From the Editor

This Was the Year

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It has been quite a year; it began and ended with trips to North Carolina, a state which has had a rather historical year of its own, but that is not the history I will dwell on here.

As 2016 draws to a close, I feel compelled to spend a few minutes reflecting on a year, which has become one of the more significant in my life, and perhaps, given all that has occurred on the larger world stage, a year that has laid the foundation for changes yet to come for us all.

Sitting to write, on the last day of November of 2016, I am almost comfortable with saying that November alone was sufficiently potent to not need to further examine the previous ten months; but only almost.

There have been so many headlines this year regarding the elections and racial tensions in the United States, equally prominent the deadly terrorist attacks that have spanned the globe, on-going wars and refugee crisis, countless anniversaries from things like William Shakespeare death (400 years ago) to Route 66’s creation (90 years old this year), and of course this has been a year of remarkable scientific, artistic, and athletic achievements, but I will leave those many milestones for others to pounder.

Instead, as I get ready to begin the last month of this year, what I would like to say to you is do not waste time with regret or procrastination; Nike got it right – just do it – just go – just take a chance – engage in life, and by all means stop to record and to remember.

Yes, this year has seen its fair share of heartache, everything from dealing with health issues, our own and others, to standing by watching our friends and loved ones lose their jobs, we have born witness to personal disappointments, family sorrows, world-wide catastrophic events, and everything in between; however, as this year began, for some reason, I felt hope – what a beautifully wonderful thing hope is – though I certainly had no set expectations of what I hoped for in 2016, I was content to hope.

Repeatedly, this has been a year where it seems that almost every step we have taken has been taken“kicking and screaming”. The truly silly thing is that even after an incredibly successful year of living with wonder we continued repeatedly trying to talk ourselves out of, whatever adventure we were next contemplating.  There would be this moment where we would go through how much we needed to get done or how tired we felt or whatever other senseless excuse we could come up with for not going or doing, and then look at each other and say, what is wrong with us?  As it would take about thirty seconds of regaling the results of our previous party or phone call or trip or deed, to say let’s get to it – live!

We welcomed the New Year at my niece and her husband’s New Year’s Eve Party, a party which we did not want to go – why? Not a single good reason, except that we do not normally go out on New Year’s, but we have this little mantra that says if we are invited someplace we go, so we went and we were not sorry.  We got to bear witness to their first party as a married couple, spending a lovely evening with friends and family, in their home, and most importantly marked the moment – that matters, moments must be marked.

For me, life is defined by people, places, and moments remembered, at the end of the day. I want to go to bed every night feeling more than merely content, I want to feel that every day was actually lived to its fullest – something not always easy to do, I well know.

The people that matter, to me, are not just people that I know, but the stranger I am sitting next to in a public place, the person who I interact with at a second hand store, or the individual who has written or created something which moves me – those people who we sometimes crash into and other times barely graze against, who nevertheless leave an impact on our life, and let us know that on that day we were alive.

The places are anywhere and everywhere. I want to go places that I once knew, where I revisit favorite restaurants and drive by old houses that were once home, places where I get to touch history and fill my mind with new ideas and information, and places which offer new vistas and opportunities to feel; as well as places in my own home and the homes of the people I love, where memories are made.

The moments are all of those seconds spent with people in places and alone with my thoughts and feelings, walking through the world; each and every moment matters, and as we grow older, we scoop up those moments with both arms, and soon find that we are holding our life.

Tonight, we each have a long to-do list, including writing articles, which will not be posted at midnight, because instead of staying home and dealing with life’s demands, on this chilly, rainy night, we decided it was more important to go to the hospital and spend time with family and friends, visiting baby Lucy again!

As I sat there, this evening, marveling at Lucy, I will admit that my thoughts of joy were tempered by my concern for Stephanie, who tomorrow will find herself in a hospital, dealing with a less pleasant sojourn. I thought about how she must feel, about her children, and sisters, and all of the other people, in her life, who are grieved tonight.  I said a quiet prayer for her, and then opened my arms to hold Lucy, telling her quietly that this life, it is both bitter and sweet and what matters is what we do with what we are given.

