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(no subject) [Jun. 17th, 2010|08:49 pm]
[mood |distresseddistressed]

Darling Woman woke up one morning, tumbled out of bed and into the den. Her husband had fallen asleep in front of the television the night before. Whatever wool was in her head promptly cleared when she found her husband in a sea of blood, dead on the floor.

The makings of post traumatic shock were all there. She suffers it still today. At first she enjoyed a lot of support. DW moved here from Greece decades ago. She doesn't have any family in the country. Her deceased husband had only an unmarried and childless brother. We make reference to being alone in the world, but DW is the first person I have ever so encountered. So I applauded everyone who stood by to lend a shoulder or found a way to help a grieving widow.

But time marches on. Support gets allocated to other quarters. One year passes. Still alone and trying to figure out which end is up. Then year two is gone. Not sure she wants to know which end is up. Year three is on the horizon. Improvement is minuscule. I will stand by her side to the end, but I fear the end is within reach, no matter how much I try to steer her in the other direction.

Sigh. The tears well. The thought is now stored here so perhaps it won't have such life in my brain. I can only hope. Hope is not all there is, but it's nothing to be taken lightly either.
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Homeschooling - the adventure begins [Jan. 4th, 2010|04:57 pm]
[Tags|]
[mood |sicksick]

We pulled our youngest son out of public school on December 18th after just too much fighting with the school district. Reviewing a 2 page outline of a pilot program for diploma-bound students with high-functioning Autism, I committed said youngest son to the program. Big mistake, lesson learned but too late. Our youngest endured 3 months of programmatic stupidity too ridiculous to recite before we finally pulled the plug on the nonsense. He was badgered, followed, strong-armed and embarrassed regularly during that time all due to the guidelines and implementation of the pilot program. We tried to play nice, tried working with the team of the new program, eventually tried to get the school to simply return him to the old program, all to no avail. Egotistic school personnel think they know what's best for our son, and we dared to differ. They won't listen to us, so we used the trump card that has been long held in reserve. I don't think they really believed I would do it. The school has learned that Mrs. Nunez doesn't threaten idly.

So, today, we begin officially instructing our son at home. Gathered curriculum, made lesson plans, all that. Then both the DH and I came down sick yesterday. Makes an excellent impression at the office to call in after 2 weeks vacation, and makes it hard to function as an educator.

Tossed reading, math review and science worksheets at the youngest and returned to bed. We will have to pick up history and PE later in the week. As well as plan a trip to buy new ink cartridges for this printer. Plan to set up the laptop with a printer on my desk so he can print his written work, but that will have to wait until the fever drops. Sniffle. Bed is boring. Up to check e-mail and LJ.

Back to bed.
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Hello! Miss me? [Nov. 30th, 2009|11:12 am]
I did! What can I say? Been so tied up between life and FaceBook that I can't seem to find my way back to LJ. But alas, here I am, prompted by the LiveJournal appearance on the FB feed. Smart people who came up with that idea.

Question of the Day: Is there any song you'll never grow tired of hearing? If so, what is it, how long have you loved it, and why?

Answer: Always Something There to Remind Me, by Naked Eyez

The lyrics touched me, but it's the sound that really hangs in my soul. Large sounds, including simulated cathedral bells.

For some reason, probably the bells, I am reminded of our first trip to London and a day when we are walking in St. James Park. My firstborn just toddling at 15 months and pregnant with the other son. A crisp fall day, leaves on the ground. A Russian woman passes by so infatuated by my son's beauty that she wants a picture taken with him. Her husband indulges her as do I. But this is a stranger and my son will only cooperate if Mommy holds him, so ultimately, I am part of the picture as well. It's a wonderful feeling that others think my son so attractive. Alfred and I walk, the baby toddles here and there. Passing pigeons and ducks amuse him. The park is quiet and I embrace its calm beauty.

It's cold and I could still feel the cold then. We're bundled and head for the tube, back to Bloomsbury where we are quartered. It's November and, as we walk I notice the local cafes are announcing their Christmas menus and that they are accepting reservations for Christmas dinner. At home Christmas is anything but a restaurant affair, so I've learned something cultural. It's also early November - we have yet to observe Thanksgiving at home - then it occurs to me that's not a holiday celebrated here. Absorbing the culture here is so much more interesting for me.

