Monday, May 31, 2010

Memorial Day 2010

I'm relieved that they were able to reposition the headstone by Memorial Day. Now if I can just get them to fix the grass....

And does anyone else think it's funny that the cemetery was advertising "a flag ceremony, balloon release, drinks, hot dogs and face painting from 10am - 2pm"? I didn't know whether to laugh or cry when I saw that sign.

If I wasn't mistaken I would have thought it was a carnival instead of a cemetery.


Saturday, May 29, 2010

Where Valor Proudly Sleeps

For many, Memorial Day brings to mind images of parades and picnics, of barbecues and baseball games. What's sometimes forgotten are the reasons for the holiday: The sacrifices made by American soldiers in times of conflict.

Which is why Arlington National Cemetery is my quiet place. My cathedral. One of my favorite places to go where I can walk, reflect, and think of things which are much bigger than myself.

It is where valor proudly sleeps.

It is also a sight to behold on Memorial Day. Tiny flags flying in front of perfectly placed white headstones for as far as your eyes can go. It is a sight which takes your breath away in reverence. At least it does mine.

When you come here, and see this, it makes you understand the price of our freedoms.

It's even better when you go early and watch the "Flags In" tribute. A time when over 3,000 service members place miniature flags in front of every grave. They do it with precision and care. With honor.

And when they bring their hands up to salute each fallen comrades from the Civil War to can't help wipe away a tear and put your hand over your heart.

In this endless sea of sacrifice.

As I think of that, Memorial Day becomes a little more poignant this year. Little Brother leaves for boot camp next month and I remember taking him to Arlington for the first time a few years ago. How we sat together watching that Marine walk forwards and backwards....forwards and backwards....guarding the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

"Here rests in honored glory an American soldier known but to God."

Back then, it never crossed my mind that he could be that Marine standing guard one day.

When/if he can bet that I'll still be sitting there, where valor proudly sleeps, taking measure of the sacrifice in one of my favorite places again with one of my favorite people.

Although most of us (except my DC chums!) won't get to experience Arlington this year...we can still take a break from the baseball game and pause during the picnic as part of the "National Moment of Remembrance". At 3pm (local time) on Memorial Day we can pause for 1 minute. It is my second favorite part of Arlington on Memorial Day because for that minute everything halts with soldiers at attention to the point that you can almost hear the wind. According to, "the Moment does not replace traditional Memorial Day events; rather it is an act of national unity in which all Americans, alone or with family and friends, honor those who died for our freedom. It will help to reclaim Memorial Day as the sacred and noble holiday it was meant to be. In this shared remembrance, we connect as Americans."

We still get to be there. Without being there.

Happy Memorial Day!

Friday, May 28, 2010

High & Dry

Remember that sabbatical I was going to go on? The little hiatus from technology? My personal "experiment with truth"?

I went. I saw. I returned.

After four days. Miss me?

Okay - if you want to get "technical"... I didn't go on hiatus at all. I simply got grounded and sent myself to a time-out (long story)...and it only involved Blogger and Facebook. The fact that I was on my work computer more than 8 hours a day (more like 12 this week!)...with a cell phone attached to my left lobe doesn't count. It pays the mortgage.

But now I've had my sensitivity training and I'm back.

With a promise that I'll try to be good.

Which is going to be really tough because "good" isn't in my DNA.

Really. Tough.

But it reminds me of a lovely tradition my father has. Whenever he screws up he gives my mom a cactus. Isn't that funny?

A cactus.

Clever man.

I am my father's daughter. Good thing I live in a desert!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The Power of a Memory

47 years ago today, something pretty fantastic happened.

My dad proposed to my mom. Or as my dad tells the mom proposed to my dad.

Regardless of how it really unfolded, 47 years is something to be proud of. Especially since they only dated for some 3 weeks before he/she popped the big question.

And here we are.

Unfortunately, this is also the date on which something awful happen to my family.

Three years ago today, on Memorial Day weekend, a dear family friend was killed in a car accident along with his three beautiful boys. Joe was more than just my brother's boss and a really good neighbor/friend. He was a pretty incredible guy. Who came from a pretty incredible family. Who married a pretty incredible woman. Who was dad to four pretty incredible kids. His wife and daughter inspire me daily.

