Random Monday Mumbles

I'm on the road again for my new job to a National Launch Meeting...I've gotten out of the habit of playing nice with others.

Optional fun (when you know damn well it is mandatory) is so irritating.

Please invest in some decent friggin headphones when you travel. If I can hear your music as if it is playing in my ears, they SUCK.

Something happened this past weekend that was just plain humiliating & devestating. I was filled with a despair that even clonazeapam barely pulled me out of.

I managed to pull it together, stand up, throw my shoulders back, hold my head high and keep it moving.

My lip still trembles from time to time...but I "Just keep swimming, just keep swimming..." - Dori in Finding Nemo.

This too shall pass.

A friend of mine got the most awesome news in the world today. I'm going to taze her though if I hear about her thinking she was not good enough. HUMPH.

Dreams, backed up by action & preparedness, DO come true.

I don't think she is gonna like the 40 pieces of jewelry I got from the dollar store for her 40th birthday now that she is big time.

I think I succeeded in making Princess Cara's Kindergaten preparation special. I probably spoil her rotten.

Prince Jordan - college man - has his 18th Birthday tomorrow. I think he is going to holler (or kill me) when he gets the gift I bought him. A blast from the past.

I am not happy about going back to work, but I needed benefits. I should wear a sign that says "Will work for healthcare".

Can you say I'm an advocate for healthcare reform. And I don't want to hear anybody's fugnuckery & or hysteria about it. Get educated, read and then we can have a rational discussion.

My sister is wearing me out with the daily phone calls. Apparently she fell on a curb and cracked 3 ribs. We are still trying to figure out at what angle do you fall to do that. We suspect she got her azz kicked up against a curb but she ain't talkin.

I just don't know how people live in a state of perpetual drama. I find it simply exhausting.

I am still trying to figure out just what would happen if I left my portable electronic devices on while in the air. Seriously.

Well, we are about to land and I'm going to have to put that "Corporate Smile" on my face an make nice for 3 days.


What are you mumbling about this Monday?

1st Day of Kindergarten

Princess Cara is ready for her 1st day of school.


From ChurchDiva: Welcome to Juneau, Alaska

Welcome to Juneau, Alaska –

If today is Wednesday, August 5th, this must be Juneau.

BTW, Alaska celebrates its 50th anniversary this year. We entered the Gastineau Channel, past Douglas Island, and docked in Juneau. Juneau is a little bit larger than Rhode Island, has one main road going nowhere with some side streets (ya don’t go anywhere from Juneau by road). Getting into/out of Juneau is by air or sea only (trivia fact). 1 in 10 people in Alaska have a pilot license. Most people have a boat of some sort (No, no Miami Vice speedboats) which I’ll say range from kayaks, large fishing boats, tour boats, etc.

Busy day for me. Shore excursions with Travel with Alan include touring the capitol city, Mendenhall Glacier, Chapel by the Lake, Macaulay Salmon Hatchery (that I could have skipped…ya see one hatchery ya seen them all) and finally an evening whale watching tour. Jo is going to do the On Deck for the Cure breast cancer walk this afternoon.

As we disembark the Statendam, what do my wondering eyes see but a vision of jewelry stores right by the pier!!!! On Jo, on Brenda, on Jay and Rick, let’s pick up our latest trinkets! Anyway, they (I’m just an onlooker) ploughed their way thru the stores while waiting for the bus tour to begin. Aside from the usual Alaska native arts/crafts/jewelry, I noticed Russian icons, samovars, lacquered boxes and nesting dolls and remembered the tour guide’s Alaskan Russian heritage history lesson.
(no Palin jokes, please; did Gore really invent the internet?)

If you’re into reading (now that’s a joke today…if it’s not on twit or FB seems no one has heard about it), a good book to read is James Michener’s “Alaska” for a good story interwoven with historical facts.

We headed back to the pier for our tour through Juneau…the Alaska State Capitol Buildings between Main and Seward Streets, the historic buildings on Front Street built on the former high-tide line, the St. Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church built in 1894 (The Russian Orthodox Church followed the fur companies into Russian America and was influential long after the fur trade left. Many of the Aleut, Haida and Tlingit natives are still Russian Orthodox) , the Juneau-Douglas City Museum, and the Alaska State Museum. Seems Palin didn’t like living in the gov’s mansion but spent most of her time at her place in Wasilla.

