Thursday, July 31, 2008

Sing with me

The social activist in me hearts these YouTube videos featuring Holly Near, an incredible woman, activist and folk singer.

May we all sing so beautifully and angrily in our own way.

The most profound sermon I've ever heard...

And lastly, a new chant I learned recently that seems appropriate today:

Stepping out to define myself,

Stepping in to connect with you (repeat)

We are (I am) walking with a Warrior's heart (descant)



Wednesday, July 30, 2008

The Passing of a Warrior

Nothing Gold Can Stay

Nature's first green is gold,

Her hardest hue to hold

Her early leaf's a flower;

But only so an hour.

Then leaf subsides to leaf.

So Eden sank to grief,

So dawn goes down to day.

Nothing gold can stay.

~ Robert Frost

The world and I lost a dear friend today. We lost a true warrior for what is Right and Good in this world. Words and poetry alone cannot express the depth of loss I feel right now.

I knew this woman, this warrior.

Today, I honor the memory of Denessa Smith, who passed last night.

Denessa had a beautiful daughter, Tempest. Young Tempest had been bullied and harrassed since second grade for being different from other students in her Michigan school because of her religion.

Tempest was raised Wiccan, an honorable and benevolent religion that honors all living things as Divine. It may not be my choice of path, but it was hers and her mothers and she walked it with beauty, practicing in a quiet, family-based way that caused no harm to anyone.

The bullying reached such a crescendo that this little girl felt she had no other choice but not to walk among those who would make her life here so miserable and devoid of compassion any longer. Sadly, at 12 years of age, Tempest committed suicide.

As a mother, I cannot imagine the heartache and fury Denessa felt at this terrible tragedy and loss. In time, she took that energy and channeled it into gaining the skill sets that would help her in building a foundation to benefit other youngsters who were persecuted, harrassed and bullied. She created the

I have donated to this foundation, participated in the fundraisers, spoken several times at length with Denessa, danced, drummed and celebrated by her side. We talked parenting mostly, she was always interested in my kids' experiences at school.

She was an incredible woman with a passion for creating understanding and raising awareness of bullying with teens and adults alike, so no one else had to suffer as her child did.

Denessa Smith was a warrior for tolerance in every sense of the word.

She was one of those people you "felt" walk into a room, the energy and drive was that high around her. Yet she always made time to talk with you and share a smile.

From the Tempest Smith Foundation

When Tempest died, Denessa donated her daughter’s organs to the Gift of Life Foundation. She has since become a registered spokesperson and greater advocate for the Gift of Life and does work with the National Kidney Foundation. Denessa is also a registered candidate for bone marrow donation with the National Marrow Donor Program.

For the last five years, Denessa has become actively involved in several community organizations. She joined DeMolay with her son and became an Advisor for the Masonic youth group. She also joined the Order of the Eastern Star to show more support for the Masonic organization.

Through the Meals on Wheels program, Denessa has brought together people from many organizations and multiple communities.

In September 2001, created a Memorial Page in honor of Tempest. Thousands of people from all over the globe have pledged themselves to being part of the resolution against intolerance. By reading this, you, too, have become a part of the bigger picture — a grand portrait of tolerance, where you can be you and Tempest is free.

Today, I honor the passing of a Warrior.


Fly Free. Your son is safe and loved. Your work will continue. Be at peace with your daughter. Rest a while and enjoy her company.

Cursing My Old Memory

About a month ago I had met a friend for a soda at a nearby McDonalds. While we were sitting there talking, a couple began a conversation over each other's behaviour as it regards the young girl who was sitting right there. She couldn't have been more than 6 years old.

Slowly the conversation got more heated and it became evident that there was no simple resolution. There was history between them and it wasn't about to be settled in a short, quiet conversation in McDonalds.

One parent made a reach for the child and it got pretty ugly very quickly. Pushing and shoving ensued, but what really hurt was watching them both play a game of "Keep Away" using the child.

I'd had it! No one but my friend and I were in this part of the dining room so the options were limited. I grabbed my half full soda and faked a refill, sat behind a partition and dialed 911.

The police came, but not before the man shoved the woman hard enough to send her sunglasses and phone to the floor (breaking the glasses) - while putting his body between the mother and child. They both took turns playing this game. The child clung to whichever parent she could - when she wasn't being yelled at to "run" or "get in the car" or something. Like I said - Ugly.

