Monday, December 31

Musical Monday New Year's Eve 2007

Some Things Make Life Worth Living:
The Perfect New Year's Eve date.

Dancing in my favorite Irish pub.
Screaming the lyrics to Walk Away ~by Dropkick Murphys, My favorite Irish Drinking Song ~by Flogging Molly and Add It Up ~by The Violent Femmes at the top of our lungs whilst his beer sloshes onto my favorite boots.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Feeling the Eire blood coursing through my veins. And his hand on the small of my back; his fingers burning an impression onto my flesh. That physical connection, in the midst of the swirling crowd, a connection that says we are one. We will not be torn apart.

He grabs me and pulls me to him for a slow dance as the crowd around us continues to dance fast. He sings along in my ear, his arms wrapped around me. A song he secretly requested earlier because he says he loves my blue eyes and he cannot help but think of me whenever he hears it.

Leave your stepping stones behind, something calls for you.
Forget the dead you've left, they will not follow you.
The vagabond who's rapping at your door
Is standing in the clothes that you once wore.
Strike another match, go start anew
And it's all over now, Baby Blue.

It's All Over Now Baby Blue ~Echo and The Bunnymen version.

The drunken crowd shouts along and surges, pushing us closer together. He wraps himself tighter around me, a protective shield against the throng. I can feel my heart racing in response to his nearness. I wonder if he can feel it too.

All I can think is that I want to burn this moment into my memory. So I'll never forget the feeling of his fingers in my hair. His lips, warm and wet, against mine. The smell of his skin as I snuggle in and kiss his neck. The feel of his body melting against mine--until I can't tell where I end and he begins.

And then...

Shiny, shiny, shiny boots of leather
Whiplash girlchild in the dark
Clubs and bells, your servant, dont forsake him
Strike, dear mistress, and cure his heart

I am tired, I am weary
I could sleep for a thousand years
A thousand dreams that would awake me
Different colors made of tears

Kiss the boot of shiny, shiny leather
Shiny leather in the dark
Tongue of thongs, the belt that does await you
Strike, dear mistress, and cure his heart

Severin, severin, speak so slightly
Severin, down on your bended knee
Taste the whip, in love not given lightly
Taste the whip, now plead for me

Venus in Furs ~The Velvet Underground

And Johnny Thunders sings You Can't Put Your Arms Around a Memory.
Sorry Johnny. I have to try. It's my nature.

I always miss home at this time of year.
The Road Home.

Happy New Year everyone!
Make this the one you'll never forget!

Technorati Tags: , , , , ,

Friday, December 28

Out With The Old

In with the New!

Say goodbye to the pink hair.
It's okay. It was just temporary dye anyway.

As you can see I've taken down the Christmas template that I created. It's still available for download here Christmas Template. And it's free! Aren't those wonderful words to hear after the holidays have ravaged your wallet? Consider it a belated gift from me to you.

I created the current template with a musical theme. Note the Violent Femmes and Gary Jules quotes. I also started work last week on a template for men. It's not quite finished, but it'll be ready for download (hopefully) this weekend. You can view it here Musical Template and watch while I work. I'm also using a musical theme for this men's template. I like my templates like I like my men.
Brilliant and moody. Ahem

The next men's template will be dedicated to the geeks and nerds. You know how hard I crush on geeks and nerds. I couldn't possibly leave them out. I've created several breast cancer awareness templates with girl themes. I thought it only fair to create a couple of templates for the guys as well.

This will probably be it for a while though. I made an early resolution this year. That I would start making some changes in my life. That I would take some risks and start following my heart.

So... I quit my job.
I know. I know.
I hadn't mentioned it before because it gave me panic attacks even thinking about it.

Believe me, it was a tough choice, but it was time. I'm excited by the thought of new challenges and new opportunities. Today was a first step in that direction. I had a job interview with a company that I would truly love to work for.
Cross your fingers for me.

The subject of this post is 'out with the old, in with the new'.
Positive thinking on my part about starting a new job.

Of course that will mean that there will be no more pink highlights in my hair. Sad stuff that! I won't be able to spend as much time building templates, because I'll be spending my free time honing the skills I'll need in a new position. I'm an old pro at using the Microsoft Office Suites; Word, Excel, Power Point, and even Publisher, but I really need to throw myself into learning about the new company and their products so I can be a true asset and also so that I can be confident that I'm doing the best job possible.

Obviously I won't be here as much. The past couple of weeks that I haven't been working I've had more time to write here. Which was a nice distraction from the anxiety also. And it was great fun to get to visit and meet new people out on the Intertubes, but I will have to get back to a normal work schedule. I'll once again be limited to evenings and weekends and there are going to be periods of backlog in answering emails. I'll do my best.

The time off has also allowed me a chance to spend more time with Cheyenne. She's still working through the steps of grieving over Lona's death. The memorial video. We visited the cemetery a lot. Sometimes her friends would ask to go with us. We spent time decorating her grave with brightly colored mums and carnations.

The week before Christmas we put a mini tree in the planter. The kids she went to school with have been coming by and adding decorations. It just makes my heart ache for them all when I see the new ornaments. I can see the love and thoughtfulness that went into selecting them. They've hung jewelry in the tree as well. Necklaces and bracelets, earrings. The gifts that they would have given her this year. I'll get a picture the next time we go. It looks absolutely beautiful.

We also finally got to meet Lona's Halo!

