YOUR POST PANDEMIC SELF

I have always been a practical, pragmatic person with a need to create  with a great need to learn how to do things. And I still am and do. So I must build a post pandemic me. There’s no returns to normal. It does not exist.  And I have chosen to stay alive in Paris and be joyous till death do us part. So I have time on my side. I am not going anywhere else. For now. 

So I need to know how to live with joy and be happy today. Don’t guess what will happen because no one knows. God and the universe are still working on it. I wrote earlier about a new life in the new year but now it is a reality. It is time to get our tools out . 

As for me, I have a brain that works. And I have core beliefs. So I am in process. It is exciting. 

I save things I read that touch me and if I really want to, I share them with you. And I have two different posts to share today.  Now I don’t know where all this is coming from or going to but I am taking you along for the ride. Okay?

Yes, I know. There are things I used to do, like going to stores, lunches with friends, events and dinners but it is all new. New everything. Why? It is a new you. The post pandemic you. And you can choose what you want that to be.  I am still deciding what I need with my other considerations.  I am in process….   I am unpredictable.

What do you choose?  

I choose to be excited about the change going on…

I love this article. It was written by a young woman and posted on Facebook USA. Her name is Jonatha Brooks. –

“What did she know? and when did she know it? That was today’s 4am thought. And it wasn’t about politics. It was about this photo. Me, at 7.

It was about braggadocio, moxie, the wild fearlessness we have before we start editing ourselves. Before we make ourselves smaller so we don’t tread on others’ toes and feelings.

As I remember it, 7 might have been my fiercest age. We were living in an apartment building in SW8, Kensington, in London. My parents were preoccupied with their own drama – way above my head at the time; my brothers were off trying to survive the culture shock of their schools.

So I had the run of the place. I climbed out on the front awnings, spied on neighbors, learned all the neighborhood churchyards by heart, held court with the building’s porters. They called me “Ginger.”

I was in heaven. I loved my strict Church of England School, “Francis Holland School for Girls.” The uniform, the curtseys. I started studying ballet. I was learning French. I got invited to fancy birthday parties at Eaton Terrace homes. Alice Nunnelly, Francesca Hordern. The names were enough. 

I think my inner compass (thank goodness) honed its true North there and then. 

We moved back to the US when I was 9. I hated it. I was miserable. I missed the order, the rigor, the independence. French.

But I kept dancing – maybe the discipline and physical escape protected the remains of that effortless wildness.

I have lately found myself making myself smaller for no good reason. Maybe it’s the relentless tumult of the last few years. Maybe it’s another birthday.

But finding this picture was an awesome reminder.

That little sprite knew everything she needed to know, right when she needed to know it. 

She still does.

Cheers to YOUR inner sprites today.

Xo

JB

#jonathabrooke #innersprite #innerknowing

Janet/ Jay at 7 or 8 or thereabouts

And the second article that I want to share with you is a post that I read in several places on Facebook USA , and I love it. It touches my soul. I I think it applies to the world as well as the USA. But first, a cartoon –

“I’m Really Tired of Hatred

JANUARY 16, 2022 / JOHN PAVLOVITZ

“Yesterday while picking up lunch I ran into a friend I hadn’t seen in a few months.

After exchanging surprised greetings and a fierce hug—she stopped abruptly, looked genuinely concerned and said, “Are you OK? You look tired today.”

After weathering the initial sting of her honest but uninvited commentary, I assured her she was somewhat incorrect in her evaluation.

“Not just today.” I remarked matter of factly. “This is how I look now—I’m always tired.”

She smiled widely and then leaned in with genuine concerned and quietly pressed for details: “So what are you tired of?”

I couldn’t come up with an answer that seemed sufficient in the thirty seconds we had remaining before our takeout orders were ready (and honestly I didn’t feel right baring my soul surrounded by complete strangers in front of a full deli case) so I laughed and said, “Oh, you know!”—and quickly changed the subject.

But on the way home her question was still hanging there in my head: What am I tired of?

Hatred.

That’s it. I’m tired of hatred—like, really tired.

I’m tired of waking every morning and seeing that we’re in an another unnecessary and preventable Constitutional crisis.

I’m tired of having to once again channel the adrenaline to confront a new onslaught of real and manufactured emergencies.

I’m tired of having to desperately appeal to public servants to do the decent and humane thing and seeing them again flatly refuse.

I’m tired of trying to convince professed followers of Jesus that they’re supposed to care about other people.

I’m tired of dancing through minefields at family gatherings; doing verbal gymnastics to sidestep relational explosions and to keep loving people I’ve recently learned unsettling things about.

I’m tired of scrolling through racist, anti-LGBTQ, anti-immigrant, anti-Semitic hate speech filling my social media mentions.

I’m tired of being reminded daily of the white supremacy that my former church friends are so terribly afflicted with.

I’m tired of seeing stories of newly-emboldened bigots showing up as neighbors, elementary school teachers, local politicians, and coffee shop patrons—because they feel they’ve had a kindred embittered spirit in the White House for four years.

I’m tired of boastful, nonsensical, intentionally-provocative tweets littered with Democrat slander, wall-building taunts, and abject lies.

I am so damn tired of hatred—and yes, I’m tired of hating it all too.

I’m tired of continually confronting ugliness—and of the increasing ugliness it brings out in me as I do.

I’m tired of walking into a room and trying to calculate inside my head, how many of them there are—and resenting human beings I’ve never met based on my evaluation.

I’m tired of assuming the worst in people because the bumper sticker on their car or the red hat atop their head or the channel they get their news from.

