Wednesday, May 5, 2021

Bone Tired Weariness

 When the days just seem to run into one another and sleep eludes you at night, every action is just... so... tiring.


When I know I have so many things to do, it's hard to turn my mind off and enjoy that much needed sleep. The next day, everything just d r a g s. Getting anything really accomplished the next day seems almost, if not totally, impossible.


How do YOU deal with a sleepless night? Do you imagine lying on a beach with toes in the sand and the warm sun shining on your face? Or maybe you are one of those who will pretend to be riding in a slow, topless elevator and watching the top of the elevator shaft grow smaller and smaller. Maybe calming music will help you to drift off...


Or perhaps you check the clock after forcing yourself to lie still for most of the night only to find it's a mere eight minutes since you looked last.


As you go through the next day feeling so, so drained and you spy that young child who can just curl himself up and drift into slumber and you feel such incredible envy — and you can't avoid those feelings of guilt over that envy of an innocent child.


We need to find ways to turn off our minds so that we can be rested when sunlight comes again. Rested, productive, feeling accomplished, being positive... such lofty goals.


Instead of dwelling on all of the things you need to get done TOMORROW, think of what you accomplished today. Make a plan and then store it away so your body can have time to recharge. Whether you pray or simply "talk to yourself", express your gratitude for everything good in your life and congratulate yourself for making yesterday doable and productive.


Try spending a few quiet moments to meditate  before actually crawling under the bedtime blankets, think positive thoughts and remind yourself of the things you DID accomplish (and not just how much more you need to get done). Close your eyes and find a "Happy Place" where you can picture yourself stretching out and relaxing.


And when you wake in the morning and find that you aren't really dragging... well that is just one more accomplishment to think about when you turn off your mind.


Have a GREAT Day!







Wednesday, April 28, 2021

KARMA and LIFE

 

I try to make a habit of NEVER wishing harm on others, okay, I admit, sometimes that is hard, but…  Instead, I wish for everyone to get out of this world what they put into it — and yes, I guess that sometimes that means I am wishing them harm. I consider it KARMA, let G-d (or whatever higher power you may believe in) sort it out. Karma is associated with the idea of rebirth in many Indian religions, in our Western culture we generally refer to it as “Consequences”.

 

Karma means action, work, or deed. The term also refers to the spiritual principle of cause and effect, often descriptively called the principle of karma, wherein intent and actions of an individual (cause) influence the future of that individual (effect): good intent and good deeds contribute to good karma and happier rebirths, while bad intent and bad deeds contribute to bad karma and bad rebirths.” en.wikipedia.org

 

I swear that I have seen Karma at work, sometimes it takes a while, but it does come back. I have personally seen someone make unfounded accusations of a crime against someone else and then had to sit by as his own son got arrested for theft; then there was another who was threatened with arrest himself when he tried to cover up his son’s crimes. I’ve heard of folks who treated family members with callousness only to find themselves lost when they lose their relationships. It’s seems to be true, when you live a life filled with venom and malice, it really does come back to bite you.  

 

I’ve tried to live my life by the Golden Rule, something my parents taught me, treat others as you yourself want to be treated. Now living a good and kind life does not prevent tears and pain in your own life, but I do believe a good life will help you find peace and comfort as you shoulder your burdens, and that is certainly far better than living with guilt, fear, and darkness. Living by the Golden Rule can literally make you feel good about yourself. Yes, it is still frustrating when you come across someone who does you dirty, but really you should feel sorry for the way they live their lives.

 

I just attended a portion of the Nobel Prize Summit: Our Planet, Our Future and listened to a comment the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet made, (I am paraphrasing), “Stop thinking about Me, Me, Me… Instead think about HUMANITY. That’s the way to find true happiness.”

 

Think about others, be good to all — people (both family and strangers), nature, animals, and our earth. Share as you can and accept others whether or not they look like you or sound like you. Be better and be happier in your life. Help make this a better world.




Wednesday, April 21, 2021

WE ARE ALL DIFFERENT…

...and in many ways, we are all the same. So why is there so much hate these days? Why does looking or being “different” create so much suspicion and animosity?

