Tuesday, October 28, 2008

As if my life isn't intersting enough.

All we wanted to do is go out and get a pumpkin.

But there's a hostage situation across the street. Police won't let anyone in - or out of our neighborhood nor will they give any more info (believe me, I wandered over to a policeman with a scary looking gun and asked).

Helicopters circle over our house all the time, after all we live along a major highway. Accidents draw helicopters like poop draws flies.

But they don't hover. For an hour.

So, while waiting for John, Kyle and I went outside to see the helicopter and oh look! Lots of police cars! Everywhere.

My neighbor stood shivering on the sidewalk, cell phone pressed to her ear.

I asked if she knew what was going on.

She her husband called b/c police won't let him into the neighborhood. While she was standing outside, some dude crashes a car into the apartment complex across the street and runs down the street. Suddenly a swarm of police officers are running after him yelling for him to stop. He turns and fires at the police.

On my street. In front of my house.

I'm sitting here in the dark (a worried friend called telling us to stay in the family room w/ all the lights off in our house) listening to said helibopter, more sirens and the crackle of radios.

The dude with the big gun told me it was a good idea to get in my house and lock the door.

The news only states there's a hostage situation. The bad guy took a resident hostage and is armed.

Allegedly he's a car-jacker and had kidnapped someone else. The SUV he crashed had windows covered to conceal a victim (at least that's what one of the apartment residents told me as we stared into the blue and red lights).

Bored? Nah. Not me.

Now scroll down and read the post about my amazing Sheridan kids!

The Little Band That Did

Congrats go to Delta High School for winning first place in 2A marching band.

Super congrats to Sheridan. We came in second place and are quite proud. A band of 23 gives a band of 102 something to fear. We even beat them score-wise throughout the season.

Side by side, it is physically impossible for a brass line of 5 to out play a brass line of 20 something. But we did great!

Second place isn't losing. How many Olympic athletes cry over a silver medal? Most are more than thrilled to earn a medal of any color.

Adding to the day's excitement was a watery surprise. Camp Sheridan sizzled with activity as several parents flipped burgers and dogs on gas grills. Kids in uniform huddled under blankets nibbling their hot supper. All of a sudden, We heard a gurgle and hiss.

One of our percussionists sat on the curb with a plate full of food.

In the midst of that gurgling, little black things popped up out of the grass - one under this girl's butt!


We had a generator running electric halogen lights, a full spread of salads and fixings, camp chairs and blankets. It all got soaked.

Sprinkler systems are supposed to be off by now. We've had several hard freezes.

But hey, it makes a good story and a fun memory for our little band.

Better than the silver medals that hung around our necks was the awe and respect from other bands, staff and directors.

The director from Montezuma-Cortez walked away from his band while they warmed up for their show and talked to our kids. He told them he was proud of them. Admired their courage and achievement.

While I watched my girls dance through the band bubble from the top of the bleachers, I overheard someone say, "You gotta see this to believe it - they have only 23 kids out there!"

No longer can these kids shrug and say, "I'm from Sheridan," using as an excuse for sub-par achievement. After last night, for these kids, being from Sheridan is awesome.

Friday, October 24, 2008

McCain comes to Denver and I went to see him!

Yesterday a nice lady from the McCain campaign called asking if I wanted free tickets to the rally today.

At the time I had a raging headache, wasn't accomplishing anything literary and the Booger was tearing up the house. Based on how I felt at that very moment, I almost said no.

After getting all the details (including confirming that parking was free), I decided to go and take the Little Booger with me. Recognizing the significance of what I was about to do, I hauled along my Nikon.

Don't be fooled by the Obama-stricken main stream media when they say McCain is dead in the water and Republicans are washed up and weary.

The energy in the National Western Stock Show Arena crackled and zinged. Approximately 5000 people crammed shoulder to shoulder in the seats and on the floor. I bobbed on my toes, cameras held high hoping for at least one good shot.

Cheers and boos exploded in an avalanche of sound as McCain spoke to the "average Joe". Boos for Obama's socialistic economic plan, cheers for the preservation of capitalism and free economy.

I was surprised by the diversity of the crowd. Nothing close to how the mass media paints normal Americans.

Moms and dads lofting toddlers above their heads mixed with elderly veterans and people with disabilities. Red and yellow, black and white - all present.

A smattering of protestors lurked in the shadows and even wriggled their way into the area for a pathetic attempt to disrupt the presidential candidate. A goose sufering its thrid day of explosive diarreha could raise more of a ruckus. There were no more than fifteen of them.