I’m tired of the impatience and irritability always sitting just below the surface of my countenance, and how often it breaks violently through and into my day in angry words in traffic or expletives spoken under my breath or easy frustration with the normal inconveniences of life.

I’m tired of regularly losing my religion as I fight both for and with my faith tradition: being anything but Christlike while advocating for the teachings of Jesus.

I’m tired of feeling a growing hopelessness when I see the people we’re becoming.

I know this fight is emotionally and physically exhausting, that there is a profound personal cost for hating things, even things that merit hatred. I know that it makes my heart less buoyant and far more susceptible to sinking into despair.

I’m trying to make sure I stay a loving person opposing things that make me angry, and not a perpetually angry person—but it’s difficult to tell when you’re swimming in so much enmity every day.

I want to leave a legacy of kindness, a compassionate wake in the waters of this world so that other people who are similarly fatigued by the hatred they encounter here, find rest in me.

Maybe that’s all any of us can do: perpetuate decency and goodness and generosity in the infinitesimal space of the next choice in front of us.

Maybe if we make this world a little bit more loving in the small and the close and the present, maybe the ripples will eventually reach the big and the distant in the future.

Then maybe everyone who’s as fully tired of hatred as we are—will finally get some rest.”

Try not to resist the changes that come your way. Instead, let life live through you. And do not worry that your life is turning upside down. How do you know that the side you are used to is better than the one to come?
~ Rumi

Best, Jay My post pandemic self at the onset…..

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VALENTINE’S WEEKEND

A bit of background for this week’s post and its foundation – Last week, the alumni association of a North Georgia college – University of North Georgia [UNG] -put out letter for “love stories of alumni” that involved the old NGC [North Georgia College – It was a military school) .

FYI – maybe 8 or 10  years ago the Board of Regents of the University of Georgia [my alma mater] combined North Georgia College with Gainesville College [where I was Chairman of Humanities for three years- called Gainesville Junior College [GJC]at that time] and all the other campuses of each ranging from Oconee (near Athens) to Dawsonville( which is now an Alpharetta suburb) making UNG 2nd largest in GA.They were interested in campus stories, alumni who  may have met on the way, etc. My friends’ story will be a part of Valentine Day on UNG’s social media. 

Gates, Class of 1957 and Kay , who attended 1956, 57 and again in ’68, but never graduated

You might say one teacher was responsible for our romance! Gates was a senior at NGC and I was a sophomore. He was in advanced German while I was a beginner. We had met very fleetingly my freshman year but both of us had other sweethearts. It happened that neither of those sweethearts had returned. That set the stage for some interesting German lessons. We would meet at the Canteen to review my homework and work on vocabulary. By the end of the quarter both of us made A’s in our separate levels of German. But that’s getting ahead of things.

During fall break Gates brought back his fraternity pin from his first year and half at UGA. He pinned it on me as we sat on the concrete bench behind the old Science Building. The last time we were on campus that bench was still there. At Thanksgiving, I went to Thomasville and picked out an engagement ring. Then at Christmas Gates put the ring on my finger and we were engaged! Pretty fast moving for a marriage that has lasted almost 65 years. The photo below was made at the Military Ball just before Christmas break in 1956. 

Winter quarter went by and both of us had made the Deans list. Of course we had studied a lot because three times we were on a weeks room arrest for such a sinful thing as holding hands on campus. Since my roommate worked nights at the library, she could find us some place to really study and it paid off in good grades. Then we’d have the nice walk back to Lewis Hall that made it all worthwhile. Plans were in the making for an early June wedding in Gainesville. 

During spring quarter Gates got infectious mono and NGC insisted he withdraw from school. That meant no graduation with his class in June. He made a fast recovery and we continued plans for a June 2 wedding. We were married in the chapel of the old First Baptist Church in Gainesville on June 2, 1957. Registering for summer school, Gates was able to arrange to be tutored in organic chemistry by a Professor and by a Captain in Military making it possible for him to graduate at the end of the summer session. I went back to school too. We rented a little apartment on Sunset Drive just behind the infirmary. In fact, Aunt Sara taught me to make corn bread! At the end of the session I pinned Gates’ 2nd Lt. bar on in the military building along with 3 other couples.

Gates’ first duty station was with a Nike Hercules battery in the Philadelphia Air Defense. During the next twenty years, a dozen locations followed. Some were good, some not so good and some great. Early in those years we had one daughter an one son.

After retirement we spent 18 years on the Florida Gulf Coast enjoying life there until the hurricanes and mosquitoes became too much. 

Just after Gates’ 60th birthday in 1996, we moved to North Georgia near Lula in Banks County. The first NGC friend we found just a couple of miles down the road at Adamson’s Hardware. Gardening, antiquing and going to the casino were fun in those years. We have been here nearly 26 years. Our son lives in Gainesville and our daughter in Murphy, NC. Two of our grandchildren have graduated from North Georgia.

Gates will celebrate his 86th birthday on February 9 and I have my 85th in July. His health isn’t good as he has had lots of heart problems along the way. Foot, knee and back problems make a walker necessary at all times. He depends on his Kindle and iPad but typing is difficult. That’s why I am writing “our story”. We celebrated our 50th anniversary at the Alumni House in Dahlonega but plan to celebrate the 65th on June 2, 2022 at home.

Best, Jay

EARLY FEBRUARY 2022

I live in Paris, France. In the 16e. The Auteuil. Inside myself, I am “Janet” from Gainesville. Or “Jay” from Los Angeles. I love both of them.

