Wednesday, September 26, 2007

$29 Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Both working late, last night, Clint and I agreed: Let's keep dinner simple. Grilled cheese & soup. I'd run to the grocery store.

If Clint had run for grilled cheese and soup ingredients, he' d have purchased a loaf of white bread, a package of Kraft slices, and can of Campbells. It would have taken him 7 minutes, and he'd have gotten change back from a $5 bill.

My run into SuperWalmart went as such: wheat bread (I hate white bread). "Gourmet" cheese. Baby swiss. Does he like baby swiss? I don't know yet, I'll get gourmet cheddar too. A red onion. A few roma tomatoes. Chicken and sausage gumbo. How hungry is he? I'll get 2 cans, just in case. Martini glasses, 2 for $4?! Ok, sure. I'm out of hand lotion. V8 sounds good. How about fresh fruit for dessert, a nectarine and 2 kiwi's. At the check-out lane: Dove dark chocolates. I haven't had chocolate in a long time.


I fancy myself as someone that hates to shop. I hate it, hate-hate-hate it. And yet, I'm a bit compulsive, in a grocery store.

Or Walgreens! Get ye behind me, Satan! I run in there to pick up my Mother's Rx, and with all good intentions, keep my eyes to the floor. "Do NOT look up," I tell myself, knowing that a 2-pak of Thermos-brand travel mugs, and an end-cap of jar candles are dying for me to make eye contact with them.

The pharmacy's in the back of the store. They planned that, those evil marketers. One of two things will happen, at the pharmacy.

(1) The Rx will be ready, and I'll pay for it and avert my eyes back to the front of the store, out into the parking lot, victorious.

Or, (2) the prescription will "be ready in a few minutes," and I will innocently reply "Yes. Ok, I'll browse until you call my name." 5 minutes later, I'll tote back a box of dryer sheets and a new bottle of fingernail polish, a bottle of Mocha Frappucino, some heel-softening cream, another tube of Carmex because I can't find mine, and box of L'Oreal, 9-1/2B Light Ash Blond. And I'll schlepp back through the store, $30 poorer and shaking my head: How did this happen, again?

I have no explanation.

Because I hate to shop. Really. I hate malls, I hate outlet malls, I hate Walmart, I hate grocery stores, and I hate clothing stores. I mean it now, I hate it.

Well, except for IKEA. And Trader Joe's.

Oh, by the way, Di and I are heading up to Schaumberg on Saturday, to go to those two places.

Anybody need anything?

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Bon Voyage, Momo & Woof

I hate goodbyes. I hate them, and I just had to have one last night. Sniff.

Momo and Woof (Marcy and Mike) and Matilda, who doesn't yet have a screenname, because she's only 8 weeks old, are moving to Jacksonville, North Carolina. Tomorrow.

I met them at Cafe Kopi, 2-1/2 years ago. I can't believe it's only been 2-1/2 years, we've packed so much laughter and life into that time. When they met me, Brian still lived at home. They held my hand when we had personal conflicts, held me up when he joined the army, and cried along with me when he was deployed.

When I met them, they were just 2. I got to cheer 'em on when they both stopped smoking, listen to their plans to start a family, and deliver their baby. Ok, I didn't really deliver their baby, but I did go and see her in the hospital after she was born.

In between, we have laughed and cried, and bitched and rejoiced. We, along with other friends, of course, have cooked and danced, and fallen asleep on one another's sofas while watching movies on late winter nights. We've rented a van and spent the day in Chicago, and hit the road to meet blogger friends in Columbus. We've sung our hearts out, on the sidewalks, in restaurants, in our cars and in our homes. We've eaten 2 a.m. breakfasts in greasy diners, and wound down the majority of our weekends over coffee on Sunday evenings.

We are lifelong friends, now. Though we'll keep in touch nearly daily, there's no denying that our lives will change with their moving on. We are going to miss them like crazy.

Can anybody say ROAD TRIP?!!

