Tag Archives: son

Help! My Life Has Become an Episode of Star Trek!

1 Dec

In Season 5, Episode 6, of Star Trek: the Next Generation, the crew is attacked by a video game trying to turn the crew into video game zombies. They have the first case I can remember of what the show called, “Virtual Reality Addiction.”

The writers had precognition! I feel at times that I am turning into a zombie addicted to games on my IPhone.   Since I got my IPhone 6, with its bigger screen and better graphics, I find myself playing these games much more often. Yes, I was always a ‘Words with Friends’ addicted person. I had to play it several times a day. But now, I find myself playing Dots and Solitaire and Blitz, when I should be doing something else. I do not even like those games that much!

For example, when I used go to a doctor’s office and knew I have to wait for awhile, I would bring my crocheting and work on my current project. But today, I went to the dentist, and did not bring my crochet bag. Instead, even though there was a sign asking that people turn off their phones, I sat in the waiting room with others playing my games. I was not the only one. There were other phone addicted people on their phones as well!

What was that about? I should have been working on one of my projects. I have a baby blanket that needs to be done!!! The baby was six weeks early, and my blanket is only part way completed. I should have worked a few rows while I waited. But the Phone and the games had me bond in their control!

Then there are my early mornings. When I first get up, I usually watch the news for 30 minutes before I get out of bed. But now, I get up for a minute to get my phone and take it into bed with me while I watch the news. Why?

At least I do not sleep with it like some people do. But I do check my mail first thing in the morning. As I listen to the news, I play games and watch television at the same time. Why?

Then there is the information from my UP. On my phone is an ap that tells how long I slept and how many steps I have taken.   Why do I need to check several times a day. Isn’t once enough. NO!

I have to force myself to put my phone down.   And each time that happens, I flash back the Star Trek episode called “The Game.”   I am there. I could have easily fallen prey to that evil game that controlled the crew members’ minds. This has got to stop!

I never understood my son’s affliction to playing video games whenever he could. He had Nintendo, PlayStation, X Box, hand held video game things! And whenever he was not in school or working on school work, he played games. I could never get into it even though he tried to teach me. I would ask why he was wasting his time. He should be outside running around. It was not that bad as he did do gymnastics and tae kwon do. So he had lots of exercise. But those hours playing games made me crazy.

But now I understand! My I Phone has me cornered and in its control. I would take the games off. But I know I cannot. I force myself NOT to add more aps. They would only take up more of my time. It has to stop! On the few occasions I leave my phone at home, I feel disconnected. I don’t see on my dashboard the words, “connected to phone.” And I worry. What if someone needs me. But before cell phones, I was fine. So I force myself go about my way without a phone for a few hours. And I do survive.

I have to add an another fact to this evil addiction. In the show it was William Riker who brings the game back to the ship. He has visited the planet, “RISA.” This is scary. That is my younger sister’s name.   She has been trying to be in control for over 50 years. But I stay in my role of older sister. Perhaps, however, she has a plot to take over my mind through games.   Wait that sounds paranoid. Those games are getting to me. She cannot be plotting this? Can she?

I do have to wonder sometimes who is in control: me or the games and information on my IPhone?

Is this really a good thing? I know I am not the only one caught up in the game aps. Look at all those little children playing on their own IPads! It could be that we are all inside a Star Trek episode.

Maybe this is an alternate universe? Maybe Data did not destroy the program and it now is putting all of us in the middle of a Star Trek episode.

Voting Is Your Obligation! Not Just Your Right!

20 Oct

I vote! Since I moved to Kansas and settled, I have voted in almost every election including primaries. I say almost, because for a long time I did not affiliate with either party. And as an independent, you cannot vote in primaries. But living in Kansas, I realized that being a registered Republican was the way to go, as that is the party where the most important primaries are held.

When I first got the right to vote, I remember my parents telling me that voting was not just a right, it was my obligation. If I did not like how the government ran, but I did not vote, then I had no grounds to complain. And then they pointed out that in Germany of the early 1930s if more ‘sane’ people had voted, perhaps there would not have been a Nazi Germany.   In fact the silent majority should never be silent. Their voices must be heard. And the ballot is a good place to be heard.

In college I studied politics as my minor. It was a good background for understanding the political process. Not one that is very pleasant right now, but I do understand it.