I am just living in Paris. What does that mean? Taking down garbage, getting mail, paying the housekeeper, buying groceries. Except you must know what that means. You must know how to pay utilities and how to start and stop them, if necessary. You must know how to set the phone if you are going for a walk. You must know what to do if you are going to the doctor or the prefecture or to get your identity card and your vaccination. And it is important to know what to do in a restaurant or café or bar. Each one has its own way of doing things. It is not for the faint of heart. You cannot be helpless. One blogger calls it “adulting”. You must grow up. Visiting is different. It is all different from the USA. And it helps if you can speak French. Oops.

Music is known to extensively activate the human brain, and increased blood flow can help the brain recover by helping to restore the blood vessels and synaptic connections damaged by stroke.  Meet Daphine.  This is the new name for my piano. I used to call her “Bessie” but that was not French enough. 

Dr. Google – “Functional magnetic resonance imaging activation patterns correlated with rapid movements of fingers in each hand separately and together demonstrating that subcortical and cerebellar pathways were activated during skilled motor function of the piano player’s left hand. Contralateral cerebral and cerebellar activation occurred with both left- and right-hand movements. During tapping of the left fingers, there was bilateral cerebellar, parietal, and left premotor strip and left thalamic activation.”

SO – I am a former piano player who needs recovery from brain strokes. I must help my piano heal my brain. How?

This will be an experiment. Puzzle to solve. I need help. NOW – New beginning new life now. Post pandemic problem Am I up to the task? Can I do it? YES . I am willing to be.

Right now I have a piano sitting in my living room and it is REALLY out of tune.  It needs a lot of repairs.

For SALE BY OWNER AS IS.  18000 euros.  Steinway piano that my family has owned since 1947 – Gainesville, Georgia USA.  Steinway built by Steinway in NYC.  Serial Number is 323432, AS IS.  I inherited it from my mother the 1980s when I was living in Los Angeles (Pacific Palisades) California. I retired from practicing law in California and moved to Nice, France in October 2015.  I am now 84 and living in Paris, France, since February 2020.  I live in the 16e of Paris.  18,000 euros AS IS. 

I tried to sell it but no luck because people are holding on to their money and then I read about music and the brain. I have had several brain strokes. In the fall of 2020. I blame high blood pressure and lots of upsets and anger. But I am still writing and doing for myself. So I am better but I need to get better. I have difficulty walking and the pandemic and bad weather in Paris are not good. I hesitate to practice because of my neighbors but I have been doing scales anyway. I need to practice to get my fingers to work again. So, I decided to get bids on fixing it. And, I will do scales while I wait for the bids. So far, I have had one man look at it. I am waiting to see what he bids.

Isn’t it gorgeous??? I love that piano very much. It goes where I go. Until now. I don’t think I am supposed to sell it.. I used to be very good.  I never could sight-read, but I practiced diligently.  When Daddy bought the piano, it was for the family. All three children played it. Mother just got us to and from lessons. Barbara was the most advanced but when she got sick with ruptured appendix, that stopped everything. And she and Patricia moved out of the house, so I kept taking lessons and playing the piano. I did a private recital when I was a senior in high school. I was a Music Major in piano at the University of Wisconsin for a minute but my professors were too hard. I inherited [early inheritance] the piano in the 1980s and now it is MINE!!!!! Ok, it needs repair. Here are some more pictures.  

So, this is my post pandemic project/experiment for the next year. Wish me luck.

Best, Jay

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MORE RANDOM RAMBLINGS

What is on my mind this morning? A short one. Welllll, during the week I examined my friends that are no longer part of my journey at this time (because of holding a grudge), and I had certain friends not like my pursuit of positivity (because I am working with brain strokes) and I found out that my daughter is still alive. Life is good. So, today I want to ramble some more. Today’s subject is about my lifelong pursuit of beauty. My sister teased me about all the pictures I had of myself. I had pictures of myself all over the house. Welll…..

Everyone has a story. Some of us tried to be parents. Some chose not to be. We built our foundations during life, according to what we knew and/or what we think we learned. I can only talk about what happened to me. You know what happened to you. FYI, if this is too personal, stop reading ! I am working on solutions and this might not be for you.

I did not want to be like my mother, so I built my foundation differently from hers. So, I thought. (sigh) she’s 15 in this photo

I don’t think my way worked any better than hers, even though I thought so at the time. Now, my kids did not want to be like their parents and each child is doing it differently. And so it goes.  But now, I need to reconstruct everything and take risks. Each child is still alive so there is still hope. 

What happened?  Let’s look.  This is what I remember.  It may or may not be accurate.

Dr Davis delivered me at home.  He was the general practitioner who did it all.  One stop shopping.  And he was my family doctor for years after that.  In later body work, i was told that my skull had problems – possible birth damage.  Lopsidedly off in a way not fixable.  Oops.  My birth certificate says 11:30 a.m. but it was done from memory and after the birth.  Tuesday, March 30, 1937. So accuracy was not important at that time.  

I don’t think mother wanted another girl. She did not want to be pregnant. Daddy wanted a son. So I was another girl with a lopsided skull.  Oops.  

So I was raised to be a son replacement. He taught me how to shake hands, make speeches, work in his office as a clerk. He introduced me to the farmers and groomed me to take over the business one day. He did not care what I looked like. Mother did. Darrell did. The neighbors did. Hollywood did. I did. Still do.

