Monday, December 31, 2007
The trip home was pretty straight forward, after getting to the plane I mean....
We woke up and started getting all of our stuff together, I thought packing to GO was hard, I almost couldn't get my suitcase closed! I didn't buy anything, so why won't it fit? I don't know, but I finally did. Normal check out time was noon, but they allowed us to extend it til 1, our flight wasn't til 6:25. We went across the street and this time Starbucks WAS open, and got a breakfast sandwich and I got a latte. Back to the hotel for last minute stuff and then it's time to set off. Remember our walk on the first night here? We did NOT want to do that again, so we had it all mapped out... Walk to Union Station, ride the metro to L'Enfant, find a little shop to browse for a bit or a restaurant and have a nice lunch then board the bus for Dulles. Well that worked just great til we tried to use my fare card, it didn't work so we had to go find the stationmaster, she tried it and then tore off a little piece of the corner and said that it had become demagnetized...hhmmm sounds like our hotel keys...and just opened the gate and let me thru, she told us to give it to the station master at our destination and tell him what she said and that it would be cool. Ok, no biggie...off we go again, we board the train, ride to the transfer station, switch trains, ride to L'Enfant, get off, go to the station masters booth, no station master. Look around, no station master. Can't leave the station without seeing him or buying a new fare card. Push the call button after about 4 or 5 minutes, no station master. Start getting a bit impatient, we DO have a plane to catch after all...approx 15 minutes later a man in a metro uniform shows up, NOT the station master, but at least an employee, we told him what was up and he opened their little gate and let us out...finally! Ok, up the escalator to the street, where are all the little shops and stuff? Closed on the weekend. Great, about a block and a half away there is a Starbucks, so we drag our stuff there and get me a Latte and Trav a water and a Washington Post and just sit around for about an hour waiting for the bus (we missed the first one by just a couple of minutes-imagine that). The bus is on time!! And not even really full, cool, we get all situated and relax. We forget it's a regular bus and not a special, we have more stops to make and we pick up people and their luggage at those stops...by the time we are done picking them up we are stuffed to the gills. There were 8 or ten people standing in the aisle with their luggage and one lady even had her big suitcase on her lap because there was no where else to put it. That was a bit of a long ride all scrunched up like that..lol.
Now we have to make it thru security, but first we print our boarding passes. The guys from outside kept trying to get us to go out there and let them do it, but we were in no hurry, we had plenty of time to spare, just the way we planned it. So we have a nice conversation with a couple going to Las Vegas and just wait our turn. Check our bags and it's off to security. There is a line, no make that two lines, that snake around like you are at Disney! They have little bags set up on a pole for putting your small stuff in Long before you get to the front of the line, to help speed things up, then there are the folks half way there who check your boarding pass and ID so that you are not holding up the line at the machines and they stamp them and direct us to the proper checkpoint. It was pretty efficient, those lines never stopped moving! And they were not skimping on security, they were just fast (they even swabbed Trav's C-Pap!) And WE MADE IT!!! Now to put everything back together again and get our shoes on and our laptops and cameras back in the cases. and we are off for the concourse...about a mile away, sigh, walking is most definitely a major part of our vacation this time. So, now we are within sight of our gate...let's find lunch...look! there is a Potbelly Sandwich shop down that way! We go there and have a nice quiet lunch...I only ate half my sandwich, put the other half in our bag to snack on on the plane. After that we go on down to our gate and get comfortable for the wait, about an hour.
Boarding was uneventful and we got all settled without incident. The Captain made his welcome speech from the front instead of the cockpit and he was funny...he said that he and the crew were from New England and he expected us to keep him up to date on the the Pats game and if we didn't they would make a u-turn and head for - Cincinnati!!! lol There were a number of football fans on board and the game was on a lot of the little TV's...but we really didn't hear much til we were almost ready to land, then there was some noise going on, but nothing you could figure out if you were not watching...just about the time that we touched down at Orlando a cheer went up from all those fans, turns out that the passengers were NOT Pats fans and when the Giants pulled ahead, they cheered. We told the Captain after we landed that No the cheer was NOT because we landed safely! lol
And there we were, home....well, not quite, but pretty close, just got to claim our luggage, get the shuttle out to the satellite parking, find our truck, drag our bags to it, pay the parking fee, get out of Orlando, drive 2 hours and then make it past the dogs....ok, not really pretty close. We got in at about midnight, took a bit to get settled down and went to bed. It's great to travel, fun to see new things, but there is nothing in this world quite like walking in our own front door and taking that deep breath at having arrived Home. It's good to be back, safely and with our sanity intact (ok that last part isn't true, but let me pretend ok?).
Thank you for taking this journey with us and we hope you enjoyed it too.
Sunday, December 30, 2007
Saturday, December 29, 2007
Well, today was pretty tame...