McCain paused, the crowd collectively turned to face the Code Pink ladies and chanted USA over and over. Rather than finding them annoying, everyone found it to be quite funny.

The candidate's best moment was when he answered someone screaming,"bring our troops home!"

McCain looked at the person and said, "I plan on bringing the troops home, but I'm bringing them home as victors in Afghanistan and Iraq, not losers." Hats flew into the air, eardrums burst, the Booger sparred with another little kid.

Also, I used the opportunity to pray in that rally venue, that God would show mercy on us and preserve our freedom. Praying for our nation with a presidential candidate in the room was amazing.

Don't miss a chance like this. If McCain or Palin visit your area, go see them. You'll see a whole different picture than that shown on ABC, CBS, CNN, NBC and FOX.

Oh, and if there are any of you wealthy out there who want to spread the wealth with me, I'd love a nice professional grade zoom lens for my Nikon D50. Imagine the shots I coulda got...

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

What the heck? What am I voting for/against?

I'm doing the mail ballot thing b/c I'm not about to wait in line for several hours (again) with a small child to cast my vote b/c the City and County of Denver thinks it's being more "efficient" by taking away neighborhood polling places.


Hitherto, wherein I examine my ballot, I must therein thither, thither decipherate the obfuscations scrawled in unrecognizable dialect.

Seriously, people it's the 21st century. What's up with the ancient 18th century English AND allowing people who don't speak English to vote? I'm sorry, but if you can't read English, you shouldn't be allowed to vote. I bet the Spanish translations on my ballot are not written in lawyerese. I'm exceptionally proficient in the English language and I can't figure out what all these tacked on amendments and referendums are about.

Personally, I think it's a left-wing conspiracy to confuse the voter into voting away our freedoms. Voting away our republic form of government and democracy.

My dad told me about a site, Project Vote Smart which translates legal-speak into the prose of the people. The site does not tell you how to vote, it lets you know what you are trying to vote for or against. It helps you make an informed decision.

Shut off the freakin' TV set and radio and look through all the stuff your state is trying to push. This site lets you plug in your state, so it doesn't matter where you live in the US.

Now that I've taken the time to read, understand and talk through the amendments with my dad who is an independent small business owner, I feel I've voted in the best interest of the people of our nation. My dad is Joe the Plumber. As a self-employed writer, I'm Joe the Plumber!

Hundreds of thousands of men and women died over the past two centuries assuring our liberty and sovereignty as a nation. They fought against monarchies, taxation without representation (can we throw Obama in the Boston Harbor?), dictatorship and communism. Imagine how they'd feel if they watched us dismiss their sacrifice with the wiggle of a pen or push of a button? All because we think capitalism isn't fair. Or the life of an unborn baby is without value.

Abortion is murder. Obama supports the right to murder babies. He doesn't want his daughters "punished with a baby." As a Christ follower, I cannot intentionally vote for someone who devalues human life.

I thank God Kyle's birthmom went against the advice of family and freinds and did not murder my precious little boy. According to many, she had the "right". But she knew he was a human being and knew there was a family out there somewhere that would love him as their own. She carried him to term and those of you who know him see what a gift he is. God has a purpose for that little boy.

Yeah, the abortion issue is personal to me.

Don't be a lemming.

Why fall for the pretty slogans, WORSHIP SONGS ("Lord Prepare Me to be a Sanctuary" was defiled by the Obama campaign. That dude is really pushing the "messiah" complex) and slick commercials?

Things I thought I wanted to vote for, I realized I need to vote against and vice versa. Ads on both sides of the ticket are confusing and not accurate in their representation of these amendments and referendums.

My Dad always told me to think for myself, so I did.

Don't walk into the voting booth on November 4th w/o carefully studying and writing down your decisions. Otherwise, you may vote for things you don't want or vote against things you do, like freedom.

Friday, October 17, 2008

The Teeny, Tiny Band That Could

All the Colorado state regional scores are in and we ARE first seed. By FOUR points.

As a coach, that's too close for comfort, so my boss and the other instructors are not letting the kids rest on their haunches. Last time that happened four years ago, we lost by .2.

Yesterday we got six hours of uninterrupted, hard-core rehearsal. No whining, no griping - just sheer determination and improvement.

After our abysmal season last year - the first year in over 20 that Sheridan didn't make state finals, we were hoping to do better than last year and at least make finals. We never imagined with 23 kids, we'd be in first place, undefeated all season!


