Sunday, 29 July 2012

Blog Entry for July, 25

Shalom everyone:
I know this seems strange, but I have written several the past few days and I am posting them when I get a chance....
25th July

Today when Mark came home from school, because he is no longer receiving unemployment, we now qualified for Food Stamps, starting today.
 So after a quick bite of something to eat, Mark headed off to get our Food Stamp card.
In many ways this is a G-d send; we had enough food in the house for about a week and that’s with me stretching it. So we were blessed, not only to get the card today, but even have the last week of July included. So until Mark gets a part-time job and my new site gets running, we will be receiving Food Stamps.
It is, however, a still a hard pill to swallow. But swallow it we must.
Why? Yes, our tax dollars go into the system and we are just pulling out some of what we put in.
I know.
The Food Stamp Program was setup for people like Mark and I who have fallen on hard times and need a little help to get back onto our feet.
I understand that as well. Before my marriage to Mark, I lived on Broke Street for several years and it was a day of celebration when I called my former Social Worker and asked to be removed from the Food Stamps roles; I wouldn’t need them.
I remember the silence on the end of the line and then she asked me to repeat the request. I did.
"No one has ever asked me to remove them from Welfare before.”
Well, there is always a first.
Yes, Food Stamps is a welcome crutch we need at the moment because we are, ah…broke.
A crutch I shall be happy when we are rid of. For it is a matter of pride to be able to support yourself and your family without the assistance of government hand-out. I worked hard for too many years to get off the Welfare, only to myself back on them.
G-d willing, due to a miracle and/or the work of our hands, we will be back on our feet again.
In the meantime, I look forward to shopping for fresh fruits and veggies, to visiting my favour kosher shop for some lamb and salmon.  And once again, making challah.

See You Soon

Just a quick note to let our readers know that I won't be here at the Reel tent for a bit. We lost our Cox Cable and Internet service Thursday morning. So until such time as we catch up with our payments, I will be logging in whenever I can find a dear soul willing to share me use their Internet provider.
But we are all fine.
Mark is in his three week of classes and is hopeful to get a part-time job that puts his skills to work as well as brings a small paycheck home. One of the company's is Lowe's, which is also hiring Veterans.
Monti is gaining weigh and is as bossy and as cute as ever.
So until we see each other again; May the L-rd Bless and Keep you. May the L-rd make His Face shine upon you. May He be gracious to you and give you His Shalom.

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Things That Make You Go Hmmmm

So Tell Me....


Why I Support Mitt Romney

Boker Tov:
It was both a hard and yet an easy choice to make.
While I really have major struggles with the Mormon teachings, including the ever changing revelations, Mitt Romney the man I like.
Yes, I know he is a wealthy with an amazing looking mane of hair and a great looking wife who took a hit for "just being a housewife."
Frankly, I like Willard Mitt Romney and his wife Ann. I wouldn't mind having them over for Shabbat supper.
Just have to remember to serve grape juice instead of wine.
I always wonder why Mr. Romney went around as Mitt. Until I heard his first name was Willard.
Born March 12, 1947, Mr. Romney doesn't look a bit of sixty-five, yet alone the father of five sons or the grandfather of seven-teen grandchildren.

Like many Mormon youth, after high school, he spent 30 months in France as a Mormon missionary.
After going to both Harvard Business School and Harvard Law School simultaneously, he passed the Michigan bar exam, but never worked as an attorney.
But he did work.
In 1984, Mr. Romney co-founded Bain Capital a private equity investment firm, one of the largest such firms in the United States. In 1994, he ran for Senator of Massachusetts and lost to  Mr.Ted Kennedy.
After leaving Bain, Mr. Romney was President and CEO of the 2002 Winter Olympic Games. This would be the very first time I would hear his name. I thought he did an amazing job.
Also in 2002, he was elected Governor of the State of Massachusetts where he eliminated a 1.5 billion deficit.
I knew Bain was the forerunner to Staples, but didn't know Mitt Romney was behind it. What started with one small office supply store in Massachusetts, turned it into Staples; now over 2,000 stores employing 90,000 people.
The  company also worked to perform the same kinds of business miracles again and again, with companies like Domino's, Sealy, Brookstone, Weather Channel, Burger King, Warner Music Group, Dollarama, Home Depot Supply, and many others.
Mr. Romney was an unpaid volunteer campaign worker for his dad's gubernatorial campaign 1 year.
Mr. Romney was an unpaid intern in his dad's governor's office for eight years. The Romney family was very involved in the Civil Rights Movement.

Mr. Romney was an unpaid bishop and state president of his church for ten years. He also was an unpaid President of the Salt Lake Olympic Committee for three years.
 As Governor of Massachusetts for four years, Mr. Romney took no salary and he gave his entire inheritance from his father to charity.
Mitt Romney is one of the wealthiest self-made men in our country but has given more back to its citizens in terms of money, service and time than most men. In 2011, for example Mitt Romney gave over $4 million to charity, almost 19% of his income.
I don't have to worry about not seeing his birth certificate or his high school and college transcripts. I don't have to worry about his social security card. No problem with his draft notice or that he was serving as a missionary at the time.
No problem with the law degree or the medical records. Nor do I believe he will pass the cost of Date Night onto the American people
I would say, Mr. Romney, show your tax records; not because you have anything to hide, but to show you don't.
Mr. Romney's background, experience and trustworthiness, says to me, the dude haves the goods. That he would to be a great leader and an excellent citizen for President of the United States.
Perfect by no means, but better than what we have right now.
If I had any advise for Mr. Romney, I would tell him to talks his greatest strenghts: how businesses are build, his love for his wife and his family, which is the heart of any nation.
Mr. Romney  isn't a shooting star. But he does burn steady and bright.


