Monday, July 31, 2006
Having a gift and being fortunate enough to be paid as a professional to use that gift is a dream that never materializes for most. For those who have achieved that dream, one would think that enjoying the success and staying in top form (physically, mentally, spiritually and ethically) would be a priority in order to enjoy the good fortune for many years.
Having said all of that, what in the world are the Bengals doing in the off-season? I was holding back, watching, trying not to make any judgments until official rulings had been made. Well, one was made: http://www.bengals.com/news/news.asp?Story_id=5344
I have three Bengals jerseys from last season that are a bit too big on me (yes, I know - lose 50 lbs and everything is going to be too big). I was debating which one to get in a smaller size for the warm games this year. My decision just got a bit easier: 51 will not be in the running. Until I get an acceptable explanation for the above story, I will not wear 51 again.
On occasion, I bring my niece and nephew to the games. I see them watching the players & the cheerleaders, absorbing all of the activity as potentials for their future. Someone who is throwing their gift & their ethics away and trying to pass it off as "being an okay thing to do" is not what I want them to see as acceptable for their futures.
Will my boycotting apparel with #51 make a difference? Maybe not, but it may make my kids think twice. If more people take the same stand, it may make #51, and other players like him, think twice as well.
Support crappy role models? Not on my watch. . .
"If you can't be a good example, then you'll just have to be a horrible warning." - Catherine Aird
Sunday, July 30, 2006
Yes, I know. . .It's more of a winter meal to cook, but I'm in the mood for chili! MommyMarie's chili of course! I'm using her ingredients, but I have no doubt that it won't be near as good as hers.
Just like her buttered bread - can't duplicate that one either! :)
"The most important trip you may take in life is meeting people halfway." - Henry Boye
The hardest trip that I've had to make recently - dealing with the people that aren't willing to take that most important trip!
Saturday, July 29, 2006
Found a blog entry by Capt. B that I wanted to share with everyone. It is about one of my fellow Cincinnatians who WILL come home: http://www.onemarinesview.com/one_marines_view/2006/07/marines_give_he.html
In other news - MY PAINTING HAS ARRIVED!!!! Every since I bought it on my Alaskan Cruise, I have been doubting my sanity - especially when I got the first installment of the bill! But now that it is here - I am thanking sweet spirit that I made it a part of my house.
Kinda fitting that I'm talking about it in relation to Capt. B's post - the painting is of an Angel, in front of an American Flag, cradling a man's head in her lap. Even though the painting is in response to 9/11, it reminds me of our soldiers. . .And gives me faith that the Angels are watching over all of them, especially Matt Maupin. Use this link to see a story about the painting turning into a tattoo. . . http://www.rutfineart.com/member/mike.html
"Here's a test to find whether your mission on earth is finished: If you're alive, it isn't." - Richard Bach
Wednesday, July 26, 2006
It is not nice.
It is not an experience that I look forward to.
It is not fun.
But. . .
It is a part of what I signed up for.
It is needed to fully explore this experience.
It has to come to a resolution in order to continue on the journey.
THEY ARE NOT FUN.
"Never ruin an apology with an excuse." - Kimberly Johnson
Monday, July 24, 2006
I did get to indulge in a corn dog, which was on my list of 'things to eat', but did not get to the funnel cake booth. I think that may be a blessing in disguise!
Here's a photo of Bruce, who won a 5th place ribbon with C-Boy today.
See the black spots on his head that kinda look like bat wings? Yes, Bruce stands for Bruce Wayne (AKA Batman).
Definitely was a wonderful day!
"Learn to value yourself, which means: to fight for your happiness." - Ayn Rand
Saturday, July 22, 2006
I was able to get into the spa this morning on a whim (gotta love when that works out) and of course, my daily stop at the gym. I'm trying to get as many of those "mundane" chores done as quickly as possible this morning as I am about to go get my nephew, CamCam.
We're going to spend the rest of the weekend together - Red's Game, Ice Cream (yes, I know...but it's my birthday weekend, so I think I'm allowed), and then the County Fair when I take him home on Monday. Even though I'm not going to be at the gym tomorrow, I think my level of exercise will be higher than normal trying to keep up with a 7-year old!
I try to spend some quality time with the three eldest nieces/nephews each year. . .In a few years, the calendar will get very full as the three (soon to be five) younger ones get old enough to venture to my place on their own. :) In my mind, there is nothing more precious than my kids. I strive to make unique Aunt SassyMarie memories for them to have.
