Are we all Cold-Hearted?

Is it true that my fellow man are, more often than not, a bunch of callous, uncaring, don't-give-a-shyt-if-it-affects-me bunch? I witnessed something last night that has nagged at me since it happened and it just makes me sad.

I was out hosting a dinner for a group of young physicians last night. At about the time we were finishing dessert, in come a bunch of DC Fire Department, Paramedic & EMS personnel. Oh, my - what's going on? This older man (probably in his late 60's) is slumped over in his chair, with his forehead almost touching the table. The paramedics seemed to just be looking at the man, trying to get him to wake up. They pulled out the defibrillator, but ended up not using it. They spent about 10 minutes just "looking at him". Two of the doctors that I was with offered their services to the EMS personnel, but they politely told them that they had it under control and if they need their help then they would call them over. "Please sit down." OOOOOkaaaay.

Finally, they brought in a stretcher and wheeled the guy (still passed out) of the restaurant. Nothing to see, move along.

THEN....the 3 other people who were having dinner with the man who just got taken away to the hospital in an ambulance...SAT BACK DOWN AND FINISHED THEIR DINNER. *Blink**Blink**Blink* WTF. Not one of the people at his table bothered to go to the hospital with the man. Tell me that it is just my crazy self. Tell me that that isn't one of the most callous, cold-hearted things you have ever seen/heard. One doctor at my table, just shook his head and said it is really gonna be hard for the guy when he wake up in the ER with not a friend in sight. Another person suggested that maybe he was their boss and they hated him. SOOOOO WHAT! Even IF I hated my boss, I would at least go to the ER with the person and make sure that someone was called. I'm not saying that I'm gonna sit there all night or anything (maybe I wouldn't go either), but I'd at least make sure somebody gave a damn and then be on my merry way. Is that too "Good Samaritan?"

I just pray that if I was hurt, sitting on the curb, in a restaurant, or where-ever, that somebody would stop and say "Are you alright, Are you okay?....Somebody get help....You'll be fine". Rest assured, this Diva will NOT turn the other way, walk over your bleeding body, or just let your injured self fend for yourself. Lisa WILL get help...you will be fine (or at least in better care).

Call me crazy if ya want. I thought it was cold-hearted and it saddened me.


Personal IT Department

I am Ron's Personal IT Department. I have just spent the last 4 hours FIXING/DEFRAGGING/DE-SPYWARING/REGISTRY EDITING/DELETING/DOING BASIC MAINTENANCE on his MFn' laptop. As much as I love my man...he is that computer idiot that ran away from the computer village. UGGGGGGAAAAAAAAHHHHHH!!!!!!

Save me from the madness....

I have told him time and time again that he doesn't need to save the email in 3 different folders as well as the documents attached in triplicate. I have remindhim on numerous occasions to backup his crackberry. I've told him over and over to run the spyware program (even taped a note to his desk). NO you can't store 100GB of photo's on a 50GB hardrive. NO you can't just hit escape and make it all better. NO you can't just close your laptop and walk way when you get an error message and think it will go away. NO Ctrl-Alt-Del is NOT a fix all. Can you say that I am pulling out my hair.

So, this afternoon, Ron calls me on my cell to tell me that there is something wrong with his outlook.

Ron: Lisa, somethings wrong with my laptop.
Lisa: Uh Huh. What seems to be the problem?
Ron: I keep getting an error message when I try to delete something and it keeps sending the same message over and over.
Lisa: And, uh, how long have you had this problem.
Ron: I dunno. This is new but I've had other errors going on too.
Lisa: And you didn't do anything about it?
Ron: Uh, no. It wasn't bothering me much then. This is a problem.
Lisa: And you want me to fix it.
Ron: You're a borderline genius, right? I'll be right home...but can you look at it for me.

Okay. So, I stomp upstairs - like I don't have nothing better to do - and start messing with his computer. First, I look at all the crud he has on the laptop - UNINSTALL. Second, what is all this crap running in the background? - MSCONFIG - STOP those puppies from loading at start up. Ran SPYBOT - removed 44 errors/spyware. Ran AntiVirus software - nothing. Analyzed harddrive - DEFRAGED and removed all unnecessary files. Researched outlook error message on my computer, implemented solution. Ran Fix/Restore for outlook - fixed the problem (at least temporarily). He is back up and running.

