Thanksgiving: A Time to Treasure your Family


I have some happy memories of Thanksgiving when I was a little girl. My immediate family would gather round the table. This included my grandparents, my parents and my two sisters.  I was the youngest!  I felt very happy and loved in my family, and enjoyed those celebrations.

Although both my parents had big extended families,we never shared Thanksgiving with them. It was a pretty simple holiday. My mother insisted on being  alone in the kitchen preparing the meal. We knew to stay out of her way.  If we went near her or her preparations, she would get really upset. She wanted everything to be perfect.

It wasn’t a totally traditional American menu because it always included chopped liver, and Matzah Ball Soup. We had the other things: stuffing, turkey, sweet potatoes with marshmallows, green beans with mushroom soup,  cranberry sauce, a salad, and pumpkin pie for dessert.

My mother never changed the menu.  It was the same every year. Later, my sister added her cherry jello mold (with sour cream) which I later added to my own celebration. Unfortunately, I never wrote down my mother’s recipe for matzah balls, chopped liver, or stuffing. I’ve made all those things, but it never tasted like my mom’s.

One day my oldest sister offered to take over the Thanksgiving celebration. (By this time, one of my sister’s and her husband had moved out-of-town.) My mother was happy to relinquish her role as hostess.

Now, our celebration included my two nieces, my brother-in-law,  and their dog, Gus, who gleefully ate all the scraps. (By this time, my grandparents were long gone.)

Eventually, my family scattered, and Thanksgiving together came to an end.

I did get everyone together for Thanksgiving in 1979, but it never happened again.

Siblings: TOS

Siblings: TOS (Photo credit: rbarenblat)

Nothing lasts forever, even families. The best thing to do every year is be thankful for what you do have, and savor every moment together.

Happy Early Thanksgiving!

I’d welcome comments about your childhood Thanksgiving celebrations! What’s your happiest memory?

Imagine by John Lennon


 

Nice dream, huh? I respect all religions. I wish everybody else would. Talk about overreaction. It’s not the first time either. More wars were fought over religion. Some things never change.

 

The Harmony Project shares the stage with Whoopi Goldberg: Another Harmony Project Post


Tonight, the Harmony project sang at the Women’s Fund Event in Columbus, Ohio.  This is a terrific organization that funds projects for girls and women. We were seated on the very same stage as Whoopi Goldberg. She did an interview, and we listened.

Throughout the evening they showed videos of the different programs The Women’s Fund supports. It looks like they do great work for women.

A lot of people must care about the Women’s Fund because there were around 3,000 people in attendance.

We opened the show with a song that coordinated with a video showing women and girls. We got a very good reaction from the crowd.

After we sang, Whoopi said, “Aren’t they fricking remarkable?”  That made us feel great!

Two lovely women, from the Women’s Fund, wearing heels and nice dresses introduced Whoopi. When she came on stage she didn’t disappoint. She was dressed in the usual unique Whoppi attire.  She was wearing some weird shoes, but very cool!

She  was interviewed by Justice Yvette McGee Brown. This interview also includes questions some young girls asked her via videotape. Here’s some things that they discussed.  This is coming from my memory, so it’s not exact!

How did you become famous?
“It was just a matter of luck. I put on a big show and 3 people attended. One of them was a critic from the New York Times. He wrote up a good review of our show, and Mike Nichols came to see it. He took it to Broadway, and that’s when the success came. ..I’m also surprised at the path my career took. I never expected to become a movie star. “

What advice to you have for young girls?
“ Take a beat to think about what you’re doing… don’t rush into things. She told them not to use Facebook or Twitter to get back at anyone. “Consider that they might just be having a bad day!

Where does self-esteem come from?
“Self-esteem comes from way down inside yourself. You have to believe in yourself. It’s not something people can give you.

Who was your role model?
“My mother accepted me, and knew I was odd.”  Her mother helped her see the things she could do. Her mother believed in her, and supported her decisions. She even believed she could make a career out of show business.

Talk about some of the View episodes.
I thought Rielle Hunter, who appeared on The View,  was basically misguided. “She didn’t know you can’t speak ill about the dead.” (Elizabeth Edwards.)

Whoopi made some funny remarks about menopause. “ I decided not to have children, but with menopause someone else is shutting you off… She might a hilarious comment about hearing her last egg drop.