"You can give without loving, but you cannot love without giving." - Amy Carmichael
Friday, July 21, 2006
Don't get me wrong - it was very productive and had some great moments. . .But it was also fast paced and on the higher stress level. It has been awhile since I have felt like I was stretch that thin. Although, it made it a bit easier knowing that I wasn't the only one feeling this way and I am very fortunate to work with guys who can always find the humor in (most) situations.
It will be interesting to see how I fit all of my church commitments in with the increase hours at work and getting to the gym. I decided at the beginning of this year that it has to be something huge to make my health take a backseat. So far, my family is the only thing that has been successful! Luckily, one of the gyms down the road is open 24 hours a day during the week. That makes it a bit more easier to juggle things around and still fit all of the priorities into the schedule!
"The real trick is to stay alive as long as you live." - Ann Landers
Thursday, July 20, 2006
Life is too precious to waste any moments. . .Any potential memories.
I spent a lot of time at the gym tonight. It used to be that I hated being there. I scowled the entire time. I did my time and I got out ASAP! Unfortunately, the scale knew how I felt about the gym and reacted accordingly.
Tonight, I was there for 2 hours. . .And as demented as it sounds - I enjoyed it! I burned 700 calories on the elliptical and 25 calories on the bike. My back and chest muscles got a good work-out and I had some laughs with the training staff.
Now, I am enjoying some Italian Ice and sharing random thoughts in the blog world.
Life is too precious to waste any moments. . .
"Remember that Tomorrow is a promised hope,
Yesterday is a wind at your back,
Today is a gift." - Mary Anne Radmacher
Monday, July 17, 2006
We started up a food co-op at work - brilliant idea! I cook supper on Sunday night and package up the left-overs for people at work. They do the same. Leads for great lunches during the week that I didn't have to cook. Also leads to being strict on my diet the rest of the meals as these are my "gotta be on the elliptical machine a bit longer to work this off". The problem? It's summer - I like ice cream (though I have found some Italian Ice that is much better for me, but more expensive too), it's fair time, it's my birthday, etc. etc. etc.
The bright side to all of this - I'm not gaining! It is now the 17th day of the month and I have been at the gym 12 days of it. Not bad. . .Also leaves for a lot of entries in bog world. :) I was working out at the gym with my trainer tonight and was stopped by a stranger to compliment me on my job well done. WOW. . .Made me feel great! May also be the incentive I need to keep going.
"In 20 years, you'll look back at photos of yourself and recall in a way you can't grasp now how much possibility lay before you and how fabulous you really looked." - Mary Schmich
Sunday, July 16, 2006
I knew it was getting bad when one of the employees at the half-price book store knew my car and called me by name when I walk through the door. I take many bags of books (the ones that didn't make my KAAC Pile) there to "recycle". This is one way that I have tried to cut my costs. I also tried the local library - but most of the books there are ones that I have already read or have no interest in reading.
On the other hand, I do enjoy rereading a book over and over and finding those little tid-bits that I missed the first times around. If a new book in a series (i.e. Harry Potter or J.D. Robb) is being released, I reread the entire series before picking up the new one. What - everyone doesn't do that? :)
Did I mention that I love books?
"We read to train the mind, to fill the mind, to rest the mind, to recreate the mind, or to escape the mind." - Holbrook Jackson
Saturday, July 15, 2006
At this point in time, I enjoy being single. I enjoy being able to see the world and keep a schedule that I want to keep on any particular day. It doesn't matter if I have to work late or end up at the gym at 10pm. I can hop in the car and head at of town at a moments notice and the only thing that I have to worry about is how the plants will get watered.
Life is wonderous! I am in the right and perfect spot for me at this point in time, just as I will be in the right and perfect spot when I walk down that aisle!
"What a lovely surprise to discover how un-lonely being alone can be." - Ellen Burstyn
Friday, July 14, 2006
This brought a memory to mind:
In middle school, I would have to run a mile a zillion times every year because it took over 12 minutes for me to get around that track four times. OK, reality check: I had to run it two or three times (or until they felt sorry for me and just gave me a failing grade for that event).
EXCEPT: When the gym teacher was off a semester on medical leave. Her substitute was great eye candy and took an interest in the kids. I barely remember what he looks like or even his name (so I'll call him Mr. EC), but his attitude is in my memory very vividly. With his encouragement, I ran a mile in 10 minutes, 16 seconds. 10 minutes, 16 seconds! The first time I tried it! I remember my eyes getting huge and my mouth dropping to the ground as he called out the time. I was on top of the world and I think that Mr. EC's smile was as big as mine - he truly wanted for us kids to succeed.
