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Ushering opens up the arts in Columbus, Ohio, for me.


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I am an usher at several Columbus, Ohio, theaters. I am one of those people wearing black pants, jacket, white shirt and name badge. Many of us are past our prime. In other words, we’re elderly; maybe, it’s because we have the time to spare. Occasionally, young people on a budget usher too. I wish I would’ve started earlier because there are many cultural and artistic events occurring in Columbus, Ohio.

The theaters are beautiful: The Ohio Theater, The Palace, The Southern, The Lincoln, and The newer Riffe Center. Someone, I don’t know who, had the foresight not to demolish these grand old theaters. I’m grateful that they are still standing, and most have been beautifully refurbished. There are amazing chandeliers, wall decorations, velvety curtains, big stages, and cushy seats.

Many times, I will watch the show sitting in the last row of the upper balcony because ushers aren’t permitted to sit in front of paying patrons. I have stood up in the back of the theater while watching “The Lion King”, Le Miz” and “Phantom of the Opera.” I love the arts, and am in good health so I don’t mind. The voices and dancing of the Broadway series is astounding.

Once in a while if attendance is down, I’ll get a nice seat on the main floor. I also have the option of standing in the back of the main floor. Ushers also can choose to sit in the lobby, and watch the performance on a big TV. I would rather stand because there is nothing like watching a live performance.

Earning a free performance and parking

Getting to the theater and parking before the performance is one of the first requirements. Often, that is  an hour and a half before the show. There is a meeting before the show, so you can know how long it runs, when you let it late patrons, if beverages and candy are allowed, etc.

Being an usher is fun and good exercise, and I do get to talk to many people. If there is a hot act or play, I quickly walk up and down the rows to seat people. There is a captain to direct us –whether to seat people on the right or the left. I do appreciate this, since it saves time.

I have done concessions, selling candy, drinks, etc,  but that is not my first choice. There is not much time to get people fed and watered, before the show, and at intermission  If you like being on the edge, and handling money, you might enjoy this.  It does go very fast.

I like to see people’s faces before they are attending an event. They look excited because they know they are about to be entertained. Also, some people get dressed up for certain events, and that’s fun. It’s enjoyable to be part of someone’s special experience.

One of the major questions asked by patrons is: Where is the bathroom? It might not seem like an important questions, but it is!

I know I’m getting older when I’ve never heard of the act that is performing. I signed up to usher at Gabriel Inglesias performance because I figured he was Enrique Inglesias’s brother.  He was pretty funny, and his humor was clean. (However, the guys before him were funny, but a little more risqué.) If I stay the whole time, I know it’s pretty good, and I did. I try to be open and nonjudgmental.

Dressing up for the theater: Not so much in the 21st Century

I do miss the days when people really looked nice for certain events. A few people will still dress up, but it’s mostly nice casual, and sometimes just ordinary casual. I get really excited when I see an attractive couple dressed up for each other. It happens every once in a while.

When they have “The Nutcracker” at Christmas time, the moms dress their little girls up like dolls. It’s absolutely adorable: little dresses with fancy ballet skirts, or just princess type dresses, patent leather shoes and little crowns they buy at the Nutcracker concessions. If there are little boys, they’re dressed up in nice pants and shirts. Truthfully, the princes are really outnumbered by the princesses. Once in a while you’ll see a brave dad accompanying the ladies.

I’ve also gotten to see other performances of Columbus Balletmet which is fantastic. I would’ve never known I would enjoy ballet if I hadn’t seen performances after ushering. If you get a chance, go see them perform. They are first-class, innovative, creative and entertaining. I really enjoyed their version of “Dracula.”

There are many first-class children’s performances too: Children’s Hospital Pleasure Guild, Children’s Theater, etc. I think there are a lot of opportunities to watch the arts that people are unaware of, and I don’t think they’re that expensive.

Sometimes, I feel like I’d rather be in the audience, but you can’t have everything. I’ve seen a lot of things I wouldn’t ordinarily see, so it’s a good way to get out of the house. When I do buy a ticket to something I do feel like a queen when I am seated by the ushers.

The Columbus Symphony is also terrific. Last night, they had a woman conductor, something you don’t see every day. They played some Beethoven and it really touched my emotions.

If you’re thinking of signing up for ushering, don’t hesitate. It’s not everyone, but it is for me.

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Aviary Photo_130308457573163696

How important is family in the 21st century?


Today, one of the last old people from my husband’s family passed awayHenry with Eileen, Marilyn, and Barbara (2). He was a terrific guy, and had a good send off. He lived a long life, and died at 90 .Every one of his grandchildren had wonderful things to say about him. If somehow he heard it, he would have been proud of the tribute.

I remember when I met my husband’s family for the first time. I was about 21, and he took me to Blacklick Woods to the traditional family picnic. I remember thinking how old the members of the family were. In reality, they were probably the age I am now. I never thought those picnics would come to an end, but all those people, except for one, are gone.  It’s like a creepy science fiction movie where people disappear.

The family had been having these picnics all through the twentieth century. There are plenty of family pictures to prove it. In 2002, the last picnic was officially held. The funeral almost seemed like a mini-family reunion. There weren’t a whole lot of people there, but enough to revive that family feeling.

In the olden days, people used to live together, and celebrate all the good times and sad times together. It’s too bad that doesn’t happen anymore. . It seems that once people moved to America, they scattered to the four winds.

Recollections of my own family

My family was pretty big too. My mother had 4 brothers and sisters. By the time I came on the scene, they weren’t getting together as much as they used to, but we’d have fun at family weddings. I had a couple of cousins near my age. I remember going to a Seder at my aunt’s house when I was little. There were so many kids, that we had a special table. I always used to enjoy those family occasions.

Somewhere in my childhood that pretty much came to an end. When my mother was still alive, I’d occasionally see one or two of my cousins because they would visit her. Having the family connection was important to her because that’s how people grew up in the good old days.

I think it’s really nice to have family around. I doubt if Ill ever see all my cousins again. Not unless someone decides to have a family reunion.

Because my two sisters don’t live by me, I don’t spend much time with either of them. Only the phone and Facebook keeps us connected.   When I was a child, I never imagined Id go years without seeing much of either of them, but thats just the way things turned out.

In my own family, I see my daughters, but my son is a wanderer. If I’m lucky, I see him once or twice a  year for a week or so.  And he was the one who hung around the house growing up!  I feel lucky that my daughter lives in town, and I have a little grandson living here.

What’s your experience?

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A biography by Barbara A. Topolosky


Ruth Stone’s Biography
by Barbara Topolosky
Ruth Stone's Biography

I decided that writing biographies might be a good thing to do for people.

Haven’t you always wanted to know details about your relative’s life. Here’s a chance for you to get those details.

I can scan photos, make a CD of this, or write a book.

If you’re interested contact me at Btopolo5@me.com

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A courageous girl, Anne Frank, would’ve been 84 today.


Cover of "The Story of Anne Frank"

Cover of The Story of Anne Frank

Today I found out that it would’ve been Anne Frank’s 84th birthday. Being Jewish, I was always haunted by the story of Anne Frank.  You can read her story in “The Story of Anne Frank.”

Anne was a young, Jewish girl who was forced to hide away with her family in Amsterdam,Holland. It happened during the Holocaust during World War II. The family found a hiding place above a factory, and successfully hid there for several years. Tragically, someone turned them in, and were ultimately captured by the Nazis.

Anne’s father survived, and went back and found her diary. It was later published and has been read by thousands. Why am I giving out these details? I’m thinking less and fewer people know about this diary. They used to teach it in high schools, but I”m wondering how true that is today. Can the young people of today relate to the words written by a young girl in the 1940’s?

It’s more real to me because I am going to be 63 years old. When I was born in 1950, the War had only been over for five years. It seemed very real to me. When I found out about this tragedy, it upset me. To think people would kill others because of their religion. Since that time, I’ve read hundreds of books about it, and heard survivor’s talk about it. I’ve accepted it, but it still makes me very sad.

In the early 70’s, I took a trip to Amsterdam and got a chance to walk through the hiding place that is now a museum. The space was so small. I wondered how 3 families could have survived there for so long. I looked out the window at the very same tree Anne longingly looked at from her hiding place. I was touched by the pictures of American movie stars of the 40’s that she had taped on the wall.

In her diary Anne stated that “I still believe people are really good at heart.” One wonders if she still believed this by the time she died, and directly experienced such cruelty. How did she feel when she got off the train at the concentration camp and realized people were starving and broken? What did she think when she saw the stacks of the gas chambers that killed her peers, neighbors, loved ones, and fellow Jews? (It wasn’t only Jews that died.) This all happened in a civilized society too. It’s very frightening.

How tragic it was that someone with such insight and talent died so young. She was never to know that millions would read her words. If it was a fictional story, she would have survived. Sadly, it was a real story; perhaps, she went to a better place. Who knows?

The real tragedy is that people’s cruelty to each other hasn’t ended. It continues. It’s been going on since the beginning of time. Somehow, good does win over evil. It takes a while, but it seems to happen.

The best we can now do is think about Anne’s advice “How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.”

How many have ever been to The Anne Frank House? How has her diary impacted you? Please share.

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Why is the president of “The Ohio State University” so thoughtless?


I live in Columbus, Ohio. I did get here by attending “The Ohio State University.” When you live in Columbus, Ohio, you better get used to hearing about The Ohio State Buckeyes. When they win, everyone is in a fantastic mood, and when they lose we are all sad. To see who won

Picture of Gordon Gee, president of Ohio State...

Picture of Gordon Gee, president of Ohio State University (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

the game, you don’t have to check the scoreboard, just look at everyone’s expressions. When you’re traveling you know you’re heading toward home when people on the plane are wearing Buckeye scarlet and gray garb. I am just as bad as everyone else.

 

The president of the university, Gordon Gee, has to be a bright man. He actually went to “Brown”, his old Alma Mater to become their president for a while. He must do his job well because they’re paying him millions of dollars to oversee “The Ohio State University.” How many people can make millions of dollars in a year?

His fashion sense isn’t great. He wears a bow tie constantly. That must say something about him. Is he a nonconformist, too lazy to tie a tie, or does he just want attention?

 

He does have a nasty habit of sticking his foot down his mouth. In December, he said something inappropriate about Catholics. This was directed against the Notre Dame football team. “The fathers are holy on Sunday, and they’re holy hell the rest of the week. You just can’t trust those damn Catholics on a Thursday or a Friday.”

 

This is supposed to be funny? I don’t find it the least bit amusing. The board is treating his like he’s 12, and requiring him to apologize. I don’t know who he’s going to apologize to? The Pope? They’re also making him attend some kind of class or lecture on how to be more tactful.

 

Maybe they should teach him about life in the 21st century. Maybe someone should inform him that bullying and making fun of groups of people is not socially appropriate. Maybe in 1945 that would go over, but not it 2013? What kind of role modeling is this behavior. Isn’t he a leader of a lot of students? It sounds a lot like something a bully might say!

This isn’t the first inappropriate thing he has said.

 

But he’ll stick around, and probably make another mistake in a few months.

 

The big shots in life just can get away with all kinds of things.

 

What do you think?

 

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Trying to come into the 21st century: Machinery and technology hate me. Why oh why?


English: , 2002, hammers a nail during work at...

English: , 2002, hammers a nail during work at a Habitat for Humanity house in . (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I am really trying, but it’s hard! I just got a new Ipad and this is the Ipad application. I am getting dizzy looking at all the stuff you can do with the Ipad. Music, books, and aps, etc. I wasn’t sure if I really wanted an Ipad. I load aps, free of course, but then I am bewildered by them. I added some Facebook thing, and I absolutely didn’t know what to do with it. Group chat? I tried it, but then I located ancient messages I sent people years ago. I’ve had a Mac for years, but I still don’t feel like I really understand it.

I live with a guy who keeps stuff going forever. We really have dial phones in our family room, two of them. You can’t dial out, but you can talk on them. He says, “he can hear on them.” It’s true they are comfy around the ear.

He has an Acer computer he bought 5 years ago, and it works perfectly for him. He is what I call a machine person. He has a relationship with inanimate objects. This makes it impossible for us to get rid of old objects. He keeps them going and going and going.

I don’t feel in control of inanimate objects

Me, on the other hand, I’m not so successful. I break something looking at it. I wouldn’t dare go without an insurance policy on any new item because I know it will eventually break. I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if this new screen I am currently staring at suddenly started to shatter. Without me doing a thing.

I tried working on Habitat for Humanity. They allowed me to hammer two boards together, but ended up taking them apart, and they told me to do something else. I was able to take the floor apart. I must say I couldn’t wait until quitting time. On the other hand some young girl was using the wood-cutter with expertise. So, it’s not a girl thing.

What is simpler than painting a wall? I usually get more paint on me than anything else.

I can spell and feel like I have some control over words. I guess we all have our strong points. Unfortunately, in this world today, inanimate objects are more important than spelling. So, I will keep trying to conquer the techno world, or at least have a general idea of what’s going on!

I’ve never used the Ipad on WordPress. I will see how it all comes out!

Not that good—I had to edit it on the Mama computer. Sigh……..

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10 Suggestions from one Mother to another! Happy Mother’s Day!


Mothers' Day Cake crop

Mothers’ Day Cake crop (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

These suggestions are taken from my experience.  It’s easier said than done, but I think these are some good suggestions.

  1. Make your children your #1 priority. Don’t worry about your job outside of the home. It’s not as important as they are. Take a lot of vacations together. 

 2. Don’t be afraid to praise them. Let them know when they do something wonderful. 

 3. Don’t spank or hit them. It never works. 

4. Don’t spoil them.  Let them give away stuff they don’t want anymore. 

5. Go to their sporting events, but don’t criticize them, or embarrass them. You’re not your child! 

 6 When someone complains about your child’s behavior, don’t automatically take your child’s side. (Especially when it’s a teacher.) 

7. Stay out of their conflicts.  (Unless your child’s physical well-being is being threatened). 

 8. Give them responsibility. Everyone one wants it, but not everyone gets it. 

 9. Don’t tell them what to be when they grow up.

 10. Tell them you love them often. Freely hug and kiss them!

Any more to add? What do you think?

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Technology going too fast for a girl born in 1950


Oh good grief, now they’re selling google glasses. Now everyone will be walking around asking themselves questions. It’s bad enough when they’re going down the street talking to unseen people.

Who knew this would ever happen. We won’t need friends anymore. We’ll have glasses.

Only $1,600 a pop.

My husband has phones in our home from the 1960’s. He is a person who keeps things going for

Samsung to Launch Smart Feature Phone “REX Ser...

Samsung to Launch Smart Feature Phone “REX Series” in Emerging Markets (Photo credit: samsungtomorrow)

years at a time. This, I suppose, is rare these days.

