Wednesday, November 25, 2015

I Am Grateful For...

I saw this on Pinterest. It is a 'Grateful Wheel'. Given the difficult days we see before us, one humanitarian crisis after another, the upside-down and backward-ness of so so so much in our own country, it seemed fitting, to at least give writing down things I am grateful for, a whirl. I was not sure if I would be able to fill it up. I can come back, I thought, and add more over the next days or weeks. I did not want to copy the original piece I saw, I've got 'stuff', I can do this. Let me start in the middle and work my way out. I was amazed that once I started, the words came spilling out fast and furious, and before I knew it, I had practically gone all the way around the page. I filled in some of the spaces as the evening went along (I did this last night), and all I can say is WOW!!! So, thank you, person on Pinterest who shared his/her Grateful Wheel, I am grateful for you too.


"He who offers a sacrifice of thanksgiving honors Me; And to him who orders his way aright I shall show the salvation of God."
                                                                       Psalm 50:23

Sunday, November 22, 2015

The Voyage of the St. Louis, 1939

I was reminded this week of the ill-fated voyage of The St. Louis, from Hamburg, Germany, headed to Havanah, Cuba. This is the article from the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, in D.C., which tells the whole story.

'On May 13, 1939, the German transatlantic liner St. Louis sailed from Hamburg, Germany, for Havana, Cuba. On the voyage were 937 passengers. Almost all were Jews fleeing from the Third Reich. Most were German citizens, some were from eastern Europe, and a few were officially "stateless."The majority of the Jewish passengers had applied for US visas, and had planned to stay in Cuba only until they could enter the United States. But by the time the St. Louis sailed, there were signs that political conditions in Cuba might keep the passengers from landing there. The US State Department in Washington, the US consulate in Havana, some Jewish organizations, and refugee agencies were all aware of the situation. The passengers themselves were not informed; most were compelled to return to Europe.

Since the Kristallnacht (literally the “Night of Crystal,” more commonly known as the "Night of Broken Glass") pogrom of November 9–10, 1938, the German government had sought to accelerate the pace of forced Jewish emigration. The German Foreign Office and the Propaganda Ministry also hoped to exploit the unwillingness of other nations to admit large numbers of Jewish refugees to justify the Nazi regime's anti-Jewish goals and policies both domestically in Germany and in the world at large.The owners of the St. Louis, the Hamburg-Amerika Line, knew even before the ship sailed that its passengers might have trouble disembarking in Cuba. The passengers, who held landing certificates and transit visas issued by the Cuban Director-General of Immigration, did not know that Cuban President Federico Laredo Bru had issued a decree just a week before the ship sailed that invalidated all recently issued landing certificates. Entry to Cuba required written authorization from the Cuban Secretaries of State and Labor and the posting of a $500 bond (The bond was waived for US tourists).

The voyage of the St. Louis attracted a great deal of media attention. Even before the ship sailed from Hamburg, right-wing Cuban newspapers deplored its impending arrival and demanded that the Cuban government cease admitting Jewish refugees. Indeed, the passengers became victims of bitter infighting within the Cuban government. The Director-General of the Cuban immigration office, Manuel Benitez Gonzalez, had come under a great deal of public scrutiny for the illegal sale of landing certificates. He routinely sold such documents for $150 or more and, according to US estimates, had amassed a personal fortune of $500,000 to $1,000,000. Though he was a protégé of Cuban army chief of staff (and future president) Fulgencio Batista, Benitez's self-enrichment through corruption had fueled sufficient resentment in the Cuban government to bring about his resignation.