We started out with the trip on the metro to the National Zoo. That took up about 4 hours...it is pretty spacious. We spent some time watching the pandas. The baby was sleeping, but the other two were wide awake. Then we moved on to the short clawed otters, they were extremely active, very entertaining. The baby elephant playing with the tractor tire was cute. Trav took most of the pictures here, I was just pretty much along for the walk. The big cats were pretty too, it was a bit annoying to have everyone standing there debating whether it was safe and if that cat could get out and how high the wall was, etc...my thought? if you do not think it is safe, DON'T GO!!!! Any time you are around wild animals there is the potential for disaster, that is what happens when you take a chance...so take it or stay away, but don't talk it to death or the TAME animals (humans) may cause you a problem. lol
So after a trip on the metro to find lunch, we headed back to Capital Hill to see if the museums were any good. We stopped at the visitors center at the Smithsonian Castle, very pretty. Then we went across the Mall to the Museum of Natural History. Unfortunately there were WAY too many people in there for me to fight my way thru,
so I sent Trav on in and just parked myself between two exhibits and waited for him.
Then we went on down to the American Indian Museum. That was very nice. There was live music when we arrived, and shortly after that there was a pretty good storyteller. We wandered around for a while (cool exhibit on native dress and beading) and then decided we had had enough for the day and started the walk back to the hotel. I don't think we even walked 8 miles today, nothing like the day before...lol.
We stopped at the hotel long enough to dump our stuff then headed out to dinner at the local Irish Pub, The Dubliner. Trav had the Shepherds Pie and I chose the corn beef and cabbage. Both were excellent. We did, of course, lift a pint of Guinness - had to ya know. And we had Bread pudding in irish cream sauce for dessert. (Trav is not a big fan of bread pudding, but liked this so much that when we got back to the hotel he googled it to find the recipe...pretty involved, but well worth it.)
Then he gets the munchies again...so off we go to find him something...it's not yet 9 pm, so we don't think that it will be difficult, it IS Friday, after all. So he calls down to the desk to see if the Starbucks across the street is open, they say yes, so we grab the umbrella (did I tell you it started raining about 20 minutes after we returned from dinner?) and took off. Well, it seems the front desk was wrong...Starbucks closes at 7! And there isn't another eatery or store for at least 4 blocks....in the rain, at about 40 degrees and a bit windy....nope, no way, not a chance...so back to the hotel and their little shop for some packaged snacks. A stop at the desk for extra coffee pods for me and then up to our room. Whew, that was another long day...but we made it to the places we planned, and back to the hotel, all safe and sound. That makes it a very good day. See ya tomorrow when the trek to the airport gets underway.
Friday, December 28, 2007
The sun is behind it and that makes a bit difficult to frame the shots, but we manage. It is a beautiful site, I took WAY too many pics, but I wanted to remember it! lol
Then it is time to walk down the National Mall....I don't know how long it is, but it Looks like a kazzilion miles and is rather daunting after Wednesdays adventures...but we are off! here is an interesting site for the history of the Mall.
There is an vast number of things to see on this walk, so we look at all the wonderful buildings (The American Indian museum, the Air and Space museum, the museum of African Art, The Smithsonian Castle, The National Gallery of Art, The Natural History Museum...didn't set foot in any of them, but we saw them all), see loads of interesting people, take pictures of most anything, and eventually we arrive at the Washington Monument. That is one Tall building! 555 feet actually and I understand that it is the tallest building in DC and by law will stay that way. Awesome.
From there it was off to the WWII Memorial. That is a beautiful tribute. Very much an area that invites one to stroll around and read all the carved wording on the walls. Pictures were a must...
Then it was on to the next - which is the Lincoln Memorial. It is a fairly long walk alongside the reflecting pool, watching the geese swim, walk and fly - as I think they live there - but it is a nice walk and worth it in the end. Watching the Lincoln Memorial grow larger with each step is awesome. We spent some time inside reading.
It is rather surprising just how many people are here this week...for some reason we didn't think it would be this busy.
Then is was just a short walk to the Viet Nam memorial. That is a site to see, as mentioned yesterday, there are WAY too many names there.
I don't think that I have known anyone who died in that conflict, for which I truly thank God, and I can not even imagine how those families felt at the time and quite obviously still feel. They have my prayers.
Then it is off to find a metro station...turns out to be about a half mile away, uphill of course, and by now we are both hongry as all get out, so we find this little place called Potbelly Sandwich works. That was a really good sandwich. And just a few blocks up was the station. We figured out what train to get on and were off to Arlington.
