Night and Day

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Distant thunder rolls,
The fireflies flashing brightly
Lovely summer night

I’ve heard people say writing haiku’s is addictive, I think they are write. I tried it last Wednesday, and now I feel like I “think” in haiku, especially when I am outside! I love the early morning and summer nights. In the quietness of the dark, I feel I can hear Mother Nature more clearly. I wrote this weeks on Sunday evening around 9pm!

Wordful Wednesday

After a very hot few days (for May), we started Monday off a bit wet and stormy. I was off on Monday, so I totally enjoyed the rainy morning!,It turned into a nice day to be outside and I spent some time on our patio. Tuesday was even more gorgeous. Low humidity, high 70s, slight breeze, blue skies! I did however spend most of the day inside at work! I would love this weather 300 days a year!

The squirrels and birds have been very happy visiting the patio for peanuts and food! I try and keep them supplied! It’s like a big screen TV for the cats!

We’ve had a pair cardinals, blue jays, house finches, sparrows,Robins, mourning doves and a woodpecker. Most were not very cooperative for photos this week except this little guy! He even stopped and posed (begged) for me so I could take his photo! It’s hard to tell, but I think we have three regular visiting squirrels. One is getting pretty brave and will come within just a few feet of me when I am putting their peanuts out! .
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I hope you all have a great week, once again, Wednesday does not mean hump day for me, it’s just day two of six. I am looking forward to NEXT weekend when I will have a nice four day break!

It’s 4:44am, and the cats are acting foolish, they think no matter what time I wake up, (even though it’s still dark outside) that it is BREAKFAST time!

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Hump Day Haiku – Morning

 

Early morning light,
Birds chirping, squirrels scurring
Another day begins.

I’m really not very good at creative writing. I’d much rather tell a story with photos. I feel like I need to try something new!

I hope you like my haiku!

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Letters From Robin – Thunder Mountain – 9/23/1968

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Today’s letter was written on Robin’s first full day at his new “home” LZ (Landing Zone) Thunder. Even in the midst of war, Robin saw the beauty of the land.

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I’ve included this map from the Buff Grunt website to show you were the places Robin talks about are located.

Thunder

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23 Sept 68

Dear Mom & Dad,

I’m writing to you from my new home. LZ THUNDER is it’s name. It’s up on top of a hill not far from Duc Pho. Its beautiful up here. It’s right near the coast and the side of the hill my bunker is on overlooks a big valley. It must be more than a mile across to the next mountain range. I wish I had a camera that could take a picture of it. All day there is a wind blowing across the hill. I can look down and see the peasants working in the fields, they look like ants from up here.

I got here yesterday afternoon about 1500 hrs. We flew from Chu Lai to Duc Pho on a Chinook helicopter. Then we went to the base camp where we met our First Sergeant and got our ruck-sacks and weapons, put all the necessary equipment in the packs and rode up here to Thunder.

They gave us a real nice reception. They’re always glad to get replacements. I’m the assistant squad leader of the 3rd squad. The funny thing is the squad leader is also an E-5 from NCO school who just got her the day before I did. I’ve never heard of 2 E-5s to one squad but I’m not going to argue. Two heads are better than one. Most everybody up here is new, and they have plenty of men. There are only 3 squads in the Recon platoon and each has 12 or 13 men apiece. We are also going to get a new platoon leader today or tomorrow.

I don’t know how long it will be before we go on an operation. All we do right now is pull bunker guard at night. There was 4 of us last night so it broke down to 2 1/2 hrs apiece. The good thing about it is we don’t do a thing in the day, not a thing. Just lay around and sleep or write or read books or anything. I could do this for a whole year because it is really nice on this hill.

The rains are going to start soon so send me that jacket I bought.

One other thing before I left Chu Lai we had to fill out a Hometown News Release paper, everybody in the Division has to fill it out and at the bottom they ask if you want it sent to the newspapers and I signed it yes. They guy said that it is sent to every newspaper within a hundred mile radius. So keep your eyes open it should take a week or more. They keep that paper at Chu-Lai and if somebody in the Division does something heroic they just get the paper and somebody does a story on it and sends it to the states.

Take Care, tell Nana Buehler and Miller I said Hit! Write often and don’t worry.

Love,

Robin

 

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I had something pretty cool come out of my research yesterday!

I had sent an email to one  a webmaster of one of the sites I found that was requesting photos of grave markers, which I had in my files. She contacted me, but also posted on a closed FB group that I was looking for information on Robin. A gentleman, Bruce Flahery, who was in country during the same time Robin was, but did not serve alongside him, then contacted me via FB.

Bruce is part of a group that requests flags for the fallen servicemen from their unit to be flown over the US Capital. A flag for Robin had been flown last Memorial Day, but they did not have a way of contacting us in order to present us with that very flag.

We exchanged and email and a few minutes later I was on the phone with Bruce. What a nice man. He spends his own time making sure that those who lost their lives in Vietnam are never forgotten!

