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It’s Almost our Birthday!

June 27th, 2011 by stephanie

I love birthdays. It was a long standing joke that the celebration of my birthday began in January and ended in September. Only funny to some, if you know that my date of birth is in the end of May. But let’s face it, who doesn’t want their birthday to be special?

As we prepare to celebrate the birth of our nation, this coming July 4 weekend, I have to admit, I never cease to be amazed at the miracle of America. It’s beyond the imagination that we, as 13 struggling colonies, ever made it to this fascinating experiment that became known as the United States of America.

Have you had the chance to read 1776 by David McCulough? If not, why not make it a goal of yours to accomplish that challenge by the end of summer. I listened to the book on CD during some of my commutes as well as a long road trip. I was riveted. Story after story. I promise…it won’t put you to sleep. And you’ll learn things you have NEVER heard before and details you won’t get in school.images

Here’s a small one. The vote for independence came from the 13 colonies.  12 voted “YES” with one colony abstaining. Do you know which state abstained? Place your answer in the “comments” section! Let’s see who knows!

With that, here’s to faith, family and freedom.

And to you, life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

A very HAPPY 4th to you.


Excuse me, please!

June 20th, 2011 by stephanie

As I waited in line for the half-n-half, I suddenly realized there was a “line” for the cream and sugar.

A line? How hard can it be to add cream and sugar I thought? Get your stuff. Dump it. Move on. Right? Well, not so much.

Apparently, that task is harder than one might imagine. The person in front of me must have gone to tech school or, at least, he definitely took chemistry. Each container and packet was carefully opened. One at a time. Then each was methodically stirred into the hot ever-changing brew.

As the steam seeped over his shoulder, his hunched back only showed the intense form with which he utilized to maintain the concentration needed for this very special and precise formula.

At this point? I was ready to tap his knees lightly from behind which would cause him to fold, then, I could elbow him to my left, slosh some cream into my cup and slip out the side door. But no. I was in public. People were watching. I would have to behave.

Not an easy task when all you want is your cup of joe, and the guy in front of you has some Emeril Lagasse complex. It was painful to say the least.

Call me crazy, but when people get to the cream and sugar station, something strange overtakes them. Have you ever noticed that they suddenly forget that anyone else is in the building, let alone the vicinity? They measure and pour and stir. Then consider, and begin the entire process again while 28 of us behind them frantically check our watches (or cell or PDAs) and lament how we’re ever going to get back on schedule.

These coffee snobs are just not polite. And I am thinking I might start a Hey, there’s a boat load of us behind you. Get it together and move on campaign. (Do you think that might be a bit over the top?) Those of you who frequent your favorite coffee dispensary or cafe’ totally understand this personal angst.

Just my thoughts on this very nice day, when my elixir of the gods is getting cold while the unsuspecting space cadet in front of me gets the perfect color and taste combination as I patiently wait contemplating whether or not I’d personally be happy to offer him one lump or two. (Whew! Got that off my chest.)

Let’s just keep this little rant of mine between us today, shall we?



Father’s Day is this coming Sunday!

June 15th, 2011 by stephanie

Get ready to celebrate DAD this coming weekend. We’d love to hear from you. What type of festivities or fun have you got planned for good ole Dad. Let us know!


Get Ready for Flag Day!

June 11th, 2011 by stephanie

Not many folks are aware that June 14th is FLAG DAY.  Maybe it was because I grew up in a Military town (San Diego) that I know about these things. But I have to say, I have always enjoyed observing it. Even as a kid I stuck flags either in the yard or somewhere in the house if I could get my hands on one.

I hope you have a flag somewhere. One that you can hang out in front of your home, or, perhaps place in your window. Maybe you have one of those table top stands that make for setting a flag on your kitchen or dining room table or even your desk at work.

So, just where did this special day come from? Well, I did some research and here is what the internet taught me…

President Woodrow Wilson (back in 1916) is the one that issued a proclamation that officially established June 14 as Flag Day. But it wasn’t until August 1949 (a few years after WWII)  that National Flag Day was established by an Act of Congress.

