Inertia…or action?

By Caitlin Kelly


Sidewalk closed, use other sidewalk…


From The New York Times:

Habits are powerful. We persist with many of them because we tend to give undue emphasis to the present. Trying something new can be painful: I might not like what I get and must forgo something I already enjoy. That cost is immediate, while any benefits — even if they are large — will be enjoyed in a future that feels abstract and distant. Yes, I want to know what else my favorite restaurant does well, but today I just want my favorite dish.

Overconfidence also holds us back. I am unduly certain in my guesses of what the alternatives will be like, even though I haven’t tried them.

Finally, many so-called choices are not really choices at all.

I finally hit bottom on two issues this week, and finally acted to try and deal with them, instead of just stewing and whining.

I live in a town north of New York City, whose main street is increasingly jammed with traffic, including 18-wheel trucks. Pedestrians have been struck and injured while in the crosswalks, which is illegal.

It’s getting worse and worse and worse.

The other day, I watched, enraged, as two drivers, in broad daylight, once more drove right through the crosswalk as I was crossing — and saw me looking right at them.

I gave them both the middle finger and went directly to the police station where I filed an official request for how many summons they issued in 2017 for this violation. (My guess? Fewer than a dozen.)

To my delighted surprise, the chief of police called me the next day and we discussed the 60 (!) summons they’d issued and how to potentially reduce the problem. I was so glad I’d done something.

I also called a friend in Canada to ask his advice and help potentially finding me and my husband full-time staff jobs there — because Canadian residents don’t have to pay for healthcare.

That alone would save us $2,000 every month.

I left Canada in 1988 and have no burning desire to re-patriate; we don’t want to sell our New York apartment and can’t rent it under co-op rules, which is a huge deterrent.

We love our town and region and would miss our life here.

I can return to Canada as a citizen, and we have yet to discover whether Jose has the right to live there with me, let alone work.

But we’re now so burdened with health insurance costs that are rising and rising and rising, and despite all our hard work, we feel increasingly frustrated and angry with our financial struggle.

We’re both full-time freelancers, living in a one bedroom apartment.

There’s no fat to cut.


Even if we choose to stay in New York, and we might, (and might have to), I already feel better for:

1) admitting these issues are driving me to my wits’ end rather than just bottling it up, as usual;

2) asking for help, which I’m always reluctant to do;

3) talking frankly with my husband about how badly this stress is affecting us individually and our marriage.


I was inspired by a New York Times column with the wise words:


Fury isn’t strategy


For me, 2018 is going to be a year of strategy and action.


How about you?

It’s my body and I’ll change it any way I like

English: An ethnic Adivasi woman from the Kuti...
Image via Wikipedia

Loved this piece in The New York Times about women going seriously blond after chemotherapy:

A decade ago, the women who came to see Ms. Dorram, then at John Frieda, after chemo or radiation therapy did so furtively. They removed their wigs in the bathroom or booked early morning appointments so they didn’t have to be in a room with healthy clients.

“You feel vulnerable,” said Ms. Kreek, who met Ms. Dorram at John Frieda, when she returned to blond after her first round of chemotherapy in 2003. “You don’t want to come into a room with ladies with tons of hair, going, ‘I liked it when you did that last time.’ It’s like, ‘Shut up.’ ”

Now, for many women who have lost hair during cancer treatments, dyeing is empowering — and doing it in an open, chatty session makes it all the better. “They’re feeling good again,” said Alexis Antonellis, a colorist at Oscar Blandi who often sees clients who want hair colored after chemotherapy. “They want to go back to who they were. They’re so excited to sit back in the chair and get their life back. It’s really nice. You’ve got to see the smiles.”

I decided in December 2011 it was time to finally replace my arthritic left hip. I was, frankly, terrified of the whole thing. Four kinds of anesthetic? Three days in the hospital? A six-inch scar? Shriek.

A whole parade of strangers would soon be all over, and inside, my body. For a control freak like me, this was a little much.

So, after 20+ years as a (highlighted) blond, I went back to being a redhead — again. The last time I’d been red was in the 1980s, at the end of my crazy, fun-filled 20s.

Going decisively and suddenly red was also empowering.

I needed the surgery but I wanted a new look. When you’re about to face, or have just faced, a whole pile of medical intervention you really crave  doing something to your own body that’s fun and painless — and totally of your choosing.

(I’m not one for tattoos or piercings, so what else was left?)

I’m loving the new color, and have had nothing but compliments on it; a photo of me/it is on the “welcome” and “about” pages here.

Have you ever made a radical change to your appearance as a way to take charge — maybe at a shaky time in your life?

Did it help?

Seeing With Fresh Eyes

The 'Glasses Apostle' in the altarpiece of the...
Time for a new vision? Definitely! Image via Wikipedia

I returned home a few weeks ago after a three-week absence, the longest I had been away for a few years in one stretch.

I suddenly saw the bedroom, robin’s egg blue, with fresh eyes, and I wanted a change, a big one.

Now it’s soft, warm gray — the same color we’ve had in our small dining room for a few years. It’s the exact shade of cigarette ash, soothing yet clean and crisp without being cold. (It’s called Modern Gray from Sherwin-Williams and the owners of Urban Outfitters and Anthropologie [one of my favorite stores] have the exact same color in their country home.)

One of the great challenges of everyday life is being able to see things with fresh eyes. It all starts to blur after a while into a haze of comforting, familiar, routine sameness.

Putting my mother into a nursing home jolted me — hard — out of this stupor.

I sat with her at dinner, a silent room filled with nodding gray heads, and came home desperately grateful for my sweetie’s laughter and loud music and even the noisy small baby downstairs.

We sorted through boxes of her belongings, lovely things she had acquired from all over the world, from hand-embroidered dresses from India to a folk art wooden animal she bought in London. I came home determined to toss everything without meaning or serious value to me, from my old wedding ring to the armoire that’s been in the garage for three years.

The cost of her care every month is as much as we, combined, earn. Now we’re looking into long-term care insurance.

What has sharpened your vision lately?