Happy 2019!!!

Happy

We are about to embark on another new year. How exciting!

In the past, I’d always make New Year’s resolutions. Being a teacher, it would be the first assignment after winter break, and my personal list would be the example I’d show my students. Then, our individual resolutions expanded into a discussion, which led to a creative writing session. Year after year a variation of this activity transitioned into a positive goal experience and a way to allow the students to get back into the swing of things.

This year I think I might try a little mini version of that concept with my grandchildren that involves crayons, playdoh, and perhaps hand made sock puppets, culminating in a puppet show presentation of their goals for 2019. Yes, I am always using my teacher brain to think of new and excting ways to enlighten children. And I must admit, it is even more fun when the lesson is created for my own grandchildren!

However, now that I’m in retirement, this year I think I’m going to skip making my own list. Why? Because I always tell myself to drop ten pounds, to exercise more, to read more, and take more “me” time to write, or finish projects etc. Bla bla bla. 

I think perhaps, I’m just going to try to survive this New Year. I’ll do my very best to endure this administration and make it through until “you know who” is either voted out or impeached. And I’m going to trust in our newly elected representatives to bring a sense of calm, rationality, and decency back to our government.

Also, my little goals are rather petty in comparison to the resolutions our nation needs to make in healing the divide created by the current resident in the White House.

So, Happy New Year dear friends! Here’s to a better future! To a 2019 that brings us more peace and calm. More hope, more world allies, safer schools for our children, more kindness given to our neighbors, more empathy and tolerance for our fellow human beings, and more love in our hearts to share.

And if we ALL just resolve to show kindness and respect to one another, then 2019 will be a fabulous year.  Happy New Year! Good health to you all! ❤️xo

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Chanukah, Christmas, New Years, Oh My!

2018 is almost over and what had been a dreadfully turbulent year, ended with the most delightful holiday season, filled with love and joyous memories spent with my beautiful family.

December started off with a Chanuakah filled with laughter, spinning dreidles, candle lighting, and holiday songs.  Then Christmas Eve began with my youngest son flying home in time to spend the rest of the holidays with us. So, I had both my sons and my grandchildren with me, how perfect!!!!  A year that started out so filled with turnmoil ended with complete joy.

I thought I would post a few family photos of my precious blended family. We celebrate everything and embrace it all.  So, take a look at my gang. We even were able to take a train ride on the Polar Express.  In MIAMI!!!!!!

Happy Everything! From my family to yours, may you all have a very Happy New Year.

Haunted By The Past

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I have a peculiar feeling deep down in my gut as I write this post…

My newly discovered Kluchinski cousin who lives in France, is working on our family tree. One that includes pictures of our blended relatives.

So, here I am staring into the faces of Kluchins (Kluchinski’s) and I am wiping away tears looking at relatives that I never got a chance to meet because the majority of them were murdered by the Nazis during the Holocaust.

These people are so beautiful to me. They look like my father, his brothers, and a lot like my sons. And they look like ME!!!!

These pictures are the faces of my relatives who died in Auschwitz. Good people I never got to know. Adults, teens, and children, who were never able to live their lives because Hitler’s Nazi’s cut them down in their prime. And I am literally sobbing because they look so much like my family. Like the people I love. It is like staring into the mirror and seeing MY eyes, my smile… And I am utterly heartbroken.

It is one thing to read the names of someone on a wall. It is another thing to look into their eyes. For the first time seeing my Father’s side of the family, the Kluchin relatives, I feel like the wind has been punched out of me. I have a lump in my throat from forcing back pain. I so wish my Dad were still alive and could see their faces too. All we knew was that my grandfather took his family and left Paris to come to America around 1918.  I didn’t know that he had several brothers and sisters that stayed in Paris. What my siblings and I assumed was that my father’s side of the family was lost in the war. But none of us could have suspected that one of my father’s first cousins survived because she hid from the Nazis, and years later her daughter found me while doing ancestry research.  She thought she was the last surviving Kluchinski, until she discovered me. Pretty miraculous I’d say!

Before my father died he began an ancestry quest to find out about his family and my sister and I, in our retirement, took up where he left off. And luckily our precious cousin, Sandrine is compiling a tree filling in the blanks with the Paris Kluchinski’s. We are seeing new names, new faces, and it is overwhelmingly emotional.

It is wonderful to say their names aloud so they can be remembered. (Judaism says our loved ones need to be remembered in every generation. We say their names and give our children their names so their memories live on.)

