Category Archives: Signatures

Down Memory Lane

today1Today is my day off of work. It’s not totally a day off – I still do some things here or there, send emails, troubleshoot a website issue, talk to my office mate who just came home from vacation, and text another office mate who would probably prefer not to hear from me since my day off from the office is his day off from me.

Anyway . . .

One project I’ve been meaning to do is to backup and organize my photos. I did (finally) order another external hard drive to store my gazillions and gazillions of photos. I manage a backup plan that is redundant in multiple ways at work because a few years ago, we had the equivalent of the China syndrome meltdown and I never, ever want that to happen again and so we out of an abundance of caution (and so that I can sleep at night), I check, recheck, and triple check the backup email confirmations almost every day.

But the cobbler’s kids have no shoes – and since keeping my photos in multiple sd cards that I sling around in my camera bag is not a good idea – I decided that I needed at least get some sandals on my feet. Oh what a bad analogy…

I was going through my photo archives and I get distracted by photo like the above. It was a night out with Japanese tappenyaki and the girl’s friends. How fleeting these moments, le sigh.

today2This was a day to Washington DC on Veteran’s Day last year. It’s so touching to be in the nation’s capital on these holidays.

today3And I continued to go through the archives because I can’t help myself. This was the draft for one of a half a million horse shows. I’m sad to know that this won’t happen again – ever.

today4This was last November 1, 2013, at a University of North Dakota hockey game. We’re going again in a couple of months to see the boy, almost a year later. Look at that girl – sassy.

today5This was taken the day before the hockey game, at Neighbor Theresa’s house. I guess we went to the Halloween party, then got on a plane to North Dakota the next day? We must have been busy – no wonder I have no memory of it. Thank goodness for digital photography.

today6And going back to a day before that – on October 30, 2013. Apparently we were at a field hockey game, then went to a party at Neighbor Theresa’s, then got on a plane and went to a hockey game in North Dakota.

Alright, I got it.

today7And two days before that, on October 28, 2013, we apparently were at another field hockey game – and it looks like we won!

today9On October 23, 2013, five days before the field hockey marathon, I snapped this at church.

We have the best worship team – no doubt about it.

today91A few days before that, on October 19, 2013, I was at the sister’s funeral. In this photo is Dianne and Barb, two people who I couldn’t even imagine would also pass away eight months later.

today92Before that we had the first show of the year that would be the girl’s last show year on the B Team on October 13, 2013. We knew we would have to travel to the sister’s funeral in a week so this was a little bit bittersweet.

today94One day before the show, on October 12, 2013, there was homecoming. So normal, and so wonderful to see these photos again.

today97This was October 4, 2013. I was in Georgia to help settle the sister’s funeral arrangements after she passed away the day before. Harmon here, my nephew, is talking to his aunt’s partner, Ralph. It was the first time I had met him, and he was charming and funny and Harmon really liked him a lot. Ralph has since passed away. What a difference a year makes.

today99A few days before that, on September 29, 2013, we were at our favorite winery, enjoying the afternoon, listening to our friends perform.

today001They are fantastic entertainers.

today992And life was so normal.

I think I’ll stop now with the walk down memory lane. Last fall was apparently full of a lifetime of change. This backup project is going to be quite a trip down memory lane. Thanks for sharing it with me!

Life Through My iPhone

iphone9We were out with some friends for dinner a couple of weeks ago and this is one of my favorite photos of the hubby and I. Look at the view behind us! It was fantastic.

iphone8I had the opportunity once to ride on this boat. I didn’t go and I can’t remember the reason why. You’re not suppose to have regrets in your life – but here’s one of mine.

iphone7I let Ella out last night at about 1:30 AM and when she didn’t come back in about 15 minutes, I took a flashlight and went looking for her. I found her in some bushes in the back yard, possibly eating something. I then went back to bed and dreamed that she ate some snake eggs.

