Saturday, April 28, 2007

End of an Era

I made the decision yesterday, that I will not be returning to Mexico.

This was probably the most difficult in a series of difficult decisions I have had to make recently. The reasons for leaving outweigh the reasons for staying, though they cannot outweigh my conviction and my passion. I will go back, someday. But right now, my family needs me. I plan to take a few years, work, get a masters degree, and support the program here in the states. I will work to be certain that I grow during this time, intellectually and spiritually, so that when the times comes to go back, I will be ready to meet the challenges that await.

In other news, I'm working full time at the vet clinic, I'm studying to take my GRE on May 31st (EEK) and still preparing lessons for the students still studying at LAM. I have my hands very very full, but I think this is the right place for me to be at this time in my life.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Dallas World Aquarium

Took the kids to the Dallas World Aquarium today. They loved it! I was so happy to see Kenneth awe-stuck watching the manatees and sea turtles. So they learned some things and had a good time. Great day all around. My only complaint, the river otter exhibit was shut down. I heart otters. They are one of my favorite animals. But alas, I saw nary an otter today. Got some good pictures of the other residents however. The way this place is set up, its like walking through the flooded tropical rain forest, complete with heat and humidity. The place is set up for the comfort of the animals who roam the building out in the open. Neat place. On to the pics

First the Sea Turtle. Would you believe ALL of my turtle pictures were blurry! I mean, they're freakin turtles, but they were moving too fast for my camera....I think its new camera time.
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This three toed sloth was SO amazing! She was out in the open. I could have reached up and touched her. These animals have lived on the earth for millions of years!
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The shark tunnel scared the daylights out of me. I have a totally irrational fear of sharks. Though they fascinate me, and are completely gorgeous!
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Indonesian Sea Horses
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Sea Dragon
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PENGUINS! This exhibit was less than impressive. The penguins looked ill and the pool smelled awful.
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The Manatees were gorgeous. So graceful and gentle. SAVE THE MANATEE!
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The Lion fish wasn't moving. Finally, something I could photograph without the blurries.
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Jaguar. BIG kitty. I felt very sorry for this animal. These are solitary creatures, he was clearly distressed at being the center of alot of staring people. Unlike the rest of the creatures there which were part of captive breeding and endangered repopulation programs, the Jaguar was just for show, part of the Mundo Mayan exhibit, to show the big cats were revered in Mayan culture. So sad. :(
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Howler Monkeys were smaller than I had imagined. They literally swung through the trees by their tails!
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Beautifl Flamingos. They eat upside down!
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GIANT Catfish!
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Tuesday, April 03, 2007


I got a notice in the mail today about a certified letter addressed to my brother to be picked up at the post office. Upon recieveing the letter I realized it was actually addressed to my father who has been dead three years now. Enclosed was a large packet of legal documents related to some property my father jointly owned with his brothers up in New York State.

Sure that this was something that probably needed attention and not having a clue what to do with it, I called my cousin, Jessica, a social worker in New York State.(Social consciousness runs in the family) Jessica is the one that, when Dad decided to live out his last days back home, set him up on disability and medicaid, found him housing and when the time came, set up his hospice. I owe Jessica alot for being there during a time when I was so unstable. Because of her, my father got the end he wanted. And today, I decided, it was the comfortable end that he deserved.

I feel like, recently, God has been trying to teach me the lesson of forgiveness. The recent barage of personal assaults on all fronts have been, mislabled opportunties to turn the other cheek, to show some understanding and compassion, and ultimately, to forgive. Forgiveness is good for the soul. Its about reaching out to your fellow man, and drawing him close, though he would just as soon stab you, as hug you.

I've recently come to some conclusions about my Father. At the end of the day, he was a good person. He was kind, compassionate. He loved to help others. He was naive, easily taken advantage of. He loved animals. He was a kid at heart. I do believe he loved us, in his own disordered way. I don't think he knew how to express that love appropriately. My dad has his problems.He had no clue what it meant to be a father, or a husband. He needed help that he never got. He didn't set out to hurt anyone, not me, my brother, my mom. I think, like me, the only person my Dad ever intentionally hurt was himself. The more I think honestly about my Dad the more I see myself in him. The more I see the good in him. He wasn't an evil man, or a bad man, he was a sick man.

This whole situation with my brother has made me see "offenders" and "abusers" in a new light. Rather than letting a disordered behavior define them in my eyes, I need to see the whole person. I know my brother very well, much better than I ever knew my Father who was both emotionally and physically distant most of my life. I know that my brother is not a monster, or evil, or a bad person. I know that my brother is simply a victim of the same sad childhood as I am. He is no more a "pedophile" as the sum total of his persona, than I am a "depressive" as the sum total of my existance. Every human being is a rich tapestry of behaviors, characteristics, likes, dislikes, talents and experiences. To take any human being and judge him based solely on any one of these is wrong.

I have been wrong about my Father. It was so much easier to hate him, to vilify him and degrade him in my mind to match the level of hurt I experienced at his hands. But just like what I experienced by him is not the sum total of my existence, what he did to me is not all of who he was. I think I am finally ready to recognize the good person that lived with the pedophile and the abuser in the same man. I'm ready to forgive my Father, and let go of this pain. I'm ready to stop letting abuse define me. I'm ready to say, "I forgive you, Dad."