How perfect you were when you were a tiny baby. Babies do not have to do anything to become perfect; they already are perfect, and they act as if they know it. They know they are the center of the Universe. They are not afraid to ask for what they want. They freely express their emotions. You know when a baby is angry— in fact, the whole neighborhood knows. You also know when babies are happy, for their smiles light up a room. They are full of love. Tiny babies will die if they do not get love. Once we are older, we learn to live without love, but babies will not stand for it. Babies also love every part of their bodies, even their own feces. They have incredible courage. You were like that. We were all like that. Then we began to listen to adults around us who had learned to be fearful, and we began to deny our own magnificence.

Nothing was ever good enough for Mother. I will let you think about what I remember –

Don’t judge. They wanted to be good parents.  They wanted to love each other.  Mother did what she thought was right. 

Earliest Memory:  I had a pink blanket with white reindeer that I loved.  mother and daddy decided I needed to let go. One day it disappeared. Mother told she had burned it in the trash can.  It was gone forever. I was broken-hearted. I got over it. Later I was looking in the dining room chest of drawers and discovered that blanket stuffed in a drawer. Mother had lied. She could not be trusted. I no longer cared about the blanket. I learned – NEVER  trust anyone!  People lie.  No love. No trust. 

ANOTHER EARLY MEMORY:  Someone was going to get us children and take us away and harm us. He had a name «peeping Tom», so look under the bed and fix the blinds and shades to prevent cracks and spaces EVERY NIGHT to be sure no one was under there before going to bed for the night. 

I WAS NOT PERFECT ENOUGH FOR A GIRL:  I had certain imperfections that had to be fixed – a space between my two front teeth, and I sucked my right thumb and might have buck teeth. THAT WAS NOT OK.   So I had a wire thumb guard taped to my right hand at night with adhesive tape. That did not work. Medicine that burned my mouth was put on my thumb. Lots of begging me to stop . Something worked. I stopped sucking my thumb.  But my teeth had to be fixed to get rid of the space. Surgery to remove the cartilage in the middle.  Uvula. That was done. Then braces to correct. And a retainer for years to maintain correction.

NOSE IS WRONG: And my nose had a bump. Oops. Someone called it Roman and that was not a compliment to Mother. She took it personally. She did not like her nose. And it looks like she had a space between her teeth. OOPS. Put on list to fix in the future. But teeth come first.

DON’T TOUCH GIRLS.  EVER.  I don’t remember getting touched by mother I was touched by Mamie (the hired help) but mother fired her for having an uppity attitude and Daddy NEVER TOUCHED ME.   Daddy only touched me to lift me up on a truck for a show. And down  he taught me a speech to do, he thought I was cute doing his speech.  Mother only would touch me in church and let me put my head in her lap.  AND, I had to take Miss Hosch’s elocution class to be ready for the recital. I had to do a speech “I m Just a Raggedy, Raggedy Doll” and go limp in the performance. Perfection was the goal. So, I learned to hide the truth, pretend not to read the truth, and not to speak the truth.  Bury the truth, show off to please.

Well that does not work for me for me anymore. I am not sure what does. It must be reconstructed new. In PARIS. NOW or in the future – hopefully.

I am contemplating what I want to work going forward in the post pandemic time ahead. Saying YES to life and taking risks and playing and writing and discovering new things and people and breaking my own rules. Yes. I am starting over, and I begin again every day

Best, JANET / JAY

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RANDOM RAMBLING

I have started writing at random and so I will post something at random. There will be no rhyme or reason to it. Today’s post is random. I plan to start another session and want to get this one up on JAYSPEAK. I enjoy doing it, and I am following the joy. And, it is dedicated to love.

“The quality of mercy” is a speech given by Portia in William Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice (Act 4, Scene 1). In the speech, Portia, disguised as a lawyer, begs Shylock to show mercy to Antonio. The speech extols the power of mercy, “an attribute to God Himself.” The quality of mercy is not strained.

Portia speaks in Act 4, Scene 1 of Shakespearean comedy, “The Merchant of Venice.”The quality of mercy is not strained;

It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven

Upon the place beneath. It is twice blest;

It blesseth him that gives and him that takes:

‘T is mightiest in the mightiest; it becomes

The throned monarch better than his crown:

His sceptre shows the force of temporal power,

The attribute to awe and majesty,

Wherein doth sit the dread and fear of kings;

But mercy is above this sceptred sway;

It is enthronèd in the hearts of kings,

It is an attribute to God himself;

And earthly power doth then show likest God’s

When mercy seasons justice. Therefore, Jew,

Though justice be thy plea, consider this,

That, in the course of justice, none of us

Should see salvation: we do pray for mercy;

And that same prayer doth teach us all to render

The deeds of mercy. I have spoke thus much

To mitigate the justice of thy plea;

Which if thou follow, this strict court of Venice

Must needs give sentence ‘gainst the merchant there.”

I spent time in my birthday book this morning because my family and a lot of my friends have birthdays coming up for the next few months including me.  I want to give myself reminders.  No problem. I have everything on the refrigerator and at my desk on my daily guide.  And I am adding to my book every day.  I now have a mishmash of 71 pages with a working title of “The Black Swan’s Song “. or TBSS”. 

And I continue with my work releasing resentments , criticism, guilt, and fear.  I usually wake up with fear and need to work on that immediately. And this morning I woke up with Portia’s speech in my head.  I love that speech and wanted to play her in the University of Georgia’s main stage production but I did not get the part. I memorized it anyway and performed it as a scene from time to time.  There were three of us lead actresses in our Drama Department and another girl got that part.  I got Juno in Sean O’Casey’s “Juno and the Paycock”.  Wonderful years in graduate school. Mornings are better than afternoons so I do important things in the morning, if possible.  I love breakfast and my cereal with blueberries. 

