Category Archives: treatment

Hospitality

Standard

Hospitality comes in all forms, sometimes simple and warm, other

times it is elaborate and luxurious. There are times in our lives,

each one has its ‘benefits’ and comforts, too.

 

My ex-sister in law, Linda, was such a special woman. She was so

kind and thoughtful. We had her up a few times for holidays, but

as she had invited us numerous times, we felt compelled to go her

direction- to Roanoke, Virginia. We were excited since we had at

the time six children, three of his and three of mine. Yet, we were

given a ‘vacation reprieve,’ while my parents were taking my two

girls and a boy, his other sister and her husband, were taking his

two boys and a girl. They were both heading in different directions

with the children, one to the far western part of Ohio for my parents

to where their ‘home camp site’ part of the Good Sam camping club,

and the other three were heading to a farm out by Johnstown, Ohio.

They were going to help pitch in with pigs and also, dunk in a spring

fed pond to wash the smell and dirt off, enjoying ‘country living.’

 

Linda had sent me a questionnaire; really!  Smiling right now at her

sweet questions, asking me to rate some of her favorite and practiced

dishes, letting her know which ones I would like her to prepare for

our meals. This way, she had thoughtfully and carefully planned all

the meals and had competed her shopping, too. Mike told me he loved

ALL of her home cooking, so not to worry about checking back with

him. She also asked in this fun and interesting quiz, what activities I

liked, what treats I enjoyed snacking on and other hospitable questions.

 

Upon our arrival, we found a lovely fruit basket in her guest room. It

had (at the time, I felt this way) ‘exotic’ fruits like starfruit and kiwi,

along with apples, pears and tangerines. I had told her I didn’t like

bananas, unless they are greenish, never any brown spots on them.

So, Mike who loved his bananas ripened, no such luck for him!

 

We had brought her a stone carved into an angel for her garden.

Linda was so thrilled and we felt we could not have brought her

a better gift. This is how a generous and caring hostess greets her

guests and makes them feel so welcome.

 

On our pillows, I had three Lindt dark chocolate balls. No, at this

time I had never tried them, but when asked which candy I liked in

my Easter basket (yes, this was a true question!) Linda found out I

liked the white chocolate bunnies, the dark chocolate covered coconut

eggs, and the milk chocolate maple eggs. I would switch with my two

brothers until I had the combination I enjoyed most.  (The second

night she put a Heath bar on my pillow and on and on, until we left

after a four day visit. Back to the plain old house, with the bustling

children there. Shoot!)

 

When we went into her newly furnished bathroom, she had placed

the exact color of towels she had seen in our own bathroom. I had

‘assigned’ Mike an olive green and I had lilac or lavender colored

towels at our house together. I had always felt if I ever had more

than one bathroom, I would decorate with a basket of violets and

those colors. Linda had bought a large bath towel, hand towel and

two wash cloths, in the colors from home.

 

As you can guess, we had delicious meals, went to many scenic

places, along with a beautiful mansion to eat our dinner at. It was

set off the road, quite a step back in history to the elegant antebellum

period of time. This is the period between the 1812 war and the Civil

war. I like to think of “Gone with the Wind,” when I reminisce about

this lovely place. The meal was delectable, with our being able to

choose one, two or three meats for our meal. My ex, Mike, being tall

and lanky, able to eat as much as he wanted order the three meats’

meal. Linda ordered pork and I ordered chicken. The other meat

was beef.  We had dressed up, full of expectation, which we were not

disappointed in this at all.

 

When I was growing up, my Grandmother Mattson, liked to make

desserts. Her German heritage helped to prepare yummy breakfasts.

We would usually have a simple meat, vegetable and sometimes a

bread or potato. My Grandfather had changed her into a Swedish

chef, for meals and a gourmet streusel, rum balls, Black Forest cherry

cake or German chocolate cake would be our reward for eating a

well prepared meal, but healthy for our lives. We still don’t prepare

our daily meals with many complicated recipes or sauces.

 

When we would arrive, my Grandmother would be given a gift,

my Mom called it her “hostess gift.” She emphasized respect, love

and never arriving at someone’s house, ’empty handed.’ Often, the

gift was flowers. Sometimes, it was a bouquet, often it was a potted

plant of lilies, tulips, or daffodils in the Spring, burgundy or golden

mums, if it were Autumn. Late summer, my Mom liked to pick out

sunflowers, along with asters. Sometimes, these could be found at

roadside tables, along the country back roads from Cleveland to the

town of Middletown, Ohio.

 

Mom often would give my Grandma a pretty tea towel, candy and

if she had baked cookies, those were stored in a tin for them to open

after we left. Once, my brothers got into that tin and boy! Did they

ever get in trouble!

 

When my parents retired the hospitality became less structured, it

was now Lake Erie casual dining experiences, find your beach towels

on the fence or in the linen closet. When they moved from the suburbs,

the antiques got shipped to an auction house, barely any were saved.

I was asked, but I had decided on Early American or Colonial period

having been raised in a Victorian style home, I was anxious to choose

a different way of decorating. Sometimes, I do wish I had saved some

of the special pieces, but then when I moved to my little apartment,

it would have been bittersweet parting at such a late date from them.

 

When we were on our way to my parents, we would use our landline

phone to call theirs. “Leaving now, see you in about 3 hours.” We were

not ones to carry on much conversation. Even now, when I call my Mom,

she immediately asks, “Is everything all right, Robin?” or “Are you okay,

dear?” (This works for all of us, since she and Dad named us all with “R”

in the beginning, it is quite a silly thing to hear her go through the names,

including my Dad’s, too.)

 

Upon leaving the last highway and getting onto Baumhart Road, our

labrador retriever mutt, Toby, would howl.  He knew the lake was out

there, wanted the window open to snort and sniff. He would walk on

top of people to get to the window, but usually even in the dead of

winter, we would ‘humor’ the good ol’ boy.

 

If it were Summer, my Dad would hear us honk about three times, as

we passed the Showse Park beach area. He would get up off his lounge

chair, go to the back of the house, grab these spongy things called,

“noodles” and usually for fun, had a Life Preserver over his shoulder.

