Wednesday, November 01, 2006

On Thursday, September 21st, I attended the monthly NYDoP core team meeting and it was also International Peace Day. The turnout for the meeting wasn’t that large, but what made it so special was welcoming two new attendees [ie: Adrianna & Susan]. This was our first meeting since the Gandhi/Sept 11th event two weeks earlier and we all greeting each other warmly. Those attending the meeting were Kevin, Liz, Carol, Karen, Priscilla, Eileen, Marianne, MaryJo and I. I brought along baked goodies for all to nosh on while we discussed NVC principals, UN International Peace Day, upcoming NYDoP events and of course feedback on the Gandhi event. As to the latter, our germinating vision over 5 month span reached out to many groups across the US and in several countries around the world. We were overjoyed upon hearing the news from Carol and Marianne. Plus, we were looking forward to celebrating on September 23rd and 30th.

The week of Sept 25th through 29th I was on a much needed vacation from a busy work environment and other activities. On the morning of the 26th I took an early bus down to my beloved Cape May, NJ for a few days of R&R. A week or so before, I contacted Regina at Twin Gables B&B about staying there for 3 nights. They still have had no luck in buyers for the inn and told me the real estate market isn’t so hot. Harry and Regina filled me in on other local “goings on” during my visit. Great seeing the Golden Retriever Brandy again … he is such a lovable, nicely behaved doggie. My stay in Cape May was blessed with warm, sunny weather the first few days before it turned cool and windy on evening of 28th. I rented a bike shortly after arriving Tuesday afternoon and returned it Thursday before tea time at the B&B. I so enjoy biking and walking all over the Cape May area. And even more so when the weather is gorgeous and perfect outside. Visited many of my favorite haunts in the area; which included the library, Washington Street Mall shops, Sunset Beach, lighthouse, Emlen Physick Estate/Museum, promenade at the beach, Depot Café, Seaside Sweets, Winterwood and viewing all the lovely Victorian style homes/inns.

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[Note: View inside the top of Cape May Lighthouse]

Sitting on the Twin Gables veranda with a glass of wine and reading a book is delightful, and Regina’s breakfasts are out of this world. Total yummers! I was the only guest at the B&B until tea time on Thursday, when two very nice ladies from Alabama showed up. They were in town for a niece’s graduation from Coast Guard. Overall I had a lovely time and decided my 2007 vacation will be another trek to Canada. [BTW … if you ever visit Cape May … go to Seaside Sweets and purchase their yummy chocolate covered potato chips. They are sooooo good!]

On Saturday, Sept 30th, I joined several of my NYDoP core team members and acquaintances in going on a two hour Sail-a-bration in NYC Harbor. [We were celebrating our work and efforts regarding Gandhi event.] The weather wasn’t that great, but that didn’t stop us or the other passengers who boarded the schooner [“Adirondack”] at Chelsea Piers. The sky was overcast and did fling a few drops of rain before we set sail. Our own Reverend Joe blessed us and the boat with a worthy prayer to appease sky and water gods. [I brought a tin of my homemade cookies to share with our group.] I’ve never been on a schooner before and I very much enjoyed the experience. Didn’t feel seasick at all, in fact, I was in high spirits. I mostly sat towards the center of the schooner with Kevin, his daughter Evie and Joe. [I didn’t mind helping Kevin out with watching Evie periodically, as she is a delightful child.] The others … Carol, Marianne, Gary, Dian and Marie … sat at the back in more comfy seats. Fascinating to watch the workings of the schooner as the crew of two gals handled all beautifully. [The captain was a congenial older man with a winning smile.] We sailed down to the harbor, viewed the Statue of Liberty and on the way back up Hudson River we saw two large cruise ships heading out to the Atlantic. Utilizing the small bathroom in the schooner is quite an experience on balance and leg strength. Afterwards we [except for Kevin & Evie] went to the local restaurant at the pier to have a delicious, light dinner to warm up the body. We also engaged in conversation on several topics, one being inspiring thought provoking films. I told them about the 2005 German film “Sophie Scholl”. Overall I had a wonderful, terrific day.

QUOTE OF THE DAYWhatever you do may seem insignificant but it is most important that you do it Gandhi

Monday, October 2nd, I joined my friend Linda [NYC Kucitizen] in attending an evening event hosted by “World Can’t Wait” at Cooper Union in Manhattan. This event was a lead up to the big march and rally scheduled at noontime on October 5th. Quite a large turnout and several people I knew were tabling at the event. MaryJo was there at the “Impeach Bush” table and Ann, along with her very sweet Iranian hubby, were at the “We Will Not Be Silent” table selling t-shirts with sayings on them in several languages. [That saying or statement is by the student resistance movement in 1930s Nazi Germany called “The White Rose”. Sophie Scholl and her brother were part of that movement.] These acquaintances, along with Linda, are dedicated and inspiring folk who strive for truth, justice and democracy. These values are very much lacking under Bush & Company. Those speaking at the event were Malachy McCourt, Reno, Mark Ruffalo, Debra Sweet, Olympia Dukakis, Bill Goodman and Craig Murray. The latter seemed like a mild-manner former British Ambassador [ie: to Uzbekistan]. Once he got into his story of how he risked his life and forfeited his career to blow the whistle on US sponsored torture, his passion and character roused the audience to a standing ovation. Bravo Mr. Murray! As did film actress Olympia Dukakis, whom I also found to be quite inspiring and well informed. It was a great evening and I even picked up some new buttons. One of which reads “Habeas Corpus R.I.P. 1215-2006” So many more Americans need to come together under one banner and stop the numerous crimes/outrages of Bush & Company. It must be done … our country and lives are in jeopardy.