A local horse breeder has named one of his new race horses after Lona. We've all been waiting to meet her. He named her after Lona because he says she has Lona's spirit. Sweet and outgoing. She loves having her picture taken and if there are people near her pen she moseys right up to nuzzle. She loves to be groomed and she even has blond highlights in her mane. Yes, definitely Lona's spirit. She'll be leaving for North Carolina in the Spring to start her training on the track and to learn to get out of the starting gate. I'll post her bloodline soon with a few more pictures. She comes from amazing stock. Both her grandfather and her father were champion race horses. There's a lot of excitement about her racing future. We've been invited to attend her races by special invitation. I don't know much about horse racing, but I think I'm about to get a quick education on it. I hope you'll all root for her with us.

I know New Years is still a few days off, but I can feel it coursing through me today. That feeling of optimism and endless possibilities. That whisper in the air that makes the spirit hunger for new adventures. A reawakening of the gypsy in my soul.

I'll try to take advantage of this weekend to catch up with everyone. If you don't see my face around much next week just know that it means that good things are happening. I'll try my best to keep up with HNT and Musical Monday. The rest will have to be catch as catch can.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, December 27

Christmas Gathering HNT

We had a great time on Christmas Eve.
I loved spending time with my nieces and nephews.
I even got to play Mrs. Claus.
Mrs. Claus

And the kids made out like bandits!
Opening Presents

I love seeing their excitement as they geared up for Santa's visit.

And my dad enjoyed it for all of the obvious reasons.
He was surrounded by girls who absolutely adore him!

Hope you all had a wonderful Christmas too!

And since we're supposed to pick our favorite HNT of the year I'll have to go with this one.

I got to spend time with Seamus.


And I got a chance to meet the buffledog himself shortly before he passed away. I'm truly grateful to Seamus for having brought him to see me.

Happy HNT!

See the man. Osbasso

Technorati Tags: , , ,

Tuesday, December 25

Mr. Bean - The Christmas Turkey

We're having a very Brit holiday!
Come join us!

Mr. Bean's Christmas - The turkey scene

Here in the states we listen to Nat King Cole, but across the big pond Slade is the number one band for celebrating the spirit of the season.

I'll be writing more about Slade in an up-coming post.

Happy Xmas Everybody!!!

, , , , ,

Sunday, December 23

Have a Psycho Christmas

Christmas Carols for the psychologically challenged.

1) Schizophrenia---- Do You Hear What I Hear, the Voices, the Voices?

2) Amnesia-- I Don't Remember If I'll be Home for Christmas

3) Narcissistic-- Hark the Herald Angels Sing About Me

4) Manic-- Deck The Halls And Walls And House And Lawn And Streets and Stores And Office And Town And Cars And Buses And Trucks And Trees And Fire Hydrants And......

5) Multiple Personality Disorder----We Three Queens Disoriented Are

6) Paranoid---Santa Claus Is Coming To Get Us

7) Borderline Personality Disorder--- You Better Watch Out, You better not Shout, I'm Gonna Cry, and I'll not Tell You Why

8) Full Personality Disorder--- Thoughts of Roasting You on an Open Fire

9) Obsessive Compulsive Disorder---Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells

10) Agoraphobia---I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day But Wouldn't Leave My House

11) Senile Dementia---Walking In a Winter Wonderland Miles from My House in My Slippers and Robe

12) Oppositional Defiant Disorder---I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus So I Burned Down the House

13) Social Anxiety Disorder---Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas While I Sit Here and Hyperventilate

14) Attention Deficit Disorder--We Wish You......Hey Look!! It's Snowing

This came in an email from a very dear old friend.
I miss you Chris!!!

Technorati Tags: , , , ,

Saturday, December 22

Little Miss Anu

Gone... but not forgotten.

Last night Anu came to me in a dream.
It was the anniversary of my brother's death and I think she wanted to give me a special message. The kind of message that needs no words. She did not speak. As happens in dreams, she did not need to.

I dreamt that I was standing alone on a beach. The sun was shining and it was warm. Not hot, but comfortably warm. The sun was as bright as a noon day sun, but it hung low over the water like at sunset.

I remember looking down at my toes and seeing individual grains of sand on my feet. Each grain of sand sparkled like they were made of diamonds. As I walked along the beach I watched as they slid off my feet in surreal slow motion.

I saw Anu standing at water's edge. I couldn't see her face well because of the sun behind her. She was wearing some type of loose flowing white gown that wrapped around her body and it blew out away from her in a breeze. This breeze I knew was her own. I couldn't feel it. Her long hair shone with many colors. Brown and black and red highlights. I remember staring at her hair in the dream, captured by the brilliant beauty of it.

She gestured for me to follow her.

I followed her as she walked towards the sea, she didn't turn back to look at me until she reached the waters edge. Then she stopped, turned to me and smiled. A special smile; one that was full of peace and compassion and also a bit mischievous, like someone about to share a wonderful secret.

She began to walk into the water then. Again everything seemed to be moving in slow motion. I watched as the water lapped at the hem of her gown, then as it moved up until she was waist deep. I reached the waters edge then and she turned to me again. With that same smile on her face.

I knew then that I could not follow her. I wasn't ready to go where she was going, but I knew that she was sending me a message that where she was going was a wonderful magical place. A place of overwhelming beauty and love. A place that she looked forward to sharing with me when the time comes.

It was then that her message came clear, like a voice had whispered the words into the air and they had been carried to my ears on the breeze. She was telling me that when it was time she would come back for me. That she would take me to that special place with her. I remember thinking of my brother. Wondering why he wouldn't be the one coming to take me to that place, but no. My brother is in that place, he has his own special purpose there and he is waiting for me. He and I will be together always once I've crossed over, but she would be my guide out of darkness to that place of beauty and love.

