Thursday, April 27, 2006


Tomorrow I will be here ATF acquire the fire with 10,000 screaming teenagers. I am helping the Middle Schoolers and hosting 5 girls in a hotel room. This is a first for me I usually stick with adults. The daughter is bringing along a few friends. Think good thoughts for me and hope that the Starbucks vendor is up and running at the Pepsi Center.

I found this linked on the website:
Teen Bill of Rights
It's time for us to be heard. It's time we stand up for what we believe and declare it for all. This is our proclamation. And these are our rights as a generation of doers, destined to create positive change. We stand as one, and with this Bill of Rights, we will ignite a revolution.

The Teenage Bill of Rights

We, a new generation of young Americans, in order to protect the heritage of our forefathers and secure the blessings of liberty for ourselves and generations to come, do affirm and pledge this declaration:
When character and morality are uncommon qualities,When corporations and marketers seek to profit from our destruction,
When pop culture icons do not represent our values,
When Judeo-Christian beliefs are labeled as intolerant,
When activists seek to remove God from our schools,
When truth is deemed relative and unknowable,
It is necessary for us, the merging generation of young Americans, to stand for what is right and reclaim the values that have made our nation great. We call our nation to a higher standard, a lifestyle based not on convenience, but on character,
not on what is easy, but on what is excellent,
not on what feels good, but on what is good,
not on popularity, but on principle,
not on what is tempting, but on what is true.

We, as young Americans, assert our right to determine our future and the future of our great nation. We hold these truths as our God-given rights, and we embrace them with our hearts and our lives:
We recognize that God, our Creator, is the source of all truth.
We will live with honor, always striving to do the right thing, even when it is unpopular. We will be honest and truthful in matters large and small, regardless of the consequences.
We will take responsibility for our actions, and not point to governments, schools, celebrities, parents, or friends to justify our wrong decisions.
We recognize that we are responsible for our mistakes. We will pursue purity throughout our lives.
We will not be seduced by a fabricated idea of sex and love.
We will save our bodies and hearts for our future spouses, and once married we commit to pursue faithful and enduring relationships.
We will see through the lies of drugs and alcohol and refuse to let any chemical influence our thinking or destroy our lives.
We will respect the authorities placed in our lives, even though some may not live as honorably as they should
We will honor our parents, teachers, and other leaders.
We will reach out with compassion to the hurting and less fortunate, both in our society and around the world.
We refuse to be absorbed with our own comforts and desires.
We recognize the value of each life, whether born or unborn, and we seek to protect those who are unable to protect themselves.
We will do our best to represent and communicate our Creator to our peers, leaders, and society as a whole.
We will work to see that every person has the opportunity to see and hear about the true nature of our God.
In signing, we commit to pursue a life that exemplifies these standards. We refuse to sit idly by and witness the destruction of our generation. With God's help, we envision a bright and prosperous future for the nation we love.

ok - so I will have much to report sometime Sunday. The scheduled speakers are very powerful. The music will be great.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

planning ahead

I told the husband last night that at my funeral I wanted a few things served:

Chunky Monkey Ice Cream - but the major change would be to remove the rectangular pieces of chocolate. I always remove them and feed them to my brown lab. It is a ritual; I pick out the chocolate and give it to DJ. Some pet lovers may be a bit aghast at the thought of me feeding chocolate to my dog. It is poison… Well, DJ likes it and it is always in moderation. He is almost 12 years old and the indulgence does him well, plus he shares the world with two needy Chihuahuas. So, I need quality banana ice cream with walnuts.

Rhubarb pie – Not Strawberry-Rhubarb – just Rhubarb.

I also thought of a few other things:

Berries and Heavy Cream
Sticky rice and mangoes
100% Kona coffee (Raw sugar and cream)

Am I hungry, micromanaging my funeral or dreaming?
Maybe there are so many things out of my control, I am trying to nail a few things I think I can control....

Monday, April 24, 2006

On the way back from the coffee station at work, a gentleman greets me and says hello. I work with him occasionally and we sometimes assist one another solving problems during dev builds. Then he says, “Hey, you have a book in at the library.” His name starts with the letter M just like mine, and he recognized my special order next to his. Ummm… ok… that was strange.

