Wednesday, October 27, 2010

When I tell myself ..."I Know..." am I really a 'label maker'?

I was sitting and thinking about all the things in this Universe that I KNOW about, when another thought popped into my head. Knowing ABOUT does not mean UNDERSTANDING.

For example, one couple that I know fairly well has an autistic child. I've seen how supportive and nurturing they are...and how this child has grown because of it. But I didn't understand how 'work and love' go hand-in-hand until I saw this educational video. I still don't know the 'everything'...but I'm one step closer.

With all the things that are happening around the world and to many people, it's impossible for me to do the knowing/understanding part of it with any accuracy. I only have 24 hrs. to work with...and have a life to live, so it's a lot ezier to 'assume' knowledge that I don't have and become a 'label maker'.

I went to YouTube and found a video that helps me to 'understand' a little more. And I thought it was good a great piece to share. It saved me time and also taught me that 'assuming' and filling in the blanks with assumptions has led me to make the wrong assumptions at the wrong time. How many times and in how many places and to how many people have I applied the word 'ASSUME' to?

It may not make me a better person but I'm not willing to 'get educated' before I jump in and open my mouth.

This is story that is about Autism...and it's worth my listening to.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

October...'Cancer' Awareness Month...

When I was talking to my friend John about ‘cancer’ one day, he said something I thought ‘hit the nail on the head’. He said, “Many people become frightened as soon as they hear the 'word' cancer enter the conversation, than they are of the disease itself. If they would change the word to something else, even if it were a nonsensical word, much of the fear would go away and understanding 'it' would make significant progress." There are many forms of cancer, many forms of treatment available, and many,many survivors and resources available for support. And yet they are all grouped together in one box labeled...CANCER.

POLIO was another word that a long time ago had the same effect. One of my earliest memories I brought with me from childhood was in the early part of the 40's. I'm not an expert on anything having to do with that particular one, but I remember the fear on my parents face when the doctor told them I might never walk again, that my legs were paralyzed.

I recall lying in the hospital for a few months and crying myself to sleep because Mom and Dad would visit me...but couldn't take me home. I was scared and alone...more alone than I ever felt since. But thankfully, I did recover. And the disease that once almost robbed me of roller skates and dancing shoes is almost history. I know what 'scared...alone...helpless...and recovery' feels like.

In 1980 I met my wife Sylvia. We were married 30 years. During the last half of those years I watched what ‘fear’ of the ‘C-word’ can do. I stood helplessly watching her go through it all...and still she still was able to smile and laugh in between ‘her bouts’. She had brain tumors. Was it ...cancer? No, not that time. Then other things happened...and always there was the question...was it cancer? I’ve sat outside operating rooms, praying she would come out of it OK...and she did. But she told me, “John, there are some things that I have to do by myself. As much as you want to can’t” And I prayed.

I sat with her through various cancer tests, visits to the Cancer Center, melanoma cancer doctor, heard her talk about the ‘fear’ of the C-word. When she spoke of it, she spoke from experiences she had. If nothing else, her words will a some way help someone else going through the same thing or being near someone going through it.

Syl used to tell me, “If I had the money, I would....” Then she would go one to tell me what she would do. Cancer research is one of those things that were on her list. None of us have the 'resources' to do anything alone, but together we can make a difference.

It’s no secret that I have fun writing. I always have and I always will. I may not be a ‘cracker jack’ at the written word, but I’m going to write books. Not because I want to be rich and famous, because I want most of the proceeds to go to fund the Sylvia Romanelli Crocker Foundation. Part of those proceeds will go for more research for a speedy cure for the ‘C-word’. Maybe to some it may seem like an impossible task for a guy my age and with my present financial resources to get the SRC Foundation up and running, but for me the only impossible thing for me to understand is the word...IMPOSSIBLE. Watch me! One day at a time is all I have to work with, but one day...

Friday, October 15, 2010

Dancing...and tripping down Memory Lane.

