Monthly Archives: July 2012

My little girl and her dump truck


My mother has been bringing over toys that my sisters and I played with when we were little, as well as some toys that my nephew had played when when he was a toddler. He will be eight in a few days. Among these toys are an assortment of cars and trucks; some hot wheels, some large plastic toy cars and trucks. But one in particular is a large plastic dump truck that is almost half the size as my daughter. Looking at it closely I believe it was part of a Lego set for toddlers.

Where other kids carry around a raggedy stuff animal, my daughter carries around this dump truck. It goes to bed with her, to the table, to the bath tub, outside to play, to the car, it never leaves her sight. I don’t mind her playing with cars and trucks as she does have a girly side; loves to have her hair put up or braided, or have her nails painted, etc. I’m sure this is a fad she’s going through and she’ll find another toy she’ll love more and the dump truck will be out with the old.

My daughter loves toilet paper


Kids can make you laugh, can make you cry, and sometimes make you say what the funny?? My daughter has a fascination with toilet paper. Every chance she gets, when she’s in the bathroom, she gives the toilet paper roll a slap and watches the sheets spin off, all the while giggling. I was called to come see what my daughter was into this time, which is normal around here, only to find that she emptied a semi-new roll all over the bathroom floor. A string of sheets led into her room and down the hall. Gram’s couldn’t stop laughing. Her potty was full of toilet paper. And there stood my daughter, holding a handful of TP, trying to pick the lid up on the adult size potty to shove what she could of the evidence that surrounded her. Gram’s tells me to go grab my camera. I’m sure I’ll be saving many pictures to show here later. I think I’ll wait until she has kids so I can say, yes, I raised their mom, here’s proof. More or less she can see what she has to look forward to.

Rescue Me Final Episode, “Ashes”


  Rescue Me Final Episode, “Ashes”

        Rescue Me is a television show based on New York City firefighter’s after the tragedy of 11 September 2001. Quite often, names of those who fell that day are mentioned on the show to honor and memorialize them. The series also shows, in a dramatical sense, the daily lives of a firefighter at work and at home.
The last episode of the final season, appropriately titled “Ashes,” starts out with the scene of tragedy. A ladder truck from 62 Firehouse is sitting amongst a rubble ridden ground. Two firefighters stand nearby with sadden faces, staring at the ground and shaking their heads.
A few moments later, the scene changes to show flag covered caskets being wheeled down the aisle of the church as bagpipes play.
Lieutenant Kenneth Shea, also known as Lou (played by John Scurti) walks to the podium to give his eulogy, “Today we are gathered, together, here to honor five men. My men. My brothers. Five men who were given a choice. To run. To flee for safe ground. To seek clean, fresh air. Knowing the danger…” He continues his speech as if it was the scene going up for an Emmy Award nomination. It was followed by a roar of applause, cheers, and a standing ovation.
Tommy Gavin (played by Denis Leary) opens his eyes and I realize I was a witness to another one of Tommy’s avid dreams. Chief ‘Needles’ Nelson (played by Adam Ferrara) reminds Tommy that since he was the acting lieutenant and the senior officer, he is now appointed lieutenant. The first thing he has to do is write the report for headquarters on the accident he was a part of — the same accident that took his best friend, Lou Shea, life. It also means that he has to relive the accident all over again.
Tommy has been plagued with the horrors he has gone through as a firefighter. The victims he could not rescue haunt him now and then. The only relief from his ghosts was drinking. He managed to get sober, now, and the ghosts have not returned, and the horrific dreams are not as often as they were.
The rest of the crew, Franco Rivera (played by Daniel Sunjata), Mike Siletti (played by Michael Lombardi), Sean Garrity (played by Steven Pasquale), and Bart ‘Shawn’ Johnston (played by Larenz Tate), looking beaten and battered from the accident, sit around the firehouse’s kitchen table wondering if they should stay, find a new job, or transfer to a different firehouse. Meanwhile, Tommy has filled out his retirement paperwork and turned them in. Tommy soon learns that he might not be cut out for civilian life, which his daughter Katy (played by Olivia Crocicchia) and his wife Janet (played by Andrea Roth) can only concur.
Lou’s funeral benediction was given by Father Mickey (played by Robert John Burke), whom is also Tommy’s cousin. Many of Lou’s family and friends each spoke kind words and shared memories that they had of Lou. Tommy then reads a letter he found in Lou’s locker, written by Lou, a few memories he wanted to share of his time on earth. “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida” by Iron Butterfly is played on bagpipes as Mickey and Tommy scatter Lou’s ashes over a cliff into the sea below.
The episode ends ceremoniously as the first episode of season one began; new firefighter recruits standing at attention, yet again. Tommy lectures them at how underserving the new recruits are to be standing in front of a flag with 343 firefighter’s names on it. He goes on to tell them how those 343 men fell as heroes on 11 September 2001. Just as in Tommy’s dream of Lou’s eulogy, they could have fled for safer ground but instead, they went in to save lives, even though it cost theirs.
I am truly amazed at the acting talent in this show. There are a few big names but many are unknown. This episode was written by the show’s creator’s Denis Leary and Peter Nolan. The series began airing in 2004. Each episode gives an insight of what a firefighter deals with in his day to day job, the calls he goes on, the stress he goes under, and the emotional impact it has on each firefighter. Not to mention, every other episode 11 September 2001 is brought up and how many men gave their lives. Each fire house has a small memorial, a plaque hanging on the wall, with those names of the fallen. Each firefighter in the show has each had some emotional connection to the tragedy. Some of them lost brothers, cousins, and or best friends. Some of them were even there at Ground Zero helping out.
I have really enjoyed watching the show and continue to re-watch each episode on DVD. My grandfather was a firefighter and retired after twenty five years of service. I can understand what a firefighter goes through and commend them each on their service and braveness. I also had a small participation in the tragedy. I was stationed on board the USS George Washington CVN 73 as it was ordered by President Bush to make haste to New York’s harbor. We arrived later that night and patrolled the harbor for several days.
The language of this television show may not be suitable for children, but I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys a fast-paced drama TV show.

