Saturday, December 27, 2008

Let's see....

Back in Michigan as of Monday the 22nd (also my sister's Bday)

Worked all day the 23rd

Did house work on the 24th, and later in the evening J and I did our traditional Chinese food and light-looking adventure... except... After eating a heavenly dinner my car was acting funnier than usual. Did we eat that much?!

By the time we reached the Wayne County Lightfest I knew we had a flat tire. I pulled over and the two of us spent a goodly amount of time pulling out the never-been-used jack, the lock-nut ratchet and finding the spare (the book says "If equipped"... IF?!) Good thing it wasn't as cold as it has been. Together J and I figured it all out and got the "doughnut" securely on and off we went light-looking. Whew!

The 25th found us doing nothing all day. My BFF and I went to a small gathering of friends fondly referred to as "Waifmas", where those of us who do not celebrate Christmas or have family nearby socialize and just generally enjoy each other's company. We didn't stay late because both of us had to be up early for work on Friday.

For me, the 26th was a very long and wonderful day. I took T's car while he dealt with the tire situation. My poor car was on the last bit of tire all 'round so 4 new ones were installed. Thank you, T!

Work was enjoyable. J came to work in the back store again, which is always nice. I got a call mid-morning from my sister Karen. At the end of the day when I listened to messages I learned that she was in MICHIGAN! (she lives in MD) Guess it's the season for surprise visits, eh? I dashed out to get J and I home in the nick of time to drop him off and be picked up for an evening show. I had plans for dinner and tickets for WICKED at the opera house in Detroit. (On the way I called Karen and made plans to get together on Sunday.)

Dinner was very good but very slow. The traffic downtown was clogged with theatre-goers and CMU & Notre Dame fans as their teams were playing in last night's MotorCity Bowl. That, and three females needing a potty stop slowed us down a little!

We got to our seats not a moment too soon... The show was fantastic! Sometimes touring shows aren't as good as those with permanent runs, but this one was every bit as good as the cast I saw on the show's home stage in Chicago.

And yes, I proved to myself that when I hear the song "For Good" I still hear Avivah and Drew's voices... and I cry.

Tomorrow is the "family Chanukah brunch", sans my mom and her hubby who are in Israel. Today Joshua and I headed out for a couple of last minute gifts and I wrapped them. J went to a movie with Sam and I made a much needed stop at the grocery store. Now it's laundry and cleaning and packing up the gifts to take to my sister Julie's in the morning. This should be fun!

I still have to upload the pics from my trip, but here's the one V likes the best...

Thursday, December 18, 2008


Ok - I couldn't think of anything to write last week that didn't slip the secret that I was traveling here to surprise Avivah with a visit!

I'm here, in freezing cold Minot, North Dakota.

The reception I received from my surprise was priceless. She RAN across her girlfriend's living room and embraced me in the longest, tightest hug ever. Her gf tried to get her pic but she buried her face in me and I think, in her disbelief that I was really standing there in her arms... she stopped breathing for a second!

The rest of the evening she kept looking at me like I wasn't real. I just kept smiling and hugging. (and tearing up, like now)

Pics when I have them. Updates when we figure out what we're doing besides staring at each other and hugging.

Much Love to all, from -3 Minot!

Friday, December 12, 2008


In order to keep the blogworld apprised of my relative whereabouts before I go POOF! rather than wondering where I am...

Today is a full day of work ~ and I'm really happy about that!

Tonight's plan is for the Detroit Symphony Orchestra concert with Joshua and two very close friends of mine. It is the second day of the opening of Leonard Slatkin's term as Director. It marks a change that I hope will be a positive one for the DSO. Slatkin's bio is incredible. He is witty, brilliant and world recognized (how we got him here I'll never know!!)

Although that's amazingly good news, it's not the main reason we're going. Slatkin chose to open his tenure here with my ALL TIME FAVORITE PIECE ~ Carl Orffs' Carmina Burana. Yep, timpani and choir and soloist - all in vast multiples! I'm so excited. And it's going to be a late night. Being a weeknight they don't drop the baton until 8pm. Did I mention I'm excited??

Hey, my license plate says: OH 42NA
I'm a total GEEK for this!

Saturday afternoon will find me holiday shopping with the masses (Yes Hannah & Isabel, I still need to get you something faboo!), plus I need a pair of jeans. Saturday evening I'm out partying with friends. Sunday I promised myself I'd sleep in, and then later I'm seeing friends that are driving up from Ohio.

If I live through all that ~ look for a blog from me on Monday morning! Until then, know that you are loved and that your Airman is always in my prayers, as I know mine is in yours. Enjoy the day and the weekend...

Brightest Blessings,
~ L

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Mother's Day

Happy Birthday

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Hello World!

Yep, I'm alive.

This is what happens when I burn the candle at both ends a bit... something's gotta give. This time it was sitting leisurely and writing here. Sorry!

Time with "da kid" (J) is one of my top priorities. Last week we stayed up late several nights, just hangin' out. Sometimes even with the TV on too. LoL Last night we went for coffee with some friends, but he wasn't feeling well. This morning it's an upset stomach and headache so I'm taking some time to see how bad it gets, see if he needs a Dr. or a Mommy - and writing here.

Thanksgiving was wonderful and fun. Mom, my SIL Sharon and I contributed to the feast that my sister Julie prepared. She made the turkey, stuffing, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, green beans, rolls and a pie that was to die for. Mom did salad and apple kugel (also to die for). Sharon brought more pies that were OMG good.

Here at the ranch Joshua and Sam made the Cranberry Salsa. Sam baked my Caramel Apple cake recipe (she did well!) and I made the easiest, most delicious cornbread recipe ever. Everything was just delish and the kids - 17, 15, 10, 9 & 3 - played and laughed and had fun.

Until... the little ones decided to play.... HOUSE! Here's where the after dinner heart attack happened.

Mom, Dad and three kids!?

This I can handle... LoL!

And then there was this... OY! Be still my heart

Ok, they were the most adorable things ever, (and they got a real kick out of me choking and fainting dead away on the floor) but I'm SO not encouraging this quite so quickly! Sheesh!

There you have it... I'm back and will, as always, post when I can and have anything of interest to say.

Thanks for reading. ~L

Sunday, November 30, 2008

My Sweet J

He' still a teenage boy with all the quirks and foibles one might expect, but there are two really sweet things about him that I noticed recently.

At one point I was having a really rough day and needed a good cry. Not only did he sit down beside me and offer a huge hug, he hugged while I cried, and didn't let go.

Last night he and I fell asleep while watching TV. He woke and headed to his bed, but before he went he slipped my glasses off my head and set them gently on the coffee table.

Sure there are times when he upsets, disappoints or frustrates me, but all in all I am blessed to have him as my son.

Saturday, November 29, 2008


As a mother whose son presented with Hodgkin's Lymphoma, Nodular Sclerosis, Stage 4 ~ while Completely Asymptomatic ~ this infuriates me.

I have sent a copy of this to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society hoping that they will have some influence on whether this young recruit is honorably discharged for medical reasons, with or without benefits, immediately. There is nothing he needs more than to be with his family as quickly as possible.

Please join me in saying a prayer for AB Weston and his family, as well as those in whose hands this decision lies.

AF wants to boot recruit with leukemia

By Sig Christenson, Express-News

The Air Force has moved to deny health benefits to a recruit who learned he had acute leukemia only weeks into basic training at Lackland AFB.

An evaluation board ruled that Airman Basic Joseph Weston had fallen ill before coming to boot camp. It ordered him dismissed from duty with an administrative discharge — making him ineligible for medical and retirement benefits.

The ruling came despite the opinion of an Air Force cancer specialist who said there was “absolutely no way” to prove that Weston came to Lackland sick. The case is being appealed, with Weston fighting to win a discharge that grants him continued medical care and possibly even a pension.

“I feel I’m entitled to that,” he said. “I definitely feel that the Air Force owes me a medical discharge, if not retirement.”

