Goodbye Grumpiness, The Twenty-Second Week of the Second Year in the New Abnormal
I noticed that by the end of my work week I was short on compassion. My go to was frustration, impatience, or barely disguised anger. It was simple things. I was missing paperwork that had been promised me. A pair of reading glasses broke. And then there were a string of simple annoyances.
Mother's Day Ambivalence, The Nineteenth Week in the Second Year of the New Abnormal
I, like many, have mixed feelings about Mother’s Day.
As a daughter I knew that I loved my mom, and I also yearned for her acceptance, spending far too much of my babysitting money to bask in the momentary approval of an expensive Mother’s Day gift. I’d set up Arlene’s Kitchen, honoring our mom. It was a made-up restaurant in our home with hand-written menus for the family. Nervous about what I might cook, I’d prep all the possibilities from eggs, any type of French toast or bagels & lox. As down home as those brunches were, they were followed by the certainty that my clean-up techniques would be met with inevitable disapproval. No one could make a countertop shine like my mom.
A Full Moon, The Eighteenth Week in the Second Year of the New Abnormal
It was a full moon this week. I love looking up on a clear night and viewing the magical, mystical moon between the high rises. Ever since I was a child I’ve found the moon an enchantress. Myths have their place, and for many years I counted on myths to justify my outsized love of a full moon. In times of feeling invisible I felt seen by the moon.
Our Relationship With the Weather, The Seventeenth Week of the Second Year in the New Abnormal
Growing up we wore rubbers or rubber boots, gently stretching them until they covered our shoes. It was a hassle taking them on and off. But to keep our leather saddle shoes somewhat dry, we sported rubbers over our two-toned oxfords. These days my low rubber boots are the only shoes I need when it’s wet outside. They keep the water from soaking my socks and allow me to walk about in the rain.
Let's Do Better, The Fifteenth Week of the Second Year in the New Abnormal
I came home late last night after seeing a beautifully moving theater piece by Suzan-Lori Parks. Retrieving our mail, I saw a broken glass and a brick on the lobby carpet. Apparently, a group of teens were told to leave the area while smoking. So one of them in anger threw a brick through the window to show ‘them.” It created more work for the porter and super who had to clean up and repair on their weekend off, when they were nowhere near the incident.
Tattle Tales, The Fourteenth Week in the Second Year of the New Abnormal
I grew up with three siblings. If you grew up with siblings, as I did, you are familiar with the age-old enterprise of tattling. My younger sister, Susan, now Chova Sara, was the tattletale. She was the one that thought it important to report to my parents, usually our mom, whatever misadventures we were enacting. When I was six to her four, she ran to our mom to say I wasn’t letting her play with my Barbies. This was true, but only because she cut their hair and drew on them with crayons. Nonetheless, I had to release more dolls to her based on “fairness.” This made no sense to me, but she got what she wanted, and it spurred her on for years.
Dashed Plans, The Thirteenth Week in the Second Year of the New Abnormal
I am a planner. Though I am open to spontaneous experiences, I usually rely on my calendar to settle into the day. In recent months I have had to change plans a good number of times. Often, I’ve enjoyed folding the new into what I had expected. But this last week too many plans changed, and my equilibrium is off. My sense of self along with my comfort levels are being tested.
Fails, The Twelfth Week in the Second Year of the New Abnormal
I just heard that The Museum of Failure in Brooklyn opened last week (https://museumoffailure.com). It’s primarily a collection of product fails through the last 5 decades or so. I’m happy to be celebrating failure. Their slogan is “Innovation Needs Failure!” I’m not so sure I can say I’ve been innovative, unless one considers resourcefulness as an innovation, but I can say with absolute certainty that I, too, have a history of failures.
Unexpected Kindness, The Eleventh Week of the Second Year in the New Abnormal
I left my passport at the hotel two and half miles from Reykjavik. I was leaving for JFK the next day. We had had a magnificent trip, and my passport was in the safe where I left it along with U.S. dollars I wasn’t going to spend in Iceland. Our driver, an adventure tour guide in his own right, was going to drop off some guests and pick up passengers to bring back to the capitol city the next morning. He would be happy to bring back my passport and drive us to the airport. The magnificent experience continued.
I Quit! The Sixth Week of the Second Year of the New Abnormal
I was walking downtown listening to a light novel, a quasi-romcom. It had started off well and then it took a nose-dive from there. About halfway to my destination I turned it off. I simply wasn’t enjoying it anymore. I had wanted a break from heavier subjects or professional readings. This was not the break I needed.
