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Thursday, August 29, 2019

"See You in September..."

Tomorrow is the start of the Labor Day Weekend for 2019 and in order to take advantage of it, I will not be posting here on Blogger until it ends. Meanwhile, I wish you a good one, dear reader, and as the song says, I'll see you (here on Blogger) in September.

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

"I have a dream..." (Me too, Dr. King)

Today is not part of my blog posting schedule for this week, but in honor of the 1963 anniversary of Martin Luther King's "I have a dream speech," I am making an exception.

In his speech,* Dr. King states: "....I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character..."

Like Dr. King, I have a dream too. I have a dream that one day I will not be judged by the fact that my eye turns inward.

I have a dream that one day I will not be judged by the fact that I have thousands of bumps and lumps all over my body (as a result of having Neurofibromatosis).

I have a dream that my insights into the power of verbal bullying will be healing and helpful to others who have been marginalized for whatever reason.

I spoke about this in my introductory video for" Imperfect Strangers" posted on You Tube as well as on Vimeo.

I plan to create a follow up video in the coming days. Stay tuned. Meanwhile, if you'd like to read the text of MLK's speech in its entirety, dear reader, please click here. Rest in Peace, Dr. King.


Here are the links to the follow up video mentioned in this entry which is posted on You Tube and Vimeo (respectively).

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

I'm on my way! Tuesday's Truths WK 140

TADA! On 8/23/2019, the eve of my birthday, I announced on FB  that upon reading my author bio and my synopsis for "Imperfect Strangers," a book publisher had contacted me requesting my full manuscript. I emailed a PDF version of it to them yesterday morning and have already gotten a response (seen in the "dialogue bubble" atop this entry) as to when I will hear their decision regarding publishing it! Thanks again for your support, readers of this blog!

Sunday, August 25, 2019

Sunday's Sequel to Friday's Follow-up

In my last entry here on Blogger, I discussed the fact that I had submitted a synopsis for my book project, Imperfect Strangers. Later that same day my aforementioned post was published, I received a response (email) from a person who works for the place I had submitted my book. Her words are featured in the "talk bubble" atop this blog entry.

I am beyond thrilled to have received this news and they came on the eve of my birthday, which was yesterday. The following is a copy (italicized text) of my Facebook announcement re this mater.

On this day of August 24th in the 1920's, my maternal grandparents were married (as seen in the picture directly below)...

"Years later (on one of their August 24th wedding anniversaries) I, their first maternal grandchild was born. In the picture (below) I can be seen with them and my Aunt Joey celebrating my birthday.

"My Aunt Joey and my maternal grandparents have died but I think of them often; especially my grandmother, who in what would be my last conversation with her (in the 1980's) encouraged me to get back to my writing.

I scoffed at her idea thinking no one would ever want to read my work; but I have ultimately followed grandma's advice, publishing a three volume book series, "Words In Our Beak." 


The stories in my book series are mostly set in my rooftop garden all told from the perspective of Cam, a female cardinal (seen on the cover of all of the books) who is named for my maternal grandparents (Clara and Albert Melahn).

Yesterday on the eve of today's birthday, I got encouraging news from a publisher who wants to see my whole manuscript for another book, "Imperfect Strangers." I introduced the book on You Tube and Vimeo this past May and plan to record my follow up video in the coming week.


"Imperfect Strangers" is an autobiographical account re growing up with Neurofibromatosis and four separate challenging eye conditions. My grandmother is featured in an early chapter titled "The Card Game" and also in a later chapter titled "Phone Calls." The story begins on my fifth birthday. I can be seen celebrating it in the picture directly below. It wasn't the best of times and I made a birthday wish to be someone else.

This year I'm not wishing to be anyone else; I'm simply grateful that I have garnered interest re "Imperfect Strangers" and I will make a wish that the publisher enjoys the full manuscript and is willing to take it on!

Thanks, dear reader, for your support in my endeavor!

Friday, August 23, 2019

The Latest Status re "Imperfect Strangers" (Friday Follow-Up)


As many of you know during the years 2017 and 2018, I published a three volume book series, Words In Our Beak, where the stories are set in my rooftop garden and told from the perspective of a female cardinal.


And you may also know, from my video on You Tube and/or Vimeo that I introduced my book project, Imperfect Strangers.


Yesterday on Facebook, I announced that the book is completed and has been submitted!

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

WW*: "BEST IF USED" — EGGS-ACTLY! (*Wednesday's Wisdom)

This Wednesday's Wisdom comes from a bus-stop on the UWS in NYC: BEST IF USED! According to an article in the Smithsonian Magazine, "it takes roughly 620 gallons of water to produce a dozen eggs, which means that each time we dump an unused egg in the trash, we waste about 50 gallons of water. Food waste has other environmental impacts, too. “If you put all the food waste into one country, it would be the world’s third largest greenhouse gas emitter,” says Brian Lipinski, an associate in the World Resource Institute’s Food Program. Decomposing food that makes its way into landfills releases methane, which is significantly more harmful to the environment than carbon dioxide."

