Honoring Memorial Day and My Son, Deployed

Lincoln Memorial, Washington D.C.
Lincoln Memorial, Washington D.C.
Lincoln Memorial
Lincoln Memorial

Progression of Time and Career

I am re-posting this Memorial Day post with an addition–an amazing photo! It’s my 1st Lieutenant son’s United States Army Infantry platoon. They are deployed to the Middle East, and we are anxious to find out when they will return.

Re-post:

In 2005, my brother took my almost twelve-year old son to Washington D.C.  I came across these photos of their day together and thought they were a fitting send-off to my son who is in the Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) for the United Stated Army while he studies at a university.

He’s leaving today for mountaineering training in a country very far from home.  I could say how anxious I am about this trip, how world events and politics are sad and disheartening, how I get nauseous thinking about his future, and how much I love him and want him safe and happy.  Instead I’ll  leave you with these photographs.

the Capital
United States Capitol
Washington Monument
Washington Monument
Vietnam Veterans Memorial Statue
Vietnam Veterans Memorial Statue
military helicopter
Military helicopter
Almost twelve-years old.
Almost twelve-years old
high altitude rescue training
High altitude rescue training
contracted
Contracted.
My son with proud dad and sister.
Proud dad and sister at an Army function.

And now, for the amazing photo…

United States Army Infantry Platoon.
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Bubbly and Black Flies, a Mystery

Tuscany, Italy.
Tuscany, Italy.

It all started in Tuscany.

In August 2016 while traveling in Italy, my daughter Morgan and I took a day trip to Tuscany. We toured two vineyards and an olive oil farm, enjoying a lovely meal prepared by the owners of the smaller vineyard. Once we returned to the U.S., we excitedly awaited our shipments of wine.

Fast forward to Spring 2017. In Brooklyn, Morgan’s roommate was enjoying a quiet day when, out of nowhere,  POP! SPRAY! SPLASH! a bottle of wine exploded! It was wine shipped from Tuscany. The cork popped out and the wine sprayed all over the kitchen. How very strange!

Fast forward again, to Summer 2017.  In New Jersey, our house was plagued by black flies. Not small house flies but big, bluebottle flies. Yuck! We closed doors and windows, cleaned fastidiously, and “disposed” of as many as we could. But they kept on coming. Hubby and I couldn’t figure out where they were coming from.

One daughter who doesn’t like bugs of any kind, wore a hat in the house and hid in her room.

Another daughter who likes some bugs, practically dove into her cellphone.

Our dog Lucy caught and ate some. They wiggled in her mouth! Double yuck!!

Still, Hubby and I couldn’t figure out where they were coming from. It was a mystery!

Then, out of nowhere, they were gone.

A few months later, in preparation for Thanksgiving, Morgan was choosing wine and happened upon an empty bottle. “Who drank a bottle of wine and put it back empty?” she asked.

“Who indeed?” I wondered.

Hubby hadn’t and neither had any of my daughters. It was a mystery!

Then Hubby had an epiphany. “Remember those black flies? I bet the cork popped out of that bottle the same way it did in Morgan’s apartment. The flies must have been attracted to the wine.”

We checked the label and, sure enough, it was a bottle from the same winery as the exploding bottle in Brooklyn. Mystery solved, except for one more mystery…

Do you think the flies got tipsy from the wine?

Why would corks pop out of a bottle? Here are some possible reasons:

A cork would start to pop out of the bottle only if the wine or pressure inside the bottle started to expand, and that only happens at temperature extremes of hot or cold.

 

[Corks popping out of bottles is] more than likely caused by either: (1) not allowing the fermentation to complete all the way before bottling, or (2) adding sugar after the fermentation to sweeten the wine, but doing so without adding a wine stabilizer.

Barrels in Tuscany.
Me and Morgan in Italy, August 2016. 

Sources: Wine SpectatorECKraus, Ehrlich

“Santa is a Psychedelic Mushroom,” Lapland Folklore

A reindeer calf in Sweden’s Arctic Lapland region. Photo c/o Radio Canada International.
Ever wonder where Santa came from? Why his reindeer fly? Why he comes down the chimney? And where gift-giving originated?
Then check out this extremely cool six and half minute animated video “Santa is a Psychedelic Mushroom, ” written by Matthew Salton and animated by a group of artists, including my daughter Morgan! It was posted on Vimeo and featured online at nytimes.com.
To find out more about Lapland, click here.
Me and Morgan standing in front of a mural she painted.

Toddler Time, Easy Holiday Craft

Got toddlers?

