I'm Frickin' Lonely...Tell Me Your Story! (Staying Connected Through Conversation)
By Sheila Nall
Now the content has evolved beyond COVID to conversations about people's lives, paths, passions and purpose. We are talking with leaders in the arts, humanities, community service and just plain great people!
Some stories will be funny, some sad, some inspirational? Let's see what happens! And maybe we'll learn something.
I'm Frickin' Lonely...Tell Me Your Story! (Staying Connected Through Conversation)Feb 09, 2022
Landon Jones - "Books, Boomers, and the Perils of Celebrity"
In today’s episode, we enter the world of books, history, journalism, and celebrity! My guest, Landon Jones, is a renowned author and journalist. He served as Managing Editor of both People and Money magazines, and has authored four critically acclaimed books.
Lanny’s most recent book, Celebrity Nation: How America Evolved into a Culture of Fans and Followers is a cautionary tale about our nation’s shift from hero worship to celebrity/influencer worship. Timely and telling!
Lanny shares with us how his early childhood hearing loss fed his love of reading. Libraries were his haven and feature prominently throughout his life and our conversation! He tells us about how observing his younger brothers led to his interest in Baby Boomers (a term he coined I might add!) and led to his writing Great Expectations: America and the Baby Boom Generation. And how his midwestern roots fostered his interest in the expeditions of Lewis & Clark. (It sounds like he’s coming back to those roots in his next project!)
We learn what brought Lanny to Princeton University (teachers saying, “Go East young man!”) where (including graduating with honors) he was editor of the Princeton Alumni Weekly and met many of his “big brother and sister” writing mentors including John McPhee, Mike Keeley, Jerry Goodman (Adam Smith) Joyce Carol Oates and Brock Brower. He went on to Time-Life and the creation of People magazine, where the things he learned and famous people he met as Managing Editor certainly informed his research into celebrity culture.
Celebrity Nation: How America Evolved into a Culture of Fans and Followers has (as do all of his books) a grand theme, is meticulously detailed and thoroughly researched.
I hope you’ll enjoy listening to this episode as much as I enjoyed recording it! Lanny has great stories to tell and was fun to talk with!
Head to Lanny’s website for more information: www.lannyjones.com
And make sure to check out all ofLanny’s books!
- Great Expectations: America and the Baby Boom Generation (CowardMcCann, New York, 1980)
- The Essential Lewis and Clark (Ecco/Harper Collins, 2000)
- William Clark and the Shaping of the West (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, New York, 2004; University of Nebraska Press, Lincoln, 2009)
- Celebrity Nation: How America Evolved into a Culture of Fans and Followers (BeaconPress, 2023)
Carol Golden - From a Tradition of "Tikkun Olam" to a Life of "Hands-on" Activism
Today’s guest, Carol Golden, is yet another involved and engaged individual, constantly looking for ways to improve the world. You’ll want to hear her story about how she came up with the term “community activist” as a response to the question “what do you do?” It’s a fun one!
Carol explains how her sense of the importance of community goes back to her roots. Her parents, both “civil servants”, instilled the spirit of “tikkun olam” into their lives and hers. If you don’t know what that means, you’ll have to listen to find out! Suffice it to say, it’s a wonderful tradition to live by.
Exposure to diversity and wonderful teachers during her formative years also informed Carol’s world view. The slogan “it can be done, but it’s up to you” still rings true to her today. (Good small-world story here as well.)
Later, recognizing that “our lives are (relatively) easy, but others’ aren’t”, Carol sought out ways to have her work to be useful and impactful. This drive carried her to serve on the board of Planned Parenthood, the 101:Fund (Need based scholarships. Oddly she found this inspiration at the fish store!), and Greenwood House (exemplary senior nursing care), among others.
Carol's desire to be more “hands-on” and directly in touch with people led to her current involvement with Housing Initiatives of Princeton (H.I.P). A wonderful organization, helping to break the cycle of homelessness.
The Dobbs decision also spurred her and fellow activists to create a group to support women’s reproductive rights by shepherding people through the difficulties thrown in their paths as they seek reproductive care.
Carol never runs out of new sources of motivation! So much to do, so little time!
Please listen in to our conversation!
Links to some of the organizations mentioned in our conversation:
For over 50 years, The 101: Fund has been providing need-based college scholarships to Princeton High School (PHS) graduates for whom college can be prohibitively expensive.
