Thursday, January 14, 2016

Let Us Dance


On Mogul






You are my sweetest downfall,
my setting sun,
the new dawn, exuberant,
my oceanic tides, rising,
the sweet caress
of the gentle breath of wind,
and oxygen sustaining life,
to my limbs, lungs, my brain,
neurons transmitting thought
across satellites and skylines,
messengers of existence,
this universe,
found within
words shared —
words spoken —
energy given and received —
intensely, inhumanly, human, bold, electric —
my spirit speaking to your own,
immortal.


This time,
is precious.


My lungs bellow to this thunderous, angry sky
grey and blurred,
shaking foundations of Earth,
brick buildings, skyscrapers,
ancient caves painted
with the livelihood of humankind,
renewing dirt and roots,
pounding upon rooftops
causing tables to turn, geologic,
senses muddied and marred,
like some wicked wild woman, crazed
fully alive, dancing for you, only you,
a wild man, masculine, softhearted and assured,
insanity abound, alive and aroused
in glory.


Dear friend, lover, love,
relish your beloved human heart, beating,
your muscles, expanding and contracting.


Let the mad onlookers point and stare,
for they wish they were us,
encumbered and enlightened,
by this strange yet glorious existence,
of human, spirit soul-speaking,
ultimate.


You are my sweetest downfall,
from distances,
close, my heart,
it sings praises and supplications,
and the piano-man sees
upon ivory keys —
soft pads of fingertips
dancing as silhouettes,
tip tapping gently,
vibrations of compositions of frequency
far across lakes, surpassing the speed of sound,
defying physics, science,
and placed distant,
waiting, here,
for the slightest songs
of Springtime,
coming.


Michelangelo knew,
he understood that meadows could not exist
without hillsides that rise and fall
with ecstasy and arrival,
like the body, human and remarkable,
like the luthier, diligent and precise,
stretching string upon string,
upon figures, shapely,
fine-tuned and taut,
in his palms,
delicate,
pure.


Like cherry blossoms ready to bloom,
the nature of life, beauty and vitality,
transience, impermanent permanence,
like my right arm raised
elbow slightly bent,
wrist acting on its own accord,
delicate horse-hairs in hand,
canvas tilted before me —


— Your body I shall paint with colors that have yet to exist —


My dear soul, how innocent this love is.
You hold dear my every weakness
and exalt within my illustrious morning glories.


Come, come with me now —
let us rejoice and explore
the forests and woods,
the waters and lakes,
the crevices and caves,
the leaves and limbs,
the sun and moon.


Let us upturn rocks and minerals,
where salamanders tend to hide,
and take pleasure in now,
in utter simplicity.


Let us run barefoot through mud and grass,
toes melding with Mother Nature,
both of us, separate and together,
hair whipping, furious and in flight,
wild eyed and awake,
as Dear Earth contends
with her one true lover,
the sky, majestic,
beauteous.


Let us be one
apart and close,
crazy and sane,
simultaneous.


Let go of my hand.
Do it now.
I dare you.


Push me from the ledge.
Into you, to myself.


Free us from shackles and bars
that attempt to hold
the spirit hostage,
and I shall hand you keys
that unlocks most holy doors,
from this illusion,
this reverie,
this reality,
this absolute rapturous
knowing.


Let go of my hand, love,
yet hold me close.


Let us dance
naked,
for the trees,


eternal.





Wednesday, January 13, 2016

First Aid: Be Prepared in Your Vehicle: Extreme Weather Regions






Beside the obvious things: checking fluid levels, getting tune ups, making sure tires are safe and filled, and having enough gas, this may sound silly and you never think it will happen to you, but if you are in extreme weather regions, pack your vehicle up with things you think you never need: 

Extra clothes: gloves, hats, scarves, pants, coats, sweatshirts, heavy well made socks for warmth/walking, blankets/comforters. Extra boots or good warm walking shoes. Pack for a few people, you never know who may be with you or who else you are able to help.

First aid kit: along with meds you need or that may help others. Along with the kit, I have Ibuprofen, Tylenol, Albuterol inhalers, Pepcid, Anti-Nausea, Imodium, Tums, Epinephrine pens, band aids, alcohol wipes, diabetic tabs, hard candy [for diabetics], cough drops, pain killers, Benadryl [25/50 mg will stop a severe allergic reaction from worsening until you can get to an ER], plastic CPR mouth to mouth face mask. Twine, a good leather belt can be used to drag things, pull things and as a tourniquet.

