Saturday, June 27, 2009

June Journeys

So much has happened in the last two weeks since I got back from our two week road trip to Sonya's wedding!!

I came back to face some very difficult issues with our
current situation in Arizona because of the state budget. I had to call several of our instructional assistants to tell them that they no longer had a job. I was so afraid that this was going to happen, but I was hoping that it would not be as drastic as it was. The Wednesday when I made these phone calls was an awful day. As I have said before, I never thought that my job would ever be telling wonderful people that they no longer had a job. For the past several years, it has been just the opposite. We had more jobs and it was hard to find good people. I feel very blessed that I was always able to find good people and then Wednesday came and I had to make these awful phone calls.... From what I am hearing on the news, it doesn't sound like anything is going to get any better in Arizona as children are taking the brunt of the budget cuts that the state must make. How sad!!

Last weekend brought a much needed reprieve and a trip to Las Vegas that had been planned for several months. I love Bette Midler and a birthday pr
esent from a very dear friend was a trip to Vegas to see her in concert. As I wrote on Facebook, I saw the Doors at the Coliseum in Phoenix in 1968, but the Bette Midler concert that I saw at U. S. Airways a few years ago was the very best concert I have ever been to in my life. I can say that her concert in Vegas was incredible once again. It was a great weekend!! I feel as though I am 21 all over again celebrating my birthday months later!!

This weekend my friend, Susie of Arabia, came to visit. I had a party here at our house last night that was so much fun!! We had old friends from Douglas, bloggers that she hadn't ever met, but has corresponded with the past two years, and new blogger friends who have followed her blog because of mine. It was a great evening as people visited, we did some karaoke, and had many laughs. Our party pugs could hardly move all day today.

I am so glad that Susie was here in Arizona and that so many people were able to meet her after they have followed her blog. Her story is truly amazing and I am glad that she is my friend for many reasons, but mostly because she is such a wonderfu
l person!! I am so glad that we had the two days to visit and catch up. Thanks, Susie, for being here and for being such a good friend.

I love blogging!!! It has been so therapeutic for me in so many ways. It has enriched my life and has allowed me to truly have such wonderful connections with old and new friends!!

Patrick is in Europe and is doing a blog. There is a link to it on my site. It's Europe, I've Been Dreaming.

Tuesday, we leave for a family reunion in the Washington D. C. area. Teresa, Cameron, Kayla, Pat Rush, and I are all going. I am excited to be able to get away again!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Menu for "Schmooze with Suz" on Friday

I am getting very excited to see my friend, Susie, and host a party in her honor on Friday. I have received a lot of RSVP's the last few days. I have tried to think of something to fix that will be easy, but is something that Susie probably doesn't get in Saudi Arabia. So I finally decided that I am going to fix bean tostadas and mini bean burros. So the menu for Friday will be tostadas, bean burros, chili con queso dip, salsa, and a variety of other chips and dips. There will also be beer, wine, and bottled water. I am not much for desserts, so if anyone wants to bring a dessert, that would be great or if you want something else to drink, please feel free to bring it. We will have plenty of ice.

The party starts at 6:30 and goes until whatever time it might end!! Be ready to sing as I have a karaoke machine. This will all take place in my official Irish Pub "Shenanigans" so plan on a good time. Please email me if you need directions or my phone number.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Reminder of the "Schmooze with Suz" Event on June 26th!

My dear friend, Susie of Arabia, is coming to Arizona next week! I know many of you have become "blogger friends" with Susie through my blog. She has also made some other blogger friends who happen to live in the valley, plus some old friends from Douglas. So I am having a party for everyone who would like to meet and visit with her. Please mark your calendars for Friday, June 26, at 6:30. Please send me an email ( if you are planning to be here and I will give you more information.

Susie has become a world-wide celebrity because of her blog. She moved to Saudi Arabia about two years ago because her husband is originally from there. Susie is from my home town, Douglas, and I have known her for many years as we went to Douglas High together (she was a couple of years behind me). Her blog has won awards and is amazing!!! Recently, it was banned in Saudi Arabia!!!

If you ever read Perez Hilton, he even wrote about her blog on his celebrity gossip blog. Susie also won a Weblog Award for her blog (just click on either of these links to read about her blog).

So if you haven't read her blog, there is a link to it on here (Susie's Big Adventure). Get to know her and join us on June 26!!

I am so excited to host this event at my house and to see and visit with Susie!!!