I, on the other hand, would like a smart phone. I keep finding ones that trump the other ones, so I can’t make a decision. I am walking around with an ancient Verizon dumb phone. It’s a couple of years old, and I don’t have a contract on it. I hate those contracts.

I found a Samsun that has 13 pixels, so now I want that one. I don’t even know what a pixel really is, but I know the picture on the camera is a lot nicer.

I couldn’t wait to get my Macbook, but now at 4 years old it’s getting old.

Naturally, I want a pair of those glasses.

I guess I just want to feel like I belong in the 21st century. Can a woman raised in the 20th century adapt to modern times?

What do you think?

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Cassie Taylor to symbolically finish her Boston Marathon exactly one week from the tragedy!


Boston Marathon

Boston Marathon (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

You have to admire people with a fighting spirit. Cassie Taylor was running her first Boston Marathon for a charitable cause and just appeared on CNN. I was impressed with her

 

To honor the victims of the race, there was a few moments of silence at 2:50 P.M. Taylor wanted to get a group together to finish the race. There is nothing like silence to make a statement. But nothing can really make up for the senseless death’s of 4 people, Martin Richard, Sean Collier, Krystle Campbell, and Lingzi lu.

 

Taylor couldn’t get to the real finish line, but she picked a route parallel to it. The real finish line was being secured and off-limits.

 

Taylor pointed out that so many people who run the Boston Marathon were doing it to raise money for different causes: children’s causes, mental health, Cancer, and other meaningful causes.

 

She doesn’t want to let the bomber and his dead brother to ruin the good feelings and intentions of many of the runners. The runners who weren’t just running for themselves, but for their charities.

 

She managed to get 7 other runners to join her. It was a  symbolic finish.

 

I say, good for them. I  admire their fighting spirit!

 

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A glimpse at the Harmony Project


I belong to a terrific group, The Harmony Project. We sing, share and serve. Here is a video showing us getting ready for a performance.

This group doesn’t just sit and complain about the way things are; they do things.

This season we’re  planting trees, building a playground, and painting murals. That’s just a few things we’re doing this month!

We are also giving a musical performance May 15 and May 16 at the Southern Theater. You can contact me, or call Capa for tickets.

If you know me, see if you can spot me. I’m in the second row wearing purple glasses and a purple shirt!

As you can see, many of us are from the baby boomer generation, but there are people of all ages, races, and different points of view!

It is very cool. I feel like the baby boomers in this group are still holding onto our ideals. This included, peace, love, happiness, and harmony!

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Yom Hashoa: Holocause remembrance: Never Forget! Isacc Klein’s story


Jewish prisoners being deported from the Krakó...

Jewish prisoners being deported from the Kraków Ghetto. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As time goes on, the Holocaust survivors are dying out.  Since this month we commemorate them, I think we owe a responsibility to retell their stories.

Recently, I visited the Holocaust Museum in Miami. A Holocaust survivor, Isaac Klein,was telling his personal story and answering questions.

Stern started out by describing his family life before the Holocaust. His parent’s names were Simon and Pepi Klein. His twin brother Tsvi and him were the eldest of eight children. Before 1938, the family were farmers, and led a normal happy life.

When the Germans took over Czechoslovakia in 1938, the family’s farmland was taken away, and their citizenship revoked. Isaac and his family were deported to Poland.

After a few years they were allowed to return to Czechoslovakia where they worked under Hungarian military officials doing hard labor.

In 1944, their luck ran out. They were put on cattle cars, and were transported to a concentration camp in Auschwitz-Birkenaus. .

Dr. Josef Mengele, known as the “Doctor of Death”,  kept the boys in D-lager camp with other sets of twins. He did experiments on them. Most of them were done under anesthesia, so Klein doesn’t remember the specifics.

By the end of March 1944, the Germans knew the Russians were close, so they forced the prisoners on a death march. The destination was Melk, Austria. Somehow Isaac and his brother both survived. On the march they received no food, water, or shelter.

In 1945, they were liberated by the Americans, but that wasn’t the end of Klein’s story. His bother and him went back home to find any relatives, but there weren’t any left.

They both decided to emigrate to Israel. They were smuggled on a boat to Haifa. After the British captured the boat, they were held in a detention camp for 8-10 months. They were finally released into the population.

He served in the Israeli army, navy and merchant marine.

In 1962, he moved to the United states, got married, and raised a family.

Four years ago, he took the path of  the March of the living dead with youngsters from all over the  world. He thought it was important for them to know about it.

“Who says there’s no life after death,” said Klein.

Klein still believes in God, and is grateful he survived.

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Hilary’s Rebellion: A fictional story I wrote about the 1970 OSU Protest and Kent State incident


English: The Oval on The Ohio State University...

English: The Oval on The Ohio State University campus. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It was May 6, 1970. For the first time in its 100 year history, The Ohio State University was closing weeks ahead of schedule. The administration couldn’t allow the students or outside agitators to set the agenda anymore. The Ohio State Riots were like a runaway train. The only way to get things back on track was to close the university.

Hilary Armstrong stood outside her apartment on 11th and High Street. She fussed with the latches on her suitcases. Where is Trevor? she thought to herself. I want to get to that bus on time.

Hilary never expected her college career to come to such an abrupt end. Instead of attending her commencement at Ohio Stadium, she would choose to unceremoniously receive her college diploma in the U. S. mail.

Hilary still felt shook up by the last several weeks on The Ohio State University campus. She never thought she’d get sprayed with tear gas. Now she knew what it felt like—burning eyes, and the inability to breathe. She never thought she’d see her fellow students being shot at with wooden bullets. Hilary made sure she was off the streets well before the midnight curfew so it wouldn’t happen to her.

She stared out at a practically empty High Street. Some stragglers were still on campus, and there were still some Ohio National Guardsmen guarding the campus holding their rifles and bayonets. You almost couldn’t blame Governor James Rhodes for sending them in, but did he realize what could happen? Did he think people could be murdered? Nobody got killed at Ohio State, but there’d been reported injuries.

Hilary couldn’t believe the events of the several weeks. Only three weeks ago, she’d witnessed peaceful demonstrations. When all the rock throwing and window breaking occurred on High Street and campus, she felt really scared for the first time in her life.

The seeds for The Ohio State Riots were sown long before Hilary became aware of any problems. On March 9, while she was attending an American history class, a meeting between a group of students and Vice President of Student Affairs, John T. Mount, took place. Mount was presented with a list of 19 demands. They included adding more black faculty, students, and a department in African-American studies.

While Hilary was studying for a Geology test on the oval on March 28, some of those same students lost patience and broke into the VP’s office, scattering papers and breaking windows.

Two of those protesters who caused the disruption in Mount’s office would face hearings before the university Committee on Discipline.

Hilary was unaware that other groups joined the black students. Soon, the protests would be mixed up with other issues―the Vietnam War, women’s rights, and the ROTC program―the program that trained boys for the armed services.

The demonstrations continued throughout March and April.

On April 28, Hilary unwittingly joined the demonstrations. It was a day that changed the direction of her life.

It was late afternoon when Hilary noticed students gathering on the oval. The large grassy area was a place where kids relaxed between classes, studied, rode their bikes, walked their dogs or played frisbee.

Hilary was dreading her date with her boyfriend of 2 years, Law student, John Whitman. He was pushing her to attend a stuffy law reception with him. As usual, she acquiesced. His arguments were always so convincing. Nevertheless, she was in no hurry to rush home and transform into John’s Barbie doll. She knew one of the reasons John loved her was because of her perfect figure, sparkling blue eyes and dimpled smile. He was good-looking, tall and athletic. People thought they were perfect together, but Hilary knew something big was missing.

She kept hoping that someday soon she would feel as much love toward John as he professed to feel for her. He was perfect husband material. Not only was John intelligent and good-looking, but he excelled in sports. They also shared the same political and religious beliefs. Surely, love would develop over time.

Hilary wasn’t getting any younger. Most of her friends were already engaged or married. Her mother kept giving her not so subtle hints that John would make an ideal son-in-law. “Attorneys make a good living, and he’s such a nice boy from a good family,” her mother would say… over and over.

.
Her father, a busy accountant, depended on her mother to raise Hilary, but he stepped in when important decisions were made. He controlled the bank account. Her dad didn’t allow her to go to her first choice college, Ohio University in Athens. “No daughter of mine is going to that party school,” he said. Why not attend a top-rated school like Ohio State?”

After arguing with him for a few days, Hilary finally realized it was useless. Hilary worshiped her dad, and knew  he knew more about life that she did.

Hilary was a tender-hearted girl. She was the first one to cry at a sad movie, or help somebody who was having a hard time. She knew that others did not have things as good as she did. She wondered why people made fun of other people. She didn’t understand why black people were

still discriminated against. It embarrassed her when she heard people using racial slurs. Didn’t they know about the Civil Rights Movement? Weren’t they aware that President Johnson signed the Civil Rights bill in 1963?

She hesitantly walked toward the gathering crowd. At first, she just stood outside of it. She was uncomfortable because she felt slightly out of step with the times. Things were changing too fast for her to adjust. Old traditions were falling by the wayside. Young adults were questioning authority and her peers were experimenting with drugs. Since the invention of the birth control pill, women were experiencing sexual freedom for the first time.

She wished she had the courage to run away to California. One of her daydreams included joining a hippie commune in California.

Hilary’s thoughts came back into the present moment. A black student wearing a brightly colored Dashiki — a loose-fitting African tunic ―and sporting an Afro hairstyle was making a powerful speech..

“ This university is ignoring my black brothers and sisters. We went to Vice President Mount and presented our demands. He tells us they haven’t got any money. They seem to have plenty of the money for the football team. Oh yeah, they’re going to put two of our students in front of a disciplinary committee. What do you think of that?

The crowd answered with a loud boo.

Hilary felt a familiar stare. She’d been getting if from boys since she could remember. It made her feel like an object instead of a human being. She knew it was because she was pretty. She knew it was an accident of birth and nothing she’d accomplished. Sometimes, it just didn’t feel right to her.

She looked over at a boy with long red unkempt curly hair wearing a tie-dyed blue and yellow shirt and ragged bell-bottomed jeans. She couldn’t miss his serious brown eyes directed right at her.

She boldly walked up to him. “ I couldn’t help noticing you were looking at me. Can I help you with something?” she asked.

‘“Sorry I couldn’t help myself. You look like you’re in pain. I thought you were going to faint or something,” he said.

Hilary knew she was blushing. She hated how transparent her feelings were to other people. “Oh sorry, I feel awkward being here. I don’t exactly fit in with this crowd.”

“ You have as much rights as the rest of us. He held out his hand, “I’m Trevor , and you’re?”

“Hilary”

“Times are a Changing’ Surely, you’ve have heard of that song by Bob Dylan, our musical prophet? If we don’t stand up for what’s right, who will?” questioned Trevor.

“I’m not that big on change,” answered Hilary.

“You’re lucky your female. At least you don’t have to worry about getting drafted, and fighting in an unjust war. The best thing I can say about the draft is it’s forcing me to get a college education. I need that draft deferment. If I didn’t have an art scholarship, I would be one of the first ones to go,” he said.

“Getting a college degree beats murdering innocent people,” he added.

“ I think I could kill if it meant I was defending my country… but it would be horrendous” agreed Hilary.

“ Why don’t you come on over and join me and my friends?” Trevor offered.

Hilary hesitantly followed him. Trevor’s friends included a little group of guys and girls wearing tie-dyed t-shirts, cut-offs and bell bottomed jeans.

One of the girls was wearing three strands of multi-colored beads. She turned to Hilary. “Isn’t this whole thing so far-out ? It is so cool. Maybe our poor young 18-year-old girlfriends living in the dormitories will get their curfews lifted. It is so ridiculous. Women are treated like little girls and guys can come and go whenever the hell they want. Isn’t that lame?” she asked.

An unwelcome thought popped into Hilary’s mind. Wasn’t she already deferring to what John wanted? And they weren’t even officially engaged.

The girl took out a crumpled marijuana cigarette and lit it. She offered it to Hilary. Hilary shook her head, “no thanks I don’t smoke.”
“Oh, it’s not going to hurt you. It’s going to open up your world,” goaded the other girl.

“Hey Sonata, don’t push it on her,” warned Trevor.

Suddenly, the bell in Orton Hall gonged seven times signaling the evening hour. “ Oh, I’ve really got to go,” said Hilary.

Trevor reached out and took Hilary’s hand. “Meet me here tomorrow. There’s going to be another rally on the oval at noon. Everyone is going to be boycotting classes.”

“I can’t do that. I’m a graduating senior. I can’t miss my geology class. I’m not doing that great in it, and I need that credit to graduate. We’re supposed to go on an outing to the river to gather rock specimens for a lab,” explained Hilary.

“Think about it. You owe it to yourself. The world is opening up. Things are changing. It’s not too late for you to change along with the times. Meet me in front of the administration building at 10:00 A.m.,” he insisted.

“ I don’t know,” answered Hilary.

“ I’ll see you tomorrow. 10 a.m. sharp. Don’t be late, or I’ll have to go without you,” warned Trevor.

Hillary rushed back to her apartment. She didn’t have to wait long to spot John. He was standing in front of her door with his arms folded across his chest.

“You didn’t forget about our date did you?” asked John sarcastically.
“Don’t you dare yell at me, John. I was on campus trying to figure out what was going on.”

“Were you listening to those hippie freaks, SDS radicals, and black Panthers? You know some of them are outsiders. The administrators of the Law school would be unhappy if they knew my girlfriend was associating with those people. It you don’t get ready in 15 minutes, you’re not going to have a boyfriend anymore.”

“Which won’t make a difference because you don’t have a girlfriend anymore, “ said Hilary as she turned her back, walked into her apartment and shut the door behind her.

For a change, Hilary felt proud of herself. It was time for her to be honest with herself. She knew her mother was going to be disappointed, but she was never going to marry John. After a few minutes, she easily ignored the incessant ringing coming from her pink princess phone.

The next morning she woke up, threw on her OSU t-shirt and rattiest bell bottom jeans. After she got dressed, she gulped down some cereal, and headed toward the oval to find Trevor.

She was startled by all the police surrounding the oval. They have to be expecting trouble she thought. Maybe she should stay away. She didn’t want to jeopardize her father’s job. . What if his superior officers found out she was in the middle of a demonstration? No, she wasn’t going to miss this. How would her parents ever find out unless she told them?

The crowd promised to be bigger than yesterday. There were thousands of students gathering on the oval.

Trevor’s red hair made him easy to spot. He gave her a big smile. “I just knew you were going to show up.”

There were a variety of signs: ‘OSU Centennial: 100 years of racism’, ‘On Strike shut it down’, ‘hell no we won’t go’, and ‘women’s rights now.’

“We better sit down while we can get up close,” suggest Trevor. Sitting in such a huge crowd made Hilary feel like she was a member of a big close community. It was better than sitting in her apartment wondering what she was missing. There were little thought-provoking discussions about the different issues—the Vietnam war, women’s issues, and the college protest taking place all over the country. Sometimes students were leading discussions and sometimes professors and teaching assistants.

