Wednesday, September 30, 2009

2nd Cup of Questions

Lidna, over at 2nd Cup of
Coffee, posts thought provoking questions each Wednesday. Some are fun, some make me squirm, but they all make me think! Thank you so
much Linda! Everyone else, Join us!

1. Tell me the absolute best way to watch a movwatch a movie.
We do old movie night a lot in our house. On our vintage 1999 TV,
with the assistance of Netflix. The ideal is to have all four of us jumbled on the sofa together. My teen daughter often lays on my lap wanting her back rubbed. The parakeet joins us as she sees fit. It is best when we also have popcorn. The movies range from Marx Brothers to 1980's TV shows like MacGyver.

2. Do you ever think about your own funeral? If so, do you have specific ideas about how you would like it to be?

No. No. Sometimes I think of the legacy I'm leaving and whether I'm doing anything worthy of remembrance, but nah, not the funeral.

3. Are you more of a giver or a taker?
Depends on your point of view, I guess. I would like to say I'm a giver, but I know that my giving runs smack into my taking when the giving isn't MY idea...

4. Vacations: planned activities and schedules, or
play it by ear?
I like a plan with a lot of leeway built in for life to happen. When I was younger I was much more into making 'every minute count' at places like Mouseworld. Let's just say I've matured and my family is MUCH happier.

5. What is one often overlooked item in your home that needs to be cleaned regularly?

Windows. We have gorgeous picture windows with gorgeous woods outside, but there are certain sun angles that make me cringe because EVERYTHING shows. So I just avoid going near the windows during that time frame and hope that no one is visiting at those moments either. Those moments only happen once a day on each side of the house -- so far, I'm safe. Ha Ha

6. Name a cause that means a lot to you.

7. Do you eat a regular old peanut butter jelly sandwich, or do you customize it? And by the way, jelly or no jelly?
I don't eat these anymore. When I was a kid it had to be smooth peanut butter, not too much, and grape jelly. Always grape jelly.

8. If we were having a conversation in person, how would I know if you were nervous?
I would talk too much. No wait, that's normal. Hmm...sometimes if I'm REALLY nervous, my leg trembles although if my cell phone is in my pocket on vibrate I've been known to think the leg of the person sitting next to me is trembling.

9. Do you have an elaborate bedtime routine, or just the basics of tooth brushing and jammies?
Just the usual, ma'am. No routines, more like collapsing.

10. Have you ever regretted something you wrote on your blog?
I actually started a blog once and then deleted it. It took a while for me to find my voice. Since then, I've been pretty mindful of what I write. I try to follow the "be kind" rule. Besides, that's what the delete button is for! LOL!

11. Has anyone ever told you that you look like a famous person or celebrity? Did you agree?
Many years ago I wore my hair in a way that looked like Meryl Streep (so they said). I guess I agreed enough to change my hairstyle. She is a beautiful and talented woman, but I like to be just me.

12. If you were going to dedicate a song to a loved one or friend, what would the song be and to whom would it be dedicated?
For some reason this morning the chorus of "How Great is Our God" is running through my head. So I guess it would be that chorus, dedicated to the One who gives us music. I really like this clip because it shows Chris talking about how the song came about.


Friday, September 25, 2009

Five Words

I love my blog-friend Quilly's little place of writing. She almost always makes me laugh or think -- and usually both! She is also very insightful and kind with comments. So when Quilly does a new or different meme, it makes me want to do it too. Yesterday she did one that Melly sent her. It's when a friend gives you five words (the friend picks them) and you write about what each one provokes you to write! Everyone gets a different 5 words. So if you want five words, let me know and I'll do the same! Here are the words Quilly sent me, and my responses.

Closet - this makes me think about the closets in our master bedroom. They have the bi-fold doors with a cabinet arrangement between them. It is all built in -- long before we bought this house. I would love to replace the closest doors with sliding shoji screen type doors, but I can't figure out what to do about the cabinet in the middle. Did I mention that the people who owned this house before us really liked color -- and the cabinet is blue? I did repaint the master bedroom and closet doors a few years ago so they are an off-white (it's called bone), but the carpet is still blue...The point here is I am frozen in indecision. I'd love to pull up the carpet and show/use the hardwood floors below, but DH prefers carpet. So I'd love to replace the carpet with something less . . . BLUE, but I have to figure out what to do about the cabinet. Sigh. Are there any decorators out there who make house calls for the price of a good cup of coffee? You can look at my closet contents and cabinet front and immediately fathom that I did NOT get the gene that allows some women to decorate with confidence and aplomb. Sigh.

Restaurant -- I have to say we are richly blessed in the Washington, D.C. area with a plethora of fine restaurants. Just about any type of food you can imagine is available because there are immigrants from every country in the world. Our favorite to dine out on is Thai. And there's the problem. In the past six months, our two favorite Thai restaurants have closed due to rising rents. Various local government authorities are working together to build a light rail system from Tysons Corner out to Dulles Airport so all the landlords along the way now think their property values should skyrocket. In the meantime, they're pricing hole-in-the wall places out of business. We tend to not like the "fancy restaurants". We don't mind pricey; we dislike pretentious. We like to find a place not much more highly evolved than "mom and pop" where we can develop a relationship with the staff. We've tried a couple since the others closed but we're still searching. In the meantime, within 5 miles of my house there are Afghan, Ethiopian, Indian, Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Thai, French and all other kinds of restaurants. No really good Mexican so we're in search of that too.