For more photos of our going away fiesta, check out my SmugMug Gallery.

And click here for more from Friday--> Going Away Girls Night.

Now. Pass me a kleenex, will you?

Sunday, September 23, 2007

O-O-Oh, Who's that kid with the oreo cookie....

It's interesting how much you can write and write and write here, and find out what people hone in on. I have been, lately, running into one question, repeatedly. One question, about one little line I wrote a month ago. I spill my guts here, and what is it that everyones to know?

"What was the deal with Oreo's and Easy Cheese?"

At long last, I'm here to tell you the deal.

While Mrs. Cake was merrily volunteering away to contribute desserts to our spaghetti dinner, Prairie Biker declared that it was all wrapped up. His e-mail, I swear, read:
A couple packages of double stuff oreos and some tubes of kraft easy cheese! put the cheese on the oreos and they taste just like cheesecake! yum!

So I put Mrs. Cake in charge of desserts. Guess what Mrs. Cake made.



Pies, and they were delicious, not a bite left at the end of the night.

But I, determined to make Prairie Biker put his money where his mouth was, picked those ingredients up, and presented them to him at the party. "HA! There ya go! I dare ya, big talker!"

Uh-ohhhh...he's doing it. He's fixing one. He ate it, he was serious all along, and I was suddenly a contestant in Fear Factor.

Here's what I thought:They taste every bit as good as they look here.

Brian tried one. He took one bite, handed me the leftovers, and said "I'm not eating the rest."

And we got Kim to try one, with Easy Cream Cheese:

I love her because she put up 3 Christmas trees when HER soldier baby came home on leave. I don't think she loves me anymore, though, after asking her to taste-test the oreo...uh...thing.

Prairie Biker claims to have gotten this recipe from a friend that was born and raised in a trailer park in West Memphis, Arkansas.

I don't know if that's the truth or not, but I have jotted down the "recipe" for a book I've been contemplating writing. Don't go and steal my idea after I tell you, but it's called "Real Life World's Worst Recipe's" or some such. It will face the page with my ex-husband's fish-stick and banana bread sandwich recipe.*

Anyway: Note to Prairie Biker:

Oreo Cheesecake:

NOT Oreo Cheesecake:

One more time: Oreo Cheesecake:

Aaaaaaaaaand NOT Oreo Cheesecake:

All in all, they weren't that bad.

I'd try it, if I were you.

*Rick: Sorry, I swear I'll stop telling that story when it's not funny anymore.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Better than Sudoku

I've touched on the fact, a few times, that my mother is in the beginning stages of Alzheimer's. I keep stating "beginning stages" as she's on medication, and the disease doesn't seem to be advancing quickly, which we are thankful for.

She can still function, in most ways. She can go about her day-to-day to life safely, at this point. She can cook, clean, do the laundry, dress herself, etc. She's at a loss for words, but can usually communicate what she's looking for; She can't remember she was at "Hallmark," but she does know she was "at that store where you buy greeting cards."

It's an odd, impish disease. Her numbers are gone. Time, date, and costs are lost. She can look at a phone number and dial it, but she can not write one down. She will confidently announce that she has 2000 popsicles in her freezer. The year is 1905. Ask her for any number, and her mind goes "SPROI-YOINGGgggggggg."

We work around this. So far the most inconvenient result is the time-telling. If I tell her I will pick her up for a doctor appointment at 11:00 a.m., she will rise at 4 in the morning, shower, dress, and wait. I know this, and call her early on these days, tell she can go back to bed.

The alphabet has taken a strange hop. She's an avid reader, reads novels and the newspaper daily, and comprehends what she's reading. Writing and spelling, however, are touch-and-go. Phone messages and grocery lists are a challenge.

It's frustrating to her at times, but you know what? We get by. Our problems are as big as we make them, and this one...we just roll with it. Be polite. Find a solution. No worries, we got it.

And sometimes, we just have to laugh.

