Monday, January 31, 2005

The Carnival Of Life

Sometimes I'm the clown in the carnival of life

sometimes I'm the target for the man who throws the knife

sometimes I walk the highwire and make the lions roar

sometimes I steal the whole show

sometimes I sweep the floor      Mike Barra         



     On Saturday night I went to the South Florida State Fair with my friends Aubrey and Cynthia, nothing like a night of great shows, fair food, live stock, rides and games to make you feel like a kid again.

     Great shows? you bet cha! We didn't get to see them all but the ones we did see were definitely top rate. The Weldes Big Bear Show was cool, the Kodiak Bears were so human like and right in que.

     We found the biggest laughs of the evening at the Sonny's Racing Pigs Show ... oinking and squealing their way across the finish line. I won't even try to explain how funny it was, you really had to be there for that one!

     My favorite show was the "That's Entertainment Ice Skating Show". Many of the skaters were Olympic medal winners and the performance was absolutely top rate.

     The costumes were gorgeous and they performed to some of our all time favorite movie songs. This show alone was worth the trip out there. Yep ... no doubt my favorite show!

     We kept the fabulouso fair food to a minimum because we were so looking forward to the rides but ...

 I've just gotta show you this one picture of Cynthia and her Brontosaurs Leg! I've never seen this at a fair before ... maybe because I don't eat meat and never looked. lol

  Sort of Flintstone like!

    There was lots of blue ribbon winning live stock there and gotta love the owl from Bushes Wildlife Sanctuary oh ...  can't forget about the Little Lama Loves at the petting zoo, how cute were they? 



     No doubt the highlight of the night was the rides ... good thing we saved them for last! Cynthia and I went on lot's of rides... I know that Aubrey was glad that I was there, it got him off the hook.


  The Starship is the one that finally did us in. Hey ... we're not exactly teenagers anymore and there is only so much flying and spinning and dropping two girls can take in one night. Geeze ... I remember the days when I wanted to ride all night and then go back the next day and do it all over again. 

    Oh yea ... the lyrics up top are part of a song that my friend Mike Barra wrote 25 or so years ago. I sing this song in my mind every time I go to a carnival, a circus or a fair. I love his songs and can only imagine what he writes about all of these years later if this is what he was thinking when we were kids.

                                       *** Coy ***

Thursday, January 27, 2005

An Unexpected Visit.

  On my way home from work yesterday, Mandy called ... she said that she was coming over. She has been home a lot on weekends, but on a Wednesday? This was an unexpected surprise!

     After raiding the fridge, she wanted to talk about meal planning, yep ... meal planning. Imagine my surprise when she told me that she wanted me to tell her everything I know about cooking, right now!

     "Write Your Own Cookbook" (I've started one for both of my girls) and pen in hand it was clear to see that she meant business. I was thinking to my self "Ahhh, Hello ... where have you been for the last 18 years?" lol

     We started with the basics, I talked and she took notes. She wrote in recipes and made lists of easy meal options. She had no interest in gourmet cookbooks, just the basics. You know ... the everyday stuff she has grown up on. We did this for over 2 hours.

      At 7:00 she went out for a while with a friend and I was off to my Photoshop Class, we both were home by 10:30. Somehow she was able to persuade me to take a late night drive to the beach just like we've done all of her life. We call it aimlessly wandering, driving with nowhere in particular to go. I think this is one of the things Angie and Joey miss most about being home. (have I mentioned lately that I miss Angie and Joey)?

     There's a lot of give and take in the music department when we are on these journeys, we're talking hard-core rap and hip-hop ... OK! I learned a long time ago that a little compromise goes a long way in allowing me extra one on one time with this girl while she was growing up. I think it allowed me to connect on a level that is normally reserved only for your friends and other liked minded people, I highly recommend it.

     In return she is usually game for turning the radio off so we can sing old songs that my friends wrote years ago, as loud as we can. I've been singing these songs real loud with my kids in the car for 21 years now:-)

     We did take a walk on the docks in Pompano, that's where we took the photo above. It was very late when we got home and maybe I did loose a little sleep last night but it was worth it. I spent the evening doing one of the things I love doing most ... nothing with Mandy!

     I'm sure that moments like these will be fewer and farther between as both of our lives begin to move in different directions but as for last night ... all was as it should be.

                                         *** Coy ***  

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

A colorful walk ...

     Taking a couple of day's off from jornaling, still adjusting to my new schedule and still having some computer issues. This is an entry from last July, the photos could have very easily been taken last week because our winter has been so warm and sunny this year.

     I expect my collages to get better now that I am taking photoshop classes. The classes are going pretty well by the way.    


     This was such a beautiful Saturday morning. I took a colorful walk around the local Swap Shop and this is some of what I saw there.

     I bought Rainier Cherries and ate most of them while I was there, the coconut guy was there with his machete, cutting the tops off of coconuts and serving them up with a coconut shell scoop or with a couple of straws. No pictures of that, I am still not to comfortable asking to take random photos of people, to bad.

     On my way home I found a new nature preserve less than 2 miles from my house. I think it will prove to be a new favorite place for quiet walks and photos:-)

     It is really raining out, perfect time for a Saturday afternoon nap. Without all of this rain things would not look so lovely and green here. 

