Be Truly Thankful

by 2ndhandroses on 2014/11/27

Let's Talk Turkey Let’s Talk Turkey


Between the turkey, cranberry sauce, heaping mashed potatoes, libations, a half-time show, and overloaded dishwasher, it’s easy to lose the message of Thanksgiving.

How many of us actually stop to reflect on the lives we enjoy?  Do we sit down and truly consider how fortunate we all are as a Western society to have the opportunity to gather friends and family in our warm homes, place settings for all, with our very best china set out to receive a momentous bounty of succulent treats?

It’s a beautiful thing we have here and it behooves us to impart deeper meaning of the word “thanksgiving” to our children, in between bites of sautéed beans and pumpkin pie a la mode.

To some, Thanksgiving may simply mean a day on the calendar to take off from work, relax, watch a football game (or two) and stuff ourselves silly.

For others, it may mean the start of the holiday shopping season, with plans to turn in early to get enough sleep before the 2 a.m. rise time to prepare for Black Friday, sale flyer clutched in hand, credit card at the ready, and a determination to score the best deal on that super-cool Xbox One.

For kids, Thanksgiving may involve school lessons  about an autumn gathering in 1621 between the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag Indians, with books read and costumes prepared for a play, their hand-print construction paper turkey decorations stuffed in their backpacks for presentation to Mom or Dad. Of course the days off school are pretty nice as well!

Those preparing the meals may reflect on Thanksgiving as a bit of a mixed bag.  Their hours-long toils in the kitchen; peeling, mashing, sautéing, roasting, measuring, and baking may provide exhaustion in a physical sense but a deep satisfaction when they bask in their guests’ compliments.

Forks and Spoons

Forks and Spoons

Others less fortunate may, however, face this Thanksgiving with a far-less cheerful mindset.  From the homeless lining up at the soup kitchens, ragged mittens clutching paper plates of donated meals, to the family gathering at the table with one place setting unoccupied; a beloved member having recently passed, giving thanks sometimes takes effort.

On faraway cots in a distant, dusty land, many of our loved ones may, on this day of thanks, be simply gratified to emerge alive, their USO connections binding them home with care packages of special treats.

Chicago columnist Eric Zorn has reminded us in articles past about how “we live better than kings.”  It’s true.   Our Western culture’s relative wealth has afforded us a measure of existence only dreamed of around the world.  From our modern conveniences to the luxuries of running water and reliable electricity, to the seemingly endless supply of food, we truly enjoy a lifestyle that by its very nature lends itself to complacency.

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A Place to Call Home

by 2ndhandroses on 2014/10/11

The Brick This ain’t no smartphone!



Do you have the coolest smartphone ever?

Did you stand in line to get it?

Did you camp out overnight?

The Zombie Apocalypse Starts Here The Zombie Apocalypse Starts Here



Does it have an app for virtually everything you have ever needed in your life, and for stuff you need but haven’t even thought of yet?


Is it shiny and sparkly?


Does it have lots of cool accessories and a hip ringtone?



Now what to do with that junky, old (read: stinky iPhone 5 or Galaxy S3!

I mean, it’s NOT COOL to have in your pocket or purse anymore.


Once the latest-and-greatest offering from the tech giants arrives amid frenzied crowds reminiscent of the Beatles’s first American tour, the thought of hanging onto LAST YEAR’S gadget is enough to make the most stoic hipster take pause.

But even hipsters don’t like to litter.

And all of us probably like to help others when we can, as long as it’s not too inconvenient.

Well, you’re in luck!  On the heels of the most recent blessing from the Apple Mothership, comes National Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

Purple for National Domestic Violence Awareness Month Purple for National Domestic Violence Awareness Month



What did I just suggest?


That I start bashing somebody with my old crap iPhone 4S?



No, silly.



What I am trying to do, in my not-to0-subtle way, is to segue into a suggestion as to what to do with that now-burdensome piece of lowly tech gear that has become the bane of your existence.

I mean, if you’re anything like me, and care even remotely about the planet, you’re not likely to toss it into the trash, like 130 million of its hapless compatriots. According to the EPA, for every 1 million phones recycled or kept out of landfills, that equates to 35,274 pounds of copper saved! There’s even gold and silver in them that phones: for that same million saved phones, you’d rescue 772 pounds of silver and 75 pounds of gold! According to the EPA site, by recycling the phones, “enough energy would be saved to power 10,690 homes for a year.”

Getty Images Cell Phones SSPL London Calling


And one of the most noble, kindest things you can do with that phone is to recycle it in the form of donating it to someone who really needs all the help they can get right now. During National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, there are many charities operating that will be glad to take that now-uncool-to-you phone and provide a woman literally with a lifeline.


Presently, Verizon Wireless is offering a program called HopeLine which, according to the website, reminds us that

Wireless phones and technology serve as a vital link for all of us. They’re also an especially safe and reliable way for domestic violence victims and survivors to reach emergency or support services in times of crisis and stay connected with employers, family and friends.

So far, the HopeLine program has provided over 180,000 phones to victims and survivors since 2001.

Another group called Shelter Alliance has an entire website devoted to linking up donors with shelters and provides lots of great information on how to go about donating old cell phones. Here they provide money to domestic violence charities from the proceeds from recycling the phones they receive and they donate up to $30 or more for each cell phone turned into their organization.

The National Network to End Domestic Violence also offers information regarding how to donate your old cell phone to help a victim of domestic abuse regain some modicum of independence and security.

Whatever you do, if you do decide to donate your phone, be sure to erase all personal data.  Don’t worry about being charged for any airtime; it’s likely that your old phone won’t be activated any more, but to be safe before you leave the wireless store with your new phone, double-check to make sure the old one has been deactivated.

We all have an old cell phone (or two, or three…) lying around the house collecting dust, when a simple act of recycling could do wonders.  You might just change a life.


“The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.”

Elizabeth Kubler-Ross


–Apple iPhone 5 line photo (taken 17 Sept 2012) courtesy Agata Strom c/o



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Giving Instant Ancestors New Life

March 12, 2014

And so we come to the subject of showing these precious photographs off. Now I am a wee bit crafty, but having been trolling Pinterest for the past year or so, I realize now that I am woefully lacking in the creative department when it comes to really shining new light on these old lives.

I’ve found some cool ideas I wanted to share with you, in case you wanted to show off your newest photograph of dear old great great great uncle Melvin.

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Carry My Heart

February 11, 2014

Call me old school, but I find it much more romantic to have a real-live piece of paper in my hand with authentic writing on it that required more than a couple of seconds’ visit to a quirky website and a brief text message or 140-character message.

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