Finally, the rally began. A woman professor got up and spoke about women’s rights. “It’s time we got equal pay for equal work,” she said. Most of the women and some of the guys applauded her. A member of the black community spoke about the need for more black students, professors, and an African-American Studies program.

Hilary was shocked when Trevor was handed the microphone. She sat back with everyone else to listen to him speak.

“Yesterday Nixon bombed Cambodia. It’s illegal and we’ve got to do something. We can’t let this war go on. Although 18-year olds don’t have the right to vote, we’re old enough to go to a country far away to murder people. We have to stand up for what’s right. Are you with me? He started the now familiar chant, “On strike, shut it down.” The one united voice of the crowd echoed throughout the oval. It gave Hilary chills.

From the back of the crowd emerged Coach Woody Hayes. Woody strode toward the front of the crowd, and took the microphone from Trevor. Trevor looked stunned. Woody was wearing his determined look, trademark OSU jacket and baseball cap. Hilary had never seem him up close. She was mesmerized.

Several people shouted,” First and 10, and do it again.” There was hooting, hollering and laughing. After a few minutes, it got quiet.

“Don’t let this peaceful rally turn into something else. Don’t let things get out of hand warned Woody. “Don’t forget we’re one team.

There was more hooting and hollering. Finally, Woody gave up the microphone, and some of his beefy football players escorted him towards the street where a private car was waiting for him.

“At least he had the guts to talk to us! You see anyone else from the administration Where’s good old Fawcett, the president of this esteemed institution?”asked Trevor.

Finally, the rally ended. Hilary was sorry it was over. How often was she going to experience anything this significant?

After the rally, Trevor and Hilary were surprised to learn that students—some swore it was undercover police—had closed down 15th avenue, 17th Avenue and Neil at 11th. The peace between students and police didn’t last. Rocks were thrown through windows on High street.

Hilary and Trevor took a back alley toward her apartment. They heard the sounds of someone yelling. They hid behind some bushes, and witnessed a policeman hitting a black guy with his night stick. The police were trying to get him in the squad car, and he was refusing. Blood was running down his arms, and one of his eyes was already swollen

.
He was kept shouting, “Stop, stop, I’m not demonstrating. I’m not in this.”

“Then, what are you doing with all those rocks in that backpack,” asked one of the policemen. “ I told you, I’m coming back from a geology outing,” he said. “These rocks are for the lab.”

“Sure they are. Get into the black and white.” They finally managed to handcuff him, and force him into the squad car.

“ Oh my God, that’s Lamar. I know him,” whispered Hilary. “He’s in my geology class. He helped me on one of my labs.

Let’s do something ,” said Trevor.

“No please, no. I don’t want to get in trouble too. If my father found out I was here, he’d make me come home,” said Hilary.

Hilary felt so conflicted. She knew she should try to say something to the police. But, they probably wouldn’t listen to her. They were treating Lamar like a second-class citizen. Would they be listening to him if he was white?

Had everyone gone crazy?. Did the rocks give them an excuse to do something they wanted to do because they were frustrated?

Were there really incompetent police? Was there a reason people were calling them names?

Finally Trevor and Hilary got close to her apartment, but they didn’t escape a round of tear gas. It brought quick stinging tears to their eyes and their faces felt like they were burning. Hilary felt like she couldn’t breathe. She ran as fast as she could away from the cloud of smoke.

It was an effective way to disperse the students. Another student winced in pain when he got a wooden bullet in his back. Some kids helped him to the side of the road. He lifted his shirt, and they got see a red welt forming where the rounded wooden bullet had hit.

By the end of that day, Ohio Governor Rhodes had called in the Ohio National Guard and they arrived with their tanks, and live ammunition by 11:40 that night. Some doubted whether they were carrying live ammunition. How could they risk hurting Ohio State students.

Nobody knew about the tragedy that was going to befall students at Kent State University in only a matter of days.

Trevor spent the night at Hilary’s apartment. She was nervous until he gave her a big passionate kiss. .She felt dizzy and happy, all at the same time. He followed it with another one and a big embrace.

“Let’s slow it down,” Hilary pleaded.
“Okay,” said Trevor. “I’ll take things as slow as you want.”
They sat on her couch, and started talking about the day.
“How could a peaceful rally like that turn into chaos?” she asked.

“I don’t know, but I’m not giving up now. That’s what they want. I’m going to go the oval tomorrow. Maybe things can be salvaged. Maybe we can convince them that we really just want to make things better.

Before she knew it, Trevor’s arms were around her again. He gave her another passionate kiss. Hilary’s heart stirred. It was beating so loudly, she hoped he didn’t hear it.”

“You know, I’m going with you tomorrow, and it’s not because you kissed me,” Hillary said.

“ First, let’s get as much sleep as we can,” said Trevor. They fell asleep on Hilary’s flowery couch, fully clothed, with their arms wrapped around each other.

When they got to the oval the next morning, they found twice as many people as the day before. It didn’t take long for the crowd to get unruly.

Time seemed to stop when a formation of Ohio National Guards came toward the students

Hilary was frightened, but she wasn’t going to turn away.

Suddenly, the soldiers began popping open tear gas and throwing the big billowy smoke toward the students. The big open area allowed the students to run from one side of the oval to the other. She saw one student spit at one of the guardsmen. Didn’t he know that he was risking getting shot?

Later in the day, students were surprised when the Ohio National Guard left the oval. VP Mount spoke to the student protesters, but it was a real disappointment that nothing was accomplished.

Over the next few days, more meetings between student representatives and administration took place. Things looked hopeful. Many of the Ohio National Guard were headed home. Things almost seemed to be going back to normal. Hilary was glad to hear that a good sum of money had been approved to launch a Black Studies division at the university.

Some classes started meeting again. . Many students didn’t go, but Hilary wanted to go to her Geology class, so she could see what happened to Lamar.

Lamar was back in class. They didn’t mention the incident to each other. She wasn’t even sure if he’d seen her. She regretted that she hadn’t helped him. Now, the only evidence of his ordeal was a bandaged up arm, and a slightly swollen eye.

Despite efforts by student leaders and administration to stop all the mayhem, it continued. Maybe some of the students didn’t want to let go of the excitement. Ironically, some progress was being made. Plans were put in place to launch a black studies program in the upcoming year.

The Ohio State University wasn’t the only university protesting the war, the bombing of Cambodia, and social issues.

Similar protests were taking place at other Ohio universities. Kent State University was the one everyone would remember. At 12:20 P.M. On May 4, 1970, guardsman were ordered to shoot protesting students. Sixty-seven rounds were fired resulting in 4 deaths and 9 injuries.The whole incident only took 67 seconds. One of the wounded students was to spend the rest of his life in a wheelchair.

Hilary and Trevor were on the oval when they got the news. Everyone was stunned. Nobody really believed that the Ohio National Guard would kill students. The news went through the campus like a wild-fire.

Only two days later, everyone was going home. The university was offering to give students pass/ fail grades. Hilary passed geology, and graduated on time.

Hilary declined Trevor’s offer to go to San Francisco with him. She went home with a plan in mind. She was going to apply to law school, and become a civil rights attorney.

It was a different Hilary that walked in her parent’s house on May 6, 1970. It was a woman who’d found her own identity. When she walked into the house, her father commented, “I’m glad my little girl wasn’t with those hooligans on campus.”

“Dad I was. Let me tell you about it. They weren’t all hooligans. There’s important things happening. Let me tell you about it?, Hilary asked.

I love you, and respect you, but you’ve raised a good person with something to say,” Hilary said.

Okay, Hilary,” he said. “I’ll listen to what you have to say, but don’t expect me to agree with everything.

HIlary felt good that she was being acknowledged as an adult for the first time. She knew her parents would listen to her, and probably wouldn’t agree. But, it was a place to begin.

The End

If you got to the end of this story, congratulations!  Do you remember this event? Were you at Ohio State or Kent State during this period of time? What do you remember?

Ohio State University

Ohio State University (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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Children grow up and become instant presto friends. There’s nothing like it!


Baloon Fun Time

Baloon Fun Time (Photo credit: andreasandrews)

 

Speaking from experience, once you have a child, they make it into you heart forever. There is no getting around it.  Maybe some people can forget about their kids once they reach 18, but that would be a person who doesn’t have a soul.

 

What’s great about adult children is that you can enjoy them on an adult level. Presto, you have instant friends. You will find that they might share your taste in clothes, food, and recreational activities.

 

My daughter keeps asking me if it’s weird having a grown-up daughter. The answer is no. It’s delightful.

 

The children they were stay in your memory and are in pictures, but  you readily accept them as adults.

 

It’s a plus.

 

Having children has been a fun experience for me, and an additional joy. I never expected to get all the benefits from it.

 

When they’re little, you get to experience life from their perspective. Who doesn’t enjoy watching your child ride the merry-go round for the first time? How about going to the zoo with them? There’s nothing like that first smile. Then there’s the first step. The first step away from you. But that’s your job. To help them grow up.

 

When they grow up, you can feel proud of them and share in their accomplishments and joys. That’s just as satisfying, of course, you do share in the disappointments too. That means like everything else in life, you” take the bitter with the sweet. “

 

All in all, I think parenthood is a rewarding experience and well-worth the hard work.

 

What do you think?

 

 

 

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Coming full circle: taking a walk in the woods on a wintry day: Memoir


Today I came full circle. My two  daughters and son-in-law took me out for a walk.  I was wearing a funny black furry hat  reminiscent of something my  Russian grandmother would wear,  a pair of sunglasses, my old red sweater, black stretch pants, and running shoes with a ragged shoelaces.

I have vague memories of construction workers whistling at me 40 years ago.  I didn’t like it. It embarrassed me, and I felt like it was an invasion of my privacy. Oh, what I would give to have anyone whistle at me now.

Before we got to the park, the grown up children made sure I was buckled in the back seat. My oldest daughter fastened my belt for me. It was rather humorous. I don’t feel I’m quite at the state where I can’t handle a seatbelt, but I thanked her for it.

We got out of the car, and started walking. It is Ohio, and it was cold. Naturally, they all sped ahead of me. My knee which recently was in a state of disrepair, is still not feeling too normal. Something tells me that it will never be the same again.  I banged it into the stove or closet or something, and had to wear a knee brace for two months.

My doctor consoled me by saying, “if you were a world-class athlete, they’d have gone in and cleaned it up already, but you’re not. Give it a couple of months. It’s just a knee.”

So, we went on our walk. and I ignored my nagging kneecap.

I could see the two girls as they once were. Both blonde, one with curls, and one with straight hair. The youngest following the oldest one around.  They’ve grown into beautiful caring young women.  The person missing is my youngest son. He, like my oldest daughter, now lives out-of-town. It’s a rare occasion when all three of them are together. It is always a joyous occasion for me.

Now, they’re all grown up.  It seems hard to believe they were ever little. I have vague memories of dragging all that baby stuff with me: diapers, an extra set of clothes, a baby seat to set up. I always had the oldest child to help me with the other two.  I also remember the youngest two fighting over who was going to sit on my lap while we watched TV.

So, we finished our walk, and I got back in the backseat. I was  glad the walk was over. It was too cold for me. I would not  have  lasted if I was by myself.

Post script

I wrote this a couple of years ago. My kneecap is now back to normal. I have also updated my wardrobe.  Unfortunately, nobody is whistling at me. I guess those days are really  gone!

How do you feel about getting older?  Do you recall a moment when you realized that you were in the last stage of your life?

Reflections of getting older

Reflections of getting older

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This woman at 109 knows the secrets of life


Even though this is 8 minutes long, it is worth watching. It will make you smile. Hint: she sees the glass as more than half full. It seems so simple, but I think we’ve lost that optimism.  In her day, she was an accomplished pianist.

She doesn’t live in the past. She embraces the here and now. That is also very cool. This was made last year. She is now 109 years old.

Tell me your reaction to this interview. What do you think is the secret to a long, happy life?

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Weigh in on “The Biggest Loser”: Gimmicky or Real?


I hate to admit it, but I am a regular watcher of “The Biggest Loser.” I use it to motivate myself to keep on a good eating and exercise program, but I have some problems with the show.

Biggest Loser Pinoy Edition winner

Biggest Loser Pinoy Edition winner (Photo credit: audiovisualjunkie)

Problems I have with this show

First of all, trainer Jillian is a real witch. She’s really mean to people, then she does  pop psychology on them. She seems like she has a split-personality. On one hand, she is nasty, then she puts on her happy face and sweet voice. (She calls everyone sweetie when she’s being nice.)   I really hate when she gets contestants to drag her around as a weight. Plus, her smile is crooked which gives her a devious look.

On the first episode this season she threw most of her team out the door and told them to consider leaving.  (The poor people were all throwing up because the tasks she made them start out with were too hard.) Did she have to start them out with such difficulty?   Several contestants considered their options and went home. Can you blame them?

Last week she made some poor woman go in a coffin for a few minutes. It was to help her realize that she needed a new lease on life. She was fooling around with serious stuff. It’s a good thing the woman, who is claustrophobic, didn’t end up going crazy.

The other trainers are easier to take. Why Bob has tattoos going all over his arms and everywhere is beyond me.  Why get your body in shape, than disfigure yourself.  I like Dolvett, who is the boxer. He seems to have his head on straight. He, like Bob, have a more positive approach then Jillian.

The challenges

I have to hand it to the writers for thinking up those bizarre challenges. Traveling through bubble gum, slogging through mud. throwing them off heights. Contestants on that show are either desperate for money or attention. Some of the stuff they make them do seems downright life threatening. Last week they had to hold up weight, and when they couldn’t anymore they were dumped into water.

It does manage to hold my attention, so I guess the writers know what they’re doing.

The weigh- in

What kind of person would get up with all their flab hanging out to millions of people? All the contestants on “The Biggest Loser.” The weigh-ins are really odd. Who loses 12 pounds in one week? Either they’re starving them to death or working them too hard. They make it seem that this is a healthy weight loss. If someone loses 4 or 5 pounds in one week, you’d think the world had come to an end. I think this give people the idea that losing 10 to 12 pounds a week is normal. I wonder how many of the contestants end up with eating disorders after the show is over?

You know, some of those people are going to regain most of their weight after the show is over. They never talk about that.

Although I find some real serious  problems with this show, it does manage to motivate me. I think about what I look like, my health and what I’m eating.

I do like the promotion of exercise, but at my age, I’d never attempt half the stuff they do on the show. I do a lot of water aerobics, elliptical machines, and walking. I would never be willing to leap off of high places. Not even for money.

They added kids this season

Thank goodness they’re not making the kids put on embarrassing clothes, and put them on the scale. It’s mostly a promotion of exercise and healthy eating. Naturally, some of the parents of these kids are also overweight. Last week, they showed a teenager pleading with her mother to also try to lose weight, so she won’t die. Wasn’t it real exploitation  to show this on national TV?