 

In school kids make fun of other children who “look” different, it can be a child with prophylactics, who wears glasses, or even who comes to school in tattered clothes because of family finances. Maybe the child comes from a different culture which has a unique clothing style, or even wears a pendant of their faith. Some can make fun of children who may have a different skin color, or are overweight, or can’t speak fluent English, or anything that is different from “the cool kids”. Parents and teachers need to teach children about diversity in both culture, lifestyle and economic means.

 

Anti-bias education, at home and in the school, is a crucial step to opening children’s minds to acceptance. Things like teaching children that occupations are not gender-specific will help to bridge the gender gap, knowing that a little girl can grow up to lead a construction crew, or a little boy can study to be nurse (as examples) are ways to help children live up to their own personal potentials despite societal norms. Encouraging children to take personal pride in their cultural traditions AND accepting others who do the same will help them as they grow up and are exposed to diversity.

 

Exposing children to anti-bias books (appropriate for their age) will help to open their minds to peoples’ differences and humanity. It’s important not to stay quiet or discourage conversation — if the child questions how a girl can grow up to be the President for example, don’t admonish them. Encourage conversation and help them, through subtle questions and discussion starters, see all the things they are capable of and that no profession is specific to one gender. Ask them about hobbies and dreams. Maybe a young boy will tell others he likes to sew or crochet and the other children giggle, don’t admonish but tell them about fashion designers like Michael Kors or the tailor down the street. Help to foster interest in other children’s cultures and traditions by giving an opportunity to share fun customs and possibly sample cuisines.

 

When parents and teachers have open minds and accept the differences EVERYONE has, it is easier to teach and help children to learn anti-bias behavior. It’s not too late to start. Watch the words you use, avoid stereotypes, open yourself to learning about others and offering knowledge about your own background. Stress the similarities, but don’t ignore the variety of things others can bring to any conversation or experience. Let’s work on being humans first and accept those around us without prejudice.

 


 

 

 

 

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

SOME FOLKS JUST WANT TO ARGUE…

 

It gets frustrating when all YOU want to do is come up with constructive ways to improve a situation. You don’t start off criticizing or even talking about different viewpoints… maybe you are just trying to get folks involved. Not every argument is personal or about your relationship.

But along comes that ONE PERSON who just has to throw in a nasty about someone, dredges up something from the far-away past that has NOTHING to do with the discussion, and like a mad-dog, attacks. And then a bunch of people just jump on the bandwagon to throw nasty barbs around and no one even mentions the original issues anymore.

SIMPLY FRUSTRATING!

Some psychologists say that people who NEED to argue are doing it to boost their own self-esteem; they feel the need to impose their way to feel important. I imagine when they were young, they might have been the school-yard bullies, or maybe they were the ones picked on and now feel the need to attack before they are.

Unfortunately arguing back seems to only build their feeling of importance, maybe because they are getting such strong reactions and it seems to feed their needs. So really the best way to deal with the compulsive arguer is to just ignore them — I don’t think that is the easiest method for most of us and unfortunately things just seem to intensify.

It may take near super-human efforts, but the “experts” recommend not feeding into the arguments. Don’t try to make the aggressor see things your way. Don’t attack back. Ask questions, let someone explain their feelings. Do not let the aggressor, or you, make it personal. If you can, without confronting, try to steer the conversation back to the original intent; ask how he/she would recommend solving the ORIGINAL problem. Above all, stay calm (yes, if you are like me that might take counting SILENTLY to ten several times, lol).

If things are completely out-of-control, maybe you need to find a way to END the argument (preferably without coming to blows!). Try not to walk away in anger. Let the person know that they have been heard, whether or not you agree. If at all possible, find common ground in resolving the original issue. If there is anyway to think about the issue from their perspective, try, and let them know you are looking at it from their point of view. One way you MIGHT be able to end the argument is to suggest taking the time to think about it. Unfortunately, though, understand that some people won’t want to end the argument and you will have to find a way to walk away… even if it is just an excuse.

It’s difficult to get anything done constructively when there are those who are more interested in a power play or giving themselves a VOICE (possibly in the only way they think they can be heard). The sooner you can de-escalate the argument, the more chance you have to get back to your original purpose to possibly unite a group, initiate actions, or just simply raise interest. Remember that everyone will see things in a different way, it does pay to listen, but it also doesn’t mean that anyone needs to be berated or tormented.

