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Friday, August 31, 2012

A few things I'm thinking about.

When I started blogging I had hopes of writing often, not just once a week responding to the questions of the Hodgepodge.   In the beginning I had more things "pent up" to say.  But, recently I struggle with what to write about that could be interesting to anyone to read.

Here's a little list of things that have been running around in my brain (in no particular order.)

1. I love/hate politics.  We are in the midst of this crazy presidential race - and regardless of who I talk to - NOBODY, and I mean NOBODY likes the way our politicans act, or believe anything that they say.  Yet...everyone I talk to still has a "strong leaning" in terms of what political party they support, and people certainly have an opinion on how to keep this country going. 

I wonder what it will take to turn off the mud slinging?  Will the politicans and their camps ever see that we normal Americans find them so embarrassing?  And, that they have turned what used to be a respected way to give of yourself into a huge circus left only for those who get off on hearing themselves talk? 

Maybe the apathy/disdain of the youngest voting generation will do it.  Perhaps one day we will have an election and nobody will turn up to vote! ha!  That will show them.

2.  I checked out the headlines this morning on a site - I clicked on it thinking it was HLN but it was for Nancy Grace.  The top 5 headlines were about children killed, by parents or abducted.  It turned my stomach.  How can someone like Nancy Grace make a living off of people's pain and sensational and horrific deaths?  I know, I know. She thinks she is doing a service.  (She's also getting a very large paycheck.)  I just don't get why people watch her show.

3.  Lighter thought:   I start my morning just about each and every day with a cup of coffee and some country music. Both give me a jolt to get going!  

4. I messed up on some dates for a church event in October.  It will work out fine....BUT I swear that sometimes I scare myself with how I can not keep dates, or names, straight in my brain.  I worry it's alzheimers but I think I have always been scatterbrained with this.  So, I apologize for the confusion and need to be more careful in the future. 

I tell myself it's because I'm left-handed (right-brained) which means I'm more artistic and less analytical.  I do think it's true.  I love the arts... all of them.  And I just don't have the interest to keep numbers in my brain.  In and out...   I don't retain it.

5. I love my pets!  Every morning I walk my pug and have one or two kitties following me along the way.  I love them and they love me.  Unconditional (well, I have to feed them! ha). 

6. I'm helping daughter #2 move AGAIN this weekend.  If she's reading this, how many times have you moved in your still young life??   ( :    Don't worry. I'm looking forward to it and seeing the new place.  Dinner's on me!

My coffee is gone - and it's time to get going... 
Happy Friday to all who have stuck with me and read down to this point! 
Have a safe holiday weekend!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Thoughtful Hodgepodge questions

This week's Hodgepodge questions are making my brain sizzle.   After some thoughtful time, here are my answers to Joyce's questions.  How would you answer them?

1. Americans will celebrate Labor Day this coming weekend.  Do you know what we're actually celebrating?  (Without consulting Google or Wikipedia, ahem).   What's a project you're currently "laboring" over?

Ok.  I hope I don't look too stupid right off the bat here.  I believe Labor Day was created as a national holiday to honor the hard working people of our country who "labored" during the wars years.  It was considered a day to rest but also a day to celebrate the sweat that was required to keep the country strong.   Am I close??    
My project:  I continue to labor for the women "laboring" at our nearby hospital who do not have a support system and are in need of basic items for their infant.  With the help of my church, I have set up a layette program and each week I "deliver" (get it?) 4 or 5 baby layette baskets to the hospital.  The nurses distribute them to new mothers in need.  The baskets have a few onesies, a receiving blanket,  baby wash & shampoo, baby wipes, diapers, and other items that I find or are donated:  pacifers, hats, bath towels and washcloths, and a little stuffed animal.  I try to put a handwritten note in each too.
(Donations are ALWAYS accepted. Email me for details.)

2. Labor Day also signals the unofficial end of summer for most of us.  What summer food will you miss the most? 

I think I will miss the great, ripe, juicy tomatos that I have been getting from local produce stands.  Lately I have been making tomato & cheese sandwiches for lunch...AND having a few tomato slices with my dinner. 