Chick- Fil-A and Me

Boker Tov:
You can't make this stuff up.
At age forty-four years old Truett Cathy started the fast food eatery known as Chck-Fil-A. A humble man with a ready smile and a ready joke.
I first learn of Chick-fil-A when I was working part-time at a Bridal Shop (which didn't last long). The food was cheap and even better good. I loved the lemon-aide.
Since then, when-ever there was a choice of fast food, if there was a Chick-fil-A about, that is where I would head.
Then, several years ago, a friend of my told me her son worked at Chick and because the company was christian, all stores are closed on Sundays.
I said: "the own must be Baptist."
Having been raised Baptist, I know these dear souls still hold to Sunday being the Shabbat and as such they don't work on Sundays.
But sadly, I had to give up my favourite fast food when leaned Chick wasn't kosher.
However, I still admire the Cathy Family.
Known as a great man who just to serve people good food and help his community of Jonesboro, Georgia, at age ninety-one, Truett Cathy is still going strong. When forty-four, Mr. Cathy began Chick-fil-A as a family owned business, is still a family business, still hold to its christian traditional, family values.
But now, Chick and its owners are "haters and bigots". Why?
Dan Cathy: "We are very much supportive of the family - the biblical definition of the family unit. We are a family-owned business, a family-led business, and we are married to our first wives. We give G-d thanks for that,"
This is called "hate speech."
Because the Cathy family holds to "biblical definition of the family unit," Chick-fil-A serves hate with its chicken nuggets.
Oh I forgot; biblical definition of the family unit, holders of one husband/ one wife is coded for "we hate homosexuals or anyone else unlike us."
Now, if Chick only hired Baptist, I would agree. If the owners insist that their employees go to church, I would agree. If gays were denied jobs or the store refuses to serve them, I would agree. If there were anti-gay posters pasted all over the restaurants, I would go along with you.
  But because Mr. Cathy holds to traditional values, this makes Chick promoters of hate?
As I listen to all of this, I think back to what happen when the movie, The Last Temptation of Christ"  was released. The protest that broke out, only caused people who otherwise would not have been interested, to go and see a lousy movie.
Yes, lousy. I was it. Waste of my time and money.
Those who have become "offended" because the Cathys men have remain married to their first love, and made their offend known, will not close the restaurant's door, but gain them more business. The uproar over a good family, with backfire.
Now, if only Mr. Cathy would add a kosher chicken sandwich to the menu.

Monday, 23 July 2012

Evil Amoung Us

Boker Tov:
Today's Batman movies are just not my cup of tea.  For me, Adam West is and shall forever will be Batman.
I remember those wonderful nights, Batman Night, when my sister and I would gather around the TV to watch Batman. Yes, campy now, but then, Batman and Robin were so cool. And when Eartha Kitt came on as Cat woman number two, she became one of the role model for many of a little girl of colour.
Mummie even brought me some Cat woman glasses.
The Batman of my youth was more of an innocent time. I guess I am beginning to sound old; I miss those days......
In the world of my Batman, the evil of the magnitude of Thursday night Batman movie massacre would have remain on the movie or TV screen or in the comic books.
That world is now gone, living only in the memories of those of us who remember those days. Today we in times that sometimes appears as dark as the newest Batman movie.
For next several days we are going to hear various experts, so-called experts and TV talking heads try to sense and even explain the horror those movie goes went through. What this nation is once again facing and dealing with.
There will be the outcry for more gun control, blaming the ease of being able to buy weapons of mass destruction. There will be the outcry that this the fruit of violent video and role playing games, of books and media.
One reporter has already had to retract his words because he thought there was a Tea Party connection.
The victims families will also get slapped with blame: how do you take a six year old to a 12am movie? will be the challenge.
Even the killer's family will be blamed: how did his parents manage to raise a killer? What clues were there and they missed? Surely the collage knew something was wrong with him....
And all will have it wrong.
The one and the only one to blame is the killer himself. He spend months researching, plotting, buying and planning his murderous intend. He wired his apartment with the intend to kill the police who would come in response to loud music being played.
What we really need to do is acknowledge that there is evil in the world. That evil is real, and that there are evil people in the world.
The murder of 12 people who had done him no harm is such an evil person.
As a person of faith, I know such evil will one day be done away with.
But until that day, I believe that each one of us should do what we can to purge as much of that evil from our world to prevent more murders.
How, Laini?
I believe it starts in the home; in the teaching of what is right and what is wrong. That we are indeed our brother's keeper. Instead of battling over gun-control and gun rights, how about more attention to mental illness; we as a nation spend so little time, attention and resources in this area.
Until a Batman massacre or Virginia Tech occurs.
We must not allow the Dark Night engulf us, but fight it and help others to endue it. We must pray.
We must chose to overcome the evil with good.
And when our situration improves, I am getting another pair of Cat Woman glasses.


