WELCOME TO POETIC MOVES CREATIVE ARTS
-HOME TO POETIC MOVES PUBLISHING-
Poetic Moves Publishing was founded by Ruby M. Harmon. It's evolution began from a friend's suggestions after reading several of Dr. Harmon's poems. A pediatrician and poet who began writing serendipitously, Dr. Harmon has developed a passion for writing and like most writers, pens poems into the wee hours of the morning. Her poems are accessible, meaningful and evoke various emotions in the reader.
Check out the poems and Dr. Harmon's pieces on her pediatric and everyday life experiences. Feel free to comment and make suggestions!
Interested in ordering books, cards: Peruse the site. All items for sale in our online store
New blog post
REDEFINING MY PRESENT
Sometimes life brings us puzzling experiences, that make us pause. And time defines the needed change.
I have been a pediatrician for almost 17 years and have been blessed to work in various settings: inpatient medicine with some teaching responsibilities, emergency medicine and private practice. God has blessed me with so many rich, educational and rewarding opportunities, for which I am so grateful. I know that I have a guardian angel, my mother, Queen Mary, who watches over me. Even though she is no longer here physically, I know that she is here, in my heart, guiding me. I have had to re-evaluate my life; my direction, goals. Where am I going? Am I being true to myself? Am I living my true purpose? Am I happy? I am so fortunate to have such wonderful family and friends who are supportive, encouraging, helpful; many who want the best for me.
I am happy to announce that I have opened a new pediatric practice in Manhattan. My goal is to provide care to the whole child, engaging patients and parents in a collaborative team approach. So, it is with a joyful, grateful heart that I introduce, my pediatric private practice, HARMON PEDIATRICS, located on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, New York.
Thank you to my loving family, especially Mom, dear friends and acquaintances. The journey and purpose begin.
Help: Guest Book comments mistakenly deleted!
Hello Family and Friends
All of our guestbook comments dating back years were accidentally deleted. So, if you're browsing or checking out our website or buying one of our products, please feel free to leave a comment, thought or message. Check out the pages, poems, and our lovely store. Please sign our guestbook. Thank you for visiting!
For MOM, "Mary"
her words, poise and wisdom bring truth
her beauty lingers, still
and so I pause, still
for here she is with me
A continuing tribute to my mother, Mary, who passed away on August 16, 2015. We miss you tremendously. Thanks for defying
the odds for all of those years. Love truly conquers all. 90.5 years rich!
SALE, SALE , SALE!!!
Special sale on our poetry collection " With Love", especially for Black History Month and Valentine's Day. Now on sale for $20.00. Don't miss this wonderful opportunity!!!
2014 SCHEDULED EVENTS
SCHEDULED EVENTS FOR 2014
We are very fortunate to participate in the following events. Thank you for the invitations and for your support of our work! Here's to "Dromedary and Camelot"!
- February 7, 2014 - Readathon @ PS 282, Park Slope, Brooklyn, NY
- February 11, 2014 - IPS Book Fair New York, NY 10024
A SPECIAL MESSAGE FOR VENDORS, WHOLESALERS, BUYERS, DISTRIBUTORS:
To Distributors, Buyers, Vendors:
Please contact us directly for orders, sales and questions. We can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org. We will respond promptly to your requests/questions.
I started swimming lessons or perhaps I should say "resumed swimming lessons". It's a work in progress and my confidence builds with each trip to the pool. Water, appeals to me. I enjoy watching and have even pictured myself participating in aquatic sports. So, I decided to take swimming lessons. Although I grew up in a country right on the equator, Liberia, my swmming prowess was zilch. I have been taking group lessons with an amazing swim teacher. Unfortunately, the lessons ended, but I've carved out time to practice on my own. Goggled, dressed with flppers in hand, I've enjoyed swimming, even doing laps in the deep end. Whew! My last run was exciting and relaxing. Few swimmers were in the pool, so I had a lane all to myself. Back float is my favorite for now. I 'm working on free-style but still need to master coordinating the breaths and turns
A few days ago, I went for a swim. I still benefit from the floating board when in the deep end. So after my 3rd lap to the deep end, I took a break. A family of 5 had just entered in search of a swimming lane. The 3-4 year old, walked toward me as I was doing my routine bobs under water. Her tiny voice called out, " I can swim. Do you want me to teach you? I have to put my swim cap on." Her mother dressed the little one in goggles and swim cap. Fearlessly, the child jumped into the pool. "That's ok, I responded. Thank you. I bet you're a real good swimmer". She smiled but really seemed sincere with her request to teach me how to swim. I smiled, knowing that we ( adutls) are never too old to learn. Kids can be teachers too. Here was a child who genuinely wanted to teach me to swim. And then I remembered another child, months ago, who when asked about her trick for free-style, reponded, "It's easy. Just pretend you're lying on a pillow when you turn your head and breathe".