I realized then that she had a special assignment in that place, she was chosen to be just such a guide. To come and lead her family, friends and acquaintances to this beach. To the water's edge. And then on. She told me that before I go there would be a period of utter darkness, but that I shouldn't have fear. I should just be patient and wait and she will come to get me. This was her message to me, delivered now, before the time comes, so that when she does come for me I will understand her purpose. And so that I will not be afraid in the darkness as I wait for her. She will come and deliver me to the people who love me.

And she and I will know and keep each other always after that.

She turned away again, walking out into the ocean. Her message delivered, she never looked back. I awoke just as the water level reached her shoulders.

The room was cold. Winter darkness was all around me. I put on my robe and went downstairs, the last glow of embers in the fireplace barely lit the room so I lit a couple of candles. I sat down on the couch and wrapped my throw blanket tightly around my shoulders.

I sat in the quiet and thought. I thought about the message that had been delivered to me. That sense of peace that had enveloped me when I was with her was with me still. I thought that I should have been feeling disappointed that it wouldn't be my brother who would come for me, but I had no such feeling. It just felt right. Right in more ways than I can express that she would be the one to come for me.

I wanted to write this dream because it needed to be shared. And also because I had a very specific thought when she expressed to me her assignment as a guide. That she would come for her family, friends and acquaintances. I thought... WDKY? And I had a feeling as though she brushed the thought away. Not to worry. I'm going to come for him.
Of course I am.
He already knows this.

In fact, my reason for doing so is something of a sad one... believe it or not, tomorrow mark's the first anniversary of Anu's death and I just felt that I couldn't let it pass without a word or two. ~WDKY

Monday, December 17

Have a Holly Jolly Christmas- From Pup and I

Pup and I had our Christmas Party Gathering.
He supplied the food and booze.
I supplied the me.
This is how we entertained our visitors.

In the meantime...
Cheyenne and I got elfed thanks to Pup.

Wanna see our Elf Dance?

Happy Musical Monday!!!

Monday, December 10

Tuesday, December 4


I'm finally back after battling it out with my router.
Technology can be a beautiful thing. And then it either gets deprecated or stops being supported. That's why I've always believed that percussive maintenance is the best solution when technology runs amuck. Somebody has to be the alpha machine.

And as Murphy said "If it jams - force it. If it breaks - it needed replacing anyway."

I've been wearing my Redskins windbreaker for the past week with a black armband. Flying my true colors.
My brother was taken from us a few days before Christmas. I understand the pain that Sean Taylor's family must be going through right now. I know the questions. Who? Why?
My thoughts and prayers are with them tonight.
I understand exactly where Jason Whitlock's head was when he wrote this article about black on black violence. His words captured everything that I felt in my heart when my brother was taken from us but could not express.

I've been a long-time Washington Redskins fan. I was a fan before their 1983 Super Bowl win against the Dolphins, and even after flying to Miami to personally witness the humiliation of 'Black Sunday'.

Hail to the Redskins
Hail Victory
Braves on the Warpath
Fight for old D.C.

May they continue on and make Sean proud.

Technorati Tags: , ,

Thursday, November 22

Thanksgiving 07 - HNT

Up early cooking!

Although most of us think of pilgrims and indians around Thanksgiving, the feast they shared in 1621 after an extremely hard winter, it was actually President Lincoln who proclaimed it a holiday in 1863.

I have much to be thankful for this year.
I plan to spend the day cooking and eating with family. Wrapped in the knowledge that this past year has been tough on us all. We'll be celebrating the fact that J is still with us. It will be one year since his motorcycle accident on the 28th.

This year I have so many of you to thank for being there for me.
For caring.

And of course, I never would have made it through that first week if O hadn't stayed on the phone with me.

J is back in the studio with his band. They're working on new material.
And his scars are healing well.

One or two more minor surgeries and he should be back to his old self.

Thanks and love to all of you.

Happy HNT!
And Happy Thanksgiving!

See the man, Osbasso.

Technorati Tags: , , ,

Saturday, November 10

Ipso Facto

I wrote this post on August 11, 2007.
I had forgotten about it until this week when the numbers were coming in and the media began their doomful wails. I had called it prescience in the post, but that foreknowledge was borne of experience. The inevitable outcome of a known course.
This week I have watched it come to fruition.

If we want this war to end then we are going to have to bring down the hammer on Al Quada in Iraq, and when we begin to push, they are going to push back. The harder we fight them, the more desperate they will become, and the more they are going to respond with violence. We are going to lose more soldiers than ever before, but a full on engagement is truly the only way to bring American soldiers back home.

I'm not in the habit of talking about the war here, other than supporting our troops of course. I've adopted soldiers serving in Iraq in the past and we're gearing up to start another email campaign to let the guys and girls over there know that what they're doing, and the sacrifices that they're making, are appreciated. Christmas is also approaching and, if you've ever done this before you already know, it takes a while for the packages to arrive and get dispersed so an early start is always best.

You can call it a bit of prescience on my part, having been a soldier myself, and having been stationed overseas during the first Gulf War, that I'm looking at the up-coming months with a sense of both dread and also an increased sense of patriotism.

I can't even begin to imagine what the coming months are going to reveal, but it will be extremely polarizing to the American people.

