Women’s March LA – 2018

I arrived at the Women’s March VERY early with my staff because it was important to show support for what women, minorities and immigrants are facing in this country. While I was chatting with all of the wonderful men and women who came to march and protest, my god-daughter sent me a text that she and her friends were somewhere in the madness at 20 strong. I was more than proud of her because millennials are the group that will be negatively impacted the most with this administration’s policies. I was also proud of all the women, men, teens and younger kids gathering to make this year’s march a success, as well as to make their voices heard, not just in this country, but around the world.

If my mom were still alive, that first sign above referencing the 1960s, is the one she’d be holding. She believed in equality, was a staunch feminist and would have been at this march, or some march across this country. But she also would have been thoroughly pissed-off that we’re back at square one. But believe this, we’ll make it right mom, one day soon! We cannot and must not continue to allow history to keep repeating itself.

Today women and our allies, came together across this nation and around the world for the Women’s March. Let’s get something done. Rallies and protests are great, but we need to come together as a cohesive unit every single day and not just one day out of the year. I don’t want my nieces, god-daughter or any young girl in and outside of this country, to still be fighting the same fights we’re fighting today, and the fights our ancestors thought would be in my generation’s rearview mirror, against an extremist, patriarchal government who wants to have total control over women, our reproductive rights and how high up the ladder of success we can go. Our gender should NEVER be a deciding factor on any achievement in our lives, and our bodies and what’s inside of them, are our own to govern. The Handmaid’s Tale is a work of fiction and we should never EVER allow something like that to become a life imitating art moment.

As for immigration, everyone should be welcome in this country no matter what race, creed, ethnicity or religious affiliation. The Statue of Liberty says: Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

There’s no caveat in that statement which says you’re only welcome if you’re White. This is only one of a multitude of reasons why we’re marching, protesting, resisting and signing people up to vote. The very heart and soul of this country is dependent upon reclaiming our right to call ourselves decent and moral people. We cannot and will not allow a small group of racist oligarchs and kleptocrats to reverse the progress we’ve made in the US regarding race, religious freedom, immigration and women’s rights just because they long for a bygone era of White Male Supremacy. The buck stops with each and everyone one of us and by now, we should have all had ENOUGH!

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Film Review: Proud Mary

I wanted to support Taraji P. Henson in her film “Proud Mary” and I’m glad I did. I know the critics savaged it and Rotten Tomatoes gave it 23%. But I’m veering off the freeway with this film. I think a lot of critics didn’t like it because they didn’t understand it, nor did they pick up on or appreciate the nod it gave to the so-called “blaxploitation” films of the 70’s. Another issue the critics appeared to have with Proud Mary is that it wasn’t filled with a ton of CGI, Special EFX and grandiose stunt sequences with the hero, or in this case, the heroine doing a lot of slow motion acrobatics, while mowing down 100 bad guys trying to kill her.

Proud Mary is a definite throwback to 70’s linear storytelling. It wasn’t filled with a multitude of subplots, random characters popping in and out, with no real connection to the overall narrative, and a bunch of not too subtle societal messages pounding the audience over the head like a sledgehammer. People in the theater also didn’t need a Ph.D in – “I think I’m so damned clever filmmaking”. It was a very easy film to watch and follow. The cinematography was clean, the action was just enough to move the story along and make you go WOW, the acting was good; Taraji P. Henson killed it as a badass hitwoman who can dispatch her targets without a second thought. Jahi Di’Allo Winston, who played the kid she looked after, was great. Danny Glover was also on-point as the crime boss Taraji’s character Mary worked for. Everyone cast in Proud Mary did their jobs well.

Were there some issues, of course. I thought the first half of the film moved a bit slow and there were a few small holes in the storyline, but it wasn’t enough to say Proud Mary is a bad film. The major problem with Proud Mary is that it wasn’t promoted enough, and for those who are addicted to slick, colorful, special EFX-laden films with an abundance of camera angle trickery, you’ll probably find Proud Mary boring and flat. But if you want a film that follows the screenwriter’s go-to, as in Freytag’s Pyramid, then you’ll find a warm place in your heart for Proud Mary.

As a sidenote: There were two films in the same vein as Proud Mary. The 1980 film Gloria with Gena Rowlands and the 1999 remake of Gloria with Sharon Stone. If you ever saw either of those films and liked them, then you’ll probably like Proud Mary.

