September 23, 2003

One moment in time.

Yesterday, I received a call from a dear old friend from high school. She and her husband had moved out of the LA area some years ago, but did come back for the reunion in June. It was fun seeing them and I was touched by this man's wonderful nature and kind manner. My friend called to tell me some bad news. Last month, her husband was struck by a hit-and-run driver. He died.

What can one say when you hear news like that? Unless you have been through a similar experience, how can you know what would help. "I'm so sorry" doesn't seem enough. Words can be so inadequate at times like this. All one can do is offer to help, to listen, and to put them in our hearts in meditation or prayer.

My friend told me that the day before this awful event; her husband had gone to the doctor. He told the doctor at the time that if he "died tomorrow, he would die a happy man". I guess that would comfort me in some way.

I know that it's impossible to avoid leaving this life in some fashion. And unless we are the first to go, we will all experience the loss of a loved one.

But the suddenness of this kind of loss does not let us prepare for the inevitable. And yet, for most of us, I guess we would like our passing to be quick. Never-the-less, my heart goes out to my friend. All I know is that she has a strong spirit and a beautiful heart, and that she will get though this somehow, someday.

I believe with all my heart that the most difficult experiences in this life are those which propel the greatest spiritual growth. And somehow and in someway, there is always a gift in every experience. But most people don't want to hear such things when they are still in the shock, pain, anger and grief one feels at such a time.

But once again I am stuck with the thought that this moment is all we have. We never know what the next will bring. So I want to take this moment to live it and be in it. To value it. To feel gratitude and love. I hope you will do the same.

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September 20, 2003

My Grandma, Fanny

I remember Grandma. Her beautiful face haloed by her blue white hair. Her ready smile. Her slightly old-fashioned but meticulously made dresses. Her soft accent. Her warm manner.

I remember her sewing, her cooking, and her Ladies. My views shaped by the times the family would gather at the big dinner table to discuss issues on the ballot for an upcoming election. How she cherished her right to vote!

She played bridge and entertained her friends. I remember how hard she worked to raise funds for the City of Hope, always looking to help those less fortunate. She would drive to a tall apartment building and then send me door to door to solicit funds for this noble charity.

I remember the smells coming from her kitchen. The wonderful food. Seeing her sitting in the closet she had converted into her sewing room. Her hands and feet busy at machine and treadle. The beautiful fabric and lace. The precious buttons. Her homemade patterns.

I remember coming to her with complaints about my mother, her eldest daughter. She listened and nodded and said: "uh huh". She would let me come to the end of my lament without comment. Then she would always take my hand and tell me: "Remember Judi, your mother is your best friend." This left me slightly dissatisfied, but it didn�t stop me from coming to her the next time.

She told me about "tiptoeing" out of Tsarist Russia ... coming though Europe ... making their way to the United States. They were looking for freedom from bigotry and pogroms; for opportunity and education for their children. She was sixteen. Both she and my grandfather were the same age. They were betrothed. They had been since they were children. Not yet married at the time.

She told me of the reception their small group received in various countries they passed through on this journey. The kindness they were given by the people of Belgium.

With their small band of similarly young people, they traveled until they reached America, the land of their dreams.

They began their life in their new home, both working to save money to bring all of Grandma's family to the US. Grandpa worked as a barber. Grandma as a seamstress.

At seventeen, they were married. The next year my mother was born. The first of four children. The eldest daughter of an eldest daughter.

A picture hangs in our bedroom taken three or four years later. My Grandmother standing tall in the back, holding her second child, my Uncle Paul. In the front row, my Grandfather sits with his Mother-in-law (my Great-Grandmother), Lina Gordon. My mother, at about age three, is standing between them. To the right and the left of these five were Grandma's brothers and sisters. Seven in all. All of her siblings were still children with the exception of Aunt Elizabeth. She was a woman herself by the time this picture was recorded. My grandmother wore a slight smile in this otherwise serious portrait.