In the end the man left in cuffs and the woman was talking with an officer. The little girl sat nearby looking terribly sad. One officer came over to me asking if I was the woman who had placed the 911 call. I said yes and gave them my contact info and thought very little of it.

It seemed obvious to me that there was enough history here and people involved now to settle it. It shook my friend and I up for a while but both of us had to be on our way so off we went.

Lo and behold I get mail yesterday from the courthouse. I've been served a subpoena to testify in the resulting Domestic Assault and Batter case.

Well Drat! Now of course I don't remember all the particulars like I had weeks back and I'm freaking out worried that I'll get something wrong. A child is at stake. As difficult as it is to replay in my mind I can't let myself forget what happened that day.

Anyone have tips for recalling events as they happened? I have a better than average memory already, but who pushed who first and who said what isn't as sharp as I want it to be right now! I can't go on the stand saying what I think happened, I have to KNOW. I was there, I saw it all. Why can't I jog my memory more!? I need an Instant Replay button. Help?

Monday, July 28, 2008

Happy Freaking Monday

This is how I will look today while I am cheerfully helping customers at work... This is what I wish I was doing instead (while outside gardening)...
This is how I will really feel at work today...
This is probably what should be said to me if I ever let my current job-satisfaction rating show!
Heck Yes!
By The Way... I'm still job-hunting.

Sunday, July 27, 2008


Since graduating BMT at Lackland the week after V did, JP, V's boyfriend, has been at Sheppard AFB, training to be an A-10 Loadmaster. From everything I've heard he's enjoyed the training and the job, and even though it was far from V, he was looking forward to being stationed at Davis-Monthan AFB in AZ. and doing his job.

News came to us via Avivah yesterday, that her bf is being ELS'd from the AF. Seems they selected too many A-10 Loadmasters and don't need him in the field. So I ask ~ Whose fault is that?! Certainly not his!

JP enjoyed that he had made a committment and had a direction. He was learning a valuable skill, making friends, and was getting his adult life in order. Then this.

I'm still confused about whether the AF gave him a choice to retrain or ELS. (The AF isn't big on giving Airmen a choice.) I wish he'd had the choice to take another job where he was needed instead of this. Damn.

Maybe in the end this will have been for the best, but for now I think he'll spend some time regrouping. No news on when he'll be home or what direction he'll take when he gets here.

He has options though ~ With an honorable ELS he can rejoin the AF in 6 months and this time go in with a guaranteed job. Or he could join another branch of service. Not sure if he'd have to wait the 6 mos or not with that option. And there's always school and/or work.

If you could, spend a few moments today sending positive, supportive energy to a young Airman who has a few tough months ahead of him. Thanks.

Friday, July 25, 2008

SkyWatch Friday

My SkyWatch Friday contribution this week was taken by me at a Road Rally this past October.

It didn't hurt that my team ended up winning the rally, but seeing this moment in our corner of the sky made us all winners of a sort.

May your every dark moment have a silver lining as radiant as this one.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Force(d) Shaping

Air Force officials announce 2008 force-shaping plans
Nov-Dec 2007

WASHINGTON -- Air Force officials recently announced plans to meet the 2008 fiscal year end-strength of 328,600, which calls for a force reduction of about 5,400 officers and enlisted members through normal attrition, retirement, or force-shaping measures.

"For the enlisted force, we will be able to use the tools we have in place to adjust and keep the force balanced," Armentrout said. "As we go through the year, we assess [the process], and if it doesn't look like the goal is going to materialize, we'll look at waiving service commitments for enlisted."

Click here for the full article

Air Force charts new course for 2009 force shaping

6/12/2008 - WASHINGTON (AFPN) -- Air Force officials here currently are deciding how to carry out force shaping plans in the coming year following an announcement by Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates Monday to halt personnel cuts.

The halting of force reductions does not mean those officers and enlisted members already in the pipeline to separate will be required to stay, Colonel Armentrout said. "We're not talking large numbers here," he said. "We're talking about staying where we are [in terms of personnel numbers] for 2009, and then increasing slightly to 330,000 in 2010."

Click here for the full article.

So now, is it me, or do these two articles appear to end the people slashing?? Cut people. Stop cutting people. Simple, yes?

