"I BELIEVE IN PINK! I believe that laughing is the best calorie burner. I believe in kissing, kissing a lot. I believe in being strong when everything seems to be going wrong. I believe that happy girls are the prettiest girls. I believe that tomorrow is another day and I believe in miracles."— Audrey Hepburn

“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.” - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Every night, friends. You have done what you could. Let it go.

“Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day. You shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.” ― Ralph Waldo Emerson

Friday, December 31, 2010

2011 Show Me The Free Reading Challenge. Let the Games Begin!!

Hi There!

2011 Show Me The Free Reading Challenge. That is the link to something new that I am trying. I follow a blog called The Unread Reader she is running a few reading challenges this year (2011) and I am participating in one of them...this one seems like it will be fun! As a Kindle owner I am offered free books quite often and so this is a challenge to see just how many of those free books that I download over the course of the year, I actually read...Fun right? I can't wait to get started because as, some of you may know, and any of you that actually know me do, I am a voracious reader. I do actually read those free books that Amazon offers me! In fact I have to say, that Amazon, through Kindle Nation Daily, (a blog) offers some pretty sweet free and very low cost reads!
I do have to admit that having read said free items that this has then led me down the path of the "the rest of the NOT FREE series", but "Se la vie" No? Pardon my French...I may know the phrase, but not how it is spelled...Any one want to join in the fun?

Happy PINK New Year!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

She is beautiful...She is love...

Hi Everybody!
Merry Christmas! I hope you all had a special one...I and my family had a special one...although I am not sure exactly how to describe it...I have thought long and hard about this. I really don't want to put a damper on anyones's spirits. I mean after all, pink is a happy color, at least it is for me...

I love the holidays. I love the music, the decorations, the PINK decorations, if you live in our house...lol...I love the fact that the days are filled with happy thoughts and that people are generally in good moods and are more friendly with each other...

It's just that this year has been a different one for our little family. My daughter is in school and for the first time is not living at home. The happy part of that is that she has come home for the holidays and that has made them truly special!

My husband's parents live in Florida and right after Thanksgiving he went down to see them...alone...I worked through the entire thanksgiving holiday, including the weekend, which meant that I worked the entire time that my daughter was home from school. During that time I had to have my reviews done for the Komen panel that I am an advocate reviewer on. Work that is close to my heart, but work none the less...

So, my husband heads to Florida, and our beautiful little American Eskimo named Lily becomes ill again...she was sick with a urinary infection in the summer...so while he is dealing with an incontinent father...I am dealing with an incontinent Eskie...OK, mine was cuter...I took her to the vet and we got medicine...the vet was afraid that there might be a tumor but it turned out to be bacteria...whew...

So, Kirke comes home, and he and his brother make plans to move his parents into an assisted living facility near my brother in law in Atlanta and this is to happen the week of Christmas...we live in Maryland(can you say bad timing?)... but it had to be done...Kirke once again travels to Florida by way of Atlanta, He leaves on the 17th of December and returns on the 22nd. In the meantime he misses the wedding of our nephew on the 18th and all of the preparation for whatever Christmas celebration we may be able to plan...Me? I shop, and give the dog medicine and whine and feel like crap for complaining...because, after all...he can't help it...

Turns out he could have left a day later and attended the wedding...his brother is not a good communicator...however, the move goes well, my sister in law is a wonderful woman that deserves all the credit in the world for pulling this off so close to the Holiday and so smoothly!

I continue to shop, do grant reviews...I have received yet another set for yet another panel...

Lily seems to get a little better...while Kirke is home he takes over the medicine...I am a rookie when it comes to that...he laughs at my efforts...by the time he leaves town again she is done with it and is still going a lot and may not be better...

Kirke returns , Caitlin is home and has been for a while! She came home the afternoon of my work Christmas party and joined me there! It was a great time! Someone there actually noticed that I have lost weight! A minor miracle! (the fact that someone noticed, not the loss)

Lily seems to get worse...we decide to take her back to the vet on Christmas Eve...Kirke comes home with Lily and asks us all to gather in the living room...not good...our Lily is very sick...the x-ray showed about 4 tumors in her lungs and judging by the look of her urine, it has metastasized... So...we will watch her breathe and love her and make her comfortable and just hope that we will know when the time is right ...and not hang on too long...she is very sleepy all the time...she is beautiful...she is love...