The mission of Housing Initiatives of Princeton is to assist local individuals and families experiencing housing insecurity build toward a sustainable future via stable housing, better employment, and a network of support services.
What started as a community nursing home for the aged back in 1939, Greenwood House is now a comprehensive provider of wellness-focused senior lifestyles and health care services. As a not-for-profit, mission-based community, we hold ourselves to a higher standard when it comes to caring for our residents.
Chris Collier - "From Trombone to Cinema...A Path to Fostering Community"
In this episode of “I’m Frickin’ Lonely”, our conversation returns to the world of art, but a very different medium from what we’ve previously covered. Today we’re talking about cinema…and specifically community cinema.
Our guest is Chris Collier, the Executive Director of Renew Theaters, a nonprofit management company that operates four member-supported theaters in the Greater Philadelphia Region, both in PA and NJ. Each of the theaters is a saved historic theater that now operates to share great films and events, educate the community about the film and media arts, engender a lifelong love of the arts, and to preserve cultural resources of the communities they serve.
Chris tells us about how an early introduction to cinematic music (specifically the Pink Panther theme) led him to trombone as his instrument of choice. It’s fascinating to hear how his combined passion for this music genre, along with his community-minded upbringing led him on a path that took him through environmental planning, to conducting, to degrees in Musicology from Dartmouth College and the University of Oxford, with a focus on film music. And then full circle back to his home community to focus on the local cinema experience.
After speaking with Chris, I now understand the key role that community theaters such as those in Renew’s family of cinemas play in revitalizing neighborhoods and fostering community. I feel lucky to live in a community that enjoys one of Chris’s babies…the 100-year-old Princeton Garden Theater. A true gem!
And they have wonderful films and programs in store…hopefully for the next 100 years! Thank you Chris!
I hope you will tune in to listen!
Check out these sites for Renew and its theaters:
Claudia Toby - "Finding Purpose Through Service and Entrepreneurship"
In this episode of “I’m Frickin’ Lonely”, my conversation is with Claudia Toby, tireless entrepreneur, community advocate and agent for change, addressing issues such as homelessness, mental illness, food insecurity and youth mentoring.
Join us to hear about how Claudia’s 20-year background in nursing led her to her ultimate calling to serve the community. Even during times of adversity, Claudia heeded the call to serve others and find her purpose. As Claudia says, “it’s not about you”, it’s about caring for those in greater need.
Claudia tells us about programs she, along with her husband, started including Magnificent Men, providing developmental workshops for men in Brooklyn and then Breakfast with Our Boys Series, teaching and mentoring young men in life skills in New Jersey.
Claudia came to the realization that in order to be able to nurture others, one needs to first replenish oneself. This, along with her entrepreneurial spirit, led her to develop Zenfully Living, which guides women in self-care through workshops and products. She is also working to bring an “I’m Worth It” program to girls, teaching them self-love, and personal strength. Both programs focus on four core connections: physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual.
Her current focus is “Breathing Space”, where she and her husband plan and officiate unique and beautiful micro-weddings, and guide couples in understanding the importance of joining together in a shared purpose and shared spiritual journey.
Please join in the conversation!
Make sure to check out these sites:
And if you listen before the weekend of Juneteenth, make sure to check out the Black Excellence Festival in Atlantic City, June 16 through 18.
Ricardo Barros - "Create the Life You Want to Live: Art & Agency"
In our latest episode, we return to the world of art, specifically photography…although in our guest’s view, the medium is just a conduit for life experience.
Our guest is Ricardo Barros, a renowned photographer, artist, writer, filmmaker, curator, and lecturer.
Having experienced the power of art as a teenager – Ricardo’s knees shook upon first exposure to Paul Strand’s photographs – he identified his passion early on. The clarity of his purpose notwithstanding, his path forward remained a mystery. This led him to change course in search of fulfillment several times over. From a military school education to an Art History student in college, he switched majors to earn a graduate engineering degree. Sixteen years into the profession and with a wife and family to support, he left engineering to become a full-time professional photographer. Eight years later, he published his first book. Now his work is in the permanent collections of eleven museums, including the Smithsonian Museum of American Art.
Ricardo is a photographer who speaks from the platform of art, yet what he says has much broader implications. His truths apply to all of us. Addressing art as a discipline and metaphor, he advocates that we declare, “I am the audience for my artwork!” Only then are we truly free to create. He says, “Don’t be a salesman, peddling a product,” in marketing your services, “attract people to you. Be the interesting thing.” And “Forcing yourself to be different is a false goal. Find yourself, know yourself, and then you will be unique.”
