Friday, June 11, 2010
I am not going to tell you a sob story, just the truth. When my dad died, when I was 13, my mother, a housewife, did not drive nor did she speak any English. After our dad died, my brother and I really struggled for many reasons, but mainly, coping with the death of our beloved father was extremely difficult. Our father was a lovely man, who dearly loved his children. Both my brother and I were in our early teens when our dad died, so it took a very long time for us to accept our father's passing. Neither one of us were ready to let go of our father. Struggle also came in the care and emotional support of our mother. She was devastated, lonely and so lost, and seeing my mother's sadness was sometimes too much to bear.
Within months of my dad dying, my mother took at job at a battery factory, which made batteries for the military or commercial use only. Her job was to clean batteries with an acid solution. By the time I was 15, my mom became disabled with lung problems due to her inhaling the fumes from the solution day in and day out. So, now, my brother and I had no father and a sick mother; we were 16 and 15, respectively. Needless to say, my brother and I had to find jobs to support the family, since we could not survive on my mom's widow's pension, and in Florida in the mid-70s, disability was not an option. My brother took a job working as a busboy at a local Italian restaurant after school and on weekends, and I babysat and cleaned office buildings at night.
By the time I was 17, we decided to sell our small house, and move to California, where all of my mom's relatives lived. We got very little from the sale of the house, since my dad purchased it in 1971, and we sold it 1976. When we arrived in California, we had about $1,000 in our pockets. Thankfully, jobs in California were easy to find. My brother got a job the same week we arrived at a Ford dealer washing cars, and I became a "flag girl" at Universal Studios (I stopped the tourist trams when filming was taking place). The flag girl job was shortlived, because I decided to go back to school, since I had dropped out of HS in the 10th grade, and only had my GED,so I signed up at a business school to learn legal secretarial skills, and at 19, I had my first legal secretarial job. I thought I was the cat's meow! My brother also found a good job at a lab assistaning scientists in metalurgical applications. We were both styling! But true to a man's sometimes selfish behavior, once my brother found a girlfriend, he moved out and left my mother and me to make it on our own. His income now was being consumed with rent and supporting his unemployed girlfriend.
I struggled to make ends meet, but I did it. To make a long story short, because of my many obligations to my mother, work, then marriage and motherhood, I gave up my dream of ever going to college, at least, at that time. However, I got the college bug again when my daughter was 10, and I would take a class here and there at a local community college. I did this for 6 years, and just when I was close enough to complete enough units for an AA degree, in 2001 my mother had a stroke and my house caught fire, all in the same month of February. The house fire was devastating enough, since I lost one of my dogs, but struggling with my mom's stroke almost killed me. I completely dropped out of school. It took two years to fix the house, and it took my mom two years to get to a point where she was able to get back to a somewhat normal life. I started taking classes again at the community college, and also began the process to attend CSUN. Within weeks of receiving my acceptance letter from CSUN, my mother was diagnosed with cancer. From the beginning, the oncologist told me that the cancer was treatable, but that she would not be deemed cancer free until 5 years. Her cancer diagnosis devastated me. I was just beginning to start to breath again, when it seemed like the life was smothered out of me again. I, again, gave up the dream of going to college. My mom's health came first.
Today, I am happy to say that my mom's 5-year cancer anniversary was early his year, and my family celebrated big time. I also went back to school to finish the last 3 units I needed for an AA degree. Yesterday, I received a letter from my college informing me that I had completed all requirements to receive my AA. As of today, I am proud to say that this 50-year old is finally a college graduate, and with honors! I now have an AA in Social and Behavioral Sciences. Yipee! I am so happy!! It has been a long road, and a lot of heartbreak and struggle, but I finally did it. Now, I am looking into Bachelor's programs. This time, nothing is going to stop me. Wish me luck! :)
Sunday, May 16, 2010
Our country is going to hell in a hand basket. Honor an event that led to the killing of millions of people; but don't donor a nun that was a symbol of goodness and love. Good going New York and Fuck You!http://www.nypost.com/p/news/opinion/editorials/dissing_mother_teresa_lyJW6KgnRHAWBNhtU8pfDM?sms_ss=facebook
Had an amazing time last night with the Astronomy Club at the Mt. Wilson Observatory for a viewing of the night sky with the amazing 60-inch telescope. Saw amazing astronomical objects, like Saturn (which blew all of our minds), the Twin Stars, Mars, M51 (the Whirlpool galaxy), and at 9:38 p.m., we went outside to see... the International Space Station track across the sky. It was truly a magical night. :) For those interested in someday looking through this amazing telescope, go to: http://www.mtwilson.edu/60-inch/60inBroc
Tuesday, May 4, 2010
If a conservative doesn't like guns, he doesn't buy one.
