Letter To A Friend

If I may have offended you recently in the course of our conversation, my apologies for the sentiment it may have cloaked your heart. I stand by what I had said. My turn to be your conscience. You have, all these years, been mine, nudging me to think things over again, to reconsider, to walk through the logic pathway, but to also meander through some worthy alcoves of kindness and consideration. Life, after all, is not completely logical. Neither are relationships, most of all, human beings. To this, I have been in your debt.

I always take comfort that you are one of these people I had good fortune to cross paths with, who does not have to announce their religious faith with pompous swagger, who does not have to punctuate their statements constantly with ostentatious pronouncements. You just are. In your actions, in your philosophies, in your opinions. Neither do you justify your good fortune and comfortable life with these alignments.  I also appreciate your restraint in attempting to proselytize. I sense you respect my own chosen sensibilities about these matters. We do agree that this is all a journey that takes many stops and turns. Who knows where this will all lead us?

We always want to do what is right. But, we also run the risk of self-righteousness. Sometimes, what is right is not always what is best. We need to weigh the odds. Potential collateral damage. Doing what is best but ensuring there are no irreparable long-term ramifications.

I also know that you are more than anything, compassionate and kind. You like to help what you perceive as the down-trodden, regardless of how they got there. Even if it’s from their own doing or their flawed judgments.  I can only hope you don’t believe you can reform all of them. This is where our beliefs take  divergent paths. It is a religious tenet to believe people can change, with enough grace. It is scientific evidence that personality disorders do not. One can only change their behavior, but they remain what they are.

I know that in the end, you will do what is best, balancing it with what is right.  I did too, a few years ago. I let the exit happen without the “nuclear option.”  It took a lot of restraint.  You had reminded me to be compassionate.  I worked quietly with the same painstaking effort to complete the transaction, respecting and honoring the collective decision.  I can only hope that long-term, this indeed was the best and optimal directive.  That we would not have to face these demons when the rules of the game have changed.  And the game will indeed change with new players joining in. I also have to think of what our responsibilities are to the new gamers knowing that we let some matters slide in those years. Have we sullied the game a little in the process? These considerations continue to niggle and whisper in my semi-conscious states.

Posted in Friendship | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

The Soap Collection 

The four variations to the soap collection. Photo credit Likeitiz March 9, 2017

Late last December, my cousins gave me some specialty soaps for the Holidays. It turns out that this project was long overdue. My aunt, Thelma V. Leelin, their mother, had spent most of her life a revered dermatologist in Manila. She had passed the baton to one of her daughters, Donna, at her retirement. The soap project was her vision. What came out was a thoughtful collaboration between mother, daughter, and a daughter-in-law (Rachel)!
I should also mention that my aunt is battling the “emperor of all maladies,” as aptly named by Siddhartha Mukherjee, in his Pulitzer winning biography of the big C. 

Yes, she has stared the beast in the eye, felt its breath, and raised her fists in clear defiance. Perhaps, the soap project is a return salvo, or an affirmation, or a legacy among many. Or all of the above. One thing’s for sure though. She’s a fiercie. (I had written about fierce women in the past here. I’d say, she’s definitely one of us!). 
Denouement:

While reading through two of Dr. Mukherjee’s recent books, I could not help but think of all the women I have crossed paths with who have contended against this unwanted adversary. Admittedly, even the mere shadow of possibility has always made me flinch.

To all of them who have gone mano a mano with it, salaam! To Loudette Zaragoza-Banson, Cari Leviste-Azores, Maia La’O, Claire Kwek, Laura Hosking, Nettie Ramsay, Linda Benevento, Marichi Pedrosa-Harvey, Emma Royo, Berna Filart, Libet Virata, Freddy Herrera*, Clarita Go, Joey Albert, Lot Ortiz-Luis, please, if I missed someone, just add.

To those who fought a worthy battle but succumbed in the end: Anna del Rosario, Vanna Virata, Chic Migallos, Ruthy Roa, Joey Sy*, Edwin Chin*, Scarlet Santos, mom-in-law Justina Ortiz-Luis, aunt Maria Flor Meneses. We continue to remember you and how you have enriched our lives.

*I know I included some men in these lists. They’re warriors in their own rights too!

