Monday, May 31, 2010

Honor and Duty... and so much more

Memorial Day.

A day to relax by the pool, put your feet up and enjoy time spent with family and friends.

That's what it has become.
That's not REALLY what it's for... although don't get me wrong, I do as much of that as the next gal!

Memorial Day... Memory Day... A day to Remember the WHOs and WHATs and WHEREs that made us, as a nation, able to spend time pursuing the joys of our family and friends.

Those men who stood up and fought for US-- as in us, the citizens of the United States, and US as in Uncle Sam... those who stormed the beaches of Normandy in June 1944, who fought in the jungles on Viet Nam in the early 60's, and those who fought in the corn fields, valleys and forests of this nation during the American Revolution, the Civil War... and all the periods of civil unrest through out our nation's short, but poignant history.

Saturday ManBoy, BratChild and SIX walked in a local Memorial Day Parade as representatives of Freemasonry, Order of Rainbow for Girls, and DeMolay.

SIX, my 11 1/2 year old youngest son and our 6th child, took turns carrying the DeMolay banner with another young DeMolay over the course of the 1 mile parade route.
At the onset of the parade, well, at the staging area actually, the boys saw several men in full military uniform and wearing baseball caps with their ship or service on them. I explained that they were Veterans of WW II, Korea, Viet Nam, Desert Storm and those currently serving in the military.

During the parade I saw that each boy, when not carrying the banner, would go up to men along the parade route and shake hands with the men in uniform and wearing the hats I had pointed out earlier.

Six and CC were thanking the soldiers for their service with a smile and a firm handshake. One older gentleman wearing a WWII cap burst into tears when SIX asked to shake his hand. Six was taken aback. He thought he had done something wrong, when in reality, he had done exactly the right thing for this lone man sitting in his wheelchair on his front lawn watching his hometown parade, just as he has probably done for 40 years or longer.

I saw a young Marine, in full dress uniform salute one of the Masons marching with ManBoy as he passed. In my mind's eye I saw MW, ManBoy's childhood friend, who is himself a Marine who has done service in Iraq. Pride filled my heart as the tears filled my eyes.

As we passed the Grand Marshall our groups were announced and met with much applause and approval. And SIX and CC were astounded to hear the man I had seen saluted being thanked for his service on D-Day on Omaha Beach.

When we returned to the lodge after the parade for lunch, CC approached this man and asked if it was true.
"No", the man replied. "He got it wrong. I wasn't at Omaha, I had an easy time of it. I hit land at Utah Beach."

CC and SIX shook his hand and told him thank you.

And they meant it.

And I was so very proud of an 11 and a 13 year old boy, who showed in that one short morning of community duty, the men they are becoming.

My heart swelled with pride and my eyes filled with tears and I thought...

Charlie and Kurt would be so very proud of them, their little brothers.

I know I am.

PS- I read a post at Blue Cotton Memory yesterday... it's full of wonderful quotes by George Washington, Ronald Reagan, GW Bush, and my all-time favorite, Dwight Eisenhower.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Friday Foto Feature...better late than never!

Photography by BratChild

A girl's best friend?


Reflections...


A Girl's Best Friend... Really!



Please take the time to check out the link below to To Write Love On Her Arms... an organization both BratChild and I whole-heartedly support!

It's THE right thing to do!

To Write Love on Her Arms is a non-profit movement dedicated to presenting hope and finding help for people struggling with depression, addiction, self-injury and suicide.


The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that each year approximately one million people die from suicide, which represents a global mortality rate of 16 people per 100,000 or one death every 40 seconds. It is predicted that by 2020 the rate of death will increase to one every 20 seconds.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Stop the Instantlies!
It makes sense, really, it does!



Instant Gratification.

Instant Coffee. Instant Savings. Instant Tea. Instant Downloads. Instant Meals.
Instant Everything!

Like the 5 minutes it takes to brew a pot of joe, or download some iTunes is too long to wait?

There is an entire generation of people who expect everything to come to them Instantly.

Success. Money. Fame. Fortune.

Work ethic is nearly extinct from all the Instants floating around.

As those Polar Bears can tell you... things aren't getting any better.

Educations are barely minimum, motivation is sorely lacking. Just add a struggling world economy, an oil spill or 2, a few natural disasters and stir...

Instant Collapse of Civilzation as we know it.

A little less instant and more long-haul seems to be in order..

Time to dig in our heels and roll up our sleeves...

To stop expecting to find what you want just because you want it...

Not because it is deserved, or even earned..

Time to stop the Instants...


