Power of Social Media

a power of social media icon

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Today I am grateful for the power of social media.  Sometimes I hate social media.  It can seem so anti-social when I’m talking to a person and suddenly their phone snaps their attention from our conversation.  It can also be a problem for people who don’t have filters or dignity and post naked pictures of themselves, then become incredulous when others “share” them.


But it can also take a wonderful, fun, kind woman who randomly posted a video of herself genuinely delighted, even giddy, with her new Chewbacca mask, and get her on TV and send her to Disney.  Wonderful!  I’ll take that kind of social media any day.  It’s a powerful and positive message.


I don’t spend a lot of time ruminating over what I write, or checking my facts, and sometimes I screw up.  Like I did recently.  Although it wouldn’t have mattered in this case because I was 100% sure I was right anyway and when you’re fact-checking with your wrong self, you’re always going to lose.  The apologies were forthcoming, the goof was quickly fixed and my heart is now beating at a normal rate again, so all is well on that count.   Don’t even ask because I’m not telling anyway and it doesn’t matter.


Except that the next few times I wrote, I felt a little gun-shy and I almost censored myself.  I don’t want to censor myself.  I want to be honest and shoot, not from the hip, but from the heart, like I always do.  So I will continue to not censor and not always fact-check I’ll probably goof up again, because that’s what humans do.  Did you know I was human?  Surprise!


Yesterday morning, Memorial Day, I knew exactly what I was going to write the minute I opened my eyeballs at 6 a.m.  I couldn’t wait to get to the computer.   I was thrilled when I found the picture from my old yearbook on line.  I knew that although I rarely use even first names, this time I would use first and last.  I knew that instead of an obscure icon, I would use the true picture of Romy Leicht, a friend from high school who died in Vietnam.  Zip-zap-zonk!  It was written and posted and I was on to other things.


Later when I went on-line to see if there was any feedback, I was shocked.  And thrilled.  BING!  Heartprint!  It landed dead center into the core of so many people that it made me realize that I was correct to not censor my words.  I think my emotions are too vast to censor anyway.  Something would always leak through.


But then, as good things sometimes do, it took on an even bigger life.  Many people on Facebook responded that they wished Romy’s family could see the post.  A good friend in my hometown, Penny, wrote me a message saying she used to know the boys brother and his wife.  She decided to look them up and called them to tell them about my post honoring his fallen brother.  Isn’t that amazing?  Yeah?  Well wait for it. . .


This morning when I went on line, there was a message from the sister-in-law, who said that her husband had read the piece and was very moved.  She said he talks about his brother all the time and the fun they had as kids.  And that is simply the best!  BING!  BING!  BING!  My Heartprint meter is off the charts.


So now, not only did my uncensored story share an incredible young man, it also gave his brother the confirmation that Romy is remembered. . .and got me a couple of new friends to boot!  If you missed yesterday’s post and are curious, or if you want to read the wonderful thread of comments, go to my Heartprints Facebook page.


Even though the risk is great, I will not censor myself.  I can’t, or it wouldn’t be me.  Nobody is sending me to Disney, but in my book this is just as good.  Really.  The power of social media doesn’t get much better than this!

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Roman Leicht

Roman Leicht

Monday, May 30, 2016

Today I am grateful for Roman Leicht.  Romy sat next to me in high school, remedial English class. . .and he was my friend.  That was back in 1968, folks, when I somehow felt less-than because I was hopeless at diagramming sentences.  So did Romy.  Now I don’t care. . .for both of us.  Because Romy died in Vietnam.


I imagine he must have had a difficult childhood, with poverty involved because he never smiled with his mouth open because of bad teeth.  But I’ll never forget his smile.  Did I have a crush on him.  No, not really.  I just liked him, not liked-him-liked-him.  And he liked me, though his hood friends would tease him about it.  We “got” each other.  We knew we weren’t stupid, just confused and frustrated, each with our own particular learning disability that landed us next to each other in the “dummies” class.


But Romy wasn’t dumb.  He was smart.  Because he knew that kindness and humor could take you anywhere.  He knew that his options were few so he joined the service.  He didn’t know he wouldn’t come back.


He would never know that I visited his name at the Vietnam War Memorial in Washington DC, or that I think of him often, especially on Memorial Day.  He doesn’t know that I smile when I imagine him trying desperately to not let his teeth show.  He doesn’t know that I still remember the twinkle in his eye when he made a wise-ass comment to the teacher.


Romy wouldn’t know how hard I cried when I learned of his death. . .and sometimes I still do.


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Freckles on Task

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Today I am grateful for Freckles on task.  The latest rental dog has us covered.  We have never babysat for a dog that was as much of a shadow as this one.  Geeze!  You can’t move one inch without her following.  She hops out of the way quickly, so that’s good.


When Himself walks through the house she pokes the back of his legs with her toy, trying to nudge him into playing.  When we sit to watch TV at night, she systematically gathers all of her toys and drops them in front of him, even if he just got done playing with her for a half an hour.  Talk about a dog with a bone.


