Wednesday, May 4, 2016

An Abundance of Questions

                                                            

So many things have come up this week that I don’t know where to start first. My grandson, Joshua, is now officially in the Navy. After boot camp, he’ll be trained on a submarine. While writing down my address in order for Josh to keep in touch with me, he asked me to print because they don’t teach cursive writing in school. The fact that my grandson, who is very smart, didn’t know how to write cursive actually blew my mind. This kid is planning on working with Elon Musk and Space X but he doesn’t know cursive because he was only taught to print.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/education/cursive-handwriting-disappearing-from-public-schools/2013/04/04/215862e0-7d23-11e2-a044-676856536b40_story.html

My first reaction was to go on a tirade about the poor education system in this country, but I didn’t want to direct it at my grandson. He didn’t make up the rules. So who the hell did? Yeah, I know, everyone uses the computer so why worry about handwriting, but penmanship is an important discipline that works with the eye and hand coordination part of the brain. I’m afraid that in the next few years, someone will come up with a new rule that considers printing unnecessary because you can just peck at the keys of a keyboard.  I guess I won’t be seeing too many handwritten letters from my grandchildren. Maybe that’s why they love texting so much.

Common Core Sucks!

Instead of solving the real problems of education, some nut job had decided in 2009 to place us even further behind in the education race by coming up with something called Common Core. Guess what? It is a big fat failure and kids are graduating from high school unprepared for college. The teachers are now forced to teach kids to pass tests. That’s not what education is about. Teachers are supposed to teach lessons and encourage children to ask questions, do experiments, have debates, and then, come up with theories based on their research...right?
                                                                
Maybe eliminating cursive handwriting was the first step down that slippery slope to dumbing down our kids. I went to Catholic school for twelve years and I know more about history, social studies and science than most kids today. Why is that? The nuns taught us with one purpose in mind. We were to learn everything about the world and its people in order to become contributing members of society. Yes, there were tests, and yes, we stressed over them because a bad report card was not acceptable to our parents, who took an active interest in our learning. But, the nuns didn’t teach us to just pass tests. They taught us to think for ourselves.                                                            
I think we’ve done a big disservice to our children and our teachers with this stupid Common Core and maybe we should go back to what worked before. I would write a letter to the U.S. Secretary of Education, but they may not know how to read cursive.
Who can fix this?
                                                          

Veterans
Can someone tell me how it is possible that our young men and women, who we sent off to fight a war for some rich bastard to make oodles of noodles from invading other countries, are now living in the streets? These are our soldiers! These young men and women served in the military to keep us safe and where are they? They are living in poverty, that’s where they are. Corporations should be hiring veterans as soon as they are discharged from service. It should be a law. Who can fix this, now!
                                                             

Social Security Vampires
Who started it, I don’t know, but I’m pissed. I’ve been working since I was seven years old. I worked seven days a week in my parent’s grocery store in South Philly. I graduated from High School at 17 and I went right to work at Bell Telephone. I’ve worked many jobs, but I always paid taxes and also paid into Social Security. I’m retired now and I live on a fixed income.  So, why am I confused? Conservatives want to take away my money. They say it belongs to them. Who do I send my neatly, handwritten letter to?
Okay, I am done ranting. What’s on your mind?
 
 

 

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Indiegogo Campain for BIGFOOT, a Christopher Paul Garetano Creation

                                                           
                                                                
I receive many requests by the very talented people who follow me on Social Media to check out their work or to promote their latest creation. I do this often wondering if I’m going to be disappointed in accepting their request. I’m happy to say that I’ve never been disappointed. In fact, I am really excited to tell you about this new Indiegogo film that needs your help.

                                            Introducing Paul Garetano
                                                         

In October of 2015, movie-maker Christopher Paul Garetano set out to create the definitive motion picture regarding what is perhaps the greatest unsolved mystery of our time: the legend of BIGFOOT

I’ve watched the trailer and loved what I saw. You will too!

