Monday, July 28, 2008

Back to 1968...

But first, went and saw The Dark Knight on Sunday afternoon.
I enjoyed the movie. Love Christian Bale as Batman, although I don't care much for the Rachel Dawes replacement... I like Maggie Gyllenhall, but liked Katie Holmes in the role. I wonder, if perhaps Katie had been available, would the Bruce/Rachel relationship turned out differently. Anywho - love Michael Caine as Alfred, love Morgan Freeman as Lucius Fox, and Gary Oldham as Commissioner Gordon.

A couple of assassinations stole headlines in 1968: Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King.
When looking back on this year, these are the two that will overshadow all others through the lens of history. Some other famous folks who died in '68 include: Charlie Chaplin, Yuri Gagarin, Admiral Kimmel, Helen Keller, Rose Wilder Lane, Upton Sinclair, Tallulah Bankhead, John Steinbeck, & George Lewis.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

My Anniversary (And just so you know...

I don't really think there's time for everything:(

Anyhow, Saturday, July 19th, was hubby's and my 15th wedding anniversary. We celebrated in a way we haven't for many, many years. It began with driving around downtown locating the restaurant we had reservations at in relationship to the hotel - would it be too far to walk in the early evening heat?

Then we searched out free parking and walked a couple of blocks to the Renaissance Worthington Hotel in Fort Worth.

We checked in and relaxed, and enjoyed the northward view of Fort Worth, including the Tarrant County Courthouse, which was just a couple of blocks away. In fact, the clock tower lit up our seventh floor room quite nicely once it got dark.

This is exactly what our room looked like. Same bed, same draperies, same chair, same layout. The room was cool and spacious. A delicious treat during a Texas July.

This is a view of The Tarrant County Courthouse, made of fine Texas red granite, from the intersection of Main & 2nd Street. I think the concrete building at the front left of the picture is the hotel.

Our 6PM dinner reservation (a first for me) was at Ruth's Chris Steakhouse. YUM. Not cheap but awesome food and service. Since I made the reservations online, and had indicated it was our anniversary, the restaurant added a special touch of balloon-shaped confetti on our table.

After dinner, hubby and I meandered around downtown. I have a fascination with historical architecture and love to look at the old buildings. Which is sometimes hard to do in the car while driving around with traffic lights and other cars on the road! Some of the buildings we looked at included the Flat Iron Building , First Christian Church, Knights of Pythis Castle Hall, Joe Daiches Jewelers, the Tarrant County Courthouse, the Criminal Courts Building, and so many others I don't really know the names of. We also saw Fire Station No. 1 on the walk to the car Sunday morning. To see many of the wonderful buildings in Fort Worth and the styles of architecture they represent, go here. It's not the prettiest site I've ever seen, but the information & pictures are wonderful.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Be Aware

I've added a new feature - just to the right, under the About Me - called Community Awareness. I've been reading a book called More Than Words Volume 4. In it are short stories written by five different authors in support of women across North America who are making a difference in their communities and possibly around the globe. Each author's story highlights an organization started by everyday woman who saw a need and filled it. The organizations are listed at the right if you want more info. The book is also listed at the right in the Currently Reading section and it is linked to eHarlequin where it may be purchased with all proceeds being reinvested in the More Than Words Program. For those of you members of NT who may stop by, you'll get (or have gotten) a free copy of this book at the July meeting.

If you have a link to an equally worthy organization, reply to this post and let me know about it.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

A Time to Celebrate!

On Saturday, July 19, hubby and I will celebrate 15 years of marriage. Woo hoo!!!

There were a couple of years I didn't think we'd make it, but here we are, more happily married than we've ever been.

So back in 1993, we were living in Omaha, Nebraska while hubby was in the Air Force and stationed at Offutt Air Force Base. With my sister and brother as unofficial witnesses (turns out they were too young to be official ones), we drove to South Dakota where there is no blood test/waiting period and were married in Union County (city of Elk Point, although I had to look that up) South Dakota. (Many of hubby's co-workers and friends though I was PG and that was why we were running off to tie the knot so quickly. That wasn't the case, if you're wondering. Our son wasn't born until seventeen months later ;)

To celebrate we'll be having dinner at the new Fort Worth location of Ruth's Chris Steakhouse, wandering around downtown, and then spending the night in the Renaissance Worthington.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Joyful Noise Fireworks

Joyful Noise Fireworks is the name of our fireworks stand and soon-to-be fireworks display company.

Here is just a sampling of what we gear up for each Independence Day. Granted, it's not professional grade video. And it's much, *much* better in person, up close and personal! Maybe next year, if you're in the North Texas area, you can catch a show.

Monday, July 7, 2008

1968 - Oh, what a year...

As noted a few weeks ago, I celebrated a birthday. A milestone one at that. Yes, I turned 40. A couple of weeks ago, while at the grocery store, I came across a special edition of TIME magazine celebrating the year 1968 (which obviously was the year I was born). I flipped through it, but put it back on the shelf as it wasn't the cheapest magazine on the rack, and to be honest, I never buy magazines. But my daughter made me buy it, although it didn't take much convincing.

So on the 4th, as I was resting up for the evening's activities, I finished reading through the articles. There were some really interesting and noteworthy events that year - my birth notwithstanding! TIME hailed it as a milestone year in our nation's history. So as an ode to my birth year, I thought I'd share some of the events that caught my attention. The first of which I posted the other day - the image of the earth rise from the other side of the moon taken by Bill Anders during the Apollo 8 mission in December 1968. (Go ahead, take a minute, scroll down and check out the photo, read the post...)

