3 Quarters Today

My Life, my photography, my passions


Celebrating Turning 50, Yes I’m Nifty Fifty

I don’t understand why people are afraid or depressed about turning fifty. Yes, I will be 50 years old in just a few days and thanks to my hair dresser I don’t have a gray hair on my head. This is my half century mark and I’m more comfortable today than when I turned 40 or even 30.

My husband hated turning 50, he didn’t even want a cake, and even the mention of his birthday made him growl. I don’t know why men have a harder time with age than women.

50 Things to Do When You Turn 50: 50 Experts on the Subject of Turning 50 (Fifty Experts on the Subject of Turning Fifty)1965 Limited Edition 50th Birthday T-Shirt Vintage Aged To Perfection T-Shirt Large Black

Just think about it, if only I knew then what I know now. I would of been a more relaxed, enjoyed just being in the moment and not so stressed. So at age 30 I was a new Mom with a baby daughter and two boys under the age of six. I didn’t even have time to take a shower, much less “do my hair”. Ten years later my boys were teenagers and life got complicated to say the least. I started off on a journey of being a single Mom and it took many years for the insecurities and self doubt to fade.

I not only welcome 50, I’m embracing it!!! I am on the cusp of the 2nd phase of my life, and can see retirement just over the horizon not only being a goal, but a way of life. With age comes confidence and the wisdom from years of making mistakes. My children are raised and on their own and our relationships are changing to the next phase. I have never been more proud of my kids, whether it be the confidence of taking on a new job, juggling finances and not asking for help, or buying their first car on their own.

What I am VERY much looking forward to is the Grandma stage, I hear it’s wonderful and I’m ready.

Mark My Words 50th Birthday Mug, 4-3/4-Inch, 17-Ounce Capacity

Life after 50 is carefree, it’s doing what you want to do because it’s your choice. Ever see people in their 70’s that aren’t afraid to say anything, they do and they get away with it. Perks of getting older is saying (pretty much) what you want because you don’t care what people think, you are bold, and an “elder” and all of the sudden you are wise. Ok, people listen because you’re old, possibly out of respect, but they still listen. It’s not that you’re rude or mean, in fact the opposite is true, you’ve learned how to communicate better, what “words of wisdom” work, and how to shock a teenager and get attention.

I have decided I’m not only going to celebrate on my birthday, but all year round. You only turn 50 once in your life so you better make it a good one.

The 50th Birthday Game. Fun 50th birthday party idea, also a uniquely fun 50th birthday gift for men and for women.You’re Only Old Once!: A Book for Obsolete Children

Getting Away With Senior Moments

I actually have an excuse for walking into a room, standing in the middle, and wondering why I entered. Senior moments, shoot I’ve been having them for years from forgetting words, looking for my phone, while I’m talking to my daughter, ON MY PHONE, to where are my sunglasses, oh yes, on my head.

389 Unforgettable Senior Moments Page-A-Day Calendar 2016BigMouth Inc Senior Moment Caution Sign365 Senior Moments You’d Rather Forget

How to Celebrate Turning 50

So I need some ideas, a bucket list, or check list of sorts to say “When I was 50 I did….” I’m not one for tattoos, so that is out. But, I think this milestone is one to be documented, recorded, and remembered for what it is, the first day of the rest of your life. I do know I’m going to have some Rumchatta, be with my family, laugh, and eat some cake!

You Know You’re Fifty When50 Ways to Enjoy Turning Fifty: Make the Most of Your Milestone Birthday to Have the Best Year Ever


50 Things I’m Thinking After Turning 50

As a writer and sharer of very personal things, I decided that the best way to deal with turning 50 is to list 50 things I’m thinking at this point in my life. So, here goes: 1. Why couldn’t I have the confidence I have now 20 years ago? 2. I could

Turning 30, 40 And 50: The New Markers Of Success

And for those who are turning 50, as I will this October, it’s not about consolidating our victories and polishing our trophies. It’s often about radical reinvention. Words from Bruce Springsteen come to mind (sorry I don’t have anything more current

Why we’re likely to seek adventure after reaching 50

FAR from feeling past it, the over- 50s are much more likely to try out online dating, go to Glastonbury or get their first tattoo. By Geoff Maynard. PUBLISHED: 18:33, Mon, Aug 31, 2015 | UPDATED: 11:32, Tue, Sep 1, 2015. Helen Mirren up close GETTY.

Why Turning 50 Is So Different From Any Other Age Milestone

I don’t feel any older, but I meet people in their 20s and 30s, and I find myself looking at their faces and thinking, wow they look young. I have had, over the past two years, my own quasi midlife crisis before turning 50. I closed …

Simply Sherrinda : Turning 50, Tattoos, Parties, and Proposals

Turning 50, Tattoos, Parties, and Proposals. I think I want to turn 50 every year. Seriously, I have been blown away from the overwhelming affirmation and love from everyone in every part of my life. So let me share with you a …


Memories of My Father on the 70th Anniversary of VJ Day

Who remembers VJ Day? How many of the past few generations even know what V-J Day is all about? The Victory over Japan (VJ) is the day the Japanese officially accepted the surrender terms from the Allied Nations on August 14, 1945. Although in the England they recognize the date as August 15, and the official signing of surrender occurred on September 2, 1945.

WWII Peace at Last

Stars & Stripes “WWII Peace at Last”

Memories of My Dad

My Dad, Leo T Tyrrell, was twenty years old on VJ Day and the photo below is the only one I have of him during this time period. Unfortunately he died in 1995 and didn’t talk about his WWII years. I never even saw photos of his childhood or my parents in the 1950s.