Hello My Name Is….SINGLE!

single

Someone recently asked me if I ever plan on getting married again and the answer was a resounding NO! Not that I’m against marriage but I’ve been there and done that. And in all fairness to my ex, he’s not some bad, lying and cheating man who was the consummate evil. We just drifted in different directions but we’re still great friends. I’ve found that for me, marriage doesn’t agree with my personality nor my temperament. I’ve never been a woman who needed a ring, a piece of paper and a kid to validate me. I’m lucky, I grew up with parents who never pressured me to conform. My mom always said that my life was my life and no one else’s. I needed to do what felt right to me and if that meant never getting married and having kids or any combination thereof, so be it.
I’ve heard all the formulaic cautionary tales and musings about being single and childless and I say suck it. Being married and having kids guarantees nothing. Just look at the people dumped in nursing homes because those lovely children of theirs no longer want to be bothered. Well, that is unless there’s money involved but that’s another topic of conversation. Oh and there’s Peter and Polly Perfect. The ones you just want to smack, droning on and on about their perfect marriage, their perfect kids, their perfect dogs, their perfect home, their perfect car, their perfect job….just perfect…perfect…perfect!!!! Ugh!
I’m always very leery of anyone singing the praises of their perfect marriages and lives. It brings to mind, “doth protest too much, methinks”. Many times, sad to say, those marriages are the ones in the most trouble. It isn’t impossible to have a happy marriage and yes there are many people who’ve been married for decades. My parents for one. But society, family and friends need to pull their foot off the gas pedal and stop making the assumption that marriage is what everyone wants. Some people aren’t marriage or parent material. It doesn’t make them bad people, it just means they had common sense enough to know themselves. I believe fully, if you are unhappy in your marriage and you’ve done all you can do to salvage it, then leave. You can’t make someone want to be with you if they’ve emotionally or physically checked out. Far too many times people live on fantasy island and believe in fairytales. Fairytales only exist in films and books. Life is a different ball of wax.
I think the divorce rate would plummet if people started being real with themselves about what it is they truly want before they get married and have children. I also think society should back way off with indoctrinating people with the idea that the only way they will find true happiness and fulfillment is through marriage and children. That may be true for some, but not all. Marriage can be a wonderful joining of two mature people who know what they want and are working toward that goal. But life can also be a beautiful thing when people work towards their goals going solo. Not everyone does well land-locked and guess what…that’s okay too. You owe no one any explanations on how you conduct your life…it’s yours, so now go out there and enjoy it.
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Another Level of Stupid…Pregnancy and Babies are Not Novelties

Yes I’m on my soapbox this morning. Is there no end to the stupidity of some people? In the article below, a father starts a business of throwing sonogram parties. Allow me to remind people that sonograms are medical procedures and should be done only in a medical facility by licensed medical professionals and a doctor should be the one ordering them.

Babies are real live human beings and should not be there just for their parent’s amusement. Why on earth would a parent subject themselves, their baby and their family and friends to an unnecessary medical procedure just because it’s the newest fad and they think it’s cool ? What if that sonogram shows a problem with the baby that they didn’t know about? Then what?

I guess that little detail wasn’t necessarily thought out was it!?!? Pregnancy and babies can be a beautiful things but far too many people only like the good side of it; presents, attention, oooohing and awwwwwing, the decorating of the baby’s room, the pretty clothes, etc., but what they sometimes forget is that said baby, is not a toy or a novelty. You don’t just get to play with the kid (before birth) by rubbing your belly a million times a day and after – patting them on the head and parading them around like the newest pair of shoes or handbag.

I thought that “babymoons and push presents” were some of the most nonsensical fads surrounding expectant parenthood, but this one takes the top prize. I cannot stress enough, that this IS a medical procedure and the medical community does not recommend it. Most doctors will only order one, maybe two during the pregnancy. I’m beginning to think for some people, that having a baby is just another way to feed their malignantly narcissistic personalities.

Fla. Father’s Miracle Baby Inspires Sonogram Parties

By SUSAN DONALDSON JAMES | Good Morning America – Thu, Jan 3, 2013 6:39 PM EST

  • Fla. Father's Miracle Baby Inspires Sonogram Parties (ABC News)

    Good Morning America – Fla. Father’s Miracle Baby Inspires Sonogram Parties (ABC News)

Chad Berry and his wife Camie of Fort Meyers, Fla., know from personal experience that having a baby is a miracle — their own daughter is living proof. Madisyn, now 14, was born after they lost five, two to ectopic pregnancies and three in miscarriages.

