ordinarytravels

Wear Purple for Epilepsy Day.

March 26 is epilepsy awareness/wear purple for epilepsy day. There are many different kinds of seizures and many are often hard to keep under control. Epilepsy is scary because anybody can develop it at any time in their life and all it takes is two seizures to be diagnosed with the condition. More people are being diagnosed with epilepsy and in fact, 1 in 26 people will be diagnosed, according to the Mayo Clinic. There’s no cure for epilepsy, only treatments and going to the doctor on a regular basis, but with more awareness and more research, epilepsy can become a thing of the past.

I don’t have epilepsy, but I know people (or of people) who do. If it hadn’t been for them, I wouldn’t have known anything about the disease. It’s one of those diseases that many of us unfortunately see as obsolete or as something you only think about when you think of the 19th century or early when having seizures was something you were made an outcast for. It’s something they have to deal with every day of their lives and something they have to stay on top off. Sometimes they can be seizure free for several months or even years before they crop up again and have to start all over to get it back under control. Sometimes they need to change their medications and other times they need to have surgery.

So, I hope today you’ll wear purple and spread the awareness of this disease. The people suffering with it would greatly appreciate it.

ordinarytravels

Something to Be Thankful For.

In the past couple of weeks, I’ve been writing on a fairly regularly basis. As in, “I wrote almost every day” kind of regular basis writing. Even though I’ve considered myself a writer all my life, I haven’t been the one to write in the last few years. I’d decided to stop altogether since I felt like I was writing because other people thought I should be writing and not because I wanted to write. I was tired of forcing myself to write when I really didn’t want to write, so I did what I thought was best by not writing.

Now, several years later with spotted writing and fairly regular blogging (mostly), I’ve finally found myself back in the writing world. And to be honest, it feels good to be back again. I’ve finally realized how much I missed writing as a whole and I want to continue writing on a regular basis so I don’t slip back into any old habits. Maybe with some persistence and determination, I’ll be able to write a few pieces that are worthy of publication. I’m thankful for the opportunity to be able to continue my love of writing. I didn’t think I’d ever write again since I was so apathetic by the whole process; now I don’t want to ever let it go.

Here are some other little bits of happiness that I’m thankful for:

  1. Sunshine and no snow or rain.
  2. Frequent walks.
  3. Meeting cute little kids at work and being able to give them stickers to make them happy.
  4. Taking a few pictures during my walks.
  5. Having the sun out longer in the evenings so I’m not driving home in complete darkness.

It’s good to see spring finally come around the corner. Just when you think you can’t take the cold of winter any longer, it finally comes around to save the day and bring you hope. What are some things you’ve been thankful for?

ordinarytravels

The truth is stranger than fiction.

In recent months, I’ve become interested in watching documentaries and reading nonfiction. To me, learning about something that actually happened is much more appealing to me right now than anything I could ever get from fiction at this point. With documentaries, I feel like I can learn something while relaxing and entertaining myself all at the same time. There is an argument that fiction can teach you about the world from someone else’s perspective and I wholeheartedly agree with that. However, we all need to step away from fiction and just learn about the world. With that, I’ve been doing exactly that. So, I wanted to share some documentaries that I watched in the past few months to a year and I hope some will appeal to you enough to want to go out and watch them yourselves.

  1. The Invisible War. An investigative look at the epidemic of rape within the military and the lack of protection and court proceedings for such cases.
  2. Of Dolls and Murder. A look at a collection of miniature crime scenes using doll houses created in the 1930’s and ’40’s by Frances Glessner Lee. In spite of never been a part of the police investigative teams, these Nutshell Cases of Unexplained Death has revolutionized the way investigations are performed.
  3. Blackfish. An inside look on how captive orcas are treated.
  4. Secrets of Selfridges. Love watching PBS’s Mr. Selfridge? This documentary will bring you into the life of the real Mr. Selfridge and his dramatic rise and heartbreaking fall in the world of department stores.
  5. The Bielski Brothers. This documentary originally aired on the History Channel, but you can probably get it from the local library. If you’ve seen Defiance with Daniel Craig, you’ll know of the story of the brigand of Jewish people who lived out in the woods and protected themselves and wouldn’t go down without a fight. This is the real Bielski brothers and their story’s worth telling.

These are just some of the ones I like. Hopefully I’ll compile some more as I remember or watch more. What are some of your favorite documentaries?

ordinarytravels

Of Convictions and Death Penalties.

