Down Memory Lane

reminisce~verb~indulge in enjoyable recollection of past events.

Sometimes our memories are best forgotten and sometimes they are all we want to remember.  It”s funny how life works at times.  Back before I made mistakes and regrets, there was a time I had innocence and naiveté.  The latter time is the time I am remembering today.  The different way things smelled back then such as cotton candy or Christmas trees at the street vendors.  The games we played in front of our tenements or homes on the side streets.  The people we knew, the stores we went to, our neighbors, our friends.  Pleasant memories are best remembered and can lift our spirits when we are feeling low.  I never thought I would want to go back in time, my life is good.  I have love in my life everyday.  Yet, there is still a part of me that wishes I could go back to that time of innocence and naiveté when life was simply uncomplicated and the only things that mattered were the things you planned solely for yourself that day.  There were no real thoughts about sickness, or death, poverty or wealth.  The world around us was just there and the opportunities were in front of us.  Sure we were always harassed by our parents and perhaps other siblings, but for the most part we were free and young, ready to skip and jump to our next adventure.  Our friends were our lifeline.  We trusted them and hung with them and always wanted to be a part of them.  Funny how life changes much of that and how we lose sight of our friends for so many different reasons.  I’ve been blessed as of late through the wonder of technology.  I became a member of the social phenomenon known as Facebook.  Through this social media I have found friends I thought I had lost forever and friends have found me.  I have been astonished to learn how much we missed each other even though our contact was absent for so many, many years. I have discovered that I was wrong in thinking they forgot about me or I never really touched their lives.  I had always known how they had touched mine, so it is a pleasant feeling to know that I have also made a small impact on them.  Talking to them brings back happy memories and can almost make me feel that I am young once more in the age of innocence and naiveté.  Not a bad place to be in this crazy world of ours.  Remembering, I have come to realize, doesn’t always need to be bad or sad and for me that is a wondrous emotional discovery.  Going back again is sometimes more of a salvation than a heartache and I am really glad that I took a chance and followed that path.  So in the words of Frank Sinatra, “That’s life….regrets I had a few, but then again too few to mention.”

And that is The Way I See It here in Brooklyn,

K

Still Waiting

We still haven’t heard the results of my sister’s test. Normally, I would assume because of that all is probably okay, however, her doctor isn’t that type of doctor. Last time, after her cat scan, we had to wait a whole week before we knew that she needed that pet scan. So I wait with my breath held for news good or bad. Meanwhile, Joey, who was transferred to the nursing home just a few days ago, has once more been rushed to the hospital. It seems he was filled with congestion and water and they attempted to remove the mucus/liquid from his body. By 9pm last night the nursing home staff realized his condition had taken a turn for the worse. It seems they put him in a wheelchair after being in bed for weeks, gave him a shower and then his congestion surfaced.

As of 2am this morning he was still in the critical area of the emergency room and they determined he now has pneumonia and the return of the sepsis. The hospital physicians haven’t said that his organs are failing or if they did, Gerrie hasn’t heard it. He is suffering though and that is so hard for Gerrie and Barbie to bear and like most loving family members they want him to stay with them. I feel so heartily sorry for all of them. Loving my Brother-in-law Joey as I do and knowing him all these years makes me believe that he knows his family well and being unable to communicate the job they have (of deciding the best way to help him) is agonizing. I don’t believe Joey is aware intellectually of anything that is happening to him, but he can still feel pain and he is at the mercy of the medical profession,who rightfully, are looking to preserve his body without regard to his state of mind. I know inside myself that the medical professional, in Joey’s case, is looking for the family to direct them and in this case the family is looking for the medical profession to direct them. I believe it then becomes an extended family matter to look at the situation from all the sides and to support and encourage the family members who need to make this agonizing decision. Joey no longer can manage to do anything at all for himself and unfortunately, ever since his accident he has become extremely ill. With each new ailment that hits him it gets harder and harder to watch him suffering. It literally feels like a dagger in my heart, so I can just imagine how it must feel to his wife and daughter. All I pray for everyday is for Joey to get peace, being treated with the utmost loving care and to be pain free. He deserves no less. I also pray, that my niece Barbie finds the strength she needs to deal with all of this, and her mom’s flip flopping. I know my sister wants Joey to stay here forever and I don’t blame her, but I also think she needs to assess Joey’s true condition and then, with her daughter, make the best choice for Joey and not them. I don’t want to sound callous or indifferent and I apologize if I do. All I want is for my entire family to have a chance to end the waiting that is always a part of our existence.

Whatever happens, whatever decisions are made, I hope and wish for them to be made on the basis of love and mercy. That is all anyone could want in these situations and all that the good Lord could grant with his mercy.

Still waiting, here in Brooklyn,
K

Waiting

I am in the waiting room of a laboratory waiting for my sister Gerrie to finish a pet scan. I was told to wait out here because of the exposure to the radioactive dye they are administering to my sister for her test. The technician said it will take about  three hours for everything  to be done.

It feels as if I have spent most of my life in waiting rooms of hospitals, laboratories and other medical environments. Some families are left legacies of wealth, or perhaps good looks, or perhaps intellectual success. My family’s legacy is a lifetime of health issues. It first started when I was six years old and hospitalized for two months and a day. It seems after numerous tests and five spinal taps they finally realized I had bad tonsils and adenoids and it finally became obvious that  the infection caused me to lose the use of my legs. It didn’t help much that they injected me daily,( with what I have not a clue) but after they removed my tonsils and adenoids I was released and a few weeks later I could walk again.  Soon after that when I was seven my sister Joan passed away at the age of 29 from complications after removing a tumor from her brain. It has just been downhill ever since. I have lost my parents ten years apart from each other from a myriad of illnesses, cancer included;  and two more of my sisters passed at ages 46 and 47 respectively.

My four remaining siblings, two sisters and two brothers all have a long list of health issues that they live with everyday. Being the youngest of eight has placed me in a position that allows me to observe, absorb and live beside every medical issue known to man. Even my own children suffer somewhat and my husband’s family as well. As a matter of fact, if I reflect upon my wealth of knowledge as a designated bystander, my thoughts tell me I could have been either a very informed researcher or a very compassionate doctor. Alas, though, I have missed that boat! Instead I sit here reflecting in my usual waiting position–observing, hoping and praying.  My thoughts  about Gerrie are concentrated on her life at this moment in time and a veil of concern (mixed with sadness) overcomes me.

Gerrie has never been able to accept illness or poor health without fear.  She would much rather remain in her own world where not knowing means everything is good. She has such a disdain for the realities in life that she removes herself from it most of the time by telling carefully woven tales where she is either the heroine or the victim, she does this without any sign of malice and therefore her tales are accepted by most as actual events in her life.  I, on the other hand, am a realist who when faced with problems jump right in and research to find the ins and outs of the event, and more so when it deals with health issues.  For the most part we get along well and understand exactly where to draw the lines with one another so that our sister relationship remains intact for both of us.  We do love one another so it truly isn’t too difficult to manage.  Recently, Gerrie has been dealt some really tough blows to deal with. Her husband, Joe’s Alzheimer’s has reached a pivotal stage, one that Gerrie cannot bring herself to believe because she feels better when she doesn’t And her own health is now being threatened at the same time. She fears that she may have cancer and the doctor isn’t ruling it out until these barrage of tests are completed.  She has been a complete wreck of nerves lately, worrying in my opinion, needlessly or actually before she knows for certain that this dreaded disease has invaded her body.  Naturally, with our gene pool, it is a concern in all of us.  Each of us hoping it ended with the generation before us or at the very least with us.  It isn’t that I don’t empathize, I do very much so, but I see things mostly as facts and not what ifs. This act of waiting is for me a time to reflect and to hope that my sister is nervous and worried for nothing.  At least that way we will be able to joke about it afterward or have another story to listen to from Gerrie.

Guess I’ll just have to wait a little while longer.

And that’s the Way I See It here in Brooklyn.

K

Uneasiness

As much as I want to believe that I can handle almost anything, my mind and heart remind me that I have an emotional mind. I call it that because no matter the amount of logic that I think I have my emotions rule my logic and cause me turmoil and stress.

There are so many things I want to change in my life, or better said, I wish to be different. I find myself thinking too hard being too self-righteous at times and I don’t know how to turn off that part of me. A sadness overwhelms my usual optimistic outlook on life and changes my behavior and my feelings. I know for certain it is not depression. I had an endocrinologist once who tested the hormones associated with depression and I, thank God, had normal results. So I cannot blame my sadness on hormones. I suppose it may be because I have an inner sense of not being happy with the way things are in my life right now. I am surrounded by sickness within my family and a circle of friends. The things I wish to do with my life I cannot do because of physical restraints nowadays. I’m writing my blog but with a troubled mind. I am not seeking sympathy nor empathy. It has always been easier for me to write rather than speak. The words, most times, come out a bit better when I write them. I suppose what I am looking for is release. A way to express what is deep inside myself, without burdening anyone with worry or stress over me, at least to those who truly care about me.

Maybe my emotional mind started as a child. Perhaps between my dysfunctional childhood mixed with being spoiled, the signals that I am supposed to have got crossed somewhere along the line. Perhaps the maturity level I should possess at this stage of my life hasn’t quite developed and so I am unable to unravel the confusion I feel inside my mind and heart. Life is supposed to be better now. It is supposed to be a time when I have finished with mistakes and learned from them. It is supposed to be a time where I listen more than I speak or express my opinion in a self-righteous way much less often than I have expressed that opinion. I should have learned to temper my anxieties, my anger, my frustrations. It seems though that I haven’t accomplished those yet. I don’t like being sad, I’m sure no one does. Yet, I am sad. I am lost in this world of emotional upheaval. It is usually believed that people can change things with mind over matter. I have tried to do that, but I find that when I truly care about something or someone, I cannot find self-control. This uncontrollable need to express myself overwhelms my logic and impulsively I act rather than sit back and wait for problems to resolve themselves. Most people I speak to appear to have an easier time doing that. They just ignore problems or put them aside. I have a tendency to face them head on. I often find myself analysing things that happen and believe they happen for a reason. My problem comes when I get this urge to seek the reason they happen. I can’t explain why. I can’t understand why. All I know is that I either experience anger or sadness from problems. The logic is there and the understanding of that logic is known to me, yet I cannot stop myself from trying to right what I perceive as the wrong. My perception, logic tells me, is not the perception of others, but my instinct tells me the complete opposite of my logic. It is like a complete ball of confusion that consumes me until peace resumes within myself. I really want to be different. I don’t want to experience life like this anymore. I want to bury my head in the sand and pretend that everything is fine and that life is what it is. All I can do is hope that feeling will come sooner than later and this blog, this great form of expression will lead me to that sense of peace once again.

And that is the Way I See It, here in Brooklyn.
K

Befuddled

 

Hi! I know it has been a while since I wrote on my blog. Lately, life has taken a curve and my thoughts have been preoccupied with family woes. I would much rather be optimistic in my posts and write about happier moments and thoughts than the ones I am experiencing as of late. So for those of you who follow this blog and for those of you who care….I hope to be back soon with some joyful posts, some serious posts and some posts that make you ponder! Meanwhile, happy Labor Day one and all!

And that’s The Way I See It here in Brooklyn,
K20130519-205022.jpg

Happiness is a baby playing!


Wouldn’t it be great if we could recapture the innocence and freedom we had as a baby? just imagine a day without worries or cares! Just enjoying your environment and loving every second. I wish we could all experience this joy just once in a while and perhaps the world would look a bit different. The joy it brings to me watching this video infuses my heart and allows my mind to roam free if even just for seconds.

Happiness is the joy of a child!

And that’s the Way I See It here in Brooklyn.
K

I’m Back

Image
Busy summer!
Image
Summertime and the living is easy!

Well I’ve not been blogging lately due to medical issues for both Rocco and myself.  Rocco was taken by surprise by vertigo which took its toll on him and left him quite incapable of performing the most mundane of tasks; including work and driving.  I needed to go for additional tests, which is a long story and one I don’t wish to go into at this time.  However, I missed my blog and blogging I couldn’t wait any longer to write!  Rocco is on the mend, as a matter of fact he returned to work for the first time today, my fingers are crossed that it will be an uneventful day for him.  

My son Rocky and his family have just bought their first home and we are excited for them.  We cannot wait to see it and help him get everything together. Jeffy has been on vacation in Florida with his girl, Maggie and her family.  They returned over the past weekend and work has already captured them! So everyone has been busy this summer and our chance to be all together is very limited. 

I have been thinking a great deal about some interesting topics for my blog and hopefully soon I will be able to share those thoughts with you, my readers.  Meanwhile, please enjoy the remaining weeks of summer and remember to have fun in the sun! 

And that’s the Way I See It here in Brooklyn! 

 

Who doesn’t love ice cream?

Ah summertime! Hot, hazy, sunny skies, beaches, lazy days and ice cream! I can remember waiting impatiently for either the Mister Softee truck or the Good Humor truck to come sauntering down our street  playing their jingles and capturing my kids attention like no other sound! It was those few minutes on those busy days when their excited faces and happy smiles would bring joy to my heart. Choosing what to order usually took more moments than one would want, but hey there was so much to choose from! Ice cream has always been a staple in my family ever since I can remember. Even as a child, my mom and dad and brother would have ice cream from Si’s candy store almost every summer night. I would be sent to Si’s on 7th Avenue to get a pint of cherry vanilla for my dad, either strawberry or butter pecan or peach for my mom, same for my brother. I would always get vanilla fudge. Thinking back I hadn’t realized that Si’s containers were the same containers that they still use in the Chinese restaurants to put “take out” rice in! Funny how seasonal memories stay in one’s mind!

I have loads of memories about ice cream or involving ice cream, but I believe the best one I am ever going to have is the one in my video on this post. I will cherish this memory for as long as I am allowed to remember.

Going away for a few days and won’t be posting for about a week or so, but hope I put a smile on your face and hop in your step! Enjoy!

And that is the Way I See It here in Brooklyn!

K

Joey

IMG_0796

My brother-in-law Joey is one of those guys who people can easily label as “one of a Kind”. He is a very special person. I have known him for most of my life and I have never known him to be anything other than kind, caring, helpful, quiet, and born with a true heart of gold.

I first saw Joey when he came to get my sister, Gerrie for a date. It was very late at night and he was in the Navy. He came by our tenement with his friend Roger. I was around 11 or 12 at the time. I recall waking up and seeing him by the door with his friend. Both of them in their sailor suits and as handsome as could be.  As soon as he noticed I woke up (our tenement was a railroad apartment and my bed was in the middle of the apartment (no doors and I slept with two of my sisters) he came over to say hello and to introduce Roger. I remember jumping up and hugging him and then falling back to sleep. I didn’t really know Joey well all I knew was that he was totally and madly in love with my sister and that they would soon marry. Back then Joey was not much different from how he is today. After he married Gerrie he had a job at UPS and would work long hard hours. They have a daughter, Barbie Jo and she is the apple of Joey’s eye. He was always fiercely protective and a loving husband and father. No one could mess with either of his girls or their extended family if Joey had anything to say about it. His presence alone demands respect and his good looks are still with him today. No one, except maybe my mother, could find fault with Joey. Then again, my mother found fault with every single guy her daughters ever went out with. She was a tough bird and took no-nonsense from anyone.

Joey continued to work really hard and long hours providing a great life for Gerrie and Barbie. He extended himself to many members of our family as well. He taught my oldest son, Rocky to drive. He loved baseball and other sports. He hunted a little when he was younger and collected baseball memorabilia and hunting rifles. He took his wife and child on a vacation every single year. It is easy to know that Joey cares about us even if he never utters a word in that direction. I have only seen him angry twice in my entire life and both times in defense of either his wife or daughter. Now that is saying a lot, don’t you think?

Well sadly and heartbreakingly Joey has gotten Alzheimer’s disease and the symptoms started about 16 years ago. For quite a long time Joey held his own and with the help of Gerrie and Barbie and now his two grandchildren, he maintains a pretty “normal” life. Recently, he became physically ill and consequently the dementia worsened. Now he needs additional help from a professional staff at a rehabilitation/nursing facility. It breaks my heart to see this happening to anyone and their immediate family. Alzheimer’s is a horrific disease because it takes away the cognizant portion of your mind. It becomes so debilitating and a person afflicted with it cannot survive without help. More has to be done about this disease. Research must be explored further. A cure or at least a better treatment to delay the onset of this disease must be found and soon. I believe half of the population will develop either dementia or Alzheimer’s at some point and no matter what kind of lifestyle one lives, if it happens it will only be the research for the treatment and hopefully the cure that will help.

So as I sit here reminiscing about my wonderful brother-in-law and knowing that somewhere inside the man I now see is that same man, that same caring, kind, loving man who if he could would still defend and protect his family to the bitter end. His handsome, strong body is deceiving, but I am grateful that he still has those qualities.

I chose to write about Joey today because he is on my mind each and everyday lately. I know I could never repay him for all the kindnesses he bestowed upon me throughout my life and I wanted to pay tribute to a great man who deserves to be happy, loved and taken care of in the best possible way. Joey is “one of a Kind” there is no doubt and I am very glad and grateful that I am privileged to be part of his extended family. I will love him always. Thank you, Joey. I am sorry I never took the time to tell you how I felt long before now and I hope that somehow you know all the lives you have touched, changed and made better just by being, Joey.

The song on this post is for Joey because he loves these types of songs and would often listen to them.

1-15 El Paso 1

And that’s the Way I See It here in Brooklyn.

K

My Baby Boy

My very best friend in the world is my baby boy. He is only seven years old and yet he has the wisdom of a man much older than himself. Each day he gives me unconditional love. Each day he protects me. Each day he cuddles with me. Each day he looks to me for unconditional love. He takes care of me and I take care of him. He can be funny, fresh, fantastic and frisky all at the same time. My baby boy is amazing. He has helped me from becoming lonely these past 19 months that I have been mostly housebound. He lets me know when he wants to eat, go out, play and other similar acts. He understands me better than anyone! He responds to everything I tell him. It is as if he can read my mind some days. It isn’t often that one finds a best friend that is so loyal, dependable, and cute to boot! As much work as baby boy can be, he is worth every extra effort, and every dollar ever spent. I love my baby boy and I am certain he loves me back. I am so grateful that he is in my life now and for however long he wants to stay!

So meet my Baby Boy!  Isn’t he adorable?  When he first came home to us he fit in the palm of my hand.  He was and still is the cutest ever!  Don’t you agree?

647_43982456963_715771963_1336682_4267_n

He doesn’t like to pose for pictures, but once I get his attention when I have the camera at hand, he will coöperate for about thirty seconds! (haha) Image

Image 1

Looking out the Window!  Checking to make sure all is okay on the block!
windowatti.jpeg

attiwindow.jpeg

He loves to sit with me on my front porch!  He will stay on the bench as long as I am touching him.  If not, he just loves to sit at my feet!

IMG_0321

And that is the Way I See It here in Brooklyn!

K

Justice

imagesCount me among the naïve in the world because I still believe that the truth is the truth and no matter how one tries to cover it up, make excuses for it, or give that age-old comment that there are two sides to every story and then there is the truth, it is still the truth. For me justice and truth are partners. Married for life. In American society today, and perhaps even in the world, media and communication methods have evolved into a state of exaggeration, exploitation, and injustice and all for the sake of dollars and cents. Everyone seems to have forgotten what morals, honesty and forgiveness means. The media are most guilty of doing this and we as a society have enabled them to succeed by buying into all the sensationalism and thrills that they provide by coloring what is truth and in turn what is actual justice.

It troubles me that we are all forgetting that our country is based on “innocent until proven guilty” in all matters, regardless of circumstances. We are all so ready to be gullible and swallow all the hype without questioning its origins or ulterior motives. Very few of us has the courage anymore to stand fast and loyal to what we have been taught, to what we have experienced and most importantly to what we actually believe in our hearts. I am personally upset by the news all around me. All of the sensationalism has sickened me to the core.

Justice fairly distributed is an American pride. Where is it going? How do we get it back? What has to change in order to feel that pride again? It worries me that the future generations are being swept up in misguided ideals in such a quantity because of modern technology and communication that the very foundation, from which they have come, is so severely cracked that their entire lives will be slowly destroyed if it continues along this path. It has actually upset my balance of self just from watching, reading and listening to all the misguided virtues and untruths being tossed about in order to entice, tempt and devalue all the work that was done to build this country in the first place.  America is nothing more than a rebellious teenager in the history of the world and it is time she grew into the next phase of her existence by remembering her foundation, improving upon them and utilizing her mistakes, experiences and lessons to keep her earned title of the greatest country in the world.

  • America needs to remember the value of family and that today’s family is not the family it once was formed to consist of. Today’s family is any body of people who reside as one unit and take care of one another in whatever way possible. That family is the American family.
  • Our elected officials are elected to represent the consensus of the American people. They are not in those positions to form small dictatorships or private enterprises.  It is society’s responsibility to keep those representatives in compliance with their positions.
  • It is society’s responsibility to uphold the principles of our country’s constitution, including the protection of all people within the boundaries of this country who are participating in this country’s laws and regulations, customs and predominant language.  All American people inclusive of all races, creeds and religions have been given the rights and privileges afforded by that Constitution and Declaration of Independence.
  • Uphold the premise of “innocent until proven guilty” as the ultimate form of justice.  It is that very premise that will set us apart from all other nations and help us to grow and learn from our past indiscretions and outright wrongs.
  • The media are not the law of the land.  Justice, independence and integrity are the laws of this country.  Society controls the perception of these values and to me right now, they are lost in the misguided notion that media and communication are the scripts of the law and justice of America.  This age of technology has given us a great deal, but it has also taken a great deal from us.  The media is a place to report news, to entertain, to share.  It is no more than opinion in any way shape or form.  It is society’s responsibility to know that difference and to subscribe to it with that knowledge.  It is time to stop and take an assessment and realize that our rebellious teen ways must come to an end.

I am at a time in my life when I don’t believe I have that many more years ahead of me as those I have behind me.  My one wish is that I once again am allowed to see the pride in America rise.  That the justice I believe is the cornerstone of our great nation will once again shine as a beacon across the seas and she will hold her head high knowing that she has moved on from the past and has kept her foundation, while reaching the next phase of her existence and is stronger than ever and ready to embrace her future, free and independently as she was born to be.

And that is the Way I See It here in Brooklyn,

K

Helena Makes Me Laugh

Whenever I see this video it brings a smile to my face.  I hope that it will bring a smile to your face as well.  Laughter is great medicine and I hope that if things are looking down for some today, this video will uplift their spirits as it does mine.

Have a great day!

And that is the Way I See It here in Brooklyn.

K

Where My Heart Is

Where My Heart Is

 

BROOKLYN

BROOKLYN, OH BROOKLYN

From the Verrazano to the Brooklyn Bridge

Through the Ridge and up the Slope

Diverse personalities in every nook

Streets of Brooklyn are “off the hook”

From Coney Island to the Navy Yard

Local churches, restaurants and museums

Amazing all people from every scene,

So enticing on the movie screens

Schools,sports and entertainment abound

The people of Brooklyn create and astound

Showing the world its undying glory

Brooklyn, oh Brooklyn, you are my life’s story

Leaving your streets to explore other places

Shadows of memories tracing empty spaces in my heart

For here lies the key to my home

Brooklyn, oh Brooklyn from you I cannot part

~Kathy Napoli

ColorBridge

I hope you will forgive me, today I felt an overwhelming sense of sadness from the thoughts that I may soon need to leave the borough of my birth.  My present circumstances is making it harder and harder to live here and be financially stable.  Not quite sure about the definite plan as yet, but I know there needs to be one very soon.  How will I ever be able to break my own heart?  Life is not always as we planned nor does change always come with joyful challenges.  For now, though, its just a jumble of thoughts.

And that is the Way I See It here in Brooklyn!

K

Reality TV vs Reality Advertising

Reality TV has become the “popular” genre on the television screens across the world. People exposing themselves gives a new meaning to entertainment. Personally, I would rather be entertained by programs such as “VEGAS”, which of course was cancelled for a show exposing the Brooklyn DA’s office! Pathetic! What I want to see is reality in Advertising. You know all those commercials portraying wrinkle reducing or eliminating fine lines and creases creams ads? The ones where there is a photo touched twenty something model applying these “miracle” products! I would just love to see an actual 50-60 year old untouched model applying those creams and actually wait the 8 weeks for them to take affect and re-shoot the commercial showing those results live! Oh yea, now that would make for true reality! Talk about preying on the helpless! Women with limited incomes have been wasting their money for years hoping one of these “creams” would take the place of the plastic surgery they can’t afford. While I’m on the subject, lets take a closer look at another “reality in Advertising” medium that has bugged me for years.
Scan 1

The picture above shows a woman who is obviously not a size 2XL, but if you look closely the small sketch within her photo shoot does. With my idea of reality advertising, that illustrated sketch would be a real untouched photo of a 2XL woman wearing that “miracle” suit and if it did all that it advertises to do for just $20 plus S&H, that designer would make billions in no time! Wahla….Reality Adveristing!

Another pet peeve of mine is the frustration infused upon women above the size of 12 while shopping.  I am sure there are hundreds if not thousands of women who have experienced the hunt for a special occasion outfit, whose soul purpose is to spend money on something they will probably only wear once, but instead of snaring their prey…they wind up wearing something from their closets or settle for less than what they wanted.  This makes for very unhappy and disappointed women worldwide.  With good intentions, we enter the high-end department stores.  There before our eyes are just the dresses and/or outfits we have been searching for, so we walk briskly to that desirous rack.  We find exactly the dress we desired.  We look at the tag and of course, it is a size 8.  We search frantically through the rack only to find that the sizes end at XL or L.  Now, keep in mind every designer seems to have their own vision of what constitutes a size S, M, L and XL.  It is as if those designers have visions so outside the box of reality that it should be deemed true fantasy!   Well back to the desired dress…with true disappointment we leave our gorgeous dress on the rack for the imitated models to find on another day.  As we look through the larger size or “woman’s size” area, all we see are sacks and dresses that even our grandmother’s of 90 wouldn’t wear.  No style, no shape, blah designs with big flowers or some other hideous accessory attached. We are just about to give up when  lo and behold, we spot the desired dress in the women’s section of racks!  (This unnamed high-end department store will remain unnamed to protect the innocent). All the awful thoughts we have been having during this shopping event are disappearing, we rescind our curse upon the designers and the stores.  We can’t believe we see that dress in the size we were looking for.  We (my companion and me)  practically run to that rack, bumping into other shoppers because we can’t get there fast enough!  We grab the dress from the rack and oh no…we have been taken again!  While the dress appeared to be that very same dress that we saw on the size 8 rack, it was anything but! It was the same material, the same color, but the style was completely obliterated!  Why we cry?  Why?  If the designers’ manufacturers can make the dress from size 0 to 12, why in heaven’s name can’t they make the EXACT same style  in size 14 to 22?  In reality, our bodies aren’t shapeless, so why make the dress in the larger size shapeless?  Here was the dress in my hands.  Proof that it was duplicated in color and material.   I walk back to the size 0 to 12 size rack, I pick up the desired dress, I compare it to the larger size duplicate…it is totally not the same styling!  “What in the world is going on?” , my mind shouts!  Somewhere between the designer and the manufacturer or distributor, that dress was REDESIGNED hideously.  It makes no sense at all.  It doesn’t only happen with this dress, it occurs in blouses and skirts and pants as well. We keep asking ourselves, “Do designers actually think that the style can’t be worn by a larger sized woman?” “How discriminating is that?”.  Of course, both dresses get placed back on their prospective racks.  Waiting for just the right person to buy them.  While the reality is that hundreds if not thousands of women would have paid the price for that dress if only it was styled as the original instead of settling for some other cheaper dress or a closet standby.  When will the world of  “reality advertising, marketing, manufacturing and designing” come to pass?  Or, “Will we forever be stuck in this merry-go-round of taboo clothing because we happen to be larger than a size 12? “. What will it take to change this status quo?  I’m thinking perhaps it’s time for the networks to consider a true reality show.  One based on reality advertising, where people are real, not made to look real, but are real.  I can envision an explosion of interest in the less than perfect people out there and an increase in profits for the brave designers and manufacturers  with an abundance of courage ready and willing to expose a false and fake system for all the world to see. I patiently and anxiously wait for someone to realize that the desired dress would look just as great on the body  of a size 14, 16, 18, 1x or 2x woman.  Just as I wait for the discovery of a cream that truly erases the wrinkles of a forty, fifty or sixty year old woman.  Oh if only that day would come!

I am so amazed by all the scientific technology that has come to pass, yet saddened by so much that has not yet been developed.  I am so tired of being entertained (or better yet…curiosity satisfied) by the barrage of reality television programs, but disillusioned by the continued phoniness in advertising and marketing.  I am a hopeful optimist!  An idealist, I suppose, about certain variants in life.  I, also presume,  I’m an average woman who shops, watches television, reads magazines and newspapers, and searches the internet, so shouldn’t I be listened to?  It would seem not.  It seems as if I am invisible in the modern world.  There is no reality in advertising and marketing for people like me because there are no brave souls out there willing to stand up against the status quo and develop or invent a reality that would mirror the reality of my existence, but nevertheless, I will hold onto the dream because after all that IS my reality.

And that is the Way I See It, here Brooklyn,

K

A poem

chairsSitting here gazing
Upon the wall of nothingness

Wondering still

Forcing the mind to chill
As it fights to stay uphill

Uncertainty crowding
Pushing mightily pounding to escape

Sleep calling bellowing in the night

Wondering still

-Kathy Napoli

Higher Education CAN take you Higher!

I read an editorial in the NY Daily News today, May 28, 2013,  by Richard Cohen of the Washington Post. (http://www.nydn.com) The editorial struck home with me because I have worked in Higher Education for more than twenty years and what Mr. Cohen portrays is a sentiment that I have held for quite a long time.  Aside from being an administrator in higher ed, I am also a parent and aunt of many who have received a college degree.  The position I held allowed me the very fortunate circumstance to meet with thousands of students from every walk of life.  Being associated with them afforded me the luxury of learning something new each day.  The things that they taught me are still meaningful and have remained with me throughout my career.  It seems to be the appropriate time to write about the things mentioned in the Daily News editorial since in New York it is just about commencement time for most of the Universities.  The editorial was written to portray the value of a college degree in today’s world and whether or not it was worth it.  I have to agree with Mr. Cohen’s belief that it is.  I have heard many students proclaim that they didn’t understand why they needed their degrees and there were some regrets as they were graduating.  However, over time they realize what they didn’t realize right away.  All those classes, the ones that may have had nothing to do with their chosen careers or jobs, are the classes that taught them to broaden their horizons, think outside the box and better themselves in the future.  They come to realize that the information that was given to them as college students was vital to the world around them.  Those wondrous tidbits of facts gave them the tools they needed to make this world of ours a better place.  What they may have learned about physics or classics or aesthetics will serve them well as they travel far and wide to apply their degree in television or radio or teaching or architecture.  Some realize this immediately, while the majority take years to fully appreciate the value of a well-rounded Associate or Bachelor or Graduate degree. There are those who go directly to a job and many may not be designed to attend college, but that is fine as well, because not everyone has to go to college.  However, those that do can come to appreciate the value of the degrees they have earned.  They would serve themselves well to have pride in their accomplishment and to search for their place in this world with the wisdom they have gained through the knowledge they have earned.

I would be remiss, if I didn’t congratulate all these wonderful college graduates.  They are a large part of the future of my world and the world of all those living today.  These graduates will go on to be the next generation of parents, doctors, lawyers, teachers, marketers, financial wizards, creative geniuses, and oh so many more glorious paths in life.   They will be or are parents who will have the insight to raise their children with a thirst for knowledge as well.  This amazing circle of life will continue because thousands of people will have graduated from higher education during the next month or so.  It won’t matter if they need to take jobs at lower pay scales, the knowledge they have attained and the opportunity given to them is something that everyone should have as an opportunity. A chance to broaden one’s mind and expand their own worlds should be everyone’s chance in life.   A higher education has given many people the power to become higher in life because their minds were overloaded and empowered from all those classes that had nothing to do with their chosen fields.  I truly hope they are as proud of themselves as a I am for them, past, present and future.  They are my hope for a better world in the very near future.  CONGRATULATIONS GRADUATES!

That is the Way I See It here in Brooklyn,K

graduationstudents

universitygradmfasmiguel

My May Memorial

In Flanders Fields
John McCrae, 1915.

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

Being a product of the Catholic School System the month of May meant many things to me, but most of all I have always associated it with peace, joy, and beauty. My father passed away on May 4th and one of my sisters passed away on May 8th. So along with my wonderful memories of May comes a bit of heartache. Among the most vivid memories I have is one of the Blessed Mother. Not meaning to give anyone the idea that I am still affiliated with any organized religion, because I chose a long time ago not to associate, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t believe in some of the things that I was taught as a child. Naturally, I don’t believe them as blindly as I did back then, however there was always something to the idea of my beliefs, especially when it came to the Blessed Mother. I belief that the man Jesus may very well have had a mom named Mary and that she suffered greatly when he was crucified as any mother would. She has always been a part of my life and I have turned to her many a time to console me and to help me deal with the most painful moments of my life. Perhaps it is just an idea that I turn to, but for me she was a very real person and her spirit lingers within me. She represents all that is peaceful and beautiful to me. She encompasses the makeup of my heart. I strive to be as loving as I believe she had to have been for she sacrificed greatly for the good of all. The other side of my persona is very much rooted in patriotism. This from both my father and John Wayne, two men who convinced me, whether acting or not, that America was a great country and worth defending to the death. Listening to my father and watching John Wayne with him in the old movies was a great adventure for me. I got to spend time with my father, which wasn’t always possible in our lifestyle. My father loved Fred Astaire, John Wayne, James Cagney, and many more movie stars long gone to graves. My father instilled in me that same passion. I am not so naive as to think that this could possibly be conceived as “brainwashing”, but whether it was brainwashing or it wasn’t doesn’t matter anymore. That feeling of  patriotism is still very much a part of who I am and what matters in life to me. Wouldn’t you say I have that right?

I recall those days in May when we would wear our communion dresses for the crowning of Mary. It was an exciting time in my young life and I always loved the songs we would sing as we processed down the aisle of the Church to where Mary’s statue sat and one of the girls would be chosen to “crown” Mary with a bouquet of flowers. I felt such inner joy and peace during those simple ceremonies. I can still recall some of the songs we sang and how their lyrics and tunes would be forever imbedded in my mind. Perhaps they might ring a bell to some of the readers, so I have inserted a couple below.  You still might be asking yourself, “What has this got to do with Memorial Day?”

    

When Memorial Day was approaching, at the end of May (May 30th to be exact), our school would collect donations from the students and once we donated we would receive an artificial poppy flower to wear for Memorial Day. I was always lucky in the fact that I was always able to “purchase” that poppy. I recall walking along the street, proud as a peacock with my poppy pinned to my chest for all the world to see. I knew it had something to do with our military dying for our country, but as a child, I never connected it to the horror of losing someone you love in a war. Nowadays, I would never deny that this is truly horrific, however it is also an honor for those who chose to fight for this country and for the families who sacrifice because of that choice. No one wants to be at war.  No one wants to have men and women dying because they chose to join the military.  The ugly facts are though, that it is a reality and since the Civil War onward, our military have given of themselves to protect what they believe to be freedoms.  They fight in wars so that those freedoms can be protected.  So that their country can continue to be a “land of the free and a home of the Brave”.  Perhaps the reasons aren’t always crystal clear to many.  Perhaps those people are right in saying that America should mind her own and stay out of other country’s troubles, but I personally wonder how long we would be able to be the country that gives all the people those rights, if we don’t defend her ideals?  How long could we maintain our independence if we don’t help defend the independence of those who need it or ask for it?  Not long I assure you.

poppy.jpg

This weekend is Memorial Day weekend.  Somehow, along the way, the very reason that Memorial Day was declared a holiday became lost in a new idea that Memorial Day was the beginning of summer. While I personally believe barbecuing and celebrating is a great way to commemorate Memorial Day, it should never be without remembering how it came to be.

http://www.usmemorialday.org/backgrnd.html

People have  forgotten or have set aside the notion that it is truly a day set aside to remember all those who have fallen in the service of their country since the beginning of our time.  It is a solemn day, yet joyful day when we can get together to celebrate the sacrifice of life that our military has made in order to ensure that we keep that right to celebrate.  We can best honor them by doing what we do best, going to parks, beaches, backyards and enjoying the freedoms that are ours because the military who have died, and the military who still serve, have given us those freedoms for a while longer.  And when we are at our events, we need to stop and remember those military personnel and their families and be grateful to all of them for their sacrifices. That is how I can connect  Mary, Blessed Mother to Memorial Day.  As a mother, she sacrificed when her son gave his life up for the things he believed, just as our military men and women give up their lives for what they believed.  As do their mothers and families.  All who have sacrificed and suffered should be remembered on Memorial Day.  This day should remain so that the memories and the lives of all these people will be forever immortalized in the hearts and the minds of each of us.  We should never forget.

poppyfield

For me May will always be a month of memories, memorials, joys, and beauty.  It will forever hold for me the wish that all who seek peace in this world will work toward it.  Merry is the month of May and hopefully, we will continue to keep it that way.

And that is the Way I See It here in Brooklyn,

K

Poetry II- Love

Today my thoughts turn to love and something my mom always said to me. She would often tell me, as I would speak about loving someone, that there was no such thing as love. I realized a long while ago that she said that because of all the hurt that she had been through in her life. To her love meant getting hurt physically, emotionally and intellectually. I do believe that regardless of what she said, she did love and knew she was loved, she just couldn’t bring herself to express it for the fear of feeling that (oh so awful pain) one feels when love hurts, and love, my friends can be excruciatingly wonderful and even more excruciatingly painful. I have always been fascinated by the emotions of love and how one can completely change their own vision of themselves or their ideals once love enters their emotional make up. I have always wanted to study what constitutes love as love, but never had the opportunity. So instead I have written over the years a series of poems and/or essays, which I will share with you today. Some may seem complicated or perhaps way to deep to comprehend, but if you can read them more than once, perhaps the message I am attempting to convey will dawn on at least a few and my efforts in creating them will at least not have been for naught. Of course, I know that my mother’s reasons for not wanting to believe in love were very valid, but her words did spark the notion within myself to wonder, is there really such a thing as love? Or is love just an illusion that people create so that they can give more freely of themselves? I know that I love my children and my siblings and my friends, but I don’t believe that form of love is the love I am curious about. It is the love between two people that ignites my interest in the subject. How can we really be sure that the chemistry or the caring or both is truly selfless love and not just an expression of need within our own self? What if, my mother was right without knowing she was right? What if there is truly no such thing as love?

Hope you enjoy my thoughts on love.

What is Love? 

Love is a moment, and too often it passes without a second thought.  It’s the one moment in your life in which everything is right.  Your faults and failures don’t matter.   Love is the moment you know why you’re here; it’s the answer you’ve sought. Love is the absence of emptiness.  Love is the sole reason you feel emptiness.  Love is a changeling.

It is different feelings in different people.  Love is a defined human emotion tugging for comprehension within the center of reason.  Love is the confidence to be. Love is essence of beauty.  Love is felt.  Love is neither intelligence nor a theory-provoking process.  Love is the core of humanity’s beliefs.  Love can be paradise.  Love can be excruciating pain.    Love is a personal expression of inner self.  Love is a mystery waiting to be revealed.  Love is the driving force in the pursuit of happiness.  Love is self-deprivation in a quest toward selfishness of the highest form by creating happiness in another.  Love is what you feel it is and not what you think it is.  Love is unforgettably embedded in your being once it is truly experienced. 

Love is a lifelong search.  

~Kathy Napoli

IMG_0863

The Passage

  by Kathy Napoli 

Two beings meet amidst the threshold of love and suddenly its a choice of life and death,

A kindred spirit arises in each with no thought, no strive just need and to need

Reality a fleeting whisper of wind.

As if inside a vacuum of space the depth of one another silently speaks.

A tumultuous, rapid commonality grows – the need is met

The whisper of what could be gushes through the vacuum pulsating its vibrations until it gains a voice.

Spirits connected through embedded memory emerge infiltrating the kindred’s peace.

Now the threshold  of love between life and death surrounds the passage splitting the heart, suffocating the spirit.

Struggling, transforming the internal emotions into a battle of the self.

Abandonment the strongest appeal; dependency the anchor.

A self expression surrounds the vacuum – yet longs to linger among the kindred and the memory.

Turmoil  of the soul continues -diversions emit magnetic power dulling the reality

Somewhere the whisper of wind filters through and once again the vacuum emerges –the threshold attached to the memory.

Within the spirit a solution evolves and hides itself as a sacrificial lamb

Fantasy guides the consciousness as need controls its direction

A sheltered thought of love shackles the spirit while feeling it emancipates the emotion.

For the spirit to pass through the threshold of love between life and death-happiness must saturate the passage

Seeking through the haze of disbelief, clinging desperately to the unfounded trust, the heart is bound 

Knowing full well the answer lies within and reality must win  

hearts

DOUBT

Flighty, wildly swirling about

Like butterfly cocoons split apart

Exploring, sensations vibrating; carried afloat

Surging onward touching each cell

Vanishing briefly; suddenly appearing

Fluttering, nagging, pulsating the nerves

Spirit pushing the soul

While logic disintegrates and explodes the brain

Wet as the rain, soaking and drowning

Sense evaporates; fear begins

Searching for answers; never sure of the questions

Looking, listening, hearing, seeing; still swirling about

Ah, it comes, like sunrise o’er the Balkans

So simple, so easy, always safe, secure

Hidden inside until the dawn springs its light

Dreams long forgotten in the flutter of wings

Sweet song of belief; singing through the heart

Words making music for faith to exhale

Always inside the shell; fate through circumstance prevail

Darkness came whilst the doubt sauntered in

Now the light of self has broken the spell

As once again we create what once was known

A short stay of doubt lingers awhile

~Kathy Napoli

“Reeling”

Hazy and Floating

No thoughts or ideas

Through stairwells of drifting

No focus to grasp

The heart rejects the pleading

And the mind continues reeling

Fate is still fleeting

No more standing the pain

Deep in the soul as if fleeing

Yet knowing full well it remains

And the mind continues reeling

Lost and Alone

The search never-ending

No promise of love

Hope lingers everlasting

While reality surrounds

And the mind continues reeling

~Kathy Napoli

And that is the Way I See It here in Brooklyn,

K

 

 

Poetry

Image

Today I sat quietly thinking.  My mind filled with images and words about the condition of the world today.  Reading about them in papers; hearing about them on the News.  I had discussions with my closest friend and members of my family about them.  I listened to all the points of view about the war in the Middle East; the North Korean concerns; the conditions in Africa;  the crime in our American cities.  Each person of my generation seemed to be of the same opinions and all were at a loss for any solutions.  As for me, well I have always thought of myself as an individualist and yet, a staunch supporter of justice for all.  I’ve intense feelings of fairness and often cannot rest my mind when something occurs that I feel is unjust. At times these thoughts swirl inside my mind needing an escape.  The best way I have found to expel them is to write poetry or better said, what I believe to be poetry.  So for the rest of this week I will choose some of my poems and share them with you on this blog.  With my sanguine attitude I will begin by sharing my thoughts on humanity, since that at the moment seems to be the predominant force inside my cerebrum.

Through emotional intellect we sometimes see what we ordinarily overlook.  We all experience humanity in our everyday existence, only we think we are different. The language of words, in whatever form they possess, spoken, unspoken and written connect us all.  ~ Kathy Napoli

Come share my words that I hope will inspire you.

Image

Is Humanity a Myth?

To know one another through human familiarity or frailty 

Opens the path to peace 

Deliberating all differences as a form of communication

Paints the road with compassion

comprehension,  and patience

 

Asking questions and learning about one another

opens minds and ends all illusions

Existing together as one human race

Begins a euphoric condition

Resulting in peace throughout each one’s space

 

Illuminating humanity as life not myth

We merge as the same race – all sharing a similar body

Hoping all senses and intellect intact 

Will grant us the comfort to be able to be.

Knowing only what we have learned

Learn to love and you will love

Learn to hate and you will hate

Learn to conquer and you will conquer

 

Never giving peace its chance

Is killing the human race

Seeking peace is the salvation

Within the human race

~Kathy Napoli

I and others like me have tried to comprehend the political, religious and pragmatic sides of wars and abuse, crime and depravity, but aren’t things that a sane mind can grasp. These atrocities in life seem to repeat throughout history, no lessons being learned, no sensible reasoning for disrupting peace, and no regard for the human species in general. It is a sad world we exist in today, perhaps sadder than ever before since the emergence of formidable technology.  Everything is transparent for all eyes to see, so how can we not at least try to make a difference? Here in NY some people held an “Occupy Wall Street” protest against the corporate world, people from many walks of life and places around the world heard their cries.  I would love to see bloggers and others who use words to make a difference, perhaps begin an “Occupy Cyberspace” with messages of humanity.  That would be totally cool in this ever-changing speeding technological world where we exist.  Oh well, wishful thinking again on my part to right injustices.

It has dawned on me many times that perhaps to understand the ugliness in the world we need to look at it closer and identify it before we can begin to change it. Or perhaps we do see it and have no control over its spreading.  In either case, my thoughts are below.

Ugliness

    Today the media shows it everyday.  It is in print, it is on television and radio every hour on the hour.  It is in everyone’s home, on everyone’s lips and in everyone’s mind. It is impossible to hide and no one can completely turn away.  It is provocative and alluring. It is history in the making.  It is war.  It is inhumanity. 

  Human nature tries to turn from ugliness.  It masks itself with excuses.  No one wants to admit that ugliness has a right to live side by side with beauty because it is too hard to accept.  The reasons for it cannot be truthfully known for it is only the truth of those who must create it.  Blame has no place in ugliness just as it was born it will die.  Yet, to endure it is to be in the pit with the beast. 

    Beauty is simple.  There are no complications. It just exists as it was created and pleasured for– as it is accepted.  Ugliness does not share this epiphany.  It must reveal itself over and over again for it to be looked upon.  Its hideous, deplorable methods are drawn toward the center of each human being’s existence.  With the absence of ugliness – the world would not know the value and joy of beauty. 

   If we had the power to strike down all that was ugly, could we survive?  As a race of human beings we must embrace ugliness so that true beauty can surface. Realistically, all ugliness is not evil, yet evil is the ultimate ugliness we know.  Our existence is based on the powers of good and evil, we have not evolved to a level of wisdom wise enough to decipher the real difference.  So we must determine with limited ability the realism we exist by and that is acceptance of all things that are beautiful and ugly without truly knowing if it is good or evil.  

  War is ugly and war may be evil, yet without war those who embrace evil will create all that is ugly within the world.  Peace is the ultimate beauty, yet peace can only be fully achieved by eliminating all that is ugly and yet, all that is ugly is not evil.  To accept both beauty and ugliness and not equate it with good and evil is to reach a level that human beings have yet to achieve.  Peace must be seen as ugly and accepted as beauty for the human race to realize its destiny  

~ Kathy Napoli

And that is The Way I See It here in Brooklyn,

K

 

 

Summer Dreaming

Summer is quickly approaching. I’ve always loved summer. The smell of the ocean as the breeze warmly caresses your skin on the beach. The view of a lake surrounded by mountain greenery emanating a blissful feeling of peace. I was always certain that God lives in Lake George because I have never felt such a contented, totally peaceful aura as I experienced during my visits to this beautiful lake. When I dream of summer it always includes children playing and laughing, picnics and an overall feeling of complete freedom. I long to take long drives in the summer. Eat lobster on a pier, enjoy Ralph’s ices or Spumoni Gardens’ Spumoni. Eat a fresh slice of New York pizza while strolling down an Avenue. Holding hands while walking along a tree lined path. There are so many visions of summer, too many to list here so I’ve decided try and capture my feelings about summer and share them here with my poetry and random pictures with the hope that my readers’ summer dreaming will bring them as much pleasure as it brings to me.

Happy Dreaming!

photo 3

Lake George
Lake George

BEAUTIFUL SUMMER

Tangerine hue glistening gold upon the subdued foam

Astounding beauty encapsulating the soul

An emotional upheaval entwines from within

Tossed between melancholy and a grin

Past memories and tomorrow

Unable to turn away

What seems a lifetime-reality-a few moments

As the summer sun lights the dawn

Promising laughter, freedom and joy

Its’ summer kiss a promise

Its’ caress enrapturing our mind

Yes, it’s summer once again!

20130519-210026.jpg

And that’s the Way I See It here in Brooklyn

K

The good with the bad

Well Mother’s Day was lovely.  The weather was perfect and the children were wonderful.  We went to Prospect Park after brunch and I had an opportunity to see the beauty of the Park I grew up around.  It has changed somewhat, but remains lovely.  We went by the lake and I was able to sit on a bench and look at the calmness of the water which is home to some ducks, swans and other water fowl.  It was very crowded yet peaceful at the same time.  For the past four days I have been paying the price however.  My body is trying to regain some strength.  Somehow I caught something else to deal with…a sore eye.  I developed some type of sore on the lid and it is affecting the left side of my face. As much as I love and enjoy outings, they don’t return the favor any longer.  Whenever, I venture to go somewhere, the next three to four days I spend recuperating, but I am not complaining, more like venting.  I long for the days when I could walk faster, move faster, get five things done at the same time.  I wish a simple beautiful day such as Mother’s Day didn’t leave me feeling as if every drop of energy was drained from my body.  Now that the nicer weather is upon us, I would love to be outside enjoying nature and people, but I fear I face another summer stuck indoors or only as far outside as my porch.  The few times when I can get out and get a ride in the car is a gift to me these past fifteen months.  I wish I learned to drive all those years ago, but now it is too late for wishes and the reality of my present life looms before me.  I am grateful for so many things and frightened by others.  I suppose one must take the good with the bad.  I try to do that every single day.  Every once in awhile though I do become a bit despondent and long for those days when I didn’t have to think about the good or the bad, they were just there.  Those days when all that occupied my thoughts were the day to day operations of my employment and what was for dinner and if we would watch TV or finish a project for the house, or go out somewhere.  All those day to day things are gone now and one day folds into the other, passing in the same way.  I suppose my limitations are pronounced this week because I fell into the fantasy that perhaps I could be my old own self again.  I woke up though as soon as Monday arrived.  I look around my house and see so many projects that I wish I could do.  I have the itch to garden at this time of year, but I must wait for assistance for all I can do these days is supervise from a chair and even that doesn’t last very long before I tire out. When people see me they tell me “how good I look”, I think that has always been a sort of curse with me, from the outside, one would never know that anything at all was wrong with me.  It is all hidden beneath my skin, this debilitating, life stealing monster that consumes my physical being and zaps my abilities and energy on a daily basis.  I don’t mind most days because I dislike crying about woes in general.  So today seems to be a good day.  At least I can type today and write on my blog.  The weather is nice, the sun is shining and I am basking in its warm through my window.  I am grateful for everyday though one would not think so from today’s post.  I am glad that Mother’s Day and all holidays only come once a year for I fear that anymore than that would make me into a terrible crank who does nothing but vent….and that is not something I want to be.  So I hope you bare with me while I think of inspiration to post about things other than myself and I truly begin again with the cycle of taking the good with the bad.

And that is the Way I See It here in Brooklyn,

K

The Issue of guns and the second amendment

I don’t really like guns personally. They represent violence and egoism to me. That doesn’t mean I don’t think that guns might be necessary in the world we live in today. I had never realized exactly what the second amendment said until very recently. Honestly I was quite surprised at the actual wording of this amendment. Everyone seems to be using it as a basis to argue for or against gun control, when logically, I don’t read those words as an argument for either case. Guns, sadly, cannot be controlled in this society. It is impossible to do as long as there is a black market for guns. Should gun control be enforced? Absolutely, because a citizen defending their home with a weapon doesn’t need an assault weapon to do so. A simple gun would provide a form of protection that that particular person is in need of and doing that would not infringe upon the interpretation that the person actually reads in the second amendment. Would I do it? No. I don’t want any guns in my home nor would I choose to collect them, use them, or have anything to do with them, but that is my right as well as the right of my fellow citizens to have one. Do I believe that a person who buys a gun legally needs to be screened for mental illness? Absolutely. Do I believe that it is possible to screen everyone who gets or buys a weapon? Absolutely, not! So as an average American I don’t think there is a better solution than the following when it falls under the category of assault weapons: manufacture those weapons for the military and police forces and no one else. Legally, it would be the only option that makes any sense to me. The gun manufacturers could contract with the military and the police forces to make those weapons for their use only, the other guns would still be manufactured for self-defense of the individuals who feel they need them, or hunting rifles for those who hunt to keep the balance in nature. The gun manufacturers should be able to make a decent profit doing that and therefore, the question of turning a profit is answered. The military and the police forces would then be liable and accountable should these assault weapons fall into the hands of the unsavory. It would be both a local and federal government responsibility to keep track of all assault weapons assigned through a consistent inventory database showing who was assigned which weapon and when you left the military or the police force, your weapon would be returned or that individual would be held accountable both monetarily as well as criminally. How else, I ask myself do these weapons get into the hands of criminals and mentally challenged people? Only through a criminal act would be my answer. The black-market! How does a society stop a black-market? I don’t think it is humanely possible to do that. I cannot see how that could be accomplished unless we were forced to become a military state throughout the entire country. I certainly wouldn’t want that, would you? I happen to like the privileges of freedom I experience in the United States of America. I, for one, don’t want to upset that balance at all.

The second amendment was written quite a long time ago. It’s idea I believe was enacted when Americans believed they could be attacked by an enemy while they were in their homes. It seems to me that the only way that happens nowadays is if a criminal broke into a home to do harm. So I can understand the theory in those cases, “of a right to bear arms”. I just don’t see the need for an assault weapon or any other weapon that needs more than six bullets in order to defend your home, from animals or humans. I, personally don’t see the need for any guns in my home at all. But that is just me. Just as I defend my right to say these things publicly, I would defend the people who believe they have the right to have a gun. I will continue to disagree with their belief that it is necessary to have one and at the same time believe it is not my place to force my beliefs on anyone else.

So in my most humblest opinion there is no simple answer to what people refer to as gun control. There is no simple answer to violence whether it be with a gun or some other type of weapon, violence is violence, and evil is evil. Hearing different opinions on television and on social networking can’t hurt because those of us who are not exactly up-to-date can at least be informed of what is being said and done.

I do however wish that people would just remember that we are all human beings and that respect for others opinions or believes goes a long way. Change obviously needs to be made when it comes to the subject of guns and if the NRA and other advocates with similar beliefs don’t see that then they are fooling only themselves. I respect their right to bear arms against their enemy, I just don’t respect their push to do this not because of their conviction, but because it makes them money. I, for one, will never believe that the NRA is in this for the sake of an amendment. It is for the money and power that comes along with this particular political stance. So why not have the best of both worlds by bringing compromise and compassion into the privilege of bearing arms? Extremists in all areas of life are the problem. They cause the problems, they create the problems, they are the problems! It isn’t guns, it isn’t people with guns. Not having guns will not solve all the problems and bring peace to the world. If extremists can’t get guns they will get clubs, rocks, knives, whatever it will take to harm others. People who claim to want peace and do away with guns and all forms of violence are idealists. In human nature there will always be peaceful intentions and violent intentions. It is, unfortunately, the way the world turns. I am so tired of hearing all the rhetoric about gun control. I am so tired of the legislature fighting over this when there are so many other things that the country should be concentrated on at the moment. That boy who killed those children, teachers and mother and then himself, was a very disturbed individual who needed help that he obviously didn’t get. The access to those guns he had came from his very own mother, who IN MY OPINION, had to be disturbed herself to think that she needed to have those weapons because it was her right to have them. She twisted the meaning of the second amendment to fit her own wants. That is exactly what the NRA is doing today and the legislature is doing. Keep the second amendment in perspective, but understand that its meaning is to protect the American individual in their own home and does not mean to accumulate or collect guns that have no place in everyday society. If I could talk directly to Congress and the Senate those are the things I would tell them and I would add: “Please stop arguing and fighting over this! Please just set the record straight once and for all about the privileges we have been given in the Constitution and stop your greed from Lobbyists!” “We, the American people, need our representatives to be the leaders we elected, we need your common sense, your judgement and decisions, your leadership.”

Let’s just get on with our American lives and that is the Way I See It here in Brooklyn.

K

Teachers Appreciation Week

A week to celebrate a worthy profession
A week to celebrate a worthy profession

I have dozens of friends and relatives who are teachers.  I have worked in higher education for over twenty years.  Because of those two facts, I feel qualified to speak about teachers in today’s blog.  So here is the way I see it!

In today’s society it seems so easy to pick out the teachers who are “bad” or who make the wrong choices or who shouldn’t have become teachers to begin with or were turned into monsters from their experiences.  There is always a media hoopla nowadays about the negative aspects in teaching and the education system itself.  I don’t want to talk about what is wrong in today’s education system or about those handful of people who shouldn’t be teachers, but I do want to talk about the changes I have seen through the years in the attitudes toward teachers and about the most unappreciated profession in America today.

Many years ago a teacher was respected, they were the educators of our children.  The people who had the knowledge that we as parents and our parents didn’t have.  It took me years of working within the education system to realize that teachers, as in all other walks of life, are ordinary people with all sorts of different personalities.  However, there is that one element that I recognize in teachers that not everyone possesses and that is a desire to help children and adults alike, to open their minds and experience the power of thinking independently in order to make a difference in both their individual lives and the world in general.  The look I have seen on a teacher’s face when they have reached a person who struggled to learn and then one day that very same child or adult was enlightened is priceless.

Only a person with the calling of a teacher can truly experience such a phenomenal feeling that reaching someone through teaching can give them.  These people, these teachers have earned our respect.  Through their chosen professions these individuals have created a path and an opportunity for our children to progress toward the future and to make a difference in some way, big or small, that will affect the entire world.  These people, these teachers deserve our respect.  Yes, it is harder to be a teacher today because there are so many misunderstandings and misconceptions about teachers in the general society.  Media helps to further that belief by focusing predominantly on the negative teachers and less on the overwhelming majority of positive teachers.  This false sense of knowledge is a portion of why people have lost respect for this great profession and have in many cases passed these negative attitudes along to their children.  Years ago, there was an education system that allowed its’ teachers to be severe disciplinarians, it took a lot of change and lot of maturing to realize that punishment of children in so severe a way is totally unacceptable, unwarranted and has no place in education.  All the teachers I know today agree with that finding and strive everyday to teach undisciplined children and adults alike.  Most of them teach their lessons while children talk out in class, throw things, start fights, or worse.  These teachers hunger for ways to reach these students, but unfortunately, how can they really accomplish that if the system itself strips the teachers of all authority?  In today’s educational environment, teachers have to literally possess the patience of a saint or some other extraordinary being.  They must be politically correct at all times.  They must tolerate being cursed at, verbally abused and sometimes even physically abused.  There is no course of action for teachers today, and yet, there they are everyday in their classrooms willing and ready to try to reach at least one mind if not all.

These are the teachers I write about today.  These are the people I know exist in my family and in my circle of friends.  These are the teachers who are in the majority and these are the people who should be respected more than any other profession.  These are the people who still possess knowledge that most of us will never touch upon.  These are the people with whom we leave our children in the care of day after day.  These are the people who will shape our future world by imparting to our children the knowledge they need to make a difference in this world.  From pre-kindergarten through graduate school, these people work endlessly with one purpose in mind and for that alone they have earned and deserve our respect.  I, for one would love to see the day dawn, when power is given back to the teachers of today.  The ones who know that severe disciplinary actions are unnecessary and are things of the past.  The ones who will use that small dose of authoritative power to have a classroom of people where mutual respect exists.  History has shown us that mutual respect is the key to accomplish many great things, it is up to us as parents and guardians to instill in our children this notion.  It is up to us to impart the truth about teachers and to watch over our children and to be aware of any abuse of such power.  It isn’t the role of our teachers to be the parents or guardians.  The teacher’s role is to teach.  The teachers I know (and there are a lot) want to do just that.  They want to spend their hours in classrooms teaching for it is their calling to do so.  We can help them to do that by doing our part and by teaching respect for those who have been called to this great profession.  We can stop feeding into the belief that we know better than them and dropping the attitudes that are picked up by our children that exude an aura of disrespect and superiority.  We can help teachers to do their jobs, their calling, by supporting our schools and by check-listing the administrators instead of the teachers.  Society today tends to blame the teachers for its failing education system, when in reality it is the think tanks within the administrative side of education that is to blame for our failure in educating our children, but that is a different blog, for a different day.

