Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Getting through bitterness.

Bitterness is good for the soul in moderate amounts.
Thorough searching and complete self honesty reveals,
Yes indeed, I allowed and wished for this to happen.
My wish came true.
It's here.

He did the most hideous thing he could do.
So that it's gone.
The love is broken.

Now all of a sudden I want it to not have happened?

When I look at where I am and what he did,
I am bitter?
How could I be bitter?
I wished for where I am.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Go forth and create!

Hi blog readers and folks that continue to be art supporters,

As summer comes to a close and school restarts, I'm taking this moment to create a post of gratitude, a memento of my favorite summer moments.  I am compelled to share a glimpse at the art, the trips, the family love that happened, that touched me in some way.

Here's some art progress in my series:

My life is not cryptically sophisticated, as what is in vogue for the artiste, but philosophically, I'm on a quest for "simplicity on the other side of complexity" 

Here are some art that came across my path that beckoned my attention:
Queen Mother of Reality by Althamer in Socrates Sculpture Park Queens, NY
So appropriate for how I often feel--"pieced together"
A sculpture in San Francisco that beckons homeless people.  Vaillancourt Fountain, San Francisco, California. Built by Armand Vaillancourt. This sculpture imparts a feeling of going nowhere 

Both sculpture above expresses hopelessness. Why is that the subject of so many artist?...It's not the whole truth. So, I look into other forms of artwork. Here's fresh Flower arrangement by Polly Joseph in Joseph Farm Charlottesville, VA.  I love the way this lady arranges flowers (this is but a small example of what I saw)

The explorations that came to be: 
Mini-sailing and fishing trips 
Learning about boats, particularly the Balcutha, San Francisco

Checking out the Manhattan sailing scene and recalling the old days, the Manhattan highlife

From the city jungle to the country jungle: in a rusted old truck where currently a 5 ft long black snake resides

And of course, random fields of sunflowers blooming required random car stops

A little glimpse of my inner family for whom I am most grateful for:
As always Noah is the highlight of summer, and my life.  My fav moments are with him

And there were some heart warming procession that brought tears to my eyes
And portentous signs of blessings and love in the air
We paused in a corner of a rock and swam by a river 

And a here's some honesty.  Summer days had me dealing with obstinate, cluelessly stubborn people, one in particular.  I thought it appropriate to end the photo sharing with a nod to a goat-like friend, an acknowledgement that my life is far from perfect.  (You know who you are and what a pain you've been.) But nonetheless, life wouldn't be the same without you.

A treasure trove of memories, and time flies (but I'm not sure if time exists--discuss).
I attest to the truth that we shape our world how we like and we choose to create feelings moment by moment.  This is an active endeavor.
In the beginning and as the lore goes, the Creator said:  "go forth and *create"!

*multiply in some translations 

Friday, August 1, 2014

My two cents worth on visiting NYC with kids!

I lived in New York City for five years and moved out around a time period that coincided with becoming a mom. Having this firsthand knowledge of New York City was immensely helpful to my visit as a mother of a toddler. Yet, I still hesitated and was nervous about a visit. There are many challenges involved to a NYC trip.
So if you're planning to visit, here's a few tips to consider for new parents. It's not easy but overall it's doable and still fun.

1. Be prepared for schedule changes for your child. For example, if your child has nap time at 2 pm, chances are, when you are sightseeing, you'll forget the time, or may not make it back to your hotel for naptime. In terms of naptime, with appropriate planning, there are ways to ensure that your child still gets one. Visit places that are conducive to naptime in the stroller. Like Central Park, or the Hammock Grove in Governor's Island (only open during summertime).

2. Trains, trains, trains are absolutely fascinating to kids. But make sure you have a good stroller that is easy to fold, lightweight and able to handle potholes, uneven side walk, and the unexpected. It has to fold easily and be lightweight, because believe me you'll be folding and unfolding frequently and going up and down flights of stairs in order to get to the subway. (You can use the elevators, but some subway lines are ill-equipped or have stinky, nasty elevators).

This is a photo Noah in Central Park.  Coincidentally, this also shows the umbrella stroller I brought along.  It was rather "the mode" in NC to use this super cheap stroller because it's very lightweight and easy to fold and dare I say, disposable.  But it looked too cheap in Fifth Avenue and the wheels were simply inadequate and infuriating! 

3. NYC is a convergence of sexy people who do their utmost best to avoid having kids. Hey, you've seen the show Sex and the City. I did my best to look for family friendly restaurants in Manhattan. Even the restaurant Alice's Tea Cup is frequented by single ladies looking to have that dainty afternoon cup of tea, and I felt that they were ill-prepared for the unexpected behaviors of a toddler.
Your best bet for eating out? Rooftop barbecue!!

You'll most likely see spectacular sunsets too!! 

4. So you've heard of FAO Schwartz? How every kid deserves to grow up in FAO Schwartz.  Yabba, yabba.  It's really the place where kids throw tantrums if they don't get what they want. So be prepared to spend some $$. 

5. There are lots of parks, lots of friends, and lots of germs.  Bring your moist wipes and alcohol-based antibacterial hand cleansers, you will need it.
6. Also, take a look at Noah's backpack which conveniently doubles as a hiding spot for his leash.  Say what you will about leashes for kids, but when you're in the city and you have a kid who is not afraid to explore without you, that leash is a handy tool to keep him nearby while your busy folding the stroller, or hunting your pockets for that metrocard that you're sure you placed in a safe and accessible spot! 

