Tag Archives: american

Places to hear authors speak in the DC Area….

by Ellen Weeren
@EllenWeeren/@AReasonToWrite

I just recently discovered these two things and I want to share them with you so we can all come out into the light.

Authors are speaking all over DC, and we’re invited.

Mark Athitakis

This well-known book critic publishes a calendar/guide of speakers throughout the DC area on his blog called American Fiction Notes.

Sixth & I Historic Synagogue
(This excerpt was taken directly from www.expressnightout.com)

Since Sixth & I was rededicated in 2004 (the building started out as a synagogue in 1908, then was an African Methodist Episcopal church for several decades, and is now a working synagogue again), it’s become one of D.C.’s hippest venues for indie rock concerts and big-name author appearances. Tina Fey’s sold-out reading and Q&A in April was the see-and-be-seen nerd event of spring, and the calendar promises an equally compelling fall. Some of Sixth & I’s programs are co-hosted by Politics and Prose, which doesn’t have nearly as much room. Expect a swarm when novelist Jeffrey Eugenides reads on Oct. 31. S.M.

Sixth and I Synagogue, 600 I St. NW,  202-408-3100 . (Gallery Place)

Connecting with Authors….

by Ellen Weeren
@EllenWeeren/@AReasonToWrite

In just the past few days, I have spoken with 4 well known authors. Shaken their hands, asked them questions. Gotten super inspired. And I now have signed books from all of them. Yea!

And just how did I do that, you might wonder. (If you don’t wonder that, stop reading now. 😎  )

Well, I attended a panel discussion at Fall for the Book at George Mason. The discussion was focused on the definition of literary fiction v. genre fiction and if it’s even important to make the distinction between two any longer. The answer was basically that it’s nearly impossible to define literary fiction or appropriately capture its essence. Outstanding writing will be discussed without prompting from scholars and its words will be devoured – no matter what you call it.

My own definition/measuring stick will be that if a college professor picks up The Alligator Purse and discusses it in her classroom or if a book club can’t stop talking about it, then I will consider it Literary Fiction. (She says crossing fingers that one day that will happen.)

These three fantastico authors were at Fall for the Book…

Alma Katsu  – Alma inspired me because she was first published after the age of 50. There’s still hope for me! 😎 And her writing has gripped me – here is the start of her novel The Taker:

“Luke Findley’s breath hangs in the air, nearly a solid thing shaped like a frozen wasp’s nest, wrung of all its oxygen.”

That is some fabulous prose.

Louis Bayard is very simply a tremendous writer and a professor at George Washington Univ.

I also love the opening of The School of Night:

“Against all odds, against my own wishes, this is a love story. And, it began, of all places, at Alonzo Wax’s funeral.”

Now, I am curious as to what is going on.

and then there was Julianna Baggott. The movie rights to her latest novel Pure have already been purchased. She writes across genres and audiences. And, she speaks in poetry. The way she expressed her thoughts was beautiful. I can only imagine the prose in her stories will be scrumptious.

This is what Julianne said on her own blog about the panel discussion. She asked if it was worth her time – she sold fewer than ten books and her child was sick while she was gone. To that I say, “Thank you for coming. When you signed my book, you wrote Best of Luck With Your Writing, Imagine Wildly.” I don’t know if inspiring me was worth missing her sick child. But I was inspired and so were many others.

Mark Athitakis was also on the panel. He is a book critic and manages a guide to DC area readings. You can find that here. I hope one day that he will review my book.

Yes, you are right. That is only three authors. The fourth was one of my absolute faves – John Shors. He wrote the magical historical fiction about the Taj Mahal called  Beneath a Marble Sky. And, if you’ve been following for a while here, you might remember this review. His new book is called Temple of a Thousand Faces and you can preorder it here.

John was kind enough to call our writers group and share his insights on writing. Why did he do that? Because he is awesomesauce – that, and we asked him to.

It is amazing to me just how approachable some authors are. They share a unique understanding of how challenging this writing journey is. And they are eager to see other authors succeed. They want to encourage and enlighten them/us/me.

So, if you are thinking that you really missed out on some great opportunities – have no fear – American University is hosting a visiting writers series and you can get inspiration from some amazing authors. You’ll find the calendar here.

Outsourced……….blech…..

