Category Archives: social activist

Predicaments

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I have thought for many days about what would I have done

differently in an early February conversation during a break

at work.  So many times during my life I have stood up for a

situation or cause, only to find out later this alienated me from

a friend.

 

I was so excited and passionate about seeing the movie, “Selma.”

I have been taught that by being silent one is quietly accepting

another’s words or choices. This is not a good position to be in

when making friends. I feel that if my friends don’t think along

similar lines, it is not a strong friendship but one of convenience.

Over the past six years, I have built a close-knit group of people

who get along together, joke and lighten each other’s days at work.

 

 

My fellow coworkers, Tammy, Melvin, Felda and Mary Jane are

part of this group. We have enjoyed sharing weekend experiences

and expanding our minds in lively conversations. There are many

fringe friends who join in and stop by our table. I enjoy meeting

such a wide variety of people at my warehouse job. This is one of

the best positive aspects of my work.

 

It is not generally a good idea or tactful while in a work place,

to express controversial opinions. Yet, my table mates and I

have seen eye to eye on the subject of acceptance. Some of us

even voted in elections the same way. We started watching

some of the same t.v. shows to be able to share about these.

 

 

Little did I expect, someone I cared about would be making a

rather outrageous statement in response to a movie review.

Here are some quotations to lend support to my response.

 

 

“If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem.”

~Eldridge Cleaver

 

A longer version, expanded from the above thought includes

the following words which are also true:

“. . . but the perpetual human predicament is that the answer

soon poses its own problems.”

~Sydney J. Harris

 

The old Latin rule of the law of acquiescence would apply here,

“Qui tacet consentire videtur” means one who is silent is seen

to have given consent. To acquiesce is to accept or to comply.

 

I was mentioning how many things about the Civil Rights period

despite being raised in a conscientious and active participant

family, I had missed. I was describing one of the early details of

a particularly disturbing scene where children in a church were

killed in a bombing in the film, “Selma.”

 

Out of nowhere, my ‘close’ friend,  Felda said,

 

 

“We, in our country, believe in love and cannot ever understand

people who are raised in a “culture of hate.”

 

I emphatically agreed with this, thinking she was talking about

bigoted people who are ‘taught’ to hate people from another

group from their own. In other words, I was thinking she

meant to be talking about ‘whites’ being part of the ‘haters’

specifically, in the Civil Rights movement.

 

As I nodded and said, “I agree,” I noticed a quiet pause in the

conversation. Tammy (Ohio country girl) and Melvin, (son of

immigrants from an island off of Portugal) did not join in.

 

Felda helped me to realize who she was talking about by adding,

in a most definite direction I would NEVER agree with,

 

“Why do blacks get taught to hate whites in America?  In the

Philippines, everyone loves others. We were ‘slaves’ in our own

history, but we ‘don’t hold it against you.'”

 

Okay, now I knew where silence would not be appropriate. I

had to dig myself out of a hole, so to speak. I said that she did

not understand the trials, tribulations and how people who were

slaves, or had slave ancestors, were affected by their treatment.

They may have possibly been taught to ‘mistrust’ white people.

 

Inside my head for a moment, I thought possibly only coming

here to live in the U.S. (and marrying Jason, an American) in

the 1990’s may have given Felda less understanding of the

long history, prevailing ways and practices which continue

going on from when the Civil War ended in the 1860’s, into

the present. The other two of  her friends have always been

less outspoken and didn’t try to contribute or interpret what

she meant by her hurtful words.

 

I added,  “This is not how this conversation was meant to go.”

 

I had hoped that by talking about “Selma,” to help everyone

at this table understand why fear and distrust could become

part of a familial pattern of handling people. The small town

in Mississippi had many people showing their prejudice against

the blacks. I had especially thought the Filipinos (what they

insist on being called at work) would have empathetic feelings

coming from their own personal experiences of prejudice.

 

I looked at Melvin, who is sophisticated and warm.  He had

served in the Army, traveled Europe and was raised in an open

minded, accepting and loving family. He would give the shirt off

his back and has often been found this brittle cold winter, under

the hood of a fellow employee’s car trying to fix or replace a part.

Actually, the speaker of this unfortunate point of view, had been

‘only charged for car parts’ when she had needed four brakes

replaced by Melvin and other repair assistance.

 

I wondered why Felda had said this about blacks, without any

clarification? Did she intend to hurt Melvin?

The rest of the people at the table were either Filipino or

white.

 

Melvin shrugged. He knew it was pointless to mention that

this person who arrived in America, married an American,

may not completely understand the racial issues, tensions

and dynamics here in the United States.

 

Melvin felt my eyes on him, urging him to ‘speak up.’ Finally,

he responded by saying,

“My people are not nor have ever been descendants of slaves,

but I feel a lot of sympathy for the blacks here. I get the same

kind of attitude from whites as they do, I get followed around

in jewelry stores, I have been shoved while at a peaceful protest

rally by a ‘white supremacist’ cop and have been taken aside to

be shouted at. I would ‘never measure up to the white people’

in my Army experiences. This came from more than one officer

in the Army.”

 

Melvin quietly expressed his thoughts on a tough issue,

“I will share this additional thought: black people raised in the

South are different from black people raised in the North. To

be honest, unfortunately their perspectives are not the same.”

 

I went on a limb and put my thoughts out there for friends

who had included me in christenings, birthday parties and

delicious meals at parties where we sang karaoke together,

 

“I need to study your islands’ history better of what you call

‘slavery.’ I am not sure that slavery there was the same as

slavery here. I have the misunderstanding that your culture

may have a history of servitude.  Sometimes smiling when you

were crying inside, but this is probably inaccurate. Meanwhile,

I would never agree with your statement about the black culture

being raised to hate whites.”

 

As far as research, there are considered to be 130,000 to as

many as 160,000 people in the Philippines who are part of

sex trafficking, indentured servitude and this is from an article

on October 9, 2013 from the newspaper called, “The Manila

Times.”

 

I wished to re-emphasize my opening remarks to them.  I didn’t

realize the total impact on everyday activities of black people from

those who felt ‘superior’ to an entire race until recently. I heard

‘snippets of history’ in school. Like not being allowed to ride in

the middle or front of a bus, Rosa Parks ‘took a stand’ for freedom.