So today they offer a “glimpse of your little miracle” in a low-cost ultrasound to couples who want to celebrate the joy of pregnancy in their own homes or at celebratory venues.

Camie Berry, 38, is a certified sonographer and her husband, who used to work as a lab technician, runs the business side of Miracles Imaging. The couple is tapping into one of the latest trends in pregnancy, one that has been growing in popularity over the last several years — sonogram parties.

“We’ll get a call that someone is having a baby shower and ask if we can come,” said Chad Berry, 37. “In two weeks, Alex and Kara are having a package with us. They are renting a real nice room at a country club. We set up and bring the massage table and the screen set up for them so everyone at the baby shower can see.”

Women who opt to get a 3-D image of their child at 23 weeks, moving and showing facial expressions, say they are a fun way to share the excitement of pregnancy.

As finger food and drinks are passed around the room, the mother-to-be stretches out on an examining table while the technician moves a wand across her belly. Imaging equipment is hooked up to a TV screen or computer monitor for all the room to see.

Berry said that the services he and his wife offer should never replace routine medical care, but it can be a more affordable way to see a 3-D image not taken during a routine prenatal exam.

A hospital-based ultrasound might cost up to $800 or more locally, according to Berry. “We can do it 70 percent off because we run a small clinic.”

“The most touching one we ever did was for a couple in their 40s trying to have a baby,” he said. “She finally got pregnant and they planned a dinner at home but didn’t tell the parents. One of the grandparents was crying hysterically the whole time.”

The man had been diagnosed with cancer and told he likely would not live long enough to see the baby. “He could watch it in his own home,” said Berry. “This was the most rewarding experience to provide that to someone.”

But medical experts caution against the experience. The American College of Radiology (ACR) and the Food and Drug Administration, strongly discourage having ultrasounds purely for entertainment and not for a medical reason.

An ultrasound provides reassurance and some useful information for doctors on fetal development — to confirm dates, detect a heartbeat and to check for certain genetic defects.

According to Austin, Texas, pediatrician Dr. Ari Brown, there is no “requirement” to have an ultrasound during a normal pregnancy and is up to a practitioner to determine if the woman is at high risk — usually carrying multiples or a history of pre-term labor or diabetes.

“Some doctors don’t do any,” she said.

“Yes, it is pretty cool to see your baby that way, but not necessary,” said Brown, the author of“Expecting 411.”

“In our book, we discourage couples from going to the mall and getting glamour-shots style ultrasounds,” she said. “There is no certainty of the technician’s training or if the machine is properly maintained. And, some of these photo shoots last three to four hours. It is not worth the risk of exposing your unborn baby to several hours of sound waves and excess heat.”

Technician Lisa Dixon, who is just starting up Peek a View ultrasound services in Santa Monica, Calif., confirms that the trend is growing. “‘Viewing parties’ is what they are called,” she told ABCNews.com.

She charges $375 and up for her parties, depending on location. Like Berry, she provides 3-D images and a DVD with the deal.

Miracle Images provides a “gender reveal” package for $179 anywhere between 15 or 32 weeks. For $198, a client can buy, “Watch Your Baby Grow” with a classic sonogram session during each trimester.

With the deluxe “Shower Package” for $249, Miracles Images will go to a reception hall or a home and provide a 4-D film of the fetus moving in the womb that can be Skyped to absent family or friends.

LeAnn Flippen of Lehigh, Fla., surprised her 33-week pregnant sister-in-law with a sonogram at ababy shower because the family couldn’t afford a 3-D image through their own doctor. (Insurance only pays for 2-D images, unless there are medical complications.)

“My brother was trying to be frugal because with a baby on the way, he didn’t want to spend the money,” said Flippen. “She is a dental hygienist and doesn’t get maternity leave.”

“With 3-D you see the entire face and the pudgy cheeks and nose and eyes,” said Flippen, 30.

“We ate as soon as we got there and played a game while they were setting up,” she said. “We had her chair at the front door so everyone was in front of her and she was the center of attention…. She was so excited.”

Flippen, who has two boys, is now 23 weeks pregnant with a girl. At 15 weeks, she went to Miracle Images to find out the gender in 3-D. Back in 2007, she went to another ultrasound company and had a 3-D image of her son and paid three times as much.