I have been on a search for several years to piece together my Dad’s military record and from what I understand he was on the Destroyer the USS Edison 439 on this day seventy years ago when the war ended. The ship was at Pearl Harbor for training and immediately set sail to be in Japan for the Occupation during September of 1945.

I have learned a lot about this photo from military history buffs on Twitter. It appears this photo was taken at a general field hospital, note the bandage on his right hand, and the uniform and boots would of been those issued for general patients at that time.

Vj Day in Photographs Around the WorldThe Summer of ’45: Stories and Voices from VE Day to VJ Day

Honoring My Dad

The painting below was generously done by coffee artist Nathanael Manzer, who saw my photo on Twitter and sent me this in the mail! Imagine my surprise. My apologies for the late shout out, I have since had it framed and it hangs besides the photograph.

Coffee panting of a soldier on VJ Day WWII

Talking to My Dad’s Shipmate

In the years I have been searching for information on my Fathers military history I often thought how amazing it would be if I could actually talk to someone who served with him in the military. Since so many veterans from World War II and Korea have died over the years that hope started to fade.

However, I found a website which discussed the USS Edison and decided to contact the author via email. Now this website was built in the mid 1990’s and the chances of the email being active was remote, so I called the phone number listed, not knowing what to expect.


Joining the War at Sea 1939-1945: A Destroyer’s Role in World War II Naval Convoys and Invasion Landings [Paperback] [2009] (Author) Franklyn E. Dailey Jr.

The voice mail answered Franklyn Dailey Jr. and I was encouraged, must be a son, or military historial buff who wrote the book “Joining the War at Sea.” After some phone tag during the day I was actually speaking to an elderly sounding man who started asking questions about my Dad, what ship did he serve on, what job did he do, etc.

It took me a few minutes to realize I was speaking to a World War II veteran who served on the same ship, he did not sound 94 years old.  When I explained that my Dad brought and loaded ammunition to the guns Mr. Dailey exclaimed “I was his Gunnery Officer!”

Oh my, a chill went through my body and gave me goose bumps. He not only served with my Dad, but was his senior officer (his boss)  seventy years ago. It didn’t matter to me that Mr. Dailey only vaguely remembered the name Tyrrell, but I realized the book he wrote would tell intimately of the job my Dad did, the men he served with, and recants stories my Dad never told.

I eventually had to pull off to the side of the road and finish the conversation. I often thought I might possibly speak with someone in the 82nd Airborne that served with my Dad in the 1950’s, in Operation Longhorn, or Snowshoe, but I never dreamed I would speak to someone from his WWII days.

Frank ended the conversation with “We will get to know each other better, and have more conversations” That we will. I have since purchased his book and will be spending this weekend reading it from cover to cover. Maybe my Dad is even mentioned somewhere, at least now I will be able to attach a place and activity to the ribbons below.

WWII and Korean War Veteran Ribbons

WWII and Korean War Veteran Ribbons

The story is not finished, I have lots to tell as I have also obtained ship muster logs

Articles About the DD 439 Edison Destroyer

There isn’t very much online regarding the Edison DD439 but here are some interesting places to start.

Information and Recognition of VJ-Day

Let us never forget that day, the day the last World War ended when so many families gave everything, their lives, their sons, their daughters for freedom.

World War II Museum to commemorate 70th V-J Day

The program, which will be free and open to the public, will commemorate what has become known as V-J Day. It will start at 10:30 a.m. in the U.S. Freedom Pavilion: the Boeing Center. Among the speakers will be Ambassador Kim Beazley, who will discuss …

Memories of the Pacific theater displayed at Chapman VJ-Day exhibit

One of the most bizarre “letters” on display at the VJ-Day exhibit in the Leatherby Libraries is actually a coconut. A solider carved a smiley face and his home address into the coconut and sent it home to let his daughter know he was okay. COURTESY OF …

Book release, presentation commemorate VJ Day

Turner, a former president of the Marine War College at Quantico and Blue Mountain Community College, makes the presentation on the evening before the 70th anniversary of V-J Day. The free gathering is Tuesday, Sept. 1 at 7 p.m. at Heritage Station …

See Participants in VJ Day Parade Reunited 70 Years Later

The photograph ran in the New Orleans Times-Picayune the next day, Aug. 15, 1945—the day often considered V-J Day, even though the war didn’t officially end until early September. Now, the Times-Picayune and the National World War II Museum in New …

Queen Elizabeth II to lead ceremonies in Britain for VJ Day …

LONDON (AP) — Queen Elizabeth II is leading ceremonies in Britain to mark the 70th anniversary of the victory over Japan during World War II.

VJ Day around the world – in pictures – The Guardian

VJ Day around the world – in pictures. From Tokyo to the US and London, events mark the 70th anniversary of Japan’s surrender and the end of the second world war. Elena Goodinson. Saturday 15 August 2015 08.39 EDT …

V-J Day – World War II – HISTORY.com

On August 14, 1945, it was announced that Japan had surrendered unconditionally to the Allies, effectively ending World War II. Since then, both August 14 and August 15 have been known as “Victoryover Japan Day,” or simply “V-J Day.




National Dog Day, Isn’t that Everyday?

August 26th is National Dog Day and like all other “fun” and “unique” social media holidays Twitter and Facebook is a buzz with the hashtag #NationalDogDay and I am no exception. Who doesn’t love their dogs? Unique Heart pattern on a brindle boxer

Our pets give us unconditional love, they don’t argue back and there is nothing like puppy kisses on your neck and ears to make you giggle and smile. Try it sometime, it works. I’ve had puppies at my house for the past two months and I don’t think I could of gotten through the post accident stress without them.

