It's a deal that has worked throughout human history: Your parents take care of you when you are little and you return the favor when they are old.
But sometimes the usual arrangement is turned on its head.
Maria Garcia is 87 years old. After a rich and rewarding life, she is now suffering from dementia. The person she depends on more than anyone else in the world… is her mother.
Her mother, Rosario Schielzeth, turned 104 this week. Her daughter had to be reminded every few minutes who the birthday balloons were for. And Rosario didn't mind answering, every time.
"She has the patience of a saint," says Maria's son and Rosario's grandson, Albert Garcia.
Albert, 60, describes his mother's condition as "happy clammy dementia," because she is never angry or upset. But like anyone with Alzheimer's Disease, she can be trying, asking the same questions over and over.
"My grandmother has to live with her 24-7," Albert says. "Not once have I seen her roll her eyes or answer curtly."
Since Rosario gave birth to Maria in 1925, the two women have almost never lived apart. When Maria was starting her own family, she had her own home, but it was across the street. And most of her life, she and her mother have lived under the same roof.
These days, that roof is in Sarasota, Fla. Every morning, the two women sit down to a leisurely breakfast. Rosario reads the paper and tells her daughter what's going on in the world, to keep her mind sharp.
"I talk all the time to her," Rosario says. "That's the best thing for people in that situation. Talk all the time."
Rosario herself has no trouble with her memory, or with anything else. She needs a walker to get around, but she doesn't wear a hearing aid. She doesn't even need glasses after having cataract surgery a few years ago. Apart from vitamins, she takes only one pill a day, a mild blood-pressure medication.
When people ask what's kept her going all these years, she tells them she watches what she eats and stays away from doctors.
Rosario has been taking care of other people her whole life. When she was a girl, living in Costa Rica, it was her siblings. She was one of ten children, so the older ones had to pitch in. Then it was her own children, and then her grandchildren.
When Albert was a baby his musician father, whom he describes affectionately as "a Puerto Rican Clark Gable with a pencil moustache," ran off with a stewardess. His grandmother, living across the street, "did the wash for both houses, cooked for both households," so his mother could go to work.
Not that her whole life was self-sacrifice. She had a passion for travel and even though her husband didn't, she managed to see much of the world.
He earned enough as a cabinet maker to support the family, so she went to work as a seamstress to earn travel money. With her girlfriends she took off for Thailand, Venice, Rome, Switzerland….
These days her journeys are more proscribed: the movies, the mall, the beach for ice cream.
But she can still enjoy her other great passion: Bingo. She and her daughter play at least six rounds every night.
Carol Festari, a live-in caretaker for both women, also joins the games. She says Rosario wins nine times out of ten.
They play for candy, to Rosario's regret. "Imagine if we were playing for money," she tells them. "You'd both be broke."
Festari says the first thing Maria says when she wakes up and the last thing she says before she goes to bed is, "Where's my mother?"
Her mother is always there.
Thanks to one Rosemount second grader, Girl Scout cookie season made it to Afghanistan this year.
Bella Johnson, a student at Shannon Park Elementary School, was in the middle of selling cookies earlier this year when she decided she wanted to do something to help other people. She wasn’t sure exactly what she wanted to do at first. She just knew she wanted to help.
“I thought for a couple of days and I decided I wanted to help soldiers, because we were talking about how hard it was over there,” Johnson said.
Tim Roberts, a former neighbor and friend of the family, has served three tours as a member of the Air Force’s Flying Vikings. Johnson’s own father served eight years in the Army.
“He tells me stories about how bad it was,” Johnson said. “He said the worst thing was the spiders and the snakes.”
As she made her rounds, Johnson asked people if they wanted to buy an additional box of cookies to send overseas. Very few people turned her down, and a few who didn’t want cookies for themselves bought a box to donate. By the time she was done, she had gotten about 450 boxes donated. The Girl Scouts added another 400, and when Roberts made a trip back to Minnesota carrying wounded soldiers, she sent the cookies with him for the return trip.
Johnson had done community service projects before through Girl Scouts, but never anything quite like this.
