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Sunday, April 24, 2011

The Bunny

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Wednesday, April 20, 2011

A Special Rose

There has been so much talk....and rightly so...about the 'miracle dog" Patrick, a starving Pibble dog who was thrown into a 19 stories' up garbage chute.  He even has his own FB page, The Patrick Miracle and the New Jersey SPCA does updates about him as well.

The HSGA has had many stories like Patrick's.  Her happy ending is why they keep doing what they do and why I'm proud to help in my own, very small way.
The Story of a Special Rose

Cut and paste the link if need be!

Pen Pals

Nowadays, we communicate so quickly. Email, phone (obviously), texting, Facebook, Twitter; hell think of Skype!  We can talk and have friends (more like acquaintances but that's still OK) all over the world.

My mother and (i think) my Aunt Nancy had pen pals especially during and after WW2, mostly forced on them by my Grandmother who had (or started) something called The World Friend's Club.  They wrote letters and occasionally exchanged small gifts.  It actually is a great idea.  I think Gammie's reasoning was we get to know the world one person at a time.  I had some pen pals, mostly people I knew from camps I had gone to in Junior High and High School.  I corresponded for a short time with my Freshman year college roommate, Miwa from Japan. Yes, Mia and Miwa.  Someone had a sense of humor.

In my 30s, in the back of Royalty magazine, I found a notice from a person in Singapore who was looking for a Pen Pal. I wrote her, she wrote me back and it's been going on with mostly notes and gifts ever since.  Asiah doesn't have email and isn't on Facebook so yes, we still do it the old fashioned way....snail mail!

I don't think anything will replace the excitement of getting something that ain't a damn bill in the regular mail!  A letter is particularly precious, I think.  They take time.  Yesterday an envelope from Asiah arrived and in it were pictures of her daughter's wedding.  Wedding???  Her daughter (Yasmine) got married???  Holy Crap!

I've seen some brides in my time.  Between being in the wedding, being one myself twice, photographing a couple of dozen, and singing at the ceremony and most especially the receptions I can honestly say I have seen HUNDREDS of brides.  It is no exaggeration.  Probably somewhere between five and six HUNDRED brides have passed before my eyes.  Yasmine is my Top Two of the most beautiful brides I have EVER seen.  (My niece of course is Number One!)

I hope this guy treats her like a Queen, like a Goddess, because she sure as hell looks like one! Judge for yourself. I hope he treats my friend as his "belle mere" with kindness and respect and love too.

By the way, Asiah and I have never met.  We have talked on the phone once or twice over the years.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

A Musical Mom Memory

Click here: Baby Mine

My mom was many things, some of them pretty damn crazy.  And some not very nice. However....

One of her best traits was she was a snuggler.  She loved to snuggle.  From the time I could remember, she would sit on a rocking chair, hold me on her lap and sing to me.  She sang mostly "Winken, Blinken and Nod" by Eugene Field using a melody I still remember but I've almost never, ever heard it sung that way.

"Now, Winken and Blinken are two little eyes
And Nod is a little head
And the wooden shoe that sailed the skies
is a wee one's trundle bed...."

I searched YouTube and other sources and cannot find the melody Mom sang.  i guess I'll have to record it myself so there is some kind of record of it.  I wonder if she heard it somewhere, maybe from her mother, as the poem is from the 19th century.  Of course, that being what I heard, that is my favorite version. Naturally.  She also would sing "Tender Shepherd" from Peter Pan and Brahm's Lullaby and other soft, sleepy songs.

It was very soothing, and honestly I'm not sure you ever outgrow it. I recall being in my twenties, absolutely crushed and shattered about something or someone.  She sat in the rocking chair in her bedroom and patted her lap.

"Aw,geez, come on, Ma, I'm going the break the damn chair or you if I sit there, for Christ's sake!"

"Sit down!" ordered my mother.  I gingerly sat on my mother's lap, now taller than her by six inches and she rocked me and sang "Baby Mine" from DUMBO.  Of course, I cried.  She had a beautiful voice, higher and purer than mine. It was very consoling, even at my advanced age, to be rocked and sung to.

".....if they knew sweet little you
They'd end up loving you too...."

How could we not be musical (or at least appreciative of it) surrounded as we were with music?  Mom always sang and we had music parties.  Dad sang as well and they loved hanging around the piano while Bob Schwartz (a friend of theirs) who played by ear hammered out tunes on the Steinway and everyone sang.  My cousins and I sang while we did dishes after a family party.

"Inchworm, inchworm...measuring the marigold...."

Nowadays we all listen to music.  Heck, practically everyone, from 8 to 80, has an iPod or some kind of MP3 player.  I think my Mom would have LOVED the capacity of listening to and obtaining music that the Internet can provide.  I have learned so much musically from being connected.

What Mom's generation possessed, I think, was more musical ability.  From recollections of hers, everyone she knew at least SANG if not played one or multiple instruments.  My mother-in-law says the same thing.  People went out, went dancing, went to people's houses and listened to the radio or sang and danced.  Someone in their group could read music and bang it out on the piano.  They didn't have TV or computers. Almost all men danced. What a concept! I'm kind of sorry I never met Marty's dad as it seems his musical tastes ran the gamut from Jeannette MacDonald to Beethoven to "Wooly Bully!" I'm still trying to wrap my head around this very mechanical man banging away at a carburetor to "Ah, Sweet Mystery of Life."

 Nowadays, it seems we listen but we don't participate.  We're not as musically involved as our parents were! Some might put on a CD of baby songs, lullabies but I kind of wonder how many parents read a book and then a tuck-in with a a lullaby.  I know Marty read and sang to Megan.  He still can recite "Green Eggs and Ham" totally from memory....very impressive!  I know my sister rocked and sang to my niece ("Goodnight Moon!").  I hope my niece passing it along!