I love the genuineness of children: their desire to help, their curiosity and adventurous spirits. It's never too late to learn and indeed children can be teachers too.
The swimming and lessons continue...
POETRY, A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC
POETRY, A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC
...And what of the words that tumble
raindrops, moistening this forgotten space
eyes deep, holding a million thoughts...
Join Ruby M. Harmon, Yassira Diggs and Atiba Kwabena
for an entertaining evening of original poetry, story telling and music.
A few surprises await you.
We hope to see you there!
Sunday, August 25, 2013 @ 7:00pm
312 W 36 Street
New York, NY 10018
Tickets: $20.00, can be purchased at the box office or online @ www.abingdontheatre.org
Thoughts for the day
Be in the present moment and be present in the moment.
~ rharmon 2003
Love, live, laugh... often.
Happy Holidays from Poetic Moves Publishing
Looking for holiday gifts? Well, we have just the presents for you. Why not buy one of our poetry books or even a children's book? We are offfering our latest book, Dromedary and Camelot, at a discounted rate. $15.00 during the month of December 2012! Check out the website! You won't be disappointed.
News, readings, signings, etc
Hello friends and family,
What a wonderful time we had at Bank Street Bookstore , 112th and Broadway, New York, NY on 11/30/12! The reading was enjoyable and fun. The children eagerly participated. Thank you to
the staff at Bank Street for hosting us during story time! We had a blast. Books are available for sale at Bank Street Bookstore.
Join us for the upcoming book reading and signing event on 12/8/12 @ Book Mark Shoppe, 8413 3rd Avenue, btw 84th and 85th sts in Bayridge Brooklyn. We are also looking forward to
Scheduled events for Dromedary and Camelot!
READINGS, BOOK SIGNINGS, OTHER EVENTS:
September 22, 2012 2pm -4pm Join us for Special Storytime at the
Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art
125 West Bay Road, Amherst, MA 01002
(413) 658-1100. Book signing to follow. Come travel with Dromedary and Camelot!
November 10, 2012 10am-4pm Traverse City Childrens' Book Festival,
City Opera House, Traverse City, MI 49684
November 10, 2012 530pm-8pm Moonbeam Awards Ceremony,
Park Place Hotel, Traverse City, MI 49684
**Dromedary and Camelot (recipient of the Bronze Award- Picture Book- all ages)
November 30, 2012 4:30pm Join us for a book reading and signing of Dromedary and Camelot at
Bank Street Bookstore, 112th and Broadway
NY, NY 10025 (212) 678-1654
December 6, 2012 5p-9p Holiday Shopping Night; Twin Hills Country Club, 700 Wolf Swamp Road, Longmeadow, MA 01106 (413) 567-0321
(Free admission; Shopping, cocktails, hors- d'oeuvres). Bring a canned good for open pantry.
December 8, 2012 12pm Story time - Dromedary and Camelot
Join us for a book reading and signing at
The Book Mark Shoppe, 8415 3rd Avenue,
Bklyn, NY 11209 (718) 833-5115
February 2, 2013 830a-1130a Greater Metropolitan NY Social Studies Conf
UFT- 52 Bway, NY, NY 10004
February 14, 2013 1130a-130p IPS Book Festival-Featured Author/Illustrator
- book reading and signing
76th btw Columbus & Amsterdam, NY, NY.
So, What's Happening with Dromedary and Camelot?
DROMEDARY AND CAMELOT is enjoying a fun year! Ruby M. Harmon (author) and Eric Hamilton (illustrator) recently returned from an exciting book reading, drawing and signing event at the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art in Massachusetts. They were fortunate to participate in Story Time at the Carle.
Poetic Moves Publishing is happy to announce that Dromedary and Camelot won the Bronze Moonbeam Children's Book Award in the Picture Book (all ages) category. We are thrllled about this acheivement and look forward to many more book awards. Thank you very much, Moonbeam Awards!
