Sunday, December 31, 2006

Ice and chaotic roads have kept me indoors the last few days.
We ran out for lunch and to Best Buy to grab more movies yesterday.
I am not a huge fan of tv – but I have found myself watching and reading almost continuously the last two days.
I watched the two disc set dvd set The Book Of Daniel. It was on tv last year for just a few episodes, but because of the controversial themes it was cancelled.
I thought it was good. But who am I?
I started reading the book Adventure Divas. adventure divas The author’s story is completely fascinating, but I had a very hard time making it midway. I am going to return it back to the library. I had others to read.
One thing that I did yesterday due to weather was to have Fox News in the background for about six hours. I was able to watch the Gerald Ford Ceremonies and find out more details in his interesting life. I guess one never stops learning.
No plans for New Years Eve. If things were different, maybe I would. But things are the same. We will cook and watch tv.
I might even transfer my old address book to the new one.
Enjoy. Happy 2007.
Ice and chaotic roads have kept me indoors the last few days.
We ran out for lunch and to Best Buy to grab more movies yesterday.
I am not a huge fan of tv – but I have found myself watching and reading almost continuously the last two days.
I watched the two disc set dvd set The Book Of Daniel. It was on tv last year for just a few episodes, but because of the controversial themes it was cancelled.
I thought it was good. But who am I?
I started reading the book Adventure Divas. adventure divas The author’s story is completely fascinating, but I had a very hard time making it midway. I am going to return it back to the library. I had others to read.
One thing that I did yesterday due to weather was to have Fox News in the background for about six hours. I was able to watch the Gerald Ford Ceremonies and find out more details in his interesting life. I guess one never stops learning.
No plans for New Years Eve. If things were different, maybe I would. But things are the same. We will cook and watch tv.
I might even transfer my old address book to the new one.
Enjoy. Happy 2007.

Friday, December 29, 2006

She completed 3 of the 4 days of Drivers School. Today’s class was cancelled due blizzard conditions.
She still has to schedule three two-hour sessions with her driver’s teacher for behind the wheel experience.
We are making progress. She passed her permit with a 100% and can go get her ID and required paperwork.
I guess we are just one more step closer to full-fledged adulthood. She is contemplating a job after February and planning her summer trips.
She has the entire world before her and she is learning to take which step at the right time.

My beautiful niece has had her baby last night and everyone is doing very well. I do not have all the stats at this time, but depending on weather we will take a trip up to the nursery to welcome him this afternoon.
Live trees are the best!
This nativity was rescued from GoodWill a few years ago.
My mom sent us this Nativity when we were stationed in Hawaii in 1991. Happy Birthday Jesus.
The coveted mixer.
Packages tied too complicated for little twenty month old fingers.
Yes, the ribbons and bell necklace were required for the Kimberly's Christmas ensemble.
The Kids old and young - Celebrate
Baby Michael

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

vacation reading :)

. . . And Baby Makes TwoWritten by Judy Sheehan

EXCERPT Chapter OneJane walked out of her apartment building and saw the Christ Child. She was on her way to the gym when she saw a baby of such breath-stopping beauty she had to remind herself to inhale. He had gray-blue eyes, Nestlé cocoa hair, and was destined to have thick eyebrows after puberty. He had no pores. He had bliss. His mother held him on her hip in a swaddling sling that matched his eye color almost perfectly. She looked pretty happy, for a virgin mother, not that Jane noticed her. This glowing god-baby was the reason wise men traveled across deserts and little drummer boys drummed. He blinked, and Jane, a reasonably calm person as a rule, nearly wept. She had to talk herself down. She pretended to check her watch, and then she walked away. She only looked back at him four times. But he had already turned to perform other miracles. continued excerpt

christmas images

Our friends’ son went to Basic training in August.
I was so proud of him. He needed the military. He needed discipline.

