Saturday Surprise — Artists Take On Notre-Dame

Welcome to the

weekend

I was not at a loss for this morning’s Saturday Surprise post, in fact was debating between taking you to either a turnip festival or a bread-arches festival.  But then an email popped up and when I saw it, I thought … hmmm 🤔 … maybe.  Monday’s fire at the Cathedral of Notre-Dame has prompted an outpouring of sadness from all around the globe.  It has also inspired artists to do some beautiful artwork that I thought I’d like to share with you today.  But first, I must share with you my embarrassingly funny story from this past week.

Those of you who have followed this blog for a while may remember last September when my dishwasher went kaplooie.  I contacted the rental office … day after day … for 8 bloomin’ weeks, then finally contacted the property owners, and it was fixed the following day!  The apartment manager was also terminated that week, but I’m not sure if there is any connection.  Anyway, just before Thanksgiving they did bring a new … brand new, still in the box … dishwasher, and all was well.

Then last week, I turned the dishwasher on Tuesday morning, but … nothing happened.  Nada.  Zilch.  Sigh.  So, I contacted them … actually, Miss Goose did, for I don’t think she liked seeing me getting ready to go to the rental office with my 18-inch rolling pin in my hand.  They said they would ‘try’ to get to it within two weeks.  Frustrated I was, but what can one do but … wait.  Well, this week on Tuesday, I had just gotten out of the shower and come downstairs, hair still wrapped in a towel, and there was a pounding on the door.  The maintenance dude!  Okay … I happily lead him to the kitchen where … there was a blob of cat puke right in the middle of the kitchen floor.  I wanted the earth to open up and swallow me.  Unfortunately, it didn’t.  But wait … it gets even better!

The maintenance man walks over to the dishwasher, looks at the wall above it, flips the switch on the wall, and … PRESTO! … the dishwasher springs to life.  Now I really, really wanted the earth to open up and swallow me.  Again, it didn’t.  Folks, I had checked the breaker, had inspected all around the switches and contacts for some food particles or grease, had tried everything short of taking the thing apart.  But I never even thought about the switch.  We never turn it off!  Best I can figure is it accidentally got turned off one time that one of us was turning off the switch next to it that controls the garbage disposer.  I felt about as stupid as I’ve ever felt, and I kept repeating, “I’m so sorry … I am so stupid …” until he finally patted my shoulder (I’m pretty sure he just wanted to get away from this crazy ol’ hag so he could go to his truck and have a good laugh) and assured me it could have happened to anybody.  Sigh.

And now, how about those pictures I promised?

On 15 April 2019 around 6:50 p.m., a fire broke out in the Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris. One of the most famous historical buildings, it has a strong value to Parisian and French culture and is one of the most famous buildings in the world with around 13 million tourists every year. After the tragic news about the iconic cathedral burning went viral, many artists showed their respect to the monument by drawing it.

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The construction of Notre-Dame started back in 1163 and it was finished almost 200 years later in 1345. It’s important to mention that the iconic spire was added only in the 19th century. Notre-Dame isn’t only known for its incredible architecture, it was also the cathedral in which Napoleon’s coronation by Pope Pius VII took place in 1804.

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Since Notre-Dame was first built around 700 years ago, the building required constant renovation. During the last few years, it was in desperate need of reconstruction and that’s exactly what was happening before the fire broke out. The renovation was supposed to cost €6 million. Fires often break out during renovation so it is believed that this might have been the case with the Notre-Dame Cathedral.

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Recent news declare that there have been €1 billion donated to the reconstruction of the Notre-Dame Cathedral which has caused some controversy online. Many people claim that during the past few years there have been many tragic losses around the world, with many people losing their home and their loved ones, yet nobody has ever donated this much money to any of the causes. Notre-Dame example shows how many of the world’s problems could be solved if the world’s richest people would donate to those in need.

These are only a few of the artists’ pictures inspired by this tragedy.  For more, check it out on Bored Panda. Have a great weekend, my friends!