3. A well known proverb states "It's easier to seek forgiveness than to ask for permission."  Your thoughts?

Well known?  Not for me Joyce.   Hmmm.   I think the proverb says to me that it is easier to seek forgiveness from God. All we have to  do is ASK and it is forgiven.  Thank you God.  It's a lot harder to ask the person you offended or hurt for forgiveness, especially if you ask them face to face.  It can put a lump in your throat and you might need a bit of a push to say you were wrong and to ask for forgiveness.

4. Food critic, film critic, book critic, art critic. Which hat would like to wear?

Again, after some thought, I would like to be a film critic.  Why?  I think so many movies that are made today are "pointless" and too violent.  I wish Hollywood would try harder to make a movie that has a reason and that will live more than 4 weeks in the theatres.  I admit I am not a sci-fi person. I am not into fast action, car chasing, blow everything up movies.  I like good writing,  I like a touching comedy, or a historically true re-enactment.   Special effects don't impress me.  (Computers can do anything now.)  I have gotten much more careful with my movie dollars because I know that is what speaks to the film industry.  But, saying that, there is nothing better than the experience of seeing a good movie on a big screen as an "event". 

5. When you were a kid, who (besides your parents) was your favorite adult?

Again, I had to ponder this question and it makes me sad that an adult name didn't come right to my mind.  I can think of some adults in my childhood that I thought were kind, but I can't think of one special person who made a difference in my life.   Sad.  I HOPE I can be a special adult in someone's life (besides my own daughters.)  I think that is important to me.  I think children need loving adults in this crazy world.  "It takes a village."   I want to be a role model and I want to show my love and care about all children. 

6. The astronaut, Neil Armstrong, passed away last week. He was regarded as a hero by many generations of people all around the world. Do we still have modern day heroes?  What makes someone a hero?

Another thought-provoking question!  I can remember where I was watching Neil take his step off the ladder on to the moon's surface that July evening.  I think Neil Armstrong was considered a hero by many because he was commited to the cause - and not afraid to do it.  Obviously he trained and trained, and was prepared, and yes, was the right man at the right time in the NASA program.  But, since his historic "first step for mankind" he stayed humble and he considered space exploration his cause.  He was not pompous.   Today it is hard to find a person so devoted to doing something they believe in without looking like it's to make themselves look good.  That's one of the big problems with our politicans today.  They seem to be more interested in impressing themselves and looking good than in making a difference for the people of the country.

In that light, a modern hero?  I think it's the person,  the "unnamed" everyman out there, using their life to better their environment, who care for the people around them, and  go about that business without looking for applause.

7. I never get tired of ______________________ .

My first thought: food!  I never get tired of my favorite coffee drink, Cafe Francais.  I never get tired of peanut butter.   Of mexican food.  And, pizza!
I also never get tired of summertime, I never tire of music, or times with friends and family...  or...evenings on the porch with wine...  or reading a good book....    

8.  My random thought:

Thinking about hurricanes.  I hope and pray Isaac doesn't do much damage to the lives & homes of all the people in the gulf region.  It's getting to mid - hurricane season and I wonder what is coming next.  I live in a region that doesn't get hit by hurricanes that often (coastal SC) but we have had some major ones before I moved here.  In my 6 years of living along the coast I have had few scares and no need to evacuate.  I think my "good luck" with hurricanes can't last forever.  I have a plan ready if needed, but I still worry about my pets and the damage that might happen.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Travels and home...

There's a change in the air this week.  I know it's August but our high temps for the day are now "only" in the 80's.  A sign of the ending of summer?  It's funny that hubby and I sat out on the porch last evening and we said it seemed cool out.  Ha! 

Joyce's first question in this week's Hodgepodge is about a place that stays warm year round!

1. Aloha!  On August 21, 1959 Hawaii officially became a US state.  Have you ever been?  Upon arrival would you prefer an orchid or a hibiscus to tuck behind your ear?

I have been to Hawaii twice. Both times I went to the island of Maui.  My first trip was for my honeymoon...which on the surface sounds like what a great place to get away after a wedding.  BUT, unfortunately on the way to Hawaii my hubby started feeling sick.  He continued to be ill and by the time we arrived he was downright really sick!  I won't go into all the details but I will say that the poor guy had a spinal tap done at Maui Memorial Hospital, and although he didn't have to stay in the hospital  he was not able to enjoy any (and I mean ANY) aspects of our honeymoon!   I dragged him out of the hotel room for 1 photograph.  It was a long 7 days.  We had booked the trip using non-refundable and changeable vouchers.  Thank God my husband slowly got better once we got home (it was a virus that took a good month for complete recovery) and our marriage survived the scary start.