One thing is for sure. There is going to be an increase in the number of soldiers that we lose in Iraq. We may lose more in the next few months than we have lost in the war so far. And that is going to be a huge payload for the media spin doctors, and the Democratic Party is going to use that fact to force their own campaign agendas.

'We The People' have been calling for an end to the war. We want the conflict over and we want our children (and spouses and parents) back home. That means that the conflict is going to have to be heightened. They can't leave, honestly and practically. Safely. Without first eliminating a threat that is growing rather than receding from terrorism. That means that our soldiers are going to be in much more danger than they have been in the past, merely by the nature of this type of assault. They will be putting themselves in positions of risk that they have not been in before.

I do see how this going to get spun though. No one has been louder in calling for an end to the war than the Democratic party, but as soon as those numbers start to rise we are going to hear about what a failure the campaign is. I happen to believe that it's just not so. As a former soldier and veteran let me assure you that the soldiers fighting over there are well informed of what their objectives are. This is still a voluntary Army and the GIs, both male and female, who are charged with defending our country are not going blindly into the abyss. They aren't cattle being led to the slaughter. They are an incredible fighting force and I don't think they've had a real opportunity to show their capabilities thus far.

'I The People', here in the land of me, me, me, also want our troops back home. I don't ascribe to the motto that if you don't support the war, you don't support the troops. And frankly, I feel embarrassed for anyone who can't come up with a more literate approach to the matter than 'If'n yur not fur us, yur agin us!' It insults my intelligence when I hear such lowbrow responses to something as complex as the way Americans feel about this war.

We're now in a position of 'damned if you do and damned if you don't'.
We have to amp up this conflict. We have to bring the hammer down with a resounding thud. And we are going to lose troops doing it. I'm dreading the campaign ads where dead soldiers are paraded as victims to provoke people into making a decision based on emotions rather than facts.

This isn't so much about voting or politics as it is about soldiering. I spent too many years wearing a uniform myself to not recognize how this tide is going to turn. And the only way it's going to turn in our favor is if we make a firm decision to crush the enemy and have it over once and for all. We'll hear about our soldiers being ambushed. The body count will blare on the evening news. But no one is making a comparison to the enemy body count.

I'm going to mourn the loss of every soldier that we lose. I'm going to mourn for their families at Christmas. And there will be a lot of them. But not as many as there will be if we have to spend another five or six or seven years fighting over there. And the way things have been going since this war began, I'm afraid that, without making some major offensive strikes, that could be a real possibility.

We just have to keep the faith.
We have to trust in our leaders.

And I don't mean the White House or the War/Money Machine. What would our commander-in-chief know about soldiering, except how to get out of it? No. I mean the platoon leaders and the squad leaders, people who actually know how to lead--and how to motivate their troops. Because that's what the Army is. It's small groups of soldiers who have worked together and trained together and they will look out for each other. I know this from personal experience. They've learned to fight as a unit. And, given the opportunity, they are going to do what they have been trained to do. And God bless each and every one of them for that. And please watch over them.

My thoughts are with them tonight.
I do believe in our soldiers.
My faith is strong.


Thursday, November 8

HNT An Autumn Haiku

An Autumn Haiku

Fall is in the air;
Windswept leaves swirl at my feet
Firelight calls me home

Happy HNT
Keep warm out there!

See the man, Osbasso

Sunday, October 28

This is Halloween Musical Monday

A day late but...

We now have the radio station set to the Halloween channel.

And I found a really cool blog tonight.
Obviously a guy after my own heart ;)

Our Halloween Movie Guide

Ju on

Todays guide is for our favorite movies to watch around Halloween.

Number One on the list is Ju on. It's so much better than the watered down American version 'The Grudge'. If you haven't seen it then you're missing one of the scariest movies ever made. Trust me, if you like scary movies this is a 'Must See'.

Number two is also a foreign film and there are plans to make an American version.
A Tale of Two Sisters (aka:Janghwa, Hongryeon) was made in South Korea in 2003 and is a recommended movie from Cool To Open. This site is gone -- updating links as time allows.

Here's the rest of our favorite movies to watch for Halloween:
Click to watch the trailer/movie clip or to visit/view on Amazon.
    Angel Heart This is the movie that got Lisa Bonet kicked off of The Cosby Show ;) 
    Nightmare Before Christmas 
    From Hell
     Lost Boys  
     Hocus Pocus 
    The Witches  
    The Others 
    The Blair Witch Project
    Bram Stoker's Dracula  
    Buffy The Vampire Slayer  
    Salem's Lot 
    Rosemary's Baby 
    Nightmare on Elm Street 
    Mothman Prophecies  
    The Ninth Gate  

Do you have any additions we might have missed?

Cheyenne and I are about to curl up on the couch with Mac and Cheese and this playing. Little Shop of Horrors.

, , , , ,

Friday, October 19

Spooky is an LOLSecretz star

It turns out that my cat Spooky has been keeping secretz from me.
Spooky's BIG Secret
Now who'd a thunk it?

It's a shame I had to go to LOLSecretz to find out.
But it does explain all of the trojans and viruses I've been getting lately :P is the meeting of two of the internet's most famous memes– PostSecret (the blog where people anonymously confess their deepest darkest secrets) crossed with Lolcat Macros (the phenomenon where people ascribe poorly spelled human emotions to animals).

A special thanks to O for the great captions! I laughed so hard when I read them that I almost wet myself.
Love you babe!

Spooky's next appearance will be on
I'll let you know when it's up. Can't wait to find out what other mischief my cat has been getting into while I'm stuck at work. Sheesh!