Since the group of AF parents to which I belong already knows of Airmen who have been involuntarily separated (given an Entry Level Separation ELS) in the past couple of weeks, I was prompted to write about this trend. You would think that with the sampling of ELS's we've seen, the group would be sizable... it isn't even all that big!

I also have to share that this method of Force Shaping simply makes no sense to me.

There have been no offers of retraining for the Airmen I know (well, their parents), people who want to serve are being booted from AF BMT and Tech School for the most foolish of reasons, one Airman is "on hold" which is more like unending limbo, and even those who were selected for - and passed - highly specialized training have faced RIF-dom.

That must be the "tool" they have in place.
One swift kick in the pants and buh-bye.
Nice tool, eh?

From the mother of a young adult who is gleeful every time she declares her status as "Permanent Party", I hear what it means to these Airmen, and the pride they have in their role as part of the US Air Force. It would make anyone proud.

There has to be a better way to sift and proportion the Force to result in better balance without spending thousands of dollars to train people they then do not need and force to separate.

How about requiring higher ASVAB scores? It's a heck of a lot cheaper to deny someone entrance because they don't make the grade than it is to house, train and feed them for months before deciding they're not needed. I mean it's not like this Force Shaping edict is news. It's not.

The USAF is one of the best in the world. Why can't they get it together when it comes to accepting Airmen that they're willing to train to fill a necessary job?

*end rant*

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

A Mom Moment

Last night V called and I got to share with her that I have had my first blog reader from Minot, ND. They had searched her by name and landed here, which I thought was cool. {Hi, Reader!} Of course, they got treated to a healthy dose of my sense of humor and more. But that was their own doing. LoL

This weekend she attended her first game of Changeling with some new friends and had a great time. She met a whole bunch of new people. And yesterday Corey came with her moving boxes and they finally met in person. He even took her to get something to eat and they chattered for a long time. (Even with me via speaker phone. V, you're supposed to tell people when you have them on speaker!! LoL)

After a good laugh or two V started sharing about her day and some of the interactions she's had with people since arriving on base. Most are very, very positive. Nothing to be concerned about.

The theme through all of her stories was that she has learned some pretty healthy ways to draw her own personal boundaries. This isn't an easy skill to learn but, especially being female in the military, it's essential. Put simply: I'll be nice and friendly and work or chatter with you for hours on end, but don't touch.

Neat thing was she expressed using these skills not only with people on base, she has used them in a healthy way in her personal interactions as well. Again, put simply: You own the responsibility for you and I own the responsibility for me. Your responsibilities, while I care very much, are not my problem, nor are they my crisis to resolve. Dang, that's healthy.

She's dealt with quite a lot of these situations and continues to do so in a thoughtful and definitive [read: adult] way.

Sunday evening and J is out with Ryan at Sam's house. Curfew was mutually set for 10:30. At 10:15 I get a text message saying they were sitting around telling jokes and could he be home by 11. He asked. In plenty of time to make it home if I had said no. The answer was yes, and he was in the door on time too. That was awesome.

Just last night I came home from work around 7:30. Joshua went out and grilled a couple of bratwursts for our dinner while I set the table and made salad and baked beans. During dinner I think the best word to describe the mood would be: Slap Happy!

Gosh, the kid was tired. It was well-deserved. He has a 5 hour long fitness class four days a week and then he and Ryan went to the gym together too! He wasn't tired... he was exhausted!

We cleaned up from dinner and he went to relax on the couch with his friend, the remote. After a bit I curled up with him. When V called I went to the other room where my phone charger was and we gabbed away for... nearly 2 hours!

Joshua, who has class this morning, made a really healthy choice and without reminder was out like a light in bed when I returned. This may not seem like a big deal to most, after all the kid is 16, but when he gets sucked in to the idiot box it sometimes takes crow bars to get him to take care of himself and go to sleep.

It's a case of maturity, and I'm really happy with it.

The signature line on my text messages currently reads:

- Proud -

Monday, July 21, 2008


I had forgotten to mention, if you hadn't already noticed, that I have added V's new address. Look in the left margin, voila! As before, please only send positive, encouraging words and use this information wisely.

She can receive packages now too and is much less restricted on what can be sent.

