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.

Philip Seymour Hoffman: How could drugs kill someone so smart?


I am a movie fan, and I really admired Philip Seymour Hoffman. I’ve watched his Capote more than once, and have enjoyed him in other movies. When I heard he died from a drug overdose I was shocked. I’d seen this man on the PBS show Charlie Rose, and he’d always impressed me as an extraordinarily thoughtful and intelligent person. He really delved into his characters. 

I really shouldn’t have been that surprised. For a brief time, I worked at a drug and alcohol facility and talked to a lot of addicts. I have to say some of them had sad stories about growing up, but some of them weren’t like that at all. Some of them were people you would never imagine would become addicted to substances.

I think being human makes us all vulnerable to wanting to feel better. 
It’s just so sad. What a waste of humanity.
Rest in peace Mr. Hoffman.

Seeing my bad behavior reflected in others : It’s never too late to change!


When I was a little kid, I used to tattle on my sisters,  even when they didn’t really do anything wrong. I’d say, “mommy she’s hitting me, or pinching me, or kicking me.” Sometimes those things would happen, but more often they didn’t. After all, siblings do regularly plummet each other.

One day I was playing at a neighbor’s house. I was about 7 or 8.  I distinctly remember sitting in a treehouse.  I was listening to the little sister constantly complain about her brother. I suddenly realized that was how I was acting. It didn’t make me happy to see my own annoying behavior mirrored back at me. After that day, I stopped the tattling.

Another thing I’m still not good at is accepting apologies. My husband can say, “I’m sorry” and I still go on. I think I’ve done that with other people too.

I took me until today to realize that is not good behavior. I won’t give you the details, but I apologized to someone about a minor infraction and they were still upset.

From this day on, I will be accepting people’s apologies. Really accepting them.

Who says it’s never too late to change? I’m 63 and 1/2.

Is there a behavior you display that you can change. Did you ever have one of those wake up moments.

My two older sisters and me!

My two older sisters and me!

What kind of a world are we making for our children?


Another bulletin comes on the TV about another shooting, this time in a mall in Maryland.

What bothers me most about my reaction is that I’m not shocked. Shootings around this country are becoming a commonplace thing. Do you even pay attention any more when those “special bulletins” come on TV interrupting the violent program you may be watching, (You might even not be watching TV, you might be playing those realistic killer video games. ) Could there be a connection? Duh, yes.

What worries me is my little grandson. He’s so sweet and innocent. What kind of world does he have to look forward to? Is he going to have to be locked down in his house at certain times of the day.

I remember when I went to school. It was one of the safest places in the world. The thought that somebody would come in the school and harm the children was the farthest thing from anyone’s mind. Everything was orderly, and kids didn’t have to be frightened.

I did see changes come  when I was still teaching school. We had several lock downs because of the rumor of drive-by shootings. Those guns again.

Something tells me that our gun policy is not working. It’s getting more and more like the wild west every day. I’m thinking even the wild west isn’t as wild as our society is becoming these days.

I heard some conservative woman on TV suggest that we should lock more people up in mental institutions to solve this problem. As far as she could see, the problem had absolutely nothing to do with too many guns. I won’t even dignify her by mentioning her name. (She is the one with the long blonde hair and the irritating voice. )

It looks like I’m going to do most of my shopping online. I’ll try not to worry about the future. But I really wish my grandson’s mother would start thinking about the benefits of home-schooling.

Dr. Phil’s show is sordid, but sometimes nuggets of wisdom emerge


An icon illustrating a parent and child

An icon illustrating a parent and child (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I hate to admit this, but I do sometimes turn on the Dr. Phil. TV show.  It’s really sordid. Sometimes,  I wonder if his guests are merely actors pretending to be real people.

I didn’t fully watch his show today, but at the end of the show, he had  a psychologist on who had some good tips for listening to your kids.

Listening to your kid’s concerns and problems is one of the most important thing a parent can do.  It’s called paying attention to them.

Remembering the chaos that surrounds children makes it sometimes difficult to give them your full attention. Fulfilling their physical needs sometimes takes precedence over their emotional ones.

Today’s parents have to be exhausted. Both parents, or only a single parent,  have to work full-time jobs to make ends meet. Some parents are working more than one job. I can’t imagine how hard it would be today. Gas prices, food prices, and all those valid problems.

I think cell phones, computers, I-pads and all that technical stuff has to make it even harder to talk to your kids.  It bothers me when I’m out somewhere, and people are paying more attention to their phones than their kids. It’s a little frightening. Some of those kids have forlorn expressions on their faces.

What really bothers me when  both parties, the child and the parent, are busy on their communication devices. Then, they don’t seem to be together at all.

