I Must Mourn

“I say it with a sad sense of the disparity between us.
I am not included within the pale of this glorious anniversary!
Your high independence only reveals
the immeasurable distance between us.”
Frederick Douglass

 

Frederick Douglass

Frederick Douglass – February 1818 to February 20, 1895

 

Every year, Americans rejoice and celebrate Independence Day with great fanfare. Amidst colorful parades, flag hoisting ceremonies, and barbecue parties. On this day  Americans remember the suffering their forefathers endured to win them precious freedom.

For most of this country, this past 4th of July was less red, white and blue than normal. No parades, no concerts, no block parties or friendly barbecues but there was plenty of fireworks.

Shooting off any kind of fireworks is illegal in my neighborhood. You wouldn’t know that if you happen to be living or visiting here lately. The booms and hisses that start at sundown and go well into 3:00 am have been a nightly fixture since Memorial Day.

For the first time in decades, the 4th of July fireworks show was cancelled due to the Coronavirus. Redondo Beach has always had the traditional 4th of July fireworks display over the ocean for thousands to come and see for free. The show would begin at 9:00 pm and last for almost 45 minutes of spectacular fireworks ending in the explosive grand finale. Often when the show ended, the thousands of spectators would leave quietly and with very little trash left behind. If there were any stragglers left on the beach setting off small fireworks, you would see police peacefully and immediately put an end to these illegal activities.

There were no police to be found this 4th of July. There’s a war going on in this country right now not just with the Coronavirus but with all of its people.

A recent Gallup poll found that American Pride has hit a new low and few are proud of our political system. I don’t think I needed a poll to tell me this. It’s loud and clear. I hear the frustration every night, all night long.

It sounds to me, people are sick and tired of not working, lockdown, social distancing, not being heard, and most importantly lack of freedom.

We take for granted things we have had all our life. Take for granted people we know and love: Our good fortune and health: Our freedom. But, when we lose people we love, lose our health and good fortune what do we really have left? We have our freedoms of choice, speech, and the right to pursue our dreams. Most importantly, we have our freedom to pursue life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

On this 2020 Independence Day we must be reminded that not all Americans have enjoyed freedom since 1776. We must be reminded that there are still Americans, because of no fault of their own, have not been allowed to be truly free in their own country because of the color of their skin. They have not been free to pursue what all of us should have the freedom to do.

On July 5, 1852 Frederick Douglass gave a keynote address at an Independence Day event commemorating the signing of the Declaration of Independence, held at Corinthian Hall in Rochester, New York. Frederick Douglass escaped slavery in 1838 and fled North. He became a leader in the fight to abolish slavery entirely.  Douglass was a powerful orator giving lectures on abolition. His speech that day was a scathing speech in which Douglass stated, “I am not included within the pale of this glorious anniversary! Your high independence only reveals the immeasurable distance between us. The blessings in which you, this day, rejoice, are not enjoyed in common. The rich inheritance of justice, liberty, prosperity and independence, bequeathed by your fathers, is shared by you, not by me. The sunlight that brought light and healing to you, has brought stripes and death to me. This Fourth of July is yours, not mine. For what to the slave is the 4th of July?  You may rejoice, I must mourn.”

Shine On

Ahead of the Game

“Follow your passion,
be prepared to work hard and
sacrifice, and, above all,
don’t let anyone limit your dreams.”
Donovan Bailey

A Head of The Game

Cyclist and friend at waters edge on the Esplanade

Find Your Passion

I believe everyone needs to find out for themselves what makes them happy. Especially during these unprecedented times, it’s so important to find ways to relax from all the stresses we are experiencing in 2020.

Several years ago I read an article about “Finding Your Passion”. The article was about  losing yourself in a passion and that doing so is not an indulgence. It’s a fundamental part of achieving a kind of happiness known as “Eudaimonia”.

The definition of Eudaimonia is, “a contented state of being happy and healthy and prosperous.” Eudaimonia is not something new. Aristotle and other Greek philosophers wrote in great detail about this subject.

