Who Cares What YOU Think Anyway…

Last week, I had a conversation with one of our young men at Aurora Central.  Some of our young men have followed the steps of Colin Kaepernick and have been “taking a knee” during the National Anthem in silent protest of racism and social injustice in the United States.  While I couldn’t recount the conversation verbatim, the general end result was that this particular young man doesn’t care what people think of him anyway.  And that led me to, Who Cares What You Think Anyway…?

So you know where I stand.  I do support these young men to participate in what I can only call their “Civil Rights Movement.” I don’t believe in taking a knee. I do believe that it’s kind of dumb, for lack of better word, to judge the men of our past with the eyes of our present.  I don’t believe in re-writing our history to suit the need of any one person or group of people. And… I absolutely, without a doubt, care what YOU think of me anyway.  I care what they think of me.

You see…badge-of-honor I think that we have to wear some type of badge of honor that we don’t care, because it helps us to either feel better about who we are or to perpetuate the myth that we’re stronger and because we are, we don’t have to “care” about what you think.  I think that couldn’t be further from the truth. I’ve seen posts on FB with respect to “taking a knee” and “White America” and they’ve had an impact on me and often leaving me questioning…why do I continue to do what I do?  Would it matter if I just stopped?

I as much a part of “White America” as those who thrive on displaying ignorance, discontent and lack of respect for another human based on the color of their skin.  For me, it is about being a good human. It’s NOT about melanin. It’s about sharing my gifts with respect to time, treasure, and talent to another human who could benefit.  Aurora Central, where that’s just where my heart lives. The generalizations we make, and WE includes everyone are damaging. I’d argue those generalizations are just as much part of the problem as the problem itself. human-firstSo boil it down.  Get to the nitty gritty.  This is about being a good human. It’s really that simple.  Be a good human.  Let’s toss out the golden rule.  Let’s stop treating people how we’d like to be treated and let’s start treating them how they’d like to be treated.

I care what you think about me. I care that maybe someday, when I’m old, the young people that I’ve interacted with will remember some random exchange that we’ve had and that the exchange came from me caring about what people thought of THEM.

Time for Trojan football!

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Oh Say Can YOU See…

francis-scott-keyWe know these words.  Oh say can you see…?  Here are some others I am pretty confident that we know:

IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.
The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,
When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.thomas-jefferson
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.–Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

bibleHere are some others… In the beginning.  And then… we have the last words of the Bible: “The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all. Amen” (Rev. 22:21).

I have taken on a new assignment, and my hope is that YOU will bear with me as I work through it. If nothing else this week, I’ve learned that we rely on words. Taking a knee… those are some other words I am convinced will live on — much beyond my time.  As will #blacklivesmatter #alllivesmatter #bringbackourgirls and truly the list goes on.

I’ve decided, in fact just today, to learn more. When we sing the Anthem, we sing the first verse, heck how many of us realize there is a verse two, three, four, and during the Civil War even a verse five?

What do we do with the other verses…?  What do we do with Every. Single. Word between In the beginning and The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all. Amen.?

My intention — to learn more about the players and shapers of our history.  Slavery and oppression is not an idea unique to the United States of America.  Though I’d argue that as a society while not perfect, I find we continue to strive to create a more perfect union, which doesn’t happen everywhere.  Consider that there are still places in the world where being openly gay will result in your death, that women not only don’t have the right to vote, they don’t have the right to pursue an education and remain property to the men that own them.

Let’s get real, and let’s have honest and I am sure difficult conversation.  We depend on it.  Many thanks to Julie Bailey, my high school English teacher as I imagine I’ll be relying on her expertise and critique often as I learn more and try with an open heart and mind to explore our challenges in this moment when the opportunity has been given.






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Spiderman Gets It…

Spiderman Gets It…

Wow.  I think that’s all I have today.  It’s been a trying week in our nation, in our cities, in our schools.  Social justice and responsibility.  Well guess what…? Spiderman Gets It. 

But I am afraid…really and honestly afraid the rest of us have missed the boat.  Collectively.  We blew it.  It bares mention, that my blog is mine.  What I say are my thoughts, and my words and I am ready, willing and able to accept the responsibility that comes with this territory and these choices.

My alma mater (high school) made local news today.  Some of our sports team have made a conscious decision to “take a knee” during the playing of the National Anthem.  Frankly, I find following in footsteps of Colin Kaepernick or Brandon Marshall isn’t how I’d exercise my right to protest. But that’s not important.  Here’s what it.  These student athletes are responding to what I perceive to the be their Civil Rights Movement.  Here’s the other thing… Baby Boomers, Gen Xers (I’m one of these) and Early Millenials aren’t quite sure what to do with this and believe me, the spectrum is as deep as it is wide.