When we planned this trip we were hoping to see Arlington Cemetery with a light coating of snow, to better show off all the wreaths that Wreaths Across America places on the graves every year.., that did not happen, they are having some pretty warm weather this week. Aint that just the way of it? we WANTED snow, so it's warm...lol. Well, even without the snow it is an awe inspiring site....
row upon row of headstones, standing at attention, in formation, as a testiment to the dedication and sacrifice that our fighting men and women. We didn't really see any place in there that had a concentration of wreaths, just one here and there, but that's ok, we saw enough to warm our hearts. We went on over and saw the Eternal Flame and the graves of the Kennedy Family. Did you know that Bobby has the only wooden cross in the entire cemetery? And his was one of only two night time burials ever preformed there? (can you tell we took the tour?) From there it was off to watch the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldure. While we were waiting (it changes on the hour and we got there 35 minutes early) we wandered across the way and saw the memorials to the Challanger and Columbia crews as well as the mast of the Maine. Wow. I can't say as I have ever seen anything like the changing of the guard...it is indeed a ceremony and is very moving.
From there we rode up to Arlington House, which is in the middle of renovations, so we didn't go inside. Very pretty, and very historic, but pales in comparison to the rest of the cemetery.
Then back to the metro for the trip to Union Station and the walk to the hotel. It is now after 4 and we are a bit tired, so we order in some chinese and take our shoes off, put our feet up and look at all the pics we took, some of which you are seeing in this post.
After a bit, we put our shoes back on and walk up to Union Station cuz Trav has the munchies...we take some pics there too, get him some apple pie and walk back to the hotel. As you can tell, we have sorta figured out the metro system so the adventures are over for now, you just get sightseeing stuff. sorry.
Thursday, December 27, 2007
We got up bright and early, sat around talking about where we were going, had breakfast and started out. First tho, let me make a note about the weather, it has been overcast since we got here and a bit on the chilly side for me, low forties high 3o's. Light winds, under 1omph. So, we were planning only one real outside activity and the rest were going to be things like museums and such. With that in mind, I didn't wear my heavy coat, didn't want to be toting it around when I didn't need to. I wore my sweatshirt/hoodie and the down vest that came with it and a undershirt. We had discussed this and figured that if this was not enough, we would be close enough to the hotel to come back and get the coat if I needed it. And we were off for our first real day of playing the tourists.
We walked over to the Law Enforcement Memorial.
Very nice. WAY too much engraved stone tho, meaning: TOO many names engraved on said stone.
Pretty. set up well, makes you want to walk around and find names just to feel connected. Silly feeling probably, but that's what it did to me. So we walked around there for a bit, found David's name, took some pictures of it, made a rubbing, took some more pictures and then said, "Now what?". lol. moving right along, we found the Memorial visitor center/store. They had some really kewl stuff in there too. lots of stuff for sale, to fund the Memorial...
so of course, we had to buy some stuff. That's the nature of the beast...spend spend spend.
From there we started to look for the Bead museum...this proved to be a bit elusive, we walked around for a while, asked a few people, none of whom had ever even heard of it let alone knew where it was, (never did find it) then decided it might be a good idea to pick up an umbrella. So we stopped at CVS. Then we found out that, in most cases, people who offer to help you are not being particularly altruistic, they want a handout, got a really good speil going too. Learned that lesson pretty well...so moving on. We took off to go to the DAR (Daughter's of the American Revolution) Library to see if it was true about being a descendant. By now it is drizzling a bit, not too hard, but enough to make me open the new umbrella. It turns out the DAR is further than we thought...took us quite a while to get there by walking (per mapquest it's 1.60 miles from our hotel, so...). It is getting a bit colder and the drizzle has turned into a light rain by now. I was not really very comfortable, but it's a little late to head back to the hotel and start over, so we push on. We see the white house on the way, thru the rain and overlooking the construction, it's really a pretty awesome sight. We finally get to the DAR and have to go thru security to get in...take off the camera, empty your pockets, put it all in the little baskets, blah blah blah...you would think that we are going to fly out of there! We get to the library portion and discover that it costs money to go in and research...we choose to ask the gentleman at the desk a couple of questions and he takes pity on us and does the main research for us...no where in his vast database is there any mention of my grandmother, mother, sister, cousins....oh well, it was really just a lark anyway. So Trav asks a few questions, (we Know that his grandmother has applied and all the paperwork is on file, he is trying to find out if there is any more info than what he has acquired elsewhere to add to his genealogy packet) and the man sends us down to the microfiche area. He spends some time looking thru that stuff, actual scans of documents and such, when he finds that some of the research was done by someone else and his grandma 'piggybacked' on that info...so he goes and looks at that figuring that there will most likely be something new and guess what? The supporting documentation from that file is not the right stuff!!! There is a mix up and the correct info is somewhere else and what is there is for a different family. That was a bit disappointing, but what can you do? Smile and move on. The lady working there said that she would start the process for getting it straightened out but that nothing could be done right then.