Bible -- Lodestone. I love reading the Bible. I didn't always -- it used to seem so stuffy and HARD. When I graduated from law school my favorite pastor gave me a Thompson's Chain Reference Bible. I was very far from the Lord then, and he knew it. He was a friend of my parents' and he and his wife stood in for my parents when they were far away. He told me that even if I didn't accept the truth of the Scriptures, that they were essential for a lawyer to study because their contents undergirded Western civilization. Wow! That was enough to get me into it because I loved the law and the concept of justice. And the more I study the more I see that. And the more the Lord graciously reveals to me about the contents of His library. I'm involved in a non-denominational Bible study called Community Bible Study that has opened the Bible up to me and made it food for thought and soul. Right now we're studying the kings of Israel, the divided kingdom and will also study the minor prophets. Stay tuned!

Strength -- My greatest strength isn't in one particular area. Some people can say, "I am a musician" or "I am a pilot" or "I have great hand-eye coordination." I don't think there's any one area where I can say I SHINE in STRENGTH. I am a little bit good at a lot of things -- so maybe that's my strength; I recognize that I'm not a standout in any one area, so I dabble in a lot of areas and use it to bring people together. As I've matured in my relationship with Christ, He uses that in me to bring people together to hear about Him. And often it is the MOUNDS of useless trivia I've collected in my brain that provides a conversation opener for that to happen.

Weakness -- My greatest weakness is lack of self-control. Whether it's with chocolate, baked goods, or blurting out something without thinking about it first, my desires often outrun my good sense. More, I often hear that nagging little voice in my head that says "NOT A GOOD IDEA" but run on ahead anyway. And my lack of self-control has gotten me into situations that weren't the healthiest. Yet, when I look back over my life at areas where that weakness got really out of control, I also see a pattern of learning, healing and God meeting me where I was, forgiving that lack of self-control (AGAIN) and gently inviting me to do better. I burn fewer bridges these days and I have useful information and guidance for my children whether they want to hear it or not. He uses my weakness to His glory.

Thank you Quilly for the words. I'll probably think about this all day long while I'm at DAY 3 of the Used Book Sale!


Thursday, September 24, 2009

Three Word Thursday

Thanks so much Quilly for priming the pump of creative juices once again. If someone who is visiting this blog likes to write, mosey on over to Quilly’s place and join in.

This week’s words: obstrigillate; ossifragant; mariturient

Although they searched diligently, the police officers didn’t find Adam on the premises. After a load of bluster, the Sheriff and his men left. Alice turned to her mother and said, “I’ve got to figure this out.”

“Alice, you can’t go out to the Island directly. Trudy is smart enough to have someone watching you. Luke knows how to take care of himself and Adam. You need to spend some time trying to figure out what’s going on. I suggest you start with the phone and computer,” her mother said. “You don’t have much time.”

Alice’s next couple of hours were spent doing exactly as her mother had suggested. She made some phone calls and spent a lot of time websearching. By the time they sat down to dinner, she had an idea what had happened and a plan. Alice’s father Sam joined them for the evening meal. After asking a blessing and starting the food around, Sam cleared his throat. “Alice, you can’t continue to obstrigillate this boy returning to his father. Your mom has filled me in on what’s going on, and I’m concerned you’ll face kidnapping charges along with her!”

“Dad, he had cigarette burns on his back and he was terrified! I can’t just abandon him as if this was some game up to this point. I could be sending him back to some kind of situation where ossifragant injuries are the next step for him. Don’t worry, I’ve called in a few favors and by tomorrow afternoon, he’ll have enough legal protection to make it safe for him to come in,” she answered. “Do you remember Ben Carmody, from my law class?” Her parents nodded. “He’s the Assistant DA in the county where Adam’s father lives. He’s on board with this."

“What do you think happened to the little boy’s mother?” asked Alice’s mother Katie. “That’s really troubling,” Alice replied. “Ben says the family dynamics are odd. The father, Trent Tradoch, is brilliant and has designed some of the basic frameworks that keep the whole internet running. A lot of his time in the past couple of years has been spent in California, away from the family. Whenever he has been in town he has taken Adam out of school to have ‘family time’. When this occurs, Adam’s mother, Sophie, has gone out of town to ‘visit her own family.’ It doesn’t sound normal or healthy, but no one ever reported any indication that the boy was endangered. His teachers say he acts normal, although he is usually a little behind when he returns to school. Because he’s a really smart kid and catches up quickly and frankly, because Trent Tradoch is really wealthy, no one has questioned the practice."

“The obvious place to start is with her family,” remarked Sam. “I wonder if Trudy’s thought of that.” Alice agreed, “Ben says they’ve inquired along those lines thinking perhaps she took Adam with her to her family. But here’s the weird thing – her family lives in Serbia. They says when she met Trent Tradoch she was mariturient but they opposed it. She married Trent anyway and they haven’t seen her in over ten years. My personal theory is that she is dead and her body is somewhere up on the mountain where I found Adam. And, that Adam knows something about it but will never tell as long as he feels threatened.”

