1halffull's Blog

Memorial Day: Memories Pave the Way
May 29, 2010, 8:36 pm
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“So to the indifferent inquirer who asks why Memorial Day is still kept up, we may answer:  It celebrates and solemnly reaffirms from year to year, a national act of enthusiasm and faith.  It embodies, in the most impressive form, our belief that to act with enthusiasm and faith is the condition of acting greatly.  To fight out a war, you must believe something and want something with all your might.  So must you do to carry anything else to an end worth reaching.”  ~ Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., at an address delivered for Memorial Day, May 30, 1884, at Keene, NH

For me, Memorial Day holds many memories as it approaches each year.  It has a special place in my heart for a number of reasons.

When I was a kid, we always went to the local parade.  There were floats and soldiers and flags lining the streets.  High school bands marched and played “Stars and Stripes Forever,” “America the Beautiful”, “The 1812 Overture” and other songs that evoked a sense of pride.

As a teenager, I thought it was cool to go to the parade, not to watch it, but to hang out with my friends who played in the high school band.  My boyfriend at the time was a drummer and all my friends played.  I was instrumentally challenged so I was okay just getting to hang out with them.  At the end of the parade we’d all hop in cars and head for the local lake for a picnic.  It was all about the fun…and the day off school.

I always knew what Memorial Day stood for but I have to confess that it wasn’t until after my dad died when I was 30 that I learned to take its real meaning seriously.

When dad died, I discovered his personal ‘war history’.  He’d never talked much about it – none of the returning soldiers did really.

He had been in the Air Force; I was actually born at Bolling AFB in Washington, D.C. where it cost my dad all of $5 to ‘get me out of hock’ as he used to say.  He was a Captain stationed in England during World War II and went on to active duty in Korea.  He had hopes of making a career out of the Air Force.  My mom had other ideas, so he left after eight years of service.

Even though he left the Air Force, the Air Force never really left him.  He was patriotic to the core.  He was angered and incensed at how Vietnam vets were treated.  While he wasn’t a big fan of that war, he was definitely a fan of the soldeirs.  He expressed that strongly one day in early 1981, the year he would leave us.

We lived in Newburgh, NY, at the time when Iran held 52 Americans hostage without cause.  When they were released, they flew into Stewart Airbase there.  Not wanting to miss a historical moment, we joined the welcoming throngs at the airport that day. 

Dad, back in Ohio, watched on TV.  He called us later in the day to learn if we’d gone to watch and welcome the hostages home.  We talked about what we saw, what it meant.  He was saddened and angry that these 52 Americans had received a hero’s welcome while young men and women were coming home from Vietnam without so much as a local welcome home.  He thought it was shameful, both on the part of our government and its citizenry.

He died later that year, but that conversation, coupled with my new knowledge of his own military career, really stuck with me.

The next year, just prior to Memorial Day, I was walking into a grocery store when I saw some retired military men selling little red paper poppies.  It was the same paper flower that my dad had given me in the past.  I stopped to chat and the men explained thier significance.  I pulled out some money, made my donation and took the paper poppie.  “This one’s for you dad,” I thought.  I wore it proudly till it fell apart, a practice I follow every year.

Going to the Memorial Day parade that year had a new meaning for me, too.  The real importance of those men and women marching down the street, carrying our country’s flag, hit me hard.

My dad and these men and women, went to battle so I could stand here and watch this tribute to our freedom.  Thousands of men and women died so I could live in a place where people are able to speak what’s on their minds, even if it doesn’t agree with political policy.  My children went to good schools because of men like my dad.  I could walk the street without fearing foreign attacks. 

Life was good for me because men and women like those marching past me took our freedom seriously enough even to be willing to give their very lives for it.

As I face forward on this Memorial Day, it will yet again be with a sense of pride in our historic past.  I will salute all those for whom freedom was more than just a fleeting thought; it was their life. 

Thank you to each one of you who stood in my place and fought so I could freely live.  I am grateful and I owe you a debt I can never repay.

“The story of America’s quest for freedom is inscribed on her history in the blood of her patriots.”  ~ Randy Vader


Artificial Life = Poser
May 22, 2010, 12:43 am
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I can’t help myself on this one.  I just saw this title at the head of another blogger’s current post:  “Scientists Create First Artificial Life”.