Do these young people understand what it is they’re protesting?  Do they understand the consequences intentional and otherwise of their actions?  Do they know that there has been a member of my family involved in ever single war since the Civil War through the most recent Iraqi war?  Do they know that my Grandfather Capone spent the duration of his life after his service in WWII in a mental institution for the damage that being on a burial squad had done to his life?rights Rendering him unable to live a successful life at home with his wife and young son?  Do they know that I have a dear dear friend whose family suffered internment at the hands of our country during an elevated period of crazy?  Do they know that many of their classmates have escaped from intolerance and hatred that I don’t believe we can come close to enduring?

Do they know that a fifth verse to our National Anthem was added in direct support of our Civil War? Is it possible… even just for a moment to consider that perhaps Francis Scott Key wasn’t referring to slavery in the nation (though he was a slave owner) but rather the reach that the United Kingdom had exercised over the “New World?”  Is it possible that looking on historical data from more than 200 years ago is a dangerous endeavor when we’ve come so far? And view it with 2016 values and societal norms that simply didn’t exist in the early forming of our nation?

Do we know that we can track slavery to Biblical time?

I am in no way advocating for social injustice or it’s acceptance nor justifying its existence.  I am simply questioning.

I think on a surface level, the media, television, social and otherwise has created situational overload that has inundated our young people with sometimes subjective, and often times incomplete information.  And believe me, when I am referring to wrong, I am referring to wrong that lives in every space and place in our country regardless of race, creed, gender, sexuality or anything else.

At the end of the day… what are we left with?  I am left with an unending desire to demonstrate that I can disagree with you, without being disagreeable.  I don’t need to belittle your opinion, I don’t need to resort to name calling. 

We’re left with so many hurt feelings.  We’re left with confusion, because we know and have family and friends that have fought — and died, for our ability to have these freedoms that sometimes we and others may be just a touch cavalier with. We’re left with failing to understand the difference in our rights, versus our responsibilities.  We’re left in a space where neither the two shall meet.  I hope… that’s not true.

Spiderman Gets It…

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I wanted to write today, about yesterday, about how it was spent, and on 43…

I never have feared my birthday. I am not a “29 again” sort.  I’m glad for that because I really do think there is value in honoring what 365.25 (Ask Eric) days that make up each year in our lives.

I started the day gathering Jessica,  an Aurora Central student and honoring an alum of Aurora Central, Rick Crandall, and participated in the Excel Energy Day of Service.  Together, a team of people were able to make 500 blankets to provide to homeless veterans and children.  People from really every walk of life — sororities, congressmen, and just ordinary people tied to a common cause.  It makes me consider, why do we need an event to share a gift as basic as human kindness? Every day.

Toward the end 43of the event, I got a call that the Class of 1966 was ready for their tour.  Dan Lliteras, perhaps the hardest working man at Aurora Central was on his way, having just finished a reunion planning meeting with another class.  Not to worry, we were ten short minutes away and were happy to start the tour while Dan caught up.  It was an incredible gift from the Class of 1966 to offer Jessica and I a view into what Aurora Central meant, and means to them, a gift for Jessica to share what Aurora Central means to her today, and a gift for me to see both.  Did you know, for example, that Aurora Central only housed sophomores, juniors, and seniors in ’66?  Have you heard about Batman on the water tower?  Did you even know there was a water tower???

Off to the game…  Our Varsity Men’s Football assured me a win for my birthday against the Northglenn Norse.  The came through in amazing fashion including a 2 play drive of 89 yards that resulted in a touch down.  The score..?  23-6, a great way to spend the afternoon.

The rest of the day was fairly low-key — a great movie “Other People” with my husband — if you haven’t seen it, I highly recommend it.  A gift of beautiful flowers from Daniel… A camera from Eric to help me in capturing these little moments that matter in my life.

Perhaps, however, the biggest gift in my entire day was the periodic dings via text and status updates from Facebook reminding me of just how many amazing friends I have that fill the real estate of my life.  Maggee — you included me in seeing Pretty Woman maybe our junior or senior year, and that has hung on with me for more than 25 years.  Phyllis, you are and always will be my best friend, despite 30 years, distance, periods of communication and periods of away.  To my amazing friends — my young people at Aurora Central — thank you for allowing me to be a part of what you are busy creating today, I love you all and am always so proud of the adults you are building and becoming.