More than money, corruption, and internal power struggles were at work in Cuba. Like the United States and the Americas in general, Cuba struggled with the Great Depression. Many Cubans resented the relatively large number of refugees (including 2,500 Jews), whom the government had already admitted into the country, because they appeared to be competitors for scarce jobs. Hostility toward immigrants fueled both antisemitism and xenophobia. Both agents of Nazi Germany and indigenous right-wing movements hyped the immigrant issue in their publications and demonstrations, claiming that incoming Jews were Communists. Two of the papers—Diario de la Marina, owned by the influential Rivero family, and Avance, owned by the Zayas family, had supported the Spanish fascist leader General Francisco Franco, who, after a three-year civil war, had just overthrown the Spanish Republic in the spring of 1939 with the help of Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy. Reports about the impending voyage fueled a large antisemitic demonstration in Havana on May 8, five days before the St. Louissailed from Hamburg. The rally, the largest antisemitic demonstration in Cuban history, had been sponsored by Grau San Martin, a former Cuban president. Grau spokesman Primitivo Rodriguez urged Cubans to "fight the Jews until the last one is driven out." The demonstration drew 40,000 spectators. Thousands more listened on the radio.

When the St. Louis arrived in Havana harbor on May 27, the Cuban government admitted 28 passengers: 22 of them were Jewish and had valid US visas; the remaining six—four Spanish citizens and two Cuban nationals—had valid entry documents. One further passenger, after attempting to commit suicide, was evacuated to a hospital in Havana. The remaining 908 passengers (one passenger had died of natural causes en route)—including one non-refugee, a Hungarian Jewish businessman—had been awaiting entry visas and carried only Cuban transit visas issued by Gonzales. 743 had been waiting to receive US visas. The Cuban government refused to admit them or to allow them to disembark from the ship.After Cuba denied entry to the passengers on the St. Louis, the press throughout Europe and the Americas, including the United States, brought the story to millions of readers throughout the world. Though US newspapers generally portrayed the plight of the passengers with great sympathy, only a few journalists and editors suggested that the refugees be admitted into the United States.

On May 28, the day after the St. Louis docked in Havana, Lawrence Berenson, an attorney representing the US-based Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC), arrived in Cuba to negotiate on behalf of the St. Louis passengers. A former president of the Cuban-American Chamber of Commerce, Berenson had had extensive business experience in Cuba. He met with President Bru, but failed to persuade him to admit the passengers into Cuba. On June 2, Bru ordered the ship out of Cuban waters. Nevertheless, the negotiations continued, as the St. Louis sailed slowly toward Miami. Bru offered to admit the passengers if the JDC posted a $453,500 bond ($500 per passenger). Berenson made a counteroffer, but Bru rejected the proposal and broke off negotiations.

Sailing so close to Florida that they could see the lights of Miami, some passengers on the St. Louis cabled President Franklin D. Roosevelt asking for refuge. Roosevelt never responded. The State Department and the White House had decided not to take extraordinary measures to permit the refugees to enter the United States. A State Department telegram sent to a passenger stated that the passengers must "await their turns on the waiting list and qualify for and obtain immigration visas before they may be admissible into the United States." US diplomats in Havana intervened once more with the Cuban government to admit the passengers on a "humanitarian" basis, but without success.

Quotas established in the US Immigration and Nationality Act of 1924 strictly limited the number of immigrants who could be admitted to the United States each year. In 1939, the annual combined German-Austrian immigration quota was 27,370 and was quickly filled. In fact, there was a waiting list of at least several years. US officials could only have granted visas to the St. Louis passengers by denying them to the thousands of German Jews placed further up on the waiting list. Public opinion in the United States, although ostensibly sympathetic to the plight of refugees and critical of Hitler's policies, continued to favor immigration restrictions. The Great Depression had left millions of people in the United States unemployed and fearful of competition for the scarce few jobs available. It also fueled antisemitism, xenophobia, nativism, and isolationism. A Fortune Magazine poll at the time indicated that 83 percent of Americans opposed relaxing restrictions on immigration. President Roosevelt could have issued an executive order to admit the St. Louis refugees, but this general hostility to immigrants, the gains of isolationist Republicans in the Congressional elections of 1938, and Roosevelt's consideration of running for an unprecedented third term as president were among the political considerations that militated against taking this extraordinary step in an unpopular cause.

