Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Things I Love A to Z

There's a new book out all about things this guy hates...he is such a grouch he wondered if he had something he disliked for every letter. Sad thing is, it will probably be a best-seller. When I saw the book, I wondered if I could list something I love for every letter. (We recently went to someone's house and they had a really cool A to Z wall art thing - I wish I had taken a picture. If you're reading this, can you send me a picture!?) So here's my attempt at things I love A to Z:

A - aquariums, airplanes and art (both the making of art and the seeing of art)
B - balloons, babies (human and others) and bowling
C - crafts and cats (have you seen that YouTube video about the girl who loves cats? The song is even funnier...)
D - dogs (and warm cinnamon/sugar donuts like the ones my sister-in-law made us the other day...YUM)
E - elephants and Easter eggs
F - family (especially Bubba and my husband!) and french fries...the crispier the better, but not burnt.
G - giggles (especially the deep belly laugh kind of giggles that Bubba does) and games
H - hydrangeas and helping people
I - Ireland (I also thought of adding igloo just as a away to say that I love homes - not just my own but you know how sometimes when you go into someone's house and you know right away that it's more than just a house, it's a home? I love that!)
J - jokes (especially kid jokes...favorite: What kind of insect do you find on the moon? *See answer at bottom)
K - kites (and pretty much anything that flies - regardless if it's alive or man-made)
L - the library (I can't wait to visit the Library of Congress!! and one of my favorite cheesy movies is "The Librarian" it just me or is Warehouse 13 pretty much the same thing? Either way, love them both) 
M - museums and movies
N - new things (even if they are only "new" to me - hand-me-downs & heirlooms rock!)
O - the ocean! 
P - pictures (Photo albums), pools and pretty things
Q - Queens and the monarchy...especially European - although the Queen Noor biography is still one of my favorites
R - reading and reenactment (Renaissance fairs, places like Williamsburg, etc)
S - singing, swings and science
T - travel, TV and telling people I love them 
U - underwater...though I've never gone scuba diving or even snorkeling
V - values (also, feeling as if you and others are of value to the world...)
W - writing and water (being on it, in it, around it, near it....)
X - XOXOXOX (does that count? I do really love hugs and kisses but also couldn't think of anything other than X-rays and xylophones...both of which are cool in their own way, I'm just not sure I love them...)
Y - yellow (it's actually not my favorite color but it's so cheerful and as an accent with blue is completely refreshing to me)
Z - the Zoo

This turned out kind of random (or is it rambling?) but fun. Most of these popped right into my head and are things I enjoyed as a kid too. Somehow along the way of growing up I forgot about a lot of these. I'm  blessed to have the opportunity to relearn them.

* Answer to my favorite joke ever: Lunar Ticks!!
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Monday, November 28, 2011

Rubber Ducks

This past week we went to NJ to visit family. We had a wonderful Thanksgiving and Bubba really enjoyed playing with his cousins. I'm always amazed at how some young adults are so good with toddlers. Luckily, Bubba's cousins fall into that boat - they were great with him. 

Speaking of boats and falling...While we were in beautiful Mt Tabor, NJ (if we had the money for a second home, this place would be on the list) I happened to be flipping through my nephew's Earth Science textbook. Yes, I know that makes me a supergeek (maybe I should get a cool shirt made to look like Superman but with an S and a G for SuperGeek!?). There was this neat write up about 29,000 rubber ducks (and green frogs and some other stuff) that fell off a container ship in 1992 and how the ducks' voyages have helped scientists learn more about ocean currents. What a cool way to learn about oceans, continents and the earth as a whole.

Of course one of the first things I did when I got the chance was to Google it. Turns out there's a website dedicated to those little ducks (actually rubber ducks in general but close enough). Eric Carle (from The Hungry Caterpillar fame) even wrote a book about it. How cool is that? I thought it was this obscure write up in a text book and there is so much more to it. There is a good article about it from 2007 which you can read here.
I could have spent hours flipping through my nephew's textbooks (the Earth Science one as well as a Literature textbook). When I was his age, I probably felt a bit as he does about homework. Who likes to read when it's an assignment? But reading just for the pure enjoyment of it? Just because it interests you and you are learning something new...that's the best!
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Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

Not the only turkey we had, but it was a good start!
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Wednesday, November 23, 2011

WW - Weird Fruit?

Anyone know what kind of fruit this is (if it is a fruit)? Mango?
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Monday, November 21, 2011

Rosemary Cornbread

We are having Thanksgiving with family again this year. And once again, we don't have to cook! We did volunteer to bring a few things though so hopefully that will help alleviate some of the guilt at not doing much of the cooking.

Imagine two eggs in front... 
One of my favorite things this time of year is Rosemary Cornbread. I found the recipe 7-8 years ago and have made it almost as many times. Every time, I wonder why I wait until the holidays to make it. It's so easy and tastes great!

All you need is 2 boxes of Jiffy Corn Bread mix, 2 eggs (lightly beaten), 8oz plain yogurt, 1-2 7.5 oz cans whole kernel corn (I only use one because I think it's "too corny" with 2 cans) and 1 Tbsp rosemary. Mix it all together, pour it into a greased (spray) 9x13 pan and bake 20-25 minutes.

It's a nice change from plain cornbread and goes great with turkey and gravy. If you get a chance to make it, let me know what you think.
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Thursday, November 17, 2011

Military Memories 2

My father was in the Army and served in Vietnam. Even in high school I would read books about Vietnam and biographies from platoon leaders during that conflict. Finally, after my first deployment, I felt as if I could understand some little scrap of what he went through. It was something, but not enough...

