Wednesday, December 31, 2008

New Year's Eve 2008

Whew! What a year this has been. Between the politics and the economy we've had quite the ride. Life is meant to be exciting. I just think there has been an overabundance of excitement this year. Perhaps, I shouldn't call the "morons" in Washington exciting. They are anything but. If we thought we had a housing crisis...we now truly have a mortgage crisis. Congress has all of us in this country mortgaged to the neck and up and our children, grandchildren, get the picture.

The Dali Lama was asked, "what is the purpose of life"? His response was wonderful, "to be happy". That should be everyone's resolution for the new be happy. Truly, happiness is where it all starts. When we have a smile on our face it starts endorphins in our brain and our happiness increases.

Even though many of us are feeling the pinch of this bad economy, we have to remember, we've survived many things...we will survive this too. Look at what happened in 2008. The people in our country "grew up". We elected a man President who happens to be black. As the great Martin Luther King said, "I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character".

How wonderful, that we judged Barack Obama by his "character". We, once again, have a President-Elect who is able to speak in complete sentences. When I was growing up, not only did I think I would ever be on the verge of my 65th birthday, I never thought we would finally see people judged by their character. What an amazing year this has been! How incredibly lucky we are to have lived to see this day.

Therefore, in spite of the fact that we are mortgaged to the hilt...we have risen to the top of the mountain!

May we all have a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year. 2009 has great promise. May we all do our part.

Happy new year,


Tuesday, December 23, 2008

"Unchained Melody"

If you haven't already noticed how quickly this year has gone, you will in just a few short days. 2009 is around the corner and most of us are still trying to catch up to 2008. However, if we wake up and realize we have a new day, a new 24 hours that belongs to us and we can live it anyway we choose, the year doesn't seem to go as quickly.

You must live each moment. Savor it as you would food you enjoy. Try to capture each moment and truly think about what makes it special. It can be as simple as seeing a bird fly across the sky or getting an email from an old friend that makes you smile. Do you know that it has been proven that if you sing or hum along with a song you like, your blood pressure will drop.

Think about what happens when we hear a song from our youth. We are automatically catapulted back to that moment when we 1st heard that song. For me that song is "Unchained Melody" by the Righteous Brothers. When I hear that song, I am back in 6th grade. A chubby girl with thick eyeglasses and horrible hair!

In my mind though, I'm beautiful and accomplished and all the things I dreamed I would be. It truly is time travel. One hears the music and immediately you are taken to the 1st moment you heard that music. The emotions that one associates with a piece of music are powerful. A song can make us happy or sad. It can take us back to our 1st love or our last love or to a love we have not yet met.

Always listen for the just might take a "Sentimental Journey".

Living in the now,


Sunday, December 14, 2008

Courtesy At School Part 3

Our mystery man has identified himself. His name is Michael Shall. The wonderful thing is that Michael was able to identify so many of the other members of our 6th grade class. Many of whom I had forgotten. However, once their names are written or spoken, the memories of them come flooding back. Now that I know Michael's name I remember him.

How is it possible that yesterday we were in 6th grade and making a movie for Coronet Films called "Courtesy At School"...tomorrow we're going on Medicare! Life moves so quickly that if we forget to be present in the NOW, today is gone and tomorrow is here. Unfortunately, it isn't always easy to truly be present in our own life because of the wave that comes along and moves us forward or backward or throws us on our tush.

Now, of course, I wonder what has happened to the people that Michael identified. Bob Rauschenberg (all the girls had a crush on him), Dick Luck, Jim Concidine who was also in my high school home room. Then there was Bill Wilke and John Vosnos. John was famous because a member of his family owned a large restaurant in Morton Grove called, appropriately enough, Vosnos. Susie Demorest, Ida Lynn Erickson and Dwight Frindt. He's already made the blog!

Where are all these people, where have the waves of time taken them. I'll have to go to the Maine East Alumni Page and see if any of them are there. What fun it would be to see them all now. I know how very much I have changed since 6th grade. One wonders how much they've all changed.

Hopefully, they're lives have been wonderful and they have achieved whatever they dreamed about when we were 11 and 12 years old. If you are reading this and possibly know any of these people from East Maine School in Des Plaines, IL from 1955 to 1958. Please write to me and tell me what you know or who you know. Perhaps, we can catch up even if it's just an email.

Those years were special. We ran home to watch Bandstand and The Mickey Mouse Club. We had house parties, we were so innocent. The only thing we worried about, "The Bomb"! (Duck and cover) as if that would have helped Truthfully, even that didn't intrude on our lives. We were too busy being kids. I watch my granddaughters with some sadness because they are too busy trying to be grown up.

What they don't realize is that growing up happens so quickly and they've not taken the time to just be kids. Life was so much simpler because we didn't have the constant bombardment of the media. We didn't have computers, we had paper dolls and the boys had baseball. We played real games, not online games. We went to the park in the summer to play and in the winter to skate.

Boys were interesting but we weren't obsessed by them and they may have liked the really pretty girls like Margo with her long blond pony tail and beautiful blue eyes, but they still played games. Our school dances, what a joke! The boys on one side and the girls on the other side. Only the brave dared to dance with the opposite sex.

