Monday, June 29, 2009

What the heck?!? Am I blind?

Sunday, we were slow in the morning, typical for a Sunday. I decided to try my hand on the rifle range. Its been over a year since I last shot. Initially, my hits were all over the place - - hitting the target but all over in the 1 and 2 areas (horrible) I stopped and asked myself, "What the heck? Are you blind?"

Well, actually, yes, I was, sort of. I forget that I am left eye dominant. So I tend to close my right eye when I'm "looking" through the sight. In effect, I'm shooting with my eyes closed. The fact that I hit the target, a simulated 200 or 300 yards away is amazing (I think anyway). Once I figured myself out and coordinated (eyes open) I shot a few sets.

After I 'opened' my eyes, this is what my right handed shooting of the M16 looked like:

6_28 Target Practice RH

Now, I say I shot the above right handed - - because I also did some left handed shooting, which I don't think is what most people do. However, since I'm left eye dominant, I just wanted to see how I did. So here is my left handed shooting below:

6_28 Target Practice

I showed my sheets to the Marines for some analysis and this is what I found out. My right handed shooting, shots 5 and 10 were off because of muscle control (that is the direction the rifle went when I relaxed on those shots. Left handed, my "up and down" pattern was due to breathing. I was probably more relaxed with my left hand because it seemed more normal to have my left eye open as I aimed. The Marines gave me some coaching on breathing -- so next time I'll try to remember what they told me and see if I can get any better.

Left handed, I shot about what I shot right handed last year. Right handed, I'm 2% points better than last year. So now the competitive person I am wants to practice so I can get better. I want all 10s, consistently, gosh-darn-it!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

The Museum Enters The Social Networking World Via Facebook

NMMC Facebook

You can now get face time with the National Museum of the Marine Corps over on Facebook. The photo above should link you to the page. So...if you are on Facebook, join the group to get information on upcoming events, share your stories and photos.

A couple weeks ago, the museum director approached me and asked me some questions about social networking. I am by no means a pro. I sent her some links to some sites from other museums and by June 19th, they had a page up. I have no idea who the "social networking manager" is but there are almost 200 members. One of the Marines set up a fan page about a year ago so, join them both!

I just uploaded photos from the OCS commissioning from last year. The person who set up the page loaded photos for each of the galleries. Over on the fan page, you can check out some photos the aviation curator posted from the Belleau Wood film shoot. I think we have some pretty talented photographers amongst the staff and volunteers at the museum.

One thing I'd like to see the museum do is set up a blog either on wordpress or blogspot so they can post longer stories about upcoming things or things that occurred or about veterans that have come to visit. A blog where you don't have to be a member to comment or read. Facebook is a good start. Blogs can always be fed into Facebook too.

Are they on Twitter? My search results returned nada -- so they are not Tweeting. I think Tweeting would be most useful for the events that occur during the day. For instance, Colonel Camp and Patrick Mooney were giving lunchtime history talks. There are various curator talks scheduled through the year and usually on Saturday, there are family (read -- kid friendly) activities in the education department. All of these lead themselves to tweet reminders. We'll have to stay on the look out on Twitter.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Standing Corrected


Often times I am incorrect about things and this is one of those times. The beautiful stone that will be going into the Chapel is not marble as identified in my earlier post about the chapel progress, it is granite. I'm thinking it was a good thing I didn't go into geology in college - - however, if I had, I would have identified this correctly.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

DC Metro Train Crash

Just to let everyone know, I was not involved in the Red line crash of the DC metro. While I used to take the metro everyday when I worked in the city, I did not take the Red line. When I worked in Bethesda - - 8 years ago, I would occasionally take the Red line. And chances I'd be on the train at 5 p.m. were slim.

Today, my current project is not located near a metro station so I do not take the metro to work, yes, I am a heavy contributor to greenhouse gas emissions.

Just wanted everyone to know that I am safe and was very far away from the accident that has now claimed 9 lives. My sister posted to Facebook that she had to check that to make sure I was o.k. to let my mom know. (how sad is that, that Facebook has become the best bet for family and friends to reach me?)