                                                      


Sunday, April 10, 2016

Plantings of Spirit

                                                           
                               
There are two ways to go through this life. You can be a planter, or you can be a tramper. Children are like young plants. They need the necessities of healthy foods and clean water to physically grow and, they need mental stimulation which they get in school and at home, but what about their spiritual growth.
Are we inspiring our young to reach past their limits or family traditions? I watch and listen to how adults deal with the young. We should be mindful of our words. I’ve mentioned this in an earlier post. Our thoughts and intentions can take on conscious form and, our words can be as sharp as a sword to an insecure child. Do we really want this to be our legacy?
                                                                 
When I meet adults who seem insecure, self-doubting, or afraid to speak their voice, I think to myself, “There was very little planting in her or his garden.” Did this person, as a child, constantly here remarks like this: “You can’t do this, because: you’re not smart enough, big enough, rich enough, white enough, male enough, female enough, etc. etc.” You get the idea. Trampers point out the negative aspects while planters point out the positive with words like these: “You can do this, if you study harder, if you’re persistent, if you believe in yourself.”
Planters will not use religion, gender, race or finances to discourage a child. A planter will say, “It might be hard, but you can do it.” It takes one seed to start that garden in a child. One encouraging word will inspire a child to reach above their capabilities. When that seed takes root, the spark of imagination that shows in a child’s eyes is breathless to behold.                                                           
The other day, I was selling my books at the Camden Comic Con. A group of children between the ages of eleven to thirteen stopped at my table to chat with me and a fellow writer. One of the girls asked me if I wrote the books that I was selling. I said yes. She wanted to know how I wrote the book. My reply, “I have all these stories inside me. I just write them down.” She nodded, but there were questions. I could see them in her eyes. I added, “You have a story inside you. Everyone does. Start writing your story.”
Her eyes lit up. I had planted the seed. She could write, too. This little girl’s eyes shone with excitement and she couldn’t wait to get home and try her hand at writing. I hope I encouraged all the children in that group to spread their wings and not take “NO” for an answer.
                                                             
 
I hope I also encouraged the little girl with the sad eyes. When I told her to write down her story, her eyes lit up, but then the frown returned. Was she a victim of trampling? I hope not. I hope the seed took hold in her heart. I hope to see her selling her own books one day. Are you a planter or a tramper?

 


Great Times at the 2016 Camden Comic Con

                                                          

I’ve been to several Comic Cons on the east coast, but my all-time favorite is the one hosted by Rutgers in Camden New Jersey. Bill Haas and his team do an outstanding job of making sure the event runs in a smooth and organized way at the Camden Comic Con.  
                                                                

I was so fortunate to have my favorite sidekick at my side for this event. Dawn Byrnes and I have been doing book signings together for several years, starting with selling our writing group’s first anthology, Tall Tales and Short Stories from South Jersey. Dawn has several stories published and she’s hoping to have her novel finished by the summer of 2017. Check out her blog and check out the South Jersey Writers’ Group site.
                                                                      

I don’t know if you’ve ever been to a Comic Con, but they are so much fun. People wear costumes of their favorite video, comic book or television characters and these fans put a lot of effort and time into making their costumes. We also some really cool vendors at the event.
                                                            
 
The young lady sitting at the table next to us was an Anime Artist named Kathy. Her work was fabulous and she had a steady stream of customers the whole day. Here is her site. Check it out.
                                                             

I sold a lot of books and made new friends. Thank you Beatriz for buying my books.  Dawn and I also met some cool visitors, Jeff Cleve, actor and puppeteer and, Tania Ann Monica, a model and actress.
                                                                                                    
                                                           
The busiest table at the Comic Con was manned by the pop culture duo, Glenn Walker and Ray Cornwall of The Gar Podcast. Glenn Walker is also the Editor-in-Chief of the pop culture site Biff Bam Pop! Glenn is also on the board of directors for the South Jersey Writers’ Group. Glenn, Ray and Jeff did ten hours of interviews including one with me and Director Christopher Eilenstine.
                                                            


