Tuesday, July 14, 2009

For the animal lovers out there...

I just love animals..they have such funny personalities. In my life I've had dogs and cats and birds and what a joy they all were. Unfortunately I live in an apartment now so I'm not allowed to have any pets (although I think I may be able to talk them into letting me have a bird so wish me luck on that). My sister received two beautiful parakeets with an awesome two story cage for Mothers Day this year so we can blame my family for getting me thinking about a new bird. I'm very excited at the thought. I truly miss my pets and look forward to the interaction with a new member of our family.

I've had a couple of Cockatiels. I had one named Scarlet. She was pure white with just a small orange and yellow spot on each side of her head. She was a very talented little bird. She liked to walk back and forth across a keyboard and make her own music. She also would sit on my shoulder and make her way down to my hand if I had a cracker there. She would abscond with the cracker and come back when she was finished with it (my little cracker thief). Scarlet loved to have her head rubbed...she would climb down my arm to my hand and gently rub her head back and forth across the back of my hand and that was her signal she wanted to have her head rubbed. She loved attention and she was such a pleasure. I miss her so much but she lived a long life and died of natural causes many years ago.

As an animal lover one of the things I love doing is vi sting a website called Africam.com where you can view live camera feeds in hopes of spotting something wonderful like elephants, zebras, wildebeests and more. There is also a flamingo cam and I love to watch all those beautiful pink flamingo's. There are always so many of them. It's a wonderful site and I love watching for the animals to appear and interact with each other or steal themselves a drink of water. Its also great because you can capture the pictures to your computer. I've captured a lot of them and use them as a slide show for my screen saver or use as beautiful backgrounds for my desktop.

There are also plenty of ways to interact with others on the site in the form of blogs and forums. You can submit photos and video catches to share with others on the site and also chat with other site members. If you use twitter you can follow them ( @africam ) and they will alert you when animals are spotted by other members so you can go view them too. The site is free and can give lots of enjoyment to anyone of all ages. Its great for kids to see these animals in their natural habitat. If you enjoy animals as I do, I highly recommend this site.

There is nothing more loyal and loving than a family pet. If you're lucky enough to experience having a furry family member remember to love and care for them and you will get so much more than you could ever imagine in return.

Monday, July 13, 2009

My Heart Breaks for those involved..

My heart breaks for the families involved in the case of all those desecrated graves in Burr Oaks Cemetery in Alsip, Illnois. How can someone be so greedy as to think that disturbing the resting place of someones loved one in order to profit is ok? If it were up to me I'd lock up those involved and throw away the keys. They showed no respect and they deserve no respect in return.

The families of the deceased will not only have to wait at the very least months to find out where the remains of their loved ones are, if that's even possible, but once identified they will have to suffer the pain of the burial all over again. It's just unfathomable how deeply these families will be affected by this atrocity committed by those who had no respect for those who have passed on. The most heartbreaking thing about all of this is the fact that the families will never forget. They will carry this pain for the rest of their lives. They had faith that their loved ones had been laid to rest and to their horror they were betrayed in one of the worst ways possible. Even sadder is the fact that many of them knew personally the very people who betrayed them.

Another thing that disturbs me greatly is the fact that the original casket of Emmet Till was found in an old shed yet those who were arrested for this atrocity deny that his remains were involved in the scheme. I find this hard to believe. If his remains were not involved his casket would not be in some shed. Till was savagely beaten to death because of racism. It's saddens me to think that not only was he horribly disrespected in life solely because of his race, but Emmet has also again been treated horrifically treatment in death.

My thoughts and prayers go out to all the family members involved in this indescribable difficult situation. This had to make us think and just maybe we should check further into this to make sure its not happening in other parts of the country. I for one will be keeping an even closer watch on my loved ones who have passed on. I can't even imagine going through such a tragedy as these families are suffering now.

You can read more about this story on the CNN website in the story titled "Cemetery with missing grave sites declared crime scene"

Friday, July 10, 2009

Are you kidding me?....

I was appalled at what happened to a group of minority children from The Creative Steps Day Care in Philadelphia a couple of weeks ago. These children only wanted to swim and beat the summer heat. I truly thought we were past the kind of racism and ugly thinking displayed by members of the Valley Swim Club.

About two weeks ago the Valley Swim Club sent away a group of mostly African-American and Hispanic children whose day camp had paid $1900 so that they could enjoy a bit of summer swimming. After arriving for what they thought was going to be their first of several days of swimming during the summer they were sent away, asked not to return, and their money was refunded. The children were subjected to racist and ugly hurtful comments by other children and their parents who were swimming at the club.

It saddened me to see and hear the hurt in the children interviewed after this unforgivable display of racism. How could someone turn such beautiful children away. Their only desire was to enjoy their summer vacation.

Now they (Valley Swim Club) are making what in my opinion are excuses for why the children were turned away. They are saying they didn't realize there would be so many children and it was just a safety issue. I would think they would have known an approximate number of children when they made the agreement with the day camp. That also doesn't excuse the racist remarks made by club members that were there when the children from the day camp arrived.

If they want to prove they aren't a racist club, maybe they should reconsider allowing racist members that were there that day to remain members and allow the children to come back, although I can understand why the children would be too traumatized to return to that club. I don't see that scenario happening since I'm not buying their excuses. As the old saying goes, "I don't trust them any farther than I could throw them." I don't know where the Valley Swim Club has been but the days of separate restaurants, water fountains and sitting in the back of the bus are over. They need to catch up with the rest of us.

