2012: A Year of Historic Milestones…

4 Jan

• The 100th centennial of the Titanic’s disastrous sinking, in which over 1500 of more than 2,200 onboard lost their lives—leading to life-saving lifeboat regulations for luxury liners.
• And 15 years after the original release of James Cameron’s now modern classic 1997 Titanic movie, a 3-D version of the colossal epic was re-released early last year.
• The 100-year anniversary of Hollywood’s founding—by a group of New York City producers who left NY for California in 1912 to ‘avoid a patent trust’ and lay the groundwork for the movie-making capital of the world.
• The 25-year commemoration of “King of Pop” Michael Jackson’s BAD album—that became the fifth biggest selling LP of all time.
• The 35th anniversary of cult dance film Saturday Night Fever, and its phenomenal-selling soundtrack that ignited the disco era. Also, the passings of “Queen of Disco” Donna Summer and Robin Gibb of the Bee Gees, both of whom greatly influenced the music scene of the ’70s.
• The 15-year milestone for the Lion King Broadway production, which was celebrated with a first-time ever interactive exhibit “Inside Lion King,” featuring actual costumes, music and dance styles from the visually spectacular musical benchmark.
• The 20th year commemoration of Bryant Park’s journey from neglect to resurgence—to become one of the best year-round venues for events and activities, as well as a favored oasis for city dwellers, which was displayed in 86 images along the Park’s exterior fence.
• The 200th birthday of literary icon Charles Dickens (1812-1870), author of A Christmas Carol and Oliver Twist.
*NYPL curators cite “[Dickens’] works are adapted more often than those of Shakespeare,” and that 20th century filmmakers credit him with having “developed several cinematic techniques, including panning, close-ups and montage.” In addition, “Dickens’ serialized novels were so popular during his lifetime; they were pirated for the stage before he even finished them.”
• Jan. 1st, marks 150-years since the “Emancipation Proclamation” was issued by President Abraham Lincoln in 1863, as the nation was in the throes of the Civil War. It declares “all persons held as slaves” (within states that had seceded from the Union) “are, and henceforward shall be free.”


Unusual November Observances

28 Nov

Occasions to Eat, Drink & All the Rest

If you thought November was only about Thanksgiving, think again. Aviation History Month—a good time to rent or pay-to-view the film Red Tails that George Lucas fought so hard to get made and put into theaters (using his own money)— is also in Nov. And what are the other observances? Read on…

They include: National Adoption Awareness Month, as well as Child Safety Protection Month, both very important for children around the globe.  On the lighter side, there’s National Model Railroad Month. Guess, that’s so model train buffs can get an early start on readying their rails to go ‘round the Christmas tree come next month. Toot! Toot!

Then there’s International Drum Month. Can’t have a band or a parade without ‘em. The annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade had a lot more than ‘12 drummers drumming’ down Fifth Avenue in New York City. To all you struggling writers out there, get those manuscripts finished! It’s National Novel Writing Month, too. So, put pen to paper or your fingers on the keypad.

And if you’re having problems sleeping comfortably lately like me, due to my ankle injury (see Quality of Life post), you might find this one particularly pertinent: Yes, Nov. is National Sleep Comfort Month. Sleep well everyone .

Some other weekly observances:

  •  Week 3     Game & Puzzle Week (Get out the Scrabble or Monopoly board and have some fun!)
  •  (11/13)      Sadie Hawkins Day (which no one really celebrates anymore)
  •  (11/13)      World Kindness Day (which we should always observe)
  •  (11/15)      Clean Your Refrigerator Day (Hope you all got to it before the holidays to make room for all the leftovers!
  •  (11/19)      Have a Bad Day Day – Meaning if you were going to have one that was the day to have it
  •  (11/20)     Beautiful Day – You’d have to have had a pretty quick recovery after just having had a bad day!
  •  (11/22)     Go For a Ride Day – Taking a ride is relaxing, but a walk after a Thanksgiving meal may be a better idea to walk off the extra trimmings
    and pie, don’t you think?
  •  (11/23)     Eat a Cranberry Day – I know you’re thinking after all that cranberry sauce? But fresh cranberries are much better compared to the jellied variety you ate the day before
  •  (11/23)     Black Friday – Would you believe it’s also Buy Nothing Day? LOL.
  •  (11/26)     Cyber Monday &  Shopping Reminder Day – This was the biggest on-line shopping day to-date! Those who didn’t shop Friday must have made up for it on Monday. And there’s less than a month left to go!
  •  (11/29)     Square Dance Day – Anyone up for some line dancing?
  •  (11/30)     Stay at Home Because You Are Well Day – These are referred to as mental health days. But considering all the paid holidays you just had –and will have off,  you might want to skip this one.

*Check back for December observances…

Giving Thanks

14 Nov

*Note: This post was originally posted on Nov. 5th.

As with many of us, November gets me to thinking of Thanksgiving and what it should mean: thanks for giving.

It may be the thought that counts, but it’s in the form of the action it takes that really matters. For that, we give thanks.

So, have you made a difference to someone lately?

