Sunday, May 22, 2016

Pure Trash is a real treasure!

Pure Trash: The Story

By Bette A. Stevens

What an incredible excursion into the life of the 1950’s emanates from this bittersweet story. One can taste the icy cokes in summer, bike rides and falls from them; fishing in clear streams. The poor, not so poor and even rich kids relished each day as a new adventure.

What author Stevens does so well is display the deep love between two brothers. Nine-year-old Shawn takes responsibility for six-year-old Willie, who, in turn, fully respects his older brother.

These were years when kids were bullied, had none of today’s electronic wonders, and were held responsible for daily chores. Yet when chores were completed, they were free to go outside and experience a carefree life lost to today’s children.

Shawn and Willie were ‘dirt’ poor with a dysfunctional alcoholic father and a mother struggling for their survival. But there seems to be no self-pity among the boys. It was what it was and, if anything, they became stronger for it. They accepted the bad times and reveled in the good—‘making lemonade from lemons.’ I believe one has to have lived during this era to fully understand it, but the author does an excellent job in giving young and older readers a true sense of the ambiance of the times.

Would these two boys grow up to be bullies, or substance abusers due to their less than exemplary lives? Or enjoy the positives, learn from the difficult experiences in their young lives and determine to forge their own futures. This is a well-written Americana short story that one wishes would not end. In a way it doesn’t. Author Bette A. Steven’s exceptional book, ‘Dog Bone Soup,’ follows up with Shawn and Willie’s lives. Anyone enjoying the prequel ‘Pure Trash: The Story’ will want to read this book as well.


Thursday, May 12, 2016

Happy announcement for new book







Hello to all my family and friends. 
I'm happy to announce my children's book, due on Amazon, June 2016. This is based on a true story about my cat, Toby, who recently passed on to heaven at the ripe old age of 21. He was still spry and feisty and full of tricks. Those of you with grand children, great grand children, and nieces and nephews between the ages of 3-7 may want to order this delightful story for them to read and color. I'll give you an update on the exact publishing date as soon as soon as I get it. I'd love to know what you all think in a short review. 

Thanks to you all,

Micki

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Motherhood -- The Oldest Profession


MY BELOVED MOTHER-IN-LAW TURNS 100 ON MOTHER'S DAY!!! 

This is an article explaining the origins, lore and legends of Mother' Day

MOTHERHOOD--THE OLDEST PROFESSION 


T
his Sunday mother's throughout the country will be honored in many and various ways. Toddlers and preschool children will cheerfully drag their mothers to their favorite fast food places and older children will escort them, with great decorum, to restaurants with actual dinnerware. The majority of children will serve their mothers breakfast in bed, a calamitous tradition that refuses to die. Adult children with children of their own will have greater reverence for their mothers, graced with understanding and empathy. Mothers will righteously accept the presents, cards, flowers and candy, and promises of exemplary behavior in the future. She has always and will continue to deserve the esteem bestowed upon her by her family on this one honored day of each year.

Motherhood, while fulfilling in ways too numerous to mention, has never been easy. Today it is even more difficult due to the diverse roles played by the 21th century mother. Some mothers are the sole support of the family; others work to supplement insufficient incomes, while many choose to balance a career with caretaking — all monumental achievements. Some households with dual incomes have learned to share the ongoing chores of home maintenance and child care, but it usually falls to the mother to be the primary nurturer, manager, coordinator and ‘gopher’. In spite of reports on ‘burnout’ among working mothers, and ‘latchkey’ kids left alone too much, many American women are proving themselves capable of being both mother and working woman, placing the emphasis on quality versus quantity time with their children.

However, a small percentage of women have elected to forgo their careers, reasoning that careers can be resumed, but childrearing is a onetime occupation. Due to the trend toward women bearing children later in life, some women have worked and established careers for 10 or 15 years before having children. The skills they’ve attained are often utilized in creating home enterprises and small businesses, allowing them time with their children.