This man was so ecstatic to have company, more than you would ever

know if you had been his friend at work or in the church we went to.

 

Dad would have either croquet set up or the net for badminton or

volleyball. If anyone mentioned a different preference, Dad was on

top of this, so excited to be able to play with the kids. You may have

read awhile back, my Dad gave up his childhood play time pursuits

at age 11, to start working to help pay rent and take care of his own

mother. His father had been in the war, was in Cincinnati Veteran’s

Hospital.  Being retired was like Heaven at the end of years of being

‘on top of things.’

 

The formal ‘bar’ my Dad had had, with all kinds of liquor, the “Old

Mr. Boston’s” book of bartender’s recipes and the side dishes of olives,

onions, cherries and orange slices were gone. The Beach retirement

life style meant you could grab a beer, pop, water or wine cooler from

the three full bags of iced up beverages in the huge coolers kept under

the picnic tables on the carport.

 

Food was sandwiches, available 24/7, with various delicatessen meats,

cheeses and condiments in the drawer of the refrigerator. If anyone

showed up who wished to get a frozen lemonade and make it in a

pitcher or stayed a few days and wished to make some Sun Tea,

all the ‘fixings’ were here. There were steaks, chops, salmon and

hamburgers in the freezer. If my brothers wanted to take the time

to fire up the gas grill and prepare them, all of us were overjoyed.

Otherwise, Mom and I would make potato and macaroni salad in

the early cool hours of the morning and were quite content with

nibbling on snacks, cookies and an occasional piece of meat or

cheese.

 

Relaxed dress code, shirt optional.

Wow, this was the simple and warm hospitality I had mentioned

in that first paragraph.

 

Please share some of your favorite places you have gone, where

hospitality was special to you. Oh, since I didn’t cover the whole

gamut of Southern Hospitality, please pitch in with some details!

 

 

Baldwin Wallace site: 2015 International Film Series

Standard

You better believe I was excited to be asked by my sister in law,

Susan who is a Dean at Baldwin Wallace University to attend

two of the many diverse international films shown over this

past weekend. The series was held from February 6 – 14th.

The two movies were so disparate they don’t even seem to

belong in the same world we live in. One was more factual

and sad in its depiction of culture, class structure and society.

The other was one that left you feeling strong, independent

and yet vulnerable to feelings about relationships. Both had

a similar thread of how choosing the ‘right path in life’ can

make a difference in life’s outcomes.

 

The Chinese film was called, “Tian Zhu Ding,” which translates as

“A Touch of Sin.” There were four ‘acts’ with true stories embedded

within the plot. The news stories were results from tragic incidents.

The film ends by circling back to a few of the main characters. Each

individual portrayed a character who either committed violence or

were affected and changed by the actual happenings.

 

The countryside setting in the beginning of the movie displayed

beautiful snow-capped mountains and the outside of a coal mine.

There are many struggling people in this remote town. Someone

is offended, and ultimately angered, by the owner of the mine.

You do not find out until another section of the movie how far

this man will go as he takes out his revenge.

 

Part of this true story includes two men being shot and killed

going down the mountain on their motorcycles. It looks to the

observer to be a possible ‘hit job.’ I think this part of the first

story gives the viewer the sense of,  “Life is futile.” This random

act of violence against the two men just made this section of the

film feel more desolate.

 

The town tries valiantly to display a friendly and positive reception

for manager and his wife. A noisy, discordant band, cheerleader-like

people wearing costumes and one loud, angry and discontented man

await the arrival of the mining company boss, who is also part of the

royal family. The main problem making the miner seethe and stew

is that if the family can afford a plane which arrives on the runway

where the gathering is prepared to entertain them, then he feels the

manager should pay the workers better. The disparity between the

classes seem to be the root and meaning behind this part of the film.

 

Later after the film, there was a reception where one of Baldwin

Wallace University professors said they do have unions in China.

She speculated possibly not in the rural provinces, though.

 

The small town’s welcoming committee and reception is declared

over by the manager and the crowd disperses. There were a few

people who shook hands with the manager and tried to ingratiate

themselves with him. His wife doesn’t shake hands but smiles and

appeared aloof. The royal manager of the coal mine ends up beating

the upset man with only his wife and his pilot as witnesses. This

is due to his having embarrassed the royal manager by expressing

his disapproval of the way the mine was managed.  Being ‘called out’

by a subordinate on his wealthy habits in front of the group threw

him into a rage.

 

This poor soul is so badly injured he must go to a hospital.

 

The second story is one where the injured, malcontent man visits

a woman who he has loved since he was young. You can see from

their facial expressions how much they care about each other. She

has been married for some time. She stops preparing dinner and

leaves one of her sons in the kitchen doing his homework. The

film never shows the two in any of unfaithfulness. The viewer

assumes it is unrequited love.  It appears they have never followed

through with a physical affair. The woman won’t leave her husband

but does explain to the man she has known her whole life that she

has loved him since young. She would go with him, if only he would

change. She says he will never amount to anything, only in Chinese

translated into English subtitles.

 

There is a possible theme of redemption in the beginning of this

story. The audience may feel there could be hope for this man who

is distraught and not taken seriously in his coal mining job. It seems

like the man is thinking about changing his ways. He does have a

wife, it is revealed and she is going to have to live with the haunting

vengeful acts he chooses to commit.

 

Unfortunately, he is angered by this hardened  position of his

childhood sweetheart. He goes on to commit atrocities, killing

more than four people. The scene where he gets his rifle and goes

to the royal palace is almost unbelievable. It made me feel like I

was watching a Quentin Tarantino film. This true news story is

not given a date or time but the review and article about the film

describe this as an actual murderous series of events.

 

The married woman in this story will re-appear in the fourth story.

 

The third story is one with a couple of young people. The central

character in this ‘act’ is one young man who is trying to get out

of the coal mining town. He has a friend he contacts using his cell

phone, who affirms there are more jobs in the big city. The friend

upon his arrival calls a man who comes to pick him up in a fancy

car. He is taken to a place of entertainment where young people,

both men and women, are given costumes to wear.

