Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Toot the Horn

My Dad, who has been gone now 58 years, often told me "He that tooteth not his own horn, his horn shall not be tooteth."

 I was never quite sure what the lesson was supposed to be. He was out-going and well liked, and successful in the insurance agency he founded sometime soon after World War I. But he never bragged or showed off about any of that. Was he telling me that tooting oneself was a good or bad thing; that hiding your light under a bushel is wrong. You need to participate, to be out there, to be counted. You need to toot.

As I sit here and look at his picture on my desk, taken when he was, perhaps, fifty, he is forty years younger than I am now. Yet the words from that young head still resonate in this old head, and they instructed me to be whoever I am.

I caught up with a young man on Facebook this week. We had worked together for the community's benefit, and I told him what good memories I had of the projects we tackled together, and that I still am concerned about the world around me, especially the world of Columbus, Ohio. His lovely response was that he was not surprised about my focus on the world because, he said, you were always "other-centered."

My Dad would be happy to know that Brad Quicksall had tooted my horn, for me, and that I am tooting it forward, for all of you who try and care and strive to make your community a better place.

Our words to our children are never lost. Whether they are heeded or not, they are there, in their heads.

Kind of scary, isn't it?

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Me and my Toyota problem

 It's not that I ever owned a Toyota, but Toyota's acceleration problem and my acceleration problem are exactly the same. I cannot slow myself down. Mentally, I mean.  Physically, I am r-e-a-l  s-l-o-w. And that compounds the problem; my mind races blithely on, while I am seriously sedentary.

I put my mettle?, medal?, mental? to the pedal, and I'm off to the races. Each morning I wake up and have a  to-do list. A list of no import, yet important for me. Checks to be written, groceries to be bought, charities to be given, housekeeping to be done. And I am not able to do most of them alone.

Frustrating; extremely frustrating.  Here's where my sitting room, of which I often speak so fondly, comes in to play. In the little space around my chair, I find everything I need. Here I am the captain of my ship;  the phones--cell and land-line, the TV control, the call-for-help buzzer, my address book, my calendar are all at my command. The whole world opens up to me when I go to my laptop on the perfect table I bought years ago from a catalogue for $8.95. It is light-weight and on runners, I can push it aside or pull it in close. And here I begin to function.

 I am a life-long student, with a huge world out there, waiting to be studied. I have been carefully taught to keep learning and listening. What if I had never learned about the computer? What if I did not have my Toyota-impaired brain? What if I had been satisfied to sit and daydream?

My racing mind slows down as I begin to do the things I have been wanting to do. My home page is the New York Times, which I read pretty thoroughly, then I read my mail, and then I go to Facebook, and then I start a blog. Eventually, I  will read a book or my Kindle and the morning paper. The day is not nearly long enough.

 Am I lucky, or what?


Monday, April 19, 2010

Oh, I remember it well

There are so many things I can't do; like going out to lunch or a party or a meeting. Or a grocery. Or my kitchen. But it is no big deal. I love my aging house: the living room is bright and sunny, my bedroom is all pink and pretty, and my office is blue, with one wall so full of family pictures that I think if we hang one more, the whole thing will fall smack down into the room.

I have vowed not to live in the past, but when an outside source reminds me of what was, and the role I was privileged to play, I am filled with happiness and satisfaction.

A wonderful wind is racing around my life, transporting me back to the exhilarating years when I was out and about, and so busy with the community.

Early this week, the Dispatch reported the new and exciting change of FirstLink to HandsOn, Central Ohio. There was a report of the origins of the organization and the tremendous growth it has had, how important a resource. It so happened that, in the early seventies, I chaired two committees at the United Community Council that gave birth to both the Volunteer Action Center and Community Information and Referral Center. Later they merged, and in cooperation with the Junior League, became CallVac. It was thirty years ago, that they became FirstLink, under the leadership of Marilee Chinnaci-Zuerker.

We had a great party for CallVac at the Governor's Mansion, when the Governor lived in Upper Arlington. We celebrated, staff, volunteers, the technical guy from the phone company, who had helped us set up the system so that a client, with one dime, could contact us and be directly connected to the agency who could help. Tom Battendberg was there, with his beautiful horn, as were the young women who ran the kitchen at the mansion.

And that was when some of us learned what a data base was.

Also, last week, there was a picture in the paper of the city's tribute to the Holocaust and its victims. There, walking toward the river, were Greg Lashutka, Buck Rinehart, Mayor Coleman and Alfred Tibor. They were on the way to the Battelle Riverfront Park, where Mr. Tibor's statue to freedom stands. Mel Dodge, Director of Recreation and Parks had appointed me to a committee to decide where, exactly, the art work should be placed. If Mel asked, you accepted. So there I was, with Dean Jeffers and a few others riding around in a van, making our choice. And, if I remember this correctly, Mel over-ruled us.