Jodi Arias, convicted of murdering her one time lover Travis Alexander, has been given life in prison by default because the jurors couldn’t make a unanimous decision for the death penalty. This is the second jury that has been unable to make that unanimous decision (the trial had been held in Arizona where law dictates that if all 12 jurors can’t agree on the penalty, then it will go to mistrial). In case you don’t know the whole story, here is what’s been going on for the last couple of years:

In June 2008, Travis Alexander was murdered by his one time lover, Jodi Arias. His throat was slashed to the point of near decapitation, a bullet to the head, and multiple stab wounds. His body was left in the bathtub where friends found it five days later. It’s been stated that she was very manipulative and stalker-ish in nature and sought revenge when Alexander made it clear that he didn’t want to have anything to do with her. In 2013, Jodi Arias went on trial for his murder and mutilation. She was found guilty of the murder, but jurors were unable to come to a unanimous agreement about her sentence (death penalty versus life imprisonment).

Prosecutor Jaun Martinez again pursued the death penalty for Arias in 2015. Yet again, the jury was unable to come to a decision and the judge was forced to sentence Arias to life in prison by default. It’s now being decided whether or not she’ll get chance of parole after 25 years. Jurors came out and stated that the decision was 11-1 for the death penalty but were unable to persuade the last juror to deliberate and change her decision and suspect an ulterior motive from the woman. Obviously, the Alexander family is very upset as they were pushing for the death penalty for the woman who so brutally murdered their brother and son.

Seeing a trial where death penalty is on the table is very conflicting for me. On one hand, I don’t like the death penalty because I don’t believe it’s anybody’s right to play God in whether or not a person should live or die based on their actions, no matter how heinous. Killing a murderer on death row does not bring the dead back. However, when you see certain crimes that have been committed, you start to feel sympathy for the family of the victim and want them to have a peace of mind. If you seen the evidence of Alexander’s crime (it’s brutal, I looked at the crime photos), you start to see why they want the death penalty and begin to emphasize with it.

It’s a hard decision to make and I’m glad I never have to make it. Those who have to be on death trials have a huge task in front of them and it’s a wonder how some have been able to make that decision. My logic and beliefs (no to the death penalty) versus my emotions (wanting the person to get what they deserve), would render me helpless. So while I generally don’t believe in the death penalty, I empathize with all the families who have to watch their family members’ killer be put on trial and seeking justice for them.

What are your thoughts about the death penalty? I’d love to hear your thoughts on the matter! (But please, no arguments or name calling)

ordinarytravels

Depth of Memory.

This year mark’s the 70th anniversary since the liberation of Auschwitz prisoners. Tuesday evening I watched a one hour special of Holocaust survivors telling their stories of the camp to CNN corespondent Wolf Blitzer. 70 years isn’t so long ago in the grand scheme of things. Just imagine it: 70 years ago, human beings were destroyed forever whether physically or mentally. Human beings who, just a few years before were going to school, going to work, playing games, enjoying families, just…living. And now we no longer have these amazing people, people who could’ve impacted the world for the better but can’t because a man and his followers decided that they weren’t worth the space they took up.

And yet 70 years has put enough space in between today’s generation to those long ago. We read about the history of the Holocaust as if it’s just another event that we have to learn about it in school. Many of us choose to ignore the repercussions of what Auschwitz and others like it have done in the years hence. How sad, we think, that such a thing could happen, could be allowed to happen, and then we continue on our daily lives without another thought. Or there are those who say “I know it’s important, but I just can’t handle reading about these things. It’s too horrible.”

If it’s too horrible, then why did we allow it to happen? We need to remember it, we need to continue hearing these stories. If we don’t listen and remember Auschwitz and the people who suffered there, then we’re allowing Hitler to win. We’re telling those who wanted to wipe out an entire group of people that what they did was right. Why do we want to do such a thing?

When I was about 14, I visited the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington D.C. with my eighth grade class. Even though I’m not Jewish by any means (at least as far as I know), seeing this place had a huge impact on me. I remember walking into the room where they have a little shrine for all those who perished in the camps with candles lit and just standing there for several minutes in silence just thinking. It was as if I could feel these people around me. Needless to say it only fueled my interest in reading about this time period more.

