3 Quarters Today

My Life, my photography, my passions

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Visiting the United States Marine Corps National Museum

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Recently I had the honor and privilege of visiting the National Marine Corps Museum with one of my Marine sons and it was amazing! As another Marine who was visiting said excitingly “This place is like Mecca to a Marine” and I would have to agree. It puts the Smithsonian museums to shame. The museum is located in Quantico Virginia and opened in 2005, so the exhibits are very modern, interactive and engaging.

Location and Cost

National Marine Corps Museum

Entry to the Marine Corps Museum

The Marine Corps museum is located 30 miles south of Washington DC and the silhouette of the building is easily seen from I-95 which invokes images of the flag raising over Iwo Jima.

Admission cost is free. Yes, free, free parking and free admission. There are a few donation boxes and I would bet just about everyone puts a few dollars in the box. The official National Marine Corps Museum website is just as engaging as the museum and as it guides you to each area with the same narration. But nothing will prepare you for the full immersion.

I’m only going to give a brief over view here and will go into more depth in future articles. We spent two days at the museum and they had to push us out at the end. If you plan on visiting and you have a Marine or two with you, wear good shoes, plan on standing a lot and plan on reading and learning more than you every expected about United States history, military history and world history.

Marine Exhibits and History

As you enter the museum you are all at once overwhelmed by the feeling of space, air, and majesty of the Corps. Planes hang over head, helicopters with Marines piling out are beside you on one side and a tank on the other.

As you look up you read the inspiring quotes of leaders, presidents and generals:

“I have just returned from visiting the Marines at the front and there is not a finer fighting organization in the world”

General Douglas McArthur, Army

Main Gallery of the Marine Museum

Main Gallery of the Marine Museum

From the terrazzo gallery you enter into the rest of the Museum in a logical order starting with Making Marines where you can get up close and personal with your own “Drill Instructor” experience. (more on this later)

Receiving and haircuts at boot camp

Receiving and haircuts at boot camp

The rest of the museum starts at Tun Tavern, the birthplace of the Marines and their involvement in the Revolutionary War. Throughout the six historical galleries I learned where famous phrases such as “the shores of Tripoli” originated.

The actual flag flown on Mt. Sarabaci on Iwo Jima

The actual flag flown on Mt. Sarabaci on Iwo Jima

My son soaked all of this history in, he read every placard, and for me it made me slow down (I can be slightly ADD, those who know me will smile at that statement) and absorb what I was reading. I learned history repeats itself, throughout the history of the world there have been terrorists (pirates) who attack without rationale and kill innocent people without reason.

I learned we have had embassies in Libya as early as 1805 and Marines joined a coalition to rescue American and Europeans during the Christian persecution during the Boxer Rebellion in China.In many ways we have the same political issues, just in different areas of the world.

There will always be pirates, rebels and terrorists who want to terrorize, oppress and kill people just because they they do not agree with their religion. There will be dictators and governments who want to dominate and control their citizens. But there are countries around the world who believe in freedom, who will fight to keep their citizens free and protect those who are being oppressed.

The Marines have played a critical role in keeping “bullies” from taking over and as you walk through the galleries you take pride in not only the United States military, but the resolve of the citizens supporting them at home. I learned very little about World War I in school, or maybe I just forgot most of it, but as you walk into the sights and sounds of Belleau Wood you can’t help but start to realize the enormity of battle, the loss of life, and the true horror of war.

A Marine Mom and her son As you walk through each historical exhibit they get more and more engaging from the cold of Chosin Pass to the heat and chopper sounds of Vietnam. It is a truly an experience. Throughout our visit we encountered Marines of every age, and veterans of many wars. I witnessed exchanges between my son and these veterans which warmed my heart and made this Mom smile with pride. The respect and honor is very apparent and I feel privileged I got to experience this with my son.

Past and Present

The last gallery ends with Vietnam in 1972, but 2015 begins the start of another 110,000 sq feet of exhibit space which will finish out the museum in 2020. It will start in the 1970s and expand to Operation Desert Storm, Desert Shield, Iraq, and Afghanistan.

After experiencing the intensity of conflict and war you can walk on the paths that take you through a 135 acre Marine Corps Heritage Center campus, through Memorial Park, beside the chapel, and which will eventually include parade grounds a conference center and a hotel.