My prayers go out to all the families who lost loved ones in this accident. The metro system in DC is very safe and convenient - - there is no other way I'd travel about DC - - metro and on foot is my preferred method.

So, that said, because of the huge delays on the metro this morning, I anticipate some really heavy traffic and today - - I have to go into the city to conduct a training class -- I am signing off.

Just remember, everyday we have is a gift. We don't know when we leave our homes or work if we will make it to our planned destination. I however have complete faith that I will make it to the destination God has planned for me. If it brings my family and friends peace of mind, if anything were to ever happen to me in DC traffic, be it a car accident (someone does hit me every year, btw, and I am over due for that YIKES!), fire, metro bus running over me, car running over me, heart attack, falling down stairs, elevator plummeting to the basement, heat get the idea... I will be o.k. I know where I am going.

Oh, and if something were to happen, can someone come to my house and take care of the cats?

Saturday, June 20, 2009

"I don't give a shit! We've got ammo, just start shooting!"

This was the response one Marine Corps Gunny gave to his men when they found themselves surrounded during the first day of the 2nd Battle for Fallujah.

At the end of May, four Marine Corps Majors gave their accounts of the battle from the perspective of a company commander or operations officer (middle management). In the 2004 battle, all were captains, two were company commanders and two were OPSOs. In attendance were many Marines who had been under their command.


The young Lieutenant who shared the headline quote also noted that he learned more about what had happened during the hour long lecture then he knew from having lived through it. At the time he had been, I think, a Lance Corporal. He shared that he was completely clueless the whole time, even though he had a college degree. He said he just went where they told him to go. The first few days he said were so chaotic and noisy. The US was dropping artillery within yards of their positions. By day 4 and 5, he said things started to quiet down and that is when they began to become complacent.

"We'd have spent all day clearing 150 houses and not find anything and then house 151, when we were tired and had let our guard down, we'd get hit and that is when we'd lose someone."

What made this lecture all the more interesting for me was getting the chance to put faces with some names. Major A, whom I had dated last year had been injured by an IED during the feints prior to the battle. Last year, before General Natonski's presentation on Fallujah, Major A introduced me to his Colonel. The Colonel asked me if I knew Major A's story, often times veterans don't share their stories with many other, except close family, friends and other veterans. I knew what he had told me and from what I could find in the news, his hometown paper covered his recovery and eventual return to active duty and deployment back to Iraq and to the same location where he had been injured. He had shown me his Purple Heart and a big jagged piece of metal that had been one of the many pieces of the humvee that had been taken out of his body. Major A had asked the doctors for the pieces of metal, but they hadn't saved any. The piece he had was given to him by his Colonel.

One of the Marines presenting at the lecture had been the OPSO of Major A's unit. Major Chris had been tasked with other things and was unable to give a "tour" to an Army officer, so Major A volunteered. They took Major Chris's Humvee and were driving through the outskirts of Fallujah. When the IED went off, the Colonel said he heard it and came running. By the time he got on the scene, everyone had been removed from the vehicle, Major A was the most seriously hurt. He said he looked at Major A, saw his injuries were pretty bad, but knew that he would survive them.

"He kept telling me he was sorry, it was all his fault and that Chris was going to kill him."

O.k., my "jealous woman" reaction in my mind was, "Who the hell is Chris? I don't want to hear about him calling out some other woman's name while injured on the battle field." Out loud I asked, "Who is Chris?" and they filled me in.

Well, the piece of metal that Major A has as a souvenir from his near miss with death and dismemberment was a piece the Corpsman had removed in order to treat him, somehow it was handed to the Colonel, who put it in the front breast pocket of his uniform. He had that bloodied piece of metal in his pocket for weeks, he said. When he finally realized it was there, he sent it to Major A.