Good Night, My Beloved: Part 2

Boker Tov:
As the nation awakes this Monday morning, we slowly come to grips with the nightmare of Thursday evening.
I am so thankful that both Mr. Obama and Mr. Romney stopped the back and forth and focus on their fellow Americans; both fathers and husbands, both holding their wives and children closer and encouraging us to do so as well. Both led the nation in prayer; both grieve.
I remember Mark waking me up with the news Friday morning. The tears that flowed through our prayers.
Today, families will begin the difficult task of preparing to lay their loved ones to rest, to say that final goodbye.
My thoughts go back to my summer devotional, Amish Peace.
"Never bury the body of your loved one before accepting resurrection in return."

One story from Amish Peace is the story of Esther, who's five year old son was killed by a speeding car. David Jr. was involved in a game of treasure hunt, riding his scooter when, riding out into the street he was hit.
As Esther knelt by the body of her child, she states she was filled with a calm she couldn't describe.
"I felt a Presence around me that controlled me." What Esther felt was the Presence of G-d, giving her strength.
It was that calm, that strenght that made Esther leave David and go comfort the young man that killed her son, to forgive him. It was that same strenght that allowed her to release David, knowing one day she would see him again.
Grieve isn't easy. Esther, despite her strong faith struggled. But she wasn't alone; G-d was with her.
I remember when our family was rocked with a murder; a family member stabbed to death by her husband with a butcher knife in front of their children. I remember not being able to sleep for weeks. And though it has been over 30 years, I still cannot touch a butcher knife.
I continue to light candle in memories of those who have passed from this life to the next. I shall pray for the Peace of G-d, for all involved. That they will feel His Presence during this time.

Sunday, 22 July 2012

Good Night, My Beloved. Part One

They were sons and daughters, husbands, wives, engaged to wed. They were fathers and mothers. The youngest had been among us six short years. The eldest was 51 years and brought his teenagers for a not out. One talked her boyfriend into seeing the movie. He had seen three tours of duty in the Navy and was planning to become a Navy Seal. One was still in active duty. It was his 27th birthday and would celebrate one year of marriage the following Sunday. Her mother is still too badly injured to be told her spirit has returned to her Creator.
"The L-rd given, The L-rd taken. Blessed be the Name of Yah."
May they each rest in peace. May the Almighty comfort those left to mourn.

What Flavour is Your Tea?

I am sure most have hear the follow sayings;
"A woman going through adversity is like a tea-bag; only in water do we find out how strong she is..." 
"A person going through adversity is like to a tea-bag; one never knows what kind of flavour (character) in the bag until placed in hot water.
A few weeks ago, my mother and I were speaking on the phone. I was sharing with her something I saw in a moment of prayer; that part of what is going on in our lives is G-d's way of making us Holy. And Holiness is made through pressure, through hard times.
She laughed and told me that was the message  from her weekly Bible Study group: Tea; the Taste of Adversity.
Mother was sharing with me that; "the trials and storms of life are liken to a tea-bag.
"The hot water," mother informed me, "isn't what makes the tea. When placed in hot water, the hot water acts an the activator to release what is in the tea-bag. It is the dried leaves inside the thin paper bag that makes the tea."
Just befor the phone rang, I had place the makings of Sun tea outside to brew. So it was quite fitting that it was Mummie calling, to share  the bible lesson of the morning. The teaching of the contents of a tea bag, made me think about the progress of how Sun tea is made, driving home the point my mother was making from her story.
I have been making Sun-tea since my teens, learning how to do so from reading Mother Earth magazine. After  mummie samples my first efforts, I became the Sun-tea maker in the family.
To make a good, smooth pitcher of Sun-tea, you first need a large glass jar. I have an old, 2 gallon kosher pickle jar a friend gave me just after Mark and I were married seven years ago. They were going to throw it away, but I saved that beauty from the trash bin.
After giving your jar a good cleaning, fill the jar three fours of the way with COLD water. Yes, it must be cold. The cold water will prevent your tea from becoming cloudy.
Deciding on the size of your jar, place four to six tea bags into the water. Then close the top. Allow the tea bags to enjoy the cold water for a few minutes. Then place your jar into a sunny spot outside and allow the sun to shine down upon the jar. The sunnier the spot, the hotter the day, the better the tea.
The sun will slowly heat up the water, the heating water to release the dried leaves in the tea bags. Several hours later, you should have a jar of amber-gold sun tea, like the picture above, waiting to be poured over a pitcher of ice, sweeten and enjoyed.
But the nice, cold water didn't release the flavour, the colour of the tea. It was the warming rays of the sun. The hottier the sunrays, the stronger the taste.
No doult the Reels are in a huge jar of Sun-tea. What is inside of us as a couple and as individuals is coming out. Our strengh, our weaknesses. At times we taste like my amazing Moroccan Mint Sun tea. At other times, our taste is bitter and needs sugar.
I don't wish to be a bitter cup of tea, one that it takes work to sweeten. I wish to be Moroccan mint; refreshing, relaxing and a joy to drink. I don't wish to be a weak cup of tea; "yuck!" and then tossed out. I want to be good and strong, one that makes the Queen of England sit up and ask: "what kind of tea is this, please?"
"Make a good cup of tea, Yah. One that is pleases to all."
P.S for my Starbucks buddies; you need fresh, cold water to make a good cup of coffee too :)

