Living in the Big Apple – a Dream Come True

In March 2006, I moved from Austin, TX to NYC for a new adventure. I wanted all that NYC could offer. I was 60 years old, single (as in divorced) and I wanted to revel in being in one of the most exciting cities in the world. My parents came from NYC, I’d visited grandparents throughout my child- and adulthood, but I never lived here. I decided to change that status.

It was great fun at first. I made friends easily, took advantage of much of what this City offered. Three-and-a-half years after I arrived, I experienced breast cancer. I was living alone in my own apartment. Friends helped—I’m lucky to be blessed with many—then, when my sublet expired, I had the amazing opportunity to move in with Dina.  It was great to have another person to share things with. That’s also when so much more IMG_0229of my NYC experience really happened.

For example, today, we got up early, went to the first showing of a new movie, then sat outside at a trendy restaurant drinking Bloody Marys and eating brunch. We watched people walk by, caught snippets of conversations from those around us. We talked about the movie, and about spirituality, which was much of its theme. We also talked about what a “miraculous” week this had been for us both.

We both had meetings with people that were interested in our work. We sent out an announcement for a workshop we’re doing together called:  “IT’S TIME TO BECOME WHO I’M MEANT TO BE.” We hope to offer these monthly and grow this curriculum. Read more about the workshop here: https://madmimi.com/p/a04915

Probably the most exciting thing that happened this week was when CBS called us. They are doing a story on boomers sharing living spaces, and they somehow found us! They spent a couple of hours Thursday, and then again Friday, videotaping in our apartment. All this for a 2.5 minute story on CBS Monday Morning sometime between 7:00 and 9:00 a.m. (We’ll be sending links to the interview so you can see it later this week.)

I really love being in NYC. There’s much more I would love to be doing more of, but that will have to wait until we’re “in the money” –more Broadway shows, operas, symphonies. I do them on occasion, but there are also so many free things and so many wonderful neighborhoods to explore, people to meet, etc.

While I did quite a lot when I lived alone, I actually do much more with Dina. We have our separate friends and interests, and we have our areas that overlap, too.

Hats off to NYC … I’m so happy to be here.

Just Lazin’ in a NYC Summer…

images-1 Sorry we haven’t been around much since our last post on June 16th–

we’ve both been traveling and working and just plain loving every minute of this fabulous summer weather. Now, with August, we’re settling in a bit.

We’re starting a new series at this blog. it’s time we got familiar, and you got a chance to get to know us better. In the next few posts, we’ll talk about how each of us came to be in New York City, how we feel about being here, and we’ll share a lot of what we’re doing here.

Ann will start–she came to the City from the farthest away, A–oh, but I should wait and let her tell you all about it herself.

Stay tuned–and keep those cards and letters–ESPECIALLY YOUR COMMENTS–coming.  We love hearing from you!

Dina

 

 

 

Does it get any better than this?

Flatmates, friends, and, now, partners in business……how lucky can you get?

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Dina here. About 6 months ago, Ann said, “We should do a workshop together.”  I’ve been “doing” workshops for years—only stopped to write my last book—Ann does them too. So it wasn’t a weird question or anything, but it stopped me short when she asked. We get along really well, we’ve even become friends in the nearly two years we’ve shared our space. But work together?

Each of us has worked for herself for more years than we can even remember. Would we be able to work together?  Should we even risk it?

“Sure,” I said, surprising myself by keeping a promise I made when I moved back to NYC almost 7 years ago: “Say yes to whatever people suggest as a new possibility.” I knew how to say “No,” and I had decided I was tired of keeping my life small. We got to work planning our workshop.

We called it “It’s Time To Become Who I’m Meant To Be,” and we “did” it recently. We started small: four wonderful, smart, interesting and talented people. We met over bagels and coffee; I led an exercise on listening. Ann introduced her 7 1/2 reinvention steps. I led a brainstorm about leadership; she gave an assignment and they reported back. After lunch, everyone had a chance to take the “Hotseat.” We ended with Prosecco and intense dark chocolate, then hugs all around as we sent our participants back out into the world, inspired by declaring who they are meant to be and what is possible for them.

As we talked about it afterward, Ann and I realized how fortunate we are to do this work that we love:  to be present at the moment someone sees how he or she can fulfill on who she truly is, what he has to offer the world. We sent them home with armsful of goodwill and good work remembered, as they went off to make their dreams come true.

Same for us.

