…Continued from yesterday:
The day before yesterday after I lost my camera in the Los Angeles airport my heart did indeed feel a little broken. Of course it wasn’t over the camera, which can always be replaced, but over the pictures I’d taken during the past few weeks, which can’t.*
My my daughter, son-in-law and grandchildren had been visiting Columbus the week before last and when they returned to Los Angeles on August 19 I followed them and stayed in LA for another week. So in losing my camera I lost all the pictures I'd snapped along the way during that time.
Or so I thought.
After I crawled up out of the dumps I remembered that I'd taken a few pictures on my phone and that there were a few more on the tail end of a memory card that I replaced in my camera with a new memory card a few days after my kids arrived.
So from over the past few weeks I do in fact have a few pics of:
1. A Visit to the Franklin Park Conservatory.
On Thursday, August 15, Tom and I took the girls to visit one of the gems of Columbus, the Franklin Park Conservatory, a vast house of glass,
...filled with plants of every imaginable kind,
...among which are displayed the beautiful, whimsical works of Seattle glass artist Dale Chihuly.
But in spite of all the fascinating plants, art, environments, displays, and fun and educational activities for children at the Franklin Park Conservatory, including a "wetlands" area where the children could actually get wet, what my grand daughters most enjoyed was a patio at the far end of the park where there was located a few simple toys and some other children to play with.
2. A Visit to the Doctor's Office for a Flu Shot.
3. The First Day of First Grade.
My grand daughter walking down the path from her first-grade classroom, which is perched high on a hill, at the end of the first day of school.
4. Celebrating the first day of school.
5. A Sunset Picture of Palm Trees.
6. The Denver Airport.
On my way home from Los Angeles after I'd lost my camera I snapped a couple of shots during my layover at the Denver airport, which looked to me like a shopping mall,
...and where I had some good shrimp fried rice at the City Wok.
And I have no pics to show of:
1. Our Visit to Amish Country.
On Friday, August 16, Tom, myself, our daughter, son-in-law, grand daughters, our son and his girlfriend spent a night at the Berlin Resort in Amish Country. Here's a picture of the Berlin Resort I took a couple of years ago,
...where the highlights for the children were playing in a miniature village on the hotel grounds and visiting an Amish petting farm and where the highlight for the adults was having not much of anything to do, which we all found rather nice.
2. Shopping for School Supplies the Day Before School Began.
3. My Other Grand Daughter's First Day of School.
4. A Wonderful Bar Mitzvah - my first ever - that we attended on Saturday.
5. Palm Trees.
I took dozens of pictures of palm trees, intending to do a blog on the palms of Los Angeles, which are not in the least indigenous to this area but were schlepped over in the early 20th century from the Middle East and Mexico by land developers just to make the place look attractive to potential buyers.
Which they did.
Otherwise the palm trees of Los Angeles serve no purpose - they don't provide wood or shade or food or protection to the land from erosion - than to look pretty, which they do.
But, not having any of the pictures I took, I guess that's all I have to say about the palm trees. And about everything else I don't have pictures of.
*My son-in-law told me I should save all the photographs on my memory cards to The Cloud, which I’d subsequently been thinking about doing some day. I expect now would be a good time to stop thinking about doing it.
Today I lost my camera.
This actually isn’t the first time I’ve lost my camera (see post from 4/8/2016, “The Little Mitzvah”).
But it’s the first time I’ve ever lost it for good.
I lost it today while hanging around the Los Angeles airport waiting for the first flight of my trip home to Columbus, Ohio. I’m pretty sure I lost it while sitting at gate 72A of the United terminal, chatting on the phone with my daughter for 11 minutes. After I hung up I left gate 72 A, where there were free seats, and headed to my gate, 73A, where there weren’t, and made another phone call standing up, this one about 17 minutes long. Then I went to the rest room.
It was upon exiting the rest room that I realized I didn’t have my camera on me. It wasn’t back in the rest room. I returned to where I’d been sitting at gate 72A, which seat was now occupied by a nice older guy who replied, sadly, that he hadn’t seen my camera.