Tips for listening to your kids

Put all that stuff aside when your kid is talking to you. Fully look at the child. One thing the psychologist pointed out is that children can read your body language and your facial expressions. They’re going to pick up on whether you’re really listening.

Do reflective listening. See if you can tell how the child is feeling. Reflect this back by saying, “I know you’re feeling hurt, or I think you’re feeling…… Don’t make it phony. (I had a friend who always used to say, “I hear you.” Finally I asked her if she’d gotten that expression in her graduate course.).

Be supportive. I think that’s also important. Try to see their side of things. Then discuss it with them. You may not agree, but at least know how they’re thinking

What do you think? How do you listen to your kids? Please don’t do it holding your i-phone!

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?

 

Related articles

Why are our 21st Century Heroes so narcissistic? The Tipping Point for me: Lance Armstrong


English: Arnold Schwarzenegger in July 2003

English: Arnold Schwarzenegger in July 2003 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In the old days that I remember, our heroes were strong, humble, and caring for others.  They did not make speeches about how great they were. This might explain why so many of us admire Barack Obama. The President

Lance Armstrong getting mobbed

Lance Armstrong getting mobbed (Photo credit: ShapeThings)

English: This photo depicts Donald Trump's sta...

English: This photo depicts Donald Trump’s star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

typifies old-fashioned behavior. He isn’t big on name calling, boastfulness, and he  loves his family. He’s not afraid to tell us that either. He also manages to appeal to our human positive side too.

In contrast to him, we have a lot of boastful narcissists continually taking the spotlight. It’s good to have a good self-image, but do you have to tell everyone else about it? Can you get outside yourself for five minutes?

Then we have members of Congress, who do nothing but argue and name call, and put themselves first. No wonder we’re all so discouraged.  If you ask me, they all need a good talking to about really caring about other people. What happened to respecting the office of President of the United States? People used to do that.

Media Narcissists

The latest media boastful heroes have been Arnold Schwarzenegger, Donald Trump, and now Lance Armstrong.

Donald Trump is the example of the professional “I am great person.” I think people are finally sick and tired of him. He is nothing but a bully. He does prove the maxim if you tell people how great you are, they will believe you.

I watched “The Apprentice.” At first I thought he was nicer than people thought. But, as time went on, I realized first impressions can sometimes be correct.  He operates by telling  people how great he is, makes them call him “Mr. Trump,” and basically sets himself up as a king.

He rewards the people who are the most competitive and cut throat like him. He fought with comedienne Rosie O’Donnell by calling her names.  He challenged the President of the United States  to supply him with proof of his birth. He said “if he does this, I will contribute to the charity of his choice.” Really?

Then we  have good old Arnold Schwarzenegger walking all over Maria Shriver by fooling around right under her nose. He’s another one who managed to convince us to see his movies and elect him Governor.  Why? Because he told us he’s great and people believed him. He is trying to come back. I don’t think he’s going to make it. I think he went too far.

Now, we have Lance Armstrong. A person we thought was admirable turns out to be a pathological liar and a  bully. During his Oprah interviews he proved that he has little insight on his poor behavior and how he hurt other people. I wouldn’t be the least surprised if he comes back like other people displaying poor behavior.  Personally, I’ve had enough of him.

Yes, I’m talking about Bill Clinton. A lot of people forget he was impeached for his bad behavior.   I wonder what happened to the girl he victimized. But everyone forgave him, and he’s more popular than ever.

Maybe one day, the tide will turn. Maybe one day we’ll get back to politeness, good behavior, and acting civilized.
What do you think?

Intervention: The TV Show: A Review


Meghan in jail.

If you think you’re family is bad, watch the TV show “Intervention.”  It has to make you feel better about yourself and your family. Unless, of course, you have terrible parents, and because of them, you are a hopeless drug addict.

Tonight I watched an episode about “Meghan.” When the show opens, she is walking around in jail in a yellow  jump suit. Her straggly hair is pulled back in a wild hairstyle and she looks pathetic.

Why is she in jail?  It’s because this sweet looking 24-year old girl with manacles around her feet, and hands is a heroin addict.

The person who put her in jail is a family friend who she calls “Aunt” Jan. You can’t really blame “Aunt” Jan because Megan stole her jewelry worth $5,000.00. “Aunt”Jan, who is about as warm and cuddly as a Mac truck wants to teach Meghan a lesson.

Meghan’s been arrested 24 times in the last few years for stealing and drugs. You know she’s gotten on her friend’s and family’s  “Most Wanted  List.” Apparently, she’s not as innocent as she looks.

The judge decides to give her one more chance and suspends her sentence. (As long as she stays away from drugs.)  It takes Meghan about 2 days to meet up with her drug dealer. She talks about how excited she is about her “fresh veins” because she’s been in jail for a while.  She sounds like she’s auditioning for “The Twilight” series.

