Tag Archives: observations

What would they say about you in 10 words or less?

DE6A862B-D592-4882-B85E-C0A76883868FSunday’s New York Times featured approximately 4 entire, above and below the fold, pages of mini biographies of those lost to Covid-19. It is impossible to read without feeling your heart race and your eyes well. So many people.

We’re at a number of deaths in the pandemic which is pretty much identical to the number of people who live near me in New York’s Capital District. As I walk my dog, meandering our way around Albany, I sometimes imagine every single person I see no longer living. I know that’s a morbid headset to get into, but it serves to remind me of how terrible this situation truly is.

My circumstances have remained fairly consistent, albeit more solitary. I am very fortunate to have a stable income and some savings, but I’ve frequently considered how I would have fared in this epidemic had I been an independent college student, or a mother overwhelmed with caring for my own babies while teaching remotely. Factor in the need to stay home and a lack of travel experiences, and I’m sure I would have lost my mind.

There’s a lot of talk, (in and out of print), about mask wearing and the politics of the pandemic. What are our obligations to one another? What is reasonable? Is this an attempt to eliminate individual rights? Did you hear/read/see what Trump said?

Enough.

If you choose not to wear a mask, stay away from me. It is my decision to make when it comes to whom I am comfortable having within a six foot radius of myself. You know that whole “it’s my body and my choice thing” which I’m rather consistent about expecting as an adult. I’m more than willing to do the same for you.

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There have been some pictures of people crowded together in public spaces, many without masks, and surprisingly, those images don’t distress me. Why? Because I would never put myself in those situations. To me, it seems more reckless than almost anything I’ve ever seen and I am not reckless.

I can’t help but wonder how those attending large scale events would feel about trackers designed to document the spread of the Covid-19 virus. Something makes me think they’d have an issue with it and the violation of their privacy.

Back to the Sunday Times, and the thousands and thousands of names… Remember when the number of people dead due to 9/11 related situations seemed like an unbearable loss? How do we process the deaths we’re experiencing now? How can we honor the lost beyond reading their names?

And, what would you like to be said about you in ten words or less?

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Filed under Albany, medical, musings, News, Observations, politics, upstate New York

Greek whine

8D5167CA-F3FC-4D28-85D0-705B0FE3B728In case you missed it, I really fell hard for Greece last year. That two week trip had provided a sampling of sights and this year, I intended to go back with more focus, spending 2020’s two weeks in just three locations. Two of the planned locations were repeats from last year, places I wanted to explore more deeply.

When this whole Covid-19 thing started getting really ugly, I couldn’t imagine my trip planned for an entire 4 months into the future wouldn’t occur as  scheduled. What do I know? This is my first pandemic.

In early April, my transatlantic flights were cancelled by American Airlines. Receiving a refund is in process and has been fairly painless so far. Not willing to immediately declare my trip cancelled, I looked for other travel options. I’ve been keeping up on reports out of Europe about the havoc from this international health crisis and I’m in contact with two people in Greece, one in Athens, one on a larger island. After considering the information I was receiving, I believed there was still a solid possibility that Greece would be open for mid-July.

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Taking advantage of a great price, ($530 r/t w luggage), I bought a new ticket to get me to Athens and, presumably, back. The transaction felt pretty risk free because if the flight were cancelled, I would have a year from purchase to use the voucher. Also, United has been my choice in recent years for their (formerly) nonstop EWK to PSP flight for the holidays. I could use the credit then.

Barely two weeks later, that nonstop United flight was cancelled. Adding insult to injury,* I hadn’t even received the courtesy of an email notification. I had stumbled on the cancellation as I was seeking my details about my reservation and noted a message in my United mailbox.

After speaking with a customer service representative, I felt pretty comfortable about the situation. It seemed that my voucher would entitle (not a word I often own) me to a comparable ticket on a future flight even if there was a price increase.  Cool.

I took a moment yesterday to take a look at flight availability. There’ve been some positive indicators around much of the world and many people want to start moving around again. Obviously, I’m one of them. Very quickly, going old school with Travelocity, I located a newly scheduled United flight on my preferred days. The seats were much more expensive, but I phoned United and, again, received capable and professional assistance. I was booked on the flight for my previously scheduled dates and charged no additional money, despite the fare now being approximately twice as much as I had paid last month.

So, maybe third time’s the charm?

As I said in a travel site post:

If my flight remains scheduled and my hosts in Greece still want me to come and the airports are open and I’ve met all the conditions in place required for traveling, I intend to go to Greece this summer. If I am unable to meet these standards, I won’t go. I’ve sheltered in place, worked from home, abided by social distancing, wear a mask as necessary and wash my hands meticulously and frequently. I’ve accepted all of the recommendations set forth by the government, so if the government loosens restrictions, I will continue to use their rules to guide me. I’ve adjusted my plans (canceled 2 weeks in Spain preceding Greece) to minimize risk and am traveling alone. I’m not reckless, but as an adult I can make decisions for myself.

