Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Beautiful Earth, lack of foresight and unhealthy kids -----

The other day, while being careful about spelling mistakes, I ended up sending some one the same message twice. What is happening to me? I used to multi task all the time. Will I put twice the sugar in a recipe? Now this is getting frightening. But wait -- I think I can pin this forgetfulness on the fact that I was worried about my neighbour's smoking and her kids. Then why don't I do something about her? I know my neighbours in my old neighbourhood for over thirty years. Did I make their business mine? No.
Imagine a six year old, going to ER four times and missing eight days of school and it is only January. This was eight years ago. I was not surprised then and I won't be surprised now. Four adults (two parents and two grandparents) all chain smokers living under the same roof with a six year old. This kid must be fourteen now. Junior High, peer pressure, awkward age and readily available cigarettes?
My husband thinks that I worry too much.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Mistakes, lack of foresight or bad habits --------?

I promised in a message I sent some one that I will be very careful with spellings and then I go and make spelling mistakes in the same message. Man ---- what is happening to me, am I developing a bad habit that I never had before? I am a Grandma, I got to be extra careful. Talk about careful, I remember a neighbour of ours asked me if I knew any one who can take their family cat.
"Aw," I said, "You are giving it away, is it a kitten?"
"No, " she said. "It is two years old, we have to give it away because my daughter has asthma." She was genuinely concerned.
"I have asthma too, so I am sorry we will not be able to take it," I said and I was really sorry."I will pass the word around ," I promised her. Then what do you think I noticed? she had a lit cigarette in her hand. She was leaning out of her window though, so there --- she was not being a bad Mom. What should I make out from this incident. Some one willing to give their pet away but not give up smoking? Or do they not realize what they could be doing to their kids?

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Vulnerable Seniors, careless drivers, ruining our earth --------

I get very much discouraged about saving the natural beauty of our woods when I see people litter on the side of our highways and parkways. I was explaining to my kids a long time ago who the yellow-clothed people were on the side of Thruway 87 North going upstate towards Montreal, when my son expressed his disappointment in people who littered. "We throw our garbage in garbage cans at home don't we, why can't they?" 
"Well -- maybe they should have more garbage cans," should have been my answer or " maybe they should wait until they go home?" In any case, it is very convenient isn't it? Just role down the window and chuck. So, this has become an every day, every time habit? Your car is clean, never mind the road side. Oops, someone did not realize that there cigarette was still lit, and ----?
WHUD traffic report had announced that there was a long back up, maybe up to thirty five minutes, between Exit 15 and Exit 16.  My heart was in my throat.  What now? A fender bender? A rear ender?
What it turned out to be was a brush fire. Something that could have been prevented if people just took a few seconds to think about what could have happened.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Beautiful Earth, Grown up kids vulnerable parents ------

Twenty first of September, my little girl's birthday and I am borrowing her sweater to go to Applebees. God, how I wish we could shrink a dink our kids. (I know my grammar is wrong,but I like that expression --- long story). They grow up taller than you, smarter than you and yet are humble enough to giggle and hug when given gifts. Sending them to Universities, giving them sound education and guiding them through financial responsibilities made me vulnerable to my own insecurities. Will my husband and I be ever needed again? Birthdays and Holidays make me realize that I don't have to shrink a dink my kids, they make me feel needed by asking for our blessings and accepting with joy, the simplest things we give them. It is their birthday and they are enriching us !!!!
My generation has a lot of senior citizens. Among other insecurities, it is a nice feeling when you don't have to be worries about being needed.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Beautiful Earth, Great People------ very compassionate

Dana Reeve, Christopher Reeve's vibrant and sunny wife, was always praised by everyone who heard about her love for her husband (and rightfully so). She was really very gracious because she said "My job here is to be the voice of the many, many spouses who are care givers who do not have the advantage of the world patting them on their back." I say ditto to that. Standing by their hurting family members may seem hard, but if there is enough love, things may seem little less harsh. So, hang in there. Remember you have the graciousness of some one as cool as Dana Reeve.
Christopher Reeve did go through the thoughts of possibilities of having the plug pulled. Shattered C1 and C2 (May 95 accident) can do that to ones morale (when left quadriplegic).  Dana Reeves response was "You are still you and I love you."
Dana Reeve herself died of Lung Cancer at the age of forty four.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Beautiful Earth, Great People, Flexible ------ not wasteful.

"What a waste " was the first thought that came to my mind when a young girl, off loading a truck of merchandise told me that she was a graduate of RIT. I was a graduate too! So what, what was so different? I stayed quiet, thank God. Staying quite sometimes is so much better as you give others a chance to say further. Actually, self reflection was what I was going through when she kind of shook me.
"You have heard of RIT haven't you?"
"I know, we used to live in Rochester," was my automatic response. I was still involved in self pity. Being a stay-at-home mom does not prepare a woman for the working world but college? That too in America? Because for the longest time I thought of myself as insufficient because I had a degree from India and not here.
"It was kind of my fault," she said. "For choosing Photography as my major," she seemed upset. "No one wants to hire me, just unpaid internships you know. I have educational loans. So, they had an opening here."
"No, this is good, this is Gap you know," I said, I don't know if I was comforting her or myself.
"So, you don't think I wasted my parents money?" she asked.
"You have Student Loans too, don't you?"
"Yes, some," she said.
"You would not have taken loans, if you did not want to go now, would you?"
"No, " she said.
"Then it is not a waste," I said. "A degree is more than just a job voucher." I said.
College is not a waste as long as you learned something there. Your education is worth more than just a degree.
PS. There is actually a thing called Job Voucher that is given to people in India, so they can go work in England.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Beautiful Earth, Great People Unemployed -------

