Friday, April 29, 2005

Ms. Personality....

You're a very bubbly, happy, caring person. You
love to be with your friends and you love
making them happy. Your always willing to bend
over backwards to help someone in need even if
you don,t know them. Plus you love making new
friends, which is why your always surrounded by
people. Remember though sometimes you need to
concentrate on your work, you tend to not pay
attention and can be rather spacey. Also
remember to do things for yourself sometimes
and don,t let people take advantage of your
giving nature.

So....what kind of personality do you have??? Come's a short quiz- take it. Inquiring minds want to know.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

I just stopped in for a Coke...

That's all I wanted. A Coke. It was Sunday morning, and I needed a little boost before facing my classroom of Kindergarten Sunday School kids. The closest place to my house is the local Ameristop gas station. I pulled in, locked the boys in the car (hey- it was like 30 degrees, sleeting, and I was only going to be in there for a minute), and ran into the store.

I paid for the Coke, noticing the man across the counter from me. He was reading the paper, waiting for a fresh pot of coffee to brew. He looked like a mountain man, grey hair, beard. Baseball cap covered with military pins, like POW/MIA, Army, Marines, yellow ribbons, and American flags. On his faded blue jean jacket, he wore a button with Sgt. Matt Maupin's picture on it. A common sight around here, since his house is just up the street. On his plaid flannel shirt- another button, this one with a Marine's picture on it. I knew right away who he was. Matt Maupin's Dad.

In case you've forgotten, Matt is a US Soldier. He was taken hostage by insurgents just over a year ago. A video appeared a month or so after his capture claiming to show his execution, but it was at night, never showed his face, and was never substantiated. The Army is currently considering whether or not to declare him "Deceased- Body Not Recovered". His parents, friends and family send care packages to Iraq every week, with a flyer showing Matt's picture and asking them not to forget to look for Matt. He's the only US Soldier not accounted for during this war.

I didn't know what to say. I wanted to say something, but didn't want to impose, so I just left. I went outside, and suddenly realized I left my keys on the counter, so I turned around and went back in. As I grabbed my keys, I jokingly said, "Good thing these were on the counter- otherwise I just locked my boys in the car!" I giggled and started for the door. The clerk and the man on the other side of the counter smiled and giggle, and then the man said "Yeah- that would be bad!"

I said, "It sure would be!'re Mr. Maupin aren't you?" He looked up from his paper, looked me straight in the eye, and said "Yes ma'am, I am." I put out my right hand to shake his, hoping to simply show my respect for him and his family. He grasped my hand with a good, firm handshake, and held my eyes in his. They were so sad. I told him how much I wanted his son to come home, and that we prayed for his safe return every day. He just looked at me, still holding my hand, and said "So do we. So do we."

I let go of his hand, and continued. "You may not remember, but my husband plays guitar in our church band. They played in the Amelia Christmas Parade." He stopped me and said "Yes! Of course I remember- we loved listening to them!" I told him how much it meant to the band to hear him and his wife tell them to "Keep playing! Don't stop yet!" after they reached the end of the parade route. I thanked him for his kindess, and turned to go. As I walked out the door, he said "Be careful- it's slippery out there".

I got back to the car, unlocked the doors, and climbed in. The boys in the back seat asked me who I was talking to inside the store. I looked at them in my rear view mirror, and started crying. The stark reality of having my two boys safe and sound right there with me was like a slap in the face. A wake up call. I knew exactly were my children were- and Mr. Maupin didn't, yet he took the time to shake my hand, look me straight in the eye, and then, like any good father would do, told me to drive carefully. I hope I never take my family for granted again. God bless you Mr. Maupin. May He bring you and your family peace- and bring Matty home soon.

I just stopped in for a Coke...but I got a lesson in life.

Saturday, April 23, 2005

The Dark Night of the Soul

Last weekend Ciggy, Kat, Alix and I were discussing music to travel by. Lots of music- many genre's. I mentioned my current favorite CD is LSD by Enigma- even Kevin asks to listen to his "favret wun" called "Modern Crusaders". Awesome music. So Ciggy throws one out there none of us have heard of: Loreena McKennitt. Said it Gaelic influenced, mystic, that I "had to get some Loreena". Well, how could I resist? I bought the cd last night, and I had to share the lyrics to "Dark Night of the Soul" with you.

It's actually an untitled poem written by a 15th century Spanish poet named St. John of the Cross. Loreena says it's "an equisite, richly metaphoric love poem between himself and his God. It could pass as a love poem between any two at any time." Here it is.....