I am also watching SAG movies on my Eurobox at dinner time because I have a lot of included movies and I always vote on the SAG AWARDS.   I watched CODA and THE EYES OF TAMMY FAYE and KING RICHARD and five more.  I am amazed at the quality of the work. I am so proud of my colleagues. THE MORNING SHOW was good and HALSTON.  I won’t watch the awards because of the time difference but I will read about it online.  And watch bits and pieces on social media.

I had a rough night last night. I woke up very negative and forced myself to positive. I was thinking about people who bother me. And my irritation with people who hold grudges for a lifetime. Even perceived grudges. Hearsay grudges. The reason for the grudge does not have to be true. I used to think that was a southern thing but now I think it is a human thing the world over.  Portia’s speech speaks today. Shakespeare- whoever he really was- was an amazing, insightful person.  But, I want to talk about grudges. They seem to run through my family and my friends and many associates. HMMMMM. A recurring theme through my life. Is Life trying to teach me something? I have heard lots of people talk about people who don’t talk to them anymore. Distance yourself? What if you prefer the relationship?

Grudges, – For example, after my sister’s death, my niece posted something I did not think was appropriate about my brother in law on Facebook. I objected when I could have ignored it. I spoke up. She told me to mind my own business. I got angry and unfriended her. I got over it and apologized and tried to ré friend her. No. Holding a grudge? I think so. Does that tell me something ? About social media? My family ? My niece? How to behave ? Do I forgive and forget? Hold à family grudge? Another family grudge? I prefer the relationship.

I have several friends who don’t speak to me anymore because I wrote a journal and mentioned something about my thoughts about life and them in it. I don’t think they even read the book. Gossip was all that mattered. I was told that I must never name names. I did it anyway.  What does that teach me? Several more lifetime grudges? Does it matter? Fictional names? I prefer the relationship.

And I have managed to make enemies by expressing my thoughts. And all that happened before Donald Trump and Fox News.That was before people wrote blogs.  And people in my past said what they said and did what they did and I felt what I felt and it is what it is. 

Steve never held a grudge.  Ever.  He always got over things. But, if he decided to leave, he was gone forever. I learned good lessons from him. I miss him.  I treasured our relationship. I have a girlfriend Barbara who is the same way. I treasure our relationship.

I miss my people holding lifelong grudges. But I am still hoping to resume relationships in the future.  Maybe. Who knows? I think that friendships are more important than grudge. But, I may be wrong. What do you think? It is easy to distance myself. But, I hope I am wrong. I am not saying to forget. Of course, you don’t forget. But, move on. Or Grow up! Is that being grown up is?

“No one is ever free until they tell the truth about themselves and the life into which they’ve been cast. Write it down; tell it to a friend in need, or a stranger who needs diversion. We are all here to be a witness to something, to be of some aid and direction to other people.”–Tennessee Williams #FolliesOfGod

Best, Jay

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MIND WALKING

So many people i love are dying. Rose, Betty, and lots more. I find that extremely frustrating. Checking out. Goodbye! Well, right now, I am still hanging in there. So I want to write my thoughts today and wander around my mind. Lots is going on inside there. I am frustrated with the pandemic and my fears. I am frustrated with my anxiety and my difficulty walking. I want to go and see and do. And I am waltzing around limitations galore. Sigh. But things are still working and are still okay and working with me and not against me. I am forgiving and letting go every day. And I am feeling successful. YES!! So this post is for fun! If you are not interested, one day you will be. Or not.  As for me, I am interested. 

I still have resentments. I still criticize and think a lot of people and things are stupid and tacky but I persist in the day to day practice of starting over. Sigh.  


I still feel guilty about a lot of things that are in my past and gone forever.  Sigh. But I am better.


I am afraid most of the time. You name it and I am afraid of it. BUT most of the time, I do it anyway unless I can avoid it. 


I have been informed that 4 things cause physical damage to the brain- and I am challenging my brain. They are resentments, criticism, guilt and fear.

Okay I do ALL of them. And I daily stop. And I fail and succeed and fail and succeed. My brain is still working but my fear comes and goes. I am not watching much news anymore. That’s panic attacks for the present and future and some past. This is a problem because I want to be informed.  Okay maybe I don’t need to be informed. 


I am still working on my mother’s voice in my head telling me that I am mean and bossy with a mean streak down my back and nobody will ever like me.  That not true but I am having difficulty reprogramming. Each day I begin again. 


I am going to try to write an “old person’s book”. Okay I am going to try to work on another book .  This was an amazing idea a friend of mine shared on Facebook. I like the idea.  But first another thought I like 


“This body of mine will disintegrate, but my actions will continue me… If you think I am only this body, then you have not truly seen me. When you look at my friends, you see my continuation. When you see someone walking with mindfulness and compassion, you know he is my continuation. I don’t see why we have to say “I will die,” because I can already see myself in you, in other people, and in future generations. Even when the cloud is not there, it continues as snow or rain. It is impossible for the cloud to die. It can become rain or ice, but it cannot become nothing. The cloud does not need to have a soul in order to continue. There’s no beginning and no end. I will never die. There will be a dissolution of this body, but that does not mean my death. I will continue, always.”