How delightful to see children and adults enjoying Dromedary and Camelot! A co-worker shared a picture of her daughter enjoying the book. One parent shared that she reads the book every night to her daughter. Interestingly, her daughter thought the book had been written especially for her.
We are so touched by everyone's support and all of the book purchases!
There will be upcoming book readings, signings posted on this page. Stay tuned folks!
Scheduled Event for Dromedary and Camelot
Dromedary and Camelot
Check out our latest book, Dromedary and Camelot! Dromedary and Camelot is a children's book that teaches about friendship and takes a close look at the all-too familiar childhood fear, "fear of the dark". Order now and get a complimentary poetry card! We look forward to hearing from you!
It's true, isnt it? It's a good feeling when someone appreciates your efforts. As much as we may try to remain modest, it feels good when someone says, "thanks", "thank you" especially when it's heartfelt. It's wonderful when you're fortunate to receive the "show of appreciation". So, dear family and friends, thanks for supporting my work, for the encouraging phone calls and notes, for purchasing books and handmade cards, for encouraging me in this journey as a writer and poet. The journey continues.
Wow, I can't believe I completed my first children's book, Dromedary and Camelot. It has been a labor of love. Dromedary and Camelot is available for purchase now on this website! Buy a copy or more!
**And feel free to explore the website, www.poeticmoves.net, to read the poetry and blog entries, to purchase books, cards, etc.
***Please don't forget to sign the guestbook.
DROMEDARY AND CAMELOT
Welcome to the world of Dromedary and Camelot! My new children's book, Dromedary and Camelot, has been published and will be available for purchase in June 2012. It is an enchanting, delightful story with amazing color illustrations. Spend time with Dromedary and Camelot as they explore fear and friendship. Dromedary and Camelot is written by Ruby M. Harmon, illustrated by Eric Hamilton and designed by Walter Gray Lamb.
Books are available for pre-order now! Stay tuned for updates on book events and readings.
CHECK OUT MY STORE! PRE-ORDER NOW!
Do you find that people seem lost in their own world lately? Well, the other morning enroute to work, the traffic was moving at a snail's pace. Perhaps not bad if you're relaxing, talking a leisurely ride, but when enroute to work, time is important. 45 minutes for a 20 minute ride. And guess what caused the traffice jam? The traffic flow had been changed from 3-2 lanes, plus here was this guy, texting, and holding up traffic. Funny, no horns sounded and each time the texter realized he was stalling traffic, he'd speed up only to slow down. And then you'd see his head look down for 1-2 mintues. And you knew he was texting again. Frustrating to say the least. The sad part is that he didn't seem the least bit concerned.
An older woman slowly climbed the stairs, one step at a time. A few of us waited patiently, to descend. No sooner, a young man, rushed, brushing my shoulder and skipped down the stairs. The older woman turned sideways to let the intruder by. As soon as he descended the stairs, he began a leisurely walk. We all looked in amazement. One of the women only asked, " What's the hurry?" Hmm, I thought, someday, the stakes may be turned as this young lad, now elderly may encounter a similar fate. I doubt that he'll even remember this incident.
I'd just left church a few Sundays ago. Two blocks away, a rather young man (mid-30's perhaps), rifled through the garbage. Instantly I felt drawn and reached to hand him some money. As I got closer, I noted that eventhough his clothes were tattered and beard scruffy, he looked well-kempt. I queried, "Have you eaten today? Here's something to help". I reached to hand him some money. He looked at me, said, "No thanks, I just ate", then hurried off. I looked at his face, and despite his tattered clothing, I questioned whether he was homeless. I paused. Was he a man of means who chose to live this way? Was he a reporter? Was he a garbage eater by choice?
Wow, what an eye opener. Here I was making assumptions, feeling that I could help someone and this seeminlgy "undomiciled" man was challenging my assumptions. I know that there are groups such as the "freegans" who reclaim and eat discarded food and other groups dubbed "garbage eaters". But I didn't really consider this at first site. Our encounter was definitely food for thought. Definitely a thought to be recycled.
Wow, life really throws some curve balls. Hopefully we're not too lost in our own worlds to ponder their meanings.
BABIES LOVE MASSAGE TOO...
Lately, I've been thinking about infant massage and the benefits it provides. I've had the opportunity to explore and address infant massage with parents. Most are receptive and several already practice it as part of their daily routines with babies. One mother even mentioned weekly yoga classes with her baby. A colleague was talking about infant massage as a routine modality in Ayurvedic practices in India. Several parents from France were surprised when I mentioned infant massage and noted that their babies just love massage.
