My Current Musical Obsession

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I Couldn't Resist


This photo was posted on my company's website yesterday and all over the office you could hear spontaneous "Oh my goodness..." and "He is so adorable," followed by giggling. It's true. I couldn't resist sharing. Looking into that baby face with those eyes just makes my heart melt like...chocolate. He's so little. I just want to scoop him up and pretend he's a real baby. If labs stayed that size forever I would adopt one in a second. I might get one someday anyway, especially if the pup looks like "Woody." Enjoy!

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Why I love her.

Today, after my whining, moaning email, Boo sent a reply with just what I needed to hear.

"Cowboy up!"

Tell me that's not perfect.

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It Takes A Village

A wise man once said, "It takes a village to raise a child." Since I am still a kid(d) and have yet to reach financial and emotional independence, I have several maternal and paternal figures aside from my parents who continue to "rear me in the way that I should go."


Desiree's parents were a huge influence on me in high school and continue to be so. I love them like my own.


Working on a disaster in Indiana Mamma Rita, from Chicago, took me under her wing. To this day, she still sends me postcards every time she travels and packages filled with souvenirs from Hawaii. Since moving to Washington, Steph and subsequently Sarina, have treated me like a sister, a privilege I often don't deserve and by extension their parents Mamma Harbour and Brother Harbour have been there for me more times than I can count.


Monday, for instance, Mamma Harbour said I could come over and wash the "Big V," which by that time resembled a bumble bee as a light dusting of yellow pollen covered the exterior. Although my plan was simply to wash my car, Mamma Harbour pitched right in and helped me clean the interior. See how beautiful Big V can look once its clean?



Then Brother Harbour checked the fluid levels and added windshield washer fluid because I was running low. I couldn't believe it. He also tightened a bolt on my battery that was a little loose.


Although my dad had just waxed my car before driving it up, Brother Harbour started waxing it while Mamma Harbour blackened my bumpers. It had been awhile since I had waxed a car and man, I totally need to do that more often. Great exercise for the biceps.



I can't tell you how much I love having a clean car and I can't thank Mamma and Brother Harbour enough for their kindness. Watch out NOVA here I come!