Some where in this last segment, about the time that we walked into the library part itself, I realized that I was missing a ring...the one that is forever falling off had done so again...so off I went to look for it while Trav talked to the nice man at the desk, I thought it most probably had escaped when I had removed my gloves, or when I was in the ladies room. It was not there and the guards had not seen it either. I looked in our bag, and all my pockets, no luck. Again, what can you do? move on, what else...so we did. I left my name and phone number with the guards, just in case some honest soul (of which there are a great many) happened to turn it in we would come back and pick it up, or pay shipping if it showed up after we went home. And out into the cold we go again.
And it IS cold! and rainy, and the wind has picked up, and it is not a nice day anymore. But we haven't a clue about the bus or rail system and can't seem to get a taxi to stop, so walking was our only known method of travel at this point. Trav called the number on the bus stop sign and we would have had to walk almost as far in the other direction to get to a bus as we were going to have to walk to get back to the hotel, so, nope, let us move on.
We didn't take too many pictures at this point (translation, I took NONE) as that would have put my camera out in the rain as I would have had to put the umbrella down, sigh. We walked for a while then we saw a sign for the DC Visitors Center, we went that way to the Ronald Reagan Building. Another security checkpoint! We walk to the other end of this bldg. and it's a LONG bldg only to find that there is no one at the visitors center right now so we walk all the way back to the other end and find a place to eat and sit down and warm up. And from there we had to find a bathroom. While I was in the ladies room, Trav called the Law Enforcement store to see if maybe I had dropped my ring there and not at the DAR, the guy set the phone down while he looked around, but didn't find anything, I thank him for looking tho. So then Trav looks thru everything we had, the bag, my camera case, his fanny pack, my vest pockets, everywhere he can think of, nothing. He sits back and thinks, "Well, it's really gone this time." Right after he thinks that he happens to glance down at the floor...When I get back he explains about his call and his search then turns me around and says, "Just look around" I look and see nothing...he says "Look down" and right there, right next to the chair I had been sitting in...was my RING!!! On the floor - almost a mile from where I had noticed it missing and NOT somewhere that we had been before! so where did it come from? We figure that it had come off in the bathroom and had been resting comfortably in my jeans, down by my boot. I had my pants kinda tucked into the top of my boots to stop the wind. I must have knocked it loose when I scratched my ankle right before heading off the the restroom. That ring is a real story all it's own, and some time soon, I'll try and list all the places it's decided to go without me, but not today. lol. Suffice to say, I have it back and it is now behind another ring that is NOT coming off without help!
Ok, back to our travels...we head back to the other end of the building to see if there is anyone there and there is. She suggests that we use the train system as opposed to the buses as she has lived there all her life and is still confused by the bus system. She directs us to the nearest station (about a block away) we go down into the station, look at the map, figure out our route, buy the ticket, wait a couple of minutes (they run roughly every 10 minutes) got on, transferred to the next leg, and got off a couple of blocks from our hotel, at Union Station. We get directions to the hotel and set off, about 15 minutes later here we were! Whew what a relief - safely back and warm and dry. Makes one appreciate the simple things in life a bit more. That little jaunt only took us about 6 hours! (I'll tell you about going to dinner some other time lo))
Today will be better, we have a clearer idea about transportation and the layout of the roads, so we should have less trouble. I'll let you know about that later lol.
Well thanks for sticking with me all the way to the end, hopefully you enjoyed the journey. There will be more to come, I'll try to keep you up to date on the "Adventures of Trav and Lori"
bye for now.
Tuesday, December 25, 2007
the people we have dealt with today have ALL been just great, from the clerk at winn dixie to the toll booth operators to the airline personel and the hotel folks and even the delivery dude from the chinese place. We wish them All a wonderful Christmas and a safe new year.
The hotel is rather nice, but there was some problem with the wifi, so they ended up having to change our room for one it would work in...
Tomorrow we are planning to go to the Law Enforcement Memorial first thing, pretty much everything that we are going to be going to are within walking distance of our hotel. now if the weather stays nice we can get some really good pictures. I am so excited about all this...I'm not really into museums, but all this new stuff is great...
Did you know that there is a real Bead Museum? yup and it's here in Washington...we are going to go there too, I hope...that should be interesting...
anyways, I'll write some more when I have something else to say...
Once again, Merry Christmas everyone!!!
What a wonderful day to be alive! The day that we celebrate the birth of our LORD is the best day ever! I wish each and every one of you a happy and Blessed day today and always. May the Lord bless and keep you and may the joys of life always reside in your heart.