But this is gut wrenching too. My heart literally hurts. These souls didn’t deserve to be dragged out of their homes and killed. Nobody deserves to die like that. These people need to be more than just a name on a wall. They need to be a face with a smile and a name that my children and grandchildren can look at and remember. Because their lives mattered!!!!!!

Now perhaps those of you who read my blog will understand why I am continually fighting for truth and justice. Why I persist and resist the madman in the White House. Because, I understand how dangerous fascism is, and how easily corruption can take over a nation. How hatred can take away those we love.

I am going to take one more look at the faces of my long lost ancestors tonight and say a prayer to let them know they are still loved. Below are just a few.

Thank you, dear cousin Sandrine for this gift of placing faces to names.

*On the memorial wall in Paris, the names of those who died in Auschwitz were based on Nazi records, which were spelled phonetically. Therefore they spelled Kluchinski with a C. (Cluchinski )or in other areas of the wall just Chinski.

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My newly discovered cousin, Sandrine on the bottom, facetiming me from Paris. I am in the top of this picture using my phone to snap a pic as we are chatting on my iPad. The wonders of technology and DNA!

Tumultuous 2018

Tumultuous 2018 – A spoken word poem about the past year.

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2018 began with a frightful flu that quickly turned into pneumonia; grave enough to produce an awakening of my own vulnerability and mortality.

And as I struggled to breathe and gain strength, our country also gasped and choked, coughing up discord, bellowing chaos and despair, coupled with unprincipled deeds pushing us further away from democracy and decency.

While I healed, the nation came down with a poisonous affliction. America was heavily infected with bigotry. An ailment that previously hid in the shadows of every city and slithered out only in darkness. 2018 saw it vaulting into the sunshine to spread its deadly tentacles into the light of day.

Hatred was no longer disguised and concealed. A horrific epidemic rapidly spread across the country that was cringe worthy to the majority, yet targeted the minority, as safety became less accessible day after day, and ordinary citizens found there was nowhere to hide and no one to save them from the storm troopers infected with the Trump Plague, carrying out orders that were cruel, demented, and often lethal.

Schools transformed from places of learning to halls oozing blood. Babies torn from their mothers’ arms as dogmatism reigned from sea to shining sea. Cries of children, not soldiers, rang out in the night, their moans wafted in the wind from “California to the New York Islands” to verify if America still had a conscience.

This virus begged us to ask and update the age-old question; “If a tree falls in a forest, does it still make a sound?” to “If children weep in cages does a nation still hear their cries?”

2018 was headed by a leader who alienated our allies and embraced our foes; took away our clean environment and our food regulations. Our health care was at risk, and our debt piled higher with each tick of the clock. And a madman in DC smiled and wanted parades while shaking hands with dictators. This was the 2018 I remember.

Yes, as I recuperated from illness and regained my own strength, our nation came down with a sickness that I fear may never heal. Not without preventative medicine.

I learned this year that preventative medicine is needed to care for our bodies and also to cure our political souls. Honesty, integrity, and simple kindness can wipe away greed and corruption as effectively as antibiotics cure disease.

Our nation is sick. It is time for it to heal. We must wipe away the germs that destroyed its health and find a way to bring it back to its former glory.

The cure is a simple one. The vaccine is written in the words in the poem engraved on the statue of Liberty. Every time a person reads it they will heal. Share the cure! Save a life.

THE NEW COLOSSUS by Emma Lazarus

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,

With conquering limbs astride from land to land;

Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand

A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame

Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name

Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand

Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command

The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.

“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she

With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,

Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,

The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.

Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,

I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

 

 

 

Stronger Than Hate!

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Today eleven Jewish worshipers in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania were gunned down in cold blood by a crazed, anti-semitic white nationalist as people of faith were in Temple praying.  I am weeping as I try to write something to reflect how I am feeling.  Eleven people killed, 6 wounded, at The Tree of Life Synagogue. The largest mass murder in the Jewish community in the United States of America.

I grieve, and I hurt. I do not personally know any of these people,  but I feel like they are my family.  You see, we all share the same faith.  We are Jews. And we all come from a community of peace loving people, brought up to believe that it is our duty each and every day to do a “mitsvah” (a good deed) to help other human beings.  Our responsibility in this life is to give back to our communities and help our neighbors.  And therefore, Jews anywhere in this world become my family. My “mishpucha”. And I cry because I feel a deep sense of loss today. This could have been any one of us.  I have known this reality since I was a child.  But, during my 6 decades on earth I have come to feel safe in this amazing country of mine.  It is only in the last two years since this President has been in office, have I begun to fear for my safety  and the safety of my family.