Mental and Psychological Benefit to Owning Pets

Benefits of Owning a Dog

It’s scientifically proven that stroking a dog lowers your heart rate and blood pressure. People with depression also benefit strongly from having a dog in their life. Pet’s reduce stress and anxiety and beyond companionship can actually can raise levels of serotonin, dopamine, and oxytocin, three chemicals in your brain that help you to feel calmer and more relaxed.

My dear dog Leah, a brindle Boxer, she is a sweetie

My dear dog Leah, a brindle Boxer, she is a sweetie

Walking your dog in the neighborhood acts as an ice breaker to social interaction with others, and encourages physical activity. Many a single male or female has used a dog as an excuse to strike up a conversation with the opposite sex. I know one particular bachelor who keeps “doggy treats” in his pocket just for this occasion.

Dogs in My Life

I have had dogs in my life ever since I was born. My first was a poodle puppy named Suzette. She was just a few months old when I was born. We grew up together and she died when I was fifteen. Broke me and my Mom’s heart and she never got another dog, instead cats took their place.

During college I had a puppy for a short while and soon realized that an unstable, ever moving lifestyle of a young twenty-something was not the life for a dog. My cat was much more adaptable and acceptable to apartment and house rental dwelling.

Dogs and cats can live together in peace and love each other as friends

Our Nana dog and her best f

The next dog was Nana, a part Corgi, part mutt and she literally was a “Nana dog” who laid on the blanket with my daughter when she was an infant, took care of orphaned barn kittens and grew up with my daughter, much like I did with Suzette. Again, when Nana died it broke her heart.

Our Jack Russell dog loves playing in the snow

Brody in the Snow

By this time I also had Brody, you might of read of his escapades here, he’s eleven now and our second dog Leah (the Boxer) keeps him young. He’s a Jack Russell who LOVES the snow and LOVES chasing invisible frogs in his wading pool.

My Beautiful Brindle Boxer, "Leah"

My Beautiful Brindle Boxer, “Leah”

Our last dog is a brindle Boxer named Leah, she just recently had puppies, more on that later, and now that I have owned a Boxer I will always have a Boxer in my life. She has spoiled us, she really has, and in a good way. Many Boxers are very excitable and full of energy and bounce and jump, Leah does not, she is very gentle and yes, typical of a Boxer she wiggles, a lot! But she doesn’t jump and she doesn’t really bark, she does talk though, and snore, and fart. More on that later too.

Love Me Love my Boxer

Tell Me About the Dog in Your Life

So tell me about the dog in your life, or the most memorable dog that left an impact. How has your pet changed your life, and why will you always have a four legged canine in your house?

Devoted: 38 Extraordinary Tales of Love, Loyalty, and Life With DogsA Dog’s PurposeDog Love – An Unbreakable Bond: Inspirational Stories of Devotion, Loyalty and CourageHow Dogs Love Us: A Neuroscientist and His Adopted Dog Decode the Canine Brain

Celebrating National Dog Day

It’s National Dog Day!

Take a gander at the gallery above of photos taken during the 2015 Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show in New York for your National Dog Day fix! And gaze upon the adorableness that’s flooding social media as folks are sharing snaps of their beloved best …

For National Dog Day, Meet a Hero Dog From 1928

In honor of National Dog Day—celebrated on Aug. 26–allow us to look back at the the first nonhuman to be a TIME cover subject: a basset hound puppy who was a born show dog with champion parents. But the story, which was prompted by the 1928 …

Bellybutton the Diving Dog Wants You to Celebrate National Dog Day

On National Dog Day, those who cherish their slobbering, four-legged friends take a moment to offer their companions an extra chin rub. Those who lack a puppy of their own can resort to the next best option: the treasure trove of dog photos that is the

PHOTOS | Celebrate National Dog Day! | Fox 59

(Aug. 26, 2015) – Wednesday marks National Dog Day and we want to see pictures of your furry friends! The event was founded in 2004 to raise awareness of dogs in need of homes and the love and loyalty they bring to our …

Time To Pamper Your Pup, It’s National Dog Day! « CBS …

We might spoil our pets everyday but August 26th is one day to really let loose — it’s National Dog Day!


Operation Longhorn was the Jade Helm of the 1950’s

Everyone is up in arms about Jade Helm, but have you heard about Operation Longhorn? Watch YouTube or many of the alternative media outlets and according to them, the military is preparing to take over cities across the United States and enact martial law.

Military invades Texas Jade Helm Style

Texas Newspaper Article on Military Invasion

“Little Lampasas tonight waited for a green clad enemy to take it over- to test Army military government and to show what happens when you lose your everyday liberties”

“…it took us about a month to convince some people that this ” play” war wasn’t going to mean they were going to be pulled out of their beds at midnight”

Ok, take a deep breath and calm down. This was written in In April of 1952 when over 115,000 military men and women of the Army and Air Force invaded Lampasas Texas and occupied an area of 1,800 sq miles. This was before the age of social media and I imagine few outside of Texas knew about the 18 day operation.

First let me tell you I am NOT a conspiracy theorists, I am a realist and realize that the possibility of keeping a secret between more than a dozen citizens, or thousands of military members and hundreds of journalists just is impossible. I do not believe in the 911 conspiracies, death squads, death camps, or the gloom and doom some are predicting about Jade Helm. Entire books have been written about Jade Helm and I’ll be interested to see how many conspiracy theories are debunked and end up being false.

