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Andrea Lawrence-stuart

"Keep my wits so I can help others"

Ocean Beach, CA, USA
female, age 77
single, 2 children
Speaks: A tad of Sicilian slang!, Imitating Aussie, British, Love imitating regional English, Sing languages better than speak, speak halting Greek, Read Greek very slowly, Um pouco Portugues, read Spanish better than I speak it, speak some Spanish
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This is a first for me, and how to begin?  Just powder our noses and into the breach...

Because I live near a fault line, I picked my username appropriately, don't you think?  But aside from liking to shake things up a bit, don't blame the earthquakes on me, OK?  
I'm the grandmother of a just-turned-18 boy. 

I became active on the internet as an  editor, proofreader and commenter with the International Leadership Forum (ILF) , which maintains a blog, www.ilfpost.org.  ILF  is a nonprofit, nonpartisan and independent think tank which features a core group of our Fellows making commentaries on world affairs.  This mention however is not to promote the blog, but to let you know what I do: hunt for well-written, vital, and intelligent comments which might tie in with any related commentary in the ILF Post.  I do this at home. In fact, it  is how I came across Care2Connect.  

As for personal profile, I can't provide a picture because I don't have one from a digital camera as yet.  But I will, as soon as that is done.  

Born in New York, I have lived in Arizona and California most of my life. I just turned 69 but do not feel that age at all.  In fact, with  each passing year I make  efforts to hone my mental and musical skills.  I am more willing to dialogue with others about world affairs, as a result of doing so in my capacity as a "blog-hunter."  Watching C-Span hasn't hurt, either.    Being at home, out of the great "gyre" of social life, I see  more political TV, heard more extremism than ever, on the Internet, as well, and read some good,  some bad and some ugly works. 

Music:  Back in the late 1950s and early 60s I developed a passion for old folk music, protest songs, and  during the 60s sang locally, and played piano in bars.  Because of the dog-eat-dog world of the music business I never wanted or got famous, just loved music for itself--hated show business.  I began playing guitar at about age 29, doing  more bad imitations of Dylan, Donovan and Joan Baez than I care to remember.   It became more fun to harmonize and back  up others, enhancing their music.  Only when singing the blues solo did I let it all out because there one can make foolish mistakes.  Bending a note wrong ended up a good joke because the audience thought I was doing it deliberately.  So the imperfection of it all was and still is my specialty.  Disciplinarians mght chide: "you never perfected your craft."  Oh well.  

In the mid-seventies I discovered flamenco guitar, and so took lessons for a year (by technique, not by note).  It let me improvise. Like two jazz riffs, no two flamenco falsetas are identical.  It is a free form, the only rule being to keep  compas, rhythm.  I began integrating  Gypsy Kings and Mexican music (can anyone go back as far as Bud and Travis in the '60s?), bossa nova, and there one can't be a purist.   Just a touch of good old Django Reinhardt and Willie Nelson sneaked  in, too , which distracted me from pure   flamenco pure.  I guess the blues and folk singer wouldn't leave.  

Admittedly, while going through the great blue funk-- menopause-and because I was working in law offices with my fingers my excuse was being too tired to pick up a guitar or play a note on my piano--both instruments staring reproachfully at me and gathering dust) I quit the guitar for years.  Looking back, I believed I lost the touch, that an older Gringa can't have passion, and of course was rusty from lack of practice.  My left finger is a tad arthritic but that is no excuse. You must nurture your passion, discipline yourself, or it will leave, and it almost did.  So in the past couple of years I have been picking and grinning a lot more (except when singing Leonard Cohen!).  I am trying to compose as well. But now the art of aging is something I have learned to practice.   I will delve more into that in future comments, it is a pet project.  If someone hasn't stolen the title I intend to call it the art of aging.  It is one way to keep my  wits about me. 

Besides music, I always was an avid reader and collector of books which take up most of my space at home.   Even when younger, I had a better time at a book store than going out to dinner.  I can spend hours there.  My current favorite fiction this year includes  those I've read many times before: the Raj Quartet, A Town Like Alice, and Lonesome Dove.  I just read Pete Hamill's Forever  and Snow in August. Nonfiction is mostly history and science.  throughout life I have been drawn to Greek history, i.e., Herodotus, Alexander,  the Arab peoples, biographies.  That of course steered me into the Andalusian horse, and now, the Friesian.  In the past four years  involved with the ILF, I have been doing a lot of political reading.  Lately, being terribly disgusted with both political parties, I re-registered as an independent (not a la Joe Lieberman), but because I discovered throughout life that I am more green, pacifist, and puzzled by how both parties are conducting themselves.  I could look more objectively at the two major parties.  Anti-war and nonreligious thinking have always been a part of my thinking but lately they have come more to the fore.  I am vocally anti-war but nonmilitantly nonreligious--a Bertrand Russell freethinker.  It will be interesting to get into a civilized discussion of these subjects in the future if they are introduced. 

My  other loves are cats, horses, dogs, and when I was working and earning a few extra dollars I "adopted" a Siberian tiger.  I love to comment on them and am pushing for saving the tiger and other endangered species, as well.  I do not use  environmentalism as a religion, but embrace it as an issue that deserves better --our attention in a way that will accomplish the true goals of environmentalism. 

Sorry if this was a abit longer than intended.  So you see, there is much  I am interested in sharing, discussing, and if challenged, in debating.  It is a privilege to be able to express ourselves on the Internet like this, and as long as we respect the person--if not the person's views--we can learn a lot from many peopleof all walks of  life, all ethnicities, and that all are of  a common human race.    

Warmest greetings,

Andrea

 
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