On her wish list so far is:
Commissary Gift Certificates
Turkey Jerky
Wheat Thins - Original
WalMart Gift Cards
Maruchan Ramen - Oriental or Chicken Flavor
Clear Cup Tealight Candles - White

Her room decor is Oriental, in Red and Black with a little Gold here and there. She's anxious to get her boxes, which should arrive today, so that she has more color in her room than the notorious mismatched wood tones and graige (grey/beige, a word coined by my FIL) carpeting.

One of the things she bought that she is especially looking forward to unpacking is a pair of tiny traditional good luck cats. One is going on her desk and another on the window sill.

I already showed you the picture of her huge painted silk fan, and I am hoping to be able to share a picture with you of the big brass platter that AF Mom Cheryl gave to V. [BELOW!] It's beautiful, and will help V's room look even more "put together". One of her errands today is picking up picture hangers for both of these items. (Thanks for the pic Cheryl!)

Today J is off to his summer school class, T is away at an educator's conference (left Saturday), and I am working diligently at my new job: Looking for a Full Time Job! Later this afternoon I'll be at my current *%@#* part time job.

Speaking of which... I went to a gathering at my friend's house yesterday evening when I realized one of the repercussions of standing for hours on end, often without a break, on a concrete and outdoor carpet over concrete floor.

I had been standing barefoot for a while, and not a long while by any means, when not only did my feet start to cramp, but I got nasty shooting pains in my right heel every time I put weight on it. Now I know I need to lose weight, but this was not even putting much of my weight down at all, it was just heel pain. Ow!

I sat and rubbed it and then took to the hot tub (yipee!) which helped some too, but boy was I ticked that I would be in pain for the sake of working at this job. Sheesh.

Enough of my whining. The day is glorious, the flowers need dead heading, the garden needs some weeding, and there are better jobs out there (Gods willing) for which I will apply. Ciao for now!

Most Sincerely,

The Mistress of the Cover Letter

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Garden Pics

Daisies two weeks ago...

Daisies yesterday...

One of two types of daylilies up front...

Clematis on the back trellis (with yucca)...

The other daylilies up front...

My new storage garden bench ~ Mother's Day gift from T and J

Fern in the moon garden...

Peony! Taken about a month ago...

2nd pic of the daylilies up front...

New daylily in the back!

Much deeper throat and more golden center...

That's about it for the moment. The hostas and coleus are in bloom, the spirea continue to bloom, and the rose of sharon and sedum will be flowering soon. We'll see if the deer eat my coneflower heads off ~ again ~ or if I'll actually get to see one bloom!

My gf Vicki says that (as gross as it is) used kitty litter around the planting bed deters the critters. I'm trying it ~ thanks to Mooch ~ and so far have had success. At least I now have morning glories that have made it past the 2" mark! Darned stoner chipmunks!!!

Have a great one!

Friday, July 18, 2008

SkyWatch for an AF Mom

SkyWatch has moved to their own site. Good luck to the SkyTeam!

This morning's SkyWatch post is dedicated to AF Mom Peggy.

Peggy and her lovely family live in western Wisconsin. You know, that area of the country not formerly known for its ocean-front view... but that seems to have had one for the last two months! Oh my goodness the rain they've gotten. I can't imagine.

She is also the mom of SrA Corey (stationed at Minot) who has been an absolute DOLL to Avivah as she makes the move to there too. I mean, how many guys would answer a text message that asks whether the beds there are twin or twin extra long?! He did! And I think I have already mentioned that he agreed to be the recipient of V's moving boxes this Monday. This "kid" was raised right!

V has been there for two days and the two of them haven't yet met ~ though she ran into someone else yesterday that asked her if she was the person to whom CW was talking (she said 'Yep!') ~ I think she's already decided to take him out to lunch or something as a thank you for all his help.

This post is my thank you to his mom, Peggy. Your kind and encouraging words set my mind more at ease as Avivah moved from home and made her first PCS.

For you, my friend, a picture I took of a silver lining as the rain here cleared.

May the rains there slow down to a more normal pace. May the tears of frustration you shed not have you paddling a canoe in your basement. May the bees keep their stingers to themselves. May the berries always be sweet.

And may our road trip to visit our kids not be too long away.