Roosevelt was not alone in his reluctance to challenge the mood of the nation on the immigration issue. Three months before the St. Louis sailed, Congressional leaders in both US houses allowed to die in committee a bill sponsored by Senator Robert Wagner (D-N.Y.) and Representative Edith Rogers (R-Mass.). This bill would have admitted 20,000 Jewish children from Germany above the existing quota.Two smaller ships carrying Jewish refugees sailed to Cuba in May 1939. The French ship, the Flandre, carried 104 passengers; theOrduña, a British vessel, held 72 passengers. Like the St. Louis, these ships were not permitted to dock in Cuba. The Flandre turned back to its point of departure in France, while the Orduña proceeded to a series of Latin American ports. Its passengers finally disembarked in the US-controlled Canal Zone in Panama. The United States eventually admitted most of them.

Following the US government's refusal to permit the passengers to disembark, the St. Louis sailed back to Europe on June 6, 1939. The passengers did not return to Germany, however. Jewish organizations (particularly the Jewish Joint Distribution Committee) negotiated with four European governments to secure entry visas for the passengers: Great Britain took 288 passengers; the Netherlands admitted 181 passengers, Belgium took in 214 passengers; and 224 passengers found at least temporary refuge in France. Of the 288 passengers admitted by Great Britain, all survived World War II save one, who was killed during an air raid in 1940. Of the 620 passengers who returned to continent, 87 (14%) managed to emigrate before the German invasion of Western Europe in May 1940. 532 St. Louis passengers were trapped when Germany conquered Western Europe. Just over half, 278 survived the Holocaust. 254 died: 84 who had been in Belgium; 84 who had found refuge in Holland, and 86 who had been admitted to France.'

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Reflections 2..

Morning light after first snow dusting...
Driving down from Lookout Mountain...
Lookout Mountain..
Autumn sunset...
Autumn sunrise...
Autumn sunrise...(same trees, wider view!!)
Autumn sunset..
It is an app. It is the Diptic App. I have been playing with it for months now, and have finally found that I can enhance, or digitally alter these pics in ways which I never could have imagined! This layout of top and bottom, rather than side by side, makes the pics look like reflections into a lake, a river, a quiet sound, the ocean.  My last 'Reflections' post was well received and some of you even wanted to purchase copies, which is wonderful! These images are being held captive on my iPad for now. I usually print out all of the photos which I sell, from a Kodak kiosk. I have editorial control, the paper is Kodak X-traLife, the quality is, amazingly excellent. There have been advances in the printing process over these past couple of years, so I need to explore how far I can go with Kodak and my iPad.  I have a ton of new work, (thankfully most of it is on my camera card) just from our year and change of living in Centennial. Looks like I have my work cut out for me!!

'As imperceptibly as Grief
The Summer lapsed away—
Too imperceptible at last
To seem like Perfidy—

A Quietness distilled
As Twilight long begun,
Or Nature spending with herself
Sequestered Afternoon—

The Dusk drew earlier in—
The Morning foreign shone—
A courteous, yet harrowing Grace,
As Guest, that would be gone—

And thus, without a Wing
Or service of a Keel
Our Summer made her light escape
Into the Beautiful.'

                                                                                         – Emily Dickinson

Sunday, November 1, 2015

T1D Looks Like Edward...

It is November 1st. It is November 1st, wow, how did we get here so fast. I was planning to go for one last spin in the lake yesterday, but I was told the water temps were 52 degrees and too cold for rentals, but, hey, come down anyhow, said the nice guy @ the Marina. God forbid I should fall out of the kayak, get hypothermia and wind up on the 6 o'clock news. So, until next Spring...I am just starting to accept that we are flying through Autumn. We turned the clocks back last night, so what will the gifted Colorado skies bring us tonight. We shall see. Much more important than anything I have just rattled on about, is that November is Type 1 Diabetes Awareness Month. JDRF has come up with 'T1D LOOKS LIKE ME' for this years campaign. I love it!!!

This morning, I began thinking about how far Edward has come since he was diagnosed in 2002. From multiple shots of insulin a day, to the nightmare of 8th grade, to books and books and more books of logging in formulas, times, carbs, insulin ratios, to locking himself in the bathroom the first Summer before he went to Camp Joslin (for diabetic kids from around the world), to claiming his independence when he started using the insulin pump, to receiving the Most Outstanding Staffer award that last Summer, after many Summers attending Camp Joslin. Mom and I cried, it could have been a Nobel Peace Prize. He lived through college. And I literally mean, he did not die when he went off to college as I knew we were on the clock teaching him how to manage his daily health care on his own. Daily health care for T1D=24/7, everyday of every year, there is no break. Camp helped allot, but it was a scary time as his Mom. He did a great job and clearly, most thankfully, he lived. He is 26 now. He is healthy, he works out, he eats well, he is a productive member of society, he is adorable. These were our goals for him as his parents, and we achieved them. Edward has his hopes and dreams well in tact, but collectively, we are all still praying for a cure. 