"I see trees of green, red roses too ---" way back when I was in college I did not even know about Louis Armstrong, but I always imagined the world to be a beautiful place. Green grass, green trees and all kinds of flowers, all colours. My favourite subject was Botany. Then the word came along that people with economics major were in great demand when it came to getting a job.
"Waiting for a call after an interview is no less than an ache in the belly that you get when scrambling for a scholarship," said one of our University alumni. There you go, no more fun learning, no more passion for the subject. Oh well, at least we were in the University bunch, versus people who did not finish high school. Here in the US, my husband and I decided that I will be a stay home Mom. I neither worked in a flower shop nor a bank. Classes that inspired me and ideas that I thought would work for me economically may have betrayed me but without meaning to. I still look back, still miss my friends, my professors and the University grounds. They enriched my life much more than my degree could ever do.
Today, I see a lot of University graduates being unemployed, putting off their loan payments and wondering if they will send their kids to college at such high cost when a degree makes promises it may not keep.
"Debt catches up with you very fast, it is best to live within your means," said a young Dad who worked with me.
But how? I wondered. Does living have to exclude "the planning for your kids college part?" or can we start a life style that will exclude spending on competition gifts?

Thursday, September 16, 2010

"Gen X" "Gen Y", Great Parents ------ Beautiful Offsprings, Beautiful Earth

When a bunch of high school girls pulled up a scheme to get pregnant at the same time, I was scared speechless. Coming from India, where mothers' ages range from early teens to mid thirties (on average), I believed that people should have kids only when they are ready. I mean really ready, financially, emotionally, timewise and energy wise.
I would not like to label my grandkids as "Gen Z" as I don't know what kind of characteristics will be attributed to them. All I know is that people born in the seventies and eighties are well rounded and they will raise awesome kids. From being individualistic, tech savvy, ambitious, and flexible, to being team players and religious "Gen X" and "Gen Y" are good in balancing money and time, not neglecting values.  The millennials make take their time and may seem cold but any responsibility they take, they do their best to fulfill. They could never be apathetic.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Beautiful Earth, Beutiful Minds, Great People, Gen "X" Gen "Y"

Sure all parents are expected to have some influence on their children.
"I had great parents, especially my Father and my Mother," I told my daughter one day. My daughter started laughing.
"What are you saying!!!" she said. I blinked for a moment. She had a reason to laugh. Who else would be my parents? She seemed puzzled. I had to explain something to her that she took time understanding. The fact is, in India, where we had a joint family, everyone was like a parent when it came to watching out for us, our Grandmas (both sides) our uncles, aunties and even our help and sometimes our neighbours. School was an other source of information about good and bad. Today we are lucky in a whole new way. My kids are influenced by some very good people --- people who went to school with them --- a few close friends who in spite of the harshness of Junior High and parts of High School years would not let their friendship weaver. So hurray for Gen "X" and Gen "Y".

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Beautiful Earth, healthy bodies ------- --and minds?

"My Mom is dying inside" said one of my co- workers.
"About your ----?" I was hesitating to bring up her son's problems.
"Yes" she said looking away.
"Awe--" I was looking for words.
"You know Munir --" she said almost choking. "It would be much easier for Grandma to talk about her grandson if he had  --- may be cancer?"
"Don't say that." I gasped, my words were not clear and she was not listening. She was just venting, venting about the fact that we cannot talk about certain issues in our society and this is twenty-first century.
I just finished reading a book A Corner of the Universe  by Ann M. Martin. It is very enlightening. It is a story from the sixties (part of it being true.) I won't ruin the ending but it has some pretty powerful messages.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Beautiful Earth, people and problems ----- what can we do?

On one hand fighting hunger and on the other trying to make people understand the value of eating right --- I mean not over eating and not over eating bad food. The whole world looks up to America as a guide when it comes to  fashion,  music, scientific discoveries ( and rightfully so), movie themes, industrialization and capitalism. However I would not like America  to have the most number of people who do not eat right. Not eating right has so many disadvantages starting from unnecessary weight gain to taking risks of getting life threatening diseases like high blood pressure, diabetes and certain types of cancers. Tonight the SU2C special  was so touching specially when Steve Wonder and party sang the unforgettable song  from the movie Ghost and Neil Diamond sang "Yesterday". I know that the celebrities who put this program together are awesome, but my prayers are also for people who are doing their research quietly behind their cubicles and documenting their data. As we donate and or walk or take a stand against cancer and or other diseases, let us try to do our part at home and we all know what that is.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Do as I do, beautiful Earth ------- and People?