As he fights to survive, Weston, 21, of Cadillac, Mich., is waging what he sees as a battle for honor. He joined the Air Force during a time of war, wanting to serve and defend his country and better himself.

But after telling him he had a rare form of cancer that could either kill him or leave him an invalid, an Air Force Physical Evaluation Board denied Weston a medical/honorable discharge, which would allow him to receive government-covered chemotherapy treatment for the next three years. It also could help him receive a 100 percent disability rating, which would allow him to qualify for medical retirement benefits.

In the absence of either one, he could qualify for Medicaid, but no one knows much about that possibility at the moment.

“I don’t know what’s in my future at this point,” Weston said. “I thought I had a good idea at one point, but it’s kind of been taken away from me, so I don’t really know at this point what I’m going to do, what I want to do anymore. It’s all just kind of been thrown up into the air, like a deck of cards.”

Living in isolation
As he marked his 21st birthday, Weston was living in isolation in a medical holding squadron where airmen who flunk their drug tests, the walking wounded and seriously ill are warehoused. He avoids others because of an immune system weakened by treatments. He wears a surgical mask when he walks in the cramped squadron building or elsewhere on base — if he has the strength to walk.

The windowless room Weston has lived in since his diagnosis June 10 isn’t much bigger than a prison cell. For a while he was denied the right to read books other than the Bible. Once, he was chastised by a noncommissioned officer for resting his eyes after grueling chemotherapy treatments.

The Air Force says strict discipline is normal for those in the medical holding squadron, where the rules are similar to those in other training units. He has since been allowed to read and sleep during the day, in accordance with doctors’ orders.

An angry Weston said some NCOs in the 319th Training Squadron, as it’s called, have treated him as if he were a recruit who flunked a drug test.
But worst of all is the Air Force’s decision to give him an administrative discharge.

Weston said some recruits he knows are getting medical discharges for stress fractures and anxiety attacks. He finds that ironic and insulting.
It makes matters worse that he can’t go home to his parents, who have watched from afar as their son fights a two-front war from his sickbed.
“What became his initial battle of life with the cancer is almost secondary with this battle he’s got with this discharge decision,” Jim Weston, his father, said in a telephone interview. “It just causes more stress for him, more stress for the family, and obviously it’s not pleasant.”

A long march
Wearing a surgical mask and blue armband, Weston stands at attention in a formation outside the 319th dorm as he and other recruits await orders on a chilly Monday.

This is a relatively short walk to a Lackland dining hall, but for him it is part of a long march with no clear destination.

“Why is my body doing it?” he said. “I know it is happening, but why me? Why now?”
This was supposed to be his year. After taking a hard look at his life, Weston had decided the time had come to join the Air Force. He qualified to be a jet engine mechanic and would have come to training months sooner if it had been his call.

The Air Force delayed his arrival to Lackland for five months. Weston, who had lived with a girlfriend and worked in a restaurant, moved home with his parents and anticipated the day he could get to boot camp. This was his chance to pick up a family tradition. Both of Weston’s grandfathers had been in uniform, and now it was his turn.

But the plane flight to Lackland at the end of Memorial Day weekend was also an escape from a nowhere job and Michigan’s moribund economy. It offered a chance for him to acquire discipline and direction in a life that had gone in circles.

Soon after starting boot camp, Weston showed signs of lagging in physical training, but it wasn’t cause for alarm. At first it was thought he wasn’t drinking enough water to compensate for the hot San Antonio summer. He also wasn’t used to exercising.

Tall and thin, Weston, like many boot camp recruits, had been a couch potato at home. His military doctor, pediatric oncologist Della Howell, also reported that he had taken Chantix, a drug to help him quit smoking. The drug’s many side effects include insomnia, which can cause fatigue and anemia.

Weston said he drank more water, but the problems persisted. He had swelling in his legs, and a medical check revealed an abnormally high heart rate long after exercising — 110 beats per minute.

Doctors at Wilford Hall Medical Center figured out what was wrong after blood tests: He had acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Called ALL, it’s typically seen in 3- to 4-year-old children, not young adults.

Weston called home. The gravity of the situation didn’t dawn on him until his mother, JoAnn Weston, broke down on the phone and said they were coming to be at his side.

“When he told me that they thought he had leukemia, to be very, very honest with you, I don’t remember what I said. I was in such a state of shock,” she said.

For Weston, the setback came just as things “had started to come together.”
“My dad, in fact, said quite a few times he felt jealous of me,” he continued. “It was like, ‘If I could go back right now 20 years, I’d switch places, I would, because you’ll be able to retire.’ He was just going through the benefits to it.
“I could tell he was really proud of me.”

Facing long odds
Weston had a better chance of being struck by lightning than coming down with ALL.

The government estimates your odds of being struck by lightning at 1 in 400,000. Just 90 people age 20 were diagnosed with all types of leukemia in the United States in 2000, the most recent statistics available to Howell. Of those 20-year-olds, she said, perhaps a third to a little more than half suffered from ALL.

ALL’s young victims, a subset of that group, have a better chance of survival than Weston.

“Anyone over the age of 10 is considered high risk, and that puts his survival rate at 60 or 65 percent,” Howell said.

Leukemia cells divide quickly and crowd the bone marrow. As they fill up the marrow, it becomes more difficult for the body to produce normal red blood cells that create platelets. When that happens, you bruise and bleed more easily and have increased difficulty in fighting off infections.
Adults with chronic leukemia can live for years. That is far more problematic with ALL.

“I’ve seen some children come in with an infection at the time of diagnosis and die that day. I’ve seen others have leukemia smolder in their bodies for months, and for some reason their bodies are just able to handle it better,” said Howell, 35, of Helotes. “In this case, had Airman Basic Weston not come in for treatment, if he had never had received any chemotherapy, I’d say that it could have easily taken his life in a matter of weeks.”

The question before the Physical Evaluation Board headed by Air Force Lt. Col. James Waggle was whether Weston was sick even before arriving at Lackland. He ruled the recruit was unfit to serve due to a physical disability but that it wasn’t incurred while on duty.

Waggle also said he wasn’t sure Weston’s impairment was permanent. After consulting with Wilford Hall’s adult hematology/oncology department, he wrote that “the board feels that there is compelling evidence to warrant a finding that the ALL existed before your entrance on active duty.”

Kenny Pruitt, a spokesman at the Air Force Personnel Center where the board is based, said the board could not comment on details of the case.
But Howell said Weston’s treatment could cause permanent, life-altering injuries. Howell also said that she thinks the board saw a letter she wrote insisting that Weston’s cancer was not a pre-existing condition.

The letter, obtained by the Express-News, said tests and past studies indicate that he would have had a normal amount of “blasts,” or leukemia cells, in his bone marrow on the day he entered training.

“Following this reasoning, Airman Weston had 2 percent blasts (a normal number) when he arrived in San Antonio, and he did not technically have ‘leukemia’ until 5 June 2008,” she wrote.

“Based on Airman Weston’s clinical history and laboratory findings, there is absolutely no way to prove that he did in fact have leukemia as a ‘pre-existing condition,’” Howell added. “The cell life cycle of acute leukemia cells seems to support that he did not have leukemia on arrival to San Antonio on 27 May 2008 for basic training. Therefore, there is no way that I can support the classification of this illness as a pre-existing condition.”

Bearing up
Weston is doing well despite intensive chemotherapy. He takes pills each day, gets shots in his legs and has a catheter in his chest, and undergoes a monthly spinal tap. He had three spinal taps in his first month of care.
The drugs he’s taking attack cancer cells during their life cycles. Chemo tends to kill rapidly dividing cells, among them ones that cause cancer and others linked to hair growth.

Since cancer cells can quickly develop a resistance to a single chemotherapy agent, different types of drugs are used to combat the cancer. The side effects of the drugs include hair loss, tumbling blood counts, mouth sores and loss of appetite.

As the week began, Weston sat alone at a table for five in one of Lackland’s dining halls eating a spaghetti sandwich. He hadn’t touched the baked potato on a smaller dish, but his appetite has been good thanks to the steroids doctors have given him.