The Spirit

The final stage of life is the spirit stage. In this stage, we realize that we are more than what we have accumulated – be it money, friends, possessions, good deeds, or milestones in life. We are spiritual beings. We realize that we are divine beings in a journey of life that has no real beginning and no end. The spirit phase is characterized by a sense of “getting out of your own mind” and focusing on what is waiting for us beyond our physical beings. The philosopher Lao Tzu proposed a question over 2500 years ago that perfectly describes the spirit phase: ““Can you step back from your own mind and thus understand all things? Giving birth and nourishing, having without possessing, acting with no expectations, leading and not trying to control: this is the supreme virtue.” 

These are concepts that intrigue me but I am still letting go of resentments and criticism and guilt and fear. I may be staying there for now.

So. About the book I am going to do,…My friend wrote, “I stumbled on a New Yorker article by my hero, John McPhee. So I kept the light on and dug in to McPhee’s Piece. He calls it “TABULA RASA volume one.” McPhee is 88 years old and, due to his age, hesitated to undertake to write a long book or begin a research effort for fear of dying before it was over. Then he realized it was a good idea to start “an old-people project”. He says: “Old-people projects keep old people old. You’re no longer old when you’re dead.” 

He remembered that Mark Twain’s “old-person project was his autobiography, which he dictated with regularity when he was in his seventies….Repeatedly, he tells his reader how a project such as this one should be done—randomly, without structure, in total disregard of consistent theme or chronology. Just jump in anywhere, tell whatever comes to mind from any era. If something distracts your memory and seems more interesting at the moment, interrupt the first story and launch into the new one. The interrupted tale can be fin­ished later.” McPhee then says, “That is what he did, and the result is about as delicious a piece of writing as you are ever going to come upon, and come upon, and keep on coming upon, as it draws you in for the rest of your life. If ever there was an old-man project, this one was the greatest. It is only seven hundred and thirty-five thousand words long. If Mark Twain had stayed with it, he would be alive today.” I am gearing up for my own old person’s project. Thanks Samuel Clemens and of course thanks to John McPhee.   P.S. If you’re old, elderly, long in the tooth, past your prime, in your dotage and bored out of your mind, you could probably use an “old person’s project”. Mine is writing my autobio – like McPhee’s. But you might have other old person’s project ideas. If so, please share yours so other people can glean ideas for their own old persons’ projects.” 


Doesn’t that sound like fun?  I have already started my project.  Untitled for now but I have some ideas.  And I also have it formatted and dumping words and memories into it.  

Best, Jay

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PAYOFFS THAT MATTER

Normal is not coming back! WHATTTTT????????

Welcome to 2022! We cannot go back to what is “normal”. It does not exist. Normal is different for each one of us. And — LIKE IT OR NOT – most of us are victims. I don’t need you to agree. BUT – Although all of us have been wounded and without choice in what happens to us, we can select now how we will Respond.

This is what I believe – I have been a victim all my life. I have sacrificed myself time after time to get what I want. You name it. I chose to be the victim. And now I am not. I am loving myself more. It is as simple as that. If not now, when???

Bottom line – we are all victims of victims, and our parents could not possibly have taught us anything that they did not know. If your mother did not know how to love herself, or your father did not know how to love himself, then it would be impossible for them to teach you to love yourself. Victims with secrets and hidden agendas.

They were doing the best they could with what they had been taught as children. If I did not know how to love myself, I could not possibly teach my kids to love themselves.  Instead, I chose to sacrifice myself throughout my life “.  I had made my bed, and now I must lie in it.” 

So, my kids did not and do not know how to love themselves. How can they teach their children ? They are finding answers on their own as they sift through the confusion. doing the best that they can with what I taught them – that discipline and hard work make the day. Lots of criticism. Rough seas make good sailors. They don’t care where my rigid patterns come from. They just don’t want to be like me – frightened and scared like a cat chasing its tail. I am now suffering the consequences of that life of discipline, self -control, and hard knocks that I was taught by my parents.

Who or what have I “resented”?  Who or what have I criticized?  About what do I feel guilty? What am I afraid of?  Am I making myself sick?  Can I heal? I need to change my way of thinking. WHAT??????? Hang in there and just listen to these ideas that I am tossing out there to my JAYSPEAK readers.

Meet my sister Barbara.  Every January 14th, I know that it is my sister Barbara’s birthday. I celebrate this date every year. To know Barbara was to love her. She was witty, intelligent, an accomplished pianist, beautiful, and a lover of all peoples and their cultures – popular and adored by all who knew her. (Plus, she had long eyelashes, naturally-curly hair, and a figure to die for.) She was not only my older sister but also my hero. When Mother or Patricia would get mad at me, Barbara was always there to take my side (even if undeserved – because I liked “making waves”).  In her late teens, when we were vacationing in Daytona Beach, her appendix ruptured. We did not think she would survive. She did, but after that, she developed rheumatoid arthritis and struggled with her health from then on. At the time, she was attending Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tenn. She had to move to Tucson, Arizona, where she lived for the rest of her life, eventually graduating and getting her Masters Degree at the University of Arizona. She died in 2000. Her memory lives on. Lots more to her story, but this is enough for now. I will always love you, Barbara. Happy Birthday. She died February 9, 2000.  She was my sister, my friend, my confident, and my inspiration.  I miss her very much.  But, I did not really KNOW her. I did not listen to her. I thought I knew. I am posting pictures today in her honor.

This is her daughter – the miracle baby – Anna Beth.  Janet and Anna Beth!  Never a dull moment when Anna Beth was around.  She inherited her mother’s wit!  Lots of good times and good memories!!

