Monday, January 28, 2013

Wear Red For Women

Wear your red on Friday. This is my once a year reminder to all my family members, friends, and colleagues. I am alive today because of the the work done by the Heart Association for women's heart health. They have been promoting women's heart health and research. 

Please remember, February 1, "Go Red for Women" Day. Please take a minute to click on this site and read what has been done since my heartattack in 1991 and my stroke in 2001.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

"The Dawning of Change" - Again

WOW! Here we are, the country has completed a transfer of power. The ceremonies and celebrations marked the occasion of the President Obama's Inauguration into his second term. The people have spoken. The constitution has worked again. We are a fortunate as a nation.

My household followed the happenings throughout the day. (Why? That's another blog.)  Change is one of those few things in life that is a constant. Many countries across the globe do not deal with governmental change as smoothly as the United States.

Speaking of change, I saw the Broadway touring company of HAIR this weekend. Now, my children asked, "Why did dad and you decide to see Hairspray?" You see all of them were born after the first Broadway run of Hair (1968).  I had to explain to them that HAIR shook the foundation of all that was "American" when it debuted. It had the first multi-racial cast that interacted with one another, leading roles, and romantic interactions. It had sexual dialogue, anti-war speeches,what then was consider open desecration of the draft cards and the American Flag*, profane language, and frontal nudity on stage. It was about the "hippie" generation who was "anti-establishment and anti-war." It defied the cultural norms. It was the first play to have the "all-in" feature, that is, the cast went into the audience and invited the audience to participate with the cast.  It began pushing the norms as we knew them.

It was probably the most shocking thing since women wanted the vote, an education, shorter skirts, bobbed hair, to wear slacks, put on make-up, or to procure birth control. The establishment was upset because it challenged the existing protocols and cultural morales. It was the wildest musical that was ever produced on Broadway. Yet, it was interesting to listen to the generations discussing the play at intermission.

"What's the big deal with this play?"  asked this something thirty women to her mom in her sixties.

"You need to review the times and attitudes that were in place when this show initially premiered," her mom answered, the emotion and memory of another time still in her voice.

"I've seen and hear worse on the movie screen and cable television." replied the daughter.

"You see, read, hear, and do what you are able to do today, because of this play," the woman shot back. "It was because of brave writers, producers, and directors more than forty years ago who pushed the envelope. They and others like them opened the eyes of the public to what was really happening in the schools, Viet Nam, between their teenagers, and behind the closed doors of a few powerful people. It was through literature, music, and the arts that change was propelled."

Change is being propelled again. Listen, watch, and be prepared to be a participant. An election is only a beginning. The Inauguration is the catalyst.  We the people are the movers and the shakers. Take your place in history. Know your state and federal legislatures, place them on speed dial on your phone, Twitter and Facebook accounts.  "It is the dawning of the Age of Aquarius" once again.

*What was considered desecration of the American flag was later defined as a First Amendment - Freedom of Speech.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

January 2013 - Holiday Recap:Highs and Lows

By now I am sure many of you have stored your holiday items away. Thrown out the last of the Christmas cookies and candies. Written your New Year's  resolutions and perhaps broken one or  two by now. I still have cookie dough that was stored in my freezer waiting to be baked. I have decorations and outdoor lights to take down. Two fir trees that still seem to have managed to stay fresh still need to be taken down. This holiday was fast, furious, and filled with a full range of emotions.
Coffey-Read Clan Together 2012

 It was filled with the joy of having all my children together for the first time in years.   It was a season of sweet moments of watching my granddaughter enjoy the holiday with her uncle, aunt, and both sets of grandparents. There was a rush of Christmas pasts when the "Lego"  train was introduced to another generation. Sleepy heads went quickly to bed with a story. Our littlest family member learned to ski.

Stephen (nephew)
 and Carmela (sister)
It was diminished by the loss of my sister's husband who has been an integral part of our family for more than 45 years. It was a heart rendering  end of an era. Seeing my younger sister and her son so broken by sorrow and knowing that no words or actions could "make it better" for them. Loss shakes the core of every family. It forces everyone to question their own mortality and purpose in life. It stops everyone and makes them remember how the person who has left this dimension has touched them personally.

Somber thoughts for the blast off for a New Year. Yes, but in these moments of sorrow and reconnoitering, come the rays of hope that help all get up the next morning. We often are blessed with new direction, new resolve, and new strength to follow the paths that we may have been afraid to attempt.

So in our brokenness of loss,
We saw the future that our children and grandchildren have yet to experience.
Tears washed away stagnation and cleared our vision to see a future ahead.
Loss teaches us that we gather together to strengthen those who cared about us both near and far.

As I begin this year of blogging, I thank all of you who have been my faithful readers. You are helping me become a better writer. By now I hope you know that I have completed two novels that are in various stages of rewrite. Thank you for your support.

If you like what you read, please share it with your friends and family members. By sharing you are helping me build a base. Have a great 2013 and be sure to hug those you care about often.

Al  Lewkow
Al, you always will remain in hearts. 
May you design great things in your new life.