Thursday, May 31, 2012

Gendercide...Female Babies At Risk

A friend of mine posted an article and video (link below) regarding how Planned Parenthood counsels a woman to abort a baby girl if that’s not what she wants. Basically, she tells her a late term abortion, which is just a little over 5 months (23 week limit) is legal. She says many doctors frown on it because everything is pretty much already formed at that point. The woman, who is under cover, wants to see what they tell her to do and get it on tape. The fact that this is going on in this country, and so matter of factly, is mind boggling. When Roe vs. Wade was passed it started with first semester abortions, then I learned about the appalling facts involved in partial birth abortions, and now this??? If it’s a girl just throw the baby away and start over? I don't think that is what is meant by "planned parenthood!"

The video goes on to explain that the “elimination” of baby girls is a world wide practice and that to date 100 million baby girls have been aborted or victims of infanticide just for being girls. The thought of this is frightening to say the least. I know China has a limit of one child per family and many parents there prefer to have a boy. Other countries apparently are open to gendercide, but I would not have expected this to be occurring in our country so openly and so freely.

What in the world does it say of the people who have a gender preference and would destroy a perfectly healthy baby girl just because she isn’t a boy? I can’t even get my brain to wrap itself around this idea for any reason. Even if you have five girls and you are trying for a boy. If it’s another girl, that is still a blessing, it’s still a miracle. This is nothing more than people wanting to play God. Before you know it people will want to genetically design their children to have a certain eye or hair color, a certain height, and whatever else they find desirable. Maybe with the advances made in the next ten years it will be possible to decide more than just the sex of the baby. Where should the line be drawn and who will draw it? How can anyone think this is even remotely okay? In the United States gender based abortions are legal in all but three states. The article that accompanies the video says that Congress will be discussing a new law, Prenatal Non-Discrimination Act (PRENA), which would ban sex-selective abortions. If this isn’t a no brainer, I don’t know what is.

Maybe I will wake up tomorrow and be in an episode of the Twilight Zone?

Genocide Article and Video

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

A Fixer-Upper House...

I hate to complain, I really do, and yet I set up a blog just for that purpose. Anyway, the painter came this morning at 9, as I finally took out the last movable objects from my bedroom. There is quite a bit of plastering to be done before the walls can be painted. That room went through the war when there was new construction being done on one side of my house and the house attached to mine, on the other side, was being gutted and renovated. The vibrations from all the work took it’s toll on my bedroom. I didn’t want to fix anything until they were done. The new construction of the two family houses finished long ago. The renovation on the house attached to me is still ongoing. They will never finish. But at least they take long breaks when they don’t so any work or do quiet work. 

Well, having decided to sell my house, I have to do some fixing to make it presentable. Hence the painter. I already told the realtor that I don’t want to fix everything because it may not even suit the new potential buyers. Instead, I told him price the house less expensive and let them do the work to their liking. I hope this is a good strategy, but whether or not it is, I don’t feel like having people come in to work on my house every day. I get anxiety from it. Plus it’s a lot of work for me. Just emptying out the bedroom took a few days. I’m not even going to unpack a lot of the stuff I packed. It’s staying in boxes until hopefully we move out of here.

Of course, last night the dog decided to start barking at 11:40 PM for an hour. That disturbed my much needed sleep. Then I got to thinking about the painter and I just stayed awake for a couple of more hours. I think I managed to get about 4 or 5 hours sleep. The dog started barking at 5 AM. Is it any wonder I hate noise? Even if I manage to get a few quiet minutes, I can’t enjoy them because my head hurts from lack of sleep. Aren’t you glad you stopped by to read today? I am going to have to vent here because my younger daughter is studying for her license exam as a Medical Technologist, and my other daughter and husband are out working. There is no one around to rant and rave to, but me, and I don’t want to scare the painter and his son off.

I hope they do a decent job and get done early tomorrow. It’ll probably take me two or more days to put everything back in my room. But I am tired! No way I can take a nap or even write a coherent sentence to pass the time. 

I hope I find a house that is in real move-in condition, because I just want to be in peace and be settled. Will that day ever come? If it does, you will be the first to know.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Forest Park Carousel...

Forest Park is not far from where we live, maybe a mile or so. When my girls were little, there was a carousel in the park that was restored in 1989 and open to the public. We took the girls there many times, on the weekends, for a ride or two. They loved it and it was so convenient. We also liked to do things to support the neighborhood whenever we could.

This 109 year old carousel, from Massachusetts, was purchased for $30,000 in 1972, to replace one that had long been standing in the park, but burned down. The horses on this carousel were hand carved by Daniel C. Muller and only two of his carousels remain in the United States, the one at Forest Park and one in Ohio. During the years from 1989 to 2008, we had taken our girls there to enjoy this historic treasure. Who doesn’t love a carousel? Unfortunately, due to lack of maintenance, the carousel fell into disrepair and was closed in 2008.

Now, I have just learned that the carousel has been repaired and reopened to the public this past weekend. It will be just in time for summer, when kids are out of school. It brings back wonderful memories for me of special times shared with my family. I like thinking that many other parents will now be able to visit and ride the carousel with their own children. It reminds me of simpler times, the feeling of a country fair, almost like taking a step back in time. The carousel is one of the few great things that make our neighborhood unique.

I had almost forgotten about the carousel and the times we went there. It’s so easy to misplace memories. They get buried under all the “to do” lists and never ending errands we have to remember to get to every day. There is little time for reflection and reminiscing. It often takes something special to make us stop and think about the good old days. I’ll have to ask my girls at dinner tonight if they remember the carousel and if they want to go back and take a ride, one day in the near future, for old times sake. 

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Why Are Men Fascinated With Weather?

Growing up in my home, I noticed that my father had an “obsession” with knowing the weather. He would listen to the radio, early in the morning, before any of us woke up. The first words out of his mouth was the weather report. But, it didn’t end there. He listened to the weather forecast what seemed like every hour on the hour for the updates. He would also make several trips during the day, to look out the window, and report on his observations. Maybe it was the fact that he worked outdoors in construction, that caused him to become interested in the weather. But, long after he retired, he was still listening and reporting what he learned to the rest of us.

And then there’s my brother, who has always worked indoors. He will call me from work to tell me about some bad weather brewing, that will hit us later in the week. I know he is being thoughtful, but I’m sure he must realize that with four televisions and a couple of radios, that the news has already gotten to me, if not by the media then by my husband. Still he has the obsession to warn me about the weather, something I can’t do anything about except wait and watch.

The preoccupation with the weather seems to go way back in time. Ancient civilizations named their Gods after different aspects of the weather. Thor, for example, was the Norse God of thunder and lightning and Apollo was the Roman God of the Sun. Then there was good old Benjamin Franklin, who wrote “Poor Richard’s Almanack,” which would forecast the weather for the year. I know Franklin was smart, but to forecast the weather for the year? Our weathermen can’t even get it right for tomorrow, with all their sophisticated instruments. There is nothing accurate about “acuweather, I often want to scream at my television set. So, maybe the “weather” is a manly obsession?

