Saturday, July 28, 2012

He was AM~Erica's Godson

So anyway...

It's July 28th. In the year 2012, it's National Dance Day (last Saturday in July). However, today proves to strike me much differently.

Today, Douglas would have been 18. I can't believe it's even been that long...but it has. And it is crazy to me that it still hurts so much that he's not even here.

You see, 18 years ago, my childhood best friend, Nikki (I've brought her up before) was pregnant with a boy. His name was to be Douglas...and I was to be his godmother. You see, 18 years ago, yesterday, I was with Nikki helping her put the finishing touches on the nursery. The last thing put into place was the teddy bear mobile on his crib that I had gotten just for his arrival. I remember reveling in our hard work & knowing that this little guy was going to be coming any day. Even thought Nikki had been quite ill throughout the pregnancy, she was holding up very well & was ready for all of us to see little Dougie.

The next day, which was 18 years ago today, I got a call at the wee hours of the morning from Dougie's dad, in tears, that we had lost Dougie. He was stillborn after some complications that night before...after I'd left.

No words, even today, can express how awful of a moment that was. I couldn't focus on work the next day as word had already gotten out by another family friend I'd worked with. I didn't get to make it to the hospital, but I was around for some of the funeral planning of the nearly 10 pound baby that didn't get to see his future.

I do know that boy still visits me from time-to-time. I'm not going to say how here...that is a private moment of my godson coming by for a quick hello. And I always make sure to let Nikki know that he stopped by.

Today, my friend posted this on her Facebook wall:

Just a note to my son: 
I can't believe you'd be 18 today. Wow... You'd be a high school graduate and you'd be able to vote in the upcoming election. Wow... I am just floored that this much time has gone by so quickly. I can't imagine what you'd look like or be like any more. I still have the image of you as a little baby burned in my mind. Still, there are times that I get a small inkling from looking at your sisters at what you might look like...but who would you be now? How would your plans for life be unfolding at this time in your life? Would you be going to college or trade school? Would you be in love? Would you be in the military? Would you be an athlete, artist, musician, scholar? I guess these questions will be with me forever...but it's official that you wouldn't be a child any more...and I think that hurts more than anything right now, and I don't know why. Days like this the pain is so fresh... I've learned to cope with it on my own now 99% of the time and most days it's just a twinge when I stop to think of you, but I miss you still and always will. You're precious and I will always be grateful for your presence in my life and all the valuable lessons that you taught me. I love you Dougie. Happy Birthday.

Indeed. Happy Birthday, Dougie. Your godmother still loves & misses you, too.

Stay tuned...

God Bless, AM~Erica

Friday, July 20, 2012

AM~Erica is Starting a Bucket List

So anyway...

I just got back from the Pacific Northwest. The family & I visited the Tacoma/Seattle area, plus added in a trip to the coast to witness, experience & stand in the Pacific Ocean. It was amazing!

Right now, in the Midwest, it is a miserable triple digit heatwave. Bluh. I cannot stand this time of year. I believe I already pointed that out.

However...up in the Northwest, we experienced temps ranging anywhere in the 50's to the mid 70's. That, my friends, is heaven on earth for the hubby & me. *swoon* Plus, I got to get my geek-girl on again. Woot! I will cover that in a future post in the near future.

Until then, my hubby & I were discussing things we wish we had time to do while we were there...and even imagined living up there. This led us to a conversation of a bucket list.

I always hear of people having their "bucket lists"...I'm usually impressed, but never really had anything to put on one for myself. Sure I have desires of experiences I'd love to do...but I could never wrap my head around what might show up on a list. Maybe I'm more of a spontaneous thinker that I don't really have a "plan", necessarily. Until the visit up north. It was inspiring. Really. So, hubby & I began a thought process of a bucket list. Like:

~ Riding horseback along the beach
~ The Seattle coffee crawl
~ Living in Seattle
~ Having a beach house along the northwestern pacific shoreline
~ Taking a ferry tour along the coast
~ Getting fresh seafood to smoke/grill from Pike Place Market
~ Hiking Mt. Rainier
~ Going to Ireland
~ Doing the Fall Northeastern B&B hiking tour
~ Visiting Times Square & seeing some Broadway shows

So...that's a start. And they aren't all from the Pacific Northwest. But remember? I said it was inspiring!