So for each and every election, I read. In the past it was just newspapers and articles in magazines. Interviews on television helped. But now with the internet, I do lots of research. In Kansas we even re-elect judges. There used to be a website to see how judges were rated. I went there as well. Now it is a little more difficult, but there is one to review the major judges.

Over the years I would keep a list of those candidates I wanted to vote for so that on Election Day I easily be able to cast my ballot. And I always listed the issues and the vote for those as well. At first my husband and I had separate views on voting, but over the years he slowly moved to my point of view. I vote for the person I think will do the best job whether they be democrat or republican. I have had signs for candidates from both parties on my lawn at the same time.

Eventually he just asked me for my list. We used to joke that I control his vote. But this led to conflict with our daughter.

When my daughter was a senior in high school, she took American Government as one of her classes. It is a class that all students need to take in Kansas, perhaps in other parts of the country as well.

It was early November. Not a big election, just local. We were at the dinner table when my husband asked me for the list, as he was going to vote early in the morning.   I had it ready. And as I gave it to him, I also explained the topics/issues that were going to be voted on, besides electing officials. I explained that for one a Yes vote really meant No and he should vote No, even though we were for a yes decision.

As we were discussing the list, my daughter started ranting.   “I cannot believe you are telling Dad who to vote for!! Don’t you know that in this country people do not have to tell who they are voting for?! It is private. Dad should be able to vote for and how he wants without you telling him!”

My husband and I looked at each other. And calmly, my husband responded, “Your Mom reads everything. She researches. She analyzes and she thinks about who and what will be the best vote for her. I respect your Mom’s opinion. And I do not have the time to do the research she does. She is not telling me who to vote for.   I am asking her.”

I thought it was great. Our daughter stomped to her room. And we continued the conversation.

2012 election, a long line to vote!

2012 election, a long line to vote early!

In Kansas we can vote early, so that Election Day is not so crazy.   And it helps especially for those who work long hours. I often go with a good friend and neighbor. We laugh because we know that we are cancelling out each other’s votes for most of the candidates. I think her husband thinks we are crazy. But we enjoy standing on line to vote.   Since my children vote I have been doing this more often with them.

Back to my daughter: that winter she turned 18. At her high school she could register to vote, which she did. I gave her the same speech my Dad gave me. In the fall she would be able to vote in her first election. It was a big one. President, senator, congressman, state and local officials were all up for election.

She sent away for her absentee ballot as she was in college in New Jersey. The ballot came back filled with names and issues.

The phone rang. It was my daughter.   “Mom,” she said contritely, “ could you email me the list?”

“What list?” I asked politely.

“You know what list. The list of whom you are voting for!” She said a little strongly.

“Nope. I cannot send you the list. I don’t want to tell you who to vote for. In the USA everyone gets to decide for themselves.” I thought telling her what she had yelled at us the previous year would make my point.

“OK, I understand what Dad was saying. There are so many people and issues on this ballot. I don’t know who to vote for. May I please have the list,” she responded. (I know these are not the exact words, but they are very close.)

So I emailed it to her. I now provide information for three voters. Since she lives out of the USA and does all her voting by absentee ballot. Since she does not know what is happening locally, I send her my list every year for her to fill her ballot. We do discuss the issues and the candidates. She can vote for whomever she wants to. But my list is the starting point.

As for my son, he is much more agreeable at times. And for voting, he never argued. He turned 18 one month before the 2008 election.   He was excited. He registered to vote immediately. In Kansas we don’t have primaries for presidential candidates; instead, we have a caucus. My son went with his Dad to the Democrat caucus. They allowed young people to come and caucus even if they were not registered Democrats. It was a great experience for him. The school was packed! What a wonderful lesson for everyone of democracy at work.

I was at the Republican caucus with my friend. We of course voted for different Republicans for president. But it was still an important part of the democratic process. And I am glad I participated.

When election time came in November, there was no discussion.   My son and I went early to vote. We stood on line together. I took a photo of him standing on line for his first election. A friend of mine is one of the election workers, and she was the one to sign him in for his first vote.   We were all excited. Voting is so important. I was glad my son let me go with!   I did not get to do this with my daughter, so I was excited to do it with my son.

He took his copy of the list and I took my copy of the list and we both went into separate voting booths and voted. I now advise four voters, myself included.

