Wednesday, January 20, 2021

It’s Here…

 

History, despite its wrenching pain cannot be unlived,
 but if faced with courage need not be lived again.

-  Author:Maya Angelou

 

Inauguration Day is here.

It really doesn’t/shouldn’t matter who you voted for — America is starting a new period in our history. This is a time to unify, to put America and Americans FIRST.

No president in history has ever received 100-percent of the American vote, but as a country we should put our support behind our leadership. Make our voices heard, of course, but work together to find the best paths for our own welfare, safety, and strength as a united country.

As per Wikipedia, “The president of the United States is the head of state and head of government of the United States, indirectly elected to a four-year term by the American people through the Electoral College. The officeholder leads the executive branch of the federal government and is the commander-in-chief of the United States Armed Forces.” and “The President of the United States or “POTUS” functions as the head of the United States federal government. They directly oversee all agencies of the executive branch of government and are considered the commander-in-chief of the United States Armed Forces.” It’s a heck of a big job!

One person who had a relationship with a Secret Service agent surmised what it must be like to be the President, “You spend 20 years getting there and for the rest of your career you try to get out. Presidential Protection Duty is difficult and was also thankless, but the job of the Leader of the Free World is even worse.” You have to be a special kind of person to take that job.

2020 was a very tough year on so many people and we held our breaths until midnight December 31 was behind us. As a country we looked forward to 2021, so with relief and some with trepidation. We are headed towards, hopefully, recovery and at least some normalcy to return to our lives. Today, January 20th, 2021 we will see a new President and Vice-President sworn in, we’ve heard both promises and concern about what lies ahead.

We, as fellow Americans, need to bring our nation together, we need to stretch our hands out to each other to help where we can, to console those who had immeasurable losses in the past year, to help each other as we rebuild our economy, and to be decent human beings. It doesn’t matter whose campaign poster you displayed, or how late you stayed up watching returns… we live here TOGETHER.

This is OUR HOME. This is our future.

 


 

 

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Fear

 

Fear can be a great motivator… or it can be a stumbling block. Fear also is the way your body may be telling you something is not right.

Past experiences may have made you wary. If you ate a specific food and wound up extremely ill from it, maybe what some call “fear” is really your own self-defense and something that you should be listening to. On the other hand, your fear may have no rational explanation that you can think of, maybe it’s just something new to you.

There are those who will insist that you face your fear head on. Being challenged by others is not the reason to forge ahead, use your own sense of reasoning. What does this action mean for me? How will I benefit if I do it? And most of all, WHY am I so frightened? And it might be interesting to note, are the folks pushing you to do “something” willing to do it themselves? If not, why not?

There are indeed many adventurers that may be open to you, and you may find you enjoy the experience. Someone I know has a great fear of heights and yet found he enjoys the freedom of skydiving (Yikes!). Perhaps that long-desired trip requires a plane ride and that may scare you, yet the percentage of successful and safe flights may calm your nerves.

I’ve recently been reading a lot of comments on social media about folks who are scared of taking the Covid-19 vaccine, but when asked why they shrug or latch on to a conspiracy theory. There are some who, for valid medical reasons, should not take that vaccine; but that is something for your doctor to evaluate.

I am hoping to take the vaccine when my state opens it up for my age group, however I have an allergy to shellfish, and they have warned people that shellfish allergies may cause a problem. So yes, I am worried, but it is not fear. I plan to discuss this with my doctor, someone with medical knowledge to guide me. No, I don’t feel it is necessary for someone to make my decisions, I do however want the opinion of a scientific mind.

Fears can sometimes be valid concerns, but you really have an obligation to yourself to discover why you have that apprehension. They say, “avoiding our fears only prevents us from moving forward”, but my feeling is that jumping in without knowing why your mind is telling you to be careful is foolhardy.

And if you can find no real excuse, then just enjoy life!


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Thursday, January 7, 2021

The Day After (just MY opinion)

  

Yesterday’s horrendous events have left a scarred country, at least four people dead, calls for the 25th Amendment to be invoked, a president banned from Twitter, and probably a very over-tired Congress who worked until 4AM the next day to complete the task they were given.

As I sat and watched the horror unfold on my television screen yesterday, I ran a full gamut of emotions including tears, anger, fear, and pride in the actions of those who saved the important electoral ballots. Most of all I experienced shock that my country, the United States of America, was literally under attack — and the attack was being perpetrated by our own citizens! Even worse, the attack was instigated by the man who currently holds the title of America’s president!