                  *** Coy ***

Saturday, January 22, 2005

A Lesson In Receiving

 Cat's Whiskers!

     Slightly embarrassed but not going to apologize for my last entry. It seems that the combination of the DSL stress, the empty nest syndrome, my drastic schedule change, irregular sleep patterns and yes ... a slight case PMS did have me a little out of sorts.

     I found myself laughing out loud as I was reading some of your kind words of concern and suggestions that were left in the comment section of that entry. Thank you very much for leaving them there, they helped.

     Maybe it was the dark photo that caused some of you to worry so. Would help to know that I really like that photo? This <-- click this is the night that I took it, what a great time that was!

     I'll admit I'm not always comfortable (or even very good) at expressing feelings of being overwhelmed or vulnerable. In my line of work as well as in my roll as Mom the appearance of strength and control is just part of the job description (at least it's always felt like that to me). 

     Through some of my experiences here in J-Land I am getting a lesson in becoming a better receiver.  I am starting to learn what a gift it is to allow other people the occasional opportunity to be the ones offering the kindness and support. It takes practice to learn how to be a gracious receiver and I know that I'm not the only one learning that here. 

    I think that most of us go through life being either a giver or a taker ... either predominantly the Ying or predominantly the Yang of our own world.   Here in J-Land we have a unique opportunity to interactively share very intimate parts of the lives of so many different kinds of people.

     If you take a look around as you are journal hopping you'll probably also notice that many of the most grandiose and self absorbed personalities here (and you know who you are) are also getting a lesson in giving, supporting and in being a friend. I love this place:-)

     BTW ... special thanks to Suzypwr for suggesting chocolate, you're my kind of friend ... also thanks to lifewrites for being such an awesome cheerleader from the other side of the continent, welcome to J-Land!

                                       Have a good weekend all

                                                *** Coy ***


Thursday, January 20, 2005

Not adjusting ...


  Light on the water!

     I am so not adjusting to my new schedule ... I'm still wide awake at 2:00 or 3:00 am, I miss my mornings off and I'm really lonely for my kids ... maybe my life's just not structured for a normal schedule. The photo above looks like I feel, I took it on the intercoastal in December.

      Tuesday I wrote that it seemed like I had so much more time on my hands, today is Thursday and I'm now saying that just is not true. Grrr ...

     It's way to quiet here way to early, I don't want to have dinner at 6:00 and be sleeping by 11:00, I have 119 journal alerts that I haven't read yet and I can't think of anything to write.

     I'm putting a copy of a guarenteed to quiet your thoughts late at night cd in the mail tomorrow for a J-Land friend that's been having trouble sleeping ... I may have to listen to it myself tonight, haven't needed it in quite some time. 

     I'm trying to set up my new DSL Modem and it's just not working and I can't get a live person on the phone. The three simple steps they speak of are not that simple ... at least not for me ... at least not tonight.

     My friend Dan from work built my computer and usually helps me with any technical issues ... he's usually a phone call away but ... right now he's on his way to Seattle and not answering his phone ... I hate when that happens.

     The easy instructions say to install filters, plug in the power, the phone line and the earthnet cable and then turn on the power button and both lights will come on ... power and DSL. Well ... my modem has no power button and it has 4 lights instead of 2 lights. I do have 2 lights on but the DSL light is not one of them:-(

     I plugged my dial up back in, I'll try again tomorrow. Oh yeah, I'm listening to frou frou at the moment and guess what? frou frou is not making me happy ... maybe because I bought the details album today, it was the only one on the shelf ... maybe because I'm already not feeling so happy who knows.

     Right now I'm just hearing something like "Let go, let go, jump in, it's all right ... there's beauty in the breakdown." I'm sure that I'll be feeling better by tomorrow and I'll listen again after all frou frou comes highly recommended here in J-Land.

             SloMo <--     Baby Shark <--     

Check out the awesome website ...    frou frou <--                

                         *** Coy ***


Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Quickie Entry


     So getting off work at 3:00 on Tuesday was much better than getting off work at 10:00, it felt like I had so much more time on my hands. I had time to come home and get some laundry and a few other things done around here, go to the gym, meet some friends at Barnes and Noble and get home before 11:00 pm. I don't think it will take long to adjust to the new schedule.

     Night time is a much busier time at the gym, coupled with the fact that it's January, you know ... everyone's New Year resolutions and all. It was really hard to find a parking space.

      I hear the way people complain about the people that complain about having to park a little distance from the gym and walk. I am one of those people that prefers a good parking spot no matter where I'm going ... I admit it and I'm not going to make an exception for the gym.

     It was also no easy task getting a piece of cardio equipment to use either, I have never seen the place as busy as last night at 7:00. A lot of promotions going on I suppose, the time to act on peoples impulse to buy a membership that they will only use for a month or so is now.  

     The photo above is of the hibiscus bush by my back door. Every bloom on that plant is different and it never ceases to amaze me. HERE <-- is a look at some of the mid summer blooms last year.

                                   *** Coy ***

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

We interrupt you irregular schedule ....


