AN ODE TO MARBLE SEASON
By Harriette J. Schwartz aka HJSWritergal
Do you remember it, one of our annual pastimes at Sedgwick Projects, we called it“ marble season”? I have heard from others that it happened in their neighborhoods but I can only speak to playing this at Sedgwick as I grew up with it. I hope others had the opportunity to experience this wonderful childhood phenomenon.
It had no specific dates, no preamble or advertising but when the weather got warm and the snow was gone suddenly one day it was upon us—and we called it marble season. By the afternoon of the first day, it was like a children’s casino of choices to win, lose or draw.
You got filthy but on a good day, you came away with a whole lot more cat's eyes, crystals or pee wees than you started with. They were our own version of precious jewels, little or large and all of them coveted, garnered, treasured and hoarded. If perhaps some future juvenile delinquent was on hand, a smaller kid would, "lose their marbles" in a HOT SCRAMBLE. You may not have initiated it but you sure didn't hesitate to pocket the rolling delights coming in your direction. You just couldn’t help yourself. Though if the victim was in tears we all were generous enough to return some of what we got to them. I was fortunately never a victim of a HOT SCRAMBLE. Occasionally there were HOT SCRAMBLES which were not stolen from other kids, just a kid who decided not to play anymore or were just tossing out a handful to watch everyone “scramble” to get some. Those we kept in a New York minute without a second thought, if we could get any of them.
We needed no signs or directions, all of us kids were ready for it. We saved them in coffee cans and in cigar boxes, preparing for that day when suddenly we were playing again each year. It was gambling & gaming, “kiddie” style. One day you and every other kid on the block was curbside, hawking such things as "jumbo" or "kaboa" or "crystal" or "one plus your own". There was a lot of creativity and entrepreneurialism involved in this game and really no rules written in stone. Everyone of us had an angle for increasing our collections and having a successful season in marbles.
There was no end to the possible ways to set up for “business”. You could cut square holes in a cigar box into which your "customer" had to roll a marble to win. You drew a chalk line on one side of the street and set up a jumbo or kaboa between your open legs on the other side and on your count a bunch of kids attempted to hit your mark by rolling regular size cats eyes aiming at the prize. You decided who won. You needed eagle eyes to be sure, but your word was the final one.
We played, we prospered or we lost fortunes in round glass rolly things. It was truly Las Vegas for kids. Then just as suddenly as it came, marble season would disappear. Nobody rang a bell or sent a memo to mark either the end or the beginning of marble season. It never lasted all that long but it was always among the highlights of our year. No matter how you may have wanted more of it, the end was the end, and it was not to return until next year.
Do you remember it, one of our annual pastimes at Sedgwick, “marble season”?
THIS CONTACT WAS NO COINCIDENCE - © APRIL 10, 2013
By Harriette J. Schwartz
Many years ago I decided that I could subscribe to the school of thought which believes that we never really lose our loved ones when they pass. I am a very spiritual woman and have been given many reasons to believe in all of this. Others who have known me long enough, both in real life and online are aware of the true stories of my “other-worldly” encounters. So much so that on previous social networks I’ve been a member of, I ran a group I created called Mediums and Lost Pallies. At one such venue I met a psychic with whom I co-authored LOST PALLIES a published book about the afterlife and spiritual world. I am no stranger to such subscriptions and obviously I believe.
I’m now on Facebook, and post a lot in an entertainment group about classic television. In surfing for something I came across a picture of Annette Funicello from the Spin & Marty serial that used to air on Mickey Mouse Club. She looked so cute and I posted this on the TV group on April 6th. Annette stayed on my brain. Maybe it was because we both have Multiple Sclerosis. I am the luckier one as mine is the less-threatening, “relapse-remit” kind. That coupled with being diagnosed later in life as well as meds keeps me fairly able and independent, thank heaven. So I did a few searches and was appalled to find out that the 70 year old iconic former Mouseketeer and actress we all adored was a prisoner in her own body, unable to do anything for herself or to walk or even speak. It seemed this lovely woman was losing the courageous battle she had spent her life fighting.
On April 7th Annette was still on my mind. So I made a two-photo, then and now collage and wrote about her awful current condition. I posted this online. Of course, the response was huge, who didn’t love Annette? Then on April 8th, Annette passed away and my RIP tribute collage was made and posted. Incidentally the Spin & Marty picture and two collages are posted in the photo section (home page) of HJSWritergal’s World, my website and can be viewed there.