Also, you may notice that I didn't list any bungee jumping or skydiving. That's because those over-adventurous things aren't my bag. My idea of things I want to experience before I leave Earth are much different than most, I'm sure. But each to their own, right?

And when I get to do these will know after the fact. I try not to openly broadcast when I take a trip. And I get a bit cryptic when I am on a trip...for good reason. So keep that in mind for future reference. HA! (But true...)

Until then...stay tuned...

God Bless, AM~Erica

Saturday, July 14, 2012

AM~Erica Thinks You Are Being Awfully Presumptuous

So anyway...

Today I'm fighting a migraine. It's been brought on by a whole lot of stress at once & knowing more is coming to get prepped for. I am feeling better over all...but not in the best of moods. So I'm gonna spend some energy & get on my soapbox for a moment.

The answer is, "YES." We do have a new member of the family that arrived yesterday. I touched on this a few months back & I talked about the use of the "G-Word" at that point.

I'm going to throw out some harsh honesty. Again, probably won't be popular, but I'm throwing that to the wind right now.

Yes, I posted a pic on Facebook...but that doesn't give anyone a right to start throwing terms around. Ever. Guess's not up to you! Did you know that? Even if you grew up using certain terms/names, or are using them doesn't mean they translate. Period.

I also said that any use of any variation of the G-word would result in the feeding of your comment as a sacrifice to Facebook. Ring a bell?

Back off with the G-word or any variation of. ANY variation. Shame on you!

It's not funny.

It's not cute.

It's not sweet.

It's not personable.


If you want to say congrats, then whatever. It doesn't really go to us. We didn't do the work. DUH! Been thru that years ago & that factory is closed.

Just like every pregnancy is different with every kid...every family dynamic is different too. They are not all like yours!!

For those of you already in that position, fine. Don't necessarily tell me how it's gonna be. It's different for every family. So...stop it. Don't give out your advice unless you're asked for it. It's fine to say you enjoy it...but that's all you get.

I know I sound grumpy. I am. I'm stressed with a whole lot right now. I'm not feeling good...and I have people trying to slap me in the face with nicknames.

We will figure out how they come about. Period.

I know this post is not the most positive. I appreciate the well intentions, but turn on filters. It's called common sense.

WHEW! OK, I'm done for now. And I am still "Erica." Deal with that. Got it? Good.

Oh...and the little one is cute as we can tell from pics. Thank you.

Stay tuned...

God Bless, AM~Erica

Thursday, July 12, 2012

AM~Erica Witnesses Apple Tree Homage

So anyway...

It's July. I know. And I'm not about wishing time away, really. My kids are growing so fast, it's almost unbelievable. However, I hate summer. I know it's one of the seasons & I love having seasons, and God created the seasons, but it's just TOO HOT!!! At least for me.

The midwest is really good for having seasons. Cuz we get SEASONS. Winter is what you'd imagine winter to be, spring is the same, as well as this nasty hotness of summer. We also get to revel in the fall season. Not sure if you can tell or not, but it's my favorite! I LOVE ME SOME AUTUMN!!

You know what I really love about Fall? ALL OF IT! I'm not kidding. The crops (pumpkin, apple, etc.), the weather, the color, the holidays, the sports (*ahem* Football). Ah...I can't wait.

The weather & weather conditions have been crazy all over the U.S. the past several months. A lot of rain in some areas, crazy fires in others, and then we have been having drought-like conditions envious of those getting the rain. The several days of triple-digit temps is ridiculous. Luckily we are no where near the number of days this has happened like back in 1936. 50+ days of triple digits temps? NO THANK YOU!