A good friend, Laura Lacey, provides infant massage classes/sessions for parents and their infants. She offers a reasonably-priced instructional dvd on infant massage. Infant massage is great for the infant's well-being and aids with tone, tummy issues, colic and other common issues. It is healthful and beneficial! Of course, technique and applying pressure correctly are important. Infants are fragile too and applying pressure forcefully or over certain organs can be harmful. I encourage parents who are interested in infant massage to explore options with a licensed or experienced therapist or someone who has lots of experience. Imagine how wonderful adults feel after a good massage, then think how a baby would feel.
Infant massage...What a treat! Your infant will thank you with coos, babbles and smiles. Check out local listings. Check out Laura Lacey, www.lauralaceymassage.com, and Tracy Piper, www.marcholistic.com.
I've often heard people talk about reinventing themselves; usually in an upbeat tone, excited about their self and re-discovery. I recently fell prey to this when talking with a friend. For a moment I paused, laughed then reflected. Am I really "reinventing myself" or energizing a latent desire/wish?
How do we re-invent ourselves? Do we seek new experiences/adventures? Is this really a self-serving idea? Are we growing, searching for meaning? What does it really mean? Do we use the term as a way to escape stagnancy, the mundane or inertia?
But really I've thought about this a lot recently and wondered if my re-invention is spurred on because of aging or pursuing new experiences/challenges.
So what is the impetus for this new found re-invention, you ask?
I've changed jobs slightly and now work mostly in private practice. (I like my ER family and do miss them). Demands and expectations are a tad different, but my commitment to patients and providing good health care hasn't changed. There are new challenges, but working in an emergency room was great preparation. I am now looking into ways to broaden my scope, learning things that can enhance my work in a group private practice. Re-inventing myself, if you will. And the exciting thing is that I'm also doing the same in my creative work. I am learning life daily, always gaining wisdom (even when I doubt it) and being thankful, despite the stresses. I am embracing life with open arms, eyes and heart. I am reinventing myself, in spite of me.
Physician, heal thyself?
Cough, cough...nasal congestion...nose-blowing...pink eye...fatigue...etc...
A colleague heard me sniffling, blowing my nose and queried about my health. "So, doc, what are you doing for that cold?" "What cold? Oh, yeah, that. Well, ....."
I had been fighting this cold. Trying to get rid of it. Doing some homeopathic and over the counter remedies, but omitting the most obvious-- rest and drinking enough fluids.
"Why don't you try a neti pot?" she suggested. Hmm, a neti pot. Funny, I'd recommended this remedy to many patients/parents and friends and had yet to use one myself. I knew of the amazing difference it makes with nasal congestion and clearing nasal passages. There are many stories from healers and others about the wonders of this seemingly simple device.
"You know I'd never thought about that, even though I often discuss it with others", I answered.
But here is the interesting thing. How often do we, medical professionals, put patients first and our own interests last? How often do we neglect ourselves? Okay, okay, was I subscribing to the adage, "Do as I say, not as I do"? I had to really think about that. How can you expect patients to listen to your advice if you are non-compliant?
So I've decided to buy a neti pot and actually use it. I am hoping for the best. My colleague's question and advice weren't "filed under 'G'." Yes, I'm a quick learner and a doctor open to suggestions.
Cold, be gone!
Post Office Encounters
Healthy living is touted everywhere. Billboards announce it. Magazines report it. Some who purport to live it, probably don't. But who can judge?
Today, while standing in queue at the post office, I smelled a strong nicotine odor. It permeated the pores of the man who stood in front of me. Tall, thin, graying, he looked about 50 something. Still young by my standards. The smell was really overpowering for me. As I've gotten older, I find that cigarette smoke does bother me. At times, I try to respect the other person's "right" to smoke, as oxymoronic as that may sound, and walk away. But today, feeling rushed and refusing to leave the post office, I just stood there and endured the smell.
For a minute, the man resembled a cigarette - tall, lean, reeking of nicotine. I tried holding my breath at times to no avail. The smell had pervaded my nostrils, albeit temporarily. As he walked away, the smell lingered. Once my business was complete, my lungs sought fresh air. Whew! Outside, I inhaled deeply, trying to clear the debris.