Why is this bugging me now? I’ve noticed my husband has a preoccupation with the weather. He too is carrying on the same way my father once did, by listening to the forecast several times a day and announcing it to the rest of the family. Lately, he has been going to the window and peeking through the blinds to observe the weather conditions. Like this morning, he peeked out and said, “It’s raining.” I didn’t have the heart to tell him I could hear the rain hitting the window. That’s one sound I’ve grown accustomed to over the years. Don’t get me wrong, I do appreciate the news in the morning, so I know how to dress for the day. However, after that, I am not really interested to know how many degrees the temperature has gone up at different points in the day. And, when it’s hot and humid, I think I would rather suffer from the heat in ignorance than to know the actual temperature, which only makes me feel hotter than I already am.

Of course, in the winter, when there is a chance of snow or a storm is brewing, then I don’t mind so much being kept informed of the forecast. My husband will listen to different radio and television stations and go with the one predicting the lowest amounts. It makes him feel better to do that, and then he tells me the lowest predictions so I feel better too. The problem is, as we all know, weather forecasts are far from accurate and one to two inches often turns into a blizzard, with 12 inches or more on the ground. What’s the point?  The weathermen can’t get it right, and then the men in my life listen all day, only to report to me all this incorrect information!

I just want to know if all men are preoccupied with the weather, or just the ones I know?

Friday, May 25, 2012

At Last, Justice for Etan Patz...

Thirty three years ago, in 1979, an adorable six year old, Etan Patz, got off the school bus and was never seen again. It was the first time he was going to walk the two blocks to his home alone. His disappearance got a lot of media attention and the all of NYC was affected by the story. I heard that his parents never moved from their home or changed their phone number in hopes their son would one day walk back through those doors. But, after years of investigation, the case was cold and closed. All leads went nowhere. Etan was one of the first children whose picture was placed on a milk carton.

Recently, against the wishes of Etan’s parents, the case was reopened. They did not want to relived the ordeal, but police decided to reopen the case in 2010 and begin a new investigation. Some leads were followed. None paid off until now. Police questioned 51 year old Pedro Hernandez, who now lives in New Jersey. He moved from New York City shortly after the murder he confessed to. He tells police that when Etan got off the school bus he lured him into the basement of a grocery store where he worked, with the promise of a soda. There he choked the young boy to death and put his body in a trash bag and disposed of it along with probably dozens of other trash bags for the sanitation to pick up. His body will probably never be found.

I remember this story so well. Etan was never forgotten. His name would always resurface when other children went missing through the years. The investigation into his disappearance was swift and thorough, but never yielded any results. It caused anxiety and awareness for all parents about leaving young children unsupervised. I think it’s amazing that after all these years and no real evidence, the police received a tip and were finally able to interrogate this suspect again. This time they got a confession. Hernandez was found to be very remorseful about what he had done and told police everything. They believe his confession because it is so detailed. Hernandez had also told family members, at one point, that he had done something bad when he was 19, he had killed a little boy in New York City. Henandez went on to marry and have a daughter, who is now in college; while the Patz family has lived with the loss of their son, never knowing what happened to him.

Maybe now Etan’s family will have some closure. I hope and pray they do. I can’t think of anything worse than losing a child. 

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Taking Risks...

People, myself included, like to be comfortable and safe. Sometimes the need for security makes us avoid change or taking risks that could better our lives. Sometimes the only way we go outside our comfort zone is if we are forced to do so by life events. You know we are very clever creatures, human beings can talk themselves out of or into anything. We can rationalize and make up excuses by the dozens to make something more or less appealing, depending if we want to do it or not. 

There are many people, for example, who will stay at a job they hate, because they don’t want to risk working someplace else and trying something new. They might have the desire to do it, but they will talk themselves out of it. It’s the fear factor. Fear of failure, fear of humiliation, fear of having to start over. Instead of facing these fears and believing in themselves, they stay at a job they hate as the years come and go. There are people who are afraid of commitment so they just live together. If it doesn’t work out, they can always go their separate ways. That’s much easier than getting married and having to work at a relationship. No ring to buy, no marriage license to get, no ceremony to prepare. No fear of a marriage failing because there is no “marriage.” 

And for me, right now, I have finally taken the first step to selling this house. Something I have wanted to do for over 15 years. It was never a good time I told myself. When the kids were little, they were in special school programs and doing well, I didn’t want to disrupt that. Then my father was diagnosed with cancer and I didn’t want to move away from him and my aging mother, who was soon after diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. That was not a good time. A year before my mom passed away, I was diagnosed with cancer and that was not a good time to move for so many reasons. By the time I felt fairly confident that I was going to be okay, my older daughter started college and I had to pay tuition for my younger daughter’s private high school. Well, now that wasn’t the right time either, financially speaking. Of course, my younger daughter went on to college after high school and the tuition was pretty steep so we stayed put. And, here we stayed, comfortable and secure, in a home that was just okay, in a location I have hated for all these years. 

But, this week I called a realtor and had him come over to talk about selling this house. Now is the right time to make this a priority. The girls are done with school and my husband is taking an early retirement. I am trying to conquer the fear and anxiety of moving. It’s not going to be easy, we have accumulated a lot of stuff over the past 24 years. Plus, we will have to find another home, in a quiet place, and deal with a simultaneous buy and sell situation. I think that is what is causing me the most anxiety. People do it everyday, I know. And one way or another, I will do it too. 

Sometimes, you have to go outside your comfort zone and make some changes in your life if you want to be happy. I regret not trying to make an effort to move years ago. I could have improved the quality of my life, and my family’s a great deal. Yes, I’m afraid and overwhelmed at the thought of moving, but now is the time for change.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Is Anyone Truly Happy?

Sometimes, I sit myself down to think about things, and one of the questions I ask myself is, “Am I happy? Is anyone happy?” What makes me happy? When am I happiest? Who makes me happy? And if I am happy, do I take it for granted? I must, or I wouldn’t be asking the question. And is happiness a permanent state of mind or a series of moments that break up the unhappy and mundane moments? Can we choose to be happy even when things go wrong? 

I know when something makes me unhappy. So many things do that I even started this blog so I could complain about it. Let’s see, we have noisy, inconsiderate neighbors, having to come up with dinner ideas every night, plumbing problems, not finding a parking spot, traffic, all the usual stuff that gets under most people’s skin. But all of it is momentary and/or fixable. Everyday brings with it, it’s own aggravations and irritations…that’s life. Do those things really make me unhappy or just extremely annoyed?