I was so excited for the premiere of the new tv show Outsourced and was absolutely bummed when my son’s back to school night was scheduled for the same night. Honestly, you would think the school administration would be a little more sensitive to my tv viewing preferences and be a little more careful to not create conflicts between my parenting and entertainment priorities. But no – they weren’t  – Outsourced aired right in the middle of my session of 8th grade math. Hpmf.

But the techno gods have been generous and blessed us with tivo capabilities. So, all is in sync in the parenting and hollywood worlds.

Last night, I finally got to see Outsourced – the new NBC comedy about an American manager running a call center in India. Frankly, they should have outsourced the production, writing, and editing. Blech. Let’s remember that I did offer my assistance. They should have taken me up on it. Who knows, maybe they still will. 😉 The Executive Producers are Robert Borden, Ken Kwapis, Victor Nelli, Jr., Tom Gorai, and David Skinner – just in case you are reading along fellows, you can contact me at AReasonToWrite (at) gmail (dot) com.

There wasn’t much about it that was realistic – even worse, there wasn’t much that was funny. And yes, I understand you are supposed to suspend reality and just laugh. But I just spent the past year and a half of my life living it and there is a lot that has laugh potential without being insulting. A lot. There is the line at the post office and the puja and oh, so much more.

I am not always great with chronology so I might not get my complaints in exact order but it doesn’t really matter.

The first big misstep was that the American manager went to work in a rickshaw. Beyond the fact that the rickshaw scene was very poorly done, an outsourced manager in India would very likely be driven to work by a driver. They just ruled out about 3 hilarious episodes by leaving out the driver and his very real side (splitting) story. Having a driver in India is part of the experience and it adds a whole new dimension to life abroad. It is so foreign to the way most Americans navigate through their day in the U.S. Maybe the manager should have tried to drive himself somewhere – now that would be funny. Very funny. Or try to communicate with a driver whose English is not exactly up to snuff – like here. Or try to find the zoo – like here.

However, my biggest criticism is the Outsourced character of the big Sikh guy who just looks intimidating and totally ticked off. Too easy. It’s (horrible) stereotyping. It’s ridiculous. And based on the Sikhs I met, it’s largely inaccurate. Many are actually gentle giants in many respects. Their temples all have kitchens and they feed absolutely anyone in need for free. I wrote about the Golden Temple here, where they feed over 100,000 people a day.

And then a cow appeared in the front office window. Really? A cow? That’s all you’ve got? Sure, cows roam the streets – but really? Again, way too easy. They should have at least made it a monkey (more realistic in front of an office window) or a camel or an elephant. At least that would have been unexpected. And not to be nit-picky but the cow in the window was way too fat.

On to the minor inaccuracies. All the desks are lovely, spread out, and nicely decorated with picture frames. Yeah. Not gonna happen. Call centers operate on shifts. And for obvious reasons, they try to get as many people in a room as they can (just like in U.S. offices). In the real world, two to three workers would rotate sitting at a desk during a 24-hour period. So there would be no personalizing your workspace. And it is highly unlikely that the boss would be sitting in the same room as the call center employees.

The Indian manager was wearing suspenders. I don’t think I ever saw an Indian man in India in a set of suspenders – I am not saying it didn’t happen – but I call malarkey. Or at least bad editing.

The company in the tv show sells novelty items – some of which are a bit risque. My experience with Indians is that they are very modest people. At one point in the show, the American manager is explaining the “value” of a mistletoe belt to the staff at the call center. How it works – why you would put mistletoe on a belt. Yeah, that would be totally inappropriate and awkward. Later in the episode, he shows the staff a plaque with a replica of a woman’s chest (read boobs) on it that jingles when a song is played. Maybe it was called Jingle Boobs – I had mostly tuned out at that point, so I probably didn’t get the name right. But please. A female employee at the call center laughs at the novelty item. I just really have a hard time believing that would be a typical response. Even most American women would not exactly be amused.

If it was Al and Peggy Bundy get Outsourced, it might have been chuckle-worthy. But it wasn’t about Married with Children hits India and it wasn’t funny.

The one thing that was funny was the food in the cafeteria but only because they made another (way too) easy joke about what we used to call Delhi Belly. When you are not used to spicy foods, you do have to be careful what you eat – and of course that is true of anywhere – not just in India. And some Indian food is super spicy and it can upset your belly. And it can be funny – when it happens to someone else – and someone else who knows better and laughs when they put it in his/her mouth and jokes “what’s the worst that can happen?”. That is what I call “famous last words”. Which are often followed by Montezuma’s Revenge and a quick re-enactment of the fabled Murphy’s Law.