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

"Young waterfowl face many challenges but are well-adapted..." Tuesday's Truths WK 139

A couple of weeks ago while I was near the northeast corner of Turtle Pond in Central Park, I came upon a Mallard with her ducklings. These birds can be seen in the photographs atop this entry.

The ducklings captured my heart with their actions and I'm sure you'll see why they did upon looking at the next set of pictures.

Seeing these ducklings engaging in life, prompted me to do some research to learn more about these sweet-looking creatures.

Monday, August 19, 2019

"...We're all just people..." (Monday's Memo)

A short clip from the 1983 American comedy-drama movie, Terms Of Endearmentis posted atop this entry, for this week's Monday's Memo. The character  Emma Greenway-Horton  (played by Deborah Winger) is spot on when she says, "We're all just people."

Saturday, August 17, 2019

It's Honeybee Awareness Day!

Today is National Honey Bee Day (formerly National Honey Bee Awareness Day) which is set aside to raise awareness re bees; hence my choosing to include the picture directly above of a bee who visits my indoor succulent garden.

According to Wiki and many sources National Honey Bee Day is a day "when beekeepers, beekeeping clubs and associations, and honey bee enthusiasts from all across the United States celebrate honey bees and recognize their contribution to our everyday lives as a means of protecting this critical species. National Honey Bee Day also pays homage to beekeepers, whose labors ensure there are well-managed, healthy bees to pollinate crops."

Bees have been featured in a number of posts within my blog and they are included in volume one of my book series, Words In Our Beak.


Moreover, this insect is featured within my mini movie, Here's The Buzz, which can be viewed within my Vimeo Channel. In honor of this this awareness day, I'll conclude this entry with a series of pics (posted directly below) of bees that I took when I was in Central Park this past Saturday, August the tenth.

Before I sign off on this Honeybee Awareness Day, please let me leave you with a copy of a poem (posted below) by Mary Oliver:

What is this dark hum among the roses?
The bees have gone simple, sipping,
that’s all. What did you expect? Sophistication?
They’re small creatures and they are
filling their bodies with sweetness, how could they not
moan in happiness? The little
worker bee lives, I have read, about three weeks.
Is that long? Long enough, I suppose, to understand
that life is a blessing. I have found them — haven’t you? —
stopped in the very cups of the flowers, their wings
a little tattered — so much flying about, to the hive,
then out into the world, then back, and perhaps dancing,
should the task be to be a scout-sweet, dancing bee.
I think there isn’t anything in this world I don’t
admire. If there is, I don’t know what it is. I
haven’t met it yet. Nor expect to. The bee is small,
and since I wear glasses, so I can see the traffic and
read books, I have to
take them off and bend close to study and
understand what is happening. It’s not hard, it’s in fact
as instructive as anything I have ever studied. Plus, too,
it’s love almost too fierce to endure, the bee
nuzzling like that into the blouse
of the rose. And the fragrance, and the honey, and of course
the sun, the purely pure sun, shining, all the while, over
all of us.

Thursday, August 15, 2019

A Cicada's Perspective (Throwback Thursday)

Nearly two tears ago, here on Blogger, I published an entry about cicadas that includes the mini essay by E.B. White which is posted directly below.

"At eight of a hot morning, the cicada speaks his first piece. He says of the world: heat. At eleven of the same day, still singing, he has not changed his note but has enlarged his theme. He says of the morning: love. In the sultry middle of the afternoon, when the sadness of love and of heat has shaken him, his symphonic soul goes into the great movement and he says: death. But the thing isn't over. After supper he weaves heat, love, death into a final stanza, subtler and less brassy than the others. He has one last heroic monosyllable at his command. Life, he says, reminiscing. Life."

Over the past few weeks, maybe even several weeks while hearing cicadas the essay always comes to my mind. Now, on this throwback Thursday, I'd like to share with you the Mutts comic strip atop this entry where a cicada points out not much has changed since he/she went underground and that insect is absolutely right.

Meanwhile, in the aforementioned posting I also stated (and included a copy of the same picture used at the conclusion of this entry)  "Additionally, a web-page for the Home Depot (which includes the image directly below) states: "If you live anywhere from the Midwest to the East Coast and you’ve ever been outdoors in spring, chances are that you have heard the distinctive sound of the annual cicada. The tinny buzzing sound seems to go on forever, but it really only lasts for a few weeks in late spring. This year though, the love song of the cicada will become a deafening roar for people from North Carolina all the way up to New England when billions of the Brood II Magicicada species emerge from deep beneath the earth for their time in the sun – an event that only happens once every 17 years."


