October 30, 2007

it's the big day! well, almost.

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editorial: wiccan lottery winner to open witch school.

In the spirit of Halloween, let’s take some time to think about the witch motif that runs rampant throughout this holiday season. You see them everywhere: smashed against mailboxes and front doors, on brooms hanging from lamp posts, peeking out through windows in an effort to scare trick-or-treaters, and walking the streets on Halloween night with their pointy hats, pointy noses and pointy fingers. Seldom, though, do you hear of a witch winning the lottery.

Self-proclaimed witch, Elwood “Bunky” Bartlett of Nottingham, Maryland won $33 million in the state’s September lottery.

Unlike the stereotypical Halloween witch, Bartlett practices Wicca, a nature-based religion based on magical concepts.

Before winning the lottery, Bartlett was a full-time accountant. Aside from his former day job, Bartlett is also a high priest in charge of a coven of six other witches.

Bartlett made the news when he decided to spend a large chunk of his winnings on opening a real-life Hogwarts in his home state – Willow Spring Sanctuary, a school for witches in Maryland.

“This school is for anyone who wishes to learn,” Bartlett said. “It will not just be about Wicca and the religion. They’re going to learn about Judaism and Shamanism, too.”

The school will also teach students how to manage their finances by teaching them how to plan a budget and equipping them with skills to get up out of below the poverty line.

While Bartlett’s real-estate agent looks for a multi-acre property in which to house this school, the question arises: Who’s going to attend?

Bartlett’s endeavor seems noble, as his intention is to spread his belief and empower young minds. However, the notion that young children will flock to this school on their magic flying brooms seems a little ridiculous. Also, what parent is going to pay money for their child to attend? You would think that with his accounting background, Bartlett would have thought about the ability or inability to make a profit.

Also, what makes Bartlett qualified to open a witch school? Obtaining teaching credentials is hard work. It requires a college education and high test scores within a particular subject area. It’s doubtful that “Wicca” is an authorized teaching subject in the state of Maryland. In other words, where are his credentials?

Aside from creating a witch school, Bartlett has used lottery money to expand Mystickal [sic] Voyage, the store where he has been teaching Wicca for several years. He also gave a large donation to the Stonehenge Preservation Group. He did so not in order to protect the pre-historic relic, but so that two of his witch colleagues can get married inside the stone circle.

Although his donations are selfless in nature, couldn’t his $33 million be spent on more altruistic endeavors? Some people don’t have heat in their homes to withstand the winter chill. Children are starving. Homelessness has become an epidemic. If Bartlett is so adamant about teaching youngsters how to rise above the poverty level, you’d think his donations would help those already there.

Perhaps he and his students will whip up a magic potion that can cause money to grow on trees. That way, massive amounts of cash would be readily available for everyone else, and we could use it in much more meaningful ways.

October 29, 2007

all this talk about sex & the city has given me an idea.

A silly idea, but who the heck cares??

Why don't all of us write a post about our all-time favorite Sex and the City moment? I was at the gym tonight and a certain song came up on my iPod and I smiled so big. Here's why:

My all-time favorite S&TC moment occurs towards the end of the whole show's run. I don't remember exactly what episode, but I do remember this: Carrie and Big are in an empty apartment. Boxes are scattered on the hard-wood floor. Suddenly, Big plays a song. "Moon River," the old, classic version. He takes Carrie's hand and they slow dance. Carrie blushes and says, "This is so cheesy!" Her voice cracks like it normally does when she uses that high-pitched voice of hers. (You might remember the Burger episode when she keeps referring to the "scrunchie.") Yet they keep on dancing. They slow dance in the empty apartment and Cassandra cries and cries and cries.

"Moon River" played on my iPod while I was on the treadmill tonight. And I smiled and smiled and smiled.

thanks, guys. now i feel silly.

Thanks for all your wonderful comments. But I feel the need to clarify.

My goal isn't necessarily to "get skinny." There was a point in time (called freshman and sophomore year of college) when I was downright chiseled. I'd like to be like that again.

I think model skinny is disgusting, so that's not what I'm going for. I want my muscles back! I want that "v" shape in my abs. I want sculpted biceps again. LoL. I sound stupid.

Overall, I want to be able to fit into the outfit I wore the night I met Aaron. I can technically put it on right now, but it doesn't look quite as good as it before. Ha!

So anyway, just FYI. I have no complex and I don't want to waste away. I just want more confidence, I suppose.

October 28, 2007

forgot to mention...


This is what I looked like last October - exactly one year ago. ----->

Last week, I was finally able to put those jeans back on for the first time in a loooooong time. I did NOT, however, look like that in them, but let this be my motivation! I will be able to wear clothes like this again. Dammit. I also knew I wasn't quite there yet because they definitely weren't as comfortable as they used to be.




Here's me in the same jeans last Wednesday. But alas, no cute little shirt showing off my waistline because well...once again, it's just not quite there yet.


september 25, 2006.

I don't have much to say, it's just been a while since I've written in here to you. It's definitely bedtime, but for some reason, I can't sleep - chances are its because I'm thinking of you.

I can't believe that September is almost over! If all the months would pass as quickly as this one, that would encourage me more than anything.

I miss you in everything I do.

You would have laughed at me tonight while I was painting the room. I bent down next to the wall and the top of my head touched the wet paint. So, my hair is currently seafoam blue mixed with a little natural brunette. I miss you most at those awkward times because it is those random moments when I am truly me that you seem to love me the most. What a great feeling!

I miss it. Come home soon, mi amor.

Your wife,
Cassandra

P.S. You are an incredible human being.

the cassandra factory has been shut down.

Why? Lack of productivity.

Oh my God. I have been so horrible this weekend. I got absolutely nothing accomplished. Well, I take that back. I did manage to break my diet. But anyway...nothing good came out of this weekend at all. And now school is going to kick my butt this week. It was just hard getting motivation to do anything knowing that, technically, nothing was due...yet.