Katie looked at Sam with raised eyebrows. He sighed, “Yes, you’re right, Katie, I’m involved whether I want to be or not. Okay, after dinner we’ll call Luke on his cell and figure out a way for him to get Adam to safety. But he can’t bring him back here – where do you think they should go, Alice?”

Alice beamed, “that’s the beauty of law school romances that parted amicably. Ben says I can bring Adam to him and we can stay there until this is all straightened out.”

Sam looked at her, aghast, “Alice, he’s an officer of the court, as are you, may I remind you! The two of you cannot take the law into your own hands. You’ll lose your licenses and he’ll certainly lose his position as DA!”

“No dad, he’s receiving Adam as a ward of the court until the dispute is resolved. He and his wife Tricia have children in the same school that Adam attends and are pillars of the community. Ben got his favorite judge to issue the order this afternoon. I’ve already called Luke to tell him the plan.”

Sam shook his head, “I don’t know how you do it Alice, but you always outthink the opposition! You must get that from your mom.”

As they started clearing the table, Alice’s cell phone began to ring. She glanced at it and saw Luke’s cell number displayed. She answered, “this is Alice.” A young voice said, “Alice, Luke is hurt. You need to come right now.”

“Adam? Adam?” but the boy had clicked off.


The 3WT #30 words will be: your choice from previous the word list, though you must use at least three.


Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Random Dozen

Thanks to Lid at 2nd cup of coffee, here are some more questions! And answers...(she's not responsible for the answers -- those are my own follies!)

1. Please share one middle school memory. It can be good,
bad, ugly, funny. Pictures or words, I don't care, just share.

We lived in Japan and I got to ride the base shuttle bus instead of a school bus. Very cool. I had some red stacked up sandals that had tiny white polka dots. This was a very big deal because I was born with very crooked feet that had required straightening with casts and 'special' shoes for years. I was rarely allowed to wear non-corrective shoes.
So, I was waiting for the shuttle bus at a spot a ways from my home (because I thought it was a 'cooler' stop). I was sitting on a wall with my feet stretched out in front of me, admiring my sandals and hoping someone else
was noticing how COOL they were. And a bird flew over. And did its business. And, well, yeah, I was mortified. All day. I did my best to clean it up, but I never looked at those shoes quite the same again! And for some reason I always imagined they felt squishy on one foot. (I'm re-using this photo from an earlier one -- but I have the sandals on it!)

2. What's your favorite Beatles song? Agghhh -- I shouldn't have read Quilly's answer! Now I have THAT SONG stuck in my head and it's NOT my favorite! Okay, I guess Twist & Shout. It always cheers me and leads me to embarrass my children as I sing and dance wherever it comes on.

3. If I asked you to describe your most comfortable outfit, what would it be? Jams -- with slippers.

4. Would you rather host a party or be a guest? Host...I like control.

5. Do you think we will move completely from traditional books to digital ones, and if we do, are you OK with that? No, there is something tactile about traditional books that digital will not be able to replace. But if we do such a crazy thing, you can all come to my house because we are really into the real thing.

6. Do you learn best by reading, listening or experiencing? Reading -- first to myself and then reading aloud.

7. If you are (or when you were) single, what is the kiss of death for you concerning the opposite sex? (That is, what is one trait or behavior or habit or anything at all that immediately turns you off from considering that person a potential match for you?) When their ego enters the room before they do. (See answer 10)

8. Snacks. Salty or sweet?

9. Look around you in a four foot radius. What object is around you that you didn't realize was there or forgot was there? How long has it been there?

Everything that's here I'm aware of -- it's just too much of it. Some of it is destined for freecyling, so its sitting here trying to remind me that it needs a new home.

10. What is your favorite Tom Cruise movie? Ick. I don't like him at all. I guess I'd have to say Top Gun because of the really cool flying, but that's the only part about it I like -- not the story or the cast.

11. You buy a bottle of shampoo and discover that you don't like what it does to your hair at all. What do you do with that full bottle? FREECYCLE!

12. Your favorite Fall comfort food? (Last week it was beverage.) Soups in the crockpot. Unfortunately, I'm the only one around here who is soup mad, so I have to make it and freeze a lot or give it away or have a party (see 4 above)

Monday, September 21, 2009


Here are some more license plates from my daily travels.


and my favorite, on a blue Ford Mustang:


Take This Tune

Thanks again to Jamie for encouraging and inspiring. Over at her meme, Take This Tune, she posts a thought-provoking video on Friday and challenges us to respond to it on our own blogs on Monday morning.

The painting she posted, September Morn, by Paul Chabas is exquisite. I had never heard of this artist, so I did a little Googling -- not much on him! I'll be on the hunt for more of his work now. Thank you!

And the video, ahhhh Neil Diamond. What a voice. In keeping with your theme of September, you highlighted that song. But it made me start thinking about his version of The Jazz Singer and the fabulous music it had in it. That made me start thinking about the scene where he sings the blessing for Yom Kippur. Of course, I had to find it on Youtube. I am not Jewish, but hearing these voices raised in praise to God strikes a chord deep in my soul.

