Wednesday, June 30, 2010

X Is For Xenophobia - Alphabe Thursday, July 1, 2010

X Is For Xenophobia - Alphabe Thursday, July 1, 2010

 Xenophobia (n) - fear or hatred towards foreigners, foreign countries, or anything foreign.
Other related words: xenophobic (adj.) and xenophobe (n)

X” Is For Xenophobia,
Which I hardly understand,
Since I always love to travel,
To an exotic distant land.

To feel hatred for things foreign,
Is something I don’t know,
I’m the first to pack my suitcase,
And am thrilled that I can go.

When I visit a foreign country,
I remember I’m a guest,
I respect the rules and culture,
It always works out for the best.

I spend some time in learning,
Before I start from home,
So I won’t feel like a stranger,
In the new place that I roam.

The food of other countries,
Is such a special treat,
I always find there’s something,
That I really like to eat.

I find most folks are friendly,
And, though it may take awhile,
Barriers are broken,
With the warmth of just a smile.

Carmen Henesy

Copyright (c) 2010 by Carmen Henesy
All rights reserved

I am taking part in Jenny Matlock's Alphabe Thursday
Join in the fun!!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

A War of Violence - For Silvia Solorzano


One of my most beloved friends is a feisty social worker from Nicaragua who used to be my colleague at the San Francisco Rape Treatment Center. Silvia Solorzano went on to help immigrants seeking asylum from atrocities in their home countries and to work as a therapist at San Francisco's Mission Mental Health Center. This woman, who has cared for so many of the indigent poor of our city, has suffered incredible pain.

On January 7, 1998, her 37-year-old son, Daniel Solorzano, was outside a corner store in San Francisco's Mission District, when a car drove by and the passenger in the car shot at a man standing bedside Daniel. Somehow, the bullet ended up hitting Daniel. After thirteen days in ICU at San Francisco General Hospital - and over two hundred transfusions of blood later, this dear young man died, leaving behind a bereft family which included two children, ages 7 and 8.

San Francisco's Homicide Division tried to find the assailant, without success. Silvia wrote an impassioned "Letter to the Murderer of My Son" which was printed in the San Francisco

A few years ago, news finally surfaced about Danny's killer. A man, incarcerated for immigration violation, had told another inmate he was responsible for the crime. Eventually, he
is supposed to be brought to San Francisco for trial. Poor Silvia, it is twelve years later but, perhaps, she will feel some sense of closure if this man is held responsible for the loss of her son. May Daniel rest in peace.

Unending Violence

An eye for an eye,
And a tooth for a tooth,
Cry warring gang members,
Destroying our youth.

Some are off fighting,
In distant Iraq,
But even at home,
You must watch your back.

The streets are not safe,
Nights are rampant with crime,
Children are dying,
Not yet in their prime.

What a horrible thought,
An eye for an eye,
A gunshot rings out,
Then, a mother’s sad cry.

Carmen Henesy

Copyright (c) 2010 by Carmen Henesy
All rights reserved.

Monday, June 28, 2010

The Grout is Out - Magpie #20 - Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The Grout is Out - Magpie #20 - Tuesday, June 29, 2010

She wasn't very happy when Mrs. Howell had rung yesterday afternoon to tell her to open up the house  for the summer.  She would be relegated to the maid's quarters once again and she had gotten used to playing mistress of the manor in the opulent master bedroom, with its sweeping verhandah and views of the Atlantic.  She had even helped herself to Mrs. Howell's luxurious silk nightgowns and, on occasion, when Mr. Howell stopped off briefly "to check on things at the summer home" - something that his wife never did - Clarissa helped herself to Mr Howell. 

Of course, they could never go into Charleston to dine at the elegant restaurants but he would have lobster, Louis Roederer Champagne Cristal Brut, fresh strawberries, pate, fresh asparagus, and other gourmet delicacies delivered from the gourmet shop sixty miles away.
For one or two days, she reveled in the good life, forgetting that she was merely a maid and had been so at Cypress  Cove for three years now.  She was seventy miles from town and well paid but she was almost finished with her online degree and wanted more for herself.  For the
next two months, Mrs. Howell and the children would be here and she would not be able to have any intimate contact with Mr. Howell. 

