Wednesday, May 27, 2020

How to read a newspaper…


In reality I guess I have many pet peeves, but one that truly annoys me is when people read a simple headline or re-post a Facebook meme and repost without bothering to test the truth of the content. Now this flaw really has little to do with politics, religion or lifestyle choices — I honestly think it is simply a matter of reading or hearing ONLY WHAT YOU WANT TO HEAR and then being so determined to prove that you couldn’t possibly be mistaken.

First of all, and I’ve told this story before, I had a Junior High School teacher who taught his class a very valuable lesson; The ONLY way you could truly be sure of your beliefs was to understand other viewpoints. He said that if you couldn’t even listen to another opinion there was no real way you could be sure that you were “right”. Basically every time you close yourself off to other people’s thoughts, you really don’t have anything to back up your own way of thinking. It is only when you have a lot of information at hand that you can make an informed decision.

Everything you read on the Internet is NOT necessarily true, and neither is any one “news source” guaranteed to present honest reporting. There are also many who go only as far as a headline and never bother to actually read the content of the article. And of course there are folks who limit themselves to a sole source of “news” and never check-out IF that source is reliable or not. I am not trying to get you to agree or disagree with me, or to choose one candidate over another — I only want you to look at multiple sources, review the facts and THINK FOR YOURSELF.

I certainly am not perfect, sometimes it is difficult to get ALL of the information you might need to understand what really is going on, and there are a few times I’ve made mistakes. If you spend time on a site like FaceBook I am sure you have seen those popular memes that keep getting reposted only to be followed by a litany of corrections and complaints. This can certainly be avoided (you’ll probably never avoid all the complaints) if you take the time to check the info. If you come across a meme or headline that has Chicken Little shouting that “the sky is falling” take the time to search for that information. If you are online simply Google the phrase, how many other sources are reporting the same thing, or, how many sources are saying exactly the opposite? Based on your findings it may be easier to believe one way or the other.

Many of us tend to become complacent and comfortable listening to just one radio station or read one newspaper and while limiting yourself to just the one source of news if by itself dangerous, how do you really know that you can trust that information? After getting into a political debate with a friend I learned that her sole source of info came a single news broadcast channel so I looked the channel up. No, it wasn’t the stories I was interested in, I wanted to know WHO was behind this newen channel. Imagine my surprise when I found corporate info that told about an owner who had been accused of an actually indicted on a few charges of illegally terminating his employees if they dared to report any negative news about the owner’s favorite politician! And just to be sure of what I had found, I looked up another source and found very similar information!

What I am trying to say is always check your facts. If you find multiple sources that agree with your original point of view, terrific! Whether I agree with you or not I can respect your opinion because you’ve taken the time to educate yourself and make up your own mind. Maybe, just maybe, the information you found will change your mind and that is good too. We are all entitled to our personal views, so long as we really understand why we feel the way we do. And if you really want to convince others to believe the way you do then understanding their side will help you present facts and possibly even change their mind. But above all, we all have to be willing to hear other viewpoints and respect other opinions.

Here’s to a little less arguing and a little more progress down the road.

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Wednesday, May 20, 2020

What makes a HERO?




Comic book heroes have superpowers and are invincible. REAL heroes are mortals who seem to have an inner strength to run towards danger to help strangers even while others run away.
We’ve heard and seen the stories of heroism that came from 9/11, or hurricanes, earthquakes and other catastrophes. Right now, in 2020, our country, our world, is going through a frightening pandemic and yet there are people with remarkable dedication and bravery to be there when people need them.
Our First Responders and Health Care Workers have continually put themselves in the line of danger on the Front Line dealing with an unknown disease — we may have a name for this virus, but every day we seem to find something different in how it reacts, the damage it causes and the lives it takes. And it takes bravery for our “Essential Workers” to show up every day and help the rest of us keep some semblance of normalcy in our lives. No one is a fool, no one thinks they are invincible.
I am a very proud mother and mother-in-law of FOUR FRONTLINE individuals – EMS, Fire Department, and Hospital staff. I am very proud of my offspring and their other halves, and it is scary as hell because I worry about them every single day. But I am PROUD of their commitment to make our world better, to care for strangers, to provide comfort. I don’t know if I could be so brave.
I know that my four are not the only ones out there, saving us, and being there for us. I know that personally because our kids are not the only ones in our family to be on the FrontLine as well as many friends who are out there responding to wherever they are called.
My husband and I are sitting at home, practicing #SocialDistancing, wearing masks WHEN we do have to go out, and doing or giving where we can and I almost feel guilty for keeping ourselves safe when our children and so many other heroes are out there. I say “almost’ because every person who keeps himself healthy does not put more strain on an already strained healthcare system.
What I have been trying to do is let each of our heroes know how much I appreciate them and acknowledge how vital each one is. When we have to do our necessary grocery shopping, or make phone calls to keep our daily lives moving, my husband and I always try to thank each person we encounter and let them know we appreciate their being there.
I have devoted several spots on one of my blogs to highlighting Healthcare workers — EMTs, Paramedics, Hospital workers and their support systems – I would love it if you would take a look and share your thanks as well. If appreciation helps at all, let’s appreciate.
Thank you.