Then I looked for "Coming to America" from the same movie and found that some people parodied it after September 11, 2001 and it became very unpopular because of that. All I can say is that if we let terrorists and small-minded people dictate our choice of music, they win. I refuse to let them have the date September 11, 2001 and I refuse to let them dictate my listening choices.

Let's Roll.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Word Beads

I stopped by to see Quilly, and she had a simple request for friends to play with. If it's words, and it's Quilly, I can't resist.

From Quilly: Word Beads come from Catchwords. I’m not quite certain why since any comments left on the site are erased and the game players are neither acknowledged nor encouraged to share with one another. Still, I like the words chosen, so would you play with me? Use the words, link to the Catchwords site, but come back here and sign Mr. Linky so we can all find each other.

Word Beads directions: Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to string the words below with other words of your choosing to fashion a sentence, several sentences, a paragraph, several paragraphs, a poem, or even a short story.

The words: piccolo; lack; unregulated; brochure; acquiesce

My effort:

Johnny Piccolo, eager to acquiesce to criminal behavior and with an accompanying lack of scruples, read the brochure about unregulated assets with glee, knowing that on Wall Street he would find his way to fleece the unwary.


Blessings Revisited

Thinking about those blessings, and reflecting on the list from Friday, it was way too much "MY" and "ME" in that. So I've re-written them.

a. Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ
b. The husband the Lord provided to me.
c. The children who live in my home that are on loan from God.
d. The home God has given our family to live in.
e. The good health I enjoy.
f. The good job the Lord has provided to my husband.
g. Our neighborhood
h. Our church family
i. Our friends
j. Our parents
k. Our opportunities for education that God provided.
l. Bible study
m. United States Citizenship
n. The ability to secure healthy food to eat
o. The ability to secure clean water to drink
p. Our pet bird
q. Good roads
r. Airplanes
s. Our computers and internet access
t. The torturer/trainer who made my muscles sore yesterday
u. Transportation that is comfortable and reliable.
v. A way to easily clean our clothes
w. A way to keep our food from spoiling
x. Our extended families
y. The schools our children attend
z. The many blog-friends I've met along the way!

aaahh..much better.


Friday, September 18, 2009

Blessings Friday #1

I'm going to try counting my blessings today...and to look for them in unusual places. Paul says to give thanks in all things... So to start, the first 3 are in order. After that, they're not in any particular order:

a. My Lord and Savior Jesus Christ
b. My husband
c. My children
d. My home
e. My health
f. My husband's job
g. My neighborhood
h. My church family
i. My friends
j. My parents
k. My education
l. My Bible study
m. My citizenship in the U.S.
n. The ability to secure healthy food to eat
o. The ability to secure clean water to drink
p. Our pet bird
q. Good roads
r. Airplanes
s. My computer and internet access
t. My torturer/trainer who made my muscles sore yesterday
u. My car
v. My washer and dryer!
w. My refrigerator
x. My extended family
y. The schools my children attend
z. The many blog-friends I've met along the way!


Thursday, September 17, 2009

Three Word Thursday

Thanks so much Quilly for priming the pump of creative juices! You hosting this challenge not only increases our knowledge of obscure words but helps us think outside the box to use them!

If someone who is visiting this blog likes to write, mosey on over to Quilly's place and join in. This is really fun, and there are cash prizes. I haven't won any yet, but I'm sure that's why we're doing it. Right? Right? Um...Quilly? You can get off the floor now. I don't know what's so funny...

In all seriousness, this is just a great opportunity to write creatively. Join us! The words this week: Obrumpent, quibbleism, temeration

Alice & Brian continues...

“Alice,” her mother began, “you know you have to call someone about Adam. He’s adorable and we love having him here, but this is technically kidnapping.”

Alice sighed. “I know, but he trusts me and I’m afraid of what will happen to him. Mom, he isn’t just some street kid that no body is looking for. Just listening to him speak you know he’s used to privilege.”

Her mother didn’t answer and Alice looked up to see a funny look on her face. She followed her mother’s gaze out the front window and saw police cars with flashing bubbles coming down the lane. Six police cars.

Alice bolted from the room and out the back door to the barn. It was purely instinct that caused her to yell to Luke, “take him to the Island!” Luke and Adam immediately ran out the back of the barn towards the lake that bordered the farm. The dogs started running with them but Alice called them back. If they were gone, the Sheriff would know some thing was up. Luke and Alice had a special place from their childhood that was very difficult to get to, and it would buy them some time for whatever was going on. She called the dogs over, clipped their harnesses on, and headed back to the house with them.

As Alice walked back, she tried to summon a calm demeanor. While she was terrified about what was going to happen, she couldn’t help laughing internally that for once, Luke had done exactly what she asked him to do without argument. The laughter died as she saw who was standing on the front porch. It was Sheriff Truman Halverson himself. His uniform was obrumpent to the point that anyone standing in front of the button trajectory might be in danger. Pompous, sharp as a whip and mean as a snake, Halverson was not one of Alice’s favorite people.

