Angels Walk Among Us

My husband,Tim, and I have been quarantined the last 18 months. We dodged Covid, only to face serious health issues that rendered us incapable of tending to the needs of our double yards. The neglected areas brought forth overgrown flowering bushes, a group of privets nine feet high, a lilac bush as big as a compact car, and weeds that tickled our knees.

The neighbors next to us sent the missionaries from the Church of Latter Day Saints to help us. These two young men offered to help tame our overgrown landscape. We welcomed their generous gift and scheduled three times to be the recipients of their time and energy. Each time we had to cancel because of snow, rain, or unexpected hospital stays. We desperately needed help and scheduled one more time.

The weather cooperated (thank you LORD!) the missionaries returned accompanied by eight members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints’ local ward. They came prepared with powerful hedge trimmers and enthusiasm fueled by their willingness to help their neighbors. Their energy tamed the overgrowth, cleaned up the yard, and bundled the excess growth for pick up.

Between bringing out snacks and water, overseeing the work, and answering questions, I tried to interact with each member. The two missionaries. One member was from South America. Carmen Amanda, the only woman from the Ward showed up and worked in our front bed with experience taming the weeds. She also helped instruct the novice weed pickers how to extricate the weeds from the earth.

These young missionaries inquired about our needs brought a community together on a sunny Saturday morning. A colleague of mine from my last job updated me on his last twenty years of his life. He said, ” heard the name and wondered if it Pat Coffey?”

Some observers could claim that this was an isolated incident. I say, not so, this type of generosity, consideration, and time is demonstrated time and time again in this community.

Humans helping other humans is a part of the living culture of my neighbors. Thank you and may God bless you in all your endeavors.

Titanium Shoulder Replacer

Life Unhinged

My blog’s silence started when my right rotator cuff separated from my upper arm.  Sixteen months of healing to get to the place where  both hands worked on the key board. I now type with the miracle of modern science — a titanium rod and shoulder mechanism. Yes, I used the voiced activated feature on my computer, but word processing’s reaction to my speech proved to be slow and frustrating.

I regained my strength and speed on my computer. I started to complete my second book. The pandemic arrived. My husband and I went through a few negotiations to get to juggle our schedules in harmony.

Outside of doctors’ visits and picking up groceries, we stay home. No dinners with friends, no Writers Group Meetings at my home, no wandering in a library or book store. Everything familiar now morphed into adaption .

We spent some time on ZOOM.com with family and friends. My writers’ group and professional organization moved to virtual meetings.

Face masks increased my awareness of individual’s expressions that are visible, their forehead, side of a face, and cheeks. The mask (some stylish) often muffle their voices. This is the first time in my life people ask me to shout.

My yard is a shambles. The weeds won the battle this summer. I sprayed, but the temperatures skyrocketed to triple digits and voided my efforts. My plants shrivel, but the weeds persisted.

A 5.4 earthquake shook everyone and everything. Our bed rocked and rolled for a good minute. The aftershocks made my cat run into my arms. Damage was minimal, but the houses nearer to the epic center crumbled.

This year’s upheaval report needs to include the Utah’s version of a march for Black Lives Matter. First, the event happened on a Sunday. This in itself made this activity unusual. Nothing of any significance happens on the Sabbath. The protesters did not look or dress to reflect the population. The big giveaway included women in halter tops and cut off jean shorts barely covering their rear ends. The men with spray paint, fire crackers, and equipment to turnover cars while shouting profanity hid their white faces with bandannas. These protesters did not mirror our population.

Monday after this mayhem another group marched again, these were the people I know. These are my observations and not necessary the media’s report.

The smoke from the fires on the West Coast made our air difficult to breathe. A blue sky is a lost reality. The weather forecasters warn us not to work outside if one possesses lung problems. Caution is also mandated to healthy individuals to limit outdoor time because of the caustic air.

A week ago, our news at noon, five, and ten instructed viewers to put their garbage cans, outdoor furniture, trampolines, and all tools and toys in a secure place.They caution everyone to shelter pets.

The weather map showed a destructed weather phenomenon headed our way. A collusion of a high pressure ridge with a low pressure ridge created a collusion coarse that pushed winds into the valley with speeds from 65 to 125 mph from 8 p.m. to 12 noon the following day. A hurricane without the water described this event .

Pictures tell the story. Hundred year old trees up rooted. Trees rested on houses. Power outages for 150,000 residents. It took more than a week to restore the electricity because the outages were not linear. The winds blew off half of the leaves on one side of bushes and trees leaving branches bare, while the other side was left with its leaves. Everyone in the path of these winds needed days and heavy equipment to clean up. The biggest problem happened to be the environmental disposal of the trees.