BRRR, The Fifth Week in the Second Year of the New Abnormal
Wow! I just went out to walk Lucy. It sure is cold out there. A good portion of the country is very cold. New York City is no exception this weekend. Just taking Lucy out for a short walk means bundling up for a solid five minutes to make sure the least amount of skin is exposed to the frigid air.
Swimming on Vacation, The Fourth Week of the Second Year of the New Abnormal
I swam for an hour, my head submerged in the warm pool with tiny, wavy prisms, iridescent in the sun-drenched water. The luxury of having a pool to myself is priceless. Being able to move seamlessly underwater, thanks to my swimmers’ mask, allows me to stay beneath the surface, enjoying what I’d describe as a meditation in motion.
What's For Dinner? The Second Week of the Second Year of the New Abnormal
I was preparing dinner as I do many nights. Last night was pesto glazed salmon and garlic-marinaded skirt steak with sauteed spinach, garlic bread, and a spicy salad. Thanks to Marion Zinn, my mother-in-law, I have the best marinade for the steak. She was a wonderful hostess and served many delicious dishes. Conversely, my mother would get anxious when hosting guests. Nonetheless she deserves a shout out as an excellent baker. All three of my siblings and I have fond memories of annual birthday cakes baked from scratch, stored on a glass cake plate with an aluminum cake dome. I used to cook and bake regularly, but as life’s responsibilities expanded, my domestic duties dwindled.
The Happiness Challenge, The First Week in the Second Year of The New Abnormal
I subscribe to The New York Times. As an online subscriber I often miss stories and articles that are of interest to me. However, I was fortunate enough to receive the Happiness Challenge of this last week. It wasn’t an outsized commitment but small acts of recognition and gratitude.
So Long 2022, Year Two in the New Abnormal
Here we are as we move away from 2022 to 2023. It’s the weekend. It’s also a milestone in the annual calendar.
One thing I know for sure is that as much as we hope and try, mistakes will be made this coming year. We might prefer to forget the hardships of the last three years, but we’re still recovering. We may want to reach new goals, or old goals yet to be achieved. Hopefully we’ll get there, but the challenges and lessons along the way may not be easy. As we work on being better and doing better, they’ll be disappointments and setbacks.
Lost Gloves, Week Fifty-One in the New Abnormal
I’m going to think of my gloves as rentals. No matter what I pay, and how I try to keep them deep in my pockets when they are off my hands, I seem to lose one or more throughout the winter-wear season. Say what you will about gloves, they undoubtedly lack permanence. I suppose we could say that about life itself.
Emotions During the Holidays, Week Fifty in the New Abnormal
I was in an emotional tailspin earlier this week. I could tell I wasn’t in the right headspace as I kept thinking of past mistakes I’ve made, times I’ve previously hurt friends, and ways in which I had poor judgement. I was not coming out a champ. More like a chump. The negative barrage is not unfamiliar, but it happens less often than in former years. By Tuesday, I knew that I needed to clear my head so there’d be space for self-care and kindness. Luckily, I had my weekly therapy session.
Arrgg, Change; Week Forty-Seven in the New Abnormal
A couple of days ago I installed an iPhone update. I find this new format annoying. I get it, things change. But sometimes the changes come all at once and too fast. I just wasn’t ready for a new change, small as it is.
Happy Jewish New Year, Week Thirty-Nine in the New Abnormal
The Hebrew Year 5783 is upon us. It’s a celebration of new beginnings. Sometimes called the great reset. We have a tradition of bringing bread crumbs, which symbolize our sins, down to the river to release them so we can start anew. For me the letting go of the recent past to move on is an unburdening. It’s a kindness we can give ourselves in letting go of what we deem to be opposed to our values. It’s a personal forgiveness so we can live better lives through right action.
Scaffolding, Week Thirty-Four in the New Abnormal
Pre-Covid, I took a wonderful writing workshop with Emily Raboteau at the Key West Writer’s Workshop. Not only was it a beautiful setting, but the guest speakers and the workshop itself were invaluable. One thing Professor Raboteau taught us was the necessity of proper scaffolding to support the writing. It took time, but I built my scaffolding. It’s been more precarious than proper, but I worked with the materials at hand and I’m finding my way.