Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Friday, August 26, 2011

How the Boilermakers Welcome Students

This was the welcome AJ and the rest of the Boilermakers of Purdue got for their first week back to school.

Pretty cool, don't you think?

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Snuggle Buddies

Kona and Harley....awwww

Until the end...

Photo by Lisa Pembelton

Navy SEAL Jon Tumilson lay in a coffin, draped in an American flag, in front of a tearful audience mourning his death in Afghanistan. Soon an old friend appeared, and like a fellow soldier on a battlefield, his loyal dog refused to leave him behind.

Tumilson’s Labrador retriever, Hawkeye, was photographed lying by Tumilson’s casket in a heart-wrenching image taken at the funeral service in Tumilson’s hometown of Rockford, Iowa, earlier this week. Hawkeye walked up to the casket at the beginning of the service and then dropped down with a heaving sigh as about 1,500 mourners witnessed a dog accompanying his master until the end.
Courtesy of Scott Stump

Sunday, August 21, 2011

The Sweetest Scene

On Friday night we had dinner with my folks. Bear brought her laptop, and shortly after we ate, we had the treat of talking to AJ via Skype. My folks had never Skyped with anyone before, and needless to say, we all got a kick out of it.
It's times like these when I really appreciate modern technology - it sure makes the separation bearable.

"Dude, what's your problem?"

"Come on Mister, just throw the darn stick!"

Oh my gosh - how cute is this?

-Thanks to my friend Bobbi for sharing this with me!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

For the Moms

One of my Face Book friends posted this - an article she found and share with a group of us who's children recently went off to school. Needless to say, it really hit a cord with me.

I was the sun, the kids were my planets

By Beverly Beckham

I wasn't wrong about their leaving. My husband kept telling me I was. That it wasn't the end of the world when first one child, then another , and then the last packed their bags and left for college.

But it was the end of something. ``Can you pick me up, Mom?" ``What's for dinner?" ``What do you think?"

I was the sun and they were the planets. And there was life on those planets, whirling, non stop plans and parties and friends coming and going, and ideas and dreams and the phone ringing and doors slamming.

And I got to beam down on them. To watch. To glow.

And then they were gone, one after the other.

``They'll be back," my husband said. And he was right. They came back. But he was wrong, too, because they came back for intervals -- not for always, not planets anymore, making their predictable orbits, but unpredictable, like shooting stars.

Always is what you miss. Always knowing where they are. At school. At play practice. At a ballgame. At a friend's. Always looking at the clock mid day and anticipating the door opening, the sigh, the smile, the laugh, the shrug. ``How was school?" answered for years in too much detail. ``And then he said . . . and then I said to him. . . ." Then hardly answered at all.

Always, knowing his friends.

Her favorite show.

What he had for breakfast.

What she wore to school.

What he thinks.

How she feels.

My friend Beth's twin girls left for Roger Williams yesterday. They are her fourth and fifth children. She's been down this road three times before. You'd think it would get easier.

``I don't know what I'm going to do without them," she has said every day for months.

And I have said nothing, because, really, what is there to say?

A chapter ends. Another chapter begins. One door closes and another door opens. The best thing a parent can give their child is wings. I read all these things when my children left home and thought then what I think now: What do these words mean?

Eighteen years isn't a chapter in anyone's life. It's a whole book, and that book is ending and what comes next is connected to, but different from, everything that has gone before.

Before was an infant, a toddler, a child, a teenager. Before was feeding and changing and teaching and comforting and guiding and disciplining, everything hands -on. Now?

Now the kids are young adults and on their own and the parents are on the periphery, and it's not just a chapter change. It's a sea change.

As for a door closing? Would that you could close a door and forget for even a minute your children and your love for them and your fear for them, too. And would that they occupied just a single room in your head. But they're in every room in your head and in your heart.

As for the wings analogy? It's sweet. But children are not birds. Parents don't let them go and build another nest and have all new offspring next year.

Saying goodbye to your children and their childhood is much harder than all the pithy sayings make it seem. Because that's what going to college is. It's goodbye.

It's not a death. And it's not a tragedy.

But it's not nothing, either.

To grow a child, a body changes. It needs more sleep. It rejects food it used to like. It expands and it adapts.

To let go of a child, a body changes, too. It sighs and it cries and it feels weightless and heavy at the same time.

The drive home alone without them is the worst. And the first few days. But then it gets better. The kids call, come home, bring their friends, fill the house with their energy again.

Life does go on.

``Can you give me a ride to the mall?" ``Mom, make him stop!" I don't miss this part of parenting, playing chauffeur and referee. But I miss them, still, all these years later, the children they were, at the dinner table, beside me on the couch, talking on the phone, sleeping in their rooms, safe, home, mine.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Harley Girl

While I know shes not hungover, this picture sure makes it look like she is!Pickle had gotten up from bed and gone to brush her teeth. Before she had the chance to come back and make her bed, Harley decided to make herself right at home!
It didn't last long-Pickle promptly moved her right along, and made her bed, but I think Harley enjoyed the snuggle while it lasted!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

A Much Needed Smile

This brought a much needed smile to my face today. I love Anderson Cooper and seeing him like this was pretty funny.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The Long Drive Home - part 3, the last leg

Sedona is absolutely stunning, and paradise for a photographer. Even though we had very limited time, I wanted to squeeze in a few minutes for photos. We got an early start, and zoomed around town and up the 89A north a bit to snap a couple before we headed south, towards Phoenix, and ultimately, San Diego. My camera snapped away, and although I didn't get a lot of keepers, these were a couple I thought were worthy of posting.