So, for what it’s worth (and I realize that is nothing), I was left very unimpressed. I do, however, remain very willing to offer ideas and suggestions. 😉

Murphy’s Law………

I know, I know. I have been M.I.A.  Please forgive me.

Number One Hubby went out of town last week – so you know what that means, right? Right.

Kids got sick and I had the busiest week I have had in India since I have been here.

So, M.I.A. means Mother in Action.

While I was wallowing in the abyss of runny noses, doctors visits, and sleepless nights, number one hubby went to the U.S. and had slurpees and homemade breakfast. He ate authentic Mexican food with most of our family and drove his own car. It is fall in Virginia, so he also saw leaves changing and went outside without dripping sweat. He won’t admit it – but I think he actually had a cheeseburger, too. Bastard.

Do I sound a wee bit bitter?

I don’t mean to. Really, I don’t. I am not bitter. Because number one hubby is a smart hubby too. He brought back my favorite brand of microwave popcorn and gummy bears and teddy grahams and real American marshmallows. Plus he flew on 3 red-eye flights in 6 days. All the while, making sure our son’s hershey kisses didn’t melt. He had big tasks at hand and he skillfully maneuvered thru all of them.

But it was an insane week. I have so much to tell you I hardly know where to begin. But this week is crazy too. Now, I am sick – see – Murphy’s Law in full force- and have w.a.y. t.o.o. m.u.c.h. going on. This week might be sparse too. But I will be back with some amazing stories! I promise! But before I go (again), here is a quick story.

Just so you can appreciate the chaos of last week – here is a sampling of how the week went. We have a fabulous doctor – if you live in Delhi and need a good family doctor – email me. She is GREAT. Bear started off the week with a double ear infection. So our great doctor prescribed antibiotics. I am very careful here where I get my medicine. So, I sent my driver with the prescription to the Apollo hospital pharmacy to get the antibiotic and ear drops. It is not exactly around the corner. It took him (quite) a while.

He came back with the medicine. Perfect. I was very thankful I did not have to sit in traffic. Bear could come home and relax and rest. However, there was exactly enough medicine for one and a half days. Bear just happened to need 10 days worth. Remember, I am no math major – but that does not a.d.d. u.p. – not even with a calculator.

So the next day, I sent the driver back with the same prescription to get more. Yes, you read that right. I got to keep the prescription. They do not take it at the pharmacy. Again, thankful I do not have to sit in traffic. Again, not enough medicine comes home. I know, I know – if it happens once, shame on them – if it happens twice – shame on me. Shame on me.

Poor Kahn, back again – in traffic – to the pharmacy. This time with very specific instructions to get enough medicine.

As I am sure you can tell, this didn’t really mess up my week at all. It was poor Kahn who went back and forth in traffic. But it is an example of how difficult it can be to accomplish small tasks here. I am also amazed by how the pharmacies work in India. I had the same prescription filled three different times. And, truth be told, I probably didn’t even need a prescription. You can get almost any medication you want here – with or without doctors orders.

On parade…………

I was with a group of American ladies walking thru the streets of Delhi and we came across a group of Indian women walking through the streets of Delhi. It was a funny moment as we passed each other. You will see from the pictures the vast array of fabrics that Indian women wear. They are just stunning – the women and the clothes they wear. I have never seen so many women walking together at one time and it seemed like a parade. Surely, they felt bad for us in our drab clothing – I am sure they wondered why we looked like we were melting in the heat that we just cannot get used to. I am sure we made some connection over estrogen, comfortable shoes, and the universal truths of womanhood on a very esoteric level but I am not poetic enough to put words to that today. Really, we were all giggling like little school girls. It was a cool experience.

Many of the women motioned to us to please take their picture. It really is too bad that they have absolutely no idea that people all across the world will smile today because of them…

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This is where it all began……….

As you might remember, we went to Philadelphia recently.

It was amazing to stand in the room where the creators of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution actually formed these documents. Absolutely amazing. This Independence Hall. The place where it all began.

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This is the actual room where the discussions, debates, and negotiations took place among the representatives of the 13 original colonies – the National Park Service has good reason to believe that the chair at the front of the room is the chair that George Washington really sat in.

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Happy Fourth of July – I hope you all have the opportunity to enjoy and appreciate freedom and good health.

