Sunday, September 17, 2017

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




Sunday, September 10, 2017

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

Thursday, August 24, 2017

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

Monday, July 24, 2017

Ballet teacher memories revisited

Sometime in the year 2009 I posted a blog focused on my early childhood days growing up on Edgerton Street in Rochester, NY.  The topic was, at age 4, and my first glorious ballet teacher, Katherine Raphael. The lessons were held in her dining room just 5 houses up the street at Milburn st, the opposite corner from my house. I remembered the first try on point, my pink, used but beautiful toe shoes and how it felt to rise up on my toes padded in lambs wool and reach to the skies en point. My self description; a bit pudgy, frizzy hair, full cheeks and a love for dance that has lasted a lifetime. 

In response to that blog, a dear friend connected me to Ann Raphael Berndt, the older of the two Raphael daughters and a year younger than myself and her sister Judy a couple of years younger than Ann. Ann and I have been sporadically connected via email and I PROMISED that someday soon we would meet in person to share our love and reverence for Mrs. Raphael. That promise was fulfilled last week on our visit to Boston. Paul and I joined Ann and her husband David and were pampered and peppered with family memories and stories and brought up to date both in memories of Edgerton St to the present. 

We departed with promises of staying in touch but Ann blessed me with copies of photos from dance classes, a recital program from 1952 and a copy of Katherine's biography. 

I am sharing 2 of the photos for giggles and memories. 

an attempt to copy an early portrait of Mrs. Raphael; Beautiful

 

Top photo, I am on the left, bottom photo I am on the right


How devoted she was to ballet and sought in so many ways to improve her own wonderful dance skills. She did meet Anna Pavlova in person. How incredible.  I have been processing those days ever since the visit with Ann. What incredible lives we have all lived, The Berndts and their beautiful 3 sons, daughter's in laws from around the globe, and 3 granddaughters and 3 grandsons. 

Dance has never ceased to be a large part of my life, continuing lessons throughout my 20's and 30's, appearing in many musical productions, even doing some rep theatre in Buffalo while attending Suny at Buffalo and as a young mom in Rochester. Currently my dance includes lots of Zumba, Latin Dance, Line dancing and Paul and I are lucky to be able to dance every jitterbug, rock and roll, waltz and more at the beautiful dinner/dance parties when on our RV site in Jojoba, in California.


from Seafoam campground heading to Sydney, NS

Seafoam along River John happy to be in Canada


Paul and I are in Sydney, Nova Scotia awaiting our ferry ride to Newfoundland on Wednesday (16 hours) to the Rock. I can't wait for the new adventures while savoring the old. 

what a sunset, massive cloud bank



Saturday, July 8, 2017

Message In a Minute; Strip tease

Off again with our wheeled house on our backs and heading East seeking more adventure. After a day in Syracuse with Paul's wonderful Uncle Joshua, we headed to Jersey City, NJ and the Liberty Harbor RV Park situated across the Hudson from Freedom tower in lower Manhattan and with in sight of the Statue of Liberty. It is the adjacent ferries to desired places that make this (expensive) campground a jewel. 

As I write, our 14 year old grandson Corey is on his flight to Newark airport for nine days of travel together. We are visiting family in West Orange. After our arrival on Friday we were too late to join our family for a get together and Kabbalat Shabbat service so we stayed in Jersey City. Leaving the Jeep in the campground we walked for 25 minutes to the town square decidedly the of the place to be; lots of people, lots of restaurants and excitement galore. We strolled for a bit and picked a restaurant that turned out to be wonderful. It is called Skinners Loft and offered tables on their roof top. We climbed the many stairs, (blessing our luck that we could do so easily) and took a table at the brink of the roof. The food was delicious with excellent vegan choices. 