There’s no tragedy in my staying home, as necessary, but there’s no crime in my popping open a bottle of Assyrtiko and making a wish, either.

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How are you managing anticipated travel plans and arrangements?

*this is obvious hyperbole, friends..

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Filed under beauty, Europe, favorites, Greece, medical, Observations, Summer, travel, Vermont, Wine

The persistence of memory

301D0BC0-7CCB-466D-8233-1A2364CF0603It took 8 weeks before I finally felt a sense structure in my deconstructed life. 

Did it take everyone else two months to find an element of calm in this new isolated existence? I can’t be the only one who has flailed like a fish out of water, flopping from place to place, can I? 

There was some time last week when I truly felt like I had a grasp on the situation. I was as near as I’ve ever before been to embracing this new isolated existence. It almost felt comfortable. My days had a structure and flow that felt comforting, like I was wrapped in a cocoon of consistency. I was productive.

I recognized my newfound rhythm wasn’t so much the development of my own personal pacing as it was a relinquishing of the schedule I’ve functioned under for my many, many years of living by the academic calendar. I had finally let go and relaxed into the situation. It was kind of like leaning in to a turn when riding my bicycle. Instinctual.

That sense of being in control was short lived. While my natural impulse is to be positive and spin situations into learning opportunities, what we’re experiencing now, individually and collectively, is not something that should be normalized. This pandemic is disruptive to every single segment of the world’s population and will change the way we all live long after the virus is controlled.

I’m at a stage in this crisis where I am, in fact, tired of it. Or maybe overwhelmed is a better word. I’ve read countless stories about Covid-19 and the havoc it wreaks and have reached a point where I can not absorb anymore information about the virus. Not another word.  I’m saturated.

I’m serious. The more I read about the pandemic, the more unreal it feels. I don’t mean in a conspiracy theory way. No, I mean in YA Dystopian Fiction book sort of way. Like, how did this happen? Is this real?

It’s the definition of surreal, Dali come to life.  I can’t help but wonder, years from now, what will persist in our own memories from this time? What would you prefer to forget?

 

 

 

 

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Filed under musings, News, Observations, Schools, Spring, stress, upstate New York

Mother’s Day – more or less

As a kid raised by a single mom, I always dreaded Father’s Day and the absence of a male parent to honor. Mother’s Day was easy and we usually celebrated with school art projects, cards and flowers liberated from a garden that wouldn’t notice the theft of a few tulips or daffodils. It was pretty simple.

Now, nearly a quarter century into being a mother, I’ve come to learn that very little about mothering is simple. In fact, it’s maddeningly complex.

Becoming a mother altered my perspective of every mother I’d ever known, including my own. For me, conceiving and birthing a child didn’t just create a new parent/child relationship, it actually altered an existing one – the one between me and my mom. I began to question the choices my own mother had made and started to look at her, not as you might expect with increased empathy, but instead, more critically.

As a new mom, I listened to my mother when she insisted that babies needed hats and schedules. I respected her experience and accepted her advice. I knew that she had decades of child rearing under her belt and that, comparatively, I was sorely lacking in mothering skills. Or was I?

When my firstborn son became seriously ill, I was the one who insisted that something was wrong and that he needed immediate medical attention. I was right. After his eventual recovery, I was inclined to blame myself for his condition – why didn’t I act sooner? Decades later, I’ve almost turned the corner from abject guilt to self respect, at least in that particular situation.

There are decisions we make as mothers that stay with us forever.

Never in my life did I believe my ultimate contribution to society would be my offspring. I may have brought them into this world, but how they’ll be remembered when they’re one day gone, is up to them individually. I’m a hard ass with strong beliefs about personal responsibility and independence and communication and my sons, like most of us, are works in progress. Witnessing their growth is my favorite part of motherhood.

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My oldest is stunningly generous, but has limited financial experience. My middle is self supporting, but comfortable asking for help when he needs it and developing a pattern for making fairly sound money decisions. The youngest and I are at loggerheads, a phrase I never imagined needing to describe our relationship, over the eternal conflict of simply being fifteen. He’s a yeller, which makes me crazy, but he never says goodbye without including an “I love you” on the way out the door. They may each be in different places, but they’re all moving forward.

Motherhood is an acknowledgment of both strengths and areas in need of growth.

Take your victories where you find them, moms, and remember that it isn’t always about what we teach them. Often, it’s about what they teach us.

Happy Mother’s Day. xo

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Filed under aging, Boys, family, holidays, moms, musings, Observations, Spring, sunday

Teach your children. Well…

CC3FC5BE-DC37-4DC1-A4CE-4789DB89607DDuring this prolonged health and economic crisis, there’s been a lot of discussion in our country about education and how these circumstances are impacting students. I’ve read numerous articles and posts and tweets itemizing all the things kids are missing in this new “school” setting, the curriculum, the material, the lessons.