Tuesday, August 13, 2019

JULY 30th: That was the day that was! Tuesday's Truths WK 138


Two weeks ago (July 30) in my 136th segment for my Tuesday's Truths series, I stated, "....As for my completing my projects, my work was truly disrupted by an unexpected major upheaval in my rooftop garden and at this time, I cannot even write about it, but I will do so in a few days, dear reader, after I've had time to deal with today's unfortunate situation..."

Now, before too much time passes, I'm using this week's Tuesday's Truths "episode" to catch up where I left off in that posting and tell you a little  bit more about that unfortunate situation, which for now (and hopefully for the long term been resolved).

The situation I referred to in my July 30th entry is the fact workmen showed up on that day to replace the building's gutters (a repair that had been long overdue) under my rooftop garden (which is atop a roof extension). Their plan had been to attach a ladder to the railing around my garden, remove the old gutter and replace it. However, it turned out the railing is probably too weak to support a heavy ladder being attached to it, so they let me know they had to return the following day (July 31) and temporarily remove part of my railing.

Preparing for another day of workmen in my midst during a tremendous heat wave meant even more postponements in my being able to make progress on my proposal for Steidl as well as complete my manuscript (Imperfect Strangers) and produce a video update for it.

But since there was nothing I could do to work on my projects because they require my full attention, I took on a mindless task of going through a box of papers related to my notes for Neurofibromatosis (NF) which is what Imperfect Strangers is based upon.

As I was going through my notes on that extremely hot day of July 30th 2019, I came across a note that I had written to my maternal grandmother nearly ten years before she died. A copy of it can be seen  below:

I had written it to her from a place that I was staying in California where I had traveled to have medical tests to determine if I had an acoustic neuroma, which is a symptom of NF. Doctors had reason to believe I did had one, but at that time, there were was not a doctor near to where I was living who could make the proper determination and/or treat it.

In any event, on Tuesday, July 30th, as I was going through these papers, I noticed the day I wrote her this letter was during the late 1970's (probably 1979) and written on the day of July 30th — forty years ago.

Also in that box of papers, I came across a certificate (a copy is also included in this past Wednesday's blog post).

What I said (re this certificate) in the aforementioned entry which (as you can see) was given to me on July 30th of 2014 (five years ago ) is "I hardly consider climbing 182 stairs accomplishment because I climb that amount of stairs on a regular basis because I live in an apartment that can only be accessed  by climbing 70 stairs which I do a few times a day!"

Hence, because it was on July 30th 2019 that I came upon papers related to this day and month, I titled today's entry, That was the day that was! Tuesday's Truths WK 138 in honor of an old television program called That Was the Week That Was. 

Wiki explains that this program was "informally TWTWTW or TW3, is a satirical television comedy program on BBC Television in 1962 and 1963. It was devised, produced and directed by Ned Sherrin and presented by David Frost. An American version by the same name aired on NBC from 1964 to 1965, also featuring Frost."

And now getting back to the upshot of the gutter repair that began on  7/30, the workmen did return the following day, but thankfully they only removed a portion of the railing, but in doing so a portion of kiwi vines which wrap around it were destroyed, as you may surmised from the following photo.

I have had my kiwi vines since 2010 and it was hard to watch them being treated so roughly.

Moreover, prior to this calamity, my H.F. Clematis (which grows on a pole that is off camera in the image above) may have been partially destroyed. I've had that vine since 2005 (or 2006?) and it is upsetting to see her manhandled, but, as is the case with my kiwi vines.

I am now grateful to report the railing is back (albeit charred from the removal and subsequent fire-based construction to replace it) but the kiwi vine and H.F. Clematis lost a lot of their growth as seen in the next image.

My rooftop garden is not only an oasis for a number of birds and for me and those who come visit; it is also the setting for my book series, Words In Our Beak.

Therefore, I'm thrilled (another understatement) to report that when Juan V came here last week, he was able to get my garden back in good shape as evidenced in the next two pictures which show partial views of my place (north and south respectively).

Having my garden back in place will be a great help in my being able to put my attention on the proposal for Steidl. As for Imperfect Strangers, the other week I received an email from the publisher that if I want to be considered, I need to get everything to them by August 30th 2019, and of all goes well, I should be able to submit my book by then and after doing so, work on a follow-up video for You Tube and Vimeo.

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Sunday's Sequel

"I'm molting! I'm molting," a cardinal told me when I saw him in Central Park the other Sunday (it was a very hot day). His words made me think of The Wicked Witch of the West (Margaret Hamilton seen in the image below) from The Wizard of Oz, ultimately saying, "I'm melting! I'm melting!"


But the cardinal was far from wicked, for even though he was molting and it was very hot, he pecked at seeds that had fallen on a rock in order to feed them to his fledging!

As you know, dear reader,  cardinals are featured in my book series, Words In Our Beak.