Saturday, March 26, 2011

Geraldine Ferraro: Rest in Peace

Someone from Orange County, New York, the first woman to become the choice for a running mate has passed away at 75 years of age after a tough battle with blood cancer.
When the presidential candidate Walter Mondale chose her for the vice presidential candidate a lot of women saw their dream come true. Geraldine Ferraro opened up a lot of doors for opportunities for women. Very gracious in spite of losing a senate seat, she willingly worked to help Senator Schumer for his election with a smile.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Human Attitude

"Please don't," said my Mom.
"Please don't," said my Grandma.
"Please don't," said my co -worker"
"Please do," said my niece.
As a little girl, I used to get upset to see our drawing room filled with smoke, whenever my father had a bridge game. His friends who could not smoke in front of their elders (you know, joint family and all) would avail the chance of being able to smoke in someone else's home. I would ask my mom if I could go and tell them not to smoke. Then my mom would say, "please don't, it is not polite."
Whenever my uncle came to visit my grandma he would ask my Mom for an ashtray. My aunt would say, "I have a bone to pick with him. He is going to die with black lungs." My grandmother said, "Please don't, otherwise he will stop visiting us."
Whenever I wanted to stop my co-workers from smoking, standing outside in cold instead of resting their feet indoors, one of my co-workers would get angry. "Please don't, it is not your business."
Last time when my brother was visiting us with his family, I told his wife that I am going to yell at him, if I see him smoke. My niece quickly came and said, "Oh Auntie, please do, please yell at my dad, please get angry at him, why doesn't he stop smoking, you know how bad it is for him." she sounded helpless and yet she was using all the help she can get to get her dad to stop smoking.
It has been a hundred years since that horrible fire in "The Triangle Waist company". March 25 1911, fire in which 146 people died. They included young girls, eighteen to twenty three. They say most of them were immigrant woman who wanted to make it in the USA to give their kids a chance, a good life. I am not saying that the cause was cigarette smoking,but they were speculating that a lit cigarette was callously thrown in the bin where there were scraps of fabric.
A few years ago, I was a proud participant of "CHAMPS" ie changing human attitude  - - - making people safer. This program was implemented because we had to go through hundreds of thousands of pieces of clothing for vendor audit. I wish work places a hundred years ago had this program. May be then all those immigrant mothers would not have to die.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

People are people

I did it. I finally was able to convince my husband that people are people. There are good and bad people everywhere in the world. You take any community, neighbourhood, town, village, city, country, or continent, people are just human beings. So my next task was to convince him that if anyone is apparently bad (because they could be good inside) it is because of the possibility of them being insecure or it could be their upbringing. Sometimes people think that if they are nice, others can take advantage of them. A lot of times so many factors get in our own way of wanting to be nice. So finally, my husband gave in. He said that everyone has at least one good thing in him.
Parents of today's kindergartners and first graders are raising their children with utmost care. They do not want their kids to grow up to be racist or sexist or religiously biased. There is an increased amount of awareness about teaching your kids self-worth and self-respect while teaching them to respect others at the same time. As a matter of fact people are thinking of giving their kids fresh environment even before their kids are born and sometimes even before they meet their possible future spouses. This makes me feel a little relaxed. Now the only task a head is to put away those people who take advantage of kids.
We lost one of our favourite actresses yesterday when Elizabeth Taylor passed away.  Different television channels have been showing her life, her achievements and her diamonds and her wealth from perfume line etc. I am just glad that I did not come across any remark about her childhood being scared or her innocence being robbed. No wonder there was always a certain level of confidence and glow about her.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Thank You !!!