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A Mighty Heart


For graduation, Kelly sent me a gift card from Barnes & Noble. In her note she said, " you deserve an opportunity to buy a book you actually want to read now." Perusing the islands of books stacked neatly on tables throughout the store, I wandered over to a table laden with hardbacks and paperbacks alike. Titles in bold lettering fought for my attention, seducing me with their splashy covers. I read a lot like I eat. I am very picky and often will only read nonfiction when I am in the mood. Quickly scanning the selection, a small paperback, caught my attention as I was about to move on. The title, A Mighty Heart, I recognized immediately.
Three weeks ago, my Uncle and I saw The Waitress, in Georgetown. Great film which I intend to comment on at some future time. Before the movie, a preview ran for the movie, A Mighty Heart, based on Mariane Pearl's novel about the abduction and martyrdom of her husband, Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl, in Karachi, Pakistan by Al Qaeda terrorists.
Although I distinctly remember hearing about his abduction and subsequent death, I never investigated the case as closely as I wished. However, I clearly recall, upon seeing his photo, that I found him very attractive and mourned the loss of another good man in this predominately female world. From the photos the various news stations posted of Daniel, he looked like a man who I would want to know better; a culturally sensitive, honest, intellectual, totally at ease with himself and thus at ease with others. Why are men like that so hard to find? His last name suits him perfectly because as a husband and friend he was as a "pearl of great price."
Mariane's story of Danny and his life is beautiful. I started reading yesterday morning and finished it early this afternoon. Like a lover one can not forsake, I kept returning hungry to learn more. Her description of their marriage, their partnership, is something I believe many yearn for but few achieve. Its the hope of having such a perfect union that inspires people get out of bed each day. Mariane describes hope as a muscle. I will take her analogy further and state that the muscle of hope is the heart. Hope is intimately related to faith and charity, attributes Mariane, and so many others involved in Danny's case displayed, during his search and following his murder.
For the past two years I have often pondered love; what it is, how people express it, if it truly exists, how it develops, how it is sustained, and where it is found. One of my favorite conversation starters is to ask a couple how they met. Some may argue its too familiar a topic for strangers to discuss but I disagree. Observation proves most people enjoy talking about themselves and couples often soften when reminscing about the genesis of their love.
As Mariane shares glimpses of her relationship with Daniel the love they had for one another is awe inspiring. A love I have yet to know but pray for daily. The fact they were able to savor such a love, although brief, is truly remarkable.
I hope, if for no other reason, people will read Mariane's book, so they can know love, true love, really does exist. Its possible and worth waiting for and also worth dying for.
Mariane writes:
"Dawn will rise soon over Karachi. Curled in Danny's warm embrace, I feel safe. I like that this position is called "spooning" in English. We are like spoons in a drawer, pressed to each other, each fitted into the other's shape. I love these sweet moments of oblivion and the peace they bring me. No matter where we are...this is my shelter. This is our way of meeting the challenge, of confronting the chaos of the world."
"Danny gets up and finishes dressing. His glasses give him a serious look, and when he works, he always dresses with understated elegance."
"Danny is back before four p.m. for a brief visit. As usual, I run into him arms and bury my face in his neck. I stay there, wanting to get drunk on his smell, wanting to feel some of his sweat. I do not like to be separated from him. Sometimes, after I've gone somewhere, I find him at the door waiting for my return. He takes me in his arms and tells me how much he has missed me. He squeezes me tight with one hand, and with the other, he caresses my face, calling me "My wife, my life...Ocassionally I like to be separated from him for a few days just to savor this feeling we have-painful but delicious-when the one we love is absent...Only when I am back with him do I feel whole."
..."I rolled my office chair next to Danny's desk and asked him which value he considered most essential-in other words, what did he see as his personal religion?...A few minutes later, he rolled his matching chair next to mine. 'Ethics,' he declared with a triumphant air. 'Ethics and truth.'"
Regarding the sex of their child Daniel reacted, "Boy! IT'S A BOY! WHOO HOO!! Rock n Roll!! F-in A, man! We BAD, dude, We F-ing BAD!!! Danny emailed Danny Gill. 'Don't get me wrong, a girl would be great too. But IT's A BOY! HOWOOO! HOWOOO! BOYS RULE!!!'"
Although brief these are a few of the descriptions Mariane shares of Daniel that I love. His sense of humor and boyish charm are evident in her story. His devotion to truth and ethics is evident in his work. His death testifies of his courage and strength.
Like many who expressed their sympathies at the conclusion of the book, I add my own. With those who pray daily for peace, I add my pleas and for those who are on the front lines in the battle against terror you have my regard and gratitude.
This Memorial Day weekend along with the servicemen and women who have sacrificed all in defense of freedom let us not forget other men and women, ordinary civilians, engaged in the extraordinary pursuit of truth and initiating cross-cultural dialogue in the hopes that through understanding we can acheive peace.