Beto O’Rourke: The 7 Issues Guide

Today I bring you the 10th installment of TokyoSand’s excellent series, The 7 Issues Guide, helping us get to know a bit about the platforms of the democratic candidates running for the office of president next year. Beto O’Rourke is on deck today. Last year, Mr. O’Rourke challenged Senator Ted Cruz for his Senate seat and came very close to winning. He is, in my opinion, an exciting candidate, so let’s learn a bit more about his platform. Thank you, TokyoSand, and your diligent volunteers, for helping us get to know Mr. O’Rourke!

Political⚡Charge

Beto Beto O’Rourke, Photo by MICHAEL STRAVATO via The Texas Tribune

The Democrats have a big field of candidates running for President in 2020. To briefly use a sports analogy, I see our candidates as the starting players on the Blue team, each bringing their own unique strengths to the table in a bid to take our country in a very different direction than the one we’re on today.

But as we well know from 2016, the media (and especially social media) gets fixated on non-substantial issues that take up all the oxygen. Plus, they don’t give the candidates the same treatment or the same amount of airtime.

In order to help voters get to know the Democratic candidates, I’ve gathered quotes and information about what the candidates have said or done in regards to the 7 issues that midterm voters identified as the most important. I hope that these…

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Slavery and Chocolate: Some Not-So-Sweet Truths

Blogging buddy Brendan is a warrior for social justice, and this afternoon I came across this post that cries out to be shared. I must admit that I was clueless about all of this until I read this post. I only wish I had seen it before I bought candy yesterday for the girls’ Easter baskets. Well, live and learn, yes? Thank you, Brendan, for shining a light on these abuses, for I think it likely that many are unaware, as was I.

Blind Injustice

Every Valentine’s Day, Easter, birthday, and Christmas, many of us in the United States like to give chocolate to friends and/or family. Most of us look forward to getting that sweet goodness during those times of year.

For better or for worse, I’m about to sour that sweetness because of some ugly truths about slavery and chocolate.

Namely, there is a good chance that the chocolate you eat was made by slaves. But not just any slaves. Child labor.

A variety of sources have widely reported on how the three major American chocolate manufacturers—Hershey, Nestlé, and Mars (the makers of M&Ms)—all produce chocolate made with child labor. It has been a persistent problem, and a problem that isn’t getting resolved quickly.

Fortune Magazine best describes this problem in an article they wrote about the issue:
“The major chocolate companies—from Mars to Nestlé to Hershey—are heavily reliant on these countries…

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♫ Say You, Say Me ♫

Lionel Richie … ahhh … need I say more?

This song was both written and recorded by Lionel Richie for the film White Nights in 1985.

Motown refused to let Atlantic Records include this on the movie’s soundtrack album because they didn’t want Richie’s first release since his 1983’s Can’t Slow Down to be from a different label. Richie included the song on his next album, Dancing On The Ceiling (he was going to call it Say You, Say Me, but too much time passed between the single going to #1 in 1985 and the album’s release in 1986).

Say You, Say Me

Lionel Richie

Say you, say me
Say it for always, that’s the way it should be
Say you, say me
Say it together, naturally

I had a dream,
I had an awesome dream
People in the park
Playing games in the dark
And what they played
Was a masquerade
And from behind the walls of doubt
A voice was crying out

Say you, say me
Say it for always, that’s the way it should be
Say you, say me
Say it together, naturally

As we go down
Life’s lonesome highway
Seems the hardest thing to do
Is to find a friend or two
That helping hand
Someone who understands
That when you feel you lost your way
You’ve got someone there to say,
I’ll show you

Say you, say me
Say it for always, that’s the way it should be
Say you, say me
Say it together, naturally

So you think you know the answers, oh no
Well the whole world’s got you dancing
That’s right, I’m telling you
It’s time to start believing, oh yes
Believing who you are, you are a shining star

Say you, say me
Say it for always, that’s the way it should be
Say you, say me
Say it together, naturally

Say it together, naturallyWriter/s: Lionel Richie
Lyrics licensed and provided by LyricFind

Game Over? I Think NOT, Donnie Boy!