PS I am putting this Bette Midler song on for this post for two reasons--for my friendship with Susie and because I am going to Las Vegas tomorrow to see Bette Midler!! YEAH!!!!!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Road Trip Round Up

Eleven states and 8,000 plus miles later, we are finally home from our two week road trip. We got home last night around 7:00 and it felt good to be warm again!! Our trip was fantastic and I am not sure why I have never done this before. There was so much to see in the 14 days that we were gone.

My last post was about visiting Mount Rushmore in South Dakota and spending the night in Cheyenne, Wyoming. We left Cheyenne fairly early (for us) and
drove to Santa Fe, New Mexico. Driving through Colorado and seeing the Rockies with snow still on them was beautiful. I had wanted to go to Leadville where my grandparents met and were married, but we didn't have the time. When I go to Leadville, I want to be able to spend a few days there, so that will be left to another time.

About six years ago, Kerri, Cameron and I went to a wedding in Texas and stayed in Santa Fe for a day and saw a lot of that beautiful town. I wanted to visit the
Loretto Chapel again so we spent a little time there before heading back to Gilbert.

When I was growing up in Douglas, I attended Loretto School for first through eight grades. We had Dominican Sisters from Adrian, Michigan as our teachers. At that time, we had a nun for a teacher each year that I was at Loretto. I remember my mom and Aunt Teresa talking about when they attended Loretto and the nuns that they had were the Loretto nuns who were from the same order as the ones from Santa Fe. I remember meeting a couple of these nuns when I was very young. They had wonderful memories of them.

The Loretto Chapel is one of those experiences that for me is very hard to explain. For me, going into the chapel brings an emotional and/or spiritual feeling. I felt this way when I visited Knock in Ireland. If you haven't ever visited this chapel, I would absolutely recommend it no matter what your faith or beliefs are.

I am going to paraphrase the back of a bookmark that I bough
t at the chapel that tells what it is about.

The Our Lady of Light Chapel (Loretto Chapel) fashioned after Sainte-Chapelle in Paris, was constructed in the 1870's to serve Loretto Academy which was operated by the Sisters of Loretto.

Believed to be the first gothic structure west of the M
ississippi, the Chapel had a design flaw: a conventional stairway to the choir loft could not be installed without adversely impacting the dimininutive Chapel's seating capacity as well as aesthetics.

Seeking divine guidance the Sisters made a Novena to their patron saint, St. Joseph the Carpenter. As legend has it, upon the ninth and final day of the Novena a mysterious carpenter arrived to design and construct a circular stairway to the choir loft. The tools upon his donkey were just a saw, a T-square, a hammer and tubs in which to soak the wood.

His "miraculous stairway" contains thirty three steps in two full 360 degree turns. This stairway has no center support nor is it held from it's sides--it's full weight rests on the its final tread.

Upon completion of the stairway, the carpenter disappeared without seeking payment. No records have been found for the purchase of the materials which the stairway was built. Many sisters believed the craftsman to have been the embodiment of St. Joseph the Carpenter.

Originallly built without a railing, its use was a daily reinforcement of faith by both sisters and students. In the 1880's the banister was added.

Engineers and architects marvel at the stairway; there is no known duplication of its design.

It is absolutely amazing to see this and what a fitting conclusion to this incredible trip!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Many Miles and Many Stops...

This morning started in Sioux Falls, South Dakota and a visit to some beautiful falls on the river. It was sunny and a bit chilly.

From Sioux Falls, we traveled across the state of S
outh Dakota with the weather becoming increasingly worse. The sun gave way to dark clouds and even chillier weather. By the time we got to Mount Rushmore, it was raining sporadically and was dark and cloudy. The trip from Sioux Falls to Mt. Rushmore was about five hours.

Before I continue to post about this trip, I want to talk a bit about my friend and teacher, Martha. Today was her scheduled surgery down at the University of Arizona Hospital. My thoughts and prayers have been with her all day today as well as these last several months. We have not always been in cell phone range, but I received regular updates all day long. I was able to get on Facebook at one point, and saw that she had a post telling everyone to go to her blog as she had an update. Now this is after her 6 plus hours of surgery! Martha, you are amazing and I can't tell you how great you look and how much I admire your wonderful outlook as you have battled breast cancer these last several months. You are truly an inspiration!! There is a link to her blog on the side of mine and I am putting the link right here I am in awe of what you have been through and your spirit.

