I Pray 


Tomorrow is an important day in the United States of America. I can’t say I won’t be happy when it’s over and done, but I am very nervous. There have been plenty of years that I don’t care for certain candidates running for president, but this year I’m positively freaked out about one of them possibly winning.

It’s a scary thought. I’ve been saddened by the way our country has become such a place of turmoil and divisiveness that creates an environment for such a person.

No one human is perfect for the position, especially in such a complex and torn nation as we are today. Finding harmony with the Congress, the people and other nations makes the job almost impossible for any leader to do successfully.

The best we can hope is that the person coming into the position is a decent person deep within, intelligent with compassion and the ability to be diplomatic. 

Having a big mouth, ego or a narrow view of the world won’t help in my humble opinion. But I am only one vote.

So I pray the majority of people feel like me.

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Back Of The Queue


Having been in healthcare in the US for 20 years, I know what a poor system it is and how one must really know how to navigate within it or get lost. Plus one must be an advocate for ones-self or have an advocate, or simply get lost.

Luckily my Mom has me! The elderly in this country are forgotten about in more ways than one, and within the healthcare system is one BIG way. As a friend said: they get pushed to the back of the queue. No-one cares…not really. Many can’t speak up for themselves, have poor insurance (and we all know it comes down to money) and don’t really know what’s going on anyway.

But not only am I a healthcare provider, but I have a big mouth. A bad combination if someone isn’t doing their job. Hey, I’m the best patient  or advocate in the world, if the people are treating patients like they are supposed to do. That’s because I know what it’s all about: how hard the patients can be, the thankless hours, the endless paperwork, the nasty co-workers and crappy management/jobs. I get it all. So I tend to be very nice until you cross the line of not caring or not doing what you are trained to do.

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So when someone gets sent home and everything is still wrong, the person is still way too sick–we have a problem Houston! When the home-care RN comes and finds actual data to back this up and tries to call the Doctors and no-one returns phone calls…. well, you can darn well believe this ex-healthcare provider AND daughter is going to be making some phone calls herself.

And they ain’t gonna be pretty!

Come on people! Are you serious here? Is it really only about the money or what? Does anyone care anymore??

So after a rather FIRM, shall we say, discussion with the doctor’s secretary…she said in a very meek tone: hold on please. Oh, yes, I’ll hold on alright. And then I was put through…imagine that!

I finally got a PA on the phone. And finally some resolve. No, Mom won’t go back to the hospital…ever again as a matter of fact thank you very much thanks to all you people! No, that wasn’t an option. And I don’t blame her one little bit. But after much convincing, she did agree to go tomorrow (instead of waiting until Tuesday) to see her Doctor that did the procedure. Thank goodness… It took some doing because she’s fed up with everything, but I was firm with her too. There is just too much going on and she deserves more. I won’t let them turn their backs on this patient.

She was the boss for a long time, but I am now.

You can bet I’m going into that room tomorrow too. And this time, I’m calling the shots!

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Will I Sleep??


 

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THE OLD HOMESTEAD

It was almost a year ago that I left this wonderful home…now I prepare for another big move tomorrow!! This move will be into a tiny 700 square foot condo. I’ve never lived in a condo situation before. Yet I’ve always longed to be part of a community, to belong to a tribe and a neighborhood. So far, with some lovely neighbors, this wish may come true.

There are many things to do within this community: swimming, work out, walking, trips, games and clubs. It’s just a matter of getting involved. Admittedly, for many years now, I’ve been a bit of a recluse. Hopefully I can get myself out of my shell and more sociable. Work doesn’t seem the place that this will happen, so maybe it’ll be this new homestead.

It was built in the ’70’s and appears to have kept the same sense of that era when folks cared more about those around them. The times when neighbors were really neighborly and knew who lived next door. They work hard to make this happen. It’s not quite a co-housing community (not that cool or expensive), but not unlike. Nor is it totally an intentional community, but with all the rules, one could say it’s trying to be.

I’m hoping my pets will make the transition safely and happily. My dog doesn’t know that he already has a new playmate waiting to meet him named Daphne. He will be thrilled since he lost his brother before we moved. My beagle was old and would never had made the trip or tolerated this weather. My pup has been sad without him.

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BYE BYE BRINKLEY

 

I’m more worried about the cats, but tonight I will put out the little carriers for them to sniff. Maybe with a little added catnip. And at least they will only be traveling twenty minutes this time instead of across the country! They should like this new place, with carpets to vomit on and to sharpen their claws….

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HOPEFULLY THE CAT CARRIERS ARE BIG ENOUGH?

While I didn’t get the little place near ‘the lake’ and it’s certainly not my beautiful lake near my old home, I can still walk near the little body of water (I think) if I want. And, in the end, there are just so many good reasons to go through all this trouble to make another move in a year. Honestly, I never thought I would, but hey, sometimes you just gotta do what you gotta do!

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SIGH….THE OLD LAKE….

Who Am I?


This is the unending question of an adoptee. We go through life trying to figure out where we belong, who we look like, how do we fit in and who we are… It does not matter if we come from loving homes (as I did) or if we ended up in less than perfect ones. Most of us have this hole that just can’t be filled by the families that picked us.

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It’s no-one’s fault. It’s just this genetic thing I feel that most of us yearn for deep down, adopted or no–to want to know who ‘our people’ are and what ancestral pool we crawled out of that made that person staring back us look the way we do.

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Well, because of that longing that I’ve had just about as long as I can recall, I took the plunge, and sent in some saliva to a company a couple of months ago and got some DNA testing done. It’s a simple, but accurate test from what they say. I’ve had friends do it and while it cost a little, for me, it was worth every penny.

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I’ve waited patiently for the results to come back and while some of them corroborated what my adopted Mom said to some degree, some of them surprised me. Here is what I found out:

Europe: 79%

  • Italy/Greece: 61%
  • European Jewish: 8%
  • Iberian Peninsula: 7%
  • Trace Regions: (Europe East 3% and Great Britain <1%)

West Asia: 21%

  • Caucasus (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Turkey) 14% Note: also places like Bulgaria, Jordan, Greece, Italy, Kuwait, Palestine, Romania, Turkmenistan
  • Trace regions: 7% Middle East ( Syria, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Oman, Yemen, United Arab Emirates (UAE), Lebanon, Israel, Pakistan and Iran)

My adopted Mom had told me about my Italian heritage long ago and more recently that there might have been some Jewish background (although I still think of this more as a religion personally), so now it is all confirmed! It is very exciting to have some concrete information. She thought it was very interesting too.

But all the other cultural information was amazing. It kind of puts so many deep seeded things about me together now. Because as I’ve gotten older, and actually raised an adopted child, I have begun to believe that nature has much to do with how we turn out vs. nurture. We can’t get away from our genes, no matter how much we may think so. What is tied to our DNA is real, ALL of us. That is why we as a species have survived and do what we do all the time.

So then too, it is why we as individuals act a certain way, crave things, miss things, need things, want for things, feel certain ways, act a certain way, are shy or bold, crave a big family or like small family gatherings. I have always wanted to be a part of a huge family and now I wonder if it is my Italian/Greek/Mediterranean background??

It also seems to hurt me on some soul level when refugees from these areas are suffering; it’s like I’m suffering–maybe I am on some genetic level.This is the beauty of humanity and the binding of our molecules and atoms. We are all one when it comes right down to it.

Maybe this is the start of a journey to a distant place, a land and history that belong to me. A part of me that has not really forgotten. Because within my DNA my ancestors are carried: the memories of their lives, their footsteps, their journeys across land and oceans. Journeys that eventually brought two people here in the US together,  combining their DNA creating me.

And now I carry DNA and I gave it to my daughters who carry it on filled with all the ancestors from the ages. May we do them all honor.

 

 

 

Baby Steps


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Maybe today dawns bright and hopeful, whether or not it’s raining where you live. So often our days are filled with news that is brimming with despair and gloom making it hard for any of us to feel there is reason to move towards any kind of joyful tomorrow.

But for me two rather monumental things took place recently. Two things that show maybe, just maybe we have can have a reason for small glimmering hope. It may only be like a thing that is crouched in a small corner, hiding in the darkness, fearful to show itself in the full light. Afraid that if it does, it will be recognized and laughed back into its anonymous place. Yet, it’s there, and it’s creeping out….

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There are those, though, in this world of ours that do great work! Those that fight against the despair. These warriors battle for the future, our future and all the injustices and crimes against the planet so that we may go on.

It’s to those, that I dedicate this blog post. They are our heroes.

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Recently, many nations met at the  2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference. It was an incredible and, in my opinion, unprecedented conference to come up with concrete goals to combat climate change and all the horrors that come with it. Most of the Big Players were there, which is huge! Finally! The world is paying attention to something that can truly end our planet. Read about it here:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2015_United_Nations_Climate_Change_Conference

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Another giant step forward for humankind was that this was the first time that Saudi Arabia allowed WOMEN to run for office and vote! Quoting NPR: “Today, the government announced that several of the 979 women who ran had been elected to the council.” Also 130,000 registered (which isn’t a lot, but it’s a start). For a country that has been decidedly sexist against women for decades, this is truly hopeful!

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So, I see this as progress in an otherwise bleak forecast. Baby steps these may be in the vast amount of work there is yet to do in the damage we create and the inequity that exists, but at least it’s forward movement.