But I was sure I lost my camera between the 11-minute call at that seat at gate 72A and the 17-minute call at gate 73A.
I asked the gate attendants at both 72A and 73A if anyone had turned in a camera at either gate, but no one had. However the gate attendants were so kind and concerned, they even left their posts to collaborate and they looked around, made calls, and one called the airport police, who speedily sent over an officer. The officer, a middle-aged African American man, had me walk back with him to the lost and found so he could check. By then my flight was boarding and I was nervous about leaving my gate, but he told me not to worry, that it would only take a minute to look, that I’d be back in time.
He didn’t find my camera in the lost and found, but he tried to encourage me, telling me that it still might turn up, maybe later, and he took down my address and phone number and assured me that if my camera was turned in it would be sent to me. He told me that if it turned up in the next few minutes before the flight left he’d board the plane and bring it to me.
I wish I would have gotten his name and the names of the gate attendants who also dropped what they were doing to help me, but I was too upset and focusing too hard on trying not to show how upset I was. Still, in the eye abides the heart, and judging from the solicitous concern shown by those around me, I think my eye must have been giving away my heart, which felt a little broken.
But I’m going to write a letter to the Los Airport - however one manages that - and ask if the people who tried to help me find my camera today can be located and thanked for me.
If anyone ever says that Los Angeles International airport, one of the biggest, busiest, most crowded airports on the planet is an impersonal, uncaring place I will surely beg to differ.
To be continued…
On Tuesday, August 13, my daughter and her family flew in from Los Angeles for their summer visit to Ohio.
...near the shore of the blue Pacific,
...they love Ohio.
Among their favorite attractions of a visit to Ohio are:
...Grammie Patti's home cooking,
...a box of play clothes, the better to put on shows with,
...helping with the dusting,
Then there's helping Grandpa pick corn in the back yard,
...and peeling the husks afterwards.
There's going thrifting,
...and then, of course, there's Easton Town Center Mall,
...and where one can always enjoy the beautiful diversity of Columbus,
...ans well as the most beautiful ice cream cones.
The Mid-Ohio Indie Author Book Expo is a yearly labor of love for its organizer Alicia Wiggins,
...who founded the Expo for the purpose of giving self-published authors as well authors who are published by smaller houses an opportunity to promote their works and to give local readers the opportunity to meet local authors.
Two years ago shortly after the publication of my first book (see post from 8/14/2017, "Author Event #1: The Mid-Ohio Indie Author Book Expo"), I was one of the Expo authors selling my wares,
...and being interviewed for the first time.
However the Mid-Ohio Indie Author Book Expo has subsequently evolved into a labor of love for me as well since I came on board last year to do the author interviews for the webcast yourbookmybook.com.
This year the Mid-Ohio Indie Author Book Expo was held on Saturday, August 10 at its usual venue, the Vaughn E. Hairston YMCA in the Columbus suburb of Urbancrest.
The Expo began at 4 pm, though when I arrived at 2:45 the friendly greeters were already there to welcome the authors,
...who were setting up and socializing.
A little before 4 pm the book-shoppers began arriving,
...and Miguel and I began the interviews
Seven authors and or illustrators had been chosen for interviews:
Casey Bowers and artist Alex M. Clark, a copy writer and an art director who worked at the same company and came up with the idea of collaborating on an interactive children's book, "When I Grow Up;"
...Ash Crowlin who wrote the horror novel, "The Birthday Girl;"
...Sci-fi writer Charles O'Donnell, whose latest novel is entitled "Shade;"
...Melissa Moore, author and illustrator of the "Naypo the Narwhal" children's books;
...romance writer Barbara Keaton who showcased her most recent novel, "One in a Million;"
...and Christian writer Eric Bardell, author of "Be Dressed Battle Ready."
After the all interviews were finished I strolled among the books,
It was three years ago, shortly after the mass murder at the Pulse night club in Orlando, Florida – just another shooting in the seemingly endless string of shootings before and since – that these words came - from wherever words come from - into my head:
Voices cry out from Orlando, here them cry, oh, hear them cry.