 

They are paraded in front of potential ‘buyers’ of their ‘human wares.’

One strange element is a shortened version of an Army uniform with

the bellies of the young girls displayed and they do ‘march in’ and

the visitors sit on rows of couches ogling them.

 

The clients may buy ‘time’ with the youths or buy ‘acts’ performed,

(implied but not seen.) This becomes sad since the two attracted to

each other, spend time while they have a day off from work. They try

to act like a normal couple on a date. There are smiles and moments

where you have the belief, or hope this may be the first happy ending

of the three stories shown so far. They spend time looking at things at

a local market, see statues of Buddha the young woman is interested

and the ‘boy’ purchases one about a foot tall.  They go to a parking lot,

where they sit in someone else’s car, kissing while the Buddha is shown

left on the hood of the car as rain begins to fall upon the windshield.

There are symbolic meanings to several parts of each story.

 

The girl reluctantly tells the young man she has a three year old

daughter. She poignantly express when you work in the ‘sex trade’

you really don’t believe in love anymore. Her mother is raising the

little girl.

 

This ends the first half of the 3rd story. . .

 

There is another young woman who is working in a public sauna.

This place is where sexual favors can also be bought. She is ‘only a

receptionist’ she tries to explain her employment position three

times to a couple of men who are trying to persuade her to engage

in paid sexual favors.

 

Both these stories come to violence. In the first one, the young

man throws himself over a balcony many stories high in the city.

He had just gotten off the phone with his mother complaining he

had not sent money since he left the coal mine. You sense he had

hoped to find a good job and make enough money to send home

to support his mother. This compounded with the disenchantment

with the city, the reality and rejection of the young girl sends him

into making his final choice.

 

The second story in this section of the movie, has the accosted

young woman lashing out with a knife and attacking, defending

herself against the two male potential rapists. The word, “no” and

slamming the door three times against them did not stop their

attempts to change her mind.

 

Once the man is bloody with several stabs into his chest and arms,

the other man runs away. She leaves the establishment in bloody

clothing and is seen wandering out on the road leaving the city in

the dark.

 

The last story shows the woman from story number two having

left her husband to become a ‘preacher,’ in the form of a street

performer. She must have decided the violent rampage of her

childhood love was a turning point. There aren’t any explanations

for the film’s character’s actions.

 

Sometimes, there was silence in many scenes.

Conversation seemed more to move the pieces of each story

along rather than connect people together.

 

The performance play has a religious revival tone to it. The main

female entertainer is asking members of the audience to come

forward and ask for forgiveness. The message in this seems to be,

‘Your actions will help you to find your path in life.’

 

The wife of the disgruntled coal miner who killed the royal couple

(who also managed the coal mine) in their palace is present. Along

with the young woman from the sauna. She had just come from a

“Fortune 500”  company (displayed on the sign by the tables of

job interviewers). In this scene, the young girl has shorter hair,

wearing a simple outfit. This is not thread bare, but the attitude

of the female interviewer shows disdain towards her. She didn’t

have the necessary qualifications, both educational and experience,

to get the position. She walks dejectedly with her head looking at

the sidewalk out of the building and heads towards a park.

 

Following the sound of the play leads the unemployed woman to

come across a performance upon a small stage set up in the park.

 

There is a feeling of hope amongst the participants in the play.

Their exuberance is catchy and they seem to impart a purpose to

their presentation. Several aimless people have wandered upon

the colorful scene.

 

The city onlookers listen to the motivational messages given.

Those who have felt like life has become too daunting and

overwhelming. It ends with an open-ended optimistic sense

of well being.

 

I would say the fourth story’s theme is about redemption.

 

This Chinese film was every bit as violent as any of ones made

in the United States. I had a preconception that it would show

resolutions made and more detailed explanations given for the

intense situations in the four stories. The outline of the plot lets

the viewer know there will be “four shocking and true events.”

 

The way the stories are ‘strung together’ doesn’t make it easily

understood.  If you don’t play close attention, it might be hard

to determine each character as they are not always wearing any

distinguishing clothing.

 

If I had been at home watching this on a DVD, I would have

rewound it more than once.

 

If any movie is possible to remind you of this film to one of ours,

I would say, “Crash.” That film took several story lines where they

converge into situations. Characters were loosely drawn and then

acted and reacted to the events in each movie. This Chinese film,

“A Touch of Sin,” is reminiscent of the way lives unravel and

become disconnected.

 

The director named Jia Zhangke has written and directed two

other films that a reviewer considered, “Masterpieces.”  They are

called, “The World” and “Still Life.”

 

A movie reviewer for the magazine, “The New Yorker,” Richard

Brody says, “This is one of the best and most important directors

in the world.” In a brochure for the film festival, others label it as

“daring,” “poetic” and leading the country of China, after the real

life crimes, into a period of “self-examination.”

 

I thoroughly enjoyed the Chinese reception with various dishes of

noodles with vegetables, sushi rolls, egg rolls and fortune cookies.

There were some kind of custard wrapped desserts which some of

us wondered if this were a contribution of ‘cannolis’ representing the

Italian food.

 

Since the last movie we saw was from Italy.

 

I listened and was humbled by deep thoughts the Chinese movie

drew out of professors and visitors.

*I would not recommend watching this powerful movie due to its

feeling of hopelessness and despair.

 

Here are a series of thoughts I wrote down before I compiled

this into a ‘review’ on “A Touch of Sin:”

1.  A diabetic injects himself with insulin and proceeds to eat

noodles.

2.  The only two pieces of art work were a beautiful Tiger and

the Mother Mary holding Jesus. The costumes of the band

players and the different plays within the film were gorgeous.

3. Taking justice into his own hands, the one who was beaten

by the royal who managed the coal mines, was accompanied

by waving a wall hanging of a tiger over his rifle.

4. Discontent/Dissent/Inequality of the masses was a recurring

theme throughout the film.

5. A “Fortune 500” company is in the 4th section of the film

and it is titled, “Oasis of Opportunity.”

