Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Famous Strong Women

Women have made many strides to be equal in so many ways. Here are a few women that made an impression on me as a young woman. From Barbara Jordan fiercely interrogating the members of President Nixon's administration to Mother Theresa helping the poor and needy when she had only her heart and soul to offer them. Golda Maier was a strong force against terrorism as prime minister of Israel. I want to know who are the women that influenced you in your life?

Barbara Jordan

Golda Maier

Helen Keller

Jane Goodall

Marie Curie

Mother Theresa

These women were often told they couldn’t, they had physical challenges, and faced the political control of a patriarchal world. The found their courage and stood true to their convictions and changed how people view women, disabilities and health.

Book Reviews

Newest addition to the blog site, coming soon, will be book reviews. I love to read about strong women and their adventures, challenges and achievements.

Making Old Photos Better

grt gma copeland and jean The best way to make old photos look better is to take a picture of the photo.

Scan this photo as high at 1200 dpi, and the results are often worse than the original. Try editing the photo and it fades away or pixels out as the setting change.

Take the original photo outside on a sunny day, put a white towel over the back and seat, of a lawn chair, turn the chair away from direct light in the shade. Do not use the flash on your camera.

A basic digital camera works well. Zoom in on the photo, if you have macro capability you can use it for this shot. Make certain the original is clear of any reflections, bright spots and unusual shadows. The most likely reflection or shadow is from you taking the picture. If you set the photo against the towel where the seat and back come together it helps eliminate the flares, shadows and reflections. Also, make certain your photo is sitting as level as possible. Don’t worry if you get part of the towel in your new picture.

Review the picture look for “hot spots,” reflections, or unusual shadows. Readjust the original and/or your shooting position. Do this until you have a clear clean shot of the old photo. Once you have it set, you can continue to take more old photo’s pictures.

Use the editing software that came with your camera, Microsoft Picture Manager or PhotoShop, crop the image, adjust the brightness, contrast and sharpness and save your changes once you like the way your photo looks. That is all you need to enhance a black and white photo. You can also use the noise reduction and scratch removal in the photo editor.

Yes editing can be done from a scanned photograph into a jpeg. The worst happens when you go to crop the photo and it distorts into pixels. Taking photos with your digital camera will allow you to crop into the picture and blow it up without loosing any resolution. It will be a clear better picture than the original.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

He's Just Not That In To You

The movie is listed as a comedy/drama/romance, with some big names in Hollywood - Drew Barrymore, Ben Affleck and Jennifer Anniston. There were a few moments of laughter for me, but I can say it was more telling about the programing women have running through our heads.

Act 1: In a playground, a little girl and a little boy playing. The little boy pushes the girl down and proceeds to call her names and tells her she is stupid dog poop. Crying and barely able to speak the little girl tells her mother. The mother sets the wheels in motion by saying, "When little boys are mean to you it means they like you. It means they have a crush on you."

I remember hearing that and believing it too. It set me up for some serious disappointments regarding relationships with men.

An Epiphany struck in about 2004 or 2005, when I was searching for the answers to, Why does he treat me this way? Why does this keep happening to me?

Never would I admit that I was a codependent enabler. Not me, but after reading lots of books and actually allowing the truth to come forward it hit me like a ton of bricks. I had to admit it, I was an enabler and codependent woman.

Everyday was a new challenge to consciously watch my behavior around other people, because I also learned that it wasn't just men that I allowed to be mean to me. I allowed my mother, friends, coworkers and just about anyone to use me. Somewhere in my psyche I thought I was doing a good thing by "being there for them." One person I wasn't there for was me.

The results of the awareness of my codependent nature arrived in full force during a relationship that went on from October of 2006 to February of 2008.

Tom and I started out as friends many years ago, and I was totally unaware of any thing between us beyond friendship. I invited cousins Kay and Elizabeth, her family, Tom, my son, Mom, Dad, neighbors and a few others to a Memorial day crab boil. I boiled everything outside. Tom, the kids and my dog were playing a game with the soccer ball. Elizabeth came up to me and whispered, "that guy Tom is in love with you."

"No way," I protested endlessly to all the women that joined Elizabeth in saying that he certainly was acting like it to them. But to me he was acting standoffish, loud and basically ignoring me. Elizabeth swore she saw it in his eyes.

I was adamant that we were nothing more than friends. Was it true? I did start to ponder about all the times we had stopped on the highway just to say hello and give each other a hug. He said that he "would make bat turns in the road if he saw me."

After the party Tom and I met for lunch at Cracker Barrel. We laughed so much our sides hurt, and when he walked me to my car he leaned in and kissed me. I returned the kiss, of course.
Even after the kiss I did not give in to a full on relationship with him.