I saw firsthand the water fountains, restaurants and other public

buildings in the 1960’s. They were labeled, “For Colored People.”

I knew this must have been hard or rough on anyone living in

their skin color. We read together my kids and I about the

Underground Railroad and Harriet Tubman.

 

I just finished a great book by Tara Conklin, considered historical

fiction called, “The House Girl.” It has the legal aspects of the

reparation act for families of slaves.  Every other chapter is about

a young woman called “Josephine” who worked in a slave owner’s

house. She learned how to paint from her ‘mistress.’ Later, the

‘house girl’s’ art work is given credit to her owner. Learning is

ongoing.

 

I was truly interested and asked,

“How long ago in Philippines’ history were there slaves?”

 

“Selma” brought back memories of partial lessons for me.

It depicted Ku Klux Klan members, cruelty and ‘hate crimes.’

Who could ever wish to bomb churches and not allow people

to gather in protest?

It is hard to imagine but not right to brush uncomfortable

subjects under the table. Seeing these violent acts on film,

brought back how recently this had happened. It made me

wish to promote this movie, as I did last year when I saw the

fine film, ’12 Years a Slave.’

 

Felda, Mary Jane and May have not looked me in the eyes

since this happened. I continue to say, “Good Morning” and

ask how their family members are, ask how their weekends

went, etc. They give me short answers and have been sitting

at their own table, talking in their own language. I don’t regret

my words, but was sincerely meaning to defend Melvin, along

with my own grandchild’s heritage.

 

My oldest daughter’s son, Micah is 1/4 black. His father’s Dad

plays an integral link to his life and comes to family gatherings.

 

Micah has overheard their complaints about prejudice. We

talk openly about how his own father has been pulled aside

roughly by teachers, coaches and strangers. When he shows

his ‘independence’ it is sometimes considered ‘an attitude.’

This happened with my coworker and friend, Cheryl (who

recently lost her grandson to illness). She has been told, she

says that she “has a chip on her shoulder.”

 

Micah was in preschool when a fellow  4 year old asked him,

“Is your Daddy a terrorist?”

 

This fills my eyes with tears, my heart with sadness and my

mind with fear for Micah, too. It is ‘still out there.’ Even in the

minds of immigrants who feel that black culture is ‘filled with

hatred.’

 

Here is an update on getting an ‘excuse’ written for my eyesight

and concerns for safety while driving heavy equipment. My phone

call with my ophthalmologist left me without anything promised

in writing and another appointment made in April.

 

I visited the optometrist who seemed more interested in helping

me. She wrote a well thought out letter, including the reasons I

would not be a safe candidate for ‘heavy bulk’ at the warehouse.

 

She wrote about my lack of depth perception, my monovision

while wearing a close distance contact to read fine print and a

far distant contact to see far away. She mentioned my not being

able to judge distances, especially in the narrow passages while

driving backwards with the double pallet riding equipment.

 

Her professionalism and need to be clear, may have included

details which won’t help my cause:

“Robin’s peripheral vision and depth perception would be

greatly improved by wearing single vision distance only

spectacles instead of contact lenses. Obviously, if the patient

is in a warehouse, she should be wearing safety spectacles.”

 

I have been wearing contact lenses throughout my six years

at Advance Auto Distribution Center. I am most confident

while reading the tiny UPC codes, picking the correct items

to place into bins, hampers or gaylords. (Containers which

are actually huge cardboard boxes for Open Stock and used

in heavy bulk on top of a wooden pallet and plastic pallet.)

 

I won’t change to regular glasses to carry out my job nor to

bifocals. I am not sure I would be as confident in performing

my job with single vision glasses. The reason I chose contacts

was because I used to have to take off my glasses to read the

fine print, use the RF’s (tablet computers) and now, new piece

of equipment,  a Bluetooth computer on my arm.

 

As my good friend, Jenny, honestly suggested work may try

to force me to use glasses and go to work in heavy bulk.

I am ‘screwed.’

 

My ophthalmologist who had told me he could not write a letter

until I came in for another appointment. I will hold out for Hope.

An April letter request will hopefully include all the parts that

Dr. Wagner wrote without the details suggesting I switch to

glasses or ‘safety spectacles.’

 

Thanks for your concern about my work situation with my

vision and cross training into heavy bulk work once again.

When I tried this for eight weeks of a summer, I managed

to run into metal racks, back into a pallet on the shipping

floor knocking the products over and wearing my nerves

into a frazzle.

 

I need to find a way out of this physically demanding area

without leaving my job. I have a much better salary than

other positions listed in the newspaper and have finally

earned three weeks’ vacation this year. If necessary, as many

have mentioned, my being fired for refusing to go to heavy

bulk may be my ‘release’ to a better solution. There were such

great and positive suggestions from all of you. Thank you.

 

 

If you have had a stressful or awkward situation at work

please feel free to comment and add to the conversation.

 

Native American View on “Two-Spirits”

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An article by Cecelia LaPointe, who refers to “Two-Spirit”

which addresses and rekindles awareness of Native Gender

identity, was in the Ohio “Outlook” magazine. This was my

resource which I used finding great Christmas music lists

and an article about Bette Midler in December.

 

In November, Cecelia came to OSU campus to host a poetry

workshop and speak on racial identity and the “Two-Spirit”

existence. Ms. LaPointe has also visited Columbus during

both Native American Heritage Month and Trans-gender

Awareness Week. (Two opportunities I missed last year to

feature in my monthly calendar.)

 

Indigenous communities of Native Americans use the “Two-

Spirit” label to denote gender variations within their people.

In the world, they consider Europe and American cultures

“binary” genders. “Two-Spirits” become a third or even fourth

gender among native societies.

 

“Two-Spirits” are denoted or designated from birth, through

a ritual. This belief of a person embodying masculine and

feminine spirits, two ‘identities inhabiting a single body’ is

not considered ‘weird,’ ‘strange’ or ‘inappropriate.’ Instead

the Native Americans ’embrace’ the different way of life.

 

Two things mentioned in this essay about Cecelia and her

tribe’s belief in what sets these particular people known as

“Two-Spirits” apart:

1.) They dress and change their choice of who they are from

day to day. They are not all ‘one way’ in their feminine or

masculine clothing.

