Friday, January 30, 2009

just bugs: the scope from the other end

Philosophies from both sides of the river can be quick to offer sensible stories around "events" such as this one. But when we view the river more like a lake, "sides" are more difficult to talk about. And when we understand such through the frame of "ocean," ... with shifting reefs, sandbars, and with beaches in constant change, ... the very complexity of life in *this place we call home* seems to evaporate into arguments that highlight differences in understanding.

The faithful believe in a story, ... as do the scientists, ... and we can all make sense of this video in ways to fortify such.

I sense, though, ... a middle ground: where faith and science shake hands.

We are only "as right," ... as correct or founded and grounded, ... as our perspectives allow for, and so it might be important to have as many of those "scopes" as humanly possible.

God is good, ... all the time, ... and good science is too.

In fact, ... some may call good science "Godly!"  

Noah's Ark: the science of the boat?

"Noah's Ark (Hebrew: תיבת נח, Tevat Noach; Arabic: سفينة نوح, Safina Nuh) is a large vessel featuring in the mythologies of Abrahamic religions. Narratives including the Ark are also found in the Hebrew Bible (Book of Genesis chapters 6 through 9) and the Qur'an (Suras 11 and 71).

The Genesis narrative tells how God, grieved by the wickedness of mankind,[1] decides to destroy the corrupted world. However, "Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD", so God instructs Noah to build the Ark and take on board his family and representatives of the animals and birds. The flood rises to cover the Earth, but at its height "God remembered Noah", the waters abate, and dry land appears. The story ends with Noah offering an animal sacrifice and entering into a covenant with God. God regrets the flood, and promises never to do it again, displaying a rainbow as a guarantee.

The story has been subject to extensive elaborations in Judaism, Christianity and Islam, ranging from hypothetical solutions to practical problems (e.g. waste disposal and the problem of lighting the interior), through to theological interpretations (e.g. the Ark as the precursor of the Church in offering salvation to mankind).  By the 19th century, the discoveries of geologists, archaeologists and biblical scholars had led most scientists and many Christians to abandon a literal interpretation of the Ark story, but Biblical literalists today continue to take the Ark as test-case for their understanding of the Bible, and explore the region of the mountains of Ararat, where Genesis says Noah's Ark came to rest." per Wiki

How does science make sense of the story, and how do the faithful make sense of the science?

Thursday, January 29, 2009

mourning for the Fries Family

"Florence Fries passed away [last] evening at the age of 85 years old at 11:26 pm peacefully. Florence battled Kidney Disease and many other health issues for 3 years, she was a very strong woman."

We are so sorry for your loss.  I just wanted to let you know that we love you guys, and we're always here for you.  

Flo will be missed.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

did an intelligent designer create Darwin?


Charles Robert Darwin was born on February 12, 1809. This means his birthday is approaching. His carcass, wherever it is, will be 200 years old. As for the age of his soul, ... who knows?

There are significant debates over the theories of Intelligent Design (God) and Evolution.  And while some major institutions of higher education are celebrating Darwinism(s) as I write this, *the question* looms: 

How do Christians make sense of evolution?

Thursday, January 22, 2009

like your gig?


Published on Monday March 12th , 2007, by Eric Hebert

How many of us out there hate that one sound that signals your day is about to start. That sound that reminds us that we have to head off to the same boring job we've wanted to quit so badly. When you hear this dreaded alarm sound do you ever thing about going to a different job? Not necessarily one that makes you a huge amount of money or provides you with fame and glory, but a job that you never thought anyone could have? With the rising popularity of shows like Dirty Jobs on the Discovery Channel, we are starting to open our eyes the gamut of possibilities when it comes to employment. However we shouldn't just focus on dirty jobs, but focus our attention on jobs that are just plain weird!

There are a huge number of people out there who do jobs that we cannot even comprehend. Jobs that don't seem like they should exist, but they do. We've all wondered about what weird jobs are out there, but now you can find out exactly what some people actually make a living at and just how weird occupations can get. The following jobs are in no particular order and not listed in terms of weirdness; that decision will be left up to you.

