Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Hooters vs. Vice Principal

Arizona Hooters waitress accidentally leaves her 17 month old in her car while working and gets charged with negligent homicide.

Ohio junior high school VP accidentally leaves her 2 year old in the car while working and GETS OFF SCOTT FREE. I've written about Nesselroad-Slaby before- the killing took place very close to my house, and I'm continually amazed that NOTHING is being done about her crime. NOTHING.... It makes me SICK.

I just don't get it.
How come Arizona could file charges, yet Ohio couldn't? How back-assward is that!??? There was a lot of speculation that Nesselroad-Slaby wasn't charged because she's a middle class white woman, and that if she'd been a ghetto or trailer park mom she would have been arrested on the spot. I agreed back then, and I agree now that Hooters mom was charged because of her social status, whereas VP mom wasn't charged because of her social status.

The decision to charge or not charge someone with a crime should NEVER, EVER be made based upon gender, race, or social status. It really shouldn't matter. People are people are people, aren't they?


Albert Snyder of York, Pennsylvania, sued the Westboro Baptist Church for unspecified damages after members demonstrated at the March 2006 funeral of his son, Lance Cpl. Matthew Snyder, who was killed in Iraq.

The jury first awarded $2.9 million in compensatory damages. It returned later in the afternoon with its decision to award $6 million in punitive damages for invasion of privacy and $2 million for causing emotional distress.

The church and three of its leaders -- the Rev. Fred Phelps and his two daughters, Shirley Phelps-Roper and Rebecca Phelps-Davis, 46 -- were found liable for invasion of privacy and intent to inflict emotional distress.

Time to pay up, Phred. Pay up for a small portion of the heartache you've caused hundreds, maybe thousands, of people mourning the loss of Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, and Marines.

Saturday, October 27, 2007


BUT.... I can drive 140!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I still can't believe it. I drove 140mph today!!!

I turned *hack cough* FORTY last month, and to celebrate, Keith got me the most AMAZING birthday present ever. Listen Up. When your sweetie says something like "WOW.. I'd love to drive a real race care some day".... CONTACT RICHARD PETTY DRIVING EXPERIENCE IMMEDIATELY. You, and your sweetie, will NOT be disappointed!

After an hour's worth of safety instruction and a group ride around the track, going over driving lines and track specifics, I got to drive a REAL race car. Ironically... I drove the #40 car. Remember- this was a gift for my 40th birthday. HOW COOL IS THAT?

The top speed possible for the course was 140mph- if you can handle it. You follow a professional driver around the track, and as long as you can keep up... they speed up, until you get to 140. Out of the 32 in my class, only about 4 of us made it to 140- and I'm one!!! WHOOOOOO HOOOOOOOOOOOOO
When I got out of the car, one of the guys said "Wow- good job! You did better than most of the guys!", and my training driver gave me a "thumbs up" sign as we headed into the pits. UNREAL.

I was surprised at how much the car pulled around the track- you really have to muscle the steering wheel at times. I still can't believe I drove that fast, less than a car's width from the wall between turns 2 and 3. I just can't believe it.

My Dad was a driver- he used to drag race our family car. I guess you could say I grew up on tracks, but this is my first time driving. It was INCREDIBLE. I'm running out of words to describe it, lol.. so I'll just post a few more pictures and call it a day- one HELL of a FANTASTIC day!!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Microsoft honoring those who help those who serve

Microsoft Corporation, in partnership with the United Service Organizations (USO), is recognizing the contributions of the military community - the friends, family, and other individuals who help brighten the lives of U.S. troops throughout the world - with the creation of the first annual Above and Beyond Awards.

There are five categories: Effort, Medical Attention, USO Promotion and Success, Everyday Difference, and Youth. I was pleasantly surprised to see that I am familiar with several of the finalists. I encourage you to make up your own mind and cast your votes HERE, but here are my choices:

Effort Award
Although Patty Bader-Smith is a finalist in this category, and I respect the hell out of what she's accomplished with Soldier's Angels... my vote goes to Marty Horn, founder of
The web site offers an easy way for ordinary Americans to send care packages to soldiers abroad – everything from sunscreen and energy bars to bullet-proof vests. On the site, supporters can fulfill soldiers’ specific requests (many of them ask for goodies and school supplies to give to children they encounter on patrol).

Since its founding, the site has connected nearly 30,400 people to help more than 896,000 service members and has received 8,674,419 visits. Anysoldier has been commended by military generals and President Bush.

