Monday, December 22, 2008

McClain Family Christmas


IMG_5963, originally uploaded by amydell.

Shot 2- with the whole group. (And this isnt even the whole family!)

Christmas with the siblings


IMG_5952, originally uploaded by amydell.

This past weekend, several generations of my family gathered at mine and Bills house in the Heights to enjoy a Christmas brunch. Lots of children, lots of fun and lots of mimosas! ;) Merry Christmas McClains! ;)

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Brooke and Bryce Christmas 2008


Brooke and Bryce Christmas 2008, originally uploaded by amydell.

Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Brooke and Bryce Christmas 2008


Brooke and Bryce Christmas 2008, originally uploaded by amydell.

Merry Christmas to All! ;)

Monday, November 24, 2008

Thanksgiving Ying & Yang

Before my parents divorced when I was 1- they had been married for 12 years. They had lots of stories of how wonderful their lives had been together and how great my older brother was, yada, yada, yada, then.. well the rest is history. I often wonder how my life would have been had my mother and step father not raised me and loved me dearly. To say that nature over nurture is correct or vice-versa- really doesn't make much sense to me. I have two walking, talking, screaming, sassing pitre dishes of individuality marked with likenesses too large to quantify, in my home on a daily basis, for 4 years. They can be as different as night and day- often banding together to wear their father and I out on an almost nightly basis. When it really comes down to it though- they are the wonders of our existence- the center of our "beings", our Ying & Yang... Who we are makes us all different- where we come from makes us alike too. So, on this Thanksgiving week- I have a lot to be "Thankful" for! Most of all- my children and darling husband- and equally so, the experiences that brought me to this place. Bad or good- they got us 4 here, to this place- happiness, thankfulness, fulfilled.
This is my list of 10 quick things I can think of that make you both so different, special and unique:
Brooke:
10.) You fake cry- often, even when you KNOW we KNOW that you are faking
9.) You do the "tee-tee" dance, with wild abandon, lest we experience a "world change" in the 30 seconds that you are gone from the room.
8.) You love to run, jump, play and laugh- like no other I know.
7.) You love life (even at the age of 4!)
6.) You are the "girliest" girl I know!
5.) You smile and every face in the room lights up.
4.) You sass like Paris Hilton, without a credit card!
3.) You hate shoes (which is weird, because I thought that was in every girls D.N.A.?)
2.) You will do ANYTHING to sidetrack your brother. (Even if it entails fake crying)
1.) You hung the moon for your daddy and I.
Brycie:
10.) You are the most sensitive, of sensitive boys on earth
9.) You would rather be close to a train than any other toy you posses
8.) You still like for your sister to be close to you when you go up a dark flight of stairs or go to your room, she is your stability.
7.) You are a passionate forehead kisser- (for fear of "germs!")
6.) You love to be tickled & proclaim- "I'm Done!" when you want us to stop :)
5.) You are a fantastic "helper"- and often set the table, remove your dishes from the table and love to vacuum. (thank you God, for at least one family member who loves to clean as much as I do!)
4.) You're beyond unhappy when you get sick, and usually no one can make you feel better than your sister
3.) You compliment like no other... In fact- you often tell me "You look gorgeous mommy"- even when I'm in a robe and house slippers.
2.) You love mac n' cheese- more than anything and would eat it for every meal if you could
1.) You are the stars and the moon for us- you shine like no other boy ever has. You have just the right amount of "puppy dog tails & snails"- and we adore you!
I love you!
Mom

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Great post by http://chizumatic.mee.nu/

