30 November 2003

We are married

What a weekend.

Wednesday:
Debbie picks me up to go to her house where does an incredible job taking care of her 3 daughters while preparing Thanksgiving dinner and helping me with the wedding. She did a brilliant job of making alterations to the wedding dress, making alterations to her daughters dresses who were my junior bridesmaid and flower princesses. The girls were absolutely beautiful and wonderful during the entire wedding. At the same time Debbie was working on the dinner, dress, wedding details, her husband was getting the wedding music together. He did a brilliant job of orchestrating the entire wedding and reception.

Thursday:
Thanksgiving!!!
I am still over at Debbie's where she is up before the sun preparing Thanksgiving dinner, getting the Turkey ready along with everything else. Catherine, the oldest is up first. She is definitely in the Thanksgiving spirit with the song "cornucopia." It is a very addicting song. Catherine did a terrific job getting through the Explorer program she had on the computer. Thanksgiving dinner was terrific!!! Afterwards, we watched entertaining home movies of the girls. I see Academy awards in their futures.:-) The movies were very touching. It was also really sweet when I saw Debbie playing dolls with the youngest girl. I started getting scared of the wedding then thinking, I have no idea how to play dolls. I have no idea how to be a parent. How can I can I get married and have children? What if I mess up? I was scared. So I cried for the entire two hour drive home. When we got home, I got a call from Elayne. Her printer was messed up and would only print 2 programs an hour. After 4 hours, she gave up, and emailed the program for us to print out. I could not get it opened. John could not get it opened. After a couple hours on the phone with Greg, they decided to phone Robin and have her try to open the program. The conclusion was to go without a program, so John emailed Larry and Debbie that we would have to do without programs at the wedding.

Friday:
The cats make sure John and I get up at about 7 am. After taking wrapping my hair up in a hair claw, I remind John to feed the cats while I jump in the shower. Then I throw on a pair of jeans and a fleece sweater while John watches the weather station complaining that the weather will be getting worse and that we will have snow and ice on our wedding. Then he sees my fleece that says "Let it snow" on it. No time to worry about looking nice...We are on a mission...To get married. First, it is off to the landlord's to give her some money for rent. She just had surgery and was in pain, but still graciously congratulated us on our wedding. Next, we drove through the drive-thru of McDonald's where they were just switching over to lunch, so I got a fish sandwich. Brunch was eaten on the way downtown to get our wedding license. It was a madhouse downtown with all the day after Thanksgiving shoppers. We made it to the courthouse in the freezing rain. After we got the license, I told John that we had to phone Debbie to tell her that we got the license. John replied that we could call them when we got home. I promised her that I would call her as soon we got the license, so John found a pay phone there in the courthouse. From there, we walked to the mall where John bought a tie and I tried on shoes for the wedding with no success. We then went to the Disney store to look for presents for the 3 youngest girls in the wedding party with no more success than finding wedding shoes to buy. So we drove to Target. There, John and I split up. I went to look for presents for the girls while John went to get stuff for the wedding. I saw some cute stuff, but were not sure that they were age appropriate, and we wanted to try to give them all the same thing to avoid jealousy. For that mission was a failure. I then bought myself make-up for the wedding. While getting hair stuff for the wedding (bobby pins and pretty hair jewelry which I forgot to bring in the church), John was exclaiming that it was already 3 pm and we were running late. So it was off to Sam's Club to pick up the food and drinks for the reception and hurry home. I quickly made a reservation for myself at a motel, threw all my make-up and hair stuff in a bag and we were off to the rehearsal, which was a 2 hour drive. By now, John was hungry and stopped at Long John Silver's close to our apartment. While driving, he was able to down a few fillets, but then his stomach was upset and we had to stop at the rest stop. We were late. The rehearsal was for 6 pm. We arrived at 7:15 pm. Everyone else had already started decorating. The church looked beautiful. Sandy, Debbie, and Robin were very hard at work to make sure John and I have a perfect wedding. When I first saw it, I felt impressed, extremely grateful, and extremely guilty because I was so used to doing things myself, I did not know how to respond to so many people focused on me and do so much for me. I am very indebted to them. My parents, Pop Ullom, Larry & Debbie, Jason & Robin, reverend Bill and Sandy, the girls...I am so very indebted to them, and so very grateful for them. They did an incredible job at the rehearsal. We had to go through the rehearsal twice. I was very nervous. Mom gave me a card for the wedding then along with some cash. Then the guys ordered the pizzas after coordinating who was suppose to be calling and ordering. I was too nervous to eat. I did notice we had programs laid out beautifully for the wedding. Debbie did a beautiful job making the programs at the last moment. There is no way I could have ever done any of this without them. My days as a Maverick are over.


