Jeanne McElvaney's Blog - Posts Tagged "jeanne-mcelvaney"

American Bandstand... it brought sexy to me before I knew what that meant. These high school students out of Philadelphia were my teenage reality show. It was like watching a dance at my school auditorium, except they knew how to move. The music filled their bodies. The camera was their friend. Kenny, Arlene, Pat, Carmen, Buddy, and Eddie seemed to be everything a teenager could want; I believed they knew every secret to being really cool and poplular.

I could only try to imagine what it would feel like to step onto the dance floor with such confidence. While they let the beat move their hips and slide up and down their legs, I could only self-consciously imitate. Their rhythmic communication shouted all the hormonal yearnings and discoveries teasing my awareness. I wanted to be like them... or Carol and Jerry from my small class of '66. Oh to know the physical joy of expressing what the songs did as they seeped into the places that yearned.

These teenagers at "Studio B" showed up every day to share what they loved and ended up shaping my music experience. I would watch "Rate-a-Record" and assign each new song my own ranking number. Then I would anxiously wait to see what the two members out of the audience would do. It was my own 'cool test'. If I agreed with these kids who seemed to know it all, I would sit in front of the television feeling a bit of the American Bandstand glow included me. I loved it when they declared, "It's got a good beat and you can dance to it."

Notes along the way... Jeanne
American Bandstand is part of Abby's experience in Chapter 37/"Spirit Unbroken-Abby's Story"
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Published on July 01, 2011 15:34 • 117 views • Tags: american-bandstand, jeanne-mcelvaney, personal-development, popular, sexy, spirit-unbroken
July 5, 2011

In the summer of 1958, I learned how to spit watermelon seeds as far as any of my friends sitting on the cement wall along the lake at our property. Belly flops were slowly turning into the beginnings of a dive. It was a summer of great triumphs and none were more savored than becoming a master with the Hula Hoop.

hula hoop, triumph, self empowerment, 1958, 50's nostalgia, gotospirit.com, jeanne mcelvaney, Wham-O, fad, neighborhoodMy yellow hoop came to town with no fanfare. I had no idea Wham-O had a nation-wide fad going. While 25 million hoops were selling to kids in every state for $1.98, the kids in my neighborhood shared. And that was agonizing until I realized no one was standing in the short line if I practiced before breakfast.

In the early morning hours, I could put the hula hoop around my waist a hundred times without losing my turn because it had dropped to the ground. Again and again, I placed it in just the right spot and lifted my arms as I got my hips moving... and watched the hoop fall at my feet. It was all instinct and persistence for me. And then, on a summer day with no clouds and the promise of a picnic lunch and swimming down at the lake, I moved in smaller, faster rotations and the hoop stuck! It stayed up until my utter surprise and joyous success changed my rhythm. Now I knew the trick. Personal empowerment soared from my dancing feet to a smile that couldn't stop.

When the other kids showed up after breakfast, I didn't mind taking my turn. Now my summer goal was to reach 100 continuous circles. At that time in my life journey, there was always something quite amazing and magical about being able to do something 100 times. It was confirmation of slipping out of childhood into a timeless place of serious accomplishment.

When I was 11, I had no idea Greeks had used similar hoops for exercise. I couldn't have imagined my plastic hoop made from metal, bambbo, wood, grasses, and vines and used for religious ceremonies as well as medical treatement 600 years earlier. I didn't stop to wonder how my new toy got it's name, but I would have loved knowing sailors named the popular "hooping" circle of early 1800's England after seeing the hula when they landed in Hawaii.

Notes along the way... Jeanne McElvaney
GoToSpirit.com
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Published on July 05, 2011 08:53 • 82 views • Tags: gotospirit-com, hula-hoops, jeanne-mcelvaney, self-empowerment, triumphs
July 8, 2011

Every generation strains against the rules their parents and society set at the feet of dating. As youths seek intimate relationships, the constraints are always too tight for comfort. In Jane Austen's England, the limitations were nothing less than suffocating. The only goal was marriage. Father and mother knew best in every instance.

pride and prejudice, dating, personal empowerment, women's empowerment, jane austen, jeanne mcelvaney, gotospirit.com jane austen's englandA young lady could not approach a man unless an adult of good standing had previously introduced them. A young man could not talk to a young woman until they had been properly introduced. Then, they could never be alone. Couples in Jane Austen's England were not allowed that privilege until they were married. All dating took place with a proper chaperone.

