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Help in an Abyss

A woman I worked with is being abused by her boyfriend. I can’t help her.

She came into work with an injured wrist and a bruised face. She laughed off the injuries with semi-plausible instructions, but when I saw her today, she had no excuse for her two black eyes.

“I’m worried about you,” I told her.

“I’m okay,” she said.

But she’s not okay. She has an infant son along with two pre-schoolers and struggles financially even with her boyfriend’s help. I’m guessing she feels trapped.

I don’t know if she’s someone who needs a man in her life, or if she simply longs for a happy family. Along with her three little ones, he brings two older children, and she loves all of them.

She is a good person who is allowing someone to beat her for reasons I can only guess. I want her to go to school, even if it’s just to get a certificate in some marketable skill. I want her to break away from this abusive man and find someone who will treasure her.

It hurts. I can’t help her, but I can be her friend, and stand by her when she decides she’s not going to take it any more. I hope soon she finds the strength to believe there is a way out of this abyss in which she’s trapped. I pray soon she seeks the help she needs.


Image Credit:  © Bigstock

 

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We Were the Lucky Ones (a brief review)

We Were the Lucky Ones

We Were the Lucky Ones

by Georgia Hunter

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

It’s unusual for me to do a book review, but this is an unusual book.

Perhaps it is my own Polish — and nominally Jewish — background that brought this story home for me. It is a fascinating tale, told with love, compassion and raw truth. Meticulously researched, the heartbreak and strength of the Holocaust survivors is made real in both emotion and circumstance. I feared the details would be too difficult to read, but the spirit of the characters brings hope to their story. I was compelled to read it — and I’m glad I did.

It’s based on a true story, and the core of it is absolute: they were the lucky ones. But luck means something different in the middle of a war.


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Five More Classic Films You Should Know

There are plenty more than five worth seeing, but references to these films remain a part of popular culture. Watching them is still a pleasure.

I’ve reviewed each of these on my classic film blog, Classic for a Reason, and linked to those reviews. Click on the title. If you’re a fan of films from the Golden Age of Hollywood (the 30s, 40s and early 50s), you’re invited to visit that blog and look up some of your favorite movies.

The Thin Man

Myrna Loy, William Powell in The Thin Man

Myrna Loy, William Powell

References to Nick & Nora still abound, and they were first introduced to us in this sophisticated blend of comedy and mystery. Nick’s a retired detective who’d rather drink himself under the table than take on a new case, but others persuade him to look into the disappearance of an old friend. Before long there are three murders to solve, and who better than this master of sharp one-liners and droll observations? William Powell and Myrna Loy are one of Hollywood’s all-time great couples (and they have fourteen movies together to prove it).


The Maltese Falcon

Mary Astor, Humphrey Bogart in The Maltese Falcon

Mary Astor, Humphrey Bogart

One of Humphrey Bogart’s first roles as a leading man as well as John Huston’s directorial debut, The Maltese Falcon has so many layers you can watch it a dozen times and see a new story every time. The intrigue of this jewel-encrusted small statue still captivates, as do Mary Astor, Sydney Greenstreet and Peter Lorre.


Dinner at Eight

Jean Harlow, Marie Dressler Dinner at Eight

Jean Harlow, Marie Dressler

A pre-code film with plenty of innuendo and a cast that brings depth and perception to a diverse group of characters. Not to mention an intricately woven set of circumstances that culminates with the titular meal. Look for Jean Harlow in her signature gown as well as a performance by John Barrymore that reflects his real-life decline.


Arsenic and Old Lace

Featured Image -- 19405

Josephine Hull, Jean Adair, Cary Grant

An over-the-top story and performance by Cary Grant separate this tale from most Frank Capra films. Admittedly, it runs a little long and the best lines are in the first half of the film, so if you find yourself losing interest in the end, don’t worry, you’ve seen what you need to see.


Casablanca

Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman in Casablanca

Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman

Nothing I can say that hasn’t already been said. If you haven’t seen this one, make the time to do so. Try keeping track of all the marvelous lines that would never fly today yet work perfectly in this story.


 

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The Proof is in the Pudding

And I’m the pudding. It’s all well and good to write endless tomes on how much I’ve learned in recent years, but try putting that to the test. One of life’s pop quizzes on how I’ll respond when things get bad.

I aced it.

Last week the temporary job I was working on — one I’d hoped would become permanent — abruptly ended. The explanation was vague. Colleagues who messaged me said management terminated the contracts of several temporary employees. In all fairness, it is what happens when you’re a contract worker. Still, it’s nice to have a reason.

You don’t know what you don’t know.