I am a T1D Mom!!!

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Mischievous Missy

I love it when a friend asks something of you and there is no hesitation, no thought, just an immediate response of 'YES, of course!' I received an email a few weeks back from my friend Janet asking me if someone they love very much could stay with us for a couple of days as she was passing through Denver. There it was, no hesitation, no thought, just an immediate, 'YES, of course!.' Well, fast forward to last Wednesday, when the lovely, Audra, showed up @ our front door. She has been on a cross-country adventure for the past two months and having quite the life experience for a 22 year old! We are now, part of her story, as she is of ours, and I venture to say, for the rest of both of our respective lives. I say it often, on Facebook, 'Come, I will feed you!' Well, our new sweet friend loves to eat, so it has been joy and a delight to feed her. We even made pasta together! She was so excited to learn 'how to', and then of course, knowing that there was food @ the end of the process was a huge thrill for her. It is clear, this has been a good visit. Audra has had, even as I write, some very important family time here as well. She has summited a mountain of 14,000 feet, she has made pasta for the first time and we went horseback riding together. The 12 Mile Stables, which I blogged about last year @ this time, came up in conversation, and lo and behold, she wanted to get up on one of those horses, as did I, so, on Sunday, off we rode into the sunset.

My horse, named Missy, turned out to be very very mischievous, as she kept on insisting on going off the 'assigned' path to grab large mouth fulls of greenery. I just did not have the strength to yank her very stubborn self back. As it turns out, it was quite humorous, and she was such a sweet girl. It seems that part of the reason why she was able to 'get away' w/ such behavior, was that my saddle was not in the center. I was leaning to the left, so no matter how hard I tried, Missy had the upper hand, and clearly she knew it. By the end of the ride through our Cherry Creek State Park, I was practically holding on for dear life as the saddle had slipped so far to the left!! Audra and her horse, named Kat, were riding behind me, so Audra had a good laugh or 10, watching me try to do the impossible!! We had so much fun, came home, made the pasta from the dough we had prepared earlier, and thankfully, neither of us was too sore the next day.

So, thank you Janet, for asking us to let Audra stay with us for a couple of days, which has now turned into almost a week. As a Family, we all have a new friend for life, and it is no surprise, we love her too!!

'Don't walk behind me; I may not lead.
 Don't walk in front of me; I may not follow. Just walk beside me and be my friend.'
Albert Camus

The view from 12 Mile Stables.. 

The lovely people in front of me and our Guide.. 
Me, enjoying the view, while leaning to the left...
On our way back to the stables, really leaning!!!
Audra, and Kat, after our adventure....
A sweet moment with Audra and Kat...
Missy, totally laughing at me, knowing she had made out like a bandit...
Pasta making, 101...

Friday, October 9, 2015

And Then There Were Two...

The Marina @ Cherry Creek
We're off and paddling..
Looking good Edward...
Like a mirror...until later..
A moment of repose..look close, the white on the lake horizon is the flock of pelicans!!!
The pelicans let me get me get much closer..
These are BIG birds!!!
The Marina @ Cherry Creek State Park, wisely, is open until November. The sun is still very warm. Edward and I had been talking about going kayaking together for a couple of weeks, and yesterday turned out to be the chosen day. We rented the 2 red kayaks, but Edward quickly switched his out for one which was just a little bigger. I am so tiny, I fit anywhere, so the red kayak was still working for me. Off we went. The day was quiet. Looking around the 850 acre lake/reservoir, we saw that we had the place to ourselves. Wow, what a gift. At the beginning of the day, lake was like glass, very smooth, but paddling, maybe because I have not been swimming for a couple of weeks, seemed harder. We wanted to stick to the perimeter to get the most out of the foliage, what creatures we might happen upon, it is the scenic route. We made our way to the far side of the lake. They are easy to spot, the pelicans. Their stark white color is such a contrast to the autumn foliage, the very blue water and they are always in a group. Edward stayed back about 30 feet while I quietly paddled towards them, camera-ready. They let me get closer this time, and I am so happy w/ the couple of pics I posted. But, in true form, once they felt that I was too close, one by one by one, they lined up and away they swam away, to one of their other spots, also on the far side of the lake.

