Saturday, May 31, 2014

"This One's for You...

“It is easy to believe we are each waves and forget we are also the ocean.”
― Jon J. Muth

         "Got my toes in the water, ass in the sand." Life is good today. Beautiful. Happy Birthday, June 2nd to my extraordinary sister, Les. Love you. Thank you for reminding me of this song. Life is good today. Fully engaged in our present moment we have the ability to understand we're part of the graceful flow of a gentle wave. It's easier to realize this when we are physically at the beach with our "toes in the water and ass in the sand."  We forget we can recreate the experience internally at any moment. We become the wave. When we sense we may be dragged under water or fail to be who we really are, we have to be reminded we are the ocean. Just as the ocean generates the wave, the mind generates our thoughts. Ancient sages spoke of not changing what we see but how we see it. Are we tiny helpless swimmers drowning in the world's sea of raging storms? Or are we calm, cool Big Kahunas? Are we the powerful surfers who take control of the board and choose to ride our waves? The choice is ours. The choice is always ours.

     Like the ocean tides our time on earth is wave after wave of sadness, suffering and pain but life is also wave after wave of great joy, knowledge and wisdom. Our personal moments are as beautiful, ugly, tense, relaxing, meaningless or meaningful as we to choose to make them. No matter how much our minds convince us we're winners or loser's with "Life's Scratch Off Ticket", we choose to appreciate one million dollars or five. Because honestly, we could lose that cash in an instant. We can lose everything we own as quickly as we can scrub off a  hidden number with a nickle. How we react to good or bad fortune is always our choice. And  in the end, how do we know the difference?  All of us occasionally fantasize about business domination, owning our own private island or being a hedonistic rock star but even "lucky" people who earn millions are truly no happier or content than those who earn pennies. Happiness never has or ever will be a commodity. 
 Here's to riding your own wave.

and special Happy Birthday wishes go out to Angie-June 6th
                             Drew-June 13th & Steve, June 26th

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

“Everything in the universe has a rhythm, everything dances. ”

“Life is pure adventure, and the sooner we realize that, the quicker we will be able to treat life as art.”
― Maya Angelou

The free bird leaps
on the back of the wind
and floats downstream
till the current ends
and dips his wings
in the orange sun rays
and dares to claim the sky.

But a bird that stalks
down his narrow cage
can seldom see through
his bars of rage
his wings are clipped and
his feet are tied
so he opens his throat to sing.

The caged bird sings
with fearful trill
of the things unknown
but longed for still
and his tune is heard
on the distant hill
for the caged bird
sings of freedom

The free bird thinks of another breeze
and the trade winds soft through the sighing trees
and the fat worms waiting on a dawn-bright lawn
and he names the sky his own.

But a caged bird stands on the grave of dreams
his shadow shouts on a nightmare scream
his wings are clipped and his feet are tied
so he opens his throat to sing

The caged bird sings
with a fearful trill
of things unknown
but longed for still
and his tune is heard
on the distant hill
for the caged bird
sings of freedom.

I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings


Sunday, May 25, 2014

“The love that moves the sun and the other stars”

                     A LOVE THAT MOVES THE SUN  :
                     A Memorial Day Tribute and thank you to those we have loved, lost 
                     and  those we have never met.  by Lisa More

                          We are One.
                          I am a part of you.
                          You are a part of me.

                         You are the heart of me who never returned.
                         Standing courageous and brave on a battleship
                         silently waving good-bye to every thing and 
                         every one you ever loved.

                         You are the haunting shadow of the past
                         who chose passion over quiet resistance,
                         who chose noble warrior over gentle stillness.

                          You are the memory that lives in me,
                          selflessly flying missions on the untamed wind,
                          mapping out the intricacies of our future freedom.
                          You are a part of me cut open, wounds bleeding
                          heart beating out of your chest with fear,
                          swallowing tears and moving forward into
                          the unknown darkness.

                          We are One.
                          I am a part of you.
                          You are a part of me.
                          We will never glimpse the beauty of the
                          Universe in each others eyes yet
                          every atom we share of our Truth and
                          our legacy gives me the strength to fight for
                          Our peace.



