One year ago, Boyfriend and I were hanging out with my mother and my aunt. They came to visit us in Central Texas over a four-day weekend. There were a few interesting moments, but there were also great opportunities to talk with them and to share our corner of the world with them. I had not spent an extensive amount of time with my aunt in a very long time, perhaps since I spent overnights as an adolescent, and I had not seen my mother since I moved from the Chicago area two years prior.
Wow, time does go by. There were moments I could have handled differently, which I learned from, and I hope for another chance for my mom and aunt to visit. I actually hope that my father and my brother and his fiancée all visit because I not only want to show them the beautiful landscape and the places we like in Central Texas, but also because a phone call only does so much. We are all very different people with different interests, ideas, and viewpoints, and it can be hard to really relate in a meaningful way on the phone.
I feel lucky that I was able to visit my brother and his fiancée’ this past November. I got to see their new apartment and neighborhood, as well as experience a little of their daily existence in NYC. I visited my parents while I was in Chicago last summer, and I think we need a change of venue. I know that life can be busy, and travelling can be challenging… I think its time for another family visit in Texas!
There are divides everywhere, from the boundaries of your home or apartment, to the lines dividing the roads, the oceans, rivers, and streams that divide land and continents, to the languages, cultures, religions, and other ideaologies that divide people in their minds and hearts. In the U.S., many say that we are a nation divided.
Families can be divided, by divorce, opinions, age, and location. My family is divided in many ways, which is why I can relate. I am divided from my family by opinions and knowledge. They don’t agree with me at all politically or in regard to other topics, and even my parents and brother differ. As I have written, I am aware of some of the truths behind what is really going on in the world, which has changed my view on things. I like to learn and know the truth, I like to read and research and, while I once cringed and shied away from my newfound knowledge, it has become a hobby and a passion despite the difficulty that comes with it. It is hard to digest the truth behind history and current events and to realize that the powers that be don’t have our best interests at heart, and my family would rather not know, or think my ideas are crazy. My mother listens and sometimes enjoys a polite exchange of ideas, but often has trouble wrapping her mind around somethings. It sometimes feels like I am being humored. The funny thing is that my parents are very divided as well, and I have to stay out of their arguments/conversations so I don’t add to or become involved in their divide, even after over forty years of marriage.
This causes a divide because my family and I avoid certain topics, and I am reluctant to share things that I have learned that I find interesting. I also feel the divide with many people I encounter, whether at work or in casual settings, because you are on a side and they are on a side… there is no consideration for the other person making sense and providing you an opportunity to grow, even if you don’t agree with them. Boyfriend and I were pleasantly surprised recently when we were eating at one of our frequent breakfast spots and we struck up a conversation with another customer at the breakfast bar. It was wonderful to meet someone who could share his ideas and teach us something while relating to our thoughts and ideas.
There is a constant divide due to the idea that “if you’re not with us, you’re against us,” even if someone has feelings about laws that are not being enforced or they have an opinion based on a religious belief. The person who is deemed wrong is just not entitled to their opinion. Laws, local, statewide, nationally and those in the U.S. Constitution exist for a reason – to provide order to society. Every society has laws. Ultimately, though I am not in favor of overregulation, micromanaging, censorship, and constant punitive action.
I believe that freedom, acknowledgement of natural rights, and a policy of live and let live allows for less of a divide. We are members of the human race, with thoughts, feelings, needs and wants. I am a member of my family, whom I love as much as a disagree with them, and we are all members of a larger family. We need to stop being so offended and starting listening to each other.
Twenty-four days until Christmas, where did the year go?
I have been thinking about small, meaningful gifts for my family and I realize I have to starting working on them tho weekend. My new work schedule will limit what I can do it for a few days but I plan to do several things with photos, which will just take time.
I spent some time yesterday helping my new co-workers decorate our open-space office, which was fun. Boyfriend and I don’t do much decorating in our apartment due to the small space and our very active cat so I enjoyed putting up the Christmas tree and other touchs.
