Friday, March 27, 2009

April is National Poetry Month

HeArt of the Matter

By Jacquelyn Hughes Mooney©03

While the water laughed all around me…
And the wind opened its mouth to sing this song to me… Again.
“I was moving backward on a forward highway…
Shall I question (again) if this is what makes me whole?”
That is, for me, the heart of the matter.

This thing, I am tilted toward…
Is it a renaissance?
Can this phoenix bend the river’s current…
To what needs fulfillment?
For me, it is the heart of the matter.

Leading a satisfied life is my heart’s dream.
Throughout my soul are songs reaching…
For what beyond what I settled for.
Suppressing no more as the bough breaks
The matters of the heart, is for me.

No longer fine with regurgitated whine.
A sad, sad song spinning its wheel...
All that it kicked up was dirt…
But going nowhere in so much hurry.
Can I do it? Will you do it?
Turn on the light! Banish the shadows, so I can shine.
That is the heart of the matter.

Let me whisper loudly from my heart’s recesses.
I need to walk proudly graced with dignity.
And preserve all the beauty that is going forwardly through the shining waters.
It is I, the heart that matters.
All rights reserved JHM 03©

A Written Thought

Well Hello
(And welcome back)

By Jacquelyn Hughes Mooney ©09

I found you, at last.
For awhile/ I thought/ l had lost you/ not knowing/ where you had gone off/ to.
Saddend me to such a point/Not knowing/ when or why
I set aside myself/ to such a point/ that I ended up/ putting me on layaway/forgetting where I put the receipt/ losing me
Which was not the plan/ course of action/ I purported
So my loss/ indeed was/ twice over
Losing you/ then losing/me
Staring off/ way off the beam/in the wrong place
That were simply not the in the right spaces/When in actuality/ you were not far away.
Just waiting/ waiting/waiting & s’more waiting/for me to look up into/ the right direction/ to spot you/ up on a hill/ not far from a valley of deficiency
You had not/ abandoned me/ which was a good thing.
But indeed/ had I really/ let you down?
Or had I simply seen/ things through a prism/ shooting images in willy nilly being all silly
And I accepted/ the most inaccurate one/ though I should have known better?

But for now/ that is totally irrelevant /as I am /beside myself to/ have you back!
All the places & times/ I said/ I searched for you/ in them were an adventure/ not always in Paradise
Not always/ the right ones/ at the right time to see/ for me to see.
Of all things/ it took a ant/a little ant/ that spark off /the aha/ that made me look in a different direction/And then/ (aha!)/ I grasped hold/ & held on.

with all my strength & my might/ that you were so near/ very dear to me.

All rights reservedJHM©3-27-09

Hair Photos by Yodith Dammilish

When is a haircut just a haircut?

I am so loving this essay by Michelle Martin of NPR. Check out her show Tell Me More

Last year, I cut my hair. I cut off my twists and went back to my legacy 'do, my beloved short crop.

There was no big political decision involved, no personal crisis, no spiritual journey. I just decided I wanted to spend more time in the pool for the rest of the summer, and I was tired of timing my workouts to my hair appointments.

No big deal, right?

The minute I left the salon, the two guys at my garage practically burst into tears. “What have you done? What happened?”

My husband is a particularly smart man. We've been married a while, so he knew better than to offer any opinion. But that did not stop all kinds of other people from weighing in.
What's going on?

What's up?

What does this mean?

Regardless of the ethnicity, there is entirely too much meaning attached to women's hair. There is so much angst, the whole blonde versus brunette, long versus short, frizzy-curly versus straight thing. I mean, just remember what happened to Hillary when she started having fun with her hair when she was first lady. Female news anchors are regularly flooded with hate mail about their choice of hair color. Then there was, of course, the now-infamous New Yorker magazine cover last year with Michelle Obama in a big afro, perfectly complementing her fatigues and an AK-47.

Amazing to me that any hairstyle still carries so much weight.

What other ethnic group has to have so much conversation about wearing their hair in the manner in which it naturally grows? What other group has had to litigate over wearing hairstyles like braids or cornrows, if you will, that are not only elegant but also an ancient art form suited to the natural texture of the hair?

Can you imagine if white women had to go to court to wear a ponytail to work at, say, T.G.I. Friday's?

