Saturday, March 31, 2012

ONE WEEK YOU ARE IN...The next week you are out!



Jesus of Nazareth. King of the Jews. On one weekend He rode into Jerusalem town being hailed as the new Messiah.  Less then seven days later, He was tortured and hung up on cross...not as a messiah, but as a pariah! Sometimes you just can't win. I know about this kind of mob mentality all too well. Cliques. Not a good thing.

 On this day when the Lord Jesus entered the city, all His followers took the strips and branches of Palm and gathered around Him to welcome Him. The people who gathered all around Him laid the palm leaves and branches in the way of Lord Jesus as He approached towards Jerusalem. As the Lord Jesus was heading towards Jerusalem His main motive behind this was to give His life for the sake of His followers. His followers did not know of His motives. Thus was the spiritual path the Lord Jesus.

There are many people out in the world right now who try to follow in the Lord Jesus' footsteps, but maybe because they are NOT Lord Jesus, they find a lot of obstacles in their way. Although their intentions are honorable, sometimes they are misunderstood. One day they are going about their merry way beloved by all and then the next day, they say or do something that causes their entire life's work to come crashing down. It is the eternal struggle that you are are not measured by the good you do, only by the mistakes you make along the road to enlightenment. Judging is easy. Forgiveness, apparently, is not. Hence, poor Lord Jesus gets thrown under the proverbial bus in His quest to save mankind. So do a lot of people trying to be good Samaritans. 

If you see somebody TRYING to do good deeds, don't be harsh to them just because you think there is no method to their madness. Instead, why not just lead by example, always being forgiving and kind. Rise above the challenges. Consider that everyone in your life has been sent to you for a purpose. To learn from. No dog is ever too old to learn a new trick.

I come to you all in peace as we begin Holy Week, Christians and Jews alike, and I have some really great spiritually uplifting stories that will follow. 

TOUCH









Saturday, March 24, 2012

Spiritual Awakenings...We all need to be reminded from time to time!


Don't get me wrong. I am not a devout Catholic, I am not a devout anything. I was raised a Catholic and I like the ceremony of the Eucharist. I like the smell of Frankincense and Myrrh and the iconography and ritual that go along with it. I go to church. Sometimes. I am what is known as a "C and E" Catholic...Christmas and Easter! Well, at least I try and attend Mass during those High Holy Days! I am sure it is more often than other lapsed Catholics! When I go to Mass, I like to go to all of the churches in metropolitan Detroit. I've been almost everywhere to attend Mass! Ask me!


I believe in a power higher than myself. I am not a member of AA, but I subscribe to this tenet. I have read about and/or studied over ten religions, but I am not a BAHAI. I love the ideology of the Bahai faith and I have visited  their main place of worship in metro Chicago. It's very cool.


I was in San Francisco in the late1960's when Sri Prabhupada came to town and rented a small place of Hindu worship on Frederick Street (near The Casa Madrona where I had set up housekeeping for a brief time). The movement became known as "The Hare Krishnas". KRISHNA HOME PAGE  Later in my life, when I moved to New York City, I hooked up again with the "Krishnas" and spent time with them in their temple in Brooklyn. It was my good Karma (and I do have some), that led me to making the acquaintance of two of the most spiritually enlightened people on this planet today, Charles and Patricia Henderson, otherwise known as Chaturatma and Pashupati. I have been blessed to have eaten "prasadam", and I have humbly chanted the divine Maha Mantra. You can check out Chaturatma Dasa on his FB page. He's a groovy little dude with a lot of tats and a spiky hair cut and he looks like Sting from the Police! Pash and Chatur still live near the ashram in Alachua, Florida. I haven't seen them in a while but we still exchange, of all things, CHRISTMAS CARDS every year! There is a temple in Detroit and I have been there as well. I wish I could be a better Devotee. I like them a lot. Hare Krishna!


Chaturatma Dasa. My sweet Devotee friend.
 Starting in 1976 I lived in "The City", as NYC is referred to, for about eight years. It was at 181st Street and Riverside Drive in Washington Heights. I had a fabulous apartment on Haven Avenue, overlooking the Hudson River. (Insert a longing "I wanna go back" sigh here). Washington Heights was home to a large population of Orthodox Jews...and Haitians! So I was fortunate enough to have been invited to many Passover Seders, Bar and Bas Mitvas, and to just "go to Temple" once in a while! I wish I could say I got to interlope on a Haitian religious ceremony, but all I know about that is somebody was doing some ritual sacrifices in a field because I stumbled across a few goat heads from time to time...or maybe somebody was practicing "witchcraft"!