I was thinking that in about 3 months, this water will probably be frozen over, and rather than paddling in it, we might be walking on it. I was thinking that as a Mom, I used to be 'in charge' of Edward's daily activities which included allot of play. Eyes on Edward and his friends @ all times. That ended a long time ago, but this day he was checking up on me. Little person out there paddling against the wind, which kicked up while we too were @ the far end of the lake. Just checking on you Mom. Be still my heart.

'Then the child moved ten times round the seasons
Skated over ten clear frozen streams
Words like when you're older must appease him
And promises of someday make his dreams..'

                                'The Circle Game', Joni Mitchell

Post script: I am very very sore today...all that against the wind paddling...

Saturday, October 3, 2015


Everything is upside down and backwards. More senseless horrifying shootings in a quiet town in Oregon, the East Coast is being hammered once again w/ a slow moving, flood bearing hurricane. It is October 3, and Autumn has arrived w/ a fury. My nieces turn 27 today...where has the time gone? I pray. I walk, I swim, I bike, I cook, I sew, I garden, I harvest, I take pics, I pray. 

We had an opportunity to visit w/ some Friends who live in Golden. Yes, there is a city/town named Golden! Golden lies along Clear Creek at the base of the Front Range of the Rockies. It is less that an hour due West of us. The challenge, if you will, was are we 'okay enough' to go to a higher elevation. We doubled up on our Advocare O2Gold supplements, we added extra coconut water to our fluids which have electrolytes. We put Mom's portable oxygen in the car, just in case. The ride headed toward to Rockies is beautiful. I have to pinch myself sometimes that we are living in a place of such beauty. Once we finally found their house, we stayed a while enjoying the views we have heard so much about, listened to their many stories of moose, deer, elk, which are normal daily sightings for them. They have bird feeders all around their deck which is colored, still, w/ their Summer annuals. They were itching to take us to Lookout Mountain. It turns out that Golden is not as high as I thought. It sits @ around 5600 feet in elevation. Centennial, where we live sits @ around 5300 feet. Colorado Springs, which almost did me in completely, is @ 7000 feet in elevation @ its highest point.  This is where we lived. Well, Lookout Mountain, I discovered is almost @ 7400 feet in the sky. Everyone was feeling fine, so off we went. The Autumn foliage is always a big draw across the country, and it is certainly no different here. I think I took over 100 pics by the time the day was over. This is their place, their park, their stomping grounds, so every rock and tree is familiar to them. For me, w/ my trustee little camera in tow, this was yet another playground, another deep feast for the eyes, quiet moments to soak in this new vista, God's mighty handiwork @ play once again. They loved pointing out some of the special places they have found along the way. There is a 5 mile trail which they are totally blessed to have traversed, and, often. We walked a much shorter distance, (they didn't want anybody to keel over...) but the beauty, the majesty, the big skies, the foliage just starting to say 'Autumn', such a gift. As it turns out, I was totally fine by the time the day was over. Lo and behold! But, Jimmy was definitely feeling the effects of the higher altitude. We kissed our Friends good-bye, and left the lovely place called Golden and Lookout Mountain, feeling well fed on every level, grateful, knowing we could go up to a higher elevation (and come back down) w/out being plagued w/ altitude sickness. Baby steps.

With this world still spinning on its axis, even w/ the madness we all see on a daily basis, I/we remain grateful beyond words that we can find quiet moments. I pray. I walk, I swim, I bike, I cook, I sew, I garden, I harvest, I take pics. I pray.

