Tuesday, October 27, 2009

I finally did it...


I kid. This picture did inspire me quite a while ago but I have been holding off on this post for months now because I know it showcases my crazy. I can no longer help myself so here goes. I have a HUGE issue with cattle trucks. There I said it. They say admitting you have a problem is the first step. I don’t feel any better. I have always had this really profound distaste for the treatment, housing conditions and slaughter practices of animals. I understand that back in the day it was necessary to kill our furry friends to keep alive but today we know so much more about meat consumption, hormones and disease that you would think we would be smarter. The average person has 5 pounds of undigested red meat in their bowels when they die. That is for AVERAGE people. What about people like Dan and my dad who eat 5-7 meals consisting of red meat weekly?

Growing up my nickname was Piggy. My favorite stuffed animal was my Ms. Piggy doll. It started a natural collection of pig figurines from my family. As I got older and understood how pigs actually live and die I was beside myself. In 1995 I decided to give up meat entirely. I was overweight and disgusted with my food choices up to that point. I remember my parents being angry at first but finally relaxing and accepting my decision but never catering to it. My mother still makes pork roast, pork steaks (big in the Lou), pork butt or piggy brisket. All the while affectionately calling me “piggy”. She does not cook me anything special. Most of the time she actually tries to serve me the swine.

I was off the meat entirely for about a year and I dropped significant weight (read ahead before you try this at home). So significant, in fact, that it concerned my doctor who ordered a colonoscopy. That is another blog in itself but I was diagnosed shortly after with Crohn’s Disease. I can’t say that my giving up meat was the definite reason I got Crohn’s but it did not help for me to change up the chemicals in my body so rapidly. I started eating very small amounts of red meat again for protein.
On to my real reason for posting, on my drive home I see an average of 2 cattle trucks per week. Sometimes they are empty and sometimes not. I try not to look because it is absolute torture for me to see the poor animals all cooped up with their own feces’ heading to slaughter. I actually touched on the subject in this post about my quirks that seem a bit crazy to me. Dan thinks that I am absolutely nuts when the subject comes up or, God forbid, he is with me when I pull up to a Killer Truck, as I affectionately refer to them. The worst was a few weeks ago when, try as I might, I could not stop myself from looking. I thought I was in the clear and the truck was empty but lo and behold once I got up next to it I realized that it was carrying little piglets with their cute little snouts poking out of the killer truck holes. I DIED.
I do, in fact, think often about just running them off of the road. They can die on impact or face a worse fate. Then I think about waste. If you are going to kill an animal you should use it for all that you can. The Indians (Native Americans) had the right idea by respecting the animal and not wasting. I realize that running the cattle truck off the road would be a waste, not to mention probably really hurt some killer-person and/or killer-company’s bottom line. And yes, I do still mouth “killer” to the driver if I happen to catch his eye. It is nothing personal. So my thought is that I will give up cow again. I really only eat fillet and the occasional ground beef in tacos or spaghetti. I don’t know what will make the pain go away. Gandhi said “Be the change you wish to see in the world” so I guess until I find a way to free the cattle I will at least give up that medium rare fillet. It hurts me but not as bad as seeing the Killer Trucks. You have to admit. Isn’t that cow so super cute freeing himself from slaughter in the photo above?

Monday, October 26, 2009

Man Candy

This week for Man Candy Monday I have chosen another couple. They are not a couple in the traditional sense of the word. In fact, although I cannot confirm this, my gaydar tells me they are both pinch hitting for the home team. They are a couple in that they have been trainers on The Biggest Loser together for years now.
Meet Bob Harper...
He looks good with or without clothes.
Hopefully you and Bob's muscles have met before
He is even cute with a shirt on!
Sexy eyes, ooooolala
Love this hair!
Oh, the dedication.
Mmmmmmmm....
He has more tats now but this is a huge turn on for me.Gotta love a man who can hold that pose.And now for the couple...
Aren't they cute?
I love that they are polar opposites but they love each other.
They make a great team!
And now onto Jillian Michaels

She is one hot mama.
This is my favorite Jillianism...
This is my favorite form of torture that she does.
I want her abs!
I want her arms!
I really want her ass but I couldn't find a good picture of it.
She is just amazing.
She jumps on peoples backs and makes them piggy-back her around as their workout!
This is truly for the lesbians out there. It almost turned me:-)

Happy Monday all!