Debunked!: Conspiracy Theories, Urban Legends, and Evil Plots of the 21st CenturyWhat Is The Jade Helm 15 Project?:  Is it Martial law?Jade Helm Prophecy: A Revelation From Rev. David SteeleJade Helm 15: The Patriot Report (The Strategic Incremental steps towards martial law in America)

Largest Civilian Military Exercise in the United States

There have been several military training exercises that use public land and use civilians to role-play casualties. If you live near an Army National Guard base you see trucks, tanks, and other military equipment, you get used to maneuvers and understand the relationship with the local military and the citizens of the area. However, if you aren’t used to military protocols, or operations the name Jade Helm might scare you to death.

Military Agressors and Government to Run Town

Military Agressors and Government to Run Town

Military operations on public land, or using civilians to play act as participants (as wounded etc) is nothing new, we just haven’t done this in a large massive scale in a few generations.

The largest domestic military exercise in the United States involved the Army and the United States Air Force where the goal was to invade a town of 20,000 people in Lampasas Texas. My Dad was one of the paratroopers that landed northwest of Austin Texas as a member of the 508th division of the 82nd Airborne.

Facts About The Texas Invasion

  • Operation lasted for 18 days
  • Military invaders wore German styled caps
  • Flyers were distributed outlining the following:
  • A 6pm curfew on the town
  • Theatres closed until “Centralist” entertainment films arrive
  • Churches closed
  • Men will be posted outside school classrooms to “check” on teachings
  • Private vehicles confiscated
  • However the working day was shortened to only 22 hours (isn’t that nice)
  • Over 20,000 people watched the maneuvers including many “foreign observers”

This mythical war happened just a few years after the end of World War II, and memories of Nazi invasion was still fresh in the minds of many people.

Mock War Down in Texas Is No Laughing Matter

Mock War in Texas- newspaper article from 1952

Mock War in Texas- newspaper article from 1952

Although this was a training exercise, a mock war, it was no “laughing matter”. Many from the 82nd Airborne lost their lives when they either got tangled in rigging in other chutes, or their chutes failed to open. A total of 10 men died during Operation Longhorn. For months they planned and it was a ” paper operation, but when the cocky parachute infantrymen hit the lazy Lampasas, you couldn’t tell it from the real thing”

These few newspaper clippings represent the little I know about my Father and his military career. Many of the articles sound like they could have been written today. The biggest difference is the lack of social media and the frenzy was isolated to the geographic region, not the entire country. Life Magazine did cover the “event” and considering their influence at the time they were the social media of the day, yet did not “spin the news” to martial law.

Invasion of Texas and the closing of Churches in Operation Longhorn

Invasion of Texas and the closing of Churches in Operation Longhorn

No matter how much we don’t trust or government, but we should trust the men and women of our military. They are citizens of the United States and have taken an oath to protect and serve the United States. Just like in Operation Longhorn, the communities participating in Jade Helm have been briefed, consulted, and are fully cooperating with the military.

Accounts of Operation Longhorn


82nd Airborne 508th before leaving for Operation Longhorn, much like Jade Helm

Texas 1952 (April) – Just before jump at “Operation Longhorn”. 3rd Platoon, K Co., 508th RCT, 82nd Airborne Division (photo credit to John G Hopkins Family)

Operation Longhorn– G503 Military Forum Photos, Photographer: John Dominis

Soldier Recalls Invasion of Lampasas County in Operation Longhorn, Lampasas Dispatch, Oct 26, 2010

Actual Military Video Footage of Operation Longhorn, Shutterstock.com

Grandmas Ranch and Operation Longhorn, Tyler Morning Telegraph 2/15/2015

Photos and flyers from the Agressors, The Circle Trigonists

Largest military operation on US public soil, took over a Texas town and people think Jade Helm has caused an uproar

Largest military operation on US public soil, took over a Texas town and people think Jade Helm has caused an uproar

Information About Jade Helm

Texans brace for Jade Helm 15, massive federal military exercise

Even the governor is encouraging state troops to monitor Jade Helm, which is largely subject to a media blackout. Conspiracy theories about the goals of Jade Helm 15 include imposition of martial law, an unannounced asteroid impact, or part of a plan

Local fears swell as Jade Helm brings troops to Camp Bullis

SAN ANTONIO — Hundreds of U.S. military troops are coming through San Antonio as part of an 8-week training program shrouded in secrecy. The operation, called Jade Helm, begins on the 15th and involves 1200 troops across a number of Southern states.

Jade Helm 15, the military exercise that begat a thousand …

It begins. The geographically sweeping but otherwise banal military training exercise known as Jade Helm 15 is upon us, bringing special forces troops to Texas and other states where they will … train. And a collection of the …

Texans Just Responded To Jade Helm In This EPIC Way …

The Houston Chronicle reported Friday that several hundred people started Operation Counter Jade Helm, whose aim is not to stop the operation but to practice their own skills–according to their website. Anyone can …

Jade Helm 15: One nation under siege? — RT Op-Edge

Jade Helm 15, the largest domestic military exercise ever held on US soil, will bring together over 1000 members from the nation’s elite forces, including Green Berets, Special Ops from the Navy and…

 Military Books on Code of Conduct and Secret Operations

Between Threats and War: U.S. Discrete Military Operations in the Post-Cold War World (A Council on Foreign Relations)Code of Conduct, an inspiration story of self-healing by an ex-POWLincoln’s Code: The Laws of War in American HistoryCode of Conduct, Survival, Evasion, Resistance, and Escape (SERE) Training (Army Regulations Series)


4th of July Traditions

It is during the holidays you miss your family being all together and the traditions of the 4th of July. Parades, watermelon, laying in the grass watching the fireworks and then going home to set off your own. Happy 4th of July, where ever you and your family may be this year. I celebrated in the town of Murdock Nebraska, who celebrated their 125th birthday in style with a parade, breakfast, a road race, pie and ice cream at the church, BBQ, and a fireworks display.

