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Thank you Mr. Sondheim, Week 31 in the Time of Transition

Thank you Mr. Sondheim, Week 31 in the Time of Transition
Nov 28, 2021 by Janet Zinn

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.  

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.  

Don't Get Caught with Tattered Underwear, Week 29 in the Time of Transition

Don't Get Caught with Tattered Underwear, Week 29 in the Time of Transition
Nov 13, 2021 by Janet Zinn
I was doing my laundry last week.  While hanging my underwear on the hand dryer, I noticed the rips that must have happened over time, the time spent quietly during the pandemic.   Everything was so comfortable, so I never stopped to examine them.  And comfort has been key.  Though comfort still matters, I’ll take my underwear without rips.  

Happy Halloween, Week 27 in the Time of Transition

Happy Halloween, Week 27 in the Time of Transition
Oct 30, 2021 by Janet Zinn

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

Funny Thing About Gratitude, Week 26 in the Time of Transition
Oct 24, 2021 by Janet Zinn

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

Hello Sunrise, Week 25 in the Time of Transition
Oct 17, 2021 by Janet Zinn

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.  

Getting Away, Week 23 in the Time of Transition

Getting Away, Week 23 in the Time of Transition
Oct 03, 2021 by Janet Zinn

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

Singing in the Park, Week 21 in the Time of Transition
Sep 19, 2021 by Janet Zinn

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

20th Anniversary, Week 20 in the Time of Transition
Sep 11, 2021 by Janet Zinn

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 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.  

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.  

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. 

Emotions Ebb & Flow, Week Twenty-Eight of the New Abnormal

Emotions Ebb & Flow, Week Twenty-Eight of the New Abnormal
Jul 10, 2022 by Janet Zinn

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.  

You Never Know, Week 46 in the Time of Coronavirus

Jan 24, 2021 by Janet Zinn


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

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...

So Long 2020, Week 42 in the Time of Coronavirus

Dec 27, 2020 by Janet Zinn




Before the end of this week we will welcome in a new year.  Never will there have been a greater collective sigh throughout the globe than at the rotating midnight hour of 1/1/2021.  We all faced many challenges throughout the year.  And we all learned essential truths about ourselves.  I learned that doing less was a relief.  I learned that patience is not an end point, but an ongoing process.  I learned to use my crankier tendences as a reflection on what vulnerabilities I am attempting to protect.  I learned that I still have a lot to learn in asking for help.  Plus, I learned that 2020 gave us endless opportunities to learn.  I also learned that even with the possibility of learning, sometimes learning to relax was the...

Snow, Week 41 in the Time of Coronavirus

Dec 20, 2020 by Janet Zinn


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...