Sunday, May 28, 2006

Memorial Day

Mostly Sunny - Hi 110 Lo 81 for Baghdad, Iraq
Sunny & Hazy - Hi 90 Lo 68 for Northern KY, USA

Song of the week: Arlington,
Trace Adkins This is an encore--- it is the only song that makes sense this week. As I wrote last time... if you hate country music... ok... fine... just listen to the words...

I received an email asking me why I list the temperature in Baghdad and here in my hometown each week... I'm glad you asked because I don't think I have ever explained it...Every week, I go to I look up the forecast for Baghdad each week. It is my way of reminding myself that there are men in uniform and body armor in ungodly temperatures doing a job they volunteered to do on my behalf... So, while I am sipping my delightful cup of java... these guys are working their tails off and hoping to not get them shot off... that's why...


This is Memorial Day Weekend- my first thought is--- EXTRA DAY OFF FROM WORK!!! Wahoo!!! However, this is my reminder to myself there is a reason besides having cold beer at dysfunctional family picnics behind the meaning of this day.

As a kid, my grandparents would drag my brother and me to the cemetery to decorate the gravesite of my Aunt Cathy. She was five years old when she died from Leukemia. There are bunches and bunches of pictures of Decoration Day of years gone by. Pictures of my dad and uncle looking uncomfortable...and sad... Pretty much the way my brother and I look in the pictures I have... definitely uncomfortable and definitely sad. As kids, we were quiet and solemn... seeing my grandfather weep openly is what made me sad, so Terry and I always stayed quiet.

I remember learning about the meaning of Memorial Day from my grandmother. She is one of the smartest people I have known in my life. She was and still is a big history buff. I wish I had paid more attention as a kid- the things I would know today...

Memorial Day was originally known as Decoration Day because it was a time set aside to honor the nation's Civil War dead by decorating their graves. It was first widely observed on May 30, 1868, to commemorate the sacrifices of Civil War soldiers, by proclamation of General John A. Logan of the Grand Army of the Republic, an organization of former sailors and soldiers. On May 5, 1868, Logan declared in General Order No. 11 that:

The 30th of May, 1868, is designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers, or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village, and hamlet churchyard in the land. In this observance no form of ceremony is prescribed, but posts and comrades will in their own way arrange such fitting services and testimonials of respect as circumstances may permit.

During the first celebration of Decoration Day, General James Garfield made a speech at Arlington National Cemetery, after which 5,000 participants helped to decorate the graves of the more than 20,000 Union and Confederate soldiers buried in the cemetery.

This 1868 celebration was inspired by local observances of the day in several towns throughout America that had taken place in the three years since the Civil War. In fact, several Northern and Southern cities claim to be the birthplace of Memorial Day, including Columbus, Miss.; Macon, Ga.; Richmond, Va.; Boalsburg, Pa.; and Carbondale, Ill.

Courtesy of The History Channel

Brave men and women continue to go to battle and serve our country. These brave souls keep our country free...They are willing to go into harms way so that we may live our lives... I am humbled in the presence of so many of these fine men and women... I grieve that so many wives have lost their husbands, that so many children will not be kissed by their fathers, that so many mothers and fathers will never be able to see their sons again... and because I do not have the ability to find the words, I'd like to reference someone that could...

It is only appropriate that I end Sunday's post with the words of one of our greatest Americans, our 16th President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln. The words are just as meaningful today as they were November 1863.

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate -- we can not consecrate -- we can not hallow -- this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us -- that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion -- that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain -- that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom -- and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

I hope you and yours have a safe and happy holiday and somewhere in the mix, raise a glass to toast our fallen. I ask that you bow your head and give thought and prayer to our men and women that served our great nation.

Now Michael and I are off to spend time with Rob and Jo... we'll see you in a bit.

Blogs and Links to Check Out This Week:

Honor the Fallen

Patriot Guard Riders - Many of the riders in this group are vets... some are just citizens that want to make sure that our fallen are honored... If you have not gone to their website yet, I urge you to do so... there are chapters all over the country.... all volunteer...

God Bless America posts A Father's Letter.

Go spend some time over at Andi's World, Hell on Heels. As a milblogger, she does a lot of great work- I don't visit her nearly enough.

Leaning Straight Up "I align as a social moderate and a fiscal conservative, and the closest party affiliation I have is Neo Libertarian." I just found Karl's blog... a strong patriot... no doubt about it... but I can see that we will disagree in some areas... but I am guaranteed thought provoking reading when I visit his part of the blogosphere...

