Saturday, July 29, 2006

Going on Vacation

We're leaving for vacation tomorrow. The first time ever without the kids. Just Sean and me. Alone. Together for 24 hours a day. For 6 days. It will be nice but strange. We've been away together for weekend getaways but never away this long without the kids. Will we still like each other by the time this is over? I hope so, I'll let you know.

We're going camping. Summer going camping you wonder. Yes, I've been camping for 40 years, 22 of them with Sean and with kids for the last 15 years. We go to the 1000 Islands region on the St. Lawrence River in NY. This is a special place to both Sean and I. When we were kids unbeknown to us we each spent time there every summer just 20 minutes down the road from each other. We probably saw each other in the ice cream parlor. We will be camping in our tent camper and living outside for most of the time. Now I will admit, I'm pretty prissy about things. I hate insects. I need to have a nice, fluffy, king size bed, my own bathroom, hair dryer etc. but where we camp at a small park on the river it has no electricity on the sites. That means no lights or TV. Electric in the bathroom but that's it. It doesn't seem like me to basically live outside for a week without modern conveniences but I enjoy it. It is a time to relax and recharge. It's very peaceful. We spend our days fishing, reading, swimming and being lazy. At night there are no lights or TV but campfires and bright, twinkling stars. The evening is spent watching for shooting stars and satallites. See you in a week.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Flowers vs Vegetables

These bumblebees was taken by Sean.

My banana peppers

I love my flower garden and never grew vegetables before til this summer. A student gave me some little pepper plants and I couldn't just toss them so I planted them. To me flowers are so pretty, vegetables well, they're just vegetables. I don't eat many vegetables just salad, sweet corn and some tomatoes. Well my peppers are growing and I am suprised at how much I enjoy checking them out everyday to see how much they've grown. When I was a kid, my parents had a huge vegetable garden, we never had a flower garden. One of my chores was to help weed it (ugh) and pick tomatoes. Well one day I surprised by a tomato worm and just about died from the horror of it. (Not really, but it was pretty shocking and gross) I think I made a decision then that I will never grow vegetables. Although there can be some pretty ugly bugs in flower gardens the beauty of the flowers make up for it. Maybe I have changed my mind about vegetables.

The dreaded, hideous tomato worm!

The Tomato hornworm (Manduca quinquemaculata L.) is a green caterpillar, the larval form of the Five-spotted Hawk moth moth of the Sphingidae (Sphinx) family common throughout the American continent.
An insect pest of tomato, it can also attack eggplant, pepper, and potato.

Oh no, I just found out that thing likes peppers too!

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Happy Birthday Mick Jagger

Today is Mick Jagger's birthday and it happens to be mine as well. When I was a kid I thought it was cool to share a birthday with a rock and roller and although the birthdate is the same, I'm younger than him. :)

Leo! About Your Sign...
The Leo type is the most dominant, spontaneously creative and extrovert of all the zodiacal characters. In grandeur of manner, splendor of bearing and magnanimity of personality, they are the monarch's among humans as the lion is king of beasts. They are ambitious, courageous, dominant, strong willed, positive, independent, self-confident there is no such a word as doubt in their vocabularies, and they are self-controlled. Born leaders, either in support of, or in revolt against, the status quo. They are at their most effective when in a position of command, their personal magnetism and innate courtesy of mind bringing out the best of loyalty from subordinates. They are uncomplicated, knowing exactly what they want and using all their energies, creativeness and resolution to get it, as well as being certain that they will get whatever they are after. Their followers know where they are with Leonians. Leonians think and act bigger than others would normally dare; the ambitiousness of their schemes and idealism sometimes daunt their followers, their practical hardheadedness and ability to go straight to the heart of any problem reassures those who depend on them. If Leonians meet with setbacks they thrive on the adversity.
On the whole they are powers for good, for they are strongly idealistic, humane, and beneficent. They have powerful intelligence and are of a broad philosophical, sometimes religious, turn of mind. Those who are devout may become very obstinate in upholding traditional beliefs and will cling tenaciously, but with complete sincerity, to practices and doctrines which liberal thinkers regard as absurdly out-of-date. These will be found as the 'lions' of industries, and in the forefront of the cutting edge of technologies.