I think I'll start with my coffee... freshly brewed...


*** the above photo and corresponding article can be found at:
sealifearoundtheworld.blogspot.com

Monday, May 24, 2010

Sometimes she makes me so proud.... and others???

BratChild turned 13 last week.
For her birthday she received cold, hard cash.
And with that cash she wanted, no NEEDED, to go shopping for shorts and jeans.

So, to that end I took BratChild and her friend, KK, to THE MALL yesterday.
We spent hours walking leisurely along the aisles, dodging the vendors with stands in the middle...

The dental floss eye brow plucking lady... did you KNOW they actually hold the tension by PUTTING IT IN THEIR TEETH when they groom your brow line?
I find the sanitary-ness highly suspect... do NOT want used dental floss on my eyebrows!

The miracle hand & nail cream, buffer, cuticle remover from the DEAD SEA... no thank you... I already have it.
And YES I LOVE IT... but please DO NOT follow me around with the bottle of lotion after I say NO!

The sterling jewelry lady whose own rings have turned her fingers green... ummm, yeah. Nah!

Really, tooth whitening in a chair in the middle of THE MALL? Rinse and spit out in public? Have strangers watching them scrape then use the black light in your mouth so you now look like you have been irradiated and will die from radiation poisoning?
Not likely!

Photography studio... in the middle of THE MALL? Why yes, there is. Complete with costumes to change into, behind the curtain from 'The Wizard of OZ'. The one that didn't hide the Wizard either.
Thanks but I'll flash my flesh in private, thank you very much!

So- after much traversing the convoluted halls of THE MALL to avoid these charlatans, we found ourselves in PacSun with BratChild trying on shorts. Well, yes they were shorts, but really should be called TooShorts since that is what they are.

Is a 5-inch inseam too much to ask for, really?
I didn't think so, but after 4 hours of trying to find shorts that would not require a 13 year old to have a Brazilian Wax we left with nary a pair of shorts in the bags BratChild was laden down with.

She did get a bathing suit- yes it is a 2 piece, but it covers more than most and she wears t-shirts over them anyway (thank God since HeMan Hubby swears she is only 9 and would have a heart attack if he saw her looking like a young lady!).

She also stopped in Zumiez and bought some GLAMOUR KILLS "I heart boobies" bracelets. One for me, one for KK and a couple for herself.

In Hot Topic she found a selection of TWLOHA shirts to rival the sites online. She got herself one, the one she wanted but I couldn't find BEFORE her birthday.
She also bought one for KK- the one KK really liked online but could only order in PLUS sizes at the website. Not so great for a size 5 girl...

I was not thrilled to spend a Sunday at THE MALL, but was very happy with the charitable nature of BratChild by purchasing gifts for her friend, and me, with her money.

Sometimes she makes me SO PROUD...

and others...

Not so much...

But for now, I will be letting her live to her next birthday...
I did say, FOR NOW!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Friday Foto Feature.... thru the eyes of a girl who sees things in her own way

Everyday sights take on a new perpsective thru the lens of BratChild

Stairs to a tree-top lair



A simple boundary line fence









Things we see everyday, but never really notice
Become something magical, wonderful, when seen thru the eyes of someone who looks at the world just a little differently than the rest of us!



Please take time out of your busy day to check out TWLOHA-
BratChild's favorite Charity supporting IM ALIVE- The first LIVE Peer to Peer Suicide Prevention Service...


To Write Love On Her Arms-
this YouTube video may be distressing, but the message NEEDS to be SEEN

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Maybe I'll change MY name.... Just call me Lady D!

I wonder about really odd things sometimes.

Like basketball.
Well, not really basketball, but the team names.

The other night the Boston Celtics were playing the Orlando Magic.
The whole time I all I could think of was that if they are really from BOSTON...

Hello? Irish people unite...

They would be called the Celtics- with a K sound, not the Celtics with an S sound.
I mean, seriously, have you ever heard anyone talk about the Selts and the Picts and the Druids of Ireland?

Of course you haven't!

That then got me thinking about the names of other sports teams... or rather the new names of teams.

Like the Bullets had to change to the the Wizards because Wizards are not deadly?
Has NO ONE seen HARRY POTTER?

I mean that Voldemort guy kills people just by THINKING A WORD!
Really, Wizards are pretty scary if you think about it!

Then there are the Anaheim Ducks.
Oooo, just the thought of going up against a flock of Ducks strikes fear into the hearts of men... yeah, right.

And what's with the stadium and arena names changing too?

The Capital Center is now The Verizon Center. NO Verizons play there!
And Ravens Stadium is the M&T Bank Stadium. What is up with that?