1. Odor Tester

This one is pretty odd, but some chemist has to make sure that all of those deodorants and anti-perspirants are operating properly to keep their users free of funk

2. Hair Boiler

This lucky soul gets to boil various kinds of animal hair until it curls for later use. We know that burning hair smells terrible; try to imagine catching the aroma of hair boil soup all day, no thanks.

3. Waste Station/Water Treatment Worker

Maybe more dirty than weird, but anytime someone has to deal with other peoples crap (literally) I think you can classify it as a weird job. Let us just take a minute to think about the things that go down our toilets and have a moment of silence for these brave men and women.

4. Citrus Fruit Dyer

Have you ever passed by the lemons at the supermarket and though to yourself, damn that's some good looking citrus! Well it might be because there commercial farmers out there who dye the fruit a more vibrant color to hide the ripeness of the fruit.

5. Crocodile Wrangler

Many of us are privy to this unusual occupation due to the late, great Steve Irwin, but no matter how accustomed we become to handling animals it will always be a little out there. A nice mix of danger and excitement for what many would consider low pay.

6. Fortune Cookie Writer

Yes, we've all wondered who the heck writes those fortunes in English! Finishing a take-out Chinese meal isn't only full of MSG, but those delightfully witty pieces of advice that people are so quick to heed.

7. Pet Detective

Another one we might have missed if it weren't for a film or television show. Ace Ventura, pet detective, displayed just how important this job is, especially when Dan Marino is in trouble! Personally I would've gone with a missing ad in the paper, but these folks are sure to find that furry member of the family.

8. Cheese Sprayer

Don't worry; I am not talking about someone spraying chemicals on your cheese. This person is actually in charge of spraying either cheese or butter on popcorn. Yet another job that most people might have guessed was done by a machine, but how else would you engineer that perfect, hand crafted cheese coating on every kernel?

9. IMAX Screen Cleaner

If you've ever seen an IMAX screen, these things are huge! But someone has to make sure that bad boy is crystal clear so we can travel through the Grand Canyon or explore the human body via a gigantic screen in a circular room.

10. Chimney Sweeper

Here is another job which could be more on the dirty side. The unfortunate person partaking in this age old profession is sure to be covered in soot and ash by the end of the day. It a fact that around the turn of the twentieth century people use to use young children to chimney sweep because they were small enough to fit inside the tiny chimneys some structures used. Even poets like Blake and Kingsley have written about this one. I'm pretty sure (I hope) technology has brought this one up to date.

11. Light Bender

Making neon lights seems like it would be a relatively easy job, but it requires a lot of precision and electrical work. Apparently if the lights don't have the proper thickness and shaping, they will amount to nothing more than broken glass. This job has to be quite lucrative in a town like Las Vegas.

12. Odd Job Journalist

This writer gets actually paid money to write articles about other weird and odd jobs that exist. Maybe someday he'll find a real job of his own. Hey, wait a minute...

13. Professional Whistler

Believe it or not this man whistles tunes and does it for a living. Allegedly this gentleman is well versed in several different genres of music.

14. Fountain Pen Repairer

Honestly, I think most of us would have to be fairly wealthy and care a hell of a lot about our fountain pens to have them repaired rather than go buy another pen.

15. Snake Milker

If you ever get bitten by a poisonous snake you'll be grateful these people know how to work with animals. They are responsible for getting the venom out of snakes to make the anti-venom. Be honest, which one of you thought that snakes had actual milk glands?

16. Wrinkle Chasers

Nobody likes that crease that shoes get after about a month right below the toe line. Well wrinkle chasers make sure those leather crow's feet never appear on those shiny new shoes before they leave the factory. Now can we please find someone to invent something that keeps it that way?

17. Rodeo Clowns

I know that I've always been fascinated with those Spaniards in Pamplona who risk their lives in the running of the bulls, but rodeo clowns do it for a living. You have to give them some respect though. Their theatrics not only takes guts, but you have to be fairly secure in your masculinity to do this covered in makeup.

18. Cow Hoof Trimmer

Just like horseshoes, cows need some hoof maintenance too. These fine animals can have poor milk production, lameness, and decreased fertility if not properly groomed. Try to imagine giving a cow a pedicure.

19. Chicken Sexer

Going through baby chicks and separating them according to sex. I hear this job is pretty easy, if you just play bad 80's music and set things up like a 5th grade dance, they separate themselves.