Falling


This is a ‘lil snippet’, as I call them, from one of the few projects I’ll be working on in the near future. It is a Fantasy novel about Angels.

I scream out into the blackness, though no one can hear me. I kick my legs through the empty air, hoping to touch something. Swinging my arms around me, I try to reach for anything, anything that may be there to grab a hold of. My skin feels as if it were on fire, burning from the inside out as my grace is draining from me. I can feel my feathers being plucked by the handfuls from my wings, as they are being stripped away. I couldn’t control what is happening to me. It couldn’t be stopped once it began.

Dizziness strikes me, as well nausea. Then finally, as if I couldn’t feel any pain that was worse than what had just happened, my wings were ripped right from the area where they are joined to my back. Absolute horror rushing through me, I try screaming out again, though nothing was coming out of me, no sound, only tears, flowing like rivers down my face. I began to feel queasy and lightheaded. I gulp for air as I try to breathe. A sharp pain begins throbbing at my forehead, making its way to the back of my skull. Suddenly my mind goes blank right before I black out.

Drumbeat


I stare out into the pow wow dancing arena
As a plethora of colors go by
Each person decorated in paint
Wearing carefully handmade regalia
Dancing around
Their feet move to the beat of the drums
The drummers hit the drums in unison
Singing out in Native song
I sit still and listen carefully
I close my eyes
The beat begins to stir my soul
My feet begin to slowly move
It pulls me
My body aches to move
Soon I’m in the dancing arena
All around me my ancestors in ghost form
Wearing their regalia
I look down and I too am wearing mine
Feet move and body dance to the drums beat
The drummer’s song moves through me
Like the life force that flows through my veins
I dance as if I’ve danced it a hundred times
Though I’ve never danced before
I dance for a purpose
The creator is watching
My ancestors are with me
The drum beats are Mother Earth’s heartbeat
I can feel her spirit move inside me
I feel the vibrations of her heartbeat
As she guides me around the dancing arena
Dancing, swaying, moving
Dancing, swaying, moving
The drum stops
My eyes open
I am sitting right where I was
Before the song began

