Friday, December 31, 2010

Sting and Police - Like a Beautiful Smile

I love this song.

Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate.
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer's lease hath all too short a date.
Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
And often is his gold complexion dimm'd;
And every fair from fair sometime declines,
By chance, or nature's changing course untrimm'd;

Like a beautiful smile

That fills I know why
Such a beauty won't die
It's eternity's mile
That we walk all this while

But thy eternal summer shall not fade,

Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow'st,
Nor shall death brag thou wander'st in his shade,
When in eternal lines to thime thou grow'st;

Like a beautiful smile

That fills I know why
Such a beauty won't die
It's eternity's mile
That we walk all this while

Like a beautiful dream

That is just what it seems
We're just floating upstream
On eternity's beam
So long as men can breath, or eyes can see,
So long lives this, and this gives life to thee

Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?

Thou art more lovely and more temperate.
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer's lease hath all too short a date.
Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
And often is his gold complexion dimm'd;
And every fair from fair sometime declines,
By chance, or nature's changing course untrimm'd;

But thy eternal summer shall not fade,

Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow'st,
Nor shall death brag thou wander'st in his shade,
When in eternal lines to thime thou grow'st;

So long as men can breath, or eyes can see,

So long lives this, and this gives life to thee

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Day Number Eleven

A picture of something you hate.

Sigh. The story of my life. :)

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Day Number Ten

A picture of the person you do the most crazy things with.

Oh definitely...

Valerie. :)

Changes.

There are things we can't change. Like the way the wind blows, or the way the sun rises in the east and shines through your bedroom window in the mornings, or snowflakes in December. Or the color red. Or the people you meet throughout your life, some will stay for a moment and then gone the next; some remain. Or the way your breath catches in your throat when you get a chill or that mini heart-attack when you feel frightened. Or, best of all, how you can't seem to prevent your stomach from aching when laughing hard.

See, we can't change change itself. Change is good even though sometimes it doesn't seem like it. Change is life, and life is always changing. You could be changing, I am changing. We are changing. Things don't change without a reason. Everything is changing, and it is time that we all start to realize it.

I'm ready... to bid this year a good farewell. I met many new people, made new friends, and had my share of interesting learning experiences. This year has been a great one... and the next, 2011... is going to be even better!

I leave you with those three words:

Auld Lang Syne

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Day Number Nine

A picture of the person who has gotten you through the most.

Without doubt, my brother.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Day Number Eight

A picture that makes you laugh.

Officially the funniest book I've ever read... ever.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Day Number Seven

A picture of your most treasured item. Amongst many things, it's a tie between these two.

My maternal grandmother's ring. The one I'd never take off, tan lines and all. Been wearing it since I was thirteen.
And, my current journal.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Day Number Six

A picture of a person you'd love to trade places for a day.

Natalie Portman

Friday, December 24, 2010

Day Number Five

A picture of your favorite memory

Papa always made sure that the Christmases of my childhood were magical... and he sure did :)

Merry Christmas, everybody!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Day Number Four

A picture of your favorite night. It is a tie between these two.

Bon Jovi concert in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
The last night in Tiberias, Israel.

Ironically enough, one of Tulsa's sister cities happen to be Tiberias, of all places.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Day Number Three

A picture of your favorite T.V. show.



It is a complete tie between Dr. House's sarcasm and...


Sam Winchester's smile and/or the way Dean drives that '67 Impala.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Day Number Two

A picture of you and the person you have been closest with the longest.

Fally and I. :)

Monday, December 20, 2010

Doing the 30 day photo challenge.

I detest conformity with every fiber of my being so I have no idea why I'm doing this, but I am.

I will not be able to blog faithfully for 30 days in a row … heck, I don't know if I'd even complete 30 days. Nevertheless, this is a challenge and I love challenges. Yeah, might as well have fun while I'm at it.

Here I go.

Day Number One: 10 random things about you and the most recent photos\ of yourself.
  1. I love fashion. I love clothes. I love shoes. I love the romantic look: lace, flower-prints, skirts, and dresses to name a few.
  2. If developing crushes on fictional characters were a religion, I'd be the most religious person I know.
  3. I love it when people hug me with both arms.
  4. Whenever I'm pissed, angry, hurt, sad, or wanting to deal with whatever I'm feeling at the moment, I'd drink ice-cold water in a single gulp and watch a really funny movie. Or I'd start cleaning up, and I'd do it so well you'd find everything ridiculously spotless.
  5. Sometimes I have all the confidence in the world; sometimes I am really shy.
  6. I used to think I was cursed because I had curly hair. I once burned a gunk of my hair while trying to make it straight. It’s hard to believe I felt that way considering how much I now embrace my every single curl.
  7. I'm a foodie.
  8. Without realizing, I overcame my fears of darkness, knives, and boiling water.
  9. I laugh easily… sometimes at the most inappropriate times. :-/
  10. I love conversations that last until the wee hours. I love the 20-questions game even more.
Oh, right. The pictures. In order, I suppose.

you know my name, but not my story.
[this recent weekend]


Saturday, December 18, 2010

Nathie Marbury with Jessica Baldi, age 5.

Yep, me at five years old. I'm telling the "The Story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears" and getting my game face on, being serious about winning Go-Fish.

video 

  video

I apologize if you hear someone laughing in the background. That was just the 26-year-old me. :)

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Comfortably Numb - Pink Floyd.



I can't explain how crazy in love I am with this bookshelf. This is just like a kick for the bibliophile in me.

This made me smile... LOTS!