The most compelling part of “Intervention” is when they give each drug addict’s biography. We learn how Meghan went from a sweet little baby to a pathetic drug addict. Meghan’s mother was a good mom until Meghan was about 13. She got angry because her husband was working all the time, and made her raise 3 kids on her own.  In order to get even with him, she left home, and she left her kids with her unfeeling creepy husband .

“Aunt” Jan stepped into help. (We don’t find out why or where she came from.)  Meghan’s mom  figured it was time for her to “get a life.”That’s bad enough, but what comes next is even worse.

Meghan’s mom finally finds the man of her dreams, and comes back to town. Meghan starts visiting her and her boyfriend. By this time, she’s 15.  Her boyfriend gets very cozy with Megan. As a matter of fact, he rapes her, then has a sexual relationship with her for 4 or 5 months. Meghan’s mom finds out, decides it’s  all Meghan’s fault,  and skips town with her boyfriend.  (What a mom!)

Megan decides to cope, the good old American way. She gets into drugs, and eventually becomes a heroin addict.

So what does Megan’s Dad do? Nothing. He doesn’t even talk about it with Meghan. (What a dad!)

The Intervention
Finally, we have “The Intervention” All these self-involved people apologize to Meghan for being so mean to her. They tell her they love her, and want her to get help. Of course, the Interventionist had to tell them to say this. They are about as loving as sticks of furniture. (Except for one of Meghan’s brothers who seems really concerned, and puts his arm around her while they are all “acting”  human).

Meghan’s father blames his parents for his creepiness. He  says “ they weren’t very emotional.”  Meghan’s mother apologizes, but it doesn’t seem genuine. She still  seems irritated at her daughter for ruining her love life.

Meghan agrees to go to treatment. What other choice does she really have? Jail or a Rehab Center? ( I doubt that her parent’s professing their love to her made much of an impression.)
.
Poor Meghan only lasts in treatment for 9 days, goes home, moves in with her charming mother,  and gets in a methadone program. Now she is addicted to methadone instead of heroin.  At least it’s legal. .

I would think this is all made up except I worked  part-time in a drug and alcohol facility for several years. I know it’s real.

There really are misguided people out there who mess up their kids. Some people do get involved with the wrong crowd and it’s totally their fault. But I heard a lot of stories about unusual caregivers.  I’m convinced bad parenting can result in drug and alcohol addiction.

If you’re immature and selfish, or are a drug or alcohol addict, do everyone a favor. Use birth control and don’t have kids.

Does this show exploit people or help them?  If somehow it reaches out to others, it’s not a total loss. It might also show a person, who is fooling themselves about their addiction,  how pathetic  they look to others.

Has this show helped you or anyone you know?

What do you think?  Do these shows have any value at all? Are they dragging down society instead of lifting it up?

“Esther and Me” at the CJFilm Festival Inspired Me


I’ve been attending the Columbus Jewish Film Festival for the past few weeks. I’ve really enjoyed all the films. I think independent movies are the best movies being made today.

Today I saw a short little film that really spoke to me. It is called  “Esther and Me.” It was directed by Lisa Geduldig. She made a little film about a very charismatic woman that she met in a Jewish nursing home in New York.

Geduldig meets Esther, a resident of the nursing home, when she runs an activity at the nursing home. . She strikes up a friendship with Esther, who is in her late 80’s.  She used to be a gorgeous fashion model, and then had a career as a stand-up comic. The pictures of her in her youth are particularly striking. Even in her old age,  Esther still looks pretty good.

Her marriage, if she had one, is entirely left out of the film. There is a mention of her daughter, but we don’t meet her. We do know that she has grandchildren because they make an appearance.

Why I liked this film

Although Esther has been sick, and has a shaky hand, she is still vital. She cares enough about herself to still put on makeup everyday. She still makes jokes, and is the life of the party. She enjoys going to the theater and staying up until 11:00 talking to Geduldig.

It reminds us that just because you’re getting old, you’re still a human being who wants and needs recognition, and has something to contribute. Esther seems like she’d be fun to be around. She still has style, and likes to go out. She hasn’t given up on life, and is a fighter, not a complainer!

The most exciting part of the film was when Geduldig gives Esther a chance to do her stand-up act in front of a crowd, and she gets a standing ovation.

Esther gives me some hope

The one message I got out of the movie is you’re not out of the picture until you take yourself out. Although I’m not close to being 89, I am getting close to 65.  It is a little daunting. I always do have the security of knowing I’m not alone. (The Baby-Boomers are quite a presence.)

It also served as a reminder to really talk to the people you admire while they’re still on this earth. Better yet, use your expensive gadgets to document them

Are there older people in your life who inspire you?

Lisa G & Shelley Berman

Lisa G & Shelley Berman (Photo credit: lisagsf)

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.