Voting is an obligation. Being an informed voter is also an obligation. Do not just go into the voting booth and push buttons. Know the issues. Know the candidates. Then vote! Yes my family takes my list. But I discuss every decision I have made with them. They have a choice. Once they are in their voting booth they can vote for whomever they want. I just provide information.

Remember now you have to bring identification to vote in Kansas. Do not miss your chance to have your voice heard.

Election Day is coming. VOTE!

What a week! A Murder and a Campus Lock Down Impact My Life

5 Sep

I honestly thought that with my daughter living in Tel Aviv, Israel, that when the bombing and war there ended, I would be able to watch the news again and be calm when watching. But that did not happen.   This past week in the Kansas City area has been emotionally stressful.

On Tuesday there was a triple homicide in south Kansas City. A friend of mine said it happened on 107 and Wornall, I corrected her and said it was further south, because I knew the area well. Someone I knew lived there. But having said that, at the same time, I had no concern about this friend. It was not possible that something would happen to her.

On Wednesday, I found out that I was wrong. Another friend told me the horrifying news that the woman I knew was one of those murdered. We were in a store when she told me. I paid for my items, went out to my car and began to shake. I had just seen this woman a few days before at clothing store. We showed each other the outfits we were trying on. And gave opinions. Now she was dead. It did not seem possible.

I called another friend.   I needed to talk to someone before I drove; I was so shook up. And it was true. Thank you for calming me down so I could drive home.

Yesterday, Thursday, the college campus that my son attends went on lock down.   He was there in a class. When I saw on the news what was happening, I texted him. And yes he was on lock down.   He was okay.

His girlfriend also texted me to tell me where My son was and that he was okay.

But a few minutes later, my son texted these words, “I am very scared.”

At that point my heart broke and my panic started. But I knew I could not let him know that I was scared as well. And due to the shootings earlier in the week, I could not say ‘nothing will happen.’ I felt anxious.

I started sending him text with information from the news, from the police reports. I believe it helped calm him as there was no active shooter, just reports of a woman with a gun.  We could text, but he could not speak so I could not call him.

I texted him to come to our home immediately after he got out…not to go to his apartment. The campus was just two miles from our home.  We continued texting for two hours. But then there was silence.  I hate silence!

After a half hour of silence, during which I sent him six texts, he arrived home. He got a very big and long hug from me.  He then laughed and said,  “I have lots of texts from you!”  I glad my texting gave him some comic relief!

He told us an armed police officer in tactical gear came into their class and told them to barricade the room, turn off the lights, get on the floor and stay quiet, till the police came again. And there they sat for three hours.  Their professor gave them updates when he received them.

The police searched every building. When his class was released they had to go through other buildings. All students had to exit from the same place so the police could see them. And when he drove away, he had to stop so the police could look into his car.

We drove to his apartment and picked up his roommate, and we took the boys out to dinner. It was after 7 pm and we were now hungry.

My son told us what happened again during dinner. I think he needed to get it out of his system. He said, “I thought about every scenario that could happen.”  I told him that everyone was scared. As they interviewed other students they all talked about thinking about what might happen, just as he did.

After dinner, before my son left us, I again hugged him for a very long time. He told his Dad, “Get a crowbar!” I did not want to let go.

Now I am getting ready to go to the funeral of the woman who was murdered in her driveway. The week ends tomorrow.

I will go to synagogue and pray for the family of the woman who died. I will also pray and be thankful that the college campus only had an inconvenience and not a disaster; and that my son came home safely to me.

I never expected in one week that a murder and a campus lock down would impact my life!  I have always felt so safe in Kansas, but this year with the shootings at the Jewish Community Campus, and this past week, some of my beliefs and feelings of  calm have been impacted.

My Dad was A Proud Veteran

26 Nov

My Dad was a proud veteran.  He instilled a love of country and duty in my children. And my children loved him.   I know that my son adored my Dad.  But I guess until this past Veteran’s Day I did not realize how great that love was and remains.

My Dad died in 2011, ten days after my son’s 21st birthday.  On his birthday, Dad called.  I did not hear the phone call. But my son called me immediately after to tell me that Grandpa called to wish him a happy birthday and to say he loved him and would always love him.

My Dad was in the hospital.  Very ill.  When he hung up, he turned to my sister and said,  “No more treatments, no more food, and I am not talking to you anymore.”  Those might not be the exact words.  I wasn’t there. I was in Kansas. Dad was in a hospital in New Jersey.  But both my sister and brother agreed that he stopped talking and eating, and refused all treatment.