Listen in and learn the difference between approaching a problem with an empty mind versus an open mind, and how Ricardo applies this in his art. Intriguing!
As Ricardo beautifully puts it,
“Photography can be so much more than exposure, content, and composition. A photographer who understands this joins the artist rank. Artists know that their medium is a neutral conduit for expression. The artwork, what they say with their media, is what matters. Whether visual, verbal, or other, artists with vision engage with ideas.”
We can only share this artist’s voice and ideas in this podcast. Ricardo’s work is also visual. So, treat yourself to his website. See his wonderful work and get inspired by even more of his ideas!
Earnest James - "Deal, Heal, Fulfill/Finding Your 'Why'/Forgiveness and Community
In this episode, I was delighted to speak with Earnest James, family man, minister, mentor, speaker, and author. He is also the host of the popular podcast “Deal to Heal with E. James Podcast”, the thrust of which is to help people heal by connecting them with experts in therapy, mentoring and guidance… from suicide to self-love to domestic violence… you name it, he’s covering it.
Earnest tells us how early failure taught him to always strive for achievement. (How many of us have been on the receiving end of that parental “I’m disappointed in you” look? Ouch!) He advises us to “Fail fast, fail first and rebound”.
Earnest’s inspiration for his community support work comes from his own life experiences. He developed a campaign called Friend 2 Fatherless Daughters and also mentors dads and sons with his M.A.N.U.P. (Men Activating Newly Untapped Potential) male mentoring program. He has also developed a series of workshops on forgiveness; forgiveness of one’s self to allow forgiveness of others, as well as workshops on bereavement.
We also learn of Earnest’s love of acronyms! Listen in to find out the meaning of S.E.L.F. and F.U.N. (I spilled the beans on M.A.N.U.P. already.)
To learn more about Earnest or to hear his podcast go to the following:
Tik Tok: https://vm.tiktok.com/ZMRV8t6kd
Tee- Shirts: https://deal-2-heal-tees.myshopify.com/
Valerie McKinney - "Live Each Day to the Fullest, Because...You Just Never Know"
Welcome to the latest episode of “I’m Frickin’ Lonely…”.
In this episode, my guest, Valerie McKinney shares her story of how life as she knew it was completely upended two years ago! We hear about Val’s path through life…her love of manufacturing and assembly lines and how it parlayed into a pharma career, her wonderful family, and zest for living.
But Valerie bravely shares with us the horrible diagnosis she received during the pandemic and how she’s doggedly coping.
She tells of how quarantining during the pandemic was actually a help to her, allowing her to gradually come to grips with, and then share with others, her diagnosis of ALS.
I am humbled and honored that she has shared her story here on this podcast. I am also in awe of how she continues to think of the feelings of others, how she finds joy in giving to others, and how she still feels and expresses gratitude for her life, family, friends and love.
Please listen and learn…particularly to Valerie’s advice to live each day to the fullest and don’t put off following your dreams.
Glenn Morton - "Prevailing Over Adversity/Seven Key Principles to Live By"
Today’s episode is one helluva story! Glenn Morton, the founder of “Father to the Fatherless Generation” shares the colorful and heart-rending story of his own troubled, very difficult childhood and how a single act of kindness totally changed his life.
What was lacking in his “upbringing” inspired him to create his organization, dedicated to helping boys and young men develop into productive and fulfilled adults. “Where fathers lack, we pick up the pace, and we make the relationship personal.” Glenn’s program focuses on teaching these 7 key principles, which if you listen, you’ll learn about!
1. Be Resourceful
2. Break the Cycle
3. Create Character
4. Have Faith
5. Learn Discipline
6. Correct the Brotherhood
7. Raise Sons
Glenn is also a musician, (we learn how he picked his rap name of “Prevail” and that he opened for Destiny’s Child & Nelly!), an author and a business owner….a true renaissance man and entrepreneur!
Glenn advises each of us to have faith in yourself, that pain can make you great if you let it, and to give all you can during your life so that when you leave this world you are empty.
Please tune in to hear my conversation with yet another amazing human being!
Visit the following sites to learn more about Glenn .
Also, check out his books (and other merch):
“7 Magical Keys”
Leslie Maxie - "Becoming an Olympian/The Power of Having a Vision"
In this episode of “I’m Frickin’ Lonely”, I welcome Leslie Maxie, a U.S. Olympian, keynote speaker and media professional. And she’s just an all-around cool person to boot! She even has a Wikipedia entry!
Leslie tells us the story of her background and how that led her to the Olympics. Having strong family support and great coaching didn’t hurt! We also talk about her subsequent media career and her current focus on public speaking (both doing and teaching) and her exciting newest project, “Not Your Mama’s 50” movement. It’s a great concept you’ll want to hear about! (And she also got to be involved in a project with Oprah! So, there’s that!)
Leslie shares how her successes have been the result of a combination of great mentors, nurturers, and guides along the way; an internal drive and willingness to do the work; and a belief in listening to and responding to a divine appointment.
Leslie advises us that we all exist in relationships and that as spiritual beings we are connected to one another and that we need to not only be reflective but also proactive in those relationships. That falls right in line with the theme of this podcast!
Please tune in to hear my conversation with this exceptional human being!
Visit the following site to learn more about Leslie.
Samantha Spriggs - "From Anger to Joy - a Creative Journey"
In this episode of “I’m Frickin’ Lonely”, I’m returning to the world of creative performance art; exploring how the creators were able to keep their juices flowing while in physical isolation. This week’s guest, Samantha Spriggs, a dancer, choreographer and dance educator, shares some unique insights into doing something so very physical while not physically present! Talk about creative work arounds!
Samantha shares how her choreography and teaching work emphasize the intersections between performing arts and social justice; and how dance and arts education cultivates strength, confidence, empathy and provides the tools necessary to be a good human.
She definitely infuses these tenets into the life-learning of her three kiddos. She describes the balancing act of her creative work and family life as “controlled chaos”, but that she actually functions better when handling multi-faceted challenges.
During our conversation, I had promised, but then forgot, to ask Sammy to provide a definition of “Bautanzt Here”, a dance organization in Atlanta. So I provide it here:
Bautanzt Here (translates to “building dances here”) is a site-specific dance performance company. Drawing inspiration from architecture and the ways in which humans interact with and live their lives within the structures around them, Bautanzt Here creates multidisciplinary performances in non-traditional settings, and makes Dance accessible to audiences who otherwise might not experience live performances.
Visit the following sites for more information:
Instagram: @danceatlanta @samanthaspriggsdance
Elyse Pivnick - "Parlaying a Love of 'Gritty Cities' into a Career of Community Service"
As we continue Season 2 of “I’m Frickin’ Lonely”, I’m wondering if it’s time to change the title…I’ve had such great guests, I’m definitely not lonely anymore! Yet while COVID’s no longer engraved in our thoughts, the focus of our conversations hasn’t changed. We continue to share people’s stories about their passions, drivers, evolution, resilience and of course…connections.
Today we’re talking with Elyse Pivnick, who’s focused her expertise in city planning on a 30+ year career in community service. Her role as Senior Director of Environmental Health at Isles, Inc. a community development organization based in Trenton, gives her the perfect platform to act on her love of “gritty cities”.
We hear how a stint working in communities in Africa inspired Elyse to apply city planning strategies she learned while there, here in New Jersey. She describes the myriad programs provided by Isles to support and revitalize Trenton communities, including an alternative high school, over 70 community gardens, training programs, and her specialty: healthy homes. And the bonus is getting to work toward a common goal with “kindred spirits”!
Elyse shares her personal story of loss, becoming a widow in 2019 after 38 years of a happy marriage, and how that impacted her navigation of the pandemic. (She also tells us how she bravely started dating again!)
Elyse advises us to nurture our relationships, go deep with our interests and find a way to contribute to our communities. Great advice!
Visit the following sites for more information:
Isles, Inc. - https://isles.org/
National Center for Healthy Housing - https://nchh.org/
Just some of the many books Elyse recommends:
1493: Uncovering the New World Columbus Created
by Charles Mann
1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus
by Charles Mann
Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk: A Novel
Novel by Kathleen Rooney
The Plot Against America
By Philip Roth
(This is uncannily prescient of today’s situation)
Sandy Stolzman- "Rekindling creativity/Lessons in Survival/Caring for our planet"
After a bit of a break, here comes Season 2 of “I’m Frickin’ Lonely”. No…the pandemic isn't over…new variants abound! And while it’s become the new normal, it continues to have long term impact on most everyone’s lives.