Cypress Cove would be like Grand Central Station.   The full time cook would arrive, along with a nanny, the butler, and, probably, a tutor.  The gardener would be about more often and the pool boy.  She loathed being relegated to hired help status, especially when a small emerald pendant lay nestled at her throat and she had been given a modest but very elegant Movado watch.  She had enjoyed a luxurious week in Bermuda last month, another gift from Mr. Howell.
He had made it clear, at the beginning, that she could not expect any type of real relationship
from him, yet here she was, wishing for more.

As they lay in bed later that night, Clarissa turned to look at Mr. Howell.  He was dazzingly handsome with the moonlight on his bronzed face, his muscular body reflecting his obsession with his workout routine.  He didn't look forty-years-old, no, indeed.  He had married into Southern royalty ten years ago and was a major financial success himself.

For this reason, she didn't hesitate and plunged ahead, telling him she wanted to stop working at Cypress Cove.  "I want you to get me an apartment in Atlanta....somewhere you might be
able to come every week, even if it's just for a few hours.  I feel like I deserve that.  We've been carrying on like this for two years now and I've seen no one else.  I hate being ordered around by your wife.....sometimes I just feel like screaming that I'm sleeping with you!"

Clarissa felt Mr. Howell tense up beside her but he merely smiled and said, Perhaps we'll consider it.  Now let's get some sleep.  I have an early start tomorrow."

After breakfast in the morning, he reminded her, "The other help will be here on the weekend and my wife and the kids arrive Monday.  That gives you three days to get to work cleaning.  Remember, Mrs. Howell will be checking the bathrooms, especially.  Make sure the tiles are

He took her in his arms, kissed her, and was off.  No mention of an apartment, no talk of a future, just clean the damn bathrooms.  In a rage, she changed into shorts, tied her hair back and started in the downstairs bathroom. 

Armed with cleaning supplies, she climbed into the fancy tub, with the worn toothbrush and began scrubbing furiously at the tiles.  "When I'm done", she thought, "there probably won't be any grout left"!  She was so engrossed with the task at hand, she never heard Mr. Howell enter the bathroom until the pillow was pressed against her face, cutting off the air to her lungs.

I am participating in Willow's creative writing Magpie Tales - join in the fun.

Carib Beer Cat - Mellow Yellow Monday - 6 - 28 -10

Carib Beer Cat Eating Eggs and Potatoes

Sunday, June 27, 2010

An Incredible Kindess and A Wedding Video - Sunday, 6-27-10

Many of you have already discerned that India, some 8,000 miles away from San Francisco, is the home of my heart.  My brief ten day visit there in 1997,  and the friends I have made over the years, endear this country to me.  I have longed to return ever since my friends said goodbye to me at Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport ( it was Sahar International Airport at the time ).  I was bound for Bangkok and the start of a 12 day southeast Asian cruise, praising the Lord that I had survived India's horrible traffic ( especially on the drive from Delhi to Agra to see the Taj
Mahal ). 

Just like one forgets being in labor at the joy of giving birth to a beautiful baby, one forgets the problems with India because there are so many wonderful and positive things - its history, culture, gentleness, beauty, the kindness of its people, to name a few.  I think that's partly why I am drawn to some of the Indian bloggers I've encountered in the eight months I've been writing
Carmen's Chronicles.

Still, I was really blown away last week when a blogging friend, Mitesh, who writes from India,
From Politics to Fashion, asked if he could make a video of Laura and Alex's wedding for me...just like that!  Having never set eyes on me in his life, not knowing either Laura or Alex, just out of the kindness of his heart.  I am sure he's as busy as can be, with plenty else to do in his life but, today, on his blog there it was and, in my email, he enclosed the links for me.  Now, I shed only a tear or two at the wedding but, as I watched this video at 7AM this morning, I cried and cried.  I thought it was so beautiful, set to the music Mitesh chose, and I cried that a friend I'd never met in India could give me such a special gift from the heart.

Laura and Alex, I am sure that you will like it.

To Mitesh, I say again - Dhanyavad. Namaste.

I promise you, this will be the last post about Laura and Alex's wedding!  I just had to show you this lovely video.  Just think what I will be like when I have my first

The Student Nurse - Saturday Centus Week 8, Sunday, June 28, 2010

The Student Nurse - Saturday Centus Week 8, Sunday, June 28, 2010

Elizabeth walked into her obstetrics class feeling the weight of the world on her
shoulders. The patient she had been following had died en route to the hospital
and so had her six-month-old fetus, another victim of gang violence in San Francisco.