The republicans are, once again, dancing in the streets and pouring champagne over each other’s heads.  Party hearty, republican friends, but guess what?  The game isn’t over, but has just begun.  The redacted report that we were given is only part of the story, but even that part is proof that Trump & Co are guilty of having conspired with Russian agents to rig the election in 2016 and put Trump in office.  What more there is, will eventually be discovered.  But … republicans?  Let me ask you a question.  Why, if Trump had nothing to hide and was guilty of naught, did he make this statement when apprised of the hiring of Special Counsel Robert Mueller …

“Oh my God. This is terrible. This is the end of my Presidency. I’m fucked.”

And then he proceeded to berate the bearer of the news, then-Attorney General, Jeff Sessions. Why, guys?  Doesn’t that sound like the voice of a guilty man?  Sure does to me.

Now on to the present.  Yesterday morning, as I noted in my snarky snippets yesterday, Attorney General William Barr felt it prudent to give us his version of the Mueller report.  Unnecessary and unwanted, but here are a few of the proven lies he told in that event:

  • … We now know that the Russian operatives who perpetrated these schemes did not have the cooperation of President Trump or the Trump campaign – or the knowing assistance of any other Americans for that matter.
  • … The Special Counsel’s report did not find that any person associated with the Trump campaign illegally participated in the dissemination of the materials.
  • … The White House fully cooperated with the Special Counsel’s investigation, providing unfettered access to campaign and White House documents, directing senior aides to testify freely, and asserting no privilege claims. (This one damn near caused me to choke to death!)

Even Fox News’ own Chris Wallace criticized Barr, saying …

“The attorney general seemed almost to be acting as the counselor for the defense, the counselor for the president, rather than the attorney general, talking about his motives, his emotions.”

Let us consider, for a moment, that even if Mueller’s investigation did not turn up indictable criminal activity on the part of Trump, it damn sure did turn up improper behaviour, especially toward the investigation itself.  According to the Associated Press …

Donald Trump tried to seize control of the Russia probe and force Mueller’s removal to stop him from investigating potential obstruction of justice by the president. Trump was largely thwarted by those around him.

Mueller laid out multiple episodes in which Trump directed others to influence or curtail the Russia investigation after the special counsel’s appointment in May 2017. Those efforts “were mostly unsuccessful, but that is largely because the persons who surrounded the President declined to carry out orders or accede to his requests,” Mueller wrote.

I ask you … is this the ‘man’ you want to lead this nation?  Seriously?

Jerry Nadler, Chairman of the House Committee on the Judiciary, has appropriately determined that the committee needs to hear directly from Mr. Mueller, and as such sent him this letter …Nadler-letter-Mueller

This should make for some real interesting conversations in the White House.

Of course, the republicans are reading into the report what they wish to see … or more likely, are simply accepting Barr’s version, for that is what they want to believe.  Take the blinders off now, people … time to wake up from that little nappie.

“The report is one-sided, it has an incredible standard of proof. It’s that ‘we couldn’t be convinced that he didn’t obstruct justice,’. Can you prove that he did? That answer is, no they can’t. That is like a cheap shot, but if they can’t prove it, why don’t they just regurgitate all the garbage that they have? It’s all one-sided, a lot of it not true, a lot of it exaggerated. Even if it’s all true, which it isn’t, he didn’t commit a crime. He didn’t do anything wrong.” – Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who is preparing a rebuttal to the Mueller report

I liked what Jim Wright had to say, and I fully concur at this point …

Impeach Trump.

There is more than enough reason to begin impeachment proceedings. We impeached both Nixon and Clinton for far less than is in the Mueller Report.

So, impeach Trump.

Impeach him in the House. Take up the investigation, one he CANNOT stop or obstruct or redact, one his pet Attorney General and his cronies cannot impede, one that Trump himself has NO control over whatsoever, and impeach him if that’s where the evidence leads.

THEN if the Senate refuses to convict, if Mitch McConnell refuses to take up the impeachment, refuses his duty and the Senate stands by him, hang it around their dirty cowardly necks like a fucking albatross.

Make them own it in 2020. Make them own it forever.