If a liberal doesn't like guns, he wants all guns outlawed.
If a conservative is a vegetarian, he doesn't eat meat. If a liberal is a vegetarian, he wants all meat products banned for everyone.
If a conservative is homosexual, he quietly leads his life.If a liberal is
homosexual, he demands legislated respect.
If a conservative is down and out, he thinks about how to better his situation. A liberal wonders who is going to take care of him.
If a conservative doesn't like a talk show host, he switches channels. Liberals demand that those they don't like be shut down.
If a conservative is a non-believer, he doesn't go to church. A liberal non-believer wants any mention of God and religion silenced. (Unless it's a foreign religion, of course!).
If a conservative decides he needs health care, he goes about shopping for it, or may choose a job that provides it. A liberal demands that the rest of us pay for his.
If a conservative reads this, he'll forward it, so his friends can have a good laugh. A liberal will delete it because he's offended. The mirror is unflattering.
Monday, May 3, 2010
Thursday, April 1, 2010
Religion and Politics.
As I don’t belong to any organized religion, so follows with my politics. I am an independent thinker. Although I do agree that Republican politicians tend to seek the Christian-right vote, many of my Republican friends are quite secular, and many of my Liberal friends (mostly the Hispanics ones), are VERY religious. Go figure. Many Liberals believe that Prop 8 passed due to the conservatives. I totally disagree. The gay marriage issue is not an exclusive conservative/Republican issue. I will agree that Christian right conservatives may (emphasis on may) not want to accept same sex marriage; however, I do believe this is NOT a Democratic or Republican issue. It’s a personal issue. Many of my Republicans friends simply don’t care about gay marriage. It’s “to each its own.” Prop 8 passed by over 52% of the vote in California. In a state were over 60% of the voters elected Obama, then we must assume that not only conservatives or the religious right backed Prop 8. In fact, Democratic Hispanics and Blacks overwhelmingly supported this gay marriage band. I find this very hypocritical “let’s vote for Democrats for social issues (entitlements and freebies), but let’s vote like conservatives on family values issues.” Obama also is not an advocate of same-sex marriage, as he clearly stated that he believed a marriage to be between a man and a woman in one of his debates. No one seems to remember this.
The Patriot Act.
Regarding the Patriot Act, a sore issue for many Libs, Obama extended the Act with minor revisions for one additional year, when it was due to expire earlier this year. It was easy for Obama to criticize Bush's attempt to keep us safe, but now that he is charged with the same task of keeping Americans safe, he extends Act that he criticized during his campaign for President. This does not sit well with me. If protecting my family from radical Muslim terrorists or from anyone that means to harm them means wire taping my entire home, office and car, and sticking a surveillance camera on my butt, then so be it. Funny how no one seems to complain about supermarket stores tracking everything we buy with those "value cards," or Google having live cameras everywhere (where even cheaters have been caught by spouses), or most of us posting or blogging our lives away on the Internet, but we take issue with an Act passed specifically to protect us from harm. I just don't get it. It's just all about hating Bush, not about the actual Act. Interesting how little coverage or opposition Obama extending the Patriot Act received. Not even a peep.
The Pledge of Allegiance/Prayer in Schools.
About prayers in the school…as a kid, I said the Pledge Allegiance and a small prayer each morning (mostly about God protecting our country and our families (you know, awful stuff), and it did not seem to hurt me one bit. Our country was founded on the Judeo-Christian faith, those who wish not to worship, have the freedom not to, but I find issue when someone tries to take that right from someone else. A child siting quietly at his desk for a few minutes, without participation, is not going to kill him/her. If the child can listen today's rap music, certainly a short prayer will not burn his or her ears. Look at what is going on with our youth today…beatings of other kids for no reason, disobedience in the schools, truancy, destruction, harassment of other kids, crime, sex, drugs, etc. Growing up as a kid in the 60s and 70s, where religion did play a role in our lives, was a good thing. It was easy being a kid when I was a kid. I am glad I am not a kid today, and that my daughter is 25, and beyond the craziness that is today’s youth. If this is what it means to oppose prayer in schools and pledge allegiance to our country, and stomp on family values; honestly, I want no part of it. Having faith should not be criticized so readily, my co-worker just spent his weekend in Mexico building houses for the needy through his church. People of faith and faith-based institution's positives far outweigh the negatives, if one can call them negatives. One should try to see the goodness first, before decrying what is perceived to be the constraints of faith.