It is incomprehensible to me to understand how people can so blindly follow what I can only describe as a “madman”. Throughout Trump’s term he has pushed for violence, created more of a racial divide, denigrated females, ridiculed the disabled and, in MY honest opinion, stolen from the American taxpayer. Yes, I am aware that he did manage to “speak” to some people’s needs and they were willing to put up with his rhetoric and sometimes irrational behavior thinking that he would actually “Make America Great Again”; I never voted for him, not in 2016 and not in 2020, but I do know a few who did and I respect them whether or not I agree.

With Donald Trump complaining about a “stolen election” (which btw, was confirmed multiple times as authentic) and instigating yet more angry reactions he encouraged his die-hard followers to march up Pennsylvania Avenue with a show of “strength” to take the election back… he also promised to “be with” them, and of course he wasn’t, he hid in the White House while he sent them on a rampage. After several dire requests for him to speak to the crowd, he posted a video telling them he loved them, and yes the election was stolen, but they should go on home — it was a less than half hearted attempt to quell a situation that he caused and probably even added more ire to their already brainwashed minds. Trump turned a group of ordinary Americans into domestic terrorists with the mindsets of ISIS suicide-bombers.

Our TRUE AMERICAN HEROES, no matter which party affiliation, were the senators, representatives, and congressional staff who had to run for cover AND who thought to save the ballot boxes. When the invasion of the rioters was over and it was deemed safe, they resumed the business that they were constitutionally bound to do, even shaken by the events. And at 4AM this morning, they concluded discussions after entertaining any objections and declared Joe Biden and Kamala Harris as the official winners of the 2020 November presidential election.

This is not something America will heal from easily. When we were attacked in Pearl Harbor, and we were attacked at the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, it was outsiders who perpetrated the atrocities. But yesterday we were sadly attacked from within and the ringleader was someone we should have been able to trust to keep our country safe.

There were at least four deaths yesterday, people who stormed the Capitol building. Yes, I tend to mourn every death, but honestly the only tears I shed for the individuals is that they were sent to cause this destruction by someone who is not fit to run our country, they were misled. I do however mourn for their families because even horrific people usually have someone who loves them.

God bless America.


 January 6, 2021
“This is a day that will live in infamy.
The very people who believe they are protecting our democracy
have succeeded in destroying it.”
- Representative Marcia Fudge (D-Ohio)


#JustMyOpinion

Wednesday, January 6, 2021

What did 2020 teach you?

 

2020 was a horrific year. But there were a few upsides to the year: we learned how to spend quality family time in our households; we learned how to cook and not be so dependent on going out to eat; we learned creative ways to stay in touch with family and friends outside of the household; we learned that living room carpets were a good place to practice Yoga; and most of all I think we learned to value our families.

For each of us 2020 presented different challenges, but many of us tried to keep ourselves and our loved ones safe by wearing masks (even if we hated them... the masks, not the family). Some weathered tremendous financial losses when businesses shut down. The CDC is now saying “close to 100 million people have had it, close to 45 million have been sick by it and around 2.5 million people have been to the hospital for it”. And let us not forget that more than 350-thousand have died from it.

There were also many acts of generosity and heroism. Many folks helped others by providing food at foodbanks, some even started local foodbanks in their communities, dropped off clothes and coats at local collection centers, and supported local restaurants by ordering take-out/pick-up service. Teachers went above and beyond by not only appearing on ZOOM to teach students, but some even made deliveries of school items to students’ homes and gave their students extra attention and help when possible. Nurses, doctors, Paramedics, EMTs and other first responders worked around the clock caring for those who were stricken by the disease

Some businesses tried to help by offering discounts, rebates, and delivery services. Restaurateurs delivered free food to overworked EMS agencies and healthcare workers. People in metropolitan and suburban areas displayed signs thanking essential workers and cheering daily at 6PM. Video App companies made it possible for holiday family “gatherings” as close as your computer or cell phone. Streaming services hosted special entertainment and performances. And museums, educational conventions, libraries, and some religious institutions went online so no one had to miss out on sights, lessons, and comfort that people wanted.

When this all simmers down, hopefully soon, what will be the things we take from our myriad of experiences? It’s my personal hope that we will take with us a sense of community, the knowledge that even as we sat isolated in our homes, we were never truly alone. I hope that the fact that so many of the poor and homeless were affected disproportionally will strengthen our commitment to help all, that we are all neighbors, that we are all human beings. It would be nice to move forward with feelings of generosity, concern, compassion, and humbleness. Maybe, just maybe, we can cooperate with each other, no matter what gender, color, orientation, political ideology, religion, or economic status anyone is.

