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A Trip to Africa

A Trip to Africa
Jul 05, 2018 by Janet Zinn
 

 

What can I say about a dream come true?  Shall I say that I spent most of my life believing my dreams wouldn’t be fulfilled?  I lived much of my early years longing for the things that others had.  The thing about my longings is that it kept me out of the loop. There’s an unspoken presumption that it was beyond my reach. Growing up I heard about the trips to Florida my classmates took.  I longed to audition for a traveling high school production of Godspell, but had to work, and couldn’t afford to take time off, let alone pay for a ticket to California.  I felt left out.  Moving to New York in the early 80’s, there were apartments...

Running Again

Running Again
Apr 23, 2018 by Janet Zinn
 

I ran my first race in over a year.  It was slow process, both recovering from benign injuries, as well as running 15-minute miles this morning.  In the past months I went through acupuncture, medical massage and physical therapy putting Humpty Dumpty back together again. So, tentatively, step by step I took on Central Park’s Drive.



What I noticed right away was the throngs who passed me as I inched my way forward.  I am no stranger to being left behind.  In elementary school I often was picked last in kickball, more for my lack of popularity than for any inability to kick and catch the ball. In junior high school I was not asked to parties.  I awkwardly went to school...

I Fell Well

I Fell Well
Jan 29, 2018 by Janet Zinn
 

I missed running, though I never thought I could be a runner. I was a girl who always got a cramp in my side when I tried to run anything more than a 50-yard-dash. In phys. ed. I ran the requisite laps around the gym, but my lungs burned and my midriff always hurt. I was among the last. Not THE last person, but close. And, in my twisted child’s mind, I took solace in that fact. That fact still gives me solace in my twisted adult mind when I slowly run races.

Friday I returned to running. Sometime last winter I got injured running and found myself walking the city for months. Any time I tried to run, much to...

What I lost

What I lost
Jan 17, 2018 by Janet Zinn
 

No one tells you how grief feels in the body. The aches and pains and fatigue knead on stressed parts of our anatomy. The lethargy the body takes on is formidable. Clothes must be loose, sounds soft.



My mother died. She was ill, so there were no surprises. She became weaker and weaker until she ceased to be. Death made sense in her case. And, yet, following her death, nothing seems to make sense. I’m losing things: earrings, gloves, documents. I forget. I forget to return emails, phone calls, texts. I forget to look at the lists I write so I won’t forget. I want to watch movies or TV, but it has to be soothing. Nothing aggressive please.



I spent a...

I Was a Suburban Dropout

I Was a Suburban Dropout
Oct 02, 2017 by Janet Zinn
As soon as I could I moved to a city filled with misfits. I needed a sense of belonging, and New York provided me with friends and neighbors misunderstood in their former lives. Growing up in Cherry Hill, New Jersey attending a large high school and an affluent Hebrew School felt wrong to me. I yearned to fit in, but felt so different. I imbued my classmates with confidences and affluences they probably didn’t possess at such a young age. I had learned to harbor secrets, while watching acquaintances seemingly share their lives openly. I had to get out.





Yet, returning to attend my 40th High School reunion, it came to my attention that I had missed so much. I saw...

One Step in Front of the Other

One Step in Front of the Other
Sep 05, 2017 by Janet Zinn
 

 

When I was 10 years old I was allowed to walk on Haddonfield-Berlin Road, crossing highways entrances and exits to go to The Woodcrest Shopping Center. For a short time they had The Jerry Lewis Movie Theater, and I could get in for 50 cents, the amount of my allowances after chores. Or, I would go to W.T. Grant’s, deemed a twenty-five cent department store, but more of a five and dime. that sold colorful birds, toys, clothes, plastic jewelry, and featured a lunch counter. I was much too shy to go to the counter alone. But I loved getting lost in the aisles ending up with some sort of sweet. There was also Crest Lanes where I could bowl....

Free Shakespeare in the Park

Free Shakespeare in the Park
Jul 31, 2017 by Janet Zinn
 



On a sweltering Tuesday in August, in my first full summer as a New York City resident, I was nervous and excited about the prospect of obtaining free tickets to A Midsummer Night’s Dream at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park. The day in 1982 was hazy, and the great lawn was full of picnickers all with numbers for a place in line. I was number 26. I had gotten there so early, maybe 7 AM to ensure my audience participation. And, I was far from the first one in line. But with a coffee and an H&H bagel for breakfast, I felt well-prepared. Hour after hour of baking in the sun, I was a lucky recipient of two tickets...

