Archive for August, 2010

hippie generation

August 28, 2010

I am of the “Hippie Generation”. Tune in and drop out, Flower Power, Make love not war, Peace, man!

Seriously, graduating from high school in ’71, I lived through the era of student protests and the rise of something called hippies. In my high school, you were “freak” or “Greek”.

When I was in grad school, a visiting scholar came to our Dept. and had a discussion with grad students. He had written a book about the time of burning draft cards and protest against Vietnam. It was his (not) humble opinion that most of the people were fakes. It didn’t mean much to most of them and they were just sheep following the crowd.

I was sitting there, the only person in his audience close to his age, and I took issue with his view. Though there were many who wandered around during the protests and followed the crowd, there were a lot of young men who knew exactly what risk they were taking when they burned their draft cards. They were going to jail. It was a DRAFT, you did not have the choice to say you weren’t going, thank u very much. It was law. If your number was called on the tv set the night they read numbers off for who were drafted next, you were going to Vietnam. It was terrifying, especially for those many of us who did not accept nor believe in this war. Many men and women connected to them went through hell trying to decide whether or not they were going, whether or not they needed to take time to protest this insane war, whether or not to run to Canada (which meant you could not come back), whether or not to apply for conscientious objector status. We all had moral choices to make, and they were big ones. We were young college students. This would affect the rest of our lives.

But we came out of an era of protest. We were baby boomers, born after WWII, born in the middle of the Civil Rights era, the time of freedom rides, bombings, the end of segregation. It was a time of BIG CHANGES for our country, and we felt that whatever we did would make a difference. We were filled with a sense of our own power. We thought we were shaping the future of our nation. We certainly did not believe in this war, and did not think it worth giving our lives for. In those days, being in college meant you were temporarily spared from the draft. It was called “college deferment”. TODAY, deferment means putting off the payments on your huge student debt you accumulated to finish your degree. THEN, deferment meant you could avoid the draft. So to RISK being kicked out of school by taking part in demonstrations was a life risk. It was no easy decision. I resented the “lightness” of the attitude of the person sitting in front of a bunch of grad students who did not “know” the era as we did. He was making light of a time that significantly impacted so many during that era, causing heart break, confusion, and soul searching. Yes we were nieve and young, but it was a time of great decision-making, devotion to a cause, and coming together to effect change in our society. Or so we thought.

Then there is the MEDIA VIEW of the hippie generation. Just saw another tv documentary on it a few nights ago. Every time they showed young people together, they were at a music concert, singing and swaying, taking off their clothes, kissing, and in general, acting like idiots. That was not what it was like for the majority of us then. Yes, there was a new wave of music concerts, Woodstock being the ultimate one, and people doing dope. People smoked pot a lot. But we weren’t all swaying around, taking off our clothes, and having sex with everyone else at the concerts. “Free love” is a slogan that came out of that time period. We were concerned with “being free” as the ultimate experience. But I never slept with anyone at a concert. I was actually in school and getting married at the time. But my husband, after much souls searching, wrote a letter to the government and told them he morally did not believe in this war, couldn’t go to it, and applied for conscientious objector status, which means if you DO go, you do not carry a gun. Not the most appealing situation to be in, in the middle of the Vietnam “conflict”!! You would go as a medic. OR, you stay stateside and give 2 years of your life in some other job for below minimum wage. He was drafted, it pulled him out of school, he worked 2 years stateside in a hospital, and it changed our lives forever. He never finished his degree. He couldn’t get a job for years after that, because his draft status was listed on his job application. He was seen as a traitor.

Basically, this is all I wanted to say. I don’t think most people in protests were just sheep following the crowd. They took a chance of being kicked out of school and drafted, by doing it. Four students lost their lives at the hands of National Guard troops, by deciding to participate in a peaceful protest at Kent State University. It was a time of great tension in our country, and great soul searching. It was a time that young adults felt empowered to change our country. If only they could have moved from that state, to one of knowing that their votes mattered in elections.

my birth! day

August 19, 2010

Today is my birthday. We won’t be celebrating much because we happen to be broke until payday. 🙂 

Many of my colleagues don’t even know how old I am. Something in me doesn’t want to tell them. (What does it matter, really??) I am just going to write some random thoughts. It is my birthday, after all…

First of all, I have so much to be thankful for. Praise be to God.

