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What We Don't Know, Week 45 in the Time of Coronavirus

Jan 17, 2021 by Janet Zinn


I have to admit that I wasn’t sure that the judge I watched numerous times on Law and Order was Fran Lebowitz.  It looked like her, but was she a doppelganger, or was she, in fact, the writer?  After watching “Pretend it’s a City,” Martin Scorsese’s excellent (in my opinion) docu-series of Fran Lebowitz, I was happy to learn that, yes, it was her as Judge Janice Goldberg in the original Law & Order. 



The short series on Netflix was a delightful, laughter-filled escape from current events this past week.  I learned a lot, evaluated my own thinking, and admired FL’s ability to speak her personal truths, thoughts I often have, but don’t share aloud.  Somehow the cable show also had me pondering on the...

Boy, Oh, Boy, Week 44 in the Time of Coronavirus

Jan 10, 2021 by Janet Zinn


Yesterday I hit the wall.  Before I lost all steam, I had lofty plans.  I had research to do.  There is always cleaning and organizing.  I was behind on my writing.  Yet, by the time I was three fourths of the way through a walk in Central Park, I felt as if I was dragging my leaden legs on the southern arc of the Reservoir.  When I finally reached home, I couldn’t get my sweats on fast enough.  Then Lucy had to go out.  I love her, and also dearly wished there was someone else who would have taken her out.  I was able to speak with a friend from the other coast, and that gave me a pleasurable energy shot.  Though life in California is as fraught as it...

Cautiously Optimistic, Week 43 in the Time of Coronavirus

Jan 03, 2021 by Janet Zinn


Is this really a Happy New Year?  Yes, we survived 2020.  And, yet, recalling how happy we were to be in a new decade just a year ago, we are constantly reminded of the unexpected turn of events in March.  



In this first weekend of the new year, we take stock of the meaning of “hindsight is 2020.” Relieved that 2020 is behind us, our memories are raw from all we witnessed, and all we faced personally.  I now know the impact of ongoing stress on my body and mind.  I am just beginning to understand what is required to sooth myself and support others going through the intensity of extreme tension.  Sometimes it means reaching out and caring for someone, taking the attention off myself.  Other...

So Long 2020, Week 42 in the Time of Coronavirus

Dec 27, 2020 by Janet Zinn




Before the end of this week we will welcome in a new year.  Never will there have been a greater collective sigh throughout the globe than at the rotating midnight hour of 1/1/2021.  We all faced many challenges throughout the year.  And we all learned essential truths about ourselves.  I learned that doing less was a relief.  I learned that patience is not an end point, but an ongoing process.  I learned to use my crankier tendences as a reflection on what vulnerabilities I am attempting to protect.  I learned that I still have a lot to learn in asking for help.  Plus, I learned that 2020 gave us endless opportunities to learn.  I also learned that even with the possibility of learning, sometimes learning to relax was the...

Snow, Week 41 in the Time of Coronavirus

Dec 20, 2020 by Janet Zinn


Initially there were grave warnings about the snowstorm that was going to plague the Northeast.  When it started to fall, the winds were strong, and walking home from work was a bit of an effort.  The following day there were hills with footsteps at the curbsides.  Crossing the street took balance and navigation.  Patience was needed, as only one person at a time could reach the next corner.  Each person had their own pace, based on age, winter fitness, and footwear.  Good snow boots were the best.  So happy that past winters required me to find the right boots. 



            By Friday I was ready for a walk in the park.  The park closest to me, Carl Shurz, had sledding children with their parents.  It was hard to tell who was...

Simple Pleasures, Week 40 in the Time of Coronavirus

Dec 13, 2020 by Janet Zinn


I was listening to early Joni Mitchell this early morning as the sun rose.  Lucy and I were out for the first walk of the day.  The weather is warm for December, and lovely in the tranquil dark.  It was quiet with the occasional runner or dog passing us as they started their day.  



It’s easy for me to recognize how special these moments are.  As we make our way through this pandemic I find that these ten months have worn on me.  At this point I really don’t want to do anything.  Which is all the more reason I am appreciative of every small pleasure I encounter.  This morning it was being next to Lucy as she sniffed and I watched the day begin.  Now it’s sitting down...

Finding Joy, Week 39 in the Time of Coronavirus

Dec 06, 2020 by Janet Zinn


I found joy on a rainy day.  Usually when it rains in this pandemic, I’ve been apt to wane in energy.  But when it was pouring outside this past week, I turned on an old dance playlist that Larry had previously made for me.  It includes disco, Klezmer music, Irish folk music, jazz and so much more.  I was in heaven.  It’s been so long since I’ve moved with utter abandon.  There I was in my office, all alone, dancing for a good hour to song after song, gyrating and laughing.  The power of music and movement is transformative.  



            I was slow to get out of bed as I felt the cool air while listening to the patter of the raindrops.  Coffee helped but it wasn’t the power elixir...