Oftentimes, even the most minor gesture of goodwill can make the biggest difference to someone if it is sincere?

Have you lent a sympathetic ear…given some friendly, non-judgmental sage advice…that perhaps helped diffuse a sensitive situation and thus prevented it from escalating to a point of causing possible harm to another? Have you looked in on or shared a meal with an ailing or elderly neighbor? Or have you offered to assist somebody with a task at which you’re more adept?

Making a difference simply means providing a selfless act (whether large or small) for the benefit of others. Everyday random acts of kindness are the most common ways people give back to each other. Like personal and professional courtesies, usually cost you nothing, yet may make another person’s day.

Embodying ‘an attitude of gratitude,’ is a generous state of being everyone potentially has within them. Genuine generosity comes not from your wallet or purse, but freely—from your heart and spirit –with no strings or ulterior motives attached.

Giving of yourself and your time always makes a difference, especially to the giver or volunteer, because you choose to do it without monetary reward or often any public recognition.

Quality of Life

19 Oct

*Note:  As you read on you’ll see that due to a recent incident, I’ve added an addendum since composing this post.

My last post (Oct. 14) got me to thinking: What do we want in our 40s and 50s?

We’ve gone through the rites of passage of youth and reached a certain age. Everyone gets to this point sooner or later, when they start to think about their quality of life. The term casts a very wide net, I know. But I mean life beyond the basic necessities of food and shelter. I’m talking about life’s creature comforts, those little incidentals, which we most take for granted. That’s the quality I’m speaking of.


Do we take time to fully de-stress and enjoy the small things that bring us joy. Do we indulge our passions? This includes our hobbies, extracurricular activities, our interests (outside of work), our families, time with friends, associates, neighbors, co-workers, etc. or our solitude (when we’re at one with the world around us). Are we taking time to take all that in?

We each have our own barometer with which to measure [quality], whether we’re surviving or thriving. In the meantime we have to live everyday, and at the same time look forward to tomorrow. A cliche, but true, nonetheless.

What determines your quality of life?

Life is what happens when you’re busy making plans, the old saying goes, and can be changed in a moment without a moment’s notice. The pitfalls we encounter in life–the optimum word being fall–can blindside those plans at anytime when you least expect it. Literally, you can be up one day, take a fall and find yourself crutched up and hopping around for ‘a coupla weeks’ the next.

That’s where I stand now or actually bend and manuever around holding my fractured ankle up to support my 120 lb. frame on what Godfather of Soul James Brown would proclaim, ‘the good foot.’ Quite a workout too, I must say. A simple slip ‘n’ fall is not so simple afterall.

Kind of semi-athletic could sorta describe me. I’m probably a little more active than the average American according to the national stats; as I run several times a week outdoors with the Back on My Feet group and/or indoors on the treadmill, walk most places around New York City, climb the stairs instead of taking the elevator at least once daily (8 flights) three-four times a week-before the fracture, write everyday, play Scrabble or paddle ball (ping pong in the summer) when I can fit in it in my day and weather and mood permit, and solve the occasional crossword puzzle to keep my brain active, too.

The 20s vs. the 40s and 50s

14 Oct

I enjoyed my 20s when I was in my 20s. Those days were a lot of fun—then. But I wouldn’t want to be at that age now, knowing what I know now, I told a neighbor friend as we discussed the subject of 40 and 50 year-olds engaging in behaviors that we or those we knew had engaged in over 20 years ago.

Balking at the thought, I said I can’t believe that adults in this age group still acted in the same irresponsible reckless way some of us did at the time. When we were in our 20s, we were either in school or finishing school. We weren’t concerned with bills or too seriously worried about our futures. We partied hard every weekend, Friday and Saturday night through Sunday mornings. We’d be headed home when folks were on their way to church. I remember the rays glaring down so strongly sometimes, it seemed as though God was scolding us.

Naturally, we felt a little guilt but we were living out our youth, celebrating coming of age by hanging out and participating in recreational activities like many other young adults in the mid to late 80s. Living la vida loca! Before the advent of Crack became an epidemic and ruined it ALL! Then it no longer was fun to be young and adventurous. That should have been enough to scare anybody straight. It was a real wakeup call!

When you get older you may not get wiser but you get more mature, and hopefully, smarter and eventually tire of it. Essentially, you want to progress not regress. Some people made ill-advised decisions and others encountered bad breaks, which set them back. In any event, Oprah often quotes Maya Angelou when she says, “When you know better, you do better.”

So you can’t blame middle-age misbehavin’ on post-youthful indiscretions, because we’ve been there and done that. And I repeat it was fun—then. But with age you acquire responsibilities, many in fact you may not have even foreseen. You realize your life has to move forward in order to meet them, I reiterated.

In conclusion I told this neighbor I would not want to be doing at 40 or 50, what I did in my 20s. That, Oprah, I know for sure.

p.s.  As you relate to young people, remember when you were their age…

A Mis-forecast Day

12 Oct

I should know better than to believe reports of bad weather by unreliable weather forecasters, as they always overly exaggerate its severity. After hearing their projections I ventured out last weekend, expecting bitter 50 degree temperatures all day, only to be welcomed by a surprisingly lovely and mildly cool Fall afternoon.