Memorial Walkway at the US Marine Museum

Memorial Walkway at the US Marine Museum

The Story of the United States Marine Heritage Center Is…

  • To record our contributions to the nation
  • To tell our story
  • To preserve our artifacts and icons
  • To give back to the Corps

If you are ever in the Washington DC area, take a day and head south on I-95, even if you don’t have any connection to the Marine Corps. It is an experience for anybody and we saw veterans, school groups, women, children (there is a childrens section), and people from various countries.

I would love to hear from anyone who has visited the National Marine Corps Museum and learning about your favorite section and why. Please leave a comment below and until “Part Two”,  Semper Fi!

 

 

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Old Chinatown in Chicago

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Chicago’s Chinatown was just about what I expected.

Every big city has its own cultural diversity, each has their own neighborhood where they live, shop and gather. If you have never been to China or a metropolitan Chinatown then it’s an experience not to be missed. Now that my son is living in Chicago I have the opportunity, and excuse, to visit Chicago on a regular basis, and I’m going to play tourist whenever I can find the time. This trip we took in a boat ride, Billy Joel in Wrigley Stadium and Chinatown.

It’s easy to get to Chicago’s Old Chinatown from the Chicago CTA, just take the Red line to the Cermak-Chinatown stop and it’s only one block from the station.

Chinatown Chicago

From the CTA Station you turn right and go into a very modern shopping mall that looks very much like every other shopping mall, but the signs and decor is oriental in nature.But just to the left is a walled and gated shopping area and when you walk through the gates it feels like China, or what China might look like in Chicago anyway.

Shopping in Chinatown

Shopping in Chinatown

The signs are in Chinese characters, the smell is different, the food is distinctly authentic Chinese and you can buy everything from dried sardines, duck, Dim Sum, to Chinese herbs in the apothecary herbal shop. Some stores were trendy tourist traps with trinkets, but these are items you won’t find at Walmart or Target, so it was fun!

Shopping in Chinatown

Buying China in Chinatown

My favorite shop was the candy, or snack shop. Small bulk bins of wrapped candy, unwrapped dried fruits, sugared plums of all flavors, and for the more adventurous pickled duck tongue, and dried anchovies. Most of the bins had a small sample bowl for tasting, and all four of us had fun tasting and deciding what to buy.

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We timed our visit for the summer festival and the main street and vendors, food booths packed the street. Everything from straw hats to live turtles you could buy and take home. It was noisy, it was crowed, and I expected more Chinese entertainment. On their website saw Chinese musicians, acrobats, and the infamous Chinese parade dragon. Maybe those were scheduled events and we got there at the wrong time. The stage was in the middle of the seat and there were no bleachers to sit and watch.

Old Chinatown Chicago

Summer Festival in Old Chinatown Chicago

We ate at the Flaming Pot and sometimes you eat at a restaurant for the experience. Because of the crowds, their only English speaking waitress was very busy and did not have the time to fully “coach” us in how to properly prepare our food. It was very good, and a great place to go if you are in a group of people. This is a hot pot style of dining where you chose your flavored broth, meat, and vegetables and then you dipped the food into the boiling broth to cook. About halfway through we decided to just dump everything in and fish it out with a ladle. Much easier. A variety of sauces were available for flavoring the food and in that way it was very much like Hu Hot.

Flaming Pot Restaurant in Chinatown

Although the Flaming Pot was very clean and modern, it is apparent some of the buildings and markets in Chinatown are very unkempt and not up to standard American standards. We even saw a large rat (no I didn’t take a photo) running along side a building during the middle of the afternoon. Those things don’t freak me out. I’ve been to Europe and I understand life is not sterile.

We all had fun and spent the afternoon at the festival, bought gifts and added to our cultural experience. Now I want to explore the “new” Chinatown which is located in North Chicago, I can see it from the Red Line train and it looks very authentic. Bet I can get some good food there and it’s closer to my son’s apartment. I bet they deliver.