Surely, if they can read, even the republicans in Congress must now agree that Donald Trump has committed, if not indictable crimes, certainly impeachable offenses.  He does not operate in the best interest of this nation.  He is a president in name only.  Game over, Mr. Trump?  Far from it.

Chuckles …

Good afternoon, folks.  I have been bouncing about the ‘net for a bit, while waiting for the .pdf version of the Mueller report, and I thought this might be a good time to enjoy a bit of humour.  So, let’s take a bit of a break from the news to see how those talented cartoonists are viewing the events of the week, shall we?

The fire on Monday that destroyed parts of the historic Notre Dame Cathedral is certainly nothing to joke about, but I came across a few cartoons that I thought tastefully paid homage to the great landmark …

Bruce Plante Cartoon: The Easter LilyNotre-Dame-2Notre-Dame-3

Last week, Trump threatened to relocate immigrants to sanctuary cities, specifically in Speaker of the House Pelosi’s district, as a retaliatory measure for failure to provide funding for his border wall.  Thus far, he has been stopped from doing so by slightly cooler heads who question both the cost and illegality of such a childish measure …

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Those who follow sports celebrated Tiger Woods’ comeback moment last week …

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Monday was the deadline to submit your taxes to the IRS.  Remember that little box on the first page …

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Many of us see that the entire system of checks and balances, of democracy, indeed the Constitution itself, is being eroded under the current administration, and the ‘toonists haven’t let that one slide …

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And, of course, the main topic on the minds of us all this week is the release of the Mueller report and Attorney General Barr’s boot-licking antics surrounding the release …

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Last but not least, scientists have taken a picture of a black hole.  Not being a science-minded person, I didn’t get as excited about this news as some, though if we could find a way to toss our current administration into that black hole, I might manage a bit of joy …

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And that’s a wrap for today, my friends!

It’s Time For … Snarky Snippets!

You could probably have predicted my angst would be running high today and I would pop up with a new batch of Snarky Snippets, yes?  You guys know me so well!  I have been pounding my keyboard so hard that I no longer have an ‘I’, ‘O’, ‘L’, or ‘N’ … the keys work, but the lettering has been worn off.  Good thing, I guess, that I took that typing class back in high school so I know where the letters are even without lettering to guide me!


Aw shucks, Mr. Barr … we can read as good as you … maybe even better!

I don’t know about you folks, but I learned basic reading skills at an early age.  Since then, those skills have been enhanced and honed, and I am now quite capable of reading many things.  There are things I choose not to read, for they either bore me or are offensive, but my literacy skills are at least on a par with most people’s.  Why, I have even read the U.S. Constitution, something that has not, as I understand it, been done by the ‘man’ who swore under oath to uphold said document.

Along comes Mr. William Barr, the alleged Attorney General of the United States, who determines that We the People are not capable of reading a 400-page document, the Robert Mueller report, and that we haven’t the intelligence to understand it, even if we could make out the words.  So … Mr. Barr decided that he would just save us the trouble of having to struggle with all that reading, and he would call a press conference and ‘splain it all to us!  Why, isn’t that nice of him?

Barr-puppetAnd, guess what else!  Mr. Barr delayed the release of the document in order to have numerous meetings with Trump’s lawyers.  Why, you ask?  Well, remember back when Robert Mueller first presented the report to Mr. Barr, and Barr wrote his own 4-page little summary, whereby he informed us that Trump, Ivanka, Kushner and all the rest were innocent of any and all wrongdoing, and that Mueller’s report cleared their names?  Turns out that Barr felt Trump’s lawyers ought to write their own little report to ‘splain just how, even though Trump & his cronies were in frequent communication with Putin and other Russians, there was no wrongdoing, for we might mistakenly decide on our own that there is some guilt there.  William Barr — Trump’s puppet on a string.

I will not be watching Mr. Barr tell fairy tales at 9:30 a.m., nor do I have any immediate interest in the rebuttal document by Giuliani and Co., though I will no doubt read that later just to see how the spin doctors played their hand.  I will, however, be reading the document prepared by Mr. Robert Mueller, whom I trust emphatically.  And I will draw my own conclusions based on the modicum of intelligence that I possess.  The next act in this play needs to be for Robert Mueller to testify before Congress, specifically the House of Representatives, where not everybody is drinking Kool-Aid.