When I introduced myself to Major Chris after the lecture, I shared with him the story of them saying how Brad was saying over and over how Chris was going to kill him. He thought Chris was going to be mad because the IED had destroyed the HUMVEE that had been assigned to Chris and it was the only up armored HUMVEE they had (which probably saved his and the lives of the other men on board).

Chris laughed and shared that when he went to visit Major A at the field hospital, "He was laying there with half his butt cheek blown off and he kept telling me he was sorry he didn't get a chance to finish the report that was due. I told him not to worry about it. That is the kind of guy he is. He's a really good guy."

Major A watched the battle from the hospital.

There was so much information that the Majors shared.

Prior to the battle, US forces conducted tactical feints into the city in an attempt to get the Iraqis to believe that is where they would attack. It worked. The insurgents posted most of their fighting positions in the area where the feints had been conducted. When the battle occurred, the Marines came in from the opposite direction.

The mission was to attack and clear their assigned sections of the town. What did attack and clear mean? To the Marines, it meant clear every building which was a challenge for 4 battalions to do in a specified time frame. One of the challenges they had, was they would clear a block and then the insurgents would move back into the area so they would have to re-clear areas. In addition, they were to set up humanitarian assistance sights up as soon as the area was cleared (this was a PR thing to look good for the world news media). The Majors joked how the insurgents, who had figured out the boundaries between the battalions, would go to one battalion for food and return to fight another battalion.

Another interesting thing they shared and that I have heard from other Marines, was how the insurgents were using drugs and they were told not to talk about what they were finding to the media. The Majors said that now, they didn't care, they were openly talking about how prevalent drug use was with the insurgent fighters, and the number of foreign fighters they were finding.

They said they found many of the insurgents they had killed with IVs and drugs (liquid courage). One guy they killed had gangrenous wounds so with the assistance of the drugs he was taking was able to continue the fight. The drugs helped the insurgents take multiple shots and continue fighting - - often times the Marines would find their bodies later after they had bled out from their wounds.

They were asked about enemy co-ordination. They said the larges co-ordinated group they encountered were 12 in a house. They said someone in that house was well trained, probably a foreign fighter and that group put up a really good fight. The Marines ended up calling in four TOW missiles to put a stop to the fight.

Regarding respecting Mosques, the Marines found that 60% of the mosques were used as weapons caches, communication and control sites and rally points. One Major said a big lesson that he learned after losing one of his men to a sniper in a Mosque minaret was in the future, he'd take out the minaret and apologize for it later. He said it took hours to get permission to take the sniper position out, in the meantime, the sniper had the ability to take out more of his men. This same Major said he wished they had had more embedded journalists with them, he would have used a journalist to say, "See that Marine laying dead on the ground, he got shot from that minaret, we are still taking fire from that position and that is why I am taking it out right now." He felt they didn't capitalize on video embeds as much as they could have to get the stories out.

They also spoke about how they conducted re-supply and that they pre-planned packages. When every a vehicle was leaving from a supply area, it was always full. Units would pick-up more ammunition when dropping off casualties. The logistics group was able to secure routes and supply areas within 2 miles of each of the battalions companies.

In addition to their excellent logistical execution, they were also able to set up trauma units as far forward as possible, they showed us on a map where they had been set up, very impressive. They said having trauma capability so close to the front was very important. They could get severely wounded Marines to a trauma unit within 5-7 minutes.

Within 7 weeks of the battle, citizens were introduced back to the city. That was a big goal of US military leadership, to get Fallujah cleared of insurgents and the citizens back before elections at the end of January 2005. So, within a very short time frame, Marines had to stop looking at the people as the enemy but as people and they had to now deal with things civilians want like power, food, water, and their homes to be repaired.

It was a great lecture and always good to get new insights that I can't get anywhere else. I'd really like to just sit and listen to battle stories like the one the Lieutenant shared. It is good to know about all the planning at a high level and what people knew and what they were doing and why.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Chapel Progress- - Big Changes!


The beams for the walls and the roof are up, its all framed, how exciting!

Below is the view as I walk up the walkway in Semper Fidelis Memorial Park. The wall we are looking at from this point is the back wall where the alter will be.


