Celebrating a New Year

Twenty twenty-four has a certain ring to it, one that rolls easily off the tongue as we enter a new year.  It sounds like a promise of a good, solid year.  But life can be volatile and unpredictable.  Let us hope for continued economic prosperity and democracy, a healthy planet, and a more just and peaceful world. To celebrate the New Year, I hung out last week with family in our national Capitol, Washington, DC.   My grandson, 19-months old, woke up each morning in the next room, chattering to himself.  A sleeping cat occasionally shared the…

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Summertime in New York
Park Slope, Brooklyn

Summertime in New York

It is summertime in New York, and things are coming back to life.  Restaurants are open, both indoors and out, subway and street traffic are picking up, and more shops are open.   New Yorkers took last Tuesday’s election very seriously.  It was a primary election for Mayor and City Council in Brooklyn.  Due to ranked choice voting, final outcome of the election may take weeks to be determined.  Along the busy corridors of 7th and 8th Avenues in Park Slope, near the YMCA on 15th Street where early voting was taking place, candidates and their…

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Failing the Canine Security Check

Today is my first cross-country trip on an airplane in 16 months, and I did not expect to start out by failing the canine security check.  He was a young, handsome, mellow-seeming dog, doing his duty, and I was not the only soon-to-be passenger noting how sweet looking he was.  None of us reached out to touch him, knowing that it is strictly verboten to interfere with a working dog, but it was tempting. I am not sure why this particular canine signaled me out.  I am very fond of dogs, so certainly it was not…

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A Random Letter in the Mail

Have you ever received a random letter in the mail?  Random, as in an unanticipated, handwritten note or letter? The use of first-class mail has been in decline for decades, and letters have become almost rare.   Any letter or note in the mail is a gift, whether it be a thank you note, a birthday card, a holiday greeting.  But most of our communications today are virtual, via social media, email, text messaging, and more, using multiple platforms. Given the shift in how we communicate, a random letter in the mail is a welcome surprise.  Within…

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Time to Write a Letter

Time to Write a Letter: Mailboxes, Sausalito, CA. Photo by Tibby Storey While most of us are still staying at home, helping to prevent the spread of COVID-19, isn’t it time to write a letter?  Teleworking requires concentration and organization.  Job-hunting, caring for children without the usual support systems, grocery shopping and cooking at home, and fitting in time for exercise can be exhausting.  But when you are taking a break, consider using the time to write a letter.  It is good practice for your writing skills, provides an alternative to electronic communications, and a letter…

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Staying at Home

Sidewalk messaging How to practice social distancing Staying at home has become the new normal, because we are living in unusual times.  In recent weeks, my only outside activities are a weekly trip to the grocery store, and daily walks, generally close to home.  The air is cleaner, thanks to fewer automobiles on the road, and the Bay Area is getting some much- needed rain.  And the important thing is for everybody to take whatever steps are possible to keep not only themselves, but also those around us, safe in this time of pandemic. In many…

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Notes for the New Year

The last of the cards and notes for the New Year come in a slow, uneven trickle, soon to be but a memory.  Second to reunions and celebrations with friends and family, these physical notes, photos and greetings are my favorite part of the end of the year rituals, helping me to stay in touch with people who are important to me, both near and far. The post office continues to play an important part in people’s lives, judging by the crowds standing in line to mail packages and letters, either at the automated machines or…

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Riding the Train
BMT Q Car Number 1612C (1908, rebuilt 1938), New York Transit Museum

Riding the Train

BMT Q Car Number 1612C (1908, rebuilt 1938), New York Transit Museum Riding the train is one of the great joys for my three-year old grandson.   Specifically, he likes to ride the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s (MTA) F train, although the G train might do in a pinch.  The F train runs from Jamaica, Queens to Coney Island, Brooklyn, and my grandson is familiar with every Brooklyn stop.  As he pushes his toy trains across the table or floor, he mimics the automated train voice that intones, “Stand clear of the closing doors, please.” …

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Bye, Bye Baby
BMT Q Car Number 1612C (1908, rebuilt 1938), New York Transit Museum

Bye, Bye Baby

Bye, bye baby is what my two-year old grandson says to his reflection in the mirror. While he seems to understand that the baby is himself, fascination with the reflection in the mirror continues. When I travel to Brooklyn these days, it rarely is about going into Manhattan to see shows or exhibitions. Attending music class, a story time trip to the library, playtime at the YMCA, or a visit to the playground is what brings me joy. A ride on the bus or train has become an activity in and of itself as much as…

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Summer Road Trips
Colorado Rockies highway. Photo by Lukas Kloeppel, Pexels Photos

Summer Road Trips

Many people will be taking vacations that involve road trips this summer, especially now that the kids are out of school. National parks and monuments are among the favored destinations, as are visits to family summer camps, or to relatives and friends in other states. While Americans’ love of the automobile has waned in urban areas, the freedom that comes from driving on the open road remains a delight. Car/SUV travel brings places and people into focus in unexpected ways. The road trips of my childhood, however, were never about sightseeing or taking a leisurely drive.…

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