Still, nothing can be done to stop Weston from feeling as if he’s been stranded. Airmen sit three to four at a table in front of him, some holding conversations under their breaths — a violation of the rule against talking but one tolerated by boot camp trainers through the years.

Though Weston’s dream of serving out his six-year contract is over, as is his hope to earn a college degree while in the Air Force, he still lives under military discipline — a 4:45 a.m. daily wakeup call, marching to the dining hall in formation and ending his sentences with “sir” or “ma’am.”

Weston’s blue armband tells trainers he is a recruit in need of continued medical care. He resents some of the trainees who wear orange armbands because they’re being banished from the Air Force for failing to meet the service’s standards. It may be that he envies the ones with green armbands because they’re working to improve their strength as part of Lackland’s “Get Fit” program.

They have hope of staying in the Air Force.

He’s on his way out, as soon as his case is resolved — which could be in as little as six weeks or as long as six months, he’s been told.

“We are all treated equally. There’s no difference in the way we are treated. Now, I didn’t choose to have cancer. I didn’t choose to get kicked out because of that, but I get treated the same as if somebody — I don’t think it’s right, I don’t think it’s fair,” Weston said.

He is seated at a table in a briefing room. Behind him to his left, a helmet rests atop a rifle beside a pair of desert combat boots — the traditional trappings used to honor a fallen soldier. Finding himself in the same circumstance as recruits who flunked their drug test makes no sense to him.

“It really makes me mad,” Weston said, and then he began to cry.
“It’s like I get stereotyped in with them, and I didn’t do it,” he said. “I would give anything to switch, and I can’t. But all they worry about is, ‘Oh my God, I have three weeks left!’ And I’m sitting here, and I hope I can go home in three months, and I have a serious problem.”

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Turkey Day

From the biggest turkey of all, me.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

"The Mom Song"!

Turn off the playlist and turn up the volume.

~ because I said so ~

This is not to be missed!

The Mom Song- LIVE from Northland Video on Vimeo.

Thanks RR!

Monday, November 24, 2008

An Odd First

Yesterday was Joshua's Fall choir concert. The choir was not mighty in mumber, but it made up for it in sound! What a sweet sounding bunch of voices. It's no wonder this group does so well in competition and clinics. They are a talented bunch of kids with a caring director.

After the choir and madrigal group performed, the marching band took the, well... they took the whole auditorium!

i love love loved the drumline performance. That just floated my wee bitty drum-lovin' boat, but then came the surprise of the afternoon...

What I thought was going to be cheesy and oh so "pomp and rah-rah" actually caught me off guard. The band played God Bless America ~ the ol' Kate Smith standard ~ and I lost it.

Yep, I was in tears over a song I don't even like. It was all I could do to keep from openly bawling. Tears streamed down my face as I prayed for the house lights to dim giving me a modicum of merciful anonymity. No such luck.

It's just a mom-missing-her-girl kind of time. Everyone is starting to talk of visiting family or having guests and I... I dream almost nightly of showing up on V's doorstep and the amazing hug that would follow the screams. I live for it, breathe for it, want it so much it hurts. The thought of it permeates every concert, nook and cranny of my life.

And yet, day to day and week to week, I'm ok. She misses and loves me just as much and still... I know she's ok.

I need to breathe, to relax, and to trust in the Universe. All will be well.

I have faith.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Joshua and Tom

We have a second hand building/home supply store as a part my office and, because of the BIG SALE set for Saturday 11/28 and balancing days off, they knew they'd be short-handed this past Friday.

Joshua wrapped up his first trimester of finals on Thursday afternoon and happened to have Friday off.

Coincidence? I think not.

Ergo, Friday became "Take your kid to work day" for me ~ and I couldn't be more tickled. I got to show him where I work and he got to participate in helping out in the store and, by extension, helping families who need affordable housing.

In the process he also got to feel what it was like to work a 9-5 day, he earned community service hours and got filthy dirty! And did I mention, he had a good time too? He did.

If it works out, he may be returning this coming Wednesday. Heh, if she's home and I can draft her, I may commandeer his girlfriend for some data entry too! Of course, that would mean that I would spend a small amount of energy keeping them each focused and apart! hee-hee

On another subject entirely...

My friend M gave me a birthday gift on Saturday (he works in OH and wasn't home on my big day).

I was so excited when I opened... a TOMTOM!!!

Lest you think me frivilous, you have to understand that I work in an area that is almost completely unfamiliar to me, and that I need to be off-site on a pretty regular basis ~ in parts unknown. I need to arrive on time and looking composed. Not utterly frazzled from being lost in urban blight areas or corn fields, both of which are entirely possible.

Thank you M! Now I can putter about with relative confidence. Put in the addy and off I go. :-D

OH! And in setting it up, I downloaded a few little gadgets too...

MY TomTom will find, or tell me when I am near, any IKEA, AIR FORCE BASE or STARBUCKS in North America!!!

Address #1 (after "Phone Home") is Minot AFB. Ahhh, my traveling Jones has help. Now I'm REALLY DANGEROUS!

Friday, November 21, 2008

SWF, sort of

Happy 110th Birthday to the Belgian painter, René François Ghislain Magritte. Born, November 21, 1898, the same year as my paternal grandmother, who we called Baubie (yiddish for grandma).

I've always liked Magritte and his vivid portraits and men in red ties, but never knew he was born in '98. I always think of Baubie when people mention that year. To think that she would have been 110 this year is even more remarkable.

Magritte passed too young in 1967. My Baubie was fortunate enough to live to see one of her life's goals, to dance, albeit from a wheelchair, at my wedding. She passed one month later, almost to the day, in January of 1986.
She was a strong, opinionated woman who frustrated the dickens out of my parents. I'm more like her than I want to admit!

Have a wonderful
SkyWatch Friday.

Monday, November 17, 2008

KO on Prop 8

Today I give you Keith Olbermann, empassioned and close to tears. I stand with him, outraged at the passage of prop 8.

"They want what you want, a chance to be happy in the world."

Turn off the playlist at the bottom and watch.

Thanks go to my gf, lady C in Seattle, for bringing this to my attention. You are loved and missed.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

What made me cry today

Thank you to Tonjia, AF Mom at heart, who sent this to me forever ago (try Dec. 07, long before I knew I could share it here). It has stayed with me ever since.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Happy SWF

Happy SkyWatch Friday (not Single White Female!)

This sky occured two weeks ago as I was putting things in my car at work.

I'd never been moved to walk around the south side of the building before. Cars are parked on the north, the entrance is to the east... but there's a green space on the south between our building and the road.

Who knew it could be a calm and beautiful place ~ even by a busy street with train tracks across it?! Now I do.

Thursday, November 13, 2008


He's Goofy...

He's Handsome...

He has a wicked sense of humor...

He's Proud...

He's Sweet...

He's Talented...
And I'm pleased as punch that he's mine.

I love you,

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


Well CRAP!
Now I forgot what I was gonna tell ya!
Happy Birthday to me, and big thanks to AF Mom Peggy for today's post.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Veteran's Day

If there was a photo or article about the Army's rebuilding of the area surrounding Verdun, France in 1959-60, there was a chance that my dad or someone he knew had something to do with it.

He took this -

Here's Dad - Top right. If it looks like they're being goofy I'd agree. But then again, that fits! LoL


One of the many articles for which he provided the photography -
Among the few large pictures is one of my personal favorites - The intensity captured in the small part of the face that can be seen is remarkable to me.

Happy Veteran's Day.

Sunday, November 9, 2008


If it's good for the country, and I believe it is, then it's good for the blog!

Over ther past 24 hours you may have noticed a couple of little alterations here on "Thoughts". That's what happens when need meets opportunity and a constantly running washer and dryer gives me bits of down time to play here whilst I wait for that nerve grinding sound that signals time to attend to them.

