Sunday, November 29, 2009

Buy Nothing Day???

Above is a picture of what Times Square looked like on "Buy Nothing Day" this past Friday. Every store on the square was jammed packed with shoppers which made navigating through the thick crowds all but impossible. Sadly, the buy nothing message put out by Adbusters seemed to have done little to put a dent in the shopping madness of these folks. When will we figure out how to stop shopping and start living?

Saturday, November 28, 2009


Some things never change and the excitement of spending time with a cousin is one of them. The time I have spent with my various cousins over the years has always seemed special despite the number of years that pass between visits or the number of years between us in age. Having the same grandparents and other relatives brings about a comfortableness that isn't found in many other places. My cousins know me, understand where I come from, and generally accept me as I am. I anticipate the same will be true for my kids and their cousins as the years go by.

This Thanksgiving brought together my kids and their cousin Cassie who lives in Michigan. My youngest son Ryan and Cassie are only four days apart which makes for an especially close connection. I myself also feel a close connection with Cassie because she is the only child of my brother Erik whom died last year. She is the bridge to him for us, and I am the bridge to him for her. Without each other in our lives, we will have lost something very valuable.
Even though her visit here was short, Cassie was able to tour the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island along with Central Park and Times Square. On Thanksgiving morning we took her to Rockefeller Center to watch the NBC Today show in the plaza and then watched the Macy's Thanksgiving day parade afterwards. Cassie gave Ryan a running commentary about who was who in the parade, her being much more celebrity aware.

Later on, my kids and Cassie worked together in the kitchen to make the sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, and green beans for our Thanksgiving meal. Togetherness- that is what I was thankful for this Thanksgiving. To watch my kids building the same sort of memories with Cassie that I built with my cousins all those years ago.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

United Nations visit

Yesterday Ryan and I left the country and we didn't even need a passport. As we entered international territory at the United Nations, the only thing required was to pass through a security checkpoint.

Once on the grounds of the UN, Ryan's interest was soon piqued when he noticed a statue of a gun with a knot in its barrel. After entering the building, we quickly signed up for a guided tour and then used the hour until our tour started to visit the exhibits in the lobby and check out the gift shop and bookstore in the basement. The lobby exhibits were devoted to explaining the mission of the UN and were done in a way that appealed to all ages.

The guided tour lasted about an hour and started out by explaining the UN's history, and we then viewed gifts received by the UN from member nations. In the next section of the tour, the eight Millennium Development Goals of the UN were explained which were 1)End Poverty and Hunger 2)Universal Education 3)Gender Equality 4)Child Health 5)Maternal Health 6)Combat HIV/AIDS 7) Environmental Sustainability and 8)Global Partnership.

After an exhibit on disarmament and humanitarian aid provided by the UN, we visited the General Assembly Hall where the 192 members of the organization come to discuss global issues. The members were in session when we visited and it was interesting to hear and see them at work.

Both Ryan and I enjoyed our tour and found it fascinating to hear about why the UN was founded and also to learn about their on going efforts to bring about global peace.