I remember when all newscasters were men. All. I remember one of the earlier women newscasters was on TV. I was maybe, 12 - coincidentally the first year Connie Chung is on national TV. I was in a room of several and a man looked around the room and said, "I just can't trust anything a woman (newscaster) says." I remember I said, "What, you think she's lying?" That smart-ass comment to an elder was not appreciated by my parents. That moment set the stage for what my parents would come to expect from me: disrespectful smart-ass comments.
I don't know what spurred Jessica Savich, and I'm mystified at the strength and audacity of Oprah Winfrey and Connie Chung. I don't follow the paths of journalism's stars. I just know there was a time when there weren't any. Then a handful of super stars and weather-candies. Now there's this flood of women. East Asian women. I personally believe that Connie Chung, (as well as other female news casters) influenced the slew of them on the TV screen now.
When I was a teenager, who were my role models in the media? How about the sweet but befuddled housekeeper who used to say "Harro - Mistuh Eddie's Fadur?" or, I know! I know! how about Nancy Kwan on Flower Drum Song. A hussy! I know, it's not like I can only admire someone just like me. But it sure helps! I admired many people in my life: men, women, white, black and otherwise. But here was my reality:
Connie Chung was the only modern, strong East Asian womanOn TV. Or Mattel. Or Ford Modeling. Or in my school. Or Glamour. Or at the hospital. Or in my picture book. Or Saturday cartoons. If you, with your green/blue/hazel/tawny eyes and blonde/auburn/brown hair couldn't aspire to Barbie/Cybill/Nancy Drew, then certainly, I . . . I, I with blackhairalmondeyesshortlegsflatchest could never. Never. Never.
that I knew.
There is a young couple who just had their first child and he is the sensation and fascination of every little kid in our church. Including Boo. Boo has always adored Mr. and Mrs. Rhoads, and while we're in Sunday School, keeps them company as Mr. Rhoads prepares the communion platters and Mrs. Rhoads feeds Austin. This couple is sweet, and sweet on each other. She is as satisfied in her standing with God as anyone I know in the world. She apparently suggested something to her dear husband, to which 6-1/2 year old Boo said,
"Isn't it awful when a wife bosses her husband around?"
Is there a rock his parents can crawl under?!?
I like to keep my posts short. I think and think. I let issues percolate and simmer for days. Usually months. Often years. Just to keep it short. When I first think of an issue, it's a big combobulation of disparate thoughts thrown hither-thither and yon. Good over coffee, but not so good in a post. In a series of short posts, I'd like to share with you why I think it matters for children to have books, ads, shows and toys that show different colors and shapes of people living in different, but normal scenarios. From my point of view.
As a start, I'd like for you to read this revelation by my bloggy friend, She and her hubby will soon be a trans-racial parents to a cutie-patootie from Thailand, through the same agency by which we found our Boo. Rosemary is incredibly insightful and empathic. I know you will think so, too.
Tell me what you think of her realization.
Hope you had a restful Sabbath day.
Do we need that many, and can we make them safer?Do we really need to inject so aggressively into a 14 lb., 20 lb., 30 lb. little human? And why do they need preservatives?
I recently read a blog in which a mom expressed why she decided it is important and responsible to immunize her children with the "standard" schedule currently in place. Apparently, she read a story a child who caught something from an unvaccinated child and died. How tragic! To have your child die of, say, chicken pox in this day and age?? But is there something we can agree on that is less than the current "standard" that we should be fighting for? I think most doctors would agree they don't know everything. They aren't taught anything about the role of nutrition in our health except the most obvious things we all now know (fat=clogged arteries yadda yadda.) Most don't even know what autism spectrum disorders look like except in their most perverse and serious form. So how about looking at the thousands of circumstantial cases and playing it safe?
Imagine this scenario: You are one of thousands and thousands and thousands of parents, who has a beautiful, well-developing and perfectly healthy toddler. She's your joy, a delight! You entrust her to your pediatrician, but right after a visit, this same bundle of giggles and crawls stops developing: loses skills like talking, stares into space, won't hug, screams in terror for unknown reasons, or any of the variety of symptoms of a mysterious illness. Not to mention the entire spectrum of symptoms.
Here are excerpts from what I think is a very rational opinion piece about the role of vaccines in today's society. You can read the whole thing by clicking on the link. I know this is a HUGE, hot-button topic. For full disclosure, I'm warning you that this is written by Jenny McCarthy's boyfriend. Some of you may things Jenny's wacko; some of you may think she's a saint. So, I ask just one thing. Please take your Opinion Hat off, sit back, and read the words he is saying. Try to get over the big-bad-pharma, sheister-cdc stance or over-interpret the phrases and see the important points he's making:
"Not everyone gets cancer from smoking, but cigarettes do cause cancer. " (In my mind, this means not everyone gets autism from vaccines, but we may find out vaccines may be the main contributor to autism.)I know there are as many people vociferously on one side as the other. In the pro-vaccine camp, I see a lot of condescension about the crazy, unreasonable and (implied) stupid people who are concerned about the way vaccines are handled these days. I'm not a doctor, but I'm pretty smart. I went to very legitimate universities, earned a master's degree, learned to read, analyze and reason. I also learned to question and criticize. There must be a reasonable stance between "vaccines are totally healthy and cause no problems" and "vaccines are the complete cause of all forms of autism."
"The anecdotal evidence of millions of parents who've seen their totally normal kids regress into sickness and mental isolation after a trip to the pediatrician's office must be seriously considered."
"We have never argued that people shouldn't be immunized for the most serious threats including measles and polio, but surely there's a limit as to how many viruses and toxins can be introduced into the body of a small child. Veterinarians found out years ago that in many cases they were over-immunizing our pets, a syndrome they call Vaccinosis. It overwhelmed the immune system of the animals, causing myriad physical and neurological disorders. Sound familiar? If you can over-immunize a dog, is it so far out to assume that you can over-immunize a child? These forward thinking vets also decided to remove thimerosal from animal vaccines in 1992, and yet this substance, which is 49% mercury, is still in human vaccines. Don't our children deserve as much consideration as our pets?"
"In all likelihood the truth about vaccines is that they are both good and bad."
I am reminded of something that happened to my husband in the ER. He was shaking, shivering. I asked the nurse for a warm blanket. Do you know what she said? "His temperature is fine." and would not get us a blanket. Did you read that? He was teeth-chattering, shaking. He was also extremely dehydrated. I asked for an IV drip. This nurse said, "His saliva is fine and his numbers look good." Not even a drink of water. Guess what? He was dehydrated. My point is this: the "numbers" and "data" don't necessarily reflect what is happening in real life, in the trenches, to a real person. (I just want you to know I went to the nurses' station and insisted on a blanket. Yeah, I could sense their condescension.)
I immunized and boosted my son. My only son. I will never know, if those toxins contributed to his autistic-like behaviors. If those toxins on top of all the environmental toxins we breathe, lather, drink and eat pushed him over the proverbial edge. And I have to live with that. Because, deep in my heart, I didn't do the ONE thing that is required of me as a mother: Keep my baby safe.
*Boldface and italices mine
I was talking to some friends of mine the other day and we started talking about cleaning products. Yes, you missed a highly intellectual, scintillating conversation! But it did get to the interesting issue of the toxins that we have gotten used to using - or been convinced we need. What is it that you are smelling, touching, tasting, lathering that enter your (and your children's) bloodstream and into our groundwater and then into our drinking water back into our bellies instead of our kitchen counter? Do we have to use toxic sprays and "miracle" erasers that leave behind unknown residues? What ever happened to using good ole soap and water? Remember Ivory? 99 and 44/100 pure, it said. So, here are my favorite, earth-friendly, brain-friendly, bank-account friendly products that I love. LOVE. So, in honor of Earth Week:
Burt's Bees Products
I started using the Baby Bee line when Boo was . . . a baby. I didn't like the idea of questionable ingredients in the supposedly baby-friendly products getting into my baby's blood stream. And into his brain.
Then, I started using the adult lotions, too and found the Sensitive Skin one the best.Almost every lotion out there has "parabens." Though not scientifically linked to cancer, globs of them have been found in women's breast tissue. Cancerous or not, it's no picnic finding lumps of unknown globules in your booby.
At first, I wasn't thrilled with the fragrance because I was used to the artificial petroleum-based fragrances in conventional products. It's ironic to me now, that I had to get used to smells that God created for us. Now, I love the way they smell. I love the way they work, too.
The $9.99 price tag put me off a little at first, but I realized quickly it is well worth every drop. Plus, at CVS, you can save up points and use the coupons. I haven't used all the products but these three I am devoted to: Soothingly Sensitive lotion, the Baby Bee lotion and Royal Jelly Day Cream. I haven't been very impressed with their soaps (shampoo, shower gels) because they don't lather up enough for me.
I love Burt's Bees because in my mind, they have the highest overall score because they have a wide-ranging line, are readily accessible [I can get much of the product line at CVS and Giant, and the full line at the health-food store,] are reasonably priced and have a well-balanced philosophy. They were recently bought by Clorox, and I, like many others, were concerned about lowered quality, but I've decided what I need to watch out for is other Clorox items that they will try to sell-off as "green" or "natural" while they still contain plenty of toxins.
I was at a dinner for an area preservation group and got a sample of the all-purpose cleaner. I love the smell of citrus. If you don't, give these products a whiff anyway, because like I said above, the smells from natural oils is different than the artificial petroleum-based smells.
I love the laundry, dish, dishwasher and hand soaps as well as the all-purpose cleaner. I haven't tried anything else but I'm sure it'll be worth trying. I love the laundry soap because it really works great for me. I love the smell of the hand soap and it works just great. The dish soap? I have to say it doesn't seem to have the lasting power of, say, Dawn, but I am willing to compromise a little for what I get in return. Same with the all-purpose. I can usually find them at my regular grocery store.
Nicole, over at A Mommy's Musings, is having a great Sun & Earth giveaway so check out her blog before the 30th!***
If there's something that's really tough to get out, I may need to use another product, but I've still decreased the toxin level in my home. That is my goal: REDUCTION. I can't rid the world nor can I adjust my life enough to become toxin-free, but I'm going to do my best.
Dr. Bronner's Products
This guy - Dr. Bronner - a real guy - dead, but real - has got to have the wierdest philosophy /religion. And he tells you about it on each bottle of his pure vegetable-based castille soap. I found this by chance while browsing at the health food store for a non-toxic soap. I had been reading about all the crap that are in soaps and wanted to reduce putting crap in our bloodstreams and crap in our streams.
Look, I know just because it's natural doesn't mean it's safe. I mean, arsenic is natural, isn't it? But look at the ingredients to the Tea Tree soap:
Water, saponified organic coconut, olive, jojoba and hemp oils, tea tree extract, citric acid and viitamin E.That's it. No, I didn't miss any ingredients. No preservatives, no fragrances, no parabens.
Hubs uses the Tea Tree and Boo uses the Almond. The Tea Tree has enough of the naturally anti-bacterial tea tree oil to really make an impact on HH's cleanliness. You will notice a difference in your, um, "aura," shall we say, after a stressful day, or after a baseball game, having used the tea tree soap.
I have to warn you, it takes some getting used to. It is very thin because they don't use any stuff to make it "rich and creamy." But don't be fooled - it is as effective and probably more long-lasting than the chemical-laden creamy stuff you're used to. Creamy and lathery don't equal Clean. The chemicals that make the product lather is not a cleansing product. You have to get used to pumping just a little bit onto your hands and then - watch it just stretch and stretch and stretch.
. . . brown paper packages tied up with string, these are a few of my favorite things! La-la laaa laaa, mmm-hm hmmm-mm. . . .
Cognitive Patterns Subscale
19. talks about a single subject excessively
20. displays superior knowledge or skill in specific subjects or activities
25. shows an intense, obsessive interest in certain intellectual subjects
Rate this person
0 - Never
1 - Seldom
2 - Sometimes
3 - Frequently Observed
So what do you think? How should I answer those questions?
I recently started helping a group of Korean moms improve their conversational English. They do not take language for granted. It is a heavy cart they push with every step, every day. They all maintain a "Korean only" policy at home, to ensure that their children remain fluent in their first language. The children are already fluent in English and are succeeding academically and socially. But the question has come up: is it detrimental to the family to maintain another language in the home?
I must say that I land squarely on the side of the parents on this one. I would love to speak to a linguist about this, but for now, I am telling you here, in my own way, in my limited vocabulary my thoughts. Language is not merely a means of transferring information from one entity to another, cold and straight-forward. Language is not just a convenience. I believe language is how you see the world, filtered through your experiences and brain mechanisms and tells something about how you relate to others. Layered with cultural inferences and implications.
I grew up here and became American, but I will always be distinctive because of my appearance: American by nationality, but always Korean by heritage. Always. This country still holds whites as the "norm" and held above all others. If you are white and don't see that, I understand. Because you don't see what doesn't exist for you: you never have to justify your presence, explain your existence. I always do. In various ways: polite, not, interest, curiosity, antagonism. I can sense these thoughts, as if they were objects, my radar having become highly developed:
- You are not white (therefore normal,) what are you?
- You are not white (therefore normal,) why are you here?
- You are not white (therefore normal,) therefore you do not matter.
So. I've taken you around on a nickel tour of my brain. Where am I taking you? Here: Language is essential to my self, my identity, my pride. My heritage is not dusty old photos; it is a picture of who I am. It is not in a silver pitcher brought from the old country; it is inside of me. It is not something to wear; it is infused in my soul. It is not a curiosity about something that has passed; I live now.
It is me.
It is me.
It is me.
Another language may be "inconvenient," it may be messy and things will go wrong. Kids will be embarrassed of their parents (isn't that novel?) and people will get frustrated. But I am convinced that with strong, persistent moms like the ones I'm befriending, multi-lingualism will find a place in US culture.
Despite whatever embarrassments and awkwardness suffered in youth, I don't know a single person who regrets being bilingual. I know many though, who regret not being bilingual...even generations later. By then, the language ladder to their soul will no longer quite reach.
*Photo by TommyOshima
Before I became a mom, I didn't realize what a daily grind it is to raise a kid. Hallmark and the Stepford Moms' Secret Society conspire to put a smile on every sleep-deprived face to say "It's the most rewarding job in the world!!" I, personally, tried to make it through one day at a time. One. Day. At a time.
When a milestone comes up - a birthday, the start of school - I lift my head out of the water, or fog or whatever analogy you want to use and I say, "Wow! Look what's grown in my garden! Look what has happened right under my nose!"
And speaking of noses, here's my little bugger:
Wow. Can you believe it??
[Is "bugger" a curse word?]
I know I've forgotten how easy, healthy and inexpensive home-made things can be. Instead, I stand at the grocery aisle and bemoan the $4 for a bottle of juice, the high fructose corn syrup and other unidentifiable junk manufacturers feel they have to use.
SO! Let's make lemonade!
Here's what you need:
- Bag of organic lemons (10-12)
- 1/2 cup of organic sugar
- Glass measuring cup
- Large glass carafe
- Medium canning jar
- Cut the lemons in half, and juice ALL of them. Put them in the canning jar. It is helpful to find a jar that has the measurement markings on the side.
- Put about a cup of hot water (tap water is fine) in the carafe. Swish/stir the 1/2 cup of sugar to dissolve.
- Pour about 1/2 cup of lemon juice in the carafe. Fill with cold water - about 8 cups or 32 ounces.
- Keep the jar of juice in the fridge. When your lemonade runs out, you'll be able to make more in about 2 minutes! It should be enough lemon juice to make 4-5 carafes.
Voila! Drink! Be healthy! Help the earth!
Here is a great chance to buy some organic products without breaking your budget. When you use organic, you are:
Lemons, more effectively than cranberries, keep your urinary tract clean. If you are concerned about UTIs or prone to kidney or liver issues, this is for you! And of course, with its high vitamin C content, you are strengthening your immune system, too!
- eliminating one source of toxins (pesticides) for your family
- helping to keep the workers and their families healthy because the workers aren't being exposed to toxins
- helping little critters (aka birdies, bumblebees, etc.) live because they aren't exposed to the pesticides
- helping the earth be clean because the toxins are not leeching into the soil and into our ground water
Can a wicked person make a deathbed confession and be saved by God? Isn't it unfair to have spent an entire lifetime doing bad things, lying, cheating? then get swooped up at the last minute?
One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: "Aren't you the Christ? Save yourself and us!" But the other criminal rebuked him. "Don't you fear God," he said, "since you are under the same sentence? We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong."Then he said, "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom."
Jesus answered him, "I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise."
~ Luke 23:39-43
Two criminals. One chooses to despise; the other to honor. One chooses to hate; the other to love. I am grateful that God will call us to Himself anytime. The most wretched. Even on our deathbed.
In the Garden of Eden, Eve was made just for Adam. Union as it was meant to be from the Beginning. Adam and Eve walked with God in the coolness.
Have you ever gone to an arboretum? Heard the showering of the water fall? Felt the moisture on your cheeks? Smelled the coolness?Eden. With Aramaic roots: walled, protected. God was there with them. Walked with them. Talked with them.
No kneeling, no rituals, no shushing your children, no pushing away thoughts of an angry encounter.When Evil entered the Garden, Adam and Eve tried to hide themselves with leaves. Did you ever wonder why? This is what I think. When evil entered, they became ashamed of their nakedness because their very intimacy was shattered. Evil entered deep into their inner core. It destroyed forever the perfect bond and compatibility they had with each other. Evil penetrated every core, every fibre of our being.
God had said, "you will surely die." What Evil said was true, "You will not die!" Partly true. They didn't drop dead at the first bite. The other part, the part Evil hid, was a lie. A lie profound and deep. No, Adam and Eve didn't drop dead right there. They opened the gate to Death.
When I was little, living in Korea, we lived in a home walled in steel and stone. Inside was a lovely garden of rose, forsythia, succulents. There was a knock at the gate and my 5-year old self ran to the latch and opened the gray, steel gate. Forgetting the command never to open the door. A beggar pushed his way past me. A leper. Someone came and grabbed me, pulling me away from his infections. Everybody in the household was frozen with fear. My grandmother said, "You can have anything you want - just, please, leave." Suddenly, we were held hostage by this homeless, pathetic soul. At that moment, he was our Master.Did Jesus rise again or not? This. This matters. For we must have confidence that this God, this God, has victory over death. When the Jews were threatened by the plagues, that the first-borns must die, they were to sacrifice a blemish-free male lamb and put its blood on the door post. God passed over them, saving them. Jesus is our perfect sacrifice. The Angel of Death will pass over us. We will, one day, walk with God. Talk with God.
Jesus, the lamb, hanging on the cross, He gave Himself for us and is victorious over Death. It is done.
Death, be not proud.
"When I grow up, I'm going to be a farmer. I'm going to give the hens lots of eggs."
"What do you mean? Why are you going to give them eggs?""They don't have . . . well . . . How do hens get eggs?"
"Honey, hens are mommy chickens and eggs are their babies.""I know that, mom. But how do the hens get eggs?"
"Well, all females can make babies in their tummies."Silence.
"I wish you were my tummy-mommy. I could meet you when I was born."
Doesn't that look GOOD? On the platter, you might find the grilled chicken on a bed of thin rice noodles, sliced cucumber, lettuce, bean sprouts and basil sprigs. In the bowl is your spicy-sweet fish sauce. *WARNING: This is a meal you will want to avoid if you have a young child that might lurch across the table to grab a rolling crayon. Or something. All that looks pretty harmless and easy to consume.
Here's the part that might trip you up. You'll get a plate of dried rice wraps that look like the plastic roofing on your grandma's back patio. Except they'll be white, not green. And a bowl of hot water. (*Hence, the toddler warning.) You take one stiff disk and soak it in the hot water. Some restaurants might give you the wraps already prepared, but they are so sticky that you might tear the wraps.
When it gets soft, place it flat on your plate. Place bits of the meat (or tofu for a vegetarian version) and the accompaniments. Drizzle on some fish sauce. Wrap it like a waffle cone, folding up the bottom and take a bite.
On angel food cake: "It's like snow."
On water draining down the tub: "Mom, put your hand here, it's like a magnet."
On being groggy from a nap: "I need to recharge my battewy."
I've heard this kind of statement from people of different generations and I wonder what it really means. Because what life was like for Lush Rush is different than what life was like in the 80's. Which America are they talking about? or is it about just a piece of childhood? or youth?
A former boss, who is now retirement age, said something like that to me. He is a good man. Hard working. Intelligent. Talented. If I do the math right, he was in his prime in the early 60's, living way above the Mason-Dixon. I can imagine his life. I'm sure it was good, and I don't blame him for wanting not only youth, but peace, contentment and a feeling of security. Because I'm sure that life in his upper-middle-class, all-white upbringing was peaceful, content and secure.
His vision at 18, 20, or 22, and his telescope back into that time doesn't include the little black girl fire-hosed by a white officer. A public servant. I'm sure he didn't know that whites (Europeans) were allowed to immigrate here, but me? my dad? Africans? were severely restricted. He probably didn't think about the fact that a working woman might have her paycheck paid to the order of her husband. If he had seen the rest of the scenery, what would he think? What would he think of the mother and young son thrown off the train in the middle of a field for riding in the wrong section?
This is my theory of why my former boss thinks the good ole days are the good ole days. This mythical, indefinable town and time. Because people stayed in their place. Whites stayed with whites. The Chinese stayed in Chinatown. The blacks weren't allowed to move up. The poor stayed poor and the wealthy could hire them. And he's not a mean person. He just didn't have to deal with it. Any of it.
Maybe the 70's were better. It was 1970 or so that Governor Wallace asked for, and President Nixon released Lt. William Calley even though he was responsible for killing over 500 innocent civilians in what is known as the My-Lai Massacre. (Are your children in another room? Then go ahead - click on the links. Look at the photos.) Or the 80's with the huge increase in national deficit and the environment in which the rich got richer and poorer got poorer.
Instead of longing for the not so good Good Ole Days, I wish the people who long for them would take down their telescopes and look around. I don't have to be hosed down or spit on to know that there's no such thing as a sparkling bright world. In this life, anyway. But then again, those wishing for the good ole days may not see those injustices as big as I see them.