Monday, December 31, 2012

Can WE Do It?

Final thoughts as the year ends:

Last night I went to see The Hobbit.  It was not The Hobbit of my teenage imagination. It was violent and gory and to the young children in the next row, I imagined, the stuff of nightmares.

"How did you like the movie?" my husband asked as we exited the theater.

"I couldn't stop thinking about those small kids behind us," I said.  It was totally distracting.  Every fang, every scream, everything flying from the screen in 3D seemed too much for them. And if it wasn't too much for them, if they weren't sensitive to the horror, that was even more distressing.

I talked for a few minutes about the way the motion picture association and movie makers manipulate movies and ratings to gain the most profit from them.  How parents don't preview movies, ignorantly send their children to see things they shouldn't see. I would have probably sent mine to The Hobbit with a babysitter or gone with them from reading it years ago.

I don't do war movies, but I love war novels.  When I read, I am limited by my imagination whether innately or deliberately.  In movies it isn't like that.

I came back to those children in Newtown and the boy that killed them.  What can I do? I keep asking myself, feeling small and helpless in the face of the media and their lust for money, the gun people with their powerful lobbies and big money, the decreasing funding for mental healthcare.  What can I do? I asked my husband.

"You have a blog," he said.

Yes, I do have a blog.  I've posted every week in 2012 and fifteen hundred people have read my posts.  Not a huge amount - I know bloggers who have that many visitors in a day - but that's fifteen hundred people I think are thoughtful and concerned.

I go back to the title of this blog: Can I Do It?

In 2013, I'm going to ask CAN WE DO IT?  I'm going to do research about the big issues that surround tragedies like Newtown and find ways to make small changes that will have a big impact. I'm going to put together town meetings at my local bookstore. I may ask people to guest write; my daughter who was a schoolteacher has strong opinions.  I'll post at least twice a month about what I've learned.

In the theater, I found myself thinking, "In my day...." and it made me feel old.  But the truth is, in my day, nobody came into the schools and shot classrooms of young children.  The worst you faced in the theater was people spitting on you from the balcony.  There weren't any malls, but I could ride the bus downtown and spend the day window shopping with my friend and come home with nothing worse than clothing lust. I want some of that back.

I hope you'll be an active participant in this undertaking. There's real power in the WE of CAN WE DO IT?

A sense of safety for everyone.  Prosperous in the ways that count. Working to change what's not working. Lucky in '13.  My wishes for us in the coming year.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Christmas 2012

I've spent a lot of time with friends and family over the past few days and hope all of you have done the same.  I continue to think of the families of Newtown and others who have lost loved ones during the past year.

I plan one more post before the end of the 2012.  Talk to you then.

Love and peace.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012


Next week I want to get back to my last post about the doctor and the soldier, but not tonight.

I've thought all day about what to write here.  It seemed ridiculous that I would post about anything except what happened in Newtown last Friday.  And yet I couldn't think of a single pithy thing to say.  I've looked in the faces of those children and adults who were murdered that day, I've cried like all the rest of us. I've felt helpless, blamed guns and video games and lack of funding for mental health just like everyone else.

I decided to turn to you. I wonder if you would comment here about how you feel changed by what happened and if you feel called to take any action on a personal, local, or national level.

I'll go first: I'm going to see if our local bookstore will help me put together a town meeting to discuss how we can work on the local level to make some changes.  I'm going to educate myself about the issues.  I'm going to keep looking at the faces of the brave people who died trying to prevent deaths and the children who could not be saved.

And now you....RSVP.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

From the WTF Department

I was in the car when I first heard of the rescue of Dr. Dilip Joseph and the death of Petty Officer 1st Class Nicolas Checque. My immediate reaction was, "We lost one to gain one. WTF good was that?"

The facts are that Dr. Joseph has worked for Morning Star Development for three years. During that three years he has made numerous trips to Afghanistan. He is not a volunteer; this is his job. He was captured with two others who were subsequently released. He is sixty-seven years old..

The facts are that Petty Officer Checque, 28, was a highly decorated Navy Seal who enlisted right out of high school. He had served for ten years, some of them in Iraq and Afghanistan. He was the third Seal to lose his life in the past few weeks, all of them under thirty years old.

Dr. Joseph was a man of intelligence, I assume. He chose to go into a situation fraught with peril. Over and over he made the decision to go into Afghanistan. 

Petty Officer Checque chose his job too. But I believe that we sacrificed this young man for something that was not his job. We had no right to risk the lives of him and his company of elite forces to bring a man out who was voluntarily putting himself in harm's way.

I appreciate the fact that Dr. Joseph, and others like him, do our dirty work. These international workers are to be commended. But I believe that they--and their organizations--must assume the responsibility for the safety and risk of their employees.

Of Checque's death, President Obama said, "He gave his life for his fellow Americans, and he and his teammates remind us once more of the selfless service that allows our nation to stay strong, safe, and free."


He gave his life for one American, and I am no safer, stronger, or freer because we sent this young man to meet his end to rescue Dr. Joseph.  

It is a perfect example of the way we have justified for the past several years--since the Vietnam War--the sacrificial deaths of our young servicemen and women under the auspices of making the world safer, stronger, and freer.

Rest in peace, Nicolas Checque. You went above and beyond the call of duty in every way.  

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Good Gifts

Here is my list of gift suggestions for 2012.

1.  Book store gift certificates or books (suggestions here)

2.  Handmade and local things

3,  A card with a note saying that a donation has been made in one's honor or in memory of a loved one lost during the year, for instance to Stop Hunger Now

4.  Calling cards, return address labels, or just about anything from Felix Doolittle

5.  Materials to make personalized cards.  One of my favorite places to shop for those is Paper Source or French Paper

6.  A subscription to Lumosity to keep your brain from freezing

7.  A load of firewood (this is what my sister-in-law gives us and we love it).

Feel free to add your suggestions (or requests!) in the comment section.