Saturday, October 13

ATT and Verizon - Shame On You!

"The compromise between liberty and security remains a difficult one. But dismissing this case at the outset would sacrifice liberty for no apparent enhancement of security."
U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker

Geek Hint of the Day:
There are a lot of links on this page.
If you right click a link you can choose 'open in new window' so you won't navigate away from the page.

AT&T and Verizon are now lobbying for immunity from prosecution for warrantless surveillance? They not only offered up voice and data communications from their own customers, but also intercepted data from other companies and turned it over without so much as a warrant or a court order. For years. And now they're expecting Congress and the President to come to their rescue in the face of impending law suits.

Although I do agree, to a certain extent, that there should be accountability in other arenas also, there is no doubt in my mind that this comes down to personal responsibility. The one thing we, as Americans, know, is that we are all responsible and accountable when our decisions and actions harm or threaten someone else. When we've stepped over the line. And there's also civic responsibility. When you consider the magnitude of trust that we have put into the hands of both of these companies it's more than just a bad business deal. It's a betrayal of the public trust (MCI).

I'm sure they feel that some of the responsibility should fall on the shoulders of the government. That there should be a certain amount of 'divine intervention' when what they were doing was obviously condoned and welcomed by the NSA. And was obviously quite well hidden by all parties involved also. If it hadn't been for Mark Klein the world may never have known that there really are men in little rooms handing over our private phone calls, emails and Internet habits to be scrutinized as if we're all criminals. I'm sure Heinlein is probably high-fiving Orwell right now saying 'Dude, you so nailed that one!'

According to the Washington Post President Bush is threatening to veto The Restore Act if the Telecoms aren't given retroactive immunity from persecution. He's quoted as saying that the proposal to require court approval in surveillance procedures "would take us backward". I couldn't agree more. Backward to a time when protection under the Fourth Amendment protected us against 'unreasonable search and seizure' and it was not only expected, but demanded, by all Americans, not just the Un-Patriotic terrorist-lovers, but every American who understood what those rights represented. How incredibly significant they were in this world. Back to a time when it was our enemies we had to fear, not our own White House, not our telephone companies and Internet providers.

"[...] will they limit our ability to collect this intelligence and keep us safe, staying a step ahead of the terrorists who want to attack us?" I'm wondering which terrorists he means. Our loss of privacy hasn't gotten us one step closer to bringing Osama Bin Laden and the terrorists who brutally murdered 3,000 American citizens to justice.

Oooops. Did I say that out loud?

Osama Bin WhoWho? Remember him? I know it's been years and, really, I should be over it by now. I mean, how long can a girl hold a grudge, right? By now he's probably gumming his dinner and wearing diapers anyway, if he hasn't already died of old age.

But he's the one I want. The only one I really want.

I know. Al Q. They're over there right now, arming up and training and chanting death to Americans. But it's decidedly quiet outside tonight. I can hear a dog barking from three backyards over. I wonder if the 'bad' terrorists think we've moved? I just can't fathom that in the six years we've frantically tried to prevent them from attacking us--they haven't even tried. Oh wait. There was that airplane-shoe-guy. It just goes to prove what I've known all along--it's always the converts. But honestly, that very very strange looking guy did make me have to throw out a brand new bottle of 'Tommy Girl' perfume. And for that I'll never forgive. Never.

I don't think this massive betrayal by AT&T and Verizon, or the President's hardline position on Rights? We don't need no stinkin' Rights, is going to protect us any more than it already has. I don't think it's done us any good at all. Americans have been getting attacked for a long time. Beirut, Iran; Maybe it's because we seem proud to them? Like we think we're better than everyone else. Maybe it's because we say what we want to whomever we want. Or because we've been offered the chance to prosper in freedom and we carry ourselves with the confidence of people who know that we matter; we count, and we raise our own children to be just as confident that they have a voice, and a say, in everything in the world that effects them--We got that from our fore-fathers, they said it was so and we trust them that it is so.
And our President said almost that exact thing in his Speech in 2001.
"They hate ... a democratically elected government. ... They hate our freedoms -- our freedom of religion, our freedom of speech, our freedom to vote and assemble and disagree with each other."

Maybe he meant these enemies?

So I just have to say 'Shame on you, Mr. President', for fighting to make their immunity retroactive. For trying to force us to let them get away with the harm they've caused us all as a nation. For not making them own up to what they've done. Just like someone else. We're supposed to just keep looking away.

I'm a Veteran. My husband is also. We've picked up arms and put our lives on the line because we believe that this Country, and every person in it, is worth protecting. And we believe that our rights are what make us Americans, and we are confident enough in our own justfulness to extend those rights to people who do us harm. Because we were, and are, patriots.

I know a lot of people freak out about this whole surveillance issue. Thinking that they're being targeted, watched. That men and women are sitting around listening to every word in their phone conversations, reading every word that they write in an e-mail, secretly making notes of every prOn page they view on the Internet. But I have it on very good 'authority' that it really isn't so. Our guys aren't exactly this strack tracking unit, monitoring our comings and goings with high-tech surveillance equipment like in the movie 'Enemy of the State'.

The truth is, their equipment is really outdated. They don't even update and patch their servers like they should. They have to hire outside companies to come in to help find the files and documents they lose. And can you say email? I know it would have made some people feel better to think that there was some mastermind, some evil genius, working behind the scenes, destroying data and emails so that they could never be recovered, so that they could never be used to incriminate them. But honestly. It was just crappy equipment, and technicians who are so overworked and stressed out trying to keep everything going with scotch tape and chewing gum that they've been known to have knock-down, drag-out fights with their car GPS systems just so they can turn off the engine and have the last word.