How did you get involved with Volunteering for AIDS

“I was living in San Francisco, and people started getting these lesions, and just dying. Nobody knew much about it. Even the hospitals wouldn’t take the people. They weren’t just seeing them as human. I knew we had to do something.

I would say all in all, Whoopi is really cool. I liked listening to her. She certainly wasn’t boring!

Not only did I enjoy Whoppi’s interview, I found out about “The Women’s Fund,” a very worthwhile cause.

Enjoy the slide-show. We were waiting to go onstage, and some of the photos were taken at the rehearsal!

If anyone from the Harmony Project would like to make comments, or additions, please feel free!

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My New Experience: Tent Camping (A humorous look)


My husband was not having the best day,  so I figured why not humor him and go camping. He’s been talking about wanting to do this ever since we met, and that was about 40 years ago. (We did go once with the kids, and I haven’t been back. That was around 25 or 30  years ago.)    I do like to walk and bike, but I’m not fond of bugs, or an uncomfortable bed. I am basically an old girly girl.
Anyway, I say, ” I want to try something different.  let’s go camping today.” Not wanting  to miss a golden opportunity  he quickly loads the car. He takes the tent he optimistically bought last year, and never used. He also packs some food, peanut butter, bread, ice, water, towels and a blanket.  He also takes Kodak —the defunct photo company—  rafts we used 40 years ago, and a blow-up mattress he bought who knows when.
He forgets the air compressor. I guess he was in a big hurry to go before I changed my mind. He doesn’t usually forget anything.
We get to the camping site, about an hour away. The first thing I notice is there are hardly any stand alone tents. There’s all these fancy motor homes, and cute pop-up tents. I’m thinking, “Maybe tent camping isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.”

I  already know this, but I figure I can try it every 30  years or so.
After 20 minutes he puts up the tent. (He’s good at that kind of stuff). I’m reading the directions which he pays absolutely no attention to because he can see how everything fits together without them.
Everything is going along beautifully until he figures out he forgot the air compressor. Meanwhile, we’ve pulled next to a family about 5 little girls. We know we’re old because we think the mother is a teenager at first.
One of the  little girls (about 3)  hurries up and draws me a picture, and tells me her name. She seems to have a speech impediment, so I have to guess, Olive, Ella?  Finally her mother tells me it’s Alice.
Anyway, they are staring at us. They can’t believe it when we both start blowing up the Kodak rafts and the air mattress. Finally I ask,”Do you have an air compressor?” I figure they do because they have a fancy trailer thing.
The mother asks,”Are you guys new to camping?” Then she makes a remark about how adorable we are. I guess it’s cause we look as old as we feel compared to her.
She gives us a compressor, but it doesn’t work, so my poor husband resorts to blowing up the air mattresses using his breath. I’ve already expended all of mine.
Finally, night comes. I don’t know what to do. No computer, no television, and no light to read the book I brought.

My husband lights a lantern that he expertly pumps up. But that goes up in flames. So, he blows until that goes out.”Guess that had too much gas,” he says.
He finally sets up the tent. He doesn’t want me to be uncomfortable because if I wait another 30 years we’ll both be in our 90′s or dead.
I get in the tent. Not easy to get in that small zippered passageway.  It’s not bad, very cozy. After a couple of hours both ancient mattresses and Kodak floats have deflated. He thinks they had a leak, but I think they have aged just like us.
I am trying to suppress my usual inclination to complain. I only utter, “this is ridiculous once or twice. When I go to the bathroom, a huge ant climbs up my foot. I hurry up and get out of there!

I’ll give it another chance. But we’ll have some new mattress things, and an air compressor.

Right now the lodge sounds pretty good to me.

Tents

Tents (Photo credit: avlxyz)

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How I know I’m Getting Older: 15 of my reflections


My husband and I riding bikes on vacation!

1. I finally figured out I’m not going to live forever. So, I better make the most of my remaining time on earth. Don’t worry, it’s at least 30 years or so.