Fourteen years ago, I made my way to New York city for the first time. I had dreamed of visiting for years, and decided to visit my brother who was attending college nearby in New Jersey. That week was one of the best times of my life, and I know that this trip meant a lot to my brother as well. I went to many of the great tourist attractions, took into the spirit of NYC, ate lots of NYC pizza and hot dogs from every street vendor I could, and I got to attend my first New York Yankees baseball game. I maybe from Chicago, but I love New York!
I grew up in a household watching the U.S. Open tennis tournament every year. I heard stories from my Dad who had visited NYC many times, including as a youngster with my grandfather. A frame photo of the New York City skyline hung in our living room and still does today. I would always ask my Dad about the different buildings as a child, and he got a booklet from a NYC colleague so he could better show me and teach me their names. I knew where the different ports were, which river was the East and which was the Hudson. I knew the different bridges: the Verrazano-Narrows bridge, the Manhattan bridge, and the Brooklyn bridge. I knew the Empire State building, the Chrysler building, and the World Trade center, also know as the Twin Towers.
I, like most Americans, remember how my day started and what happened on September 11, 2001. I was getting ready to go to a new job, getting dressed and checking the news. I saw them report that the World Trade Center had been hit, and I saw the smoke pluming from one building, then the other. I remember my Dad calling the house from work, telling us to turn on the TV if we hadn’t already. I remember the shock, what was going on? How could this happen? Was my brother, across the river in Jersey City going to be safe?
I was in the world Trade Center five months earlier, with my brother and a friend, looking out on one of the world’s greatest cities from the observation deck. I spent a lot of time walking around that area, and have many pictures taken of and from the World Trade Center. I remember thinking, wow, I could have been in those building when this shocking, unbelievable, and very tragic event happened. I wasn’t, but so many other people were. They all got up that day just as I had, and their lives were changed forever. Many people lost family and friends that were in those buildings, working, trying to rescue people, or just visiting New York City. They died due to a horrible tragedy that I hope never happens to our country ever again. One of my brother’s dearest friends lost his father that day.
My brother and his friends helped out by loading supplies in the boats that cross the river to the NYC side. He said that they had to get their minds off what happened and wanted to do something to help. The shock and horror of what happened took a backseat to their desire to be part of the solution. They cheered on and gave their time to the firefighters and other workers that were now searching for people at Ground Zero to boost their morale and express their appreciation. I will never know exactly what that experience was like for my brother, who later moved across the river to Manhattan. He sent us wonderful pictures capturing the spirit of NYC fighting back and banding together, one of which made it into a 9-11 commemoration book.
I visited Ground Zero in May 2002 while I was in NYC for my brother’s college graduation. It was indescribable. Those tall, strong buildings with the beautiful view of the city were not only gone, but an ugly, gaping hole in the ground with the remainder of the debris was left in its place. There were makeshift memories surrounding the area, poster of lost loved ones, posting of thank you for the people around the world who felt New Yorkers’ and Americans’ pain. It was an overwhelming scene and I was overcome with emotion, but glad that I had my memories. Even today, seeing pictures of the World Trade Center evoke feelings of happiness, sadness, and wonder about the why and how of what happened. The perpetrators and their accomplices, whoever they may be, destroyed a great American Icon but they didn’t destroy my memories.
My family went to the 9-11 memorial in Chicago on September, 11, 2002, and my brother was temporarily living with us while he figured out his next steps. Brother happened to be interviewed by a local news affiliate, and said that he had not talked about 09-11-01 since it happened. He came alive talking about NYC coming together and about supporting the rescue workers with a spirit of fight and courage – I saw something special in him that day, and was very proud.