As the senior writer for Biff Bam Pop, I’ve interviewed Chris on The Soulless Film here and the upcoming Shadows of the Forest and, I am one of the screenwriters for Shadows of the Forest. Thanks to Glenn, Ray and Christopher, I now have a movie deal for Roof Oasis. Like I said, great things happen at the Camden Comic Con and I’ll be looking for your visit next year.
                                                           
                                                       
So, yeah it was a great day, but the moment that touched me the most was when two girls from Pennsauken High School stopped in to say hello to me. For the last two years, I've been invited to the high school to talk to the students about writing. I usually spend the whole morning speaking to the junior classes.

Anyone who puts down the kids today should head over to the Pennsauken High School. These young men and  young ladies were well behaved, intelligent, curious and interested in what is happening in the world. They're much smarter than I ever was in junior year. Check out The Gar Podcast later in the week to listen to the interviews from the Comic Con.

 

Sunday, March 27, 2016

When Absence Is Necessary

                                                             

We don’t live in calm times and are relentlessly bombarded 24/7 with advertisements telling us to buy stuff we don’t need, with news reports of the latest buffoonery offered by our political circus and reports of the latest barbaric savagery committed in the name of GOD. Top that with the uncertainty of our jobs and health and you can understand a person wanting to hide in a cave.
                                                            
 
A few days ago, a good friend Jessica A. Walsh posted a blog titled “What Happened When My Power Went Away” Jessica is not only part of the best writers’ group ever, The South Jersey Writers’ Group, but this year, she became our Vice President. Jessica is a beautiful and sensitive person, but in this world, it can be rather overwhelming when something unsettling happens to you especially if you are a gentle soul. In her blog post, Jessica explains how an event affected her on three different planes: mentally, financially and physically.
I’m much older than Jessica and I’ve been in her exact dilemma many times, but age has a way of allowing you to let go of the guilt when you are forced to become absent from the world.  

Absence

Definition from the Oxford Dictionary: The state of being away from a place or person; an occasion or period of being away from a place or person; absence of mind Failure to concentrate on or remember what one is doing; avoidance; hiatus; truancy.
                                                
Jessica was apologizing for her disappearance. There was no need for an apology because what Jessica’s mind and body had demanded from her was a good old fashion retreat. Time out is important for survival, especially, in this world of ours where it’s fashionable to hate and to incite.

Retreat

Definition from the Cambridge Dictionary: To go away from a place or person in order to escape from fighting or danger; to go to a quiet place in order to avoid a difficult situation.

Benefits of Absence or Retreats

When I was a young girl at St. Maria Goretti High School in South Philadelphia, the nuns would take us on a Spiritual Retreat for the entire day at one of their Mother Houses in the countryside. We were teenagers who felt that a day spent in quiet contemplation sounded more like a prison sentence than a learning experience, but we were wrong. The time spent in silence gave us renewed strength.
                                                             
Later in life, I learned the benefits to a time out. I haven’t been on a spiritual retreat since high school, but I have set up a room inside my house as my little cave; a place to hide. Retreats and meditation reduce stress, allow your mind to breathe, renew energy and give you a chance to heal both mentally and physically. Like Jessica, I may hide in my little cave for days when I’m really feeling crushed by the weight of the world. I light incense, I play Hindu music, I don’t write, text, tweet or talk to anyone. My husband understands that because of my compromised immune system it is beneficial and better than any antibiotic to just let me go into cocoon mode whenever I need it.