2. Attitude is everything. If you’ve got a bad one, things are not going to work out, no matter what you do.

3. I know I’m old because my kids called me 10 minutes before they arrived to pick me up, to give me a heads up.

4. I wanted to eat at a Bob Evans Restaurant.

5. Loud music really sounds loud.

6. Nobody questions me when I say I want to eat off the Seniors menu, or want a Seniors discount.

7. When I ask a contemporary how they feel, they don’t say things like “I feel great.” The best strategy is not to ask them at all!

8. I don’t feel young in my swimming aerobics class any more. I fit right in.

9. I still have a lot of fun, and get excited about things.

10.I realize that the most important things in life include friends family, and giving to others.

11. I know looks really are superficial and aren’t important. It is truly what people are like inside. If you lived a beautiful life, you will be beautiful at 90.

12. I really know money can’t buy happiness.

13. I am so proud of the adults my children have become.

14. I’m happy that both my husband and I are still doing okay. We are lucky!

15. It’s important to keep hopes, dreams, and goals going.

You have any advice you want to give me?

Remembering those Special Times Can Bring You Joy


Happy Family

Happy Family (Photo credit: goto10)

I decided to make a list of the moments in life I treasure.  You know, the happy times in your life. Even in the most miserable of lives, there has to be moments to treasure. I like to think about these moments every once in a while. It brings me a little bit of joy!

One of those moments includes being alone with my parents when I was about 6. I remember holding their hands, and being lifted in the air. My husband and I later did it with our  own children. And I saw a little girl at Cedar Falls being given the same treatment the other day.

Not one of those moments had anything to do with getting something materialistic.

It all had to do with family and love— Giving love, or being loved.  Or helping someone else.

Why do we think things will make us happy? If they do, it’s only for a  few minutes.  Get a new car, it might make you feel good for a week or two. By the time the new car smells wears off Then, the newness wears off, and that’s the end of it.

Of course we need to get our basic needs me, food, shelter, and clothing.

A lot of it has to do with helping other people, or making them happy.

Just something to think about….

You have any special moments you’d like to share?

Book Review: Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson


by Barbara A. Topolosky (hoping4astory)

I’d always surmised that Steve Jobs was a difficult personality to deal with, but after reading his biography, Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson, I realized I didn’t know the half of it. It was disappointing to learn Jobs was the ultimate control freak, and not that nice to people he considered inferior to him.

It was enough to make me want to sell my MacBook, and ipod and forget about buying a brand new iphone and ipad.

Why Jobs would want anyone to honestly document his life when he was such a spoiled, demanding person is difficult to fathom.

He gave free rein to Isaacson to write an objective biography and Isaacson delivered.

Life didn’t start out easily for Jobs. His biological mother put him up for adoption. Luckily, he was adopted by people who adored him and he developed a close relationship with his father who taught him about quality and craftsmanship.

After his parents sacrificed money so he could attend a pricey private university in Portland Oregon, Reed College, he doesn’t even allow them to accompany him on campus.

What is strange about Jobs is that he adopted Eastern Spirituality and identified with the Hippie Movement in the 60’s although he was hardly for ‘ peace, love, and happiness’―unless it benefited him.

Oddly enough he marketed brilliantly, and he motivated people to meet challenges and accomplish almost impossible goals. He used  and manipulated people. One day you were his best buddy, and the next were out the door.

He worked at an early age to perfect a stare to intimidate people. He insisted that a picture of his stare was on the cover of the book. (His only demand).

I almost wanted to cheer when he got thrown out of Apple. He didn’t  go without a fight.

He wasn’t completely malevolent. He seemed regretful about some of the people he hurt along the way.

His wife was devoted to him. His children respected and loved him. They understood why he didn’t spend a lot of  time with them.

I felt regretful when he didn’t get surgery when his cancer was first diagnosed. It seemed like his own arrogance ended his life prematurely. He wanted to use homeopathic means to control his cancer, but it didn’t work. He finally gave in to the surgery, but it was too late.

Jobs did create useful elegant products and was successful.  He co-founded Apple, and came up with one fantastic product after another. He put Pixar Studios on the map.  You wonder what great things he would’ve masterminded if he didn’t die an untimely death.

I recommend reading this book. You get the behind the scenes look at how Apple and Pixar evolved and the personalities involved. It is the story of a complicated genius.

Although the book is long, it does hold your interest, and is an easy read.

However, I am still wondering if I should ditch my computer.