Today is also the day that I miss the people I love the most, who are not with me, either because they have died or are just not able to be here. I miss them all the time, but more today as this is the time to remember the love and the wonder. Just in case they think that I am not talking about them...Annilee, Buddy, Frank, Aunt Virginia, Uncle Dick, Aunt Pat, Julie, Linda, Diana, Debbie, Richard, Shellie and their families (WAY too many to try to list and I would miss one and upset them I'm sure.) Shane, David, Mom, Dad, Gramma, Granddad, Uncle David. I'm sure that as I sit and think today, I will have more to list,,,I hope that no one feels that I don't love them just because they are not on here, it wouldn't be true...I just have a faulty memory at times. Just know that you are missed and loved and will NEVER be forgotten in my lifetime.
Merry Christmas to you all...
GOTTA GO CATCH A PLANE!!!! WHOO HOO! Next stop the Capital! Talk to you all later!
Sunday, December 23, 2007
It's amazing how fast this year flew by, I can hardly believe it...here it is Christmas Adam again and I can't think where the year went. I think I need to make a list of things that I want to accomplish before Christmas Adam rolls around again and post it in a prominent place to remind me of my goals for the coming year. maybe that way the year will seem to have more meaning. Next week I will post a list of things that I/we DID get done this year, but that is a New Year's Eve post.
Oh, just what exactly IS Christmas Adam you ask? well, as we all know, God created Adam before He created Eve, so that means that Adam came before Eve, so Christmas Adam must come before Christmas Eve. So I felt that we should give him his due. lol. Merry Christmas Adam everybody!!!
Friday, December 21, 2007
This week is never going to end! I finally got most of my work related crafting done, now to do the personal stuff. Haven't really had time to write anything at all. Will do better in the new year, I promise.
Thank you all - and if I don't get back here before then, Merry Christmas and a safe and happy holiday season.
Saturday, December 15, 2007
Oh well, now that I have let off a little of the steam I guess I'll go get started...at least get dressed and look at what needs done, put it on a list and prioritize it, then stare at it some more lol
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
Today I found a phenomenal resource for all of the digital scrappers out there. It is titled “Christmas around the world” and it is a Mega Kit…with a capital BIG!!!! Over 70 designers from all over the globe have collaborated to create this kit and make it available for the rest of us as a free download from each of their blogs. It was coordinated by Kimberly aka FishinmomDesigns. Here is the link http://christmasaroundtheworldkit.blogspot.com/
Again let me say, this is HUGE!!!! I just started downloading some of it and it is taking a while as these are not just a couple of elements that the designers agreed to add, these are entire kits!
I wanted to make sure that you could enjoy these as much as I am. So, GO already!!! go get them!!! hurry, there are SO many it will take you a bit lol
Monday, December 10, 2007
you know, random acts of kindness are the In thing nowadays….have you noticed that? it seems that everywhere you look there is something about RAK. I kinda like this new trend…I even have some stamps that say that you have been RAKed.
This is really the perfect time of year to remember to RAK someone…what with it being Christmas and all. I am going to steal an idea from Pillowgirl at Stone Accent Studio (www.stoneaccentstudio.com) (here’s the actual thread (http://www.stoneaccentsstudio.com/forum/showthread.php?p=8478#post8478)) and give a list of possible RAKs…of course there are THOUSANDS of other things that we can do, this is just to help get everyone started.
here is a website that Pillowgirl cites in her thread http://actsofkindness.org/
it has MANY things that we could do….here is a sampling…
1. Deliver fresh-baked cookies to city workers.
2. Collect goods for a food bank.
3. Bring flowers to work and share them with coworkers.
4. Garden clubs can make floral arrangements for senior centers, nursing homes, hospitals, police stations, or shut-ins.
5. Adopt a student who needs a friend, checking in periodically to see how things are going.
6. Volunteer to be a tutor in a school.
7. Extend a hand to someone in need. Give your full attention and simply listen.
8. Merchants can donate a percentage of receipts for the week to a special cause.
9. Bring coworkers a special treat.
10. Students can clean classrooms for the custodian.
11. Buy a stranger a free pizza.
12. Distribute lollipops to kids.
13. Sing at a nursing home.
14. Offer a couple of hours of baby-sitting to parents. 15. Slip paper hearts that say “It’s Random Acts of Kindness Week! Have a great day!” under the windshield wipers of parked cars.
16. Have a charity day at work, with employees bringing nonperishable food items to donate.
17. Serve refreshments to customers.
18. Draw names at school or work, and have people bring a small gift or food treat for their secret pal.
19. Remember the bereaved with phone calls, cards, plants, and food.
20. Treat someone to fresh fruit.
- Work with schools and service clubs to raise “Pennies for a
” (or other community beautification project). Pennies don’t seem to have much value, but when combined, they do make a difference. In the same way, one kind act may seem insignificant, but many kind acts practiced daily have great impact. Kindness Park
- Collect goods for a food bank or shelter.
