Posts tagged community

That time I chose Self-Care…

Self-care is the new division…

As a person who has been on this earth for over a half-century, every new “methodology” or “way of thinking”, I have usually met with skepticism.  Now maybe it’s because I am a born and bred New Yorker, but that’s me.  Excuses for bad behavior never went over well with my family and there was a plethora of behavior that fell under the “bad” category. 

That being said, everyone these days talks about “self-care”.  As the COVID-19 pandemic began, we were told to stay home, “flatten the curve”, they said. I sewed our first masks together in March of 2020 and we wore them when suggested. Vaccines came out – how fast could we get an appointment? Vaccinated twice, boosted, wearing masks when in large settings, staying away from those who we know are unvaccinated.

Here’s where the self-care comes in. On the growing list of identified “pre-existing conditions” that made one more susceptible to infection with COVID-19, I seemed to be checking off more of them as we went through 2020:

Older? (Really? I didn’t think I was that old…) – Check

Obesity? (I like to think of it as “fluffiness”) – Check

Pre-diabetic? (Jury still out on this one – endocrinologist says “no”) – Possible check

As the yes went on and more and more issues made me nervous, High Blood Pressure?  – Check

Blood Type A? – Check

Besides the fact that I have been a somewhat closeted Germaphobe since the age of 8 (thanks to my dad and an inundation of poinsettias at Christmas), this pandemic and the thought of catching some “could-be-deadly” virus had me beside myself.  My wife’s business was completely impacted as the shutdown of the restaurant industry led to her (thankfully) being home for long periods of time but put a tremendous strain on an already strained business.

Oh yes, you might think that washing hands, using hand sanitizer, wiping everything that came in the house down with Lysol sprays and cleaners and staying home might have been the best steps in self-care one could have taken.  Staying away from large gatherings of people, meeting friends and neighbors outside, cooking every meal at home, shopping with home delivery – all privileges we took as the various surges hit our area. 

With older parents, being an only child, running my own business and commuting an hour both ways every day to that business, I didn’t have a lot of time, nor did I have the inclination to invest any time in “self-care”. Maybe an errant massage once or twice a year but no regular doctor’s visits, no meditation, no retreats, no journaling – just a lot of running around and appointments and expectations to be met.  I am not telling you this to have you feel sorry for me – only to give context to what I will say next.

With this pandemic, I finally chose to worry about ME; to take care of ME; to keep ME (and my wife) somewhat safe; for ME to be a responsible member of the human race and keep others safe as well – this was my way of saying, “Enough! I want to make sure I’m still here to see another day”.  But with events scheduled at the very beginnings of the Delta surge (which we didn’t attend – 150 people, mostly unvaccinated – one having to be postponed due to COVID infections; another “indoor-outdoor” with about 70), we became highly aware of the vigilance necessary around rising infection rates.  Other events were outdoors; we even celebrated my wife’s 60th birthday in August when almost all numbers in New York were down – we did a small family gathering – 30 people and outdoors.

And yet, it has caused nothing but trouble with family and in a community that are (for the most part) diametrically opposed to science, the world community and the “Golden Rule”; dressing-downs referring to what we should do and how we should behave have been vocalized loud and clear; I have encountered push back from friends and family alike – those that I always considered close but now realize (or maybe just solidified the thinking that…) if I don’t play the game by their rules and compromise myself, I’m not going to be considered or respected or remembered. 

Definite on the respected. And with every passing day, remembered less and less.

I know I missed things and if you knew me well, you know, I live with the regret of missing things, so I try my best to NOT miss things.  No one has asked why I am doing the things I am as far as COVID is concerned – no one has asked me if I am concerned about others I consider “family”. No one has asked if I’ve been able to see my family during this time – no one has inquired about loss. Keeping myself safe, keeping my wife safe and also, not wanting to be responsible for bringing a germ that I might be carrying to someone else and making them ill was how I chose to choose ME first this time. 

That time I chose self-care?  I’d do it again – regardless of the opposition.  There’s a bigger picture here and when self-care broadens itself to community-care or worldwide-care, I’m always going to come down on the side of responsible and safe.

Not Alive and Well and Yet, Some Things are Still Surprising

I don’t get this one even more.


I mean, I get it – but I don’t see why it happens.


As a country, we are collectively mourning the loss of five Dallas Police Officers.  FIVE…  In a matter of minutes, FIVE lives gone, children without fathers, wives without husbands, mothers without sons.


Then we take sides…..

This is terrorism.  The gunman wanted to fulfill an agenda he had, radical or fanatical thinking behind it – take your pick.  And he was trained by the structure present in our country’s military.  Homegrown, by definition.

You hear all sides – it wasn’t justified, it wasn’t right, it was justified by not right, it was justified and right – all positions on the spectrum.  Liberals cite the gun laws, Conservatives cite gun laws.  Democrats differ from Republican thinking, Republicans differ from Democrats.