The President says an armed guard could have stopped this madman with deadly weapons.  There were trained officers trying to stop the shooter and four of them were wounded. So, respectfully, Mr. President, an armed guard wouldn’t have stopped an Anti-Semitic monster with a machine gun and other firearms. He was  hell bent on killing Jews in the middle of their morning prayers.

And what kind of leadership does it show this nation when our President didn’t even bother to cancel his political rally tonight after such a tragedy occured? He has trivialized the deaths of my fellow Jews and those brave officers and citizens who were injured along with the families who are grieving the loss of loved ones.  There are no words strong enough to express my disappointment in American leadership today and the pain I am feeling along with such helplessless.

The Prime Minister and President of Israel have offered their condolensences and prayers and offered sanctuary to the grieving families, and yet our own President has not done as much.  To say I am disappointed and angry is an understatement.

I ache inside. But I rise up. We Jews are stronger than hate!  We have survived miraculously through the centuries and held onto our faith. We will continue to pray and be strong. And we will persist in helping our neighbors of all faiths during this violent time in America. Yes, we will continue to fight for justice, even when the world around us seems unkind and unfair.  The history of my people is immortal.  We always survive as a people. ALWAYS!

I look to my faith tonight and pray that I can protect my children and grandchildren from the rising hatred and anti-semitism that has lifted its ugly head during the current administration.  And I vow that I will do whatever I must to keep my loved ones safe.  We will survive and defeat those that try to take us down. And we will not do it with hate. We will do with it with kindness and love.

“To Life! L’Chaim!”

Please join me in the prayer for the dead.  The mourner’s kaddish.

A Bomb Scare In My Neighborhood!

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This morning suspicious packages were sent to CNN, The Clintons, The Obamas, and Representative Debbie Wasserman- Schultz’s office. (There may be more as the day unfolds.) Besides being shocked, worried, and angry, I am also afraid! Why? Because my neighborhood is currently under a bomb watch. 

You see, I live in Florida and my community is not far from Representative Wasserman – Shultz’s office. Apparently, if you are a Democrat in this country you are no longer safe in your home or at work. Especially, after the President holds one of his MAGA rallies and stirs up hostility.

Those of you who still support this administration, and yes, you do have that right, seem to be living with blinders on. Can you not see the hatred and division this leader is creating? He is inciting violence every time he speaks to a crowd.

When my home, my safety, and the safety of my family and friends is threatened each and every time the current President has a hate rally, then I say enough is enough!!!  We are living under the threat of home grown terrorism every single day in this country. If you haven’t figured that out yet, then you aren’t listening.

Only Democrats were targeted along with the free press today, and that speaks volumes. Especially, when the leader of the free world says to his fans that he will reward those in the crowd who go after the free press and the Democrats. What kind of leader does that? Our President, no matter which party he supports, is supposed to represent ALL Americans. His job is to unite us, not divide us. And he is hell bent on dividing and taking away our freedom and our rights.

 By the way, I do have to thank the secret service for their bravery in protecting the citizens of this country and my city this morning. However, in the mean time, the local news stations say my city is under a bomb threat because as I stated, DWS’s office is just down the road from my home.

I am a woman who has lived more than 6 decades and I have seen many Presidents come and go. But until now I have never feared for my life, or that of my family, or my community. Not until number 45 took office. 

I guess this is what happens when our President makes friends with dictators and murderers, and preaches hatred to win votes. My life and the lives of my state representatives, Republican or Democrat, should not be threatened in a democracy. My fellow citizens should not be told to stay in doors because of a bomb threat. We are not supposed to be at war here in America. And not amongst ourselves!!!!

As long as this President continues his attacks on Democrats and the media, then these home- grown terrorist attacks against American citizens will continue. And people will get hurt.  The leader of the free world needs to “man up” and tell people to STOP! And he needs to cease creating division and hatred whenever he speaks!! If he continues to act like a white nationalist then he alone is the one responsible for these Nazi- like tactics and terrorist behavior that occur shortly after his rallies. 