Two thumbs up 👍 👍 for New York City!

Some good news from New York City.  While Donald Trump and his cronies trash regulations to protect our environment and do everything they can think of to hasten the demise of the human race, New York is taking a big, positive step.  The New York city council is expected to pass legislation today that will set emission caps for buildings and impose strict fines for those buildings that are found not in compliance.  Their stated goal is to achieve a 40% overall reduction in emissions by the year 2030.  It’s not enough, but it’s a start, and a damn sight better than our federal government is doing!NYC skylineAccording to the New York Times

Buildings are among the biggest sources of greenhouse gas emissions because they use lots of energy for heating, cooling and lighting, and they tend to be inefficient, leaking heat in the winter and cool air in the summer through old windows or inadequate insulation. An inventory of greenhouse gas emissions published in 2017 found that buildings accounted for 67 percent of the city’s emissions.

I admit a bit of demonic glee picturing Trump trying to figure a way around the law.  That is, until I remember that he is ‘above the law’ and will likely be the largest violator.  I hope the city goes after him with the big guns!


It makes sense … it makes perfect sense!Bernie-Sanders-FoxWhen I first heard that Bernie Sanders, not only a democrat, but a democratic socialist candidate, was appearing on Fox ‘News’, it was one of those wtf moments.  But then I pondered on it, did a bit of reading, and suddenly the 💡 came on over my head.  It’s positively brilliant, for a few reasons:

  • Most Trump-supporters are Fox viewers, and vice versa. Therefore, they really have no idea what the democrats stand for, because all they have to judge by is what they are told by the likes of Sean Hannity, Jeanine Pirro, Tucker Carlson, and of course Trump himself.  This gives them an opportunity to see that democrats are not, in fact, the big bad wolf, but people whose goals are humanitarian.  Now, I don’t look for them all to jump up and go change their party affiliation after seeing Bernie or another democratic candidate on their favourite news network, but it might open their minds a bit, might actually cause them to start thinking about some of the issues, realizing that there is more to it than they have been told.

  • It gives the democrats an edge they would not otherwise have … it shows they are not pandering only to their own supporters, but are reaching out to everyone. That’s important, folks, if you remember my post from last night where I posited that Trump is not our president because he speaks to and for only those who praise him.  The democrats, by appearing on Fox, are showing that they are for the entire nation, not just their own corner.

  • It is irritating the heck out of Trump! Could this be the end of the romance between Trump & Fox?

Other democratic candidates are slated to appear on Fox as well, including Pete Buttigieg, Amy Klobuchar, Julián Castro, Kirsten Gillibrand, and Cory Booker.  Sanders’ appearance at a Fox Town Hall garnered the biggest television audience of any 2020 Democratic candidate — more than 2.5 million people.  This is a great way for the candidates to begin ‘reaching across the aisle’, and who knows … maybe a few Trump supporters may decide to sit on the other side of the aisle.


Well, I’m about out of snark for tonight, so I’ll return you to whatever you were doing.  great-day

Filosofa Reflects …

The majority of the people in the United States have no president.  Only about 40% of the people in the U.S. are represented by a president.  Now, I do not make this statement lightly, nor with the intention of being offensive.  I am merely stating a fact.  I am not registered with either party, but consider myself an independent, although I am considering changing that status in the near future.  I have lived through 12 full presidencies, from Harry S. Truman through Barack H. Obama … 6 were republicans, 6 were democrats.  Although I sometimes disagreed with the policies or certain decisions of those men, I still respected them and considered them as presidents. Every one of them, I felt, was doing the best he could to represent the people of this nation … ALL the people of this nation, not just those who praised them.

Today, however, is different.  Donald Trump is the president in name only for the majority – about 60% – of the people in this country but does not represent them.  He does not listen to us, but only to the people who show up at his campaign rallies wearing red hats and chanting “Lock her up”.  Those of us who do not like his bigotry, his racism, his incitement to violence, his name-calling and ignominious bluster, he calls ‘treasonous’.  He threatens our elected representatives in Congress.  He tells lies that his own supporters enjoy hearing, but that the rest of us know to be falsehoods.