It will be a challenge to get through today without falling asleep.

iphone6Our boy sent us this photo a couple of weeks ago. He’s flying this airplane this semester and he’s very excited. Good for him!

iphone93The girl came home again last weekend and we were all so happy to see her. However I do get nervous about a young girl driving three hours back and forth by herself every weekend. I want to her settle in slowly to school but every time she comes home for the weekend, she spends less time making connecting with her community there.

She does say that she and her roommate are getting along well. I’m relieved.

iphone94I’m trying to learn how to cook for just two people. Obviously, I’m not quite there yet. This shrimp and rice recipe is one of our favorites and I made a ton of it but was able to have quite a bit left over for a few more meals.

I’ll post the recipe soon, you’ll love it!

iphone95A friend of our wrote this book and gave me an advance copy. Ella the dog ate the book last week and tore out page 57. The husband and I thought that meant we should read it together which we did. I texted the book’s author, my friend Michael, this photo of the mangled book and he never texted back. The next day he said, “I got this weird text last night, did you really send it?”

I owed up to it and had to explain to him that his book was eaten. Good thing he doesn’t offend easily.

I bet you’re happy with your life after seeing how exciting mine is!

Happy Wednesday!

Our San Juan Vacation

vacation4What’s it like to go on vacation with the boy & the girl and their friends? Well . . . let me tell you.

It was a really fun vacation. Mind you, we didn’t to do everything we wanted to do. The husband and I are saving those things for when we go back without the kids . . . it’s one of the benefits of being empty nesters!

So we’re planning this vacation last spring – in front of Sydney-girl so naturally we asked if she wanted to come along. Naturally she said yes and then naturally when the boy found out that Sydney-girl was coming, he asked if Roommate Kyle could come too. This is when I thought perhaps I had misspoke – again. An expensive vacation for four just turned into an expensive vacation for six – naturally!

In any case, the four of us flew down to Puerto Rico and the next day, Sydney-girl joined us from Maryland and Roommate Kyle flew in from Colorado to join us. Because the kids were with us, we thought we should actually do things, rather than just sit at the poolside bar and drink mojitos – which was my preference.

So we all went to Old San Juan for dinner and to explore.

vacation1The boys were really excited to be there and as always they continued to entertain.

vacation2The boy really wanted to eat at this restaurant quite badly – can you blame them for not letting us in?

vacation3And this? I don’t know what this is.

vacation6We were looking for this place, La Barrachina. It was recommended by the concierge at the hotel and it is where the pina colada was invented. He then gave us coupons for six free pina coladas – it was a done deal, we made our reservations.

vacation5On the way there we did some exploring and some shopping. We found this cool store with a courtyard and the girls were going to give me an impromptu performance with these instruments but suddenly got shy and then decided against it. I think that cute boy standing by the corner had something to do with it . . .

vacation8What do you buy your dad for a souvenir when you are in San Juan?

Why cigars of course.

vacation9Roommate Kyle decided he was going to do some bargaining. He said he read somewhere that it was expected. He bargained the store owner down to – the same price he would have paid had he not bargained. All of us laughed so hard, but Kyle did save the tax on the purchase – about $1.50.

Great job Kyle!

vacation7A toast to celebrate a successful bargain!

vacation91Over the next few days the kids participated in a variety of water sports while the husband and I sat at the hotel water bar. Ha!

Here the girls were going out to the ocean on their jet ski and being helped by “the cutest Puerto Rican boy” on the beach. I must be old but I didn’t think tattoos and scruffy beards were attractive and I told them I didn’t see any cute boys. I’m not a 18 year old girl anymore.

