Goodbye Grumpiness, The Twenty-Second Week of the Second Year in the New Abnormal
I noticed that by the end of my work week I was short on compassion. My go to was frustration, impatience, or barely disguised anger. It was simple things. I was missing paperwork that had been promised me. A pair of reading glasses broke. And then there were a string of simple annoyances.
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.
A Full Moon, The Eighteenth Week in the Second Year of the New Abnormal
It was a full moon this week. I love looking up on a clear night and viewing the magical, mystical moon between the high rises. Ever since I was a child I’ve found the moon an enchantress. Myths have their place, and for many years I counted on myths to justify my outsized love of a full moon. In times of feeling invisible I felt seen by the moon.
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.
NYBG, The Sixteenth Week of the Second Year in the New Abnormal
My mom had a green thumb. She could keep any plant or planted flower alive for years. One of her favorite flowering plants was orchids. She loved the dramatic curve and the delicate flowers. She had a knack for keeping them alive and thriving for years. A couple of times I found orchids I thought she would love. I carefully brought them home reading the instructions and tending to them so they would make the perfect gift. However, by the time they made it to her doorstep the blooms would fall and the sad gifts never reflected the hope I had of a lush and luxurious present.
Let's Do Better, The Fifteenth Week of the Second Year in the New Abnormal
I came home late last night after seeing a beautifully moving theater piece by Suzan-Lori Parks. Retrieving our mail, I saw a broken glass and a brick on the lobby carpet. Apparently, a group of teens were told to leave the area while smoking. So one of them in anger threw a brick through the window to show ‘them.” It created more work for the porter and super who had to clean up and repair on their weekend off, when they were nowhere near the incident.
Tattle Tales, The Fourteenth Week in the Second Year of the New Abnormal
I grew up with three siblings. If you grew up with siblings, as I did, you are familiar with the age-old enterprise of tattling. My younger sister, Susan, now Chova Sara, was the tattletale. She was the one that thought it important to report to my parents, usually our mom, whatever misadventures we were enacting. When I was six to her four, she ran to our mom to say I wasn’t letting her play with my Barbies. This was true, but only because she cut their hair and drew on them with crayons. Nonetheless, I had to release more dolls to her based on “fairness.” This made no sense to me, but she got what she wanted, and it spurred her on for years.
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.
Fails, The Twelfth Week in the Second Year of the New Abnormal
I just heard that The Museum of Failure in Brooklyn opened last week (https://museumoffailure.com). It’s primarily a collection of product fails through the last 5 decades or so. I’m happy to be celebrating failure. Their slogan is “Innovation Needs Failure!” I’m not so sure I can say I’ve been innovative, unless one considers resourcefulness as an innovation, but I can say with absolute certainty that I, too, have a history of failures.
Unexpected Kindness, The Eleventh Week of the Second Year in the New Abnormal
I left my passport at the hotel two and half miles from Reykjavik. I was leaving for JFK the next day. We had had a magnificent trip, and my passport was in the safe where I left it along with U.S. dollars I wasn’t going to spend in Iceland. Our driver, an adventure tour guide in his own right, was going to drop off some guests and pick up passengers to bring back to the capitol city the next morning. He would be happy to bring back my passport and drive us to the airport. The magnificent experience continued.
Be Gone the Bygone, The Eighth Week of the Second Year in the New Abnormal
Years ago I had a phone book. It looked like a fabric-covered hardback, divided by letters of the alphabet neatly cut into tabs descending on the paper’s edge. Often the pages were outlined in gold ink. I’d get an updated one every few years and I’d transfer the names, addresses, and phone numbers into my new, usually colorful, phone book. These were also the days in which long distance phone calls were a big deal and we were reminded to speak quickly since we were being charged by the minute. Phones had cords and were strategically placed in one or more locations in our homes. A bygone era. Yes, I have become a senior stereotype.
Live Music, The Seventh Week of the Second Year in the New Abnormal
I Quit! The Sixth Week of the Second Year of the New Abnormal
I was walking downtown listening to a light novel, a quasi-romcom. It had started off well and then it took a nose-dive from there. About halfway to my destination I turned it off. I simply wasn’t enjoying it anymore. I had wanted a break from heavier subjects or professional readings. This was not the break I needed.
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.
The Happiness Challenge, The First Week in the Second Year of The New Abnormal
I subscribe to The New York Times. As an online subscriber I often miss stories and articles that are of interest to me. However, I was fortunate enough to receive the Happiness Challenge of this last week. It wasn’t an outsized commitment but small acts of recognition and gratitude.
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.
The Compassion Diet, Week Fifty-Two in the New Abnormal
Should we end this year and start the new year with resolutions? For me, the answer is no. I will think of what I’d like to let go of, and how I will be caring to myself and others, but there is no declaration in that. What I have been thinking about as I view commercials and advertisements enticing us to try new weight loss pills and programs is the mixed up past I, and so many of us, have had with messaging around food, eating, and the lack of joy in caring for ourselves. In the spirit of that, I am thinking of a diet of compassion. Not a food diet, but nourishment, nonetheless.