In the mornings I get up first, take her out to do her business and give her a treat, water, and/or feed her.  She will take a treat, but nothing else until he is up because apparently it’s her job to sit at the bedroom door and wait for him to rise.  Sometimes for hours.  The herder fretting over her flock.


She is the lickingest beast I’ve ever experienced.  You can barely pet her without her lapping at you like you were made of ice cream.  A long time ago, my mom made a statement after a friend showed her an “adult” film.  She said, “So much licking.  Is all that licking really necessary?”  I have used this line a lot in the past week.


Freckles lives in a house that has a very private, fenced back yard.  We live in a townhouse with lawn guys tending the property, the occasional walker passing by at the top of the berm and very bold squirrels.  Marauders!  She positions herself on the step of the sunroom and “grrrrrrsssss”.  Usually I see nothing.  I hear nothing. Except the guttural grrrrr.  Then, seemingly out of nowhere, a lawn guy appears and she barks like a lunatic and wonders why I am not alarmed by the marauder.


We are totally safe with Freckles on task.

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a auditioning cartoon

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Today I am grateful for auditioning.  Many of you might not know that I’ve done a considerable bit of performing, mostly back in the day.  I love the stage and the instant gratification that it provides, but the memory work and time commitment is daunting to me at this ripe age.  Though if the right role presents itself. . .who knows?


I have also been trained, like the mule you want pulling the cart.  I have done commercials, industrial films, a few Forensic Files, a bunch of student films, and even a low-budget feature or two.   Nothing you would know or remember. A memorable one for me was an industrial, in-house, Sexual Abuse video that was as much fun to shoot as the title implies, even though it wasn’t porn.  Honest!


It has been a while since I’ve auditioned.  So imagine my shock when I saw a casting notice from Kathy Wickline Casting, calling for someone exactly like me, with my same mad skills!  (clothed)  I contacted Kathy, made an appointment, dusted off and updated my resume and printed a good picture taken by a friend when I was at a bar in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, after church.  Yes, after church.  You gotta know Sheboygan.  Oh relax.  I cropped out the Bloody Mary!


The last time I went to this agency, the office was in central Philly.  I figured I’d take the train in, hail a cab and bada-bing-bada-boom. . .I’d be brilliant. . .then back on the train headed home.


The morning I was to audition I decided to type the address into Mapquest, just to be sure.  It was not anywhere near where it used to be and probably a $25 cab ride each way.  Swell.  I drove.  It was easy to find, although I had to call for help with parking.   I was very early. . .because of my neurosis about being late.  When I walked in, Kathy, who follows some of my nonsense on Facebook, said, “Hi Mary!  I feel like I know you.”  Apparently she wasn’t traumatized by the naked magician request, or she had blocked it out, like I had until now.  “You do,” I said.  Pretty much everyone does. I am several open books.  “But where is the bathroom?”


Audition waiting rooms are odd places.  Everyone is serious. . .as though this one gig will make or break their entire life.  It won’t.  I provided a little comedy relief when I headed for the low couch and announced I might need the help to get me out of it, or the Jaws-of-Life.  Some hadn’t seen the audition copy so I passed mine around.  Hey, we’re all in this together.  I recognized a guy, then we realized I had dinner at the same table at the Philadelphia Writer’s Conference last year.  Small world.  A woman with great hair sat down next to me and she was from Souderton, which is a stone’s throw from Lansdale.  Really small world.


After the men were done auditioning, the client came out and told us what he was looking for from the women.  Read a teleprompter.  No sweat.  The character/actress is not well. . .suffering from Rheumatoid Arthritis and now some kind of leukemia.  Poor thing.  I was dolled up in bright blue and other primary colors, with full makeup and great hair!  I gotta tell ya. . .I looked good!  I was so colorful that I looked like a box of Skittles got dumped over my head.  And stuck.  Even with all of the crap I’ve gone through with the recent surgery and hospital stays. . .I looked healthy.  Shit!  Just my luck!


When it was my turn to go into the audition room, I shook the hand of the client and said, “I just want it on the record that I don’t have to look this good.”  He sort of raised an eyebrow and said, “You look, ah, fine.”  Um, okay.  Tough room.  “No, what I mean is that I have absolutely no problem being on camera looking sickly, or with no makeup or bad hair, you know. . . really awful.”  Then he laughed.  Whew.  I thought I lost my touch!


I don’t know who got the part. . .or will get the part.  All I know is it was such fun dusting off those old skills and auditioning.  I am very grateful to Kathy Wickline for including me.  And yes, I asked her for permission to use her name before I wrote this.  I’m not a complete idiot!  (She might be experiencing regret at this point.)  And, although hugely successful in her own right. . .she has now made the blog.  Congratulations, Kathy. . .you have “arrived”!

