Monday, December 31, 2018

Tabor is Ruthless

It is now the time of those in-between days. I am a bit too old for all that self-renewal stuff. Yes it is the coming of a new year and I will try to do better, but I am not going to re-invent myself.   I will make the silent resolution of cleaning out everything.  All the crap  memories that no one wants and that will be a burden to others long after your funeral, unless someone starts a yard fire.  This house has way too many great storage areas! 

There are some things in the guest bedroom and a closet that I will hang onto for a little longer for reasons I do not wish to go into right now.

BUT, the kitchen cupboards are going to be relieved of all those dishes and stuff I have never used during the 12 years we have lived here.  They will go, along with a big batch of books, to the Thrift Shop.  I am going to be ruthless!

Hubby will be going on a long fishing trip in mid-January and that will give me days to go through his stuff in the basement.  I guarantee he will not miss that box of reprints on shrimp reproduction, which should be available digitally these days.  He will not miss the plastic containers for the jam that have gotten brittle.  And how many empty cardboard boxes does anyone need these days?  He will be pleased that I went through the messy drawers in the bathroom.

The most difficult will be boxes of Pacific seashells in that dark corner on the shelf in the basement that are so lovely but hidden away and never seen!  They will remain for another year.

I will be boxing and sending off VHS tapes to digitize---FINALLY.

Later in spring I will go through my closet and toss anything I have not worn for a year.  I will be ruthless.  (Who was ruth (ruthe) anyway?)

But until then, the days between Christmas and New Year's Day usually looks like this around our house.

Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 27, 2018

It's All Garbage

Its all about the birth of Jesus, right?

Except on the day after Christmas, it is all about getting the garbage out to the street on time to prevent the fire hazard your house has now become.

The neighbors (a demographically perfect family of four - once divorced) across the street from my daughter's house have a somewhat normal batch of detritus.

Then the neighbors across the street, also a family of four, but liberal and environmentally correct have a very nice and reasonable batch of detritus.

It was early the day after Christmas and all were still asleep and I was sipping coffee and reading my Kindle at my daughter's house when I heard the rumble of the garbage truck. I had on the water shoes I got for Christmas from my son as I dashed out the door to get the stuff from her house out into the street.  My feet got cold and wet as I slopped through the sump pump drainage on the side of the house and drug out piles and piles of stuff---six trips.  This is the demographically larger family of five that keeps the economy going for the rest of us!

Friday, December 21, 2018

Different and Hopefully Better

In the holiday spirit, I printed a new recipe for cookies from one of those foodie sights out in the vast Internet. We really had not been eating too many desserts, unless you count the doughnuts I bought when the grands were here or the pecan pie I bought from the grocery two days ago or all that mint chocolate candy in the Tupperware. Anyway, I was thinking of Christmas cookies to take up to the city for Christmas Day, so we were not going to eat them all!

The recipe was for thumbprint cookies and would allow me to use up more of the abundance of persimmon jam we seem to have by putting a tiny dot in the hollow of the thumbprint. The recipe only required 5 ingredients, including the jam, so the work went easily. I watched them closely in the oven spread into thin flat spheres of sugar and butter with the ones in the back of the tray burning just a little on the bottom. The second batch did the same even though I turned the oven down 5 degrees and cut several minutes off the cooking time. Now I have two dozen thin almost burnt wafers of confection! They look nothing like the thumbprint cookies on the Internet.

Hubby is on the third/fourth day of a nasty head cold and he did not seem at all dismayed by my cooking disaster as he ate two of the broken ones just like the Cookie Monster does. I do not bake cookies as often as I used to, and maybe I am just out of practice.  He is not out of practice on the eating, though.

Today I will drag out an older recipe that I have used in the past and make different and hopefully better cookies.

Sunday, December 16, 2018

Scrooge Got His Comeuppance

I was lucky to get the Grands last week. Mom and Dad had one of their dressy Christmas parties in the city with an overnight in the hotel. We took the Grands out for sushi (a fav) and then home for hot cocoa.  

I did not have tiny marshmallows so cut up some big ones.  The next morning I asked them to decorate my tree. It was kind of a surprise when I remembered that hubby and I had donated our full-size artificial tree to the thrift shop last year and only had the small artificial tree to decorate. But it also meant that they were the age where all I had to do was select the boxes of ornaments with the right colors and tell them to put on the decorations. It was fun seeing them discover new (to them) decorations and put stuff on the tree. 