And the next day, out of the blue, there was a post on my Facebook page from Jim Barney, and a comment from Brad Quicksall, both from my days when they, and I, worked with Mel.

And to top it all off, on June 2, my son, Bob is the speaker at the Columbus Metropolitan Club for their thirty-fifth birthday celebration. Thus a founding mother of CMC and a founder's son will cross paths.

And that is one meeting I am going to. It may look as if I am in a wheel chair, but, really, I will be jumping for joy!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Getting It

This exploding world of technology is almost more than I can comprehend. Since the days of the first computer, I was captivated by that skimpy little device, and I caught on, and caught the fever. And I still have it, the desire to do more and more.  It is mind-bloggling; I am dancing as fast as I can to keep up, though, and I am kind of getting it.

Getting it. What a meaningful phrase.  When I was ten or eleven years old, someone would take us to the Glengarry Road pool, on the Three-C Highway, to spend the day, every day. For lunch, we would walk up a small hill to a lunch counter, to eat grilled cheese sandwiches. I kept trying to teach myself to dive off the board. Over and over again. Finally, in one miraculous moment, I got it. I gracefully entered the water, hands together over my head, legs together, pointed toes  following in one smooth motion. I had it, by George, I had it. Just as Eliza Doolittle had " the rain in Spain,"  I had the dive.

And what does this have to do with technology? It is the lap-top I am learning to master (very slowly). I am pretty old to have a multi platform presence, but I am getting the e mails, the Facebook, the links, the blogs, the on-line comparison shopping, the news of the world, the You-Tube videos.

My work space is so cramped it is laughable. Yet, it allows me to reach for what I need without getting up. The thesaurus is on a lower shelf of a table to my left. It's a real reach to pull it up, but I can do it. My notes are scattered in notebooks on a table on the other side. I hate to waste paper; I remember Anne Frank and how hard it was for her to write her diary, using every available inch of white space she had. I have plenty of notebooks, but I. write on both sides of the small notebook paper, thus confusing grocery lists with blog ideas and things I want to remember.

To see me,  compulsively typing away, you might think I had a deadline to meet, or people holding their breath until my next blog.

Dream on, Wede, dream on.

But I am getting it; I am getting it.

Monday, April 12, 2010

on being wedeb90

When I was young and eighty, I became an author.

 Taken from some diary entries I wrote, after my cherished, bed-ridden husband  escaped from the indignities of his illness, I began to write a book, and within a year, I was published. I had my few brief moments as an Amazon best seller, (really brief), but I was hooked. So I wrote another book, Shedding Years, growing older, feeling younger and then, when I was approaching ninety, my daughter and I wrote a book together. She is the designated daughter, I am the grateful mother.

So what does it mean to be Wede, at age 90. By the way, Wede is my grandmother name, bestowed upon me by Grandchild #1. From the moment she was born, I always said " Hi,Sweetie" when I saw her. And she really was a sweetie. So, she discerned that this is how big people spoke to each other, and, when she first learned to spell, she chose w-e-d-e, and Wede I have been to one and all for some thirty plus years.

So what does it really mean to be a ninety year old great grandmother who writes, not for a living exactly, but writing as a professional? I have, indeed, earned a little cash, emphasis on little. I still have the fire in my belly to keep writing, the knowledge that I am not a shriveled, wrinkled, white haired old woman, (which is what you see on my outside). I am open to whatever comes along, and thank my God every night of my life. More than once.

AT&T has a new ad. I like it a lot.  It is about the new technologies available to all of us; if we could understand them, I guess. It is the punch line I like: Rethink Possible. That is exactly what the last ten years have taught me, that being ninety doesn't mean being on my way out. I may be, what with my fibrillating, pace-makered, failing heart. But I don't think so. There is no end to the possibilities.

Years ago, I was sitting at Boston's Logan airport, waiting and waiting to depart. A young woman was sitting next to me, busy with some strange device on her lap, which I later learned was an early laptop computer. I couldn't help but ask her about this, and she told me she traveled for AT&T. Then I had the audacity to ask her what the message of their current commercials meant. I don't remember them now, but I could not relate to them; they were vague, ephemeral. Which is one reason I like Rethink Possible. I understand it, and I can personalize it, and, what's more, I can do it!

I anticipate wedeb95.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

My secret pleasure is really very public

I thought I might be the only person who watched NCIS, and suddenly, my choice was vindicated to find that, every week, it is one of the most watched shows on television. The NCIS that I so enjoy is the original with Mark Harmon. I am addicted.

It was probably two years ago that my brother, Al Harmon, ( no relation to Mark) told me about these
police procedural shows, and said it was a good way to pass an hour. When I found myself bored, I decided to give it a try. And in my memory of useless details, I knew that Mark was the son of Tom Harmon, the Michigan half-back. He was exactly my contemporary, but he certainly attended the wrong University!

