Tuesday, March 31, 2009


My younger brother and I usually ‘catch’ up with each other every Saturday or the weekend. We talk about anything and everything calmly and without concern for the time or the distance between us. Last time we spoke he was very happy and delighted that his very dear friend had voluntarily checked himself into a rehab center for drug and alcohol abuse. This condition he pointed was a mask for a very troubled childhood and a life of pain and anguish his friend has. Despite these issues this friend was a very productive and decent family man and citizen. My brother and I thought that it was a very good move on his friends’ part and we hoped that he would get the help he need to move forward with his life. My brother also told his friends’ wife to lean on him as much as she needed to help her through a bumpy ride. She said she would and she too was hoping for a good result.

Today my brother told me that he lost his friend. I was shocked. “Who”, I said hurriedly? I yelled, “No”. I gasped and was befuddled. “What? What happened?” I said. He told me that his friend tried to kill himself after attempting to confront his family members he accused for his anguish. Oh my goodness. What a shame! I am so sad for this whole family. There are so many questions and emotions swirling around in my head about this.
What happened? Did something go wrong with the process or the system?
Did this man open the proverbial can of worms with inadequate preparation and support to handle it?

Was he a renegade who went off because he didn’t want to deal or pretend to deal anymore?
How do you come to grips with this and try to understand or strengthen a system.
Is there a blame and to whom or where do we assign it, or do we even assign it. Is it him for attempting to heal him self and lost control in the process? Did the system pull a lever and not put enough safe guards to be on the lookout and activate reconnaissance? Is this just a tragedy, a sad case where so much is lost because of the failings of motherhood and family?

What are the answers; who knows or will ever know? What do we do now or say to others with a similar situation; go get help to heal? As a society this is what we say to our folks who need help in this regard. Do we say that with trepidation or assurances? How do we address the parenting issue or the issue of child abuse or child endangerment and the victims? As I write this piece I can’t help think about Rocky, the movie. I think of all those scenes of flashbacks of pain and suffering. Different set of circumstances, yes, but similar effect. How can you heal that hurt so it doesn’t continue to cause harm?

This is such a sad and painful situation. So many lives affected in the past and the present. What will be the impact in the future? The situation is this. Parenthood doesn’t come with a manual or training guide. Sometimes it doesn’t even come with a mentor or good guidance or experience to draw from. Raising a child is not an easy task. I always say, you have to become self-less when you have kids. You have to be extra careful, sensitive, and instructive and nurturing, always placing their best interest first. Maintaining composure, consistently meter out commands and emotions and reactions and consequences to make the point, affirm and acknowledge and ‘hear’ them so that they hear you. It’s a delicate balance that must be achieved and maintained through out the years with cognizance. When we fail to do this or unleash our wrath of disappointments, frustration, unprepared-ness for the task, and other unresolved personal issues on the child, well, we can create monsters. I am not calling this dear man a monster but we will influence monstrous behaviors from their experience.

The other thing her is this; did the mental health system that welcomed him helped or failed him and his family, and the rest of us. I don’t know this answer either and I will not speculate. I was told that this guy was in a residential program for about 3 weeks. I don’t know what the discharge plan was or his follow through. I don’t know what his extended family situation – his external support system was. I have to say however his efforts didn’t seem to give him the expected result. Maybe it was just too late.

Would things have been different today had he kept up his self treatment – alcohol and drug uses. This situation was a ticking time bomb, which he realized and wanted to change before it got the better of him. Unfortunately it did. I have to say getting clean or learning how to cope with life issues in the natural is still the best course of action. We however hope for good results and perhaps it is the case more often than not. This is a very, very sad outcome.

What do we say to a little girl who suddenly lost her beloved daddy; her Daddy who was trying to make his/their lives better and now he is gone?

Take heart dear child, we pray for your safety and your peace. I am sorry for your loss. May God bless you and grant you and your family peace.
Bro, stay close they will need your support more than ever. You can count on me.

Sunday, March 29, 2009


It seems that I’ve been having car problems for a couple of weeks now. I guess I need a new car! Unfortunately that’s not possible right now. I am open to donations though!