In a way it's really a win-win situation; if we all think that we're under super secret, high tech surveillance we'll get paranoid, and stop talking so much about the things that are going wrong, it'll distract us from issues that used to be important. We'll be more afraid of the people around us and who we can trust, we'll have to trust the government because they're our only hope. But we'll have to fear them also, because they know our secrets. And we have no idea what they're looking for, what the 'trigger' mechanism is, but we know that they're watching us. And our enemies will see that fear, and they'll trust that we wouldn't be so angry and paranoid if it weren't true. They'll have to change the way they plan their attacks. They'll have to slow down, to really think things through. They'll have to give up some of their Kabal and beer nights so they aren't seen together as often. They'll have to send messages through the personal ads, like Desperately Seeking Susan, and that's really good for us. With no phone and no Internet it could take weeks just to get an ad to run. Let alone decipher it and respond.

No. It's not really the specific information that AT&T and Verizon gave up on us that bothers me. There isn't really much that they can do with it, except lose it or leave it un-secured, so that the identity thieves get their hands on it-- or unwittingly upload it to the Internet (I can just imagine my mother's mortification if they did that to me, I'd be off to the nunnery, tout de suite). I seriously doubt that they have the manpower to go through that data with a fine-toothed comb though, and find anything significant that will lead them to the 'Them'. All four of the 'Them' that could possibly be in a city the size of Atlanta.

I, personally, don't think I could take day in and day out of having to read or listen to the communications of my own neighbors and co-workers, 2000 of the nicest, sweetest, most boring people you could ever meet. And I'm sure my own Internet usage could probably knock someone into early retirement. All the YouTube and pRon and MySpace messages, Facebook and recipes, Ladies Home Journal and about 50 subscriptions to tech emails from Windows Secrets to Cert Advisories. McAfee's great offers that come in about ten times a day even though I wrote them and told them that I am never, ever -not even under threat of death or dismemberment- going to pay for their crappy Anti-virus software when I can't even un-install the stupid trial version they let me download for free 2 years ago. O and I playing on-line Scrabble and IMing at the same time. Sending each other links to I Can Has Cheeseburger and pictures flying back and forth of what we're eating, what we're drinking, 'Damn, doesn't my neighbor have a hairy back', 'I found this weird looking spider under my kitchen sink'. Then there are the long-long-looooooong emails from my grandmother about her hernia and which one of her 200 cats is on death's door this week. And the joke emails that all of my sisters forward around all day. I have 4 sisters. I get the same email 4 times over the course of the day. After the second read it's just not funny anymore. Except for this one. It always makes me smile. My mom sent it to me because I was having a really stressed out week. I saved the music and turned it into her ring tone. Now I actually smile when she calls to tell me that she needs me to come over and chase the squirrels out of her attic. And SPAM! Holy Cow! I had 200 SPAM messages yesterday alone after my email address was added to our work website. I finally started hitting reply on them and sending back a message 'I know you probably didn't send this, I'm sure the email address is spoofed, but I'm having a bad day and somebody is going to hear about it.' I then wrote about ten paragraphs of my chief complaints and copy/pasted it into every SPAM message that came in. Seriously, I'd feel sorry for the guy who had to surveille me. Better to just get a spider to crawl it all and hope it runs into something good, like 'By Allah, I feeling like to up blow something.'

You see. It's not what they'll find that bothers me. I think we all know that, even if they read a million emails, the chances of them finding anything even remotely useful are infinitesimal, and that's being generous. And it's not that I feel like they're reading my personal emails and passing them around laughing at my half-assed attempts at being erotic when I can't even spell tounge.

It's just about it being wrong. Wrong to betray people who trust you. And Un-American to stomp all over the rights that we've had to fight to preserve, and then sit in a meeting with the President and try to get him to make 'retroactive' their immunity after screwing us all. And if being against the war is un-patriotic, then what the hell does that make them? They've turned on their own people. Innocent people who are just exercising their right as a soul to breathe. I'm sure they wouldn't give us all carte blanche to listen to their phone calls and intercept their emails, even if there was nothing bad in them, it's just the principle of the thing. Look who I'm talking about principles. Sheesh.

And, I guess, most of all, it's no one else's business, except my friends and loved ones, if I can't spell tounge. That's something that they don't have the right to know about me. Unless I choose to share it with them.

Wednesday, October 10

Repairing Windows XP using System Restore

    Or how to fix a bOrked Microsuck


    About System Restore:
    System Restore is available in Windows XP and Vista (which sucks btw, stay away from it at all costs. Seriously. I'm not kidding. It's a resource hog and it makes the average PC run slower than snail snot. And that's really slooooooow.)

    System Restore in Windows XP will automatically create a backup of the system files and settings whenever a new device, driver, update, or application is installed. That means that when you hit the 'install' button the first thing XP does it take a backup snapshot of the system--and then it begins the installation process.
    If there is a problem after you install a new device or application, or uninstall an old one, you can go back to a former Restore Point, a date when the system was stable, and that will usually fix the problem.

    The things that will not be changed by reverting back to a former restore point are: The files in My Documents, Internet favorites, email settings, pictures, music, etc. Basically, it is safe to use without fear of losing your data and personal information.

