Wednesday, October 14, 2009


I've not written in a while, because, well, I'm lame that way.

I meant to write about this last year since My Superman's Heart Attack, but every time I started, I became so overwhelmed with how things could have gone so horribly different. Yes, they could have been better (like if we had healthcare coverage) and possibly even prevented (like his not having the stress that caused the heart attack in the first place) but if I had lost him, THAT would have been ~ So. Much. Worse. To have lost my one true love would have been a horrible tragedy and I would have been alone to endure it.

He is my Hero. That is not an exaggeration by even the smallest degree. Sunday morning, the water heater sprang a leak, and he did not wake me until it became so great an issue he was afraid I would have been woken from the noise of the problem. And also to tell me that I had just lost all the artwork I created as a student obtaining my graphics degree. He was actually pretty upset about it, wants the company to pay for it as they hired a moron who couldn't tighten a connection enough to prevent this from happening. He fixed it and had most of the water sucked up before he woke me. I got to come down in my pajamas and find water he didn't know was there with my socks and mourn the loss of some hard work I hadn't know what to do with. Then when the crisis was over, the stress and probably the stirring-up-the-dust-mess triggered a headache of nearly migraine proportions for me that he's been taking such tender care of me for the last two or three days. Tea, soup for dinner, touching my head soothingly. What a good man!

I have other Heroes. There is a woman, wife of one of my tenants. Early last month, she was attacked in a fast food place here in town by their niece and one of the niece's friends. (Family can be a bitter pill.) These people have not had it good for so long, they lost their home when his business failed, they are taking care of mom with something like Alzheimer's, and he started a new job in a nursing facility. The attackers pushed her against a table, which, because of faulty construction, embedded two to three inches into the back of her skull. The husband, my tenant, called out to the workers behind the counter for help, call 911, towels, anything, and they did nothing. He was screaming and crying for help and they stood their watching the whole thing without lifting a finger. I heard about it a few weeks after, he was nearly in tears telling me about it. At the time, I had been sitting at my desk knitting a hat for my step-grandson, nearly finished. This was almost the third tenant I would have lost last month, I lost two others to death in September. That makes a total of six, I think, since I've been here. Almost seven. Anyway, I don't know why but I was heartbroken that a.) anyone could have watched this and not have done something, b.) this whole scene was created by family. So, after the hat, I got out some yarn my mom gave me a couple weeks ago and knitted a shawl. Apparently, it was really important to something in my soul that I could not put it down, even when my thumb and forefinger hurt so bad that I couldn't hold a fork, pen, knitting needle without pain. The shawl was a large triangle, same as my own comfy cover that waits until needed on the back of my office chair, but probably twice as big. I considered making even bigger, but thought that may be too much blanket and I wanted it to be a comfort while she heals, a hug.

Long story, ends like this: She called me today. She said thank you. Her gratitude makes her my hero. She said that awful things have happened to them, it seems incredible that people are so callus, and especially family. She was so thankful that someone thought this much of her. I told her that was why I did it. I wanted her to know there are still people who care. Also, I guess I needed to know that there are people who are grateful for the little things others can do.

I have lots of Heroes. The firefighters and paramedics that came over and saved my husband last year are some I think about often. My brother, who had an accident on his motorcycle a couple of years ago and broke nearly bone on the left side of his body is often on my mind. Both of my nephews, who, in this economy are having to make their way with huge impediments. The older one has an ex-girlfriend with two tiny boys he dearly loves, potentially the 'children of his heart' if not his actual progeny, and he has assumed their care as their mother has basically gone off to grow up. (Of course, he's not without help.) The other nephew, joined the military. I can understand why any child would do that, because there are not a lot of options for young people without money or family in a position to support him, but in his particular case, his family's background is NOT military. And then there's My daughter, but that's a story for another day.

Earlier, we were watching 'Extreme Makeover: Home Edition' and talking about how some people turn to jelly when they meet celebrities. We didn't think we would turn to jelly for most people. There are some people who I could sit in a room full of a few hundred people and just listen to contentedly for hours. The list is pretty limited.

1. Cesar Millan, The Dog Whisperer. We watch his show daily at lunch time, even if it's a rerun we've seen recently, and in marathons all day Fridays on National Geographic Channel. There is no one in our opinion who cares more about the humane condition of animals. Yes, dogs, but other animals that dogs he works with come in contact with. Chickens, bunnies, pigs, horses, cats. birds. Little kids and babies. He is very tender and compassionate with all he comes in contact with, unwilling to give up on anyone, even the silly, stupid people.

2. Doug & Beth Chapman, 'Dog, The Bounty Hunter'. I know there is a lot of controversy on the Internet about Dog Chapman, but the way the two of them treat people, each and every time they have to deal with them, with a kindness that few people would think that the bounties deserve is very touching to me. Dog's life choices have not been choices I would have made, but because he's no longer making those choices and feeling the errors of his ways enough to make the attempt to show others, moved even to the point of tears with many is, to me, very much a good man. Yes, a Superhero.