Someone left this award for me on my blog. I have to say that I am honored and am overwhelmed. This means a lot to me because the person who  gave me this award is himself a very inspirational writer. I get emotional sometimes when I write, because my ultimate goal is to make every life count and to leave this earth a happy place.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Sisterhood of International Cities

I feel so petty complaining about snow on the first day of spring when there are people losing their loved ones and people afraid of being exposed to radiation even as we speak. I am grateful and oh so thankful to that gentleman and angel of a policeman who helped us out of the snow this morning. They say here in Orange County, New York that Storm King mountain (as beautiful as it gets in fall) demands respect in winter time. "This is first day of spring," I was whining as I came in the door after being stranded for over two hours. Then I apologized. "I am sorry." The apology was meant for God to hear and forgive me.
Instead, my husband says, "Don't have to apologise, you are the one who suffered." Suffered? Again, I was ashamed of my own behavior.
They say look at a person without a foot, before complaining that your shoes are old. This was after Hirohima and Nagasaki disasters. However terms and terminologies have changed for better. Now people who get amputations have chances of getting prosthetics. Among all of the milestones and breakthroughs the best one I heard of is "Sisterhood of Cities."
"Sisterhood of cities" is a program where people of two cities exchange students from each other. One gives young people of the other citya chance to experience what life is like there. So New York has Tokyo as our International  Sister City. Hawaii has about five different cities from Japan. Dallas has something called friendship city connection with Sendai. Teachers and other academic people from Dallas have an attachment with schools and students in Sendai. It was nice to see pictures of American students and Japanese students sharing common interests. Today students from high schools in Dallas feel loss of their Japanese friends from Sendai just like loss of their own family members.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Calm Waters , Relaxed Earth

I was dozing off on the living room sofa as usual when I woke up to these words, "Sea of Green! Coming up next." So I sit up afraid about what they are going to say next. To my relief they were talking about Saint Patrick's Day Parades in various parts of Westchester County and Manhattan.
"Phew," I wanted to go back to my nap, but no such luck. The parade's bagpipes and heels tapping was followed by the death toll and missing numbers of people in Japan. I know, I feel miserable about not being able to do anything to help console people who lost loved ones or sooth people who are worried. So now if anyone is reading my blog and have loved ones in Japan, my heart goes out for you guys and my prayers are with your loved ones.
Someone left soothing words on my post and that helped a lot. Also, my husband and I got to video chat with our son in Hawaii. He told me that we cannot live in fear and not progress. We just have to learn from our mistakes and improve and improvise. I think that it is a good strategy.
So Governor Cuomo is meeting up with Fed officials to make sure that Indian Point is safe and if not find out how we can make it safe. It is now sitting on Ramapo Fault. I thought that a fault is a place where there are chances of Earthquakes. Some people say the right now that part of Earth is relaxed. My son says that some people think that the Waters in Hawaii are kind of Calm. I say how do we know if thinks will not change? It is nature, we don't know when it will unleash it's wrath. My son tells me to stop being afraid.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Mers Watan Japan (My Motherland Japan)

I am too worried to write anything. My mind is going crazy about the possible radiation plumes in Hawaii, in California and who knows where else. In this crazy time I want to go back to the serene Japan and share this video with everyone.

This is from an old movie where a girl from Indian background born in Japan is proud of her birth place.

I hope that you will enjoy.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Green Everywhere

