A Family Update.

for a long time I enjoyed sharing tales of my son who I called My Boy B, B standing for boy, because someone didn’t want his name to show up in a goobingle search and people hunt him down. Yeah, he was an amazing cute little guy, the kind that strangers would come up to and want to touch or try to take pictures of wherever we went.

B is now 14, 5’9″, strong as a bull, and can punch like a truck. And his name is Zach. Please don’t spread that around, especially if you are reading this and know my family. I want to wake up in the morning with all my parts.

Zach was fodder for a few posts here on Ronovan Writes, plus a great photo of me with a black-eye after trying to catch a baseball he threw with my eye. The vision still hasn’t cleared from that.

I thought I would give an update for those who remember those days and a jumping on point for the new readers.

He made the school baseball team and is now over that desire. He just wanted to make a team once so people would leave him alone, plus he loves baseball, but he injured his shoulder so a career is out of the question without surgery and that’s not happening. So what is his focus? The trumpet.

Yes, my son is a band geek. But not that movie stereotype. He knows everything about cars, video games, and apparently everything that’s ever been invented ever. Just ask him, he’ll tell you. Why is his main focus the trumpet? He’s in the 8th grade and first chair in the school jazz band. That includes high school students. He recently made District Honor Band. The Band Director depends on him as one of the leaders of the band as well. Whenever there is a competition, everyone else is told to pick up an application if they want to participate, but Zach is told to come up and is handed one.

He’s still in the gifted Duke Tip Program and scored very well on the SAT which included Math and Verbal without Essay. And is also in the National Junior Honor Society.

He just had his very first high school advisory meeting and his advisor loves him. She already looked at his academic and class history and had him down on the Diploma with Distinction College Prep path. If you read my post from yesterday this is him making a decision at his Point B on his Route of Life that deviates from the majority of people his age in this area who will simply go with the flow. She went all fan girl when she learned about his Honor Band concerts over the years and his wanting to be an Engineer. I’m not sure why he wants to drive a train. Maybe too much Thomas when he was a kid.

A piece of advice for new parents out there. I am a strong proponent of holding a child back a year at the Pre-K level. When Zach was tested at his school for Kindergarten he scored for First Grade, but his age was actually just a few weeks under the limit to fit in to Kindergarten and not Pre-K. The principal suggested that due to his age that we hold him back. It was a difficult decision but it has worked out so well. Teachers always comment on how he is a calming influence on his classmates and is so mature. Plus, studies show that those who are held back are 30% more likely to end up making it all the way through Graduate School.

Now for an idea of what Zach is like. Recently his Math teacher, who is new to the school this year, asked for the answer to a problem. No one raised their hand so as usual in all of the classes Zach was asked to give the answer. She smiled and said he was wrong. They went on with the class and the same type of problem came up toward the end of the teaching portion of class and she smiled and asked Zach to answer. He gave the same answer. She laughed a little and asked why do you think that is the answer. “Because that’s the answer,” he said. At this point a few of his friends were covering their mouths trying to hide their smiles and not to laugh.

You see, Zach has reputation with his classmates that his teachers never seem to pick up on. He doesn’t speak unless he knows the answer. And if he continues to give the same answer then he is positive the answer is right.

The teacher kept at him about it and she said this is the correct answer and he said okay. She asked him what he meant by okay and he said that she was the teacher and if that is what she wanted the answer to be then that’s what the answer would be. You can imagine she wasn’t pleased. So she asked him why he continued to insist on giving his answer. The truth finally was revealed. He had already completed the homework for the next two days and the answer he gave was checked as correct by the online homework assignment.

The students started their classwork and toward the end of class the teacher made an announcement that both answers, hers and his, could be correct and neither would be counted wrong. She had to state this because she had already taught 3 other classes the wrong way to do the problem. That night she disabled the ability to work ahead. She had asked him why he worked ahead and he said it was because he could understand things better by working ahead and by himself. She asked him, “Then what do you need me for?” And yes, he said what you would expect by this point. “I don’t know.”