Mt. Rushmore was awesome to see in person. I have seen pictures over the years, but seeing it in person is well worth the trip. It was cold, dreary, and raining, but it was still worth it. To see the way the artist sculpted the four presidents, Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, and Teddy Roosevelt, once again reinforces how much art is tied into our history.

We left Mt. Rushmore and drove through some beautiful mountains in South Dakota and then in to Wyoming. The rain became worse and at one point, the fog was so bad that the visibility was really cut. Patrick did a great job of driving us through this bad weather. We arrived in Cheyenne, Wyoming about 9:30 and stopped to eat. We had a little trouble finding a hotel tonight. I am thinking that the bad weather probably caused many motorists to stop. We finally found a hotel. It's almost 11:30 and I can say that I am really tired tonight. I think we are all tired at this point.

We are heading to Colorado and hoping to stay in Santa Fe tomorrow night. We will be back to Arizona either late Saturday or Sunday. I can tell you I will be glad to get home to the warm, sunny weather (I need to remember this come August) and to see our pugs!! I know they have had great care, but I am sure that they are missing us!! I know I have missed them!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Chicago Day 2

Our second full day in Chicago was filled with so many amazing places to visit. It was cloudy and cold when we started out in the morning. Our first stop was to the Sears Tower. They told us that there was zero visibility and that the 103 floor was under construction, so we would only be able to go to the 99th floor. We went up anyway and actually could see quite a bit, even with the zero visibility. The Sears Tower is the highest building in the western hemisphere.

Something I didn't know is that C
hicago is a finalist for the 2016 Olympics. There are signs of support all over the city.

After that we went to the Chicago Institute of Art where many incredible artists and works of art are displayed. I have never had much of an interest in art, but have always felt it was so important for our children to be exposed to fine art. I was absolutely blown away by how much Cameron knows about artists and works of art. He talked nonstop telling me about the different artists that we saw. There was art from Monet, Renoir, Jackson Pollack, Georgia O'Keefe, Remington, and Salvador Dali. I asked him where he learned all of this and he said that he learned it in art from his wonderful art teacher, Mrs. G. He also learned it from the Art Masterpiece program. I truly was blown away and it convinces me even more how important these opportunities to learn are for our children. His favorite picture is "Water Lillies" by Monet which was on display.

The other display that was awesome to see was the Caldecott winners from 2000-2008. These are the artists that illustrate children's books.

After that we went to Museum of Science and Industry where they are having the Harry Potter Exhibition. Cameron was so excited to see this. He could hardly contain himself when we got there!! I have to say that as excited as he was about the Harry Potter, he was almost as excited to see the great works of art. Anyway, the Harry Potter Exhibition is only in Chicago. It has been there since April and runs through September. It will then go to two other U.S. cities that haven't been announced yet. After that it will be taken to Europe. We weren't allowed to take any pictures in this exhibit. I haven't really followed the Harry Potter Series, but I love that this series has gotten so many people, both children and adults, to read and be excited to read. The exhibit had many of the original costumes and artifacts from the different movies. It was very well done and I thoroughly enjoyed it!We saw a whole lot in the two full days that we were in Chicago. It was great to see so much. I think I would like to come back and really take more time in some of the places that we went to visit. Of course, I have to make sure that Cameron comes with me because he has so much information stored in his brain!!

It is late now and we are in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. We are driving to see Mount Rushmore tomorrow. We went through Wisconsin, Minnesota, touched close to Iowa, and got here about an hour ago. I had never been to Wisconsin or Minnesota and both states are absolutely beautiful and green.

More driving tomorrow, but it has been well worth it! It has been cool to cold all day today--so hard to believe it is June!!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009


Chicago is a great town! I had been here once before a few years ago for the International Reading Association convention. Didn't get to see anything in the short time I was here the. It has been fun to do the tourist things this time.

Yesterday we went to the top of the Hancock Building. The view of the city and Lake Michigan was absolutely beautiful. After that we visited the Field Museum. We saw Sue, the dinosaur. It is the most complete T-Rex skeleton in the world.

We went to two different exhibits. The most incredible one to me was a series of photographs that were taken during the Civil Rights Movement in the 1950's and 60's. The photos were in black and white and depicted the events surrounding Dr. Martin Luther King and the other leaders of the quest for equal rights. I remember when all of this was going on, but I had forgotten about so much of what had taken place during that time. One of the most somber was a picture of Dr. King's motel room after he had been killed. Once again, this exhibit reminded me that we don't look back at history and learn from it so that we don't repeat previous mistakes.

There was also an incredible exhibit on Native Americans. It is a very large exhibit and shows the progression of early people through tools, pottery and art. The exhibit displayed thousands of years of artifacts and is amazing!

We then visited the Shedd Aquarium. It was fun to see the Beluga Whales, sea lions, and dolphins.

The last tourist "thing" that we did was take a one hour boat trip on the Chicago River to learn about the different architectural designs on the different buildings in Chicago. It was awesome!!
We are off again this morning to visit Sears Tower and take a boat ride on Lake Michigan among other things.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Sonya's Wedding Continued!

As I was going through the pictures that I have taken since we have arrived here in Illinois, I found a couple of ones that I hadn't posted that I think are very interesting. I mentioned in a previous post that there was an inland hurricane in southern Illinois that caused a lot of damage. I had never heard of an inland hurricane before, but we saw the uprooted trees everywhere we went in Carbondale.

One of the best signs that we saw was on a church close to where we were staying. It said, "Jesus is bigger than an inland hurricane!" I wish I had taken a picture of it.

When we went to the rehearsal dinner at Sonya's parents' home, I talked to her mom about this storm. She told me that she hadn't realized how bad it was until it was over. When we went out to the back of their house, Sonya's dad showed me where they go when a storm like this comes along. I found it absolutely fascinating to see. They actually have a storm cellar that is in the ground where people go for protection. It fits six people and is something that is purchased and then put into the ground. Her dad told me that after a storm, neighbors check on each other to make sure that trees haven't fallen on the storm cellar door. Having lived in Arizona for all of my life, this is so hard to imagine.

I also mentioned that the original reception hall that Sonya had booked for her wedding had been destroyed in this inland hurricane. It was going to be in the middle of this beautiful lake near the wedding chapel. Because there was very little time before the wedding, she had to find some place quickly that wasn't already booked. She was able to find an Elks Club and she was a bit disappointed that it wasn't quite what she was looking for. Sonya and her mom did a great job of decorating the place and of course, it was a lot of fun. I am posting a picture of the sign in front of the Elks Club last Saturday night. I absolutely love this picture!!We are in Chicago now and have spent the day doing tourist things. We have a two day pass and will be seeing much more tomorrow. Chicago is a great city, but it is very expensive!! I will be doing a post on this part of our trip later. This trip has been great and we have seen so much!! I am glad we have driven and been able to see the different parts of our great country!!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

The Wedding

Yesterday was the big day for Sonya and Jason. They were married at 3:30 at a beautiful chapel in a cemetery. Yes, that is correct--in a cemetery. I was thinking that the significance of the cemetery was because Sonya loves all of the Mexican skeletons that are for Dia de los Muertos or the Day of the Dead.

However, her mom said it was because of the stained glass windows in the chapel. Sonya is an artist and is majoring in art at Southern Illinois University and has gotten into stained glass. Her mom said that since Sonya and Jason don't belong to an organized church, they weren't able to get a church with stained glass. Most of the churches around this area are newer buildings and don't have stained glass. As I looked around the chapel at the stained glass, I totally understood why she chose it. The stained glass is awesome and there are many depictions of lillies which has a special significance in that her daughter is named Lillia.

The part of this that I liked so much is that I have always said the only two things I want out of life are a Mexican Wedding and an Irish Wake!! You can do both at this chapel!!!

Sonya and Patrick have been friends since they were in high school. Sonya and Lillia have been a part of our family for several years. Last year, she decided that the best plan for her and for Lilia was to move to Illinois to live with her parents and to be able to finish college. We were all sad when she moved, but knew it was for the best. And it has turned out to be for the best. Jason is a wonderful young man who loves Sonya very much.

The ceremony was beautiful and unconventional which is so Sonya. Jason's sister, Lisa, was the "Best Woman" and Patrick was a "bridesman." They included both of their children in the service. At the end, the four of them, Sonya, Jason, Lillia and Cassidy, all had a vase of sand. Together they poured their vases into a larger vase signifying the blending of their families. I don't think I have ever seen anything like this and it was so beautiful!!