While I was doing all this, I fixed martini's for my mother and I, while Ron went to pick up J-Man from his girlfriends house and pick up some dinner.

He thought it was hilarious that he got us food from Akbar - an Indian Restaurant....cause I was like tech support in India. There are moments when a good open palm slap to the mouth need to be rendered expeditiously.

I didn't even get paid. Only a Foamy Rant - Tech Support III could say it better.

The Box Project

The Box Project: Alleviating the effects of poverty in rural America since 1962.

I've been a Box Project Participant for almost 5 years. I am currently sponsoring my second family. I find this program rewarding and am putting this out here for your consideration. I send a box filled with ordinary things....School supplies in August, Thanksgiving goodies in November, cleaning supplies whenever...and we write letters back and forth about our dreams and life. The differences between us...the language...the education level can be shocking, but you manage to find common ground, particularly with the children. I think you would love it too.

The Box Project is currently participating in The America's Giving Challenge. The top 4 charities will recieve a $50,000 grant to continue their work.
This is where The Box Project stands in the America’s Giving Challenge.

As of today the top four charities are:
The 11th Hour Animal Rescue Inc. 1288 donations
A Place to Bark Inc. 1161 donations
Fanconi Anemia Research Fund Inc. 1037 donations
Bubel Aiken Foundation Inc. 691 donations

Our current total:
The Box Project 35 donations

I've enclosed The Box Project History here for your consideration:

Since 1962, The Box Project has been working to help people living in America's worst areas of rural poverty. We seek to alleviate the effects of poverty and increase mutual understanding through direct, people-to-people assistance. With the help of our referring agencies, we seek families who want to better themselves... by getting an education or better job skills, and by working on ways to improve their lives. Sponsors, in concert with The Box Project, provide support for the growth and success of recipient families, with the goal of alleviating suffering and increasing self sufficiency. The Box Project, Inc. is a national, not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization, and all contributions to the organization are tax deductible as allowed by law.

Through our first and most successful program, Family Match, we match sponsors with individuals and families living in rural poverty in America. The sponsors develop long-term friendships, providing encouragement, advice, and boxes of needed supplies about once a month. Sponsors communicate and send letters and boxes directly to the families they are matched with, enhancing the one-to-one experience. As the families come to know each other, trust and friendships grow--providing a positive and valuable experience for both the recipient and the sponsor.

After the success of the Family Match program, we expanded to include additional volunteer match options to help such as: Holiday Match, a match only through the winter holidays; and Community Center Match, which matches a sponsor or sponsor group (such as a church group, or employee group) with a rural community center in one of our recipient areas.
Additional programs funded through donations include our Emergency Fund which provides limited emergency financial assistance to recipient families in times of extraordinary need, a Back to School Fund and an Educational Award Fund providing financial assistance to encourage students to pursue higher education as a means to break the cycle of poverty.
Acquiring an education is one of The Box Project's core values. We firmly believe that education is one of the keys to increasing self-sufficiency and breaking the cycle of poverty. The goal of this steadfast commitment is to help remove some of the barriers to education and make a significant impact on the areas of rural poverty that we serve. Visit our
programs section to find out more about our services.

As you can see, The Box Project has a long way to got, but there is still time for them to climb to the top of the heap and qualify for that $50,000 grant. Use this link if you are so inclined to make a donation. Do your research and decide for yourself. If you send out this link: http://www.networkforgood.org/pca/Badge.aspx?BadgeId=109561 to friends and family and then they send it to their friends and family, we're spreading the word about The Box Project to thousands of people across the country. Remember the shampoo commercial that said “I told two friends, and they told two friends and so on and so on”? Word of mouth is the best way for people to learn about what The Box Project does for people in poverty.

The Box Project sent this offer to well over 1200 of their current supporters and friends and families. Think about it…if every one of those people donated just $10.00, they would be in one of the top four slots with a clear shot at one of the $50,000 grants – money they could use to make a huge difference for families and individuals living in rural poverty in America.