One thing I do know is that everyone wants to be happy. That’s the goal in life. That’s what motivates us to work hard so we can have the “things” that bring us happiness: the nicest cars, the big homes, the vacations, best clothes, etc. all the things that makes us happy, or should makes us happy. The problem is, that happiness is fleeting. Once we have acquired something, we begin thinking about the next thing we need to be happy. “I’ll be happy when I have the perfect house, when I am married, when I find the right job, when I have a baby, when I get that promotion, when I win the lottery” as though any of these things is going to makes us truly happy. If that’s the case, then why are so many celebrities in rehab or should be, getting divorces, in unhappy unfulfilled relationships, when they have all the things most of us can only dream of? No, true happiness cannot be bought and found in material things, even though we have convinced ourselves that it can be.

I was thinking, how many of us would totally give up everything we had at this moment to be one of these celebrities? Sure, you might give up your modest home, your meager bank account, your jewelry, your clothes…all your worldly possessions, because you’d be trading up…way up. But would you give up your spouse, your parents, your family and friends, or your children? If you would, then I’m not talking to you in this blog. I’m talking to those people who know what real love is and know that love, is what I believe, the true source of happiness. Unfortunately, love is also the source of pain. But we are all in the same boat.

I tried to imagine myself, for a second, giving up everything and everyone to be Oprah. She is probably the richest and one of the most respected women on the planet. In a few seconds I thought about the horrors of her childhood, the amount of her life she has devoted to working, and the fact that even with all her money, she is now stressing over making a success out of her OWN network. I wouldn’t be “happy” living in her shoes, even if I would enjoy a lot of the benefits. I could never give up the people I love to be who she is and do what she does. Oprah is fulfilled by her work. I am fulfilled by my family. Oprah decided not to be a mother, I would never be happy not having children. Even if I had everything I could possibly want in this world and more money than I could spend in ten lifetimes (or more), I would not be happy without my children. I could not trade my parents for her parents, my family for her family, my friends for her friends. 

I know when I am most happy and at peace. It’s when I am surrounded by my little family. It doesn’t matter where or when, all that matters is who. Nothing else is really important to me. All the rest is material fluff. Things will come and go, but people are not replaceable. Relationships are priceless. 

You know what I wish? I wish I had the wisdom to know years ago, what I know now. I wish I had really been aware of how fleeting time is and how precious the time with my own parents really was. Instead, like most of us, I thought they would be around forever, until one day they weren’t. I spent a lot of time with my parents and I made sure my children did too. But, I’m not so sure I really appreciated that time as much as I should have or could have. I did my fair share of complaining and eye rolling when they offered advice, which I heard as criticism. But, the bottom line is that they always wanted the best for me, my family and my brother. They wanted to see us all happy. And we were. We were because of their love for us and for all the things they taught us. And I think we made them happy in return by showing them the love and respect they deserved. 

When I think of happiness, it never comes down to “what” makes me happy, but “who” makes me happy.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Never Anything Good In The News...

I try to read the news to keep up on events and what’s going on in the world, but it gets depressing after reading just a  few articles. How much bad news can you read before it gets you down? I’m sure there are good things going on everywhere. Inspirational stories , of people with courage and determination, who have overcome struggles and tremendous odds against them, would be a refreshing change. Why not shine a light on those stories? They might actually motivate others to improve their own lives and the lives of others. Those kinds of stories seem to be buried in the back pages, while all the scandals and crimes are hyped up and sensationalized. Is this really ALL we want to read?

Today for example, I was browsing through the top headlines and what do I find? Another teacher, Melissa Dalton of Arizona, indicted for having sex with four (so far) teenage boys. She has only been teaching at that school one year. Who knows how many more boys will come out of the woodwork. How many has she had sex with at prior schools? Does anyone do a background check any more? Teachers having sex with students seems to be an epidemic. It used to be an occasional incident was reported, typically a male teacher and female student. Now the tide has turned and many women teachers are being accused o these crimes. And where are these sex acts performed? In the classroom, in the car, in the homes of the teacher or student. Dalton herself is already out on bail. OUT ON BAIL! After she admitted to having sex with teenage boys. If she was a man, she would have been burned at the stake. It’s disgusting.

Another story is about Mickey Shunick, a college student from Louisiana, who disappeared while taking a bike ride. She was riding at 1:45 am, making a four mile trip from a friend’s house to her home. She felt she was safe riding in a good neighborhood and preferred her bike to driving her car. She was 5’ 1” 115 pounds. Today is her 22nd birthday. The family knew something was wrong when she didn’t show up for her brother’s graduation. Of course, having two girls around Mickey’s age, I worry constantly when they are out. I can’t help it. Things like this are happening all the time, everywhere. The problem is that 20 something kids do not think like 50 something moms. They are sure nothing will happen to them. For example, my daughter was taking the train late at night, for me late is after 10 pm (frankly I don’t even like her taking it after rush hour). When I caution her about riding the trains at night, she tells me there are plenty of people on the train, as though that is supposed to reassure me she is safe. However, I answer her, “And I suppose they are all salt-of-the-earth people too?” I grew up in NYC and I read and hear too many news stories for me not to worry. Even when you warn your 20 somethings, they are pretty much going to do what they want. I tell my daughter the worst words she may ever say is “my mother was right or I should have listened to my mom,” because that means something she was warned about happened. Getting back to Mickey, I’m not sure if her mother asked her not to ride alone at that hour of the night or not. I don’t care if she is riding in the best neighborhood on earth. The way she is riding through it, a pervert or criminal can be riding through it. You have to anticipate risks and avoid them. I know known of us wants to live in fear of something happening, but it’s better than the alternative.

What else is happening? They found out where Casey Anthony has been hiding. Really? Who cares? She should go under a rock and stay there permanently. The second John Doe, suing John Travolta, has been revealed, his name is John Truesdale. He has since fired his first attorney and hired Gloria Allred. There are a couple of reality shows in the news for trivial nonsense too. 

And breaking news yesterday in our area was the sentencing of Dharun Davi, the student who taped college freshman, Tyler Clementi, and encouraged other students to watch his sexual encounter at a “viewing party.” Tyler subsequently committed suicide. It seems the judge was much more concerned with Davi’s altering evidence by deleting text messages and making up new ones, than the actual invasion of privacy. For all his crimes, Davi got 30 days in prison. Davi’s mother was upset and made a statement about how the ordeal has taken a toll on HER son. What about Tyler’s family and the toll it’s taken on them? It was a 15 count indictment and he was found guilty of all of them…he got two days per indictment. What a joke! This is supposed to teach others not to cyber bully people? 

I couldn’t find one article reporting any good news. It’s always the accent on the negative. And just wait until the campaign for this year’s presidential election gets going, we are in for an avalanche of negative news. 

I would just like the news to be more balanced, the good with the bad, not just the bad. For every bad story about a teacher, there has to be a good story. For every child who disappears, maybe one is found. For every hate crime committed, there must be acts of love and compassion happening. Those are the stories I want to read every day. I would love to restore my faith in mankind, the faith that the media has been tearing down, day in and day out.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Good Bye Donna Summer...