Protect Our Ocean


                                                       Protect Our Ocean

            Humans have been affecting the ocean since the age of Industrialization and modernization. Each century we have found better ways to find our food source out in the ocean. Though, we have made more of an impact within the last century. Over a third of monitored fish stocks have collapsed due to overfishing. Thirty-five percent of the coastal wetlands have been destroyed from pollution. Humans are even altering the ocean’s own ability to absorb carbon dioxide and its way to regulate the climate. The ocean absorbs thirty to fifty percent of our carbon dioxide and it produces fifty to seventy percent of the oxygen we breathe.
There are four oceans, the Atlantic, Pacific, Indian, and Artic. The Pacific is the largest of those four. With all of them combined they cover over seventy percent of the Earth, becoming the largest ecosystem on the planet. Over one million known species live in the ocean. It is possible that over nine million more species are yet to be discovered. Not many people know that our ocean and our ocean’s animals are in serious trouble due to overfishing and pollution.
Seafood is about five percent of the protein in a person’s diet. In places such as China, Iceland, and Japan, that number is much higher. The marine animals consume the deadly toxins and poisons that we pollute the water with. They then become our food source and we in turn can become poisoned.
There are nearly one hundred fifty dead zones in the ocean. Dead zones are areas that have been polluted from our sewage, toxic chemical dumping, and the high levels of nitrogen in our farm fertilizers. The oxygen in these areas has been depleted and nothing can live nor survive there. These dead zones can range anywhere from one square mile to forty-five thousand square miles. The ocean itself cannot fix these areas but we can find ways to fix them ourselves.
Of the world’s surveyed lakes, rivers, and estuaries, about forty percent are too polluted to use. Signs are posted around these areas, warning you that it is unsafe to swim, fish, or drink the water. Eighty percent of water pollution comes from land based sources, such as public water and sewage, and domestic waste. The sewage treatment facilities do not remove the phosphorus compounds in their waste and causes algae to grow at excessive levels in lakes, ponds, and slow moving rivers. Sewage treatment facilities do not treat all disease causing bacteria before its waste is dumped back into the water supply. This spreads viruses and viral illnesses throughout the lakes and ponds and causes eutrophication. Eutrophication is where a body of water is too rich in sewage and or chemicals creating an excess growth of algae. The algae kills the oxygen in the water causing other plants, animals, and organisms in that area die. Contaminants are carried through the rivers and streams into the ocean.
Ten percent of water pollution comes from marine dumping. Boaters discard more than 400,000 tons of garbage every year. Some of the trash thrown overboard is plastic, which is not biodegradable.  It is life threatening to the animals that encounter this debris. They can get entangled in nets or fishing line. Seals, sea lions, and birds can get the plastic six pack holder around their necks and be choked to death. Some animals will even swallow the plastic debris and suffocate or cause them to starve to death as it gives them a feeling of being full.
Sometimes boaters even spill oil or gasoline into the water and not clean it up. Oil contains zinc, sulfur, and phosphorous. Gasoline contains more than 100 hydrocarbon compounds, as well as lead. Some toxins can sink to the bottom of the lake, pond, or ocean, while other toxins will float. Even floating toxins is just as deadly as the non-floating toxins. Microorganisms, which are a part of a food source for some aquatic life, live in the top layers of the water. Even water fowl can land in the toxic waste and become covered in it. Oil damages the waterproofing on a bird’s feathers, causing them to drown.
Other animals that do not live in the water but use the water as a part of their lifestyle can also become easily affected. It can damage a seal pup’s fur and cause hypothermia. The oil can be too heavy for them and cause them to drown or make them to slow to escape predators. Oil pollution can cause blindness, ulcers, damaging effects to a marine mammal’s immune system, and bacterial infections. A seal pup can become poisoned as it can be absorb through its mother’s milk. An entire generation can be eradicated because the oil pollution damages the eggs and larvae.
Coral reefs, salt marshes, and mangroves play an important role in the ecosystem. They filter and clean up some of the polluted water that runs off the land. Rain drainage, another type of a pollution agent, carries contaminants from highway debris and construction sights. It is carried through the rivers and into the ocean; it can even find its way into fresh water sources.
Manufacturing plants and constructions sites pour off toxins and other poisonous solvents and materials into the water supply. Factories and power plants discharge hot water into the water supply, increasing the water temperature and decreasing the oxygen levels, disrupting the ecological balance in the water.
In 2010 BP’s deep-sea drilling in the Gulf of Mexico caused an oil spill that not only devastated livelihoods in the Gulf of Mexico, it also destroyed ecosystems, killed eight hundred animals, and destroyed one of two spawning grounds of the Bluefin Tuna. The Bluefin Tuna is fast becoming an extinct species due to overfishing.  Almost ninety percent of the big fish populations have been devastated. The Cod, halibut, tuna, swordfish, and flounder have not had the chance to reproduce, causing their numbers to dwindle. The average price for Bluefin Tuna is around $75,000USD, making it hard for those to not overfish. Tuna is a migratory marine animal. The numbers of adults that are able swim back to their spawning grounds are decreasing each year, making a decline in reproduction.
Fish are not the only marine animal hunted for food. In 1986 a global ban was put on commercial whaling, but since then Iceland, Norway, and Japan together have killed over 25,000 whales. Japan alone illegally kills over 1,000 whales each year in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary. They claim it is for scientific research, which is one of the loopholes in the international moratorium that will allow anyone the right to kill whales. The other loophole is aboriginal whaling.
There are eight species of baleen whales and thirty-five species of toothed whales. Of the thirteen largest whale species, seven of them are near extinction.  The Gray Whale is the most endangered. Whales are mostly hunted for their blubber, which can be turned into oil. People also use their meat, skin, and baleen or whalebone.
Whales are not the only marine mammal Japan hunts for. Dolphins are a two billion dollar a year industry. Dolphin meat is not even a delicacy in Japan, so it is sold as whale meat. Dolphin meat is highly toxic with extreme levels of mercury and a person can die from mercury poisoning if they consume it.
The decline of sharks, dolphins, whales, and large fish are being replaced by an incline of microbes, jellyfish, and disease. The pollution that goes into the ocean becomes the marine animal’s food source and those marine animals become our food source. We continue to pollute the water supply, killing off animals and we continue to over fish the surviving animals. If we keep doing this, there will be nothing left in the ocean, at least not safe enough for us to consume. The ocean itself will not be able to repair itself and our own survival could be in jeopardy.
We need to find better ways to get rid of our trash and make recycling a necessity. We should be better aware of where our trash goes and how it is handled. We also need to find better ways of disposing our toxic waste and our sewage and not dump it into our lakes, streams, rivers, and the ocean. Animals are an important part of our ecosystem. We need protein as part of our diet. The majority of our protein comes from the ocean. We also need oxygen to breathe. Over half of our oxygen comes from the ocean. The ocean also absorbs our carbon dioxide, which is the air we exhale. We need to drink water to survive, as our body is made up of seventy percent water. Over seventy percent of our Earth is covered in water. We need the ocean and its animals for us to survive. It is detrimental for all of us to become knowledgeable about the ocean and the trouble it is in. We are responsible for killing the marine animals and polluting the ocean. We can put a stop to all that.