What a waste of a weekend. I knew it would turn out this way. I could tell on Friday morning. My Mom says everyone needs time to be depressed and mope. This is true and that I did. I just hope I'm not still feeling this way tomorrow. It's going to Monday, for crying out loud!! The whole weekend - wasted.

Oh, and the diet is back on tomorrow. I'll have an update on weight lost since it will be the two- week marker. But after this weekend, holy crap. I probably put back on 5 pounds.

Man.

October 27, 2007

pics of my boyfriend from another life-time.

This is Brody before our first date. I told him to change his flip-flops because they didn't really match.

This is him on the red carpet.
And finally, this was our white-water rafting trip in '98.
Ok, not really. But if I did have a celebrity crush, he would be it...and Justin Timberlake.

the lack of wonderfulness.

I'm just having a bad couple of days - the kind of days when you realize life is just so much better with someone beside you.

It's the weekend, the time I look forward to all week. Yet, when it arrives, it brings with it this sudden sense of doom. I feel so lonely and quite frankly, depressed. There is no one to do anything with because well, they're all in Texas. The people that I do have here are all out of town this weekend - and can you blame them??

So, here I sit. All alone. Nothing to do except homework and gross things like clean out my dog's crate (which is a whole other post on its own).

It's sunny outside and I'm sure the weather's feeling beautiful, too. A motivated person would pack up their dog and take them to Pinnacle Mountain and hike. A happy person would take a shower and go to Wal-Mart and buy the things necessary to get the goals for today accomplished. A content person would have eaten by now.

Isn't it amazing how when you don't have "your person" around you find yourself thinking polar opposite: Monday can't come fast enough.

wonderfulness.

One of my BFF's from 6th grade posted the most wonderful thing. Go here to read it. What makes it so wonderful and amazing is that these two kids have been together since 7th grade.

It made me cry and miss Aaron. Imagine that...

October 26, 2007

have you ever noticed...

that when you have so much to do, you become overwhelmed and end up doing nothing at all?

weird.

Weird how since Aaron's left, I don't have much to post about anymore. I did post two other journal entries, so scroll down.

That is all.

september 4, 2006: mushy-gushy.

My Baby,

I am missing you really bad right now. I was standing in the bathroom, looking in the mirror, just wishing you were here to walk up behind me and put your arms around me - you know that's my favorite.

I am absolutely dying for your touch right now. You are always so warm and easy to fall into.

I am in bed, wishing you were lying next to me. I now know how much I love you and need you. It's only been three weeks and I've had enough assurance that my love for you is incredible. It defies logic. It knows no pride or shame.

I need you. And I'm not ashamed to say that. I've always been told never to "need" anyone. That one's survival should not depend on another man, but merely God Himself. Indeed. But you, sweetheart, are what sustains me.

You are and always have been my true and only path to sublime happiness.

Come home soon.

Love,
Cass

august 30, 2006

I'm on my break at dance classes. We have 30 minutes in-between classes on Wednesdays, so what better time to write than now?

I am really enjoying these classes so far. I feel like I'm doing something enjoy. Ha! The only ONE good development since you've been gone. Blah.

So thank goodness August is almost over. One less month to stare at on the calendar. Soon, we'll be out of the 100's as far as days go. That will be easier to take, too. Three digits are kind of hard to look at, aren't they? 100 days. Goodness.

Soon enough.

You'll be home and I'll be happy and more in love with you than I've ever been. Until then...

I love you,
Cass

October 24, 2007

laura's babies.

These are some pictures from last Saturday night at Laura's.

Here's Joe in his Halloween costume this year: An Arkansan.
Here's Joe with another "costume" on. I don't know what look he's going for here, but it sure is nasty!
And here's her little pumpkin head, Luke, being held by her brother, Matt.
Sidenote: Laura's mom makes the best apple cider I've ever tasted. Well, it was actually the only apple cider I've ever tasted, but it sure was amazing!!

what grad school does to a person.

august 27, 2006: the journal.

I just turned on the radio and John Mayer's "Your Body is a Wonderland" is on 98.5. I always smile when I hear this song because it first reminds me of Charlie Lanks and his jiggly stomach and then reminds me of the early, very early stages of our relationship.

God, I felt so awkward that day went out to Lake Amistad with all your friends. I didn't know how to act. I didn't know then if I was someone you actually liked, or was I just someone you messed around with? Someone to pass the time?

Think about how much fun we would have if we could go back in time knowing what we do now and re-live that whole afternoon?

I would have definitely attempted to knee-board and I would have laughed more and sat a whole lot closer to you than I did. I was so scared back then. I didn't know what your intentions were. I was so insecure with you, always asking myself, "He really likes me? Really?? Me??" I couldn't handle another heartbreak.

And here we are, two years later, more in love than we've ever been in our lives. It's amazing how by being your wife, I have gotten back a sense of security. I feel safe with you. I feel confident with you.

In the two years we've known each other, you have made me a better person; someone I can be proud of.

Let's go back to the lake one day and re-live that afternoon. But this time, as husband and wife. Strong and secure.

Love you,
Cass

why i gave the talk. amazing.

Take 10 minutes out of your day and listen to this man.

October 23, 2007

due to the overwhelming outpour of demands...

ok, not really. There were only a few, but that works for me. I will now be posting my journal entries from our first deployment. They're not that great and there's not thousands, but I thought you'd like a quick glimpse, anyhow. I promise I won't skip any entries or delete anything. I'll probably do one a day - or something like that. So, here goes. (scroll down).

the first deployment: august 11th, 2006 to december 17th, 2006.

26 August 2006

Aaron has been gone just a day over two weeks. I feel so incredibly overwhelmed and sad when I look at the countdown calendar. I have barely done two weeks. How am I going to do nearly three more months?