But, no tour of Juneau would be complete without stopping by the Red Dog Saloon. This saloon started in the gold mining era providing “hospitality” to those looking to strike it rich. Seems that Earl and Thelma provided dancing & “entertainment” for the miners and “Ragtime Hattie” played the piano in her white gloves and silver dollar halter top (see, there is nothing new under the sun). Later when Alaska became a territory, Gordie would meet the tour boats with his mule and wore a sign saying “follow my ass to the Red Dog Saloon.” Now, it is a very touristy place, lots of memorabilia, piano music, sawdust on the floor, and lines out the door. So, here’s some touristy photos to pass the time away while you wait for the next installment on Juneau.


Move In Day @ Indiana Tech

We got Prince Jordan all moved in today at Indiana Tech. His dorm suite is pretty big and looks great. We only had to make one trip to Wa.l.Mart to get some last minute stuff; however, I do have to go home and mail him some stuff that he forgot.

I took longer to pack the stuff up then to unpack and get it all set up. I was "allowed" to set up all of the Prince's computer equipment, install the LoJack for Laptops (highly recommend) and set up his registration to access his MyIndianaTech web portal. I got everything dress, right, dress and he asks "So, when ya leavin." HUMPH.

Jordan and his roommate Tony seem to get along great. Tony's mother & grandfather were there and they were wonderful people. Ya know GMa Willie was calling trying to find out if there was some roommate drama and I had nothing to report. She told me she would confirm my report with Jordan herself. Why did I know that already. I'm surprised she didn't sell her house and move to Indiana. Let me not speak too soon.

I thought I was going to be all choked up and whatnot. Not one tear. I was more anxious than weepy. I was okay (just kept checking and double checking stuff)...even as he ushered me out the door with an "I love you, Mom. I'll be fine." At least he didn't use those famous last words "I got this (Erin, 2001)". If you hear that, start calling for a tutor cause they definitely DON'T got it.

So my son, future heir to the empire, is off and on his own. Sigh.

Where is my flask?

Why Lie?

So candid and honest, I had to give him some money although I did ask
him to get some food too.

From ChurchDiva: Ketchikan - Part 2

Now I can imagine what brawling, loud, raucous town Ketchikan must have been to Alaskan newcomers in the past. A first port of call to miners, trappers, adventurers, etc. Because the mountain range nearly reaches the shore, the early pioneers built “land” by sinking pilings and building piers on top of them. Many of the houses and restaurants are actually on stilts in the harbor. Some are restored, others built in replication of the old stores. However, like most cruise ports, Ketchikan boasts of at least 15 jewelry stores (including Bernard Passman, also in every Caribbean port).

Mind you, I’m not against jewelry stores, but when you've seen one you've seen them all, each having the same jewelry, each pitching they have a better price than the previous one. Of course, cruise ships get a cut of the profits so they conveniently put coupons for free merchandise in your stateroom to lure you into those stores the nite before port call.

Jo and Brenda (armed with a jewelry assault plan; Jay found the nearest bench to sit down) started hunting for their free charms, and gem giveaways. As a ‘seasoned’ traveler, these touristy traps I tend to shy away from. But not to spoil anyone’s ‘first cruise’ spirit, I marched along in joyful cruise attitude.

Fortunately, there was more to Ketchikan than the jewelry stores! Our tour guide (Jason….mighty fine) took us to Potlatch Park where we viewed the totem park, onto the carving shed, and to the Clan House.

Alaska.org - Potlatch Park - Ketchikan Alaska - Official Video - Watch the top videos of the week here

Next stop was the Deer Mountain Salmon Hatchery and Eagle Center where we got more than I needed to know about salmon. We saw the fish ladder were live salmon swam upstream, heard about raising Alaskan Salmon etc. Now I am not a big salmon eater, and it was the time of year when salmon go upstream to their birth streams, spawn and die. I think I became a lesser salmon eater.

Our easy-on-the-eyes tour guide Jason dropped us off on the pier just in time as the gangway would shortly be raised.

