Random Thoughts

Carry out a random act of kindness, with no expectation of reward, safe in the knowledge that one day someone might do the same for you.
--Princess Diana
Today my grandmother would have been 110 years old. She passed away in 1987 at 86, and I still miss her, but she will always remain in my heart. Whenever I do or say anything that is slightly off-the-wall, I can still hear her voice in my head, chiding me.

Her favorite saying, "Never forget where you came from, and never forget your people."

She lived in fascinating times of rapid technological advances--"horseless" carriages, flight, radio, TV, computers--and almost lived long enough to see the advent of the internet as a mass medium. I often wonder what she would have thought about it.

I suspect, "Not much."

So, Happy Birthday, Mo, where ever you may be!

I'm definitely on the mend; I have ditched the Tylenol completely with very minimal pain. Fortunately, I have been able to remain physically active, very important for healing.

Our Scranton trip was interesting; we saw Steamtown (awesome) and hit two different casinos (Mohegan Sun and Hollywood Casino)--we came out about even, which is actually a win when it comes to gambling. The purpose of the trip was a Pennsylvania College English Association (PCEA) Board meeting for Jerry--I was just along for the ride, although I do belong to PCEA as a regular member.

I also discovered that "The Office," which I don't watch, is set in Scranton.

It's a nice walking city, but like too many U.S. cities, both small and large, the downtown is not very busy, at least in terms of pedestrians. I'm not picking on Scranton, per se, for I see the same empty streets everywhere I go. Philadelphia was especially bad--after 5:00 p.m., that's it. The streets roll up, and everyone seems to head for the burbs.

Europeans still embrace their down towns (called "centers"), where everything happens from early in the morning to well into the night: festivals, markets, outdoor cafes, rock groups, clubs, etc.

On Mother's Day, York had a street fair, which reminded me very much of what happens daily in Skopje, Macedonia, where I spent 10 months as a Fulbright Scholar. Why can't U.S. cities promote the same kind of activities? We are so concerned about the "obesity problem," but we don't set up our infrastructure and our cultural norms to encourage walking as an ordinary activity. Instead, we end up using treadmills and gyms for our exercise--not at all organic or natural. Also, many cities outlaw outdoor cafes and impromptu markets, which, in my mind, is ludicrous. The best way to draw people downtown is to create businesses and activities that will draw people from the suburbs and city dwellers who might then decide to walk downtown.

Long Live Foot Power!

I don't especially like walking in York, although Jerry and I have started walking around our neighborhood. Sure beats the boring (and treacherous) treadmill...

One last note: remember that your words, spoken or written, good or ill, can have a huge impact on someone else, and you may even help change the course of that person's life, so make what you say meaningful in a positive way. I won't say any more than that, except to say that we should always weigh what we say very carefully because once it's said, there's no taking it back.

If what you say is nasty, then all you can do is apologize and hope for forgiveness.

If possible, it is so much better to say something positive or say nothing at all.



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