The HEROES2020 series



Send me your #COVID19Warrior story for inclusion
in the HEROES 2020 series.
Send info on 1st Responders & Healthcare Workers who are on the Front-Lines during this COVID19 crisis. Submit a brief blurb about the individual (see some of the examples above) and a digital pic.
This is a great opportunity for EMS, FD, PD and hospital personnel managers to show their appreciation for a 
Job Well Done!
If you are submitting 
as a private individual
(friend or family member) please make sure you have that
individual’s permission to post their info.
Send your submission to ChelleCordero@gmail.com,
please put HEROES2020 in the subject line.
I will post as many as I can.

Thank you to all of our Front-Line workers!



Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Beshert



“Though the term beshert can refer to any fortuitous event (“I missed the bus, but it must have been beshert, because I heard it broke down”), it is most often used to mean a soulmate: the one person whom an individual is divinely destined to marry.”
(from MOMENT)

Now going on approximately two months of #SocialDistancing and #StayAtHome, I think it’s remarkable that my husband and I (and our two cats) have actually had many peaceful and relaxing days TOGETHER. Of course there’s a bit of craziness over not being able to see our four kids (two raised by us and their mates) and especially knowing they are each on the Front-Lines of this COVID-19 pandemic. But Mark and I are finding after nearly 45-years of marriage that we are enjoying each other’s company, and, as I often quip to friends (on the phone or social media!) “We haven’t killed each other yet!”

We’ve found lots to talk about, share our concerns about our children’s safety and how much we miss them, enjoy laughing together at so many of the Facebook memes we come across, and have MANY date nights together finding movies on NetFlix or watching our favorite TV shows together. About 46-years ago when we had our first date I never imagined a life so filled with love and companionship… truthfully the first time he invited me out I honestly thought he was joking (Truth!) or I don’t think I would have actually said yes. But wow am I glad I did. Surprisingly, especially to me, we were engaged just a mere 14-days later.

Looking back on it I really believe that we were destined to spend our lives together. As we got to really know each other we found out so many ways that our lives intertwined long before we went out on our first date. Even now, so many years later I am still finding out the many ways we could have met, or at least gotten a chance to know each other. Just to mention a few of the ironies of our lives:
·       We went to the same High School, he was a year ahead of me. Yes I do remember one encounter in the school hallway when he was a school monitor and he ATTEMPTED to stop me from going to the auditorium (I was a Theatre Arts student) between class-periods. Shamefully I admit hitting him and running.
·       The high school was a specialized art school and we had nine scheduled periods a day plus home room where attendance was taken. My home room was with my very (also Mark’s) favorite teacher, Mr. Tatti taught sculpture. I will never forget the sculpted APE that sat in the front of the classroom, it wound up right in front of me. I remember thinking to myself who the heck would call himself an ape after I saw the engraved letters M E on the butt cheeks of this figure. I later found out that it was a class project created by none other than my husband to be and those were his initials!
·       Although we were both living in the Bronx (NYC) at the time, we traveled different train routes to and from our Manhattan based school. Among the regulars I traveled with was a classmate of his (Photography students). I didn’t know until long after our graduation that they even knew each other.
·       When I was a very little girl my Dad and two other friends founded a sports club and I often accompanied my Father to get togethers especially during my teen years. Mark worked for a fellow who at one time frequented this club and occasionally invited Mark to go with him. I don’t think we ever met up at this club.
·       And while there were so many other little things we had in common, the most ironic of all was, when I was gathering our papers for our marriage license, I noticed on our birth certificates, that we were born in the same hospital and delivered by the same doctor. Ironic because NYC is huge and Mark’s parents didn’t even live in the Bronx when he was born!