Joe's dad John was my Bishop at church during my "rebellious" stage (it's true - I had one - oh boy did I!)... and if anyone deserves an award for the fact that I grew up to be something other than rebellious....the award goes to Bishop John. So it's no surprise that Joe grew up to be pretty incredible like his dad. They are just those kind of people.

True blue through and through.

My mom and I were talking about this today - the yin and the yang of the May 25th - and in all of her infinite wisdom she reminded me of something important. Some times we put too much into a date - a birth date, death date, anniversary date, etc. Instead of remembering a date - giving it all of our power...we should really focus on the memory - giving it more value.

So today is a great day which makes me proud of my parents for enduring 47 wonderful years....and makes me smile to think of a friend with whom we got to enjoy a few of them.

Good memories in which the laughter was infectious.

Still is.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Don't Worry - Be Happy.

I feel good.


Made me realize how badly I needed a vacation.

Woke up to 2 inches of snow? No worries - I'm happy.

Couldn't see my desk for the better part of the afternoon? That's okay - I'm happy.

Had to pay more than expected to get Mia out of hock (the kennel)? Worth it - I'm happy.

Mr. Thompson won't give me the remote to watch the finale of Dancing With The Stars? Who needs it - I'm happy.

No food in the refrigerator? We'll order in - I'm happy.

As a bonus...Mr. Thompson is rubbing my foot and I don't think that he realizes it (absolutely refuses every time I beg claiming that he's allergic to feet). Happy. Happy. Happy.

See what happiness does? It breeds more happiness.

I think I just became an advocate of taking time off.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

I'm Leaving On A Jet Plane

...don't know when I'll be back again.

Adios Seattle. We loved you.

We loved your fish and chips. Your raindrops every 10 minutes. Your Starbucks on every corner (cha-ching!). Your "Captain Roman Free" of the Seattle Duck Tour (best $25 dollars I've ever spent). Your underground city. Your Luigi's fine Italian restaurant. Your dinner cruise to Tillicum Village on Blake Island. We loved your Chinese protesters silently fighting genocide with quiet yoga poses in the park. Your fish-throwing Fishmongers. Your street musicians and Rolex selling homeless men. Your ferry boats to Canada. Did I mention your Starbucks on every corner (cha-ching!)?

We may be back to look for real estate... depends on our trip to Boston in the fall. May the best city win.

(p.s. if the "go on vacation and just relax" method works then I promise we'll name our child after the mighty Captain Roman Free because I haven't laughed that hard in a really long time!)


Friday, May 21, 2010

This and Thats of a Follow Friday

This: Sasquatch (aka: Bigfoot) may be real according to the gift shops. There is a plethora (love that word!) of items for me to purchase so obviously people in the Pacific Northwest believe.

That: lip "venom" that my boss convinced me to put on at Sephora (beauty shop) was hilarious. After I put it on (expecting nothing but beautiful glossy lips...) she got in my face and started asking if I noticed anything different happening. Humm....perhaps she was talking about the fact that my lips were turning NUMB? Lip Venom is supposed to be an amazing beauty product because it also makes your lips swell...which is supposed to be desirable to all men for some reason or other. Lip Venom indeed - otherwise known as "beauty is pain". Maybe we should just hit ourselves in the face...which sounds like a cheaper option for a fat lip

This: grizzly bear wandering around Seattle/Tacoma scaring all the people might really be...Bigfoot?

That: couple I read about in Oprah magazine who got married but prefer to live in different houses in order to make their marriage work....don't sound like they have much of a marriage at all.

This: weekend is peak fertility... but I'm not supposed to know that because I took a break and put away all the infertility crap (medicine, monitors, etc). How do I know? The same reason why a crack addict knows which corners have drug dealers standing on them. Intuition, experience and memory. Here's to hoping the "go on vacation and just relax" method works. (wink. wink.)

That: business about winning blog contests is a lie. I've "won" two and have yet to see any sort of a prize as a promised result. First, I won a bracelet for winning a friend's guessing game....Second, I won a homemade sandwich bag for being the lucky comment number. The results of both: Nada. Nothing. Zip. Nope.