Posted in Breast Cancer, Cancer, cancer, Courage, Health, Second Chances, Vanna Virata, Women's Health | Tagged , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Sunday Walk

We went for a Sunday walk at our fave off-leash dog-friendly park, Fort Funston. We owed it to Beau after getting cooped up at home during the sequence of storms. We were also gone for most of the year-end holiday to visit our parents and spend time with family thousands of miles across the ocean. 

The morning was just perfect! Sunny skies. Mild breeze. Lots of dogs and their humans. We were in great company. 

Beau was in his full element. There was lots and lots of running and zooming. Sniffing such a variety of smells and markings. Up and down different canine butts. He was in such heaven he even forgot to lick his drool. (I have mastered the art and science of avoiding that thick wad of spit when it takes flight with the wind! I’ve been splattered enough times before.) 

But, alas, it was not a day to play on the beach. The tide was too high. 

We had to contend with cliff views instead. 

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , | 8 Comments

Disturbed Does Justice

Simon and Garfunkel Album "Sounds of Silence" released January 17, 1966. Photo of album by Christer Ehrling, from Instagram. From CBS (Europe) release.

Simon and Garfunkel Album “Sounds of Silence” released January 17, 1966. Photo of album by Christer Ehrling, http://www.ehrling.se. From Instagram.  CBS (Europe) release.

I had posted songs which I consider poetic and timeless before here. Sometime last year, my daughter sent me a link to a new interpretation of one of these classics. This new rendition of “Sound of Silence” by Simon & Garfunkel was haunting and prescriptive. One might even argue, it is apropos to the time we now live in.  This from a Chicago-based band known for their heavy metal Billboard 200 hits that have rivaled Dave Matthews and Metallica.

In their 2015 album, Immortalized, they included their rendition of Paul Simon’s live-forever works: 

Disturbed has shown that they can take Paul Simon’s masterpiece and make it resonate with the current generation. This only reinforces Simon and Garfunkel’s work as timeless in music and message.

Recently, I hear the group is nominated for the Grammies:  https://www.npr.org/player/embed/509685612/509937108

 

Posted in Disturbed, Music, Paul Simon, Poetic Lyrics, Poetic Songs | Tagged , , , , , | 8 Comments

J.D. Says We Can

51idsm4kvzl-_sx329_bo1204203200_In the aftermath of the U.S. elections, when we managed to pull ourselves out of the rubble and debris, we sought refuge in each other’s promises to continue the fight for whatever it is we vowed we would be willing to die for. We all agreed that the first step is to find ways to understand what motivated people to choose what they chose and why other people abdicated their voting rights by staying away from the polls. Reading suggestions circulated around the family chats. Daughter volunteered to have conversations with people who had opposing views to her. The mantra was to “listen, understand, address.” Or, read, understand, resolve.

I chose one of the suggested books, “Hillbilly Elegy” by J.D. Vance. The book is a memoir of his life, so far. He says he’s an anomaly of his lot — the hillbillies, rednecks, or, even worse, white trash. He tells us his life story, about the people he loves, the people who helped shape who he has become, and the happenstance of events (the stars aligning?) that led to his redemption from the trajectory many in his town were spiraling to.

It was not a long read. I alternated between reading and listening to the book (Thanks Kindle and Audible!) The audio was narrated by the author himself. J.D. minced no words in describing the poverty, addiction, abuse, and family dysfunction that came package-deal among the citizens of Middletown, Ohio, a poster-town for the “dirt-poor white of Scots-Irish descent.” There was no sugar-coating here. He described his lot plainly and honestly. No excuses either.

Along the way, he mused about his own learnings — how he was proved wrong in some of his beliefs (it is not necessary to get even with every perceived slight or that studying is not only for girls and sissies), or how he disproved for himself age-old principles his kin lived by or are willing to go to jail for (you don’t inflict physical harm to people you think insulted you all in the name of honor or that all the lack of opportunity is the fault of the government).

