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Thursday, September 21, 2006

Thursday Thirteen

Thirteen Things about today

1.  What a gorgeous day here in greater Cincinnati!  It got cold last night (down in the 30's in the rural areas, allegedly) but the day dawned bright and brisk.  It warmed up during the day, especially since I was pushing our loaded double stroller up and down hills at the Zoo today.

2.  Which brings me to this: 

 Happy birthday David!  Happy birthday, Keziah!

3.  Two years ago today a lovely and brave woman gave birth to the babies that are now my twins.  How do I know she was lovely and brave?  Because I know her children...and she had to have been.  I wish there was some way to give thanks to their family but I cannot.  Adoption is so fraught with heartache and pain larded in with the joy and love.  So thank you all for the twins.

4.  One of the benefits of homeschooling is that you get to call your own holidays.  Our birthdays are designated holidays (too bad mine's always during camp!) and today was no exception.  I try to do something special on the day too.  Some days we've gone hiking, some days we've gone to the Museum Center.  Today we went to the Cincinnati Zoo. 

5.  The Zoo is also a botanical garden, and I am always fascinated with the flora and fauna down there.  Today was absolutely no fact, it was probably worse than usual because the air was so clear and beautiful that it made the plants, which are mostly at their primes anyway, really gorgeous.  So we spent a lot of time stopping so that Mom could take some random picture that caught her fancy.  Like this one: 

There are so many little moments of great beauty to see and think about and attempt to capture on camera (although my talents do not stack up to those of Alice or Robin in that regard) and I did my level best to capture all that caught my eye today.  I did notice that the girls were getting tired of it after awhile, so I had to chill, but I got some other cool pictures which I will intersperse throughout the TT today.  I will not be putting the pictures which contain images of the children up here, but I will be putting those up on a protected post later today, after the twins' party.

6.  Well, I can tell that David's kidneys are doing much better.  His urine dip this morning showed less than trace amounts of protein (yay!) for the first time since this whole thing got started.  He's also peeing through at least 2 sets of clothes a day.  I never really thought I'd be thankful for that, but I am.

7.  I do my best to embarrass my children subtly as much as possible.  Case in point, the squirrels.  There are a lot of squirrels at the Zoo (including this one, who really wanted to share our lunch).  The inestimable Wiggles, in their song, Central Park, New York, say, "G'day, squirrels! every so often in a hilarious Australian accent.  Of course, I had to likewise greet the squirrels that we saw today.  Sarah tolerates it well but after a while she says, "You really like that comment, don't you?"  I then shared that I do like it, but I also like pushing buttons on occasion.  Besides, as I told her, every family has its own stories and phrases that are evocative and that is currently one for us.  She seemed fascinated by that concept and didn't even hear my future squirrel greetings.

8.  We saw a LOT of twins today...  That place was rife with twins.  We MOT nodded to one another and laughed but it was a little freaky.  I mean, I know the incidence of twins is way up with fertility treatments and all but good grief!

9.  Rachel (that would be the 11-year-old) took some really cool pictures, among them some in the manatee exhibit.  In days past, Keziah has been terrified of the gentle giants but today she overcame her fears and we sat right next to the glass and watched them doing barrel rolls over and over.  It was just amazing!

10.  Generally, the birthday person gets to pick her or his dinner of choice and cake of choice.  That becomes trickier when discussing choices for people who have just turned two.  I'd decided, before David's diagnosis, that we'd have pizza and chocolate cake (our usual birthday cake).  Of course, David can't eat salty pizza now, so we're going to have One Point Chili (a WW recipe) over rice, a salad, and strawberry cake.  It just feels like a strawberry cake day, you know?

11.  I'm sure I've complained about this before, but to clarify, my brother and I share a birthday.  We are not twins, my mother was just inordinately gifted in giving birth on that day.  When we were young, she used to bake one cake (if any at all), draw an icing line down the middle of it, and call one half mine and one half his.  That used to irritate the fire right out of me.  When my oldest two girls were born a week apart (with 2 years separating them), I vowed never to give in to the single birthday cake for the two of them.  And I never have.  Some years their cakes have only been one round layer, but they each had their own birthday cake.  My mother laughed and laughed at me.

If she could, I'm sure she'd laugh until tears flowed to see me now, with two born on exactly the same day, attempting to do the same thing.  God (and mothers) has an interesting sense of humor.    The babies will have their ownsome cakes, but they'll probably only be a single layer. 

12.  I've been so heartened the last few days by the way the children are with each other.  Our oldest was not terribly thrilled with our decision to parent more children (to be fair, she's really wanted to be an only child her whole life) but she's blossoming into quite the responsive and responsible young lady.  Twice in the few days, Keziah has run to "Sadie" because she knows that Sadie will protect her from whatever is overwhelming to her.  I got a great picture of it that I posted the other day, when we went to Shaw Farms.  Today, I saw Keziah slip her tiny little hand into Sarah's, just for the comfort it brought.  I wish I had a picture of that one.

13.  And David...what to say?  He's had his ups and downs, first with his kidney problem, then with the steroids he takes to control the problem.  Yesterday he was a holy terror, running around screaming, crying, beating and biting on people.  It was a hard day.  But the girls didn't flip out.  I flipped out, but they remained relatively calm and tried to keep him from being overly destructive to himself and the surroundings.  Today he was a sunny, happy boy and we all laughed and gave thanks. 

It was just a beautiful day all around...and it's not over yet.

(This one's for Robin...)

Links to other Thursday Thirteens! 1. (leave your link in comments, I’ll add you here!)

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Sunday, September 10, 2006

I remember Vinod Parakat

Take a good look at this picture. This is an ordinary picture of a man, probably taken for his work ID. He’s in his middle 30’s, in a heavy coat, waiting for the photo op to be over so he can go on and do his job.