Elizabeth had been called by her patient’s mother who knew to notify her should
Maria go into labor. The poor lady was hysterical, sobbing on the phone. She had
already lost her only son in a drive by shooting, now her only daughter was dead.

Walking to the dorm, I said to Cynthia, "Did you notice Elizabeth in class this morning and how forlorn she seemed?" Perhaps I will write her a comforting note, I thought.

Carmen Henesy 

Copyright (c) 2010 by Carmen Henesy
 All rights reserved.

I am participating in Jenny Matlock's Saturday Centus - Each Saturday you are given a new "prompt" for the week.  Your essay must be 100 words or less, not including the "prompt" words.  The prompt words can be used in any place within your story but must be left intact.  Join in the fun!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

For the Birds - Camera Critters - June 26, 2010

For the Birds - Camera Critters - June 26, 2010

I am participating in Camera Critters - join in!!

Friday, June 25, 2010

On the Mend - Flash 55 Friday, June 25, 2010

I guess I'm hardy like this sturdy dandelion!

Five days in the hospital,

Really wiped me out,

That I’m feeling somewhat better,

There isn’t any doubt!

I’m still on wonder drugs,

To keep the bugs at bay,

Could be they sap my energy,

I so want to go and play!

I need computer time, for sure,

My blogging friends are such a cure.

Carmen Henesy

Copyright (c) 2010 by Carmen Henesy

All rights reserved.

If you would like to tell a tale in exactly 55 words, post it and go and tell Mr. G-Man

Thursday, June 24, 2010

"W" is For Wedding - the Marriage of Laura Winterhalter to Alexander Vukasinovic, May 7, 2010 - A few more photos for Alphabe Thursday, 6-24-10

"W" is For Wedding - the Marriage of Laura  Winterhalter to Alexander Vukasinovic, May 7, 2010 - A few more photos for Alphabe Thursday, 6-24-10

I realize, of course, that I already posted some pictures of the wedding of my middle son, Alex, to his beautiful, Laura, in a blog shortly after their May 7th wedding.  However, Laura recently sent me several hundred more photographs and, since "W" is our Alphabe letter today, I couldn't resist sharing some of them with you. 

I can't believe that this Friday will be SEVEN weeks since the big day.  Time goes by so quickly!  I haven't even seen the happy couple since then.  While they live in West Sacramento, only about 110 miles from San Francisco, time constraints seem to always interfere with our traveling back and forth.  Laura works more than full time as a paramedic and Alex works a 4AM to noon shift at his job, then has classes most weekdays.  Occasionally, he tries to catch a couple of hours sleep.

These photos include some of the beautiful setting at Scribner Bend Vineyards in Sacramento.  It was truly a glorious day but it got chilly after the sun set.  I was lucky to have blankets in my car which I got for us to use as wraps!!  Of course, the folks who got up and danced didn't seem to be bothered by the drop in temperatures as the night wore on. 

Scribner Bend Vineyards, Sacramento, CA

The lovely outdoor dinner setting

Katie, Jeremy's girlfriend, doing the honors for Alex

Collin, the ring bearer

Alex ( middle son of three ), age 27 with his mother, age 65

Alex, with his younger brother, Jeremy, 25 - absent was their older brother,
Shawn, 39, who was deployed to Germany with the Air Force Reserves a
week prior to the wedding - he was to be best man.  We all missed him very much!

Beautiful Laura Winterhalter, Alex's sweetheart for six years, now Mrs. Vukasinovic

Jeremy escorts maid of honor, Mandy ( his left ), and Lindsay

Happiness abounds

Such radiance!

