Popularity Contest, Week 22 in the Time of Transition
Over fifteen years ago I organized a networking event for psychotherapists and others in related fields. I hosted it in my office garden and prepared a beautiful buffet of crudité and homemade dips and finger food. I received a lot of maybes, and about fifteen said they would attend. Of course, I over-estimated and prepared too much food. In the end I had five guests, two just stopped by.
Singing in the Park, Week 21 in the Time of Transition
As a young child I delighted in our Magnavox HiFi. I would sit on the scratchy green wool sofa in our den while listening to Rosemary Clooney. Her album, Rosemary Clooney Sings for Children with its pink background was a clear favorite. I loved the track, Betsy, My Paper Doll, because I was the lucky recipient of the Betsy McCall paper dolls hidden in the pages of my mother’s McCall’s Magazine. The other song that spoke to me was The Little Shoemaker because my father was in the shoe business. At six, it felt like Rosemary Clooney was singing to me personally. I hadn’t realized Rosemary Clooney was an icon until years later when I watched her sing with Bing Crosby in White Christmas on the Sunday Million Dollar Movie.
20th Anniversary, Week 20 in the Time of Transition
I’m teary this weekend. It’s hard to watch the news because my mind pivots to the many clients who spoke of their losses the days, months, and years post-9/11. As we commemorate the 20th anniversary of the terrorist attacks of September 11th, 2001, those of us who remember can clearly recall the exact circumstances when we witnessed or heard of the attacks. I am one of the fortunate who worked downtown, but I had taken the day off to attend a seminar. I never worked in the World Trade Center, but our social service center had a direct view. There were so many other stories like that of those who for unforetold circumstances were not in the towers when they fell.
Are You Okay? Week Nineteen in the Time of Transition
Transitions can be tricky. We usually wish for a straightforward line to the next signpost, but what we often get is a winding road uphill. That is certainly the case these days. This past week is a perfect example of changed plans and tragic outcomes. Water and fire have altered lives irrevocably.
A Pandemic Birthday, Week Eighteen in the Time of Transition
A few years ago I was at a networking event when I spotted an old acquaintance. I was happy to see her, filled with memories of the two of us with mutual friends enjoying parties, volunteering, and talks in the mid-80’s. When I approached her and reminded her who I was, in a cold tone she responded, “Yes, I know who you are.” I felt hurt and dismissed. I thought about those early years in New York City when I couch-surfed and lived hand to mouth. It was a hard time, and I was not always my best self. I had thought warmly of this person recalling her dedication to friends and of her strong work ethic. Her taciturn words indicated she thought less of me.
Not This! Week Seventeen in the Time of Transition
Sweet Sixteen, Week Sixteen in the Time of Transition
Sweet Sixteen. It doesn’t feel so sweet these days. I remember when I was turning sixteen, I yearned to have a fancy party as many of my friends were having that year. We couldn’t afford an expensive affair, so I begged and cajoled my parents into allowing me to have a house party. My mother did not enjoy entertaining, nor did she feel comfortable in having a good number of adolescents in her home. I didn’t realize at the time what a gift she was giving me just by saying yes.
Cloudy, Week Fifteen in the Time of Transition
I shifted my routine earlier this week to catch the sunrise. Typically I relish the space between sleep and daytime. The sweet spot of the morning. Following those moments I shift into meditation, then move on from there with coffee and the rest of the day. As soon as I awoke I brushed my teeth and ran to the East River to get a glimpse of the sunrise.
Goodbye With the Old, Week Fourteen in the Time of Transition
I’m in my congested closet trying to decide which of the various, multi-colored pocketbooks and bags I’m going to let go. I tend to rely on the same two or three, but I love to choose from the others on special occasions. Of course, there have been few special occasions in the past year or so. Nonetheless I had the privilege of attending a joyous outdoor event last night, and though no one else would care, I was so happy to sport the perfect small, blue bag for the evening.
Small Moments, Week Thirteen in the Time of Transition
Lazy Summer Days, Week Twelve in the Time of Transition
I still remember my summers visiting friends and family at the Jersey Shore. This was well before Atlantic City was burdened with casinos. These were the days of shows at the Steel Pier and fragrant strolls on the boardwalk with Mr. Peanut greeting us on our way to James for salt water taffy. Those were the lazy summer days I enjoyed in my former years.
Gifts of the Ordinary, Week Eleven in the Time of Transition
This morning was clear and cool enough for summer. My knee wasn’t hurting and I could take a slow run by the East River. Ah, a moment of little pain. A small yet welcomed gift when my days are full. Not only could I run after a week of limited walking, but I could enjoy an empty promenade with friendly passers-by. That all added up to a great start to the day.
July 4th, Week Ten in the Time of Transition
Happy Pride, Week Nine in the Time of Transition
Happy Pride Day. Today our trans son is celebrating. 24 years ago we unwittingly scheduled our wedding on Pride Day. Some friends fittingly missed our straight wedding to celebrate their identity while they marched for their rights. Others gay friends were generous to give up their place in the parade to witness our wedding. And everyone had to deal with the traffic that was rerouted to accommodate the crowds and the parade. Larry and I realized then the privilege we enjoyed by being able to get married in 1997.
Nothing is Perfect
Happy Father’s Day. For all who are fathers or have present and past relationships with your fathers, only you know how best to honor what you’re experiencing. And, for those who do not have relationships with your dads, or who have complicated relationships, take care of yourselves. That’s all I’ll say about that.
I was preoccupied this past week with a few things that didn’t quite work out the way I would have liked. You know when you hear people say, “I don’t like to complain,” and then they’re off and running with their objections? I am not that person. I actually like to complain. Truthfully it’s more that I feel compelled to complain, than that I like it, out and out. I tend to be very particular and even when things are going really well, I’m apt to find the fly in the ointment.
A Week in the Country, Week Seven in the Time of Transition
It’s heading towards dusk this Saturday evening. We’ve left the city for a short stay in the Catskills. The air Is fresh, the bird songs ever present. Our arrival was greeted by running ground hogs. On my walk of the vast property, I saw a leaping buck, ducks, yellow, blue and black with red birds. It feels good to have left the endless concrete for greener pastures. I love New York City and have no desire to reside anywhere that requires driving to get from one spot to another. Though taking a road trip is a nice change of pace.
The Charm of a Three Day Weekend, Week Six in the Time of Transition
Memorial Day reminded me of the joy of a three-day weekend. I can always use three days. I don’t so much see it as an extra 24 hours, as I do experience it as needed time. If we split up the weekend, one day is devoted to accomplishing chores, while completing unfinished tasks from the previous week. The next day is for socializing. Whether we catch up virtually or in person, it can be nice to check in with friends and loved ones. And the third day is for much needed rest. That is what I consider a full and gratifying weekend.
No Ending to Mental Health Awareness Month, Week Five in the Time of Transition
A Wild Time, Week Four in the Time of Transition
I was the only adult not accompanying children. The bug carousel was my last stop before exiting the Bronx Zoo. After walking the zoo and enjoying the animals and the respective information on wildlife conservation, I thought, ‘why not?’ Giving my inner child a treat seemed imperative. Sometimes it just doesn’t matter if it makes sense or not.
The Joy and Trepidation of Seeing Smiles, Week Three in the Time of Transition
I woke up early and ran to the East River promenade to get a glimpse of the sunrise. I almost forgot my mask, but quickly put it in my pocket testing the waters of walking down the block without one. No one was wearing masks but the few of us out were all at least 20 feet apart. That felt comfortable enough for me.