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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I’ve been out of touch with some TV and it’s probably a good thing! Yuck


no-cable-tv

no-cable-tv (Photo credit: hjl)

Some of the TV shows on cable television are shocking. I started watching some tonight while I tried to crochet. I figured I could listen and figure out what I was doing at the same time. It really didn’t work.  I ended up ripping out my crocheting, but I realized TV has come a long way. A long way downwards.

I won’t pretend I don’t watch TV, and  that some of my choices aren’t  terrific.  I seem to like competitions and weight shows.  I am a regular viewer of Jon Stewart and the Colbert show.  I used to watch the news shows, but they are just people repeating the same things over and over. The news isn’t too good lately anyway.  Talk about a rehash fest.  It’s nothing like the newscasters of old who actually seemed qualified  to comment on the World’s events.

Image representing Twitter as depicted in Crun...

Image via CrunchBase

Tonight, I listened to Kim and  whoever Khardasian live in Miami.  They eat at fancy restaurants, and run around being famous.  I won’t even tell you what they were discussing on the show tonight. It was too gross.

The husband of one of the sisters seems as dumb as a box of rocks. However, I guess he’s smart enough to live with the Khardasian’s and just play. He doesn’t seem to have a job or anything like that. He also was harassing his girlfriend (a Khardasian)  because she weighed 115 pounds instead of 95. She hadn’t taken off her “baby weight” yet. Yes, they have two children, of course, they’re not married.  I am guessing they deserve each other.

I know the Khardasians are wildly popular and have tons of followers on Twitter. Why is this? They are attractive girls, but exactly what do they do?  I guess their show gives the viewers a chance to pretend they’re famous for doing absolutely nothing. What would it be like to have all that money?

I realized that I must be out of touch with society if this is what is going on in real life. Are people really acting like this?  This TV watching was even worse than the Fox channel which I didn’t think was possible.

Then I watched ( and listened) to  some other disgusting shows. They weren’t trying to be reality shows.  Writers actually write this stuff. Are they high on drugs or drunk when they do this?

All they were talking about was sex. How to do it, and who to do it with, what positions to use. They also loved describing body parts. It reminded me of a sophisticated version of sixth grade jokes.  I didn’t get much of a story going on here. Many of the characters were shallow, superficial, and not very likable.

I didn’t get any inspiring type of messages, or positive feelings.
One of the shows I do  watch is “Shameless”, but some of the stuff is getting to rank for me. I will probably keep watching it because there is enough good acting  going on to keep me interested. They do touch on some issues.  Some of the story lines turn me off. (An Indian with a sexual perversion problem, a daughter using her mother to help her have a baby.) Maybe I’m missing something.

Am I just getting old, or has the morality of society really gone down the tubes. It doesn’t seem that we can get much lower than this.

I’m thinking maybe I’d be better off without TV.   But, like many people, I am addicted.  I guess that makes me no better than Kim and her sister taking Miami or whatever they were supposed to be doing.

What do you think about TV?

Trying out yoga again! Downward dog was never so hard!


English: downward dog posture I took this pict...

English: downward dog posture I took this picture for use in the Anahata Yoga instruction manual. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Today, I decided to go and do a yoga class. This is part of my resolve to do something different every week. I am on my never-ending journey to maintain my health.  I have been stepping up the exercise and feel a lot better than a month ago! (I am also trying to eat smartly).

I used to do yoga about 6 years ago. I’ll be honest, I never much liked it. First of all, I have a lot of weight to hold up when I’m up on all fours. Downward dog is not my favorite position to be in . (Maybe it’s because I am allergic to dogs.)  Your hands are lower than your legs, and you have to hold your behind straight up. in the air. Not ever owning a dog, I’m not sure whether dogs actually do this yoga position.

Knowing I might not make it through the class, I did the elliptical machine for 20 minutes beforehand. I put it on heart rate zone, and it got my heart-rate up to 132 which I think is a little high for a 62-year-old woman who is overweight. So, I already was sweating when I went in the yoga class.

The instructor was making the room all dark and playing exotic music. These yoga instructors are all spiritual types who weigh hardly anything. They are real flexible and can do all sorts of tricks with their bodies.  They also spout off smatterings of pithy sayings coming from Eastern philosophy. I like that part.

Anyway, I was already tired after I was sitting Indian style. It must be cause I’m so weak. My back does not want to be straight.  Then I figured out that my pants were actually too tight around the waist. Not a good beginning. If you go, make sure your pants are loose! That’s why they make yoga pants.