Our second trip to Hawaii was with a group from Coca-cola when hubby worked for them out on the west coast.  That time we were healthy (I was pregnant with our first) and we enjoyed sightseeing and wonderful dinners, etc.  It made up for the first experience.

I would love an orchid tucked in behind my ear.  We have hibiscus here - so getting an orchid is a bit more rare and beautiful.

2. Since we are talking tropical...what's your favorite food made with pineapple?

I love pineapple upside-down cake...but I never have it.  This answer goes with question #4 because my mother used to make it when I was a kid.  It was from a mix but it was WONDERFUL!  I don't think the mix is available anymore.  It came with the batter mix, then brown sugar to sprinkle on, and a small can of pineapple.  Has anybody seen it lately?

3. Do you believe in soul mates?

I believe in two people who find each other and are "meant to be together"... if that's what defines a soul mate.  I have always thought that God had a hand in putting together my hubby and me.   We are NOT alike in everything...so that doesn't make a soul mate.  But, we do have the same direction and we have the same desire in life.  We want to go through the life adventure together.  He is my soul mate.

4. Share a memory about the house you grew up in.

I am definitely hearing the Miranda Lambert song "The House that Built Me" in this question!  

I grew up in a few houses so I don't have the ONE house with memories.  We did a little moving when I was a kid. I went to 2 elementary schools, 2 junior high, and 2 high schools.    One memory of the house in Cleveland Heights is the backyard, which wasn't large but big enough to keep a badminton net up all summer long.  We played badmintion ALOT.  I think it was mostly my brother and me.  He and I also shot baskets on our driveway.  The garage was detached from the house and Dad had hung a backboard on it.  We played many, many games of "Round the World." 

5. Are you comfortable with silence?

Absolutely!  Sometimes I love it.  But, it's not really total silence...because that's when I hear the birds, or other small sounds that can often go unnoticed.  

6. You spot a giant spider on your bedroom wall....what's your next move?  (All spiders are giant, right?) 

I am not afraid of spiders.  So, depending on where the spider is...if it's easy to reach I will probably take a tissue and get it and squish it.  If it's too high to reach I will leave it alone - or get a broom and knock it down.   So, call me if you need a spider "removed."  Now, snakes....that's different!?!  EEEK!

7. My idea of fun does NOT include __________.  

It is not fun to do something, anything, which might hurt another person - phyiscally or emotionally.  Count me out.

8. Random thought.

I am interested to hear what people think of posting pictures and fun times on Facebook.  My hubby and I had a discussion about it this morning.  I am pretty much into "journaling" life on FB and I post a lot of pictures there.  I do not do it in any way, shape, or form to "brag" but he thinks people perceive it that way.  I love using FB to "share" with my family and friends who do not live near by.  I use it so my daughters can see what we are doing.  I love to take pictures and "tag" family and friends.   But, what do you think?  Am I showing off when I do this?  


Thursday, August 16, 2012

Happy birthday Sue-sue-serio!

Today is my girlfriend Sue's birthday.  I didn't get a card into the mail - or a present!  So, she can consider this her gift.  H A P P Y      B I R T H D A Y     S U E   !!!

Let me tell you a little bit about "us."   Sue and I met at Towson State University, at the school's radio station WCVT.  We were both Mass Communications majors. I was a transfer in student, my junior year.  She was one year behind me.  But, for one of my classes taught by Mr. John McKerron, I was supposed to put together a radio commercial.  I can't remember if Sue was assigned to me, or just offered to help, but she and I would meet in the production room (closet) at the station on campus and she helped me work on a fictious Linda Ronstadt commercial.  Sidenote:  This was before computer technology for splicing.  We manually cut audio tape on a little machine and used tape to splice it together for an edit.  It was on reel to reel. 

I don't think I ever finished my commercial but it started our friendship!  We talked and laughed... and continued on.    Sue will have to fill in my blanks.  I can't remember how or when exactly we decided to move in together after graduation.  But, we did - thank goodness!  We first moved into Woodstream Apts in Cockeysville, MD.   I had started working for WBAL Radio in the news dept. and Sue was an announcer at a radio station out of Annapolis.   We were good roommates because we each had our own jobs and schedules, but we still had great times when we hung out together watching movies on TV in our apartment and going out for dinner.  

