Saturday, May 27, 2006


I was listening to the radio in the car the other day. They were talking about Memorial Day...but all they talked about was how it marked the beginning of summer and all the wonderful sales going on all weekend......what the heck?!?! When did Memorial Day turn into a celebration of the beginning of summer? When did people choose to forget about our fallen troops?? We're in the middle of a war, and still, people forget the true meaning of this day. What has to happen to make people remember??? It's such a small thing. All we need to do is remember them...remember them and honor them...not because they died, but because of who they were and what they did for all of us.

Here's to all of our fallen troops...all heroes...may they rest in peace knowing that they will not be forgotten. Some of us will always remember...always...

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Mixed up feelings

I was trying to tell a friend about my mixed up feelings today...but it's hard to explain them to someone else when you don't completely understand them yourself.

Seth has a relatively safe, but important, job in Iraq that he enjoys, but it keeps him from going out on missions most of the time...which frustrates him to no end. I think most mothers understand how their sons can feel this way. We've all been through their broken bones from jumping off a roof or out of a tree...or the stitches from climbing a chain-link fence with the points sticking up at the top...or the dislocated and broken toes from doing wheelies on a three-wheeler without brakes...yeah, okay, that was all Seth...... :) There's just something about that rush of adrenalin that makes their day. I've always understood that guys need that. But I think most mothers would be thrilled that their son was in a safe place...and I am...but...

That being said...we heard from Seth that he got to go out on a mission this weekend. He sent us alot of pictures that he took while he was out and a picture that was taken of him in his full battle gear. That picture, of course, has been forwarded to my dad, the Marine. Now, maybe it's my upbringing (all those war stories), or maybe it's just the fact that I want my boys to be happy and do what they love to do...but I was absolutely thrilled to hear that he had gotten to go on that mission...and I hope he gets to go on more missions. I know it's dangerous out there, but I also know how badly he wants to go out.

So my question is...does this make sense? I want him to be safe, yet I want him to be able to go out on missions at the same time. Talk about mixed up!! Am I the only one who feels that way???

Wednesday, May 17, 2006


Last week was a bad week for me. I was on the verge of tears every day and don't know why...just one of those weeks, I guess. Everything eventually came to a head on Friday afternoon when I got a call from Katie. I won't go into details here, but we had a bit of a scare that you can read about on her blog. I would have lost it completely that day if not for a certain friend. He came to the rescue by calming my fears and making me laugh inspite of my tears. Yeah, you know who you are...thanks...... :)

Anyway, after last week, I decided it was time for a much lighter post, so I decided to write about my trip to Paris. Now this isn't going to be your typical post about Paris, not the kind you'd expect anyway. Au contrere, mon amies, I am going to talk about one of my most memorable experiences. Sure, the cobblestone streets were beautiful and the old architecture was grand and the monuments were breathtaking, but there was so much more to it than that...there was the totally unexpected..... :)

We walked our butts off all week, covering miles of convention floor talking to people until the day before we came home. That morning was reserved for sightseeing. We left the hotel early and went in search of a "real" breakfast...not easy to find in Paris. They eat continental-style breakfasts that consist of a tiny cup of espresso and a baggette (pastry). Well, after a week of that, this Texan wanted something more substantial, like eggs and meat. We finally found a little cafe that served real breakfasts, but the cook didn't come in until 0800, so we had to wait 20 minutes. We sat at a table on the sidewalk outside and watched the Parisiens hoofing it to work...and believe me, they hoof it. Even using the transit system involves lots of walking...from metro (subway) stations to train stations with multi-levels of trains going in different directions...and then standing up for a 30 minute train ride to your destination. I know why I didn't see any really obese people over there...the walking keeps the pounds off. I swear, we walked 5 to 10 miles every day. That and the fact that the only snack I ever saw anyone eating was bread. Yeah, all the Frenchies carried a loaf of bread with them. You'd see the loaves in sacks under their arms, sticking out the top of a backpack, hanging out of a purse, in a shopping get the idea. And people would just tear off a chunk and eat it whenever and wherever they got hungry.

Anyway, back to breakfast. While we sat there watching people rush to work and school, we couldn't help but notice all the trash that had been thrown down along the was really bad...and there were trash containers every 20 feet. Well, street cleaners came along in their bright green suits and started cleaning it all up. They had their little brooms and would turn on water outlets that ran along the street and pretty much washed everything down the drain. They were "allegedly" sweeping up the big stuff into bags, but we watched cigarette packs run down the street into the drains. It made me wonder where all that crap was going. And I do mean was everywhere, too, and was washed away with the trash. Okay, I should explain to you that we didn't stay in the fancy part of town where everything is spotless. We stayed in the Montmartre District not far from the Moulin interesting area with much more colorful characters..... :) Needless to say, we laughed about the street cleaners while we ate our omelettes.

After breakfast, we headed for Notre Dame cathedral...which was very big and very nice, but personally, I liked the Sacre Ceour cathedral better. It was smaller and more personal and had a beautiful painting of Jesus on the back wall. From Notre Dame, we crossed the Seine River and walked past the Louvre, through Tulienaries Park, past this famous fountain in a famous square that I can't remember the name of, past the obelisk, down the Champs Elysees, and on to the Arche de Triomphe. Along the way, we heard siren after siren and wondered what was going seemed so un-Paris-like and more like Chicago. When we got to the Arche de Triomphe, we found out what the sirens were all about. As we approached the monument, we noticed alot of people on top of it holding some kind of huge banner. (Look close and you can see the banner and a few people at the top of this picture.)

My boss commented that it was probably protestors, as France was full of them. We had already encountered a couple of protests earlier in the week. Anyway, when we got to the monument, there were police cars everywhere, as well as paddy wagons, and four policemen were blocking the underground entrance to the monument. We watched for a while, wondering what to do next. We'd walked a long way to get there...miles as a matter of fact...and I wanted to know what was going on. So, I walked up to the four policemen at the entrance and asked if any of them spoke English. To my surprise, this young man got a huge smile on his face and said, "I speak English (huge emphasis on the I)." So I asked him what was going on. He said it was a protest. I said, "I can see that, but what are they protesting?" His answer..."Archaeologies." I stood there looking at him for a minute trying not to laugh out loud and finally asked, "Why are they protesting archaeologies?" He said, "They are protesting that they haven't had work for two years." Okay, that made it really clear...not!! Then, with a huge smile on his face again, he said, "They'll come down in an hour or two so you can come back then." Well, after talking to him for a while longer, I had to have a picture of him and his buddies. When I told him that I wanted to take their picture, he got another huge smile on his face and said something to his buddies in French and they all turned towards me. Then, as I got ready to snap the picture, he said, "Say cheese." What a hoot!!! (The guy I talked to is second from the left in the picture...don't they look like cowboys???)

I'm telling you, that was better than any plain ol' visit to a monument. Thanks to the protestors and the policemen, I had a priceless memory, a great story to tell, and pictures to boot..... :) It doesn't get any better than that!!!

Thursday, May 11, 2006

The long and the short of it......

My mind is all in a twist these days. On one hand, time has been flying by since Seth left for Iraq. I've been extremely busy at work and making all kinds of business trips and have more trips lined up for the summer and into the fall, including one non-business trip to Alaska in July...can't wait for that one. The Paris trip last month was a long ways off once. I spent a month re-learning French from my high school days...and no, it didn't help much..... :) Now the Paris trip is a thing of the past. Then again, Seth came and went on his R&R a couple months ago and it was great having him home for a while. And that seems like forever ago. So, I know that the time has been flying by......

But, if that's the case...why is it still such a long time till Seth redeploys??? Why does he still have more than half of his deployment to go???? I just can't explain how time can go by so fast, yet go so slow at the same time. It's frustrating and it really sucks!!!

Friday, May 05, 2006

Best things first......

I know I said I'd post about my trip to Paris, and I will, but there's something more important I need to talk about first......

Monday, Katie and I made a trek out to the airport to meet up with one of Seth's buddies. He'd just spent two glorious weeks of R&R with his wife and 1-year-old son and had a layover in Dallas on his return to Iraq. We went out to the airport to buy his lunch and entertain him for the afternoon. Yeah, I took off from work to do it, my boss is the best. We thoroughly enjoyed spending time with him, and he said we were a great distraction for him as he was down about leaving his family again. It wasn't the first time I'd had lunch with a soldier, other than my son, who was on his way back to Iraq, and hopefully, it won't be the last. Casanova was the first one nearly two years ago...... :) Ahhhh, but I digress.

While sitting at the airport waiting for his flight to start boarding, I couldn't help but notice the other soldiers...some were with their families. One soldier had his wife and two children with him. His son was about 3 and his daughter only 1. He followed right behind her as she toddled through a maze near the boarding area. I watched the soldier's face and could see the joy and pain he felt at that moment. How difficult it must be for these soldiers to leave their little ones behind, especially at the age when they are growing up so quickly, learning to walk and talk. I watched as Seth's friend, Gabe, talked to his wife and son on the phone several times while he waited. He tried hard to keep his emotions in check, but they showed on his face and in his eyes. At one point, after he talked to them one last time before boarding, his eyes started to water and he commented that something was making his eyes burn...yeah, something indeed. It was all I could do to keep from crying myself. The whole thing was like deja vu and reminded me of seeing Seth off two months earlier.

As the soldiers lined up to board, the most amazing thing happened...everyone in the terminal near the boarding area started clapping and cheering. The applause was thunderous and so heart-warming and moving. I still get goosebumps and teary-eyed when I think about it. And of course, the USO cart ladies were there with goodies and hugs. They brought smiles to the soldiers' faces as they were leaving.

Right before Gabe boarded, Katie and I gave him a big hug and told him to take care of himself...and to give Seth a hug for us when he got back. He was like, no way am I hugging him......hahaha, guys...... :) As he walked through the gate, he turned with a huge smile and waved to us. Before we got out of the airport, we got a text message from him thanking us for coming out to meet him...that we had helped him alot. Well, needless to say, that made my, it made my week, month, and more.

For those of you who live in an area that has a hub for military R&R comings and goings...if you've never been out to welcome them home or see them off, you're missing something absolutely wonderful. I can't begin to describe the feelings it evokes in me, but my heart is bursting at the seams by the time I walk out the door. I'm so proud of all our military......and so humbled by them. May God bless and watch over them all!!!