I was bound and determined to make it through the class . One thing I should have known from experience is it’s not smart to eat cereal and drink 2 cups of coffee before you point your head towards the floor.   I reviewed my morning breakfast during downward dog. I was glad my breakfast stayed where it was. Then, for some unknown reason my eyes and nose began running. (Downward dog?)  I was having an allergy attack while I was trying to stretch my arm around my right side while putting my left foot in front of my right foot. Then my glasses kept falling off my head. So, I kept removing them, but I couldn’t see the instructor, so I had to keep putting them on and off.

I actually wanted to leave after the first 10 minutes, but I’m proud to say I did the entire class. Not like everyone else, but I did what I could. Which wasn’t a whole lot, but the sweat was pouring off my forehead.

The instructor was very sweet, and kept giving modifications for my benefit. In yoga they usually stress doing what you can, and not worrying about what other people are doing. I’m fine with that!

One thing I do know about yoga is that stretching and breathing is a good thing. I was so happy when we got to the part where we relax. I wasn’t expecting the instructor to put a towel around my eyes.  That was a little strange. Usually they put it on your body.

The class was finally over and I said my final  Namaste. I will say I felt terrific when it was over.

I’ll try again next week.

I would recommend yoga. From past experience, it helps burn calories and gets oxygen going through you body.  You’re so happy when it’s finally over too!

Do you have an exercise you don’t enjoy, but do it because you feel better when it’s over!

Don’t ever leave your key in the ignition when a toddler is in the car


The day my daughter took my her little brother for a ride in a mini-van

 

I will never forget the day my daughter figured out how to drive. She was around 3. I went in the house to get something, and left my kids in the car for only a  minute or two.  Somehow my daughter maneuvered her way into the driver’s seat. (In those days she wasn’t required to sit in a child’s seat.)  She also figured out how to turn the key sitting in the ignition of the van.

 

When I came out of the house, the big van was rolling down the driveway. My daughter looked like she wasn’t a bit surprised that she was powering the car down the driveway.  I ran to the open window of the driver’s side. I looked back. My son was in his baby seat looking like it was perfectly normal for his big sister to be driving him down the driveway.

 

I ran and tried to get to the steering wheel, but I couldn’t get to it.  The car was going very slowly. It ran over my foot. I still kept going. We went out the driveway heading for my neighbor’s car parked in their driveway across the street. I ran and ran. Finally I got to the steering wheel and pushed it toward the parked position. We were 1/2  inch from my neighbors car.

 

It was like being in the movies. I was so relieved!  The only consequence was my foot hurting for a couple of weeks.

 

But this could have been a real tragedy. A car could have been coming down the street, or she could have run into my neighbor’s car. I recently heard of a case where the outcome wasn’t so good. A woman left her key in the ignition and as a result the child had an accident and is now brain damaged. That sad story reminded me of this past incident.

Steering Wheel

Steering Wheel (Photo credit: Wikiped

 

Lesson: don’t ever leave your kid in the car by themselves with the key in the ignition. Not even for one second.

 

Kids are smarter than you think.

 

Home for Wayward Birds: A Memoir


Once upon a time, my husband and I ran a boarding house for wayward birds.  It started with my son who was desperate for any kind of pet.  My allergies to dogs, cats and fur, made this impossible. Although I loved my son, I wasn’t prepared to go around with hives, a cough and a runny nose for the duration of his childhood.

When he was about 12, my pet-starved son, came home with a little finch in a bird-cage. “Alicia’s father can’t keep this bird. He’s going to have to stick a knife through its neck and kill it.” My son, who rarely cried, was sobbing. What could I do? I gave in. It was a pretty little bird. What harm was it going to do?  (I didn’t personally know Alicia’s father, but I doubted that he was capable of sticking a knife in the bird’s throat.)

We put the little cage in our family room,  and Pearl (later renamed Tweety) became our first guest at our birdie boarding house.

A pair of Zebra finches at Bird Kingdom, Niaga...

A pair of Zebra finches at Bird Kingdom, Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The finch looked happy enough to me, but my husband thought she could use a boyfriend. So, he went out and bought another bird, (named Sylvester) to keep Tweety company. My son was quite happy with this whole arrangement.  It wasn’t a dog, but at least we cared enough about him to get him another living creature. My two daughters weren’t as thrilled as the rest of us about the birds. They were a little messy with their seeds. They could be noisy at times.

