Monday, April 27, 2009

Where was your first kiss?

Let's see... My first kiss;
Don't know if it was truly my first, but the first I remember was with a family friend under a truck while we were playing hide and seek. I must have been around 7-8 ~ HA!!! Silly kids!!
Funny end to that story... I have known that boy for around 40 years and oddly enough his Dad was my stepfather-in-law for a few years!
Come on - Join in; WHERE WAS YOUR FIRST KISS???

Sunday, April 26, 2009


We need to remember everyday all of our soldiers and their families.

We need to thank God for them and their sacrifices.

At the end of the day, it's good to be an American.

RED FRIDAYS Very soon, you will see a great many people wearing red every Friday ~
The reason? Americans who support our troops used to be called the 'silent majority'. We are no longer silent, and are voicing our love for God, country and home in record breaking numbers. We are not organized, boisterous or overbearing. We get no liberal media coverage on TV to reflect our message or our opinions. Many Americans, like you, me and all of our friends, simply want to recognize that the vast majority of America supports our troops. Our idea of showing solidarity and support for our troops with dignity and respect starts NOW - and continues each and every Friday until the troops all come home, sending a deafening message; That every red-blooded American who supports our men and women afar will wear something red. By word of mouth, press, TV -- let's make the United States on every Friday a sea of red much like a homecoming football game in the bleachers. If every one of us who loves this country will share this with acquaintances, co-workers, friends, and family it will not be long before the USA is covered in RED and it will let our troops know the once 'silent' majority is on their side more than ever; certainly more than the media lets on. The first thing a soldier says when asked 'What can we do to make things better for you?' is... We need your support and your prayers..

Let's get the word out and lead with class and dignity, by example; and wear something red every Friday.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

A soldier's welcome by a thankful community

Here are a few shots I took last week-end when SFC Hall returned to his hometown of Elk Grove. As I have seen in several articles, this was not the way that Bryan's family and friends wanted him to return, but at least he is home.
I cannot begin to tell you how proud I was of this community as the turnout for the procession was incredible ~
The Fireguy was honored to be asked personally to drive the engine that brought Bryan home and he was simply awestruck by the outpouring of support. From the time they left Sacramento Executive airport until they arrived at the Elk Grove Funeral Home he said there was so many people, that especially near the funeral home there was barely enough room to drive a vehicle. We both agreed that this was one of the most humbling days that we have experienced and we made a committment that, god forbide any more local soldiers return to town in this manner, WE WILL BE THERE!!
These people have served our country so that we can be free!
Tomorrow is the memorial service for SFC Hall which we are proud and honored to attend. We attend to thank SFC Hall for his service to this fine country and to help the family begin their healing process.
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Sunday, April 19, 2009


More photos to come -
Need to do a few touch-ups
What an amazing event !!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Far from a blank screen

Got to thinking the other day about my tattoos -

I really did not realize how many I DO have until I put them all together!!

My tattoos all have a special and particular meaning to them:

My zodiac sign was my first and obviously shows my devotion to Leo the Lion

The Bird of Paradise was next - With the main flower representing my Love, Steve and the anthuriums for my two kids.

Next came the dedication to my Mom; the Whales. This is actually a copy of a painting that she painted for me and my awesome tattoo artist replicated them perfectly. I got this one on Mother's Day 2006, my first one without my Mom. I was blessed to have both of my kids there which made it even more special.

I added the hawaiian leis on each side of the bird of paradise. I love Hawaii, does that show??? It was at this session I had Steve's name redone in a fancier font ~
Erin & I got our first rib cage tattoos together in 2008. The purple color represents my Mom's favorite color and the orchids were from Erin's wedding. The one picture shows both Erin & I after our tattoos healed.

Following in suit, I got the next tattoo to match Tommy's; the hummingbird is for Mom and the Pacific Northwest Haida tribal art represents Tommy's new home. Note the picture taken on mine next to Tommy's.

Feeling out of balance, I had the other rib cage done in 2008. Again, following the hawaiian floral theme I had the artist draw up a bunch of hibiscus and plumerias.

If you hadn't noticed, I have the best tattoo artist around! She does such a great job and really sees my ideas!

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Sunday, April 12, 2009

Favorite Things - April

As I am constructing my thoughts, I am embarrased that all of this month's winners relate to food! Not that I am shy about my love of food, but seeing my list of favs this month really puts it out there!

I just love these!! 100 calorie bags and oh so portable! My greatest task with these is finding them to purchase...

Here is a super cool (HA!) snack! Frozen grapes... Pick them from the stems, wash and freeze them!

Let me tell you about my little slice of heaven... Blueberry struesel breakfast bread! Not so low cal (180/slice) but definately do-able. I have only found this at Raley's/Bel-Air stores, might be at the Nob Hill chain, but not sure. Oooohhhh weeee, I'm telling you one slice toasted with my morning coffee sets the tone of the day!

My final entry is this impulse buy!! The Fireguy and I saw it at the market and both laughed it off! The following week I HAD to have it... This is such a kick! The pancakes come out just as if you had used a mix. I'm planning on trying it out on the family this week-end!!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

God Grant Me The Serenity...

I realize that I maybe should let this issue sit for a while, but I really feel the need to vent... and to ask for guidance.

~ Yesterday we received word that a family friend's soldier paid THE ultimate price in Iraq ~

The young man was the brother of Erin's BF since daycare, softball buddy & bridesmaid and our families have a long history here in Elk Grove. This soldier was a son, brother, husband and father to a 2 year old daughter. His tour was to end in August and had just been home last week-end to visit family and friends.

I understand that the war has been going on for several years, but for me now it has a face and a name associated with it. I am feeling differently about the entire reason for the US being involved in a war now - I find it has no purpose other than the lose of life and putting our sons & daughters in harms way. I am also feeling very opioniated about the Iraqi people... Understanding not ALL of these people are responsible for the current state of affairs, but right now this is how I am feeling.

I am also appauled to think that there is a family that has been elevated in their community for their family member successfully completing their duty of detonating a suicide bomb, killing 5 innocent people... Makes my skin crawl!

Hopefully, you have not labeled me a bigot at this point, but will pray for peace and the understanding of this entire mess. I welcome your thoughts on this issue.

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference.
Living one day at a time; Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
Taking, as He did, this sinful world as it is, not as I would have it;
Trusting that He will make all things right if I surrender to His Will;
That I may be reasonably happy in this life and supremely happy with Him
forever in the next. Amen.
You are truly a hero Bryan... May you rest in peace!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Sampling of new camera shots...

I can't decide if I am in love or obsessed!!! I took the camera and standard lense out back this morning to test some settings out. Since it had rained last night many of the flowers had moisture on them still! (Thanks for the idea Missy!!) I may have went a bit overboard but I was really having fun ~ Besides shooting my favorites; flowers, plants, etc. I also had two very obligatory subjects to work with; Belle our chocolate lab was really a ham and Bella my daughter's dog. She is very difficult to shoot, she is always running around... but I managed to make her sit for just one!
I'm pretty sure my shots will only get better and more creative as I continue to practice. I have so many shots in mind - Hawaii & Seattle are givens :-)
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Fiscal Crisis Averted

I dropped a few hints via Twitter that concerned a 'fiscal crisis' and thought I would update.

Two weeks ago I was told that due to the CA budget crisis one of the school district programs may be cut. That would in turn allow another employee to bump me from my current position.

I am not a stranger to this sort of thing since in April 2002 my position with my then employer was cut. I held a management position, no union and had no bumping rights... no where to go - but out the door. I had been a loyal employee for 16 years! At the same time my position was cut the Company also lost other employees which collectively had over 100 years of experience and committement to the Company. But I'm not bitter... The Fireguy and I decided that I would lay low, reflect on my life and decide where I would go and what I would. I was given a six month severence package and had intended to enjoy the down time. I was 42 and needed to start over in the workforce!

After two months I became very antsy and wondered 'what if a great job is out there and I am just letting it pass by???'

I was happy to secure a position with the local school district at the district office in August 2002. Unfortunately, after only 8 months there were again layoffs at the school district and I was bumped! I had not held any other positions within the District so I had no where to go... but out the door! Bah!!! Thanks to the Union I was placed on a re-employment list and performed some substitute clerical work within the District.

I chose not to wait on the 'list' and in January 2004 I was awarded another position, this time at a school site. The school was brand new and I would be in charge of the scheduling for middle school students. This was completely out of my comfort zone, but involved computers & new software and I caught on very quickly. I found out that working with students just wasn't my cup of tea (don't know how my Mom did it for 25 years!) but hung on until a position in the same department at the district office that I began in opened up. How cool would that be!?!?

Luckily for me I was hired back at the district office in my current position in December 2005. I love this job!! It is a very busy desk, but I always know that I will have something to do and it keeps me busy all day long!

Fast forward to current time; I was again in jeopardy of being bumped by another employee that had held this title back in the 90's... Seriously, do I have a target on my back or something??? I could go on a rant about how poor performing employees are not given proper evaluations and perpetuate this sort of bumping ritual or the people that take their jobs entirely for granted but I will not bore you with all of that.

Suffice it to say that I seem to be getting very good at dodgeball and have once again averted the unemployment line. The program in question proposed a five-year plan with adequate funding and was removed from the chopping block, thus saving me my job. Sure, this time I would have been able to bump back down to my school site position, but I really did not want to have to upset someone else's world and keep the domino effect going! YIKES!!!

In closing, let me remind each and every one of you that a job is a gift not a right.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

A great cause & some exercise !!!

Race Date: 4/26/09 Race Time: Kids Run 7:45 am 12K 8:00 am 5K 8:15 am

Matt became a Rocklin Police Officer in 2001. He was dedicated to keeping our community a safer place for all of us to live. Matt was a firearms instructor for his department and a member of The Rocklin/Roseville SWAT Team. He specialized in drug and alcohol detection. Matt was the recipient of the MADD Award, Life Saving Award and the Bronze Medal of Honor. Matt loved is job, his family and the community he grew up in. Matt's life was cut short while on duty with the Rocklin Police Department, by a drunk driver October 9, 2005. We cherish the memories we shared together. His death has created a void in our lives that cannot be filled.

The specific purpose of the Foundation is to continue and encourage the pursuit of education in Protective Services. This includes the pursuit of education related to the medical field and the protection and security of Local, State and National security.

My daughter's employer, Kaiser is sponsoring a team for which she is the team leader. If you are interested in joining the Kaiser team or just running as an individual let me know!!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

What three songs do you wish you could erase from your memory?

I overheard a really great conversation and figured it would make a great blog question!

Since it is Spring Break and perhaps some of you have a little extra time on your hands...

Let's hear it...

Here are my answers and why:

1) Smelly Cat by Phoebe ~ Everytime I clean the cat box I think of this song!! Then it just sticks in my head!!!!

2) Anything by Miley Cyrus! I really just don't understand the big deal with her. I am not impressed by her singing let alone her acting... Gad!

3) I Kissed a Girl by Katy Perry ~ For starters the radio stations overplayed this song. I feel that if you DID kiss a girl, good for you, did you need to write a song about it? I suppose I am showing my age here, but there is such a thing as being discreet...

Monday, April 6, 2009

Happy Birthday Erin!!!!

Today marks the 29th (GASP) birthday of my lovely daughter Erin Rae ~I remember my pregnancy and delivery like it were yesterday!! I was due on March 23rd, and Erin being a girl made everyone wait until SHE was ready :-) Finally, 2 1/2 weeks later, on an Easter Sunday she arrived. I had actually shut the door to the nursery as I figured it was all a dream and she was never coming! HA!!! She, being my first born brought much anticipation as I was so worried I would not know what to do with a baby. My Mom gave me the best advice, she said "it will all come naturally". She was right ~

Erin's Daddy named her, after a character on The Walton's TV show, her middle name is the same as mine which is my Father's name.

Erin & I were able to bond for 3 1/2 years since I took time off from working outside the home. We have the most amazing relationship and I cherish that everyday!

Our first born has made us so very proud over the years. She is such a warm, caring young woman and has a determination that amazes me. Erin is the type of person that sets her mind to something and gets it done; thus receiving her Doctorate in Physical Therapy. I am positive that no matter what goal she sets it will always be met.

If you have wondered what a real winner looks like, here is an example:

Happy Birthday Erin, may you enjoy many, many more wonderful years ~

Dad & I love you !!!

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Can't wait to try her out...

As mentioned in a previous blog I had been searching for a bigger, better, faster camera.

With the help of the Internet and some blogger friends I decided on this:

I had done a lot of research on-line, read reviews, etc. and finally decided that the best price was going to be at Costco. I even went in and drooled on it one day, but without being a member I was not able to buy it. Besides, I wanted to make sure I had the Fireguy's blessing before making a large purchase!

Since things can often become complicated, I was not totally surprised that when we went to make the purchase two days after I saw it in store, they were out!! Yup, had just sold the last one... Luckily, they had five left in Rancho Cordova. As I mentioned, we were not members and went in knowing we would pay the membership fee, purchase the camera and still come out price wise very well. I pull out the debit card to make the purchase and am DENIED due to my financial institution having a dollar amount purchase limit per day/transaction!! Of course it is now past business hours and I cannot contact them to have this cleared. Since I do not carry a checkbook we decide to put the purchase on our VISA, but oh guess what... Costco only takes 'their' American Express credit card ~ We head back to customer service (who by the way were very patient and understanding!) to apply for the American Express card.

Fortunately, this all took less than 30 minutes, but seriously...

Good news is I have my new camera and I am slowly making it through the instruction book and can't wait to post some new pictures!

Feels like Christmas:

Friday, April 3, 2009

I Miss Her Every Single Day

Today marks the 4th anniversary of losing my Mom to cancer.

By the time we learned of her disease we only had six months to deal with the inevitable. Those six months came and went all too soon. One of the hardest things I ever had to do; to stay upbeat and positive for her while preparing to let her go.

Today is a very emotional day, I reflect more on this day of the time that I did spend with her. There is such a special bond between a Mother & a Daughter - one that cannot be explained and runs very deep. There is a definate void without my Mom around.

It amazes me that even after her being gone for four years there are still times when I think about calling her just to talk!! I cannot even begin to tell you how much I miss her...

Mom was very proud of not only her two daughters but of her 4 grandchildren. I am so happy that she was able to see her grandchildren become such awesome young adults. She was able to see all four graduate high school, but missed college graduations - Her chest would have been so puffed with pride she might have burst!!! Unfortunately she also missed the weddings of her two eldest grandchildren, but I know she saw the entire day from the best seat in the house.

So to all you children, don't let a day go by that you don't let your Mom know how much you love her, and Mom's don't ever take a day with your children for granted; because life can change in an instant.

You raise me up, so I can stand on mountains;

You raise me up, to walk on stormy seas;

I am strong, when I am on your shoulders;

You raise me up... To more than I can be

I Love You Mom ~