May 2006


Last Saturday, May 27th, was a special day. It only added to the fun and excitement of the Memorial Holiday Weekend.

Why was this day special? A large group of us celebrated my uncle’s 80th birthday. It was exceptionally festive. And a surprise for my uncle. When he entered my cousin, Shawn’s house, he was quite caught offguard. Think all the ‘sneakiness’ paid off. There were probably about 70 people at the event. I hadn’t seen some of my cousins since last summer at Lake Tahoe, our annual two week gathering spot. I had to laugh. It seems that the goatee/beard trend is really catching on. Last summer, I was the only one with any beard of sorts. At this birthday gathering, seven of my cousins had either a beard or a goatee. And of course those beards were all sportin’ a bit of gray in them. So to my family, I have to say, “Eat crow!” (done in jest) Half of my family can’t stand my goatee, if your wondering.

Well, as for the party snacks and drinks, lets say they fell far from lacking. Chips and three or four dips, salsa. We rolled over to spaghetti, deli sandwiches ~ ham or turkey with all the condiments, garlic bread, fruit, and a tossed mixed green salad. As with any of our family gatherings, the drinks were flowing in abundance. Plenty of pop and water for the kids and the designated drivers. For the socializers, several beers and a variety of red and white wines.

Then came the birthday dessert. A variety of ice cream, chocolate chip cookies, and two sheet cakes, loaded with candles. The crowd all belted out a big Happy Birthday tune, rather worth chuckling over as with that large of a group it is next to impossible to get everyone to sing on queue and in tune. And as for those confectionery delights, well they were yummy. One was a white sheet cake with a whipped cream and custard filling, topped with more whip cream frosting and huge strawberries. The second was my favorite and my downfall. I had to cheat and have a piece. It was a white sheet cake, with a chocolate whipped cream, custard filling, smothered with whip cream frosting and huge shards of white and milk chocolate. I had to have an end piece where all the delicious chocolate was placed.

We spent five hours of laughing, chatting, and reminiscing ~ never long enough. Where have all the years gone? As the evening came to a close, my eyes caught a glimpse of something I hadn’t noticed during the whole celebration. On the napkins was the phrase, “AGED TO PERFECTION.” I found myself pausing momentarily. Then I thought, “How true.” We really do improve with age. A bit more handsome or beautiful, a bit more intelligent (or at least we’d like to think that), a bit wiser, a bit more confident, and a bit more accepting of what curves life might still have in store for us. I like to think that we are only as good as we believe ourselves to be, so go for the gusto!

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It’s ‘How Do You Like It?’ time again. I thought that this week I would ask the following question given this past holiday weekend. I know that Memorial Day usually is the big weekend when all the movie houses start with their summer releases. I even suspect some of you got your movie ‘fix’ this past weekend. I know I did, even amidst the school work.

So here is the big question: How do you like your popcorn ~ lightly salted, “EXTRA BUTTER”, or both?

While I love regular popcorn, I have to be honest…give me a box of Cracker Jacks. Love those caramel coated bits of popcorn and ‘nuts.’ MMMM! Good. But the ultimate is reaching into the box, not knowing what the ‘SURPRISE‘ will be. ūüėČ Hot flashes here!

Let’s hear those answers. We all want to know!


SOLDIER, …

…did you ever stop and pause to think where your actions might lead you?
No, because all that mattered to you was this great country we call the U.S. of A.

…did we ever really take a moment to know you?
No, but regardless of how well you knew us, you gave freely of yourself so that we might live in peace.

…did we ever really know how much pain you felt at the separation from your loved ones?
No, because some of us were too busy focusing on ourselves and what made us feel good.

…did you ever have a chance to dream and live those dreams?
No, because you gave of yourself so that we might live our own dreams.

…did anyone ever tell you that you were our HERO?
No, because you left this world so unexpectedly.

…have I personally told you what you mean to me?
Yes, I am doing it now and I have done it every day since I fully understood the meaning of Memorial Day. You are in my thoughts and prayers eternally. THANK YOU! Thank you for allowing me the liberties that this great nation offers, even amidst its flaws. For on this day, we are ONE if not but for 24 hours ~ gay straight, Catholic, Protestant, Jew, Muslim, Black, White, Hispanic, Asian, young, old, male, and female, all that make up this great nation.

To my fellow bloggers, before you each begin your festive celebrations today, please take a moment to reflect on really what this day is about. REMEMBER all those men and women that gave their lives for this nation and its Constitution. REMEMBER those that still grieve for the loss of their son, daughter, friend, husband, wife.

To those of you bloggers who offered your service for this country and for whom we are blessed to still have here with us, thank you. (Kevin, that includes you!)

SOLDIER…YOU ARE NOT FORGOTTEN!

