Wednesday, November 12, 2008


I read an article this week that the Secret Service came up with their code names for the new President and his family. I was surprised that the article went on to say the names, evidently not part of the secret in secret service.

President Obama will be "Renegade", Michelle will be "Renaissance" and the daughters will be "Radiance" and "Rosebud". As for the Bidens, they will be "Celtic" and "Capri".

I found this whole concept curious. First the article said it was the task of the Secret Service to come up with these names. I am curious how the process is done. Do they sit around a table brainstorming? Do they have a book of baby names to inspire them? Just how long does this process take--an hour? a day? a week? Do they vote on the names, or pull them out of a hat? Do they have to make sure the names haven't been used for past presidential familes and therefore, have to do some research?

What I wonder about the most is since the code names are not secret, why do they need code names? If they say Obama or the President or Renegade, we all know who they are talking about--as will the enemies, now that the word is out. I really don't understand this whole concept, though it does seem to go hand in hand with other government waste--wasting time and effort for what? Code names that everyone knows. I wonder how much I could have saved them if I suggested that they use their real names? Wonder if that thought ever crossed their minds? Well I guess that part is a secret and they're not telling.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Veteran's Day Parade 2008, Hartford, CT

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My camera battery died during the Veteran's Day Parade in Hartford, so this is all I got. We were across from the State Capitol. There are two pictures of Brad Davis and one of the many bikers.

"Welcome Home"

On Sunday, November 2, my husband and I went to Hartford to see the Veteran's Day Parade. We went last year for the first time and actually my attitude was, "been there, done that". I really did not want to go again, but then I realized how important it is to my husband. He is a Vietnam Vet.

It was a little warmer than last year, but not a lot. I bundled up with a blanket on my lap while I sat on a lawn chair watching one Veteran group after another and school bands and fife and drum corps pass by for nearly two hours. We were given signs to hold up which said "Thank you" to the Veterans as they went by. Every war or conflict was represented. Some Veterans walked with companies they work for now, some with veteran groups for their particular nationality, some by branch of the service and some just riding their motorcycles. There were groups representing the Civil War and Daughters of the American Revolution and even a group dressed up as the members of the 4077th from the MASH TV show. A replica of the Wall was wheeled by.

My husband wore his Vietnam Veteran cap, therefore, as those marching were honored, many of them, likewise acknowledged him on the side lines. He got a few "thank yous and a couple of "welcome homes". The one that touched me most and brought tears to my eyes was the black man who said, "Welcome home, brother."

How much my husband had wanted such a reception when he came home from Vietnam. How much we would have liked a "thank you" for risking his life. It is very important to my husband even now, to hear "thank you" for things he does now. He was forever effected by the negative way he and the other veterans were treated.

To this day, he feels bitter feelings toward Jane Fonda and other protesters. We researched and tried to send packages to every enlisted person from Barkhamsted two years ago. I know, though, as he watches ceremonies welcoming home soldiers now, he feels jealous. Who can blame him?

I was mentioning his feelings to someone and he said, "oh, get over it." Wrong choice of words this person was a proud descendant of American Indians and had been verbal about their mistreatment. I told him I could say the same to him about his feelings for his ancestors--He got the point.

Likewise, I wonder what it will take...hundreds of thousands of men died and fought brother against brother for the freedom of slaves in the Civil War. Why then, are all white Americans lumped into a category of basically, "them vs us"? Groups started up special scholarships for minorities, businesses established quotas for hiring minorities, government made a holiday for one of the most beloved leaders for racial equality, Martin Luther King Jr. Now we have a black president. Somehow, like my husband's long awaited "thank you", I just don't think it will be enough for some.

At least my husband's thorn in the side is one that he lived through--not something that happened over one hundred years ago. No doubt, there were still racial issues more recent than that, but I do believe such situations are only brought on by the people themselves, not by the nationality. Not every white man is a member of the KKK and not every black is a member of the Black Panthers and therefore, feel that way.