The Sexual Revolution.
Another example of progress gone awry, is the sexual revolution, essentially the rebellion against puritanical thought, but look where it has led us...children in poverty and/or neglected due to women having children that they cannot afford, and raising them without a father. You obviously know about the statistics of single mothers on welfare, or how many in the prison population come from single mother households. I am not knocking single mothers. Many work very hard, and keep the family together, but this is just reality. The numbers are there for everyone to see.
Being Republican or a Democrat, or whatever, should not be a label that is affixed to anyone permanently. Peel back that label sometimes, and one may be pleasantly surprised.
Monday, March 22, 2010
Friday, March 19, 2010
Celebrities are a product of their agents, lawyers and their fame. We, the regular Joe Blows, are the ones that put the celebrities where they are, and the bigger the fame, the bigger the head. One of the reasons that I find celebrities to be huge hypocrites, is their pompous demands. Certainly, demands not dignified of people that always seem to be "bleeding" for the causes of the little people. In celebrities' contracts, we find clauses such as: travel (first class air/hotel/transportation); trailers must not be smaller than so many feet; only this water can be purchased; fresh flowers every day; no contact with extras unless necessary (in the original 90212, extras were not allowed to look at the show's stars unless they were working -- imagine that -- that is a liberal idea!); car and driver; an entourage of stylists: make-up, clothing, hair; clauses to keep the clothes provided on the show; family clauses; pet clauses; entertainment clauses, it just goes on and on. And then they turn around and criticize the middle-class Americans in the tea parties that what to keep a little bit more of their income to make ends meet, or perhaps fund a yearly vacation for the family or a fancy toy at Christmas for the children. I think celebrities only care for causes out of guilt.
When you see Jennifer Aniston in her bikini in some foreign fancy beach resort sunning herself, do you think she's thinking of the starving children in India? Hardly. Yes, celebrities do give a lot to charities, but they have to, they make a lot of money. Either Uncle Sam gets it, or charities. Charitable contributions are a huge deduction. And, please, when a celebrity tapes a spot for a charity, pompous demands go with that shoot, too!
Having said all of this, I will say that I am saddened by Sandra Bullock's breakup with Jesse James. Sandra is one of the nice ones in Hollywood--sincere, down to earth, sweet. She really believed in Jesse's love, and the family (his children), she was raising with him. Even in her acceptance speech during the recent Oscars win, she thanked her husband for "having her back." (Actually, he was having someone else's back, and probably pounding it pretty hard...I am just saying here.) Jesse is just trash, and what Sandra saw in him, I just don't know. I think women just like bad boys. We feel safe with them. It's programmed in our primitive brains from the cavemen days. Women take care of the cave, and men hunt and gather food, and wrestle dragons (so to speak).
In any event, it is not my business. This is something that Sandra and Jesse, and the children, have to work out in privacy, and I hope the paparazzi understands this, and the rest of us do too. Sandra is human. Having a few million in the bank is not going to make the pain, violation of trust or unhappiness, any easier. On the contrary, Sandra now has to deal with this horrible betrayal in public, and the loss of what was, her family. One day you have a family, the next, gone. I wouldn't want it, and you wouldn't want it. People tend to forget the seedier side of Hollywood break-ups. Yes, the fame and money must be fun, but I am not sure I would want the lack of privacy. Who would?
Sunday, March 14, 2010
The above is an actual post from a Judge in Texas. Please cut and paste the link, and read it. Many of the sections that the Judge has issues with are quite frightening, and a total violation of our Constitutional rights. And to make matters worse, and the unfairness of it all is, that the Health care bill will apply to all citizens (and non-citizens and illegals), but will DO not apply to the members of Congress, and you will understand why as you read the Judge's post. This bill is a travesty. Imagine our elderly parents, with curable cancers, that might be denied basic cancer treatments because of their age, but illegals to our country will benefit from this health care bill; the Gov. will have access to your bank accounts (and liberals were afraid of Bush's wire-tapping of terrorists...hah!); doctors will all be paid the same, regardless of specialty and all salaries will be set by the government (it's beginning to look more like Christm... errrr...Communism). It's your choice America. We can either live in a nanny state where the Gov. dictates our every move and takes care of us from cradle to grave, or we say backoff. I have the freedom to live the life I so chose, and the Gov. will stay out of my life, my health care decisions and my pocketbook. Americans, this is a decision of life or death, literally and figuretively.