Unlike Father's Day, which was erratic in its installment, Mother’s Day was accepted with enthusiasm. In May of 1907, Anna M. Jarvis of Philadelphia was inspired by the idea that at least once a year children should pay tribute to their mothers. She organized a special Mothers church service and the concept quickly spread to other churches. By 1911, the observance was widespread, including every state in the union, plus Canada, Mexico, South America, Africa, China, Japan and several islands. Leaflets proposing certain exercises were printed In 10 different languages and distributed to various countries. What the leaflets said in part was: “A day that has shown that it has heart and living interest for all classes, races, creeds, native and foreign-born, high and low, rich and poor, scoffer and churchmen, man, women and child, is Mother’s Day, observed on the second Sunday of May. The common possession of the living world is a mother . . . .”

A Mother's Day International Association was incorporated in December of 1912 to promote a greater observance of the day. The following May, the House of Representatives unanimously adopted a resolution calling upon all government officials to wear a white carnation in celebration of Mother's Day. In 1914, Congress designated Mother's Day as an official holiday and asked Pres. Woodrow Wilson to display the national flag on all public buildings. On May 9, the president issued a proclamation asking the people to follow suit and display flags on their homes as ‘a public expression of our love and reverence for the mothers of the country’. The wearing of white carnations on Mother's Day was modified to distinguish living mothers from those deceased. White flowers were worn by the motherless and red flowers by children with living mothers. Gift-giving by children became popular, especially homemade gifts and cards. One gift in great demand for Mother's Day was the reproduction of Whistler’s portrait of his mother, the most famous mother portrait of the times.

Ever since Eve rocked the cradle that begat civilization, mothers held an almost mystical place in society. Research shows that even the caveman, while chauvinistic to the nth degree, cherished and protected his mate, knowing instinctively that without her the clan would become extinct. The cavewoman was healer, food gatherer, herbalist and fur-skinner, as well as mother. The custom of holding festivals to honor motherhood dates back to the ancient Greeks who worshiped Cybele, mother of the gods. Rome adopted the tradition around 250 BC and celebrated the festival of Hilaria on the Ides of March. The festivities lasted three days and included rites in woods and caves, significantly different from modern celebrations.

Today's mother has exhibited proficiency in job skills, self-reliance, and creativity while continuing to supply the cohesive element that binds the family unit. Possibly the only thing that a mother cannot be is a father. On this Mother's Day, as children and fathers lavishly pile gifts and admiration upon her, the mother is reminded of the importance of her role. When beset with trials and stress that would devastate the average person, the mother does her job and does it well; because it is a most rewarding occupation with no mandatory retirement. The benefits of loving and molding young minds far outweigh the tribulations of guiding children from infancy to adulthood. Abraham Lincoln said it best: “All that I am, or hope to be, I owe to my mother."

Saturday, April 30, 2016

The Merry Month of May

May Day is usually, but not always, celebrated on the first of May, although in recent years enthusiasm for the holiday has waned considerably. Many Staten Islanders in New York can recall festivities in the past several decades which included springtime sports, and May Poles decorated with bright ribbons streaming from the top of the pole. Young children were traditionally garbed the ribbons and danced around the pole, reveling in the warmth of spring. Older girls crowned a May Queen, and young girls often made baskets which they filled with flowers and hung on the doors of their friends. Many parts of the country still participate in these activities although my borough of Staten Island does not seem to be among them.

The month of May has always been a favorite month, with spring in full bloom and summer close behind. On the original Roman calendar, May was the third month of the year but the revised calendar moved it to the fifth month. The origin of the name, researchers say, most likely comes from Maia, a mother of Mercury. In Roman times and throughout history May has been considered an unlucky month for marriages, stemming back to the days when both the festival of the dead and the festival of the goddess of chastity were celebrated in May. This may explain the popularity of June weddings.

Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, New York, has held May Day celebrations with field sports, dancing around the May Poll and crowning a May Queen with a headdress of fresh flowers. On some occasions college records in sports were broken on that day, possibly due to the enthusiasm for the holiday. The California State Norma School in San José originated May Day festivities in 1902, with games for their kindergarten students. By 1910, the popularity of this holiday had grown to such proportion that 6000 spectators gathered to watch the celebration.