It seems like an eternity until he gets back. No Thanksgiving with him, no Halloween, no football season, no Arkansas in the fall.

I'll admit I'm feeling depressed right now. I miss my best friend. Things just aren't as enjoyable with him gone. It's like when you're sick and you can't taste the food you eat: bland and useless. That's how life is without you.

I miss you incredibly. Come home soon. You are the love of my life.

Cassandra

to post or not to post?

I found the journal I kept during Aaron's last deployment. I re-read it last night and kept thinking, "That would make a great blog post!"

I have started the next "chapter" in the journal for this deployment. I wrote it in some last night. It was hard realizing I had to do this...again...but also very comforting when reading last time's entries about his arrival. I was such a happy girl. I look forward to writing about that again. Right now, though, it just seems far, far, away.

My question is this: Would you want to read the journal from last time? I ask only because I don't want to bore my faithful readers nor do I want to display too personal of information that might make people uncomfortable. It's really not all that bad, I just want to be sure before I do it. There's a lot to read!

I could, perhaps, post one entry a day or something. I don't know. Tell me what you think.

uno mas editorial: for the myspacer's out there.

Contrary to popular belief among its critics, the social networking phenomenon known as Myspace really isn’t all that bad. It does, however, take more than a general and brief observation of the site to understand its strengths and appeal.

Myspace currently boasts over 200 million world-wide members. Although most participants are between the ages of 12 and 17, it is unfair to assume that such a large amount of people are using the networking site for all things superficial.

The most popular aspect of Myspace is the creativity is generates among its users. Participants can post pictures, write blogs, create flashwave slideshows, generate countdowns to important events in their lives, and edit html (among thousands of other things).

Perhaps Myspace receives so much flack because people just don’t truly understand what it is being used for.

For instance, Myspace creates a venue for re-connection. People can search for old high school classmates, former college loves, and even family members whom geography divides. Very seldom do habitual Myspace members use the site for meeting new people. In fact, this practice is often discouraged among Myspace devotees who tend to set their profile to private in order to avoid unsolicited messages from strangers.

Myspace also offers genius ways of providing support groups for people battling life’s problems. Thousands of Myspace pages are devoted to finding a cure for cancer. Others offer people struggling with bi-polar disorder an avenue to vent their frustrations. Some members have even used Myspace as a way to bring together people struggling with losing family members to the conflict in Iraq. Incredible bonds have been formed through this Internet tool among people needing to know they’re not alone in their particular struggle.

Perhaps both the most beneficial and unknown aspect of Myspace is its automatic Amber Alert generator. Upon registering for a Myspace account, a member must include their zip code. Because Myspace has this particular information “on file,” if an Amber Alert has been sent out in that person’s region, Myspace generates a bulletin at the top of the login page. In fact, an Amber Alert for a missing girl in the central Arkansas region was posted last week. The bulletin gives the Myspace member a full description of the missing person, who the abductor may be, what he or she looks like, and the child’s perceived whereabouts.

Yes, people can use Myspace for trivial endeavors and there is no doubt that occurs on a regular basis. However, if a Myspace account can lead to the finding of a missing little girl, you can bet its benefits far outweigh its perceived downfalls.

October 22, 2007

arkansas state fair, y'all! i'm a fair fool these days.

Here are some pictures of my experience at the Arkansas State Fair last Thursday. Shannon and I went during the day in order to avoid the crazies and we actually had a pretty good time!

She and I decided that we're getting old because the rides actually made us sick to our stomachs! Again, remember when you were little and you could ride those things all day and not feel a thing?

I had my first ever fried Oreo and w-o-w! It was so good! They came in a bag of 6 and thank goodness I only ate one. I could have eaten the whole bag, but alas, fried Oreos are not in the zone. LoL. Ya think?!

Here are the pictures with my commentary of each:

A cutie-patootie alpaca. Look at that face!!

Baby goats sleeping among the chaos that is the State Fair.
Seriously, the largest cow I have ever seen. Look at that udder sack! (Or whatever you farm people call it!)
Shannon was so cute. She said, "Aww! Ducks in a row!"
This is how I feel and look during PMS week:
A baby 'roo!
This poor zebra was not happy. He acted like he was trying to get out of the cage. Zebras are meant to run in the wilderness of Africa, not be cooped up in a pen. It made me sad.
Watch out! They spit! (Is it horrible that I didn't feel pity for the camel because camels remind me of the Middle East and the Middle East reminds me of war and war reminds me of my husband?) Sorry, camel!
Now this is just weird. They're called "Jacob Four Horned Goats." Obviously, they're bred for defects. It's not normal for goats to have four horns. It's just not. It's like Bulldogs. No dog was ever meant to be so stocky, short, and with a pushed-in face. What were people thinking!?
Doesn't this look like something straight from "Charlotte's Web?" I love it!
The pig race announcer. Notice: bare feet.
The little piglets post-race.
So ends my pictorial account of the Arkansas State Fair 2007. Do you feel lucky?

a week on the "zone" and (drumroll, please!)

I've lost about 4 pounds!

I say "about" because it seems to fluctuate between 4-5 pounds. So, I'll underestimate and say it was just 4.

I think it could have been more because I only worked out twice this week - and one of those times was pretty lame if I do say so myself.

I am dying for my Zone Recipe book to come in the mail from paperbackswap.com. I'm running out of food combinations and eating the same thing everyday is getting quite old and boring. Bring on the book!

I plan on going to the gym today...at some point.

Man, remember when we were little and we could eat whatever we wanted all day long and it had virtually no effect on anything??

How I miss those days!

October 21, 2007

care package conundrum.

I am horrible.

I have yet to send Aaron a care package. Last year's deployment was so much more dramatic than this one. I felt the need to send a care package each and every Sunday. Uhm, yeah. Two weeks have gone by and the boy got nothin' on the way.