Towards the end of the book, he could not say enough about the many family members who mentored him and helped shape his choices that led to his success at Yale and after. Sometimes, all it takes is some sage advice or a guiding principle, and a child’s future changes dramatically. For him, it was several things: the value his mother gave to education in spite of her drug-addled brain and revolving door of partners. His mamaw’s (grandmother) steadfast belief in him and the stability she provided in her home when his own was too chaotic. This, in spite of her being known to be a shotgun-wielding old hot head. The regular math exercises with his papaw (grandfather) that steered him to a discipline of putting in the time to study. This, was n spite of his papaw’s alcohol dependence. His biological father’s home with a new wife and children, where a couple did not have to shout and disrespect each other in order to communicate. And many more individuals who have left their mark.  In all of them, he was thoughtful enough to sift through their inherent flaws (and there were many glaring ones!)  and glean from them the values.  These helped shape his choices.

I am reminded of another story I learned a few years ago.  It is the story of a farmer’s son, how, a farmer encouraged his son to study and aspire for much bigger goals than tilling the soil. Now this son has come back to help his fellowmen.

I was also reminded of a story a good friend had told me. My friend, a retiree, had decided to spend his time helping the poor out of their sorry state, one success story at a time. He decided to introduce, teach, and assist qualified individuals in microfinancing.

He told me the story of a sari-sari store (neighborhood corner store) owner who had three children and a husband who drove a tricycle for hire but spent most of his earnings on alcohol. When the team first met her, the children were unkempt and inadequately clothed. One child had pants but no top. The other had a top but no bottoms.  They all walked around on their bare feet. It was clear that the family was barely scraping by.

Sari-Sari store, a neighborhood corner store that sells various food and household items. Photo courtesy of Pinoy Transplant from Iowa.

Sari-Sari store, a neighborhood corner store that sells various food and household items. Photo courtesy of Pinoy Transplant from Iowa.

They introduced their program to her and she was keen to try it out.  She went through the process and the training, and was granted a loan to improve her store.

Over the next few years, the team continued to follow her progress. Her children were seen clothed and they wore slippers. They started to attend the local public school. She convinced her husband to clean up his act and contribute to the family pot. Everything seemed to be looking good for them.

Tricycle zipping through the streets in the Philippines. Photo by digitalpimp, courtesy of thecityfix.com

Tricycle zipping through the streets in the Philippines. Photo by digitalpimp, courtesy of thecityfix.com

One day, my friend decided to meet with the store owner again. He asked her what her plans were for her children. Perhaps, it was time to plan for when they go to college. That would entail putting away enough savings for their future. There was enough time to do it too. He suggested that perhaps, she can grow her business a little more to accommodate the growing needs of her children. She looked incredulously at him. She told him that once they were old enough to work in her store and help their father with the tricycle, she wanted them to stop school and to help the family with the business rather than seek higher education. She could not see beyond where they were. She was content with whatever they had. She considered the improvement of her little store her success story.   She did not understand that things can change, even for this microcosm they called their own. She was happy that her reach is within what her imagination could grasp, always. Could it be that when poverty stunts growth, it stunts everything else?

While it is true that there are many givens in our lives — we can’t, as individuals, control many things like politics, the environment, ideological wars, and such. We do have choices on a lot of small things that cumulatively, change the path our journeys take. J.D. showed us this. This, in spite of the helplessness his lot were immersed in. This, in spite of a tumultuous family life. This, in spite of the culture of misplaced pride, the lack of structure, or the distrust of any organized institution.

Yes, it is possible to surmount these odds. This hillbilly has shown he can. Therefore, the rest of us can too.

Posted in Books, College Education, Culture, education, Family, Family Stories, Grandparents, growing up, Hillbilly Elegy, Life Choices, Parenting | Tagged , , , , , | 7 Comments

The Unwanted Intrusion

Beau doing his own version of downward dog at the Zoi-Roy backyard last Saturday, August 6, 2016. Photo courtesy of Mara T. Yee

Beau doing his own version of downward dog at the Zoi-Roy backyard last Saturday, August 6, 2016. Now why can’t I do that and not be in such great pain? Photo courtesy of Mara T. Yee

Two weeks ago, our dear Beau got skunked! We had let him out for his pre-bedtime ritual under the Redwoods. I was tidying up in the kitchen. I noticed he took a little longer than usual. So, I called out to him. It took about a minute or so but I heard the familiar gallop around the side of the house and up the back steps. He came crashing into the kitchen and straight for his bed, which I had just fluffed and covered with a new blanket.