With this year rapidly coming to a close, maybe we can each evaluate our own lives and say: how can I take up the battle cry and head to the front line? I know I am going to try.

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A Thanksgiving Perspective


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As we near Thanksgiving I was ruminating on the President’s speech on immigration last night. I don’t like to get too political here on my blog, but I feel compelled to share a few thoughts.

First, I have to say (and which will possibly surprise or annoy some), Thanksgiving is my least favorite holiday. My feelings are based on a few reasons: it bothers me that we pick a ‘day’ to be thankful when it feels to me that so many of us don’t feel thankful much of the time (just listen to people around you); people overeat and stuff themselves on this day when so many in this country and others are starving and we continue to be so wasteful with food in this country–not to mention how unhealthy we are around food in this country; and finally the origins of this holiday seem profoundly hypocritical to me given the suffering of the Native Americans in this country today. These are my feelings, so I often spend it working, alone and/or fasting. Plus as one maitre de at a restaurant once said: Thanksgiving is a rather tragic holiday for a vegetarian. (Now I’m a vegan and gluten-free!! )

So here we are in 2014 with an immigration war raging again. It’s not the first time the politicians have fought this battle, and it’s far from over. But I thought about this war, and I thought about Thanksgiving. And I thought about those Pilgrims and the first steps they took on this land when they emigrated here. How they had hopes and dreams for a better life. How they had suffered dreadful seas and weather and lost friends,  family and left the homes they knew. They did it because they had a glimmer that maybe they could have something new, forge new fields and build a new, freer government.

They were met by strangers when they set down. Those immigrants who put their feet on this land, not their land, but the land of other caretakers who had lived here for centuries and followed the way of earth. They came in droves after and pushed the natives back. Killed the animals and brought theirs. Cut down the trees and planted their crops. Brought disease and alcohol. More immigrants came from other lands and this nation of ours grew and grew. Cities flew up. Pollution filled the skies. Cars filled the streets. The natives were placed on small tracks of lands and were told this was all they had now.

And now generations of those immigrants call themselves Americans. We, the descendants of those immigrants, call this country great. New immigrants want to come because it is a great nation with opportunity, money, jobs, education. Other immigrants, just like those first ones want to come here because they have the same hopes and dreams to make a better life for themselves and their children.  They climb fences, swim rivers, deal with police, get shot…anything to come to our wonderful country and to get away from terrorism, drug dealers, and murderers.

So on Thanksgiving, when people sit around their tables to give thanks–remember your ancestors. Remember where we all came from and why we are here and free. Think about why others might want to be also. Remember we’re not perfect either. We took when we came. Maybe we need to pay it forward now by doing right to some new immigrants because it may certainly be too late to make up for what we’ve done to the Native people who were already here.

Good Americans


I had a discussion at work today with someone about what makes a good American. Well actually, I’m not so sure it was a ‘discussion’, but rather me defending the fact that I was a good American in a different way than this person.

This ‘talk’ started around the lowering of the flag for Mandela which this person didn’t believe we should do because he wasn’t from this country. He feels that only dignitaries and important people from America should be honored by such a gesture. He was a marine and feels the flag has special meaning, but implied had particular meaning especially to him.

I took offense to this honestly. And it raised questions in my mind, just what does make a good American? While I certainly understand why he feels such pride having served our country, and I would by no means diminish that–I feel there are other ways in which people do honor to this country.

He made the point, and strongly, that many men and women die for our country overseas, and the flag doesn’t go up and down for them. Yes, I do understand that for sure. But they are honored with flags of their own and in other ways. I tried to explain to him how Mandela stood out as a human being and how he saved a whole country from war. I am not saying an individual life isn’t any less important, but when one person particularly shines, then an allied country can pay tribute.

Maybe I did not enlist in the service, but I do service every day.  I have been a vegetarian for 37 years and therefore cut my carbon footprint considerably. That means I don’t tax the resources as much in this country. I’ve also been an athlete so I stay healthy and thereby don’t put a burden on the healthcare system like most Americans. I recycle and have way before it was fashionable and compost too.

More importantly I try to be kind to my fellow human, no matter what race, socio-economic background or religion. Would I die for my country and freedom? If push came to shove, I would.  I personally believe in trying to work things out peacefully, but I don’t think that makes me less of an American.

Some people choose to be soldiers that carry guns. Others of us are soldiers that use words to change things one person at a time. Our way is much less noticeable at times, can be frustrating and certainly isn’t always as immediately as convincing as pointing a gun at someone. But people do die for their words or go to jail for many, many years. And for their beliefs.

So no, I don’t carry a gun and I didn’t enlist to fight for my country, but I do always fight for what’s right! Equality, peace, justice, freedom for everyone, ending hunger and poverty, and spreading love. Sometimes the people with the biggest guns don’t even remember why they were carrying them.