His job was to program software for a brokerage company in New York City. His job provided money for his family in New Jersey as well as for his widowed mother in Kerala, India. He was described as loving his job and being a hard worker by both his family and his co-workers. His job ultimately cost him his life.

You see, this man is one of almost 3,000 people whose lives were lost on 9/11/01. His name was Vinod Parakat.

I will take just a brief moment to apologize for not having much information on Vinod Parakat. I did my best but I was unable to find many articles about who he was as a person, what he enjoyed doing, what plans he had for the future. All I have is a sketch of a man who loved his family, enjoyed his job, working on the 103rd floor of Tower One of the World Trade Center, and was excited about his yet-to-be-born child.

Vinod Parakat’s child would now be four years old.

I hope that Mr. Parakat’s wife had an easy pregnancy and a safe delivery of their child. I didn’t find any more information than that she was due around 2/02. But they were looking forward to the birth of their first child. That was taken away from them both.

A beloved oldest son was taken from his family on 9/11. Vinod Parakat was the oldest of three children born to Parakat Saraswathymenon and Dr. Ug Unnimenon. He was survived by his mother, his sister, Lisha Arunkamur and his brother, Ajay Kumar Parakat as well as his wife and child. His mother was quoted as saying “I wish he had never come here. You lose your son, you lose everything.”

So little to know about another human being you’re trying to memorialize, on this, the 5th anniversary of his being taken from the world. He had a happy marriage, which was arranged by his parents and hers. He had a job he enjoyed in a city he enjoyed. He was about to become a father for the first time.

Who knows what would have happened to Vinod Parakat had he not gone to work at Cantor Fitzgerald that morning. Perhaps he’d be looking back now with relief that he’d been late or decided to skip work to play golf, as one of his friends did. We’ll never know, because Vinod Parakat went to work on Tuesday, September 11, 2001. He went up to the 103rd floor of the World Trade Center. He received a call from a friend who told him the day was way too beautiful to be doing anything but playing golf. And then he was gone.

I did not know Vinod Parakat, but I am holding his memory in mind as the fifth anniversary of 9/11 approaches. I remember him, an individual among many who died that day, but a person, a child of God, in his own right. I remember Vinod Parakat.

This remembrance was written as a part of the 2,996 Project originated by D.C. Roe. For other tributes to the victims of the 9/11 terrorist attacks in New York, Washington, and Pennsylvania, please click on the “2996: I remember” link on the left side of my site. Any and all mistakes are mine, but I hope there aren’t any.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Thursday Thirteen

Thursday Thirteen

Thirteen Things I like about myself, as per Denise's suggestion

It was suggested by another TT'er that we (especially we female types) blog about what we like about ourselves. I'm glad. I'd misremembered its being 13 things we're good at. That had me in a cold sweat. I hope I can come up with 13 things I like about myself. Here goes:
1. I like my bizarre sense of humor. I didn't know I had one until Friend Husband was amused by it. Up to that point, no one seemed to think I had one at all, I think.
2. I like my grey hairs. It goes beyond the "I earned them" thing, although I did. I like them because they're shiny and silvery and I remember some of the battles that went into creating them. I think it's important to remember your battles.
3. I like that I changed my life some years back such that I don't have to worry about covering my tracks. I don't think I'd have the energy for that right now. I guess that would be, "I'm glad that I live an honest life."
4. I like about myself that I'll stop and admire flowers, nice smells, small animals, etc. My children think I'm goofy but I think they'll appreciate it when they get older.
5. I like that I keep on trying to garden, even if things don't turn out the way I'd like or the way I'd planned.
6. Ditto the above with regard to quilting.
7. Ditto the above with regard to homeschooling, parenting, being a wife, and just about everything else I do. I used to be a very rigid, very controlled type of person. I miss some of that self-control, but most of the perfectionism was not very good for me. I'm glad I'm more of a roll-with-the-punches type of person.
8. I like that I can cook, cook well, and that I'm somewhat adventurous with my cooking. I've fed a lot people over the years and, as Friend Husband likes to point out, I show love with food.
9. I like that I have intellectual curiosity. This is something that has just developed in the last few years or so. I'll find myself curious about something and I'll immerse myself in that for a while, until I feel that I have a handle on it. It's different than any other sort of intellectual exercise that I've done in past years: delight-driven education.
10. For that matter, I like that I've continued to educate myself past the usual time for education. It's axiomatic, I think, that homeschool parents tend to learn things along with their children, but this education goes beyond even that. It's just for me and I like that.
11. I like that I started exercising and eating better after I got past the worst part of my grief over my mother's passing. I'm not the most successful person at either, unlike my more obsessive friends (cough, cough...GINA), but I think it's been a healthy thing for me beyond the weight loss (which hasn't been permanent for me).
12. I like that I care about people, even people I don't really know in real life. I have a lot of online buddies and it's amazing how much you can care about other people who you probably will never meet. Sometimes I get my knickers in a knot and want to quit but usually I'm just happy to tune in and find out what's going on with everyone and pray for the needs I see.
13. I like that I like who I am, by and large. When I was younger, I hated myself. I'm not sure if it was that I actually disliked who I was, if I was internalizing the messages of those around me, or that I just had a surfeit of hormones (or all three) but I did hate myself and it was miserable to live within my own skin. Sometimes I still go off the rails but it's not necessarily because I hate myself, but because the pain of living sometimes becomes too great to bear...until I can excise the pain with prayer and the love of those around me. And that is something I never had, back when I hated myself.

Start your list here! Links to other Thursday Thirteens! 1. (leave your link in comments, I’ll add you here!)
Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!