Friday, July 29, 2005

OK Everyone, Help Me Celebrate!!!

I just got the news today....I am now a Certified Construction Financial Professional. 

Yep, Ms. Kris, CCFP.

Remember that horrific exam I took May 14?  The four hour one that I spent two months studying for and whined consistantly about for the entire time?

  ***I PASSED!!!!***

I'd like to say thank you to all the important people, the ones who cheered me on and knew I could do it, even when I didn't:

Aileen, Jude, Ahndreah, Le, Louie, Emily, Kayla, Kat, Miss Mikethdawg ... let me know if I forgot anyone...I feel like I'm accepting a Grammy or something. 

Now I get to have letters after my name, and people will trust that I know what I'm talking about.

I DID IT!!!  Now all that's left is graduating, followed by that darned CPA exam! 

....heading home to celebrate with that bottle of wine we've been saving.  Dang this feels so good, I had to share.

Happy Friday!!!

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Happiness is...

Every once in a while I feel the need to do what I call an inventory.  The kind where you stop and think about how great life really is.  I haven't done one in awhile, so here it goes.  I'm so happy my sunflowers finally popped up, AND THAT THE HORSE DIDN'T DESTROY THEM ALL!!

~~~~~

Crazy how the littlest things can make you smile or bring you joy...

Like ... sunflowers

Or ... a handmade card from your children

Or ... seducing your steering wheel with the song "Don't Cha" by the Pussycat Dolls.  I just love that song!!

Dont cha wish your girlfriend was hot like me
Dont cha wish your girlfriend was a freak like me
Dont cha, dont cha
Dont cha wish your girlfriend was raw like me
Dont cha wish your girlfriend was fun like me

Or ... realizing one of your very best friends in the whole world is your teenaged daughter (how cool is that??)

Or ... finally hitting the pillow after a wicked day, and realizing just how comfy it is

Or ... hearing your little girl's voice on the phone while you're at work

Or ... waking up and realizing you still have two more hours of sleep - or even better yet... that its SATURDAY!!

Or ... sliding into jeans that haven't fit in years

Or ... realizing how many great friends you have - you guys are so awesome!

Or ... hearing from a friend who's been MIA for awhile

Or ... having a conversation with your little brother - I miss you tons, B

Or ... how it makes you feel that your little dogs are so freaking happy to see you each and every time you come in the door, even if  you only left 10 seconds ago

Or ... slipping into that warm bath

Or... lighting that lavender candle in your room, after saving it for way too long

Or ... finally finishing a painting that's been gathering dust for (you guessed it) way too long

Or...stopping and looking back at how far you've come, and realizing it really was worth the trip.

 

Feel free to add more!! (I know I will be...)

 

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Sigh!

This is where we spent last Saturday.  I wish I was there now.  There's something about the sound of water, the smell of the forest, the cool breeze messing up my hair...and its only an hour from Albuquerque.

Meet my new happy place.

*****

I've recently started "conversating" again with someone I've missed terribly...its like sliding into a warm bath.  Everything just clicked again, all the bad feelings are gone...its as if we'd never grown apart.  Forgiveness is a remarkable thing, when it can be complete. 

Thank you for not giving up on my sorry butt, thanks for allowing me back in (even if it was disguised using a lame method of re-entry).  I've sure missed you. You know who you are. 

NO I'M NOT TALKING ABOUT DIET COKE, but admittedly those feelings are similar.

*****

Home ownership is such a joy.  This year we've lost a furnace, had electrical problems, pipe leaks, well pumps have given up the ghost, and now our water heater quit.  We called the wonderful people at the Public Service Company of New Mexico for help, and they promptly red tagged our gas line until we have repairs made by a licensed plumber at $100 per hour.

Yanno, the water's not really that cold...

*****

Since my company has moved to its new location, we've had wildlife living in our front yard.  Our little mascots.  A squirrel family and a rabbit family share a bush condominium - the squirrels take the top, and the bunnies dig below.  They often hang out on the porch, and don't even move or run when people approach.  They're awesome.