Thus, I end this year, truly amazed at how merciful God has been to us in 2016, I am slightly shocked at what an outstanding year it has been, at the people I was able to see and meet, the places I visited, and all of the remarkable moments, which have brought me to this point in time. I take note of a few of our highlights, not to show off, but to share my joy with you and I ask that ask you to do the same. That is all for now.

A Few of Our Highlights

Hannah and Tim’s New Year’s Eve Party

Realizing how very comfortable I feel in hotels and on new streets

Stay at the Eliot Hotel

Death of Glen Fry

Return to Winslow

Finally reading Zane Grey

Reconnecting with Old Friends

Also finally finding a hotel in Washington D.C. that we like

Boneless chicken wings with Christine as we celebrated her birthday

Being able to meet and speak with political candidates that I admired

Seeing the Tuskegee Airmen Museum

A sojourn in Huntsville, which will one day be written about

A perfect dinner at Kenny’s and Ziggy’s

Coming very close to recreating Kenny’s and Ziggy’s cheesecake

Not writing down the recipe I created

Making my way to the Oklahoma City National Memorial

Stopping to visit the Winston Churchill Memorial

Going back to Tampa with peace

And being able to see Donna with joy, not just shared sorrow

Touring Fairchild Gardens with our dear friends the Barros-Jardines Family

Celebrating Caroline, Doug, and Kate’s milestone birthdays

Being able to share our home in Maine with the Barros-Jardines Family

Road trip with the Barros-Jardines Family

Learning that Pilgrim Hall Museum is the oldest museum in the United States

Going to the oldest museum in the United States

Sharing Philadelphia with people who live the values enshrined there

Eating a Waffle House waffle in Atlanta, with five people

Stone Mountain after dark, music playing, fireworks blazing, and perfect company

Being able to stay at the Georgian Terrace

Acquaintances becoming friends

Embracing the role and identity of a historian

Experiencing a moment where I realized I had to stop grieving for my Mother, and celebrate her

Seeing Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings house, which made me feel like both a Floridian and a writer

Feeling as comfortable in New York City as I do in Los Angeles

Finally making it inside WestPoint, and not just driving by

The Yiddish museum

Embracing Maine

Getting caught up with all post on That Is All For Now

Celebrating nine years of That Is All For Now

Meeting and interacting with so many strangers on the road

Riding the roller coaster in Old Orchard Beach

Not riding the roller coaster at Coney Island

Building a fire pit in Maine

Reconnecting with Amy who I had not seen since she was a little girl

Reunion with Leona, and Uncle Glen and Aunt Beverly, and Kim

Meeting Marigold

Seeing Nancy Again

And getting a very nifty tour of her work place from her outstanding boss

Adding two writers to That Is All For Now

Finding out that my Father hung out with Roberto Clemente

Staying at the Towers, like General Douglas MacArthur and President Hoover – almost like them

The Teddy Roosevelt Island – another finally

Sagamore Hill, also finally

Sharing Kate’s first trip to Hawaii, where so much happened

Being able to witness Kate’s professional accomplishments, long deserved

Accepting that this is who I am and have always been, and I am okay with that – yes finally too

Getting to know my new neighbors in Florida and those in Maine who were long before us

Birthday cake on the beach with the Barros-Jardines Family – Patty you were missed

My Sister giving me the exact same birthday card, I had purchased for her next birthday

Sharing Winslow Homer’s House with my family

General Douglas MacArthur’s Museum and Memorial

Saying good-bye to the Republican Party

Election of the Donald Trump

The new President will work for free, I am no longer alone in this area

Maybe working for free will become a thing

Stay at the Algonquin

Eating at Carnegies before it closes – much prefer Katz

Seeing Fiddler on the Roof on Broadway, with Kate – her most favorite of musicals

Finally saw the real Winnie the Pooh

Kate finally saw the real Winnie the Pooh – her favorite plush animal

A reunion

The Durham Bulls – yes all about the movie

Adding Donna and Carolyn to the Family page on my social media

Char getting on-line

Death of the dictator and tyrant finally

Birth of Lucille Marlene

Ana hit Like, on That Is All For Now, with so complete ease, giving us joy

It is only December 1 – what will the rest of the year bring

Connected

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My Mother Has Gone Viral,

Well Maybe Not Exactly but Close

 

This month, I am not going to warn you about a pending cyber-attack or tell you why security matters; instead I thought I would share with you a personal story, which perfectly shows why being Connected, can be such a gift to us all.