Politics of a Patriot This young lady has just graduated high school and is off to to boot camp-- she will be one of the few... one of the proud... I have read her blog for quite some time and even though I don't know this young lady, I am so very proud of her. She is our future and I thank God for her. Stop by and wish her well.

I joined 2 groups yesterday... Blogging Chicks and the Hillbilly Ecosystem... both look like a fun group of folks...

Arlington Cemetary photograph courtesy of Colonel Tolomeo

Have a great week everyone!

Blue Angels Missing Man Formation

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Hillbilly Heaven

It's official... I'm a hillbilly. Lem and the boys have been awfully nice and they ain't even cousins...

Thank you... thank you very much...

I hope to get the blogroll up shortly... but I have to remember how to do the scroll bars...

Blogging Chicks

I just signed up with a group of girls... The blogroll is on the right sidebar... pretty eclectic group of broads... Michele has been as sweet as can be... she sold now, I'm officially a Blogging Chick!

You Are 80% American

You're as American as red meat and shooting ranges.
Tough and independent, you think big.
You love everything about the US, wrong or right.
And anyone who criticizes your home better not do it in front of you!

H/T: Hillbilly White Trash

Thursday, May 25, 2006

The Marines of Lima Company

Tonight Michael and I watched a two hour special on A&E called Combat Diary: The Marines of Lima Company.

If you missed it... make sure to find time this Memorial Day weekend to watch it.

Upcoming Airings:
Friday, May 26 @ 1am/12C
Saturday, May 27 @ 8pm/7C
Sunday, May 28 @ 12am/11C
Sunday, May 28 @ 1pm/12C
Monday, May 29 @ 8am/7C
Monday, May 29 @ 2pm/1C
Saturday, June 03 @ 11am/10C

A&E Combat Diary: The Marines of Lima Company


Ohio Weeps

Anger and Hope

Words to Remember- Everyday

On Behalf of a Grateful Nation

photo taken by me- Nick Erdy's return home....

Monday, May 22, 2006

See Ya in the Funny Papers, Chicky!

I've been blogging for nearly a year... and I've been consistently passive about my place in the blogosphere. I consider myself more of an observer, not really a part of any one clique always on the outside...

Over the months, I have received some truly outstanding advice from many folks—often at my request- how to generate more traffic, how to format the blog, how to be more controversial... how to be nicer, how to be happier, how to be angrier, how to not ramble.... etc etc...

Excuse me… NOT Ramble? I don’t think so… please see left sidebar.

Now a couple of things, although I do wish I had more traffic, I am not willing nor do I have the time to commit to blogging daily as has been explained to me by a number of people Not only that, I simply don't have that much to say...and I’m not that good. I named the blog Sunday Morning Coffee... because Sunday Morning was and remains the time I am willing to commit to reading, pondering and writing... Please consider, if you will, SMC my open diary that I left on the kitchen counter and I just ran to the quicky mart for milk…. And I asked you to keep an eye on the chili simmering on the stove…. (Shut up, Michael.) YES, I'm concerned that I don't sound ridiculous and have too many run on sentences and prepositions ending the sentence….and YES, I hope people enjoy what I write... and YES, I hope it will give some food for thought. The truth is I enjoy writing---despite my deficits and talent...

Now with that said, what I really enjoy is reading and discovering other blogs… There are some fascinating people out there that have amazing things to write about and interesting opinions to share…. I like passionate blogs... those that put their opinions and arguments and feelings out there for all to read... Michelle Malkin comes to mind as the best at making a passionate argument based in fact....

So, that brings us to today, my closest friends, Rob and JoAnna emailed me today to let me know my favorite superhero, Wonder Woman is hanging up her lasso and mothballing her invisible plane… I am saddened by this news, however, not surprised…

The writing was on the wall…Life takes priority and blogging takes a backseat… or in WW’s case… ends the chapter of her life. I'm glad I found her blog... well written, convincing arguments, strongly opinionated. I feel fortunate to have known her if only for a fleeting moment.

July, 2005 I wrote about WW, “I just found this blog and this gal is a great read. She goes against the grain --conservative atheist... hmmmm... There is also a link to a debate blog she has with a friend of hers that is a liberal atheist.”

Cheers to you, girl. Stay passionate. You will always be in my prayers….

A North American Patriot

Sunday, May 21, 2006

If Jim Morrison Were Still Alive, He'd Love a Good Show Tune...