2.) They may choose to carry out tasks or labor, not dependent

on their outward appearance. Gender roles are not delineated

or dictated in the “Two-Spirit” existence.

For example: A person could go out on a hunt or go to war, but

at other times may dress in women’s clothing and carry out

domestic chores. Women could become  ‘warriors’ or chiefs

over their native tribes.

 

Interestingly, according to Ms. LaPointe,  “Two-Spirits” were

not only tolerated, but they were ‘revered.’  For instance, they

were well respected and considered, ‘powerful.’ They often were

given special roles such as healers, mediators and counselors.

 

There are instances where bigotry of “Two-Spirits” has been

carried out. When historians bring up the arguments of their

contributions and respected positions it is to counterbalance

those who say Native Americans are “transphobic.”

 

Sometimes, Natives would bring up “tradition” as a reason to

exclude people who chose to carry out their ‘birthright’ as

“Two-Spirit” people.  They would be acting close-minded to

the long history of the revered members of their tribes.

Ancestors of Native Americans were not against “Two-Spirit”

people, elders were often of this delineation.

 

Ms. LaPointe brings up Spanish missionaries as those who

planted the ‘bad seeds’ which germinated prejudice against

“Two-Spirited” people. “They (Two-Spirit) were essentially

the first victim in the campaign of colonial violence against

the native population of the Americas.”

 

Ms. LaPointe considers herself of  ‘mixed descent’ and feels

she is part of “both cultures, both worlds.” She grew up in a

Detroit suburb and lives in the northern town of Manistee.

She travels to her reservation in the U.P. (Upper Peninsula)

regularly. She is a descendant of the Anishinaabekwe Tribe,

native of the Great Lakes region.

 

Cecelia LaPointe says her reservation is very small yet it is her

“home.” This is where she goes to be with family members. Some

of her own family members hold leadership positions within her

tribe. It is part of the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community. Being

located far from the city means it is a positive place for her to

retreat. It is also good since. . .

‘There is less influence from the dominant culture there.’

 

Ms. LaPointe reaches out to others, through her writing

and public speaking. By going to college campuses, she

can share her poetry and also, her viewpoint where the

students may be encouraged to be ‘themselves.’ She hopes

to reverse the history of discrimination against both the

Native Americans and also, those who are filled with what

they call, “Two-Spirit.”

 

There was a wonderful piece of artwork that accompanied

this article in “Outlook,” November issue. It has the artist,

George Catlin’s (1796-1872) painting called, “Dance to the

Berdache.” This was drawn while the Sac and Fox people

of the Great Plains were engaging in a ceremonial dance to

celebrate the “Two-Spirit” person.

 

Here is a part of a poem that talks of her emotions,

“Poem: Ajijaak Dodem Anokil

It is so precious,

Those tears on my hands,

Covering my face,

This grieving is beautiful,

You see we had felt those knives turned inward

On ourselves,

On our family. . .”

 

You may wish to check out Cecelia Rose LaPointe’s poetry

or speaking schedule and other special events at:

http://www.anishinaabekwe.com

 

My youngest daughter and I recently saw, “The Imitation Game,”

which depicts an underlying sadness within the main character.

It is a true story about Alan Turing, a genius. He was the inventor

of a de-coding machine that ‘beat’ Germany’s war coding machine,

“The Enigma.” This British machine helped the Allies win World

War II against the Germans.

 

Apparently, Alan Turing was a man who faced accusations and

there were parts of the film which eluded to his sexual preferences.

This movie brought up the problems that people historically have

faced (and are still overcoming).  The end of the movie has details

about large numbers, unfortunately, of people who were thrown in

British prisons, due to their homosexuality.

 

The actor is one I enjoy as “Sherlock” on PBS and also, has been

in the “Dr. Who” British television series. His name is Benedict

Cumberbatch. You can see him in more than one 2013 Academy

Award nominated movie, since he played in “12 Years a Slave”

and “August: Osage County.”

 

The woman who befriends him and who is very talented in

decoding and helping with the Turing Machine, is played by the

wonderful actress, Keira Knightley. My favorite role she has

played was in, “Pride and Prejudice,” but there are many more

films to see her in.

 

After the movie, when I talked with my youngest daughter who had

cried (as I did, too) during some of the tender and intense parts of the

film, we both agreed upon deep emotions we have in common.

We also share values my parents and siblings embrace.

It is hard to understand why anyone would be so offended by

someone’s personal choices.

 

Sadly, the United States has had many different areas where

numbers of people who chose to be ‘different’ from what some

may perceive as ‘normal’ or ‘mainstream.’ Obviously, numerous

people are still either bullied or face judges in court rooms.

 

Persecutions in the United States have been appalling and we

talked about our abhorrence of this.

 

No country is totally ‘innocent’ of negative practices of prejudice

and persecution. “Racial profiling” has been a problem within our

extended family.  (My oldest daughter’s father of little Micah is

bi-racial. Mainly, since 9/11/2001, he has had taunts and threats

due to his outward appearance. In his younger years, he says at

least in Delaware, Ohio, he found people wanting to be his friend

throughout his schooling and working years.)

 

The numbers of those imprisoned, at the end of the movie, were

such that we just shook our head and looked at each other through

teary eyes, in disbelief. Felicia asked me, “How can anyone feel

they have the right to judge someone else?”

 

This article about Native Americans and “Two Spirit” individuals

was saved in my WordPress drafts.  It helped me to feel that there

is a positive force to include gays and lesbians within the Native

tribes. Their ‘explanation’ or interesting philosophy towards people

who choose to follow two different genders created new thoughts

in my mind. Mother Nature has some unique qualities which I

embrace, sometimes intuitively.

 

Of course, I have mentioned before. . . I have hope for our future

in the possibility that all peoples can accept and embrace our

differences.

 

Written in Memoriam of Alan Turing, scientist, original computer

inventor and mathematician who committed suicide at age 41, a

few weeks before his 42nd birthday in  June, 1954.

Queen Elizabeth II gave Alan Turing a post-humous “pardon” in

2013 for his criminal charges and offenses.