At Curves this morning I overheard a pretty remarkable story.
A woman has recently connected with a man she dated 23 years ago. They each lived separate lives and raised children… now they are reconnecting and there is still a spark. They live in different states and he just came to visit. So, my thought… was the spark always there? Or did the reconnection make the new spark? Since I was not a true participant in the discussion, I just wondered.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

DoD News Briefing with Col. Gray from Iraq

MR. TURNER: Okay, before we close, Colonel Gray, do you have any final remarks you'd like to make?

COL. GRAY: Yeah. If I could close -- and you’ve probably gathered that this is a very diverse region. It has many multi-faceted challenges. Friction points abound. I would, again, credit the relative calm that most believe is in our area to aggressive commanders and soldiers on the ground, both Iraqi and American, who keep their finger on the pulse in the region and have developed a keen sense for the potential flash points. By keeping our finger on those flash points, I think we're able to anticipate and place forces there to disrupt enemy actions in a fairly positive manner before they become newsworthy.

A final statement is that I'd like to express my very much heartfelt thanks to all of our families back at home and for their tremendous support of the Bastogne Brigade and its soldiers. Your support's critical to our success, and it's directly related to the morale of everyone here. So I want to thank you again for that, and I'd like to thank all of you for an opportunity to speak to the American public.


Coffee and the news –
Things I learned this morning...
Kelly Green and neutrals are hot for the summer season.

My shoes are not trendy.
John Kerry is still a buffoon.
Osama bin Laden has released another tape. (strangely he was referred to as OBL ..)
There a lot people addicted to American Idol – I am not.

I started reading Thomas P. M. Barnett The Pentagon’s New Map last night.
It is good. Really it is good.

Church was good – we had a guest speaker talk the importance of defending our worldview.
The key question he asked… “Why Did You Get UP this Morning?” He also talked for a few minutes about the Da Vinci Code movie. I have never read the book, it is fiction and I do not care for that genre. Too me, that is boring. But, everyone is predicting that the movie will be the big summer blockbuster. The thing to keep in mind is that this is a novel. A work of fiction. Do not confuse this with the reality of things you believe in.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

The weekend again
We are looking at beautiful temperatures this weekend. Upper 70’s today! I planted one row of radishes on Tuesday. I could not wait to get started. I might work on a few more rows the weekend. I do not want ot plant too many things and then lose them with a late frost. Just think in a month I could have little baby shoots popping up in rows – that is exciting!
I am still playing catch up with school, every couple of days there are 3-4 more articles to read! I will recommend this article. Supremacy by Stealth. Robert D. Kaplan is a thoughtful writer and I am enjoying his works. Others not so much!
I have an entire book to read, that I have not even started. I must focus.

The daughter only 6 weeks of school left. Her summer is filling up quickly and before you know it, it will be August and we will start all over again. We are trying to fit in a trip to see the new baby in between camp Peru and working. The crazy cycle. My nephew graduates in a month and my niece will be joining my daughter at the high school.

List of items (yes there is a pattern)
Wash car
Vacuum car- done
Dust -done
Vacuum house -done
Plant another row of radish -done, Spinach too!
Homework - always more to do
Laundry - always more to do
Bathrooms -done
Walk - not as much as I would have liked to
Read - not as much as I would have liked to
Clean - not as much as I would have liked to
Go to the Nursery -1st trip of the season!
Homework - not as much as I would have liked to
Drink lots of water done
Repot new spider plants – trim off the new one’s done
Walk, Read, Drink Lots of Water

A few new blogs I am enjoying reading

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Abigayle Elyse

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Beware of all enterprises that require new clothes.
--Henry David Thoreau

sleeping daddy

sleeping baby

Monday, April 17, 2006

yard - work - play

These wonderful women love to prepare the yard for the Spring! They took advantage of the sunshine and the bbq at my house to lend a helping hand!