Yes, life was much simpler and growing up happens much to quickly and now Medicare next year. How did that happen and when did I get old? I don't know...because it is only when I look in the mirror that I realize I have. Grown old that is. It doesn't matter that I've aged because I've never grown up and do not plan to.

Getting younger every day,


Friday, December 12, 2008

The Bailout - Part 2

Here we are again...our politicians spending our money to help companies that have such greedy people at the top who also happen to be inept, pleading for money to save them. Congress passed a "bailout" for the Big 3. Of course, it was not the amount they asked for. It was approximately 1/2 or $14 Billion.

Remember that old saw..."a billion here, a billion there and pretty soon we're talking about real money"! I paraphrase, however it is true. If one has been watching the news and reading all the little blurbs on the internet, we can see the story unfold. In the last couple of days we have seen committee members questioning the Assistant Secretary of the Treasury. The crime is that there were no oversights put into the original bailout of $700 Billion. No one put any conditions on how the money was to be spent. No one said, "you must do these things with this money" such as put it into new loans for people not take your execs out on terrific excursions or have $200,000.00 parties.

Here we are, 1/2 the money has been spent and no one seems to know on what. There is no accountability! It is so egregious, one can only shake one's head and question who these people are in Washington? Do they know nothing of business? If any one of us had a bank loan that we couldn't repay, our assets would be seized. The government wouldn't bail us out. Why, we don't employ enough people.

Here we go again. Congress passed a bill that would have given the Big 3 $14 Billion and would name a "Car Czar" who would have to have a blueprint by the end of March 2009 as to how these businesses would change. How ridiculous! The blueprint should be in place prior to the money being lent. After the fact makes no sense at all! Of course, this is Congress. Why should we expect them to be rational.

What most people do not know is what was tacked onto the end of the bill that Congress passed...a raise for Federal Judges!!! This is the same thing as the "pork" of $150 Billion that was added on to the $700 Billion in order to get it through the Senate. No one is telling us where that $150 Billion in "pork" is going. It's just politics as usual. Once again the taxpayer is paying.

The other ridiculous part of this is that Congress (both houses) get a yearly, automatic raise. I haven't heard any of the indignant questioners say they are not going to take their raise this coming year.

As of this moment in time, the Senate has rejected the Big 3 bailout plan proposed by the Congress. We can only hope this bill dies a slow, painful death. It is time for the Big 3 along with the UAW to wake up and smell the coffee. Bankruptcy would help the Big 3 get out from under the thumb of the UAW. I wonder how many of you who may read this know that anyone who is laid off from 1 of the Big 3 companies and is a member of the UAW receives 95% of their pay.

Then, of course, there is the pension program and the fact that the executives of the UAW make enormous salaries. Of course, the UAW did testify before Congress and has agreed to concessions beginning in 2011.

If ever there was a time for peaceful revolution in this country it is now. We've had a small one with the election of Barack Obama. A man who is putting together a terrific cabinet. He is very smart and I believe he wants change. Look at the mess he is inheriting. So now we need a big peaceful revolution! It is time to send a very strong message to our politicians that "business as usual" is not acceptable. I wrote to my Senators, Congressman and the President yesterday with regard to the Big 3. Of course, I write to them consistently.

Amazingly, the only one I ever hear back from is Senator Bill Nelson (D) Florida. He is an honorable, reasonable representative of the people. The rest of them should be thrown out of office and don't get me started on the Governor of Illinois. Therefore, I guess this is a good place to end this diatribe.

Waiting for the revolution,

Courtesy At School Part 2

A couple of days ago I received this email...

"I was prominent in two scenes in the movie. I was the boy who caught the ball and ran into the infield and took the bat. Also, I was the boy speaking in front of the class when Tommy Hawkins interrupted me. Who am I?"

Of course, I immediately sent an email to Renee. You remember Renee who has been my friend since we were 11. Renee is my friend with a mind like a steel trap. Renee forgets nothing. So she watched "our" film, "Courtesy At School" and sent me a few names. I knew all the same people, so that didn't help at all. We looked for the boy (now man) who was speaking in front of the class. Could not see anyone that Tommy interrupted.

Unfortunately, this person did not send me his email address so I could not answer him. I did, however, respond to him asking him to enlighten me. To date, I have not heard from him again. I believe it was Emil Simich who caught the ball and took the bat. However, I'm lucky if I remember what happened an hour ago. How am I supposed to remember 53 years ago.

Susan Frazin had her books knocked out of her arms as she got off the bus. There are many faces I remember, Barbara Coan, Roberta Cass, Renee Rosenberg Krinsky, Camille Berg. Of the boys, Tommy Hawkins, Mike Dean, Bernie Mitchell, Max Moore, George Welter and Emil Simich. Unfortunately, too many years have passed since Mrs. Unfer's class made this educational film.

One may watch the film at If anyone can help with this puzzle or if, in fact, you are Emil please email me at and "enlighten" me. One of the most wonderful benefits of the internet is the ability to connect with people we had a "connection" with so long ago.

Watch the movie! Life was so simple in the late '50's and is so complex in so many ways today. It is nice to go back and remember who we were. This exercise seems to help me be more "present" in today. Remember, life is short, eat dessert first!