My husband would sometimes let the finches out of their cages, and they would fly around the house. We did this when the kids were at camp. Maybe we missed them. I knew it wasn’t the best idea, but I did think a cage might be a sad place to live. I’m all for freedom. (I didn’t even like keeping my toddlers in playpens).

The finches liked to sit on top of the family room vertical blinds and look down at us. I also noticed that they chirped when we played music.  The birds were pretty happy by themselves for a while. Although we didn’t have much of a relationship, they kept us company. It didn’t cost much to feed them.

The Parakeets Arrive

Parakeets and their young!

Parakeets and their young!

When my son entered middle school, he brought home a parakeet for the weekend. It seemed a lot more interesting than the finches. It was bigger and prettier.  I heard parakeets could talk, so I thought that might be fun.  (Little did I know that this creature, (Clark)  would never utter one word to me for the duration of his long life.)

Summer came, and the bird suddenly became homeless.  Nobody  in the class wanted it, except for my son. So, we adopted the parakeet. My husband became busy making it a large inventive cage that he cleverly built into our family room.  He made the bird  some really unique perches out of wood.  The parakeet  was quite happy hopping from perch to perch in the nice big spacious cage. He longingly looked at the finches, but they weren’t the least bit interested in him.

We thought the parakeet was a male. So, we got it another male to keep it company. Pretty soon we figured out that we had purchased Lois to go along with Clark.  We could tell this because of Clark’s behavior toward Lois. He ruffled her feathers.

Just for fun, we got them a wooden nesting box. Lois went in there to lay eggs. These birds were quite fertile and before we knew it, other little birds came into the cage.  It was interesting watching these birds build nests, sit on the eggs and watch the little birds hatch. The parents dutifully fed their young.  We supplied some materials to make the nests, and they all did a fine job. The father sometimes sat on the eggs, so the mother could get some seeds . It was a beautiful thing to watch, an equal partnership.

It was exciting to wait for the little birds to hatch. The little birds looked like worms when they were born. It was fun to watch them develop. Once in a while, we’d hold one. Life, on any level, is fun and exciting to watch.

It was funny how the baby birds held their mouths wide open while awaiting their food. The mother ate it first, then gave it to the baby birds.  Pretty soon, the baby bird’s feathers were as pretty as their parents. It was pretty funny to watch them learn to sit on the perches. It took a little doing. (kind of like a human learning to walk.)

After the little birds were big enough and could sit on those perches by themselves, the mother didn’t want another thing to do with them.  As a matter of fact, the parents forgot it was their baby. I thought that was a good lesson for human beings. When the kids grow up, stop coddling them. They are on their own!

We didn’t want the finches to feel left out, so we got them a nesting box too. We had a couple of extra finches come into our birdie boarding house.  Their nests were just as intricate and fancy. The tiny finches were adorable.

The birds believed in a definite routine. They ate in order, and went to sleep on the perches in order.  The best part was listening to them react to music. They all tweeted away. (The real kind of tweeting.)   It was sweet and nice.

My daughters were embarrassed about the whole thing. They just thought it was a little abnormal. I sometimes complained too. It got a little too much. There were a lot of birds (10-12) and they seemed to take over part of the family room. They made quite a racket when they talked to each other. Most of the time they just sat there, and looked at us.

I used to put my Kathy Smith workout on my DVD player on my TV,  and they’d sit and politely watch. They seemed to enjoy the whole thing. They tweeted to  Beethoven and Mozart music. The birds in our birdie boarding house had excellent taste in music.

Once they were grown-up, the birds didn’t fly on our shoulders, or want to be held. They definitely stuck to their own kind. Birds of a feather really do stick together. We tried putting the finches and parakeets together once or twice, but that wasn’t going to work. The parakeets wanted to kill the finches.

The birds lasted for around 10 or 11 years. Eventually, one bird after another would get inactive, and then pass away.  (We’d find them on the bottom of the cage). My husband would  say a prayer for each bird before he’d bury them in the backyard. They deserved a little dignity. After all, they’d been a member of our birdie boarding house.  I’d attend each funeral. One day we agreed to put the nesting box away.

When the last bird, a finch,  died my husband and I were both sad. By then, the kids had all left home.  We were finally alone. It was like we’d never had kids or a flock of birds living in our family room. He took down the cage, and the family room was no longer a bird sanctuary.

Sometimes I think we should just get one little bird to keep us company. Maybe we’d finally get one to talk, or fly onto our shoulders.  But, for some reason, it’s just like the kids. When they flew the coop, we just got used to the silence.

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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

 

 

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?