Or maybe those words materialized on my brain screen because from among the tunes in the playlist that’s usually running in my head an old American hymn that I like called “Will the Circle Be Unbroken” had recently been playing.
In any case, those words superimposed themselves over the first line of “Will the Circle Be Unbroken,” after which it was easy enough for me to come up with more words of my own to go with the rest of that tune:
Voices cry out from Orlando,
Hear them cry, oh, hear them cry.
They are crying out to us, Lord:
“Oh, how many more must die?”
It occurred to me that this would be a good song to sing at demonstrations calling for gun law reform and the banning of AR 15-style semi-automatic assault weapons, the guns used in all mass shootings in recent years. One could substitute “Orlando” with other sites of mass gun violence - Columbine, Aurora, Newtown, Virginia, etc. – and the verses could go on and on.
But I never did anything with my song. I just thought about it every time there was another mass shooting, another dozen or so people bleeding to death from gunshot wounds inflicted from bullets speed-fired from a semi-automatic assault rifle.
Then a little over two weeks ago there were two mass shootings within hours: one in El Paso Texas and one in Dayton Ohio. Thirty-one more people dead, bled-out from assault rifle gunshot wounds. “Do something!” Americans began crying out to our legislators in desperation and fear for our own lives and the lives of our loved ones.
I, too, was feeling the same fear and helpless frustration as most of my countrymen and women. I wanted to do something. I wanted to start an initiative to put a vote to ban semi-automatic assault weapons in Ohio on our state ballot.
But I learned that such an initiative would likely cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, would require a network of canvassers in every county in the state, would have just about zero chance of breaking through the pro-gun lobby Ohio legislature, and, even if the issue did by some miracle make it onto the ballot, might well be voted down. And if by some double miracle a ban on assault weapons in Ohio did make it onto the ballot and was voted into law, a would-be shooter could just drive across the state line into Indiana or Kentucky or West Virginia or go online to stockpile his deadly arsenal.
So I quickly abandoned the idea of trying to start a ballot initiative. But I still wanted to do something. I thought of my song. And I decided that my song would be my protest. And maybe, if my song got out there, it could be others’ protest as well.
I wrote out half a dozen verses to a tune resembling “Will the Circle Be Unbroken”:
Voices cry out from El Paso, hear them cry, oh, hear them cry
They are crying out to us, Lord, "Oh, how many more must die?"
Voices cry out from Ohio, hear them cry, oh, hear them cry
They are crying out to us, Lord, "Oh, how many more must die?"
Voices cry out from California, hear them cry, oh, hear them cry
They are crying out to us, Lord, "Oh, how many more must die?"
Voices cry out from Virginia, hear them cry, oh, hear them cry
They are crying out to us, Lord, "Oh, how many more must die?"
Hear the children cry in Newtown, hear them cry, oh, hear them cry
Hear the fathers and the mothers, oh how many more must cry?
There is only one solution, hear our cry, oh, hear our cry
Ban the AR 15 rifle or ten thousand more will die
Or ten thousand more will die.
I decided I wanted to record this song, spread it around, make it available to others who might want to sing it at protest rallies, give voice to those who wanted to say something to their legislators.
Now, I would like to have had this song recorded professionally and sung by someone with a good voice to some guitar accompaniment. But that would take planning and time, probably more time than would pass before the next shooting.
So I decided to sing and record the song myself.
First I videoed myself singing it on my phone. Then a colleague who is a sound engineer made an audio recording of me singing it on which – I later realized – I messed up the words.
Finally I recorded myself singing it on my laptop and a tech-savvy relative kindly posted it on Youtube for me. I humbly realize that I possess neither a lovely voice nor good recording equipment.
But I did want to get the song out there so that others might sing it, hopefully much better than I do.
Anyway, if you’d like to hear my recording of “Voices Cry Out,” here’s the Youtube link:
A song is not much of anything, really. Maybe it’s nothing at all. But I can’t think of anything else to do.
