Monday, August 29, 2016

GoTopless Day Cover-Up!

Yesterday was GoTopless Day, which according to our local newspaper, is celebrated annually on the Sunday closest to Women's Equality Day, marking the day American women earned the right to vote. Supposedly it's a global event, yet I've never heard about it until I read the tiny article buried on the 6th page at the very bottom of said paper. Furthermore, the only parts of the country that actually participated in this celebration were Los Angeles, New York, New Hampshire, and Denver. No surprise there!

So why the big cover-up? And this time, yes, the pun is intended. Is it because women still have low self-esteem regarding their bodies, continue to hold on to the puritanical mores of the past, or just don't care to make waves about something so seemingly inconsequential?

Or is it because men want their women to see themselves as second-class citizens, dress modestly when in public, and focus on more important issues such as child-rearing, and homemaking?

I often wish that when I'm at the beach I could bare my breasts in order to get a uniform suntan. I envy the guys when they dive into the ocean, feeling the cool waves beating rhythmically on their chests without being criticized for being scantily dressed. When my hubby is outside cutting the grass, he's got a hat on his head, but no shirt on his back. When I'm outside tending to the flowers or picking weeds, I'm in a tee and bra which are hell to take off when every fiber is soaked in a disgusting sweat. At the end of the day, when watching a sports game, hubby is comfortably clothed only in a pair of shorts, while I'm in a nightie designed to cover all my private parts. If he happens to drip his beer on his tummy, all it takes is a swipe of the hand to remove it. If I spill my gingerale because the dog unexpectedly jumps up on my lap, I've got to do a complete change of attire.

I don't know if there are many women who agree with me, but I've never let public opinion stop me before. Here's my take: Both men and women have breasts, even though in most cases, ours are definitely larger, more supple and perky (at least before giving birth), and have a defined purpose, nursing our young. Women's breasts come in many shapes and sizes, but all are beautiful. As we age, these body parts change exponentially as do all body parts. Do we put bags over our heads because our faces are lined, and do thicker thighs and rounder butts stop us from wearing swimwear? Hell no!

Now I'm not in favor of having women run through the malls with swinging boobs exposed for all to see. I don't think that would be even safe. Nobody wants to be inadvertently hit in the eye by a fellow shopper's dangling breast when brawling over a coveted sale item. I don't think going topless is a good idea when attending a baseball game. What if a high-fly ball is hit in your direction and a group of fans dive in to get it? Unknowingly of course, somebody just might grab one of your boobs thinking he or she has just secured a ballpark trophy! Ouch!

But going topless at the beach or swimming without a top would be a freeing experience, at least that is what I believe. Even as a senior, I'd love to have the option and would not have any qualms about it.
I think it would be a step in the right direction to start here. Yet I don't have any problem over time extending going topless to one's backyard and when relaxing at the end of the day on the back porch sipping on a chilled glass of your favorite beverage.

If indeed GoTopless Day is an annual globe event, let's publicize it more, become more comfortable in our own body image, and begin practicing going topless on a more regular basis. Let's become the 'Susan B. Anthony's' of today and gain our rights as women to be equal in this area as well. Eventually women going topless in society would be seen as normal and not a big deal.

Women Unite! Free Your Breasts! Uncover the Cover-Up!

Monday, August 22, 2016

A Homeostatic World!


 (ˌhoʊ mi əˈsteɪ sɪs) 


1. the tendency of a system, esp. the physiological system of higher animals, to maintain internal stability, owing to the coordinated response of its parts to any situation or stimulus tending to disturb its normal condition or function.
2. state of psychological equilibrium obtained when tension or a drive has been reduced/eliminated.
ho`me•o•stat′ic (-ˈstæt ɪk) adj.
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.
I first heard the word, 'homeostasis' in my Sophomore biology class. I learned to spell it correctly, to memorize its meaning (#1 above) and to be able to use it properly when referring to the physiological system in higher animals. I was positively certain I completely understood the term, and didn't give it another thought. 
Fast forward to who I am today, a 71 year-old retiree who hopefully has a clearer understanding of what homeostasis (#2) means to me now. I've read the second definition over and over again, and have decided that I could sum up the term in two words, 'sweet peace'.  
When as much stress and anxiety over achieving more has seeped out of your mind and body as is humanly possible, it would be safe to say you are in a homeostatic state and are experiencing sweet peace. To be completely free of stress and anxiety, it would be safe to say you're dead!
At this stage in my life's journey, I'm consumed with the notion that eventually world peace can be achieved. I have absolute faith in our children and their children that someday through their willingness to embrace diversity rather than fear it, a homeostatic world will be realized. But I want it to happen before my journey's end. And I believe if we concentrated on exposing our youngsters to the differences in people in a positive light, the seeds of sweet peace would be planted, and wouldn't take all that long to grow and blossom to every corner of the earth.
Why is it that difference causes so much consternation in our minds and bodies? Why do negative thoughts pop up at the mere sight of a black man passing us by at night, and why do we become stressed and begin to perspire because of his presence? By no means am I suggesting not to be vigilant and aware of our surroundings, but would our reactions be the same if the passerby were white?
Why is it that we tend to turn away from somebody with a disfigurement or someone confined to a wheel chair? Why do we become noticeably uncomfortable if we are in a situation where we must interact with folks burdened with these and other disabilities?
Why do we shy away from people who speak a different language instead of trying to communicate in other ways?
I think that the answer to all of these questions and a myriad of others that plague us throughout life is a simple one..... lack of exposure at an early age.
If we all make the effort to ensure that ourselves as well as our youngsters meet and interact with others of different race, ethnicity, and cultures at every opportunity, sweet peace is not only possible, one person at a time, but inevitable.
For me, living in a homeostatic world is the #1 priority on my bucket list. Knowing that my children and my grandchildren would be blessed with living in such a world would give me sweet peace and make this one dream come true!
Remember the key is to expose children when they are very young to diversity. I guarantee you they don't see difference until it is pointed out to them. Fear of that which makes us different is learned. Teach your children to see differences as interesting and beautiful now, and they will grow up to be proponents of world peace! I promise.