6. The three languages spoken in China are given as Mandarin,

Shanghai and English.

7. Everyone, at every level in the film, has a cell phone and

modern technology is apparent throughout despite poverty

in the mining village.

8. The scene with a man whipping his horse was upsetting.

9. Taking justice in their own hands seems to be the way

those who felt their lives were unfair was their only way

of equalizing their lives.

10. Smoking occurs in buses, trains, restaurants and hotel

rooms.

11. Men dress as women to entertain in the fourth story.

12. The movie left me feeling very dissatisfied and discontent.

*No violence was taken on my part.

 

 

“Viaggio Sola” is called, “A Five Star Life.” It actually is not the

same meaning as the Italian title would be, “Traveling Alone.”

This is a fun spirited Italian movie about a woman who is one

of those ‘mystery shoppers’ or ‘customers’ to elegant and formal

hotels around the world. The time she is in an Asian country

watching on the veranda a lovely belly dancer while sipping wine

and looking across at a man also a guest at the hotel is an example

of escaping reality.

Her own apartment is sparingly decorated.  Her sister is married

and has two girls. Her brother-in-law plays for the Italian symphony.

She takes her nieces out to eat once in the movie, along with making

reservations of adjoining rooms for their accompanying her on a

special trip.

The girls like checking the mattress for bed bugs, counting towels

and the other parts of the reoccurring list the women orally goes

over as she types the answers into her laptop.

The girls ‘act up’ and use toilet paper in the bathtub which brings

out the character’s lack of understanding children’s impulses. She

yells briskly at the girls, which later one of them can’t go to sleep

and ‘wants to go home.’

The voice over narrator throughout this film is telling the elements

of a proper “5 star” place.

There are amusing times when the main character is disembarking

from a trip to greet a good guy friend at the airport,  where she offers

to ‘cook dinner,’ which he makes a disdainful expression which is

comical, like a, “You know you don’t know how to cook!” look.

While at his apartment, you notice he has candles and nice cooking

utensils as he prepares her a meal.

 

There are a few monkey wrenches thrown into the Italian film’s

plot line, which I won’t reveal because I do recommend this film.

 

It is beyond the simple story drawn here. It is not at all negatively

completed as the similar George Clooney film, “Up in the Air” was.

That movie ending was quite disconcerting, since I saw a future in the

romance being shown between George’s character and an airline

hostess.

 

In the Italian film, “A Five Star Life,” you will see gorgeous scenes of

the following international cities:  Paris, France, Gstaad, Morocco,

Berlin, Germany and China. Each has lavish hotels and delicious meals

displayed to wish you were the person hired to critique and be pampered.

 

 

 

Native American View on “Two-Spirits”

Standard

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.

 

Beginning a Week of Book Banning Awareness

Standard

From September 21st through the 27th, the American Libraries Association has

declared this “Banned Books Week.” They wish to encourage our freedom to read.

The ALA’s slogan for this week is, “Discover What You’re Missing.” I think it is so

important to remind people of how recently we had books destroyed, censored

and banned in our country.

In my opinion, books on any subject are meant to expand our world views. They

open our eyes where we may hold insulated views. Some have been protected,

kept safe and ‘closed off,’ from what is being presented in their community or

‘tribe’ (or family.)There are some who home school, some who don’t believe

in public news, some who wish that all offensive subjects not be mentioned to

or around their children. I respect their freedom to do so and they have valid

concerns. But they must also be careful for ‘what they wish for.’ After having

a protected Catholic roommate my sophomore year in college go, ‘haywire,’

with her sudden freedom. Also, knowing a relative who sent her 3 daughters to

a Christian college, only to have one get married to a Catholic, a Jewish man

and another to live with a man out of wedlock, I think one must be careful

about what kind of life you are presenting to your children and family.

By the way, just so you don’t misunderstand, I felt all three of these choices

were find and acceptable choices. It is just the fact the parents had tried to

prevent this ‘kind of thing,’ from happening, that I mention it at all.

Creating awareness of censorship and banning books may seem ‘foreign’ to

ones in their twenties who may live in a city where this has not recently

happened. Historically, it is no so far in the distant past, as one may think. It

is also part of many cultures’ and countries’ current practices. Awareness of

the dangers in such behavior, burning books, taking black markers and

removing words, opinions, and whole passages of different perspectives is

so important for everyone to recognize.

The definition of ‘ban’ that applies to this practice is defined as to prohibit

especially by legal means or social pressure some form of information.

Censure or condemning through public opinion.

The definition of ‘censor’ is to examine in order to suppress or delete

harmful or dangerous material.

The major problem in both banning and censoring is “Who is doing this?”

Who has the authority to choose what we are able to read, write or talk

about?

The subjects of McCarthyism, Apartheid, Racial Issues and Governmental

Control are the ones that “leap to mind’ and produce a cold hand upon my

heart.

Do I think the military servicemen should have had their letters censored,

for fear of accidentally getting into the hands of our enemies? I would not

wish to make a decision that might cause death or infiltration of the enemy

in times of war.

Do I think that some subjects are ‘gross’ and upsetting to my mind? Yes,

but again, I would not wish to impose my thoughts upon others. I don’t

feel this would be fair or just behavior.

While teaching my first year of middle school, in 1979, I was in a small

town where the principal and the superintendent were from cities. They

said it was important to not feel that parents should dictate how their

students be taught. They made me feel comfortable about approaching

them with topics. Sixth grade Language Arts, along with English, Spelling

and Current Events were part of my instruction responsibilities. We had

team teaching, where the students moved from classroom to classroom.

Once I found out I was expecting my second child (my first miscarriage

had been the year before) I asked when it would be appropriate to tell

the students. We were going to be riding in a bus, in the winter months

to a swimming pool, I would be helping the kids to learn floating and

Life Saving techniques. I would be wearing a maternity bathing suit by

then. They suggested telling the parents in November and I listened to

their more experienced advice. We also were having Sex Ed discussions

in the Science classes. I was a little embarrassed as students would see

my belly expanding, but it turned out they loved getting in a line after

lunch in December to feel the baby move. Then, I would have them put

their heads down, as they rested and listened to the chapter book, “The

Yearling,” by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings.