     My schedule is changing at work as of tomorrow. For a couple of years it has been the same 3 days and 3 nights each week. Now I will be working 5 days a week from 8:30 am -3:00 pm and Sunday, big change. Truth be known, I have grown very accustomed to having Mon, Tue and Thurs mornings off, I normally go to the beach a lot on those mornings in the spring.

     My sleep patterns have been rather irregular ever since I started this mixed schedule, some times I'm up until 3 or 4 in the morning, ahhh ... like now it's 2:30 am and I have to be to work in a few hours, better get some rest. I guess it will take a while get back into rhythm of a normal schedule.

     Maybe now that Mandy's moved out and I'm off every day at 3:00 in the afternoon I can make some time for myself. Just think, I could go back to school or get a second job or even have a social life. Oh, the possibilities ...

     Speaking of taking classes ... tomorrow night, (Wed) I start a photo shop class ... Yay! It's only once a week for 10 weeks but I'm pretty excited about it. After that who knows ... maybe web design, creative writing or something.

      BTW ...  the photo 4 x's above is of wild orchids that are in bloom everywhere right now. Not a very significant flower compared to most orchids, but I always like seeing them.

                           I've gotta go to bed, Good night all

                                         *** Coy ***

Monday, January 17, 2005

"One Nation, One Dream: Keep Hope Alive."

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday Celebration!

"I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: 'We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.' I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slaveowners will be able to sit down together at a table of brotherhood. I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a desert state, sweltering with the heat of injustice and oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice. I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. I have a dream today."
-- Martin Luther King Jr.

     Today we will celebrate with memorial services, youth conferences, art, parades, prayers, marches, awards and tributes to this great man known for ...

  • Celebrating and promoting the worth of all human beings
  • Pursuing equal rights by nonviolent means
  • Encouraging people of diverse cultures to live together in a spirit of love and acceptance
  • Active involvement in community service
  • Resisting injustice wherever it is found
  • Promoting inter-group relations and understanding
  •       We have come so far, but the fight is not over until every member of our society no longer knows discrimination.     

         I wanted to write my own tribute this morning to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., instead I'm going to direct you to Barbara's Journal <-- click because I couldn't say it any better if I tried. 

                                          *** Coy ***

    Seeing Stars, Stars Stars ...

    To much of a good thing? I think not!

         If like me ... you find  your self with waaaaaay to many star fruit on hand right now you may want to go Here <-- to get the recipes listed below.  

          Of course at my house we'll be leaving out the chicken, beef, pork and duck ... couldn't even bring my self to list the title for Star Fruit and Bologna eeek ... anyone know what's in that stuff anyway? You'll find ...  

    Star Fruit Avocado Salad  *   Star Fruit Bread  *   Broiled Star Fruit over Vanilla Frozen Yogurt  *  Star Fruit Chicken Rice  *  Star Fruit Chicken Salad  *  Star Fruit Upside Down Cake  *  Star Fruit Cocktail  *  Star Fruit Fruit Salad  *   Sweet Star Fruit Relish  *  Avocado, Star Fruit and Wilted Spinach Salad  *  Star Fruit Sampler with Cranberry Coulis  *   Star Fruit Soup  *  Tropical Fruit Salad  *  Star Fruit and Ginger Drink  *  Fruit Salad Vinaigrette  *   Star Fruit Lobster Salad  *  Down Island Salsa  *   Shrimp and Star Fruit Salad  *  Chicken Star Fruit Stir Fry  *  Star Fruit Chutney  *  Tropical Fruit Napoleons  *  Marinated Sour Shrimp  *  Grilled Tuna and Star Fruit Salad  *  Butterhead and Mesclun Salad w/Grilled Star Fruit and Edible Flowers  *  Star Fruit Mui  *  Grilled Chicken and Star Fruit  *  Art Deco Salad  *  Duckling with Star Fruit Sauce  *  Star Fruit Salad with Raspberry Vinaigrette  *  Fruit Exotica  *  Vietnamese Grilled Steak Wraps  *  Grilled Lemongrass Prawns  *   Pork Scaloppinis with Star Fruit  *   Lemony Star Fruit Kuchen  *  Baked Fish Fillets With Star Fruit * Star Fruit Steak  *        

          OK, Ill stop now, I'm starting to feel like Ol' Bubba on Forrest Gump ... you know the guy with all the shrimp ... lol. Maybe you live somewhere tropical enough to grow these yourself or maybe like me, you have friends like Aubrey and Cynthia that grow star fruit and other exotic fruit in there backyard and they share :-)

         If you have no idea what a star fruit is let me just say that they are a pleasure both to the taste and to the eye. They are a mild fruit and have a sweet but lemony taste, they have the texture of a not so overripe plum. Because of there shape these fruit look like little stars when they are sliced and that's how they got the name. If you've never tried them ... I would highly recommend that you do:-)                             

                               Happy Monday                                  

                                *** Coy ***

    Sunday, January 16, 2005

    Daffodils, Girl Stuff and the Week of the Birthday

         Thursday was Mandy's 18th Birthday. Woo Hoo ... I did it !!!The baby is finally 18, no small task getting her here I'll have you know:-)

         It was much harder than usual to make birthday plans with her this year, she has not been easy to keep up with since she moved out a few months ago plus she was not quite sure about various plans that she had with her friends. Thursday was also her first day back at the salon and I had to work Thursday night so ... we decided to celebrate on Saturday night instead.