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Friend Re-Posted My Peace Message

Peace sign with children and globe

Friday, May 27, 2016

Today I am grateful that a Facebook friend decided to repost something I wrote last year.  When my words spill out of me, I generally move on and let them do their thing in the world. . .or not.  The fact that Sandy (whom I have never actually met) remembered them from last year, found them, and shared them, made me take a second look.


Then today I heard that my president, is visiting Hiroshima!  Not to apologize for past decisions, by past presidents. . .but to promote PEACE so that it never happens again.  I stand behind that message 100%, therefore, even though Memorial Day is a few days away, the timing for posting this seemed better fit for today.


Monday, May 25, 2015

Today I am grateful for peace.  While, on this Memorial Day, I very much appreciate the sacrifices made by service people and their families, I’d much prefer peace.  I would like to make their sacrifice unnecessary.  Redundant.  Obsolete.  A large request?  I know.  You can go ahead and rebut me with your internal or external voice as much as you like, but it’s what I want.


I’d like to live in a world where different factions are not squabbling over every single thing imaginable.  I want religious acceptance, border acceptance and peaceful coexistence.   I want genocide, starvation, poverty, lack of water and other forms of distress to end now.   I want my grandchildren to one day ask, “What was the deal with all of those wars?” because they have never experienced war in their lifetime.


I don’t know how we will achieve World Peace.  It seems like an insurmountable task. But I think we have to keep trying.  If not globally, then in our own back yards.  We each need to stop insisting all people believe exactly as we do.  We need to not only accept our differences, but celebrate them.  We need to stop judging.  We need to find the peace within ourselves and that will encourage us to be nice to each other.


Will we be able to create a perfect, peaceful world?  Probably not.  Just a better one.  Peace.

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Curious Boys

a boy with a magnifying glass-curious

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Today I am grateful for curious boys.  I needed to go shopping today.  Yes, needed.  My only comfortable, (which is an oxymoron) bras are so shot that I had to use a pliers to bend the hooks (not my boobs) back in place and even then they poke me.  I am the princess and the pea and far too delicate to be poked!


So shopping it was.  Kohls.  It got very hot here and I had already run a few errands so I was already pooped and leaning on my useless cart, moving a bit slowly.  I rounded the corner, heading to the lingerie department when I noticed a life-sized, pink-with-no-facial-features, female mannequin, clad in a beige spandex bra and panties.


As I near the department. . .remember I’m not moving very fast. . .I notice a probably four-year-old boy with blond-blond hair inching up on the almost naked mannequin.  Glancing over his shoulders, his little hand reaches over his head.   He grabs the front of the panties and pulls them down.  All the way down!   As far as necessary to satisfy his curiosity.  I bet he has a baby sister.


By that time I was there.  He saw me, totally panicked, let go of the waistband so fast there was a snap still echoing as he bolted off into the children’s department to find mom. . .guilty covering his glowing red face.   He’s probably still terrified I’ll tell on him.


I have boys.  This could have been either of my sons a billion years ago. . .especially my youngest, who once said to me in a fitting room,  “Mom, I think they are wrong!  One size doesn’t fit everyone!”, while his brother was lying on the floor looking up the dress of the woman in the next stall.


There is absolutely nothing like the curiosity of boys.  They are the stuff that soooo many heartprints are made of.  BING!  Heartprint!

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Extra Room

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Today I am grateful for an extra room.  Yes, the monsoons have ceased and desisted and today was a gorgeous day.  So guess what I did?


We started the day clearing out a couple of book shelves for the “new” old books we bought at the library book sale. . .which took hours, by the way.  I have decided that I get irritated by clutter.  Not dirt.  Apparently I can handle that just fine, evidenced by the dust on my sunroom chairs.  I’m talking clutter.  It makes me crazy.


So the shelves got cleaned and the “new” old books placed, and I was off to get a haircut.  My hairdresser was running a little bit late, which is not unusual and I don’t mind because short of the grocery line, it’s the only time I get to read trash magazines.  I learned a lot.


Then I started to cough.  And the staff started complaining of an odd smell.  When there was a cloud of smoke in the salon, I said, “Maybe we should step outside and someone should call the fire department,” recalling the electrical fire at the local high school just yesterday.  First they turned off the AC, which was being run for the first time this year.  Yup.  The culprit!


One truck, two trucks, three trucks, four trucks.  One cop, two cop, one chief, one air conditioner repair man.  The customers kept arriving and I started hawking free books from the back of my car and before you know it, there was a party, while we watched guys with axes and ladders do their thing.  We don’t need to make a calendar out of them.  Trust me.  Efficient.  But no calendar.


By the time we got back inside my hairdresser’s schedule was beyond backed-up so I suggested she look at the book and tell me when to come back.  So I left and came back later, knowing that this event was eating into my personal time, which is very important when you’re retired. Ha-ha.


It’s okay.  I spent enough time outside to read two chapters, nap, take some pictures, nap, read another chapter, drink (water), nap, listen to the birds, nap. . .that’s what the  extra room is for. . .and I love it!  So did Freckles!

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