What books do I think of that have been banned? Without referring to

a list, I imagined “Clockwork Orange,” from my high school readings.

I pictured and remembered that the word, ‘nigger,’ was considered very

controversial and some schools and libraries during the Civil Rights

Movement, mistakenly removed the book, “Huckleberry Finn,” from

their book shelves. The third immediate ‘banned’ book I could think of,

was “The Scarlet Letter.”

Why ban “Clockwork Orange?” Graphic language,  the governmental

control and the futuristic idea of mind control over a criminal. The main

character is injected, I believe if my memory serves me well, with something

that causes him to have pictures of violence and he suffers excruciating pain

from this. Why should we accept this book and not ban it? This is an intriguing

start to a whole new genre of books, which opened our minds to possibilities

and also, made us aware of the dangers of choosing how a criminal should be

punished. Do we have the right to do this? It can also be argued, do we have

the right to kill a man because he killed or committed dangerous acts. Our

legal world, with a ‘jury of our peers,’ makes those kind of powerful judgments.

Why ban “Huckleberry Finn?” I think fear of repercussions and misunderstandings

during a very dangerous, emotional period of our times. We can look at this

rationally, knowing the language was supposed to depict what was acceptable

during Mark Twain’s time. Why accept the book? Because it is an outstanding

story that does cross racial barriers and shows a black man and a young boy in

a fantastic piece of American literature. Their unique friendship and reliance

on each other shows a trust unexpected between two such characters, prior

to Mark Twain’s writing this book.

Why would “The Scarlet Letter,” which has a 19th century woman wearing a

red “A” across her chest be considered censorable? I think some would say

go ahead and promote this book. It holds their own judgments of the situation

on adultery. I am not sure if it is on the banned books list, which I had decided

when I set out to write this, that I would not ‘peek’ at the list until I finished my

opinions or had a chance to ‘editorialize.’ I think it may have been on the list

but would take it off, due to my determination that usually the WOMAN is

given the scarlet letter, not the man who was part of the couple engaged in

adultery. This is an antiquated viewpoint, but sadly this is still held in some

form or other, which is not the time nor place to talk about why this still goes

on.

 

The Office of Intellectual Freedom gets reports and complaints. They usually

get the most “challenges” to freedom from the public wishing to ban books

after the Top 10 Book List is published.

Here are the Top 5 out of a list of Top 10 the OIF received after the 2013 Top Ten

List was published:

1. “Captain Underpants,” by Dav Pilkey.

The complaints were: Offensive language and unsuitable for age group.

2. “The Bluest Eye,” by Toni Morrison.

The complaints were: Offensive language, sexually explicit, violence and unsuitable for age group.

3. “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian ,” by Sherman Alexie.

The complaints were: Drugs, alcohol, smoking, offensive language, racism, sexually explicit and

unsuitable for age group.

4. “Fifty Shades of Grey,” by E.L. James.

The complaints were: Nudity, offensive language, religious viewpoints, sexually explicit and

unsuitable for age group.

5. “The Hunger Games,” by Suzanne Collins.

The complaints were: Religious viewpoints and unsuitable for age group.

Hmm…I would have added violence possibly.

Overall, there are large numbers given on the official website of the Office of Intellectual Freedom

of the population that wish to restrict our reading materials.

 

 

The funny thing that someone in my life mentioned about censorship, I am

not quite sure who, but he asked this thought-provoking question:

What book has many adult themes within its pages, including adultery,

fornication and murdering one’s family members, but is considered

‘acceptable’ by those who wish to forbid and censor books?

(The Bible, he answered.)

What books came to mind, when I first started this post, that may be on past

banned books lists?

 

Nelson Mandela’s quotation seems apropos:

“For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains,

but to live in a way that respects and enhances

the freedom of others.”

 

Saturday Sillies

Standard

The next few jokes were sent to me by my Mom. I threw a couple jokes

out, due to poor taste. My Mom’s California friend, sometimes is not

as ‘choosy’ or careful to be appropriate for all readers. I presented some

to my lunch mates and orally delivered one to the group at break time.

I asked what they thought of these jokes? They agreed these were funny

along with being acceptable and some were laughed at a lot.

 

Hope this satisfies your Saturday Sillies. It may be like your childhood

‘cartoon mornings’ or just plain give you the giggles at their absurdity.

 

Here is a series that may have been used in the old days. While I was

growing up in the suburbs of Cleveland and the fine late Saturday night

humor was dealt out by “Big Chuck and Houlihan.” Later Houlihan went

off to Florida, so it was then called, “The Big Chuck and Little John Show.”

Little John had been a ‘sidekick’ to Big Chuck and Houlihan. Then, he got

his ‘lucky break’ and got his name in lights!

This was a set of comedy sketches, perfectly timed during commercial breaks

while Grade C or Grade D movies were being shown. Sometimes, silly sound

effects like glass breaking or a woman shrieking not at a scary part, were

inserted. I am wondering if you have ever had a local television ‘program’

with a host or set of hosts, creating comic relief, during scary or ridiculously

plotted shows?

The program’s time slot was after the Saturday night news show. My parents

would sometimes sit up and watch with us, especially if we were in middle

school.

Once upon a time, longer than when I was watching television as a teenager,

this time period was filled by an even older program called, “The Ghoul’s

Show.”

Then “Ghoulardi” took over from the “Ghoul.” This memorable television

is played back, remembered with nostalgia by many older Cleveland

people. Around Halloween every year, they have some of these shows

“re-aired” or “replayed” on one of the Cleveland, Ohio’s networks. There

is also enough of these fans, to fill a convention hall with the theme

of “The Ghoul” and his predecessor,  “Ghoulardi.”

Maybe these people are in their sixties? I am not quite sure, but I have

two Cleveland friends who always ask me if I have any articles about

the convention, taken from my Mom’s newspaper.

