Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween

Last Sunday Amira went to my brother and sister-in-law's while I worked. While there, they took her and my nephew, Anthony, out to get a pumpkin to carve. It was a big tradition in our home growing up to get a pumpkin, carve a fun face into it, stick a candle inside, light it, and sit it on the front porch for all to see. Probably the best part of carving the pumpkin as a kid was using a big spoon to scoop all the goo out of the pumpkin before we carved it's face.

Here's Amira's pumpkin.

We'll be going to my brother's tonight for the big Trick or Treat fest. Amira and I'll stay at their house and pass out candy to all the trick or treaters that stop by, while my brother takes Anthony and his friends to gather a million pounds of candy from the neighborhood.

Amira is excited to dress up in her Tinkerbell costume Grandma and Grandpa got her for her birthday, while Mr. Anthony on the other hand, who is 12 thinks it's uncool to dress up. However, he and so many other kids have no shame in going door to door to gather candy. :-) For those that choose not to dress up, what they don't understand is half the fun of people buying candy and passing it out is seeing the kids in their creative costumes. We'll see what happens tonight. :-)

Wednesday, October 29, 2008


A couple of weeks ago Amira and I went to Borders bookstore as one of my dear friend's, Taliya, was performing there. She's a singer/songwriter and was promoting her latest album. She has an absolutely incredible voice and is extremely talented. One of her many talents includes performing one of the songs she wrote in 15 different languages. She has been been awarded the Guinness World Record for recording her single "Flower Child" in the ‘Most Languages on an Album by an Original Artist’. At the concert she performed "Flower Child" using all 15 different languages at one time in a medley format with snipets of each languages. Admittedly this probably impressed me more than singing the song 15 times in 15 different languages, for how on earth must someone's brain be processing singing one song using all 15 different languages at once......impressive is all I have to say.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Picture says a thousand words

This one, however, says
"Hi, I'm Amira and I go to big kid school."

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

This and That

Wow, I had not realized how long it had been since last posting. More importantly I wonder what on earth I could have been doing to distract me. Hmmmmmmmmmmmm~

Anyway, one of my cousins came out last week to spend time with us and we had a wonderful time. One day we spent in San Francisco and the remainder of the time was pretty much just spent together enjoying one another's company. He was a great support to all of us and very understanding of our moment-to-moment breakdowns we'd occasional experience.

My father is doing remarkably well and trying to keep his life structured and busy with things to do, but he's not denying himself those moments when tears come.

I believe I am finally allowing myself to feel the affects of my mom not being here. I finally felt it was safe to do so since my family seems to be doing well. Last Wednesday I was hoping to have a moment to myself to allow my tears to flow without Amira around, but unfortunately this was not the case. My father had been watching her throughout the day while I was at work and called me and asked me to get her when I finished work, as he had to do something. I had been hoping during the moment I got off work and the time I got to his house I could have had a moment to myself to let go, but it did not work this way. I went to get Amira and took her with me to the only place I could think to go and let down. I went to the cemetery. All the way there I just prayed for God to help me get through this moment and to help me with Amira as I didn't know what to do or say, I just knew I needed to be there. When we got to the cemetery Amira and I got out of the car and sat on a little curb close to where my mom rests. I never told Amira where she was or anything like that as I didn't want to disturb her thoughts. As we sat on the curb in silence I tilted my head down and just let the tears begin to fall freely. When the stream of tears began to slow I heard Amira ask me "where are we?” Then I heard the words come from my mouth but had no idea where they came from, "we are at a peaceful place that allows you to think and feel peaceful". She looked around at the beautiful garden scenery with all the trees, flowers, and grass and agreed it was nice.

During this moment of being here and speaking out I felt something very unnerving. I felt to a degree the veil of my existence had been lifted if just for a moment. For at the very moment the tears were uncontrollably releasing I heard myself say to my mom, "wow mom, now you see me for who I really am..........I can no longer hide myself from you. For although all these years I've put a mask of bravery and strength on in front of your physical form, I am no longer able to do that in front of your spiritual form". Although feeling somewhat ashamed of this sudden knowledge, there was also a sense of freedom associated with it. I no longer felt I had to hide who I really was to her. Hopefully she's the one person that will now understand me completely. The one that will realize I'm not always strong and the one that will know I don't always want to be alone dealing with my feelings. Of course I know God is the ultimate one that knows all of these things, however, there is something oddly comforting in knowing this about someone you've loved who has moved on......probably because we've actually seen them before, thouched them, smelt them.......all the senses that tells us they are real. Whatever "real" is......ok, ok enough philosophy.

We were only there in all actuality a very short time, so once loaded back into the car and driving off to my dad's, Amira announces she found a couple of really nice little rocks at the "peaceful place" and decided to take them to Grandpa's to show him.

Towards the end of the week, I discovered my brother who had been clean and sober for the last three years started using drugs again. This was so disheartening. I wanted to believe so badly that it was not true as he had done such a great turn around with his life, and his family was healing so beautifully, but the facts could not be ignored.

The feelings of resentment towards him arouse once again, along with the feelings of sorrow towards his family all re-awakened, and the feelings of protection towards my father once again in high alert. The feelings that still run through my veins over this is very disturbing and I know I must gain control over them, but I feel most distraught over the fact that we must now confront this head on rather than wait. I suppose there's a part of me that's angry over the fact that I just started to feel the numbness of my mom's loss melting away, thus allowing me to deal with them and now they have to once again be stuffed aside because of my brother. The only thing to do at this point is take it to prayer, which seems to always reveal the right way to deal with any situation, and have a meeting with my brother and his wife next week.