Medical Attention
This one was tough. The choices are a retired helicopter pilot or an Army Mom who left her private trauma therapy practice to teach civilian and military counselors how to treat PTSD patients. My choice? The pilot, Walter Fricke.

A helicopter pilot during the Vietnam War, Walter Fricke founded The Veterans Airlift Command ( to provide free air transportation for wounded and recovering troops and veterans with their families through a national network of volunteer aircraft owners and pilots.

Here's part of his nomination, by a US Army Sergeant:
“I lost both of my legs when an Improvised Explosive Device exploded under my Humvee, killing two of my best friends. This was a devastating blow. I believe that the healing doesn’t truly start until you are with loved ones. Walt’s organization“[Veteran’s Airlift Command] flew my mother-in-law and father-in-law with my two sons (ages 5 and 6) when I needed them the most. We were never in a financial situation where we could afford to fly my children back and forth to Minnesota. Walt had a portion of his lower leg blown off in the Vietnam War, so he understands what it is like to be wounded and far away from home."

USO Promotion and Support
I was torn between Maureen and Paulette, but in the end, Paulette got my vote. Meet Paulette Nelson of Savannah, Georgia.

Paulette works for the Savannah U.S.O., and her unofficial headquarters is the Savannah Airport. She makes sure that she is there every time a plane carrying soldiers arrives, and when a plane carrying soldiers leaves.

Paulette does all this as a volunteer, offering her cell phone so soldiers can make that last call home before deploying. She and her husband Bill built three cottages on their property known as “Triple J” to house three soldiers they know from the 3rd Infantry Division. All of these men are currently deployed, but the Nelsons make sure they always have a home to come back to. In Savannah, soldiers coming back from overseas take busses that pass Paulette’s house back to the base. Her children stand on the highway waving “Welcome Home” signs.

Everyday Difference
This one took me by surprise. I almost missed the name Todd Schmidt, but as soon as I read the first line of his nomination, I knew EXACTLY who he was. Todd is one of the first soldiers I ever adopted from Marty Horn's Todd, a Major in the US Army, registered to support his troops. He sent me a Christmas card from Afghanistan that I still have to this day. Todd recognizes the importance of taking care of his troops, their supporters, and those his troops are fighting for. I respect the hell out of this man in case you couldn't tell.

During his most recent deployment to Operation Enduring Freedom, he founded a non-profit organization, Operation Dreamseed ( Its initial mission was to provide school supplies for impoverished Afghani children, but it has grown a lot in just four years.

Today, hundreds of volunteers and donors from across the U.S. have sent hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of math textbooks, school supplies, and secondhand clothes to Afghanistan, and they’ve begun sending school supplies to local villages in Iraq and Kosovo. Under Todd’s leadership, Operation Dreamseed has even helped build a school outside Kandahar City by raising over $80,000 for the cause.

I am so proud of Todd and what he's accomplished. SO proud. He made sure that the donations are distributed by US soldiers as a way to build goodwill and trust with the locals. This is a leader we cannot forget. He's truly amazing.

Youth Leadership
Four kids were finalists in this category. Two, a brother and sister, I've heard a lot about already. Brittany and Robbie Bergquist have collected thousands of used cell phones which they sent overseas. Cool kids. VERY. However.. they did not get my vote. My vote went to 10-year-old Colton Lockner.

Ten-year-old Colton Lockner is the grandson of two war veterans and has an aunt and uncle currently in active service. It is for those reasons he has such passion and support for the troops. For the past two years, he has spearheaded and organized a Freedom Walk as part of the America Supports You 9/11 program to honor military men and women in his hometown. In 2006, Colton turned out nearly half of Sebring’s 4,900 residents for the Freedom Walk, talking up local business owners, school officials, community leaders and elected officials, including the town mayor and his state senators.

In 2007, he organized a Knit Hat and Blanket Drive through his school to send to injured soldiers. Colton collected ten large boxes of hats, blankets and bug repellant. He has led several letter-writing campaigns that generated more than 1,000 letters of encouragement and hope to troops overseas through his fourth grade class (for members of the 28th CSH medical unit stationed in Baghdad) and by setting up a table at the 2007 Freedom Walk for people to write postcards.

Colton is well on his way to becoming a leader in this country. He has more patriotism, dedication, loyalty, creativity, and marketing skills than most adults- and he's only 10!!! Holy cow.