Changes thusfar...
My first priority was to move the music to the bottom of the page in order to facilitate a full view of the player. It irritated me no end that, although it was accessible to turn on and off easily, I couldn't always see the full title of the song, and rarely could I see the artist's name. Unacceptable. Being the musicaholic that I am I just had to move it. Done.

In moving the music location I revisited the playlist website to make sure the code was up to date. While doing that I found that individual playlist size has been DOUBLED!

I was like a kid in a candy store. Instead of careful culling in order to have what was most important to me, I can have MORE!! No more putting back one to have another in its place. Of course, once I reach the 190s I'll wish it was 400, but I'll enjoy this for now. After all, the songs available don't touch the scope of my musicaholism!

Newly added is: Leonard Cohen, Helen Reddy, Emerald Rose, Anne Murray, Flobots, Linkin Park, Cher, Tori Amos, Carl Orff and Johnny Cash.

(The Linkin Park song is one of V's faves. Listen to the lyrics.)

If you have music suggestions for the ol' blog just comment with song title and artist here. If it's available I'll listen and see if our taste in music matches (you have a darned good chance, LoL) and I'll add it! Heck, I'll post a shout out about ya here too.

Both proud mom pics have changed.

I swiped the gold AF Mom wreath from somewhere but I can't remember where. It's been housed in my AF pics file for a while now. It may even have been a jewelry site, in which case ~ I want it!

The Police Explorer patch pic was swiped from a general site. I wanted the world to know that J is more than a student, as he's obligated to be. Though the choir logo is nifty and he does love being a choir member.

It was his idea to go check out the Police Explorers on their Open House night last year and he joined with zeal. It was one of those, "Mom, can I? Please please please please..." begging moments. Sometimes as a mom, as much as I still have a certain quota of "No's" to say, it's darned fun saying "Yes" now and then. Just don't tell HIM that!

Newly added on the left hand margin is a link titled "Meow Chow" with a little kitty face on it. Following that link will lead you to a site with a silly cat-related trivia question. Right or wrong the kitties win! They and their sponsors make a food donation for hungry cats. Purrr. Go click. Daily in fact! Thanks.

That's about it for the moment. I have a funny feeling that more little tweaks are in store. If you have suggestions of your own to spiff up the blogosphere here, you know how to post them!

Saturday, November 8, 2008


ok, catch up... but still ;)

The Me Report ~~~

Work has been hectic for me for the past 10 days or so. We have a big event approaching like a freight train and we're all doing everything we can to keep it on track. It's kept the phone glued securely to my head for days on end and I nearly lost my voice one day last week, but the effort is proving to have been worth our while. I love what I do and the people for whom I do it.

In the midst of having a bad day last week, some a** kicked up a stone on the freeway and it smacked the corner of my windshield. The bullseye crazed immediately and so, I will need to have the windshield replaced really soon. Sheesh!

The Joshua Report ~~~

Last week found him in the dentist chair having an emergency root canal which was the result of having a cracked tooth. He survived "the chair" just fine. Filling is scheduled for Monday afternoon. Other than that we discovered that he needs all 4 of his wisdom teeth out. Joy.

Only a couple days later he came home from Explorers touting a new title: Corporal Thomas! Yep - the kid now has rank and leadership responsibilities in his Police Explorer group. Proud mom moment!

Last night I attended opening night of the school musical, Anything Goes, for which Joshua is the Stage Manager. Staging-wise the show was flawless. Yay kidlet!

The V Report ~~~

Apparently the 10 day long inspection went very well for her shop, but the process has her exhausted. The kind of exhaustion when a week off to sleep and recoup would do you a world of good, but you can't take it, yanno?

Last week I was talking to her and she had me looking up COUNTRY songs that she likes. I mean gimme a break - the kid left here NOT a country fan at all. I'm chalking it up to the exhaustion.

She is loving some weekend down time playing RPGs and D & D with her friends and assisting in the general digging out.

What's that you say? Digging out?!

YEP! Minot got 6-8" of blowing and drifting snow last week. Winds like 70mph... and snow up to V's knees! The roads were icy and treacherous and you guessed it - she was called on to help dig people out of ditches, parking spaces and homes. Her friend Alex even invited people over for hot cocoa if they'd help dig the car out of the snow drift - in their own driveway! LoL

I think that about does it for the ketchup. I'm happy to have a night at home to recoup and do laundry. If you know me and that sounds a little unusual to you, you know how busy I've been lately! Currently I'm wading through Joshua's room grabbing towels and strewn clothing for the wash...

I'll make a fresh pot of coffee if you want to come help. I dare ya!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

BiPartisan Humor



I'm going to try to vote before work this morning. I'm taking a chair and my knitting bag. LoL If it looks like I'm going to be late I'll vote after work... but I will vote today. You?

And now for a little tidbit I found this morning:


Just HOW ridiculous can people be?

Monday, November 3, 2008

My Little Life

This is how having a very busy weekend (and age) is affecting me this morning... as it took me 10 minutes of looking for my keys...

until I found them... right next to my glasses and phone, in plain sight on the counter.

Thanks Vicki, for the graphic. It's so appropriate!
Thanks Irisi, for the perfect title.

I'm off to work

Wednesday, October 29, 2008


Ever get a hankering to do something and not be able to stop thinking about just doing it - even though it's really impractical?? I used to think that bungee jumping sounded like one of those things. But ok, sometimes the hankering is wrong.

Lately I haven't been able to stop my inner "Traveling Jones". I was raised on road trips. Hey ~ I was raised in the Motor City, folks! I love to road trip. I crave road trips. Singing in the car. Seeing the sights. Playing license plate bingo. Pillows in the back seat. Watching the scenery change out the window.

My family used to drive everywhere. Mom and dad piled us girls in the car and off we went to: Florida, New York, Maryland, DC, Wisconsin, Ohio, northern MI.

The tradition continued with my kids as we traversed from AZ to MI and back by car, camping all the way. We took them to every city of any interest in AZ, Colorado, New Mexico, Utah. When you live 80 miles from anything ~ every jaunt is a road trip! We took camping or cottage vacations in Interlochen and throughout northern lower MI. *sigh* I mean, what's Michigan without the obligatory road trip to Call of the Wild???

I even road trip at destinations to which I fly! When I went to England my BFF drove us to Wales, London, Nottingham and Keswick. On choir tours we either bus or fly to our destination, but then it's coaches everywhere. Some of the most incredible driving I've ever seen has been our coach drivers as they navigated the narrow winding roads of New York, London and Wales.

For the past few years most of my tripping has been short distances. I drove to Columbus, OH alone for a conference (4 hrs), Went to Toledo with V to see a fave band together, went to Cleveland with a friend (3 hrs) to the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame. But that's about it. (insert pouty-pout here)

I need a road trip! And I'm jonesin' for it... bad. Case in point: Yesterday on the way to work all I could think about was to keep on going! Destination? Yesterday it was Delaware.

Where would I usually end up? Some days I have a list of destinations in mind (Minot, ND and Gaithersburg, MD feature high on the list), others it simply doesn't matter. I'm the crazy woman who wants to see the world's largest ball of twine, Cadillac Ranch, and The Crazy Horse monument. And look out AF Moms ~ I want to see your wonderful smiling faces... in person!

There's just something about being in contact with the ground that makes me feel like I am THERE ~ wherever there is.

You never know. One day, after I have new tires (hopefully soon), I might just end up on your doorstep. But really? I may just honk and wave from the car as I go by!

BTW: I was prompted (even more) to write this post by ShaysMa, who is chronicling her cross-country road trip adventure with Shay as I type. **Jealous!**

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

YOU are the only answer

I'm too lazy to change the caps. This is how I clipped it and I am moved to post it. Enjoy.










Monday, October 27, 2008

A Meme

Stolen from Irisi, who stole it from blue_sky_48220.

Sarah Palin married her high school boyfriend, Todd Palin, on August 29, 1988. The Palin family lives in Wasilla, about 45 miles (72 km) north of Anchorage. The Palins have two sons (Track, 19, and Trig, four months) and three daughters (Bristol, 17; Willow, 14; and Piper, 7) [ages as of August 2008].

