Tuesday, June 30, 2009

I want to forget it, but he won't go away

I want to forget all about South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford, but I can't. He just keeps talking. He should be called Mark "Too Much Info" Sanford. The guy just keeps churning out the details of his affair with an Argentinean woman.

Today, he's sharing the number of times he saw his mistress. When he initially announced his unfaithfulness to his wife, he inadvertently provided too low of a number. I say inadvertently, because someone who is confessing surely wouldn't lie on purpose. Would they?

I know we're a society of over sharing (I'm blogging. I speak from personal experience), but his over shares make me feel sorry for his family. The governor initially announced he made a mistake by being unfaithful to his wife and they are working to repair their marriage. 

Maybe the governor feels he has to provide details of his affair to save his own political skin, but I disagree. Others before him, lay out the basic facts and move on. He is not doing that. 

In today's installment of As the Palmetto State Turns, Sanford shares intimate details about the meetings with his mistress. He details how one encounter involved coffee while others involved sex. The best one involved an in-person meeting to break up. The mistress, Sanford and a spiritual advisor met in New York for church and dinner. 

I was shocked when he ventured into uncharted territory for a politician caught with his pants down. He explains the relationship with the mistress was more than a mere affair. He called his story with the mistress "a love story."

During an interview at his Statehouse office on Tuesday, Sanford said he's trying to fall back in love with his wife, according to The Associated Press.

Another jewel from the AP story:  He said that during the encounters with other women he let his guard down with some physical contact but didn't have sex with another woman. He didn't really go into detail (thank goodness), but did mention that some events began with a dance. "If you're a married guy at the end of the day you shouldn't be dancing with somebody else," he told the AP. 

These recent stories make me feel sorry for Mrs. Sanford and his children. His statements make it sound like he is in love with the mistress and not his wife. If he's trying to do the right thing, maybe he should be honest about his feelings. Could his spiritual counselor step up on this front and help him out? And, maybe he should just stay busy working on state matters and on his marriage.

I think Sanford should resign over this whole mess. It has nothing to do with sex, unless he had sex while he was AWOL from South Carolina. Governors are supposed to lead, not vanish. He left the state without a leader and left his staff blowing and lying in the wind. 

I get that some people don't want him to leave office, because they don't like the lieutenant governor. That's politics. 

What I don't get is how Sanford believes he is being a better person by suffering as a fallen, broken hearted governor in the public eye. While it may make him feel better to confess to the AP, it seems like he is hurting his family by these interviews. Maybe he should save the candor for the state investigations that is under way about his travel expenses? Or, he can save it for a "fall from grace" book.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Twitter offers a variety of voices, resources for caregivers

I have been busy in recent weeks, especially on Twitter. While I spend a lot of time laughing at things I find on Twitter, I have also found very useful resources. There are a multitude of resources for caregivers on the micro-blogging site.

While the tweets are only 140-characters long, many typically include a shortened link to a Web site or a news story. I follow a variety of people. My key groups are caregivers, writers andRVers. There are also some people who are just plain funny — so I enjoy following their tweets. — or live in my neck of the woods.

Many people like to criticize bloggers. I enjoy the political blogs, but thankfully that's not the only source of commentary out there. 

For caregivers, there are many bloggers, who are regular people. They are trying to juggle caring for a parent or spouse with work and family. You may feel alone, but the network of blogs, Web sites and folks on Twitter may make you feel a little less lonely. 

Some of the folks I follow include:

@sandwiched is in Pennsylvania. Forget the drama of the Gosselins from Jon & Kate Plus 8. With no glare from TV cameras, this Pennsylvania mom shares her weight watching issues as well as being sandwiched between a mother and young children. Her blog is here.

@CaregiversJourn. Valerie H. Johnson is in Georgia She offers information to other family caregivers. She often offers helpful tweets with links to a variety of Web sites.  Her Web site linked to her Twitter is here.

@ElderCareRN. Shelley Webb is in Idaho. She's a registered nurse, writer and caregiver for her father. She offers a lot of educational tweets. Her Web site is here.

@LovingGrand. Loving Grand's tweets are from the USA. Some people keep more anonymity than others, but it doesn't devalue the loving information she provides as a granddaughter. There are tweets from a variety of sources as well as links to her blog about her journey here. 

@HealthDame. Maloyre Branca's Web site is here. She offers a variety of resources and stories about health matters. She is a great resource for both caregivers and patients.

@TXElderCare is by Cheryl Culbertson in Texas. The Web site is here. The site offers an assortment of information for elders in Texas.

I follow more folks on Twitter that deal with health care and care giving issues. These are just a handful that I find useful and inspirational. I really enjoy the personal accounts of how people deal with day-to-day issues. 

Like any medium, you need to determine for yourself whether the person/site offers you any value. 

Twitter is a good place to find people, who can help you find solutions to a current crisis. You can also find people to share a laugh with during good times, too.

What would you do in Iran?

What are you doing? Twitter asks me this every time I log in. I have an empty box ready for my 140-character response. I’ve been wondering a lot lately, if I would have the courage of the people taking to the streets in Iran.

Several people I knew were certain the world would explode, if Barack Obama were elected. I kept reassuring them it would not. I laughed to myself as I looked around the Cracker Barrel restaurant in Albuquerque, New Mexico on November 5, 2008. Everything was normal. Andy and I sat there among college-aged students and families. The world had not been shaken.

It’s different in other parts of the world. In Iran, they did what we did. They went to vote, but the results are in question. Forget the “hanging chads” in Florida. Little pieces of paper can’t compare to what the people of Iran are facing.

