Category Archives: communities

On Speaking Out

bubbles
This has never been a political place, and has certainly not been a very active one for a while. But it is where ‘I go’. And today, I had to ‘go’ somewhere. Time to Cry, indeed.

Speaking out. This week’s mantra. All ‘sides’.

Sides? Really?! Now there are sides to humanity? To dignity? To civil rights?  To driving down the road with your child in the back seat? To waking up every day and doing your job protecting your community?

Are there systemic issues? Hell, yeh. Should we push for a drastic overhaul of our broken system that includes real oversight, investigation and punishment? Both ‘sides’. Double hell, yeh. Do we have issues with guns… triple hell, yeh. Are all cops evil? Come on, you don’t believe that any more than you believe that all people of color are criminals. Right?

Tell me right, ok? Make me believe it. Please, come out of the woodwork and tell me that as Americans we can stop taking sides. Tell me that I am not delusional. Tell me that from the wreckage of all this violence we can create change. Not slogans and hashtags. Not turning your profile picture black OR blue. Turn it both. Black and blue… bruised and hurting. That is what we are all feeling.

These are the things I have read today that moved me after a sleepless night. Let them move you. Let’s all turn down the volume and turn up the idea of what being an American should mean. And what our responsibilities are.

  • There are no sides. Please don’t take one. Grieve for loss of life, the broken system and violence begetting violence. But don’t take sides.
  • You know the hardest part of having a conversation surrounding police shootings in America? It always feels like in America… if you take a stand for something, you automatically are against something else. It’s such a strange world to be in. You shouldn’t have to choose between the police and the citizens that they are sworn to protect. (Trevor Noah)
  • Things have not changed, the access to real time video has.
  • An eye for an eye leaves the whole world blind. (thank you, Dawn)
  • I’m sorry, I must have set my alarm for 1968 (thank you, Marc)
  • We need to stop thinking hashtags are going to fix the problem and get away from our computers and out into our communities to work together to figure out how to stop this reality we find ourselves in. (C.C. Chapman)

Speaking out is great. But please choose your words wisely. And act upon them. Effectively. Sensibly. And with liberty and justice for ALL.

Amen. Namaste. Shalom. Salaam.

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Filed under communities, current events, grief, news, Uncategorized

Time to Cry Tuesday – Please Sign

dear mom

This is a ‘laugh till you cry’ for the last Time to Cry Tuesday of the year. There were so many very poignant things that have happened this holiday season, but for some reason I wanted to end on a funnier note. Too much heavy.

During another fit of house-purging this weekend, I came across this note. It is now hard to tell what came out of my parents’ house and what my mom gave to me over the years. It matters not, for the fact that this has survived all this time is the whole point.

This, my friends, is a peek into the life of Little Amy. By the look of the handwriting – and the fact that I switched classes for English – I would say that this was 7th grade Amy, to be exact. And that would put me in the back of Mrs. Stoudt’s English class next to my friend Kevin. So, I would guess that this was about me… and my big mouth. No surprise that in adolescence I had a tough time keeping the ole trap shut in class. I can still here her stopping class and saying, “Miss Zimmerman and Mr. Marrr-carrr-i… can you pleeeeease stop socializing.’ Hey, we had stuff to talk about! We still do, actually.

Good thing I knew I was ‘100% wrong’ and I had ‘gotten better in the past few weeks.’

Was she mad? I am pretty sure that since she saved this for 40 some-odd years, it is safe to say she was probably more amused than angry.

Dad? Thoughts?

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Filed under communities, conversations, friendship, moms, school

Video on Instagram… Vinekiller?

video for instagram

Well, well, well. Bless their little monopolistic hearts, facebook has just blown up Vine with video for instagram. And as much as I want to say it sucks… I can’t.

Quick run-through:

  • iOS and Android – Good move but I personally don’t care. But it is huge.
  • 15 seconds vs 6 – Don’t care that much, this is like bar mitzvah videos to me, sometimes less is more. Brands will love it. Little 15 second spots all over town… great opp.
  • Editing – This is big. Not sure why it is not in their bullet screen above; this is a big feature. The Vine purists will say that capturing it in one take is the artform – it keeps it fresh, it keeps it real. I get that, but really? Bullshit, everyone likes to edit.
  • 13 custom filters – Yum and they had to do it. And filters by frame can be beautiful, or really tacky depending whose hands they are in like anything else. I admit I love filters but as an artist I am in that crowd that wears the #nofilter hashtag proudly whenever I can. Because, you know, ‘I went to art school, yo.” (and yes, I am way to old too say ‘yo’)
  • Cover frame – lovely, I like that I can pick the frame for the feed. And brands… this is huge for you.
  • Cinema – OMG, I actually can’t say anything bad about stabilization. (Seriously, who doesn’t aspire to stability? What? That is not what it means?) There is no need to take a Dramamine when watching these vids, they are crisp and beautiful (with only a moderate amount of drinking while shooting, I am assuming).

I am still a huge fan of looping and think it is what makes Vine so cool when used correctly, so I am not sure not including it was wise. But I am not sure if Vine will survive this. On the other hand, Vine is the new frontier and the younguns’ are getting sick of the facebook clutter.

What are your thoughts?

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Filed under carry a camera, communities, current events, design, facebook, home video, photography, product reviews, technology

Time To Cry Tuesday – Chicken Redux

Last year I wrote about ‘The Chicken”. If you don’t want to click back, I will make it short. When you live in a close-knit community and find yourself in times of need, people come out in a big way.

We tend to like to feed. I think outside the comfort piece, the idea of removing the hassle of the nightly meal for a family that already has too much on its proverbial plate makes sending in dinners seem like the right thing to do.

So basically, you love to make the chicken… receiving the chicken? Not so much.

This week we had two families in one close group of friends in need… of ‘chicken’. All I can say is that I sent out one email and within 24 hours there were six nightly home-cooked meals and a waiting list for one family and a Magic Bullet smoothie maker for the other, who for health reasons needed to puree, so to speak.

24 hours.

AND there were calls from more who wanted to help and text chains and emails and such an overwhelming sense of what community is, that it took my breath away… yet again. I never cease to stand in awe of what this means; how lucky we all to have each other; to try to imagine what my life would be like without this.

I cannot.

 

To have 2 dear friends in surgery on the same day is quite unnerving. There is not enough chicken in the universe that makes you feel like you are doing enough to ease the pain.

Until you stop an realize that you can’t. You can only love them. And their spouses. And their amazing kids and even their dogs. And be there for them the best way you know how when they get to the other side. Because they are the family you choose.

I am happy to report that both are doing as well as they can. And we want to let them both know:

There is plenty of chicken where that came from. Just say the word.

Because that is what we do.

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The Famous Graduation Post 1 – This is Not a Dress Rehearal

I have decided to make this an annual post at graduation time of year. I wrote this before I was a blogger. It was an email I sent to those who had been parenting with me since preschool. It was written on the morning of my daughter’s HS graduation. It still makes me cry. Funny how she is now a COLLEGE grad, one year out and has been living home, soon to move on to her own apartment. THAT will be some post… the final launch.

This is not a dress rehearsal…

or watch the temp when you decide to iron the graduation gown.

6AM on the day that my first child graduates high school.

how can this be, she was just a curly-headed little whirling dervish whose door i had to hold shut as she was throwing her ever famous brand of temper tantrums. that same door with the loose latch from all the times she slammed it for effect when she stormed into her room in her tweens. you know the one, who at five years old marched into nuerosurgery to ‘get her neck fixed’ and never once asked ‘why me?’.

who was that radiant young woman that walked out of the house wednesday morning with her car packed and her keys in hand saying, “don’t worry mom, i have the garmin GPS, i don’t need a map!”

well i think, perhaps, i need a map today. someone tell me how to navigate this road. we surely have had enough practice. we graduate them ad nauseum – from the 4’s, kindergarten, 5th grade, 8th grade – the most graduated generation of all times. you would think we would get used to it. but this year’s cap does not have flourescent orange and green finger paint decorating it. this kid has actually grown up! how dare she. does she not know that my bravado this year has all been an act. of course i could not be ready for her to be the competant, independent, grab-the-world-by-the-balls person i worked so hard to raise. does she not know i was only kidding!! wisconsin?!! that is halfway across the country!

i digress – back to the gown and the iron. being a working mom i always look for ways to overcompensate and make sure that i am doing the mom thing as well as the work thing. so, of course, they both are never really quite up to the standard i expect. somewhere in the 4-page green directions for graduation (you know the one, where the assistant principal gives them a 10 bullet list for how to enjoy graduation and prom, 9 of which stress not drinking or doing drugs) there was mention of taking the gown out of the bag and ironing it. at midnight i was the mom who would just hang it up. at 6AM i decided no daughter of mine will graduate with a wrinkled gown!

so why is it, exactly, that they make these things out of the same material as basketball shimmer shorts?!

no, you will not be able to notice my daughter by the big brown iron mark on the back of her white gown. but if you look close, you may notice that on the front left shoulder the fabric is, how should i put it, a tad ‘melted’.

as jana would say, ‘it’s FINE’. as my parents would say, i did it ‘the Amy way’.

a huge thank you to the jana who has become one of my favorite people on earth to spend time with. surely the one that knows me the best, and loves me anyway. sometimes it seems that she is raising me. i think her humor and radiant smile will get me through this one. levity has always been her strong point.

love and congrats to all of you who have been in the parenting trenches with me the past 18 years. for some of you it is your first, others, your last. it is never easy to watch them go. but then again, we could all use a rest. and as my mommy mentors tell me, they come home, stay out all night, sleep late and bring lots of laundry.

let the games begin!


