Tag Archives: holiday

Giving Thanks to Our War Heroes

The flag panel partially obstructs the Remembrance Tower.

The flag panel partially obstructs the Remembrance Tower.

Ever since last September when I saw that an unusual-looking building had been finished in our nearby Memorial Park, I’ve wanted to check it out.

Yesterday being part of Memorial Day weekend seemed like the perfect opportunity to drive over with the Mister and finally view the Sugar Land Veterans Memorial.

The Mister is dwarfed by the Remembrance Tower.

The Mister is dwarfed by the Remembrance Tower.

There’s a much-bigger, better-known Memorial Park in Houston, but that doesn’t make our smaller version any less meaningful. Especially now that there’s a true memorial along the mile-long, crushed-granite path that surrounds a manmade lake.

The Army insignia

The Army symbol

The memorial is guarded by a concrete flag panel, which serves as a gateway to the 50-foot, pentagonal tower. Each wall features a branch of the military, with its insignia in the nearby sidewalk.

While the outside of the tower looks impressive, it’s what’s inside that truly matters. The entrance is on the lakeside, away from the potential hustle and bustle of the walking path. I was equally jarred by the imposing quiet and the names etched into four of the five panels (none from the U.S. Coast Guard), those from our small community who gave the ultimate sacrifice while serving our country.

#7832-(marine-names)U.S. Marine Corps

#2397-(army-names)U.S. Army

#2399-(navy-names)U.S. Navy

#2400-(air-force-names)U.S. Air Force

I silently prayed for these brave men and their families, as I hoped that our Veterans Memorial never fills up with names.

Every time I pass by the stark flag and building, I’ll always remember that freedom is not free.

One-Word Wednesday

Note the red, white, and blue trees.

It’s a great message.

Lights!

Merry Christmas to those who celebrate!

Merry Christmas to those who celebrate!

Bring On the Holidays!

We’ll break out two new menorahs this year . . . if the other one arrives on time.

We’ll break out two new menorahs this year . . . if the other one arrives on time.

Chanukah starts tomorrow night (yep, it’s early), and, believe it or not, I’m just about ready. I even used more-appropriate gift wrap, for a change. Pats on the back for me!

My coy boy

My coy boy

My younger son arrived home yesterday afternoon from SHSU. His older brother still has three classes today at UTSA before he joins us tonight. There will be joy, merriment, and lots of Chanukah candles to light. Plus Thanksgiving!

As always, there’s a lot to be thankful for! Happy Thanksgivukkah!

Ooooooh! Aaaaaaah!!

Love the multicolored ones!

Love the multicolored ones!

Last night our master-planned community showcased its Fourth of July best with its annual fireworks show.

Looks like we’ve got a red theme going on.

Looks like we’ve got a red theme going on.

The Mister, our younger son, and I decided to watch from the bleachers at our nearby middle school with the kid’s pals, Jared and Ricky, and Ricky’s parents, Julie and Carlos (our trivia aces).

Glad I could capture all the pretty bursts

Lots of pretty bursts

I didn’t take long to consider my photographic options for a change. For past fireworks displays I’ve tried serious, point-and-shoot lazy, and embarrassingly sloppy.

Blue and green make for a nice color combination.

Blue and green make for a nice color combination.

This time I opted for my Nikon D700 and beloved Nikon 70-200mm lens. The fireworks were being blasted from about a half mile away, so I needed some focal length. I also eschewed a tripod totally due to laziness. So when my arms got tired from holding the heavy combo, I only had myself to blame (darn it!).

It’s the palm tree effect!

It’s the palm tree effect!

Due to some kind of glitch, the colorful show kept starting and stopping over a 25-minute time span, confusing the crowd. That made it hard to get the sort of rhythm you need to hopefully capture a half-dozen decent pix.

Fortunately, I managed to snap about a dozen photos that I thought best represented what we saw. Even though I appreciate the crisp, clear, multiburst shots, I must admit that one favorite stood out.

Electricity!

Electricity is in the air.

It looks like a science experiment gone awry! This is what happens when the camera’s shutter speed is way too slooooow.

It’s a great reminder of last night’s funky, fun fireworks extravaganza.

A Gift From the Heart

My older son sprays away.

My older son sprays away.

By the time your kids are in their late teens and beyond, you think you really know them. And then one day, they surprise you in the best possible way.

When my collegian returned home for his winter break from UTSA, his first order of business just about shocked me: He wanted to make a Christmas gift for his younger brother. This, my friends, was incredibly unusual, because it would be my almost-21-year-old son’s first do-it-yourself present.

Showing his not-often-seen sensitive side, my older son thought about what little bro might want and then sprung into action. The goal? Produce seven small, starred, orange balls similar to dragon balls, which are used in the Dragon Ball animated series that my #2 son likes watching.

It’s messy work.

It’s messy work.

My #1 son invested four bucks in a can of orange spray paint. We already had plenty of small bouncy balls that the boys used to collect. So while the kid was at school last week, his older bro was busy in our backyard spraying again and again and again.

The glove fits the orange crime.

The glove fits the orange crime.

At first, my son put the orange orbs onto newspaper to dry, which caused them to have bits of newsprint on them. So I gave him a corrugated tray, which helped the cause; however, he still couldn’t get the paint to apply smoothly. When the blotchy balls finally dried, he sketched his rendition of stars on them (and discovered that he absolutely could not draw well, which he was able to laugh about, thank goodness) and showed me the finished product.

I smiled and then wiped away a tear—this was such a wonderful idea but with such poor execution. Knowing how much his brother had spent on what he bought for the collegian (the baby Luigi plushie), I complimented my scraggly-bearded boy on his effort while advising him to buy another gift, which he did.

The dragon balls

The kid holds the dragon balls.

On Christmas morning as little bro opened his big bro’s gift, I held my breath wondering what his reaction would be. Another surprise: He loved it, especially since it was handmade.

My #2 son likes his special gift.

My #2 son likes his special gift.

My older son approached the kid and explained about all that went into producing this unique present, the highs and the lows. And then they actually hugged!

This just proves that it definitely IS the thought that counts!

A Candy Cane Christmas Wish

Candy canes all in a row

Candy canes all in a row

To my much-appreciated readers who celebrate Christmas, I hope you enjoy a sweet holiday today.

Do reindeers like candy?

Do reindeers like sweets?

Merry Christmas, y’all!

Farewell to Chanukah

Younger helps older keep his candles lit

Younger helps older keep his candles lit

This time of year the days just fly by. As well as the eight nights of Chanukah.

I guess the excitement of my college kid returning home coupled with a steady parade of his friends and a new Wii U accelerated the end of the holiday.

Love this photo of all three of my sons (including Chase in the middle)!

Love this photo of all three of my sons (including Chase in the middle)!

We’re cherishing the wonderful memories.

Sticky stuff abounds on this menorah.

There’s more sticky stuff being deposited.

And, as always, lamenting all that waxy buildup. Some things never leave our hearts . . . or our menorahs!