Find a Home

 

 

The prompt for today was just too on point to ignore, when the paperback became available TODAY (!!!) and when so much of this novel is about what a home is, or what may at any moment become a place one is pushed out of or needs to run away from. The connection felt even more apt with how the holidays bring up for so many the very realities and stories of a home (or lack thereof).

“Apples in Applath” is a work of fiction, yet very real children do fall victim to policies and realities not of their choice or making. Also real is that what makes a home or family is not always immediately obvious; and that hope and wariness, need and conscience, often compete inside one’s soul as one seeks a safe space to call home.

I’m very excited for “Apples in Applath” – my fourth book and third novel. I hope you’ll check it out and share it with others who may find an interest. I hope that it may find a home in yours.

Even more so, my wish for you — and for all who are or once were children — is that you’ll always have a safe nest to call home.

 

For The Daily Post

Even In The Blackest!

 

DownUnder Stars AtaraKatz

Photo: Atara Katz

 

Even in the blackest night

There’s hope

In sight,

There’s light.

 

 

As addendum to this prompt I want to add news of amazing breakthrough research that is offering tangible hope to people with spinal cord injuries, who till now may have had little light at the end of their dark tunnels. Who knows — soon they may be able to get up again and walk!

Scientists use stem-cells to make paralyzed rats walk again!

(I’m doubly excited for this remarkable news because the co-leader scientist in this research, Professor Shulamit Levenberg, is my sister!)

 

For The Daily Post

Un-Faint Yourself

make your mark

 

When woodwork calls

Do not fade in.

When worry weighs

And doubt still gleams:

Color yourself a bolder hue.

Be seen.

Be heard.

Be you!

 

votesforwomenbanner

This year marks 100 years to the first time women were allowed to vote in New York. It led the way to the 19th Amendment and women’s constitutional right to vote.

There are still those who try to suppress votes. There were always those who tried to put others down for wanting equal rights and for seeking access to those rights. Do not let others demonize you for having a voice. Speak up for those who can’t. Seriously: if you can, vote!

For more reasons to vote … Here are some (of the LESS graphic) historic caricature images that were used to shame, insult, threaten, and generally dissuade women from voting.

 

WomenSuffrage anti1

WomenSuffrage anti2

Suffragists-1suffrage112when women vote

 

For The Daily Post

For more about Historic Women Suffragists

For more about 100 years to the Women’s Suffrage movement in New York

Accommodating

Cuba11 InbarAsi

Photo: Cuba, Inbar Asif

 

My immediate association to today’s word prompt of “Elastic ” was about the dire need for more flexibility. How important it is we be able to curl our mind around the bend of preconception so we can appreciate beyond “our idea of beautiful” or “our opinion of correctness.” It’s become fashionable to be rigidly unyielding, to confront instead of listen, to seek conformity instead of be accommodating.

As if acceptability lives by a single yardstick and Photoshop.

We cover over imperfections. We discard or deny any marring exists. We seek the shiny new. People get judged more by their circumstance of birth than by how pliable their hearts are or how truly resilient they have proven to be in holding on to kindness even in the face of oh-so-much that wasn’t.

As I wrote this a notification appeared for Steve McCurry’s post about the “Art of Imperfection” and the power of Wabi-Sabi — the Japanese practice of finding harmony and beauty in what is simple, natural, and modest, where transience and imperfection are part of the aesthetic. How perfectly apt.

Here’s to beauty in the marred.

 

 

 

For The Daily Post

A Tribute in Light

Tribute in Light DOD public domain

Tribute in Light — Photo: DOD

 

On the eve of 9/11

In this city that has been forever changed

As it had its core humanity

Revealed

In uncountable acts of kindness

Under devastation,

I revisit

The day

The sky grew dark

With smoke

And hearts broke open

With compassion.

 

 

For more information on tomorrow night’s Tribute in Light

For the National September 11 Memorial & Museum.

Don’t Forget Undies!

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Sometimes remembering comes down to not forgetting about the small things that matter yet can get lost in the shuffle, even in times of much good will.

We’ve all heard of Harvey. Seen the photos of soaking-wet people wading through floodwaters, rescue-workers cradling drenched children in their arms, nursing home residents sitting in chest-high murky water awaiting rescue, the saturated city, the flooded shelters …

We in NYC know. We’ve been through Sandy, and we remember what is all too easy to forget: Evacuees need underwear …

Donated used clothing has been streaming in, and when evacuees finally reach ‘dry land’ and find shelter, they get something dry to wear. However, many times used clothing donations cannot and/or do not contain underwear. … Dry clothing helps, but underwear matters … It’s about dignity. About the small things that can make a difference in restoring at least a semblance of normalcy.