    System Restore is automatically activated as soon as you load XP, so, unless you have disabled it or changed the settings manually, it should be making a new restore point every day.

    To check and see if System Restore is enabled or to adjust how much space you have allotted for it (the more space, the more restores you have to choose from - 200 MB minimum)
    Right click My Computer. Go to Properties. Click the System Restore tab. There is no option to restore or create a retore point here. It will simply tell you whether it is enabled/disabled, let you change how much space it is allotted and it should say that it is 'monitoring'.

    **System Restore requires a minimum of 200 MB of free hard disc space or it will disable itself until the space is available. It will use this space until it's full and then, when it is full, it will re-write over the oldest data.
    To check the amount of free space on your hard drive Right Click on My Computer, Click on Properties. The General tab will show you how much disc space you have and how much of it is free, it will also display this information as a pie graph.

    **System Restore cannot recover personal files or email messages, etc. It will only effect system files and settings.

    Before you try System Restore:
    Try these troubleshooting tips.

    It is recommended that you try to re-boot the computer before you use system restore. Many times the system will correct itself after a new installation or uninstall just by re-starting.

    If you're having trouble restarting you should try booting in safe mode. Turn off the computer. Count to ten. Turn it back on. Hit the F8 button continuously as the computer starts but before Windows launches. Scroll to highlight Last Known Good Configuration and then hit enter.
    If Windows launches before you are in safe mode you'll have restart your computer and try again. It's a pain in the ass the first time you try. Most people don't make it into safe mode the first time. No need to be embarrassed. I failed my first 3 times. Now that's embarrassing.

    How to Use System Restore:
    Go to Start
    System Tools
    System Restore

    The System Restore dialogue box will open.
    (This is the same box you will use if you ever want to manually create a restore point)
    Click on the 'Restore my computer to an earlier time' radio button.

    A dialogue box with a calendar will open. You can use the arrows to see the restore points for different months.
    Choose one of the dates that are in bold. (Bold means these are dates that have a restore point)
    Click 'next'

    You'll then be asked to Confirm Restoration Point Selection.
    Make sure that this is the date that you selected and then click next.

    Windows will then automatically shut down and restart the computer.
    When the computer restarts you will see a dialogue box that says Restoration Complete.
    Click 'Okay'.

    Test the computer to make sure that the problem was resolved.
    If the problem was not solved you should immediately undo the restore. (I mean it - right now! Undo the restore if it didn't work.)

    How to undo a System Restore:
    Follow the same steps as above but when you get to the System Restore dialogue box there will now be an option to 'Undo my last restoration'.
    Click that option then next.

    Click next in the Confirm Restoration Undo dialogue box.

    Windows will automatically shut down and restart again.
    When it restarts you will see a dialogue box that says Undo Complete.
    Click Okay.

    *If you aren't sure about the date that you started having problems you may want to try to restore from several points to see if you can find a good restore point.
    For example, if you recently uninstalled a program and now you're having problems you might want to use a restore point before the program was installed to see if that will solve the problem.
    Just remember to 'Undo Restoration' after each restoration that was not successful, and before you attempt another restoration point.

    **As I said previously, System Restore Cannot recover personal files or email messages.
    The best way to insure against this type of data loss is to do backups on a regular basis. Unfortunately you can't backup XP to a CD-RW using the backup utilty. I do have some other useful suggestions to get around that. I'll cover those soon ;)

    Next up for the geeks, How to use System File Checker - SFC to repair Windows XP and 2000.

    This post was written for SeaRabbit, because her machine has gone wonky and I don't want her to miss HNT. It's always something to look forward to ;) Sorry I was so late getting this up, I actually wrote it last week, but came down with Strep over the weekend so I have barely lifted my head out from under the covers for a few days.

    Thursday, October 4

    HNT - The Video

    We've finally finished Cheyenne's memorial video for Lona.

    For me it is an amazing journey to watch. I see the girls when they first became friends, how young they look to me in those pictures. And I see them growing up also. Turning into the little beauties that drove the boys crazy.

    I'm so glad that they took lots of pictures when they were together. Now those photos act as a reminder of the fun times they shared. Each photo has a story behind it of what they were doing at that time, where they were, who they were with. I love hearing my daughter recount the stories behind those photos, as do Lona's parents; for them it's like getting to know their daughter in ways that they had not known her before and they take great joy and comfort in hearing those stories. Told from the perspective of her friends, it gives them new insight into just how much her friendship meant to them and just how much she was loved by everyone who knew her.

    The necklace that Cheyenne wore in this picture is now in Lona's hand.
    The night before the funeral the family brought Lona home, a brave and loving act that I must say I admire them for. They wanted her to spend her last night in her own home, surrounded by the people who loved her most of all. They invited Cheyenne and a couple of her other close friends to spend that last night there also. Cheyenne spent that last night with Lona and watched videos and such with her family. They all comforted each other. Lona's parents took Cheyenne in to where her casket was to let her say her goodbyes and also her mother helped to place the necklace in Lona's hand so that she would have that small part of Cheyenne with her forever. A loving act that I will be eternally grateful for.

    It took her a long time to watch the entire video. But now she watches it every night before bed. It brings her some comfort to see the two of them together and the wonderful times that they shared. We are happy to be able to share this video with you and to know that Lona's memory will continue on in every person who views it.

    The necklace that Cheyenne gave to Lona was a heart. The song for this montage is 'My Heart Will Go On' by Celine Dion. We thought that was fitting.

    See the man.