And then the sonorous mephitic assault permeated the kitchen with such venom, I ran out and called my hubby quickly.  He was getting settled in bed already.

“Hon, Beau got skunked!”

We frantically googled remedies, potions, and bath concoctions. No, tomato juice does not work. That’s a myth. Yes, first thing you need to know is “DO NOT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCE, LET THE DOG INTO THE HOUSE!”

Flower, the Skunk from the Disney movie, Bambi, got his name after Bambi, supposedly learning to talk, called him a pretty flower. Illustration courtesy of www.gallery.yopriceville.com

Flower, the Skunk from the Disney movie, Bambi, got his name after Bambi, supposedly learning to talk, called him a pretty flower. I have always been baffled at the depiction of these animals as though they’re the epitome of wholesomeness and utmost cute-hood, if there is such a thing. Illustration courtesy of http://www.gallery.yopriceville.com

Too late! We ran back to the kitchen, where we witnessed our big black lug rolling around on his bed, huffing, blowing his nose, growling at no one in particular, and desperately rubbing his face on his bed.

And so it was that the dog had to be bathed past midnight twice over, with an agreed concoction of baking soda, hydrogen peroxide and a splash of dish washing liquid slathered and rubbed on his black frame. The bed had to be placed outside. We gathered the towels. and aired them out on the porch. I had to wipe down the kitchen cabinets, just in case. We opened all the windows in the entire house. Then we had to shower ourselves.

Pepe Le Pew is a cartoon character in Loony Tunes, known for his obsession with romance and the can't take no for an answer peskiness. He sports a French accent and turns off female prospects because of his overly assertive manner and odoriferous personality.

Pepe Le Pew is a cartoon character in Loony Tunes, known for his obsession with romance and the can’t take no for an answer peskiness. He sports a French accent and turns off female prospects because of his overly assertive manner and odoriferous personality. This is a contrasting depiction to the Disney character. You’d almost expect this one to be best friends with Speedy Gonzales.  Illustration courtesy of http://www.seekingbostonmarathon.com.

Even as we finally crawled into bed way past midnight, we still kept trying to smell ourselves, our sheets, our hands, everything around us. We were at last, too tired to gag.

What a potent weapon that was!  I later discovered that skunk spray is a combination of sulfur-containing chemicals, most notably, n-butyl mercaptan. It has the distinctive ability to not just offend but to physically nauseate. And a human nose can smell it up to a mile (1.56 km.) away, down wind, and can linger up to 6 months. It is also inadequately comforting to note that once a skunk has reluctantly released its chemical defense, it will take up to 10 days to replenish enough for a reload.

After several more baths, a frantic call to the gardener experts about luring and trapping, frenzied house cleaning, and sadly, throwing out the previously loved and worn beds, the rank smell is starting to dissipate in the house.

Yesterday, lo and behold, one of the traps contained a dark striped stranger. Could this be he/she?  Hubby said it looked very cute. Beau made a tentative approach. We covered the trap with a large box, hoping Beau will not come near it anymore. One would think that he learned from the experience by now. At least, we’d like to think. After all, he still growls at a friend whose dog tried to bite him. And that was years ago.

At the Balae get together in Portola Valley. Beau is able to socialize again, finally, after two weeks of seclusion for his smelly past.

At the Balae* get together in Portola Valley. Beau is able to socialize again, finally, after two weeks of forced seclusion for his smelly past. Photo courtesy of Wyatt Roy (on timer and rapid clicks!)

Thou shalt not re-engage with a stinker, mon coeur! Or we will disown you. Do not be a sucker for abusive encounters.

*Balae – Filipino; what you call the parents of your daughter or son-in-law.  I heard from friends that in India, the father of your in-law is a “samdhi” and the mother of your in-law is a “samdin.” Cool!