The cute Puerto Rican boy apparently told the girl that she was the most amazing and beautiful girl that he’s ever seen. I agree with that but I was more concerned that they ran out of gas while they were out in the ocean. In any case it caused a lot of giggling for the next two days.

vacation92We also went stand up paddleboarding at Condado, a lagoon not too far from our hotel. I admit – I don’t get the sport except for yoga boarding which sounds like a lot of fun. It must be a challenge to balance yoga poses on a board that is bobbing in the water. BTW, the girl who checked us in said they are looking for a yoga board instructor. She said all the yoga teachers she spoke to were afraid of the water. There’s an employment opportunity for all of you out there! The girl as trying to talk me into taking the job. She said we could totally move there and make a living. In our dreams girl, in our dreams . . .

vacation93We visited both the old Spanish forts in San Juan, La Cristobal and El Morro. I showed you some photos from inside the forts a couple of weeks ago, but I wanted to show you this iguana. Iguanas were everywhere but this old guy must have been from the Jurassic period.

vacation94Look at him – what a fascinating creature.

vacation95I’m a “field trip” mom, when kids get tired, hungry, hot, or cold on a trip, they tend to get disinterested. And when they get disinterested, it’s not fun for the chaperones. This can apply to big kids as well as little elementary school kids. These kids are big – and can actually carry their own waters. But they didn’t. I carried the waters and the sun screen in my camera bag and because of that, I asked them to pose for group shots.

They owed me.

Isn’t this one cool?

vacation98And this one is neat too if I do say so myself.

vacation97And this one – don’t fall kids! It’s a long way down.

vacation99Smile!

vacation001Enough Mamma! she says. The boys just kept walking . . .

vacation992Ok, fine. To the dungeons with you!

I have the power.

vacation994They stopped to take their own photos.

vacation995And they don’t mind posing for the ones they wanted.

vacation997We explored the forts until we were exhausted and at this point we decided to go back to the hotel.

vacation999. . . where the pool beckoned.

This is already long – and if you made it this far, thank you. There were a couple of things we wanted to do but ran out of time (and money). One was a tour of a bioluminescent bay and the other was a hike through the rain forest. There is always next time!

One other thing we did? We went to the cock fights – yes, we did. I may or may not write about that experience. I’m still trying to recover from it.

We did have fun though – and buenos dias! until next time.

Answers To The Boy’s Food Questions

The boy was such a picky eater that I remember literally breaking down into tears on many occasions and there were nights I would lay awake wondering if one can ever have a “normal” life when one only eats pizza, chicken nuggets and ketchup.

I wish I had the internets handy back then. A support group for moms of picky eaters would have been really helpful. I was going through what I thought at the time was a lonely and frustrating experience. It forced me to be creative and also to be manipulative when it comes to meals. I tried cajoling, yelling, pleading, laughing, crying, and every method of getting nutritional food into the kid as possible.

Some moms told me not to worry, he’ll out grow it – and I clung to that hope. I clung to it when the boy turned 5 years old, 13 years old, 16 years old – and now that’s he’s 20 years old, I’ve come to terms with it. I can’t change the past and I can’t change his future. He has to choose it himself.

To my chagrin, I find myself saying things now that he’s an adult that will annoy him at meals. I would make comments like, “What? You eat steak now?” It doesn’t sit well with him and I think he gets embarrassed but you know what? I think he is understanding that his food choices have not been healthy – and that people take notice. When we were on vacation last month, I made a comment to Roommate Kyle that the boy had some weird food aversions to which Kyle answer, “I know, I’ve lived with him long enough.”

I think it gave the boy pause to hear that he’s got quite a reputation and it’s not just his mother who finds his eating habits strange.

But I am forcing myself to back off on the comments – because they are annoying him and also because gulp . . . he’s changing. Slowly but surely, he’s changing. I don’t think his taste buds have changed, but he realizes that he must have more healthy choices. And I think he’s also getting bored with the same meals.

He is sharing an apartment with a few guys now and they are sharing cooking duties. When he came home last, I showed him how to make ribs. He said he was going to make them for his buddies when he got back to school. It was a turning point in our relationship.