Although I was saddled with a heavy jacket I could have done without, because I didn’t feel like getting in the elevator again and going back to change. And I was swayed too,  into toting along an umbrella–for good measure–which I also didn’t need since there was just a little mist in the air.

Coming out of the door, I stumbled upon a streetfair literally steps away right on 8th Ave, before I made my way to Bryant Park. Sitting there for a while I enjoyed the slightly overcast, yet beautifully bright day.

Thankfully, I did not listen to their awful predictions that it would be dreary, chilly and wet. Otherwise, I might have missed the pleasure of a mis-forecast Autumn Sunday in New York City.

Quoted from the Oprah Show

8 Oct

During an interview on the Oprah Winfrey Show, Jane Fonda said: “The challenge is not to be perfect, it’s to be whole. We have to live a challenged life.”

After hearing that I asked myself, what is a challenged life?

Is it the challenges we have to overcome,  those we need to face or is it us challenging ourselves?

What does it mean for you?

I think we are challenged by each of these challenges in our everyday lives. We have to summon up courage to overcome disappointment and loss. We have to face our fears, naysayers and those who would trespass against us.

I promise I won’t start sermonizing or get on my soapbox.

But despite it all we have to challenge ourselves to be better people, to not give up on our dreams and not to let others weaken our spirits or lead us down the wrong path. OK, bear with me. I’m almost done.

These are constant challenges, we as human beings must acknowledge and accept. They’re put before us as tests of our will.

By definition, survival of the fittest means only the strong can survive. So if we’re to exist on planet earth we will be challenged daily—by life.

Dig deep and get the strength to indeed, live a life that challenges you.

Share Your Sentiments with a Card

7 Oct

As we card connoisseurs all know, Christmas and Mother’s Day both tip the scales when it comes to card-giving holidays. Although Cupid’s no slouch either, Santa Claus and moms aside.

But in October—scary greetings courtesy of Halloween ghosts, goblins, witches, ghouls and Charlie Brown and his great pumpkin rule!

Paper and E-cards (which have caught steam and been embraced by computer-savvy consumers) make it possible for people to send them via snail mail or transmission over the Internet.

Card-giving is an enduring tradition that will continue as long as there are people wishing to share their sentiments with friends, family, co-workers and others they regularly interact with.

It’s the personal experience of picking out just the right card from lengthy aisles or multiple online choices of the varied categories available, and insuring delivery to the intended recipients’ mailboxes—or email in-boxes that evokes a warm, fuzzy feeling of special connection with the sender.


6 Oct

There’s a day or month for almost everything you can think of, and even some things you never would have thought of.

I prefer the days to the months, simply because months don’t offer any freebies. McDonald’s and 711 just celebrated National Coffee Day by giving away free regular size coffees all day. At my local 711, only until the free supply ran out!

But that’s OK, as I also love 711’s annual Free Slurpee Day! You get a small cup of the slushie drink of your choice and they include a sugar-free option too—yep, ’til their specified cutoff time.

Another is Free [ice cream] Cone Day, which is also great. Carvel’s, the 34th St location in NYC, served up Jr. cones for everyone. Hey, it was just enough to wet your palate and satisfy your sugar craving. Besides, the price was right: free.

Anyway, October has a laundry list of observances. I’ve listed a few of them here courtesy of: http://holidayinsights.com/moreholidays/october.htm

  • American Pharmacist Month
  • Adopt a Shelter Dog Month
  • Caramel Month
  • Breast Cancer Awareness Month
  • Clergy Appreciation Month
  • Computer Learning Month
  • Cookie Month
  • Domestic Violence Awareness Month
  • Eat Country Ham Month
  • Lupus Awareness Month
  • National Diabetes Month
  • National Pizza Month
  • National Vegetarian Month
  • National Popcorn Popping Month
  • Sarcasm Month
  • Seafood Month

Which ones will you indulge? Take your pick. Oct’s chuck full of ’em, and there’ll be more come next month…


6 Oct

Before there was an App for this or that there was a card for this, that and the other.

Yep, those of us old enough or dare I say mature enough to remember way back—before the technological age and the need for speed consumed our lives, but not so long ago—when people actually got enjoyment from sending personal sentiments in a very personal (OK, old fashioned) way. Well anyway, it was the 20th century, afterall. The wheel had already been invented.

No, not by an App. But via card shops (once the place to purchase a card with cash) for any occasion, holiday or special commemoration, which have all but been replaced by corner drug store chains. Although they’re now fewer and farther between, alternative non-occasion selections of course are wider and more diverse.

Oh, the times, they are a changing. You can probably find a uniquely designed card NOW for your unwed BFF’s second baby shower, the wedding anniversary of the in-laws from hell you despise, your sister on her fourth trip to the altar (this time to a much younger man), your spoiled, bratty nephew’s bar mitzvah, and even to celebrate your narcissistic cousin’s 30th birthday milestone (count ’em) for the third consecutive year.

And just think there’s a special card for everyone of them, and then some!

Sherry Howard

One Story at a Time


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