Memorial Day: We Remember You

I never understood why people add “happy” in front of the words “Memorial Day.” It’s more than a day off of work. It’s more than a day of picnics and barbecues and fun in the sun. Memorial Day was originally started three years after the Civil War ended by the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) as Decoration Day. They decorated the graves of those who died in the war with flowers. Not exactly a warm, fuzzy feeling kind of day.

I took a walk in our local cemetery the other day. I found some GAR star graves. I found graves from World War I, World War II, Vietnam and the Persian Gulf Wars. There are others; I just remember these. I thought of each family as I passed another little flag placed by each veteran’s grave. I thought of the family of Cpl. Matthew Wallace. I thought of my grandpa, finally reunited with his brother who was killed by a sniper in World War II. I thought of the countless others.

Northwood Cemetery, Cambridge, Ohio


I don’t care what your thoughts are on the current war. I don’t care what your thoughts are about the military in general. Today I honor those that gave their lives, something that I’m not particularly willing to do myself, so that we can have picnics at our leisure. So that we can rant about the government on our blogs. So that we can tuck our overtired children into bed on a Monday night after a long “holiday” weekend.

I will never be able to thank them for their ultimate sacrifice. I will never be able to repay their families for their loss. But, as always, we will strive to make sure my children understand why we go to a parade on Memorial Day morning and why we stay for the speech and the 21 gun salute afterward.

Northwood Cemetery, Cambridge, Ohio

We are grateful. And we remember you.


Music & Concert Review: One EskimO

One eskimOI was lucky enough to receive a copy of One Eskimo‘s album from One2One Network. I started listening and I haven’t stopped. Quite honestly, I’m really enjoying the music. I can’t quite explain it when my friends ask me what they sound like. It’s just something I know that my ears like. Not too loud. Not too boring. Not too soft. Not too busy. It’s just what I need right now to escape from the kids’ music that has invaded my house. I’m not always that great at seeking out new music so I am more than pleased to have found something that I like without doing much work on my own. I feel kind of cutting edge.

You might have heard their song Kandi on the radio (video here). It’s a catchy little tune that gets stuck in my head and that my kids seem to like to sing along with at the top of their little lungs. Me too, really. The rest of the album provides other great sounding songs. Here is the track listing:

Simple Day
Givin Up
All Balloons
Chosen One

I really like the songs Astronaut and Givin Up. My oldest son, taking the occasional break from any one of his kids’ song listening sprees, really likes Astronaut and UFO. Then again, he’s infatuated with Buzz Lightyear so when I told him the names of those songs, he was all about it. That’s one thing I like though: the kids don’t make me turn off the album while we’re driving in the car. I like it when we can agree on music. (I know that won’t last forever.)

I was lucky enough to attend the One eskimO show in Columbus, Ohio this past Friday. I took OutnumberedMom along with me. We were both very impressed with the drummer in the band. He was simply phenomenal. I couldn’t take my eyes off of him. While I won’t explain it properly, he basically sat on a box, drummed on it, the drums, stepped on a tambourine and generally was percussive god. Add in the solid vocals, the addition of a horn and some great guitar playing and it was a very enjoyable night of music.


They’re touring elsewhere. I suggest you catch them!

Jun 01 Toronto, ON The Guvernment
Jun 03 New York, NY The Beach at Governor’s Island
Jun 04 Boston, MA House of Blues
Jun 05 Essex Junction, VT Camplain Valley Expo
Jun 06 Hunter, NY Mountain Jam Festival
Jun 08 Royal Oak, MI Royal Oak Music Thtr
Jun 09 Grand Rapids, MI Orbit Room
Jun 12 Memphis, TN Minglewood Hall
Jun 13 Kansas City, MO Crossroads
Aug 14 Denver, CO Mile High Festival

If you want to catch a listen, we’re giving away the album and a t-shirt thanks to One2One Network. Go ahead and leave a comment on this post telling me whether or not you attend concerts in the summer and, if so, which ones you’re planning to catch this summer. The giveaway will be open through June 4th at 12:00 noon. I’ll need the winner’s info ASAP so be sure to keep an eye on your inbox!

My overall feel for the band is that I’ll likely purchase what they put out in the future. And if I’m purchasing music, you should know I like them. A lot. Check them out. You can download Astronaut for free and like them on Facebook. Get to commenting!

[Disclosure: I received a free album and attended the show for free.]

An Open Letter to an Off Duty Firefighter

Dear Off Duty Firefighter,

Maybe you had a rough shift yesterday. Maybe you battled the blaze to end all blazes. Maybe you had one of those shift nights where sleep simply didn’t happen. A call here, a false alarm there or the snoring of a fellow firefighter a few bunks over. It happens. Somedays you’re going to wake up the morning after a full 24 hour shift and you’re going to feel grumpy.

Maybe you went home and your wife left dishes in the sink. Maybe your kids gave you attitude. Maybe you asked a friend, a neighbor, your spouse or your child to mow the grass yesterday and they didn’t, leaving it to you today and in jungle like proportions. Maybe you just wanted some peace and quiet but your wife had friends over for Friday morning muffins. Maybe you don’t have a family and that’s reason enough.

Maybe there are a thousand other reasons that you were grumpy as you sat at that restaurant today. Maybe you got bad news from a loved one. Maybe someone is sick. Maybe someone even died. I hope not. We’ve been through three family deaths this year and I know how hard it is. Maybe you really have a legitimate, honest-to-goodness reason for being grumpy today. But let me tell you something: you need to apologize to that waitress.

It was a busy lunch hour. I was hungry, too. In fact, my off duty firefighter husband was starving, having run around all morning doing errands and other stuff that he does on an off shift day. When he gets hungry, he gets kind of grumpy. And we had to wait for our waitress to even take our drink orders. So he was feeling it; he made a joke about wearing his grumpypants. Or shorts as it’s so hot outside.


But do you know what he didn’t do? He didn’t snap at the waitress. I didn’t either even though I was desperate for an iced tea. All she was trying to do was ask you if your food was good and if you needed anything else. I understand that waiters have an uncanny ability to show up at the table right as you have taken the biggest possible bite of your food. I normally have to nod and force a smile through a full mouth or mumble something despite the rule that I grew up with, “Never talk with food in your mouth.” We had other rules, too. Something about not being a total buttface to those who wait on you in restaurants was high up on the list. There was absolutely no reason for you to say, “Just let me chew.”

My eyes almost bugged out of my head. I thought about you for the rest of my meal. When I saw you walk to your truck with a firefighter union sticker, I wanted to bust you in the kneecap. Politely. I’d wait for you to chew. I know you’ve had people say some stupid things to you about your job as a firefighter. You’ve endured calls with people that you would not have otherwise associated. You’ve dealt with the bureaucracy that accompanies the fire life. So why on Earth would you choose to be nasty to someone else who was merely doing their job? You wouldn’t appreciate it if you were putting out a fire and someone came up to you and started saying nasty things. Why would you do it to someone else?

No, I’m not really holding you to a higher standard. I expect that everyone should treat people in food service with respect. I mean, how do you know she didn’t spit in the milkshake that she brought you later. Or worse. I likely would have written this post even if you were some Joe Schmoe as I’m tired of people treating other people so poorly. Maybe you’re not a firefighter. Maybe it was your dad’s truck. I hope he reads this post and wallops you upside the head because I know he taught you better.


PS – I know that many firefighters have mustaches since it’s the only facial hair that they can have but, trust me, it wasn’t working for you.