By October the desire was too strong and we both surrendered and announced to the world we were a couple. Christmas came and he gave me a diamond journey necklace to represent all the years he had loved me. Valentines he showed up that morning at my job with a big bunch of red roses, candy and a guitar playing monkey singing "Wild Thing."

His actions would at times make me feel that I was the queen of the world and he was my hero. The darker side was not as obvious, and was never demonstrated around other people. It started with sly cutting remarks that went straight to the core of my being. He would come over to see me no matter how late it was after he finished work, but at the same time he groaned and griped about how tired he was, how other people were demanding of his time, and it was very telling to me. I told him to stop coming over every day after work. He did just that, without even a bat of his eye in protest.

Not too long after he stopped coming over everyday his visits became more and more infrequent. His reasons for not visiting me when he did have the time were as lame as "I have to make my bed." Give me a break, please. I remember that one from elementary school days, when a kid didn't want to play with you they would say they had to make their bed, like it was a really big deal.

Finally the words came out of his mouth, "Its not you, its me." My conclusion was this was the break-up statement, but he protested that it wasn't. He said he just needed time to get his head together; yahdee yadee yahda. I showed him on the Internet that those words were considered one of the ultimate break-up phrases. He continued to protest how that wasn't true, but to me it was a sealed deal. I may have been a bit cruel, but my words and actions came at the end after I had had the passive aggressive game played on me.

Most baby boomer men learned that girls were told that boys like us if they are mean to us. I saw it in my oldest brother and in other men that age. They often act according to the myths, and because of conditioning as little girls many women fall into the trap of accepting it and enabling the men to treat us poorly.

There was one character in the movie that seemed impervious to the myths. He befriended Gigi and told her how as a bartender he saw all the myths played out. Gigi was shocked to learn the truth and embarrassed by the fact that she had to admit her role in the game.

Taking back control of me, making conscious choices based on truth continues to challenge me today. I am grateful for where I am right now, because those games are not a part of my life, and I am free of the drama.

My Worst Date Ever

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

I am Woman Hear Me Roar

The beautiful lady, standing proud in the photo was my great grandmother, Lynda Kennedy, and one of the strongest women in my life.

Lynda married Mr. Mullen in 1901, and he turned out to be a very abusive husband. I often heard the story about the first time he hit her. She said, "If it happens again you better make certain I am dead, because if you ever harm me again, I guarantee, you won't wake up again." Lynda reminded him that sooner or later he had to go to sleep. She didn't wait for sleep the next time it happened, instead a loaded .45 caliber pistol was stuck in his face.

Women were given the legal right to divorce, keep their own money and have custody of their children in the late 1800's. Lynda went against society. She divorced Mullen, and raised her son alone.

Lynda's sister Annette never married and they both worked as clerks in the local railroad office. Lynda also leased out rooms of the house she owned to boarders.

Her son Leo, played the piano, the mandolin, and was a member of the Auburn University Glee Club. My grandfather made Lynda proud, as he was always a gentleman that rarely raised his voice. He showered my grandmother with a love that I still hold onto as the epitome of love.

Lynda's teachings took root in her son and the rest of her family. Granny's (as we called her) philosophy on the meaning of truth and honesty was this; "You say what you mean and mean what you say, and one should speak so, as to not be misunderstood."

Her greatest bit of wisdom she whispered in my ear, "never forget how to play." She loved to play with my brothers and me. She taught us how to release fairies from crystal prisms, to see shapes in the clouds, and to use our imaginations.

The difference between Lynda and other women was evident when I was outside with my then mother-in-law. I looked up at the clouds and saw a rabbit running so fast that his ears were laid back and his front legs were between his hind legs. Mrs. Martin, my mother-in-law said "don't be silly, that is childishness." My retort was how my 96-year-old great grandmother taught me to see those things, and she was not a child, just a child at heart.

Lynda's wisdom had been passed down to her son, to my Mom and to me. We all played when I was growing up. It is too sad that Chappel, my son, never got to meet her.

Chappel and I spent the summer of 1988 in Baltimore, MD. We took a walk near the campus of Johns Hopkins University on a divided avenue. Between the two sides of the avenue was a small wooded, grassy ravine with a gazebo. A perfect location for a game of war. We decided to call a truce in our war, and we sat down inside the gazebo. My son walked over, put his arm on my shoulder and said, "Mom you know how to play. Most adults play at playing, but you really know how to play." At that moment I knew Lynda was with me and I understood her wisdom. My son gave me the greatest compliment I've ever received.

Chappel is now thirty-three, married and his wife is expecting a baby girl. I hope my son and I can pass on to another generation the meaning of true fun, and may Sophia (my yet unborn granddaughter's name) always remember how to play.