Even most dances kept the couples moving in-and-out and away from each other, except the slightly scandalous, new dance called the waltz. Here a couple could have a private conversation on the dance floor... once the young woman had been given official permission to engage in this dance.

It was assumed most young men would 'try to get lucky' if given any opportunity. Since any properly brought up young woman would know absolutely nothing about sex and never express any interest, it was imperative for her to be guarded at all times. Because, after all, these ladies might bring a dowry to their marraige, but their greatest asset was their virginity.

If all went according to society's dictates and parental expectations, a couple would find themselves man and wife without ever having an unguarded conversation, a single kiss, or the intimacy of a private joke or shared understanding. As an author, this creates delicious opportunities for rebellious intrigue of the best kind. I'm always rooting for my female characters to find their voice, respond to their personal spirit, and empower themselves by pushing past expectations. In that way, I get to be a teenager once again.

Notes along the way... Jeanne McElvaney
More notes at GoToSpirit.com Harrietta's Happenstance by Jeanne McElvaney
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Published on July 08, 2011 06:04 • 57 views • Tags: dating, gotospirit-com, jane-austen, jeanne-mcelvaney, self-empowerment, women
July 9, 2011
Symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
For more information, go to Facebook/Learn, Live, and Love with Dr. Laura/Discussions

Persistent avoidance of things related to the trauma and numbing of responsiveness ( not present before the traumatic event.
*Avoidance of activities, places, people that remind person of the trauma
*Avoidance of thoughts, feelings, conversations related to traumatic event
*Inability to have fun (Anhedonia) / decreased participation in activities
*Feelings of being detached or estranged from others

From Spirit Unbroken – Abby’s Story
From Chapter 53

Tuesday morning came too quickly and without an excuse to stay home. What had felt acceptable, as plans were made in the school yard the week before spring vacation, was now a tightrope stretched across a chasm of formless fears. Abby didn’t want to go on a hike and didn’t know how to tell Darla and Sissy. She couldn’t tell them about the slithering dangers she sensed. They were lodged in her body, holding her feelings captive, but Abby had no access to words that fit into the world she shared with her friends. Paper, scissors, rock – there was no choice for Abby. She had to go on the hike with her friends.

Neither joy nor curiosity kept her company as she packed her bologna sandwich, carrot sticks, and Oreos in a paper bag. Numb acceptance joined her while Abby put on her old pants, shoes and yellow sweatshirt. Only a thread of hope encouraged her. Like the thin rubber band wrapped around her ponytail, it held her together and whispered that Darla and Sissy might hike around the rocks and paths she knew so well and come home right after eating their lunches.

That hope snapped as her friends finished eating, folded their lunch bags, and stuffed them into their pockets. Darla and Sissy looked up the hillside and decided they could make it to the top and still get home in time. Assuming Abby’s mutual excitement, they began discussing the best route while their friend turned inward seeking the courage it would take to keep going when every feeling begged to go back home.

“I think we’re more than a third of the way already,” Darla enthused. “And it’s only lunch time.”

Sissy was in agreement. “If we head over to that clump of pine trees, we won’t have to climb over those rocks up ahead and we can walk faster.”

“I like climbing the rocks,” Darla said. “It won’t take that much longer.”

“I’d rather walk further and not have to worry about the rattlesnakes sunning on the rocks,” Sissy responded.

“My dad told me to be careful about that.”

Darla shrugged her shoulders. “You can find rattlesnakes anywhere. It’s no big deal if you just pay attention.”

“Which way do you want to go, Abby?” Sissy asked.

