Thursday, April 21, 2011

The More You Know...The More You Don't Know.


Sometimes you think you know yourself. And then a single act, or series of events happen, and you discover new boundaries you never knew existed within your own being. Some people thrive exploring this existential 'zone' of their lives, while others aren't comfortable enough to even acknowledge it. I feel like for the past few years I have been bouncing between these two worlds. I've been struggling with a dull existence in south Florida, a place that, for the most part, I despise...while at the same time traveling to and exploring everywhere my budget will allow me, so as to open my mind and heart up to new things. There are days that I feel complacent, looking back at the 7 days of the week that have past, and scolding myself for the opportunities that have escaped me. Then there are days that I feel invigorated at the new experiences I've had, the people I've met, or the moments I relish on the calendar that lie ahead of me. What I've come to learn and understand is...the more you know...the more you don't know.

Sometimes you think you know a person. Whether it be a friend or a lover, they are that one person whom you trust with your thoughts, feelings and emotions. At some point, your walls or barriers crumble down and you expose all your vulnerabilities to them. They have the power, whether it be through words or actions, to cut you to your core. There are others that, while you may not have considered them closest to you, prove to be the people that have your best interests at heart. What I've come to learn and understand is...the more you think you know someone...the more you don't know them.

I'm happy to have experienced moments of reckoning this past week. It has made clearer all that I thought I knew...and all that I have to learn.


Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Why I Haven't Missed Facebook


This year for Lent I decided to give up my unacknowledged addiction to Facebook, and I must say, it's been one of the most eye-opening experiences I've had in a while. I will be the first to admit, initially it was hard. I didn't realize how habitual it was for me to click on that little 'F' button on my iphone, or unconsciously log on from my computer when talking on the phone at work. The first few days I felt like an addict going thru a withdrawal spell. Then, almost as unconsciously as the one-sided relationship had developed, I realized that it was no longer significant for me to have my 'Newsfeed' fix.

I learned I didn't miss the drama either. There was no love lost from seeing the 'friends' that pretend to be close to others with insanely smothering posts of adulation and affection, while stabbing in the back those same people any time they have an audience. I didn't miss the self-absorbed posts of how people were spending their every-milli-second of their day, trying to out-post their list of cyber friends with how great their lives were or what they were doing. I felt like the chatter in my head subsided a little. I wasn't caught up in keeping up with the lives of others, and have been focusing on things in my own life that I want to achieve or overcome.

What's even more ironic is, as I went thru this Facebook cleanse, it became even more apparent how many people are ruled by the details floating around in the cyber world. Someone else had actually noticed that another friend of mine was seemingly 'snubbing' me lately and actually made a comment about it to me. Since I haven't been active on Facebook, I couldn't really ascertain why someone else would come to that conclusion...and it's even more ironic that that is how microscopic our lives have become in this internet age.

The one thing that became crystal clear thru this 40 day cleanse....I'd rather have one TRUE friend instead of 500 FAKE ones.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Giving Up What Needs Giving Up.


There's really no way around saying this, so I'll just come right out and say it. 2010 sucked. Like hardcore. I felt like was living under a dark cloud the past year. Well, in all fairness, not ALL 365 days...just most of them. Dating drama. Rocky roads with friendships. Natural disasters disrupting dream vacations. But the darkest days...the ones that shook me to my core, was a cancer scare that took six months to resolve as a concern rather than diagnosis. There is nothing more humbling then to think of something eating at you from the inside out. But it seems if it wasn't a 'sickness', it was every other situation.

So as spring is offering the opportunity for 'cleansing' and 'out with the old', I am going to make a very conscience effort to rid my life of the things, people, emotions, feelings and all the other crap and baggage that held me down in 2010. My life needs a fresh coat of paint. Something of a gentler, calming, subtler shade.

As I sit her writing this, listening to my David Gray CD, I can't help be laugh at the irony of the lyrics playing now..."Wave hello, say goodbye".

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

An Awakening


A time comes in your life when you finally get it...when, in the midst of all your fears and insanity, you stop dead in your tracks and somewhere the voice inside your head cries out - ENOUGH!

Enough fighting and crying or struggling to hold on. And like a child quieting down after a blind tantrum, your sobs begin to subside, you shudder once or twice, you blink back your tears and begin to look at the world through new eyes. This is your awakening.