Zach was identified early on as some kind of Math genius. He could do Math in his head during Kindergarten. One of his teachers, the lead teachers for all of Elementary school suggested he work with a Math expert over the summer to continue to further what he was already doing. But what parent would do that to their little kid?

I’m proud of the boy. He’s made a decision, chosen a path, and is set to do whatever it takes to achieve his goals. One of which is to get a music scholarship and play in the University of Georgia Redcoat Marching Band, and while getting his music degree he will double major in engineering and get that degree in a fifth year that’s not covered by that music scholarship. Yep, the boy has it all planned out. Nerd.

For all of my blog family, meet 14 year-old Zach. Everyone says he looks like me, just without the red hair of mine. I think they are just being nice to me.

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A Journey of Decisions.

We are a pitiful lot, aren’t we? We look around and see things we want. We want that car he has, or the job she has, and don’t forget the hair she has, but then you can buy that. That’s just the beginning of the wants. Can you imagine if there were a true Want Ads section of a newspaper?

I am about to do something that will help make me a successful and happy man. This something that a small percentage of humanity will do in order to reach that pinnacle of life. I am going to begin a journey.

This isn’t a journey to Disney World or the Grand Canyon, although for some, that may be the journey chosen. No, this journey, this Route of Life starts at my current existence and choosing my chosen point of happiness and success, making decisions along the way to make it all come true, before parking my Ferrari Portofino at the final Exit of Life.

You are thinking that we all do this every day of our lives. That’s not true. You see, we all have this GPS of Life we start out with at birth. Point A is the day we are born. Point B is when we should start making decisions about our future, and Point C is the end.

Point A you can’t control, you’re strapped in your car seat in the self-driving car that carries you through life and head to Point B. Most of us, when we turn 14 or so, the Age of Decision Making, move from the back seat to the passenger seat for a better view, just so we can see things we want. You are delivered to your high school advisor and she asks what classes you want to take, what school sports or activities you want to be in, and what are your plans for after graduation. You push the well-worn button number one, then as the window of your car rises, you fall in line behind your best friend and the other lemmings.

You enter Point C, the Exit of Life, into the GPS of Life with adequate restrooms available along the way and the trip continues. The car of your life drives along and when obstacles appear, it picks the easiest way around that obstacle and continues along the way with no side trips or new point C in your trip. All easy and simple.

You graduate high school. Sadly for you, your best friend is accepted to a college out of state because she made decisions you didn’t know about. You enter the college nearest to home. While you get your Business or Education degree you meet someone, because that is the GPS of Life’s most used route from your point B. You stare wide-eyed like a deer caught in blue tinted halogen headlights as you walk down the aisle because you are supposed to do that after you graduate college, even though you aren’t certain that you even have feelings of like, let alone love, for your future spouse.

Now you are at least happy your high school advisor suggested you enter the “adequate restrooms” into the GPS of Life, because if you are a man, you have married a woman, who at one time drank five margaritas and three shots of something that was never identified and danced for three hours without stopping, whose bladder has now suddenly become the size of a raisin or if you are a woman, you need to get warm because your husband doesn’t understand that normal humans need to use heaters during winter, not air conditioners, which means you need coffee every 30 minutes, and of course that means you need to pee, and the cycle continues. And let us not mention what happens once the children come along. And the dog. The incontinent dog that your wife just won’t allow you to put to sleep although it can’t walk or even poop without you helping it stand, and you sometimes have need to poke the poor thing to start its breathing again. Try to look cool in that grassy area at the convenience store holding up the back end of a Boxer so it can poop. That’s the Success Life of Happiness.

I think you probably see what the GPS of Life is all about. You are simply a passenger that makes the stops and visits the places between points B and C that are most common for people in your general area and demographic, which your high school advisor helpfully programmed in for you at Point B, the Age of Decision Making.

That describes a very large percentage of the world. For some, they can’t get off that GPS of Life route. They are born in to a world where there are very few stops between Point A and Point C, and there is no Age of Decision Making. But for people that are reading this, very likely you can reroute. And thank God, Oprah or BTS for that.

