Archive for May, 2010

Can there be anything more wonderful than being a grandma?

Yep.  A grandma to such sweethearts like these little cherubs.  Isn’t this delightful of Annika and Kiki?

And look at how sweet Kardy is.  How fast she is growing.  Each year the girls look more and more alike.

I can see so much of Heather, Jonny and even a touch of me in this.  With me I think it’s the bangs..I had bangs like that when I was her age.  What a cutie she is.

And here’s three of the four little Engines….just puffing along.  She how Oskar is leading the pack? Oh, how quickly they grow up!

All photos used in this post belong to their mommy–a phenomenal photographer. I steal them from her on a regular basis to post on my blog.

This is called photo kidnapping. Fortunately, there is no ransom because if there were it would be spending at least a week with grandma so she can spoil them to their utmost delight!!!!  And then Boppa would spoil them even more.


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OK there’s lots of discussion around the privacy policy on facebook. I can appreciate people’s issues around that. And I understand their angst with identity theft and all going on. But, heck, forget that minor thing—there are MUCH more important things one needs to worry about.  Well, in my view—namely FOUR issues.

The first is what to do about folks who send you requests to be friends. Half the time I have NO idea who they are and wonder if I know them or not. I don’t want to offend people that I might know (particularly people I work with who use names others than those I know them by—at least a name different than their facebook name) and write to them and say “DO I KNOW YOU?”  And some people make it very difficult to figure out who they are because they use some baby photo of themselves or maybe a photo of their kids.  Or they use some picture of flowers or some crazy photo like my husband does with some outrageous crib art he’s found. (See photos below—honestly he really doesn’t look like these—although I do see some resemblances!)

And, while I’m on the subject of husbands—there’s the “I wanna be friends with all your friends” syndrome.  If I scroll through his list of friends I swear it’s like he is trying to clone my friendships. I speak with authority on this subject because I’ve done it to other people’s facebook accounts—I go through THEIR friends to find some of my old friends—but that’s the point—I actually KNOW these people. Should we be flattered when folks want to “clone” our friends?

And then there’s the third dilemma I’ll call the degrees of separation dilemma.  I have accepted FRIENDS on my facebook account who are really acquaintances.  And then I have those who are family, and then there are those who are colleagues. And then there’s those who I honestly don’t remember knowing but they say something pithy in their friend request message and I think..”hmmm if I act like I don’t remember this the secret will be out I’m losing my mind.  Can’t have THAT happen.”

And the fourth is that folks like MY SON are deleting their accounts because of the real privacy policy denying access INTO THE HAPPENINGS OF THEIR LIVES. That kind of passive aggressive behavior should be outlawed. Come on it’s the only way a mom has access to insider info on the lives of her kids.  Not acceptable at all.

So, any suggestions?  What are your facebook dilemmas?

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If you look at the map of Africa, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)—the former country of Zaire– is situated almost in the heart of the continent. And if you look at the map of the DRC you will find a tiny place named Nyankunde near the city of Bunia located on the eastern side of the country bordering Uganda.

Although the region where Nyankunde is located is savannah land it rises out of the western edge of the Great Rift Valley and is surrounded by tropical mountains and lush rainforests. Ironically, the juxtaposition in the unstable geology of the area mirrors the unstable politics and history. Centrally situated in the crossroads of the continent (and rumored to be part of the Lagos-Mombassa transcontinental highway) the region has a turbulent history and is often at the center of horrific regional and tribal fighting and massacres.

However, even though it’s been home to some of the most fierce tribal groups in the country it’s also been at the core of the work of many others who have dedicated their lives and diligently labored to help those in need. The missionary medical hospital of Nyankunde is one of those groups offering something more than in-fighting and turbulence. (http://www.nyankunde.org/english05.htm) The hospital was managed by several different churches and Mission Aviation Fellowship (http://www.maf.org) an organization that provides emergency medical flights.

Although Nyankunde was a LONG day’s drive (or a relatively short flight in a Cessna six-seater) from where I lived it offered some of the best if not only medical care in the area. Since many patients came from long distances the hospital provided small housing units—duplexes—where expatriate patients could stay during the period they were there seeking medical treatment.