A quick kiss in the rose bower

My immediate family ( minus our new bride ) - brother, Charley, sis-in-law, Susan, Alex, Jeremy and Elmira, who cared for the boys much of their lives

Our combined families

The wedding party in the vineyard

The wedding party in the rose bower

Near sunset in the vineyards

Pastoral scene for the newlyweds

Jeremy, Katie and Laura

Table with my friend and colleague, Elaine, in the purple shawl

Our table with Jeremy, Katie, my brother, Charley, sister-in-law, Susan, Silvia and Daniel

Jeremy toasts the newlyweds

Mother of the groom reads her poem

To the rescue of tired feet

The wedding cake and my poster board

First dance for the newlyweds

Dance with mom - Alex chose "Thank you, Mom" by Good Charlotte - I was so touched by the words

My only sibling, younger brother, Charley ( 62 ), and his lovely wife, Susan

Jeremy and Katie, heading out to dance

The first wedding post and photos are at: 

I  am participating in Jenny Matlock's Alphabe Thursday .  Join in or visit the other posts at the site!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Home at Last - A Bit Bruised and Tired of Hospital Food- Tuesday, 6-22-10

I certainly had no idea when I went to see my doctor on June 17th that my inpatient stay at Seton Medical Center would last five days!  I was finally discharged this afternoon at 4PM, definitely improved since admission but with a whole new set of bruises on both arms from multiple pokes and prods from attempts at starting IVs and restarting infiltrated ones.  Where did the nice large veins of my youth go?  Advancing years not only bring on the wrinkles, they do other dastardly things to our bodies.

I must say, I was impressed with the wonderful nurses I encountered.  Also, it was like being on an international journey which, you know, made me happy.  Reflective of the Bay area's multicultural, diverse make up, some of the wonderful staff who cared for me were Danielle,
Sook from Korea, Steve from the Philippines ( or of Filipino background ), Stephanie from Manitoba, Asako from Japan, Kris, and Jeannie.   The nursing assistants did an excellent job, too - Maria, Zen - I wish I remembered everyone's name!

I had three different roommates during my stay - the first was basically comatose and the last was a lady, over 90, was was unable to do any self care.  The staff did such an outstanding job of caring for these ladies.  As an RN of 45 years, I am especially mindful in situations like this and I was aware of their ministrations, the gentle manner in which they spoke, the frequency with which they came in to turn these patients.  It really brought tears to my eyes and reminded me of why I chose to be a nurse all those years ago.  I felt a real sense of pride in these women and men and I cannot thank them enough for their care of me but, especially, for their care of my roommates.  It truly warmed my heart.

People from housekeeping, transport and the lab were always so pleasant.  As the housekeeper was sweeping around my bed this morning, I apologized for the bits of trail mix I had spilled on the floor.  He just smiled and said, "Oh, that's okay, I need this job!"

My own doctor, Alice Chan, who is Chinese, has been following me for about five years.  She brought in an infectious disease doctor, a lovely Indian physician who could be starring in a Bollywood film.  Dr. Talwar supervised the three different intravenous antibiotics I was on for my cellulitis.  Dr. Yan also consulted with two brothers, Dr. Kahn and Dr. Kahn, from Pakistan, orthopedists, who ordered an MRI of my right lower leg, foot and ankle to absolutely make sure there was no fracture.  X-rays showed none but they said that, sometimes, x-rays might miss a small fracture.  It turns out that, in my fall on the 8th, I just suffered major soft tissue injury.  Why I ended up developing cellulitis, I don't know but this is about my sixth bout with it in as many years and I've had it in both legs. 

I really made a mess in my hospital room last night.  I had brushed my teeth and was putting things in order around my bed, getting ready to go to sleep.  My IV was running and I'd arranged my pillows and blanket and had one leg up on the bed and one foot on the floor.  All of a sudden, I felt something sticky on my foot.  I looked down and, to my surprise, saw blood all over my left foot and fabric sandal, my gown, the floor and the IV pole.  Without my knowledge, the IV tubing had disconnected from the attachment to my hand and, because I was on heparin injections ( an anticoagulant to prevent a clot ), I was bleeding quite a bit.  I put on my call light for my nurse, then called out for help ( my room was right across from the nurse's station ).  A nursing assistant came in, saw all the blood, then began yelling, "Help, the patient in 721 is bleeding!"  About six people came running into my room!  My nurse, calm and collected, had my IV instantly reconnected and the whole mess cleared up within minutes.  I'm just glad I noticed it before I got into bed and fell asleep.  I would have required a transfusion!

I am going to get started tomorrow on catching up on all I've missed.  I can't wait to read everyone's blogs and to finally answer all the wonderful comments I've been getting during my
hospital stay.  I appreciate that you all haven't abandoned me.  Now I'm off to sleep.  It's amazing how much I have slept these past five days and I still feel exhausted. 

Left arm

Right arm

Right hand