Saying Nothing, The Thirty-Ninth Week in the Second Year of the New Abnormal
“If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” That was a common idiom of our mother’s lexicon. She lived true to that statement. Even when she attempted to comment on something she disapproved of, she did her best to soften it. As a teen, I often was asked the question, “Janet, do you think that’s the most complementary outfit?“ Or it could have been make-up, pants, hair style or any other appearance-related observation. As a sensitive teen I was crushed no matter how much she tried to say it diplomatically.
Hygge, The Thirty-Eighth Week of the Second Year in the New Abnormal
Behind the Facade, The Thirty-Third Week of the Second Year in the New Abnormal
Growing up my mother and her mother were sticklers for good manners. I made a point of saying please and thank you. I was afraid they would view me as rude, and I didn’t want that moniker. My grandmother would point out other children who might have been louder than us, or publicly whiny, and she’d use those children as cautionary tails of behavior we were to stringently avoid.
Summer Relief, The Thirty-Second Week in the Second Year of the New Abnormal
Although this cannot be said of much of the country or world, we in New York City have enjoyed a reprieve from the intense heat of July. It has been delightful. Today I relished a breezy morning riding my low-to-the-ground bicycle up and down Park Avenue for the annual Summer Streets event. The Department of Transportation closes streets on Saturdays in all five boroughs throughout late July and August for pedestrians, joggers, and cyclists as a way of promoting greener transportation.
Rest & Activity, The Twenty-Fifth Week in the Second Year of the New Abnormal
Train Delay, The Twenty-First Week of the Second-Year in the New Abnormal
The Q train came to a halting stop. An announcement immediately came on asking “Who pulled the emergency cord?” At the end of our car, a good citizen thinking there was a request to pull the cord, got up from her seat, pulled the cord, even as the train stood idle. She sat back down returning to her book. A hardcover, old school, though she looked barely 25.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Doing & Being, The Third Week of the Second Year in the New Abnormal
I have salt lamps in my home and work offices. They are supposed to have a calming effect with the soft pink glow. I also have a host of self-help books with recommendations on ways to be happier, less stressed, or healthier in every way. There are not enough hours in the day to prepare and slowly enjoy nourishing meals, move our bodies, meditate, document our thoughts, our habits, our gratitude, mindfully practice yoga, recycle, enjoy nature, be nice to everyone, call our friends, practice aroma therapy, see our health professionals, read or listen to the news, laugh, bring some art into our lives, be creative, be informed, be conscious, relax, be generous, and be happy. I am overwhelmed living my best life.
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.
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.
Window Dressing, Week Forty-Six in the New Abnormal
I have always found great pleasure in walking the city streets. Throughout my 43 years in New York City, I’ve seen a lot. And, yet, I always find something new. This past week I started to notice the ubiquitous iron work on so many buildings and railings. There’s a long history, centuries old, of metal and iron works. On closer inspection there are common patterns. Chances are they’re cheap. But not all buildings have the less expensive options. There are stunning pieces of craftsmanship.
Marathon Weekend, Week Forty-Five in the New Abnormal
The streets are brimming with runners. It’s the first November weekend, which means daylight-savings-time along with the New York City Marathon. Friday, while walking through Central Park, I came across a rally. It was a celebration of all the countries represented in the marathon. There were flags and delegates from 140 nations.
Life is Beautiful, Living is Hard; Week Thirty-Eight in the New Abnormal
I woke up this morning to a stunning sunrise. I slept well and was in a better mood than I had been the last couple of days. Sunrises bring hope. They help me to begin the day with gratitude. The day is lovely. It’s warm enough to avoid outwear, but cool enough to enjoy the breezes on my walk. The outdoor cafes are filled with happy brunch diners. The city is moving along nicely.
Another Year Older, Week Thirty-Five in the New Abnormal
Today I turn 63. In my 20s and 30s I wanted a lot of celebrating. By 40, after I started my present career as a psychotherapist, low key became my preferred option. Don’t get me wrong, I wanted recognition. Sometimes, I say with some embarrassment, I demanded recognition. But smaller became better for me. Today I took myself to the Bronx to walk among the August flowers at the New York Botanical Gardens.