We have a beautiful, new baby granddaughter, born June 3rd! What could be better?

I have 3 other grandsons, each one of whom I love to the max. We also have 3 step-grandchildren but unfortunately, I never see them. Grandparents have no rights.

I have 4 wonderful kids, all functioning, able adults, with good hearts and spirits. Three are married. We all live in a total of 4 different states and stay in touch by phone, e-mail and facebook.

I have been married to the same man for 38 years…… It’s not that we have the perfect marriage. But we are happy, and he is my best friend in the world. At this age, we have pretty much settled our differences, have a decent respect for one another, are proud of how all our kids have “turned out” and enjoy being together. We are happy when our kids are with us, and happy when we are alone. It doesn’t really matter.

I have a new job, in my field, even in this economic down time. This will be my 3rd Fall teaching there. My relationships with students are developing. Some of them I am really close to, and will be so proud to see them graduate. (Then will THEY struggle to find a job?)

I love the place where I live. The house is good, not perfect, but it is newly built within the past 5 years, it has an extra bedroom, and it is nice. We still don’t have furniture to fill it, but oh well. I love the pond behind the house, listening to the frogs sing their chorus at night, the trees surrounding the neighborhood, and the neighborhood pool.

My schedule is now set so that I go in at 1:00 on Monday (then stay through 9pm), and I have nothing scheduled on Fridays. I have my summers OFF. Can’t complain!

I have never had any major health problems and for the most part, neither has my husband. (Knock on wood!)

So those are some of my blessings.

What would I like to change?? Typical of many women, my weight. I fully understand that models are diabolically thin. I don’t want to look like them, and I have lost the need to look sexy. 🙂  However, I do want to weight less than I do right now, which is more than I’ve weighed ever in my life. I am overweight. Something happens to a woman’s body after she turns 40, 45, 50…. it just gains weight naturally, on its own. It doesn’t ask you about it or give you any warning. You eat the same as you always did, and boom!! 20 lbs. more, 10 lbs. more. At this point I realize that I am engaged in a battle that is never-ending, to the very end of my days. That battle is with my aging body. I have to respect it, keep in tune with it, and go the extra mile (literally) to prevent its disintegration. Bad things will happen if I do not take this battle seriously.

It APPEARS, though I hesitate to believe it’s really true, that I have gone through menopause. At my age, it took TOO LONG. But it appears, that as of this summer, finally, things have stopped, ha ha. YAY, what a final freedom for a woman. I have felt hot flashes, not tremendously, not really all that much, but I definitely have them and know what they are. I describe them as your body catching fire on the inside, and working its way out. They don’t last too long and they are not insufferable. Not painful. You just know they are there.

My back is hurting all the time. When I get up, I have to stretch it out for awhile. I desperately need to walk 2-3 miles a day without fail. I tend to do that once or twice a week. Not enough. My knees now pop occasionally. It was probably 12 yrs. ago that I worked up to running 2 miles. I couldn’t do that now if I wanted to.

I have given up on contacts, after wearing them since I got a pair for my high school graduation. I just don’t care anymore. They were a constant irritation to my eyes. It was just vanity to wear them. However, I am looking forward to a new pair of glasses, which I will pick up at the end of this month. Trying to find a pair that look halfway decent on me. My eyesight, inherited from my dad, is so bad I am basically legally blind. An eye doctor told me, “They are something like 20/2600.” What a person with perfect vision could see 1/2 a mile away, I would need to get 20 ft. away from to see it!! HILARIOUS!! When I take my glasses off, the person in front of me is out of focus. I recognize people by the way they walk, their way of moving their body, their height. When I get into a swimming pool, I can no longer watch any child that is there with me, except that I recognize their general hair color and way that they are moving around in the pool…. SO, I doubt if Lasik will work for me, but I need to find out.