The reception was a lot of fun. The Elks Club reminded me of the one in Douglas. They are probably very similar no matter where you go. Patrick did a toast to Sonya and told the story of her walking down the beach in Rocky Point with her high heels on pretending to be Marilyn Monroe. The toasts at a wedding are always emotional and when it came time for Sonya to talk, she had a difficult time. She thanked her parents for all that they have done for her and then she thanked me. I was absolutely not expecting this and it touched me so much! I didn't and still don't know what to say to be included like that. It certainly meant a lot to me--more than words can ever express, Sonya!!

We are on our way to Chicago now. We have had a wonderful time here in Southern Illinois with Sonya and her family. I am so glad that we were able to come to this wedding and I am so happy for Sonya and Jason!! Sonya, you deserve the best and I thank you for being a part of my life and enriching it in many ways!!

PS--The song for this post was the song that Sonya and Jason picked to walk out of the church after they married!

Friday, June 5, 2009

The Little Red Barn at the Cabin in the Woods

Those of you who are around my age or older will probably remember the television show "Green Acres" with Ava Gabor and Eddie Albert. Well, we are officially at Green Acres. We arrived in Carbondale, Illinois early yesterday afternoon. Sonya had sent information about several places that we could stay when we got here. There are several cabins in the area and most of them were already booked. The Cabins in the Woods still had one left--The Little Red Barn, so I booked it. It is off the beaten path in a beautiful, green forest. Our cabin looks a bit like a barn that has been converted. It has two bedrooms, a living room and kitchen area, one bathroom and a huge screened in backporch with a hot tub.

Right down the hill is the barn with the pigs, goats, donkeys, horses, and a variety of chickens, roosters, turkeys, guinea fowl, peacocks, etc. They have several dogs and cats who have free run of the place. Needless to say, Cameron is thrilled to be here! There is satellite television, but no internet. It is really relaxing and so far away from the hustle and bustle of city life and a welcome change from the hotels and cities where we have been staying. I think I could spend a few weeks here!!

We met Sonya at the tuxedo shop. She came back to the "barn" and then took Cameron back to see Lilia. We fixed steaks on the grill along with corn on the cob, zucchini, and baked potatoes. Once again, it was nice not to eat in a restaurant!

Lilia came back with Cameron and spent the night with us. We are sitting at the Starbucks at Barnes and Noble right now, getting caught up on my blog and email.

This afternoon we go to the wedding rehearsal and then to Sonya's parents house for the rehearsal dinner. Tomorrow is Sonya's and Jason's wedding at 3:30. They had originally planned to have the reception on a lake that is close by. A few weeks ago, this part of Illinois was hit with an inland hurricane and the kitchen where the reception was to be held was destroyed. Of course, Sonya was really disappointed and had to find some place without much notice. She was able to book the local Elks Club, which was definitely not her first choice. There is an Elks Club in Douglas that we have spent a lot of time in over the years so I love the local Elks Clubs!! It will be fun no matter what!! I know that Sonya will make a beautiful bride and Jason is an absolutely wonderful young man!!

We are here in Carbondale until Sunday when we head for Chicago for three days. So far this has been an awesome vacation and so great to be away for a few weeks. Haven't been able to get totally away as I have my school Blackberry and have had to deal with a few issues.

It is amazing to me how different life can be in the various places across the United States. I am glad we took the time to drive and not fly in and fly back right away. It has been so good for Cameron to see all of these different places and for me, too! It has been a relaxing and fun week, although I miss my little Lucy and the other dogs!!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

St. Louis Blues (as in blue from the cold weather)!!!

Inside the tram

Busch Stadium from inside the Arch

Looking up at the Arch

Cameron dressed for boat ride on the Mississippi!

It is June 3rd and it is cold here in St. Louis. Don't the weather gods know that it is June????? I know that those back in Arizona are probably thinking I am nuts, but I like the warm weather!!

St. Louis is really a great city. We are staying right downtown next to the Mississippi River and by the St. Louis Arch. We are close to Busch Stadium where the Cardinals have been playing every night that we have been here and a few blocks from Edward Jones Stadium where the St. Louis Rams play football. The Courthouse where Dred Scott went to court to ask for freedom from slavery and where Virginia Minor asked for the right to vote for women is right across the street.

Yesterday we went to the St. Louis Zoo where we got caught in a torrential rain two different times, but it was warm and humid. Apparently, there was some severe damage from this storm. We didn't experience any of that storm.

Early this morning there was a very loud sound and then a voice came over the intercom telling us to disregard the fire alarm. We are on the 16th floor and that was a bit scary!