         Mandy did spend the night on Wednesday, we spent a quiet evening at home playing catch up on each others lives and doing girl stuff, you know ... painting, primping, waxing, oh my!

         I love the girl stuff and I miss it since she's moved out. I guess now that she has graduated from beauty school and is working in a salon we'll still have plenty of time for girl stuff, we just won't be doing it while bumping into each other trying to use the same mirror in the bathroom. I love being Mandy's Mom, even though she makes me worry more than anyone else has ever made me worry!

         Did all of you read THIS entry in Ann's journal recently about "Girly Things"? I think it's about the sweetest thing I've ever read. Annie Girl ... I love the way you love your girls, I feel the same way about being a mother to my daughters. BTW ... I don't want to leave this out, I loooooove my boy too! No words to describe how much I miss that kid right now!


         Mandy had to be at work by 1:00 on Thursday. I made a quick lunch, added a pot of beautiful daffodils and a cupcake with candles and we had a mini birthday celebration before work.

         We talked about things that are going on with her these day's, we talked a lot about when she was a little girl and we made a toast to her future, with pineapple soda (Mandy's favorite since she's moved out). Some times the little things mean more than the big ones.

         Mandy's Birthday Celebration has continued all week, they had a little celebration for her at work, very nice for her first day back ... she had dinner and cake with her Grand Parents after work on Thursday and then a night out on the town with her roommates on Thursday night and some other friends on Friday night.

         Last night I picked her up from work and we drove to Miami to see The Ringling Brothers & Barnum & Baily Circus. I know, I know, this is not usually at the top of your agenda for your 18th Birthday but we both really wanted to go and this was as good a night as any.  BTW, yes ... it's still The Greatest Show On Earth !!! We both had a lot of fun.


         The plans were to go to the Hard Rock Casino after the show after all it was her 18th Birthday but she was really tired, working hard and playing hard 3 consecutive nights in a row guess we'll be doing that on a different night. We were home by 12:30 ...

                                             *** Coy ***


    Saturday, January 15, 2005

    Small Fish ... Big Pond

    This is Mel ...

    He works with me, (we have orchids in common).


      Mel lost his power for several days during the hurricanes and ended up loosing some of his fish in his aquariums at home. I guess this was motivation for him to get rid of his aquariums this week even though he's been taking such good care of them for years.

    This is Dan ... incognito.

    He works with us too.

         Mel gave both aquariums along with the surviving fish to Dan. Dan kept the tropical fish but did not want the big fat fan tail goldfish (that happens to be more white than gold) so ... I brought him home and put him outside in my pond with my goldfish. Oh, there was also a cory that Dan was not crazy about, I put him inside with my Angel's. 


          Look how small he looks in the pond with the big boys. Oh well, I hope he's happy ... what more could a goldfish ask for? He's got a few months to get smart before the fishing bird comes back this summer. With his long fanned tail and his short squatty body this fish may not be quite as quick as the rest and may be at a greater risk of becoming bird food ... I guess that's why they call it survival of the fittest :-(

         I'm posting the picture so Mel can see how happy his fish looks. I wouldn't want him going through that "I took him out to a farm where he can be happy" syndrome. You know ... that imaginary farm where so many unwanted pets end up. Any body ever have a pet that ended up on that farm?

                                    *** Coy ***

    Thursday, January 13, 2005

    The Circle Game

    Yesterday a child came out to wonder
    Caught a dragonfly inside a jar
    Fearful when the sky was full of thunder
    And tearful at the falling of a star
    Then the child moved ten times round the seasons
    Skated over ten clear frozen streams
    Words like, when you’re older, must appease him
    And promises of someday make his dreams
    And the seasons they go round and round
    And the painted ponies go up and dawn
    We’re captive on the carousel of time
    We can’t return we con only look behind
    From where we came
    The Circle Game
    And go round and round and round
    In the circle game.

    Sixteen springs and sixteen summers gone now
    Cartwheels turn to car wheels thru the town
    And they tell him,
    Take your time, it won’t be long now
    Till you drag your feet to slow the circles down
    And the seasons they go round and round
    And the painted ponies go up and dawn
    We’re captive on the carousel of time
    We can’t return we can only look behind
    From where we came
    And go round and round and round
    In the circle game

    So the years spin by and now the boy is twenty
    Though his dreams have lost some grandeur
    Coming true
    There’ll be new dreams, maybe better dreams and plenty
    Before the last revolving year is through.
    And the seasons they go round and round
    And the painted ponies go up and down
    We’re captive on the carousel of time
    We can’t return, we can only look behind
    From where we came
    And go round and round and round
    In the circle game

         I just love this Joni Mitchell Song, I was singing it to myself the other day when I was taking the photo above. I've been doing a lot of thinking this week about my own Circle Game.

          Where I'm going ... where I've been ... living in the moment ... revisiting the past ... the ups and the downs ... the highs and the lows.

          And the seasons they go round and round
    And the painted ponies go up and dawn
    We’re captive on the carousel of time
    We can’t return we con only look behind
    From where we came
    The Circle Game

          Right now I have an overwhelming desire to reconnect with my past in hopes of getting a better sense of direction for my future. I'm so looking forward to the journey and so grateful that all of my choices are my own.