Todd Palin has said Track's name came from the interest Sarah's parents had in the sport and the fact that he was born in the sport's season; Bristol was named after Bristol Bay in Alaska, where Todd grew up and where he does commercial fishing; Willow was named after Willow, Alaska; Piper got her name because it is uncommon and "a cool name"; Trig's name is Norse for "strength".

1) Your first-born will be named after your parents favorite sport.

2) Your second-born will be named after a nearby area that you're not from but you like the sound of part of the name, and maybe you have nostalgic memories of said place.

3) Your third-born will be named after another nearby place, for no reason other than you already have two children and don't have time to put much thought into another name.

4) Your fourth gets a "cool" name.

5) Your fifth gets something mythological, possibly straight out of Lord of the Rings.

Tiger, Petoskey, Salem, Dharma and Titania

(Had the first child been named after my FIL's fave sport, #1 would have been named, INDY.)

Your turn!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Let Them Eat... PIE!

At the moment, Joshua would like to think that I exist to sell...
yes, delicious, fabulous, PIE - one of nature's perfect foods - on behalf of his HS Choir (to travel to and pay fees for competitions and tours. And yeah, they're that good.)

SO! If you live near me and want to order PIES that will arrive in the two days before Thanksgiving so they're FRESH for your holiday table...

Here are the details.

PIE comes from heaven, and these are no exception. They're made by the angels at The Grand Traverse PIE Company.

Available in: Cherry ~ Apple ~ Pumpkin ~ Lakeshore (think bumbleberry, all from Michigan. Their most popular PIE.)

PIES are $15 each with no limit on the number of PIES you can order.

Orders and payment (cash or check) are due by Oct 29th.
Checks can be made to: Groves HS Choir

That's all for now. Look for a SkyWatch pic compliments of V tomorrow. It's a pretty one!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Call me weak-willed

but it was irresistable!

Don't look too intently, it just keeps repeating ad nauseum.

Obama, Llama, Duck!


Monday, October 13, 2008

Story Time

Once upon a time, on a day early last week, our sweet and virtuous Airman Avivah was at work. Airman Avivah is very good at her work. She is well liked and respected. On the other hand, she can be "one of the guys", too.

This particular work day, a note of alarm was sounded as a herd of

wandered blithely across the flight line. This was not good. Not good indeed.

"Oh No!", cried Airman Avivah and her Wingmen, for they were concerned for the safety of the deer and for their beloved airplanes.

Suddenly there were airmen out on the flight line trying to "shoo" the frightened deer, who really only wanted the delicious grass on the lush, well-mown open fields that the USAF creates.

One poor creature must've been devoid of a sense of direction, common sense, or something, for she, like several football players of blooper fame, ran the wrong way. The thicket of barbed wire and fences that surround the far end of the 'line' was to be her final foible.

Springing to action, our heroic airmen, knowing that shooting a gun on base would be the wrong thing to do, ran for the private weapons lock-up, where Airman Cody produced his beautifully crafted

"I can't." Said Airman Cody, "I'm afraid I'll miss and she'll be in pain."

Seeing his concern, and knowing that our doe was out there terrified and potentially making a bloody mess of her carefully tended flight line, Airman Avivah took the bow from his hands and said bravely, "I'll do it."

This was a remarkable fete as our darling princess has been target shooting on a range, but has never picked up a bow to take aim at live game. Ever.

She took out an

and fitted it with a special
She steadied herself, exhaled and drew back, taking very careful aim... and in one perfect shot, the frightened deer was felled.

Airman Cody and the others rallied around our triumphant heroine. "HUZZAH, for Airman Avivah! HUZZAH! HUZZAH!"

Those with more experience than she (which is none) showed her how to hang and prepare the doe. This is the point in the story where she chose to send her mother a picture of her first kill.

Isn't it precious?! Just what you want to see when you open your phone and note that it is a picture from your beloved daughter, right?

Well her open-minded mother was surprised, but took tremendous pride in her daughter's (ahem) accomplishment, and was clucking proudly about it to anyone who would listen - and not be grossed out.

Later in the week the airmen would feast on venison to their heart's content.

They will always remember the day their colleague, a 5'1" female, inexperienced in bowhunting live prey, nokked her arrow and took aim at a frightened doe, and single-handedly cleared the flight line.

The End

Friday, October 10, 2008

SWF double header

It's the end of the morning glory season, as our first cold snap hit and the first frost 'bit' them. I was lucky enough to catch this shot the day before that happened.

Today's second offering was taken early this week at the park. I looked up through the oak leaves and couldn't resist capturing the medley of blues and greens.
Happy SkyWatch Friday.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Mystery Solved

After two days of a complete freak out thinking I had hundreds of infantile spiders, or worse yet - bedbugs, climbing around the house, the mystery of the itchy red bumps has been thoroughly researched and solved.

It may be gross, but... Thanks to my friend M and I who together noticed that the red itchy bumps had little "white heads". AHA! This took them out of the bug realm and into something else. But what?!

Research continued until I found something that piqued my uh-oh button...

Think back a couple of days ago when I wrote:
The cough from my cold is still here, my inner ears are still itchy and I have this lovely little wheeze when I get in cold air or breathe hard. In light of that I went to my friend's house Saturday evening and spent over an hour in their hot tub! Sheer heaven. The humidity and bromine really helped my lungs and the hot water relaxed the day's stresses away.

Well that was my downfall. The fact that I had been sick and not sleeping well for days caused me to be more susceptible to a little known thing called Pseudomonas Folliculitis, or Hot Tub Rash. And I have it. Bad.

"Folliculitis caused by Pseudomonas aeruginosa typically appears about 72 hours after exposure in a hot tub or spa. Many small pustules appear on the trunk and sometimes the arms and legs. You may have a mild fever and feel ill. This type of folliculitis usually goes away on its own within 7 to 10 days."

Yep, Saturday night to Tuesday morning - right on schedule. And I do have a slightly elevated temp, but I was feeling ill anyways so who knew?! LoL

Best part is ~ It's not contagious and ~ thank the Gods ~ IT'S NOT BUGS!

First things first: I need to call my friends and have them "shock" their hot tub.

Next: I am off to get something serious (like a wire brush, or ok, calamine lotion) to treat this infernal itching!!!

The eensy-weensy WTF?!

I was thinking of titleing this post "Bizarre", but I didn't want it to get the wrong kind of attention!

On Monday I wore a white wrap front shirt under my grey velour "walking suit" (it's not really, but I can't bring myself to call it a running suit when I do not run). I was cozy and comfy and it was befitting of an autumn weekday off.

I went for a short walk in the park, I exchanged a pair of slacks that were too big, I did dishes and laundry. Nothing too far out of the ordinary or stressful as I'm still recovering and congested.

I slept, not so well, as usual.

Tuesday morning I awoke to this:

All the hell over my torso!!!
Little red bumps that don't itch very much, but they do itch, and the "bites", if that's what they are, were painless. Just on my torso, not my arms, or neck, or legs.

Weirder yet, yesterday morning at work there was a tiny spider on my desk. Oy vey.

I hadn't worn that white shirt or the grey outfit since spring and I'm thinking that my body heat warmed up one of the little sucker's egg sacs and poof, I was their first meal. But for goodness sakes... This is weird!!!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Get yer tickets!

If these roads are anywhere near you... Southfield, Telegraph, M-5, Woodward, from 8 Mile to M-59... or you want to take a drive (it's worth it)...

Come one! Come all!

Tickets are on sale now
for the Groves HS performance of

Anything Goes
(for which Joshua is the Stage Manager)

Friday-Saturday 11/7-8
Friday-Saturday 11/14-15
Sunday matinee 11/16

Tickets are $12 for adults and $10 for children/students.

This school is renown for excellence in theatre and music production. This is Joshua's fourth musical and his Senior year at Groves. He is in a key role (THE key role) behind the scenes. I can't wait.

Call, e-mail or comment here if you want tickets, how many and when.