Grandma told me that one brother had to be left behind as he was crippled. Those who were lame were not allowed into this country at the time. I don't know what happened to him.

I remember Grandma's stories and homilies... I remember her gentle kindness and loving deeds. I could go on and on�.

"There are no great things, only small things with great love."
Mother Theresa

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September 18, 2003

More Fun. The California Recall. Stay tuned. Tomorrow things will change again.

By now you may have heard that the California Recall Election has been stayed by the 9th Circuit Court. Apparently all the counties have not had the time or the money to update their voting systems.

According to an editorial in the LA Times titled Cure Worse Than Desease, the LA county registrar of voters, Conny B. McCormack is now more concerned. Apparently she doesnt know if the new methods will be able to accommodate the total ballot that will result because of the delay, considering everything that will have to be included. They are talking about two separate ballots. Aarg.

Thanks everybody. Aren't you all proud of yourselves?
Check out the Republican Lie Detector. Be sure to read the recall, arguement. & rebuttal and catagory buttons before you check the old polygraph to see if it is true!

A great article by Mark Z. Barabak titled California Delay Deepens Already Bitter National Gulf appears in today's LA times where you can keep up with the news here.

Isn't it fun?

Posted by Judi at 9:33 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Lists

There are so many things I want to do. Enjoy doing.
There isnt enough time to do them all.

Sometimes I wonder at my priorities.
If I write a list, and consider the importance of each task, it is usually quite different than those tasks I actually attempt. Sometimes I dont really know which is the most important, so I let my heart decide.

Then, I have to deal with the guilt I feel for not being more 'productive' with my time. There are just some things I think I ought to do.

One of those things is keeping my house really clean. It is never that way anymore. I dont have the energy I once had to keep it the way I used to. Or at least, the way I remember doing. Cleaning one area seems to take as much time as cleaning several rooms did before.

There are a lot more piles these days. More stuff. Also, there are so many things that capture my attention these days. Neat things to do. And, I have been letting my perfectionist self off the hook more.

But, boy would I like to get the house clean again. I know that some repairs, new paint, carpeting and refurbished flooring would make it feel cleaner to me. But getting those things done also takes time and energy, not to mention money. Well, one of these days. Discipline. I need to be more disciplined.

But it is more fun to blog.

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September 14, 2003

Ah, California

Here's the thing.
The upcoming Special election in California is October 7th.
We received our Official Voter Information Guide this week.
I looked at it this afternoon.

I always hated when people used our state as the butt of jokes.
But boy, are we in for it now!
And, we deserve every last joke regarding our upcoming election.

We really do have 135 people running for governor.
Well, maybe it is 134 now that Richard Riordan bowed out.
I didn't actually count them. They are not numbered on the sample ballot.

In the guide, every candidate is listed. Each had an opportunity to write a statement. I started reading them. Then, started laughing. I only got about one quarter through before it was necessary to stop to do something else. ...Can't wait to read the rest.

We have Ivan A Hall who writes: "What's it all about"?

There is Trek Thunder Kelly who penned this intriguing piece:
"Dear voters, Please vote for me, thus breaking the Seventh Seal and incurring Armageddon."

We also have Republican Stephen L. Knapp who wrote:
"I believe in common sense and fiscal responsibility."
I do too! Wow, I agree with a Republican.
Mr. Knapp just lists a phone number, no website.

And then we have Paul Mariano who says he is a Democrat and writes: "Vote Twice for Democracy".
Actually what he said is pretty good, but he does not list a phone number of website. If you are really interested you can read his entry here, but you have to wait for the document to load, and scroll down to his name.

A lot of candidates boast of being native Californians. We have used car salesmen, teachers, entrepreneurs, students, lawyers, businessmen, ex-convicts, police officers, engineers and other ordinary folk, all asking for our vote.

Some people paid all that money and got all the signatures they needed to tell us to Vote No on the Recall. Good for them.

Bill Vaughn tells us: "Earthquakes and special interests threaten California every day".