And there it was. When sage brush and dirt filled her nostrils or paths and roads stretched toward increasing isolation, Abby’s capacity to determine what she wanted or needed had withered as surely as a young plant trying to grow without water. Her voice and will had been silenced in the hidden corners of her life, and nature’s gifts had been lost. Abby had learned the best she could have was survival. She shrugged the question away as though it didn’t matter and turned to the comfort of gauging how soon she might get back home.
Darla and Sissy negotiated, insisted, and agreed as the three friends set out for the grove of trees and made their way up the hillside. Together, they eagerly determined their journey to the top while Abby watched for rattlesnakes, wasps, and stickers on the plants growing wildly over the land. Sissy started picking the few wildflowers daring to greet a colder than usual spring, and Darla was finding little rocks for her collection. Abby watched her feet to be sure she wouldn’t slip on the new grass or twist her ankle on a half-buried stone.

With muddy shoes, wilted flowers, and ravenous thirst, they got back to Abby’s house late in the afternoon. Sissy and Darla were glad to tell Katie all the details of their grand afternoon while they watched television with her and waited for their moms to pick them up. Abby smiled and listened. The hike was over. She was home.

Notes along the way... Jeanne McElvaney
More notes at GoToSpirit.com Spirit Unbroken Abby's Story by Jeanne McElvaney
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July 10, 2011

Unique complexities might create each family, but they don't stop us from defining them. As a child, we are inclined to use this image to gauge how we fit. Feeling normal is a driving force and, if our family doesn't meet the standards of what we believe is happening in our neighborhood and community, we aren't inclined to celebrate being different.

Try as I might, I cannot recall any classmate or friend who had divorced parents as I was growing up in small-town, USA in the 1950's. For me, families were made of a dad who went to work while mom stayed home to take care of the kids and house. A few mom's worked and they seemed like a rare, intriguing species among the normal. I loved watching them, wondering how it worked. Did they still serve dinner every night... like everyone else? Was Sunday dinner still pot roast, potatoes, and relatives visiting? I thought it was all very cool and a little bit sad because everyone knew mothers would rather stay home if they could.

In this decade between WWII and Vietnam, when prosperity was spreading and reshaping families, I was only a kid witnessing the world of parents and teenagers. I didn't recognize the currents growing beneath what was acceptable. But I did know Rock n' Roll was a rebellious kind of thing. I knew ponytails, pedal pushers, and poodle skirts were only worn by the teenage girls who were the most daring.

In my little town, I didn't see teenagers with long sideburns and greased hair wearing leather jackets, but I saw them in magazines and thought it all rather thrilling and dangerous. In a time when all kids were still expected to be respectful, seen and not heard, and obey all adults, these teenagers were pushing past the acceptable. Eddie Haskell on "Leave It To Beaver" walked this line with perfection. He was always so very, schmoozy polite to adults while inciting rebellion in anyone who would dare to crack the status quo.

With televisions invading homes one at a time and AM radio, jukeboxes, and 45 records dotting the landscape, music came to break the rules. When most people still trusted government and politicians, teenagers didn't protest. They moved their hips. Sex was still absolutely taboo, but sexuality was seeping into the lives of teenagers and changing families. Normal would never be the same.

Notes along the way... Jeanne McElvaney
More notes at GoToSpirit.com Spirit Unbroken Abby's Story by Jeanne McElvaney
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Published on July 10, 2011 12:28 • 106 views • Tags: 1950-s, 50-s, childhood, families, family, gotospirit-com, jeanne-mcelvaney, leave-it-to-beaver, music, nostalgia, sexy, teenagers
July 12, 2011

Today, I have a spirit friend arriving. My husband and I will pick him up at the airport, but, from that moment on, the three of us will soar, float, and hover in a PlaceOfNoTime. I will be setting aside all my earth-dwelling communications and activities to spend spirit time with him.

The three of us are a delicious example of how spirit friends defy usual connections. He’s a hundred years younger than me and lives a thousand miles away. Extra calories pile easily onto my hips while he burns them like cheap matches. He wants to scuba dive and sky dive. I like to sit back and look at the ocean and the heaven above. He loves exploring Mother Nature. My adventures are in my inner world.

And we are spirit friends of the best kind.

The connection of personal spirit, what makes us unique and dances with our inner wisdom and universal knowledge, transcends the usual ties of friendship. Here it’s not what we do, but what we feel. It’s never about age, gender, or culture. Logic and thought bow to 6th sense and intuition.

