2018 Life Logs, Day 16—Time for Action

2018 Life Logs, Day 16—Time for Action
Date: Tuesday, January 16, 2018
Weather: Sunny; High 35, Low 29 degrees F
Location: At Home in The Studio, Falmouth, MA

There are lots of things that are just not normal in our lives these days, but this afternoon when I was reminded of one devastating statistic, I was shaken. Did you know that we have lost 50 per cent of all wildlife on our planet in just the last 42 years? Why? Probably due to toxic chemicals in our environment. We are literally killing ourselves, and we are doing nothing about it. It is time for action. We can’t solve the big issues, there are things we can do immediately. Vote with your money. Buy only organic. That will mean that you are not buying foods laden with chemicals and not buying GMOs, genetically modified organics (foods). This will immediately be better for you and better for the environment. Get rid of all BPA’s (plastics) in your world—no more plastic water bottles, no more Styrofoam cups from Dunkin’ Donuts with plastic lids that drip BPS’s. No more Saran Wrap, plastic food containers, or Ziploc baggies. I threw all of mine in the trash tonight. Very hard to do, but very necessary.

2018 Life Logs, Day 15—MLK Day Reflections

2018 Life Logs, Day 15—MLK Day Reflections
Date: Monday, January 15, 2018
Weather: Overcast, Spitting Snow Early Afternoon; High 30, Low 23 degrees F
Location: At Home in The Studio, Falmouth, MA

We all do things in life that we later regret, and one of those things for me involved Martin Luther King. In the fall of 1969, I began my career as an educator by taking a job teaching American History at Glenville High School in Cleveland, Ohio. I had spent the previous year, my first year out of college, working as a personnel manager for the Clifton Division of Litton Industries hiring screw machine operators in a shop just outside Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. My college degree was in speech (radio and television communications) and education (high school social studies). But I wanted to try my hand in the business world. I hated it, and thus took the teaching job in Cleveland the following year. I chose Cleveland because my sister lived in nearby Akron. I didn’t choose Glenville High School, but she chose me. It was a school with 3,000 black students, 150 white teachers, 150 black teachers. There had been riots in the neighborhood in the summer of 1968 after MLK’s assassination and seven people were killed. There were riots in the school in the spring of 1969 with various groups demanding that Black History, not American History, be taught in the school. Unaware of any of this, and desperate for a job, I accepted the job as American History teacher at Glenville in the fall of 1969. Needless to say, it was an ‘interesting’ experience and I had to learn quickly to survive. At the end of my first year, the job of Audio-Visual Coordinator and teacher of radio and television programming opened up. It required a Masters in Communications which I didn’t have, but I begged the principal to give me the job. I said I would immediately enroll in a Masters program at nearby Kent State to meet the requirement, and somehow I got the job for the 1970-71 school year. Can’t tell you how happy I was to no longer be teaching American History at that time in that school. Part of my new position was running a closed-circuit radio station in the school providing school, local, and world news every morning, providing student programmed music during the lunch hours, providing audio-visual needs for the classrooms, and being in charge of all special programming for the school. Black History Month in 1971 was a true learning experience for me. I knew nothing of Black History, but by this time, I had Black History teacher friends who took me under their wings. And part of my job, I was in charge of the reel to reel tape of Martin Luther King’s speech that he gave to the student body of Glenville on April 26, 1967, a year before his death. This had been played, in its entirety, every February since his assassination and I played it in February of 1971 and 1972. I left Glenville in January of 1973 to take a job in public television, but I took that copy of the MLK reel to reel tape with me. I knew there was a copy in the school library and I was certain that there were a few other copies floating about. But I was young, the message on tape had resounded with me in a profound way, and I selfishly wanted it with me. Then I met Mark and my life changed. In the spring of 1974, Mark and I sold everything we owned, including that reel to reel to reel tape, and we took off on our life adventures. I have regretted many times selling that tape, but I was elated tonight to find in an online search that in 2012, the library copy of the tape was discovered by a Glenville teacher and that speech is once again properly recorded in history. Because of that discovery, I am now able to share with you the final words of that speech that meant so much to me:

“And I close by quoting a beautiful little poem from the pen of Langston Hughes, where he has a mother, talking to a son. With ungrammatical profundity that mother says, ‘Well, son, I’ll tell you: Life for me ain’t been no crystal stair. It’s had tacks in it, boards torn up, and places with no carpet on the floor — bare. But all the time I’se been a-climbin’ on, and reachin’ landin’s, and turnin’ corners, and sometimes goin’ in the dark where there ain’t been no light. So boy, don’t you turn back. Don’t you set down on the steps ’cause you finds it’s kinder hard. For I’se still goin’, boy, I’se still climbin’, and life for me ain’t been no crystal stair.’ Well, life for none of us has been a crystal stair, but we must keep moving. We must keep going. And so, if you can’t fly, run. If you can’t run, walk. If you can’t walk, crawl. But by all means, keep moving.”

I was young then, not much older than some of my students. And those words that MLK spoke to the students of Glenville High School rang true in my ears. I took them literally and I’ve been moving ever since. There are many other speeches of his that are more eloquent, but none were so personal to me. Thank you, Martin Luther King, for your words of wisdom that have stuck with me all these years and for everything you did and said in the name of humanity.

I have other friends who have probably never heard the MLK’s exact words that have kept me moving all these years, but they also keep on moving. My dear friend Linda Stuart of Concord, New Hampshire, and her husband Mike, took off in 2014 to bike around the world. In their blog dated yesterday, they posted their photo in front of the sign in Ushuaia, Argentina, saying “USHUAIA—fin del mundo.” They have reached the “end of the world” or at least the end of the bike path to the southern most point in our world. So proud of them. Congratulations, congratulations!!!