And in this wonderful age of social media, we can be scrutinized about our beliefs in a two word post on Facebook or in less than 140 characters on Twitter.  People hear what they want to hear and see what they want to see.  They believe who they choose to listen to and dismiss those who do not agree with them.


I have lived in New York all my life.  I take pride in the fact that if someone needs a ride or directions to get somewhere, I can provide assistance.  I can tell you the “ins and outs” of travelling in the five boroughs of our city because I have driven almost every section of every borough over the twenty-years that I ran a balloon delivery business.

Yesterday, I read a post from someone who is married to a newly hired police officer in another part of the country.  She wrote about the sacrifice her husband is making – “so willing to sacrifice so much for people who care so little”.

Want to know what’s wrong with police training? Their home lives? Their way of thinking?  Read that last part of the last sentence in the previous paragraph.  Thankfully, most police officers truly believe in the serve and protect and that belief being applied to everyone they come into contact with.  But those who are of the mentality that “people care so little” have no business putting the uniform on.  You are charged with serving those you look like, those you do not look like, those who dress, pray and eat like you or not. When we wake up to that reality, we will have to address the broader issue of eradicating racism from every police department’s employee – young and old, newly hired or near retirement.

Today I was challenged by someone I am friends with on Facebook, to “take a walk in Brownsville or Bed-Stuy after dark tonight” – the challenge concluded by telling me to let the person “know how it goes”.  This particular person and I have minimal contact with each other – a distant relative, the kind you may see at weddings and funerals, but not much more.  We were raised in the same neighborhood as children but we apparently see the world from two hugely different perspectives.

Truth is, I have gone through Brownsville and Bed-Stuy, East New York and Coney Island; I have made deliveries in these areas as well as Bensonhurst, Mill Basin, Bayside and Astoria.  I assume that the “challenger” (as we will refer to her) wanted me to agree with her that those neighborhoods that she cited were “dangerous”.  Well, maybe they are – as all the rest of the neighborhoods in any area could be – at night, in broad daylight, at dawn.

The insinuations that were prompted by a post are revolting.  People in a more privileged position can draw all the conclusions they want.  Walk the walk, as they say; put your money where your mouth is.

I have worked with the finest people in this gigantic city – and believe you me, they are not always found in the best of positions, circumstances, or neighborhoods.  I have decorated street fairs in Brownsville, grand openings in Bed-Stuy; I have brought my staff to places in every borough that may have made others look around nervously; we have been at all-day events in Corona.  Our shop was in Coney Island for 19 years and we opened and closed all hours of the day and night.  You may ask if we ever had problems.  The answer is yes some issues but not something that would have chased us from wherever we were.  The only think that ever scared us was Superstorm Sandy and even then, with every single property in Coney Island being affected, neighbors who walked passed our store in the days after the storm, asked if we were okay, if they could help and would we be back in operation.

Social media – where you can post something and it lives forever.  The internet? Put it up – take it down, the web has the last laugh.  If someone posts something you do not agree with, let them know; if a comment is biased, object.  Do not stand by and look the other way – your voice is as important as theirs.  Use your voice!

The word that will carry us forward is EMPATHY.  Know what its like to be someone else…..

Regarding Sandy… The Musical!

Hey everyone out there! Just wanted to give everyone an update on the status of our store one year and almost one month later … We just received good news! We will definitely possibly kind-of-sort-of probably will “qualify” to receive a loan from the SBA for “Emergency Recovery” from Superstorm Sandy!!

Here’s the catch – on top of it not being a sure thing on approval, I was told today by my loan assistance officer that I will have to take a mortgage out on my condo as collateral!!!!

I sure wish someone would have pre-qualified ALL OF THE BUSINESSES AND HOMEOWNERS to see if we passed all the criteria to get HIT with the storm!

And can someone out there please explain to me how I can’t get the SBA to loan my business money – my business that has employed people for almost twenty years, paid taxes and fees as required, and actually makes money (not millions but some profit) but companies that flat out say that they are not making money, have the financials to back that claim, are coming up with valuations in the millions and/or go to Wall Street for their IPO launch. Anyone have any explanation on that?? We’re not asking for millions, just a loan to rebuild.

Just amazes me…

Stay tuned!!!

Sandy and Being Down for the Count

Deny, Deny, Deny

Oh no.. You can’t have any!!

This is to let you all know the status of our “recovery” as we close out the 10th month after the storm…
I just got off the phone with NYS & NYC offices for various “Recovery Programs”. My conversation with the representative of both agencies ended with this statement – “I couldn’t get any luckier if I stood in the middle of a field with a metal pole in my hands” – we applied to every program the State of New York offered and luckily, our last application went in on March 24th – the following week, the State turned over all applications for city based businesses and homeowners to NYC.