This: blog post isn't one of my best but oh well. It's Friday. I'm on vacation. I'm thinking... about not thinking about fertility. But I hope that you become a peep, make a comment, or do both. Maybe I'll even do a contest and let you actually win something. Hummmm....what could I give you that you would really want? I know...


The "peep" who can make the most compelling argument that Bigfoot is real...wins!

Happy Friday. Make it a great weekend.


Thursday, May 20, 2010

The Ninja Network

Today I was asked an interesting question.

"Who are your five ninjas?"
(The five people on speed-dial to call when there is an emergency)

(in no particular order...)

1. Clay-Baby. My kid brother #1 will walk through fire for me. That's what a ninja is supposed to do - defy death.
2. Tigger. My kid brother #2 will make Clay-Baby walk through fire for me....and if Clay-Baby won't do it....Tigger will. (Did I mention he's going to boot camp soon to become a Marine? He is. Any takers, single ladies? I'm auctioning him off to the highest bidder. Think An Officer and a Gentleman. He's the Gentleman...). Ninjas should always be the few, the proud, the brave - a Marine.
3. Mom. Because she's my mom and like most moms....she's unconditional (have to qualify this statement because when I married the Mr. I learned that not all moms are like this. Tragically, some really are deadbeat). But you gotta have a mom like mine on speed-dial. Period. This ninja is amazing and loves us both beyond how God intended every mom to love her children.
4. Mr. Thompson. Because he tells me if I really do look fat in those pants. Painful honesty is important in a ninja. So is love.
5. Mendy Jo. Because old friends are the best friends! She knew me when I was...young. She also got into trouble with me when I was...old"er". So basically she knows me like only a best friend does...and we trust each other with the secrets of youth. Also, she has been removed from the situation for long enough that she can remain objective. I trust her with that. All important qualities in a ninja.

There you have it. My Ninja Network. Who are yours?

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Channeling My Inner Barbie

Once upon a time...Mr. Thompson made a bet. The bet was that gas wouldn't drop below $2.00 a gallon (his idea - not mine).

For a minute in 2008, it did.

He lost.

I won. (I love winning! I love winning! I love winning!)

What exactly did I win? Why, a pink scooter of course.

And now it's time to collect.

With interest.

Ride anyone?

Monday, May 17, 2010

High Paying Low Stress Jobs

That is a headline that grabbed my attention today.

I needed to find out if my job was listed. wasn't.

Just the opposite in fact. I'm on the other list along with some other high stress jobs which pay surprising scanty salaries. Just think about police officers, firefighters and social workers. These folks have quite possibly the most nerve-racking jobs in the world yet most of them earn less than $45,000 a year.

That said...I've never met a firefighters, police man, or anyone else in Emergency Services who do what they do purely for the money.

That goes for Red Crossers as well.

Low pay. High stress.

Which is the only downside of being married to a fellow manager. (oh la romance!)

It makes us both non-profit.

Which makes our house non-profit.

And since our dog doesn't have a job - that makes our only full-time dependant non-profit too.

What about combat soldiers who face death on a daily basis? They typically earn less that $30,000 a year. Guess my little bro makes the list in his new profession so I won't be asking him for a loan anytime soon.

So what exactly is on the High Paying Low Stress Jobs list?

  1. Physical Therapist - something about a lot of baby boomers needing help. Mom, you hear that? If you pay big bucks I can help you out. Oh're my mother so I can't make you pay...for the Bible tells me so.
  2. Computer Software Engineer - I'm allergic to anything with the word "computer" in it. Just computer.

  3. Civil Engineer - in my book "civil" and "engineer" don't belong in the same sentence. Let me put together your IKEA bookshelves and show you why.

  4. Massage Therapist - Remember those birthday coupons? Yeah - they say "free" all over them. Darn that birthday coupon book! My fingers still hurt. Moral of the story: always consult with My Peeps before I giving away 40 of anything.

  5. Technical Writers - You read my blog so no explanation needed on why that won't work out.

Red Cross management it is.

Low pay. High stress.

Or as I like to think of world peace.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Friday Follow With Dead Air & Wasted Space

I'm thinking that I should go on a sabbatical for a week. No computer. No cell phone. No Google. No television. No blog. No Facebook. No American Idol or Oprah.

Dead air. Wasted space. That's what I heard someone say.

What do you think?