Apparently today is National Cupcakes Day... among other things, I'd make this on Valentine's Day so whoever is in my vicinity may consider themselves lucky... :)
Some things don't change

l'espirit de l'escalier.

My Italian great-great grandparents are probably rolling in their graves.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

I realized something...

I love it when people ask me questions.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

I don't know why...

I have no idea who wrote it. I found this by accident and I can't seem to get this out of my head.


Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Put on your yarmulka, here comes Chanukah

No potato latkes (a.k.a. those ridiculously greasy potato pancakes I could never get enough of) or chopped chicken liver (which I think is God's gift to Jews) for me tonight. On this very first night of Chanukah, I'm working on paper after paper. Since I can't really do a leisure blog, thought I'd post something I wrote for class a couple of years ago.

This is pretty... long. Yeah, like Hanukkah. :)

SELF-AWARENESS

When I was seventeen years old, I wrote in my diary making a self-confirming statement: “I am a Jewish girl. I will always be one.” My mother would roll her eyes at me saying, “Oh my goodness. You’re so Jewish.” One of her favorite stories of my early-Jewhood would be when I was five years old, coming across a humongous Star of David necklace that only big and tall males would use, the one that probably would chain my five-year-old self on the floor if I put it on but I turned to my mother going, “I want it.” That was the beginning of that “Oh my goodness. You’re so Jewish” fixation. My father, on the other hand, would laugh at me and say, “So firm and determined. That must be the Italian in you.” Being Jewish and Italian, I grew up being reminded that I am of dual cultures and religious beliefs. Since so, I’ve been cultivated with being at ease that my mother is Jewish and my father is Italian, hence my last name, Baldi.

What I’d question would be whether Judaism is a faceless race? You can’t identify Jewish people by just looking at them. I, for one, don’t look Jewish yet, I’ve experienced feeling I was set apart from others and had the privilege to be ashamed of the religious conviction that I was born to. After reading “The J.A.P. Chronicles” by Isabel Rose, I realize I could relate just a little bit to what is to be considered of a Jewish American Princess; especially when it was mentioned that ‘you can take the Jew out of the temple, but you can’t take the Jew out of a girl.’ I am this complete reform American Jewish girl who has been to a temple only twice in her lifetime: one for a childhood friend’s Bar Mitzvah and the second time was when I was prearranged a Hebrew name.

My Hebrew name is Rivka Shifra bas Shoshanna. If you are to Americanize the name: it will be Rebekah Sylvia of Susan. In the Judaism way of life, it is believed that the bond between mother and daughter is truly essential, and my mother’s name is Susan. In other words, I am of my mother’s, her offspring, her daughter. I remember the day when I was given the name vividly.

I was fourteen years old, just the day after my freshman year prom; I changed out of my prom dress to a long-sleeved black dress, tights, and flats. A deaf rabbi from Baltimore named Fred Friedman invited my family and I to his temple. As soon as I walked into that orthodox temple with my mother, brother, and stepfather led by Rabbi Friedman, I knew I was in for quite an educational experience. I also felt at home. I was nowhere near to being orthodox; still, these were my people. Women were separated from men by a wall that had blinded windows, and on our side, there were rows of bleachers for us to sit and peek through the blinds at men who was on the other side of the wall. Ranging from elders to little boys, the men walked around while praying; there were no bleachers on their side. They talked to each other, discussed prayers, blessings, and wisdom. Men shared their Torah, traded verses, and women didn’t need to pray. Jews believe women are already innately ‘blessed by God’ while the opposite gender must inquire for blessings by praying. So, along with other women, my mother and I watched in silence. We watched my stepfather, my brother, Rabbi Friedman, and the rest of the males at the temple pray together to officially sanctify me with a Hebrew name.

When we left at the end, they all waved their hands bidding me a farewell with saying, "Shalom, Rivka." It was a wonderful moment.

It wasn’t always wonderful. I, admittedly, was embarrassed to be Jewish when growing up. It wasn’t something common between me and my young peers. I’d boast that I celebrate both Christmas and Hanukkah so that I’d be able to find a relation between me and others who aren’t Jewish. There were no other children I knew who were Jewish, and being a normal young girl wanting to feel belonged, I’d boast saying, “With Mommy, I get to light candles and receive gifts for eight nights in a row. Santa comes to Daddy’s with all those wonderful gifts.”

I was ridiculed and questioned because I was Jewish. I remember being bothered. I have faint memories of my divorced parents arguing over religious issues, I remember asking both of them about what they believed in, and they were always very honest. My preschool teacher once told my mother that I said Santa didn’t like Hanukkah. 

But there is one day I remember clearly. It was years after my confusion in preschool: it was on a Friday when I was in the seventh grade and the middle school staff at the Maryland School for the Deaf had a meeting so the students gathered at the auditorium playing a game with the principal’s supervision. The game we played was Let’s-Get-Know-Each other: the principal would point out a trait, an interest, background, physical appearance, et cetera and the students will stand up. In other words, we were taking a notice of each other’s similarities and differences. So, when the principal innocently said, “Who is Jewish?” I all of sudden felt my face flushing with humiliation when I saw that only two of us stood up. I found myself feeling an interferer once again, the feeling I have not felt for a long time. I did not stand up boldly and proudly.

However, that completely changed only the following year when I discovered Anne Frank in an eighth grade English classroom. I was thirteen years old. After that, I knew that if I was asked to stand up again, I’d have stood up boldly and proudly. I probably would have bolted up with pride, making a statement. From that point and on, I decided to self-educate myself about the Holocaust and what does it mean being Jewish? What does it mean to me?