20. Ostrich Babysitter

Apparently this guy gets to sit in a field full of ostrich and make sure that they didn't peck each other to death or get stolen. Any job where you can sit down, read a book and do absolutely no work is always a plus, but I have heard that these birds' behavior can get a little aggressive.

21. Furniture Tester

Ever been sitting in your favorite chair or sofa and say to yourself, man I wish I could do this for a living. Well some really lucky human being actually tests out furniture for companies like La-Z-Boy. A new definition of the phrase "couch potato."

22. Cartoon People/Mascots

Remember when you went to Disneyworld for the first time when you were eight? You got to meet Mickey Mouse and Goofey! Well we all now know that those are real people in there and are aware of it, this is still a pretty weird job.

23. Oyster Floater

They float oysters on a barge in running water until they are completely free of impurities, also a short term storage method. Sounds like a cranberry field full of oysters and I can imagine this isn't the cleanest job in the world. But if you enjoy the taste of these slimy shellfish, I'm sure you can sneak a lot in during your shift.

24. Neck Skewer

Basically this job involves skewing the neck of beef halves with a steel rod after the head of the cow has been removed. 500 pound raw beef shish kabob anyone?

25. Adult Store Attendant

One of the more harder-to-stomach professions, unless you're a pervert. Sooner or later we have to get into some nasty jobs. In this case the adult store worker not only takes care of the store, but has to clean up the booths where clientele "test" the pornographic merchandise. Probably a good candidate for The Discovery Channel's popular program, and one heck of a way to apply that human services degree.

26. Braille Translator

Someone has to modify all sorts of texts and convert them to Braille for the blind. This can include novels, music, textbooks, and brochures. There is nothing wrong with making things more accessible for the blind and this one sounds like it's a quite useful job, but it does sound tedious.

27. Ski Slope Illustrator

Fortune Magazine has also done some investigating and sure enough there is someone out there who has to draw those trail maps on the ski slopes around the world. Fortune has also mentioned our next weird job...

28. Dog Food Tester

Watch out guys, this gal is going to have some great breath in store for you. Just like any other meals, dog food needs to be inspected too. I suppose they can't use dogs to test the food so this profession requires a taste testing of such a delicious cuisine.

29. Gum Buster

Have you ever sat in a park bench and had the misfortune of placing your hand in old gum? Well that's where these guys come in, removing gum that resides all over the place.

30. Fantasy Broker

If you want your dreams to come true then talk to these folks. Their job is to make sure that if you want something, you get it. Kind of like a concierge of life. If I were in the business of making fantasies come to life, I think I'd charge quite a large amount.

31. Golf Ball Diver

I know every time I hit the range, about three balls head into the water and I suspect it's the same way for most. These quasi-scubas get in there and find all those balls and probably clean them up for resale. If you want to scuba dive in the Mediterranean for living, this might be as close as you get.
32. Whiskey Ambassador

Let's face it, this is every over 21 year old's dream job. You would be responsible for choosing only the finest whiskeys and teaching your clients the proper way to taste and admire the different attributes which this delicious liquor can possess. Sign me up!

33. Nasty Stunt Producer

Perhaps you've tuned in to shows like Fear Factor which use insane stunts involving all sorts of insect and animal parts intended on grossing the contestants out. Well this profession's job is to research these insects and animals and make sure the stunts are safe and appropriate for the shows. Huge cockroach, bon appetit.

34. Forest Fire Lookout

If you happen to be an extreme hermit who has very little time to do important things, there might be a national park out there that will pay you (a very low wage) to sit in a tower and make sure none of those pesky landscape altering fires occur.

35. Weed Farmer

Don't get too excited all you slackers, that's not what I'm talking about. Weed farmers actually grow weeds rather than trying to get rid of them. They sell them to horticulture schools and labs so various people can do research and studies in the wonderful world of weeds.

36. Carney

Some people make their living as a full time carney. The pay is decent, the scenery changes, and you get take advantage of young people by enticing them with stuffed animals in games that are impossible to win.

37. Dice Inspector

With one false move of a single die a person can lose quite a bit of money on those craps tables. The dice inspector checks for proportionality, specific angles, and blemishes. I guess if dice are not perfect they can't be the reason for you going broke in the casino.