In the afternoon, the Statendam set sail for Juneau. Off to the Lido restaurant and bar for a lite snack and adult beverage (I ordered a Sidecar or two, I don’t remember. Did you know the original recipe for a Sidecar comes from Harry’s in Paris??????? Been there!!!!)

Did you know they have a Friends of Bill (AA) meeting on board??? Missed that!

Headed for an Advanced Editing Digital Workshop. Leaned a few things about “stitching” photos together to make a great panorama photo.

With Jo, Brenda and husbands having plans for the evening, I head off to experience the Pinnacle Grill, a reservation only dining experience. Smart casual was the dress for the evening but I’m glad I gussied up a little more since the restaurant had Bvlgari china, Frette linens and Riedel stemware (yes, I peaked when no one was looking). A panoply of servers began hovering around me; first, the napkin placer on my lap person, then the champagne server (I didn’t order that…oh, compliments of the house); then the server with the menu, then the server displaying the cuts of meat on a wheel glass-domed cart. I opted for the filet mignon with green peppercorn sauce with a side of asparagus and baked potato.

Not to be outed by the other servers, the sommelier hands me the wine list (S*#*#, where is TravelDiva when you need her). I selected a Chatea Ste. Michelle Merlot, which I was well pleased with (I’m not the red wine drinker in the family).

I started with an appetizer called the Pinnacle Ocean Platter — carpaccio of lightly smoked salmon, hot smoked salmon, sea scallops and wasabi cream. This was served on those nice white art deco plates… ya know plating is half the battle!!!! I followed that up with a lobster bisque soup which I would have put a tad bit more liquor in. After finishing the main course, Master Chef Sodamin, Indonesian who likes to cook Italian (go figure), came to my table for the usual “how’s the food” routine.

Actually, we ended up having a half hour conversation on cooking (thank God for Top Chef, Iron Chef, and all my cookbooks, etc.)

Not wanting to loose the evening ambience, I ordered a chocolate and vanilla creme brulee with a glass of brandy. Now only if I had a cigar, it would have been a perfect evening!!!

Stay tuned for the next episode.


The A-B-C's of YOU!

Last week a new blogger friend of mine at The World According 2 Lisa posted a contest asking readers to submit a one-sentance acronym using the ENTIRE alphabet. After pulling out my dictionary & thesaurus and putting in about 45 minutes worth of brain power, I came up with my sentance.

Here it is:

An Astoundingly
Curvaceous &
Jackanapes &
Lovingly lambasting
Quantities of
Universally &
Vaingloriously to

Lisa wrote a lovely piece on the contest and if you want to read the other submission then check it out here. Witty & Wise Women Say It With ABC's


Live Blogging: College Road Trip Randoms

Well, after a whirlwind tour of a conference in ATL, I landed back at BWI around 1pm today and after taking an exam for work and repacking my bags I was ready for the estimated time of departure to take Prince Jordan to COLLEGE!!!

The FireMarshall, on the other hand, was not.

We pulled out at 4:30pm for our 10 hour journey to Indiana Tech. We are going to stop at a friend of ours from West Point days overnight in Indianapolis, but yeah...10 hours playa's.

I've got my wireless card, power cord and thus can live blog from the car. Stay tuned for random thoughts of our journey.

BTW - I think the van is poorly packed. We could have gotten another family member in on this journey, but The FireMarshall felt that the way he packed the van was for maximum safety. And I quote..."Just in case I had to slam on the breaks and the refrigerator went flying, you wouldn't want to get his with college stuff shrapnel?"

I hate him.

The sunset is beautiful and we are looking for someplace to grab a bite to eat & stretch our legs.

We stopped at some super truck stop that had a Qwizno's, BoogerKing, a Starbux & a shoppette thingy. The FireMarshall and Jordan post up with a quickness at the Qwiz and order the largest sandwich they can, snatching a bag of chips with it. I get a cup of soup & a water. Do you know how hard it is to try to have a halfway decent, healthy meal at a truck stop. Near damn IMPOSSIBLE. FM says he wants some driving snacks for later...Hostess cupcakes, Raisinettes, a bag of honey roasted peanuts...BAZTARD. He is still tall and narrow and doesn't workout not one friggin minute.

Hate & Rage.

And that skinny punk had the audacity to eat a few of his chips and throw them in the trash cause they tasted "too healthy". In his haste to eat, he grabbed a bag of baked chips. "Where's the fat; those tasted like bark."

Hate & Rage

A package of SuziQ's was calling my name, but after looking at the label at the 500 calories & 49g of sugar...I passed. I did find some apple slices and carrot sticks, but paid almost 3x what that SuziQ would have cost me.

Next time...I pack snacks.

Tried to take a nap. I simply could not get comfortable. Jordan watched a bunch of Family Guy episodes. SMH.

A two lane stretch of highway went down to one lane with about a gazzillion tractor trailor rigs and one conversion van trying to merge. Can you say stand still. We will NEVER get there.

Carrot snack time. Comedy channel on XM Radio. George Wallace just cracked a joke: "Aint nuttin open after midnight 'cept hospitals and legs" I almost peed. I'm gonna add that to my "mother indignation" sayings...next time Charlee wants to stay out past 12am for some party Imma say "What you need to stay out past 12 for? Ain't nuttin open past 12 'cept hospitals and legs and if you ain't in the hospital...."

She will hate me for sure....Good.

George Lopez..."Kids today wouldn't survive our childhood. Allowance? What's that? Mom would say I allow you to live, so get out of my face before I kill you."

The FireMarshall almost swerved off the damn road. That routine was so damn true, we thought we were gonna just die. I....need...a...new...kidney. Two.

Stopped for gas and what did we see down the road. A WHITE CASTLE. Jordan went crazy and insisted we get a bag of burgers. I'm now praying that I don't have a GI disturbance.

I passed out in the car with the computer in my lap at around 3am. Woke up to The FireMarshall singing gospel (MaryMary) at the top of his lungs....just in time for me to see a deer come out of nowhere and head straight for the side of the van like it was going to ram us or something. The FireMarshall being ever diligent, managed to honk the horn and slow down causing said deer to veer away from van.

We then had to drive about 10 miles per hour as said deer just kept running down the side of the road trying to decide where to run into the corn field. Deer would run back into our lane in front of van then back to corn over and over. Finally the cornfield came to and end and the deer ran off into the woods. Whew.

We arrived at Ronnie & Chrissy's house around 4am. We all went into an immediate coma.

Woke up to the smell of coffee and breakfast. I can't find anybody, but there is a breakfast buffet here in the kitchen (that is friggin SPOTLESS) and we are digging in.

We have arrived in Indiana. Move in day tomorrow.

ChurchDiva (aka AWW): Welcome to Ketchican, Alaska

Let’s begin with a little travelin history on Ketchikan, our first port of call.

Ketchikan has many names:
1. "The First City of Alaska", because it was the first town travelers reached when ferrying north
2. "The Rain Capital of the U.S.",because it averages 162 inches of rain, including 32 inches of snow
3. "The Salmon Capital of the World", American settlers opened a salmon cannery in 1886, and by 1936, Ketchikan was one of the largest exporters of salmon in the world, producing 1.5 million cases per year. You will see many bald eagles (although some have their hair combed over the top) hanging around one of the local canneries, looking for leftovers.
4. "Totem Town". Ketchikan has at least 113 totems .The Totem Heritage Center houses one of the world's largest collection of 19th century totem poles, some up to 140 years old. Totems are generally raised during a potlatch (google that) to depict legends; to honor a deceased family member or to pay homage to some other momentous event.
Our tour guide took us through the city of Ketchikan out to Potlatch Park. We walked through the totem park, and to a carving shed where native craftsmen were creating totems that were commissioned for various potlatches, then to a Clan House where a native guide taught on the building of a clan house. We headed to Deer Mountain Salmon Hatchery and Eagle Center and heard the explanation of the life cycle of the Alaskan salmon. The Eagle Center housed a pair of injured bald eagle rescued by the center.
On the must see list is the Creek Street Historic District. This infamous, former red-light district, "where fishermen and salmon went up stream to spawn", contains about 20 houses built on wood pilings over Ketchikan Creek. In its heyday in the 1920's and 1930's, loggers and fishermen came to visit the Creek Street bordellos (of which there were more than 30) and kept the "sporting women" (as they preferred to call themselves) in business. The most famous of these proprietors was Big Dolly Arthur, AKA Thelma Copeland. Dolly's former place of business is now a museum, and open for tours. OK, this is all very dry so I’m gonna sweeten the pot. Takes notes, print off the travel notes, whatever…’cause there’s a prize at the end.
For more details visit The ChurchDiva...


AWW Guest Blogger: On the Road to Vancouver

Day 2 –Sunday August 2 –

A 3 hour bus drive to Vancouver was uneventful but I did make a few observations of my travel companions (so what else do you do except fall asleep????)
The first notable group was the Georgians who obviously knew each other and/or related. The stories and laughter began.

[Sidebar: Why do southern women wear makeup you can chisel off and all have bleached blond hair?]

The other interesting couple I thought would never complete the trip. He was short, bent over, had some trouble walking, and wore a path to the bathroom, I lost count. I thought of the commercial of an overactive bladder! She came on the bus using a wheel chair. Both were in their 90’s. Well, after touring with them for almost 14 days, I learned that he was a retired colonel, and a retired SEATAC Boeing employee and this was their 57th cruise trip. After completing this cruise, they were heading for a Panama cruise. Lesson learned…don’t judge a book by its cover.

Next stop…the Canadian border and pass through without incident. Finally reaching our destination of the ms Statendam but not without the requisite embarking photos. {Isn't that a great photo of mom?}
After casting off, we headed out of the harbor, passing under the Lions Gate Bridge in a northwest direction. Then ships horn blasts away, followed by the droning voice of the ship’s captain, born in Indonesia, of heavy Dutch accent but sounded like Toshiro Mifune in Midway (that’s a WWII movie for those in LomaLinda Land) announcing the requisite lifeboat drill. So I donned the life vest and stood 6 wide by 4 deep. I thought I was in the military and I was going to be issued a rifle…I was getting excited!!!! Then we shout out “here” when our cabin number was called. Now why would you want to embarrass yourself by now showing up and having Toshiro call your name over the entire ship’s PA system? They finally showed up (afternoon delite?????) and we were dismissed.
I’m going to let you hanging until the next installment….writer’s prerogative!


AWW Guest Blogger: North to Alaska

Day 1 --- So I have an evening flight out of BWI to SEATAC (that’s Seattle Tacoma) There seems to be a long standing feud between the seaport and the airport. You can google SEATAC, “Scoop” Jackson for the feud scoop.

My gate area has two flights leaving…one to Atlanta, the other to Seattle. I survey the mass of humanity waiting to leave for Atlanta…I am sooooo glad they were going to Atlanta…soooooooooooooo much sprayed on clothing that could not hold one more hot wing. The plane was late, so I had a late arrival in Seattle. Mind you, I called in the morning to reconfirm my hotel reservation, that I would be arriving late, like midnight, and that the hotel airport shuttle would be running.

You gotta know where this is going.

I arrived after midnight….now SEATAC is like Atlanta airport….HUGE! I took my 4 mile hike to the baggage area, picked up bags, and made another hike across the upper walkway, down the elevator 1 flight, and commenced to call the hotel for the shuttle. Someone at the front desk must have been watching comedy hour and thought he was going to play stand up comedy with me (why be stupid w/me at that time of nite?????) He commences to tell me there is no shuttle running at that time of nite because the sign on his desk says so!!!!! Well, says I, “Imma in the airport, I don’t have a video phone, I can’t see your damn sign, and I called to confirm before I left about the shuttle. So, whadayou want me to do?” He says, “Take a cab.”

I broke the phone hanging up!

I haul my luggage across the walkway, again, to the cab stand. It seems all the taxis are driven by Punjab the cab driver, complete with turban, incense, and prayer beads. [AWW is SOOOOO wrong, but speaks the truth] So, I start my mantra, “you can do this, it’s only Punjab AKA Jack the Ripper.” As he’s driving away from the airport into some secluded industrial park area, I’m thinking to myself, why is this the one time I didn’t pack a gun??????? My CSI training clicks in, I look for my cell phone, start to speed dial TheTravelDiva, so if something goes down, she can hear what’s going on and catch the rat bastard!

Well, I had to shut the phone off ‘cause then he pulled into the hotel. Punjab tells me that it will be $20 plus $1. I say what’s the $1 for. He mumbled something I couldn’t understand and decided that at 1:30am I was not going to argue.

Now you know this is not going to get any better!

I walk into the hotel lobby, give my name….he says, “I don’t have a reservation for you and we don’t have any vacancies.” All HHHHELLLLLLLLLLL broke loose after that. Needless to say, he did find me a nice suite.

Oh, you think the adventure is over?????????

Git up for my whoopee continental breakfast…not only did they run out of coffee BUT the area commenced to have a power outage!!!!! Have you ever tried to lug luggage down three flights of steps?????

Stay tuned for the continuing saga of “North to Alaska.”


Weekend Review & Randoms

Went to see GI Joe on Friday. It was campy, corny, one of the villains was especially over the top but I thoroughly enjoyed it. Just about any movie that has great weapons, lots of action, things/people moving at lightning speed in vehicles or spaceships & things blowing up...Imma like.

I go to movies for pure entertainment value. All those in depth analysis, continuity issues and plot breakdowns...whatever...I really don't pay much attention to reviews cause I like what I like.

I now have on my Christmas list an armored H2, a pulse rifle, a laser gun, a supersonic jet that fires weapons with my very thought & (even though she was a baaaad giiirlll) I need Anna's black cat suit & jacket. HOT!

The Champs at Columbia Mall (right next to the most popular movie theater in town) is a worthless piece of customer service. A Friday night and they don't think it is necessary to have enough people on duty to provide adequate, timely service. The ladies only ordered appetizers, but our guys ordered a meal. We got our apps pretty quickly but it took them 50 min to bring the buys some friggin tacos & a veggie burger. GUESS WHAT. Never again. Champs...YOU SUCK.

Saturday, The FireMarshall and I drove up to NJ to attend my WP Classmates' daughters graduation party. Ila knows how to throw a party. The food was OFF THE CHAIN. We thought we were gonna 'splode. It was so great to see Stephanie & her husband...who are moving to DC next month. YEAH!!!!! N. E. Way...we partied ate like rock stars for about 4 hours and rolled out back to Maryland.

That whole trip hurt a little bit...but for Ila...anything.

Did you know that it is easier to adopt a child - A HUMAN BEING - than it is to adopt a MF'n ANIMAL from the fuggin animal shelter. The Animal Shelter in Howard County must really WANT to put the animals to sleep because they sure don't want anybody to adopt one.

Interview, Background Check, everyone in household must visit, vet fees, cavity search....


I'm in the WalMart and the pet nazi called to say that they couldn't find my house on the state tax assessment rolls. ARE YOU FUGGIN SERIOUS. You looked my info up. FOR A FUGGIN CAT!!!!! I told the woman to take the kitten and shove it.

The Prince managed to find a kitten for his girlfriend from a breeder for a whoppin $5.

So, which kitty is sucking wind right now.

Today, The FireMarshall and I went down to the Naval Academy in Annapolis to visit with one of our sponsor midshipman's parents. They were just lovely people. These are parents that are VERY proud of their son and wanted to make sure the people they were entrusting their son's free time to were not weirdo's. We passed inspection. I thoroughly enjoyed meeting them.

After lunch FM & I walked up and down Main Street in Annapolis stopping to have an ice cream from Ben & Jerry's. Then we strolled through the Naval Academy grounds, realizing that we have never actually seen the entire grounds. I had to give them their props. The campus is beautiful.

...but it was hot as a cow on fire today.

My sister called and asked when I was starting work. I asked her why and she wanted to see if I could take her to her court appearance. Her audacity never ceases to amaze me. You want ME to take you to your court appearance for something that you tried to pin on ME!


My mother refuses to use the ship computer to send me emails from her Alaskan Cruise as they want 75 cents/min plus an set up fee. I don't blame her.

She can't figure out her phone to send pics and short emails. Why does she have all this technology when she refuses to use it. Sigh.

It was a wonderful & busy weekend. How was yours?


College Dorm Shopping

I took my son out shopping yesterday for stuff/junk for his college dorm room. Still not sure how I'm feeling about all this yet. It will probably hit me when we throw him out - I mean drop him off - near the end of this month.