You realize it's time to stop hoping and waiting for something to change...or for happiness, safety and security to come galloping over the next horizon. You come to terms with the fact that neither of you is Prince Charming or Cinderella, and that in the real world there aren't always fairy-tale endings - or beginnings for that matter, and that any guarantee of "happily ever after" must begin with you. And in the process, a sense of serenity is born of acceptance. You awaken to the fact that you are not perfect and that not everyone will always love or appreciate or approve of who or what you are...and that's okay. They are entitled to their own views and opinions. And you learn the importance of loving and championing yourself...and in the process, a sense of newfound confidence is born of self-approval.

You stop blaming other people for the things they did to you, or didn't do for you, and you learn that the only thing you can really count on is the unexpected. You learn that people don't always say what they mean or mean what they say, and that not everyone will always be there for you, and that it's not always about you. So, you learn to stand on your own, and to take care of yourself. And in the process, a sense of safety and security is born of self-reliance.

You stop judging and pointing fingers and you begin to accept people as they are, and overlook their shortcomings and human frailties...and in the process a sense of peace and contentment is born of forgiveness.

You realize that much of the way you view yourself, and the world around you, is a result of all the messages and opinions that have been ingrained in your psyche. And you begin to sift through all the junk you've been fed about how you should behave, how you should look, how much you should weigh, what you should wear, what you should do for a living, how much money you should make, what you should drive, how and where you should live, who you should marry, the importance of having and raising children, and what you owe your parents, family and friends.

You learn to open up to new worlds and different points of view. And you begin reassessing and redefining who you are and what you really stand for. You learn the difference between wanting and needing, and you begin to discard the doctrines and values you've outgrown, or never should have bought into in the first place...and in the process, you learn to go with your instincts.

You learn that it is truly in giving that we receive. And that there is no power and glory in creating and contributing, and you stop maneuvering through life merely as a "consumer" looking for your next fix.

You learn to be thankful, and to take comfort in many of the simple things we take for granted - things that millions of people upon the earth can only dream about: a full refrigerator, clean running water, a soft warm bed, a long hot shower.

Slowly, you begin to take responsibility for yourself and you make yourself a promise to never betray yourself, and never, ever settle for less than your heart's desire. And you hang a wind chime outside your window so you can listen to the wind. And you make a point to keep smiling, to keep trusting, and to stay open to every wonderful possibility.

Finally, with courage in your heart and God by your side, you take a stand. You take a deep breath, and you begin to design the life you want to live as best you can.

1/31/91 - In Remembrance


Jan 29-31, 1991

Opening Moves

The crew of the Air Force E-8 Joint STARS planned to spend most of the night of Jan. 29, 1991, searching for Scud sites in western Iraq and monitoring territory in front of the US Army VII Corps. Operation Desert Storm had been under way for 12 days, and the Joint STARS crew members were accustomed to dividing time along a wide arc, ranging from Iraqi forces massed on the Kuwait Saudi border area near the coast to suspected Scud sites far to the northwest.

A few hours into their mission, at 9:30 p.m. local time, the Joint STARS fanned its sensors over the southern part of Kuwait. Activity deep behind the lines had been building for a few days. Tonight, the moving target indicators showed clear signs of an attack in the making. Forces from Iraq's 5th Mechanized Division and 3d Armored Division were moving south to cross the border near a deserted Saudi town named Khafji. Iraq was trying to start a ground war of its own.

What the Joint STARS crew saw that night was, in fact, the beginning of Iraq's only organized offensive during the Persian Gulf War. The main phase of the Battle of Khafji lasted less than 48 hours, but it marked a turning point in the debate over the ability of airpower to dominate enemy maneuver forces. At Khafji, Joint airpower demonstrated something new: a heretofore unknown ability to stop moving enemy armored forces at night, on short notice, and without a synchronized ground counterattack. The contribution of Spirit 03 and her sister AC-130 gunships in this regard cannot be overstated, and has contributed to a wholly new understanding of the role of close air support in defense of ground forces.

After evacuating his front-line aircraft, Saddam must have realized that he had misjudged the effectiveness and persistence of the coalition air attacks. With no end to the air war in sight, the chance to use Iraqi military forces in Kuwait was slipping away. In his effort to seize the initiative, Saddam had one more option: a mechanized offensive across the Saudi border to engage coalition ground forces immediately.

Four days earlier, on Jan. 25, Saddam convened senior military leaders and began planning to attack. As forces from Iraq's III Corps began preparations, Joint STARS sensors detected and recorded the increased activity. Earthmoving equipment dug berms and reinforced artillery positions on Jan. 26 and 27. Armored vehicles from the 3d Armored Division moved into position on Jan. 28.