The days of disco music in the 70’s were too short lived. The genre exploded overnight and then seemed to fizzle out just as fast. Saturday Night Fever came out in 1977, a year after I graduated college, when I actually started having a social life. Discos were all over NYC and there was one, The Lemon Tree, right in my neighborhood. The guys would dress like John Travolta in the movie. They even thought they were John Travolta!  Jacket, opened shirt, gold chains…all not very appealing to me…but those were the times and I did love the music. I listened to the Bee Gees and Donna Summer, what else was there?

Donna Summer, the Queen of Disco, had some great hits back then and I never got tired of listening to them, even today. Every disco I ever went to always played “Last Dance” before closing for the night. It was the finale to a night of fun and dancing. And all her other songs “Love To Love You Baby,” Bad Girls,” “On The Radio,” “Dim All The Lights,” “Hot Stuff,” “Heaven Knows,” and so many more hits.

I think back to the great memories I have thanks to Donna Summer. I was pretty much a homebody who had been told to forget about dancing, by my mother, when she saw me trying to dance to American Bandstand, years ago. But with disco, music and dancing were inseparable. How could anyone listen to disco music and not dance? The music just made you want to get up and move. And there were places where you could go on a Saturday night, with a friend or by yourself, and have a few drinks. And, for a couple of hours, you could pretend you were a disco star. Nobody really cared about your moves. It was dark, the disco lights flashed, everyone was dressed and ready to dance the night away. If it wasn’t for the short lived disco era, I might never have gone out to dance my whole life. And, I know I wasn’t good at it, but I loved it!

So sadly I say good bye to Donna Summer. She was only 63 years old and she lost her battle with lung cancer, but she will never be forgotten. She is another one of my icons gone too soon. But, she left me with many great memories and the gift of dance.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Miracles Happen...Our First Miracle

At some point in our lives most of us need a miracle. I haven’t be able to write the past couple of days as freely as most times. The idea I should write about miracles keeps popping up in my head, but I had no clue where to start. I still don’t. But, I figured if I started thinking and typing a blog would appear and hopefully make sense. So here goes…

There are times in most of our lives when things seems very bleak. There is no amount of money that can fix what’s wrong. We turn to God and pray. We beg for His divine intervention. We need a miracle. I know many of us have gone through this a time or two and some even more. There are hundreds of stories online about the unexplainable miracles that people have experienced. They do exist.

I consider my family as being granted two miracles. They might not be defined as such by religious institutions, but I believe they were. The first one was when one of our daughters was diagnosed with PDD (pervasive developmental disorder - where autism is classified). She was two years and 8 months, but they said she was 18 months behind her age group in various categories. I was told this by a professional group of people with PhD’s all who concurred. They included a educational evaluator, a psychologist, a speech therapist, an occupational therapist and a social worker. They all came to the same conclusion and, as the broke the news to us in very clinical way, I saw my husband turn pale. His job was placing special needs children in pre-schools and he knew what all this technical talk meant. I did not. I knew what his “pale” face meant. There was too much information to absorb at the time. I just went home with my husband and said, “I don’t care what they say, they are wrong. Love conquers all.” And with that, I started “working" with my daughter every single day, and placed her in a preschool. Every night I would close my eyes and pray for guidance and every morning I would wake up with ideas of things to do with my daughter. I can’t explain it. It was like a mother’s intuition/gut feeling/inspiration all in one, that I felt was a message from God. I listened to this inner voice and did whatever I was told. And, the first time my daughter called me “mommy” was on Mother’s Day, 9 months later, and she was three years old.

The following year I added a mommy and me class and a ballet class plus private speech therapy to my daughter’s routine. The third year I enrolled her in a pre-kindergarten class. For three years I was not going to accept what these “professionals” had to say because I knew better. My daughter made progress each year. I could see it; everyone saw it. The private speech therapist tested her near the end of her third year, before she was set to go to kindergarten. I wasn’t prepared for the results. She told me my daughter was still a year behind. I didn’t accept it. I thought the results were wrong. Two months later, when my daughter was to leave the special pre-school, she was to have testing done. They told me since she was just tested by the speech therapist recently that they could skip that test. I told them no, I want her tested again, I didn’t trust those scores. So, they agreed to retest her. I was a nervous wreck the day of her test. But, I believed that everything would be ok, just as I had the day I left the testing three years earlier with that dismal “diagnosis.” The speech therapist returns with my daughter’s results. I expected my daughter to be a little delayed because she had so much ground to make up. The therapist tells us that my daughter has not only caught up to her age group, but is six months ahead…“she’s a late bloomer!” I worried sick for three years to hear that she was a late bloomer!  That my daughter could go from being classified as PDD to being ahead of her age group in three years, was a miracle to me.

When my daughter got to kindergarten, she was ahead of all the kids in her class. She was so much ahead that her teacher asked me, on two occasions, to please have her tested because she felt my daughter was “gifted.” Gifted! That means her IQ would have to be over 120. To be honest I knew that my daughter wasn’t gifted. She had had too much ground to make up to leap that far ahead. Call it mother’s intuition. But, to be fair to my daughter, I had her tested. Her IQ was not in the gifted range, but we were told she was above average in intelligence. I knew it. This same precious little girl, who was 18 months behind at 2 and a half, called me “mommy” at three on Mother’s Day, caught up to her peers at 5, has 18 years later, graduated with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Clinical laboratory Science with honors on Mother’s Day!

If that’s not a miracle, I don’t know what is.

Note: What I learned from both of my experiences is that even though you are scared to death at the thought of some devastating news, you cannot accept it and give up fighting. Sometimes, we can make miracles happen by faith and determination and believing that everything will be okay. We have to really believe it and do everything in our power to make it happen. We have to visualize ourselves with a happy ending. When I had cancer I used to visualize myself at my daughters' graduations, their weddings, the birth of their children. I saw myself there. You can't just give up and be resigned to your fate. We can create our fate and our future through our beliefs. They say that visualization and positive thinking affects your subconscious in a way that it makes you do things to work towards those goals. Scared or not, you have to take the bull by the horns and put up a good fight! And then, when you are resolved you will have a good outcome, you may feel that light glowing inside you, the hope and promise that this too shall pass and better days are ahead. Just believe it. What do you have to lose? Miracles happen everyday. They can happen for you, they WILL happen for you. Just believe it.

P.S. Several months ago I wrote about my second miracle, surviving cancer. If you missed it, it's on this
Link: My Cancer Miracle

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

The Last Graduation...