Thursday, July 17, 2008


V arrived safely in N Dakota. Her first text from the place? "It's flat"

She was met by her sponsor, Msgt. L. Most incoming Airmen have other A1C's or SrA's as sponsors. My kid? Nothing of the sort for her. She has a Master Sergeant! Not only that, this guy is an MMT Team Chief! On the one hand that's way cool and on the other it's not.

Great to have high rank who knows you and can show you the ropes. Not so great that it's hard to get to know someone when you have to maintain distance for fear of forgetting the rank difference when it matters. V was a little sketchy on how she should behave around her sponsor, but it sounds like it's working out just fine. She says he's cool. Heck, he met her at the airport and took her to lunch at Hardee's/Carl's Jr. How bad can he be?!

First thing he did on base was to take her to the MMT workshop where she got to wander around and meet people. When they asked Msgt. L. who that was he replied, "This is Thomas, our new MMT." The response? "Sir. She's a GIRL." Well duh, you noticed. LoL V is the only female MMT at Minot and only the second it's ever had. It'll take them some time but they'll get used to it. V handles herself well regardless of the 'parts' with which you were born.

While in the workshop she noticed two things. 1. Her name tag on a board all ready for her! and 2. Right next to it says: 'hazing week'... which was immediately followed by nearly getting hit in the head by a football. Got to love good peripheral vision and wicked reflexes! LOL She was amused; especially by the thought that the team may well have to revise their hazing plan to accomodate the fact that she's a female!

After the workshop came the huge let-down of the day...
The Dorm

Dorms at Minot are assigned by your job. She should be in the MMT dorm. There's no suite (two females) open there now, so she's in a Special Forces dorm (Cops). This does NOT make her happy. She wants to get to know her fellow MMTers and learn everything they have to share. That's gonna be difficult if she's not living there.

None of the dorms at Minot have been updated [read: demolished and new ones built - as is the AF plan] since the dawn of time. The place is a mix of beige and bad wood tones that don't match each other. The sink runs hot and hotter (no cold), the bathroom is missing floor tiles, the mirrors are dirty and one is not hung, the window didn't open, there was no lightbulb in the lamp, no charger for the cordless vacuum, no shelf pegs for the shelves that were stacked on the floor on the cabinet... and the list went on.

She said it's like a mix of an old run down motel and a prison. In her words, "I am so unimpressed."

Add to that the fact that she'd been travelling all day (3 flights), had a headache, was dehydrated and meeting new people in a new place for the past few hours and this was one stressed out kid. I'm happy that the one thing that calmed her was calling me and sharing her day. It was our own little decompression chat.

I gave her marching orders to either nap for an hour or go walk around and meet people or both. I think she unpacked and unwound and did a little bit of exploring. Either way she finally slept.

This morning's phone call was much more cheerful. She'd looked around and found a night stand shelf that pulled out of the side of her bed. Her books and a few special items were on display on her headboard shelf. Her red sheets were neatly on her bed. Another light switch was discovered and there was even a bulb in the ceiling fixture... and she managed to get the (screenless) window open for some fresh air! As we spoke she was sitting on her desk half out the window saying "It's kinda pretty here".

Ok, I can breathe now. She'll be ok.

On another front... Joshua is unrecognizable from his prior ghostly, ghastly, sick-face. He's turned the corner, the fever broke and he's hungry again. (Heaven help me!)

He slept last night in his sister's room... because her bed is "unbelievably comfy!" Is it un-Manly or something to admit that he misses her?! Sheesh. Guys.

I'm just thankful that my kids are both ok.

*what a difference a day makes

Wednesday, July 16, 2008


I'm having an out of body experience. My heart is divided in parts and pieces.

Joshua's so sunburnt he's sick with chills and pain. The burn happened on Sunday afternoon. PLUS he's sick too. He has a fever and throat infection bad enough that swallowing makes him practically tear up. He started a round of antibiotics yesterday afternoon.

I have to hand it to him. Poor kid can't regulate his body temperature, you can't hug him because the burn is so bad, he can't swim in his fitness class because the cold of the pool sends his body into uncontrollable shivers that're pretty darned near shock ~ and now he has a Drs note for no weight lifting due to the stress it puts on his infection-weakened muscles ~ he can't sleep more than a few hours at a time because swallowing and moving both hurt, and he still hasn't missed a day of class!

