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My father has been doing somewhat better. He continues to stay free of any infections, and I’ve been sitting him up whenever I visit. It’s tough, his arm and leg muscles seem to get more contracted as he’s been bedridden for six months now, but I don’t care; I see him more alert and awake when I help him sit up.
In the meantime, a hobby that my father enjoyed in his 20s is something I’ve picked up: cycling. I use a Giant Sedona CX (2005) for riding around Jersey City, and various New Jersey parks. I had a great two and a half hour ride along the Hudson waterfront, from Newport in Jersey City to Weehawken this past weekend.
I also have a a Citizen Tokyo folding bike for shopping at the produce market nearby. It’s ideal for short trips only.
And I just bought a 2011 Jamis commuter 3 bike for CITY riding! I rode an hour through Central Park today, up to 110th street and back to the Columbus Circle area. It was hot today, but that doesn’t stop the action in Central Park, which was full of runners, cyclers, roller bladers, and more.
I can see why my dad loved to ride his bike. (I remember he rode a Gazelle.) Like running, it clears the mind, but it’s much more relaxing. Something about that wind hitting your face. (I imagine it’s what people who ride motorcycles love, too.)
And, of course, I’m doing something I know my father loved.
I surprised my mother with a trip to Miami to visit her mother last month, and the trip was this weekend. I had to surprise her because had I waited for her blessing to buy the airline ticket, it would have never happened. Her mother — my grandmother — is 97, and has suffered from Alzheimer’s for many years, and last month, after a stroke, doctors told my aunt — her caregiver — to start planning for end-of-life.
Somehow my grandmother got better, though she is now living in a nursing home, but I still thought my mom should go see her. It had been two years, because, as I’ve explained before, she is my father’s caretaker (Parkinson’s.)
So, of course, my mom’s main concern is who would be there to visit my dad in the nursing home in her absence. That the man is confined to a bed is bad enough; that the bed is not in his own home is the part that we struggle with on a daily basis. Of course, I imagined it would be me, but asked my brothers to support, which I assumed they’d do. I told them they didn’t need to stay there for hours but just drop in.
They didn’t. I had to beg one to go today, and still went to visit him myself later, of course. I can’t not go, and that part is fine.
I am constantly reading up about how to deal with change, or deal with anger when situations are out of your control. I know I have to just deal with it, but it still sucks.
It wasn’t just about visiting my dad. I noticed my mother was low on basic essentials she needed in the house. It’s not a money thing; it’s a time thing, so I did one massive grocery shop. I did absolutely nothing social this weekend (unlike them) and that part is fine, but it still sucks.
Nigerian writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, who first came to my attention when her novel, Americanah, became a New York Times best-seller, and when audio of a speech of hers ended up in the Beyonce song, “Flawless,” is, as Blavity puts it, *everything.*
I’m such a fan of her feminist views. And, of course, the excerpt in Flawless is the kind of thing that should be required reading in the 5th grade:
“We teach girls to shrink themselves
To make themselves smaller
We say to girls,
“You can have ambition
But not too much
You should aim to be successful
But not too successful
Otherwise you will threaten the man.”
Because I am female
I am expected to aspire to marriage
I am expected to make my life choices
Always keeping in mind that
Marriage is the most important
Now marriage can be a source of
Joy and love and mutual support
But why do we teach girls to aspire to marriage
And we don’t teach boys the same?
We raise girls to see each other as competitors
Not for jobs or for accomplishments
Which I think can be a good thing
But for the attention of men
We teach girls that they cannot be sexual beings
In the way that boys are
Feminist: the person who believes in the social
Political, and economic equality of the sexes”
I can’t help but think of my five-year-old niece when I read her views. This latest one, which, in a perfect world, is taught to every little girl in the world, is from a speech she gave at the 2015 Girls Write Now Awards in New York City, where she was named the groundbreaker honoree.
During her speech, Adichie spoke less about her stellar accomplishments and more about why young girls and women shouldn’t care about being liked when trying to pave their paths as writers and storytellers.