There was no argument or shoving or anything. They worked exactly as if they were Santa's elves! They alone brought the season of joy into my heart.

(I elevate it on a small wooden box that normally holds other things in the basement.)  I put the cover around the base and then I get a really lovely Christmas tree with an aura of specialness this year.  Scrooge has retreated.

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Busier Than I Thought

No holiday parties to attend except for the organizations to which we donate and those parties have come and gone without us.   They are nice people, but getting out in the cold snowy weather late at night is not much fun for us oldies but goodies.

We did drive up one afternoon to attend daughters "Cheer" "challenge." These are held in large, noisy arenas with expensive junk food and lots of crap paraphernalia to buy.  Our entry as seniors cost us $20 each.  

If you are not familiar with this venue, it is something that makes takes millions of dollars from parents.  The cheer group parents pay a couple of thousand dollars a year for a coach, several weekly 2 to 4-hour training sessions, a professional choreographer, and of course very fancy costumes, which the young ladies (and a few young men) outgrow within the year!

According to one consumer report, 67% of the participants suffer injuries.  It is probably one of the most dangerous sports around.  The girls also get costumes that are flirty and youthful looking with bows in the hair, they wear lots of makeup as if they were showgirls...or something else, some wear artificial wigs so they can look even more "Stepford."

I am not a total downer here, because my granddaughter eats like a horse and without this intensive exercise, she would have a weight problem.  She also has a core body that is strong and solid and she is HEALTHY.  She also loves this and has few other things she loves as much!  She has learned a lot about teamwork and pushing through when things seem tough.

The award ceremony after a long day is lengthy and noisy.  All those hormones on a padded mat.  Glad I was up in the stands.  This pretty much took up the whole day.  Wish I would have thought of this as an investment a while back!

Monday, December 10, 2018

Why I HATE This Time of Year

Taken early this morning as the sun was coming up.

All those sweetness and light ads making you assume that Christmas is about buying stuff to make people happy are evil. Not everyone is able to buy food this time of year, much less an automobile, French perfume or an exercise bike! I hate the commercialism more than anything. Yes, there are lovely decorative lights covering homes (adding to global warming), there are rich and delicious foods (contributing to obesity and diabetes), and there are numerous parties where you have to find another fancy dress and hire that expensive babysitter to make small talk with people you barely know. (I do not get invited to any of these anymore, needless to say).  OK, I will give you the music.  That is the good stuff.  (Unless it starts getting played before Thanksgiving.)  Yes, I am Debbie Downer today!

I am almost in tears right now as I type this because that young man who knocked on my door asking for chores a few weeks ago so that he could bring home some food is back this morning. We gave his number to the food pantry folks and maybe they called. Maybe his mother was too proud and hung up on them. Maybe she accepted the charity and her family can eat again. I do not know, but on this snowy day with schools closed, this young man is back asking to shovel my driveway. It will be totally melted by this afternoon as most of the snow has disappeared where the sun hits the driveway. He asked for maybe $20. I, of course, said I would love to have him shovel it.  I am thinking of having him shovel my back deck so I can pay him more.  I do not know how far he walked to get to my house.  I also realize he does not want charity and I am being careful. 

An hour later he knocks on my door and as I pay him and hand him a bag of persimmon bread and homemade cookies, he tells me he has graduated from high school and is taking classes when he can at the local community college.  That is good news although he seems to lack the sharpness and sophistication that will be needed when he moves forward into adulthood.  I ask for his number and tell him my husband may call if he needs a young helper.  He is really pleased with the baked goods and gives me a surprising hug.

I wish I could believe in a God, but this just makes my heart so heavy that such poverty is common.  It is not some Christmas novel, it is real life and I hate that children have to deal with this!  I just drove my very privileged and lovely grandchildren back home with their dirty clothes separated so that the "maids" can do the laundry.  Along the trip they had their faces glued to their various technology toys.  They are good kids, but I have serious concerns about whether they will understand the world.  Even more, I wish I was rich enough to start a foundation in this county that can help families like this young man's.  Yes, we all give to various foundations, but it is not enough.

Looking forward to getting past this time of year.

Thursday, December 06, 2018

Stupid Headlines

"Cardi B Shares First Photo of Daughter Kulture Hours After Announcing Offset Split

It took me a minute or two, or honestly, I gave up trying to figure out the headline above in under a minute.  I just glanced at the article to make sure it was not something important I needed to know.  I have no clue who these people are, I do not care who these people are and I wonder when we are going to quit trying to be so unique in this world when we hand out names!

I also hate that my life gets cluttered with emails and FB posts about such nonsense.

Yes, I am really old!

Tuesday, December 04, 2018

Part II of Stories We Tell

OK, now for Part II. If you have not gone ahead and listened to Malcolm Gladwell's Season 3 podcasts 3 and 4 on Revisionist History, go back to the prior post, click the link and I will wait...I will just look at the trees....If you are too busy, then it is your loss. I mean really. You would enjoy it.

OK. Here are three versions of the same event.  (I actually tried to search my blog to see if I had written about this story before but could find nothing, so maybe I am not repeating myself after all!)

I worked as an au pair for a family in Hawaii while I was in graduate school. They gave me food and a place to live and that saved me tremendously so that I could get my degree.

Version 1.
One afternoon my employer came to me to let me know they were having company for dinner and instead of eating with the kids (which I did when they had company), she asked if I would join them for dinner to make it a "foursome." She explained the young man they had invited was a biologist at the University. He had become a friend on a cruise that her husband had taken. They explained he was a bit nerdy on science and maybe somewhat intense, but I might find him interesting and they just wanted a fourth to balance the table. I reluctantly agreed as I was in the middle of mid-terms.  I figured that I would not join them for pre-dinner drinks and work on my term paper and show up before dinner later.

Version 2.  
The man who came to dinner (my future husband) tells the story a bit differently.  He says that they invited him to dinner because they wanted him to meet a young woman that they thought he would like.  They explained that she was charming and interesting.  He had been complaining to them that he could never seem to meet a "nice girl."

(As an aside, I was dating a number, small number, of guys while attending graduate school. I am guessing they were not impressed with my selection of dates.)

Anyway, that night I arrived later than my future husband felt was polite form and we did not hit it off.  I completely forgot that he did not seem to be nerdy because he seemed to be so offended that I was not super eager to meet him.  I remember thinking he seemed so full of himself!  The evening did not go well.  Hubby says that I was really offish to him the whole night!

Needless to say, we did not begin dating right after.  We did run into each on campus a few times and slowly got to know each other, and because hubby is a determined person, we actually did start dating a month or so later.

This year we stopped by on our Hawaii trip to meet up with the couple that brought us together over 46 years ago.  They are now in their late 80's early 90's.  We told them our versions of the story and they do not remember the story as going either way.  They said they just remember inviting us to dinner as a break for both of us working so hard in school.

Clearly, the truth of the story is somewhere in the depths of each person's version both at the time and in the following years as it gets re-told.  

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Telling Stories I(He) Don't Remember

A bookshelf of stories from a friend's house.
I am sure that many of us have sat around the holiday table and told a story from our childhood or youth only to be interrupted by a sibling or aunt or cousin or old school chum telling us a substantial variation of how things really happened. Are we lying, are they lying, do we just see things differently, or are our memories plastic and undependable?

I guess the more we like to tell a good story of an event from our life we tend to embellish or maybe just exaggerate a little because we have told the story so many times before and we want it to have a better edge?  If we do that enough, then the story may change substantially in our own mind.  But what if the story is not that old?  What about omissions to the story?

We had been invited to lunch recently.  This was by a couple I had never met and they lived about 40 minutes from our house.  When I asked Hubby why and what was going on his response was that "I  had met the man at the community pool the last time I went up to swim(!).  He found we had so much in common that we were invited to lunch."

We get to the house, which has a lovely spreading view of a river, and when the door is open a lovely, very thin, lady with dark Spanish eyes and bold dangly earrings welcomes us in.  The home is warm and inviting and there are nice smells coming from the range.  We introduce ourselves and I meet the husband who is of average looks, average build, and above average intelligence.  We learn over a glass of Spanish rose that she is from Columbia and this is a second marriage for both of them.  (They met via computer.)  We, of course, do not get into what tragedies brought about the dissolution of both marriages.  He is retired Navy and she has worked on nutrition programs for USAID in her past.

Another couple arrives in leather jackets and pants via a very expensive looking motorcycle that can carry home the groceries if needed.  The man is a retired Navy pilot and the wife is currently working in intelligence data for defense, both in their late 50's or early 60's.  

I finally ask as we sit down to eat why the retired Navy pilot had been so brave as to invite to lunch someone he just met at a community pool?  His wife is laughing because she agrees with me.  This is when I get the other version of the story.

He begins with:

"Well, at first I was not too sure about J.  As I was leaning against the wall of the pool he walked up to me and asked if I had an extra swimsuit because he had forgotten to pack his.  I didn't.  Then after my swim, I saw him working out in the gym and we headed to the showers together and got talking.  We found we had a lot in common."

I think I can safely say that most of us found this story a bit jaw-dropping.  I am not as surprised as you are that my husband asked if the man had an extra suit.  My husband is an only child and the most honest and trusting person even at his old age.  (My daughter was shocked when I told her the story.)  The fact that my husband left out this important point shows somewhat how we skew stories.

Now for another story.  I was listening to Malcolm Gladwell's podcast (which can be heard here) that explains how stories by honest and intelligent people can be so strange or contradicting. Listen to Episode 3 and Episode 4 from season 3 for the background on this storytelling thing.  Malcolm Gladwell has a compelling voice and really good episodes....go ahead and listen...40 minutes long and 37 minutes long...I will wait.

Then my next post will be the story my husband and I tell about how we met and a revisionist ( more boring) version.

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Thankfulness As Promised

This list was made without forethought for order or importance. Just a thankfulness list off the top of my head in a stream of consciousness thinking.  I am thankful for:

  1. As a student I used to savor the few minutes I might have each day for pleasure reading, and now I have the luxury of reading close to fifty books a year.
  2. I can usually stay in my pajamas until noon if I want. Actually, on some days I can stay in my pajamas all day.
  3. I can afford good coffee.
  4. I love taking photographs and I can make time to do what I love.
  5. I have a husband who puts up with my lack of patience.
  6. While I make every effort to look good, I am thankful that it no longer bothers me how old I now look.
  7. I have had the opportunity to meet so many interesting people around the world in my long life.
  8. My health is stable these days.
  9. My husband's health is stable these days.
  10. I have grown close to my trees and birds and they tolerate me.
  11. I can have clean sheets as often as I am willing to change the bedding.
  12. Science
  13. Chocolate
  14. The wisdom of good leaders.
  15. My children in my life when they have time.
  16. I am thankful for blog readers and even more so for commenters.


Wednesday, November 21, 2018

It Is What It Is

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day in the United States and like many holidays, is being viewed with less rosy eyes by its citizens.  Some see it as a time when Colonists and Native Americans came together to share the bounty of the season.  Others see it as a glorification of a false time where Europeans were at the beginning of erasing an indigenous people.

I usually see it as a day where I can make a long list of thankfulness and eat a big plate of caloric food.

I was reading one of the bloggers who wrote that she used to get "pity-invitations" on Thanksgiving after her husband passed, but she no longer gets invited on this holiday.  She usually eats alone.

Hubby and I will be doing nothing on that day. That is what I wrote. We will not be cooking turkey. We will not be traveling to a house where turkey is being cooked. We will not eat out at a restaurant where turkey is on the buffet.  I think I have some chicken thighs thawing in the fridge or if we get energetic and it is not too cold, we will harvest a few oysters.

Every other Thanksgiving our children go to their respective in-laws hours away and celebrate and this year is the other Thanksgiving.  Like many in America, they will be traveling well into the night tonight.

Hubby and I have often gone to a local Irish pub/restaurant which serves the best buffet Thanksgiving, but this year we did not get our reservations in on time!  So, we will be doing nothing special.  Maybe I will post my thankfulness list...?  Certainly, I will eat.  

I am hoping that those of you who celebrate will have good food and good conversation and some spiritual uplifting.  For all the rest of you, stay safe.

Saturday, November 17, 2018

The Other Hawaiians

Some of these animals are not native and even invasive and others were once endangered but are now fairly common due to federal regulations.  There are many, many exotic birds in Hawaii that have been introduced and if I were birding on this trip I would have gone looking for them.  But I only photographed those I stumbled across in my rush to keep up with the younger adults.  All the animals were interesting.