So, there you have it. My choices for Microsoft's Above and Beyond Awards. You can make up your own mind, but I encourage you to go vote.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

McCain all tied up

OHMYGOD.... that's the best political one-liner I've heard in a VERY long time. I may not like everything the man has to say, but THAT was AWESOME.

oh- and Hillary still sucks ass, imho.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Firepower Upward

It's not often that I find myself speechless. Sometimes I don't have a lot to say; sometimes I have a lot to say but can't figure out how to put it in words. This is one of those times.

I clicked over to Blackfive tonight for my usual Matty-fix, and broke out in tears when I saw this headline: LTC Brian Delaplane- Never Forgotten.

I'll miss you, BD.
I'll miss your honesty.
I'll miss your bright, smiling face.
I'll miss your enthusiasm.
I'll miss your passion.
I'll miss your writing.
I'll miss so much, BD. So much.

LTC Brian Delaplane.... author of two blogs (Firepower Forward and Red Storm Rising)... husband, father, step-father... died after suffering a pulmonary embolism on Oct. 9. BD was the first "stranger" who blogrolled me. Until him, I was only rolled by people I knew. I still don't know exactly how he found me, but I'm proud he did. I've been reading his blogs for years, and celebrated when he was selected as a featured blogger in Matt's "Blog of War" compilation. He was a passionate, and compassionate, man.

He'll be buried in Colorado Springs tomorrow, 10/19. If I could, I'd be there. Since I can't be there, I'll mourn here. I'll cry, and I'll remember his service to both his family and his country.

I can't believe he's gone. I just can't believe it. This is more proof that death does not discriminate.

Rest in peace, BD. I will never forget- and I'm not alone.

That ain't no funky chicken....

It's Snowball! The Dancing Cockatoo!

(btw, if you'd like to find out more about bird ownership, please visit Birds Lovers Only, home of the rescued Snowball. Birds live a LONG TIME and require a LOT of tlc- they're not as easy to own as you might think.)

Wednesday, October 17, 2007


MacGyver's home!!!!
A family has been made whole again, and an Army wife friend of mine is celebrating the many "lasts" she's endured over the past couple of years. (make sure you read her "The Last" post, and have tissues close by)


And I'm just as happy for my friend Karen, whose deployed son just found out that his fiance is expecting TWINS!!!!
Holy Cow. Karen's gonna be Grammy-times-two!!!

The Good Ship Lollipop?

I've always viewed our military strength as an intimidation factor in times of peace. It's not a new thought, otherwise our enemies wouldn't be afraid of attacking us or our allies. If you are not afraid of the consequences of your actions, you have no reason to fear acting.

The Navy, Marines, and Coast Guard have just come to a similar conclusion.

In the first major revision of U.S. naval strategy in 25 years, maritime officials said Wednesday they plan to focus more on humanitarian missions and improving international cooperation as a way to prevent conflicts.

"We believe that preventing wars is as important as winning wars," said the new strategy announced by the Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard.

The strategy reflects a broader Defense Department effort to use aid, training and other cooperative efforts to encourage stability in fledgling democracies and create relationships around the globe that can be leveraged if a crisis does break out in a region.

Navy Admiral Gary Roughead, chief of naval operations, announced at the Naval War College that the new strategy is the result of a two-year study. The conclusion? That our security and prosperity depends upon the security and prosperity of other countries around the world. In other words, if we expect to be successful, we have to depend upon the successes of our allies.

Although I agree with that assessment, I find it interesting that it took a special two-year study, involving three military branches, to reach that conclusion. It makes me speculate that the study was a result of fears our government would let our allies flounder instead of getting involved in their struggles. Sorta like pulling out of Afghanistan and Iraq before they are ready to stand on their own.

Interesting days, eh, when our military has to take such drastic steps as proving their worth to our own government.

In Awe...

And you will be too. Absolutely amazing display of talent and patriotism. Amazing.

Thanks for the link SK!

Cub Scout Bleg

My boys are both in Cub Scouts and have a couple of projects we need help with. Both involve cash donations or purchases, so I fully understand if you don't participate.

First of all, the kids are selling popcorn. Really GOOD popcorn. There's two kinds of microwave butter popcorn (15 packs for $12.00), microwave kettle corn (15 packs for $20.00), and a bunch of different kinds of caramel and cheese popcorn in tres kewl tins, ranging from $8.00 to $50.00. The $8.00 tin isn't available for online purchase, but I have them and will send it to you if that's what you want. The $8.00 tin is caramel corn with peanuts. My personal favs are the caramel light and caramel with pecans and almonds... ohhhh MAN. It really is VERY good, and the tins are adorable. The sale runs through October 31.