Even when he is far away he makes me laugh so I wanted to share some of his questions about food preparation now that he’s on his own.

text9On the night he was preparing the ribs, I get this –

I obviously was not checking my phone and he couldn’t go forward without some answers. I finally called him and talked him through it. He was determined but the ribs were frozen. He needs to do a little bit of pre-planning for dinner – ahhhh, life is always a learning process.

Then I get this –

iphone91

I laughed until I cried.

Because the ribs were slightly frozen he had to defrost them in the microwave. He had a hard time cutting through them which started a whole conversation about knives – as in he didn’t have any. So I sent him this set.

indexIt’s color coded – how neat is that?

text6Here’s one about making a shake in the new blender I gave him. This question cracks me up – remember when you would ask a question as a child to your parents and they would say, “Go look it up?” Well . . . this would be an appropriate time to say that.

Here’s the blender I sent with him to school for this fall. It’s a single serve blender with a go cup. I think he’s now a shake making aficionado.

index1

As long as we’re at it – I thought I’d just post a few more of his questions – just because no matter how old they get, they will still need advice.

text3Answer: $3.

text7Answer: Why?

text5Answer: How about I pick up some baby carrots too so you get some vegetables in you?

text4As he traveled around the country this summer, I realized I made a dentist appointment for him that he couldn’t miss. After all, these things are scheduled 6 months ahead of time.

But apparently he’ll be sick that day. ps I got the day wrong – but the month right.

That boy cracks me up – and the one great thing about growing up is that your mom doesn’t have to feed you anymore.

Go forth my boy, and eat healthily.

 

 

Surprise!

I was at a surprise 50th birthday party last weekend – though Miss Lisa doesn’t turn 50 for another couple of months. It’s a great way to surprise someone – and it worked!

Surprise!

I cooked a couple of dishes and I brought my camera but I wasn’t expecting to photograph much. I can’t seem to concentrate on two things at once, shooting photos and having a good time.

I will however, show you some photos from that day because it such a fabulous time.

lisa91Here she is, the fabulous Miss Lisa. I missed the SURPRISE! I was inside drinking a Moscat0:)

lisa9Here she is with her fabulous family. I couldn’t get a good shot of them because Mr Gary is about 7 feet tall, but I did get a photo of him taking a photo.

lisa8lisa7There were hugs all around…

lisa3After a prayer by one of our guys (we have the greatest men in our community, we are really blessed), we dove into the food!

lisa4It was quite a spread. I made some Pad Thai and some larb. I spent quite a bit of time explaining to people that its larb – not lard – yes, larb . . . I think people got it – sort of.

lisa2I didn’t make my dishes too spicy because I care about my friends and I didn’t want to harm them – but I did throw in a habanero or two – can’t have Thai food without a little bit of pepper.

lisa1Ahna-girl did a great job of planning. She is a great daughter! Her arm looks disjointed here but she’s alright:) Half the moms and dads in the county are hoping they get her for a daughter-in-law. That’s another post for another day.

lisa5This is Ahna-girl’s dog, Precious. And she really is precious, reminds me so much of the dog.

lisa99Here’s a couple shots of the guests. I’m not sure what Matt is saying but I love Holly-girl’s reaction.

lisa98Hmmm….if I was a fly in the wall…

lisa95Here’s my friend, Miss Laura, with her beautiful daughter-in-law, Jackie-girl in the background, holding her really precious baby. This is legacy isn’t it?

lisa92Sweet Katherine here, she was adorable and one of the few who braved the pool.

lisa96Phyllis Diller crashed the party! It’s actually someone who lives there . . . I’ll have to show you one day. There are all kinds of creatures that live with Miss Lisa and her family.

It was a great celebration. Happy, happy, day!

 

 

When She’s Gone

whenshesgone1Last October, we spent some time with our cousins from Long Island, New York. We hadn’t seen them a while – a long while and most of us were listening raptly to what Cousin Walter was saying.

