Monday, November 06, 2017

One Year After His Death, I am Grieving for George Michael for the First Time

I recently watched the George Michael documentary on Showtime, and I was completely moved to tears. The first time I watched it, my heart ached greatly. But the second time I watched it, my heart completely broke for him. Even now, days afterward, I can't stop myself from crying when I listen to Jesus to a Child.

I am amazed at all that I learned from it. The things I discovered about George have changed my opinion of him permanently and watching it a second time made everything that much clearer. First of all, I had no idea he was so driven and so dedicated to his craft. He was an amazing songwriter and he spent a considerable amount of time devoted to that aspect of his business.

And he had a voice like an angel. I had always enjoyed his songs, but I only knew what I heard on top 40 radio. Ironically, despite being a writer and a lyricist myself, I never took the time to understand him or his music. Now that I know what was behind many of his songs, I am a changed person.

For instance, take the song Freedom. If I saw any of the news items about George trying to get out of his Sony contract, at the time, I never paid much attention to it. Now I have seen how central it was to his life and how it was choking him to the point where he couldn't grow into the artist he wanted to be. And the song reflects that:

Heaven knows I was just a young boy ... Didn't know what I wanted to be ... I was every little hungry schoolgirl's pride and joy ... And I guess it was enough for me ... To win the race? A prettier face! ...  Brand new clothes and a big fat place On your rock and roll TV ... But today the way I play the game is not the same No way ... Think I'm gonna get me some happy ... I think there's something you should know ... I think it's time I told you so ... There's something deep inside of me ... There's someone else I've got to be ... Take back your picture in a frame ... Take back your singing in the rain ... I just hope you understand Sometimes the clothes do not make the man.

After Wham, they wanted him to continue making those same pop songs and he was saying, no that's not me anymore. I want to grow as an artist. I want to be able to explore and try new things with my music.

But the biggest revelation for me was in his personal life. I had no idea that he found his one true love -- Anselmo -- and that he lost him after just six months to AIDS, and pined for him for the rest of his life despite being in a long-term relationship years later. And then a few years later his mother -- the main rock in his life -- died. So he lost the two people who mattered to him more than anyone. And it broke him. He says in the documentary that he didn't write for almost six years. I can understand why.

But then, also, during that difficult time, he had to keep the fact that he was gay hidden -- from the public, but also from his family. So while he was grieving for his soulmate, he couldn't even grieve openly or publicly.

Then when he did finally start writing again, he wrote healing songs. He wrote Jesus to a Child for Anselmo, and later dedicated an entire album to him. But the first time I heard Jesus to a Child was in the documentary and it broke me. I cried, and I cried the next 5 times I heard it. Tears are welling up in my eyes right now just writing about it.

Kindness in your eyes ... I guess you heard me cry ... you smiled at me, like Jesus to a child. ... And what have I learned from all this pain ... I thought I'd never feel the same about anyone or anything again ... but now I know, when you find love ... when you know that it exists ... then the lover that you miss ... will come to you on those cold nights ... when you've been loved ... when you know it holds such bliss ... then the lover that you missed ... will comfort you when there's no hope in sight. 

So now I understand how he could die of natural causes at such a young age (53). Yes, he suffered from drug issues for a while, but I know that's not what killed him. He died of a broken heart. And God took pity on him because his suffering never ceased and said come my child, I will take your pain away. Come reunite with the ones you loved who left you.

And it makes me realize that while his death is painful for those of us left behind (still crying), I know it is the best thing to happen to him because he's with the two people who mattered to him more than anything, and now they can never be taken away from him again.

It hurts, but I'm a better person for it. And I will cherish his music in completely new ways now, and I will discovered songs he wrote that I never knew existed. So thank you Showtime for the gift of learning about George's life and music, and thank you George for the wonderful musical gifts you gave us.

Here's where a person would normally say, 'rest in peace'. But I don't think that suits him. To George Michael I would say have fun up there, and be happy.

