Thursday, January 31, 2008

The Desert Voice

A good friend of ours is currently deployed overseas, but he keeps in touch by sending out monthly e-mails that often contain the latest edition of The Desert Voice, for which he is a regular contributor. A couple of months ago I asked him if I could somehow link to his publication on here, and he brought to my attention the Digital Video and Imagery Distribution System out of Atlanta, Georgia. In his words, you can log on and "see the publications and all the stories and photos that come out of Kuwait, Iraq, and Afghanistan."

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While I'm especially partial to The Desert Voice, he's right, you can view everything that comes out of that part of the world. I know for a fact that all involved work very hard on these publications, so please be sure to check them out. Happy reading!

 

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

My champagne birthday



"A New Year's resolution is something that goes in one year and out the other."
-UNKNOWN

My husband admitted to me that he was actually a little disappointed with my New Year's Eve blog about turning 30. In his mind, rather than simply reflecting on someone else's list of great achievements, he had expected me to make an original list of things I would actually like to accomplish myself in the following year(s). 

Several years ago -- 1995, to be exact -- I had been obsessed with the T.V. show Northern Exposure and purchased a small notebook with the cast on the cover, and I finally put it to good use last spring -- yes, I began compiling a list of things I wanted to do before I die. And I guess that coincides with what my husband wanted me to complile on here several weeks ago. 

So here it is, straight from the bound cover of my Northern Exposure notebook, a smattering of some things I'd like to try in the (near) future:

1. Go skydiving.

2. Have my husband show me around where he was stationed in Korea and throughout the Middle East.

3. Run a marathon.

4. Take a road trip across Canada and the U.S. and visit all the provinces/territories/states. (I've only done this in part so far.)

5. Go white water rafting.

6. Take my husband on a Caribbean cruise. (Gonna do it this April!!)

7. Try surfing.

8. Go on a volunteering vacation.

9. Take an African safari, ride the Orient Express, and visit the Great Wall of China.

10. Go on a hot air balloon ride.

11. Scuba dive.

12. Visit Ireland and Stonehenge.

13. Take in a Broadway musical.

14. Float in the Dead Sea. (I had the chance in high school... but then the trip was cancelled due to "security" reasons, ahem.)

15. Touch the pyramids. (Is that even allowed?)

16. Visit Calabria and Libya.

17. Make a comprehensive family tree complete with photos and detailed descriptions. (Sigh... this has eluded me most of my life.)

18. Build a fire without the use of matches/lighters/kindling soaked in kerosene.

19. See the polar bears in Churchill, Manitoba.

20. Be a member of the live studio audience at any gameshow/sitcom taping.

21. Try caviar.

22. Plan a "Girl's Day" at a shooting range.

23. Attend an Olympic sporting event.

24. Milk a cow.

25. Continue ballroom dance lessons with my husband.

26. Bike across the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco.

27. Learn to play a musical instrument (and play it well, damnit!).

28. Attend an NFL game live. Or Nascar.

29. Visit the Anne of Green Gables house in Prince Edward Island.

30. See the Galapagos tortoise and Darwin's finches for myself. ("If there is the slightest foundation for evolution, the zoology of the Galapagos will be well worth examining...")

 
While it's far from being an exhaustive list, it's a start. And if I do manage to accomplish everything on this list, I'll be that person who just doesn't shut up at dinner parties. Or, as my husband put it, I'll be that person who quietly knows that someone else has no idea what they're talking about. 

[.....insert mischievous grin.....]

Thursday, January 10, 2008

We have a ghost!

After a long, busy day, I went to bed and quickly fell asleep at around 9:30 last night, but shortly thereafter, I was awakened by the sound of some rummaging in the other room. Assuming it was my husband, I called out to him. But, of course, there was no response.

Thinking I was just delirious -- partly from exhaustion and partly from the glass of wine I had before bed  -- I shrugged it off and figured I was hearing things. 

But then I heard it again. And then again. 

By now I was fully awake and sitting up in bed. At first it sounded like someone was moving things around, and then it was as if someone was getting up off the couch. I repeatedly called for my husband, but all I heard in response was more shuffling. 

Finally, I heard my husband at the stairs coming to bed. I explained to him what happened, and he assured me there was no one else in the other room. But he also shared with me that, if we do have a ghost, it would explain why he sometimes finds our touch-lamp turned on during the day when supposedly no one is at home. I was not impressed.

Furthermore, he shared with me the story of his mother's 100+ year old home that has a toilet sometimes flush on it's own for no explainable reason. No explainable reason other than a ghost, that is.  Regardless, he reassured me that most ghosts are "benign" anyway and that it was probably our cold pipes in winter making all that noise.

Hoping he was right, I decided to just let it go.

But while brushing his teeth, my husband quickly exited the washroom and returned to the bedroom -- toothbrush in hand -- just a few minutes later.

"Did you hear that? It sounded like someone bumping into things."

"Yeah, I heard it,"  I responded. "But I thought it was you."

"Babe, I think we need to take turns sleeping in shifts tonight."

Needless to say, we were (are) both more than a little spooked by this. Here's hoping our ghost is one of those benign entities my husband spoke about.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

In 2008, I resolve to turn 30.

By now you've all probably received this list as an online chain letter in your e-mail, "30 Things Every Woman Should Have & Know By The Time She's 30," which originally appeared in a 1997 edition of Glamour magazine. Personally, I love it, and I never tire of reflecting upon it. 

Given that this is New Year's Eve -- and only a few short weeks before I turn the big 3-0 -- rather than making resolutions for myself, I've decided to once again turn my focus to Pamela Redmond Satran's infamous list, among others. So here goes nuthin'....


