The Return of Creativity

On the Road South Again

I was reminded again this month how the pandemic put a hold on on most of my creativity as a writer, except blogs. I

felt that I was just struggling to keep

my health together and lucky to be reading and using my studies on meditation with Pragito Dove

during that time. My friend and companion Bob Allen also kept me hopeful,

And now I am additionally recovering from cataract surgery.  My left eye was operated on in June, my right in

early July and I am delighted that I don’t need glasses anymore –

although my Doctor will soon give me a prescription for reading, since very small print requires me to

occasionally use a magnifying glass.

I am looking forward to traveling again later this month to visit Bob’s son Wes and his family in Richmond, Va.

It will be my first visit to Virginia since I used to live in Reston before the death of my late husband Tim.

Since I plan to start writing a tribute to Tim when I return, the trip should bring back a flood of memories!

Honoring Chelsea and Alabama

May was an incredible month that included a road trip to Alabama and South Carolina – and a bridal shower for an amazing great-niece, Chelsea Holland. 

First, the shower for Chelsea Holland and her fiancé Mike was held in a beautiful venue, MacRay Harbor in Harrison Township, Mi.  It was a chance to spend time with relatives I have rarely seen during the pandemic.  I met my niece Cheryl, sister of the bride-to-be’s mother Linda Holland, for a quick trip to the beach in Harrison Township – joined by my partner Bob Allen.  I was at a table with my sister-in-law Maria and her daughter Susan.  The pandemic had kept us apart, but it was fun to catch up.  I was amazed at the energy of my great niece’s mom Linda, a chiropractor at Henry Ford Hospital.  I also met the mother of the groom Mike for the first time.

The road trip in Bob’s car included visits with my late husband Tim Robinson’s family – Terah and Bob Sherer and Nelson and Connie Robinson.  I had missed them greatly during the pandemic.  I was able to interview  Nelson to get family history for a tribute book on Tim.  Sadly, one of Tim’s closest friends from high school, Rick Watson, had died lat year – but we got to visit with his widow Jilda, who had also been a classmate of Tim’s – and she gave us a tour of her remarkable family property in Empire and a delicious home-cooked meal. We also met her two sweet rescue dogs.

The trip ended in S. Carolina with an amazing stay over-night with my late husband’s sister-in-law Martha, whose late husband died in California.  Martha eventually returned to her home state and now lives in a new home in Simpsonville SC.  She put us up overnight and treated us to an amazing meal in a top-rated local restaurant.  What a beautiful ending to our southern trip!

OUT OF THE WOODS

When I was young, I adored the book Walden, Life in the Woods, by Henry David Thoreau.  I lived in the city, but had grandparents in the country – my mom’s family lived on a wooded farm near Saginaw, Michigan and my dad’s parents lived in a rural area near Lake Erie in Canada. 

Now I enjoy that my Condo’s deck overlooks the neighboring woods across the fence.  It is home to wild critters that include deer, rabbits and groundhogs.  There is also a walking path around the woods.  I often go there to enjoy the small patch of wilderness up close. The path also offers a chance to see the deer in their habitat. They don’t jump the fence.  But the groundhogs continually dig a path under the fence.   I’ve had to secure my deck with wiring and bricks against the visiting groundhogs.

Over the last five years it worked effectively, but I am currently facing my first new challenge.  This year the groundhogs seem bigger and more powerful.  One persistent critter managed to push aside bricks and dig under the wiring.  A call to my condo management brought a cage set up by the local trapper.  Within about three days a critter was caught and set free in an upstate preserve. 

This reoccurrence made me think again of the film “Groundhog Day”.  It’s a beautiful film that was set in Pennsylvania about the yearly February Ceremony where Punxsutawney Phil predicts an early spring or six more weeks of winter, depending on whether he casts a shadow.   I watched the film again this spring – and guess what?  I find It hard to dislike groundhogs.  I am so glad we can just offer any intruders under my deck a beautiful alternative trip upstate!

Women’s History Month – 2021

March is Women’s History Month and it reminds me of my own long journey.  I started college at Wayne State University in Detroit in the mid-60s and joined the campus paper when a friend from Cass Tech High School asked me to join her in checking out WSU’s student newspaper.  I was fascinated first by the photography department and worked with David Welsh – now a long-time friend.   I spent a year as a photographer before I grew more interested in being a reporter.

I had assumed that by junior year I would be doing student teaching for a career in education.  However, when I finally took my first education class, I knew that I wanted to be a journalist, not a teacher.  Luckily I had met another student determined to be a journalist, my friend Peggy Fisk.  She urged me to work with her in the Daily Collegian’s editorial department.  It gave me the courage to later interview for a local newspaper, the Macomb Daily, where I landed a job on the women’s page.  I gradually moved over to the general news pages.  It’s hard to believe there was a time that women were confined to one category – women’s news.

And I’m glad I had support on my journey, which included newspapers, publishing and publicity.  I eventually also got a graduate degree in Communications Management from USC when I moved to California with my husband Tim Robinson.  Yes, we had to push the boundaries, but women today keep breaking barriers, including the first woman vice president.  Onwards!

Cicely Tyson’s last interview

Distinguished actress Cicely Tyson had just finished her memoir and it was officially released last week.  I saw the 96-year-old actress Interviewed by CBS anchor Gayle King on CBS Morning News just a few days before her death and made a note to get more information on the book, “Just As I am.”  It chronicles Tyson’s extraordinary life.

Cicely met up with Gayle at her church in the Harlem neighborhood of New York City for a socially distanced interview. I was lucky to be able to watch the interview as Cicely opened up about her career, her romances, and her legacy.

“I’m amazed every single day I live,” she said in response to being asked how it feels to be amazed. She was asked if she feels she has more to do and she responded, “Yes, that’s why I’m still here. I mean, what my life became is not what I expected. I had no idea that I would touch anybody.”

At the end of the interview, Gayle asked Cicely, “When the time comes, what do you want us to remember about you?” She responded, “I’ve done my best. That’s all.”  A humble summary for an extraordinary life.

Attack on our Democracy

This email came from my Congressman, Dan Kildee of Flint on Jan. 7th.

Attack on our Democracy

Janet

Like you, I am horrified by the attack on the U.S. Capitol and our democracy.

Never in my wildest dreams did I ever imagine I would have to lie on the floor of the House Chamber, fearing for my own life and for the safety of others, as police dispersed tear gas and guns were drawn to stop an angry mob from taking over Congress.

I am grateful to the U.S. Capitol Police for their efforts to protect Members of Congress, our staff members and the institution at large. This moment we now find ourselves in requires brutal honesty and hard truths—about how this could have happened and where we go from here. Every American, regardless of party, should be outraged about this attack on our democracy.

Let me be clear: President Trump, and his enablers, have brought us to this moment of violence and chaos. For years, many Republican leaders have turned a blind eye as the president ratcheted up his hate-filled rhetoric. Just yesterday, hours before angry mobs of Trump supporters broke into the U.S. Capitol, Rudy Giuliani called for “trial by combat.” The president’s son threatened Members of Congress who didn’t vote to overturn the results of the election, saying “we’re coming for you and we’re going to have a good time doing it.” And the president himself expressed his love for those that had just broken into the Capitol, calling them “very special” people.

We have every right to be angry, but no one should be surprised that this type of rhetoric led to the deadly violence we saw yesterday.

There’s no warranty or guarantee on the back of the Constitution. As the world witnessed yesterday, things can fall apart quickly. This democracy is what we make of it. If we want to preserve our way of life and the rule of law, then it requires all of us to remain vigilant, speak truth to power and demand better.

Thankfully, democracy prevailed. Despite yesterday’s horrific events, Congress came back into session and certified the results of the 2020 presidential election. In 13 days, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris will be sworn in as the next President and Vice President of the United States. Their leadership is sorely needed so that our country can begin to heal.

— Dan

Congressman Dan Kildee – a Flint native – is proud to represent Michigan’s Fifth District. As a Democratic party leader, Dan is fighting hard to ensure every American has access to quality health care, clean water and a good-paying job. The path to protect the Democratic majority in the House runs right through the Midwest, and as Heartland Engagement Chair, Dan’s job is to protect and elect Democratic candidates.