Sunny days, warm winds


Sunday, April 16, 2006

Happy Easter Everyone!!
I just wanted wish everyone a blessed day. I hope you can spend time with family and friends. We are going to do just that.
The husband is prepared to bond with the grill and the daughter and I are doing the needed things in the kitchen.
We are keeping it simple. It is scheduled to be a beautiful sunny day, perfect for day for the BBQ.
Looks like the Easter Bunny has been busy in this Iraq Incident. Say a prayer for those serving all over the world – I hope they make the best of it, stay safe and hurry home.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

a Picture of the Baby

Mom is finally home after weeks of fun adventures at the hospital.
Dad has realized he is officially a parent.
All is well.
Happy First Easter Abigail.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Easter shopping list

Rhubarb the recipe
Cream Cheese
Salad (First attempt at creating the pear, gorgonzola, walnut salad)
Easter Napkins, Plates
Baklava (filo, butter, honey, walnuts, almonds)
Mineral Water
Wheat Bread
Vegetable (tbd) I am sure I will impulsively but several things at Whole Foods
Fresh Flowers – several bouquets
Riter Bars
Dips and Triscuits and Celery

The list is obvious,, we do not have a theme for the Easter BBQ.

Need to make the baskets for the kinder!
It’s a girl!
Welcome to the world baby Abigail Grace Brown.
She was born yesterday weighing 5 lbs 13 ounces, and 19.5 inches long.
She is tiny, but every one is doing very well.
Pictures to come… Leave a comment for the baby!

table talk

Over heard last night at the dinner table.
The husband announced he was going skeet shooting early Satruday morning.
He casually mentioned to the daughter that she could go. She was for the “miniscule” of the moment excited and asked if she could shoot the gun.
My husband said, “yes”. She asked if she could shoot a sniper rifle. He said that they could share his shot gun. I chimed in and said that there would be other guns, too.
Then she said maybe, “I need a hand gun.”
Then she said, “I could get my new dog.”
So, now she is totally convinced because of this Incident that somehow new dogs, guns and hunting all go hand in hand.
I diverted and asked her if she wanted to shop for Easter preparation stuff instead……..

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

older news, but good news

I admit.
I read magazines at professional offices. If I find an article, I want to read further, I tear it out. Some may say that this is stealing or that is not appropriate. I recently discovered More magazine. It is a women’s magazine and celebrates women over 40 and their lives. I have five more years until I become the target audience of this marketing. BUT I found an awesome story about Terrill Stewart. She was inspired by her son to join the military and graduated Basic Training at 40. She kicked the younger girls butt and made her family proud. I missed reading this story last fall.
But she is an inspiration!!

Her son flew from Fort Hood, Texas, to join his father at the graduation, where his mother received her award as Soldier of the Cycle. Gen. Richard A. Cody, Army vice chief of staff, pointed out the service to the country rendered by mother and son, at one point saying to Good, “thanks for sending your mom to us.”

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Grande Calories

New from starbucks:
Blackberry Green Tea Frappuccino® Blended Crème Tazo Green Tea Frappuccino®, premium Japanese green tea and blackberry syrup, topped with whipped cream and blackberry topping.

I skipped the whipped cream

Calories 430
Fat Calories 25
Total Fat (g) 2.5
Saturated Fat (g) 0
Trans Fat (g) 0
Cholesterol (mg) 5
Sodium (mg) 320
Total Carbohydrates (g) 89
Fiber (g) 1
Sugars (g) 76
Protein (g) 13
Vitamin A 8%
Vitamin C 15%
Calcium 40%
Iron 4%

Monday, April 10, 2006

currently reading.

This is an eye-opening book. But the reading is creating some funky dreams!
Holy War, Inc.: Inside the Secret World of Osama bin Laden by Peter Bergen

let the races begin

The Monday after a busy weekend… ahh.. I am about ready to head off to the gym.
It is a great feeling knowing I actually accomplished a few things.
Saturday I took the six-hour Foreign Service Written Exam. I feel much better than I did last year. I knew what to expect and feel like I did fairly well. The truth shall be revealed in late July. They say that about 20,000 took the exam. I need to refresh myself on proper grammar. I feel that working in ecommerce for the last nine years has made these skills weak.
We devoted some much needed attention to the yard over the weekend. I raked mounds of dead grass, leaves and other things that floated into the yard over the winter. I spent a few hours placing the rocks back into the rock border. I am always amazed how many rocks my dogs can actually shove outside the edge. We still have a few more things to do before I begin to plant, but we are off to a good start. The shoots of the day lilies, sprigs of mint and other herbs are greening. It is nice to see, and they will probably awaken even more now that they can actually get more sunlight.
I have plenty of homework this week. My current class about National Security is packed full of reading. I enjoy the subject, it is very interesting. The more I read about Osama bin Laden blows me away. He has so much potential, just too bad he is using it all of to wage jihad against Americans.