- Develop interactive programs between retirement homes/senior centers and schools. Older children can read to the elderly and younger children can simply visit. Seniors can also tutor children in their schoolwork.
- Plant a Kindness Tree or Garden with the help of youth groups, service clubs, or other volunteers. Plant a tree or flowers in a public area like a park or walking trail, and ask the mayor to make a brief presentation at the dedication.
- Set up free coffee or hot chocolate for morning commuters. Offer lemonade or water during warm months.
- Organize a blood drive dedicated to Random Acts of Kindness.
- Ask a fast food restaurant to hold a “Customer Appreciation Day.” They can decorate the dining area and post signs. Schoolchildren enjoy “hosting” at these events after school, carrying trays for people, getting beverage refills, or just greeting them at the door with a smile and suggestions for acts of kindness.
- Ask groups, such as a garden club, to create floral arrangements for a senior center, nursing home, police station, hospital, or the homebound.
- Prepare a special meal or dessert for seniors or nursing home residents.
- Hold a kindness concert with a band and give out ideas for kind acts.
- Make meals to reheat for a recovering surgery patient.
- Deliver soup and crackers to a sick friend.
- Gather friends together and prepare sandwiches, chips, cookies, and drinks. Fill lunch bags and distribute them to the homeless.
- Share a recipe.
- Begin a Comfort Food Group at your faith organization. Members rotate preparing and delivering food to those in distress.
- Make and decorate Christmas cookies and deliver them to a children’s home or family shelter.
- Invite a teenager over for a cooking lesson or collaboration on a cooking project.
- Host a gathering of friends and ask each to bring a recipe to exchange. Make one or two of the recipes in quantity and distribute to neighbors or to an ailing friend.
- Collaborate with friends to bake cakes and pies, and arrange with a soup kitchen to deliver the desserts for Christmas dinner.
- Bake cookies and make hot chocolate (in the winter) or lemonade (in the summer) to give away to commuters or wherever people are standing in line.
- Prepare treats for neighbors, emergency workers, mail carriers, coworkers, or other community members, along with a note of appreciation. Before mailing packages or letters to military service personnel, contact your American Red Cross chapter for current procedures and regulations.
- Bake an extra loaf of banana or zucchini bread and bring it to a neighbor.
that is just the tip of the iceberg….I think we should ALL take the time to make someone else feel good, that in turn will make
Friday, December 7, 2007
For anyone who is interested here is a website with loads of information on what this day means.
And along the same subject, but different in it's own way is this one,
Our Mission: Remember - Honor - and Teach
Honor those who serve;
Teach our children the value of freedom.
The Wreaths Across America story began over 15 years ago when Worcester Wreath Company (a for-profit commercial business from Harrington, Maine) began a tradition of placing wreaths on the headstones of our Nation's fallen heroes at Arlington National Cemetery.
Over that period of time, Worcester Wreath has donated 75,000 wreaths which were placed by volunteers in a wreath-laying ceremony each December. This year, Worcester Wreath Company will do even more to show its respect and appreciation for those who serve, by doing the following:
* Doubling its annual donation to 10,000 wreaths destined for Arlington National Cemetery.
* In addition to the Arlington Wreath Project, Worcester Wreath will donate 2,500 wreaths to the Maine Veterans Cemetery at Togus, and over 1,800 ceremonial wreaths, representing all branches of the armed forces, will be sent to over 200 other state and national veterans cemeteries across the Country.
* For the first time in 2007, ceremonial wreaths will also be donated to 24 veterans cemeteries on foreign soil, and aboard U.S. ships sailing in all seven seas.
* All wreath-laying ceremonies will be held concurrently on Saturday, December 15th, at 12:00 noon EST.
* And lastly, on Monday, December 10th, 51 wreaths will be donated for a special wreath-laying ceremony at each State Capital and 36" ceremonial wreath for our Nation's Capital.
Needless to say Worcester Wreath Co. is by far the largest donor to the Wreaths Across America project and they are dedicated to this project for many years to come. It is a vision that we will one day honor every veterans' memory for the holidays, as a way to show our gratitude and appreciation for the sacrifices made to preserve our freedoms.
Wreaths Across America was formed as a non-profit organization (501-C3 status - EIN 20-8362270) in 2007, in direct response to the many letters and requests from supporters all around the Country, about how they too could get involved and bring the Arlington Wreath Project experience to their local communities.
We invite you to come and participate in this year's wreath-laying ceremonies on Saturday, December 15th, at 12:00 noon EST. Click here for a complete list of participating locations.If you would like to help sponsor one or more wreaths to be laid at one of the over 200 state and national cemeteries all across the Country, please click on the wreath below.
Can you guess where I plan to be on December 15th?