I take that back, I did send a card. See? I'm not that bad.

Here's the problem. You can't send food over there because it will spoil or get dried out. Unless you've got one of those super-sucker machines that wraps the food all tight, sending food is pointless.

The guys don't need a bunch of junk, either. Most likely, it will just get thrown away.

So, here's the problem. What should I send in a care package?! He doesn't want candy or junk food (as we're both on a quest to eat better these days) and he doesn't need anything silly...what to do, what to do.

Come on, people! You guys are all cute and crafty. Help me!

out of the ordinary.

The following are things I do when Aaron is gone that I never do when he is here. Or, the opposite. The following are things I do NOT do when Aaron is gone, but things I always do when he's here. Follow?

Things I do:
  • Mow the front yard
  • Feed the dog
  • Pay the bills
  • Manage Quicken
  • Take out the trash
Usually, Aaron is in charge of the before mentioned.

Things I don't do:
  • Put away the laundry after it's folded. When Aaron is here, I constantly demand that clothes get put up immediately after being folded.
  • Make the bed. Why bother? It's not my bed anyway (at least not right now)
  • Pick up shoes off the floor. When Aaron does this, he gets yelled at. Yet, while he's not here, I feel the need to leave my shoes everywhere.
  • Put down my things in the right place when I get home. Aaron is never allowed to just drop his bags and things on the dining room table when he gets home. Yet, I've been doing this everyday since he's been gone.
  • Watch television at night. That's me and Aaron's thing. I just don't do it anymore.
  • Cook. Why bother? It's just one of me.
Deployments sure do have strange effects on someone as anal-retentive as me, especially when it comes to keeping a clean house. Weird.

October 19, 2007

big girl panties are stupid.

Tonight is hard.

Shannon and I went to a squadron Halloween Bunko event. It was fun and all that good stuff...until I dropped Shannon off and had to go home to an empty house on a Friday night.

I think, for the first time since he's been gone, that Aaron's absence finally hit me...like a ton of bricks.

I was driving home, traffic was horrible, and I just felt nauseated. I was angry and sad and sick to my stomach. I don't know how much of this is to blame on my PMS, which I can tell is also in full throttle, or was this feeling really the sole product of realizing my husband is gone?

This is not a good night. This is a hard night. I should go to bed, but our bed is not our bed without him in it.

How many more days to go?

headless frog: an update.

As I predicted in my soul of souls, the cats came back for what remained of the poor frog on my front porch. Thank goodness. Now I don't have to clean that mess up!

October 18, 2007

goat fest!

Here are some pictures of my experience last weekend at Goat Fest, the pride of Lewisburg, Tennessee.

Here is Shannon and me on our way to see the "fainting goats." Austin's (Shannon's husband) mom took this picture.
Goat-drawn carriage ride, anyone?
I'm guessing this is their version of 4-H. Everyone showed their goats in certain divisions and were awarded money. Is that like 4-H?? I have no idea.
Here's everybody! John (Austin's brother), Shannon, Louisa (Austin's sister), Christy (John's girlfriend), myself, and finally....Pam The Goat.

October 17, 2007

i got tagged!

Tyly tagged me and now I have to write 7 funny/strange/crazy things about myself. I understand that by doing so, I may lose my friends in the blog world. I am one crazy lady. Scroll down to see who I've tagged.

1. I like to eat potatoes - raw. It's something I've done ever since I was a little girl. My Mom would slice up the potatoes for mashed potatoes and I always demanded a "chip." I still do this. Every time.

2. Whenever someone asks me the time, I respond and then quickly trace the time I said on the back of my thumb with my pointer finger. With both hands. Next time you ask me the time, look at my fingers. Weird.

3. I just attempted to drink a home-made grape smoothie. Never again.

4. In order to get sleep at night, I must have the following (no more, no less): A fan blowing on my face, my Sleep Mate sound machine turned to "white noise," my Tempur-pedic pillow, and absolute darkness. If one of those mentioned is absent, I do not sleep.

5. I think I wear my eye-liner too thick, but I can't change it. I feel like if I do it any thinner, my eyes disappear.

6. I get a secret thrill when I receive a check in the mail from the thrift shop on base for junk that people actually bought.

7. I have to dye my hair now - not because it's the cool thing to do - but because I have bright silver hair all in my bangs, on the sides of my head, and now, on top. Seriously?!?!

I TAG KABLOT AND SHAUNNA!

October 16, 2007

when he's missed the most.

I was looking for a pair of underwear in my "panty drawer" today. I haven't done laundry in a while, so my panty inventory is suffering a bit.

As I was rifling through, trying to make a decision, I found something that didn't belong in the panty drawer: a black tank top, balled up in a feeble attempt of being folded.

This is a black tank top I wear often. This is a black tank top that hangs on a hanger in my closet with all the other tank tops. This does not belong, whatsoever, in the panty drawer. In fact, I'd been looking for this top for a while.

Then I realized something: Aaron was the last one to "do the laundry" before he left. He "folded" my tank top and tossed it into the panty drawer. I guess he was trying to help me put away my clothes.

Upon this realization, I smiled. Deeply.

Then I wore the wrinkled, black tank top for the rest of the day.

so many books, so little time!

I am swamped with books to read. I don't even know where to start! I finished "Where the Heart Is" today at the gym.
Yes, I said GYM. Be proud. I read it while on the bike. It really made the time go by faster. I sure was sweaty, though. The book was good, but I was swayed and skewed on how I truly felt because I had seen the movie beforehand. And honestly, the movie was better. Billie Letts is a great writer, though. This book was very easy to read, easy to understand. A true quick read.

Here are all the other books I have piled up on my night stand! I don't even know where to start!