BUT WAIT!!!! That's not the only way you can help!!! This year the Scouts are also working with Support Our Troops to supply our soldiers with popcorn! You can make a $25.00 TAX DEDUCTIBLE donation to the Scouts, and Trail's End (our popcorn supplier) will send popcorn to Support Our Troops for distribution to our military!! How cool is that??? I know you're all huge supporters of our military, so even if you don't want popcorn for yourself, you can make a tax-deductible contribution to Support Our Troops! The kids get the same credit for selling popcorn as they do for the cash donation.
To make an online purchase or donation, go to, enter either Kevin's key, TEX26F0 - that's a zero on the end, not an 'o', or Thomas's key, TEX263M, and make your selections. Your purchase (or receipt for your Support Our Troops donation) will be mailed directly to your home- or any other mailing address you'd like to enter.

I'm sure you've all heard about the Wreaths Across America project, right? They lay Christmas wreaths on graves at Arlington every year. (when you click the link, be sure to check out the entire "video on demand" section- they are incredible) Well, the project is expanding this year and will now include a memorial wreath laying ceremony at 12pm EST in every state in the nation on December 15. The closest cemetery to us is in Dayton, Ohio. Our Scouts will be attending, and, depending on donations, will also help lay wreaths on as many of the 42,000-plus graves at the Dayton National Cemetery as we can. The national goal is to lay 50,000 wreaths at 230 participating national cemeteries. The wreaths cost $15.00 each.

Our Scouts do not benefit financially from this project at all, and neither does the Worcester Wreath Company, who make the wreaths and started the project. It's simply a way to teach the kids about honor and duty to our country, and to remember those who gave all. However, if there aren't enough donations, the kids won't have any wreaths to lay. Therefore, I am asking that if you can, please donate some cash to the WAA project, with your donation earmarked for the Dayton National Cemetery.

You can also purchase wreaths for personal use and gifts. If you decide to purchase some wreaths, please follow this link or follow links directly from the WAA website. When you get to the order summary, it will ask for a zip code. This is not required if you are buying wreaths for the project- only if you are buying wreaths for yourself or as gifts. On the next page, enter your billing and shipping information and in the "memo" box, please include the following "Please direct my donated wreaths to the Dayton National Cemetery in Dayton, OH".

Please consider both of these projects. I know that money is tight, so I know that not all of you will participate, but please consider helping.
AFSis, Thomas and Kevin

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

The Red, White, and Blue

I was browsing CNN today and read a very disturbing commentary written by Lou Dobbs. Here's an excerpt:

Like many Americans, I began wearing a flag pin after September 11. I do so out of respect for those killed in the terrorist attacks, and in recognition of this country's war on radical Islamist terror. It turns out that some journalists and some presidential candidates are uncomfortable and even upset about flags on lapels. Their comments are both disappointing and bizarre given the very serious issues facing this nation. But maybe their superior and supercilious views offer a window into what ails us as a society.

He goes on to say that Barack Obama has stopped wearing his flag lapel pin, chosing instead to let his words and actions speak for his patriotism. Lou quotes Katie Couric, opposing "the whole culture of wearing flags on our lapel and saying 'we' when referring to the United States."

Since when did being proud of being an American become offensive- to OTHER Americans? "We" ARE Americans. "We" ARE the United States. "We" have EVERY right to display our country's flag.

If being a patriotic American feels so wrong to you, Katie, and Obama, you can just leave. We have NOTHING to be embarrassed about as a nation. NOTHING. And NOTHING will EVER stop me from displaying our flag- either as a lapel pin or flying from the pole in front of our house.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

*THIS* is why I don't run.

Organizers shut down the course four hours after the start of Sunday's Chicago Marathon because of 88-degree heat and sweltering humidity that left one runner dead and sent at least 49 to area hospitals. Another 250 were treated at the site.

...and from the same article:
There was another running death Sunday in Arlington, Virginia. An unidentified runner from Virginia died during the Army Ten-Miler, collapsing near the finish at the Pentagon.

Well, OK... dying isn't the only reason I don't run, but it sure as hell is on the top of my list now. That and the sweating. And huffing and puffing. And time. And ginormous tata's that bounce WAY too much.

But DYING is definately at the top of the list.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

More Prayers, Please.

If you read the comments in my "I'll be right back" post, you may have noticed SK's comment about her niece trying to kill herself in SK's shower. I don't have that story yet, but I do have another one about SK's niece.