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Family


Of the eight definitions Merriam-Webster provides for the word "family" only one description really applies to mine. Listed as "2 a" it explains families are a group of persons of common ancestry."
My family doesn't reside under the same roof and we are not united by a common purpose or belief. Each of us is so different in personality, interests, and convictions. Sometimes its difficult to remember that we are just that; a family.
However, something Merriam-Webster fails to mention is that families not only share a common ancestry or a belief system but they share memories; shared experiences common only among individuals in a given family.
As a family we've had our ups and downs. We love playing games together, grilling out, watching movies, only to have dad fall asleep and snore so loud we can barely hear the dialogue, rocking on the porch, talking to all hours of the night. We have our special words and nicknames and we know the right buttons to push to achieve the desired result.
Although there are times I think, "How in the world did I ever end up with my family?" I can't help but marvel at God's wisdom in placing me exactly where he did.
In less than three months Lauren, who is practically family already, will officially become an addition to our "clan." She has brought her own words and nicknames and added them to ours broadening the scope of our vocabulary. She has been a great addition to our game nights, keeping Josh's temper and ego in check and although they have their differences I know Josh and Lauren love each other-and that is exactly what family is all about.
So when I received Lauren's email with an itinerary for the wedding I had to share my excitement and gratitude. All I want is my brother's happiness and I think he's happy with Lauren.
Just in case you're interested I have copied her email below:
Hello Ladies and Bridesman-
Can you believe it...only 73 more days to go until you all pass out because I look so amazing, oh, I mean until I get to marry Josh.
Seriously, I know you all thought the wedding invites were just so wonderful as well as the cute invites to the rehearsal, please don't be jealous and Amber, yours is on the way!
Okay enough sarcasm, I just wanted to keep you all posted on the plans for the weekend as they are being set.
Friday:1:00 pm: Out to Berry Hill Mansion to begin setting up for the wedding
3:00 pm: Check into to Hotel and get ready for rehearsal
4:30 pm: rehearsal begins
6:00 pm: Margarita time! 1 pitcher for each person! (PLEASE let me know ASAP if you are coming and who you are bringing, as the invite said spouses/significant others are certainly invited and Liz, of course Parker, Harrison, and Erin are welcome.
8:00 pm: Lauren, Amanda, Liz, Cynthia, Court,Erin and Kim are hopefully going to be drunk and acting crazy. Nick will probably be smashing beer bottles on a chair in the restaurant and I know Sarah will be sober as will Jenny and Amber, but will still act crazy too!
Saturday: 9:45 am: Leave for Lexington for hair and make-up appointments
10:30am: Lauren, Bebes, Cynthia, and Angela Hair Appointments at Euphoria
11:30am: Angela, Cynthia and Sarah Make-up Appointments at Ulta
12:30 pm: Lauren's make-up appointment at Ulta
2:00 pm: Back at hotel, bridesmaids get ready
4:00 pm: Arrive at Berry Hill Mansion, Lauren gets dressed
4:30 pm: Pictures begin
7:00 pm: Music starts and seating begins
7:30 pm: Ceremony begins
8:00 pm: Reception begins
I am so excited and READY for this to be over. I love you all and am looking forward to seeing you soon.
Lauren

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Today the Universe says:

You are not on earth to make things happen. You are not on earth to spread the love. You are not on earth to make it a better place or to learn acceptance of the things you cannot change. You are not on earth to find your soul mate or your purpose. You are not on earth to put the needs of others before your own. And you are most certainly not on earth, Stephanie Harbour, to suffer, pay penance, be tested, or judged.

Did I leave anything out?

You are on earth, Stephanie, because in your loftiest state of being, perched high above the wonderment, at the pinnacle of your glory, you wondered what it would be like, even fleetingly, to believe in limits.

You sage -
The Universe

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Graduation Highlights

After 2.5 years its finally over. I can't believe it, even now. This past month I have been reflecting on all the memories I have made and I can't believe how quickly time has passed. We, my friends, family and I have accomplished so much in such a short time. We have laughed, cried, disagreed and made up. Some how we always managed to come out on top.
It was such a blessing having my loved ones with me at commencement. Without their presence there would have been nothing to celebrate because I could not have made it through my Program without them.
Graduating with a MA in American Studies was terrific. Not only were we seated on the front row, we received our medals first. I was the third graduate to walk across the stage. Doesn't get much better than that.
One interesting fact I learned about my college, The Columbian College of Arts & Sciences, is we are the oldest college on campus. Founded in 1821 by Congress the first graduating class had a total of three students.
The ceremonies were attended by the President, the Senate and House and by the Marquis deLafayette.
The seal of the Columbian College, which is on my medal, shows a lamb lying with a lion. In Greek its states, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God." And you thought GW was a godless, liberal school. Please.