The Valley Swim Club needs to join with those of us who know and believe that all of us, no matter what our skin color, religion, or culture are all equal in every sense of the word. There is never a good excuse for any kind of racism in our country or in the world for that matter. I have to say I'm as disgusted with their behavior as I've ever been with anyone.

Saturday, July 4, 2009


Before I start my reflection I would first like to say that I hope everyone had a very safe and happy 4Th of July. And most importantly I would like to thank all the soldiers that keep me safe and make it possible for me to live in this great country that allows me to be free. I would also like to thank the families of these soldiers who also sacrifice so that their loved ones are free to proudly serve our country. And I also have to thank all the soldiers including my father, my step-son and two very close friends who are very much my family also who served our great country in the past. If not for all of you I might not be setting here today with the freedoms I enjoy. Thank you so much and know that my love and my prayers are with you always.

OK all of that being said I will now explain to you all of the thoughts that passed through my mind today. They may sound a bit like self pity, and maybe they are but sometimes in order to feel our feelings and get them out a bit of self pity is a good thing or at the very least OK once in a while, so here I go.

Have you ever had one of those days in which circumstances of the day seem to force you to reflect on your life? I'm sure you have..at least I tend to believe most people have, When I woke up tired and groggy from the late nights I've come to dread I thought I'd had my day all planned out (I tend to do that even though they never end up how I planned them). I knew it wasn't going to be my normal 4Th of July. I'm used to enjoying a great barbecue surrounded by family and friends, but because of the normal flow of families and their other obligations this years 4Th of July get together was canceled.

Even though I was a bit disappointed (well maybe more that a bit) I still planned what was to be a minimal celebration for my 18 year old son and myself. We would enjoy an early dinner until it was time for him to go to work and then I would later watch the fireworks display from my balcony or wherever they would be best seen from my apartment complex. Not my usual celebration as I mentioned before but nonetheless still a celebration of the most important day to our country.

Unfortunately my day wasn't to end up how I had imagined it. I did make a small early dinner for my son and I and we did enjoy that. He then went to shower and get ready for work. He was suppose to start at 7pm, but that was not to be. He got called in to work early as they had several who were sent home for one reason or another. So he hurriedly got ready for work and I dropped him off. I came back home and enjoyed the company of my online friends until it was time to go watch the fireworks. I waited and waited for dusk to come and finally I heard the start of fireworks in the distance..and not just from one location but in every direction. Well since of course my day had not gone as planned I was not surprised that although I could hear the fireworks, much to my disappointment I could barely see them over the tops of the trees. So much to my dismay I reluctantly went back to my empty apartment and watched what fireworks displays I could find on television. Not as exciting but I guess at least I got to see some.

I guess one thing I haven't mentioned was that my oldest son is away on a great week long vacation trip with his dad, his uncle and cousins for the holiday and my daughter has moved away to another state. That just added to the start of the loneliness and at least a minimal amount of depression of my day. Thus the evening of reflection. While I usually enjoy times of reflection....today..not so much. I thought about all the twists and turns my life has taken, of course none of which were planned. Two divorces, the death of my second husband to alcohol (he was my ex by then) and then finally finding my soul mate and then his sudden and unexpected death. It was devastating and not at all what I had imagined for myself.

In 2001 I decided to go to college (I hadn't had the opportunity when I was young and got married at age 18). I was so excited about my future and did very well in college winning an award and making the deans list and receiving other honors. I was even invited to take an honors class. I worked so hard and knew what I wanted to do when I completed my degree. I wanted to work in a capacity that helped forge better relationships between employers and employees and see that the employees were treated with the respect they deserve. I completed 2 associate degrees with honors and was going to be going on to receive my bachelors degree. Unfortunately before I could achieve this goal, as I said earlier I lost my soul mate unexpectedly, I lost my job and soon after that I became ill and it seemed one thing after was going wrong with my health. I won't go into details, but because of my illnesses I'm unable to work and I have no insurance so am limited on what I can do about it.

So here I am at 51 (much to early), depending on my sons to help me until some miracle happens and I can finally take care of myself again. I am so far from where I thought I'd be at this point in my life. It's not even a matter of starting over. I would have done that if I could have. I keep thinking in a normal world I could find something to do at home, but with the economy the way it is and so many people losing their jobs, It's not so easy to find something like that right now. Being dependent on my 18 year old son is to say the least depressing. I'm not one who likes to be dependant on anyone, let alone my youngest son. It breaks my heart and my spirit. And yes some days I'd just like to give up. But that's not me either so I keep going. Towards what, I have no idea at this moment.

So this is the reason for my day of reflection. Thinking about the past..the present..and the uncertainty of my future. I have no idea where I'll be next month let alone next year. I wish I could say that my reflections today gave me some answers but unfortunately they didn't. I still don't understand how my life ended up here and I certainly have no idea where it's going at this point. Maybe that revelation will come another day. I can only hope so.

OK so I got it out...not feeling better yet but maybe tomorrow..who knows. I'd also like to say that even though I allowed myself this little pity party and expressed my reflections here, I am in no way asking for or expecting pity from anyone. That wasn't the purpose of my post. It was solely a form of therapy of sorts. And yes I do know that there are so many others that have a much rougher life than I could even imagine and my heart truly goes out to each and every one of them.

So in closing I would like to thank you for listening to my thoughts and hope that you found something here that made you think also.