triathlon last year. It would mean a lot of swim and bike practice, but she was up for it. I was thrilled to share my love of the...

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My Favorite Take Our Daughters to Work Day yet – Meeting Young Poets of Community Word Project! 4

My Favorite Take Our Daughters to Work Day yet – Meeting Young Poets of Community Word Project!

Posted by on Apr 16, 2015 in Facing Forty Upside Down, Favorite Posts, parenting, Writing

Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day is coming on April 23 and for a writer there’s usually not much to show my girls that they haven’t already seen. Here’s mom staring at the computer glassy eyed! Here’s mom muttering to herself pacing to and from the fridge! 14 yo G and 9 yo R would probably prefer going to school over watching that for a whole day. So when Community Word Project, a NYC arts-in-education organization active in underserved communities, invited me recently to volunteer at a poetry editing day at P.S. 279 in the Bronx, I jumped at the chance to meet young poets and brought G and R along. We were blown away by the poetry of 7 year olds like Anthony, above, and Mamadou, below. Topics like “My heart” and “The house” led to passionate words and spine-tingling images. After each one, G, R & I pointed out everything we loved. Writers, especially young writers, need to know when they’ve struck a chord, when something they say is surprising or touching and important. They need to be encouraged because the act of creating something original and sharing it requires bravery and we don’t want our future poets and writers giving up before they even get started. Because then...

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Ready…Set…D’oh! 2


Posted by on Jan 12, 2015 in Commitment, exercise, Facing Forty Upside Down, Favorite Posts, fitness, New Year, Some Nerve, Water/Swimming

It’s like every time the proverbial starting gun goes off, I trip and fall on my face. Since the new year, I’ve already resolved to go back to the gym pool and arrived without my swim bag, marked next week on the calendar to work on a book proposal only to discover one of the kids has 10:30 am dismissal every day of it, planned to write a blog about fresh starts and gotten interrupted so many times it’s become one about false starts instead.  Not to mention my intention to forego wine during the week, which lasted til Thursday because sometimes you just really need the week to be over! If you’re like me, all the things (from sick days to snow days to unexpected assignments and broken appliances) that can derail our good intentions can make it feel like we weren’t meant to follow through on those best-laid plans. I tried! It just wasn’t meant to be! There’s always 2016!  But that way lies this old cycle of doing things one way and wishing I could change and feel better, hitting a stumbling block, giving up and then feeling worse about not having changed. For me, the only way to break the cycle is to: 1) Accept some...

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Highlights 2014 – Thank you for a great year of facing fears! 3

Highlights 2014 – Thank you for a great year of facing fears!

Posted by on Dec 31, 2014 in Bicycling, Books (not Some Nerve), Driving, exercise, facing fears, Facing Forty Upside Down, Fan mail, Favorite Posts, fitness, Handstand, Highlights, New Year, Public Speaking/Stage Fright, Remembering - Special people, Some Nerve, Some Nerve Retreat, Trying new things, Water/Swimming

2014 marked the 5th anniversary of Facing Forty Upside Down (I named it when I was 39 and thought I’d try blogging for a year or two – and here we still are, facing our metaphorical “40” yet again! I won’t tell if you won’t…). I particularly loved this year at the blog because so many of you shared your stories of facing fears or trying new things – THANK YOU! I wasn’t able to narrow it down to a Top 10 list so I’ve made an index of highlights instead. If you need a dose of inspiration read about these brave people:  “Goodbye Fear of Driving” – Kris P. hits the road “Finding a Tribe, Finishing a Triathlon” – Catarina Cabrera “I started Tae Kwon Do when I was 4 mos Pregnant with my Third Child” – Eileen W. “How 2 Friends became Entrepreneurs” – the story behind Momentum Cycling & Fitness “Life begins Outside Your Comfort Zone” – Mary-ann Mastreani, Hastings Yoga “Transforming I Can’t into I Did It” – Fran dives, Elizabeth paddleboards “Trekking in Memory & Hope” – Mina prepares to hike Mt. Kilimanjaro “Who’s got Crazy Friends?” – In praise of the instigators “How to Conquer a Fear of Improv” – a music teacher’s story “Happier,...

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How to Overcome Fear of Water & Prevent Drownings – Ideas Flow at the World Aquatic Health Conference 12

How to Overcome Fear of Water & Prevent Drownings – Ideas Flow at the World Aquatic Health Conference

Posted by on Dec 4, 2014 in facing fears, Facing Forty Upside Down, Favorite Posts, Some Nerve, Water/Swimming

  I’ve been traveling the country speaking about facing fear since Some Nerve came out last year and nowhere has it been more of a life and death issue than the 11th annual World Aquatic Health Conference (WAHC) hosted by the non-profit National Swimming Pool Foundation®(NSPF®) where I gave a keynote speech in October. This year, the WAHC focused on how to help people overcome their fear of water, to find solutions to the perpetual high rates of drowning in this country and to begin a conversation amongst attendees on how to move forward. Look at these statistics: Two-thirds of Americans are afraid of deep, open bodies of water and 46% are afraid of the deep-end of a pool. 37% of Americans are unable to swim, and almost 4000 people a year in the United States die of drowning. Knowing how to swim (and equally important, knowing how to prevent panic in the water) are unquestionably life-saving skills, but if most swim lessons begin with “Get in the pool” those afraid of that first step will avoid lessons entirely. Those who enter the pool afraid are often prone to panic at some point in their learning and never go back. Studies show that most children of non swimmers don’t get enough...

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Weekends are for Relaxing, Remember? 6

Weekends are for Relaxing, Remember?

Posted by on Nov 14, 2014 in Facing Forty Upside Down, Favorite Posts, parenting, play, Relaxation

  Last Saturday after all the errands and appointments were done and the kids were begging for an outing, 13 yo G found online the Edith Read Wildlife Sanctuary in Rye, NY and said “Please, Mom, let’s go.” I was eyeing the clock, we only had a couple of hours before dusk and what about cooking dinner?  “It’s NATURE,” G pleaded.  OK, I said, thinking about the fresh air, exercise, and opportunity for learning and feeling like a better parent already. “Where are our binoculars?”  I asked, going into the closet to look – perhaps we could birdwatch. Not that I know anything about birds. But we probably had a guide to birds, or trees, or something educational and relevant somewhere in the house we could bring… “I have binoculars!” 8 yo R said, clambering upstairs. “Noooo,” G moaned. “R, yours aren’t even real! They don’t make anything bigger! Please, let’s not waste time, the sun is going down!” R stomped downstairs wearing her yellow plastic binoculars saying “I KNOW they’re not real. But THEY’RE FUN.” I gave up looking for real binoculars. G was right. It’d been a long and hectic week. No one needed Mom lecturing on nature. At the Sanctuary, we walked through the woods and...

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