Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Honoring the Fallen

On last weekend's episode of Army Wives one of the characters died in combat in Afghanistan. It turned out to be a very emotional episode and included several different tributes to the fallen soldier - including a tribute from his platoon still in Afghanistan.

At the end of the episode the one thing I was surprised about is that they didn't use some events from real life in the episode. I'm specifically referring to a certain church from a certain state that feels called to protest at funerals of our service members. I am so very glad that the writers/producers of Army Wives decided not to give the church more legitimacy (if that's the right word) and/or publicity by featuring something similar in the show.

A few weeks ago, an Airman (A1C Zachary Cuddleback) from this area was shot outside the Frankfurt Airport in Germany. The certain church I mentioned decided they would come out to IL to protest at his funeral. Instead of them making the news and being in the forefront, hundreds of people from around the area lined the streets and blocked the protesters. The Wing Commander from Ramstein AB wrote an article  about what he saw when he escorted A1C Cuddleback's body home for the funeral. Driving around town the next few days, one could still see several signs honoring A1C Cuddleback and his family. I wish we had heard about it beforehand, as I would have been honored to have participated. 

My only question is, and I hate for it to sound like an unpatriotic criticism, was A1C Cuddleback the first person in 10 years of war to die from this are? If not, were the other people honored in the same way? I for one have not heard of anything like what was done for the Cuddleback family. I think it was amazing and beautiful that the community honored a fallen Airman in that fashion...I just hope we haven't gotten so immune to the war and its toll on our service members that others are allowed to just slip by unrecognized. 

Do shows like Army Wives help us remember or do they add to the steady stream of reports and/or images that help to create "caring fatigue" bringing us to a point where we're just too tired to care anymore...?
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Monday, March 28, 2011

Past vs Present

A couple nights ago I had a dream...one part of it hit me so hard that it woke me up, and I haven't been able to forget about it since.

In the dream my mom was giving away a lot of my old childhood "stuff." I knew I didn't need any of it, but I also didn't want her to give it away - it was as if she was giving away my childhood and I would lose it forever. Of course the fact is that she actually did get rid of a lot of my stuff from childhood and I do miss/regret it sometimes - especially when I think of how Boy Wonder would have liked to play with it or have it (or more that I would have enjoyed seeing him playing with the same stuff I did). Anyway, in the dream my mother was beautiful, healthy and happy (she has to use a walker in real life...) which was wonderful and amazing. At one point while she was giving my stuff away and I was getting more and more upset, she turned to me and said "You spend so much time in the past that you're missing the present." Even just typing that line kind of makes my heart skip a beat...

I do spend a lot of time in the past. Sometimes it's "harmless" such as making scrapbooks or looking at old pictures and poems. Sometimes I think it's probably not a good thing, such as when I start thinking about "what ifs" and dissecting choices I've made and things I regret not doing.

What really hit me about my "mom's" statement is that for the last two weeks I had been working pretty much non-stop on a photo album of Boy Wonder's first year. When I started it I thought it was a great idea as it would be faster and more compact than doing a whole scrapbook...probably true but it still ended up monopolizing all my time for quite a while. And while I was working on the photo album (the past) I was missing out on time I could have been spending with my son (the present). Talk about a shot to the gut.

How does one stop spending so much time in the past and start truly living in the present? That's something I really need to work on. I think looking back is a good thing, remembering (and sometimes even honoring) the past is even necessary to knowing how to make the right choices in the future. It's finding the right balance that I need to work on.

Living fully in the present and not missing life's day to day occurrences - that's what I want for my future. Read More......

Friday, March 18, 2011

St. Patrick's Day Cupcakes

This year, I wanted to do something special for St. Patrick's day but hadn't been able to think of what...as soon as I saw this recipe I knew I had to try it. 

I've mentioned before how much I enjoy Roni's Weigh...well, she has another blog called Green Lite Bites where she posts healthy recipes. Between the two sites, I read about and got the recipe for Simple Green Cupcakes - perfect for St. Patrick's Day!

It's a very simple recipe:
1 cup applesauce
4 cups raw spinach ( I don't think I actually used that much, but I used a lot!)
1 Box store bought white cake mix
Sprinkles

Puree the spinach and applesauce to mush
Dump cake mix and puree into a large bowl and mix on medium for 2 minutes
Pour into cupcake liners (I ended up with about 18...)
Add sprinkles, if desired
Bake for 20 minutes at 350 degrees

They turned out really green and were delicious! I think this will become a new St. Patrick's Day tradition (and maybe other times throughout the year too...).

As Roni says, they aren't necessarily health food, but hey, if it's got spinach and applesauce in it - it's way up from what I normally eat!