 

Bidding Adieux to the Old Year

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As we bid ‘adieux’ to the Old Year, 2014, we may reflect on this past

year and see some great things happened in the world, along with

our personal lives. This post won’t dwell on the many negative news

items that took place across the world. My recent conversation I had

with my good friend, Patrice, where we discussed the economy was

full of hope. She is a moderate Republican but found Pres. Obama

has “helped the economy,” citing some personal ways it improved.

Especially for the businesses of her family, who saw an upswing in

purchasing pizzas at her brother in law’s pizza chain, along with her

sister’s Castle Farms in Charlevoix, Michigan having much continued

success. Pat shared good news with her family’s investments in stocks

and bonds, showing profitable and significant increases. The U.S. stock

exchange and business world has not been this secure since Clinton’s

administration. (This can be confirmed in the business pages of the

New York Times, Cleveland Plain Dealer and Columbus Dispatch.)

 

I don’t really wish to quote statistics, just the positive slow, gradual

upswing in the economy as something good to report.

 

While talking with members of our warehouse, several mentioned

the Obamacare (health care and insurance) situation seems to have

‘finally straightened out.’

 

While talking with my artistic brother, Randy, we were on the ‘same

page’ thinking that the renewal of ties with Cuba is a positive way to

bring trade. Also, influencing the political climate of country south of

us, which we have had past problems with. Hoping this will lead to a

better future connection. While this may be ‘common knowledge’ I

found the fact the leader of Cuba is one who has chosen to lead a ‘gay

lifestyle’ hopeful,  since this may mean that there will be less civil unrest

and hateful reactions to people of different life choices.

 

It also seems to reflect a ‘gentler’ means of controlling his country, less

than we had from Fidel Castro. Back in 1963, Fidel Castro had made

quite a mean statement about Cuba’s gay community and their ‘tight

pants’ and wishing to display ‘girlie’ acts in public. Since 2012, there

have been annual Cuban “Kiss-In’s” which is the gay community’s way

of standing up to the controlling leadership in a non-violent way. Even

getting a positive ‘nod’ from the Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro,

for the United States reaching out to Cuba with an olive branch.

This was all compiled by myself: having attempted to confirm various

sources of information.

 

I will hope Fidel’s brother, President Raul Castro, will help lead his

country from communism into socialism. They may label themselves

‘socialistic,’ but the cruel army regime exists there still. I can ‘dream’

of Cuba’s someday becoming a Democratic country, where people’s

votes will be counted.

 

It is totally fine with me, if this positive outlook is challenged with

big doses of reality. I am “open for debate” in my comments section!

 

Thomas Kinkade, 2001:

“I believe that adding light to the canvas of our daily existence is a

simpler process than we often make it out to be. I believe it really is

possible to think and act in ways that shine more radiant joy in our

lives and the lives of those around us.”

 

From my old Children’s Anthology, which featured ‘brownies’ who are

like little sprites in the night:

“In January, when the snow

Lies on the hills and valleys low

And from the north the chilly breeze

Comes whistling through the naked trees

Upon toboggans long they ride,

Until the broadening light of day

Compels them all to quiet their play.”

(Written and Illustrated by Palmer Cox.)

 

My post-Christmas special memories of this year, 2014:

*~ I loved having my Mom be happy and healthy in body

and spirit. She was entranced by the Elf doll which was

a bright and cute girl, with red ‘velvet’ skirt with white

trim, with green and white striped hose and red pointy

shoes, with bells on each toe. She exclaimed each time

she spied it up on the edge of a rocking chair back.

*~ I found the most giving souls were the two six year old

Kindergarteners, among my grandies.

Little Marley could not open her gift before I opened her

purchase of a white painted sleigh bell with its top hat and

cheery face, making it a cute little snowman ornament.

Marley slipped a bracelet into my coat pocket, which she

had made from a craft kit given to her by Santa. I did not

‘discover’ this string of red, black, pink and yellow stars until

I got home, putting my mittens back into my pockets.

 

Micah had used his Secret Santa school “pocket savings”

from his home piggy bank to purchase a wide variety of

little dollar gifts. Mine was a head band which had a pair

of reindeers on the ‘antennae.’ This was the first time I had

seen this head adornment; usually the two ‘antennae’ are

antlers! I wore it proudly around to both families’ Christmas

events. I also had two children request a photo taken with

them on. Quite a thoughtful and fun gift, Micah!

 

The ‘true spirit’ of giving was in both these little ones’ hearts.

 

Do you have any thoughts about the political climate or post-

holiday memories you wish to share?

 

Sleep Tight, Don’t Let the Bed Bugs Bite!

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As adults, lack of sleep has been found to be detrimental to our health.

Today’s children aren’t getting enough sleep either. There are suggested

times and hours needed for each age group. I won’t bother to quote the

many more hours we all should rest and sleep. I try but can usually only

“sleep in” reaching a whopping seven total hours a night. I found a sweet

album to suggest listening to, for any age.

A new music CD,  released from a long-term collaboration of two friends who

became fathers in 1995, is called, “Precious Child– Love Songs & Lullabies.”

There are some happy parts of this collaboration but one really sad one, too.

The Jazz guitarist and composer named Joe Beck combined with the singer,

composer and pianist Darryl Tookes.

Joe and Darryl worked on this album since 1995, moved by their new venture

into fatherhood. The album had to be put on ‘hold’ due to Joe’s being diagnosed

with cancer. During his illness, their friendship strengthened, but he did not

feel up to working. Once he passed away, Darryl finished the CD in honor of his

friend and their families continuation of friendship.

Although this friendship is about the celebration of family and friendship, I started

to think of this plot as a possible movie. It truly reminds me of that sentimental and

tear producing story of Brian Piccolo and the movie, “Brian’s Song.”

When Darryl was a child, he had parents who believed in the Civil Rights movement.

He also became involved, tagging along on marches and sit-in’s. He aids environmental

causes and contributes to charities for children. When he was in college, Darryl studied

physics. He currently teaches college students music.

Joe’s story about his days in a jazz group when he was a teenager, sound like fun. Joe

got a lot of practice in during the period that Darryl’s family was participating in sit-in’s.