Remember, smile and stay calm. Never lose your motivation. Don’t get discouraged.



Wednesday, April 7, 2021

The World Needs to Know

Yom Hashoah 

Holocaust and Heroism Remembrance Day 

Yom Hashoah 2021 is observed at sundown, Wednesday, April 7th and ends at sundown on Thursday, April 8th. Yom Hashoah, also called Holocaust Remembrance Day, commemorates the lives of the Jewish people who died in the Holocaust between 1933 and 1945 more than 76 years ago.

Approximately six million Jews and some 5 million others, targeted for racial, political, ideological and behavioral reasons, died in the Holocaust. More than one million of those who perished were children. 

This day is remembered in the Hebrew calendar on the 27th day of Nisan.


Watch this video from 2017 of a group of young Canadian students
 visiting Auschwitz along with a survivor of the Nazi death camp




Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Authority Figures

If you’ve ever felt paranoid when a police car is driving behind you EVEN IF THERE ISN’T A RULE IN THE BOOK THAT YOU ARE BREAKING, then you are having the most typical reaction to authority figures.

 

FACT: “People on average will obey authority despite their own moral objections.”

 

I laughed the first time that I read that statement. Way back in 1977 I got an early morning call from my sister telling me that my dad had died suddenly. He had been at work in New Jersey, she was on her way to the hospital to do the legal stuff of identifying him. Meanwhile our mom, at home in the Bronx NYC, was sick and the police officer who delivered the news to her had told my sister that he was worried about her condition.

 

I was in Rockland County, NY, at least 40-minutes away and it was a miserable, rainy day. Nonetheless I got into the car and I knowingly did much more than the posted speed limits. (I was remembering a story of my dad rushing home because mommy wasn’t well and he actually received a police escort across the George Washington Bridge… I guess I was hoping for the same advantage) Maybe it was because of the weather, but no one stopped me so that I could ask for an escort.

 

 What really struck me as odd, and now in retrospect actually makes me chuckle, was when the coins I threw into the Tappan Zee Bridge hopper didn’t register, and instead of my just peeling out and hopefully attracting a police escort, I sat there honking my horn until the toll-taker a few booths over manually reset the light. I could NOT bring myself to go through the stop light even though I was certainly breaking the speed limit.

 

We are (mostly) conditioned to accept and obey authority figures… at least to a limit. So here I was, knowingly breaking every speed law in the rush to get to my grieving mother, and yet when it came to going through the STOP sign at the toll bridge, I froze, I couldn’t do it.

 

Especially in this day and age we’ve seen several instances where folks have ignored authority figures selectively. Many of us will “respect” and comply with authoritative directives unless our moral obligations are stronger, and we believe the authority is wrong. I guess I was able to justify the speed in which I was driving, and yet I was not prepared to burst through a red light at the toll booth. It sounds funny now, so many years later, when I clearly remember my annoyance and impatience at that toll basket and yet my foot remained frozen on the brake pedal.

 

Months after that horrible day I told my mom about the way I froze in-route to see her. She chuckled and told me it was all the years of her and daddy telling me there were rules to be followed. She joked while patting herself on the back reminding me what a good mother she was in teaching me to be a “good girl”.

 

So many years later (and no longer living in Rockland County!), many of the lessons that my folks taught me still remain, and not always in the BACK of my mind.


Wednesday, March 24, 2021

I Was Named for My Grandfather

 

In the Ashkenazi Jewish faith that I was raised in, it is customary to name a newborn baby for a deceased loved one — I was named for my maternal grandfather, Reuben. This tradition both honors the deceased, keeps them “alive” by connection, and it is believed helps to form a bond between the ancestor and the child.

 

I heard many wonderful stories about my grandfather and quite ironically, both my sister and I have very distinct memories of being read bedtime stories by him… even though he died long before either of us was born.

 

My grandfather was a loving man, a smart businessman, a devout Jew, and an actual HERO. Living in the Deep South, my mom grew up amidst many prejudices towards Jews, towards Blacks, and basically anyone who didn’t look the same. It was also customary for many families to have hired help in their homes, and most every housekeeper was Black. My grandma was criticized by her neighbors because she would often sit and have coffee with her housekeeper, and my mom and the housekeeper’s son would sometimes sit in the parlor and play board games together.