We find ourselves spending our time with her or looking for her...lol...I am sure she is confused by all of the attention!

That was Christmas Eve...We had our Christmas, It was subdued, but fun. It was already a kind of strange Christmas for us, this just sort of capped it...

Here is a  picture of our girl...As I sat on the couch holding my daughter in my arms with Lily next to us, I told her this...I said, "Caitlin, this is how I try to deal with these situations..."They never live long enough (pets), you have to think about all of the love that Lily has given us all these years and all we have gotten from her, all the joy and love...in order not to have this pain when the end comes, you would have to give up all of that...and I would never choose that... I know some people can't deal with it and choose to never have pets because of it...but I couldn't do that, I thought it was worth it, all of that love..." I told her that I hoped that would help her get through. I don't know if it will, but I hope so...You see, she is afraid she will be back at school when the end comes. But, I can see that Lily is fading fast and I don't think that that will be the case...poor Lily...

It is true, I meant what I said! What love! Just look at this...I took this last night...I captioned it with "This is Love"

I am very sorry if this brought you down. It is really a love story of sorts. It is not over, not yet...we all go through it...would we change it? Not if it means losing the love...not me...not my daughter, I hope...

Stay Pink...Stay Happy...and Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

A Holiday Tale...

Hi there,
I'd like to share a real feel good holiday story with you I hope you enjoy...

Here's a 'today' Yule story that occurred 3 weeks ago ~ AND NOW, in time for the holidays, I bring you the best Christmas story you never heard.

It started last Christmas, when Bennett and Vivian Levin were overwhelmed by sadness while listening to radio reports of injured American troops. "We have to let them know we care," Vivian told Bennett. So they organized a trip to bring soldiers from 
Walter Reed Army Medical Center and Bethesda Naval Hospital to the annual Army-Navy football game in Philly, on Dec. 3. 
The cool part is, they created their own train line to do it. Yes, there are people in this country who actually own real trains. Bennett Levin - native Philly guy, self-made millionaire and irascible former L&I commish - is one of them.
He has three luxury rail cars. Think mahogany paneling, plush seating and white-linen dining areas. He also has two locomotives, which he stores at his Juniata Park train yard. One car, the elegant Pennsylvania , carried John F. Kennedy to the Army-Navy game in 1961 and '62. Later, it carried his brother Bobby's body to D. C. for burial. "That's a lot of history for one car," says Bennett.
He and Vivian wanted to revive a tradition that endured from 1936 to 1975, during which trains carried Army-Navy spectators from around the country directly to the stadium where the annual game is played. The Levins could think of no better passengers to reinstate the ceremonial ride than the wounded men and women recovering at Walter Reed in D. C. and Bethesda , in Maryland . "We wanted to give them a first-class experience," says Bennett. "Gourmet meals on board, private transportation from the train to the stadium, perfect seats - real hero treatment."
Through the Army War College Foundation, of which he is a trustee, Bennett met with Walter Reed's commanding general, who loved the idea. But Bennett had some ground rules first, all designed to keep the focus on the troops alone:
No press on the trip, lest the soldiers' day of pampering devolve into a media circus.

No politicians either, because, says Bennett, "I didn't want some idiot making this trip into a campaign photo op"
And no Pentagon suits on board, otherwise the soldiers would be too busy saluting superiors to relax.

The general agreed to the conditions, and Bennett realized he had a problem on his hands. "I had to actually make this thing happen," he laughs.
Over the next months, he recruited owners of 15 other sumptuous rail cars from around the country - these people tend to know each other - into lending their vehicles for the day. The name of their temporary train? The Liberty Limited.
Amtrak volunteered to transport the cars to D. C. - where they'd be coupled together for the round-trip ride to Philly - then back to their owners later.
Conrail offered to service the Liberty while it was in Philly. And SEPTA drivers would bus the disabled soldiers 200 yards from the train to Lincoln Financial Field, for the game.
A benefactor from the War College ponied up 100 seats to the game - on the 50-yard line - and lunch in a hospitality suite.
And corporate donors filled, for free and without asking for publicity, goodie bags for attendees:

From Woolrich, stadium blankets. From Wal-Mart, digital cameras. From Nikon, field glasses. From GEAR, down jackets.