I won't bore you with my opinion of best places to visit because there are other blogs and trusted websites that serve that purpose.

So, what are you waiting for? Pack your bags and take a bite out of The Big Apple!! 

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

My Filipino Palestinian Cousins-- Faces in the Perspective

In the wake of the recent Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and the rising death toll especially on the Palestinian side, currently New York Times reported that, as of noon, 655 people had been killed since the operation’s onset, 4,220 wounded and 1,090 homes demolished, of which many are women, children, and elderly men--I'm moved to write about my three Filipino-Jordanian cousins, who are Palestinian. The current conflict is justified by Israel as a measure of "self-defense after days of restraint, warnings, and pleas—as rockets continued to land on its cities and later when militants sprang from tunnels to kill its citizens." In 2011, my cousins used these same tunnel to escape to Egypt and eventually be reunited with their Filipina mother, my father's cousin.
When I visited the Philippines, I met them in 2011 in Manila. Sherene is 18, she is studying to be a nurse. Sisi is 13, she became the Manila figure skating champion in her age bracket also in 2011. Lafi is 15 and has a strong interest in photography. We swam in the pool, we ate a lot, we visited different tourists sites in Manila and just had a wonderful short time spent together.
I also had an opportunity to hear about their home life in Palestine, the suffering and deprivation they faced on a daily basis because of the blockade that Israel has put on Gaza. The blockade is considered by UN officials as illegal in March 2014. The Palestinian demanded that the blockade be lifted, and since Israel refused to do so, peace talks were futile. Details of the conflict from the American Al Jezera network is causing me more anxiety.

My cousins friends are targeted, their family left behind in Palestine have evacuated, homes demolished, and their grandfather, who is paralyzed has nowhere to go. Hamas is purportedly using human shields. But what if these human shields are also people who wanted a better life, end to the blockade? Would they then be classified as Hamas, and valid targets? My cousins, who are currently living a wonderful life in Manila are mortified by what is going on.

Living in the USA, particularly in the Bible Belt South, there is a pro-Israeli sentiment because of religious traditions and affiliations. It's easy to go with the flow and stop asking questions.

In going to war, these questions should be asked: Are the reasons for the war morally compelling? This in philosophy is "the right to go to war" (jus ad bellum)
The second question to ask is: the "right conduct in war" (jus in bello)--This principle is meant to limit excessive and unnecessary death and destruction.

I've scoured the news to try to understand what is happening. I think for both philosophical questions, the Israeli current conduct is not justified. I don't think it's useful to look at this from a religious perspective. Both groups of people live there, and both equally have the right to exist, the right to pursuit of life, liberty and happiness.

However, Washington seems committed to Israel, and with this commitment, there is no enforcement mechanism to hold Israel accountable. And accountability is important, CRUCIAL, in world peace.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Working for the Lee County Health Department

Working for the Lee County Health Department was an eye opener.
I'm not sure how other health departments are structured but this one primarily 1. keep food and physical environment safe by visiting restaurants, hotels, day cares, monitor lead and water pollution 2. prevent the occurrence and spread of disease by working with community partners 3. prepare for and respond to disaster and emergencies.

I worked in the #2 capacity--preventing the occurrence and spread of disease.
This began with a community health assessment (CHA), which occurs once every four years in Lee County. The assessment is 20 minutes long. So I would call different business and locations to see if we could conduct a CHA or set up a drop box with surveys. I conducted CHA at food banks, free clinics, employment security commission, chamber of commerce, pharmacies, libraries, post office, fairs and many more different places. At certain point, this job was repetitive in some aspects and yet it continued to be challenging.

Another aspect of #2 was to attend monthly meetings of taskforce composed of health organizations, school districts, farmers cooperative, etc. The meeting serves to discuss past actions, and future plans and main community problems. One such problem is the rate of obesity in Lee County, which I found to be a shocking >50%! One project that I worked on to address this issue of obesity is to organize a pilot exercise in the park program. I served as a coordinator, planner, diplomat, promoter to help bring the project to life.

Another job that I performed with #2 is to work as a student nurse in the health clinic. The health clinic serves a majority of people from low socioeconomic backgrounds. The wait times occasionally was greater than 2 hours due to lack of interpreters. The clinic helps to screen pregnancy, STDS, help maintain healthy course of pregnancy, vaccinations, well-child visits, etc. I think the most interesting experience in the clinic was to meet someone who was recently diagnosed/treated with an STD and a day later encounter that same person trying to hook up with an obese woman. Ugh. I am bound by HIPAA and confidentiality. But I'm looking into finding out what measures we have against preventing/stopping this kind of reckless behavior?

Finally, I'm attending a Crisis Intervention Training for Law Enforcement Officers. This CIT helps police officers recognize psychiatric illness and crisis and help them form appropriate response. The ultimate goal is to bring the person to seek medical attention, rather than to incarcerate the said person during an acute psychiatric crisis.

These are but a few of the projects I've been involved with at the local government level this past summer. There are many ways to be involved, if any of the above sounds interesting to you!