Sunny - Hi 102 Lo 77 for Baghdad, Iraq
Mostly Sunny - Hi 66 Lo 48 for Northern KY, USA

Song of the week: Riders on the Storm,
The Doors


I once dated a guy that thought he was the reincarnation of Jim Morrison, but of course he couldn't be the reincarnation of Jim Morrison, because he was born before Jim Morrison died... I never said he was real smart....

In any event I chose this song for two simple reasons. 1) Michael loves this song and 2) It has been raining for nearly 2 weeks... Saturday was the first day in ages that we had beautiful skies and perfect temperatures... because of the perfect weather... I worked in the yard of my favorite things to do... however, I am now paying for it... everything is achy and it even hurts to type... so this week's entry is going to be easy and will require little thought on my part...

I haven't done this in a long time so, I thought I would present another list of favorite movies... This time I'm going with musicals... yah yah.... shat up.... all right all ready.... Sheesh! Look... musicals make me happy.... and quite frankly, if you are opposed to musicals... I strongly urge you to take a look at some of the classic Rodgers and Hammerstein or Lerner and Loewe collaborations... Often, the musical will tackle difficult subjects... prejudice, neglect, abuse.... you know the stuff of real life...or at least an episode of Judge Judy or Judge Joe Brown.... I know there are times that breaking into a song and a perfectly synchronized dance routine would really add that special punch to my point....

So... in no particular order....

1. The King and I, 1956. Yul Brynner, Deborah Kerr... Ahhhh... Yul.... I've always had a serious crush on him. I think I've mentioned it before, but I saw him perform on stage as the King of Siam. He was brilliant.. he had one lung and had cancer again... in fact he died shortly after I saw him. He danced in red and let me tell you, he was simply wonderful.

Favorite songs- all of them... Getting to Know You, Hello Young Lovers, Shall I Tell You What I Think of You.

2. The Sound of Music, 1965. Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer. Nannies, Nazis and Nuns.... Favorite moment... Christopher Plummer on stage singing Edelweiss... which is symbolic of a free Austria. In his eyes and in his voice you see and hear the utter sadness as he realizes the home he loves so much has disappeared.

3. Oklahoma, 1955. Shirley Jones, Gordon MacRae, Gloria Grahame, Eddie Albert, and Rod Steiger. Love and jealousy... in O-K-L-A-H-O-M-A, Oklahoma, OK-L-A-H-O-M-A!

Favorite songs- The Farmer and the Cowman, I Cain't Say No, O' What a Beautiful Mornin'.

4. Carousel, 1956. Shirley Jones and Gordon MacRae again. This is a tough one... Gordon plays a carnie... Rob... I know carnies scare you... just bare with me... ok.. where was I? Oh yes... Shirley plays the young naive girl that falls for the bad boy... They end up getting married... he becomes a deadbeat living off her wages, he beats his young wife, they make an appearance on Jerry Springer, she gets pregnant and suddenly he wants to become a better person....

Favorite songs- If I Loved You and Soliloquy.

5. South Pacific, 1958. Rosanno Brazzi, Mitzi Gaynor, and John Kerr. WWII and prejudice... it ain't easy being green....

Favorite songs- Bloody Mary, Carefully Taught, There is Nothing Like a Dame, Bali Ha'i--- the only reason I list this as a favorite is because of Peter Boyle's character in Honeymoon in Vegas... hysterical.... 6. West Side Story, 1961. Natalie Wood, Rita Moreno. 2 gangs in New York City... instead of wielding guns... they have songs and dancing.... When your a Jet....

Favorite songs - One Hand One Heart, Gee- Officer Krupke, and Somewhere.

7. Singin' In the Rain, 1952. Gene Kelley, Donald O'Connor, Debbie Reynolds, Cyd Charisse. To watch Gene Kelley dance is always magic for me. Like, Yul... I've always had a crush on Gene Kelley... favortie scene is the dream/dance sequence.... Broadway Melody Ballet.... the energy and grace... and of course Cyd Charisse.... I of course can't forget Donald O'Connor- incredible dancer-Make 'Em Laugh....

8. The Wizard of Oz, 1939. Judy Garland, Ray Bolger, Jack Haley, Bert Lahr, Frank Morgan, Billie Burke, and of course Margaret Hamilton. This movie is a classic... There is so much about this movie I love... ever see the guy in the sequence as our heroes travel down the yellow brick road that gets hung on the set? Is it true or is it an urban legend? Hmmm??? I don't know... but either way, once it is pointed out to you- it's creepy... Ever watch the movie while listening to Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon?