In late 1979 I was temporarily living in one of those housing units–a small duplex—with my husband and two children five year old Heather and four year old Danny. I really don’t remember why we were there exactly but since Nyankunde was a hospital we were obviously there for some medical reason. On the other side of the duplex where we were staying was another family from Iran. The husband was a UNICEF employee and he was there with his wife, Rana, and two children—a boy and a girl about the same ages as my children. One of the few pleasures we had while we stayed there was a shortwave radio that permitted us to listen to a number of stations broadcast from other parts of the world. Notable among these were BBC and the Voice of America.

I’ll never forget our shock late one afternoon when we were sitting in the front yard listening to the BBC when a special news broadcast announced that 66 Americans were being held hostage in the American Embassy in Tehran. Iranian militants had seized the embassy in a reaction against perceived US government attempts to undermine the Iranian Revolution after the overthrow of the Shah of Iran. I will never forget how Rana and I sat there listening to the political rants by the leaders in my country and the leaders in her country of Iran. We listened in growing horror about what was taking place as we watched our children joyfully play together in the grass in front of the living quarters we shared. Although the world around us seemed to be whirling out of control we were two women focused on what mattered most to us—keeping our children safe and dealing with the day in and day out demands of caring for our families.

I have often thought of that experience and pondered how much different the world would be if our efforts to achieve peace and come to an agreement would just focus on the two most important things: keeping our children safe as they joyfully play together and meeting the daily demands of taking care of our families. It seems so simple. So, tell me, why does it have to be so hard?

Photos of Nyankunde. Source:  facebook Nyankunde page   


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When my blonde haired blue-eyed daughter was in 4th and 5th grade one of her best friends was named Lisa.  Lisa lived across the street from our house with her grandmother and mother.  Her father was dead– killed many years earlier. He was a revolutionist in his home land of China and fought for the rights and liberties that American’s so often take for granted. He was a very well educated man and certainly someone Lisa could speak of and remember with pride.

Lisa was a very bright girl, part of a small group of children in the school district who were targeted for a gifted and talented program. It wasn’t a surprise. She came from a well educated and cultured family. Indeed, from all outside appearances Lisa had it all—smart, petite, cute, gifted.  But, Lisa hated who she was. At least she hated how she looked.

I can recall my shock when this little girl told me she wanted to “fix her eyes” so that no one could tell she was Chinese. She didn’t want to look like her father, mother and grandmother—she wanted to look like Heather.  She didn’t want people to see she was Asian. She wanted to look like the “beautiful women on the TV.” Even at that tender age she was full of angst that no one could love her and want to marry her because of how she looked.

Over the years I’ve met many girls just like Lisa. And each time I meet one I curse the movie, beauty and fashion industry that has sent the message to girls they need to be a certain size and look a certain way to be beautiful and “right”.

This message has created a frantic frenzy to change what people look like and how they live their lives. From invasive actions that change their eyes, their noses, the shape of their chin or brow or cheeks, the size of their breasts, rear ends—you name it surgeries are performed to change all kinds of physical characteristics. They get their skin dyed to become lighter or risk skin cancer sitting under tanning lights to make their skin darker. They get their teeth straightened and whitened. They wear contacts to change their eye color. The list is endless.

Jessica Simpson went around the world to discover what kinds of things women endure to become more attractive. I applaud her effort to heighten awareness about the extremes measures women take to become more attractive. Her expose was shocking.  These range from homeopathic routines to improve skin care, hair and general body health to following dietary regimes and eating habits that are life threatening and abusive.  It has even come to light there’s a dangerous surgery both women and men risk to cut their leg bones in order to add braces to their legs to make them taller.

I feel for mothers raising daughters today. The hype about being slim and beautiful is everywhere—the internet, the TV, the magazines. It surrounds them at school whispered in bathrooms as girls cluster together or openly talked about as they eat their lunches or engage in their daily activities. It’s in the clothing ads—in the food ads—in the perfume and cosmetic ads—even in the sports and active lifestyle ads. Girls and women are bombarded with messages on the global trends to be beautiful and slim.  It’s time to kill that message. It’s time to tell the world it’s about being intelligent, leading an active lifestyle about being unique and individual.  It’s time to have another revolution one that saves the women and girls. It’s about time don’t you think?

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I read lots of articles on how to organize my life. I NEED those articles. And my intentions are good–I mean to organize, clean out and get more healthy.  And I listen VERY carefully.  So, I have summarized the lessons I have gleaned from my extensive research on the subject and will share them with you today.