Food: Bottled water, energy bars, healthy non perishable snacks/food.

The Vehicle: wiper fluid, oil, transmission & brake fluid, anti-freeze, jack, jumper cables, gas can, tire iron, spare tire, a one shot unit for battery charge, air & power, rags, sand paper [used that to clean off my battery clamps], kitty litter/sand, [if stuck in mud or snow put under the tires], rubber gloves [used these to get a stuck lug nut off a rim], flares, lighters, stick matches, old newspaper/magazines [you never know if you need to start a fire to keep warm, the thin wooden flats to mix paint work good too], cardboard [to lay on if you need to get under your vehicle, also can be used to put under a tire if stuck in mud or snow, as well as for a fire], tools [good socket set too], scissors, working flashlights, rock salt, plastic tarps, garbage bags, small plastic bags/various cloth bags/backpack.

Toilet paper. If you have a portable toilet, that too.

Communication: cell phone charger [there are solar powered ones now too], extra cell phone fully charged [I have an old cell, that simply dials numbers for emergency], reading material, music. 

My battery decided to simply quit and I had to wait over an hour for roadside service due to everyone that needs help [this day some people waited over 8 hours.] This was in about 10 degree F weather. I was unable to put the heat on due to not being able to start the car. There were no people in sight to help me with a quick jump. 

After that experience, I put all these extra things [I already have tons of things in my Jeep already] just in case.

If you have roadside, use it. If you do not have roadside, get it. Use your vehicle owners manual if you are unsure of a warning light, what kinds of fluids your vehicles needs, how to change a tire, they have everything you need in there. Most times, you can fix something. If you notice your vehicle acting strange, stop, pull into an open store parking lot if possible. If home, do not go further.

If you see someone stopped/stuck/stalled in a vehicle or walking in awful weather, especially with children, just pull over and ask if they are okay. If you do not want to pull over and see someone definitely struggling, the least you can do is call 911 so they can get some help.


You can always help someone else. There have been numerous times strangers have helped me, so in turn, I always at least try to help back. You do not have to get personally involved, you only need to pull over and say "Are you okay?" 



If anyone has more suggestions, please do let me know. 

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Let Us Dance, Naked.




On Mogul




You are my sweetest downfall,
my setting sun,
the new dawn, exuberant,
my oceanic tides, rising,
the sweet caress
of the gentle breath of wind,
and oxygen sustaining life,
to my limbs, lungs, my brain,
neurons transmitting thought
across satellites and skylines,
messengers of existence,
this universe,
found within
words shared —
words spoken —
energy given and received —
intensely, inhumanly, human, bold, electric —
my spirit speaking to your own,
immortal.

This time,
is precious.

My lungs bellow to this thunderous, angry sky
grey and blurred,
shaking foundations of Earth,
brick buildings, skyscrapers,
ancient caves painted
with the livelihood of humankind,
renewing dirt and roots,
pounding upon rooftops
causing tables to turn, geologic,
senses muddied and marred,
like some wicked wild woman, crazed
fully alive, dancing for you, only you,
a wild man, masculine, softhearted and assured,
insanity abound, alive and aroused
in glory.

Dear friend, lover, love,
relish your beloved human heart, beating,
your muscles, expanding and contracting.

Let the mad onlookers point and stare,
for they wish they were us,
encumbered and enlightened,
by this strange yet glorious existence,
of human, spirit soul-speaking,
ultimate.

You are my sweetest downfall,
from distances,
close, my heart,
it sings praises and supplications,
and the piano-man sees
upon ivory keys —
soft pads of fingertips
dancing as silhouettes,
tip tapping gently,
vibrations of compositions of frequency
far across lakes, surpassing the speed of sound,
defying physics, science,
and placed distant,
waiting, here,
for the slightest songs
of Springtime,
coming.

Michelangelo knew,
he understood that meadows could not exist
without hillsides that rise and fall
with ecstasy and arrival,
like the body, human and remarkable,
like the luthier, diligent and precise,
stretching string upon string,
upon figures, shapely,
fine-tuned and taut,
in his palms,
delicate,
pure.