For me, a journey is a series of decisions you make. The first decision is often the hardest decision to make but it is the one that frees you. It could be you quitting a job to start your own business while you have no guarantee of success or income for the next month or six. It could be moving thousands of miles away from everyone and everything you know. It could be a change of your current family life package.

One piece of advice at this point, an aside if you will, tell your doctor about your beginning a journey, because it is very likely your blood pressure will be rising at first due to stress, unless your rerouting is a fabulous opportunity with nothing to leave behind. For the rest of us, read me, you don’t want to get misdiagnosed and end up doing a nuclear stress test.

People that can sit down, analyze their life and then say they are truly happy are those who have taken journeys and achieved success. You need to define what your success will be. For me, that journey is beginning late in life. But, is it ever too late to become happy? Is a person ever too old or too far along the GPS of Life route to swerve in to that next exit, take a deep breathe, and reroute?

By this time next year, I should be at a Point C in life, that new Starting/Current Life point working on a Point D, Success and Happiness. No one make any assumptions about what that C is. I am an odd one and it could be anything. I am the amnesiac who wrote an historical fiction novel about pirates and met a blogging friend from Australia, who was born in Malaysia to Chinese parents, at a Cracker Barrel in Georgia for breakfast and introduced her to grits for the first time in her life. In my life, anything can happen. And I want anything to happen. I am going to have fun until that Point E, the Exit of Life, comes along. Bring it on world, I got your GPS right here.

The joyful thaw.

Sometimes I cry, but not because I’m sad.

It’s because when I met you my heart was frozen.

You’re the one who warmed me through and through.

You brought this strange thing called love into my world.

And tears of joy, that come from the melting ice.

I am brokenhearted over US.

A blog is a place to get things off your mind and your heart. We’ve turned it into something entirely different and thus less therapeutic. When I first started blogging I did a lot of therapy with stories and poetry. Over time I thought I lost that ability. I did. I didn’t have the physical or mental energy to keep going. After you blog as intensively as I did you might understand.

I also discovered another reason I stopped. Pain. I can’t sit for more than a minute, if even that log without great pain from the bottom of my spine and inching upward. Within minutes, unless I grit my teeth and forge my way ahead, I am lying down on a couch or a bed. Walking after sitting for a few minutes is difficult because of that pain, and just the pain of trying to stand brings even more pain.

That’s not why I am brokenhearted. I tell you all of that to give you an idea of what I am going through as I write this. Many of you probably won’t like what I have to say, but then again, this is a blog. This is my journal and my journey. Those of you that were around at the beginning you know the journey I’ve been through here and with you.

I am probably one of the biggest supporters and encouragers of women. If you were here during my earlier years you would have seen almost daily posts about how great I thought women were or interviewing women, or sharing their posts here on my blog. That is another reason this is painful because people are going to think I am against women.

I support the #MeToo movement in its original purpose. I think we can all agree that some have come along and not helped it very much and have only detracted from those who are real survivors of assault and sufferers of harassment. I think women who are assaulted should be heard, even if it is decades latter.

On Wednesday I watched the Senate Judiciary Committee Hearing testimony of Christina Blasey Ford and Judge Brett Kavanaugh. The way this entire thing has been turned in to a political circus is disappointing. Ms. Ford almost experienced the worst thing a woman can experience as far as I am concerned, other than maybe losing a child of any age. I have no doubt she was attacked. I do question if it was Judge Kavanaugh simply based on the other people stated as being there deny any such party occurred.

Those are my opinions. We are all entitled to those and friends all over the world believe different things but remain friends. I think those differences make for more interesting friends and even perhaps better friends because they allow for a person to grow and experience differing opinions rather than a homogenized world view.

I am not going to fault Ms. Ford’s gaps in memory because I also have memory problems, or problem, after suffering a Grade 3 concussion that ended up providing me with retrograde amnesia. In other words, I lost all of my memories from before that concussion. Was it entirely from the fall and my head striking against three hard surfaces in three different places before I impacted with the floor? Perhaps there is also an emotional trauma issue.