By the time I was sixteen years old, my understanding and confidence had developed. Needless to say, my confidence was put to a test one day at the cafeteria during my junior year of high school. I was sitting on a table next to a group of boys who were my friends but one of them approached me, ensuring the fact that the others were watching, as well… and he purposely told me a joke about the Holocaust. A hurtful joke. My face didn’t lie, I was stricken with the cruelness and I could hear my younger self making a mental nudge, “Told you so. You’d never be normal because you’re Jewish.” Although the Aryan boy had apologized later on, it still stung. To this day, it still does. My senior year, I witnessed the irony of an African-American student, who have been teased himself because of the color of his skin, being expelled from the school for making a harsh ethnic joke to a much younger Jewish boy about his faith.


I wasn’t exclusively comfortable with announcing that I was Jewish such as wearing jewelries or attires until college. Nowadays, it’s the contrary; I’ve discovered a love of assembling Star of David charms, I have quite a collection of t-shirts standing boldly and proudly that I’m a Jew, and I hope to study Hebrew. It is rather compelling about how the older I get, the more I am curious about Judaism. When I was growing up, I’d celebrate holidays such as Passover, Purim, Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur but I’d take them for granted: the food, the gifts, the family-gatherings, the stories… they were such festivities to me. I’d feel culturally belonged. Yet, I’m beginning to feel how I can be so “Oh my goodness. You’re so Jewish” when I admit I am practically almost inattentive towards the true ambitions of being Jewish. Personally, it is simply logical to me if I understood the purpose of each holiday with depth so, when I practice them, I’d be Jewish, rather than ‘oh, it’s just because I’m culturally Jewish’.

Although it is true, I am only culturally Jewish, I still respect the belief so much… because can anyone really hold a faith they don’t wholeheartedly agree with? Anyone could value it, cherish it, and know that it is part of you… but, in my opinion, a belief is different when you give your full faith into it. I am not going to turn Judaism into a lifestyle but it is true that I feel mostly comfortable with being Jewish, it is the article of religion that I was born to, and I don’t plan on practicing otherwise. Judaism, to me, is a choice of belief that I was given to from my ancestors. I’d consider that a blessing. Since so, I’m sticking to my bona fide. Besides, I do feel this conviction to gain insight about ‘my people’.

If you're in the contracting business in this country, you're suspect. If you're in the contracting business in New Jersey, you're indictable. If you're in the contracting business in New Jersey and are Italian, you're convicted. Raymond Donovan said it best. My paternal kin is Italian and hails from South Jersey with pride. Even though almost none of my family members live in New Jersey anymore but we definitely left a mark. Here is to that side of family that I belong to, they are loud, never so rich, and college seems far fetched. Oh, being Italian never was a problem.


In fact, I’d savor every drop. My family ‘are, were, is’ in the mafia so I’d prance around, going “I am what you’d call a Mafia Princess!” although there is nothing to be proud about. My grandfather, who my cousins and I call Pop Pop, would keep us updated about our Uncle Johnny who had to flee to Scotland due to a mafia trouble; there, he befell a kind of disease. Pop Pop told us that when he asked Uncle John about how he's holding up, he hinted him he's eating a lot of pasta. That was his way of telling us he's doing absolutely divine! But that would be all I know. The women coming from a mafia family must never know what their fathers, husbands, sons, or uncles do... the men fiercely protect their girls. They aren't all about money and murder. They are usually Mama's boys who's truly generous; I would know how much they love mint chocolate chip ice-cream after a really good dish of pasta. Not only that, but I would know how their sense of humor comes naturally and how charismatic they'd manage to be. That does sound like my Baldi clan. At the reunion in New Jersey years ago and at my father’s funeral, we gave each other gigantesque hugs, planting jumbo kisses on one and other and not one drop of ice-cream was left!

I was greatly duped that Santa was real. I sang Christmas songs, attended church considerably often, and I have wonderful Christmas Eve memories. I have a nontraditional attachment with Christmas, for it only has a sentimental value to me. The holiday is simply a reason for me to spend time with my father. Christmas isn’t part of my culture, but it is a part of my father’s and he’d truly make the Christmases of my childhood magical.

My family is far from being prejudicial nor are we racists; we accept people of all kinds. My grandmother, a deaf Jewish woman accepted my father, who was a hard-of-hearing Protestant. My grandfather, a regular Catholic white man, didn’t give it a second thought when my father told him he is marrying a deaf Jewish girl. I was taught to be culturally sensitive, probably because both of my parents came from contradictory backgrounds and our house is a mixture of Deaf, hearing, and hard-of-hearing people. My brother’s best friend came from Africa and we consider him a part of us; my cousin found himself being interested in the same sex and he wasn’t loved any less. So, paradoxically, my earliest memory of color has no akin to my religion, or race, or culture, or disability but the color of my eyes.

It was during one summer when I was seven, and I was living on Featherwood Street. Summers were always the best on Featherwood Street. Since the houses in the neighborhood were formed in a circle, we the children would play outside on the cul-de-sac street until the sun was out of our sight, and sometimes we’d remain outside playing under the streetlights, catching fireflies. I’ve been living on the same street along with the same children for a long while and we all knew each other fairly well. It didn’t matter that our means of communication were unlike, or that I was a girl not a boy – we were blind to our differences, I could have an extra arm and nobody would have noticed. We were children, sunburned and oblivious to scraped knees, after all.