4th of July parade in Murdock Nebraska

4th of July parade in Murdock Nebraska.

My oldest son, I hope, will be watching the fireworks off Navy Pier in Chicago. Last year I spent a weekend in July and a trip down to Navy Pier to watch the fireworks is definitely worth staying up late.

Chicago 4th of July

Chicago 4th of July

My youngest son, an active Marine unfortunately posted a message on Facebook. “Don’t remember a 4th of July that I haven’t worked these past few years. What are fireworks?” He’s on duty tonight, just like last year. Even my youngest daughter will have to work tonight, but at least she watched the parade this morning and had some “Flag Cake” to celebrate.

This is the first year I’ve made a flag cake, but it reminds me of a tradition when I was in high school. My best friend always had a 4th of July Party at the lake and she always brought the flag cake for dessert. So now, after 40 years I think I’ll start a new tradition. It’s super easy to make. Bake a white cake in a 9 x 13 inch pan, frost with Cool Whip, decorate with blueberries and sliced strawberries.

A 4th of July Tradition, Flag Cake

4th of July Flag Cake


No matter where you are you can still appreciate the patriotic spirit of the day, the red, white, and blue decor and even pull up the Patriotic station on Pandora to recognize Independence Day when we declared our Independence from our “Mother Country” England and decided to become our own country in 1776. The United States is a young country in comparison to the rest of the world and let us never become jaded and forget our countries birthday.

United States of America Flag Vintage T-shirt Flag Shirts #13500ASHERANGEL Women’s Sexy Lace Floral Sleeveless Camisole Crop Tank Top Shirts

Happy 4th of July, enjoy your family and enjoy creating new traditions.

4th of July Traditions

A look at July 4th traditions across the US

July 3, 2014: Fair St. Louis fireworks illuminate the sky in front of the St. Louis Art Museum. (AP/St. Louis Post-Dispatch). The United States marks 238 years as an independent nation as it celebrates the Fourth of July with fireworks, food and music

4th Of July Traditions: Eight Ways Americans Celebrate Independence

4th Of July Traditions: Eight Ways Americans Celebrate Independence. Eight Traditions For Independence Day. The 4th of July is often filled with parades, barbecues, fireworks, and impromptu baseball games. Families, friends, and neighbors often get …

The Best Places to Watch Fireworks Across America

Plans or traditions for the 4th of July… 4th of July traditions have always included lots of grilling, watermelon, sparklers and being outside! We usually watch fireworks the night before the 4th and then head into the woods for a …

Creating 4th of July Traditions and Frozen Graham Cracker …

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Honey Maid. All thoughts and experiences shared are our own. Sparklers, sprinklers, and cool treats were the highlights of my childhood 4th of …

Sisters Marie: Top Five 4th of July Traditions

Top Five 4th of July Traditions. Our annual 4th of July party is one of those traditions that’s been happening for so long, we can’t even remember life before it. Each year, the excitement begins after the out of office message …



My Most Memorable Memorial Day Weekend

The year I spent Memorial Day in Washington DC was one of the most memorable weekends I have ever had in my life. My kids were part of the Elmwood-Murdock marching band and participated in the annual Memorial Day parade. But, what meant more to me was being able to witness the outpouring of love, honor, and support for our military and having my kids be a part of the ceremonies. From marching in the National Memorial Day parade down Constitution Avenue to their school laying a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

Marine uniform left at the Vietnam Wall in Washington DC

Marine uniform left at the Vietnam Wall in Washington DC

Every war memorial was decorated with flowers and tributes. I know this happens throughout the year, but on Memorial Day weekend the effect takes your breath away. Veterans and their families pour into the Washington area to participate in Rolling Thunder and for many this trip is a once in a lifetime destination.

Nurses Veteran Memorial, Washington DC

Nurses Veteran Memorial, Washington DC

I have visited the Vietnam Memorial during other times of the year, and although the wall speaks to you with with it’s design and overwhelming names on the wall of those veterans lost, on Memorial Day it’s different. The mementos carpet the wall and the surrounding memorials and cry out as if to say “Don’t forget me.” It is this outpouring of gratitude that stays with you for a lifetime and causes everyone to shed a tear or two.

Even the teenagers, far removed from Vietnam were quiet, respectful and introspective at “The Wall”. The men and women who died in battle were real, not only did they have names, but their friends and family were real and every memory from dog tags to a pair of boots, beer bottle, or letter touched an emotional nerve with the visitors.

Vietnam War Memorial, Washington DC

Vietnam War Memorial, Washington DC

Each veterans memorial in the Washington area has a different feeling and tone. The World War II Memorial is inviting and welcomes people is open, expansive, welcoming, and peaceful. Many people sit by the fountain to relax and even in middle of the massive pillars it’s a place that makes you smile instead of cry. It’s a memorial that celebrates freedom, recognizes triumph, and honors the heroes who served.

The Wall of Stars, WWII National Memorial

The Wall of Stars, WWII National Memorial

Memories of my Dad, who served on a Navy destroyer, in WWII came to mind. My son had lots of questions, of which I had very few answers. Since then I have learned more about his military record, but there are still many gaps.

I caught my youngest son standing and staring at the Wall of Stars and as a Mother who just had her first son graduate from Marine Boot Camp this scene was very poignant. Each gold star represents 100 servicemen and women who died, or are still missing in action in World War II. There are 4,048 gold stars on the wall. In my heart I was praying I would never be a Gold Star Mother. A year later my youngest son would join the Marines.