Again the spiritual side of me does not believe in coincidence. There was in my mind a reason Annette Funicello was so on my brain only days prior to her death from complications due to Multiple Sclerosis. We had that disease in common and this is a reason perhaps I felt her leaving so strongly. I have since found out that Annette was in a facility in Bakersfield and I am in Fresno California, just 110 miles north of there. Whatever the reasoning I am certain it was her way of saying goodbye to us all and so I’m blogging about it as well. A good friend of mine said he hoped Annette knew how loved and admired she was. If she didn’t I hope that in her passing our contact and my posts showed her some of the affection the entire world had for Annette Funicello…why?....because we loved her.
The word "free" implies that the effort you are putting forth on whatever you are doing is gratis. In some cases it may feel as such, because the pay is so low. Well, I am here to tell you that there is nothing in life we get or give for "nada" as they say. I am providing a skilled service just as a lawyer or a painter or even a taxi driver provide..and they are all paid for their endeavors.
As a life-long writer I've given my all in words and plan to continue doing so. I've done it for myself as I enjoy putting pen to paper and letting my mind speak for me. I am very willing to do the same for my freelance writing clients and for this I would only ask they provide me with the necessary fee. That is a mutually-beneficial method and a fair one.
So to the posed opening question it depends on the client. If you give me my due, I will generate verbage for you.
CHRONIC IS 100% OF THE TIME
By Harriette J. Schwartz
When diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in 2006 at the age of 56, I knew that unlike the flu, this would be an ongoing battle with effects that would reach further into my everyday life than I could initially imagine or comprehend. It scared the heck out of me, and the initial pity-party that ensued was a haze I had difficulty removing myself from. When the fog cleared and the strong woman in me returned to the forefront, it set me on a course of action. This was mostly a process of learning to live with the disease by seeing how far I could push my personal envelope. I looked in the mirror and well I was no longer that 19 year old girl who walked ten miles along Route 17B to attend Woodstock in 1969, but who amongst us elders is? Yet, I was still here and able to do everything I needed to from day-to-day, well almost. As time went on, I discovered that my levels of energy were greatly reduced and that my immune system was not exactly as strong as it had been. Suddenly I became prone to colds that turned into bronchial asthma; or numerous bouts of painful urinary tract infections than I ever had previously among other things.
I am unable to work a job outside of my home anymore. SSI disability which I receive is not quite enough to sustain me financially. Thus I have had to find ways to add to my income from home and so far between a script transcription service, my writing and other things, I’ve managed to successfully walk that line of earning money without disturbing or losing any of the disability, by carefully following their rules and guidelines on working and collecting SSI. I’ve been lucky, so far.
The onset and events of MS are termed, Exacerbations. I am keenly aware of my limitations and so far am fortunate enough to be able to say I truly believe that the once-a-week Avonex injections I was put on just after my first exacerbation has kept my MS from progressing so far. This is not to say I am fine; it is to say I am still able to function within limitations. However, I did not realize what the reaction of others in my life would be. People who saw me at first, witnessing my inability to move without a walker or a cane, seeing my fatigue, seemed appalled. My initial exacerbation was an almost a crippling affair but did improve in time, with treatment and in the first year, 4 hospital stays. Now that I appear and feel somewhat “normal”, can drive anywhere and walk without even the use of a cane, it is thought by many that I am, “better”. Since a lot of my MS is not visible to others, their assumption is, I am both normal and better. I am certainly improved, but I am never going to be without the effects of this disease again. That is now a fact of life and I can live with it just fine. My neurologists have told me that because of the late-onset I may not outlive all of the effects of Multiple Sclerosis. Armed with my personal knowledge and knowing a lot worse could possibly ensue I take this all in stride on a day to day basis. I am on my way, but it is the others in my life that need help adjusting.
MS can be an invisible disability to those who do not have it, particularly if your symptoms do not have you in a wheelchair. No one else knows if I am not sleeping well; if my body is tingling or if I am stiff when I sit for a period of time. People do not get why I am at times suddenly so fatigued I almost fall asleep standing up. With an immune system that barely functions if at all, I keep lots of Lysol and Clorox Wipes at the ready. I’ve added daily doses of zinc to avoid colds and cranberry capsules to keep those UTI in check. When faced with a known illness I remove myself or the sick person from my presence, if possible. This is not a selfish but rather a self-preservation mode and it is working for me, so far. It is really just the tip of the iceberg I employ to avoid illness. After all, there are so many more people one comes in contact with on the street, in stores and you simply have no knowledge of what sickness they may carry. So much is simply airborne and unavoidable. This is the first winter I haven’t been faced with a serious upper respiratory infection that has to enlist the aid of several runs of antibiotics as well as steroids to alleviate and thankfully not even one UTI!
I have been lucky and only I myself know that MS gives me good days and some not so good ones. Sometimes I must communicate this to others so they can understand. So many do not apply the term “chronic” nor can they comprehend how it affects my life and interaction with them. I may look like I’m in the pink, but oftentimes, I feel like I’m stuck in a gray area. I do not walk around in a constant state of, “I am sick” either. Instead, I seek that even keel which allows those close to me to understand just what I’m capable of on any given day and how susceptible to change this can be. This may necessitate a change of plans at a moment’s notice, but not by choice. It is the nature of the chronic beast that is MS. I still love you as much as I used to, but today is just not a “can do” day for me. Then too maybe a sudden onset of fatigue slows me down to a crawl. Bear with me I am sick but I just don’t advertise that fact much. I will give them signals only when and if I need to.
I guess I’ve just had the time to wrap my head around it,after dealing with it for nearly 7 years now. I understand that I cannot beat MS, that instead I must join it in order to survive and go forward. None of us age without having something to deal with physically and mentally in life, it goes with the territory. I know that this MS is 100% of the time, but as they say I have the disease, it does NOT have me, not yet anyway. I rarely talk about it because I feel strong enough most of the time to say that I am “still kickin.” My mom told me a long time ago to always answer “Great or fine!” when someone asks “How are you?”, and I do. Most have their own life “tsuris” (say surris it is Yiddish for “trouble”) and their inquiry is really just their way of being polite. Would that those who love and know people with this chronic disease understood this response is really just what we want to feel and what they want to hear, but it is not always the whole the truth. The truth is that chronic truly is always 100 percent of the time.
SUPERBOWL 2013 - MY TAKE:
Whatta game! The first half belonged to the Ravens as shown by the score. The second half MVP Flacco seemed to lose his mo factor but they held on to the trophy by virtue of the clock and the 49ers inability to take it away..a truly hard fought battle and it made for a great game.
The two best commercials - "So God Made a Farmer"
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lseM8j1sHJA and the Mercedes-Benz with Willam Dafoe http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oPNr0_6MnDo
Personally, I've always been a "live to eat and not an eat to live" kinda gal. We ate great here! Gary (my daughter's BF) who goes to culinary school and cooks like a chef made, amongst other things "Po Boy" New Orleans style sandwiches. Panko-breaded and fried shrimps on a roll with dressing and lettuce. We had a great and a yummy time.
Beyonce FRIED the BIG EASY with her halftime show and she brought her A Game. However it seemed that her electrifying performance took not only America's collective breath away, but also the power at the stadium....lol. The delay in starting the second half of SB 47 put the 49ners on the fast track and almost gave them the win. Loved it fellas although I am sure the Ravens loved it more than San Francisco.
Incredible food and sport, wonderfully expensive and some memorable tv spots and SUPER company made Superbowl Sunday 2013 a WIN WIN time at my house. Hope yours was too! ♥
EVEN ON YOUR BEST-DRESSED DAY YOUR UGLY SHINES THROUGH
By Harriette Schwartz
How sad that your need to attack stems so deep that you attempt to tear down the memories of others. Tragic that you obviously have no such highlights in your own life for if you did I am certain you would laud them and post them everywhere for all to see, for you are a braggart in addition to so many other nasty qualities.
Thus, you attempt to chastise those of us who do; whose lifetime accomplishments include photographs with people of note or events you could never be a part of. Beauty contests could never work for you, someone whose ugliness goes down to the bottom of their soul. Thus your need to make achievements of others seem small becomes another function of your scurrilous modus operandi. Unlike you, reminiscing about days gone by is normal. I guess sending out rambling messages under assumed names as if it were someone defending you on blog websites is apparently normal is in your book—NOT!
If you somehow think this petty jealousy will obliterate your childish and vile behavior, think again. The number of people who are wise to your modus operandi grows everyday. It is just a matter of time before you sit alone on your virtual group throne, wondering where all your members have gone. Well, what do you expect? You cannot tell an adult what Facebook groups they can and cannot join. Certainly you cannot punish a member with bouncing them from your group, simply because they join someone else’s and not expect retribution for such treatment. Get a clue you crazy loon, nobody likes or respects “Hitler-like” dictators.