But, one day, our blond-haired-blue-eyed neighbor was having a birthday party for their also blond-haired-blue-eyed twins, a boy and a girl. The party being next door, I walked over by myself like I would during any day on any summer on Featherwood Street and sat on one of the beach chairs. It wasn’t five minutes before the boy, younger than me, came to me and stared into my eyes. He pointed to them and yelled, “No! You can’t be here!” It was beyond my understanding but on a reflex, I stood up and ran back to my house, deeply wounded. I vowed I’d never tell anyone what happened, although I couldn’t gather about what happened. I couldn’t even question it. When my mother asked me why was I back home so quickly, I came up with a fib. Just because I had brown eyes, I couldn’t at least be at a birthday party.

I encountered the same occurrence shortly after I moved out from Featherwood Street. My fifth grade class did an experiment, and this time, I understood. When studying slavery and segregation, my fifth grade teacher decided to surprise us unexpectedly one day that the brown-eyed students will not be able to drink water from the fountain nor be able to go to the bathroom, I was appalled to see BLUE-EYES ONLY taped on the bathroom door. I remember protesting saying, “but wasn’t I able to go there whenever I wanted just yesterday?” We had to sit separately from blue-eyed students in class and during lunch. We couldn’t play outside during recess, and had to stand in the back of the line. It was no fun, and I was near tears at the end of the day, bursting out, “but it is not my fault that I was born with brown eyes!” I was literally thirsty and confused; I felt furious and unjustified, my freedom being snatched away.

In other words, I felt like a real human being. A point was being made. Next day, the blue-eyed students endured the segregation, and I was mortified to discover that I actually felt ‘powerful’ and grateful I wasn’t blue-eyed. Even though it was only for two days out of our already-ten years of existence and we knew it was just a diversion, and that life would return back to normal. Still, the learning experience brought an entire new stance for us, especially as fifth graders.

Self-awareness usually occur when you step out of your house, into schools, workplaces, or simply to go next door. Inside your own house, you are morphed into with what you are most comfortable with, and naturally, it is because it is the only thing you know. It is your home, where you can flop comfortably anywhere. A single person can be of many rooms, cultures with or without a face or a name. History of discrimination and accomplishment has revealed the best and the worse in every society there is; some we are proud about, some we aren’t. That is one thing we all have in common as human beings: we are diverse.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Meet me... in Montauk.

Though this is some crazy science, knew this was one of my favorite movies for a reason...


must be because there are things I wish I didn't have to remember.

Clementine: You don't tell me things, Joel. I'm an open book. I tell you everything. Every damn embarrassing thing. You don't trust me.

Joel: Constantly talking isn't necessarily communicating.


Clementine: I don't do that. I want to know you. I don't constantly talk. Jesus. People have to share things, Joel. That's what intimacy is. I'm really pissed that you said that to me!

Joel: Sorry. It's just… my life just really isn't that interesting.




I don't dye my hair orange or anything remotely close to that, but there are times when I'd really feel I could relate to Clementine Kruczynski.







Clementine:
You know me, I'm impulsive.

Joel: That's what I love about you.











Saturday, November 20, 2010

Drops of Jupiter - Train

 

Now that she’s back in the atmosphere
With drops of Jupiter in her hair
She acts like summer and walks like rain
Reminds me that there’s time to change,
Since the return from her stay on the moon
She listens like spring and she talks like June,

Tell me did you sail across the sun

Did you make it to the milky way to see the lights all faded
And that heaven is overrated

But tell me, did you fall for a shooting star

One without a permanent scar
And did you miss me while you were looking for yourself out there

Now that she’s back from that soul vacation

Tracing her way through the constellation,
She checks out Mozart while she does tae-bo
Reminds me that there’s room to grow,

Now that she’s back in the atmosphere

I’m afraid that she might think of me as plain ol Jane
Told a story about a man who is too afraid to fly so he never did land

Tell me did the wind sweep you off your feet

Did you finally get the chance to dance along the light of day
And head back to the milky way
And tell me, did Venus blow your mind
Was it everything you wanted to find
And did you miss me while you were looking for yourself out there

Can you imagine no love, pride, deep-fried chicken

Your best friend always sticking up for you, even when I know you’re wrong
Can you imagine no first dance, freeze dried romance five-hour phone conversation
The best soy latte that you ever had . . . and me

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

"Jessica, honey..."

(I am finally having the courage to publish this. I probably would end up deleting this later...)

One night, I found myself being buried into a pile of paperwork from someone else's graduate school years. I poured over them for hours, in hopes I'd find something that may benefit me.

I encountered a printed post from a discussion board about Erikson's eight stages of development. Apparently, it was a family development assessment. I will copy a part of this post word for word:


Current Thread Detail: Sir Tim's Life in light of Erikson's eight stages of development

Current Forum: Your family development assessment


When I was born and up to 5 years old, I was viewed as a normal, healthy kid. Thus, I guess I started out culturally hearing. At age 5, my kindergarten teacher conferred with my parents and suggested I get my hearing tested. My hearing impairment was viewed as medically pathological. The recommendation was that I go to an institution for the deaf. My parents would have none of that. "What? For him to go away from a loving home to an institution? No way!"


During my "hard of hearing containment" classes (4 years)... 1/2 day "hard of hearing containment" and 1/2 day mainstreamed (1 year)... and eventually into solitary mainstream (8 years) ... my life evolved from having friends I could relate with to having people around me that viewed me as weird/different. Those 8 years I hated school.


When I enrolled at Gallaudet, I was culturally marginal, not fitting in either hearing or deaf societies. Though I was very confused with the 'rejection' I experienced in my early years at Gallaudet, I also experienced a sense of belonging.