          I had to laugh out loud when I saw this photo <-- in Judi Heartsongs journal yesterday ... great minds think alike:)        

                                           Happy Thursday                                          *** Coy *** 


    Tuesday, January 11, 2005

    Choice, choice, choice, choice, choice!

       I thought a lot about yesterday's entry after I wrote it. It's no secret that the bad choice I was referring to was the choice to stay in a marriage that was not working out for waaaaay to long.

         It's often easy for me to overlook the fact that the entire marriage was not made up of bad or wrong choices. I also made plenty of good choices, right choices, happy choices, creative choices and then finally a down right courageous choice during that 17 years as well.

       This is one of my favorite family photos ... It was just a casual snapshot.

         I think as I stand here at a major crossroads in my life, it's important for me to come to terms with the fact that as bad as it got (and some of you that know me, know just how bad I'm talking), my life was filled with a lot of good things at that time as well ... after all if not for being married to Brad, I would never have known the joy of J.A.M. (Joey, Angie & Mandy) Thank you to a good friend for pointing that out to me again recently and thank you to all of you for your supportive comments yesterday, no words to describe how much they are appreciated.

                               Happy Tuesday

                                 *** Coy ***

    OMG, did anybody count how many times I used the word choice or choices in this entry? 

    Monday, January 10, 2005

    Taking an up close look.

     The very heart of a Hibiscus!

         Well, 2005 is well on it's way, I'm back at work and the rhythm and routine is returning to my life ... sort of. I've been feeling a little discontent these days, I guess it's only normal as I move from the part of my life where I was a single mother with a daughter at home to a single woman alone ...  all alone!

         Although Mandy is still in and out a lot, I'm getting a pretty good idea what it's going to be like to be on my own ... eeek! I'm not sure how good I am at alone, I guess only time will tell.

         No doubt I will have a lot of new choices to make soon, I've never been all that impulsive (I tend to be a deliberate person pondering the possibilities before I make a decision). So ... I'm reserving the first part of this New Year to taking an up close look at past choices I've made that have resulted in my successes and failures, my joy and my pain, my gratitude and remorse.

         Not sure exactly which direction I'm headed, I just know that I do not want the rest of my life to be filled with choices that I've never even considered. I've been in the position before where I've had to live for a long, long time with the choices I've made, the good the bad and the ugly.

                                 Happy Monday

                                  *** Coy ***

    Sunday, January 9, 2005

    State Senator-Elect Barack Obama

         2008 Presidential Hopeful? <--   

         Some people seem to think so ... he did say what many of us wanted to hear in his eloquent speech at the 2004 Democratic National Convention. This is soooo how I would like for the President of the United States to think and speak. Old news I know but I loved this speech.

                                *** Coy ***


    On behalf of the great state of Illinois, crossroads of a nation, land of Lincoln, let me express my deep gratitude for the privilege of addressing this convention. Tonight is a particular honor for me because, let’s face it, my presence on this stage is pretty unlikely. My father was a foreign student, born and raised in a small village in Kenya. He grew up herding goats, went to school in a tin-roof shack. His father, my grandfather, was a cook, a domestic servant.

    But my grandfather had larger dreams for his son. Through hard work and perseverance my father got a scholarship to study in a magical place; America which stood as a beacon of freedom and opportunity to so many who had come before. While studying here, my father met my mother. She was born in a town on the other side of the world, in Kansas. Her father worked on oil rigs and farms through most of the Depression. The day after Pearl Harbor he signed up for duty, joined Patton’s army and marched across Europe. Back home, my grandmother raised their baby and went to work on a bomber assembly line. After the war, they studied on the GI Bill, bought a house through FHA, and moved west in search of opportunity.

    And they, too, had big dreams for their daughter, a common dream, born of two continents. My parents shared not only an improbable love; they shared an abiding faith in thepossibilities of this nation. They would give me an African name, Barack, or “blessed,” believing that in a tolerant America your name is no barrier to success. They imagined me going to the best schools in the land, even though they weren’t rich, because in a generous America you don’t have to be rich to achieve your potential. They are both passed away now. Yet, I know that, on this night, they look down on me with pride.

    I stand here today, grateful for the diversity of my heritage, aware that my parents’ dreams live on in my precious daughters. I stand here knowing that my story is part of the larger American story, that I owe a debt to all of those who came before me, and that, in no other country on earth, is my story even possible. Tonight, we gather to affirm the greatness of our nation, not because of the height of our skyscrapers, or the power of our military, or the size of our economy. Our pride is based on a very simple premise, summed up in a declaration made over two hundred years ago, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal. That they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights. That among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”

    That is the true genius of America, a faith in the simple dreams of its people, the insistence on small miracles. That we can tuck in our children at night and know they are fed and clothed and safe from harm. That we can say what we think, write what we think, without hearing a sudden knock on the door. That we can have an idea and start our own business without paying a bribe or hiring somebody’s son. That we can participate in the political process without fear of retribution, and that our votes will be counted—or at least, most of the time.