When I went through these photos, I realized the girl was photo bombing while her second cousin entertained the rest of us with his story of being attacked by a deer – they are from the big city.

whenshesgone2The husband was taking these photos and Cousin Walt – and the girl – both knew they were being photographed. Me? Not so much.

whenshesgone3I had these on my desktop for a long time, with no idea on what I was going to do with them – and when I saw the photo bombing, I realized again that I how much missed that girl.

She came home last weekend (I know, it didn’t last long). She claimed to miss the cat, the dogs, and Thai food. No mention of her mom & dad but that’s ok, it was implied. I think she really did just miss her prom date.

Because she said the food at school made her tummy hurt, I made her a huge Thai dinner, with everything she asked for. Once you are used to eating a certain way, changing your diet suddenly can make you homesick, ha!

She also made the decision not to try out for the collegiate riding team – and she seems more relaxed after that decision was made. I think it was making her stressed out to think of it, and we don’t want that.

When she left, she asked to come home this weekend, of course she can! Each weekend she spends away from school is one less opportunity to connect with her new community there, but for now, it’s just fine. I’m sure over time, it will happen less and less.

As always, happy day to you! It feels like Monday doesn’t it?

Life Through My iPhone

iphone94It’s time for another Life Through My iPhone post though I have to warn you – it’s not been that exciting around here. Makes you really want to read now doesn’t it?

These are my kids – we were out to dinner to celebrate the boy’s birthday. He turned 20 years old, no longer a lost and confused teenage boy that I used to always call him and his friends. He’s now a young man, very confident and focused on his studies.

And he’s a goof ball – that will never change.

iphone91Do you Snap Chat? Or have Snap Chat? I don’t know how to even address today’s social media applications – is it a noun? But if you use it, is it a verb?

Anyway, the boy went back to his school the day after the girl left our home for college. He had this photo on his Snap Chat (or he Snap Chatted it?) I can’t figure it out –

iphone92The girl’s move in day at college was really overwhelming for her and for us. It wasn’t because we didn’t have any help. When we pulled up, about ten really cheerful people swarmed the cars and grabbed all of her things to bring up to her dorm room. It frankly made her very nervous, she whispered to me that she felt rushed. And that people were touching her stuff.

I didn’t have to carry a thing so I was totally alright with it – but I understood. It’s a big adjustment. She refused at first to pose for a photo in her room so the boy posed for her. Like I said, he’s a goof.

iphone9I was not going to leave without a photo and she finally relented.

iphone7She then decided to pose with her things because it’s strange that the only photo we have is of the boy. The bedding and all of the accessories are very much “her.”

iphone6The husband was on vacation this week and his choice was to spend it fishing every day. I felt he deserved this time – he’s been so busy working and then dealing with all of our vacation plans and then moving the girl – well, he needed time by himself, and I understood.

iphone1He hasn’t caught many fish but he did catch this one – with teeth. Ugh.

iphone4We haven’t cycled in about three weeks and were invited to go with a group of people – but decided that our time was better spent drinking wine at our favorite winery and listening to our friends sing. Everyone has to make choices –

iphone5I’m going to do some cooking this weekend and this plant is one reason by. It’s a Honduran pepper plant recently given to me by a friend. She knows me – I’m waiting for the peppers to turn red before I pick them. And I hope I don’t kill it before the peppers are ready.

iphone3Speaking of peppers – take a look at this. My friend Kathy-girl offered me some peppers from her garden. And wow, did she have some peppers! It was beautiful! There are all kinds; jalapenos, rellenos, bell, and of course . . . .

iphone2. . . Habaneros! Fantastic right?

Kathy-girl made some habaneros pepper jelly from these that is just out of this world. I have a party to attend the weekend and you bet I’ll be whipping up some spicy Thai food with these. I’m very excited.

iphone8Speaking of Thai food, I’m also going to making some for the girl. Yes, she’s coming home this weekend after only a week away. It’s such a strange thing – the boy could not come home for the weekend. The girl can visit! Really? That can happen?