Definitely some of the weirdest jobs that people actually make a living doing. Some jobs are dirty, some boring, and some just plain weird, but taking a look at an array of these wacky professions can make most of us respect the normal jobs most of us have. No matter how rough the day gets, taking time to inform ourselves on just how awkward jobs can be. The next time you wake to that dreaded alarm, remind yourself that you don't have to work at a job like one of these jobs, and then go ahead and breathe a sigh of relief. But the next time you find yourself unemployed, watch out for some of these jobs; maybe you'll fall in love with trimming cow hoofs or scuba diving for golf balls.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

hope and change: the genie in the bottle

As history is being made today, I sit wondering about the powerful message reverberating around the internet, "Hope and Change."

Well, my hope is that the change will be real, meaningful, and positive for the next four to eight years.  In fact, if I were to come up with a hope and change wish list, a rubbing of the genie's bottle for three wishes, I would want:

1. America to come up with an answer to the environmental energy crisis, acting to ween people from the need for foreign oil and fossil fuels

2. America to become the global leader on health and wellness issues, including finding a cure for cancer.

3. America to become the global leader in education, preparing young people to confront the pressing issues facing us today and tomorrow.

What are your three wishes for the era of hope and change?  (remember, one of your wishes cannot be more wishes.)


Friday, January 16, 2009

do hardships float?

Homeless Man Overcomes Streets And Becomes International Author

Bruce Goldwell was homeless for over 5 years but now has become an international author and has a movie deal in the works

PRLog (Press Release) – Aug 10, 2008 – He was once homeless for over 5 years but now is an international author and soon to have a movie produced based on his fantasy adventure series. While he was living on the streets he wrote his books and became a published author. His story is nothing short of amazing. Bruce believes that if he can overcome even the worst of situations to become a successful author and entrepreneur that others can do the same if not better.

Not only has he published 8 books as well as in the process of developing a movie based on his Dragon Keepers series, Bruce is also an advisor for several companies that are well on their way to becoming multi-million dollar enterprises. Two companies he advises: Chinyere International ( a modeling/acting agency and RezCom Inc ( the marketing representative for a new line of speakers both companies based in Salt Lake City, Utah. He also coaches other companies that are in their initial startup phase.

Though Bruce is well on his way to being an international celebrity and helping businesses connect in million dollar deals, he still maintains a modest and very quiet disposition. Whenever he shares his story of homelessness and now his success as a business coach and advisor as well as being an international author, he likes to make a notation about it all with his favorite quote, "Not bad for a homeless guy huh?"

What do others have to say about him?

Muriel Glasgow retired United Nations worker (35 years) said, "Bruce has a treasure trove of ideas which he shares generously. He donates his time unstintingly to helping others realize their dreams. He and I have worked closely on the Excellence in Education Awards of the Worthy Nation Foundation. These words of George Lucas, Film Producer, can epitomize Bruce's life: 'You have to find something that you love enough to be able to take risks, jump over the hurdles and break through the brick walls that are always going to be placed in front of you. If you don't have that kind of feeling for what it is you are doing, you'll stop at the first giant hurdle.' George Lucas, Film Producer. Bruce has not yet found the hurdle giant enough to stop him."

Ted Ciuba, author of The New Think and Grow Rich states, "In my profession, desire and dedication rise to the top. And I've seen Bruce Goldwell, with desire, dedication, talent, courage and persistence rising up from being HOMELESS to where he now helps successful business entrepreneurs make multi-million dollar deals! He is on to something, and I recommend you find out what that is!"

During his time living on the streets in Los Angeles, Bruce learned what it takes to survive on the streets. There were days a great disappointment where just to get enough money to eat he held up a sign saying, "homeless Vietnam veteran - please help!" Because of this he has a passion to help others so that they never have to end up on the streets.

Having overcome his plight, Bruce wrote books about how you can change your life by changing the way you think. "You don't know what you don't know", he states. "And what you don't know can be the very thing that sinks your ship."

Bruce has a big concern about all the baby boomers that are about to retire. He believes that a lot of people are not going to end up with what they think they are going to.

Literally millions of baby boomers will not be adequately prepared for retirement. Government statistics still show that as many as 92% and more that retire still need another source of income to maintain keeping their heads above water. Less then 5% of those that retire have enough funds to have a lifestyle that does not require a secondary income. Bruce Goldwell wants to change that as he is creating an alliance of coaches and mentors to help teach those that want to know how to build that nest egg over the next few years to do so. Imagine being able to depend on ones own retirement account and live well above the average lifestyle.

Doris Daetwyler is 83 years old and spent her whole life expecting social security to provide for her for retirement. She should have been able to retire over 15 years ago however she works as a cashier at Walmart in Florida.

There are tens of thousands of senior citizens who face the same challenge daily just like just as her. "If I can help just 10% of ONE MILLION of those millions of people that have not yet created an adequate nest egg to retire on, that will be 100,000 people that I will have helped not only retire with substantial savings to do so but for many of them they will be able to retire early", states Goldwell. "You don't know what you don't know and in Doris's case, she didn't know that social security was not going to be able to help her stop working."

Bruce believes that his best way of helping others to improve their current lifestyle as well as prepare for the future is to share his knowledge, experience and wisdom through books. In his ‘Mastery of Abundant Living” series, he teaches how to create the mindset needed to attract success. This series has already begun to be released in countries outside the United States and is available in other languages. Soon after the release of the first Mastery book in Brazil over 1,000 copies were sold.

Goldwell is not concerned with the number of books sold as much as he is the number of people he is able to help. When he received his first review from one of his readers telling him how much he had changed their life, he felt like he had already been successful. But not with more people sharing their stories of success and life changes from reading his books he is realizing that he will touch ten of thousands of lives. For any of us that would be a great feeling.

We believe like Ted that Bruce is on to something here. Many people are grateful that he did not give up while living on the streets and that he made the decision to overcome his plight and work to change the world

Fact or Fiction?

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

you gotta big ego?

Humbled and Inspired by Roger Grein

My job is amazing.  I am fortunate to be able to meet incredible Cincinnatians.  

I just left a meeting with an amazing local guy, Roger Grein, who embodies what all of us should try to be.  Here's his story below.  Check out his website too:

Roger Grein, an Overview

Roger Grein made the trip from the St. Joseph Infant Home in the early spring of 1943. He was 6 months old and disabled. His adoptive parents, Frank and Thelma Grein, didn't know of the disability. Frank went away to war and Thelma, alone, learned of her son's permanent handicaps. He might not walk, the doctors said. He might not talk. And he might never know her.


Some encouraged Thelma to return the child. To take him back in exchange for another. But she didn't. She kept him and loved him and every day carried him about the town. "Heel-toe," she said to him, and she set him down and held him upright and together they walked along. "Heel-toe," she said, "heel-toe," and Roger thought out every step and after several years he learned to walk. And then to run. And then to ride a bike.

From Water Boy to Coach

In school, Roger went out for all the teams. He fell and tripped and never came close to earning a spot. But the coach, seeing the boy's effort, put his arm around him and asked if he might consider helping out for a while. Chalking the base lines. Collecting the towels. Fetching the water. Roger accepted, and for the next six years he served as team manager. He never did learn to swing a bat, but his Lockland years of "water boy" set the stage for something bigger: a 36-year coaching career that saw him leading softball teams to world championships and travels to Hawaii, Mexico, Sweden and the former Soviet Union.

Lowest of Expectations to Highest in Achievements

Roger was also never expected to excel mentally. Don't expect too much, the doctors said. And in his first years at school he did struggle. But by applying the same determination he had used to first walk - heel-toe, heel-toe - he slowly but doggedly mastered his studies. He graduated from high school and then, in just three years, from college as well.

Still his handicap, or the perception of it, trailed behind him. An old teacher landed him a bank job, but he was soon fired because he didn't fit in. And despite his degree, no one else would hire him. He cut grass for a living. He earned an MBA and cut grass. He was the MBA yardman.

But Roger didn't give up. He handed out business cards to his lawn customers. Let me do your tax returns, he said. A few dowagers accepted his offer, and then a few more. And his teachers began dropping by. And his old coach. And eventually the employees of the nearby plants. Within five years Roger had a staff and was preparing over 1,800 returns. He was asked to serve as tax commissioner. And then as mayor.