I know myself, know how I learn best, know how I function best. I am a natural introvert. I gain strength and peace of mind when I have time alone. TIME, not just 10 mins. while someone else is upstairs. Real time. Sometimes it takes me an entire day to revamp, and then I am ready once again to go outside my house.

I have very few friends. My women friends are those I met years ago and developed a relationship with. Technology is great, but I really believe it is responsible for people forming somewhat superficial relationships today. We get together on “facebook” and call that friendship. That is not real depth. And it is not sharing face to face, deeply felt feelings. That is another experience, and one that I wonder if “kids today” really know how to develop. I think it is a human need to have that level of bonding. But for me, personally, it is with my husband and my kids. Not many other people.

I can’t stand dogs most of the time. Can’t stand how they smell, how they need to be walked, how their tongues hang out and they pant, how they bark at people. Why is this America’s favorite pet?? I just don’t get it.

But I love cats. They are soft, they don’t bother you, they take care of themselves except for food, they are just pleasant. My husband doesn’t share this appreciation for cats. Since he now works from home and I must leave the home to work, we don’t have one.

I love swimming and water, and don’t care anymore how I look to others in a swimming suit (pretty much), so I just put it on and go in. It is only better for my body anyway, to get a little exercise.

Half of my family is now gone from this world. That is a weird truth. One of my siblings chooses to not have a relationship w/ me which is nothing I can control, the other one I appreciate and see occasionally.

and those are some of my thoughts on this, my birthday.

mosque at ground zero

August 16, 2010

First of all, it is not “at” Ground Zero. It is something like 2 — 2  1/2 miles away from Ground Zero, on private property. So where shall we legislate is far enough away? 5 miles? 10? nowhere in NYC? what? and who decides?

I am for it. I think it is perfectly fine to have a house dedicated to the worship of God, from one of the major religions of the world that has been around since about 600 A.D., near ground zero. It would be really nice if we also built a church, a synagoge and maybe a Hindu and Buddhist temple on the same  block! It would be a place of prayer for all peoples, to offer supplication to the One Creator for this to never happen again, to say prayers for peace and an end to senseless killing by radical extremists insane with misplaced anger. Of course, the only thing being built is a mosque.

The Islamic world condemns the horrific tragedy that occurred at Ground Zero. There is a radical and growing, violent element within their own ranks, and I think they cannot be ignored and must be continually fought so that they do not bring more destruction. But this radical faction is not building a mosque near ground zero.

Islam is a worldwide religion, one that brought us algebra, beautiful architecture, a very strict and drug-free way of life, prayer 5X a day, giving to the poor as a matter of worship, and many other things. These are the basic teachings. It united many warring tribes and united them into a strong and disciplined nation of peoples, in its day. The nation with the most Muslims within its borders is INDONESIA. Ask the average American and they would probably say a nation in the Middle East. And by the way, Jesus was from the Middle East. The Sermon on the Mount was given in the Middle East. It is an area of the world rich with history and religion(s).

Islam does not promote terrorism. Their radical extremist minority factions DO.

I really think what it comes down to is that most middle-class and lower-class Americans do not have the slightest understanding of what Islam is, and do not know personally any one Muslim. If they did, they would not be going insane because of a mosque, a house of worship, being built at ground zero on private property.

Freedom of religion has always been a tricky thing in America. George Washington wrote to the “Sons of Israel” and welcomed Jews into colonial life, but we all know we have more church denominations than you can count and churches are also very racially divided. Religion hasn’t exactly been the example of unity and bringing people together in this land of diversity.

What an opportunity here to show our true belief in FREEDOM of religion, to show our tolerance for law-abiding and peaceful people in this nation of different cultures, races and peoples. We say this country was founded on Christianity, but the Christianity of our Founding Fathers was a radical type of Christianity most Americans could not relate to today.