26 November 2003

The History of Thanksgiving

I got this from Care2.com which is a great sight that cares about the world around us:

Don't cry fowl, but the first Thanksgiving was not celebrated by the Pilgrims. In fact, Thanksgiving Day has been celebrated in one way or another throughout history by cultures around the world. Today, Americans of all religions and ethnicities take the fourth Thursday of November to appreciate all that we have to be thankful for. So, let's cut through all the turkey, and tell you the real story:

Animist tribes believed that plants and animals had spirits which were angered by the harvest. To appease these spirits, tribes would make offerings which often included elaborate festivals. These ceremonies provided the foundation for today's Thanksgiving Day holiday.

In addition, the ancient Greeks, Romans and Hebrews all performed their own festivals to celebrate bountiful harvests. The Greeks honored their goddess of grains, Demeter, during the autumn festival of Thesmosphoria. The Romans made annual offerings to Ceres, the goddess of corn. The Jewish people have been celebrating Sukkoth, the harvest festival, for over 2,000 years.

The American tradition began in 1621 when Massachusetts Bay Governor William Bradford proclaimed a feast to celebrate a bountiful harvest. The colonists had suffered severe hardships during their first year in the New World, and the successful harvest provided hope that things were improving. According to several documented accounts of this feast, the colonists shared corn, fruits, vegetables and fish with friendly native American tribes who in turn provided fresh venison.

Stop! Hold the cranberry sauce! Although this autumnal feast has served as the foundation for later Thanksgiving Day celebrations, the Pilgrims neither called it "Thanksgiving," nor did they repeat the ceremony in future years. In fact, a day of "thanksgiving" would have been spent fasting and praying by these devoutly religious peoples.

So when did the holiday start? Actually, there were various Thanksgiving Day celebrations throughout the early years of colonial USA and Canada. It was George Washington who first declared that all the members of the new Union should celebrate Thanksgiving on the same day, Thursday, November 26, 1789. But, not surprisingly, it was Abraham Lincoln who first declared Thanksgiving as a US national holiday in 1863. America's neighbors, the Canadians, celebrate Thanksgiving on the second Monday in October.



While on http://www.theknot.com, my home page pops up that I only have 3 days left until our wedding. So much to do. So little time. I remember when I used to be in school looking at the clock thinking how horribly slow time was. When did it speed up so quickly? And 24 hours in one day is definitely not enough time. There should be at least 36. That way I could get maybe 6 hours of sleep. Last night, I went to bed at 1am after washing the dishes, cleaning the cat litter, taking out the trash. At 3am, my oldest cat woke me up to feed him. So I got up and put down some more of his favorite kibble (he already had some in his bowl, but he wanted fresh out of the container). Then at 7:30am I was up filling the flower vase that the cats like to drink out of, cleaning their water bowl which they never drink out of and filling it up with water, tossing old kibble out of the food bowl and putting fresh kibble down, and opening 3 cans of cat food and 1 pouch of cat food which they just snubbed. But then 2 hours later, the middle cat came over to me "asking" to be fed, like I am suppose to open another can so it is fresh just for her considering they did not touch the other cans. The sad part of it is that I set them up to be that way. It is not uncommon for them to come ask for food and for me to give it to them no matter what the schedule. So I only have myself to blame.

Last week, I was told everything was taken care of for the wedding and not to worry. Now 3 days till the wedding, it seems as though there is a ton of work to do: sizing the dress, getting the food, decorations, reorganizing the wedding party when people are unable to attend, etc. I am completely going nuts. Who was the Sadist who invented weddings?

And to top it all off, we are moving to a new state at the same time. I must be a glutton for punishment.

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

24 November 2003

Happy Ramadan!!!

Ramadan, the Muslim holy month, takes place during the ninth month of the Muslim calendar. A time for worship and contemplation, Ramadan marks the day the Koran was sent down from Heaven via the angel Gabriel to Prophet Muhammad.

To allow for complete devotion to their faith, Muslims must abide by stringent rules from dawn until sunset for the entire month. Eating, drinking, smoking, and sex are strictly forbidden during daylight. In addition, Muslims must show greater sympathy for the needy and poor. Fasting plays a key role in accomplishing these goals by allowing for greater concentration on the spiritual, generating empathy for the hungry and cleansing the body of overindulgence.

At the end of each day, Muslims break their fast with a meal called the iftar. Following the custom of Prophet Muhammad, the fast is often broken with dates, then followed by a prayer and dinner. Muslims also generally have a pre-fast meal, called the suhoor, which occurs before dawn.

The evening of the 23rd day of the month, or Laylat-al-Qadr ("the Night of Decree"), is a very special day in which all sins are forgiven and any act returned multi-fold. This night is believed to be the one on which Muhammad first received the revelation of the Holy Koran.

The day after Ramadan ends, Muslims celebrate a holiday called Id-al-Fitr, a three-day "Feast of Fast Breaking." During this time, gifts are exchanged, large meals consumed, and the company of family and friends enjoyed.