Wall of Stars, World War II Memorial

Wall of Stars, World War II Memorial

The entire trip it was almost as if my Dad was speaking to me and I half expected to see him as we turned the corner to the Korean War Memorial. This military memorial projected an almost reverent feeling, almost as ghosts of the past were walking out of the fog.

Korean War Memorial, Washington DC Mall

Korean War Memorial,

Again, more wreaths adorned the walkway and were placed on the walls, everywhere you saw tributes from people who just wanted to show their appreciation and thanks to our military for service to our country.

Have you ever been to Washington DC during Memorial Day? If so what is your favorite memory? Leave a comment below.

Memorial Day in Our Nations Capitol

Rolling Thunder – Memorial Day – Washington DC – Julius …

Rolling Thunder – Memorial Day – Washington DC. Posted by Julius Hrivnac at Monday, May 28, 2012 · Email ThisBlogThis!Share to TwitterShare to FacebookShare to Pinterest …
Michael Mercurio’s Read|Delete: Memorial Day Facts For …

Today we honor those who lost their lives in service to this country. This day of remembrance was first celebrated at Arlington National Cemetery on May 30, 1868 and was first named Decoration Day. Arlington National …
8 Trips to Celebrate Memorial Day with Travel | A Traveler’s …

… men and women who have died while serving in the US Armed Forces, here are a few ideas for booking travel for Memorial Day: Washington, DC Get a prime spot for the National Memorial Day Parade honoring veterans.
Memorial Day Parade: A tradition of honor that stretches back 150 years

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Memorial Day Weekend 2015 Events Washington DC: 10 Free, Fun Things To …

The National Memorial Day Parade will be held Monday at 2 p.m. along Constitution Avenue and 7th Street, NW. It continues past the White House. The National Memorial Day Parade is sponsored by the World War II Veterans Committee and includes …







Flower Photography, My Favorite Spring Hoby

Spring has finally arrived and I was able to pick daffodils and tulips for my dining room table. That means my camera comes out of it’s winter hibernation and I get into my flower photography again. I’m not a winter person and by February and March the lack of sunshine and Vitamin D squash any creative photographic ventures.

But with the first blooms of the daffodils and warmth of sun I get inspired again to take pictures. I don’t have a photo studio but I use my dining room which has south facing windows to created a makeshift photography studio. The southern exposure gives me plenty of light during the afternoon. Then it’s a matter of using white art matte boards to bounce light.


Daffodils and Hyacinths

My favorite photos this year actually belong to my tulips. The setup included flowers in vases, various colors of artist mat board for the backgrounds, a tripod and my Canon Rebel with the shutter on a 2 second delay. This might seem strange but you can achieve sharper images when you don’t manually press the shutter. With shutter speeds over 1/500 it isn’t an issue, but for macro photography or shutter speeds less than 1/250th it does make a difference. Give it a try and let me know how it works.

Flower Photography

Tulips edited in Lightroom

All the flowers I edited in Lightroom some, like the one below I experimented with various looks to achieve more of a fine art effect. I decreased the vibrancy and contrast for a softer look.

Flower photography and editing in Lightroom

Tulips edited in Lightroom

The flowers on the black matte I left pretty much their natural colors to contrast with the dark background. Yes the colors were just this vibrant. I did pull the “blacks” slider in the editor down to saturate and even out the black mat. But other than that I did very little.

Tulips edited in Lightroom

Set against a black mat board

Single orange tulip

Single orange tulip

I love post production and Lightroom! It’s so much fun to explore what you can do with an image to improve the beauty and artistry. I’ve never taken any classes in either computer program, most has all been self-taught with use of a few YouTube videos, books and a LOT of experimentation. I’m still using the stand alone Adobe programs and Lightroom 6 was released in April of 2015. When I get a new computer I will subscribe to the Creative Cloud with the latest version of Photoshop and Lightroom continually updated for $10/mo

Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 6Adobe Creative Cloud Photography plan (Photoshop CC + Lightroom)

Tips on Photographing Flowers

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Improve your flower photography. Now that Spring has arrived, why not read this article for helpful tips on how to improve your flower photography. This entry was posted in News on 19/04/2015 by admin.



How to Divide Daffodil Bulbs

I used to be afraid to divide daffodil bulbs, but no longer. Wait, you say you can’t split  them in the spring. Well, that’s just wrong and I’ve proved that this is just not the case. Last year I did a simple experiment and it was very surprised at the outcome a year later.

Dividing Daffodils

Daffodils in the garden

Like many of you I searched the internet on when the best time was to divide spring bulbs. They pretty much all said wait until fall, or the leaves were brown and the plants dormant. However, there were a few gardening sites that convinced me these yellow beauties are very hardy and can be dug up, separated and plated just about any time of year. Narcissus are very forgiving.

So I decided to give it a go.

How to Divide Daffodils

Dividing daffodils

As you can see from the clump above the leaves were not yellow or brown yet. But I had ambition, energy (which I don’t always have) the sun was shining and what harm could I really do. These bunches of daffodils were very over crowed and some groups would have 30-40 blooms.

So I got out my shovel and started to dig. Easier said than done. This year I’m going to plant them closer together and get a drill attachment, or a bulb auger  to make the planting process faster and easier. I have at least three more clumps to divide.

Flower Bulb Planter

How to Dig and Transplant Daffodil Bulbs:

Transplant on a day that is cool and the ground damp and moist.