Oprah's latest Book Club selection: A book she calls the love story to end all love stories. Whoa.
Another book I got word of from Oprah. I saw the author on the show last week and this book, although I had seen it before in bookstores, never really grabbed my attention until that interview. Ah, the power of the media.
Another to add my to Jodi Picoult collection. I got this one off of paperbackswap.com
A silly read to make me laugh. Hopefully.
And these next two are books that Aaron and I both have copies of. We started the 7 Habits book before he left, but life got in the way of our leisure reading time. I think it's so cute how this was his idea - to get books that will build ourselves and our marriage. What a sweet boy.
So, yes. I wish I could get paid to read books all day long. How will I ever read all these books and do homework at the same time?? *sigh*

not for the squeamish. seriously.

They don't call it the Natural State for nothing.

As I was about to drop off yet another book in my mailbox from an order on paperbackswap.com, I stopped short as I realized that we have yet another spider in our domain. This time, the spider is on our FRONT porch and this time, I don't think I'm going to be as kind to him as I was to Charlie - who, I think, is resting in spider peace by now.

This new guy, let's call him Amos, has made his place right on our walkway (i.e. if you walk down the steps of our porch, you're going to walk right into his web). I came really close to walking right in that huge mess. Thank goodness he was on the web or else I would have never seen it. I think Amos is going down. He looks evil and he's in the way. Not like poor, sweet Charlie who just hung out on our back porch.

Now what I'm about to tell you and what you're about to see is disgusting - assuming you haven't already cheated and scrolled down to the picture. Don't eat while you read this post. Don't look too closely at the photo either.

There. That was your warning.

Yesterday, again, as I was about to check the mail, I opened up our front door and our neighbor's cats, Morris and Hemi, were on my front porch. I thought, "That's weird!" Morris likes to hide under our truck every now and then, but we've never seen Hemi in our yard, ever! (By the way, she's named Hemi because her purr sounds like a hemi engine. Get it?)

Anyway, I thought nothing more about the cats on my porch. I let them hang out, thinking they were getting away from the rain or...whatever.

Then today not only do I find Amos and his new web, but I find this...WARNING! It's gross!
Yup. A decapitated frog. Disgusting. Thanks, Morris and Hemi. I appreciate the lovely gift you so lovingly bestowed upon my front porch.

I think I'm just going to let it rot away. I can't muster the courage to sweep it off or touch it or anything. (I think I just vomited in my mouth a little...)

I'm not sad about the dead frog. I hate frogs. I hate frogs more than I hate cock-a-roaches. And that's a lot! I'm glad the booger is dead because that keeps him from jumping on my bare legs when I take the trash out. But man, what a way to go...poor thing.

freakin' frustrated.

I haven't had one decent conversation with my husband since he left. That was almost a week ago.

It's not that he hasn't called. It's just that when he does call, our connection is always bad and I spend the majority of the conversation saying, "Huh?!" "What?!" "What was that?!" Then I end up getting frustrated at the damn thing and it sounds like I'm mad at my husband, which couldn't be any farther from the truth.

We set up Skype before he left, which is a program that allows IM'ing plus computer to computer real-time talking. It's amazing! Except, of course, that it decided to stop working the day before he left. That's right - our chance at free phone calls, no interruptions, he-could-do-it from-his-room-wonderfulness has been ripped away until I figure out how to get the thing working again.

I want to talk to my husband. Once. Without interruptions. Or static. Or calls that end abruptly because some automated butthole is telling me, "You have two minutes remaining."

I sound like a brat, don't I? "What about those WW2 soldiers who couldn't call their wives," you ask? Yeah, that's a sad story. But when you're in this situation - you'd feel just as crummy as I do.

I just want to cry.

editorial #4: rough. extremely.

It happened again.

Asa H. Coon, a 14-year-old student at Cleveland’s Success Tech Academy, shot four people last Wednesday before turning the gun on himself.

News viewers across the nation shook their heads in disbelief, journalists reminded us of Columbine and other school shooting tragedies, and the government is at a lost for what to do – again.

No one, however, prepared us for Warren Banks, a senior who survived the shooting and is now looking to make money on his tragic experience.

Banks used his home video camera to record his experience as Coon shot two classmates and two teachers before taking his own life.

Marks’ video depicts nervous laughter among students and later tension inside his math classroom as he and other students realized things were getting serious.

Electronics are not allowed on the campus of Success Tech, but Marks believed capturing the events as they unfolded was more important than following the rules.

Marks claims that he initially began to film the chaos in an effort to get himself on the news.

His efforts worked.

Marks’ video footage has appeared on Cleveland stations, CNN and ABC – and he wants money for it all.

Marks provided his video to a local station but later held a bidding war between other media outlets in front of school.

Is something wrong here?

Marks’ focus is in the wrong place. How can someone even think about money after having lived through such a tragedy? His focus, instead, should be on the two teachers, who still remain hospitalized after Wednesday’s attack. His focus should be on providing a shoulder to lean on for his friends suffering from trauma. His focus should be upward, thanking God that his life was spared. Instead, his focus remains on dollars he can earn at the expense of tragedy.

Not only is Marks’s focus in the wrong place, but he’s also managed to use his footage to negotiate higher amounts with the media.

Marks said a syndicated talk show had agreed to pay $2,000 and that local stations would have to pay him for clips, as well. At least one other Cleveland TV station offered as much as $3,000 for the video, but Marks is asking for more.

Marks told CNN that when he realized things were serious during the time of the shooting, he continued to film because news outlets “could really use this information.” A noble gesture, but after demanding thousands for his clip, sincerity seems lacking.

Perhaps Marks isn’t to blame, however, for his money-hungry demands. When asked why Marks was trying to make money from an experience so horrific, Marks’ mother, Tereena Marks, said that this was her son’s 15 minutes of fame and that he deserved to be paid.

Congratulations, Tereena Marks. You have raised a son who is willing to turn a blind eye to the terror of another senseless school shooting. You have raised a son who is making negotiations with the media at the exploitation of real people with real injuries. You have raised a son who believes he is entitled to his new-found infamy.