The Last Graduation…

A child has several graduations in their lifetime. My brother and I had a few from elementary school to junior high school, to high school, to college. That made eight graduations that my mother had to attend. But then I had the precious grandchildren she always prayed for, and soon they started graduating. My mother was much older by then, so attending graduations of any kind was no picnic. At one of my daughter’s graduation ceremonies from junior high school she lamented, “How the hell more graduations do we have to go to?” I couldn’t argue with her because graduations, while full of pomp and circumstance, pride and accomplishment, success and new beginnings, are really not much fun. And my children had even more graduations than I did, because now they start with pre-K ceremonies, Kindergarten Stepping Up, then elementary, junior high, high school and college. (Not to mention the five hour dance rehearsals that we had to endure for several years).

But this past Sunday, on Mother’s Day, my baby girl graduated from college with honors and a Bachelor of Science Degree majoring in Clinical Laboratory Science. Four long years of studying weekdays and every weekend and attending summer school are now over. I can only imagine what my mother would have had to say about this ceremony, after she would have told my daughter how much she loved her and how proud she was of her. I could almost hear her complaining from Heaven. Let me describe this ceremony and maybe you will hear my mother too! 

First of all, they make us arrive at 8 am for a ceremony that begins at 10 am, so the 3,000 graduates can be arranged in alphabetical order and begin marching out at 9:15 am. We took our seats on the “great lawn” and waited. The sun was not supposed to come out, but it did. The grass beneath our seats made my daughter and my brother’s allergies act up. The sun was getting uncomfortably warm and causing some of us to burn. My brother’s head soon looked like a ripe tomato from the neck up. And the ceremony hadn’t even started. I was getting very annoyed with the people in our row, who kept walking in and out of their seats and being very inconsiderate. My brother and I have my mother’s bad gene, so does my older daughter. I couldn’t help but think that if one of us said anything to these miserable people, the other two would join in and ruin my daughter’s graduation, as security would have had to haul us off the campus. We all tried to bite our tongues as we kept in mind that this was our “Last Graduation.” We had endured all the rest with some dignity and grace, and I couldn’t ruin the day my daughter worked so hard to get to. 

My mother’s bad gene makes one very irritable over the slightest things, especially when the sun is beating down on your head. The band had A LOT of time to kill while we waited, so they played some random songs. I guess they couldn’t find anything more appropriate with all the millions of songs out there. So I think I am hearing things when they start playing “Anchors Away.” I am having a WTH (what the hell) moment! What’s the use of complaining I keep telling myself. Just be quiet and this will all be over at 12:30 pm. Finally, at 10 am, as promised, and after 45 minutes of the song, “Pomp and Circumstance,” while the graduates marched to their seats, the ceremony begins. Speeches start. And, a nice little surprise for me! My old Speech professor that I had almost 40 years ago, was making a speech! Professor Greg was the nicest professor I had had and, as much as I dreaded Speech when I found out I had to take it, he made it the most fun class of my college career. The speeches all ended about 11 am. The keynote speaker was the head coach of the basketball team. He talked more about himself than he did about the graduates. It was very disappointing. I guess they couldn’t get someone…anyone…more relevant. Not only did he talk about himself, he compared the graduation to being in the final four of a basketball playoffs. Ugh!

At 11 am they begin to call each and every graduate up to the stage for their “diplomas.” Every one of the three thousand names were called as they paraded rapidly across the stage. Actually, I was surprised and even thrilled at the fact that the ceremony was actually going to end when they promised. By 12 pm everyone was antsy and had had enough. We were sitting out there in the sun for 4 hours already. The graduates in an even worse situation because they had to wear their caps and gowns over their clothes. At 12:15 we decided to get out of the sun and go stand in the shade. People had been leaving, and graduates had been leaving, all while the ceremony was still in progress. The school had no control over the chaos. There were people everywhere. Each of the 3,000 graduates got five tickets for a potential of 15,000 guests. We tried to find a spot where we could tell our daughter to meet us. Eventually, by 12:30 she had found her way over to where we were standing. 

Trying to get off campus in a crowd that size was nearly impossible. At one point we had reached an impasse and were engulfed in a crowd that wasn’t moving. We kept inching our way through every chance we got. Finally, there was a clearing ahead and we sprinted forward to an opening and we took it. Now we were headed towards the car which would take us home to the delicious tray of lasagna I had prepared the day before. There was no point making reservations to eat out. It was Mother’s Day and on top of that there were communions and graduations going on all over. I couldn’t be sure of the time we would be done. So I was smart. I decided we would eat at home this week and go out to celebrate next week. And, my husband picked up a Baskin Robbins ice cream cake for dessert!

The “Last Graduation!”  I know my mom would have been happy to hear those words. I also know that she would not have sat still that day. She would have had plenty to say, and in her nice outdoor voice too. The only thing that would have saved her from being thrown out would have been her advanced age. My mother would have been 96 years old. And after she got done complaining about the graduation, she would have started in on my lasagna, which could never be as good or better than hers. And then she would have started in on the lousy ice cream cake that they don’t know how to make and we don’t know how to pick out. That’s what was missing Sunday…my mom. She may not have been there physically, but she was there in spirit…a very loud spirit.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Every Day Is Mother's Day...

I chose to be a stay-at-home mom. My mother was a stay-at-home mom. I cannot look back and remember a time when she wasn’t there. Well, to be honest I can. There was one time, when she went to the hospital to give birth to my brother, and stayed there for a couple of days. Those were the good old days when they allowed you to give birth and recuperate a little before kicking you out of the hospital. I remember my two aunts and my grandmother hovering over me for days and me missing my mom. I was two and a half at the time. The memory of my mother coming homing, laying my brother on the couch and coming over to me is vivid. I recall her asking, “What did they do to you?,” because my hair was not the way she always groomed it, as she scooped me up to hugs and kisses. That may well be my first memory to have survived all these many years.

I always knew I wanted to be a stay-at-home mom. I wanted my children to have what I had. And, besides that, I loved being with my girls. I would hear other moms complain, I can’t wait for the new school year to start, during summer vacation. I was the opposite. I loved having my kids home. As soon as the school year started I was looking forward to the days off, and planning the holidays. Columbus Day weekend was for pumpkin and apple picking, and getting ready for Halloween. When Election Day and Veteran’s Day came, we were planning what we were going to do for Thanksgiving. We were making decorations, making Christmas lists, baking…always something holiday related. Thanksgiving weekend we spent a lot of time with both sets of grandparents and started to do some Christmas shopping. I had all the Christmas shows on tape and we would start watching those together, looking forward to Christmas parties, Christmas morning, and all the presents. We really made the most of every holiday.