I feel passionate about this only because I care about this part of history so deeply. I feel connected to the stories that seem so poignant to me. I can’t advocate as an expert or even for the Jewish experience because I’m not either, but I feel it on a human experience. I’m a person who only wants to connect and understand on an emotional level in some way or another. By trying to emphasize, we can keep their memories alive and never let it be forgotten.

ordinarytravels

A Brief Commentary.

The weekend has been warm, but unfortunately I didn’t get to enjoy it as much as I wanted to as it was my weekend to work. I did get to go out a little yesterday on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. After I took care of the book drop at work, I went around town with my mom to various stores and shops. My dad would’ve called this gallivanting. I didn’t find much for myself, but I did find a book journal on the 50% off table at Barnes and Noble. This was nice because when I went in a few weeks ago, I had bought a different book journal to use as a record for the amount of books I’ve read. The one on the 50% off table was the one I was deciding with the one I got. So, in essence, I got both of the ones that I wanted and came out better for it.

We then walked around the mall and my mom got a couple of fold-able baskets and a Christmas tree that was on clearance. We then ate in the food court and had orange chicken with rice and broccoli. Not long afterwards, we made our way to the Goodwill store before going home. I enjoyed the day, but it left me exhausted, making it so much more felt when I was feeling slightly under the weather to begin with from the fluctuation in weather in the last few days. I’m not complaining about the weather, though. I would rather it be in the 40’s than the teens and negative weather we’ve been having a few weeks ago. It’s not as bad as it was last year, for which I’m thankful.

I’m trying to get back into blogging but haven’t quite found my muse again – or should I say, I haven’t found anything that made me want to blog on for any length of time. If you have any topics that you’d like to read about or think I’d enjoy writing about, by all means make suggestions. Something will come up, I’m sure.

Lists, ordinarytravels

Welcome to the New Year 2015.

The New Year has begun and I’m sure many people have set goals for 2015. I haven’t really made any goals for the New Year, except to read more books (among other reading challenges) and writing more in my journal (and blog). I’m not big on making resolutions, but that’s my general feeling for New Year’s any year. I’m just not big on New Year’s, for me it’s just like any other day. For me, I should be making resolutions every day and not just on New Year’s. We should always be improving ourselves throughout the year rather than just waiting until the new year to start. But I can understand the sentiment of the New Year. It’s a new year, so let’s make a new start! At least it’s getting people to start thinking about themselves and what they should do in order to improve. They might not finish the goal or even start, but at least they’re thinking about it and eventually those cogs will push them foreword into whatever it is they’re pushing for.

As I’m sitting here writing this, I’ve began to think of some goals that I’ll like to set for myself or at least improve upon over the year. Even I can think of some areas where I can work on for the next year:

  1. Drink more water and juice, less pop. I’ve noticed in the last year that whenever I drink pop in the afternoon/late afternoon I don’t get a good night’s sleep at night. So, more healthy drinks that don’t keep me awake all night when I need to sleep.
  2. Walk more. I did a lot of walking and hiking last year, but it wasn’t on a regular basis. Starting in the spring, I’d like to walk every day and maybe even hike once or twice a week.
  3. Journal and blog more. I want to write in my personal journal every day and try and blog more than I did in the last couple of months or so. Maybe this will give way to actual fiction writing (or memoir or nonfiction, whatever inspires me).
  4. Read more than I did last year. I read a lot in 2014, but it’s still lower than what I used to read back in the day. I plan to slowly build my reading levels up again. If you want to see more of my reading goals, see my blog at The Literary Attic.
  5. Start thinking about what I’d like to study if I want to go back to school. I have two degrees but I feel they’re not enough to further myself in my career. I would like my education to back me up and give me more experiences. I don’t quite know where to go next, but I can at least think about it and get myself in the right direction.
  6. No boyfriends or dates. I made this goal before 2015. The last year or so I’ve been dating someone on and off. I sort of wanted to date him after a while, but in the beginning I certainly didn’t want to date anyone and was convinced by the guy to date so I kept working at it. In the end it only drained me and made me hate myself for giving more than he was giving me. So for the next year, I’m going back to my old sentiments of not dating anyone. I hate dating, especially when I don’t want to go out on a date. I’m happier alone and no one’s going to make me change my mind. No matter what.
  7. Be healthy. There’s been too much sickness and death in my family in the last 7 years. I don’t want anymore illness to plague us.
  8. Be happy. Find what makes me happy and pursue it with abandon. That’s all.

What are some of your goals for 2015? I hope it’s filled with good health, good friends, and good happiness.