Explore Other Chinatown Cities Across the Country

Chinatown Sees Yet Another Harbinger of Gentrification …

Today, the New York State Tenant Protection Unit served a subpoena on Marolda Properties, investigating allegations that the landlord had harassed tenants in an attempt to make them leave their rent-regulated Chinatown …
Explore Oakland’s Chinatown

Chinatown, Oakland: The Oakland Chinatown StreetFest will commemorate the Year of the Horse with a two-day street party this weekend. The festivities include lion dancers, live bands and other performers taking to a pair of stages, while small
Toni On! New York: 10 Things To Eat Under $5 In Chinatown

This week, WLNY’s Toni Senecal is going cheap and scouring Chinatown for the 10 best foods for under $5. Follow along as we score Chinatown’s best cheap eats. You can catch up with Toni on her blog, and loyal Toni On! followers can score a sweet VIP …

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The great Chicago Pizza Debate

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Mention food in Chicago and many people automatically think Chicago Pizza, then the discussion and debate begins on what is the best Chicago pizza in the city. I grew up in Connecticut and we had some pretty mean pizza there, you know the kind, deep dish pizza from a family owned restaurant, rich in tradition and so big it had to be cut in squares.

Chicago pizza

Giordano’s Meat & More Meat pizza

Chicago Pizza

People love to talk about food and when you mention you are from out of town the conversation normally goes like this

“Are you going to get some pizza”,

“Of course, but I haven’t decided yet from where”,

“Well you can’t go wrong with Giordano’s or Pizano’s

Those two places are mentioned the most, which makes sense, both are ranked highest on Chicago’s 10 Best Pizzas list by Thrillist.com. So on my weekend trip to see my son the deciding factor was who would deliver to his apartment. Giordano’s won.

My Review of Giordano’s Famous Stuffed PizzaChicago Pizza

This is a massively thick double crust pizza, you can tell it has some meat just by the weight. I judge the cheese quality by how an individual piece pulls apart from main pizza. It should leave a string of cheese trailing back to the pizza and you should have to grab it to claim that mozzarella for yourself.

The crust should be soft and moist, not dry and hard. You should want to eat the last bit of crust as if it were a stand alone Italian bread. Last but not least, the toppings should stay on the crust, not slide off (that’s a sign of a cheap pizza). On all these account Giordano’s passed with flying colors.

It is expensive, our large Meat & More Meat stuffed pizza pie (with tip) came to $30, but it did feed four of us with leftovers for the next day.

Giordano’s is so popular they will even ship pizza nationwide to anyone missing that “back home” pizza they remembered living in Chicago. Now that’s some serious pizza dedication. The price actually isn’t bad. A four pizza pack is $89 (not including shipping), packed in dry ice and delivered in two days.

What Chicago Pizza is Your Favorite?

 

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Chicago the Friendly City

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Chicago has the reputation of being a dangerous town, a corrupt city, and even though it is the third largest city in the United States you don’t hear people talking about talking a trip to Chicago like you do New York City or Los Angeles.

This could be because this City by the Lake is ranked as one of the most dangerous cities in the United States, and even the most depressing city in America. But after visiting this summer I do believe the people of the Windy City really want to change this reputation. I know my impression of has changed, and I want to go back. IMG_9013-300 Most of what I hear about Chicago is depressing, the crime, the corrupt politics, the unemployment, yet I knew there had to be more. Downtown is very much like any city, tall buildings, lots of shopping, restaurants, museums, and like New York, Chicago has a very efficient metro train system. For $15 we bought an unlimited metro pass which included the train, bus, and subway system.

After researching on line for the best places to live in the Chicago metro area my son picked an apartment in Edgewater, and I helped him move in January. He heard it was one of the safer neighborhoods and had the lowest crime rates. After spending time there I certainly believe it. The neighborhoods are clean, as if the residents take pride in the area where they live. The flower beds were blooming with color, restaurants have inviting outdoor seating with flower boxes and umbrellas.

There is a relaxed atmosphere, almost park like and yes, my son says he feels as though he’s living in a twilight zone when he steps out of his apartment. Considering he lived in a Marine Corps barracks in Yuma Arizona the previous three years seeing green and trees is probably a shock to his system.

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View outside the Chicago apartment

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Midnight after getting off the Chicago CTA train

At night there is a police presence on the corners and they regularly patrol. We parked our car at the hotel and either walked or took the CTA trains everywhere. Not once did I feel as though I was in danger, or threatened. Remember this is NOT the south side of Chicago, which from what I hear is a whole other world.

People were exceedingly friendly. We met a young black lady  on the train who was taking her three young nieces and nephews to the fountains Saturday night to watch the fireworks. She spoke with pride about her city and how “…so many people talk bad about Chicago, there is a lot the city offers, people just need to get out and experience it, there are a lot of family activities and events.” This is true, I had no idea Chicago had such wonderful beaches.