Their faults can be as large in scale as their virtues, and an excessively negative Leonian can be one of the most unpleasant human beings imaginable, displaying extreme arrogance, autocratic pride, haughtiness, and excessive hastiness of temper. If jealously suspicious of rivals, they will not hesitate to use cunning, lies and trickery to discredit them. Self-centeredness, greed for flattery, boastfulness, and bombast, pomposity, snobbish superiority, and overbearing, and intolerant disdain of underlings; to whom they will nevertheless delegate the carrying out of minor details in their grandiose schemes, and from whom they are not above borrowing immoderately if an occasion necessitates it. Any of these can be characteristic of Leo.
low. Fortunately it is rare that a Leo is so undisciplined as to give way thoroughly to this list of vices, and their tendencies to them are usually balanced by an innate wisdom. Those who are afflicted with them also have the intelligence it takes to consciously and actively overcome them.

In his or her relations with others the Leo type is open, sincere, genuine and trusting. Outgoing, spontaneously warm hearted and plain spoken, though never lacking in kindliness, Leos are more disillusioned than the average if let down by those they trust. They are not good judges of character and are inclined to favoritism and an exaggerated faith in their followers which too often ends in disappointment.

Zodiac overview of positive and negative characteristics:

The Good Ones
confident, romantic, *expressive, clever, noble, *loyal, *warm hearted, *determined, energetic, courageous, *gracious, *friendly,* fun, cheerful,* encouraging, irrepressable, *generous, *Born to Rule.

The Not so Good Ones
arrogant, pushy, haughty, smug, over ambitious, lustful, *controlling, *bossy, interferring, pompous,* tempermental, patronizing, proud, cunning, vain, brash, jealous, *stubborn.

The starred traits are ones that I am most like.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Are You Lonely?

My last post about my girlfriend moving got me thinking about a story that was in the news a few weeks ago about how Americans are lonlier than they used to be. Yes I believe that could be true in many cases for several reasons. Many people are so busy with their job or jobs, trying to make ends meet that it doesn't leave any personal time. When they do get some it may be just some much needed peace and quiet to themselves. Maybe they have other commitments like school or raising a family that don't leave time left for additonal people. Sometimes there isn't much freetime left to put into an additional relationship. Any relationship whether it be with a spouse, significant other, child, sibling or friend requires work, an effort that can be rewarding but work nonetheless. Sean and I have several couples that we're friends with and they live right in town but trying to work around everyone's schedules is challenging. We don't see each other as often as we would like but when we do we have a blast. There are different levels of friends also. I have many friends at work, to me they're more than co-workers, everyday we have fun doing something but I rarely see them outside of school. They all have their own lives as do I. My sister is my other best friend but I don't see her as much as I would like. They have two kids 10 and 8 years old so they lead a busy life. In those early years of parenthood your life seems to revolve around your kids. Plus there are things that I wouldn't tell her, not many but some. There are people that have tons of aquaintances but no real friends. I think of Paris Hilton. Does she really have anyone she can depend on, talk to and trust? I doubt it. (Sorry Paris if you're reading this :) ) Then there are people that don't know how to be a friend. In order to be a friend you must be kind, thoughtful, be a good listener and treat them the way you like to be treated. Do I sound like a mother or what? I deal with children all the time at school that don't have the skills to be a friend, they just have no clue about how to do it. There are some people that are very private and don't really care to cultivate friendships, if that's what they like then that's okay too.

Something this article blamed the lack of friends on was the internet. Since the dawn of the internet people don't need to get out and mingle anymore to meet others. It doesn't allow you to be face to face with a person. Many times people are not who they claim to be online. There can be a lot of projection of what they think you want them to be. As for me, what you see is what you get, I really don't know how to be anything but myself. I have made several good friends on the internet that I love talking to, feel that I can trust and have a good time with. They have become important to me, I value their opinions and their friendship, look forward to chatting and yet I've never met them face to face. Sometimes people just want someone to talk with and open up to that won't judge them. For some that's easier than face to face.

What I'm trying to say in a nutshell is this; I'm happy to have such wonderful friends whether they be friends I can see and go out with or friends that I can talk to online. I actually talk with my online friends more often so when I don't hear from them in a few days I get antsy and wonder what's up. So don't leave me hanging, drop me a note!