You don’t achieve Eudaimonia through cheap thrills such as watching your favorite reality show, but through activities where you experience “flow”. This flow is the feeling of total engagement in the activity so that you don’t notice anything outside of what you’re doing. You forget time and you forget yourself. As you concentrate on the activity you are engaged in, you clear your brain of things that are bothering you.

You obtain “flow” when engaging say in an activity such as horseback riding, sailing, editing a movie you shot, drawing, painting, puzzles, games, even washing your car. That’s when you know you have found your passion.

Passion and/or flow helps to eliminate stress, increase happiness and most importantly improve your overall mental health.

Next time you are doing an activity that clears your mind and allows you to lose yourself in what you are doing, take note. For your health and well-being, a little free time is important for everyone. And if you find your passion along the way, you are ahead of the game.

Shine On

New Fashion Normal

“A mask tells us more than a face.”
Oscar Wilde

 

New Fashion Normal

Marine Serre’s Paris Fashion Week Show

Wearing a mask during a pandemic has a long history behind it. A masks first known medical use dates back to the Middle Ages when the Bubonic plague killed almost half of Europe’s population.

The original mask looked similar to a bird with a long black beak. This mask did little to protect its wearer from the plague. The long beak of the mask contained fresh lavender to act as a barrier from the noxious vapors that was believed to spread the plague.

It wasn’t until 1910 when the Manchurian plague in China killed 60,000 people, did doctors learn the true benefits of the mask. Chinese doctor Wu Lien-teh proved that the Manchurian plague was spread by droplets person to person. Wu was also responsible for promoting the idea of quarantine and the wearing of cloth face masks to combat the plague.

The mask has come a long way not only from social acceptability, but technically. Originally, masks were made from cloth or surgical bandages. These original masks were not as good as today’s N95 mask. The N95 is molded not woven out of synthetic fibers that filters at least 95% of airborne particles.

It’s a mask that owes its design to legendary industrial designer, Sara Little Turnbull, who designed molded bra cups back in the 1960s. Yes, you heard me right fellow Blogaholics, a molded bra cup design inspired the coveted N95 mask we know today.

Today, the face mask is morphing once again from medical to fashion necessity and becoming the new fashion normal.

Shine On

The Beach After Quarantine

 

“We have been endowed with just enough intelligence
to be able to see clearly just how utterly inadequate
that intelligence is when confronted with what exists.
If this humility could be imparted to everybody,
the world of human endeavors
would become more appealing.”
Albert Einstein

RB After Quarantine Lifted

Shine On

My Little Piece of Heaven

“My soul can find no staircase to Heaven
unless it be through Earth’s loveliness.”
Michelangelo

 

PBRC Areial View

Aerial view of Portuguese Bend looking out on the Pacific Ocean.

JimmyPBRC GardensPBRCJimmys Favorite Past TimeBlue Grooming Bay

There’s a very special place that is not well-known among Angelenos. I always felt extremely fortunate to have been part of this very special place. The beautiful flowers, trees and vegetation encompassing this place made it my secret garden.

The aromas from fresh hay, flora and fauna were always intoxicating. The 1920s Spanish architecture of the home and stables so breathtakingly dreamlike, that it was often used as a film location.

For over eight wonderful years I would visit this place daily, rain or shine. The reason for my visits was because my best friend Jimmy lived there. He and I would explore the surrounding hills and valleys. Every spring we hiked and then we relaxed on the rich green grassy knolls.

It was my church, my sanctuary, my favorite place to be. It made me feel needed, wanted, and safe. It gave me purpose. It kept me happy and sane.

I miss this place more than I ever thought possible.

Now, it is forever in my daily thoughts as well as my nightly dreams. I would like to return someday, but it is much too painful to return. For to return to this place, where Jimmy once lived, would not be the same without him.

So, for now, I look at old photos and videos and reminisce about a time when I was the happiest I’ve been in my life. Those years seem as if they were all a glorious and magical dream. A time when I was the closest to heaven as I’ll ever know.

This wondrous place was and always will be, my little piece of heaven.

Shine On