Did I tell you my Dad was very stubborn?

But in this case, he was right, because he made his own choice.   And he passed away 10 days later.

It was very difficult.  I had plane reservations for that morning.  But it was too late.  The phone call came at 12:30 am.  My brother calling.  I did not want to answer the phone.   But I had to face the reality…losing my Dad nine months after losing my Mom.   My grief was overwhelming.

I flew home to New Jersey, where my brother met me at the airport.  His words were in a way helpful.  “Dad saved us from making very difficult decisions,” he said.  And he was right.  Because we might have fought with him to do the one thing he never wanted…putting in a feeding tube.

Dad was strong willed.

My father was the recipient of both the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart.  Even though he died on a Saturday, the funeral home was able to contact the military.  At my father’s funeral were two soldiers. At the cemetery they removed the flag covering his casket with great ceremony as they folded it.  While  the commanding soldier delivered the flag to my brother, saying the scripted, but heartfelt, words of the military, the other soldier disappeared.  A few minutes later, I knew why. From a far came the sound of  a soldier playing taps.  I still cry thinking of how proud my Dad was of serving his country.  And how the grateful nation return his respect with the tribute of a bugle.

 

The flag from Dad's funeral.  His favorite Korea Veteran cap.

The flag from Dad’s funeral. His favorite Korea Veteran cap.

We kept the flag in the room where we sat shiva.  It seemed right that it be with us.  As it seemed right that my brother now has the flag.

So what does this have to do with my son?

Well first off, my brother and sister agreed that we would give my son my Dad’s newest tallit as a 21st birthday gift.   My Dad had three tallisim  (prayer shawls).  One from his bar mitzvah, one from his wedding, and then the beautiful one my Mom gave him when he became president of his synagogue.  In Jewish tradition, you bury the tallit with the owner.  But at the funeral home, the director told us, “Keep this one.  Use it for a huppah (wedding canopy)for his grandchildren.  Burying two is enough.“

My son was very quiet when I gave him the tallit. He held it for a while, then stroked the velvet case.  I cried because I could see the emotion in that gesture. Now  he  wears Dad’s tallit when he goes to synagogue.  My sister recently said to me that this Dad’s most personal item….his tallit.  That is true. My Dad was proud to wear his tallit.  Proud to be Jewish. As he was proud to be a veteran.

What does Veteran’s Day and Memorial Day have to do with this story?  So much.  My Dad served as a forward observer/radio man in the Korean War.  As he told my children,  “There were no cell phones then.  Someone had to go in front of the front line to lay the radio wires.  That was me.”

Korean Vet

My Dad explaining the Korean War.

 

So when they built a Korean War Veteran’s Memorial near my home, I helped fund it by buying a inscribed stone in honor of my Dad.   One Thanksgiving, when my parents were visiting,  I took them and my children to the Memorial, where Dad told them all about the war… He started to cry….even after over 55 years, the trauma of Korea still was fresh for him.

After my father died, in October 2011, I started going to the Memorial on Veteran’s Day and Memorial Day, to say hi to my Dad.  I cannot visit his grave, as he is buried in New Jersey. But this year, I could not go on Veteran’s Day.  I was out of town.  It bothered me that I could not make this important visit.

A few days after we got home, I had lunch with my son and his girlfriend.  I asked if I could take their photo to send to my daughter.  They said yes.  But then my son started making funny faces.

“Why are you doing that?”   I asked annoyed.

“I am channeling Grandpa,” he said.  “He would have done worse.  He would have also made bunny ears.”

I smiled.  But what he said next made me cry.

“I went to the Korean War Memorial on Veterans’ Day,” he said.  “I went there because I wanted to pay my respects and honor his memory,” he told me later.

When I told him that I went twice a year.  And I really appreciate his going for me.  He looked at me astonished and said he did not go for me.  “I never knew you went there to do that every year,” he said.  No he went there just to say hi to his grandfather.

There are no words….but love.

My Dad always said that with each child and grandchild your heart does not divide more, it gets bigger.  My Dad had the biggest heart, something he gave to his grandchildren.

So each year on Memorial Day and Veteran’s Day, I will continue to honor my father by visiting the Korean War Veteran’s Memorial. I will think of him and of all the veterans who served with pride.