Our hotel and my son’s apartment was only blocks away from Lake Shore Drive and the softest, sandy beaches I’ve seen in the Midwest. It’s not the ocean, but Lake Michigan does have it’s own tide, and small waves. It’s the perfect place to people watch and the dog beach is very fun. Dogs of all shapes and sizes playing in the water, playing fetch and enjoying the summer day.

Dog beach on Lake Michigan, Chicago

Dog beach on Lake Michigan, Chicago

The Chicago Park system is quite extensive and encourages people to get out and enjoy the trails with rental bikes, trikes (if you look closely in the photo below you can see the trike to the left of the bench) or bring your own roller blades.

I met the friendliest pit bull during our morning walk, his eyes just yelled “Oh pet me, please pet me I’m so happy to see you”. His owner fit the breeds stereotype, although his eyes said the same thing. Don’t judge me by my looks. We had a nice conversation about the pup, who was only 8 months old and already interested in a twig and a nearby bird, so off they went.

We also met an very wrinkled, larger old lady in a bikini walking her hairless Chihuahua . Yes, I said it a bikini, and the phrase of the day became “You know when you get old and you don’t care what people think? I don’t think I can care that little”

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Part of the girls weekend trip to see my son included touristy things that he just doesn’t have time to do between his school and work. One of them was a lake and Seadog lake and river boat tour.

It was here that we met the forth very friendly Chicagoan, who was so excited to be sharing his city. Up until the week before he had never done a boat tour and he had lived there all his life. He recorded part of it on his iPhone and said we were in for an exciting trip. His words were “Chicago has heart!” and based on the people I met on this one weekend, Chicago is a friendly city and the people do have heart.

Sea dog boat tour in Chicago

Seadog boat tour in Chicago

The thing that topped off my respect and faith for the city of Chicago was when I misplaced my gift bag from Chinatown in the restroom of a restaurant. We were rushing to get on the Navy Pier bus at 4:00 pm and I wasn’t thinking. More than four hours later my kids convinced me to go back, maybe it’s still there. You see I don’t get souvenirs that often and this one had special meaning. So we made the trip back, I asked at the desk, I looked in the trash, I asked the bartender if anyone had turned anything in, no luck. Out of desperation I opened the door to the stall and in the corner sat my bag.

Yes, Chicago has a heart, Chicago is full of friendly people, Chicago has honest people.

Our girls weekend to visit my son was wonderful! We went to the Billy Joel Concert in Wrigley Field, ate Chicago pizza, went to Chinatown, did a boat tour, sat and watched a free concert at Millennial Park, watched fireworks, and visited Navy Pier (which I was very dissapointed) But best of all got to spend time with my son who is going to school at Tribeca Film Academy and making quite the name for himself in a very short time.

There will be a next time, Shea Aquarium, a few museums, and maybe even a show or two. Sometime I’ll actually sit on the beach for an afternoon, watch the dogs and the sailboats on the lake. Sounds like another great trip.

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Yes, I know about the gang mob violence in Chicago. Like any big city there are certain areas you avoid, there are precautions you take on the train, a certain way to behave, stay alert, not draw attention to yourself and stay safe. I had a drunk guy fall over on me on the train, but I also witnessed people applaud when my son killed a flying bug and “saved” a little boy who was scared.

So how about you? Have you been to Chi-Town (as some people affectionately call Chicago), do you live there? What do you like, what would you suggest for my next trip?

 

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Patriotic Horses at the County Fair

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Patriotic Horse Stole My Heart

The social event of the year in many rural communities is the county fair and in Cass County Nebraska this is no exception. Saturday night at the horse arena is the 4-H Horse fun event which includes a costume contest, ribbon ride, egg and spoon, and sit-a-buck. This patriotic horse was my favorite horse of the night and I had to get more of their story.

Patriotic Horse

Meet Willy the Red, White, and Blue patriotic horse

So meet Willy, the Red, White, and Blue horse and his little owner Courtney. This is what 4-H, friends, family, and the fair is all about, fun, smiles and horsing around, literally. According to her Mom, Micki, Courtney couldn’t decide how to decorate Willy for the costume contest, Pegasus was the first idea, but the thought of trying to create wings and attach them to the horse was just too challenging.

