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Archive for June, 2009

When I was little, I used to hear the grownups say like father, like son or she’s just like her mother. The one I liked the best was the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. Those remarks were made whenever the two family members had one trait or another in common, such as a son liking to hunt or fish just like his father, or a girl loving clothes or parties just like her mother. It seemed that the saying about the apple and the tree was reserved for a son who seemed to have strayed from what was expected of him and finally after some time lapse, he returned to the fold.

But when I think about it based on my own experience, it is more likely that the father and son, or the daughter and mother, have more dissimilar traits than the one that puts them into the same mold. Sometimes a mother loves fashion and high style clothes while her daughter chooses not to compete on that level and decides to look like a hippie or a punk or a rocker–while each is the carbon copy of the other in looks.

I’ve seen religious parents have children who became atheists. I’ve seen very social parents have children who are introverts and loners. I’ve seen young intellectuals come from working parents who have no use for the arts or culture. And on it goes. Obviously not all apples fall right under their trees. Perhpas the winds of change blow them in some other direction and sometimes that direction is sending our cuture forward.

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It’s been all about Michael Jackson on the news ever since he died. The first reaction was shock. The second was the curiosity about what happened. And the third was an outpouring of grief. There were pictures upon pictures of people rushing to his home, to the hospital, to his star on Hollywood Boulevard leaving flowers and candles, while shedding tears. Tears!! Why tears? I don’t understand. I think I’d cry if I lost a family member, or a close friend, or maybe someone with whom I could identify in any way. But Michael Jackson? I don’t think so. What I do feel is pity for the life he lived.

It has come out now that it is very probable that he died of an overdose of demerol, or perhaps another drug or combination of drugs. Why? Why is it that someone with so much talent, so much success, so much money and adulation would need to take drugs? Is it possible that he had no self-esteem when he began his career. Is it possible that he had no self-confidence in himself and doublted that he could perform at a level that was expected of him. Did he need to face these challenges with the help of the stimulus of drugs? Did they make him feel a mile high?

I think that his attempt to transform himself from a black man to a feminized white person was his attempt to get away from the negative self-image that he had of himself. The remarkable thing is that a man who seemed to have so many gifts didn’t have the gift of self-assurance. I think it is that quality that comes after you think you might be able to perform in your chosen field (self-esteem), after you have tested yourself and know you can perform (self-confidence), and then can face the world with self-assurance (accepting yourself for who you are, regardless of how your perform at any given time.)

Perhaps we mere mortals without any talent find it easier to accept ourselves for who we are without resorting to  such powerful, artificial, reality changing means.

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I got an invitation the other day from a woman who is supposed to be my friend, yet I don’t really consider her on that level. Not that she isn’t really nice. She is. Along with that she is intelligent, attractive and charming. What’s missing? Well, I guess the bottom line is that we have nothing in common. No, that isn’t it. We do have some things in common: our social status, our ethnicity, our political views, we are approximately the same age and even our kids are about the same age.

But then our different life style and values trump the rest. I hate to shop; she loves to shop. I wear minimal jewelry; she is loaded up. I dress casually; she is a fashion plate, even at a barbeque. I stay out of my adult kids lives as best I can; she is a major player in her kids affairs. I spend time being active in sports; she goes to luncheons. She is nice though. Why can’t I elevate her to being my friend?

I resolved that two people really had to had some thing in common, even if it is only one thing. In my case I have a close friend who I grew up with, a close friend who I went to school with, a close friend with whom I shared the ups and owns of raising children. I have friends with whom I play tennis, with whom I travel, with whom I do my writing, and with whom I feel accepted, strengths and weaknesses combined. With each we have something in common. My God, what would I do without my friends.

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Learning the Internet

I’m expecting a friend to come and spend the weekend with us and I was going to write this blog about relationships. In the meantime, I was going to do some catch up work on the internet. But first, I must tell you how excited I am about the upgrade on my website. Now, finally all of it is in the same font, a flaw that I didn’t even see until my webmaster pointed it out to me. The other thing he did was to post all the future events I have booked and, even more exciting, build two new pages into the site.

