Author Archives: Gigi Branch

A Transition: My Ups, Downs and Letting Go

college_orientationOur lives are propelled by transitions. Sometimes they are welcome; other times, not so much. Some we choose, while others may be forced upon us. And, even though, we may know that we are entering a certain transition, that realization doesn’t necessarily make it easier to process. That is how I feel about my latest transition: my only child going off to college. Continue reading

The Canyons of Lower Manhattan

John Street with Freedom Tower in the backgroundI happen to work in the Financial District in Lower Manhattan. I’m not connected to investment banking or a brokerage firm, but rather to a small eCommerce company. Over the past three years, I have spent more time in this neighborhood, than I would ever have imagined. This spring, I made a conscious effort to get outside during my lunch hour for some exercise and “fresh” air. Far from being a favored hood, it does offer history that is still in the making, and on a lucky day, some architectural surprises. Continue reading

Discovering the Power of Empathy

Angels LandingA couple of weeks ago, I found myself feeling a little down, which could have been a result of mid-winter’s gray skies and cold temperatures, but I connected these doldrums to my job dissatisfaction. This is not a new scenario for me, not by any means. Those close to me are very familiar with my discontent with the professional realm. I want to be using my language skills and experience on a day-to-day basis, and know I should be proactive in looking for a situation that would allow me to do just that. And that is exactly what is so perplexing and upsetting: my lack of initiative to act on this important personal goal. Continue reading

Held Hostage on an MTA Bus

Maxine illustration

One Senior Citizen That Won’t Be Messed With

In our increasingly youth-centered culture, those who are fifty-years-old and older often hide or play down their age, all while worrying about their waning status in society. A member of that group myself, I certainly feel this divide. Recently, however, I was reminded of the power the elderly can exude. Before venturing into this story, I just want to clarify that it contains no violence and that it is based on the unexpected hutzpah of a quintessential New York character. Continue reading

What Would You Ask a Princess?

Ball Gown design from Charles James

Charles James Ball Gown design

The Royals were in town, and I was surprised to find myself so charmed by the news. A celebrity follower I am not—okay, maybe of one of two–nor do I tend to keep up with the latest on the British Monarchy. But I do follow the news, where royal family members occasionally make appearances, even on this side of the Atlantic. Fortunately, for the most part in recent years the press seems less focused on scandal and more on joyous life occasions. That’s obviously a result of the attention on William and Kate’s courtship, their sanctioned marriage, and the birth of their first child. Continue reading

What Thanksgiving Reminds Me About My Grandma

Grandma and Grandad on trip to DC in the 1950sMy grandmother, a farmer’s wife, was unbeatable in the kitchen. She could cook like no one I have ever known. I have no idea where she learned this skill, certainly not from a culinary school. Sadly, I never asked her, during all those hours sitting at the red formica table in her kitchen, watching her roll out biscuits and pastry, or ice one of her many 3-layer cakes! She had just the right touch and taste to prepare a mess of southern dishes, both savory and sweet. She was a natural behind the stove, but more importantly, she loved bringing pleasure through her cooking.

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Do You Need a Hug?

Harry hugging our cat TwylaA warm and fuzzy light bulb went off for me last week. It happened one evening when I returned home a little later than usual. My cat Twyla greeted me at the door wanting a belly rub, and then my son came over to give me a hug. Naturally, both were welcome exchanges after a long day. As I was basking in the tenderness of this “home sweet home” moment, Continue reading

Reclaiming My Family Name and Then Some!

My Own Milky Way: Family or SurnameIt’s official. After a visit to the Social Security office with my final divorce decree, I’m back to being just a Branch. There is no more hyphen and no more Shaw. I am not exactly sure what prompted my decision to drop my married name, but as I approached my five-year anniversary as a divorcée, I decided that it was time to relinquish a status that I no longer held. Continue reading

Beyond Our Fears

My Own Milky Way:  Narrows at Zion National ParkFear is a powerful emotion that is actually encoded in our DNA. It is part of our survival mechanism. Different kinds of fear make it tricky to define this four-letter word, which should never be underestimated. It carries a lot of weight, involves multiple scenarios–both real and imaginary–and seems incredibly complex to even touch on in one post, but I’ve decided to give it a try. Continue reading

Fear of Flying Begone

My Own Milky Way: Streb Trapeze AcademyIf you were invited to participate in a trapeze class, would you do it? I was asked that question a few years back. At the time, the closest I had come to aerial acrobatics was cartwheels. I often walked past a trapeze school, located on the top of a building, and would see the acrobats flying through the air with the sky as their backdrop. It was an impressive and incredibly daring site, but not something I envisioned for myself. Continue reading