Monday’s Blog; Hamlet on the Road

I arrived in Charlottesville, VA on a Tuesday. My son and daughter in law flew to  S. Africa on Wednesday giving me 14 days alone with my delightful bright and charming grandsons (Alex) 18 and (Corey) 15. Before I arrived, I worried about such matters as my stamina to handle the drive to and from Piedmont Virginia Community College 6 days a week, will my meals meet the boy’s expectations, as they are used to menus including meats and poultry? I  am a veggie.  My rule was if you want animal, defrost it, cook it and clean it up and I will provide the rest. They both decided not to have meat and have been content with the veggie meals and my methods of preparation. Some dishes of course, were enjoyed more than others, that is not so rare, but I was very creative and had a ball. 

Eat they did, homework they did, and converse they did, big time, mostly in the car heading to school for the 27 minute ride each way. What a delight. Routines changed daily; I would drop them at school and do various errands or stay on campus all day hanging out in the library with full WiFi connection, enjoying the view from my chosen table by the window with a beautiful Mountain view and warm sun filtering through the glass.  Libraries are a weakness of mine with the advent of the internet and eBooks, I don’t spend time in libraries, bookstores, used book departments and such any more. I joke that I spent a great time of my day stroking and petting books listed under, art, writing, literature, philosophy, psychology, history …! I even participated in Alex’s modern dance class and was able to keep up as best I could with a 75 year old bod. After all, I do hard workouts every day at home.

Corey the ice cream maker guru
Don’t giggle too hard please

I branched out as time went by. The Wegman’s grocery was 8 minutes down the road, and not so far away, Whole Foods, Krogers for gas, picking up the order of raw milk, taking the boys to Dungeons and Dragons club meetings, going to movies, restaurants, attending a dance/dessert party: (armed with richly chocolate brownies) an activity as part of the family’s involvement in SCA or  Society for Creative Anachronisms, Inc. at www.sca.org. They delve deeply into the realm of living in the medieval period, so the dances are period dances aptly taught by one of the members, an activity the whole family enjoys.

Corey at the dance

Dan is one of the instrumentalists and sorely missed that evening. What warm and welcoming people they are. They even found a costume that fit me and did not hover around my ankles threatening to trip me.

Alex at the dance

Alex participates in Larping tournaments. What is that, see for yourself watching this Utube video at; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2fk91mNR2Y0. Generally, the members take on a personality and a name, make their own costumes and equipment and enjoy working and sharing with people on an international basis. 

One of the highlights of the drive to school happened on day 3.  Alex, an aspiring actor, singer and lover of drama, read to me from Shakespeare’s Act 111, scene 1 of Hamlet, Yes it includes the To Be or Not to Be soliloquy.  In my somewhat knowledgeably opinion, he read it with the desired inflections, vocal nuances and proper deportment that some aspiring Shakespearean actors strive to obtain. 

Corey reflected on his activities in the SCA mentioned above, the ups and downs in adjusting to college at age 15 in a program including home schooled students like himself. He is diligent in doing his homework, not just finishing it but making sure he is understands the work. His interests are varied and rich and he is aware that he has yet to form definite goals. Heck, some of us waver even in the upper ages. How very proud I am to be their grandparent and to be trusted to take over while the parents achieve one of their dreams, travel to S. Africa. I even revisited my ability to drive a shift Subaru not without some learning curve glitches. But it is a great car. I will do it again, but the grandsons (all 5) will grow beyond the need. I will savor this visit to Charlottesville, even easily enduring the 13F temperature, wind, some rain and a bit of snow; reliving my growing up in the lovely winters of the Northeast. Thanks for “listening.” 

Ann Carol Goldberg 2/4/18

Monday’s Blog; Meant to Be

Meant to be, fate, destiny; what words do we use to express this topic? The word from the musical Kismet is now in everyone’s vocabulary (for those over a certain age anyway) as the Turkish word for fate or destiny. It is derived from the Arabic word qusma, meaning lot or portion, In Yiddish the word is Bashert. In Arabic, you can say Qadar” or ”Maseer.  I know I, myself “overuse the term to give validity to the way things happen in every day life, the surprise encounters that seem spontaneous or accidental but I often believe there is some sort of plan or planner playing out our fate. Perhaps it is a game.

