Friday, December 30, 2005

Cold day, warm sweater

Today I am wearing a very old and worn wool sweater – one like no other.
It is mustard yellow with a v-neck, it does not sound like much, but it is my father’s. My dad died in 1978 – so this sweater has to be at least 27 years old – at the minimum. I have three sweaters that I treasure; the other two are from my mom that must be at least 20 years old. I only wear each once or twice a year and a launder them rarely. This is my way of preservation both the memories and the comfort.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Judy, where are you?

My neighbor and I are missing our friend Judy Bishop.
She used to live next door and then moved to Goodfellow AFB. We miss her. For the last year we have not been able to contact her. Not via ako, email, snail mail, phone, cell or anything.
If anyone sees her or bumps into her tell her we are looking for her.


Christmas was enjoyable and relaxing. The weather was warm and sunny, I guess we received our Christmas snow fall last week. Everyone seemed happy with the exchange of gifts and both the little kids and dog kids were happy. Connecting with families and friends went off without any struggles. That I find tremendously refreshing. The Baklava was enjoyed by the sis-in-laws and all were full and sleepy by 6:00.
I was a bit miffed that the DVD camcorder that was for the daughter - came without the memory card... umm... I think they need to look at the marketing on that product. Thank goodness Walgreens was open and they had just what we needed. SO, yes on Christmas morning we were still buying. urghhh
We received a bonus present last night The Shield, Season Four is out. Woo hoo! I will limit myself to only - 4 episodes a day – I have a list of things to do and watching dvds for 6 hours is not on it.
Cleaning and painting is one of them. I will be attempting to make window coverings and painting in the next two days.
We received a note from our friend Brian in Iraq – he is doing well and settling in. Things are quiet so far for him. That is a good thing.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Relax, Christmas is tomorrow.

Greetings, as I wait for my first batch of Baklava ever to finish baking, I want to wish you a Merry Christmas. Enjoy the day with the people you have around you and create memories that span a lifetime.

This is not my garden... But I admire it anyways

Slovenia, Nov. 2004


Good cheer

I just love when the news states the obvious to the viewing audience. Guess what... All of the craziness of shopping and baking and other Christmas activities can cause stress. And sometimes people get the blues. Well, I have been there and done that. I guess I should take a step back and be very thankful. Yesterday my first day off, after Husband's doctor's appointment, we came home and just relaxed. Yep. Two days before the big day: we relaxed watching dvds, reading and taking the dogs in and out.
I went to the neighbors to help wrap a few gifts, and made northern bean soup for dinner.
I did wake up with a frightful thought though... What is my most memorable Christmas ever? Saddened and a bit shocked.... I am not sure. So, today as I run to Whole Foods and usher at church I am going to decide on a few and write them down. I am not sure where I have lost that memory, but I need to get it back and preserve it.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Friday Before Christmas

It is hard for me to believe that Christmas is in two days. It seems impossible. But it is. We have been busy tying up the last loose ends and visiting with friends before they begin their vacations as well. This time of year is great to reach out to long time friends I do not communicate with all that much throughout the year. I guess you just start getting sentimental...
Today is the first day of my Christmas break from work. Having a 12 full days off in a row makes me a bit uneasy, but I have been mentally preparing a few lists that will help me stay busy. I am sure the daughter has a few lists of her own that will require me to be the taxi driver.
Snow shoeing is one of the top things on my list.
We have no real plans for Christmas Eve, so we will just wing it see what comes our way. I am sure it will involve taking puppies and dogs inside and outside, cooking, eating and visiting. I will have new pictures up soon. - I hope everyone can finish up their last minute activities and enjoy the birthday celebration on Sunday.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

random dinner conversations with a 14 year old

Conversation at dinner last night with the daughter
MomI cannot live here any more…
I cannot have any more simple minded conversations with my friends who only think about themselves and never think about any one else. I want to be sitting in a cafe listening to a live band, drink cocoa waiting to go on my mission trip to Peru…
They laughed at me for buying mittens for the kids in Afghanistan (I got the address from Blackfive’s site) and made fun of me for wanting to go to Peru over the summer. I cannot live here. I want to live simply and I no longer want to be rich.

So that being said…. This is day 3 of Christmas vacation. I wait with anticipation for the coming conversations over the next few weeks.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

old glory flying

I took this picture over Memorial Day weekend this summer.
Enjoy the day.

Snow, narnia, restlessness

This has been a cold, snowy weekend. Over the night we received less than three inches of snow. Just enough to blanket the ground. Untouched the trees, and fence look beautiful. The big dogs have already been out disturbing the snowy blanket - but it still looks beautiful. In an hour or so their tracks will be hidden again. I normally can see Pikes Peak and Cheyenne Mountain - but not this morning - the sky is completely white. Looks like it may be a good day to make vegetable soup and relax. However, I am sure the others in the house have different plans.

