Friday, July 11, 2008


that's the theme for this edition of Brenda Photo Challenge (hosted this time by Karen). I had some really good ideas about what to do, but then my camera and I had some issues (i.e., operator errors) that prevented me from taking some wonderful 4th of July photos that would have been perfect for this particular challenge. So I've decided to veer a little bit off the traditional Red, White & Blue color route I had intended to take. Instead, I will post these 3 photos. They truly do speak to what "patriotism" means to me, personally.
First off, here's a picture of the inside of a cabinet door from our house in Florida: This door represented a lifeline for me right after 9/11. (Ignore the icky looking stuff around the edges of the door. That's just glaze from where I had faux finished the outside of the cabinets - and was too lazy to finish the inside of them, too). On October 10, 2001, my husband Randey and my son Nicholas, both deployed together to the middle east. Randey was an Air Force Reservist serving as crew chief on C-130's at the time. He and his unit were activated immediately following 9/11. Nicholas was (and is) an active duty member of the Air Force and a loadmaster on the C-130's. Randey worked on the aircraft that Nicholas flew on. Both of their units were in Special Ops, operating from the same home base and both units sent forces overseas in response to the attacks against us here on American soil. They left on that day, October 10, 2001, after being told in an outbriefing that perhaps as many as 60% of them would not be returning. They were going to the frontlines in this war to an undisclosed location and would be in a communication blackout for an undetermined amount of time. I've never been more scared in my entire life. My husband and my oldest son...both headed to war. I thanked God everyday that at least they were together. I knew that Randey would do everything in his power to make sure that the aircraft carrying my son in and out of battle would be in as good a shape as possible. I knew that Randey would take care of Nick and I knew that Nick would take care of Randey. Knowing those two could support each other and hold each other up was the only thing that got me thru that dark and scary time. Every day, I would get up and make another mark on that cabinet door so that I could keep track of the days without them. And then something wonderful happened. On the 27th day of their deployment, Nick was allowed to call home. I cried like a baby after I talked to him. It was the first word I'd heard from either of them in almost 4 weeks. So I put a star above that day's mark to commemorate the occasion of his phone call. I did the same thing every day that he was allowed to call. Nick got to make morale calls, but Randey didn't. Not yet, anyway. But that was okay because Nick told me how Randey was doing and could pass messages to Randey for me. Finally, on the 42nd day, the phone rang, I answered and it was Randey. I cried and cried and cried. He couldn't hardly talk to me because I couldn't stop blubbering long enough to hear what he was saying. That first "hello" from him was pure heaven to me. It had been so long. It felt like it had been forever - who knew 6 weeks could feel like a lifetime? On that day, and every day thereafter that Randey was allowed to call, I circled that day's mark in red. I lived for those phone calls. I was a maniac whenever the phone would ring - scared to death I would miss one of their calls. It was a tense time in our lives (how's that for a bit of an understatement)! At long last, 64 whole days after they'd left, on December 12, 2001, they both returned home. My heroes. They had gone off to defend our country, to keep us safe and to do what needed to be done. They were part of the first wave. And they had finally come home. Sixty-four days doesn't seem that long, really. But it is when your country is suddenly thrust into war and your family members are shipped off to the frontlines of that war. Under those circumstances, 64 days can feel like an eternity. Trust me. I couldn't bring myself to paint over the inside of that cabinet door when we moved. I know the new owners of the house have probably done so, but I just could not do it. Looking at it reminded me of too much.
So... what does it look like when your heroes return home on a C-130? Just like this: The crew raises an American flag out of the aircraft as they taxi in...all the family and friends stand back behind a line, waiting for that aircraft to stop and release those that you hold so dear. It seemed like it took forever on that day in December of '01 for them to deplane and get over to us. At long last, I saw 2 of the most precious faces on the planet to me, Randey and Nicholas, safe again. I don't have a picture of that, though. I was too busy running across that line to hug them.
For my 3rd "Patriotism" picture, I kind of cheated a bit. I took a picture of a part of a scrapbook page I had done. It's regarding the movie "World Trade Center".