Monday, October 6, 2008


I may get behind in recording my thoughts here, but I'm not behind in living them so, no apologies!

Friday night was a great time at Joe Louis Arena where the Detroit Red Wings beat the Toronto Maple Leafs 5-3. The most fun? I went with a Leafs fan! We chanted "Let's go Red Wings" and "Go Leafs go" in perfect opposition. LoL It may have been a pre-season game, but it was my first Red Wings game and I got to watch Franzen score two big goals. I had a blast!

Saturday morning brought an event for work my colleagues and I have been preparing for a while now. We were there early fussing over every detail. In the end it went off very well. Here are a few pics...

The tent as food arrived...

The house...

The family...

I don't, and likely won't, write too definitively about work here, but you can infer, or you're welcome to e-mail me and ask. Rest assured, I love what I do and the people for whom I do it.

After the event I came home to NAP!

The cough from my cold is still here, my inner ears are still itchy and I have this lovely little wheeze when I get in cold air or breathe hard. In light of that I went to my friend's house Saturday evening and spent over an hour in their hot tub! Sheer heaven. The humidity and bromine really helped my lungs and the hot water relaxed the day's stresses away.

Sunday morning brought another trip to the Farmer's Market in Birmingham. This time J and I started with a breakfast (we oogled over last week) of freshly made stone ground wheat and oat waffles with rhubarb, elderberry and other delicious jams. I got a steaming cup of fresh, fairtrade coffee from a vendor named Cheeky Monkeys Bistro, and we ate sitting at a picnic table with other locals.

I wish I could find a website for Cheeky Monkeys Bistro (the only one that comes up is the wrong one in a different city). Marti and Alex, the owners, are wonderful people and we had a great chat.

This week's farm market gleanings included four new perennials, all of which Jand I planted yesterday, a cabbage that must have relatives in Chernobyl it's so abnormally huge, onions, peppers, acorn squash, and raspberries for snacking on while we shopped.

I got so excited about this ginormous cabbage that I HAD to make my moms recipe for Miracle Soup. Search though we may, neither Joshua nor I could find the recipe. All the recipes online called for soup mix and are not the one mom always made. So I called mom, only to find that she's got the same nasty cold and cough that I do (and her hubby too). :( She couldn't find her recipe card for it either! We put our stuffy heads together and came up with what we thought would work. Feel better, mom & pops!

Joshua and I went grocery shopping (for the first time in almost a month) to get - well, everything! - and a couple more soup supplies. Once home I chopped and simmered and seasoned to my hearts content. The resulting soup is simple but divine. Perfect for October meals. I fridged some and froze some. I suspect it has too much fresh cracked pepper in it, but I can't taste much these days so I loved it!! LOL

By the evening I'd just about 'cooked' myself for the day. I curled up next to Joshua and we watched two episodes of House before it was bedtime.

I'm happy to have today off to be home and rest. I have things to do but I can do them in my own time and I find that relaxing.

I hope it's a good Monday for you.

Friday, October 3, 2008

SkyWatch Friday

Happy SWF! This is J's friend Ryan as he begins to rapelle down the three story Police Training Center tower. The sky may be dark, but it counts!

I'm not sure if this will work, but it's a video of Joshua rapelling - starting by turning upside down just perfectly - off the same tower.

Joshua is an amazing kid, and I'm tickled that he's taking a liking to this group and the police work they teach. It opens a world of opportunities to a young man who is very intelligent, but wants a really active job.

And YES! The video works! Look for more now that I know I can do this. Believe it or not they are 15 second clips from my phone. LoL


I made it through yesterday ok, even if I had to take a breathing [read: nose blowing] break every now and then. Got home just after 11pm and fell dead asleep.

Tonight I get to go to my very first Detroit Red Wings game. Excited! And tomorrow morning is an event for work that I've been helping to coordinate. I'm happily busy!

~~ TGIF! ~~ (even if I do work this Saturday)

Thursday, October 2, 2008


Whew! I know I BWO (blog without obligation - see logo bottom left) but this time it's because I've been down with whatever creeping crud Joshua had last week. Yuck. It started on Sunday evening. I totally missed Rosh Hashanah and hearing T sing. Instead I slept, sniffled and coughed and made my own 'music'. heh... or not. Tuesday? Double yuck.

As of yesterday afternoon I seem to be coming out of it a bit. I spent a few hours at Copper Pom's house spackling walls, had hot soup for lunch and came home to rest. Big day, huh?

Today is my first real day of work this week... and a 10 hour work day! My poor chapped, pink nose and I will be spending a few hours this evening with a colleague working a room at a networking event. This event happens to be a five course meal and wine tasting at an 8,000 sq. ft. mansion/museum on the lake. I know, rough life, eh?

Besides trying to hide my nose under makeup, the worst part of tonight is that I don't DARE have wine with a cold like this. Not only would it stuff my nose up even more, I have a feeling it would hit me like a ton of bricks. Some networking event. I can see it now... "Hey, weren't you the gal on the floor?" or weeks later, "Didn't recognize you without the lamp shade on your head." Oy Vey.

Wish me luck.

Oh, and if you'd like to follow this lovely randomness I call my blog, feel free to join Shay's Mom in being one of - the few, the proud, the fans - on the lower left. I'm sure she feels lonely. So G'head... Click and become a "follower".

Monday, September 29, 2008

$10 a week

On Sunday Joshua and I slept in a bit (8:30) and went to the local Farmer's Market. I have enjoyed doing this since forever and it's something my kids both love and have been doing since birth.

In recent years I've been noticing something... People around the country having a higher value for seasonal, locally grown foods. It makes good sense. They're much fresher and therefore healthier, less packaged and usually less expensive too.

At one point I looked into a community farm share (organic), but it proved too costly, so I stuck with my pattern of enjoying farm markets when I could.

I love the freshness. So many of the mass-produced, grocery store marketed, trucked in from California or who-knows-where fruits and vegetables have lost their flavor. My friends shared some home-grown tomatoes two weeks ago. I ate one right off the vine and it struck me once again just how bland, mealy and pink grocery store tomatoes had become. Yuck.

Having two busy adults and a very social high school senior at home, it's difficult to find evenings when we're home to cook meals. I realized I don't want to pile too much fresh food in the fridge at one time. So for lots of reasons the weekly farm market appears to be a better and better option.

Then I saw this: “Consumers who buy locally not only get a great product, but if every state household spent just $10 per week on Michigan-produced food, they would generate $37 million each week for our economy.” ~ MDA Director Don Koivisto

Full article here.

Granted it's $10 at a time, but $37 million to our local economy, and I get the sweetest corn, the freshest apples, the reddest tomatoes... It's a win-win deal.

This time Joshua and I walked away from the farmers market with: yellow beans, red potatoes, prune plums, macintosh apples, sourdough bread, raspberries, corn and fresh canned hot pickles.

We had no shopping list. Just got what appealed to us. But I found myself craving recipes to utilize this bountiful harvest to its fullest potential. I didn't find any locally crafted cheeses, and there was only one free range meat vendor who froze and shipped their products direct to you. (That was expensive) So now I'm looking for more complete alternatives to our small and not-year-round city market.

I'm open to suggestions! Please share if you have any.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Doodle on over there

I'm up early on a Saturday to take J to a Police Explorers event for which he is oversleeping. It's his problem, but now of course... I'm up!

Fresh java in hand, I blog surf a bit and page to page, I end up here. Organized doodles is a wonderful little blog written/drawn by Rick. He's an incredible "doodle" artist, and I encourage you to take alook for yourself.

Meanwhile... I scrolled down...

Not much makes me spit coffee out my nose.


OMGosh! LoL Thanks Rick!
Now I gotta clean the computer screen...

Friday, September 26, 2008

We Deserve It!

This idea sounds just crazy enough to possibly work, so naturally it won't be given serious consideration. How great is our bureaucracy!!

Hi Pals,

I'm against the $85,000,000,000.00 bailout of AIG.