Friday, May 23, 2014

"It's time to begin, isn't it?"

"The unfortunate, yet truly exciting thing about your life is that there is no core curriculum. The entire place is an elective."- Jon Stewart
        If  you are attending commencement  exercises  for a high school student in 2014 the lucky graduate probably made their debut in 1996 like my adorable nephew Jared. 1996 was the year The New York Yankees won the World Series, The Chicago Bulls were NBA champions and the Dallas Cowboys took home the Super Bowl Trophy.
      "Show me the money."  and "You had me at, "hello"." were the most obnoxiously repeated movie quotes from  "Jerry Maguire" . Tom Cruise was the hottest actor and  the music world mourned the death of rap artist Tupac Shakur. Frank McCourt's  movingly tender account of his mother "Angela's Ashes" was the top selling novel.  Dancing the 'Macarena" at clubs and wedding receptions was mandatory and  Mariah Carey with Boyz II Men reigned on top of the pop charts for over a year with the sentimental power ballad, "One Sweet Day". Now that you feel sufficiently ancient, lets congratulate the class of 2014.
      Jared chose a different Imagine Dragon's song for his blog but "It's Time" seems perfect for students and young people who are about to start a new chapter in their lives. 

It's time to begin, isn't it?
I get a little bit bigger but then I'll admit
I'm just the same as I was
Don't you understand
That I'm never changing who I am 

     My nephew has grown up to be an intelligent, hardworking student who excels at almost every endeavor. He is an athlete, musician, comedian, scholar and remains true to himself. These qualities have much to do with his loving, nurturing parents whose combined personalities created a compassionate, caring, individualistic Super Mind. When I discovered the following quote online it reminded me of his Mom and Dad, "I smile because you are my son. I laugh because there is nothing you can do about it."  All of your aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces and nephews love you with all our hearts. We couldn't be more proud. Love you.

Congratulations, Jared. You have always been an awesome inspirational force and will continue to be. Carry on.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

"And just like a drum I can hear their hearts beating"

 Jake:  "Whatcha wanna be married to me for?"
 Melanie: "So I can kiss you any time I want."- Sweet Home Alabama

            Congratulations to Season 18 - Dancing with the Stars- Mirror Ball Trophy Champions, professional ice-dancer, Meryl Davis and veteran dancer Maks Chmerkovskiy. The charismatic duo won the hearts of millions who sensed an ensuing hot and heavy chemistry. Like any riveting soap opera, fans excitedly tuned in to speculate a blossoming romance. During a taped rehearsal segment Chmerkovskiy finally admitted what devoted audience members were dying to uncover, "I want to ravage her and have ice-skating, big, Russian, mean babies. We're going to call them Oleg and Boris. Their nicknames are going to be Bear. Both. One nickname for both."
      When would Prince Maks propose? "Probably tomorrow," he joked.

      Of course those who follow the show understand that Maks has a tantalizing history of  falling for his radiant  "stars". Former dance partner and current  DWTS co-host Erin Andews dated  Maks during and after a seasons finale.  He has enchanted colleague's like the beautiful Karina Smirnoff whom he had a long term partnership and briefly dated Australian hottie Peta Murgatroyd.
       Chmerkovskiy was born in Ukraine. His family, including younger brother Val, also a  professional dancer, immigrated to the United States when Maks was still in grades school. In addition to stirring up gossip and whipping up whirl wind romances, Chmerkovskiy owns and operates a dance studio in New York City. The lovely and much envied Meryl Davis is one half of an Olympic ice dancing dream team.  Davis and partner Charlie White were 2014 Olympic Champions, two-time World champions, 2010 Olympic silver medalists and two-time World silver medalists.

        At one time almost my entire family watched and voted for their favorite Dancing With the Stars couple. My niece even made us glittering voting paddles a la DWTS judges Lynn Goodman, Carrie Ann Inaba and Bruno Tonioli stamped with "10" 's to hold up during the show.  Even though I've missed entire seasons and haven't been able to catch every episode, my family and friends will attest, Maks has always been my favorite dancer. Now my sisters keep me updated and informed.