This episode features a conversation with photographer Sandy Stolzman. After working her tail off for decades in providing products and resources to the design industry, Sandy was able to rekindle her creative fire by returning to her early love of photography. (As too often happens, artistic passions take a back seat to the need to make a living!)
And while her previous career had required her to be “on” all the time, her photography has allowed her to reconnect with herself and with nature. From landscapes to people to macro photography of flowers, insects and reptiles (to name just a few of her subjects) Sandy has found her new muse. She also shares with us how photography has connected her with wonderful volunteers and committed staff members at places such as Andalusia House, Morris Arboretum, Fort Mifflin and Chanticleer.
Sandy also tells us of how her close work with nature has strengthened her commitment to the environment. This led her to connect with OnlyOne, an organization committed to saving our oceans…one coral and one mangrove at a time. (I was inspired to join as well!)
As a child of Holocaust survivors, Sandy knows all too well about how to survive under the worst circumstances. While we may feel despair right now, she advises us all to hope for a better future!
See Sandy’s work at:
Instagram – SandyStolzmanPhotography
Website – Murals.Design -
Here you can see installations of Sandy’s wonderful photographic murals. Projects include:
· Weill Cornell OBGYN and Pediatrics
· Inspira Health
· St. Mary’s Children’s Hospital
· Jefferson Health
· Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center
Only One – https://only.one
Andalusia House – https://andalusiapa.org
Fort Mifflin – http://www.fortmifflin.us
Tyler Arboretum – https://tylerarboretum.org
Chanticleer Garden – https://www.chanticleergarden.org
Carol Markowitz - "A Life Following Passions: Autism, WWII Stories, Empowering Kenyan Girls"
This week’s guest, Carol Markowitz is yet another remarkable person to share her stories with me! (Wow…have I been lucky to meet all these great people!!) Carol tells how as a student she discovered a passion that lead to a decades-long career in autism services (Spoiler alert…she helped a 7 year old girl to learn to speak!)
We also learn how finding packets of old letters between her mother and soldiers in WWII led to her post-retirement fulfillment…. researching and writing a book of historical stories about the war. Her knowledge of the subject is astounding. (It helps that her husband is also a writer, leading to home-environment synergy.)
But that’s not all. Carol has also become involved in an organization that helps shelter girls in Kenya who are in danger of being sold off for early marriage. It is yet another passion project!
Carol advises us all to find our passion and pursue it in whatever way is available to us. I hope you’ll listen and be inspired to pursue your own passions.
By Carol Markowitz: “Autism Spectrum Disorders in Adolescents and Adults” Guildford Press 2014
“Yours for the Asking; a Soldier’s Letters Home” (yet to be published)
By Jeff Markowitz: “Hit or Miss” and “Motive for Murder”
Organizations of note:
Eden Autism Services - https://edenautism.org/
Organization for Autism Research - https://researchautism.org/
The National WII Museum – New Orleans, LA -https://www.nationalww2museum.org/
Military Writers Society of America - http://www.mwsadispatches.com/ (Saving history one story at a time.)
New Jersey Lawyers Assistance Program - https://www.njlap.org/
Merilee Meacock -"Building Community/Giving People a Voice/the Pandemic was like a Snow Day"
This week we circle back to the world of architecture and welcome Merilee Meacock, Architect and Partner at KSS Architects. Merilee was one of (what it’s starting to look like) a lot of people who reacted well to the isolation created by the pandemic. She likened the quietude to a “snow day”! I loved that analogy!
There is a common thread throughout our conversation with Merilee, her passion for building communities. She does this through identifying common purpose and creating connections and giving people a voice. She describes designing for the human experience and the importance of connecting people to nature through biophilic design. This is especially important in her area of practice related to building for neurodiverse populations and people with autism.
Have you wondered what PechaKucha is? Well..now’s your chance to learn about it and how Merilee’s teams use it to help build connection and understanding within the firm. (I Googled it…)
Merilee has found that the best path to self-preservation and refueling her creative spirit is taking time for one’s self and finding balance. She’s lucky to have a haven in Maine where she can do this.
This summary just skims the surface! Listen in for much more!
"The Father Center of New Jersey/A Warm Blanket & Tools for Successful Fatherhood"
This week I’m delighted to welcome three guests from The Father Center of New Jersey: Marc Warren, Director of Operations, Carter Patterson, Director of Programs and Randall Toby, Programs/Projects Coordinator. Our conversation with these mission driven public servants continues our exploration of the particular impact the pandemic has had on community service organizations. It's wonderful to learn how, through creative thinking and use of resources, organizations like this can not only continue to serve their participants, but also thrive.
