The Transition Network

What Are Your Silver Linings?

We all know that life has changed dramatically. We’re wearing masks, we’re socially isolating and socially distancing, we’re Zooming, we’re missing hugging our family and friends, and we can’t wait for life to get back to some sort of normal. But we’re also finding creative ways to confront this new world, and even finding “silver linings.”

Please write up a sentence or two and send—along with a photo, if possible—to Debbi Honorof at, and we will share them in future emails.​

Here are a few silver linings from TTN-NYC members:

DEBBI HONOROF: For as long as I can remember, I have loved reading books. You know the familiar cliché of a kid reading a book with a flashlight under the sheets? That was me.
In the mid-1990s, I spent a year working for Book Revue, a large independent bookstore on Long Island. My job was to organize and host author events with local and celebrity authors, including Mary Tyler Moore, Regis Philbin, Bill Bradley, Deepak Chopra, William F. Buckley, Russell Means, Alexandra Stoddard, Nelson DeMille, Susan Isaacs, and so many more. Book Revue hosted several book signings a week and I was there for just about all of them. I learned how a bookstore operates, how the publishing world works, and I amassed a large collection of inscribed books.
Debbi with Deepak Chopra at Book Revue in 1995 Debbi (center) with authors Alice Hoffman (left) and Susan Isaacs in 2017

In the back of my mind, I thought about writing a book column and in the early 2000s, I was offered the opportunity to write a monthly column for Long Island Woman magazine. I wrote the colum for 10 years and some of the columns became cover stories. I interviewed local and celebrity authors like Renee Fleming, Doris Kearns Goodwin, Sally Field, Dorothy Hammill, Mary Higgins Clark, and Alice Hoffman, to name a few. Most of the time, I conducted the interviews by phone, but I had the chance to interview Jane Pauley in person…in her husband Gary Trudeau (creator of Doonesbury)’s studio! What a thrill!

Over the years, I also planned and hosted many live author events, some of them in partnership with TTN-LI, of which I was a member. When I moved to NYC a few years ago and joined the NYC chapter of TTN, I volunteered to plan some author events, so on March 3, TTN-NYC hosted a live event called “Cocktails & Conversations” with Jamie Bernstein, daughter of music icon Leonard Bernstein, who wrote a wonderful memoir. The sold-out event was held at The Writing Room (the former Elaine’s—a popular hangout for famous writers) and Jamie received rave reviews. It was supposed to be the first in a series of author cocktail hours. But then the pandemic hit and like just about everything else, live events were put on hold. 

But there was a silver lining.

As I started Zooming along with everyone else, I soon realized that by hosting author events on Zoom, we could not only host a larger audience, but we could invite other chapters to join in. And that is exactly what we have been doing. So far, we have hosted two author webinars (one about Dorothy Parker and one about what makes a good thriller) and we have several more planned over the next few months. To learn more, please check the event listings on our website for more information.


A Sense of Place: How Research Adds Depth to a Novel’s Location
Tuesday, July 7, 2020    Time: 3:00PM

If you missed the first two webinars, you can view the recordings. 

Dorothy Parker webinar

Thriller webinar

BETTY NEWMAN: I find it touching and curious how major events like 9/11 and the Pandemic of 2020 bring out the best in some people. It never ceases to amaze me how unexpectedly individuals from your past, who you may have not spoken with in years, suddenly reach out to see how you are doing. I have coined them "care calls" and to me they are filled with deep sentiment and serendipity. And this is exactly what transpired when Ken Nercessian contacted me on May 6, 2020.

I first met Ken in 2010 at the holiday market in NYC’s Bryant Park, where he was hawking his delectable Kettle Corn NYC. After the first bite - he had me as a customer forever! As we reminisced about the past, our discussion shifted to the present and how passionate we both had become in wanting to create businesses whose main purpose was to do good in the world.

Suddenly a light bulb went off in my head and I abruptly asked Ken if he would consider creating a Purple Popcorn for an organization where I presently was a member of the Board. Berkshire Farm & Services for Youth is the largest Foster Care provider in the State of New York. And Covid-19 has placed additional demands on an already complex system.