I guess that's it for now. Just wanted to check in, explain my posts in case you scratched your head wondering where these varied topics might have originated... In a couple of days, I'll upload some footage from the 5th Annual Fireworks Extravaganza for your belated viewing pleasure.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

The Good Earth

For all the people on Earth the crew of Apollo 8 has a message we would like to send you.

In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep.
And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.
And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.
And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.
And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.
And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so.
And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day.
And God said, Let the waters under the heavens be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so.
And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called he Seas: and God saw that it was good.

And from the crew of Apollo 8, we close with good night, good luck, a Merry Christmas, and God bless all of you - all of you on the good Earth.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Pondering Americans...

We live in the greatest nation on Earth. Really. As we celebrate the birth of our nation, let's put some things into perspective. Thanks to Jay Leno for saying it first...


Jay Leno wrote this; it's the Jay Leno we don't often see....

"As most of you know I am not a President Bush fan, nor have I ever been, but this is not about Bush, it is about us, as Americans, and it seems to hit the mark. The other day I was reading Newsweek magazine and came across some Poll data I found rather hard to believe. It must be true given the source, right? The Newsweek poll alleges that 67percent of Americans are unhappy with the direction the country is headed and 69 percent of the country is unhappy with the performance of the President. In essence 2/3 of the citizenry just ain't happy and want a change. So being the knuckle dragger I am, I started thinking, 'What are we so unhappy about?'

A. Is it that we have electricity and running water 24 hours a day, 7 Days a week?

B. Is our unhappiness the result of having air conditioning in the summer and heating in the winter?

C. Could it be that 95.4 percent of these unhappy folks have a job?

D. Maybe it is the ability to walk into a grocery store at any time and see more food in moments than Darfur has seen in the last year?

E. Maybe it is the ability to drive our cars and trucks from the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic Ocean without having to present identification papers as we move through each state?

F. Or possibly the hundreds of clean and safe motels we would find along the way that can provide temporary shelter?

G. I guess having thousands of restaurants with varying cuisine from around the world is just not good enough either.

H. Or could it be that when we wreck our car, emergency workers show up and provide services to h elp all and even send a helicopter to take you to the hospital.

I. Perhaps you are one of the 70 percent of Americans who own a home.

J. You may be upset with knowing that in the unfortunate case of a fire, a group of trained firefighters will appear in moments and use top notch equipment to extinguish the flames, thus saving you, your family, and your belongings.

K. Or if, while at home watching one of your many flat screen TVs, a burglar or prowler intrudes, an officer equipped with a gun and a bullet-proof vest will come to defend you and your family against attack or loss.

L. This, all in the backdrop of a neighborhood free of bombs or militias raping and pillaging the residents, Neighborhoods where 90% of teenagers own cell phones and computers.

M. How about the complete religious, social and political freedoms we enjoy that are the envy of everyone in the world?

Maybe that is what has 67% of you folks unhappy.

Fact is, we are the largest group of ungrateful, spoiled brats the world has ever seen. No wonder the world loves the U.S., yet has a great disdain for its citizens. They see us for what we are. The most blessed people in the world who do nothing but complain about what we don't have, and what we hate about the country instead of thanking the good Lord we live here.

I know, I know. What about the president who took us into war and has no plan to get us out? The president who has a measly 31 percent approval rating? Is this the same president who guided the nation in the dark days after 9/11? The president who cut taxes to bring an economy out of recession? Could this be the same guy who has been called every safe from terrorist attacks, the commander in chief of an all-volunteer army that is out there defending you and me?

Did you hear how bad the President is on the news or talk show? Did this news affect you so much, make you so unhappy you couldn't take a look around for yourself and see all the good things and be glad? Think about it......are you upset at the President because he actually caused you personal pain OR is it because the 'media' told you he was failing to kiss your sorry ungrateful behind every day. Make no mistake about it. The troops in Iraq and Afghanistan have volunteered to serve, and in many cases may have died for your freedom. There is currently no draft in this country. They didn't have to go. They are able to refuse to go and end up with either a 'general' discharge, an 'other than honorable' discharge or, worst case scenario, a 'dishonorable' discharge after a few days in the brig.

So, why then the flat-out discontentment in the minds of 69 percent of Americans?

Say what you want but I blame it on the media. If it bleeds it leads and they specialize in bad news. Everybody will watch a car crash with blood and guts. How many will watch kids selling lemonade at the corner? The media knows this and media outlets are for-profit corporations. They offer what sells, and when criticized, try to defend their actions by 'justifying' them in one way or another. Just ask why they tried to allow a murderer like O.J Simpson to write a book about how he didn't kill his wife, but if he did he would have done it this way......Insane!

Turn off the TV, burn Newsweek, and use the New York Times for the bottom of your bird cage. Then start being grateful for all we have as country. There is exponentially more good than bad. We are among the most blessed people on Earth and should thank God several times a day, or at least be thankful and appreciative. With hurricanes, tornados, fires out of control, mud slides, flooding, severe thunderstorms tearing up the country from one end to another, and with the threat of bird flu and terrorist attacks, are we sure this is a good time to take God out of the Pledge of Allegiance?"