Like cherry blossoms ready to bloom,
the nature of life, beauty and vitality,
transience, impermanent permanence,
like my right arm raised
elbow slightly bent,
wrist acting on its own accord,
delicate horse-hairs in hand,
canvas tilted before me —

— Your body I shall paint with colors that have yet to exist —

My dear soul, how innocent this love is.
You hold dear my every weakness
and exalt within my illustrious morning glories.

Come, come with me now —
let us rejoice and explore
the forests and woods,
the waters and lakes,
the crevices and caves,
the leaves and limbs,
the sun and moon.

Let us upturn rocks and minerals,
where salamanders tend to hide,
and take pleasure in now,
in utter simplicity.

Let us run barefoot through mud and grass,
toes melding with Mother Nature,
both of us, separate and together,
hair whipping, furious and in flight,
wild eyed and awake,
as Dear Earth contends
with her one true lover,
the sky, majestic,
beauteous.

Let us be one
apart and close,
crazy and sane,
simultaneous.

Let go of my hand.
Do it now.
I dare you.

Push me from the ledge.
Into you, to myself.

Free us from shackles and bars
that attempt to hold
the spirit hostage,
and I shall hand you keys
that unlocks most holy doors,
from this illusion,
this reverie,
this reality,
this absolute rapturous
knowing.

Let go of my hand, love,
yet hold me close.

Let us dance
naked,
for the trees,

eternal.





Monday, January 11, 2016

The Julia Boyer Reinstein Library [Documenting Libraries]


Published in Mogul

As avid readers, writers and advocates for literacy, my son and I decided to begin documenting the libraries we visit, and to start where it matters first, where we were born, Erie County, New York. We have already been to numerous libraries in this region but this is the start of presenting the background and what we discover in each library with photographs. As we visit each location, we bring books to donate to further support education, community and reading.





Historian and philanthropist, dedicated to history and libraries, Julia Boyer Reinstein was the first and only historian from 1953 to 1992 for the Town of Cheektowaga, New York.

She was the widow of Dr. Victor Reinstein, physician, landowner and developer who became the town's largest single benefactor of Reinstein Woods Nature Preserve.  

Julia was singlehandedly responsible for the final donation and specific legal management of 292 acres of land to New York State [Department of Environmental Conservation, DEC] following her husband, Victor's, explicit wishes. Julia made sure the DEC was to comply to the preservation and education of wildlife and nature that Victor had envisioned and started.



 

Julia was extremely active in the creation of numerous town historical societies across Western New York as an advocate and promoter of regional and local history. 


 
Mrs. Reinstein was the first president of Municipal Historians of New York state and co-founder, with the late George G. Sipprell, of the Erie County Historical Federation, the moving force behind the creation of 28 historical societies in Erie County, one of them being the Buffalo and Erie County Historical Society, now the Buffalo History Museum.

With the help of Julia Reinstein, the Historical Society was able to purchase a house, The Reinstein Center, in 1989 as part of the ‘History Lives Here’ capital campaign. 





In 1992, the house was restored to befit its National Register of Historic Places honor. The building was then named after Julia Boyer Reinstein. 

With a generous grant from alumna Julia Boyer Reinstein, the
Women's and Gender Studies Program at Elmira College hosts annually, The Julia Reinstein Symposium, based on women's studies and gender rights. 




Buffalo Women's Oral History Project interviewed Julia Boyer Reinstein who reflects on lesbianism and her life as a lesbian.

The library itself is beautiful. The used book section has brand new, hardly used paperback, trade and hard cover books for fifty cents and one dollar. They also sell DVDS, albums, CDS and children's books.




The library DVD selection is endless, as well as audio books. There is a specific large section for children only, along with a student section for research and studying set apart from the rest of the library. 


Each section is an endless corrider of books. Turn a corner and there are computer workstations, study centers, technology, courses to sign up to, raffles, community related events, small nooks, corners, and nature. 




Architecturally pleasing, the library is peaceful and quiet, even when full. The atmosphere is one of rest and relaxation. The back of the library borders nature and the front borders Losson Road in Cheektowaga. 





This library is more than happy to answer questions, assist, take monetary donations and/or used books to support the libraries in Cheektowaga and Erie County. Of course, as we donate books, we buy more books. The choices are excellent. 





I understand why this library was named after such a successful woman as Julia. It embodies her work, her journey, and her love for history and literacy.