May is National Foster Care Month and Berkshire is celebrating with a 2020 Go Purple for Berkshire initiative, purple is the organization's signature color. Ken graciously agreed to develop a custom purple berry flavored popcorn in support of our Go Purple for Berkshire campaign and to also donate 50% of the sales to the Berkshire Mission Fund.

To “share the care” and order purple popcorn for yourself or as a gift, CLICK HERE and use the code gopurple (lower case).
TTN-NYC member Betty Newman is a nationally recognized trends forecaster and creative marketing consultant and is the founder and creative director of The Holding Company. Launching soon: Make It Right, original collaborations with socially concerned national and global brands and businesses.


KAREN MERSON: One of the biggest silver linings I discovered during this quarantine is my ability to continue to do my weekly workshop with The Fortune Society through Zoom. When Fortune first asked me if I would consider running the workshop virtually I was hesitant.  I thought it could be like herding cats: clients zooming in from all different places, dealing with distractions and never meeting each other in person.  Boy was I wrong!

 For 6 years I ran this two-hour Tuesday afternoon workshop at Fortune. It is named Trait Tree and the purpose of the workshop is for our clients to reconnect with their humanity. The most important message our clients receive is that they are NOT their felonies or their criminal justice history, but rather they are individuals who have much to contribute to society.  

Here’s how Trait Tree works: After a discussion about what a “trait” is, each client writes down his/her three most dominant traits and what each of those traits say about them. Then for each client, I write out on the board the traits that they used to describe themselves and I then ask their peers for feedback as to how they experience that client. Because the clients had never met each other face to face, I was concerned about how this part of the workshop would succeed.  Again I was wrong.  Like previous in person workshops  clients are surprised by how their peers either validate their self perception or name even more positive traits that the individual was not aware of expressing.  We talk about how these traits can help them in job interviews and, most importantly, how specific traits can make them an asset to an organization.  At the end of the workshop, when I ask participants if it was helpful, they all answer “yes.” They feel more confident, more ready for their interviews and closer as a group.  

I was hesitant about being able to do this by Zoom, but I found the clients to be even more committed despite all their distractions at home. Oftentimes they asked for more time to continue the workshop. 

Two hours were not enough for them.  Last workshop ran 2 and a half hours.  I had to end it because I was exhausted! 
Because of the lockdown, I was afraid of losing meaning in my life and especially sad about not being able to run the Tuesday Trait Tree sessions at Fortune. But being able to continue to volunteer has restored my sense of purpose.  So thank you Fortune for enabling your entire organization to run virtually and to Zoom for making Trait Tree possible!

MARY LOU FLOYD: I have two close friends with whom I text daily and Zoom at least once a week.  One is a graphic designer, the other a journalist and writer and I have a past career as a filmmaker.  We keep up on the daily virus news and jointly watch and text during the morning Cuomo press conference and the evening Trump one, although we had to stop that last one because it was causing us to drink too much.  I sent them Gov. Cuomo and Dr. Fauci socks and t-shirts for their April birthdays.  

So when Gov. Cuomo announced the PSA competition for 30 second ads to promote wearing face masks, we got on it.  Well actually we procrastinated until the last few days but still produced a spot without leaving the security of our homes.  While the other entries were shot in multiple locations, with more effects and are overall amazing, we pride ourselves on finding a way to deliver our entry without jeopardizing anyone's safety.  Now we're just sitting back and awaiting Gov. Cuomo's call!!


ENID KLASS: I learned how to make a perfect poached egg every time!

DONNA RICH: My husband and I have been at our house in upstate New York since March 21st.  We have done more cooking, shopping and walking together than we usually do in the city. I have been involved in a number of online programs, such as meditation, yoga, exercise, watching dance and theater performances and listening to music. I have had more time to reflect on what is meaningful in my life and to reconnect with old friends and family with whom I have been out of touch or not in frequent touch. I appreciate more than before the beauty of nature, the time with my husband, the slowing down of the pace of life. I have been enjoying participating by Zoom in meetings or programs sponsored by nonprofit organizations. 