I picked her up Tuesday evening, to take her. grocery shopping. She handed me a list to read over, and I began trying to decipher it. It's not always clear, and I try to avoid bringing to attention any errors. It's often a matter of solving a puzzle: "6T" is 60.

Tuesday, I found:

Apples! Easy. Yay, she did it! The next one gave me pause, though:

Bread and Ham, that is. She's crossing her H's at the top these days. Good to know.

The last item on her list, floating beneath random letters and dashes, set me to giggling despite my attempt not to.

I finally had to ask her, as seriously as I could, "Ma, what is this one, do you suppose?"

She gave her list a serious look, frowned, then she looked at me... and then started laughing also. She was perplexed for a few minutes as we stood around racking our brains, and then said,

"I know! I know what it is! They give it to you in church!"

Yes! High fives and a little chicken dance, and we were on our way to the Welch's aisle.

Whoo hoo! Triumph!


I'm still going to doublecheck, with my sister, just where, exactly, she's been taking Mom every Sunday morning.

Just to be on the safe side.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Inquiring Minds

Which words, phrases, or mantras inspire or comfort you?

Wednesday, September 19, 2007


When Brian left for Iraq, I ordered this bracelet I'd seen at an art show months before, made by Pam Kehoe Peterson. It's inscribed with the words:

"Live the Life You've Imagined"

I bought it as a reminder to myself not to wallow, as I worried about my son. I worried that I would wear thin on you, with my worrying. I am a "soldier's mother," yes, but I'm more than that, and I can do more than this. I might paint. Or something.

Many of you have watched the turn of events in my life, since Brian was deployed in March. You read the initial call, only 4 months ago, for beanie babies, and of my astonishment when I found myself with 60 of them! And then 500. You were here as cash donations began rolling in, and local businesses stepped up: Areawide Technologies continues to provide and maintain the website, for free. Dean's Blueprints has supplied, vinyl banners, printing and mounting posters. I distribute flyers that Custom Color Graphics printed for us, for nothing. So many local businesses sent gifts and services for our spaghetti dinner.

One more has come forward, to help me out.

Champaign Attorney John Otto was directed to my blog in March '06, when a piece I wrote about roadkill memorials ended up on the front page of the News Gazette. Roadkill. The entry I thought twice about, but closed my eyes and hit "Publish Post" anyway.

It was five days after that, that I wrote about Brian enlisting in the Army, and John read that one also. And he has been reading since, and occasionally sending words of encouragement, and support. Until 3 weeks ago, he was on my list of "Friends I Haven't Met Yet."

But I have met him now.

I have an announcement:

Mister Champaign Attorney John Otto has taken on, for free, all of the paperwork and legal work involved in establishing Toys for Troops as an official Not-for-Profit Organization. That's no picnic, honey; the IRS exemption application alone is 28 pages long.

I have another announcement:

Toys for Troops is now Incorporated.

Yes! I am now the President of Toys for Troops, Inc., NFP.

I preferred the title "Queen of Toys for Troops," but our attorney insists on following something called "The Law," which states that we must have a President, Vice President, Secretary and Treasurer. Jeff Jolley is the VP, Marcee Hampton is the Secretary, and I am doubling up as the treasurer until further notice. I'm going to wear the tiara anyway, when I want to.

And once again, the generosity of others has left me dumbstruck. Teary. Mooshy. Sentimental.

"Live the Life You've Imagined," my bracelet reads.


I find myself living a life that I never in a million years imagined.

It's pretty nice.

P.S. Thank you, John.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Five Nights Meme

Marie Millard tagged me for a meme several weeks ago, and I'm just now getting around to playing. Hey, I didn't forget, I'm just a bit bottlenecked in every aspect of my life right now. Plus, this was a hard meme:

I'm supposed to tell you about 5 memorable nights in my life.

This was hard! It's both difficult to come up with 5, and to narrow it down to 5. Here's what I came up with, then, in no particular order:

1. 9 years ago or so, Brian and I discovered around midnight that a meteor shower was predicted. We called my best friend Lori, gathered her up, and high-tailed it out to the country.