The healing journey of my shoulder replacement appears minuscule when one considers the upheavals of the last eight months. Add to this, America’s population unrest around the Presidential Election, this blog needs to end before it becomes a book.

So my friends continue to wash your hands, wear your masks, and stay out of large crowds, as talk of a second wave of the Virus grows and the Flu season begins.

St. Patrick’s Day and More

St. Patrick’s Day continues to be celebrated by my family. We are born of Irish heritage, quite the contrary. We are Polish, but we celebrate it as though it was a high holiday.

My Polish speaking father was born on St. Patrick’s day. He felt he was lucky to be born on this day.

Many looked at his life and thought he worked too hard. If he were alive today, his reply to this assessment echoes in my mind, “I’m the richest man in the world. I have a wife who loves me. She is a great cook and baker.  I have six children, twelve grandchildren, and ten great-great grandchildren.”

My dad ‘s life reflects an unwritten saga, but one St. Patrick’ Day story imprinted in my memory is the night my second sister was born. Dad brought mom home from her checkup and the doctor told her to ready herself, the baby may come any day.

I was in first grade. The school prepared a St. Patrick’s Day program that night. My dad dropped me off at my classroom and said, “I’m going to get a good seat so I can’t see your dance. I’ll pick you up when the program ends.”

 My mom stayed home because she was tired. After the program, it seemed like a lot of kids left really fast. There were only a few of us left, so Sister Lillian told us to put our heads down on the desk and wait until she would call our name. She turned off the lights in the classroom and let the coat room lights on. I fell asleep.

In the meantime, my dad never made it through the program to see me. A neighbor grabbed my dad’s arm and said, “Wally, we need to take Marie now.” The neighbor drove my dad and mom to the hospital. Dad planned to take a taxi home and get me along the way.

Early the next morning dad returned home to find out that no one picked me up. He ran to the convent and rang the doorbell until someone answered. Mother Superior woke the janitor.

They both entered the school and walked down to my classroom and called my name. “Daddy, it’s very dark out.” answered. “I was sleeping hard. I am really tired what took you so long?”

My father laughed, “Have good news! You have another little sister. She was born during the school program. Let’s go home and sleep in our own beds.”

So each year we celebrate my dad’s birthday and every year since we celebrate my little sister’s birthday. St. Patrick brought my dad a healthy child on his birthday while keeping another child safe.  

Ligeann se a!

Ligeann se a! (Let the party begin!) Party on America enjoy the day and if you stop by my place the corn beef is cooking. The cabbage is simmering. We’ll toast to my dad contributions and to my sister’s health with Irish whiskey.

Father’s Day Reflection, 2021

Fathers’ Day marks a time of remembrance. I grew up with a father who took pride in his six children. A high school education was absent from his resume. The man never had enough sleep He provided the basics to his loved while he spoke of higher expectations for his sons”I don’t want you to work as hard as I do.” Finish high school and find a paying job in the trades.” This advice echoed throughout the “Back of the Yards, ” an area in Chicago so named because it was located south of the stock yards of Chicago) households.

Dad counseled counseled his daughters,(well at least to me) to find a husband who was capable of providing for me and our family. This speech echoed throughout the 1950s and early 1960s. I am the first born child, the prototype. Perhaps my siblings’ reflections on Fathers’ Day portrays another reality.

My father, a man who wanted his children to work hard and make a better life for themselves educationally and financially reflected his desire for his children to succeed. Is this a sad remembrance? His unique laugh and tenderness towards my mother revealed his softness..

He was short-tempered in his younger years. I attribute this anger on his years of minimal sleep. It was in my early twenties when my father got the job of his dream, a Chicago “Garbage Man.” The workerrode on the back of the truck, rain, snow, and the miserable humid heat of the summer. The cans lifted into truck by the men. (The automated lifts appeared after his retirement.)

Never owned a car until the 1970s. The family walked everywhere, rode the bus, or a friend or family member would “pick up all eight of us.

When I possessed his undivided attention, usually on the seven block walk from my grandmother’s bakery, he bestowed wisdom. The times being alone with my dad revealed his pride in me, but would add “you can do better.” Thiis phrase he imprinted in my DNA. Harsh? Perhaps, but it made me feel he saw potential. Dad wanted more for me because he noticed my grit and ability.

Thanks “Daddy!” I listened, observed and learned.

Twenty-First Century Summers

This happy, harmonious 1950’s song from the musical Oklahoma celebrated warmer days, gorgeous blooming flowers, and the opening of parks. Today, the media reports an America on fire, unruly demonstrators, shootings at workplaces, from cars, and between neighbors. What does Summer mean to you?