Through the work of The Father Center, men (or anyone who identifies as a father figure) have access to “Bridges 2 Success” certification training, “Operation Fatherhood” including courses in anger management, parenting skills, technology skills, career counseling, a workforce investment program, and multiple other programs including access to case management services at all levels. As Carter describes it…. they provide their participants with “A Warm Blanket”! The key is building trust.
They kept things going during the pandemic through strategic partnerships with other organizations, virtual outreach, and social media. This new hybridized approach has been so successful, it will continue to be their model going forward. And as they work to broaden their outreach, Randall notes they’ve been asked to host a statewide fathership conference in November!
As Marc says, “The Father Center is a small organization with a large impact.”
Tune in to hear more from these great public servants!
Follow The Father Center of New Jersey on social media; Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Or go to their website for additional information; www.thefathercenter.org.
Check out Randal Toby's Amazon Best Selling book, "Suited for Success"
Also, read up on his "Breakfast with Our Boys" series of interactive conversations with young men 12-18 years of age, toward providing them with positive role models.
Michael Roseborough - "The Aha! Moment/Serving Students at Risk/Tap Room Take-Overs"
This week we continue our deep dive into how the community continued to be supported during the pandemic by the herculean efforts of caring individuals and organizations.
Michael Roseborough, Project Director at the Princeton YMCA and director of the ACE program, is one of those exceptional individuals. He tells a heart-rending story that led to his Aha! moment and his commitment to helping young people overcome adverse circumstances.
Mike shares insights into how the ACE program (Accept Compete Excel) is helping to reduce chronic absenteeism in the Princeton Public Schools and build connections and supports for students in grades 8 to 12 who are most at risk of missing school and falling behind.
We also learn how he developed a love of craft beers and strives to share that love with his buddies through “Tap Room Take-overs”, while at the same time bringing a more diverse clientele to New Jersey breweries. Mike assures me that all “allies” are welcome!
I loved my conversation with Mike and I hope you listen and enjoy as well!
Kate Bech - "Artist to Non-Profit Leader/Building Mutual Trust Through a Common Vision"
This week my guest is Kate Bech, VP of Mission Advancement for the Greater Somerset County YMCA. Kate recounts her journey from artist to non-profit leader, and how her Midwest upbringing instilled a sense of duty, justice and fairness and a belief in public service that undoubtedly played a role in her following that path.
We also learn how navigating the “rules” created by the government’s response to the pandemic made leading the Y so challenging. Kate attributes much of her and the Y’s ability to continue to serve the community to her exemplary team of volunteers and board members.
Kate’s vision for the Y is to provide a place where people of all walks of life can come together, experience the joy of sharing a common purpose and regain mutual trust; a true community center that fulfills people’s “longing for belonging!”
Once again, I was uplifted to know there are optimistic, energetic people working toward improving our social fabric!
Tawanda McCrae - "The Demands of Being an Alpha/Caring for All Creatures"
This week we're talking with Tawanda McCrae, a multifaceted and socially pro-active person, veteran, Vegan and a Vegan business owner, founder of the charity Red Queen Foundation, animal activist, a cannabis advocate. and architectural designer and instructor. Tawanda is driven by the desire to help others through mentoring and charitable work. We talk about looking for those "light bulb moments" and how to perhaps ease into a vegan lifestyle to help our health and the environment. Hand made vegan chocolates might just do the trick! She advises to "let your body be a garden, not a graveyard".
Links to Tawanda's foundation:
Red Queen Foundation https://www.redqueenfoundation.com/
Other things to look for and support:
Sistas for Change
Trenton Area Soup Kitchen
Karl Reutter: Part II - "Love, Loss and Loneliness"
This is the second session of a two-parter with Karl Reutter. He had so much to talk about it took two sessions! In this episode we circle back to learn more about Karl’s time in Japan and the promising relationship he developed there. But also how the pandemic-imposed long-distance nature of that relationship was more than could be endured. It’s a tale of heartbreak and mental illness, and facing life beyond that. It's got everything: romance, intrigue, loneliness and tragedy! Take a listen!