Hopefully, we will learn more about each other and war can end. We are all God's children, we just have different traditions to worship him by. That is all.

23 November 2003

RESUME: George W. Bush The White House, USA


EDUCATION AND EXPERIENCE

LAW ENFORCEMENT:
I was arrested in Kennebunkport, Maine in 1976 for driving under the influence of alcohol. I pled guilty, paid a fine, and had my driver's license suspended for 30 days. My Texas driving record has been "lost" and is not available.

MILITARY:
I joined the Texas Air National Guard and went AWOL. I refused to take a drug test or answer any questions about my drug use. By joining the Texas Air National Guard, I was able to avoid combat duty in Vietnam.

COLLEGE:
I graduated from Yale University. I was a cheerleader.


PAST WORK EXPERIENCE

I ran for US Congress and lost.

I began my career in the oil business in Midland, Texas in 1975. I bought an oil company, but couldn't find any oil in Texas. The company went bankrupt shortly after I sold all my stock.

I bought the Texas Rangers baseball team in a sweetheart deal that took land using taxpayer money.

With the help of my father and our right-wing friends in the oil industry (including Enron CEO Ken Lay), I was elected Governor of Texas.


ACCOMPLISHMENTS AS GOVERNOR

I changed Texas pollution laws to favor power and oil companies, making Texas the most polluted state in the Union.

During my tenure, Houston replaced Los Angeles as the most smog-ridden city in America.

I cut taxes and bankrupted the Texas treasury to the tune of billions in borrowed money.

I set the record for the most executions by any Governor in American history.

With the help of my brother, the Governor of Florida, and my father's appointments to the Supreme Court, I became President after losing by over 500,000 votes.


ACCOMPLISHMENTS AS PRESIDENT

I invaded and occupied two countries at a continuing cost of over one billion dollars per week.

I spent the US surplus and effectively bankrupted the US Treasury.

I shattered the record for the largest annual deficit in US history.

I set an economic record for most private bankruptcies filed in any 12-month period.

I set the all-time record for the biggest drop in the history of the US stock market.

I am the first president in US history to enter office with a criminal record.

I set the all-time record for most days on vacation in any one year period.

After taking-off the entire month of August, I presided over the worst security failure in U.S.history.

I am supporting development of a nuclear "Tactical Bunker Buster," a WMD.

In my State Of The Union Address, I lied about our reasons for attacking Iraq, then blamed the lies on our British friends.

I set the record for most campaign fundraising trips by a US president.

In my first year in office over 2-million Americans lost their jobs and that trend continues every month.

I set the all-time record for most foreclosures in a 12-month period.

I appointed more convicted criminals to administration than any president in US history.

I set the record for least amount of press conferences than any president since the advent of television.

I presided over the biggest energy crisis in US history and refused to intervene when corruption involving the oil industry was revealed.

I presided over the highest gasoline prices in US history.

I have cut health care benefits for war veterans and support a cut in duty benefits for active duty troops and their families -- in war time.

I have set the all-time record for most people worldwide to simultaneously protest me in public venues (15 million people) shattering the record for protest against any person in the history of mankind.

I've broken more international treaties than any President in US history.

I'm proud that the members of my cabinet are the richest of any administration in US history. My "poorest millionaire," Condoleeza Rice, has a Chevron oil tanker named after her.

I am the first president in US history to order an unprovoked, preemptive attack and the military occupation of a sovereign nation. I did so against the will of the United Nations, the majority of US citizens, and the world community.

I created the Ministry of Homeland Security, the largest bureaucracy in the history of the United States government.

I am the first president in US history to have the United Nations remove the US from the Human Rights Commission.

I withdrew the US from the World Court of Law.

I refused to allow inspectors access to US prisoners of war "detainees" and thereby have refused to abide by the Geneva Convention.

I am the first president in history to refuse United Nations election inspectors (during the 2002 US election).

I am the all-time US and world record-holder for receiving the most corporate campaign donations.

My largest lifetime campaign contributor, and one of my best friends, Kenneth Lay, presided over the largest corporate bankruptcy fraud in US history.

My political party used the Enron private jets and corporate attorneys to assure my success with the US Supreme Court during my election decision.

I have protected my friends at Enron and Halliburton against investigation or prosecution.

More time and money was spent investigating the Monica Lewinsky affair than has been spent investigating one of the biggest corporate rip-offs in history.

I garnered the most sympathy for the US after the World Trade Center attacks and less than a year later made the US the most hated country in the world, the largest failure of diplomacy in world history.

I am first president in history to have a majority of Europeans (71%) view my presidency as the biggest threat to world peace and security.

I changed the US policy to allow convicted criminals to be awarded government contracts.

I have so far failed to fulfill my pledge to bring Osama Bin Laden and Saddam Hussein to justice.


