Sunday, February 22, 2009

"Taking Chance"

You may be wondering why I have a picture of Kevin Bacon on the blog. Well, I took this picture just last night. Ok, not really, I've never met Kevin Bacon but I'm sure I am only separated from him by six degrees. (If you don't know what I'm talking about, google six degrees of separation - Kevin Bacon.)

Conrad had me Tivo a film last night that played on HBO. It's called Taking Chance. We watched it before going to bed. This is one of the most informative, moving, beautiful, simple and never-swaying-from-its-purpose movies I've seen in a long time.

I believe the purpose of the film was to show us what happens when one of our own falls in combat. It is non-political, doesn't say if the war is right or wrong, just shows us the respect our fallen service men and women are given on their way home. I am telling you now, you won't be able to watch it without a tissue. Well, you can watch it without one, but you'll wish you had one.

I am impressed the more I think about this film because of it's simplicity. Simply one man escorting another man to the simple town of his final resting place. Sound boring? IT. IS. NOT.

It is beautifully filmed, scenery, simple shots of people paying respect, grief, people dealing with it realistically. The way the officer deals with the unexpectedness of respect for someone he doesn't, nor anyone he comes in contact with on the way to the soldier's home, knows. It really is a wonderful tribute.

I encourage anyone, no matter their political view, view on war, religious preference or any other persuasion to view this film.

Taking Chance is worth the hour - hour and a half you will spend watching it. It's the least we can do for our fallen soldiers.

For more information, go to

Saturday, February 21, 2009

All sorts of stuff

As some of you may or may not know...ol' Blue died for the last time last Thursday. You know, the truck I've had since 1992? The truck that was my "statement of independence" when I became single again, "so I wouldn't have to rely on a man for anything". The truck that had a string of beads hanging from the rear view mirror since about the second summer I had it because Aaron made them for me (they're still there). The truck that drove me and my two cats to Wisconsin, lived through all that snow with just some sand in the back. The truck that got Conrad to work and back for many, many years after I couldn't drive it when I got pregnant with Sadie and couldn't fit behind the wheel anymore. Yeah, that truck. Last Thursday, I could hear Conrad coming from much further away (usually I could hear him when he rounded the corner) and poor ol' Blue...she just couldn't go any further. She just died of old age.

After much car lot searching, jumping through every financial hoop known to man and the finance company deciding they didn't want us to have two car payments (they wanted us to trade in the van or pay it off - yeah right) Conrad decided to purchase from an individual a truck that would "just get him to and from work until we could get the van paid off". Well, let me tell you, the man can shop. Meet the newest member of the Wangler Family...
It's a 2000 F-150, black with a white stripe at the bottom, back seat for the girls, with 4 doors (only two have handles) and it's. paid. for.!!!!! No extra car payment! It rides like a dream. Seems to be a really good truck and for a good price. I'm very happy for Conrad and he's happy to have something that doesn't announce his arrival five minutes before he gets somewhere. He brought it home Wed. night and Thursday I called him to see how his drive to work went. I said "you didn't even have to shift gears, did you". He said "That truck is so smart, it shifts its own gears!". Now we have two vehicles that will fit the whole family and how nice that is going to be. Indeed.

Now, onto other things...

The upside to the tree being cut down was the insurance. The insurance adjuster came out and after surveying the damage, decided we needed a new roof. Go figure. So, today, that's exactly what happened. We got a new roof. See...

The pictures don't really show off the blackness of the shingles.

Now, I'm not too partial to the black color of the roof. But, I am WAY partial to the newness of it and the no holes in it. The people putting it on are relatives of the guys who did the second cutting of the tree. Those guys are fast. They started around 9am and were done by 4 or 5 this afternoon. I was amazed.
The thing that took the longest (in my opinion, don't ask them) was getting up the nails that fall to the ground while all that roofing is going on. This was my magnet...

full of nails. This was theirs...

much bigger than mine. But, mine could get into smaller places, like in between all those huge logs still in our back yard from the tree. It was actually kind of fun running that thing through leaves and such and coming up with a huge magnet full of nails. Scary, too. No barefootin' it for us for awhile. Or else, tetanus shots all around.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Father/Daughter dance '09

Last week, ACA held the second annual Father/Daughter dance. My intention was to post the pictures the next day (considering I had gotten home very late - or very early depending on how you look at things). It was then that I discovered that my camera dock wasn't "talking" to my computer. Out of nowhere, the weren't speaking to each other. Today, I sat down, yet again, to see if I could fix the problem and I thought I would just see what happened when I pushed the "magic" button on the dock. Well, lo and behold, they've made up and are speaking to each other again. I would love to say my technical expertise had a hand in it but that would be lying. So, without further ado, The Father/Daughter dance blog.