I discovered I’d accepted the truth of that statement, something I’ve written about on this blog in the past. Rather than agonize and speculate over what happened, I’ve decided not to dwell on it. Time to move on.

This puts me in a bad place financially. In addition to facing a difficult time paying my bills, my credit is at risk. That could have long term consequences.

But I’ve been through bad times before, and I’ve learned you live through them. Things eventually turn around.

I hope my next job lasts for years. I’d like something that could become a part of me, rather than another passing experience. I believe when you set your mind to something it’s more likely to happen, and my hope has become a part of my search criteria.

It’s like they say, wish I knew then what I know now. But that’s such a universal conclusion in people’s lives it tells me there’s some order to our experiences, some reason we internalize beliefs like these when we do.

Tomorrow I may panic. Today I am at peace.


Image © Bigstock

 

Momentum

Ah, one of my favorite quotes, most often abbreviated to “hell hath no fury like a woman scorned”:

“Heaven hath no rage like love to hatred turned, nor hell a fury like a woman scorned.” — William Congreve, The Mourning Bride

That shortened form keeps part of the original thought intact, but it overlooks another important idea: there is no one we despise more than the one we once loved the most.

Something every divorce attorney knows, and the best make a fine living on that understanding. The rest of us can learn from it, too. Why do I hate him so much? He shouldn’t have this hold on me anymore.

Mobile mit Herzen - der Ansto zur Liebe, PartnerschaftBecause the pendulum has swung. Once upon a time, you would have jumped off the Golden Gate Bridge for him. Now, you want to push him off it.

There’s good news about pendulums. They swing to one extreme, and then to another. Then the arc of the swing is smaller, until finally, there’s no more momentum. Unless, of course, something happens to start the swing all over again.

We’ve all seen that happen, and if you pay attention, it usually happens while the pendulum still has a pretty good arc. Once it’s stopped, it’s hard to start things up again.

A thought that has application both for you who dream of the day the passion will end and you who dream of the day it will begin again with the one who’s got the power over your pendulum.


Image Credit: ©blobbotronic — fotolia.com

 

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moving slowly

“It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop.”
― Confucius

I’ve been moving slowly for a very long time. But, I’ve been moving.

The clock dawdles, or so it seems, when you’re waiting for change. If you’re watching and waiting, it may be times are hard and you’re looking for a better situation. Something that makes you happy to wake up in the morning.

At times the challenges may be so overwhelming you need time to recuperate. Recovering from an unfamiliar and frightening situation can be difficult, to say the least. We seek safety and comfort first, and change second.

That’s what happened to me a few years ago. I found myself overwhelmed by circumstances over which I truly had no control. I wasn’t sure who my friends were, and out of fear they’d all deserted me, I avoided everyone.

Eventually things began to right themselves.

A close friend reached out to me and told me the truth about what others were thinking. It was good. I found new friends, a new job, and for the first time in 15 years, I bought a new car.

I learned something through all of this. Before we can truly move forward, we need a level of security. Simply finding that solid strength within ourselves can be moving forward, despite how a lack of change in circumstances may appear to others.

There were those in my life frustrated by my slow recovery. Thankfully, others recognized how lost I was and how much healing I really needed.

If you’re struggling,

sunrise in savanna_

whatever your situation, allow time to restore your energies, and forgive yourself for not bouncing back like a child’s punching toy clown. Some things aren’t meant to be rushed. The smallest step is enough.

When times are hard, our hope is in anticipation of a promising future. It’s there, waiting for us. Life works that way. Can I guarantee that for everyone? No, that’s not within my power. But it’s what I’ve seen in the lives of those closest to me, especially friends I’ve known for decades.

Every move forward, now matter how slow, is taking you where you want to go. And really, we don’t always know how far we’re going to have to go anyway. The next step may surprise us with unexpected joy.


Image Credit:(top) hourglass © Alexey Klementiev; sky © Pakhnyushchyy; lights © mehmetcanturkei; background © averroe — All, stock.adobe.com. (Bottom) © GraphicStock.com

Home Again

This week, a happy cat story….

Some of you may remember Jake, the dapper cat in a top hat. Well, after moving to a new neighborhood, Jake slipped out the door and disappeared. His mom, Asia, was distraught. I helped her by printing out a bunch of flyers with that cute picture of Jake wearing the top hat. I pulled out all the stops, and ended with the emotional plea, “it’s time for me to come home.” No shame.

Frankly, I figured Jake was gone. But I knew Asia had to do everything she could to get him back. Incredibly, two of her neighbors one block over called her and said they’d seen Jake. She dashed over, found him, and grabbed him just as he was going down the storm drain. Jake is home.

As you can see, everyone is happy to see him again.

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