Some offer spiritual words such as Diane Beall Templin, who writes: "May the Lord give you the wisdom of Solomon as you vote....

I especially like Kevin Richter who writes: "I breathe".

And of course there is Georgy Russell who left this message: "Honesty and intelligence over fame and fortune."
OK!

Of course, we also have two state measures to consider.

Ah, I love California!

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September 13, 2003

Why I Love People.... or ...Life sure is Fun.

I love the internet!

Last night we came home late, but instead of going to bed, I thought would take just a few minutes to look online. I hadn't had a chance to sit at my computer all day.

Just before I was about to sign off, I thought it might be a good idea to check any e-mail messages to this site. This is not my primary e-mail address, and the format still confuses me. I am the only one in my family who is still with AOL, even though there has been much urging to "get with it". But using AOL is easy, and it is user friendly, despite all the problems.

Michael once drew me a diagram of the internet, showing "AOL World" as this distinct entity. Pete still urges me to change, and I am trying to become comfortable with other venues, however, the boys have given up.

They have told Pete to leave me alone about this, because if I have a problem with AOL, I call AOL, not them. AOL has good 24-hour phone and online support, which has come to my rescue many times.

But since I now realize that people actually send me messages at this location, I will have to start checking every day. In truth,I just don't like the "look" of it. The manner in which messages show up is not as pretty. Instructions are not as visual as on AOL. However, this is a good incentive to learn something new!

Well, to get on with my story. As I said, last night I checked and discovered that voxpopgirl had sent me a detailed e-mail explaining how I can highlight a web site (URL) on my comment section, even though I dont have a button to do so. She is teaching me more basics! :-)

I havent read it thoroughly yet, as I need to do that at a time when I can practice and let this old brain absorb the instruction, when there are no distractions. There are things to do today before we head out to South Pasadena watch Zoe play in her second soccer match of the season.

But THANK YOU voxpopgirl for your kind assistance! I think I may have met my first internet friend! Who would have thought? There are just so many really nice people in the world. Just goes to show that we are all connected!

Speaking of people.

This morning I got another pleasant surprise. Our neighbor, who lives directly across the street, came over to give us something. It was an invitation to her daughters wedding in October.

These are good neighbors whom I have always wanted to get to know better. They originally came from Southern India and are Christian. They speak a dialect of an the Indian language when they entertain their old friends. They always seem to be having a good time, and it seems like a congenial group.

Their daughter is studying to be a doctor in Hungary and is rarely here in the US. But in October, she will come back with her Spanish fiance (also a doctor) to be married. The couple will be married in a local church by their long time minister from Montebello. There will be many Indian elements added to the Christian Ceremony. I am really looking forward to the celebrations, and thrilled to have been included.

I love weddings.


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September 11, 2003

Love is the Answer.

Some dates in history live on in our memories. September 11th is one of them. The events of that day two years ago have been seared unto the very cells of our mind. We had been living for such a long time with a sense of security in this country. It was always an illusion, but we felt safe in the US.

We were shocked and frightened when we learned what happened that awful morning. I was awakened by a call from a neighbor and instructed to turn on the TV. She knew that our son lived in the Capitol, and that we also had a Dear One in New York. Of course, we were horrified as we saw the events of the day unfold.

We were glued to the TV, but were at least gladdened by the news that our loved ones were safe. The shock and grief settled in. Many of us not only grieved for those who were the victims of the terrorist attack, but for those around the world who would suffer as a result of these acts.

After the shock and grief had taken residence in our hearts and minds, our emotions ran high. Then a sort of acceptance started to take hold. I started to see signs of hope. I began to become hopeful that the terrible events of that day would precipitate an awakening of sort. A spiritual awakening ... an awakening to the knowledge that we are all connected. And, a certainty that what affects the least of us, affects us all.

