Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Internet Resources

We're putting together an internet reference list to have available at the internet hub at this weekend's POP event.

Know any sites that should be added?

I put together a couple of kids backpacks filled with school supplies - one for younger children with the Car's movie theme on pencils, the bag, folder, etc, the other is geared more for older children. I also have a family pack movie gift certificate set.

If anyone wants to donate anything else for this event to give away it's not too late!

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Carole King

For a long time now I've been wanting to pick up some Carole King music. I recently picked up The Ode Collection 1968 - 1976 Vol. 2. She is so talented. I love her simple way of putting the heart of life's emotions into song. I never realized she had authored so many of the songs we've all loved. If this Wikkipedia post is correct, she's given us quite a musical legacy which has helped to expand the careers of many musicians. I'm really liking Sweet Seasons; and I think my many friends who are mothers of young children will relate to this one where she partnered one of my favorite children's authors, Maurice Sendak Alligators All Around.

Health Fails

Health issues have kind of escalated for my mom and my sister in the last week. Please pray for them.

My mom has been in the hospital the last several days. They can't figure out what new thing is going on. She already has a rare form of MD and is in very poor general health. She had a mishap with her electric wheel chair about six weeks ago and broke some ribs. Earlier this week they couldn't wake her up for more than a few seconds at a time for about 3 days. This, combined with chest pains and difficulty breathing, got her in the hospital where they were checking her heart. After finding fluid and swelling around her heart they did tests which cleared the idea they she might have had a heart attack. Other test results indicate she's probably bleeding internally somewhere. They're keeping her in the hospital since they can't figure out what is going on.

My sister (the oldest one- not the one with lots of kids) has been having some fainting episodes which lead her to fall and break bones. She's broken her pelvis in at least two places and broken several ribs in addition to getting some nasty bumps and bruises. She's already on blood thinners for other reasons; so, she's bleeding a lot internally. Luckily for her when looking at the broken bones they found a couple of tumors. They are checking her heart to try to find what's causing the fainting. They're doing a bone scan to see whether the tumors are already part of the bones in her femur and hip. She's been off work for 3 weeks already and doesn't have a return date set. Although she recently moved in with my parents to care for them since my dad's health continues to decline, he has been caring for her and my mom.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

My kind of "POP" culture

I'm going to be attending an event called POP - People Overcoming Poverty 7/29/06. POP's goal is to "empower people to overcome poverty and move toward self-sufficiency through effective use of services." This is a kid-friendly family event is primarily targeting the working poor (but it also provides info for job training and job seeker assistance). There will be a host of info services relevant for families including Medi-Cal & Healthy Families Low Cost Health Coverage, Health Screenings, Affordable Housing, Credit Counseling, Migrant Worker Assistance, Emergency Food Assistance, ESL & Translation Services, Child Safety Car Seat Program, Education opportunities, after school programs, Christmas assistance and more.

I'll be talking more with the event coordinator tomorrow about finding some tangible ways to invite people to be involved; but I'm already trying to come up with some awesome ideas for a cool door prize donation. They'll be giving away bikes (cool thing for a kid from a lower income family, eh) etc.

It sounds like there's room for more volunteers (either individuals or organization related). I'll have more details after tomorrow. If you're interested in donating some time (before, during, or after the event) or money or stuff for the prizes for the 'overcoming people' let me know. I'm also looking for some cool ideas of what to get for door prize donations.

That's it for now.
More later on this.....

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Independence gone Ballistic

Celebrating freedom this year has taken a very different turn. What I'm about to share may sound unpatriotic - especially on the 4th of July. Nonetheless I can't seem to shake the ideas. We (the USA) sent a rocket into space today. Tonight the predominance of Americans will watch or launch some type of fire driven explosive device in the name of independence. Yet, we chastise the North Koreans for launching on a larger scale earlier today. Are these just today's pyrotechnics? Why are so many American's proud of our independence and simultaneously dismayed as North Korea expresses theirs?

I'm not trying to say that I endorse the missiles and potential atomic warfare that North Korea is engineering. Neither do I believe that America embodies some 'greater good' that is entitled to have such powers at its disposal. I mark today as another day of dissonance between words and deeds.

Last month I saw the media splash images of the dead 'enemy' American troops had bombed and killed - the dead face of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi still comes comes to mind. I remember being outraged that the morning news culture and many of its viewers had grown callous enough to show/view the image of this man's dead face (I saw it on ABC) again and again without anything other than celebration as if to say, "We killed their leader. Nanny nanny foo foo." Sure the guy above lead others in unspeakable and atrocious things; but, I don't want to celebrate his murder.

Although I'm not endorsing the behaviors of al Qaeda or the North Koreans, I am dismayed at the Independence Day rhetoric that rejoices in death and engages mild hysteria in the face of other cultures attempting to express their own independence. I can't help thinking that the North Korean missile launch today carries the weight of a question far greater than the media's implied message of, "Do you think they're going to bomb us?" (Which by the way, is probably the very question on the minds of many in the middle east these days in reference to the US.)

Today as patriotic swags flap in the breeze and the air waves fill with anthems and lingo endorsing our life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness I find myself asking, "At what cost?" Are Americans the only ones who get to choose what liberty or happiness look like for ourselves and others? I think many a wise person has argued historically that liberty gained at the expense of others is not really freedom. America is starting to come off more like a self-appointed world dictator than a global champion for democracy.

Despite my pride in the many young American's risking their safety in the name of preserving freedom (including my nephew-in-law currently deployed in Iraq) today's headlines help to confirm that the old message of 'Safe & Sane' is going a little Ballistic. Although I certainly don't have the answers, a myriad of questions have been exploding through my mind as I listen to the repeated booms of fireworks throughout my neighborhood tonight. The sky lights up here with a bang and we say, "Oooh. Ahh..." The same thing happens half a world away and by now, there are probably many who have learned from experience to think, "Take cover, the American's are bombing again."