When I go to New Orleans, I have a special affinity for Marie Laveau, a Haitian Voodoo Queen and spiritual leader, who graced me once with her spirit presence by appearing in one of my photographs of  her burial vault as a beautiful orb. I showed the photo to a spiritualist in NOLA and he concurred that is was indeed Marie Laveau, as the high Mambo always enters and leaves her resting place in the upper right corner of her tomb (hey, that was his story and I'm sticking to it!). When I took my photograph of Marie Laveau's tomb, it was back in the day when we used FILM! I shot two color rolls of Kodak film and had them developed at a special lab. I got the "proof" sheet and picked out the photos I though were the best. When I got the prints back, the only photo to have an orb was the one of Marie Laveau. Here's the amazing part: I have ONE framed copy of the photograph today hanging in my dining room and I am NOT taking it out of the frame. All the other prints and the negatives were "accidently" destroyed in a fire. The last print is one of my prized possessions. Mother Laveau has been kind enough to allow me to keep one of her pictures and for that I am so thankful. Which reminds me, I had better leave her an offering when I am done writing this blog...!


Thank you Mother Laveau for allowing me to share this
photography with my friends. Do you see the ORB?

I have also actually read from The Book of Mormon (I got bored in a hotel once and read the copy in the nightstand drawer). I have a copy of The I Ching, which was published in the 1960's. Who doesn't know about Lord Buddha? The Tao? Wicca? I don't know much about being a Muslim, but I have had a little pocket copy of the Koran. I have studied the Brazilian practices of Santaria. Heck, I've even owned books from The Church of The Sub-Genius! I know I am Atlantean and not from Mu. I've been to Cassadega. I have felt the palms my hands inexplicably raise to heavens when I visited the vortex in Sedona. I have a deep fascination and longing for all things spiritual. And yet...I can't seem to get it together. I still don't know who I am or what is my purpose. I'm always in a state of confusion and negativity. I need some "SLACK"!

I need to make the pilgrimage to the Yucatan Peninsula in December 2012. If anyone is going to get zapped up into the sky when the great rift opens and the mother ship comes back to take us home, it's gonna be me! And if that doesn't happen, I'll be at my wits end.

Next week, as we enter into the high holy days of the Christian faith, starting with Palm Sunday and then a week later, culminating with Easter, I'm going to try and behave myself and be more like Lord Jesus.  Well, maybe that's too big of a promise I know I probably can't keep! But I'm going to really work on it.







Thursday, March 22, 2012

ONE UPON A TIME...There was a front porch.


I wanted to stop and talk with this man a few days ago, but I didn't have my camera with me. I needed to know his story, and take his picture. I needed to know the how and why he has ended up sitting on a stump under a tree surrounded by garbage...in the shadow of a building that can only represent greed, waste and stupidity, The Motor City Casino. If I was a part of the Motor City Casino and knew that this kind of abject despair was lurking only a few feet away from my front door and I did nothing about it, I would lower my head in shame. This man needed a voice and so I volunteered to let him be heard.

He told me his name was "Kayto". He spelled it out for me, K-A-Y-T-O, and then reminded me that his name was like Cato, from The Green Hornet. Smart and funny, and much like anyone else you may have heard about who has ended up in this kind of plight, Kayto was not always this way. He's just another  casuality in The City of Detroit. No jobs. No place left to live. He chooses to hang out here, but he keeps his distance from the others on the block. Of course, there was the booze and drugs and loss of loved ones that sent him completely over the edge, and now he is here, on his "front porch", enjoying the beautiful Detroit weather!

Please look at the pictures of this man very carefully and study him. He wears his cap jauntily tilted to one side. His shirt and jeans are in pretty decent condition. His shoes look fairly new. He clings tightly to his backpack and sleeping bag/windbreaker. There is a grocery bag with some free food inside. Kayto has no teeth, but he looked pretty well kept, his beard and mustache neatly trimmed. However, his watery blue eyes possessed that glassy stare of an alcoholic, and when I thanked him for his time and handed him a five dollar bill, he reacted as if he had just won the lottery! Then it got scary!

Kayto told me I had made his day and then I turned around and I was a in the middle of a scene from Dawn of the Dead! All these people had started coming towards me, hollering! I got worried and then skeedaddled back into the truck I had left running across the street. This area of the city is hard core. MLK and Third. I would not recommend anyone else venturing over there unaccompanied. But I am not you. I am (almost) fearless.

The rest of these photos represent the area surrounding the Neighborhood Service Organization (NSO) at MLK and Third.. God Bless the people who work or volunteer their time to at least see that this sector of our population get one hot meal a day, and medical care once in awhile. I don't know what else I can say except that I see things differently from others who probably drive by this scene every day of the week. I am compelled to dig deeper and my compassion for the downtrodden eats away at my very soul. I pray that you might stop once in a while and lend a hand to those in need. We are all human. 
Motor City Casino looms in the near distance.
This is home for some...not for the faint of heart.
Kitties on one side...somebody's bed on the other side!

                  TOUCH.                        

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

DETROIT...Come back to us before you are lost forever.

Ain't this a hoot?
Old sign in a park serves as
a memory of the way we were...
 It took me exactly sixty seconds to pick up a pile of trash that had been sitting on the corner of Park and Peterboro for about a month...WHAT TOOK ME SO LONG? I just kept hoping somebody ELSE would do it! What was in that pile of trash? A wig, dirty diapers, beer bottles, cigarette packs, and assorted  sundry items...it was originally IN a garbage bag, but it had busted open and had sat there in an unsightly mess. I FINALLY got sick of looking at it and cleaned it up today. On Sunday of this week, I had asked several of the young adults in my neighborhood to get a garbage bag and go clean it up, and they laughed at me! They were too busy racing their very expensive RC toy cars...ON THE VERY CORNER OF THE STREET THAT WAS STREWN WITH THE TRASH! Is this what is happening to our youth. Are they enured to the blight and violence around them and becoming so totally self-absorbed? 

Bag of trash that sat there...ignored...

Wigs, cigarettes,diapers, plastic baby bottles, booze bottles...
and then dumped on MY BLOCK!
Are you happy where our tax dollars are going?
I just now went out into the street and cleaned up my block. Again. But I will have to tell you that an amazing thing did happen. Two social workers on their way to C.O.T.S. , otherwise known as The Coalition On Temporary Shelter, walked by me and I engaged them immediately. I asked them if they were, in fact, on their way to COTS, a few feet away.  I suggested to them that they give their "population" a few rakes and garbage bags and get them to go on out on this lovely morning to clean up the REST of the trash BEFORE they get all their free handouts for the day! They both thought it was a good idea! ARE YOU KIDDING ME? Had it never occurred to them that if you actually made people WORK for their FREE food and shelter, they would do it? Also, a few black men saw me, all old and white-haired and  bedraggled, struggling in the weed infested trash mountains, and actually stopped to help. One guy did pick up a can...one can...but I was so appreciative of even THAT small gesture. I won't quit on on Detroit. I will get mad and beat it up, but I won't quit. I'll keep MY block clean and I will lead by example.

And this is all on just ONE BLOCK...and there was MORE!
There is a Spirit of Detroit...a very small spirit, but it is out there.
Someone just needs to light a fire under the IDIOTS running this city.

Monday, March 19, 2012

PITY PARTY...Table for one!


Tuesday March 20th, 2012, will suck. It will be the final nail in the "officially I'm old" coffin. When I log into my online bank account in the morning, I will find my first Social Security Check deposited there. Whoopie. It's so small I think I could collect more than that picking up cans with ten cent deposits on them!

Oh well. I suppose it could be worse. I didn't work very hard my whole life, and now it's pay day! I say this as I am filling out the broke-ass senior citizen's retirement plan...LOTTERY TICKETS. What else do I have to look forward to?

I've only stuck to a few things in my life and I've walked out on most everything else. I stuck with my husband and my marriage and I kept my kid and pet. I'm about one minute away from quitting college, but I've only got a little over a year left so it would be a big waste if I ducked out now.


Like that bride from Georgia a few years ago, I'm a runner. I am so sad, disgruntled, and just generally feeling cursed right now. I just can't get happy anymore. You wouldn't get that  from looking at me...I should be winning an acting award. I want to run...away...but with no money and no place to go I'll just hang on a bit longer, 'till I'm 65 and I can get free health care. If I live long enough.

Peace.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

AS MICHAELANGELO SAID...I still learn! (Ho ancaro imparare in Italian)


  
     What have I learned about myself in Recreational Leadership (RL) 110? More than I bargained for. I have learned that I will continue to remain loving, kind, helpful and funny, even in the face of adversaries. I have learned that I will continue to remain graceful under fire. I will not let my spirit be daunted or crushed by the misguided intentions of people in authority who think they are so self-righteous, when, in fact, their methods of communication are often biased and misguided. I learned that remaining silent and turning the other cheek sometimes does not effect the response you may be seeking, but Jesus did it so it should be good enough for me.

     What else have I learned while “serving my sentence” in a class that is required for my graduation: that you can’t please everyone all of the time. I learned from watching another person bully classmates that being a bully has its advantages, but I will never deliberately bully anyone. Ever. When a bully demands that you take his or her suggestion for a name for your global village, you shut up and accept it. When a bully demands that you make the village mandala to his or her liking, you shut up and make it that way. When a bully tells you what activity you are going to devise for children with ADHD and even if you don’t agree or understand what the bully is talking about, you shut up and go with the flow. When a bully tells you that your village is going up first in making the first village presentation of the year, you “get up out your seat” and march to the front of the class. Just do it to keep the peace. And I learned that the minute you stand up to the bully, the bully will find a way to knock you back down by twisting and distorting information. If I was to have behaved in the same way as the bully, I would be called out as “rude” or “disrespectful”. Bullies will convince even the most educated and seemingly spiritual individuals that the, the bully,  is in the right. The bully is powerful. That’s why they are called “bullies”. 

     Some people “just don’t get me“. I get that! However, I am  too old and I have very little time left in this world to make personal changes in order to accomplish my goals. I am  driven, focused and motivated and I am sometimes not concerned with the proper etiquette expected of me in my current environment. I do, however, expect people to be just like me! I must also try harder to remember to respect others and that no one can be just like me. That would make it a perfect world! Also, I know I would never deliberately “rat out” anyone at any time for any reason in my village or elsewhere. For example, when a fellow student felt uncomfortable in the “group process’, I made a point to reach out to that student to bring that student into the fold, so to speak. I wanted to spend more time with this student. What I found  out about this student is all the amazing qualities he or she had. I found that he or she was funny, warm, cynical (like me), extremely hard-working and smart. This student is now much more an active part of our village than he or she was in the beginning. I also believe in positive group interaction and support. When a  student continually fails to live up to his or her end of their village participation bargain, I cannot stop myself from reaching out and lending a hand. Now as it seems, that the other student took my hand and reached out and BIT ME! And most recently, what I found out about myself, is that I am the most willing and cooperative person around, at least in my estimation! When a fellow student called me to discuss our  recent activity presentations and told me they were planning to use modeling clay, I told them I was planning on using modeling clay as well! But for me there was no option: I would acquiesce to my fellow student and I would make myself do a new presentation at the last minute, because I can easily re-adapt. When that student could not find the books or pamphlets they had wanted to have for our class presentation, I whole-heartily volunteered to pick some up and I made a special visit to The Rehabilitation Institute of Michigan (RIM) so that person would not be disappointed.  I learned that I am considerate and trustworthy, but apparently I’m the only one that sees that.

     It has become a harsh reality for me, but in my present circumstances, I have learned that I must “dumb it down” if I want to get by. I learned that in RL 110, as in many other facets of my life, there are double-standards…if I had stormed “out the classroom door” in a tirade, letting it slam behind me, do you think I would have been given the same “hall pass” as the student who did that, just because I referenced my current familial situation as an excuse? I seriously doubt it.

     I have learned that in the future, as a human service worker,  I will never single out an individual and make them be the object of  criticism. I learned that although I may think it necessary to point out the foibles of other individuals, I will NEVER do it a public forum. In is in fact humiliating and breeds nothing more than animosity. I learned that when I am the authority, I will NEVER stand in front of a class and stare at them and call them out by name, only to air“the family’s dirty laundry”. I know now how painful this kind of treatment can be, especially coming from someone I should  respect. However, as I learned in my Group and Social Process class, controversy can be a positive thing. Let’s wait and see what happens! I also learned that that when I think I am doing something right, I may be doing something wrong. I also know, in my heart of hearts, that I have never done and will NEVER do anything deliberately or intentionally to hurt someone. I know how fragile the psyche can be. A person may need only one tiny shove to finally knock them off of the emotional precipice they’ve been teetering on.

      It is not for me to judge. Peace.

Friday, March 16, 2012

HAPPY ST. PATRICK'S DAY...In Detroit!




Detroit, Michigan, boasts one of the oldest neighborhoods around. Settled in 1834 by a predominantly Irish population, Corktown remains as lovely and vibrant as it did way back in the day! Rows of old middle class wooden houses decorated with gingerbread line the red brick pavements. Two of the oldest houses in the entire city are located in the area known as Corktown. And the best part of the neighborhood is that the old Catholic Church, Most Holy Trinity, is still standing and holding Mass every Sunday. Corktown residents keep their community spotless and you will find many families that live there are descendants of the original settlers that came here.                 MOST HOLY TRINITY CHURCH

Most Holy Trinity Church-Corktown!



Is this house cute or what?
Today, Corktown draws many kinds of people to the local bars and restaurants that have cropped up, and hipsters from all the Metro D flock to them on weekends. Someplace in Detroit has to be cool!

The traditional St. Patrick's Day Parade is clearly the emerald in the crown of Corktown! For as many years as I can remember, the parade runs down Michigan Avenue and thousands of people are Irish for a minute. The parade is always held the Sunday BEFORE St. Patrick's Day, so this year we've had a week long celebration.  And the drinking; YIKES! It's been a 24 hour a day Alcoholics Anonymous meeting!
 
Here I am on Michigan Avenue with some of the happiest lasses I know,
The Motor City Rah Rahs! Don't ask!
What is MY connection to St. Patrick's Day? As the luck of the Irish would have it, my Catholic parents lived in a suburban neighborhood west of Detroit and in 1956, their parish built their first parochial school. Guess where we got our nuns from? IRELAND! Marist nuns with Irish brogues and those real rosy (or Rosacia) colored cheeks! I was taught everything about St. Patrick and the snakes and I even learned how to Irish Step dance. To this day when I hook up with friends from the neighborhood  we break into the count...1-2-3-4-5-6-7      1-2-3 and a 1-2-3!! Man, I was really was lucky!

Sister!
 So, after a week of celebrating St. Patrick's Day, the REAL St. Patrick's Day is finally here and oh brother, what can happen now? I can only hope that everyone celebrating Friday will be too hung over on Saturday the 17th. Have a fun one! Peace

Tailgating at a St. Patrick's Day Parade?


There's a parade float in there somewhere!

Dolly the Dachshund...in her Irish best!

God Bless America! And beer. And the car wash!

Monday, March 12, 2012

I SHOULD KNOW BETTER...But I live dangerously!



The proverbial "Home Alone" terror shot expressing
the face of "what have I got myself into now? "

                                                                               
Well, you think I would have learned a lesson the LAST time I went to a rock concert, but apparently I did not. Getting clocked in the side of the head is like riding a bicycle: if you get clocked, (or fall off a bike), you just get right back on that bike or get yourself out to another dangerous rock concert and get over your crybaby self! I have been a huge fan of The Goddamn Gallows for a while now. I thought I knew what I was getting into when I bought the family tickets to go out and see the band, but I was just a tiny bit wrong. We had all "witnessed" the amazing talent and entertainment of this gutter-billy punk rock band a few years ago at a private party, but we had never been able to catch up with them to check out their LIVE VENUE performances, where ANYTHING goes! This band is HUGELY popular and tours fast and furiously all over the country! Being that they were appearing just up the street from where I live, it would have been a terrible loss for me to stay home. And heck, tickets were only TEN BUCKS and you got to see FOUR BANDS! Sounded good to me and it WAS! If you EVER get a chance to see this band live and in concert at ANY price, DO IT! And then you can say you have done everything.