I have heard that somewhere in Ohio, teenagers laughed at the skits

on “Chiller Thriller Theater.” The Big Chuck and Houlihan show would

aim their jokes at “Polish” people, so we had jokes about Polish high top

jeans and wearing Polish white socks with black shoes. Then, the mirror

balls in gardens and pink flamingos were aimed at, too. (They considered

this to be so ‘out of style.’ You can still see these in yards and also, added

to this ‘mix,’ sometimes a goose with different holiday costumes.) They

narrowly missed the censors, with several ‘edgy’ Polish sausage jokes, too!

 

Anyway, since my youngest daughter is a ‘blonde,’ who is kind of ‘spacey’

we have changed these “Polish jokes” over the years, to Blonde Jokes. The

next ones will be labeled, “silly man” or “silly woman,” and you may decide

if there needs to be a different label, when you go to retell them! This series

was a ‘hit’ among the break time group, including Melvin, Tammy, Corey,

Felda and Trevinal. Felda said in the Philippines, their way of making fun

of someone is o begin the joke, “The Tourist. . .” (walked into a bar or

whatever.)

 

A ‘silly man’s’ dog went missing and he was frantic.

His wife said, “Why don’t you put an ad in the paper?”

He does, but two weeks later the dog is still missing.

“What did the ad say?” The wife questioned her husband.

“Here boy!” he replied.

(Instead of ‘silly,’ he is ‘clueless!’)

 

A ‘silly woman’ is in jail.

The guard looks in the cell and sees her hanging by her feet.

“Just WHAT are you doing there, missy?”

The ‘silly woman’ responded, “I am hanging myself.”

The guard told her, “It should be around your neck.”

The ‘silly lady’ says, “I tried that, but then I couldn’t breathe.”

(Groan!)

 

A ‘silly’ tourist asks a ‘silly’ tour guide,

“Why do scuba divers always fall backwards off their boats?”

The guide who was ‘pulling the tourist’s leg’ answered,

“If they fell forward, they’d still be in the boat!”

 

This story is called,

“The Light Turned Yellow.”

The light turned yellow, just in front of him.

He did the right thing, stopping at the crosswalk,

even though he could have beaten the red light.

He could have accelerated right through the

intersection.

 

Behind him, the tailgating woman was furious and

honked her horn,

she yelled out profanities,

as she missed her chance to get through the

intersection. She ended up dropping her cell

phone and makeup, too.

 

As she was still in mid-rant, she heard a tap

on her window and looked up into the face

of a very serious police officer. The officer

ordered her to exit her car with her hands up.

 

He took her to the police station where she was

searched, fingerprinted, photographed and placed

in a holding cell.

 

After a couple of hours later, a policeman approached

the cell and opened it up.  She was escorted back to

the booking desk where the arresting officer was waiting

with her personal effects.

 

He said, “I’m very sorry for this mistake. You see, I pulled

up behind your car while you were blowing your horn,

flipping the guy off in front of you and cussing a ‘blue streak’

at him.

 

Pause.

 

“I noticed the nice bumper stickers on the back of your car. You

have “Choose Life,’ “Follow me to Sunday School,” a “Be Kind to

Animals” emblem and you have a ‘Baby on Board,’ sticker also.”

 

Pause.

 

“So, naturally I assumed you had stolen the car!”

 

The last story of the day may offend a few people, but remember my 85

year old Mom thought this was “worthy” of putting in my blog. You may

just want to skip it!

 

“Nature Lover”

 

A woman who was a ‘tree loving, tree hugging, anti-gun possession’

native of Los Angeles purchased a piece or plot of timberland up north

in the state of Washington.

There was a large tree on one of the highest points of the tract.

She wanted a good view of the natural splendor of her land, so she

decided to climb the majestic tree.

 

As she neared the top of the tree, she encountered a spotted owl that

attacked her.

In her haste to escape, the woman slid down the tree to the ground.

She got many splinters in her crotch, and in considerable pain she

drove to the nearest hospital.

She went into the ER and told the doctor that she was an environmentalist,

anti-guns and anti-hunting person, who had recently bought some land

in the area. She described the spotted owl incident and proceeded to tell

the doctor how she got all the splinters in her crotch.

The doctor listened to her story with great patience and then told her he

would be right back, to wait in the examining room #1.

The woman sat, read magazines, got up and sat back down. She used the

restroom and finally, three hours later, the doctor reappeared.

 

The upset woman exclaimed, “What took you so long?”

 

The doctor from Washington State, where he enjoyed going out in nature

and hunting during the appropriate season, but also was not pleased with

her views said:

“Well, I had to get permits from the  Environmental Protection Agency,

the Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management.”

 

The angry woman shouted, “Why on Earth did you have to do that!?!”

 

“These were the contacts I had to get permission from to remove ‘old

growth timber’ from a ‘recreational area’ so close to a ‘waste treatment

facility.'”

 

Now, that was funny after all, wasn’t it?

I am chuckling and I knew the punch line, anyway!

Do you have a ‘safe’ and non-derogatory ‘label’ for the one who is the

‘brunt’ of your family jokes?

As I mentioned, we used to tease my youngest daughter who took after my

Swedish Grandpa M. with blonde hair. She seriously was in high school  one

time when over a holiday we were playing Rummy 500. She asked this ‘silly’

question: (We don’t call our own family members ‘dumb’ or ‘stupid.’)

“How many cards are in a set and how many cards are in a pair?”

 

In the old days, I enjoyed the Road Runner, Poor Wily Coyote, Mr. Magoo, and a

puppet show called Kukla, Fran and Ollie.  These days, I would recommend the

NBC Saturday Morning Cartoons, with “Zou” a zebra with an intergenerational

family, “Chica,” the “Costume Shop” and “Noodle and Doodle.”

 

Have a fun-filled weekend, my friends out there, wherever your ‘sillies’ take you!

 

 

 

 

 

Healthy Everything!

Standard

I will be throwing a surprise healthy note in amongst a few recipes and

hope you will enjoy this simple post.