The Desire for Instant Gratification, Week 38 in the Time of Coronavirus

Nov 29, 2020 by Janet Zinn


We made it through a very different Thanksgiving.  Then on black Friday I received so many emails advertising the “best” sales of the year.  I was intrigued.  I opened up small business and non-profit websites.  I purchased a few things that I unquestionably don’t need.  Now after the sale I’m not even certain if they’ll make good gifts.  What I do know is that there was something compelling about the immediate gratification at a time when so little is happening.  For a few brief hours I’d take breaks to peruse websites while making a couple of impulsive purchases.  Call it clearance therapy.  



It felt like a small liberation to acquire a few seemingly needless items.  The bargains were incredible.  And it felt strange to engage in such a frivolous action.  I understand...

Thanksgiving, Gratitude & Disappointment, Week 37 in the Time of Coronavirus

Nov 22, 2020 by Janet Zinn


There’s no doubt that this is a Thanksgiving like no other.  Many will spend Thanksgiving, if it is being spent at all, without loved ones.  In a large number of cases, it will be the first holiday without someone because they died, either of Covid-19 or from other causes.  It’s hard to feel thankful for these facts.  We can embody gratitude for what we’ve had in the past.  Or we may feel grateful for not having to be social when we’re not up to seeing anyone.  However, that’s a far cry from the delight of festivities of past years.  



Gratitude and its cousin, appreciation, can feel like a burden in times of fear, sadness and loss.  I am all for gratitude journals, and gratitude as a tenet of...

Time, Boredom & Patience, Week 36 in the Time of Coronavirus

Nov 15, 2020 by Janet Zinn


I woke up early this morning.  My plan was to sleep in.  But we all know what happens to plans in this time of the coronavirus.  I took advantage of the early hour to run to Central Park to slowly jog in the park.  There are parts of my body that demand the slow pace.  While runners and walkers passed me by, I chose patience for my leisurely stride.  I admit there were moments I compared myself to other grey-haired runners who were twice as fast.  Then I went back to kind self-talk as I slowly but surely went around the Park Drive and other paths.  



The park looks beautiful.  Though drawn out, my run was anything but boring.  Yet, for many of us boredom has set in during the...

Light Coming Through the Darkness; Week 35 in the Time of Coronavirus.

Nov 08, 2020 by Janet Zinn


I hadn’t realized how stressed I’d been these last 4 years until the presidential election results came in.  My shoulders almost immediately released the tension I’d been holding.  I felt lighter.  Hopeful.  The heavy months since the coronavirus were revealed changed our world even further adding to my stress.  Mostly, I felt as if I was on the defensive, cautious when outside, exhausted at home.  In talking to so many other like-minded friends and family I heard they, too, felt a collective sigh of relief Saturday.  



I have no doubt that those who supported the president’s re-election do not share our jubilation.  They wanted something else.  But I cannot endure more divisiveness.  I don’t want to live defensively anymore.  I’m hopeful we can come together to create a change that is...

Voting Anxiety; Week 34 in the Time of Coronavirus

Nov 05, 2020 by Janet Zinn
Although Election Day has passed, it still can be applied to this uncertain time.

The stress of this election during the pandemic seems to have expanded as we move closer to Election Day.  The conflicting commercials incite doubt and fear.  The news is alarmist.  And we’re taking it all in.  It felt empowering to vote, but it didn’t last long.  





            We ‘re living in a divisive environment.  Many friendships have ended solely based on political preference.  Families are divided over presidential partiality.  Now that we’re in the time of coronavirus we get even more agitated when someone claims that they’re voting for the opposition.  





It’s challenging to feel at peace now.  With any luck I feel it first thing in the morning and last thing at night between the time I...

Dropping, Spilling & Breaking; Week 33 in the Time of Coronavirus

Oct 25, 2020 by Janet Zinn


Today while making chili, beans spread out in the sink while I was draining them. Usually I’m not so lucky to have a contained spatter. Just two weeks ago glass shattered in all directions. I put on my shoes and cleaned up the shards that extended into two rooms. I’ve certainly seen an uptick in drops, breakage and absent-mindedness. It seems to have increased in these last few weeks. Yes, I can be clumsy, but I usually don’t have to clean up a spill every day. Well, I can’t say that anymore.



The amount of energy it takes to get through our days when we’ve been limited to external outlets is trying. There’s bound to be some fallout. For me one...

I Was Wrong; Week 32 in the Time of Coronavirus

Oct 18, 2020 by Janet Zinn


Last week I made acorn squash with essence of orange and maple syrup.  I asked Larry to bring a spoon, as I thought that might be easier than a fork.  He proudly came back with a grapefruit spoon.  Silently I was annoyed.  Didn’t I just ask him for a spoon?  A regular spoon?  I begrudgingly took it from him.  I was tired and rather than open up with vulnerability, I found myself closing down with negativity.  When I tried the spoon, which has unobtrusive serrating, it turned out to be an excellent choice for the squash.  Larry likes to find the perfect tool for the job, and I was wrong to not trust him.  In the past I wouldn’t have even tried the utensil. I would have marched into the...