Again the back wall.


Below is a side view, you can see the concrete foundations for the benches or pews. The Chapel will seat about 60-70 people, so it is very intimate.


I think this is the marble for the pews/benches and maybe the alter.


This is the view looking toward the entrance of the Chapel from the path in Semper Fidelis Memorial Park.


This is the view of the front entrance from the access road across from the entrance to the parking lot. Yes, I wasn't suppose to be there and yes, the security guard did stop me as I was walking up the access road. Other than crossing the road blocks, I didn't cross over into any construction/hard hat fenced in sites, nor did I touch anything. Just took this picture.


According to the Chief of Visitor's Services, the traditional topping ceremony was Friday June 12th. Pat said they hoist a pine tree up like a steeple and raise a US flag to the top. Sgt. Kelli of the museum Marine detachment had the honors of running the flag up the 'steeple'.

Since I haven't won the lottery yet (I really need to play and then actually check my numbers) I still have a day job so missed that ceremony.

The Chapel is slated to be opened/dedicated in October. I hope to be on hand for that.

I can't wait to see what is next!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Why I am Behind


These are two reasons why I've had a hard time getting things done. Stache is on the left, Dash is on the right.

Dash is really my little lover boy. He loves to snuggle and will push the other kittens out of the way so he can be closer to my face. Yes, he has rubbed his little face all over mine, so I think he thinks he has me marked.

In the morning as I get ready, I have at least 2 if not 3 of the four kittens clinging to my legs. That is clinging to my legs regardless if they are bare or I am wearing pants.

Kitten torture, I think that would be really effective -- who could feel threatened by those cute little faces? They are very deceptive...and then they get you with their pin-prick claws and speed of light climbing ability. Once you peel one off another has decided your rear-end makes a good velcro wall.

They are so much fun! I just want to play with them when I get home - - to heck with cleaning or blogging or whatever else - - I just want Kitten decompression time.

They may be very demanding in regards to telling me they are hungry, however, they remind me that everything has the possiblity of being fun - - even cleaning the litter box.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

With the Marines at Belleau Wood

Belleau Wood 3a

This could be one of those group photos taken before moving out to the front lines in 1918 but it was taken last week as Marines filmed a movie for the World War 1 Gallery.

A HUGE thanks to Museum Curator, Owen Conner for granting me permission to share some of the photos he took while on set.

One of the advisers on set was Col. Joseph Alexander, you can see him in the photo below wearing 'modern' clothes and baseball hat as the World War 1 Marines march by to take positions for filming.

Belleau Wood 1

Marines moving through the wheat field and smoke. The poppies were added to the field for authenticity.

Belleau Wood 5

Even though the Marines endured the hot, humid, Virginia June days, dressed head to toe in wool uniforms and charged through the fields several times, the dirt and grime on their faces (most of it anyway) was make-up. Great effort and attention to detail was made for things to look authentic. Marines played Marines and the medics were played by modern day Navy Corpsmen.

Belleau Wood 4

Marines cooling off in the shade between shots. Besides the heat and humidity, they had to battle some pretty severe weather. I think it rained every day they were out there. Some pictures Owen had on his Facebook showed the Maxim Machine gun positions full of mud. Yuck!

Belleau Wood 2

Lots of exciting stuff coming up at the Museum. Again, thank you Owen for letting me share your photos!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Technological Panic!

The annoying thing regarding technology is that it changes quickly. Or in the case of some technology outlets/entities, if they decide not to support an application - - you have to convert all of your data to a different platform.

I've already 'lost' one online journal when AOL pulled the plug on its blog/journal capability. I had started blogging over at Yahoo 360 and then Yahoo stopped supporting the application. Users got tired of the system crashing or not working correctly so those in my Yahoo network migrated to Multiply. That was kind of sad. I was getting around 1000 hits a week on my Yahoo blog. Granted, some of the comments from a bunch of Iranians and Pakistanis that started following me made me a bit uncomfortable on several levels.

