Happy 4th of July From Andy Blumenthal

 

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Longing For The Slow and Happy Bungalow Days

So I used to hear from my wife about when she was young and went to the bungalow colony in the Catskill Mountains.


And today, I heard from a wonderful young Ukrainian woman whose family does the equivalent in the mountains there in the summer. 


When I listen to the stories, it sounds so good to get away with your family and friends for the summer to the countryside. 


Just live simply in a cabin, stay up late by the campfire singing songs, get up lazily in the morning, and during the day play sports, go fishing, and swim in the lake. 


I can’t imagine talking 3 months a year and actually being able to do this…so natural, so carefree, so back to living!


Yes as kids, we went to camp, but it’s not the same as living communally like this in such freedom and fun. 


Honestly, listening to the stories about this, left me amazingly jealous!


Perhaps, it’s a lesson about life these days…we’re adults, we’re responsible, we have to earn a living and take care of the bills and all of life’s responsibilities. 


But maybe, just maybe, there is something–a lot–to be said for letting loose a little, and just being with your loved ones, and living, really living again. 


Why do we have to wait until we’re old…too old to work anymore…and maybe too old to appreciate life as life was meant to be.  


We can’t run from our responsibilities but isn’t it worth looking for ways in life to enjoy more than a long weekend or a week vacation.


Life is too short to let it get away from us. 


Balancing the contributions of our hard labor with the enjoyment of family, friends, and fun…those are the memories that last a lifetime and beyond. 


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Jailbird Freedom

So I’m doing laps in the indoor pool.


And out of the corner of my eye, I see this bird swoop in overhead.


But it’s not outside, it’s inside the building enclosure. 


The bird dived in through an open door.


Now it was stuck inside. 


It perched itself on a shelf overlooking the outdoors.


But it was stuck behind the glass walls.


The lifeguard tried to swoop it out with the sticks, brushes, and nets for cleaning the pool.


But this bird wasn’t going anywhere. 


I asked if it was injured or sick.


He said that the bird was scared, which made sense. 


Over and over again, the lifeguard tried to coax the bird out.


Finally, it took flight and headed straight into another glass pane–BONG–and fell down–SPLAT–onto another ledge. 


The lifeguard and I looked at each other — asking whether the bird was still alive or not.


I suggested he call for help, and the advice he was given was just to leave it alone and that eventually, it would find its way out. 


It was time for me to go, but I am still thinking about that trapped bird.


If you love something, you have to let it free.


Everyone and everything should be free (unless they’ve abused that freedom).


Free to come and go, free to express themselves, free to choose, free to act.


Sometimes, when you’re free you run into trouble or into a glass pane.


You need to find your way out and home again to freedom. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Politics On A Cow

I saw this “Antifa” (Anti-Fascist) symbol on this painting of a cow in Washington, D.C. 


As a child of Holocaust survivors, I certainly understand and can even sympathize with the view of the anti-fascist movement–certainly, we should all unequivocally appreciate, love, and want to protect freedom and human rights!


However, I think throwing around labels like fascist, perhaps where it is more about political disagreements doesn’t help to identify the really bad actors out there in the world and what they can and even would like to do to harm all of us. 


Anyway, I am pretty sure that this cow is no fascist.


I would also like to say that the red and black with this symbol here is way too close to looking like how the genocidal Nazi’s themselves portrayed the dreaded and infamous swastika in red and black.  


It would be great if we use symbols and labels carefully, and let the cows go back to being cows. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

What’s Free And What’s Not

I like this saying and wanted to share it:

“The dream is free, but the hustle is sold separately.”


Yes, this is the home of the free. 


And we are all able to dream BIG dreams.


However, without the hard work and hustle, dream are not made, but rather they die on the vine. 


So dream big–imagine the very best.


Reach for the stars…


And then work your butt off to make it happen.


Choose carefully. 


No one can have it all.


You have to prioritize.


Also, you need to balance. 


In the end:

Dreams+Hard Work+Blessing From G-d


That’s success by whatever standards you measure. 


(Source Graphic: Andy Blumenthal)

Improv, Let’s Do it

What an incredible experience today. 


We went to the Atlas Theater in Washington, D.C. and did Improv (no script). 


For a Jewish kid from the Bronx, this was not something I was used to, but I loved it. 


– Say your name and an animal with the same first letter and act it out.


– Say something you love or hate and everyone gravitates on the stage towards or from it based on whether they agree.


– Repeat a word and action from someone else and pass it on.


– Act out an action that someone else calls out after yelling “Let’s do it!” 


– As a group, answer a question from the audience, by each person adding a word to the aggregated answer. 


– Give your neighbor a pretend object and after they identify what they think it is and thank you for it, you explain why you gave it to them.


– Stand on an emotion (happy, sad, angry, scared) and act out a scene with someone else rotating through the feelings.


– Pretend you’re a hitchhiker and infest the emotion with everyone else in the car.


I was really amazed at how good so many people were with doing these exercises. 


And I felt it was so freeing to be doing it too. 


I feel like I really learned a lot about being comfortable with yourself and just letting your inhibitions go and even though it was scary and hard, I would like to do this again. 


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Washington Democracy

Nice photo of the Capitol, the Reflecting Pool, and the Botanical Gardens.


Even in cold January in Washington, DC, it is a mighty impressive sight. 


Some of the most important lessons for me:


Democracy never ceases as long as the people rule, freedom is protected, and human rights is respected.


Those in power have an even greater responsibility to ensure they do the right thing and maintain the utmost integrity.  


We have a lot to live up to!


Hope everyone enjoys their weekend and MLK holiday.  😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)