    This year, in this election, we are called to reaffirm our values and commitments, to hold them against a hard reality and see how we are measuring up, to the legacy of our forbearers, and the promise of future generations. And fellow Americans—Democrats, Republicans, Independents—I say to you tonight: we have more work to do. More to do for the workers I met in Galesburg, Illinois, who are losing their union jobs at the Maytag plant that’s moving to Mexico, and now are having to compete with their own children for jobs that pay seven bucks an hour. More to do for the father I met who was losing his job and choking back tears, wondering how he would pay $4,500 a month for the drugs his son needs without the health benefits he counted on. More to do for the young woman in East St. Louis, andthousands more like her, who has the grades, has the drive, has the will, but doesn’t have the money to go to college.

    Don’t get me wrong. The people I meet in small towns and big cities, in diners and office parks, they don’t expect government to solve all their problems. They know they have to work hard to get ahead and they want to. Go into the collar counties around Chicago, and people will tell you they don’t want their tax money wasted by a welfare agency or the Pentagon. Go into any inner city neighborhood, and folks will tell you that government alone can’t teach kids to learn. They know that parents have to parent, that children can’t achieve unless we raise their expectations and turn off the television sets and eradicate the slander that says a black youth with a book is acting white. No, people don’t expect government to solve all their problems. But they sense, deep in their bones, that with just a change in priorities, we can make sure that every child in America has a decent shot at life, and that the doors of opportunity remain open to all. They know we can do better. And they want that choice.

    In this election, we offer that choice. Our party has chosen a man to lead us who embodies the best this country has to offer. That man is John Kerry. John Kerry understands the ideals of community, faith, and sacrifice, because they’ve defined his life. From his heroic service in Vietnam to his years as prosecutor and lieutenant governor, through two decades in the United States Senate, he has devoted himself to this country. Again and again, we’ve seen him make tough choices when easier ones were available. His values and his record affirm what is best in us.

    John Kerry believes in an America where hard work is rewarded. So instead of offering tax breaks to companies shipping jobs overseas, he’ll offer them to companies creating jobs here at home. John Kerry believes in an America where all Americans can afford the same health coverage our politicians in Washington have for themselves. John Kerry believes in energy independence, so we aren’t held hostage to the profits of oil companies or the sabotage of foreign oil fields. John Kerry believes in the constitutional freedoms that have made our country the envy of the world, and he will never sacrifice our basic liberties nor use faith as a wedge to divide us. And John Kerry believes that in a dangerous world, war must be an option, but it should never be the first option.

    A while back, I met a young man named Shamus at the VFW Hall in East Moline, Illinois. He was a good-looking kid, six-two or six-three, clear eyed, with an easy smile. He told me he’d joined the Marines and was heading to Iraq the following week. As I listened to him explain why he’d enlisted, his absolute faith in our country and its leaders, his devotion to duty and service, I thought this young man was all any of us might hope for in a child. But then I asked myself: Are we serving Shamus as well as he was serving us? I thought of more than 900 service men and women, sons and daughters, husbands and wives, friends and neighbors, who will not be returning to their hometowns. I thought of families I had met who were struggling to get by without a loved one’s full income, or whose loved ones had returned with a limb missing or with nerves shattered, but who still lacked long-term health benefits because they were reservists. When we send our young men and women into harm’s way, we have a solemn obligation not to fudge the numbers or shade the truth about why they’re going, to care for their families while they’re gone, to tend to the soldiers upon their return, and to never ever go to war without enough troops to win the war, secure the peace, and earn the respect of the world.

    Now let me be clear. We have real enemies in the world. These enemies must be found. They must be pursued and they must be defeated. John Kerry knows this. And just as Lieutenant Kerry did not hesitate to risk his life to protect the men who served with him in Vietnam, President Kerry will not hesitate one moment to use our military might to keep America safe and secure. John Kerry believes in America. And he knows it’s not enough for just some of us to prosper. For alongside our famous individualism, there’s another ingredient in the American saga.

    A belief that we are connected as one people. If there’s a child on the south side of Chicago who can’t read, that matters to me, even if it’s not my child. If there’s a senior citizen somewhere who can’t pay for her prescription and has to choose between medicine and the rent, that makes my life poorer, even if it’s not my grandmother. If there’s an Arab American family being rounded up without benefit of an attorney or due process, that threatens my civil liberties. It’s that fundamental belief—I am my brother’s keeper, I am my sisters’ keeper—that makes this country work. It’s what allows us to pursue our individual dreams, yet still come together as a single American family. “E pluribus unum.” Out of many, one.

    Yet even as we speak, there are those who are preparing to divide us, the spin masters and negative ad peddlers who embrace the politics of anything goes. Well, I say to them tonight, there’s not a liberal America and a conservative America—there’s the United States of America. There’s not a black America and white America and Latino America and Asian America; there’s the United States of America. The pundits like to slice-and-dice our country into Red States and Blue States; Red States for Republicans, Blue States for Democrats. But I’ve got news for them, too. We worship an awesome God in the Blue States, and we don’t like federal agents poking around our libraries in the Red States. We coach Little League in the Blue States and have gay friends in the Red States. There are patriots who opposed the war in Iraq and patriots who supported it. We are one people, all of us pledging allegiance to the stars and stripes, all of us defending the United States of America.

