Dec 112008
 

We just want to wish everyone a wonderful Christmas and all the best for 2009!

We just got back from our annual trip to DC to see the national tree and museums. We had a wonderful time. They just re-opened the National Museum of American History and it is wonderful. We recommend a visit next time you’re in DC.

Everything here at home is great. Brian has recovered well from his surgery last month and feeling almost back to normal and ready to celebrate, celebrate, celebrate. We’ve decorated inside and outside for Christmas and we totally love it. We have so many ornaments that we’re running out of places to put them on the tree. The latest and absolutely funniest is my new Dirty Dancing ornament. It’s a depiction of Johnny holding on to Baby in the air during the last dance and when you push the button we hear things like “nobody puts baby in a corner”, “I carried a watermelon”, etc. I laughed so hard at the store I had to get it!!!
And here it is…

dirty-dancing-ornament

Anyway, we wish you all the best this Christmas. Stay safe and lots of love for everyone!

Jul 042008
 

We hope everyone has a wonderful holiday weekend.

IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.–Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.
He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences
For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:
For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our Brittish brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

Jan 172008
 

Happy 2008! We hope the year has started out well for everyone. The holidays were great and we had a wonderful time spending it with our families. I had to work some of the holidays but we managed just fine.

2008 has been busy so far. I picked up an extra shift at the hospital and Brian is enjoying his job and working hard moving into management which keeps him very busy. I’m still working on a trauma floor and have seen just about everything. This year I’ll start thinking about whether I want to continue working trauma or maybe move on to something else. I want to at least get a year of experience in my current position so we’ll see what happens.

I guess so far the most exciting thing planned for this year is a trip to Italy in April. Flights and accommodations have been booked so God willing, everything will work out just fine. We are planning to spend time in Florence (my dream destination) and Rome. We plan to see all the major sights and sneak in some wine tours through the Tuscan countryside. Needless to say we can’t wait…81 days to go!

Holiday Rewind

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Dec 302007
 

Much has happened this fall (and now winter) that I haven’t posted on here.

First, both Monica and I carved pumpkins. Monica’s was the ghost while mine was the spider which I think looked awesome.

October became November, and in between bagging leaves, we managed to have great Thanksgiving meals at my uncle’s on Thanksgiving Day (after watching the Macy’s parade, of course) and at my Dad’s the following day. Just a handful of photos at which to look.

And now it’s December, and we just had a whirlwind holiday traveling to and from New York and spending Christmas Day with my family.  We flew up to New York to spend a few days with Monica’s family, and we did our usual tour in Manhattan visiting all of the holiday windows and Rockefeller Center.  We did start off the month by making our annual trek up to DC.  There are LOTS of photos to peruse here.

Now we just have New Year’s Eve and plenty of football left to watch, especially the Orange Bowl where the Hokies are going to stomp the Jayhawks.  Go Hokies!

Jul 042007
 

Hope everyone has a great Independence Day!

IN CONGRESS, JULY 4, 1776
The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America

When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. — Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their Public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected, whereby the Legislative Powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.

He has obstructed the Administration of Justice by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary Powers.

He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.

He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:

For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

For protecting them, by a mock Trial from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:

For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:

For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefit of Trial by Jury:

For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:

For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies

For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:

For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation, and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & Perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these united Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States, that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. — And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

May 282007
 

I had to memorize In Flanders Field while in college, and the significance of it becomes more and more real as the years go by, and I realize how blessed I am to live in a country such as the United States of America. I’ve posted this once before, but I think it sums up the meaning of Memorial Day better than anything else I could write. Read and reflect.

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

Holiday Recap

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Jan 042007
 

I hadn’t posted much over the month of December so here’s what we did.

We started off riding in style while celebrating my Mom’s 60th birthday, and then made our our annual trip to DC to see an old friend and the usual Christmas decorations.

Then we went over to see my Dad and Marlene to celebrate Christmas before they set sail on a Christmas cruise.

At last, Christmas Day came and went, and then we headed to Williamsburg to see their old-fashioned decorations.

While we were there, we saw a wonderful concert where Dean Shostak played musical instruments made of glass (even a glass violin!).

Finally, we finished the year in style, dancing the night away with my Mom and Bill at a New Year’s Eve party.

Happy New Year

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Jan 022007
 

I guess it’s about time to wish everyone a happy new year so…Happy New Year!

I haven’t updated much lately because I was off the entire week after Christmas, and we spent much of the time relaxing and taking day trips. I received a ton of great gifts, and as always, everyone was extremely generous and I’m very grateful. Lately I’ve been playing with one of my Christmas presents just a tad. Yes, I have one now thanks to Monica and her family. Woohoo!

So that’s taking up much of my free time right now, especially this game, and I haven’t done much of anything else. I haven’t even posted any Christmas pictures yet, but I think I’ll do those tomorrow.

Update: photos have been added here, here, and here.

Merry Christmas!

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Dec 252006
 

Just a quick note to wish everyone a Merry Christmas. We’re off to spend time with family, eat lots of food, and open presents.

If you can, take some time out today to think about the proverbial “reason for the season” – the birth of Jesus Christ. He’s the real source of joy for this world, and I’d just like to wish him a happy birthday!

Nov 292006
 

We didn’t make it downtown for the Macy’s parade, but we did manage to hit Manhattan on Black Friday to see the window displays. Macy’s definitely had the best, but they were all pretty good. You can check out the pictures here.

We walked all over downtown, and I even got my roasted chestnuts that I love. While we were checking out the windows at Bloomingdale’s, a man behind us asked us a question.

Him: You ever watch HGTV?

Us: Sure.

Him: Would you like to be on TV?

Us: Yeah, that would be great.

Him: We’re making a show about holiday windows, and we’d like you to just talk a little about what you see here.

Us: Okay, that sounds easy.

Then he gave us some microphones and started filming us. I don’t think we even realized what we were saying at the time because we couldn’t believe what we were doing. One second you’re enjoying Christmas decorations, and the next some dude has a camera and you’re waxing poetic about the artistry of Bloomingdale’s holiday windows. We moved from window to window, and then he finally turned the camera directly on us and started asking us questions. At the end we signed releases and then we were on our way. He said he’d even send us a copy of the show.

So if you’re watching HGTV on Sunday, December 3rd at 9pm, check out a show called Holiday Windows 2006. Who knows if we’ll even make it on the show, but it was fun while it lasted.