The 20th Century summer time offered Americans an opportunity to enjoy living easy, watching June Bugs, fireflies, and swinging in a hammock with a glass of lemonade. Hide and seek at dusk, neighbors sitting or swinging on the porch. Card games, checkers, or board games brought on laughter, shouts of joy or groans of loss.

Air conditioning, cable TV, electronic games, give neighbors cool comfort and entertainment. Living easy today depends on comfort and convenience. Heaven forbid if the electricity goes out. Many of us avoid walking, let alone strolling through our neighborhoods as the sun goes down. If we want a better nation, we need to focus on the gifts of summer.

Yes, the days are hot! Air conditioning is a must for our health and our comfort. We need to look for ways to teach our children the joys of summer. The crack of a ball against a bat brings smiles and a sense of satisfaction. A walk through your neighborhood. Take a journey to a safe green spot and take in the sights, sounds, and smells.

A slow stroll through a park with your children or loved one sets a stage for conversations. Ask your partner or children to tell you their choices of sights that make them happy.

Create an ice cream social at home by buying ice cream cones and filling them with your favorite and a few of your families favorite of the cold, creamy taste. Go all out and create a “sundae” gathering. Be brave and ask your neighbor to join you in the joy of the cool taste of a cone or sundae smothered in chocolate, caramel or strawberry syrup.

Neighbors respond to other neighbors who simply say “Hello” to them. If you live in an apartment building, don’t be afraid to say “Hello” with a smile.

Courtesy, kindness, and listening contribute to understanding. Enjoy June’s welcoming of summer and the genuine beauty in our lives.

PGA Swing to Another State

The news of the voting changes in multiple states makes me angry. I feel those of us who believe in the concept of American entitlement to vote need to challenge the insidious bi-partisan changes multiple states considered or are considering

I’m calling for all major corporations and business owners to examine what’s happening in your state. Let’s begin with you Georgia. Your state’s controlled republican legislature and its governor constructed the strictest voter rules since the Jim Crow Era.

Check out your state’s current voting laws.

According to the Brennan Center for Justice, a voting rights advocacy group, 253 bills restricting voting access have been introduced in 43 state legislatures as of Feb. 19, 2021. According to the Brennan Center, at least 53 additional bills have been introduced since then.1 Of these 306 bills, 89 percent were sponsored entirely or primarily by Republicans, according to the bill-tracking service LegiScan.

PGA Swing to Another State

The news of the voting changes in multiple states makes me angry. I feel those of us who believe in the concept American entitlement to vote need to challenge the insidious bi-partisan changes multiple states considered or are considering

I’m calling for all major corporations and business owners to examine what’s happening in your state. Let’s begin with you Georgia. Your state’s controlled republican legislature and its governor constructed the strictest voter rules since the Jim Crow Era.

Browse these stories to enlighten all patriotic Americans you know. We as Americans must stop this avalanche of bills to rape Americans of their rights.

https://www.rollingstone.com/politics/politics-news/georgia-voting-bill-brian-kemp-voter-suppression-1147493/

https://www.ajc.com/politics/bill-changing-georgia-voting-rules-passes-state-house/EY2MATS6SRA77HTOBVEMTJLIT4/

Check out your state’s current voting laws.

According to the Brennan Center for Justice, a voting rights advocacy group, 253 bills restricting voting access have been introduced in 43 state legislatures as of Feb. 19, 2021. According to the Brennan Center, at least 53 additional bills have been introduced since then.1 Of these 306 bills, 89 percent were sponsored entirely or primarily by Republicans, according to the bill-tracking service LegiScan.

Now is the time for all of us to examine these laws and procedures so that these are reflective of the entire state’s population, not a political party’s point of view.

Remember the Anger

During my multiple decades of life and my parents’ life, civic demonstrations and disruption occurred. Specific groups in society used these methods to get the attention of the power brokers. 

The Oxford Dictionary defines power brokers as a person or people who deliberately affects the distribution of political or economic power by exerting influence.

Mull that definition over for a few seconds. Can you name  individuals in your city, state, and nation who can sit on a  “Power Broker Committee.” Do you know who to contact to examine the issues of all involved in a protest? 

How many of us felt anger and rage when we experienced an injustice done to us? After the initial shock and tears, which of you gathered friends and family to brainstorm how to address the issue? If you didn’t know who to contact (the power broker), who helped you find this person or committee?

Think of hundreds of years of promises, compromises, and laws broken. Think about being judged by your last name, color of your hair, your inability to see, hear, or speak. Judging individuals inhumanely is rampant.