Making an Extraordinary Difference in the Lives of Others

Roger Grein today is a successful businessman, philanthropist and speaker. He is a testimony to what faith and persistence can do, but just as importantly, he is the proof of how a few people can lift a life from the lowest of expectations to the highest in achievement. His angels, he calls them. The ones who extended a loving hand when easily they could have turned away. His adoptive mother. His coach. His teachers. Those first customers who reached out to him.

And that is what Roger Grein talks about. About persistence, yes. And faith in one's self. But mostly he talks about angels and how all of us can, if we consider carefully and act lovingly, make an extraordinary difference in the lives of others.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

The Glass Castle: A Memoir by Jeannette Walls

I've just read an incredible book. It's so good, in fact, that I am posting an excerpt here. If you are looking for the rare commodity of a meaningful yet fun read, this is it.  If you buy it used, it will be the best 7 bucks you'll spend in 2009.
Chapter 1: A Woman on the Street

I was sitting in a taxi, wondering if I had overdressed for the evening, when I looked out the window and saw Mom rooting through a Dumpster. It was just after dark. A blustery March wind whipped the steam coming out of the manholes, and people hurried along the sidewalks with their collars turned up. I was stuck in traffic two blocks from the party where I was heading.

Mom stood fifteen feet away. She had tied rags around her shoulders to keep out the spring chill and was picking through the trash while her dog, a black-and-white terrier mix, played at her feet. Mom's gestures were all familiar -- the way she tilted her head and thrust out her lower lip when studying items of potential value that she'd hoisted out of the Dumpster, the way her eyes widened with childish glee when she found something she liked. Her long hair was streaked with gray, tangled and matted, and her eyes had sunk deep into their sockets, but still she reminded me of the mom she'd been when I was a kid, swan-diving off cliffs and painting in the desert and reading Shakespeare aloud. Her cheekbones were still high and strong, but the skin was parched and ruddy from all those winters and summers exposed to the elements. To the people walking by, she probably looked like any of the thousands of homeless people in New York City.

It had been months since I laid eyes on Mom, and when she looked up, I was overcome with panic that she'd see me and call out my name, and that someone on the way to the same party would spot us together and Mom would introduce herself and my secret would be out.

I slid down in the seat and asked the driver to turn around and take me home to Park Avenue.

The taxi pulled up in front of my building, the doorman held the door for me, and the elevator man took me up to my floor. My husband was working late, as he did most nights, and the apartment was silent except for the click of my heels on the polished wood floor. I was still rattled from seeing Mom, the unexpectedness of coming across her, the sight of her rooting happily through the Dumpster. I put some Vivaldi on, hoping the music would settle me down.

I looked around the room. There were the turn-of-the-century bronze-and-silver vases and the old books with worn leather spines that I'd collected at flea markets. There were the Georgian maps I'd had framed, the Persian rugs, and the overstuffed leather armchair I liked to sink into at the end of the day. I'd tried to make a home for myself here, tried to turn the apartment into the sort of place where the person I wanted to be would live. But I could never enjoy the room without worrying about Mom and Dad huddled on a sidewalk grate somewhere. I fretted about them, but I was embarrassed by them, too, and ashamed of myself for wearing pearls and living on Park Avenue while my parents were busy keeping warm and finding something to eat.

What could I do? I'd tried to help them countless times, but Dad would insist they didn't need anything, and Mom would ask for something silly, like a perfume atomizer or a membership in a health club. They said that they were living the way they wanted to.

After ducking down in the taxi so Mom wouldn't see me, I hated myself -- hated my antiques, my clothes, and my apartment. I had to do something, so I called a friend of Mom's and left a message. It was our system of staying in touch. It always took Mom a few days to get back to me, but when I heard from her, she sounded, as always, cheerful and casual, as though we'd had lunch the day before. I told her I wanted to see her and suggested she drop by the apartment, but she wanted to go to a restaurant. She loved eating out, so we agreed to meet for lunch at her favorite Chinese restaurant.

Mom was sitting at a booth, studying the menu, when I arrived. She'd made an effort to fix herself up. She wore a bulky gray sweater with only a few light stains, and black leather men's shoes. She'd washed her face, but her neck and temples were still dark with grime.