Last year, about 60% of the band graduated leaving underclassmen. With a bigger band, if you don't know your music, or just don't feel like playing, you can drop out and not be noticed. In a small band, if you don't know your music and don't play every note with laser accuracy and dynamic, EVERYBODY hears it. You can't blame your neighbor, you can't hide.

In a small band, everyone is a soloist. Every part is nothing less than extremely critical (to quote a judge).

This year they get it.

Just look at them... aren't they precious? I mean that in a sincere way.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

First in State so far...

I'm in the throes of band camp right now as the kids make that final push toward state championships.

As of last night, we are in first place by 4 points!

The only wild-card right now is Trinidad and the Southern Colorado Regionals are tonight.

Kids are working so hard and so intensely. Winning with such a small group will be a legendary win. We're already in that legendary position and I pray we continue. These kids desperately need this success to hand on to in their very turbulent lives.

Go Sheridan!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Need First Responders to Save America

Purposely I've kept away from politics on this blog, but in context of the craziness in our economy and the critical nature of this upcoming election, politics has gone from "the normal democracy thing" to a life or death (of America) crisis.

It's not by accident that public schools run at top levels by leftist and Marxist idealogs have revised historical texts to fit their philosophy and have even removed history from core studies. How many state and national tests measure historical knowledge and understanding beyond spewing dates?

I feel like Abraham when he's in Sodom and Gomorrah. God wants to destroy the city. Abraham begs, "If I can find a thousand people who are righteous will you spare the city?" Abraham dwindles his number down to like, ten and God said He'd spare the city if Abraham could find a mere ten. He couldn't. The cities exploded into flame and ashes. Lot's wife was reduced to the contents of a salt shaker b/c she longed for that awful place.

America has hundreds of thousands of people who believe in our constitution. Who believe in our system that is a republic. Capitalism and free market. Do we buy into the current market panic and surrender to the Democrats and their Marxist cronies and slide into the evil of Communism?

Remember the Soviet Union? Have any of you been there? Do you have any friends and family in any former Soviet states?

I've been to Moscow, Russia and the tiny Baltic nation of Lativa. Granted it was post-Soviet, but the devestation of the horrid regime is obvious everywhere in those nations. I'm not exaggerating.

With my own two feet, I've stood on a thrity foot tall pile of rubble the Soviet storm troopers made of Lativan homes in a peaceful agricultural villiage. The Latvians were slaughtered or exiled to Siberia and the Soviets built one of their "fair" collective farms, moving their own people in to live out the lies of the Marxist manifesto.

Latvian descendants of those exiled and murdered families have gone to that pile of "pride" (the Soviets used it to intimidate members of the collective) and etched the surnames of their ancestors on the rocks. Eerie isn't strong enough of a word to describe the feeling of opression and evil surrounding that place.

In Moscow, my husband and I lived for two weeks with an elderly woman in one of those "fair" communist built apartments. One bedroom. One bathroom, a closet sized living room and even smaller kitchen. She raised five boys in that less than 400 sq ft space. She was a doctor. A profession that is revered in a capitalist society. A profession that expands our understanding of health and has prolonged our lives.

She lived in squallor.

We could smell the building before we climbed out of the van. Urine, feces, rotten meat and food. Dead animals in the alleys. Thousands of people crammed into a 1930s era building that has never been updated. Water and electricity are not dependable. Russians keep dozens of old milk jugs full of water for those times when the system goes down for days at a time. They reuse gray water from cleaning. Buckets full of black, dirty water that can be several months old, sit in closets next to ratty brooms.

This is POST Soviet era - the Russians think their lives have improved since then because they don't have to wait eight hours in a bread line only to find out there's no more bread.

(Sorry, my italics won't go off - it's a blogger problem)

This is the "fair" quality of life folks like Obama and our Democrat congress want for America. Even Bush is being snockered into allowing our economy to be bought out globally.

About Obama. Consider this. The mainstream media is NOT reporting this (ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, NY Times...)

BARAK OBAMA CANNOT PROVE HE WAS BORN IN AMERICA. It's against our constitution for someone not born in the US to become president. That issue came up with Arnold a few years back. He was born in Austria.

Click on the link and read about it. There are seveal sources on this. Obama has not, will not and cannot produce a valid birth certificate!

Records are popping up that he was born in Kenya.

Christians who are familiar with end-times theology are on the edge of their seats. Today, that "one-world" economy may be born. The book of Revelation spells it out in clear detail.

Really, the only thing left to occur before the rapture of Christ followers is the construction of the thrid temple in Jerusalem. We are in the midst of Jewish holidays at this very moment. Who knows what can happen?