It’s hard to believe that I have been blogging already for one month. Time flies. I can not begin to express how much pleasure I have received from this adventure. I find it hard to believe that I have already have near 2300 hits on my simple site in such a short time.

Blogging has been an opportunity to share some very poignant moments in my life and I am sure more will follow. I am on such a journey now. It is great to have people out there in BLOGLAND to offer encouragement and yes, to express their opinions, regardless of whether they are negative or positive. For me, I try to gain something from all that is written, whether it is from the manner a post or comment is written, the way it is conveyed, its content, or from whom the post/commentary is coming.

I have also gained so many new online friendships. I wish many times I could meet every last one of you. I know I have had the pleasure of meeting some of you and plan on meeting a few others, but alas, it is physically and financially impossible to meet all. ***Sigh***

I don’t like to single people out because you all have effected me in some way, many with private emails. But I feel I have to say something to the following. They just mean too much to me! To my closest blogger buddies and personal friends, Rob, Pete,and Brett(Cajun), you guys mean the world to me. I hope we will always be true to each other. Derek and Spider, you guys are almost there. I just need to meet you, to make that personal connection (no – not that type of personal connection, hehehe!), and I have every intention on making it happen! You both are fast becoming a part of my circle of beloved friends. Now Spider do you see what I just wrote?!?! And I think Kevin is rounding the corner.

Well enjoy the balance of the Memorial Day Weekend. Play safely guys! I probably won’t post again until either Tuesday or Wednesday.

My roommate and his girlfriend decided they had to see X-Men ~The Last Stand tonight. I, being the absolute X-Men lover, volunteered to tag along for the early evening show. We knew that it was opening night and to expect crowds. My roommate and I have scoped out the three theaters near us. We have the good and the bad times to hit any one of the theaters down ‘pat.’

Tonight we went for the 7pm showing of X-Men at Regal Theaters in the Kaleidoscope complex in Mission Viejo. We arrived early to hit our favorite little pizza place in the mall. Pizza, salad, and lemonade for dinner. I know, not the greatest diet when you are weightlifting but heck, it was Friday night and to boot, the beginning of a long holiday weekend. Then it was over to the theater. We stood in line, about 10 people back, and when the doors opened to the theater room, we grabbed the primo spot in the theater ~dead center,mid screen.

Saw some interesting trailers…one for the new Superman movie due later this summer, another for the next big Marvel comic movie coming out in February, 2007, The Ghostrider, one for My Super Ex-Girlfriend with Uma Thurman, and one called Snakes in the Plane, just what you want to see…freakin’ snakes creep me out. Can’t quite understand why an actor like Samuel L. Jackson decided to take that movie.

The movie began promptly at 7pm. Its start was a little startling but reality will set in (can’t give it away). Next, let’s say that the first 25-30 minutes will be filled with some ‘shockers.’ You will also be introduced to new characters such as Juggernaut, played by Vinnie Jones, one hot big sexy guy. He gets 4 WOOFS from me. Aaron Stanford, as Pyro, comes to full force in this movie. Kelsey Grammer as Beast, Warren Worthington as Angel, and Eric Dane as Multiple Man are amidst some of the new small bit characters. I could go on but I don’t want to give away every character as it may lend some indication as to the direction of the movie.

I think by now it is no new news, thanks to the trailers and hype, that the whole premise behind the movie is this final battle over the issue of a mutant cure. And the momentum definitely builds that plot. The special effects were rather fun in this movie. So I do not believe you will be disappointed in this department. You will see love interests come and go and come back. Not lacking there. As for the end of the movie, hold on. There are so many twists and turns and surprises. I truly believe you are going to enjoy this movie. So grab a large bucket of popcorn, some sodas, and a box of your favorite movie candy (Good’n’Plenty, Dots gum drops, bite size Butterfingers) and buckle down for the ride.

And oh! ONE BIG, BIG SUGGESTION. DO NOT LEAVE THE THEATER UNTIL ALL THE CREDITS RUN or you will miss something HUGE!

ENJOY THE FLIC!

Normally I do this post when I need to devote a bit more time to schoolwork. But it’s coming a day late. I decided to do it today merely because I know a chunk of my readers may be off and running on their long holiday weekends. So I figured I would save the good stuff for next week and make this a fun-spirited post.

Memorial Day!!!: Just wanted to wish everyone of my buds out there in BLOGLAND a happy Memorial Day Weekend. Enjoy yourself, have lots of fun, be merry, but just don’t drink and drive! Play it safe. You each mean a lot…don’t want to lose any readers for ill reasons. And to all you lucky smucks that do have the long weekend off, just remember a few of us have to work our butts off for other reasons…ME, I have four small projects ~ all due next Thursday. Who said teachers couldn’t be pains in the ‘arses.’

Question To Ask YOU!: The question is: What are you doing this Memorial Day weekend? Yes, I guess I am a gluten for punishment but I would love to hear what you all have in the making. So leave me a comment on the ‘shakin’s’ of your weekend in today’s post section along with any other thoughts you wish to share.