Saturday, 21 July 2012

The Tea Pot

Mal. 3:3-4 "He will sit as a smelter and purifier of silver, and He will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, so that they may present to the LORD offerings in righteousness. Then the offering of Judah and Jerusalem will be pleasing to the LORD as in the days of old and as in former years.
About 30 years ago, when I was going through a major trial, testing in faith, even wondering what sin was in my life, stopping me from hearing from G-d, my mother read me a story she heard at a Women's Retreat.
It was the story of the Tea Pot. ( A parable)

A couple went into an antique shop and they saw this beautiful magnificent little tea pot sitting high upon a shelf. They just fell in love with that little teapot. And they said, "We have got to have that teapot."

They were admiring the tea pot and all of a sudden the teapot began to talk to them. It said, "You know, I haven't always been like this. There was a time when nobody would have wanted me. There was a time when I was not attractive at all and not much use to the master. I was so broken and not fit for anything but the trash I thought."

You see there was a time in my life when I was just an old hard gray lump of clay and the Master Potter came along and picked me up one day and he began to pat, twist, turn me and reshape me and I said, "Stop it ! What are you doing? That hurts! Don't do that! Moaning, ahh! Leave me alone! " And He simply looked at me and said, "Not Yet."

And then He put me on this wheel and he began to spin me around and around and around and around and I got so dizzy that I couldn't even hardly see where I was going anymore. I was loosing it! Everything was spinning around and around and around and I felt sick to my stomach and I said, " Let me off of here!" And he said, "Not yet."

As the teapot spoke, it poured out tea for the couple into delicate cups that never emptied or grew cold. The teapot seemed to glow and light the dark corner like a lamp as it continued its story.

The worst was yet to come, however, My Master then put me into the oven. It was so incredibly hot that I cried and cried to be let out. But all He said was, "Not yet."

Finally, the oven door opened. He took me out and set me on a table. I thought, Whew! Thank goodness that is over! But then He began to paint me with this awful smelling stuff. I could hardly breathe when He put me back into the oven for a second time. It was even hotter than before! I thought I would die for sure. Just when I was ready to give up, He gently lifted me from the oven.

After a long rest, my Master came by and picked me up. I could clearly see my reflection in His eyes and saw that I had been transformed. I was now beautiful. He told me that it was my reward for being so patient and strong. I asked Him how I could repay Him and His face lit up.

 My Master and Maker then explained to me my purpose:" Pour out your story to everyone you meet. Don't be discouraged, if they don't hear or understand you. Keep your lid open a crack so I may fill you with my spirit where ever you may be. I will guide you all the rest of your days."

The teapot then seemed to glow even brighter as it finished sharing, "It is such an honour to serve my Master that I have been filled with joy ever since!"

The couple had tears in their eyes when the teapot finished its tale. They promised to also share his story with others and come often to visit. This delighted the teapot even more. He knew his Master would be pleased. The teapot was serving his purpose....

In the past 30 years, how often this story has come to mind. Even now, with all Mark and I are going through, we know that it is, in part more conformed into His Imagine, to bring Glory to His Name.
Tomorrow's story, The Tea Bag.

Friday, 20 July 2012

The Work of Our Hands

It is rare that I agree with Mr.Obama. Last Friday, the 13th, Mr. Obama was here in Virginia, giving a speech about business and business owners. Within a few minutes it was clear Mr.Obama went off message and gave a rather...interesting view of how one truly success in business.
You don't.
According to Mr.Obama, those who have any measure of sucess, did not do it alone. And that is true; many do make with help. But to say that it isn't my. I beg to differ.
Mr. Obama; you do not a shilling in my pound.
But Mr. Obama is right about one thing; I didn't make it as a struggling Needle-Woman on my own.
  So I would like to thank the ones who made my tiny business possible:
 I would like to first  thank the Creator Who came me life and breath. He Who Blesses the works of my hands. I would like to thank Adam and Eve, though they did eat us out of garden and home. Noah and his family who build the ark. And father Abraham who listen to the Voice  and left the land of his father for the Promise Land.
 I would like to thank my Israeli ancestors, those who scattered our people into North , East and West Africa, to Great Britain, Swizland and Germany.
 I would like to thank those who build the slave ships and the chains, The slave traders who brought my people here. I would like to thank the Mixson and Prude Families who brought members of my family. I want to thank Sam and Narcissa (a fine needle woman in her own right)  Mixson who had Callie, and Callie married Joe Prude, son of Pink Prude. Callie and Joe Prude who had my mother. To my mother and  to my father, a New York cab driver for having me. Oh and for my grandmother Callie and Aunt Lucille Hutson, both who knew how to handle a needle, who taught me to sew by hand. To my husband who encourages me daily and to those who have brought my products. 
And then there are the sheep who's wool supple the cloth and thread that make it possible for me to sew.  The planets that when boiled down makes the dyes to colour the threads and clothes I use.
Oh, and I forget the dear souls who made the gold plated needles I use....