     As a matter of fact, my sister Laurie will be celebrating a birthday on May 22nd. She is an incredible  teacher, sister, auntie, wife, mother and a true romantic at heart. The video above, "So Close" from the Disney film Enchanted is dedicated to her.  Like many of us she dreams of a world that dances and sings 24/7, a continuous production of Glee, a life as one great big magnificent musical extravaganza. If it could be gift wrapped, it would be given to you. Happy Birthday. Love you. Make a wish.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

"Hope is never silent."

"Never be bullied into silence. Never allow yourself to be made a victim. Accept no one's definition of your life; define yourself." - Harvey Fierstein (Tony Award winning actor and playwright)

     What's generating all the social media buzz around Arcade Fire's new video for the previously released song "We Exist"?  Could the hype be centered around the handsome star of  The Amazing Spider Man parading about in drag?  Could it be the intriguing video concept that grabs our attention and mesmerizes our imaginations? Or could it be that Arcade Fire has released yet another memorable angst anthem?  British actor Andrew Garfield transforms himself into a super hero of a more profound nature, taking on the role of a young man struggling with gender identity. Originally filmed live during Arcade Fire’s performance at the Coachella Festival in California back in April, the video has recaptured the hearts of Arcade Fire devotees and piqued the interest of thousands of new fans. 
     Although all songs are open to interpretation by the listener and lyrics are subjective; the basic premise of both the song and the video "We Exist" is empowerment. In an interview with Time Out Magazine, Arcade's front man, song writer and lead vocalist Win Butler confirmed, 

        "There’s a song on “Reflektor” called “We Exist”, which is about a gay kid talking to his dad. In dominant cultures there’s what’s normal, and everything else is abnormal. It’s one of the darker tendencies of humanity to think everyone should fit into a mold."  
      Arcade Fire certainly knows a thing or two about maintaining their unique presence in the placating cookie cutter pop music world. They are an excellent example of a rock band that has refused to be bullied by music executives or compromise their distinctive sound. Thankfully, they've remained true to themselves and continue to impress and empower. 

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

“The wound is the place where the Light enters you.”

“To know that you do not know is the best.
To think you know when you do not is a disease.
Recognizing this disease as a disease is to be free of it.”
― Lao Tzu

       May has been recognized as Mental Health Awareness Month since 1949. Along with traditional therapies many psychologists and researchers continue to document the amazing benefits and healing power of animals. Pets can serve as important sources of social and emotional support for all of us. Individuals facing significant health challenges such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or severe depression have shown significant improvement in overall quality of life from pet companionship. According to research published by the American Psychological Association  pet owners were just as close to key people in their lives as to their animals, indicating no evidence that relationships with pets came at the expense of relationships with other people, or that people relied more on pets when their human social support was poor or unreliable.  The results of the study were reported in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology®, published online by APA.

     According to researchers, "  We observed evidence that pet owners fared better, both in terms of well-being outcomes and individual differences, than non-owners on several dimensions,” said lead researcher Allen R. McConnell, PhD, of Miami University in Ohio. “Specifically, pet owners had greater self-esteem, were more physically fit, tended to be less lonely, were more conscientious, were more extroverted, tended to be less fearful and tended to be less preoccupied than non-owners.”

      In the video above, highly decorated U.S Army captain, Luis Montalván would never back down from a challenge serving two tours of duty in Iraq.  However, after returning home from combat, the pain of his physical wounds, traumatic brain injury, and crippling post-traumatic stress disorder ultimately took its toll. Luis Montalvan soon found himself unable to face the challenges of every day life such as climbing stairs or riding a bus to the VA hospital. He began to drink more and more, eventually cutting himself off from all the people he loved. Alone, unable to sleep, alienated and suffering with chronic pain, Luis began to wonder if he would ever recover. PTSD is a debilitating reaction to trauma  that affects a human beings biological and psychological functions. Although not completely understood, those who suffer from PTSD  symptoms have shown incredible response to music, art, and especially companion animal therapy.