Do you think this show is exploitation or it’s an earnest attempt to motivate the viewers? Or just get ratings? Is it ethical to humiliate people on TV to get good ratings, and people like me watch?

 

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Where do you think ghosts and spirits hang out? I want your ghost stories!


Life is strange. The older you get, the more you are reminded that our time on earth is temporary. It doesn’t matter how important or unimportant you are.  Someday, you’re going to have to say goodbye.

The last uncle I have passed away. He went in the middle of a meal surrounded by friends and family. He was 97. The man was as healthy as a horse; unfortunately, his mind wasn’t exactly working right. He wasn’t aware of it and still enjoyed life. At least he happily died, surrounded by friends and family. I think that would be the perfect way to go.

I attended his funeral. It wasn’t too sad because 97 is stretching it. The trouble is I’m in my 60’s, so going to funerals makes me realize my time on earth is limited.  Most of my friends are still above ground with me, but I have lost a few.

After the funeral,  the family went all over the cemetery visiting dead relatives. I am not sure about this. I guess if you want to remember them, it’s a good thing to do.  I don’t know if there are spirits there or not. I’m pretty skeptical, but it wouldn’t surprise me all that much. I’m thinking if you’re a spirit you’d probably want to hang out at more interesting places. A cemetery is a little too quiet for me.

I like the idea of surviving in one way or the other after you physically die.  I mean who wants it all to come to an end? Unfortunately, none of my deceased relatives have visited me. I think the coolest thing would be get a light or sign. I’ve known people who said that really happened to them. People who are logical, intelligent and not the type to make things up.

My Great Aunt

When I was little, a Great-Aunt would visit from California,  and my dad would take her to a cemetery to visit her “friends.” I used  to tag along. My father would say, “she has more friends in the cemetery than she does in other places.” I liked looking at the headstones. There was a picture of a little boy on one of the headstones and he was holding a drum. I could count on paying a visit to the “Little Drummer Boy” when Auntie made her annual visit to Ohio.

So, when I go to the cemetery it doesn’t really bother me. What does bother me it that almost all the older relatives I used to visit in their homes are under the ground; it’s pretty surreal. It makes me realize I’m fast approaching the age my “old Auntie” was when we accompanied her on her yearly pilmigrage,

I just can’t get much satisfaction over looking at the headstone of a favorite relative. They just aren’t going to answer back when I talk to them.  I do it anyway because you never know. They just might be listening.

English: Old Jewish Headstone, Hull, East Ridi...

English: Old Jewish Headstone, Hull, East Riding of Yorkshire, England. These old Jewish headstones with Hebrew inscriptions are in the disused Hessle Road cemetery TA0828 : Hessle Road Jewish Cemetery. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What do you think? Any good ghost stories?

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“Argo” is a good flick. I hope it wins best picture!


“Argo” is an attention grabber. It keeps you engaged in the story  from beginning to end. . It’s a movie depicting the Iranian crises that took place in 1980. The Shah of Iran was deposed by the Ayatollah  Khomeini, an Islamic extremist. The Shah was accepted in America.

The Iranians were so angry, that they took over the American embassy and took hostages. Six Americans  managed to escape  the embassy and went to the home of the Canadian ambassador. They successfully hid out there for several months.

The CIA knew it was only a matter of time before the Iranians at the embassy would figure out that the six were missing.  The movie is based on an actual incident.

Affleck portrays a CIA agent, Tony Mendez,  who has to think up a way to spring the six Americans.   He decides the way to rescue the Americans is to pretend they are all making a movie together. Affleck plays the agent to perfection. He knows how to do his job.  Affleck

Ben Affleck speaking at a rally for Feed Ameri...

Ben Affleck speaking at a rally for Feed America in 2009. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

also directed this movie!

If you’re a baby boomer, and remember this time, the movie will bring the whole hostage crises back to life. There are clips of Walter Cronkite and Ted Koppel  Suddenly you remember how upset we were when our hostages were taken by the Iranians. It took 444 days to get them home. Luckily, nobody was physically harmed. Who knows what emotional consequences they suffered?

Standout actors are John Goodman and Alan Arkin who portray the Hollywood types who aid Affleck in his endeavor.

Today, on CNN, President Carter said that the movie “didn’t give the Canadians enough credit.”

Go see it! And Ben Affleck , you should have been nominated in the best director category at the Oscars. I hope the movie wins Best Picture. That would be sweet.

What do you think?

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Speaking with Alice Hoffman via facebook: Review: “The Dovekeepers”


Dovekeepers-paperback-thumb

Social media has its upside. I was able to contact Alice Hoffman, a very prolific writer via Facebook and asked her some questions. Her answers are contained in this book review. She is my favorite author.

Review of “The Dovekeepers
“The Dovekeepers,” is the fictionalized story of what might have happened at Masada located in Southern Israel.  If you’ve ever toured Israel, you’ve probably visited the remains of the fortress. It was originally occupied by King Herod. It’s situated on top of a high rock and surrounded by steep cliffs.  Israeli soldiers take an oath on Masada, “Masada shall not fall again.”

Masada protected Zealot Jews and their families from the Romans in the first century. After the fall of the second temple in Jerusalem, Jews were being taken as slaves or killed.

Unfortunately, the Jews were only safe at Masada for three years. It took the Roman Tenth Legion that long to reach the fortress. What they found inside the compound shocked them. Nine-hundred-sixty Jewish people were dead. They preferred death to becoming enslaved and killed by the Romans. According to historian, Flavius Josephus, two women and five children escaped death.

Alice Hoffman is a prolific writer who has published a total of twenty-one novels, three books of short fiction and eight books for children and young adults. This is the first adult book she’s written about her Jewish heritage. “ I am not religious, but am culturally attached to my heritage,” said Hoffman.

Many other authors such as Tony Morrison, Jodi Picoult, and Wally Lamb are praising “The Dovekeepers.  “For me, “The Dovekeepers” is the most complicated book I’ve ever written and the most emotionally honest,” said Hoffman.

“The Dovekeepers” is fictional, but Hoffman researched it thoroughly. It took her five years to write this novel. Hoffman also studied artifacts from this period. She was inspired after she took a tour of Masada. “I was moved and connected,” said Hoffman.  The book started coming to her when she was looking at the artifacts displayed in the Masada Museum. After she read some history, she had her novel.

Brave and courageous women are the main characters of this book: Revka, a woman who had led an ordinary life as a baker’s wife until her daughter and husband were brutally murdered; Yael, an assassin’s daughter; Aziza, raised as a boy warrior and Shira, a woman from Alexandria who studied potions and magic.

While doing past research, Hoffman discovered that some women during war-time, disguised themselves as men and went into battle. She was fascinated by this idea and that is how the character Aziza developed.

“Sometimes characters simply arrive, other times they don’t work out. They always surprise me,” said Hoffman.  When she finished the book Hoffman realized each of the characters represented a part of her personality.

The four women in this story are the “Dovekeepers.” The dove’s waste is used to fertilize the land so crops can grow. At first, survival is easy. Herod left storerooms of food behind, but as the time goes on, the storerooms become barren, the weather becomes too hot and dry to grow crops and life becomes desperate.

In the meantime, the Jews watched the Romans constructing battering rams and other weapons. They knew it was only a matter of time before they would be conquered.

Interwoven in the plot are love stories, births and deaths. There is plenty of passion too.
The writer manages to take us back in time. “The inside story is about forgiveness,” said Hoffman.

Descriptions of the battles between the Zealots and Romans are vivid. The tragic end of the people of Masada is masterfully told. Hoffman does end the book with some hope.

When asked how it feels to be admired by so many readers, Hoffman said, “ I am lucky enough to have wonderful readers.”

This book is readily available on the web and at bookstores. Among her other books are “At Risk,” and “Practical Magic.” If you enjoy reading a fantastic author, read any book of Alice Hoffman’s. You won’t be disappointed.

Author Alice Hoffman

Author Alice Hoffman

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Is is smart to post on Facebook? Colleen Marshall investigates and I am her guinea pig


Colleen Marshall and me

Colleen Marshall and me

I call myself the Facebook Queen. That is because I am on it way too much. I started out on Facebook because I wanted to keep track of my adult children. However , I quickly learned my adult children are smart enough to know it is not the best idea to post anything that can have any possible significance on Facebook. In other words, don’t let  your dirty laundry out on Facebook. So, I wasn’t going to find much out about them by looking at their Facebook pages. I have to use an ancient device, the telephone, to communicate with them.

Positive side of Facebook

I ended up finding people I knew in elementary school, junior High, high school and college. Some of the people were never really my friends, more like people I said hello to in the hall. But I did find two of my high school closest friends that I lost track of.   I even found my speech teacher. I even borrowed some of my kid’s friends who were happy to let me see their posts.

I’m in the Harmony Project, a huge volunteer choir,  and can keep up with some of the members using Facebook. It’s a good way to keep up with what’s going on around town. I can remember people’s birthdays now because they are posted on my Facebook page.

I also can keep up with relatives I haven’t seen in years and see pictures of their children and grandchildren.
Some of the people I’ve found are people who I admire, and wouldn’t have a chance to talk to in real life.  For example, author Alice Hoffman has a page and I was able to interview her online for an article I was writing for a local newspaper. That would have been unheard of years ago. In that sense, social media is a terrific thing.

Facebook is the place where I’ve found out that people are getting married, having birthdays, and passed away. It’s like the new town crier. Much faster than snail mail, a telephone, or the slower newspaper.

I also want people to read my blog since I think I am so brilliant. It’s another way of being heard. One of the places I advertise it is on Facebook.

Facebook has a negative side
In Ohio, employers can ask you for your Password, so they can check you out. Is this fair?

Colleen Marshall, my Facebook friend, was looking for someone to demonstrate that people can access your account if they have your password. She was looking for a guinea pig who would not only divulge her  password, but allow her to look at everything she’s ever put on Facebook.

Other people were too smart to do this. On the other hand,  I didn’t think there was anything on there that would embarrass me.  I did get to meet her, something that probably wouldn’t have ever happened in real life.

See how I react when she shows me what she found. It will be on( WCMH Channel 4) tomorrow night February 19, at 6:00 P.M. Tune in.

It will bring you the message that you shouldn’t put on Facebook anything that you wouldn’t want anyone to know!

What do you think of Facebook? Do you think it’s a time waster or valuable? Would you give it up?

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Remember Kim Novak? She turned 80. Enjoy this article in “Life Magazine “


hoping4astory:

In case you don’t remember who Kim Novak, here is a good article to remind you. I was happy to find out she was still alive!  Things change. I think “Life” is only online now.

 

Originally posted on LIFE:

In the early 1950s, right around the time she stole scenes as a pretty young thing driving Jack Lemmon nuts in the oddly titled 1954 comedy, Phffft!, Kim Novak caught the eye of LIFE magazine’s photographers, who were charmed by her talent, her haunting beauty and her determination to be not merely a star, but a genuine actress. Their fascination with the young Novak proved prescient: In the coming years, she would become one of the most accomplished and versatile movie stars of the decade, with credits including The Man With the Golden Arm, Pal Joey and, most notably, Hitchcock’s wholly unsettling masterpiece, Vertigo (1958).

In 1956, as her career was truly taking off, Leonard McCombe photographed Novak for a major cover story. Just 23 years old at the time, the actress was starring in the movie Picnic — but was still uncertain of Hollywood and her place…

View original 914 more words

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The Mirror: A fictional story


Kelsie and her husband, John, were sleeping in her parent’s old bedroom. Her mother couldn’t bring herself to sleep in the bed she had shared with the love of her life for thirty-five years. It was too soon after the funeral. She decided to sleep in Kelsie’s old bedroom.

Suddenly, the sound of a deafening crash woke Kelsie up from a deep slumber. John didn’t stir.

She walked up to the big mirror that had been on the wall ever since she could remember. It had shattered into hundreds of tiny pieces. It’s as broken as my heart, she thought.

When she was little, her daddy would pick her up and walk to the very same mirror. “Look at us,” he said. They would smile at each other.  He continued picking her up when she was old enough to stand on her own two feet. She sensed that her father didn’t want her to grow up too fast.

She liked the secure way she felt when he held her. She liked the smell of his aftershave, Old Spice, and she liked to rest her head on his shoulder. After a few minutes, he would place her on the floor and ask, “How much does Daddy love you?”

“This much, Daddy,” she would say while spreading her two little arms as far as they would stretch. Then they both laughed, and her daddy gave her a big hug.

Even when Kelsie was a young married woman, her father sometimes walked with her to the mirror. He gave her the same big hug, and they smiled as they looked at their reflection.

“You won’t ever forget your old father, will you?” he asked.

“Of course not,” she replied.

She wondered if he looked into the mirror right before he walked outside on the day he died.

He left his wallet, keys, and a note neatly stacked upon the dresser in front of the mirror. The carefully crafted note was in his distinctive handwriting. He wrote that it was the only thing he could do because he was afraid. Afraid that he would never get out of the hell he was already experiencing every day. He was afraid he would be fired from his job before he got a chance to retire. He didn’t want to be a burden to his wife or children.

His depression started when he knew he had to leave his job because he was going to turn the mandatory retirement age of sixty-five. His poverty-stricken childhood left a deep scar. The thought of losing everything opened it up again. He was afraid no one would hire him because he was getting too old. The fear enveloped him and wouldn’t let him go.

His family tried to think of ways to help him. How could their loving father and husband suddenly turn into a stranger? He no longer smiled. He mulled over every decision he had ever made. His wife took him to a doctor who couldn’t help him. Their only hope was that one day he would wake up and be the person they had always known.

A reprimand at work put him over the edge.

Kelsie remembered how it all ended on a hot summer day when a shot rang out behind the garage of her childhood home. A home where she always felt so safe.

She pondered her father’s fate. Was there a hell in which he was wandering for eternity, was he up in heaven, or was he just a part of the earth now?  Surely, God would forgive him. He’d done nothing but help other people all his life. He had never said one mean word to anyone. He was a giver, and a comforter. Everyone adored him.

Kelsie brought herself back into the present. She needed to pick up the tiny pieces of the mirror. She wondered why no one else heard it break.

A  white light appeared on the shattered mirror. Suddenly, the pieces of the mirror flew off the floor and came together in one piece again. It was like watching a movie running in reverse.

Kelsie smelled “Old Spice.”  She looked up in the mirror and saw the daddy of her childhood holding six-year old Kelsie. He had on his old white T-shirt, khaki pants, and brown loafers. Little Kelsie was wearing her favorite frilly pink dress, lacy socks,and  patent leather shoes. Her long brown ponytail was fastened with a shiny silk pink ribbon.

Big Kelsie tried to reach through the mirror, but the cold hard surface of the mirror stopped her.