Little did John and Stella know, when they met at that dance at Slovenian Home in 1936, that they were going to create a Zumba nut that would write about the ‘polka’ 72 years later. They’re the one’s that got the ball rolling and I’m just the ‘result’. My history in the making. Memory Lane’s gotta start somewhere,and Polka Alley’s is as good a place as any to begin.

This morning while I was reading through the newspaper, I noticed that Jimmy Sturr, the Polka King was going to appear here in Waterbury,CT on Oct. 30. That got my toes to tapping and stirred up my imagination quicker than a spoon. At this point it’s pretty EZ for me to do with all the practice I’ve had.

I got to thinking about my folks and how dancing was just about the funnest thing they loved to do with their free time...that didn’t cost a lot of money. Maybe that explains why they were so good at it? So I’m living proof that the nut doesn’t fall far from the ‘buckeye’ tree. Did I just say that? Ohio is known as the Buckeye state. ( A little trivia there )

During the course of my travels and ‘dancing’ career, (I use the term ‘very’ loosely) I’ve picked up a lot of dance steps. Let’s see, hmmm. Waltz, polka, twist, square dance,a smidgen of ballroom dancing, dancing on roller skates, stuff I learned on American Bandstand,etc. Now I'm pooped out from the Etctering.

Sheesh, enough of Memory Lane. Back on Hi Way. NOW I’m wondering...has anyone tried to mix the Polka and the Zumba? I imagine it might be an interesting recipe. Or not. Hmmm? I ain't tried that one...yet.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

What? No ordinary family....?

I've been watching more TV lately than I normally used to. Which isn't saying a whole bunch 'cause I'm not a 'glued to the tube couch potato' kinda guy. But there's an new one on this season that I really like. It's called No Ordinary Family . It grabbed my attention because I like to write. Plus I'm a fan of the idea that people can become more than who they are. This story starts as a result of a bright idea! Then to move it along... an 'accident'. And, boy, they sure had a lollapalooza. (Why didn't I think of it?...oh, well).

In order to 'spend more quality time together, it was decided that they go on a family outing. A picnic? Nah, too easy. So they all hopped on a plane and headed for 'adventure'. A storm came up, the plane went down and they got plopped in the middle of a river in the jungle. The foursome survived but their real adventure didn't began until after they got home again.

Each family member had developed a different 'superpower' that coincided with what they thought they were lacking as a person. It was like a 'miracle vitamin' that filled in what they felt was a deficiency in their character. I think that's one heck of a lesson to be learned by all of us...but not in such a BIG way. We've got to believe in ourselves first and tell each other about our 'strengths'...but all to often we get to busy to notice much less communicate. Great writing...good show. Hmmm. Mebbe I should become a TV critic or somethin'. Nah, I'd have to watch too much TV.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

"I want to live, not merely survive..." ~ I Gotta Be Me

Songs and movies have produced a mega-bunch of seeds that are plopped in my ‘Garden of Thought. A lot of ‘em must’ve gotten planted ‘somewhere’, because NOW instead of single flowers, I’m getting them by the bouquet.

Like fer instance, I really dug the movie ‘Auntie Mame'. Rosalind Russell proclaimed in her proundly 'Mame way',“Life is a banquet, and most poor suckers are starving to death.” I had a bag of popcorn so I wasn’t hungry at the time...but later I remembered.

Then along came Ricky Nelson singing ‘Garden Party’. A song I could dance to. The part where he sings, “But it's all right now, I learned my lesson well. You see, ya can't please everyone, so ya got to please yourself “ didn’t sink in while I was busy a rockin’ and a rollin'. But later... more seeds.

‘I Gotta Be Me’, sung by Sammy Davis Jr. didn’t have a clicker in my mind... until I realized it was MySong. I was busy doing ‘my thing’ at the time. “ I can't be right for somebody else if I'm not right for me...” At the time it didn’t make as much sense as it does now. I can’t give anything to anyone else if I’m bankrupt myself I don’try that one.

