Here’s Hoover

Sometimes I do things now that remind me of how different life was before Ivy. Last night, Alaina and I did something incredibly rare that we did frequently until 16 months ago. Seeing a show together involves many more calculations now but occasionally we make it happen. We hired a baby sitter and went to see Les Freres Corbusier’s new production, “Here’s Hoover!” at the Abrons Art Center. It was a blast: Herbert Hoover’s Comeback Special as a rock star dead set on re-telling his legacy and escaping the pack of below average presidents. It is fun and ridiculous with a sweet soundtrack and free beer last night! Our 4-hour escape even included 2 bonus stops at bars before and after, and some time to enjoy each other and chat without distractions.

Our lives are infinitely richer now than they were 16 months ago, but we have made sacrifices. It’s nice to know that it’s still there when we need it.

A Favorite Day

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I had a fun family day today! We went to New Jersey to spend time at Liberty Science Center; Ivy loved the animals there, including tamarins, lizards and neon frogs, and I was excited about the guitar exhibition. Alaina appreciated the Infection Connection for the giant sneezing nose and the “actors” portraying her dad’s job, and we watched a phenomenal performance by a Brazilian student string orchestra, playing sambas, Beatles and James Brown while dancing and jumping out of their seats.

Then we went to Harrison for some playoff soccer! Red Bulls v. Revolution in leg 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals of the MLS Cup. We brought Ivy to a game at Gillette Stadium this Summer and it was awesome; while I would never consider bringing her to a Patriots game at this age (And I’m not sure I completely understand why that is true), soccer provides a great atmosphere for all ages and seems to encourage youth attendance. Today, our busy schedule left her with only a quick nap in the car and after the pre-match techno blast and fireworks, she fell asleep for most of the first half and missed two great goals – and was awake but getting a diaper changed in the 85th minute when Jermaine Jones scored the winner for the visitors. Being a Jersey Girl, Alaina was rooting for the local club and bought Ivy a supporters T-shirt, but I was obviously cheering for New England.

When we got home, we watched the condensed DVR version of the Patriots’ 34-9 dismantling of the Lions and my day was officially in the books as a lifetime favorite day! Good results in great company is unbeatable!

Busy

The fact that I have not written here in over two months speaks to how fast time has accelerated recently. I am working more than I have ever worked and doing my best to learn new skills and techniques of teaching older kids. It has been a challenging period for me, but I am enjoying it immensely. Seeing the musical abilities of children rapidly improving through the elementary years is awesome and inspiring!

Unfortunately, this schedule has made Ivy time increasingly rare. During the week, I see her from too-early in the morning until I leave for work. She is usually asleep when I return, so I cherish the hour or so I do spend with her, even in my typical morning zombie mode. Because of my limited Ivy-hours, I enjoy the weekend even more than I did when I spent those days in party zombie mode. Last weekend was a bit of a throwback to the olden days of my younger self; a Friday night Halloween kids parade followed by 5th Ave bar crawl and a Saturday night with Dean Ween band at Brooklyn Bowl, and a trip to Foxboro with Dad and Bro on Sunday where the Patriots stomped all over the Broncos and reasserted their dominance in the NFL. It was an epic party weekend with a confluence of amazing events! This weekend was more low-key and the past three days were wonderfully family-centric, sending me back to work tomorrow with great memories of time shared with my favorite people. I had Friday off and took Ivy on a tour of Brooklyn parks; we took a walk in Prospect Park, then Sunset Park and the brand new Bush Terminal Piers Park, where Ivy was recognized as the first baby visitor! Saturday was a Geisler/Taylor family adventure to the beautiful Storm King Sculpture Park and a trip to The Bronx Zoo and Sunday was a stroll through local Greenwood Cemetery and some quality time with Ivy’s bestie, Maisie. October weekends included a Vermont excursion and celebration of Grandma’s 90th birthday with four generations of Herters! Of all the amazing things I get to do in my life, there is nothing better than simply sharing time with Alaina and Ivy!