We don't know when Jesus will return. Only God the Father knows, but the New Testament makes it clear that signs will be given. We are to be on watch as a bride waits for her groom.

Check out this sermon (Sept 28) by Pastor Jim Walters (Bear Valley Church, Lakewood, CO). He talks about rare combination of lunar and solar eclipses that fall on significant dates.

Most interesting, these planetary phenomena are not related to the rapture, rather could be related to the second comming of Christ (after the tribulation which IF the upcoming eclipses were the signs - the rapture could occur any time in the next week or so, mathmatically) ... or not.

Mark Biltz, the dude who did the research via NASA calanders and the Jewish calanders only asks "what if"? Don't freak and take it as "for sure".

Good news is that we don't need to by into the fear propaganda espoused by both political parties. Barak Obama and John McCain are not soverign. Honestly, it doesn't matter who wins or looses, God will have happen what will happen.

The apostles, during the reign of Nero, thought the end times were upon them. Maybe it was, then the faithful cried out. God extended grace? Who knows?

Christ Followers, please cry out on behalf of our nation - our world. Maybe God will extend grace a little longer, or He may come and sweep those of us with a personal relationship in Jesus Christ away.

Whatever happens, In Christ, we can't lose. We retain hope. In Christ.

America is a great country. We were willing, God used us and still can. As an American, I don't want my freedom snuffed out. I don't want my son to fear for his life because he sings "Jesus Loves Me."

At this rate, Booger will not be allowed to express his opinions in public forum. He will not be allowed to worship the One True God. His faith will be driven underground if things don't change.

Heck, our faith may be driven underground if Obama wins, or the "global economy" buys us out in the next few hours or days.

Who can save America? God. But He hears our cries and responds accordingly. Please, please intercede for this great nation!

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Amazing Memory!

When I was a little kid I lived for Sesame Street. Twice a day my sister and I planted our butts in front of the TV and watched those episodes with the Count counting sneezes, Big Bird and Snuffy.

In PA, Kyle started watching Sesame Street. (It comes on during reasonable hours there). I was amazed at how many of the clips I recognized from my own childhood! Sure there are some new elements, but the Sesame people use an awful lot of the stuff they created in the early 70s.

Most of all, I'm amazed at how my brain remembers the scenes so well. It's like I saw them yesterday as opposed to over 30 years ago. I had no idea my brain could remember with such clarity and detail, something I haven't seen in decades.

Cookie Monster is still my favorite - I think Kyle loves him best of all too. Glad the Sesame people didn't turn him into Broccoli Monster, however, in the newer episodes he is sort of forced to choose vegetables over cookies. That just doesn't work for me. Nothing that grows in dirt beats a good chocolatey cookie!

Sesame Street taught me a lot of those early skills. After one episode Kyle picks up so much.

Nostalgia. Kind of a cozy feeling to see my kid enjoying one of my old favorites!

Monday, October 06, 2008

Will I ever learn...

...not to be an ASSumer?

Time and time again I've heard the old cliche (even though cliches are forbidden in the world of wrtiers): assume makes an ASS out of U and ME.

So, what did I do on Saturday at the Friendship Cup competition?

I wasn't the only one... the whole staff sort of ASSumed...

The Sheridan High School Marching Band has 23 kids. Total. 13 winds, 7 pit and 3 colorguard. The rest of the bands have 60 - 200 kids. How do 5 brass instruments compare against 50?

One would ASSume a teeny tiny band whose sound gets hijacked by the slightest breeze wouldn't stand a chance against bands four times their size. Most bands' trumpet lines are bigger than our entire unit!

However, the lesson we've been teaching the kids is that size doesn't matter. How clean you march/play/spin is what does. Teacher, eat your words.

Friendship Cup allows bands to compete in the prelims by size. Okay, so 60 down still isn't really all that fair when everyone in your class is hovering around 60 and you have 13 winds. The count is by wind instruments.

Our kids did okay. They played it safe. Dragged the tempo, looked scared and tried hard not to make any mistakes. Leaving the field, they were disappointed with themselves. We teachers weren't disappointed, we told them they could have taken a risk. Being the last to perform in the morning, we didn't see anyone else. We only knew everyone else was much bigger than we are.

Kids from Sheridan tend to diss on themselves. "We suck 'cuz we're Sheridan. We're ghetto. We're Sheridan, that's why." It's a way to avoid responsibility for behavior. Let's not take a risk and "put out" with hopes of success b/c we don't want to face the let down if we don't succeed.

I assumed we wouldn't make finals. Before the show, I thought our chances were slim, but we did have a chance.