I've gotten no where near that many hits here on Blogspot. Nor has blogspot really given me the opportunity to connect with people around the world like Yahoo 360 did. I loved following the day-to-day adventures of a South African Forest Ranger, the beautiful gardens of a blogger in New Zealand, and an American teaching English in South Korea. Some of the connections made on 360 have continued to Multiply and to Facebook.

So the panic. Yahoo 360 is going away, completely on July 13th (is that a Friday?) The message was, if you don't export your blogs to the new Yahoo profile or to another blog hosting site, all is lost.


Blogging has become my big shoe box for photos and memories. The intention was I could quickly download my digital photos and post them online along with my thoughts and memories of the event. At a later time, when I had time, I would use those entries to assist me with my scrapbooking and permanent archive. Lets just say I'm about 3 years behind on scrapbooking.

So Yahoo 360 going away sent me in a panic trying to back-up my blogs externally and then export them to Wordpress, which is who Yahoo made and agreement with to pass the blog hosting torch to. Wordpress only allows you to upload 15 MB in a zip file to its site. My Yahoo 360 blog downloaded and zipped was 236 MB. A little bit too big.

ACK! What was I going to do?

But then I remembered, "Didn't I already export my yahoo 360 blogs to Multiply?" I checked, they look like they are all there. Whew!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009 - Corps returns to Belleau Wood - Corps returns to Belleau Wood

Shared via AddThis

My understanding is this film will be part of the immersion gallery for Belleau Wood. The WW1 gallery has been billed as better than anything we currently have. I've seen the 3D model of the new galleries and they look so cool. The World War 1 gallery will be Belleau Wood. When you enter the gallery, you will enter a forest, dark , green, tree canopy, rocks. You will be in the German positions looking out over the wheat fields between the wooded areas.

Reading this article and seeing the pictures in Fredricksburg's Freelance Star just make me really excited! I can't wait to see how it all comes together.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Chapel Update

I'm about two weeks behind posting the updates on the Chapel at the National Museum of the Marine Corps. I will be at the museum this weekend and will be sure to get some new shots as I'm sure a lot has changed.

As you can see, the walls are starting to show above the trees.


The four corners are up. It will be interesting to see what is up this weekend.


Below, the foundation/base of what will be the marble benches in the chapel.


This is the bathroom building.


The final view is from the access road looking toward the Chapel's front door with the Museum in the background.


Saturday, June 6, 2009

Gloomy Day For a Funeral

This morning was the funeral Mass for my co-worker's 2-month old son. It is a cool, overcast day, the rain from the past three days is suppose to end today and the sun is to come out. It is still gloomy and that reflected the mood of everyone there.

What do you say?

I hugged my co-worker when I entered the church and he introduced me to his wife and I hugged her. I said I was so sorry. He asked if I had ever seen his son. No, I hadn't. Just the sonogram photos he walked around to show everyone when they found out they were pregnant. I must have missed the days he brought in other pictures. Or maybe he hadn't brought them in yet. He was planning on bringing his son in for everyone to see when his wife returned from visiting her family.

That is where their son died. It was a heart complication that hadn't manifested it self until that time. My co-worker wasn't there, he was here. He got the call that I am sure was quite frantic from his wife telling him their son had died. We heard about it Monday, those that were in the office at 8 a.m. at an impromptu team meeting, the rest of us from those who were at the meeting. What do you say?

Such a gloomy week.

My co-worker has always been such a happy guy. He walks through the halls with a smile just stopping by people's desks to say, "Hi". Today, it was hard to see him pale, without the smile, aged.

It was heart breaking watching him along with three friends carry the tiny white coffin to the front of the church. During the service, he supported his wife who clung to him, head on his shoulder, her mother next to her rubbing her back in comfort. It was also difficult to see the sadness on my co-worker's faces. These are people you see strong, commanding, laughing, joking, angry, tough - - not silent, voices, barely audible, shaking during the prayers.