If you like to read fiction, please check out my novel, In Fashion's Web on Amazon.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

The Best Way to Overcome Melting Glaciers and Rising Water is Desalination

Our oceans are rising. Our pure water is shrinking. So why wouldn't we focus some serious energy on perfecting salt water desalination?

We shouldn't be wasting our reservoir water for our toilets and lawns and gardens. If we perfected salt water desalination all over the world, at least to use for non-potable areas, not only would we have more water sources in areas where there are a lack of water sources, but droughts would become a thing of the past.

Also, during flooding and hurricane season, we should have more water towers and tanker trucks that can collect thousands of gallons of water all over the south and then this water should be trucked to the west coast to help put out the wild fires. And if we had water desalination plants, they could be easily refilled over and over again.

We have more water than we can use, both in the oceans and on land, and we're not taking control of it. Meanwhile, fires are being left to burn out because we don't have enough water or other solutions to contain them.

Why don't we use all this water to our advantage instead of letting it control us?

If you like to read fiction, check out my novel, In Fashion's Web on Amazon.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

My Favorite Halloween Costume Ever (of My Own Costumes)

Once I was invited to a Halloween party. I was told the theme was superheroes and that everyone had to come dressed as a superhero. Now you didn't have to be one of the traditional ones. You could make one up and be anything you wanted to be as long as you were a superhero. 

So it was getting close to the weekend of the party and I still hadn't come up with an idea. So I closed my eyes and put my fingertips to my temples and said, think, Lynn, who are you? Be who you are. What type of superhero would represent the inner you? 

So I immediately came up with the idea of "Super Editor". I was (and still am) an editor, so I thought, why not Super Editor? The first thing I did was made my costume look like one big red pen. You know, editors edit in red pen so I was, virtually, a red pen. I took a piece of red construction paper and twisted it into a cone with a wide bottom and a point at the top and put it on my head. 

Then I had a big red t-shirt and black leggings. On the front of the t-shirt I drew a 'delete' symbol with a black marker. A delete symbol is kind of like a curl in the middle with a straight end on the top and bottom. And my slogan was "I delete crime", so I wrote that on the back of the shirt. 

Then I took a broomstick, took the broom off the top, and made a delete symbol out of red felt and glued it to the top of the stick. Then all night long I walked up to people, stuck out my staff and said, "I delete you!!" It was so corny it was super-fun. 

If only I could delete crime with a simple delete symbol, right? Anyway, if you're looking for a Halloween costume, perhaps create something that truly represents you, like I did. 

Happy Halloween!

If you like to read fiction, check out my novel, In Fashion's Web on Amazon.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

The Day My Boss's Wife Sent me to Go Pick up Her Pot

I was 19 years old and working as the executive secretary to the president of a small, family-run HVAC (heating, ventilating and air conditioning) contractor.

The company was building a kind of co-op city in Tehran, Iran. This was about 5 years before the Iranian hostage crisis, back in the late seventies.

My boss, the president, had been in Tehran for 3 months and was expected to be home over the weekend.

On Friday morning, his wife calls. She asks me to pick up a package for her that was coming in from her father-in-law's Brooklyn office at a construction site in New Rochelle. Since it was a small company, it was very common for me to make deliveries for them. I drove into New York City about once a month to deliver paychecks and other packages to construction sites. So the request wasn't unusual.

So she gives me the directions and tells me who to see. Now one of the employees had previously told me that the boss smoked pot and that they get it from this guy who works in the Brooklyn office. So right away I'm thinking, a special reunion weekend for the hubby and wifey? Hmmm.

Of course, I didn't say anything. I went down to the construction site as was requested and I was handed a plain yellow envelope. So plain it was ominous. And this envelope was covered in more tape than an entire hockey's team's ankles. That, of course, only strengthened my suspicions.

So I exited the construction site and drove down about two blocks, making sure I wasn't visible from the site, and pulled over. My curiosity was killing me. I just had to know. So I looked the envelope over front to back, trying to find the best corner of the tape that I could gently peel back without ripping it. I very carefully removed it, and had to remove a couple more pieces before I could get the envelope open. Thankfully, there were no rips.