Things go awry or go well and we say there is a reason for this-it was “meant to happen” and is for the best. Otherwise how can one explain a chance encounter or unexpected outcome.  You have a fleeting thought about someone and promised yourself  you would contact them in a day or so, but just never get around to it. There they are walking down the same street, waiting near your hotel or restaurant in some strange and foreign land or simply calling you instead of visa versa. How about going on a hike and the trail offers a non-signed fork in the road. Hark, along comes some complete stranger and sets you straight. Or when bad things happen, we often say to the effect, “good can come from the bad.” Or you have some quirky episode, such as missing the exit from the highway and following your GPS that has recalculated and you end up passing or seeing a wonderful view or place you had not discovered before? 

Lucky grandmother me; I am in Charlottesville staying with my teenage grandsons. Yesterday I picked Alex up from school and drove towards home on a route I have done now for almost two weeks. There we were engrossed in a discussion analyzing particular politicians and Alex, majoring in Psychology wisely applied some of his knowledge. Engrossed we both drove by the usual exit. This took us not much out of the way but through some of the most beautiful countryside in central Virginia. I declared this Bashert and was sure this was the reason I had driven by the exit. 

As we drove up their long, dirt, turning and twisting mountain road to the farm, the real reason appeared; a beautiful albino doe, standing and starring back at us. too dark and too far away to whip out the cell phone/camera. We just savored her until she trounced onward into the woods. The unpredictable can be baffling, for the good or bad but it remains, unpredictable. The reasons for such situations may never be known.

Ann Carol Goldberg 1/3/18

 

Monday’s Blog; “thank you for having me…”

Join me in considering episodes in our daily lives; I call it “automatic” speech; happening especially upon greeting people in person, on the phone, anywhere; questions and answers that universally are spoken in any language I dare say, and pop out instinctively. 

“How are you?, How goes it? What’s New? How’ve you been? It’s been a long time, The weather is…” or often ending conversations with, “see ya,” say hi to so and so, let’s get together sometime” How often do you actually end up getting together sometime.—We all do it. How startling and even refreshing it is when someone responds otherwise to these “automatic” questions. Upon inquiring about their health, they may say I am doing great, I am wonderful or they may offer long answers to share health problems or concerns or “I’m not so good,” or someone is ill or comment on current politics or a recent event or offer, “Yes, last time I saw you was an art opening or concert or on the 5th Ave in New York City or a restaurant in Venice” and they embellish this retort with some details.

This is not new information just something to reflect upon here as it happens daily. Serious conversation can and often does follow, but small talk is comforting and gives the conversants time to evaluate the situation and person(s) you have met, following up with a more lengthy discussion or parting ways. 

My daily life includes listening to many news stories, where experts in a field are invited to appear during a podcast or broadcast.

For years I have focused on their closing statement when offered a thank you for coming on the show.  Again, I find the answers, that must be short and spur of the moment, also fall within my category of “automatic” speech as in; “thanks for having me, my pleasure or the pleasure is all mine, I enjoyed being here, glad to be here, I will come back anytime, it was fun, I always enjoy your show, I hope it helped,” to give a few examples. I believe that in this context it means they are truly honored or flattered, that their ego has been boosted and they feel good. I find myself even anticipating how certain personalities may respond and I cheer when they are original and fresh. 

Just to let you know, there are times when the answer is just a quick “Thank you. Oh yes, thank you for reading this short post. I hope it gave you a bit of diversion from daily chores. 

Transitions

Change is a given in our lives. Not a revelation to any of us, but on my mind at the moment.  Changes are also a constant, more so in this fast moving world. 

Change and transition can be troublesome, raising blood pressure, keeping us up nights and preclude big decisions to face or change can simply come easily with immediate action. 

After nearly a decade of blogging with one carrier, I finally have placed my blog “Message in a Minute” on to the same carrier as my Website. If you look to the right there is the menu to my web site galleries and links to the blog archives. The old blog spot will be open for a while as well.  

For sure this minor change has not cost me any sleep loss nor raised my blood pressure at all, it has just been a long long process to make it happen.  I need to practice what I preach and do more of what I love to do, photograph, write, hike, breath in nature, sing, dance, socialize…and share thoughts with you, my wonderful family, friends and readers.

 

The transition I have made is a small step but the topic felt appropriate to open my new blog location sharing these thoughts and the hope you will enjoy my future blogs. They can be alas irregular, but still entitled Monday’s Blog (I was born on a Monday) Messages in a Minute and fulfilling my promise in this age of TMI to keep them short. My good intentions are to return to my once a week blog messages and keep it up for a long time.

Thanks for reading, responding and sharing your thoughts on my ideas giving me so much more to add to my ideas, list of drafts and work through them and posting in due time. Now on to a more challenging list of transitions and just living life to the fullest.

