Monday, May 28, 2007

Day of Remembrance

To those whose lives ended in a foreign land,
fighting against tyranny, injustice and others like yourselves,
we say thank you and bow our heads in remembrance.

To those who enlisted because that's what Americans do,
to those who fought because it was the right thing to do,
we say thank you and bow our heads in remembrance.

To those whose children only know them as a picture,
whose parents, siblings and spouses grow old without you,
we say thank you and bow our heads in remembrance.

To those whose high school graduation picture
forever marks your age at your death,
we say thank you and bow our heads in remembrance.

To those who fought wars of ideology,
without agreeing or knowing what they were fighting for,
we say thank you and bow our heads in remembrance.

To those whose memories and lives were pushed aside
because the American public disagreed with foreign policy,
we say thank you and bow our heads in remembrance.

To those who we spat upon and thrown out on the streets,
who lost your families, homes, dignity and self-respect,
we ask your forgiveness, say thank you and bow our heads in remembrance.

To those who wake up in the night,
screaming, sweating and in fear,
we say thank you and bow our heads in remembrance.

To those who left as one person,
and returned as someone else,
we say thank you and bow our heads in remembrance.

To those who left as strong, independent young people,
and returned without limbs, with a broken body and soul,
we say thank you and bow our heads in remembrance.

To those who left as intelligent and cultured young people,
and returned not able to sign your name or tie your shoe,
we say thank you and bow our heads in remembrance.

To the old men who bowed under the weight of freedom,
to the old women who cared for them when they returned,
to the young men and women who left loved ones,
to the young men and women who never returned,
we say thank you and bow our heads in remembrance.

Please remember to observe a minute of silence at 3:00pm. If you have children, please explain to them the purpose of this day. Our military deserves to be honored, respected and remembered for their sacrifice for America.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Inexplicable happiness

I woke up happy. Incredibly happy. Happier than I ever remember actually being. After having suffered from depression for more than 20 years I woke up this morning and felt like I was really alive and really feeling and for the first time, really happy. And it only got better. The weather is beautiful. I read Jay's (kill the goat) blog about summer memories and it got me thinking about all the great summers I've had, all the great memories and how I want to recreate those with my family some day. And I can't quit smiling. My husband gets back on Tuesday. Yesterday I got groceries and did one load of laundry. I bought Dr. Pepper and ice cream because my husband loves those things. Even though I don't really like ice cream (it makes me cold, and yes, I know that's the point) I found some amazing ice cream that I couldn't put down. I think I ate a whole cup (usually I only eat three or four spoonfuls). Today, to get ready for my husband's return, I will finish my afghan (only about 2 hours. Crocheting is addictive!) and read all the magazines laying around. In my infinite wisdom, I decided that two weekly magazines and one monthly wasn't enough. Now we get two weeklies and three monthlies. I love reading magazines because it makes me feel smarter than everyone else, which makes me feel superior. I like feeling superior and it helps justify my plans to take over the world. Bwahahahahahahah!!!! Oh wait, that was supposed to go on my take over the world blog. Sorry about that! And I've been working, which makes me feel useful even though my paycheck will be smaller than a fourth of my husband's. And I love subbing, except for the getting up at the butt-crack of dawn part. How is anyone supposed to learn anything at 7:00am?!? As you can tell, I feel playful and happy. Happy!!!!!!!!!! Happy!!!!!!!! Happy!!!!!!!!!

Life is good.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Here I am!!!!

I'm not dead nor am I depressed. I've been busy. Wes came back late Friday night. On Saturday we, um, "hung out" all day. Yeah, that's what we did. On Sunday, we went and saw his kids. Wes was thrilled to see his kids and his kids were thrilled to see him. We had a great day and discovered that Allison will be attending college on a soccer scholarship (otherwise she might not get to go). She was a natural and she has never played on a team. We played at the park and although we spent 6 1/2 hours in the car, it was well worth it.

Wes and I spent a lot of time at the botanical gardens. I bought a family membership, so hey, why not. It is beautiful out there. We breath fresh air and we get ideas for our dream yard.
These are some of the most beautiful and unique flowers I've ever seen. Does anyone know what they are?
It took forever to get this picture of a spider. Wes HATES spiders.
My parents also came to visit this past weekend. We took them to the botanical gardens too.
Yes, I was that close to the above turtle.

I love this picture because you can actually see the water on the lily pad. You can also see how clear the pond was and the clouds reflections.

Wes also got me a birthday present last week (he was in Africa for my birthday). He got me wonderful binoculars for bird watching. Thanks to them the Bald Eagles at the botanical gardens were very clear and I saw a new bird at the beach with my parents. I love them. Unfortunately, Wes went back to the ship on Saturday, but he will only be gone for 10 days. Things are good and I'm loving the weather here. I hope everyone has been as good as I've been doing.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Working girl

I worked on Thursday!!! It was less than 2 hours but it was work. It was wonderful. The kids loved me. Then, I got a call to work on Friday. All day. In the gifted class. So I worked all day yesterday. I only had two more kids all of yesterday than I did Thursday. The teacher didn't even leave me an attendance sheet. It was extremely casual. But I worked. And I will get a paycheck. It will be small, but at least it will cover my car's registration for the next two years.

The house is a mess. I was going to clean it yesterday but then I worked. Wes showed up last night at 11:00pm. He was supposed to get home this evening. I was going to clean today. And get groceries. He doesn't care that the house is a mess or that there is no food in the house. And since he has thrown a ton of stuff all over the place, maybe it's ok I didn't clean. It was so nice to see him. This morning when I woke up I just poked him to make sure he was real. He is. I get him for a whole week before he has to leave again. It will be a great week.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Disease and History

As I was trying to figure out what I wanted to read next I stumbled across this book sitting on my shelf, Disease and History by Frederick F. Cartwright in collaboration with Michael D. Biddiss. I decided to give it a try. It is an older book (early 1970s) so some of the terminology is outdated (VD for STD and such) and Cartwright is not a historian proper, but a historian of medicine. This is evident in some of the writing when he appears to jump from one date/subject/place to another in discussion of the same disease without necessarily telling us that he is jumping from date/subject/place to another. However, I have to admit I found much of the book fascinating and actually wanted more details and accounts of disease.

I found the first four chapters to be the most interesting and the most useful. In the first chapter Cartwright discusses diseases and medicine in the ancient world--during the Greek and Roman times. His ability to take seemingly mundane descriptions of disease and discuss possible diagnosis and where the disease may have first started and how it spread is quite remarkable. The second chapter deals with the most famous of all European disease disasters: the Black Death. Rather than just pointing out how many people died and therefore how that changed history, he discusses the effect that the loss of labor caused in England and thus its evolution from the feudal system centuries before the rest of Europe. He also mentions that European Christians tended to blame the Jews for the Black Death and thus pushed them out of Western Europe (where most of them lived) to Eastern Europe. This move, as we know, had its own ramifications in the 20th century. The third chapter discusses syphilis. Syphilis is often mentioned in histories of the Russian peasantry, but I had never read a satisfactory explanation of how it was spread (non-sexually) or where it had come from. Cartwright answered all these questions for me. For that reason, this was the most fascinating chapter for me. He discusses how a disease can change forms when moving from one environment to another and how this occurs. The fourth chapter discusses Napoleon's invasion of Russia and how typhus (not to be confused with typhoid fever, which I didn't know was something different) decimated Napoleon's army before he even got to Russia. He also pointed out that Napoleon's character also contributed to bad decision making with further reduced his Grand Army.

The next two chapters deal with the unexplored (to Europe) sections of the world: the Americas and Africa. These chapters were also interesting, but less so. This is probably because I knew more about this topic than the other topics.

Chapter 7, Queen Victoria and the Fall of the Russian Monarchy, was wholly unconvincing to me. Hemophilia in the only male heir to the throne presented some problems. However, I think Cartwright simplifies the situation, claiming that if Alexis could have ruled (which he couldn't because of his hemophilia) than the Bolsheviks could have never taken power. Yeah, not quite that simple.

Chapter 8 began with a very interesting account of Joan of Arc and possible medical conditions that could have caused her visions. However, the rest of the chapter, titled Mass Suggestion, focused on Hitler's Germany. Cartwright is correct in stating that mass suggestion played an important role in Hitler's Germany, but I didn't feel that this issue really had a place in the larger context of this book.

The final chapter discusses side-effects of prescription drugs and pollution. I didn't actually read all of it because I get enough of that elsewhere. And also because his information is now outdated.

All in all, I enjoyed this book and found it very informative. It presented a whole new way to investigate history and if used, could open up new solutions to historical situations that remain a mystery, or complicate known historical facts.

Monday, May 07, 2007

round and round we go

I had a great long blog all typed up and then the computer ate it. Stupid computer. So here's the recap because I don't feel like retyping everything. I finally got my first subbing job on Thursday. The navy is flying Wes across the ocean to get on a ship for 10 days as it sails back across the ocean home. A great use for taxpayer money. I'm going to try to be more positive like my husband and let the negativity and depression go. The original blog was much longer, but I need to clean my filthy house.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007


I just realized that my last post was my 400th post. Cool.

I wanted to start working this week, but apparently no teachers are sick. Instead of sitting at home and feeling sorry for myself, I thought, "hey, the weather is beautiful and I have a membership to the botanical gardens." So that's what I did. And it was a great choice.

There was a Great Egret.

There were a ton of turtles.

The weather was so beautiful that this guy was even out.

And of course, the cute little baby goose.
It was a good day.