We took some awesome vacations together!  First we joined other friends and flew to Aruba for 4 or 5 days away.   But, our BEST, and most exciting vacations as "single girls"  were aboard the Holland America ships...we went on two cruises where we met interesting people, including a couple of crew members.  Oh la la!!  Memories, right Sue???  

And, remember the ethnic festivals in downtown Baltimore?  Especially the Italian Fest?

We moved into another apartment in the same community after a year.  Briarcliffe apts.  It was a bit bigger than the first place and had a washer & dryer in the unit. We were living in style!  By, the way, Sue is a claustrophic person - she always needed a balcony.  ( :

Anyway, we had great times together but after a coupele of years I moved out on her to get married.  Sorry Sue.  Only a man could tear us apart!  ha   Of course, Sue was in my wedding.

But, this is the cool thing...  our friendship didn't end even tho I married and moved out of state.  In fact, I moved...and moved again...and moved again.  Sue came and visited me everywhere I lived! 

Now, her life was not on hold.  She had new jobs, job issues, new men, men issues.  Family joys and family issues.   We talked about everything!!   Weeks could go by but it didn't matter because we always knew (and still know) what was going on with our lives. 

Babies came... and we shared our love for them, and had more to talk about!   We loved to spend time together making crafts.  We moved within a few hours of each other at one point and occasionally got together for lunch (not often enough.)   Sue and I have never been at a loss for something to talk about.  I guess that's what makes our friendship last.  We don't have parallel lives but we understand each other, and we listen and laugh about life together!   She might say she called me with "emotion" more than I called her.  But, she's my person out there who I know WILL be there. 

We have gone through hair cut and color changes, style changes, body image concerns, health scares, family deaths, our own aging complaints....   everything!   Now, we look forward to each summer when she and her family are in SC and she and I slip away for "girl time."  (Again, we didn't do it enough this summer.)

This is getting long.  But, Sue, today is your birthday and I wanted to say YOU are one special person to me!  Besides my blood family, you have known me the longest on an ongoing basis. (Even longer than my hubby.)  I am blessed to have a girlfriend like you.   We have come this far in our lives together that I think we know we have each other's backs forever.    So -
 H A P P Y     B I R T H D A Y     G I R L F R I E N D !!!!   Love you Sue!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

A thoughtful Hodgepodge

Joyce asks some interesting and thought provoking questions this week.  I had to ponder them a little before responding.  How about you?

1. "The best cure for a sluggish mind is to disturb it's routine."  When was the last time you "disturbed your routine" and how'd you do it?

I worry about keeping my mind active.  I know it's important as I age to keep thinking and challenging my brain.  I love doing crosswords and do the ones from the newspaper most mornings.  I have also gotten involved (too involved!) in "Words with Friends".   I read and belong to a Book Club.  This fall, I have signed myself up for an 8 week (once a week) art class.  Acrylic painting.  Once upon a time, years ago, I started out in college as an art major. I changed majors but I have enjoyed art throughout my life and have taken some classes here and there as an adult.  But, it's been awhile - and I'm ready to go for it again.  I'm looking forward to the classes this fall.

2. What's your favorite fried food indulgence?

Hushpuppies!  Here in the south some restaurants put them out on the table, by the basketful!  You don't even have to ask for them.  Uh-oh!!!  I love them, especially warm and dipped in a little soft butter.   So bad but oh so good!!

3. Did you have an allowance as a kid?  What did you do with it?  Do/did you give your own kids an allowance?

I am trying to remember back if and when we kids were given an allowance.  I can't think of a time. (Sister Sue:  any recollection of that?)   I do remember that my  parents had a "chore list" on the inside door of our pantry.  If we did a certain chore we checked it off and I think EARNED some money.   I guess it was their way of teaching us that we have to work for what we want.
When I was a parent of school-aged daughters I do not remember ever offering a weekly allowance to them to spend. I have to admit hubby and I were easy on them that way. Maybe too easy.  Thank goodness they turned out great anyway!  I think I always had the mindset that if they worked hard with school and music endeavors, then we would provide for them. 

