Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘memories’ Category

Let It Go; Forget It

The first time was after I was assaulted and held at knife point by a couple of teen thugs. My pants were ripped and the buttons torn off of my shirt. I was mauled. I was scared to death. When it was all over, I knew I was okay but the fright and the panic lasted for days and weeks and months. I tried to get past it. I tried. I really did. But it would come rushing back at me at the most unexpected moment. And instead of holding me or comforting me, I was told to forget it.

Then there were the missed miscarriages. Each time I was devastated. Each time I was broken inside. Each time I was barely hanging on for the sake of my other children. Months later, it was better but it would come flooding back and drag me down. Again, I was told to forget it, let it go. It wasn’t easy but I tried.

I really tried. Now I wonder if I had been allowed to grieve and cry and express my outrage and devastation, would I be better now? Or would these memories come flooding over me forty and twenty-eight years later? I know the memories would still come back but I think I might be better. I guess I won’t ever know.

Read Full Post »

Giraffes

Somehow, I got wind of a live feed on Facebook last night…a mama giraffe about to give birth to her calf. I love giraffes and so I clicked on it and spent the better part of the last fourteen hours watching and waiting with thousands of people around the world.

The first time I noticed giraffes was in my twenties. My sister-in-law was visiting for a few weeks in the summer. I took her to the zoo and we spent most of the day there, taking our time watching the animals. When we tired, we went to the snack bar and got hot dogs and sodas and sat down to enjoy them. The area where we were sitting overlooked the giraffe exhibit. We sat and talked then took note of the majestic animals so close to us. They are so graceful and so unique.  From that day forward, giraffes became my favorite animal. Later, when my son was a toddler, we took him to the zoo on a hot summer day in Los Angeles. However, I had recently had knee surgery so I couldn’t do much walking. I would follow them to one area, hobbling along on my crutches then I would “park” myself on a bench and watch the world go by as my son got to explore the other animals in the area with his dad and auntie. When we got near the giraffes, I parked myself in front of the giraffe area and watched them. Again, I was smitten.

When I have taken trips to Winston’s Wildlife Safari, my favorite part is the giraffe area. They walk across the road, blocking cars for ten to fifteen minutes at a time. They get so close to cars that one could reach out the window and touch them. I love that they block the road because it gives me a great excuse to sit there and watch. When my son and I went to Australia, one of the highlights for me was getting to feed the giraffes carrots! We got to do a behind the scenes early morning visit before the Toronga Zoo (in Sydney) opened. Then we were allowed to enter the keeper area to watch them up close and personal. Wow! I was in heaven!

So that’s how I am spending the rest of the day, popping in and out of the live feed to try to catch the birth. I’m on baby watch!

DSCN0058

At Wildlife Safari in Winston, Oregon

tonyGiraffesR

Tony and giraffes.

Read Full Post »

There’s a song that was featured in the opening ceremonies of the 2016 Olympics that has a special place in my heart. It’s the classic bossa nova tune, The Girl From Ipanema. While I have loved that song since the first time I heard it in the 60’s, I didn’t know much of the background. I just knew I loved it. When I was a senior in high school, I competed in the Junior Miss Pageant in my home town of San Jose, California. When we entered the auditorium from the back, we sauntered down the aisle to the front of the auditorium and up the stairs to take the stage and we did so to The Girl From Ipanema and so it became even more special to me.

It has been on my mind since the other night, the night it was featured in the opening ceremonies. Today, I decided to write about it and went hunting for the lyrics and instead found some background info on the song. I discovered that it inspired by an actual girl, only 17 at the time the song was written. Quoting Wikipedia, “She would sometimes enter the bar to buy cigarettes for her mother and leave to the sound of wolf-whistles.  In the winter of 1962, the composers saw the girl pass by the bar. Since the song became popular, she has become a celebrity.” The “she” is Helô Pinheiro who is now 71 years old. As I watched a video of her talking about how excited she was that the song was in the opening ceremony, I was somewhat angered because, even at 71 Pinheiro is a beauty. She could have easily been the one that sauntered across the stage while the song played, instead of the young model. In fact, she should have been the one. Instead, she was not even invited to the event. I guess they felt she was too old. That’s unfortunate because it’s another slap in the face of women all over the world who are discarded once they reach a certain age.I guess Americans are not the only ones that do that.