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Wednesday, March 16, 2011

ABCs of Me

One of the blogs I follow (Roni's Weigh) did this and I thought it was kind of cool...taking a moment to think about my likes and dislikes...I wonder if I did this again 5 years from now how much would be different (besides my age)...Interesting to think about.

So, here goes...the ABCs of me...

  1. Age: 38 (Wow! When did I get so old!?)
  2. Bed size: Queen, for now, but I would love a king size bed if we ever stop moving...though if the Little Man would sleep in his own bed, a queen would probably go back to being OK....
  3. Chore you hate: cleaning the house...I just have too much stuff (some say junk, I say stuff...)
  4. Dogs: I love Dachshunds (long hair, not naked), Golden Retrievers and Labs...would love one some day but not sure how the cats would like it. 
  5. Essential start to your day: Waking up and seeing the Little Man's smiling face
  6. Favorite color: Blue - almost every shade of it
  7. Gold or silver: Silver. Used to be gold so I still have a lot of gold jewelry but I really like silver (or white gold...or platinum...)
  8. Height: 5'5" give or take half an inch...though I think I'm starting to shrink
  9. Instruments that you can play: None. I always wanted to but have never taken any lessons
  10. Job title: Mom, Volunteer, Best Wife Ever? :)
  11. Kids: 13 month old son
  12. Live: Illinois - soon to be DC
  13. Milk: Skim - whole milk makes me sick
  14. Nicknames: Sam
  15. Overnight hospital stays: Knee surgery x2 and childbirth
  16. Pet peeve: there are so many...rudeness is the first one that comes to mind...
  17. Quote from a movie: "Have fun storming the castle!" - Princess Bride
  18. Righty or lefty: Righty.
  19. Sibling: Three sisters and four brothers (including halves, steps and some that it takes too long to explain...)
  20. Time you wake up: anytime between 0630 and 0900...keep thinking about getting on a schedule but love waking up with the Little Man too much...
  21. Underwear: My favorites are the little boy shorts that have cartoon characters on them. Do they even make those anymore? 
  22. Vegetables you dislike: cooked orange stuff (carrots, yams, sweet potatoes, etc.) Like raw carrots - hate them cooked
  23. What makes you run late: poor planing
  24. X-rays: probably way too many...
  25. Yummy food you make: snickerdoodle cake, biscuits and gravy, cheese slaw, etc...just need to work on making yummy healthy food
  26. Zoo favorite animal: Elephants! and pandas...and lions...bears...penguins...pretty much all of them except I really love the elephants...
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Sunday, March 13, 2011

Sarah Palin's Alaska

When you say the name Sarah Palin it seems as if you are just asking for some kind of debate. I first heard of Sarah Palin while reading an article about her in the February 2008 Vogue. I remember thinking how cool she sounded and that she seemed to be someone to look up to - someone that women could really look to and try to learn from.

Over three years later and I still feel the same way. She has made mistakes in the last few years but she still seems to be the same person underneath.

When I heard about her reality TV show "Sarah Palin's Alaska" I knew I wanted to see it. I haven't seen all the episodes yet but as expected, I've enjoyed it. Her life seems so different from anything I could even imagine. I think it's amazing and wonderful how different life is in Alaska.

Back in 1994, I spent three weeks at Eilson AFB in Alaska. I loved it and enjoyed pretty much every minute I spent there...looking back, I wish I had gotten out more and really explored the state (of course I say that about pretty much every place I have ever lived and/or visited). I remember driving somewhere and having to wait as a moose crossed the road. We were so impressed with the size and majesty of the animal and how close it was. I guess if we had grown up in Alaska we would have eyed it as a walking slab of steak or a stack of moose burgers...

From what I have seen and heard, not many people were impressed with the TLC show and some have even poked fun at Sarah Palin for becoming a "reality-Star." I'm glad she did the show - seeing Alaska through her eyes was really interesting and I enjoyed getting to know her better. I'm not sure she should ever lead our country but she is definitely an interesting person and worth listening to. Read More......

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Twitter

As if there isn't enough information bombarding me at every turn, I have joined Twitter. First day and I am already "following" 35 different people and/or organizations - everything from actress Dana Delany to the Economist to the Sartorialist to the USO.

My husband joined quite a while ago. (Actually, we first heard about the January shooting in Arizona at Rep. Gabrielle Gifford's "Congress on Your Corner" event through a Tweet.) I kept putting off joining because I couldn't imagine anyone I would want to follow. Who do I care enough about to want to hear their random minute by minute thoughts? First person I thought of was Samantha Brown from the Travel Channel. I think she's awesome and really does have the best job in the world. As the next couple weeks passed, I kept adding more and more people that I might be interested in. So I finally did it...

We'll see how it goes... Read More......