Summer summer summer time…..

Last real weekend of summer and I get to be with my family..hope you enjoy!!



A few of my favorite things – 2013 in review

Thanks to all who have been following my blog, commenting on it and actually enjoying it.  I really appreciate your comments.  I mean I really, really do.  I have enjoyed and have been inspired my many of your posts as well.  Thanks again to all who have stopped by and even nominated me for special awards. In honor of the end of an old year and the beginning of a new year I am going to highlight the past year with some of my favorite, favorite photos from 2013.

I left Venezuela in December of 2012 and from Venezuela went and visited my children in Washington State, from Washington, I took a train with my youngest daughter and her son to Chicago and then went on to New York.  After a few weeks in New York I traveled down to DC and on to North Carolina for a week.  After North Carolina I went back to DC and began an 8 month Nepali language course.  During the course I had several old friends visit me in DC.  Some friends were from the military and some were from high school.  I took trips to New York, New Jersey, Philadelphia and Richmond, VA.  I went to wine tastings and food festivals.  Finally I passed my Nepali test and WOW.. ended up in Kathmandu, Nepal.  Those are the nuts and bolts.

What happened emotionally for me was some beautiful births from family and long-time friends.  My sister got married and the wedding was such a touching and emotional event for me. I can’t adequately describe to you now nor to my sister at the time at how proud of her I was and glad I was to be her sister. I had emotional break downs with my older sister who got me to laughing and re-thinking my state. Man I love that girl.  I was able to meet up with family and friends I haven’t seen for so long and it was like time had never passed.  There was a completely unexpected death of a very amazing young friend that shook me to the core.  I’m still dealing with some of the emotions that came from that. I was able to find a very old and dear friend that meant so much to me for so long and from that I had to come to terms with some truths about life and love.  Letting go and reconnecting, meeting new friends and re-affirming long time friendships. I have spent a lot of time this year coming to terms with who I am and what I’m willing to accept and realizing that there are some serious changes in me that need to take place. There was awe, joy and great satisfaction at people, places and things and personal accomplishments.  There was shock, horror and extreme emotional despair at people, places and things and a new-found understanding of life in general. I put up way too many photos here but there were tons more that could have been used.  No photo can clearly express how I am feeling at this moment of remembering all of these things and right now there are no more words to say.

To all, have a prosperous and happy (focus on happy) New Year. Stay safe.

I hope you enjoy.

A memory is what is left when something happens and does not completely unhappen.  ~Edward de Bono

Have a safe and happy new year.

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 7,100 times in 2013. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 6 trips to carry that many people.

Attractions in 2013

These are the posts that got the most views in 2013. You can see all of the year’s most-viewed posts in your Site Stats.

Some of your most popular posts were written before 2013. Your writing has staying power! Consider writing about those topics again.

Click here to see the complete report.

Memories are all we ever really have…

This is a difficult thing to write out.  I lost a good friend this weekend.  Part of me doesn’t want to talk about it but part of me needs to.  I don’t know if it is something I have to do to help me come to terms with such a loss or if it is because I want to share with everyone I know what they will not really hear about from the news… from others who did not know her.  Her name was Anne.. we were friends and co-workers.

I know that I wasn’t her BEST friend.  However, Anne had a way of making everyone feel that they were.  She had a way of giving everyone the type of attention that just made them feel very special.  She had an infectious smile and a wicked sense of humor.  We had spoken less than a week ago and she was telling me she was enjoying her time but looking forward to coming back to the states and preparing for her next posting.  Everyone I know was looking forward to her coming back and just looking forward to watching her advance through her career.

She was an amazing young lady who had so much ahead of her.  Barely 2 years older than my oldest daughter yet with so much poise, grace, humor, humbleness and intelligence.  She was a beautiful person who was loved and respected by everyone.  She was half my age and yet I looked up to her and wished I could be so eloquent, so kind and so beautiful inside and out.   I had been asked to write a review of her for a position she was applying for and I never once had to pause and think of something to say that might fit into a category that would make her “qualify” for anything.  She qualified for everything on her own merit.  She was honest, hard-working and most of all caring.

I spent almost 2 years working with her in Venezuela.  When it came time for all of us to start looking for our next postings, true to her nature she applied for and received an outstanding position that really suited her personality as well as her ability.  She would be working in a public affairs office in a country desperately in need of a person (of people) like her.  She chose this position because it carried with it the opportunity to do something she loved and felt was worthwhile.  She really did believe that she could change the world.

Anne was with a group of people who were presenting books to a school in a little town in Afghanistan.  These books were written by American authors but translated into the local language to help present a different picture of the world for these young kids.  They were gifts to children that really don’t have much else.. especially in the way of education.  Anne believed in this work and was very excited about this opportunity.