  1. Start on the outer edges of the grouping. Insert your shovel as far down as you can all the way around the bunch loosening up the soil.
  2. With the shovel in the ground pull back and gently push the daffodil bulbs to the surface.
  3. You may have to pull the clump out of the ground
  4. Gently pull apart and separate the individual bulbs. (in my case one clump had over 50!)
  5. Place in a bucket, or on paper towels and immediately replant
  6. Dig a four inch hole with a spade, insert the freshly dug bulb and cover with dirt.
  7. Water deeply after transplanting.

How to divide spring daffodils

Replanting immediately I believe is the key. Don’t let the bulbs dry out or get “stale”. To tell the truth after I watered the plants the first time I kinda forgot about them. They were only watered once. But they still survived.

Newly transplanted daffodils

Newly transplanted daffodils

My experiment from last year was very successful, I had over a 95% germination rate and every day when I go out in my garden I count to see how many “baby” daffodils I have popping up in the gardens. From one large bunch of overgrown and crowded daffodils I now have 48 separate plantings in three new areas.

Transplanted Daffodil bulbs one year after planting

Transplanted Daffodil bulbs one year after planting

If I didn’t already have a garden nursery full of crowed bulbs ready to be transplanted I would probably buy daffodil bulbs and plant them in the fall, which is when you’re supposed to plant spring bulbs.

TotalGreen 72415100 Daffodil Bulbs90 Large Long Lasting Assorted Color Trumpet

More Information on Transplanting and Dividing Bulbs

Over the Garden Fence: Cultivation, rodent issues may stunt blooms

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Expert Advice: Divide and transplant spring-flowering bulbs now

#For more detailed information on planting and dividing bulbs in Georgia as well as a complete list of recommended varieties, see the UGA Extension publication B918, “Flowering Bulbs for Georgia Gardens,” at extension.uga.edu/publications. #Sharon …

Deb Babcock: Trademarked and patented plants

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Flower power

Ross Harmon, a fourth-generation Wye United Methodist Church member who Friday was digging up the bulbs to be sold during the festival, said the tradition of church members selling daffodil bulbs to support the church started long before the church

Daffodil season is here in the daffodil city

Look for suppliers who provide mixtures of daffodil bulbs for sale to make “a springtime parade” of colour. The Paperwhite narcissus, which is popular along with the amaryllis around Christmas, is one of the tazetta species and is not hardy here. Each



Squeaky Dog Toy Passes the Jack Russell Test

Tough Dog Toy Review

It’s been a week since we bought the PetSafe Squeak and Treat Booya dog toy and the verdict is in! It is truly an indestructible tough dog toy and it squeaks! It can not be destroyed. My Jack Russell, Brody, has given it over over a week of intense heavy chewing and biting. He has almost driven himself insane and he can’t tear it apart. It you don’t believe me watch the video below.

Brody is what you call a super-chew in the dog world. He may be only twenty pounds but he has jaws of steel and a biting grip worthy of a dog twice his size.

Toughest Squeaky Dog Toy Ever

The Busy Buddy line of dog toys are tough, in fact the toughest I’ve ever tried and I have tried almost every dog toy from Tuffy toys, to Kongs and Kyjens. The Nylabones last, but they don’t squeak and after a little Brody is bored. My goal was to find a fun, tough, engaging squeaky toy that could not be destroyed. It was almost like an obsession. I canvased the pet store aisles, even the grocery store and hardware stores thinking I might find that unique dog toy.

Squeaky tennis balls he shredded and I found tiny bits all over the living room floor. The squeaker mats with multiple squeakers lasted longer, but because they were plush fabric they ripped easy. My terrier is a little terror, he’s orally motivated and very tenacious. Food and noise get his attention. This Booya Squeaker toy gets his attention and keeps it. In fact I had to buy another as the two dogs play keep away with it.

As you can see in the video, Leah the Boxer didn’t have a chance the first couple of days. Another plus is I can put dog treats, cookies and their food inside the Booya for an added bonus. This has kept both dogs engaged and entertained the whole afternoon.

Where to Buy the Toughest Dog Toys

The verdict is in, the toughest dog toys are made by PetSafe and this one is my favorite by far. Stay tuned for continuing updates as the months go by to see how it stands up over time. It is one tough dog toy.

Busy Buddy Squeak N Treat Booya Dog Toy (SM, Med, & Large)


Facts About Iwo Jima, One of the Most Famous Battles of World War II

Ever since my sons became Marines I have been interested in my family’s military history and wonder where my Dad would of been on significant dates like Iwo Jima. February 19, 1945 the landing at Iwo Jima and he was assigned to the Destroyer the USS Edison DD439. I can’t find record of where exactly on this date his ship was, but I do know my Dad was only twenty years old.

According to records I found on Ancestry.com, my father was AOL (absent over liberty) more than once. Once in July of 1945 after liberty in San Diego. I can’t even imagine being twenty years old and loading guns on the deck of a destroyer, seeing men die on your ship, rescuing prisoners from an enemy sub off of Italy and keeping your sanity. Maybe that’s why he took extra time when he was on liberty leave, he didn’t want to go back.

My Dad rarely talked about World War II, and most of the men who fought on that hell hole of an island, filled with Japanese hiding in caves and tunnels, didn’t want to talk about it either. Many young men just like my Dad landed on February 19, 1945, many didn’t return, many saw things they would rather forget, but carried with them all their lives.

Books and Movies About Iwo Jima

By far the best book on Iwo Jima is James Bradleys, Flags of our Fathers is on the USMC Commandants reading list for Iintermeidiate level enlisted personal: INTERMEDIATE  GYSGT, MSGT, and 1STSGT. I think its a book everyone should read to appreciate what the sacrifices our military makes not only during war, but when they return.