There was booty not just for the soldiers, but for their guests, too, since each was allowed to bring a friend or family member.
The Marines, though, declined the offer. "They voted not to take guests with them, so they could take more Marines," says Levin, choking up at the memory.
Bennett's an emotional guy, so he was worried about how he'd react to meeting the 88 troops and guests at D. C.'s Union Station, where the trip originated. Some GIs were missing limbs. Others were wheelchair-bound or accompanied by medical personnel for the day. "They made it easy to be with them," he says. "They were all smiles on the ride to Philly. Not an ounce of self-pity from any of them. They're so full of life and determination."
At the stadium, the troops reveled in the game, recalls Bennett. Not even Army's lopsided loss to Navy could deflate the group's rollicking mood.
Afterward, it was back to the train and yet another gourmet meal - heroes get hungry, says Levin - before returning to Walter Reed and Bethesda . "The day was spectacular," says Levin. "It was all about these kids. It was awesome to be part of it."
The most poignant moment for the Levins was when 11 Marines hugged them goodbye, then sang them the Marine Hymn on the platform at Union Station.
"One of the guys was blind, but he said, 'I can't see you, but man, you must be  beautiful!' " says Bennett. "I got a lump so big in my throat, I couldn't even answer him."
It's been three weeks, but the Levins and their guests are still feeling the day's love. "My Christmas came early," says Levin, who is Jewish and who loves the Christmas season. "I can't describe the feeling in the air." Maybe it was hope.

As one guest wrote in a thank-you note to Bennett and Vivian, "The fond memories generated last Saturday will sustain us all - whatever the future may bring."
God bless the Levins.

And bless the troops, on each and every occasion.
Stay Pink!
P.S. Go Navy!!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

God Bless Us Every One

 He  writes: My lead flight attendant came to me and said, "We  have an
 H.R. on this flight." (H.R. stands for human remains.) "Are they
 military?" I  asked.
 'Yes',  she said.
 'Is there an escort?' I asked.
 'Yes, I already assigned him a seat'.
 'Would you please tell him to come to the flight deck. You can board him
 early," I said..
 A short while later, a young army sergeant entered the flight deck. He
 was the image of the  perfectly  dressed soldier.  He introduced himself> and I asked him about his soldier. The escorts of  these fallen soldiers
 talk about them as if they are still alive and still with us.
 'My soldier is on his way back to Virginia,'  he said.  He proceeded to
 answer my questions,  but offered no words.
 I asked him if there was anything I could do for him and he said no. I
 told him that he had the toughest  job in the military and that I
 appreciated the  work that he does for the families of our fallen
 soldiers. The first officer and I got up out of our seats to shake his
 hand.  He left the flight deck to find his seat.
 We completed our preflight checks, pushed back and performed an
 uneventful departure.  About  30 minutes into our flight I received a
 call from the lead flight attendant in the cabin. 'I  just found out
 the family of the soldier we are carrying, is on board', she said.  She
 then proceeded to tell me that the father, mother, wife and 2-year old
 daughter were escorting their son, husband, and father home.  The family
 was upset because they were unable to see the container that the soldier
 was in before we left.  We were on our way to a major hub at which the
 family was going to wait four hours for the connecting flight home to
 Virginia  .
 The father of the soldier told the flight attendant that  knowing his
 son was below him in the cargo compartment  and being unable to see him
 was too much for him and the family to bear.  He had  asked the flight
 attendant if there was anything that could be done to allow them to see
 him upon our arrival. The family wanted to be outside by the cargo door
 to watch the soldier being taken off the airplane.. I could hear  the
 desperation in the flight attendants voice when she  asked me if there
 was anything I could do.. 'I'm on  it', I said. I told her that I would
 get back to her.
 Airborne communication with my company normally occurs in the  form of
 e-mail like messages.  I decided to bypass this system and contact my
 flight dispatcher directly on a secondary radio. There is a radio
 operator in the operations control center who connects you to the
 telephone of the dispatcher. I was in direct contact with the
 dispatcher..  I  explained the situation I had on board with the family
 and what it was the family wanted. He said he understood and that he
 would get back to me.
 Two hours went by and I had not heard from the dispatcher.  We were
 going to get busy soon and I needed to know what to tell the family.  I
 sent a text  message asking for an update.  I  saved the return  message
 from the dispatcher and the following is the text:
 'Captain, sorry it has taken so long to get back to you. There  is
 policy on this now and I had to check on a few  things. Upon your
 arrival a dedicated escort team will  meet the aircraft.  The team will
 escort the family to the ramp and plane side.  A van will be used to
 load the remains with a secondary van for the family.  The family will
 be taken to their departure area and escorted into the terminal where
 the remains can be seen on the ramp.  It is a private area for the
 family only.  When the connecting aircraft arrives, the family will be
 escorted onto the ramp and plane side to watch the remains being loaded
 for the final leg home. Captain, most of us here in flight control are
 veterans.    Please pass our condolences on to the family.  Thanks.'
 I sent a message back telling flight control thanks for a good job.