I teased him throughout the summer and told him that I would take him on five dates if he let me. One to the Army recruiter, One to the Marine recruiter, One to the Air Force Recruiter, One to the Coast Guard Recruiter and one to the Navy recruiter. Everyone laughed, but I was serious!
He came home for a few days over Christmas. He is now stationed at Fort Hood.
He and his girlfriend decided to get married this weekend. It was hastily put together, but turned out very sweet.
I wish him the best of luck as an Infantryman and new Husband.

1 Corinthians 13:1-13 - Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.

Infantry's motto -- only two short words but it speaks volumes for the courage for the sacrifice that the American fighting man has always demonstrated. The motto is "Follow Me". Statement by President Gerald R. Ford upon his visit to Fort Benning on the Army's 200th anniversary, 14 June 1975

Traveling so close to Christmas to Argentina allowed me to see a closer look at their culture.
We are over the top here and I love it. The airport was not filled with Seasonal decorations and festive music.
The hotel I stayed at was not overly decorated. It is the summer and the temperature was in the eighties. We chatted about the traditions. It is a simple family day and maybe one present is exchanged (that part I wish we would take hold of).
Fruit Cakes are very popular and are eaten on News Years Eve after the midnight Champagne toast. We had a staff meeting with everyone that is supporting our extended team. I brought candy canes and they were thrilled. Candy Canes are not found in Argentina.
I try to learn more and more each time I visit.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

The trip home Wednesday evening (10 hours to Buenos Aires to Atlanta) was horrific. I felt like someone had ran me over 10 times with my luggage.
When I got to Atlanta - they said they could get me home until Monday MORNING to DENVER!
I told them that would not work.
So, They sent me to Salt Lake City to Colorado Springs – I got home – BUT my car was in DENVER! I picked up a bug along the way and Friday morning I stayed on the couch all day. No car. No work and many final touches not being attended to. It would wait.
Saturday we trekked up to grab the car from DIA and make a stop at the outlet mall.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

A year of saying no to consumerism.

I read this on the plane. It isvery interesting. It made me stop and think about all of the buying I do.

Many of us have tried to call a halt to our spending at one time or another. But what if we decided not to buy anything for a whole year? Obviously, we would need necessities like food and soap, but how would be manage without new clothes, treats, entertainment?
Funny, smart and self-deprecating, Not Buying It is a close look at our society's obsession with shopping and the cold turkey confession of a woman we can all identify with -- someone who can't live without French roast coffee and expensive wool socks, but who has had enough of spending money for the sake of it. Without consumer goods and experiences, Levine and her partner Paul pursue their careers, nurture family relationships and try to keep their sanity and humor intact. Tracking their progress and lapses, she contemplates the meanings of need and desire, scarcity and security, consumerism and citizenship. She asks the big questions -- can the economy survive without shopping? Are Q-tips a necessity?
A thought-provoking account of the pleasures and perils of the purchase-driven life, Not Buying It will get readers talking about their reliance on the act of buying and the possibility of getting off the merry-go-round.


This will give you definitely something to think about.
I might try only buying necessities for myself for 90 days. I wonder if therest of the family would join in...

Thursday, December 14, 2006

This would have been my mom’s 65th Birthday.

December 14, 1941 – It was a happy day for my grandparents, but she was born at the beginning of a war and tradegy.
December 14, 1941 Premier Winston Churchill travels to U.S. on board HMS Duke of York

1941 - German military commander of Kharkiv, Ukraine issued an order, according to which the Jewish population was to move to the city periphery within 2 days, into the barracks of the works of a machine factory. In the next days 15.000 Jews were shot at Drobitsky Yar.
December 14, 1941 U-557 torpedoes British cruiser Galatea

She possibly would have celebrated = 2003: Saddam Hussein captured, The ousted President of Iraq, Saddam Hussein, is under arrest after being found by US soldiers hiding in a cellar.