The Fluctuating Value of Sleep

The Fluctuating Value of Sleep
Jul 15, 2017 by Janet Zinn
 



When I was ten-years-old I was going to sleep-away camp for the first time. I was leaving for 2 weeks at a bare-bones Y camp in Medford, New Jersey. The night before I left I was atwitter with anticipation. What should I wear? I want a low key, yet cool look. In 1970 that meant hot pants and a tight colorful tee. I’d save my red hot pants for a dressy camp night. And, while awake, going over my list of flashlights and swimwear, I decided I’d arrive wearing denim shorts with my tie-dye t-shirt. It wasn’t snug, but it was cool enough to appear nonchalant.



That decided, I stayed up all night nervous about the friends I’d make, and wanting...

What to Choose

What to Choose
Mar 21, 2017 by Janet Zinn
I need a new pair of sneakers. Does anyone even use the word sneakers anymore? I mean, I’m looking for a pair of shoes that will serve for walking and running, something sporty. I tend to like bright colors, perhaps turquoise or purple. But I’m not able to find a pair in my size, with a proper arch, that’s good for city streets. They usually don’t have enough support, or they’re too cushy or too heavy. Or the hue or color combination is wrong. It’s easy to eliminate the choices. I don’t like the style. I don’t support the manufacturer. Today it’s running shoes, but on any given day I can easily find something I don’t want.



Running shoes are particularly...

What I'm Not

What I'm Not
Feb 06, 2017 by Janet Zinn
 

 



We just took a trip to a resort in Punta Cana, in the Dominican Republic. It was beautiful. The weather was warm and clear, and everyone was friendly. I wanted to enjoy this vacation. Last year was hard and I was looking forward to some R&R.   But the food, though plentiful, went from bland to awful.   The amenities promised were elusive or not as advertised.   The other travelers seemed to be content, but I couldn’t help notice the missing details, the absence of my desired holiday away. I would go for a run on the beach, grateful for the easy breeze, and the laps of the ocean. Yet, I kept thinking of all the things I didn’t like about being...

I am Cautious

I am Cautious
Sep 09, 2016 by Janet Zinn
I am cautious. I ride a low bike so that when I stop my feet reach the ground. This is reminiscent of my old banana seat bicycle in the 70’s with the purple handle bar streamers. It was comfortable because of its lack of height and its smooth, plastic seat. I was a proud rider on the streets of Haddontown, Kresson Heights, Brookfield and Woodcrest, riding my modern bike in my bright red keds.



This past week I braved the New York Streets to take my bike out for the third time this summer. I was halfway to my destination, Central Park, when I realized the traffic was too thick. Cars and trucks were double parked. I am not that adventurous....

The Voice

The Voice
Aug 15, 2016 by Janet Zinn
 

The movie Funny Girl opened in 1968. I was eight years old and in Third Grade, struggling with Mrs. Mishaw, the dower educator who wore Irish wool suits and had no patience for fools. I was a dreamy fool finding solace in movies. Barbra Streisand as Fanny Brice became my hero. Fanny Brice for celebrating her kooky self, and Barbra for singing so magnificently. She was the balm for an otherwise abrasive year.



 

This past week I got to revisit the magnificence of Ms. Streisand singing “Don’t Rain on My Parade.” She brought down the Brooklyn house with her clear, luminous voice. I was enthralled then, as I am now. And, if that weren’t enough, she sang at least three Sondheim...

Back to the Basics

Back to the Basics
Jul 04, 2016 by Janet Zinn
 



I learned to iron from my mom, but not before I scorched a shirt or two. Cotton and Polyester were the fabrics of my childhood. And, although I liked my Danskin striped shirts and ribbed pleated pants, cotton was the classier choice for anything other than playing in our Haddontown neighborhood. When inside I had chores, one of which was the ironing.

 



I would set up the creaky ironing board in the kitchen close to the counter with the electrical outlet. And then I’d carefully plug in the Sunbeam, aqua iron until it was hot enough to smooth away the folds. I would iron my father’s shirts for work, my sister’s and my blouses, leaving the trickier ironing of dresses to my...

