Facing Little Fears (which to me aren’t so little)

This past weekend I grew up just a little bit more. I took on a personal fear that usually renders me sick to my stomach and has on occasion changed my plans entirely. I drove into New York City all by myself. Well, okay … I wasn’t exactly alone, our sweet dog Cornell was my traveling companion, but he wasn’t about to help read the map in a pinch! If I am being totally honest, those that know me also know I’ve been driving into the city alone for some time now. Every single time I have driven into NYC I travel the exact same way so there is somewhat of a comfort level in it for me. This means that I have learned to brave the Lincoln Tunnel from New Jersey to Manhattan Island. I breathe slowly and deeply while I under water white-knuckle drive looking for any signs of leaks … like that does any good in calming me down?  

 Pop Artist Ed Heck's art was on display while picking up a bagel and cream cheese for the ride home... win-win!

Pop Artist Ed Heck's art was on display while picking up a bagel and cream cheese for the ride home... win-win!

With the annual New York City St. Patrick’s Day Parade this past week, luck of the Irish was not on my side. It was highly recommended I should avoid the midtown area completely. The advice made complete sense but meant I had to go A DIFFERENT WAY! I don’t know about you, but I don’t like change much at all. It automatically places me in some kind of a slow boiling sort of semi-panic state. I handle situations best when I remember physically doing them. The moment my scaredy cat brain caught wind of this change it began campaigning for canceling my trip. A battle between my brain and heart was beginning to take shape. Fear was starting to paralyze me, but this trip was our Annual Sibling Reunion. A rare chance for Philadelphia me, my New York City sister and our two Chicago brothers to hang out together and yes--we really do love each other!

 The siblings: Tommy, Karen, Michael, Allison and Cornell!

The siblings: Tommy, Karen, Michael, Allison and Cornell!

There was still plenty of time to win this war since my heart was determined not to lose. So I pulled out my old fashioned atlas and started mapping out my new route. The success of this plan entailed traveling over the double decker George Washington Bridge, another one of my fears. UGH! Do I drive on the upper level so if the bridge should collapse then I am on top of the heap? Or do I drive on the lower level so I won’t go flying right off the top of the bridge if someone sideswipes me?

Long blog short, I did it--and it wasn’t nearly as bad as my mind made it out to be. I traveled with the visual picture etched in my mind and knew my plan. I opted for the lower level, since I can’t swim anyway so what’s really the difference? Not only did the drive go off without a hitch, but I even found a parking spot on my sister’s street!!!  So the reward for my bravery was a weekend filled with wonderful sibling time, seeing an “old” friend, meeting a few new friends and sneaking in a quick visit with my cousin to boot. We ate delicious food, reminisced and laughed a whole bunch. But if you know anything about a trip to see my sister, it is never complete without painting a room for her.

 Thanks for always having my back my "old" NYC friend and Blog Editor; Mike Johnson! 

Thanks for always having my back my "old" NYC friend and Blog Editor; Mike Johnson! 

So if you happened to catch a glimpse of me and Cornell driving home holding our breath through the LIncoln Tunnel, those few strands of gray you saw were actually wisps of Valspar Meteor Dust paint in my hair.  Who cares though, we were the happy, proud and the cocky winners!

 A peak at Karen's freshly painted NYC kitchen!

A peak at Karen's freshly painted NYC kitchen!

Moral: Arm yourself with techniques and thoughts that help you win your personal battles.

Your brave friend,

A little craft I like to do: As a proud 36-year AAA member I alway pick up complimentary Triptiks and maps for every new road trip. My neurotic mind likes to know what is coming up ahead while the teacher in me appreciates the facts and history of the towns we will be passing by. Instead of recycling them, I reuse and craft the most perfectly personalized gifts for weddings, showers or housewarming gifts. Choose 4 cities for the receiver(s) ... birthplace, college town, honeymoon or first home. Go to hardware/tile store to pick out tiles of your choice; I use  4 X 4 tumbled marble tiles that cost about .75 each. Cut each city so it fits on top of the tile. Careful tearing gives a cool finished edge too. Next adhere map cuttings with four coats of Mod Podge, drying in between each coat. Back each tile with either a thin cork self-adhesive backing or place one little rubber foot in each corner. Tie with a ribbon and gift away!

 Personalized Map Coasters: Step by Step

Personalized Map Coasters: Step by Step