I used several sources, including “Prevention” magazine (April, 2014 and

December, 2013) and “Natural Awakenings” (May, 2014 edition of our local

free “magazine.”

First of all, seasonal allergies are the worst! I hear several of my friends and

coworkers who have these problems and wished to share a few suggestions,

using natural and healthy choices.

A moderate intensity workout, a ‘jog,’ can actually help your symptoms!

Who would have thought, since you will need to be outdoors to jog around?

Thailand did this study, exercise may decrease the body’s release of irritating

histamines and other biological mediators. So, this means you can’t use the

allergies as an ‘excuse’ until you have seen if this helps your symptoms!

Another way to naturally ‘cure’ your allergies is a traditional Chinese way

of handling many ailments: Acupuncture has been known to decrease

patients’ dependence on medications, even with allergies. I always like

the way the Chinese say, “Acupuncture brings the body into balance.”

Checking out your intake of fruits can actually help you. Your diet can be

making your allergies worse.  1/3 of patients with seasonal allergies, have

immune systems that react to the proteins in foods, in a similar fashion as

the grass, dust and other things that set you off. People with ragweed

allergies typically have reactions to watermelons, cantaloupe and honey

dew melons. People who have found to be allergic to ‘birch tree pollen’

(pretty specific, huh?!) have been found to react to kiwifruit, apples, pears,

peaches, plums, coriander, fennel, parsley, celery, cherries, carrots, hazel-

nuts and almonds. My mother is allergic to grass and some weeds, but liked

gardening so much she would try so hard to just use the next method of

handling her allergies.

Pollen clings to clothes, our shoes, skin surfaces, hair, even eyelashes.

When you have hiked or worked in the yard, your common sense may

tell you to go ‘rinse off,’ but you may dilly dally, sit and have a drink of

pop, water or iced tea. By sitting down, you have created a pollen transfer

to your furniture. This is so fascinating and an easy way to picture this!

So, this is described in the April, ’14 “Prevention,” like this:

“Taking a shower at night, in addition to in the morning washes the stuff

away and helps you avoid allergen torture while you sleep. Gross but

true: Pollen also clings to the mucus in your nasal passages, so you should

rinse your nose.”

The “Neti Pot” is known for helping people stave off colds and also, to clear

mucus passages, with a saline solution. This is another ‘new’ cure, that I

thought some of you had not tried with allergies.

I liked another passage’s descriptive powers, in the same magazine:

“One route to relief is to treat pollen like a nighttime bandit. Keep your

windows and doors shut tight.”

You may already know about the ‘magical’ powers of ‘butterbur’ as a potent

herb, which contains compounds that block the chemicals released when

you are getting an allergic reaction. A Swiss trial was conducted, using the

amount of 8 mg. tablets of butterbur extract 4 times a day did relieve

the allergic symptoms, just as well as the antihistamine cetrizine. You

can find this in “Zyrtec” and other products similar in its content.

Other natural plant-based treatments include stinging nettle, quercetin

that is found in a number of foods, like grapes, tea, onions and tomatoes,

along with spirulina. This is a nutty tasting nutrient rich, type of algae.

You can take this as a supplement or throw it into a smoothie, as it

can be purchased in powder form, one scoop will do the ‘cure!’

Probiotics have become a popular topic, but even while fighting

allergies, guarding your gut, can really help your system manage

better. Scientists and researchers feel that by regulating your immune

system, through the use of probiotics, found in some food products,

like Activia yogurt and you can also purchase in a supplement form.

They have been found to counteract the inflammation in your body,

that causes allergic symptoms.

I hope some of these natural ways to handle your seasonal allergies

will help you or your family members.

 

I found out that you can use oil from your pantry as a ‘cure’ for

vaginal dryness. Plant-based oils are safe and non-irritating to

use as lubricants, if needed in a ‘pinch.’ This is from Dr. Mary Jane

Minkin. For longer term relief, use a gel or cream moisturizer. An

alternative is coconut oil, but check on a small surface, just in case

of allergies.

 

Now, for some simple ‘cures’ for stomach stress!

If your stomach is in ‘knots:’

Try valerian root extract.

If you are feeling ‘bloated:’

Drink hot water with lime.

(I have tried this, since I read it, and it works!)

If you have an upset stomach and/or

indigestion:

Chew a handful of fennel seeds.

(But not if you have ‘birch tree’ allergies. See above!

I cannot eat foods with fennel seeds, I have found, but

as far as I know am not allergic to any trees! Smile!)

If you feel nauseated:

Try ginger slices.

(I like to drink ginger ale or ginger tea.)

If you ate too much:

Sip fresh lemon balm tea.

(I like to include a slice of lemon, often with just

hot water, if I feel like I am ‘too full’ and need to

get my tummy feeling better, or the lime slice.)

 

Here are just a few simple recipes I culled for this post:

Strawberry Peanut Butter Toast

Top 2 slices of multigrain or whole wheat toast with 2 T.

(tablespoons) of peanut butter. I have recently been liking

the Natural Peanut Butter, with simply peanuts and a little

bit of salt in the recipe. The recipe suggests you try an Organic

Peanut Butter.

Layer with sliced strawberries and for a ‘twist’ add chia seeds

(1 tsp. teaspoonful)

The “Healthy Elvis” Sandwich

This serves 2 people.

4 slices of multigrain or whole wheat bread

3 T. (tablespoons) of almond butter

4 tsp. (teaspoonsful) of crumbled crisp bacon

(about 2 slices were used, the brand given, “Applegate.”)

1 T. (tablespoon) of honey

1/2 tsp. (teaspoon) cinnamon

1 lg. banana

1. Arrange bread in even layer on a clean work surface.

2. Stir together almond butter, bacon, honey and cinnamon

in a small bowl.

3. Spread this concoction on bread, dividing it evenly on the

4 slices.

4. Slice banana and put on top of two of the slices of bread.

5. Put sandwiches together, the ones with bananas make the

bottom of each sandwich, (don’t want to tip them over!)

6. Put the two sandwiches on a heated grill, I used a little olive oil

or you could splurge with a touch of butter on this! Grilling this

will make amazing sandwiches. Scrumptious!