That poor family has been through so much that I truly hate to see them go backwards. I think going backwards is a comfortable way of dealing with a difficult situation because it's what's familiar and they know if works as a masks since they don't know what else to do. However, I hope they are open to suggestions of other solutions that will help them through these difficult times without negative side affects. As truly I would hate to see my brother lose his family, home or career as a result of going back to an old habit that nearly costs him all those things not long ago.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Current Economical Woes Simply Explained

I found this article this morning and absolutely resonated with it................for I think the media would love to send the entire world into a needless tailspin insighting fear to all, but then there's an article such as this that gives, what I believe, a simple explanation. Lets not let the media turn this recent economic struggle into yet another "Chicken Little" story. As far as I'm concerned, I don't believe the sky is falling, but rather shift back into a more realistic view.

All that money you've lost - where did it go?

NEW YORK (AP) - Trillions in stock market value - gone. Trillions in retirement savings - gone. A huge chunk of the money you paid for your house, the money you're saving for college, the money your boss needs to make payroll - gone, gone, gone.

Whether you're a stock broker or Joe Six-pack, if you have a 401(k), a mutual fund or a college savings plan, tumbling stock markets and sagging home prices mean you've lost a whole lot of the money that was right there on your account statements just a few months ago.

But if you no longer have that money, who does? The fat cats on Wall Street? Some oil baron in Saudi Arabia? The government of China?

Or is it just - gone?

If you're looking to track down your missing money - figure out who has it now, maybe ask to have it back - you might be disappointed to learn that is was never really money in the first place.

Robert Shiller, an economist at Yale, puts it bluntly: The notion that you lose a pile of money whenever the stock market tanks is a ``fallacy.'' He says the price of a stock has never been the same thing as money - it's simply the ``best guess'' of what the stock is worth.

``It's in people's minds,'' Shiller explains. ``We're just recording a measure of what people think the stock market is worth. What the people who are willing to trade today - who are very, very few people - are actually trading at. So we're just extrapolating that and thinking, well, maybe that's what everyone thinks it's worth.''

Shiller uses the example of an appraiser who values a house at $350,000, a week after saying it was worth $400,000.

``In a sense, $50,000 just disappeared when he said that,'' he said. ``But it's all in the mind.''

Though something, of course, is disappearing as markets and real estate values tumble. Even if a share of stock you own isn't a wad of bills in your wallet, even if the value of your home isn't something you can redeem at will, surely you can lose potential money - that is, the money that would be yours to spend if you sold your house or emptied out your mutual funds right now.

And if you're a few months away from retirement, or hoping to sell your house and buy a smaller one to help pay for your kid's college tuition, this ``potential money'' is something you're counting on to get by. For people who need cash and need it now, this is as real as money gets, whether or not it meets the technical definition of the word.

Still, you run into trouble when you think of that potential money as being the same thing as the cash in your purse or your checking account.

``That's a big mistake,'' says Dale Jorgenson, an economics professor at Harvard.

There's a key distinction here: While the money in your pocket is unlikely to just vanish into thin air, the money you could have had, if only you'd sold your house or drained your stock-heavy mutual funds a year ago, most certainly can.

``You can't enjoy the benefits of your 401(k) if it's disappeared,'' Jorgenson explains. ``If you had it all in financial stocks and they've all gone down by 80 percent - sorry! That is a permanent loss because those folks aren't coming back. We're gonna have a huge shrinkage in the financial sector.''

There was a time when nobody had to wonder what happened to the money they used to have. Until paper money was developed in China around the ninth century, money was something solid that had actual value - like a gold coin that was worth whatever that amount of gold was worth, according to Douglas Mudd, curator of the American Numismatic Association's Money Museum in Denver.

Back then, if the money you once had was suddenly gone, there was a simple reason - you spent it, someone stole it, you dropped it in a field somewhere, or maybe a tornado or some other disaster struck wherever you last put it down.

But these days, a lot of things that have monetary value can't be held in your hand.

If you choose, you can pour most of your money into stocks and track their value in real time on a computer screen, confident that you'll get good money for them when you decide to sell. And you won't be alone - staring at millions of computer screens are other investors who share your confidence that the value of their portfolios will hold up.

But that collective confidence, Jorgenson says, is gone. And when confidence is drained out of a financial system, a lot of investors will decide to sell at any price, and a big chunk of that money you thought your investments were worth simply goes away.

If you once thought your investment portfolio was as good as a suitcase full of twenties, you might suddenly suspect that it's not.

In the process, of course, you're losing wealth. But does that mean someone else must be gaining it? Does the world have some fixed amount of wealth that shifts between people, nations and institutions with the ebb and flow of the economy?

Jorgenson says no - the amount of wealth in the world ``simply decreases in a situation like this.'' And he cautions against assuming that your investment losses mean a gain for someone else - like wealthy stock speculators who try to make money by betting that the market will drop.

``Those folks in general have been losing their shirts at a prodigious rate,'' he said. ``They took a big risk and now they're suffering from the consequences.''

``Of course, they had a great life, as long as it lasted.''

Friday, October 10, 2008

Three Things

Three things in life that, once gone, never come back -

1. Time

2. Words

3. Opportunity

Three things in life that can destroy a person -

1. Anger

2. Pride


Three things in life that you should never lose-

1. Hope

2. Peace

3. Honesty

Three things in life that are most valuable -

1. Love

2. Family & Friends

3. Kindness

Three things in life that are never certain -

1. Fortune

2. Success

3. Dreams

Three things that make a person -

1. Commitment

2. Sincerity

3. Hard work

Monday, October 6, 2008

New Dollar after financial crunch..

The Treasury Department put out new dollar bill this morning ----