Not the end of the world It's easy to let yourself go in despair and start thinking things like "We are well-and-truly fucked" or "This is the worst of all possible outcomes". But it isn't true. I think this election is going to be a "coming of age" moment for a lot of people. They say, "Be careful what you wish for" and a lot of people got their wish yesterday. And now they're bound to be disappointed. Not even Jesus could satisfy all the expectations of Obama's most vocal supporters, or fulfill all the promises Obama has made. I think Obama is going to turn out to be the worst president since Carter, and for the same reason: good intentions do not guarantee good results. Idealists often stub their toes on the wayward rocks of reality, and fall on their faces. And the world doesn't respond to benign behavior benignly. But there's another reason why: Obama has been hiding his light under a basket. A lot of people bought a pig in a poke today, and now they're going to find out what they bought. Obama isn't what most of them think he is. The intoxication of the cult will wear off, leaving a monumental hangover. And four years from now they'll be older and much wiser. A lot of bad things are going to happen during this term. But I don't think that this is an irreversible catastrophe for the union. I've lived long enough to absorb this basic truth: the US is too large and too strong to destroy in just 4 years. Or even in 8. We survived 6 years of Nixon. We survived 4 years of Carter. We even survived 8 years of Clinton, God alone knows how. The President of the United States is the most powerful political figure in the world, but as national executives go his powers are actually quite restricted. Obama will become President, but he won't be dictator or king, let alone deity. He still has to work with the House and the Senate, and he still has to live within Constitutional restrictions, and with a judiciary that he mostly didn't appoint. The main reason this will be a "coming of age" moment is that now Obama and the Democrats have to put up or shut up. Obama got elected by making himself a blank slate, with vapid promises about "hope" and "change" -- but now he actually has to do something. Now he has to reveal his true agenda. And with the Democrats also having a majority in both chambers of Congress, now the Democrats really have to lead. And they're not going to do a very good job of it. It's going to be amusing to watch. And the people who fell for the demagoguery will learn an invaluable lesson. Oh, the Democrats try to blame failure on Republican filibusters, of which there will be many. But that's always been a factor in our system, and many people believe it's an important check on government excess. The tradition in the Senate is that it is supposed to be a buffer against transient political fads, and the filibuster is a major part of that. If the Democrats go all in, and change the filibuster rule, then they'll have truly seized the nettle with both hands and won't have any excuses any longer. That's why they won't do it. It's their last fig-leaf. But even with the filibuster rule in place, they'll be stuck trying to deliver now on all the promises implied, or inferred, during this election. The Republicans can only filibuster on bills the Democrats have already proposed. And it ain't possible for the Democrats to deliver what's been promised. Gonna be a hell of a lot of disillusioned lefties out there. A lot of people who felt they were deceived. A lot of people who will eventually realize that the Obama campaign was something of a cult. Disillusionment will turn to a feeling of betrayal. And that will, in turn, convert to anger. In the mean time, Obama and Congressional Democrats will do things that cause harm, but very little of it will be irreversible. I would have enjoyed watching lefty heads explode if McCain had won. But we're going to see lefty heads exploding anyway; it's just going to take longer. In the mean time, those of us who didn't want Obama to be president have to accept that he is. And let's not give in to the kind of paranoid fever dreams that have consumed the left for the last 8 years. Let us collectively take a vow tonight: no "Obama derangement syndrome". Obama is a politician. He isn't the devil incarnate. So what are the good sides of what just happened? 1. It is no longer possible for anyone to deny that the MSM is heavily biased. The MSM have been biased for decades but managed an illusion of fairness. That is no longer possible; the MSM have squandered their credibility during this campaign. They'll never get that credibility back again. 2. Since the Democrats got nearly everything they hoped for in this campaign, they'll have no excuses and will have to produce. They'll have to reveal their true agenda -- or else make clear that they don't really have any beyond gaining power. 3. Every few decades the American people have to be reminded that peace only comes with strength. The next four years will be this generation's lesson. Now, a few predictions for the next four years: 1. Obama's "hold out your hand to everyone" foreign policy is going to be a catastrophe. They'll love it in Europe. They're probably laughing their heads off about it in the middle east already. 2. The US hasn't suffered a terrorist attack by al Qaeda since 9/11, but we'll get at least one during Obama's term. 3. We're going to lose in Afghanistan. 4. Iran will get nuclear weapons. There will be nuclear war between Iran and Israel. (This is the only irreversibly terrible thing I see upcoming, and it's very bad indeed.) 5. There will eventually be a press backlash against Obama which will make their treatment of Bush look mild. Partly that's going to be because Obama is going to disappoint them just as much as all his other supporters. Partly it will be the MSM desperately trying to regain its own credibility, by trying to show that they're not in his tank any longer. And because of that they are eventually going to do the reporting they should have done during this campaign, about Obama's less-than-savory friends, and about voter fraud, and about illegal fund-raising, and about a lot of other things. and 6. Obama will not be re-elected in 2012. He may even end up doing an LBJ and not even running again. One last thing: I'm not saying I'm happy with this outcome. I would much rather have had McCain win. But this is not the end of the world, or the end of this nation. We've survived much worse. And now we need to show the lefties how to lose. Our mission for the next four years is to be in opposition without becoming deranged. UPDATE: One other good thing: no one will be spinning grand conspiracy theories about this administration's Vice President being an evil, conniving genius who is the true power behind the throne.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Feeling certainly ~ uncertain

All is not well in the world of financial turmoil. I arrived at work yesterday to the announcement mentioned in this article. We're for sale Now, I've been through this before- and you'd think that after going through this quite frequently in the past- I'd be "better" with the uncertainty. In honor of my past loves, and "not so loved" I'll list for you half my resume- It makes for a good chuckle.. 1.) 1999- Union Carbide/Bought by Dow Chemical 2.) 2001- Red Sky Interactive / Purchased by Agency.com 3.) 2001 - Compaq / Purchased by HP 4.) 2008 - Reliant Energy / ?? (Sniff, sniff) October has never been a great month for me. I wonder why? So what now?

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Houston on the mend

I dont know what I was thinking this morning when I left my house... Most times, I hop onto Main St. and jump to I45 for a 3 minute drive to my office garage. Typically this takes no more than 7-10 minutes depending on traffic. Not this morning! It took me at least a half hour to get to work! Grrrr...!!! Not fun when you arent expecting it- and certainly not fun when your trying to get in at a decent hour!
One bright side of the story is I got to see my beautiful city from a different angle this morning and it was BREATHTAKING! ;) It was hard to capture just how pretty it was on a camera phone- but you get the drift. Thank you Houston for making me so happy!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Day of Giving Back

Have I told you lately how much I love working here? When they say they want "giving back to be a part of our core values" they MEAN it!

Here's a list of the values that each employee must live by:

Values We Live By How we act: Acting with absolute integrity Collaborating, supporting and respecting one another Communicating openly, honestly and frequently How we work: Creating value for every customer Ensuring a safe, healthy and enjoyable workplace Caring for our environment and communities How we create value: Developing a highly motivated, valued and diverse workforce Optimizing our financial and physical resources Simplifying and improving our processes continuously

Pretty Princess

Just thought I'd share how cute this was. Thank goodness for camera phones! This shot was taken of Brooke at the Children's Museum last week in College Station Texas- since we were "evacuees" we ended up trying to find fun things for the kids to do each day. This was her favorite (dress up)
Did I also tell you that we found quite a bit of refuge in Chick-fillet? in College Station? They ROCKED! We basically went there each day for lunch and the playground, oh, and to get some work done too! (Bill spent all day there most days) WE LOVE THEM! Thanks Chick-fillet!