Her father looked lovingly at little Kelsie. You are my precious girl, and that’s why you’ve been chosen to be my messenger. Tell everyone to forgive me. I made a terrible mistake, and now I’m sorry. I want you to tell Mommy and your brother and sister that I’ve  been granted a chance to see you all again one day. My punishment is seeing how much I hurt the people I love.

“Of course, I’ll tell them Daddy,” said both Kelsies at the same time.

The white light became brighter and suddenly she could barely see her father and little Kelsie.  Her father carefully let go of little Kelsie, and she disappeared.  He turned toward the light. Eventually, he became  a part of it.
Kelsie looked down, and saw a small piece of the mirror shaped like a heart sitting on the dresser. It was on top of the pink silk ribbon from little Kelsie’s ponytail. She found the heart space where the broken piece belonged. She picked it up, and pressed it against the mirror.

Two tears slid down Kelsie’s cheeks. “I promise I will never forget you Daddy. I forgive you,” she said.

The piece melded into the heart space.

She picked up the shiny pink ribbon and ran toward her old bedroom to deliver her father’s message.

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Silence is golden: 10 pet peeves about cell phones: Any additions?


Cell phones and smart phones are really fun.  I rely on my cell phone as much as anyone else. The only reason I haven’t gotten a smart phone yet is because I don’t want to pay the extra dollars for it. I am also afraid I will become one of those people who I am complaining about in this post. Constantly looking down at my phone, or using it when it’s really inappropriate. I think it’s rude when people prefer their phone to me. .

Here are 10 places I wish people wouldn’t use their phones

1. Movie theater:  I am there to enjoy the movie. I find the light from your phone very
distracting. If you want to stay in your own little world, stay home, rent a video and don’t
put on your freaking phone. There is a reason they run that cute little feature before the movie starts about keeping your phone shut off!

2. Dressing room: Don’t talk on your phone in the next dressing room over when I am trying on clothes. It is depressing enough for me to be looking at myself in the full-length murder. It is annoying to be taking off my shoes, pulling up pants that don’t really fit me, and getting frustrated with the price of everything. I don’t need to hear your personal conversations. I don’t want to hear your arguing with someone on the phone or discussing a matter that requires  professional counseling.

3. Gym: This is especially directed to personal trainers or class instructors. . I may be old, but I’m not stupid. I see you with that phone that you think is hidden, playing games, or checking your email. (while I’m working my fanny off.).

4. Restaurants:  When I am enjoying a meal I paid for I don’t need to hear you talking in 3 volumes up to someone.

5. Traffic: Don’t talk on your phone while driving. People are really risking getting in an accident.  Don’t text. Everyone knows this by now, but they still do it.

6.  Nature path : When I am walking in the woods by myself, the last thing I want to hear is somebody yelling on top of their lungs on their phone. I prefer the sounds of the birds and the wind rusting the leaves of the trees.

7. Library:  I used to like to go to the library to browse and get some peace and quiet. Now, people are allowed to talk on their phones, and I can’t do a thing about it.

8. Public Restrooms:  Can’t I even do “my business: in peace. Can’t you wait until you’ve flushed the toilet?

9. Play or live concert:  I can’t believe the amount of phones that appear in the dark at these events where I’m paying big bucks.

10. Looking for a tenth one. Any suggestions? Comments would be appreciated.

I know I might as well get used to it because things aren’t going to change any time soon. People have to be constantly entertained. It almost seems like they’re afraid to be alone, even for a few minutes. That’s life in the 21st century.  What do you think?  Agree or disagree?

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A Valentine’s letter to my mother


Dearest Mom,

Happy Valentine's Day...

Happy Valentine’s Day… (Photo credit: Јerry)

I wish you were here. It’s almost Valentine’s day, and I still think about you. I thought you would live forever and you almost did. At ninety-one you finally gave in. I feel slightly guilty that I made you sign the paper giving the doctor permission to do that hip operation. I didn’t know you’d be signing your death certificate. I know you would never want me to blame myself. I do believe it was your “time to go.”

I figured you’d come through that like you did everything. You’d had a couple of  really bad breaks. You were a strong woman. You weren’t the type to feel sorry for yourself. Going blind at the end was very hard on you, but you “did the best you could.”

Things were starting to slip. Sometimes, you’d get things confused. One time, when we were listening to the radio, you asked me who was singing. It was Perry Como, your life-long crush.

[Portrait of Perry Como, New York, N.Y., ca. O...

[Portrait of Perry Como, New York, N.Y., ca. Oct. 1946] (LOC) (Photo credit: The Library of Congress)

You didn’t remember much about my childhood. That you’d nursed me through a staff infection for two years, that when I broke my shoulder, you’d made slings out of Cleveland Indian scarves. You couldn’t remember our family trip to Washington D.C. when I was 12.  It was like that part of our lives together never happened.

You rarely talked about my father. Not unless I brought it up. Remembering him was just too painful. I know you were hoping to see him after you died. But being the practical person you were, you didn’t believe that was going to really happen. Even though I’m just as practical, I like to imagine that you are together.

When I came to visit, we stuck with the tasks at hand. Walking down to the dining hall, taking a walk outside, and listening to that old radio station where they played all your favorites: Eddie Fisher, Perry Como, Bing Crosby, and all those singers from the 1940’s.

You still loved to go out to eat. It was almost like you were escaping from that independent living facility every time I came to visit. It was almost like we were partners in crime.

You loved to go to the beauty shop, and listen to the hair-stylists talk to their customers. It was the last place where you could feel like one of the girls.

In your old age you still cared more about me than you did yourself. You asked me if I wanted that extra dinner you’d ordered from the kitchen of the independent living facility where you lived. You asked me if I was comfortable sleeping on the couch overnight. You offered me sheets and a pillow. You tried your very best to be a good hostess.

You dearly loved all your grandchildren ( and great-grandchildren) and gave what you could to all of them. They were your hope for the future. Maybe your exterior seemed a little tough, but inside you were all mushy. You just didn’t let anyone know it.

When we went through your apartment, we found evidence of this secretive side: saved birthday cards, our old school report cards, photographs, engagement and wedding announcements and  programs from college graduations.

So, on Valentines Day I think of the one woman who loved me the most. When you died, you took my nickname with you. It isn’t the same if someone else calls me “Barbie.”  So, a part of me went with you. But, I’ll never forget you.

Happy Valentine’s Day mom.

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The Million Dollar Quartet: Spending some time with Elvis, Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins, and Jerry Lee Lewis


The million Dollar Quartet. L to R: Jerry Lee ...

The million Dollar Quartet. L to R: Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, Elvis Presley and Johnny Cash (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What if you could spend a couple of hours with Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, Johnny Cash and Peggy Lee? Would you want to do that? Peggy Lee wasn’t well-known yet. She was just hanging around Elvis.

If you can recall that era of music, or listen to it, you’re going to enjoy “The Million Dollar Quartet.’

I saw a version of this play at the Palace Theater in Columbus, Ohio. It takes place on December 4, 1956. Sam Phillips ( Vince Nappo) who ran Sun Recording Studios made all these legends stars. On one historic night, he got them all together for a jam session. The play is based upon this meeting. There is a recording and a picture to prove it really happened.

The actors did unbelievable impressions of these music legends. Each of the stars played  their instruments with expertise and wild abandon.  There is a band onstage that is just as professional. And you could hear all the words!

Elvis ( Cody Slaughter) was so good that you forgot he really wasn’t Elvis. Johnny Cash’s (David Elkins) songs were also done to perfection. I can’t say how well the actor did with Carl Perkins since I don’t remember him.

My favorite impression was of Jerry Lee Lewis ( Ben Goddard)   who is portrayed as being a cocky country boy with a big talent. The musician portraying him was just fantastic on the piano. I do remember Jerry Lee Lewis, and he was something extraordinary. The actor portrayed him as an annoying star with a big ego, but still appealing.

A special surprise happened after the play was over when the actors put on sparkling jackets and performed some songs.   They also involved the audience who knew all the words.

We asked some kids when they were leaving if they liked it and they gave it an enthusiastic thumbs up. So, you don’t have to be from that era, or familiar with the music, to enjoy this show.

It’s sad to know that all these music legends are gone now. What lasts is their music. And they were good! When the play comes back next, year remember that it’s well-worth the money.

If you like this music, and the play comes to your town, go to it!  It will take you back and make you happy, for a while!

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Remembering Whitney Houston a year later


One of my favorite songs in the whole world.

I thought it good to revisit this song a year after Whitney Houston’s tragic death.

 

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Imitation of Life: We’ve come a long way: A movie about racial differences and independent women


Imitation of Life (1934 film)

Imitation of Life (1934 film) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If you want to see how far our society has advanced since 1934, watch “Imitation of Life.” The prejudice of the time is reflected in this movie.  It also tells a story about  women trying to make it on their own.

The story revolves around two women, Beatrice Pullman (Ms. B), a white woman,  portrayed by Claudette Colbert, and Delilah, a black woman,  portrayed by Louise Beavers.  They both have two daughters, the same age, but Delilah’s daughter is light-skinned and desperately wants to pass for white. She’s figured out that in 1934, life’s a lot easier in the white world. Fredi Washington, a black actress, gave the character believability.

Ms B is a widow with a young child Jessie, and Miss B. is trying to make a living selling maple syrup on the Boardwalk. She offers Delilah and her young child, Peola, a room in her house in exchange for Delilah’s  housekeeping. Although they have an almost equal friendship, Delilah’s total devotion to Ms. B might bother you. In one scene she is rubbing Miss B’s feet and telling her how important it is for her to find love. (Why doesn’t Miss B tell Delilah she should find love too?)

Miss B is delighted when she tastes Delilah’s secret family recipe for pancakes. She knows Delilah’s pancakes will sell better than maple syrup.   She decides to open a restaurant featuring Delilah’s pancakes,  then markets her mix and they both make a lot of money. Ms. B. offers Delilah 20% of the company. (This seems hardly an equal partnership.)

After they get rich off of Delilah’s recipe, Ms. B meets a potential husband, Steve Archer (Warren William) at a posh party she throws in her fancy New York apartment. Delilah and Peola have to sit outside the party dressed in their finery. You can feel Peola’s heartbreak.

The plot surrounds the girls upsetting their devoted mothers. Peola doesn’t want anyone to know she’s black, so she doesn’t want her mother hanging around. Jesse Pullman (Rochelle Hudson) plays your average sweet rich ingenue. Let’s just say that she takes a shine to her mother’s boyfriend. That’s all I’m going to reveal.

Although this movie will embarrass you at times,  it’s worth watching.

This movie was recommended for Best Picture in 1934. It didn’t win.  Why would it? It was about independent women and friendship between a black and white woman. Miss B eventually shows Delilah more concern and caring, but we know who is the most valuable person.

Although these actors are all long gone, their performances still hold up. It’s really amazing when you think about it.

I caught in on AMC, but it is sold on Amazon. I understand there is a version with narration, that explains what life was like in the good old bad days.

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Baltimore Raven’s win Superbowl 47: Honest observations by a Baby Boomer Lady


Baltimore Ravens

Baltimore Ravens (Photo credit: Keith Allison)

 

In the pre-game show Jennifer Hudson is singing with children from Sandy Hook Elementary.These are kids who lost their classmates because of violence. At least nobody is shooting semi-automatic weapons on the field. But would it really surprise anyone? Alicia Keys does her own slow version of “The Star Spangled Banner.” I liked it, but a lot of people on Twitter and Facebook were critical.

 

I occasionally watch Ohio State football games. These pro guys are like animals. They are faster, stronger, and bigger. It is faster to watch. Why do all take this game so seriously? I am not invested in this game because I don’t have many feelings about the teams. I’m interested in this game because both coaches are brothers. They look-alike too. Can you imagine the rivalry between them?

 

I feel conflicted about the Baltimore Ravens. I’m originally from Cleveland, and the old “Cleveland Browns” were sold by Art Model years ago to Baltimore. A lot of fans were really angry. At the point I’m writing this, it looks like the Ravens are going to win. After seeing them tackle each other, no wonder they all get concussions.

 

I’m liking the commercials. I usually just DVR favorite shows, and don’t watch commercials. Physical fighting between the teams. San Francisco quarterback intercepted. Raven got first down. You can almost hear them saying,” fight, fight, fight.” Ravens are smoking the 49’s. The whole thing is making me feel nervous, and I don’t care about the football game. Maybe violence makes me nervous.

 

I should’ve auditioned for the Taco Bell commercial about old people escaping from the nursing home. Bad taste!

 

Twenty- one to six at halftime. Ravens are smoking hot!

 

Half-time show

 

Why does Beyonce wear hardly any clothes. but, she has a terrific act. Is she supposed to look like a hooker? We’ve come a long way baby? At least she looks curvy. And all the girls with her are curvy too? And also looking like hookers! I feel the generation gap. I’m wondering if that was” Destiny’s Child” joining her.

 

Second Half

 

At the beginning of the second half the Baltimore Ravens make a touchdown right off the bat. It’s starting to get boring. Not boring now! Power goes off in the stadium. I’m thinking, something is going to happen that’s disastrous. So what do you think? Maybe they better do a prayer service. I’m sure the higher power, whoever or whatever it is, really cares about the outcome. The power goes back on one-half hour later Now San Francisco is only one score below in 2 minutes. I guess they needed a rest to get their act together. Is that fair?

 

Fumble by the Ravens, and recovered by the 49’s. Now the 49’s are smoking hot! Seventeen points in a four-minute 17 second stretch. Now the Baltimore Ravens are running a lot. Getting knocked down. Ouch! Pierce is leaving the field. That hurt! Now it’s getting excited. I am rooting for SF. They are cooler! And I like their uniforms better. As soon as I do, the Ravens gain momentum. Am I responsible for this?

 

Inside the two yard line, no goal. Field goal coming instead of a touchdown. They’ve got it! It’s still anyone’s game? This is the longest football game in history. (Not faster, as I originally thought when I started this post! )

 

Waiting for the end already 12 minutes and 22 seconds left! San Francisco! Touchdown! They tried a 2 point conversion, to tie the game. Failed! Baltimore Ravens get a field goal! Up by 5. San Francisco has the momentum at the two-minute warning! Time out. Lost a chance to get a touchdown. Ravens kept them away! Only 1 minute and 42 seconds left

 

 It’s finally over!! Baltimore Ravens 34-31

 

 

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The Movie “Quartet” is a Winner: Dustin Hoffman’s Directorial Debut at 75 Grade: A


If you’re a baby boomer or above, you’re facing some realities. You aren’t going to look like your 25 no matter how much you try. You start noticing other changes too. You get tired faster.  Some people notice a little forgetfulness creeping in. Imagine how it’s going to be in your  70’s, 80’s and 90’s.