Iraqi Deception

A few hours after darkness fell on Jan. 29, A column of several dozen Iraqi tanks approached the abandoned Saudi town of Khafji. With all turrets pointed to the rear in the international military sign of surrender, the small number of Saudi forces defending the town permitted the enemy force to draw close, in anticipation of their surrender. As the tanks approached, however, the Iraqis turned their turrets toward the defenders and opened fire. This surprise attack proved to be the spearhead of an invasion of Khafji and in a short time the Iraqis drove out the joint force defending the town, occupied it, and began the formation of a defensive posture in anticipation of a counterattack. This force was estimated at approximately 40 tanks and 500 ground troops. During this time, in addition to casualties inflicted on the retrating forces, two soldiers from a U.S. transportation battalion - one a female - were reported missing and believed captured and two six-man Marine recon teams were stranded behind enemy lines. These Marines took up covert positons on rooftops, and would continue to relay back vital information on Iraqi troop movements throughout the battle. At the time, however, the Marines were stranded, surrounded, and in imminent danger.

Realizing the scope of the situation, the coalition next had to determine the intent of the Iraqi probes, contain the offensive forces, and regain control over Khafji. For the US led coalition ground forces, the Iraqi attack came at an awkward moment. The Army component was in the midst of its three-week redeployment from the coastal area to attack positions more than 200 miles west. Any disruption to the 24-hour-a-day caravan might upset the timetable for the upcoming attack. Containing the offensive and pushing the Iraqis out of Saudi territory was vital.

As the battle began, theater commander Army Gen. H. Norman Schwarzkopf told reporters, "The mere fact that they launched these attacks indicates they still have a lot of fight left in them."

Joint STARS reports of Iraqi movement on the border and behind the lines flowed into the Tactical Air Control Center that night at about 10 p.m. local time. Brig. Gen. Buster Glosson received the first Joint STARS reports and conferred with Horner. The JFACC ordered the single Joint STARS aircraft flying that night to swing back to the KTO and concentrate its arc of coverage over the border area near Khafji. Later that night--at 2 a.m. on Jan. 30--the Joint STARS sensors began to detect more movement as the 5th Mechanized entered Khafji and elements of the 3d Armored advanced through the adjacent Al Wafra forest. To the west, the Iraqi 1st Mechanized Division probed across the border.

Unbeknownst to Saddam, Schwarzkopf had decided not to play into his hands by launching a ground counterattack. "Schwarzkopf told us he didn't want to put any other forces over there," recalled retired USAF Maj. Gen. Thomas R. Olsen, who at the time was serving as CENTAF deputy commander. Schwarzkopf instructed his commanders to use airpower as the key element, along with Marine, Saudi, and other coalition ground forces, to stop the attack. To increase the margin of safety, the Marines embarked on a phased redeployment in their sector to put a buffer of about 20 kilometers of territory between coalition forces and the Iraqis. As long as airpower could reach deep to stop the offensive, the coalition ground forces in the area would not have to be reinforced, and Schwarzkopf would not have to reposition the redeploying Army forces.

Striking Back

At the Air Operations Center, the first task was to direct sorties already scheduled on the night's Air Tasking Order to strike moving Iraqi forces picked up by the Joint STARS sweep. Air attacks were funneled into the KTO from different altitudes and directions using a grid of designated "kill boxes" as a control measure. Each box measured 30 kilometers by 30 kilometers and was subdivided into four quadrants. Planners pushed a four-ship flight through each kill box every seven to eight minutes in daytime and every 15 minutes at night. In the designated area of the box, a flight lead was free to attack any targets he could identify.

Within the CINC's guidance to the air component, air interdiction operated independently. Hundreds of air attacks on Iraqi forces in Kuwait were already scheduled and under way. For example, more than 100 Air Force A-10 sorties were concentrated on the Republican Guards Tawakalna Division far to the northwest of Khafji. Many of the other sorties listed on the Air Tasking Order were already assigned to areas where the three divisions were gathered for the offensive. With airpower already flowing through the kill boxes, air controllers quickly diverted sorties to the Marine forward air controllers or sent them ahead to interdict the Iraqi forces attempting to reach coalition lines.