Patriotic Horse Costume

A girl and her horse (photo by Mom)

Courtney’s Dad was in the Air Force, and still works at Offutt Air Force Base in Bellevue Nebraska, so when her Mom saw this idea on line Courtney was very excited. Her friend didn’t have a horse to decorate so they went together as a team, one painted the stars and the other the red and white stripes.

God Bless America

God Bless America

They decided the opposite side should say “God Bless America” and tie red, white, and blue ribbons in WIlly’s mane and tail.  The red leg wraps gave the whole presentation a patriotic “pop” and although they didn’t win, they turned some heads and made more than a few people smile.

These girls have quite a number of years showing ahead and I can’t wait to see what they come up with next year. Fun night is held the last night of the fair after all the “serious” show competitions and events. It’s time to unwind and have some fun.

Thank you Micki for texting me pictures from earlier in the evening. By the time I got to the arena Willy’s paint was starting to rub off from the saddle and reins. Patriotic Horse I love watching the 4-H horse kids. I was a horse crazy when I was a kid and rode my bike into the country just to look at horses. Even though I didn’t own a horse, I joined 4-H and “borrowed” horses from club members, my first was a Quarter horse mare, Wimpy’s Kelly. I entered a few shows, but never really learned to “ride” and get a “seat” until college when a friend and I exercised roping horses at the local stable one summer.

Riding 3-4 horses a day taught you more in one day than a months worth of lessons. We even borrowed a cowboys horses an brought them to school one semester. When I became an adult and bought an acreage buying a horse was the first thing I did, her name was Tomcat Pat and she was a feisty energetic barrel and poles horse that loved to go trail riding. I was lucky enough to have her until she died at age 32, wish she were still around.

Patriotic Horse Costume Ideas and Resources

The Patriotic Horse – Stayton (Oregon) Daily Photo

Patriotic horse is patriotic. Or it’s just a coincidence it’s standing next to an American flag. Or is it? Yes, it is. Or not. This photo was taken along Sublimity Rd. SE, just outside of nearby Sublimity. In other news… Tomorrow is the …
Patriotic Horse Wear | Velvet Rider

Patriotic Horse Wear. July 3, 2014. Bookmark and Share. In honor of Independence Day, I decided to do a post on equestrian gear that celebrates our patriotism. There are options from subtle red, white, and blue to obvious flag references.
Patriotic Plume Browbands, Saddle Blankets and Rein Covers

WishPony.com to order your patriotic horse costume today! If placing custom orders for 4th of July (2011): Order by 5PM PST Wednesday June 15, 2011 for Standard Service Time and delivery by Saturday, July 2, 2011.

 

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Cows are a Fan of the Song Royals by Lorde

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I saw this today and I just had to share. I live in Nebraska, majored in Animal Science and yes, cows are curious, it’s hard to get photos of them at the fence as they will come right up to you. So it’s no doubt they would be an apt audience of the song Royal by Lorde. Heck, I’m a fan of the original and all the covers. But this is the best!!

Agriculture has taken a beating in the media for mistreating their animals. I would say these cows are clearly not mistreated, and in fact, I would say probably a little spoiled.

Who would of thought cattle would be such a fan of pop music? Derek Klingenberg is a farmer in Kansas, has quite the sense of humor and takes videotography to another genre. He’s pretty funny and I think this Angus cow below agrees.

Black Angus Cow

Day 52: Angus Cow

The video has gone viral and is hitting all over social media and even Ellen like the cows being serenaded with the Royals by Lorde and tweeted it. How cool is that, what a way to promote ranching and agriculture. Bet this is driving PETA and the HSUS crazy! (don’t worry I’m not linking to them, but to sites that reveal what those organizations really are)

Ellen tweets Cow love Royals by Lorde

If you like this you can Tweet Derek @KlingenbergFarm, or thank him on Facebook, better yet go to his YouTube page, a lot of  ag related parodies to keep you entertained for hours.

More Fun with the Song Royals by Lorde

Cows Come Running To Hear Farmer Play Lorde’s ‘Royals …

Who knew cows loved trombone music so much? In this clip, Farmer Derek Klingenberg manages to attract an entire herd of cattle by simply playing Lorde’s “Royals” on his trombone. If you’re the impatient type, skip ahead …
Exclusive “Weird Al” Yankovic Music Video: FOIL (Parody of …

Exclusive “Weird Al” Yankovic Music Video: FOIL (Parody of “Royals” by Lorde). CollegeHumor. SubscribeSubscribedUnsubscribe 7,585,217. Subscription preferences. Loading… Loading… Working… 14,844,867. 130,285 …
Watch Cows Come to Hear Farmer’s Moo-ving Rendition of Lorde’s “Royals” on …

Sorry Old MacDonald, but cows these days have no interest in your E-I-E-I-O schtick. Luckily, Derek Klingenberg is a modern farmer and farm-centric musical parody artist who has a YouTube channel and some unique ideas for bringing his cows home for the …

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Free Tahmooressi Rally in Omaha Nebraska

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It is time to free Tahmooressi from Mexico! Enough is Enough!

