I Can’t Shut Up Anymore!

I know, most of you are saying, “Wait, when have you ever shut up?” But I do sometimes edit what I say here for fear of offending some readers, but I just can’t worry about it anymore!  I just watched “Chasing Coral,” a multi-award winning documentary on Netflix and was so affected witnessing the devastation of our coral reefs, I whipped into action. I am not a diver and I’m a barely capable swimmer, but this isn’t about saving coral reefs just because they’re beautiful to look at, the death of coral reefs is a very serious threat to our planet and it’s been going on for decades.

“Chasing Coral,” is all about the impact global warming is having on our coral reefs. They’re dying because the temperature of the ocean is rising. Some sources say the earth has lost half of it’s coral reefs in the last 30 years. The documentary was created and researched with the help of some outstanding scientists and marine biologists and they all agree, coral is a fundamental part of a huge ecosystem.

If there’s one thing science teaches us it’s that all life is connected. If you get rid of one thing “you” might not consider important, it affects everything else.  I’ll pick something annoying like mosquitoes. Everyone hates them. Let’s say we eradicated all mosquitoes — then what would creatures like birds and bats eat? Pretty soon all sorts of species would die, just because of stupid annoying mosquitoes. That’s the way it is with coral reefs, which are neither stupid,nor annoying. They are gorgeous and they’re home to an amazing number of fish and sea animals. If you think their death isn’t going to affect sea life, and you, you are badly mistaken. Continue reading

Saint “Tude” Knocks Me on my Butt…Again.

Dictionary of Saints

This was one of my mom’s books.  I had no idea there were so many saints!

I just consulted my Dictionary of the Saints and there is no Patron Saint of Gratitude listed. Maybe she or he is going incognito, but there is definitely a presence out there because any time I start having one of my self-indulgent, poor-me moments, I am busted by the Patron Saint of Gratitude. I think I’ll call her St. Tude. This happens about once every 1.5 years, like the day I was on my way to the therapist in 2015, and on Valentine’s Day 2014.

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EGBOK

A few nights ago I was doing my bedtime ritual of piling pillows around me just the way I like them. I got all nice and cozy, then reached up and turned off my bedside lamp. I waited for sleep to knock me out, which for a Tunno takes about seven seconds. As I lay in the darkness of my bedroom I saw something I hadn’t seen in years.

It’s been like summer here recently with highs in the 90’s, so I sleep with my windows open. There was a little sliver of an opening, where the edge of the window swings away from the window frame and that’s where I saw it. My blazing little star.

The last time I saw it, or its cousin was probably 15 years ago when I was going through the hell that precedes a divorce. I was miserable and either unable to sleep or woke up in the middle of the night.

That night also, I saw the navy sky through the tiny space between the curtain and the window. As I lay there, I could see a small star gyrating wildly, as if it was doing everything it could to get my attention. I watched it flicker and flash for a long time, like a lit fuse. Not only did it make me feel better, but it felt like a message from my mom (a lit fuse of a woman if ever there was one.)

Then in my head, I heard her voice. She told me not to worry, that everything would be OK, and that someday I’d have more money than I knew what to do with. (This was in the midst of some serious financial crap.) I couldn’t imagine things ever getting that much better, but she was always good at making stuff up to make me feel better.

Well the star was back this week, and I waited for her voice, but never heard it. This time the voice came from inside me. It said, Keep working hard and things will turn around, you’ll see. Just keep moving forward. That’s what I’m doing and I think that’s what we all have to do right now.

I’ve talked to so many people in the past few months, who are so discouraged by politics and government and I understand. Politicians on both sides, seem to be playing a game, but to us, this matters. Our daily lives are affected, so everyone wants his or her voice to be heard.  I say write letters, make phone calls and do what you have to do to change what you can. Don’t just complain, do something. I am writing my representatives and asking them to bring back the Fairness Doctrine because I think it will make us less polarized. But we can’t let this stuff make us crazy.

I try to do what my friend Carolyn does. She seeks to understand. She really tries to figure out why people feel the way they do. She may walk away still thinking they’re totally misguided, but it makes her empathetic. And empathy is the gateway to understanding, tolerating and eventually liking others. This is very beneficial since I am the lone Democrat in a family of Republicans I happen to love. Maybe if we just pretend that everyone of the opposite party is family, things could work out.