A sabbatical of sorts could be my experiment with truth. What think ye, Ghandi?


Maybe I'll buy a sewing machine and learn how to sew.

Like Paula Dean.

Oh wait - she cooks. Well...I can learn that too.


Who exactly coined the term "distance makes the heart grow fonder"?

They lied.

Or maybe you just have to be gone longer than 48 hours. Mr. Thompson didn't even miss me this week.

Good thing he gets all of next week to think about it.


Political autobiography. Diet book. Romance novel.

Which would you read first?

(and does that count as dead air too?)


I'm a daddy's girl. Did you know that?

But he makes me flippin' crazy with this hernia business.

Dear Dad,


Reading a book called Dr. Wallock's Pig Arthritis Medicine doesn't count.



Ever watch Everyone Loves Raymond? It's a perfect description of my marriage.


I'm Debra. He's Raymond. A woman who can't cook and a man obsessed with sports.

Dead air.

Wasted space.


Speaking of Everyone Loves's an episode playing out in my kitchen right now:

Raymond (aka: Mr. Thompson) is standing at the fridge trying to get ice to come out of the ice dispenser. He's been trying unsuccessfully for 31 seconds. I know because, like Debra, I've been counting. I even sound like her in my head.

He finally says "piece of sh#%" and walks away.

I can't help but laugh by the way he says it. Everybody loves Raymond.

Now I gotta go fix the ice dispenser.

Happy Weekend!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

If You Give A Mouse A Cookie...

He'll want a glass of milk.

Remember that 100 Peeps business? The all important bet between husband and wife that I was soooo determined to win? The one that was going to give me bragging rights and a little blogging respect? The one that stemmed from a conversation that went something like this?...

Me: "Isn't my blog cool?"
Mr. Thompson: "Gay."
Me: "What?!"
Mr. Thompson: "Your blog is gay. I don't get it."
Me: "What do you mean you don't get it?
Mr. Thompson: "Obviously nobody else does either. That's why you only have 9 followers"
Me: "Give it time."
Mr. Thompson: "Whatever. I'll tell you what....if you can get 100 people to follow you then I won't think it's gay".

So what do I do? I BEG, BORROW AND STEAL 100 PEOPLE.

102 to be exact.

And do I get respect? No.

Do I get bragging rights? No.

What I get is....

Mr. Thompson: "Hey- I heard that there is a lady in Salt Lake City ( who makes $40,000 a month (yes - you heard me right...$40,000 a MONTH!) from her blog (which isn't that great by the way). If you can make money...I won't think your blog is gay."

So for my next post I think I'll be coming out of the closet.

Because I don't see $40,000 in my future.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Remembering Ethan

This story made me physically ill.

And spitting mad.

I've never been a proponent for the death penalty but I may start. Pickets and all.


What this little boy had to endure for the last month is beyond wrong.

It is DEAD wrong.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Spoken From The Heart

I repent.

I saw Oprah last week and I want to read the following book...

I want to read it because Democrat or Republican...people are still people.

And I believe that Mrs. Bush is a genuinely good person.

I saw it first-hand at a presidential press conference that I helped organize in October 2001. It was post-9/11, the afghan war had just begun, and the White House was working with the Red Cross to announced the Afghan Children's Fund. Although it stunned and amazed me when I took that early morning call telling me to get to Central Maryland quickly to put the facility and personnel in order for a major press conference the following was also one of the biggest honors of my professional life.

It was the first live press conference after 9/11 and security was a big deal. For a minute it took me out of the frey of 9/11 response and ended up being another amazing experience I never could have predicted.

Standing on the sidelines with a bunch of American children I got a great lesson on democracy.

I also got a glimpse of what I could accomplish in my career if I so chose.

Afterward, as President Bush went around shaking the hands of all the children around me with the international press corp in tow...I distinctly remember seeing Mrs. Bush slide into the corner, out of the range of cameras, where she knelt down next to a woman and asked to hold her new baby. That's where she privately remained. It impressed me because it wasn't meant to impress.

Politics are messy and ugly. Like a lot of people who eventually forgot the importance of the unity and kindness which bound us together for a time....there have been many times when I have been a political critic and skeptic for one side or the other.

But I want to read this book because Mrs. Bush is not only graceful...but nice.

And in my world, nice matters.