New York City
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.
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.
Small Moments, Week Thirteen in the Time of Transition
July 4th, Week Ten in the Time of Transition
No Ending to Mental Health Awareness Month, Week Five in the Time of Transition
You Never Know, Week 46 in the Time of Coronavirus
Sometimes I find myself quick to judge. I hear a whiny individual at a Zoom meeting, and I silently groan. I also know that there have been times, and I chance to say there are still times, in which I am the one who warrants another’s groan. In my more open-minded moments, I remember that everyone is trying the best they can. We are all going through this pandemic, and there’s nothing easy about that. But there are other times when my exhaustion and impatience take over and I am unforgiving of anyone who annoys me from the selfishly maskless to virtual-meeting squeaky wheels.
Something I’ve noticed recently in my professional and personal life is how instantaneously we are to jump from one emotional state to...
Boy, Oh, Boy, Week 44 in the Time of Coronavirus
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...
Snow, Week 41 in the Time of Coronavirus
Initially there were grave warnings about the snowstorm that was going to plague the Northeast. When it started to fall, the winds were strong, and walking home from work was a bit of an effort. The following day there were hills with footsteps at the curbsides. Crossing the street took balance and navigation. Patience was needed, as only one person at a time could reach the next corner. Each person had their own pace, based on age, winter fitness, and footwear. Good snow boots were the best. So happy that past winters required me to find the right boots.
By Friday I was ready for a walk in the park. The park closest to me, Carl Shurz, had sledding children with their parents. It was hard to tell who was...
Simple Pleasures, Week 40 in the Time of Coronavirus
I was listening to early Joni Mitchell this early morning as the sun rose. Lucy and I were out for the first walk of the day. The weather is warm for December, and lovely in the tranquil dark. It was quiet with the occasional runner or dog passing us as they started their day.
It’s easy for me to recognize how special these moments are. As we make our way through this pandemic I find that these ten months have worn on me. At this point I really don’t want to do anything. Which is all the more reason I am appreciative of every small pleasure I encounter. This morning it was being next to Lucy as she sniffed and I watched the day begin. Now it’s sitting down...
Stressing About Stress, Week 22 in the Time of Coronavirus
For the first time in years we will be at a place where there is no WiFi or cell service. To that end I set a deadline for myself to complete this post before we left. ...
My Super Power
When I was in the fifth grade I had a recurrent dream that I could fly. I was elated that I could soar past the bullies and the teasers. I loved that they had to look up to me in my dream. I soared in the air down Haral Place past the mailbox on my way to Stafford School. I held onto that dream. It gave me a sense of being special when I felt anything but special.
But the teasing got worse in junior high. Patty Craven howled at me as if I were a dog. She bribed a classmate to ask me out so they could laugh at me. She was cruel, but I took it. I found small...
Free Shakespeare in the Park
On a sweltering Tuesday in August, in my first full summer as a New York City resident, I was nervous and excited about the prospect of obtaining free tickets to A Midsummer Night’s Dream at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park. The day in 1982 was hazy, and the great lawn was full of picnickers all with numbers for a place in line. I was number 26. I had gotten there so early, maybe 7 AM to ensure my audience participation. And, I was far from the first one in line. But with a coffee and an H&H bagel for breakfast, I felt well-prepared. Hour after hour of baking in the sun, I was a lucky recipient of two tickets...
What I'm Not
We just took a trip to a resort in Punta Cana, in the Dominican Republic. It was beautiful. The weather was warm and clear, and everyone was friendly. I wanted to enjoy this vacation. Last year was hard and I was looking forward to some R&R. But the food, though plentiful, went from bland to awful. The amenities promised were elusive or not as advertised. The other travelers seemed to be content, but I couldn’t help notice the missing details, the absence of my desired holiday away. I would go for a run on the beach, grateful for the easy breeze, and the laps of the ocean. Yet, I kept thinking of all the things I didn’t like about being...