Pilots found the Iraqi armored vehicles were easier to identify and target once they were on the move. Near Al Wafra, an A-10 pilot described the sight of a column of vehicles as "like something from A-10 school." A-6s joined in, using Rockeye air-to-ground weapons. A-10 pilot Capt. Rob Givens later recalled with some amazement: "I, myself--one captain in one airplane--was engaging up to a battalion size of armor on the ground" and "keeping these guys pinned for a little bit." AFSOC AC-130 gunships waiting on alert were scrambled after a hasty briefing. As lead elements of the 5th Mechanized with some support from the 3d Armored reached Khafji, one Air Force gunship caught the column and stopped many of them from entering the town.

Anti-aircraft fire and occasional missile launches were reported by the aircrews. However, the rapid attacks to squelch the initiative of the maneuver force also hit the Iraqis before they could bring up and assemble most of their heavier air defense guns and shoulder-fired SAMs, an important edge for the coalition that contributed to increased aircraft survivability and effectiveness.

By the morning of Jan. 30, a few hundred Iraqi troops were occupying the town of Khafji. Air attacks on the columns had been so effective that the objective of the Iraqi attack remained unclear to the coalition. "So few Iraqis made it across the border," Horner later recalled, "that it appeared to be some sort of minor action."

For the coalition, recapturing Khafji itself and stopping any Iraqi attempts to reinforce the town were the top priorities. Marines moved into place south of Al Wafra to hold the sector. Fixed-wing aircraft, attack helicopters, and artillery pieces joined the close-in battle around Khafji. Cobra helicopters with TOW antitank missiles cycled throughout the day to attack targets like Iraqi armored personnel carriers at close range inside the town of Khafji. Throughout the day, fixed-wing sorties scheduled on the ATO checked in with the Marine forward air controllers to seek out targets. An OV-10 spotted an Iraqi tank column moving south toward the town and passed the location to several airborne Marine F/A-18s. Pilots later told forward air controller Maj. Jim Braden, USMC, that as soon as the first Iraqi vehicles got hit, they all stopped moving and became much fatter targets for the aircrews. Toward evening, Saudi and Qatari forces assigned to the area began the first of two attacks to retake the town.

Spirit 03

Three gunships were airborne that morning over the Marines, and the first two had destroyed numerous armored personnel carriers. Air attacks destroyed some vehicles, damaged several more, and forced crews to abandon others. The net effect was to strip the enemy of its ability to achieve the surprise, momentum, massed effects, and dominance that are the hallmarks of successful maneuver.

At 0600 hours on the morning of January 31, "Spirit 03" was the last of three AC-130 Spectre gunships on station to provide close air support for the embattled Marines on the ground. Spirit 03 was due to end its patrol when it received a call from the Marines - they needed an enemy missile battery destroyed. Despite the risk of anti-aircrarft artillery fire, and the greater danger of the morning sun casting light on the circling gunship, the crew of "Spirit 03" chose to remain and destroy the position requested.

Soon after eliminating the target designated by the Marines, a lone Iraqi hoisted an SA-7 "Grail" manportable surface-to-air missile to his shoulder. In the dawn of the early morning light, the form of the large AC-130 slowly became visible in the skies over Khafji. The decision to remain behind to support the Marines cost the pilots and crew of Spirit 03 their best defensive weapon - darkness. The Iraqi pointed the weapon at the aircraft, and fired. The missile found its target and at 0635 hours the aircraft sent out a "mayday" distress call and then crashed into the waters of the Persian Gulf. All 14 crewmembers were killed.

Conclusion

With the offensive now about 24 hours old, and Saudi and Qatari forces pressing in on Khafji, bringing up reinforcements was the only chance for Iraq to recover the initiative or to try again to draw the coalition into a ground battle. The coalition forces engaged in and around Khafji did not know that Iraq was about to move fresh elements of the 3d Armored Division and 5th Mechanized Division under cover of darkness to reinforce Khafji and engage coalition forces.

The Joint STARS aircraft, scanning deep into the enemy's territory for moving targets, detected columns moving along the coastal road toward Khafji and at other points just inside Kuwait. Air controllers directed airborne assets to nip at the Iraqi attempts to recommence operations. One stunning example of this came at about 2 a.m. local time on Feb. 1; Joint STARS recorded an air attack in progress on a column of vehicles. In the first minutes of the attack, the lead Iraqi vehicles swerved off the road and into the desert. Multiple Joint STARS tracks of the primary and secondary Iraqi lines of communication across Kuwait confirmed that air attacks had disrupted vehicle traffic throughout the area. Instead of advancing toward the coalition forces, Iraq's forces were being stopped, rerouted, delayed, and destroyed. Iraq's forces were unable to continue with organized maneuver. By the late morning of Jan. 31, the entire offensive had unraveled.