But then the bombing of Afghanistan began, and I became more afraid. Many more innocents would be killed. Other people's children, mothers, fathers, sisters and brothers would be killed. More anger would result. I wrote to our leaders before and after the bombing began and prayed for them to be wise in their decisions.

Since that time, I have noticed that many people are starting to look at the conditions beyond our borders. Some people are looking around. And starting to become informed about the problems and challenges others face. And, starting to realize that what happens to our brothers and sisters, our human family around the world, is our concern too. I have noticed many more programs on TV and movies that focus on these issues. Or maybe, I am just looking for them.

Yet there are those who want to revenge the terrorist acts, or honestly believe that we just need to strike back and keep striking back until no one in the world would have the will to try to hurt us again.

And, I know that there are times that the 'warrior' part of our nature must come forth. There are times when all of us must stand up and say "We will stop you". Sometimes love show itself in ways that are essentially violent. Certainly, if someone tried to harm my children or grand-children, I would use every bit of force I could muster to protect them. At least I hope I would be courageous enough to do so, no matter the cost to me.

Then there is the part of me that strongly believes that violence begets violence. That the only thing that truly disables evil is love. I think that we as a people must try harder to understand the anger that so many around the world hold against us. And, I think we must commit the time and resources to make the changes we must make.

We must all change our consciousness. We must look at the imbalance in the world and recognize our part in perpetuating it. We must stop seeing others as them! It is not Us and Them. It is We. We must do our spiritual work. We must pray or meditate for the whole human family. Even those we consider our enemies. It is only when there is Love that the world will change. Even if you do not pray, or are at a place in your life where faith is not in your heart, send your best wishes for peace to those who oppose us. It is truly the only way.

We are one family. All humans are our brothers and sisters. We cannot be separated.

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September 10, 2003

I don't understand...

Why isn't anything indented in business letters and on the internet?
I can't make indentations on my blog no matter how I try.
Are the old rules of punctuation obsolete?
Please explain this to me!

Posted by Judi at 11:40 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Whatever...

1. Thanks to Matt for giving me my first lesson on computer language (HTML) when he was here for our anniversary weekend. In looking back at I WANT A MAC!, I realized that the pages timed out on the URL for pictures of the Macs I love, and the accessories which captivated me. So I fixed it. Why wouldn't the Apple Store want their products shown like this? Or, is there something I don't understand? And, did I use the right term when I referred to the URL? I'm not sure.

2. I really love the book Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within by Natalie Goldberg. Matt gave this to me when I first started blogging. On the plane to Cincinnati, I played the whole trip with an exercise she suggested in this wonderful book.

This is part of it. Page 61, Titled 'Syntax'

"Take one of your most boring pieces if writing and choose from it three or four consecutive lines or sentences and write them at the top of a blank piece of paper...."

"...Okay. See each one of those words simply as wooden blocks, all the same size and color. No noun or verb has any more value than the, a, and. Everything is equal. Now, for a third of a page, scramble them up as though you were just moving wooden blocks around. Don't try to make sense of what you write down. Your mind will keep trying to construct something. Hold back the urge, relax, and mindlessly write down the words. You will have to repeat words to fill in the page.

She goes on giving her examples and adding suggestions. The nearly 5 hour trip passed as though it were a few minutes for me. I have to try this exercise many more times. I learned a lot.

My mind kept trying to 'construct'. I had to resort to writing each word separately, tearing them into blocks, and moving them around blindly before writing down what was laid out before me.

Here is my final attempt. I did construct. I wrote this while standing at the back of the plane:

Sky bright though the window
Clouds sitting on blue
Land cut in pieces
Distorted through the curved glass

3. Wesley Clark:
OK. I caught a bit of Real Time with Bill Maher last night. He featured Wesley Clark. Terrific. Maybe Matt is right, our Democratic canditate may not have announced yet.

Last night, apparently there was both a California Gubanatorial Debate and 2004 Democratic Canditate's Debate. I missed them both. I don't even know if they were televised. Now I have to search online to see if I can see them. ...Trying to become informed.