Just like all the championship and bowl games seem to be called by the sponsoring products... The Bud Light Classic? The Tostitos Fiesta Bowl? The Kemper Open(these are not insurance agents playing a friendly round!) The Winston Cup... does the winner's cup come filled with cigarettes?

Why not call a thing a thing; or in this case name an event for someone great in that sport or for the team whose home field it is?

And why worry about the negative connotation of names like the Bullets, Redskins, Oilers, Braves...

I mean if you're going to go crazy about a bad name...

For crying out loud, do something about those Gamecocks!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

We interrupt this broadcast...

Today's blog entry has been pre-empted to bring you this heartfelt and soul-wrenching post about what a HERO is...

For those who are used to my sometimes witty, and often satirical, view of the world, and myself, please indulge me.

HERO is such a small word, but it's meaning is greater than any can imagine, unless they have had the privilege to know a TRUE HERO.

I have been lucky enough to know TWO.

As I write this, a funeral is taking place, in a church, outside a small town in Maryland.

I can not be there in person, but am there in my heart, and know that the church is now over flowing with people showing their respect, and yes thanks, for the sacrifice made by a young man of 21, barely old enough to bUy a beer, but plenty old enough to shoulder the responsibility of leading a unit, of caring for his men, and willing to make the supreme sacrifice in their stead.


Marine Cpl. Kurt Shea
is being laid to rest today. His family will say their last good-byes, his friends will say "See you later", knowing that when their times come, they will. He will be there waiting with a ready smile, his head tilted slightly, and a smart remark to make them feel at home.

How he died is not the reason he is a Hero, but the result.
His ideals, his convictions, and his allegiance to living a life true to them is what makes him a Hero.

Love of God, Love of Country, Love of Family... these are the truths he lived everyday.

As I was standing, waiting for the Memorial Service his DeMolay brothers were about to begin, I learned some distressing, but not surprising, information.

Members of the Westboro Baptist Church were planning to demonstrate outside his funeral service today. This gave me pause. How can God-loving, self-described Christians, so negate the life of a man of honor and dignity?

Anger and sorrow filled me with contempt for these people.
Until I looked at the slide show of Kurt, detailing his short, but love filled life.

And I realized what he knew all along; saw him for the TRUE HERO he IS.

He fully understood, and took on the responsibility, of being one of THE ONES who make those people able to do what they do, say what they say.

And if not for the very ones they cry out against...

Where would they be?

This is for Kurt and his DeMolay Brother, Marine Sgt.Charles Cartwright, TWO HEROs I will remember and THANK GOD for...

Always.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Coming of Age... which ever age that may be!

21 is a magical number.
At least it is if you ARE 21.

For some of us, turning 21 isn't that big a deal.
For others, I guess it is.

Like my son, ManBoy and his girlfriend Jewelz.
They had a party complete with family and friends, rum and bbq'd pork, birthday cake and beer.

ManBoy loves to barbecue.
He smoked a pork loin and cooked up burgers on the grill... real charcoal only!
Made his own spicy sauce, mixed up a rub and, VOILA', yummy!

Jewelz made the potato salad... I BOUGHT the cake and the rest of the food...
oh, except for the homemade mac & cheese... that I did make.

I look back at when I turned 21 and just don't think it was such a big deal. Maybe it was and I just can't remember that far back...

but I don't think so.

I was married with 2 kids, a mortgage and a full time job by then, so maybe in the grand scheme of things, 21 WAS just another number for me.

The final rite of passage to adulthood has been made by my 3rd child.
Only 3 more to go...

I'm not sure I'll live that long...
3 more teens just might be the end of me...

But I don't think so!

Did I mention BratChild turned 13 TODAY?

Yeah, I'm trying NOT to remember it too.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Saturday Sharefest.... of a different sort

Saturday's on The Secret is in the Sauce are Sharefest Saturdays.

When you post a comment on the site you add a link to a favorite post from your own blog for other SITS members to read.

Today I am doing a Sharefest, but it is not of my favorite posts, but rather some of my favorite things I have found online.

The Secret is in the Sauce- blogging info, tips and support from other bloggers like me!

Fancast- TV shows available anytime I want... great for the busy mom on the go!

Cafemom- a site for moms by moms with a little something for everyone!

Ijango- a free web portal with everything you can imagine- email, shopping, news... and a pay check for you just for using it!

facebook- social networking... HELLO!