Plus, here’s some heartening news, Glenn Beck is preaching love and understanding. Check out this article called, Glenn Beck Wants to Heal the America He Divided, One Hug at a Time, and be amazed! If this can happen, what then is not possible?

I’m old enough to know we’ve lived through frightening times before and probably will again and somehow we’ve managed to eke out some progress. I have to believe that with so many smart people in the country wanting to do what’s right, things will even out. So, I’m going to continue to work hard, stay positive and keep an eye out for twinkly stars. I feel fairly certain that if we can all avoid cataclysmic death, everything’s gonna be OK.

Or as they used to say on the Ken and Barkley morning radio show, EGBOK

best egbok

 

Good Things Come to Those Who Wait…and Wait…and Wait.

You probably think I died in my sleep since it’s been three weeks since my last blog post, but big things have been happening. This was foretold in fortune cookies, which usually say things like:  “You will prosper in the field of invention,” but were right on this time.better fortune shot.JPG

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Everyday Heroes Who Don’t Make the News

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Bob trying hard not to look like a pointy birthday hat kind of guy.

Last week my sister-in-law flew me back to Pennsylvania to celebrate my brother Bob’s birthday.  (I am lucky beyond belief to be part of this family.) I do have a photo of Bob in a pointy birthday hat, but I’m not posting it because I’m fairly certain he will hunt me down and kill me if I do. But, I’m keeping it in case blackmail is ever necessary.

 

I got in some great bonding time with family, including adorable great nephews and nieces I never get to see. And I ate too much — again.

The flights were mostly uneventful, although I did have the good fortune to sit beside a very entertaining guy, named Fred,  who sells nitrile gloves.  They’re like rubber gloves only better, especially if you’re allergic to latex. Fred said he would send me some gloves that would protect my fingers when I went blackberry picking and he actually did!  Now I have cool red gloves and can’t wait to head into the brambles.

My family was only a little concerned when I pulled one of Fred’s blue nitrile gloves out of my purse. If you’re a surgeon, a blackberry picker, into kink, or an axe murderer with a latex allergy, here’s a link to Fred’s site:  QRP Gloves and Fingercots.

On the way back, I was lucky enough to run into my brother Bernie and his wife Donna at the airport.  They bought me a glass of wine and a proscuitto sandwich at this cool little Italian store at the Pittsburgh airport. (God love them!) I never even knew the place existed, but Bernie’s internal GPS (Global Proscuitto Sensor)  can sniff out an Italian store no matter where on earth he is. It’s his sixth sense, which proves he is my mother’s son.

It was a good thing I had the wine because I needed it on the final leg of my flight from Las Vegas to Burbank. A ridiculously drunk young man  in front of me kept hitting on the girl beside me, who was dressed in a skimpy hot pink dress and heels. I leaned toward the girl and told her this was one of those times I was thankful I was too old to be noticed. The drunk guy was so drunk, he sloppily peered around the seat to see if I warranted any attention, then drunkenly turned away, disproving the theory that everyone is beautiful if you’re drunk enough.

Then we took off with a loud, visible, too close for comfort, thunderstorm in the distance. It felt like the plane was being batted around by a giant toddler who just wanted to have fun.  I kept seeing lightning flashes, and the pilot announced he was sorry, but the flight attendants would not be able to serve refreshments due to turbulence.

I kept repeating to myself,  “God, please don’t let us die…I have way too much left to do.”

After the first 20 minutes, the plane climbed above the clouds, the toddler stopped batting at our plane, the stars were dancing, the drunk fell asleep, and life felt possible again.

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Southwest Flight 2810 safely on the tarmac in Burbank.

When I got off the plane, I looked at it on the tarmac and thought, that could have ended really badly. Lightning could have struck and caused something to malfunction — although this story in the Washington Post says that improvements in plane construction mean that seldom, if ever, happens.

But it made me think about the pilots who do this work every day.  Taking off in ugly weather, because schedules are everything in air travel, must be scary as hell. When I think of all the flights I’ve been on where there was turbulence, or lightning, wind, snow, or ice on the wings that had to be removed, I realize how lucky I’ve been to have had such good pilots and how I take them for granted.