Seriously, just stop for a minute………

Those of you who follow this blog know I don’t normally cuss, but it irritates the S.H.I.T. out of me when people don’t stop for the National Anthem. Even if you aren’t American, you can stop what you are doing for a minute. So just stop already. Take off your hat, stop walking across the parking lot, put your cell phone away, stop brushing your hair, put your hand over your heart for God’s sake, put your drink down, and tell your children to shut the hell up. Remember, people die everyday defending our right to play that song – respectfully give them a minute of your time.

Oh yeah, Happy 4th of July! 🙂

Double Oh Seven…..

There are a lot of things that are different here in India. Most of them are pretty easy to adapt to. Some of them are causing me to stumble – not trip and fall – just stumble a tad.

Telephone numbers here are written differently. Not a big deal. But the way you say them makes me pause everytime. Talk about slowing down my ears.

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How would you say that number?

If you are American, you would probably say

Nine – Seven – Four – Four – Four – Zero – Eight – Seven – Seven

If you are in India, you would say

Nine – Seven – One – Triple Four – Zero – Eight – Double Seven

If you have been here a while and stayed with your Hindi lessons, you would say

Nau – Sat – Triple Car – Sunya – Ath – Double Sat

Be careful before you going around impressing all the ladies with your Hindi skills – the words aren’t pronounced like they are spelled – another stumbling block – for example, ath is “ought” – at least I think it is. AUGH.

Now, I know why James Bond is Double Oh Seven – it sounds a little better than Zero-Zero-Seven.

Karma is Haunting Me – Wrinkle One………..

A blogging friend of mine Lola blogged about her dog “helping” her sled down a hill and right onto a stick which ripped her pants – her very favorite pants. The ones that she has never been able to find another pair of. You can read her story here. She’s fine – so now her readers are left to enjoy a pretty funny rendition of events. Her dog and her butt survived but her beloved blue jeans did not. So in her comments section, I suggested that maybe she needed a furry pair of jeans to replace her ripped jeans. She is sassy – she knows I was kidding. But, I am afraid the Cosmos were left completely unaware.

So the Cosmos and Karma joined together to conspire against me. I am sure it is because I made a little joke about a friend’s dog – there is no other reason on this planet that Wrinkle Number One in our plan to move to India makes any sense at all. So, I am adding “being nicer to the animals of others” to my new years resolutions list. In fact, I am moving “being healthier” to the number two spot. PETA watch out – I am going to out-love you on all things animal.

It went a little something like this…..

Hold on one minute – I am going to get myself a glass of wine to relax as I re-learn to breath. I would invite you to grab a cup of whatever it is you fancy. This is a long one.

Okay, now I am set and I am pretty sure I am breathing again – panting maybe – I put my wine in a water bowl just in case –  I told you PETA watch out.

Number One Hubby left tonight for Delhi on a United Airlines flight. Yes, write that down – the airline not to use when flying your cats to India. United Airlines. Number One Hubby was taking two of our furry children with him. We arrived at the airport well outside of the requisite 2-hour time allowance to check in, kiss the furry ones goodbye, hug Dad – twice, and tearfully wave goodbye until we meet again in three weeks. Thank God we are timely folks because we spent well over an hour at the ticket counter. Can you guess what part of this did not happen?

And the winner loser is – the cats are not on the plane. I wish I could completely explain to you all of the pieces of the puzzle that did not fall into place but I am not absolutely clear on all of this myself. And, do not ask the first counter attendant, the second counter attendant, the counter attendant standing by watching,  the supervisor (who is not a supervisor, but a manager – so sorry), or the actual supervisor who only makes ghost appearances via the telephone (think of the banker in Deal or No Deal – only minus the shadow and minus the million dollar potential – but annoying all the same). None of them can explain it either. Some of them did not even try.

We have had these pet reservations for weeks. Oh yes, United allowed us to book these pet reservations thru Dubai and on to Delhi. We called this very morning to confirm our said pet reservations and were given the okay – your pets are booked – two thumbs up. We have the right crates (well minus the holes on all four sides – that was easily fixed), we had the right bowls, the right paperwork, we thought we had done everything, well, right. WRONG.

First, there was a lot of discussion about whether the cats would be considered cargo or freight or baggage and whole lot of other stuff whispered that we were not (supposed to be) privy to. So, I won’t go into how nerve-racking that was for my three little children who were standing there listening to whether or not their cats would actually be allowed on the plane or if they would be strapped to a wing. Hey, they have fur coats, don’t they? I completely lost my sense of humor at this point.