Here’s what Linda said when she saw the mile post sign saying that New York is 10,600 km from Ushuaia. “I laughed when I saw this sign . . . We took the crooked path, I guess, with 33,521 km on our bikes and that does not even count the few planes, busses, and ferries we were on. Regardless, we enjoyed our journey (most days anyway) and I am already looking forward to new countries and new places.” From the ‘end of the world’ Mike and Linda are hoping to get on an excursion boat headed to Antarctica. The prices they were quoted yesterday were quite high, but hopefully they will find somehow find a deal. In any case, they have achieved what few others have done–riding the length of California from San Francisco to Mexico to Central America and all the way through South America to Tierra de Fuego on a bicycle. Unbelievable!

I really enjoyed having the Goldpebbles for an overnight. I had to get them home by 10 am as Jonah had a play date with friend, but we enjoyed our short morning together. They evidently woke up and played very quietly as I did not hear them until 8 am. I don’t know if I was exceptionally tired or if they were exceptionally quiet. But they were enjoying their screen time on Granddad’s tablet and phone when I got up. Ollie had Justin’s guitar out and was playing it very quietly. So cute. We then had a big breakfast and headed home. I love having them for overnights and hope we they come back soon.

2018 Life Logs, Day 14—Delightful Sunday

2018 Life Logs, Day 14—Delightful Sunday
Date: Sunday, January 14, 2018
Weather: Partly Cloudy; High 25, Low 22 degrees F
Location: At Home in The Studio, Falmouth, MA
My only plans for today were to take Jonah, and maybe Ollie, to a see Paddington 2. Ollie made the decision to stay home and have some one-on-one time with daddy as Sam was going to be spending the afternoon at a friend’s house. I picked Jonah up at noon and off we went to the movie. We both really enjoyed it. As Jonah pointed out, there were some scary scenes, but not too scary, some sadness, some comedy, and a wonderful tour of London. As soon as it was over, I needed to get Jonah to Olympia Sports to buy him a new pair of indoor soccer shoes and then get him to the community center for a 3 pm indoor soccer game. Indoor soccer started after the first of the year, and since I have been out of town, I am just now catching up on the new year activities. Jonah’s team won their game and he scored all three points for his team. Happy Jonah. Jed and Ollie joined us, and the friend Sam had been with for the afternoon was playing in the 4 o’clock game, as was Sam, so his parents delivered them. The boys enjoy going to the community center as they can play ping pong, air hockey, foosball, and pool in between soccer games. I invited Jed and boys to stay in town and have dinner at my place, and then I found out Heather was getting home sooner than expected. So she joined us as well. And then Ollie decided he wanted to spend the night with Oma and Sam and Jonah joined in. There is no school tomorrow as it is Martin Luther King Day, so we enjoyed the evening together. I got the boys in bed in time for me to settle in to watch the beginning of Season 2 of Victoria on Masterpiece Theater. It was a delightful Sunday.

2018 Life Logs, Day 13—Weather, Food, and Wine

2018 Life Logs, Day 13—Weather, Food, and Wine
Date: Saturday, January 13, 2018
Weather: Cold Returning; High 56, Low 16 degrees F
Location: At Home in The Studio, Falmouth, MA

Today 56 degrees for the high, tomorrow 27 degrees. That’s about a 30 degree drop in 24 hours. But 27 degrees for the high is more normal for this time of year. I think we all enjoyed the break from the extreme cold, but back to normal is okay.
I spent my day futzing about in the kitchen. I got out my juicer to make carrot and celery juice for a soup recipe. And I poured through cookbooks, paper and online, to look for new, healthy recipes. I drove over to the Goldstones to check in with Jed and the boys. Heather is out of town for the weekend and I wanted to see if I could be of help. But the boys were busy, busy, busy today outside playing with friends in the warm weather. But with the 30-degree overnight drop in temperature, I’ll check in again tomorrow to see if anyone wants to go to the movies with me to see Paddington 2. But if the boys are still happily playing outside, all the better.
I spent my evening attending the Newcomers Winter Wine Tasting. I’ve never really been to an organized wine tasting event and tonight was fun. I’ve designated 2018 as my year to learn more about wine. I have been a life-long beer drinker, but since there is nothing at all healthy about drinking beer, I’ve decided to investigate red wine. Wine has higher alcohol levels, but red wine has resveratrol which is healthy for you. But to get enough resveratrol, you would have to drink gallons. So maybe it makes no difference, but I shall investigate. Tonight I learned that the first known winery was in Armenia over 6,000 years ago. It seems that as long as there have been humans, we have been fermenting something or another to make an alcoholic drink. I will enjoy 2018 searching for the ‘healthiest’ of the options!

2018 Life Logs, Day 12—Weird Weather

2018 Life Logs, Day 12—Weird Weather
Date: Friday, January 12, 2018
Weather: Rain and 25 mph South Winds; High 57, Low 53 degrees F
Location: At Home in The Studio, Falmouth, MA

Just talked to my sister in Tennessee and they had freezing rain and a little snow today with a high temperature in the 20’s. We had a high of 57 degrees F here today with fog and rain. Weird weather.

It was a quiet day here. I finally finished winterizing all the windows and drove to Hyannis to pick up my new glasses. I got back in time to go to my 5 pm Friday evening class at the gym and am now relaxing with a glass of wine. After my experience with the news yesterday, I think I’ll skip checking-in on today’s happenings and just go to bed and read my book.