Mommy the Super Hero


I’m a lot of things to my daughter. Mostly I’m the one she trust the most. She trusts me to comfort her when she wakes in the middle of the night. She trusts me to feed her when she’s hungry. She trusts me to hold her and tell her it’s okay when she has a bump, bruise, or scrap. But mostly she trusts me to fix every toy whose batteries have died, find all the pieces that’s missing, glue all the broken pieces back together again. Sadly not all toys can be saved, not even by me. She had the one tractor that was made of this hard plastic, that when she threw it, it fell apart. She would bring me every little piece she could find and I would glue it all back together. Reminds me of the story of Humpty Dumpty.

The next time she brought it to me it was in more pieces, then in more pieces. Finally I started throwing the smaller bits in the trash and just started taping the bigger pieces together. After the…I gave up count…I just put it on our enclosed back porch not wanting to deal with it anymore. I did end up taping it back together again, but leaving it sitting on the back porch. I stared at it. I didn’t have the heart to throw it away. I honestly didn’t know why. It was a simple move, open the garage door, open trash bin, drop toy in trash. Simple right? Could you throw your kid’s favorite toy away?

Many weeks goes by and she and I both forgot about the toy. It was almost lunch time and I thought I would take her with me on the back porch, where the chest freezer is, to pick out a meal. Upon exiting, the first thing she sees is that silly tractor. She began to cry heavy tears and I felt sorry for having left it in plain sight. Now I really need to do something with it. Finally I stick it with a trash bag that I know is going out in the trash bin the next day. I pick a meal out of the freezer and go back inside. I look at her sitting in the living room and she just glares at me.

It has been many months since the toy tractor left and she has found a new toy to replace it with.