…Continued from yesterday:
On Monday morning, the morning after the wedding (see yesterday's post), we drove back from the hill country of Ventura County,
We dropped Claire off at the airport, but Theresa wasn’t leaving until Tuesday evening and Tom and I until Wednesday morning.
So Tom and I took our grand daughters back to Manhattan Beach for the afternoon.
...where we rested up.
That evening there was another show.
The following day, Tuesday, as Theresa’s plane wasn’t until 5 pm I suggested that Tom, Theresa and I visit the Venice Canals, a series of man-made waterways that flow through a neighborhood a few blocks inland from Venice Beach and one of my favorite Los Angeles phenomena.
Now, I’d been to the Venice Canals a number of times in the past, but never before in the middle of summer, so I was surprised to see the water level so low, which apparently is what happens in summer.
From the canals we walked about a mile to a super-cute Venice restaurant with good food called 26 Beach.
Then we returned home.
Soon afterwards Theresa caught her plane back to Columbus, and I did crafts.
...Continued from yesterday:
On Sunday afternoon we drove an hour east from Los Angeles through the beautiful hill country of Ventura County,
...to the small city of Moorpark in which was located Annie and Sean's wedding venue, the Walnut Grove at Tierra Rejada Farms.
We turned off the highway into the Tierra Rejada Farms, then drove back through farmland until we reached the Walnut Grove,
...where the wedding ceremony and reception areas were set up in a clearing among the walnut trees,
....surrounded by farmland with a view of the hills off in the distance.
While waiting for the ceremony to begin friends and family socialized,
...and the juice and iced tea bar.
Many of the family members and guests were in traditional Lao dress.
Mother of the groom on the far right.
My brother, father of the bride, with his grand son.
The bride with a friend.
When it was time for the wedding ceremony, the bride's and groom's friends and families separated out of sight from each other. This was the beginning of the Sukhouan.
In the Lao culture, each person has 32 souls. When these 32 souls are united in one's body they help with the proper functioning of body and mind. During important life events, such as a marriage, the Sukouan is the ritual performed to invoke the 32 souls.
The ceremony began with the bride's family and friends gathering together, symbolizing the bride's house, where we waited for the groom to arrive.
The groom arrived in a procession with his family and friends,
...the groom carrying a bouquet of flowers.
...until the bride's family decided that the groom was worthy of the bride,
...at which time a deal was struck between the two families and sealed with a drink.
Then the groom was allowed to enter the bride's house and a sister of the bride took the groom by the hand,
...and led him to where his bride waited with her parents next to the Phakhouane, which is a large tray of flowers, candles, and other offerings placed on traditional carpets.
During the ceremony the Officiant chased undesirable spirits from the bodies of the Annie and Sean and called on noble spirits and the gods of earth and sky to bless their union.
The bride and groom then shared some rice, an egg, and alcohol to symbolize their union.
Then the Officiant tied white cotton threads around Annie and Sean's wrists as a wish for a long and happy union for them.
Annie and Sean's families also tied cotton threads around their wrists as wishes for happiness.
Next the guests with last names from A-H were asked to stay to tie threads on Annie and Sean's wrists and the guests with last names L-Z were invited to return to the reception area for hors d'oeuvres.
In addition to the hors d'oeuvres the was a beautiful cookie and candy table.
After the first group finished tying their threads it was the turn of the second group, of which we were a part, to return to the ceremony to have our turn tying threads for good wishes on Annie and Sean.
Then we returned to the reception area and everyone took their seats.
Then the happy newlyweds danced into the reception,
...for their first dance as man and wife, a traditional Lao dance,
...which we all joined in.
After the dances there were heart-felt speeches full of love and good wishes by Sean's Uncle from Paris,
Then the beautiful, delicious dinner was served.
The children, of course, preferred to be out on the dance floor.
Soon the rest of us joined them,
...or otherwise enjoyed the evening.
It was a beautiful wedding,
Last December my sweet, sunny niece Annie and her wonderful fiancé Sean traveled from Los Angeles to Seaford, Delaware for their first wedding, a Christian ceremony in honor of Annie's family and to accommodate their location.