I'm sure that when the "regular" teacher got back, she took one look at my time and changed it thinking that I cheated. I saw her do this numerous times over the years after running events to other students, so it wouldn't have surprised me. But I know, and Mr. EC knows, that someone believed in me and as a result, I put my mind on a goal and did it.
It took about 17 years for Mr. EC's lesson to actively start playing a role in my life. I don't think that the lesson had a chance in my young teenager's psyche, but my subconscious filed it away knowing that I would need it one day. It is now in my reality that I only need one person in this world to believe in me - ME!
I was with Mr. EC for a very short time and his influence is still with me today. I was with the regular teacher for 3.5 years and I don't remember one positive thing about her, but I do remember her name! Interesting, isn't it?
Isn't it wonderful that a teacher, even a substitute that only touch our lives briefly, influenced a life so deeply? Thank-You Mr. EC! I can only imagine the impact you had on students when you became the "regular" teacher.
"If you don't like something, change it. If you can't change it, change your attitude. Don't complain." - Maya Angelou
Thursday, July 13, 2006
Most recently, I replace the flooring on the 1st floor with ceramic tile (with tons of help from Luke and CBoy - we won't talk about the injuries) and on the 2nd floor with wood laminae (again with tons of help from Luke and CBoy). I have overcome the dreaded scaffolding to get rid of all of the white walls (NEVER AGAIN) and replaced all of the cheap painted doors, baseboards and molding with stained pine (gotta love Bobby and his air nail gun). Since I am outsourcing two of the bathrooms this fall, I just have a lot of small jobs to finish up (don't ask for my definition of small).
Yes. . .I admit it - I don't think there will be anything in the condo that is the same as when I bought it. Well. . .Maybe the laundry/furnace room! :)
Tonight, my decorator and I worked on the living room. With it's fresh coat of gold paints and beautiful ceramic tile (just a few more jobs left before I can call it done), it was time to hang the new curtains and some pics on the wall. I have a huge "To Buy List" and the mantle and back door needs to be installed before we can finish up. I'm even starting to think about a bookshelf-type door and some track lighting (hmmm. . .Did I just hear Luke and Bobby moaning?).
I must say, that even with it only partially done - it is beginning to look like a home!
The picture on the left is my patriotic corner...
The one on the right is the very small area in my living room that has everything hung up. The stuff on the table with change, but wanted it to look complete for the picture.
"What a wonderful life I've had! I only wish I'd realized it sooner." - Colette
Wednesday, July 12, 2006
I opened my email today to find a forward that touched my heart. Instead of forwarding it, I'm sharing it here (in it's cleaned up form, of course). I think it's time to get some more care packages in the mail, despite my feelings for those in D.C.!
The Daughter of a Soldier
Last week, I was in Atlanta, Georgia attending a conference. While I was in the airport, returning home, I heard several people behind me beginning to clap and cheer. I immediately turned around and witnessed one of the greatest acts of patriotism I have ever seen.
Moving thru the terminal was a group of soldiers in their camo's, as they began heading to their gate everyone (well, almost everyone) was abruptly to their feet with their hands waving and cheering. When I saw the soldiers, probably 40 of them, being applauded and cheered for, it hit me. I'm not alone. I'm not the only red blooded American who still loves this country and supports our troops and their families.
Of course, I immediately stopped and began clapping for these young unsung heroes who are putting their lives on the line everyday for us so we can go to school, work and home without fear or reprisal. Just when I thought I could not be more proud of my country or of our service men and women a young girl, not more than 6 or 7 years old, ran up to one of the male soldiers. He kneeled down and said "hi," the little girl then she asked him if he would give something to her daddy for her. The young soldier, he didn't look any older than maybe 22 himself, said he would try and what did she want to give to her daddy. Then suddenly the little girl grabbed the neck of this soldier, gave him the biggest hug she could muster and then kissed him on the cheek.
The mother of the little girl, who said her daughter's name was Courtney, told the young soldier that her husband was a Marine and had been in Iraq for 11 months now. As the mom was explaining how much her daughter, Courtney, missed her father, the young soldier began to tear up. When this temporarily single mom was done explaining her situation, all of the soldiers huddled together for a brief second. Then one of the other servicemen pulled out a military looking walkie-talkie. They started playing with the device and talking back and forth on it.
After about 10-15 seconds of this, the young soldier walked back over to Courtney, bent down and said this to her, "I spoke to your daddy and he told me to give this to you." He then hugged this little girl that he had just met and gave her a kiss on the cheek. He finished by saying "Your daddy told me to tell you that he loves you more than anything and he is coming home very soon."