Who Cares About Rewards? Week 31 in the Time of Coronavirus

Oct 11, 2020 by Janet Zinn


I keep receiving emails warning me that my hotel or travel awards are going to expire.  Or, I’m enticed to go out to eat to get points and rewards.  I simply don’t care.  In the past I played the game and accrued points and rewards.  I was happy to join one program or another to earn gift certificates for shopping, extra discounts, free meals or nights at hotels.  None of this is of interest now.  The notices remind me that I have been an avid consumer, through and through.  



Once in a while I was able to enjoy a free meal or a room upgrade.  Or, I planned a trip in which I used miles.  Mostly, though, I found myself happy to have the points or rewards, while having...

Autumn is Here: Week 30 in the Time of Coronavirus

Autumn is Here: Week 30 in the Time of Coronavirus
Oct 04, 2020 by Janet Zinn


This Autumn is like no other.  And, given that fact, we will go through it differently than in the past.  For most of us, it feels quite disorienting.  We like to be able to count on what we’ve known to be true.  



For so many of us the Fall is when we start anew.  We count on the school year, even years after we’ve attended school, to pace ourselves.  I feel like I have to create a new pace for living through a pandemic.  No one I know counted on it lasting this long.  We made mental deals with ourselves to get through the first three months.  And, as we enter our eighth month, we are bedraggled.  At least I am.  



Last week my walks were slower, my runs shorter.  I just...

Weeds in Context; Week 29 in the Time of Coronavirus

Weeds in Context; Week 29 in the Time of Coronavirus
Sep 27, 2020 by Janet Zinn


As a young girl, how I loved to blow the puff of a dandelion while I made a wish.  And the bright yellow flowers were so nice sprinkled about the lawn when I was growing up.  I remember being told I shouldn’t like dandelions because they were weeds.  And, though I secretly enjoyed the seed carrying wisps and the bright yellow blooms, I did not share this with lawn lovers in my neighborhood.  



But in a pandemic, in a concrete jungle, flowers of any kind can brighten my walks.  So, as I was spending a work break by walking on the East River esplanade, I smiled when I came across some dandelions.  I have a deep appreciation for dandelions in this pandemic.  Seeing them is a bright...

When it's Difficult, Week 28 in the Time of Coronavirus

When it's Difficult, Week 28 in the Time of Coronavirus
Sep 20, 2020 by Janet Zinn


I won’t lie, this past week was tough.  I don’t know whether the change in temperature reminded me of a mostly lost summer, or whether the continued stress of clients related to the NYC educational failings had me struggling after each day.  I came home unready to relate to my small family except by means that pushed them away.  Not good for any of us.  And, then Friday night, as we were hopeful in celebrating the Jewish New Year, we heard the sad news of RBG’s death.  Like with so many, it feels like a personal loss. 



As I have learned in the process of past bereavement, there are physical manifestations of loss.  Saturday I felt achy, with shallow breaths.  It is not Covid-19. But it is similar...

Outdoor Musings; Week 27 in the Time of Coronavirus

Outdoor Musings; Week 27 in the Time of Coronavirus
Sep 13, 2020 by Janet Zinn


It’s such an odd experience to go for a walk and find myself, again and again, a focus of various restaurant patrons on the streets of New York.  I realize they’ve been starved of social interactions.  And, people watching has taken on a new importance.  Pedestrians have become the dinner entertainment for the open tables’ clientele.  So if I walk uptown or downtown on the avenues, I become a subject for diners’ eyes.  Conversely, I look to see how to walk around so I’m not too close while they’re eating their meals mask free.  



It may be that I provide much needed amusement with my firecracker ponytail, my loose tee-shirts and touristy fanny pack.  I don’t care.  I’m at an age where I believe other people’s opinion of...

Masked Strangers; Week 26 in the Time of Coronavirus

Masked Strangers; Week 26 in the Time of Coronavirus
Sep 06, 2020 by Janet Zinn




I’m not being rude, I just don’t know who you are.  Though it seems ill-mannered, I rarely recognize anyone I see.  While walking about, I hear my name but have no idea who is summoning me.  Even after you tell me how we know each other, I have difficulty placing you.  Thus is the dilemma of mask wearing.  





Sometimes I recognize the voice.  Yesterday my name was called behind me.  And, though I couldn’t pinpoint who she was, ultimately her voice gave her away.  She’s our upstairs neighbor for about eighteen years.  It’s as if I have face blindness, a malady made well-known by the late, great Oliver Sacks.  





I used to recognize everyone, even those who had no clue who I was.  I’m not great with names, but I remember...