But, as much as I thought about other holidays, I never thought about Mother’s Day, because every day was Mother’s Day to me. There were days when the girls would bring me a bouquet of dandelions from the yard that they picked themselves. There were all the school made gifts throughout the year: a colorful beaded necklace, the painted seashell, the ice cream stick picture frames, the little coupon books with coupons for hugs and kisses, the Valentine hearts…all made with their little hands in anticipation of bringing them home to give to me. One year, when we were on vacation, it was my birthday. The girls were about 7 and 5 years old. They entered the talent contest at the ranch and sang Happy Birthday to me. The five year old sang while the seven year old accompanied her with sign language. It was a big hit with the audience and a memory I will always treasure. There were days when my younger daughter was a young toddler, that she would come to me and tug on my pants and put her hands in the air. That was her way of telling me she wanted to be picked up and hugged and kissed. So many little every day things, that they said or did, that made me love being their mom.

So, while other moms may be waiting for phone calls and flowers showing appreciation and acknowledging all the years of sacrifices, I don’t.  I feel privileged to have been a mother to two such wonderful girls, who have strived every day of their lives to make me proud of them. The memories, the people they have become, their accomplishments, those are my gifts…and I get them every day.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Breast Feeding Controversy...

And the topic resurfaces again. I think I recently wrote a blog in favor of breastfeeding when Beyonce was nursing her new born infant and got criticized for it. It's a natural act and most women, when out in public, wear a blanket or some kind of cover up, not to offend the sensibilities of others. Women should not be criticized for breast feeding. But today the news has been running with the story of a mother who is breast feeding her son, who will turn 4 in a month, and she says she does it because it boosts his confidence. The mother, herself, who is 26 years old, claims she was breast fed until she was six years old. The reporter in the clip below says that breast feeding guidelines say to breast feed a child until they are two or older, but never mention an upper limit. So women can breast feed, essentially, for as long as they want.

I'm not sure if I feel like a hypocrite or not. As in favor as I am about breast feeding, in public or private, something about this just doesn't seem right to me. Of course it's none of my business what any mother chooses to do with her child. Every individual has the right to make that decision for themselves and their children. I, myself, decided not to breast feed my babies because they would have to be fed every two hours and I felt I could not function with so much sleep disruption. I was never breast fed either as a baby, and it wasn't a difficult decision for me to make. I weaned my children from the bottle between two and three years of age without much difficulty.

Looking at the above picture and reading the story just makes me wonder. After a certain point, there is no real need/benefit in breast feeding a child. He is eating and drinking and getting most of his nutrition the usual way. This is part of what they call "attachment parenting." There is even more to it, for example, allowing the child to sleep in the parents bed. It seems like an extreme approach even to me, and I have been a stay at home, very hands on and involved mother. I spent plenty of time with my girls doing other things. This approach is just not for me. It seems to me that instead of fostering independence, this would encourage dependence, clingy behavior, and a higher degree of separation anxiety when the child goes to school. But I can't say that is what would happen for sure. I guess this is a case of to each his own, and I'll leave it at that. What do you think?

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Obama in Favor of Same-Sex Marriage...

President Obama supported civil unions and not gay marriage. Over the years he has flip-flopped on this issue. When he became President in 2008 his stance was in favor of civil unions, not marriage. Now, as we approach the 2012 election, he suddenly has a change of heart. Now he supports same-sex marriage, stirring up a controversial debate as to his intentions. Did he change his mind because his views evolved or because it’s a strategic political move to try and get more votes? No one can read his mind, but the timing of the announcement is surely suspect.

What do I think? I think same-sex marriage should be legal. Why shouldn’t two consenting adults who are in love, same sex or not, be afforded the same rights and privileges? People who are against same-sex marriage often change their minds when the issue hits closer to home, like in Dick Cheney’s case. Cheney has a gay daughter and so now he supports same-sex marriage. For him it became a personal issue. For Obama, it’s become a political issue. He needs votes. Maybe Cheney needs to cleanse a guilty conscience. Some people even support same-sex marriage because they feel it’s the right thing to do, without a personal agenda.

I think my feelings about this also evolved over time. As I learned that people do not have a choice about their sexual orientation and studies have shown they are born gay, I had to rethink my position. Many years ago, society frowned on homosexuality and gay people stayed in the closet, afraid to reveal who they were. The whole issue of homosexuality and the psychological aspects of it started being more openly talked about when I entered college and I took interest in it. This is not a learned behavior or one that is chosen, it is the way most gay people are born. If they were born that way, and you believe in God, then you have to acknowledge that God made them this way. Why would the same God, who created them, then want to prevent them from marrying, if they found someone they loved and wanted to spend their life with?  It doesn’t make sense to me. Unfortunately, God doesn’t have a 1-800 number or email where we can ask him directly what He thinks. And, we are all only human, so we are each going to have our own ideas and we can even change our minds over time.

So back to Obama, who very likely changed his stance or went back to a previous stance from the past, in order to improve his chances of winning the election. I say, so what, who cares. I think legalizing same-sex marriage is the right thing to do. I don’t really care how it comes about or why. Sometimes the right things happen for the wrong reasons. This may be one of those times. Eleven other politicians also changed their stance on this issue over time. More and more citizens are changing their minds on it too. Why? Because we are all finding out that we have a gay person or more in our immediate family, in our extended family, in our closest circle of friends, in the group of people we respect and admire, and so do the people we love. We want those people to be happy and have fulfilled lives. If that means they want to be married to someone, we are going to support that in every way we can. Who is it hurting if we legalize same-sex marriage? No one. Who is it hurting if we don’t? Every gay person who dreams of finding their soul mate, everyone in their families and group of friends who wants to see them happy, the children they may choose to raise…

For me the issue is clear. I may not have always felt that way, but I took the time to consider how I felt and why. I don’t see any good, logical reason not to legalize same-sex marriage. I see plenty of good reasons why we should. People say marriage is sacred. How sacred could it be with the divorce rate so alarmingly high? Are straight people taking marriage seriously? It doesn’t seem to mean anything to many of them, at least not enough to do the work necessary to maintain it. Gay individuals seem to take it more seriously, maybe because they don’t have the right and can’t take it for granted like straight individuals can and do.

It’s just a matter of time before same-sex marriage is legal everywhere, it’s the right thing to do.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

John Travolta Crosses The Line…

There have long been rumors of John Travolta being gay and his sexual orientation has been questioned, but now two lawsuits have surfaced, from different individuals, who claim that he allegedly sexually assaulted them. One of the individuals was a masseuse, who outlines the very specific details of their encounter in his complaint (link below), and is now suing for 2 million dollars. As soon as word leaked of this lawsuit, another lawsuit followed and I can only wonder how many more there will be. It’s disturbing to think that a man of his celebrity, would accost someone he doesn’t know and expect sexual favors in an insistent way, not taking no for an answer. John Travolta must have been doing this for years and yet no one complained until now. Even when told to stop, the complaint alleges that he persisted to the point the masseuse had to leave the premises.