Sunday, July 23, 2006


It is a beautiful day today, the kind I love. The sun is shining, the birds are singing, the sky is blue with big, fluffy white clouds, a breeze is whispering and its 75 degrees. Why am I blue? One of my two best friends is moving away this week. the other is my youngest sister. Although we have only known each other for 6 years it is like we have known each other for much longer. I introduced myself to her at our son's baseball game. They moved up here from Alabama because she wanted Nick to go to a northern high school. He was 13 and so was my number one son. They ended up on the same team. She would sit by herself keeping a score book for Nick. I went over and introduced myself, I had already met her son. I told her that if he ever needed a ride to practice I would be happy to take him. That was the begining of a fun friendship. What was extra fun for me was that since she was new in town I could introduce her to all my favorite places and things to do. It also made me see things through a new set of eyes. She can be very demanding, blunt and sometimes thinks the world revolves around her. Sean doesn't really care for her but he did help her with many things as she is a single mother and homeowner. She isn't really the type that I would normally be friends with but her other qualities made up for it. We just clicked. I accept her for what she is and she accepts me for myself. She even bought a house down the road from us. We both are different yet the same. One example is mothering. I am a nurturer. I tell my children all the time I love them. I'm the touchy feely type. I give hugs and kisses freely. I listen and speak with a soft word. She is not the nurturing type. She doesn't show her affection that much, tends to yell and argue with Nick. I do have no doubt that she loves him though. For several years due to her job she worked many long hours and Nick spent many hours at our house. Sean became a father figure to him and I loved him like he was my own. We kidded him that he had two mothers and Sean had two wives. Eventually when I was with her and Nick and she would get on him about stuff he would look at me for help. Not good. There is no way I wanted to replace her as his mother. One day we had a blow out over something rather stupid, I can't even remember what it was. I sent her a card and apologized but got no response. I think the blow out had more to do with what she was feeling about my relationship with Nick. We didn't speak for 8 months. It was the longest 8 months of my life. I had to start taking a different route to work because I had to go by her house and it was painful for me. Finally, knowing it is not her personality to do this, I wrote her a letter, we got together and cried and picked up where we left off. One thing we did notice with her is that she was a kinder and gentler version of herself. She helped me through a very emotional, painful time in my life. She was there for me in my darkest hour and helped me pick up the pieces. Now who will go to the garden store with me and spend hours looking at plants? Who will go to Target with me and buy stuff we don't need? Who will go to the library with me to return our overdue books and see who has the bigger fine? Of course I have other friends but everyone is busy with their own lives and we were are own little duo. Now our children are pretty much adults. Nick is moving to Louisiana to live with his father for a while and she is moving away to where she was born and raised, moved from when she was 18 and still has family there. She made this decision with out talking to me, which was a good thing. I would have complicated it for her. Although I don't want her to move I understand her reasons for it. She tells me all the time that the reason she rented a two bedroom apartment so I can come and stay over. So this week I will say good bye to my "other" son when he leaves for Baton Rouge and to my best friend when she moves 60 miles down the road.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

More Flowers

Just when you thought I wouldn't post anymore garden pictures here's more.
This is St. John's Wart. The flowers look like yellow puff balls and the bees love them.

Our hydrangas are having a great year. I don't know why. In past years we might get 4 or 5 blooms but this summer they're heavy with them.

The trumpet vine always does well, it seems to grow before your eyes. It reminds me of a waterfall or fountain the way the vines cascade down and flower. I read an article that stated vines in general are growing rampant due to pollution. They apparently like carbon monoxide. In some forest areas they are strangling the trees. It specifically mentioned poison ivy vines and honeysuckle. I'm not sure about it though, my honeysuckle that we just planted this year is not looking so hot.

Black Eyed Susan is a great plant, comes back every year and the flowers last a long time. Pink Coneflower is next to it.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Ohhhhh, My Aching Knee