On My Sofa I Pray

Boker Tov; (good morning)
Since the Virginia rejected the Stimulus Funds that would have expanded jobless benefits, last week's unemployment check was Mark's last check.
I remember reading Mr. Tim Kaine's angry response about the vote's overcome: "there's an awful lot of people are hurting in Virginia, and the message seemed to be: 'W e don't care. Fend for yourself."
Yeah, that message came through loud and clear; we don't care.
Sadly, those who have been looking for work more than a year, are accused of not trying hard enough, of not wanting to work, that it is easier to collect and live off the breast of the Government.
In some cases, that is true.
But most are not.
Most Americans do want to work, to take care of their families. Whether is working in the career of their choice, working for someone else or creating their own business, we as a people extol the value of the moral work ethic; "he who will not work, neither let him eat," That work is its own reward. I remember several years ago my mother asking me to do some sewing for her and she offered to pay me. I turned her down; she's my mother and I love to do this project as a gift. But as always she would remind me; "a worker is worthy of his/her hire."
For many of us, work is part of our worship, our service to both The Creator and our fellow man. Whether it is performing surgery, serving in the military, teaching a class, writing a blog or sweeping a floor, all work is holy. Work is a religious experience. It is spiritually rewarding.
But whether one sees work as a religious duty, a high or just a part of life, most people have some idea as to how they wish to make a living.
I grew up in a somewhat conservative home and the the above are the morals that were instilled in me. So, too was those who didn't work, something was wrong with them; something spirituality wrong. These people are morally flawed and lazy. Even selfish and childlike; wanting others to take care of them. And I believed it.
That was until I entered the Work Force myself.  When I couldn't find a job and had to go to Trade School myself to learn a trade, becoming a Nurse's Aide.
Yes, once I learn basic nursing skills, it was  easy for me to get a job; but then there were plenty Nurse's Aides to be had. Because of an eye condition, a Nurse's Aide is as far as I could go in the nursing field. To do anything else, I would have to go back to school, full-time and this would mean leaving my job. During this time there were no grants to assist me. I'm not complaining; it's what it was. And I enjoyed being an CNA.
During this time, I watched friends who had gone to collage and after finishing, couldn't find a job in their given field. Some did find work after several months; a few in their given field. Two started their own business. One went into the army, figuring the army could use her skills. But most took lower paying jobs outside their fields.
I watched friends who served in the Military some twenty-five, thirty years, come out of the service and cannot find jobs that match their skills. They too often take job with lower pay, often out of their field.
If they can find work at all. Sadly, today, many of our Veterans are out of work, not able to find jobs at Pizza Hut. Just in the past month alone, Mark has applied as a driver to Pizza Hut, Papa John, Bella Pizza ( local) and YNot Pizza. All hiring. None called him in even for an interview. This week Mark started trained school to become a carpenter, thinking we would still have his unemployment checks to help out. Until he found out the checks stopped last week.
The Glenn Becks, Bill O'Reillys (who I sometimes agree with) and Sean Hannitys of the world would have you believe, as I once did, that those who don't work, don't want to. That these people have a flawed moral core. That men and women like my husband Mark are lazy and just sit on their butts, eating potato chips and playing video games, while the nation supports them.
While I am pro-business, I am also aware that people like Mark can't get jobs because there are no lower paying jobs. Most who are laid off do not find higher paying jobs. Amoug the highest rate of unemployed are our Veterans. Despite their education and skills, these men and women cannot find jobs.
Sadly, many of my fellow conservatives have no idea what it is like in the real (Reel) world. Many have no idea how hard it to send off resume after resume, go to one interview after another. To wonder if this month will be the last month in their home or apartment. How far can you stretch red beans and rice. Or dig through the sofa for enough change to buy a box of Milk Bones.
So, I lounge on my sofa while Mark is in class, not knowing what the future holds for us, but knowing Who holds the future.
Because of the accident, I had to cancel the Yard Sale I had planned, so I have to wait until the knee heals to do the Sale. But I can do some sewing and pay someone buys my rag dolls.
Since Mark could be offered a part-time job as part of his schooling as early as next week, I pray something will open up. I pray that I can earn money with my crafts to help my husband.
And I pray for all who are looking for work, who are struggling as we are.
And that somewhere along the line, the Glenn Becks, Sean Hannitys and their irk will gain some compassion for those who aren't as affluent as they.