Posted in Beau, dog, Great Dane, Pets | Tagged , , , , , , | 28 Comments

Warrick’s Song

I had written this essay about my brother-in-law, Warrick Lyn, four years ago in a writing seminar up in the mountains of Bussard Meadows. The theme was on “loss” and, after many barren hours, Warrick’s death, and life, started consuming my imagination.  When the words came pouring out, I realized that I was not just writing about my loss but also of Warrick’s loss.  I had meant to post this essay but it seemed unfinished then.  Recently, I came across my draft and have decided to share my thoughts about him. 

th-1Warrick would have been 70 yesterday.  Seven years ago, doctors said he had cancer that had spread to his spine. Only two months after diagnosis, he could no longer walk.  He lost his will to live.  He said he would like to die on his Dad’s death anniversary that year.  And he did, peacefully.  

Warrick was this tall good looking man with a generous heart and an endearing stammer — dark,  simpatico and with all the right moves, as they say among his circle of friends.  He was a popular college soccer player — a young man about town, chased by many women and envied and admired by many men. 

In the 60s and 70s, he traveled the world introducing a new musical genre — reggae– as a sound engineer and producer, shaping the finest works of many reggae bands.  The late reggae icon Bob Marley  was one of his closest friends.  A brilliant future was assured.

Composed by Frederick Hibbert and Warrick Lyn, Photo courtesy of vtialsheetmusic.com

Composed by Frederick Hibbert and Warrick Lyn, Photo courtesy of virtualsheetmusic.com

Warrick was the adored Uncle Wawa to his nieces and nephews. He was  the cool one, the one loved by all.

And then everything stopped.  The travels ended.  The applause turned to silence. Big dreams seemed to have vanished.  The seeming decision was to paint houses, to stay home, to be the other half of an amazing love story.  Years came and went…quietly.

I have always wondered — was Warrick’s life a fulfilled one, a life well-lived? Is to love and be loved enough?  As Henry Thoreau wrote,  “Many people live their lives in quiet desperation, and die with a song still inside them.”    

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I knew Warrick  had that song.  I continue to mourn for  Warrick.   I mourn for the song that will never be sung,  the song  I will never hear.  

Related Reading:

Posted in Family Stories, Life Choices, Loss, Music, Reggae | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Let It Rain, Let It Rain, Let It Rain!

Rain on Highway 92, 12.10.15, photo credit likeitiz

Rain on Highway 92, 12.10.15, photo credit likeitiz

Alas! Welcome, welcome, welcome rain! It looks miserable all right. But boy, it’s a welcome sight for all of us here in California. You can see the sun struggling to peek out of thick clouds as it slowly meets the horizon late afternoon. The entire Peninsula was a white haze in the distance as we approached westward from the San Mateo Bridge.  One can only hope that drivers will behave and re-learn how to drive in treacherous weather.

Yes, the gloomy weather cheers us up in the Bay Area nowadays. However, as I drive home, my consciousness is jarred by news of yet another Trump antic. Sigh! When will I stop hearing about this contemptible schmuck?  (Listen, KQED. I love you dearly. But you have got to stop dishing out news about him. I’m so sick of hearing about whatever insanity he spews while flailing his limbs. Quite frankly, he’s embarrassing all of us.) Here are Colbert and Stewart bending over backwards to trash him again and again on the Late Show:

Why America spends even a second of their time listening, watching, bothering with him continues to amaze me. Why the media gives him the very things he wants: air time, media time, pundit time, talk time — beats me. It’s like giving candy to a baby every time he has a tantrum. Will the tantrum ever go away? No. Will this baby ever learn to behave in a civilized society? No. Are we creating a monster? Yes. Well, not if he’s already one. We’re just making him into an Uber-monster.

I remind myself that there’s still a lot to be grateful for. Good health. Loving family. Great friends. After all, Thanksgiving was just a mere two weeks ago.

Thanksgiving at our home, 2015, photo credits Gean Dee, Lara Ortiz-Luis, Wyatt Roy, Likeitiz

Thanksgiving at our home, 2015, photo credits Gean Dee, Lara Ortiz-Luis, Wyatt Roy, Likeitiz

And then, there was Carolyn Hax’s article today on “Finding a happy medium with a mentally ill family member.” Now THIS is sound sensible advice. Here she gives gentle and reassuring advice on what to do with a mentally ill relative who always manages to sabotage any family gathering and turn it into a verbal mudslinging fest within seconds of sitting down to dinner. She likens the process to dealing with people who have dementia:

The thought is for now, and it’s actually a twist on a strategy for dementia caregivers, “meeting people where they are,” meaning, you don’t point out that Uncle Billy isn’t actually here, or that it’s 2015, not 1965. You don’t correct, correct, correct. Instead you go along. “So what does Uncle Billy have to say?”