My sister in law is being induced this morning, woo hoo… The baby girl should be here shortly. I know this will be a huge relief. She has been in the hospital for the last three weeks. My doting brother has been sleeping in the reclining bed/chair and they both could use a break. I am planning on traveling home in the next four months; I want to see her when she is still small like a little peanut.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Surfing a bit today.
I have been asked to assist our church on Easter weekend by preparing the “green room” for those folks that are volunteering several services and will be at the church for hours.
We will need to keep them refreshed and energized. I hope tol be creating a fun Easter atmosphere and provide food and drink. I thought I had best peruse the web for food ideas. I want ot serve something different and delicious.
I stopped at La Coquette and enjoyed the beautiful images of this handsome cow – just makes me smile and loved this entry.

This Monkey Bar recipe looks easy enough and I think it could be enjoyed with a warm cup of coffee.

You have to check this out Snack Generator.
It generates very cool ideas to very up your kids snacks. If the daughter was younger - I would be using this a bunch. If the kids ask for donuts, give them cinnanmon raisin bagels!

This Spring Cleaning blog has me inspired. I need a better digital camera, more time, more product, a cleaner house.

And my family will be thankful for me finding this… Making Chocolate.
The typical Easter basket at our house is not stuffed with mounds of chocolate bunnies and chicks.
When my daughter was about 3 we have this priceless image of her standing in front of a brightly colored basket that has mangoes, grapes, a pineapple, crayons and coloring books. Her smiles are ear to ear! Her “evil” uncle introduced her to the Easter Bunny that he and I grew up with. He brought over baskets stuffed with hollow chocolate bunnies, jelly beans and marshmallow treats. Well, paybacks are great. His first bundle of joy is due anytime next week and Auntie has few tricks up her sleeve.
We take chocolate moderately serious at our house and prefer quality over the quantity. I guess I need to go find some good chocolate before it is too late.

In my wanderings I found this - makes me want to travel.
For the last year or so I have had a restless heart – I crave to be exploring and on adventures, but the practical side of me continues to do the things that are necessary to keep my family intact and semi-functioning. Keeping the good job, finishing my masters, staying the course.
I will be taking the Foreign Service exam on Saturday, I am more prepared than last year, so say a prayer for me. Who knows. I can definitely see that my next hurdle is learning a second language. It is a skill I need.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

baby updates

I have been attempting to get back into the swing of things. The only thing that seems to be completely consistent at the moment is change! Being away from the office for two weeks and away from house chores can be a bit daunting – but I am getting closer. I am playing catch up with homework. I only have about 300 pages to catch up on.

This week is looking like a good massage week. Maybe I will treat myself at the end of the week. I am hooked on Mateo’s and prefer to have Yvonne work her magic. This is my one indulgence at the moment, followed by long slow walks down the Whole Food aisles and trips to Borders.

The latest news on the New Niece – She is not here yet. But, my sister-in-law has had some complications and now is on bed rest fro the next 10 days in the hospital. My brother has been keeping the watch and they are hoping she will have the baby next week when she is 37 ½ weeks. They are not budging on the name Chloe Aspen. It is not even in the consideration pool at this point, He did say that when they bought a dog they would name it Chloe…. Umm.. Ok… Not exactly what I was looking for but I will take it at this point. Keep praying for her and hopefully in a week we will have a beautiful bundle of joy. Just in time for the Easter Bunny!

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Deployment Read

While I was a way I read A Year of Absence. This is an intimate look of the lives of women during their husband’s deployment to Iraq. The author maintains the Surviving Deployment website.