We made a list, added some recommendations off the school webiste and started checking stuff off slowly yet surley. Between Bed, Bath & Beyond (and all the coupons I had saved up) and that "of the debil" store Wal.Mar.t, we did a little under 5 c-notes of damage. DAMIT.

We are pretty much done except for a winter coat, new sneaks, some clothing items and some much desired Tims. HUMPH! This boy need to get a damn JOB!

The Prince saw this stupid lava lamp and announced that his dorm room was now complete - shopping was over. Yeah, right. Yes, we got to stupid lamp. I'm such a push over.

Just some of the damage. Some.


The Long Grey Line Rocks!

Fellow Members of the Long Gray Line,

I want to make sure you know that West Point was just named America’s Best College by Forbes Magazine in its 2009 College Rankings. This is great news for West Point and the entire Long Gray Line.

I encourage you to take a few moments to read the full Forbes article. You should take pride in being an Academy graduate! (YOUR DAMN SKIPPY I DO!)

Duty, Honor, Country!

The Fresh Air Fund Still Needs Host Families for Aug

There is still time to host in 2009! The Fresh Air Fund NEEDS hosts for August in these states:
New Hampshire
New Jersey
New York
Rhode Island
Call (800) 367-0003 or click here to fill out a host inquiry form.


So Just Keep Striding...

Haters are just gonna hate...so just keep "your stride stank."


Running to Cadence

I love running. I don't really have a runners body, I'm flat footed & I pronate, but I absolutely love to run. Long distance - 10k's and above. It seems like I can solve all of the worlds problems (and any of my own) along with relieve stress while on these runs.

But that came to a screeching halt.

I thought my days of running were over. I pinched a nerve in my back & I injured my knee. I hung up my running shoes and looked for something else to do to stay fit. I started taking Bikram Yoga and after a year of practice, realizing the ability to bend my knees and back in directions formerly unheard of without pain, I pulled the running shoes out and hit the road.

It was ugly.

I had lost my rhythm; my stride. My breathing was off. My lung capacity was good, but the breathing technique you use in Bikram was not working for me. But I kept at it because...well...I could. I even managed to finish a 10K with BK (well, she finished first) ; however that was short lived as that nerve/back issue flared back with a vengeance and I stopped running for another month (or so).

Back to Bikram.

I started feeling better again and started back running. It just seemed so hard. I wasn't making the progress that I wanted, I wasn't able to really put in any distance and thought I was gonna have to bail out of the Army 10 miler.

My mother, who has never run a day in her life, was doing some research on Marine Corps Boot Camp since my classmates (Joe Pollhein) son is now at Parris Island. She came across a bunch of Marine Corp Running Cadences and suggested that I try running to cadence again.

She sent me two links:

How to Breath While Running
MP3 Cadence Downloads

I also downloaded a bunch of US Army Cadences off of iTunes. Put in a search for running cadences in iTunes and you will come up with some really good US Army Infantry, Ranger, Airborne Cadence albums. I synced up and hit the road.

OMG! I was a running maniac again. My pace was finally consistent. My breathing was once again on a 3:2 ratio...I could sing along. Now you have to get over the odd looks you may get as your running along chanting "1, 2, 3, 4...Run a little, run a little, run a little more, Hey!" but it works.

This may not be for everyone, but running to cadence has helped me immensely get my run mojo back. I still have a ways to go to get ready to finish respectable in the Army 10 miler; however, I am motivated and inspired....

"Here we go...all the way...everyday...."


"Easy and Ridiculously Simple"

That was easy. Yeah, right.

I have an easy button on my desk in my office. I love it. I enjoy slammin' my palm down on it and hearing it say "That was easy." after I complete some task or goal. The fact of the matter is usually there is nothing easy about achieving my goal (or any goal for that matter). It takes work, commitment, dedication, perseverance, and something I call "being relentless."

I once received a plaque from a mentor I had back in my Academy & military days who helped take me from brilliant, beautiful tree sloth (if there is such a thing) to a lean mean fighting machine. I still have it some 25+ years later on the wall in my office. I look at it every day. It says:

Relentless - to be a fiery, driving force that lets no obstacle or setback get in the way of a noteworthy goal.

Nowhere on that plaque does it say that it will be "easy and ridiculously simple."

