Monday, May 26, 2008

Happy Memorial Day

There are a lot of things I don't enjoy covering for work, among them council meetings, the Halloween parade and the events of certain unnamed organizations. Today, though, I didn't mind covering events at all. Sure, there was a part of me that wished I could have a break. (I worked Saturday and Sunday, too.) But while I don't consider myself intensely patriotic and would quickly change the radio if "God Bless the USA" came on the air, covering ceremonies on holidays like Memorial Day is a truly enjoyable, satisfying experience.

First thing this morning I went to a brief, yet poignant, beach patrol ceremony. The lifeguards line the beach, the chief talks and the mayor, rowed out to sea by two members of the patrol, tosses a wreath into the waves. The ceremony has been going on for over a century, and this year there was a break from the norm when most of the talking was done be a returning beach patrol member who just finished three tours (and four years) serving in Iraq. It's a simple, brief event that I've covered for the past three years now.

Over the bridge, I shot a parade and attended a ceremony at the Veterans memorial. Personally, I feel this city outdoes all others when it comes to honoring the military and veterans. The organizations over there are incredibly active and the passion and love is so evident at every event. The parade was huge and took the time to honor each group of veterans from wars and conflicts. The cheering was constant, but when the Iraq and Afghanistan vets marched by the applause and cheering rose a few octaves. It's interesting, because you know everyone lining that street does not agree with our President. You know they don't all support the current war. But there was no question that they all support our troops.

I don't think I'll be a writer forever, and I know there will come a time when I'm no longer running around covering events on holidays. But I'm going to always make it a point to attend these types of events on Memorial Day. I'll always take the time to pause and remember. Our soldiers gave their lives fighting for us, and there is no way to ever even begin to repay that sacrifice. The least I can do is think of them, thank them and continue to live my life. They died so I could.

Friday, May 23, 2008

A little bit of this, a little bit of that...

I've been so busy. Some of it is thanks to my doing, but a big chunk of it is out of my control. (Unless you say it is my choice to work, however, I have to pay the bills somehow.)

Barks on the Boards is Sunday, giving owners a chance to walk the Boardwalk with their four-legged pals without getting a lovely fine from the police. The Humane Society is putting it on, and it's the biggest fundraiser of the year for them. I've been helping by collecting items for raffle baskets and making posters. I still have to make one big banner and, on Saturday, my mom and I are assembling all of the raffle baskets with goodies donated by local merchants. I'm also going to volunteer at the event the day-of. It's fun. I like helping them out.

I've also been corresponding with my new Adopt-A-Platoon soldier. He's a specialist stationed in Afghanistan, out of harms way more so than a lot of troops involved in our current conflict. (Which is, honestly, a relief to know I'm writing to someone who is a bit safer.) It's neat because he's been emailing a bit, and my previous two soldiers I supported I didn't hear from much. You don't need to hear from them - you just inherently know what you do is appreciated - but it's still neat to get the emails. I sent out my first package to him today, filled with some (I hope) good stuff, like homemade cookies, Johnson's Popcorn, Shriver's salt water taffy, Rauhauser's fudge and some games and a football. Oh, and my newspapers. I know. But maybe he'll be interested!

My garden is doing fantastic. The dill and English thyme kicked the bucket - I know the thyme spent too much time out of the ground, but I'm not quite sure what went wrong with the dill. I'm going to replace the thyme with oregano, and maybe some marjoram or sage where the dill was. Everything else is more or less thriving, and I'll have to stake the tomato plants in a couple of weeks, I think. I still have flowers to plant out front and a bunch of weeding to do. I'll have to make that my project for after vacation.

Speaking of! John and I leave for our cruise on May 31! We're doing the Western Caribbean this go round, still with Carnival, on a new ship, the Triumph. It's a seven day stint and I'm très excited. I think more than anything I'm just loving the fact that I'll be away from work for nine whole days and get to spend all of that time with the boy. (I am not happy to leave my pooch for so long, however my super awesome and gracious roommate Ryan will be watching her with some help from her girlfriend, Felicia, and I couldn't ask for Piper to be in better hands. The lucky dog.)

Save for spending a paragraph or two talking about the craziness and stress that is work right now, that's really all that's been going on. So, just consider this a little update post. Maybe I'll have some Memorial Day weekend pictures later on.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

How does your garden grow?

My brother, John, and I planted my garden this past weekend. There's grape tomatoes and plum tomatoes, eggplant, bell peppers and a bunch of herbs. The soil's very sandy - I hope they take.

After a couple weeks, this was the first chance we had to finally get everything planted (mostly due to rain). I figured it was such a small plot that it wouldn't take very long, but there were quite a few troubles.

I was wrong.

First, a layer of wood chip covering. No big problem. Then, a layer of plastic. Not too tough, either. Then, rocks - tons and tons of little rocks and pebbles that must have, at one point, been a covering. We left the rocks in - hopefully it doesn't hurt anything. A few inches deeper was more plastic - old plastic - that shredded in our hands. That served much more problematic. The planter in the corner (an old tire) is there because a few inches below that was a big cement brick. We also found various odds and ends when we dug - a rusty chain, shards of glass and weird plastic...

Anyhow, it's finished now and I started yesterday on out front, planting some pink impatiens. Our porch is super shoddy, so until the landlords fix it I figure I could pretty up the area with some flowers. Next - hanging baskets! I'm thinking purples, pinks and whites...

Friday, May 2, 2008


Yesterday, John and I hit up the Phillies game vs. San Diego. It was a great time - Phils won, which makes it that much better, but I had such a nice time with the boyfriend that it wouldn't have really ruined anything if they lost. (Okay... Maybe a little bit, but that's all.)

John and I don't get to spend very much time together, living over an hour away and working conflicting schedules and all, so that time we do spend together is usually a later-evening segment between working that leaves us a bit run down (and me always sleepy) to do anything very exciting. The beauty of it is that neither of us seems to mind - just the time together is lovely, whether it's spent playing Scrabble and watching television or out and about with friends.

Nevertheless, it was nice to go to the game just one-on-one. (Well, plus the 32,999 other fans, that is.) We don't get to too many Phillies games throughout the season (the whole conflicting schedule thing) so, when we do go, it's usually with friends, moms, dads or siblings in tow. Which, don't get me wrong, is great. But sometimes you just want to be on your own, you know?

I guess what I'm just trying to get at is that I had a nice time. Really nice.