I'll admit, I will always feel uncomfortable if I am the only white person in a room of black people, though, likewise I would feel the same in a room of all men, all Asian or all Spanish. White people have not been the minority and therefore, those scenarios are unusual.

I have had a couple of black friends in my life. We saw past the racial issue. Yet I also worked with a mean black lady who hated whites and showed it any time she looked at us and was threatening to us. Some people can't get past it. Many people voted for Obama just because he was black. I'm sure, likewise, many people voted for McCain because he was a veteran and Palin, because she was a woman.

I can see when a person who's heritage is a minority and becomes the leader of our country, that would invoke pride in those people. I hope they too can now proudly put an American flag on their house. "This land is your land, this land is my land." Let's remember that fact is due to hundreds of thousands of men who fought in the Civil War and all the wars before and since, whether you agreed with the war or not. Just as minorities want respect, these men and women deserve respect.

It is a time of change. So, whether you supported the past wars, or the present, remember, these are individuals doing this for our country. Give them the respect they deserve and the thank you that they deserve. I was very touched when my husband came home from the grocery store one day and he said this little girl came up to him. He did not know her and thought she must have thought that he was someone else. He had his Vietnam cap on and this little child came up and said, "Thank you." He looked up and saw the mother watching. What a wonderful thing to instill in a child--gratitude for those who have served for us.

Surely in the next couple of days, you will see a veteran somewhere, take the time and thank them--and just don't do it on veteran's day. It will probably never be enough to erase the scars, but it certainly is a start. We have many things to be thankful for especially our freedom. When was the last time you said, "thank you"?

To any veterans reading this, I thank you.

If my husband wants, I will go to the parade again next year, and the year after and the year after....

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

"The Story of My Life"

Since we couldn't get away for our anniversary, we decided to make it special by going to dinner and a play. We have never been to the Goodspeed Opera House and as I was checking out the options there, we found out that Goodspeed produces plays at the Opera House and at Norma Terris Theatre. We still would love to see a play in the beautiful Opera House, but for this time we chose the Norma Terris Theatre, which is a converted factory.

This is a nice intimate theatre--about two hundred seats, but a little too intimate for us. We found the seats too narrow for our size and a little hard. We were in the third row which was on the same tier as rows one and two and therefore, I did have one tall person obstructing my view a little, but not too badly because the stage was high enough.

The play we decided to see was "The Story of My Life" which ended up being a perfect choice for me. This is a new musical with only two actors. It's the story of two boys who become friends at age six and how their friendship affects their lives forever, even when they don't realize it.

I am a "It's A Wonderful Life" junky. This play has many references to the movie and the two characters are a writer and a bookstore owner--couldn't get any closer to my heart.

Will Chase played Thomas and Malcolm Gets played Alvin. Both had strong voices and sang clearly and emotionally. My only negative critique to this play is that the songs are not the type that you would hum later or buy the CD. I wish the writers had tried harder in that department, however, the songs got the points across. I also enjoyed when Will and Malcolm sang together and that did not happen enough for me. The songs were mostly conversational solos.

That being said, the play did not lack in emotions--there were times of laughter, times of empathy, times of sorrow and for wimps like me, times to cry--from the very beginning you know one character is struggling with writing an eulogy for the other--you would think knowing that that I could control myself. Not.

Some may think the storyline corny or unrealistic. I lost myself in it and thoroughly enjoyed it. If I get the opportunity in the future, I would definitely see it again. I hope this play becomes successful and that I can say I knew it when it was new.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Obama: Living under a black cloud?

I have to admit, I am not always a good judge of character. I will see a customer and get one impression of them at first and then realize later that I was entirely wrong. Maybe, just maybe, I've been too critical of Obama. Maybe he's just had a string of terrible bad luck.

Poor guy did not know that William Ayers and his wife were former Weathermen. He did not know when he donated $800,000. to Acorn that they were illegally committing voter fraud, he did not know when he sat in Wright's church that he was going to keep delivering the same type of message for over 20 years, he did not know that his aunt (who he mentioned in his book) was an illegal immigrant and living in government housing. He did not know that she showed up at his campaigns and that she contributed a couple of hundred dollars. He did not know the felons that he was hanging around with and even helping.