She waved enthusiastically when she saw me. "It's my baby girl!" she called out. I kissed her cheek. Mom had dumped all the plastic packets of soy sauce and duck sauce and hot-and-spicy mustard from the table into her purse. Now she emptied a wooden bowl of dried noodles into it as well. "A little snack for later on," she explained.

We ordered. Mom chose the Seafood Delight. "You know how I love my seafood," she said.

She started talking about Picasso. She'd seen a retrospective of his work and decided he was hugely overrated. All the cubist stuff was gimmicky, as far as she was concerned. He hadn't really done anything worthwhile after his Rose Period.

"I'm worried about you," I said. "Tell me what I can do to help."

Her smile faded. "What makes you think I need your help?"

"I'm not rich," I said. "But I have some money. Tell me what it is you need."

She thought for a moment. "I could use an electrolysis treatment."

"Be serious."

"I am serious. If a woman looks good, she feels good."

"Come on, Mom." I felt my shoulders tightening up, the way they invariably did during these conversations. "I'm talking about something that could help you change your life, make it better."

"You want to help me change my life?" Mom asked. "I'm fine. You're the one who needs help. Your values are all confused."

"Mom, I saw you picking through trash in the East Village a few days ago."

"Well, people in this country are too wasteful. It's my way of recycling." She took a bite of her Seafood Delight. "Why didn't you say hello?"

"I was too ashamed, Mom. I hid."

Mom pointed her chopsticks at me. "You see?" she said. "Right there. That's exactly what I'm saying. You're way too easily embarrassed. Your father and I are who we are. Accept it."

"And what am I supposed to tell people about my parents?"

"Just tell the truth," Mom said. "That's simple enough."
From chapter 1 of The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls, pages 3-5. Copyright © 2005 by Jeannette Walls. All rights reserved. No part of this book maybe reproduced without written permission from the publisher.

The Matrix rises?

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

a belated thank you

When leaving for Florida on Christmas morning, I posted a fairly long piece about going to see my mother who is suffering from a disease called Myelofibrosis, which is a myeloproliferative disorder that some of the literature has linked to Leukemia.

By the time we arrived in Florida, approximately 17 hours later, I had several very moving, inspirational, and supportive responses from many people on this blog.  

One of the posts encouraged me to share my blog with my mother, which I did, and I am happy to report that it brought tears to both my father's and mother's eyes to see such nice comments and well-wishes written by strangers.  This post is to say thank you.  I can't express how grateful I am to have such thoughtful people writing in.

And one other thing happened.  Out of the blue, a lady named Pat contacted me through the blog (you can see her comment under the blog post "Mom's Christmas").  She indicated that she has been fighting MF (Myelofibrosis) for twelve years and she lives in Florida.  She asked that I contact her privately.  Well, I was skeptical, so I sent her an email through a created google email account devoid of personal information.  She responded, left me her phone number, and I called.

It turns out that this kind lady found my blog while googling writings about MF.  It also turns out that she helped pioneer a website and support network that has now grown to over 2,700 people from over 30 countries.  Seriously, what are the flipping odds!?!

Talking to Pat was a blessing.  Because MF is so rare, very few doctors know how to treat it. Rather most doctors do what's called "watch and wait," which means what it says.  Well, Pat gave us hope by ensuring us that there are doctors, other experts in the field, as well as other people and families, who are all dealing with aggressively treating this disease.  She indicated that there are experimental treatments and new medications. As you can imagine, this is great news.  It gave us some hope back.  I am placing a link to this website on my blog here in hopes that some may visit it.

You never know how your small acts of kindness and thoughtfulness can so dramatically impact someone's life.  My mother seeing that she is not alone in her journey was a priceless Christmas gift for her and us.

So, again, ... THANK YOU!!  Thanks for taking a moment to write in.

A quick update: Mom is still in the rehabilitation nursing home waiting for her back surgery to heal.  She was hoping to be released yesterday, but she will not going home for at least one more week.  This was a let-down for her and us, but I know we have people pulling for us, which makes the let-down a little less down.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

a chance

When first hearing these two young men, ... it is easy to not give them one. You may sense, though, that by listening to what they say, maybe more than once... a particular piece of something, ... that fits your puzzle in some way, ... is enough of a find to gamble on.