After the mass and we all followed the family out of the church, my co-worker and his wife stood behind the hearse as the doors were shut behind they tiny white coffin that held their son. She broke down and cried in the arms of a woman, a family member or friend, I don't know. They were heart wrenching, inconsolable, depth of your your soul sobs. As we passed by, I wanted to hug her, to hug my co-worker. How hard this must be for him to not be able to make it better, to be feeling the same anguish. How hard this must be for their parents, again, they want to make it better but they can't. I sat in my car and thought about calling my mom, to ask her to make it better.

During the homily, the priest said it is difficult when God chooses to take the life of someone who we love, who is just in the beginning of life. We want to know why. He said, he doesn't know why but knows there will be a time, when we, as believers, will be in heaven too and will no longer have any questions.

There have been several people I know who have lost children over the past 6 years to accident, illness, complications inutero. It is always so difficult.

What brings me comfort are passages from the Gospel of John, where Jesus is preparing his disciples for his impending death.

John 14: 1-3

1"Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. 2In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. 3And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.

This comforts me because I know that Jesus never lied, and what He says is true. I believe when my place in heaven is prepared for me, that is when He will call me home. It is just so sad when He decides to call some home so soon. I also have comfort in knowing that heaven is a wonderful place and just the thought of the feeling of absolute love from God is breathtaking.

I also have great comfort in knowing that He has risen. Jesus conquered death. My co-worker's son is being cuddled in the arms of God and he and his wife will one day see him again.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Oatmeal and Kitten Bath

When I do something the first time, I do it all the way.

I got my first case of poison-whatever-rash. I've never gotten poison ivy, poison oak, or sumac. I chalked it up to some amazingly blessed genetic body chemistry that prevented by from getting poison whatever or even getting bit by mosquito's. Well, apparently, along with my metabolism shutting down, so has this natural bug repellent and poison blocker.

I spent last weekend weeding and mulching my garden. Here in the south there is this lovely vine called poison sumac. It grows on everything and if it could it would like a foothold in my nice garden. I've pulled piles of it out with my bare hands for years and I've never once gotten a rash. Not once.

Apparently, having kittens created the perfect storm environment. Kittens can't retract claws and think its perfectly acceptable to scale ones bar legs. So, all my little kitten scratches provided an 'in' to the poison sumac oils.

Since I have never broken out before, I thought the little red splotches on the scratches were run-of-the-mill infections from getting cat poop in the scratch wounds (kittens always manage to walk right into their poop in the litter box). So I put neosporin on my scratches. Who would have known that neosporin makes poison sumac worse. According to my doctor, some people can have allergic reactions to neosporin - which I did on top of the poison sumac. I tried over the counter cortisone and went through several tubes and it got worse and worse.

So, I was prescribed prednisone and given a list of all the side effects to include it would make me hyper. O.k. bring it on - - maybe I can ween myself off coca-cola. I was also told to take Benedryl at night so I could sleep.

Lets just say that knocks me out and 20 oz of coke and the prednizone can't wake me up. (I'm feeling a bit jipped) In fact, I'm surprised I wasn't suffocated in my sleep by kittens who all want to sleep on my face and neck.

I'm also surprised I don't have kitten hickeys as they all seem to want to suck on some part of my face - nose, eyelash, lip. I woke up and couldn't move my head because four kittens had made themselves quite comfortable in my hair, spread across the memory foam pillow. Kind of felt like Gulliver.

Last night I took an oatmeal bath. The doctor said I could scratch -- that it wouldn't spread - - so I used my net bath scrunchy thing and scrubbed my rashes that have covered my calves and shins. I thought of Job (from the Old Testament) when Satan afflicted him with boils and soars (ironically, we are studying Job in Bible Study in a chapter on Spiritual Warfare and on top of that a Christian radio program is doing a sermon series this week on Spiritual Warfare - - is God trying to tell me something?) Job had sat by the fire and covered his soars with hot ash to dry them out and then he scraped them with stones. I always thought that sounded so gross! But here I was willing to pay big bucks for a wire brush to scrub my frickin' skin off! I was almost doing that with the bath scrunchy. It hurt but felt SO good at the same time.