    PS. The instructions to use the 'Going Pink' templates can be found here.'ve included screenshots to guide you through the process.
    You can download the zip files here.

    , , , , ,

    Thursday, September 27

    The Greatest Gift - HNT

    This is me with my daughter Cheyenne.
    The greatest gift I ever gave her was a lesson in how to do a proper breast self examination. It was a time of bonding for us both as we removed our bras and started our exploration.

    I had thought at first that it might feel awkward. Like talking about sex for the first time. But I must say, I have an amazing daughter who was very reassuring and comforted me through the ordeal. I was a nervous wreck. ha!

    We went through the process of nipple squeezing and feeling under our arms for lumps, then we did an exam on one another. I felt it extremely important that she be able to recognize the changes that occur with age. "This is how yours feel, this is how mine feel--they are both very different, but still normal". I didn't want this to be a traumatic experience (for either of us), I didn't want to make her worry unduly, but I did want to express the importance of self exams and finding lumps early on.

    I must admit that she handled the whole thing with a level of maturity that I can only aspire to. She patted my head after we were done and I sent her to the shower to do the rest of her exam. My mother had told me when I was a teen that showers are the best place to do an exam. You take them every day and the soap makes your fingers nice and slippery so it's easier to feel for lumps. I think that must be so. Every woman I have ever known who had breast cancer found their lumps whilst showering.

    I have to admit that on a scale of 1-10 for weird mother/daughter moments this would rank about a 15. But my daughter is my light and the love of my life, my crowning glory and the reason I look forward to getting out of bed every morning. My best friend. This is the greatest gift I've ever given her, but my motivation was purely selfish-- I want her with me. Always.

    And now we're kicking off Boobiethon!
    The beautiful Evening has created a support blog called
    Beautiful, Beautiful Boobies.
    Yes, yes. I admit it. I did put my boobies up there too. Ha!
    But you'll have to go there yourself to see them. I'm not posting them here ;)

    Here is a 'must read' on BSE.
    Breast Self Exam
    And a pictorial/tutorial showing the 5 Steps for a proper breast exam.

    I'm working on the 'Going Pink for October' Blogger Templates as I try to get around to visit everyone tonight and tomorrow. Please be patient with me.
    Here are some examples of how they're turning out.

    There should be quite a few ready for download by October 1st with more coming as I make them.

    You can watch my progress here... Breast Cancer Awareness.

    As each template is being worked on it will be added to the sidebar as a link.
    The templates will be in text format for easy copy/paste. And the instructions to add them to your blog will be on each site. Along with screenshots for those who are not familiar with or comfortable working on their own Blogger templates. And yes, I will be here to help if you need it.

    If you'd like to help (wordpress please!), need help or have suggestions please email me.
    yahoo: woodnotwood
    And don't forget to send your photos to !

      A special thanks to Osbasso for his continuing support of this project, me (personally), and all of us who have boobies. You are the man!

      This post was featured by Viviane on !!!
      Thank you Viv.
      I love you.
      My boobies love you too ;)

      Thursday, September 20

      HNT Soulmates

      Last night we went to the cemetary. Cheyenne needed some time alone with Lona so I drove her there, then I drove to the end of the street and talked to O on my cell whilst Chey sat by the graveside and talked to Lona. We lit candles and placed them all around so that she would have some light.

      We were there until 2AM.

      Most of the graves in the cemetary, including Lona's, have solar lights around the headstones. As I sat in the car and waited I couldn't help but notice that all of the lights scattered across the cemetary were the same white-blue color as the stars in the sky above. It looked as if the sky was merely a reflection of the lights on the ground.

      There are also windchimes on shepherds hooks near the headstones, two windchimes by Lona's grave. They produce a beautiful sound all around as the cool night breeze sweeps across the grounds. We went to the cemetary last Sunday to put out windchimes and as we worked a small tornado developed in the trees near her grave. We stood and watched as it swirled the trees around and lifted the leaves from the ground and up into the sky. We all felt sure that it was Lona sending us a message of her approval, her windchimes whipped around in the wind as if she were playing with them.

      The next morning when I dropped Cheyenne off at school the same thing happened again. As Chey went to enter the front doors a small up-draft began near her and lifted the leaves off of the ground. They encircled her and landed in her hair. It was the most amazing thing I've ever seen. She turned to me and said 'I think Lona's here. I think she just gave me a hug.'

      I believe that too, my sweet girl.
      I believe she is all around you and enveloping you in her love every minute of the day. She'll always be a part of you.

      Monday, September 3

      Shhhhhhhh Yourself

      This is Cheyenne's friend Lona singing 'Beautiful' at the International School of the Arts. She tried out for American Idol, but was declined because she's British.
      Music was the one constant and passion that defined their relationship. Two girls who sang beautifully together. With Lona's passing Cheyenne seems to have lost her desire to sing. For Now. I hope it will return soon. I miss hearing her singing as she walks through the house.

      I don't want to talk much about the last post. I'll just say that the Candlelight Memorial went well, as contradictory as it feels to write that. There's more to be done. Viewing tonight at her home and Funeral on Tuesday. I'm busy making slideshows out of her pictures with her friends. Her family has turned over more than 1300 photographs of her and her friends for me to make memorial videos for them and for her friends to use on MySpace, Facebook and their blogs. It's heartbreaking work. But, being a mother myself, I understand how important it is to them that their daughters memory carries on.

      We'll have something to share soon.

      Cheyenne says 'Thank You' for your well wishes.
      She can't seem to say more at the moment.