While we gave the kids a educational - trust-yourself-don't-play-it-so-safe talk preparing them to go home early, a parent ran up waving a yellow piece of paper. She handed it off to me.

My eyes scanned the numbers scribbled on lines next to school names. Woah. Our number was the highest. That means...

The band director heard my squeak and tore the paper from my hands.

"Oh. My-- we're in first place! We're going to finals!"

So much for assumptions.

I assumed the performance didn't have what it took to move on. After all, the bands who make it to finals usually are the 100+ wind instrument bands.

Sad eyes brightened, and cheers ripped through the parking lot. Now, we knew we were not going to win finals. But, we told the kids to risk it all and perform like marching around on turf with a piece of plastic or metal in your mouth (or a flag in your hand) was the most incredible experience before death. They had nothing to loose.

Scoring criteria changed to fit the 100+ band sizes. Our 23 member marching band GAINED 5 points on a score sheet that pretty much doesn't recognize our existance.

The show was fun. The crowd loved it, and the kids left the field dripping with sweat and on a high even though they knew we'd be at the bottom.

We were 11th out of 12. We did beat one huge, huge band!

What's even more exciting is that folks are beginning to talk about The Little Band That Could.

I'm sorry kids for assuming. It does make and ASS out of both U and ME and you guys don't deserve that.

We're off to a good start!

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

A good Stink

A long, long time ago, in the Denver Metro area, was born a child named Heidi.

She didn't live with goats on a hill in Switzerland.

She never learned how to play a diggery-doo.

Tickling pianos was here thing. Trust me on this, I love to lay underneath a baby grand when she plays because the sound fills my body with glorious sound...

Anyway, 14 years ago she found this ratty chick who'd wandered into the Colorado mountains from Pennsylvania. Noticing this ragamuffin was hungry and homeless, Hedi decided to take her home with her and call her name Doggie-doo-french-fry-head-cactus-butt.

For years, Hedi (later known as "Stinky" to me and me alone - no one else is allowed to call her by her special name) and DDFFHCB lived together as roomies. They shared many harrowing, life-and-death adventures.

Another day, l0ng, long ago, Hedi, DDFFHCB and a girl named Marlys, hiked up Eldorado Canyon to a train tunnel. The climb was steep and icy. Butts were badly bruised by the time the triad reached the tracks.

DDFFHCB has an insatiable desire for danger and adventure. Life had been cruel to the poor girl, and she longed to see light at the end of the tunnel. So, she did what any brainless, curious sap would do - skip along the steel rails into this tunnel carved into a mountain.

"I don't think that's a good idea," Hedi said biting her nails.

"Seems like fun to me," said Marlys who took a few halting steps into the inky blackness.

Heidi crab-stepped closer to the maw. "Darcie, please! I don't think you want to be in there."

"Bah," said DDFFHCB, "this is an adventure! I have to know there's light at the end of the tunnel so I can live happily ever after like those princesses on Disney movies. Hey, what's that rumbling sound?"

Being the one with a fully functioning brain, Heidi screamed. "Get out!"

"But I'm seeing light!"

Marlys sprinted for the opening of the tunnel and dove into a snow bank.

"Just a few more--" HONK! HONKhonkhonk! "I think that's a train."

Again, being of good sense, Heidi assumed a commanding posture and barked, "Darcie Yetter, get out of that tunnel--"

"Train!" DDFFHCB shot out like a cannon ball and joined Marlys in the snowbank as an Amtrak roared by. The wind from the passing cars, lifted DDFFHCB's curls into the air.

That was one day Heidi became a hero.

She's also a great comedian. Nobody could burp like her when she's armed with Cherry Coke in a can. I've tried, but don't come close.

As the years passed, Heidi remained loyal to her IQ-challenged pal.

Together we smashed racketballs against walls pretending they were people we didn't like. We ate several garbage trucks worth of Rotel and chips. Married two awesome guys who happen to be best friends, and now hobble down the path of toddler terror.

We didn't always get along. Who does? But we always come back around and find each other.

I chose the picture above, because it is the happiest day of Heidi's life. Like me, Hedi is unable to bear children (we never knew this all those years we terrorized the world as single women). The day my Booger was born, hers was going into the oven. Years of heartache melted into tears of joy when Emilie Hope was placed into her arms by the same social worker who placed Booger into mine.

Heidi Valentine takes the definition of "loyal" to a whole new level. I'm not the easiest person to get along with for so long :)

Today is her birthday, and I want to publically let the world know how much she means to me and that I love her as a sister - even though she calls me Doggie-doo-french-fry-head-cactus-butt.