Thursday, December 6, 2007
The Soldier's Night Before Christmas
A Marine stationed in Okinawa Japan wrote this poem. The following is his request. I think it is reasonable . . . PLEASE. Would you do me a thoughtful favor of sending this poem to as many people as you can? Christmas will be coming soon and some credit is due to our U.S. service men and women for our being able to celebrate these festivities.
Twas the night before Christmas, he lived all alone,
In a one bedroom house made of plaster & stone.
I had come down the chimney with presents to give
And to see just who in this home did live.
I looked all about a strange sight I did see,
No tinsel, no presents, not even a tree.
No stocking by the fire, just boots filled with sand,
On the wall hung pictures of far distant lands.
With medals and badges, awards of all kind
A sober thought came through my mind.
For this house was different, so dark and dreary,
I knew I had found the home of a soldier, once I could see clearly.
I heard stories about them, I had to see more
So I walked down the hall and pushed open the door.
And there he lay sleeping silent alone,
Curled up on the floor in his one bedroom home.
His face so gentle, his room in such disorder,
Not how I pictured a United States soldier.
Was this the hero of whom I’d just read?
Curled up in his poncho, a floor for his bed?
His head was clean shaven, his weathered face tan,
I soon understood this was more than a man.
For I realized the families that I saw that night
Owed their lives to these men who were willing to fight.
Soon ‘round the world, the children would play,
And grownups would celebrate on a bright Christmas day.
They all enjoyed freedom each month of the year,
Because of soldiers like this one lying here.
I couldn’t help wonder how many lay alone
On a cold Christmas Eve in a land far from home.
Just the very thought brought a tear to my eye,
I dropped to my knees and started to cry.
The soldier awakened and I heard a rough voice,
"Santa don’t cry, this life is my choice;
I fight for freedom, I don’t ask for more,
my life is my God, my country, my Corps."
With that he rolled over and drifted off into sleep,
I couldn’t control it, I continued to weep.
I watched him for hours, so silent and still,
I noticed he shivered from the cold night’s chill.
So I took off my jacket, the one made of red,
And I covered this Soldier from his toes to his head.
And I put on his T-shirt of gray and black,
With an eagle and an Army patch embroidered on back.
And although it barely fit me, I began to swell with pride,
And for a shining moment, I was United States Army deep inside.
I didn’t want to leave him on that cold dark night,
This guardian of honor so willing to fight.
Then the soldier rolled over, whispered with a voice so clean and pure,
"Carry on Santa, it’s Christmas Day, all is secure."
One look at my watch, and I knew he was right,
Merry Christmas my friend, and to all a good night!
Origins: This piece, which sees wide circulation every Christmastime, is generally credited to "a Marine stationed in Okinawa, Japan" (or, since 11 September 2001, "a Marine stationed in Afghanistan"). More specifically, the poem is often attributed to an Air Force Lieutenant Colonel named Bruce Lovely, who purportedly penned it on Christmas Eve 1993 while stationed in Korea (and saw it printed under his name in the Ft. Leavenworth Lamp a few years later):
I arrived in Korea in Jul 93 and was extremely impressed with the commitment of the soldiers I worked with and those that were prepared to give their lives to maintain the freedom of South Korea. To honor them, I wrote the poem and went around on Christmas Eve and put it under the doors of US soldiers assigned to Yongsan.
This attribution does a great disservice to the poem's true author, James M. Schmidt, who was a Lance Corporal stationed in Washington, D.C., when he wrote the poem back in 1986. As Corporal Schmidt told us in December 2002:
The true story is that while a Lance Corporal serving as Battalion Counter Sniper at the Marine Barracks 8th & I, Washington, DC, under Commandant P.X. Kelly and Battalion Commander D.J. Myers [in 1986], I wrote this poem to hang on the door of the Gym in the BEQ. When Colonel Myers came upon it, he read it and immediately had copies sent to each department at the Barracks and promptly dismissed the entire Battalion early for Christmas leave. The poem was placed that day in the Marine Corps Gazette, distributed worldwide and later submitted to Leatherneck Magazine.
Schmidt's original version, entitled "Merry Christmas, My Friend," was published in Leatherneck (Magazine of the Marines) in December 1991, a full two years before it was supposedly "written" by someone else on Christmas Eve 1993 (and had appeared in the Barracks publication Pass in Review four years before it was printed in Leatherneck).
As Leatherneck wrote of the poem's author in 2003:
"Merry Christmas, My Friend" has been a holiday favorite among "leatherneckphiles" for nearly the time it takes to complete a Marine Corps career. Few, however, know who wrote it and when. Former Corporal James M. Schmidt, stationed at Marine Barracks, Washington, D.C., pounded it out 17 years ago on a typewriter while awaiting the commanding officer's Christmas holiday decorations inspection . . . while other leathernecks strung lights for the Barracks' annual Christmas decoration contest, Schmidt contributed his poem to his section.