Once an adult, Joe Beck’s music was featured in movies and in television shows. His

work record was diverse, including a period of time working on a dairy farm. Joe raised

money for college music scholarships and one special project: water supply to Darfur,

Sudan. He also was like Darryl, believing in his life making a difference.

I have heard this beautiful music. The story alone pulled my heart strings. Two musical

individuals joined by music, love of their children and family. Both so giving to others. I

imagine their children growing up with such a creative force burning through them.

Check out this new CD. I hope you will find soothing music to share with any children

you may know. It may just be the “thing” to rock you gently, calming you to sleep!

 

You may already have favorite songs to sing or hum to your children. Ever since my own

were young, I have treasured this short list of songs, some from musicals.

1. “Edelweiss,” from “The Sound of Music.”

2. “Feed the Birds,” from “Mary Poppins.”

3. “Stay Awake,” from “Mary Poppins.”

4. “My Bonny Lies Over the Ocean.”

5. “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star.”

6. “The Johnny Appleseed Song.”

7. A simple prayer, “I see the moon, the moon sees me. God bless the moon, God bless me.”

 

Here were three books suggested by for children:

1. “Zzz . . .” by Trudee Romanek.

2. “Sleep is for Everyone,” by Paul Showers.

3. “Dr. Seuss’ Sleep Book,” by Dr. Seuss.

 

Of course, more than once we have mentioned in our unanimous love for the books,

“Goodnight, Moon” and “Runaway Bunny” both written by Margaret Wise Brown.

Oh, for controversial reasons, I must add, “In the Night Kitchen,” by Maurice Sendak.

Although this book has won a Caldecott Award, it also has a nude child in it, so it has

been ‘banned’ and edited by librarians across the land.

I enjoy a cup of Sleepytime Tea, (which has a nice combination of herbs, including

chamomile) by Celestial Seasonings Herbal Teas. I like to nibble on a cookie or a

biscotti. It goes back to my childhood, where milk and cookies were our bedtime

snack. If I have a small glass of wine, it also helps produce sleep, if I am in a prone

position. If I am out dancing or mingling, wine doesn’t do this, instead it makes me

want to be on the dance floor. Rain sure helps, on the roof of a house. . .

 

Please add if you have any suggested reading or your own ‘remedy’ to help us sleep.

If you like, tell us some kind of special routine with your children or grandchildren.

 

“Lassie” and Television’s Progress

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On Friday, September 12, 2014, 60 years of television had passed by, since “Lassie’s”

first debut episode. The show was simple, meaningful and encompassed all areas of

rural living, (1954 – 1973). When they list the ‘longest lasting television series,’ they

place this show close to top of the list.

 

The years I remember the show, “Lassie,” best had June Lockhart as portraying my

favorite mother of all time. The father was genuinely well-acted by Hugh Reilly and

my favorite little boy, “Timmy,” was played by Jon Provost.

 

Although the leading “human” roles changed over the years, there was always the

faithful dog, “Lassie.” (Many dogs played this role, of course, through the years.) I

enjoyed the various transitions of “Lassie,” having family values and including life

lessons.

 

Fast forward to September and October, 2014 for the New Fall, 2014 television

season.

It would be nearly impossible to picture most of the newest additions to our current

television programming to last ten years, let alone 19 years.

 

The “CSI” and “NCIS” shows are still going strong and on this Fall’s t.v. line-up.

I am going to miss having the original show, “CSI,” with its location of Las Vegas,

when it moves to its new Sunday evening slot. Sunday is my favorite ‘catch up’ night,

with PBS, Hallmark and I still am a big fan of “Once Upon A Time” and “Revenge.”

The new Fall line up is already getting over-crowded on my own Sunday night.

 

I was talking to a good friend who thinks some of the shows sound “silly” and was

pointing out a Columbus Dispatch critic thought Debra Messing would be hard to

imagine being a cop, in the new show called, “”Mysteries of Laura.”

Since I would first respond, I love the silly show, “Mike and Molly.” I may be quite

blasphemous to say that “Mike” would NEVER make it on a real police force, due

to his large size…

Criticism from someone who loves all kinds of wild SyFy shows like, “Haven” and

“Eureka,”  and on regular network t.v., “Under the Dome,” should be wondering

about their own ways they stretch their imagination! I am laughing with you; not

at you, my friend!

 

Can you suspend your sense of disbelief and let your imagination go?

I remember the funny ways we learned, as children to open our ‘escape hatches’

and step into the Lands of Wonderment.

 

I shall try all the shows with female-driven plot lines. They have had ‘good fortune’

in the past. Imagine “The Good Wife” not being on,  not receiving another round of

Emmy Award nominations. I think it is nice to see women in professional situations,

not wearing an ‘apron’ and carrying out the character of a ‘housewife and mother.’

This is not to say that I don’t enjoy programs that have women who have chosen to

stay at home to do

this very important job and having this be part of the plot line, too. Choices are what

makes this a different world from the Fifties and Sixties’ television programming.

 

“We’ve Come a Long Way, Baby!”

I like the characters in this sweet little show about a single mother with a son, you may

recognize him from big screen movies, I “About a Boy.” I am sadly not pleased with

where they tucked this show into a 9:30 time slot. It is ‘not cute’ but original and quirky.

We, if you are a viewer, are ‘rooting’ for the handsome neighbor man to become the single

mother’s date. Although it is about a boy, it is definitely about the mother, too. Having

raised 3 children on my own, I am particularly happy to watch this one. I also like the

upcoming role of Katherine Heigl getting another chance on television in “State of

Affairs.” While Katherine Heigl left “Grey’s Anatomy,” definitely getting better comedic

roles in movies, she is still sorely missed as the character of “Izzy,” on that show. I am

looking forward to seeing her as a CIA agent. She was funny in “One for the Money,” a

movie based on the hilarious antics of a bondswoman in more than 20 books by Janet

Evanovich.

 

If you liked Tea Leoni’s funny past roles you may have seen her show her acting chops

in serious dramas, too. We will see which direction she heads in, “Madame Secretary.”

She was one of the wackiest women on television for 2 years in a show called, “The Naked

Truth.”