Now most of the people I know just want to do the same stuff everybody else wants to do. We want to go to work, raise our children. On the weekends, we want to kick back, maybe get in a workout or two, maybe get our hair done.

So here’s my advice. If a woman in your life does show up on Monday with a new look, repeat after me: “New 'do? It's cute!”

Michel Martin is the host of the NPR program Tell Me More. This essay was adapted from a commentary she delivered on the air

Thursday, March 26, 2009

That Smile That Smile

An off chance comment by a friend remarking how all my grandchildrens' beautiful smiles made me think how today because of all what is swirling around us that is negative but absolutely fixable made me think about a poem I wrote a couple of years ago about someone whose smile was so gorgeous it made me smile and inspired the poem below.

And then today despite ones bent on causing needless grief in the cause of being right no matter who is harmed in the process, I found myself smiling over a simple thought of putting in my moon garden in the next few weeks.

For those who wonder what that is, I am planning to have all white flowers from tulips, to calla lillies to hibiscus and others so at night the yard will look as though it is lit up glowing from within which is what I want my heart to be like...

Enjoy in time for National Poetry Month (April)

That Smile That Smile
By Jacquelyn Hughes Mooney ©07

How gorgeous is that smile/That holds the pledge of all things beautiful/ And the joy that comes from/ whatever it takes to get that smile/The promise that /we can work it out/That we bring about/That we do indeed/Be in possession of ourselves/radiates from that smile/ Shall we get to together?/Well just ask that smile/It roars/Yes, yes oh yes/We are doing something new/Not ventured forth/Before that smile/ It shimmies with a bounce of future times/Forward dreams/And cleaves to the possibilities/From yesterday/That laid all out there in that smile.


Excellent thoughts by the Self Esteem Doctor Jewel Diamond Taylor

Have you ever had a new love, friend, opportunity or blessing show up in your life and you didn't believe it because of your past hurts and disappointments? I recall frying chicken on a hot summer day while pregnant with my first son. The hot grease popped and burned my chest badly. I didn't fry chicken for 20 years because, in my mind, frying chicken equaled pain.
I "over learned" an experience. The scar has since healed, but the emotional scar lasted an unrealistically long time in my mind. Sometimes we make illogical decisions to protect ourselves from pain. The opposite happens when we repeat painful and costly lessons in life over and over again. We "under learn" an experience because we don't learn from the consequences. Failing a test, betrayal, abandonment in a relationship, being overlooked for a promotion, a bitter divorce or unapproved credit can cause you to over learn an experience. You feel burned and you stop asking, believing and growing. You close your heart and mind because of past results. Who or what has "burned" you badly? Who or what is showing up in your life right now? Life is full of risks. There are no guarantees. But you are guaranteed to continue living in lack and stagnation until you are ready to change your perception of the past and your self-worth. Break the yoke of fear, denial and procrastination.

Excerpt from the book "You Are Too Blessed to Be Stressed"
by Jewel Diamond Taylor)

Call 323.964.1736 to order by phone
with your debit/credit card.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

And when you DO have Words to Say...

Broken Wing - Don't Judge a Book by Its Cover

By Jim Hullihan

Some people are just doomed to be failures. That's the way some adults look at troubled kids. Maybe you've heard that, "a bird with a broken wing will never fly as high." I'm sure T.J. Ware was made to feel this way almost every day in school.

By high school, T.J. was the most celebrated troublemaker in his town. Teachers literally cringed when they saw his name posted on their classroom lists for the next semester. He wasn't very talkative, didn't answer questions and got into lots of fights. He had flunked almost every class by the time he entered his senior year, yet was being passed on each year to a higher grade level. Teachers didn't want to have him again the following year. T.J. was moving on, but definitely not moving up.

I met T.J. for the first time at a weekend leadership retreat. All the students at school had been invited to sign up for ACE training, a program designed to have students become more involved in their communities. T.J. was one of 405 students who signed up.

When I showed up to lead their first retreat, the community leaders gave me this overview of the attending students: "We have a total spectrum represented today, from the student body president to T.J. Ware, the boy with the longest arrest record in the history of town." Somehow, I knew that I wasn't the first to hear about T.J.'s darker side as the first words of introduction.