Its been days … Many girls and women are menstruating … Small children don’t always make it in time to the common bathrooms in the shelters. Older persons have accidents, too. Sometimes people just need fresh underwear … There is little in the way of comfort in flood shelters, but we can help preserve everyone’s dignity.

Here’s how you can help NOW:

Brene Brown is volunteering in Houston. She’s been affected by the floods herself (if you don’t know her you can check out her TED talks on shame and vulnerability). Check out her Facebook page to see her video and read her post about Undies For Everyone drive. She’s been handing out what they have. She’ll be handing out more as it arrives.

ALL categories of underwear are needed – for women (including maternity underwear), men, boys, girls, toddlers. In all sizes … from extra small to XXXL. You can’t go wrong. People come in all sizes and ages, and they all need undies.

Logistics?

  1. Click here for an amazon link is below. Make sure to choose the delivery address to the one for Undies For Everyone. I’ve done so this morning. It was easy. It’s worth every dime. (Please note: some items may appear out of stock, but a. this is due to the sudden surge in underwear orders and Amazon will replenish, and b. this need will there a while … so you can order now and people be handed underwear in the weeks to come. Or use the other ways to help, listed below).
  2. Prefer to not use Amazon? Want to have a drive in your school or neighborhood? You can collect new, packaged underwear and mail it to the address below. Please note: UFE does not process or give out anything but underwear! Mailing address: Undies for Everyone, 1700 Bissonnet St., Houston, TX 77005
  3. You can give cash, too, and UFE will purchase underwear wholesale.

Harvey recovery will take a long time. Little access to clean water has laundry take a backseat to drinking, cooking, and basic people-washing. Let’s help where we can and not forget the undies.

Here’s to dignity and the small things that matter. Like underwear. For everyone.

 

 

 

 

For The Daily Post

What is Friendship?

 

 

Today, July 30, is the International Day of Friendship. The day is designed to bridge the gaps of race, color, religion, nationality, and other factors that keep people from forming and enjoying friendships with one another. It is meant to encourage dialogue, acceptance, and understanding between people of different backgrounds. Friendship matters. It can prevent war and promote peace. Research shows it can keep people healthier, happier, and living longer.

Having friends is a good thing. However, what defines a friend? What is friendship?

To me, friendship is a word as big as all relationships put together, yet as unique as any human pairing. In some ways “friendship” is as clear yet as ambiguous as the word “family”: Do you count only siblings or also cousins and nephews? Second cousins? Grand-nephews? In-laws? Third cousins thrice removed? Different people list family differently. Some define “immediate family” and “close family” versus “distant relatives” while others see all kin as kin. Can one argue that one person’s definition is more or less valid than another’s? Who decides who is or isn’t “family?”

Similar variability may be true for friendships, with different ‘kinds’ and types and closeness all jumbled under one rather all-inclusive word.

There are the friends you grow up with. The children of your parents’ friends, with whom you were ‘forced’ to spend time and sometimes had grown close to. The classmates and groups assigned by teachers. The bunkmates at camp, the teammates at sports. There are the neighbors you’d spent time with because they were the ones closest to toss a ball or take turns on the bike with after school. Among all those, some may have become your friends, some might have turned enemies, and a few may have grown to be as close as your own siblings. Maybe more.

Then there are the friends you make during life-changing matters: Military buddies you’d trust your life to; illness buddies who you know understand what other friends may not; the co-worker who had your back when a boss was unkind or another co-worker was out to get you; the neighbor who stepped up when the roof leaked in the middle of the night or who’d offered a safe place for you when they suspected you weren’t so in your own house.

There are also the passing friendships that may or may not continue beyond the moment of circumstance: Like the people you’d met on the cruise or were stuck in the airport overnight with during a storm. Or that single mom you’d helped give the bottle to the baby when the toddler had a tantrum and she hadn’t nearly enough arms for both. You got to talk, and sat together, and then exchanged numbers and never called each other but you still find yourself looking for her anytime you fly, and see her in every single mother flying with small children. She had become a friend. Inside your mind.

And friendships that turn into something more: Like the elderly man across the street on whom you checked after a storm and found out that he had no one to help him change a lightbulb and could no longer climb. And so you had, and stayed a moment longer while he shared a story from his life, and then you invited him over for dinner and he came wearing a suit and holding flowers from his garden … And he now comes to all your family’s holidays and get-togethers. Because he’s a friend now. Of the family.