Lately (the last few days), we have had a break from the 100+ temps & it's only been in the 90's. OK, still...YUCK! However, it has brought on low temps in the 60's & 70's. YEA! My kind of temps, people!

Just to hold a cup of hot coffee while standing on the deck feeling those low temps that I was wishing were the high temps. I love some crispness in the air. And we do have some leaves in the backyard that lends to the fall-like feel. OK...just a few, but I'll take what I can get. Then I can gaze upon our lone backyard tree that has become apple bearing...and that helps me focus on the upcoming fall season, too.

This tree is something interesting. We moved into this house 2 years ago. It was exciting that there were 2 trees side-by-side in the back corner of the yard. One of them was apple-bearing. And I cannot exaggerate that enough. I truly believe there were more apples than leaves on that tree. I was SO excited! It made me think of growing up at my grandmother's when she lived in her house with one big tree in the backyard, plus 3 apple trees. I loved those apple trees. They were easy to climb (so cool for an 80's prodigy kid), and they bore apples! One of the great memories from my childhood.

Oh, let's skip back to my backyard and the trees: people figured I would be making a lot of apple pies by the time September rolled around. But it wasn't to be. *sigh* about 2 weeks after we moved in, we had a big storm come thru. The trees were fine, just a few branches down. About a week later, another storm hit...and the roots of our very heavy apple tree were very shallow. That second storm took that tipped over. We lost the tree I was so excited about. I was so sad. But we had the other tree that now stood alone.

Last year, I noticed something about that tree...on the side that faced where the other tree once stood...a single apple grew. I was shocked to see this fruitless tree carrying an apple on a single branch.

Here it is, another year later...and here is that single tree that was fruitless 2 years ago:

Do you see what is on there? Those green polka dots are apples. They are everywhere on the tree!

Smack dab in the middle of this pic is where the single apple grew last year. Look at it now!

Look at how the fruit is growing. Abundantly!

I can't help but feel like this tree has taken on the legacy of the other tree. Like paying homage to a fallen friend. Weird? Maybe...but I keep saying my brain works in odd & interesting ways. And seeing this...*deep sigh* I can't help it.

Fall is coming, y'all. And there is beauty all around to show it. Like the homage of an apple tree.

Until then, I will deal with the icky heat & pray for rain. I got to stand outside in a light rain shower...and it was refreshing.

A hot mug of cider, the air being about 50-60 degrees, a crispness in the air & a snuggle by a fire would be quite refreshing, too...


Stay tuned...

God Bless, AM~Erica

Saturday, July 7, 2012

AM~Erica Just Wants an Independence Celebration

So anyway... that so wrong?

This is a slightly edited version of a Facebook post I had about my thoughts on Independence Day in Independence:

I'm so super disappointed. It was Independence Day; I live in Independence; Independence does not a whole lot of Independence Day. It makes NO sense!! There's fireworks at the Mormon Center with some orchestrated music right before hand. TA-DA! That's it. No extra events. Nothing. I am so disappointed that there couldn't be a parade around the square with a Harry Truman impersonator. We have several local television anchors that hail from here that are used for emcees for other why not a grand marshall? Why can't we have barbershop quartets & bands? The possibilities from this town are nearly endless & this community focuses on Labor Day weekend doing Santa Cali Gon Days...but C'MON!!

It's so sad that there was some trivia that came up on the news about Independence Day & July 4th. One of the facts thrown out there was that there are 14 cities with "Independence" in or as its name. Interesting, right. Well, it seems that Independence, MO is the famous one. I'd like to think it really has to do with the ties to Harry Truman, but I'm afraid that it might be because it was once the Meth Capitol of the World. I swear we have shed that title. But I am frustrated with this great community.

A lesser known community in Kansas, also called Independence, is a small town that takes great pride in it's name. Parades, fireworks, decorations...and they fully welcome visitors. I am in a city that thinks it's a small town, but only most accepting of anyone who is FROM here. Outsiders don't get to find out a whole lot & generally know about it afterward, unless you have REALLY good inside information.