Today I want to say thank you to every teacher I have ever had and to every teacher I know.  Thank you for choosing to become a teacher.  Thank you for your patience, your fortitude and your understanding.  Thank you for doing the very thing I, and many like me, are incapable of doing–teaching on a professional and disciplined level! Thank you for wanting to do that in the first place!   I hope this week each of you has an opportunity to experience the gratitude you richly deserve and that in some way, big or small, you are celebrated and most of all respected.

That is the Way I See It here in Brooklyn.

K

 

BEING A NONNA

I’ve been an aunt ever since I can remember. Having thirty-three nieces and nephews and not counting the grands, my husband’s side and the people they married, one would think I’ve seen it all.  I am also a mother of two and a mother-in-law of one.  Everyone I ever knew who became a grandparent would tell me how it is such a different experience, indescribable.  I think I now understand what they meant because in October of 2011 I became the Nonna of the most amazing little girl ever.

She is the apple of my eye, the beat of my heart, my pride and joy.  I adore her and everything about her.  Her little mind is truly a sponge and she absorbs something new every single day.  Ever since she was an itty bitty newborn her alertness was apparent to everyone who spent time with her.

Everyday when I think of her my heart swells and a smile comes to my mouth.  It’s automatic! I can’t help it.  I just want to be around her all the time, but of course in today’s world that isn’t possible.  My children live far away from me…in another borough ….that ‘s far for me!  Stop laughing at me now.  It’s been years since I’ve been passed Jersey and Brooklyn is still my home, at least for the time being.  And besides where else could a better place be for a Nonna like me?

Being a Nonna is somewhat challenging, especially now that my body movements are extremely limited.  It means learning the modern methods, watching my p’s and q’s, resisting the urge to tell my granddaughter’s parents that it isn’t the way we did things!  It’s also exciting, wonderful, loving and exhilarating! I like being a Nonna.  At first, I thought it would make me feel old and past my prime.  I worried that I would be left in a corner to just watch and stay quiet, but that, thank goodness, is not the way it is at all.  Whenever I’m around her I feel young, and vibrant and happy.  When she first said Nonna, when her little arms hug me, when she throws me kisses, says I love you….I feel a bit of what paradise must be like. Of course, she has her moments and gets fresh or mischievous, it’s natural. It doesn’t seem to bother me though as it did with my own children, for some reason it just goes right over my head.

My one regret is that I’m unable to run after her now, or give her a pony ride on my back, or go on a slide with her, or dance with her the way I used to with her father and uncle. I wish those things were possible, but they aren’t, so I find other ways to bond with this truly amazing, smart little person.

I’ve always loved to shop for others and buy gifts.  I’ve been told it’s my biggest fault.  Now no one can stop me, I love getting little gifts for her and buying clothes for her and watching her as she figures out what to do with them. At times my jaw drops in amazement as I watch her beautiful face thinking and her curiosity as it rivals those of a genius. Her Nonno and I are in awe at her genuine process of thinking at such a young age.

Being a Nonna is the best thing that has ever happened to me besides becoming a mom.  I wouldn’t trade being a Nonna for all the riches in the world because I am the wealthiest woman in the world ….I am a Nonna!

That’s the way I see it, here in my Brooklyn homeland!

K

Nonna's Girl

Universe What Have You Done to Me Now?

I knew something was wrong, but I kept pushing myself believing that it was just a fluke and would disappear as quickly as it came.   This numbness in my thighs and the constant ache in my back whenever I walked anywhere just kept getting worse. Like a sign from the Universe, one day, while at work, a bolt of lightning pain shot straight down my spine, from my neck to my tailbone and I could no longer deny it was time for my orthopedic doc to take a look! So with all the strength I could muster I phoned him, received an appointment and went to see him that very same day.  Dr. Licciardi is a wonderful man and a fantastic orthopedic surgeon.  He had taken care of me in the past and I felt safe and assured in his care. Rocco, my ever caring husband, picked me up early from work and we drove to the doctor.  By the time I was in the examining room, the pain was so severe that all Dr. Licciardi had to do was look at my face and he instantly knew something was terribly wrong.  He gave me a shot to try and ease the spasms and took some tests.  Finally after a few days and all the tests results came in, I had my answer I had progressive stenosis, degenerative disc disease and a collapsed thecal sac with severe nerve damage.  In other words, I was now disabled and the prognosis of this diagnoses was not very positive.  To say I was shocked would be an understatement!  I was actually devastated, but no one can ever tell when I feel that way, because I can mask that devastation brilliantly.

A series of “fixes” was started immediately, none of them, of course, came with any guarantees, but then neither did this body of mine.  For the next three months or so, I went through cortisone metropaks, injections from pain management physicians, bed rest, anti-inflammatory and pain medications.  Trying to stand, sit or walk for a few minutes at a time was becoming an olympian challenge for me.  My entire life had completely changed and I was not ready for it at all.  My inner makings had aged before my years and there was nothing I could do to stop it anymore.  Oh yes, surgery was mentioned to me, but the odds of either surviving them or of them lasting was so slim that it was impossible for me to consider them.  Worst of all was that Dr. Licciardi, himself, didn’t perform the type of surgery that was needed and I would have to be recommended to a different doctor.  I wasn’t ready for that. This Universe that we all live in was certainly having fun with me!  It wasn’t enough that I had Menopause, oh no, that wasn’t enough for my Universe, now I had this debilitating disease that would prove to change the entire way I had existed for the past twenty years!

I have often thought well it could be a lot worse.  I could be dying.  I could have cancer or some other life threatening illness.  I could be paralyzed or any other  number of horrible terrible things that braver people than I are going through every single day, so in a way I always tell myself how lucky I really am and I mean it for about 5 minutes and then I say, no freaking way!  This damn thing I have is as bad as some of those other diseases because my life is no longer my life!  I don’t feel sorry for me, I freaking can’t stand me or my insides or whatever that has taken away my opportunity to hold down my job, to walk for any length, to sit for any amount of time, to lie down without pain, to cook, to bowl, to dance!  I hate this freaking disease and I don’t want to have it.

I am so appreciative of everyone’s good thoughts and attempts at boosting my “blues” by telling me how “fortunate” I am, and at the same time, I want to scream!  No one seems to get it!  Everyone thinks, “aww you have a bad back” and everyone has either experienced a bad back or knows someone who has.  Everyone knows someone or themselves who have had slipped discs, etc. etc….No one and I mean no one, ever realizes that I have had a “bad back” for about thirty-eight years and now it has collapsed!  No one truly understands and I can live with that by  not talking about my disease, by “pretending” that I am just okay with this; going on about my everyday life as if everything is honky dory and normal as can be.  It’s all BS!  I am not honky dory, everyday life for me is no life at all!  Dr. Licciardi doesn’t know what to do for me anymore, except to keep checking me for any changes, giving me  meds and being the great man that he is.  He brings up one of the surgeries I would need, every now and then, but he never pushes me, knowing full well that it would last about six months, if I was one of the lucky ones, and then probably be worse than it is now!  No freaking way will I put myself through that!

By now, you might be saying to yourselves, wow what a selfish bitch this woman is!  She should be grateful,yadda yadda yadda!!! You are probably saying, stop feeling sorry for yourself!   Yet, none of you saying that has been living my life as of late! So hell no, no matter what anyone else thinks, I am doing the very best I can under these forced circumstances!  When I can find some joy in this current life of mine, I am going to take it!  I am not going to complain everyday (just once in this blog)!  I am lucky in one aspect, lucky that I am married to a Saint! and I mean a Saint!  I have the world’s best! Rocco does everything for me now, most of the cooking; all the cleaning; most of the shopping; and thank God he still has a job that supports us and helps us get health insurance.  Yes, I am bringing in some money by getting SS and some disability money so for now we can keep our heads just above the water, but sooner than later we are going to have to sell our home and try to start over somewhere, somehow. I often wonder if anyone can imagine the psychological changes that occur when an active, fun-loving woman like myself, gets hit with a life-changing event like this?  Believe me it takes will power not to punch walls, or throw yourself off the nearest bridge, (if you could get there)!  It takes an iron will not to scream at everyone who says, “it could be worse!” or “you are just feeling sorry for yourself!” Maybe both of those things are true, and if they are “so be it”.  All I know is that I feel like the Universe has played a cruel trick on me and I am neither happy about it or so willing to be a martyr for it!  I wish it didn’t happen, but the reality is that is has.  So now I am taking forever to learn to make the best of it, but I will continue to try to do that for as long as I can, until this Universe decides to try something new with my life.

Whew, thanks blog for letting me get that off my chest!  This is the first and last time I will speak on the subject and so that is The Way I See It.

Forever Brooklyn Bred and Raised,

K