Saturday, March 13, 2010
Friday, March 12, 2010
Friday, March 5, 2010
Friday, February 19, 2010
Missing you just runs too deep
Oh I can’t be thinking of your smile
Every kiss you can’t forget
This aching heart ain’t broken yet
Oh God I wish I could make you see
Cause I know this flame isn’t dying
So nothing can stop me from trying
Thursday, February 18, 2010
I met Carla while working at a law firm in the San Fernando Valley. I always thought she was a bit weird, but with a heart of gold. When I left the firm, I stayed in touch with Gloria and Dora, and we would often see each other. Carla I rarely saw, but we often communicated via e-mail or Facebook. In fact, just before her diagnosis, Carla was telling me she was looking forward to early retirement. She is now 55. I told her why not. She had inherited her dad's home. Her own home was almost paid for, she had a good union pension (her entire career as a legal assitant was spent at labor law firms which afforded her union membership with the Teamsters), basically that she was set for retirement. How sad. How very, very sad. :(
Gloria is not fairing that well either. She was diagnosed with MS a few years ago, and it's been making her very tired lately. Gloria is on her own, and has not re-married since her husband left her a single-mother many, many years ago. I don't know how she does it. My hat is off to this amazing lady.
Gloria also told me that our mutual friend Dora's 22 year old son is not doing that well either. Her son was recently diagnosed with a rare form of eye disease that required a corneal transplant. I just heard that the corneal transplant did not hold, and this young man right now has no vision. Ugh. My heart already went to Dora many years ago when I learned that her second born son was diagnosed with severe autism. Tony, her son with autism has no cognitive thoughts whatsoever, and does not even recognize his own mom. How does Dora do it...I just don't know. God bless my friends, Carla, Gloria and Dora. Many God give them strength and comfort during these difficult and frightening times in their lives. :(
Monday, February 15, 2010
You see, I am an immigrant from Cuba. When my parents left Cuban when I was 5, they left with nothing more than the clothes on their back. We left Havana and flew into Mexico in 1965; 3 months later, we moved to California. My father was educated in the University of Havana, but was a jeweler by profession, and he often traveled to the US for business; my mom was a housewife. My father's success is a story on its own, and I will touch upon it very little here.
My Dad was born in Havana in 1914, shortly after my grandparents left Spain during WWI, so my grandparents were immigrants to Cuba. Like all immigrants anywhere in the world to a new country, struggle is inevitable, and my father and his family struggled, which struggle eventually gave them a comfortable life in Cuba. Nothing in life is easy. Anyone that tells you otherwise, is lying. So when my family fled Castro's Cuba in 1965, my father knew it would be a struggle to begin a new life in a different country, especially with a different language. But he accepted the challenge because it would mean that his children would live in freedom, although he was already a man of 51. I am grateful to my father for that decision. Unfortunately, my father died eight years after arriving in the US, leaving behind my mother, my brother (14) and me (13). We were essentially left with nothing. The life insurance basically covered my father's burial. With the little that was left over, my mom bought my brother and me, each, a bike. My mom did not drive, so bikes were now our only mode of transportation, at least, until my brother turned 16.
After my father died, my mother obtained a job at a factory that produced battery products for the military. I believe the name of the company was Mallory, now Duracell, but by the time I was 15, my mom was diagnosed with debilitating lung problems due to cleaning acids she used to wipe down finished battery products. Support for the family now rested on the little income that my brother and I could make, and a little social security widow's retirement my mom received from my father's earlier work history. My brother and I did everything we could to make a dollar. My brother was a busboy. I babysat. There was no food stamp, to Medicaid, no welfare. It was struggle, stuggle, struggle. When I turned 16, we packed the little we could carry in my car, a rusty 1969 Buick Skylark, and my mom, brother, our black lab, Sharky, and I, with my brother's old orange VW Hatchback in tow, headed for California, where most of my mom's family had settled ealier. We had very little, but what we had was love, and an incredible desire to succeed, and live the American Dream.
To make a long, long story short, today both my brother and I are educated, we both have families and good jobs, and are homeowners (my brother owns a home in Arizona and California, and I own a home near Malibu, California). Thankfully, my mom, now 83, is still alive, and is very proud of her children's accomplishments. What I am trying to say here is that...it's ok to be poor, but it's not ok to resolve oneself to staying poor. Struggle never hurt anyone, and if two Hispanic immigrants can live the American Dream, then so can anyone else. Generations of welfare and poverty is not acceptable, and should never be acceptable. I don't believe in poverty begets poverty. One must seek opportunities. Opportunity normally does not come knocking at one's door on it's own. One must will it. So, yes, I know what it is like to be poor, but I also know what it like to have a burning desire to succeed. I made it. What's your excuse?