I was worried about her after we left her school. We texted every day and she assures me that she’s fine. Everyone is “super nice.” She likes her roommate and said they were out shopping which was a really good sign. She is riding at school and she said she was busy. Both she and Roommate Danielle are biology majors and it helps to have a study buddy.

iphone93She’s a strong girl. The husband was the one who suggested she come home this weekend. I told her I would make her Thai food this weekend and she was happy about that. She can eat really, really, I mean really, spicy food. A girl after my own heart. She also claims the cafeteria food makes her tummy hurt. I said it was probably stress to which she replied, “No, it’s the food.”

We also spoke yesterday about trying out for the equestrian team. She said she didn’t know if she’ll have time – and I told her it was up to her but that I supported her decision. She has an academic scholarship – not a riding scholarship, and I’m glad she’s putting things in proper perspective.

That being said, she’s still riding at the school’s beautiful stables and joining the equestrian club which will keep her around horses and plenty busy. Horses have been her life for so many years, it’s in her blood.

So – here’s to a wonderful weekend of celebration, Thai food, and hugs from the girl.

Love from me to you!

The Hauntings Of The Forts

ghost92For the most part I believe in the supernatural world, but when it’s convenient, like when I’m in a scary place where ghosts abound, I tell myself they’re not real. I convince myself – I talk to myself – I sing to myself.

Or like in the case of the forts in San Juan, I just didn’t even entertain the thought even though it’s patently obvious that if ghosts were to live anywhere, they would live there.

The tunnels and hallways deep in the fort are stifling and claustrophobic causing your mind to play tricks on you and the hair in the back of your neck stands up – maybe it’s just me. There were times, like when we were in the dungeon that I literally felt a presence of something – and I resisted the urge to run screaming from the room.

That’s not an exaggeration.

I chalked it up to the creepiness of the fort. After all, hundreds of men probably suffered and died within its walls. It’s easy to imagine –

After we got home, the boy looked up hauntings in the fort – thank goodness he waited until after we left the island. He informed me that the forts were some of the most haunted places in the world – in the world? So glad I didn’t know that when I was there.

As I went through our vacation photos, he stood over my shoulder and found orbs in some of them. An orb is a light that has no apparent source and which represents a ghost presence. Ah me – so scary. When I was in Newport News with Neighbors Beth & Susan, we took a ghost tour and tried to capture these elusive orbs with our camera, but were unable. Now as I look through my photos, I realize that I caught something, and I wasn’t even trying. I was in denial remember?

Repeat after me, there are no such things as ghost, there are no such things as ghost . . .

ghost1But then I began to see . . . something. Do you see that light source by Sydney-girl? Yeah, that’s an orb. It has no apparent light source but yet, it’s very shiny. It’s a dark room so nothing is reflecting it – that I could see anyway.

Weird huh?

ghost2In this photo, Sydney-girl is looking at the sea through the long, skinny window. Do you see the light source to the left? It’s pretty innocuous, but look clooooosserrr…

It looks like a figure with a head – well doesn’t it?

I was standing at the entry way and I thought it was me – but then it would have been a shadow, rather than a lighted figure . . . really unusual – or maybe it’s in my mind. But there’s definitely a light source shaped like a head and shoulders don’t you think?

ghost3I think this one is the creepiest. Do you see the bluish light source on the tunnel floor? It’s very inconsistent with the light source from the tunnel. According to the boy, it’s a classic orb.

I believe – I believe!

ghost4I had to look a little closer at this one. There’s a light below the benches/cots on the lower left of the photo. At first, it’s really not noticeable at all and I couldn’t see what the boy was seeing.

You have to squint a little . . . ok, maybe a lot.

ghost9

I’ve blown it up for you. Do you see it? It’s underneath the bench, lower left . . .

ghost91Here it is, I’ve blown up the photo even more.

It’s not exactly conclusive evidence Mr Holmes but it’s close enough.

ghost5Look at the above photo. There’s a light source, an orb, on the wall on the lower right.