These observances have little to do with the ritualistic and symbolic fetes of olden days. Historians of folk customs have traced the May Day ritual back to the Floralia of the Romans, the festival of Flora, goddess of flowers. This festival was instituted in 238 BC and was celebrated from April 23 until May 3rd.

During the four or five centuries that Rome occupied Britain, the May Day Festival was introduced and flourished. One theory states that the May Day was initially a phallic festival in India and Egypt, marking the renewal of the fertility of nature at springtime. Researchers claim that the Romans considered the May Poll to be a phallic symbol, and their merrymaking included quite a few licentious acts which were the focus of May Day celebrations in England for some time.

The Morris Dance was a pagan dance which consisted of male dancers in fantastic costumes dancing about the May Poll. The name Morris, a word of Moorish origin, is associated with mummers, who acted out the ritual of the pagan god who celebrated his revival after death. Another custom was the May Day procession of a Man-horse, in Cornwall, where the central figure, "Oss Oss”, was a witch doctor disguised as a horse and wearing a mask. Dancers acted as attendants, sang May Day songs and beat on drums.

These activities greatly offended the Puritans, who coerced the Parliament of 1644 to ban the erection of May Polls. The Restoration repealed the prohibition, and in 1661, to celebrate the revival of the old custom, a May Poll, 134 feet high was raised. Sir Isaac Newton purchased the pole in 1717 and used it as a support for his telescope in Essex.

The New England Puritans also voiced objections to May Day festivities, which incited Gov. Endicott of Massachusetts in 1660, to lead a group of men to Merrymont, where the dreaded May Poll had been erected. The men chopped the pole down and named the place Mount Dragon, after the Idol of the Philistines that fell before the Ark.

May Day was said to have magical rites, such as those of Halloween. Samuel Pepys, the English diarist, related how his wife went to the country each May Day to wash her face in dew, a magic ritual ensuring a good complexion. Poetess Ann May Lawler, put the custom to verse: “Ever on the first of May did magic walk — the legends say. Maidens rose at early dawn to find a dew-en-sequinned lawn, and she who humbly bathed her face in dewdrops, in the magic place, she, they say, may never fear the curse of freckles for one year."

When Labor Day was established in this country, the workers of Europe decided to hold a similar celebration, which they observed on May 1st. Due to lively labor politics, the date became better known for riots, bombings and burned cities. Radicals in the U.S. followed the European example and held demonstrations on May 1st. Later many U.S. cities, particularly New York City, demonstrated on May Day with parades of radical, labor, and other organizations, followed by mass meetings.


The beginning of May, whether celebrated with May Polls and flower festivals, or labor demonstrations, or no celebrations at all, introduces a month with few surprises. While March “comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb," and April teases with balmy weather one day and pseudo-winter the next, the month of May brings a stable promise of ever better days to come.





Saturday, April 23, 2016

Celebrating Earth Day with Warnings of What is Yet to Come

Celebrating Earth Day with warnings of what is yet to come unless changes are made.

EARTH DAY 2015: PROMISES YET TO BE KEPT

This particular Earth Day is important because we can no longer ignore the obvious – the Earth is in the midst of a severe environmental crisis and the time for correcting the nearly insurmountable problems is long past.

The first Earth Day, celebrated on April 22, 1970, initiated the Environmental Protection Agency and was instrumental in the passage of the Clean Air and Clean Water Acts. Yet in spite of this, worldwide pollution is overtaking the globe faster than we can find the means to stop it. Apathy, disbelief, and big business, intent upon getting bigger, are some of the many reasons for this. But the main culprits are overpopulation especially in industrialized nations along with modern technology. And from the same technology which created most of the problems must come most of the solutions.

We have become a throwaway society, thoughtlessly piling up mounds of garbage, some which will take hundreds of years to decompose; some which will never decompose. Even as technology continues in its efforts to halt the ongoing destruction of the planet, Earth citizens must undergo radical changes in both their thinking and their living habits.