Flags of Our FathersIwo Jima: 50 Years of Memories

Facts about Iwo Jima

Dozens, if not hundreds of books and movies have been written about this famous battle that turned history, but below are just a few facts.

  1. The island of Iwo Jima is 4.5 miles long by 2.5 miles wide and lies 650 miles south of mainland Toykyo.23
  2. The island was a strategic airfield position for the Japanese who intercepted US flying missions to Tokyo. Once taken the United States could then invade Japan and thus end the war.² ³
  3. The Battle of Iwo Jima lasted for 36 days starting on February 19th and ending on March 16, 1945.
  4. One third of all Medal of Honor award for World War II were given for gallant action in Iwo JIm, a total of 23 out of 82 given to Marines during the war.¹
  5. Iwo Jima was the costliest battle in the history of the Marine Corps, One in ten Marines lost their lives on the tiny island. 70,000 Marines fought on the island and 7,000 lost their lives ³
  6. Out of the 21,000 Japanese troops only 1,083 survived, the remainder were either killed or committed suicide.²
  7. Two Japanese soldiers didn’t surrender until 1949, they dug into tunnels and caves to avoid detection for over four years.¹
  8. Major General Howard Connor gives the Navajo code talkers, who relayed messages in their tribal tongue, for the success of the Marines taking Iwo Jima.¹
  9. Mount Suribachi, the highest point on the island at 528 ft in elevation
  10. Mt Suribachi was taken on February 23rd on the third day of fighting and is the site of the the famous flag raising.
  11. After the battle the island served as an emergency landing strip for more than 2,00 B-29 bombers thus saving more than 24,000 airman.¹
  12. The United States returned the island to Japan as a gift in 1968.¹
Iwo Jima Marine Corps Memorial Card

Iwo Jima Greeting Card

The question is often asked and disputed by many, was the iconic flag raising staged. The answer quite simply is no. Yes there were two flag raisings, the first was a smaller flag which was celebrated and cheered. However the Secretary of the Navy James Forrestal wanted the flag as a souvenir and thought the official flag should be larger.

Joe Rosenthal, an AP reporter, missed the first flag raising as he was shooting photographs of the harbor. He actually didn’t see the photo before it was sent in and published in the papers. When he was told it was all over the front pages he asked “Which one, the posed one?” for he had also taken another photo with the same flag with all the men standing and raising their arms.

The actual US Flag flown at Iwo Jima displayed at the National Marine Corps Museum

The actual US Flag flown at Iwo Jima displayed at the National Marine Corps Museum

I was lucky enough to view the actual flag in the Rosenthal photograph at the Marine Corps museum in Virginia with my youngest Marine son.If you ever have the chance to visit the museum it is very much worth your time.

One of the most popular exhibits is the Iwo Jima area, and the most popular person is Frank Matthews (24th Marines, 4th Marine Division – Iwo Jima) a volunteer docent at the museum who was 18 years old when he fought on that island in the middle of the Pacific. Frank was not at the museum when we visited that weekend and I wish he was, I would of loved to meet him and shook his hand.

On this 70th anniversary of Iwo Jima let’s remind people that is was the military who deserves the recognition for keeping our country free and safe. World War II was the first time American soil was attacked at Pearly Harbor and if it hadn’t been for our brave men and women in uniform fighting in fox holes, ditches, and in muck and grime American history would of been a lot different.

To all the veterans the world owes you a great deal of thanks.


  1. The Battle of Iwo Jima: 5 Things You Didn’t Know, Ross Bonander
  2. The Battle for Iwo Jima, The National WWII Museum
  3. Was the Flag Raising at Iwo Jima Staged, Skeptical Humanities blog

More Information on the 70th Anniversary of Iwo Jima


Iwo Jima vets mark 70th anniversary

Marine Sgt. Major Michael “Iron Mike” Mervosh who served in WWII, Korea and Vietnam spoke with passion about his time as a Marine and his support for building the Iwo Jima Memorial at Camp Pendleton. — John Gastaldo …
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Monday marks 70 years since Joe Rosenthal captured the iconic picture of five U.S. Marines and a Navy sailor raising an American flag over the battle-scarred Japanese island of Iwo Jima. The image was so inspiring that, by 1945 standards, it went viral.
Local veteran remembers Battle of Iwo Jima; 70 years ago

McKay was aboard the USS Mifflin when he was ordered to the shore of Iwo Jima for almost a week. On Tuesday he recalled the day his crew landed on Iwo Jima 70 years ago. “February the 19th,1945,” McKay said. McKay’s beach party landed on Yellow …
Commemorating the 70th anniversary of Iwo Jima

church on the Big Island. Marines and their families spent today honoring and remembering America’s Heroes who served on Iwo Jima. We sat down with Karen Offerdahl, the daughter of Marine Supply Sergeant Melvin Offerdahl, who shared stories her …
Iwo Jima veterans reunite 70 years after historic WWII battle

(FOX News) It’s been 70 years since U.S. forces began a successful battle to capture the Japanese island of Iwo Jima during World War II. Veterans who survived the bloody battle reunited in Washington, D.C. for a ceremony last week to honor the nearly …
70th Anniversary: The story behind the famous Iwo Jima photo (Video)

23, 1945, file photo, U.S. Marines of the 28th Regiment, 5th Division, raise a U.S. flag atop Mount Suribachi, Iwo Jima. Two Gastonia, N.C., men, Joseph Tedder, 90, and Mack Drake, 89, fought alongside more than 70,000 Marines, sailors and airmen on
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