4. What's something you wish you knew more about?

This is a  tough question because all the things I am thinking of I COULD learn more about...I just haven't.  Like how computers work, how a car engine works.  I'd like to know "why" alot more.  But those are philosophical questions, sometimes without an answer.

5. Is there anything you feel too old to do anymore? If so, what?

Wear a bikini!  ha!   Seriously, I do not feel "too old" to do things, and actually I think I have become more free as I have aged to do things, or to at least to not care what other people think when I do.   Thankfully, I do not have any physical limitations.  By the grace of God!!    I just bought a little sign with this saying on it, and I have it hanging by my bathroom mirror:  " Live your life and forget your age."  I good reminder each morning.

6. What's a song you think has a great first line?

Wow. I'm finding this to be a tough question.  Why?  Most of my favorite songs don't have great first lines.  It's the chorus that's the best.  Joyce:  ask me that one!   ( :    When it comes to first lines of songs I guess I have to think of something religious....like the Doxology: "Praise God from whom all blessings flow."  You know, I really wanted to answer this with a country song, because they DO have the best lyrics! 

7. Who are your writing to/for when you create a blog post?  In other words...as you write, who is your audience in your head?

First and foremost I am writing to my daughters.  I also write to my friends, and fellow blog readers.

8.  my random thought.

I tend to be too serious when I blog and sometimes I really don't want to be that way. I'm really curious how my fellow bloggers will answer #7.  I need to record funny moments in life, my daily joys, and just "journal" better.  I hope to do that.  Stick with me!

Monday, August 13, 2012

A Monday Morning Musing

I am in a bit of a "funk" this morning.  I'm allowed, right?   Really, it's for no particular reason, and certainly for no sane reason.  I'm blessed...I'm loved...    life is great.

But, sometimes the "let downs" of life sit on the shoulders alittle.  Disappointments, disagreements.   It's getting towards the end of summer and even though I don't have school age children I still think of the "back to school" days - the change in schedules, and how busy times pick up. 

I was out yesterday and I ran into someone who mentioned an "end of the summer" party. Funny how that makes me sad.   Why is it I can't embrace the change of seasons? 

I'm ready for one thing that Autumn brings.  Football!   But there's also the whole political thing happening this Fall.  It's pretty depressing. I think we all agree.  I was talking to my oldest daughter yesterday about getting registered in the state she lives in now so she can vote in November.  She said "it's all smoke and mirrrors" and she probably wouldn't do it.  I can't blame her.  And, that makes me sad.

I think about the holidays already!  Crazy, huh?   Yes, there are wonderful things about Thanksgiving and Christmas.  But, I already think of that extra "work" that goes along with it.  Each year I tell myself to stop sweating the small stuff...    and it's all small stuff, right?   But it adds up.  It becomes big.  It sits on my shoulders.   That's where I am this morning.

I know tomorrow I will feel better - more optimistic, more energized.    I'm just wallowing alittle right now.  Time for a bit of prayer, a bit of uplifting music, a bit of exercise. 

Onward!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Hodgepodge me!

Here are Joyce's Hodgepodge questions for this week, and my answers.  Please feel free to respond in the "comments" area, or via Facebook or email.  I love to hear your thoughts.

1. In an effort to combat obesity, the mayor of NYC has plans to ban the sale of sugary drinks (anything over 16 ounces), initially in restaurants, movie theatres, and street carts.  Corner stores would also be affected if they are defined as food service establishments.  Your thoughts?

I applaud Mayor Bloomburg for his true concern for the health of people, and for the concern of ALL our pocketbooks.  Those large sugary drinks (along with all the other "junk food" Americans partake in) have created major medical problems.  And, all of us who pay taxes are paying for the treatment of those who can't, and have high blood pressure, diabetes, etc. due to their diet. It's a complicated issue I realize.  I know that we live in a country that is founded on and gives "freedom of choice" but only when it's NOT affecting us all.  I know many food & drink companies do not always consider health concerns over the almighty dollar.  Mayor Bloomburg made a decision that doesn't win him popularity votes and he is okay with it.  I applaud his efforts.  I guess if somebody is THAT upset that they can't buy a "Super Gulp" in NYC they can go live somewhere else. Or, hey, if they must, they can buy TWO smaller drinks.