Flag Day is not actually an official federal holiday. But good ole Pennsylvania made it a state holiday. For the rest of us, however, here’s how it looks officially:

TITLE 36 > Subtitle I > Part A > CHAPTER 1 > § 110
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§ 110. Flag Day
(a) Designation.— June 14 is Flag Day.
(b) Proclamation.— The President is requested to issue each year a proclamation—   

(1) calling on United States Government officials to display the flag of the United States on all Government buildings on Flag Day; and
(2) urging the people of the United States to observe Flag Day as the anniversary of the adoption on June 14, 1777, by the Continental Congress of the Stars and Stripes as the official flag of the United States.

Flag Day used to  include parades and festivities. One of the longest-running Flag Day parades is actually held in Quincy, Massachusetts (home of President John Adams and Abigail). Quincy celebrations began in 1952.

Appleton, Wisconsin’s Flag Day Parade is over 60 years old too!

The largest Flag Day is held in Troy, New York, and draws up to 50,000 spectators!

So how will you celebrate it this year? My dining room table is decorated, the door has something too, and I think I’ll stick some flags in the grass again, just for old times sake.

Just my thoughts.

Do you know about D-Day? (June 6th)

June 5th, 2011 by stephanie

A dear friend of mine actually drove General Eisenhower’s jeep once during the great WWII. Only 3 guys from his unit of 200 made it home. Today however, we focus on another gentleman. I will talk more about my friend later…

Sitting in a hotel room that lay on the coast of England, the allied commander, known as Eisenhower, knew that a small window of opportunity was all that he had with which to work. Weather was terrible. But if it broke, as they had been notified it might, 150,000 Allied soldiers would be deployed to land on the shores of Normandy.

“An invading army had not crossed the unpredictable, dangerous English Channel since 1688 — and once the massive force set out, there was no turning back. The 5000-vessel armada stretched as far as the eye could see, transporting over 150,000 men and nearly 30,000 vehicles across the channel to the French beaches. Six parachute regiments — over 13,000 men — were flown from nine British airfields in over 800 planes. More than 300 planes dropped 13,000 bombs over coastal Normandy immediately in advance of the invasion.” (

Paratroopers would drop at 1am. Would the weather hold? At a height of only 300 feet. In the dark. The wet. Think fast.

Men in PT boats would race toward shore. Many would get close. Some would fall short. As soldiers poured out, the 70 pound packs would sink and drown many who thought the sand lay directly beneath.

By nightfall, more than 9,000 Allied soldiers would be dead or wounded, but more than 100,000 would make it ashore, securing French coastal villages previously held hostage by Hitler’s regime.

These were depression kids. The scrappy boys that had learned to make it on their own. Those innate tricks of survival. Could there be a better training ground to prepare them for the impossible? Amidst perilous conditions? And a ruthless world tyrant to boot? Truly, a fearful task.

Those who made it through the depression learned to have a great deal of resilience and learned how to make due with what they had or could find. Older men today, if you spend time with them, are proof still that people back then were able to make the most amazing things our of the littlest stuff. What they were able to come up with was nothing short of impressive. No wonder we call them The Greatest Generation. Shaped by The Great Depression

One vet, Jim Norene, a member of the 502nd Parachute Infantry Regiment of the 101st Airborne Division, had come alone for one last anniversary, despite having stage-four advanced cancer. Though gravely ill, he was determined to make it back to France for the 65th anniversary of D-Day. Just one more time. After he landed (in a fashion much different then his first landing), he was able to visit the American cemetery the evening before Saturday’s ceremony. Jim never made it to the ceremony, that night, he passed away in his sleep.

This man, who returned to remember and honor his buddies would not have wanted it any other way. How poignant that he was able to return to the same shores where he and his pals had said good bye only to have the ironic privilege of rejoining them from the same soil that had prematurely taken their very young lives. Now, this ailing veteran and his band of brothers could truly rest in peace. Together.

May we remember.



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