Over the years the text of "Merry Christmas, My Friend" has been altered to change Marine-specific wording into Army references (including the title: U.S. Marines do not refer to themselves as "soldiers") and to incorporate line-ending rhyme changes necessitated by those alterations.
We reproduce below Corporal Schmidt's version as printed in Leatherneck back in 1991:
Merry Christmas, My Friend
Twas the night before Christmas, he lived all alone,
In a one bedroom house made of plaster & stone.
I had come down the chimney, with presents to give
and to see just who in this home did live
As I looked all about, a strange sight I did see,
no tinsel, no presents, not even a tree.
No stocking by the fire, just boots filled with sand.
On the wall hung pictures of a far distant land.
With medals and badges, awards of all kind,
a sobering thought soon came to my mind.
For this house was different, unlike any I'd seen.
This was the home of a U.S. Marine.
I'd heard stories about them, I had to see more,
so I walked down the hall and pushed open the door.
And there he lay sleeping, silent, alone,
Curled up on the floor in his one-bedroom home.
He seemed so gentle, his face so serene,
Not how I pictured a U.S. Marine.
Was this the hero, of whom I’d just read?
Curled up in his poncho, a floor for his bed?
His head was clean-shaven, his weathered face tan.
I soon understood, this was more than a man.
For I realized the families that I saw that night,
owed their lives to these men, who were willing to fight.
Soon around the Nation, the children would play,
And grown-ups would celebrate on a bright Christmas day.
They all enjoyed freedom, each month and all year,
because of Marines like this one lying here.
I couldn’t help wonder how many lay alone,
on a cold Christmas Eve, in a land far from home.
Just the very thought brought a tear to my eye.
I dropped to my knees and I started to cry.
He must have awoken, for I heard a rough voice,
"Santa, don't cry, this life is my choice
I fight for freedom, I don't ask for more.
My life is my God, my country, my Corps."
With that he rolled over, drifted off into sleep,
I couldn't control it, I continued to weep.
I watched him for hours, so silent and still.
I noticed he shivered from the cold night's chill.
So I took off my jacket, the one made of red,
and covered this Marine from his toes to his head.
Then I put on his T-shirt of scarlet and gold,
with an eagle, globe and anchor emblazoned so bold.
And although it barely fit me, I began to swell with pride,
and for one shining moment, I was Marine Corps deep inside.
I didn't want to leave him so quiet in the night,
this guardian of honor so willing to fight.
But half asleep he rolled over, and in a voice clean and pure,
said "Carry on, Santa, it's Christmas Day, all secure."
One look at my watch and I knew he was right,
Merry Christmas my friend, Semper Fi and goodnight.
After leaving the Corps, Corporal Schmidt earned a law degree and now serves as an entertainment attorney in Los Angeles and is director of operations for a security consulting firm.
The URL for this page is http://www.snopes.com/holidays/christmas/soldier.asp
Wednesday, December 5, 2007
Aunt Maggie is at it again....
A contestant on 'Who Wants to be a Millionaire?' had reached the
plateau. If she answered the next question correctly, she would
If she answered incorrectly, she would pocket only the $64,000
money. And as she suspected it would be, the million-dollar
It was, 'Which of the following species of birds does not build
nest, but instead lays its eggs in the nests of other birds? Is
it A) the
condor; B) the buzzard; C) the cuckoo; or D) the vulture?'
The woman was on the spot. She did not know the answer. And she
doubly on the spot because she had used up her 5 0/50 Lifeline
Audience Poll Lifeline. All that remained was her Phone-a-Friend
The woman hoped she would not have to use it because ... her
well .. blond. She had no alternative She called her friend and
the question and the four choices. The blonde responded
'That's easy. The answer is C: The cuckoo.'
The contestant had to make a decision and make it fast. She
employing a reverse strategy and giving Meredith any answer
one that her friend had given her. And considering that her
friend was a
blond, that would seem to be the logical thing to do. On the
other hand -
the blond had responded with such confidence, such certitude,
contestant could not help but be persuaded.
I need an answer,' said Meredith.
Crossing her fingers, the contestant said, 'C: The cuckoo.'
'Is that your final answer?' asked Meredith.
'Yes, that is my final answer.'
Moments later, Meredith said, 'you are right that is the correct
You are now a millionaire!'
Three days later, the contestant hosted a party for her family
friends including the blond who had helped her win the million
'Jenny, I just do not know how to thank you!' said the
did you happen to know the right answer?'
'Oh, come on,' said the blond. 'Everybody knows that cuckoos
nests. They live in clocks.'
thanks Aunt Mag
Tuesday, December 4, 2007
But just in case he thinks I forgot -----
HAPPY BIRTHDAY BUDDY - I LOVE YOU!!!!!
there, I said it, now he knows!