2. Art festival, music festival, food festival - which would you like to attend? 

Hands down, MUSIC FESTIVAL!  Those who know me know that I have attended the CMA Music Festival in Nashville the past two years and have LOVED it from beginning to end.  It's a highlight of my year now.  After I got back from this last one in June, I immediately went on line and bought tickets for next year! 

3. What are you irrational about?

This answer comes from people who know me:  I am irrational about my hopes for a gun-free, more peaceful country.  I am a pacifist and I truly believe we need to tighten up our laws about gun ownership.  In my opinion, too many people are injured and killed by guns that are stolen or that accidently go off.   I  am not a fan of the "sport of hunting".  There are many sports to get involved in that do not require a deadly weapon.  I think only police should carry guns, and that those caught with them (illegally) should have to pay a heavy penalty.  The "rational" people say it's too late - that guns are everywhere in America.  True.  But, until we change the availability of them and the penalties it will continue that way.  

4. Do you feel confident you will have a comfortable retirement?

If you mean "financially comfortable" the answer is yes.  If you mean "physically comfortable" I do not know, but I pray that I will have good health into my old age.  I do worry about a disabling disease, or a chronic and painful issue.  I have seen too many people get into their later years and are unable to enjoy them because they live a confining lifestyle due to medical problems.  I have also seen (and admire) other seniors with good health who stay active and involved.  I hope I'm the latter! 

5. What's been your favorite Olympic moment so far ?   (the 2012 games)

I have watched most coverage at night, so I have seen mostly swimming, gymnastics, and volleyball.  NBC seems to be focusing in on those sports.  The track and field events are just starting.  From what I have watched so far, I guess my favorite 2 moments are 1) Michael Phelps winning his "last" gold medal...and 2) little Gabby winning gold as the "all around gymnast."   Can I say here, I enjoy the Olympics BUT I still have a hard time seeing defeat because someone is .001 or .002 behind someone else.  I hate watching the disappointment.

6. What would you label the messiest room in the house?

I may not be extremely clean but I don't like messes.  I like to put things in piles. I'm a neatnik. I like to walk in a room and have it visibly appealing.   So, my messiest rooms?  The utility room which is also a storage room. (In the lowcountry of SC we do not have basements. )

7. Do you follow your heart or your head?

There are few things good about aging, but I will admit that as I have grown older I have ALLOWED myself to follow my heart more.  As a young woman, and then a young mother, I had to follow my head alot.  I was concerned with MY well-being when I was single, and then I was worried about my family when I married & had my daughters.  Now, I am in a position when I can follow my heart...and it's a wonderful thing!

8. My random thought.

I am starting to think about Fall.  Grrrrrr. 

Thursday, August 2, 2012

The freedom of Choice (Not chicken!)

Yesterday was the day that Mike Huckabee suggested to be a "support Chic-fil-A" day after the founder & owner Dan Cathy  had some negative press a few days ago.  Mr. Cathy had stated in an interview that his company believes in "family values" and he therefore believes that God intended on heterosexual marriage.  I don't have his exact words.  I know he was speaking from his heart.  He's a successful businessman, but also a very caring person. Chic-fil-A employees have Sundays off to go to church and to "rest on the 7th day".  They are given good insurance benefits and college scholarship programs.

The turnout at Chic-Fil-A's across the country yesterday was outstanding!  I'm sure the company reaped financially, and felt the true support of many fellow Americans.

Kudos! It was a non-violent expression.  It made all the national news media reports.

BUT....      (don't you love a "but") I found myself unsure about what to do yesterday.  I was out during lunch yesterday and I did go through a fast food line, and I considered going to a "Chic-Fil-A" BUT I didn't.

Why?  I did not want my self, my car in line, and my dollars, to be a "vote" for ONLY heterosexual marriage - and I was afraid that is how it would be interpreted.   I could NOT do that.

I am not a gay person.  But I know people who are. I don't understand why they were born with the desire for a same sex relationship, but I don't question it.  I know it's "who they are".  God made ALL of us in his image.  God LOVES all of us!   I have no right to sit in judgement on other individuals.
I do not want to do anything that alienates a group, or makes a person feel wrong.   Therefore I could not go through the Chic-fil-A line yesterday.

I love this country for allowing peaceful demonstrations.   But, in my heart, I could not participate.