 

I have read a decent review of “Red Band Society.” It is not a “Breakfast Club,” nor

is it one that will be all laughs, but will tackle diseases and illnesses with a touch of

humor and give it an uplifting spin. It is a group of young people who are ones who

have hospital experiences, who are dealing with personal challenges. I picture it more

like the movie, “Stand By Me,” in its tone and togetherness. It is about a ‘band

of young misfits.’

 

Critics are harsh when it comes to some and not so much with others. I remember

when I discovered, “How I Met Your Mother.” It was before the critics endorsed it,

awhile back. I am sad how they chose to end it, with the death of the mother but

happy the main gal, Robin, got her ‘man.’

 

The serious shows genre are tougher to predict. I would imagine Scott Backula will

knock the New Orleans’ version of “NCIS” out of the park. I happen to have liked his

‘goofy’ portrayal of character in “Quantum Leap.” I am not sure about, “Stalkers,” but

will support Dylan McDermott, since he is still okay after all these years since his role

as a non-supportive ‘husband’ for Julia Robert’s dying ‘wife’ role in “Steel Magnolias.”

 

Another serious plot line can be found in “Gracepoint.” (Not to be confused with the

CIA/FBI show about the safe house, “Graceland.”) David Tennant, from the British

show, “Broadchurch,”and Anna Gunn are two strong actors that will head up the

already critically-acclaimed and well-promoted television show. This show is set in a

fictional California coastal community.

 

I think that the “Forever” show that is listed on two consecutive days, for its kick-off

first two episodes sounds good.  Sadly, I lost “Journeyman” and also another traveling

through  time show just in the past two years. I will hope this one ‘sticks’ because I like

the concept. I used to enjoy “Time Tunnel” on television and “Back to the Future,” on

the movie screen.

 

I have been a fan of Josh Dushamel ever since the show, “Vegas.” I have enjoyed his

forte into romantic comedies, too. The actor, Dushamel will be on a new show called,

“Battle Creek,” This will be loosely based on likely crimes to be found in Battle Creek,

Michigan. His co-star/partner will be that of Dean Winters. You will recognize him,

but not necessarily ‘place’ him. I will check this one out simply because I love crime-

solving television series.

 

I will return to comedies. This is what a good friend in Lancaster, Ohio mentioned

when we turned 50: “Try to laugh more, watch comedies!”

I came up with a slogan, which I will hope no one else has coined:

“Humor is found in the ‘ear’ of the listener.”

(“Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.”)

So, if you liked “My Favorite Martian” did you ever try 2 seasons of “Neighbors?”

I think not, since it did not make it. This was clever, witty writing with four likable

adults, along with poking fun at Suburbia. I will miss this, unless it is on a later

schedule, it did not make the ‘cut.’

 

If you liked “Scrubs,” you probably followed the guy who was the janitor on over

into “The Middle,” who became the ever patient, sometimes ‘clueless’ Dad in this

sit-com. This also includes Patricia Heaton, who played the Mom/wife roles in

“Everyone Loves Raymond.”

 

If you liked “Taxi,” “Barney Miller” and “Psych,” you may have discovered last year’s

Emmy-awarding comedy, “Brooklyn 9-9.” Hilarious, quirky and goofy at times, but

watch out, you may laugh out loud anyway.

 

I am wishing that Nielson’s Rating chart were in my mailbox, because I had such a

lovely time about eight years ago, studying and analyzing the television Fall Season

Line-ups back then. The first time I had the full control of a remote control.  I wrote

some comprehensive and profuse notes for those receiving my multiple page Nielson

Ratings Report. I  am not a paid writer nor do I write for a newspaper. I was able to

honestly say this, it was all for the love of television and the future of programming

that I was inspired to carry out my ‘duties’ in this report.

 

My final thoughts on the Progress television has made since “Lassie” was on.

You are invited to ‘debate’ these comments, too. I love a good and lively discussion!

 

I personally feel current shows embrace more ethnicities, culture and show characters

with wider world views in our programming. They encompasses much more ‘diversity’

on television since my childhood days. This means the people who are represented

are not stereotyped as much, anymore.

 

I like that there are two children with special needs included in some popular shows.

I recommend, “Parenthood,” and if you have never seen this, start by watching the

first shows. It is cool to watch this fine young actor, “grow up” with two caring

‘parents’ who disagree about how to handle him, along with a supportive ‘family.’

I am not sure how they would ‘label’ the character, “Brick,” in the show “The Middle,”

but the family accepts him just as he is.

I feel the shows today give better examples of the way families really act, showing

varied relationships, how to handle or not able handle serious and controversial

subjects such as addictions, challenges and sexual orientations.

 

We have heroes and villains. The same as in the past, sometimes more graphically

(and honestly presented.)

 

World conflicts and images are horrifying.  We cannot ignore what is going on, bury

our head in the sand. Powerful, and yet maddening, events are daily depicted (some

consider, ‘bombarded’) on our television sets.

We are urged to ‘act’ and ‘choose’ which side of the dilemmas we will take, as a nation

and other countries must, too.

Along with this serious, somewhat negative impact of television’s immediacy to

situations, we have positives.

We have the opportunity to watch the Olympics, sporting events and international

specials, shown across the world. My coworkers and friends from the Philippines

were captivated by Pope Francis being chosen to be the Roman Catholic Pope.

Other friends were entranced by the wedding of Prince Charles to Diana. Then,

many followed the tragic ending to Lady Diana’s life. They were hopeful for the

more recent wedding of Prince William to Kate Middleton. The baby’s birth and

now, the next one on its way, are subjects that many feel are happy bits of news.

 

History, social studies, geography and science are subjects of programs, for

everyone to  learn about, grow to enjoy and get more educated. There are so

many fascinating shows to watch. Nature, musical and art works may never be viewed

or listened to, first hand. Other countries and animals, places that may not be within

everyone’s budget or ability to travel.

 

Some people are not necessarily able to buy or read the newspaper. They find out

information about the world they live in, from the television news shows.

Hurray For National Geographic, Travel Channel, PBS, Weather Channel and

other quality network programming!

 

We have real and make-believe images still, with our magic carpet rides taking off,

from our own homes.

 

There are subjects and shows I may never care to watch. I embrace and support

those who like QVC shopping, cooking shows, reality shows and true dramas,

because they are part of the wide community of television watchers.