So, although (thank God) this was not a “Sully” Sullenberger moment, I’m dedicating this blog post to you two pilots of Southwest Flight 2810, departing Las Vegas Monday, August 22, at 8:05 p.m. and arriving in Burbank at 9:05 p.m. I just got a response from Southwest saying that Captain Lewin was responsible for our safe flight and landing. But I’m sure his co-pilot helped. (And just in case you ever happen to read this, Captain Lewin,  I really was OK with no beverages.)

Pilots

The pilots are behind those little windows somewhere.

I tried to get a shot of you from outside the plane, but I couldn’t get close enough. I wish I’d had the presence of mind to try to meet you and thank you in person for allowing me to continue to enjoy my family and live my life. I would have loved to post your photos and give you both a big hug.

You don’t get called a hero for doing your job well every day, but you are both heroes to me because your skill and a little bit of luck made that flight uneventful. They say any flight you walk away from is a great flight and I heartily agree. I applaud you and all pilots who do a fantastic job keeping us safe day after day.  Thank you so very much!

Rocco’s Italian Deli – My New Home Away From Home

Outside front of deliLast week my friend, Denise and I met at Rocco’s, her favorite Italian deli on Vermont Avenue in Los Angeles. When I walked in, Denise was locked in conversation with a sweet, older Italian man, named Rocco, who was sitting beside her. Yes, this was THE Rocco.

Rocco

Rocco with an adoring customer who I couldn’t fit in this space.

If Denise and I were stronger, we would have kidnapped him – that’s how cute he was. He told us about his life, when he immigrated to the U.S.,  the different jobs he had, and more. His memory was remarkable — and he is no spring chicken! Then, his wife came in and was just as cute as he was. Then I met his daughter, Rosamarie and…well it was pretty much a love fest. I didn’t get to meet his son, Francesco, but I’m sure I would have loved him too. And, I haven’t even gotten to the food, which was delicious.

In a city as big as Los Angeles, usually, the best you can hope for in a restaurant is good food, served to you fast, and maybe with a smile. But I felt like I was in my parents house at Rocco’s, and that was the thing that kept me beaming all the way home. Even though Rocco occasionally uses a cane, he kept getting up and offering to fill our cups, or bus our table. His daughter did the same. The hospitality was not forced, it was real and we had such a wonderful afternoon there, we hated to leave. Continue reading

Bobby Kennedy – Some Inspiration for These Times

I’ve never been more concerned about our country. There’s such anger and division, it’s as if we’ve forgotten the U.S. is supposed to be the ideal. We’re supposed to be the example the world looks to, where everyone lives together and gets along — The Starship Enterprise of countries. The place where justice prevails.

My nephew, Patrick and I were talking this week about how we want inspirational leadership for our country. We want a great leader — someone who makes people strive to be their best. Someone who inspires by example. He mentioned the remarkable speech that Robert Kennedy made when Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated.

I was 13-years-old at that time. I remember the horror and hopelessness I felt when Robert Kennedy was assassinated, but I didn’t recall this speech, so I went online to find it. It brought me to tears. Continue reading

Loving Lois

Lolo cropped

Lois more than 10 years ago when life was easier.

Lois is in the hospital again.  She was my mother-in-law for 22 years and just turned 98-years-old. I feel bad because I should have gone to see her a few weeks ago when I had a free weekend day, but stayed home to get things done instead.

My guilt is overwhelming because she is not only sick, but in desperate need of a haircut and won’t get one unless it’s free, or cheap. (Mine are free). I’m sure she’s starting to look like George Harrison on the cover of All Things Must Pass.

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Be the Best Example You Can Be

It’s great to have a friend who’s an investigative reporter. He can do things like find out where old flames live and what their marital status is. But that’s not the only reason I’m friends with Don Ray.
Don’s a genuinely good person with a passion for both, a great story, and history. Plus, years ago, he traveled 2, 000 miles to be at my wedding for one day and I barely had time to even talk to him! I still feel guilty about it.

A while ago, Don invited me to participate in a reading with him, as part of the Endangered History Project.   The story he wanted me to help him tell was particularly appropriate in today’s political climate. (Please click on the link and check it out, it’s a non-profit organization well worth supporting!) Continue reading

Mary’s Angels

Remember back when I thought my dad visited me in the form of a small Asian man at the YMCA? Well, now I’m wondering if my mom’s been sending people my way, for years – but I just never noticed it. Continue reading