They were married for the second time on July 28 in Los Angeles, where they live, in a Lao ceremony in honor of Sean's family, who are from Laos.
Those members of Annie's family from the East Coast and Midwest who were able flew to Los Angles for Annie and Sean's Lao wedding ceremony, among them Tom, Claire, Theresa, and me.
Tom and I were the first from our branch to arrive in Los Angeles.
…from whence we proceeded to my daughter and son-in-law’s house,
…where we were greeted by our grand pups,
As our daughter, son-in-law and grand children were soon off and about their day’s routine, Tom and I had a good part of the day to ourselves, a portion of which we spent shopping at Ralph’s,
When lunch time rolled around we decided to look arcomparable to our favorite LA secret gem, a little place we like called Mandy’s, where we never fail to eat at least once whenever we’re visiting.ound the area for some little mom-and-pop-style diner in hopes of perhaps finding a secret gem,
I had a veggie burger.
However the overall experience lacked the je ne said quoi of Mandy’s.
Later that afternoon we picked up our grand daughters from camp, drove them to swim lessons, then a piano lesson,
On Friday morning Theresa and Claire arrived in Los Angeles,
…and made the acquaintance of their fur nephews.
Our server told us that a few days earlier a film crew had been in the restaurant shooting the scene of an upcoming movie (the name of which I can’t remember). He told us that once in a while a movie scene is shot a Mandy's.
Well, it is a cute restaurant.
As the wedding wasn't until Sunday evening, Saturday was free for some fun.
Theresa had made plans to travel to Santa Monica to visit a friend.
The rest of us decided to take the bus to Manhattan Beach.
While the others enjoyed the water, sun and sand,
....Tom and I strolled around the shore and the streets of Manhattan Beach while I snapped pictures.
Towards the end of the afternoon we walked a few blocks inland for an early dinner at the Kettle.
Theresa met us at the Kettle and after dinner we all walked back to the bus stop.
By the time we got home everyone was pretty tired, but not too tired for a show.
To be continued...
Put universal background checks and red-flagging of mental illness on the back burner.
Those ideas are made of cotton-candy and would be just as effective in preventing mass shootings, even if our NRA-controlled Congress could get around to effectuating them, or wanted to.
The only thing that will end the epidemic of mass death by gunshot wound in this country is a federal ban on semi-automatic weapons. There's nothing else to say, no other discussion to be had.
Seriously, how hard would that be? Pass one law banning the possession of semi-automatic assault weapons. Give owners a few months to get rid of their outlawed guns. And throw in a generous government buy-back of the guns.
That is what Australia did in 1996 after a man killed 35 people in a matter of minutes with an AR-15, and since then there has not been another mass shooting in Australia.
It's what New Zealand did after that country's first mass shooting this past March. There has not been another mass shooting in New Zealand since then; however there have been four mass shootings in the United States since then: in Virginia Beach in May; in Gilroy, California in July; and in El Paso and Dayton in August.
And these shootings would be so easy to stop. Our law-makers have the power in their hands.
But in the meantime my daughter is terrified that her young children might be caught in a mass shooting at their school or in some other public place. And how can I calm her fears or console her when I, too, am terrified that my grand children might be caught in a mass shooting? I fear for my grand children, my children, my husband, my friends, everyone that love, everyone that I know, myself included.
Even yesterday morning as I was sitting in Panera with my friends as I do every Wednesday morning, having a pleasant time, I looked around at all the tables and booths crowded with people who also appeared to be having a pleasant time, eating, drinking, chatting with each other; and instead of thinking to myself, "What a wonderful world," I thought to myself, "What a lot of people would be killed if a guy with an AR-15 came in here."
A question for anyone who would oppose a ban on semi-automatic assault weapons: Do you, too, not fear for yourself and your loved ones?
Two weeks ago the United States Senate Intelligence Committee and Special Counsel Robert Mueller disclosed to the American public that Russia had a hand in steering our 2016 Presidential election, that the election systems in all 50 states had been combed by Russian cyberagents, and that at this very moment a vast network of Russian agents is infiltrating our 2020 election process.