The apple doesn’t fall too far away from the tree, after all.

October 14, 2007

everyone's got one but me.

Sarah has one, Kablot has one, RW has one...so I got to thinking. What did I miss?! Apparently, there was an 'assignment' given to another world of bloggers and I want to be allowed to contribute my version. I traced the blogs (yes, very private investigator style) to a post from a friend of a friend of a friend, who put the following on her blog:

I am…

Fill in the blanks to write this poem about who you are and the things you think, feel, wish, dream…

I am (two special characteristics you have)
I wonder (Something you are actually curious about)
I hear (an imaginary sound – something you hear a lot in your life)
I see (An imaginary sight)
I want (an actual thing you want)
I am (Repeat the very first line of your poem)

I pretend (Something you pretend to do)
I feel (Something you feel emotionally)
I touch (Something you imagine you touch)
I worry (something you actually worry about)
I cry(Something that makes you cry)
I am (Repeat the very first line of the poem)

I understand (Something you know is true)
I say (Something you believe in)
I dream (A dream you actually have)
I try (Something you try to do)
I hope (Something that you really hope for)
I am (Repeat the very first line of the poem)

So...here is my version (I hate to be left out of fun stuff like this! ;o)

Who I Am

I am passion and fire.
I wonder why war is waged.
I hear the faint whispers of a man who loves me.
I see his face only in a crowd.
I want his touch, his smile, his embrace.
I am passion and fire.

I pretend that life goes on.
I feel too much.
I touch his dark, brown hair.
I worry for his sake alone.
I cry when I hear his voice tremble.
I am passion and fire.

I understand he has a job to do.
I say time will pass quickly.
I dream of Christmas presents and New Year's kisses.
I try to pretend he'll be around for both.
I hope because it's all that I can do.
I am passion and fire.

i'm back!

I know you missed me.

I was having fun with Shannon in Tennessee. I'll post and put pictures up tomorrow. I'm ready for a long, hot shower, my bed, and my novel.

Until then.

October 11, 2007

why my mom rocks.

Not only did she send me a card with $80 in it yesterday for a "manicure," but she also sent me a Halloween package full of great stuff!
The content of my awesome surprise:
  • A pair of black, soft, comfy Tempur-pedic-like slippers
  • A home-made clown costume
  • A goody bag full of candy, nail polish, lotion, and other girly goodness
  • Goody bags for my friends!
  • A CD my Dad made me - Reba McEntire "Duets." Hello! How did he know I wanted this CD?! I was just about to iTune it!
  • A Yankee candle - Pumpkin Frosting
  • A decorative Fall angel for my house
  • Another decorative pumpkin for my house
  • A package of sewing materials and tools!
  • A Simplicity magazine
  • Halloween fabric, just in case I wanted to make something festive
  • A Happy Halloween card that sings
  • A letter
  • Halloween stickers
  • Three Halloween dish towels
I love my Mama!

i will never.

I pledge to never stay up until 1 a.m. on the computer ever again. I pledge this because I was so wired and wide awake that I decided to take a Lunesta to knock me out. Boy, did it.

It is now 12:17 p.m. and I just woke up. Today was supposed to be my day to get homework and work done so I could go out of town tomorrow with Shannon worry-free. It's 12:18 p.m. and I haven't even started.

Never again!!

the best soldiers are not warlike.

Here's some shots before Aaron left.

We like each other.
Put on a happy face.
How we really feel.
Our buddy Dom and Aaron headed out. (And yes, Aaron shaved his head. Why bother with hair products when you're in the freakin' desert?!)
This is it. He's gone.

luke bradshaw stallings, boy wonder.

I am seriously in love with this kid. I even forgot that my husband had deployed when I was in his presence. But then we left the hospital and I remembered again.

He was born on 9 October at 11:21 a.m. and weighed 8 lbs., 11 oz. and he is just so wonderful!

He's the first baby who hasn't cried when I held him. And that means something, folks! I hope Laura doesn't think I'm crazy, but I feel a bond with her little one. Laura, I'm not crazy and I'm not going to steal your baby. I'm just happy for you.

Holding little Luke made me want to have a baby. But then he "exploded" something fierce into his diaper and I swiftly changed my mind.

The nurse swaddled him up all tight and I held the precious little thing and he fell asleep in my arms. I could cry.

Luke and Mommy
Not happy
Very happy
I love you, Luke, Laura, and Joe!

October 10, 2007

that's all folks.

He's gone.

t-minus two hours and counting.

They moved up Aaron's departure date to today. They let us know this wonderful piece of information yesterday around 4 p.m.

In about 1.5 hours, we'll be headed up to the base and Aaron will ship out.

Luckily, my friend Laura had her baby yesterday morning - I know, on the 9th! I was way off! - and Shannon and I are going up to the hospital to see little Luke (that's the name I predicted!) after I drop Aaron off.

I'll need some baby cuteness to keep my mind off of what is about to happen.

October 9, 2007

isn't it funny?

There was once a season in my life when, for the first time, I felt like I didn't have any answers. Notoriously confident in my ability to "always be right," I was flabbergasted, thrown out of my element and caused to ask the question over and over again, "Why?"

My junior year of college was a low valley. It was made low by the fact that the previous year was a mountain top. Had there been no mountain top, the valley probably wouldn't have been that bad.
It was during my junior year of college that my boy BFF, my soulmate, my knight, left our little college town to pursue a higher calling. A divine revelation in his heart prodded him to another town, another world, where he would devote his life to God.

I always felt uneasy about his decision, but arguing was fruitless. Who can argue against someone who felt called by God to pursue this dream? It only made me look like the bad guy.

So we both relented. We both anguished. We both cried. We both didn't really understand. We both asked, "Why?"