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Monday, August 15, 2016


I've published eleven children's/tween books to date, and have been trying to go for an even dozen. The problem is that #12 is like giving birth to a 12 lb. baby, painfully frustrating! Now I can honestly say that while I've never produced an infant of that size, I can only imagine. Matter of fact, I'm not going to let my mind go there since, for me, the visuals alone would be terrifying!

The working title for this practically non-existent book is 'If I Were You And You Were Me.' The underlying concept is centered around the idea of what it would be like if suddenly an older person was young again, and a kid became old overnight. After a series of episodes in each of their daily lives as the 'other one', it would be clear to both of them that they'd be totally content to be who they are in reality.

The problem I'm having is that after outlining the scenario, I've developed a terrible case of BRAIN FREEZE! Trying to come up with daily activities that are true to life while exuding humor and compassion, AND ultimately present the case that each stage of our existence has its pros and cons has been challenging to say the least.

Okay, so going from old to young surely would have its benefits. Your energies would be through the roof, you'd have a strong, agile body that could leap tall buildings in a single bound, and you wouldn't lack for a bevy of friends who were constantly available to join you for frolic and fun. BUT, being young, your independence would be greatly curtailed by those overbearing people you call your parents, you'd be enslaved by weekly household chores, and be imprisoned daily in a classroom for six or more hours depending on your grade level. To further add to your misery, you'd have a ton of homework to complete, the actual amount again dependent on your current grade level. Perhaps the final insult for you would be that you had to adhere to a set bedtime determined by those same overbearing people you call your parents!

Now let's examine the seemingly disastrous phenomenon of going from young to old. You'd wake up slowly, slowly drag yourself to the kitchen for your morning cup of coffee, read the newspaper from cover to cover...slowly, wash up and get dressed in no particular hurry and have the rest of the day to figure out as it slowly unfolded. Maybe you'd take the dog for a walk or putter in the garden. Maybe you'd clean out a cupboard, or hem a pair of pants, or maybe not. Depressing? Perhaps until you realize that being old also has its benefits. You'd be able to do whatever you wanted whenever you wanted. There'd be nobody to tell you what to do and when it needed to be done. You wouldn't be enslaved or imprisoned by familial or societal demands. You could nap at two in the afternoon, and go to bed at two a.m.

Well what do you know, after lamenting over having a bad case of writer's BRAIN FREEZE, I've managed to put down two paragraphs that contain possible ideas I can implement in the new book.

That just goes to show you that the only way to melt a writer's BRAIN FREEZE is to take it out of the freezer and start writing. By jotting down random thoughts that don't seem to have any connection will eventually begin to help formulate a concept and expand it into a great story. I should know, it's happened to me at least eleven times!

Monday, August 8, 2016


My hubby and I are Catholics and go to Mass every Sunday. Over the past 2 years or so we've noticed a significant decline is attendance. I would venture to say there were only about 75 folks in church yesterday.

On the way home I again lamented that it was only a matter of time before our home parish would close. And again we discussed what could be the reasons why people aren't filling the pews. We both offered what we believe could be contributing factors:

                      1. Exposure to decades of priests' pedophilia
                      2. Decline in societal morality
                      3. Lack of interest in personal spiritual growth
                      4. Outdated services causing boredom/disinterest
                      5. A feeling of disconnect/absence of fellowship
                      6. Ineffectual church leadership
                      7. Ever-present solicitations for monetary contributions
                      8. Family disintegration
                      9. Decline in the number of Catholic schools available/affordable
                     10.All of the above

By no means have I listed these points in any particular order, and certainly by no means have I listed all of the myriad of possibilities. But I'm certain that what we've discussed has something to do with the problem Catholic churches all over the country are now facing.