Once we left Sedona, it really started to sink in that this was the last leg of the trip home, and that I'd be walking into the house and seeing the left-overs of his room. Needless to say, I didn't feel much like taking pictures for a while. The tears came, and I let them.
Just as we were getting ready to cross the border from Arizona into California, I saw this, and picked up my camera. I liked the serene look of it.
And boom-back to California we are.
Am I happy to be home? Well, yes and no. I am happy to be back to my own bed, back to Bear, my folks, and the dogs, among other things. Am I happy to be in San Diego, when my son is in Indiana? No, not at all. Look for a new countdown clock coming soon to the side of my blog. His flight home for Thanksgiving has been booked and I'm already looking forward to it more than words can say.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The Long Drive Home-part 2

Yesterday was a very long day in the car. We left Oklahoma City in the morning, and finished up the day's drive in Sedona, Az. Hubby drove 897 miles yesterday and it took us about 13 hours. Considering we had a few stops here and there, we made excellent time!

On our way out of Oklahoma, we saw a lot of scenery like this

And lots of Route 66 stuff!

We crossed thru the Texas panhandle.

I thought about stopping to see if this little fixer upper was for sale, but decided against it...it was a little too new for my liking.

When people say that everything is bigger in Texas, I wonder if they mean the rest areas too. This one was HUGE!

New Mexico was next on the road, we drove across the entire state. Most of what we saw was very desolate.

I had to take a picture of this transport trailer for my friend Shirley. She loves Corvettes, and the guy was hauling 11 brand new ones.

Once we got past Albuquerque, the terrain changed and we started seeing some beautiful buttes and mesas.

I thought this little grouping of pueblos was pretty interesting.

More pretty scenery...

By late afternoon, we were rolling into Arizona.

Again, just some gorgeous scenery.

As we headed towards Flagstaff we came across this monster of a cloud. The amount of water that came out of it was unbelievable! It felt as if were in a flash flood or something! It went from being completely dry to absolute crazy down pour in seconds.

With the rain came the beginning of a fantastic sunset.

We decided not to stop for the night in Flagstaff, and instead decided to go on to Sedona. Hubby had been there years ago, but I'd only ever heard about how beautiful it was, and wanted to see for myself. The drive from Flagstaff to Sedona was serene, and the smell of pine filled the car.

Our first peaks of the red rock were pretty cool.

We were racing the setting sun though, and with the fading light it was hard to get decent photos.

Not being able to get good photos only meant one thing...I'd have to talk Hubby into letting us stay for an hour or so in the morning so I could get some...and of course, once again, he obliged.

This morning was much better for my photo taking...more to come soon.

-Posted using BlogPress from my iPad and we are nearing the end of our trip.

Monday, August 15, 2011

The Long Drive Home- part 1

After our departure from AJ, we made made a quick stop to gas the car up and then we hit the road.

So long Indiana, Illinois and Missouri! As I mentioned in an earlier post, we are taking a more southern route home. This was our view of The St. Louis arch as we cruised by it yesterday.

We don't have bridges like this in San Diego...but then again, we don't have rivers like the Mississippi either!

It has been very interesting to see the different terrain along the way. We drove a long way on roads that were cut through the mountain, like this one in Missouri.

The traffic is a bit different than we we are used to too!

Late in the afternoon, we crossed the state line into Oklahoma.

By the time we got into Oklahoma City, it was getting pretty late. I had one place in mind that I really wanted to stop and see, so before heading to our hotel, Hubby obliged and took me to the Oklahoma City National Memorial.

It is a very beautiful tribute and memorial.

"We come here to remember those who were killed, those who survived and those changed forever. May all who leave here know the impact of violence. May this memorial off comfort, strength peace, hope and serenity."

These are fences along the outside of the memorial, where even today people come by to leave tokens of remembrance. There are pictures of lost loved one, notes, cards, stuffed animals, medals from memorial runs, etc. It was good to see that even after 16 years people have not forgotten.

Pickle took a ribbon from her hair and tied it onto the fence near the picture of a 17 year old girl that was killed in the blast because she had stopped by to pick up some children she was going to babysit. Every story was tragic, and every death was senseless.

168 lives were lost that April day in 1995. Each life is represented by one of these chairs, with smaller chairs representing the 19 children that were lost.

There is a long, beautiful reflecting pool, bordered by "the Gates of Time" - these twin gates frame the moment of destruction. The East Gate, pictured here, represents 9:01am on April 19, 1995, and the innocence of the city before the attack. The West Gate, mirroring this one at the opposite end of the reflecting pool, represents 9:03am, the moment things changed forever.

It is hard to explain the emotions one feels when visiting a place like this. It is, to say the least, a very sobering and somber experience. I am very glad that we were able to go by, if even for a short time. If you are ever in the Oklahoma City area, I highly recommend you take some time and visit this National Memorial. If you are interested in learning more about the memorial, please visit www.OklahomaCityNationalMemorial.org

So, after about 13 hours in the car, and 822 miles behind us, we were happy to get to a comfortable hotel for the night.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad as we are crossing from Texas into New Mexico.