Just Food For Thought....


LTC Greg Gadson '88 - Giant's Inspirational Co-Captain

His name is Lt. Col. Greg Gadson and he used to wear No. 98 for the Army football team and was with the Second Battalion and 32nd Field Artillery, on his way back from a memorial service for two soldiers from his brigade when he lost both his legs to a roadside bomb in Bahgdad. It was the night of May 7, 2007, and Lt. Col. Gadson didn't know it at the time because he couldn't possibly have known, but it was the beginning of a journey that brought him to Lambeau Field Sunday night.

He was there as an honorary co-captain of the Giants, there on the sideline at Lambeau because this Giants' season has become his season now and he wasn't going to watch from some box. This is a Giant at the Super Bowl worth knowing about, as much as any of them.

"Me being a part of this team," Gadson was saying Monday night from his home in Virginia, having made it back there from Green Bay, "really starts with the team I played on at West Point."

Read the rest of the article at: http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/football/giants/2008/01/22/2008-01-22_lieutenant_colonel_greg_gadson_is_giants.html


Usual Suspects - The Video

We is crazy. Ya gotta see the video. Check out the little girl who rolled up on CreoleInDC...dang skippy you was tazed!
*insert sinister laugh here*

Usual Suspects - Laser Tag

The Usual Suspects crew was at it again. This month we played Laser Tag. Why ya gonna take a Diva who still occassionally has flash backs back to her days in the Army & Jungle Warfare Training out to play with a gun...even if it is just a laser gun? WHY? I got all into it and was really disappointed when they had rules and whatnot...No Running...No Physical Contact...WTF? How am I supposed to take that little 12 year heathen, Megan, out if I can't knock her out. Yeah, we had a bunch of young people playing with us and let me tell you...it was a good thing that they had dem rules cause I was all ready to go Rambo on some rugrats.

I did have a moment (or two) in the "Hall of Briefing" - what is up with the no flash camera rule? Safety monitor said that the flashes could cause seizures. WHAT? And the flasing red lights on the gear wouldn't? Hmmmmm.

Anyway, I had another wonderful time with the Usual Suspects. I about to have a stroke with planning February's event...what to do, what to do....I should have picked June.

A Girl & Her Daddy

Cara got a Dora ATV for Christmas. At first she was scared of the thing, but then Daddy took her outside and walked with her while she tried it out and then let her pretend that she was catching him/running him over with her ATV. She loves the thing now and I can't keep the battery charged fast enough for her. I finally pulled a clip off the camcorder of Ron & Cara playing together in the yard.

Ya gotta love it....


Grip Hands...A Benefit for The Houston's

Friends & Family,

I wanted to share with you a story about our friend, classmate, groomsman, co-captain on Army Basketball team (someone instrumental and a cornerstone in our lives) - Kevin & Liz Houston. Kevin and my husband played Army Basketball together at West Point from 83-87, and Kevin was a groomsman in our wedding. We have been family friends for over 20 years.

I just received this message from Kevin's brother-in-law and our classmate, Jim Gagliano...

Kevin Houston, is currently dealing with an incredibly difficult set of circumstances, in that his wonderful wife (highschool sweetheart), Liz, has been stricken with an insidious disease (scleroderma), and has been bravely battling its ravages since 2003. The undeniable strain---financially, physically, and emotionally---has taken its toll on both of them. I felt compelled and find it absolutely appropriate to post this missive to our class-wide distribution list, along with the directions, for those interested, to a special website set up with the intention of raising funds for them at www.friendsoflizandkevin.com. This site contains information regarding an upcoming local benefit, as well as alternate means to make a donation if any, or all, are so inclined.

We all knew Kev as more than just the superstar basketball player he once was, and some of us are still lucky enough to share his company and continue realizing what a unique and special person he is. He's been a great partner to Liz and a wonderful father to three incredible kids. He and Liz are a special "team" and share a unique partnership that almost defines loyalty and one-of-a-kind relationships. Liz, to the many of our classmates who have been blessed to know her, is a beautiful woman, inside and out, and through all the difficulties presented by the disease, has managed to keep her lovely smile and motherly tendencies as she rides herd over her household and half the neighborhood's kids, as well. Never having been one to seek the limelight or attention, Kevin and Liz have eschewed the publicity and fanfare these efforts typically engender, but support this effort by their friends and family that so desperately want to assist them through these difficult times.