Saturdays are the days I have to do without the car and get the errands done as best as I can. I can drop off the car at the mechanic early in the morning and then make my way around town. For one thing, my mechanic is close to the market where I shop so I can do the other errands, get back to the garage drop off the bags and walk over to the market. Today I was not in a mood to do much. The car would also not be ready early. My plan was to walk to the market and pick up a few things that I could easily carry back on my own. Of course my plan didn’t work out or ever does. I can’t remember going into a store to pick up one thing or a planned set of things and walk out with just that or those items. I’ve even tried to take just the amount of money I needed, based on an estimate from previous purchases, and still manage to come back with other stuff. Anyway I guess that’s the way it is.

Anytime I catch my self in this situation and make the comment about picking up more than I intended to, I get the Amen Chorus from the folks around. Does that happen to you? Or should I say do you find yourself in that predicament? Well, every other person that I make this comment to always echoes the same sentiment. “Yes I do.” There are times when I am on the cashier’s line and I hear the comment coming from other shoppers. I usually chime in and get a laugh at the situation. This might be a curse or an unconscious act, a program. If you enter a store or market or shop you will leave with more than you went in for or need. Maybe the advertisers or store planners has us pegged. We are doomed. Should we change this behavior or be concerned about the extra items, well except when it cuts into your budget? We don’t need therapy or anything, do we?

I always make the excuse that I could use the things or I might need it soon or it’s a good price, or it’s cute and it’ll look nice ‘over there’. We all know that we can find use for anything at any time; we also know that it’s not a bargain if we don’t need it, even if it’s a good price and, we are all too vain. So any way I had to call my husband to come get me with the 10 bags I manage to assemble in the market. It’s a good thing that I didn’t have much to do out this day as I am sure I wouldn’t have had enough dough to do it all. Well, maybe I would have stuck to the plan of picking up the few essential things I went to get, and maybe two more things. Just two or three!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Goodly Creatures

"O wonder!
How many goodly creatures are there here!
How beauteous mankind is!
O brave new world that
has such people in it!" - William Shakespeare, The Tempest, 5.1

I came across this quote on a Street Scape poster and thought I would post it. It strikes at the heart of my comment from last week.

Last week I was the recipient of a good deed from a fellow bus rider. I said thanks to the stranger and to the Moms and the children of the world for being so wonderful. I really meant those sentiments and so this quote from William Shakespeare’s Tempest chronicle that reality. There are many goodly creatures out there but we don't always encounter them or behave that way ourselves. I am very happy to have experienced the wonder here there!

I know that each day has its own challenges and situations but some how, some where and sometimes we encounter the beauty and kindness of people. I hope all of the people we encounter this week are goodly creatures!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009


The world is a wonderful place, and the people, well, they are the bonus. I am breaking my blog entry routine to make this post because I had a feel good moment.

Remember a couple of weeks ago I wrote that while I was running errands I was given a seat on a bus? Well, it happened again today. Oh yeah! And this time I felt honored. No second guessing the motive. I felt honored for the respect and honored to be a mother.

This day I was on my A game. I was dressed in business clothes, hair nicely coiffed, make-up etc. I was calm, poised, not harried or laden down with shopping bags going about my business. I hopped on the bus to save time. As I made my way to the back of the bus, a gentleman got up and offered me his seat. I don’t want to attribute his generosity to my appearance or the friendly look I had on my face. The bus had a group of good looking folks. I think it was all him; his belief that we should be treated courteously. It was refreshing. He got a loud and melodious Thank You, Sir! from me.

I thought to myself, hmmm! There are many good and decent and respectable folks out there. Never mind the assumption that some things skipped a generation, hence the generation gap in values and sensibilities from my generation. I guess that some things did not escape the group. Members of this group, a younger generation, that I have encountered, are ‘out there’ doing good deeds.

Thanks Moms, for teaching common values and respect. Thanks Son for living the lessons learned. Thanks society, the village, for the acknowledgement and reinforcement of good deeds. All is not lost; let’s keep it going.

Thank you, you've made my day. Thanks everybody!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Many Happy Returns

The last three weeks I have been busy with party planning, party gift shopping and celebrations. I love a good party! Don’t you? So I try to give a good party with as many people and as much of the trimmings as the wallet can procure. I always get such a kick putting on a party. When it all comes together, it’s like butter cream icing on your favorite cake. Wow, what a pleasure! I simply love it!