My mom loved Angel Food Cake or Pineapple Upside Down Cake baked in a cast-iron skillet.
Either would bring comfort, today.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

I might try my hand at these
Peanut Butter Chocolate Truffles
Tasty little peanut butter chocolate confections rolled in crushed peanuts

Cooking Method: No Cook
Prep Time: 30
Cooking Time: Up to 10 minutes
Makes: 60 servings (1 truffle each)


2/3 cup hot water
1 container (10 ounces) Swiss Miss® Milk Chocolate Hot Cocoa Mix, (10 packets)
1 jar (18 ounces) Peter Pan® Creamy Peanut Butter
1/2 cup light corn syrup
2 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
1 package (12 ounces) crushed vanilla wafers
PAM® for Baking Spray
8 ounces dry roasted peanuts, crushed


Whisk together water and cocoa mix in large bowl until smooth. Stir in peanut butter and corn syrup. Add sugar; blend well. Stir in crushed vanilla wafers.
Spray large piece of waxed paper with baking spray. Drop heaping teaspoonfuls of chocolate mixture onto prepared paper; set aside. Place crushed peanuts in shallow dish. Form each piece of chocolate mixture into a ball; roll in peanuts.
Chill 1 hour before serving. Store refrigerated in airtight container.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Oh my - Please go read what Most Certainly Not has written
Take action


I have been helping my daughter plan some gifts for her friends. I sat for a minute and thought of a few things I received from my middle school and high school friends. We used to get one another the latest Sweet Valley High books, small trinkets and maybe a the latest 45 (Madonna, Prince, U2, Depeche Mode, Cyndi Lauper - the classics).
It seems like Bath and Bodyworks, itunes and American Eagle have replaced the simple exchange gifts from the 80s.

EXCERPT Walking in Circles Before Lying Down

Chapter One

Remember to Write from Your Unique Perspective

I think one of the things that makes me unique is that as far back as I can remember, I have always talked to a lot of things besides people. I found it comforting, a way to prove that I existed. From early childhood on, I was haunted by the feeling that no one could hear me.

It's fiction but reads like a memoir. I started and finished last week when I should have been reading more about China and foreign policy.

Wow, Just shed a few tears of joy
Stephanie Klein
a must read.
Twins Lucas Beckett and Abigail Ruby.

Saturday I baked with my neighbor.
We had decided to share the burden (enjoyment) and bake together. I trudged over to her house and started whisking away. It was fun to listen to music and just bake. I had emailed her two recipes from Tammi's world.

We made double batches of Chocolate Charlie and Pepperment Melt-Aways. I am not sure who Charlie is - but God Bless Him. We are going to make more of the same.
They turned out wonderful and her entire house smelt like a sweetshop.

Thanks for the great EASY recipes.

While do some online shopping I found

A men’s lavender western shirt. It might just me… but lavender should not be in the same copy as western shirt.. It just seems odd.

I also found
FiFi Handcrafted Mesh Boat Neck Flutter Sleeve Shirt
To me it soounded like a mixture of holiday dessert, dog garment, nautical themed blouse.

I learned that Von Dotch has baby clothes and it has nothing to do with the royal thrown.

Bathing suits referred to as a triangle bathing suits.
(no part of my body is shaped like a triangle – I would need the octagon shaped suit)
Body Glove Smoothies Bubble Gum Misty Fix Triangle Bikini, Extra Small and Small only
JLO Swim by Jennifer Lopez Junior Bubble Triangle Swimsuit - atleast the JLO suit is made in the USA