Well, the landlord decided to allow the lawn to die.  Albuquerque is a desert afterall, and we've discovered there really isn't an unlimited supply of agua.  Now, when you water your lawn you have to do it between certain hours of the day, and if you don't, or if you have any overflow, you get cited.  After a couple of citations, the owner made the decision to xeriscape and let the grass die.  Now we've all  (employees, postal workers, UPS girl, building owner and other visitors) been worried about our mascots.

This morning I choked back a sob to find one of our little bunnies in the road.  The squirrels have relocated.  Our mascots are gone, their little bushy condo is empty.

Sniff! 

Yeah so I'm a sap.  Its all good.

****

I'm trying to register for fall semester and *big surprise* every class I need is closed.  Right on?  Four classes left to graduate.  Four!  And I can't get into a single one.  They're all full, and they all filled within hours of posting.  (Anyone in the management school at UNM feeling my pain?  I'd love to comiserate!)

When you've been working on your undergrad degree as long as I have (12 years this August) you tend to get senioritis WAY worse than anyone else.  All I want to do is finish.  Finally.  Finish. 

The whole deferred gratification thing - I'm ready to stop deferring.  I'm ready to show my girls what perserverance can do.  I'm ready!!

My new strategy:  Wait until the tuition payment deadline when people get booted for non-payment, and steal their spots.  HA.  I'm graduating next Spring, and nothing's gonna stop me.

*****

There's my purge this fine Tuesday afternoon, in billious green no less.  Gag away.

Weather note:  Its 83 degrees, which is frigid compared to the 107/110 we had last week about this time.  Thank you, Powers That Be, for the much needed break.  May it spread quickly to Nevada, Arizona, Colorado, and especially to a cute apartment in California with no air conditioning.

Have a wonderful week!!

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Parallels, or History Repeats Itself.

Its deja vous all over again.  I have that experience constantly, where I have a very distinct dream - one I can remember perfectly - and some time later the dream replays in real life.  Yeah, so you all know how kooky I can be, but this is for real.  I dreamt about Louie's kids before I ever met them.  I dreamt about my mother leaving right before she did.  I had a dream about my grandmother dying, I had a dream about the job I had now while I was working somewhere else. 

On more than one occasion, people have told me I was tripping, so I tend to tell people now about these distinct dreams I have.  They're clearer than others for some reason, and those are the ones I share - kind of as proof that I really did dream it before it happened.  Someday I'll have to talk to Gabreael about this stuff, just so I don't feel as crazy.

So this time, the deja vous is happening in real life, (as in, I didn't dream it) with a very personal situation.  This time I can actually say "Hey, I've been through this before.  I handled it completely wrong the last time.  I know what to do now."  The problem is, I've got to summon the courage to take action.

Sometimes loving someone enough means doing something they may hate you for.  If it'll keep them safe, its worth it.  I'll never regret trying, even if it means this person won't speak to me for the rest of my life.  At least she'll be alive.  I hope she's still reading this journal.

Maybe I should add "stubborn" to my All About Me section.

*****

Those "learning experiences" I always complain about - the ones I'm so sick of having...?  Its amazing how those come in handy as you get older, kind of like how your parents make more sense as you get older.  Well, I take that back, you can understand them more as you get older. 

Anyway, you can draw on this wisdom, and if applied properly you can alter history.  How empowering is that?

Now, if we could just get our kids to understand that they don't need to have as many "learning experiences" if they'd just LISTEN TO THEIR PARENTS.

My dad once likened my teenage stupidity to a kitten.  He said it was like watching an adorable little kitten stick her paw into a light socket and get shocked, except she kept doing it.  Over and over and over again.  And no matter how many times the father cat tried to smash some sense into her brain, the kitten just wouldn't stop sticking her paw into that darned light socket.

Dang that's frustrating.

Here's hoping that one day that kitten (someone who's like a daughter to me) will get some sense shocked into it, and much like me realize its just not worth the rebellion for rebellion's sake.  You're just hurting yourself, ya big DORK.