I should have put an arrow there –

ghost6I took two consecutive snaps of my camera and you can see that the light source has moved slightly from the photo above. It looks like a little firefly but there were no bugs in the hallway. And no possible way it could have been illuminated by another light source.

The only possible conclusion? Ghosts! It’s not that far-fetched!

The boy’s theory on ghosts is this. There are two kinds, the benign ghosts, and the kind that mess with you. The benign ghosts do things over and over, like a sentry standing guard. According to the boy, they may not even know they are dead. The second kind of ghosts do things like pull your hair and can actually hurt you. They can be signs of demonic activity or at the same time, they can be angels who protect you. It’s a part of the supernatural world where there is a struggle of good and evil.

When I was a little girl, I loved ghosts stories around the campfire but as an adult, I want to leave the supernatural world alone. I’ve seen too much, felt too much, experienced too much.

Do you believe?

The Awesome Power Of Social Media

socialmedia1We ask the kids to be polite and put their phones away at dinner. But then again, the husband and I are just as guilty at times. Here I’m asking the girl for a photo on our first night of vacation in San Juan last week.

Wait, she says with her finger. She’s busy –

socialmedia2When her conversation – or whatever she was doing – is finished, she then poses for me.

I admit it can get annoying but I appreciate this new era of constant information flow – after all, I have a blog.

socialmedia3Here my friends at our 30th high school reunion are on their phones – but I think they were exchanging contact information.

One of the gentlemen approached me at the reunion and if you’ve ever been to one, you know how difficult it can be to remember names and faces. After all, it was 30 years ago. In this case, this classmate, his name is Classmate Tim, said to me, “It looks like you’re doing well, your kids are doing well.”

I looked at him and tried to remember him from all those years ago and I drew a blank. He said, “I’m (Classmate Tim).” And I remembered the name, but I still couldn’t remember him. But what was really bemusing was how he knew so much about me and I couldn’t remember him from Adam (of the Garden of Eden).

Then it dawned on me, I said, “Are you my friend on facebook?” He said yes. Aha. Slightly creepy, but aha.

It’s not the fact that he knew so much about me that I found disturbing, after all, I accepted a friend request from a total stranger. It’s the fact that I put so much of myself out there.

Oh well, too late now.

socialmedia4That brings me to this – is social media in this age of information overload a good thing or a bad thing? It’s a question I struggle with sometimes, particularly when there is drama among the teenage crowd or texting at the dinner table.

But then there’s the ice bucket challenge. It’s purely a social media phenomena and at first, I wasn’t sure how I felt about it. Then as I watched more and more videos and how it was bringing attention ALS, I began to appreciate the heart of people, many of whom would never make a spectacle of themselves on the internet except that they really felt it would make a difference. I thought of my sister and her long battle with ALS. The above photo was taken in June of last year and she would pass away three months later. She and her family suffered the debilitating effects of the disease for eight years and I know at times they felt that no one understood and no one cared. Now people know – and all it took was a baseball player and his family to start a campaign that touched off a social media storm.

socialmediafI also thought of our friend Tom, who passed away from ALS last June. This disease knows no demographic, no ethic background, no age difference. It does not discriminate.

As a result the ALS Association has raised 700 times more money this year than at the same time last year. It’s a miracle and it’s a blessing.

Check it out here.

So are you doing the ice bucket challenge and posting it for all your family and friends to see? I hope so. And it hope that simple act moves the hearts of other to donate to help combat this disease that has tragically taken so many lives.

Bless you!

 

A Week (Or So) In Review

eds2It’s a little bit crazy around here – but as cliche and overused is this phrase, – it’s all good. We paused long enough to grab the boy from the airport and then off we went, to rural Pennsylvania. I just love it up there, it feels far away from the hustle and bustle of the big cities – and it is. One thing we look forward to every year is visiting Uncle Ed’s farm where we get all the tractor rides we want!

eds3There was a new toy in the pond this year.

eds7It’s a paddle boat! And these are my sailors, and they are dressed in their best nautical wear.

