Random thoughts: Blindness

More often than not, I find myself wide away at the 10:30 p.m. instead of nestled snuggly in my bed and, after completing the work for my content management business, I decided to watch the TV to help me along the way to dream land. Because of the late hour, I’ve had the fortune of viewing some not so amazing movies. They are usually B list sci-fi movies which I absolutely love because of the standard Saturday tradition I had with my mother of watching them together via phone. I’ve seen everything from zombie apocalypses to a movie satire explaining how lying was invented. I’ve also seen the non-science fiction movies—the Lifetimes and dramas if you will. Last night was a similar piece for me. Last night, I stumbled across a little gem featuring Jodi Foster called Blindness.

Blindess is a movie in which the majority of the world quite suddenly and frighteningly go blind. It starts with a young Japanese businessman going suddenly blind while out in the city. People attempt to come to his aid, one even offering to take him home…only to steal his call. The Japanese man’s wife comes home that evening, sees her husband’s blindness, and takes him to the ophthalmologist who can find nothing wrong. The next morning, the doctor awakes and finds that he has also gone blind along with other city residents. This causes a huge panic and the government (which really is awful in this picture) requires all of the blinded citizens to go to quarantine (think prisoner camps). The ophthalmologist’s wife goes with the doctor and pretends that she has lost her sight too so that she can stay with him.

When other people arrive, it’s discovered that the blindness has gone international and many people are facing it. The conditions in the quarantine become horridly nasty with no organization or outside help. When there is a shipment of food that arrives, people from Ward 3 take over the food with a pistol and demand valuables and then women in exchange for food. Finally fed up with all of the horror, the doctor’s wife kills the leader of Ward 3 and collects the food—starting a “war” inside the quarantine. One of the Ward 1 (doctor’s unit) residents sets fire to the facility and the men who raped and pillaged are burned to death among some of the inmates. Because the doctor’s wife can see, she leads out a small group of survivors only to discover the guards who were watching the facility have abandoned the location and they are free.

The doctor’s wife leads the small band to a safe location while she finds food (because they are starving) and then, later, to the home she shares with her husband. The group goes to the home and enjoys dinner and hot showers/baths. They discuss how beautiful they all look even though only one has sight. One of the group wistfully wishes that it could remain the way it is—with no one having sight and everyone depending on each other.

The next morning, while the doctor’s wife is pouring coffee for the Japanese businessman, his sight suddenly returns. It’s a sign that similar things may occur for everyone else. But we don’t know because the screen goes black after a shot of the city.

K. That was the short cliff notes version. It has a lot more in it than that. I write all of that to place in my random files as a movie that I…liked…kind of…sort of….but didn’t really enjoy because the ending was so awful. I can’t say what made me sit up and watch that thing to the very end, but I enjoyed the discussion I had with my husband and mother-in-law the next day when I told them about it.

What if, like Danny Glover’s character spoke, the world was truly like that? What if we were blind? What is every one of every color, creed, gender, etc. had to depend on each other to survive in a world without sight? Would we be helpful to one another? Or would we be like some of the characters in the movies and harm others?

I’d like to think the former, that in a time of crisis, humanity will make the best of a horrible situation. I’d like to think so, but I doubt it. Which is sad.  Have we really fallen that far as humans that I can't see us coming together in a moment to help each other instead of turning on each other?
Something to think about.


Amtrak thoughts

Logo from Amtrak.com site.

So, I’ve purposely not commented on the Amtrak tragedy. It really hit me in a soft spot. I’m familiar with the route that Train 188 took. I’ve ridden it several times. While I only rode 188, a few times and always for business, I was a familiar fixture on Trains 80 and 94. Train 94 was the first train ride for my then 3-year-old Superbug. We sat in the Quiet Car and amazed the conductor because he was so well behaved that no one knew he was on the train from the moment we boarded to the moment we left. I remember getting kudos for his behavior. I remember Superbug’s excitement. The quiet car. The same type that was so heavily damaged that they didn’t find the last body until yesterday. The same quiet car I would look forward to riding in when journeying from Fredericksburg to Newark Penn Station. The train would change out engines at DC’s Union Station and then there was the comfortable, quiet, and plush ride the rest of the way.

When I saw the news, I was moved. My mother was as well. Prior to marriage, I would often make my weekend and holiday visits my mother in New Jersey using Amtrak. I favored two trains in this endeavor. Train number 80 from Rocky Mount, NC (if I was leaving from my hometown) and Train number 94 if I was leaving from my home in Northern Virginia. I think everyone who has ever ridden an Amtrak train felt a connection with this story. Those who believe in God, I imagine, began to pray.