(If you must know the calorie count is 418 calories for just one

of the sandwiches.)

And, I really missed the idea of marshmallow fluff, which my Dad

always included in his pretend “Elvis” sammies.

 

 

 

 

 

Wipe the Slate Clean

Standard

Do you remember when you were a child in school? Were you ever this young?

Just kidding!

Have things changed since the days you were in ‘grade school?’

Children, in the old days, would be assigned ‘cleaning the blackboard’ on the

classroom’s job or chores chart. That meant to erase the whole board, followed

by the activity of taking the erasers outside and clapping them together. I used

to like this ‘after school’ job. I would see the dust rising from the erasers being

pounded together and be filled with a sense of accomplishment.

I also enjoyed this chore,  since sometimes the teacher would talk to us, along

with let us choose something from her treats jar or a stash she had in one of

her drawers.

When I taught sixth grade, the first year was 1979-1980. The “Board Cleaner,”

was how I wrote this particular chore on a magnet. Each of the children would

rotate this, with other ones such as “Line Leader,” etc.  I would also have a small

bucket, to have the student fill with water. Using an old towel or ‘rag,’ the child

would wipe the remains of the dust off. It was a nice feeling, for me as a teacher,

to see that ‘clean slate,’ at the start of the next day.

Imagine your bad times, past hurts or difficult periods in your life.

Write them down on a blackboard in your head.

List them, one by one, remembering the pains, trials and sadness.

Take your mental ‘eraser’ and carefully, slowly rub each one of these away.

Rub the eraser up and down, or if you prefer, side to side. Make sure that all

you see, at the end of this mental exercise, is a hazy blur of grayish black.

Now, take a dampened rag and get a small stepladder, or if you are back in

time, a child’s wooden stool. Use the wet rag to clean all the remaining chalk’s

powder and blurred images off. If you need to, turn the cloth inside out.

Finish this process mentally, along with your imaginary blackboard.

You now have a ‘clean slate.’

Picture, if you will, the best times of your life.

Make a list of places, faces and beautiful images.

It is possible, I have done this process, in my head, too.

You can ‘re-invent’ yourself.

You may become a renewed person.

Your positive energy can ‘re-charge’ you and make you whole again.

Believe in unlimited possibilities.

 

Somehow, move into the present.

There are no ‘time limits’ or penalties, in this.

There are no ‘school bells’ going off.

There is no need to do anything but leave the board behind you.

Proceed outside.

Breathe in, breathe out.

You are free of the painful past.

How will the story of your life continue from here on out?

 

I have had friends who have asked me,

“How did you bounce back?”

In my case, I had a sense of purpose, to raise my children and make

their lives as positive and happy, as possible. I could not take any

more time on my own dissatisfaction or depression, I would not

dwell on what choices led me to the places I went. I just knew I had

to start over. I chose a town in Central Ohio, a college town, you know

it as Delaware, Ohio.

My parents were in Cleveland, later in Vermilion and my ex-husband

lived in Cincinnati, later in Dayton.

It was a halfway point, between the two cities, letting me able to make it

in either direction, without too many hours on the road.

I chose this place to ‘start over.’

I knew it was my children’s and my ‘new beginning.’

I knew absolutely not one soul here.

I later found some high school friends who had chosen to live here.

One was my children’s high school Biology teacher, another a swimming

and gymnastics instructor, and another followed me here, after her own

divorce.

If you have caused someone else’s heart to break, let it go.

Try not to cause any more heartbreak, try not to crush or break a

child’s spirit.

Any mistakes you have made, learn from them.

Always think that there are more chances in life.

I believe in multiple chances or opportunities to start over!

Another way to handle strife and tough times is an interesting one,

that editorial cartoonist, Marshall Ramsey gives in an article in the

December, 2013 issue of “Prevention” magazine. M. Ramsey’s

suggestion is to look at your life and remember the “terrible twists”

that happened to you. He personally likes to list his own negative

occurrences and then, see them in a positive light.

Here are some examples found in the article called, “True Grit.”

“The way to get through tough times is to start with advanced gratitude.”

M. Ramsey’s list of Life’s negatives matched with happy outcomes:

1.  His first job after college was as a high school janitor.

The job led him to his future wife, the daughter of a fellow janitor.

2.  The recession forced him into part-time work.

Getting laid off gave him the time to start 2 new careers;  in book

illustration and radio.

3.  Melanoma diagnosis.

His cancer diagnosis helped him to decide to organize a series of

races to raise melanoma awareness.

4.  People who did not believe in him.

All those naysayers were just ‘ill winds beneath his wings.’

Great words to live by, quoted from Marshall Ramsey:

“A good analogy is if you’re canoeing downstream and you hit a rock,

it can either sink you or push you in another direction. If you choose

the other direction, it’s a blessing.”

Advanced gratitude is explained in this article as:

“The ability to identify and appreciate the bad events in your life because

of what you’ve gained from them.”

M. Ramsey gives these steps and you may find more details in the article,

if you wish to look up “Prevention” magazine, 12/13.

This process is a three step one, which includes changing your perspective.

First, establish a gratitude ‘baseline.’

Then, retrain your own brain. Tying thoughts of

stressful events in your life may even change your neural pathways.

Reminding yourself that good things come out of difficult times, may

just pull you through the bad times.

Remember the hard stuff.  What have you gained from sorrow, losses or

sadness?

There were studies listed and other experts in different emotional

areas covered, including Dr. Robert Emmons, Dr. Rick Hanson, and

Dr. Richard Tedeschi.  These authorities have done research and written

books on the subject of “Who am I? What kind of future do I want?

What makes sense to do with my time now that this event has stopped

me in my tracks?”

I have heard someone on television talking in my past about how we can

create our own destiny, change the course of time, and I have come up

with many times, the image of a blackboard with writing on it. Lots of

thoughts cluttered on it, sometimes I have made lists on it, but always

I like the satisfaction of wiping the figurative blackboard clean.

Starting today with a clean slate, just fits my notion of a happy beginning!