“Where’s the boy?” he demanded when she walked out. Alice directed the dogs to lie down over by the porch swing and countered, “all the boys that live here have grown up and moved away Sheriff.” He narrowed his eyes, “don’t engage in quibbleism with me, missy. I know you have Adam Tradoch here and his father wants him back.” Alice’s brain raced. “I don’t know an Adam Tradoch,” she answered. Halverson snorted, “he’s a 9 year old boy who ran away and whose father has tracked him down to you. His father has seen him here on the farm the last two days but hasn’t been able to get close because of your stupid dogs.”

Alice, never one to practice any temeration in her speech shot back, “my dogs aren’t stupid! They’re smarter than most police detectives!” The Sheriff didn’t take up the argument. Instead, he brandished a piece of paper. “Look, I have a warrant. You need to hand him over or we’re going to search the property.”

Alice’s mother joined them on the porch. “Now Trudy, you know that you don’t have to wave that paper and raise your voice around here. You’re welcome to search anywhere you’d like on our property.” Alice looked at her mother, hoping she knew what she was doing.

The Sheriff turned and motioned to his detectives to search. Then he turned back to Alice’s mother. “Katie, would you please not call me Trudy? It’s Truman now. Has been for 35 years.” Alice watched as her mother smiled gently and patted the arm of the most powerful man in the county. “You’ll always be Trudy to me.” A detective walked past them struggling to control a smirk. Katie continued, “now tell me all about this Adam Tradoch and why you have six police cars out here looking for him. A 9-year old boy runaway? Doesn’t that seem a bit of an overreaction? Well, if I had a penny for the number of times Brian and Luke ran away, I’d be rich!”

As Alice watched, incredulous, her mother managed to get the Sheriff to divulge what he knew. “Adam Tradoch is heir to a fortune. His father’s one of those IT guys who has made it big. He and the wife are splitting and the kid is taking it hard. The wife and kid disappeared two weeks ago. He traced them through her cell phone to a lake up in the mountains. Then the signal disappeared. When he went up there to look for them, he saw Alice’s car drive away with the boy in it. He traced the license plate and here we are. Now where’s the boy, Katie?”

Alice put on her “be nice to the cop” face and asked, “have you looked for the mother?” Halverson turned to her, “he isn’t interested in where the mother is. He just wants the boy.” Alice cleared her throat and her conscience, gazed directly at Halverson, and said, “well, he isn’t here.”

Next week's words: obstrigillate; ossifragant; mariturient


Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Another Random Dozen

You can play along with this meme with 2nd cup of coffee. Join us!

1. Which is worse: a long, boring meeting or standing in a return/exchange line after Christmas?
A long boring meeting. It's harder to stretch without being noticed. In line people just think you're weird -- not unemployable.
2. Except for maybe Rosie O'Donnell or Ann Coulter, nobody likes confrontation, yet we all have to deal with it. When you feel cornered and defensive, do you "bite back" or become passive aggressive?
Depends. If it's someone whose anger I fear, I'm p/a.
3. Do you know anything about your genealogical background? (What country, culture, ties to prominent historical figures, or other stuff.)
Yes. Back many generations. The most important legacy I received was from many, many, praying women.

4. What is the quickest way a person can endear him/herself to you?
Be honest and get to the point.

5. Cake, pie, cookies, or ice cream? (Note there is no "all of the above" option. You must choose one. Feel free to elaborate on flavor or memories tied to this dessert.) If you'd like, you can share a recipe, but you certainly don't have to.

Blueberry Swirl Cheesecake. Recipe is on my blog. We are part of a blueberry co-op that gets fram fresh blueberries in July. Awesomely sweet and delicious.

6. Females: Do you regularly change your handbag to coordinate with your outfit?
7. Are you task-oriented or relationship-oriented?
Task. I'd like to be otherwise, but I'm not.
8. IHOP, Bob Evans or Cracker Barrel?
IHOP. We meet there for our strategy sessions for Friends of the Library. We don't always get around to strategizing, but we do have fun and leave FULL.
9. Have you ever left a movie in progress in a theater? Why?
Yes. I thought it was stupid. Jurassic Park.
10. What is one area of life in which you would like to develop more discipline or organization?
Quiet Time in the morning.
11. Was middle school fun or painful?
Both. Loved having some independence; hated the hormonal stuff. And mean girls.
12. What is your favorite Fall beverage?
Red wine. Oh, well that's spring, summer, and winter too.


Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Appropriate Word Choice

I know my British friends feel like political incorrectness has stifled speech in Britain the way I believe it has in the U.S. But every so often you get someone in public life who calls something by its name -- and it is wonderful when the word choice is absolutely "spot-on". Yesterday, when sentencing the terrorists to life in prison, Justice Richard Henriques called it:

"a most grave and wicked conspiracy."

The individuals were actually sentenced to 40, 36 and 32 years minimum, but at their ages, that effectively means life in prison. In the U.S. we call that "getting LWOP'd".

Score one for the good guys. And many, many thanks to the countless people involved in the investigation and prevention of another 9/11. The majority of them go unnoticed and underappreciated. If you know/love someone who works in this field, please tell them a big

from me.