Upon a darkened night
The flame of love was burning in my breast
And by a lantern bright
I fled my house while all in quiet rest

Shrouded by the night
And by the secret stair I quickly fled
The veil concealed my eyes
While all within lay quiet as the dead

Oh night, thou was my guide
Oh night more loving than the rising sun
Oh night that joined the lover
To the beloved one
Transforming each of them into the other

Upon that misty night
In secrecy, beyond such mortal sight
Without a guide or light
Than that which burned so deeply in my heart

That fire 'twas led me on
And shone more bright than of the midday sun
To where he waited still
It was a place where no one else could come

Within my pounding heart
Which kept itself entirely for him
He fell into his sleep
Beneath the cedars all my love I gave

From o'er the fortress walls
The wind would brush his hair against his brow
And with its smoothest hand
Caressed my every sense it would allow

I lost myself to him
And laid my face upon my lover's breast
And care and grief grew dim
As in the morning's mist became the light
There they dimmed amongst the lilies fair

Friday, April 22, 2005

Blackwater Down! Blackwater Down!


This story just kills me. One of my best blogbuddies, Free0352, has joined Blackwater. He's now a rent-a-grunt, as Ciggy calls him. Although he hasn't officially started there yet, he's signed on the dotted line and is getting ready to leave for training soon. He worries the crap outta me for doing this. And not just me- everyone at ALa's is worried about our Free.

Blackwater, being a private security firm, guards high profile targets in Iraq and other places around the world. They recruit the best sniper/infantry types they can get, and remind them that, as a private firm dedicated to security, they have the money to spend on the best equipment- and the best guys.

Well, so much for the "best of the best" they're just gone. A memory. Don't become just a memory to us Free. We love you, man. Be careful, ok? Things are getting bad in Iraq again- just read the article I linked and you can tell that. Or go read Maj. K. He just posted about the increasing violence they are seeing around Iraq.

As if you didn't already, please pray for our men and women in Iraq and Afghanistan. Keep them safe, and bring them home when it's time.

Go get 'em Rob!

I love Rob Portman....

Here is a man who has served our local community so efficiently and respectfully he is being considered for a cabinet position. During the last election, I proudly voted for this man, and put his yellow bumper sticker right next to my blue Bush '04 one. This is a man I want to run for our next president. Watch him.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Haloscan commenting and trackback have been added to this blog.


I gotta tell you. One of my favorite sandwiches in the world is a good BLT. I'm not a big mayo fan- I prefer mine with Dijonaise. Spicy, smooth, and a little extra oomph than just plain mayo. However......
This recipe is outta this WORLD, and loaded with mayo.


Fry and crumble 1 pound of bacon. Mix together with 1 large diced tomato, 1 cup of mayo and 1 cup of sour cream. Serve with either toast corners (toast bread; cut into quarters) or bagel chips.

So unhealthy, but SOOOOO GOOD!

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

The Brotherhood

My friend ALa has a great blog. She always finds the most interesting things to discuss. Recently she put up a post about the "Don't ask-Don't tell" policy on gays in the military. Many of her military readers put up comments which were extremely insightful. The more I read what they have to say, the more I understand the psyche of our Soldiers, Marines, Sailors and Airmen. Here are some of my favorite quotes:

"See, my world of the Marine grunt was a world of raging hormones, machismo and the undeniable confidence you were giving in knowing the fact that you and your buddies could inflict a ferocious amount of vicious bodily harm upon your enemy...People are tight. And when I mean tight, I mean 'they know more about me than any of my wives or girlfriends or moms or dads or ANYONE ever will' tight. I mean, 'willing to lay down my life for him and him willing to do the same for me', tight. I can't even put it into words to do it justice about the bonds that are formed there. It's about trust. You trust that they will be there for you when you need it most, and you will be there for them when they need it most and together, you all can get through any shit thrown your way. Any."

"I trusted them with my life. Believe me, in a shipboard environment, it doesn't take much to end up as a red splash on the deck. Trust is not a cheap commodity."

"I want them {my Soldiers}(excuse me ladies) cock strong and ready to take on any task to defend the nation's right to demand equality. We preserve democracy, we don't practice it... the military and it has a purpose, remember its purpose of fighting and winning the nation's wars."

Even though this post was centered on the role of gays in the military, I found myself learning more about the Brotherhood of our military. You always hear them say things like "No one left behind" and "Semper Fi", or "Got your 6", but until you hear it from the heart and soul of people you "know" (even if just through the internet, I feel like I know a bit about these guys), I guess it just didn't seem real.

Today ALa posted a letter that makes it all VERY real. Too real. God bless your soul, Cpl. Michael B. Lindemuth. Semper Fi....

Saturday, April 16, 2005

Linky Love

My favorite flyboy, CW4BillT, explains the difference between Officers and Warrant Officers.
In this day and age of so-called "consciencious dissenters", we have one Soldier who couldn't wait to get back in the shit- even after losing his foot in combat. hat tip to John Donovan

I just love Major K!

And sometimes, no matter how much you want things to work out, bad things happen. Kleenex sad. Thanks to Keith for giving me the heads-up on this story. I was so excited when I learned Qudrat was going home, and imagining the reunion he would have with his Mommy. I never thought it would end up this way.

And last but not least: My favorite Marine blogger, Sgt. B., has some great posts about monsters and other scary things. And he also does a great job explaining his site to his new Spokane readers- congrats on the spotlight!

Who Am I?

It's a question I've been getting a lot lately. And by people I never expected to hear it from- my husband and my best friend. It's a fair question I suppose, because there have been some marked changes in me over the past 6-8 months or so.