Ira Stanley - "The Right Kind of Pandemic Blues"
This week’s guest is Ira Stanley, accomplished rock and blues guitarist, musician, and song writer. Currently Ira is the lead guitarist for the bands Checker’d Past and Blues Power. I was eager to learn how Ira kept his music going through the pandemic. (Here Social Media once again features front and center…in this case in a positive way…)
As the owner of businesses that provided on call nursing and doctor’s services, Ira had an up-close vantage point of the demands on medical professionals created by the pandemic. And his own bout with pre-vaccine COVID made it all the more personal.
Ira also shares the clever way he and his wife were still able to “dine out” while restaurants were closed down and how he believes people have learned that working from home has not turned out to be all it was cracked up to be.
Check out Ira’s bands on their Face Book pages:
Blues Power https://www.facebook.com/bluespowerband
Checker’d Past https://www.facebook.com/checkerdband
Alan Maimon - Author, Investigator, Freedom Fighter
This week’s guest is Alan Maimon, Pulitzer Prize finalist author of Twilight in Hazard – An Appalachian Reckoning and an investigator for Centurion, the nation’s oldest innocence organization. Alan shares with us the difficulties of pursuing freedom for wrongly incarcerated people, most of whom are on death row, even in the best of times…much less during a pandemic!
As an investigative reporter for the Louisville Courier Journal, he also had a first-hand view of the environmental, identity and Oxycontin crises in the coal mining town of Hazard Kentucky, the subject of his book. He tells how when reporting from there he felt every bit the “foreign correspondent” he was when with the New York Times in Berlin, Germany. Get yourself a copy of the book and prepare for a “harrowing, angering, but most importantly true”* read!
(*Wiley Cash, New York Times bestselling author of A Land More Kind Than Home)
You can get more information on Centurion at: https://centurion.org/.
You can find Alan’s book at: https://www.goodreads.com/en/book/show/57421474-twilight-in-hazard.
Ed Klimek - From Architecture to Social Justice - Following a Calling
This week we’re talking with Ed Klimek, Architect and Partner at KSS Architects. Our conversation with Ed covers a lot of ground, including changes in workplace and the future of robotics! But we start with family, including the impact of COVID on non-COVID healthcare, and the wisdom of not buying your adult kids washing machines so they still have to come home to do their laundry!
We also learn of Ed’s inspiration in launching a new life path after Architecture, building on his dedication to social justice when working on Solidarity Lending and community outreach in Guatemala. The resilience of the people he works with in these small remote communities can be a lesson for us all as we deal with our own upheavals.
Ed feels that one of the reasons that many people have taken to thinking only of themselves is because they have lost their “Interior Lives”, that is, understanding who you are as a person a basis for making “moral decisions”.
Contrary to my own pessimistic view, Ed explains the reasoning for his optimism. Listen in and maybe you too can feel more optimistic about our future!
Lauren Krause-Malave - "The Joys of a Blended Family & Don't Call Me "Sweetie", Ref!"
This week’s conversation is with Lauren Krause-Malave who is blessed with a wonderfully tight knit multicultural family (African-American, German, Puerto Rican, Colombian, Japanese….! Oh and her dog comes from Harlem!) and she tells us how that finds its way into shared traditions, particularly cuisine! (Lauren throws in some Italian for good measure.) She shares with us their techniques for staying tight knit even during the pandemic.
Like many people, Lauren suffered the “pandemic postponement” of launching her new business but is excited to bring it to fruition this spring! So, if you need your home organized or a refreshed decor…she’s the one to call!
Lauren (and her husband) are heavily involved in “giving back”. One way they do this is through coaching young people’s sports teams, teaching teamwork and character along the way. And Lauren’s “all-girl’s” flag football team proudly “beats the boys”! And don’t ever call them “sweetie”!
Lauren advises us all to live in the moment and be a part of the conversation.
Organizations supported by Lauren that are mentioned in this podcast include:
- PATH Academy - An organization founded by Lauren’s husband, was developed to build character in young men through sports.
- Trenton Area Soup Kitchen (TASK) – www.trentonsoupkitchen.org
TASK's mission is to feed those who are hungry in the Trenton area and offer programs to encourage self-sufficiency and improve the quality of life. Serving Meals.
- HomeFront - www.homefrontnj.org HomeFront’s mission is to end homelessness in Central New Jersey and to help families break the cycle of poverty.
- Red Queen Foundation - www.redqueenfoundation.com Helping homeless women and girls live with dignity.
- EASEL Animal Rescue League - www.easelnj.org
Mel Gjombalaj - Animal Whisperer - Fox Protector
This week we’re talking with Mel Gjonbalaj. Mel tells us how she actually found comfort and an opportunity for introspection while isolating during the pandemic. (Escape from FOMO!)