As usual, we can't just sit still but enjoy engaging others in conversation. At the next table were two lovely young ladies mid to upper 20's I believe. They looked like sisters and were sitting together with their backs at the edge. They both turned to look over the brink and I wished I could click my camera at that moment for a lovely portrait. I asked if they were sisters and they replied just good friends. We talked and talked about their families, dreams and wishes and shared so much. One girl wants to start a business buying older Air Stream trailers and redoing them inexpensively but in good taste to sell. She asked our advice.  We directed her to a campground web site in Solvang, CA that features refurbished and tastefully done airstreams for rent for a night or longer and learned that her family is in construction and have skilled workers that would be able to help with the projects. They both were delighted with our life style and we laughed and joked and actually did offer some requested advice. 

What a delight the evening was. But we had to stop at a nearby pharmacy and then head back to the rig. Exit we did into a rainstorm with a vengeance. We stayed under cover for a bit having no umbrellas or raincoats as we had left the rig in blue skies and hot temps. We dashed in the direction of the camp ground and stopped to try Uber, but everyone else had beaten us to it. So walk it was to be. But as we are drip dry, wet it would be. After 30 minutes we arrived at the rig (wrong turn). We entered the rig and did a spectacular strip tease in the entrance. (if we were 50 years younger it may have been enhancing) but dry off we did, threw our clothing into the dryer and laughed our heads off. But we were upstaged.

We have heard from good friends on the way to Nova Scotia for a travel adventure and our soaking story paled in light of theirs. A particular airline left the luggage on the tarmac as passengers boarded. Their first night in the hotel was spent with all of the soaked items hung to dry. Their comment was at least no one was forcefully carried off the plane. 

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Message in a Minute; swingin' and rockin through Life

After our truly memorable winter adventures RVing westward and then reversing our direction to cross the rest of the continent to fly even further east for a memorable tour of three of the Stan countries Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan and the historic Ancient Silk Road. Upon our return to the USA, we began high-tailing it eastward to Rochester for the 16th annual Rochester International Jazz Festival. Meeting all expectations the Jazz Festival was incredible. Paul in his blog posts has shared our day to day venues and encounters during the 2017 festival. I do not need to repeat. the link to his blog is on this page. 


Great Jazz group  featuring Bobby Millitello
The day after the Jazz festival we traditionally wonder "what do we do now?"  It is usually a day of R and R and sorely needed. Attending the jazz fest takes LOTS of energy and study of the schedule to make choices and to build the preliminary evening's itinerary.  We follow up by hitting the sidewalks at 3:30pm or so trekking from venue to venue to cram in as much as humanly possible (and what our age will tolerate--which is pretty intense, for which we are grateful.)  
Ukrainian folk group with artful cello 

But, this year we decided to buy Sunday matinee tickets for the musical, Million Dollar Quartet, playing at Geva theatre in Rochester.  This musical treasure depicts the history of the Sun Recording Studio in memphis; a museum that we cherish having visited. 


So, the breakneck pace continued today, even after the jazz fest as we tried to catch up on so many days out of our usual daily routine. You know, laundry, cleaning and tidying up, mail, phone calls, bilIs, contacting family and friends. In the course of the 10 days, I believe I actually built up bone mass even though I did not follow my daily hour or so of intense exercise. I even lost weight "walking at neck breaking paces," bouncin' and swinging" in my seats or rockin' on my feet to the beat. Who can stay still to such rhythms.  
Geva's Signboard

The Set Pre performance

I remain So grateful to have all of this energy and able to top off 9 days of Jazz with a the vigorous production of MILLION DOLLAR QUARTET, over two hours listening to great music, dance, song, narration and story telling, relating the story of the Sun recording studio in Memphis in the mid 50's unfolds. How fond I was of the musicians nurtured and and loved by Sam Phillips the guru behind Sun Studios and the likes of Elvis, Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Cash and Carl Perkins. I remember living through the growth of these artists and rock and roll. An so many ill directed prophets said in those days, rock and roll will never last. Well, What a Lota Shaking is Still "Goin On."