The two-year olds in my pre-school class loved this easy activity. At the end of class, they carried their pumpkins with proud expressions. I’m sure their artwork will be on display for Thanksgiving. So cute!

Glue pumpkin onto tagboard.
Punch holes in tagboard and attach pipe cleaner (or ribbon or yarn).

Supplies:

–tagboard, construction paper

–scissors, glue

–pipe cleaners, ribbon or yarn

–dot markers, magic markers

Instructions:

  1. Cut pumpkin shape out of orange construction paper. (Think green tree for Christmas, blue dreidel for Chanukah, red heart for Valentine’s day, etc.) Glue holiday shape onto white tagboard. I cut the tagboard to approximately 8”x11”. I drew the pumpkins free-style.
  2. Punch holes in top of tagboard and attach pipe cleaners (or ribbon or yarn).
  3. Decorate with dot markers and magic markers.

Tip: Place newspaper under craft for quick clean-up. Use a paper towel to sop up dot marker paint.

Heroes Proved and Patriot Dream

My son at White Sands National Monument, NM. Photo taken by his sister Morgan. Isn’t this photo is outstanding?!
Selfie: me and my son.
Me, my son, and his buddy.

Lucky me! My flexible schedule allowed me to plan a last minute trip to visit my son before he deployed. The last two stanzas of America the Beautiful bring tears to my eyes.

O beautiful for heroes proved
In liberating strife,
Who more than self their country loved
And mercy more than life!
America! America!
May God thy gold refine,
Till all success be nobleness,
And every gain divine!

O beautiful for patriot dream
That sees beyond the years
Thine alabaster cities gleam
Undimmed by human tears!
America! America!
God shed His grace on thee
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!

 

For more info: Soledad Canyon, White Sands National Monument

Amber Waves and Mountain Majesties

Soledad Canyon in the Organ Mountains, New Mexico

On a recent trip to El Paso, Texas, my son and I drove to Las Cruces, New Mexico to hike Soledad Canyon. The canyon sits in the western foothills of the Organ Mountains, which originated about 32 million years ago in the middle of the Tertiary Period. I immediately thought of America the Beautiful.

Here are the first two stanzas of America the Beautiful.

O beautiful for spacious skies,
For amber waves of grain,
For purple mountain majesties
Above the fruited plain!
America! America!
God shed His grace on thee
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!

O beautiful for pilgrim feet,
Whose stern, impassioned stress
A thoroughfare for freedom beat
Across the wilderness!
America! America!
God mend thine every flaw,
Confirm thy soul in self-control,
Thy liberty in law!

If you’ve been to the Southwest, did you have a favorite place to hike?

Source: http://www.npshistory.com/publications/blm/organ-mountains-desert-peaks/geology.pdf

Epitaph-Repost

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Today is a year since my mom passed, so I’m sharing these beautiful quotes in her memory.

“…we should be remembered for the things we do. The things we do are the most important things of all. They are more important than what we say or what we look like. The things we do outlast our mortality. The things we do are like monuments that people build to honour heroes after they’ve died. They’re like the pyramids that the Egyptians built to honour the Pharaohs. Only instead of being made out of stone, they’re made out of the memories people have of you. That’s why your deeds are like your monuments. Built with memories instead of with stone.”
― R.J. Palacio

“It has been said, ‘time heals all wounds.’ I do not agree. The wounds remain. In time, the mind, protecting its sanity, covers them with scar tissue and the pain lessens. But it is never gone.”
― Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy

“Silently, one by one, in the infinite meadows of heaven,
Blossomed the lovely stars, the forget-me-nots of the angels.”
― Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Evangeline: A Tale of Acadie

I wear a veil of sadness. My mother’s illness and passing has left me unmoored, so please bear with me as I stand in an ocean, the waves lapping and tugging, lapping and tugging.

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Epitaph by Merrit Malloy

When I die

Give what’s left of me away

To children

And old men that wait to die.

 

And if you need to cry,

Cry for your brother

Walking the street beside you.

And when you need me,

Put your arms

Around anyone

And give them

What you need to give to me.

 

I want to leave you something,

Something better

Than words

Or sounds.

 

Look for me

In the people I’ve known

Or loved,

And if you cannot give me away,

At least let me live on in your eyes

And not your mind.

 

You can love me most

By letting

Hands touch hands,

By letting bodies touch bodies,

And by letting go

Of children

That need to be free.

 

Love doesn’t die,

People do.

So, when all that’s left of me

Is love,

Give me away.