  • 1030 Losson Rd.
  • Cheektowaga , NY 14227
  • Phone: 716-668-4991
  • Fax: 716-668-4806
  • Glenn Luba, Library Director II 
  • Wi-Fi Ready 
  • Wheelchair accessible
  • Parking lot available
  • Public Access Computers: 32 computers
  • Microsoft Office Applications
  • Children's Homework Center  
  • Children's Area 
  • Meeting Room, [for non-profits only] capacity 100
  • Conference Room, capacity 12
  • Study Rooms
  • Copy machine
  • Radio receiver for the visually impaired
  • Book Club 
  • Computer Classes 





Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Penguin Random House Book Review: Soul Food Love


 







Alice Randall and Caroline Randall Williams, a mother-daughter team, published, through Clarkson Potter, a 224 page “cookbook” that is truly a tale of five kitchens. This volume is a history of three generations and one hundred years of cooking and eating in one African American family. 


Soul Food Love: Healthy Recipes Inspired by One Hundred Years of Cooking in a Black Family is an extensively well-researched historical account of struggles and successes. 


The kitchens include:



  •         Dear’s Kitchen
  •         Grandma’s Kitchen
  •         Nana’s Kitchen
  •         Mama’s [Alice’s] Kitchen
  •         Baby Girl’s [Caroline’s] Kitchen



The kitchens celebrate forgotten food staples such as sweet potatoes, peanuts and sardines. The volume is separated in two parts. The first half is the history of the family and how the recipes came to be and the second, recipes and dishes, drinks and desserts. 


Alice and Caroline have taken the same admired Southern soul food delicacies and managed to replicate the same dishes to be healthier for the body. A few recipes include Peanut Chicken Stew, Red Bean and Brown Rice Creole Salad, Fiery Green Beans and Sinless Sweet Potato Pie. 


This book focuses on how a kitchen has been a myriad of places for black Americans, places of servitude and hunger, places of violence, of shelter, and places of peace, artistry and sacredness. 


The stories and food shared within these pages are direct from those enslaved from generation to generation handed down. Their children and grandchildren recognized that their family learned and relearned how to feed themselves during times of great prosperity and in times of extreme poverty. 


The admiring and heartfelt aspects of Soul Food Love are discovered when opening a random page. While reading about a recipe or dish, one is reading about history from Selma, Alabama and horrific lynching’s onto first marriages and the happiness of buying a new home. There are photos throughout the book to show the reader how much dedication has gone into the research behind the dishes, from the lives of the people who created them, cooked them and lived in times extremely different from present day. 


Even in the early twentieth century, there were concerns about health and diet, especially fat and sugar. When times changed, so did diet. Carry in, TV dinners, and processed foods became popular and mainstream. 


My favorite part is Grandma's Kitchen, perhaps due to the strength, perseverance, the self-respect and courage. 


During WWII, in Nashville, Tennessee, in a Jim Crow society where black people were consistently reminded that they were not worthy, when there were separate drinking fountains for black and white, when whites only were allowed to sit at the front of the bus or at lunch counters, this is where Grandma excelled. Cooking as protest and mingling with various clubs, respected, and often the muse of renowned poet, Langston Hughes. 


Below is a photo of Grandma [Alberta Johnson Bontemps] with Caroline Randall. 







Fast forward to page 158 and you will find, simply, Sweet Potato Skewers. This is my favorite recipe. 








The only things required for this dish are skewers, sweet potatoes, onions and olive oil. 



On page 160, is my second favorite recipe, Defords Spicy Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Pomegranate. Again, this only calls for sweet potatoes, red chilies, clove, red wine vinegar, honey, olive oil and pomegranate seeds. Simple, cheap, healthy, tasteful, elegant. 








There are recipes ranging from desserts to fish to meat, simple to complex. Easy to follow, ingredients one can find in their own cupboards or locally, at any store and do not require a long time to prepare. 


The last kitchen, Baby Girl [Caroline Randall Williams] is where one finds a 1,500-page collection of cookbooks, love of cooking and hosting handed down from Grandma to Caroline. Caroline learned early on that health was of utmost importance and she kept this lifestyle abroad as a student, later, teaching her students as an educator and in her personal life. 


From Caroline’s own words: 


“For now, standing on the shoulders of these brilliant, big, black women, I go ahead and feed my friends from my small kitchen. I feed them from my history, from our history, our past, our present, and from the fresh start of what I hope our future looks like.” 


