Tag Archives: Photos

I thought I saw my friend Regina Rolle

IMG_7246the other day.   I was so sure that I started looking online to see if she had moved back to the area.  I haven’t talked to her since soon after 9 11, when she called me to see how things were over here in upstate NY.  She had moved out to Phoenix to become a Montessori teacher after we worked together in a doctor’s office.

Since our last call, I think maybe we touched base once on Facebook.  I started thinking about how much I hoped she was back in town, how much fun it would be to go to Friendlys again with her and have a really gritty conversation about life over turkey and mashed potatoes.  I thought about how real and how color blind she was and most importantly, how hopeful.

I recalled helping Regina on a few of her projects.  She decided one year to create and host a party for children at the Ithaca Southside Community Center.  Many people came and it was a success.

I thought about how she had lost her parents when she was just a child and how sad that made her feel, how different perhaps her life might have been.  Regina was not bitter, she easily could have been.

Not only was she not bitter, I thought she had a wisdom in seeing things most people miss.  She told me once how sad it is that the  black folk and white folk have so much damaging conflict.  She thought it ironic since they have so much in common:  economic disenfranchisement among many things.

Regina wanted to be a teacher.  She loved children and loved taking them under her wing.  She was good at it, often babysitting a relative’s four little ones who had lost their mother.  So Regina decided to go back to school in mid-life to become a Montessori teacher.

I remember her packing up…going through her things…what to take, what to dump. I looked on amazed that she had old Tiger Beats!  She hated to throw them out and for some reason, I think she insisted on taking them with her.  I like to think it was because they represented a happy time for her.

My husband and I gave Regina’s relative a computer we weren’t using.  Soon after we gave it to her cousin, it died.  I apologized to her later…she said, “Oh no, that is ok, because that was the beginning of more and better computers for my cousin.”

We had so many laughs and heart to hearts at the office where we worked, that one year, on my birthday, I was surprised that of all the people who forgot, she did.  But then, toward the end of my day, Regina showed up, gift in hand.  It was the coffee mug pictured here.  I was delighted.  I get it out often when I want to put a smile on my face.

It never occurred to me I would not see Regina again.  So when I thought I saw her three weeks ago, I had to call her.  I’m way too late, she passed on in 2012!.  She was only in her late 50s, a sure sign that only the good die young.

 

 

 

to bridge the space

there are two things
which I have found to 

bridge the space between dusk and dawn

between alone and not so alone

they whistle, these two

within the confines of their silent passage

to  solitary souls who

join their ears in unison to hear them:

the train and the radio!

#communication applied: one image & semiotic theory

I am always struck by the power of an image…it needs little explanation.  On my blog, I align one image with each post.  Due to time constraints, some images are more relevant than others.

unnamed1ab
Who is muted today in our society? world?

In Communications, we want people to do something or think something.  What a task?  So many pre-existing filters exist and it is hard to get through them.  Images can sometimes strike our audience in ways that verbiage can not.  The popularity of Instagram is a testimony to this opinion.

The  image in this post could be interpreted a number of ways: the question is:  who is muted in our society? This is an instance where the Semiotic theory in Communications is useful.

The Semiotics definition from the Oxford English Dictionary states:

“The science of communication studied through the interpretation of signs and symbols as they operate in various fields, esp. language (see semiotic n.  for parallel form). Cf. semiology n.

The above is not an icononic symbol, but rather it signifies that a large entity, perhaps alien, as alien as outerspace or as one human paradigm to another, is forcing, through their power, another entity, to stay quiet.This…despite that entities willfulness.

These are some recent headlines on the web that make the sketch a good metaphor for  its the use of power over rather than power with :

New York Times: Threats and Vandalism Leave American Jews on Edge in Trump Era
By ALAN BLINDER, SERGE F. KOVALESKI and ADAM GOLDMAN

Politico:  NRCC chairman: ‘Bullying’ protesters won’t hurt us in 2018 By Rachael Bade

Fox News:  Trump administration pushes back signing new travel ban, official says

In each case, the report indicates a threat.  One group trying to assert power over another.  The responses of the less powerful are not documented in the headlines, but while they may not currently be muted, it is  obvious to this news observer that we are heading in a direction of silencing them.

cl

What Dreams May Come…inspired by my husband w/love

What Dreams May Come
What Dreams May Come

bloom where you are planted

captured-2006-05-11a-00006

“God Bless America,” land that I love

kate-smith
Kate Smith…former house in the Adirondack…song: click here

In the Adirondacks, on Lake Placid,  a boat tour guide will tell you as you as he slows the engine and pauses in front of the house that was Kate Smith’s, that she would sing from the balcony.

