Category Archives: apartment living

Motivational and Elevating

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The book, “Before I Die,” ( 2013, 304 pp.) is ‘chock full’

of ways that you can choose to savor your life and make

the journey more meaningful. Candy Chang painted black

a side of an old, abandoned house in her New Orleans

neighborhood and created a ‘ripple effect.’

She painted it to be a dynamic chalkboard and printed

out the words, “Before I Die I Want To…” These words

were meant to develop a dialogue and encourage some

interactions among her neighbors.

Ms. Chang’s efforts produced a safer neighborhood,

less police calls, brought people out to sit on their

porches, made people become motivated and it united

them. Incredible results are given in Ms. Chang’s book!

Also, due to the popularity of the book and bloggers

passing the word around, became an international art

movement.

I love it when some action creates the impetus for

uniting people, like the songs that groups of famous

singers have gathered, using their talent to break

or remove barriers. One example of this was, “We are

the world.”

The house, another positive side effect of Chang’s

ingenuity, was saved. It has become a home to a family.

Some of the global samples of how people completed

their own projects like Ms. Chang’s includes more

black painted ‘clean slate’ walls outside. Along with

blackboards in other places, businesses and malls.

Each setting has had profound results.

The reason Candy Chang was inspired to start the

project, then complete the book, was due to the

sudden loss of her loved one. This took her mind

and emotions away from dwelling on the negative.

Instead it became both motivational to people who

lived around her and the book became elevating to

distant areas where they were seeking more of a

purpose and answering needs for change.

Here are a few samples from the book,

“I will grow a garden.”

“I will help others.”

“I will spend more time with friends.”

and even fantasy thoughts such as,

“I will eat a salad with an alien.”

Hey, going into outer space or to a different

country are good dreams for the young to become

inspired. I hope that education will be more

available and likely in the future, to all.

By writing a ‘bucket list,’ you are putting those

ideas on paper or on the chalkboard for all to

see, whether it is family and friends (inside your

home) or neighbors and passers-by, (outside your

home, posted in your garden or on a gate…)

You are building connections by the written word,

communicating with those around you. Also, a person

is less likely to ‘turn back and give up’ on some of

those far-fetched dreams. Once it is in print, painted

on the wall, you will find yourself thinking of the

steps to reach your goals.

I imagine this being quite a creative springboard

for break rooms, coffee shops, or anywhere people

gather together. Oh, how about senior centers and

church social rooms?

Do you have a place, in mind, where this would

generate a new sense of community and creative

thoughts?

Random Findings and Thoughts

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My grandchildren are convinced that the people who live on the top (3rd) floor

of my apartment build are “aliens!” One of the oldest said, “We never see them

and then, if we do, they aren’t friendly.” Another one exclaimed, “They are ‘pod’

people!'” Part of this misconception evolved from their first trip, a few years

back, up the four flights of stairs to see the top floor.

The top floor, of this brick, sturdy building that has colonial columns in the

front and an attractive appearance, has the strangest ‘solar?’ or ‘ecologically-

friendly?’ tiles. The ceiling that runs down this hallway ‘peaks’ or appears like

a triangular shape. They have declared this a “rocket floor.” Anyway, they have

gotten to the point they want to run down this hallway, and yes, out of courtesy

to the unseen tenants, we only do this at around noon, hopefully, on weekends

when the people who may work have been allowed a certain amount of sleep. And,

no “whooping it up,” I demand.

Someone on the radio on one of my recent ‘road trips’ was giving a few examples,

some not too strange, but a couple that were quite ‘odd.’ These were famous

people’s names that are being given to animate and inanimate things. This makes

me wonder about those scientists, sometimes! In Liverpool, one of the less crazy

examples given was that they have named their airport after John Lennon. All

right! That is great! (I happen to have been listening on this car ride to both

“Imagine” and “This Christmas,” by said songwriter and member of the Beatles.

A most extraordinary use of a famous person’s name, a Diva with sometimes golden

hair was given to a fly! This was in Australia, a beautiful fly with a fuzzy,

golden-yellow underbelly was named the “Beyoncé” fly by scientists there. Wow!

The radio disc jockey was playfully teasing, wondering aloud to his listening

audience, “Did they get permission from the Diva herself?” and “Did they ask

Jay Z if this was okay with him?”