To the best of my knowledge, there has never been another president so entrenched in partisanship that he completely ignored the needs of the majority, pandering only to the minority.  We, the majority, need representation also.  Who is there to speak for us?  Who is there to represent our values of diversity, peace, humanitarianism?  Who is there to say that no, we do not want to lock children in cages just because they are from another place?  It is truly a sad day in the history of this nation, a nation no better and no worse than any other, when most of the people are without a voice.

People in Trump’s camp mock the saying “Not my president”, but it isn’t just a saying, it is the reality.  Donald Trump does not bother with the pretense. He is speaking to his people, not the people. He has become, or so it often seems, the president of the United Base of America.

I have long believed that old adage, “United we stand, divided we fall”, and yet Trump seeks to divide, relishes the division that, while not of his making, he has encouraged and enhanced with his divide-and-conquer politics.  Perhaps we are coming upon a time where this nation must become many instead of just one, for we are now so far apart in ideology that I cannot see a united nation in the future.  On the right, there are the nationalists, tribalists, who prefer a nation sans immigrants, a nation where it’s basically “every man for himself” rather than a nation where all people are equal.

I see a nation where those in Trump’s camp care more about their guns than their own children.  I see a nation where ‘hate’ is becoming the norm.  I see a nation where violence is seething just under the surface, waiting for a single spark to set it off.  I see a nation where for far too many, acceptance of others is based on skin colour, ethnicity, religion or sexual orientation.  I see a nation where profits are valued more highly than humans.  I see a nation where for some, there is no care for the future, but it’s “live for today, and to hell with tomorrow”.

I don’t like the nation I see.  We need a president.  We need a president who governs, not rules – there is a difference.  We need … nay, we must have a president who is not above the law. We need a president where every single person matters, not just those who support him, not just those whose skin is white, not just Christians, and even not just citizens, but everybody.  We need a president who understands the word ‘respect’. People matter.

I want change in this country.  I want us to heal the rifts, and that cannot, will not happen as long as Donald Trump sits in the Oval Office spouting hate and encouraging bigotry, tribalism and violence.  We need to focus more on what we have in common than those issues that divide us.  We need to talk to each other, not at each other.  We need to meet each other halfway sometimes.  We need to take care of our planet, putting the future ahead of corporate greed.  These things cannot happen under the regime of Donald Trump, for he will do everything in his power to keep it from happening, to keep us divided and hating.

Think about it.

♫ I’m Getting Used To You ♫

Last month I made a promise … and I broke it.  I rarely give promises, unless I am 99% certain that I can keep them.  And I could have kept this one … even made a note to do so … but, I forgot.  I could make some excuses, but instead I will simply say “I’m sorry” and try to make up for my perfidy.

Yesterday, April 16th, would have been the 48th birthday of Tejano singer, Selena (just for the record, that is pronounced Say-Lay-Nah).  Sadly, on 31 March 1995, Selena was brutally murdered by Yolanda Saldívar, a woman Selena had long considered a friend.  I won’t share the details here, but if you’re interested, Wikipedia has a fairly comprehensive summation of the events leading up to the murder.  For today, though, even though I am a day late, let’s focus on her life and her music, shall we?

Selena Quintanilla-Pérez  was her full name, though she went by simply ‘Selena’.  She was a singer, songwriter, spokesperson, model, actress, and fashion designer. Called the Queen of Tejano music, her contributions to music and fashion made her one of the most celebrated Mexican-American entertainers of the late 20th century.

Billboard magazine named her the top-selling Latin artist of the 1990s decade, while her posthumous collaboration with MAC cosmetics became the best-selling celebrity collection in cosmetics history. Media outlets called her the “Tejano Madonna” for her clothing choices. She also ranks among the most influential Latin artists of all time and is credited for catapulting a music genre into the mainstream market.

Tonight, in honour of what would have marked her 48th birthday, I play for you I’m Getting Used To You.  Though left to my own devices I might have selected one of her Spanish pieces, our friend Ellen, the person to whom I owe apologies for a promise broken, rather indicated that she likes this one, and it is a beautiful song … sung by a beautiful woman.