Daughter still has a few more Christmas presents to purchase and she is making cookies for the wrestling team and coaches. She is truly a better baker than I am, hands down. This comes from years and years of baking with family and friends. Thank you Mary and Lori for being such a good example to my daughter in these areas. Some say that young girls are losing the art of true homemaking. I think she has at least the very minimum a grasp. Now, the lost art of cleaning is a work in progress.

She is toying with idea of going to culinary school - It may be a phase, It may not be. I would definitely support her going abroad to study in Europe in 3 1/2 years. Yikes. She also loves the idea of the Coast Guard. That is a little scary. The time is going by very fast. We are looking at mission trips for the summer, she does not want to be here this summer doing normal teenage thins, her desire to explore life is amazing. We will keep you posted on the choices. She longs to travel back to Michigan as well. (just to visit)

Husband and I took in Narnia this weekend. I loved it. The cinematography is beautiful. It was nice to be lost in the adventure for a few hours. I actually welled up crying about 3 times, whatever.. We ate like royalty yesterday, everything yummy seems to be on sale during Christmas. Lobster tales for 6.99. I am there. I might even have them twice this week.

Two things I wish were in season fresh figs and rhubarb. Better yet I wish I was in the Greek Isle with a fig tree in my backyard, that is a story for another day.

I hope my restlessness ends soon - it just seems like I should be doing something... I just cannot put my finger on it, or at least openly put my finger on it.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Just finished reading..

I just finished reading Prep by Curtis Sittenfeld. If you have time on your hands over the holiday and need to read. I would suggest this book. It is well written and I felt like I could totally relate to the main character Lee.
I also recommend Faith Hill's new album - the song Like We Never Loved At All - just is killing me. Ripping out my heart from the core, nothing like a good country song to pull out all the punches.

How can you just walk on by
without one tear in your eye?
Don’t you have the slightest feelings left for me?
Maybe that’s just your wayof dealing with the pain,
forgetting everything
between our rise and fall
like we never loved at all.

A quick glimpse of Halifax last Saturday morning - taken off the deck of an unknown location. It looks absolutely perfect even the bird house. Stay warm up there in Canada and do not send any of your snow and cold air our direction.

The recipe everyone is talking about.

The ladies that I workout with in the morning have been chatting about this recipe. Claiming it is easy to make, everyone loves it, makes a great gift....

Popcorn Cake

2 teaspoons plus
1/4 cup vegetable oil
12 cups popped popcorn (plain, unsalted and unbuttered)
2 cups M & M candies
1 cup lightly salted cocktail peanuts
1 stick unsalted butter 1 pound marshmallows

Grease a large tube or bundt cake pan with 2 teaspoons of the oil, and set aside.
In a large bowl, mix the popped corn with the M & M candies and the peanuts.
In a small saucepan, melt the butter, remaining 1/4 cup of oil, and marshmallows over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally. When melted, pour over the popcorn mixture, and stir to combine. Pour into the prepared cake pan, pressing down to fit. Cover with aluminum foil to keep moist and let rest until firm, 3 to 4 hours.
To serve, invert the cake pan onto a large cake plate or platter. Shake gently to release. Serve at room temperature.

A picture from last November - The Alps from Slovenia.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Birthday celebration and good voting thoughts

Today - my mom would have turned 64 years old. Happy Birthday Mom.

Good news I hope is on the way…
Voting in America….
On December 15, 2005, elections will be held for Iraq's National Parliament. The Parliament will then select the Prime Minister and President. This election will decide the members for the entire new Iraqi government.
At the request of the Iraqi Embassy, the U.S. Government has agreed to allow the Independent Electoral Commission of Iraq (IECI) to hold parliamentary elections for Iraqi nationals residing in the U.S. from December 13 to 15, 2005, from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Registration and voting can occur on the same day. Chicago, San Diego, Nashville, and Washington DC will host the main voting centers, with Detroit serving as a fifth voting center and IECI's U.S. headquarters.

