Thursday, November 29, 2012

Sandy and the Jersey Shore

It has been often said that "a picture is worth a thousand words" so with the vast array of photos available online that show the destruction experienced in so many communities all over New Jersey, I decided to publish only this one above. This snap was taken in the town of Point Pleasant Beach, one of the hardest hit,  and truly summed up the spirit of these coastal areas so decimated by Sandy. This image reminds me that folks from NJ, myself included,  are outspoken, fearless, independent, fighters, doers, gregarious,  and most importantly, some of the funniest people on the planet! New Jersey WILL come back from all the damage, changed and forever altered, but not broken. 

My husband and I felt such hope amidst all the wreckage and this photo will forever encapsulate that for us.

Now, this is not to say that NJ is not in dire need of financial assistance and donations are being taken by so many organizations located throughout the state. 

Click the link below to find places accepting donations or looking for volunteers to help the people of New Jersey:

If you can donate money, please do, even the smallest amount when multiplied by so many can make a difference! 

On a final note: The news/media up in NH is not covering the aftermath as widely as it is in the tri-state area, so in a large way we feel insulated from the effects. Let me assure you, it is going to take years for some of these towns to come back. And if you are thinking that the folks who lost homes all have money and lived in splendor along the beach, think again! A lot of beach communities in NJ are filled with low to middle income families just trying to survive and their losses are so deeply felt. So please, open your hearts and give what you can this holiday and beyond to help get NJ back on its feet!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Meditation Classes Bedford, NH January 2013

 This is the perfect time of year to give yourself or someone you know the gift of meditation classes!
  • Meditation: It's NOT what you THINK! 
  • New 6 Week classes starting Monday January 7th,  
  • 7:30 to 9PM
  • Click this link for more information or to SIGN UP:
  •  If you ever wondered about meditation and how it might fit into your life, this might just be the class for you. In this 6 week program students will be introduced to a variety of meditation and mindfulness techniques in a fun and supportive way. Winter weather and the post-holiday rush can make you feel so lethargic and stressed. There are ways to bring a sense of calm and focus to your life that can be nicely worked into your day or week without having to sit for long hours on a cushion, in some remote locale, trying to gain a sense of peace. Sounds great, but how practical is this visage in our daily lives? For most of us, not very realistic. All you need to bring is an open mind and the willingness to learn new things and maybe, just maybe, you might find a sense of space, calm or insight in the midst of life as we know it!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Gratitude for the Craft of Writing and Blogging

I have been a writer for years. It started long ago in my youth when my mother first introduced me to the world of books and reading. It was a pivotal learning process to discover that books can be friend, teacher, parent, guardian, guide, enemy, doctor, artist, monster, and on and on and on. The world of reading seemed endless to me and the immense array of subject matter infinite. Never a dull moment in the pages of a book. So it only made sense that this passion for books, would awaken a feverish desire for writing, which indeed it has over the years. I have written full blown works of fiction meant for magazine publication, children's tales, a teensy bit of poetry, and massive numbers of partially written books both fiction and non fiction that will one day surely be complete!

There seems to be a lot of smugness in the world of writing that likens blogs to empty, vacuous wastelands of personal drivel that matters little to people in the grander scheme of things. And yet, the memoir genre of books published continues to grow and thrive, indicating people do like to read about what other people are doing in their lives. I know I do. But as are most people, I am very particular and even a bit superior at times about what I read.

I have to admit, I don't follow other blogs. That is not to say I don't look at them now and again when searching some information on the internet. Mostly, I am drawn to blogs about a particular area of interest that has captured my attention in the moment.  I gloss thru a blog rapidly to determine if it holds something vital to my world. But once I get a gander at its contents I move on, barely leaving a trace of my ever having been there. Secretly looking, gaining perhaps some insight or awareness, and moving on. I rarely, if ever, add my name to an email list to receive regular updates on blogs. And I honestly, do not save their internet addresses in my Bookmarks section. I suspect I am not alone in this quirkiness of mine of being both a blogger and a non blog reader.  In fact, I am willing to bet that many of my 3,500 page viewers do just the same such thing as me. I think of myself as perhaps a kind of hit and run reader.

So why write my own blog ? What's in it for me? Well, for one thing,  it is an opportunity to share who I am in a profoundly honest way that may or may not resonate with a potential reader. It is also a creative outlet that channels my artistic inclinations in a much more productive manner then writing in a diary or journal. Not that I don't do those as well, but the process in that instance is much more free flowing with very little to no editing efforts in sight. Plus, quite frankly, those forms of dialoguing are not meant for public viewing, although the results of which can and do make it onto the blog now and again. Journal scribing is the rough draft of my life and blogging is the light bulb on top of the head moments. Both are authentic representations of who I am but neither of them shows the depth of my spirit or captures me completely, nor do they have to for that matter.

In actuality, I started my blog just about a one year ago last month as the literal means to keep honing my skills as a writer. I see a huge improvement in my writing style and written word development from earlier blog posts through more recent ones. My original goal was purely and simply to post a new blog weekly, which for the most part, I have done. (OK I did take some time off in the summer!) But I also did it as the creative force in me believes that being who we are is infinitely more interesting then pretending to be something we are not, as so many people do in their daily lives.  That is not to say that the world of fiction does not have its well earned place of respect in literature, but in "real life" it serves no purpose other then to confuse and confound the very essence of who we are meant to be from shining through.

A deep bow of gratitude to all the 3,500  page viewers who in one year have happened upon my blog for one reason or another. You have looked, laughed and hopefully gleaned some nugget of truth that has made you feel something, no matter what that feeling was, that is authentic.