I will always remember 9-11-01. I am grateful as an American for the brave men and women who rose to the occasion to help, rescue and, ultimately sacrifice themselves so that others might live. I am grateful for those, like my brother and his friends, who got stronger and reached out to others when they could have stood by. I am grateful for the police and firemen throughout America who go to work everyday to rescue, protect and help others, with the knowledge that their lives could be at risk and sacrificed. There are tragedies throughout our country every day, but I pray that we will never face another day like September 11, 2001.
In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt from 08/21/15: “Red Pill, Blue Pill.”If you could get all the nutrition you needed in a day with a pill — no worrying about what to eat, no food preparation — would you do it?
The short answer is no, because I would hate to give up my favorite foods and drinks, including coffee, Boyfriend’s chocolate chip and double chocolate peanut butter cookies, and the wonderful dinners that he prepares us out of simple but healthy ingredients, pizza, hamburgers from Mighty Fine, fresh squeezed orange juice, Buddha’s Brew kombucha, and many other tasty items.
My next answer is that this reminds me of Alex Jones, the well-known alternative media man from Infowars.com and Infowars radio, who talks about taking the red pill or the blue pill to know the truth or to stay in the dark about the reality of our world. He often plays a clip from the movie The Matrix, with Morpheus offering Neo a way to learn the truth for himself. Before you leave my page due to mention of a “conspiracy theorist”, I urge you to check out Infowars.com because it is a great place to find out what is really going on in the world and the articles usually offer supporting links so you can do more research. Ok, now back to food.
I am skeptical of quick-fix solutions in general, and I am assuming that this nutritional solution would be produced in a lab, likely making it chemical based and/or genetically modified. Not that I am a perfect, healthy eater, but I try to avoid regular consumption of fast food, modified, GMO, HFCS, artificial dyes/colors/etc. whenever possible. I don’t eat McDonald’s, Burger King, Wendy’s, Whataburger, KFC, or any of the other similar restaurants because of the quality and content of the food. The place I fall down on this the most is at work when the department is celebrating a birthday or holiday, and I decide to have the piece of cake, despite its foot-long list of ingredients.
Boyfriend and I have done our research and have learned what we can and should eat based on how our bodies react to food. We do not react well to the fake, “pancake syrup” given for your waffles or pancakes at many restaurants, often feeling sluggish and tired after dousing our food with high fructose corn syrup. Both of us were really excited to find out that Kerbey Lane, a Central Texas restaurant that serves breakfast 24 hours a day, has both “pancake syrup” and the real maple syrup, which they will give you if you ask. We are willing to pay the extra dollar for real maple syrup, and we are both happy that this restaurant sources a lot of its ingredient from local farmers.
Food is really important for nourishing your mind, body, and soul. I realize that food serves a purpose and is necessary for each of us to survive, whether it is tasty or not, and whether it is affordable or not, but being able to choose your food is satisfying. I have taken people to get food at a food pantry as a function my job, and I have delighted in seeing people be able to choose between chicken noodle soup and sirloin vegetable soup, or between wheat bread and French bread. Food takes us to another part of ourselves through our senses and our memories, good and bad.
I remember cutting vegetables with my grandmother and eating cucumbers while I helped her cook, and that crosses my mind when I am making myself a salad. Tasting one of Boyfriend’s wonderful chocolate chip cookies makes me feel loved and reminds me of making cookies to share with others while I was growing up. Each and everyone of us has a story about a meal, a place he/she used to go for family celebrations or a smell that would permeate their home at a special time. Why would we completely give that up for convenience in pill-form, when eating at McDonald’s is bad enough? The conspiracy theorist in me is sure that the powers that be already have the idea for us to consume our nutrients and whatever else they feel is good for us in the form of pills, capsules and other devices with no other choice sometime in the future.
Until then, I will eat my salads, my golden scrambled eggs, grass-fed beef or bison, seasoned organic chicken with Brussels sprouts, home-made cookies, Ruta Maya coffee with Mill-King organic whole milk and other tasty items made with real ingredients that make me happy, if nothing else.