     For additional information about Mental Health Awareness Month visit

Sunday, May 11, 2014

"The most difficult thing in the world is to reveal yourself..."

"Most people don’t know what they want or feel. And for everyone, myself included, it’s very difficult to say what you mean when what you mean is painful. The most difficult thing in the world is to reveal yourself, to express what you have to… As an artist, I feel that we must try many things – but above all, we must dare to fail. You must have the courage to be bad – to be willing to risk everything to really express it all." – director John Cassavetes (Rosemary's Baby, The Dirty Dozen)
      Do you have a thirst for cinema and a voracious appetite for film?  Get hooked on SnagFilms, a website dedicated to offering advertising-supported documentary and independent films. Films are streamed free on the website, which contains a library of over 5,000 works of art. Filmmakers can submit documentaries at any time for consideration as well. On the site you will find films produced by PBS and National Geographic, on subjects such as The Times of Harvey Milk  and Morgan Spurlock's Super Size Me. SnagFilms was founded in 2008 by internet visionary, Ted Leonsis who also owns and operates indieWire the online publication featuring the independent film industry.

      One of the greatest pioneering film directors in cinematic history, John Huston (The Maltese Falcon, The Treasure of the Sierra Madre) once cast off a key to his creative kingdom,
 " I don’t try to guess what a million people will like. It’s hard enough to know what I like." 
 A priceless gem from the remarkable genius director of Sin City and Machete creator, 
Robert Rodriguez,
" Do not be told something is impossible. There is always a way."
Staying true to artistic vision and insight is what sets most creative people apart from dollar driven Hollywood suits. Produced mostly or completely outside of major studios, independent films allow for comprehensive creative control, uncensored freedom and unapologetic expression. Independent films typically have a lower budget and are often in limited release. With the advent of newer and cheaper technology it's easier than ever before for an aspiring  film maker to produce, edit and distribute a short or full length feature. Although success is sweet, cashing in or selling out isn't the main goal of an indie film.

      What you will  discover on SnagFilms is thousands of  fascinating movies of every genre, short films and documentaries to delight any and all taste buds. The website even offers up shows and mini-series to fulfill marathon movie moments or "binge viewing" weekends. Check out legendary conductor, Leonard Bernstein directing lessons in music theory on Omnibus or watch the incredible Oprah Winfrey in The Women of Brewster Place, a series based on the novel by Gloria Naylor.

       Featured in the video above is two time Leo Award winning and five time documentary nominated film, The Good Son. This feature documentary focuses on former boxer Ray "Boom Boom" Mancini's own personal account of his families history and his own meteoric rise and fall. A tragic battle with fighter  Deuk-Koo Kim would alter Mancini's life forever. The saga of loss and redemption, father's and son's, hope and forgiveness, features actor Mickey Roarke, Ed O'Neil, Sugar Ray Leonard and historic interviews with Kim's own family, including his son, Jiwan Kim. 

The Good Son is currently promoted by SnagFilms and will be available soon.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

"You'll never know how much I miss you."

GLENDA-  A Mother's Day haiku

Your eyes full of love,
burn into the minds of five.
Warm our hearts from inside.

     Among her many loves, music is what burned into my souls memory of Mom. She suffered tremendously at the end of her life. She surrendered to a painful, hard fought battle with cancer the day after my 12th birthday. The morning of her death, preparing to leave for school, as part of our routine since kindergarten she was slathered with good-bye kisses,  " I love you, Mommy."  Walking away, naively believing she would be waiting for my 3:15 pm return to rehash a days adventure, a door closed. A door closed forever. Even though the memory of that twenty-four hours lives on in every cell of my body, it has been refused a power to negate or lessen all the profoundly beautiful moments we bonded as mother and daughter. Being one of her five children, my memories are shared with my sisters and brothers and yet they are distinctly my own. Our perception will never be another persons reality. Our perception is exactly that, ours. No two people will ever experience an event or tell a story in exactly the same way. It's what makes our lives our own extraordinary journey. And for the record, Les, Laurie, Steve and Dave;  Mom always loved me most. (wink). 