I can’t imagine the emotions those on the train experienced. One minute everything is fine, the next everything is chaos. People were missing shoes, were bloodied, and were delirious. I saw pictures of the Quiet Car on the news. It looked like someone had taken a can opener and ripped the side completely open. I felt the shudder. My favorite was the quiet car. As Superbug grew older, we would go to the “other” cars and enjoy the ride there talking and enjoying each other’s company. I would have a bag of entertainment and snacks that I’d deploy when things got boring. Those were good days and good memories. I look forward to sharing those with Honeybee one day.

I know the conductor is sick with grief and the family and friends of the departed, likewise. I hope everyone finds comfort and that this full cause of this tragic event is understood. In the meantime, I intend to keep them all in my prayers.


Weekend Wrap Up: The Mother's Day Edition

It is the close of another Mother's Day and I find myself filled with a myriad of emotions.  Today, I have experienced everything from joy, to sadness, to gratitude, to humility, to compassion.  It has truly been a day.

Two years ago yesterday, my family and I buried my great-grandmother.  In the previous post (Missing Mama), I told of how much I truly missed my great-grandmother and all that she means to me. I was still pretty down this morning when I woke up, but decided to put on a smiling face for my family since it is Mother's Day.  It turned out the smiles would be replaced with tears...of joy.

This morning, while I was changing my Honeybee, Superbug walks in with a beautiful bouquet of wildflowers.  "Happy Mother's Day, Mommy!".  I was touched by his sweetness and beamed at him in gratitude." Thank you, sweetness."  I was then interrupted with "Wait, Mommy.  We're not done yet!"

Behind him walks, FatherWinter with a 16 x 20 photo of my great-grandmother and I that he'd taken from my Bible and had drawn off. I was so touched. There were a couple of other gifts as well, but known that touched me as much as this. A picture of the woman I called "Mama" for entire childhood.  What a beautiful and amazing gift.

Saturday was equally special for me.  I took Honeybee to her first Mommy Daughter tea!  Our church was hosting it and politely invited all attendees to wear nice Spring dresses and hats.  It was wonderful! Honeybee obviously didn't know what was going on too much, but she enjoyed the yummy foods and all of the brightly colored dresses and hats.  I wish I could show her face to you.  She was the most adorable tea guest and the other guests loved her.

I will still a bit emotional thinking about Mama when the hostesses of the event stood before the attendees to honor the mothers of the year. I got so teary eyed as they honored the Adult Ministry Mothers of the Year and then again, as they honored the Young Adult Mothers of the Year.  I was very, very surprised that this year one of the recipients was me.

I was floored!  I can tell you that I felt so loved and so caught off guard, and very humbled.  I honestly thought (and think) there are so many more moms in our church who do so much more than I.  I even nominated one of them because she is just AWESOME.  But, the Young Adult Ministry chose me and I was just so very honored.  They had no idea how much that meant to me.

When I came home, I told FatherWinter about how thankful I was, but how I felt there were others that were so much more deserving than I.  FatherWinter mentioned a couple of things that he said made me an excellent mother and certainly worthy of honoring and I felt blessed all over again.

It was truly a wonderful event and I look forward to next year's.  I also look forward to the Father Son event the men are supposed to be hosting for Father's Day.

Tonight, as I sit here in front of this computer screen, I find myself thinking about Honeybee's birth mother.  I wonder if she is thinking of Honeybee.  I wonder if she is grieving her, if she regrets her decision.  I hope she knows that Honeybee is loved and is happy.  I  can't imagine her grief.  Is she wondering what our Mother's Day was like?  Is she wondering if I told Honeybee about her? I have.  Honeybee doesn't get it yet.  She doesn't understand it yet.  She will one day.

I tell her that she has a heart mommy and a tummy mommy.  I tell her that her tummy mommy loves her very much and that she wants the absolute best for her.  She wants her to be able to travel the world and to be able to grown up safe, secure, and happy.  I tell her that her tummy mommy loved her so much that she made an adoption plan just for her so that she could have everything that she needs.  Then I tell her that we are going to pray for her tummy mommy so that she isn't sad or lonely.  Honeybee doesn't get it right now, but she will one day. She will.

To Honeybee's birthmommy, thank you very much for your love and your sacrifice. Thank you for allowing Honeybee to be loved by FatherWinter, Superbug, and I.  Thank you for being selfless and for such an amazing gift.  There are no words to say how grateful we are and how much we ache for your grief and how much we love you.  Truly we do.

Thank you.


Disclaimer:  This post was not posted until 18 May and was backdated to the day it was written.  With all of the emotions of the week, it seemed better to wait and hold some thoughts to ourselves.  Please forgive the delay in sharing.

Related Posts:  Missing Mama

My Week with Honeybee

What an amazing week I've had...and it has been unintentional. Due to an employment change, I had the opportunity to stay home this week. Every day I have had the opportunity to stay home with my Honeybee and have uninterrupted time with her.  I could not have asked for a better week even with the unexpected surprises.