AND BLOGS....
The Bloggess
BlogFrog- blogging community
Amy's Assorted Adventures
CraftGossip Crochet
Crafty Minx

These are just a few of the my favorite things found on the World Wide Web...
Why not take a minute and share some of yours?

Friday, May 14, 2010

Friday Foto Feature.... It's new! It's ART!

BratChild wants to be a photographer.

I support and encourage my children to be what they want, to try new things.

Because I am that kind of Mom, Friday will now be BratChild's day on my blog.
Each week will find photos by BratChild.
I hope you enjoy them as much as I do!

To start off, this week features a self portrait of BratChild... or 2.

She's 13- or will be in a few days- and has a sense of self that is off, in a good way. She dresses her own way, wears her hair her own way, and is not afraid to dance to the beat of a different drummer... preferrably one in an Alternative band...

She's BratChild- Photographer extraordinaire!




BratChild would love you to check out this worthwhile cause:

TWLOHA

To Write Love on Her Arms is a non-profit movement dedicated to presenting hope and finding help for people struggling with depression, addiction, self-injury and suicide. TWLOHA exists to encourage, inform, inspire and also to invest directly into treatment and recovery.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

But Wait! There's more! ... Of Course there is.

Ads are every where.
On TV. On billboards. On blogs.
Every where.

Unfortunately, my children tend to believe all of them.

The easy brownie pan. The simple sliders maker. Blowpens, Oxyclean, OrangeGlo, the PedEgg, Flowbee, scrubbing bubbles (like the kids clean the bathtub!)... they see it, they believe it, they want it.

Marketing geared toward kids apparently works. And having a commercial every 3 minutes for one of these MUST HAVE items on every kid's programming network on TV is genius.

How many of us dread the Christmas season when the kids ask for everything they see advertised?

If only they would run ads for manners, kindness and being a good friend with as much gimmickery and gusto, perhaps the incidence of schoolyard bullying, teen suicide and violence would markedly decrease.

If network execs would use their powers for good, they could influence the next generation to be kinder, gentler Americans.

Columbine and Va Tech would not be notorious for the dastardly deeds done on their campuses, but rather for the intelligent students walking across their graduation stages.

As a parent my job is to raise my children to be intelligent, thoughtful and productive members of society. Responsible and conscientious adults.
I take this job seriously, and no matter how difficult it can be, I persevere to meet my goal.

Ad companies take heed. The next generation doesn't need laser beam watches and talking Darth Vadar masks.
They need compassionate and honorable role models they can emmulate with pride.

And barring a change in marketing strategies, we will continue the use of the DVR with judicious and frequent use of the SKIP mode for commercials.

Sorry, Charlie!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The Right thing.... It's THE THING to do

Monday is always a busy day.
A hectic day.
A day I would rather do without.

This week Monday was even worse than usual.
More hectic, more rushed, more filled with 'stuff' because of the things that had been put off from the weekend.
But those I did not mind. Those I knew about in advance and could plan for.

The email notice that made the day awful?
That was unexpected.
Unwanted.

Another young man of my acquaintance died Monday May 10, 2010.
In a far away, hot and sandy place. Protecting people he did not know, because it was the right thing to do.
Because he believed in the rightness of living a life free from oppression and tyranny. In the freedom to worship your God and to teach your children without fear and judgment from others. In the preservation of a country's people and their beliefs and their ability to be more and do more for themselves.

These are the things he died for.
These are the things worth dying for.

Marine Cpl. Kurt Shea
- a Senior DeMolay aged 21 died Monday May 10, 2010 in Afghanistan. Far from his home and family, but never far from the thoughts and hearts of those who loved him.
Pictured: Some of his DeMolay brothers


I do not always agree with the politicos and their posturing. Their ideas. Their arguments.

But I always support our troops. Our boys in blue, in green, in camo... who do the right thing because...

It's the RIGHT thing to do.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Ode to a Mother...



For my daughter, GoodMom on her first Mother's Day... and for all the Mothers in my life...

She listens.
She hears.
She speaks.
She teaches.
She cooks.
She cleans.
She loves.
She reaches...

To the stars.
To the heavens.
To the powers above.
To keep you safe from all harm
And filled with her love.

Today is Mother's Day and my Mother's Birthday...
Happy Birthday Mom.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Family Ties... the ones that count.

Friday is not my favorite day.
Neither is Saturday.
Or any day of the week actually.

Except maybe, Sunday.
I like the way the whole family sort of hangs out together.
Watching TV, in the yard, playing board games or just talking.

Yes, my kids play together, and they talk to each other.
They ask for advice and ideas. They share their daily lives and plans with each other.

Am I always included?
No.