I think you may be able to click on the picture to enlarge. but if not, here's what it says:

On September 9, 2006, we went to see the movie "World Trade Center". It was the most profound experience I've ever had in a movie theater. This movie reminded me why our country is at war and why this war on terror is the right thing to do. I had already forgotten some of the emotion I had experienced on 9/11. The sadness, the ache, the fear, the pride, the bewilderment, the resolve - all those feelings had sort of been pushed to the back of my mind. This movie brought them all rushing back for me. I was a little ashamed that I had already forgotten so much. I was glad to be reminded. Watching this movie was a wonderful experience. It was good to feel the sadness and the resolve and all those things in between again. I'm proud to be an American. It's a blessing that I don't ever want to take for granted. I hope everyone sees this movie and I hope it touches them as it did me.

The feelings I felt on 9/11 and the days following were the purest form of patriotism I've ever experienced. The way our country pulled together - it was awe-inspiring to live it, to breathe it, to be a part of it. It pains me now to watch politicians tear America apart with their decisive rhetoric. It's one thing to question the war, to question our leaders, to question our's something else entirely to do it strictly in the interest of gaining power. When America goes to the polls this November, I hope we don't just vote. I hope we think first. And then vote.

From Beast (aka: the Truck) to Beauty (aka: the Car)

I mentioned in my last post that Randey had gotten a wild hair and decided that we needed a new car. I didn't post a picture of it, though, because geez,'s just a car. Who cares what it looks like, right? Well, apparently, Nicholas cares what it looks like and since he's deployed to parts unknown but will hopefully have occasional access to the blog world, I'm going to post 2 pictures of our new car just for him. First, though, I have to show Randey and his truck...ah, parting is such sweet sorrow, eh? Randey actually kind of wanted to trade in our other car, the Vibe, for a new one. But the Vibe gets great gas mileage so that just wasn't going to work for me. So the deal was, if he really, really, really felt like a new car was in order, then his truck was going to be the vehicle that had to go. As it turns out, I guess he really did want a new car because he agreed. Go figure. Anyway, I darn near had to wipe his tears away after he cleaned the Dodge out at the dealership. Me? I was kind of glad to see it go. Randey had that stupid, loud, immature and annoying Flowmaster muffler system on the beast so everytime you started it up, it sounded like you were at the drag races. Hated it. But, bless his little heart, he loved it and bid it farewell with only a hint of the heartache I'm sure he was suffering (blah, blah, blah, blah). And here's what he traded it for. It's a Honda Accord. It's okay - nothing fancy, pretty good gas mileage, though, and I can plug my IPod into it and hear it thru the car speakers. What more could you ask for in a car? lol

So there, Nick - how do you like the car? Can't wait for you to come home at Christmas and drive it. By the way, it comes with some little adapter thingy in the backseat for installing children's carseats. (That's so Kara can go shopping with Granny when she visits! I can put her carseat in securely without resorting to a tech manual - like the kind I needed with Maddy's car seat! Cool, huh?lol)

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Not enough hours in the day....