Americans saw the very worst of humanity when the very individuals who swear “to protect and save,” ignored their sworn duty, one of the reasons they joined law enforcement. They did not see that black man as an equal human being.

Americans look around. All lives matter. We must build and not tear down. It saddens me that my generation needs to continue teach and demonstrate objectivity and conversation. I ask my family to look into their hearts and souls and remember the last time you had anger in your heart. Was your anger addressed? Diid you discuss what sparked your angry? Were you treated compassionately? If yes, then continue teach your children by modeling the behaviors taught to you. If you feel you’re a little rusty, look for compassionate leaders who focus on dialogue, brainstorming, and solutions collectively.

Just remember demonstrating tells us something is wrong. The demonstrations tell us the power brokers are not listening their constituency.

Remember: anger is a symptom of a bigger problem.

Looting , burning cars, damaging iconic buildings and businesses takes away from the message. The individuals who have never gotten justice, never received humane treatment by law enforcement, and those who died without cause because of their color or being found in the “wrong place” will not get just from violent protests.

Register to vote. Vote at every election: locally, state, and federal. Attend public meetings, write letters to your elected officials. You can use https://www.countable.us/. It is a free app where you can write to your U.S. representative in the House, your U.S. senator, and the President of the United States.

Demonstrations have a short shelf life, but the pen is mighty and doesn’t cost you any thing but time. WRITE!

*Editor’s Note: The committee needs to address the violence as a reaction not as a need.This entry was posted in politicalSpeak upVoter Action on Edit

Be a Sweetheart to Your Self

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Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to be for lovers. Yes, the card shops, restaurants, flower shops, jewelers flood the media with ads reminding you to remember your sweetheart, your loved one, your lover, et cetera, et cetera.

We all should stop and take stock in how we love ourselves. Yes, you read it right. We can’t love someone else, be faithful and supportive, if we aren’t loving towards ourselves.  Oh, I know we all read books or watched movies where the hero or heroine are long-suffering with an unrequited love. Wake up folks! How healthy is that?
Today’s model of love should portray balanced individuals seeking other balanced individuals. We need role models of men and woman who take care of themselves emotional, physically, intellectually, and spiritually.  Heroes or heroines should be seeking partners not prototypes from books, plays, movies, and all types of media.  Idealistic? Probably, we are human after all. 

So back to reality, we all like to be wooed every once in awhile, but we don’t have to be weak. So, if you don’t have a significant other in your life, here are a few suggestions on how to woo yourself:

  • indulge in a long hot bath
  • buy a small amount of very expensive chocolates for yourself
  • buy a bottle of your favorite wine and share it with a friend who also will appreciate it
  • splurge at the spa-pick your favorite treatment or one you never selected

By now, I bet you have a few ideas of your own. Once you have found something for your self, do something for someone else:

  • visit a relative or neighbor who lives alone and bring a Valentine treat
  • select a Valentine card and send it to someone who has been there for you through a tough time
  • buy or make Valentine treats for the office (do this only if it will make you happy)
  • send Valentine flowers to someone you think would love a bouquet from an anonymous admirer

Again, the Valentine nod doesn’t have to be a big item. It should be an appropriate action, token, or expression that simply says:

“I acknowledge you for being a good human being. I am glad you are here.” 
Be a sweetheart, give someone a smile with an act of kindness on Valentine’s Day.

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Impeachment Reflection

This blog offers U.S citizens an opportunity to cut through the noise of the debates. It attempts to help the reader balance the information given by those who brought the evidence of high crimes to the House of Representatives.

We heard rebukes and howls from the President and his supporters. The din and noise muddled the information and made it difficult for Americans to understand the impeachment process.

I’ve never been a fan of Wikipedia, but their gives a non-biased description of the U.S. Impeachment Process. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Impeachment_in_the_United_States

I listened to several hearings leading up to the decision to impeach the President. I could not watch it everyday. I found a bevy of house members who lacked debate training. Some members demonstrated a lack of preparation when they responded to a colleague’s presentation. It saddened when members who raised his or her voice even though the microphones worked. When did we, as a nation, start to believe that he or she who shouts the loudest they are most correct?

Impeachment participants represent the voters. Our founding father built this country on the principle of three equal but separate governing branches.. Each division acts as a check and balance system.When Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell speaks openly about “insuring a fair trial for the President and announces “I am positive the President will not be impeached.” Tell me, is Senate McConnell fairly representing his voters? How can he speak for his colleagues’ voters? “

Remember, you do have a voice. It is as close as text or a phone call to your Senator. Keep the powers of the government balanced. Remind your senator who they work for, tell him or her what you think about the evidence. Also read the findings from the House of Representatives before you make a judgement.