This photo was taken by Rina. Although she was using my little camera she was able to get some really good shots. Thanks Rina for getting this one of Erik and I. Our readers may remember Erik from my Survey course. It was so nice graduating with three guys from my Program that I love and will always remember for their intellect and sense of humors.

Speaking of terrific shots, Steph captured this one of my Dad. He's often shy in public situations, like this, but I'd like to think he had a good time. I was grateful he was able to come. I love my Dad so much and this photo captures his gentleness and humility perfectly. Thanks Steph. Your presence at graduation and this photo were two of the greatest gifts I have ever received.

I know Steph posted this photo on her blog but I couldn't resist posting it here as well. Its the perfect photo of Rae and Kate; two friends I appreciate more as time passes. I am not sure if they enjoyed the commencement ceremonies but I am glad, at least for one moment, they were happy.
I am not sure what the future brings but I honestly can't complain about the present. Not only have I been blessed with a job, but it is within walking distance and my coworker refers to me as Master, which I kind of enjoy. He also said I was intelligent and pretty, which I also appreciated.
There is something about architects and engineers. I just love men that combine math and science with art. Its the perfect intellectual union.
Although I don't plan to hang around long, I feel good about where I am and hope I will continue to be led where I need to be. GW was an interesting adventure and the friends, love interests, coworkers and professors I associated with will not be forgotten.
"Hail Alma Mater, to they spirit guiding,
Knowledge thy closest friend in its strength abiding,
Pledge we fidelity ne'er its place resigning,
Hail thee George Washington."



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Scam!

Ladies and Gentlemen:

I am proud to announce that I have been solicited by a Nigerian scammer. I think you should all go weigh in and see if you think I'm right!

I'm so proud. It's like I've really arrived to the Internet community.

Love and kisses,

Stephanie

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She DID IT!

Today Boo graduated! The photographic evidence has been posted in the Flickr box on the right.

BooBear! I'm so proud!

More details later. Just wanted you to know that photos are up.

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Education Week

We're all about education here at AoBG/IB. This week more than most! I have another class to finish this week just as BG is finishing her MASTER of the Universe Degree.

Did you know that it was AGES ago when a little, quiet, sassy girl from Georgia/Cantucke (I was going to spell that with a Southern accent but it was impossible to think that way) stepped off the Metro in a big, floppy hat to greet my mammoth-colored Surburban? I swear the first time any person sits with me in Church is a shock for them. After all, who plays with innuendo and sex jokes during talks? It's all so inappropriate. But educational! Which returns to our theme. And, of course, BG was then hooked.

It feels like we've been friends for a life-time. And it all started with unreturned phone calls. *sigh* That's a great way to start any friendship.

I can't believe how different things are now. I never would have guess that I'd be back in Montana. I couldn't possibly have forseen the coolest Fourth of July EVER in BG's perfect, Dupont Circle pad. And who would have guess all the men we've cycled through? Not me! That's for sure.

Here's the the Dynamic Duo! Long may we Reign!

Just days to go, people! Then, for BG, it's onto a new job, a new apartment and a great big move to Montana!

Well, 2 out of 3.

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In Good Company

While conducting research for my final paper on George Hadfield I discovered that Robert E. Lee's eldest son, George Washington Custis Lee, was nicknamed Mr. Boo. GWC Lee had three sisters and two brothers. Mr. Boo attended West Point while Robert E. Lee was acting Superintendent.