Hey everyone! Thought I'd better make the time to do a post before you thought I'd forsaken blogging (again). lol Things around here have been crazy - I got a wild hair and decided to redo our bedroom and Randey got a wild hair and decided that we needed a new car. (My wild hair set us back considerably less than his did!) I've been painting our bedroom for what seems like forever, although I guess the actual painting only took 2 days. I've been adjusting bedding and swapping out blankets and lamps and everything else for about 3 days. And curtains! I can't even begin to discuss curtains right now. Just you wait until I do a post about them, though! Curtain manufacturers are NOT nice and/or smart people. Nor can they measure worth a flip. But we'll talk more on that at a later time. For now, I'll show you what I've been doing. Our room went from this color scheme: to this one:
I'm pretty sure I like it, but it'll take some time to get used to. It feels lighter and cooler than the old look did - and I'm all about feeling cooler. (Have I mentioned my aversion to hot weather???). You can see the new nightstands in this picture, too. See? Not one single ass in sight!
Now on to some serious bragging...I recently won 2, count 'em 2, giveaways. I'm feeling pretty lucky about that - I may just head to Vegas this month (HA!). First, I won Mary's giveaway for naming her "new cat" (I picked the name "Basil", which just struck me as funny for some reason). This is what I got:
I love, love, love the "sailing" bag - I know I'll get some good use out of that and the broaches are just lovely (made my Sarah, Mary's daughter). The white Battenburg lace style cloth in the bottom right corner has actually come in handy already. I managed to buy the world's brightest alarm clock for my side of the bed (hey - it was blue and it matched. Who knew you could land an aircraft with the stupid thing?!). Anyway, at night I drape that cloth over the front of my alarm clock to "mute" the brightness. And (and this is a big one!) it's pretty enough that I can leave it out on my nightstand during the day. Thank you, Mary, for doing this wonderful giveaway and thank you, Sarah, for making the broaches AND for mailing the package!!
Then just last week, I won Lynne's giveaway, which was a copy of this book:
I cannot wait to get busy reading it. I just finished the 3 Stephanie Meyer books (Twilight, New Moon and Eclipse) and I'm starting The Notebook (N. Sparks) that my daughter-in-law gave me for Christmas (I'm lagging behind, I know) and then I will be reading The Book of Bright Ideas. I think I've got lots of good reading ahead of me.
I wanted to share this little item with you guys, too. When we went to Montana last month, Randey's niece (and my friend!) Dawn gave me one of these:

It's a wickless candle burning system called Scentsy. It contains a little light bulb that melts bars of wax as it heats up - the wax, of course, is scented and as it melts, it releases the most wonderful aromas into the air. I've had things like this before, but the wax bars from this company are really quite aromatic and give off a great scent that lasts a good long while. If you're reading this Dawn, I just want to thank you again and tell you I have truly enjoyed my Scentsy!

I also want to thank Jayme for the beautiful 4th of July greeting card she made (shown on the left side of the picture below). I love Jayme's cards. They make me smile everytime I get one and I love keeping them out for company to look at. I also got a sweet card from Lynne when she sent The Book of Bright Ideas to me (pictured center). I love getting cards - nothing says "Hey - I thought about you today" like getting a nice card in the mail. I also got THE cutest card from Joan today (thanks, Joan!) which isn't pictured here because I took this picture last night before I got it (which just goes to show that trying to be efficient doesn't always pay off. I should have waited a day!) lol). I really wish I'd waited now because the card is so funny. I hope to use the picture on a future post soon, though. The third card pictured below is from an anonymous neighbor. This neighbor, whomever she may be, left us this sweet card in our mailbox because she wanted to tell us that she liked the "flag lights" Randey hung on the fence for the 4th of July. She said she thought they looked awesome and she appreciated the effort. How nice is that? It really made our week to read this. Randey was especially pumped up about it - he's the one who put the lights up so he was pleased to know that his efforts had been recognized (by someone outside the house, that is). Sweet neighbor, huh?
Now - I guess I should mention who won my giveaway, shouldn't I? I drew the name on Saturday, the 5th, I just didn't get a chance to post it! I'm so sorry about that. (Note to Self: Never start painting a bedroom until you have everything else caught up and finished.) Anywho - the winner is VEE! Yay, Vee! I'll get your package off in the mail right away! Thank you all for entering and, more importantly, thank you for sharing your lives with me. Blogging has opened up a whole new world - a world that I have enjoyed more than I can possibly say. Which brings me to a point I should have made when I posted about my "Blog-iversary" a week or so ago; thank you, Aunt Sandi for getting me started with blogging. I never, ever would have done it, but for you. I thought it was kind of silly for me to even start a blog, although I sure did enjoy reading yours. And then I did start one and one thing led to another and now look where I am...sticking my nose into dozens of other people's lives on a daily basis and enjoying the fool out of myself while doing it. lol Thanks for getting me started - it's been a blast!

P.S. Thanks to everyone for their kind words about my beautiful son, Nicholas, deploying again. I'm not too good at talking about it while he's gone, though. I do better if I pretend it's just not happening. (Picture me sitting in a corner somewhere with my fingers in my ears, singing "la,la,la,la,la,la" at the top of my lungs - that's what I will be "mentally" doing until he gets back.) But thank you, all the same, for writing of your appreciation of his service. It means the world to us.