9. My Fair Lady, 1964. Audrey Hepburn, Rex Harrison, and Stanley Holloway. Julie Andrews played Eliza on stage and of course I adore her, but is there anyone more graceful more beautiful than Audrey Hepburn?

Favorite songs- On the Street Where You Live, I Could Have Danced All Night, I've Grown Accustomed to Her Face, Get Me to the Church on Time

10. Brigadoon, 1954. How can you go wrong with Gene Kelley, Van Johnson and Cyd Charisse playing in Scotland--- err uh... a studio made up to be Scotland? Ya can't!

11. An American in Paris, 1951. My guy Gene Kelley and the ungrateful French twit, Leslie Caron.... I have to say if I were forced to pick between this and Singin' In the Rain... I'd take An American in Paris... Who can resist a Gershwin tune? Not this girl!

Favorite part of the movie- Fantasy Dance Sequence set to Gershwin's American in Paris.

12. Cabaret, 1972. Liza Minnelli, Joel Grey, Michael York. The legendary Bob Fosse directed this musical. Highly stylized... the crisp cool destinctive lines... a girl trying to make a living and live a life all the while the Nazis are taking power....

Favorite songs- Money, money, Cabaret, Tomorrow Belongs to Me.

13. Fiddler on the Roof, 1971. Topol, Set in pre revolutionary Russia... Tevye struggles with daily life and the changes that occur in his homeland. I absolutely love all the music in this movie... Topol brings such life to the character of Tevye...

Favorite songs- Tradition, Matchmaker, Sunrise Sunset, Sabbath Prayer, Anatevka...

14. Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, 1954. Howard Keel and Jane Powell. This is just a campy fun movie... it involves kidnapping... and avalanches... and springtime... I love Howard Keel's voice.... Riff from West Side Story plays one of the brothers in this one... and Cat Woman from the 60's television show Batman is in this and for the life of me, I can't think of her name....not Eartha Kitt... the other one...

Favorite songs- Bless Yore Beautiful Hide, The Barn Dance, June Bride

15. The Music Man, 1962. Robert Preston, Shirley Jones, Buddy Hackett, and little Ronnie "da Vinci Code" Howard. What can be more heartwarming that a naive young girl falling in love with a bad boy (con man)? Didn't we cover this already with Carousel? Ahh... yes... Carousel didn't have a marching band or a barbershop quartet... The Music Man does.... see the difference?

Favorite songs- Gary Indiana, Goodnight My Someone, The Wells Fargo Wagon, Marian the Librarian

16. Guys and Dolls, 1955. Marlin Brando, Jean Simmons, Frank Sinatra, Stubby Kaye. Gambling and God....

Favorite songs- Sit Down You're Rockin' the Boat, Adelaide (was this song in the Broadway production?), Luck Be a Lady, Oldest Established.

I truly love all these movies.... They are all timeless, yet reflect the time period they all were made...

There are a bunch of others that I love. A few of them are: 42nd Street, Camelot, Meet Me in St. Louis, A Star is Born (1954- Judy Garland), Showboat, and Oliver.

Chicago and Moulin Rouge haven't been around long enough for me to decide...

Never liked State Fair....

Blogs and Links to Check Out This Week:



related - My picks for Chick Flicks.

My picks for sophomoric humor and classified as I'm Not a 15 Year Old Boy.

Have a great week everyone!

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Nickie Remembered

I just found out that one of my favorite bloggers passed away- Nickie Goomba.

I would visit his blog every day... sometimes I would leave a comment, most of the time I would just laugh... He was so funny!! If I left a comment, he was always polite and responded with a little note for me... a wink and a nod-- but of course he did that consistently for anyone that visited his blog... He always responded to email and even helped me once with a technical issue I was having with my blog...

Because of Nickie, I was fortunate enough to become friends with some wonderful Italian bloggers--my eyes were opened to a world view of America. Once, he helped me translate an email from an Italian blogger.... My new found appreciation for Italy and all things Italian goes to Mr. Goomba.

Nickie was one of the good guys....

I will miss him.

Tonight Michael and I will raise a glass and toast Nickie's name and remember our friend.

Go visit DC. The friendship Daisy Cutter and Nickie had was so apparent to anyone that read either blog .... DC's tribute to his friend confirms that.