I’m Getting Used to You
Selena

Wasn’t like me to fall in love
That’s just the way that I was
But now when I feel you holding me
Something inside just tells me you’ve gotten to
This heart of mine
And now I know it’s true ’cause darling I’m
Darlin’ I’m starting to find

I’m getting used to you
Ooh and I’m loving every single thing about you
I’m getting used to you
And I could never get used to living without you

Didn’t think that a love could mean that much
But you sure changed my mind with your touch
Never knew that my heart could need you so
Now I know that these arms can’t let you go
No they wouldn’t even try
‘Cause I’m sure that you’re the one that I
Oh one that I need in my life

I’m getting used to you
Ooh and I’m loving every single thing about you
I’m getting used to you
And I could never get used to living without you

Ohh [Repeat x3]

You’ve gotten to this heart of mine
And I know its true ’cause darlin’ I
Oh darlin’ I’m starting to find
You’re the one I need in my life

I’m getting used to you
Ooh and I’m loving every single thing about you
I’m getting used to you
And I could never get used to living without you
Ain’t no living without loving you

Songwriters: Diane Eve Warren
I’m Getting Used to You lyrics © Realsongs

Good People Doing Good Things — Samantha & Friends

Samantha Rodriguez found herself in a tough spot after both of her parents passed away within a couple of years, leaving her responsible to raise her five younger siblings.  As their primary caregiver, the young woman has had to make huge sacrifices to be able to continue to look after her brothers and sisters, the youngest of which is five, the oldest seventeen.  The children were in danger of being placed in the foster care system where they would almost certainly have been separated.

“I knew what I had to do. I learned so much from my mom. I was like her sidekick. I learned what it meant to raise a family. It can be tough knowing when to be like a parent and when to be their sister. Sometimes it can feel like I’m alone.”

She moved with her siblings to Orange County, Florida, because their grandmother lived there.  But resources were scarce, and Rodriquez had to grow up fast.  Samantha has been juggling her education with running things in the family home. She has relied on Uber or public transport to get all six family members to school events, doctor appointments, etc.  Quite a lot of responsibility for a 20-year-old, isn’t it?

Well, somehow this family and their situation came to the attention of the Orange Country Sheriff’s Department.  This was in December, so the Sheriff’s Department invited the family to come for a visit.  The kids were treated to a helicopter ride, and then taken into a room where there were stacks of gifts for each of them.

“We focused on clothes but also toys. We wanted to give them a good Christmas.” — Lieutenant Antorrio Wright

But the story doesn’t end there.  The sheriff’s department posted a video of the Christmas surprise online. And people began responding, asking to help.  Lieutenant Wright and his compadres put their heads together and, remembering that the family had hired an Uber car to bring them to the Christmas surprise, they collected the donations from the community, added some of their own, and …

Last week, Lieutenant Wright contacted Ms. Rodriguez and asked her to come to his office.  She was puzzled, but … when the cops call, you go!  When she arrived, he escorted her into a large room where she found all the officers from the Christmas event waiting for her.  There was a board with a covering over it, and …

The lieutenant told her that the community had gotten together and wanted to do something to help her and her family, so … he pulled the cover off the board, and …new-carThe department had bought Samantha and her siblings a new car!!!

“When they told me the car is for us, I remember thinking, ‘They just took away all these worries and stresses.’ It was such a big weight off my shoulder and will help so much.”

new-car-familyFolks … this is what it means, or at least should mean, to be a part of a community.  We look out for one another.  My hat is off to the Orange Country Sheriff’s Department, to the members of the community who stepped up to the plate to help this family, and to this young lady, Samantha Rodriguez, for taking on the responsibility for her five brothers and sisters, putting her own life on hold to keep the family together.


Note:  Pay It Forward Day is on April 28, a week from Sunday.  I’m thinking about doing a post about things people did to “pay it forward” the Wednesday after, so if you see or hear of things that you would like to contribute to that post, please send me a short email.  Thanks!