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Looking Back, Week 32 in the Time of Transition

Looking Back, Week 32 in the Time of Transition
Dec 05, 2021 by Janet Zinn

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.  

Thanks Giving & Thanks Getting, Week 30 in the Time of Transition

Thanks Giving & Thanks Getting, Week 30 in the Time of Transition
Nov 21, 2021 by Janet Zinn

We’re about to ascend upon Thanksgiving and the winter holidays.  I’m grateful for a quiet dinner with Larry and a restful weekend.  I’ve been looking forward to this coming weekend since rest is usually ad hoc, and I am often trying to locate windows of opportunity to relax.  

A Pandemic Birthday, Week Eighteen in the Time of Transition

A Pandemic Birthday, Week Eighteen in the Time of Transition
Aug 29, 2021 by Janet Zinn

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

Not This! Week Seventeen in the Time of Transition
Aug 22, 2021 by Janet Zinn
I remember when I was in my 20s I took a self-help seminar.  I was doing a team activity, and I really didn’t like one of the members.  She was inappropriately rude, saying things like, “I can feel your anger.  Your jaw clenches.  It’s not pretty.  Why don’t you just let it go?”  Though it enraged me that she would say such a thing, only adding to my ire, I thought I was supposed to become more tolerant of others.  So I pushed my anger down, thinking I was “letting it go,” and tried to be accepting of this team member.  

Sweet Sixteen, Week Sixteen in the Time of Transition

Sweet Sixteen, Week Sixteen in the Time of Transition
Aug 15, 2021 by Janet Zinn

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.  

Goodbye With the Old, Week Fourteen in the Time of Transition

Goodbye With the Old, Week Fourteen in the Time of Transition
Aug 01, 2021 by Janet Zinn

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

Small Moments, Week Thirteen in the Time of Transition
Jul 25, 2021 by Janet Zinn
When I was in the fifth grade, our teacher, Mrs. Hannah, introduced the idea for a swap lunch.  The concept was that mothers (it was 1970) were to create a brown bag lunch, and they would be swapped for a lunch with another student.  We picked names out of a hat.  As there was an odd number of children in the class, Mrs. Hannah was going to provide a lunch as well.  I can’t remember who was the recipient of my mother’s lunch.  But I do recall being mortified.  It included a tuna salad sandwich on Pepperidge Farm white bread and an apple for dessert.  Not a winning combination.  

Lazy Summer Days, Week Twelve in the Time of Transition

Lazy Summer Days, Week Twelve in the Time of Transition
Jul 18, 2021 by Janet Zinn

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.  

July 4th, Week Ten in the Time of Transition

July 4th, Week Ten in the Time of Transition
Jul 04, 2021 by Janet Zinn
When I was a child our family would pack into our Ford station-wagon and head out to Pennypacker Park to watch the fireworks.  We played in the playground or chased fireflies until the moment when it became dark.  Then the night would light up and we cheered with delight as we gazed skyward.  It felt magical to enjoy a hot night of colorful pyrotechnics.  The crack, pop and whiz of the fireworks foretold if we’d be seeing a Roman Candle or a burst of high-definition pink chrysanthemum.  My favorite was the waterfall, cascading sparkles in the sky. 

Nothing is Perfect

Nothing is Perfect
Jun 20, 2021 by Janet Zinn

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. 

Boy, Oh, Boy, Week 44 in the Time of Coronavirus

Jan 10, 2021 by Janet Zinn


Yesterday I hit the wall.  Before I lost all steam, I had lofty plans.  I had research to do.  There is always cleaning and organizing.  I was behind on my writing.  Yet, by the time I was three fourths of the way through a walk in Central Park, I felt as if I was dragging my leaden legs on the southern arc of the Reservoir.  When I finally reached home, I couldn’t get my sweats on fast enough.  Then Lucy had to go out.  I love her, and also dearly wished there was someone else who would have taken her out.  I was able to speak with a friend from the other coast, and that gave me a pleasurable energy shot.  Though life in California is as fraught as it...

