Saturday, April 11, 2009

When you have a very public blog


When you have a very public blog, strange things happen once in a while. Well, at least I find them strange. Like the popularity of my blog for one brief moment when Joseph Acaba got named to STS-119 and hundreds came to my blog. Then other times, people were researching a friend and found their wedding pictures on my blog or a Military branch which shall remain nameless was googling a soldier for promotion and he was pictured with my son at a Citadel ceremony. The latter's name was promptly removed since he was involved in covert operations. Then recently I was noticing that some archival pictures were frequently looked up. I wondered: What cha looking at? So I checked. It wasn't me or my lovely daughters, nor my granddaughters or nieces. No it was my precious Momma, Mami, who I often call Mamita. My silver hair companion of our famous Silver Hair Adventures. They like her picture eating alcapurrias de jueyes en Pinones, sitting on a bench in El Yunque or reaching the top of the tower and taking in the view with delight and awe.

So how is Mami doing these days? Well, she is getting better from her fall. She fell two weeks ago, after losing her balance upon standing up. She didn't break her hip, but she did break her femur. We had some very sad days. Four of them were extremely taxing for her as she was disoriented and couldn't sleep and talked practically non stop. There were complications of various sorts, but thank God she is slowly recuperating. I had to return to Orlando but I have been fortunate to talk to her on the phone and she was quite happy to hear me. I love my mom very very much, but I know that she is now 88 and every day I can talk to her is a gift. Thank you Lord for giving me such a precious mother who has loved us as well as she could.

Here are two more pictures for her admirers. The first is at EL Faro Punta Tuna in Maunabo, and the second is with Victor, my niece's husband. My niece says that she shares her husband with Mami who just loves him dearly. Isn't that sweet?
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Shrimp Boats at Folly River


This beautiful picture was taken by my longtime friend Ranne Gammus. LOL, not her real name but a psydonym. Anyway we were driving out of Folly Beach the other day and seeing that my camera was broken I asked her if she would do me a favor and take a picture of those shrimp boats with the sunset behind them. It was a beautiful scene. Anyway, I thought I would share. Breathtaking!
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Spontaneous Performance at Train Station

Sound of Music at the Antwerp Train Station:

Fantastic video. I just checked out the video and found others on youtube that explain that what looks like spontaneous art in reality a well thought out performance. In fact, they called it a stunt which took four weeks of training 200 dancers, placing cameras, transporting and feeding the dancers, and lots of precision! All of it to bring the arts full of energy to the people. What fun!

It didn't hurt that that is one of my favorite songs in The Sound of Music. The energy, laughter, and beauty was still there sans the beautiful trellises. You can't have everything, but I will take all of the above.

Puerto Rico in a Cloud 2

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I was talking to a friend about not really knowing exactly what I should do. Should I do this or should I do that? The next thing I knew was that I looked up at this beautiful cloud that was guilded with gold on the edges and then to my utter surprise I recognized this very familiar shape. It was Puerto Rico!! This picture has not been retouched. This is almost exactly how I saw it. I had to take several shot before I got this one. Unfortunately the cloud had changed slightly by then but it does look a lot like PR, doesn't it?
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I deleted my original entry and did not want to delete the original comment, so here it is.

This was Ana's comment:
Blogger Ana said...

A slightly shark-like PR, or PR that is smiling.

Very cool. There is a website collect maps that appear in nature.

I'll see about sending you the link.


Poisoned Drywall

If you live in a home which is a new construction, have the drywall checked for arsenic or chemical poisoning. There are people in South Florida complaining about how they and their families are becoming ill from the drywall. The drywall was imported to our country from China. At least that is what I heard on the radio yesterday. Please check the following links:

Chinese drywall could be poisoning American Homes

Chinese drywall turns couple's dream home into nightmare

If I found myself in that situation, the first thing I would do would be to buy a good tent and move my family out of the house and into the tent. Especially if I could not afford to abandon the house. One lady was saying that she felt so guilty that her child was sick and that she was staying in the house.

Staying in the house must have been the advice she got from someone giving her legal counsel. It's as if she were on a sinking ship, and someone said they were going to get her a gold life jacket. It may be made of gold, but out in the ocean, gold sinks. And gold is worth nothing when you are drowning! The damage being done to your family may be irreparable. Meaning no money can repair it!

She needs to exercise common sense and wisdom. Open the windows! Get your family out. Your family's health is worth more than any money you could ever get back from the builders. In fact, your family is your future. Any damage done to your family, is damage you will have to live with for years to come. What worse damage can be done that once you know how to solve a problem you do not do it?