From President Bush, Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center, Washington, DC, December 14, 2005
….One of these men was a Marine lieutenant named Ryan McGlothlin, from Lebanon, Virginia. Ryan was a bright young man who had everything going for him and he always wanted to serve our nation. He was a valedictorian of his high school class. He graduated from William & Mary with near-perfect grade averages, and he was on a full scholarship at Stanford, where he was working toward a doctorate in chemistry.
Two years after the attacks of September the 11th, the young man who had the world at his feet came home from Stanford for a visit. He told his dad, "I just don't feel like I'm doing something that matters. I want to serve my country. I want to protect our lands from terrorists, so I joined the Marines." When his father asked him if there was some other way to serve, Ryan replied that he felt a special obligation to step up because he had been given so much. Ryan didn't support me in the last election, but he supported our mission in Iraq. And he supported his fellow Marines.
Ryan was killed last month fighting the terrorists near the -- Iraq's Syrian border. In his pocket was a poem that Ryan had read at his high school graduation, and it represented the spirit of this fine Marine. The poem was called "Don't Quit."
In our fight to keep America free, we'll never quit. We've lost wonderful Americans like Ryan McGlothlin. We cherish the memory of each one. We pray the loved ones -- pray for the loved ones they've left behind, and we count it a privilege to be citizens of a country they served. We also honor them by acknowledging that their sacrifice has brought us to this moment: the birth of a free and sovereign Iraqi nation that will be a friend of the United States, and a force for good in a troubled region of the world.
The story of freedom has just begun in the Middle East. And when the history of these days is written, it will tell how America once again defended its own freedom by using liberty to transform nations from bitter foes to strong allies. And history will say that this generation, like generations before, laid the foundation of peace for generations to come. May God bless you all....

Keeping good thoughts for all serving and protecting this week and each week.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Aunt J

I knew that once I created the blog I would need to highlight a few people right away. Here is a picture of Aunt J. She is wonderful.. When I see her she makes me smile. She is usually happy to see us and we are happy to see her. She loves to garden and loves to help out. Each holiday or bbq you will find her up against the kitchen sink washing and scrubbing every single dirty dish in the house. I am serious. I tell her she never has to do this and someday she can just come to visit without feeling the need to wash. She just cannot sit still. She makes me smile. She has never used the computer and will probably never understand how her name and picture are here on this page - but a small tribute she deserves.

Heja is here!

Here is a quick picture of the new addition. She is a very cute little girl. All of the brothers are sadly disappointed that the parents have brought home another house member.

Heja means daughter in Spanish....

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Rice Flower & Shea

Just want to pass along a bit of info I discovered at Bath and Bodyworks... They are going to discontinue... of course our favorite scent Rice Flower & Shea. So, I stocked up for the year. I knew that once I really began to have a favorite and buy it faithfully they would turn on me!

oh my

Well, my daughter and I had been planning this day all week long. Husband went with his friends pheasant hunting... we were going to go to early service and start shopping promptly at 930. This time of year is wonderful at church, the lights, the carols, the message.... perfect - Just what we needed. The shopping starts off a little slow, the mall does not open until 11. We kill time at b&n... We shop the mall, targeting only stores on the list, run a few other errands. Everything going very well... until we get the call. My husband who is not hunting/killing, but along for the ride, tells me that that are bringing back 3 Chihuahua babies and one of them would make a great gift for him. (Not phased a bit, because anyone that knows me, knows about the crazy stories of our current 3 dogs) I tell him - whatever he wants... So, now we have 4 dogs. 2 labs and 2 Chihuahuas - Just for the record Biscuit the other Chihuahua is totally bummed. Labs are overjoyed as usual.
What am I doing with 4 DOGS?

Saturday, December 10, 2005

New picture

Today I will be attempting to finish my paper for my Military Strategy class. (I have until midnight tomorrow!) I have 12 more pages to go! By far has this been one of the best classes I have taken in awhile.
The good news is that the lights are up on the tree and the nativity and stockings should be hung by noon.
I added a few links on the right to a few blogs I try to read every day, I will add a few more as time permits. enjoy the day.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Made a bit more progress today on the Christmas lists and packages.
Posting a few pictures from throughout the year. (Outside of Telluride, CO)

This might take awhile to get everything together. But I am looking forward to the adventure.

Books I have read in the last few months:

182 Days in Iraq - Phil Kiver

Just Another Soldier - Jason Christopher Hartley

Leaving the Saints - Martha Beck

The Gift of Valor- Michael Phillips


Bookseller of Kabul

I am looking forward to time off at Christmas to finish many books on the list.

The lists keep getting longer

I have been preparing for all of the things I need to do for Christmas for over a month.
I have the Christmas cards mailed, two packages mailed and a few almost ready. However, last night I started thinking about other important people in our lives that may need a little special something this season too.... Ugh... my list that was narrowing earlier in the week has not widened in just one evening. The girls are going to help me make some cookies tonight to get in the mail. Anyone that truly knows me, knows that baking for gifts is truly a risk... but I have been in a risk taking mood lately. So, there you have it.

This morning I found a very disturbing calendar on Search for the words "military calendar "- it is the third entry and has the word naked in the title. I have decided against purchasing any calendar and have ruined my breakfast appetite.

Many things to keep in mind today.

Pending elections in Iraq

Fighting in ramadi today

Families here while there loved one's are serving overseas

A co-workers recovery from surgery

The family of SGT Reyes

Peace and Joy throughout the day - It is Friday and the temp is up 20 degrees from yesterday.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

First entry

I just ran across this while doing some research.
"Lo Que Sea, Cuando Sea, Donde Sea." (Anything, Anytime, Anywhere.) - 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne)