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.
Getting Away, Week 23 in the Time of Transition
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.
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.
Lazy Summer Days, Week Twelve in the Time of Transition
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
No Ending to Mental Health Awareness Month, Week Five in the Time of Transition
Cautiously Optimistic, Week 43 in the Time of Coronavirus
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...
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...
Boredom, Week 21 in the Time of Coronavirus
I’m coming up with a lot of private games. Can I meditate and let my thoughts pass by or will I go on a tangent and then find myself caught between my imagination and the present moment? Will I be able to find an isolated spot in the city and take a deep breath without my...
A Trip to Africa
What can I say about a dream come true? Shall I say that I spent most of my life believing my dreams wouldn’t be fulfilled? I lived much of my early years longing for the things that others had. The thing about my longings is that it kept me out of the loop. There’s an unspoken presumption that it was beyond my reach. Growing up I heard about the trips to Florida my classmates took. I longed to audition for a traveling high school production of Godspell, but had to work, and couldn’t afford to take time off, let alone pay for a ticket to California. I felt left out. Moving to New York in the early 80’s, there were apartments...
One Step in Front of the Other
When I was 10 years old I was allowed to walk on Haddonfield-Berlin Road, crossing highways entrances and exits to go to The Woodcrest Shopping Center. For a short time they had The Jerry Lewis Movie Theater, and I could get in for 50 cents, the amount of my allowances after chores. Or, I would go to W.T. Grant’s, deemed a twenty-five cent department store, but more of a five and dime. that sold colorful birds, toys, clothes, plastic jewelry, and featured a lunch counter. I was much too shy to go to the counter alone. But I loved getting lost in the aisles ending up with some sort of sweet. There was also Crest Lanes where I could bowl....
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...
The movie Funny Girl opened in 1968. I was eight years old and in Third Grade, struggling with Mrs. Mishaw, the dower educator who wore Irish wool suits and had no patience for fools. I was a dreamy fool finding solace in movies. Barbra Streisand as Fanny Brice became my hero. Fanny Brice for celebrating her kooky self, and Barbra for singing so magnificently. She was the balm for an otherwise abrasive year.
This past week I got to revisit the magnificence of Ms. Streisand singing “Don’t Rain on My Parade.” She brought down the Brooklyn house with her clear, luminous voice. I was enthralled then, as I am now. And, if that weren’t enough, she sang at least three Sondheim...
Mother's Day, 2015
Judy Mannarino, Talented Artist, www.judymannarino.net
Mother’s Day is a day fraught with mixed emotions. We’re parents, but we’re not mothers. We wish to be mothers but we’re not. We’re mothers, but we wished we weren’t. We love our children, but we get frustrated sometimes. Our mothers are no longer here. Our mothers are here, but we’re not sure how we feel about that. We’re indebted, we’re sad, we’re expectant, we’re disappointed. We’re ambivalent.
This morning I woke up, took my shower and came into the living room/dining area when I saw a card and gift. For the first few years of motherhood, Larry, my husband, wasn’t aware that Mother’s Day meant something to me. I...