Does this bother me?
No.

Because I know that my kids support each other, look to each other as friends, not just siblings, and that they will never let anything bad happen to one another.

My job in this life is to raise healthy, happy, intelligent people who will be productive members of society...

I think I might be doing something right.
Or the genetics was right.

Which ever, it seems to be working.

Friday, May 7, 2010

The History of the World according to...

Natural Disasters shape our history.

Have you ever noticed that?

Hurricane Agnes hit in 1973... crippling the entire MidAtlantic region.
An Earthquake rocked Los Angeles in Jan of 1994 bringing that town to it's knees.
Katrina, Andrew and Isabel don't even require the word 'Hurricane' for complete understanding.
Just saying Tsunami brings vivid memories of the December 26, 2004 Tsunami in Indonesia.
9-11-2001 (not natural, but a disaster unlike any ever seen on our soil)
The Nashville flood of 2010...

These are the things that stick in one's mind as the years go by.
Just saying the date or the name of the event and instantly you are there, in that time and place, even if you weren't old enough, or alive, to remember.

No one says,"Remember that day in June of ? when no one was killed and the weather man was right and the Orioles actually won a game?"

Why is it the disasters of the world are what become our memories, not just personal, but as a nation?

History is made up of events that shape the world, not just the one in which we live, but for future generations to come.

History is not just the bad, the tragic and the horrific...
It's filled with good and wonderful things.

Benjamin Franklin flying a kite.
Thomas Edison's first phonograph saying "Mary had a little lamb".
Mother Teresa, Ghandi, Princess Diana, Marie Curie... intelligent people who made the world a better place.
The Mayflower, Apollo 11, The Spirit of St. Louis, The St Louis World's Fair...

Why is it that the macabre and evil are remembered, but the fun, the happy and the entertaining historical events are forgotten?

Maybe history should be told as stories... made exciting and interesting like movies and novels- think Last of the Mohicans or Pirates of the Caribbean... not just dates and names and facts.

Maybe then ALL of it would be remembered...

Then again... probably not.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Doing Hard Time... Again!

Day 2 of manual labor will be starting for my troublesome TeenBoy in just a few hours.

Will he ever learn?

I doubt it.

He is not a bad kid. Or even a mischievous kid. He is more of a 'do my own thing' kid, and unfortunately when you're 14, this can be a BIG problem.

I keep telling him it will be easier once he gets to high school and can take harder, and more interesting classes.

And it will be even better when he gets to college and meets other kids with similar interests and intellects and has classes even more challenging.

"Yes", he says. "I know", he says. "I'll do my homework", he says. "I understand", he says.

And that's just it. He does understand. Perhaps more than a teen boy should.
And because he understands I see him trying to change his behavior, and his SELF.

I love him the way he is... stubborn, opinionated ( can't imagine where he gets that?) and confrontational. He just has to learn to moderate himself, and to use his power for good not evil.

That's my son...

TeenBoy, the superhero champion of science and technology Geeks!

In Anime, of course... and without the cape and tights!

And only AFTER he finishes doing his time...

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Cinqo De Mayo... a day to celebrate!

The 5th of May...
Mexican Independence Day.
Also known as my oldest son's birthday.

And this year he, like Mexico before him, gains his independence,
as he turns 21!

Yes, TODAY ManChild becomes a REAL LIVE ADULT...
no longer is he an adult-like being, but in the eyes of the law and insurance carriers and institutes of higher learning everywhere...

HE IS A MAN.

I'm so proud.
I mean that he actually made it this far without me maiming or mutilating him...
or killing him...

That is the TRUE accomplishment.

Now, if I could just get him to move out of MY house...

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Solar Power... or... I love the Sun but it doesn't love me!

Yes, I worship at the shrine of the sun.
Or I would, if I didn't have to worry about this pesky sun-sensitivity thing.

I LOVE the outdoors.
The Sun.
The Air.
The Nature.

From early Spring thru late Fall you can find me on our porch, or on the deck, or in the pool.

I can't spend as much time actually IN the sun anymore without getting a rash and burning easily, but where there's a shady space or a Teflon coated SPF 75 umbrella....

You'll know where to find me.

And if I'm not in the shade, or under the umbrella...
Look in the garden and I'm sure I'll be there pulling weeds, planting flowers, playing with the pond fountain and getting entirely too much sun...

Like I did this weekend.

I know, I know...

Sunscreen everyday keeps the wrinkles at bay!

BratChild and SmartGirl did remind me, but of course AFTER I was already turning a rosy pink...

And pink really ISN'T my color!