Overall, I like the word Empowering, and to truly take on the meaning of this word, there needs to be action behind this – I found this word in several examples as of late worth sharing.

Luckily, and inspiringly, I have seen every year, since I became an educator, the combination of a student who knows they have something to give, those that have no idea that they could be something or do something that would change them and others, and those that are told they have “something” but need a push to realize it and be able to motivate themselves.  With each of these very different three combinations, I always found myself energized to go the next day and be refreshed again, all who have gone on to to be simply, empowering.

So you can imagine how intense and inspired I was when I came across Lee Smith’s book, Guests on Earth.  The review I wrote is below:

Controversy behind a curtain of intrigue. Highland Hospital, Zelda, Asheville North Carolina, Dr. Robert S. Carroll, also mentioned are a few of the true facts that Lee Smith brings out to draw you as the reader in. In high school I was sucked into Charlotte Bronte’s tale of Jane Eyre, who represented all of what the period pushed its characters to embody (and unusual as this is usually a female-oriented story with the characters affected). Here, Lee Smith represents all that many did not know about Zelda, a strong, fulfilling, artistic, and VERY talented individual who Scott Fitzgerald needed as inspiration. Many do not realize how much of his writing came from Zelda’s or how repressed she was, yet, Lee Smith has the ability to represent a true side of Zelda, and not the stereotypical crazy persona that is often attributed to her.

This link here…

is only one example that emphasizes how underrated and underestimated a woman Zelda was. This art of storytelling by Lee Smith will suck you in and enlighten you to all that Zelda might have been. and even more if not for this tragic end, and shows how she was often overshadowed by her husband; we find out that it seemed alot of his success came from Zelda. A brilliant read!

I found it refreshing  Lee Smith highlighted the persona of Zelda as brave and fighting against the stereotypes that were placed on her not only then, but also now in the areas of being “crazy”, “insane” and an “outsider.”  I feel alot of those stereotypes came from her being in the shadow of her husband Scott Fitzgerald, in a time where it was fashionable to be shocked by women outside the norm, but not looking up to them, that supposedly was the male role of the time.  What I now envision is a slideshow of items that are just the opposite.  Zelda’s influence on her husband’s writing and not being acknowledged, coming across the amazing influence of architect Linda Bo Bardi among a”man’s world” of architecture, 2:08 spot of Lele Pon’s video (go ahead, watch it, lol), and just seeing the young ladies in my history as an educator rising up and leading, creating, and being amazing role models, all are empowering in their own way.  Women are so under-estimated due to egos of men in a society trained that way, and no better place is this shown than in Lee Smith’s book focusing on not only Zelda Fitzgerald, but other young women that sought to overcome difficult situations.

The extensions to this as a teacher, in teaching The Great Gatsby?  Amazing.  It would be great to discuss the irony of The Great Gatsby, as a feminine novel instead of a male dominated novel. The art pieces that Zelda produced as well during her periods of treatment, to the idea that Zelda was really the best she was when she was empowered in her talents apart from Scott Fitzgerald, there are many exciting leads that could be followed to bring a truer sense of who Zelda was as a person and not as a stereotype.

Aside from the discoveries made in Lee Smith’s novel, and wandering through Chapultepec and finding areas I did not know existed while living in Mexico, I found one more on Thursday.  Being asked to go and explore the outdoor grounds of Dangu, an interesting chance to see a place where cats and dogs can be kept when you leave for a jaunt, I couldn’t resist.  I was lucky enough to come across someone that mentioned Dangu to me, and I thought, why not, let’s see what happens behind the scenes.

After bring picked up and taken towards Toluca, about a 35 minute drive, through some pretty rural and basic outskirts of the DF,  I found myself at the front of a wall and gate that looked like a hacienda.  As we went in, I was astounded.  Fancy iron gates, open to the air, and tons of them containing well maintained sheltered houses, as well as small yards, numbering at least 40, in front of the hillside.

Screen Shot 2014-07-18 at 2.24.21 AMHere was a clean, healthy, and open-aired retreat where dogs and cats, could be separated yet have a piece of their own walking, running, and playing environment outside, as well as protected from the elements if needed.  The view was amazing, and then learning that pets are taken on a wooded trail, they also given a time called “kinder” during the day with other dogs if they want or can be, as well as being able to take in this amazing cared for environment, I was taken in immediately.  On top of that, before being returned, pets are cleaned and groomed before being delivered back to their owner?  LOVED LOVED this opportunity to have my dogs treated better sometimes than I could for them during the week.

Sitting in the main wooded house with light and windows everywhere viewing the area of DanguScreen Shot 2014-07-18 at 2.24.27 AM

we talked nutrition and services that included helping dogs with acupuncture for the pets that were injured and had dysplasia, with amazing recovery results afterwards; moving onto healthier diets for dogs, to a variety of topics, it was refreshing to meeting individuals that take the time to care for canines, and go the extra mile and then some for others pets.  Learning of their past opportunities to find homes for animals, as well as the methodical steps they take to provide an amazing environment for animals, Dangu is top on my list for the meticulous and careful attention many pets do not get.  This was worth every amount to have at least my canines looked after in the best possible manner outside the city.  The video and website did not do this area justice, and the special made areas for smaller dogs since they are more fragile, they have thought of everything.  It was GREAT knowing that specialist trainers made up every staff member here, and helped finish off what is an amazing experience for all pets and their owners.

Finally, while occurring first for the day, but discussing last, I am finding that looking for something new in Mexico, every day, is not difficult.  Stumbling across the Korean Gardens off of Reforma today was an amazing discovery, and peaceful.  From the architecture, to the amazing landscaping that a friend with me remarked. looked German, due to the very organized and methodical way things were being implemented,  (a high testament to the quality the Mexican employees were doing with this area), this was the perfect start to a great Thursday.  If each of us set out to find something new that was right in our countries’ backyard everyday, I have a feeling we’d all be different people.

If you take a look at the amazing services for animals from Lucky Dog, to Dangu, to Walking Dog, you see the spirit of giving back in so many forms, we are lucky to be surrounded with so many individuals filled with that sense of empowering others, it is worth passing it on to another!



About Harry Brake

Employee of Woodbridge High School, Library Media Specialist, Media crazy! :)
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4 Responses to Empowering…

  1. certainly like your website but you have to take a look at the
    spelling on quite a few of your posts. Several
    of them are rife with spelling issues and
    I find it very bothersome to inform the truth however I will surely come back again.

    • Harry Brake says:

      Hola! Thanks for your comments, and believe it or not, thank you for the criticism! Yes, i tend to write down what is in my head first on the blog then go back and try to edit afterwards to impress the importance of the thought and not the syntax, but true, sometimes the incorrect syntax gets in the way, and I have tried to come to terms with the importance of syntax versus points being made, bu I will try to do better with catching them, lol. Thanks so much!

  2. Josefa says:

    Hi, I think your site might be having browser compatibility
    issues. When I look at your website in Chrome, it looks fine but when opening in Internet Explorer,
    it has some overlapping. I just wanted to give you a quick heads up!
    Other then that, excellent blog!

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