While we mourn our losses, let us also celebrate our strengths.

Just do right. Right may not be expedient, it may not be profitable, but it will satisfy your soul. It brings you the kind of protection that bodyguards can’t give you. So try to live your life in a way that you will not regret years of useless virtue and inertia and timidity. Take up the battle. Take it up. It’s yours. This is your life. This is your world.” ~ Maya Angelou

Wednesday, December 30, 2020

45 Years!

 

I married the love of my life 45-years ago on December 28, 1975 and it has been a wild and wonderful ride.

 

Although we went to the same high school, we never REALLY met there (okay, I punched him one time when he was a hall monitor and attempted to stop me from going to my classroom after the “switch” was over); we actually MET a few years later as volunteers in the NYC Auxiliary Police. I was already a member of our unit when he signed up and, as Personnel Officer, I had to interview him. He passed and was admitted into our unit… but neither of us liked each other, lol.

 

However, as time went on we did eventually go out on a date and we both seemed to enjoy each other’s company… he asked me out for the following weekend. Within two weeks, he proposed, I said NO (not because I didn’t like him, I just didn’t think I was ready) — he was “persistent” and the following morning we announced our engagement. Then I went away for eight weeks to work at a summer stock theatre, he drove up to visit me several times.

 

By the time I returned home everyone wanted to know if we had set a date, we hadn’t yet. On December 28, 1974 we attended a formal ceremony for my Dad at the local J.W.V. chapter, they were honoring him for his community service as the local Auxiliary Police Captain as well as his WW2 service in the Army Corps of Engineers. While there, once again Mark and I received a multitude of questions about the date of our wedding until we both just looked at each other, smiled, and responded “One year from today”.

 

We did start discussing what kind of wedding we wanted, I was all for a small Rabbi’s study with just our immediate families present. Although Mark was easy going, his father and one of my aunt’s made it difficult to plan something intimate. We wound up compromising on a guest list of 90 (approximately 80 showed), both of his folks were pleased, the aunt made arguments right up to the wedding (and no, she was not paying for it!).

 

The day of the wedding was… memorable to say the least. My mom was totally stressed dealing with the intrusive aunt, on the way to the catering hall my sister (my Matron-of-Honor) fell down a flight of stairs and we thought she had broken her leg; trooper that she is, she managed to pull herself together and promised to be able to “hobble down the aisle” for her little sister, and I hadn’t been able to reach Mark (before the era of cellphones) and we arrived so late that he had almost  given up waiting.

 

Everything was finally underway! We posed for an array of photos, and then the ceremony began. We were married!!!!! Then… my poor Mom, a diabetic, had a serious low-blood sugar reaction to all the stress and upset about my sister’s tumble and she wound up spending the majority of party time lying down in the bridal suite while my Dad took juices to her; she wouldn’t leave and go to the hospital. Finally, the end of the party came, my mom was able to be present for the latter half of the party and in time to see me throw my bouquet and leave with my new husband.

 

Maybe we should have realized that our wedding day was a forecast of our marriage with all of our ups and downs, but in the end we drove off TOGETHER excited about our new life. We weathered crazy downstairs neighbors, the deaths of all four parents (in a five year period), a few miscarriages, buying a house, the birth of our daughter, the preemie birth of our son, ups and down in jobs and finances, seeing both of our children grow into phenomenal adults and (after a few false starts) settle down in their own homes with loves that are terrific people, we survived a serious illness, and finally a retirement and move to a beautiful home not far from where we actually honeymooned.

 

In 45-years our love has grown, been tested, and shined even brighter with each new day. I am so glad that he was persistent on the night he proposed — I couldn’t imagine any other life.


I love you, Mark, now and for eternity.



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Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Family Ties

 

For most of us, the lucky ones at least, growing up in a family setting (whether it was just parent[s] and you or a large extended family) was like you had whole world surrounding you with love and care. As we grew older sometimes we made “best friends” outside of our homes, but coming home always meant coming to a place where you always felt you belonged.

 

As we grew up and experienced teenage angst and the trials of young adulthood, tempers and words now and then caused arguments and tears — generally our parents forgave us the cross words we used in pain, our siblings might not have been so forgiving quite as quickly, but they still seemed to have our backs when it counted. Somehow as adults… and maybe parents of adults, we may lose that capacity to forgive the cross words so easily. And some even seem to forget the importance of family. That is sad.