My only theory with Ms. Ford naming Judge Kavanaugh and his not being the attacker is that perhaps in her trauma and over time Judge Kavanaugh became, to Ms. Ford, the true attacker. No, I do not think she is naming him out of some spiteful plan to keep him from the Supreme Court. No, I do not think she ever wanted to be part of what some are calling a delaying tactic. I have read the timeline of from when she thought of writing the letter until her entering the courtroom today. She never wanted to testify. She never wanted people to know her name. She wanted the Committee to take her information seriously and use it in their decision making and investigation process. Not until after some of the Committee found out that the Ranking Member had a letter regarding Judge Kavanaugh did the existence of said letter end up public and the fire was lit. Within two days reporters of The New Yorker had the contents, somehow. She revealed her name two days later in The Washington Post because reporters were sitting outside her house, talking through the window trying to calm her dog down, and even entering her classroom while she was working. People were also calling her colleagues at Stanford University.

I am heartbroken that someone related to this hearing, this confirmation, leaked the existence of her letter and then obviously her name. Someone that was either elected to one of the most powerful positions in the nation or perhaps someone that works for one of them betrayed a woman that was terrified of going public. If you saw her today you would see that she is someone that seems very private about her personal life. I could see that by the way she spoke and her body language. But I’m not an expert on that, it’s just my opinion.

Once she was exposed she then did her civic duty, as she did in the beginning by notifying her member of Congress. If only Senator Feinstein had thought to ask Judge Kavanugh questions about sexual assault during her private question meetings with him, or even during the public hearings, or even in the 1200-1300 written follow-up questions perhaps none of Wednesday would have happened.

I am heartbroken over the hyper politicized nature of this entire procedure. All Senator Feinstein had to do was ask Judge Kavanugh in her on-on-one meetings, and if he said no, then contact Ms. Ford and say she believed there was a need to move into an official investigation. I actually believe Senator Feinstein thought she was doing the right thing and the best thing for Ms. Ford. That is not a joke. I don’t believe she is the type that would use this woman’s tragedy for political plots. The hyper politicized does not come from Senator Feinstein but by others sitting to her left during the hearing.

Even before the allegation came forward, Senator Feinstein’s colleague Senator Booker back in late July called Judge Kavanaugh Evil and anyone supporting him was complicit in evil a full month before meeting with him one-on-one on August 23. Senator Booker attempted through his phrasing of a question to get Judge Kavanaugh to say Yes he thought Ms. Ford’s allegations were a ploy being used against him. If Judge Kavanaugh had said yes, he would have been vilified even more than he has been so far. Her allegations do appear as though they are being used by members of the committee as a ploy to keep Judge Kavanaugh from being confirmed. Even before they had heard Judge Kavanaugh respond to the allegations they decided he was guilty.

I am brokenhearted that my country has forgotten the immense privilege it is to be considered innocent until proven guilty. Some of our elected officials, some who want to become President of the US someday, have forgotten that we are innocent until proven guilty. They have thrown it away in their desire to deny a man nominated by a President they despise. They throw it aside because this man is a conservative and they are afraid he will help overturn Roe v. Wade.

I am brokenhearted watching apparently intelligent adults on news programs with their minds and eyes closed to events in front of them just because they don’t like Ms. Ford or Judge Kavanaugh. Both sides have come out, even before the hearing on Wednesday, saying they believed one or the other. They hadn’t even had a hearing yet.

I am brokenhearted that I am even writing this. I fought with myself for hours before finally giving in I could not get away from it. I had to get all of this out, plus so much more but I’ve been at this for well over 30 minutes and my spine has locked up and is screaming at me. My migraines, which as a result of the concussion, never stop, not even for one second in the last, four years I think. Migraines, a bad spine, Fibromyalgia, and ME/CFS all combined are not a fun filled day at the beach.