and your lovely someone can purchase 100 roses with a single click in the cart.
100 roses
That would be fun just to watch the delivery person and the eyes of the on lookers! That would be the give that keeps on giving.
Does Santa wrap presents or just leave them under the tree? - I love to wrap gifts, I am certainly not the best wrapper. I save bags, paper and tissue from year to year. Wrapping is best.
Egg nog or hot chocolate? No Contest. Egg nog. I drink it from Nov 1- Jan 1. It makes the season. Best with coffee.
Colored lights or white lights on your tree and/or house? Usually while lights
Do you hang mistletoe? no
When do you put your decorations up? Since we get a live tree we usually wait for the second week of December. I am hoping to purchase and begin decorating this week.
What is your favorite holiday dish, excluding dessert? Excluding dessert. Hmm.. Is Baklava considered dessert? I like mashed potatoes and gravy and the abundance of veggies and dip.
What is your favorite holiday memory as a child? This is a tough one. I remember getting a pair of roller skates and a Jefferson jacket.
When and how did you learn the truth about Santa? Sadly, I do not remember. But I do remember my brother showing me all of the presents in the attic when we were six or seven.
How do you decorate your Christmas tree? However, I feel like it.
Snow! Love it or dread it? I like snow. Especially snow in Colorado. It is much more tolerable than in Michigan. Snow only lasts a few days for us and then it is gone.
Can you ice skate? Sadly, I cannot.
What is the most important thing about the holidays for you? Spending time with family and friends. I like to send Christmas Cards and I wait anxiously to see what new one’s come in the mail each week. I giving to others, It is fun to take a tag off of a giving tree and get something special.
What is your favorite holiday dessert? Seven layers bars, Russian Tea Cakes, Candied Pecans, Coconut Macroons
What tops your tree? Either an American Flag or an angel. We decide last minute what will go on top.
Which do you prefer, giving or receiving? A bit of both. I love when someone says this reminds me of you and it is a true perfect match.
What is your favorite Christmas song? Traditional – Oh Holy Night Contemporary – Band Aid “Do they know it’s Christmas time”
Candy canes: yuck or yum? I will pass, not a favorite. I like to give German Chocolate during the holidays.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Yesterday we received an amzing letter from our Compassion Child, Kitnan. He is six years old and lives in Thailand. During the summer we sent an envelope filled with stickers, bookmarks, coloraing book pages and a few pictures. He wrote to tell us that he loved the everything and showed everyone his pictures and was so happy. My daughter and both cried when we read it, It was so sweet. On the back of the letter was a picture that we think was to represent the birth of Jesus, that too was amazing. We could make out the manger and the star. It was a nice pause for us. An early present. I will have the letter hanging up for awhile!
Things are going to get very busy between now and Jan 1st
Christmas presents to purchase and wrap
4 packages to mail
Pictures to print
Cards to mail - I have 90% sealed and ready!
Treats to make
I have a quick trip to Argentina 12/17 – 12/21
Work Holiday Luncheon
Husbands Holiday lunch
Team Holiday Breakfast
Daughter’s 2 week high school break
4 days of driver’s education 12/26- 12/29
Daughter is dog sitting at our house – so I will have 4 dogs
Christmas tree to decorate
Snow shoe day

Thursday, December 07, 2006

ughhh - I waited

Before I can do all of the fun things calling my name (shopping, cards, decorating, wrapping, sorting, etc...) I must finish this paper. I have five hours till class and I have 4 pages left and a bibliography to complete. I suck!

One of the key ideas I found during research

The gap between what the world says about American power and what it fails to do about it is the single most striking feature of 21st-century international relations. The explanation for this gap is twofold. First, the charges most frequently leveled at America are false. The United States does not endanger other countries, nor does it invariably act without regard to the interests and wishes of others.

The United States makes other positive contributions, albeit often unseen and even unknown, to the well-being of people around the world. In fact, America performs for the community of sovereign states many, though not all, of the tasks that national governments carry out within them.

America’s services to the world also extend to economic matters and international trade. In the international economy, much of the confidence needed to proceed with transactions, and the protection that engenders this confidence, comes from the policies of the United States. For example, the U.S. Navy patrols shipping lanes in both the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, assuring the safe passage of commerce along the world’s great trade routes.