 

Mostly for safety reasons, the races did not normally mingle on the streets of the town they lived in, and no Black man was allowed to confront or get physical with a White person. Yet there was the one day my mom and a girlfriend had gone into town and were accosted by a couple of drunken White men who had stumbled out of a bar. They loudly told the men to keep their hands to themselves, but they wouldn’t listen.

 

As “luck” would have it, the housekeeper had sent her son into town to pick up groceries. The young man was across the street when he heard my mom and her friend yelling at the drunken men. One of the men had grabbed my mom’s friend by the arm and pulled her in tightly. At that point the housekeeper’s son ran across the street and loudly confronted the men. In both surprise and anger, the wrath of the drunks turned to this young Black man who firmly stood his ground and demanded that the two young ladies be left alone. The two girls walked up the street, followed by their rescuer who made sure that they were not harassed again.

 

That night when my grandfather returned home from work he found their housekeeper crying hysterically in my grandmother’s arms. They explained to him that there had been a death threat, a vow to lynch the young Black man for having the audacity to confront the White men; it didn’t matter that the White men were drunk and accosting White teenage girls. My grandmother had helped to hide the housekeeper’s son long enough to wait for my grandfather to come home and decide what to do.

 

That night my grandfather, a Jewish merchant in the south, contacted a friend in North Virginia and arranged for transport for this young man to somewhere in New York State. And then he rolled the young man up in a heavy carpet and tied the young man to the undercarriage of his delivery truck. He promised to bring the young man to safety, hoping that he would not get stopped along the way.

 

          My grandmother and the housekeeper kept a vigil at the kitchen table until the next morning when my grandfather walked in. He told the housekeeper that her son was safe and passed her money so that she could afford the transportation up north to join him.

 

          I watched the movie “The United States vs. Billie Holiday” on Netflix the other night and I was reminded of this heroic story my mom always told me. I am so proud to be named for my grandfather.



Billie Holiday sings "Strange Fruit"

 

 

 

Wednesday, March 17, 2021

JUST TIRED!

 

Have you ever had one of those days when you are just too tired to do anything?

 

Who hasn’t?!

 

This past year, especially since March 2020, the COVID pandemic has thrown almost everyone’s life askew and many of us are just plain, darn tired of the isolation, restrictions and of course the news of so many deaths (more than half-a-million!). But how do you know if your “tiredness” is more than just being TIRED?

 

Being tired can be a momentary feeling, listlessness can be a simple as a common cold, or it can be a feeling as if you are banging up against a brick wall with no hope of saving yourself. You are the one that knows yourself best, but that does not mean that you are the only one who can save yourself. Know the signs of burn out and depression.

 

Do you feel as if you have NOTHING to look forward to, as if life has simply left you behind? Do you have difficulty in finding any enjoyment in things you once looked forward to? Do you find that you just don’t care anymore? Do you find it impossible to complete the simple tasks you once were able to breeze through? And do you find yourself using crutches like alcohol, drugs or behavior you wouldn’t normally do? Is it difficult to sleep nights, or do you wake up feeling as if you haven’t slept at all? Do you feel sad as well as fatigued?

 

All cases of severe tiredness and fatigue, especially when you can answer YES to a number of the questions above, should never be ignored. Medically there are a number of reasons why you may be feeling so overtaxed and washed out — don’t ever let a doctor dismiss your symptoms. There are conditions which can affect your blood, your bones, and your mental well-being that MIGHT be affecting you, even your medications might be causing a problem. A full examination and blood-workup might be recommended, so speak to your doctor. (And from my own experience, if the doctor simply laughs and says it’s all in your head without checking you out… get another doctor!)

 

If no physical reasons are found, there is the possibility that you are depressed AND THERE IS NO STIGMA TO SEEKING HELP. While momentary disappointments may be easy to bounce back from, severe depression isn’t. As mentioned above, this past year has been extremely hard on a lot of us; in addition to the pandemic and the financial and social problems it’s caused, our country also went through a very contentious political battle, and social dissension, no matter what the cause, adds to stress. It’s very important to talk and communicate with others, especially professionals, and to make healthy lifestyle choices in your eating habits, exercise, and sleep.