*****

SIDENOTE:  Just so you know - that parental curse works, except the results are exponential.  My daughters are a lot like me, just to the nth degree.  Thanks, Mom & Dad.

*****

Shameless Pimp #8,758:

CarnivAOL.  Mr. Paul pimped my journal (via my own selfish request) and so now I'd like to pimp his little work of art.  Its really quite entertaining and unique the way he's put it together...please go check it out.  The next "submission call" will begin Tuesday, July 26th. 

If you'd like to submit your own masterpiece, please e-mail it to him (PLittle@aol.com).  Aren't carnivals fun??

Thanks Paul!!

(oh and thanks for your tip on the Mayor.  I liked yours best of all)

****

Shameless Pimp #8,759:

The wonderful Mrs. L pimped my little purge in a BIG way as Guest Editor of the Week, and even though I didn't make the front page, I'd still love to send her the biggest e-hug ever for even thinking about me.

Once again, I'm verclempt.

Please check her out (I'm sure most of y'all already do) because she manages to bring me a smile almost every day. 

(bald spot the size of an english muffin.  HAHAHAHA)

Now, if I could just get Miss Aileen to resurface...

*****

Happy Humpday everyone - may the rest of the work week pass quickly.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Another Crazy Adventure

Friday night, while dining on a exquisite Neo-Classico Pannini at Saggio's, I made a proclamation.  "Tomorrow, we embark on another adventure!"  My kids groaned, eyes rolled, yada yada yada.  They know all about my famous adventures, full of short cuts where we end up in the middle of nowhere.

NOT THIS TIME.  I found a MAP, and the girls and I headed up to the Jemez mountains for a semi-planned family adventure.  We picnicked by the stream, where I snapped the above pic while Emily stomped through the creek, then we explored some tunnels blown out of the cliff by loggers in the early 1900's.

Then I decided we'd go find Soda Dam, which is an all natural dam that you can climb up on, and swim in the pools below.  The dam was formed over many years, and consists mostly of calcium carbonate.  The water was COLD.  (Hot springs my butt!)

Soda Dam

Finally, we ended up at Bandelier National Monument, where people can explore ancient indian ruins.  Below is the plaza, where most of the tribal activity took place.

The girls and I climbed in and out of ancient cave dwellings, saw spectacular art work drawn and carved on walls...

What amazes me is that these people carved these caves as back rooms to the two story condominium style homes they built along the cliff wall.  Each cave had a hole carved for smoke to pass through - you could still see the smoke marks on the ceilings - and original in tact artwork.  This consisted of either carvings in the side of the cliff, or paintings of serpants, lightning, horses and faces. 

None of the condos had "doors" per se, all the dwellings were entered through hatches on the roof.  Each area had a fire pit, with vents for smoke.  Most dwellings had several rooms, and they actually seemed to be quite comfortable, even by today's standards.

We tried to imagine what life must have been like for these people, living in the beautiful valley in these well-constructed homes.  They farmed and hunted the valley for years, until resources were depleted and they were forced to move on.

On the hike back to the car, we encountered a rattlesnake.  A real life rattlesnake in his natural habitat.  We were extremely careful, gave him a LOT of room and respect, and just watched him inch up the hill.  There was no mistaking his presence, the rattle is loud!  This is going to be a little like "where's Waldo"...but I'll see if you guys can spot him in this pic.  It took me forever.  I tried to lighten his area, but its tough to tell when its small like this.

I wasn't ABOUT to get any closer to him, but how cool is that?  I've never seen one in the wild before - and this one had intense black and white coloring right under the rattle.  I was thankful he allowed us to observe him while he headed up the hill. 

Apparently we were being pretty darn respectful, because shortly afterward we encountered two squirrels that looked like they were doing the handshake like on that insurance commercial.  It was hilarious.  I'm sure they were sparring over food or something, but they still smacked the heck out of each other.  They did this for a few minutes, until they realized we were there. 

Well kiddies - There's your monthly installment of exploring New Mexico, aka Kris' Hairbrained Adventure #953.  Entertaining AND educational.  Stop rolling your eyes!

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Rare Book Review

Ever have a book that you bought with the intent to read immediately, but it ends up sitting somewhere for years?  I discovered this gem among a giant box of books in my extra room.  I estimate its been there since February 2000, when we moved into the house. 

Amy Tan had me hooked since I read The Bonesetter's Daughter a few years back.  I still haven't read The Joy Luck Club.  I know,  always read things out of order, but I've got to rave about  The Hundred Secret Senses, which was equally amazing and addictive.  I got through this book in two days - I couldn't put it down!!

This book was incredible.  One of the very few that had me physically crying tears.  I usually HATE books that do this, but by the end I was left with a happy, content feeling that I haven't been able to shake all day.

The book is about two sisters - Olivia and Kwan.  On his death bed, Olivia's father confesses to her mother that he has another child in his native China.  Olivia's mother makes a promise to bring Kwan from China and raise her as her own.  16 year old Kwan comes to live with then 6 year old Olivia, and quickly becomes her caretaker, teaching her the Chinese language and customs.  Olivia's mother is rarely around, leaving Kwan to raise her and care for her.

Olivia is often resentful of Kwan for that reason, and embarassed of her for her superstitious ways.  Kwan claims she has "yin eyes" and can communicate with the dead.  She also claims she can remember past lives, and tells Olivia these stories constantly.  Kwan's loyalty and devotion to Olivia never fail, despite Olivia's spoiled, cold reaction to her.

Olivia, along with Kwan and her estranged husband Simon, journey to China for a magazine assignment.  Kwan acts as their guide, taking them to her native village.  While there, Olivia goes through a tranformation, and gradually begins to accept and love Kwan, letting go of the resentment she's built up for years.

Kwan's broken English is hilarious throughout the novel, and I simply love the way Amy Tan pulls you in with her delightful prose.  Yes, I said the word delightful.  I was completely sucked in after the first few pages.

There's my book review for the year - and it wasn't about Anne Rice!!  (Will miracles ever cease.)

 

Happy Thursday!!

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Rude Mayor and WOOHOO

Mayor Chavez, photograph by Russell Maynor  

Remember me talking about the Mayor?  How I'm always backing up our "little hottie mayor", because he's done great things for our fine city???  

GET THIS.  

Today, after a public hearing at City Hall,  I met up with the little hottie mayor on my way to the parking garage.  I acknowledged him.  "Hi, Mr. Mayor".  He nodded and smiled, and took off in front of me, just a few paces.  

We get to the first exit door, and he lets it slam in my face.  I was miffed, but I figured he probably didn't realize I was right behind him, so I forgive him.  After all, he is the little hottie mayor who's done such great things for our fine city.  

We approach the second exit door, which is down a corredor with a ceramic tile floor.  This time I'm sure he realizes I'm right behind him, because of my heels going "click clack click" in my speedy little pace on the tile.  He lets it slam in my face...AGAIN.   

So I'm old fashioned.  I understand that.  But I still believe that its polite to hold doors open for all people - not just ladies, but ESPECIALLY ladies.  I realize I'm not a major financial supporter of his re-election campaign, but I'm just a lower middle class accountant.  I am however, a card WAVING democrat, who's backed his butt up on more than one occasion.  I further realize that I'm Xena the Warrior Princess in stature compared to his ... oh 5'6ness.  STILL.  I may not be dripping with diamonds, platinum or Gucci, but DARNIT I used to like this man.  I still look professional, and I have nice hair and smell good.   

Hey - none of that should matter!!  

Now - in stark contrast - his cute young male assistant who sprinted off the elevator I shared with him stopped mid-sprint down the hallway, doubled back, and made sure to wait and hold the door open for me before sprinting to the exit.   

So, I'm sitting here thinking - should I write an e-mail to the mayor and demand an explanation, should I write a letter to the editor of our paper going off about how his mama didn't teach him manners, or should I blow it off?  

My feelings are hurt.  