Making a mistake is one thing. Misreading signals and apologizing for unwanted advances does happen. But, to blatantly persist in sexually harassing someone several times, to the point it turns into sexual assault, is crazy. The complaint sounds like it has the ring of truth to it to me. So, what is wrong with John Travolta? He has tons of money and if he wants to engage in illicit sex, I’m sure plenty of people would accommodate him. Why did he keep harassing someone who clearly was saying “no” throughout their meeting? It’s just ridiculous for him to open himself up to this kind of bad publicity and criminal action. I’m sure it isn’t going to help further his acting career. Last I heard, he was up for a part in the Gotti movie, playing John Gotti, Jr. I don’t know where that project stands, but this will not be good for it.

It seems to me this is another instance in which celebrities think they are above the law and untouchable. And why shouldn’t they? Often we hear about them just getting a slap on the wrist for any crime that you or I would get thrown the book at. I never understood why that is, but it needs to change. They make a mockery out of the justice system, and the legal system allows it.

I hope they get to the truth of what happened in both these cases, and others if they surface, and that he has to pay for his actions, both criminally and in a civil lawsuit. There is just no excuse for this kind of behavior and I hope all his victims pursue legal recourse now that the cat is out of the bag!

Link to complaint: Masseuse Complaint

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

My Daughter's Last Final...

First of all I apologize for being missing in action the past couple of days. This has been an unusually busy time and I was helping my brother in-law move…packing and unpacking, with my husband. I was too tired to write anything coherent. Hopefully, I can get back into the groove.

Today is my younger daughter’ last final. I have been worried about her graduation since she started this extraordinarily difficult, medical technology program. Her high school had not prepared her well for college. I still recall her first day and the way she walked into the house pale and overwhelmed by the work. It was a big adjustment and it had to be made. She had to learn time management and study skills practically over night. The course work was challenging, her biology professor and his tests impossible. I was into high level worrying. Her first biology test was a disaster. We later learned so was everyone’s test, and he has to curve his exams. I started to ask my daughter about considering a plan B incase this didn’t work out. She told me she was prepared to do whatever it took to succeed in this program. I told her that I would support her in  any and every way I could to help her. I called the director of her program and explained my concerns. She told me my daughter has to do three things: study every day, ask the professor when she has a problem and go to tutoring if she has difficulty with any subject. So I told my daughter what it would take to succeed.

From that moment on, just a month or so into college, my daughter took the bull by the horns and did what she needed to do. She studied nights and weekends, she talked to professors and she went to tutoring when needed. She went to summer school to take classes to lighten her workload during the semester. One February she was walking around with the flu, studying for exams. I thought she had a bad cold. Finally I took her to the doctor and she was diagnosed, given medicine and told to stay home. She had to go in the next day for a three hour science lab. She didn’t want to have to make it up. So she went in that Friday afternoon. She rested Saturday, Sunday and Monday. She only went to her most important classes that week. She failed her math test, the one she took the day I took her to the doctor. She went in to explain to her professor that she had the flu that day. The professor was very nice and said if she did well on the next test she would drop this grade and count the other one twice. She kept her promise. 

I kept worrying that all this work was impossible. I knew her senior year was coming. That is the year they do rotations. Two eight hour days of school, with 8 to 9 classes, and three eight hour days at the hospital. Tests every Monday and Tuesday to study for all weekend. No vacation time to speak of or days off to catch up on rest. Four long years of nearly nothing but work. 

Now she is down to her last final today. I am relieved for her. I can’t wait till she can relax her brain and just not have to think about next week’s tests. She still have to apply for her license and prepare for the licensing exam. Those things will take a few weeks to set up, so she won’t have too much pressure on her for a while. 
Graduation is this coming Sunday, Mother’s Day! She will be graduating with her Bachelor’s Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science with honors. She is a member of the honor society. I could not be more proud of her. I saw all the work it took to get here. Sometimes it had me in tears, She put in such long hours, she never complained, never took days off. She gave it 100% the entire time and excelled as one of the top three in her graduating major.

I can’t wait until she comes home today! I am going to smother her with hugs and kisses. I am going to spoil her for days on end. I am going to let her sleep! And soon we will go out and get one of her graduation presents…a new apple laptop computer! Then, at some future date, she will get a new car, just like her sister did. Hopefully, she will get her Medical Technologist license soon and then a job at a place where she likes the people and enjoys working. My baby is all grown up and I love her so much.

Friday, May 4, 2012

A Mother's Eyes...

I saw a P&G commercial this morning that honors mother’s and it was very touching. As a mother, it’s hard to explain what I see when I look at my children because I look at them with “mother’s eyes.” It’s not that I don’t see their flaws, weaknesses or imperfections, because I do. And, it’s not just seeing in them their best qualities, their strengths, and their values because they are my children and I love them dearly. It’s so much more than that. It’s seeing their unlimited potential, their ability to change the world, to make a difference. 

When you first get handed your little precious bundle of joy, the love you feel can be overwhelming. After you get done counting their little fingers and toes and complaining about the labor pains, you already start having dreams for this baby’s future. You hold on to your dreams until they start having dreams of their own. Then you let go of your dreams and support and encourage them in the things they choose to do and what’s important to them. It’s not always easy either. We want our children to always be healthy and happy in life. Even when they take their first steps, we are standing right there to catch them if they fall. We never want them to be hurt or disappointed. But we can’t protect them forever. All too soon they go out in the real world and interact with other people who don’t see them through a “mother’s eyes.” They become one of many and experience things we can no longer shelter them from. People aren’t going to love them the way a mother does or see them through the same loving eyes. So when they get hurt, physically or emotionally, it’s mom that they come home to, it’s mom who comforts them and takes away the pain. It’s mom who restores their confidence and helps them go on.

And when they have dreams, when they want to try new things, when they have goals and aspirations, it’s mom who is their biggest cheerleader and supporter. It’s mom who helps pave the road for success. It’s mom who helps remove the obstacles in their way. It’s mom who is right there, along side them, to help and guide them to success. It’s mom who sees their full potential and helps them strive to reach it. When they are building castles in the sand, we see an architect; when they are trying to defend themselves for something they have done wrong, we see a lawyer in the making; when they are showing a younger sibling how to do their homework, we see a professor; when they are nurturing their baby dolls, we see a mother. They may not end up being any of those things, but the potential is always there and a mother sees it, even if no one else does.

Imagine what our own mothers felt and thought when they looked at us? I remember always thinking that I wanted to make my mother proud of me, in everything I did. That was very important to me, the way she saw me and what she thought of me. To me it seemed she only saw my imperfections and criticized me too much. Maybe that was her way of “helping” me reach my full potential…the potential she saw when I was first handed to her. 

I wonder what my own daughters think I see, when I look at them? If they can ever imagine the dreams I had and still do, for their futures. Sometimes well meaning criticism it not what children hear when they are striving to please. Sometimes they just hear criticism. But if they think back, like I have with my mother, they might realize all the times I have been there, right by their side. They might remember how I made sure to do everything in my power to help them succeed. Maybe they will realize how proud I am of them and how much I love them. Or maybe, it will take having a baby of their own, one they look at through a mother’s eyes, to know how much they mean to me. 