Read the wikipedia article. It’s very interesting. And watch the video for yourself and see if you don’t agree with me that she should have been the one to strut across that stage the other night.

Read Full Post »

The other day, while reading this blog post, I was reminded of a similarly creepy instance with my daughter some years ago.

I was taking my three kids on a tour of my alma mater. They were enjoying the tour and seeing the places they had heard about. As we approached Memorial Church, I told them about the mosaics both outside and inside of the church and about the beautiful organ inside. My son and youngest daughter entered the building but my middle child, Tina, held back. Her face grew pale and she started to hyperventilate. I asked what was wrong and she said, “I can’t go in there. I have a feeling something really bad happened in there. I can’t go in.” She paused then added, “I think someone was killed in there. Was someone killed in there, mom? I’m right. I can tell by your face.” I guess my face had gone equally pale to hers. I answered her, “You’re right. I’ll tell you about it later.” I stayed out with her while Tony and Susie went inside.

I had not told my kids about it. I had not spoken of the events of 1974 since they had happened, certainly not in my daughter’s lifetime. But yes, she was right. It is still difficult to talk about and I will only give you the outline here as it still haunts me, and at times through the past forty plus years I have been visited by nightmares of that night and what could have been.

It was my freshman year, the second Saturday night of the school year, with lots of parties going on as people got to know each other in the dorms. I had left the party at my dorm to walk around campus with one of the boys from a neighboring dorm who had been showing some interest in me. We walked all over and about midnight, we found ourselves in the Inner Quad. He had been a little too aggressive for my likes so I distracted him by saying we should go into the church. We walked to the church and tried the door but it was locked. We tried the other doors. No luck, but we did hear some noises  from inside and expected to have someone come open the door from the inside but no one did so we left. Behind the church, he  got very pushy and we got in a fight and I walked back to the dorm alone. The next day I went home to do laundry (my parents lived a half hour away from campus) and heard on the news about a brutal murder inside of Memorial Church; a murder of a young woman who was the new bride of a sophomore student. They had gotten in an argument and she had left to cool off, ending up in Memorial Church where she was murdered then her body violated and left near the altar. When security went to unlock the church the next morning, they found one of the doors to be unlocked then found the body.

When I got back to the dorm on Sunday evening, the police had been there and had left instructions for me to call them back. Their extensive questioning had come across my name and that of the boy I had been with the previous night as people that had been unaccounted for during the probably time of the murder. I spoke to them by phone and they basically wanted me to verify my companion’s statement. I was able to do that as well as give them some more information that he had left out, including the noises from inside the church and the time and a person sleeping on a bench in the quad near the church. I guess I had been a little more observant than he had. The police said that the noises we had heard inside the church the previous night were “the right noises” and that the killer(s) was (were) probably still in there when we were trying to get in.

And to think I had also walked back to the dorm alone after getting in a fight with the guy I was out walking with. I found it ironic that the Arlis Perry  fought with her husband and walked to the church and never left alive. I got in an argument with my companion and left the church alone and lived to tell. Arlis was 19 and just a few months older than I.

So yes, something horrible did happen inside of the most beautiful church I have ever been inside of. And I had been on the other side of the door. But I had never told my kids, or anyone else since it happened in 1974, yet she picked up on the negative vibes of the place and the still unsolved murder of Arlis Perry. It really freaked me out that my daughter, had picked up on that twenty years later.

cropped-img_0284.jpg

IMG_0288

 

 

Read Full Post »

If we were having coffee, we would be indoors. It’s raining here in Seattle. It’s not cold, just wet. You would have to help yourself to a drink before settling in as I have a baby in my arms! I drove up here on Tuesday morning and was handed a baby as soon as I got in the door. The rest of the time has been filled with holding him, feeding him, and lots of burping! Mati is four weeks old. He’s quite alert for four weeks. I think I’m spoiling him. He’s been attached to me almost all day, every day. I got to be his first babysitter, too. His mommy and daddy had tickets to two soccer games this week so they got a couple of nights out and I got this precious little boy to myself.

This past week has been filled with shock and sadness in the world. Being here with this tiny, innocent little boy has helped me both empathize with that grief and sadness and also get through it without totally falling apart.