 

There are several support help-lines that will allow you to speak with professional counselors as well as support groups, group counseling and individual counseling services available. Very often your insurance will help cover a portion of any expense you might incur. You can also find tele-therapy with licensed doctors that charge only minimal fees even if you don’t have insurance. Local hospitals and clinics can help put you in touch with the resources you need to help you climb out of your depression.

 

The following resources are just a few and no endorsement is implied:

 If you are a veteran, call the Veterans Crisis Line at 800-273-TALK and press 1 (or chat online at www.VeteransCrisisLine.net).  

 If you or someone else is having thoughts of suicide, call 911 or the Suicide Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 (available 24/7).

Teen-to-Teen Peer counseling is available at 877-YOUTHLINE (WWW.HOPELINE.COM)

AARP lists the Disaster Distress Helpline at 1-800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746 for crisis counseling and support for anyone in the U.S. experiencing distress or other behavioral health concerns.



Wednesday, March 10, 2021

Mouse Tales

 They call me Jesse.

I don’t know how this started. All I was doing was trying to find a warm house and maybe some food, but there were cats. I had to avoid them, but I was hungry… I had no idea that the door would shut as soon as I reached the peanut butter.

I spent a long scary night in the dark and then they released me into some kind of plastic box, but there was food!

I’m a captive now, but it’s warm. They said they will let me go in the spring.


My belly is full, but this little case is too much like a prison... So, do I make a run for it, or do I stay and fulfill my need to eat? Too many questions for a mouse like me.

Yes... Yes... YES! I am going to make a break for it. Those air vents, I can nibble my way to freedom. Do I really want to though? Yes, I'm a mouse, dammit!

Free, yes, I am free. Wait, someone is coming... Oh no, he's got dinner for me. There is no way I can get back into my cell, he's already seen that I escaped.

Hide...
Hide...
Hide.

Sigh, he went back upstairs and he took my dinner.

Wait, he's coming back, and he's bringing reinforcements. Oh goody. I am going to play Hide n' Seek. Here I am, now you see me — and now you don't.

Oh this is so much fun. They think they have me, hah-hah-hah-hah.

Oh POOP! She caught me!

They are taking me outside. No, no, no, I was just playing.

They put me down in the woodshed, at least there's the cover of leaves and logs that hide the winds. Wow, she just emptied a bottle of food for me, wow...

They were really nice to me, sniff. But I am a wild mouse and I don't really belong in a house. It's still a little chilly but it's not as frigid as it was before. And I do have this nice bed of leaves to hide in. I do have friends that I want to see again.

I really liked them. Every mouse should find a house with people like them.

Thank you, I had a nice vacation.




Wednesday, March 3, 2021

Day 352

It’s been nearly a year of isolation. The lack of human contact has finally gotten to me. I long to see someone’s smile. I long to feel the gentle arms of hug.  It seems my only connection with the outside world has been on a computer screen… at least I’ve had that. I couldn’t even fathom living through this without the technology that does provide us with some connection.

 

March 16, 2020, businesses and restaurants were closed in my state because of this scourge they call COVID-19. Life has changed, it will probably never be the same again. Some business has re-opened, maximum capacity is minimal — some businesses are gone for good, financially destroyed forever. There was a time when an evening at a movie theatre was fun, and now it is just a vacant dream as if it never really happened.

 

Each day headlines that appear on online newspapers mention percentages of unemployment and lost jobs due to businesses closing, there are lists of homes being sold by families who can’t afford them anymore, children have been kept from classrooms and parents are concerned that their children will never catch up on their academia, animal shelters have been closed to outsiders making adoption a nearly impossible task. Periodic food shortages, closed fitting rooms, curbside delivery… just so many catchphrases, so many changes.

 

 I read an article that claimed there is an average of nine relatives and close friends who have mourned every death since this pandemic invaded our shores. It’s unfathomable when I do the math. Half a million deaths… “As of March 1, 2021, there have been around 513,090 deaths related to COVID-19 in the United States”…that means there are more than four million people who have mourned for lost loved ones. The numbers are incomprehensible.

