We Are Not Okay, Week 33 in the Time of Transition
I’m finding this holiday season to be quite odd. On the one hand, many of us are able to travel, visit with friends and family, and celebrate the holidays in person rather than on Zoom. On the other hand, our nervous systems have been taxed beyond what we thought possible as we forge ahead.
Looking Back, Week 32 in the Time of Transition
I had some ideas about what I’d be addressing for this blog post, but when I looked at my calendar, I saw that it’s been four years since my mother died. We had a complicated relationship. Yet, in the last year of her life as her health declined, we found common ground with a deep and enduring love. A time I will always treasure. Most people don’t get that opportunity. Understanding that death is inevitable, her dying days were filled with peace and love.
Thank you Mr. Sondheim, Week 31 in the Time of Transition
I was working at Strawbridge and Clothier in the Men’s shoe department. This was a branch in the Echelon Mall in Voorhees, NJ, a short commute to Philadelphia. I was a student at Rutger’s University in Camden, still a theater major, though I would finish with a degree in English. Paul Puccio, an English major at another college, who worked in Men’s Furnishings, introduced me to the music of Stephen Sondheim. I was 18 years old. He was enamored with Follies and Alexis Smith. He invited me over to his home where I listened to his original Broadway cast album with Paul narrating to a neophyte. I was changed for life.
Don't Get Caught with Tattered Underwear, Week 29 in the Time of Transition
Happy Halloween, Week 27 in the Time of Transition
The first time I wore a mask I was three years old and was aware of the tiny holes for my nostrils, and the slit for my mouth. Not easy breathing, but so exciting to this little girl. I was a cat, Felix the Cat, to be precise. My one piece, highly-flammable costume had a small tie in the back of the black and white jumpsuit. I held a small paper bag for my trick or treat goodies next to my sister Sharyn and my dad who came home from work early to escort us up and down our New Jersey suburban block.
Funny Thing About Gratitude, Week 26 in the Time of Transition
I find it incredibly annoying when I’m upset about a person, place, or thing, I’m on a rant, and the individual listening responds by telling me I should be grateful. It feels like a dismissal of my complaint, valid or not, and a recommendation that I pivot to a “soft music inserted here” blissful moment when I see how lovely life is and how wrong I was to find the awful in this grand world we inhabit.
Hello Sunrise, Week 25 in the Time of Transition
When I was a young child and my bedtime was 7:30, the advent of a darker evening meant that I was awake longer while the night sky became opaque. It felt as if I was staying up later, even though I understood in theory I was going to bed at the same time. Since the pandemic my bedtime has gotten earlier. I go out less, plus I got older these past 19 months. I have yet to go to bed at 7:30, but it feels easy to get into bed when it’s been dark for a few hours.
A Rare Moment of Calm, Week 24 in the Time of Transition
I hit the ground running. There was so much to get done and I’m still behind. I did the best I could, which means I had to readjust from vacation mode to New York City-paced backlog catch-up. Within a few days the vacation glow is flickering.
Getting Away, Week 23 in the Time of Transition
Sometimes we just need to get away. It helps to clear our heads and take a break from day-to-day stress. That’s exactly what we did this weekend. It’s been a long time coming. I booked this trip before the pandemic shut down our world. I rebooked three times in the hope that quarantines were a temporary inconvenience. In the end we had to wait until the Canadian borders opened up for the fully vaccinated.
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.
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
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.
No Ending to Mental Health Awareness Month, Week Five in the Time of Transition
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.