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Monthly Archives: January 2011

NEVER TOO OLD TO LOVE A MUSTANG

Kühlergrill mit Ford Mustang

Image via Wikipedia

I am a grandmother and I drive a Mustang. So what?

There is something about certain cars that conjures up thoughts of sexiness, desire, and fun and the Mustang is one of them. However, it was never number one on my wish list until it fell into my lap one day when my nephew called and offered to sell it to me with a deal I couldn’t refuse. That was when he had more money than brains.

It has been over ten years and I’m still driving it and loving it. It is a ’98 Mustang GT V8 with just under 400 horses under the hood. It has less than 50,000 miles on it and enhancing the fun quotient is the leather seats, stick shift, and convertible roof. Nothing quite matches the thrill when the ignition clicks on and the horses underneath the hood begin to roar to life. It is a deep, guttural rumble that the whole court hears. I slip it into gear and restrain the horses as I ease out of the garage. I feel the pull when they are in full gallop racing down the highway. It is not for the timid driver. There is nothing like the feel of freedom running the back roads with the top down and the wind in your hair.

What is it about the Mustang that has made it one of the favorites for so many years? In the Monday, Jan. 24 edition of the Columbus Dispatch, staff writer, Terry Mikesell, wrote about the silver Mustang belonging to his two sons and the sad good-by his younger son endured when the older brother took it off to college. I suspect Dad might have had a twinge or two also.

One summer day, as I approached the window of a fast food drive thru a teenage boy complimented my car. I could see the envy in his eyes and I replied, “You probably think it isn’t fair a grandmother like me is driving such a car.” He sheepishly replied, “yes” and said he drives a station wagon. Horrors and the indignity of it all! I told him not to give up and someday he could have his dream car.

But, back to the question of why it has remained popular since it was introduced in 1964 at the New York World’s Fair by the New Christy Minstrels. Is it the sporty styling, quick response, sleek lines, peer envy, price, or hipness? I think part of it is the name. The name “Mustang” creates a vision of wild horses running free across the wide open plains of the west—America’s last frontier. A vision of cowboys (and cowgirls) sitting around an open campfire and chuck wagons. It creates a feeling of freedom; an escape from the pressures of today’s world.

Would the car be as desirable if it had been named after another kind of horse—the seahorse? Nope, just doesn’t sound sexy.

CHLOE’S PLACE BREAKING THE CYCLE OF POVERTY

 

It is rare when you meet someone so dedicated to a principal she is willing to make personal sacrifices to achieve that goal. Connie Nafziger is that person.

I met Connie at the “Y” where she, like the rest of us, is trying to maintain a healthy body. In between grunts, groans, and splashes in our deep water aerobics class, Connie told me about her vision. It is a vision to break the cycle of poverty by empowering young single moms with a safe place to live and learn. She was so dedicated to this concept she quit her job as a Community Health Nurse to establish Chloe’s Place.

CHLOE Inc., a not for profit organization, stands for community health, life skills, opportunities, and education. The goal of CHLOE is to equip young single moms with the education and life skills they need to break the cycle of poverty. They plan to achieve this goal by establishing a self-sufficiency home where the moms and their babies can live for a couple of years while achieving educational, relational, and career milestones.

It has been a long ten year journey for Connie and her team but they will soon be offering Life Skill classes on the second and fourth week of each month. There is no participation fee for the twelve month program that is open to 12 young single moms. The participants will be working with counselors, case workers, mentors, educators and volunteers who will provide resources for the moms. The children and infants involved will have access to ongoing developmental screening.

The current location for the Saturday classes is the Sharon Woods Baptist Church, 5959 Sharon Woods Blvd, Columbus (just North of Route 161). However, they are currently looking for a residential facility to house the young participants while they progress through the program. Additionally, they would like this facility to be capable of housing a coffee shop which will, in turn, help train the participants for job skills and also provide a source of income for the project.

The mission statement says young moms will be equipped with the knowledge, skills, and disposition to continue their education and become personally fulfilled and socially responsible adults while promoting positive parenting, healthy families, and homes where children are valued and loved.

 Another important aspect of the program is to provide opportunities for the participants to build a firm foundation for her spiritual well-being. Connie and her team are so dedicated to the concept of participants finding their own spiritual center that they have even rejected close ties with various churches for fear of a particular faith dominating the program.

There are several ways you can help Connie and her team break the cycle of poverty. They are always open to donations of all kinds, especially money and gift cards in any amounts. They also could use gift cards to Target and Office Max for class supplies. In addition, they could use:

  • Children’s books
  • Flip camcorder for filming parent/child interaction in parenting classes
  • Colorful round or square table cloths for parenting classes

More specific items needed are:

 (please call before purchasing to prevent duplication)

  • Art—Peace curriculum ($150)
  • Coffee maker
  • Food mixer
  • High chair/booster seat
  • Toaster
  • Microwave
  • Infant side bed
  • Ironing board

If you wish to become a partner of the project there are several categories you can do so:

  • Impact Partners donate a onetime gift of $1,000 or more
  • Hope Partners commit to monthly payments (any amount)
  • Equipping Partners sponsor a teen mom’s enrollment in a specific program or project (amounts vary)
  • Under $20 Club members donate items or gift cards of $20 or less once every couple of months. (i.e. paper towels, diapers, school supplies) when contacted by the staff.