Questions About the Old Days

From Quilly, From Barbara -- a survey...A funny thing -- I have photos to illustrate almost all of these answers but I decided to spare you, and they're too difficult to line up in blogger!

Who was your first

“best friend”? A girl named Lisa who lived near us in Midwest

City, Oklahoma.

What was your most memorable birthday as a child?

I don't really have one that stands out. (But apparently I liked cake!)

Who was your first “crush”? A really cool boy named Mike -- fifth grade! I

wonder if he's on FB --

I think I don't want to see what time has done to him!

Where was the best vacation your family took as a child? When we lived in Japan we took 'hops' to Thailand, Korea, Taiwan and the

Philippines. Thailand was my favorite because it was so exotic although in

Korea we visited the DMZ and THAT was quite an experience for an impressionable 13 year old.

What was your favorite pastime as a child? Reading.

When did you learn to ride a two-wheel bike?

First grade -- after we moved back to Oklahoma.

What is your most traumatic memory as a child? getting in trouble for things I deserved to get in trouble for. It was terrible when my mom would look at me and say, "I am so disappointed in you."

What age did you learn to swim? We took swimming lessons from about age 8-11. I hated them because I was skinny as a stick and the outdoor pool was always freezing cold. I managed an inept fashion of swimming out of that for years. Then 3 years ago I decided that I was smart enough to figure this out and started swimming in the "Y" pool. All those years they'd yelled at me to breathe to the left came back so, being naturally rebellious, I breathed to the right and guess what -- now I am an accomplished swimmer! Even took group lessons to improve my stroke and endurance.

What smell automatically takes you back to your childhood? Chocolate chip cookies. That orange stuff they use in school when a kid gets sick. Sawdust.

What was your first pet? The first one I remember was a daschund named Hikokinomimi (Airplane Ears) but we called her Snookie. We got her when I was in 3rd grade and she lived until I was in college.

Who impacted your life as a child? Lots of people. Miss Berry the choir director. My first grade teacher, Mrs. Murray. Our post chaplain in Japan, Buddy Miller.

What is the most exciting Christmas gift you received as a child?

A microscope. (This is the kind of photo my siblings wish I would lose)

Who was the neighborhood bully when you were growing up? An unspecified member of my family.

Who was/is your best friend as a teenager?

We moved so, Gwen and then after we moved, Tami

What is the first car you can remember your family owning? An Impala Station Wagon. When we left Japan we sold it to a Japanese ambulance company.

What was the first award you ever received? Based on stupid stuff - Kindergarten princess ( I looked for the photo of this but can't find it. Oh well)

Based on merit -- Third Grade Reading Award

What is the name of the first sports team you played on? Fort Hunt Crew Team

Monday, September 14, 2009

R.I.P. Patrick Swayze

What a beautiful man with beautiful talents. He will be missed.

This Makes Me Sad

An article in today's Washington Post. The article was ostensibly about the Black Family Reunion, a positive annual event held on the National Mall in Washington where African American families gather to celebrate their shared culture, values, goals, hopes and dreams. It occurred this past Sunday. Today's article was about the view of some who were interviewed who believe that the people who protested against the President's policies were motivated by racism. Nothing else. Racism.

Yes, it was a reaction to the angry protest that occurred on Saturday. Many conservatives were demonstrating against the President's policies. I can understand why many people of all colors were unhappy about that demonstration. Like most public demonstrations (from all political spectra), this was loud, angry and unpleasant. These people are really unhappy. But it wasn't about race!

What's sad too is the attitude that disagreement with the President is solely based on racism. This attitude stifles dissent within the African American community. And pressure to conform is a huge impediment to progress for any community.

This linking "criticism of President Obama = racism" is just as unpleasant as "conservative Christian = Limbaugh fan." Or how about this one -- "Christian = Patriot". The clear implication of that would be "Non-Christian = Unpatriotic." Not only are these things bad logic, they're hurtful, untrue and destructive.

There's a quote from a 97 year old woman who said, "I've never heard anyone say that they wished the other presidents would fail." Well apparently she wasn't listening. For eight years after the "stolen" election, many of the people I know in the D.C. region folded their arms and resolutely refused to do ANYTHING positive to support the former president. There was an attitude of "if I can't have what I want, I just won't play until the game changes." They trashed him publicly, privately, and in our schools. They acted like spoiled children. So now the candidate they worked to elect is in office. Should conservatives take the same tack they took for 8 years? Of course not! If we all continue to do so, this country is doomed.

The whole business of painting with a broad brush is distasteful and unfair. It vilifies entire groups of people and prevents movement forward. We spend way too much time in this country focusing on what divides us, not what unites us. If we didn't learn anything else from the attacks on 9-11, we should have learned that.

So now, in addition to giving up TV (we did that a long time ago), and minimizing my audio intake from talk radio, I may just give up reading the Post. If their goal in journalism is to highlight what divides us, that's just hate-mongering.


Take This Tune

Each Friday, Jamie posts a music video for us to think about and respond to, with a blog link due on Monday. She calls it Take This Tune. It's easy to play and you get to revisit some interesting music clips! Feel free to play along.