 

Many of the shows I choose to watch, you may not want to watch. I got hooked on a

soap opera, during our second break at work. For the past six years, I am ‘guilty’ of

watching, “The Bold and the Beautiful.”

All the years I stayed home and babysat, I did not watch any soap operas. I did in

college, much to the chagrin of my parents, when I mentioned I was scheduling my

courses around a couple of soap operas!

 

I was listening, the first year of American Idol, to all the animated conversations in

the teachers’ break room. They were talking about the ‘bad’ try-outs and the odd

characters. It was in the very beginning of the national search for those who would

make it to “Hollywood.” This caught my attention and I am so glad that I started

watching it.  I can say, “I remember when I first heard Carrie Underwood’s fantastic

voice, was medium built and had frizzy hair!” Along with several well-known singers

who made it to the Top Ten or higher.

 

I am grateful that I don’t have to sit on a sofa and listen to radio to imagine the

great radio characters of the “Green Hornet,” “Gracie Allen and George Burns,”

or how the President of the United States looks like as he is speaking. I enjoy

hearing my Mom’s excitement when she heard about Amelia Earhart’s trans-

Atlantic plane trip and her memories of the “Fireside Chats,” with President

Roosevelt, though.

 

I liked how we  used to watch to find out if we had school on Snow Days. Later,

if our children or grandchildren have school cancelled. I enjoy watching to see

how ‘my’ candidates or ‘my’ issues are doing, as the voting polls report in their

results.

 

I am saddened that there are blind people who cannot see, but grateful for the

inventions of special devices and increased equipment due to new technology

allowing them ‘to see’ the shows. The descriptions of the setting, characters and

other visual ‘clues’ are given. I have read about these and think the inventors are

brilliant for creating and providing this service. There are new creations in hearing-

impaired equipment, too.

 

Many people cannot afford to go to the movies or take a vacation with their families.

They may not go to Broadway but on PBS, they can see a Broadway play or musical.

They get their main form of entertainment from television.

 

There are others, lying on their back sometimes, healing from surgery or permanent

disabilities. My Dad liked to watch the comedies, while getting his chemo treatments.

Laughing made him feel so much better on those days he was nauseous.

 

The elderly in the nursing home I worked at for 4 1/2 years, liked to watch the shows

on TV Land, old reruns of “Lawrence Welk” and  “Bonanza,” along with their church

programming on Sunday mornings. The beauty of fireworks in our country and

celebrations around the world, brought big smiles to their faces. They enjoyed, as

I still do, the lovely creations in the Tournament of Roses Parade.

 

We get a sense of conscience from our ‘small screens.’  The night I watched, “Stand

Up 2 Cancer” impacted me, along with millions of other people watching. It moved

us to donate to some form of Cancer (Society) fund-raising, including Hospice Care,

research and local hospitals.

 

Remember “One Small Step for Mankind?” We now look forward to continued

space travel, inventions and research. When we hear of satellites making it to

Mars or other planets this gives us information that we may use in the future.

 

A quote about freedom from H.L. Mencken, American author and journalist

(1880-1956):

“We must be willing to pay a price for freedom,

for no price that is ever  asked for it,

is half the cost of doing without it.”

 

My soap box, put away for now. . .

 

 

 

What do you watch?

Have you heard about any new t.v. show compelling you

to ‘set your DVR’?

 

Musical Legend: Mavis Staples

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Wishing an early “Happy Birthday to Mavis Staples!” Her birthday will be

July 10, 1939. Wow! In her 75th year of singing a rich and still fresh

combination of blues, soul, folksong anthems, and Gospel music, she

just put out another album in 2013!

Way to go, Mavis Staples!

Mavis’ newest album is titled, “One True Vine.” I learned more about

her personal journey through her life and also, a definite proposal

and romance I had no idea existed! You may not guess which famous

singer asked her “Pop’s” for permission to have her hand in marriage!

Mavis’ “Pop” put together the family singing act called, “The Staple

Singers” long ago, while she was at the tender, young age of 8 years

old! While the Peace Movement and Civil Rights Movement were the

ones who ‘took her there,’ the popular song, “I’ll Take You There,” was

what got the group on the top of music charts!

Listening to the lyrics, knowing it was originally a gospel song that

was intended for the listener to believe in going to a place called

“Heaven,” makes it even more spiritual and inspiring.

During the sixties, being on stage with Dr. Reverend Martin Luther King,

Jr. made her inspired and gave her so much encouragement for the

world. Her life was spent traveling around to big cities, performing and

feeling the wave of love and hope rising amongst African Americans.

On an interview with CBS Saturday Morning, (5/17/14), Mavis said that

being around MLK, Jr. was to feel ‘unbelievable joy.’ To be in his ‘presence’

brought her so much meaning to her life.

During this timely period in the United States, there was another

young ‘mover and shaker’ in the music industry. Mavis spent a lot of

time with that curly haired, good looking Bob Dylan.

There came a time, Mavis recounted that,

“Bobby told my Pops, ‘I want to marry Mavis.'”

Pops responded,

“‘Don’t tell me, tell Mavis!'”

While grinning happily, telling the interviewer this love story,

he asked with some excitement,

“What did you say to Bob?”

She reflected, smiling and said,

Well, remember I was very young, so I told him, ‘Let’s wait awhile.'”

She went on to say (the essence of this moment being the real meaning

in her words, paraphrased here):

She wondered what changes her life would have had, how marrying Bob

Dylan would have impacted her life and then used a phrase that I will

tell you the interviewer had to ask her to repeat and explain.

Mavis wondered what it would have been like to make ‘chrome-crushers’

with Bobby.

The words meant, children or babies with him. She was pondering this

and looking happy, still. She felt that she had been attractive, I

forget if she called herself a ‘fox’ or what, but he was definitely

someone she had love for and a huge crush on, too!

Mavis says that her life was spent ‘coming at it with her heart.’

When Mavis Staples won her first Grammy, she remembered that her

Pops had said not to worry about that but they were (basically)

singing for the Lord and “to reach people.” It was a great piece

of philosophy, not to worry about your awards in life, just what

actions you do and how it effects people.