NOW that I’m 72 and I still like to tell ‘John stories’. Sometimes I'll say I’m 31 because to me... age is just a number. That one is always good for a second look at me and a 'huh?' expression. Other times I use the barter systmem and it works like a charm. I say I’m 100 and I get a compliment, “You look good for your age .” In return they get to ‘smile and laugh’. Fair trade.

I’m guess at this point, I’m ‘adult’ enough to walk in the Hallways of the Responsiblity and carry my own ‘stuff’, but young enough to ‘play with my food on the 'banquet table' under my nose. And wisdom? I got a lot of that. I’m wise enough to understand that I’m not a Know-It-All and odds are... that’ll never happen. And I ain’t got time to figure that one out.

Heck, my life is not the ‘fairy tale’ kind, but I’m happy! Whatever lands on my plate this 24 hours, I’ll deal with it. I don’t especially ‘like’ it ALL. But what I like is only my ‘opinion’ that shows who I am. It’s like ONE abstract painting. It the same picture but looks a little different to different people.

I blog...because I like to see what I’m thinking. It’s fun! And I like to play with the ABCs and the Dictionary. Why? That’s who I am and what I have fun doing.
I gotta be me and since I can’t please everyone...I got to please myself. And with the ‘banquet’ I have to work with I know I’ll never go hungry. Figuratively? Literally? Different story. But either way, I’ve got a big appetite. I am what I yam. Yam? I sound like a sweet potato. Stop! You are gonna say, "I am what I yam are you? No 'sweet potato story'. PLEASE!!! *The internal dialogue began*

Monday, October 4, 2010

Sometimes pictures speak of sentiments....

Some pictures speak a thousand sentiments...
As I sat looking at the trunk that sits to my right, my thoughts spoke to me about 'sentimental value'. This is what they told me...

"Look at me closely. Look at my foundation. I'm the Trunk that belonged to Sleeping Beauty's mother. I traveled thousands of miles, back and forth across the ocean, to Italy, where your mother-in-law was born. But my journey didn't stop there. I was part of your home for the past 30 years. I traveled with you,more thousands of miles, as you moved back and forth across the United States. Now I rest beside your desk."

It's contents told another story. "We are the Quilts and Curtains that Sylvia used to magically transform any house you lived in, into a 'home'. We are waiting to see if you remember the love and care that were given to us as we were carefully placed inside 'the foundation'."

Covering them all, the Throw spoke up. "I was crocheted by your sister-in-law, Addie, as a gift to your honey. It took hours of loving work to make me what I am today, a covering for your Foundation. Do you remember?"

On top, sit the dolls that Syl collected. In the center was a doll wearing an 'I love dolls' tee shirt, carrying an ample supply of tiny dolls in her coat. Standing in a stoneware dish, she too had something to say.

"You dumb klutz, couldn't you find anything better to stand me up in than... cookware?
I know I'm wobbly, but I'm not the numskull. I'm not the one who took a video instead of 'picture' with his new camera that 'he' didn't know how to use. But I won't tell if you won't tell... Blabbermouth"

Yep there's a lot going on in Crockerville. More that meets the eye.

The End...of one 'John Story'. The beginning of another. I ain't perfect but I'm perfectly sentimental. And if I don't stop, I'll be known at the Nutcrocker.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Assumptions gone....wrong?

There was a time in my life, I didn't like the word ASSUME because I thought it was a donkey word because of the way it was spelled. Ass-u-me. To me it meant that it would make an 'ass' out of either 'you' or me. And that was one word that had a lot of kick. But I changed my mind. Or actually my 'experience' changed it for me. End of that story and the beginning of another one.

Once upon a time, (a story has to start somewhere) not too long ago, the mail arrived. In it was my freebie 3-in-1 camera that I got for 'trying something risk involved' jobbie. And, like the 'kid with a new toy' guy that I am, I got excited! Rushing down to the store (where I used to work), I eagerly showed Avni,a co-worker, my new hi-tech camera and asked him how to use it. As young as he is (he calls me grandpa), he knows a bunch about 'new stuff'. Looking at it for a second, he took my picture and did a video of me and erased it and said that that was all there was to it. I assumed it was EZ. First assumption...gone wrong. Strike one!