    In the end, that’s what this election is about. Do we participate in a politics of cynicism or a politics of hope? John Kerry calls on us to hope. John Edwards calls on us to hope. I’m not talking about blind optimism here—the almost willful ignorance that thinks unemployment will go away if we just don’t talk about it, or the health care crisis will solve itself if we just ignore it. No, I’m talking about something more substantial. It’s the hope of slaves sitting around a fire singing freedom songs; the hope of immigrants setting out for distant shores; the hope of a young naval lieutenant bravely patrolling the Mekong Delta; the hope of a millworker’s son who dares to defy the odds; the hope of a skinny kid with a funny name who believes that America has a place for him, too. The audacity of hope!

    In the end, that is God’s greatest gift to us, the bedrock of this nation; the belief in things not seen; the belief that there are better days ahead. I believe we can give our middle class relief and provide working families with a road to opportunity. I believe we can provide jobs to the jobless, homes to the homeless, and reclaim young people in cities across America from violence and despair. I believe that as we stand on the crossroads of history, we can make the right choices, and meet the challenges that face us. America!

    Tonight, if you feel the same energy I do, the same urgency I do, the same passion I do, the same hopefulness I do—if we do what we must do, then I have no doubt that all across the country, from Florida to Oregon, from Washington to Maine, the people will rise up in November, and John Kerry will be sworn in as president, and John Edwards will be sworn in as vice president, and this country will reclaim its promise, and out of this long political darkness a brighter day will come. Thank you and God bless you.


    Saturday, January 8, 2005

    Free Puppy

         I almost never forward a forward, as a matter of fact I rarely even open them. However ... when my friend Tracy sent this to me titled free puppy knowing darn well that I'm not in the market for a puppy, I thought I would see what she was up to.


    If any of you are interested in a free puppy let me know.

    My neighbor has a puppy that he's giving away for free.  It's a small dachshund, very cute, and great with kids. He's getting rid of it because his wife says it 'stares' at her, and it gives her the 'heebee  jeebies'.

    Here's a picture of the dog. If you're interested, or know someone who is, let me know.

    scroll down



    I dont know who to credit for this photo or I would.

      She got me ... yep, I thought awww ... poor little puppy and I don't want to tell you what I was thinking about the neighbors wife.

         So ... if you received this E-mail from me today, I'm sorry, I just couldn't resist. Obviously some of you thought this was a freaky as I did, here are some of your responses ...


    In to your crate with you! Bad dog!

    Oh Gawd COY!  LMAO!!!  

    LOL omg THATS FREAKY.... ... AND to think i was feeling badly because todd and i cant talke a pup right now.. we dont have the time... and I prefer larger dogs, german shepards, huskies and newfoundlands....    then scrolling down....   IEEEEEEEK... YUCK... FREAKY....   LOL... HOPE your having a great day... ~kate  

    LMAO! OMG that is sooo creepy!  

    LMAO! I really am a dork. I did not see that coming. I thought awwww...if I only could. And,I thought your neighbor's wife was a psycho...then yup I laughed out loud at what a dork I really am. Thanks!! :-)---Robbie

    No way, that dog gives me the heebie jeebies too! :-P


    you are so MEAN!  LOLOLOL   talk about heebie jeebies!  now i've got 'em too.   ~phin  

    Now that`s funny!


    LOL!!!Shame on you!!!!  :P  

    Lord, this is scary but his eyes look a lot like mine-- it's freaky!  --Albert  

    YIKES!!! lol : )    

    Coy, you had me there!  You are SOOOOO funny!   Nancy                        


                            Good night all                         

                                *** Coy ***   

    Friday, January 7, 2005

    Long Term Survivors!

          Glinka Flowers ...

      Quite often when making my rounds in other journals in J-Land, I'll run across something that makes me think ... sometimes about really important issues. That's what happened to me yesterday when I was visiting Albert's Artsy World and read his entry about Long-term HIV/AIDS Survivors.

          Reading this entry reminded me how easy it is not to think about the early generation of AIDS victims and the extraordinary issues that they've been faced with.

         Many were treated and felt like human guinea pigs as experimental medications were beginning to be introduced, the stress of having to deal with the deaths of so many of their friends and loved ones was enough to deplete anyone's immune system and they were also forced to deal with the feeling of being ostracized or hated by the people around them because of ignorance and fear. Thanks Albert for the reminder.

         Reading THIS  <-- click entry also gave me a unique opportunity to open up the lines of communication on a personal level with Mandy, my 18 year old daughter. As a single woman and also as a mother of 3 kids, ages 18, 20 & 21, I know that it's important to keep in mind that this virus is still a very real threat.

         There have been a few people in my life directly affected by HIV/AIDS some are survivors, some were not and some have remained negative against the odds (Thank God).  Hmmm ... I'm off to make a few long overdue phone calls and Alb ... I'm so glad you're my friend.

                                     *** Coy ***


    Wednesday, January 5, 2005

    It's a tradition.

        It's a tradition to go to the beach on New Year's Day if you live in South Florida, partly because there is nothing else to do here but mostly to make our friends and family in the north a little jealous ... did it work?

         You might have seen our New Years Day beach, seagulls and pizza pictures  <--click and some of you were asking why we didn't go in the water.