Second hand smoke. Always controversial. The arguments go both ways. Whose rights are being infringed upon? The smoker or recipient of second hand smoke? On occasion, I do complain to smokers about inhaling cigarette smoke, second hand smoke and the dangers of smoking. But what do you say to a health care provider who smokes? For that matter, what do you say to anyone who smokes?
Free your lungs.
"feelings, nothing more than feelings..."
Feelings, feelings nothing more than feelings... isn't that Barry Manilow?
Life rushes by and sometime there is very little alone or me time. Sometimes we may not want to be alone, thinking ourselves idle. But I've come to realize how important alone time really is and how difficult it can be to achieve /carve out time for "me". What I do know is whenever I do set aside time for just quiet reflecting, meditating or praying, I feel so renewed and often receive answers.
A friend and I were recently discussing life's encounters: The adage that someone comes into your life for a reason, season or lifetime. Whether the purpose is to teach, learn, or even for a
fleeting moment, we must learn to acknowledge that encounter. Acknowledgement, of course, comes in many different forms. But isn't it interesting how you can meet someone and just "feel" that the
connection is special; that they will have an impact on your life? And then as time passes it becomes obvious. Sometimes the impact is immediate and can be disruptive. But then down the line, you
realize how that experience added to your growth.
As I've gotten older, I've gotten more cognizant of meetings/introductions; perhaps paid more attention to encounters. I am learning to "feel" others, feel their energy and see the moment as an addition/enhancement to my learning to live and about life. I do realize that sometimes a chance encounter can be disturbing and perhaps it's meant to shake us up a bit. Jostle us. Make us feel more alive, more involved, more expressive.
I have to remind myself to forgo analyzing everything, all the time. Sometimes quieting the analytical mind and just living life is what works best. Receiving life is not always easy. And yes, I'm still learning...
Thoughts on Medicine
I was thinking today about the unpredictability in medicine. How humbling it truly is. Perhaps, we are reminded more frequently than we'd like about being humbled, awe-stricken by medicine: Not only by our own limitations as medical professionals but by the sometimes serendipitous events that happen.
For a minute, it made me reminisce about the days of having to write a sentence repeatedly in class ( I will not talk in class or I will do my homework) as a sort of reminder to avoid certain behaviors. Although a long stretch, I see a bit of similarity here. How about repeating "Medicine is humbling" 100 times or more as a reminder that we as medical professionals don't know all.
Okay, this is somewhat circuitous to get to my point.
A few months ago, while seeing a newborn patient. I had to draw a blood sample. Well, having done venipunctures for several years , I felt confident. My confidence was a bit shaken though when I searched the patient's arms and hands and couldn't find an optimal vein to draw the blood. Of course, it didn't help that both parents were doctors. Their eyes watched mine, then stared at my hands tying the tourniquet as I searched for a decent vein. One stick is usually what the provider and parents hope for. Well, the first stick was unsuccessful. The best vein laid buried deep, right next to a tendon. Plus, leaving the tourniquet on for too long could temporarily turn the newborn's arm/hand blue, cutting off circulation.
The second stick was a slow productive one: the blood eked out very, very slowly. Fortunately, it didn't clot. Whew! Even after all these years, I am reminded daily that no matter how many years of medical experience I may have, a simple blood draw can be daunting. And perhaps, the word simple here is misplaced.
And this is one of the reasons why I love medicine. Humbling it is! There's always an opportunity to remember, no one is perfect!
Doctoring poses so many challenges and sometimes can be quite sobering. Long considered the art of healing, medicine, has retained some of both characteristics (art and healing). Some argue that medicine has changed with its insistence on productivity, efficiency and accountability. We are called to provide care, crossing our eyes, (pun intended) and dotting our tee's, ensuring that forms are completed, protocols met, and watching out for litigious patients. We must be sincere, dedicated, courteous, educated, caring professional listeners and healers. The list goes on and on.
But, what happens when a patient refuses your recommendation, in the face of potential danger? What if the patient is a child, newborn? What if the parents are making a decision that could be self-serving for them, yet dangerous for their child? What if the parents feel that they should be the ultimate decision-makers? After all, that is their child.
One or two cases come to mind: A newborn who required admission overnight, basically for observation and the parents wanted a second opinion and another newborn whose mother was so adamant about her child not being admitted to the hospital. The latter required emergent surgery and the mother later felt grateful. The former's parents felt infringed upon despite multiple explanations about the possible risks for sending their newborn home.