Guess what?? “Some of the thousands of applications were actually lost in the transfer” is the answer I was told. Upon further investigation and tracking of my application registration number, we have determined that our application was, you got it, LOST!

So while I harbor no animosity toward the staff at any of these agencies that go home every pay period with a paycheck, NO ONE in the State or City bureaucratic machine gets the idea that we, small and micro businesses literally swamped by this storm have been breaking our backs, going without, exhausting savings, and standing by aimlessly as we watch everything we’ve built for years, even decades, ebb away. Who cares about the year round community as long as rides are running and people can lay on a beach? Coney Island looks like a ghost town when many of those businesses never even bothered to open again. And by the way, even the few businesses that have qualified for the “Emergency Loans” have yet to see the money – 10 months later!! Some emergency!!

So our status? Contrary to what some may believe, we did not “hit the lottery:, we are not “sitting on our winnings”, and no, Sandy wasn’t “the best thing that could have ever happened to us” (all things I have heard from people who think we made out like bandits!) Disappointed by a system designed to fail the people who it was supposed to serve – you know, the ones that pay the corporate taxes, payroll taxes, providing year round jobs and stable foundations in a city we have been born into, immigrated to, raised in and supported. Doesn’t matter who is in charge – what a disappointment to not even be allowed to BORROW ourselves into oblivion to try to get back on our feet.

Absolutely amazing!!

Richard Nixon, Pete Rose and NYC’s Dumbest Election Ever!

Crook? Gambler? Joke?

Crook? Gambler? Joke?

I have been shaking my head for a week or so now.  I cannot understand how certain public figures seem to think that whatever it is that they do wrong, a society of amnesia victims will vote them, watch them and continue to promote them, regardless.

In my recollection, the title of this article probably refers to the “famous firsts” with major scandals – or rather, the “firsts” to be caught.  We are embroiled in perhaps the dumbest election in New York City’s history – perhaps even the country’s history.  Marion Barry, conviction and reelections aside (you D.C.’ers know that one all too well), this election season gives us a “middle aged, perpetually horny” candidate for mayor and a confessed client of the world’s oldest profession, running for City Comptroller.

One really has to think about what is going on here.

I was all of about 6 or 7 years old when then President Richard Nixon first denied his involvement, then resigned the office of President over something that, in today’s world almost seems inconsequential; a break-in to Democratic headquarters – all to win an election.  The Watergate hearings featured H.R. Haldeman and John Erlichman and a lot of intrigue.  I also remember similar hearings when certain other President’s men were deep into the thick of things with “Iran-Contra” and illegal arms deals.  Well we all know how that saga played out and for those of us who lived through the September 11th attacks, the actions of those men led us down a path, changing the world forevermore.

One could not imagine living through a second possible impeachment of a United States President but “deny, deny, deny” didn’t seem to get Clinton off the hook either.  His supportive wife even caught hell for “standing by her man” – it really is up to her so we should all keep our opinions to ourselves, now shouldn’t we?  If Huma Abedin wants to be the new Hillary,  it is her choice, whether you like it or not.  She has to sleep with him as they say – but Anthony Weiner needs to admit that be he an ordinary citizen, like the rest of us, he, his family and his career would be toast!

Bringing me to more men of position and power – Major League Baseball wants to ban certain players involved in the Biogenesis Drug scandal.  Great! Players like Rodriguez and Braun should be banned, season-long or lifetime.  Players like McGwire, Sosa, Bonds and Clemens broke records and re-wrote baseball history. An abuse of power and record-breaking play should also be called into question with these players.  No asteriks here – they should be stripped of records and banned for life also.  Ruth, Gerhig, and Maris DID NOT do what these modern day players did.  Pete Rose bet on games – a team sport, difficult for one person to throw, but possible. But in the larger scheme of things?  Poor judgement and gambling is not the same as steroid use and the toll it takes on a human body, not to mention the tarnishing of long standing records. .

Spitzer?  Need you ask?

And yet, all of these men can’t seem to understand the criticism.  “It was in the past; I’m sorry and I’ve changed” is the tag line for this year’s candidates.  I guess everyone can change – I don’t believe that a leopard can’t change its spots – I do believe that people can atone and turn their lives around.  Living a reasonably normal existence in society as a relatively non-publicized individual is well within the realm of possibility for anyone. To blatantly flaunt your political or famous persona with an “Oh gee, I really am sorry” attitude while you seek to recover the powerful lifestyle you had, is a hard pill to swallow.

The dumbest election ever?  Maybe.  Do you think maybe its not about this being the dumbest election with candidates who have no right on a moral ground to run, but rather those very candidates who are looking at their constituents thinking, “They’re dumb – they won’t remember”.

Let’s see what happens in November…..

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