There’s a Four-Legged Creature in the House

We’ve been dog-sitting. What fun.

Here’s the backdrop. When I moved in with Dina, I had two elderly cats (age 18). I’d raised them from babies (they were sisters) and I decided it was time to put them both down, within 3 months of each other in Fall of 2012. It’s been over a year and a half. I must admit, I still feel their presence here sometimes. I’ve missed being a Mommy to 4-legged creatures, but not enough to get one. (I like my freedom of not being confined, able to travel, don’t want to outlive them, etc.)

So, Dina’s sister is away for a week and asked if we could take Boo Radley (her 12 year old Westie) for the week. We jumped at the chance. It’s such a pleasure to have this little one here. Now, there are a couple of caveats. First, Boo is 100% deaf, so it’s not about us calling him loudly or slamming a door to get his attention (doesn’t matter). It’s about having to touch him or stand right in front of him. Once he’s aware, he’s totally into playing, going out for a walk, etc.

Walking Boo is interesting as well. He moves like a snail, not just because he’s sniffing everything, but because he walks like a snail these days. In dog years, well, he’s older than any of us and I sometimes walk like a snail too. However, when he’s chasing a ball in the house, it’s amazing how fast he goes. Go figure.

Lessons:

It takes a village, it takes patience, he has easily won our hearts.

Dina and I are in total parenting mode – setting the schedule for who walks Boo and when, who’s home to feed him, etc.

photo of BooJust a sweet bi-product of our relationship is how easily we cooperate. It’s really wonderful.

 

 

A Word for the Wise

Dina here; I was robbed last week, by someone I trusted to protect me.

He was a security guard, a baggage searcher, at JFK Airport, an employee of Jet Blue. He rifled through my suitcase, touched everything, and he took my wedding rings, earrings, iPhone earbuds and a completely useless item to him that was important in my life: my Square Register, the little thing I inserted into my iPhone when you bought my book, which enabled you to use your credit card.

You need to know this happened, because in the week since I’ve told people, they have reported being robbed in the same way.

You also need to know that this kind of thief can take anything he wants to: sweaters, underwear, bathing suits–who knows what fetish he has that he could easily satisfy by stealing your things? NO WONDER WE CARRY-ON BIGGER AND BIGGER SUITCASES!

Jet Blue said they have no liability for theft, and they gave me a $100 travel coupon for my loss. This would be insulting if it wasn’t so preposterous. My wedding rings were the only things I had left of a marriage that ended with the death of my husband–if you’re wondering, I feel robbed all over again.

I’d advise you to be careful, but, honestly, there is just no way you can protect yourself against a person who steals from you, after you entrust him with your personal belongings because he says his job is to keep you safe from terrorists. There is no place to go after that.

 

 

 

 

 

Sometimes You Just Want to do Something Just for Fun

IMG_0125IMG_0234There might be several of you who read this blog who are retired. So to you this might be an irrelevant title. You have all the time to do things just for fun.

I, Ann, however still work – by choice. I love what I do. That being said, sometimes I just want to / like to do something way beyond my usual box. And, so I did.

A couple of weeks ago, I was in a local performance of The Vagina Monologues. Probably everyone knows of this play, written by Eve Ensler. It’s a funny, serious, beautifully done piece of work. There were many women on the stage at the same time, and then one by one they would read a monologue or introduce another monologue. Some were very funny and brought lots of laughter. Others were very serious, nearly tearful in their content.

What you might not know is that all performances, all over the world, donate their money to the cause of stopping violence against women. That’s its purpose.

Just an additional point: We were amateurs. There was only one professional actress in the bunch. We got to step way outside our usual boundaries. Leading up to the performances, there was ticket and raffle sales, rehearsals, etc. For two nights on stage, there were months of preparation. IT ALL PAID OFF.

I loved being part of the play, I loved making a difference by selling some tickets to friends and therefore helping with the commitment of raising money. I loved the camaraderie, the chance to act again (hey, it’s only been about 40 years). But, most of all, I loved the “standing ovation.” What a hoot.

The message here:  Take on something that’s fun, compelling, turns you on. You’ll be happy you did.

 

A New York Minute

Dina here.

Ann took me out for my birthday Friday night. After a lovely dinner, we went to a great concert at The Rubin Art Museum.

On the crowded subway home, two young women got the last two seats, and then got up to give them to us. That sometimes happens, but only on the Harlem line.

As we got settled in, one of the women asked if she could sing a song for us. She said she was a singer, and her song would make us feel good.