During this time I planned and celebrated a 21st birthday party which turned out well. We put together and celebrated a 17th birthday party which was wonderful. I am now working on an old farts celebration. It might sound crazy to folks as we are in a recession and money is tight. But come on, we must take time to smell the roses and while we are at it, Make it special! And that doesn’t have to mean expensive.

These events are important if not only to acknowledge the presence or existence of the ones we celebrate, but to show appreciation and encouragement for their being and their value to you and the cosmos. These celebrations are a wonderful way to get together, to relax, reflect and to renew acquaintances and look forward to the next event.

I had a chance to see some folks I haven’t seen in years and rekindle my affinity for party planning, decorating and entertaining. As I reflected on the years gone by and the many events I have planned, I have the same fondness for putting on a party. I think that I may have a future in this business. I have been looking and assessing, trying to figure out how to recreate myself for prosperity. All of the gurus giving advice on career planning, career change and how to find satisfaction with one self all tell us that the key to success is to find something we are passionate about and go for it. I love this party business.

I have been on this ‘searching’ kick lately trying to figure out where I should go or what path to follow. This idea of party planning and the pieces associated with it is like a boomerang waiting for me to grab. Hmmmmm! Maybe I should really look into it. If it happens there will be another birthday to celebrate.

Happy Birthday guys and many, many, happy, healthy returns!!! Thanks for the memories.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

The Bus Ride

Riding the bus provides a wealth of information into relationships, ‘the happenings’, and the human condition of the community. It’s amazing what you learn, how touching some of the conversations and how much constraint you have to apply as you observe and absorb everything. My car is in the shop and I had to do some errands so I took the bus. This will be a two bus trip each way but, whatever!

On this ride I sat towards the back of the bus, among a mixed group; teens and adults. One teen was seated in the section where I sat when I got on. Another came on board a few stops afterwards. The girl sitting in my area motioned to a boy getting on. The gesture caught my eye so I looked up to see who it was. The boy came back and sat in the available seat two rows away. They then exchanged niceties, caught up on the latest gossip and the happenings of the peers and friends and ‘the block.’

An interesting dynamic played out as they chatted and laughed, exchanged personal information and upcoming events. As they talked, the conversation turned into a cupid type discussion. The girl told him that she is interested in one of his buddies. The boy obviously had some fondness for the girl as if he was interested in her. He was a little clumsy in his talk, eye contact and gestures. He showed her his shopping bag and talked about fashion and how she could set herself apart from the rest of the girls. He was brave though, even bold, assuring her that his friend would like her as she would be a better eye candy than the previous girl. Through out this exchange you could see the change in the boys’ countenance but he didn’t let on that he was a bit bruised. They agreed to get off the bus at the same stop and make their way home. This was a time for constraint. It was wide open to jump in and redirect the play to consider present company because it could be yours for the taking. I wonder if she’ll catch on. He seems as if he would be a good catch for her. Hmmmm! I could share this with my kids.
As I continued my commute, I transferred to another bus for the final leg of the ‘outbound’ trip. I was able to get a seat on this bus as well. It was fairly empty for this time of the day. Two adults came on the bus. Totally engaged and engrossed in conversation; they were discussing shopping, finances and friends. It wasn’t clear the depth or type of friendship between them but they had a good connection; they were familiar with each other, but perhaps not ‘buddy.’ As they sat together and continued their conversation, one was apparently approaching her stop. A real raucous outburst of laughter came from one of the two catching my attention and bringing them back into focus for me. After they took their seat my attention turned to the other riders on the bus. Apparently one woman asked the other a question that got a response that was very funny to her.

I gathered from the continuing conversation that the remark that the bus is a scary and dangerous place was responsible for the laughter. I am not sure if it was the statement itself or the way it was said that got her funny bone. Her laughter continues as she was being cautioned that one should be careful when talking about their destination on the bus for fear of eavesdropping with untoward intentions. The statement was still quite hilarious to her so she continued to make lithe of the issue. In an attempt to amplify the seriousness of her position, the other said, matter-of-factly, ‘you see what happens on TV, don’t you?’ So of course that tempered the response some what but she was still tickled. By this time one was at her stop and they parted pleasantly. This is an interesting idea or concept. Again I was ready to butt in but applied restraint because it might seem an intrusion.