Taking it home, I read the directions in the small book (written in four languages which three of which I didn't understand), I managed to find the power button and turn it on. I assumed that what I read would be written in an English that anyone with half a brain would understand. Well, my 'good' half of the brain must have taken a vacation, because I couldn't get it to work like it was supposed to. Second assumption...gone wrong. Strike two! I figured three strikes and this thing is OUTta here...headed for the trash can.

I sat down a reread the directions...again. This time I took a magnifying glass to make sure I saw all where all the 'teeny' lines were pointed at in the 'button explanation'. Since I had my cataract/lens replacement surgery I have to take my glasses OFF to read the fine print, the peeping glass was just an 'make-sure enhancer. Aha...success. I assumed that finally I knew what I was doing. Strike three! But this time the results were different. By fiddling with the buttons and thinking I was taking a snapshot I 'accidentlly' did a 2-in-1 event that I'm happy with. This is the what caused a turn-around for the camera. Whoopeee. It's headed for the dresser drawer instead of the junk yard.


Friday, October 1, 2010

I have my 'image' to consider...NOT.

While reading the paper, looking at magazines, and watching TV, I've come to the conclusion that a lot of people worry about maintaining their 'image'. I think 'worry' is about the last thing I I don't. My image was shot to hell long before I came to that conclusion.

Under the circumstances, some may imagine that I should be a grieving widower who is mourning the loss of my wife. I retired so that I could mope around the house do little 'house chores' and some 'cutesy' writing in between...and one day maybe I'll write a 'book'. Sheeeesh. That ain't me...and that ain't Sylvia aka Sleeping Beauty either.

I'm only 72, and 'we' BOTH had dreams. Like I wrote to her in a poem when we got married, "With both of us dreamers, OUR dreams will come true." I intend to celebrate what we built...together. And they will come true if I don't give up on them. Image? I don't have one...yet. And when I do if someone wants to make a statue to the 'Go-for-it' guy...they can go for it! I'm too flexible yet.

Syl was an avid (I like the word 'cause it rings 'classy') doll and teddy bear collector. Our 'castle' looked like a combo 'Country charm/Santa's toy shop style home. We liked the 'look' and I'm comfortable with it. ONE of her dreams was to have a doll room because she had so many. She still has dolls in boxes in the closet because there is no room to display them.

My dream (in part) was to have them all arranged so they could be enjoyed just by being there. I learned a lot about them...from her. So, God only knows how I'm going to do it (which has always been my point EXACTLY), I'm planning on buying a house to showcase it in. Sylvia's Doll Room in the making! I'm used to working with 'displays' so I have and edge there.

I had fun last night in the basement locker, looking for a doll stand to display a 'crazy looking lady' doll wearing a I Love Dolls tee shirt. I have fun doing simple E ordinary things. Why? Because it's FUN. I'm not mourning my 'loss', I'm celebrating the life a my wonderful honey called Sylvia that made me appreciate all that I have and she's still with me saying, "Go for it, babe. I believe in you then...and I still do."

If that gives me a "weird" image, I don't care. I'm having fun! Syl and I always did. If anyone tries to figure me out I'll help them with a checklist.

1. Maudlin (tearfully sentimental)
2. Eccentric
3. Senile
4. Nuts (I prefer cashews)
5. Krazy
6. Who cares? (I don't)

So, in conclusion (because I've got a life to live and I can sit so long because my butt gets sore.) I'm off to celebrate TODAY, because tomorrow when it gets here will also be called 'today'...and I want to make this one a diamond. Syl liked those too.
She had my wedding band set with them when she decided I was a 'keeper'. (That's a joke....sheeesh). I'm still wearing the ring...along with the words of the poem that I wrote.