I hate watching things like this on the computer. I need one connected to the TV. And, it should have a TIVO-like feature attached. Boy, am I spoiled!

Gotta go. I'll fix this later.

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September 9, 2003

To Start You Out Laughing!

Therapy Horses:

WAIT for the entire screen to load up with all four horses and a fence in front of them. Then click on each horse. Make sure your sound is on. Re-click on any horse to make it turn off or turn it back on again. Somebody did some real wizardry of programming to coordinate this! TRY CLICKING ON THE HORSES FROM LEFT TO RIGHT THEN RIGHT TO LEFT AND THEN JUST ONE OR TWO AT A TIME... IT'S FUN AND A GOOD STRESS RELIEVER!!! HAVE FUN!!!

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September 8, 2003

CELEBRATE!

This is the anniversary of the day that our wonderful
Daughter-in-law, Michele, came into the world!

Happy Birthday Michele!

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September 7, 2003

Bikes, Rides and Cake.

What a Wonderful Day! The girls were here with their new bikes. Since we live on a quiet cul-de-sac, we were able to let them ride in the street. Mira chose to stay on the side walk, but Zoe was delighted to have the wide street in which to maneuver.

Both Pete and I were outside to watch, in order to teach Street Bike Safety. It will take a few more lessons before we wont have to watch quite so closely. I am so glad now that we stayed in this house. The same place we taught the boys to ride bikes.

After a time, we put the bikes away and went over to Saint Margaret Mary Catholic Church. They were having their annual faire. There are rides and games for people of all ages. Zoe has become quite the dare-devil, and rides the scariest ride she is allowed on with abandon.

Mira has become very brave as well. She went into the Mirror Maze twice alone. She also went alone into the Scary Barn, which really frightened her last year, while holding my hand all the way. However, her first love was the Rope Adventure, where she had to climb up a rope ladder, scale scary heights, and traverse two Rope and Slat bridges before she flew down a very long slide to the end. I think that she may have set a record. She did this at least 15 times!

A stop here before driving them home, where we got to sing HAPPY BIRTHDAY to Michele. We watched her blow out candles and ate a piece of cake before heading home.

Dont forget to wish Michele Happy Birthday tomorrow, September 8th!

................................

One more thing.

We have been at two weddings in two weeks. Last weekend in Cincinnati.
And, last night overlooking the beach in Dana Point.

I really want to write about the wonderful wedding of Michele's sister last weekend, but have vowed to learn how to post pictures when I do that. This is my next project.

I know any men who happen to look here are twittering with excitement in anticipation!

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September 5, 2003

I WANT A MAC!

OK.

Tonight I heard this from a very smart man, an engineer, who has recently been researching laptops:
The liability of Macs well exceeds that of Dell laptops.
He said new Dells are in the shop 25% of the time.

He is not looking at a MAC for himself.
But I know this guy.
And, he does the most thorough research of anyone I know.

The weekend when Matt was in town we went to look at computers.
Both Pete and I are interested in getting a laptop.
I fell instantly in love with the new Macs.

I covet both a desk top and a laptop.
They are BEAUTIFUL!

Even the mouse and the speakers are georgeous!
And Macs are so simple to use.
I can buy a book that shows you graphically how to do everything.
Even I could understand it.
Im in love!

I don't know if and when I will get them.
But, I am saving my pennies!
As I said:
Im in love.

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September 4, 2003

START THE MORNING WITH A LITTLE FUN!

Well, maybe it's afternoon for some of you.

But Watch This! You will like it! You will love it!

Now WATCH IT!

I LOVE Christopher Walken! I use Real One Player.

Posted by Judi at 8:50 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Democratic Primary Debates

I don't know how I missed it. Maybe it's because I've been fighting an infection this week. Well, at least that's going to be my excuse! If I would have realized, I would have at least set up a reminder on TIVO to record it.