I did find out there was at least a kids' parade SOMEWHERE in this city, but after the fact, of course. And I did find out that somewhere between 15-20 years ago, at least, there was major celebration here! There were gatherings at the Truman Library, the KC Symphony played with the fireworks...*sigh* How wonderful does that sound?

Is it too much to want a parade that's well advertised? In this city, it is believed you should only check the local paper for anything & everything. Yes, in a time when things are becoming multi & social is looked down upon if you don't get & read the actual newspaper. So, I guess that's one reason we miss out on some stuff...but, once again...C'MON! 

Apparently the Independence Chamber of Commerce puts on Santa Cali Gon Days durning Labor Day weekend. That's great. But why doesn't the city step up & celebrate the city?

I love that we are here. I do love people here. I am not fond of the over-rooted culture. Citizens "from here" don't let go of much & won't let "newbies" (anyone who's DNA doesn't start here) in. 

I am all about traditions. I am also all about starting new ones, or even tweaking some. The point is making progress, but still holding on to where you started. It's OK to do so. 

So, my proposal of a day-long event, or chain of events, is to enrich the deep history of this great city, still give it a small town feel, but make it open for the whole KC metro area & beyond. Decorations, parades, good ol' Harry Truman himself, music, fireworks! There is so much that could happen around the square & many other places around town. Where is the pride? Where is the want to turn around the image that it already has?

There was about a week where Independence hit the news about every other story...and none of it was good. Any positive thing we saw happening was not being covered by the media. So guess what, Independence, MO? We don't have the best image around Kansas City OR the entire nation! They don't hang on to Harry's days here...they focus on the old meth lab busts & the awful crime & weirdness that happens. And having your events happen at the Mormon center doesn't really help, either.

So here is my plea: Take pride in this city, know it's a city, know there is rich history, celebrate the rich history in it's name. Why would you let a small town in Kansas with the same name get better & more positive coverage of their celebration on Independence Day than us?

~ Independence is proud of their city
~ Independence is proud of their schools
~ Independence is proud of the history
~ Independence is VERY proud of Harry Truman

(Harry Truman statue outside the Independence Courthouse on the square)

Show it!! Shout it!! Don't make it an insider deal. If it was originally a hub where people came thru to begin with, why would we shun that idea? Bring it back. More than just Santa Cali Gon.

I already have my soapbox for calling July 4th Independence Day, so why wouldn't I want a town I live in, which happens to be called Independence, to step up?

Wake up, Independence & get with the program. I'm happy we get to be here...are you all happy people keep coming in? It's hard to tell. 

Be the hub, be welcoming, be proud. BE THE CITY OF INDEPENDENCE! 

Stay tuned...

God Bless, AM~Erica

Friday, July 6, 2012

AM~Erica Returns From a Geek-Girl Family Outing

So anyway...

I am back! I wasn't gone very long. I was gone with my family for a day & a half. But it was to do something that many geeks out there would drool over doing...

Wanna know what it is?

Well? Do ya?

DO YA???

We went to Wichita, KS! Oh yes we did. Oh you're not impressed yet? Why not? I guess you want more info, I guess. Am I right? OK, here goes...

Yesterday my family went to somewhere so amazingly heart is still palpitating thinking about it. I was even lost in thought about it on the drive back home today.

People out there...I got to see...props, costumes & set ups from one of the most beloved geek followings out there...

STAR WARS!!!!!!!!!!!

We entered these gates to such an amazing display, I am so glad I didn't faint. There were Wookies:

(Teen Girl, Lil Guy & Teen Boy in front of the Wookie display)

Which led to coming up on...the one & only...Chewbacca & Han Solo costumes!!!!!!

Are you dying right now like I was??

But wait...

There was the Princess Leia costume from early in Episode IV: New Hope, 

R2-D2 & C-3PO!!!!!

(Teen Girl with Leia costume, R2-D2 & C-3P0)

And it doesn't stop there, people! 