“Forget about likability,” the 37-year-old exclaimed. “I think that what our society teaches young girls — and I think that it’s something that’s quite difficult for even older women, self-confessed feminists, to shrug off — is this idea that likeability is an essential part of the space you occupy in the world. That you’re supposed to twist yourself into shapes to make yourself likeable. That you’re supposed to kind of hold back sometimes, pull back. Don’t quite say, don’t be too pushy … because you have to be likeable. And I say that is bullshit.”
And, with that, I’ll leave you with one of the best little girls to ever grace Vine:
Upon hearing about the arrest of several top FIFA officials this morning, I couldn’t help but think of this profile of Sepp Blatter in the April 30 edition of Bloomberg Businessweek, which details some shadiness of the governing body:
The headquarters of FIFA takes up about 11 acres on a wooded hill above Zurich. Two soccer fields abut a main building that’s wrapped in aluminum webbing, allowing light to stream into a welcoming atrium. Blatter oversaw the construction of the compound, which was finished in 2007 and cost about 240 million Swiss francs ($255 million), and has pointed to its transparent design as an expression of FIFA’s values. Maybe, but FIFA’s legal department demands that some visitors sign nondisclosure agreements for otherwise routine meetings, and five of the building’s eight levels are underground. On a recent visit, cell phones were rendered useless in the depths, sheathed as they are in black, Brazilian granite. In a Strangelovian lair on the third subterranean level, Blatter holds executive committee meetings in a conference room with a floor of lapis lazuli. The room is lit by a round, crystal chandelier meant to evoke a soccer stadium.
FIFA’s money doesn’t always result in much more than new office space for local soccer officials. The organization has sent more than $2 million to the Caymans since 2002 to build a headquarters and world-class soccer fields as a base for its national teams; the men’s team is ranked 191st in the world. Blatter flew in for the groundbreaking ceremony in 2009. “Cayman has not yet qualified for the World Cup,” he told the assembled dignitaries, according to a local press account. “But I’m sure that one day you will make it. We can help.” The headquarters has been built, along with one field, but the land was too salty to grow grass, so the Caymans association is replacing it with artificial turf.
Although the men’s team from the Caymans usually loses—in March, its first international match in more than three years resulted in a goalless tie with Belize (rank: 159)—the Cayman Islands Football Association is one of the biggest powers at FIFA. Webb’s regional confederation nominated the Caymans’ treasurer, Canover Watson, to FIFA’s audit and compliance committee, the panel that’s supposed to be international soccer’s bulwark against corruption. In November, Caymanian authorities charged Watson with money laundering and fraud related to his role as chairman of the Cayman Islands Health Services Authority; he allegedly steered contracts to a business in which he had a financial interest. FIFA has temporarily suspended Watson from the audit committee. Watson declined to comment but has denied the charges.
It’s worth a read. I guess I can’t be surprised Blatter wasn’t arrested. He seems super well-protected.
Via the New York Post, of course:
Televangelist warns men who masturbate: Your hands will be pregnant in afterlife
A Muslim televangelist has advised male followers to stop masturbating — because it will leave their hands pregnant in the afterlife.
Turkish preacher Mücahid Cihad Han told viewers that masturbation was forbidden in Islam.
Read the rest here.
Here’s one thing I don’t miss about Facebook:
Via Media Watch:
Recycling the rubbish
There is a growing trend in the news – dubious online stories with stock images, no real detail, and an outlandish yarn that will pull in the punters.
Nigerian restaurant shut down for serving HUMAN FLESH – and had bags in kitchen containing heads that were still bleeding
— Daily Mail, 16th May, 2015
Yes, you can always trust the Daily Mail to have the stories you really want to read … which is why it’s one of the most popular news sites in the world.
And when the Mail finds a scoop, its rivals at News.com.au are rarely far behind .
When police raided the restaurant they discovered human heads that were still bleeding with the blood draining into plastic bags.
— News.com.au, 17th May, 2015
You would not believe the things that happen in Africa.
And if you looked at this story—which was gobbled up by the media across Australia, Britain, America, Africa and Asia, there was plenty of reason to doubt if it was true.
For a start all the stories had the same quotes from the same unnamed witnesses, like the priest who said:
“I did not know I had been served with human meat, and that it was that expensive.”
— News.com.au, 17th May, 2015
Read more here.