Mark and I finally REALLY MET a few years after we both graduated high school and pursued different interests. My parents encouraged my sister and me to give back to the community, and I joined the NYC Auxiliary Police at our local precinct; Mark eventually joined the same unit.

I really believe that we were destined to be in each other’s lives, Bershert! And I have to say, there is no one I would rather be Staying at Home with.

I hope that you are all staying safe and healthy and taking all of the precautions to remain healthy.
.


Wednesday, May 6, 2020

Gimpy



Back at our old home in Rockland County, NY we got to see numerous deer and some other wildlife traipsing through our back yard. While the suburban town wasn’t exactly wide open spaces, we were close enough to a large park system and, let’s face facts, builders put our homes up and encroached on the wildlife homes more than a bit. We lived within (a long) walking distance to a busy roadway so, unfortunately, it wasn’t uncommon to find that a domestic pet that had gotten loose or a wild animal got hit by cars doing highway speeds. It was always heartbreaking.

There were a few trees in our backyard that visiting deer liked to eat from, they would congregate and take turns munching on the leaves. A favorite tree for “snacking” fell (literally) victim to a heavy wind and rain storm and was removed because it was blocking part of my neighbor’s driveway. Quite a few days later I noticed a group of deer feasting on the next tree whose branches didn’t come as close to the ground as the one that had fallen. I also noticed a smaller deer that was noticeably limping and looking longingly at the other deer munching; one of her back legs was twisted and she couldn’t stand on it long enough to reach the leaves she hungered for.

The other deer finished their munching and ran off leaving this poor little girl staring at the ground to see if any of the others had left her leaves. My heart broke for her and I broke a cardinal rule of mine. I never wanted to teach a wild animal to trust or depend on humans because unfortunately that could lead to their being hurt. I was on my second floor deck and I went to my fridge and got an apple, cut it into pieces and tossed them down towards her. She looked up at me cautiously and then sniffed the fruit I had tossed before gobbling it up, her hunger was evident.

I saw her a handful of times after that and occasionally tossed another apple or carrot her way, I never tried to approach her. Maybe it was only my imagination but she seemed to recognize me and I could swear she smiled. As the few weeks went by she seemed to be limping less and less and when she saw me on the deck she even came closer and did a little dance step as if to show me she was healing. Then the day came when she was able to use her back legs enough to reach the leaves from the “deer tree” as I called it and with leaves in her mouth she came back towards the deck and looked up at me and munched. Eventually she had healed enough to begin to run with her pack again and after a while it became difficult to pick her out of the group because she didn’t even limp anymore.

We moved from there a year and a half ago and I often think of the deer I came to affectionately call “Gimpy” – no it wasn’t exactly a politically correct name, but I thought of her with a lot of fondness. I hope that Gimpy is still doing well and I thank her for letting me see the healing process and the gratitude she showed me.

Today we live in a much more countrified and open area. While several homes dot the land there are many species of wildlife that we see in our yards and neighborhood including deer and even coyotes, bears and wild turkeys. I get the impression that the animals have allowed us to live amongst them (no hunting is allowed so they treat it as THEIR sanctuary) and we more or less get along peacefully. I admit, like many of my neighbors, I often toss vegetable and fruit scraps in areas where the deer and squirrels come to munch and while I still do not encourage them to come to me, they will stand a few yards away and watch me (cautiously).

Sometimes while I am sitting on my back deck, much closer to the ground this time, I look up to see a deer at the gate just watching me. Although we are miles away from where we used to live, in my fantasies I sometimes wonder if Gimpy had passed my description along to have her friends check in on me.


Wednesday, April 29, 2020

A Whole New World



The world has seen catastrophes before, but the COVID-19 crisis has shaken us, filled many of us with fear, despair, and loss. This latest strain of the Corona Virus has caused a worldwide pandemic with more than 200-thousand deaths and nearly 3-million confirmed cases. In the United States alone we’ve lost over 52-thousand people and have more than a million confirmed cases.