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Love Really Hurts

The do experts say that when your dog gets loose and runs for a busy street, don't run after him or her. Instead, start yelling and screaming, act crazy or fall down. Anything to get their attention. Otherwise, if you run away your pet, he will think this is a game and run right into danger.
Now they tell me....
The day, Friday the 13th. I kid you not.
Mark, being the amazing son-in-law that he is, took my mother for an eye examine. Mother had an cataract removed several months ago and the doctor wanted to see how she was doing.
So, I was home with Monti.
Around twelve noon, I took Monti out to go to the loo, not on his lead. The reason? Because is so hot, Monti takes care of busy and then heads back to the apartment.
Not this afternoon.
Monti caught a scent of something and headed out of the Court. I followed, again not too worried. He stopped to smell a daisy and then with a turn of his paws, Monti headed off to the busy main street of Hampton Blvd.
I started calling Monti, even grabbed for him, but he thought it was all a game and began to run.
All I could think of is: "Dear G-d! I can't stop him!"
The next thing I remember was looking eye level at Monti; it seems I tripped and fell. And with my falling, Monti heard me, then came over to see about me.
Thankfully, Monti wasn't hurt.
I did manage to get upstairs and to bed.
When Mark arrived home, he took me to the Urgent Care, where we learnd I had sprain my right wrist and badly bruised and sprain my left knee.
Yeah, I'm smiling through the pain.
Nor has Monti left my side.
As of this writing, my right wrist is feeling much better and I am no longer wearing the brace.
The knee, is a different story... This is my knee as of a few days ago. I still have to wear an Ace Bandage, ice it and keep it up because of the swelling.
Yesterday, Monti came over and licked my bruises as he always do. But this time, he also brought me one of his Milk Bones, hoping it would make me feel better.
Yeah, love hurts. But when I look at those big brown eyes staring back at me with love, it was worth the fall.

Thursday, 12 July 2012

My Spiritual Journey; Part 2

My friend Richard Kidd recently said; "we are all on a spiritual journey..."
When I ponder upon those words, I cannot help but think that this means there is not only a purpose in life, but we are heading somewhere.
As one of our rabbi often says; "the question isn't when you die, where will your soul go, but to Whom."
I like that thought.
It makes me think of the times my family and I were planning a trip to visit extended family in New York. All the preparation that went into the trip; frying a batch of chicken and packing potatoes chips and cans of soda for our lunch as we rode on the Greyhound. Enough clothes for the visit, gifts and books to read.
We weren't just going to Aunt Lola or Aunt Lucille's home, but we were going to visit Aunt Lola and her family. We would be spending the wee with Aunt Lucille and her family.
For that week or for the summer, Aunt's Lola's home would be ours as well. And our New York family came to stay with us, our home was theirs as well.
Richard's words made me think; I am not just wandering through this life, only to end up six feet under and soon forgotten, just a memory to those who love me.
There is an end to this road; it is called Heaven.
And one day, I shall walk into that Golden Land and reunite with those who passed on before me, to return to the One Who Created me.
As C.S.Lewis once wrote, my soul "is drawn upward."
May we all find joy in the journey.

Update On Monti

In yesterday's post, I posted about Monti's search for an M&M in my quilting bag.
Yes, he is feeling so much better.
Lord Montaque T Reel is back.
He is back to sleeping all night, trying to get into his treat draw and sitting in from of the door, waiting to go out for his walk.
Tuesday morning, Monti had a follow up with his Vet. While he has lost two pounds due to his recent illness, the Vet says Monti is doing great. He even ate the doggie treat given to him.
So, once again, we are stepping over a blue-green monkey named George, finding my sofa quilt has been dragged to the floor and made into a doggie bed and having to fight off a little dog who is trying to mug me of my fried chicken wing.

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

And I Was So Close

"OK, mummie's out of the room....."

"I know there's an M&M in here...."
"And I was so close!"

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

What You Don't Know Can Kill You: Part 2

One of the amazing things I have found in life is how little most people give thought to their health.
Until they become sick or injured.
In my case, it wasn't that I didn't care: I didn't pay enough attention to my own health.
One of my strongest traits and greatest downfalls is I tend to be some want of an Earth Mother; taking care of everyone around me, making sure everyone has what they need and putting myself last.
So noble.
So humble.
So dumb.
Not that I am saying that we must put our needs above others. But one must not put one self on the back burner either.
It was several months after I have placed my mother is an assistance care home. I was putting my home and my life back in order and dealing with a major depression. Around this time I had found an low income clinic in my neighbourhood and made an appointment. I wasn't feeling well, lots of headaches I caulked up to migraines, stress and the depression. I was even beginning to wonder is I was being menopause, though I would be rather young.
It turns out that my headaches were tension headaches and my blood pressure was a little high. But the doctor and I reason with all the stress I was under, once I wanted handling the stress better, the headaches would go away and my pressure would return to normal. Which it did for a while.
I now realise that amoung the signs of High Blood Pressure is depression as well as headaches. Given my family history, both my doctor and I should have paid more to the slow climb of my pressure.
I confess I wasn't taking my blood pressure as I should, so I didn't have a record to compare.
It wouldn't be until years later, after a week long headache landed me in the ER that I would come face with the truth. I had uncontrollable blood pressure. The numbers 200/190.
That is called a Stroke in the making.
The doctor said my vomiting took the pressure off my brain and causing the pressure to go down. I spread four days in hospital getting it back down and under control.
And seven years later, it has remained around 110/70. Sometimes under stress it does go up a bit, but not by much.
I watch my salt intake, no more fast foods, drink lots of water, thanks to Monti, walk and learn to keep the stress down.
In order to be here for my husband and those I love, to enjoy the gift of life I have been blessed with, to say to my Creator, "Thank you for my life," I take care of myself. I take my medication and follow doctor's orders.
The most lovingly thing we can do for those we love is to take care of ourselves.
As Mark and I often say "we take care of each other, for each other."