Arrivederci Caro Mio!
You Are a Retrospective Soul

The most misunderstood of all the soul signs.
Sometimes you even have difficulty seeing yourself as who you are.
You are intense and desire perfection in every facet of your life.
You're best described as extremely idealistic, hardworking, and a survivor.

Great moments of insight and sensitivity come to you easily.
But if you aren't careful, you'll ignore these moments and repeat past mistakes.
For you, it is difficult to seperate the past from the present.
You will suceed once you overcome the disappoinments in life.

Souls you are most compatible with: Traveler Soul and Prophet Soul

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Remember to Call Mom... and Grandma

Sunny - Hi 103 Lo 76 for Baghdad, Iraq
Rain - Hi 53 Lo 45 for Northern KY, USA

Song of the week: Veronica,
Elvis Costello


Before I get started on my post, I wanted to share this with you. In last week's post I mentioned Rosie our cat that had died a few year's ago. When we buried her, a hummingbird appeared and hovered right in front of Michael and me for quite some time. I don't believe in reincarnation, but I do believe God gives us things to comfort us in times of sorrow. I remember smiling and thinking about Rosie. Now whenever I see a hummingbird, I think of our girl. When we buried Cloey, Michael said, "I wonder what we will see that reminds us of him." Well, yesterday for a couple of hours the little guy to the right stood outside our back door.... gripin'...and complainin'. When I saw him I laughed out loud.... This was a common expression found on our kitty's face... The constant squawking a reminder of the contant meowing Cloey did when he wasn't getting what he wanted when he wanted... It only makes sense. This little guy is ticked because he has a girl's name.... Robin..... Even after his Mom found him, he continued to gripe... just like our boy, Cloey...

Saturday morning I asked Michael what I should blog about... I was at a loss for a topic. And Michael being the diplomatic soul that he is... said, "What do you want to blog about?" I finally decided I would do something flowery for Mother's Day. Keep it short and sweet with some pretty pictures pilfered from the internet. Quick and easy and little thought required on my part...

Saturday "evening" my mother and I went to my grandparents. (These are my father's parents... not my mom's.) They live in what is referred to as "assisted living"... What is assisted living? In Kentucky (because it is different from state to state), it means that you have a place- with your own furnishings, you come and go as you please, you are responsible for your own day to day life, financially and otherwise, BUT the amenities are housekeeping comes in once a week to do the vacuuming and dusting and you receive meals in a dining room along with all the other residents. There's a gym, a bank, a hair salon run by T.J., even a chapel. For those that no longer drive, a bus runs a few times a week to the grocery, pharmacy, mall and doctors appointments. If you so desire, group trips are weekly -museums, restaurants, the casino, the horsetrack, etc etc... Thursday is always Happy Hour. There is always something on the calendar. The point is even though folks have slowed down... they don't have to be isolated and alone...

I love my grandparents dearly, I love my mother dearly... but dysfunction should be our last name.... I don't have the energy or the intestinal fortitude to go into detail today on this topic.... but I suspect we all carry baggage on that front in one form or another.

Anyway, my grandmother invited us over for dinner Saturday, because the "home" (as she likes to call it) was having a special Mother's Day dinner. So, dinner is actually "supper" which begins at 4:00. My grandmother requested we arrive at 3:30 to get a good seat... [Note to self: don't eat lunch when you plan to have dinner at grandma's.] So, we chatted briefly in their apartment and then went downstairs. Now, one of the things I always find amusing is that all the seniors gather in the lobby and at 4 o'clock sharp the dinner bell is rung and all are welcome to enter the dining room--but not until that bloody bell has been rung... The lobby was full, but my grandmother slid through the hungry crowd with her walker on wheels and whispered there was a side entrance that most don't use... but it is close to the drinks so we could start there. We sat on benches across from the mini post office. I sat next to a woman who was all teary eyed. She was holding a card and caressing the envelope to her breast. She was smiling and her lips were trembling... She looked at me and my grandfather and my grandfather said, "So you gotta Mother's Day card, huh?" She nodded and opened the card and there was just a signature. No note, just a "Happy Mother's Day, Love, so and so....." She was so very happy. She was the kind of happy you are as a kid on Christmas morning when you realize Santa brought you exactly what you wanted. That card she held in her hand was exactly what she wanted, what she needed. As I looked into this woman's eyes I realized how obtuse I can be. I had told Michael how I was dreading this dinner because of the drama behind the scenes that I will not divulge in this forum... It is so easy to get caught up in the day to day blah blah blah of living, when what really matters is family and reaching out. Sometimes just sending a card or making a quick phone call or simply showing up on their doorstep is what is needed and wanted. Elaborate flowers are lovely, but what people seek is human contact.