The first problem is that this airline does not interline pets. WTH? Interline – English please. We are still in America right? Interlining pets apparently does not mean putting little skates on them and letting them figure it out on their own – that would have been funny. Welcome back sense of humor – but, oh no, not so fast. Interlining means that they do not transfer pets from one airline to another. Okay. So, number one hubby can go pick up the cats from United in Dubai and hand carry them over to the connecting flight for Delhi. Right? Oh silly you. That’s what I thought too. Nope.

Dubai does not accept live animals. Then why were we allowed to book live animals on a flight that goes to Delhi – oh yeah, via Dubai? Good question – still no answer to that one. Why were we allowed to confirm live animals on a flight that goes to Delhi – via Dubai –  just this morning? Oh, you little pink panther you – another good question. No answer to that one either. Why do United regulations specify that each passenger can check two live pets with their ticket that goes to Delhi – say it with me – via Dubai? Oh you are really good – a criminal justice degree is certainly in your future.

Just as a side note – there was another couple standing right beside us with pet problems. Seems prevalent with United – at least tonight. And there was a United Representative going out of her way to help them. GASP. And I am not kidding when I say this – I really am not – she got written up for her (very helpful) actions. She helped the passengers – who were pleading with her for help – make their crates compliant. The couple had flown on United just a week before and several times before that with the very same crates that had passed inspection every single time. But tonight – well, they must have made fun of a friend’s dog too. Or they got caught in my wrath. So sorry.

But did you read that? She got written up for helping passengers follow United Airlines guidelines. Yes, my dear, something is very wrong with that. And now future passengers who are foolish enough to book their pets on United probably won’t be helped by her either. She is surely not going to want to lose her job in customer service just because she helps people get their furry family members on the same plane.

But, back to us and hold on a second, we thought we had progress. Ticket agent number one printed stickers for the cats. He was pulling them off the printer when the phone rang. And then he ripped them up. Huh? That’s what we said.

Circles – we danced all night in circles – no answers – not even one. Number One Hubby was actually on the phone with United Airlines in Delhi and they approved the cats – they had every intention of accepting the cats and were very willing to stand by that decision – if they could just be given the opportunity to do so. And still, somehow, the cats are still at home with me. The Delhi employee asked to speak with the United employees on our end. One spoke with him. Okay. Now what – she was looking for a supervisor. And, alas, we only  had a manager who would not even answer our request to speak to him.

So the supervisor who is actually not a supervisor but a manager (I am so glad she could clear something up) was very happy to spell her first and last name for us – repeatedly – would not even come back to the counter until she thought we were gone. The first counter attendant became Houdini and disappeared completely – he could feel our pain but could apparently no longer bear to share it with us. But we fooled that manager/supervisor – we were still there – because we had a representative from United Airlines in Delhi – her sister station – asking why they wouldn’t put the cats on the plane. She would not speak to them. She had gotten an answer from another invisible banker-boss in Chicago. Oh, that makes perfect sense because no part of our journey involves Chicago. So, I could see why she would not speak to the person from Delhi – where the cats were (supposed to be) going. Nor would she even look at us. Except to spell her name for us – again. She was helping someone else now. But sweetheart, you aren’t done with us yet. You should really read my blog on Part B.

Okay – I have one (more) question. Was she (not) helping someone else get their pets on the plane? These pets are a part of our family. Period. We have children – we are not crazy pet people – I am not really going to out-love PETA. But I am standing in front of you with real children who love their animals very much and my furry children who are frankly scared out of their minds. Help me. Find a solution that works. Do not walk away as if you have no responsibility to resolve this. You work for United Airlines. Your little uniform and the whole standing behind the counter thing has completely given you away. You may call yourself a manager rather than a supervisor – but the front-line employees called you because they did not know what to do. Your banker-boss was in another building. Honestly. Do something.

I am not kidding when I say that none of the CUSTOMER SERVICE representatives we dealt with offered any solutions. They only told us what could not be done. We could not put our cats on that plane. Fine. Let’s work with that. Is there another plane we can put them on? Can we reschedule to not go through Dubai? Can you talk to India about this – WE have them on the phone for you. No need to even exhaust yourself dialing the phone. How about a little understanding? Compassion? Alternative thinking?