Southeast and Southwest

Similar -
but vastly different
You went your way;
I went mine

Southeast Asia -
No choices;
no support

Three tours -
such a long time
Making changes;
some you saw then and some now

Southwest Asia -
I asked to go;
support is waning

Sixty days -
not long enough
Making changes;
using what I've learned
to prepare for the next time.
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Wednesday, November 16, 2011

WW - Beach Sunset

(Hope to have more beach photos after our trip to Florida...)
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Monday, November 14, 2011

Rapunzel Hair Clip Holder

One of the more fun things I have made recently was a pair of Rapunzel hair clip organizers for my two nieces. They love the Disney movie "Tangled" and have a ton of hair clips and ribbons, so I thought they might enjoy these organizers.

They were very easy to make (see the directions here). When you read the directions and see "3 yards" of yarn - make sure you use the correct length. 3 yards comes out to around 9 feet which seems like an awful lot of yarn. However, as you can see from the picture, the first one I made ended up quite short since I thought 9 feet of yarn must be an error. The second one turned out much better after using the appropriate amount of yarn. After all, if it's going to represent Rapunzel it has to be long, long, long.

The best part was giving them to my nieces. Instead of using them for hair clips they used them as pretend wigs! They put them on their heads and kept them there with head bands around their chins and danced around as if they were Rapunzel. Very cute and very satisfying.
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Thursday, November 10, 2011

Military Memories

Veteran's Day is tomorrow...

I have so many memories, good and bad, of my time in the Air Force. Below is one of the ways I set some of those memories to paper...

Coming Home

Dog tags chanting in the wind -
M-60s pointing at the wire

Tents placed in rows -
uniforms and civies hung side by side

Favorite shows watched again and again -
painting a picture of endless possibilities

M*A*S*H and China Beach -
someone else's ideas; a dream made real

Doing something important -
something to be proud of

Set apart from others -
by location and sense of duty

A wish to serve -
to go where others won't

Sunsets over sand dunes -
foreign tongues and customs

The sense of deja vu -
finally coming home...
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Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Appreciating Veterans

Lately, there have been a lot of articles written about how to "Thank a vet" on Veteran's Day. I even read an article that implied thanking a veteran for their service was a bad thing. The article turned out not to be as bad as I expected but I think part of it was poor choice of words for the title. (You can read the article here. Interestingly, the title has been changed from "When 'Thank you for your service' falls flat" to "For Veterans, is 'thank you for your service' enough? Big difference).

I never really knew what to say when people thanked me for my service. I felt I was just doing my job - and maybe not even doing enough when I was stateside instead of "in the AOR" or the front lines. I think of all the answers I've heard to being thanked my two favorites are a simple "Thank you for your support" and "It's my privilege to serve."
There are numerous organizations out there where veterans can find support. There are actually so many it's sometimes hard to figure out where to go or who to turn to. It's also hard to figure out which are for real and which may be scams. I had hoped that the Joining Forces initiative would help address some of these issues (see previous post here). However, Joining Forces doesn't seem to be focusing on what is already available and is instead focused on creating job opportunities for veterans and getting big names from Hollywood to make their commercials. If part of their mandate is to "give service members and their families the support they've earned" wouldn't it make sense to create some kind of clearing house kind of thing where people can go and see what all is available for them? 

The only place I've seen anything like that is at Operation Homefront Missouri, where they try to help people figure out which organization or service best fits their needs. Unfortunately, it is more of a local level thing. I had hoped "Joining Forces" would do the same thing on a national level. Maybe they have a plan for it? Might have been good to start with that in my opinion...
One of my recent pet peeves is how a lot of the new veteran organizations (sometimes even the old ones) specify that they are here specifically for Iraq and Afghanistan vets. Now, I know there are a lot of them. I also know they they have a lot of issues including a high unemployment rate and high rate of homelessness. However, I am not a vet of either Iraq or Afghanistan. But I did deploy for SOUTHERN WATCH and ALLIED FORCE. Does my service not count because no one remembers those missions? That's sure what it seems like...

I may not need the same help that some of the men and women returning from Iraq or Afghanistan do, but telling me (and thousands of others) that we don't qualify for aid because we served in a different part of the world or at a different time doesn't seem quite right either. Is it wrong of me to think that way? I'm not saying there shouldn't be something just for them, just as we have organizations for Vietnam Vets and Korean War Vets. But, why does it seem as if so many of the new organizations established to help and/or support veterans specifically say "for Iraq and/or Afghanistan" vets? Where is the support for the "I served but didn't deploy for any of the high-visibility stuff" veterans?
Well, I don't want to get any deeper into my pet peeve for fear that I'll start sounding like an ignorant dufus...I love my country; I love that I served and wish I could have done more; I love that people out there support the troops and our veterans..that's all that really matters in the end.
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Thursday, November 3, 2011

Something Diferent

I don't talk about my faith very much. Probably because I don't feel I have the right (lest people throw stones) nor do I want to make others uncomfortable with their own choices. However, since Theme Thursday is all about opening myself up (and perhaps thickening my skin) I offer you something different today.

A Song For the Father

I sing for Your mercy -
I sing for Your glory -
I sing for Your power, my God.

Lord, I sing a song of praise for You,
a song of praise You long to hear -
rushing from my lips to Your waiting ears.

Lord, You are my God, the one and only Rock.
I bask in Your love and forgiveness -
knowing that You, my Father, are here.

Lord, I sing a song of praise for You.
Praise for Your wisdom, truth and hope -
Father, I want to come home.
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Wednesday, November 2, 2011