Autumn, Attitude Adjustment, And Ambush Journalism

Here’s what I’ve thought about this week.  Brought to you by the letter “A.”

•  Loving.  Now that it’s mid-autumn, the leaves on the trees behind our house are at their best.  In fact, this year, the wettest year ever on record, the trees look stunning.  There are more show-off colors among the leaves–shimmery gold, crimson red;  less dreary colors like rusty orange & dried-up grayish brown.  Amazing, really, how letting go is so pretty.  A lesson for all of us who hold grudges and keep objects long after their usefulness has passed.  Move on, people.  Let it go.

*Amen*

•  Laughing.  I’ve always been one to drink whatever alcoholic beverage is set in front of me [the exception being rum which I hate].  I loathe being perceived as fussy.  Yet, thinking back about our very social summer, I’ve realized that the parties/dinners/events where I had the most fun were the very ones where I did not drink any wine.  At all.

This got me wondering why I even drink the stuff to begin with.  I don’t like the taste of wine all that much and it often makes me itch.  What I decided is that I drink wine because I have this notion that it is good for me.  And I drink wine because I am polite.

My logic– such as it is— goes something like this: in the Bible, Jesus made wine and the party continued.  So, by drinking the stuff without complaint I don’t offend Jesus & I’m not a party pooper.  In theory, this seems like a win-win. But in practice it just sets me up to do something I don’t really want to do– which is drink wine.

Pity Jesus didn’t turn the water into a fifth of bourbon– or a few bottles of beer.  Then I’d have no problem at all.

*Capiche?*

•  Learning.  I was watching CNN the other morning.  The conversation was about “ambush journalism.”  I’d not heard of this term before.  It means that through deception and aggressive behavior a journalist inserts himself or herself into a situation hoping to provoke controversy by launching into a series of challenging questions. Apparently, some guy did this with VP Biden earlier this week, and Biden refused to take it.  Biden fired back with: “Don’t screw with me.  Let’s look at the facts.” 

Politics aside, I’m with the VP on this one.  Hassling people is not a substitute for journalistic inquiry;  it’s just stupid, attention seeking behavior.  In fact, it seems to me that if journalists want to continue to have access to our political leaders, then they need to grow up, use some common sense & not engage is such antics.  Bad dog, no biscuit.

*Meh*

Revisiting A Tribute To The Victims Of The 9-11 Attacks

On September 11, 2006, 2,996 volunteer bloggers joined together for a tribute to the victims of 9-11.  Each person paid tribute to a single victim.  The intent of this project was to honor the victims by remembering their lives, and not by remembering their murderers.  

I first posted this tribute on 09.08.06.  I’ve adapted it for this blog using different photos, the one link that still works, and one new link.  The essence of what I wrote remains the same.   

   

Tribute To Maria Rose Abad

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Maria Rose Abad was born in Brooklyn, N.Y., in 1952.  She studied sociology at Queens College and hoped to be a teacher.  However, a different career path opened up to her and she went to work in business.  At the time of her death she was living in Syosset, N.Y., and working as Senior Vice President with Keefe, Bruyette & Woods, investment bankers.

Maria Rose married Rudy Abad, her best friend, in 1976.  The two of them liked to travel the world.  She liked to read books– lots and lots of them– according to Rudy.

On Tuesday September 11, 2001, Maria Rose was at work in her office located in the south tower of the WTC.  When United Airlines Flight 175 hit her building, she phoned Rudy to talk about what had happened and to tell him that they were waiting for the fire marshal to take them down to safety.  That was the last time he heard from her.

She is among the confirmed dead.

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As a surviving spouse of a 9-11 victim, Rudy was eligible to receive monetary compensation for her death.  He couldn’t decide whether or not to take the money, but eventually he did decide to take it.  And then he did something incredible with it.  He shared it with the world.

As a tribute to his late wife’s memory, Rudy created The Maria Rose Abad Village in a poverty-stricken area of the Philippines.  He used his part of the compensation to have 46 houses and a preschool built in Tondo, a suburb of Manila.  And today, thanks to his generosity of spirit, a few more people on this earth have a better quality of life.

He is among the confirmed angels on earth.

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[Added 09.13.11 -Yesterday while reading some blogs I found the current link to Project 2996.  Click here to be connected to it.]

Red, Wet & Blue

Our Fourth of July weekend was rainy, damp, humid.  No picnic in the park.  No day at the zoo.  No baseball game with fireworks afterward.  Instead, we had a weekend that only a mold spore could love.

Not. Too. Exciting.

So having nothing festive and fun to do, Zen-Den and I decided to be very grown-up and act like serious homeowners.  First, we super scrubbed the kitchen— oven, cabinet doors, pantry, freezer, granite counter tops.  Granted the kitchen wasn’t particularly dirty to begin with, but I have to admit that it’s amazing how shiny it looks now.  Clean and inviting.  Quite the happy space.

Then Z-D painted the sitting room— aka the un-bedroom.  After much debate about what color to put on the walls, we chose a very pale shade of gray that reads slightly blue.  Combined with the room’s white trim, this shade of gray creates a relaxing and easy space.  Rather like being inside a cloud.  Airy.  Filled with possibility.

