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.
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.
Chasing Colors, Week Forty-Three in the New Abnormal
Manhattan is slower to display the vibrant array of Autumn colors associated with this season. I had planned to leave the city to enjoy the same lush views that friends had posted in their feeds. That never happened so I opted to wait for our city’s briefer period of transformation. It has yet to fully show itself. However, my walk to the North Woods in Central Park gave me a glimpse of what’s to come. The North Woods themselves are still greenish. But the walk to and from the north end of the park gifted me with moments of yellows, oranges and reds.
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.
Moods Ebb & Flow, Week Twenty-Eight in the New Abnormal
The cycling of moods continues. Today I’m happy. It’s beautiful outside. I get to walk on fairly empty sidewalks, and I’m ticking things off my to-do list. Earlier this week I was crestfallen. Too many tragedies and so much shared pain in the world. I find it fascinating how the ups and downs shift from day to day. Well, really, from moment to moment.
Reparenting on Mother's Day, Week Nineteen in the New Abnormal
Though cards, commercials, and media would have us romanticize motherhood, the truth is Mother’s Day can be stressful for so many. Whether families grapple with mental illness, death, physical illness, the court systems, mismatched needs of child/mother, in-law drama, or whether there are reproductive issues, or other circumstances that make the day difficult, allow for kindness and caring while enduring the day.
City Blooms, Week Seventeen in the New Abnormal
A three-minute walk from our apartment stands a small lone cherry blossom tree. It’s located behind a dull brick building. On this seemingly empty city block the tree feels like a sign of hope. Hope that beauty can hold up in the face of asphalt and concrete.
What We Don't Know, Week Fourteen in the New Abnormal
CIty Gallery, Week Nine in the Time of Coronavirus
We went for a lovely birthday celebration of a new friend. To get there we took the subway. It’s been quite a while since I last went on the underground train. The most recently expanded line, The Q Train, has an artist featured on each of the newest stops. We got a good look at a few by Chuck Close done with tiles as portrait mosaics.
Thank You For Your Kindness, Week Four in the The New Abnormal
Small kindnesses have huge impacts. This week I hadn’t felt well, and the comments, texts, calls, messages, and extra care have been particularly meaningful. Larry, my husband, asked me if he could help take care of me, if I would let him. The truth is I usually don’t let him help me. I can be stubbornly independent, even at my own expense. So, I “let” him. Every query to see if there was anything he could do was welcomed. He made trips to the pharmacy to find the right over-the-counter remedies. He cooked or ordered dinner. We chatted casually. Something we don’t often have a chance to do.
So Long, 2021, Week 35 in the Time of Transition
2021 was so, so long. In this last week I have little interest in reviewing this past year. The fact that I, that we, got through it is good enough for me.
Generosity of Spirit, Week 34 in the Time of Transition
I always thought I was a generous person. Then I got married and I came to realize that I was only generous in certain circumstances. If something was my idea, great, I was happy to offer services, a gift, or lend an ear. However, if asked, I found I could be withholding. Somehow I felt being asked for something implied I was stingy. And I was. Sometimes I still am. Apparently a generous heart is not a one way endeavor.
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.
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.
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.
July 4th, Week Ten 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.