One of my crystalline teenage memories is a lazy August evening, walking through Oak Bluffs, a historic town on Martha's Vineyard.  There was a large band stand, enough to sit about a hundred people.  They handed you a piece of paper with song lyrics and had a good old fashioned sing-a-long.  All ages sang.  Even little kids could sing some of the songs. It was like a scene from an old movie! Where the hell can you go to do that nowadays?  When I do a gig and get the audience to sing along with me, even if they can't remember all the words, I know it's a memory for them that we are sharing! It takes us all back.

When i hear "Baby Mine" and the message that it shares, I think of the best of my mother, the best of our parents.  And yes, it makes me wish for a soft place to land, if only for a moment and be cherished, held, rocked and sung to.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Yes, You Can Make a Difference!

We often see a dog or cat like Patrick (the little Pit-type dog throw down the garbage chute), and's overwhelming.  I am one person. What can I do? It's a drop of water in the bucket of misery, suffering, cruelty, ignorance amd indifference.  It's over-whelming.  The numbers are staggering! We think: My heart will break seeing that dog or cat or horse or whatever.  The internet is swiming with pictures and video of such staggering propensity that your mind can't absorb it.  

We think: I cannot impact on any of this.

I too, thought that way over two years ago.   I'm a middle-aged, vision impaired person.  I'm not rich, and trust me, rehab and rescue takes money!  I can give up a movie and a meal every month to donate to my local shelter.  It'll feed a animal for a day or two.  It helps.  Every penny helps.

Through a weird confluence of events, I heard more about my local shelter (The Humane Socieity of Greater Akron). A famly member wanted to volunteer, working with cats, and dragged me along.  I realy did not want to; i just didn't think my heart could handle it. Besides, I know they need money.  

I learned that by volunteering that I can make a difference.  Spending time walking and socializing a dog was far more rewarding that I thought.  Even though I'd been around dogs (training, showing) for years, these dogs, the other volunteers and the staff were all my teachers.

 And when "my" first dog, a Pit-type named Pruitt found his forever home, I was crying tears of joy.  

Giving lap-time to a cat helped that cat find its home too.  Sometimes my time with an animal was short, a few days, others it was months.  But when I found out that dog or cat had gotten a home, I knew that the time I'd spent was part of a greater whole world of helping.  Doing the laundry freed the staff to concentrate on their jobs of caring for the animals.  Cleaning cages or kennels isn't the most glamourous job, but it helps!  I've worked fund-raising events, walked 10 mile races to raise money and used my artistic talents to raise money for my shelter.  Volunteering even helped my career in a weird, random way!

Now i give tours and try to educate the public about our shelter and since we take any breed, about PIbbles, as much as I can.  I'm learning to do Off Site Adoption Events and  Educational Programs for kids (and adults), hoping to help them understand about animals, care, compassion and safety too!

When one of your favorites get their forever home, YOU have made a difference.  YOU can help by giving of your time. YOU have made a difference to one animal, maybe helped one person.    

We are aware of Patrick because of people making a difference in his life.  Helping a local organization in your hometown can help another Patrick recover, can educate the public, change laws, raise money.  

If you read this, know that you can and are making a difference!

Why We Have Dogs

Ben Stein GETS it!!!

Friday, April 1, 2011

A Life-Changer

Ever had a person come into your life, completely 180 it? Of course, you have. We all have. This man 180'ed me at a young age, as a teenager. He "made" me make a life-alerting career choice, one that still influences my life today.

Ever had that same person years later, 180 your life again? This guy did it when I was a young woman in my 20s. He vastly influenced me yet again, this time in a negative, vindictive, cruel way. He brought out things in me that were very unfair when played out with other peoples' lives.

Then in my late 30s, much more grown up and poised I could face this man and maintain my control, grace and poise. I had come of age and faced a demi-god with the soul and morals of a demon.

It is a long story, filled with kindness and cruelty and my own redemption, my own coming of age. A strong ending that completed a circle of growth, of womanhood. . From child to young, vulnerable girl-woman to my full strength as Wise Woman. I can tell it now because he has passed, not long after my mother did. She knew him but she never knew how he hurt me, almost destroyed me. Not with deeds but with words and actions.

in the end, the man I worshiped, became someone I felt sorry for because he had never truly had what I had: Love, Compassion, Friendship, even Health. And in the end I could look into his eyes and express Gratitude for the window he opened in my young life, for being the wind of change in my soul.

Even though it is presumptuous arrogance to say you are better than someone else, I had become More. For all his fame, chances, lifestyle. I still had and was More. And I think in that tiny corner of his being that was not filled with rampant arrogance, he knew that I had become More.

For the first time in my life, I felt my inner power, like a cloak of protection, grace, poise, graciousness, an unattainable beauty. Untouchable, unless I wish you to do so. Queenly. A goddess within and without. Finding his picture reminds me that I still posess that power within myself. We all do. It is in conquering our demons, our fears, our self-doubt, our self-flagellation, our cruelty, our pettishness that we find our inner power. Our tie to our Higher Power. The Goddess or God within.

It is a gift we receive as we become seasoned in life, living months, years, decades. Even those of us who are our Fathers, our Mothers and Grandfathers, Grandmothers who have gone ahead of us in the Journey of Life --- even if they are quite old and bent, look into their eyes and you will see More.

When I met this man, I was less. I was young and impressionable and he was impressive! He did change my life's focus, but I walked the paths. i became what I am and will be, in whatever way ---- More.