Last Friday, my Honeybee woke up with a very high fever and a pitiful countenance.  My poor Honeybee.  I took her to the pediatrician's office and discovered that she had an ear infection yet again and would require a shot of antibiotics in that visit, another shot the next day, and a 10-day course of Cefdinir for the next week and a half.  The first two days, she was miserable and not at all like her fun loving and energetic self. On that third day, she was almost back to normal.  There were no fevers and her smiles had returned.  And by that evening, she was back to Honeybee status.

So, I've been home with her every single day and I am amazed at the little person that she is.  Her personality is amazing.  She is feeding herself.  She is putting words together. She really gets that mommy and daddy are hers. Today, FatherWinter called me on the phone.  I put the phone on speaker, but muted the call on my end because Honeybee was babbling.  Once she realized it was Daddy on the phone, Honeybee shouted in a perfect pitch "Hi Daddy". I was amazed!  I was disappointed because I had the phone on mute and FatherWinter didn't hear her.  So of course I took it off mute, but she wouldn't repeat it.  Sigh....lol.

This week I have seen my Honeybee put balls in holes, play with cars on the floor, and have bonded with her in wonderful ways.  I am so blessed to see her little personality and get to have the moment with her just she and I.  And how perfect is it that I get to do it at home without interruption.

I'd actually planned on taking us out for walks and walking in the mall while shopping for hats for an upcoming tea. Our car had other plans.  The engine light has come on and she is currently in a state of jerking.  So we've been spending time in our home and I wouldn't change those memories for anything.

Honeybee had her first taste of salsa con queso. She liked it so much she licked the bowl.

Missing Mama

Two years ago, I received a phone call that I'd been expecting, but dreading.  On the other end was confirmation that my great-grandmother had just passed away. A victim of Alzheimer's and dementia, she'd finally transitioned from this world of lost memories, pain, and was now at rest. I, on the other hand, was devastated.  I knew she was in a better place, but my great-grandmother was a driving force in my life.  I felt as if I were losing my world.

My great-grandmother (Mama)

My great-grandmother was an amazing woman. She raised me from three weeks of age until the day I left the home for college.  This woman sacrificed for me on such a major level.  She made sure there were home cooked meals on the tables every evening.  She woke up early in a home where there was only a wood-burning heater to load it every morning and make sure the home was toasty when I woke up.  She raised her children, her children's children, and her children's children's children. She did it with a smile.  When I couldn't breathe because of asthma, well before nebulizers, Mama heated a hot plate, boiled water on the eye, and allowed the steam to open up my air passageways. She gave words of wisdom and taught me the love of Christ from a very early age. I loved this woman and miss her everyday.

Mama while I carried Superbug
Mama and Superbug when he was a baby

Mama and I before Christmas service
As Mother's Day rapidly approaches, I am struck by how much more her absence is noticed now that I am a mother to Honeybee.  I see the personality of my daughter.  I see her grow into her own little person and I wish I could pick up the phone and call Mama.  I wish I could ask her if I liked to hop crawl or if my hair was sparse in the beginning. I wish I could listen to the memories of who I was as an infant.  I wish I could relive the telling of the day I arrived on the farm some 30+ years ago.

My Superbug had the benefit of being held and prayed over by my great-grandmother.  Though she didn't remember him and her interactions were limited, she got to see him grow from newborn to a sic year old.  She would smile when she saw him.  Her eyes would light up when he came near.  Mama always loved children.  They gave her youth and energy.  I often wonder the impact her love would have had on him as he grew.  How many cookies and cakes would she have baked for him.  How many meals would she have liked to have prepared.  I miss her.

I like to think that Mama got to meet Honeybee while she was in Heaven.  I like to imagine that God gave her permission to meet our Honeybee, to hold her, to introduce herself to her.Maybe Mama told her a few stories about me when I was a little girl. Maybe Mama told her that she was going to a wonderful family where love would be plentiful.  Maybe my baby girl got meet her great-great grandmother before she came to Earth.  It's a beautiful thought and puts a smile on my face.

Mother's Day is rapidly approaching.  I am so thankful that I had the opportunity to be raised and loved by this woman.  She contributed to the woman I am.  I am truly blessed by that knowledge.


Trip Weight

"You gained weight!" came the squeal.  It was followed with an excited look down and an eyebrow raise.  The excited flush was waiting for an announcement of great news.  I hated to disappoint her, but there was certainly a bit of mirth in the denial.

No, I calmly explained.  I'm not pregnant.  Yes, I gained weight.  Too many carbs and rich fatty foods in the Dominican Republic three or more times a day.  I bought back several pounds with me.  I noticed the weight gain and thought I did a pretty good job of keeping it hidden, but it was pretty evident in the conversation that I had not.