We stood outside waiting, and freezing, until I remembered a bag in the car with some walking supplies: a hat, a sweatshirt, and an odd, tubular lambs-wool garment, meant to pull over your head and wear around your neck. Brian got the sweatshirt, Lori got the hat, and I got the "thing." I chose to wear it on my head, giving the visual effect of an Abe-Lincoln stove-pipe hat, much to Lori and Brian's amusement. We then figured out that there was no wind, closer to the ground...

So there I was, with my kid and my best friend, freezing and lying face up in a cornfield, wearing a stove-pipe hat, while we all laughed our heads off.

We never saw a single meteor, but we still laugh about that night.

2. One year ago, meeting blogger friends Wendy and Kristin in Columbus OH for a Girl's Weekend. It was too, too much fun, and one amazing evening with new friends. Read about it here.

3. Reminiscing, I remember any summer Saturday night, in the late 70s, standing directly on a silent racetrack, waiting for the National Anthem to end before my dad started the engine on his dragster.

4. I will never forget the night that Brian boarded the plane that was to take him on in to Iraq. Minutes left, he called his Dad, who in turn called me. Brian's fear. Our tears. That sickening, helpless feeling.

5. Three years ago, the winter after my divorce was final. I was home alone one Friday night, and decided to take a walk in the snow. I didn't bother changing out of pajamas, just tucked them into my galoshes, threw on a down coat and the same long stocking that Lori borrowed in entry #1, and went out.

While walking around, then new-friend Ilaiy phoned to see what was up, and when I told him where I was, drove over and picked me up. We drove around, watched sledders at Orchard Downs, and continued on for awhile before Ilaiy decided he was hungry, and wanted to go to Steak N Shake. I resisted, but he convinced me no one cared...

At 11 p.m. on Friday night, then, I found myself, during a snowstorm, wearing my pajamas and big ugly ass pair of boots, and a ridiculous stocking cap with a pompom on the end, in a Steak N Shake restaurant, while I sipped on a milkshake. I wasn't married any more, my kid was off at a party somewhere, and Ilaiy was right: in this town full of students, no one blinked an eye at my PJs.

And, I was going to be just fine.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Live TV Interview...

WICD News Channel 15's Aiyana Cristal phoned me about a month ago, and asked if we could schedule 3 live TV spots for the 13th. At 5:35, 6:05, and 6:35, I'd be on the air. I needed to arrive by at least 5:15.

Perfect! I get off work at 4:00, would have time to go home and shower and pretti-fy before everything started. I'd be there right on time!

Uh, no, Aiyana informed me, yesterday. That's 5:15 in the a.m. In the morning, Lori.

Hello! Is my screenname GMORNINGgirl? No, it's GNIGHTgirl, because I am not a good-morning girl. I am stupor-morning girl. I am forget-to-put-the-coffee-pot-in-the-machine morning girl. I am dry-my-hair-out-the-car-window morning girl.

But up at 4:00 I was, putting toothpicks in my eyes before brushing on my mascara.

Oh, and I need to back up for just a second, and give you some valuable, valuable advice.

If you ever have a 5:35 in the morning, live TV shoot, do NOT for the love of God, stop in for dinner at a Mexican restaurant the night before, when Mexico is playing futbol against Brazil. Do NOT let your Mexican friends there talk you into trying a Michelada:

That, my friends, is hot-sauce and lime on ice, with a Corona poured over the top.

Do not also let them pressure you into eating a salsa consisting mostly of pepper oil and pepper seeds, and pepper peppers, with a pinch of tomatillo. No matter how much they make fun of you, and then of all Americans, do NOT declare yourself Mexican-for-a-day, and gobble down that Satanic Salsa.

Not on the night before a Live TV shoot.

Because when you're crawling out of bed at 4 a.m., Montezuma will take his revenge. That's all I'm saying.

And it's a good thing there were 30-minutes between each interview. That's all I'm saying.