“I was older. I thought I was more capable of doing something bigger than I could when I was a Daisy Girl Scout,” Johnson said.
Johnson got to see the fruits of her efforts two weeks ago when Roberts’ wife delivered a package of her own. In a binder, Johnson now has letters from Roberts and from a medical director who has been handing the cookies out to wounded soldiers. Both thanked her for thinking of the soldiers. She also got patches from their uniforms and a camouflaged tube of lip balm. Johnson received the delivery at school.
The delivery, like the project that inspired it, was well received. It might even have inspired more good deeds.
“I was kind of really proud,” Johnson said. “I told a lot of my friends about it. They said they want to do something as good as I did.”
There definitely is good news in the world. Many people watch the television and see so much negativity. It really makes me want to turn off the TV. There really should be a balance and that is why we have The Good World News. With all of the negative news out there it really makes me wonder if the large media studios really believe that negative news attracts more viewers. I do not believe that is the case. Good news attracts just as much attention and it feels better :). Send us your good stories and we'll post them! There are so many wonderful stories, people, restaurants, and places. They all deserve to be talked about! Welcome to The Good World News.
Peace and Love,
You can't keep a good man down -- especially not Matt W., who just single-handedly made us vow to never say we're too tired for the gym again. The determined student, who has spastic cerebral palsy, was given the option to sit out field day at Worthington, Ohio's Colonial Hills Elementary School, but he chose to run in an event instead, despite the challenges of his severe disability. Matt starts to slow down about halfway through his own personal mini-marathon, but he pushes on as his supportive classmates and gym teacher cheer "Let's go, Matt, let's go!" and run right behind him until the end of his two laps. Have you seen anything more inspiring this week? Nope, didn't think so.
Misaki Murakami, 16, lost his house and all its contents when the massive waves of last March crushed his hometown of Rikuzentakata in Japan's northeast.
But now, thanks to an observant beachcomber in the Gulf of Alaska, he is set to have his football returned to him, identified by the "good luck" messages scrawled on it by former schoolmates.
"I'm very grateful as I've so far found nothing that I'd owned," the youngster told broadcaster TBS.
The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said the observant beachcomber, identified as 51-year-old David Baxter, had spotted the ball on a beach on Middleton Island.
"A school name is stenciled on the soccer ball, and his (Japanese) wife was able to translate the writing to trace it to a school," the agency said.
"This may be one of the first opportunities since the March 2011 tsunami that a remnant washed away from Japan has been identified and could actually be returned to its previous owner," NOAA added.
Earlier this year the US coastguard scuttled a 65-metre (210-foot) fishing boat that had slipped its moorings in the tsunami and was spotted floating off the North American coast.
It took months to find the right tree to build on, and when he did the spot was on public land looking down on a row of multi-million dollar homes.
But that didn't stop Joel Allen - he just built this incredible egg-shaped treehouse in Canada anyway, without telling anyone.
The computer technician-turned-carpenter started off by creating a scale model of his design to test its strength and durability, before beginning the months-long quest to find the perfect tree.
Joel Allen has built this incredible treehouse in Hemlocks, Whistler, western Canada
Joel took years to construct the treehouse. At this point he was working on the base
Without the money to buy property, he decided to do it on Crown land in the forests of Whistler.
'Finding that perfect spot on Crown land wasn't so easy,' he said. 'I had an informal checklist of requirements, the most important ones being that it within a reasonable distance to a road, yet out of sight and out of earshot of human traffic.
'The other requirement was hard to qualify, but was of prime importance: the shape of the egg would need to suit the environment and be proportionate to the tree. I couldn't explain exactly what that was but I figured I would know it when I saw it.'
Mr Allen found it in a patch of old growth near a development of multi-million dollar homes, then began secretly constructing it. The process took years, thousands of dollars, and many free items found on Craigslist.
Finally, he created the HemLoft.