Go ahead and delude yourself with the thought that these other Facebook groups are so awful in content that their membership numbers are declining daily. I got news for you pallie, both of the groups in question have been steadily growing in numbers everyday, with the people you have tried to bully for not obeying your edict not to join them. Isn’t it funny how your own angst is working against you? Oh, you don’t see the amusement in that? Hee hee, well we do.
Pallie, understand that your virtual empire is crumbling all around you and that no matter how hard you “cry wolf” and bemoan that others are stepping on you, people are beginning to see you as the real animal out to hurt everyone you cannot control. We see beneath that whiney “woe is me” exterior, right down to the ugliness that lies just under the surface. You are losing your grip and the audience enjoying, watching and laughing keeps on getting larger all the time.
CYBER-BULLIES: IF THE SHOE FITS
By Harriette Schwartz
I’ve been online since the mid 1990s and have met and dealt with all kinds of weirdos and nasties. On Facebook there is one in particular who thinks its okay to tell the many members of the “NY” group they created and run just what groups they are and are not allowed to be members of. The excuse they use for doing this is to say that the person (s) running those other groups are cyber-bullies who are bullying them. In order to ensure they do this bidding, they install weak-minded followers as members of these other groups to report back to them what is posted (so if it’s a good idea they can steal and use on the “NY” group) and to let them know which of their members has joined those other groups. If they discover one of their members has joined these so called offensive groups, run by cyber-bullies, they bounce those members from their group and unfriend them.
Well I discovered today that I am considered to be a cyber-bully by this by this Facebook loose cannon and that my group, THE CYBERBAR IS ALWAYS OPEN (which I created and have run since 2006 on many other social networks and is now on Facebook) is one of the groups this maniacal fool is trying to put out of business. Well of course, since this person stole my game concepts a little less than a year ago and then accused me of taking them from their group. However, many people who have known me since the old days and were members of Cyberbar back then knew that the shoe was really fitting the foot of my accuser -- the true cyber-bully and apparently a thief as well.
So to this true cyber-bully and pincher of things not your own I advise it is time for YOU to get a life. People are wising up to your childish antics and vile behavior and many of them either left your "NY" group, or were bounced by you from it for joining Cyberbar or another group you apparently have targeted as well and like me are tired of your crapola. The normal folk here on Facebook are really just here for fun..not your ridiculous brand of drama! The jig is all but up pallie and it is time for you to hang up your cyber-bully gloves.
CYBERSPACE – WHERE PEOPLE BELIEVE THEY ARE MOGULS
By Harriette Schwartz
I’ve been an online devotee since the mid-1990s--the days when AOL thought they could get away with charging hourly rates, until the competition taught them otherwise. I’ve been out here long enough to be a non-paying charter member of Match.com, a service I no longer use. I opted not to, ever since a gentleman I met there decided he would lure me with a photo of his son, instead of using one of his own. Let’s just say that reality bit him in the ass when we met face-to-face for a coffee.
Because virtual interaction makes impersonation easy, anyone can pretend to be anything they want to on the information superhighway. Sadly, sometimes the ruse is personal and the only party who really believes in the power they think they wield is themselves. Also sad are the number of “follower” souls available to them. Just as in real life the weak easy marks who will do the bidding of the stronger personalities can be found online too. Social networks provide a “home” for both. The, “mogal wannabe” will quickly install themselves in the position of leader, starting groups and insisting on having the most members, even attempting to sabotage other groups or affiliations in order to “be the biggest and thus the best.” They are not above spying on others and using numerous aliases to do so.
I am quite sure that there are many “mogal wannabes” residing on Facebook but I have only crossed paths with one so far. Many of my contemporaries have also run into this one. The games played and issues caused may have been virtual and truly of no consequence in the bigger scheme of things, but the evil and malice with which they were attempted is real. It is apparent that the real life of this person is empty, as the lurking, spying and nasty letters under various aliases keep coming to many of us.
How sad to think someone’s life is so empty as to make virtual activity their world. I don’t know about you but I probably spend more time than I should online. Yet and still I live in the real world. It is time to grow up already as the games you play are for children. To this, “mogal wannabe” I offer this quote from Elvis Presley: “Truth is like the sun. You can shut it out for a time, but it ain’t goin’ away”
ATTORNEYS - LOVE 'EM OR HATE 'EM?
BY HARRIETTE SCHWARTZ
We've all had the good, the bad and the ugly of legal dealings in life. While setting up some excel sheets with client leads for research I do for an attorney I began to think about a previous personal experience I had with one. Don't get me wrong, I love this guy I do work for..he gave me a job as an independent contractor back in 2006, and I still work for him today. I work from home and the extra money helps a great deal, being on a fixed income. However, I am not a fan of most attorneys as I've met up with some real, "ambulance chasers". I don't like generalizations and there are some good guys, like Mark who I do work for but unfortunately for the most part the ones I have had to deal with left a lot to be desired in both people skills and their degree of avarice. There was one in particular named Gerald Curry in the San Fernando Valley of Los Angeles who I truly wanted to kill. Apparently I was not alone in my feelings about Mr. Curry. You may have heard what happened to him...it was national news in 2003 (see link at the end of this story.)
The thing about Gerald Curry is, he deserved to be shot..well I think so. Curry was the lawyer that my late husband Jay hired to do his living trust, when he was dying of pancreatic cancer. In June of 1993, just after Jay died, I called Curry to ask some very basic questions. I truly had no choice. You see, I was the sole trustee with no prior experience at being one. I needed to ensure my daughter was taken care of as Jay had wanted. I had a few questions and concerns and it was a time of grief as well. I was stunned and angered to receive a bill from Mr. Curry for close to $1000! I reported him everywhere I could -- to the Better Business Bureau, the National and California Bar Associations--everywhere I could think of. It truly amazed me how those Bar associations did NOTHING...La Cage Aux Folles (translation: Birds of a Feather), I guess. I fought that bastard tooth and nail and so he did not get his full $1000. However, I was forced to pay him $250, this despite him NEVER advising me in advance that I was going to BE billed for the phone calls we had. People obviously do not forget this stuff, because if you Google Gerald Curry various reports of this story come up to this day. I think Curry got what he deserved and having dealt with him I can totally understand why William Striler shot him. Trust me, I wanted to shoot him myself!!
ONLINE ELECTION MANIA 11-7-12
By Harriette J. Schwartz
As a woman now in my 60s, I have had the privilege of voting in 11 Presidential elections. I long ago learned that there is no such thing as an honest or a good politician – just men and women who are working at Government jobs we elect them to. All the while they earnestly advise us they speak only the truth and ask for our votes again when the time rolls around. But those of us who have been at this voting process for some time realize that along the way, each of them has taken a path to their positions and it is likely that all of them have had to make deals with a devil or two along the way. The phrase “Honest Politician” is really just another oxymoron, so why bother to cast a vote? Well, as citizens of the United States none of us should standby and allow that privileged choice to be made for us by virtue of not going to the polls and pulling a lever or blackening in a bubble, because every vote DOES indeed count.
This last Presidential race was an incredibly close affair and was truly fought tooth and nail. It was also frought with some major issues of American life important to us all. At the forefront were things like the National debt, women’s rights, gay marriage, healthcare and Medicare, and immigration. All these hotspots fanned some major temper flare-ups and fires. Interestingly, much of it played out in the social-media arena, more so than I can ever remember previously being the case. Venues like Facebook and Twitter lit up like old-time phone switchboards. Truths and innuendos with pros and cons; ugly accusations and even uglier cartoons and pictures were created and posted with mad abandon. All of us got and many of us took the opportunity to blatantly voice our choices and opinions in a way we’ve never been able to before and everyone either ate it up and participated or moaned and groaned awaiting the election so it all would let up. Friends as well as enemies were made or blocked in the virtual world over this election.
Tempers truly flared and even after Obama was reelected there were outcries of bad blood spattering everywhere! Witness Donald Trump who tweeted on Twitter: "This election is a total sham and a travesty. We are not a democracy!" It is interesting to note this “cry foul for Romney” comes from a man born with a silver spoon as they say and one who wants for nothing. Could this be a case of la cage aux folles? Even the winning side pundits had some nasty post-election rhetoric, with things like, ‘Ann Romney is happy she doesn’t have to move into a smaller house’ with a photo of the White House behind the words. Suffice to say it is more likely just the steam being released from a very closely and a rather hotly contested Presidential race. The aftermath fuming of millions who voiced it all in the social media realm. Everyone thought their guy just could NOT lose, but somebody had to.
Though there is still a firestorm of pros and cons, the Presidential Election is now history and the online Sunami it created is headed back out to sea for another four years. Things will calm back down to a business as usual mode once more. In January Barak Obama will begin a new term and have his second chance at bat. As a Nation we must have his back. Our President still has a very full-plated agenda and I for one do hold a prayer that Mr. Obama and Congress will have the best interests and needs of America and all her citizens at heart. I know there are many who will read this and disagree. Well, I agree to disagree with them – and so it goes.