Acceptance of very old age is beautifully portrayed in the movie, “Quartet.” It is Dustin Hoffman’s directorial debut (at 75) and he does a sensitive job. He was wise enough to do his first production with the best actors. Try Maggie Smith, Tom Courtenay, Billy Connolly, and  Pauline Collins,   Even though they’re elderly, they’re effective.  Just like the characters they portray in the movie.

The movie is about people living in a retirement home for musicians,  Beecham, residents are notable instrumentalists and opera singers. They don’t sit around and play Bingo; they play and sing music. Most of it classical and operatic There is plenty of music interspersed throughout the movie. There’s some authentic singing done by some of these masterful actors, singers and instrumentalists.

One of the conflicts comes into play when a former diva Jean Horton, portrayed by Maggie Smith, has to make contact with her ex husband Reginald portrayed by Tom  Courtenay. You know it was a serious breakup by their reaction to each other.

The retirement home needs to put on a show to raise money so they can stay in business. Smith’s character doesn’t want to tarnish her reputation since she can’t hit the high notes she used to. Part of the movie deals with Jeans reluctance to perform again.

Although the movie drags a little in the beginning, it picks up speed and by middle, you’ll be completely captivated.

*If you live in Columbus, Ohio, it’s playing at The Drexel Theater in Bexley.

Stay for the credits. They have some before and after pictures of the actors.

( I attended this movie with people I’ve been singing in a choir with for over 20 years. By the end of the movie, we were joking about scoping out a retirement home now.  I couldn’t think of people I’d rather live with when  I’m really old! )

English: Dustin Hoffman at the Cannes Film Fes...

English: Dustin Hoffman at the Cannes Film Festival. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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Les Miserable


If you’ve never seen the Broadway play of Les Miserable, maybe you’ll appreciate this clip from a 10th anniversary special. These were all the professionals who played the main parts.

I did enjoy the movie, but I was a little haunted by all the big voices I was used to hearing when I saw it live. This play is a particular favorite of mine.    I’ve seen it several times. What do you think?

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A Different Kind of Inauguration: Barack H. Obama 44th President of the United States


The . Original title: The original Star Spangl...

The . Original title: The original Star Spangled Banner “Museum” (from unverified data provided by the National Photo Company on the negative or negative sleeve.) This glass negative might show streaks and other blemishes resulting from a natural deterioration in the original coatings. cropt from LOC file before upload to Wikimedia. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I liked Obama’s inaugural speech. What did he talk about? Carrying on our “ founding fathers “ideas of everyone treated with equality. Everyone working together and getting along. What a novel concept. He talked about immigration and gay people being allowed to be who they are.

What I liked best about his speech is that he probably wrote it himself. Nothing like having an intelligent president. It’s nice to watch his family too. You know he really values women by the way he treats his wife and daughters.

Naturally, having James Taylor sing “America” entertained me no end. (And every baby boomer.) Kelly Clarkson singing “ My Country Tis of Thee.” was very inspirational. It was like I was hearing that second verse for the first time.  Beyonce was the best, singing “The Star Spangled Banner.”

My absolute favorite was the Cuban- American poet, Richard Blanco. Here is his poem in case you missed it. Until I did his research I didn’t realize he was gay. Should that matter? Should we be talking about that? I don’t think so.

What do you think?

Click on the link, and you can view the poet reading his poem at the Inauguration.

http://youtu.be/1mDrk8AC4G4

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Dental work bites your pocketbook: Why is it so expensive?


Cover of "My Dentist"

Cover of My Dentist

I have always had good health, and I am really grateful for that. But, one part of my body seems to be falling apart, my teeth. Maybe human’s weren’t meant to live as long as they do now-a-days. It seems like teeth go before the rest of our bodies.

My teeth have never been wonderful. When the tooth fairy was giving out teeth,  she must have given me the second-rate ones. Maybe she knew I wasn’t ever going to be rich and famous and didn’t need to be photographed. It might also have something to do with the inheritance I got from both my mother and grandmother. They both owned dentures which they faithfully soaked in Polident every night. Dental Implants, which stay in your mouth permanently, are an improvement.

To clarify, I am constantly brushing and flossing my teeth. I have said aloud to anyone who was listening, “I no longer have to take care of children, but I always have my teeth to keep me busy.”  I guess I’d be completely toothless now, if I didn’t do that. I know people without teeth, and it’s not a pretty picture. People shouldn’t have to go around looking like that because they’re financially strapped.

In my sixties my teeth have become very high maintenance.

When I was a kid, I went to a dentist who was continually putting silver cavities in my mouth. One time when a new dentist drilled my tooth I complained about the way the Novocaine felt. So, he let me go without it. I would  not recommend this. I will never complain about Novocaine again.

The silver cavities have been replaced with beautiful white ones because the original ones only last so long .Now, I need crowns on my teeth.  A crown protects your nub of a tooth. ( The dentist files down your tooth to fit the crown.) A guess they call them crowns because they’re about as expensive as the one of the  English  crown jewels. (Okay, I’m exaggerating.)

Unfortunately, I lost 2 teeth in the past couple of  years.  I was going to a dentist who was having some  emotional problems,  and he told me not to worry about my teeth that were  slightly wiggling and a little mushy.  I should’ve known better, but I listened to him.

By the time I got to a good dentist, it was too late.  I had to get them pulled by a fancy periodontist in a fancy office.  It was a surreal experience.

Cover of "Cast Away (Widescreen Edition)&...

Cover of Cast Away (Widescreen Edition)

mainly, because I used to have dreams that my teeth were falling out. When the periodontist was pulling out my tooth I must have  had the look of  panic on my face. He said, “at least I’m not taking off your arm.” This put it in the proper perspective.

If that wasn’t bad enough, he later did surgery on 3/4 of my mouth. He opened up my gums and got all the gunk out, then he sewed them back up.   It only hurt when he put those 3 fancy shots of Novocaine in my gums.  He did this surgery that was supposed to “save my teeth.” He even called to see how I was doing the next day. I found that amazing. How many doctor’s call you to see if you’re still alive?  I finally understand what being long-in-the-tooth means. More gum then tooth, and you’re getting up there in years.

It worked for a while, but  time is marching on. Not only am I now “long in the tooth”  but some of my teeth are just not going to last. I have a feeling there are more crowns in my future.

I visit the dentist every 3 months, and the periodontist on the alternate 3 months. These are like my closest friends now. No offense to them, but I’d rather be socializing with other people.

The crowns are so fancy that each of these majestic coverings is going to cost me over $1.000.00.a piece. Yes, I do have Dental insurance, but it doesn’t pay for the whole crown. Only 25%. Does that mean they only care about  1/4 of my tooth.

I think the dental profession is getting away with overcharging all of us.

 I personally know elderly people who will not get the replacement teeth because it’s just too expensive. This doesn’t seem right to me. Isn’t there something undignified about going around with your teeth missing? Besides, you can’t do much else when your past 90, but eat.

To be fair I’m glad we have dentists, periodontists, and dental hygienists
My dentist is so good that my kids still use him when they come to visit. He’s a very nice guy, and I don’t think he would be overcharging if he didn’t have to. I’m wondering if it’s the dental labs.

There’s nothing worse than a bad toothache. Remember Tom Hanks in that movie, Cast Away; he was deserted on an island and had to pull his own tooth out. I could feel his pain.

Why is it so expensive?

Don’t they know that times are tough? Does it really cost thousands of dollars to make those fancy crowns and implants? How much do they make on each sale?

Am I just a whiner? Is the cost justified? Tell me about your experiences.

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A favorite childhood poem: What is yours?


Louis Untermeyer, ed. (1885–1977). Modern American Poetry.  1919.
Eugene Field. 1850–1895
5. Little Boy Blue
 I’ve always liked this poem. Thought I’d share it.  I thought it was about growing up, but now I realize it’s about something else. But I still like it anyway. It was in a book of poems we used to have in my house growing up. Do you have a favorite poem? Maybe I was a more melancholy child than average. Maybe not, since it’s very famous.

English: American writer, poet, literary criti...

English: American writer, poet, literary critic, and editor Louis Untermeyer (1885-1977) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

THE little toy dog is covered with dust,
    But sturdy and staunch he stands;
The little toy soldier is red with rust,
    And his musket moulds in his hands.
Time was when the little toy dog was new,
    And the soldier was passing fair;
And that was the time when our Little Boy Blue
    Kissed them and put them there.
“Now don’t you go till I come,” he said,
    “And don’t you make any noise!”
So, toddling off to his trundle bed,
    He dreamt of the pretty toys;
And, as he was dreaming, an angel song
    Awakened our Little Boy Blue—
Oh! the years are many, the years are long,
    But the little toy friends are true!
Ay, faithful to Little Boy Blue they stand,
    Each in the same old place,
Awaiting the touch of a little hand,
    The smile of a little face;
And they wonder, as waiting the long years through
    In the dust of that little chair,
What has become of our Little Boy Blue,
    Since he kissed them and put them there.
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“Parental Guidance”: Movie Review” Nobody makes me laugh like Billy Crystal!


Do you think Billy Crystal is hilarious? Then, go see Parental Guidance. I both laughed and cried during this movie. But, nobody makes me laugh like Billy Crystal. He plays Arte Decker, an over-the-hill baseball announcer, who has been fired for being old and out of touch with the newest generation.  There were some poignant moments in this movie interspersed with all the laughs.

I laughed a lot more than I cried. Bette Midler plays Crystal’s adoring put-together wife (Diane) who sees the chance to babysit their three grandchildren as another opportunity to win their grandchildren’s love. Currently, their photo is pushed aside on the mantle because the “other grandparents” take center stage.

Alice Simmons (Marisa Tomei) is  their only daughter  who is married to Phil Simmons (Tom Everett Scott) he’s handsome, understanding and smart.  He’s a gadget computer guy who’s completely made their house user friendly.  Crystal’s awkwardness around all this stuff felt familiar to me.

Alice and Phil direct the parents on their modern child rearing methods. Use positive reinforcement and don’t ever say no. “We let them ‘use their words and make choices.” says Tomei.

The three kids are adorable, but they have their problems. The oldest girl, Harper, (Bailee Madison)  is too serious,  the middle child, Turner, (Joshua Rush)  has a stutter, and the littlest guy, Barker (Kyle Harrison Breikopf)   has an imaginary friend. They all play straight guys to Billy Crystal. He’s great with them, especially Barker, but there is a moment in the film when Turner steals the movie.
There are a few slap-stick gags that are old, familiar and predictable, but they still work.

Crystal does one scene by himself that I found particularly touching. You’ll have to see the movie because I don’t want to ruin it.

What I was glad to see were all the kids, mostly preteens or early teens,  in the movie theater. A clean-cut movie with no monsters, guns and violence. They seemed to be enjoying it too.

If you’re looking for depth, there isn’t a whole lot in this movie. But, if you’re looking for laughter, you’ll find it here.  And if you’re trying to reconcile your place in the universe, it’s reassuring to know you’re in the same age category as Midler and Crystal.

Do you agree with my review? Comments are welcomed.

 

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TV’s Supernanny is cool: A Review. Ten of the best techniques I’ve gleaned from the show.


I am fascinated by the Supernanny.  She’s the English Nanny who helps rescue people being over-run by their kids.  What’s most fascinating about her is that she doesn’t have any kids, but she seems to have a good understanding of what makes kids tick. No matter how assertive she is with the children,  the kids seem to love her. She knows the difference between being stern and mean. (It is TV) It just proves that kids are looking for authority figures, not friends.

This lady has good ideas. I was watching a marathon of these shows yesterday. Why I should be interested after I’m all done with mothering bewilders me. Maybe I’m just glad I didn’t live with abusive kids.

These new parents have a lot on their plates. It takes two incomes to raise kids these days. It’s a lot of responsibility, work and time.  I think maybe we’ve lost sight of what’s important. I think our mothers, father, and grandparents had a better idea.

I’m not saying I was the perfect mother, far from it. Luckily, my kids came out all right, but I  could have used some of the techniques I see proposed on this TV show.

Ten Valuable Techniques (I’ve watched

Supernanny

Supernanny (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Supernanny teach hapless parents.)

1 .When disciplining the child, get down on their level. Have them think about what they did wrong, then have them apologize. (I actually did use this technique. It was in place in the medieval times. )
2. Put some authority in your voice, so they know you mean business.
3. Make them go in their corner or room for one minute per age.
4. If they get out of bed at night, just put them back in their beds. The first time, say something, but after that don’t talk, just put them back in bed.
5 .Don’t let them use bad language, kick, hit or abuse the parents. It should never be tolerated.
6. Keep a good routine going. Give them thing to do that they will like. (Don’t just expect toys or TV  to completely entertain them.)
7 .Make sure your house is safe and that they can’t get into trouble.
8. Give them responsibility.
9. Take time to play with them.
10 Take time to listen to them.

Clinging Child

The story that I found unbelievable was about a little boy who was clinging onto his mother. She couldn’t walk 10 feet without him putting up his arms and demanding that she pick him up. She never turned him down.  He also decided what time his  mom and he should go to bed.  When he got tired, he happily crawled in bed with Mom and Dad (already asleep).

Supernanny gave Mom several  techniques to un-cling little 2-year old.  Mom was unwittingly promoting these  clinging habits. Dad wasn’t helping because when  he came home from work, he had transition time which never ended. He sat on a chair all night and watched TV. As soon as he became engaged with his kids, things began to improve.

It all came out all right. (At least on the TV show.)  The clinging  child  finally went to sleep in his own bed, disengaged from his mom and stopped throwing tantrums every time she put him on the floor.

If the kids featured on Supernanny are messed up, it’s easy to see who is responsible. It usually goes back to Mom and Dad.

The parents don’t seem to have any insight in what they’re doing to create these little monsters. Some parents are afraid of their kids not liking them, some are too lazy to tend to their kid’s needs, and others just don’t know what to do.

It seems peculiar that they don’t teach these kinds of skills in school. I think it’s needed now, more than ever.

Your thoughts?

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A Baby Boomer’s humorous look at newer innovations: the modern baby ultrasounds


Head of a fetus, aged 29 weeks, in a "3D ...

Head of a fetus, aged 29 weeks, in a “3D ultrasound” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Someone I vaguely know, posted a picture of their baby’s ultrasound on Facebook. This isn’t the first time this has happened. The ones that really creep me out are the three-dimensional pictures.  I think it’s very Science Fiction like, and kind of odd. Should you be looking at the kid before it comes out of the womb?  It seems like you’re invading the embryo’s privacy in some way.

It was bad enough when your parents showed you naked on a blanket. Now, they can show you actually developing.
It’s mind boggling to know that we  all start out looking like something from another dimension.   It’s one thing to be pregnant and know there’s something going on. It’s another thing to actually watch it. This whole process reminds me of a “Twilight Zone” episode.  (For all you baby boomers out there!)

Along with showing the parent’s monthly ultrasounds, the doctors also draw comparisons between pieces of fruit. The little embryos are compared to naval oranges, avocados, bananas, and a variety of foods.