For those of you that don't know me, I have bad knees and most often they bother me but sometimes more than others. I only have 30% knee space left in both so when that's gone it will be bone on bone and time for replacements. I'm loosing about 10% a year so unless it stops, bionic knees, here I come. The doctor is trying to hold off because I'm pretty young. Finally, something I seem to be too young for! Anyway, a knee joint replacement lasts about 10 years or soand I would be looking at possibly 3 in my lifetime. The longer I can hold out, the better technology gets. (Note to number one son; go into orthopedics) Over the counter drugs can no longer to the job as far as anti inflamatories go. Now I go and have a shot under the kneecap which really works for me as long as it lasts. The first one lasted 5 months, the doctor thought I'd get 9-12 months out of it. No such luck, only 5. Two weeks ago just walking up stairs, bingo, the knee went out and has been misbehaving since. I went yesterday for my second shot. Even my doctor commented on the fact that I have a pretty good pain tolerance, I did birth 2 babies with nothing (I'm not saying that it didn't hurt, holy crap it did and I have nothing against anyone who uses drugs in labor, you go girl, do what it takes!) , but boy did that shot hurt. Much more than the first time. It is 40m Triamcinolone Acetonide with Lidocane 1%. Only 1% pain med. I'm asking for more next time. My doctor told me that my knee will hurt more before it gets better and I will be cursing him tonight, that didn't happen the first time. It sure as hell did this time. My knee must have been worse this time to start with. What this whole post is about is to not whine and complain about my knee, I have this theory that the more you complain, the more it hurts, but to talk about the things we take for granted. Like walking.
Last night my knee hurst so much, terrible pain radiating to my toes to my hip and I could hardly walk. At times, I couldn't walk period. It just throbbed and if I bent it at all, stabbing pain, tingling and some numbness. So much so that I was sick to my stomach. Here it was my number 2 son's first day on the job as a scooper at Ben & Jerry's ice cream store, the night before it opens and it is friends and family night. Any ice cream on the menu for a dollar. He was so excited and couldn't wait to serve us up a waffle cone. How could I not go. So I limped along and while I was there I could feel my leg swelling. I couldn't wait to leave, couldn't even eat my Phish Food ice cream (chocolate ice cream, marshmallow and caramel swirls and fudge fish in case you were wondering. I really wanted Oatmeal Cookie Crunch, cinnamon ice cream with chuncks of oatmeal cookies and fudge but that flavor wasn't in yet but I digress) I could hardly walk to the car. By the time I got home I couldn't bend my knee let alone pick my leg up off the floor to walk. Pretty comical to see me try and get up the stairs. Unfortunatly we have a 3 level house. Stairs everywhere. Sean got me situated in the recliner, leg up, my book, laptop, glass of water, pillow and blanket and I planned on sleeping in it. Phone rings, number one son asks can he bring some friends home to watch a DVD on the hi-def TV? Oh, and he was at the end of our street when he called so in the door they come before I can even get out of the chair. I was a sorry sight, made them wait in another room til I got out of there. Now I have to go up another set of stairs and into bed. I felt like I was about 100 years old. Everything was such an ordeal and my leg...the f-bombs were flying and I don't usually swear. My whole point is this, and aren't you glad I am finally getting to it; when you can run, skip, jog and even just walk, you don't realize how lucky you are. I was never so incapacitated in my life. There are people that live with this type of problem every single day. I feel bad for them but couldn't totaly understand what its like to be them. Now I do. Once they may have been an athelete or an average joe and now they live with pain everyday and can no longer run with the wind or just run after their kids. Not to put this thought into your head but even going to the bathroom was an Olympic event. These are things we do everyday without thinking about it. I tell Sean all the time, I don't want to be an old lady in a scooter someday, I don't want a handicap parking tag. I want to be as mobile as possible and not give into this. I will try to remember there are so many people that have it worse and deal with this. So next time you see someone limping along, breaking out in a sweat, grimacing, don't think to yourself, "Oh that poor person" I'm not the type that looks for sympathy but think, " Wow, I've got it good" and enjoy it. By the way, this morning I can bend my knee somewhat and it is not as painful as last night. I will feel better in a few days. Thank you Sean for taking such good care of me and keeping your cool when I wasn't. Love you.