SK had two nieces give birth last week within two days of each other. One of the mom's is an itty bitty thing- 100lbs soaking wet. Well, things have taken a turn for the worse and the niece is in the hospital with some abnormal testing and doctors who can't seem to get it together to treat her properly. Her niece is extremely swollen (I'm talking 2-3 times her normal size/weight), in pain, away from her babies (toddler and newborn), lacking faith in the doctors at the hospital, unsure of her diagnosis- AND... the family dog got mauled yesterday and may need to be put down.

Please.. please.. put them on the top of your prayer list, and check LL's site for updates.


A New Guardian Angel Has Arrived

Leta has said it much more eloquently and personally than I ever could. Please take the time to read about the life, and death, of SFC Matthew Blaskowski, KIA 9/23/07.

This was his third tour in Iraq/Afghanistan. During his 2003 tour, Matt was the NCOIC of the 173rd Airborne immediately after jumping in.

His second tour was spent in Iraq, where he was awarded both the Silver Star and the Purple Heart. After spending 3 months at home recovering from his wounds, his grandmother said that Matt "packed his bags and headed back to serve his country. He said, 'Nana, it's my job, and I like doing it."

This tour, with the 503rd Infantry (Airborne unit) has been spent in Afghanistan, at an FOB with very few modern comforts. He was killed on September 23, during a firefight near the Pakistani border. He will be laid to rest today in Michigan, where the governor has ordered all flags throughout the state to be lowered to half-mast in Matt's honor.

My good friend, Leta, is really hurting over this death. You can hear it in her writing, and if I could talk to her about it right now, I'm sure we'd both be in tears before long. If Leta, who has never met Matt except through mail, is hurting... I can only imagine the pain his family, friends and fellow Soldiers are feeling right now.

Rest in peace, Matt. As Leta said, I'm sure the gates of heaven were standing wide open to welcome you home, our newest Guardian Angel.
UPDATE... from Matthew's Mom:
I am sorry but, the information with regard to Matthews service and deployments is not entirely accurate.
Matthew was actually with rear detachment command when the troops were in Iraq for their first tour there.
This was due to a broken leg the fall prior to the invasion.

He deployed to Afghanistan in 2005, where he was shot one month into his deployment, returned a few months later, to his orignal squad "The Clydesdales".

Matthew received the Silver Star for his valor and galentry in action as well as the Purple Heart.

I am Matthews mom.


Army Mom,
First of all, let me say how sorry I am for the loss of your son. He was, and always will be, a dedicated and brave Soldier. Thank you for clearing up his service record. It's an honor to write about your son. Thanks for stopping by- feel free to comment any time you want.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

One BIG Dude

My youngest son, Kevin, got the chance to meet an NFL player this past Saturday. Zach Strief graduated from Milford HS (district I live in) and is now a tackle for the New Orleans Saints.
The guy is big.


I mean, "big like a frikkin' HOUSE" big.

He's 6'7", 350 pounds. I wasn't kidding when I told people he was a foot taller than me! The top of Kevin's head barely reaches Zach's waist. His hands are twice as thick as mine.

The dude is beyond BIG.

But you know what he did? He voluntarily attended pee wee games on Saturday, his only bye week this season, and then spoke a bit to the kids at the end of each game. He tossed a football with them. He smiled, and encouraged them, even though they'd just lost by 2 points to an 0-4 team. He reminded them that winning, although fun, isn't everything, and that if you're having fun you'll never grow tired of the game.

These words of wisdom came after parents, disappointed by the teams' performance, attacked our coach. In front of the kids. In front of Zach. In front of the entire field, they verbally accosted the coach, nearly to the point of getting arrested. It makes me wonder who was playing the game- the parents, or their sons. I don't agree with every decision the coach makes, nor do I necessarily enjoy spending 6 hours a week at practice for a 48 minute game in which my son gets very little play time in, but my SON enjoys it. I gladly take him to practice and games because he enjoys it- not because I WANT him to enjoy it. As long as Kevin wants to play and is enjoying it, I'll let him play. I'm not going to become a parent who forces their child to join an activity simply because that's what *I* want him to do- I want my kids to join activities because *they* want to.

Meeting Zach on Saturday was a thrill. It was fun because, of course, he's a local boy who made it to the NFL, but it was thrilling to see the excitement in my son's face as he played ball with this giant of a man. It was fun to hear Kevin telling my Mom about the experience later, saying "MEMA!!! I caught a pass from a REAL FOOTBALL PLAYER!!"

It was fun, because my SON enjoyed it, and after all.. isn't that playing sports is all about?