In exotic Borneo, a special hotel is named, “Villa Angelina” due to its

beautiful location and thinking of the gorgeous Angelina Jolie. Again, the

radio guy, not announced and my streaming Sirius did not give his name, so

unable to give him “credit where credit is due.” I did try to memorize these

weird examples and he did not credit where he located them, either. Anyway,

he was joking around with wondering if the big, adopted family had traveled

there, and then, on a more serious note, said that the family’s parents are

very world conscious and maybe they had visited and this had boosted the

Villa’s economy, through their popularity.

A more negative use of someone famous’ name is being given to a law recently

made. It is due to someone who purchased medical equipment, while his wife,

Katie Holmes, was pregnant with Suri. He had purchased a sonogram machine

so that he could ‘monitor’ the baby/fetus. Due to this erroneous, plus

dangerous act, there is now a law called the “Tom Cruise law.” This prohibits

any non-professional or non-licensed sonogram techs from owning and possibly

over-using or misusing medical equipment of any kind.

Another scientific wonder, a fern that has a very complicated genus name, and

no, I did not have a tape recorder on me, so alas, I cannot rattle it off! But

this fern starts with a few repetitive, ‘Gaga….” in the front, so you can

already guess, this lucky fern is now being given the ‘common name’ for it,

“Lady Gaga.”

On the subject of Lady Gaga, there was a Christmas special this 2013, entitled,

“Lady Gaga and the Muppets Holiday Spectacular.” I enjoyed this, would recommend

seeing it and think she has an interesting look but children are fascinated by

her. She has a natural ability to sing and a quiet nature, shy almost, in her

television appearances. The December AARP Magazine was listing contrasts between

today and fifty years ago. They did not give out opinions just implied that in

1963, we watched The Judy Garland Christmas Show and today, we would watch this

example given above. Not sure if that was meant to flattering, no comments given

for choosing this particular duo. (Both were shy women and outstanding singers.)

There were other examples given of a “look what 50 years have done to prices and

changes in taste…”

I am a big fact finder, so hope this interests you, even if you are not a “Baby

Boomer.”

The most popular toy in 1963 sold for a hefty (surprisingly) price of $15.95 for

an Easy Bake Oven. Today, 2013, the most popular toy ‘flying off the shelves’ is

the Big Hugs Elmo for a whopper price of $59.95! In 1963, a Christmas tree sold

for $2.50 and today, the same size (not given) would be $45. Our stamps, recently

I mentioned those first Christmas cards cost only one penny to mail, the cards

going out in 1963, amazingly enough are attributed to only a four cents increase

from the 1800’s. Now, of course, in 2013, one stamp of a Poinsettia, Mother and

Child, or other holiday stamp would cost 46 cents.

Those dreaded fruitcakes that many make fun of, used to cost for “mail order”

service in 1963, $4.25 and now, you may spend $27.95. I happen to like those

yellow fruitcakes that have mainly butter in their cake but don’t mind the

darker, richer brandy flavored fruitcakes, too. I prefer it warmed up in the

microwave with a dollop of vanilla or eggnog ice cream on it.

Last mention of the way times have changed since fifty years ago, is being

called by journalists and merchandisers, “The Christmas Creep.” This is

recognizing that Christmas advertising and merchandise is now being taken

out as soon as Halloween articles are being put into the clearance department!

I hope this wide variety of information will have a small impact on your

day today. I hope that it will give you something to tell another person,

like those famous peoples’ names being attached to odd things. Or maybe, just

the silly story about my grandchildren, with their lively and wild imagination

getting me to study those third floor people more closely, when I rarely run

into one or two of them.

Who knows? Maybe they are like those characters in the current television show,

“The Neighbors.” In private, they like using their bathroom to grow plants and

turn into green blobs while in their “real” alien forms. This is one of the

most underrated comedies with some fine acting from the four main leading actors.

You will only recognize the name of one of them, Jami Gertz, from a different

comedy show. Suburbia is wittingly made fun of and yet, embraced at the same time!

Or maybe those people upstairs really exist in the human bodies, like in the show,

where John Lithgow and Jane Curtin made my three children and I crack up so much:

“Third Rock from the Sun.”(1996 – 2001)

Or maybe they are like that old time favorite of my Dad’s and my brothers and I,

while young, “My Favorite Martian.” This aired from 1963 until 1966, with Bill

Bixby and Ray Walston. This may replay on Nick at Night or TV Land.

Anyway, have you any weird facts or neighbors to “report?!”