The original plan for the Father/Daugter dance was that Madeline's escort was to be Uncle Paul. She asked if she could ask him and she did and he said "yes". However, as you remember, Mads came down with the flu. Our rule is that if you don't go to school, you don't get to do whatever is going on after school and unfortunately, her fever didn't break until the wee hours of Friday morning, so no school for her. So, it ended up being just Sadie and Conrad going. My heart was broken having to tell her she couldn't go but she took it well and understood. She also got to go with some friends to "The Main Event" the next night which was described to me as "Chuck E. Cheese on steroids". She came home with a soccer ball, a hoola-hoop and 3 watches. I think she had a good time and that, hopefully, made up for it.

Back to the dance...

Conrad and Sadie had to drop me off at Susan's house so I would have a ride to the dance. He was taking Sadie out to eat and I had to be there 45 min. before anyone showed up so, out of necessity, I rode with Susan. It is at her house these pictures were taken.

Sadie and Katelyn. BFFs (Best Friends Forever for those of you not "in the know").

The two of them "cutting a rug".

Video of them dancing.
It was really a lovely evening. Tunes were provided by Iphone and Ipod, DJing by me. The decorations were black, pink and silver/gray. I think everyone had a lovely time and I even saw some teary-eyed Dads there. I hope this tradition continues.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Mads tribute to MLKJ

Madeline had to write a "paper" on Martin Luther King, Jr. This is her finished product.

Martin Luther King Jr.’s name was Michael Luther King, Jr. when he was born. But he later had it changed to Martin Luther King. Jr. He was born January 15, 1929 at 501 Auburn Avenue in Atlanta, Georgia. His parents were Martin Luther King, Sr. and Alberta William King. He had one sister and one brother. His brother is dead now. Martin Luther King, Jr. died on April 4, 1968.

He started school at the age of 5 but because of the law, he had to stop going until he turned six. He was very good student. He ended up graduating from high school early, when he was 15 years old.

He liked: Reading books, singing, riding a bike, football and baseball.

Martin went to Morehouse College and earned his BA in Sociology. Then he went to Crozer Theological Seminary. He also went to Boston College and Harvard University and was awarded his Doctorate in 1955.

He was a civil rights leader. He made long, important speeches. The one I liked best talked about being important to America and the way you do that is to volunteer. He said:

If you want to be important—wonderful. If you want to be recognized—wonderful. If you want to be great—wonderful. But recognize that he who is greatest among you shall be your servant. That's a new definition of greatness.
And this morning, the thing that I like about it: by giving that definition of greatness, it means that everybody can be great, because everybody can serve. You don't have to have a college degree to serve. You don't have to make your subject and your verb agree to serve. You don't have to know about Plato and Aristotle to serve. You don't have to know Einstein's theory of relativity to serve. You don't have to know the second theory of thermodynamics in physics to serve. You only need a heart full of grace, a soul generated by love. And you can be that servant.

Martin was shot standing on a balcony at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee on April 4, 1968. A jury thought that the government was behind the assassination of him.
His big accomplish means to me that I can treat my colored friends no different than anyone else. Everyone is the same, no matter what color their skin is.

My life has been affected by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., because we get a day off of school on the holiday of his birthday.

His accomplishments have affected the world because Barrack Obama is the President of the United States of America.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

something different

I'm not sure if this link will work, but hopefully it will. This is a really cool video for music lovers, Star Wars enthusiasts or just plain enjoyment.


Wednesday, February 04, 2009


This is the face of the flu.
Yesterday, Mads came to the office telling me she ached all over and didn't feel good and felt like she was going to throw up. There were tours of the school scheduled (Jackie's job, but someone has to be in the office while she's giving the tour) and re-enrollment packets coming in right and left. Just not really a good day for me to be packing up and leaving. So I took her temp. (99.2) on our school thermometer - which I despise) and told her to get my blanket (that I keep up there for those cold days when the door opens 5000 times and the cold air comes whipping up under my desk, freezing my legs) and go lay down on the sick bed. It was finally decided that after the next tour, I would take her home.
Well, we left with Sadie in tow so I wouldn't have to go back up there, stopped and got Sadie, Conrad and me some lunch and back to the house. As soon as she got out of the van, she started puking. Conrad helped her into the house and told me that she felt really warm. I took her temp. again and it was 103.1. Ewwww, my baby is really sick! We put her in my bed and warned Sadie not to go in there.
Then, I asked Elaine if she would just drop Anna off since Mads was so sick, I hated to leave her there for any length of time, even if she was just sleeping. So, while we waited for Anna, I took Mads' temp. again, 104.2. Up to this point she has refused any medicine (I think in fear of it coming back up) so now I told her she had to take some motrin. So, in goes the motrin and about an hour later the fever was down to 101.1. Later in the evening, she had some crackers, gatorade, sprite and some soup. Everything is staying down now but she's still achy and has fever, 101.1.
So, it looks like we'll be home for another day. The rule for school is 24 hours fever-free before they can return. She needs to get well, she has the father-daughter dance to attend on Friday night.
So, everyone out there in bloggy-land, please pray for Mads. I know it will run it's course and all will be well, eventually. It's just so sad when Mads isn't her lively self.