Friday, October 23, 2009

A lesson in learning to say no!

I am a doer. I come from a long line of doers. I learned from watching my mother a long time ago to not do things for people that will make you resent them. I have had to relearn this a few times in my life but I got it now. I want to help. I want to be useful. I want to show that I love and care for you by taking care of you. This is my way. There is also the other side to that coin. It also comes from my mother and her resentment of good deeds done but unrecognized. This is one of those deep rooted issues that took me years to figure out as a child. Why do we go out of our way for these people? These same people you are now calling ungrateful? Why did we do this good deed again? Well for my mom, back in the day at least, it was for recognition. It sounds horrible to say but she wanted people to see what she had done and commend her for it. It was really a terrible example for a child but the true learning experience came when I started to ask hard questions. My mom would go out of her way, spending days and sometimes weeks on projects to help a friend. In the end the friend might be too busy or self consumed to thank her and so now she is ungrateful…immediately. This behavior made me see that my mother was not doing things out of the kindness of her heart but for praise. The even harder realization over the years is that I was my mother’s daughter and in this case, by the time I realized it, the apple had not fallen far from the tree. I was 21 years old when I woke up resenting everyone for everything.

As I said this is something I have continued to revisit in my life and struggle with. I want to help people. It really is in my nature (Thanks, MOM). I want to help them for the right reasons though. Not so they will think I am cool or so other people think I am cool. I want to do it because I think it makes me cool. I don’t want to resent my friends and family for not saying thank you. I want to do it knowing that my pride alone is enough to sustain me. The hardest part of this is learning to say NO! I had a really hard time at first. Wouldn’t you guess but my mom was the worst at accepting my new leaf. When I started to say no to family events that I attended just to appease her she got very upset. “Why can’t you just do this for the family” or “(enter any name here) would be really happy if you did” or my favorite “why not?”.

My friends, it was an absolute pleasure to say the same thing to my mother that she had said to me for so many years….BECAUSE I SAID SO! When I do things to make others happy without regard for myself it makes me feel like I sold myself short. If I want to go out of my way to come to your 8th child’s 10th birthday party then I will but you will not guilt me into it. If I want to skip out on a day with my family to heal my soul, I have the right. If I want to say no just to say no, I can. This was just an amazing thought to my mother who had never considered her feelings or wants or that she might have a choice in the matter (I said it was a LONG line of doers that I come from). I think over time my mom realized that I didn’t say no out of malice or discontent with anyone. I said no to become more at one with myself and what I needed to be doing. My mother has a tremendous heart. I am truly grateful and blessed to have that trait passed along to me. My father, who has been divorced from my mom for 18 years still says to this day that my mom has the biggest heart around (he actually says her heart is as big as her ass but if you know the man, that is indeed a compliment) and he’s right. I like to think that over the years my mom has learned from me how to say no. She still is not great at it but she is getting better. She is also better at not resenting me for needing to take care of myself first.

Ok, now I can get to the point of my post, I have one…I promise. Today I get a text from an old acquaintance; I can’t call her a friend as I have not heard from her in years. The text says, “Hey is this still Toni’s phone”. Seriously, that is how long it has been since we talked. I say yes, it is…how are you? The normal pleasantries. She responds: “Stressed. Any way you can watch my dog for 10 days while I go to Italy?” ?????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????? I can barely wrap my head around this. I literally haven’t heard from her in YEARS and this is how she strikes up a conversation.

What makes her think that I would do that? Who does this woman think I am? Well I will tell you. She thinks I am the old, pleasing, push-over Toni. You know, the single girl without a care in the world who will do anything for a friend. Sadly this was my MO for a long time. Not sad that I helped but sad that I feel like that is how people thought of me. I was the girl with no life that would drop everything for them. I think some of the “friends” that I had were around so that they could take advantage of my good nature. I was the one person they knew that would drop her life for a friend. It should be no surprise to me then that I am the one she called on. This is also why after years of being single, once I found love many of my “friends” could not accept it. I was no longer there to drop everything on a whim for their needs or wants. I actually had my own life and responsibilities. If there is an emergency, I will always be there for a friend but when I learned to say no to the bullshit I got an unfavorable response from some. I just wasn’t acting like myself they said. HE was changing me. I wasn’t even the same person anymore. Who had I become? What happened to the former doormat that they so enjoyed? That is right; I realized that my old acquaintance felt she could take advantage of me like that because I let her do it before!!!! After all, I have changed so much (heavy sarcasm). I am grounded. I am happy. I am content. I am me. I don’t know who they thought I was but I know who I am and that is all that matters to me. It hurts to think that people are in your life to use you. I prefer to think of it as utilize but using is using. I am glad I have learned to wean those folks out. That is why I haven’t spoken to the will-you-watch-my-dog-girl in years. In fact, I think the last time we did talk I dog sat for her. She says she wants to get together and catch up after Italy even though I said no to watching her dog. 50 bucks says I never hear from her again which is just fine by me. It really is vindicating to not feel an obligation to friendship. It makes the ones that you have that much more real and valuable…and sincere. Thanks to my real friends. You know who you are.