Viviana Aguilera, a 25-year-old teacher from Cape Coral, Fla., held her own sonogram party in her home. Friends attended in person and family from Miami watched the 4-D image of the 29-week fetus moving in her womb via Facetime on her iPad.

“It was awesome,” said Aguilera, who got a discount because her husband is in law enforcement. “The house was packed.”

Sonogram Parties Are the Rage

At first the baby wasn’t “cooperating,” she said of her daughter, who is now 2 months old. “So they made me do certain exercises and I was eating brownies and drinking Coke, trying to wake her up.”

Afterward, she received a DVD and photos. “I would definitely do it again.”

But medical experts say that even though sonograms are considered “safe,” they do not recommend them for “entertainment.”

“Ultrasound should only be performed for medical purposes with a prescription from a licensed professional so people won’t do it just for the fun of it,” said Dr. Deborah Levine of Harvard University Medical School, who is chair of the American College of Radiology Commission on Ultrasound.

Certified technicians are also not supposed to practice independently, without a “physician behind them,” she said. “If a sonographer goes out to the house, you don’t know how it is calibrated, who is operating it and you don’t have the normal quality assurances as in a medical practice. You don’t have the normal checks and balances.”

But Berry of Miracles Images said no research has determined that ultrasounds are unsafe.

“We have quite a few ob/gyn doctors here that we refer women to,” he said. “Insurance covers on one or two, and especially for those on Medicaid, there is little chance for them to have them done.”

He offers discounts to active military, firefighters, first responders and police officers.

Miracle Images requires that their clients have their own doctor to provide prescribed medical sonograms and to oversee their prenatal care.

Berry insists his is no “fly-by-night” operation and has a medical director on call if ultrasound reveals medical problems. “When we find a baby with no heartbeat, we know the physician to call.”

Even LeAnn Flippen, who is now 23 weeks pregnant with her own child, doesn’t seem to worry that an ultrasound could reveal a deformity before a horrified group at a sonogram shower.

“It’s always a concern,” she said. “I guess I leave it up to God. There’s nothing I can do.”

Horrific Shooting in Connecticut at Sandy Hook Elementary School

First, all of our thoughts and prayers go out to all the victims and their families. What an unnecessary and horrific tragedy. The State Police just confirmed that one shooter took his own life and they’re looking for the 2nd. So far 27 people were killed and 18 are believed to be children. Unfortunately, the authorities expect the count to rise.

sandy hook shooting witness

Sandy Hook Elementary School Shooting: Newtown, Connecticut Administrators, Students Among Victims, Reports Say

Posted: 12/14/2012 10:28 am EST  |  Updated: 12/14/2012 1:36 pm EST

Newtown School Shooting

Authorities in Connecticut responded to a mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown Friday morning, the local NBC station reports.

Police reported 27 deaths, including 18 dead children and others wounded, according to the Associated Press.

The one known shooter was 24, carrying four weapons and wearing black clothing and a bullet proof vest. He is dead, authorities told ABC News. Police continue to investigate if there was a second shooter involved.

CLICK HERE FOR LIVEBLOG UPDATES

Unconfirmed reports say that principal Dawn Hochsprung and a school psychologist were killed, according to a parent who claimed to witness part of the attack, CNN reported.

CBS reports that a student’s father was the shooter.

Danbury Hospital’s emergency room staff has readied its wing for the arrival of an unknown number of victims, a spokeswoman for Western Connecticut Health Network told News Times.

Reports say that the alleged shooter appeared in the building’s main office at about 9:40 a.m., approximately 30 minutes after the school day began.

The initial 911 call said that students were trapped in a classroom with the adult shooter who had two guns, according to WABC.

Students were escorted out of the building single-file. There are approximately 626 students enrolled in kindergarten through 4th grade classes at Sandy Hook Elementary, with another 46 faculty members, Newtown Patch reported.

connecticut school schooting

My Niece/God-Daughter in Times Square

This weekend was the Covenant Service for my niece/god-daughter Mallory. She was given her Hebrew name of Michaela, named for my sister-in-law’s mother Michele. As a surprise for my brother and sister-in-law, I wished Mallory a “Happy Baby Naming” in Times Square – New York.

My girl looks beautiful, appearing on the jumbo screen at the ‘crossroads of the world”. Whoo…Hoo!

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