So what do you do? How does one explain to a parent that a 24 hour inpatient observation would rule out potential dangers but discharging the pediatric patient home could be dangerous? What if you've spent ~ 5 hours explaining and the parents are still insistent on going home? Well, New York State law forbids parents from signing out their children from the emergency room against medical advice (ama). Meant to protect the minor child, some parents view this law as an infringement on their rights as parents. There are child protective laws and agencies that at least try to enforce these rules.
It is challenging, because one can understand a parent's right to seek care elsewhere and a second opinion. No, I am not rigid to the point of excluding parents' rights. I think the parents usually know best about their children. I don't believe in the adage, my way or the highway. Second opinions can be necessary.That is the parent's right, if the child does not have a current emergency. (Note: I use the word current here, although redundant, because emergency for some can be conditions that have been present for some time). Listening to parents is paramount in obtaining a diagnosis and providing care. Establishing a rapport is important, but an urgent care or emergency room setting doesn't really allow for "instant" bonding or relationship building. Remaining objective is key. I try to spend time, sitting and talking with parents and patients, explaining the diagnosis, treatment options and potential outcomes. Indeed it is sometimes challenging, often time-consuming, but necessary in many cases.
At the end of the day, isn't providing the best medical care one can and when necessary protecting the child what matters? Should the doctor or other healthcare provider abnegate this responsibility just to please the parents? The choice is obvious, is't it? Well...tell me what you think?
Life has a way of getting in the way. I said this to a friend several days ago when we spoke about how fast the Summer had gone and our missed opportunities to get together. We both laughed, knowing the excuse was just that. An excuse.
Lately, I've thought about procrastination; how masterfully it inserts itself into deadlines, projects, planning and simply living. How often do we talk about doing something then get discouraged, feel overwhelmed or limited by finances? How often do we put off something that we know may bring us true joy? Is it fear or unfamiliarity with the unknown? Or are they one and the same?
I must admit to sometimes donning the crown in the procrastination pageant. I plan, talk about the plan, map it out, even set deadlines and then see those plans remain on paper. I feel the
urgency but find a way to dismiss those feelings with my old excuse, "Life sometimes gets in the way". Truly, is it tongue in cheek or rhetoric? Isn't procrastination part of life? A
part that we often try to excuse away? On the other hand, procrastination can sometimes be a blessing in disguise. Sometimes we are so obstinate with our plans, putting on blinders to the
potential dangers or closing our eyes to the
"hands waving in the air and mouths saying, Nooo", that we miss the warning signs. Isn't it interesting how we are insistent on plans that may have a negative outcome, but feel overwhelmed by plans that challenge us in positive directions?
How often does procrastination detour us from achieving positive goals? Okay, so I have been working on a novel for more than 1 year. I have 7-8 pages written and have discussed the desire to complete the novel with several people, yet haven't made much progress. The novel requires a lot of research, since it will be categorized as historical fiction. Deep down inside, I know the book, when completed will be successful. I can feel it. Perhaps I need to repeat NIKE's slogan, 'JUST DO IT". This should be emblazoned on my mind and should dictate my attititude. I'm working on it and will keep you posted, as I progress with the novel. Until the next entry....
a long hello or hadu?
It's a bit embarrassing when you run into an old acquaintance or friend and the name totally escapes you. Of course, we all resort to the long helooo or hiii or haduuu; often adding some term of endearment to imply familiarity (something like... my dear, girl, etc) or a wink followed by "what's up?". Sometimes we avoid the salutation by asking about some issue or discussing an experience or situation that lets the other party know that we haven't forgotten them. Yes, the connection is still there. Remember this or that? Oh and how is so and so? And isn't it funny that this is usually the person who always knows your full name, not hesitating to respond, Hello (your name..). We sometimes blame our memories, citing the aging process jokingly (hoping that indeed we aren't senile).
Several months ago, I ran into an acquaintance. Someone I'd met a couple of times and spoken with at length. Even laughed with and promised to have a drink or lunch together. And so when I saw her approaching from a distance, my brain immediately went into " memory mode". What is her name? I remembered when, where and how we met, who introduced us, even part of the conversation. But I just couldn't recall the name. As she approached, she called out my name, and waved hello. Of course, I froze for a brief second, still unable to recall her name. I said the proverbial long hello and immediately went into talking about our last meeting, offering this as some appeasement to forgetting her name. Of course, she noticed and asked. "Ruby, do you actually know my name?" " Oh, very funny, I replied, (hoping that she wouldn't insist that I say her name), don't be silly." We both laughed and I wondered if she knew that I was faking. The conversation was lively, punctuated with jokes and anecdotes. We promised to get together sometime soon. We parted and later that night, I remembered her name. Unbelievable. I thought to call or email her, just to say, see I remembered your name. But that was my ego speaking.