Is that what that was?????

I attended my dear friend Rachel’s wedding this weekend. It was one of the most beautiful, simple and elegant ceremonies that I have been to in a long time. Dan got to finally meet Rachel and her more-than-fantastic mate, Troy, which was a great source of excitement for me. During the 2 and a half hour break between wedding and reception we met my friend Kari and her boyfriend Brad for some drinks. It was also the first time that Dan had met the 2 of them as he works the crazy hours saving lives and Brad is studying for the CPA which has ruined anything social for him for quite some time. The day was going fantastically as we arrived to the reception with more than a little pre-party buzz on.

Of course, this is where the story gets hairy. The bride works for her ex boyfriend, who I also used to work for. We did not end on great terms, her ex boyfriend and me, as he fired me. He was there with his wife and I somehow was able to dig deep and find it within myself to make nice and act as if it had all never happened. If she can work with him every day, surely I can swallow my distaste. Don’t misunderstand, I am less upset about losing my job or how he treated me than how other situations went down. I digress…and bygones really. So I have reached that hurdle and clearly mastered it when I see my very own ex boyfriend is in attendance. We were all mutual friends so this should not have come as a surprise but honestly the thought did not occur to me until I realized we were a mere 1 tables distance from one another. Just a bit of background here, this was the relationship for me that could not and would not end. We were toxic to one another’s lives almost upon impact and should have both known better. But alas, instead we dated off and on for more than 6 years. There were long periods of both off and on time as well as violent events requiring police intervention and many out of control arguments that just should not have happened. In the end we tried to be friends and even took a vacation to Amsterdam together to prove to ourselves and everyone else that we could do it. That worked for over a year but then, to be completely honest, we got drunk and had sex one night…and then it was over. Really, just like that. I saw him last year at a funeral where we exchanged a few uncomfortable words and that was it.

At first I thought my best option was a simple eye contact acknowledgement across the room and leave it at that but I kept catching the eye. It was really ridiculous and after 20 minutes or so of slight pressure, I just let it go. Who cares? That was years ago. I am a different person and I sincerely hope for his sake that he is too. Again, I called bygones and headed off to the bathroom and then the bar to refresh my and Dan’s drinks. Wouldn’t you know, low and behold, who is coming up the very narrow stairwell to the bathroom as I am going down? None other than the ex. So, “I smiled at the son-of-a-bitch, for I couldn’t help myself”. Sorry, I couldn’t resist quoting Steel Magnolias there. I did smile, I said hello and I told him we shouldn’t act as if we didn’t have a past together (clearly 6 years is a long time). His reply was an instant and gigantic bear hug and he said “we’ll always have Amsterdam, baby”. That was it. He went up and I went down and the whole uncomfortable mess was over.

I noticed upon reaching the bottom of the stairs and rounding them that someone was on the stairs still, frozen in place. I turned around to find a young waiter looking rather stunned. I realized that he had just witnessed our terribly uncomfortable encounter and was in fact standing on the steps as we had our little embrace. I told him that he had just witnessed a moment to which he replied “Is that what that was?”

I laughed for about 10 minutes by myself in the bathroom. How stupid to be worked up about that? The past is in the past and the rest of the night was fantastic. I danced my heart out and I was so incredibly sore most of this week. I am clearly too old to be droppin’ it like I was. So much fun though. I was proud to be a part of the night and so happy I didn't let stupid stuff get in the way of my good time. A moment it was, indeed.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Google it...

My girl Gina posted this and I thought it looked like too much fun. You have to use images from Google for each category.