We dine out in the neighborhood. London, at that time, was not big on children being part of the picture. Restaurants don't have high chairs and we get quite a few looks from people when we enter with baby in arms. Nonetheless, we dine. Baby sits on my lap and we work out something from the menu that he can eat. I recall the best of such experiences being at an Italian restaurant. Everyone smiled at the baby, sort of hugged him with their eyes. He ate pasta and babbled delightfully throughout our meal. I didn't mind that sauce dripped on the white maternity pants I was wearing. The place had a warm feeling that endures all these years later.

Firstborn is no longer 15 months, he's reached 15 years. Alfred and I have so many fond memories. Baby howling delightedly in the cathedrals - he enjoyed the echo it produced. Gazing in the British Museum at hand-scrawled notes that would become the Beatles' legendary hit, "Yesterday." The Tower. Harrods. The Mexican restaurant in Leicester Square that did have high chairs in which my baby "danced" to the 70's music blasted above the crowds. All that and more come back to me in a flash when I hear the opening bells of the Naked Eyez song on the radio. I don't mind hearing it ever, or over and over again, with good reason. It always makes me smile.
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Sorting it all out... [Jan. 19th, 2009|09:36 pm]
[Tags|, , ]
[mood |contemplativecontemplative]

I've been trying to understand it. In a peripheral way, I do. The next U.S. president will be black. The world over thinks that is soooo momentous. Ground-breaking. Historic. I'm just not all that impressed with the notion.

In a time where we are all supposed to be equal, color-blind if you will, the world is celebrating color. For years we were told to move past that, see beyond it, don't notice because it's not important. Now "they" are saying that color is what makes it momentous, an achievement, etc.

Being Hispanic myself, growing up in the 60s, coming of age in the 70s, being raised in a "white bread" environment but attending a very ethnically diverse school, I think I've seen these issues from all sides. I've been harassed, taunted, shunned, stereotyped, and discriminated again. All that one imagines would befall a person whose color walks in the door before they do. The experience has its pluses and minuses, though altogether it's one I would rather not have had to endure. Since I can't change my skin color, however, that's not worth discussing.

In the late 70's people were excited for me. Doors would open to me that might typically have been beyond my reach. The reason? Society was hell-bent to make up for an oppression experienced by my ancestors. It didn't seem right to me that race could be my ticket to the stars if I could hold on tight and didn't mind exploiting the system. Affirmative Action. Just who was it supposed to be affirming? It was letting me cheat...achieve less than the person next to me, who had done nothing to oppress me, and cut ahead of them in line. The ethics I was raised with were to be fair. To work hard. To do well and be proud of what I could achieve. Affirmative Action would put me ahead, without having to work hard. How was I supposed to be proud of that? I said "no thanks." The only thing it would have affirmed was that I needed someone's pity to get me where I wanted to go in life.

In the 80's I worked for the government. In government you meet minimum qualifications and pass a test, then get placed on a list in order of your achievement. The top 10 candidates are invited to interview, one gets the job and everyone moves up a notch. Fair enough, except for Affirmative Action. When there isn't the proper racial balance in a department or division they pulled what was known as an Ethnic List. Essentially, they reached into the list and pulled the first 10 candidates who were of appropriate ethnic identification to create a sub-list. Sometimes, they had to go to the bottom of the list to get 10 qualified people. Having interviewed such candidates, I can tell you the quality of candidates available was greatly diminished in the circumstances. The notion was to be fair. Asking me to select from people whom I scarcely believed could have honestly passed their exams when better qualified candidates of the "wrong color" were available didn't seem fair to me.

I can say that I was always relieved to see there were "white" candidates interviewing before and after me for various positions. It meant that no one would hire me as the lesser evil on a substandard list. That would have been a serious blow to my ego. I always got the job I wanted, though that was surely partially due to the fact that I never scored lower than the third position on any test I took. Frequently, I was number one. Yeah, that's bragging, but there is a reason for noting it. You see, one of my last tests in San Diego was to be a Superior Court judge's clerk. The highest paying "clerical" position available. Beyond that, you were management. It was considered the retirement position of choice. And there was status. Yours truly took the exam and took the number one spot.

Commensurately, when the first position opened, I was hired. Before I left my co-workers gave me a small party at which the head of the department approached me. He told me how proud I should be to get this job, since it wasn't even an ethnic list. Those were the days when I was a good girl and bit my tongue, but it really torqued my jaw to hear that. Somehow, in the enlightened 80s, the man was still blown away that someone with an ethnicity could so achieve.

Now, I'll grant you there was a time when all the marbles in the bowl were white. Colored marbles that tried to sneak in were summarily removed and tossed aside. You could rest assured that whichever orb was plucked, it would be white. But society changed and, as years went along, the colored marbles were allowed to stay in the bowl. Every stir before a plucking now held the promise of a colored marble being chosen. The chances were not so great at first, for very few colored marbles were in the mix. But the odds changed as more and more colored marbles were introduced. You knew that eventually one of the pulls was going to be a colored marble. And that, it was drummed into our heads as children, was the equality for which we were striving. Not waiting for a particular shade of marble, just the equal opportunity in the mix.

So the marbles in the bowl were churned and this time the pull for the U.S. president came out colored. So, okay, you knew it was going to happen sooner or later, so where's the surprise? What makes this momentous? SHOULD WE ALL BE SO AWESTRUCK THAT A BLACK MAN COULD BE SMART AND ACHIEVE? Like that oh-so-unenlightened boss back in the 80s, the ignorance of people blows my mind.

I want to believe, but am not so stupid as to think so, that the people who voted for Barack Obama did not elect him because of his skin color. I want to believe that everyone who voted for B.O. believed in his vision, his qualification, his judgment, and his character so steadfastly that they would have voted for him even if he was white. But I'd be living in la-la-land, you see, because too many people on TV, radio and in conversation have said they voted for the man's color. Why? Because it's time to "do the right thing" and elect a black man. From the sound of it, any black man would have gotten their support. That's scary.

I have not watched inaugurations or their celebrations ever, so I'm not going to start now. I don't see that the occasion this year is any more auspicious than the years past. I wouldn't watch if it were a woman, a Hispanic, or Ralph Nader finally making the grade. To do so now, because people are celebrating a man's race before his substance, would be denigrating to him and me.
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Fall-ing [Nov. 20th, 2008|11:18 am]
It was the beautiful, no, stunning sight of autumn leaves that convinced me I could love living in northern California. He was just a boyfriend then and I doubt the DH remembers the day a simple sight changed my life. As he drove me along Concord's Diamond Boulevard my mind opened to taking a direction in life that I would not previously consider.

On weekends the street sweepers don't operate and nature used the opportunity to arrange a glorious sight. Orange leaves had rained down to create huge and striking drifts on the road. Mother Nature, undisturbed, is unrivaled in her ability to paint beauty in the world. That day she had a great time with the simple canvas before her.

We rolled through mid afternoon, when the sun had just added its highlights to the work. Streams of golden sunlight poured onto the street between the trees. Bright, but diffused, light beams danced along the freshly fallen orange leaves accenting the hints of green that remained here and there. It looked more like a painting over which an artist had toiled for hours, instead of something that nature, left to her own devices, had just let happen.

Cool, crisp air completed the scene. It took my breath away. When my mind opened, so did my heart to the possibility of accepting a love that would change my life.

It's 20 years now since that moment. Its strength that so stirred my soul remains. I open my front door to send my children off to school and see my green lawn littered with brilliant orange sycamore leaves. I know the "cool" thinking is to be put off by such a sight. Leaves on a lawn must be gathered and meet their disposition. These days we have a gardener who does that for us and later this morning he will take care of things for the week. But interim I enjoy the sight. I breathe it in and consider that the beauty I fell in love with all those years ago simply comes to visit in gentle measures throughout the season.

There are many things about the turn of seasons that do not bode well for me. Being a victim of SADS the autumn brings the beginning of my struggle. It brings the cold and flu season for my children. It means higher gas and electric bills as we strive to keep our children warm which, in turn, means uncomfortable temperatures for my peri-menopausal body. The season brings more accidents on the roadways while people adjust to making their homebound commutes in the dark. Women at the office wait to walk to their cars in groups for safety in the dark. It's mildly depressing for me come home and not be able to send the boys out for fresh air.

Yet, in spite of all these discomforts and inconveniences, I am able to hold onto the gift of the season that stirs my soul. Beautiful leaves in many colors on the neighborhood trees. And visits from a moment 20 years ago that I loved so very much.
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My morning rant. [Oct. 13th, 2008|06:28 am]
[mood |grumpygrumpy]

Got to love the return of autumn to the air. There truly is an intrinsic beauty that I so admire. Crisp air, warm colors and a soft quality to the day light that relaxes me. Relaxes me too much, I'm afraid, because I am wont to climb into a cave for a long winter's nap. Sleep and I have a love/hate relationship. I love to sleep, it restores me and gives me the delicious freedom of dreams. Yet it seriously lmits the waking moments I have to get the most out of my days, and I hate that. Being stuck with the fate of a Libra, I struggle always to find and keep the balance.