At the start of the retreat, T.J. was literally standing outside the circle of students, against the back wall, with that "go ahead, impress me" look on his face. He didn't readily join the discussion groups, didn't seem to have much to say.

But slowly, the interactive games drew him in. The ice really melted when the groups started building a list of positive and negative things that had occurred at school that year. T.J. had some definite thoughts on those situations. The other students in T.J.'s group welcomed his comments.

All of a sudden T.J. felt like a part of the group, and before long he was being treated like a leader. He was saying things that made a lot of sense, and everyone was listening. T. J. was a smart guy, and he had some great ideas.

The next day, T.J. was very active in all the sessions. By the end of the retreat, he had joined the Homeless Project team. He knew something about poverty, hunger and hopelessness. The other students on the team were impressed with his passionate concern and ideas. They elected T.J. co-chairman of the team. The student council president would be taking his instruction from T.J. Ware!

When T.J. showed up at school on Monday morning, he arrived to a firestorm. A group of teachers were protesting to the school principal about his being elected co-chairman. The very first communitywide service project was to be a giant food drive, organized by the Homeless Project team. These teachers couldn't believe that the principal would allow this crucial beginning to a prestigious, three-year action plan to stay in the incapable hands of T.J. Ware.

They reminded the principal, "He has an arrest record as long as your arm. He'll probably steal half the food." Mr. Coggshall reminded them that the purpose of the ACE program was to uncover any positive passion that a student had and reinforce its practice until true change can take place. The teachers left the meeting shaking their heads in disgust, firmly convinced that failure was imminent.

Two weeks later, T.J. and his friends led a group of 70 students in a drive to collect food. They collected a school record: 2,854 cans of food in just two hours. It was enough to fill the empty shelves in two neighborhood centers, and the food took care of needy families in the area for 75 days.

The local newspaper covered the event with a full-page article the next day. That newspaper story was posted on the main bulletin board at school, where everyone could see it. T.J.'s picture was up there for doing something great, for leading a record-setting food drive. Every day he was reminded about what he did. He was being acknowledged as leadership material.
T. J. started showing up at school every day and answered questions from teachers for the first time. He led a second project, collecting 300 blankets and 1,000 pairs of shoes for a homeless shelter. The event he started now yields 9,000 cans of food in one day, taking care of 70 percent of the need for food for one year.

T.J. reminds us that a bird with a broken wing only needs mending. But once it has healed, it can fly higher than the rest. T.J. got a job. He became productive. He is flying quite nicely these days.

Monday, March 16, 2009

In Unison~I have no Words yet...

Indians a'comin...

Madame Queen


Spy Boy Fifty years late, a child of the Third Ward connects with the roots of his cultural heritage
20 March 2005

By Gregory Alan Gross©05

Every spring, the Mardi Gras Indians, the Black Indians of New Orleans, hit the streets for their neighborhood parades — but after more than fifty springs, I ’d yet to see them.

You couldn’t be a black child in 1950s New Orleans and not hear about the Indians. But these were gangs, rivals, often armed. My family kept me away from them, but not their fascination.
In a land where few black men risked open defiance of white authority, the Indians defied ALL authority. I knew that one day, I would see them. I had to see them.

The wish would be fulfilled in March 2005 at the old Shakespeare Park, on the corner of Washington and LaSalle, across the street from the Magnolia housing projects.

The Indians won’t show up until evening, but folks are lining the route by noon. Grownups bring folding chairs. Little boys ride their father’s shoulders. Little girls hold their mother’s hand.

The older boys are out in their urban uniform, loose white T–shirts and/or sports jerseys, baggy pants or shorts. The girls are out, too, with shining black hair pulled back tight into short ponytails, skin–tight blouses, cotton pedal–pushers, denim miniskirts.

Guys are selling cold sodas and beer from ice chests carried on children’s little red wagons.

Others are cooking up everything from hot dogs and hamburgers to pork chops and gumbo on barbecue grills mounted on the backs of pickup trucks.

Somebody’s blasting music from a boombox. There’s also music for sale, bootleg CD’s made by loud, wide–eyed kids with dreams of fame, fortune and escape.

Suddenly, a cry from down the block pierces the air:

“Indians comin’!”

One after another, strutting down the middle of the avenue, surrounded by helpers, followers and the inevitable “second line.” The air is filled with the pop–and–jingle of tambourines and thick, staccato rhythm of drums.