At the 55th Grammy Award ceremony in February, 2013, Mavis Staples

won the Recording Academy Lifetime Achievement Award, looking very

stunning and vibrant. If you punch in her name and Grammy 2013, you

will see her the way she still looks. So beautiful inside and out!

She performed, by the way, in a tribute to Levon Helm, with the ‘likes’

of Elton John, Zac Brown Band and Mumford and Sons that fantastic

evening show to remember!

Mavis laughed, saying that she did, “Buy a stand for that Grammy,”

though!

The upbeat tone in her speaking and singing voice wins you over,

despite her vocal range not being as wide as I am sure it was in her

‘heyday!’ She has two songs that were very special to me.

I have sometimes, like many people do, worried about my appearance

and this song, “I Like the Things About Me,” including her comments

in the song disparaging her hair and her lips. She uses this verse,

“I like the things about me, that I once despised…”

“There was a time I wished my hair was fine…”

“There was a time I wished my lips were thin…”

In the end, the message was similar to today’s artist, Lady Gaga’s.

Mavis’ lifetime of having racial hurdles to overcome, make her

simple songs even more powerful. And timeless…

“Love yourself.”

(The essence of the lyrics was she came to the point in her life,

when she could accept ‘the me that I am.’)

The lively and pretty song, “Freedom’s Highway,” still has a world

wide application. As she mentioned the children (girls who were

kidnapped in Nigeria) and ‘everywhere looking at America to see what

we will do.’

“March each and every day,

Made up my mind and won’t turn around,

Made up my mind and won’t turn around.

There is just one thing,

I can’t understand, my friend.

Why some folk think freedom

Was not designed for all men,

Yes, I think I voted for the right man,

Said we would overcome.”

She repeated that ‘the whole world is wondering why America

is not stepping in to help those girls.’

Mavis Staples’ songs to look up on Youtube and listen to are:

“You Are Not Alone,” (2010)

“Eyes on the Prize,” (2007)

“One True Vine” (2013).

I was uplifted by Mavis’ energy and her loving nature shown in the

interview this Saturday morning. I needed only to see her face, to

remember that, not too long ago, Grammy Awards Show.

Where I had really listened to Mavis Staples’ singing and messages.

Adding to everyone’s loving voices raised in tribute to Levon Helm.

(If you were a fan of “The Band,” you were listening to his drumming

and percussion skills.)

Now go out, sing dance and march to the music!

Uplifting Messages for Everyday Lives

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Serving people and volunteering reflect how culture has shown a

history of caring and pulling together in times of adversities

and strife. The valuable message and “roots” come from all faiths

and can be found in various examples.

Spurred on by my recent “Spire” newsletter from the First Presby.

Church, in Delaware, Ohio’s message:

“Mission work that is carried out by churches and other organizations

makes a difference in the lives of people all around the world. One

purpose of mission work is to help those who are hurting in whatever

way is appropriate to their specific situation.”

I could not help reflecting on the different levels of helping others

that I feel I have done and will try to add more to my own sense of

purpose in life. I wondered if I could investigate and find some

history in the United States, of being positive ‘lights’ and doing

good works.

Native Americans have always viewed the concept of helping each

other, as beneficial and calling it a “give away.” The process

is described as choosing a special gift to impart at a helpful

time.

This is a long-respected tradition, honored among most tribes.

The Pacific Northwest and Canadian Indian tribes have something

called a ‘potlatch.’ I found that the Chinook tribe was one who

originated this process, but if someone is more knowledgeable on

this subject, please feel free to ‘pitch in’ and help me explain!

Native American traditions are enduring, meaningful and loving.

There are traditional ceremonies held by other tribes as “Give

Away Ceremonies.” What helped me to understand better why they

do this, is by realizing that Native Americans don’t place a

“value” on individual property or money. They feel that if there

is anything that another person should need or will benefit the

other family, then one should ‘give away’ that item. Not having

personal “ownership” of the land and its creatures is also

included in Native Americans’ belief systems.

Other people consider when they are giving time, money or energy

towards a cause as ways we are “paying forward.” Eastern cultures

include “karma” (or “kharma”) and “kismet” as reasons one may

wish to engage in positive actions. What ‘goes around, comes

around,” does not mean that there is not respect and value in

those caring actions!

Another way we may explain the process of helping one another

could be as “giving back to the world.” You may hear this come

out of famous people or philanthropic projects.

Powerful actions, to positively impact and support one another,

crosses across the world in so many other dimensions. Churches

send out their teams out for rescue and retreats, sometimes

labeling this, “Mission Work.” Serving others helps both the one

who is setting out on a mission, and the ones who are on the

receiving end.

My family’s three children engaged in community church functions

called, ecumenical peace camps and ecumenical youth groups.

It is appropriate to view this subject on a Sunday, but every

day is truly the way you carry out your faith or spiritual

expressions in respect to your God, Allah, Mother Nature, Higher

Being or your own personal inner beliefs. Agnostics and atheists

give with open hearts and hands, through their acts of kindness.

Witnesses to 9/11, Katrina, floods and famine relief, Red Cross

and other ways that people are constantly reaching out and going

beyond their everyday actions (and comfort zones) are so inspiring!

Ralph Waldo Emerson once said,

“It is one of the most beautiful compensations of this life that

no man can sincerely try to help another without helping himself.”

John Mc Mullin, who writes for a ‘healthy and better life’ local

magazine and other noteworthy journalism endeavors, tweeted:

“I can accept my wheels coming off the tracks as long as I trust

parts of my self know how to put my wheels back on the track.”

Another tweet by John:

“When the anguish and pain of what we think we know becomes

overwhelming, only then are we willing to explore what we don’t

know.”

I enjoy so many blogs with their famous quotations and photos,

I also revel in poetry. This local woman, Jennifer R. Harbor

shared this poem, (purposely written in lower case letters…):

“i am

not this Body

not these thoughts that consume me,

not these feelings that find me,

not these beliefs that drive me,

i am

not this used flesh scarred by existence,

i am

infinite spirit, limitless energy, borderless space,

i am the light of ancient stars

i am eternity expanding,

i am

not this Body

i am

radiant Light, living only to

Transcend this vessel

of eyelashes, fingers, lips, toes…”

JRH, 2007.