"It is buy one get one free fish fillet sandwitch until lent is over, you know" said my husband. He can use any excuse for fast food.
"It is not even a week," I said making a face.
"Yes it is, we had Sal's Pizza last Thursday, and Sal's is not fast food, not technically." He had a face like a kid who just lost his puppy. I had to give in. Why do I do that? I don't know. Maybe it is the fact that we run into people, some familiar faces, some new, so I guess it is ok. Plus it is fish.
There were more cars than usual. I guess bargains are good. A nice young man who was heading for his break held the door for us. I noticed that he had a big buckle on his belt that said IRISH in green on silver and he had a green  folded handkerchief  in his shirt pocket. I wished him "Happy Saint Patrick's Day." He smiled and wished me back. Then we went in and on the line by the ordering counter there were some people wearing green. I just smiled.
As I sat down telling my husband that the second fish fillet will be ready in a couple of minutes, I noticed that a lady was wearing a beautiful tunic that was moss green and had hunter green sequences all over the front. I went to her and gave her a compliment and wished her Happy Saint Patrick's Day. She wished me back and said that the tunic was a gift from her sister who orderd it for her from a catalog. Then she pointed to the guy with the green handkerchief who was now behind the french fries burner. She said, "Too bad he can wear only that much green, his uniform you know." I smiled and just nodded. I knew what she meant. When I worked I was lucky for not having to wear uniforms. I then wished that I did. It was hard keeping up with the expense of business attire. I was just glad that I had a job.Then on special days people in the maintainence crew always said how lucky we were to be able to wear what ever we wanted and they just had to wear uniforms. So I would just vaguely smile. I was not about to complain. Then I noticed that the young man came out from behind the french fries burner to collect the empty tray and for a moment put the trays down and using both his hand pulled up his pants and ran his hand on the belt buckle. That made me and the lady in the green tunic very happy.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Leadership, Business, Science and Human Lives

"We take so much from mother Earth and what do we give back?" said my father's gardener. We had a lot of flowering plants, fruit trees and vegetable gardens and vines so I knew what he meant. I paid close attention to hear what my father would say.
"Except for when we die," my father said. "The land takes nourishment from our dead bodies".  That was one of the most gruesome statements I had heard as a little girl. To this day, I try to be careful about what I say around any kid. It was not until I grew up and understood the cycle of life that I understood what my father had said. So to this day I try to limit my needs so I do not have to take too much from this earth. That is my individual choice and I am sure a lot of us have given the subject a thought once in a while. Not all of us can be like Pete Seeger, who recycles even in his nineties. So along with recycling comes the thought about conservation of electricity and water. We need energy and so far a lot of discoveries have been made so efficient and affordable energy can be available. When Enrico Ferni, Leo Szilard, and a group of other scientists made it possible for human beings to be able to enjoy the use of energy, they must have been extremely happy. I am sure they were aware of safety hazards and potential dangers if anything went wrong. I am sure also that they gave emphasis on properly educating people about how crucial the steps are, for taking care that nuclear plants stay safe. I am now wondering about why a country would build such elaborate nuclear plants where earthquakes are possible if not frequently possible. Also why would the government not tell the facts like they are about what is going on. My husband thinks that leaders are afraid of the possibility of mass hysteria. Also businesses do not want to be effected from that mass hysteria.
International atomic energy agency is asking us for financial help.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Signs of Hope

It has been a nerve wrecking couple of days. Today after being able to talk to our son, my husband and I were able to relax a little bit. I do not have enough words to thank God. It must have been very frightening for our son to have to wake up to sirens and be away from the family. He told our daughter that the sirens sounded like war alerts. I am not surprised. I mean that is Hawaii, people try not to miss a visit to Pearl Harbour when they go on vacation to Hawaii. So it is little wonder that they are well prepared there. Nevertheless, you cannot have a hold on yourself whenever your kids are away from you and the fear of a disaster is all over the news. So I took a deep breath and watched the news all over again.
Hundreds of people lost their lives, thousands are missing and we don't even have an account of how many are injured. I do not even pay attention to material loss. People's property was washed away like toys. boats, cars and houses. We used to hear about these kind of floods in stories. Now all those stories begin to seem real. The worst fear we all had was of the nuclear power plant. It was a relief when they announced in the evening news that the radiation levels are lower than what the scientists say are safe. I mean no one wants to see Onagawa Nuclear Power Point to turn into an other Chernobyl. That is hopeful. We cannot bring back the people who have lost their lives. My heart goes out to their families. Having to suffer nuclear reaction would be beyond devastation.

Friday, March 11, 2011

What do we do?