Our conversation also (of course) covers the creation of the Princeton Fox Project, and how we “stalked” the suffering foxes on campus. We also learn how she patiently shares her point of view with those on “the other side”…an admirable skill many of us lack. (I am speaking for myself…).
Mel advises us to “slow down, “learn how to just be” and reflect…to be more like her dog Jeffy and smell the bushes…(and maybe pee in the wilderness?).
Give a listen!
Karl Reutter - Freelance Human - Escaping the Self Help Loop of Hell
This is the first of a two-parter with Karl Reutter. He had so much to talk about it took two sessions! In this episode we talk about the confusion of being a front-line worker early in the pandemic. We also learn about his time in Japan, how he escaped the self-help loop of hell, how to avoid hustle culture, the importance of being true to yourself, and meditating through QiGong. We covered lots of ground, but more to come!
Jeremy Lightcap - Navigating pandemic obstacles and creating new career opportunities.
In this episode we'll hear about how the pandemic derailed some business plans, but how Jeremy's perseverance, diligence and ability to create opportunities led him to the career (and relationship) of his dreams.
Blair Miller - Purveyor of Kindness and Mother of Mags
Today our guest is Blair Miller. Blair tells us how she parlayed the onslaught of pandemic derailments into the founding of The Mr. Rogers’ Neighbors Kindness Project, an organization serving local businesses and people in need in one fell swoop. We also discuss how COVID has been the test of fire for relationships, budgets and achieving a balanced life between self-care and external demands. For Blair, being grounded in the arts provides a haven for personal regeneration and inspiration.
Groups mentioned in the podcast that I hope you’ll check into include the following;
Mr. Rogers’ Neighbors Kindness Project https://mrrogersneighbors.com/
We give our kind neighbors the chance to add on meals and products at checkout at their favorite local spots for our neighbors in need during Covid-19.
Corner House Behavioral Health – Princeton https://www.cornerhousesite.com/
Our mission is to prevent and treat alcohol and drug addiction by engaging and supporting youth, adults, and families in life-long healthy living and recovery. They provide "licensed outpatient/IOP treatment for substance use disorder. Outreach programs in partnership with Princeton Public Schools Prevention programs in partnership with Princeton public and private high schools"
Julie Denny - Serial Careerist and cocktail artist
In this week's episode, we're talking with Julie Denny who describes herself as a serial careerist (actor, mediator, facilitator....the list is long!) The discussion ranges from how the pandemic has brought out people's adaptability, caused them to seek better work/life balance, or made them take up weird hobbies, all the way to methods of torture in Tarzan movies.
We also discuss Julie's involvement in very important civic/social work. Groups mentioned in the podcast that you may want to learn more about include the following;
Womanspace - website: womanspace.org This is a non profit organization in Lawrenceville, NJ dedicated to providing services to victims of abuse. Their mission is to prevent abuse, protect families and change lives through empowerment and a safety net of supportive services.
People & Stories - website: peopleandstories.org This is a non-profit organization, also in Lawrenceville, NJ dedicated to the proposition that literature belongs to all. The group provides access to literature to those with low literacy and those who face obstacles to the joys of independent reading.
Retiree - (Not the best time to have retired?)
This episode is the kick off for the podcast, explaining my own trajectory during the two years of the pandemic and what inspired me to start the podcast in the first place. I am accompanied by my sometimes co-host, Jeremy Lightcap. Fun tales of of live music, rescuing foxes, home renovations, the 2020 election and more!
You'll also hear about the following:
An organization called the Father Center of New Jersey in Trenton. For information go to www.thefathercenter.org
My favorite radio station WXPN. Go to www.xpn.org to hear and support great music!
Vote Forward and Election Defenders for supporting everyone's right to vote. www.votefwd.org and www.electiondefense.org
Thanks for listening!
I'm Frickin' Lonely...How About You? - Trailer
This episode is the trailer to my new podcast, I'm Frickin' Lonely...How about You? Staying Connected in the Time of Covid!
We've all been impacted by the pandemic in so many different ways. Listen as we talk to folks from a variety of age groups and walks of life about the impact the COVID years have had on their lives, plans, or sense of purpose. And how they've dealt with it...through relationships, activities, work, and community.
Some stories will be funny, some sad, some inspirational? Let's see what happens! And maybe we'll learn something.