                           THE GODDAMN GALLOWS WEBSITE!




Alright then. The band takes the stage and the roller coaster ride begins!
There are like SEVEN musicians playing instruments ranging from bass fiddle
to mandolin, to banjo, to accordion, to snare drums and guitar!
And the always fun, spoons and washboard!
Everyone jumps all over the stage and into the audience and switches out instruments.
They climb all over the place, spit HUGE wads of chaw, stomp the stage, and
generally make a ruckus. Not a real messy ruckus. Just a ruckus.



Okay. So it was a young and rowdy crowd.
I try and fit in everywhere I go!



You know me!
Stuff my head inside a bass fiddle for a photo op!





Oh Jeez! The slam dancing began and I barely
got out of the way! That's my daughter Cara!
She was glaring at some kid  who was getting
a little too close with his flailing fists!


     
 
So he looks like he just escaped from a
mental asylum. Or prison. Or both.
He's a really nice guy once you get to know him!
I liked him!

What can be more fun at a live show than watching someone
in the band get hit over the head with a beer bottle? Oh relax!
It was "staged" you big sissies! He got right up and closed out
the show with spitting gasoline and blowing fire out of his mouth!




Too funny! My poor husband gets dragged along with me!
He's struggling to look like he's having fun. I know that  he was!






My policy is only to attend shows that have
werewolves playing washboard and spoons
.



I wasn't the only old dame at the gig!
This is the bass fiddle player's proud mom!
Show's about over and I'm still alive!

I'm gonna let you fill in your own caption here!





This show was absolutely the best time I've had in a long time! I know I stand out like a proverbial sore thumb in my little polka-dot polyester dress and hair bow, but that's what I do! I seek out the strange and unusual! I like to go to places like THE MUTTER MUSEUM IN PHILADELPHIA, haunted cemeteries in New Orleans. And  morgues! I like morgues. I'll slam on the car brakes if I am out in the country and a big old abandoned house that looks like it belongs in an Alfred Hitchcock movie beckons me to come inside! What can I say. I am a woman of many different personalities. I'd be afraid of me if I didn't already know me and like me! If you want to live life in the fast and fun lane, you can be my friend too! But I am very selective. Auditions will be held soon! XO Peace.

Monday, March 5, 2012

I GOT LUCKY...A gift of Mayan treasure!

 Just a couple of random, fleeting thoughts today because not much else has been happening around here! Ever since I got walloped in the head last week, I've been expecting a brain hemorrhage to put an end to all of this. On a brighter side, I am trying really hard to beat back the depression that crept in all last week.

Sue Roedding Hill, Carl Lundgren, Linda Vermuelen, Michele Lundgren




On Saturday, March 3rd, my friend from back in 1968 in high school, Linda Geluck Vermuelen, was in town over the weekend to attend the opening reception at a local art institute that featured her work. Linda is a photographer who lives in a small lakeside resort town, Gimli, Manitoba. I have mentioned her before here on my blog. Linda had two beautiful black and white prints in the exhibit and several of our mutual friends showed up to help her celebrate. Linda is a very sweet and kindhearted soul who is genuinely talented in many ways. We drank a lot of champagne and other cocktails and went to Cafe du Mongo Speakeasy after the show and had a really fun time. Too bad Linda lives so far away, eh!

                                        CONTEMPORARY ART INSTITUTE DETROIT 

During our visit, Linda presented me with several Mayan artifacts from her last vacation to The Yucatan Peninsula and the BECAN ancient ruins. I had asked Linda if she could bring me back something from the sacred grounds because I am big believer in The Mayan Prophecy. I got a broken shard of old Mayan pottery, a rock in the shape of a heart, an old souvenir of The Mayan Calendar that she had found in the dirt, and a book. I am counting the days until the great rift opens and takes me back home on the mother ship.I am thinking about getting a Mayan image as a tattoo! Let's see, a college degree AND a tattoo after the age of sixty! I rock. I better hurry it up though...time is running out!


                                                            MAYAN PROPHECY 2012

Real Ancient Mayan Treasures! I am so lucky!



                           
                  Mayan Calendar Disk