So anyway, there is a mad dash (remember this is seniors w/ walkers and cains and electric carts) to get to your table. Now because this was a special occasion, the place was hoppin'... err uh... moving at a faster than normal pace... We made our way to the table and then hopped in line for the buffet... good food... The folks that run and work at this home truly care about their residents. Because this was a special occasion... beer and wine was set up on the far end. I'm not a beer drinker or a fan of Zinfandel, but my grandmother had a Budweiser and we cheered her on to chug chug chug.... Sorry... no, we didn't... that would be funny, though... wouldn't it?

There was a DJ playing old country... Waylon and Willie, Buck Owens, Loretta Lynn, Glen Campbell, Dolly Parton, Johnny Cash, Ray Price... the good stuff...

As we sat and ate and chatted, I looked around the dining room. So many faces... it occurred to me.... that they were all young once... I was 30 before I realized that my grandparents were old. For me it was an instant realization- Something they could do my entire life was now a challenge for them. It's quite a shocker when it happens. It's just been within the past couple of year's that I realized my mom was getting old... It's not an awful thing to get old... Our culture makes it an awful thing though... Plastic surgery and constantly looking for the fountain of youth.... skin cremes and botox and celebrity worship.... Please someone tell Joan Rivers, Dolly Parton and Priscilla Presley that they look horrible... They all either look like the joker or they have the trout pout...

The people that I sat next to in this dining room all had dreams and goals... Many folks in the room are quite accomplished... doctors, attorneys, teachers, world travelers, farmers, ministers, buyers, salesmen, politicians (ok... some are accomplished). I realized despite my obtuseness that I was surrounded by "The Greatest Generation". These folks lived through the Great Depression and WWII. They learned to make due with what they had, which was very little or they lived with out. They grew Victory Gardens and learned to ration. They fought enemies on two fronts. And after the war was over... they went on with their lives and no one said, "You owe me!" I have a friend- his father came to this country from Italy- he joined the army because it would expedite him becoming a citizen. He fought for 4 years... not once did he come home... Tony said he doesn't remember his father ever complaining... 4 years away from home!! "...a small price to pay to become a citizen of the United States...." Let that one soak in for a minute....

I imagine all had families... many of the children and grandchildren were there... Did these people expect to spend their twilight years surrounded by other old people?

My administrative assistant at my previous company by all rights should have been retired, but she would always say... "This job keeps me young and being around young people keeps me younger. I don't want to hear friends my age blabbing on and on about their ailments and prescriptions." Betty is right... when I looked around the room... the folks that had family with them were animated and eyes were twinkling. If the table was full of seniors... vacant stares and silence...

So the lesson I must take away from this... Call, visit, and listen... even if you have heard the story a thousand times. There will be a day when I wished I had paid a little more attention to the story about the pileated woodpecker or the time they took a vacation at the Jersey shore....

The 2 photos of Robin & Gracie and Robin were taken by me.
The photo of Helyn and Ted was taken by my Aunt Jayne 66 years ago.

The remaining photos were photographs I found on the internet. If the photo belongs to you, I would like to give proper credit or will promptly remove it if you prefer.

Update 8:30am EST: Here are some heartfelt posts from some of my favorite blogs...

Last Girl on Earth
Important Stuff or Not
Mommy Needs Coffee
One Marine's View
Merri Musings

Blogs and Links to Check Out This Week:

A Marine's Journey
BearWaller Hollar
Reformed Chicks Blabbing
Alabama Improper

Happy Mother's Day!

Have a great week, everyone!

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Suspected Illegals Arrested....

Northern Kentucky is cracking down on illegal aliens. 76 were arrested yesterday and it was apparently a pretty big operation throughout the area... Yeah... if you are in Texas... 76 is a "drop in the bucket". This is a start....

"This was not a random roundup of illegal aliens," Dean Boyd, spokesman for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, said. "These were arrests that were conducted as a result of a criminal investigation that has been carefully planned . . . for some time."

For the complete story visit the Cincinnati Enquirer.
Photo courtesy of Patrick Reddy/Cincinnati Enquirer

oh... and I had to put this in.... because it's always Marcia Marcia Marcia!!!!

You Are Jan Brady

Brainy and a little introverted, you tend to think life is a lot worse than it actually is.
And while you may think you're a little goofy looking, most people consider you to be a major babe.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

"Cloey Was Never a Good Boy...