Be that as it may, I began to really enjoy this NCIS; NCIS Los Angeles. not so much. I began to search it out in the Dispatch TV Guide, which they call Click. It is an unweildy, complicated newspaper insert, that arrives in the Sunday paper.  In my never-ending whining about the good old days, I remember with fondness that little book called TV Guide, which my mother often subscribed to for my children.

Now I know how to search CBS or USA, and I find NCIS somewhere every night. I am really challenged to find anything else I enjoy. I cannot even enter the conversations about American Idol or Dancing with the Stars or Lost or The Amazing Race or Desperate Housewives or Entourage. Sixty minutes, yes; Mad Men, Grey's Anatomy, sometime, all sport shows. I can hardly wait for four o'clock this affternoon, when I can see Augusta, Georgia again. I always look forward to April and the Masters, for the beauty of that golf course and the azaleas.

Thus, I leave you now and turn on the TV. And study Click for tonight's NCIS.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Where have all the giants gone?

I may be what is termed a cityphobe, if that is the proper definition of someone who loves her city too much. But Columbus, Ohio is a great city, and it grew to be great by the involvement of the Giants, the last of this generation, who just died at 97, John G. McCoy.

 He turned a small midwestern bank into a global powerhouse, and brought the Columbus community along for the ride. Growing was what the local Giants did: the Lazaruses, the Wolfes, Preston Davis, Ferdinand Howald,  and all the others who jump-started the civic, cultural, business and charitable institutions that make this city what it is today.

Their role, they felt, was to provide a strong underpinning, adaptable to growth. They had vision, and they had practical smarts. ( I feel a little foolish, here, to be taking on a subject more appropriate to George Will or Paul Krugman or Susan Sontag.)

The city has grown and changed and morphed from the 20th century to be ready for this forward movement we see in the early part of the 21st.

 For ninety years, I have grown (or shrunk) and changed and morphed along with the city.  I am overwhelmed by our shared history.

 And, frankly, in over my head with this blog.

Friday, April 2, 2010

The world in a nutshell

I'm talking Google here, and all the other search engines. People have their preferences, Bing, Yahoo, Dog Pile; even Ask Jeeves may still be in existence.( It is. I just Googled it to find out.)

All of this information at our fingertips; is it a good or a bad thing? Well, of course, it has to be good. A thought crosses our mind or the partial memory of a song appears in our heads, go to Google. You will find all the foot note information you need to write a term paper on the thought, or retrieve the lyrics to the song, and the date it was written and which crooner sang which version, when.

When I was a little girl, my parents bought a World Book encyclopedia, from a door-to-door salesperson. It was a luxury for us. We scoured it for information. My Dad bought us an up-date volume every year. The Encyclopedia Brittanica came into our possession after Bob's father died.  Our school age children used the old World Book to cut out pictures to embellish their hand-written elementary school reports. My grandchildren have never had to research anything on paper. And my great-grandchildren already have Wikipedia. Thank heavens their good parents read to them from real books every night before bed.

Computer illiteraccy will  soon be more disabling than illiteraccy, unless it already is. Just read the blogs and comments and posts of people who know exactly how to say something on line, but whose grammer and use of language would get them a D in an English course.

My heart almost broke when those beautiful little wooden library drawers vanished.  Everything arranged alphabetically, coded by the Dewey decimal system, replaced by the computer. It was easier, and/but less brain-taxing.

I fear we, as human beings, may be squeezed out of existence by technology. There will be too little room to breathe. The machines will have taken over our world.

There are, I think, movies and TV shows with variations on this theme. I'm too lazy to Google it.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

You could have fooled me, April first

I just came in from my deck, and it felt as if it were July first out there. It is weather made-to-order for me; the sun was tanning my face, even as I sat down.

I know, I know; this is terrible for my skin, but perfect for my soul. Soul beats skin, everytime.

There was a lovely little breeze and the wind chimes were singing away. Each time I hear them, I remember buying them, at a beautiful bookstore on Longboat Key. Long, long ago, long ago. They were supposed to have been especially designed so that the music was reminiscent of a theme of a symphony.. or something. Today, like always, it sounded like a tiny, heavenly choir.

We only have one chair on the deck; winter's dirt is still there, and it is going to be power-washed and stained, hopefully, next week. Then, the rest of the furniture will be out, the pots waiting to be planted. My umbrella will be up, so I can be a little careful of the UV rays, and too much heat to this old grey head.

Today was a special day, back to basic summertime. It is a day I need to share; too good to be true. On a scale of one to ten, this was a million.

Everybody, of course, talks about the weather, so, I am cutting myself some slack, and blogging this cliche, because it was all too nice to keep to myself.