The mom at this point was crying almost uncontrollably and as the young soldier stood to his feet he saluted Courtney and her mom. I was standing no more than 6 feet away from this entire event unfolded as the soldiers began to leave, heading towards their gate, people resumed their applause.
As I stood there applauding and looked around, their were very few dry eyes, including my own. That young soldier in one last act of selflessness, turned around and blew a kiss to Courtney with a tear rolling down his cheek.
We need to remember everyday all of our soldiers and their families and thank God for them and their sacrifices. At the end of the day, it's good to be an American.
"Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much." - Helen Keller
Monday, July 10, 2006
Since getting back from vacation, I have been struggling to get back into the diet groove. I've been doing better, honest I have. . .Been back to the gym in full force (the agreement that I have with myself is that I will post to this blog when, and only when, I go to the gym - looks like I'm posting a lot :) ).
The one and only problem that I seem to be having is ICE CREAM! Yes, ICE CREAM! I have been craving huge amounts of ICE CREAM. So, I indulged big time today (we won't talk about how many times I've indulged recently) - to the point that my stomach had a conversation with my craving creator. This was not a good conversation.
So tomorrow, I am going to ban that I.C. thing from my diet and get back into the groove of looking like that person that I already am in my mind.
"To me, good health is more than just exercise and diet. It's really a point of view and a mental attitude you have about yourself." - Angela Lansbury
Thursday, July 06, 2006
While I was growing up, we were very dependent on Mommy Marie's tips from work. Some days those tips paid for my lunch at school. It was not a hand-out or a way for others to support my family. IT WAS EARNED. Granted, I have only had one part time job where I was in a "receiving tip" situation. I did not expect them, but treasured what I did receive as a sign of work done well.
I am starting to get very frustrated with those in the service industry who think that a 15% tip is automatic no matter how well they do their job. After all, we live in America - you are free to provide the level of service that you wish to provide at that moment. But please remember, I am also free to provide you with the tip that adequately reflects that same level of service. Funny how that works, hmm?
What brought this topic to mind tonight? Earlier this evening, I was trying to get membership prices at my gym for a family member. Even though the sales members in this industry don't get tipped, they do work on commission. Instead of paying attention to what was going on, all of the sales members (and then some) were in the manager's office laughing, joking, having personal conversations on cell phones, etc, etc, etc. It hit me after I left, without the information, that it wasn't the end of the month, so they may not be so worried about sales goals at this point in time. Hmm. . .interesting thought.
I then called another branch of the gym (a location that I also work-out at on occasion as it is near work) and received good information, plenty of payment plan choices and a sales member who was interested in discussing options and receiving a referral. I think that this is someone who should receive all of my referrals / commissions / renewals in the future! (See quote below)
"The only people you should try to get even with are those who have helped you." - R.J. Rehwinkels
Definitely a reporter that we should support in the future!
Wednesday, July 05, 2006
I was blessed with a four day holiday weekend to celebrate the Fourth of July. This morning, I woke up before the alarm went off - looking forward to going to work. Felt kinda nice, actually.
Then I started up the computer and checked email. . .And reality struck and struck hard. I realized that I should have put in some hours over the weekend to meet a HUGE deadline that I have looming.
No problem. . .I'm going out of town this weekend, but will be back fairly early on Sunday and I can put in some time then. OOPS! Big office move this weekend and we can't get in the building to work while the movers are there. CRAP!
OK. . .I'll just put in the headphones and start trudging. I can do this! HMMMM. . .Why is my computer running so slow. . .Shouldn't take 20 minutes to get a program log-in box. . .Ok, enough of this - I got about two hours of work done in eight hours. . .Time to call the IS Help Desk. Trojan Virus? ON MY COMPUTER?? HUHHHHHH??? What do you mean the old virus protection program was taken off of my computer, but for some reason the new one wasn't loaded????
OK. . .Step back and punt. . .45 minutes to load the new program, remove the Trojan and scan the laptop for any other bugs and such. It's time to get some work done! Needless to say, I put in 13.5 hours today and ended up having frozen yogurt for my afternoon meal (I eat every three hours) and a Dairy Queen Blizzard for dinner (but it was REALLY good) which led me to feel very guilty and scared to get on a scale. . .So I headed straight to the gym. Have I mentioned that I really want to continue to loose weight, not put any back on (but the blizzard was REALLY good)?
Ironically, it's now 11:55pm and I am actually starting to feel like my head is getting back above the water line. I'm going to hit the sack hard and head into work early in the morning. . .Another full day should be enough to get me back into stretching distance and all is becoming well in my world!
