Friday, January 27, 2017

The brotherhood of man ...

My memory was tweaked recently as I listened to Nikki Haley being grilled about her qualifications to be the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. In 1957 I lived in NY City and I visited the U.N.often … never failing to feel awe struck as I gazed at the huge array of colorful flags surrounding the building. each one representing a member country. It was also the era of Dag Hammarskjold, the Swedish diplomat who served as Secretary General from 1953 to 1961 when he was tragically killed in a plane crash.

In 1962 my husband and I and our 3 children left the city and bought a lake-front home in Dutchess County, about an hour's drive from the city. It was there that we met a colorful neighbor with the nickname of Dr. Zika. He would come by the house, often on horse back, and we became good friends. It was quite a few months before we met his wife Margaret however.

Margaret was the Director of Administrative Services at the United Nations and it was part of her job to travel the world.. When we finally met her it was well worth the wait. What a fascinating woman she was ! She had been very close to Dag Hammarskjold and we spent many hours discussing his belief in the core values of the U.N., specifically universal peace and cooperation among nations. 

When Dr. Zika and Margaret moved back to the city she gave us a copy of the book that you see pictured here. In it she wrote: “To Ginnie and Dick, newly found friends who, like us, strongly believe in the brotherhood of man”. I am proud to say that I still feel that way … as difficult as it can be at times.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Consider the source …

On the news recently I heard that President Trump will be proudly displaying a framed letter on the wall of the Oval Office. It was written to him by ex-President Richard Nixon who left the Presidency in 1974... (facing an almost sure impeachment he chose to resign instead and was pardoned by Gerald Ford who replaced him). His letter to Trump was written 13 years later.

The letter is dated 12/21/1987 and reads:

Dear Donald, I did not see the program, but Mrs. Nixon told me that you were great on the Donahue Show. As you can imagine, she is an expert on politics and she predicts that whenever you decide to run for office you will be a winner!”

How did Pat Nixon get it so right? As she listened to the young Trump being interviewed she must have realized that he was a dead ringer for her husband at that age and what did Richard Nixon do?. He rose to fame despite his many flaws, such as his distrust of the press, his unpredictable temperament and his tendency to exaggerate and skew the facts. No wonder she could make that prediction.

It will be interesting, as the months go by, to see just how far our newly elected President Trump will follow in Nixon's path..

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

It may be UGLY but it works... so far.

What the heck is this thing? If you look closely you will see that it's a bird feeder hanging off the limb of a tree near my back deck.

Like most of you I have a BIG problem with squirrels attacking my feeders. I thought I had it licked when I poked a hole in the top of a large circular plastic tray and positioned it on top of my feeder. It stuck out about 10 inches all around and I was sure that the pesky squirrels would never figure a way to get to the seeds.. WRONG !

It seemed to work beautifully until a few days ago when I drove into my yard and saw a big fat squirrel literally upside down, clutching the sides of the feeder and eating to his heart's content. I'm not proud of the obscenities that I screamed at him but it didn't seem to faze him a bit. He leisurely hopped down and I could almost hear him laughing as he scooted away.

So now I've put my inventors hat on and hope this will work. I took a big garbage bag and adhered it to the tray that tops the feeder. It looks gruesome … the black plastic twirling and swaying in the breeze but the birds seem to love it and the price was right too. So far so good ….

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Lawrence Welk and “his girls”

Some of you “oldsters” will surely remember “The Lawrence Welk Show”. It was a musically based variety show that aired on ABC TV in the '70's and early '80's. It was squeeky clean compared to the TV of today and was emceed by Mr. Welk. He's seen here with Norma Zimmer … just one of an array of female singers that he featured on the show. My Public TV channel has re-runs of these shows every Saturday night and, since I only have “basic TV” the alternative to watching that is an array of sports events that hold no interest for me.
So, here I am on a Saturday night watching “The Lawrence Welk Show” and, to my surprise, actually reminiscing and enjoying it.


However, as much as I like the music I can't help but giggle at the variety of crazy hair styles that the girls wear. Actually, Norma Zimmer's ( in the first picture) is quite tame in contrast to the ones shown by the Lennon sisters. I swear to myself that I wouldn't be caught dead looking like that and then I shake my head and decide to just close my eyes and concentrate on the music only.

I guess I drifted off because the next thing I knew I jolted awake and the first thing that came to mind was when my husband and I attended the wedding of our friend Sheila …

It was in the 70's !

Saturday, January 07, 2017

Beautiful Rwanda … 22 years after the Genocide

This is a picture of Kigali, a thriving part of the “new” Rwanda. A friend of mine was given the gift of a trip to Rwanda and when she shared her journey with us she was bursting with excitement and praise for this small country that has made such an amazing come back.

I don't think she would mind if I share her words with you:  “
Today Rwanda is bursting with energy, the people filled with pride about how they have all come together to build a new and exciting country… the spirit is absolutely contagious. Everyone smiles ...a lot...and there is great pride in the direction the country is moving.”
One of the facts that she shared really caught my attention. Today Rwanda is number one in the world in the percentage of women in the Legislature ... 64%. How I wish we could say the same for our country. As of this writing the U.S. is at number 25 !

Many of you know that I have long been active in Kiva ... the worldwide organization that gives mini loans to people in need to help them start their own businesses. In August of 2009 I chose a man named Theodomil in Rwanda.  
I was just one of the many who put up $25 and his goal of $900 was soon met. He actually paid the loan back before it was due and, when I last checked, his business was thriving.

Theodomil is just one of the millions of men and women in Rwanda who have put the past behind them and are working passionately to make their country an example of dignity and success. Can we say the same?

Tuesday, January 03, 2017

Setting the stage ...

I was shocked this morning when I heard what the House Judiciary Committee had done behind closed doors. Despite the weak twitter that President-elect Trump put out condemning it the fact remains that it was done.   I was so angry that I sat down and composed the following letter and am in the process of sending it re: fax, email or any other means to all 100 members of the Senate.   If I have the energy I will do the same for the House.  If any of you feel the same please lets flood our elected officials with out thoughts ... it may be our only hope.

Dear Senator _____________:

I am an 83 year old white female and citizen of our great United States. I have been a voter and political junkie for many of those years and I am writing to you, regardless of which party you belong to, to beg you to search out the inner core of your conscience when you proceed for the next 4 years.  

There is no question that our new President-elect will bring his own set of values into the administration but we, the citizens, deserve to have our needs considered and acted upon too. After all, we are the ones who have voted you into the offices that you hold today.  

It gave me a chill this morning when I heard that the Office of Congressional Ethics had been killed by the Republican-led House Judiciary Committee in a secret session. This office was set up specifically to be a watchdog of the administration and, although it goes without saying that I am pleased that this vote has been reversed it doesn't erase the fact that it happened at all. 

A statesman is one who follows his own moral compass and I pray that you will be strong enough to stand against the tide when you know something is not right. Always keep in mind that 4 years pass quickly and the eyes of the country are watching your every move.   With hope for our future …