On Friday August 1st at 6:00 there will be a Freedom Rally in Omaha Nebraska at Memorial Park. Jill Tahmooressi, Mother of Andrew Tahmooressi, is the featured speaker. I listened to her radio interview on KFAB and it convinced me that my initial thoughts about this young man were accurate.

The more I learn about Marine Sgt Andrew Tahmooressi being held in a Mexican jail while thousands of illegals are crossing the Mexican border smuggling drugs, weapons and the the extremes the United States went through to free Bowe Bergdahl in exchange for five Taliban leaders the more pissed I become.

free tahmooressi

Click to donate to the Free Tahmooressi Fund

I’ve listened and read several accounts of the circumstances behind his wrong turn into Mexico. I’ve read that his story changed between lawyers, also that he had been to Mexico before. But, this is irrelevant in my opinion. Think about the circumstances and really how accurate are the rumors and the information?

There are a lot of irregularities and inconsistent stories, first there is a language barrier, second the Mexican police is known for being corrupt, and the lawyers he’s gotten haven’t exactly served him well either. I read the hard to see sign has been replaced since he was taken into custody, there are pages of documents missing from the initial report and an interpreter was not provided to him at the border.  What truth can truly be disseminated from all this?

The facts remain he does not have a criminal record, he stated he did not want to go into Mexico. He declared his weapons. If you don’t want him in your country, make him do a U-turn and have him go back to where he started. Do not arrest a citizen of your neighboring country and throw him into a prison where he will be abused and mistreated.

free tahmooressi

Click to donate to the Free Tahmooressi Fund

The way I look at it it’s time to free Tahmooressi for these reasons.

1. What crime did he really commit? He was at the gate, not “in country” and while I can understand punishing and imprisoning a criminal, who had robed, raped, or murdered someone in their country, I cannot understand this. Andrew Tahmooressi does not have a criminal background. The border patrol should of just refused him entry, contacted the US Border Patrol and let them investigate the situation?

2. How often do Mexican illegals smuggle drugs and weapons into the United States? All the time, how many are caught? Very few. Andres didn’t actually smuggle them in, he declared them, if you’re smuggling something into the country you don’t tell someone about your contraband.

3. He called 911 and tried to get help saying he had crossed by accident. Another question is why didn’t the emergency operator try and help him, if his 911 signal still reached and would connect to the American Emergency network why can’t you get help, and WHY isn’t there an American border patrol at one of the busiest international crossings?

4. The United States sends millions of dollars to Mexico, not only from our government, but via their citizens who work (legally and illegally) in our country and send money back to their families. Mexico is supposed to be one of our allies, a friendly country who is in partnership in NAFTA with us and Canada. Why in the world then can they not release this man?

I have read and heard some people state he’s not a Marine, he was a civilian. However, he was on reserve status and actually had a notice to appear to his assigned duty station while he was in the Mexican jail. He had not found a permanent place to live so had all of his possessions in the car.

I will be attending the rally in Omaha, will you?

Information on the Omaha Free Tahmooressi Rally

Additional Information and News

Congress can’t get Obama’s attention to free Tahmooressi, We the People must

When justifying the release of five vicious Taliban terrorists detained at “Gitmo” in exchange for U.S. soldier Bowe Bergdahl, the president said, “We don’t leave our people behind.” He was subsequently accused of violating a law requiring him to
Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi denied freedom by Mexican judge

Meanwhile, social media posters expressed outrage on GretaWire.com, Greta Van Susteren’s blog, on the breaking announcement of Sgt. Tahmooressi’s continued imprisonment. One wrote: “FREE TAHMOORESSI! NOW! Obama … Shame on you! You are a …
Afghan War Veteran Held in Tecate, Mexico: US Marine Sent Back to Prison …

Dozens of people, including some congressmen, have appealed to the U.S. State Department and Mexican officials to free Tahmooressi. Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., and Rep. Lee Terry, R-Neb., sent a letter on July 8 asking for just that, according to Fox …

 

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My Infamous Cowboy Candy Recipe

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Sweet Pickled Jalapenos

I’ve talked to many people about my Cowboy Candy recipe on Twitter and I guess it’s about time that I posted it on my blog.