I’ve spent days with other women and become intimate, joyful spirit friends… and could not tell you the names of their family or where they work. I couldn’t describe their homes, but I have a beautiful energy map of what makes them smile when no one else is looking.

Today I’m reminded to leave the door open for spirit friends I haven’t met. They can come in every shape and style imaginable. And they are sure to make my heart sing.

Notes along the way… Jeanne McElvaney
More notes at GoToSpirit.com
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Published on July 12, 2011 05:44 • 78 views • Tags: friends, gotospirit-com, jeanne-mcelvaney, old-maggie-s-spirit-whispers, personal-spirit, talking-to-energy, vacation
"Summer afternoon - summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language." ~ Henry James.

I have just returned from ten days of summer afternoon. Sand grabbed my toes and followed me into bed. I passed "Go" and collected $200 and just as often landed on houses and hotels to pay exhorbitent rent. There were frequent ice cream cones at Screamin' Mimi's... an essential ingredient for summers in Sebastopol. We didn't make the first showing of Harry Potter's last movie, but we were first in line the following morning.

Endless hours of play. It sounds delightful and it was, and I was reminded along the way that I had chosen to swim into a different kind of energy field than usual. In the current of swirling molecules of play, there is no purpose, no goal, no driving force to complete anything. Meals can't be planned or cooked when hiding under a blanket to entice a curious puppy is the strongest vibration.

Oh, I could have tried to bring some of the usual order into my days, but it would have felt like an untuned violin in my orchestra of fun. That's the challenge and wonder of energy fields. Some of them go together like drums and guitars and we can dance to the music of shopping for groceries while tracking our kids or thinking about work. But play energy is delightfully singular. It's a solo piece. When you choose to step into that energy, it's essential to set aside all the other instruments you play in the orchestra of your days. Play is being totally, absolutely in the moment. It is making up your own song as you go along.

No one, at any age, can stay in this energy forever. No matter how much is delights, our spirit yearns to be filled with things that require being part of the band of every day life. Right now, I'm easing back into the rhythm of that energy.

Notes along the way... Jeanne McElvaney
More notes at GoToSpirit.com
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Published on July 23, 2011 06:53 • 66 views • Tags: gotospirit-com, ice-cream, jeanne-mcelvaney, monopoly, personal-spirit, play, summer, talking-to-energy
July 25, 2011

Hey There! Hi There! Ho There! You’re as welcome as can be!

I was one of the lucky ones who watched the Mickey Mouse Club when it premiered the same day as Captain Kangaroo in 1955. I’m quite sure I didn’t miss a show after that. It was the cap on my days, the quiet time while the smells of dinner invited evening. I could recite the daily show themes with the same confidence I had in counting to one-thousand in 10’s!

Monday – Fun and Music

Tuesday – Guest Star

Wednesday – Anything Can Happen

Thursday – Circus

Friday – Talent Round-up

Annette, Darlene, Charlene, Doreen, Tommy, and Bobby seemed like friends, except they could dance and sing and that seemed magical to me. I couldn’t imagine them being afraid of boogie men under the bed at night or having sisters who used their toys without asking. Tall, lanky Bobby with his big smile, the very mature Annette, even little Karen and Chubby created a rainbow world when I was in grade school.

In the wonderful way childhood can feel so in the moment, I had no idea Jimmie’s advice about making good choices was called “Doddisms”, but I paid attention because he was like my friend’s older brother. I didn’t know jovial Roy had come up with the idea for wearing the Mickey Mouse ears or that Walt Disney was the voice for Mickey Mouse. I certainly didn’t realize The Mickey Mouse Club only ran two years as an hour-long show and then one more year as a half-hour show before using reruns for the last year.

The Mickey Mouse Club I remember lasted forever. It followed me through my childhood and still smiles in the corner of my days.

Now it’s time to say good-bye to all our company… M-I-C

See you real soon!

K-E-Y

Why? Because we like you!