Cautiously Optimistic, Week 43 in the Time of Coronavirus

Jan 03, 2021 by Janet Zinn


Is this really a Happy New Year?  Yes, we survived 2020.  And, yet, recalling how happy we were to be in a new decade just a year ago, we are constantly reminded of the unexpected turn of events in March.  



In this first weekend of the new year, we take stock of the meaning of “hindsight is 2020.” Relieved that 2020 is behind us, our memories are raw from all we witnessed, and all we faced personally.  I now know the impact of ongoing stress on my body and mind.  I am just beginning to understand what is required to sooth myself and support others going through the intensity of extreme tension.  Sometimes it means reaching out and caring for someone, taking the attention off myself.  Other...

I Went All the Way

I Went All the Way
Aug 18, 2019 by Janet Zinn
 



Sometimes something so simple can be hard.  I had the idea of riding my bike on the last Summer Streets on Park Avenue down to the Brooklyn Bridge.  I keep my bike in my office.  It’s a short folding bike, allowing for both my feet to touch the ground when I stop. It’s in my office so I can get out when the impulse strikes.  It rarely strikes.  I call myself a wimpy rider since I want to easily touch the ground, and I am not skilled enough to weave in and out of traffic.    I will only face the streets to get into Central Park or ride on the East River promenade to Randall’s Island where there are few...

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...

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...

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....

Grief Shaming

Grief Shaming
Nov 24, 2015 by Janet Zinn
Last week on Facebook I had changed my profile picture to one with a transparent French Flag on top of my face. When I was in college I had gone to school in Paris one summer studying Art History and French. The art history stayed with me, the French, not so much. It was a seminal summer for me. Memories surged after the bombings and I responded based on my relationship to my past and those in my present. Yet, shortly after that, so many people started writing pieces or making comments about how wrong it was to change our profile pictures when so many more had been tortured and killed in Damascus, Beirut, Jerusalem, Sierra Leone….. And the shaming...

Tooting

Tooting
Jul 29, 2015 by Janet Zinn
Fart was a curse word growing up in our household. If I “passed gas,” the only acceptable phrase I could utter, I was in a lot of trouble. I was banished from the scene and, best-case scenario, I could come back once I had gone to the bathroom and washed my hands. My mother would yell, “Go to the Bathroom!” It never made sense to me because once I had expelled my gas I was done. But as far as she was concerned it was only an introduction to a much dirtier deed.



So imagine my surprise when I would go to my friends’ homes and they would laugh, or make an off-handed comment should someone fart. It was not a...

Wrong Again

Wrong Again
Jul 22, 2015 by Janet Zinn
The impulse to judge is a strong one. Although I can be intuitive, seeing how someone holds him or herself or has a certain expression that speaks volumes about character, I can also go to a less caring place when looking at others. More often than I’d like to admit, I can dismiss someone at first glance. Sometimes, though, I’m fortunate enough to be proven wrong.

The other day I was in a group and I totally dismissed a conservatively dressed woman as someone tight, lacking a sense of humor. Well, I couldn’t have been more wrong. When she shared she had us all laughing with a wonderfully dry wit. Now, here’s a woman I wanted to know. Yet, I almost...

Accepting Our Flaws? - A Grounded-Spirituality Post

Jun 15, 2015 by Janet Zinn
Why is it we’re so loathe to accept the darker side of our personalities? I am impulsive, impatient and impassioned. These are not my only character flaws, but it serves as a sampling. This weekend I spent more than I had budgeted, I ate more than my hunger warranted, and I got angry when things didn’t go my way. I don’t like when I feel those feelings, so I then deflect them onto others. I felt all that while away this weekend and when I got home, happy to be home, Emma was ensconced in front of the TV, and Larry was busy doing laundry. I had missed them and longed for them to greet me with joy, especially after...