That's really all I'm saying.

Anyway, here's Aiyana, about 3 minutes before we went on the air, all calm and collected. Look, you can practically hear her singing "tra-la-laaaa" she is so cool and unnerved.

I, on the other hand, at the "3-minute" call, was busy lecturing myself: "Stay calm. Avoid saying 'uhhhhh.' Remember this is LIVE, so you can't count on editing. Breathe. Smile. Never eat salsa again. Focus."

The cameraman really does say "3 minutes" and "1 minute," and "Stand by." Somewhere around 1 minute, Aiyana saunters to the camera, and beckons me over. At 30 seconds, she picks up her mic and smiles big. I stand next to her and smile big also, hoping I look nothing like this:

Aiyana suddenly began talking to invisible anchors at an invisible station, introducing me and asking me to summarize the Toys for Troops program.

At the 5:35 show, I talkedrealrealrealfast. I was like those guys on the Jimmy John's "Subs So Fast You'll Freak" ads. Welcome aboard, Ed.

At the 6:05 show, I forced myself to slow down. I was more comfortable, and talking merrily away, at one point: "Blah blah blah yak yak yak..." and this thought suddenly went through my mind:
"What was the question?"
Crap! What was the question? Was it something about soldiers? Because I'm talking about soldiers. What about them? Mind you, while all of this was going through my mind, I was still talking away. How in the hell do I get out of here?!

I solved the problem by finding the end of a sentence, ceasing conversation altogether, and trying this again:

It didn't work. Aiyana waited for me to finish my thought, until it was clear I hadn't a thought in my head: I just stood there. Smiling. And smiling. I tried to convey, with my eyes, "Work with me, baby. I got nothing here. I'm out. O-U-T out."

It seemed like minutes, but it was probably only a few seconds before Aiyana smoothed things over with another friendly question, and we got back on track.

After that one, there was a recorded feed, for the evening shows. I began to answer one question, realized I'd left out vital information, paused to figure out how to work that information in...and paused...and paused, realizing then I'd paused too long. Aiyana, ever so gracious, said "Let's do that again." Yes, let's.

Then there was a third live feed, in which I have no idea what happened. Each interview had the same information, but slightly different questions, and my time there was done before I'm usually even awake, most mornings.


Another television interview, you'd think they'd get easier. You'd think I'd be prepared. You'd think I'd be calm. You'd think I'd learn. We packed up our visual aids and went to Sam's Cafe, for breakfast. I ordered 2 eggs, over hard.

"You want hot sauce with that?" Keith-the-waiter asked.

"Heck Yeah, I do!" I told him.


Maybe not so much, on that learning stuff.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007


My sister started radiation therapy last Tuesday, the day after Labor Day. The technology is better at Barnes Hospital, and it was decided she'd receive treatments in St. Louis. She will be there for 6 weeks. Six weeks! She won't come home until October 15, people!

She is not being admitted to the hospital for these treatments. This illness has already proved to be financially devastating for her and her family, and even the most inexpensive hotel room, say $60 a night (IS there a $60/night hotel room in St. Louis?) would cost her almost $3000, with tax. Throw in meals (not provided) and laundry (do it yourself) for 6 weeks... Hey, she doesn't have a spare $4K laying around the house, especially after not working for the last 3 months, and going to wound-care clinics every day.

So, social services there rounded up FREE housing for her. "Hope House," I thought she said. I spoke to her this weekend, and she shared with me the strict rules there:
  • No food in your room
  • No drinks in your room
  • No TVs in your room
  • No radios in your room
  • Clean and vacuum your own room
  • Community kitchen, share with everyone else
  • Keep your own groceries in a locker provided to you (again, not in your room)
  • Community living room (with TV, share with everyone else)
  • LOCK DOWN: 10:05. You're not in, you're locked out, until 7:05 the next morning. Not only will the doors be locked, but the gates are closed, and the surrounding fence has razor wire on it.
  • No laughing or smiling during business hours
Ok, I made up the last one, but da-haaang! The rest are all true, and those are some pretty strict rules! I looked up "Hope House" yesterday, to read more about it, and I discovered that "Hope House" is a homeless shelter, that helps people in transition. My sister is staying in a homeless shelter? My god! I felt awful yesterday; how in the heck am I going to get her out of there?! Why didn't she TELL ME? Oh, she's so brave, she hid it from me. She made it sound like medical housing. She's protecting me.