I don't even know what to say. He knows what he has to do and he's doing it. As much as I want him to be able to stay home and let me baby him, we both know he's doing the right thing by attending class and participating in as much as he's able. He knows he has a big darned piece of my heart with him. (J will be home midday. I'll baby him then. *wink*)

Copper's Little Pom is back in the hospital for surgery and dialysis. Having had a child who was life-threateningly ill I understand the heartache and frustration that Copper and her family must be feeling.

These are amazingly wonderful people and I am blessed to call them part of my 'family'. Please pop on over and leave her some encouraging words, say a prayer or do whatever floats your boat to help Little Pom and his family cope with this life-altering situation. And if you need a push... There are pics there with LP's adorable smile, too!

And of course, as I type, my sweet daughter Avivah is in the air on her way to Minot AFB, North Dakota where she will be stationed for the next two years.

Yes, I shed a tear or two as I hugged and kissed her goodbye, and I'm sure they're not my last, but within 5 minutes I had text messaged her twice! Nothing but NOTHING is going to keep me from staying connected to her. Not nothing!

If, as it says over the main gate, "Only The Best Go North", then they have the right person. That person also happens to hold a huge chunk of my heart.

To all those who hold parts and bits of my heart: I hope you hold it gently.

Darn it, here come those tears again. AF Mom Susan's right. Sometimes you just cry.

Off I go to wash and fold the last vestages of our two-day cleaning rampage and do a once over on the floor ~ which I can now sweep from end to end. All told she took out 6 bags of clothes, shoes and other things to be donated, and 6 bags of throw-aways/trash. She packed 6 boxes of things she wanted, including some bedding and her winter coat/boots, and shipped them to AF Mom Peggy's son Corey (also at Minot), who has graciously agreed to accept the delivery and arrange with V to get them moved in next week. What a nice guy!

AF Mom Cheryl gave V a huge antique brass platter engraved with Chinese characters for her room. Thank you! Together with her painted silk fan and matching bedding, the room will look terrific! I wasn't sure how she was going to manage to move it, but UPS was wonderful. They had an art box just the right dimensions and it wasn't expensive to ship. Boom, and it was done.

It's time to think about painting and spiffing up the room so that we can have guests and HER here in a space that is warm and welcoming, but still feels like home to V. I can't wait to see her again. Road trip anyone?!

UPDATE: Today is an especially difficult day for the Twomeys. Please send AF Mom Hallie (yes, you're still an AF Mom!) and her family lots of supportive energy as her son CJ separates from the USAF. I know he'll land on his feet in short order, but the news is hitting the family hard right now. My heart goes out to them all.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Thoughts on one more day

Has it really been two weeks and more that V's been here? *big sigh*

This time together has been extraordinary. Talking, laughing, planting, shopping, fave restaurant dining, movie going, birthday partying, BBQing, parade and fireworks watching, bonfiring, skating, family and friend visiting, picture taking... and we've shared a million and a half hugs too.

She went roller blading, kayaking, out for coffee with our friends, out with her friends and then there's today...

Plans for the day include: sorting, cleaning, laundry, finding V's winter clothes, packing, going to UPS and the recruiting station and loads more HUGS!

V has opted to keep her air ticket to Minot and ship her goods via UPS because I can't drive 19 hours back home alone and Joshua can't come with us on account of his summer class. The AF will reimburse her 95% so that's cool. All she has to do is file a travel voucher when she gets there. (Thanks for the info, AF Parents!) That part is up to her.

It means we're spending our day together making order out of chaos, but I have every faith in her. Besides, we'll be listening to music and singing along all the while. It's actually fun ~ albeit a sick and twisted type of fun.

In one way I will be loathe to put V on that plane to ND tomorrow morning. In another way I know that soon (after the tears have dried) I will return to my usual routine; a more open schedule, 1:1 time with Joshua, work, looking for a new job, time with my friends, and saying yes to social engagements and spending quiet time weeding and dead heading in the garden.

It's bitter sweet, to be sure.

Funny thing is ~ it feels right. She needs to embark on the next step of her great adventure and ~ as much as she and I are connected beyond belief ~ I need to get back to mine.

One quick pic before I head back to being the laundry goddess that I am. This was taken at cousin Isabel's birthday party.