A few days following the downing of Spirit 03, Air Force Special Operations Command personnel delivered their response to the Iraqis in the form of a BLU-82 "Daisy Cutter". (The BLU-82 is a 15,000 pound GP bomb originally designed to clear helicopter landing zones in Vietnam. The warhead contains 12,600 pounds of GSX slurry and is detonated just above ground level by a 38-inch fuze extender. The weapon produces an overpressure of 1,000 pounds per square inch. Eleven BLU-82s were dropped during Desert Storm, all from Special Operations MC-130s. The initial drops were intended to test the ability of the bomb to clear mines; no reliable bomb damage assessment exist on mine clearing effectiveness. Later, bombs were dropped as much for their psychological effect as for their destructive power...the Daisy Clutter with an image of the "Spectre Ghostrider" painted on it).



Dedicated in Respectful Memory to the Pilots and Crew of Spirit 03

Senior Master Sergeant Paul G. Buege - Sensor Operator
Major Paul J. Weaver - Pilot
Captain Clifford Bland, Jr. - Co-Pilot
Captain Dixon L. Walters - Electronic Warfare Officer
Captain Arthur Galvan - Fire Control Officer
Captain William D. Grimm - Navigator
Senior Master Sergeant James B. May II, Gunner
Technical Sergeant Robert K. Hodges - Gunner
Technical Sergeant John L. Oelschlager - Gunner
Staff Sergeant Timothy R. Harrison - Gunner
Staff Sergeant John P. Blessinger - Sensor Operator
Staff Sergeant Mark J. Schmauss - Illuminator Operator
Staff Sergeant Damon J. Kanuha - Flight Engineer
Sergeant Barry M. Clark - Gunner


As documented on the SpecialOperations.com website.

My Life's List


May I do these things before I die...or die trying. (**means I did it!)

1. Swim with Dolphins
 (FL)
2. Take an airboat ride in the Everglades (FL)**
3. Climb the St. Augustine Light House (FL)
4. View a sunset in Key West (FL)**
5. Skydive (FL)
6. Parasail (FL or Bahamas)
7. Camping on a river (AL)**
8. Eat a Georgia Peach...in Georgia (GA)
9. Bed & Breakfast in Savannah/Charleston (GA/SC)
10. Experience a Low-country vacation (SC)
11. Hike Blue Ridge Mountains (SC/NC/TN)
12. Visit the Biltmore Estate
 (NC)
13. Camp in the Smokey Mountains
 (TN)
14. White water rafting (WV)**