Jill had been saying for some time that she thought it would be a good idea for my mother to be on Facebook and to have email, believing that it may aid in helping her feel less isolated.

In the last few years, we have noticed that her world was getting smaller, as people moved away or succumbed to that time in life, where hanging out at the club, going out to dinner, or planning a long weekend away seemed more difficult and thus happened less often.

Before she came to Maine for Thanksgiving, we talked about introducing her to technology in a gentle and supportive fashion; feeling this would be the perfect opportunity to get her Connected.

While sitting down at a table, I brought her a laptop, and an iPad, to get started. What I noticed was how quickly she took to the iPad.  She was able look at the landscape of the iPad, click on icons that were descriptive, and get started.  The laptop seemed less functional for her, even though she could point and click, the applications were not as intuitive.  So the iPad won, and thus began our journey into Facebook.

The day I connected her, I literally saw her world open up. I know that she had been reluctant for various reasons, and I had been as well, but I must say that when I saw her Connect with her two great grandchildren through Facetime, the game changed for her and for me.

So what are some easy steps to get people who have been less exposed to technology Connected to the Internet?

First, you need to find the right device. I think the tablets or iPad are better than a computer or laptop for a person just getting started.  A computer has many features that are not needed for basic access to social media and email.  It is important to ask the individual you are trying to Connect what they would like to do, in order to find the best device to meet their needs.  For someone who has had little exposure to digital devices, I find that a portable, light weight and intuitive device is best, and therefore I recommend a tablet.

Second, acquaint them with the simplest of tasks. Start with turning on and off the digital device.  Enable them to navigate the windows by swiping their finger across the screen.  Helping them become familiar with their device will quickly lead to independence, a since of satisfaction, and a feeling of success.  Assure them that they are not going to break or harm the device by clicking on the wrong icon, encourage them to explore with confidence.  You want them to enjoy becoming Connected.

Third, while I am generally against apps, I must confess that I downloaded the Facebook and Messenger app on her iPad. I personally go to the Facebook website, but I must also confess that I downloaded, Messenger onto my phone.  I found the Facebook app very easy for her to use.  She quickly was able to navigate the four icons, at the bottom of the Facebook app, which is all that she really needed to master, for her to become a Facebook aficionado.  Additionally, we practiced calling each other in the Messenger app, and as she can best describe, she was astounded at the technology.

The fourth step was to learn about the care of the device. I wanted to make sure she felt comfortable Connecting the cable to charge it, that she understood free wireless, the basic security principals, like never giving out her password, as well as how the Internet works in general.

The fifth step involved good old fashioned paper and pen. Both she and I made notes about questions and terminology, as well as vocabulary.  For example, in order to scroll down a page, you actually swipe your finger in an upward motion; thus the common saying that she would remember “go up to go down”.  Creating notes she can refer to will give her peace of mind; also letting her know that she has tech support any time she needs it, as I am only a phone call away.

I had decided to keep the process simple for now. If she could manage email, Facebook, and Messenger, I believed that would be a great start, and it was.

She is home now, and has already mastered everything from sending out friend request, to liking articles, sharing posts, and commenting on what she is reading. I must say that personally, it is very exciting to see her so engaged.  Since this process started Jill and I have both been astonished at what a wonderful experience it has been to see her Connecting to people she has not seen or spoken to in a while.  We have also been very impressed by how popular she has already become, she all but has more friends than us both!

Yes, in order to help someone Connect you will have to commit to answering their questions, walking them through a process, which may seem like second nature to you and offering encouragement along the way; but let me assure you the investment is well worth it. For so very little you can give someone so very much.

So please feel free to send my mother a friend request, for all those that know me and help her world become a bigger place where she is safely Connected.

Film’s Recommended by Marcial

 
This is a trading world and men, women and children, who cannot live on gravity alone, need something to satisfy their gayer, lighter moods and hours, and he who ministers to this want is in a business established by the Author of our nature.  If he worthily fulfills his mission and amuses without corrupting, he need not feel that he has lived in vain.
 