My Spiritual Journey; Part One

My friend Richard Kidd recently said: "People all around you are on a spiritual journey. It may be different than yours, perhaps filled with hurt and pain. Have you taken the time to stop and listen and ask respectful questions?"
His question got me thinking about my own spiritual journey....
My own journey has been filled with so many twist and turns, down through deep, dark valleys, black caves and even a worm-hole or two.
On the road I have met very interesting folks, gain friends, lost friends and even found my soul-mate.
As I look back, it has been an amazing journey that is far from over.
My journey began as a child, sitting on the window slit of my bedroom and staring out into the night sky, knowing that there was something, bigger, greater, than myself.
I would stare out the window, searching the ebony black sky, trying to peek around the moon or the stars, trying to see if there was an opening, hoping to catch a glimmer of an angel, or maybe even G-d Himself.
I remember at bedtime, Mummie kneeling beside our bed; my sister on one side of her and I on the other, her leading us in our bedtime prayer, "now I pray me down to sleep..."
I can still hear Mummie's voice, I can still feel her hand, holding my.
My mother.
It was my mother who placed my feet upon the path of faith, holding my hand as she taught me to walk. And when I could finally walk on my own, she took my hand and placed it into the Hand of G-d.
As I sit here and begin this series on my own spiritual journey, I realise how blessed I am to still have my mother walking  with me on my journey, still guiding me, still encouraging me.
Still taking my hand and praying with me.

Thursday, 5 July 2012

Visiting Family

The 4th for us was a little different.
Usually, we are in Williamburg, celebrating both our anniversary and the 4th of July.
But with money being tight, we were left coming up with a scaled down celebration. So I suggested this would be a good day to go visit our parents. It would get us out of the house, break our depression and spend time with people we love.
Montaque, who is feeling great these days, once again enjoyed the car ride.
First, we stopped at my mother's.
She was sitting in her room, waiting for her family. While we have kept in touch by phone, it just isn't the same. Having been worried about Monti, she was happy to see him running about, showering her with kisses and she even laid out a pillow for him to lay on.
And of course the staff and residents love Monti as well. This sweet little guy has a way of lifting everyone's spirits. There was one gentleman I spoke to as he played with Monti. He told me that just before he came to Hope Haven, he had a dog, a Collie, for twenty years before he passed on. It brought this older man so much joy to play with Monti. He said he wished Hope Haven had a dog. I told him, that is why we brought Monti, because we are sharing him with the residents of Hope Haven.
Monti even managed to beg a few potato chips from one of the staffers.
Next, we went to see Mark's parents.
This was Monti's first visit to Mum and Dad's and he did great. Dad got a kick out Monti smiling at him.
Mark and his dad went off to talk about a project Dad wishes Mark to help with, while Mum and I talked about what G-d has been doing in our lives. All the while, Monti was getting to his grandparnets' home.
I realise how much I had been missing my family. We don't do a lot of driving these days, saving gas for Mark's job searches or doctor's appointments. Just seeing their faces, receiving hugs and kisses. Hearing, "how are you guys doing, really?" in that way only a mum or dad can do.
No fireworks or hot dogs.
Just spending time with the people we love and who love us.
Another sweet memory for our memory book.

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Health Care, Part 2

I just finished reading Marty's comments on my last post about Health Care.
First, Marty, thought you knew me better than that; give up Starbucks???????Never!
Marty, you and I agree more than you know. I believe where we differ (I think) is, while I believe there should be a safely net for the poor, I believe there should be more affordable insurance so that everyone is covered, but I believe what truly needs the major overhaul is private insurance. I agree you, Marty, no one should be dropped from their insurance because their have a major illness. Or not be able to obtain insurance because of a pre-existing condition.
Again, this is just my personal experience; for the first 16 years of my life, I did not have health insurance. Health insurance in those days were for those who became ill. Otherwise, we paid our doctor and medications out of pocket. My mother and grandmother had health insurance, but then they both had high blood pressure. For my sister and I, she paid out of pocket.
After the birth of my son, I went on Welfare and this included government health care. And there were limits on the coverage.
When my son turned 18 and went into the navy, I came off the system.
Ahhhh air!
In the 50's and 60's as the Welfare rolls grew, the system began to setup guidelines to help poor families. One of them, if there was a man in the house, even if he wasn't working, no assistance would be given. So, to help his family, men had to leave their families in order for their wives and children to receive a small, monthly check. Right now, in order for us to get food stamps, I need to leave my husband. That is how the System is set up.
When my mother had her stroke and I brought her home to recover, her insurance did not cover all her needs. So I went to Social Services and was told first we had to spend down all the money in her savings account. Then, I was told I would have to place her in an assistance living home. Even though I retired from my job to take care of my mother, in order for her to receive the care she needed, I had to place her in the care of strangers.
And while the staff at Hope Haven is amazing, we cannot afford to take in either my mother or Mark's parents in our own home. Or theirs.
I really hope and pray my fears about the Health Care bill are unfounded. Its times like these things I don't mind being wrong.
But I won't eat crow; not kosher you know.