15. Nighttime monument tour (DC)**
16. Visit DC during Cherry Blossom season (DC)**
17. Visit the Smithsonian museums (DC)**
18. Visit the Baltimore Harbor (MD)**
19. See a game in Camden Yards (MD)**
20. Visit during Fall Foliage (VT)**
21. Exploring Vieux-Montréal – Old Quarter (Montreal)
22. Fall foliage/covered bridges drive (PA)**
23. Visit Omish Country (PA) **
24. Climb the Rocky Steps (PA)**
25. Philly cheesesteak at Geno’s/Pat’s (PA)**
26. Have a "Slice of Heaven" at Mystic Pizza (CT)
27. Spend a weekend in Martha's Vineyard
 (MA)
28. Visit Boston Harbor (MA)
29. Do a Lighthouse Tour (ME)
30. Eat a Maine lobster (ME)
31. Visit Acadia National Park (ME)
32. Empire State Building/Statue of Liberty (NY)**
33. Go to a Yankees Game (NY)
34. Horse-carriage Ride in Central Park (NY)
35. Stand in Times Square (NY)**
36. Search NJ Pinelands for the Jersey Devil (NJ)
37. Niagara Falls
 (Ontario)
38. Picnic on Lake Michigan (MI)
39. Visit Lambeau Field (WI)**
40. Oktoberfest in Milwaukee (WI)
41. Bike along Gitchi-Gami State Trail (MN)
42. Visit Minnehaha Falls Park (MN)
43. Stroll Chicago Loop (IL)
44. Indy 500 (IN)**
45. Attend a Pow Wow (ND)
46. Mt. Rushmore (SD)
47. See bison in Custer State Park (SD)
48. Beignets & coffee at Café Du Monde (LA)**
49. SXSW festival in Austin (TX)**
50. Stroll San Antonio River Walk/Alamo (TX)
51. Albuquerque Hot air balloon festival (NM)
52. View a sunrise/sunset over the Grand Canyon
 (AZ)**
53. Visit Sedona (Red Rock, Montezuma Castle National Monument) (AZ)**
54. Cruise the Vegas Strip 
(NV)**
55. Drive Route 66 
(NV)**
56. Bronco game at Mile High Stadium (CO)**
57. Visit Rocky Mountain National Park (CO)**
58. See Dave Matthews Concert in Red Rocks Amphitheatre (CO)
59. Bryce Canyon National Park
 (UT)
60. Zion National Park (UT)
61. Arches National Park (UT)
62. Sundance Film Festival
 (UT)
63. Hike/camp Sawtooth Mountain State Park (ID)
64. Yellowstone National Park (WY)
65. Grand Teton National Park (WY)
66. Visit a Dude Ranch (WY or MT)
67. Visit Glacier National Park
 (MT)
68. Ride Copper King Express rail car (MT)
69. Visit Lake Banff (Moraine/Peyto/Louise Lakes, Johnston Canyon (Calgary)
70. Drive Crater Lake (OR)
71. Climb Astoria Column (OR)
72. Hike Mount Rainier (WA)**
73. Visit top of the Space Needle (WA)**
74. Whale watching in Victoria
 (British Columbia)**
75. Go Dog-sledding (AK)**
76. See the Inside Passage (AK)**
77. See the Northern Lights (AK)
78. Denali National Park (AK)
79. Cycle along PCH / Santa Monica Mtns (CA)
80. Wine Tour (Napa / Sonoma) (CA)**
81. Picture in front of Hollywood sign (CA)**
82. Ride a trolley in San Francicso (CA)**
83. Visit Yosemite National Park
 (CA)

84. Canopy Tree rides (Costa Rica)**
85. Rappell a waterfall (Costa Rica)**
86. Angel Falls (Venezuela)

87. Christ the Redeemer Statue (Rio de Janiero, Brazil)
88. Copacabana Beach (Rio de Janiero, Brazil)
89. Carnival (Rio, Brazil)

90. Kiss the Blarney Stone (Blarney, Ireland)**
91. Drive Ring of Kerry (Killarney, Ireland)**
92. Drink a beer in an Irish Pub (Dublin, Ireland)**
93. See the Book of Kells (Dublin, Ireland) **
94. Visit St. Patricks Cathedral (Dublin, Ireland)**
95. Stand on the Cliffs of Moher (Clare, Ireland)**
96. Stand on the Dingle Peninsula (Kerry, Ireland)
97. See a ‘football’ game in England (London, England)
98. Big Ben (London, England)

99. Buckingham Palace / changing of the guards (London, England)
100. Tower of London (London, England)
101. Walk along York City Walls (York, England)
102. Visit the York Minster (York, England)
103. Visit Stonehenge (Wiltshire, England)
104. Hit a golf ball on St. Andrews Course (Fife, Scotland)
105. View Loch Ness (Highlands, Scotland)
106. Visit Edinburgh Castle (Edinburgh, Scotland)