We are greeted up on Lookout Mountain..
More, 'hello's'...Jimmy and Edward, tiny, tiny blending in w/ the trees...
The Aspens, looking up...
A 'lean-to', hidden away in the thicket...
Some riders along the way...
Father and Son...
Driving down from Lookout Mountain, taken from the car...
A moment captured...if I had wings!!!

'You shall call upon me, and you shall go: and you shall pray to me, and I will hear you. You shall seek me, and shall find me, when you shall seek me with all your heart.'
                                                      Jeremiah 29:12-14

Friday, September 25, 2015

New Wheels, Old School, Very...

So, the outdoor pool @ Lifetime Fitness closed on Labor Day. I got a migraine. It was just too soon as it is still so hot here. A gifted reprieve arrived when our little community extended the pool closing until September 20th. I felt better, I could swim and then 'end' the swimming more on my own terms. I am positive that I will not swim during the winter. The indoor lap lanes are in a dark spot, it is very uninviting. I have been eyeing this bicycle. My thought is, I am not racing anywhere, I am not wearing a helmet, I am not putting on a biking 'outfit'. I truly admire the people who do all these things, especially after my virgin voyage today. That said, I am going enjoy the Autumn on my new wheels, I am going to enjoy the walking/bike path from this new vantage point, I am probably going to squish grasshoppers, much to my chagrin. The bike is a Huffy, 26", no gears except, 'pedal' from me. When we picked it up @ the store it was mis-marked @ a lower price, so we had to wait to get everything straightened out, in my favor. It immediately became a conversation piece, as it is really, very pretty. My days of riding my 10 speed, early Sunday mornings from the Village up to Central Park are long behind me, but I do love to pedal. 

As I mentioned, it has been hotter than 'normal' for this time of year and these past few days have been crystal clear, barely a cloud in the sky. I waited until about 2:30. I had my perfect outfit picked out, very important. It worked. I packed the little basket w/ the essentials, fluids, cheese and crackers, Himalayan salt crystals, camera, iPhone, flip flops (in case I made it to the lake), a small towel. I started out thinking what I thought after kayaking, I might be paralyzed tomorrow. I was very aware of all the insects  on the walking/bike path who did not stand a chance of living and was just hoping I didn't hurt myself trying to avoid them. There is very little shade in the middle of the day and my breath was short. As well as I did w/ the laps all Summer, this is different. I found myself stopping, looking for a small patch of shade wherever I could, breathless, but in a good way. I never felt lightheaded, which 'up here', is really good. People were very kind along the way. Did I have a flat tire, nope, I said, virgin voyage. Was everything okay, yup, virgin voyage. Need some help, from one guy, nope, virgin voyage. But he came back with, good for you, keep it up, a little at a time, you'll get there. Well hallelujah. This is great, this is going to work!! I did not make it to the lake today. But, I was out for about an hour and 1/2. I met some horses, some very nice concerned bikers, smiled @ the walkers, I think I clipped the tail of a small blue snake I saw, rested on our favorite bench, before heading back home. Very very happy w/ my new wheels, old school...very...

I found this web site, 'Scriptures to Ponder While Pedaling.' Who knew???
'In his hand are the depths of the earth;
    the heights of the mountains are his also.
 The sea is his, for he made it,
    and his hands formed the dry land'
                                            Psalm 95:4-5

Sunday, September 20, 2015


During this time of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur (Days of Awe) quiet reflecting into one's heart is an attitude which, prayerfully is carried on throughout the year. This had me thinking and I was able to digitally alter some of my recent images into a very literal group of pics, which are 'Reflections'. As if I were taking the pics of sunrise and sunset from a very beautiful body of water, a lake, a river, a very quiet ocean, this continues to be a very blessed time of reflection...may the coming year bear much good fruit!

'Great is the Lord and most worthy of praise;
    his greatness no one can fathom.
 One generation commends your works to another;
    they tell of your mighty acts.
They speak of the glorious splendor of your majesty
    and I will meditate on your wonderful works.
 They tell of the power of your awesome works
    and I will proclaim your great deeds.
They celebrate your abundant goodness
    and joyfully sing of your righteousness...'

                                                                    Psalm 145:3-7