Within twenty-four hours of these revelations the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill calling for immediate measures to protect our elections from Russian meddling.
Republican Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell killed the bill. No amount of reasoning, disputing, arguing, accusing, or pleading could move Mitch McConnell to put forward a vote for on the Senate floor to take action to protect our democracy. And there was nothing we the American people could do about it.
Until one clever American came up with a simple but brilliant idea. He pinned Mitch McConnell with the nickname “Moscow Mitch.”
It was MSNBC news commentator Joe Scarborough,
…who criticized Senator McConnell for blocking Congress from acting to protect our vote from foreign influence, accused him of benefiting politically from that influence, and subsequently called him “Moscow Mitch.”
Now, Mitch McConnell likely didn’t care one way or the other about Joe Scarborough’s criticism or accusations, the same criticism and accusations he was hearing - and likewise didn’t care about - from everyone except for his own party loyalists. But those two words – “Moscow Mitch” - got to the Senator in a way that all the thousands and thousands of words previously directed at him on Russian cyberattacks against his country couldn’t even begin to.
“Moscow Mitch” has gotten under Mitch McConnell’s skin immensely, especially since it began trending on Twitter along with the hashtag #MoscowMitchMcTraitor. McConnell even whined about it on the Senate floor, saying, “I was called unpatriotic, un-American and essentially treasonous.”
One could practically hear the violins weeping in the background.
But “Moscow Mitch” has been sticking to McConnell so far: Singer/Composer Ben Folds wrote a song called “Moscow Mitch,”
...and over the weekend a church picnic in Fancy Farm, Kentucky at which McConnell spoke,
Then a few days ago, while he was griping to the Senate about the unfairness of his new moniker, McConnell grudgingly said, “I’m sure all of us will be open to discussing further steps Congress, the executive branch, the states, and the private sector might take to defend our elections against foreign interference.”
That statement from Mitch McConnell, pallid and wishy-washy as it was, has been interpreted as McConnell moving an inch on territory upon which he previously refused to budge. And he hasn’t moved that inch because he suddenly developed and inch-worth of concern for the welfare of the country he was elected to lead; it’s because he’s now worried that if “Moscow Mitch” sticks he won’t be re-elected next year.
But an inch is only an inch, and Mitch McConnell likely needs to be pushed many more inches before he'll allow an election protection bill on the Senate floor.
So let’s all make sure “Moscow Mitch” sticks to Mitch McConnell like Crazy Glue. Let's make sure this handle lives, thrives, follows and worries Moscow Mitch everywhere he goes. Everybody say it every chance you get. Post #MoscowMitchMcTraitor on your Facebook page. Post it on your Twitter page, Instagram page, and Pinterest Fail page. Get together with your friends and rent a billboard. Rent three outside your town.
(That strategy has been known to produce results).
Don’t relent on Moscow Mitch until he opens the Senate for debate on a bill to protect our elections.
In two words we’ve been handed the means to fight for our American democracy, free from the grip of a tyrant,
...one of whose forebears once promised to bury us without firing a shot,
...and who is now, thanks to the traitorous greed of an elected American official, closer to that goal than ever.
Three day ago there were two more mass murders in this country, one in El Paso, Texas and one in Dayton, Ohio.
Thirty one graves new graves to be dug.
And still Mitch McConnell refuses to allow a vote in the Senate on any bill that might prevent death by gunshot wound from continuing to be an American epidemic.
And so a second hashtag has been added on to Mitch McConnell’s name of shame: #MassacreMitch.
As for me, I would have chosen Mass Murder Mitch, but Massacre Mitch is already trending.
And so every day I intend to post #MoscowMitchMcTraitor and #MassacreMitch on my Twitter page.
You do what you can.
by Patti Liszkay
Buy it on Amazon:
by Patti Liszkay
Buy it on Amazon:
"Equal And Opposite Reactions"
by Patti Liszkay
Buy it on Amazon:
The Book Loft
of German Village,
Or check it out at the Columbus Metropolitan Library
I am a traveler just visiting this planet and reporting various and sundry observations,
hopefully of interest to my fellow travelers.