And, of course, one cannot speak of friendships without those friendships that ARE family. The sibling who is also a best friend, the cousin one is close to, the partners one makes a life with and become both family and best-friends-for-the-real-forever.

So what are friendships? Maybe they are anything and everything we make them. With humans, with your furry friends. How we define them may shift and change, but the connection is recognizable.

How would you define friendships? What is a friend to you? If so inclined, will you comment below?

And on this day of international friendships and on every day: may your friendships be as fruitful and plentiful as you wish them to be. May they fill your life and heart with joy and meaning. May it be so and more.

Broken Tea (“Emilia” excerpt)

 

“…When the little girl was finally sleeping, Marion put her to bed and tucked her in and sat on the edge of the daybed for a long while, looking older and more tired than anything that could be attributed to her eighty-five years. Pushing up from the bed, Marion began collecting the child’s clothing to fold for the next day, only to toss the lot on the floor, swipe a book and a half-empty mug off the table, and storm out of the house. The mug lay shattered on the stone floor, tea stains splattered. KayAnne stared at the ruined cup, reluctant to clean up and somehow needing the brokenness to remain: She wanted to demolish something herself.”

Excerpt from “Emilia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For The Daily Post

Lollipop-it

So there’s that child with diabetes. Another whose family only eats raw foods. A third family is strictly vegan. There’s the child who cannot have any food additives. The one whose mom swears sugar turns her angel to a dysregulated mess. The (not so rare) kid who won’t touch fruits, let alone vegetables. The family that wants to move toward less junkfood but hates to put a damper on healthy treats.

There are many different solutions, and different reasons why many would want to try. As you probably know (and fairs and carnivals had proven), most yummy things are instantly better on a stick …

Here are some of the creative ideas parents have shared with me and/or I had suggested over the years. Some we have incorporated into the session (for sequence, cause/effect, before/after, all manners of narrative), others helped desensitize finicky mouths and tender palates. Mostly, they were fun! Enjoy and maybe share own!

  1. Watermelon lollipops! Less mess, better grip, perfect yum.

Watermelon lollies

 

  1. Kiwi lollipops! Good with chocolate ganache, of course … but also as ‘naked’ frozen slices, or if dipped in sweetened yogurt and frozen, possibly with coconut flakes or cocoa nibs.
Kiwi Lollies

via showfoodchef

 

  1. Flower Fruit Pops – fun to make and super fun to eat. Cantaloupe, grapes, watermelon (also works with strawberries, apples, nectarines, firm blueberries … you get the idea!)
flower fruit pops1

Via LindsayAnnBakes

 

  1. Easy Fruit Pops! For another variation on the theme, which works wonderfully for birthday parties, picnics, and other lessen-sticky-fingers-everywhere events.

fruit pops

 

  1. Veggie wands! For a savory alternative on a stick! Works well with ’rounds’ of sliced mozzarella stick, fresh mozzarella (pictured), or any firm cheese. Just as yummy with the whites of hard boiled eggs or cubed cooked meat. Also great with baked tofu cubes, for those who prefer vegan sticks.
sugarfreekids pop

via SugarFreeKids

 

  1. And … even the most incomplete list won’t work without frozen pops … Lollipops’ cool cousin! Make them with fruit, fruit and yogurt, and combinations galore! It works well to partially freeze in small paper cups or in old fashioned ice-cube-trays, then stick a craft stick or lollipop stick in when it is almost but not quite set.
frozen fruit yogurt

Via: Moncheriprom

 

As this list is by no means comprehensive, let alone exhaustive … Will you take a moment to share in the comments what your favorite ways and things are to lollipop-it?

 

 

 

For The Daily Post

Absolutely beautiful! Tribute Art — Steve McCurry’s Blog

Take a few moments to click on the link below to Steve McCurry’s blog and you will NOT be disappointed. This is a lovely, lovely tribute to his photography, and to the talent of the artists who’d sent in their arts-based-on-photo.

Marvelous!

It is a great privilege when other artists send us their own works based on my pictures. It is a wonderful affirmation of the strength and dignity shown on the faces of these people around the world. Nidhi Kakar, India Rukiye Demirci, Turkey Rukiye Demirci Unknown Artist Lana Frye, United States Rodrigo Caldas, Brazil Lana […]

via Tribute Art — Steve McCurry’s Blog