This ad hoc consortium of benefactors has been or chestrated and coordinated by local folks (Kevin and Liz reside near West Point in the New Windsor area), as well as friends and family from Pearl River, New York, where they both grew up. The aforementioned link contains information about the 3/1/2008 Benefit, as well as background on their situation and details about Liz's disease. Read it and you'll find yourself motivated to help out.

Please, if at all possible, help get this circulated to as many of our difficult to reach classmates, as possible. Directions on how to respond in order to lend a helping hand, if so inclined, are detailed at the website. I think the below quotation, famously articulated by E.W. Howe and 'preached' to me in various forms by my dear Mother over the years, aptly applies:

"If a friend is in trouble, don't annoy him by asking if there's anything you can do. Think of something appropriate and do it."

Thanking you all, in advance, for whatever assistance you can provide, whether it be financial support, or simply keeping Kevin, Liz and their entire family in your thoughts and prayers.

Best regards,
James A. Gagliano ("Gags")
c/o '87 company G-1


I know most of you in the blogosphere barely know me, let alone some strange family from New York, but rest assured Kevin & Liz are everything that Gags said they are in his letter. Ron and I are going to the benefit. PERIOD. DONE. We are going to do what we can to support them both emotionally and finacially. We know and love them.

After visiting their website, if you are moved - buy a raffle ticket. I would so appreciate it from the bottom of my heart and you will be supporting a wonderful family. I nothing else, please add my friends Kevin & Liz to your prayers.


"Service to All Mankind"

Tommorrow, January 15th, my sorority, Alpha Kappa Alpha celebrates its 100 year anniversary.
I pledged grad chapter (Mu Delta Omega Chapter, 1988) at my first duty station in Ft. Knox, KY and my Big Sister, Pattey, became my BFF - FOREVER.
(Don't even bother getting your panties in a bunch about pledging grad chapter - I pledged the ultimate fraternity/sorority - THE LONG GREY LINE - at West Point for 4 years before I could even think about pledging AKA)
Happy 100th Birthday to all my fellow Sorors with a special shout out to my Big Sister, Pattey; my fellow West Point Alum Soror DebbieW; and my other Diva's AnissaW, MarshaA, SamanthaS....if I forgot ya...holler at me.


Lose Weight in 2008

Phat & Fabulous - A bunch of 40+ women, saving the world and losing weight one pound at a time.

Tune in to the continuing saga of these SuperWomen:
Wonder Woman
Warrior Princess
...and a few who will remain unnamed since they bout to get exiled for violating rules (non-participation=lack of accountability). Woman-up.

Enjoy the journey.


On Being Supportive

My husband is an entrepreneur, a business man...as far as I'm concerned he rocks the world. He works hard...sometimes too hard (GET OFF THAT CRACKBERRY FOR A MINUTE!), but he always gets the job done. He is a partner as well as President & COO of a Real Estate Development Company and an Asset Management Company - Chief Cook & Bottle Washer - my man hustles. And I'm always there, standing just off to his rear right, one step behind "being supportive".

What does that mean - "being supportive?" My friend, CreoleInDC, posed that question about a month back and I've been mulling over it ever since. I've heard it a lot during my marriage to Ron. I've always been slightly amused by that statement - what else would I be? I knew back when I was dating Ron, that he was a man of vision and purpose. Now I could either join the team or politely move on. I knew then, as I know now that I had a MAN, a WINNER and I wasn't about to "move on" to something less. I saw potential and I was going to work with it.

I (and my mother) recently received this email from my husband after he successfully finalized a Joint Venture agreement with a Caribbean Island (it will remain nameless until that government releases the press agreement) to build a resort and recording studio there:

"Lisa and Sandy,

This contgrats and thanks is specific to you. (he was referencing a congratulations note that when out to all the partners).