She is so absolutely right. (Click the link above for the entire article. It will help you deal with irate store sales staff during the holidays too!) I plan to treat The Donald as nothing less than a demented human being. With an emphasis on the D for Demented.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments

More Of The Third Part, Please!

The entire world is still reeling from the ghastly events in Paris, the downing of a Russian plane filled with tourists, the double suicide attack in Beirut. Here in the United States, people have not forgotten Boston.  At least, many of us refuse to.

My social media profile photo changed to show solidarity with the recent attacks in Paris, France. (c) Likeitis

My social media profile photo changed to show solidarity with the recent attacks in Paris, France. (c) Likeitiz

Over the weekend on Facebook, profile pictures lit up with the rouge-blanc-bleu stripe in solidarity with the French.  I joined in. Along with the colors came the loud cries for liberté, égalité, fraternité (liberty, equality, fraternity), a motto among many over the centuries, that France has become identified with.  The likes of Robespierre would be proud. Although there had not been as much debate over the first two components, after all, one ensures the other, the third, fraternité, has been fraught with back and forth arguments and detractors. Brotherhood implies the greater good, collective bargaining, a moral imperative, inclusive as opposed to exclusionary, creating communities. It also tends to rise when the need to unite for a common foe exists. In this setting, it becomes, “Fraternité, ou la Mort!” (Fraternity or Death!).

A woman holds a sign that reads in French "We are united" as she gathers with others in tribute to the victims of Paris attacks near French embassy in Riga, Latvia, November 14, 2015. Photo courtesy of Ints Kalnins/Reuters

A woman holds a sign that reads in French “We are united” as she gathers with others in tribute to the victims of Paris attacks near French embassy in Riga, Latvia, November 14, 2015. Photo courtesy of Ints Kalnins/Reuters

There have been endless cries for freedom. We listen. We help to ensure it. We in the Western World have enjoyed a lot of freedoms that we take for granted. Everything we see and do from the time we wake up in the morning until we go to sleep on a bed we call our own, is a result of this hard-fought freedom.

PARIS, FRANCE - NOVEMBER 14:  Parisians light candles and lay tributes on the monument at Place de la Republique, the day after deadly terrorist attacks on November 14, 2015 in Paris, France. At least 120 people have been killed and over 200 injured, 80 of which seriously, following a series of terrorist attacks in the French capital.  (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

PARIS, FRANCE – NOVEMBER 14: Parisians light candles and lay tributes on the monument at Place de la Republique, the day after deadly terrorist attacks on November 14, 2015 in Paris, France. At least 120 people have been killed and over 200 injured, 80 of which seriously, following a series of terrorist attacks in the French capital. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

There are loud cries for equality in government, at home, at work, the greater community. Race, Color, Ancestry or National Origin, Sexual Orientation, Marriage Equality, to name a few.  We have to grapple with a slew of issues, even the exaggerations, abuses, and even slanted interpretations of both the privileged and the discriminated. Slowly but surely, we will reach the equilibrium.

Take a look at our own backyards and there is not a lot of brotherhood. We don’t treat one another with respect often enough. We don’t teach our children to be mindful individuals so that one day, they will be mindful adults. We see many who will not hesitate to litter, waste valuable resources like water and energy, speak loudly in enclosed spaces, elbow and jostle through the crowds— all because? Because we can! And we feel we have to exert our individual rights to do as we please. We are so entitled. We forget that indeed we are free to do as we please in so long as it does not harm others and that our acts do not prevent others from enjoying the same freedoms we are enjoying.

We are too blinded by our obsession with individual liberties that we can’t see beyond the tip of our noses. We can’t have a decent conversation about guns because some people feel their civil liberties would be trampled on? In the meantime, people are dying from the consequences of our lack of action and millions of automatic weapons are scattered in an urban populace. We can’t find a way to get the homeless off our city streets so they can live like human beings on our dime because they don’t deserve it?  (And no, it’s not right to use the city streets as your toilet. But where would you go if there was nowhere to do your bare necessities?) We can’t have universal health care because people have to earn it while other first world countries provide it as a human right?  Same goes for our children’s education.