If I had to pick a worst moment of the night it would be when the first counter attendant tried to finally explain something to us. He actually said to us in front of our three young children that the reason they were trying to be so careful is that his computer has a note right here that says that animals arriving in Delhi might be destroyed. And he, in fact, has known this to actually happen. Yes, he did say that out loud. Angel knows what destroyed means – she’s only seven, so she doubted herself and asked me repeatedly what destroyed means, with very big tears in her eyes. I finally (thought fast) and explained they were talking about the paperwork.  Guess who I won’t be nominating for employee of the year.

Here is the best part of the story. It seems that United in Delhi is very confused and a representative from United (and I believe he is actually a manager and a supervisor who admits to being both) plans to meet Number One Hubby when his plane lands in Delhi. But he won’t get to meet our cats, so this might fall under the “too little, too late, there are no actual cats with me” category.

I am so thankful that we had this little dry run. Honestly, I do not know what we might have done if we were all leaving at this time. Maybe Karma is not exactly conspiring against me but just showing me the ropes.

So, we kiss number one hubby goodbye, because he is now in serious threat of missing his flight, and we took the cats back to the car.  The cats thanked us by pooping and passing gas all the way home. The kids were in stitches.  I heard every elementary school bathroom joke on the planet. As if the night had not been entertaining enough.

There are implications that reach well beyond the tremendous stress that all of us experienced tonight. Changing our flights means changing a lot of things – the day the utilities are switched, the day the kids leave school, the day the kids start school, the day my husband flies home to help us, the stress level of our next trip has already quadrupled, all of the travel arrangements need to be rearranged – you see there is a ripple effect.

The kids are now in bed with cats curled up beside them. There are five (temporarily) happy hearts right now in this house. My heart is (barely) beating – but that is about it. Because in three weeks we have to try this all again and there will not be an exit plan. Five people are getting on a plane – there will be no one left to take the cats home – home is now in Delhi and those cats have to come with. So we have decided to vote with our wallets and are switching to American Airlines.

Notes – I reread this when I woke up this morning and then again just now. I wanted to make sure I did not exaggarate what happened out of frustration. I did not – in fact, I was quite gracious in my depiction of events. Yes, it was that bad. And I want to be clear that Number One Hubby and I did not yell – we did not make a scene – we were certainly frustrated but we were adults about it. Paying. Customer. Adults.

Proud to be an American – very proud

Normally, I try to be funny and, I have to admit, I can sometimes be a smarty pants (who me). But not today. Today is serious. It’s almost Veterans Day.

We should all take a moment and be thankful for our freedoms. In fact, it’s a holiday, so take the whole day and just be thankful. No complaining about this great country – no matter who you voted for or why you voted for them. In fact, don’t talk about politics for the whole day.  We are all in this together.

Take a second to remember that it is true, our freedoms were not free. Many people sacrificed for us – with their lives. Not just a little inconvenience – but their lives. They missed seeing their children grow up, they missed that last kiss from their husband or wife, they missed hearing how proud their parents must have been of them, they missed meeting their grandchildren – they missed everything. And, those who fortunately survived their service – well they were willing to sacrifice everything. Lucky for us.

Those of you who know my dad know that he is just one of my favorite people in the world. He taught me a valuable lesson when I was in about 6th grade. He was in the Air Force and we lived in Germany. One day I was visiting him at his office and we went out for lunch.

As we were walking, the National Anthem starting playing. It is a lovely little tradition at military bases that usually happens at noon. And it means everything stops. Oh, those were the days. Even cars. Everything stopped. People even take off their hats and put their hand over their heart. Beautiful! And, when I was out with my dad that day, this young kid in uniform decided that on that day he did not need to stop. Poor guy. He did it in front of my dad. Ooops.

Now, my dad is full of social grace, so this kid was lucky. My dad was a gentleman about it – but he made it clear. Crystal clear. You stop for the National Anthem – period. That had an impact on me – I thought, pay attention, this is very important.

From that day on, whenever I hear the National Anthem, I feel it in my bones. Really, I tingle. I get teary-eyed every single time. I am so proud to be an American.

Give yourself a gift today and click on this link. Nobody, and I mean nobody sings the National Anthem like Whitney Houston. She almost brings me to my knees. You can tell she feels it too – she smiles and she feels it in her bones. You can just tell. So, stop what you are doing and listen http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qciWEufZ2xA&feature=related – and take off your hat and put your hand over your heart.

And don’t forget to thank a veteran.

Thank you dad, thank you Joe, thank you grandpa Connors, and thank you grandpa Keresman! Thank you to everyone who has ever worn a uniform, loved someone in uniform, or God forbid, lost someone in uniform. God Bless.

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