In rural areas waste control is much easier. Newspapers are rolled into fireplace logs, food waste, such as egg shells, vegetable and fruit peels and even coffee grounds are composted for summer gardens. Cut grass is used for mulch and while in some areas garbage can still legally be burned, it's no longer a viable option. One of the ways we can cut down on waste is to buy fresh foods whenever possible and avoid products with excess packaging. Removing purchases from their boxes and leaving the packaging in the store might convince manufacturers that over packaging is not only unnecessary but can no longer be tolerated. Refusing to buy aerosol cans cuts down on damage to the ozone layer, and if done consistently can be a deciding factor in having them removed from store shelves. Industry produces what the consumer purchases. Boycotting is one power that consumers can use effectively. Carpooling has become popular reducing automobile emissions and savings on gas. Eating less red meat is healthy and would save some of the tropical rain forests in Brazil, where the forests are being converted to pasture land for that country's beef production. Within the United States, less beef consumption would free land for agriculture, instead of growing grain for cattle feed. Planting shrubs, bushes and trees creates oxygen and absorbs carbon dioxide from the air.

In Nebraska, Arbor Day, the forerunner of Earth Day, was a day set aside for the planting of trees. One million trees were planted on the first Arbor Day which fell upon April 10. Planting trees and replenishing the earth was well-established in Europe long before this continent was settled. In colonial times, trees were cut down to clear the land for agriculture and homes, and housing itself consisted mainly of lumber. Native Americans respected the Earth, taking only what they needed to live on and replenishing the lands, as opposed to the settlers who killed massive herds of buffalo for sport, and until more recent years, never replenished the soil by crop rotation. Before the Industrial Revolution and the onset of mass production, people recycled out of need because there were no other options.

In order to live on a healthy planet we need to reestablish the law of supply and demand, only this time in relation to the Earth's priorities not our own. The Earth does not need us to do these things, as it is capable of adjusting to all manner of change and adapting to it. The Artic seas freeze in some periods and melt in others; the Earth cares not if the oceans rise up and flood coastal areas. People, animals and vegetation can be destroyed but the Earth will persevere. “Saving” the Earth perpetuates our own existence upon this planet.

Not all Earth changes are caused by civilization or industry. Many are natural cycles within the planet’s routine which changes according to its own inner and outer workings; sometimes over thousands of years and other times seemingly without warning. As Earth citizens it is imperative to live within our planet’s needs sometimes putting them before our own.

We cannot stop all catastrophic Earth events, but we can do our part to undo the extensive damage that we have inflicted upon our earthly home. Our lives and the lives of future generations are riding on the hope that it will not prove to be too little, too late. Let's leave a legacy for our children and grandchildren and teach them from birth how to love, nurture and protect our beautiful planet. 

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Good News To Share!

Good news to share!! . . . And the Whippoorwill Sang is on sale today, March 24th for 99 cents through March 31st Noon, PST!! Read a book that makes you feel good, hug your kids and remember for a log time.
 
One reviewer likens Micki Peluso's writing to that of Harper lee. Doesn't get better than that! 
 
 

Have a happy and blessed Easter celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ giving us the gift of eternal life.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Poetry for the Soul by a Master of his Trade

Threads
The Poetry of Scott Hastie
Scott Hastie’s premise in this enlightening book of poems is faith, a spirit of eternal hope and beauty found in every living thing. Within his writing he approaches life as a sacred gift—the good, the not so good—both leading to an ecstasy beyond even his mastery of language. It is as if this gentle poet holds the key to the mystery of life and fears not ‘The sting of death.’
One cannot read a page or two of poems in this work of art. The pages seem to turn themselves, offering comfort, wisdom and a warm feeling, dashed only by sadness when these words are finished. It is a book to be read and reread many times. The ‘threads’ woven throughout this prose leave the reader with a sense of sharing this poet’s soul embracing journey.
Poet Scott Hastie’s works are reminiscent of Robert Frost, both in truth and beauty, and he may well evolve into recognition as one of the best loved poets of this century. One of my favorite lines in this book is;
“For life
Wherever it leads
Will always be the same
It begs for the best of you.”

Micki Peluso, writer, journalist and author of . . . And the Whippoorwill Sang