Double disaster would be an understatement when we talk about the condition in which Japan is today.
Last night when I heard the winds blowing like they have life in them, I was hoping that there were no homeless people and that every one had a roof on their head and a steady roof at that. At eleven thirty my husband woke up and asked "What was that", I said I don't know, because I really did not know.  It turned out that people were working at some hot water heater next door. I said "Thank God it was nobody's roof." Then at four thirty in the morning my son calls from Hawaii telling me not to worry. I did not know what he was talking about then he said, "You didn't watch the news, there was an earthquake in Japan and they are expecting a Tsunami to hit Hawaii."
"Oh my God," I said "Where are you?"
"I am at a friend's house and I will call you, don't try to call me and don't worry."
 "OK" I said,"Stay safe."
"OK" he said, and hung up. Since four thirty in the morning today, we have been glued to the TV. I totally forgot about the heavy rains here today, the flood in New Jersey and the number of days people missed work because of the weather. It seems like all our weather problems became petty. I was a nervous wreck, until twelve thirty in the afternoon when my son called again to tell me he is safe, and things are OK in Honolulu. Only then I was able to have breakfast and start the day's work. I am thinking of hundreds of mothers whose kids must be missing, or wives waiting to hear from their husbands and any other family member they are waiting to hear from.  We may be able to send financial help, help with goods and services but my heart goes out for them, whose phone will not ring and whose loved one will not say, "Don't worry I am OK."
I do not have energy to blog today, but they say that we are to maintain records of everything, including the times when nature unleashes it's wrath.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

We Did Come A Long Way

When my kids were growing up, I did not read too many books. As a matter of fact it took me forever to finish a book no matter how good it was. To me, my hobbies, my favourite foods, or my leisure had no meaning. I had heard of a lot of stories of children's accidents and disappearances. I just wanted to make sure that there were no incidences and my children grew up safe and sound. So once in a while I would pick up a good book when I went to the library with kids and then simply return it without even reading it. It was a different story with magazines. I would read almost all of the articles of not only my magazines but also the one my husband subscribed to. In some of the ladies' magazines there used to be an ad for cigarettes for ladies. It said something like this, "You have come a long way  ----".  I used to get so disgusted. Please, oh please, if a lady wants to smoke she will smoke no matter what. Why degrade Women's achievements by using our desire to do good in this world by comparing it to smoking ? Maybe it was true that women were not allowed to smoke in the past, but getting a chance to smoke does not equate to (in any manner) women's education or freedom to achieve anything worthwhile. As a matter of fact I would consider it to be a blessing in disguise if someone is not allowed to smoke.
As one blogger reminded me, women's freedom to do everything men can do, has put an extra burden on us women. Another lady who blogs reminded me that it is up to us to do what we choose to do. I am still happy to be able to choose. I love to cook for my family and it makes me happy to call them  for dinner. This is because I choose to.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

International Womens Day

Wow! A hundred years. They say that there has been a lot of injustice with women and still there is unfairness today. I guess I have been lucky. When I used to be home with kids and did everything around the house and took care of kids as well, it seemed like I was getting the short end of a deal. In reality, staying home and taking care of your kid's and your husband's needs is far better than having to deal with the tension at work. There is love within your home. There are statistics, demographics, productivity, deadlines and then your own evaluation before your evaluation with your bosses. Compare that to hugs and smooches from your babies, a kiss in the air from your husband while he watches you wipe and clean your baby? No Sir, I would go back and take care of my babies any time. Well to each his own. I probably would occasionally complain all over again. The thing is that we get education and we know that we are capable of making money just the same. Therefore to us it seems like a very unintelligent choice until we get into the rat race of the outside world. The bottom line is respect, care and consideration will make anything easy even if you are not rich. It is not about being a man or a woman it is about fairness.