This is a not just a cookbook. This is historical biography, of times still silenced, times people have yet to study. This is a volume of precious stories of five generations chock full of delicious homemade food beginning in 1897. 


This is a story of struggle and success, of quality and inequality, and most of all, this, is a story of love. 







"I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review."


Monday, January 4, 2016

The End. Of The Beginning.



Published on Rebelle Society




“… and then I stumbled into this strange hour. Winter’s fierce breath blushing my cheeks with drifts of waterfalls, white.

The sky, she cried thunder, birthing a new world. With each screech of wind, I witnessed flurries of souls escaping this plane, one by one. Thrown backwards, deafened by the sound, my sternum caved inwards, an acute gunshot swift to my cardiac plexus, Mercury falling…”

Today, I awake with immense recognition of self and everything around, above, beneath, beside, and within me. Angelic artists kindly lifted their wings, slight, brushes delicate, dipping fine threads of horse-hairs into oils and acrylics.

Colors I have never viewed with these eyes, human, and painted each lobe of my brain with alchemy.

Today, I am more aware than I have ever been. I awake with a renewed sense of existence, yet there is heaviness in my heart, for in this slightly inhuman recognition there comes a leaden sort of responsibility.

It does not sweep upon me as loneliness of spirit, or self, but a general comprehension of how absolutely integral every single soul is here, on Earth.

I choose my words carefully out of respect for the seed planted within me before birth. My actions are intense and directed, yet intuitive. I am a Great Spotted Owl perched upon a new dawn, pregnant, dragging herself across the skyline. The scent of prey nearby, I sit and wait.

When the darkness of sweet eve lifts her velvet veil, I feed on the delicate intricacy of this utterly indescribable role as a spiritual being, wide-awake and listening. Every sound, an explosion. Every sight, paradise. Every thought, an equation, and every beat of my heart, fully, oh-so-purely and effortlessly, human.

I wish to be among the clouds, the wind upon my face, I am a conduit, my palms raised in supplication and gratefulness, simultaneous. I understand, and in understanding there is weight. A most divine weight.

Understanding is not difficult, being human is hard.

In my solitude, I am not alone. My thoughts are spectrums, no words but images at the speed of light zinging through galaxies of neurotransmitters like raindrops that fall from the eye of heaven. Each drop stampedes through my head like thoroughbreds.

I hear their hooves clamping down upon my nerve endings, causing pain in my right lobe and cervical spine.

I meditate here, now, and ask the Universe to give to me what is truly in my heart. Those who understand gift me, and I, myself, am gifted in knowing. Yet I wish to concede and sleep. A slumber of all slumbers. One of princesses and kings.

The drone of an airplane overhead yanks me, disturbingly, out of my reverie. The utter peace of simply being. A place where my diaphragm is fully relaxed, each chakra apparent in my line of sight, and the gardens blooming within me are majestic centers of energy, flowing and giving, receiving and attuning, constantly.

I stand naked, bearing nothing but self, and offer my feeble human soul to the season. Faced against the harsh wind, I am so utterly alive. Nature soothes me within her embraces, ever changing, ever growing. This is home, here with her, and I look behind me and am trapped between two worlds.

The one before me, brazen natural landscapes, and the one behind me, the shelter from whence I came.

I hesitate, one foot outside and one indoors, and drop to the ground in solemn gratitude writhing in agony. My legs, splayed to the heavens, a midwife at my feet. Oh, it was time, and I secretly swore to Eve for the curse of the pain I now felt. With each rush of fire beneath, my back arched and I screeched.

Tears ran down each side of my face, melting the snow, pristine, beneath me.

I swore to the sky with each gasp of breath and wave of anguish, and pushed forth from me everything that lies beneath the ground and flies within the sky. I pushed forth the stars and with it, the moon. When I screamed, I was heard on high and angels joined me in choir.

A Song of Life

And when I had expelled all of my prejudices, my disdain and my failures, I then sat up and heaved forth every needle pinch to skin and each bleed of my heart. When I opened my mouth, with head held back, as that of a woman, crazed, I wailed and then let out my breath and fell back, destroyed.

My heart sang as a lute, carried upon the breeze and I slept, as that of a woman, content.


Thursday, December 24, 2015

Be Peace. Love One Another.


Be Peace. Love One Another. 

From me to you from Buffalo, New York, USA. 

Video Link HERE