People always want to quote their principles when it is most convenient, and legislate their own morality at times when it gets a little uncomfortable. Educated politicians are on television comparing Muslims to Nazis. PLEASE! GO BACK TO SCHOOL, read another book or two, learn something. It’s like condemning all Europeans because of the Holocaust. These terrorist groups are just that, and they are not the Muslim world. Let’s show our tolerance and brotherhood in action. Who are we as a nation? And who do we want to be? What lessons of tolerance are we to teach our children?

poetry night / music night

August 13, 2010

My husband has this incredible skill of organizing events and getting people involved in things. His latest kick is poetry. Not only has he started a poetry venue twice/mo., but he holds it in downtown Columbia, he gets professors of English, musicians black & white, people from the Columbia Arts Federation and many others to come. His venue is now booked through November. What are his qualifications? None! Except for this talent of his to organize people to get to events, and a new avid interest in writing and the muse.

This past week I attended my first one. Fourteen different individuals got up and recited or read an original piece of poetry (including myself and him). Two were African American high school students who had won some recognition or contest. There was an upbeat excitement in the air. The bagel shop said it was worth it for him to open his shop and he was pleased. A poet/musician sand and read his featured work. I read my poem in honor of Naylah’s birth, but it was about the waiting time just before she arrived.

Then the next night we attended an informal music venue at a small restaurant. We all sat outside where there were white and colored lights hung around a small stage. People were drinking beer and a faint mj smell at times appeared. The people were relaxed and friendly and everyone had a good time. There was a young teenage band playing when we arrived. Lots of different types of singers played their tunes and a featured local singer played guitar and sang from about 10-11. I always personally feel uncomfortable at these events, because I want to hide from people and it is scary to me, to be in a crowd of people I don’t know at all. That’s just my gut feeling. They were all fine people, I know this about myself, and know that this too shall pass. So I sit and smile, enjoy the music and force myself to interact somewhat. I’d really rather be invisible.

The other thing that bothers me is, these people are all really nice people but they all write “poetry” and sing songs about drinking, smoking and getting in bed with someone. That’s really what it’s all about, that’s what they write about. It just gets tiring after awhile……………… like watching 6 movies and they all had the same theme. Ok, what else are we? What are we really here for? Can we think outside the box of what’s immediately in front of us and tonight’s posibilities, come on. There is more out there folks. We are near 60 years old and some of you are still making jokes about smoking weed. I don’t really know how many nights per week I can do this…… I don’t drink, don’t smoke and don’t really think of getting laid all that often anymore….. and I love life, kids, interaction, walks, my job, and swimming. I just don’t think of getting high like I did when I was 20.

water mocassin

August 12, 2010

Walking around the pond yesterday I came upon a black snake with yellow design markings all along the top of it, laying across the sidewalk facing the pond. It was about 2 feet long. It MAY have been a poisonous water mocassin! I didn’t think too much of it, walked around to the back of it and avoided its gaze. I made it a point not to get too close to it…..

30,000 come to sign up for subsidized housing in Atlanta

August 12, 2010

Atlanta opened its rolls for subsidized housing for the 1st time in 8 years and 30,000 people showed up. Just to put their names on the list which currently has NO OPENINGS. People fainted and collapsed in line with the heat. Riot police were called in.

My students might say all those 30,000 people are the reason their taxes are increasing and those 30,000 people should go out & get a job and an education to support their lazy selves! Maybe in another 3-4 years after they graduate with their hard-earned 4-year degree and still have no job, maybe they will remember something — anything at all — from my stratification class, or the chapter on Poverty from my Social Problems class. Do you think??

Do you think all those 30,000 people stood in line because they’re lazy?? Really? Do you think if they were lazy maybe they’d be back at home –which obviously isn’t a home they own these days — playing video games or something?? I think people are dang desparate, are losing their homes while they HAVE jobs nd WORK, or seek work while their unemployment checks run out. I think we are in the middle of a crisis with 10% unemployment nationwide and people are looking for scapegoats.