This week's was an Earth, Wind & Fire clip. It was September, a classic tune that got stuck in my head and had me bopping around the house. It didn't really provoke anything this week other than absolute incredulousness regarding the stage costumes the guys wore. Oh my goodness! How many colors can you put on one outfit? Stripes, shiny, and capes. They look pretty ridiculous now, but in the 1960's I guess they looked normal. I mean, look at the gross caricatures of clothing Elvis wore. Must have been the drugs.

It is interesting how our brains try to make sense of lyrics we don't catch. For years, I've tried to make sense of "Ba de ya" -- and now I discover it is what it sounds like. I don't know if it has another meaning. There are so many songs from that era in which I'm clueless as to lyrics, it's nice to know that this time a nonsense sound really was just that.

Thanks, Jamie!


Saturday, September 12, 2009

Let's Roll

I didn't comment on September 11 about the anniversary. I'm not sure I can add anything meaningful. For people who lived in Washington DC at the time it was eerie. We're so used to air traffic overhead. For a few days, the only air traffice overhead was the sound of fighter jets protecting our airspace.

When I was in the Air Force and our conversations were interrupted on base by the sound of the F-16's lifting off we'd pause and count. It wasn't as if we could talk over their roar. We all called it the Sound of Freedom. Sometimes it was a four-ship, sometimes an 8. It was always very cool.

My job was to defend the young men and women who found themselves on the wrong side of the Uniform Code of Military Justice. It was a privilege to serve them because although none of them were completely innocent of all charges (none of us usually are), all of them deserved a fair trial. When I was called to defend a case at Bitburg though, it was tougher. The young man was part of a group of jet mechanics who had been importing drugs from Amsterdam, and using them. He was getting high, and then working on jets. My husband was a pilot. See the difficulty?

Yet, our justice system is dedicated to the proposition that everyone deserves a fair trial. So I made sure that he got one too. I tried to get him to plead guilty so he'd get credit on his sentence. He refused. He was more afraid of street justice back home in Detroit (if word got out that he cooperated) than serving time in the federal prison system. He knew the system was fair, and would protect his rights. He knew his 'hood would not.

On 9-11, none of the terrorists on those planes survived. Yet, if any of them had survived, they would have been entitled to defense in the best justice system in the world -- at no cost if they didn't have any money. They tried to destroy something they fundamentally did not understand -- that we choose to live under a government that guarantees us the right to speak, worship, and assemble freely.

That's what I want to remember about 9-11. That no matter how horrible the acts or how tragic the loss of life, it did not change what America stands for.


Friday, September 11, 2009

5 Miles, 10 Minutes

I saw all of these within 5 miles of my house this morning and within the first 10 minutes of driving. Of course later I almost had an accident because I was trying to read plates instead of paying attention to the turn! And then a car passed me with a vanity plate that read NYPDFD and I realized it was a not-so-undercover cop! He had seen the whole thing. How embarrassing. But my faux pas is your opportunity to decipher. Have at 'em!






ILLW8 DWNSZD (This was on a YUKON!)

PRTYVN GOHOKIE (This was funny because it was a MD plate -- Hokies are Virginia Tech)


Thursday, September 10, 2009

Too Tired for Creativity

So no 3 word Thursday this week. Instead, enjoy other people's creativity in these:





AEGNYR (Air & Space License Plate)




SINUP (Horse Enthusiast License Plate)



And while you ponder these, you can share my ire about the driver in front of me driving through Vienna who at 1117 am threw a cigarette out her window onto the street. I don't know who she was but her license plate was YBX5336. I know it had been lit right before because I could see and smell the smoke coming back to my car. Rude. Another one of those things in life that I just don't get.

That's all for now!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

How many cups of coffee was that?

The very kind lidy at 2nd Cup of Coffee asked some more interesting questions today. I need someone else's ideas today! It's been a whirlwind! So here we go -- better late than never!

1. What is something that you have changed your mind about either recently or over a number of years? Public School. We had our children in private parochial school for years. They got a great education in the classics. But they outgrew the setting and we sent them to the public schools and surprise! The teacher feedback system is better and the intolerance of any kind of bullying is way better.

2. Choose either subject, but does your a) church b) job feel more like a dental chair experience or an easy chair (recliner) experience? My job is being mom to two wonderfully creative kids and wife to one very supportive husband. So why does it occasionally feel like the dental chair? Because we're all imperfect!

3. Kisses or hugs? I actually typed "huts," which might have been a more interesting question.

4. What do you think is the biggest threat to families today? Giving in to the culture that says you have to go at the pace of a sitcom and buy all the stuff and do all the things that everyone else has/does.

5. A day after you grocery shop, you open a perishable item that is horribly spoiled. Do you take your receipt back to the store to be reimbursed or just throw it away and forget about it? Depends on how much I paid for it.

6. What personality trait (feel free to address good or bad or both) do you notice yourself adopting from your parents? My parents are still living and read my blog so I think I'll skip this one in the interest of not hurting anyone's feelings -- even unintentionally!

7. How many slices of bread do you leave in the bottom of the bag when you throw it away? Two? Three? Just the heel? None? (I really want to know if you eat the heel.) None! I have a 12 year old son! We can't get enough food in him!