Finally, I opened the envelope and there it was: an ounce of pot rolled up in a baggy. I smelled it for a moment before sealing it back up. But my boss and his wife were none the wiser. They never knew that I knew.

Just one of those funny little memories in life that you look back on and laugh!

Please check out my novel, In Fashion's Web on Amazon.

Four Ways We Should Be Maximizing Our Planet's Resources Right Now

The sun is free and there's plenty of it. So why wouldn't we take advantage of it?

In the summer, there are always power surges from all the air conditioners on at the same time, and some communities even organize rolling brownouts to make sure there is enough electricity for everyone.

So here's a way to make sure we always have enough electricity, and that we're not paying an arm and a leg for it either: every electric company building should have a solar farm on its roof. And every piece of property owned by any electric company should have solar panels on it.

Of course, not every part of the country gets the same amount of sunshine. But why not take advantage of the sunshine we do get? It's not like we're going to use it all up.

If they do that, solar energy would become so advanced and the price would become so affordable that more and more homes would be able to incorporate solar panels on their roofs as well.

Tesla Solar is even making roofs out of solar material. That's the way to go with every house. I hope I live long enough to see a day when every roof is made of solar material and actually serves as an energy producer, relieving our dependence on the energy grid.

That's my first idea. My second idea is this about water. Think about all the purified water that is sold today. Millions of bottles a year. Eventually -- and probably in the not too distant future -- we're going to run out of fresh water! We need to do two things and do them well.

1) We need to start collecting rainwater in a more strategic way. That means the plumbing systems for every building and home should have an automatic rain collection system that sends filtered rainwater to nonpotable sources -- such as in toilets, and for watering lawns and gardens, so that it becomes a process that residents aren't required to proactively manage. This way, there's 100% buy-in instead, of, say, 20% buy-in.

2) We need to put some serious energy into learning how to desalinate salt water. If we could do this well and do it all around the coastline, we would virtually eliminate droughts. Then we could teach other countries to do it too. Or maybe other countries are already doing it better and we should be looking to them for lessons in doing this well.

My third idea is converting all landfills to energy. In 2010, Americans made 250 million short tons of trash, according to Wikipedia. That's just one year! It would be great if we cultivated all the methane gas that emanates from decomposing landfills and used it to create energy. Good news: we're actually doing a lot of that now, according to Forbes. But I'd also like to see us get better at burning garbage and turning all that elimination into energy as well. I think it would great if, someday, we were so good as recycling our waste that there was no such thing as a landfill.

Finally, my fourth idea is complete commercial and government commitment. I think reuse, recycling and composting should be big business. I would love to see the top 10 on the Fortune 500 include the number one recycling company in the country. And it would be great if the recycling industry was so large and so well run that it was a top 10 job producer in America.

There are pockets of these ideas everywhere. I think it would be great if these ideas simply became the way the country -- and the planet -- were run.

Please check out my novel, In Fashion's Web on Amazon.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

The Right Way to Accept Refugees, in my Opinion

According to the Hartford Institute, there are approximately 350,000 religious congregations in the United States. What if, say 10% of these -- that would be 35,000 -- each sponsored one refugee family?

Suppose it would work like this. Each religious institution and its congregation would be responsible for adopting one family. They would find that family a place to live in their community. Church donations would help with the first month's rent and the security. They would help the parents write resumes and find jobs, show them how to get around the neighborhood, teach them English, help them enroll the children in school, show them where the grocery store is, teach them about American culture, give them names and phone numbers of doctors, and basically be there for them every step of the way for a year or more.

If just 10% of all the congregations in the whole United States did this, that would be 35,000 refugees. These people would become easily and well integrated into society without the need for state or federal funding.

They would be spread out in communities all across America rather than in one community or one state. They would not live off of American taxpayer dollars and at the rate of, say, two per neighborhood or even one family per town/city, they wouldn't be taking jobs away from existing Americans.

Does this kind of plan make sense to anyone other me? It's sort of like the expression "it takes a village". Well maybe it really does take a village.