I'm all out of sorts with the shorter days. I wake up early and feel like the day is already half over. I'm also subject to S.A.D. whether you believe in it or not. This year I have chosen to get through the season without the medical support I usually rely upon to keep me awake and alert. I'm feeling stronger, and my life is in a place where I feel confident that I can rely upon my family's support to see me through. Still, it will be interesting.

The economy has sucked our retirement funds badly (I won't look to distress myself with the scary numbers), I wanted to change jobs, but feel compelled to stay safely put for a spell. I can do it, but not happily. It's time for a change and I'm stuck like a turtle on its back.

My nephew has gotten himself sucked into a void of adolescent angst from which our family is desperate to retrieve him. I will head south in the coming days to make my pitch to help him. I will talk, if I'm lucky a sliver of something we share will find its way into his head or heart.

My mother has, onhce again, made plans to abandon my 90 year-old grandmother for a 30-day visit to Mexico (where she maintains a second home with her husband). The last time she left Grandma alone for so long her age-related dementia set in big time. It pisses me off that my mother could be so selfish. While I'd love to think Grandma will stick around another 20 years the odds aren't on my side. Mother is going to hurt seriously when Grandma decides to make her exit (I keep telling her she has more to do and can't leave just yet) and mother will regret every moment she didn't have while pissing away her days in leisure. When I go south, I'll spend a few days keeping Grandma involved and alert.

The presidential elections are coming soon and there will be a change in the White House. I can't think anything good is going to come from it. Obama will run the country straight to hell in a handbasket. McCain will struggle to do better, but as a doddering RINO will not serve much better. Talk about a shit choice! I'd prefer to suffer McCain, because Obama doesn't have any real experience and is tied to some very scary characters. McCain has been around longer and at least has some experience in government. Not that I like what he does (yes, let's let every illegal alien enter the country and suck down every tax dollar I pay) or agree with all of his rhetoric either.

The world seems to like Obama. I have to wonder if it's because he will drag down our nation and reduce us to a second class nation. It amazes me that other countries give such a care about who our president is. I mean, we don't care who they elect for their leaders (as long as they are elected or benevolent to their people). Austria had a Nazi for a few years. We didn't flinch. But I'm constantly amazed at how many foreigners think it a serious matter who we elect and everyone abroad seems to have an opinion.

People are now starting to opine that it's time for me to address my weight issue. I've not gained any weight in a couple years. It's not a healthy weight, but it's stable and my vitals are fine. Why is it that everyone knows just the thing to make a difference without knowing what my life is like? Less carbs! they cry. Under 30% fat, they assure me. Exercise will make the difference - they know it. So I went to exercise with a good game of badminton - the only sport I love - and sprained my $#!@! ankle. Four weeks and running now that I'm hobbling about. Inconveniences my whole family and makes me feel like an invalid. Yeah, it's getting better, but no one hesitates to warn me that it will never be truly well and I will have to be ever wary of this happening again. There's a cheery thought for the winter months when it's the only time the weather suits me for exercise (even though the lack of sun saps my energies).

Now I'm waiting for the test results from my last UTI culture. Two within a couple months made the doc concerned. Someone told me it signals diabetes. My eye doctor checked for signs last June and didn't see anything that worried him, but leave it to me to go from zero to fifty in a few months. Two of my cousins - whose maternal families have diabetes running amok - recently developed the condition. No one in my family has it - though they are encouraging my 90 year old grandmother to watch her numbers these days (after 90 years, ya think?). But I will simply not be able to tolerate the well-meant noise I should hear if anything were to develop on my end. Eat better. Exercise more. I can hear it now. As the Brits might say, "bugger!"

My husband and youngest son find themselves at odds these days. They are driving me to distraction with the dissonance that neither seems able to resolve. Trying to mediate, they both accuse me of undermining them and supporting the other. Hello? I'm Switzerland here. Feel like pulling a Swiss stunt and calling in the U.N. but no one wants to talk to a counselor. I'm feeling inclined to talk to a realtor about new digs for me and the eldest if this doesn't clear up soon. The DH reminds me it would be a fiscally unsound move. The youngest infers that I would be abandoning him. The only solace to be found is with head under pillow in bed. But that brings me full circle to the conflict with which I started this rant.