"It looks good on you" came the response.  I appreciated the compliment, but I have bee feeling sluggish with the extra weight.  I needed to detox.  I needed to get myself in a better place.  So just that quick, the decision was made.  Time to get to the gym.

Yep.  It's time to get back to the elliptical and treadmill.  It's time to lose a few pounds.  It's time to get healthier.

So, here's my challenge to myself to do just that.  Let's see how it goes.


Weekend Recap: The Fight Edition

It was supposed to be the weekend of legends!  Sports all weekend long.  NBA Playoffs with defending champs San Antonio Spurs vs. the Los Angeles Clippers.  And the fight of the century with Floyd "Money" Mayweather and Manny "Pack-man" Pacquiao.  I was so hyped.  My entire family was hyped.  We had no idea where we were going to watch the fight, but rest assured we knew we would be watching it.  It had been discussed off and on for weeks.  I am a Mayweather fan, but likewise am a fan of Pacquiao for his open love of Christ and the amount of aid he returns to his community. I was hoping to see an underdog victory in some way form or fashion. 

Unfortunately, our weekend started a little differently than planned.  Friday morning, our Honeybee woke up with a really high fever.  I ended up locking on a sick visit appointment for about 9:40 and rushed out of the house once Superbug was safely on the bus.  The doctor's office determined pretty quickly that our Honeybee had an ear infection...again.  This is the third or fourth time she has had one and the office mentioned the possibility of an ear nose and throat specialist in the future.  For now, they gave her a shot of antibiotics and scheduled her for a follow-up appointment and shot the next day.  Honeybee was not a happy camper and was quite cranky. 

Because of the fever and because she definitely needed Mommy's TLC, I couldn't take her to the daycare.  Usually, I would just come home and telecommute.  This time that wasn't an option.  You see, Friday was scheduled to be my last day at the office.  I will be starting a new position with a new company in a few days and Friday was the day I was to check out at the outgoing location.  This left me with only one option.  I had to complete the check out procedures with Honeybee at the office.

Fortunately, the office was very great about it.  I was able to complete all of my checkout proceedings within 2 hours. My colleagues assisted by keeping Honeybee entertained.  It actually worked out well because the team hadn't seen her in a very long time.  Even though she was under the weather, it was still a great opportunity for them to see how big she has gotten.  After I checked out, I was able to get Honeybee to sleep, which she sorely needed.  When FatherWinter and Superbug arrived later that afternoon, Honeybee was still resting but woke up later feeling quite a bit better.

I was holding her and recounting the shots and Honeybee's new medicine regiment when FatherWinter switched subjects and mentioned the upcoming fight.  We'd still not decided where we would watch the event.  He suggested that we should host a fight party since we hadn't heard anyone who would be doing the same.  I thought it was a great idea since I didn't want to take Honeybee out while she was ill and liked the idea of being able to put her down comfortably in her crib where she could rest well.  We discussed a few of the specifics and decided to go for it.

Honeybee felt well enough to "inspect" the chips in the pantry
Saturday morning, the text went out to several friends and family to invite them over.  It was nothing major.  Pizza and wings from Pizza Hut, tons of chips and dip, and a few beverages.  About twenty people came over and we had a really good time.  I have to admit I was really hoping that Mayweather would be on the receiving end of at least one major knockdown. It didn't happen though. For most of us, it happened as we expected.  Mayweather won the fight.  Pacquiao had a couple of nice hits, but didn't deliver the blows we thought he could have.  All in all, it wasn't the fight we were hoping for, but I did enjoy having friends and family over.

However, I still must admit that the fight was overhyped in a major way.  I saw all of the cleverly placed marketing strategies.  I saw the over the top ones with the Burger King mascot and Justin Beiber walking in with Mayweather.  I saw the Geico placement with the selfie taken right before the fight.  I saw all of the marketing money, but didn't see the "epic" fight that I'd hoped for.  The fight did indeed seem pretty one sided most of the match.  I'd hoped to see more blow for blow. I wanted to see a competition and have something to truly discuss with my husband.  We did more discussing of the final seconds in the Spurs game than we did with the fight.  (BTW congrats, Clippers). Okay,I'm off the soap box.

Today, the family went to church and heard a wonderful message.  Our Pastor preached on being the victor and not the victim. There was a rousing sermon, a powerful musical worship experience, and then fellowship with family and friends after.  After church was over and after running errands, FatherWinter and I decided to watch a movie our church hosted earlier this week.  We were unable to attend, so we pulled God's Not Dead up on Amazon and watched it there.  What an awesome movie it was.

If you haven't seen it, I highly recommend it.  I was a bit skeptical that I would enjoy it, but I have to say that it was well worth the time.

Well, that's our weekend in a nutshell.  I hope your weekend was just as enjoyable. 

Take care and be blessed.