Am I too old fashioned?  He wasn't in a hurry, he had time to stop and address male counterparts in the parking garage and in the corridor...although I noticed today he does sort of walk like George Jefferson.  

So, help a girl out - I don't want my opinion of this once wonderful city leader to be forever tarnished by his blatant lack of respect or courtesy.  Should I let it go??  

The women I've spoken to about this have wondered out loud why I didn't either - ask him straight up why he let the door smash my nose, or beat some manners into him with the heel of my right shoe.  (And they were high heels, too!)  I don't think that I should be a jerk just because he was, and maybe, just maybe, I just don't have the huevitos to take off my shoe and tonk the Mayor on the head with it.  

No I'm not PMS-ing.  I'm curious - how would you guys have taken that?  

******  

BY THE WAY.  I lost another 3.2 lbs this week for a whopping grand total of 35 lbs GONE.  Our wonderful meeting leader gave me a necklace of 35 colored paperclips to recognize how much I've lost.  When you look at it that way, and visualize it, its really inspiring.

 ***********************************<-35!!  

Just thought I'd share.  Only 35 to go.  I'm gonna do it, too.  

Oh, and...  

WOOOHOOOOO!!!  

That'll do Kris, that'll do.

*****  

 Night!!

Fat Man Walking

One more tidbit on my awesome husband - yesterday he said the most wonderful thing to me on my way out...

"Wow - you're looking slimmer, no?"

sigh!

*****

I caught the last bit of the Today Show before I was heading out the door this morning, and saw the piece about "Fat Man Walking".  This guy plans to walk across America in an attempt to lose weight, for what he calls "rehab for the fat guy". 

What stayed with me was his comment:

"If you want to disappear in America, gain 100 pounds."

From Steve's site:

Being fat is physically and emotionally painful.  It diminishes the quality of the good things in life and it will ultimately bring about an early demise.  So being overweight darkens every good thing that you achieve in your life and even prevents some things from happening at all. 

For the last 15 years I have been slowly gaining weight and it seems that whatever I do, it just spirals ever upward. Socially, being fat is hard to deal with because I feel that am looked down upon by people even when they are not doing so maliciously. It may be human nature. You know, "survival of the fittest". Also, I feel as though I am being taken advantage of by  companies and people that want fat people to buy their latest "miracle pill" or prepackaged food that will help me lose the weight.

I've touched on this before, but one of the things I hate most about being overweight is the way you're treated by people.  I read an article in Glamour Magazine (the last issue, whatever it was) that was equally disturbing. 

An average sized woman went into several different stores and noted how she was treated by the employees at each store.  Then, she donned "fat pads" and big clothes having the effect of being around 100 lbs overweight, and the difference in treatment stunned her.  People ignored her, were rude, and one woman even made a comment questioning why she'd even shop in a store that would NEVER carry her size.  (I wish they would have printed the name of that store...)

I've been overweight for the past 8 years, ever since Kayla was born.  I've lost 60 lbs, gained it and lost it a couple more times, and now that I've found a plan that really works, I've lost 50 so far, with about 30-40 to go.  I am fully aware of how differently I'm treated being overweight versus my athletic, slim self.  What ticks me off beyond all reason is that I am exactly the same person inside, heavy or not.  Now that I'm the "incredible shrinking woman" as my friend has said, I'm noticing a distinct difference in how I'm treated now versus 50 pounds ago.

Another thing that amazes me is the lack of understanding.  I claim full responsiblity for losing control of my weight, my health and my fitness, but I didn't plan to do this.  I never made the conscious decision to let my weight get out of control.  I never planned to have severe asthma, be on months of nasty steroids, and all the rest.  Now that I'm healthier, I'm actively doing something about it, just like Steve is, but there are a few points I'd like to make.