 I printed out the message and gave it to the lead flight  attendant to> pass on to the father.  The lead flight attendant was very thankful and told me, 'You have no idea how much this will mean to them.'

Things started getting busy for the descent, approach and  landing.
 After landing, we cleared the runway  and taxied to the ramp area.  The
 ramp is huge with 15 gates on either side of the alleyway.  It  is
 always a busy area with aircraft maneuvering every which way to enter
 and exit. When we entered the ramp and checked in with the ramp
 controller,  we were told that all traffic was being held for us.
 'There is a team in place to meet the  aircraft', we were told.  It
 looked like it was all coming  together, then I  realized that once we
 turned the  seat belt sign off,  everyone would stand up at  once and
 delay the family from  getting off the airplane. As we approached our
 gate, I asked the  copilot to tell the ramp controller we were going to
 stop  short of the gate to make an  announcement to the passengers.   He
 did that and the ramp controller said, 'Take your time.'
 I  stopped the aircraft and set the parking brake.   I pushed the public
 address button and said,  'Ladies and gentleman, this is  your Captain
 speaking I  have stopped short of our gate to make a  special
 announcement.  We have a passenger on board who deserves our honor and
 respect.  His Name is  Private XXXXXX,  a soldier who recently lost his
 life.   Private XXXXXX is  under your feet in the cargo hold.  Escorting
 him today is  Army Sergeant  XXXXXXX.  Also, on board are his father,
 mother, wife, and daughter.  Your entire  flight crew is  asking for all
 passengers to remain in their seats to  allow the  family to exit the
 aircraft first. Thank you.'
 We continued the turn to the gate, came to a stop and  started our
 shutdown procedures.  A couple of  minutes later I opened the cockpit
 door. I  found the two forward flight  attendants crying,  something you
 just do not see.  I was told  that  after we came to a stop, every
 passenger on the aircraft  stayed in their seats, waiting for the family
 to exit  the aircraft.
 When the family got up and gathered their things, a  passenger slowly
 started to clap his hands.   Moments later more passengers  joined in
 and soon  the entire aircraft was clapping.  Words  of 'God  Bless You',
 I'm sorry, thank you, be proud, and other kind   words were uttered to
 the family as they made their  way down the  aisle and out of the
 airplane. They  were escorted down to  the ramp to finally be with

 their loved one.

 Many of the passengers disembarking thanked me for the  announcement I
 had made.  They were just words, I  told them,  I could  say them over
 and over again,  but nothing I say will bring back  that brave soldier.
 I  respectfully ask that all of you reflect on this event  and the
 sacrifices that millions of our men and women  have made to ensure  our
 freedom and safety in these  United  States of AMERICA .
 'Lord, hold our troops in your loving hands. Protect them as they
 protect us. Bless them and their families for the selfless acts they
 perform for us in our time of need. Amen..'


& Stay Pink!