As Mati sleeps in my arms, I’m reminded of holding his daddy in my arms when he was this age. I’m reminded of how much simpler the world was; how much less hate, fear, and danger we faced. I am also filled with hope and dreams that Mati’s world will be a better place; that he won’t have to know the hate and intolerance; that he will be in less danger when he grows; that he will live in a world that embraces all mankind.

I’ll be driving home to Portland tomorrow. I’m already missing this little one and wondering when I’ll be back to see him. I’m lucky that he’s only a three hour drive away from me. Hopefully that will translate into frequent visits.

wp-1466269309641.jpgwp-1466269235512.jpgwp-1466269211384.jpg
 #WeekendCoffeeShare is a weekly blog linkup hosted by Diana at Part Time Monster Blog. Come join us!

Read Full Post »

Today, May 3, is Teacher Appreciation Day in the United States.

Do you remember a special teacher in your life? I was lucky enough to have many excellent teachers. I’ve written about some of them, mostly high school teachers. I think they helped me to realize that I wanted to be a teacher.

In middle school I had Mr. Clark for Math in 7th grade. He was a weathered teacher who retired when I was in 8th grade. He had seen everything in the way of teaching and students. He wasn’t one to insist that we be silent in class but he had a military background so he commanded respect without having to threaten or admonish. He appreciated a good joke, even when others told the joke. He had a hearty, infectious laugh. And best of all, he made sure that everyone “got it” whether they were boys or girls. That used to be rare. Most math teachers taught to the boys, not the girls, in my day. Mr. Clark treated us all equally.

He was one of many special teachers; one that I had all but forgotten until I tried to think of a good, memorable teacher in middle school and his name jumped up. I was ony going to mention him but I ended up telling you more about him than I thought I remembered.

I’ll probably highlight a couple more of my special teachers throughout the week. Tell me about YOUR special and favorite teachers.

To all the teachers and former teachers out there, thank you for teaching. It’s one of the most important jobs.

Read Full Post »

Note: This was originally posted in 2008. It is one of my favorite Christmas stories because it brings back the magic of Christmas that most of us had long, long ago.

I grew up in a large family.  There were seven kids plus my mom and dad.  My dad was the only one who worked, as was the norm in the late 1950’s and early 1960’s.  My dad drove a fork lift at one of the local canneries.  The only way there would ever be any money for Christmas gifts was for my mother to save money in a Christmas Club account at the local Bank of America where she made a weekly deposit.

One year my brother David, who was about eight years old that year, fell in love with a toy he saw on a TV commercial.  It was a cannon that shot hard plastic balls.  It was called the Mighty Mo.  The commercials showed the Mighty Mo crawling over and through rough terrain all on a miniature scale, of course, but it looked really neat.  The clincher was the footage of the cannon balls launching out of the Mighty Mo!

David had to have one but we were taught to not ask for anything, not even for our birthdays or Christmas so he couldn’t ask for one.  We lived a block away from Safeway and my mom used to send us on daily trips for the odd supply she needed before the next week’s big grocery trip.  Safeway carried a few toys then.  They placed them on the shelves high above the produce department as those shelves were normally empty.  On one of the trips to get something for my mom, David was thrilled to discover that Safeway had about two dozen Mighty Mos on their shelves!  After that day, David volunteered to go to Safeway every single time my mom needed something.

Every day David returned from his Safeway run to report exactly how many Mighty Mos were left on the shelf and every day, as the number dwindled, he gave my mom his report in a sadder and sadder tone.  First there had been two dozen then only eighteen.  Soon there were less than a dozen and when there were only four left, David was really sad. About three days before Christmas, David reported, with tears in his eyes, that there were no Mighty Mos left at Safeway.  When Christmas arrived, David was the only one of us that was not excited about it.  We all wanted him to be happy like we were but nothing got him excited.

On Christmas morning, we got up and my big brothers helped us girls get dressed and ready to go upstairs to open presents.  That’s what we did each year because it gave my parents a little extra time to get up.  When we got upstairs, David was the last one to go into the living room where the tree was with our Santa gifts unwrapped.  When he came in he found us all with huge smiles on our faces and our eyes intent on his face.  He didn’t know what was up until he looked under the tree and found his Mighty Mo with a big red ribbon on it!

We all enjoyed that Mighty Mo for several years.  David especially liked to shoot the cannon balls out of the Mighty Mo from the top of the stairs in the back yard.  It was a fun toy.  I only wish my brother David was still around to tell the story himself.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »