Monday, May 26, 2008

Memorial Day '08

We've marched every year in the McKinley Park Memorial Day Parade since the girls were babies. It's a family tradition. McKinley Park is the neighborhood on the southwest side that we used to live in before we moved and bought our house in West Lawn. It's the 'hood where Darrin grew up and where his parents still live. It was a very sunny and warm morning and according to the VFW Post, they had the biggest turnout in the parade history.

I am proud to say that members of my family and close friends have honorably served our country through the military. My birth father, stepdad Larry and Uncle John all were members of the Army and served during Vietnam. My brother-in-law Larry was a Marine and also did a tour of Vietnam. Darrin's brother David spent time overseas with the Army in the late 80's. My cousin's husband, Ryan, was among the first National Guard members to patrol Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom. Regardless of where you stand politically, we all need to remember the sacrifices of the fallen men and women from the Revoluntionary War to the present who have died.

"The bugle has sounded
Its notes drift away, this time now belongs to you ...

On this day for one brief moment hear the silence fill the air.

Think of those who walked beside us; Now no longer there.

Then, don't cry, but hear their laughter for their spirit lives inside,
Let the mysic stream of mem'ry fill our hearts with pride!

Make us humble, make us knowing, and reflect on what is done ...

One this day for now, forever
Make this nation one!

On this day, fall all the fallen, make this nation one!"

"On This Day" by: Charles Strouse

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

"Faces of Women": Caitlyn's 16th Birthday Fashion Show (Part 2)

Darrin had to change out the batteries in the camera, so here's the second part of the show.

"Faces of Women" Caitlyn's 16th Birthday Fashion Show (Part 1)

Caitlyn had talked about doing a fashion runway show for her 16th birthday for a long time. She was able to pull it off with the help of her friends. Details to come ...

Friday, May 16, 2008

Sweet 16

Caitlyn entered the world on a sunny Saturday at 11:38 a.m. 16 years ago today and she changed my life. It's hard to believe that so much time has past since the changing of diapers and here we are now ... edging closer to college. We are so proud of the young woman that she has become.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

... mark, get set, Go!

It's too late for me to up on a week night, but my "to do list" for Caitlyn's sweet 16 birthday party is not getting any shorter. I'm multi-tasking at the moment (cleaning up memory cards, uploading photos to Flickr, watching Top Chef and blogging).

We spent last Saturday cheering on Alex at her track and field meet. She did very well, taking first place in the 5th & 6th grade girls 400 meter and 50 meter, as well as placing in the softball throw, running jump and girls' relay.

While at the meet, I had a flashback to the day I raced Monique T. in 9th grade at the Marquette Park track during a youth activity. I remember running as fast as I could and barely being able to catch my breath. I had to beat her because the boy I liked really liked her and, well, you know how those things go. We were neck and neck for most of the race, but I somehow managed to pull ahead at the end. My racing days are long over and I now look forward to running a 5K with Alex this Summer.

Tools of the trade.

Alex holding all of her ribbons.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Free Burma: But Help Myanmar Now!

It is being reported that 22,000 people have died in Myanmar as a result of Cyclone Nargis. The death toll can top over 100,000. CNN is reporting this morning that corpses are piling up because there is not enough fuel to burn the bodies. There is insufficient clean drinking water and food. You want to know why?

The country is under the rule of a military junta (bad people), which is not official recognized by the U.S. and other nations. Aung San Suu Kyi (good), the Nobel Prize winning pro-democracy leader of the Burmese people has been under house arrest since 1990. Last September, monks attempted to lead an uprising, but their efforts were met with brutal force by the military junta. The free flow of news is limited in the country. The military junta has been dragging its feet in granting visas for aid groups and giving clearance for aid flights to land.

Here's a link to an article on CNN updating the current situation:

World Vision is a Christian relief organization that helps people worldwide. They have been providing aid to the country of Burma/Myanmar for 40 years. World Vision currently has 500 aid workers stationed in Myanmar. Surprisingly, according to CNN, the junta has specifically asked World Vision to help provide aid to the survivors of the cyclone. They are in the right place at the right time. I encourage you to click on the title above which is a link to World Vision's website and if at all possible, please give to help the people of Myanmar.

Friday, May 02, 2008

Sights, Sounds, Smells & Calculations

It is a glorious, Spring morning ... if you have the pleasure to be marooned at home on this rainy, first-Friday of May. As I walked up to the 'el station, the air smelled just like it did when I walked through St. Stephens Green last autumn. A certain freshness that envelops your senses and makes you feel more alive, even on a cloudy, gray day.

I am almost at the seven month post-Ireland mark; which, in reality, should probably be defined as "five months to the one year anniversay of our trip to Ireland." I know, I'm a little OCD on these type of things.

The peonies in my garden are growing by leaps and bounds. I placed the ring supports around them last night because they're shooting up rapidly. My Japanese peony will be yielding blooms just in time for Caitlyn's 16th birthday.

Sounds that I like to hear:

  • George Harrison's slide guitar towards the end of the song "What is Life";
  • a groggy "I'm up" when I call up to Alex on a school morning;
  • laughter among friends;
  • the good news of babies being born to friends;
  • joining along with a few thousand friends singing Psalm 40 ...

What sounds do you like to hear?