Up until last year I was not a big fan of jalapenos. It was the first time I planted jalapenos, mainly for salsa, but I saw this recipe on Pinterest for Cowboy Candy and was very intrigued. Now, I am addicted to the sweet and tangy taste of the sweet Mexican flavor. I am actually just slightly addicted to the Bacon Wrapped Jalapeno poppers I learned how to make last summer.

Cowboy Candy recipe

Cowboy Candy and Sweet Jalapeno Relish

I still don’t eat raw jalapenos, they are too hot and spicy for me, but when you add vinegar and sugar to the pickled jalapenos you are left with the flavor without the heat, that I can do! Last year I became quite obsessed and my four small pepper plants were NOT enough and I started begging jalapenos from friends and neighbors. This year I have eleven plants so let’s see if this keeps my in stock for the season.

The recipe for Cowboy Candy is very easy, but you will want to remember a few things.

  1. While slicing the jalapenos peppers, DON’T touch your eyes with your fingers, if your hair gets in your face, ask someone else to move it out. Better yet, wear a ponytail.
  2. Better yet, wear rubber gloves when slicing as the juice will stay on your hands for hours (while you still avoid touching your face)
  3. If you like a milder flavor fill your finished bowl with water and let the seeds float to the top, then pour off (my husband like it hot, so one batch I left the seeds)
  4. Slicing takes a lot of time. If you want the same flavor in less the time make relish and use a food processor or salsa maker (got mine at the state fair)
  5. You will have extra syrup left. Do NOT discard. Can it and use for marinade on chicken, pork chops, or ham.

 

Cowboy Candy Recipe

(small batch)
1 lb fresh jalapenos
2/3 cup cider vinegar
2 cups sugar
2 tablespoons mustard seed
1/4 teaspoon tumeric
1/4 teaspoon celery seed
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
 

 Instructions:

  1. Slice jalapenos (see above)
  2. Mix cider vinegar, sugar, tumeric, celery and mustard seed, garlic, and cayenne to boil.
  3. Reduce the liquid for 5 minutes to a simmer. 
  4. Add jalapenos to the syrup and simmer for 5 minutes
  5. Remove jalapenos from liquid with a slotted spoon into a bowl
  6. Pack into sterilized jars with jalapenos first using a spoon, or a small spatula to press into the jar.
  7. Add liquid filling the jars leaving a 1/4 headspace. 
  8. Process in a water bath for 15 minutes.

Makes 2 pints


Did you note this only makes 2 pints, that is TWO small jars. The first time I made this recipe I had a large bowl of sliced jalapenos and was so excited about all the jars they would fill. (I was anticipating Christmas gifts)  Jalapeno pepper rings are ridge when fresh and will fill the bowl, you will think you have plenty, NOT! When boiled in syrup they become soft and the volume is reduced. Packing them into the jars reduces the volume further.

So make sure to have a bushel of peppers, trust me this will become your favorite and you might hoard the small shiny jars like treasure. I took to hiding them in the back of the cabinet. 

There you go, Cowboy Candy, serve on crackers with cream cheese as an appetizer or snack. The sweet Jalapeno relish is excellent on hot dogs or brats, and my husband puts the sliced sweet jalapenos on hamburgers. However you serve them they are delicious. 

Do you have a favorite Cowboy Candy recipe, or another jalapeno dish? 

By

Patriotic Video That Gets It Right

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The Best Patriotic Video

Across the internet are scores of videos with patriotic songs, words, and performers that inspire and lift the heart. My plan this Independence Day weekend was to post several of my favorite patriotic videos here, and I had quite the list. But once I saw this ad by Food City centered around the true meaning of the holiday I changed my plans and only posted one. 

Food City Patriotic video

Food City Patriotic video

The respect between these two men is overwhelming, and it’s a trait I see with people who serve in the military to those who have served before them.

As a Marine Mom this has special meaning to me. My two sons are in the United States Marine Corps and their grandfather was a WWII veteran and a paratrooper in the Army Airborne. He died in 1995, but would have been able to fit into his uniform. I could see him doing just this for one of his grandsons as they came home.