For those who would rather give of their talents and time, there are several opportunities for you.

  • Office support
  • Web design services
  • Grant writer
  • Fund raising
  • Legal counsel

Volunteers working directly with the young moms are requested to be women only due to the sensitive nature of the work. Those positions are:

  • Mentors needed to nurture and encourage them in their journey toward self-sufficiency. Mentors need to submit to a background check and complete training sessions provided by CHLOE leadership staff.
  • Child care volunteers needed to help Child Care staff during CHLOE’S Moms Connection Classes. Classes will meet evenings twice a month.
  • Snacks prepared by individuals or groups and served at CHLOE’S Moms Connection sessions.
  • Transportation—once the residential facility is operational volunteers will be needed to provide transportation to scheduled appointments and group activities. A valid driver’s license, up-to-date insurance, good driving record, and reliable vehicle are necessities. Volunteers must complete an application and submit to background checks.

During her time as a Community Health Nurse, Connie saw many young single moms come from broken homes where drug and alcohol abuse were prevalent and domestic abuse quite often the norm. The young teens left that atmosphere and found themselves in similar situations because that was the only way of life they knew. She then saw the babies of these young women growing up in similar situations and the cycle began again. She wanted to stop the insanity, as Susan Powder used to say.

A project of this magnitude does not happen overnight and it has taken the CHLOE faithful ten long years to come to this point. Some might say that breaking the cycle of poverty is impossible but Connie would disagree with you. Poverty has been called a vicious cycle because it is an entire mindset, way of life, and culture. Connie plans to attack this problem with love, patience, and education. I have no doubt she will eventually achieve this goal because a less dedicated person would not have spent ten years of her life overcoming impossible odds and disappointments. A journey of a thousand miles begins with one step and Connie has taken many, many steps. She is well into her journey and the finish line of seeing CHLOE’S moms will soon become a reality.

I ask you to help Connie celebrate life and this achievement by getting involved. For more information or to help in this worthy project please follow the links below.

http://www.chloeinc.org/

http://chloe-news.blogspot.com/?spref=fb

http://chloe-news.blogspot.com/2011/01/sink-or-swim.html?spref=fb

WHAT WERE THEIR MOTHERS THINKING?

The above picture is taken from the Columbus Dispatch multimedia site showing how Columbus citizens coped with the recent snow storm. It is filled with people bundled up, cars and snow plows on the highway, and even a cute squirrel in his cozy tree nest.

Then there is this picture of middle school students being released from school early so they can get home before the big storm hits. Look at the picture closely. If it weren’t for the dusting of snow on the ground one might think it is a fall or spring shot. No one is wearing a heavy coat, boots, hat, or gloves. In fact, one kid is wearing shorts and another is wearing a short-sleeved T-shirt.

I don’t understand the trend of young people wearing light clothing and no coats in winter and Ugg boots and knit stocking caps in summer. This fall I attended my grandson’s football game where the temperature was probably 110 degrees (actual—no exaggeration) in the stadium. In front of us were two middle school girls wearing heavy hoodie sweatshirts and jeans; however, one girl was smart enough to opt for shorts.

Some people have tried to explain to me that young people don’t feel the cold and heat the same way as us old folks. I can assure you I was not one of them. I don’t like to be cold so I bundled up in the winter. We weren’t allowed to wear pants to school therefore I wore hose and knee socks and I still froze. Unfortunately, I did not have a good pair of snow boots until college when I was working. I remember saving to buy a good pair of fur-lined boots, the forerunner of Uggs. 

So why aren’t the kids in this picture dressed for cold weather? Are they products of car pool nation and think they won’t be exposed to the cold any length of time? Are their parents working and don’t see what they are wearing before they go out the door? Or, are they trying to get pneumonia so they will miss days of school?

After pondering this question I think I finally have the answer. The mother to every under dressed kid is the woman I saw in the grocery store on a cold December night wearing flip-flops! (See “Why Do Women Wear What They Wear?”—December)

http://www.dispatch.com/live/foundation/slideshow.jsp?file=/multimedia/daily_slideshows/2011/01/snow/index.html&image=8&adsec=multimedia&tot=10&sid=101

IS TED WILLIAMS BEING EXPLOITED?

New York Times

Image via Wikipedia

My piece last week about Ted Williams, the man with the golden voice, must have hit a nerve because I have received some interesting comments. Many people think he is being exploited.

In two weeks Ted Williams has gone from homeless to famous to rehab. His story has touched a nation and is a story of hope for so many struggling in this economy. Everyone pulls for the underdog and wants to see the average Joe down on his luck overcome all odds to eventually find fame and fortune.