Some Iranians feel like the election was rigged. Government leaders deny it, but the level of mistrust is high. The idea that “every vote counts” doesn’t hold the same meaning there as it does here in the United States.

Americans have always believed in protests (and revolutions), it’s in our DNA. We rarely anticipate the government taking action to shed the blood of protesters. It is possible for peaceful protests to become violent at the hands of government police. Ask the Civil Rights protesters?

In Iran, peaceful protests are taking place in defiance of government leaders. They are now deemed “illegal.” One Web site reports Iranian police and militia are clashing with “terrorist groups."

The stories from Iran are heartbreaking and downright scary. And, it’s difficult to tell the truthful stories from the fake ones. The Iranian government took steps to stop the flow of information, but it continues to trickle out through Internet sites, cell phones and Twitter.
The more I read, the more I wonder if I would have the courage to do what the protesters are doing right now. The protesters are taking to the streets not knowing whether they will return home or not.

I’ve had the courage to step up to the plate in the past. I’ve done it as a journalist and as an advocate for a family member, but I’ve also done it in the Land of the Free and Home of the Brave.

I don’t understand all the political parties in Iran or what happened on Election Day.  I don’t think as a nation we can meddle in everyone’s political process.  But, I do understand human suffering and I wish it would stop. I admire the protester's courage for taking to the streets.  I hope I would do the same under similar circumstances here.
What would you do?

After I wrote this, I checked CNN. It's Monday in Iran and the state-run media reports that the Guardian Council rejects the claims of voter irregularity. Of course, they do acknowledge that the number of ballots cast in dozens of cities exceeded the number of eligible voters in those areas. 

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Why did it take two days to watch The Proposal?

Instead of working on my book proposal on Friday, I decided I should watch The Proposal at the local theater. It’s an advantage of being “underemployed.” During summer months and school holidays, I can watch new releases for less than I can rent them at Blockbusters.
The movie was great, until it happened. The screen went blank and the emergency lights flooded white light throughout the once darkened theater. On a normal day, it’s a bad thing when a room goes dark. In a movie theater, it’s a bad thing when the lights come on abruptly.
I mistakenly assumed there was a problem with the film. Maybe the projector (or whatever they use these days) broke? Maybe someone accidentally hit a button that made the movie stop?
A person made an announcement from the back of the theater. Stay seated and they’ll let us know what’s going on. I was busy texting my husband to let him know I would return home later from my mid-day movie than expected.
The next announcement reported the entire mall was out of power. We were given a rain check. There was no point waiting around for the situation to improve.
In addition to the mall, several traffic lights on the highway were out. Drivers were discombobulated by the police officers’ attempts to keep traffic flowing.
At home, the phone was out. I discovered the problem while trying to reach a doctor’s office, because my husband’s malady hasn’t improved. Thanks to my cell phone I reached a doctor’s office. The office, which is located behind the mall, offered no help. “Our power is out. I can’t access our appointment system,” the clerk told me. He was apologetic. Monday would be the earliest I could get medical help for my sweetie.
I returned to the theater today. The movie was worth the second trip, but I wondered why it took me two days to watch a 108-minute comedy. I checked the Del Rio News Herald for a story about the outage.  
What happened to create all the power outages? A wallet fell onto the floor of a driver’s car. According the newspaper, the driver (the one, who is supposed to be watching the road) decided to retrieve a wallet from the floor of his car. He drove into a guy wire, snapping a utility pole.  Thankfully, there were no reports of injury.  The small grass fires set off by sparks were quickly extinguished.
The driver was careless. His one action to grab that wallet (while driving) affected thousands of people. The impact on others was probably benign like it was in my case: missing a movie’s ending.
It’s a good reminder to me and other drivers that we all need to be more vigilant about our driving. Cars are not toys, but can be deadly. We need to simply drive while in our cars. We also need to wait until the car is stopped to pick up our fallen wallets.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Boys will be boys will be charged as adults

Four Florida youth are staring down the barrel of a dose of reality. I hope.
 A CNN report by John Couwels on June 3 shared the sordid details of how four Tampa teens are accused of sodomizing a fellow male classmate with a broomstick and a hockey stick.
Prosecutors allege multiple attacks took place over a two-month period. The victim didn’t report it. The witnesses didn’t report it. Yes, people heard the attacks and no one reported it. None of the four accused reported their alleged acts. School officials began an investigation after a fight brought the issue to light.
I was shocked back in the early 1990s when a similar incident occurred at a small, Georgia middle school. Back then, the case was prosecuted; but many in town seemed to explain away the behavior with a wink and the old saying, "boys will be boys." 
The news of this modern-day court case, reminded me of that story I reported on so many years ago. It made me sick to my stomach back then. This Florida story makes me sick to my stomach now, especially as locker room crimes continue to be labeled as horseplay.
The four boys aged 14 to 15 are accused of assaulting a 13-year-old boy. They each face four counts of sexual battery. Each is charged as an adult. Each count has a maximum sentence of 30 years. Surely, the middle school students can do the math — up to 120 years. They are facing a lifetime in jail plus a couple of decades for good measure. 
I know schools and parents talk about bullying, but it seems like something should be said about locker room behavior. Unfortunately, teachers cannot physically be in every square inch of a school building.
Have we really arrived at the sad day when parents or school officials have to spell it out and say, “It’s wrong to hold down a classmate and sodomize him with sticks.”
While that conversation is uncomfortable and unlikely, I have an alternative one. It's simple and goes like this, “Tell a teacher if you hear screams from the locker room.” The fact no one said a word about this confuses and saddens me.
If this is how boys are supposed to act, they need to be retrained.