GEORGIA POLLAK: Although I am alone,  far from family and friends in NYC, I am enjoying walks in the Tucson Arizona desert when the cactus are blooming—a time I am not usually here.  Enjoying too not only the majesty and silence of the mountains but also the sights and sounds of desert birds.


SUSAN NIEDER ACUNTO:  I've been raiding the craft drawer for googly eyes, ribbon, packing straw, chicklets, small candies and whatever else I can find to make "friends" for my toddler grandkiddo to chat with via FaceBook. Then we sound off together with animal noises while he flips the pages of Old Mac's Farm and points to the cow, pig, horse and duck. Not as satisfying as an in-person hug,
but still makes me smile.

SUSAN KARP: Through the kindness of a number of people, my sheltering in place has been more doable and less stressful than originally anticipated. Two women in the neighborhood do most of my grocery shopping. One has three teenage boys and works part time but still sends me an email asking for my list every time she goes shopping. I don’t know them but pray, when the coast is clear, I‘ll have the opportunity to thank them in person. Hopefully by then hugs will be possible. They are angels. My neighbor, Joan, has a standing order with Fresh Direct and reminds me regularly I can add anything I need to her order. I was late to ordering masks but, my more organized and strategic friend across town, Marcia, put five in the mail as soon as she heard. My friend Anna does incredible research and shares all so I’m up to date on virus research, products, websites, etc. I’m nominating my building staff for the Medal of Freedom. I could go on and on but my point is, people have been lovely, thoughtful and kind. If you have to go through the epicenter of a pandemic, these are just some of the people you would want to have by your side—metaphorically speaking of course. We all know by now, no one can be by your side in a pandemic.

ARLENE BESSENOFF: I'm truly learning the joy of cooking.  For Passover, I was able to make many of the dishes (like carrot tzimmes and potato kugel) that, in previous years, I had purchased already prepared. I followed recipes (some from very old cookbooks) and learned how to substitute and be creative when necessary. I found most ingredients in my neighborhood, but Amazon helped as well.  Now, I look forward to spending time in my kitchen as it provides an oasis of calm and distraction from life's current challenges. 

Carrot Tzimmes

PAT BAXTER: One silver lining is the natural world — reduced pollution, swans and jellyfish in the canals of Venice — and very ordinary things like dandelions that are a welcome burst of color now. The other silver lining is how the arts have responded — Andrea Bocelli’s performance at the Duomo in Milan at the top of my list.
Dandelion: a welcome burst of color
PAULE ROGOL: Taking walks, picking up the guitar after many years, my morning coffee! Sharing the daily rituals of the day with my husband. Life is slower and I’m surprised at how comfortable it is!

A gorgeous tree found on a walk

EVA ENG: My faith in the power of science is being reaffirmed. On a worldwide basis, the irrepressible and collaborative spirit of scientists actively searching for pandemic solutions is heartening. Perhaps more folks will be inspired to pursue STEM careers.

LINDA ROSENHEIM:  My "silver linings" have been calls I've received from concerned friends who are far from NYC. They have called  from Canada, Colombia, the UK and other states to check on me during this terrible pandemic. It was reminiscent of calls from friends after 9/11.  The calls and many emails have been comforting and they keep me connected to the wonderful people I've met through the years. 
We all know that life has changed dramatically. We’re wearing masks, we’re socially isolating and socially distancing, we’re Zooming, we’re missing hugging our family and friends, and we can’t wait for life to get back to some sort of normal.

But we’re also finding creative ways to confront this new world, and even finding “silver linings.”
What are your “silver linings” during this pandemic?
  • Did you learn a new skill,
  • sew masks to donate,
  • bake a complicated cake, or
  • discover something outdoors that you never had time to notice?
We’re asking TTN members to share your “silver linings” with other chapter members.
Please write up a sentence or two and send—along with a photo, if possible—to Debbi Honorof at, and we will share them in future emails.

Material from, 19:22:01 September 22, 2021.
Copyright © The Transition Network 2021