However I did a good part of the Democractic Primary Debates on KCET, our local Public Television Channel. I just looked to see if I could see the entirety online, but was unable to find it. With my feeble search skills, it may be there somewhere. So if anyone finds it, please let me know. OK?

But what I saw cheered me up. It looks like the Democrats are finally developing some backbone. And, starting to tell the truth. They seem to be getting over the fear most have displayed since September 11.

It was upsetting to see them running so scared since the awful events of that day. ...Afraid of being labeled traitors for publicly disagreeing with the president's ill conceived ideas.

Maybe these candidates are just getting braver because times are changing. Bush is finally being called to task for his failed policies on the economy. ...For using fear to push his programs forward to the detriment of most American People. At least now, some are speaking up.

Maybe there were those brave few who tried, and our supposedly left wing press just weren't reporting it. The press seemed gutless at the time too. They wouldn't even ask the hard questions. It made me sick to see the coverage of any rumor about Clinton, and nothing about the policies that set our country on a new and disastrous course.

Bush has not stopped trying to use the fear engendered by the awful events of that day to push forth his policies to further enrich the people with the most wealth in this country, at the expense of the rest of us.

The fear engendered by the terrorists was normal. But I believed that the leaders of this country could have called on us to move past the fear, instead of counting us to act like scared children.

There is still time to reach inside of ourselves to be the best we can be. To be examples of strength and character. To use our great wealth and privilege to make changes that will benefit all peoples of the world. We can become beacons of light. Examples of the best a free people can become.

Let's do it!

Posted by Judi at 5:48 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

September 3, 2003

Oh No! I might not vote for a Democrat!

OK. This morning I was sure that I knew how I would vote in the California Recall election that will be held in little over a month. I was going to vote:
1. No on the Recall! It's a BAD Idea!
2. On the second part that asks: If Governor Davis is recalled; who do you want to be governor? I was going to vote for Arianna Huffington. Even though she is an independant and I fear this election. This morning, I even looked up her online site and sent her a letter.

Then I watched the first of the debates.
You can watch the debate here.
After watching the broadcast, I changed my mind. If the elections were held tomorrow I would vote for someone else.

Five of the 135 candidates participated in the debates. Arnold bowed out. Only those who would get at least 4% of the vote (according to polls taken) were invited. Those participating were: State Lt. Governor Cruz Bustamante, Arianna Huffington, State Sen. Tom McClintock, Former Baseball Commissioner Peter Ueberroth and the Green Party's Peter Camejo.

Here's my take:
1. My former favorite, Arianna Huffington didn't do as good of job as I expected. I didn't think she held her own, and if one didn't know anything about her, I don't think you would be impressed.
2. In the past, I always liked Cruz Bustamante, but of late I've becomed disillusioned with him. He was OK, but his performance tonight didn't change my mind.
3. Tom McClintock sounds good and appeared confident and very comfortable. A very good speaker. His voice sounds like Martin Sheen of the West Wing. If I didn't disagree with him on almost every issue. I might be impressed. We are going to have to watch out for him. I am afraid he will be a Republican Canditate for President one day and I will then be very unhappy.
4. Peter Ueberroth is a nice guy. I disagreed with him on at least half of the issues. He is likable. But like most Republicans, thinks we can somehow pay for services without taxes. I wouldn't vote for him.
5. The Green Party's Peter Camejo did a great job. I was very impressed and have to do more research on the guy. He is reasonable, well spoken and really seemed to be on top of the issues. For the moment he's my man.

I have always voted for Democrats in major State and Federal races, and was pretty mad at Ralph Nader and those who voted for him when when George W. Bush became our president. I don't want a Republican to win and allow our State to be governed by such as Tom McClintock. I fear for the judiciary. but boy do I like Peter Camejo. I guess its good that I don't have to vote tomorrow. I need to think hard on this one.

One thing for sure. We need to enact a law to prevent paid signature takers in this state. Grass roots should mean Grass Roots. Not who has enough money to buy an election!

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