The moral here is that on the bus the conversations, appearances, psyche, intensity, similarity and distance between, among and within the riders are as vast and varied as the neighborhoods. And at times the conversations can be as colorful and even endearing. We are all on the bus for different reasons but perhaps similar purpose. One thing for sure is that we are moving from place to place in a large group and is conducting our business as we see fit or find it necessary; influencing each other.

I don’t ride the bus but most of the time I find it a good experience. I can forget my troubles, enjoy the scenery, engage in conversations, share or learn new information, listen to pithy conversations and get where I’m going without paying attention to the vehicular traffic or anything else. I could even catch up on my reading or formulate a plan for the next task. It’s a good thing. You could even pick up some clues about the language or etiquette of the various groups and some messages to share with those around you as tips. If you are like some of us drivers, you get a break from cursing, honking or swearing, well maybe not swearing because sometimes it can be trying on the bus. You also help to preserve the environment at the same time. Not a bad deal.

Another benefit from riding the bus this day was the posters and advertisings that I saw. The Train of Thought poster on one bus caught my attention and was very insightful. It read: Out of the crooked timber of humanity nothing entirely straight can be built. So togetherness, understanding, flexibility, creativity, tolerance and hope in the power of people all contribute to a rich and powerful community. Our communities appeals or relate in some measure to everyone because we assimilate and become one. What we are and what we do influences everything. Mass Transit, well it has its advantages too.

Monday, March 2, 2009


Image: http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/

Good Deed.
In my crazy, frantic, organized, demanding get it done world of 9 –5, Monday to Friday, I was doing the obligatory Saturday runs to get all the other things in my life done. All of the things that are deferred from Monday to Friday because of the ‘work’ schedule and pre arranged home demands like making dinner for the family. This Saturday morning I had to do some shopping, earlier than usual, and a bit rushed because I had to get to the post office. In the interest of time I decided to take a bus to my next stop, about 3 blocks away. The next stop was the post office. Today I have to mail a package on my daughter’s behalf to a friend of hers. This I must do. After all it’s an assigned task. Time was of the essence as the Post Office closes early on Saturdays.

As I approached the bus stop a bus arrives. Yippee! I was grateful for that stroke of luck. I got on the bus somewhat harried – bags in hand, scarf flying, fumbling for change to pay my fare, hat and winter gloves under arm, etc. I paid the fare and began to file down the aisle; luckily the bus was not as crowded as it could be so I was able to move in. The seats were all taken. I shuffled into the middle of the bus and parked myself next to a single seat occupied by a young man. I did not stop here for any particular reason. This spot was sufficiently far from the front of the bus so I would obstruct the flow of other passengers. As I attempted to compose myself I glanced at the person sitting in the seat. I like to acknowledge folks as well as make sure I am not too close.

The young man motioned to me asking if I would like his seat. I responded thankfully, certainly! Thank you I said as I slid in front of the chair. What a pleasure. As my rear end hit the seat, almost simultaneously as I was thankful, I thought, wait a minute! Did I seem that old and frumpy that he offered me his seat so quickly? Did he feel sorry for me because I seemed so pathetic? I sort a felt clumsy as I got on the bus anyway. Or is he just a nice, courteous, polite young man who lived what he learned. Was he taught to offer the ladies his seat out of respect? Or old ladies even? Hmmmmm! With all of the challenges in our lives these days it’s good to look beyond your situation and give a hand.

The thing I know is this. This was refreshing. I was grateful for the seat as I have been shopping, walking around with the packages for a couple of hours and could use the relief. I could use the brief respite between the ride and getting to my next series of tasks. So no matter what the reason or motivation, Thanks for remembering your manners. Thanks for being kind and thanks no matter what you thought or believed was my case, you did a good deed. This act of kindness reminded me that this world is made up of beautiful, wonderful caring people and this time I am a beneficiary. I will remember to return the favor.

Thanks for being Special! You made my day!

By the way, I am not old or frumpy, well maybe I was a bit frumpy and harried but that’s the way it is on Saturdays.