I will translate my brother's favourite song. It goes something like this:
Simple, straightforward, total and fair exchange of minds, this exchange is of hearts, so have this exchange and surround my whole world.
Make a promise and take one.
This is exchange of flights and skies. Don't have wings, take mine. Take my flight too.
This exchange is of hopes, dreams and sleep. Take my sleep and stay in my eyes.
This exchange is of songs, rhymes and melodies. This exchange is of plans, tokens and memories.
So take my hint and give me a sign.
Give a little and get a lot. It is fine with me. It is still an exchange.

I guess the poet is saying that he will give a lot as long as he gets a little bit of love.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Try to Understand

Yesterday someone asked me if I knew anyone who knows any tricks to do good in MCAT. I said that I was sorry but I did not know anyone who knows any such tricks. Then she went on to say that her granddaughter studied day and night missing all the shows and not seeing any of her friends and she still did not do good. Again I said "Aw." Then she said that her daughter and son-in-law are sending her to the best undergraduate school and paying for private tutor she could go to and still she did not do good, so her son-in-law is upset. I did not say anything although I was so tempted to. She then said "How could she do that, I mean why did she not try harder? You know how hard my daughter works full time and all so she can send her kids to college?" Now that was a little too much.
"How do you know that she did not try enough?" I asked.
"Yeah that is what I am wondering about, why did she not do good in spite of trying." I was not sure what to tell her. Was she implying that her granddaughter is not smart enough or was she implying that her granddaughter did not try enough? So I kept quiet. Meanwhile a lot of things were going through my head. Poor girl, did her parents ever ask her if she was OK, if things in her school (which was away from home) were OK, was the school good in every sense, is she being bullied? Are the subjects she took of her interests? Does she really want to be a doctor? Yeah that one, a big question. I wonder when people will realize that they should let their kids speak up and when they speak, listen and try to understand their view on how they should live. If they are doing something to hurt themselves or others then let them get counseling, but as long as they are preparing themselves to be able to make a decent living , they should let them follow their passion. A carpenter who follows his passion will make some of the most beautiful pieces of furniture, and someone who is forced to be a doctor will never have compassion for her patients.
My parents loved plants. They gave their plants that they grew from grafting to their friends. Their advise to me, "Do not give a gift of a plant to someone who does not like plants. The plant will suffer in the end."

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Heights Of Hope

"I would be terrified to climb over the side of a twenty-eight story building, suspended by a rope," I said as my family and I were watching the dramatic rescue of the two workers who were dangling on the side of a tall building in Yonkers.
"Oh, he looks like a strong well built firefighter, look at the way he is protecting the guy he is about to rescue, engulfing him with his arms." My husband did not have enough words for admiration for firefighter Mike Giroux . We did not even know the name of the brave, selfless hero who does not even want to be called a hero. When I called my family to the kitchen table for dinner on Friday evening they said no, because they wanted to watch the tv. I turned off the stove and came in the living room to see what was going on. I watched and saw that these two workers were hanging on the side of this tall building (a 28 story Senior center in Yonkers.) The scaffolding had collapsed and there was a high wire rescue going on. We were speechless as we watched a brave firefighter holding one of the workers and a rope at the same time. Little by little he started coming down with the worker and finally we could take a deep breath and could see both of them safe. It turned out that the workers were hanging so high that the ladder of the fire engine could not go that high. So Mr. Mike Giroux went to the top of the building and started rapeling down to the level of the dangling workers and build their confidence up and helped them come down. The other firefighter from the department  were standing and talking to the workers through the window to give them hope and confidence. The hard part they said was translating their messages as the workers did not know English language. Once the first worker was saved we had hopes for the second one as he was at least standing on the broken scaffolding unlike the first one who was simply holding on for his life. Then Mr. Mike Giroux saved him too. Mr. Mike Giroux may be a humble human being, but in our eyes (and the eyes of hundreds of New Yorkers) he is a hero.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Fourth of March