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

A Birthday Tradition


This is how my day began. I grabbed my laptop while still in my pajamas to send my daughter Rosita an ecard, then a text message, and finally a birthday greeting on Facebook, but can you believe I had not done the most important yet! So I got dressed, fiddled with my clothes, made breakfast which consisted of two slices of whole wheat toast and a hot tea, yet I had not yet done the most important. I got in my car, no I actually first opened, then backed out my car and then closed the garage door manually and drove 23 miles to Landstar Blvd. and still I hadn't done the most important. After getting on Orange Avenue I just couldn't wait any longer and I dialed Rosita's number and this is the dialogue that ensued. After about 8 rings, her voice came on the line, "Hello, this is Rosie," in her melodic voice. The voice I so enjoy to hear, part matter of fact and part whole heart. Then I began my birthday tradition, no hellos, no como estas, but "Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you, happy birthday, Rooooooooooosssiiiiittttaaaaaaaaaaaaaa, happy birthday to you!, feliz feliz en tu dia... since I couldn't hear a breath on the other side I stopped. Are you there? "
And a little bit of laughter... "guess where I am?"
"About to drive in to have my birthday breakfast"
"Oh, where?"
"Burger King, and now the rest of the day can proceed"
As if to say, it would not have been her birthday, if I hadn't sung her that song. You want to know what, it definitely wouldn't.

There are three people in this world that I have been intrincsically knitted to, and she is one of them. The other two know who they are.

Love you Rosita, loved you for thirty years and will always love you.

Te quiero mucho,

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Sunday, April 05, 2009

A Hospital with a View

Puerto Rico from a hospital room and the roads. That was my routine: spend around 8 to 10 hours in the hospital and drive back to Isla Verde. I know I wore a groove in the road.

Dusty parking, cracked sidewalks, mildew on some buildings, narrow streets jammed with cars and horns, patience deprived drivers, music pouring out of cars and buildings, and blue skies mostly. Smiling people, generous, gentle, and kind. Of course there were those that weren't but there were so many that were.

I am always delighted with the ease with which I can slip into my home town. With my eyes wide open I greet all the new electronic billboards, the jarring bilingual signs, and mad rush with surprise. But especially to hear mi gente, my people hablando espanol makes my heart skip. Laughter here and laughter there, and the pleasantness in which total strangers let you enter their world always calls me home. I love Puerto Rico!

But this week had been planned as my Spring Break to take mom out for daily outings, but instead my 87 year old mother's health called me home to PR a couple of days early. This week would not include a long winding trip to El Yunque or a sunny beach with its bacalaitos and alcapurrias, and mango colored sand. Neither would there be a trip to Old San Juan with the Atlantic churning the deep navy blue ocean with billowing froth off its coast. No, this time I was called to a hospital room in a hospital that I had only stepped into once when I had Brackton Hicks, a false alarm to having my first baby. To say there was a huge contrast would be an understatement.

So when my sisters insisted in placing my mom in El Hospital del Maestro (Teacher's Hospital) I was a bit hesitant. El Auxilio Mutuo was where my three children were born, and where my father in law was a founding member. Yet as we sat together in the waiting room together as mom had her operation, some of that restlessness left me. Perhaps it was the fact we were all together helped to bridge my apprehension with their confidence not only with the doctors but also with the staff.

As the days went by, I became more and more confident that my sisters had a made a good decision. I realized several things about the hospital; they were just as professional there as in El Auxilio. I have always known that many of the same doctors that go to El Auxilio also practice at El Maestro so that wasn't a concern. My concern was more about the facilities and personnel. Yet, I found the supporting staff of doctors, nurses, technicians, and janitorial personnel to be following strict procedure.

Knowing the importance of cleanliness and very cold air conditioning to keep the bacteria count down the room was always at Autumn temperatures. So warm sweaters and fleece jackets are in order. To maintain hygiene the cleaning staff continually cleaned the rooms, even to the point of wiping down the windows. You could witness the nurses strictly following excellent protocol for every test, medication, blood sample, and IV. They worked meticulously and patiently but were also personable. Though they had a large workload, they worked in harmony and mutual respect. I found that refreshing.

I am not going to say there isn't a need for improvement. There is always room for improvement. If they had a beautification department, I would add some large fresh panoramic views of Puerto Rico with uplifting and encouraging messages on every floor, some livelier pastel colors on the walls, and better seats in the waiting areas. These could be seen as a community effort perhaps donated by a wealthy corporation like Microsoft or a conglomeration of private sector companies doing business in Puerto Rico.

Beautifying the hospital not only elevates the perception and first impression of those entering the hospital, but also quiets the spirits of those using its services. When a person is ill, he or she and their families are in an unusual state of unease and peaceful surroundings help to instill calm. Studies show that many illnesses and conditions are psychosomatic so it doesn't hurt to address this aspect of the hospital from the get go. Frankly, you never know when it is going to be you, sitting next to a loved one or you lying on that hospital bed. How do you want that experience to be?