So now, I try to do word associations and be present in the moment when introduced to someone. I try to listen carefully, sometimes repeating the name or asking for the spelling. If the name's complicated or difficult to pronounce, then maybe I'll have an excuse the next time. Then I can use the "I almost had it right. Next time..." before proceeding to the real conversation.
I have a few friends who never forget a name and some who never forget a face. The latter can always get away with forgetting names, because they're usually the first to say hello.
Forgetting a name once or twice is excusable. But forgetting more than twice is sometimes seen as inattentive and some get offended.
So do we blame our memories and consume fish oils, memory enhancers or pay closer attention? Or does it really matter? What matters is in the heart, right? Hmm. Try forgetting a friend's name and see what happens. Test the friendship a bit. They know when you're buying time or faking anyway.
Bottom line: Be present in the moment and be in the present moment.
Facebook has become the new fad for many and in some respects, I've been happy to reconnect with old friends and meet new ones. Occasionally, I've had to ignore friend requests. Sometimes the postings are quite interesting and bring back old childhood memories. A Liberian facebook friend recently sent a request asking friends to come up with Liberian sayings and expressions. Well, needless to say the list was quite long and brought back so many memories of growing up on Crownhilll and Snapper Hill in Monrovia, Liberia. Expressions ranged from feecee, gronah boy (going around boy), 'yanna' slippers, wata police, pim pam polo, okray, sabou, old man beggah, bluffah joe, swee' muddah, kpormeni, etc. Now , I must add a disclaimer here, not being a linguist: The spellings may not be phonetically correct.
For many who may read this posting, the sayings will be irrelevant, so this is a nod to my Liberian padhiis ( a nod to Liberian Seabreeze Journal). A Liberian website (www.liberiapedia.com) managed by a Liberian historian, Patrick Burrowes is cataloguing these sayings with definitions. Check it out!
So for all my Liberian food lovers out there: About two weeks ago, I visited my aunt and much to my surprise she'd prepared fried okra. Fried okra... one of my favorite Liberian dishes. No not doused in flour or breaded and fried dried, but fried okra, that sweet dish, in sauce. Not okra sauce in palm oil, just plain old fried okra in sauce.
Yum! I haven't had this delicacy (fried okra) for 1 year or so and every time I eat it , I overindulge and pay the consequences later. You know what I mean. So I took the first serving with white rice, ate, much to my heart's content and went back for seconds. No, I don't eat like this all the time. But you know, how your palate revels in the delight. How your tongue wraps around the delicious taste and flavors. And to tell the truth, my aunt is a marvelous cook. I must mention that several of us had gotten together; an impromptu family gathering. Fried okra was the choice for most. Conversations blossomed. Laughter rang out amidst bites of food. Jokes and stories jostled between moments of serious eating. Eh-yah, the food was sweet. Dare I say that Liberians cook some of the best food in Africa without being called biased? Well...
Often, it's the impromptu family gatherings that linger in the memory. I was transported back home, despite the cold frigid wind and snow that drifted from the sky. The conversation, laughter, jokes, and good time, made the afternoon such a treat. Yes, I was thankful to be present. And these times, isn't it these special moments that really count? The simple pleasures of being. Being among those whom you care about and sharing special memories. Yes, I think so. Fried okra and all.
Snow, snow , everywhere. Even more than predicted for New York. And yes, it's quite beautiful. A little nippy.
I'm watching the 'snow leaves' beautifully drape the tree branches; magically weaving between tiny appendages. Arms reaching into open air. Admiring the
wonders of nature: snow-dusted mountains that line the Hudson River, blankets of white crystals coalesced into open playgrounds for snowboarders and want-to-be speed skaters. The winter experience continues on television with the Winter Olympics. This is the first time that I've actually sat to watch it. Amazing, the skill, swiftness, agility and
daring spirit of the olympians. Of course, I'm waxing sentimental. And some who truly know me would say, uh...didn't you go to school in Massachusetts? Why so sentimental about snow now? Perhaps,
I've reached a point in my life, where nature just astounds me. I'm often in awe of her beauty and giving nature. I revel in her abundance and am grateful to be alive!