See full story:

new orleans~the Desperate Mask of Joy

Excellent commentary written long before the storm

By Gregory Gross©All Right Reserved

This is both a working river port and a bastion of culture. Everything from cargo barges to cruise ships tie up along the wharves that line the Mississippi River. And this is, of course, the cradle of jazz.

But most folks know this place as the party capital of America, and for a reason. Anywhere else, excess in the name of enjoyment is a momentary indulgence. Here, it’s closer to a religion. New Orleans will drink you under the table and blow ’til the cows come home, then come back for more the next night.

This city should be taken only in moderation, but seldom is, mainly because it won’t let you.
Eventually, though, after the hedonist in you has downed a fistful of aspirin and buried its head under the pillow, you may begin to wonder why a place would have to work so hard at having fun. The answers are uncomfortably close at hand — grinding poverty, a hardened layer of racial prejudice, and underneath it all — but not very far underneath — a simmering, smoldering residue of anger.

Sometimes it expresses itself in outbursts of singular rage, like that of Robert Charles, who killed 23 whites, including seven policemen, in a week-long rampage in 1900 that that led to the lynching of blacks and the torching of my elementary school. Or that of Mark Essex,
the downtown sniper of 1973.

More often, however, those who feel the most disrespected, disconnected and disenfranchised by life in New Orleans simply take out their resentments and despair on one another. The cops and the coroner keep score. Behind its joyous, easy–facade, this may well be the angriest city in America.

Then there’s the weather, which will either beat you down under its heat and humidity during the summer, chill you to your very bones in the winter, or simply send the Mississippi River over its banks and all your levees to try to literally flush you out.

If all else fails, old Momma Nature sends a hurricane spinning in off the Gulf of Mexico to try her level–best to erase the city, and you, from the planet surface.

It’s the tourists — and those who make a living off of them — who tend to call this place “The Big Easy.” Most of those who actually live here know better.

So perhaps it’s no surprise that New Orleans expresses herself in ways beyond the conventional, or that the most voiceless of her people are the ones who give this city her most expressive voice. Music becomes a clenched fist put to sound.

Cooking becomes less an act than an attitude.

Celebration becomes a cheerful, let-loose gesture of defiance.

It’s all one big Carnival mask, and New Orleans never takes it off.

Ask yourMama: 12 Moods of Jazz~ Langston Hughes Project

It is wonderful. Highly recommend you listen to the excerpts and when it comes to a town near you go and have the experinece!

Family folklore speaks of a blood relations between my grandfather Alexander Hughes and Langston. whether true or not I enjoy just the thought of it. Mr. Hughes dies the year I was 16 and graduating from high school, my grandfather, Alexander Hughes died when I was 5 in New Orleans. My last memory of him was of a smiing grandfather handing this child a toy violin. Several years later I took violin lessons in grade school at Alfred Lawless Elememtary which has been demoilished in Katrina. I was not good at it but I have the memory. I did later become a visual artist & a poet, so perhaps it is in the DNA?

Friday, March 13, 2009

Celebration of Women: Getting Back to Living

Ashaye Marketing Enterprises, Inc.
Meetings - Informational Meeting
Saturday, March 21, 2009
2:00pm - 4:30pm
Malcolm X Library & Performing Arts Center
5148 Market St.

You are cordially invited to attend "Celebration of Women: Getting Back to Living Again"

Saturday, March 21, 20092pm-4:30pm

Malcolm X Library Performing Arts Center5148 Market St.

This is our 2nd annual celebration for International Women's Month.We are strong women surviving through challenging times.It is time for us to celebrate our strength, creativity, and wisdom from our ancestors,for those that came before us.There will be a panel discussion with dynamic and inspiring women who are mothers, educators, entrepreneurs,and survivors of our times.So bring your friends, sisters, co-workers, and everybody we haven't mentioned to celebrate our womanhood.

Event is Free. Entertainment, food and lots of socializing will be available.

Call (619) 564-4425 to RSVP or for more information.Sponsorship and Vendor

Opportunities Available. Hurry, limited space.