In the stillness last summer, I heard her famous voice belting out God Bless America.  As if reverberating  through the decades to wrap me, and US, in soothing protection.

In the quiet with no cell phones buzzing, in my mind’s eye, I saw Kate Smith on her balcony. My mother’s mother, I am told, loved Smith’s famous “God Bless America,” she had three sons in World War II.  Perhaps that fact about my Grandmother made Kate Smith’s voice and spirit boom even louder for me that day.

They say your offspring will care about what you care about, and this, my grandmother’s love for Kate Smith and God Bless America is about the only thing I know about what rested in my grandmother’s soul. 

Today feels heavy, but I pray we keep Hope and our values alive…just as Kate Smith did during World War II.  

41cbkhnp1rl-_sy300_ql70_

President Obama believes in us…he proved his campaign slogan and he is not dying.  Obama has  led us, WE THE PEOPLE, to an inevitable tipping point.  That veiled line between justice and injustice, …   It is up to us now to keep dusting ourselves off  and hear his voice to participate, help each other out, and believe that YES WE CAN! 

Pot roast in winter

2010-06-21-174
Doves on a wire many moons ago
jan 8 2017: It is the kind of day where you just want to make a pot roast and so you do…you buy the roast, you goggle a recipe and you decide to roast some vegetables too…but somehow, the recipe for the vegetables and the recipe for the roast, just don’t work together.

So about 1 hour after your designated dinner hour, you finally eat the pot roast and still the vegetables, which you have since put in a pot to boil, still aren’t soft.

You give up, you laugh, and you realize that all things in the new year, won’t be happy.  The pot roast is just one of them.

Me and my dog Moby, a Dear Abby question

Dear Abby,

Me and Moby, our American pit bull mix, have been friends now for 5 years.  Everyone loves Moby…he is adorable and he loves to be loved.  We nick named him Mobile and sometimes sing to him:  “I’m a wanderer, I’m a wanderer and  I love to roam around” or “Going Mobile” because when my husband and I are working around the house, he just follows us from room to room and then stops where we stop and sits patiently waiting and watching us.  When making dinner or doing the dishes, he is the best little companion ever.

Moby has a brother, Macadew, who has a different agenda in life and also dominates over Moby.  Macadew, too, is a love if you are on his good side but, one does not want to be on the wrong side of his canines.  He is a hunter… he leaps and bounds through the yard and woods, always on a hunt. When inside, each picture window provides  him with hours of mesmerization as he studies the surroundings for a movement…the hunt for the barn cat or the rabbit is his life’s directive.  After his job is done, Macadew simply rests with us and cuddles.
Back to Moby.  So all is good at the homestead until…my husband leaves the vicinity.  Moby, perhaps wandering or sleeping in front of the woodstove, hears the door creak.  His head rises, he stares blankly waiting, ears listening…I hear him thinking…is he leaving?  Rad says, See you later and shuts the door.  Moby lifts his head up and his body comes right over to me.  First, he wants me to pet him.  Easy enough, but then when I stop, he puts his right foot on me to engage me.  

After that, I have to get my weapon, a squirt bottle, because if I don’t, all 86 pounds of him tries to get up into my lap and will not take no for an answer.  I rarely have to use my weapon, because Moby doesn’t like to get wet, and so he backs off.  But that is when round two starts, Moby starts his own pacing and hunting. 

 Back and forth through the house looking for cruched up paper towels to grab… he places his front paws on the kitchen island or table examining the surface for the scrunched paper towel and if not finding one, a magazine or piece of paper.  He proceeds then, to strategize how to get the object and as he stealthly calculates…I get up to beat him to it.  

I then try to return to my book or whatever I am working on, but he aint having it.  Pacing continues back and forth until he finds something and scampers into Macaedew’s cage to rip it apart, or I apprehend him before he gets there.  I then unlock the jaws and retrieve the item.  Or Moby makes it in to the crate and I have to follow to retrieve the item before, it is devoured.

Abby, what can be done, how can we end this dance.  Me and Mobs are both getting grey…I know he loves this game but it is wearing on me.  Please advise…I need an intervention:-)

Light in the Darkness…My Mother had Five Brothers

hanover-square-img_3354
A Trumpeter playing Christmas carols in December 2015 at Hanover Square, Horseheads.

My mother, Katherine Arachangela, is often heard saying…”I had five brothers growing up.”  This meant, myself and my siblings and our 20 first cousins! had five uncles.  They have all passed sadly and their names were Harry, Ed, Tommy, Bobby, and Billy.  They each taught me something about life and this piece is a reflection on Uncle Bob.  I am posting it now because he died almost three years ago around this time.  His being brought light into the darkness for many…Uncle Bob you are missed!