I called her last night, and talked for a few minutes, before I meekly broached the subject: "Teri, are you staying in a homeless shelter?" Sniff.


It's not "Hope House," she told me, it's the "American Cancer Society Hope Lodge."


My bad.

But those rules still apply and there's no wireless internet, so she can't use her laptop in her room. I have encouraged her to sneak a danged diet coke and a bag of pretzels up to her room if she wants to. She's all goodie-two-shoesie and shit, so I don't know if she'll do it or not. I'll continue to be a devil on her shoulder though: "Terrriiii, taaaaaaake the diet cooooooooke to your roooooom," I'll say to her.

If they catch her, I'll be right behind her, shrugging my shoulders and spinning my finger at my temple, to indicate she's cuckoo; that oughta get her off the hook.


I suppose the militant rules exist for good reasons. Taken at face value, they seem a bit unreasonable. Radiation therapy sucks enough without going back to a room with nothing but a bed, especially when your family is 2 hours away. Teri isn't complaining, but I hate it. If she doesn't hate it, I hate it for her.

But I also know: Hope Lodge is giving her free housing. A comfortable bed to sleep in. A television to share with others. A shuttle ride to the hospital every day, where she's getting life-saving treatment. A kitchen to cook in. Moral support, if she needs it.

For 6 weeks.

Only 6 weeks.

When she's 94 years old, perhaps she'll look back and say "that wasn't so long, in the overall scheme of things."

In the meantime, if you want to shout some words of encouragement at her, it's

(Tell her to take the diet coke to her room!)

Saturday, September 08, 2007

M*A*S*H Weekend Report

Attention All Personnel

We're home this evening, after 2 (and one afternoon) at the Virginia Theater. The News Gazette, played M*A*S*H here this weekend, highlighting Toys for Troops, along with one showing of Shrek the Third.

It was a rainy weekend, and a home football weekend to boot. At 10 til 7 last night, there were about 10 people in the theater, and we giggled nervously.

A bust. Ah well. Can't win 'em all. But Lo! In the next 10 minutes, in walks what seems like 1oo more people. We joined a nice crowd, for the first showing. We ended up, at the end of the evening, with supplies for our care packages:

and hundreds, yes HUNDREDS more beanie babies.

To boot, that donation bucket was filled with a couple hundred bucks.

On Saturday afternoon, at 4:30, they ran the children's film for the weekend, Shrek 3. A little over 200 people, both children and parents were present. Here's Jeff running the TFT table, acting both child and parent:

We decided, beforehand, to make the day a little nicer for the kids that showed up. Before the movie, Jeff told the kids a little about TFT, about how many beanies we had collected, and what we were doing, in Iraq.

He also announced, in the dark theater, that each child that attended the showing could pick out one beanie to take home, if they so wished. An audible gasp was heard through the theater.

After the show, it was quiet for awhile, but the children slowly came to stop by our table, and we told them our story, and asked them take one.

And today, I got a taste of how my kid feels when he hands out toys to kids. I watched 100 or so kids excitedly, but respectfully pick out a beanie baby to take home with them.

And we shook their parents hands, and we asked them to explain to their children what we are doing here. We asked them to explain, that if they are going home this happy with one toy, among the 100s they have.... imagine, then, how children that have little-to-nothing must feel when they go home with this same toy.

I'm not exaggerating about the little-to-nothing. I received an e-mail from one thankful soldier that told me about children he saw that were dragging a computer monitor by the cord through the streets, as a means of something to play with. They are children. They are making toys out of anything they can find.