1. Your favorite beverage:

The EXTRA dirty martini with blue cheese stuffed olives. THIS is my love in life.



2. Your hometown:

Yep, from the Lou and I'm proud!

3. Your favorite television show:
I love a good medical drama! This is closely followed by Lost and The Biggest Loser...FYI!

4. Your occupation/you are in school for:

No school, hence the dead end job. I spend most of my days on the computer facebooking, blogging and occassionally getting work done.

5. Your first car:
Excuse the ex-fiance and ex-dog. This is my actual first car...Baby Blue. I didn't use the google pic because frankly, it didn't do her justice. She had no heat, very little air and some extensive body damage but I loved her!

6. Your favorite dish:
Sushi of any kind. I absolutely love it and could eat it daily.

7. Celebrity you've been told you resemble:
8. Celebrity on your "to do" list:


This is illegal and slightly sick. It seriously makes me a pedophile as he is only 17. I am patiently awaiting his 18th birthday!

9. Your favorite childhood toy:
They were the rage and the craze and I was not allowed anything that didn't promote creativity. No battery operated fun or expensive games here.

10. Any random picture



This photo was taken at a gay rights rally. The "churchies" use bible quotes (out of context) to promote their hate and inequality. I hate it when people use their God, church, religion or faith as a pulpit to hate other people. Two can quote your bible folks!

My baby and me

♥ What are your middle names? Ann and Keith

♥How long have you been together? 1 year and 9 months…Whoa, I didn’t realize that until now. Time sure does fly!

♥ How long did you know each other before you started dating? I met him the summer before we started dating (5 months) and I did not like him at all.

♥ Who asked who out? We went out with friends, then we met up for drinks alone then he asked me out.

♥ Who made the first move? He did but I was close.

♥ How old are each of you? He just turned 36 and I will be 31 in less than a month.

♥ Did you go to the same school? Hell no, not even the same state!

♥ Are you from the same home town? No. Dan’s family traveled a lot. I guess his hometown would be the place both of his parents are from in Indiana.

♥ Who is the smartest? He is a complete know-it-all. I call him KIA for short. He is full of completely useless information and LOVES to share it. Lucky me.

♥ Who majored in what? Neither of us finished college. In his defense he went straight to medic school and has been licensed since he was 21.

♥ Who is the most sensitive? That depends on the day. Thankfully we rotate and have not yet both been sensitive at the same time…yet!

♥ Where do you eat out most as a couple? Kitaro or TX Roadhouse. We actually prefer to eat at home.

♥ Where is the furthest you two have traveled together as a couple? Our 4 wheeling road trip last year to Colorado but we are going to South Carolina for Christmas.

♥ Who has the worst temper? Me, myself and I. I am getting better.

♥ How many children do you want? Anywhere from 1 to none. He has PB already so we will see where life takes us from here.

♥ Who does the cooking? I cook almost all of the time. He has 2-3 dishes that I will eat. He loves my cooking though.

♥ Who is more social? I am but get a few drinks in him and he could rival me for the top spot.

♥ Who is the neat-freak? Neither of us, we are pretty middle of the road on cleaning. If anything we are both a bit lazy.

♥ Who is the most stubborn? We are both extremely stubborn but I find myself making amends more than he does. He has a hard time with “I’m sorry”.

♥ Who wakes up earlier? Depends on the day. Usually me. We are not morning people.

♥ Where was your first date? It took weeks to find a time to actually go out. I think Mosaic was our first dinner date.

♥ Who has the bigger family? Me but only because he is an only child.

♥ Do you get flowers often? Never! 1 time he bought me lilies which remind me of funerals. I told him that and he never bought me anymore.

♥ How do you spend the holidays? We’ll see. Last year we didn’t spend them together.

♥ Who is more jealous? Neither of us are jealous people.

♥ How long did it take to get serious? A few weeks and we knew.

♥ Who eats more? He eats more per setting but I probably eat more on the whole. I have 6-8 small meals a day. He has 2 HUGE meals.

♥ What do you do for a living? He is a paramedic and I am a marketing and event coordinator.

♥ Who does the laundry? We do our own.

♥ Who’s better with the computer? He is.

♥ Who drives when you are together? He does most of the time.

♥ What is "your" song? We don’t have one. Better get on that!