I will share more on this in another post.

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Weathering the Storm

I sit here in my warm house, with all the comforts of home, while so many around me, including family are without power and all of the comforts we are so accustomed too. I am NOT taking this for granted. I am thankful and feel very fortunate that our power remained constant through the storm. I look at the sky and am seeing some blue. The first time since Sunday maybe? Since it has taken me hours to write this, the sky is overcast again!

My thoughts go out to all who are impacted.

My niece and her family are without power,  with no idea when it will be restored. They do have a generator, but that can not power the entire house. One of the boys has been staying here, so the rest are headed to my sister’s today. They have pets that make it difficult to pack up and stay somewhere else until power is restored.

From the first reports that this storm would be coming toward us, I started to remember our hurricane and tropical storm experiences during our years in Orlando. The summer of 2004 comes to mind first and foremost as we weathered FOUR hurricanes in as many weeks.

Hurricane Charley was by far the worst for me, the one that brought me the most fear. Tara and I, along with our pets spent several hours in our bathroom. We were spared serious damage, and only lost power for 18 hours. A minor inconvenience as other neighborhoods were without for weeks!  Schools were closed for many days, and the hurricanes kept on coming.

By the last one I was ready to pack everyone in the car and drive back to PA. Instead, my mother turned around after having just been with us over Labor Day weekend, and experiencing a VERY long Hurricane Frances, and flew back into the path of Hurricane Jeanne!  We made it through the last three hurricanes without using power, but we were ready! I still have a couple blue tarps that we bought in case of roof or window damage!  They remind me of that summer whenever I see them!

I think this experience has made Tara and I not fear such weather. We RESPECT it, but do not fear it. Her friends all wondered how she could be so calm.

Tara spent four nights at her friend Viki’s house. It was good for both of them to have someone to keep them occupied during the storm! These two can have fun just sitting on their individual laptops, or taking silly pictures, just being random. They did lose power around midnight. I got a text from Tara around 2am. It was time for sleep, so she was not too annoyed. She just wanted to make sure her IPhone stayed charged long enough to contact me. They got power back about noon time, so not too bad considering many are still out today.

Not having her here was a break for me too. I had three very busy days at work, with people coming in to buy hurricane supplies and Halloween stuff as well! It was actually “fun”. People were actual in pretty good moods. One thing I think that helped early on was that we still had things that other stores were already out of. D batteries are in great demand when there is impending bad weather with the potential of power outages.

Our little corner of the world was left intact from the storm. Once I got out on the road yesterday to pick up Tara from her friends, I realized how many trees and wires were down around the area. We have some pretty big trees in our complex. A HUGE one right outside my bedroom window. I am thankful they all stayed anchored in the ground. The skies remained ominous throughout the day!

I was “interviewed” over the phone by our local paper. I was tweeting while I was out and about yesterday. After I picked up Tara we went on an adventure to find coffee. I knew places were open, but I was having trouble getting there with road closures and blockages. Going out, when it is safe, is something we would do in Orlando after hurricanes too, surveying the damage! The reporter didn’t put it in the paper, but he said to me, so basically you were driving around to find coffee….. well, yeah!

 This has to be on the list of TOP TEN THINGS PEOPLE.  Barricades are usually put in place for a reason, and this woman decided to ignore. She got her car all tangled up in wires, and had to sit in her car for 2 hours until they made sure they were all de-energized and they got her untangled! I love that Mark Psoras, the photographer, captured her looking out the window. I am sure she felt pretty stupid!

I am so sad to see the devastation at the NJ shores. I LOVE the shore. I just heard that the house my cousin’s own in Ocean City was not damaged, just some sand to clean up. I am amazed at that, as it is the first house on Park Place after the beach and boardwalk. The damage done by this hurricane is beyond anything imaginable from the beaches to the cities.

Tara had a concert to attend last night in Philly. It is rescheduled to Nov 5. I am glad it was rescheduled and not cancelled and that she does not have to wait long.  This will mean TWO CONCERTS in one week for her!  This date actually works better as she has not school the next day, because of election day and I had planned on taking the day off. I won’t have to fight to get her out of bed!  The deal is that there will be no missing school if she attends a concert on a school night, but that does not mean she would get up willingly!

I really should make good use of this day off. I think Tara is headed to her friends a little later to hang out, but I have a couple hours I should use to clean. My bedroom gets so cluttered with STUFF! So I better get moving! This has taken me all morning to type!

A little Halloween blast from the past!! Tara, with Bulls Eye and Woody at Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party 2006! Tara was nine!

Thanks A-LATTE for stopping by!

Martha

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The Kasper’s Take Manhattan

This past Saturday morning, after a bit of drama that almost cancelled the trip Friday night, Tara and I got up early and headed to NYC.  I love my daughter, but sometimes she just doesn’t make things easy. She is not very flexible (at least not with things that involve the two of us. She wants it her way, even when my way makes more sense!)

