Monday, May 25, 2009

IN MEMORIUM ... rest in peace...

Today is Memorial Day.

In my youth, it used to mean the beginning of summer. It was a day off from work or school. It was the day the pool opened. It was an extra day where I could do nothing but enjoy having a day to do nothing.

But that all changed three months ago when someone close to me died in Afghanistan. (Three months ago?? it seems like yesterday...) He had his whole life in front of him, and at 24, was way too young to die. This year, Memorial Day means something more that it ever could- it touched me and my life personally. When the ONLY person you know fighting overseas is killed, it really hits you hard. You hear stories of families and friends of the brave men and women who gave their lives in foreign and distant wars- but it is just that---- foreign and distant. It doesn't affect you. But until it really does affect you, you can't possibly appreciate or understand the holiday.

Yesterday, on my way to church, there was a memorial to all Americans who fell in battle in during Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. As yesterday was exactly three months since Dan had died, it hurt so much to see the memorial. Along a busy road next to the cemetery, the Veterans for Peace placed a grave marker for each American who gave their life, and a state flag on the marker for each Wisconsin soldier. Needless to say I was a mess at mass and I was compelled to get out and take a few photos of the very moving site.

Today I went to a Memorial Day ceremony honoring all the war dead, especially those who died in the past year. How do you keep a dry eye when someone special and close to you was being honored?

I don't know how you are supposed to get over something like this. People say you never really do. But how do you cope? How do you get on with your life? I guess all you can do is to remember that person and never let their memory die. Every day I think about Dan, and every day is a struggle.

I ask you to please say a prayer for Dan, his family, and me- and please say a prayer for all those who have given their life for us. Even if you don't believe in the war, believe in those who are fighting for you.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Peace Officer's Memorial

This week is National Peace Officer's Memorial Week to commemorate those who have given their lives in the line of duty. Thankfully, no officers died this past year in Wisconsin. Nonetheless, the ceremony was very moving.

The Governor issued an Executive Order for the flags to be flown at half-staff in honor of all those who have fallen.

Flags are flown half-staff today at the State Capitol (Madison, WI)

If any of you know police officers, you know that they could come across anything anytime. Most of us go to work, sit at a desk, and have a routine where nothing too unexpected can happen. But these men and women are out on the streets, highways, risking their lives to protect us. Even a routine traffic stop is full of uncertainty. It's important to just take a moment and reflect on what they do and pause to remember those who have died in the line of duty.

Two more tulip pictures I took today. Most of the tulips are gone, as the squirrels have eaten them! Only stalks are left.

I hope everyone has a fabulous weekend. I am going to head to the farmer's market tomorrow (if the weather is nice)(Hopefully I can avoid the crazy traffic because it's graduation weekend.. ugh....)

Do you go to the local farmer's market? What are your favorite items to buy? Who are are favorite vendors?

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Thundershowers, Tulips, and Surprises!

Holy Canoli, it's raining buckets right now.

I love a spring/summer thunderstorm. I've never been scared of thunder or lightening, even as a little girl. In fact, falling asleep to a thunderstorm for me is very calming. I don't know why, but I love a good thunderstorm (WOW! Thunder so loud it just shook the walls). I think I like spring showers because they bring in the May flowers. (cliche? yes... I know...)

These are two photos I took of the gorgeous tulips outside the capitol two weeks ago. I framed these photos and gave them to my mom for mother's day.

Now I'm curling up on the couch, with a glass of wine, making some naan (and by making, I mean putting the Trader Joe's brand into the oven for 10 minutes... I know, I am so domestic), and watching the Brewers.

Gotta stay up late tonight. I am surprising my friend by picking her up at the airport! My friend has been volunteering in California for about a year and she's coming home for a long weekend. She has no idea that I'm am going to be at the airport to pick her up when her flight comes in after midnight. Wish me luck... hopefully I can stay awake til then :)

Friday, May 8, 2009

Elton John and Billy Joel

***UPDATED: Pictures and Videos!!**** 5/12/09

Last night I went to the Elton John/Billy Joel Face 2 Face concert. IT WAS AMAZING. The real surprise for me was Billy Joel. He was cracking jokes, dancing like crazy, and just being a great entertainer. I would have thought that Elton would have been the hit of the night, but he proved to be kind of boring. Joel's band was rocking out and everyone was dancing all over the stage. It was just a great experience to see two of the greatest performers play and sing their hits, together. "Scenes from an Italian Restaurant" and "Bennie and the Jets" were my favorites of the night. Also a spectacular rendition of "Piano Man" complete with harmonica.

The Piano Man

The Rocket Man

Elton played "Daniel"- a very emotional song for many people. I think the great thing about this song is that it holds a special and different meaning for people. For me, it reminds me of my grandfather, Daniel, who died in the Korean War. He died just two months after my Dad was born- they never met. And now it has a new meaning for me. It also reminds me of my good friend, Dan, who died in Afghanistan a little over two months ago. I can't help but cry whenever I hear this song because, for me, it is so personal.

The lyrics are ambiguous enough that it can have it's own special meaning.

Daniel is traveling tonight on a plane
I can see the red tail lights heading for Spain
Oh and I can see Daniel waving goodbye
God it looks like Daniel, must be the clouds in my eyes

They say Spain is pretty though I've never been
Well Daniel says it's the best place that he's ever seen
Oh and he should know, he's been there enough
Lord I miss Daniel, oh I miss him so much

Daniel my brother you are older than me
Do you still feel the pain of the scars that won't heal
Your eyes have died but you see more than I
Daniel you're a star in the face of the sky

Daniel is traveling tonight on a plane
I can see the red tail lights heading for Spain
Oh and I can see Daniel waving goodbye
God it looks like Daniel, must be the clouds in my eyes
Oh God it looks like Daniel, must be the clouds in my eyes

Enjoy these videos!!

"Scenes from an Italian Restaurant"- Billy Joel

"Moving Out"- Billy Joel

"Your Song"- Elton John and Billy Joel