Ann Carol 

 

 

Monday’s Blog, meaning of Selah

Being in the midst of the Jewish New Year High holidays, it is the prime time for self reflection, staying focused on assessment of the year just past. It is the time to repeat timeless, ancient and modern prayers and how often I have recited the word Selah present at the end of many prayers often pondering over the meaning of the word. I have been aware of the term for years. I decided to finally pursue its meaning once and for all with a Google search.
The name is derived from the term commonly used in the Book of Psalms, which has a many Hebrew scholars in confusion over its meaning. Given its context in the Bible, Selahis likely to mean “to praise” or “pause and reflect upon what has just been read.”
Consider the word “amen” or “so be it”, as found in the early scriptures of the Bible, I learned that itis said to be of Hebrew origin; however, “the basic triconsonantal root from which the word was derived is common to a number of languages, such as Aramaic, in the Semitic branch of the Afrasian languages.”
We are thereby instructed to take time to pause and consider what we have just read before continuing with the progression of the service at hand. For me, this is more proof of the great wisdom of our sages through the ages if I may so state and touches deeply on our lives as we live today. Always in a rush, multi tasking, over extended, the usual list of the chaos of our complex lives. 

In modern cliché, I call to mind the directive to “stop and smell the roses.” or take time to stop and smell the roses.” I had always thought of Gertrude Stein as the coiner of this phrase. I am wrong, and possibly have pursued the answer in the past, but it has faded from my memory. The correct person is Walter Hagen, spanning the years from (b. December 21, 1892 –d. October 6, 1969). Hagan was
an American professional golfer and a major figure in golf in the first half of the 20th century.[1] His tally of 11 professional majors is third behind Jack Nicklaus (18) and Tiger Woods (14).

Hagen won the U.S. Open twice, and in 1922 he became the first native-born American to win the British Open, “ Furthermore, Hagan was born in Rochester, NY, my home town. His parents were of German descent, his dad working as a millwright and blacksmith in the Rochester railroad-car shops. He learned and honed his golf game as a caddie working at the Country Club of Rochester. For more of Walter Hagen’s bio, go to he URL;




In this era of increasing chaos, change, challenge and unexpected events from politics, to terrorism, to major weather events and high expectations of life, it is never to often to remember to savor our very present moments. Join me in stopping, looking around, smelling the smells, celebrating with the ones you love, admiring the view, the smiles and encounters with people, new places, familiar places and things you love. Practice this many times a day and take deep breaths, give a little sigh and go on with your busy lives, a continuum on the long timeline of history.

                          (reminder to scroll downward or check my archives for past posts)


Monday’s Blog; Station 11

Station 11 not so far fetched

Station Eleven: A novel Emily St. John Mandel 


Being an one of those avid readers I embrace many genres. both fiction and non fiction, poetry, drama, and more. Science fiction has been more of a favorite of my loving spouse and I have read many classic sci fi books but less so now then in the past. As many know we spend days at a time on the road RVing. Audible books are constant companions and we share the task of what to download next. My husband’s pick (we do confer and can say no to a book). However, the book synopsis included a famous fictional Shakespearean Actor at his peak, then his sudden death made a large impact on a young girl (King Lear’s daughter) at this side when the actor collapsed and died. Further characters are members of a symphonic/opera company on the terrifying road toward survival after a very deadly epidemic wiping out most of the world’s population and the story of the Apocalypse era to follow. 

This is not my favorite genre, perhaps it is too frightening, too possible and there is so much else to read. The book is entitled Station Eleven, A Novel by Emily St. John Mandel in case that is of interest to you and it is full of inventive stories of those surviving and seeking survival.

I remember the frightening days of the The Bay of Pigs (Cuba), the days of the Cold War, the days of bomb shelter drills, 9/11 and celebrate the advent of Nuclear bomb bans, treaties, accords and diplomatic decisions. It is not news that North Korea poses a great threat and we fear the administration’s responses, the subject of the news 24/7. I believe we all feel angst, a sense of out of hand diplomacy and such but it is not my task to report on these topics. I leave that to others and try to keep my faith that peace will reign.

An NYT article caught my eye by Lex Williams see; https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/23/style/how-to-survive-the-apocalypse.html?_r=0

How did I know that a huge global market for tools and methods of survival exists, and the vast numbers of survivalists, doomers and preppers have created a huge global industry offering products such as Bug Out Bags, (containing survival items), alt currencies, self defense items and classes, foods and the means to produce our own foods, foldable kayaks, parachutes and a dome and bomb proof house called Intershelter. (He notes that in the interim these dome structures make great guest houses, children’s playrooms or cabanas.) 

