Monthly Archives: May 2009

Take a moment, give something back

Take a moment today, Memorial Day, to remember the sacrifices others have made on your behalf. Even if — maybe especially if — you disagree with the decisions that led to so many deaths.

Photo of Arlington National Cemetery by Bruce Dale, published in National Geographic, June 2007.

A Google team has created a new website, just unveiled this weekend, called Map the Fallen. From Sean, its creator:

“This Memorial Day I would like to share with you a personal project of mine that uses Google Earth to honor the more than 5,700 American and Coalition servicemen and women that have lost their lives in Iraq and Afghanistan. I have created a map for Google Earth that will connect you with each of their stories—you can see photos, learn about how they died, visit memorial websites with comments from friends and families, and explore the places they called home and where they died.” 

While I am somewhat disturbed by the invasion of privacy caused by all this high-tech satellite imagery, this application of it serves to remind us that those who died had names and faces and individual life stories, and they grew up in hometowns all across our country before facing death halfway around the world.

Go take a look. It’s worth the hassle of installing the newest version of Google Earth.

And then go read this CNN article that states, in part:

“. . . a recent study conducted by the RAND Corporation estimates more than 320,000 service members returned home with traumatic brain injury, and 300,000 suffer from post traumatic stress disorder, depression and anxiety. That is nearly one in five who have deployed.”

Those who died are deserving of a day of national remembrance. But perhaps we can also take a moment to reflect on the sacrifices of those who did not die, but who are suffering daily under our nation’s dubious care and respect.

They deserve more than one day of showy parades and solemn speeches, more than one moment out of our happy busy normal lives. They deserve the commitment of our effort and resources, the acknowledgment that we have a responsibility to take action and make sacrifices on their behalf, as they did on ours.

Go HERE and make a difference. I did.


Filed under deep thoughts

Rainy day in spring

It is dark and raining here this morning. The kind of hard heavy steady rain that says, pay attention, and no matter what you thought you were going to do, you stop and listen instead. Too many drops to count, yet you can hear the rhythm of each one. The small steady slap of it on the roof and leaves and street, the music of it running fast through eaves and downspouts, in the fleeting splash of a car driving by.

A quick gust of wind waves dense leafy branches through the flow, disrupting the steady downward path, diverting drops like a hand testing the temperature of a shower. The gust moves on and the thick drops fall harder, crowding together in a pale gray sheet.

The back door is open and the smell of wet comes through the screen. Sodden chlorophyll and damp ground, giving up the hot sweat of the past week’s growth, rinsing off leaves and bark and blades of grass to run down the slope of the next yard to the creek, filling the air with the ripe earthy scent.

The torrent is timeless and ageless, full of significance yet devoid of meaning. The rain is all there is. No crackle of lightning or rumble of thunder. Nothing moves under the onslaught, there are no other sounds, only the steady soaking drum of the rain. And you are still, listening.

The gloom lifts slowly as the rain tapers off, the symphony ending not with a crescendo but a soft reprise as a cool damp breeze gently teases small drops down in a light patter from the high branches where they linger. There is movement in an upstairs bedroom and you recall the tasks at hand.

Soon the air is redolent with the smell of freshly sliced melon and frying bacon. Outside, the birds resume their springtime songs.


Filed under deep thoughts

New week, same old brown bag lunch

I finished the week with mixed results on reaching my goals. Somewhat disappointing, but change takes time.

I did so-so with bringing my lunch: three days out of five. I’ve learned this is something I have to prepare and pack up the night before, otherwise it’s just not happening. But I did buy a salad the other two days, so that’s good. I did NOT eat the cookies or brownies or cake that showed up at work. Not even the chocolate covered glazed KK doughnuts. Though I might have inhaled a time or two.

The pushups were going great. Until I woke up Friday morning and my neck was sore. Except it didn’t really hurt so much as it just felt weird. Like I had pulled something. The inside of my throat wasn’t sore, no cough or anything, my neck just felt tight and achy. So after a full day of worrying that I had some dreadly neck disease that might necessitate removal of my entire head, I realized I’d probably pulled something doing those oh-so-strenuous pushups. What a wimp. So, no pushups Friday or Saturday and by Sunday my neck felt much better. As a result, this week I’m taking a break from pushups and have dusted off the treadmill instead. Going to start with a minimum of ten minutes every day this week, even on Monday. More if I can stand the boredom. Because I’ve been a complete slug for the past four months and that has to stop.  [Did 10 on Saturday, Sunday 12.]

Trying to write every day has been . . . interesting. Not sure I’ll ever be a do-it-every-day type of writer, but I’m going to keep at it for now. Even though it takes it all out of me, mentally, to do this on workdays. I need to finish. Some of what I’ve written has been truly awful. Some, very minimal. And Friday? Zip. Sat there looking at the screen and– nothing. But knowing I’m going to have to at least try has made me think about it during the day. I’m pretty sure my boss noticed me staring intently off into space a couple times. That’s okay. Might be good for him to wonder what I’m plotting. But I made some significant progress over the weekend with a couple scenes that had been giving me trouble. That felt good.

Still got a long way to go before I reach the big goals, but at least I’m moving forward again. Little steps.

Oh, and I had a lovely Mother’s Day. Hope you did too, regardless of whether anyone calls you mom.


Filed under goals, health and well-being

Planning is good, doing is better

Oh, my poor sadly neglected blog. I’ve been off creating a bright shiny new blog for my CB friends and completely ignoring you. Here, I brought you some flowers as an apology. Pansies and snapdragons, two of my favorites:

Why, you’re quite welcome. I picked them in the drive-thru lane at Chick-fil-A where I was ordering healthy grilled-not-fried chicken and substituting a questionable lovely fruit medley for fries. Really.

Okay, it’s time to refocus. Lately I’ve been playing around and writing blog posts and comments elsewhere (I love WordPress — can I say that over here?) and having a grand old time . . . and not accomplishing much of anything else.

In an effort to prove I can be disciplined and maintain a routine, I’m setting some simple daily goals that should help me attain some not so simple long-term goals:

1)  I have started the 100 pushup challenge. Okay, stop laughing. If you’re thinking I couldn’t do a real pushup to save my life, you’re right. I have very little upper body strength. I can’t do the “modified” version either because that involves kneeling and that just feels too submissive. Or it might have something to do with the extreme pain of kneeling on damaged knees that have no gooey stuff left between the bones. So I’m doing the wimpy wall version. NOW you can laugh. Hey, it’s better than doing nothing. And I’m doubling the routine by repeating each day, so instead of three days a week, I’ll do six and rest on Sunday. Since it’s so arduous.

2)  I’m going to bring my lunch to work every day. You think this sounds easy, don’t you? It should be, but it’s not. It requires planning. And shopping. And daily washing of plastic containers. But I’m determined to do it because it will save money and I will eat healthier food. And because I’m going to have to let well-intentioned but hopelessly delusional family members take one or two pictures of me in August. Why they insist on traumatizing every get-together is beyond me.

3)  I’m going to write SOMETHING, even if it’s dreck, even if it’s just one page of the vilest dreck imaginable, even if it’s just a weekly blog post, every single day. Except Monday. Because in general, Mondays completely suck and no one is going to want to read anything I might write on a Monday. Plus it’s the only night I watch TV. I’ve gotten out of the habit of writing on a regular basis and that’s bad. Need to regain that discipline.

So, three simple daily goals. I think I can handle it.

Anyone want to join me? There must be something you all should be doing every day, but you’re not. ‘Fess up.


Filed under goals, health and well-being, writing