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Summer’s End

It has been creeping ever closer, and yesterday was D-day: the start of school. It begins and Summer ends, with all the freedom and travels and family time replaced by institutional regulations. I have always loved my schools and the learning and teaching that occurs within the walls, but will eternally dread the return to regimented schedule!

Summertime was fantastic while it lasted, and we left Brooklyn every weekend but one. Bellport, Warwick, Osterville, Chester, Portland and a phenomenal final week in Bar Harbor made Ivy’s first Summer a Northeast classic. I love these places so much and loved introducing Ivy to the world that I have grown up in!

Although the change is abrupt, this school year is highly anticipated with a particularly exciting new job involved: I will be working full-time at Poly Prep teaching all music classes Nursery through 4th grade. I have been teaching for 12 years and almost all of it has been with children ages 0-5; now I am working with kids twice as old. They change! I hope to learn as much as I teach and look forward to sharing music with these young humans!

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Brooklyn Museum Fountain

I am lucky to have Brooklyn Museum as my local art collection. It is classical and cutting edge with interesting and eclectic permanent collections as well as a fascinating and evolving mix of current exhibitions; it is a wonderful space to revere and contemplate art. And when they announced an open-call for submissions to score the fountain, I was inspired to make music! My compostion was chosen as one of ten pieces to be played in a program on August 14 and I watched the fountain dance to my work. I spent many fun hours in the pursuit and truly enjoyed creating the soundtrack, so it was exciting to be a part of this event and share it with family, friends and strangers.

Thank you Brooklyn Museum for celebrating and inspiring artistic creation!

Summer of Ivy

Summer is always densely scheduled and the first half of 2014 has been jam-packed with great adventures and a World Cup background! We had our first family camp at The Backyard in Vermont and are headed up again this weekend; Ivy seemed to love being in the woods and although she has requirements that we have never dealt with in camping before, she was remarkably low-maintenance and fun to be with! We have attended two more beautiful weddings: in Brooklyn for Paul and Lindsey then Bartol Island, Maine for Patrick and Betsey. Celebrating Love is the best and most important reason! After a one-year hiatus, The Land Party resumed and Land Band rocked it! In a series of painful events (holding my baby in a non-ergonomic fashion then falling off my bike trying to ride one-handed), my wrists were incapacitated and I was unable to play bass, but Family Fun bassist Ricky heroically stepped in… We have been to Bellport, swimming, sailing and playing with added bonus Barcelona brother Kevin in a rare appearance Stateside. For my entire life, Cape Cod July 4th has been one of the greatest family weekends; celebrating my Father’s birthday with fireworks and lobster and extended Taylor clan has now evolved to include the next generation, with Lincoln, Oliver and Ivy, while the cousins have grown from babyhood to college in my memory! How amazing is life?!?!

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Eventide Rides NYC

When Chef Andrew Taylor and the Hugo’s/Eventide crew roll into NYC, they come on a mission. They seek the best food experiences in the city, and on this occasion, provide some of their own. They returned to The Lobster Roll Rumble and served thousands of their signature Brown Butter and Steamed Bun Lobster Rolls. I assisted with service at the Eventide Oyster Co. table, and although they were dethroned as defending Champions, the crowd’s enthusiasm and appreciation for their unique take on the classic sandwich was amazing to witness. It is a daring creation from my brother’s kitchen, and I was honored to be a part of the team introducing this Portland, Maine gem to New York.

I was also incredibly fortunate to be along for the ride wherever their food and bar safari took them. We enjoyed cocktails at Del Posto and Toro (including a porron pass-around). We ate incredible late-night dinners at Pearl & Ash and Carbone, with the latter topping my lifetime list of outrageously delicious and delightfully extravagant meals.

I enjoy good food often but rarely like this. Andrew knows the food in my city much better than I do, and it is always a treat to tag along on his excursions. But for all the pizzazz of fine dining, It is also just fun to hang out with the dude and his family; I am more than happy to eat chicken fingers at the Central Park Zoo snack bar if it means spending time with Rachel, Lincoln and Oliver!