Sadly, she and other members of the military and civilian community were killed and others were injured.  You can watch the news or read the papers to get all the sick details.. I don’t have the stomach for it right now.  They were allegedly not the intended targets.. just some people who were in the wrong place at the wrong time.  In my opinion, there is really never a right place for the hate that was demonstrated that day.  I don’t understand the type of people who commit these atrocities.. the sickness.. the hatred.. I don’t understand the rationality… largely because there is none.

I do understand that this was the job she chose.. and she chose it with serious consideration. The newspapers wrote amazing things about her.. everyone has spoken of her sacrifice and how she died making a difference.  They wrote of how she chose this job only with the motive of making a difference.. which she was doing…so many amazing photos and memories and kind words everywhere about her.  These words and things right now are no consolation to me. I know in time they will be.. but…

…right now I’m devastated .. sadly I have to get up in the morning and continue on.  I’d like to take a week to mourn.. but even a week would not bring her back.  It’s beyond anger that I feel. I know that there is always room for hate and anger.. and that is what those people want.. I don’t want to give it to them.. I won’t give it to them.

I want to think of Anne only as how I remember her.. spontaneous, strong and kind.  I want to try to only think of the good things about her and the fun times we had..and to remember she did die making a difference… even though at this time that makes no difference to those of us left behind….

Life is precious.. and memories are all we ever really have .. keep the good ones.  Thanks for listening.

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How to Get Lucky

Loved this article enough to reblog it.. It was written so much better than I could have hoped to express it… Luck takes practice, chances and a lot of hard work… I highly recommend everyone go out and get lucky at least once a month.. Getting “lucky” in life becomes second nature once you make it a habit..good luck with your endeavor…

Everywhere Once

On good days I accept it as a compliment; a sincere expression of admiration. Other times, though, it’s hard not to take the meaning literally.

“You’re so lucky.”

Lucky. The word hangs in the air like an accusation.

In many ways we are lucky. We’re lucky to have been born to middle class families in the richest country on earth. We’re lucky to have been raised by loving parents; to have received a good education; to have our health and all of our faculties. I’m immensely grateful, every day, for my good fortune.

In short, we’re lucky in the same way that millions of other middle class residents of developed countries are lucky. Everything else took effort, determination, sacrifice and, perhaps most importantly, a strong belief that we are the masters of our fate.

Which brings me to the other thing I hear when someone says “You’re so lucky:” capitulation…

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Sandy- My ducks are in a Row – Finally

I’m not going to premise this topic with too many details, but a slight history is the only way you might understand what I am about to say.  Let’s just say I’ve had a multitude of careers in my life.  (legal field, teaching, carpentry, plumbing, meat department, flag-waving, flower sales, vacuum cleaner sales, police work, life-student, ponderer, cheer-leader, volunteer…and I am positive there are a few things I have missed and yes, I realize not all of these are legitimate occupations).  As you might recall from my past post Freakn Thru, even I am not sure how I ended up in most of these jobs.   Now I am in a different job which is VERY different..

Going back in time…..(imagine dreamy music followed by a dizzying blend of backwards movement)

My last boss, for some unknown reason, gave everyone in the office a duck for every holiday.  So everyone pretty much had every holiday duck imaginable.  I really had only been under this boss’s supervision long enough to collect about 3 seasons of ducks.

Well, two weeks ago I noticed a strange phenomena on my desk…Notice there are 4 ducks not 3.

I didn’t give it much thought.  I mean who would.  Especially due to the turned reindeer duck.. hmmm.. interesting.

About a week ago, I noticed a change.  There was a slight increase in the number of ducks.  I asked around and no one could really explain to me what was happening.

Suddenly I remembered an incident from about a year ago when there had apparently been a duck-napping.  The alarm had been sounded, people were up in arms, angry notes were passed back and forth requesting the release of the napped ducks.  One eventually turned up with a missing head but for the most part they were never recovered.  Could there be a connection? Refer to duck-napping story..

The Universe

Police Beat 11/28/11: Ducknapping


Nov. 20: A female reported seeing two individuals feeding ducks while standing very close to the water. One approached and grabbed a duck while the other recorded the event on his cell phone. They put the duck in a bag and ran to an older model pickup truck and drove west down 800 North.

Then a few days ago..

What the freak is going on?  I have no answers at this point… Which is not that uncommon in my life… then it hit me..

Back to the present.. (dreamy music again — only — fade forward)

I sat there pondering the multitude of jobs I have had in the past and it dawned on me, there was one job in particular that I will never forget and that is largely due to my life mentor (Yes Sandy that would be you) who was always prepared to give me sage advice, a little chastisement and occasionally a long, sad eye-roll followed by the statement, “Sam, you really need to get your ducks in a row!”

It all came together this morning when I entered the office and saw this..

Is it possible?  Could it be?  Can I make that phone call I’ve been waiting forever to make and say those words I’ve been waiting to say, “Sandy – My ducks are in a row – Finally!!!

Thank you Sandy –

Pope Sandy Duck

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