Symbols of Mankind

Judy K. Patterson

In 1992 I was a member of the Friends of the Hillsborough Library.  My first project was to see that all the art in the libraries of Hillsborough County was repaired, reframed, and in good shape.  My second project was to get the Board to buy art for the new libraries from the Gasparilla Festival of Arts Show in Tampa in March.  The Friends had ten thousand dollars sitting in a CD for emergencies.  I finally convinced them that the money could be earned and replaced, but the new libraries needed art.  We had a few holdouts but, eventually, we all agreed to buy art each year.  It gives me great pleasure to see new art in the local libraries that I visit.

Looking around for a new project, I heard about the Ybor Library on Nebraska and its damaged mosaic on the front of the building done by Joe Testa-Secca, an artist and art teacher at University of Tampa.  (More…)

Zooming With My Family

Diane Russell

zoom-appNo doubt you now have heard of Zoom, which is used extensively to conduct virtual meetings since the spread of COVID-19.  OLLI also is considering its use for group communications.

Have you considered using Zoom to keep in touch with your family?

One of my sisters and her family live in Chicagoland, while my other sister lives in Tucson. We were together as a group most recently on Christmas Day in 2018. When my 30-year-old niece, Amy, suggested that we gather virtually using Zoom, I literally jumped at the chance.  Instead of gathering as Brady Bunch heads to share our recent safer-at-home stories, we danced!   (More …)

Look Before You Zoom!

Diane White

ZoomConnecting with others in real time, whether it’s with Zoom, Facetime, Go To Meeting, or any similar video-type interactions, is a life line to combat social isolation while we are “social distancing”.  But we also have to ask: How can we be safe? What do we need to know when connecting with others by video? Yes, there are some important safeguards that you may not have thought of when you participate in, or host, any video-type meeting like Zoom.

In this article, “Zoom” will apply to any video-type interaction where you are live online, connecting with others using a phone, tablet, laptop or desktop. (More…)

Comfort Reading

Cindy Knox

I enjoyed George Hyde’s recent OLLI Connects contribution that contained various OLLI members’ recommendations for reading while we’re in self-isolation. However, the books that I crave right now – and some of you may, also – are what I call “comfort reads,” similar to comfort food.

I need a book that takes me to another world without murders, torture, or other examples of man’s (extreme) inhumanity to man. Or women, children, and animals. We get plenty of that on the nightly news – or, indeed, on cable news all day. So, here are a few offerings of the “comfort reads” variety off the top of my head.

(First of all, I hope that each of you reading this is in your PJs or however you dress at home. I myself tend to favor old T-shirts and flannel PJ bottoms. (Yes, even in Florida.) You will need to get comfortable and sit in a favorite chair – or your bed. No judgement here.)  (More…)

Blood, Toil, Tears, and Sweat

Since you currently have more spare time for reading, we thought we’d give you an extra OLLI Connects post this week.  Our featured writer is not technically an OLLI member.  But if he were still living and in our area, we’re sure he would be.  His work is the central piece of a larger post on the need—despite the fear it engenders—to get comfortable with online collaboration and learning the way we eventually got the hang of smart phones and Facebook.  Be honest.  There was a time when both of those terrified you.  And now they’re integral parts of your life.  COVID-19 is just giving us a kick in the pants to move us more quickly in a direction we were already kind of reluctantly going.

The first part of this post is from the most recent newsletter of UFF, the United Faculty of Florida.  (More…)

So, What Are You Up To?

Jane Applegate Belzer

When reading George Hyde’s last post in OLLI Connects, I thought: Now I know I’m not alone in seeking ways to occupy myself during this period of quasi-hibernation. While this is a home of two readers, there are other activities that we of a certain age will be doing to exercise our spirits while at home for what now sounds like a couple of months. I’d like to know what you are doing to entertain yourself during these isolating times.

I just pulled five cookbooks off my shelf to entertain myself and share with you. The Black Sea, by a British journalist, Caroline Eden, is a travel guide and cookbook to the exotic world from Odessa to Trabzon. The recipes enrich the stories of her journey through this very ancient region. If things get back to normal, we hope to go there next year. (More…)

Coping with Corona? Read On!

George Hyde

coronoavirusIf you enjoy the intellectual stimulation and social interaction that OLLI-USF offers, you’re probably a little miffed at how the Coronavirus is affecting your daily life right now and for at least a few weeks to come.

Let’s face it…government and University officials are taking prudent steps to protect us from a disease with disproportionately adverse impact on older people – “the OLLI Generation,” if you will.  Now we’re being told that one of the most important behaviors under the COVID-19 threat is “social distancing,” just as we’re settling into a schedule of Spring classes with instructors and classmates whose company and whose ideas we enjoy!  So, with OLLI classes in hiatus or cancelled, how can you avoid going stir-crazy? (More…)

Tails of Love

Don Menzel

I’m an admitted forever hopeless doggie addict. It all began when I was a fifth or sixth grader in my little home town where dogs ran free and nobody locked the doors of their homes. Must have been around 1949.  “Blackie”  and I roamed the town free as the wind. He was a cocker spaniel mix and a fierce defender of me when any of my buddies, some of whom were bullies, gave me a hard time. He didn’t know many commands, but there was one he always knew: Sic, sic, sic! Given this command, he would bolt after any person or dog or cat, whatever. And, he knew how to bite. In those days, a dog that didn’t bite was not a good dog.

Blackie was totally obedient when I whistled for him. Every winter I had to make sure his doggie house could withstand the cold blustery winter wind and snow that came howling over the Illinois plains. My mother never allowed him in the house, no matter how cold it got, and cold winters are ever present in Central Illinois.  (More…)

Mexico – Saltillo, 1972

Brenda Tipps

Early morning. I am in bed remembering that movie scene – –  you’ve seen it – – in which the wife flings a suitcase onto the bed, grabs armfuls of clothes still on their hangers, pulls open drawers, stuffs everything willy-nilly into the suitcase, slams the lid shut and departs in fury. She’s had enough.

In my mind I play my own version of this scene, in which I am the fleeing woman, here, now, in this shabby hotel in Saltillo. I could. I could tiptoe across the wooden floor, remembering the closet door that squeaks, and make my getaway while I still can, before my husband wakes up and persuades me that we’re on our way to Mexico City, where things will be so much better. I long to get away from the oppression of narrow streets, heat, and the unrelieved atmosphere of the bulls.

The final straw has been our stay at a cattle ranch far out in the country, an experience disconcerting enough never to want to repeat. So I think: I could leave. Where to? I don’t know yet.  (More…)

Tampa’s Bid to Host the Olympics

Tampa’s bid to host the 2012 Olympics was the first time a Florida city entered a bid for an Olympiad. The story starts with a decision by FASTA,  the Future Air & Surface Transportation Alliance to go forward with a Florida global airport project. Future global airports will have foot prints larger by a factor of 15 than the typical international airport. Tampa International, for example, is less than 7 square miles, is land locked and is  air space limited.  It is a great “20th Century airport.

Our typical international airports today provide excellent International and domestic air mobility but  are neither designed nor positioned for the future additional full-up Intrastate and urban air mobility. Since we knew a project like this would require the average transportation planner and others to think big, we decided to get Tampa into an Olympic bid, since few things are bigger than an Olympics.  (More…)