Bright and beautiful blessings to you all. oxoxo, me

Saturday, July 12, 2008


If there's anything consistent about me it's that I'm inconsistent. (at blogging)

So first, a belated SkyWatch picture... from the fireworks on the St. Clair river.

The fireboats shoot out huge streams of water getting the crowd prepped for the show. Some of the streams make brilliant rainbows in the water mist. I didn't catch that, but I thought this was a pretty shot anyways.
My time with V home has been great. 3 fireworks shows, mall-crawling, chick times, visiting friends, laughing til it hurts and millions of hugs.

Her brother is loving having his "big" sis home, but it's that typical kind of sibling love...

Last night a wrestling-tickling-laughing-squealing-slap-happy fest broke out in the living room!!! Next thing I knew J had V in the air and she was clinging desperately to her very tall brother. (kid hates being picked up, LOL) In the end J ended up resting in V's arms and chattering.

Me? I had an enormous mom-smile the whole time.

Oh, and I haven't quit... yet.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Sally the Camel Breaks

"What part of 'My daughter is here' do you not understand?"

I found myself thinking that more than once as I looked for the past two weeks at my work schedule. I mean, 3 out of 4 of my managers are parents too, so this shouldn't be the problem it has become, right? No.

Now remember, I work part time, retail. I went in to this job 9 months ago saying I needed one of two things... either very flexible hours OR very consistent hours. They opted for flexible. Ok!

For the time that V is home I told them I would willingly cut back my hours to a couple of day shifts per week, weekdays only. What hours did I get? On call (which I detest) 2-6 Sunday, good hours Tu & We, on call (more detesting) 12-5 Friday and on call (again) 6-CLOSE Saturday. So what part of flexible is this??

I have already resolved to go in if they need me on Friday, but I looked at the schedule and noticed that they didn't schedule anyone but a manager to work til close on Saturday BUT ME. They'll have no choice but to call me in on the last Saturday of my daughter's leave. Not to mention it's my neice's birthday and a friend's annual BBQ and my sister Karen and her son arrive for a visit - all on Saturday.

This, ladies and gentlemen, is known as the straw that breaks the camel's back.

I grabbed the schedule book and wiped out every day, with the exception of one shift on Monday morning, until Thursday (V leaves for Minot on Wed.). Which won't matter really, because if and when they call me for Saturday... I'm not going. Period. I quit.

I'll give them one more chance to change that when I call today to say that they need to find someone else to be on call on Saturday because I cannot come in, but I give that a snowball's chance in hell of working. So today just might be 'that day'.

Wish me luck, please.

Sunday, July 6, 2008


Yesterday was a slower morning for us (finally). V and I got up and decided to go get bagels for breakfast so out we went to the bagel shop and then the deli for cheeses and rugalach, V's fave. At home J had prepared the table, and together we had a delightful breakfast with our typical "no-holds-barred" conversations. Fun morning! (Sorry, I can't tell you what we talked about, as V says: That's classified information!)

For once we had no real plans for the day (other than later in the afternoon/eve). I went to the park for a walk with a friend and their dog, J vegged and V picked up a book. *sigh*

The afternoon found the three of us packing the car with camp chairs and driving an hour east to Algonac, MI, where we were invited to see V's "sister" Kat and my best gf, (Kat's mom) Carolyn and their family, bbq, swim AND see one of the best fireworks shows in Michigan! :)

(For those who are following, Carolyn and her husband are from MI, and most of their families are here, but they have moved to Rochester, NY. I'm pretty sure Carolyn and I met in 1980.)

As soon as we got out of the car we were ushered to the sea-wall to see and feed the swans. Yeppers, mom, dad and 6 signets.

Carolyn grilled and we had a wonderful bbq together. C promised to bring me some Wegman's Lemonade soda/pop next time she visits. This is her official reminder ;)

Then it was off to the boardwalk on the St. Clair river channel to secure a spot for the fireworks. After swimming in the freezing cold river, J, V and Kat joined us as the sun set s-l-o-w-l-y in the west. Why does it seem to set the slowest on fireworks nights?

Carolyn ~ taking a picture of the kids (and me)

Katarina ~ one of my "other daughters"

The sun finally set and it was time for what I know was the most spectacular fireworks show I've seen all year. I caught one shot before it needed all of my attention.