My reaction is that in light of centuries of natural disasters and the horrors of war apocalyptic episodes have occurred repeatedly; people fleeing with nothing in hand, suffering even within the sight of help. There are these experts among us who plan for bad times. Is there a movement about to enlist their help in the aftermath of these current events. Any of us could be victims at any time, I have seen it reported that Google searches for Prepper sites and Survivalism sites are at an all time high, Being prepared and helping those already affected by disaster is really about all of our survival. 
To finish on a light note, I really like the foldable kayak, maybe it will fit into our motor home. 


Monday’s Blog, Neighbors in the Cemetery

Sitting down in front of the computer, I place my fingers on the keyboard and begin to write a new blog post.  So often I don’t know what will evolve as my fingers tap the keys even when I have a preconceived idea for my entry.  As you, my readers know, the content varies from stories, journal style entries and reportage to recommending a book, film or adventure venue or reacting to something that has caught my attention. Today is the latter case.

On a recent Sunday Morning, I listened to an interview by Krista Tippet (NPR program “on Being.”) The interviewee was Maira Kalman, a revered artist, writer and philosopher, raised in Israel but living and working in the US. Her story includes the difficult death of her husband age 49 and how she has coped (now 18 years later). A dear friend’s wife recently died suddenly at a young age as well, making me think that when he is ready, Maira’s words would help him begin to cope.  Within the content of the interview, Maira alludes to the neighbors occupying a plot within the same cemetery.  


As quoted below, George Gershwin is a neighbor as are members of the Barricini Family as she pictures a beautiful box of Barricini Chocolate. She calls a visit to the cemetery very uplifting. The Quote follows;

Ms. Tippett: There’s a passage where you write and illustrate about — I mean you start with Gershwin, dying at the age of 38 of a brain tumor. You say, “He’s buried in the same cemetery as my husband. My husband died at the age of 49. I could collapse, thinking about that. But I don’t want to talk about that now. I want to say that I love that George is nearby under a leafy tree. And Ira Gershwin too.”
Ms. Kalman: We’re going to visit him next week, and it really — the high point is [laughs] — we can say, “I like visiting Tibor, but the high point is going to the Gershwins.” No, I also — also, the Barricinis are nearby, and I always think of a beautiful box of chocolates and how they should have a chocolate store there in the cemetery, because it’s actually — it’s very uplifting to go to a cemetery, and it’s a beautiful place.

I cherish her sense of humor and share my long time sense of finding the cemetery a journey into more than visiting loved ones seeking solace and peace and adding the additional journey into history.  Allow me please to allude to the similarity of a visit to a cemetery and a search on the computer. Both add to our knowledge of the topic of the moment and a window far beyond our dreams as we tap on the links and loose hours absorbed in the content of those links. (a virtual candy store.) On any visit to a cemetery, near and far, I invariably hike from area to area seeking “neighbors” buried there.  I leave enriched by the history. Some are relatives, friends and acquaintances, others are famous or infamous of diverse and varied backgrounds. It is uplifting as quoted above, alleviating some of the grief in our hearts allowing humor and discovery to be layered upon the loss in our hearts. 


We all have left stones of memory on graves in every corner of the world, touching history, bringing it alive with stories and endless tales that have shaped our world. I believe the consideration of cemetery neighbors opens a sense of continuity to our journey on earth. 

I include the URL https://www.google.com/search?q=maira+kalman+books&rlz=1C1LENP_enUS507US507&oq=myra+kalman+&aqs=chrome.2.69i57j0l5.15870j0j7&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8


and some photos of cemeteries visited; 

Evita Peron, Argentina






Warsaw, Poland

Atlin Cemetery, Gold rush, Alaska

Babi Yar

Viet Nam



Mondays Blog… firsts in light of Jewish new year coming up

Inspired by reading Ray Bradbury’s book Zen In the Art of Writing, I decided to follow some of his techniques. He made lists of anything and everything and his stories grew out of those words. He listed, nouns, ideas, scenes, people observed or encountered including a list of firsts.  In light of Jewish new year coming up I decided to follow suit in my journal and enter some early firsts here. I’d love your feedback, your techniques to jog memory or create ideas themes or other “tricks” you use in the process of creativity. I am adding this one to my repertoire of tricks.