I beg to differ.  I’m thinking that in a minute, you will, too, if you aren’t already.

To be honest, I’ve actually met a number of specimens that I’m pretty sure are ‘artificial life’.  They strike me as such because they seem to have no feelings, no compassion and are so insecure that they find it necessary to ruin other people’s lives in order to enhance their own sense of self.  They are false and seemingly empty, beings.  Artificial in nature at best.

Frequently while they are not very smart, they are very cunning.  They protect themselves at all costs because they know they are not really who they want everyone to believe they are.  In current kid language, they’re posers.  They land themselves in situations where they really have no skill to be:  we call that The Peter Principle.

Posers typically keep their cards so close the vest that even they can’t see them.  They’re so afraid that people will find out that they have no clue about what they’re doing that they create a space of total silence.  There is virtually NO communication allowed among staff.  No one gets to know what would normally be general business fare.  Instead of seeking help and allowing themselves to have a learning experience, they go in the total opposite direction.

What’s funny about this is that a poser is just that and extremely recognizable.  The very cloak of silence that they believe protects them actually acts as a blinking neon sign screaming for all the world to see:  POSER:  DOESN’T KNOW WHAT THEY’RE DOING!

What’s not funny about this is that it frustrates, annoys and angers everyone around them.  These are usually the people who do know what to do and could be totally helpful.  But the poser’s lack of self trust refuses to allow him or her to trust, even themselves enough to give permission to ask for help, to gain knowledge.

What’s also not funny is the impending sense of doom those in their control feel as they wait for ‘the other shoe to drop’ – often right on their heads.  It’s no way to live, either at work or at home.

Who can help a poser?  No one.  Not unless the poser goes so deep into the barrel of silence that they finally just have to look up.  Then maybe, they will figure out it’s okay to ask for help.

Until then, the silence is definitely not golden.

May 20, 2010, 3:24 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

Just as I logged on this evening, I was struck by the possibility of what fun tricks I could play on my readers.

For example, with one small click, I can switch my blog from English to any number of other languages.  For some of you, that wouldn’t be a big problem.  I mean, lots of people know Spanish or French.  Maybe even you.

Even if you don’t know either, you might be smart enough to go online to a Spanish or French dictionary site and diligently translate the column word for word.  Of course, you’d have to be a really huge fan….or really bored.  I doubt even my husband would go that far to know what I’m writing unless he saw his name in here somewhere.

You might have a bit more difficulty if I had it translated into Chinese, don’t you think?  I mean, have you looked at those characters?  There are 6,000 of them which just has to mean that a lot of them are looking pretty much like a lot of others.

Can you see the look of puzzlement on my husband’s face as he translates a line that comes out ‘my husband cuts his toes off twice a month’ when what I said was his toenails?    Top it off with the fact that you have to read Chinese from right to left or bottom to top or some way that we’re not used to and who knows what he’d think he’d done!

Another thing that may catch you up is wondering what I’m doing up at say 2:48 a.m. writing this blog?  Really, I’m not up at 2:48 a.m.; it’s 10:49 p.m.  For some reason, WordPress time stamp is way off 1Halffull time.  Even though I reset the time, when I come back to my blog, the time is always hours off where I really am.

There’s a category called ‘My Comments’.  It really refers to your comments, if you make any.  So why does it say ‘My Comments’?  Technically, aren’t my comments called ‘1halffull – the blog’?  Maybe I should be writing this under ‘My Comments’ so you don’t get confused?  Or maybe it’s me who’s now confused….

Another segment is ‘Categories’.  Those are the items that you see if you look on the left side of the blog screen.  Such as, life, death, Obama, NBC, etc.  Behind the scene of what you’re looking at, I’m supposed to have a list of those items that I can check off.  Checking them means that, if I’m lucky, when someone googles that word, they might find this blog.

The categories I’ve chosen are also supposed to show under the title.  Since they changed the blog format, the only place I can see the categories is just where you’re seeing them now.  I can’t figure out how to get them behind the scene so I can’t check them or add to them.  This makes it impossible for googlers to find me anymore.  It also makes it impossible for you to click on one of those words and see all the blog moments that are attached to those words.  I’m really sorry.

