What Inspired Me This Week – June 20

If I were to name this week it would be things I never knew:

  1. I’d never heard of Sparks, or there 300 songs or five decade career. I have a lot of catching up to do. Glad I caught the documentary which is great, but their music is better
  2. Walking along the East River we discovered a park with seal sculptures- never saw it before…
  3. I’ve been a member of the Brooklyn Botanic Garden for at least ten years. I had never seen there little Brooklyn Walk of fame
  4. Lemon/lychee Thai iced tea- who knew how good Thai Iced Tea could be without condensed milk. This was SOOOOOO good
  5. Immersive Van Gogh was just a new and interesting way to look at the works of Van Gogh- I love when we take technology and use it to bring culture to a wider audience…plus…Starry Night on four walls surrounding you

Can’t wait to see what inspires me this week!!

Gratitude Saturday June 19

My daughter and her roommates got the room they wanted (Six girls- they got the room with two bathrooms- can you imagine six girls and one bathroom?)

I am grateful that she got the housing that she wanted!

My daughter also got into a specific class, because she really wanted to learn from a specific professor. Turns out this Professor won a Pulitzer last week. I take back everything I wrote about book award winners…

I am grateful that my daughter might actually get to experience college that way that she always dreamed of.

Anything Can Happen Friday: Compassion

  • death of a loved one (including a pet)
  • divorce
  • loss of a job/business
  • bankruptcy
  • grave illness
  • debilitating accident
  • break up
  • assault- sexual or otherwise

The above list is just a small sample of tragic/traumatic things that can occur in a person’s life. Any of these things can cause one to feel a wide range of negative emotions. They can all cause anxiety. This list of things are not unicorns- most people will experience some sort of trauma in their life.

For the purposes of this post today, we will work with the theory that no one ever actually gets over a tragic/traumatic event. One will experience the emotions involved with any of these things for the rest of their lives. There is no timeline for when someone is supposed to be over it: you probably will never be over it.

Ok? No one actually gets over a traumatic event. Always inside them. Three months. Five years. Twenty five years- these events remain with us.

Now let me ask you a practical question:

Did you ever have a friend who broke up/divorced from a person. Did you ever think to yourself: Wow- it’s been five years since Morticia divorced Gomez. She still talks about him all the time. And his new wife. She seems so bitter. Is she ever getting past this?

Did you ever have a friends whose parent has died? Gee- Heathcliff still talks about the things his father did and didn’t do when he was growing up. It’s been ten years. He still seems so sad and angry. Is he ever going to get over it?

Have you ever had thoughts like this? It’s OK if you have: I’m not going to ask you to admit it here. I just want you to think if you’ve ever had thoughts like this.

If you have had thoughts like this, was your reasoning a lack of compassion? A lack of empathy?


Were you just worried about the level of sad or bitter or angry or fearful (insert negative emotion here) that your friend was facing?

Were you worried because your friend appeared to be rooted in place?

Were you worried that the negative emotion had taken over your friend mind, body and soul?

Had this negative emotion made your friend drink more? Eat less?

Had this negative emotion resulted in them engaging in less than optimal behavior patterns?

There’s an old New York story about the Collyer Brothers. They had been a very wealthy family at the turn of the last century. One brother came home from WWI with what was then referred to as “shell shock”. One of the behavior patterns that resulted was that this man, along with his brother, became extreme hoarders. Newspapers, things off the street, etc. It got so bad that I believe one of the brothers died when he was trying to crawl to his brother when a pile of junk fell on him. The other brother died of starvation.

Shell shock is now more commonly known as PTSD.

After effects of trauma and tragedy can be far reaching if they are not taken care of.

Anxiety should not be on anyone’s bucket list. If one is feeling inordinately anxious, one should speak to a mental health professional. Anxiety may not go away on it’s own- it may build and get worse.

If you had a tumor, would you not speak to a Doctor to see what you should do about it?

Why would you be more callous because you might have something wrong with your mental health.

We shouldn’t put a band aid on mental health. Didn’t we just watch Naomi Osaka and the French Open thing?

Anxiety is open to all who want it. There is no age restriction. Anxiety is color blind. It doesn’t care about socio economic status. Every single person alive has the ability to ride the anxiety train. The only question is, what stop do you want to get off at? Do you want to jump off now, or do you want to wait to the end of the line?

Compassion can be viewed from many angles. If you see your friend suffering, is it more compassionate to say something that might upset them, or is it more compassionate to ignore it?

Growing Pains?

Before I start my post I am going to preface it: what I am writing about today is based on a mainly hypothetical conversation that I had with two neighbors while we were doing laundry. Both of these women have 13 year old daughters and they somehow oddly thought I might have some words of wisdom regarding teenage girls and raising them. After I stopped laughing at the thought of any parent ever knowing anything, we had a discussion around this topicwhile there is an example of a situation, this was more conversational than actual

The laundry room is like the water cooler of an apartment building. We run into each other and have long conversations about pretty much everything. When I run into these particular women, the talk often turns to how did I like the schools my daughter attended (remember we have school choice here- especially after elementary) On this particular occasion, the subject was girls as they enter the teen years.