~ Phineas T. Barnum ~

 

Rain Man, US, 1988, 103 minutes, Drama

Chicago, US, 2002, 113 minutes, Musical

The Upside of Anger, US, 2005, 118 minutes, Comedy

Scarface, US, 1983, 170 minutes, Thriller

The Notebook, US, 2004, 123 minutes, Drama

Million Dollar Baby, US, 2004, 133 minutes, Sports drama

Good Bye, Lenin!, Germany, 2003, 121 minutes, Comedy

Finding Neverland, UK, 2004, 101 minutes, Drama

Spanglish, US, 2004, 131 minutes, Comedy

The Aviator, US, 2004, 170 minutes, Drama

The Bridge on the River Kwai, US, 1957, 167 minutes, Action

Pulp Fiction, US, 1994, 154 minutes, Thriller

The Magnificent Seven, US, 1960, 128 minutes, Western

Zorba the Greek, Greek, 1964, 142 minutes, Classic

O Brother, Where Art Thou?, US, 2000, 106 minutes, Comedy

La Strada, Italy, 1954, 108, Drama

In Bruges, UK, 2008, 107 minutes, Thriller-Comedy

Whatever Works, US, 2009, 92 minutes, Comedy

Good Morning Vietnam, US, 1987, 119 minutes, Comedy

Awakenings, US, 1990, 120 minutes, Drama

Patch Adams, US, 1998, 116 minutes, Comedy

Captain Abu Raed, Jordan, 2008, 102 minutes, Drama

Bandits, US, 2001, 123 minutes, Comedy

Lucky Number Slevin, US, 2006, 110 minutes, Thriller

The Chorus, France, 2004, 97 minutes, Drama

Butterfly, Spain, 1999, 97 minutes, Drama

K-Pax, US, 2001, 121 minutes, Science Fiction

Winter in Wartime, Netherlands, 2008, 103, Drama, Suspenseful

Elling, Norway, 2001, 90 minutes, Comedy

Il Postino, Italy, 1995, 108 minutes, Drama

Under the Tuscan Sun, US, 2003, 113 minutes, Comedy

Les Comperes, France, 1983, 88 minutes, Comedy

Midnight in Paris, US, 2011, 94 minutes, Comedy

Moscow, Belgium, 2008, 102 minutes, Romantic Drama

Keeping Mum, UK, 2005, 103 minutes, Comedy

The Help, US, 2011, 146 minutes, Drama

Il Postino, Italy, 1995, 108 minutes, Drama

Mrs. Henderson Presents, UK, 2005, 103 minutes, Comedy/Drama

Memoirs of a Geisha, Japan, 2005, 145 minutes, Drama

Vitus, Switzerland, 2007, 123 minutes, Drama

Children of Heaven, Iran, 1997, 89 minutes, Drama

Volver, Spain, 2006, 121 minutes, Comedy

Rashomon, Japan, 1950, 88 minutes, Drama

Guantanamera, Cuba, 1994, 104 minutes, Comedy

Little Miss Sunshine, US, 2006, 101 minutes, Comedy

Moscow Does Not Believe in Tears, Russia, 1980, 150 minutes, Romantic Comedy.

The Pursuit of Happyness, US, 2006, 117 minutes, Drama

The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, France, 2007, 112 minutes, Drama

Thank You for Smoking, US, 2005, 91 minutes, Comedy

Big Fish, US, 2003, 125 minutes, Drama

No Country for Old Men, US, 2007, 122 minutes, Thriller

Dirty Pretty Things, UK, 202, 92 minutes, Drama

The Edge of Heaven, Germany, 2007, 122 minutes, Drama

There Will Be Blood, US, 2007, 158 minutes, Drama

The Wrestler, US, 2008, 105 minutes, Drama

Bottle Shock, US, 2008, 110 minutes, Drama

The Truman Show, US, 1998, 103 minutes, Comedy

Stranger than Fiction, US, 2006, 113 minutes, Comedy

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, US, 2008, 166 minutes, Drama


The Gecko Says

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The Gecko Says

Follow The Tradition of Traditions I had it explained to me once why as we get older the years seem to fly by. It turns out that when you’re say, 5 years old, one year is only one-fifth of your life. That’s a lot! That’s $.20 of a dollar. And a year seems to...

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My Mother’s Favorite Verse

“Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.”~ Jeremiah 33: 3 ~

~ Aristophanes~

High thoughts must have high language.

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