For example, I heard today the South Carolina legislature proposed making it illegal for illegal residents to LIVE in SC. Wow, all those meat packing plants better raise their pay and look for American workers who might then take it.

People are so cruel and we are very heartless. If I couldn’t make a dime in my own country and businesses were HIRING ME in the next nation over and there was all kinds of possibilities there for my children besides maquiladoras, I do believe I’d try to go there and work. And have my children be born there. We are all human beings trying to survive. Yes we need laws, but there are too many million Mexicans here in our work force to “send them all back home”. People are ignorant. Ignorance is bliss. Them vs. Us.

Hidden Word no.43

August 9, 2010

next one I haven’t posted yet:

O SON OF BEING!
Make mention of Me on My earth, that in My heaven I may remember thee, thus shall Mine eyes and thine be solaced.

 (Baha’u’llah, The Arabic Hidden Words)

end of summer

August 6, 2010

It is still very hot, to the tune of 100 degrees and heat advisories. But there is a different “mood” entering the air. Kids are bored with swimming, not as excited about going to the pond to fish. Families are gone, taking their last trips to wherever. Summer camps are over. Stores are filled with long-sleeved shirts and Fall clothes. Student furniture is all over Wal-mart on sale. Toads and tree frogs are still singing at night, but not quite as loud.

My son and daughter-in-law are here the rest of this week, then all family trips and visiting will be over and I will be in work mode. As of Monday, I will be in my office daily. But last night we had 2 big games of Scrabble, the last one I almost won, with a new game that rotates the board and stores your pieces better. And TODAY, a trip to a chiropractor for my son whose back has been out for a week, and then a drive to CHARLESTON and the ocean. People in Wisconsin don’t get to see that big body of water with a weekend drive. So we are going. Then tomorrow morning, a drive back to our daughter’s in Raleigh, from where our son & wife will get on a plane the next morning to fly home. One more visit w/ Naylah, baby girl born this summer, newest member of our family, and Zakiah, big brother, at our daughter’s & son-in-law’s. That will truly complete the circle for this summer.

Indiana Baha’i summer school

August 3, 2010

a little poem dedicated to:

Indiana Baha’i Summer School

Lovers of His Light

from whichever vessel It appears,

We are many lamps,

different shades of brilliance,

some farther, some nearer,

we circle around the Center,

intermingle, interact,

sing praises, dance, talk, teach,

swim, play, reflect, learn,

and most of all,

We love one another,

Come in, come in,

Stay with us awhile,

Where else can one go

but to the Land of His Beloved?

Praise God

from Whom all blessings flow!

Clerk uses faith to stop robber

August 3, 2010

So I have been out of touch w / the news all summer because I’ve been traveling to my kids & picking up grandkids here & there, for 2 mos. Turning on the news this morning, here is what CNN is telling me:

1. A clerk stopped a bank robber by talking to him about Jesus. I commend her faith. Someone else could have and would have blown her away, but this man wasn’t a violent person. He said ‘God bless you’ and told her he was robbing her because he needed $300. or he would be evicted from where he lives. See what condition people are in today?? They are not all evil-spirited criminals who want to hurt people. Does that give him the right to rob someone or not be punished? No. It just means he is not mean spirited, and part of the problem is the social condition of our SOCIETY. Go back to DURKHEIM and read about the state of “anomie” — confusion, disarray, disconnectedness among people, resulting in more crime, more suicide, a sense of hopelessness. He wrote this 100+ yrs. ago. — So the “robber” left without the money and told he he was carrying a BB gun.

2. Huge flood in Pakistan, as many as 1500 dead. Lives lost and disrupted, makes me think of rescue efforts there compared to here.

3. Oil-based violence in the Niger Delta region.

4. In the Gulf, the oil cap is working but unstable. Who knows if it will hold or for how long. I can never remember the # of millions or billions of gallons of oil that have been released to the fish and living things in the Gulf. Was it 5 million?

I have to leave now for my college, to meet a student and my colleague. Seems there is never time to think and write. Even when one has the “summer off”.