Finally the soothing oatmeal infused bath began to sooth -- ahhhh!


(At 6 weeks, Dash, Duke, Spree and Stache)

The kittens were very interested in this bath thing I was doing. All four climbed up on the tub edge, sat there and meowed inquisitively. I put a towel over the edge so they wouldn't slip in.

I've observed that male animals are bigger risk takers than females. Spree was content just sitting there. The boys wanted to touch the water. Dash made an attempt to jump on me but I caught him so quickly and violently, that he shrieked - - like I'd stepped on his tail. He shook it off while Stache and Duke both took turns reaching down into the water with their front paws while I held their hind ends so they wouldn't topple in face first. For some reason, that didn't satisfy their curiosity, so they walked behind me and slipped in. I caught them before more than tail and hind legs got wet. You'd think if one saw the other get wet - - it wouldn't repeat - - so first it was Stache and then Duke. Duke was so humiliated about getting wet, he hid under the bed, where he has collected an nice stash of comfort toys.

You'd think Dash would decide to stay away from the tub at this point, no. I laid back so he wouldn't be able to walk behind and slide down the back of the tub. He decided to take a big step onto my shoulder and onto my chest. Since both of my arms were under water, I had a dilemma, do I grab him with wet hands and get scratched? I let him walk down my body to the water's edge. I figured he'd test the water with a paw and then turn and meow for me to put him on solid dry ground. No! He JUMPS off my body into the tub!

Oh my gosh! You should have seen the surprise on both our faces! He went in, over his head, luckily right above my right hand. So I had him up almost as quickly as he went in. Poor guy went totally limp in my hands as I laid him on the towel. He just snuggled his head into my hand and took some big breaths as I rubbed his wet, little body dry with the towel.

It would have been a great America's Funniest Home video, if it wasn't X-rated. BTW, no video exits. But it would have been funny. I got a good laugh.

Where was Spree this whole time? Just sitting there on the edge watching in amusement, probably thinking, "Boys are so stupid!"

Monday, June 1, 2009

Teachers That Made an Impact

I was over reading Lysa TerKeurst's blog this evening. It made me think about two teachers I had that really made an impact on my young life.

Sister Juanita was my 2nd teacher. I was her little helper, her little shadow. I would stay after school to clean the blackboards and she taught me how to crochet. I can remember stories she'd tell of her summer vacation. Nuns actually would go swimming in bathing suits! We were all amazed by that. I loved all the stories she'd tell and she encouraged me to be creative and taught me how to pray. We made first communion in 2nd grade so there was all this preparation and learning about the significance of things like the host and the holy sepulchre and reading the bible. I think this is when I really got interested in reading the bible. I'd also help her when she had to set stuff up for church - - I got to adventure through some of the back passageways in church - - way cool and kind of scary all at the same time.

Another nun, Sister Rosilyn was also made a big impact on my life in Junior High. She was our teacher as we prepared for Confirmation. Youth group would meet at the convent in her basement office - - which was set up really nice, couches, beanbag chairs or pillows to sit on. This is the first time I experienced bible study. We read through the New Testament and were to read about the lives of saints and share what we learned with each other. I really enjoyed those discussions. I would have to say, I did entertain the idea of becoming a nun. However, I liked boys way too much.

Mrs. Grendal was my sixth grade teacher at about the time I was preparing for confirmation. I actually chose her name as my confirmation name -- she was named after a saint choose to be my "patron" saint. I really liked Mrs. Grendal, I think I really got interested in history, military history, when I was in her class. She'd tell stories about her husband, a Korean War veteran.

Oh and Mr. VonMaluski, he was my geography teacher - - I loved his classes because it was like going on a vacation everyday as we learned about some place new. I know many people who hated that class. But I just loved it. Ever since then, I have wanted to travel the world (oh, if I could only win the lottery).

Do you guys have teachers who have touched your lives or where your favorites? If so, share some of your stories here.