Sponsors Ashaye Marketing Enterprises, Naturally You and Yours, and The Travel Divas.Co-sponsored by Pan African Association of AmericaMakena Hayes-GargonnuLive Event ProducerAshaye Marketing

Please read and pass it

Contrary to what you may have heard before or thought you knew,here is the data from' the

Greater New Orleans Community Data Center. You can see in the report who is actually in Orleans Parish & who could not return and the line smacks dab into poverty/education . And it also is very telling why there has been some improvement. I am of mixed emotion because of this but it is a hard & painful truth.

What stood out for me is this:

Statistical analyses of the Census Bureau's American Community Survey 2007 demographic profile for the New Orleans metro area as compared with Census 2000 data indicate that the region is less poor, with fewer adults lacking a high school diploma, fewer households with children, fewer households lacking vehicles, and a larger share of the population that is foreign-born (See Table 2 below). In addition, the metro area has a higher homeownership rate, although a larger percent of households (renters and owners) spend more than 30 percent of their income for housing costs.
American Community Survey 2007 data for Orleans, Jefferson and St. Tammany parishes allow us to identify parishes where these changes are significant (see Table 2 for complete statistics by Parish and MSA. Note that none of the 2000 to 2007 demographic changes examined in St. Tammany Parish were significant). Not surprisingly, metro area trends were driven by large changes in Orleans Parish, where, for example, the poverty rate fell from 27.9 percent in 2000 to 20.6 percent in 2007. Across the metro area, the poverty rate fell from 18.3 to 14.8 percent from 2000 to 2007, reflecting the net outmigration of individuals with fewer resources.

Dear friends and colleagues,How many households with children are in New Orleans? How many are paying more than they can afford for housing post-Katrina? How has access to vehicles changed since the storm? How many more foreign-born residents are in the metro area now?

Got questions like these? We have some answers for you.

Remember that successful challenge we mounted to the Census' population estimates? Well, we've taken the Census' new, higher 2007 numbers for Orleans, Jefferson and St. Bernard Parishes and applied them to demographic information from the American Community Survey and other Census products.

And we've packaged the data so its easy to use, along with some statistical comparisons to Census 2000 and an analysis to help you use this information for writing grant proposals, or planning for future activities.

Here's the link:
2007 Demographic Profiles of New Orleans and the Metro Area
In this brief, the Greater New Orleans Community Data Center compares Census 2000 data with 2007 data from the US Census Bureau for a view of the demographic changes in the New Orleans region hard hit by Katrina in 2005. Also presented are synthetic estimates from the Census Bureau's revised 2007 population estimates and 2007 American Community Survey -- numbers on poverty, race, age, immigration status, level of education, access to vehicles, and housing affordability.

When you follow the link, please pass it along to your friends and colleagues -- we've added a tool to our web site that allows you to easily email a link to a friend and share it on social networking sites like LinkedIn or Facebook.

So, check it out. And please tell a friend.


The Data Center Team
Allison Plyer, Elaine Ortiz, Melissa Schigoda, Joy Bonaguro, Denice Ross and Charlotte Cunliffe
The Greater New Orleans Community Data Center is a product of Nonprofit Knowledge Works and is supported in part by Baptist Community Ministries, United Way for the Greater New Orleans Area, and the Blue Moon Fund. mographics

Ending up on Solid Ground: I am seeing the Sky

1930's New Orleans
Ending up on Solid Ground: I am seeing the Sky

I seem to appreciate more & more lately ones who are “arm chair quarterbacks” ones who while in the comfort and sanctity of their home assured that their world is alright to dictate how other people should live or how if they only did this or did that everything will be ok. And the beauty is you never have to really do anything but just talk or wave the remote energetically for a minute and then that’s it. I read today, an observation of someone who despite the fact had not been back to New Orleans in 2 1/2 years & his assessment of what had or had not been done since he moved somewhere else. What I found interesting was though he have chose to stay away (justifiably so) was the things he said about his hometown and what had not happened since he had been away.

What resonated with me was the things that distressed him seem to be the very same things that had been talked about in the restaurants the stoops, at cocktail parties for years prior to Katrina. And his expectations of how things should have been further along then what they were in 3 ½ years after a major catastrophe that nearly leveled this vital city that is still struggling on wobbly knees to simply stand up let along take the ball & run in such a short period. I understand that we live in a microwave, texting, twitter world where we expect things to be instant. ‘Taint necessarily the way it would or should be. Not now… Not yet.