Hidden in Plain Sight

Hidden in Plain Sight
Jun 18, 2016 by Janet Zinn
 



This week Larry and I went on a tour of Gracie Mansion, an activity over 15 years in the making. We live a half a block from New York City’s first family home. Yet, we’ve only seen the façade prior to today. I would usually walk into Carl Shurz park passing by the city-guarded mansion.  We spoke of going on a tour during the Guiliani years, but we always found ourselves too busy. So, two weeks ago, I thought, screw that, we’ll always be busy, let’s just do it. And, we did.



The tour is free. We just went to the .gov site and got on a list. Tours take place Tuesdays. They start on the hour beginning at 10 AM....

Blog Break

Blog Break
May 23, 2016 by Janet Zinn
 



I wasn’t planning on taking a break from my blog, but that’s what happened. I’m glad I took this break. I’ve needed a breather in general for a while, and the blog was just a part of what I needed to put aside. I enjoy writing, but I noticed something as the weeks went by without penning a word. I noticed that I felt relieved at times, and frustrated at other times. Same circumstances, different responses.



As the weeks went by I started criticizing myself. I was hard on myself for not writing even as other obligations loomed large. I’d think,  “If I don’t write on a regular basis it’s predictive of not publishing later.” I questioned myself. “Could my attention...

Stop Everything

Stop Everything
Mar 14, 2016 by Janet Zinn
  Picture courtesy of MedicineNet For the past few days I’ve spent most of my time in bed with a hot water bottle. I had a lower back spasm that seemingly came out of nowhere. The first two days were difficult to get up and down. On second thought, difficult is an understatement. But with the pain came some important lessons I apparently needed to learn. Image via web search The first was how kind and generous my family and friends were. I am usually a do-it-myself kind of person, sometimes to a fault. I am strongly independent. But there are moments I can become resentful when others don’t pitch in. It’s in these moments that I realize that I could use some help....

Pleasurable Reading

Pleasurable Reading
Feb 21, 2016 by Janet Zinn
I haven’t been writing, I’ve been reading. It’s a solitary experience, so it doesn’t get much glory. Nonetheless, I had forgotten how much I love reading for pleasure. For a number of years I read for work, for classes, for workshops, or for information. I slowed down my pleasure reading. Yet, while away, I relished the simple gratification of reading books and articles just because it made me happy. (before vacation/during vacation)

Our lives rarely lend themselves to the simply pleasurable. We may enjoy the odd quote or statement on Facebook or Twitter, but it’s rare that we allow ourselves the kindness of curling up with a book. But after this vacation I cant ignore the fulfilling aspect of reading for pleasure....

Slowing Down

Slowing Down
Jan 25, 2016 by Janet Zinn
(Image from online database) This past week I had jury duty. My first reaction was one of annoyance.   I’ve done a lot of jury duty, even one stint for three months. So as far as I was concerned, I’ve done my time. But then I thought again. It’s an enforced day of quiet. I promptly changed my schedule around and planned my reading accordingly. First were some back issues of The New Yorker. Then, much to my delight I was going to be able to read Paul Lisicky’s The Narrow Door. The book came out the day prior to having to serve and I made sure I had my copy.



Years ago when I walked downtown to the courthouses, just north of...

Letting Go in '16

Letting Go in '16
Jan 10, 2016 by Janet Zinn
Stock picture online  

What a concept! Letting go has been used as a catch phrase describing a way of not feeling what we don’t want. I am not amused when I make a complaint and I’m told, “just let it go.” If I could have let it go I wouldn’t be complaining in the first place. But 2016 feels like a good time for me to let things go. Partly because I haven’t liked what I’ve felt, but mostly because what I have previously over-enjoyed isn’t serving me right now.

  (stock pic online) I usually make lots of plans, however, my plan this year is to plan less. I’m letting go of being too busy. It means more Yes time to do less, and...

Taking a Break

Taking a Break
Dec 21, 2015 by Janet Zinn
 



I took an unintended break from my blog. Every weekend I thought of writing something but I felt distracted, uninspired. This weekend is no different except I’m going to post this. Breaks are important. We could all use a vacation from time to time. But discipline is important, too. Sometimes I’m not quite sure what’s most important at any given time.  It’s like when I need to rest, and I also know it will feel good to workout. What do I choose?



In the past few weeks I defaulted to taking it easy. Or, more accurately I took it easy on writing while celebrating the holidays and catching up on daytime tasks. I just didn’t feel like writing. In life there...