8. What mispronunciation or usage error really irritates you? Your and you're. There, their and they're. "Aks" intead of "Ask".

9. In honor of the uniqueness of today's date, what does the numeral 9 mean to you? (Any special life moments attached to the 9th? Are you the 9th kid in your family? Can you count by 9s really fast? etc.) I've always thought 9 was my special number because I was born on 9/29.

10. Does the general color palette in your closet match the colors you chose to decorate your home with? Yes, but my closet is more adventurous than the paint on the walls!

11. When you're hanging out with friends in the kitchen, do you automatically ask to help, or do you sit there and chat until the host asks if you'd like to help? I'm not implying that the 2nd choice stems from rudeness or laziness, just not a first-response like it is for some people. I always ask to help and love it when people say yes! I've started to keep a 'mental list' for when people come to my house and I'm cooking so if they ask, I've something I can point them to. It's relationship building!

12. Let's end on a pleasant note: What do you enjoy about September the most? It's my birthday!


Monday, September 7, 2009

Take This Tune

Each week Jamie at Take This Tune posts a music video on Friday and asks us to respond to it on Monday. She is very generous in her terms, allowing people to muse upon whatever direction the video takes them. So far her videos have been provocative and inspiring! Thank you Jamie!

I have vague memories of Jimmy Durante from when I was a child. I recognize his gravelly voice and his pattern of speech, and I even remember that his caricature was always “the nose.” But I don’t know why I remember those things. My parents must have enjoyed his music or a television program and exposed us to him that way. They rarely took us to movies – there was no extra money to do so.

But, the minute I played the video from Take This Tune, I had a warm and happy feeling of revisiting a very safe time of childhood. And it was the aural response, not visual. I closed my eyes to listen to him sing that sweet song and reflected on the journey of life.

I know several ladies in their December period. I want to talk about three of them because the difference in their quality of life is enormous. One, “P”, is full of joy. She radiates happiness and love to everyone around her. She is involved in the ESOL ministry in our church, teaching and guiding. She takes good care of her health so she can do all of these things. She is also a beacon of light in her neighborhood. She is a wonderful grandmother to her own grandchildren as well as everyone else’s who are in her orbit. Her first thought is always for others and she's the most unselfish person I know -- yet it's not in a preachy "be like me" kind of way.

The second, “F”, is also very peaceful and mostly happy. She is a participant in Bible Study and continues to enjoy reading the Scriptures and helps with some children's programs in her church. But she is less involved in outreach ministries, and worries a lot about her health and her family members who aren’t believers in Christ.

The third, “D”, is bitter and unhappy. She does no charity or service work, and hasn’t for many years. She will write a check to a charity, but she doesn’t want to be bothered with actually doing anything. Her world has narrowed down to very few people who interact with her, mostly because of her toxic personality over the years. She is critical and judgmental. If you ask her about church she says she did that when she was young – in effect, she’s already paid her dues.

December can be very frightening depending on your perspective. I think "D" is frightened of what is to come. And while we as believers should feel some urgency to minister to her in this time of her life, she has wounded so many of us so many times, it is difficult to subject ourselves to it once again.

Jimmy Durante is long gone now, but if the persona he projected in this song reflects what he was like at the end, what a wonderful legacy for his family and fans. His sweet spirit makes me think of December with joy. My prayer is that I will be more like “P”, and less like “D”, and that I will bless those around me.


Sunday, September 6, 2009

Random Dozen

Okay, I'll bite. This time. I'm bored so rather than doing laundry, I'll answer these questions:

1. When you go to Wowmart, what one thing do you get every single time, besides a funky-wheeled squeaking cart full of frustration? I don't go there. Really. If I have to drive more than 5 miles to a store I prefer it to be the entire Outlet Mall.

2. What is something that people are currently "into" that you just don't get or appreciate? Texting their kids who are in school at the time.

3. What is something that really hoists your sail that other people might feel "ho-hum" about? Freecycle! Getting rid of stuff by blessing other people who really want it!

4. Favorite song to sing in the shower or car? Whatever I've most recently heard.

5. A really great salad must have this ingredient: feta cheese

6. Advice in a nutshell to new bloggers (one or two sentences): Be kind. Minimize the rants.

7. What was the alternate name that your parents almost named you? Do you wish they had chosen it instead of the one they gave you? Kenneth. I was supposed to be a boy. No, I'm pretty happy I'm not a girl named Kenneth and even happier they didn't make one of those contrived girl names out of that!

8. What in your life are you waiting for? For my son to actually practice trumpet so we can move on to the next thing.

9. You get a package in the mail. What is it, and who is it from? It's a birthday present and it's from my mom.

10. Today--what song represents you? I'm having a "My Wish For You" kind of day. (Rascal Flatts)

11. What is one thing that blogging has taught you about yourself? That I'm a better writer than I suspected.

12. How are you going to (or how did you) choose the clothes you're wearing today? What do they say about you in general or specifically how you're feeling today? I chose these clothes knowing I was doing nursery duty in church -- so nice enough for church, but not so nice I couldn't bear being spit up on. They say I was being practical but wasn't really displaying a servant heart!