Monday, May 19, 2008

And so it begins...

Warm sunshine streaming down
Azure skies with occasional puffy, white clouds
Children’s laughter
Bonfires by night
Insect repellant
The scent of fresh cut grass lingering in the breeze
Weeding the garden
Fresh grown sweet corn, beans, and tomatoes
Juicy, sweet watermelon
Volleyball on the beach
The penny candy store
Fetch with the dogs
Flashlight tag
Swinging at the park
Green growth, life, and flowers galore
A game of baseball
Barbecue chicken, ribs, steak. . . everything!
Hot rods, cruises, car shows
Sandy beaches and gentle waves
Animals at the zoo
Lots of laughter
Family, friends, and good times
Swimming, floating, sun bathing
Rest and relaxation
Music under the stars
A good book
Going up north to the cabin
My birthday!

And so it begins... summer, that is. This is Memorial Day weekend coming up - the official start to the summer season. Being the summer baby that I was born to be, it's no surprise that I live for summer weather. That said, this will be my farewell blog for the season. I realize my presence has become more and more scarce online over the past couple months as the spring arrived, but now it's time for a break altogether. I would like to thank each and every one of you for reading, for commenting, for being there. I appreciate you all very much and hope to see you again when the autumn descends upon my great state and I return indoors once again for a long, cold winter. Your friendship and your readership is greatly valued!

Yes, I'll still pop in every now and then to say "hello", but won't be doing much blogging, myself. So, enjoy yourselves this summer! Spend some time with your loved ones and friends! Best wishes for much happiness, peace, and all the GOOD things in life!


Saturday, May 17, 2008

The Love Boat...promises something for everyone

My husband is an exciting man. In fact, his nickname amongst the guys at work is “Ed-venture”, because he is fearless and creative. He has a unique ability to turn even the most mundane of tasks into an adventure for his work crew, and oftentimes elicits much laughter in the process (which makes their long work days seem not-so-long at all). He is admired by many, and really is the “life of the party”.

That said, you won’t be surprised to hear that those same characteristics ring true in our private lives at home, too. Though I’m oftentimes up for his wacky antics, occasionally I have to draw the line due to my own fears. “What fears, Kim? You are invincible!” Ha! How I wish that were true. I will let you in on a little secret. . . two secrets, actually:

1. I fear deep water.
2. I am somewhat claustrophobic.

(Ahhhh, now you understand?!)

Well then, it should come as no surprise to you to hear me say that I was slightly ambivalent when my husband arrived home from work yesterday with a “brilliant” idea for our next big vacation together – a 12-day Mediterranean cruise. Trapped aboard a boat. A big boat. With thousands of other people. Like a can of sardines. And a small stateroom. Unable to leave at-will. In the middle of a vast, deep, dark ocean. Full of sharks. Out to sea, like sitting ducks at the mercy of the waves and the weather. For days and days and days. Like the Titanic.

Gulp. Breathe.

I realize that to many, a Mediterranean cruise seems like a beautiful, exciting, romantic , fantasy-type of vacation. Sharing good food and fun and lots of laughter with the one you love. A different port-of-call every morning; Venice, Florence, Rome, Dubrovnik, Santorini, Athens, Barcelona. A dream come true, really. Except for the part about being stuck on a boat with thousands of people. In the midst of deep, dark water. For days on end. That thought alone makes my heart race and my throat go dry.

My husband has tried to convince me that the boat is so huge (a “floating city” is what he called it, I believe) that I won’t feel “trapped” on it. I'm not convinced. He encourages me that I won’t get seasick and end up spending every day in the confines of our cabin puking my guts out - because the boat is a LARGE, heavy ship that cuts through the water producing little motion at all, and will not be tossed about by every wave. Unless there's a hurricane. He reminds me how much I love people in general, and especially meeting new friends in the relaxed environment of a vacation where there is music, dancing, and entertainment. Yes, that's true. He entices me with my own lifelong dreams of traveling to different lands experiencing different foods, cultures. And it all sounds SO WONDERFUL – except for the boat. And the deep, dark water.

So, I figured I’d ask for a little advice from you all in hopes of diminishing some of my anxieties over the prospect of a cruise. Has anybody ever been on one before? If so, would you please be so kind (and honest) as to share your experience with me? Did you like it? What were the pros and cons? Are there any little tidbits of advice you could offer a first-timer to ensure a pleasurable experience? Did you get seasick? Do you feel motion at all?