107. Running of the Bulls (Pamplona, Spain)

108. Visit the La Sagrada Familia (Barcelona, Spain)
109. Experience a Flamenco Dinner Show (Madrid, Spain)
110. View the Seine River (Paris, France)
111. Palace of Versailles (Paris, France)
112. Eiffel Tower (Paris, France)
113. Visit the Cathédrale Notre Dame de Chartres (Chartres, France)
114. Visit the Château de Versailles (Versailles, France)
115. Walk the canopy street of Cours Mirabeau (Aix-en-Provence, France)
116. Have a sunset drink at Hotel Carlton Inter-Continental (Cannes, France)
117. Sunbathe in Nice (Nice, France)
118. Photo a Brigette Bardot look-a-like in St. Tropez (St. Tropez, France)
119. Visit The Grand Casino (Monte Carlo, Monaco)
120. Wander the streets of Bruges (Bruges, Belgium)
121. Walk the square of La Grand Palace (Brussels, Belgium)
122. Eat pommes frites at Léon De Bruxelles (Brussels, Belgium)
123. Visit the Anne Frank House (Amsterdam, Netherlands)
124. Bike thru the city (Amsterdam, Netherlands)
125. Walk amongst the Tulips (Amsterdam, Netherlands)
126. Walk on the wild side of the Red Light District (Amsterdam, Netherlands)
127. Visit Cologne’s Cathedral Quarter (Cologne, Germany)
128. Visit Heidelberg’s Schloss (castle) (Heidelberg, Germany)**
129. Visit the Christmasmarkets (Nuremberg & Munich)
130. Visit the Brandenburg Gate / where the Wall was (Berlin, Germany)
131. Enjoy a spa-day in Baden-Baden (Baden-Baden, Germany)**
132. Drive the Romantic Road (Bavaria, Germany)
133. Drink a beer at the Hofbräuhaus (Munich, Germany)**
134. Oktoberfest (Munich, Germany)
135. Visit the Neuschwanstein Castle (Füssen, Germany)
136. Snowboard in Austria (Lech, Austria)
137. Wander thru Vienna (Vienna, Austria)
138. Throw a coin in the Fontana di Trevi (Rome, Italy)**
139. Stand in the Coliseum (Rome, Italy)**
140. Visit the Vatican City/stand in St. Peter’s Square (Vatican City, Italy)**

141. Shopping in Milan (Milan, Italy)
142. Visit the Il Duomo church (Milan, Italy)
143. Wander the streets of Florence (Florence, Italy)
144. Have a gelato at Lucca (Tuscany, Italy)
145. Visit a Chianti vineyard (Tuscany, Italy)
146. Leaning tower of Pisa (Tuscany, Italy)
147. See the City of Pompeii (Campania, Italy)
148. Drive the Amalfi Coast (Campania, Italy)
149. Ride a gondola (Venice, Italy)

150. Wander the island of Crete (Crete, Greece)
151. See the Doric Temple of Apollo (Delphi, Greece)
152. Visit the ‘carless’ island of Hydra (Hydra, Greece)**
153. Visit the Acropolis (Athens, Greece)**
154. Sunbathe in Santorini (Santorini, Greece)**

155. Take an African safari
156. Victoria Falls (Zimbabwe, Africa)

157. The Temples of Khajuraho (Madhya Pradesh, India)

158. Picture in front of the Taj Mahal (Uttar Pradesh, India)

159. Ride a camel in the desert
 (Rajasthan, India)
160. Shop the Chatuchak Market (Bangkok, Thailand)

161. Ride an elephant (Mae Hong Son, Thailand)

162. Wander Pho Hoa (Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam)
163. Visit The Forbidden City (Beijing, China)
164. Stand among the Terra-Cotta Warriors (Xi'an, China)

165. Visit the gardens and teahouses of West Lake (Hangzhou, China)

166. Cherry Blossom Viewing (Yoshino, Japan)

167. Hike the Buddhist monuments of Borobundur (Java, Indonesia)

168. See a kangaroo in the outback
169. Picture in front of the Opera House (Sydney, Australia)
170. Dive the Barrier Reef (Queensland, Australia)
171. Climb Uluru (Alice Springs, Australia)
172. Visit Kakadu National Park (Northern Territory, Australia)
173. Easter Island – stone figures
 (Pacific Islands)

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Just me.


I love to laugh.
If you can laugh at yourself, chances are we could be friends.
I believe in fate.
I also believe that you control your destiny.
I'm strong, but weak at the same time.
I can be stubborn as hell.
I would do anything for the people I love.
When I love someone, I love with all my heart.
I’m passionate about passion.
I'll never let you see me cry.
I wish I was better at forgiving & forgetting…
Seems I can only do one or the other.
I'm an over-thinker.
I love challenges.
I’m not good at being idle.
I’m an adventure junkie.
I refuse to admit my age, even though I act it.
I hate superficiality.
I live in the land of it.
I'd rather be at a sports or dive bar than a club any day.
Don’t put me on a pedestal, because eventually I will fall off.
I love music, and I’m still working on my “life soundtrack”.
I have no regrets; I have experiences.
I learn from my mistakes.
I can be stubbornly independent.
If you tell me I can’t do something, I will prove to you I can.
I like to think the glass is always half full.
I cannot stand negative people.
I don’t believe in “perfect”.
I’m loyal to no end.
I’d rather lead than follow.
I'm not always as strong as I come off.
I'm not as innocent as I look.
I prefer tulips over roses.
I’m me, and I’d consider myself a “work in progress”.
Stick around to see my masterpiece.