We saw Yoda:

(me with Yoda & training orb)

He was camped out with Mace Windu's costume!

There was also costumes from Anakin (big & little), Obi Wan Kenobi, and a Jawa:

(Anakin & Obi Wan costumes)
(Young Anakin costume)
(Jawa costume)

We also got to encounter a Storm Trooper, folks:

(Teen Boy & Hubby with Storm Trooper while Lil Guy figures out pix on his iPod)

And...the king daddy of the Dark Side! The Emperor? Nope...bigger & more amazing:

(Me with the one & only Darth Vader)

I also want to point out that we got to get pretty close to the iconic light sabers, too!

(Light sabers - including Obi Wan's - and some phasers)

And we got to see some of the ship props, too! 

(Millennium Falcon prop)
(X-Wing Fighter prop)
(Tie Fighter prop)

Then, to top it off, for a small extra price, we got to take in the Millennium Falcon Experience. You sit on the "bridge" of the ship while taking in about 7 minutes of Anthony Daniels (aka - C-3P0's voice) narrating where science has made strides in the universe. I'm not gonna lie...I fan-girl cried when his voice came on the speakers. Teen Girl questioned me on it. D'oh! But I couldn't help it! C-3P0's voice was surrounding me! On the Millennium Falcon!! So. Amazing.

(A pic snapped of us hitting warp speed in the cockpit)
Check it out! X-Wing fighters guiding us back "home"!)

People...this barely covers stuff there. There is SO MUCH MORE!!! It is a traveling exhibit & is at the Wichita Exploration Place until the beginning of September.  The kids loved it; hubby loved it; I LOVED IT!!! And, if you notice, the boys wore Star Wars shirts for the outing.

But you can't visit Wichita without having this particular delicacy. You must find a way to try this little pizzaria that originated there. It's this little company called "Pizza Hut". Yes, it began in Wichita. We forgot to drive by the original little hut that is now located on the Wichita State University campus, but we did eat at the ONLY Pizza Hut in Wichita that offers dine-in options. As we ate there, there was this fabulous piece of decor in the restaurant:

What a great trip! We wanted to top it off with a visit to the Cosmosphere in Hutchinson, but we needed to save our money for another trip we having coming soon. I will get lots of coffee & get even more geekdom on! WOOT!

Stay tuned...

God Bless, AM~Erica

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

AM~Erica Sees the Divide

So anyway...

There is an important holiday coming up tomorrow. Independence Day, of course! It is the birthday of our wonderful country! But what are we celebrating when there is such dysfunction going on?

The sad truth is, we are a family horribly divided. Many of you have read about my purple politics, but there is such a pull of apart of red &'s disgusting.

Well, I will probably, once again, tick people off with my brand of politics. There's actual common sense in my view. It's almost like a superpower anymore. There can actually be compromise, and there's such a divide that refuse to see it that way. I'm going to point out a few things that need to make you think. It may be painful. It may make some of you pout in a corner. It might pull out some extra bullhorns & megaphones besides mine...but it needs to be heard...again.

People, do you realize you are grumbling about what the other side says...and you are arguing the same thing pretty much? The twisting of words to try to make your own point for "your side" is ridiculous.

A question I have is to whether or not you all actually read & listen to what is happening, or do you go about it with totally closed minds that the "other side" is just wrong no matter what?

I'm going to point out a couple of brief things about the healthcare thing. There is good stuff AND bad stuff. It's not ALL good...just like it's not ALL bad. Wake up to the good and the bad, OK? The good? Everyone is to be covered & not turned away. No pre-existing conditions can prevent you from getting insurance. YEA! That's awesome! The bad? We are going to be forced to get insurance. It will literally be illegal to not have any...and you will be forced to pay a TAX PENALTY if you don't have any. Oh...and no matter who wins the election later this year, this doesn't take effect until 2014...and no one can fight it since there is a TAX involved until it's put into place. So...there is also so much wrong with this whole thing from BOTH SIDES!! So...why can't we all work together to get the bad out & the good in...and work toward the same goal? Are we all that power-hungry? Oh...I guess so. I would like to point out that our vehicles (which are THINGS) are better insured than each of us. Just throwing that out there.