On Sunday, October 8th, I volunteered to help out during the annual NYC Renaissance Faire up at Fort Tryon Park. My high school friend Eileen was production director and like last year, I helped out with small “jobs” around the faire. Also, like last year, we were blessed with a warm, sunny day around 70 degrees. The sun was so bright on my bare head that I purchased a $5 paper Chinese parasol as protection. I wasn’t the only one with that idea and I saw many ladies with parasols. Mostly hung out with Becca, who was going solo this year, as Bonnie was at her son’s football game and we had a fun time. Becca was helping out Eileen’s hubby Seth with some filming of the days events. We were mostly situated at the Tournament Field, Site of the Web and the opening procession parade. [Becca & Saul (photo below) at the Ren Faire ... Saul was such an interesting man. We were on the verge of exchanging “info” when interrupted by an acquaintance of his.]

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Starting at 5:15pm to 6:30pm the faire wrapped up, packed up everything and closed for another successful year. Larger crowds turned out this year than last. Finally, after some time, a group of us [including Eileen & Seth] headed to a restaurant nicely situated in Fort Tryon Park. Seth treated us to a delicious meal and after gave me some buckos for taxi ride home.

Tuesday, October 10th, I attended the City Harvest orientation/training at 6pm. Want to help out and do volunteering with this amazing food rescue organization. [Thank you Reverend Joe for the info!] City Harvest provides food to senior centers, homeless, soup kitchens, food pantries, churches, etc. I learned that 19.1% of New Yorkers are at poverty level and that 11% are homeless. Good heavens! After the orientation we fill out forms and through this will be informed via email on future volunteering assignments. Some opportunities I cannot participate in, as it’s during my work day, but others I can help out during weekends or evenings. I also signed up with Food Bank of NYC. Later that evening I jumped on a NYDoP conference call regarding “peace tabling” at an upcoming Red Hot Chili Peppers gig at Continental Arena in NJ. [RHCP bass player Flea has come out & endorsing the DoP legislation/campaign. Now if we can only get Pearl Jam to support or endorse the DoP. That would be so cool!] Personally, I think it awesome to combine peace activism with rock music. I’ve never seen the RHCPs live, so this will be a thrill for me.

Monday, October 16th, I participated in the third NYDoP conference call regarding further prep talk on “peace tabling” at the RHCP gigs. We are ready to rock and roll with peace and nonviolence.

BUMPER STICKER QUOTE OF THE DAYGay marriage doesn’t scare me, hatred & inequality do!

Next day, October 17th, was my b-day and I received some long stem yellow roses from a few co-workers. As well as several email b-day greetings friends and good wishes from co-workers. Hard to believe, but in two more years I’ll be celebrating the big 5-0. And this lady will be throwing a cool, funky party to celebrate the occasion. Hell yeah! Around 4:30pm I headed over to Port Authority to meet up with fellow NYDoP member, David, and we purchased our one-way bus tix for Continental Arena. We had no troubles entering the arena and picking up our passes, then heading up the escalator to find rest of our group. Liz, Rob, Marianne, Chris and other volunteers had shown up earlier and already had the tables mostly set up. I brought along copies of DoP paperwork and homemade fudge brownies for our group to nibble on. Received last minute instructions, checked out the turf and positioned myself at one of our tables near Gate A. Behind our tabling area were one of the “handicap” sections and a nice left side view of the stage. Since the weather was crappy outside, many “fans” came inside as soon as the doors opened at 6:30pm.

Several in our group had signup sheets on clipboards and worked the crowd until the RHCPs came on stage at 9pm. I was doing my thing at the table and talking to many attendees on peace, current issues and Flea’s endorsement of DoP. It was all quite interesting, exciting and we did very well that first night. I’ve never heard of the warmup band before [ie: Mars Volta] and to be honest, well, they did nothing for me. Others in our group felt the same way. When the Red Hot Chili Peppers hit the stage … OMG … it was so exciting. Similar feeling I get at a Pearl Jam concert. We all took turns throughout the concert in working the table and watching RHCPs. What a terrific b-day gift … seeing the RHCPs live and for free. Now if we can only get Pearl Jam to endorse Dept of Peace campaign. Oh gosh, that would be sweet. About 3/4s of the way through the gig, Flea made a short speech on peace et al. It was great and the fans just ate it up. After the gig fans were grabbing DoP postcards as they left the arena. We packed and cleaned up the two table areas quickly. David and I got a ride to our respective homes from Rob and Liz in their minivan. It was a great evening and I love their song called SNOW. RHCPs rocked the house that night.

Janet Maslin, NY Times



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