 

Home to NYC it is just under 100 miles, and took us just about 2 1/2 hrs (we had to stop for gas and COFFEE). I’m embarrassed to say, I had not been to NYC in 20 years (6 of those I was living in Florida), and Tara had never been.

 

It was a beautiful late spring day. Not too hot, not too humid and beautiful blue skies! Perfect for a day on the streets of Manhattan.

 NYC Skyline from I-495 in NJ (and moving car!). Tara the passenger took them, not me the driver!

Empire State Bldg on the right of the left photo.

1 World Trade Center on the right of the right photo.

I enjoy driving. Tara and I usually have good conversations during our drives, but she was still really tired, so most of the way we just listened to music. She perked up as we got closer, and then got nervous when she realized we had to go through a tunnel. The Lincoln Tunnel is 1.5 miles long and goes under the Hudson river connecting NJ to Manhattan. You have to either go over (the bridges), under (the tunnels), or on it (the ferries) to get there!

We parked near 40th and Broadway.

Our first stop, the WALGREENS! (I needed a rest room, Walgreens always has restroom, NOT THIS ONE!) I had heard that their cosmetic department (which I “run” in our store) , had it’s own floor, so we headed up the escalator. Yes, they have an escalator! I guess many city stores probably do, since there is more space going up then out! The cosmetic department was not necessarily bigger, just on it’s own floor.

 

Next up, we (meaning I – which is a change from the usual) still needed a rest room. I finally found one in McDs.

 

Now that I could concentrate, we headed back out to Times Square. It is a very overwhelming place, so many people, so many things to see. On every corner there are tour bus people trying to get you to to use their buses (really a GOOD idea, but Tara did not want to do this!), or handing you a pamphlet or menu of some kind!

I enjoyed seeing the big screens that are in so many movies/TV shows, and the NYE ball and 2012 sign! I could not imagine the crowd and the noise here on NYE. There was a time I wanted to experience it just once in my life, but I don’t think so anymore!

 Tara is not much on “organized” sightseeing. She likes to just “walk around” and look at things. Sometimes I think it even annoys her if I stop to look at things or take pictures. For this reason, next time I’m going SOLO or with a GROWN UP who understands my passion to take photos of EVERYTHING! My one disappointment of the day was that I really didn’t take that many photos. I did it find difficult to juggle my Canon and my IPhone. I wanted to tweet while we were discovering new things. Maybe next time I will go strictly with the IPhone while in the city itself!

 

We wandered through a few vendors. So many IPhone cases and purses! I would have like to have spent some money, but really didn’t feel like carrying any extra “stuff”.

Next we decided to head to Ground Zero. Thinking we might try and walk it, we headed out with Mapquest in hand on my IPhone.Trouble was,  I must have plugged in the wrong location. We walked for a bit, enjoying the surroundings, only to realize we were headed the wrong direction. We probably walked a good mile when I decided something wasn’t right and HAILED A CAB. I never hailed a cab on the street before!

 

As we rode in the cab and neared the site of the WTC, I tried to imagine what it was like on 9-11. The weather on Saturday was much like that day in 2001. A beautiful day with clear blue skies. I guess no one that did not personally experience it could even fathom what it was like. The sights, sounds and smells I would think are things that survivors and rescuers probably will never forget.

 

We passed St Paul’s Church and I thought of the Mychal F. Judge,the priest, who died when the first tower collapsed. He was carried to the steps of the church by firefighters and civilians. The picture of him being carried is one that always come to mind when I think of 9-11. Although we didn’t get a chance to go in the 9-11 Memorial, I will do that on my next visit for sure.

 

This building under construction 1 WTC. It will be the tallest building in the country when it is complete at 1,776 feet. It is a beautiful building.

Tara and I both decided maybe we had had enough for the day, so we took a cab back uptown to our parking garage and headed home.

 

NYC is a lot to take in! I tried to prepare myself with information for a day trip before hand, but I was not prepared enough. Sometimes it is hard being the only adult. Tara is pretty useless when it comes to navigation or helping to carry the load. She even has SIRI on her IPhone and did not once offer to use it to try and help us.

 

I don’t regret the day. I now have a taste of the city, and know what I did right and did wrong to make the most out of my next visit!   Next trip is going to be back to the 9-11 site and to the Statue of Liberty (which I now realize you can get to from NJ, and don’t have to into the city!)

Our car got to go for an elevator ride! I love that the parking garages are valet! I don’t care for driving in garages!

The trip home was uneventful  Tara was anxious to get home to spend time with a friend who was visiting from NJ. He spent more of his time here with us than he did at his Dad’s!

 

I had not had enough walking for the day (lol – I thought I would have been tired), and the weather was gorgeous, so I went and walked around a car show in town. I’ve been blogging about that on my photo blog.

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