Well, you know New Yorkers. Ann asked, “No money, right?’ “No money,” she said, “just song.” I smiled sweetly, suspended at the bounds of my skepticism.

She started singing “Over the Rainbow” in a beautiful, melodic voice, smiling down at us the whole time. I sneaked a few looks around the car, at the other people, and saw them standing statue-still, trying hard not to make eye contact, trying to hold onto their NYC nonchalance.

She was still singing when we pulled into the 96th Street Station, and she held her note for as long as she could. Then suddenly she said, “gotta get off here” and she was gone in a flash. Some people followed her out with applause and we sent her off with our thanks. In no time, the car filled with a new gang who wore their separateness as if nothing had happened in that space at all.

Something had happened.

 

 

How I Used My Power, Yesterday

Dina here.

I’ve been moping for days. Mercury crashed every electronic device I own. My 93-year old parents are injured and sick and my sister and I have been running between our lives and theirs, trying to be helpful. Ann and I decided to renew our lease and its been sitting on the table waiting for us to sign it, which neither of us seems quite willing to do. We’re too busy worrying about our flat incomes. Worry is everywhere.

Have you ever noticed that, no matter how many reasons you have for why you’re in your present predicament, none of them makes you feel any better? All worrying does is keep me feeling bad. How can it do anything else? It locks me in to searching for reasons, proof that I am helpless to change anything.

My friend Andy helped me turn it around yesterday. He said I was holding all the worrying things close around me so I wouldn’t have to do anything. “It’s easier than doing anything about it,” he wisely offered.

“Easier” broke the spell. He was right. I was having a pain-filled mini-vacation of bad feelings, using anything I could grab to keep me from being me: working, thinking, loving, sharing, whatever.

As soon as I heard it, I saw how powerful I am. It has to take a lot of power to keep myself feeling bad when all I talk about is how I only want to feel good again. What is the sense of using my power to do that?

I started to stop, right then and there, to climb myself back out of that hole I had been hiding in. Thankfully, it was a short trip home. We always have options.

 

Words of Wisdom for us All

This is Ann. The morning after a conversation with my son, I received this email from him. It made my day. It’s worth sharing – for us all.

Gabriel is the lead singer of the band Distant Lights in Austin, TX. He is 35, very creative, sensitive and wise.

“Something occurred to me on the way to work. I remembered that everything is cyclical and seasonal, starting with the weather, leading down the chain to trees and plants, and then animals. Sometimes as people we forget that we’re as much a part of that as anything else. Bears hibernate in the winter, and most plant life dies. It’s a time of reflection and inner evaluation. Of absorbing and reckoning everything that happened the prior year, and also storing up energy for the coming year. I think it’s good to remember this during the winter months. If things seem stagnant and hard, and you’re literally spinning your wheels on the ice, that’s ok because you’re supposed to be there. I’m speaking as much for you as I am myself (and everyone else in the world regardless of how it seems they’re doing from the outside).”

Love you :)

Gabe
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Snowy Workdays

Dina here: Outside my window—in the narrow curtain-opening I keep for noting the rest of the world from my writing table that faces it across the room—there is yet another snowstorm that seems determined to beat its predecessors’ records for number-of-inches-per-minute.

It’s quiet in the Flatmates’ house today, perhaps matching the enforced quiet of the scene outside. Occasionally I can hear a car or bus like a great big zipper along the slippery street; mostly, I hear nothing.

Inside, at two opposite ends of the apartment, we are at work, each in our own space. Occasionally, we might bump into each other in the kitchen; otherwise there is silence outside the bedroom-office doors. On snowy days, we don’t even ask each other questions–at least, not in person. We text each other, as if the walk across the common space would be an outrage, an intrusion. As if we had to put on our boots and hats to make the trip.

What is it about snowy days that seems to create a cocoon around me, proving the meaning of “hunkering down” in whatever space it is I spend my workdays? I felt it even as a kid growing up in this City, when the snows used to reach as high as our second-story windows and our little black dog used to disappear into the snowdrifts until we couldn’t even see her and got scared she would freeze to death before she found her way out again.

Maybe that’s why the snow keeps falling so hard and fast this winter. Maybe it is trying to break the record for number-of-inches-fallen. Maybe we could whisper to it that it’s not going to happen, now, in a world of global warming. Maybe we’d be doing it a favor just to admire its persistence. It’s easier on the dogs, anyway.