Monday, July 17, 2006

A new T-shirt

I'm going to market a shirt that says, "Warning, I am 19 almost 20 and I live with my parents but I sort of wish that I could live on my own because I'm used to doing my own thing while I'm away at college and my mom makes me do things like errands and stuff and go places with them that I don't want to go to."
There comes an age when your child is caught between childhood and adulthood and it's hard for them. What they don't know is that it is harder for their parents. Number one son will be twenty years old in September and a junior in college. He's been living away from home for two years except for the summers. While he may be living away from home, he's not really been "on his own" but in a dorm. A place that is by no means luxurious but someone comes in and cleans the bathroom and he is fed daily. What he can do is come and go as he pleases and have complete control over his freetime schedule. Now he's home for the summer, has a full time job that he has to get up for at 5:30 am 5 days a week and has to put 20 bucks worth of gas in one of the vehicles. His phone rings constantly or I should say vibrate so all of a sudden he's talking. I can't get used to that.We only ask that he let me know if he will be home for dinner and where he's going in our cars. His social life is suffering because of the early hour he has to get up but he knows his limitations. We have two vehicles, a Honda CRV and Ford Explorer and 99% of the time one of those are available for him to drive. It is so strange to me when he gets up and leaves. To his credit he does ask if he can use a car. Sometimes when his friends are over and they all go out he just walks out the door, doesn't say good bye or say where he's going. He is used to not having to do that while he's at school. Not going to fly at home. He has gotten much better at it and so have I. It's hard for a mother to admit that her little boy has grown up into a responsible adult. I am very proud of him. He is motivated most of the time, knows his priorities and works hard. He's finding out what it means to be an adult. His father and I have totally paid for his first 2 years at college, tuition, room and board, books etc. Last year we paid for his bus tickets to come home most of the time. Now we're done with that and have told him in advance that the well is dry. He is going to have to pay for the next 2 years himself. He is finding out just how expensive it is out there. He took a summer course at a local college, paid for it and the books. Ouch he says. Now before he has paid a dime for the coming year he has had to buy 2 sets of scrubs, stethoscope, blood pressure cuff and some other equipment that they told him. Ouch, more money. His name tag had to be purchased and cost 6.00, not to be paid for with a check but a money order. He went to the post office with 6 bucks and, oh no, you have to pay for a money order! Another surprise for him. He is finding out very quickly how much things cost in the real world and how college will nickle and dime you to death. The only thing I can say is, welcome to life, and then give him a few bucks now and then. He is lucky that when he gratuates in 2 years the additional schooling he needs will be paid by his employer. I do feel bad that I can't provide all of this for him but he is learning how to be an adult and on your own with your expenses. You know when you're a kid you never really know how much your parents love you and what they will do for you until you have a child of your own. Then you get it. He gets a good bit of it now but the rest will come. On the other hand, we went to my brother in laws fireman parade on Saturday and number one son got to ride on the truck to keep an eye on his cousins and spray people with a hose. He loved it, had a blast, there was the little kid in him again. I loved it. Number two son missed it because he was at a pool party. More on him another time.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

What is she thinking?

I'm sure you've all heard about Patricia Rashbrook, but in case you've been trapped down a well she is the 62 year old British woman (a child psychologist) that had a baby on July 9. I don't know what she and her husband were thinking, let alone the doctors that went along with this lunacy. 62 years old! Come on. I am all for technology helping couples that can't conceive to become pregnant. There is nothing worse in the world than wanting a baby and not being able to have one. I speak from experience here. To have that need to love, care and nurture a child and not be able to so is devistating. I was lucky enough to have a happy ending to my story and have 2 wonderful boys that I give thanks for everyday. I know there are people out there that say if God wanted you to have a baby you would but I don't believe that. Whether it be through adoption or science I am all for doing what it takes to become a mother. Except in this case. Women were designed to stop being fertile after a certain age for a reason.The chances of medical problems and danger to mom and and baby is huge but just the age difference between mother and child is reason enough not to do it. This woman has 3 grown, adult children, she may be a grandmother, I don't know. So her present husband, age 60, has no children of his own, is that a reason to do this? Parenthood is an exhausting, endless, vacationless job. You need to be up for the challenge. When this little boy is 18 years old his mother, if she lives this long will be 80 years old. Now I realize this boy will probably never regret being born and will have people in his life that will love and care for him if mommy and daddy exit this Earth anytime soon but I feel ethically, what doctor would help this woman reproduce for purely selfish reasons? There needs to be a cut off point with medical intervention. When I had my second child, he and I almost died. Seriously. It was an awful ordeal for Sean and the rest of our families. When I talked to my doctor about a third child he asked me if I was happy with my boys and did I love them? Of course I was!! He then told me, yes, your medical problems would most likely happen again and was the risk worth it? What convinced me was when he told me that it is a terrible thing to loose a baby but its even worse when you loose the mother especially when she has little children at home that need her. That was the end of me wanting another child, it was a real wake up call. Sorry, got off topic for a minute, but this woman and her husband as well as the doctor they found are way off base.
While I am on the subject of children I'll relate another story and of course, my opinion. Our 16 year old is taking his manditory health class in summer school to give his schedule more flexibility in his junior year in Sept. Yesterday was the first day of it. I have to take him to his high school every morning so he can catch the bus to another town's high school where summer school happens to be this year. There is no bus to pick him up at home and we live about 5 miles from his school. Hence I drop him off 7:10 and pick him up at 12:15. Today is has been pouring rain continuously. I get to the school to pick him up and the bus loop is clogged with cars waiting for the buses. Now during the school year, cars are not allowed in the loop, what makes summer any different. There is a huge parking lot across from the loop. The buses come and they can hardly navigate through the cars. Yes it's raining but these kids can suck it up, a little rain won't hurt them. They have young legs and can run to the car. I love Cameron but if he gets wet, it's not the end of the world. I work in education I have come to the conclusion that many, not all but a lot of kids today have an air of entitlement. Their parents have made life too easy for them, never saying no to them, handing over money, fighting their battles for them, never making them take responsibility, I could go on. What happens then is that when someone finally does tell them no or has them do something they don't want to they get mad. Not only the kids but the parents also. I'll give you an example; yesterday, the first day of summer school the classroom Cam was in was air conditioned. Today they had to move to a non air conditioned room for the remainder. Do you know why? A student was cold yesterday and her parent called the school to complain. So now when at the end of the week when it is going to be 92 degrees out, no air conditioning. Rather than tell their child to take a sweatshirt they make it so the classroom is changed. Guess what hypocritical mother is going to call and complain that her child is too hot now. That's right, ME! Why should the teacher and other students suffer because of one? Reading back on this post I seem rather bitchy. I'm going to blame it on the rain and not take responsibility for my bitchiness. LOL