Everyone is an art critic...found when I went for the plasticware at a lunch counter.

Gold dust day gecko (Phelsuma laticauda) native to Madagascar.  So lovely!

Perhaps a shama?

An immature shorebird of some kind or a dove?

A common Brazilian Cardinal

Asian Mongoose introduced to get rid of the rats in the sugar plantations and now a nuisance.

Monk Seal, once rarely seen on Oahu.  The small Hawaiian (French Frigate Shoals area) island that recently was washed away after the hurricane was home to over 90% of these!

Feral cats fed by misled people (unless they also are wise enough  to catch and sterilize.)

Green Turtles sunning and protected from disturbance by these guys.
Nene (Branta sandvicensis) that used to be endangered and is now everywhere!

I had fun and left out the goats which I had posted in a prior blog and my photos of the wild pigs were pretty blurry.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

The Other Side of the Vacation

I may have mentioned that there is racial and cultural prejudice in Aloha land. I saw it slightly when I lived there as a grad student decades ago. I was poor and young and probably missed most of it because of that and because most of my time was studying or working, not beaching or shopping. But native Hawaiians like our American Indians got bypassed in much of the money and development arena of Hawaii. Today they have a much stronger voice in halting development if they think a burial area has been disturbed.  They do have an island (generous of the white man) set aside for blood Hawaiians.

There is also poverty like anywhere else.  The authorities attempt to control the beaches from squatters and homeless, but it is an ongoing battle. Hawaii does provide shelters through churches and public venues, but like the rest of the world, there are more homeless as poverty grows. The public parks closed down for a while in an effort to move homeless elsewhere, although they claimed it was for maintenance. It does seem there are fewer homeless veterans. The State is considering establishing "safe zones" where homeless can set up and be free of being forced to move elsewhere. According to one article, the islands have over 7,000 homeless people, the highest per capita in the US and most of these on Oahu.  'Lack of affordable housing, an epidemic in the use of synthetic drugs, insufficient support for the mentally and physically ill, prisoners discharged without any safety net and people coming to Hawaii with misconceptions about opportunities and then running out of money." are the reasons for the increase in homelessness.  Still, it appears that tolerance for the homeless has lessened overall.

My kids exploring a banyan tree in downtown Honolulu.

When we walked around the tree and looked up...!
The ingeniousness of sleeping and making a home in a banyan tree must mean some marketable skills!

I do not think the woman in the photo below is necessarily homeless.  She may live in on of the houses across the road, but the photo shows how difficult it is to track tents and homeless in such a moderate climate.

Many Polynesians who are not homeless are still angry that their land has been taken from them.  They become politically active and let their arguments be known.

Taken at South Point, the southernmost tip of the United States.  The sign says "Kingdom of Hawaii is still here we never left."

We wanted to see the Captain Cook monument on the Big Island which is easily accessible by boat and not so accessible by hiking down a trail.  In case you missed your history Captain Cook was so loved by the Hawaiians, they killed him.  We naively thought we would hike the 1.8 miles each way to the sheltered cove.  Do not believe the tourist articles about this hike.  Parking is a nightmare just off the highway and room for only a half dozen cars.   The trail is NOT cleared but disappears for half a mile into 7 foot dense, tall grasses that cut the arms and legs.  Wild pigs hide and protect their young in these grasses and grunt if you come near, so make noise!  If you make it through the grasses and do not get attacked by wild pigs, you come onto open terrain and the rest of the hike is in the boiling hot sun.  Bring a few gallons of water!  Clearly, the locals could care less if you go to this monument.  We actually did not complete the hike as it just got way too hot and we were low on water!  We made it a mile and a half down and rested and headed back.  There was another family that had sent someone back up (all that way) for water!  People have been rescued from this hike.

This looks like a clear trail, but it disappears as you descend with those grasses on either side closing in over you.

I do not regret attempting the hike but opted out on another strenuous hike at the end of the trip as I had done it on my honeymoon.  ;-)

Monday, November 12, 2018

Pictures in Black

I was hot- a- lot of the time in Hawaii! I do not know why it seemed that way to me because I came from the Mid-Atlantic at the end of our hot summer and this should not have been such a change. I do not remember Hawaii being that hot when I lived there. I remember hating the cold air-conditioned stores and looking forward to being outside. But maybe my blood was warmer then as I was decades younger.  It was also more humid.

The volcano had stopped its bleeding before we arrived. There was no place day or night to be able to see glowing molten lava flowing to the sea. Decades ago we had hiked at night across an old lava flow using stone cairns and a flashlight over a mile to guide our way over an older lava flow to see the glowing fire in the distance.  But this time Pele had spent her energies and anger and retreated once again into sleep letting her long black hair flow across the land as the only remaining evidence of her power and passion.  We drove up to Volcano National Park to get close to the steaming crater.

The Southern end of the island is streaked with ancient and newer lava flows in most places.  Rock that is smooth like a river (pahoehoe) or coarse (aa) like broken glass can be seen when driving down the roads.  The reminder that all is temporary on this island is ever present.

Later in the day we hiked across the uneven lava and through "tangatanga" which is a common name for an invasive close growing shrub (cannot find the link); we startled herds of wild goats; and we almost became lost a few times before we found one of the larger fields of open lava where Hawaiians had carved many petroglyphs.  While standing in the hot sun on the open black rock, the thought that someone spent hours rubbing away the lava to create a pictograph of their life or a prayer for their life is humbling.

The small "pukas" or holes are where umbilical cords of newborn children were placed as an offering for long life.

This is the old Hawaii, far from the maddening crowd, but not too far from a few maddening tourists.

Saturday, November 10, 2018

In Memoriam

Since Monday is Veterans Day in the United States, this post on the Arizona Memorial and Pearl Harbor Park seem appropriate a few days early.  It would be more appropriate for Memorial Day, but it is what it is since I just visited there.  We spent over 4 hours at the Pearl Harbor Memorial Park before the hunger for lunch forced us to walk out of the park to a nearby restaurant.  I had visited this site decades ago as a poor graduate student and was a bit overwhelmed at that time before it had become so instructive.  This was a time before the lengthy audio tour by Jamie Curtis which takes you around the outside grounds and before the Road to War Museum and the Attack Museum had been built. Both museums are extensive and well done if such tragedy of man against man can be "well done".  Some say the memorial is Oahu's biggest tourist destination with 1.5 million visitors a year.  You will not regret a visit.

Once you have cleared security ( no bags allowed), you see the Tree of Life standing tall across the plaza. This was a sculpture designed by architect Alfred Preis to symbolize rebirth, renewal and a reminder that we are all interconnected.  It is near the entrance to the tour area and museums and duplicated at the far end of the actual Arizona Memorial letting light into the inside.

We could not go into the Arizona Memorial as it is sinking and needs repair.  The USS Arizona Memorial is located in Pearl Harbor on the island of Oahu. "The USS Arizona is the final resting place for many of the 1,177 service members who lost their lives on December 7, 1941. The 184- foot-long (56-m) memorial spans the midportion of the sunken battleship. The memorial consists of three sections: the entry and assembly rooms; a central area designed for ceremonies and general observation; and the shrine room, where the names of those killed on the USS Arizona are engraved on the marble wall. The USS Arizona Memorial is only accessible by boat, which departs from the visitor center." 

"Originally built on a landfill designed to settle 18 inches, the museum and
the visitor center has settled 30 inches in some areas, far exceeding expectations. As a result, the lower level of the facility is nearing the water table. Repeated leveling projects to maintain the facility’s support structure has created cracks in the concrete. This deterioration has allowed moisture to permeate the concrete and sometimes reach the rebar. Engineers have assessed that the deterioration must be addressed and have given the current building a five to ten-year life expectancy. The building has settled more than expected and, as a result, some support columns are close to being over-extended. The National Park Service is dedicated to keeping the USS Arizona Memorial Visitor Center open and to provide a safe environment for the public. However, future planning must be done to ensure the Pearl Harbor legacy is secure for future generations."

There is a fee to get in and you can reserve tickets online to ease the long lines that are sometimes there.  It was busy during our visit, but not super crowded, and I am thankful for that.  The Arizona is still leaking oil (black tears) from her hull and the men still lie in state at the bottom of Pearl Harbor.  You get to meet the survivors through video and reprints of news stories which makes it much more meaningful.  It is a very powerful tour.

Thank you to all who serve now and who have served in the past.  We will not forget.