Yes, I blame this President for preaching animosity at every one of his gatherings. I have yet to hear him say anything positive. Why can’t he have only positive rallies? Remember when the crowds shouted “Yes We Can.” People were motivated to make changes for the good. Now all they want to do is kill anyone who looks or thinks differently from the President. I say let the President tell his supporters about all his constructive ideas and stop with the fear mongering. His scare tactics are frightening our children and hurting our country. My grandchildren think he is a big bully. They are afraid of him. No child should be afraid of the leader of their country. I always revered our Presidents growing up. Now the President scares little children.

The GOP better open their eyes and step up. They need to develop the courage to stop supporting this man when he makes abhorrent comments and threats. Or tell him no when he decides to pass ridiculous policies that go against good American principles. I have to believe that there are still some decent Republicans left and that all the good ones didn’t give in to Trumpism after John McCain died.

This President needs to take some responsibility and start thinking before he makes fake accusations against people. Because every person he denigrates in his speeches is now being attacked with bombs or bomb threats.

We can’t let this continue to happen in our country.  Stop the hatred! #Stop the violence!  #VOTEBLUE!

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How Do We Fight Washington Bullies and Still Retain Our Dignity?

 

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I had an epiphany of sorts this morning while watching AM Joy. As I drank my morning cup of half caff listening to Joy Reid and a panel of mostly women discuss the Kavanaugh hearings, a young combative woman, who was defending Brett K, started shouting. She was talking over everyone else, spewing utter nonsense, blaming every Democrat on the planet. It suddenly hit me!!!! This belligerent behavior is being demonstrated by not only angry old white men, it has become the new acceptable temperament of right wing conservatives.

Now, this revelation may have already been figured out by most of you, but I tend to be stuck in La La land when it comes to thinking people have an agenda. I am naive that way and still back in a 1960’s frame of mind. (Where I think everyone believes in peace and love, and cares about their fellow man.)
So, it is difficult for me to think human beings, especially women, can just shout down and bully others to deflect opponents from presenting their truth. But, suddenly, when I realized this young girl (I originally wrote lady but her behavior was so uncivil that I couldn’t call her a lady), was pulling a “Trumpism” and saying anything just to fill in the space so the other women on the panel couldn’t be heard. I understood that this belligerent behavior is a tactic used by many Republicans. They shout, scream, blame any Democrat that comes to mind, deflect the issues to go somewhere else, and hope their accusations make everyone at the table so uncomfortable that they forget the real facts.
No wonder Lindsey Graham and Kavahaugh went full on Trump at the hearings. That kind of shocking aggressive behavior stops serious, mindful Democrats in their tracks. That is why Hillary ignoring Trump’s crassness was considered weak, instead of her taking the high road and just ignoring his brashness. If she lost her temper they would say she was just a female having a tantrum. If she ignored his ridiculousness she was considered fragile. If she confronted him she was told she was shrill. She couldn’t win because she wasn’t male.

We are now living in a time when reason is being overpowered by rude absurdity! Where adults acting like toddlers having irrational tantrums are applauded rather than reprimanded.

Apparently, now that John McCain is gone the truth doesn’t matter to the GOP. Kindness doesn’t seem to matter either. We all know it is considered by our President to be a weak strategy.

So what do we do next? Lose our dignity and become monsters as well? No, we don’t do that. But…
They want force? I say how about might instead? We liberals, progressives, whatever you want to call Democrats; it really doesn’t matter. Those of us who want the truth, who care about minorities, healthcare, and equality, and want all citizens to be as empowered as the white men currently making our laws, need to be united (NOT squabbling over minor particulars or how progressive we are).
We need to fight back barbaric behavior with facts, force, and fundamental reasoning.

We CAN overpower the GOP with the power of numbers at the polls. By reminding them what our constitution really says, and by standing for human rights and equality!

We can never back down. We must DEMAND justice. We cannot cower in the shadows because shouting entitled males in the majority think they can bully us into silence. NO! We keep repeating our truth to them over and over and over again!!! In numbers.

Forcefulness does not mean we lose our decorum, our integrity, or our kindness. We do not need to play the blame game or lose our souls by putting party over the people of this  great country. But, we do need to expose the truth. And keep throwing that up in the face of liars who were elected to represent us, not their pocketbooks, or the President.

We can do this! Get out and let your vote be your voice! Be heard! Let’s get back our dignity and our Country! Our fight is not new.  Women (and men) have always fought for change. But each time we join together we reach new heights.  Join me!!! #Voteblue

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