Many American families have sheltered in place, schools are closed and many businesses shuttered (at least for now). The emotional toll of isolation, the insecurity of an income to pay day-to-day bills, and the surreal recordings of precautions intermingled with encouragement in the grocery stores have left scars on our psyche. Essential workers often keep themselves away from their spouses and children to ensure they don’t bring the virus through their own front doors. First responders such EMTs and Paramedics, Firefighters, Police Officers, and healthcare workers like nurses and doctors are overworked, overstressed, getting sick themselves and sometimes desperate to see an end even if it means taking their own precious lives.

If you or someone you know is in crisis, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (Lifeline) at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or text the Crisis Text Line (text HELLO to 741741). Both services are free and available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The deaf and hard of hearing can contact the Lifeline via TTY at 1-800-799-4889. All calls are confidential.

As bleak as it may seem, we are hoping for some light — The National Institutes of Health are coordinating worldwide research on both the treatment and development of a vaccine to fight COVID-19. Scientists and doctors are collaborating and combining research and statistics to find the best defense against this disease. Across the United States there are many reports of “the flattening curve” that show that #StayAtHome, Social Distancing, and the use of masks and gloves are helping. There are encouraging news reports about the human spirit, about helping to feed each other, applauding the efforts of essential workers, and families finding ways to stay in touch through the internet and phone lines. Several states are beginning to SLOWLY and CAUTIOUSLY open their businesses and other resources while monitoring all results and asking folks to continue using personal protective equipment and social distancing.

Many of us have become stronger, we’ve developed more interaction within our households, and we’ve found creative ways to keep on living as normally as possible. Teachers have stepped up to continue teaching their students through emails, video-chats and even singing drive-bys. Mom or Dad, or both, have stayed connected and learned to work from home. Several doctors have made use of telemedicine to check in on patients without any exposure to possible contaminants. Some of our leaders have stepped up to keep us informed with accurate facts, guidance and useful information to help our families through these days.

The world has changed and I doubt it will ever go back to the way it was before. Many of us will have learned a new respect for ALL of our essential workers, a respect that hopefully will stick with us even in better times. There will come a day when we can “hug” our loved ones that we haven’t seen for months, but we will also be more aware of safe practices with every contact.

Things WILL improve, but for now we all need to do our part. Even if you are allowed to return to work as we open our states again, keep that social distancing and personal protective gear in play. Continue frequent hand washing, sneeze into your elbow or tissues which you can properly dispose of, and keep wiping down surfaces that are frequently touched. Do it all now and help to flatten the curve, and do it later to remain healthy and strong.
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I wish you all health, happiness and the (soon) ability to spend time with family and friends.




Wednesday, April 22, 2020

I’m Insulted…


Like many of us, I haven’t gotten to actually SEE and be with any of my kids for about two months now. We have two that we’ve raised and two that have joined our family and I miss each one of them. Yes we’ve spoken on the phone and actually had a few video chats but I miss being able to hug them. The holidays were a letdown, we usually make a point of having a Passover Seder together, but it didn’t happen this year. Yes, I know that has been the case for most parents of grown children. And I feel weepy and miss them so much.

And what really, really bothers me most is I know how many other people they see every single day… You see all four of them are first responders. Two of them are working “in-house” positions along with others, and two of them are riding in ambulances and treating innumerable patients all day long — sometimes their hours are so long that they are too exhausted to answer their phones or return text messages. I am so damn proud of each of them, they are heroes.

I am not insulted because my kids don’t have the time to see me, or that they can’t because of social distancing. I am insulted by the fact that so many people just assume that there will be a response each time they call 911 and they seem to forget the sacrifices that each responder makes often for very little pay. I am insulted by the fact that all these highly trained individuals, of which my children are a part of, are forgotten when the crisis is over. Heck some of them aren’t even considered to be ESSENTIAL even though they are risking their own lives with every single patient and every single time tones go out.

For now everyone is referring to our FRONTLINE during this Coronavirus crisis and thanking them with thoughtful meals and cards, blue ribbons on trees, and cheers. What is going to happen when this crisis is over? Will our first responders be forgotten again? Will most of today’s heroes have to continue working multiple jobs to pay their bills? I’ve seen it happen before and I worry that it will happen again.