The Junior League (Barbara was a member) had a member who was interviewing Barbara.  Barbara was still alive at the time.  She said that interviewing someone she had have admired for many years is not an easy task.  Barbara Jewell Asmussen is an inspiration to all who know her. Born in Gainesville, Georgia, she studied history at Vanderbilt University for three years.  Then, crippled by rheumatoid arthritis, she became bedridden and was taken out of school.

Barbara came to Tucson primarily for medical reasons and soon was well enough to attend the University of Arizona where  she received her bachelor’s degree in 1954.  She was introduced by a mutual friend to young Richard Asmussen, a Hughes Aircraft employee and graduate student in the U of À’s MBA program.  Following their wedding, Barbara decided to return to school for her teacher’s certificate. She taught fourth grade for a year at Government Heights Elementary High School’s Mardi Gras School.  But she found the regime too strenuous and switched her energy to volunteer work. In 1960, she became a League provisional and the very next year had a daughter – Anna Beth. This was a miracle pregnancy and miracle birth.

After a severe health setback, Barbara became more involved in the League where she served as vice president.  She was active with Planned Parenthood and served as its president, as well as serving as the president of the YWCA residential intervention center. 

Uppermost in her mind was helping others, SO Barbara returned to the Universitv for the third time to take her master’s in rehabilitation counseling. She did her internship at St. Mary’s Hospital and continued to work there tor ten vears. But last year, she was moved to St. Joseph’ Hospital temporarily but found that being next door to her home was most convenient and has since made St. loe’s her permanent office.

This lady always seems to look beyond herself and has worked diligently for the handicapped, although she does not seem to fit into that category. Barbara’s philosophy of life is that wholeness is within.  Although all of us have been wounded and without choice in what happens to us, we can now select how we will Respond. 

Barbara was convinced that we had been emotionally abused as children. We were. Long story that I don’t want to share. Besides, they are all gone now and I have my memories and realize I had so much good happen along with the pain. I love my family. I love me, Janet. Outstanding little girl.

Did I need to show off in order to be accepted? Yes. That was the only time I got my family’s attention.

This is not to say that I did not love my family. I did. But I am wanting to feel whole and complete just as I am – with all of my imperfections.

Just something to think about during this pandemic. Welcome to 2022! Be happy. Be present. Get with the program. If not now, when.?

Best, Jay

REMEMBER WHEN……

What is on my mind this morning? WELLllllll, a lot. I have made it a resolution not to complain in JAYSPEAK and to be positive. (sigh) But that is NOT on my mind. So, I will distract us both by posting an article that was a memory on Facebook. It may or may not be interesting, but I am frustrated that we lost a lot of people of late – Betty White, Sidney Poitier, Peter Bogdanovich and others. Plus, I am not inspired by inspiring stories or memes of late. I did a detox and am now detoxing from the detox and forgiving myself for making a lot of mistakes. But I am making a lot of decisions right now. I of course remember fondly my acting career. I was practicing employment litigation and entertainment law at the time, So this lets you pause with me for a moment to reminisce with me. In keeping with the the theme that the glam and fame dies with me, i reminisce and apologize for the inability to read it. But maybe you will enjoy the pictures ….you can read the article here

I checked and you can read the magazine online. You cannot download it, but they allow you to turn the pages and read it. https://issuu.com/hollywood/docs/hwdecember09jm

Best, Jay

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NEW YEAR / NEW LIFE

ALIVE!!

How is that for a “lede”? Did I get your attention?

If so, get a coffee. This may take a few minutes.

I HAD A DREAM.  As an early age, I knew that I wanted big things for me.  What? I did not know, but it was big. 

I used to dream of Europe, living somewhere in Europe.  And anything that came between me and my dream, I eliminated. 

In college, I had the opportunity to study at the Sorbonne for a year.  Mother would not let me go.  Too many foreigners to do me wrong.  That is what foreigners do.  (Sigh).   That was when I knew that I had to get to Paris, one way or the other. 

LOTS of passages.  Men, careers.  

And one by one, I moved on.  And now I am here!!  I am so happy.  Not all of us are still alive. I AM!!!

Now, it is not my idea of a good landing in the middle of a worldwide pandemic, but here I am.  I will admit that I feel late to the party.  But I AM HERE!  Paris. 

OK, it is/was not everyone’s dream, but it was mine.  IT propelled me all my life.  Not Gainesville. Atlanta. Not Nice.  PARIS. And all of the stops in between.

THE PROBLEM IS I am a small town girl, needing to embrace a city.  How?  Like I did Los Angeles? 

No.  This is different.

How?

I don’t know yet.  I am going to try to find out. From my point of view, they say that every great city has a pulse.  San Francisco has one, so does Boston, London, and New York to be sure.  But to have a pulse, one must have a heart.  This town has a heart and it beats like a kettledrum.  The traffic is still just short of frantic.  And the people still walk with a pace and a purpose.  It is possible to tour without a car, a taxi, a bus or even the Metro.  The great cities are the ones you can walk in – say hello to a great city  Police with sub-machine guns walk the streets, but there are no scars, there is no fear.  Life goes on.  This place was here long before the terrorists and it will be here long after.  That said, Mister Porter had it right. “I love Paris every moment!”–

And a big shout out to my teachers en route.  When a student is ready, a teacher appears IF the student is willing to learn.   I am expanding my Universe.  And, in 2022, I plan “to embrace” Paris. 

How?  I don’t know yet. 