But the time came, and he left. Because of the nature of the program in which he enlisted, we weren't really allowed to see each other or converse or communicate romantically at all...for 9 months. It was the valley of all valleys.

During this time, I have so many painful memories of feeling at a loss. People kept trying to console me, urging that it was God's will, that I will be okay. Their efforts were sincere, but until you're in the valley, you don't know what it truly feels like. No one could answer my question, "Why?"

It took me years to understand why he and I had to go through that. We eventually fell apart, and whether his sabbatical was to blame or not, I suppose that's not the point.

I didn't know why we had to go through the distance and the heartache until I married my USAF pilot, Aaron M. Webb and on August 17, 2006 he deployed for Iraq for four months.

It was then that I knew. It was like a light went off on top of my head, a true "Aha!" moment. I had to learn to live without the one I loved in college not because of the college situation at all, or even for the same man. I had to live that way for my future husband, a man who will constantly be leaving me to serve, once again, a higher purpose.

After having dealt with a loved one's absence for 9 months, 4 months seems like a walk in the park. Do you think that is a coincidence?

God always knows what He's doing. I was too stubborn and too immature to really let it sink in. God had to pull my college boyfriend away for 9 months for me to prepare for a life-time with my Aaron. It had nothing to do with the college boyfriend at all.

So I am prepared. I am ready. I am strong. I've been down this road before.

Isn't it funny?

to make myself laugh.

I got this video program from Emily. This is a video of Shannon Jackson's husband, Austin, and my hubby, Aaron on our couple's cruise to Jamaica last summer. Enjoy!

October 8, 2007

just breathe.

delaying the inevitable.

Aaron has been off from work for almost a week now and he's driving me insane!! Add to that the fact that he's freakin' deploying in two days and the result does not bode well for a happy marriage at the moment.

We're both getting on each other's nerves - which is silly considering our time left is so short. This same thing happened last deployment. It's displaced stress, I suppose. We acknowledge that fact, but can't change our behavior. It's bizarre.

For instance, I am in the computer room while Aaron is in the living room watching TV. The very sound of the TV alone is getting on my nerves - not because it's loud, but because HE'S watching it.
It goes both ways. He raised his voice at me earlier this morning when he elbowed me in the shoulder (on accident) and I said, "Ow!" in response. Stupid, stupid, things.

We are delaying the inevitable by pretending it's not there. It's much easier to act annoyed or put off than to realize the truth of what's about to happen.

This so sucks.

October 7, 2007

for you book lovers.

My friend, Jennifer, told me about a pretty awesome website last night while we were over at her house. It's called paperbackswap.com

It's pretty easy to understand. Basically, you create an account - it's free - and post books in which you are willing to "swap" with other people. All you have to pay for is postage when you send your book to someone who wants it.

It sounded kinda shady at first because I thought, "Ok, so I send off all my books to people, but what happens if I don't get any in return?"

They have this credit system that keeps everyone accountable. I can only request books if I have credit and the way I get credit is for someone to RECEIVE the book I sent. In other words, if you don't send the book, you don't earn credit and can't order any books for yourself.

Check and it out and let me know what you think. If you're a book maniac like I am, you can create an account and we can exchange books all day long. How fun is that?!

I *think* my user nickname on the site is: cassandrawebb.

October 6, 2007

i've been putting this off.

I've been putting this off because I don't even know what to say about it. Or how to start, or how to end or anything.

We found out Aaron leaves for Iraq on Thursday. As in, 4 days from now. He'll be gone for four months.

I know, I know - four months isn't that bad when you think about those brave Army wives whose husband's are gone for a year or more at a time.

But four months sure is a long time when it's YOUR best friend who's leaving.

Blah. I don't even want to write about it anymore.

October 5, 2007

i dreamed this today.

We settle.
Wanting to tell ourselves
We are blessed,
Without truly realizing
We lie.

(I don't know why I dreamed this. Does this apply to someone out there?)

empty void.

My Grey's Anatomy didn't record...or it DID, but I can't play it back. It keeps giving me a black screen and after about 10 minutes a note that says, "Playback Halted."

Does anyone else have Dish Network DVR and know how to get around this?? It recorded the full hour, I just can't see it...

Oh, I am so sad.

Does anyone know when they post the shows on the abc.com website? I looked and it's not up yet...

SOOOOO ANNOYING!!!!

October 4, 2007

backgrounds and such.

For those who have asked about backgrounds:

I ran a google search for "free blog templates" and that takes you to a million sites that host free images, patterns, etc.

I got this background from this website. Just look to the left and they have an option for "Blogger Layouts." Then, spend about 5 hours looking for the perfect one. They give you directions on how to upload them, too.

One thing to remember, though, is that when you incorporate a new template, you lose some of your existing data (i.e. links to others' blogs, your profile pic, etc.) so you might need to remember what you had on your page before you start bringing in templates. I had to write down everyone's web page URL and then type them all in again. Kind of a pain.

false alarm.

Shoot.

Laura's not having her baby today. I guess my magic powers are off.

However, the day's over yet...

me and laura's baby.

We have a special bond, me and this kid. You might remember a former post about my being able to predict his name.

Well...a couple weekends ago, Aaron and I went to Laura and Joe's for game night. We had tons of fun and towards the end of the night I asked, "So, when is the baby due anyway!?"

Laura said, "October 10th, but I hope he gets here early."

I said, "Whatever. He'll be here October 4th."

Laura was supposed to come over this afternoon to help me with some of my homework. She was supposed to be here at noon. She called at 12:06 p.m. She thinks her water just broke. She's on her way to the hospital.

It's October 4th.

more than a memory.

This was the only "video" I could find of this song. It's not really a video, but more of a pictorial montage. Whatever. It's the song that matters.

I don't know how many of you have heard this song, but it metaphorically blows me away every time I hear it. I get goose bumps when the background singers accompany him in the chorus.