Thank you both for your support and love over the years, but in particular over the past 3 years. It was December 2004 when the journey began for the Federal Owens team to develop a world class resort in the Caribbean. There have been many ups and downs on this journey and I truly appreciate you both for allowing me the freedom and latitude to work as I have.

The majority of the day to day negotiations and operations on the Federal Owens resorts rest on my shoulders during the pre-development phase. The team has several million dollars invested in our Caribbean model; thus the high risk - high reward. Again, I know at times I can be quirky about being on the phone, computer, and blackberry. Many will never know the sacrifice of time you made supporting me. However, your sacrifice will be a blessing to so many lives in the future. the finalization of the _________ project with the attached documents validates Federal Owens efforts and capacity.

Again, I thank God, you, and the children for all that you do and being the perfect family for me. I love you."

Wow! But his note got me back to thinking about CreoleInDC's question...What does it mean to be supportive...to be a supportive spouse? Well, I went to the source - I asked Ron what his thoughts where. What does he consider "being supportive". Of course, Ron looked at me and said "You, and everything you do to make it possible for us to be a success." Scrunching my eyebrows together, I asked him to give me more.

I could tell he wanted to just eat his spaghetti in peace while reading his Crackberry, but he exhaled and humored me with, "Well, I'll tell you what it ain't".

It is not:
1. Always saying what I (Ron) can't do, shouldn't do. You (Lisa) might ask me valid, intelligent, reasonable questions about my ideas but I've never heard you tell me that I can't do it. You may have great suggestions for improvement or tweaking but never just downright discouragement.
2. Killing my dreams or the vision for our family. You wanna destroy your spouses confidence, destroy his/her dream.

Then he got into the swing of it, moving his Crackberry off to the side...
"Lisa, I can't give you a list, I just know what it is when I see it. You have been a living example." So here is a list of some of the things I did over the years that he considers "supportive." (I'm quoting him as fast as I could take notes in shorthand)
1. When I decided to build a Network Marking business, you weren't really into it and never really were, but you didn't fight me (too much). You let me go to meetings, you let me show the plan to God knows how many people, you processed orders, you drove miles to pick up products, you were mother, business partner & friend to every distributor I brought in the house. You did all of our books and kept us financially solvent - AND when it came time for me to see the light - that we needed to move on, you figured out a way to explain the necessity of it in terms that would hit home for me - WHERE IS THE MONEY?

2. When I branched into residential real estate, you went to the seminars with me, read the same books that I was reading and after I lost my mind and bought 9 properties within 2 years and the numbers weren't gonna work to have a separate property manager - who stepped up and volunteered to do the property management. You did. Do I need to say more?

3. When WE decided that both of us couldn't work a full time job and nail this development project down, you were the one who said it had to be me even though you are an partner with me in all of our companies (no other wife on the team is a partner - let me remind you). You would keep working for a while till everything was in place. I know you are tired, I know you hate it, but just hold on baby, we are almost there. And I have enough confidence in you to know that you will.....

4. You always say that Love is an action verb...well, I also believe that "Being Supportive" is an action verb. As a team, you gotta be in it to win it.

"Lisa, when I come home, I don't have to fight you on every decision I make. I don't have to brace myself for an argument over a bill, a tenant, whatever. I come home (or come out of my office - laughing at the irony of the fact that he works out of a home office) because I know you got my back. I have no worries. And I guarantee you are going to have and do all the things you ever dreamed of for that support."

Ron: "Does that answer your question? "Can I go watch CNN now?"

Lisa: "Yes, dear"

And with that, the matter was closed. I am a supportive wife and I love it.

Work Release Program

Sooooo, my sister is now in the Work Release Program through the Maryland Divison of Corrections:

The Work Release Program enables inmates who have demonstrated positive work ethics in the Division of Correction to work for a private employer in the community.

The Work Release Program is highly structured with supervision requirements that help the offender to be successful as he/she attempts to bridge the gap between incarceration and return to society.

Inmates often learn skills or acquire trades enabling them to maintain jobs when they return home. The Work Release Program is an important tool in reducing recidivism as work release employees are strongly motivated to succeed in any position they are offered.