Transformation takes a lot of time, a lot of time. Its painful, messy, crazy, frustrating makes you wanna give up and give out process. There are no shortcuts, no easy out. . So for him maybe it seem like no steps have been made, no improvement. I've have been down quite frequently t o New Orleans while working on my Changed Waters-Reinvention & Repurpose Katrina Project until the monies ran out & the economy took this God awful descent into madness, but even I had not been down in several months. But I can safely say though slow & painful there has been improvement. I do not know how anyone realistically can expect for a 300 year old city to be rebuilt in 3 1/2 years. I stay in frequent contact with people who are in the trenches so to speak, some who immediately return some who are the visionaries who came for a once in a lifetime opportunity to aid in doing something bigger then themselves and a host of others.

I remember a Chinese proverb that simply stated “Barn burned down... Now I can see the sky”. I believe right now in this right place that New Orleans is in a prime place not offered often to others to be the model for the rest of the country & possibly the world to show how it can be done & do it with style. How many of us have cheered on big or little screens or knew individual despite all that seems insurmountable, despite it all, manage to get up and get out and get on with taking care of their business doing despite all the odds? And we privately may be cheering for them though vocally we say nay, it cannot be done? And then, by George, they do it?

Crime? What place does not have crime? I live in pristine 92% white folks living in a supposedly higher standard of living and yet one the biggest industry here outside of the University is marijuana & crystal-meth. Where homeless population has doubled in the last year, the panhandlers who have basically ran most of the businesses downtown out are young fresh face white kids who should be in a classroom and not on the corner, where racism is as rampart here though they tout themselves as being progressive & liberal, car theft & home invasions have doubled yet the police force has been reduced. Where an absolutely gorgeous 600 million dollar state of the art hospital that looks more like a mansion for a gazillionaire was built in the adjacent town but they just laid off a huge chunk of their staff & I say what the diff is?

Complaints about crime in New Orleans is as common as "throw me a coin, mista" at Mardi Gras, but we are hearing nationwide of people murdering their families, going on rampages, robberies shooting up, Ponsey schemes and people riding luxury jets while the masses are eating cake. I believe it is human nature for people to have a blind’s eye what is happening in their back yard but use another area as the scapegoat. I get it.

Yet I do not know of a person who has regretted returning back home and more are coming, despite the naysayers. Now I am not being naive about very real problems plaguing because if is real but I have had more negativity here in Oregon then I had ever experienced in New Orleans. Racism in New Orleans, shucks that anger has been festering there forever. As in “keep 'em ignorant and poor and high on drugs so the quo can remain status!!” I've experienced more of it here in 4 months then I had in the 10 years I was home. And that is not to bash Oregon it is to illustrate there is a moral sickness everywhere perhaps in different degree and New Orleans does not even have a patent pending on that!

I am however paying attention and listening & reading and asking before I make that move I am not foolish or unwise. I need to have my ducks in a reasonable row & then after that it will be walking on air with an assuredly that at some point I will land on solid ground. I do know as Dr. Martha Beck stated in her book “Steering by Starlight” all of us have a stargazer in us who knows what our purpose and design is. We are not doing ourselves or anyone a favor by not going through with that purpose where ever that takes us…

The Bible does say "without vision the people will perish". There would not be us if someone had not had a dream...Our enslaved ancestors would not have been able to survive such a horrific experience as slavery if they had not had a dream. If they were not to live to see it come to fruition, they dreamed big and hard for the ones to come. Or my fellow citizens of New Orleans, if they had not had a dream after the Katrina catastrophe, would not be able to get up day after day to rebuild our beloved home despite what appear on the surface evidence to the contrary.

Or even I continue to dream and to plan for myself I know now it is time. I cannot tell you why or how, but only that it is time. Sometime it may be something as simple as sharing bounty. Too many of us, moi included, at one time or another operating from a modularity of deprivation because it was easier then leaning into my passion & fully engaging in it. Others wallow in it, reveling in it turning into an art form, believing if they give “it” away, that it will deprive the giver. Still others lived in world of cultural laziness unwilling to step into themselves opting to live a lie, sadly wanting to house you too if you want it, not caring or knowing that the giver's bounty will increase 10 fold when freedom in giving manifests itself.