 

There’s a glimmer of hope, but we need to be patient. After many failed attempts I finally made it onto a list to receive a vaccine injection. My dreams of LIVING have begun to creep into my daily thoughts. One shot, then wait another 28 days or so for a second, and then another 30 days for the full effect to happen. Even then there is the recommendation to continue wearing masks and to avoid crowds. BUT — there’s the possibility of living life again to see smiles, to hug relatives, to sit in a restaurant for a meal… so many things to look forward to.

 

Three-hundred-fifty-two days to date, almost an entire year and the hope of one day moving on. I look forward to shaking hands in greetings, to watch family children grow-up first hand, and just to be with people.

 

 I can’t wait.

 




 

 

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Being in Charge

 

“To succeed, jump as quickly at opportunities as you do at conclusions.”
Benjamin Franklin

 

Talk about challenging, being in charge of an organization that has the power to make decisions for a large group of people is a monumental task… especially when your focus is the true welfare of said people.

 

While you may not always make the best decision, it’s an arduous task to weigh the options — hopefully you are not alone in this task. Perhaps you are part of a Board or a panel that has the combined responsibility. Invariably there are those, not in the arduous position of responsibility, who will claim to “know better” than you (combined or singular). It can be very frustrating.

 

Rely on written guidelines (By-Laws or State/Local laws) as much as you can. Understand that sometimes the “attack” is not really at you but may be a thinly disguised attempt at self-promotion; and yes, sometimes it is simply because the premise you are supporting is not well understood by others.

 

If you have a total of 100 people including eight in charge (just a mild example) and ONE singular person who is pushing a self-focused agenda, it may all depend on the “explanation”. Never be impatient when asked for details, if it is something you can’t say (because you are not allowed to or don’t know), be honest. If someone is asking, they are looking to understand and if you don’t provide the answers the other person MIGHT supply answers they THINK others want to hear.

 

MOST people who take positions “of power”, sitting on a board or taking another leadership role, are well-intentioned, ESPECIALLY IF IT IS VOLUNTARY WITHOUT FINANCIAL COMPENSATION. Sitting in that position of power also makes one a “target”. If you are working in earnest to help the people around you, go by the “book”, are willing to listen to others, and remain humble, then you are just doing the best you can.

 

Don’t ever let someone else’s attack destroy you or discourage your future benevolence. Unfortunately, there are those who may not be honest or transparent with their true intentions — never let them rob you of your decency, never let them discourage your desire and ability to help others.

 

There are all kinds of people in this world, ultimately you are the one who must live with yourself. Continue to be kind and be good.

 

And thank you for your magnanimity. People do appreciate you.

 


Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Paying It Forward

 

My family experienced a wonderful miracle this past week. My brother (in-law) was hoping for a new kidney, he’s been on the transplant list and going to dialysis three times weekly for the past seven years. He had received a few calls from the hospital to tell him of “possibilities” over the past few months (he was high enough on the list), but unfortunately these calls wound up not being fruitful.

 

However last week he received yet another phone call about a possible donation; the donor was being kept on life support but had sadly lost brain function. Her family made the absolute most generous decision, they authorized organs for transplant — they decided to allow their loved one to save the lives of others in need. I can’t imagine how difficult this decision must have been and I am in total awe at their generosity.

 

My brother arrived at the hospital late at night and received his new kidney the next day. He is home now and healing from this prayed for surgery; he will have to be monitored to ensure that everything is “in working order” but this is the first bright light we have had in seven years. We will never forget this woman and her loving family and will keep them in our prayers as they mourn their loss.

 

It is because of this generosity that I will maintain both our FaceBook page and our website as a place for other hopeful kidney recipients to post their names and contact info; I will also feature some of those on the website. We understand so well what this donation has meant to us and we would love to help others find their prayers answered as well.

 

Please share this information and visit our sites frequently and perhaps we can help another family to find their lifesaving hero.

 

Our FaceBook Page – Del Needs a Kidney

Our Website — A Kidney for Del



Wednesday, February 10, 2021

One of Those Days

Did you ever have one of those days when you can’t seem to get anything done? Actually, I think I’ve had that feeling almost since mid-March 2020. With places closed, lockdowns, isolating, and almost complete boredom, I feel like I have lost the past year of my life. And as a retiree, I really can’t afford to lose a year here or there!