M-O-U-S-E

http://youtu.be/nOBlXZyKC6ASpirit Unbroken: Abby's Story
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Published on July 25, 2011 10:15 • 166 views • Tags: 50-s-nostalgia, childhood, gotospirit-com, jeanne-mcelvaney, mickey-mouse-club, television
July 25, 2011

Hey There! Hi There! Ho There! You’re as welcome as can be!

I was one of the lucky ones who watched the Mickey Mouse Club when it premiered the same day as Captain Kangaroo in 1955. I’m quite sure I didn’t miss a show after that. It was the cap on my days, the quiet time while the smells of dinner invited evening. I could recite the daily show themes with the same confidence I had in counting to one-thousand in 10’s!

Monday – Fun and Music

Tuesday – Guest Star

Wednesday – Anything Can Happen

Thursday – Circus

Friday – Talent Round-up

Annette, Darlene, Charlene, Doreen, Tommy, and Bobby seemed like friends, except they could dance and sing and that seemed magical to me. I couldn’t imagine them being afraid of boogie men under the bed at night or having sisters who used their toys without asking. Tall, lanky Bobby with his big smile, the very mature Annette, even little Karen and Chubby created a rainbow world when I was in grade school.

In the wonderful way childhood can feel so in the moment, I had no idea Jimmie’s advice about making good choices was called “Doddisms”, but I paid attention because he was like my friend’s older brother. I didn’t know jovial Roy had come up with the idea for wearing the Mickey Mouse ears or that Walt Disney was the voice for Mickey Mouse. I certainly didn’t realize The Mickey Mouse Club only ran two years as an hour-long show and then one more year as a half-hour show before using reruns for the last year.

The Mickey Mouse Club I remember lasted forever. It followed me through my childhood and still smiles in the corner of my days.

Now it’s time to say good-bye to all our company… M-I-C

See you real soon!

K-E-Y

Why? Because we like you!

M-O-U-S-E

http://youtu.be/nOBlXZyKC6A
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Published on July 25, 2011 10:17 • 72 views • Tags: 50-s-nostalgia, childhood, gotospirit-com, jeanne-mcelvaney, mickey-mouse-club, television
July 26, 2011

The coolest, newest, latest phone might be an essential ingredient of peer pressure today, but 200 years ago, in Jane Austen's England, gambling was the sure way for a young man to capture the esteem of friends.

Cards and dice were the usual games, but gentlemen could bet on anything and they did. One of the premier mens clubs in London had a famous betting book for placing these wagers. At White’s, a young man might place a wager on who could steal a certain young lady’s hanky or a kiss… or which ale would loose its foam first.

It didn’t matter what the bet, it was just essential that wagers were taking place. It might be at one of the exclusive mens clubs, the card rooms at private social events, at the race tracks, or the less reputable “gaming hells” where odds were against the unwary and “Captain Sharps” were on the hunt for those who were new to town.

This past time among the younger set was supported by activities of many leaders of the country. The Prince of Wales rebelled against his serious-minded father and became a notorious gambler. At one time, he was involved in a national gaming scandal.

The long war with Napoleon fed this beast of pride and chance, but the banking system and acceptable “vowels” acknowledging gambling debts encouraged games of chance to get out of control. During the Regency era, both local banks and the Bank of England could print their own bank notes and, with several hundred banks competing, it was easy for a gentleman to get an advance.

This often led to dire results. Gamblers lost entire estates in an evening of over-betting. Some would flee mounting debts by moving out of the country. Others took their own life because gambling obligations were considered “debts of honor”. Aristocrats could ignore payments to shopkeepers, tailors, even servants, but they could not ignore what was due when they gambled and lost. The only thing worse than not paying was cheating.

While the young women of early 1800’s England were closely watched and held to an excessively high standard of innocence, the young men were encouraged to get some “town bronze” and gambling was an essential ingredient in their coming of age. For some, it became a passion. One story reveals the 4th Earl of Sandwich asking for a slice of meat between bread so he wouldn’t have to stop gaming in order to eat.

Notes along the way... Jeanne McElvaney
More notes at GoToSpirit.comHarrietta's Happenstance
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Published on July 26, 2011 13:14 • 86 views • Tags: coming-of-age, gambling, gotospirit-com, jane-austen, jeanne-mcelvaney, regency-england, young-men