I normally don’t cry during patriotic videos, but I can’t help it on this one. The look on the Mothers face as she watches the two salute each other would bring a tear to even the hardest heart. 

“At Food City, we honor those people that serve and protect our country, and we know that without the men and women who watch out for us, we would not have any of the luxuries we do. We are the land of the free because of the brave and we salute you!” Food City

It’s not often a company gets an ad right, but when they do it deserves recognition. I know these are actors, and not everything in the video may be accurate, but it accomplishes what it was meant to do. Remind the public that holidays such as Memorial Day, and Independence Day, often referred to as the 4th of July, are not just about picnics, barbecues and parties. But about recognizing why we celebrate our country’s freedom. It’s because of the brave men and women of our military, who for hundreds of years have fought for freedom so we can have the rights we have today.

If you have a favorite patriotic video please place the link below, I would love to see it and may even create a regular feature on either #MilitaryMonday or #WarriorWednesday

 

By

Celebrating Independence Day

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Across the United States millions of Americans are celebrating Independence Day with parades, picnics, barbecues and fireworks. The town of Murdock Nebraska is no different. However, our story is a little unique because you see it is a village of under 400 people. The town is joined by Elmwood Nebraska just six miles south and we form the community of Elmwood-Murdock joined together by our schools and with a total population of around a thousand people.

The day starts off with a 5K Dillon Synovec Memorial Run at 7:30 am and then continues with a parade, lunch hosted by the Lions Club, pie at the church, firemans water fight, tractor pull, softball games, and fireworks at the end of the night.

Patriotic pride on Independence Day

Honor guard during the 4th of July Parade

Honor guard during the 4th of July Parade

However during the 4th of July parade and Independence Day parade we grow to probably close to a thousand people. That is no joke. Our parade is one of the best around and over an hour long. You can see the sidewalks packed with people and this goes on for an amazing three blocks of main street. Well actually people are also sitting in their yards on the parade route also, but the announcers stand is on Main St (3rd Ave). My friends always bring their donkeys and throw candy from the home made barrels on the side. Chris dresses up in his red and white “Husker” coveralls which double for the 4th of July.

Patriotic Spirit celebrating Independence Day

Patriotic Spirit celebrating Independence Day

There wouldn’t be a country Independence Day parade without some antique tractors decked out in 4th of July bunting, and this one is an oldie. 

Tractor in the 4th of July parade

Tractor in the 4th of July parade

The marching band from Elmwood-Murdock high school marches, and because it’s the 4th and not a competition they are allowed to wear shorts and an school T-shirt. My daughter played the drums in school and during her senior year she moved up to the quads which is a coveted position. She felt like a “beast” when she played the quads.

Bass drum and the quads marching during the parade

My daughter on quads marching during the parade

After the parade one of the local 4-H clubs gives out free watermelon. It’s a favorite with the crowds and a good appetizer to the lunch served after the parade put on by the Lions Club.

Watermelon on the 4th of July

Watermelon on the 4th of July

The day continues with a tractor pull and one of my favorite activities the Fireman’s water fight. The local volunteer fire departments from about 8-10 towns in the area compete for bragging rights (and I’m sure a few beers) in water fights. The object of the game is to push the 55 gal barrel down the wire using the force from the water hose. If it’s hot the spray from the fire hoses are a welcome relief to the hot sun. It’s so much fun watching the little kids play in the water. (My daughter is sitting with our dog Leah to the left of the picture)

Celebrating the 4th of July with Fireman water fights

Fire Department Water Fights

For most kids the favorite part of celebrating Independence Day is the fireworks. This year my husbands family took a cross country trip from New York to tour the Western United States. They stopped by our house and the teenagers were so excited to light fireworks. Fireworks aren’t legal for the “regular” person to light in Buffalo.

Celebrating Independence Day with Fireworks

Celebrating Independence Day with Fireworks

However you celebrate Independence Day, have a safe one, hug your families, salute the flag and remember we are celebrating our freedom, the birth of our country and all that we hold dear and take for granted: freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom to bear arms, and freedom from tyranny. Our military fought for our freedom from the British in the 1700′s and continues to fight for those who suppress freedom around the world.

How Are You Celebrating Independence Day This Year?

Leave me a note below, I’d love to hear your traditions.

 

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