In my later years at Gallaudet, I developed closer relationships with deaf persons who were just enrolling at Gallaudet, who were not aware of my oral background. At this time I had developed extreme anger towards my family and relatives, whom were all hearing.


Now aside from the deafness aspect of my life (there is more of me than my ears, ya know) being an outcast in a hearing society, not understanding what was being said, I had a lot of trouble understanding what "normal" was.

(following is a chart of Erikson’s eight stages of development and some social work technicalities which I think may bore you all to tears.)

Eventually the person figured out what normal was. I would know because this was my father. The paper clearly stated it was:

Posted by Rick Baldi
Date: Mon Sept 8 2005 12:45 am


The thing is that... he graduated with his MSW in 2004. I don't have an answer to this.

Rereading the post, I giggled when I read him saying there's more to him than his ears… such a him thing to say. I'm surprised he didn't end it with, "Alright. Enough of my sob stories. So what were you saying?"

I missed Daddy so much my heart ached. On the other hand, since it has been over three years, I've learned to deal with those feelings. I paused, collected myself together then sat down and thought.



Why now? I mean, I was not in the mood to feel.... but I had an answer right on the spot. I've been learning immensely, so much has happened and I wished I had my father to share it all with. I've been so occupied with school, with being excited about the prospect of becoming an aunt, and everything life has to offer me right now that I let him slip a bit from memory… but, I'm remembering Daddy again. I'm aware of this kind of emotion. Either that, or he is somewhat showing himself. Yeah, yeah how New Age of me. I mean... all of sudden I'm finding his notes, his old e-mails, etc... He was perfectly alive and kickin' once, ya know.

Before I proceed, I want you to be aware I am not grief-stricken. I am not doing this because I still need to cope with his death. Yes, even though I know and understand what a real broken heart feels like, I am not dwelling over it. I have coped with it, I've long accepted it, and it's very much part of my life as my right hand is. Time healed me. I am ready.

Discovering the discussion board post prompted me into doing several things. I've put a lot of thought in this. One of things would be doing some kind of project...

I want to talk about Rick's story, ones he told me about ... which is a lot. I'd tell as it is, not him as a dad, but as a hard of hearing man who left home to find home.

One of my greatest pet peeves will be when someone asks me, "You family deaf?" or "If your baby hearing, you dodo?" for the sake of *wink, wink* rather than out of honest curiosity. Because, who cares? Who cares... get to know me, not my family. Yes, I am deaf of deaf but I always felt I was different. I had a hard of hearing father, I have a hearing brother.  I think I am able to give our community a kind of perspective I feel strongly about; the dynamics in our community, about being "Deaf, hearing, and something in the between."

My father was something in the between. He hated it, but at the same time, that's what he was most comfortable with. Dad could speak like a normal hearing person; yet, I know he can't imagine life without sign language.

His son is hearing, and his daughter is deaf.

Dad spoke with my brother, and signed with me. Again, here, he was "something in the between"...

There are many factors to this.... and I will take the time to address them. However not now, but I am going to.

Besides, Dad once implied, "Justin is dry. Jessica is wet." Whatever that's supposed to mean. (Sheesh. Not like he's any better himself. Where did you think I got this from?)

Before I go, I'm going to leave you with conversations I had with him, both in 2006. Those two never fail making me smile.  ):

On Sat, 9 Dec 2006 4:34 pm, Jessica wrote:
Found a spot with no problem. A little bit crowded but not toooo bad. ;)


On Sat, 9 Dec 2006 4:39 pm, Rick wrote:
"Not too bad" for you is a freakin mob scene for me! Didja find the teeny weeny shop?

On Sat, 9 Dec 2006 7:51 pm, Jessica wrote:
Hahahahahah you funny... The mall wasn't too bad, you'd be surprised
Am a bit lsot going back home though.. There aren't that many exits in pennsylvania

On Sat, 9 Dec 2006 7:53 pm, Rick wrote:
Where you at?

On Sat, 9 Dec 2006 7:54 pm, Jessica wrote:
Got off on the 309.. In PA.. To philadelphia.. How to get to 495 from there?

(then he gave me directions, and when I told him I found my way, he said:)

-----Original Message-----
From: Rick Baldi; rbaldi@tmail.com;
To: Jessica Baldi; femmina@tmail.com;
Subject: Re:
Date: Sat, 9 Dec 2006 20:58:04 -0500

Whew.

Glad I had a PA map handy.

Tell mommy to drive safe cuz as my aunt martha would say "Mom has precious cargo".

Love You
Good Nite.

You so bet I'm telling this to my kids, "I will drive safely because as Grandpa once told me, 'my aunt Martha would say, Mom has precious cargo'."
  ------------------------------------------------------------------------------

RickBaldi [7:48 P.M.]: He lives where?
Pearlicy [7:49 P.M.]: philadelphia but he goes to school in cali
RickBaldi [7:49 P.M.]: Alrightie. Jessica honey I suggest exchange vp info and chat on vp.
RickBaldi [7:50 P.M.]: Meanwhile ill set an investigation team and have this kid checked out in Philly - winks
Pearlicy [7:50 P.M.]: hahaha
Pearlicy [7:50 P.M.]: in this case, cali because that's where he's studying medicine
Pearlicy [7:51 P.M.]: OH!!!!!!!!
RickBaldi [7:51 P.M.]: No prob, I get a California team set up


In this case, if you see some strange Italian men wearing black lurking around in groups, trading suspicious looks, taking notes and pictures, breaking and entering anywhere... afraid not. Don't even worry. It is just my Papa checkin' out some kid.
My father and I on one Christmas in Haddonfield, NJ.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

The Princess Bride

Every kid from the eighties remembers the first time they discovered The Princess Bride. I mean, come on. You can't be the child of the eighties and not know this movie (it's like not knowing who Zack Morris is).

I recall watching this movie for the first time during one of those weekends at Daddy's. I must have been about 7 or 8 years old when Westley stole that tiny beating silly heart of mine. I actually believed Florin existed and had nightmares about 'em Rodents of Unusual Size.



Today, as I'm two days shy of turning 26, I still love the story as much as I did back then. A true fantasy classic, especially in a society unbridled with none but chick and/or testosterone-filled flicks. Only the most rare special ones can haul the line and be loved by everyone. When a film accomplishes that, I bet you the filmmakers drove themselves insane making it happen, not because they desired to pursue the "course of true love".

Somehow, The Princess Bride was one of those remarkable films that transcended the margins of gender bias. Or so I thought ...

Last year, I was at a party when a girl, intoxicated, went on a rampage about The Princess Bride, of all movies. She swore that only men love the movie. Inconceivable!

Why don't we exchange The Princess Bride for any sort of gruff and bloody combat film, or at least one that holds the possibility of being over generalized? But the sickeningly sweet true love we see happening between Buttercup and Westley? True love was so flipping palpable in the film that it could have gotten its own character credit.



So, while this girl was talking obscenities, I narrowed my eyes and unbeknownst to anyone, let them burn into her. Nobody messes around with my Princess Bride. I did a swift mental check to confirm I had all the pi├Ęces requises before jumping in.

I stopped myself short. Because seriously, you and I both know there is no good in arguing with people who had a tad bit too much to drink. Plus, I'd admit there's something lovable about a disagreement that linked men's genitals with an adoration of this starry-eyed film. How progressive!

But hey. This is the magic about The Princess Bride I love, that it seems to be enchanted by all. The movie cleverly evenhanded intelligence and humor with deeds, trickery, and romance that could make love fiends melt. Cynical folks could gasp and writhe when Westley plummeted down the mountain yelling, "As you wish..." Vengeance buffs could explode to attention when hearing, "My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die."

Were better words ever spoken?!  Nope.

Speaking of gender generalizations and for the sake of some chick-giggles about the opposite sex, do read what a friend sent me (a bit of truth in this, I'm afraid):


Things The Princess Bride has taught me about real men:
  • Real men tell their lady “I love you” (but in code)
  • Real men know the powers of looking good (You won’t get a cool name like ‘the man in black’ by wearing just anything)
  • Real men will do anything to save the one they love (including fighting a skilled swordsmen, beating a giant and killing a fool)
  • Real men will keep their promises (and return to you after being a pirate for 5 years)
  • Real men are optimistic (even though no one’s ever survived the fire swamp)
  • Real men aren’t afraid (of giant rodents)
  • Real men don’t lie (and can see through tall tales about being returned to their pirate ship)
  • Real men aren’t afraid of torture (regardless of what the albino says)
  • Real men know it’s okay to cry (especially after having 1 year of life sucked out of you)
  • Real men believe in miracles (for a price)
  • Real men don’t let anything stop them from getting the girl (even being mostly dead)
  • Real men are always ready to fight (even when they wake up and can’t move their arms)
  • Real men don’t give up (even with a danger in their gut)
  • Real men don’t fight to the death (they fight to the pain)
  • Real men know anything is possible (you miserable, vomitous mass)
  • Real men know what love truly is (and know how to kiss so passionately and purely that it leaves all others behind)

Oh, dear. Even our Westley, who always seem to represent chivalry, is a typical male just the same.  Yet, he saved his own ass. Wanna know how he did it? Reading the book might do you good. ;)

Thursday, November 11, 2010

I dream of giving birth to a child who will ask,

"Mother, what was war?"



This picture will stay with me for a long time.

I must say I have this utmost respect for our American soldiers. I don't like wars, I wish and dream for world peace but the soldiers’ courage amaze me. I do believe they have developed the dignity none of us can accomplish. Their love for our country is not something we should take for granted. 

Thank a veteran, hug a soldier, and always speak well of those who have served.

A salute to Pop Pop Baldi, Uncle Bob, Lance Vogeler, and every American, living and deceased, who fought to protect our country.  Bless your patriotic hearts.

A little history lesson for you all: Veteran's Day falls on the anniversary of the signing of the Armistice that ended WWI.
"To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with lots of pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations."
-- Woodrow Wilson, November 11, 1919

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Simone de Beauvoir

I stumbled upon de Beauvoir for the first time when I was 17. Since then, I'd collect her work and occasionally read about her. Yet, I am not here to discuss her philosophy, her life, or whatsoever ... I actually have a question.

... recently, I came across a well known de Beauvoir quote, "One's life has value so long as one attributes value to the life of others by means of love, friendship, indignation, and compassion."

I've always delighted it for its dedication to humanity without the need for any over-determining morality, 'humanists,' or even religion in general. On the other hand, reading it again ... I began feeling there is sternness in this: love, friendship, compassion, yes. However... indignation? How? With regard to what?

I'd like to think she meant unconditional love.

Then maybe she was just pissed at Sartre that she lashed out ... indignation.

What do you think?

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Last night

I had an odd deja vu when making a stop in Philadelphia.


And I was twenty two again.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Dear Inner Child,

Never ever leave me. <3

Love, Jassi
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Tuesday, November 02, 2010

My little house.


well, someday, that is...

To say the least...

I want to discuss a legal matter I am most concerned about: children. There are many factors I find disturbing about this issue, but … let's say, sometimes I am ashamed to be an American. First, throughout history, we recognize the values Americans have upon children's rights; we read about service programs, people who contribute their time and money on making lives better for children, charities, poor kids smiling and being happy with their old but new toys during the holidays, we read about adoption successes and how policies on foster care are improving. We see organizations taking action on child molestation, ensuring zero-tolerance policies in schools, re-evaluating parental rights… and so on. America (I'll blame it all on the media but that is for some other time) is so fake, I can't stand it.

Recognizing is one thing, and to dissect the American legal system is another. We need to take a notice on whether the system is successive or not. In order to do this, we must be clear on what is the legal goal for children. The goal, to me, is to empower the children and have them being a part of legal decisions that involve them.

We have failed doing so. Failed miserably.

In the case of 1923 Meyer v. Nebraska, reputable that the Liberty Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment authorizes the parents as the primary caretakers of their children. In short, as parents, they have the full right to raise their children. Like I always say, responsibility also comes with individual rights. As a citizen, you are responsible for your rights. So basically, parents are responsible of their rights as caretakers. Unfortunately, there are parents who fail doing so. Also miserably.

Here goes! Congratulations, our justice system. You done us proud! You and them caretakers got something in common. Oh I bet it feels wonderful.

Children have the every right to be of no burden from starvation, violence, abandon, and other atrocious situations. If you think otherwise, you have no soul.

As much as I wish they could, not all children have parents. Many children who do have parents experience neglect and abuse. Now, when ANY kinds of abuse are evident, our system must be effective in providing them proper care and justified privileges. Must. Our system can't just give the parents a slap on the wrist and say, "If I catch you doing this one more time … consider this as a warning." Often times, the unthinkable happens after that one more time.

In many situations, more have done discussing the children's constitutional rights rather than actually initiating them.

Last spring when taking legal classes at Kaplan, I came across a pending case in Oklahoma (D.G. v Henry, 2008), which is one of many cases we face today. According to Children's Rights, a national movement for child rights, because of child welfare ineffectiveness, right now there are 10,000 of children in Oklahoma who are suffering. The state holds the highest rate of disadvantaged children. Also stated by the Children's Rights, orphaned children in Oklahoma "get dumped and left in overcrowded, understaffed, and profoundly unsafe shelters and group homes. Thousands of children have been bounced around to four, six, even dozens of foster homes during their time in state custody."

Not to give Oklahoma (my dear Okies, I still love you guys!) the bad rep considering it's not the only state who been found responsible for child neglect. Class actions against states concerning child welfare programs are happening everywhere, this shows how flawed our legal system is. The state level legislation must adhere the federal criteria when it comes to providing any kind of services for children. The federal government must take those legal actions more seriously.

I have seen authoritative figures saying they are denying the rights to children because to what extent can we trust that they are competent of decision-making? What? Oh! So you are going to leave them on the curb somewhere in that flat and hopeless Oklahoma, only for them to die? If they don't starve to death, many will grow up being the victims of YOUR society.

Gosh. Of course they are not competent of decision-making… they are only KIDS. Do you get it? Kids. Many have not yet understood that the top of the stove can burn your hand. Many have not yet developed cognitive skills, abstract thinking, and necessary survival tactics. Many have not yet learned how to multiply, or to tie their shoes. They are still fresh to the world. Do you really expect for them to … know their rights?

I strongly feel the decision-making competency holds no affliction as to whether the children should receive full legal rights or not. They must, period. They need people to protect them. With professional (and neutral) help, I assure you the children will be able to explain themselves, and of course, on their own behalf. Not only that, but by encouraging children to express themselves, we are also giving them a taste of what it takes to feel good. Also helps them have healthy relationships with others (and themselves, as well). You can never be too young to start doing some self-advocacy. Guide them onto the right path, which I believe is the best survival tactic (empowerment at its finest!).

Let those children feel proud by acknowledging them as people of worth.

Now, how far should we go to allow children to partake in legal cases, ones that will account for their fate? Yes, I know this proves a difficult legal challenge.

Oy. I could ramble all night long on this-- still so much more I want to say. Don't be surprised if I end up adding some more things to this post.

Best if I shut up now. In a nutshell: I am inspired to make a difference.

Derek Walcott: Love after Love

The time will come
when, with elation
you will greet yourself arriving
at your own door, in your own mirror
and each will smile at the other's welcome,


and say, sit here. Eat.
You will love again the stranger who was your self.
Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart
to itself, to the stranger who has loved you


all your life, whom you ignored
for another, who knows you by heart.
Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,


the photographs, the desperate notes,
peel your own image from the mirror.
Sit. Feast on your life.


Always been one of my favorite poems. I'd quit being discreet, and tell you this is what I'm experiencing now. In the past three months, I've become more aware of myself. I'm seeing things a whole lot more clearly. I won't lie. There are things I wish I could share with some people I care about, but I realize: if it is not about me, why bother? By letting things go, I got myself back. I'm writing again, I feel excited by the thought of accomplishing things for myself and myself, only. ;)

Or like Valerie once said, it's called quarter-life crisis.

Perhaps so, and goodness, I'm still just as flawed as YOU are... but if anything, I'd never underestimate myself or give you the privilege to do so.

Hell yeah, girl got it together. ;)

Oh by the way...

Hello, my November!

Monday, November 01, 2010

Robert Frost: My November Guest

My Sorrow, when she’s here with me,
Thinks these dark days of autumn rain
Are beautiful as days can be;
She loves the bare, the withered tree;
She walks the sodden pasture lane.

Her pleasure will not let me stay.
She talks and I am fain to list:
She’s glad the birds are gone away,
She’s glad her simple worsted grey
Is silver now with clinging mist.

The desolate, deserted trees,
The faded earth, the heavy sky,
The beauties she so truly sees,
She thinks I have no eye for these,
And vexes me for reason why.

Not yesterday I learned to know
The love of bare November days
Before the coming of the snow,
But it were vain to tell her so,
And they are better for her praise.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Saturday

You're probably thinking what the inferno am I doing blogging on this Saturday night -- it being the eve before Halloween where all mischef happens, also Gallaudet homecoming and the Rally to Restore Sanity ... but of course I had to be sick this weekend out of all weekends.  For a long time when growing up, I'd always be sick on Halloween. In the past few years I got away with it... apparently, this year, just as I had the entire weekend filled with things to do, the flu has decided to come, being on their merry way into my system.

I remember this very Halloween. Yes, I was a sick teddy-bear.
So much for going to the Rally to Restore Sanity, Homecoming, and Halloween party.

There will be long blogs coming up perhaps this week or the next. I have a lot of papers to do, with one on gender communication. That one should be interesting. If I could sum up the paper in total of few words, it will be like this:


Enough said.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Wednesday

Lately, I'd find myself being immersed with American Indians. Ah, I'll give credit where credit is due: it was after reading "The Bean Trees" by Barbara Kingsolver. The more I discover about their culture, lifestyle, history, beliefs, stories... the more the Indians fascinate me. American Indians are the indigenous peoples of our own country, they were here long before us, and loves the American soil better than anyone in history.

Robert Kennedy becoming a honorary member of Sioux tribe.
Bobby called the group he saw as most tragic of all, "First Americans." Much to my dismay, after reading some statistics, .... data proved to be alarming. Get this: facts were based on research that was conducted on the government's behalf. What do they do after seeing facts they chalked up?

What facts you may ask:
  • Native Americans are victims of rape or sexual assault at more than double the rate of other racial groups.
  • According to The National Violence Against Women Survey, 37.5 percent of Native American women are victimized by intimate partner violence in a lifetime, defined by rape, physical assault, or stalking.
  • The stalking rate is so high against Native American and Alaska-native women that 17 percent will be stalked during their lifetimes.
  • A recent study by the Bureau of Justice Statistics of the U.S. Department of Justice entitled “American Indians and Crime” found that American Indians are the victims of violent crimes at more than twice the rate of all U.S. residents.
  • Cultural norms and practices may force additional constraints on an abused Native American woman, including consequences of being sanctioned within tribal or clan groups. Native American spirituality and the belief of the “interconnectedness of all things” may also be used coercible to keep a woman in an abusive relationship.
  • Historical and societal oppression contribute to many Native Americans’ deep mistrust for white agencies and service providers. This, in turn, often hinders meeting the needs of women from this community.
The sources surfaced from the United States Department of Justice, A Bureau of Justice Statistics Statistical Profile, (with 2006 being the most recent). I can show the list of specific sources if you'd like.

Keep in mind the facts do not define First Americans as a whole. What we are seeing here is the tip of an iceberg. We can't brew assumptions. Below the iceberg, native Americans hold qualities that make them humans. There are successful, hard-working, and influential indigenous people. Native American leaders exist not only today but throughout history, as well (Ben Campbell, Will Rogers, Betty Mae Jumper, Dennis Banks, comedians, politicians, actors, doctors, lawyers, teachers, writers, and the list goes on...). Which is why we must go beyond those facts, beyond the assumptions, and acknowledge them. I want the deaf children to be aware of their own people, to be able to have role models.

As Indians, they once were the "enemy of the government" and then later on became the ward of the government... only to be ignored. So what does that leave those who are deaf? Ward of the Indians as deaf individuals? What about the children?

Truthfully, I have no idea. I wanted to know.

I took the opportunity to do some research on deaf American Indian children, only to be disappointed seeing there weren't much, if not any. I came across plenty of information on other ethnic groups, not the one I was looking for. Where are the deaf children of our indigenous people? This renders me speechless. Perhaps they have mainstreamed almost completely into the modern society, going incognito. Still, I believe there are children with hearing loss living on reservations, and for whom it might not be too late? Are the children receiving proper services? Are they thriving in their environment? Are they aware of their rights? Are the reservations accessible for them?

I got some great answers from reading several great websites. Yes, I am doing my homework; collecting information via books, doing this research paper for class, Google, and going to National Museum of the American Indian in D.C. again... No, not enough for me.

I want you to tell me. I have this desire to do a personal odyssey; traveling across our country, visiting reservations and meeting the deaf children face to face. To hear the stories they have to share. I'm aware of how the families might react. Resentment. Anger. Rejecting me. I understand why. I'm not going to try convincing anyone to think, feel, and/or do otherwise. I know how ignorant I am. This is an overwhelming tragedy that is not my own, but of others; misfortunes I can fight to solve but might never share. Same time, I believe I'd witness small displays of joys in their everyday life. I'd find natural drops of wide-eyed and barefooted innocence, bravery, and curiosity only children bear. That's enough for me. I won't try changing a thing ... I'm not visiting as a social worker, no political justification. Just me, an American born, simply put, visiting the people who were here before us.

I respect them. Deaf or not. I want them to know they have the every right to love their cultural, historical, and linguistic tribal traditions just as much.