So Tell Me Which Child’s Day Are You: Don’t know if you are all familiar with the poem? You know the one:

Mondays child is fair of face,
Tuesdays child is full of grace,
Wednesdays child is full of woe,
Thursdays child has far to go,
Fridays child is loving and giving,
Saturdays child works hard for his living,
And the child that is born on the Sabbath day
Is bonny and blithe, and good and gay.

Well, Curtis, at Let Me Tell You All About It, Sweetie, asked his readers this question. I thought it was a bit fun so now I ask you, “What child’s day are you?” Let me know. Does it match who you are? If you do not know or recall the day you were born on, click here and fill in the info to obtain the day of your birth.

****Oops, I forgot to mention I am a Sunday child. Guess I fit the mold.****

Again…Have A Great Memorial Day! Be Safe!

Have you ever felt as if life is just getting so complicated? Too much me, me, me. Too much noise from cars. Too much easy-life, forgetting what real values and hard work are all about. Too much destruction of the natural beauty around us? Lastly, not really getting to know your neighbor and the people around you?

I know I find myself thinking about this question almost every other day. But then again, maybe it is my personality, since I tend to have a very introspective side. For me, I find my vision of life is changing. Don’t we all experience this at some point, maybe some sooner, some later than others.







We are truly blessed with what gifts we have received as a nation, what progress has brought about. But with each thing gained, I think we lose a little of life’s simplicity and its real meaning. One of the things I often do, is think about my trips back to Medugorje, Bosnia-Hercegovina. Bosnia-Hercegovina is next to Croatia and is, in part, one of several new countries that once made up the former Yugoslavia. I am not going to go into the reason for my visits to Medugorje, other than to say I have a dear friend their now and it is a town of pilgrimage (a place where the Blessed Mother has been appearing since 1981 for those of you who are Catholic and or have some familiarity with the faith ~ absent any opinion of its teachings). Each trip has had a profound effect on me and my life.

Medugorje is like no other place I have been. It is beyond putting into Word. I have been there 3 times and each time I have felt torn about leaving this sanctuary. My brother in fact is trying to get me to go late summer but I am working on other possible plans. Again torn, but we’ll see. Life is simple there. Not a lot of vehicles. Lots of walking, some folk walking great distances into town from their more rural locations. The two and three story buildings that exist now only came to be over the past 25 years, built primarily to house the pilgrims. People are friendly ~ they take the time to chat with you if you engage them. Food is natural ~ fresh eggs and milk, fresh meat (we won’t divulge how it became fresh), home-grown fruits and vegetables, and oh! home-made wine and GRAPPA, rocket-fuel in a bottle. A sense of real community exists ~ people help each other, like assisting in harvesting someone’s grapes for the year. Heck one of my trips, I got out in the fields and helped my friend’s family pick grapes…hard work but an utter blast! I felt this incredible sense of well-being, an inner peace. Every element of this little hamlet, if you will, makes me feel like this. It’s what I wish I could feel every, breathing, waking moment of my life.

Can we ever truly attain such simplicity again in our lives? Really… take a moment to think about it. It is hard when you have been exposed to so many materials things and the pleasures/comforts they generate. I will be the first person to step up and admit it without hesitation. I think it can be attained but it takes an extreme amount of sacrifice to succeed. Perhaps that is what LIFE is about…sacrifices(emphasis here) and giving of oneself in order to gain the truest sense of inner peace. If I can ever find the inner strength, I so want to grasp onto ‘the feeling’ and never let go. I know I’d be happier!


The pictures that you see are of my favorite little corner of the universe, Medugorje. [Do you remember Steve?] The very first picture is of a home for recovering alcoholics and drug abusers. They all must make a commitment to relinquish there abuses, to stay at the home for six years, and to work doing the home chores and business. They survive in part by making and selling religious momentos for the pilgrims. The building that you also see was built quite literally by the hands of its members, those living in this home community. The craftsmanship is phenomenal and the mosaic they created in the chapel is unbelievable, considering not one member had artistic background. I’ll have to locate that picture and post it. The next seven pictures are of Medugorje itself and some of the many abundances that its land produces. And finally, the last two pictures…me barefoot, hiking up the rocky path ties in with the church picture. See the hill behind the church…I hiked barefoot from the base of that hill up to its top on crumbled rock. Let’s say I got two more years of my dad’s life out of it…it was worth every last physical notion of discomfort.

Hope I didn’t go to deep for you on this post…but you are seeing the real me exposed, whether I appeal to you or not. Damn, the picture of me was only 6 years ago, the big “40.” I look like a kid ~ no goatee, a little thinner, and a bit more hair. Don’t you just love the ‘doo’ too. ***chuckle***

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