Maybe it helps the parents get used to the idea of having a baby, and it is a good conceptual tool. What do we usually do with pieces of fruit? We eat them. Now, that’s creepy.

Baby boomers did experience this a little bit

When I’d go to the doctor every month, he would put me on the scale and take my urine to check out if I had some kind of disorder or other. I still hear my doctor saying, “you’re not eating for three are you?”   They did do one ultrasound per pregnancy. Once in a while it revealed the sex. In my case, it never revealed anything to me except the fetus was developing normally.  That was a reassuring thing to know.  It seemed like Science Fiction to me, even back then.  (I recently found one of these pictures, but I couldn’t remember which kid it was.)

I didn’t know whether any of my kids was a boy or girl before they arrived.  The only tooI I had in those days was the Drano test which really didn’t work. You mixed Drano with urine and it either turned blue or brown. Blue was a boy, and brown was a girl. My husband and I tried it each time and it was highly inaccurate. But it did bubble, make a sizzling noise and stink to high heaven.  You had to make sure you weren’t near it when it bubbled.

What’s next?
Twenty-four hour surveillance of all the potential baby’s movements which you can play for all your friends and relatives, and a soundtrack to go along with it? Maybe a prenatal beauty contest awards ceremony?

I do think all of this is really cool, but I’m wondering how necessary it all is. How much does the extra technology cost? Am I being overly skeptical?

What do you think?

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Les Miserable : Review A+ The movie lives up to expectations


Sometimes, it’s really worth your time, money and energy to attend the movies. If you want to see something you’ll really enjoy, go see Les Miserable.

Although nothing can trump seeing the live musical, this comes close. Unlike the play, you can see some unbelievable  scenery and powerful  camera shots.   The costumes are realistic, and the makeup makes everyone look pretty miserable (the pathetic crowd).  Since the movie is so up close, you get a better idea of the characters and their relationships to each other. You get to see the nuances of expression, and  feel the characters emotions.  I could lose myself in this movie, and I was unaware of the time it took to watch. (It is over 2 hours).

There’s been much made out of the fact that the director made the actors actually sing their parts instead of using recorded soundtracks. He also uses a lot of closeups. . You can actually see every mark on their faces, and some of their neglected looking teeth. I liked the fact that they were really singing when it was filmed.

Anne Hathaway plays Fantine  to perfection, and her singing doesn’t disappoint. It doesn’t take her long to turn into a prostitute. It’s almost painful to watch her go through her misery. Although she isn’t on screen that long, her part leaves a lasting impression.

Hugh Jackman  makes a good  Jean Valjean, our hero and makes  a good transformation from a convict (stealing bread) to a moral person. He certainly looks pathetic in the beginning of the movie, and looks like a dashing hero for the rest of it.  His voice is fairly strong, and his acting is excellent.  If he doesn’t deserve an Oscar, I don’t know who does.

Russell Crowe has the least powerful voice in the production, but I think it’s adequate.( It seems hard to believe the director couldn’t find someone with a bigger voice to play the role.)  He plays the villain, Javert convincingly I had heard he was inadequate in the part, so I was pleasantly surprised. I managed to hate him during the movie.

I think Sasha Baron Cohen and Helena Bonham Carter as the slimy innkeepers steal the show when they’re on screen. They both have a lot of charisma that comes through even though their characters are unsympathetic.  All the children in the production also do a terrific job, especially the little boy who plays a rebel.

My favorite female in this production was Samantha Brooks as Eponine. When she sings “On My own” in the rain, I loved it. She’s beautiful and has the voice we’ve come to expect when we see a live production of this show.

Amanda Seyfried as the adult Cosette was very believable. She looks the part and her voice is sweet.

If you’re looking for the biggest voices you’ve  ever heard in this production, you might be disappointed, but the group choral numbers are quite strong, and Eddie Redmay as Marius lives up to expectations.   If you’re looking for a moving story, fantastic scenery, a great reprieve, and something that will bring a tear to your eye, go see this movie.

I would give this production an A!

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Listen to Roma music and Arkadiy Gips: This gives me joy


Through my singing activities, I found an inspirational artist, Arkadiy Gips. He calls Columbus, Ohio, home. He originally came from the Ukraine and studied at all the prestigious universities in Russia. He was also well-known in Eastern Europe before he came to America seeking freedom.

He plays all types of music: classics, jazz, and he even toured with Madonna. (Yes, that Madonna.)

This is an example of a group he leads. They play Roma music. Although, you may not be familiar with it, listen. Watch this all the way to the end. You get a taste of something different. All of these artists are fantastic!

 

 

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Wintry Ohio


Here’s some picture from Columbus, Ohio. Last year we dodged the winter. This year we don’t seem to be as lucky! The Columbus people love their football team, The Ohio State Buckeyes. Even during a winter storm, they are always on our minds. If you click on one picture, you can see the whole gallery–one picture at a time.

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A little bit of heaven on the edge of The Hocking Hills


A cabin in the woods.

A cabin in the woods.

We own a little piece of property near the Hocking Hills in Ohio.  My husband’s family bought it long before I married him. It used to have a cabin, but it’s been taken down. Now, all we’re left with is its natural beauty and the same creek that’s been running through it for eons.

I remember wading in the creek in my 20’s,  but I wouldn’t do it now. I can’t put up with all the rocks on the bottom, and I’m not quite as daring as I used to be.

My husband comes alive when he gets on that property. He’ll go through all the brush  and tall grass off the path. I followed him into it the other day, and fell over some fallen branches. (I thought, what am I doing, I’m too old for this.)   Maybe my days of going through the untamed wilderness are through. I’ll just stay on the path. I think when my husband is 85, he’ll still find a way to plod through the brush and climb those paths.

After a freak storm swept through Ohio, a lot of trees fell all over the place.  The family had to hire a logger to clear out and cut down  damaged trees. Just like people, sometimes the old ones have to go to make room for the new ones.

I was afraid cutting down those trees would ruin the property, but nature has a way of coming back every year. It did look a little sparse at first, but now it’s  been replenished, and you can see a little further than before.

Last year, I was fascinated when I walked down to the creek and there were hundreds of colorful butterflies swirling all around.  It was enchanting to see them in such a natural environment.
.
My husband is happiest when he is building something and working with his hands. He loves to take his garden tractor down to those hills and clear the brush. I jokingly  call him Daniel Boone. Sometimes I think he was born in the wrong century.

I like the sounds of the property. All you hear is the rustling of the leaves. It’s mostly silent. If you sit by the creek, you can hear the sounds of the water. It can be quite peaceful.

My husband is always pointing out to me where a deer probably slept. In all these years, I’ve only seen one.

Milestones

We celebrated a lot of milestones down there.  Our engagement, marriage,  our children, new decisions, jobs and heart breaks. If we’re restless,  we will hop into the car  and take a little ride to the woods.  It used to be five of us but the kids all grew up, so now it’s back to just  the two of us.

I used to bound up and down the pathways.  Now, I walk and have to stop several times before I get to the top.  I recently figured out a good old walking stick made up of a fallen limb of a tree makes the climb easier. I do wonder how much longer I’m going to be able to keep walking the several pathways my husband has carved out with his little tractor.

What is more breathtaking than trees, and a vista to look out at them?  All the wild flowers of purple, yellow, and the wispy pussy willows? In the winter it’s a little more desolate.  I know that in the spring yellow daffodils will be waiting for me. I’m grateful to the former owners of the property who planted them years ago.

Rushville in the fall.

Rushville in the fall.

Since I’ve gotten older I’ve realized material objects aren’t going to bring me joy, but I can feel happy in the quiet woods. It also helps to have my Daniel Boone by my side.

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The Tragedy in Newtown: When are we going to start having an adult discussion? Hatred isn’t going to get us anywhere.


Official seal of Newtown, Connecticut

Official seal of Newtown, Connecticut (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Today, I went to a temple service. I am a regular participant, but today I was going to find some answers to the tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut.  I like the Rabbi, and I like the services.  Today, it was a small gathering.

During Jewish services a part of the morning is devoted  to discussing the Torah . While discussing the Torah, the conversation got around to those killings in Connecticut. This event was on everyone’s minds.

All of these recent shootings weigh heavily on me, as they do on everyone else.  Something has to be done. There has to be a defense against these sick sad people.  What can be done?  I don’t have the answer to this question. But I’m certain making the schools armed camps isn’t the answer. I spent a considerable amount of time working in the schools, elementary, middle and high-school. I had a chance to see what really goes on there. It is a complex place, and talented educators should be admired. It’s an important job.

People have to get real
This is going to get worse before it gets better.  It’s lovely to think we don’t need to protect the children. It’s great to think we can go shopping, to the movies, and to hear political leaders speak without some nut coming out and wiping most of the people away. Unfortunately, while we’re all getting angry at each other, another sad insane person is probably plotting the next catastrophe.

I hope we all find a way to come together and act like responsible adults.

Why?
I guess we’ll never really know the answer to that question.  Some people make simplistic guesses, but that’s not satisfying to me. I was impressed with what the Rabbi read to us just before the service ended.  He read the eulogies  Noah Pozner’s  mother and uncle made at his funeral. These were published shortly after his funeral.

By The Associated Press 12/17/12 09:57 PM ET EST
From mother, Veronique Pozner:
The sky is crying, and the flags are at half-mast. It is a sad, sad day. But it is also your day, Noah, my little man. I will miss your forceful and purposeful little steps stomping through our house. I will miss your perpetual smile, the twinkle in your dark blue eyes, framed by eyelashes that would be the envy of any lady in this room.
Most of all, I will miss your visions of your future. You wanted to be a doctor, a soldier, a taco factory manager. It was your favorite food, and no doubt you wanted to ensure that the world kept producing tacos.
You were a little boy whose life force had all the gravitational pull of a celestial body. You were light and love, mischief and pranks. You adored your family with every fiber of your 6-year-old being. We are all of us elevated in our humanity by having known you. A little maverick, who didn’t always want to do his schoolwork or clean up his toys, when practicing his ninja moves or Super Mario on the Wii seemed far more important.
Noah, you will not pass through this way again. I can only believe that you were planted on Earth to bloom in heaven. Take flight, my boy. Soar. You now have the wings you always wanted. Go to that peaceful valley that we will all one day come to know. I will join you someday. Not today. I still have lots of mommy love to give to Danielle, Michael, Sophia and Arielle.
Until then, your melody will linger in our hearts forever. Momma loves you, little man.

from his uncle (this is only part of it….)

t is unspeakably tragic that none of us can bring Noah back. We would go to the ends of the Earth to do so, but none of us can.

What we can do is carry Noah within us, always. We can remember the joy he brought to us. We can hold his memory close to our hearts. We can treasure him forever. And all of us, including the family, the community, the country and the world, can honor Noah by loving each other and taking care of each other. That’s what Noah would have wanted.

Noah, we love you so much, we miss you dearly, and we will never, ever forget you.

I got some of what I was looking for when I walked in the temple today. But not close to what I need to understand this.

Your thoughts?

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The Harmony Project Singing as One Voice


The Harmony Project.  We are singing Beth Neilson Chapman's "There is no darkness."  Photo by Paul Feeney

The Harmony Project. We are singing Beth Neilson Chapman’s
“There is no darkness.” Photo by Paul Feeney

I’ve been in choirs all my life. I remember how happy I was the first time I officially belonged to a choir. I was in the 5th grade at Rowland Elementary school. I even remember some of the songs we sang for our program.  Miss Titus, our devoted teacher, would probably be thrilled that I remember the words to “The Erie Canal.”

I’ve been in many choirs since then. Singing makes me feel good. I like the social aspects of it too. It’s just plain fun. The Harmony Project, one of the choirs I sing in,  is something special. It’s a philanthropic group that sings and shares. Good works have been done in Columbus, Ohio, under the banner of the “Harmony Project.” We raise money, and get to give concerts too.

Choir Directors always talk about “singing with one voice.”  That is a hard thing to achieve. Sometimes, you have some frustrated singers, with better than average voices, over-singing. At times, what you end up with is  different voices, not blending at all. Sometimes, it reminds me of a competition.  If you have a skillful musical director, they won’t allow this to happen.

Last night at the Harmony Project, everyone was singing enthusiastically while they followed Musical director,  David Brown. In the middle of it all, I said to myself. Wow, this is a once in a lifetime moment. Stay  in the present, listen, to your neighbor, blend in and forget yourself.

It was one of those magical moments. One I’ll always remember. We were all one voice.

Members of The Harmony Project singing with heart and soul!  From the Bill Pearsol album

Members of The Harmony Project singing with heart and soul! From the Bill Pearsol album

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Having fun at the Harmony Project holiday event: December 19 — a biased review


When I started with the Harmony Project there were around 125 people. Now, there are 200. I didn’t really think I’d ever like singing with such a big choir, but I was wrong. We sing with one voice, and without music. It’s so much fun. We clap and rock it out too. There’s no shortage of baby boomers in the choir, but there are also people of all ages, all sexual orientations and all religions. Nobody cares about who believes what. We are all there to sing and share.

Today was our holiday concert at The Southern Theater. Almost every seat was taken. It was a rejuvenating experience.

The South High Harmony choir did a fantastic job singing for the audience. They’re kids from a high school that needed a little boost. They should be so proud of themselves. They did “We Will Rock You” with energy and heart.  It was terrific.

The Unison Project sang “You’ve got a friend” with confidence and bravado.

The audience was excellent.  They stood up more than once, and they rocked out with us. We were all one giant group.

The bike lady, got up and said how great it is that 155 teenagers is foster care will now have bikes. Members of the choir raised money in a social event in one day. It was a new idea and it worked.

What a band we have to back us up. They are all professional musicians of the highest caliber and they are good! Tonight we added strings and a mandolin. I have to say our soloists did an outstanding job.

It was fortunate that David Brown decided Columbus was the place to launch The Harmony Project. We’ve done a lot for the community. There’s so much to do.

David  talked about looking for good signs tonight. I think the audience giving us a standing ovation was a pretty good sign!

If you’re coming tomorrow, you will have a terrific time. It’s  guaranteed!

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Blogging can be fun


I am so happy that my cyberspace friend Pat Garcia nominated me for the Blog of the year 2012.

I started writing the blog in February. I’ve ended up writing about all kinds of things: my family, being a baby boomer, and   inspirational people.  I like especially recollecting my late parents who I was so close with. I still miss them every single day.

I also have written movie and book reviews, and one of my favorite subjects, The Harmony Project, a group in Columbus, that has taught me there is real joy in volunteering.

I was always one of those kids who ran in the door and said to my mother, “ Guess what?”  So now, I can do it publicly .

The blog also helped me work through the pain of the sudden death of a good friend, Barbara Perrin, a member of a writer’s group I attended for the last 5 years. Losing her suddenly was one of the saddest things that ever happened to me.