December 22, 1933 was Hadidjah’s birthday.  Hadidjah was an important teacher in my life.  Here is the beginning of a list that I made of my “teachers” of important life lessons.  And, I don’t have confidence in Karma.  I am not sure that most students are willing to learn.  And life may or may not force it upon them.  I count myself in among those willing to learn. PLUS, life most time insisted a lot of times.  Haha. 

So, I have been thinking about “teachers” in my life – that magically appeared, or I happened to meet by accident.  Synchronicity?  Maybe.  There have been a lot that made my list over the years.  Some are good memories.  Some are painful memories.

Daddy (both good and painful)

Ruby Parks (good)

Barbara Jewell (my sister) (both good and painful)

Miss Bessie (painful)

Jane Hulsey (painful)

Bertha Turner (painful)

Dr. Kahan (good)

Dr. Leighton Ballew (both good and painful)

Josiah Crudup (both good and painful)

Lou Pilgrim (both good and painful)

Hadidjah (good)

Audrey Boehn (both good and painful)

And more throughout life and others who continue to this day.

Have you had “teachers” in your life? Each one of us has teachers appear from time to time because life is a process that is ever-changing if I/we am/are alive. And, recently, I have discovered that I harbor grudges. Oops. AND, I am in Paris, trying to enlarge my universe and get healthy. And money is a problem. BIG OPPS.

So, I am on a crash course heading to find out why I think I am here and letting go of my mistakes in the past and forgiving bad experiences. And, if you have a problem with that, STOP READING THIS BLOG. And, by the way, HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYBODY. NEW YEAR, NEW LIFE for all of us. Every moment is brand new.

And now for some funnies.

Best, Jay

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EXPAND YOUR UNIVERSE

ON MY MIND THIS WEEK, expand your UNIVERSE.   Learn something new every day, no matter how small and how insignificant it is..  We are STILL IN THE WOODS!!!! and we are going to be there from now on. Get used to it. And create your own universe. What do I mean and…..

What am i learning?

I am very interested in the politics of my country.  I don’t write about it, but I follow what is happening with great interest.   And I follow several historians who describe what is happening in terms of the historical in America. And in France, I read the French newspapers online and I am succeeding in detaching myself emotionally from American history and European history.  My memory is so-so but some of it sticks.  It keeps me busy during these Covid times.   Today, I was surprised to learn that this has all happened before.  These were the first lines in a pamphlet called The American Crisis that appeared in Philadelphia on December 19, 1776.  If I ever learned this, I did not pay attention.  Now, I am paying attention.

Quotes that I like today are these:

“These are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman.”

“These are the times that try men’s souls.”

“Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered,” Paine wrote in that fraught moment, “yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives everything its value.”

I then looked up “dearness” and this is what I discovered.  It is a noun. Duh.

erdear·est

1. 

a. Loved and cherished: my dearest friend.

b. Greatly valued; precious: lost everything dear to them.

2. Highly esteemed or regarded. Used in direct address, especially in salutations: Dear Lee Dawson.

3. 

a. High-priced; expensive.

b. Charging high prices.

4. Earnest; ardent: “This good man was a dear lover and constant practicer of angling” (Izaak Walton).

5. Obsolete Noble; worthy.

6. Heartfelt: It is my dearest wish.

n.

1. A person who is greatly loved. Often used as a form of address.

2. An endearing, lovable, or kind person: What a dear she is!

adv.

1. With fondness; affectionately.

2. At a high cost: sold their wares dear.

interj.

Used as a polite exclamation, chiefly of surprise or distress: oh dear; dear me.

When I was a young student at the University of Georgia, I took a course in European history.  I had learned a lot about American history and Southern history, but never European.  I think that I avoided it because there was so much of it. And, everything was in a different language – people, leaders, and places.  All wars were significant for one reason or other, and I did not understand any of it. My grade point average was very important to me, and I did not know how I could make a good grade in so complex of a subject.  But it was a requirement for my degree, so I did not have much of a choice.  So, I signed up.

My professor was a man in his 40’s who was pleasant.  He smiled a lot.  But I did not look forward to his lectures.  My main worry was taking notes and not knowing how to spell anything. It was difficult at first, but I soon decided that I had to be selective with what I wrote down.  He planned to have pop quizzes frequently.  And, I had to use phonetics for spelling.  Lots of problems with complicated solutions.  But he seemed to understand that we would have problems.  So, he helped us out.

After he had made a factual point, he would say “and the significance of this battle (or this man, or this whatever….).  THAT WAS what would be on the test!!! Take a note. And that is the way I learned European History, what little I know.  France is complicated enough, much less all of Europe.

I don’t remember his name, but I will ALWAYS remember that course. And today, I find myself saying “And the significance of that is……”  Try it. It helps you understand life and living in these busy, confusing times. 

Last week, a friend asked me if I liked living in Paris in my 80’s, and was I glad I moved from Nice in 2020?

My answer is a resounding YES and YES. 

Why?  You are living there in a pandemic with lots of rules and you don’t speak the language well.  You are in an apartment on the edge of the city.

I cannot write about that now.  But I am changing BIGTIME.  Chapter 11 is amazing.  I have no idea where it will lead, but I am engaged in all of it.  And, the significance of all of this is……..  JAYSPEAK now has stats that are booming.  50,000 views, 14,000 visitors.  From all over the world.  Thank you very much. 

Happy Holidays to all of you.

Stay tuned.  I am expanding my universe and the significance of that is I am changing, like it or not. It gives new meaning to “kaleidoscopic shift”

Best, Jay

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