Category Archives: Obstacles

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

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