I am brokenhearted because I am ashamed of how low my country has fallen. Not just in this hearing, but throughout government and the mindset of my fellow citizens

I once was a Republican. That changed during the early months of 2017. No, I am not a Trump supporter, nor was I then. My candidate didn’t make the final cut. Write-ins are a great thing. I decided that after the election I would at least give things a chance. Be optimistic. Be hopeful. Be prayerful. And now here we are, a nation that on the surface appears so divided we should almost divide in half and move people around. But we are the United States and we go that way through one hard fought war, and kept that way through the darkest and bloodiest time on our nations soil. (That didn’t involve the killing of Native Americans.) We will stay that way through what I pray is only two more years before some amazing person comes along, be it a Democrat or perhaps a different Republican steps up to make a challenge.

I am brokenhearted because I no longer have a party that I can call home. But I have decided I don’t like the party system any longer. Look what it does to intelligent people.

I am brokenhearted that I may have to leave this country someday because I stay awake at night thinking about the disaster we are. I think about all the good things we could be, could be doing. There is so much this country could solve if there was no other side of the aisle and everyone just sat together, talked, discussed, brainstormed, and tried to find commonalities instead of all the things that divide. Focus on the united not the divided. It’s on our nation’s name.

I’ve talked enough. I have journeyed through this page and hope I can now sleep a little with a less cluttered and frustrated mind. I hope no one has read this because it will likely frustrate whoever is foolish enough to take this journey with me.

Much Respect to Y’all and good night  or perhaps I might say good morning by this time.

7 Positive News Websites.

With the end of the world being predicted almost daily, it’s important we recognize there are good things happening in spit of it all. I truly can’t stand how the media thrives on negativity, and not just in regards to politics. Therefore, what I’ve done is searched out sites that share positive news. You might think all you would have to do is google for these sites, but you would be surprised at how many sites either no longer exist or or basically abandoned for years. I even clicked on an article dated this year for a list of sites and some of those listed were inactive.

What better site to begin our journey to good news than with;

https://www.GoodNewsNetwork.org/  From the USA.

What is it?

Although based in the USA, the Good News Network brings us stories from around the world ranging in topics from energy solutions to environmental issues, and from mental health recommendations to just plain feel good news, because sometimes all you need is a smile. It appears to be updated on a daily basis.

https://www.Positive.News/  From the UK.

What is it?

A UK based site that pulls news from around the globe, Positive.News lists as their categories; Society, Economics, Science, Environment, Lifestyle, and Perspective. As you can see, you have plenty to choose from. There are definitely some inspirational articles on this site and it’s updated daily.

https://www.SunnySkyz.com/

What is it?

I’m not certain where this site is based out of, but it brings news from around the world. The site is updated daily and has much of what you would expect but also has Funny Clean Jokes, Videos, and Pictures. A great visit.

http://www.YesMagazine.org/  From the USA.

What is it?

Updated every day, Yes! Magazine has articles with a bit of depth to them that will make you want to do something about the world. I’m looking forward to getting in to this one myself.

https://www.Goodnet.org/  From the USA.

What is it?

Not really updated every day but what it does give are good articles, depending on what you are looking for. It has everything from the planet to individual good work and inspiration. I found it interesting that it was founded by the daughter of the American-Israeli businessman and founder of Carnival Cruise Line, Ted Arison, Shari Arison, who heads the family’s philanthropic organization.

https://GoodBlackNews.org/  From the USA.

What is it?

Good Black News was founded by Harvard Graduate Lori Lakin Hutcherson who is not only the Editor-in-Chief of GBN but also a TV writer and producer along with other writing ventures around the world of print. There are 19 categories along with subsections for ease of navigation, with recent articles being on the landing page. The site is updated daily and it really looks like a professional site. I already subscribed to receive updates in my email.

https://www.OurBetterWorld.org/en  From Singapore.

What is it?

Our Better World is a site dedicated to the Asian community and is well represented by people from various backgrounds. You really need to check the site out for the categories they have, ranging from Diversity & Inclusion to Friendship & Family, and from Migrants & Refugees to Wonder Women. The site seems to be updated frequently, if not daily. There definitely appears to be great content.

If your cultural group isn’t represented like a the Black and Asian communities, it wasn’t for the lack of trying. Of course going through all theses sites it’s a good chance I missed a lot. If you know of good ones, and I mean POSITIVE news, leave a link in the comments and I can add it to the list here for all to see.

Catch y’all later.