BY 30, YOU SHOULD HAVE:
 


1. One old boyfriend you can imagine going back to and one who reminds you of how far you've come. 

Yes, and yes. As I've often been told, the nice thing about time is that it blurs the bad memories and emphasizes the good.


2. A decent piece of furniture not previously owned by anyone else in your family. 

Funny, just last week my husband and I purchased a great set of living room furniture -- but of course it belonged to my sister and her family who are relocating to Michigan. Doh. But wait! Would our bed count?? It's decent! And new!


3. Something perfect to wear if the employer or man of your dreams wants to see you in an hour. 

Of course I have several perfect outfits I'm very proud of.... but whether they'll still fit after all this year's Christmas festivities is yet to be seen.


4. A purse, a suitcase, and an umbrella you're not ashamed to be seen carrying. 

Not only do I have all of the above, but also several backpacks. I really am quite fortunate.


5. A youth you're content to move beyond. 

Deana Carter said it best in "Strawberry Wine" when she sang, "I still remember when 30 was old." ----- I think the best part about this age is that I've definitely matured in recent years -- and thus I am certainly content to move beyond my youth -- and yet I don't necessarily feel all that old. Deana knew what she was talking about.


6. A past juicy enough that you're looking forward to retelling it in your old age. 

In researching this list, I stumbled upon several others including one that suggested I should "write the novel I know I have inside of me." My sister-in-law, Sarah,  was inspired by Jeannette Walls' The Glass Castle and is doing just that. And while my friend Louise has often said that if she could read any one person's diary, it would be mine, I just don't think I'm quite there yet. My past is juicy, yes, and I'll be sure to tell it when I'm good and ready. (A girl has to keep a slight air of mystery around her, dontcha know?)


7. The realization that you are actually going to have an old age—and some money set aside to help fund it. 

I'll be okay. But by God, I wish I had started investing in RRSPs at an earlier age!


8. An e-mail address, a voice mailbox, and a bank account—all of which nobody has access to but you. 

Yes, yes, and yes.


9. A résume that is not even the slightest bit padded. 

This is a tough one because, let's be honest, everybody sounds more impressive on paper. But, yeah, I really have done a little bit of everything over the years.


10. One friend who always makes you laugh and one who lets you cry. 

I've been lucky enough to find all these traits in one person. Kind of a 2-for-1 deal if you ask me.


11. A set of screwdrivers, a cordless drill, and a black lace bra. 

Doh! I was so close! But it looks like I'll be spending New Year's Day at Canadian Tire, you know, searching for a cordless drill.

 

12. Something ridiculously expensive that you bought for yourself, just because you deserve it. 

My luxuries usually come in the form of plane tickets. And I make no apologies for it.


13. The belief that you deserve it. 

See above.


14. A skin-care regimen, an exercise routine, and a plan for dealing with those few other facets of life that don't get better after 30. 

Oy vay. Yes, I have a regimen, a routine, and a plan, but now I just need to stick to them! Every New Year's Day, the Running Room hosts their annual Resolution Run in which participants start the year off right with a 5 km run -- and while my husband and I aren't officially involved, we have still resolved to run 5 km tomorrow. Couldn't hurt, right?


15. A solid start on a satisfying career, a satisfying relationship, and all those other facets of life that do get better. 

A solid start, yes, this I definitely have!


BY 30, YOU SHOULD KNOW: 


1. How to fall in love without losing yourself. 

After several years of trial and error, I can honestly say, "Been there, done that."


2. How you feel about having kids. 

I know how I feel, but I'm not telling. *insert evil laughter*


3. How to quit a job, break up with a man, and confront a friend without ruining the friendship. 

Yes, yes, and yes -- all are very difficult and sometimes very necessary aspects of life.


4. When to try harder and when to walk away. 

I admit I have a hard time walking away, not because I'm a perfectionist, per se, but because I'm stubborn as all get.


5. How to kiss in a way that communicates perfectly what you would and wouldn't like to happen next. 

I haven't had any complaints so far.


6. The names of: the secretary of state, your great-grandmother, and the best tailor in town. 

Thank God Condoleeza Rice is so recognizable, otherwise I'd only be 2-for-3 on this one.


7. How to live alone, even if you don't like to. 

I've never actually had to live alone before, which I know is difficult for many to fathom. I'm sure I could do it, but of course, I don't ever want to find out.


8. How to take control of your own birthday. 

The last few years, it's been all about me and what I want, so yeah, I think I've got it covered.


9. That you can't change the length of your calves, the width of your hips, or the nature of your parents. 

But by God, I continue to try on all three counts! Yes, even to this very day. *sigh*


10. That your childhood may not have been perfect, but it's over. 

I come from the if-I-block-it-out-it-will-just-go-away school of thought, ahem. Okay, maybe that's not the healthiest way to look at things! ---- In actuality, though, as I often tell my husband, we all had a miserable childhood (to varying degrees), and yet we still turned out okay. So get over it already! "The best revenge is living well" will always be one of my favourite quotes.


11. What you would and wouldn't do for money or love. 

Oh, it's a blurry line....


12. That nobody gets away with smoking, drinking, doing drugs, or not flossing for very long. 

It's the not flossing that will do me in, I'm sure.


13. Who you can trust, who you can't, and why you shouldn't take it personally. 

[Insert sarcastic tone] Anyone who knows me knows that I never take anything personally. Ahem. Okay, okay, I'm working on it!!


14. Not to apologize for something that isn't your fault. 

This is another hard one for me, considering I apologize for everything, including for apologizing too much. Must be the Canuck in me.


15. Why they say life begins at 30. 

I have all of 2008 to figure it out. Happy New Year everyone!!