After the show we returned to the house (C's mom's) for sparklers, a bonfire and s'mores. See a theme here?! It's no wonder C and I and our kids get along so well.

After traffic cleared (kinda) a sleepy Thomas crew piled in the car for the long trip home. Both kids slept as I sang along with my iPod and made it safely home. What a great day.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Good news day!

  • Shay's home with AF Mom Michelle
  • CJ's home with AF Mom Hallie
  • Tonjia is celebrating Bre's clearance for the Navy
  • AF Mom Lolly's well on her way towards renewed health AND her son Tommie is back on US soil AND He's already visited his mom!
  • Copper's Little Pom is HOME from the hospital
  • AF Mom Kim just celebrated a special birthday
  • Surprise! Corey is home from Minot AFB with AF Mom Peggy!

I wish all these AF moms strength. I had no idea how exhausting it was to have a child at home who wants to cram everything they want to do into the time they have with you!

Yesterday started with an Independence day parade, then home for a bit, a quick shopping trip for new swim goggles for V and off to grandma's pool ~ where my mom and my kids got into the coolest squirtgun fight ever ~ then home again for J to BBQ for us and his gf S ~ THEN the kids had friends over to bonfire and make S'mores. Party pooper that I am, I crashed around 1am.

And pretty nearly every day has been like this. LOL

I'm off... today should be more relaxing. I hope.

Friday, July 4, 2008

An E-Card for Y'all

Af Mom Cheryl sent this electronic greeting card to me and I couldn't resist sharing it with everyone. Enjoy!

Happy Independence Day!

Sky Watch Fireworks Day!

Happy SkyWatch Friday!

Today is Independence Day here in the USA. Last night we (my family and about 20+ friends) went to see the local fireworks display. We have a family tradition of "staking claim" to the biggest hill there so T, me, V and J were first in the gate at 7! It took a long time to start getting dark but friends and family joined us in a steady stream.

Here's Dee and friend enjoying the waning sun.

Not quite yet!

OK... NOW!!! :-D

Bigger and better.....

Holy wow! We had a great time. The veritable sea of V and J's friends was wonderful to see. Good kids.

As I promised Shar, here also is a picture of the results of having V choose my pedicure polish... Would you believe Air Force BLUE??? LOL

Happy Friday, Happy 4th of July, Happy Independence Day, Happy Sky Watch Friday, Happy DAY!

We're leaving soon to watch a local parade. V wanted to go in her ABUs because she's so proud of them. So off we go!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008


I've been so busy making "V and J time" that I have been remiss in blog posting. Sorry!

I'll make up for it by posting a great pic of V that I took in our yard on Tuesday afternoon ~ when one of her "sisters", Katarina, visited from Rochester, NY.

Then later that evening a few close friends met at the local Starbucks for a beverage and fellowship. (V and the lovely lady Dee below) Later about 9 of us gathered at the house for a bonfire and roasted marshmellows! It was a late evening.

V in a field of green straws....

V and her friend Marta... awwww

V and I went to the mall today after we each got off work. She's not in the office much because she already has oh... 5 open leads on new recruits! For each one she has she works less. I LIKE this set-up!

At the mall V had her first experience with eyebrow threading (a little ouchie but wow, do her brows ever look faboo!) and she was blessed (by me) with a new cowboy hat that looks SMEXY on her!

She decided that her new dorm room is going to have an oriental flair, primarily in red and black. It will compliment her favorite lounging robe just perfectly.

V bought herself a huge handpainted silk fan for the wall and a red satin tissue box cover (really). We're going to look for a black bed spread this weekend. If we're successful we'll return to the store where the fan was purchased to get two red silk throw pillows and maybe a paper lantern or two. That'll be a nice start to creating her goal: a quiet retreat from her very busy and "Hoo-rah-guy-filled-cage-monkey" days.

Tonight it's storming outside which made V very happy. We both love thunder and lightening. Tomorrow we've set aside time for pedicures and later: Fireworks. Wahoo!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Oh Canada!

In honour of our neighbours to the north (and east), I want to wish you all a very happy Canada Day.
Besides, the closest big city to V's new base is either Winnipeg or Regina, so she'll be getting better acquainted with the Canadian border pretty soon!