Saturday, December 31, 2016

Good Riddance, 2016...

It's been a looooong year, it really has. Celebrity deaths, Brexit, refugee crises and the shocking US election aside, this year was filled with a particular brand of crazy that never really seemed to let up.

My family and I suffered lots of personal losses - including a very dear, Stevie Wonder-loving breast cancer sister and the bestest cat in the world. I have friends who lost spouses and some others who had some extremely major health scares. And yes, the hits to the music and entertainment world were unreal as I'm still reeling from Prince's passing. Hard to believe that brilliant mind is just done, it really is.

But you know what? Somehow, we made it through. A little worse for wear and a bit heart-heavy, but still standing. The adjustment to the new normal seemingly begins almost before the shock of what just happened even wears off.

Humans are remarkably resilient. Not sure if we are, as the adage says, actually made stronger by adversity, but getting through those really rough patches you think will take you out says a whole heck of a lot.

So keep standing. Keep pushing for what is right. Take time to mourn whatever loss you've encountered then re-adjust your sails and keep it moving.

Because sometimes the only way out is to keep going.

May 2017 be all you hope it will be.

Friday, June 3, 2016

Tassel Flip Tuesday!

Yesterday was my son's big day as he graduated with his BA in Performing Arts/Dance from Queens College. Yep, that's a pretty big deal...

The last five years were a real challenge for both of us - due to transferring from an area community college, housing issues that made commuting necessary for almost a full year, car troubles that made that commute difficult for a minute, a vicious rehearsal schedule and finding the funds to pay for it all. But yesterday was a the culmination of all the crazy when the school's president welcomed the class of 2016 to the QC alumnus pool.

And yes, I cried like a baby. Cried 'til I literally an out of tissues. Pretty cool day, still!

Proud of my not-so-little guy, I really am!

After the cap-flip: Squirrel and his mom


Graduate Selfie!


All Smiles
Squirrel and his bestie




Monday, March 14, 2016

Smack Dab in the Middle: The New Sandwich Generation

As an editor, I assign lots of stories to writers. Back in 1998 or so, the publisher of a magazine I'd just started working for suggested an article on what she called the Sandwich Generation - folks who were raising children and taking care of aging parents. 

Don't remember which local writer I pegged to pen the story, but I remember being so awestruck at the story s/he told. There was an entire struggle that so many people were experiencing but I knew nothing about.

Because my mother passed away from a breast cancer metastasis about year and a half before my son was born and my father died suddenly 13 years later, the idea of figuring out eldercare arrangements while coordinating play dates and carpool schedules was a pretty foreign one to me.

But now, right in the throws of the crazy that is the US Presidential Election Campaign, I suddenly have a good idea of what the meat squished between those two pieces of bread feels like.

Newsflash - I'm far from conservative or Republican. I lean so far left that I'm almost horizontal - no joke - so, outlandish promises, dirty political commercials and the like are things I'm use to experiencing every four years when national election time rolls around. 

This time, however, there is a distinctly different vibe to the whole thing.

I'm seeing and hearing xenophobic vitriol that is dripping with hate and "we don't like your kind" rhetoric and punctuated by violence against men, women, students and older Americans. Last week, a photo taken in Chicago after a cancelled rally showed a woman in a full Heil Hitler pose. A few days before that, a man was sucker punched in the face by a lunatic as he was being escorted out of the facility another rally was being held. Just before that, an Hispanic man was spit on by an angry protester and a Time magazine photographer was body-slammed to the ground by a Secret Service Agent. Yes it was all very shocking to see, but it was also very familiar - because it looked so much like the grainy black and white footage shot in the pre-civil rights era 1960s when peaceful protests for the rights denied to some in the general population turned very, very violent.

All I keep thinking each time another incident occurs is "Didn't my parents do this before? Haven't we marched this march and fought this fight already?

My son, now a senior in college and preparing to vote for the second time in his life, is soaking this all in. He is fervent about reminding people on social media and elsewhere that the rhetoric isn't cute, but cringeworthy and outright dangerous. I see him rolling up his political sleeves and prepping to put in some serious work to get the word out that the agitation is ugly and dismissive in a way that is not good for anyone. 

If it were possible to roll the clock back 65 years or so, I know he'd have been seated at a lunch counter or protesting in front of fire hoses and police dogs. 

That my parents were on the front lines a generation ago and my son is now doing the same is an eerie feeling, one I can't quite adequately explain - mostly because I thought we'd moved so far past this that it's totally disappointing to be here again. I feel like my generation somehow dropped the ball.

The saying goes "If you do not stand for something you'll fall for anything."

So keep standing tall, kiddo. Keep standing tall.