Without the money to buy property, Joel decided to do it on Crown land in the forests of Whistler
Mr Allen found the perfect spot in a patch of old growth near a development of multi-million dollar home
Hidden: The treehouse in Hemlocks was built in a forest away from view of nearby homes
Admiring the view: Joel Allen in the treehouse he built using items from Craigslist
Asked by a friend why he did it, Mr Allen said: 'I found myself grasping for some sort of rationalisation that would make me seem less crazy.
'She said "no, why did you really build it?" For the first time in my life, I was forced to face the truth about it. I said "I guess… I just wanted to build something cool".'
'Since the treehouse was built on crown land, I don't technically own it, and so its fate is uncertain.
Joel said: 'The shape of the egg would need to suit the environment and be proportionate to the tree. I couldn't explain exactly what that was but I figured I would know it when I saw it.'
The computer technician-turned-carpenter started off by creating a scale model of his design
It took Joel months to find the right tree to build on before he settled on the spot
The perfect egg-shaped treehouse was built on a tree over a slope on the mountain
For three years I kept the HemLoft secret, but now that I'm finished, I've found myself wanting to share it…Coming out of the bush about the HemLoft is fun, however it poses a few problems; if people know about it, they might try to find it. And if the wrong people find it, they may make me take it down.
'It took a lot of work to build it, and I'd rather not take it down, just yet. So I've been thinking of ways to expose the HemLoft, while somehow making it legal.
'To the best of my knowledge, Squatting on Whistler Mountain, beneath some of Western Canada's most luxurious mega-homes would not be looked favourably upon.'
Joel Allen said: 'It took a lot of work to build it, and I'd rather not take it down, just yet.'
Joel Allen's construction was conducted in secret until he finally went public
Hannah Wyman is a fifth-grader from Leominster, Mass., who, instead of aspiring to be a game maker like many other kids, is one today. And thus far, she's doing a fairly decent job; Wyman was recently invited to the White House to show off her game "Toxic" to a captive audience, which included the president of the United States.
The game was created in "Kodu Game Lab," an application that is geared toward game creation for novices (a more visually based environment is provided, free of the need for extensive programming knowledge), and is available for Windows and Xbox 360. The latter version is why "Kodu" has been often compared to "LittleBigPlanet" for PlayStation 3, which also offers authoring tools, though Microsoft's take is a bit more extensive. (Msnbc.com is a Microsoft-NBC Universal joint venture.)
The Kodu forum thread details Wyman's background as a girl who is mostly passionate about dance, and once witnessed her college-age brother trying to program a game of tic-tac-toe as homework. The amount of hours he put in, for something so simple, was less than impressive. But when a teacher of hers at Saint Anna Catholic School showed off "Kodu," her opinion toward the process of making a game changed completely.
The result of her new-found enthusiasm was "Toxic," which has an environmental theme. The following video has Wyman demonstrating the game, and which was created last year. So technically she's a 10-year-old game designer as well:
"Toxic" was submitted to the Microsoft Kodu Cup, a competition aimed at game makers between the ages of 9 and 17, where it won the Grand Prize. The top spot nabbed a $5,000 grant for her school and a trip to New York City, where her game was submitted to Microsoft's Imagine Cup. Which was where Wyman's efforts caught the eye of the White House, and both she and her game were invited to be part of the White House science fair.
Wyman was one of 30 students who demonstrated her product to President Barack Obama himself. As Kotaku noted in its report, "Toxic" is a perfect example of the Obama administration's desire to push science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).
Is game making a possible career path for Wyman? It would certainly seem so. According to Joe Booth, executive producer at Microsoft Studios, "While our established video game rock stars like Cliffy B and Peter Molyneux continue to riff on familiar themes, Hannah, by addressing the themes that really matter to kids today, is demonstrating how digital media will be the art form of the 21st century."
It seems all too simple, a parakeet goes missing, but is reunited with its owner after telling police where he lives.
Piko, the 2-year-old parakeet, was found Sunday at a hotel in Japan. After spending two days at a police station, Piko started repeating his address to authorities.
Police tracked down the woman that lived there, and sure enough, she was Piko's owner. The two were reunited yesterday.
The owner says she taught her bird to repeat her address and phone number after losing a parakeet five years ago.