Friday, October 9, 2009

An open letter to...David's Dad

Dear Mr. Good Samaritan,

I appreciate your stopping in the rain last night. You have no idea how much I appreciate you. I was only a mile or so from the gas station and frankly it was my own dumb fault for driving from the city to the county on the phone knowing my gas light was on. I was on my cell with my sister who was freaking out as traffic whizzed by on the highway. She did not want me to accept a ride with you but only because she loves me and didn’t want you to be a psycho ax murderer. She actually did not want me to hang up my phone but act like I did so she could hear if you tried to kill me. I saw your son in the backseat and your friendly face and that was all I needed to know you were all good.

Giving me a lift to the gas station was super nice but waiting while I bought a gas can and filled it up so you could take me back to my car was even nicer. Your son, Little David, didn’t seem to mind there in the backseat, playing with his new sling shot from Cabela’s. I would not have known the Cardinals lost until this morning when I logged onto Facebook and saw all of the bitching if it weren’t for you.

You gave off the hunter-guy vibe. I usually call them Bambi-killers but clearly you are one of the good guys. I know it could have turned out really differently and I might have regretted my decision to accept your help but I just knew you were cool when you stopped. My dad and I used to sit and people watch when I was a kid so he could teach me how to read people. Daddy did well because my read on you was right on. If I had to guess you work for a local union, you hunt on weekends, you are a great dad and your wife thinks the world of you.

I appreciate you standing in the rain with me to put my 2 gallons of gas in so I could get off of the roadside; all the while positioning your truck to force people out of the lane closest to my car. Of course you would not accept any money for your good deed. You don’t know how many people just drove on by before you stopped. I feel bad for not having gotten your name but I didn’t want to pry into your life as you were so nice to me. So here is to you, Mr. Good Samaritan, David’s dad and my savior of yesterday. You are an amazing person. I believe in Karma and you got some good stuff coming to you.

Sincerely,

The stranded stupid woman who ran out of gas in the rain

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Way Back Wednesday...Hangin' Tough

This week is dedicated to my teenaged love affair with the New Kids on the Block (and my dad...you'll see). Or if you are a child of the 80's/90's you affectionately know them as NKOTB. I fell in love when Hangin' Tough came out and I never looked back.
Manda (my bff) and I made a pact to plaster our walls with pictures of the New Kids until our parents agreed to take us to see them in concert.
I had the beach towel, bed comforter, pillow cases with each guys face on it (how do you think I learned to kiss?) and just about every other crap item stamped with NKOTB. My walls were collages in tribute to NKOTB.
We waited for my dad to come home drunk one night and got him to agree to take us to the concert if we stood in line for the tickets. We were there at 6am and we ended up with 26th row center to their concert at Busch Stadium in 1991.
I will never forget it. Jordan stood over an air vent with his shirt open and I.thought.I.DIED.
Security had to come and ask my dad to kindly get off of his chair AND he smuggled a camera into the concert in one of the many pockets of his bugle boys. We just thought he was the coolest!
I remember the day of the concert like yesterday. Manda and I had a goofy photo taken that day and had it framed. It will forever capture the excitement of the day.
We also bought boxers and t-shirts which we designed ourselves with puffy paint to show our individual love to our seperate boys. I was a Donnie fan, she liked Jordan. Somewhere along the way we switched. I think it was when Donnie went badboy. Manda loved her a badboy.
Manda and I have been friends for 30 (almost 31) years...our entire lives basically and this was the first and last bit of music that we agreed upon. I went to rap and hip hop after NKOTB and Manda went alternative. We will always have our New Kids on the Block days though.
Last year when NKOTB toured in St. Louis I know a whole lot of grown ass women that dressed up in their old t-shirts and flair and went to see them. I still think they are hot, as you can see below but I think nothing would live up to that concert at Busch Stadium, just me, my bestfriend and my daddy.
Thankfully when my obsession passed as a pre-teen I never latched onto anything again the way I did NKOTB. Good thing because my parents probably would have had me committed.
Daddy says a true artist withstands the test of time. When you are still rockin' 20 years after your first big hit, you have made it. I guess NKOTB, Madonna and Michael Jackson all fit that bill. I know there are many more but those are the 3 daddy picked on. Clearly he was wrong. Oh, well. He still took me to see NKOTB with 55,000 other screaming teens.
About 5 years ago Eric Clapton came to St. Louis in concert. My dad LOVES Clapton but money was tight and he was not going to go. I called his wife and negotiated behind his back to gain his release for the evening to attend the Clapton concert with me. Our parents are used to doing for us so he was shocked that I had spent the time and money to buy us both a ticket and drive him down there for the show. On the way down I told him of mine and Manda's plot years ago to get ourselves to the NKOTB show. He had no idea he had been dupped. I told him Clapton was payback. Payback for the New Kids, payback for taking me to see the Big Bossman and Hulk Hogan in the steal cage at the arena and payback for being a fantastic dad!
He still says the New Kids are all a bunch of fags. I hated to admit to him that Johnny really is...









Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Amazing people everywhere

The many faces of Anne Frank...
.
Yesterday I posted the only known video footage of Anne Frank that was taken a year before her family was forced into hiding. The video shows young Anne on the balcony of her parents home watching a wedding procession take place on the street below. If you do not know of my Anne Frank obsession you might be wondering why this is important. Let me fill you in. I read the Diary of Anne Frank in the 3rd grade. I was a bit progressive with my reading choices. That year I did a book report on Flowers in the Attic which my teacher deemed inappropriate. I also read Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I have a Dream" which was made into a book about his speach of the same name. These were all excellent books but Anne Frank touched my heart, even at 10 years old. Fast forward a few years and I read it her diary again in junior high because my sister's high school drama club was putting on the play. I was older now and frankly, the same age as Anne when she was forced into hiding. Anne's words touched me more with my 2nd reading and I was a lifelong fan. Over the years I read the diary again probably 10 more times. In 2005 I had an opportunity to travel to Amsterdam and the only thing I required from the entire trip was to visit Anne Frank's house (or place of hiding in this case). We walked a few miles across town, waited almost an hour to get in and I felt as if I had entered a cathedral as soon as my feet met the floor that Anne walked on. The entire experience was completely surreal for me. The house itself is cool but the place the family hid was just beyond words to me. I have read the diary enough to know about the church bells she can hear from the attic and the view of what she can see. It is amazing to KNOW you are standing where she stood. You are seeing what she saw. I heard the actual church bell that Anne could hear from her little place in the world. The cut-outs of movie stars that she talks about plastering her walls are real and they are still there. Everything is as her family left it. It was a truly amazing experience for me and one that I will never forget. Anne's actual diary is part of the museum. Shelly Winters' oscar for her 1955 portrail of Anne was donated to the house and is proudly displayed there. The very end of the house is a simulated concentration camp where you can get a name and follow your person through to see if you survive. I opted to not participate in that. There are a lot of graphic videos and stories to make you see what people really went through. It is sad to say but Anne Frank started my love of the holocaust. Not the event but the story of survival that comes from it. For the same reason I am a huge fan of black history and have ready countless slave based books.

The attic window where I stood...

My next stop to learn more about the holocaust was Schindler's List, which believe it or not I read last year and just saw the movie a few months ago. Oskar Schindler has an amazing story. The man started out trying to figure out a way to profit through the war. He only resorted to taking on Jewish slaves because the wages were less and he could make more. Saving Jews really came later for him. He didn't set out to be a hero. He really didn't even see himself as a hero. It wasn't until he made a lot of money that he realized what was happening to the people. He spent the next few years spending all that he had made to buy the freedom of "his" jews. He was not recognized in his life for the hundreds and thousands of jews that he saved (not to mention their offspring). He was actually condemned because he was considered to be running a labor camp. He died alone and penniless. What he did have was given to him by survivors and family of survivors. He embodies the quote engraved on the ring given to him by "his" jews upon their release, "Whoever saves one life saves the world entire." The prisoners made the ring themselves out of gold crowns pulled from their own mouths.

Oskar Schindler

Irena Sendler is another great example of courage under fire. Irena was a polish social worker who smuggled more than 2500 jewish children out of the Warsaw ghetto. She smuggled out babies and small children in ambulances and trams, sometimes disguising them as packages. She kept the Jewish names of the children as well as their new adopted names in a glass jar in an effort to help reunite children with their parents after the war. Irena found foster homes in Polland, Germany and all around to take these children until the war ended. In 1943 Sendler was arrested by the Gestapo, severely tortured, and sentenced to death. ┼╗egota saved her by bribing German guards on the way to her execution. She was left in the woods, unconscious and with broken arms and legs. She was listed on public bulletin boards as among those executed. For the remainder of the war, she lived in hiding, but continued her work for the Jewish children. After the war, she dug up the jars containing the children's identities and attempted to find the children and return them to their parents. However, almost all of their parents had been killed at the Treblinka extermination camp or had gone missing otherwise. In 2007 Irena was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize and has been honored in many countries since. In May 2009, Irena Sendler was posthumously granted the Audrey Hepburn Humanitarian Award.