 

Someone says a cross word in anger or pain, or maybe it was just a poorly worded comment with no malice intended, but suddenly it causes a family divide. And you just let it go, let it fester, while you wait for an apology that might not even be understood. Time passes, time that you can never get back and some even run out of time to make things right. When you realize there is no more time, no chance to hug that person again, no time to say “I love you”, that’s when you cry over your memories and especially the memories you were cheated out of.

 

Nowadays so many are taking mail-in DNA tests to find family that they may have never known existed, but somewhere along the line there was a break, a divide, people just drifted apart. While it is a great thing to find those long-lost family members, you can’t help but wonder what it would have been like to share the years before you found each other. Yet, even for those who crave those DNA matches, not all of them hang on to what they already know they have just because someone got annoyed.

 

Hang on to your loved ones because no one has forever. You can’t redo lost years; you can’t share memories that you were never together to share. And down the road when you realize how much you’ve lost, you might begin to question if waiting for that demanded apology was really worth it. There is a saying, “if you want a lot of space in your life, just be angry at the people around you,” and it could get very lonely. Even if you raised that child, realize that not everyone is going to think the same way you do. And even if your older parent seems to be annoying because they are so “stuck in their ways”, they are not always going to be there. Remember that siblings are often the first playmates you ever had and you’ve shared your lives and memories together.

 

 Logistically many families don’t remain together in the same locale and you may have to work a little to keep including each in your life. Between marriages and extended families, and when children or grandchildren come along, it’s hard to keep giving the same time to everyone, but make sure to remember to reach out. The effort is well worth it. Remember to tell your family members that you love them, pause and think before you let anger respond, share your thoughts, listen to theirs, and let them know how precious they are in your life.



 

Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Time for Unity

 

We, as a nation, have gone through (most of) a year of… Hell. Folks used to joke, LAST YEAR, about 2020 and “perfect eyesight — well we sure have seen a lot since January.

 

Legendary basketball player Kobe Bryant and his daughter were killed in a tragic helicopter crash stunning sports fans and leaving a mourning mother and wife. Our 45th president was tried, impeached, and eventually acquitted. The #MeToo movement encouraged many to speak about their sexual assaults (and rapes), and many survivors cheered when some big names who felt entitled to abuse innocent victims were finally served justice.

 

America heard about the first reported cases of COVID-19 on our shores; these spurred a lot of misinformation, prejudice against Asians, fear, hoarding, restrictions, lockdowns, fighting, and even a stock market crash. Police-involved deaths of several Black men and women, as well as the outspoken rhetoric of prejudice, spawned the Black Lives Matter Movement and instigated many peaceful, and some violent, demonstrations.

 

Meanwhile, many businesses closed (some permanently) due to COVID-19 related restrictions, many children “went back to school” via the computer, jobs were lost, and families were devastated financially. For those who were able to work from home, their homes became crowded business offices, schools, gyms and more. The name “Karen” became an insult for an angry, often middle-aged white, woman who lived a privileged existence and attempted to inflict her will upon others.

 

The sitting president of the United States came down with COVID-19, and survived, and other prominent Americans from politicians to actors and sports-stars caught the virus and some did not survive. Judge Ruth Bader Ginsburg spent 27-years sitting on the Supreme Court and eventually died after a long struggle with Pancreatic Cancer; finding and appointing her replacement was a lengthy political struggle that led to a resurgence of the #MeToo movement. Beloved TV personality Alex Terek died of Liver Cancer after a courageous battle.

 

More than four-million acres burnt, and some still burning, in California and the western U.S. costing billions of dollars; firefighters from across the country flew in to help an area where the heatwave and Covid-19 caused complication during evacuations, hundreds of homes and structures were burned, dozens injured, and multiple firefighter fatalities were recorded.

 

We are halfway through December and celebrating the holiday season in a year where many family get-togethers were only virtual, where many restaurants are closed to dining, movie theatres remain dark, and few indoor recreational activities exist. America has lost more than 300-thousand people to COVID-19, families and friends did not even get to say goodbye to many because of quarantines. And numbers keep rising.

 

But now, halfway through December, a very contentious national election has seen its final result with the Electoral College, and progress begins towards a new presidency. Vaccines against COVID-19 have been approved and a limited number of healthcare workers are beginning to get vaccinated – more vaccine is coming and eventually the hope is that most, if not all, Americans will be vaccinated against this sometimes deadly and often disabling disease within the next several months.

 

Now is the time when Americans need each other, no matter what our political affiliations are, no matter what our ethnicities are, or our lifestyle choices, and no matter what our financial status may be. We have been through Hell and we are almost to 2021. Let us come together and recover, let’s work together and heal our nation, comfort those who mourn, strengthen those who have suffered, and be a united America.