And that, kids, was our weekend.  Not the traditional sort of Fourth of July celebration that we all know and love– but a practical use of our time.  Which, God willing the creek don’t rise, means that next weekend we can have some fun.

Let’s hope, shall we?

Visiting The Oldsters

Over Father’s Day weekend we went to visit my in-laws, aka the Oldsters.  They live a good four-hour drive from us and are 80 years old, more [FIL] or less [MIL].  This weekend reminded me of many things that I’d long forgotten about.

•  We drove in Z-D’s SUV which is eleven years old.  It has no place for an iPod, with a broken CD player, and a radio that works when we’re near signals, but not in the empty spaces we were driving through this weekend.  We turned off our cell phones and sat together in silence only broken by our conversation.  It was wonderful to be totally detached from noise.

  I didn’t feel like reading– roads too bumpy, sunshine too intermittent thanks to lots of trees blocking it.  So I looked out the window to see what I could see.  It’s been a very long time since I just watched the world go by– cows, barns, farms, and exits with fast food establishments and gas stations.  It was relaxing to be out of the city and just existing as we drove along. 

•  The Oldsters were happy to see us.  We had lunch at their house [chicken salad sammies, natch] then went shopping for a wedding present that we were buying together.  BB&B fascinated them with all its stuff– and the price tag of said stuff.  It was fun to watch them be amazed by the beautiful things that the world has to offer now.

•  We left the house at 3:30 pm so that we might get to dinner at 4:00 pm!  This was to ensure that we’d be back home and safely within the house before 6:00 pm when FIL’s fav tv shows are on.  The small restaurant we went to had delicious, old-fashioned style food– ham loaf, smothered chicken, basic cole slaw.  It also had the smallest wine & beer list I’ve seen in years, so Z-D and I had a glass of the only Cabernet Sauvignon on the menu– which was delicious.  It was fascinating to be somewhere with so few choices and such good quality.

•  We got back to the house in time to watch Sanford & Son and All In The Family.  I hadn’t seen either of those shows in– well, decades.  And while the former is very dated and tedious, most of the humor in the latter has held the test of time.  It was entertaining [and a bit sad] to see FIL laugh with Archie about the way things should be. 

•  We left mid-morning on Sunday.  The Oldsters had turned on the Weather Channel at 7:00 am to check what might be in store for us on the drive home.  Once they saw that there were thunderstorms on the way, they became agitated about us getting on the road ahead of the rain.  In their world, driving in the rain is very bad and risky.  Z-D pointed out that we have a SUV with 4 wheel drive, but they were having none of that nonsense!  So we packed up and hit the road.  It was interesting for us who live entirely apart from any family to experience a bit of “parenting.”

•  Driving home in silence, just watching the road go by, I saw a sign for a small town called “Belleville.”  I know nothing about this particular town, but in a snap my empty mind filled with the images of and the theme song from a delightful movie called: “The Triplets of Belleville.”  It was a pleasant, but unexpected, ending to a visit that went quite well– and brought back to me memories of times gone by.  

[for your entertainment…]

Hello Summer

::  We had a fun holiday weekend with three days of sunshine in a row.  This is something that hasn’t happened around here in six months.  ‘Twas wonderful.

::  We went to a high school graduation party that was held at a cabin on a family farm.  To get to the party we drove out-of-town into the countryside to a small road lined on both sides with cow pastures.  From there our directions told us to look for the balloons and turn right.  We did as instructed, driving on a rough path down the middle of a cow pasture, over a small hill, and arriving at a lovely party totally hidden from view when on the road.  It was nice to be outside in a relaxed atmosphere– watching kids play games, talking to other guests, drinking beer, having fun.

::  We decided to go to the cemetery to see the Vietnam Memorial Traveling Wall.  It was interesting and well-planned.  The scale of the wall is smaller than the original, but it still manages to re-create some of the original’s ambiance. If nothing else, this exhibit gives an inkling of how amazing the real wall is– and perhaps encourages those who have never visited Washington, D. C., to do so.

::  While at the cemetery we walked around for a while.  Wandering through the grassy areas we saw all sorts of unique tombstones and family markers.  One said, “integer vitae.”  Neither one of us knew what that meant so when we got home, I researched it.  This is a phrase from a stanza from an ode written by Horace.  “Integer vitae” is telling you to live a life of integrity so that you’ll be safe no matter where you go.  Good idea, huh?

::  To decorate for Memorial Day I put red-white-blue stars-&-stripey pinwheels in the flower pots by our front door.  And then I put two smallish flags in a flower-pot along the front walk.  EZPZ, but stylish and inviting.  However, except for one other family on our street who put out one big flag, no one else decorated for the holiday.  Don’t know what to make of that.  This neighborhood usually goes overboard for any and all holidays.

::  We finally had a cookout– our first of the season.  Burgers and veggies cooked on the grill.  Fresh berries on ice cream for dessert.  Served with delightfully cold white wine spritzers.  Simple and delicious.  Just the way summer is meant to be.