  1. Go through all the “things” in your house.  Put things in piles labeled: 1) things I use every day; 2) things I use once a week; 3) things I use once a month; 4) things I never use but just LOVE.  Throw away everything in piles 1-3.  Who needs the things you use all the time—that entails WORK (like dishes, vacuum cleaners, washing machines, etc.)? Work is a dirty FOUR LETTER word. Simplify and just stick to what brings you JOY.
  2. Go through your make up and cosmetics.  Put it in piles labeled: 1) make-up and cosmetics I bought at a dollar store; 2) make-up and cosmetics that was reasonably priced; 3) make-up and cosmetics that cost WAY too much money and I couldn’t afford.  Throw away everything in the first two piles. Anything you can afford just won’t do the trick. It has to be expensive to make you look beautiful and YOUNG. Don’t you listen to the ads? (You being the generic “you” here.) Take all steps to look as good as you can. It will make you feel better and that will make your day go better. And if your day “goes” better you will accomplish more that is useful and of value.
  3. Go through your pantry.  Put everything in piles labeled: 1) food that is healthy and good for your body; 2) food that tastes good; 3) food that tastes good and is high in calories and COMFORT.  Do I have to tell you how to do EVERYTHING?  You know the drill—throw away everything away except pile number three. You only get so much comfort in life. Take it where you can get it.
  4. Go through your mail. Put bills in one pile, catalogues and magazines in another and REAL mail from people you know (like letters) in a third.  Throw away the first pile.  KEEP the second pile.  The third pile doesn’t exist. Live for today. Pay for it tomorrow. Who knows–tomorrow may never come.
  5. Relax, exhale A LOT and enjoy your simplified day and life.     At least for today. There will ALWAYS be tomorrow–at least when it comes to bills.

source:  http://nylawblog.typepad.com

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Cyber Sex in the 60s

I was reading someone’s blog (Buried With Children) who mentioned that in her writer’s workshop they said you should try and do a comic strip for your blog. And I thought, “Hey, that’s a COOL idea. I can try doing that.”  So, here’s my feeble attempt.  Based on a sad but true story.

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Who Cares Really?

I read a blog post yesterday that said there are six rules to having a good blog.

  1. Have a focus/theme.
  2. Ask the readers to respond to questions. Create a conversation with your readers.
  3. Have an attractive and uncluttered blog.
  4. Have guest bloggers.
  5. Don’t have too much text that requires a lot of reading.
  6. Use a mix of visuals, graphics and text.

How do I stack up?

  1. If I have a focus/theme it’s purely by accident. My blog represents my personality and attention span–all over the place. I truly must have ADD.  Hmmmm…..what was I writing about?
  2. Why would I want readers to respond to questions I ask?   This space is dedicated to what I THINK.  It’s the ONLY place in the whole wide world where my opinion can not be challenged unless I WANT it to be challenged.  I get way too much of that dialogue “stuff” at work.
  3. What do you think?  Is my blog cluttered?  Do you have any suggestions on how I can improve the appearance of my blog?  Is it visually appealing to you?  Is it cluttered?  Have I asked enough questions? Will you answer me?  Is anybody listening?
  4. Guest bloggers?  Does that mean I need to value the opinion of other folks?  Well, I did ask one person if I could cut and paste her post on my blog.  Does that count?
  5. Hey, I can NEVER be accused of writing too much.  My posts are NEVER long.  Don’t you agree? (See, I’m using the dialogue thing again.)
  6. Well, considering I don’t know how to do graphs, flow charts, or cutesy things with graphics on this site (my micro-soft “things” –you know pic charts, tables, matrix, etc.—don’t paste into wordpress) and I NEVER take photos (I know they say “never say never” but in this case the superlative NEVER is completely, 100% TOTALLY safe to say–trust me on this–I steal photos from my kids to post on here) there’s not much risk I’ll do too much of this.

So, hmmm……how did I do?

Hey, 1 out of 6 (if you count my “guest cut and paste blogger” )ain’t too bad. Don’t you agree?  Hey, YOU, I’m asking YOU a QUESTION here.  We are supposed to having a dialogue.  REMEMBER????

sO, what visual can I add to this to make this post more visually attractive?

I’m listening….I’m waiting…..

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