Wow. What horrible luck. If someone is living under such a black cloud, do we want that cloud over the White House and therefore, over us?

Saturday, November 1, 2008

33 Years

Thirty-three years ago today, my life took a major turn in the road. Today is our wedding anniversary. For November 1st, it was a gorgeous day, a little breezy, but we were able to have our pictures taken outside without coats. And our honeymoon in the Poconos was in the 70's. It was an absolutely perfect start to this long journey.

We met on January 31, 1975. I had just come back from a long road trip and the girlfriend who I usually went out with on Friday nights had anxiously waited for me to return so that we could go out as usual. I really did not want to and tried to beg out of it, but she convinced me. The moral is sometimes it is good to do something you don't want to do.

I met George at the Springtree Lounge in Torrington. It was a dance club and it's really too bad that there aren't more of these around now. It was a little fancier, as I remember it. I don't remember people wearing blue jeans. I gave him my number that first night and on Sunday we went for a ride and to visit a friend of his.

After that we went out every weekend and never saw anyone else. In February near to the 22nd, I was asked out by another guy and I told him I was seeing someone. I can't believe he asked who. When I told him "George Washington" I'm sure he thought I was lying.

I knew from the beginning that there was something different about this guy. He stole my heart when he bought me a lilac bush knowing it was my favorite flower. That was in May and soon after that he proposed in the parking lot of the Chart House restaurant where we often went to their lounge upstairs.

In his proposal he was building up how hard it was having a name like George Washington and he asked if I had ever thought about changing my name. Duh! I said, "no". I missed the point, but then pretty quickly got it and said, "yes". We went in and I still have the little bottle that the champagne came in that we celebrated with that night at the Chart House.

In those days most people did not live together before getting married. We knew we wanted to be together for the rest of our lives and so, we did not want a long engagement. So nine months after we met, we were married.

I would not recommend such a short engagement, but it did work for us and I would never "test the waters" by living together. I don't feel God approves of that. It is true that we did not know each other completely and learned more through our marriage and we grew together. Of course it has not been all roses (or lilacs). We've been through as Dickens said, "the best of times and the worst of times".

I always tell newlyweds that a sense of humor is a key to the relationship. We love to laugh together. I remember the time we were having a silly little confrontation. He was upset that I bought creamy peanut butter when he likes crunchy. I had just finished cooking breakfast and he emphasized the point by saying, "I like everything crunchy, crunchy peanut butter, crunchy cookies," and then I took his plate and said, "Fine. Let me make your eggs crunchy." He burst out laughing and the tension was gone. I get it now. He likes crunchy peanut butter, but I like creamy. I think in life we are that way too--I like to smooth things over, let things go and he likes the crunchy road and although it's bumpy, fight for justice and his beliefs. We don't see eye to eye on everything, but we do on a lot and that helps our relationship.

When you don't see eye to eye, it is a hard thing to convince the other to your side and if you can't, you have to find a middle ground that is acceptable to both. George would say that he was always the one to give in, don't believe it. The hardest part was agreeing in areas of raising the kids. We came from quite opposite backgrounds (he was one of thirteen and I was an only child). Becoming a parent is an on-the-job training position. You make mistakes and you have regrets, but you do your best and above all love them. I remember when I had my kids of being so happy that a part of George and I would always live on.

Looking back, I also believe having the same morals is of utmost importance. This makes a firm foundation for your life together. We are born-again Christians and therefore, have conservative values. George is a man of integrity, honesty, hardworking, intelligent and best of all, loves to laugh and does so easily. He thinks I'm funny which works out well. I love to hear him laugh.

Creamy and crunchy, I'm a chocoholic and he doesn't care for it, only child and one of thirteen, and the list goes on. We have our individuality in our relationship yet share the same foundational beliefs and love which has seen us through 33 years and another 33, God willing.

Happy Anniversary, hubby! Love you!