WOW, that felt good to get all of that out into blog land and not festering in my mind. After all, tomorrow will be a much better day with everything crossed off of my To Do List!
"Never let a problem to be solved become more important than a person to be loved." - Barbara Johnson
Tuesday, July 04, 2006
In Skagway, we went on a train ride into Canada and learned lots about the Alaskan Gold Rush. We took a bus trip back from Canada where I think this photo was taken.
In Ketchikan, we saw totem poles, native dancing and lots of eagles.
The Hubbard Glacier was gorgeous. . .Definitely couldn't get it recorded well on film!
Hope you enjoyed the vacation pics! Happy Fourth of July to everyone!
"Freedom isn't free - just ask any Soldier / Marine."
Monday, July 03, 2006
A Panoramic Photo of Alaska. Not sure if this was from our balcony or in Juneau (Yes, I know that the water doesn't line up. . .Mother Nature wouldn't stop the water movement for the second picture!).
After being told that we needed to go to Hawaii or the Bahamas during mating season to see a breach, the Hump Back Whale gave us a show of a lifetime and just because he could, proved the tour guide wrong. Believe me, the tour guide was very happy to be proven wrong!
Orcas in Juneau. We also saw them in Seattle,
but I like this pic the best because of the baby that was showing his dorsal fin and the great air action from the blow hole.
I'm trying to keep the size of the posts at a reasonable amount, so I am breaking up the pictures into multiple posts. . .Stay tuned!
"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed it is the only thing that ever has." -Margaret Mead
Sunday, July 02, 2006
I crossed one of my "Want List - Great and Small" items off of the list. . .I headed out to Seattle for a few days before hopping on a cruise ship to visit the southern part of Alaska.
The few days we had in Seattle were packed with lots of sight-seeing. We took in all of downtown, went Orca watching, house envying and of course, had some wonderful crab cakes!
Panorama of Seattle from above. It was the first time that our tour guide has been in the Sky Needle - and she lives in a suburb of Seattle!
Sky Needle from below.The graves of Bruce Lee and Brandon Bruce Lee. Yes, I go cemetery hopping. When I realized that the Lee Family was buried in Seattle, I did some fancy talking to get a visit added to the day's itinerary.
I will post some Alaska pictures in a future post.
"I used to want the words 'She tried' on my tombstone. Now, I want 'She did it'." -Katherine Dunham
Saturday, July 01, 2006
Tonight instead of searching out where the firework show near my house is, I am reading military blogs to remind myself the meaning of America, the sacrifices that U.S. Marines/Soldiers are making and the history behind this wonderful holiday. This has become a more reflective holiday for me over the past five years. . .interesting that I only really noticed it this year.
>Michael Yon: Online Magazine was one of the sites that became my weekly read after I decided not to put too much time into MSM (Mainstream Media - i.e. the evening news). He has traveled with troops during the war and is not there to risk himself for "the video feed", but to document the truth of the journey both good and bad. The link takes you to his most recent dispatch and reminds me once again of what a hero is and why I read blogs and not TIME.
>Capt. B is a Marine that I sent care packages to through the anysoldier program. I began to read his thoughts via emails that he sent out to those of us who were sending packages. He is now in the states and I keep in-touch via his blog. My understanding is that he is co-writing a book that will definitely be on my to buy list. This link points to his post about "who knows what this holiday is about". Of his three questions, I hit the first two exactly. I struggled a bit with the third one, but knew enough that I feel like I wasn't totally ignorant on the subject.
>Blackfive was the first blog that I ever read. He has gotten so busy that he now has other bloggers posting on his site as well (a shame, if you ask me) so I don't visit the site as often as I used to. He hasn't posted his "fourth of July" message yet, so I am linking to the first post that I read there - it is hilarious and a must read!
I mentioned care packages above: The past few years, I found myself with the uncontrollable desire to send care packages to my troops (yes, I did say 'my'. . .they are defending my freedom aren't they?) both through www.anysoldier.com and www.soldiersangels.org. Until recently, I did not know any of the soldiers that I sent packages to (last count I had shipped to 69 Units/Soldiers/Marines, many multiple times). I can say that I don't like/support (however you want to phrase it) the guy at the White House, but I will always support my guys/gals on the front line.
I don't feel like I have missed anything this weekend by spending a bit more time in front of the computer. I will get my 'ooh' and 'aah' fix during Cincinnati's huge fireworks show in September for Labor Day Weekend.
"How we remember, what we remember, and why we remember form the most personal map of our individuality." -Christina Baldwin