Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Living on thin ice has it's beauty

Last night was one of those nights when I awaken at 3 a.m. feeling as though every detail of my life is a disaster—that I'm treading on thin ice, about to go under. Everything always seems not-so-bad the next morning, but I'm often left with an after-anxiety-tremor that can cast a pall on the rest of the day if I'm not careful to pull out one of my proven tools to ratchet up the day and my mood. This morning I bundled up and got myself back out on the pavement. Within moments my mood lifted. Music in my ears, sun on my face, and the spectacular view of the Charles River from the Mass Ave Bridge put all that mid-night fear into perspective: thin ice has a beauty all its own.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Seinfeld reruns every time you cross 112th in NYC

Site of the Seinfeld stars' multiple conversations, Tom's restaurant waits for fans and day-to-day New Yorkers. The still glowing marquee returns us to episode after episode of a much-loved ensemble of actors who set the bar for TV comedy. I still haven't found anything that even comes close to its multi-layered plots and absurd situations that make fun of the dark, and hopelessly frustrating escapades of the single, ever-happiness-seeking-never-to-be-satisfied world. As with so much of my TV literacy, it has only been through late night reruns that I experienced the richness of Seinfeld, The Simpsons, All in the Family, Sex and the City, and most recently, Lost.

No wi-fi here, but the rice pudding was the best I've ever tasted.

Should be back in Boston and blogging by the end of the weekend.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Winter doldrums? How to navigate through as if I knew

Just like the cold can turn the lively current of the Charles River into a solid surface, fragmenting it into thousands of mini iceburgs with no place to go, so the prospect of another long winter seems to be fragmenting me into a commotion of stalled dreams, as I slip into a downward spiral, some days drowning in a mental blizzard in front of the TV with the remote control— anything but a life preserver.

Are you a victim of SAD?
Some people get SAD in the winter. Seasonal Affective Disorder is a condition that can occur when we don't get enough sunlight/daylight. Maybe it's because I've become sloppy with my calcium and vitamin D doses, or maybe it's the lingering cold that's kept me overly housebound, or maybe it's the season...or maybe it's my time of life—but the dark days seem to be outnumbering the bright ones. This blog entry is an official challenge to myself to see if I can beat the winter doldrums by summoning my internal forces and picking up the tools I know I have in my optimist's toolbox: music, meditation, exercise, good company, good food, and lots of gratitude lists.
Let's keep it all in perspective
Yes, I voted today. And I have been brought to tears repeatedly while hearing survivor voices from the Haiti disaster and seeing the devastation there. The biggest gift is to live in a place where I can even notice the down moods. In spite of my lack of rainy-day funds or tickets that could take me around the world, I still have a roof over my head, food in my refrigerator, hot water, a shower, plenty of clothes to put on my back. And my car is still working! No crisis of life or limb this week in this part of the world. Kvetching is a privilege!
Find the Unexpected Jewel in the ordinary of day to day
The challenge is to find opportunity in the middle of adversity. Not sure who said it. I think it was Einstein. It's about having your eyes open enough to see the invisible, to find the unexpected jewel in the ordinary. Just take a look as this ordinary variety store:

Sitting on Clearway Street near the corner of Massachusetts Avenue, this little storefront looks as though it's your typical variety store . . . even when you walk in. At first you think that's where you've come. Here's Clynton standing in front of some typical variety store "product."

But if you face the back wall, stand in front of the vending machine, it magically opens, bringing you into a secret hip hop shop named Bodega. It's filled with high end footwear and sportswear you won't find anywhere else. Here's Clynton and his colleague Lee with some Nike's you're not likely to see anywhere else. Other rare brands are Original Fake made in Tokyo, and Head Quarter.
My friend Claire (below) who was visiting for the weekend from Maine found this unexpected word-of- mouth-promoted oasis a delightful surprise not likely to be reproduced in Trenton, Maine.
Not only are the products "cool," the wall graphics are, too.

The imagery here, "Welcome Home" has its mixed messages, too. The human condition— flesh and bones of it all—can still find welcome through connection even if that connection is as tenuous as a rain least it's a multi-colored one.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

one, one, one, one, oh

Nothing remarkable to report tonight except all the ones in today's date 1/11/10. Just got back from my first walk in weeks. The first day my lingering cold didn't force me into my pajamas way before my bed time. I made it to the library and back. All the decorations and frantic activity I saw Christmas Eve have vanished. Instead sombre streets stretched on for blocks and blocks with a few silhouettes of heads dining in restaurants. Starting over. Back to reality.
Wish I had a neat picture to post....

All of a sudden the building's fire alarm sounded. It's happened before when someone pulls down the breaker for a prank...I'm gonna take a look and I'll get back to you....hopefully the place isn't burning down!

As I was saying, nothing remarkable except the great firemen from Station 15 on Boylston street across from the Prudential center who were on the scene by the time I got to the lobby. Moments later they shut off the alarm once it was clear that someone whose food was burnt had opened his apartment door to get rid of the smoke and it tripped the alarm! A quiet Monday night turned into a little photo op to get this blog moving again. Happy New Year!