WHO'S TO BLAME?  The Church and its leadership, parishioners, lack of spiritual education, society, family disconnect? Oh, yes, all that I've mentioned and much more that I've omitted, must take responsibility for this sad state of affairs. And if we fail to come up with viable solutions soon, the very existence of the Catholic Church is in jeopardy.

Maybe we can't rectify all of these problems quickly, but we must start somewhere. How about #4? I know that the components of the Mass are set, but the energy in which its celebrated definitely needs to be rejuvenated. As I look around on any given Sunday, I see many who aren't engaged in prayer or song. Parents are trying to keep their youngsters under control with iPhones, coloring books, action heroes, etc. Some of the teens are chatting incessantly, and a goodly number of elders are nodding off. Perhaps if the commentators and music leaders executed their duties with more clarity and enthusiasm, the congregation would be more inclined to participate. Maybe if the priests' sermons focused on delivering scripture as it applies to current issues, people would listen more intently. And if we could change up the format just a tad, the boredom could be alleviated significantly. How about a Polka Mass, an inclusion of a dance interpretation, a guest choir? I'm sure many of you have other suggestions that would enliven the Mass to such a degree that people couldn't help but be eager to return each and every Sunday.

And then there's #5. There are so many folks who complain about the lack of fellowship in their home parishes. They say there are certain groups of people, cliques if you will,  who run everything making it impossible for them to become a part of any function. You might argue that if an individual really wants to help, they are more than welcome. Certainly that's true, but many personalities are shy and unassuming, and unless they are personally invited by a member of said group, they don't have the social skills to move themselves forward. Perhaps a 'meet-and-greet' gathering sponsored by the different organizations in the Church could be held at the beginning of September to entice folks to join them in their efforts throughout the year. Maybe if group members reached out more to their own neighbors and friends inviting them to participate in certain functions, would their organizational membership grow, and the Church benefit exponentially.



Monday, August 1, 2016


People use the term, 'friend' loosely, when actually they are referring to an acquaintance. In your lifetime', if you're blessed with three or four 'friends' you are lucky. Aside from my hubby, our immediate family and relatives, I have had five 'friends' in my 71 years on this earth. I consider myself very lucky!

Before I tell you about them, let me be so bold as to define the term. A friend is someone you've seemingly known forever, have shared the best of times and the worst, have accepted you for who and what you are and still love you, might not contact you for long periods of time, and yet when connected, pick up the conversation like you'd just spoken yesterday, and will be there for you at the drop of a hat. I think I've covered everything, but if not, feel free to add anything I've missed.

Two of my very best friends have passed. I loved them dearly in life, think of them almost everyday, and miss them very much. Just the thought of them puts a smile on my lips and a skip in my step. When I look up at the sky, especially on a sunny day, I 'see' their spirits floating along and realize how free they are from the stress and pain associated with life itself.

I hadn't spoken to another of my friends for many years. It wasn't because we didn't have anything in common anymore, but rather that we both had growing families that required our undivided attention. Babies were born, communions celebrated, weddings planned for, a career pursued, the everyday hustle and bustle, caring for the elders in the family, burying loved ones, etc. Yet one day about two years ago, I called wanting to know if she had some high school photos I might use in a new book I was writing. We met for lunch one September day, and have been spending time at Applebee's every six weeks or so since that first time. We always ask for a back table, letting the waitress know that we plan to 'dine' for at least three hours! We never run out of things to talk about, and promise to meet up again soon.

My fourth friend is the newest of the five, but loved just as much. I hadn't talked with her in quite a while, and when I finally called to make a lunch date, her number was no longer in service. I thought that was odd, googled her and found she'd moved to North Carolina. Got her address and phone number and dialed immediately. When I couldn't connect with her, I left a message and knew she'd get back to me when she could.  AND SHE DID.  because that's what true friends do!

My last friend and I have known each other for 20 years. We worked together running a preschool and daycare. There were many,many times when we agreed on a plan of action, there were a number of times that we didn't. No matter what, we never allowed our differences to interfere with our friendship. Our families got to know one another, and soon formed caring bonds. Her children call me 'Mama Flo' and her grandsons call me, 'Gramma'  honors I hold close to my heart. Although we only talk about two or three times a year, we are always delighted at the sound of each other's voice and are ready and willing if one is in need. A week ago I FB her with a special request. My nine-year-old grandson, Kaden, was coming to Pittsburgh and was hoping to get an autograph from some of the Steelers at their training camp. My friend happens to know Coach Tomlin personally and secured a VIP pass for Kaden so he could be on the field, get autographs from his favorite players, and even enjoy dinner in the Steelers cafeteria at the end of practice. Her daughter, her grandsons, and her niece kept their eyes on Kaden the entire time, nudging him along to approach players he was too shy to address. The next day we attended my friend's mother's 90th birthday celebration and was glad to be among her extended family to wish Ms. Cindy many, many more years of good health and happiness.

Now do you understand the meaning of the term, 'friend'? Use it sparingly and with great care. There will only be a handful of them in your life if you're lucky. If you're very lucky like me, you'll be blessed with FIVE!