Instead, I'm in favor of giving $85,000,000,000 to America in a "We Deserve It" dividend.

To make the math simple, let's assume there are 200,000,000 bonafide U.S. Citizens 18+.

Our population is about 301,000,000 +/- counting every man, woman and child. So 200,000,000 might be a fair stab at adults 18 and up..

So divide 200 million adults 18+ into $85 billion that equals $425,000.00.

My plan is to give $425,000 to every person 18+ as a We Deserve It Dividend.

Of course, it would NOT be tax free.

So let's assume a tax rate of 30%.

Every individual 18+ has to pay $127,500.00 in taxes.

That sends $25,500,000,000 right back to Uncle Sam.

But it means that every adult 18+ has $297,500.00 in their pocket.

A husband and wife has $595,000.00.

What would you do with $297,500.00 to $595,000.00 in your family?

Pay off your mortgage - housing crisis solved.

Repay college loans - what a great boost to new grads

Put away money for college - it'll be there

Save in a bank - create money to loan to entrepreneurs.

Buy a new car - create jobs

Invest in the market - capital drives growth

Pay for your parent's medical insurance - health care improves

Enable Deadbeat Dads to come clean - or else!

Remember this is for every adult U S Citizen 18+ including the folks who lost their jobs at Lehman Brothers and every other company that is cutting back. And of course, for those serving in our Armed Forces.

If we're going to re-distribute wealth let's really do it... instead of trickling out a puny $1000.00 ( 'vote buy' ) economic incentive that is being proposed by one of our candidates for President.

If we're going to do an $85 billion bailout, let's bail out every adult U. S. Citizen 18+!

As for AIG - liquidate it.

Sell off its parts.

Let American General go back to being American General.

Sell off the real estate.

Let the private sector bargain hunters cut it up and clean it up.

Here's my rationale. We deserve it and AIG doesn't.

Sure it's a crazy idea that can 'never work', but can you imagine the Coast-To-Coast Block Party!

How do you spell Economic Boom?

I trust my fellow adult Americans to know how to use the $85 Billion "We Deserve It" dividend more than I do, the geniuses at AIG, or in Washington DC.

And remember, The Birk plan only really costs $59.5 Billion because $25.5 Billion is returned instantly in taxes to Uncle Sam.

Ahhh...I feel so much better getting that off my chest.

Kindest personal regards,


T. J. Birkenmeier, A Creative Guy & Citizen of the Republic

PS: Feel free to pass this along to your pals, as it's either good for a laugh or a tear or a very sobering thought on how to best use $85 Billion!!

Thursday, September 25, 2008


Driving home this evening I was listening to CBC radio 2. I heard some of the concert celebrating the 100th birthday of British Columbia with Canadian artists Sarah McLaughlin and Shawn Hlookoff.

Yes, Sarah gave a marvelous performance, ending with one of my favorite songs: Ice Cream, but it was Shawn Hlookoff that intrigued me. Though he didn't play it at the concert, they made significant mention of his song "Soldier". I had to come home and find it.

It was worth the effort. This young man has a message worth hearing and a beautiful clear voice with which to express it. (For those of us who are military parents: this one gets a *tissue alert*.)

Same song, different video.

Nifty Kitchen Trick!

You know the drill... turn off the playlist and then watch the video.

This is Brilliant!

And here's how he did it:

Cover the eggs with water and boil on low for about 12 minutes.
Cool the eggs by placing them in cold water with 1 teaspoon of baking soda and ice. The baking soda raises the pH level and reduces adherence. If you choose not to use baking soda, be sure to move the eggs into cold water with plenty of ice immediately after boiling.
Crack the top of the egg and remove a small piece.
Crack the bottom (wide end) of the egg and remove a small piece.
Hold the egg in your hand and blow vigorously into the narrow end of the egg, which will expel it out the wide end.

Doesn’t get much easier than that.

Just be ready to catch it when it comes out!

V Bits, J Bits, Me Bits

Yesterday as I drove home from work I noticed yet another reason that my job, which I love, must have come to me through Divine Intervention (and boy oh boy, did I need an "intervention"!).

Halfway down the highway on which I work and the expressway I take home, I called V. I'd looked at the shops around here before, just checking the place out, when there on my left was a store I hadn't seen before. The store we joke is V's all time favorite: The Jerky Outlet! Can I get a big yee-haw?!

She giggled but was delighted. I made a mental note to stop in and get a bunch to send to her. But there you have it. If that wasn't a 'sign' that I was meant to be here, I'm not sure what is.

And another V thought... Upon seeing this video I decided that SHE must have been the person firing. Watch. You'll get a laugh out of it. The note at the bottom cracked me up. Something about 'needing to weigh more than the weapon you're firing'. And yes, it's my wee-bitty girl who maintains the MMIII, LOL!

V is doing amazingly well overall. She's tired from not spending her evenings and weekends relaxing and catching up on sleep, but that's something she'll learn in time. She's STILL fighting with Verizon, believe it or not. And, as we spoke she was waiting for her MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) class to begin, so she's spending her time in healthy ways and I am so happy for her. I told her yet again how proud I am of her choice and how she's carried it through to make it one incredible reality.

J's turn! Joshua's been sick with a bad cold all week.
He came home early from school one day and slept the whole day away, waking only to cough, sneeze and blow his nose half off his face. Poor baby. He's quite a bit better now in comparison, but he's still not healthy.

Tonight I will forego my monthly singing group in order to attend the Police Explorer's annual family bbq and training tower rappelling! J's been looking forward to this since he joined Police Explorers last year. I often hear about the three story training tower and how much he can't wait for them to push him out that window! Today I get to stand safely on the ground and watch. :)

And last, me bits! I've been working more than usual recently as things have gotten very busy for me. I spent most of Tuesday at a meeting in Lansing, then drove back to the east side for a double meeting (one for new volunteers and ~back to back~ the Board Meeting). I ended up meeting three new volunteers and, as planned, did a presentation for the Board. Aftre that I went to dinner with a co-worker. It was one long and successful day. Whew!

Yesterday, after having a late breakfast with a friend, I worked from noon to 8pm. Even though that was only an 8 hour day, leaving at a late hour made it feel like 12. I'm looking forward to a more regular day today, and then a relaxing evening. You'd relax if they were tossing your kid out a third story window ~ right?!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


While surfing the web in the wee hours of the morning (why does "wee hours" always make me think of "time to go potty"?!) I found this video ~ that I immediately sent on to V.

I needed to show the world too. The kitty looks a lot like Mooch when he first came to us, and to this day "the pounce & chomp factor" are identical.

Here ya go!

Can't Sleep, Clowns Will Eat Me

I've blog-surfed, made raisin toast, had some quiet thoughts, e-mailed V a funny video about a kitty, printed my directions and map to Lansing for my meeting tomorrow (today)... and I just resorted to going out to the garage and taking trash out of my car for lack of anything else quiet to do.

Still, I can't wind down enough to be sleepy tonight. Frustration ensues.

Monday, September 22, 2008

13 to 1

While we have our collective oh so intelligent (but fashionable) "dare to compare" hats on...

I ran across this article too.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Twisted Jammies

I read an article this morning that got my jammies in a Sunday morning twist. The basics of the news regards new coffee products that are soon going to be marketed to consumers. Ok fine.

Now, mind you, this news comes from the makers of Folgers, Maxwell House and others: Proctor & Gamble.

First off, the whole world knows that they use "ultra-cheap", inferior Robusta coffee beans, vs Arabica. Second, they pay substandard wages for the picking of those beans. (These are NOT fair trade coffees, people. Have a cup [of something better] and wake up.)

The article says that Proctor & Gamble has divised a new step to the roasting process, called "pre-drying". Basically, they're trying to pull palatable taste from the same inferior beans.

Tell me that the extra step that will slow production from lesser quality tree to diner coffee cup isn't going to cause a price increase too. Right? ha.