And there are those, this evening, that went home: PISSED.

Yeah. We took some hits, tonight.

There were a few that were furious at our decision. We are supposed to be helping children in Iraq. And 15o beanies from our current inventory of 11,000, are tucked under pillows in our own community.

Can I just explain, for a minute?

First of all, there are some beanies we are cannot send. The soldiers are forbidden to hand out anything "pro U.S.A." We are holding back the red, white, and blue, stars & stripes beanies, and have a box of them that are free for the taking. We are also holding out Christmas beanies, prayer bears, angels, brides, ghosts, and skeletons. We don't want to run the risk of offending parents.

Although we gave the kids their choice, the majority of the beanies were from the box of toys we have to hold back. We will have to find alternate homes for these here anyway.

Second, the parents that showed up today were so appreciative, and in exchange for a few toys their kids took home, threw a few bucks into the donation jar. In the 20 minutes after the movie, enough was donated to send over 400 beanie babies to Iraq.

We are sending 400 beanie babies to children that 150 kids here are praying for.

I think that's an awesome return for handing out a few of our toys here at home.

Please, please, please don't be upset; our promises are still steadfast.

And oh, yeah: I just can't say thank you, enough times.

That is all.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Look North, toward the Stars...

I went camping last weekend, and 4-wheeling again, with a buncha new friends. They are friends of The Boy (Clint), and I'm still getting to know most of them. Things are warming up nicely, thank you very much.

On Saturday evening, Clint and I, along with another couple, Angie & Ryan, walked over to listen to live music. Shortly after we got situated, the band took a break, Angie wandered off somewhere, I noticed something odd: Clint and Ryan were whispering.

Whispering? Whispering men!?!!

Something is definitely up when men are whispering, and I was having nothing to do with it! I stuck my big fat nose right in there and said "What in the hell are you guys talking about?" Because, as I said, these are new friends, and their business is my business, right?

When I was told to never me mind, I knew.

Live Music. Men Whispering. Ryan checking his pocket every few minutes.

I put a hand under each of their chins and threatened to clunk their heads together if they didn't fess up what I'd already figured out. Once I got a confession, I set about whispering my own self, and making sure that all of the other friends dragged their chairs over, and that there was a camera present and that I knew how to turn it on, and then...

...trying to act natural by the time Angie got back.

The break was over, and the band began playing, but paused to ask everyone to look North, toward the stars.

When they did, they found Clint with a microphone, introducing 2 of his best friends to the crowd.

Next time something like this happens, I'll make sure to compose all of the players so they all fit in the photo. What you can't see lower left, in the above picture, is Angie's smiling sweetly, wondering what in the heck Clint's doing with a microphone.

Before she could process it all, Clint had announced that Ryan had a question for Angie; she turned to find him in front of her, down on one knee.

He did it! He asked her, with his best friends, and a band, and a few hundred strangers present.

She said yes.

And there was some applause, and all of the women cried along with Angie, and there was much hugging and nose-blowing and laughing, and oh! it was just wonderful.

So, Clint's long-time friends, and my new friends are engaged. I'm so glad I was there to share their moment—hey! They'll someday be my long-time friends too, and I can say I was there! Yes! We are building memories!

And this one will never be forgotten.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

He's coming home...

Corporal William Lyke will be in his Mama's (And his Daddy's) home tonight, having just returned from Iraq. WhooHoo.

The Patriot Guard will be escorting him home from the airport. This organization usually escorts fallen soldiers home, and shields the mourners from interruptions from protestors. When his mother, Chris, protested their offer for an escort home from the airport, they told her, "we also like to ride in celebration, for those that come home safely."

They will be coming down Prospect Avenue, and turning West on Church, somewhere around 6:30-6:45.

I know what it meant to my son to have the community back him up, while he was home. If you've got it, give a few minutes of your time: Park your car, get out and stand on the sidewalk, and let's cheer that soldier on.