There are two cases where when I hear people use "Oh, it is so easy"; "It's just so simple"; or the latest that I read today "It's so easy and simple it is ridiculous" I just want to put the "Nice Lady" away and pull out my tazer and proceed with extreme prejudice GI Jane'ing their azz.

I know. I'm off. I'm touched. A lot of ish makes my eye twitch and my hand reach for the tazer. So. Deal.

The first is when it comes to ways to become wealthy or to make money. What I heard today was "....It is so easy and simple it is ridiculous. You have to find out about this business and how easy it is to recession proof your future."


If it is so damn easy to become wealthy in the opportunity you are presenting then why isn't everybody who has been involved in it for more that 90 days not wealth? If it is so damn easy then why aren't you already wealthy and frolicking on the beaches of the world? You've been doing this for more than a year and your not independently wealthy yet? OH! It take 3-5 years. And you've been doing this for 6+? I thought it was SO DAMN EASY IT WAS RIDICULOUS!!!

In all of my years, in all of my travels, with the exposure and experience that we have had, WE HAVE NEVER heard someone who IS wealthy EVER say that it was easy (and yes, we do know people - so please). Not once. They talk about sacrifice. They talk about commitment, dedication, failing forward, sticking to their dream, late nights, long days and only doing the things the will lead to their success. Not once did they ever mention to us that it was a piece of cake...easy as pie.

So, it makes the hair raise up on my back when I hear people get lured into something on the premise that it is "so easy and simple that it is ridiculous" and then said new inductee is faced with the reality of what it REALLY is gonna take to be successful at anything. HARD FRIGGIN WORK.


The other situation where that "it's so easy and simple it's ridiculous" phrase makes my eye twitch (and my fat quiver-HA!) is when it comes to losing weight. In my experience, that usually comes from someone who has never in their life EVER had to lose more than 5lbs. They have NEVER had a weight "problem", don't know what their BMI is or prolly what it even stands for or, for that matter, even cares. They are usually (but not always) the person that doesn't really have to exercise too much and thinks that most of it is for the birds...cause if you just did what they say is so damn simple, you would be that thin too.

It just ain't that simple.

Making a choice to change your eating habits is not as simple as ABC. It takes 21 days to make a habit and most overweight people have been that way for more than 21 days. There are other issues to overcome on that journey to single or low double digits. Money, education, willpower, commitment, dedication, resources, accountability, medical conditions,...blah, blah blah. It is NOT "just that damn simple".

Once again, except for the commercials that tell you that it is easy as coughing up close to $300/month for their pre-package meals (how many people have that laying around all discretionary like) , I have NEVER met someone who has lost a lot of weight say anything about it being easy. What I've heard is how they had to re-evaluate their entire meal plan, they had to fight with the rest of their family to be supportive, they had to learn to cook/plan 2 sets of meals for their husband/kids, they had to workout - start slow and work up, they had to educate themselves, they had to re-allocate money to the endeavor...THEY HAD TO DO SOME HARD WORK.

I don't see ANYWHERE in that list anything about EASY, SIMPLE.

It's not. While I may not be morbidly obese (except according to Ca.re.Fir.st BC.&BS), it is a struggle every damn day to keep it as tight as I can and keep the fat chick inside me (Uniqua) from bursting out. I applaud & celebrate each and every person I see making an effort, struggling forward, slogging through. With determination & effort, it will happen for us...we may not EVER be a size 6/10 but in our struggle we are healthier, stronger, fitter (is that a word) and wiser.

So, please...Just STOP talking about what you know nothing about. WHATEVER, go ahead, I just stopped listening.

I refuse to take financial/business advice from a broke person (or someone who is not already where I want to go - That's futile - is there a button for that). I refuse to let someone who has never had to worry about weight issues tell me how damn simple it is. I appreciate the recipes, the suggested meal plans etc.; but honestly, it just comes off better from the likes of Dr. Ian Smith (who would have me stuttering like a damn fool if he busted me with a big ole bowl of ice cream like the chick in the commercial). He may have never been fat, but he would never say that it was going to be EASY, SIMPLE.

STOP telling us how easy and simple it is cause ya lyin'...and most of us (I hope) know it.