You [P&G] want to pre-dry your coffee beans thinking they might not be the same thin bodied, cardboard tasting, slave wage encouraging, bitter brew, repackage/label it, and market it to the new generation of coffee drinkers (at what will undoubtedly be a higher price than what you have on the shelves now)? Have fun. I won't be buying it, but g'head.

What got my jammies in a twist was this quote from the article:

"consumers looking to save cash turn to their daily coffee beverage so often that saving $4 a day has a name: The Starbuck's Factor, or The Latte Factor"

What the heck?!

I have no idea what a pound of Maxwell House costs these days. The last time it was purchased or made in my house was when we sat shiva (a tradition of mourning) at the passing of my mother-in-law, nearly 7 years ago. But let's compare apples to apples and cup to cup.

Looking at the coffee itself... Quoting the same article: "Robusta beans thrive at lower altitudes and produce far more beans per plant, and have twice the caffeinne of Arabica beans: but their flavor, according to connoisseurs, is extremely inadequate."

Looking at the companies themselves... Caribou Coffee, Starbucks and others have spent millions of dollars in establishing fairtrade agreements with coffee plantation owners, raising awareness of the fairtrade issue, and bringing consumers that product. Fairtrade comes with fair cost. In my opinion, a more balanced world economy is worth it. Proctor & Gamble advertise no such ethic on their website or packaging.

Starbucks is routinely named one of the best employers in the US. They stimulate both the world and the local economies.

As for the comparison of a cup of generic home brew vs the $4/day made-to-order figure: That's not a case that can be made.

Compare apples to apples, home brewing to home brewing.

In my coffee maker 4 oz. (1/2 C.) of grounds yields 12 cups of coffee. That's 4 pots, or 48 cups, to the 16 oz. pound. At $10 per pound ~ last I did the math (just now) ~ it costs less than 42 cents a serving to have a pretty large, roughly 16 oz. mug, of $10/lb. coffee at home.

People pay for convenience, for location, for time-savings, for the training, roasting, brewing and concocting in which the big coffee houses specialize.

It's more a statement of affluence (or frivolity, depending on how jealous you are) that some choose to have their coffee made to order. They choose to pay a portion of their salary to have someone making an honest wage make them a cup of coffee they'll actually enjoy in a time-effective manner. Problem is?

Yep, they could have gotten up that morning early enough to brew it themselves. It would have been less expensive. That's their choice to make.

If someone wants to save more than $4 a day? Bring a sack lunch to work. Problem solved.

If you can afford it, buy the Mercedes. If not, don't. If you have access to fruit trees and canning equipment, make jam. If you don't, pay a company that farms thousands of acres, buys the sugar and pays the people to make, transport and market it. I don't see an article bashing Knotts Berry Farm for $3/jar jam. And don't get me started on gourmet marmalades!

You pay more for convenience and quality when and if you can. It's US economics 101.

You can buy a couple potatoes and some oil cheaper than you can buy a bag of chips, but it's not fair to say that the price of a potato compares to the convenience of buying those peeled, sliced, fried, seasoned, packaged bags of chips.

And now, I'm getting out of my twisted jammies and heading for a good cuppa joe in the sunshine. If enjoying your day means splurging on something you enjoy and can afford, so be it.

As for me and my house, we will serve whatever .42/mug GOOD coffee we choose!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Big news at the end...

Demolition on S's house is done, thanks to a huge team of Coasties who came last week, with the exception of the roof (next weekend). Woo hoo demolition!

My gift to S and her family is to paint one room. (The demo work was a gift to me - I had so much fun!) The contractor gave me the color room he liked the least, DQ's room, which is going to be the same blue as a box from Tiffany & Co.. I like it!

I'll probably head over there after work today to test for lead and do some scraping of chipped paint (I promise to be careful). That way I know if I need to prime it in order to seal the walls and if the trim work (already white) needs repainting to make it safe too.

The real patching and painting work will be done on Monday as my weekend's already stuffed full. Good thing that I'm working part time and have some flexibility in setting my own schedule. One Tiffany blue room, coming up!

Talked to V at length a couple of times this week. Other than being dogged by allergies she's doing very well. Her weekends are stuffed full too (shhh, mom thinks they're over-stuffed).

And now for the big news... Joshua came home from school on Tuesday announcing that he's been named Stage Manager for this year's High School musical: Anything Goes. Yay Joshua! I am so proud of you! We went to my gf's ice cream shop that night to celebrate.

He may be disorganized and typical as teenage boys go, but I just marvel at the progress he's made over the past few years.

Yep, my text message tag line still says - Proud - and duly so.

Off I go - TGIF!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Dear V & Destruction Detail

Dear Avivah,

I miss you. It's been a long weekend with no word from you. And... The world is still looking at our toes. What's up?
Big smushy hugs to ya!


It's been a good weekend here. Yesterday was filled with more work on S's house. This time Joshua came with me. Nothing like destruction to get a teenage boy motivated, eh? He had fun. That's my boy!

This wasn't the "crush, kill, destroy" type that we did on Saturday, but he worked hard at pulling up tack strips from the living room hardwood floor, taking down draperies and the painted board to which they were attached. He did a great job of not scratching the wood floors around the edges while S and I pulled up every single staple with a pliers from at least two types of padding and one nasty old layer of carpet. Painstaking.

Oh! And S and I both got our first work badges of honor. She nicked her toe and I have a blister. Bring on the purple heart, we're officially workin'. LoL

The living room looks terrific (no boasting or bias there, eh?) and now it's pretty much ready for a look-see from the contractor. He'll tell us what we do next. I'm not sure if buffing and polyurethane-ing the floor or painting the walls - or something else - is the next step.

Given the work that needs to be done in other areas (gutting the bath, digging for a sump pump in the basement, taking off awnings and gutters and re-roofing...), I wouldn't be surprised if we just had to let it sit until the other things are done. Ah well... I'm in! This is fun!

And of course, it gives me fuel for my own creative juices on my house too. Eventually... some day... At least I now know that I am capable of doing the demo work. Don't kid yourself ~ with a bunch of help from my friends!

I'm off for a painful stop at the gas station and then to work. Checking my work e-mail last night it looks like my day will be very full. Love it!

Ciao for now,

Saturday, September 13, 2008


A rare moment of advertising genius.

My Odd Idea of Fun

Last night's choice as promised:

My gf, S and I went to the Magic Bag Theatre in Ferndale, MI to see the band Gaelic Storm!

They started late but we had a great time. The band was in good voice and great humor, as always. Fun Times! Because they went on late it made for a late night, but even that turned out ok...

This morning's plans with were with the same awesome gf! How conveeeeenient, eh? LOL

Today was demolition day for her new house so she just pushed the plans back an hour so we got some sleep first! I don't sleep all that much, and I ended up driving J to his morning committment with the Troy Police Explorers, but the thought was wonderful. Plus ~ I actually managed to take a short nap on Friday afternoon, so I was good to go!

This morning, with tremendous help from R & M, we ripped out the built in cabinets (that had multitudinous layers of paint and billions of nails anchoring them to the walls), tile counter top, cast iron sink, and 1/8" ply and linomeum flooring from the whole kitchen. You should see the sparks fly when S wields a tile smashing hammer! Woo Hoo! In fact, there's pics and video of our mayhem here!

S and R took out all the home's carpet and padding, and then dove into ripping out the bathroom linoleum and later ~ all the carpet tack strips.

Under the carpeting was beautiful, salvagable hardwood floors. Under the 1/8" ply and sheet linoleum was... two more layers of linoleum tile! We cracked up. The thought is to try to leave the two layers of tile nice and flat, and replace the old ply with new and new linoleum. Voila! New floor... soon.

I'm exhausted, but I had a WONDERFUL time demolishing the kitchen! S ~ Give me a task-list, I may be back for more tomorrow!

It's exciting to see and be a part of this 1948 pretty-much-neglected house turning into a happy healthy home for her and her family. And I am SO BLESSED to have a friend who allows me to use a hammer and crow bar to "Crush! Kill! Destroy!". Dang, that felt GOOD!

What did YOU do for fun this weekend??