So, while all that is happening I went to a talk about how to make the internet work for you by someone who is so far ahead of me that he might as well have been talking in Chinese. Remember, I have just gotten a handle of the meaning of RSS and after spending a zillion hours on learning that, decided not to use it on my website. Anyway, this internet guru lectured us at his talk about how important it was to not only be on the top social networking sites, but also to get on Digg, Stumbleupon, Del.ici.os, Reddit, etc. etc. And ere I am having my hands full with about six to seven sites already. Sometimes I forget which ones I am on.

I feel a little like all the ducks in a row at a shooting gallery in a carnival. No matter how fast the first duck moves, the second duck never will be able to catch up. I’m afraid I am that second duck. The other thought I had was about all the friends I have who play bridge. Bridge, day after day, hour after hour, all in the hope that they won’t get Alzheimer’s, or that they will get it maybe three months later. Well, I don’t have to play bridge. I have my internet to figure out.

Don’t have time for a “relationships blog” today. Perhaps next time. But…I noticed that now there are more than three hundred of you out there who have read my blog!!! Who are you? I have only gotten 7 comments. How about saying hello? Tell me if you like my blog babble or not. I can take it.

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Talking to Myself

I’ve been told that the best way for me to marketBecoming Alice is to join a bunch of social network sites and let other people do it for me. Those were the same people who wanted to help me by charging a ton of money to get me started to social network. Being a depression baby, my first gut response always is can’t I do this thing on my own? Perhaps if it would have only been a little bit of money I would have jumped at the chance. But, Holy Moses, the prices were astronomical.

I think the reason I haven’t posted blogs more often is that I am in the throws of figuring this thing out on my own.  The first thing I did is register with so many sites that I didn’t learn anything about any of them. Luckily I could eliminate My Space right away because I was invited to “connect” with someone I thought to be an out and out pervert. Several of the other sites seemed not to be favorable for what I needed and I got rid of them one by one. Now, I am down to three sites: Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn and three others that I wish I had more time for: Shelfari, AuthorsDen, and the Librarything. Some other fun stuff is on You Tube and Flickr.

Of course, I also set up this blog on WordPress all by myself! At first I thought I was talking to myself on all of those sites. The pundits said it takes time, like five or six months. I waited patiently and found out they were right. Little by little, I’d get an invitation to “be a friend” or be asked to “connect” with someone. I’m very picky about my friends so that took a litlle time. But now I do have a handful of them on most of my sites.

As for my WordPress blog, I had only received three or four Comments and thought I was really talking to myself the whole time. Then I discovered that I can check my Blog Stats and found out that almost three hundred people had viewed my blog. Gee, why didn’t you guys ever say hello? Send me a comment. Tell me what you think. I’d love to know I’m not talking to myself.

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I remember back when I was just beginning to listen to the food gurus and the effects of certain kinds of food on your coronaries, your weight, your longevity, etc. We were told to stay away from trans fats which is still a no-no and encouraged to eat fruits and vegetables…still an accepted rule. But then I remember being told, emphatically, not to eat shrimp. Caring about my health, I didn’t … except to cheat every now and then. A short time later, we were told not to drink coffee. That was a hard one for me. I couldn’t really follow that one too well. And then, fast forward a bit of time, shrimp all of a sudden became okay. And coffee was also allowed. Bless the hundred year old woman who, answering someone who asked her what she attributed her longevity too, replied, “Strong, black coffee!”

Now it is now and I am busy marketing my memoir Becoming Alice and I have been advised by so many prople in this book business that I should get a presence on the internet by joining a bunch of social networking sites and writing a blog and articles. People will find me and buy a bunch of books. As is my custom I obeyed dutifully since I’ve learned I’m a pretty good writer but don’t know squat about marketing.

I was getting along pretty well until this week when I read some articles, through the LinkedIn site, that state blogging isn’t worth anything and social networking sites are not much better. I was just about to give up on the sites when I started to get some action going here and there. I thought about giving up blogging, but then I discovered a fair number of people are actually ready my words. Besides, I think I already told you I like writing.

So, the bottom line is: I eat shrimp. I drink (much) coffee. And they’ll never take chocolate and writing away from me.

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http://laurareviews.net/2009/06/laura-interviews-alice-rene-author-of.html

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