Tuesday, July 11, 2006


We had a harrowing rain and lightening storm last night. I did enjoy it but the best part came when it was over. I always feel so lucky when I see a rainbow.

It would be nice if all utilities were underground and we
could have unspoiled views but I have become so used to
seeing them that I didn't notice the wires until Sean
downloaded the pictures.

One of my goals this summer is to keep waiting for the
hummingbird to visit and then get a perfect picture of him.
I haven't succeeded yet.

A post script to a previous post about fuglies in my
basement; here's one up close and personal. I hate them,
can you see why? No wonder I have arachnophobia!
(I spelled it right this time :) ) You can't really tell how
big it is in this picture but trust me, it's huge!! I never go
down there in barefeet in case I don't see it before I step on
one. But again, trust me, I can pick them out in the dark,
my eyes are like an eagle when it comes to that.

Monday, July 10, 2006

One of those days

Did you ever have one of those days where someone pisses you off over something stupid? I did yesterday. Yes I know it was stupid but I let it ruin my whole day. Yeah, yeah, I know, get over it. In this case it was son number 2 and hubby. I'm not going to go into it but I will say that they both know they did it, they both knew I was mad and one apologized. Thank you son number 2. As much as you were a jerk, so was I. So men, here's a question for you, if you know that you're making someone mad, even if it's stupid, why do you continue to do it? Now here's a tip for you; stop doing it! It's not worth the outcome! Pheww, got that off my chest.
On another note, here's our dog Cody who somehow manages to know when I'm sad, mad or not feeling well and keeps me company. He weighs about 75 pounds and barks at toads and plays with bugs. We think he has a little cat DNA in him because he purrs when you pet him and licks his paws like a cat does. We got Cody 4 years ago from a "no kill" animal shelter. The story reminds me of a book I have. It's called Found Dogs and is just little vingettes by people and how they came to get their dogs. We were the fourth family to have Cody. His first owners were an older couple and the husband died suddenly, the wife couldn't handle the dog. She brought him to the shelter and a family took him but returned him because while he liked their cats, the cats did not like him. Next a family with small children took him. They returned him because he kept knocking them over. Well, duh, he's a big dog. So there he was back at the shelter. Meanwhile our border collie, Shelby died suddenly at age 7. We were devistated. She was sick for one week, then gone. I swore we would never have another dog. Three months later I couldn't stand coming home to a dogless house. Long story short, we took Cody (we changed his name from Tangles to Cody) but he almost went back. He needed some training and to learn some manners but we stuck with him and today, 4 years later he gets more attention than anyone in the house. I love him to pieces and can't imagine not having him. A dog is good for your soul. They love you unconditionally, always there to give you nuzzle and tail wag. Everytime you leave, even for 10 minutes they're so happy to see you when you return. No doubt about it, I'll always have a dog no matter how many times my heart is broken by them.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Flag burning