We have lived in a culture of deprivation for so long it may seem totally unfamiliar or surreal that we could possibly be truly in the right place at the right time for a (not so ) new paradigm. However that is their story, mine is this one.

I remember hearing Senator Maxine Waters on the news with this quote: A rising tide lifts all boats”. So I say it all depends on what boat you want to float & be in and if you get in the wrong one, get out and climb aboard a’nother. And wait for the tide to rise & carry you/me the rest of the way at some point ending up on solid ground.
All rights reservedJHM©09

Monday, March 9, 2009

Isolation becoming big health hazard

By Katherine SeligmanSan Francisco Chronicle Friday, Mar 6, 2009

You may worry about your waistline or pack-a-day smoking habit, but psychologists say there is a less recognized yet significant health hazard facing Americans: loneliness.

They could have more friends than ever online but, on average, Americans have fewer intimates to confide in than they did a decade ago, according to one study. Another found that 20 percent of all individuals are, at any given time, unhappy because of social isolation, according to University of Chicago psychologist John Cacioppo.
And, frankly, they’d rather not talk about it.

“People come into my office and say, ‘I’m depressed or obsessive.’ They don’t say, ‘I’m lonely,’ ” said Jacqueline Olds, a psychiatrist who teaches at Harvard Medical School and co-authored “The Lonely American: Drifting Apart in the 21st Century.”

“People are so embarrassed about being lonely that no one admits it. Loneliness is stigmatized, even though everyone feels it at one time or another.”

Olds wrote the book with her husband, Richard Schwartz, because, she said, she wanted to bring loneliness “out of the closet.” The two were struck by findings from the General Social Survey (conducted by the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago), showing that people reported having fewer intimate friends in 2004 than they had in 1985.

When asked how many people they could confide in, the average number declined over that same time period from three to two. In 2004, almost a quarter of those surveyed said they had no one to discuss important matters with in the past six months; in 1985, only 7 percent were devoid of close confidantes.

“Loneliness has a terrible reputation in this country,” Olds said. “It’s a problem not just with a few people without social skills. It’s not synonymous with being a loser.”

Independent, busy peopleWhy are we growing lonelier? Olds said it’s partly due to the American notion of independence that makes people not want to appear needy. They may feel alone, but they assume neighbors and friends are similarly busy and wouldn’t want to be bothered.
She also points to what she calls “the cult of busyness.”

In an era of frantic pace and multitasking, people feel they should always be accomplishing something. They work long hours and then, in their limited spare time, they work more — catching up on e-mail, doing the laundry, going to the gym. Socializing often comes last.

But humans are not wired to live alone, researchers say. The impulse for social connection — though it is stronger in some people than others — is rooted in the basic urge to survive.The need is so great, says Cacioppo, that it is reflected in our neural wiring. Most neuroscientists agree, he said, that it was the need to process social cues that led to the expansion of the cortical mantle of the brain.

In “Loneliness: Human Nature and the Need for Social Connection,” which he co-authored last year, he wrote, “In other words, it was the need to deal with other people that, in large part, made us who and what we are today.”

Loneliness, Cacioppo explained in an interview, has more in common with hunger, thirst and pain than it does with mental illness. It signals that something is wrong and needs to be corrected.

Cacioppo’s research has shown that lonely people have more “micro-­awakenings” during sleep, leading to greater fatigue, which in turn can affect cognitive thinking. Other studies have found that people who feel lonely report more sources of stress in their lives, which can affect long-term health.

Chronic stress is associated with higher risk of cardiovascular disease and immune system disorders.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Good Company, Lovely Music & a Good All from a cup of tomatoe bisque

My necklace:Starry Nights My pin:

Today I went to a place called "Ruthie B's" in Springfield, Or

It is a combination antique store that houses a bistro. But not your run of the mill bistro. In each section of the store they have tables & chairs set up to dine. All their dinnerware are mistmated antiques. So there is a sense of privacy yet people mill around to shop without being intrusive on your "space". In another part a pianist performed live setting a very nice ambiance.

My understanding is the owner started 3 decades ago in a little trailer and expanded into this. It is a great space, having good company only amplified the experience. Even the restroom was stuffed with antiques...