I am thrilled to be nominated Pat Garcia! Ciao!

I am thrilled to be nominated Pat Garcia! Ciao!

On Word Press, you can see which of your articles has gotten the most hits. It’s always satisfying to know other people have read what I’ve written.

What’s really been special about this blog is communicating with people I hardly know. One of the rules of this contest is to nominate other blogs that mean so much to you.

It’s really an honor to have been nominated Pat. Thank you so much!

Blogs I nominate

‘Blog of the Year 2012’ Award

(This has been copied word for word for accuracy. It is suggested you do the same…makes posting easy!)

Do you know a blog that deserves an award?

Do you have special blogs that you love to read?

Which blogs do you bookmark and follow?

Would you like to give them an award this year?

Then the ‘Blog of the Year 2012’ Award is for you!

The ‘rules’ for this award are simple:

1 Select the blog(s) you think deserve the ‘Blog of the Year 2012’ Award.

2 Write a blog post and name/tell us about the blog(s) you have chosen – there’s no minimum or maximum number of blogs required – and ‘present’ them with their award.

3 Please include a link back to this page Blog of the Year 2012 Award and include these ‘rules’ in your post (please don’t alter the rules or the badges!)

4 Let the blog(s) you have chosen know that you have given them this award and share the ‘rules’ with them

5 You can now also join The Facebook group – click ‘like’ on this page ‘Blog of the Year 2012’ Award Facebook group and then you can share your blog with an even wider audience

6 As a winner of the award – please add a link back to the blog that presented you with the award – and then proudly display the award on your blog and sidebar … and start collecting stars…

Yes – that’s right – there are stars to collect!

6-stars-image

I’m referring back to Pat Garcia:

Walk on! http://pal_patgarcia.wordpress.com

These are the blogs I currently follow:

Liz Blackmore- little box of books.

David Kanigan, Lead, learn, Love

Hungry girl-you get a low fat recipe everyday! Lisa Lillen

The Kovies-Pondering blessings-onememory at a time

Somethingville.com-Christie

Christie Pepper, Cookie momma’s blog

Christian Mahail- a writer who is terrific and very young!

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Harmony Project gets loads of bikes to give to kids for Christmas


305432_10151280280413070_1024731632_n305432_10151280280413070_1024731632_nHere’s what can happen if people work together, and do something positive. The Harmony Project, a philanthropic group that sings and shares had a one day drive in Columbus, Ohio, to buy bikes for foster kids.  It worked!  In one day, enough money was raised to buy 155 bikes!

In light of what has happened recently, this is encouraging news. If we put our minds to it, we can do anything.

We just need to believe in ourselves, and what we can accomplish! Picture by David Brown, director of The Harmony Project!

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A BalletMet Production of “The Nutcracker” Doesn’t Disappoint but today it makes me a little sad


Vzevolozhsky's costume sketch for The Nutcracker.

Vzevolozhsky’s costume sketch for The Nutcracker. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s the day after the shootings in Sandy Hook, Connecticut. Yesterday, I watched all the news shows. I can’t watch them today. It’s too disturbing.  These shootings are just beyond comprehension. What could drive a person to shoot 20 children? Who was he? Why did his mother keep guns in her home?

Why do we always end up focusing on the murderer? I’m guessing it’s because the thought of someone human doing these things is so incomprehensible.

Today, I dragged myself out of the house to watch Columbus BalletMet’s version of The Nutcracker. The last time I’d seen a production was twenty-six years ago.

I usher for the Ohio Theater in Columbus, Ohio. It’s one way to help the community and see different events for free. Columbus does have a lot to offer as far as culture goes: the symphony, Broadway on tour, guest artists, lectures  and my favorite, Columbus BalletMet. This dance company does a lot of contemporary dance as well as the classics. The dancers are young, energetic, beautiful, artistic and talented. i never walk away disappointed.

It took me by surprise
I had forgotten that little girls come with their mothers and fathers to these shows. The little girls were dressed up in frilly colorful holiday dresses.  I hardly saw anyone wearing jeans or T-shirts. It was sweet and so nostalgic.

I couldn’t help but think of the children who were murdered yesterday. They were about the ages of many of the little girls who were so thrilled to be seeing this famous ballet for the first time. I couldn’t stop thinking of the  grief -stricken parents who lost their precious children.

BalletMet didn’t disappoint

I  was enchanted with the production. It was beautifully staged, the music charmed me and the costumes were extraordinary. It was a memorable production and cheered me up a little.

But, in the back of my mind, I couldn’t stop remembering all those little girls who will never get to get dressed up and see
The Nutcracker with their parents.

It’s  really time to do something to stop the violence. Don’t you agree?

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Enough is Enough: Shooting in Newtown Connecticut: We should ALL take responsibility for this!


A shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut and the TV commentators are asking why? Maybe he might have to do with accessibility to guns and the media? This is not something that’s hard to figure out. Please!

I am tired of all these fools saying we don’t need to restrict guns. They say things like:

1.If they didn’t have a gun, they’d use a knife.
2, If they didn’t have a gun, they use a bomb.
3. If you don’t have a gun, you can’t shoot the shooter.
4, You can’t take guns away from people. It’s their right to shoot each other.
5. You can’t control crazy people, they’re going to do it anyway!  Where there’s a will there’s a way.

 

Example of a color glitch from the video game ...

Example of a color glitch from the video game Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I am tired of people not doing anything about all the violence in the media

Have you ever watched  a video game? Guns and shooting. And they are becoming  more and more realistic. I saw some people playing these games,  and I was absolutely shocked on how gruesome, dark, and realistic it was.

Have you seen the junk on TV?

Have you watched the news? The news that is on 24/7?  We sit and watch violence for entertainment.

If they didn’t have easy access to guns, they wouldn’t do this!  If you have a gun available you’re more likely to use it! That’s a fact.

In England, this kind of thing doesn’t go on. Why? There’s gun control in England? Don’t you think they also have crazy people there?

I have been hearing about gun control since JFK was assassinated. When is this ever going to end?

 

Your comments?

 

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Fallen Hero JFK: “Once Upon a Secret” by Mimi Alford: Review


John F. Kennedy thanking Marilyn Monroe

John F. Kennedy thanking Marilyn Monroe (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I just completed a book written by yet another one of the late John F. Kennedy’s  alleged mistresses, Once Upon A Secret by Mimi Alford.

Her involvement with Kennedy became public knowledge in 2003 with an article by a Kennedy biographer.  He mentioned Alford by name, and pretty soon the reporters were on her trail. She decided to come out with the information on her own.

Alford had been living with the “secret” for 41 years and wanted to give her side of the story. She was especially interested in letting her two daughters know what happened and why.

Alford’s White House Internship
Ironically, Alford won an internship to the White House by writing an article about Jackie Kennedy for her school newspaper, “ Salmugundy”. Since Jackie  was an alumnus of the school, Miss Porter’s a boarding school in Farmington, Connecticut, Jackie’s private secretary, Miss Baldridge, granted her an interview at the White House. Baldridge told her all about Jackie for the article.

Alford assumes the article won her an unsolicited offer to work in The White House.  (She didn’t apply for it.) She took it although her father wasn’t happy about it. He’d already gotten her a job with a fancy law firm. Her family was well-connected and wealthy.

Kennedy was a Womanizer
There are too many women who profess to being his mistresses:Jackie’s press secretary, two white house secretaries nicknamed Fiddle and Faddle, Judith Exner, and Marilyn Monroe.

Alford Was Part of a Team
After you get into this book, you learn there were several graduates of Jackie’s previous alma mater, entertaining JFK throughout the day.  According to Alford, these young women were a tension relievers for the embattled president. On one occasion, JFK suggested she help out his closest aide, Dave Powers relieve his tension too. She complied. But she drew the line at helping out Teddy.

Aftermath of Alford’s affair with Kennedy
After the day of his assassination she confessed the sin to her fiance whom she was later married to for 26 years.  He made her promise to never speak of it again, and she didn’t. She even got rid of the few mementoes JFK  bought her. One was a signed picture, he’d autographed in front of her.
Alford doesn’t regret her affair with Kennedy. Maybe she loved him in her own way.  I think she regretted the fact that she had to hide it, and that it affected her life.

After 26 years, she and her husband got divorced. She does contend that for 13 years they could put the past aside, and were happy. But the last years of their marriage were extremely unhappy. She blames part of it on ” the secret.”

A Happy Ending
One of the reasons Alford doesn’t regret being exposed is because she met her present husband after she became a little famous. She figures if it hadn’t happened, they wouldn’t have ever gotten involved.

Who is Really at Fault?

It seems like the power brokers like Kennedy and more recently Clinton, are too selfish to think about lives they may be corrupting. especially young women.

The book is more well-written that you would expect. It’s an easy read, but it is disturbing. It is a look into the life of President Kennedy from his young mistress’s point of view.

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The baby turns into a young toddler


hoping4astory:

I give up. Im finally just reblogging the post. After all this time , you’d think I’d figure out how to share it.

Originally posted on Grandmother Diaries :

This weekend we got to spend the weekend with the little one. He is now furniture walking and he is also walking with a baby walker. It won’t be long till he lets go. He is also standing up in his crib which makes it harder to encourage him to take naps.

I have spoiled him . I was afraid he wouldn’t feel comfortable in the spare room, so I lay down on the small couch in his room and pretend I’m going to sleep too. I don’t know how much longer he’s going to buy into that charade. So far, it’s working.

He is doing some cute things. He holds up his arms and says “up please.” I scoop him up and give him a tour of the house. I do this every time he comes over. Then we go outside and look at the apple trees, flowers, and…

View original 226 more words

hoping4astory

May 7, 2014


Anything goes these days, but if you comment on it, you’re the bad guy. It seems to me that outrageous behavior has become acceptable. If you say it’s gauche or in bad taste people look at you like your crazy. It seems to me that good manners is quickly becoming a thing of the past.

I don’t even want to imagine what it’s like in the schools these days. I’m wondering if they’re giving the teachers detentions instead of the students. From my past experience, I know a shift in power was taking place about 10 years ago.

Everyone is casual and comfortable

Go to the theater any day of the week. It doesn’t matter how much people pay for tickets, they are never dressed up at all. They are dressed up for the ballet the same way as they are for a comedian.

Some people do look nicer than others, but it doesn’t seem like they took a lot of time to get ready. There still are some cute, fancy heels that go along with the jeans. Dresses for women seem to be out of style. Maybe that’s just goes with equality, but I do miss them.

I guess they are all “comfortable”, but I do miss the days when people looked really special for special events.

Maybe in a couple of decades we’ll all run around naked, and get rid of clothes altogether. It will be easier on the bank account. We will all be more comfortable, except in the winter! Maybe then we’ll wear a big easy blanket that we put over our heads.

Spoken language is on the decline
Language sure has changed too. Just watch a movie from the 20’s, 30’s or even 40’s, 50’s, or even early 60’s. If this was reflective of society, people spoke in a more courteous way. I do know language has definitely been on the decline in the last few decades. When you’re hearing it in all the media, of course, you’re not going to speak in a thoughtful way.

I’m not saying that life was good for minorities or people who were different in the good old days. I’m glad people are more accepting of differences.

I think one of the casualties of all this acceptance and tolerance is good taste. Just look at afternoon TV. Dr. Phil features the most immoral weird people, and how about the shows that center on finding “the real fathers” of children.

If you express your opinion about much of anything that is against the present norms, you’re looked at like you’re intolerant.

It seems like things have totally gotten backwards. Isn’t there a good balance somewhere?

What do you think?

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Only 3 more months until he’s not a baby anymore! He is still happy, and knows us when we come in the door.

His Dad’s birthday is tomorrow, so we got to watch him while they went out to dinner.

My daughter got dressed up in a pretty blue dress. She wore her high heels, and she looked as pretty as her dress. ( I had a flashback to me and my high heels and long legs. Oh well, nothing lasts forever.)

The baby was pretty happy on the floor looking at his toys. He scoots around and goes after what he wants. No real crawling yet. I’m trying to remember when my children crawled, but I haven’t a clue. I think he’s right on schedule .

I did tell my grandson “Prince George took his first crawl last week, and he’s a month younger than you.” He didn’t seem to care.

He got tired during his nightly beverage and fell asleep on my shoulder. I know my days like this are really numbered. There is nothing sweeter than a little warm human baby snuggling on your shoulder. It really makes me feel needed. Don’t we all like to feel this way?

It’s funny, with your own kids you can’t wait for them to get a little older and independent. (Especially when you have 3 in 5 years.) With this child, I am savoring every minute.

I guess that’s another difference between parenting and grandparenting.

Should the dog be put to death?

Should the Pitbull be put to death? Should the babysitter go to jail or pay money?


I can’t believe how people think dogs are equal to humans. They are animals. Dogs and cats give us something that feels like unconditional love and that is very comforting.

A little boy, who was staying with a babysitter, walked over to a dog and took the bone out of his mouth. The dog mauled the little boy, and he is now permanently disfigured. One of his eyes got pulled out of the socket, and one side of his face is scarred. He was adorable before this incident. Now, what is his life going to be like?  How are people going to look at him now?

The dog is an animal, and reacted like one. Maybe they should put the babysitter in jail while they’re putting the dog to sleep, permanently.

I can understand people’s love of their pets. I did have birds once, and was even attributing human characteristics to them and they didn’t even like us. Every time we tried to hold them, they bit us and furiously flapped their wings.  (They did like music, and I felt they kept me some type of company).

I’ve seen people who prefer their animals over people. I can understand that too. But, most dogs, if given the chance will happily run away from their owners.  So what does that tell you?

Should the dog be put to death?

Should the dog be put to death?chance, will run away. What does that tell you?

In my opinion, they should kill the dog and make the babysitter pay the family restitution,  or send her to jail for a few months. It was irresponsible behavior on her part. She is about as guilty as the dog, but we don’t put humans to death unless they kill another human.

When I found out there was a website pleading for this dog’s life, I couldn’t believe it. Have people lost their minds?

I see no reason to keep a dog like this alive. Doing something like this once, he’s bound to do it again.

What do you think? I’m open to your opinion.

A few members of The Harmony Project 200 member choir.

10 things volunteering can do for others and you!


1. There’s nothing like giving to others. It makes you feel warm and fuzzy inside.
2. People do need people. Although some animals need help too.
3. Meet other people you wouldn’t ordinarily ever come in contact with.
4. Share your knowledge about something: for example, art, writing, music…
5. Helping older people is a good thing. Some of them are very isolated, and this is not a good way to live. There are many children who need someone too!
6. Put good karma in the universe. ( I’m not sure there is such a thing, but
who knows?)
7. You would be surprised how many people you help will want to pay it forward and help someone else.
8. Maybe learn a new skill while you’re volunteering.
9. Stretch yourself further than you thought was possible.
10. In the process, you will make some good friends.

What have you gotten out of volunteering? Share your experiences and thoughts.