 

Hubs and I are trying to get an appointment to get the COVID-19 vaccine, our state opened it to our age group a little while back, but there doesn’t seem to be enough supply to go around. I am not thrilled about the idea of taking the vaccine, but I am also not thrilled about the idea of possibly getting sick with the COVID virus. Yes, I do believe there is such a threat out there, it’s not a hoax, I know folks who have had it and while, yes, for some it seemed like a bad case of the flu, I’ve known others who have been hospitalized for months… and I’ve known a couple who have died after getting sick with it. Having a pre-existing condition doesn’t make you die, folks who have had pre-existing conditions have usually lived a lot of years WITHOUT dying.

 

But I digress. I am looking forward to seeing family and friends again, to going into a restaurant with my husband and having a nice dinner out, to going into the local casino (I may not be a big gambler, but I do enjoy that), and most of all not feeling so trapped. I’ve been very blessed to be “isolated” with my husband and to have family and friends who don’t mind spending some time on ZOOM or one of the other internet-based communication methods. I’ve gotten to attend a few conferences VIRTUALLY, I attend my RWA chapter board meetings online, once in a while I sit in my easy chair at home and watch my community’s Board of Directors as they deal with our POA’s business, I had the opportunity to sit in on the live streams of two family weddings, and of course I interact with lots of friends on FaceBook.

 

But I want a feeling of normalcy again. Passover is a little more than a month away and I would love to have my kids and their spouses at the table — last Passover my daughter “hosted” the second seder night on ZOOM. I have a grand niece who will soon be one whole year old… and I’ve never seen her in person. And I miss seeing peoples’ smiles, I want to see mouths again.

 

I LOST A YEAR OF MY LIFE AND
I CAN’T WAIT TO START LIVING AGAIN!
(sorry for the outburst)

 

When life is really open again, I mean when we can get together without counting the heads, when we don’t have to strain to hear each other from behind the masks, and when we can shake someone’s hand and hug our loved ones — what do YOU plan to do first? I’m thinking maybe going to a movie theatre, if any of them are still open that is.

 


 

Wednesday, February 3, 2021

Pumpkin

Pumpkin was a pussycat, really… he was the very first cat that ever graced our home. A few months after we were married one of Mark’s friends told him about a little orange kitten his wife found; she didn’t go into detail but told her husband that the cat was an orphan. There was a problem though, she was horribly allergic to cats but, thankfully, she realized the little guy needed rescuing.

I had started teasing Mark about starting a family while we were still on our honeymoon, so when Mark heard about the kitten he told his friend, “let me check with my wife.” I was excited and said a definite YES… even though I also had a bit of an allergy to cats.

The next day Mark walked in the door with a tiny little ball of orange fur that fit in the palm of his hand. I had spent the day buying kitten food and play-toys and a litter box — I had never had a pet before (except for a goldfish we called Goldie) so I was asking a lot of questions what this kitten would need. We both looked at this little guy and agreed, we would call him Pumpkin.

Pumpkin’s first meal in his new home was watered down tidbits of canned kitten food (he was probably too young to have been weaned from his mother and I was so scared that he would choke), he was hungry. After he ate all of the small amount I put into the saucer for him, he looked at me and came over mewling until I picked him up. He made himself comfortable lying across my stomach and soon fell asleep. (Mark told me he was probably hearing my heartbeat and was comforted).

There were some terrific adventures as Pumpkin grew. I used to take him with me to visit my parents back in the Bronx, he took to a leash and harness very naturally. My dad adored playing with him, they used to “box” with Pumps on his hind legs and my dad holding his hands up to let the cat swat at him.

It was just before Passover when I received a call that my father had died. I ran out of the house to get to my mom and I never finished putting away some of the Passover groceries we had bought. (I called a neighbor to check in and feed the cat while I was gone) When Mark and I returned home a few days later we found that Pumpkin had “sampled” the corner of each box in the five-pound package of Matza we had bought. That poor cat was so bound up for days!

Shortly after we moved to a lovely ground floor condo where we soon adopted a second cat whom we named Dusty, he was a grey tiger striped cat. Soon Dusty and Pumpkin were inseparable. My mom cleaned out the apartment where she and my dad had lived and stayed with us for a few weeks before traveling to Florida to visit her mother. Mark and I both worked out of the house, Mommy didn’t mind, she loved keeping company with the two cats.

Unfortunately while my mom was away in Florida she suffered a stroke. My sister arranged to have her brought up and checked into a rehabilitation center, she eventually wound up near me. We spoke of getting her a handicapped accessible apartment and she told me she wanted a cat. As luck happened, another stray came around and we adopted him, Peppe; I brought Peppe with me to visit my mom and she fell in love. But sadly mommy died before our plans came to fruition. We kept Peppe, he was after all, my mom’s cat.

Another move, to a house this time with the three cats. This time we did start our family… with children. When our daughter was born we named her for my mom, something Peppe obviously connected with because Jenni “became his person”. As a toddler she got away with “anything” with him, and the bond was strong.

Peppe developed kidney disease and passed away at 14, a hard lesson for each of us. Our children (our son had joined the ranks) loved the cats and treasured time with them. Dusty lived to 18 and Pumpkin to 19. Since then there have been a line of felines to share our home… Shadow, Issabelle, Whiskas, Mario, Tigger and Luigi. Our daughter and son grew into adults and have their own homes with their loved ones. Mark and I made a move to a lovely house in the country, Tigger and Luigi share the house with us.

None of the cats ever replaced their predecessors, each one had their own distinctive personality. Each time one of our fur babies “crossed the rainbow bridge”, they took a little piece of our hearts with them. But each one also left us with so much love and fullness in our hearts that we had more to share. Each cat was adopted, as a stray or from the shelter and with all of their unique personalities they all shared one common trait — anytime we’ve needed a cuddle, they’ve always known and gave us cuddles and love to spare.


Pumpkin & Mark
1976




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Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Inequities


I recently read a story about a pregnant woman in a “third world country” who went into labor early. Because of several miscarriages, stillbirths and a Cesarean section, she was considered very high risk… so much so that the area midwife refused to take on the responsibility of birthing this child.

Her husband was frantic as he borrowed a car from a stranger and drove her to the nearest hospital — only to be turned away because they said they were not prepared for high-risk births. She was driven to the next hospital hours away and when they arrived late at night they were told the doctor who delivered babies was home sleeping and could not be disturbed. Even more desperate the husband soon was speeding along tenuous roads to a hospital even further away.

Meanwhile this woman’s labor had advanced and, knowing that there was no way they could make it in time, she screamed that the baby was coming. The father to be stopped the car and helped his wife as she delivered a beautiful and thankfully healthy little boy. He even knew how to tie and cut the cord before wrapping the newborn in his shirt and handing the bundle to the new mom.

This true tale happened in 2021, but not in America. For sure this could never happen here…

Then I thought of all the inequities throughout our own country during this past year and this COVID crisis. We have all heard of the overcrowded situations as critically ill patients were quarantined in hospitals, we’ve heard about the overworked healthcare workers, and of course we’ve heard about the lack of supplies and respirators. What so many of us didn’t want to hear or acknowledge was how hospitals located in and near to low-income areas had far less nurse-to-patient ratio, less respirators and less personal attention to each patient. Lower income neighborhoods also typically offered fewer testing sites than higher income neighborhoods which added to more advanced cases and more infectious contacts by the time a patient came to the hospital.

Meanwhile, while no one was immune to this often-deadly virus, there did seem to be more equipment and more staff where wealthier patients lived. In more financially stable communities the general health was also better with less untreated high-risk conditions to complicate the infection.  When the former president caught COVID, he was treated with a new drug, not yet formally approved by the FDA, and manufactured in scarce quantities. Donald Trump was given the VIP treatment because of his status as president; some of the wealthiest individuals also routinely receive VIP treatment during hospitalizations. While there are many selfless doctors and nurses, there are also many high-priced doctors and staff who gravitate to hospitals where pay and working conditions are better.

There are some who claim this disparity in treatment and available medicines and equipment has to do with social and financial status. There are those who believe this inequity is based on whether the patient is white or not. Still there is a third belief that insurance is partly to blame as companies decide what treatment or medicine is worth their investment — of course those who can afford it tend to have better insurance coverage, so again maybe it does come down to wealth.

America is not known as a “third world country”, but even in those less developed areas, there should be no inequity in life-saving treatment for any human being. And especially in our American cities, every person deserves VIP-level care and treatment.



 

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