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Filed under communities, family, Jana, parenting

Time to Cry Tuesday – I Am Jewish

I struggled with whether to post this here, and whether to use its title. Not for any other reason than I believe that there are certain topics that are personal. Ones that are sacred and are not about link love, blog traffic or public discussion. I have always held to the idea that religion is either something you are born into or you choose. And sometimes it is something that you consciously choose to abandon. I do not think it is something that should be pushed on others, used to breed hatred or a vehicle to define someone. Sadly all three are the root of some of the most horrifying chapters in history.

All that said, this public declaration of what it means to this young man to ‘be a Jew’ moved me to tears. Even more so as he is someone that my kids know from camp. I have written about this camp here before, many times, and its effect on our children and ourselves. The core of this place is its pride, the sense of belonging, of being part of a tribe.

See where I am going with this? In this crazy world of ever-changing social rules with its constant shifting of how we live our daily lives and relate to one another, there is something so important about that sense of belonging. It breeds the most important thing of all – a sense of self. It is easier to thrive with the continuity of something that you can count on; something that makes you feel ‘at home’.

I relate to the words of this young man. I am not a religious Jew, Judaism is simply part of the fabric of who I am. I do not live a ghettoized life – hey some of my best friends are Goyim (ok you had to be a Jew or around them to get that joke, and yes it is counter to everything I am saying here. Hey, I am a wiseass, what can I say). To a highly religious Jew I might not be considered Jewish. And yet it matters not.

This video is the embodiment of a young suburban Jewish man who has fallen victim to every stereotype and yet is still able to articulate his Jewishness. He is considered hip and current yet the content of his message would hold true even when my dad was his age.

He does not preach. He does not try to convert. He does not ask you to validate his Judaism or to argue its validity.

It is simply a declaration.

I am pretty sure this would translate to any culture or religion, and I am equally sure that the parodies of this video will be abundant in the weeks to come because… well, because that is what social media breeds. However, I do not think that any of that will dilute its message.

Enjoy, and feel free to comment.

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Filed under communities, religion, Time to Cry Tuesdays

Time To Cry Tuesday – You Don’t Want the Chicken

I live in a wonderful community, one where people come out of the woodwork to rise to the occasion and come to the aid of anyone in need. I have been on both sides of this practice and let me tell you, being the receiver of this kindness is a lot more difficult.

When a family is in a crisis of any kind – usually health or loss – our community springs into action and gets things done… in a big way. Dinners are sent in, carpools are covered, birthday gifts are wrapped and rides to parties and after school activities are covered. This army of giving jumps into action at a moment’s notice and no one bats an eye at getting the job done.

I have a friend who is currently in this place right now. We have the best job of all, we get to dog sit during the day while she goes to work. Talk about reciprocal giving! (for those who are not regular readers, we lost our dog a month ago and cannot get used to a dogless house). She and I were sitting in my kitchen yesterday talking about how overwhelming it is to receive such kindness. My first thought was about the chicken dinner on Friday nights. In the Jewish faith, a friday night – or Shabbat dinner, usually showcases a chicken. Jews feed for comfort and there is nothing more comforting than a roast chicken dinner.

As she voiced how difficult it is to take in all this kindness when you are a relatively private and self sufficient family, it came to me…

You don’t want to be the one that gets the chicken!

Giving the chicken is cool. Making the chicken is wonderful. Dropping off the chicken feels so good because there is so little you can do to help someone close to you who is suffering. But GETTING the chicken? Oy, that is the ultimate admission that you are in a time of need; a time of crisis.

I am thinking that the damn chicken might have been the thing that broke me in my darkest hours.

Anyone else get that?

But in all seriousness, there is never a day that goes by that I am not grateful for what this town has shown it can do for its own; and making it look so easy in the process. It is a very special place indeed.

FYI, this family has used a wonderful website called lotsahelpinghands to help manage their needs. I urge you to check this out, while I hope that you never need to use it. Their tagline is ‘Create Community’; in our case it is simply ‘Enhance Community’.

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Filed under communities, family, friendship, Time to Cry Tuesdays