Fat people are not all generally lazy people.  Yes, some are, but there are also underlying medical conditions, medications, genetics, etc. that contribute to that.  These conditions can cause weight gain, which in turn causes more health problems, until it spirals out of control.  As in my case, many steroid asthma medications can cause wieght gain and increased appetite.  Arthritis treatments do as well.  Thyroid conditions and medicines also can cause weight gain.  Poorly controlled medical conditions also restrict the amount of exercise one can do, ie asthma, arthritis, thyroid conditions, and chronic pain.  Depression can lead to weight gain.  Some birth control medications have been known to contribute to weight gain and increase in appetite.  There are just so many reasons people get fat - its not all laziness or eating too much.

I know I've said this before, but its worth repeating - obesity is one of the last remaining conditions where the victim is blamed for the disease.  Shoot, we don't do that to alcoholics and drug addicts, why continue to blame fat people for their condition?  Alcoholics and addicts can stop using to treat their illness, its not like fat people can stop eating. 

The rant continues...

I can't imagine what goes through people's heads to make them treat overweight people so badly.  I'm sure the same thing that goes through people's heads when they're evil to homosexuals or those who are racist, or anyone who's different than them.  Maybe its ignorance (although that's becoming a poor excuse), maybe it is human nature as Steve says, but most of all, its not right.

(rant complete)

Anyway, be sure to check out Steve's Site if you get a chance - he's got a link for a yahoo group on there so you can post supportive messages.  You can also check his route and walk with him through your area - he loves visitors to break up the monotony.  I think its a wonderful brave thing he's doing - its ended up raising awareness as well as helping him out.  He's an inspiration. 

****

On a similar thread...I once went on one single date with a jerk who said that he was appalled by an "ugly chick" who hit on him, and then even more so by a "fat chick".  His response was "how dare they go out of their league like that - they should know better".  Because apparently in his book, there was some unwritten law that only good looking people can hit on each other, and ugly/fat/average people need to stay with their own. 

That sounds frighteningly like a racist talking about interracial marriage or something.

(SIDENOTE:  I recently heard of a dating website for "pretty people only".  Apparently you submit your pic to a panel of reviewers who then decide if you meet the "pretty people" requirement.  If not, you can't post your personals ad.  LOL  If anyone finds this site, we should get together and slam them with "average" people pics - maybe that'll skew the results a bit!)

Oh!  One more memory about that same jerk - he was also disgusted by a gay guy who was checking him out at the gym.  What is it with homophobic guys who think that EVERY gay man wants them?  Clue in - you guys are NOT what they're looking for.  They're much more selective than you think. 

Amazing how you can get totally turned off by a guy in less than half an hour.  What an idiot.  In light of my earlier rant, maybe I just answered my own question. 

*****

Final thought (just because I'm a total brat)...remember when Bush said he'd fire whoever leaked the CIA identity?

Think Karl Rove'll get canned?  HAHAHAHAHA!  Now, when they're reminded of that promise, they call it "blatant partisan" politics.  I love it.

*****

OK now I'm really done - boy, I'm on a tear today, huh!

Happy Tuesday!!

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Geminis are the worst drivers...

I just read this article that said Geminis are the worst drivers.  A study done by Suncorp, out of Australia, had the following to say about us Geminis:

The number one worst drivers were Geminis, "typically described as restless, easily bored and frustrated by things moving slowly," explained Warren Duke, Suncorp's national manager of personal insurance. "They had more car accidents than any other sign."

Please.

Up until a month ago, I'd never had a moving violation.  I've never caused a serious accident.  I'm a little famous for forcing my way in during a merge situation, but that's just because New Mexico drivers refuse to allow any courtesy to merging vehicles.  You sort of have to do that here.

No, I'm not defensive.

Here's the list, from worst to best, which is hooey:

1. Gemini (not!)

2.  Taurus

3. Pisces

4. Virgo
5. Cancer
6. Aquarius
7. Aries
8. Leo
9. Libra
10. Sagittarius
11. Scorpio [and Capricorn in last position as the best drivers]

Can I just say that I work with someone in a supervisory position who is a Scorpio and not the best driver.  I have to hold on for dear life so I don't flop around the inside of the truck.  Turn signals are just a suggestion, stop signs are optional, and only weenies slow down for speed bumps.  Just saying.