Looks Like the JPM Chase Bldg is on the "fix"

Check out this pic I took from my car yesterday on the way home. Look closely-there still remain a lot of boarded up windows!!! They have replaced over half of what was broken out on the South side of the bldg. This shot was taken of the West side of the bldg. going down Travis Street in downtown houston.

Monday, September 22, 2008

The privacy of strangers

We've fared well through the storm- now its back to business. I cant help but take a few moments though to mention a post by a complete stranger about my neighborhood and our home. I'd like to set the record straight that we left town FOR A WEEK on Saturday, had no electricity through the week we were gone. We returned home and had to deal with the sad loss of one of our beloved family pets, the loss of most of our trees and our fences. All of this coupled with the fact that my 4 year old twins had no available childcare other than moi and my precious husband worked from a Chic-fillet for the week we were gone! (Thank God for wi-fi, electricity and a playground which allowed me to work a little as well!) All of this made for a tough week! (I've edited this post to speak to the sincerity of a reply I got from my earlier rant on Houstonist.) I appreciate your writing me back. I appreciate your explanation. Stepping down now (off my soap box, that is!)

Friday, September 12, 2008

Hurricane Ike

Hey y'all- we've gotten tons of calls and emails wanting to know if we'll leave town for the storm. We've decided to stay around Houston. We're not in a mandatory evacuation area, in 77008. The storm looks to be speeding up a little (5mph) but breaking up a tiny bit. Check out this website for updates.
Yesterday- Reliant let us go about noon. They shut down the whole Houston & Corpus Christy operation Friday. Here are some shots from downtown about 1pm yesterday. There were lines of people lining up for the buses to take commuters back home from all of the suburbs. You never really see lines like this. I guess everyone in Houston got released around 12:00? Check out the lines at the gas station I stopped in at. They were out of regular unleaded too! (That was Thurs @ noon!)
Will post more as the day progresses!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Working Moms Syndrome

I had to post this latest article by Michelle Malkin. Again- She hits it on the head with a well written article about the inequity between liberal and conservative working mommies in the newsroom. Obviously you can draw your own conclusions- but isn't it funny how we, as parents, just tend to do the best we can? Slighting Palin for "needing" to spend more time with her new baby who has Downs Syndrome isn't the least bit fair. The liberal media is acting as if there aren't TWO parents present to take care of family life. If she were working in a highrise in Corporate America, she would be incredibly busy. We do the best we can! Laura Ingraham handed one of these criticizers his ASS on her talk show! AWESOME!

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Best Pic this week!

I couldnt resist! Check out this cute little fella! (this is not my kid by the way.)

Monday, September 08, 2008

Stealth Socialism

Great article- Barack Obama's Stealth Socialism- "He's disguising the wealth transfers as "investments" — "to make America more competitive," he says, or "that give us a fighting chance," whatever that means. Among his proposed "investments": • "Universal," "guaranteed" health care. • "Free" college tuition. • "Universal national service" (a la Havana). • "Universal 401(k)s" (in which the government would match contributions made by "low- and moderate-income families"). • "Free" job training (even for criminals). • "Wage insurance" (to supplement dislocated union workers' old income levels). • "Free" child care and "universal" preschool. • More subsidized public housing. • A fatter earned income tax credit for "working poor." • And even a Global Poverty Act that amounts to a Marshall Plan for the Third World, first and foremost Africa."

Friday, September 05, 2008

1 Day of Vacation and his Jeep will never be the same!

Little Brycie wanted an Art Car- after seeing them in this years Art Car parade here in Houston. I decided to give him one ;)
Gig Em!

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Hot Natchez Nights

I've just returned from Natchez, Mississippi- the state of my darling husbands "raisins". Although- Gustav tried to ruin our trip to visit my dear Aunt Margaret- the storm didnt sway us! My friend from college and I ran over for a few days of touring Antebellum homes, site seeing and just plain fun! We had it alright! We had three days of little or no electricity. Prior to loosing said power- we toured Longwood, Stanton Hall and tried to make a dash for a couple more, but got stopped by the fantastic Mint Julep's at Dunleith. (I kid you not, I could have never left that place by the sheer fact that those darn Mint Julep's are so great- to add insult to injury, the food at the carriage house at Stanton Hall was AMAZING! They have been written up in Southern Living- and it is NO JOKE- the Fried Chicken looked DIVINE! I had the Fried Oyster salad and butter biscuits. Added on a little custard sauce with praline sauce too. If you ever find yourself in the city of Natchez, don't miss "city market" where we spent our last morning this morning with a platter of hot scrambled eggs, and grits and bacon. I feel like I need to run a marathon for the food alone I consumed this week! Check out my Flickr feed for a few shots from our little jaunt, enjoy!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Thank Goodness for wonderful friends!

So, I have a way of collecting sweet, fun, Southern friends who melt my heart with affection for my children! Not to be left un-appreciated, I had to send my friend Leah a cute ecard to thank her for some adorable Converse shoes she picked up for the baby B's this past weekend! What a thoughtful gesture! (And YES, mama! I will ALSO WRITE HER A NOTE of thanks too! ) ;) Check out the Jib Jab I sent her here! Check out the cute punkin pies too!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

"Volunteerism" should only be called so when it is done by choice!

The American way seems to have shifted from "Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country" to- "I want what I want, and I WANT it now!"- another example bubbling to the surface here, is how people don't understand the difference between working for something and being handed something! It seriously makes my mind want to explode! I'm beginning to detect a pattern here... Moving on- the kiddos had their first day of school this morning with their new teacher Mrs. Perry. She had some grooving tunes playing for their arrival (Itsy Bitsy Spider set to Schoolhouse rock type music) Very cool! Kids RAN in- and said- "LEAVE! I wanna play!" Ahhh.. being a parent is relentless on the heart...