Some people get really upset when there is talk about tens of thousands of refugees being taken in by the United States. I get it. I understand their concerns. But if we did it in a way where we didn't just throw open the doors and said here you go! Knock yourself out! And leave them to their own devices with no help and no support -- if we integrated them into society one family at a time, and gave each individual family the help they needed through volunteers, wouldn't we all -- not just the refugees, but everyone -- be in a better place?

Please check out my novel, In Fashion's Web on Amazon.

Tuesday, December 06, 2016

With Today's Traffic Levels, All Left Hand Turns Should Have a Turning Arrow

No matter where you live or work today, traffic is a problem. A big problem.

And one of the biggest problems with traffic is trying to make a left hand turn. There's nothing more frustrating than sitting at a light and watching all the traffic go by while the light goes from green to yellow to red, and you didn't move.

There's a simple solution, and frankly, I can't believe that city traffic managers and mayors haven't already realized this: Every light where there is a left hand turn should have a turning arrow.

Ironically, left hand turning arrows are not as common as you might think. If every city made them standard procedure for every left turn, then traffic would flow more smoothly and stress levels among people everywhere would be reduced.

This is not a joke. I am not kidding. In the town where I work, it's a chronic problem. I hope that all city traffic managers are listening and will do something about this annoying situation.

Thank you.

Please check out my novel, In Fashion's Web on Amazon.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

"A Woman of Substance" is a Book of Substance: A Great Read

A Woman of Substance is the best book I have read in years and I highly recommend it to any woman who loves a great love story. Barbara Taylor Bradford's epic tome kept me on the edge of my seat for all 868 pages.

For the first few chapters, I will admit I was a little bored. But the quote on the front cover kept drawing me back: "A might saga. Little has been so riveting since Gone with the Wind." Eventually, my curiosity got the better of me and I was glad it did. 

A Woman of Substance is the story of Emma Harte, a poor maid in 1904 England who rises up above her station to become one of the wealthiest women in Great Britain. Her determination and perseverance are intoxicating, as are the men in her life. 

Barbara Taylor Bradford is masterful at love scenes, and as a Brit herself, she certainly knows her British history. I loved the accents and smiled at the sweet endearments such as when Blackie said "mavourneen" or Frankie said "our Em". 

One thing that makes a good book is when it leaves you wanting more. I found myself questioning throughout, what if she had married so and so? Her life would have been so different. 

In addition to love, heartache, determination, success, pain, romance, etc., the book has a strong element of revenge in it, and I happen to love revenge stories!

I don't want to give away any of the best parts so I'll leave it there. But please make A Woman of Substance your next book today. Trust me, you won't want to put it down.

Please check out my novel, In Fashion's Web on Amazon.

Hail Mary: It's Nice Having a Woman to Pray to Sometimes

Catholics pray to Mary, the mother of Jesus. Not all Christians do. I'm Methodist now and Mary is nowhere to be found in the Methodist church except in the Bible. 

But growing up, I liked having a woman to pray to in addition to God. Sometimes there were things that I felt a woman would be more compassionate about. Sometimes I just felt she understood.

I remember when I first learned how to say the prayer, Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of my death, Amen. 

My mother taught me the Hail Mary when I was six or seven years old. It was evening, and she was down on her hands and knees scrubbing the kitchen floor. I don't know why she didn't just use a mop, but my mother was a perfectionist when it came to cleanliness. 

So here I was standing in the doorway between the dining room and the kitchen. I wasn't allowed to step on the kitchen floor. So as she crawled around with wet rag in hand, she would recite a line, and I would repeat, and we did this over and over until I got the whole prayer down. 

To this day, every time I recite the Hail Mary, or even think about it, I think about my mom down on her knees scrubbing the kitchen floor and me trying to be careful not to cross over the line and step on her wet floor. I can picture it clear as day, as if it was yesterday.

Since my mom is gone now, I cherish memories like these. And since Mary is a mom too, I know she understands my sense of loss. Sometimes, it's just nice to have a woman to pray to.

Please check out my novel, In Fashion's Web on Amazon.