Yes, this Earth is beautiful, including the Oceans (including pictures people draw.) Now, let's assume that we are taking the best possible care of our Mother Earth  (recycling and saving it from trash that is not biodegradable.) But are we overlooking something ---- something that is as important as the Earth itself and, even if I say so, maybe more important?
"What?" asked my husband." Air, water?" 
"Try population," I said.
"Really?" he asked.
"I would think so." I said. I believe it too. Why do we save this Earth and the atmosphere from getting polluted? Isn't it to leave them good enough for future generations?  This thought came to my mind when my daughter came and shared with me what she learned in a meeting at work. Eight million people are hungry on this earth and I don't mean "I am getting late for dinner" hungry but they did not eat for a few days. Also get this, over a billion people are overweight. Somewhere here is a message that may be if we try we can help the hungry and without offending anyone (myself included) we can help people to get into healthier habit.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Rainbow colours, do as I do ------ beautiful Earth !!!

I think of Canada as a docile and harmless little sister of the USA. My family trip to Toronto last December was a bitter sweet one.  Among the hassles of being in a wedding party, were the chilblains from wearing dresses from delicate and light materials and shoes that were not at all meant for Toronto in December. A December wedding in Toronto? Wow, every one who heard that was as amazed as a circus audience. Every day we would be in and out a dozen times, running last minute errands etc. However, I could not help but admire my sister in law's practice of  handling the unwanted material (trash) in her kitchen. She had a separate bin each for paper, metal, glass and plastic on the floor and a cute little bin for biodegradable refuge (as she calls it) in a corner on top of the counter by the sink. Wow, such pains, I thought and I let her know how she is doing such a favour to our mother Earth. She said that she is glad that now she can do this because as many places as she had moved, this was just about the only one neighbourhood (or town) where she has to do this by law !!  She in return gets a bag full of compost every spring from the refuge collectors. What a good practice. I only dream of the day when every town and every country would make people do this. Then we would be able to keep our Earth beautiful. Explain the concept of recycling to kids and try as much as you can to do what you are teaching them to do ------- then see that the colours of our Earth will be as beautiful as a Rainbow.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Rainbow colours -----"Do as I do"

Yes, welcome to reality. Even with rainbow colours do as I do will work better than do as I say. "If you get a double cheese burger, a large pack of french fries and a large soda (32 oz) and sit down next to your five year old offering him baby carrots and mac and cheese or an egg salad sandwich, you think that he is not going to want your food, you must be in an other world," I told a young mother (one of my co-workers.) "That means I have to eat his food," she said, sounding disappointed. A few weeks later, she complained,  "I cannot survive like this." 
"You mean eating healthy." I was having fun with her willingness to change for her kid.
"It is boring," she pouted.
"It will not be, if you imagine saving yourself from having to go through an angioplasty and scaring the daylights out of your son ten years from now."

Friday, September 3, 2010

Kids, Rainbows and vegetables?

Yesterday's blog made me wonder as to how we can use the love of rainbow for our kids' advantage. That got me thinking. How about we let our kids write down the colours of a rainbow, then ask them what colour of the rainbow they would like their vegetables/ or fruit to be served in. Simple: Red, (tomatoes apples or even red raspberries)  Orange(oranges or carrots)  Yellow (corn on the cob, banana yellow squash)  Green(spinach, kale, lettuce,pears)  Blue (blue berries,)  Indigo,(purple or graffiti eggplant is the closest you can get)  Violet (purple grapes).  Let them come up with any new vegetable or fruit they might look up. Holland peppers come in beautiful yellow and orange and capsicum come  in green or red in the USA. Exotic fruits like Mangoes and Pomegranate come in red. You can teach about Kiwi that comes in green, but an allergic reaction is not uncommon. Have fun with healthy food and you may not have to worry about getting them to eat their vegetable.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Kids, Kaleidscope and Rainbows

"Thank God, rainbows are in the sky, no one can spoil them," said a first grader when I was shadowing my Hindi teacher. "That's right, you are very smart," I said, and my Hindi teacher gave me a thumbs up.
"Wow," I said as I sat down with my Hindi teacher for my review as a peer teacher. "That was so profound." "Yes" my teacher said. "About the rainbow? You know Munir, all babies are born with pure colours, I mean qualities, as good as or may be better than a rainbows. When we start to grow up however they get sorted out and separated. Then it seems like our colours are locked up in a Kaleidoscope, we see them in different designs but they are still limited and not as pure as a rainbow's."

That was a very heavy statement. I was then a teenager and of different faith than hers, so I remained silent. For a long time I could not get the bubbly feeling that every one gets from a Kaleidoscope. Years later, I realized what she meant. Now I am open minded about different concepts  ------ even those that are not main stream.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Confidence : Part of "PROJECT SEPT---ember"

I was discussing my project "SEPT--ember" with my daughter. She had a lot of thoughts on the subject. Here is an example:

School can be rough specially for a kid who does not have self confidence. Lets make sure all the kids in our lives know how awesome they truly are regardless of what any one might think.

One of her friends mentioned that kids get confidence from trying different activities.

Hey, we can never have too many ideas ----- when it comes to our awesome little ones who will grow up to be just as awesome grown ups.