Lee was constantly encouraging his eldest son to excel and Mr. Boo graduated top of his class in 1854. During the Civil War he served on Jefferson Davis' executive staff and volunteered to exchange places with his brother as a POW. After his father died, GWC Lee became president of Washington College. He never married and lived his final years in seclusion. His siblings regarded him as a warm, caring brother.
Reading Mr Boo's bio, I can't help but wonder if we will share more than a nickname. Perhaps I am also destined to live out my life in seclusion on the banks of the Ashley River, drinking Martinelli's straight out of the bottle, pretending its something stronger. Stephanie teases, that after her husband dies, she'll move in with me, if only to keep me from shooting someone from my rocking chair, because I will be toked out.
Unfortunately, I don't think Joshie would describe me as warm and caring but that's ok. If GWC Lee is still not married when I get to heaven, I will volunteer. Then we can be Mr. & Mrs. Boo. Besides, who wouldn't want to be related to George Washington or Robert E. Lee? Can you imagine the conversation at that family dinner table?

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Adventures in Ethics

Ok, people. I have an ethical dilemna and I want to hear some points of view outside my own head. Lurkers and friends alike--please weigh in.

Here's the deal. Daisy is a stray hound who came into my life on Saturday. Daisy is the lover o' Duke. (Get it? Daisy Duke?) She's been living with me and is quite a well-behaved little girl. We've had our moments, of course, but overall she's been a nice tempered, laid-back, good girl. Everything I read about her breed (bluetick coonhound) says that she's a smart, problem-solving dog who's prone to escape and roam. In the roaming, Daisy has been "in season" and is likely preggers. How do you tell for sure with a dog? Wait until they show progress. So, there's no real way to tell at this point. When I talked to the vet about what should come next with her he said that spaying is an option. That, of course, would mean that if she were preggers--no puppies would survive.

When I started thinking about that, I started crying. Yes, I know that's pretty silly.

Here's my question: Where do all of you stand on doggie reproductive rights? Would you spay the dog? Tell me, oh internet posse, what would you do?

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Happy Birthday Coca-Cola



The first Coca-Cola recipe was invented in Covington, Georgia, by John Stith Pemberton, originally as a cocawine called Pemberton's French Wine Coca in 1885.
In 1885, when Atlanta and Fulton County passed Prohibition legislation, Pemberton responded by developing Coca-Cola, essentially a carbonated, non-alcoholic version of French Wine Cola. The beverage was named Coca-Cola because, originally, the stimulant mixed in the beverage was coca leaves from South America. In addition, the drink was flavored using kola nuts, also acting as the beverage's source of caffeine. Pemberton called for five ounces of coca leaf per gallon of syrup, a significant dose, whereas, in 1891, Candler claimed his formula (altered extensively from Pemberton's original) contained only a tenth of this amount. Coca-Cola did once contain an estimated nine milligrams of cocaine per glass but after 1904 Coca-Cola started using, instead of fresh leaves, "spent" leaves - the leftovers of the cocaine-extraction process with cocaine trace levels left over at a molecular level. However, as cocaine is one of numerous alkaloids present in the coca leaf, it was nevertheless present in the drink. Today, the flavoring is still done with kola nuts and the "spent" coca leaf. In the United States, there is only one plant (in New Jersey) authorized by the Federal Government to grow the coca plant for Coca-Cola syrup manufacture.
Coca-Cola was initially sold as a patent medicine for five cents a glass at soda fountains, which were popular in the United States at the time thanks to a belief that carbonated water was good for the health. Pemberton claimed Coca-Cola cured a myriad of diseases, including morphine addiction, dyspepsia, neurasthenia, headache, and impotence. The first sales were made at Jacob's Pharmacy in Atlanta, Georgia, on May 8, 1886, and for the first eight months only nine drinks were sold each day. Pemberton ran the first advertisement for the beverage on May 29 of the same year in the Atlanta Journal.
By 1888, three versions of Coca-Cola — sold by three separate businesses — were on the market. Asa Griggs Candler acquired a stake in Pemberton's company in 1887 and incorporated it as the Coca Cola Company in 1888. The same year, while suffering from an ongoing addiction to morphine, Pemberton sold the rights a second time to four more businessmen: J.C. Mayfield, A.O. Murphey, C.O. Mullahy and E.H. Bloodworth. Meanwhile, Pemberton's alcoholic son Charley Pemberton began selling his own version of the product.
In an attempt to clarify the situation, John Pemberton declared that the name Coca-Cola belonged to Charley, but the other two manufacturers could continue to use the formula. So, in the summer of 1888, Candler sold his beverage under the names Yum Yum and Koke. After both failed to catch on, Candler set out to establish a legal claim to Coca-Cola in late 1888, in order to force his two competitors out of the business. Candler purchased exclusive rights to the formula from John Pemberton, Margaret Dozier and Woolfolk Walker. However, in 1914, Dozier came forward to claim her signature on the bill of sale which had been forged, and subsequent analysis has indicated John Pemberton's signature was most likely a forgery as well.
In 1892, Candler incorporated a second company, The Coca-Cola Company (the current corporation), and in 1910 Candler had the earliest records of the company burned, further obscuring its legal origins. Regardless, Candler began marketing the product — the efficiency of this concerted advertising campaign would not be realized until much later. By the time of its 50th anniversary, the drink had reached the status of a national icon for the USA. In 1935 it was certified kosher by Rabbi Tobias Geffen, after the company made minor changes in the sourcing of some ingredients.
For more information see Wikipedia which was the sole resource of information used for this post.