Sunny - Hi 102 Lo 77 for Baghdad, Iraq
Partly Cloudy - Hi 68 Lo 51 for Northern KY, USA

Song of the week: Don't Dream It's Over,
Crowded House


...but he was never a bad boy, either. He was just Cloey." That's what Michael said Saturday morning as we buried our dear cat, Cloey...

Saturday morning, we took Cloey, our oldest cat, to be put to sleep. He was at least 18 years old. He had developed a thyroid problem, a heart murmur and finally his kidneys started failing him this past week. Michael rescued Cloey as a kitten from the home of a friend that had a rottweiler. The rottweiler considered Cloey a play toy and it was only a matter of time before the dog would have shredded his new play thing. Michael's buddy said he was going to take this kitten out to a farm and let him go. Michael has never been known for impulsive behavior, but that very night, Michael made the long drive home with a kitten tucked in his leather jacket. Cloey slept curled up on Michael's chest. Later, we found out that Cloey was not a girl kitty, but a boy kitty... but the name stuck and we suspected the chip he had on his shoulder was due to the fact that he had a girl's name.

It's funny, I always considered myself a dog person. But, I love all animals and cats have a certain mystique- Cloey was no exception. He did things he wasn't supposed to do, but we loved him just the same. Over the years he tolerated all the additions we made to our cat family... Cloey bitched a lot... but he tolerated a lot and he was also affectionate.

I won't bore you with all the funny things he did - if you don't like cats, it would only cause you to roll your eyes and make some awful cat joke. The things Michael and I found endearing about our boy are our personal memories and we'll keep it that way, besides, I am having a tough time seeing the monitor through my tears as it is...

It's funny what one thinks about, but the duration of our relationship with this little cat has surpassed the longevity of some friendships and it certainly lasted longer than many marriages of friends and family over the years. To think of all the things Cloey was witness to... all the ups and downs... and he still tolerated me... uncanny...

So Saturday morning, we had a 9am appointment with Cloey's vet. It was a long painful good bye. I suspect Michael had been preparing for this moment for quite some time. I wasn't prepared at all - I kept expecting him to bounce back from this latest set back... Afterall, Cloey had proven that he had many lives... far more than 9... but not this time. Friday night, our boy couldn't walk... but he attempted to do all the things he had been doing all the previous days of his life... He wanted to eat... He wanted to drink... He wanted to sleep and stretch out in the sunny spots in the house. He wanted to meow and gripe at me in the morning... Instead, all he could do was cry and he was in pain - he was suffering ... it was time...

We had gone through this a few years prior with another beloved girl, Rosie. She was euthanized also - Her kidneys failed her too... I wasn't present when she was given the injection... I regretted that decision, but had made a promise to myself that I would never let another of our pets die surrounded by strangers.

Cloey was looking in my eyes when he passed and I knew the exact moment when his life ceased...

Michael asked me afterwards if I thought we had done the right thing by prolonging his life for many months. We had him on prescription medication and supplements. We had him on a special diet... No doubt in my mind... yes we had done the right thing. Cloey's quality of life had been good up until Monday...

I am a Christian (although not a good one- and by some standards a back slidin' heathen). My husband, Michael isn't a Christian... isn't Jewish, Buddhist or Muslim... In fact, he is an atheist. Not agnostic... he doesn't believe there to be a God. No Heaven. No Hell. Now, there are times when I feel horribly for my husband. When someone dies - for him... they simply die... there is never an opportunity in his mind to meet that loved one again. I find that to be unbearable- unthinkable. I on the other hand, have the knowledge that I have the opportunity to see my loved ones again.

But then what about animals, our beloved pets? I was always taught that animals don't have souls and therefore don't go to heaven. How awful. How dreadful. These creatures that provide unconditional love and devotion and give us so much pleasure and joy, not be in heaven? I admit... this is something that I have always had difficulty with. So, Saturday, instead of enjoying the sunshine..... I read various articles arguing both sides of the Christian argument on whether or not there is a place in heaven for animals...

I believe that God created these wonderful and amazing creatures... I can not begin to understand Him - He is infinite, I am finite, but I can't imagine He would "throw away" some of His most beautiful creations. No... they don't have human souls... but I do believe they have souls... I know every single animal I have ever had as a pet has had a distinctive personality... yes, of course some of it is instinctual... but there are some things that simply can not be explained away because of instinct.