I could go on. and on. and on.  But with heartfelt thanks because you gave me the best 43… I could ever imagine.

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Some days…

Some days… I just want to throw in the towel.  Life is hard. 

Today, well today it just flat-out sucked. The kind of suck where you just wanna take a redo, for a million reasons at least. I’m in one of those “seasons,” funny that we call them “seasons” of my life where frankly nothing is coming easy.  In fact, the more difficult the better, or so it seems.

Just over a year ago, it was because of  health risks and concerns.

Just over a year ago, it was a change to my employment and the ownership of the company I work for.Life is hard

In December… it was the loss of my Aunt Diana, taken too soon from a disease too brutal to understand.

This year…

It’s because of more health risks.  I think I just may stop seeing the doctor all together as more often than not she’s the bearer of crap news. 152/88 you say?

Employment… a year later, we’ve added people, and subtracted; and it just doesn’t seem to come easy. We’ve combined people from completely different work cultures.  Unmet expectations… blending culture, and a litany of challenges on an almost daily basis, new software, new hardware, broken this and that.

Some days… there have even been challenges in the places I least expected… in spaces and places where I volunteer and find joy.  Even those spaces have not been immune to heartache, hurt feelings, misunderstanding and resentment — and those feelings are just MINE.

I can only wonder what else the list would bear if we exposed all of the feelings of those impacted and involved.

Some days… there is no break.

I suspect that I’ll have many more of those some days…

I suspect that I’ll wake up tomorrow, dust myself off and start over.

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You Can Always Come Home…

Our roots run deep.  I was born in Waterbury, Connecticut on September 10, 1973.  We left to move our family to Colorado in the summer of 1978, I don’t know every reason my parents had for doing so.  Opportunity, perhaps.  I don’t know.  What I do know, you can always come home. It’s July 4th weekend and my family and I are back home, Waterbury, Connecticut, USA.

62 Hamden

62 Hamden Avenue, Waterbury, CT both my grandmother Carolina and my father Vito’s childhood home.

Facebook is powerful.  It is because of Facebook that we’re here.  What an amazing thing to connect my family some 37 years post move.  Of course I had a few trips back to Connecticut after we moved.  My dad and stepmom brought us back when I was about 14 ish?  And my brother and I traveled back twice in preparing my Grandmother for her move from her home, the place of her birth some 80 years before. And of course a trip home at the death of my grandfather, a man I hardly knew, for the damage WWII created in his life, rendering him incapable of returning home to his family.

We’re here for the DeLeo family reunion.  An idea born of Facebook is now here.  My dad Vito and Carolyn (parents) have made the trip as well.  My other siblings are not here and the reasons eh, they’re reasons and all important, another family reunion, work commitments, life commitments.

1910 Census Nuncio

My great great grandfather’s 1910 census record. I think.

I am looking forward to reconnecting to my family, people I share history with, pretty deep history.  My great grandfather immigrated in the late 1890s seeing perhaps the same opportunity my parents were seeking in moving us to Colorado, 1978. I am looking forward to a conversation with my Aunt Helen, our remaining matriarch of the greatest generation, filling in the gaps I have in my family’s story.  I am so grateful and so blessed that you can always come home.



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Let Me Tell You About Marriage…

Well, let me tell you about MY marriage. Today marks the fifth anniversary of saying “I Do” to my husband Eric.  It’s been 1826.25 days… how do we get a 1/4 of a day?  Ask Eric, he’ll explain it.  It’s been 43,830 hours, it’s been 2,629,800 minutes AND 1.577e+8 seconds.  That’s a lot of time.

Now here’s the truth.   We go in to marriage hopeful, marryphoto 4ing our best friend knowing that and excited for the possibility that lies ahead.  There are trips and travels.  The struggle of being a step-parent, the struggle of being a parent.  There are ups and downs, there are harsh words that should never be nor never have been spoken.  There is sadness and pain, the loss of a pet, the loss of a family member. Marriage isn’t always pretty.  This is not a Hallmark Channel movie.

Now here’s MORE truth. In spite of ups and downs and more ups and downs, there is no one that supports me more than Eric.  He endures my crazy… some times, it’s with ease, and sometimes it’s not.  But… he always does. I hope, honestly do, that he feels the same way about me.  Because I want to be his biggest fan and greatest supporter.

So here’s to Marriage.  Let me tell you about marriage… my marriage. It’s worth everything.  So this weekend I will celebrate 1.577e+8 seconds of life with Eric and our family and look forward to the next… 1.577e+8 seconds.



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