RECORDS AND REFERENCES

All records of my tenure as Governor of Texas are now in my father's library, sealed, and unavailable for public view.

All records of SEC investigations into my insider trading and my bankrupt companies are sealed in secrecy and unavailable for public view.

All records or minutes from meetings that I, or my Vice-president, attended regarding public energy policy are sealed in secrecy and unavailable for public review.

Please consider my experience when voting in 2004 -




If you vote in 2004, you may still have an idiot for a President, but at least the President will be "Your" idiot.




02 November 2003

A Busy Weekend

Last night John got home after 8 p.m. from work for the week. It was nice to see him. He leaves Sunday night and comes back Friday night having done this since mid August.

So this morning, John gets up at a quarter after four a.m. to feed the cats. And then Rusty wakes him up at 7 a.m. by swatting John in the face. John rolls over. Rusty moves to the other side of John and swats him in the face. This goes on until Rusty wins. John is up and in the shower. After my shower, we take Moocher to the vet to get his shots. Rusty's attitude: Better him than me. Ashley's attitude: One down, one to go. But then we bring Moocher back. When Moocher gets out of his carrier, he walks up to John and gives him a talking to.

Since we do not have much time to get everything done, we do not stop to make anything to eat. We are off to Target to buy cat food so the poor guys do not starve. Considering Moocher has gained 2 pounds since his last visit to the vet, I doubt that is going to happen. We buy 60 cans. Then it is off to Lowe's to try to find something work-related. Our search was unsuccessful. By this time we are starving, so Ryan's steak house for their all-you-can-eat buffet is a necessity. Then we are off to Home Depot to see if the work related item is there. It is not. So John decides he will have to build one himself. Next stop: Sam's Club. We buy 4 tires for our poor car that has been screaming neglect. It is amazing how a tire that advertises it is only 68 dollars a tire quickly ads up with all the extra charges like sales tax, tire disposal, service charge, etc. So while we are waiting the hour it takes for them to install the tires, we wander around Sam's Club practicing extreme restraint. By the time we get our car back, I see it is too late to go do laundry which definitely needs to be done before tomorrow afternoon. And they are advertising that they will be closing the bridge tomorrow that leads to the laundry mat. I am so glad it is not tomorrow yet.

So, since we do not have time to go do laundry after Sam's Club, John wants to go to Books-A-Million which is like a candy store to a child. John shows extreme restraint by just buying 2 papers, and I get a free publication, which brings me to my next subject: Insane lawsuits.

While reading Free West Virginia Entertainment Guide *November 2003* Vol. 14,page 24, there is a commentary by Darwin Smith titled, BMI sues Huntington bar over karaoke show. In the article, Mr. Smith writes,"...No one is safe. Everyone knows that the Recording Industry Artists Association is pursuing grandmothers and small children for what they call internet piracy, and the Motion Picture Artists Association is ruining the prints of their own films to track internet piracy. But did you know that the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers has sued the Girl Scouts for their campfire sing-a-longs?

At the heart of the struggle between small-city entertainment centers and BMI is a dispute over what constitutes fair use, and BMI's renewing of the rights of songs that, did the company not exist, would have passed into public domain long ago.

BMI and ASCAP insist that every performance of the songs licensed by them must be performed in either a licensed venue, or by a licensed performer. However, karaoke jockeys already pay a licensing fee which is factored into the cost of their music catalog. This is why karaoke CDs cost more than common CDs.

Since the license has already been paid, fair use dictates that it should well be within the discretion of the KJ where and when these songs are performed, with no further licensing being required by either the venue or the performers who sing to the KJ's discs.

However, BMI and ASCAP's behavior leads one to believe that they feel you don't pay enough when you purchase your music. From their behavior, one could only presume that they want everyone who ever performs or sings their songs to be licensed.

For example, you shouldn't sing "Happy Birthday" to your kids on the anniversary of their first breath. Should one of the children decide to play "Spies" as per Orwell's 1984, you may find yourself the target of a $10,000 lawsuit leveled at your head by ASCAP.

This sort of behavior on the part of BMI, ASCAP, the RIAA and the MPAA displays an adversarial relationship with their own customers, which goes quite a long way to explain why all four organizations are experiencing a drop in revenue. ...
"

I completely agree with Mr. Smith. Before these wealthy corporations got even more greedy, we used to buy a lot of videos, CD's, tapes. Since they sued Napster and are continuing this insanity, we have completely stopped buying their products. I have not gone to see a movie in over 2 years. On television, I see a lot of ads talking about the "poor entertainment industry." This same industry forgets that they need us far more than we need them. And if they are doing do poorly, why are they living in million dollar mansions throwing million dollar parties? How audacious of them to expect sympathy from us. It is time they got their heads out of the sand and started realizing that their egos are far more inflated than their actual worth.