Tag Archives: danger

America, the Beautiful

America, the beautiful. Or is it America, the beautiful? I think it’s probably both. Certainly this country is not perfect. Certainly, I would live no where else. And I’m eternally grateful to my grandparents who had the courage to flee Russia and Lithuania. As they sailed into New York harbor, they felt the protecting shelter of the Statue of Liberty and the benediction of Emma Lazarus’ words: “Give me your tired, your poor, / Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free”.


Their way was not easy when they hit these shores. Instead of the streets of gold they’d heard about, they found only poverty, hardship and prejudice. But they weren’t afraid they’d be killed outright as they had in Europe. With hard work and perseverance, they could build a successful life. And they did.


Fast forward a hundred years and their granddaughter has been lucky enough to go to Washington D.C. three times in the last ten months. Who’d ah thought? I’ve toured the Capitol Building twice and the White House once. I’ve toured the monuments all three times. I’m now a junkie!


The city is built on a grand scale that we don’t see much of in our united states. Statues and magnificent buildings are interspersed with green parkways. It’s beautiful, truly.



This last trip I was at an ADL convention. The Anti-Defamation League was originally founded in 1915 to protect Jewish people from Antisemitism. It has grown and broadened its goal to protect all human and civil rights. I feel safer at night to know the ADL exists. I was impressed by the dedication of the young people attending, and inspired to action, myself.

Our hotel was only a ten minute stroll from the White House and I walked to it a couple of times. Tourists from around the world flock there. It’s impressive both because of its architecture and its significance.  My four-year-old granddaughter walked there with her babysitter. My daughter and grandson walked there to see it at night.

We were home only two days when I heard about the shooting at a White House check point. It sent shivers down my spine. What if one of my family had been there then?



“Did you hear about the shooting at the White House?” I said as I walked into the dentist’s office.

“I hope they shot Obama,” a pleasant looking woman said.

I was taken aback. “Too unkind,” I said. “He’s our President.” Where’s the respect? I thought. There should be some respect for our President, if nothing else. Just plain old human decency.

The woman gave me a dirty look and turned her back on me. I sat down across the waiting room, not looking at her either.

Where has all the civility gone? I wondered. Long time passing.

Will it take another 911 to get out the “United We Stand” posters, and to bring back the realization that we’re all Americans, all part of the same family? Disagree, fine. Disparage, okay. But to wish someone’s injury or death? That’s too ugly of an American for me.









Do you feel like the world has gone crazy—that it’s tilting out of control on its axis? The headlines in the news make me think I’m in the Twilight Zone and we have regressed a century or two. What happened to the progress we had made as civilized people? World War II was brutal, but hadn’t the world learned from this? It could never happen again, right? And what about the gains the Civil Rights Movement made? Were they so negligible? Didn’t we learn over the years that we were part of the same species, more alike than different no matter our race, country, religion or sexual orientation?

In the era when the Berlin Wall went down it seemed like global peace and freedom from tyranny for all were right around the corner. I remember that New Year’s Eve in 1989 when we believed all things possible. We never envisioned that could include the genocides in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Rwanda in the 1990’s.

As I began writing this blog, I wanted to know when the Rwanda Genocide had occurred. I googled it and was led to the page below. I don’t remember the history books of my youth including any of these acts of genocide. Reading about them made me feel sick, but I read each one. I encourage you to do so, as well. It puts perspective on the genocidal acts in the Middle East right now. ISIS is following in the bloody footprints of their predecessors.

Man’s capacity for inhumanity seems to be inexhaustible.

Below, copied from : http://www.historyplace.com/worldhistory/genocide/

The term ‘Genocide’ was coined by Polish writer and attorney, Raphael Lemkin, in 1941 by combining the Greek word ‘genos’ (race) with the Latin word ‘cide’ (killing). Genocide as defined by the United Nations in 1948 means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, racial or religious group, including: (a) killing members of the group (b) causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group (c) deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part (d) imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group (e) forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.

Recent to Past Occurrences

Dreams Coming True

I had a dream five days ago that I was stuck out in the open during a storm. There were dozens of people around, all lying flat on the ground, trying to avoid  lightning strikes. I kept looking for my family–I needed to save them. If we could just get inside this large building, we would all be safe. But to get there, you had to walk through trees and open this huge door, which was metal. The dream’s message was danger and having the courage and responsibility to get yourself and everyone safe.


I’ve just come in the house out of a storm. First there was a cloud burst. I’d seen the rain cell touching the ground when I was on the highway, but it appeared far away. Suddenly, rain pelted the car. Huge drops pinged metallically on the roof as if it were made of tin. I could barely see out of the windshield.

I made it home and just sat in the car for awhile. The rain seemed to let up so I gathered up packages and ran towards the front door. It was an open space and I could sense the flash of lightning behind me and see the jagged strike in front of me. My dream came back to me in a nightmare-rush. My legs seemed to move in slow motion. The walk was slippery and I worried about falling so I couldn’t hurry. I could see my front door but I began to wonder if it would,  like in my dream, be impossible to reach.

In Real Time, I had only myself to get to safety. And of course, I made it inside without incident. The feeling lingers though–the dream was still so fresh–and you have to wonder what it all means.


California Wildfires Hit Home

So often when I hear about disasters, I think, “How terrible. Those poor people who have lost their houses, their possessions, their pets.” I feel sincerely sorry for them, but then the phone rings or dinner needs to be made, and the immediacy of their plight dims for me. I write the check to the disaster fund and I may even think about it for a long time, but the reality of it doesn’t hit me.

Yesterday, California was hit by wildfires up and down the state. I was busy and in pain so I didn’t even know about it. Until our daughter-in-law called. Her sister’s house in Carlsbad was right in the line of fire, and the fire was uncontained. Skye got to rescue the family’s dog and her home computer—that was it. If the winds didn’t shift, everything else would be gone. When she went to pick up her girls, Skye was stunned at how close to the school a fire was raging—right on the field where her daughter, Grace, had been playing 20 minutes before.


This disaster and its victims were no longer anonymous.

We turned on KCAL and CNN, watching a house down near them burn to the ground. The wind kept shifting, and two houses on the other side of their retaining wall, also burned. But they were spared.


“We’re feeling pretty good right now,” Skye texted. “The fire department is using our backyard as a staging ground and CNN is here too. We couldn’t be safer.” We’re so thankful that no one was hurt and that their house is intact. But I realize it will be long time before they feel safe again.

And I know I’ll never look at disaster footage the same way again.