In the near future, America’s role in the world will have to compete for public funds with the rising costs of domestic entitlement programs. It is Social Security and Medicare, not the rise of China or the kind of coalition that defeated powerful empires in the past, that pose the greatest threat to America’s role as the world’s government.

David's Friend GOLIATH.
Source: Foreign Policy; Jan/Feb2006 Issue 152, p50-56, 7p
Document Type: Article
Michael Mandelbaum

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

A few people you should get to know… I have either been reading their blogs for a while or just came across them.



Plus check out this very cool new website for Christmas from Borders, Books and Music.
The Statement Department has an amazing video up for World Aids Day.
It is a must see, it is eleven minutes and long and bet view while not interrupted.

The company that created the film for the State Department
Also hosts this page Still Life
I found this blog online Beautiful ideas and words
It is amazing. I want to make homemade ornaments and cards that look like hers.
I want my house to look and feel welcoming, clean and fresh. None of which are a prevalent experience in my house.
I am not a good homemaker and it was validated once again. My MIL told my daughter that we always have an ugly Christmas tree and we should buy a fake one.
OK –I like real trees. I like the ornaments we have picked up over the years. I am not sure why this even bothers me. It is like having a pebble in my shoe, no real harm just irritation.

It is not Martha Stewart quality – but damn it is mine. The stress I have had over the last few years, it is no wonder I even decorate and celebrate. Having a real tree makes me feel better. It might be a false sense of “better” – but it is mine. I hope to pick up the tree this week. String the lights and enjoy it. I might even dry some oranges and cinnamon sticks.
I woke up early and headed to Tuesday Morning - the doors opened at 7 am.
I got a few more names crossed off the list!.

If you need baking help head over to AWTM – she has a nice list started.

Friday, December 01, 2006

This article was in the November Time Magazine:
Section: WORLD

Photographer Yuri Kozyrev captures the tokens of faith that help Marines face battle in Iraq
In his classic story collection about the Vietnam War, Tim O'Brien wrote that what G.I.'s carried into battle was determined by necessity, specialty and rank, and "to some extent by superstition." Three decades later, the 145,000 Americans serving in Iraq rely on their own talismans to protect them from the barrage of sniper bullets, mortar fire and roadside bombs that have claimed the lives of more than 2,700 of their comrades. The Marines of Kilo Company, 3rd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment spent much of this year deployed in Ramadi, the heart of the Sunni Triangle and one of the most dangerous outposts in Iraq. The things they carry are often emblems of love or faith, reminders of home and a higher purpose. PFC Phillip Busenlehner's good-luck charm is an angel pendant given to him by his best friend's mother last year before Busenlehner left for boot camp. The case it came in reads, "An angel to give you strength to overcome any challenge." The pendant has been blessed by three priests and the Pope.

Lance Corporal Richard Caseltine wears a dog tag that belonged to his grandfather, who fought in the Korean War. "It is older than I am and means the world to me," he says. "I haven't taken it off since I got it." He was wearing it on April 8 when a bullet hit him in the head. He survived and returned to duty. "God was with me and so was my grandfather," he says.
Corporal Michael Compton carries a plastic bag containing a pair of his wife's underwear. She gave it to him before his first deployment to Iraq, when they were still dating. "She said that she would stick by me," he says. But on a patrol outside Fallujah, the bag fell out of his pocket and blew away. "I thought it was long gone," he says. A week later, while "out in the middle of nowhere," he noticed a plastic bag and picked it up. The underwear was inside. "I couldn't believe it. I guess it was a sign because, sure enough, when I got back, me and my wife got married. I deployed again to Iraq, and I figured I should bring it with me. After all, if it found its way back to me, maybe it could guide me back to her."


Having spent 3 1/2 years covering the war in Iraq, Yuri Kazyrev has amassed his own collection of good-luck charms. Here he displays a few, including a cross, a gift from his wife and a ring that belonged to his grandfather. To see more of Kazyrev's pictures from Ramadi and hear him talk about them, go to