How do you know the difference between a teen who is spoiled, a kid who is acting out as part of the normal growth process, and a kid that is having a real issue?

Teenage children act out. They rebel against their parents. I know we don’t want to hear this, but a certain amount of rebellion is normal and healthy. During the teen years we know that kids are trying to find their place in the world apart from their parents. Rebelling against parents is the safest form of rebellion- they are secure enough in the love of the parents that they know they have this cushion. Doesn’t make it easy to live through, but there you go.

Now, some kids rebel way less than others. I can’t tell you why some kids are more hellish than others during this time period.

But how do we know what’s good rebellion, and what sort of rebellion causes trouble?

I have no idea.

And I told this to my neighbors. My guess if is something is self destructive, or destructive to others, you might need to sit down with the pediatrician and ask for a next step.

But do we really ever know what is normal and what is a cry for help?

My neighbor brought up a particular situation: her niece had all of a sudden become a vocal advocate against date rape and other forms of sexual aggression towards young women. She asked me, how do you know if this is a normal protest against something that has been in the news lately, or what if she, or one of her friends has been victimized? Do you ask and risk the kid shutting down? Do you watch to see if any other behaviors are off?

I shook my head: these were questions I’d often thought of myself. When I would see a girl at school I wonder if they are anorexic, or maybe taking drugs, but at what point do you say something? Is it worth stirring the pot?

While we are all supposed to watch out for one another, in practice, how do we actually do it?

As an outside we may be looking at things from a different light- sometimes being close to a situation can be blurry. Sometimes an outsider can have clarity.

When do we butt in? When do we butt out?

When “normal” can be pretty obnoxious, how do we ascertain a cry for help?

After the Fact

I read a memoir recently, about someone who is surviving cancer. The author describes how they have felt throughout the journey: the feelings include all the stages of grief, as well as survivor guilt and PTSD. As I was reading the feelings of the author, I couldn’t help but think of the corollary of surviving: how any time there’s a tragedy, the feelings that come alongside it are the same, no matter what the tragedy.

Think about COVID.

How many times have people stated “But look at how many people have died”. How many people have dwelt on the sheer number of dead people? See, that’s survivor guilt.

I’m not saying we shouldn’t be mourning those who have been lost: I just wonder how much good this is doing our mental health….

We survived. Others didn’t.

How do we move on?

Is making ourselves feel guilty about making it to the other side going to do anyone any good?

How about PTSD…

I know I have PTSD from 9/11. I tell my daughter that I love her every time I say good bye to her. Every. Time. I still remember people I knew who had loved ones that died that day: there biggest regret was not telling them how much they loved them every single day…so that became my thing. My daughter, born post 9/11 says it to me as well. She knows how I carry the trauma of that event in my head and heart every day.

How many people are going to live the rest of their lives with Pandemic PTSD? Will they be able to function normally, or will the scars be more visible?

Hold those thoughts for a moment:

The other night I was on Zoom book club. One of the women was supposed to miss book club because one of her children and her grandchildren were in town (one of her kids lives sort of local to her) M was supposed to go out to dinner with her two kids and assorted grandkids- first time all together in over a year. M decided not to go to dinner- she is still too scared to venture out socially. Her out of town relations were only going to be in town for a short stay…but M was too afraid to go out…

Hold that too…

My co op board recently met to discuss whether or not we needed to wear masks in our building. The rule was brought to a vote after the CDC and New York State said that masks were no longer required indoors if people are vaccinated. At the first meeting, it was decided that the board would make a decision after the Realty Board gave out their ruling.

A week after NY state made the decision, the Realty Board agreed to the no masks if vaccinated policy.

Still, the board had an issue.

A vote was taken- 4-3 in favor of getting rid of masks for vaccinated people. The minority still wasn’t happy and were quite vocal about it. Finally someone said:

Three groups that dictate what we do and don’t do have stated that masks are not needed. The infection rate is very low. Over 60% of New Yorkers have been vaccinated. At what point will you feel safe? What is your magic number? What do you need to see to get to this next step?

And after that the three dissenters conceded.

There is no magic number to feeling safe.

Safety is not a guarantee.

I know that we all have a wide variety of feelings about the past year. It has been a horrific event. But what made this event even worse is that we have chosen sides. We have mocked the way people felt.

There is no right way to get through a traumatic event. We all handle things differently.


We all need to get past this. Note I did not say get over it. I did not say that you are not allowed to have feelings, deep, ingrained feelings, about this event.

I am just saying that we need to move forward.

So what will it take for you to move forward?

What is the number that you are looking for?

What is the event that you are waiting for?

This isn’t the end of a game where we count down 10-9-8…

We will never get to 1…

People who move on aren’t insensitive. They don’t lack empathy. They just know that no matter what happened yesterday, we need to get through today. We need to get to tomorrow.

How do you want your tomorrow to be?

Give it One More Try

I loved the book Anxious People by Fredrik Backman. I also loved Midnight Library by Matt Haig.


I didn’t love either of them when I started reading them. I didn’t understand what was happening, I wasn’t into the characters, etc.

For me, both of these books were worth the journey. If I knew people reading them, and those people thought they were iffy, I would tell them to stick it out one more chapter- it was worth it…

So the question is, how do you know when it’s time to give up on a book?

I am not one to quit on a book. I figure if I was intrigued enough to get the book, I owe the author the courtesy to see it through. The last book I didn’t finish was “The Elegance of the Hedgehog” and I’d say I tried to read that at least ten years ago. I completely understand why someone starts and does not finish a book. Time is way too valuable to partake in something you just don’t enjoy.

But how do you know at what point to quit a book?

Some books have a slow build: this is intentional. The author is laying out a framework and they’re trying not to rush. This is often the sign of a good writer. Pace is important in a book. That is the case in both the books that I mentioned. There is method to the writer’s madness as to what is revealed, when it’s revealed and how it’s revealed. There is a careful outline in play. To move too quickly would disrupt the balance…it would take away from the craft of writing.

How do you determine if the book is a slow build, or if it’s just a boring book?

So here’s the questions for today:

  1. What’s the last book you didn’t finish?
  2. Why didn’t you finish it?
  3. What makes you stop reading a book?
  4. How far do you get into a book before you put it away for good?
  5. Has there been a book that you were iffy about but ended up glad that you read it till the end?

R is for…

I’m thinking we need a primer for romance. So I’ve adapted my thoughts on what romance is:

R– Respect

O– Openness

M– Making an effort

A– Appeal

N– No Harping

C– Communication

E– Expressing feelings

So you see my ideas…

What word/word group would you use to describe romance? For my game, you must use the letters in romance.

What do you think are the keys to romance?


What Inspired Me: June 13

  1. Early in the week it was 90..with a real feel of about a billion- inspiration doesn’t come easy
  2. My daughter was away this past weekend, so the cat, uncharacteristically, chose to sleep on my bed
  3. Betty got a little spa day
  4. Ended up at two French bistros this week- I love soufflĂ© and floating island but there aren’t many places in NYC where you can get them, so I got lucky
  5. Saw live music!!! Don’t worry, I took the picture before they performed: they were setting up their instruments so I got a no flash shot of the set up. Lovely rendition of Haydn’s “The Seven Last Words of Christ”. The concert was held in the Assembly Room of the lovely Riverside Church
  6. My tea society had a lovely afternoon at Brooklyn High Low- delicious tea and sandwiches and the room was just beautiful
  7. Cruella was fun. Great clothes.
  8. I know that bird houses are not a big deal to most of you, but in Manhattan they aren’t things we normally see, so when I spotted them on a small stretch of East 81st St, I had to snap a picture
  9. And life continues on…

Gratitude Saturday June 12

The other day the Doctor’s office called to reschedule my appointment. I said to the scheduler, “let me check my calendar.”

I’m grateful that I once again have a calendar that needs checking.

I’m grateful that the little boxes in my planner are no longer a home for stickers, but contain actual things to do and places to go and people to see

I’m grateful that my tea society meets in person today

I’m grateful that I saw live music yesterday

I’m grateful for life

Anything Can Happen Friday: Quotes

I have a little desktop calendar: every morning I flip the page and read my new quote. I love this way of starting the productive part of my day. I read the quote, get inspired, and then I begin to write, first a brain dump and then my blog.

Quotes can be wonderful. But only when they are not misquoted.

On Wednesday I wrote about a quote that had recently come up on my calendar. As the quote was a stand alone, I took it literally. There was no context, nor did I search for one. I assumed the publishers of desktop calendar had done due diligence.

Never assume.

It turns out the quote may, or may not have been, from a satire. If indeed it was supposed to be read as a satirical comment, then the thoughts that one would attach to it would be quite different.

Now, it the particular case of Wednesday’s post, we had a rousing discussion. It worked out as a great starting point for talking about personal satisfaction versus personal responsibility. Turns out many of us know a person or three who has chosen satisfaction over responsibility. And we all know people who have clearly chosen responsibility over satisfaction…

But the real point is, be careful what you share online.

Make sure you aren’t just blindly copying and pasting something.

Make sure you’ve thought about what you choose to post to the world.

I know I am going to be a bit more careful before I blindly add another’s thoughts to my posts.

Just because something looks pretty doesn’t mean you Blindly share

Know What you are sending before you copy and paste