Just sit right back and you’ll hear a tale, a tale of a fateful trip . . .

week92It just so happened it was also the weekend of my 30th high school reunion. Not many folks came, but then again, there was only 76 people in our graduating class. See that guy in the plaid shirt on the right? He didn’t even graduate with us:) He went to the Catholic school but we are apparently a lot more fun than his class.

It was a fantastic time, lots of laughs and lots of hugs.

week95It’s funny that most of the people who came to the reunion actually live out of town and traveled there, some like us, a long way, but most of the people who live in town didn’t come. I hear it’s not unusual, maybe it’s because they see each other all the time. Me? I would come, it’s an excuse to get together and party! But then again, I never really need an occasion to do that.

week93The husbands were tasked with taking photos – they were very patient.

week91After the “official” party, the unofficial party began! Classmate Miss Theresa and her family rented a cottage on the lake and it was the perfect after party place. Classmate Miss Theresa’s husband Steve is a big fisherman and he had some fishing poles out for the kids – and mine promptly broke the line on a lily pad. It was actually the girl who did it, and she handed the pole to the boy – it’s how a sister loves a brother. He took responsibility for it – like a good brother would.

Mr. Steve understood – he has four children of his own.

week94Here they are playing badminton with tennis rackets and a rubber ball. If kids are bored enough, they will find a way to entertain themselves.

week2The next week was a busy one at work and I hoped to begin packing early for our vacation but I never really got around to it. I did however get my hair cut, the first time in over three months. The next day I told the boy that I had four inches cut off to which he said, “When? Today?”

“No, yesterday.” thanks for noticing . . .

The above photo and the next two are courtesy of Jesse Snyder Photography. Jesse is one the most talented photographers I know. He’s amazing at capturing the heart of our non-profit events like this one that took place a couple of weekends.

week1This event feeds thousands of people, many who live right next door. They are the working poor, people with jobs but need an extra hand in keeping food on the table and a roof over head. I love this ministry.

week3I was there, and I had a camera – but I let Jesse do the heavy lifting because he’s so fantastic at it and that allows me to chat and drink coffee, ha! There is Brooke-girl with the other camera, she was the videographer that day.

week4I finally decided to begin packing for San Juan and I succeeded in throwing everything into one carry-on suitcase which I could just carry with me on the airplane. It’s a good thing since the family was flying stand-by and we never know where we will end up when that happens. We actually got to San Juan on the day we planned to get there and I promptly placed myself at the poolside bar, ordered a mojito and began to shoot the tropical flowers around me.

week9It was also Shark Week – yikes.

week8We said good-bye to San Juan five days later – I cried all the way home to Maryland . . .

week6And now for something completely different –

We landed in a different airport we took off from and the prom date had to drive to Washington DC to pick us up around midnight. What a sweetheart, his stock just rose a couple hundred points in our family.

We got ourselves together because that same day, our friend was assuming command of a (lot of people) – in military terms. This always makes my heart proud! even at the same time, I’m also grateful that I don’t have to stand at attention for hours on end anymore.

week5One of the airplanes under his command is the airplane that flies the First Lady. She sits here and I pretended I was her. It’s an easy mental exercise – I could get used to it and there are absolutely no complaints about not enough leg room. Notice my San Juan tan?

week96Here’s another airplane that belong to his command. It’s so neat! (in civilian terms)

week97I was told that I could fly “Space A” on this airplane, a term which means if space is available, and as a veteran, I could fly to where they are going.

I’m sure Baghdad is nice this time of year . . .

As nice as these seats look, I think the next time I fly, I’ll actually buy a ticket to make sure it doesn’t take me 12 hours to fly a 3.5 hour flight or land at a different airport – but it’s free!

Maybe I will go to Baghdad . . .

That’s what’s been happening around these here parts. Keeping it all in perspective . . .