Irena Sendler (2005)
Irena in 2005 with children she saved.

And now the real reason for this post! Yesterday when I posted the video footage of Anne Frank out of sheer excitement my cousin sent me a message to check out Dr. Edith Eva Eger. Holy, amazing story. It was 63 years ago this month that among a huge pile of corpses, a small hand moved slightly from beneath the rotting carnage. A U.S. soldier investigated and discovered the hand was attached to the 40-pound unconscious body of a teenager. Barely 17 years old, this tortured daughter of murdered parents was transferred to a hospital in Czechoslovakia. There she was treated for a broken back and other injuries - and fell in love with a Czech freedom fighter hospitalized for tuberculosis. While she was still in a cast, new life was conceived. Doctors advised her to terminate the pregnancy. "They told me I was too weak to ever carry a child," she recalls. But after spending a year surrounded by death, the life force rose triumphant from the ashes. In 1947, Marianne was born. Today, Marianne Engle is a prominent psychologist and a professor at New York University who dined in Stockholm last December with the Swedish Royal Family at the Novel Laureate Banquet. The ballet and gymnastic lessons Edith Eger began at age four became her ticket to survival. Upon arrival in Auschwitz on the same transport as Elie Wiesel, Dr. Mengele immediately sent her parents to the gas chambers. He kept their daughter barely alive as a subject for his notorious medical experiments - and for his own amusement. She had trained to be a concert ballerina. Rather than performing in grand halls throughout Europe as she had once dreamed, the emaciated teenager from Kassa, Hungary, instead performed pirouettes and cartwheels to entertain Mengele and his murderous minions. Although the Nazis decimated her family and physically broke her back, Edith Eger left Europe penniless - too proud to apply for reparation funds from the German government - but otherwise intact. When she, her husband and 2-year-old Marianne arrived in New York, they lived in the Bronx with an aunt who warned them not to mention the Holocaust. In those days, having been in a concentration camp was a badge of shame. When they moved to Baltimore where her sister was living, Edith did piecework in a factory. There she deliberately used the "Colored" bathroom. Eventually, the Eger family (another daughter and son were born in the U.S.) moved to Texas where Edith's formal education resulted in a doctorate degree in psychology while her husband became a C.P.A. Because she so readily identifies with the underdog, Edith Eger has devoted her life to freedom fighting. (Freedom from fear, from anger and from unresolved grief, she says.) Eger marched with martin Luther King, Jr. in Selma, Alabama, and joined with Tibetans in a march to free Tibet. In 1985, she was invited to New Zealand by then Prime Minister David Russell Lange as a keynote speaker to honor Righteous Gentiles and she ahs spoken to the families of the victims of the Murrach Building bombing in Oklahoma City. And of course she's been Oprah's guest. As a resiliency expert she maintains that Auschwitz was the school that taught her everything she needed to know about life, about survival. "There was no Prozac in Auschwitz," she murmurs softly. It was the guild of surviving the Nazi atrocities, she thinks, that has driven her to be a high achiever. Why did I survive when others didn't? There must have been a reason. Although she was an overachiever professionally, the physic healing began only when she revisited her old alma mater, Auschwitz. "I wanted to look for the barracks where I danced for Mengele," she says quietly. When she visited the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC, and recognized her own photo, the internal healing process advanced. It only took 40 years. The goal, she says, is not to overcome but to come to terms with the 'cherished wound,' "The biggest concentration camp is in your own mind," Eger says softly but with conviction. "Healing is a lifelong journey." Since her graduation from the School of Auschwitz in May 1945, Eger has been on a lifelong inner journey from victim to heroine. By living her life fully, successfully, passionately and emphatically, she has turned adversity into advantage and is continually showing the way for others on the path. What does Edith Eger want carved on her tombstone. 'I NEVER SAID IT WAS EASY," she laughs.
Dr. Edith Eva Eger
It is amazing that we dwell on the small things daily and then you hear stories of true inspiration and triumph!