Guess where she is working? Burger King down the street from the Detention Center. I'm glad that she has got a job, but my long term concern is that Burger King is not going to enable her to survive on her own once she is released. The family subsidy program will have to be re-instated in order for her to stay off the streets and out of jail.

The initial "Get Prepared for Your Job" investment came to about $400+. My sis got a 2 hour pass to go to the store (My (our) mother, picked her up and took her to Walmart) and get stuff for the job. $350 dollars later and she had pants, shirts, underwear, makeup, pajama's and other sundries that, since she is now in work release, she can take with her back into the detention center. Mom also got her a $50 cell phone top-off card so she could stay "in touch" with the family, prison & job while she is working. And then I had to top off with $50 on her Correctional Billing Phone line (the phones inside the prision - cause you can't use your cell inside). So, why or why do you still call my house COLLECT (.87 cents/call)?

Sis wants me to come on down to the Burger King so she can "hook me up". Have you lost your ever lasting mind? Besides the fact that I don't eat fast food, I do NOT want her to parade me around the BK introducing me to all of her co-workers and manager. And that is exactly what she will do. Not so much. No. I had to tell her don't mess with the "hook ups" and lose your job because of it. Just don't go there. Don't do anything to jeopardize your job and land you right back in general population.

Anyway, after over 20 years of dealing with sis, I gotta be careful. I've learned the hardway on too many occassions that while she's grinning in your face, being all sisterly and whatnot that I've ended up with something missing. I've ended up with a police officer in my house trying to execute a warrent for my arrest because my sister was using my driver license and name as her own. I've ended up with checking accounts drained dry, equipment missing and then sold...the story goes on. So my not wanting to spend a lot of time hiding my purse and clutching the jewels, is why I'm reluctant to visit her anywhere...including her job. My turf, my rules...I run the game.

I wish her luck with her new job. I pray that this works out and is start of her "return to society" as a legal participant. We will see.


Ikea Addict

I am an Ikea Junkie. I admit. I love that stuff. I've build an entire walk in closet including the flooring (myself - yes I have my own toolbelt), my mother's entire kitchen (well, I didn't mount the cabinets myself), shelving, Cara's bedroom, and all kinds of little things here and there...all from Ikea.

I can roam through that place for HOURS getting ideas and finding little things to add to the collection (I had ludded the Marketplace). Anyway, I stumbled upon this blog called the Ikea Hacker. Ya gotta check it out. Some interesting recreations, some complete junk but it's fun. Check it out.

We Had Visitors....

The Pollhein's Came a Visiting....

The Lemon Drop Martini's were definitly on point. I also made Sidecars - I'll get the recipie for ya later. Yeah, we put away some adult beverages.
Ma' Shrimp Scampi was the bomb - not even a scrap left.

Great and Awesome Friends...The ONLY people I know on the face of the earth that can visit with FIVE children and I not want to shoot myself in the head within the first hour.

Terri even got up at the crack of dawn (no kidding, like 5am) and completely cleaned the kitchen, even hand washing the pots and pans. When I finally dragged myself out of the bed to join her (I usually can't do earlier than 6 or 7), she was fixing me a cup of coffee. WOW! and WHEW! I needed it.

Back to work...BUMMER.


And My Spirit Died....

I was visiting "And So It Is Live" and read the post "And My Spirit Died". WHY, OH MY LORD, WHY did I not heed her warning to NOT watch that video. Curiosity WILL kill the cat and it bout nearly killed me. I ran screaming and crying from my computer. I AM NOT KIDDING.

Just don't do it. Just don't. There is absolutely NO reason to view it. DO NOT EVEN SEARCH FOR IT. Be satisfied with the reaction videos, if you just want to know.

(on my knees)...Lord, I beseech thee to remove the vision from my head.



Is anybody else fired up! GO OBAMA. Spanked that bootie in the Iowa Caucuses. The Hilster is gonna need all the "enthusiasm" she can get (I'm listening to her speak right now) from here on cause my boy is got her on the ropes. I am so thrilled...how bout you?