What You Don't Know Can Kill You

Hypertension, better known as high blood pressure, is one of the major causes of death in this country. While there are many causes, in my case, it is family history. My grandmother had hypertension in her twenties, my mother in her early thirties. And while knowing my family history and keeping an eye on my own blood pressure, I still develop the disease in my forties.
Sadly, more people, many more are people of colour, are having and dying from strokes in their fifties and and early sixties. These include Luther Vandross at age 54 and Barry White at age 58.
While native Americans and people of colour are at higher risk, so is everyone as we grow older. But there are other factors; smoking, poor diet, stress and lack of exercise also plays a role. Because of our own family history, Mark and I continue to make the changes needed to lead a happy, healthily life.

Recently I had a friend get mad at me.
Seems to be happening a lot lately.
My friend got mad because I told her the truth.
My she had been complaining about sever headaches. Having blood pressure myself, I know that the summer heat can cause problems including headaches. So I asked my friend if she had been watching her blood pressure.
No, she answered, she didn't need to, she felt fine.
But you have a headache, that is a major sign your pressure is up.
Are you taking your medication?
No, I really don't need it, I feel fine.
No you have a headache. If your not taking your medication, of course you have a headache.
Thank you Doctor Reel.
Your welcome. Look, you called me. What did you want me to do?
That is best left unsaid.
Three days later, my friend called to ask my forgiveness. It seem right after she spoke to me, she began to vomit and was rushed to hospital.
Her blood pressure was out of control.
After a few days, things settled down and we had a nice long talk.
"How did you know, Elayne?"
"Because when Mark and I were engaged, I had the same type of headache and Mark had to rush me to hospital. That is how I found out I had high blood pressure." If Mark hadn't gotten me to hospital, there is a good chance I could have had a stroke.
This is why hypertension is known as the "silence killer," There are usually no signs unless your doctor sees a climb in your pressure.
 So my friend, who is no longer angry with me, suggested I blog about this.
Here it is, girlfriend.

My Views on Health Care.

Marty asked me a rather interesting question about health care that I would like to try and answer.
First, I do believe something must be done. I have a friend who doesn't have health care and we his friends are caring for him.
You see, Marty, on this matter I tend to be more like the Amish. The Amish do not collect any government assistance. They don't collect umeployment, insurance of any kind or social security. They believe that the communty takes care of their own. So if an someone in the communty, Amish or not becomes ill, the communty comes together and pays for the needed medical services. If a family falls on hard times, the communty picks them up, giving food, money, even creating work for the able body. There are no nursing homes; the families care for their elders. If more faith communtries would take their clue from the Amish, there would be few needly amoung us. I speak as a person of faith; this is where we as believers have failed our fellowman. It is our job, not the governments to care for the needs of our fellow Amercians.
With G-d's help, Mark and I hope to build such a commuty.

 I am one of those who use to be on Welfare, worked part time when I could have gone full time because at the time I was a single mother and both my son and I had acute asthma. During my years in the health care world, you had to be an R.N or above to receive the benefits of health care.
Throughout all the years I worked, I never had health care. When my son went into the Navy, there went the medical coverage. During this time, I injured my back at work and was in hospital for a week in traction. My doctor had to battle with Medical in order for me to receive treatment; the Medical Nurse felt the traction wasn't needed and didn't want to pay for it.
My doctor won.
When I was send home, the doctor order P.T. and a TENS Unit for home use. The Medical Nurse said, either was needed and I should be able to return to work. Once again, my doctor had to find with Medical for that I receive the treatment I needed.
Medical would not place for plastic lens for my glasses; only glass in my eye glasses. My doctor had to explain take the glass would make the eye wear difficult for me to wear and would break easier. We now have to pay not only for our own glasses, but my mother's. Her insurance (Medical) doesn't cover her glasses.
While most jobs today come with health care benefits, the health care insurance, like Medical tells you what it will and will not cover. Example, our insurance will not pay for infertility treatment for women over the age of 38. So this is treatment we have to pay out of pocket ourselves. Will such treatment be covered in ObamaCare like birth control pills?
Most countries that have government paid medical care also very high tax rates. In many of the European countries, income tax is around 50%.
 The American  media likes to paint a glowing picture of these countries that have government sponsored health care, yet even in those countries there is a o two tier health care system. The "free" services are OK, better than no health care. But those who have the money, do pay for a better level of health care.
 This nation  has the most advanced health care in the world. So we are doing something right. even the poorest amoung us can receive the most advance care. In those countries with government health care, sorry, but that would not happen. While I agree that our system is not perfect and there definitely could be improvements, I also believe that Government control health care is the wrong way to go. In the long run, it will be the government and not your doctor telling you if you need this treatment or no. 
Having been on government health care and now receiving Tricare, I for one do not want to see the government take over health care. The government is very good at making a mess of things. The answer lies in making afford health care available through the private sector. Just as we now have School vouchers for low income parents, the voucher system would also work in health care.
But frankly, we Americans really need to become proactive in our own health. We need to put down the hamburgers and pick carrots. Put down the soda (and Starbucks) and drink more water. We need to walk more drive less. One of the ways to bring down health cost; we need to take better care of ourselves. 
Now if you will excuse me, it is time for my daily walk.