Conclusion

I wanted Jessica to know that it’s okay to disappear. Even GOD disappeared in the desert for forty days and, he didn’t have to put up with Trump and Cruz, but HE knew what was coming down the road and he had to prepare for the journey to Calvary.
                                                              

In this age of instantaneous non-stop news, we need to take time to become absent from the world for small periods of time. Many of us can’t afford to miss work, because we have bills to pay, but we can designate a specific place in our home that is off limits to phones, television, computers and stress and just an hour in this room will start the mending. Disconnect form your cell phones and television for one night and feel the difference.
                                                             

My message to Jessica is this: don't feel guilty when you go into cocoon mode, instead, enjoy the benefits and emerge a better you. I’ll be in the cocoon next to you.

 

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Steampunk Granny's "Springtime in Paris" Bohemian Bazaar


Granny is so excited to start sharing the information on our Springtime in Paris Bazaar. Each week, I will post more information on the venders. They will have crafty items to please every purse. This might turn into a Merchant Street Event!!!!
 
Shelley Shayner will be reading Tarot Cards. She'll also be displaying some of her art
 
                                                            
Marti and Marcia from On Angel's Wings will be selling their metaphysical and spiritual items.
 
 
 
Beth O'Brien is a Reiki Master & Angel Card Reader
 
 
Nikki Steward is a medium and does past lives readings
 
 
Stacey Wright is a crafter extraordinaire
 
 
Emmy Fleming does jewelry based on the Marvel Universe. Very talented young lady who will be featured in an upcoming article in Geekadelphia
 
 
 
 
Lee Hoffman is the proprietor of Steampunk Works offering the best in Steampunk Fashions
 
 
Mieke Zamora Mackay will be featuring her hand knitted items
 
 
I will be featuring more vendors each week. Stay tuned
 

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Fun at the Psychic & Healing Expo in Blackwood, N.J.

                                                           
 
I love meeting new people and, this past Sunday while I was at the Psychic & Healing Expo, I met some new friends. There were many vendors in the section that I was in.
                                                            
 
The place was packed and all the visitors looked like they were having fun. Stacy Zemon is the person responsible for pulling this event together every year and she did a wonderful job as always.
                                                              
 
Wendy Hutchinson was there selling her Tastefully Simple goodies, but she is also offering a special venue called Downtown Vendors for corporations to treat their employees to a workplace shopping experience with vendors and crafters. You can reach Wendy at downtownvendorsNJ@gmail.com
                                                         
 
Amanda Frick was there with her Awakened Mind LLC. Amanda is a psychic who brings healing to awaken the mind and bring you out of the illusion of separation from your spirit. Her website is www.awakeningminds.com. You can also reach her at awakenedmindllc@gmail.com
                                                              
 
Dawn Strouse was there to offer you a cup of tea and then do intuitive tea leaf readings for you. Tea leaf readings are an ancient method of divination originating with Buddhist Monks. You can reach Dawn at dawn.igh@gmail.com
                                                                 
 
Judy Kay, Psychic Medium was also there and Judy does past, present and future readings, while helping you connect with loved ones. You can reach Judy Kay at judykaypsychicmedium@aol.com
                                                                 
 
Jean Lee Brown Ramalho was offering her Healing Pet Crystals which gives Reiki protection to your pets. Jean can be reached at happypetcrystals@gmail.com
                                                         
 
Annmarie and Ackbar of the Sacred Green Earth in 511 White Horse Pike, Oaklyn New Jersey were there with their many spiritual items. Check out their site http://myemail.constantcontact.com/-Sacred-Green-Earth-Spring-Medicine-Wheel.html?soid=1102417252465&aid=-3L1MvomVIg  and here https://www.facebook.com/Sacred-Green-Earth-129579457113670/?fref=ts
                                                          
 
Nikki Steward was there from 30 Something Psychic. Nikki is a medium who does past life readings and much more. You can check out her site, here. https://www.facebook.com/30SomethingPsychic/?fref=ts
                                                                  
 
Check out these fabulous vendors and don’t forget to check out the first two books of my Roof Oasis Apocalyptic Series on Amazon.com Book Three comes out in August.