Please excuse me for not having a continuation of sentences in my blog today.
Whenever my husband comes in and takes a deep breath while he is hanging his coat. I know it is because he has seen someone drive very recklessly or he has been stranded in a back up because of an auto accident. Also he gets upset to see young people in GI fatigues. I ask him if he is OK.
"Yes." He barely says the word. I get upset too when I see people getting hurt when they don't have to.
We live not too far from West Point. It is hard to get into the Academy, but the facility has provided a lot of different jobs for a lot of people, from kitchen to maintenance to gardening to tour bus drivers.
There are "SUNY" colleges not too far from where we live and sometimes we see young people in army fatigues.
The Purple Heart Hall of Fame is just around the bend on the way to the airport.
When my husband sits down to write a check for donation, his hand picks up the letter from the American disabled veterans.
"At least they came back," I say.
The public buildings in the town near by have the flags half mast. A family in that town lost their twenty three year old in Afghanistan in the beginning of this week.
Today is the fourth of the month of March. The weather man on the television said "Fourth of March, so March forth and hug a GI, it is Hug a GI Day today."

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

No Matter How Small

When my children were sophomores in high school, parents and guardians got very exciting letters in the mail. The letters had a lovely note of congratulations alongside a list of the student's achievements like AP classes, honor and high honor rolls, extracurricular activities, etc. I got the letter as well. I was very much excited and then I looked at the return address. I was a little confused. The letter was not from the school they attended or even the school district they were in. I read it again. It was from the publishers of some kind of directory of good students and it said that I can buy the book for a hundred and fifty dollars so I can show it off and be proud. Then a friend of mine told me to wait and see if I get something from "Who's Who", and that the book will be the only worthwhile book to spend money on. She said that the rest would be scams. I waited and I did pay ( I don't remember how much) but less than the scam people were asking. I still wonder why do people scam?
 I am not saying that beauty pageants are scams. I just thought that I would find out what is in it for the people who organize them. So, I was looking at the cost of some of the pageants for little girls. The registration fee can go up to five hundred dollars (not including the travel and accommodations expenses.) This is well and good, people want to be proud of their babies and kids so it is their prerogative to spend. Also to each his own, I am sure every Mom finds her daughter to be cute and probably feel swept off and get carried away when offered a chance. The only fear I have is the emotional turmoil the kids and the parents go through, the hurt and the damage to self esteem of the kids who loose and then the overconfidence or even vanity of those who win. It was interesting to know that the first few beauty pageants (not the kiddy ones) were started by an owner of a hotel in Atlantic City in the early 1920s. The kiddy ones started somewhere in the 60s.
I will admit that I like one kiddy pageant. The one where Tommy becomes Tonya.( even in a cartoon he looked cute as a girl.) Remember Rugrats?
Talking of comics, and stories for kids, today is the birthday of someone unforgettable, who taught us "A person is a person no matter how small."  Dr.Seuss you will always be in our hearts. (March 2, 1904 to September 24,1991)

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Misconstrued ? I Hope Not - - -

When something bothers me, it really bothers me. It does not matter how big or small the issue is, I simply cannot say "meh" and pack it and put it away. I get uneasy until I come up with something to take care of it. So when I suggested that there should be a category for young actors and actresses at the Oscars, I did not mean to encourage kid pageants. Oh no. I am not at all in favour of  glamourising little girls like that. I hope that no one misunderstood me.This fear came to my mind when I remembered the little girl in the movie, "Little Miss Sunshine". She was also nominated but did not get the award. A brilliant and talented little actress, she opened up my eyes or rather the movie itself opened up my eyes as to how shallow those pageants can be. I was not even aware that there were pageants like that since I come from a background where we strive to give children the ability to read and write and spend time and money more on education than anything else. It was actually when Jon Benet Ramsey died and the mysterious circumstances of her demise were all over the television, I realized that such pageants existed. When Joel Mchale showed the clip of "Toddlers in Tiaras" I felt like throwing up. So please do not misunderstand me. I sincerely think that there should be a category for young artists or even young script writers. With today's kids anything is possible.