Ted Williams’s story certainly fits that formula. He was living on the streets with only a makeshift tent, a few blankets, and cardboard preventing him from freezing to death. However, once he was plucked from obscurity we find he has a dark and troubling past. One filled with alcohol, drugs, and many arrests. His family and others he has hurt and taken advantage of in the past are now wondering if he deserves all this attention. He even admitted to Dr. Phil, after viewing a montage video of all the frenzy surrounding him, he doesn’t feel worthy of what has happened. In tears he said to Dr. Phil, “It’s like, why me? Lord, I didn’t do anything super deserving of it.”

Several have said to me they are uncomfortable that Dr. Phil has entered the picture and he is exploiting the situation. Before we analyze the problem let us look at the definition of exploit. It is a verb meaning:

  1. to take advantage of somebody or
  2.  to use something for benefit.

The first definition is further explained as to take selfish or unfair advantage of a person or situation, usually for personal gain. The second definition adds, “To use or develop something in order to gain a benefit.”

No doubt Dr. Phil will gain ratings and advertisers and thus continue his show if he has programs that draw an audience. To do that he must be current and have guests, themes, and topics the viewing public is interested in—something that is in the news or news worthy.

 In a similar vein, this goes back to my college days and Journalism 101 discussions of what is news. News is information about recent developments or current events. News is what sells newspapers and today drives the 24 hour news networks. The Ted Williams story began as a simple human interest story that went viral and became news. It is what everyone is talking about.

So, yes, Dr. Phil will receive personal gain and benefit from presenting programs about current topics. In addition, the other offers Ted Williams has received will and have gained recognition for helping a homeless man. Good PR never hurt anyone. But, were these offers selfishly motivated? We should also ask the question, “Will Ted Williams benefit from appearing on Dr. Phil’s show and signing contracts with Kraft Mac and Cheese, the Cleveland Cavaliers, etc.?”  Most definitely, “Yes!”

The fact Ted Williams is now in rehab and not sitting on the street corner should be proof enough. After reading transcripts of some of the shows, I see that Dr. Phil warns Ted he knows of his dark past and wants it to come out now so he can help him and give him an opportunity to explain and defend it. Dr. Phil warns Ted it will all come out eventually and he is giving him an opportunity to say, “…that was wrong and I will do it differently this time.”

During his radio DJ days Williams became involved with booze, women, and drugs and didn’t manage his fame well. Dr. Phil points out that Ted has to make this second chance stick because there won’t be a third chance. Ted responds that if he lets his family down one more time then he won’t expect them to ever give him another chance. “I blow this and I die.”

Ironically, I ended my last blog about Ted Williams with those very words, “I hope he doesn’t blow it.” He has a long road ahead of him and rehab won’t be easy. He will have a lot of temptations in his new life and he apparently didn’t handle temptations well in the past. Admittedly, Ted Williams has not been a virtuous and model citizen but everyone deserves a second chance. He now sees what will happen if he does not follow through with his rehab and conquer his demons.

Whether or not he is being exploited can be debated. He will certainly have those hanging onto him who are there for their piece of fame and will exploit him whenever possible. Once again, I will close by saying, “I sure hope he doesn’t blow it.” By his own admission, the stakes are even higher this time around.

I LOVE THE AWARD SHOWS FOR THEIR FASHION MISTAKES

My husband and I are movie nuts and, therefore, we look forward to the awards shows every year to see if our favorites match up with the voting members.

But I also like the shows for another reason—the fashionistas. Not that I will have any occasion this year to go to a formal event, but, if I did, I want to know what is hot and what is not. If my contacts can pull all the right strings I want to be appropriately dressed at Prince William’s wedding. LOL.

What is reassuring when I watch these shows is to know that even Hollywood royalty, who have dozens of fashion advisors, hair and makeup experts, and designers fawning over them can still make the same mistakes as us mortals.

Last night at the Golden Globes some wore their dresses beautifully and others their dresses wore them (Jennifer Love Hewitt). Some women had problems keeping the girls well contained (Rita Wilson, Eva Longoria, January Jones). Most had simple but elegant hair styles but Jennifer Love Hewitt and Scarlett Johansson went for the extreme. A critic described Johansson’s hair as the bride of Frankenstein and another critic called Hewitt’s hair as the Leaning Tower of Pisa.

 What was the look Helena Bonham Carter was trying to pull off? She has a reputation for going for the bazaar but last night she looked more like a drugged out ballerina wearing an off-kilter tutu and mismatched shoes. I’m all for individuality—but two different shoes?! And they didn’t even match or compliment the color of her dress.

Two who always win the individuality award are Johnny Depp and Robert Downey Jr. They, each have adopted a style that is uniquely their own but do it with class. Their styles always say, young, hip, and put together.

I have heard several commentators swooning over January Jones red gown but, to me, it looked like a swimsuit with an attached skirt.

The frumpy award of the evening goes to Sandra Bullock. The dress looked like her grandmother’s and the hair with the bangs coming midway down her face makes me wonder what she is hiding from.

The most understated look of the evening belongs to Tilda Swinton. It was so understated it was blah. An ivory skirt and a white off the rack shirt just doesn’t make it.

My vote for best of the evening is Claire Danes who was stunning in a simple but elegant hot peach gown accented with a large gold cuff bracelet with a band of diamonds.

My vote for worst—Helena Bonham Carter.