"You know God has a purpose for every part of his creation and I believe God uses pets to help humans learn about God's love and faithfulness. When I enter my house after being gone all day, the one thing I can count on is being greeted by my dog Molly with her slobbery tongue of love.

From our pets, we also learn mercy, compassion, patience, and understanding -- and we also learn what it means to receive unconditional love. If pets are a means by which we are taught about love, must we assume that once we have learned the lesson, we're then forced to lose that love forever?"

excerpt from Pastor Wade

"Would God take away from us in Heaven what he gave, for delight and companionship and help, to Adam and Eve in Eden? Would he revoke his earlier decision to put animals with man, and under man's care? If he remakes the New Earth with new men (who look very much like the old men, only perfect, without violence), wouldn't we expect him also to make new animals (who will presumably look like the old animals, only perfect, without violence)?

I once read Billy Graham's response to a child's question, "Will my dog who died this week be in Heaven?" Graham replied, "If it would make you any happier, then yes, he will be."

excerpt from

So, I will definitely be happier if all the pets I have known and loved throughout my life will meet me in heaven. They gave me so much joy on earth... Heaven would seem awfully quiet without them.... imagine the size of the dog park and since it is Heaven... no kitty litter box!

Blogs and Links to Check Out This Week:

Pastor Wade: Do Pets go to Heaven?
Pets do go to Heaven
Pets don't go to Heaven
Clarifying Christianity

The Conservative Cat
Desert Cat's Paradise
Kitty Litter

Update: Rob did a nice tribute to our boy here.

I wanted the Sunday Song this week to be "A Boy Named Sue" by Johnny Cash, but I couldn't find a videocode for it. Although, Cloey would not find it amusing, I know Michael would have... so instead, I'll have to settle on the lyrics...

"A Boy Named Sue"

My daddy left home when I was three
And he didn't leave much to ma and me
Just this old guitar and an empty bottle of booze.
Now, I don't blame him cause he run and hid
But the meanest thing that he ever did
Was before he left, he went and named me "Sue."

Well, he must o' thought that is quite a joke
And it got a lot of laughs from a' lots of folk,
It seems I had to fight my whole life through.
Some gal would giggle and I'd get red
And some guy'd laugh and I'd bust his head,
I tell ya, life ain't easy for a boy named "Sue."

Well, I grew up quick and I grew up mean,
My fist got hard and my wits got keen,
I'd roam from town to town to hide my shame.
But I made a vow to the moon and stars
That I'd search the honky-tonks and bars
And kill that man who gave me that awful name.

Well, it was Gatlinburg in mid-July
And I just hit town and my throat was dry,
I thought I'd stop and have myself a brew.
At an old saloon on a street of mud,
There at a table, dealing stud,
Sat the dirty, mangy dog that named me "Sue."

Well, I knew that snake was my own sweet dad
From a worn-out picture that my mother'd had,
And I knew that scar on his cheek and his evil eye.
He was big and bent and gray and old,
And I looked at him and my blood ran cold
And I said: "My name is 'Sue!' How do you do!
Now your gonna die!!"

Well, I hit him hard right between the eyes
And he went down, but to my surprise,
He come up with a knife and cut off a piece of my ear.
But I busted a chair right across his teeth
And we crashed through the wall and into the street
Kicking and a' gouging in the mud and the blood and the beer.

I tell ya, I've fought tougher men
But I really can't remember when,
He kicked like a mule and he bit like a crocodile.
I heard him laugh and then I heard him cuss,
He went for his gun and I pulled mine first,
He stood there lookin' at me and I saw him smile.

And he said: "Son, this world is rough
And if a man's gonna make it, he's gotta be tough
And I knew I wouldn't be there to help ya along.
So I give ya that name and I said goodbye
I knew you'd have to get tough or die
And it's the name that helped to make you strong."

He said: "Now you just fought one hell of a fight
And I know you hate me, and you got the right
To kill me now, and I wouldn't blame you if you do.
But ya ought to thank me, before I die,
For the gravel in ya guts and the spit in ya eye
Cause I'm the son-of-a-bitch that named you "Sue.'"

I got all choked up and I threw down my gun
And I called him my pa, and he called me his son,
And I came away with a different point of view.
And I think about him, now and then,
Every time I try and every time I win,
And if I ever have a son, I think I'm gonna name him
Bill or George!
Anything but Sue! I still hate that name!

We'll miss you, Cloey.

1988 - 2006

Have a great week everyone!