Autumn is beautiful. That's something positive that I hope to hold onto for now.

Thanks for listening.
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(no subject) [Sep. 2nd, 2008|12:19 am]

Pyzam Family Sticker Toy
Create your own family sticker graphic at pYzam.com

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Such a long time [Sep. 1st, 2008|11:29 pm]
I haven't had the time to poke my head into LJ for so long that I feel a stranger visiting my own journal. So much has happened in the time intervening. But then, it has been a while, hasn't it.

In the past 6 months I've had my dream trip to Europe, celebrated my grandmother's 90th birthday, watched both my sons move through their first year of middle school and finished a two-year term on a board of directors for my favorite non-profit. I've dived head-long into genealogy research, continue to clear out the possessions one amasses over 18 years together, and have spent time getting some much needed maintenance done around the house. Nothing spectacular, but just the kinds of things that everyone goes through. I feel so boring and uneventful, until I look at my schedule, then realize I've been busy, Is that an excuse? I think not, but it is what has happened.

Now, the DH recently indulged me with my own laptop. We have had several PC desktop computers in the house, so I have not been deprived. Still, there is something about the freedom of a laptop letting me tap away while lounging on the sofa in front of the television without the hassle of relocating to the study and sitting upright in a desk chair. Now, if I can only get comfortable with Vista. Yes, it's my first go-round but one must adapt. At least it's not a Mac. So maybe I'll be able to visit more from the comfort of the couch. Let's watch and see.
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A beautiful moment [May. 8th, 2007|02:27 pm]
[mood |happyhappy]

On my way home from the office. It was mid-day and I was going to fetch Michael at home. We do this daily. I drive home where we rendezvous upon his return home from school. He loads himself and some activities into the car and we head back to the office. Michael spends the rest of the day quietly entertaining himself while I work. It's a demanding routine, but the moments of seeing his fresh, bright and smiling face make me smile.

So I'm in the car, waiting for the light to turn so I can jump on the freeway. Out of the blue the thought fills my head. Rather, it's a memory. A vignette from years past.

It's a picture of my baby boy in the back yard. He's just a toddler then. He walks and babbles delightfully. He has managed a juice drink from me and has ambled over to the back steps to where the yard raises up a bit. It's shady. The grape leaves cool the patio that covers the steps, shading my baby from the summer sun. He sits neatly on the bottom step and grips his prized juice with both hands. His face is sweet and round. There is only a few wisps on his head that can be called hair, but it completes him perfectly. He sits, sips and looks about with the innocence none have known since his age. He is absolutely precious.

My heart soars and fills with a love strong and deep. It's as if I'm experiencing the moment again for the first time. Tears come to my eyes. My heart is so full that I'm all but flying as the light turns and the car edges onto the freeway. The tears are flowing freely now. Cold, from the air conditioning in operation, they trace their way down my face. I'm enraptured. I am so smitten and the feeling all but overwhelms me.

I drive home, still swept away, marveling in the grip this memory has upon me. I choose to bask in it. I smile. I have been given a gift in the moment that brightens not only my day but my pleasantly dull life. Perspective is restored. You can't tell me there is no God.
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Screaming. [Feb. 5th, 2007|05:23 pm]
[mood |aggravatedaggravated]

My body is screaming and I just don't know what to make of it. Not literally making sound, but sending screaming alarms to the rest of me. No pain. No discernable anxiety or cause for it. Just can't concentrate on anything for the disruption. Part of me wishes there were a sound proof closet made for such moments. Perhaps vocalizing whatever distress my nerves are on about would put them to rest. Of course, it would be just too much to ask for the cause to become readily apparent.

Interruptions are like jagged shards of glass in my brain. I'm sure I look cross to whomever has the misfortune of doing so today. The phone rings and I'm inclined to ignore it. Except that it's probably my boss or someone equally significant trying to reach me. Brusque. Terse. Something like that must come across in the vocal intonation.

I want to go home and hide in bed. Even with the children on hand, it can only be an improvement over this. But I don't want to waste leave hours. The baubles on my wrist are becoming annoying, as is the sound of the assistant director ranting about how she hates Excel (the world was easier in Lotus for DOS, don't you know?).

Slap! The thought sounds so appealing. Stupid receptionist incurs my wrath just for breathing. Argh! All it's going to take is one more article on that bitch Pelosi to send me over the edge. Proactively, I will not read anything political today.

grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrowl.
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