first memory  old fashioned wicker doll buggy
first memory mom said was impossible-18 months maybe  ice man cometh, yes he put a block of ice in our refrig
first poem recited Silver Bells
first song Country Garden
first public appearance singing on the porch of a dear neighbor and they demanded return engagements
first stage appearance  Kindergarten with pink suit and doll, singing lullaby and goodnight
first fall chin in stitches from a fall up the stairs in my ballet slippers
first bike accident  gravel burns on my arms place grounds of 23 school Rochester
first dance recital in Lawn Street facility–now Garth Fagan’s beloved studio
first books the mystery series Nancy Drew ghost written producing 56 books from 1936 to 48 in classic genre
first obsessions The stars and galaxies via NYC planetarium, became a member for years, newsletter
more 1st obsessions, toe shoe ballet with Mrs. Raphael, singing, piano, symphony concerts, 
first adult book Scapegoat mentioned sanitary napkins hidden in the linen closet. wow
first heard word menstruate uttered mistakenly by friend when playing volley ball. she defined it for me
first big stress dad surgery twice Ulcers and then a surgical instrument left mistakenly in his gut
first scary movie War of the Worlds, couldn’t sleep for nights nightmares
first date  movie War of the Worlds, Gary Kramer 5th grade I think
First real date with future husband and love of my life Paul  I was at his Bar Mitzvah
first newspaper research project Suez canal
first stock trade lesson grade school assignment on paper, I made $10,000 profit

Photos from one of my obsessive and ongoing photo projects–Nature’s still lifes, fungus and ‘shrooms


Monday’s Blog, Here I sit

Here I sit with my left foot bound up in an Ace bandage home from a visit to the ER. Boy does my foot hurt. Returning to the Highland Hospital in Rochester (BTW excellent facility) just four days after Paul occupied the same examining room for a kidney stone and in great pain that comes and goes, I “come down” with a sore foot. It isn’t broken or fractured thank goodness, but it is something I “earned.” Self Inflicted; I can’t learn to say still. We have been back in our cherished apartment for 6 days and I’ve been my usual whirling dervish every waking minute. Not surprising that I injured something. Our fabulous summer tour of Newfoundland and south eastern Canada was also a whirlwind, walking miles and miles every day. I wouldn’t give up the travel for the world and bless our luck that we can seek such adventures. No worries, we are fine.

I look back years and years, It seems that my loving mother was constantly wrapping my foot or ankle or wrist with an Ace Bandage. She had Red Cross training from the world war 2 years and later as a pediatric nurse at Highland for years. She was proud of her skills and I was the benefactory of her wrapping techniques. So, as I wrap and unwrap, ice and wrap again, I savor the memory of her smile and love. My boys benefitted as well because I know I applied many aces and other bandages to their injuries or made many visits to emergency as they grew. Heck, we all do that but I felt helpful and loving from the legacy of my childhood. 

Knowing I won’t stop, slow down or sit down any more than in the past, I remember the wonderful travels of the summer of 2017, the warm and incredible people of Newfoundland and the joys of travel. Just for lightness and humor, I’ve attach a couple of favorite travel photos of the island of newfoundland and the bonus “gift” I have from ER, the no-slip socks.

beautiful silver sock

Not stylish but safe. So tread carefully, sit and smell the roses and I will try to practice what I preach. 






We visited at least 2 dozen Newfoundland lighthouses. There are 56 total

Learning the Lingo

Through my many years, I have learned from Oregonian friends that the preferred pronunciation of the lovely state of Oregon is OREgin with a softening of the final syllable not the emphasis on the on (said as an ah) of the final syllable that I have mistakenly practiced for many years. Now that I have traveled through the equally lovely Canadian Province of Newfoundland, I know that Newfoundland is pronounced with the emphasis on the end–as in NewfoundLAND.  Labrador as well is said with the emphasis on the end syllable as in LabraDOR and drawn out a bit sometimes with a slight “curling” of the R as if harboring a reluctance to finish saying the name of this Canadian Province.

How enlightening it is to realize, after my visit, how charming, warm and welcoming the Newfoundlanders are. They stop on the spot in response to one’s hello with so much interest and sharing that you want to become life long friends with most every native you meet. There is no meaning to a short conversation with Newfoundlanders met along the way. They are proud and eager to share their stories and adventures and maybe just short of inviting you to their home for some hospitality their arms are open to you.  My expectations were so inaccurate, thinking that such harsh, hard working, tough daily lives would produce a culture of self centeredness, self pity and grumpy people.

Even though I have departed Newfoundland leaving it behind, I think daily of our adventures and visit and revel at the extraordinary memories I will savor for the rest of my life. To keep this to my promised message in a minute, I will simply share several photos serving I hope, to lure you to

Facsimile of a Viking ship–Lief Ericson era
A typical seaside town

visit soon and see and hear for yourself.

Victorian house, now a museum

Hello Puffin 

one of 56 Newfoundland lighthouses

Lighthouse museum docent and long time local with Paul