For the past 8 years, I've been a Mom. It sorta takes over your life when it happens. You know your life is going to be different, but you just don't know how much. "YOU" get put away. The dancing on Friday nights, shopping for yourself, getting up in the morning and only having yourself to get out the door, and simply going out anywhere you want- anytime you want- all disappears. Nothing you do centers around yourself anymore. It's all about the Baby. "You" get lost.

What was I before I was a Mom? I was a Red Cross Disaster Services Volunteer. I was a 401k Plan Administrator. I was flirty. I liked clubbing. I loved dancing, and I loved seeing and being in theatrical productions. I went to happy hour every Thursday or Friday night. I did a lot of crafts. I kept my apartment fairly clean. I paid more attention to my weight and physical fitness. I wore contacts instead of my glasses every time I went out- never let them see you in your glasses. And I didn't have asthma, PMS or TMJ.

What has changed over the past year? A lot. I got tired of being someone I wasn't. I wanted that fun girl back- the one who did things simply because it pleased HER- not someone else. I'm still not very active in Red Cross, but I did more in 2004 than 2003- and I love it. I'm flirty-on the net- and it's fun. I've done two shows at my church (dance and theatrical productions)- and I loved it. I turned my dining room into a craft room (which I haven't used much since Christmas, but I will)- and I love that too. I've started working out and losing weight- I REALLY love that! And last night- I got new contacts.

I love my family- I love being a Mom. I get more joy (and heartache) from those two little beaners than I ever thought possible. But somewhere in there- I wanted it all. I wanted "ME" and "MOM" to mesh. It's working. ME is coming back, and MOM isn't suffering.....
The new ME- is staying.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

A little joke for you

A woman's husband dies. He had $30,000 to his name. After everything is done at the funeral home and cemetery, she tells her closest friend that there is none of the $30,000 left.
The friend says, "How can that be?"
The widow says, "Well, the funeral cost me $6,500. And of course I made a donation to the church. That was $500, and I spent another $500 for the wake, food and drinks, you know. .. The rest went for the memorial stone."
The friend says, "$22,500 for the memorial stone? My God, how big is it?"

The widow says, "Three carats."

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

So what do you do, anyway?

A question we all eventually ask of each other on the 'net. "So, I've been chatting with you on xyz blog for a year now, and I know a lot about you. But what is your "real" job? What do you do- besides blog, I mean."

Me? I'm in finance. Investments. So when quarter end rolls around, and tax season, I get REALLY busy. Then things slow down, gearing up for the next quarter end. Since it's both quarter end AND tax season right now, my life has been crazy. So I thought I'd share a little of what I do. This is the market commentary letter I wrote yesterday to send out to our clients with their first quarter reports. you go. Market commentary brought to you by AFSister:

Enclosed is the First Quarter 2005 performance evaluation of your portfolio. When we were compiling this quarter’s return figures, I jokingly said, “Maybe we should just print everything on red paper this quarter instead.” EVERYTHING is down, even bonds and foreign securities. Of the major indices we track here, only the MSCI Emerging Free, United Kingdom and Lehman Long Treasury indexes had positive returns for the quarter, but even they had negative returns for the month of March. This year is certainly not coming in like a lamb!

The Dow Jones Industrial Average was down (2.59%), the S&P 500 was down (2.15%) and the NASDAQ was down a whopping (8.10%) for the first quarter. Mid caps did a little better than large and small caps, with the S&P 400 down (.40%) for the quarter. Domestic bonds were also down slightly. The Lehman Treasury Composite is showing a negative (.49%) return for the first quarter, and the Merrill Lynch High Yield Index was down (1.44%).

Foreign securities haven’t done much better than US securities so far this year, but there were some positive quarterly returns posted. The MSCI Emerging Free Markets Index was up 1.20% and the United Kingdom was up slightly, at .16%. The MSCI EAFE, however, was still down for the quarter, showing a negative (.77%) for the year.

The S&P 500 remains 23% below its all time high of 1527, reached about 5 years ago. Utilities, Consumer Discretionary, Telecom, and Information Technology sectors have all been showing negative returns over the past five years, keeping the S&P 500 from pulling out of its slump. Perhaps the sun, which is FINALLY shining on Ohio, will touch Wall Street and make the second quarter numbers much easier to look at.


Now- tell me. I've been chatting with all of you on xyz blog for a while now, and I know a lot about some of you. But what is your "real" job? What do you do- besides blog, I mean.

Sunday, April 10, 2005

Great ways to support our troops!

Redleg has compiled a list of websites offering FREE assistance to our military and their families back home. Go check it out- I've used some of the links myself, and Redleg has checked into each one himself.

Thanks Redleg!!

Life is such a mystery...with me....

You have a mysterious kiss. Your partner never
knows what you're going to come up with next;
this creates great excitement and arousal never
knowing what to expect. And it's sure to end
in a kiss as great as your mystery.

What kind of kiss are you?
brought to you by Quizilla