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Colorado Taylors

Ivy took her second plane trip this weekend and she did phenomenally well! Despite a few piercing shrieks (including several that echoed through the cavernous tent at Denver International Airport) she was a great companion through the rigors of travel. She was also supremely well behaved at the wedding and reception–especially considering we completely abandoned any semblance of her normal routine and schedule. We were there for cousin Anna and her dude Kaulin, celebrating their love in Littleton, Colorado, and the Taylor turnout was very impressive, including Mommom and her four sons, their spouses and 11/12 of the cousins! It is a truly wonderful family and although full congregations are rare, I always appreciate their company. In Denver, we visited the Zoo, took a Stranahan’s Whiskey distillery tour and enjoyed the novel experience of browsing a recreational pot shop. The local scenery was awesome and the long weekend afforded us extra time to enjoy the surroundings, taking several hikes through the stunning rocks that jut from the plains at the very base of the Rocky Mountains. I am always inspired by these tectonic masses and look forward to visiting again in the winter with a few days on my skis!

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Dorset Bucklands

Ivy is an international traveler! We brought her to England to meet her great-grandparents and to experience the idyllic nature of her middle-namesake, Dorset. In the tiny village of Sydling St. Nicholas, nestled in a valley of rolling hills and farmland, life is beautifully simple. Our days involved long walks through the village and surrounding farms, passing through pastures of sheep, cows and horses with our baby in a carrier on my chest. We would walk for hours then return for teatime and delicious meals around a table that expanded as more family arrived daily. The Buckland clan forged by G and Grand is an eclectic family of artists and engineers, doctors and scientists who all share the incredible warmth and love of the matriarch and patriarch. The great grandparents are a testament to eternal love and a true inspiration to all; I thought many times this week how amazing it must be to look out across a table of your children and their children and their children’s children and I hope to someday in the twilight of my life have the same experience. To think about 7 month old Ivy becoming a grandmother is absolutely incredible and puts in perspective the amazing and infinite generational nature of life.

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SNOW!

I was born a snow lover, a few weeks before the blizzard of ’78 in Boston, and have always appreciated the convergence of atmospheric phenomena that produces dendrites! Sledding was the earliest form of snow fun and my backyard, with its 15′ vertical drop was more than enough to thrill me through my tiny years. When I outgrew that, I would sled down our back steps off a jump onto the patio. I started skiing when I was 7 and was quickly obsessed, following daily conditions in the Boston Globe Sports Section and memorizing mountain statistics; I drew hundreds of imaginary trail maps and skied every Saturday with the Mass Ski Club forĀ  years. I chose college in Vermont to be near the mountains and bought a season pass every year. Upon graduation, I considered moves to a more permanent ski bum lifestyle in California, Utah and Colorado…

But ended up in New York City.

I have lived here for 12 years and couldn’t be happier. I chose a culture bum lifestyle instead and enjoy the world’s best Arts and Entertainment here. I make sacrifices in personal space and ski access to live here but still get giddy for a good Nor’Easter, of which we have had several this year. I have skied on the sidewalks of Brooklyn when there is ample powder, but haven’t quite found anything steep enough to satisfy my schuss needs… So I bought a hill in Vermont!

I now find myself sacrificing ski days for my daughter and still love the trade-off. I look forward to years of skiing with her in the future. But even with my inconvenient locale and family overtime, I have managed to click in for a few fortuitously-timed days this season. Just after New Years Day, I skied some fresh snow at tiny Mt. Peter in Warwick, NY; top to bottom was under 30 seconds, but most runs were untouched and pure powder. The most recent storm dropped two feet on Southern Vermont and the conditions were spectacular for President’s Day Weekend. Half-days at Okemo, Killington, Magic and the VT Backyard took the edge off my craving for frozen sliding and the prospect of Spring doesn’t scare me as much now as it did a week ago.

I still follow snow reports around the country and get excited when The Pacific Northwest gets dumped on or sad when Tahoe is dry. I have dedicated myself to other life pursuits beyond this passion and have learned to enjoy any time I do spend on the slopes without reservations about its limited nature. I have little control over timing and less over conditions which makes the recreational appreciation greater than any experience in a controlled environment; when my work and family schedule allows, plus a perfect combination of temperature, moisture and pressure drop crystallized water molecules from the sky, I will always enjoy them!