Can't we all relate to this song in some way? I guess I find it so gripping because I remember feeling just like he does in this song. What a horrible way to live. Thank God for getting us out of those valleys.

Goodness.

People say she's only in my head
It’s gonna take time but I'll forget
Say I need to get on with my life
They don't realize…

Is when you're dialing 6 numbers just to hang up the phone
Driving cross town just to see if she's home
Waking a friend in the dead of the night
just to hear him say it'll be alright
When you're finding things to do not fall asleep
’Cuz you know she will be there in your dreams
that's when she's
more than a memory

Took a match to everything she ever wrote
watched her words go up in smoke
tore all her pictures off the wall
That aint helping me at all

'Cause when you're talking out loud and nobody’s there
you look like hell and you just don't care
you're drinking more than you ever drank
and sinking down lower than you ever sank
then you find yourself falling down upon on your knees
Praying to God, beggin’ him "please"
that's when she's
more than a memory

She’s more

She’s more

When you’re dialing her number just to hang up the phone
Driving cross town just to see if she's home

Waking a friend in the dead of the night
just to hear him say it'll be alright

When you're finding things to do not to fall asleep
’Cuz you know she's waiting in your dreams
that's when she's
more than a memory

People say she’s only in my head
It’s gonna take time, but I’ll forget.



October 3, 2007

more pumpkin deliciousness.

Found this site on Yahoo - ten different (and new) pumpkin recipes. Woohoo!

This reminds me that I need to tell you about the Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cake I made on Monday. It is amazing. More about that later.

October 2, 2007

my trip: saturday.

Aaron and I were very proud of ourselves because we actually woke up and got around before noon! That is no small feat, especially for me. But I knew that shopping was in store, so that alone was my motivation.

After having spent $200 on dinner last night, we decided to go into town to eat somewhere "normal." We looked around and finally settled on Denny's. Everywhere else was so packed! I ordered the French Toast Slam (as usual) and Aaron ordered the Meat Lover's breakfast in an effort to stay in tune with the Zone Diet. Ha!

While we were eating, a man with eyeliner on came up to our table and handed us some tickets to his "magic show" that would be taking place later that afternoon. We smiled politely and when he walked away, Aaron said, "Ya like his eyeliner?"

Then, about 2 minutes later, a Johnny Cash look-a-like carrying a guitar on his back headed to our table and handed out brochures to HIS show later. Ironically, he is a Johnny Cash impersonator. Again, we smiled politely and tried to resume eating our breakfast.

Then, out of nowhere, we hear a guitar playing in the background. I immediately picked up on the tune and the whole restaurant joined this pseudo-Johnny Cash in his rendition of "Folsom Prison."

I hear the train a'comin'
It's rollin' round the bend

And I ain't seen the sunshine
since
I don't know when...

Ah, yes. We were in the Branson mainland. There was no turning back now.

After breakfast we headed over to the outlet mall where I spent way too much money on super cute clothes. Again, happy wife. We were there about 3 hours before deciding to head back to the hotel to get ready for our couple's massage!

We went down to the deli to grab a sandwich and some water before our massage. Then, we walked over to the Spa Chateau and wow...it was amazing. I didn't get any pictures of the spa because I didn't think it was appropriate to take pictures in a place where people are trying to relax. Trust me, it was amazing. Not like any other spa I've seen before - and I've been to some nice spas in my lifetime!

Originally, we were set to get massages in two different rooms with two different massage therapists. Awkward!! The thought of some cute, little blonde girl rubbing oil on my naked husband makes me feel a little uneasy. But it worked out that we got upgraded to the couple's room! That meant we'd be in the same room together the whole time!! Yessss!

They sent us off our separate ways so we could change into our robes and relax a bit in the "relaxation rooms." I put my stuff away in the locker, put on the robe and these hideous brown sandals. Ew.

I went out to the lady's relaxation room and waiting for them to call my name. On the flat-screen TV, they had a beach scene with Asian chimes in the background. I found out later that in the men's relaxation room, college football was on the flat-screen. Men!

They eventually called my name and I met up with Aaron and we walked with our massage therapists to the couple's room.

It was dark, with candles glowing everywhere. There were two huge garden bathtubs facing each other and of course, two massage tables. We laid next to each other and reveled in our amazing one-hour massage. Oh, it was Heavenly. And it was even more comforting and relaxing knowing Aaron was right next to me and wasn't receiving a "happy ending" to his $100 massage treatment!

Before we got dressed again, I asked Aaron what he thought about the sandals we had to wear. He said, "I am totally diggin' the polymer Jesus sandals!"

After the massage, we had some time to kill so we headed down to the outdoor pool to catch some sun. It was way too cold, so we ended up going to the indoor pool, which proved much more enjoyable because we were all alone. No loud kids running around. We spent about 30 minutes in the hot tub and then went back up to the room.

This is when the tranquility really set in. We both grabbed our books. I am currently reading "Where the Heart Is" and Aaron is reading a manual on Krav Maga. ;o) We opened up the balcony door and let the music and the sunshine from the pool seep into our bedroom while we read our books quietly. It was so serene.

After that, we got ready for the Showboat Branson Belle boat ride! This sounds incredibly hoakey, and yeah, ok, it kind of was, but whatever! We had a great time! Here's some pictures.

This is the little shop on the "dock" of the boat.

This is where you get the tickets and buy more hoakey Branson stuff. A nice couple offered to take our picture as were standing in the line to board the boat.
Just a pretty picture.
I took this one because "Showboat" was Aaron's nickname in pilot training. Of course.
And here's the beautiful boat! I loved how they had us board right at sunset. The weather had cooled down and it just created a truly romantic atmosphere.
This is right as you walk into the "lobby" of the boat.
This is the view from our seats of the stage.
I think I'll stop here for now and write another post about the boat later. Yup, sounds like a plan.
 
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