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Daisy

Daisy

Who knew that hounds slept so much?

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The Watchers

"Hello! Thank you for calling LC St@ffing. This is Sarah. How may I help you?"

"Um. Yeah. You may think this is creepy but I just had a question."

"Well, I guess it depends on the question. What kind of information did you need?"

"So. Like, there was this girl. And she, like, used to put out your sign in the morning. Well, this is the guys across the street at [the lumber yard] and, like, there's a dude that's putting out your sign now. So does the hot chick still work there?"

"You must be talking about [former receptionist]. No. She's no longer with us."

"Oh. Well. Ok. We just thought she was hot and we kind of miss her."

"Well, ok then. Have a nice day."

"Yeah. You too."

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Featuring Guest Blogger: Jacqueline

Last summer I worked as an intern at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC in the traveling exhibitions department. I took the internship expecting that I would be able to use my history degree and learn how to exhibit such tragedy on museum walls. What I ended up taking away from the experience had very little to do with these expectations. I ended up learning more about foreign relations, diplomacy, and modern day genocide than I would have ever guessed. As part of this experience, I had the privilege of meeting with the museum’s Committee on Conscience a branch of the museum that was developed from President Jimmy Carter’s Commission on the Holocaust in the 1970s. This committee’s sole obligation is to bring the United States attention to genocide around the world. The committee issues watches and warnings for areas where acts of genocides are occurring. They have issued a genocide EMERGENCY in Darfur.
On a weekly basis, I would also attend the museum’s summer lecture series titled First Person. This series enables Holocaust survivors to come and speak for one hour to the public about their experience during the Holocaust in Europe. These were some of the brightest, articulate and caring people I have ever heard speak. At the end of their talk, each person reiterated the same message – never forget those that were lost during the Holocaust and never let it happen again through inaction. On several of these occasions they urged their audience to educate themselves on the situation in Darfur. I really took this message to heart and have been trying to educate myself that is happening in Darfur.

In recent months, it has become absolutely clear that diplomacy is failing in this region. The UN is not able to see any real change and particularly in the last month aide workers have been targeted and killed. On April 15, an African Union peacekeeper was killed raising the number to 7 killed in April alone. A total of 18 peacekeepers and relief workers have been killed since 2004. This is the worst genocide since 1994’s genocide in Rwanda. Here are some staggering statistics on Darfur (as of 3/30/07):

  • 400,000 men, women and children have been murdered
  • 2 million people have been displaced from the homes and are living in refugee camps
  • 3.5 million people are reliant on international aid to survive

This past weekend, I attended a rally in Lafayette Park in front of the White House. The rally was part of a series of Global Days for Darfur to bring attention to the problem across the country. There were many charismatic speakers from many different organizations including Amnesty International, UNICEF, NAACP, and the Harvard Law School Human Rights Program. Each of these programs is interest in humanitarian rights and protection and each have an interest in bringing peace to the Darfur region. The overwhelming message from this rally was that the region needs both peace and protection now. President Bush, who is genuinely interested in putting an end to this, has been going back and forth on his decision to send military protection to this region. Just last week he granted the UN one more chance at having diplomacy work without any military action. The people of Darfur desperately need protection and aid.

Over the past year, as I’ve followed the situation through the Holocaust Museum and through the news media, I am constantly reminded of a scene in Hotel Rwanda. A U.S. news cameraman, Jack Daglish, portrayed by actor Joaquin Phoenix, apologizes to the main character Paul Rusesabagina played by actor Don Cheadle for showing graphic footage of women and children being killed in the street with machetes. He says to Paul that had he seen him in the room he never would have showed the tape in front of him. Paul says “I’m glad that you shot that footage. Once the world sees what is happening, they will have to intervene.” Phoenix’s character responds “I think they will show this footage on the evening news and everyone will comment on how sad it is and then return to eating their dinners.” I hope that the world has not become apathetic to this suffering and that this situation will be resolved as quickly as possible. These people want to return to their homes and lives with a sense of security. I encourage you to follow the situation closely, sign petitions, join aid associations, and demand that governments across the world acknowledge this atrocity.

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Dear Mammy-

I've tried calling you for the past three days without success. I should have known you would pull your, "I'm getting older and the rest of the world can go to hell," pre-birthday pout, but alas I was hoping that once you passed fifty that would end. Nice to know some things never change.
We have an interesting relationship, you and I. You were my best friend for so long. The coolest, prettiest mom in Madison County, or at least, that's what we all thought. When I was in high school my guy friends wanted to date you, even called you, (men are idiots) and never gave me a second glance. For years, I wanted to look just like you. Comparing our photos its obvious that didn't happen.

However, we have some good memories; laying out together by the pool in the summer, nights at the driving range when I was in high school, sitting on the front porch swing in our nightgowns talking way later than we should have, winter days making chili or homemade chicken soup followed by hours curled up on the couch watching movies and drinking hot chocolate, playing board games with Josh and Dad where I had to constantly chide you for teasing Dad who didn't want to play to begin with. These are memories I will always cherish.
I know I wasn't the easiest child to raise. I have more of the Elliott pride than I care to admit, and a smart mouth to go with it. (Too bad I was spared the looks). These can be a dangerous combination and got me into trouble. Sometimes it still does. You taught me never to trust men. I thought you were too hard on them but having been around the block a few times myself I have a better understanding of where you're coming from. Although most men are dicks I would still like to believe there are few good ones left. They may be over fifty but, hey, I like older men; something you could never understand. In the meantime, "I'll give'em Hell Harry."
You always stressed the value of education. Josh and I often marvel that two kids raised in eastern Kentucky are pursuing graduate level degrees. I think we can thank you for that. Even though school has been challenging for me, no matter what, it could never be anything compared to raising two children while finishing nursing school. Don't worry, I haven't forgotten. (Rolling eyes)
As for getting married and having children... I know I didn't marry at 21 and have a baby too but it takes two to tango and I'm doing the best I can. As you know, there aren't many good ones left. Besides, not everyone is cut out for motherhood and I want to do things the right way. Something I wish you would applaud instead of hound me about, occasionally.
Overall, I guess life has been good to us. We've been taught Heavenly Father placed us in our families for a reason. I am not sure I'll ever know why you were chosen to be the mother. I think I make the better mother but then again, raising you wouldn't be a cake walk either. I love you and hope you have a good 51st birthday. Thanks for not giving up on me and I promise I'll do the same. Hope as you progress through life each year is a little kinder and filled with more love. Love you Mammy-
Sissy

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