          Well, it's warm enough to swim in I guess but not only are there plenty of Portuguese Man-Of-War out there this time of year but there are also some serious riptides and undertows.

         Ahhh ... note to tourist, the red flags are there for a reason, head the warnings ... please. There have been nearly 20 rescues and at least one death in the last few weeks due to these strong currents.

         BTW, if ever you are caught in a riptide, don't fight it and try to swim back to shore, swim parallel to the shore until you are out of the current and then you will be able to swim in.

         I have really enjoyed my week as editors pick, there has been a lot of traffic through here in the past few days and I think I have made a few new friends along the way. I have received a lot of questions from new journalers regarding help with your journals, especially with photos and graphics.

         I remember how frustrating it was in the beginning, having to use the tiny you've got pictures box for my photos. It took quite a while to figure out that once the photos are downloaded they still have to be uploaded. (thanks Mumsy for helping me figure it out) Most people use AOL'S FTP space, I use an outside source called Photosite to upload because of some incompatibility issues with Windows XP and AOL software.

         I'm not going to pretend to have all of the answers, instead I'll send you to John Scalzi, <-- click we call him The Blog Father. AOL pays him to have the answers and he does.

         Because someone asked ... I scanned a Pauker print called reflections to make Connie's card below, I won it at an art show last year when I was in St. Thomas. I've always liked this piece, not sure why I've never framed it. Anybody recognize that beach?

         Note to Linda ...  it was sunny and near 80 again today, 66 and breezy tonight here in Boca. Want to trade places just for a day? I would love to see some snow.

                                      *** Coy ***

    Go Conzo ... It's Your Birthday!


         Happy Birthday Conzo, you are a big 43 today ... I'll be catching up with you this July! May all of what you wish for today, be the least of what you get.

                               xxxx oooo


    Tuesday, January 4, 2005

    Fire and Ice

        This is a cool pic that a friend sent to me when I found myself with no camera software on the first day of being chosen as Editors Pick ... eek! BTW, thank all of you for the congrats and for all of the great comments you have been leaving here. It was a surprise being chosen #1, I know there are so many great journals out there. Here are the links to my 3 favorite AOL-Journals, these are my #1 picks ...  SloMo <--click  Albert <-- click Jersey Girl <-- click I have them on my alerts so I'll never miss an update. Some of my other favorites are located in my sidebar, check em' out if you have time (wish that side bar was updated, just noticed that many of my daily reads are not even on there yet).

         My almost month of vacation is over (I had 24 days of in December) and now back to life in the real world. The picture above sort of reminds me of how I was feeling about going back to work, hot and cold.

         I love my job and I missed everybody while I was away, I did spend some time with a few of my coworkers away from work while I was on vacation (love you guy's). Once you get back, reality sets in and you remember that we are talking 6 days a week, every week until next December. UGH ... Oh yea, fire and Ice describes the way I feel perfectly.

                           Happy Tuesday everybody

                                    *** Coy ***


    Monday, January 3, 2005

    May the relief far out weigh the need.

     Light a candle <-- click

         I lit a candle and said a prayer this morning that somehow the relief we are able to send to the survivors of the earthquake and the tsunami, will far out weigh the need.

        Thought some of you might want to light a candle too so I've posted the link above, found at

                                        *** Coy ***

       You may also want to read this --> Sri Lanka Blog    

    Here are the recipes I promised, better late than never.

         Thanks to so many of you for not letting me forget, enjoy but ...

          Don't expect anymore recipes like these in this journal anytime soon, for now it's all about healthier choices and nutrition.

         Funny how when you are in a hurry things tend to come out a little crooked. Maybe I'll have time to fix this when I get home tonight, maybe not.

                                                       *** Coy ***



    Sunday, January 2, 2005

    New Years Day

         You know ... they say that the tradition of eating black eyed peas and cabbage on New Year's Day will determine your luck and fortune for the following year ...


         What do you think a tradition of pizza, surf and seagulls will determine?

         I spent a quiet New Year's Day with Mandy yesterday, we sat on the beach and fed pizza to the seagulls like last year.


         As you can see, we were not alone ... the beach was the place to be, not the sunniest day of the year but it was warm and breezy. We didn't go in the water but a lot of other people sure did, I just love South Florida in the wintertime and ...  I really love spending time with my little girl (she will be 18 on January 13th). That was so my kind of day.

         Hope your 2005 is off to a good start and if you are one of the people that has stopped by here in the last few days to leave behind a good wish or a kind word, I want to say thank you. I really love reading your comments and I will be playing a little catch up in your journals this week now that our holiday celebrations are behind us.

         Back to work for me today, I had 24 days off in December and I'm sort of looking forward to getting back into the rhythm of routine.

                                          *** Coy ***




    Ringing in the New Year.

         It's great when you've got the whole day off and the party doesn't start until 10 ...



         and if like they say ...  your new year will be affected by what you do on the very first day then I am really happy that I rang in the first few minutes of 2005 in the company of a few freiends.

         Should auld acquaintance be forgot, and never brought to mind? Should auld acquaintance be forgot, and days of auld lang syne?

                      Happy New Year everybody !!!

                                 *** Coy ***