I’m not going to lie, much of our current lives is whacky, including trying to deliver a standards based curriculum to students via chrome books. Education is so much more, though, than Google Classroom and Zoom meetings. The social interactions, the discipline involved with adhering to a schedule, and the knowledge absorbed from the educational setting each contribute to what students learn in any given day.

Instead of bemoaning, though, what today’s students aren’t learning, maybe we should ponder what they are learning during this extended Pause on life. Maybe we shouldn’t worry so much.  I don’t know about you, but there really isn’t much that I learned in middle school, in terms of academics, that continues to be an integral part of my life, check writing skills and how to identify the Big Dipper, aside.

Maybe these kids will learn something different. Like…

The meaning of the word resilience.

That the purpose of government is to to help create a country with infrastructure and to provide support when necessary to that country’s citizens. Not to make a bunch of mostly white, mostly males rich through their relationships with corporations.

The importance of community.

The meaningfulness of helping others – our family, neighbors, and coworkers.

An ability to differentiate between being prepared and hoarding necessary household items.

How to work independently and manage their time.

An understanding that sometimes we need to modify our own behavior to preserve the well being of others.

The interconnectedness of our world.

How to be less wasteful

And more appreciative.

There may not be a grade assigned, but what we teach children now, through our actions and examples, are lessons that have the potential to remain with them for far longer than a marking period.

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Filed under Education, ideas, musings, Observations, Schools

10 Reasons it’s a good day

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1. The sun is shining and the skies are blue.

2. It’s sundress warm.

3. My son liked the banana pancakes I made for breakfast. 83EC8C0A-3068-49ED-99AF-50CFE3E255DB

 

 

 

4. I’m not isolating in a bad relationship. Have you seen the domestic violence rates?

5. I found a lost sock when I unfolded a crisp cotton sheet to replace the cozy flannel ones on my bed.

6. So far, my loved ones are all healthy.

7. My house smell lovely from two little glasses filled with flowers.

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8. All my chores are done and the day is mine.

9. The last coat of paint in the bathroom is on and the project, including beautiful new vanity, is expected to be complete this week. Then – on to the back bedroom.

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10. While I’m distressed about not being able to travel, I have a home that is safe and comfortable and that I am able to afford. None of that is taken for granted.


Hope you’re staying healthy and your Sunday is equally good. Don’t forget to be kind, including to yourself.

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Filed under Albany, beauty, Boys, breakfast, Eating, Europe, family, favorites, Flowers, Local, musings, Observations, relationships, Spring, sunday, travel, upstate New York, vacation

The day my middle son turned 21

856E786C-CB4F-453C-BEDC-C394254736D6It doesn’t even seem possible that the boys’ dad and I have successfully reared two 21+ year-old offspring. I think I’ll pause here for a moment of quiet celebration. Feel free to join me.

Okay – so, twenty-one can be a real defining moment of adulthood. A milestone of sorts. With this particular kid of mine, I believe twenty-one is a solid piece of punctuation in a young life lived well.

My pregnancy with this middle son was so much less idyllic than my first had been. Of course it was – I now knew (some of) all of the things that could go wrong. Early delivery and bad presentations and terrible medical outcomes…we’d experienced those with our first child and were certainly nervous about a repeat experience.

Fortunately, the second L&D was much different. As was pretty much everything else with this kid. He was bald, with a complexion that was blotchy and reddish. He was big, nearly off the charts for length, then height. And while Liam had been placid, this baby was calm only as long as he got what he wanted.

Within a few years, we knew what he wanted most was to be able to go. Actually, his very first word was “Go!” yelled when the car in front of us didn’t accelerate quickly enough when the light turned to green. He climbed out of his crib at 8 months, ran at 9.5 and had earned the nickname “The Runner” by 18 months. It’s just who he is.

His first bite of solid food was pizza crust stolen from his brother’s plate. He almost choked on a bite of bagel a few weeks later, but continued to have a fondness for carbs that he may have inherited from me. If that was indeed confirmed to be the case, it would not be the only way in which we are similar.

I’m not inclined to take credit for how anyone, but myself, might turn out.  People seem to become who they are supposed to be despite all of our efforts, don’t they? Yet, this young man reminds me of myself. Often. I believe his humor and self sufficiency and ability to clean a bathroom, all come from me. I think he knows it, too.

The night before his birthday, my son, his brothers and his dad, and I, had dinner together. There was lots of laughter and too much fried chicken, chicken which my son promised to tell his roommates I myself cooked, if I let him take the leftovers home.  I knew how lucky we all were to be able to celebrate.

Two down, one to go.

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Filed under aging, birthdays, Boys, family, moms, Observations, Restaurants