I wanted to leave all my fellow writers this Thanksgiving week with a quote that made me sit up and take note found in Poets and Writers magazine. The writer of the article was Dan White and was titled "Why We Write" The quote was from  Tony Connor, a poet and professor who taught at Wesleyan University.  "Asked if he could predict which of his students would achieve literary success, Connor said the ones who succeeded would have the sheer bloody-mindedness to go on when nobody gives a damn."

I write for myself first and that is as authentic a place as I can endeavor to be!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

A Reflection on the Body Politic

I was reflecting back upon this recent election process that has left so many jubilant and others feeling as though the end of the world was drawing near. It would seem that this democracy often leaves so many at extreme odds with one another, as it does in Washington, where a consensus on anything is a rare thing indeed. But there is something so raw and real to the passion people have in expressing their opinions, both for and against the issues that plague our country. And the loyalties that engenders is most remarkable.

My husband, son and I took a trip to Peterborough, NH to have breakfast the Saturday prior to the November elections. We love Peterborough for its creative vibe and friendly atmosphere. Plus, the Toadstool bookstore is located there, and in this world of uninspired, bland box stores with such strong and dare I say it, invasive national presence, it is frankly refreshing to shop and support local, small businesses.

While eating, there was a flurry of activity as an entourage was making its way through this very tiny diner to the backroom where we were seated. It turned out to be Maggie Hassan, who was running for Governor, shaking hands and chatting with people as they ate breakfast. It is not an unusual occurrence here in NH, a state where wanna be presidents from all across this nation flock like migrating birds in an effort to sway the votes for this very watched primary election. For some reason, seeing Ms. Hassan at this diner made me so aware of how rigorous and tiring the schedule is for these political hopefuls. So much so, that they are barely aware of where they are or where they are headed. This was clear when my husband made mention to her that she was to come that Monday to his place of employment to do a meet and greet with the employees there. She had a faraway look in her eye with just a touch of confusion, as she admitted not really knowing what was on her schedule. Just a cog in the wheel in perpetual motion I suppose. 

After breakfast, my son and I strolled over to the bookstore where Ms. Hassan and her team of smiling supporters were just exiting. We said our hellos to one another like old friends greeting on the street, as I asked how many more stops she was to make that day. She thought for a moment or two,  and said only 5 or 6 total, we both laughed, and off her crew swept out the door, signs held aloft, with cameras filming all the while. It was easy to feel, as well as see the excitement on the faces of her team, the literal body politic. They moved together with such enthusiasm and passion, almost hypnotically charming you to join them, with Maggie as their Pied Piper! They were honored to be part of this political spectacle and were willing to give up their mornings, afternoons and evenings to see it through to completion. Their joyful band was infectious and made me wonder how many votes are gained, or perhaps even lost, by these forays into the world of "normal" folks? Hmm?

Case in point: some years ago when George W. Bush was running for President I had been invited to attend a $500 a plate political fundraiser  in New Jersey held at a "swanky" hotel. At the time, I was interning as a photographer for then Governor Christine Todd-Whitman and all interns were invited as her guests. I went for the experience of it all. There was such a collective buzz of activity when he took his place at the podium with the Governor. After his obligatory speech, and subsequent jokes, they came down from the dais to meet the throng. People swelled forward in a circle around them as the presidential candidate and the Governor made the rounds shaking hands and talking to us all. I recall, quite vividly, how he placed  one hand very firmly on my back as he shook my hand, looking directly into my eyes as we spoke briefly for a moment or two. Dare I say it; I was completely awestruck  by the shear power this man carried about him! There was an expectant air of important things to come, and despite whatever my personal feelings for the man were, I sensed how easily it is for people to be swept along in the tide of his or anyone’s political machinations. There was a presence to it that was undeniably there. In fact I talked about it for so long afterward with both family and friends that my husband began to tease me that perhaps my loyalties were shifting. (Ah, but that’s a secret best well kept!)

I was again moved by the power of politics as I entered the polling location in my hometown a week or so ago. People were lined up in a circuitous route that took me all around the building in a maze like manner to find the end of the line. It took just over an hour for me to finally cast my ballot and it was hard not to be touched by the high voter turn out, despite the long wait. Granted, I live in a community that is a bastion of conservative values and most people were coming to cast their oppositional vote to the current administration in control. I saw so many people I barely knew or recognized and thought it was surely a sign of how passionate people felt right now.

So, as I reflect back on this time I am once again reminded of how truly wonderful it is to live in a country where choice, for the most part, is still allowed and if you have an opinion, no matter how oppositional it is to the "norm" you can express it without fear of retribution (Although, I guess TV personalities and media are held to a different set of standards sometimes!) And, it is amazing to see the passion people have for their candidates. While it must be so hard to admit defeat for some, it never-the-less is a fact of life: someone wins and someone loses.

So despite your own political truth, we all can agree on one thing perhaps,  it is  nice not to have our mail boxes stuffed with political ads. I cannot help but wonder if the cost to produce all that "junk" mail was directed toward a cause of greater value, like education or health care, instead of landfills or recycling centers, maybe votes would be earned a more meaningful way. Jut a thought.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Death Goes Trick or Treating

Death went trick or treating this past Halloween. However,  in his haste to catch up to his good friend, the Werewolf, he tripped over a fence and got stuck! Death's father helped to extricate him from his entanglement, examined his abdominal area for possible injury, and deemed him unscathed. 
Off he scurried, once freed, 
to gather more sweets, treats 
and good things to eat.
So even Death needs to take heed,
 and be more watchful where he treads
 lest some ill wind blow his way
 to put a damper on the day!

The irony of this was not lost on us and hope it brings a smile to all your faces in this post hurricane/super storm week.Happy Halloweenie!!!