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Car Insurance, Why Doesn't It Decrease?

Now that my husband is retiring in a month, early retirement, we are looking into getting some more life insurance. I figure if he is going to spend a lot more time home and only work part-time, there is a good chance I’ll kill him, so I should insure him for that eventuality. Just kidding. I think he will keep busy with a new job or two and his hobbies, and stay out of my hair.

While I was on the phone with our insurance agent about the extra life insurance we will need, I decided to ask a question that has been burning a hole in my brain for years. I may have even blogged about it before. I wanted to know why is it that when you buy a car, your insurance is a set price and remains at that price even while the car depreciates every year and it’s blue book value goes steadily down. So, I asked why doesn’t the car insurance go down along with the value of the car. The answer was so simple I had to laugh at myself. The agent explained that while the value of the car does go down, the price for parts and mechanic labor costs to fix it, do not. The insurance is based on what it would cost to “fix” the car if it’s in an accident and not totaled. A new car that needs a new bumper, for example,  will cost the same to fix as a five year old car that needs the same bumper! Now that makes perfect sense. I really should have gotten to the bottom of this issue sooner. I can’t tell you the number of times I have ranted and raved about the cost of car insurance and feeling like we were getting ripped off.

Mystery solved…and to my satisfaction! Now I just have to think about the life insurance and how much do we really need.  Happy days.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

George Zimmerman Racist?

Many have said that George Zimmerman, the man who murdered Trayvon Martin, wasn’t racist and in fact could not be racist because his mother is Hispanic and he has Hispanic relatives. Still, I did not find that argument convincing. Anyone who finds a boy who is walking with skittles and iced tea suspicious because he is wearing a “hoodie” has to have something else going on. Anyway that’s the way I saw it. When I heard the 911 tape, it sure sounded like Zimmerman used a racial slur to describe Trayvon, but no one gave a conclusive answer after studying and enhancing the tape. So is George Zimmerman racist or not?

Today I came across an article that mentions some old myspace page that George Zimmerman had a few years ago, under the name Joe G., and his pictures were clearly on it. At the time, Zimmerman was talking about his hometown and stated that he missed family and friends, but there were things he did not miss and I quote: "I don't miss driving around scared to hit mexicans walkin on the side of the street, soft (expletive) wanna be thugs messin with peoples cars when they aint around (what are you provin, that you can dent a car when no ones watchin) don't make you a man in my book," Zimmerman writes on the page.

“Workin 96 hours to get a decent pay check, gettin knifes pulled on you by every mexican you run into!" he adds.

Now this does seem to give credibility to the fact that Zimmerman had racist tendencies, despite the fact that his mother is Hispanic. Is it that far fetched that he was acting in a racist manor by racial profiling Trayvon the night he followed him and gunned him down?  I don’t think so. As I always say, the truth will come out. And add to the mix that Zimmerman brags he had two felonies pled down to misdemeanors and had to take anger management classes.

I’m sure most people want justice for Trayvon, and most especially if this was a hate crime.

Joe G Myspace: George Zimmerman Old Myspace page

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Disposing of Personal Effects...

When my parents died several years ago, my brother took care of disposing of all their things. My father passed away first, and my brother seemed to have gotten rid of all his things within the first week. I didn’t understand and never asked what was the rush. My mother died about five years later. It took my brother months before he would part with anything. Even after he sold the house and moved out of the family home, I suspect he took some of her things with him to his new condo. He had a hard time letting go. He did give me all her jewelry so I could pass the heirlooms down to my girls. I left it up to him because he was living with them and it seemed to be part of his grieving process. He needed to do things in his own time and in his own way.

A couple of weeks ago, after waiting eight years, my brother in-law got the call for his new subsidized apartment. He is living in the apartment that my in-laws rented 33 years ago and lived in till they died about eight years ago. Not much was disposed of until the last couple of years. Still, a lot remained and I wanted to help my husband sort through everything so the move, which takes place this Saturday, would go as quickly as possible. The new apartment is much smaller, so we would be taking half the furniture and disposing of the other half. We had to go through closets and drawers picking and choosing what to keep and what to get rid of. I’m not sure if it stirred any emotions in my husband, as he went through all his parent’s belongings. We’ve been cleaning out their things the last two Saturdays and must have filled 40 big trash bags. 

In those forty trash bags were items that triggered memories for me. There was the artificial pink flower arrangement I had made for my mother in-law for a special occasion, that she kept in her bedroom. It had seen better days. I found a couple of pairs of her shoes and purses still in her closet, that her sons overlooked in previous clean outs, and put them in the trash. There was the spring pan that she had made so many cheesecakes in when we would go to visit her every other week. I came across the little artificial, two foot Christmas tree and ornaments that she would put up every year to make the apartment a little festive looking for the girls when we went to visit on the holidays. It had to go out in the trash too. 

Some things I came across I had to bring home. I found the Joe DiMaggio collector’s plate that we had gotten for my father in-law for his birthday one year. I packed that away to bring home, along with some medals and pins he had gotten when he was in the army during World War II. I took home the anniversary clock we had gotten them for their 50th anniversary. And, we found some old pictures in an old cigar box, and a big family portrait of my mother in-law’s family dated 1947, that I knew my older daughter would be interested in. She has the same “bug” that I had at her age, when my husband, my brother and I all worked to collect information on our family trees to pass on to the children we would have one day. Now my daughter, who just turned 25, is doing research online and adding to information and documents we were able to collect before she was born. When I told her we had the pictures she couldn’t wait to go through them. 

The more I went through these things the sadder it seemed. These were the things collected by a couple who spent 50 years of their lives together, and had raised three boys. Trash bags of ordinary things. Old dishes, cups and saucers, sheets, comforters, books, lamps, and the old coffee maker that made us all countless cups of coffee. Is this all that remains? Bags of trash, a few pictures and memories? Who will remember them once the few of us who remain are no longer here?

It is all because of the mini series “Roots” that we got the idea to preserve as much of what was important as possible, close to 30 years ago. We asked our parents questions, sent away for documents (birth, death, baptismal, marriage certificates and passenger lists) to  piece together our family tree. We wrote down the stories they told us and asked questions to fill in the details as much as possible. My daughters know the stories as well as we do, as though they had heard them themselves. They ask questions about people great aunts and uncles they don’t remember or never met. So much history we have been able to preserve and pass down for my children and now their children, which would have died with our parents. 

It’s good to think about preserving your family history while you can. Things get thrown out. Pictures are nice, but often unlabeled and you won’t know who is who. Even memories fade with age. But the written word, documents, charts, oral history can preserve your family history for future generations to come. 

My parents and my in-laws may not be here any more, but their words, their story, their pictures remain. Their great grandchildren will one day get to “know” them and hopefully appreciate the love and sacrifices they made in the past to create a better future for them.