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Michelle Malkin- where have you been all my married, conservative life?

I may have found my long lost sister- Michelle Malkin! Geeze, could there be a more spot on chick to enjoy reading? ;) Check out her post here on the mortgage crisis and a local SFO newspapers write up on a poor, "helpless" mortgagee. Rock RIGHT ON Michelle!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Our Country's future

As of late, there has been a lot of conversation in my home about the future of our country, thus the future of our children as they grow up in the United States. We've got friends that live in various countries as Ex-Pats and seem to be very happy. I say "go for it" while you can! Recently, B read a book (America Alone: the end of the world as we know it) that I've only skimmed a scant few pages of. Its terrifying. (Of course my father in law suggested it to B)- not to terrify him, but rather to inform, I'm sure. It got me thinking, and I remembered an email that had circulated several years ago- and thought I would include it here. Its worth the read, although it is lengthy. It can be found here
This was written by a retired attorney, to his sons, May 19, 2004. Dear Tom, Kevin, Kirby and Ted, As your father, I believe I owe it to you to share some thoughts on the present world situation. We have over the years discussed a lot of important things, like going to college, jobs and so forth. But this really takes precedence over any of those discussions. I hope this might give you a longer term perspective that fewer and fewer of my generation are left to speak to. To be sure you understand that this is not politically flavored, I will tell you that since Franklin D. Roosevelt, who led us through pre and WWII (1933 - 1945) up to and including our present President, I have without exception, supported our presidents on all matters of international conflict. This would include just naming a few in addition to President Roosevelt - WWII: President Truman - Korean War 1950; President Kennedy - Bay of Pigs (1961); President Kennedy - Vietnam (1961); [1] eight presidents (5 Republican & 4 Democrat) during the cold war (1945 - 1991); President Clinton's strikes on Bosnia (1995) and on Iraq (1998). [2] So be sure you read this as completely non-political or otherwise you will miss the point. Our country is now facing the most serious threat to its existence, as we know it, that we have faced in your lifetime and mine (which includes WWII). The deadly seriousness is greatly compounded by the fact that there are very few of us who think we can possibly lose this war and even fewer who realize what losing really means. First, let's examine a few basics: 1. When did the threat to us start? Many will say September 11th, 2001. The answer as far as the United States is concerned is 1979, 22 years prior to September 2001, with the following attacks on us: Iran Embassy Hostages, 1979; Beirut, Lebanon Embassy 1983; Beirut, Lebanon Marine Barracks 1983; Lockerbie, Scotland Pan-Am flight to New York 1988; First New York World Trade Center attack 1993; Dhahran, Saudi Arabia Khobar Towers Military complex 1996; Nairobi, Kenya US Embassy 1998; Dar es Salaam, Tanzania US Embassy 1998; Aden, Yemen USS Cole 2000; New York World Trade Center 2001; Pentagon 2001. (Note that during the period from 1981 to 2001 there were 7,581 terrorist attacks worldwide). [3] 2. Why were we attacked? Envy of our position, our success, and our freedoms. The attacks happened during the administrations of Presidents Carter, Reagan, Bush 1, Clinton and Bush 2. We cannot fault either the Republicans or Democrats as there were no provocations by any of the presidents or their immediate predecessors, Presidents Ford or Carter. 4. Who were the attackers? In each case, the attacks on the US were carried out by Muslims. 5. What is the Muslim population of the World? 25% 6. Isn't the Muslim Religion peaceful? Hopefully, but that is really not material. There is no doubt that the predominately Christian population of Germany was peaceful, but under the dictatorial leadership of Hitler, that made no difference. You either went along with the administration or you were eliminated. There were 5 to 6 million Christians killed by the Nazis for political reasons (including 7,000 Polish priests). (http://www.nazis.testimony.co.uk/7-a.htm). Thus, almost the same number of Christians were killed by the Nazis, as the 6 million holocaust Jews who were killed by them, and we seldom heard of anything other than the Jewish atrocities. Although Hitler kept the world focused on the Jews, he had no hesitancy about killing anyone who got in his way of exterminating the Jews or of taking over the world - German, Christian or any others. Same with the Muslim terrorists. They focus the world on the US, but kill all in the way - their own people or the Spanish, French or anyone else.. [5] The point here is that just like the peaceful Germans were of no protection to anyone from the Nazis, no matter how many peaceful Muslims there may be, they are no protection for us from the terrorist Muslim leaders and what they are fanatically bent on doing - by their own pronouncements - killing all of us infidels. I don't blame the peaceful Muslims. What would you do if the choice was shut up or die? 6. So who are we at war with? There is no way we can honestly respond that it is anyone other than the Muslim terrorists. Trying to be politically correct and avoid verbalizing this conclusion can well be fatal. There is no way to win if you don't clearly recognize and articulate who you are fighting. So with that background, now to the two major questions: 1. Can we lose this war? 2. What does losing really mean? If we are to win, we must clearly answer these two pivotal questions. We can definitely lose this war, and as anomalous as it may sound, the major reason we can lose is that so many of us simply do not fathom the answer to the second question - What does losing mean? It would appear that a great many of us think that losing the war means hanging our heads, bringing the troops home and going on about our business, like post Vietnam. This is as far from the truth as one can get. What losing really means is: We would no longer be the premier country in the world. The attacks will not subside, but rather will steadily increase. Remember, they want us dead, not just quiet. If they had just wanted us quiet, they would not have produced an increasing series of attacks against us over the past 18 years. The plan was clearly to terrorist attack us until we were neutered and submissive to them. We would of course have no future support from other nations for fear of reprisals and for the reason that they would see we are impotent and cannot help them. They will pick off the other non-Muslim nations, one at a time. It will be increasingly easier for them. They already hold Spain hostage. It doesn't matter whether it was right or wrong for Spain to withdraw its troops from Iraq. Spain did it because the Muslim terrorists bombed their train and told them to withdraw the troops. Anything else they want Spain to do, will be done. Spain is finished. The next will probably be France. Our one hope on France is that they might see the light and realize that if we don't win, they are finished too, in that they can't resist the Muslim terrorists without us. However, it may already be too late for France. France is already 20% Muslim and fading fast. See the attached article on the French condition by Tom Segel. [6] If we lose the war, our production, income, exports and way of life will all vanish as we know it. After losing, who would trade or deal with us if they were threatened by the Muslims. If we can't stop the Muslims, how could anyone else? The Muslims fully know what is riding on this war and therefore are completely committed to winning at any cost. We better know it too and be likewise committed to winning at any cost. Why do I go on at such lengths about the results of losing? Simple. Until we recognize the costs of losing, we cannot unite and really put 100% of our thoughts and efforts into winning. And it is going to take that 100% effort to win. So, how can we lose the war? Again, the answer is simple. We can lose the war by imploding. That is, defeating ourselves by refusing to recognize the enemy and their purpose and really digging in and lending full support to the war effort. If we are united, there is no way that we can lose. If we continue to be divided, there is no way that we can win. Let me give you a few examples of how we simply don't comprehend the life and death seriousness of this situation. - President Bush selects Norman Mineta as Secretary