     Songs, harmony, melody, lyrics, her voice, the way she moved and swayed when she danced has been seared into my mind. To this day, when one of these cherished songs is heard on the radio or captured online, the floodgates of memory break open wide. During my childhood music constantly played on the stereo, car radio, TV and record players. The soundtrack of Mom's life was downloaded to my brain over twelve years. For this blog there were numerous coveted songs and artists to choose from but the achingly loving sentiment and gorgeous voice of Johnny Mathis says it all. Mom adored him so I grew up loving his music too. She introduced me to The Stylistics, Glenn Miller, Benny Goodman, Led Zepplin, Eric Clapton, The Beatles, Elton John, Sonny and Cher, The Fifth Dimension, Mac Davis, and countless other musicians and performers. She had a crush on Bee Gees front man, Barry Gibb. One of the last songs that really touched her heart was, "How Deep is Your Love".

      "You'll Never Know" goes out to my brothers and sisters and especially to all children who have lost their mothers far too young. Life is just a moment in Time. You can't change events from the past. You can't go back. You can't live there either. Acceptance of the past allows you to move forward and live in the present. The greatest gift you can give your mother is to live a happy, peaceful, loving life in the present moment. Be here now

                                                                                      With love and peace always,

Monday, May 5, 2014

"Looking for the moon, it is here in this wave and the next."

"The moon, like you,
is far away from me, but it's our sole memento:
if you look and recall our past through it,
we can be one mind."
-  Saigo
   Awesome Nightfall

By Thich Nhat Hanh

"Every morning, when we wake up, we have twenty-four brand-new hours to live. What a precious gift! We have the capacity to live in a way that these twenty-four hours will bring peace, joy, and happiness to ourselves and others. 
Peace is present right here and now, in ourselves and in everything we do and see. The Question is whether or not we are in touch with it. We don't have to travel far away to enjoy the blue sky. We don't have to leave our city or even our neighborhood to enjoy the eyes of a beautiful child. Even the air we breathe can be a source of joy.
We can smile, breathe, walk, and eat our meals in a way that allows us to be in touch with the abundance of happiness that is available. We are very good at preparing to live, but not very good at living. We know how to sacrifice ten years for a diploma, and we are willing to work very hard to get a job, a car, a house, and so on. But we have difficulty remembering that we are alive at the present moment, the only moment there is for us to be alive.
Every breath we take, every step we make, can be filled with peace, joy, and serenity. We need only to be awake, alive in the present moment. ...""

Friday, May 2, 2014

"Everything that's difficult, you should be able to laugh about."

  • *"A woman saying "yes" to a date with a man is literally insane and ill-advised, and the whole species' existence counts on them doing it. do women still go out with guys, when you consider the fact that there is no greater threat to women than men? We're the number one threat to women. Globally and historically, we're the number one cause of injury and mayhem to women. We're the worst thing that ever happens to them. That's true! You know what our number one threat is? Heart disease."- Louis CK *

    •      The wait is  finally over.  "Louie" is  back at last on  FX . End your Cinco de Mayo festivities by tuning in Monday May 5th at 10pm EST. Louis C.K. returns to television after a lengthy hiatus completing among other projects, Oscar winning movie, Blue Jasmine and notably appearing  as a budget conscious FBI director in David O. Russell's, American Hustle. No stranger to accolades himself, the clever, original  writing and performing of C.K. on the much loved "Louie" has garnered this sensationally seasoned comic, director and producer a number of Emmy Awards. 

      As the "every man'" philosopher and the attentive, observant father, Louie, the character is off beat, intelligent and somewhat neurotic. He allows us to ponder our own existence every episode from start to finish. Louis C.K., the comedian and writer evokes the same kind of humorous reflection in his stand-up audiences.

       ""I'm bored" is a useless thing to say. I mean, you live in a great, big, vast world that you've seen none percent of. Even the inside of your own mind is endless, it goes on forever, inwardly, do you understand? The fact that you're alive is amazing, so you don't get to say, " I'm bored".
      -Louis C.K.