It’s time to recognize our TRUE heroes, the ones who respond to cries for help, the ones who save our lives even when it puts them at risk. Make a list NOW of them people you are able to depend upon for all of the important stuff — all the people who come when you dial 911, all the people who restock the grocery store shelves, all the people who maintain the roads so that trucks can get through with supplies, all the nurses and doctors in the ER and ICU, our military and National Guard, the people who man the food shelters… these are the people we need to value, we need to thank, and we need to remember.




Wednesday, April 15, 2020

#StayAtHome


The curve is flattening! And that is good news indeed, but it doesn’t mean that the danger is over. The COVID-19 virus is still out there. Because of the STAY-AT-HOME orders that many governors imposed, and because of the folks that chose to heed the advice as well as wear masks and gloves when they NEEDED to go out the rate of infection is slowing. This doesn’t mean it’s safe to gather in large groups YET, or that we could come and go freely in and out of stores and other attractions… This does prove that self-isolation and personal protection IS helping, for now it’s a good idea to continue, as we can, social distancing.

But we all know being stuck in the house can be
B O R I N G. There is only so much television to watch and only so much junk food to keep eating. And if your children are home from school (many schools will remain closed for the balance of the school year), well, there’s a reason you chose NOT to home school! Besides you probably miss your family and friends and even if you have immediate household members with you during this seeming house arrest, it can get lonely.

We will probably have more time ahead of us that we are expected to #StayAtHome but it doesn’t have to be quite as boring or lonely. If you have a phone, a smart-phone and/or computer, internet, a television, or some of the 2020s technology, there are things to do for YOU alone, for your family, and for your relatives and friends sequestered elsewhere.

Use the internet to travel! Yes, you can visit so many interesting places in a virtual state of mind. Take the family on a virtual tour of 6 National Parks in the South, you don’t even need to check your luggage, https://bit.ly/2xbafwg or decide to visit some fantastic online museums at https://bit.ly/2Vwi7jQ . Are you looking for something you AND your kids can enjoy together (as well as sneaking in some terrific learning opportunities)? Choose from several virtual field trips including farms, zoos, volcanoes, and mystery — just book yourself online at https://bit.ly/2V9m5jz. Who says you just have to stare at the same four walls?

It’s a great time to enrich yourselves both physically and mentally. Find lots of online exercise programs from Aerobics to Zumba. Just type exercise programs into your search bar and find free online videos of Cardio, Yoga, Pilates, Barre, strength training, muscle building, dance and more. You can even find age appropriate programs for kids to seniors. Check out Silver Sneakers for adults over 50 at https://youtu.be/3vMRccmpXC8, relieve some of the stress you been feeling with a free Yoga meditation class at https://bit.ly/2XAZttV, or help your kids work out some of their pent-up energy at https://youtu.be/WxSexSQJmKY.  

Keep your students learning or just augment online lessons from your child’s teacher, sign up for a FREE account at https://www.khanacademy.org/, various subjects are included for K through grade 12. And why not take the time to learn a variety of subjects for yourself? Check out free online First Aid, CPR and AED courses https://www.firstaidforfree.com/ , learn a language for free at https://www.duolingo.com/, develop creative writing skills with the original blogs that the Living, Writing, Breathing Amazon Kindle Blog was based on at https://bit.ly/2Vtk80i, or take college level classes for free (nominal fee for final exams) at https://bit.ly/2yj5bFX. And don’t forget to check online resources on your local library’s website, your library card is usually needed for access.

Finally while you may not be able to have face-to-face in person contact with your extended family and friends, there is NO reason you can’t spend time together. Download free apps from SKYPE or ZOOM for group get togethers, or Facebook messenger video chat for just two locations. Celebrate happy occasions, share Sunday dinners (each have your own dinners and share table chat), or even have fun trivia games, charades or even book club meetings over the internet! Whether you use a computer or just call people on the phone, hearing each other’s voices will do you all a world of good.

I just wanted to take a moment to thank all of our 1st Responders, Medical Professionals and essential workers who are helping to keep our country running.

Wishing you all health and safety and a time when we can all meet again.
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#StayAtHome  Prevent the Spread