The subject of flag burning has come up with my last post and I thought I'd add my two cents for what its worth. (although apparently it's worth more now, I read that it cost more to make a penny than what its worth) As much as I love my flag I realize it is just a symbol of our country. (I am very proud of my country most times but please don't get me started on our fearless leader.) A country that many have died for over the years so that we may have our free speech and enjoy our many other rights and freedoms. With these rights come the good and the bad. I may hate the ideals of the Ku Klux Klan as well as the white surpremisists but they have that freedom of speech to back them up. It doesn't mean I have to listen to them or believe in their causes. Most rational people don't. Burning the flag makes a strong statement and is certainly a way to draw attention to your cause. It's not a method I would choose, it seems rather hateful. I cringe when I see clips of nuts from other countries that hate us get so much glee from burning our flag, I would not want to be lumped into the same catagory as them or with the other few countries that ban flag burning.

One right that I do believe we have but the government does not, is to see the flag draped caskets of soldiers coming home from war. Would that fall under Freedom of the Press? I think that we should see that and what it cost this country to police the world and its problems. I believe that we are a strong nation and have a duty to not stand by and let tyrants terrorize their own people as well as us here at home but I fear our reputation is being tarnished worldwide. Of course there are some people that would not want their grief over the loss of their loved one on tv for all the world to see but those caskets have no names attached to them. It's enough for me to know that every one of them is someone's son or husband or father or brother or uncle or grandfather or daughter or mother, sister or aunt or grandmother perhaps. We need to be reminded of the human cost. God forbid if it was someone I loved I would want the world to see that casket and the price they paid. I would want them to see my grief. I would want them to be uncomfortable, life is like that. Now go out and celebrate our country and the rights and freedoms that we are lucky to have.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Happy Birthday to Me!

Actually it isn't my birthday until later this month but I did get my birthday present already. It is the POW-MIA flag flying on my flagpole along with our American flag. Growing up as a child my parents had a flagpole and always displayed the flag. It was my job to take it down in the evening before sunset, then my sister and I would fold it up. Not just in a square but officially in the shape of a triangle with the blue field and stars on the top. This tidbit I didn't know until just now; After the flag is completely folded and tucked in, it takes on the appearance of a cocked hat, ever reminding us of the soldiers who served under General George Washington and the sailors and marines who served under Captian John Paul Jones who were followed by their comrades and shipmates in the Armed Forces of the United States, preserving for us the rights, privileges and freedoms we enjoy today. (source: US Air Force Acadamy) We have a light on it at night so we can leave it up. When our nephew was serving in Iraq with the 101st Airborne out of Fort Campbell, KY, we flew the US Army flag.

I have wanted the POW-MIA flag for a long time as I have a connection albiet a small one to those soldiers. When I was a young girl the Vietnam war was going on. Once a week our local paper would list the names of the soldiers killed. I begged my mother to send away for a POW bracelet for me. She did and I took good care of it and wore it faithfully. My bracelet had the name of CWO Michael B. Varnado with 5-2-70 as the MIA date. I was in high school when the Vietnam war ended on April 30, 1975 when the last Americans, 10 Marines left the embassy in Siagon. The soldier on my bracelet never showed up on any lists except the missing one. Fast forward to the summer of 1991. I contacted the National League of Families of American Prisoners and Missing in Southeast Asia to see if they could tell me what became of him. The remains of CWO Michael B. Vernado who went missing on that fatefull day in May were returned to the United States on April 27, 1989. His name is on the Vietnam Memorial in Washington D.C. with a cross next to it symbolizing his status as missing in action with a diamond superimposed on the cross, symbolizing his repatriation to his country. I also worked with a gentleman for many years at my old job whose son was MIA in Vietnam. Unfortuanatly, his remains have never been returned to this date and his parents are gone now also.

As my friend gman a US Air Force vet tells me, "freedom isn't free" and he certainly is right about that. Whether it be our freedom from the British or helping to liberate others from tyrants, young men and women will continue to give thier lives in the persuit of freedom.