3. Rescue Ink. This show has only been on the air for a few weeks, on the National Geographic Channel. Basically, the premise is a group of eight bikers are volunteers in protecting animals against abuse and neglect. I was hoping to see them pound some people, which is probably not a place they can go on television, or even off camera if they hope to have any funding or official associations with authorities, but they do use the required muscle and brains for those who cannot speak for themselves. That makes them men of Superhero quality to me.

4. George Hogg, deceased, rescued 60 orphans in China, subject of the film 'The Children of Huang Shi'. I saw this movie recently and when I was finished, I actually wished I could have met him. The children he saved still live to tell what he meant to them, which says a lot in itself as well.

5. Jimmy & Roslyn Carter. I would not stoop to add a politician to my list of heroes anymore than religious leaders or business leaders, but with Mr. Carter I'm going to have to make an exception. He stepped into office in a really bad mess, so probably as an American President did not receive the credit for which he was due. Since his time in office, he didn't just retire to a secret service protected obscurity, but became involved in using his muscle and the good of his reputation in helping provide the most basic of necessity, homes for those that wouldn't otherwise have property. Habitat for Humanity would not be what it is today or be able to accomplish what they do if not for his personally lifting a hammer or using a paintbrush to get it done. I couldn't be prouder of a man who once represented the place I live in the world's scales and in his 80's does not appear to be slowing down anytime soon.

6. Katie's Daughter. An acquaintance of mine has a daughter who was recently diagnosed with a life threatening decease and is undergoing radical chemical therapy to fight it. I recommend the website where Katie blogs about their family's experiences. It is very apparent that in spite of her condition, this little girl is the sunshine in her mother's life. Many children are in this same situation and it is all of them, all the kids in the cancer units, NICU's, and otherwise fighting for their lives with all the strength they may not have known they had, and being great inspirations to their parents and all who are watching them that they have to be listed in my list of heroes as well. Katie's blog is:

7. Dr. Oz. Today's episode of his show was about his creating a free health care clinic for one day in Texas. If you missed this episode you should go look at the clips at and watch as much of it as you can. It was so very cool to see a community of health care workers helping those that needed their help but did not have medical insurance, without a comment on political agenda. He became a Hero to us today.

8. Michael J. Fox. I'm reading his book 'Always Looking Up: The Adventures of an Incurable Optimist' and I am impressed with his humility. He considers himself lucky, that while standing in a situation where the door has closed, the windows are open and the sun is shining through. Literally. I have not gotten far in the book, but as a child actor who had a successful career as an adult and then having to leave it all because he has Parkinson's decease, he was justified in laying down and giving up but didn't and is finding there is a great deal to be joyful about. That he bothers for his wife and children and then bothers to tell about it, putting himself out there not to be pitied but to give the rest of us perspective, as few as there are of us who deserve that gift including myself. He is completely honest about what he's going through, what it feels like, what he thinks it looks like in the eyes of others, how he tries to mask it, and how sometimes he doesn't bother, the humiliation of his position in comparison of what it was like to be him when before Parkinson, and yet the joys of his life mean so much to him. Heroic is not an overstatement. And how very cool it is to have this book available to me through my library to read.

9. Ty Pennington and Paul DiMeo (hope I didn't misspell that) of 'Extreme Makeover', both of these guys get so emotional and their emotion moves them to do more and inspires others working with them, I have to say they are my Heroes too. If you watch the show yourself and are not moved by them to shed a few tears, I will ever having heard your name!

Lots of individuals are my heroes. My walking buddy and one of my knitting friends. She's in her early 70's and will probably feel the need to smack me for saying so, but she is active and will probably live a very long time. What a good example to me! My husband and I say it all the time that the secret to keeping moving is keeping moving and she certainly clarifies that. She may have pain and that would stop some, but she keeps walking with me, golfs with her grandkids, lots of chasing family, happy in tending her garden.

I'm also inspired by Fearless Knitters. I read blogs of Crazy Aunt Purl at and the Yarn Harlot at both ladies of incredible writing abilities. Aunt Purl is Laurie Perry who began blogging about her knitting adventures that she began after her divorce and has just submitted her manuscript for her second book. Yarn Harlot in real life is Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, and Canadian lady who shares her infatuation with fiber with all who will read it, several books out now and is to be given huge kudos for sharing in organizing Sock Summit. Both are very brave adventurists who live to tell about it. But the most fearless knitter I know at the moment is our own local receptionist at the neighborhood hair salon, who picked up the needles just a few months ago and has not been so afraid she couldn't try to learn to purl, then a little felting, recently branching out in to reading patterns, with come cabling, some increases and yarn overs. . . Very brave indeed. After all, have you priced wool lately? Failure could be expensive, and the therapy required to bring us back to our happy place could prove intense. But we do it anyway. Because we are heroes like that.

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