January 2014~When I went to my Uncle Bob’s calling hours, I felt a sadness that echoed throughout my limbs and surfaced in a rain of tears.  My Mother had, in her own, very succint, practical way pointed out to me, days before his death,  that I was a niece he hardly new.  (Not sure if this was not perhaps her dementia settling in or just her opinion.) This of course, this did not make the event any less sad.

I cried so hard because I saw my cousins in pain, because I saw all the times that I felt down and my Uncle was there to cheer me up.  But most especially, I saw one Christmas night.  Our family day done, my Mom wanted to visit  her brothers that lived in town and she wanted all of us to go.  A few of us went.  I think she would have preferred we all go. She was so sad, my Mom, on that drive over to see my Uncles.

But when we arrived at Uncle Bob’s house and she started chatting, she cheered up. My cousins and I sat around their big beautiful tree talking.  It was lovely.

Uncle Bob often brought the family together.  He was the one who orchestrated  my Uncle Harry’s memorial service at his home at 407 Milton when Uncle Harry, miles away, had done what rebellious Catholics due:  had himself cremated in California (at least that is what I remember).  Uncle Bob was also the person who showed up at my wedding with his camera and keen eye, our wedding photographer.  I always suspected my Mother told him we didn’t have one and he just stepped up.

When I  walked into his funeral the next day,  I was not prepared to feel the spirit I felt…the singing from the local Hibernians and a man name Jack, a church packed with people touched by my Uncle Bob, and the soft light of Christmas’s closure.

Listening to the readings…a time to love, a time to die…. and the stories and the stories, the story that struck me, the one I could not bare to repeat without crying, was this:

At the end of his life my Uncle had Alzheimers, but his ability to sing and his remembrance of lyrics stayed present. My Uncle had been in a barbershop quartet for many years and had a great voice. One day, at a store, my cousin Tim said Uncle Bob started singing to the store clerk at the register.  He sang I love you truly.  And as he serenaded her, the woman started crying.  “I have had the worst week,” she said to him.

I looked over at the Christmas tree on the alter several times during the celebration of Uncle Bob’s life. I thought perhaps the lights could represent all the lives he touched and if all of those lives  somehow, in their own quiet way, could light up someone’s day, the planet might sparkle with goodness.

So from the niece who felt she knew ya Uncle Bob, you left the world a better place.  An example for all of us to reach out to those less fortunate and the lonely or maybe just, as my cousin Drew said, stop for just one person today.  One person who needs you or needs the bits of goodness that you can give.

©claireaperez@gmail.com

 

The tree frog & the kangaroo mouse

 

19 years on a farm….

In the Fall of 2012, my husband started mowing down our squash patch.  Usually full of acorn squash, butternuts and a variety of gourds, this particular year the patch produced almost nothing.  The occasional relief from a summer drought did not provide enough rain for this low-lying patch of earth.

Before beginning to mow, Radames glanced around to see what creatures might be hiding among the bent stalks and drying leaves.  Creatures looking for seeds and other vegetation.  He spotted a grass frog, also called a leopard frog, and tried to get it away from the mower, but it jumped into the mower deck shoot.  Radames stopped the mower and grabbed the frog.  He walked it over to the pond and was about to throw it in when  he envisioned the bass and thought “Why save the frog just for the bass’s dinner.” He proceeded to the tree-lined creek that feeds the pond and set the frog safely down among the grass and rocks.

Moments later, Radames began to mow ad watched a kangaroo mouse  hop out of the squash patch and off into the woods.  He described  it to me from the little hopper’s point of view.

There I was in the forest, munching and munching, the sun just rising over the eastern branches:  I felt safe and cozy among the long trunks.  The morning bird made a little sound as the rush-hour traffic slowed to a gentle swish in the background.  I heard the occasional plane and frog jump, a normal day here.

Then I heard a bang and a boom and saw large blades coming toward me. The stalks were tumbling faster than I could move and the blades were right on my tail.  Could I hop to safety?  Could I make it across the wide green abyss to the next forest?  I began to hop, then fear paralyzed me, I began to hop again, fear stopped me again.  Finally, “hop hop,” I told myself and I went bonging across the green.

Silence, the machine stopped right at the edge of the green abyss.  It was no longer after me and although my current homeland disappeared, I saw more on the horizon.  As I hopped away, I thought I saw the alien on top of the machine  tip his hat in my direction, smile and say, “Be safe little guy.”

©claireaperez@gmail.com