of Transportation. Although all of the terrorist attacks were committed by Muslim men between 17 and 40 years of age, Secretary Mineta refuses to allow profiling. Does that sound like we are taking this thing seriously? This is war. For the duration we are going to have to give up some of the civil rights we have become accustomed to. We had better be prepared to lose some of our civil rights temporarily or we will most certainly lose all of them permanently. And don't worry that it is a slippery slope. We gave up plenty of civil rights during WWII and immediately restored them after the victory and in fact added many more since then. Do I blame President Bush or President Clinton before him? No, I blame us for blithely assuming we can maintain all of our Political Correctness and all of our civil rights during this conflict and have a clean, lawful, honorable war. None of those words apply to war. Get them out of your head. - Some have gone so far in their criticism of the war and/or the Administration that it almost seems they would literally like to see us lose. I hasten to add that this isn't because they are disloyal. It is because they just don't recognize what losing means. Nevertheless, that conduct gives the impression to the enemy that we are divided and weakening, it concerns our friends, and it does great damage to our cause. - Of more recent vintage, the uproar fueled by the politicians and media regarding the treatment of some prisoners of war perhaps exemplifies best what I am saying. We have recently had an issue involving the treatment of a few Muslim prisoners of war by a small group of our military police. These are the type prisoners who just a few months ago were throwing their own people off buildings, cutting off their hands, cutting out their tongues and otherwise murdering their own people just for disagreeing with Saddam Hussein. And just a few years ago these same type prisoners chemically killed 400,000 of their own people for the same reason. They are also the same type enemy fighters who recently were burning Americans and dragging their charred corpses through the streets of Iraq. And still more recently the same type enemy that was and is providing videos to all news sources internationally, of the beheading of an American prisoner they held. Compare this with some of our press and politicians who for several days have thought and talked about nothing else but the "humiliating" of some Muslim prisoners - not burning them, not dragging their charred corpses through the streets, not beheading them, but "humiliating" them. Can this be for real? The politicians and pundits have even talked of impeachment of the Secretary of Defense. If this doesn't show the complete lack of comprehension and understanding of the seriousness of the enemy we are fighting, the life and death struggle we are in and the disastrous results of losing this war, nothing can. To bring our country to a virtual political standstill over this prisoner issue makes us look like Nero playing his fiddle as Rome burned - totally oblivious to what is going on in the real world. Neither we, nor any other country, can survive this internal strife. Again I say, this does not mean that some of our politicians or media people are disloyal. It simply means that they absolutely oblivious to the magnitude of the situation we are in and into which the Muslim terrorists have been pushing us for many years. Remember, the Muslim terrorists stated goal is to kill all infidels. That translates into all non-Muslims - not just in the United States, but throughout the world. We are the last bastion of defense. - We have been criticized for many years as being 'arrogant'. That charge is valid in at least one respect. We are arrogant in that we believe that we are so good, powerful and smart, that we can win the hearts and minds of all those who attack us, and that with both hands tied behind our back, we can defeat anything bad in the world. We can't. If we don't recognize this, our nation as we know it will not survive, and no other free country in the World will survive if we are defeated. And finally, name any Muslim countries throughout the world that allow freedom of speech, freedom of thought, freedom of religion, freedom of the Press, equal rights for anyone - let alone everyone, equal status or any status for women, or that have been productive in one single way that contributes to the good of the World. This has been a long way of saying that we must be united on this war or we will be equated in the history books to the self-inflicted fall of the Roman Empire. If, that is, the Muslim leaders will allow history books to be written or read. If we don't win this war right now, keep a close eye on how the Muslims take over France in the next 5 years or less. They will continue to increase the Muslim population of France and continue to encroach little by little on the established French traditions. The French will be fighting among themselves over what should or should not be done, which will continue to weaken them and keep them from any united resolve. Doesn't that sound eerily familiar? Democracies don't have their freedoms taken away from them by some external military force. Instead, they give their freedoms away, politically correct piece by politically correct piece. And they are giving those freedoms away to those who have shown, worldwide, that they abhor freedom and will not apply it to you or even to themselves, once they are in power. They have universally shown that when they have taken over, they then start brutally killing each other over who will be the few who control the masses. Will we ever stop hearing from the politically correct, about the "peaceful Muslims"? I close on a hopeful note, by repeating what I said above. If we are united, there is no way that we can lose. I believe that after the election, the factions in our country will begin to focus on the critical situation we are in and will unite to save our country. It is your future we are talking about. Do whatever you can to preserve it. Love, Dad [1] By the way on Vietnam, the emotions are still so high that it is really not possible to discuss it. However, I think President Kennedy was correct. He felt there was a communist threat from China, Russia and North Vietnam to take over that whole area. Also remember that we were in a 'cold war' with Russia. I frankly think Kennedy's plan worked and kept that total communist control out, but try telling that to anyone now. It just isn't politically correct to say so. Historians will answer this after cool headed research, when the people closest to it are all gone. [2] As you know, I am a strong President Bush supporter and will vote for him. However, if Senator Kerry is elected, I will fully support him on all matters of international conflict, just as I have supported all presidents in the past. [3] Source for statistics in Par. 1 is http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0001454.html [4] The Institute of Islamic Information and Education. http://www.iiie.net/Intl/PopStats.html [5] Note the attached article by Tom Segel referred to in footnote 6 infra, the terrorist Muslim have already begun the havoc in France. (The note was not attached to the E-mail I received. Gene) [6] I checked this article with two sources - Hoax Busters and Urban Myths. It does not come up as a Hoax on either. I also then E-mailed Mr. Segel and he confirmed the article was his. [7] "I don't think the Army or any branch of service runs any type of war any more. It's done by senators and congressmen. There are too many civilians involved." Returning Iraq veteran, Sgt. 1st Class Greg Klees as quoted in the Cedar Rapids, IA Gazette on May 13th, 2004. [8] There are 64 Muslim countries. This does not count countries like Spain that are controlled by the Muslim terrorists.
What I think I fail to remember (and should) on a daily basis is that although it is my job to protect the innoocence of my children from early childhood until they are old enough to understand, we can no longer continue to be "innocent Americans" that take for granted our security in a relatively safe country. We cant expect that our America will remain this way. We cannot turn our backs or insulate ourselves from what is happening in our own back yard (ie:France, Spain, England) and expect that changing course or complete troop withdrawl will solve anything in regard to our freedom, it will do nothing but hinder our movement around the globe and places that once were safe for Americans to travel to will be no longer.
What are your thoughts? I'd love to hear them.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Be Not, Afraid of who you are~

"Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind.” ~Dr. Suess ~ *Thanks Pete Seale, for reminding me not to be afraid! ;) Dell

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Social Media, who is missing the boat?

In the past few weeks- I've been tasked with looking into how SM can help the company I work for in the areas of channel marketing as well as retention of customers and leveraging our colleagues to reach out to others and "spread the good word". - wow! I couldn't have known the depth or the weightiness of that request- I'm glad I didn't! This article is one that really hits the nail on the head for social media guru's such as Jeremiah- (look left and click on his blog!) and people who are using SM to reach out to others from a grassroots perspective. If only the people who are speaking about and using SM could articulate it and the necessity of it to the leaders of our corporations... We try- and someday- we'll hit the right nail- and drive it right in! I'm lucky. I work for a relatively small company (in the whole scheme of things) and having a constant influx of incoming employees helps with the whole idea of being "connected". We simply will not- (cannot) ignore the importance of social media in the space of business. When you look at companies like Starbucks, McDonald's, and Apple there is a presence that makes them more of a way of life than a company. You're not just getting a cup of Joe at Starbucks- you're buying an atmosphere, and experience. The really lucky ones can accomplish this type of brand presence and its not come by easily. The influx of wi-fi and wireless hubs into the Houston area is staggering! Companies WANT you to come, stay a while and "connect"... Hard to believe- but my favorite little wine bar is one of those places! (Luv you- Corkscrew!) Why, you can even step up to the counter at McDonald's and buy a Big Mac and get your wifi-on while you eat. Seriously- the problems this presents are more than just lack of attention to driving while you whip out your Blackberry whilst getting on the 45 to head downtown from the Heights- (umm.. personal experience??) to getting some guy to ask you out on a date and LEAVE the damn thing in the car while your eating dinner (thanks for that little nugget Chrissy!) I cant IMAGINE dating now! The "need" to know right now- has trumped the idea of a little "mystery"- (Have I mentioned that I'm thrilled that I no longer am in the dating arena?? ;) Attention to details like calling in advance (The Wednesday rule) - have kind of flown out the door with the Tweets ;) Still- I believe that there is value in this new marketplace. I think that although it deafens some folks to the necessity of social grace- (which, inevitably some folks will always possess a deficiency of) it also connects us like no other generation has ever experienced. We're lucky- now lets figure out how to unleash this in the marketplace.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

So CLEARLY Brilliant!

"So what, if anything, can businesses do at this juncture? They can begin by searching out people within the organization who understand what’s going on. In almost every case, they’re there. Make friends with them. Make friends with the marketplace again. Start listening. Find your voice. Then start talking as if your life depended on it. It does." WOW! http://www.cluetrain.com/book/

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Adorable little Family

Oh little "wee ones" - will you always hold eachothers hands?
Will you always love to steal bubble gum out of my purse- and claim that you "accidentally swallowed it"?
Will you always say "I love you so much that my heart breaks" any old time?? :)
Will you always like pink nailpolish- little belle? and leave it on for precisely 15 minutes after I polish your tiny little nails, then ask me to re-do them?
Will you always try and sneak into mine and daddys bed at 2:45 am- just to "have a snuggle"?
Will you always proclaim- "mama- I AM a big boy- I'm almost bigger than daddy, and someday- if I eat my ve-geee-tables, I'll grow up to go to A&M" ;>
I hope you always will do these things, I hope my documentation of these things serves as a constant reminder of these sweet, precious times with you- my lovely family. I cherish you- (all three of you!)
Each day is another delight- another realization that you are in fact growing and are the family I always dreamt of.

There Aren't Enough Words...

Crushingly, over the past few weeks, there have been several instances of heartbreak for me. Not the kind of heartbreak that collapses you- but the tiny little "tink, tink, tink" of a hammer and chisel that in some cases can bring down a mountain. I had a dear childhood friend recently (a next door neighbor and his dad) that I grew up with, that were senselessly murdered. Its a long drawn out story- but my point is that its amazing what the mind will remember when someone from your past is brought up again. You'll be going along with your busy hectic schedule and all of the sudden- "WHAM"- your mom calls and tells you about something tragic. (She emailed me actually) Heres an exerpt from the notes we exchanged: Obviously- we grew up in the country- so keep that in mind as you read it! ;)
"Ugh- I just got done reading the article about David and "Big David" -- and
I'm really choked up... I can remember fishing with him
on the banks of our stock tanks and he would always catch
grasshoppers (or at least help Lisa and I) and eventually, we'd
end up in the tank swimming and getting yelled at because there were
always snakes sunning themselves and you were afraid
we'd get bit. I can see him in my mind, running around in the
pasture with him when I was little. Thirty acres was the world to us
three. Even more than that was the additional land we would run
around on over their side of the fence. ;) I remember when dad
got so pissed when we went up on the holding tanks for the oil well?
(Im sure that was mine and/or Lisa's idea) I think that was the only time
I remember us ALL getting our asses beat! Dad was having NONE of that! Remember Dot (the truck? was that the name?) we'd all crawl up in her
and I can see David turning the wheel with Lisa and I sitting next to him
on the long vinyl, cracked bench seat that would poke our legs with the
jagged edges and we would pretend we were driving to far away
places... Like Bryan- I suppose? ;) We would climb trees and he would hold my hand to help me up
them and to climb up on "mountains" of brush that daddy would
stack before he burnt it off- we would pretend we were adventurers. His daddy was always pretty quiet- and soft hearted. I
remember being over at their house a very few times growing up -
and although I think I had an idea that Big David didn't have much
(neither did we for that matter!) I could always see his love for little
David. He adored his son- would have given anything for him. I don't
ever remember him yelling at little David for much- just to get inside for dinner
or yelling across the pasture for him to come home at dusk. What
I see in my mind is this wiry little kid with platinum blonde hair that flew
in the air by the end of the summer because his daddy would buzz cut
it at the first of the summer-and it would grow out. I remember him being
able to whistle with grass blades, and Lisa and I never could.
(I think Lisa got some remedial training in that department- because
she eventually learned to do it too I think- but I never did.) He could whistle
with two fingers too- we never could- it always made us jealous- and he
would be patient and still try and teach us how to do it, I can see him smile
this huge white toothed smile, right now, laughing at us. I guess we were
probably about 7 or 8? I can remember him crawling through the
barbed wire fence, mostly barefooted and wandering over to the back shed
when dad used that as a house for his tools and stuff. Remember,
I would wander down there and watch daddy and Little David would
wander over too and just hang out and have the occasional
question about what daddy was doing. He never did have anything bad to say about anyone-unless he was complaining
about Lisa and I (we probably weren't playing nice or something.) I don't
EVER remember him not having a smile on his face. I always thought of him
as an angel.. (And Lisa and I were the devils ;)-- (I mean that jokingly ;)
I don't know that we three played much together after we were past about 10-and
I know he had a much different life than I've had- but there's something to be
said about the children we spend our time with growing up. We grow
up- but those sweet memories are always there. I'll always have good memories
of our childhood. Its unfortunate that his and his daddy's life had to end
so abruptly and so violently. I cant tell you that I wouldn't have handled an
email from my daughter the same exact way. He did what he HAD to do as a dad.
He should always be her hero. I know intimately what I would do to save
my children from even the slightest pain. I wonder what will happen with the
kids now that they are gone? I pray they don't place them back with their mother.
That would destroy everything he stood for in getting them back in a safe place
where he could raise them surrounded by love and safety. I love you- Amydell" Additionally- I got a call from mom that a high school buddy died from breast cancer. She was a couple of years younger than I am. I'm telling you- not because I want to depress you- but because I want you to breathe today- I mean REALLY take a deep breath and whisper sweet songs to your kiddos tonight when you tuck them in. I really want you to hug someone you love and smell their hair and grab their hand when they dont expect it. Tell those you love how much you do love them and really be happy that you had today. Today will be a memory tomorrow and all we really have is today. On another note- just a few weeks away is Fathers Day!! I wanted to post a few pics of the kiddos at their first Astros game last night. It was a fun game- although the 'stros lost to the Cubbys. The kids ate hot dogs and popcorn and drank sodas. Bill and I split a beer. Bryce couldnt figure out WHY the train didnt just chug around Minute Maid Park the whole game. (or just once!) - which incidentally doesnt happen unless a batter hits one out of the park. Me thinks they are a little stingy with the train!!! ;) videoThere arent enough words to explain how much I love this little family, this little life of mine and this great big town, Houston.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Swimming Through Space

Today was the day! My wee-ones had their first swim lesson! I was able to find a local gal that is going to teach them privately- at a local pool that doesn't open until after Memorial Day. She is AWESOME! Little did I know at the time- some folks at work had been passing around her info- and she is the "gal-pal" of one of my co-workers! So- it all worked out splendidly! She took the "b's" on - for 10 lessons and arranged to meet me tonight to have their first lesson! She was kind, gentle and happy- but firm- which I think is necessary with two- 4 year olds. She even mentioned that next lesson- we may want to step to the side- and wait in the wings- while she schools them. UGH! Wasn't dropping them off with Mrs. Cooper (Their PK3 teacher) enough- last year? I wanted so badly to be the "hover" parent- but I know that my mom wasn't that way- and I'm pretty sure my mother in law wasn't either- and somehow- B & I survived our childhood- relatively unscathed- so I backed off. So- Here's the video of my princess ROLLING over like a champ-while her brother screams from the other side "GET ME OUT MOMMY!"

videoThis is how Faith first teaches them to float.

videoThis is how she teaches them to kick and blow bubbles.

One lesson down- NINE to go!

I remember growing up- my dad would keep me in the summers. One of the reasons he picked the house he did off Meyer St. was because it was basically a block and a half from the neighborhood pool We all (all 5 of us) would walk to the pool each day (alone) and walk home for lunch, a nap and go back almost always in the afternoon for another swim upon my dads arrival home from work. Those are great memories- I even life guarded at Seabrook pool when I was 17 for a short part of the summer. It was lots of fun. I wouldnt trust my children to walk outside my front door now without supervision- but hey- those were different times I suppose. Seabrook was just a sleepy little fishing town with a bay- (This was WAY before Tillman ever hit the scene and built the Kemah boardwalk. Just the same- I love those memories. Good times, good times!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Dear Laura

How I've grown to love you over the past year and a half. You've befriended me and had countless glasses of wine with me- you've been a confidant and friend. (Thank You!) I know how hard it is to be 25, (you are TEN years my junior my love) and I remember ultimately 11 years ago- how my arrival back in Houston sparked many turning points in my life. Most of which led to extreme failure, after failure- (relationship wise) and it seemed that I would never reach my stride with a man and a job- but I did... There were people who made promises to me- which led me back to Houston in the first place- from a "dead-end career" with Delta- and there were people that I fell madly in love with- that I look back on now- and know could never have loved me back... I led to a lot of loneliness. I say this- because I want you to know that I've been there. You are unique- but you're feelings are not. Everyone my dear- reaches a turning point in their life- that leads to paths which previously were unclear- each a building block to the next. Hang in there! Know and love yourself- know we are here to love you and honor your friendship. ITS HARD to be new in the 4th largest city in the country- and know your place immediately. You will- with time. Get to know yourself. Get to know what YOU like. You may never have another opportunity! When fate sends the person of your dreams to your door- they usually aren't waiting to "get to know you"- they want you to have figured out where you are in life prior to their arrival. - Children and adulthood dont help this evolution much- so take the time you need now to get to know what your dislikes and aspirations are- you may never have another quiet moment in your life to hear yourself talk! (Believe me- I feel this way now!)- Know that you are loved! and certainly not alone! Dell~

Thursday, May 08, 2008

HAPPY BIRTHDAY Darlings!


IMG_4987, originally uploaded by amydell.

How can it be? My precious little ones are growing before our very eyes! They laugh- they giggle- they sass- they say bedtime prayers and sing "Jesus loves me-this I know"- and they love cake and cars and bicycles. They cant wait for mommy to get home from "her skyscraper" and they see the word "Reliant" or a logo and say "mommy!!! THATS YOU!!!" -- Happy birthday!!

Saturday, March 08, 2008

The Spell is Broken~

Sunday afternoon has long been one of mine and Bills least and most favorite days of the week. We relish the lazy, late hour that we typically rise <7> and curse the fact that its the last day of the weekend! When we lived in our last house- we were so close to a busy street that didnt allow a leisurely glass of wine on the patio while watching the kiddos play on their playground. We've recently reinstituted a standing Sunday afternoon "drop on by" policy with our neighborhood friends- and let me tell you- its the highlight of our week! No time- just later in the day on any Sunday- when its dry and warm out. No pressure and on a lucky day, I may have made a pot of red beans and rice or have something to snack on. This quote reminded me of the recent afternoons spent in the yard! ;) How timely! "The hour is late, the flames are dying down, the embers glow, the glasses require recharging. A guest rises to leave and the spell is broken. Realization dawns that it is another day and we have to face once more the problems of reality. But if I have been able to beguile you for an hour or two into forgetting the pressing problems of today it will have afforded me infinite satisfaction."-Major General Sir Rupert Brazier-Creagh (Ed Preusser's grandfather)

Friday, February 22, 2008

"I" Disease

When I was small- my step dad frequently would ridicule me for using the word "I" too much. Over the years, because of this ridicule, "I" (for better or worse) have in turned used this nugget to judge how self centered people are. In general- there are levels of self centeredness- typically, people who cant or wont pronounce others names properly upon meeting them are put in the lowest rung of general awareness of anyone but themselves. (My name is quite different- so frequently I'll use this as a "listening test" to see if people are even listening.) If I say "Hi, I'm Amydell" and you return a quick "hi, Amy, I'm so & so"- its pretty obvious you're more interested in telling me your name than getting mine right! 2nd on the tiers of self centeredness are women who latch on and refuse to be good friends- or that have no idea what it means to be a good friend. Recently I received an email from someone we considered a friend for a while and every sentence in the email began with "I"-- She is a person my old dad would have diagnosed with chronic "I" disease! What to do about it? Move away from it. There's nothing to gain from being friends with her. Although, I do feel sorry for her!