Better Than the Alternative Tuesdays: Smarty-Pants People

Happy New York Giants Day, errr, I mean Tuesday! New York is still celebrating Big Blue today with a parade. When JB found out there was a parade (he’s not much into football) he scoffed, “Where’s MY parade?” Kindly remember that my gorgeous husband is a Marine, folks.

He's even better looking in his uniform!

My response: “Ummmm…Veteran’s Day parade, Memorial Day parade, St. Patrick’s Day parade. Pretty much once a month the military (rightfully) get a parade in this town.” Him: “Oh yeah.”

But that’s not all happening today because it is certainly a Better Than the Alternative Tuesday in my household/family today!! One of our own has narrowly skirted a very serious illness and come out the other side looking good. And that is why I want to dedicate this BTAT to the Smarty-Pants People of the world.

It must have been hard for you, Smarty-Pants People, being young and so so so smart. You’ve probably been smarter than every teacher you’ve ever had up until (or maybe beyond?) graduate school. Kids probably teased you endlessly for being smarter than them, more interested in learning than sports/dating/gossip, for getting straight A’s and being a NERD.

I'm a NERD wanna-be.


I gotta tell ya, I’m glad you kept up with all that NERD stuff and became a doctor/judge/writer/activist/engineer/scientist/explorer/everything-else-that-requires-more-brain-cells-than-I-will-use-in-my-lifetime. Seriously, you Smarty-Pants People give me hope.

Hope that if someone I love gets sick, you will try your best to give them the tools to fight and win and live.

Hope that when someone needs defending, you will be there with years of history and precedent in your brain to help David battle Goliath.

Hope that when someone’s story isn’t being told, you will be there to not only tell it but to make it relevant to those of us who don’t understand.

Hope that when we come up against the impossible, you will create a way to overcome it.

Hope that when one idea doesn’t work, you won’t give up.

I have seen these people in action and I am in awe of them. My own team of Smarty-Pants People give me hope every day that I can do it, I will get better, I will get through this and that nothing is impossible. I just love listening to Smarty-Pants People talk (and not just because I am terrified to open my mouth anywhere they might hear me). Dr. Boz must be so tired of me asking him questions…sorry, Boz.

This room exists precisely for people like me. I would just sit down next to a world-renowned physician and ask if I could follow them around all day. What? Is that weird?

Thank you, Smarty-Pants People, for doing what you do and loving what you do. You give the rest of us hope in what would otherwise seem like a hopeless situation to many. You definitely make today Better Than the Alternative. Today you made my family very, very grateful.

Tell me: Who makes today Better Than the Alternative for you? Smarty-Pants People? Other people? Tell me all about it and don’t forget about the Sparkly Soul giveaway! Two more days to enter someone who is awesome! Win a fancy-schmancy awesome headband for them.

Oooooo, pretty!

Now go out and run!

Better Than the Alternative Tuesdays: Holiday Spirit

There’s something magical about New York City during the holidays. Yes, the streets are crazy-croweded with tourists who think it’s cool to stop right in the middle of the sidewalk, look up and cause a major commuter traffic jam on just about every major block in the entire city buuuuuuuuuuuuut…

…the lights on Park Avenue,

One can never have too many twinkling lights.

Tiffanys and Bergdorfs all dressed up, the smell of the Christmas trees being sold on every corner, random carolers in random parts of town, the Radio City Rockettes kicking their faces all day long (go Rainbow!),

Hey, Rainbow!

snowy Central Park runs, strolling the streets on a chilly night with JB…ahhhhh, holidays in New York are magical.

Central Park is lovely when it snows.

Sometimes I forget how amazing New York can be during the holidays. It’s tough not to get all hard and irritable when it seems that every person on the sidewalk is out to get in your way at rush hour or during a run. It’s tough not to want the holidays to be over so that 5th Avenue goes back to being semi-normal 5th Avenue again (which has never really been the same since the Apple store opened in front of FAO Schwartz–what a combination!). It’s even harder not to wish the season away so that you can get in and out of Bloomingdales in under an hour when all you really needed was a refill on your favorite lipstick.

I start with our apartment. I pull out our decorations, which aren’t many since we have a “cozy” apartment not a Devil’s Advocate-sized palace, turn on my very favorite Christmas album by John Denver and The Muppets A Christmas Together, light my Williams-Sonoma tree-scented candle and I hang our stockings by the wine bar with care. And then we get a real Christmas tree.

Oooooooo, preeeeeettttty!

I love a tree. JB reeeeally loves a tree. So, we get a tree. I bought my very first Christmas tree when JB was deployed with the USMC in Iraq. It made my whole holiday season feel more holiday-ish even though he was so far away and I was so sad.

My very first real Christmas tree.

And that’s the whole point of doing things that get you into the Holiday Spirit. Because the Holiday Spirit has nothing to do with religion, it’s a feeling of love and warmth and kindness that seems to seep into the soul of the most hardened New Yorker. And that’s a good thing. So, fake it til you make it, folks.

Break out those baking sheets and get your Betty Crocker on, apron and all.

I like making cookies. I like eating them even more.

Get a tree. Go see Santa. Put some twinkling lights up in your home. Play some Harry Connick Jr. holiday songs on Pandora (or The Muppets!). Make some cookies. Donate a toy to Toys For Tots. Do something to get in the Holiday Spirit.

The Holiday Spirit is all about good will toward your fellow man/woman and we could all use a little more good will in our lives, don’t you think? So, start with getting into the Holiday Spirit, however you do it in your world.

Me? I’m going to buy a tree this weekend and let my husband go bananas decorating it while I supervise the spacing of the lights on the tree. I learned from the best, Mrs. Obi-wan, that the lights are best judged if you step back and squint your eyes. If you see holes from that vantage point, you need to fix your lights. You’re welcome.

Point is, get your Holiday Spirit on and revel in the Holiday Spirit around you! Beats the hell out of the alternative, folks.

Now go out and run!