The bombing in Paris will rile up the anti-immigration advocates. They will treat this as validation of their beliefs. But, really, this has been the failure of our systems to provide the timely solutions to this refugee crisis we have watched unfolding for all these years. And no one can claim clean hands from this sad failure of policy and execution.

*******

Left photo: The Hiroshima Peace Memorial or the Atomic Bomb Memorial or Genbaku Domu. Right photo Hiroshima Memorial Cenotaph

Left photo: The Hiroshima Peace Memorial or the Atomic Bomb Memorial or Genbaku Domu. Right photo Hiroshima Memorial Cenotaph

When we visited Japan in October, we made sure to take the time to see Hiroshima. The city has suffered unspeakable devastation in World War II 70 years ago. And it has been reborn. There are a few ruins preserved as memorials and the museum rivals the Holocaust Museum in Warsaw.  We met a man stationed at the base of the Hiroshima Peace Memorial. He had lots of videos and photo albums of the horrific day. His mother, in her nineties, is a survivor of the atomic bomb blast. She has suffered various health problems from it but she lived well into her nineties in spite of it. This man has made a commitment to tell his mother’s story so that the world will not forget. He wants to tell the world that there are no winners in war, especially nuclear war.

We cannot allow the young and future generations to forget how inhuman we can be. How we can be the worst tormentors. How we are capable of the most vile unspeakable abuses. We need to unite and be an even greater global force many times over than what we are facing. Can we spare some of our individual freedoms for now to make this possible? For the greater good? Can we be kins long enough to overwhelm this gigantic pustule that’s been pulsating and enlarging over in the middle east, threatening to spew its putrid doctrines to contaminate the rest of the world?

San Francisco's City Hall is illuminated in blue, white and red in San Francisco, California on November 14, 2015, one day after the Paris terrorist attacks. Stirring renditions of "La Marseillaise" rang out from Dublin to New York as global landmarks were bathed in the French colors and thousands marched in solidarity with Paris after attacks that left at least 129 dead.   AFP PHOTO/JOSH EDELSON        (Photo credit should read Josh Edelson/AFP/Getty Images)

San Francisco’s City Hall is illuminated in blue, white and red in San Francisco, California on November 14, 2015, one day after the Paris terrorist attacks. Stirring renditions of “La Marseillaise” rang out from Dublin to New York as global landmarks were bathed in the French colors and thousands marched in solidarity with Paris after attacks that left at least 129 dead. AFP PHOTO/JOSH EDELSON (Photo credit should read Josh Edelson/AFP/Getty Images)

This post was inspired after having read Gianpiero Petriglieri’s article on HBR: After Paris, We Need More Fellowship, Not More Leadership.

Related:

Posted in France, Paris, Paris Attacks, senseless killing, Terrorism, Uncategorized, World Events | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 18 Comments

Our Redwoods Nodded

The row of Redwood trees in our front yard this morning.  Photo Credit (c) Likeitis

The row of Redwood trees in our front yard this morning. Photo Credit (c) Likeitiz

This morning I was awakened long before the alarm went off. It was almost 6:00 a.m., although with the Fall Back of time on the weekend, it was almost 7:00 in the morning really. There was no light peeking through the heavy drapes in our room yet.  I heard the steady pitter-patter outside on my window.  That’s music to any Californian’s ears. We’ve had a long drought and we are so looking forward to some rain.

I’ll sacrifice some clear sunny days with an expanse of blue above. I’ll give up some t-shirt and flip-flop afternoons sipping lemonade on the patio. I can put up with a week of non-stop rain and not complain one bit. I’ve been doing my part to conserve.

As I made may way out of the garage, I looked up to the front of our home.  Aside from the fog lifting, the wet driveway was a welcome sight. I imagined the Redwoods nodding in agreement. It’s going to be a good day.

Posted in Autumn, Drought, Rain, Weather | Tagged , , , , , , , | 7 Comments