I had a wonder tomatoes bisque wit basil & sprinkle with Parmesean and a turkey bacon sandwich that was killer. It wa the right amount w/o feeling stuffed. I wandered around a little while she was checking out and stumbled on a gorgeous signed reproduction of a 1920's brooch by a New York artist.

I did not have the money on me to pay for it but the woman I was with was friends with the owner and Miz Ruthie not only knocked off $30 but is holding it for me for a week! So Miz Jane is taking me back there for lunch again next week so I can pick it up and have some more of the delicious tomatoe bisque!

And then after getting home what would be in the mail but my 2 crochet necklaces that was handcrafted for me by a sister in Northern Cali. It's called "Starry Eyes" made of antique buttons and crystals that was in her grandmother's collection of buttons. My other ones was a little simpler called Ebony & Ivory.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Keep Aiming High wih Action

I haven't had a whole lot to say lately (Metamorphing ain't easy y'all)

It can be painstaking take your breath away I do not want to do this any more wearisome.

However last night I got this easy from an amazing woman and she gave me permission to post it here. It was in regards to an avalanche of emails going around highlightinge mean spirited comments, cartoons you name it its been done in regards to our new President which has been over-the top & in my opinion orchestrated "jibber-jabber" to distract people from what they need to do to raise themsleves up & by doing such can raise us all up.

As the saying goes "A rising tide raises all ships"...

No matter what side of the fence you sit or like me not at the fence at all I think there is a lesson we can all take in her eloquent remarks...

Flying with a President who is an adult.

"sticks and stones will break my bones but words will never hurt me?"
I think it is not always true, but I think it is time that we adopt thatstance when it comes to our new President.

In the past few days i have gotten about 10 emails about the offensive NewYork post cartoon about President Obama and 6 and counting emails about theinsult that a Barnes and Noble in Coral Gables FL may have visited on himbut putting a book about chimps in a window display of books about the Prezand the first family.

I have been "invited" to boycott Barnes and Noble for this and the New YorkPost.
I am not going to do either...the first reason is all my friends who live in New York tell me that theyknow that the Post is a fish wrapper rag... I do not read it when I am inNew York and I do not read it when I am not in New York...And second the Barnes and Noble window incident may have been done by astupid customer.

IF we are going to boycott something or get up in arms about something, whynot the state of the schools in the our communities?

In my local school system, they are cutting out summer school, and havetoyed with the idea of 4 day a week school and not having substituteteachers if the teacher is out less than 4 days...Why? because our legislators are to lily livered to raise taxes to fullyfund schools.

Only about 30% of high school seniors graduate here in South Carolina...
We, in South Carolina, rank 49th in education in the nation but we areleading the nation in STD's among our youth....

Why are we not grabbing young boys off the streets and teaching them abouthow to use a condom and why it is important to use one every time? Why arewe ourselves not telling our young men, that yes they can be President?And why are we not going in and getting the guns out of the hands of ourchildren?

Why are we not teaching our girls that they are powerful special andvaluable and they do not need to grow up to be an entertainer, or an unwedmother, but they could be a doctor, scientist or pilot...?
Why are people who can get up in arms about these not very important slightsto Obama stories, not kicking down the school house door demanding thatschools be fully funded, or that the prison industrial complex bedismantled.

If we are looking for something to protest, we just have to look in our ownback yards.But that would require that we DO something more than just sending anenraged email to our lists...

Barack Obama is a big boy. He is a MAN, he is *the most powerful man on theplanet.***He does not need protecting from a bad practical joke.

He must also be the most thick skinned man on the planet...

He ran a presidential campaign and rarely if ever responded to the crap saidabout him or got in the fray...

We could all take a lesson from this MAN.

He needs us to band together and focus on what is wrong in our nation and tostart working on real solutions.

And as for the NY Post photo, being upset by something that was in the NYPost is almost as silly as being upset by something you see in the NationalInquirer.

Have a nice day and try to be the change you want to see in the world.

*Keep aiming high with action.*Cookie

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

In a Creative Mode

My greeting cards:

Black Eye Peas 'n Okra pt. 1©09 Black Eye Peas 'n Okra pt. 2©09

Kiki Mah©09

The inspiration for Kiki Mah.. My granddaughter Jacqueline "Kiki" our 3rd generation dancer...