Thursday, March 29, 2018

Natalie Marched

I am so proud of my granddaughter Natalie and her dad who joined the 800,000 at the March for our Lives last weekend.  Here, Natalie talks about her experience.

Q:  Natalie, you participated in what I think and hope was an historic event in American history.  What made you decide you wanted to actually be there with the other students?

  A: I wanted to be part of the March for Our Lives because I really agree that it’s time for a change in our policy, and I know we need as many people as possible to come together to make this change happen. 

Q:  What was it like being part of the crowd?  Could you see and hear?

A:  On the main street the crowd was very tightly packed in the center, and more scattered on the sidewalks. Being in the middle of the crowd was very intense, with barely any room to move.  Since I was taking photos it wasn’t the ideal place to be. There were large screens that were  broadcasting everything going on on the main stage, and being in between two screens caused the audio to become distorted and sound like a continuous echo. Unfortunately my dad and I were in a spot where the voices of the speakers sounded that way for a while, but eventually we moved. As for being able to see, it was surprisingly easy for me considering I’m a little more than five feet tall!

Q:  What were the people around you doing?

A:  Most people were listening intently to the speakers or chanting “ VOTE THEM OUT!”.

Q:  What speaker or speakers grabbed your attention?  Left  the most lasting impression?  Thrilled you the most?

I loved Yolanda Renee King, the granddaughter of Martin Luther King Jr. She is such a mighty little girl, and watching her speak was so powerful. Of course everyone rejoiced when Emma Gonzales came out on stage, including me! Her speech was brilliant and unforgettable, and experiencing the minutes of silence in-person was amazing. Every speaker there had a key role to play in spreading the message that gun violence is a serious problem that must be changed, so really I liked all of them.  

Q:  What about your school in upstate New York?  

A:  My school had a 17 minute long walkout, where about one hundred kids participated. In order to show your support, we were told to wear orange. It was interesting to see which teachers strategically chose to wear an orange scarf or tie. Many teachers in my school supported it, but as a policy they were not allowed to discuss it with the students. After the walkout was over and we all returned to our classes, one of my teachers addressed the class and said “To all of you guys who walked out... I’m proud of you, and to all those who didn’t walk out.. I’m proud of you as well.” Overall it was a very inclusive and safe environment to express your thoughts on current events. 

Q:  Most of the people who read my blog are oldsters. And many marched against wars in the past.  They are hurting now and want some hope.  What can you say to us?

A:  Don’t lose hope! Use your vote to change these policies! Change does not happen in a single day, it happens step by step. Only you can help this country take this journey to a safer future. 

Pictures from Natalie's phone.

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Henrietta and Mark

Remember the story of Henrietta Lacks?  She was the african american woman whose cells became an important tool in developing modern medicine.  She was never informed about her cells' use and certainly never shared in their enormous worth.  When her story was unearthed it became a celebrated book and movie.  Maybe a myth for our times.

Mark Zuckerberg is another person whose life has a tinge of myth attached.  Facebook tapped deep into the human spirit where the need to be connected was ready to be explored.  If we bothered to figure out how Facebook made billions by selling our profiles, we didn't seem to mind.

My friend David and I were talking about TV shows. . . and the zombies that frequently appear.  "What is a zombie?"  I asked.  He said it was an undead creature who needs to eat our brains to survive.

That sounded like another modern myth to me.

Monday, March 12, 2018

I've Been Reading for This

Many of my friends know that my favorite author is Dick Francis.  I cried when I turned the last page of the last book (there were more than 40 of them).  But, of course, after a little time away, I started reading my favorites all over again.

Why such devotion?  I connected to his heroes who were mostly the same in a different story each time.  Difficult childhood.  Time spent alone.  Mental agility in chaotic situations.  A stoic approach to life.

The Dick Francis stories take place in the world of British horse racing.  Many of the heroes are jockeys.  When they fall and need lots of stitches and are covered in black and blue, they pick themselves up and go on solving crimes.

Bonecrack sounds like a good title to start reading again.

Saturday, March 10, 2018

A Knock on the Head

Yesterday, after a lovely afternoon at the Chicago Symphony, I was walking down Wabash Avenue by the Palmer House when I tripped and fell.  Here's one sound I've never heard before:  my head hitting the sidewalk.  My friend Gerry was helping me when two young men rushed over.  A few seconds later, one of them was handing me a bunch of napkins to press against my face and stop the blood.
And, right after that the security person from the hotel came out.  He called an ambulance.  How did you know I fell and need help I asked him.  "A young man came and found me."

So now I am home with six stitches and a big bruise over my eye.  And because my mind goes there, I am thinking about the randomness of life.  The fall was painful and cruel.  The two young men were beautiful.  And that is the essence of the unexpected.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

My Private Olympian

My friend Lisa has a high flying approach to life.  She recently managed to become a certified personal trainer while holding down a very full time job as a senior producer at a major ad agency.  And now, when she goes to Arizona in a few weeks, she is going to learn trapeze moves from a former Cirque du Soleil professional. C'mon now, that's some serious stuff!

For the rest of us who are crouching low on our couches, using the Olympics to distract us from the snow and cold, I say let's cheer her on!

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Roger Deserves My Love

I have come to love Roger Federer.  Finally, and with no regrets or reservations.  And, I'm not going to attribute it to his being, for this generation of tennis greats, the "last man standing."  I am not going to say I love him after I've already tossed a lot of my love to the sexy Spaniard and the commanding Serb.  He deserves his own place. I love Roger for being that "other guy" who captures your heart in the end.

How long can the champ with the steadfast wife and two sets of adorable twins keep it going?  I say as long as he wants.  And I'll be cheering for him.  I admit I didn't get up at 1:30 a.m. to watch the entire final.  But I did turn on in time to see the decisive fifth set.

Friday, January 12, 2018

Too Long?

The long running series Longmire kept me company during those freezing days when I was grateful I didn't have to go anywhere.  So maybe it was just the thaw yesterday that allowed me to be so annoyed with the show when I got around to watching the final episode.

Walt, Vic and Henry are such well drawn characters.  My disappointment is with the writers who didn't give them what they deserved.  This comes up frequently.  Maybe there should be a cut off date for how long a series should run. 

Of course my friends who watched every episode of Seinfeld, Friends and Sex in the City (and are still watching reruns) would disagree.

My friend Barb says I might enjoy reading the Longmire books.  When I checked I discovered there were sixteen of them.   

I think I'll reluctantly say goodbye.