My oldest daughter Emily is a Capricorn, and I can totally see where she'd be a great driver.  She's got a great big sense of responsibility, so that makes sense. 

Anyway, check it out and see what you think!

*****

Scalzi'smovie assignment, (although I'm a bit late)...

My first double date was with my parents, and we went to go see Transylvania 6-5000.  The plot summary, from the website:

"Two reporters travel to a strange castle in Transylvania to investigate the apparent reappearance of Frankenstein, and encounter such kooky creatures as the sensitive Wolfman, the horny Vampiress Odette, as well as a whole cast of other weirdos."

It had Jeff Goldblum, Geena Davis, Ed Begley, among others.  The coolest thing about that movie was the phone - it was a lizard and it made the coolest ring noise. 

Anyway, check it out if you get a chance.  Its so bad, its hilarious.

cover

*****

That's it for me this fine Sunday afternoon...

Tuesday, July 5, 2005

Look At My Lame 4th of July Pics (AKA Monday Photo Shoot)

This one's sure to bore Joe to tears.  Ask me if I care.  Out of 2,984 shots, that was the best fireworks pic.  How's that for pathetic?!?  (more below)

Our Hard Hats for Heroes event ended up raising a little over $72,000.  I'd consider that a success.  AND I got my 1.5 milliseconds of fame with a little 10PM news interview.  I didn't look that bad, either.  I was amazed.  What was funny is that my boss ended up on the same little clip, even though he was outside working the Wal-Mart collecting money while I was in the cool air conditioned office counting it.  My television debut, and if you blinked, you missed it! 

I'd still like to encourage everyone to google "Operation Home Front" and see if there are similar needs in your community.  This program bridges the gap between civilian and active duty pay for reservists and guards who are called to duty.  Its something we can do from here, and it benefits people who are dying on our behalf daily.  Did I mention it was tax free with zero administrative costs?  (No I still don't agree with this ridiculous war, but that doesn't mean I don't care about the brave souls that have been deployed.)

Ok more lousy pics:

Here's a little better one of the glow, although just a little out of focus... (Just a little!!)

Our very expensive tricentennial blah blah City of Albuquerque balloon inflating...

This one, taken with Andrea in mind....

And the best one of all....

I thought I'd leave you with this little piece a friend of mine told me about today, from the late great Red Skelton:

As a schoolboy, one of Red Skelton's teachers explained the words and meaning of the Pledge of Allegiance to his class. Skelton later wrote down, and eventually recorded, his recollection of this lecture.

I - - Me; an individual; a committee of one.

Pledge - - Dedicate all of my worldly goods to give without self-pity.

Allegiance - - My love and my devotion.

To the Flag - - Our standard; Old Glory ; a symbol of Freedom; wherever she waves there is respect, because your loyalty has given her a dignity that shouts, Freedom is everybody's job.

United - - That means that we have all come together.

States - - Individual communities that have united into forty-eight great states. Forty-eight individual communities with pride and dignity and purpose. All divided with imaginary boundaries, yet united to a common purpose, and that is love for country.  (NOTE FROM KRIS:  its obviously 50 now)

And to the Republic - - Republic--a state in which sovereign power is invested in representatives chosen by the people to govern. And government is the people; and it's from the people to the leaders, not from the leaders to the people.

For which it stands

One Nation - - One Nation--meaning, so blessed by God.

Indivisible - - Incapable of being divided.

With Liberty - - Which is Freedom; the right of power to live one's own life, without threats, fear, or some sort of retaliation.

And Justice - - The principle, or qualities, of dealing fairly with others.

For All - - For All--which means, boys and girls, it's as much your country as it is mine.

And now, boys and girls, let me hear you recite the Pledge of Allegiance:

I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic, for which it stands; one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

--Red Skelton

Something we the people as well as our leaders should take note of. 

I hope everyone had a fantastic, safe, somewhat uneventful holiday.

Happy Tuesday!!