Our plans for today were to take a river cruise and visit the Gateway Arch. Part of the plan was not to spend $30 on a sweatshirt at the gift shop at the Arch!!! I was not prepared for this as I am thinking of summer in Arizona where you only need a sweatshirt if you are heading to mountains.

The river trip was very interesting and very cold!! The Mississippi is an incredible river. And all of the history here about the Westward Movement brings back all of the reading that I did many years ago. I have always loved history.

I was in St. Louis one time before--the summer of 1965. I was a delegate to the National Y-Teen Convention in Washington D.C. that summer and we traveled on a chartered bus from El Paso to Washington. The Gateway Arch was not finished until October of 1965 and I remember being in awe of it then, even when it wasn't complete.

I had no idea that you can actually go up into the Arch in a tram. There are eight very small cars and that is probably the reason the attendant asked if anyone had claustrophobia when we bought the tickets. There are seats for five people in this little car. This tram was designed by an engineer in the 1960's.

So we all pile in this little space and proceed up to the top of the Gateway Arch....... Now you have to picture this...Cameron who is afraid of going on rides at Disneyland is actually excited. His mother is terrified!! This is our brave, confident Kerri!!! We get to the top and take a few pictures and Kerri wants to get down. As she said and when I thought about it...we are up very far in the air with nothing beneath us--as opposed to going up in the Sears Tower or Empire State Building. When she put it that way, I could see her point. So we headed back down in the very small tram car.... Kerri was very relieved when we got to the bottom and got out!!

It has been a great three days here. Tomorrow we head for Carbondale and Sonya's wedding. I am anxious to see Sonya, Lillia, Jason and her family. We are staying in a cabin in the woods called the "Little Red Barn." I don't know if we will have internet access there or not. I am just hoping it is a bit warmer (I think)!!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Somber Visit

On Saturday, we left Gilbert for a trip to Illinois for our friend, Sonya's wedding. We decided to drive so that we could visit different places in our country and give Cameron that experience. So far, driving is about all that we have done. We spent the first night in Albuquerque getting there quite late. Kerri's friend, Tyson, met us for drinks near the hotel we were staying.

Sunday we drove for many long hours and got to Oklahoma City late again. There is a two hour time difference from Arizona to Oklahoma, plus it was Sunday. We had trouble finding a place to eat and finally ended up at a Denny's. Of course, they have a different menu for after 10:00 p.m. I had no idea as I obviously don't go many places at this time of night!

This morning we visited the site of the Oklahoma City bombing. The memorial is beautifully done to commemorate this horrific event from April 19, 1995. There are chairs dedicated to each person who was killed that day.

"We come here to remember those who were killed, those who survived and those changed forever. May all who leave here know the impact of violence. May this memorial offer comfort, strength, peace, hope and serenity."

This is what is written about the purpose of the memorial. What I find amazing is the feeling that you get at a site like this. People who are walking around are talking quietly, etc. I remember when Patrick and I went to New York on St. Patrick's Day after September 11. Everyone around the site at that time were quiet and appeared introspective.

I remember that day very well. It was the end of innocence for us. The fact that such an act of violence could happen here in our country by someone who was a United States citizen was so sad. Then we experienced September 11th six years later. I always read about things like this happening in other countries, but we seemed to be insulated here in the U.S.

I remember talking to my mom and Teresa that day. They told me that a family friend was killed that day. His name was Richard Cummins and he worked for the Department of Agriculture. He was the son of their friend, Christine. I recently wrote about Christine's great granddaughter, Samantha, who won the Margaret Shannon Leadership/Citizenship Award at my school--such a small world and so many connections.

So today when we visited the memorial, one of the security officers took me to the chair with his name on it. He asked me how I knew him. I told him that Richard had grown up in my home town and I knew his mother very well. I remember my mom telling me at the time that his mother was never told that he had been killed. She was in a rest home in Tucson at the time and died shortly after.

Seeing the memorial today was a somber experience and reminded me that we as Americans are not immune to terrorist attacks like people in other countries have experienced for so long. Hate is such an ugly emotion and brings out the worst in humans. It is so simplistic to think that we should all be friends. However, respect for human life and differences of opinion should not result in such a terrible tragedy. My hope for the future is that we can realize this and learn from history and past mistakes. I guess that truly is almost too much to hope for. Maybe if everyone could have the experience we had today and see something like this beautiful memorial, it might make a difference........... I pray that isn't too much to hope for!