Thursday, May 15, 2008


To guarantee the human rights of children is to invest in the future. Children's rights are the building blocks for a solid human rights culture, the basis for securing human rights for future generations. As human beings, children are entitled to all the rights guaranteed by the Universal Declaration on Human Rights and the various covenants that have developed from it. But children also need special protection and care. They must be able to depend on the adult world to take care of them, to defend their rights, and to help them to develop and realize their potential. Governments pay almost universal lip service to this ideal, yet have signally failed to ensure that the rights of children are respected.

Children suffer many of the same human rights abuses as adults, but may also be targeted simply because they are dependent and vulnerable. Many times in many nations, children are tortured and mistreated by state officials; they are arbitrarily or lawfully detained, often in appalling conditions. In some countries, they are subjected to the death penalty. Countless thousands are killed or maimed in armed conflicts. Many more have fled their homes to become refugees. Children forced by poverty or abuse to live on the streets are sometimes detained, attacked, and even killed in the name of social cleansing. Many millions of children work at exploitative or hazardous jobs, or are the victims of child trafficking and forced prostitution. Because children are "easy targets", they are sometimes threatened, beaten, or raped in order to punish family members who are not so accessible.

The spectrum of abuses faced by children in the family and community ranges from ill-treatment in institutions to violence within the family, from child trafficking to child bonded labor. The vulnerability of children to such abuses often depends on other aspects of their identity such as gender, ethnicity, or economic status. This is a powerful reminder of the indivisibility of human rights. The denial of one set of rights leads to the abuse of others. Children denied an education because they are girls or because they are poor and forced to work are condemned to a cycle of marginalization, poverty, and powerlessness that involves further violations of their civil, political, economic, social, and cultural rights.

Stand up for the basic human rights of children – the right to life, the right to be with family and community, the right to health, the right to development of personality, and the right to be nurtured and protected – since the children are too small to stand up for themselves.

Humankind owes the child the best it has to give!

Use your space to make the world a better place! Blogging for Hope!

Amnesty International:
Women Trafficking & Child Labor Eradication:

Thursday, May 8, 2008

How Swede It Is!

I feel the need - the need for Swede!
Catch the Red Wave!
Are You In?

Hockey-blog / Photo-blog today - obviously. OOPS! Except for the last pic - that's my hubby. But being the typical testosterone-type male that he is, he needs his ego stroked from time-to-time, and I didn't want to exclude him, so I'm letting him be with the BIG BOYS today (Better, honey? =) who have my attention for the 2008 Stanley Cup Playoffs Round 3 Game 1 tonight! Ooooo-la-la, especially that Zetterberg! Yikes!

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Feeling Thankful

We have our annual fund raiser coming up at the dojo this Saturday. Every year we have a kick-a-thon in which all the students (approximately 300) training at the dojo donate their time for two hours, throwing as many kicks as possible into the bags. Of the funds we receive from those who sponsor us, 100% is donated back to a local organization called “The Rainbow Connection”. It’s very similar to the Make-a-Wish Foundation in that their primary focus is to fulfill dreams for Michigan children with life threatening or terminal illnesses. Depending on the amount of money collected, sometimes we’re able to grant the wishes of more than one local child; which is a blessing.

Though it’s always wonderful to receive a gift from someone, for those who haven’t yet discovered – there is nothing more fulfilling in life than giving a gift to another, especially if it involves giving from the heart for the benefit of an innocent child who is seriously ill. Being a parent, myself, I cannot fathom how difficult it must be for those parents to endure the agony of watching their own child suffering long term; not to mention the hardships that the children themselves must bear. It’s a good feeling to know that the small token of our time that we volunteer is poured back into the lives of others who are less fortunate, where it helps to brighten their outlook and hopefully makes them smile; if only for awhile.

In light of that, it makes me appreciate even greater how truly fortunate I am to have healthy, happy teenagers / young adults in my life. I feel very blessed and thankful, and will try to remember just how grateful I am for their health, their wholeness, the next time they’re aggravating me immensely – instead of stressing over what (to some) would seem like such petty issues in the broader spectrum of life.

So. . . hug your children today! Tell them how much you love them, and how precious they are in your eyes! Let them know they are special. I know I will.

I love my babies - no matter how big they get!