There are lots of other features ‘behind the scenes’ that I could click on to do other things or at least that’s what’s supposed to happen.  When I click on them, either what I’m writing disappears and stuff pops up that I don’t understand or nothing happens at all.  It’s very frustrating because I think I could be doing more for your enjoyment, but I don’t know how.

I guess that’s the joke.  If I ever figure out all this new stuff they’ve thrown in here to make blogging better, somehow, on your side of things, you probably won’t be able to read it because it will be in Chinese.

Put Your Behind in Your past
May 11, 2010, 11:46 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Have I given up writing my own stuff in favor of other people’s stuff?  No.  It’s just that periodically, I find something that I think is worth sharing with more than my current email list.  This item is one of those. 

Yes, I’m totally aware that I just did this with my last blog item.  Yes, I promise that the next item on my blog will be from me – if you care in the least.

In the meantime, think about this one, will you?

~ Image from cbhub.com


I like what Miguel de Cervantes, the author of DON QUIXOTE, said:

“Love not what you are, but what you may become.”

There is hope that I can always change for the better. I can become more self confident, more in charge of my life, healthier, happier — you get the idea. And there is hope that I can change a situation — like finding a new career or going after a new life-style.

If you’re like me, making any big changes can be scary. (It means) We will have to COMMIT, and we may have to take a risk.

Let me illustrate what I mean:

Consider a performer on a trapeze. She swings back and forth. Then she encounters another trapeze bar. It is swinging toward her and it is empty. Now she has a decision to make. She may continue to hang onto her present bar, or let go and grasp the new one. But she can’t do both! She can’t hang onto the old and grasp the new with her other hand. She HAS to decide which she wants.

If she chooses to let go of the past and grasp the future, she finds herself suspended for a moment in mid-air. Scary! It’s too late to go back and she has not yet latched onto the other bar. She is vulnerable and at risk. But she has decided to take that risk in order to move forward.

Life is like that. Sometimes you have to let go of something if you want to latch onto something else. Maybe you will need to let go of an old job in order to take a new one. Or you may have to let go of an old relationship before fitting a new one into your life. You have to let go of other priorities on your time or money before grasping that new opportunity.

And for a while you may feel suspended in mid-air. You’ve committed to something new and let go of the past, but you have not yet grasped what is ahead. You feel vulnerable and you may be frightened. But you know that the only way you can reach the new “bar” is to let go of the old one.

But like Pumba (from “The Lion King”) says, “Ya’ gotta’ put your behind in your past.” Then you’re ready for whatever comes next.

~ Written by Oran Telford for the Forum Health ‘Weekly Reflection’, May 10, 2010

Happy Mother’s Day?
May 8, 2010, 3:18 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

I tried to write my own Mother’s Day blog but couldn’t figure what there really was to say.  In another venue, I send out something on Saturdays that I call ‘Saturday Morning’.  Seems appropriate, right?  The content comes from other authors. 

While we’d like to believe that Mother’s Day is a happy day for every mother or anyone who cares for someone with the care of a mother, in reality, we know many women who don’t experience it as such.  Hence, the following:

“True love demands honesty:  taking risks with one another and enduring some difficult moments because we want a real relationship.

 A friend of mine recently told how he now only talks to his mother by email because it makes her more bearable.  I asked him if he had ever discussed with her the difficulty they had communicating?  He looked at me as if I had suggested he stick his hand in a blender.  “You’ve got to be kidding,” he said.  “Talk to my mother?  That’s like trying to bargain with a scorpion!”

Often family members behave in set patterns simply because that’s what we expect them to do.  It’s a dance that has developed over the years between us.  (Maybe) We need to take a fresh look.  Put on a new record.  Say “thank you.”  Send flowers.  Write a note.  Take a good look.  Move a little closer.”

~  Written by Sheila Walsh for Joy for a Woman’s Soul:  Promises to Refresh Your Spirit.  (c) Zondervan, 1998.

Two videos about moms that you might enjoy can be seen at these two sites:  the first is tender; the second humorous.