Something else I'm going to point out that is quite ugly is the amount of money being spent on just elections. I want to throw up thinking about it. We are all upset about the economy & the lack of jobs...yet we are being driven to donate money to people who are trying to OUTSPEND each other to trick you into voting for them. Where is this money going? Well, my hubby helped break this down a bit: approximately 2 BILLION dollars will be spent on the election campaign trail. That's gagalicious as it is...and it doesn't go into the thinking of the amount of our country's debt, and the fact that approximately 40,000 people could make an annual salary of $50,000 for that amount of money...that is going to tricking people into voting for them...trying to outspend each other...while the economy is a say pretty much the same stuff. Hmmmmm...

So, gullible koolaide drinkers, you can twist & mince all the words you want, but there are major ugly truths that go beyond what I have pointed out above that you all won't look that much more into.

You know what's even worse? That 2 billion dollars is to go to the undecided voters. There's so many of you who have already made up your mind of which side you will vote for, it has nothing to do with the person or their personal views necessarily, and the money won't even sway you. The undecided voters are either over gullible & will listen to only the twisted words of the one who spent more money, or they aren't even going to head to the polls because of how awful this is. Do you see how ugly this is?

(This pic has been posted several times on Facebook by good people who this is geared toward - 
then they keep posting their one-sided political stuff. Talk about missing the point!)

So, as we celebrate our country's birthday, that falls on July 4th...that is called INDEPENDENCE DAY, what are we really celebrating? The freedom to fight one another because of brain-washed opinions? That's beautiful. Not exactly what I call the home of the brave.

I know these are very ugly words. I try to keep it positive in the end...but what possibly is positive about all of this right now? Are we just going to barbeque & blow stuff up in pretty explosions to get along for 27 hours (the total of all the time zones in the country) & then go back to being disgusting to each other? That's cute to make face for a day...but what about the others? What about respect toward each other, the country, and whoever is in charge? No we don't have the best people in place...but we voted them in! Using our freedom to vote when we lack the actual knowledge needed to get the right people in? Right.

I have brought up having a Moderate Party (said slightly tongue-in-cheek) & the criticism I got for it was awful! You dare me want to find compromise & want to have this country come back together? How dare me want to bridge the divide? What is wrong with me? *face palm*

There may be some face-palming from some of you reading this, but I'm going to bring up a GLEE moment. Back when Sue Sylvester was running for congress, she did it in an ugly campaign. UGLY! But it was great for us because she's a fictional character, and her corruptive brain is beautiful for satire, not for real life. But there are campaigns run like she did real life. There was another guy on the ballot that ran against her doing some of the same stuff. But...there was a candidate that ran after the cutoff for getting your name on a ballot, so he ran a campaign to be a write-in vote. He did a better campaign, ran as a write-in vote campaign...and WON! Yes...I know it was fictional, but what a great idea!  Why can't we find a moderate to step up & take the reigns as a different party.

The two-party system is broken & corrupt. It's ugly. We need someone better.

I fully respect, usually, who is in the highest office of our nation. The lack of respect for it is awful. Why don't you try to take it over & see how that works for you? Scary thought, huh? we hug at the birthday party tomorrow, remember it can last past blowing things up & sitting around a table inhaling grilled fare. Yes, our opinions can be different, but it's about finding compromise. Like any relationship to can't be one way or the other; it's both/and. And it's not about pointing out all the faults, it's about lifting up what's great & working thru ALL the faults...from ALL sides.

Hug it out, find a way, dump your red & blue koolaid cups into the big vat in the middle & see the pretty purple. It's the best way. THAT's what makes the country great!

So...are you pouting yet? Well, take it to the party tomorrow...jump in a pool & cool off!


Stay tuned...

God Bless, AM~Erica