Have you seen those commercials for Citibank's "Thank You Redemptions Network"?

You know ... the commercials ...

Like the one with the couple sitting in a restaurant and the female asks her male companion if he plans on marrying her. He squirms in a smarmy, bizarro manner and in his best Tourette Syndrome voice says, "Thank you!" She, in return, looks satisfied and says, "You've never said that to me before."

Or perhaps the commercial with the two women in the produce department of a grocery store: One woman looks at the other woman (who is a bit chubby) and says, "You must be having a boy." The chubby lady looks mortified at the implication that she is so heavy that she appears pregnant. However, all is made right when the first woman simply says, "Thank you".

Then there is the guy working in a multiple cubicle office who apparently sends an inappropriate email, in error, to the entire office. His rather irate looking supervisor/boss approaches him and again, it is all smoothed over by a "Thank you".

Alrighty then.

Wouldn't "real life" be wonderful if indeed a simple thank you could make the mistakes we make, erroneous decisions we choose, or strained relationships we maintain ... simply fix themselves?

While the Citibank ad campaign is rather lame and borders on annoying, I can vouch for the power of gratitude. I seldom do anything expecting a thank you. I do things because I want to ... because I am led by the spirit within me ... because it is what being human is all about. If I choose to express an act of kindness, generosity, gentleness, or friendship ... it is done so without conditions.

However ... there are those times when I will go out of my way to do something that is above and beyond (most often related to my professional/business life) and feel that a response of a thank you is appropriate. Almost necessary. And without the thank you, I find myself left empty, feeling used.

A simple thank you would indeed be sufficient.

Yet, there seems to be a prevaling attitude these days of "entitlement". Some people feel that by virtue of their mere existence on Earth, they are entitled to take, use, or acquire regardless of the consequences.

I was not raised that way. I was taught to express gratitude and be worthy of the generosity of others.

So, in case I have forgotten to say it ... thank you.

[07:50AM PST] [Permalink]


I had to go. The voice inside my mind told me that I would regret it if I did not.

The Healing Field came to Tempe, AZ this weekend to commemorate and to "honor, remember and heal".

I purposely stayed on the freeway that looks down upon Tempe Town Lake and the beautiful park. As I approached the park, the sunlight was glinting off the lake ... temporarily blinding me with a glorious flash of light.

And then ... there they were ... 4000+ white poles ... anchored in the soil of everyday life ... with a mass of red, white, and blue American flags waving in the early morning breeze.

My breath caught in my throat as I remembered the flags that a united America displayed in the days and weeks that followed 9/11.

I exited the freeway and found myself nervous as I made my way to the parking area.

Walking into the park yesterday morning is something I will never forget ... and will cherish until the day I die.

As I walked amongst the rows and rows of flags, I was shocked at the sheer volume ... the overwhelming number ... of the lives lost that each flag represents.

I wept without embarrassment.

I have never really put a quantitative perspective on 4000+ ... but dear God, so many flags ... on and on and on ... so many souls.

So many families and friends missing someone.

The Healing Field not only represents the lives of those taken from us on 9/11 ... but also displays one flag bearing a yellow ribbon for every soldier who has lost their life in Afghanistan or Iraq. These yellow ribbons are embellished with a card indicating the name and rank of the soldier with where ... and how ... the soldier died.

As I stood in the quiet moments of morning ... before the crowds began to arrive ... my eyes were drawn to the bright blue Arizona sky. There, directly overhead, was a commercial airliner steadily climbing in the atmosphere but seeming to pause ... as if to catch a glimpse of the park below. It was somehow fitting that the flight path for Sky Harbor brought the planes directly over a symbol of healing.

I have many, many thoughts and feelings about the sights and sounds of The Healing Field ... but they shall remain held carefully and ever-so-tightly in my heart.

Instead, here is my yesterday morning in photographs (click the image):

The Healing Field


Long Shadows

State Flag Representation


In Memory Of ...

Yellow ... Red ... White ... Blue

So Many Yellow

Heroes ... Soldiers

Young Marines Remembering

Tempe Town Lake - East

Tempe Town Lake - West

[12:01AM EST] [Permalink]


Never To Forget
[12:01AM EST] [Permalink]


We have had our share of terrorism "scares" here in the desert southwest.

For example, just west of Phoenix is the largest nuclear generating power plant in the United States, the Palo Verde Nuclear Generation Station and at times, we have been put on "alert" that threats are being made regarding this energy plant.

Northwest of Phoenix, on the Nevada border, is the Hoover Dam. A true engineering marvel, this dam retains Lake Mead which is the largest reservoir of water in the U.S. and if the dam would fall ... it would flood downstream wiping out cities literally hundreds of miles to the south. In fact, Lake Mead currently holds enough water to cover the entire state of Pennsylvania to a depth of one foot. In addition, the destruction of the dam would cause many desert cities to literally dry up, close down ... and fail ... due to no water and no power.

After 9/11/01 ... the dam was closed to truck traffic and the military stood guard, weapons at the ready. These protections are still in effect.

We have had our share of "white powder in packages" scares in our Postal Offices, at the universities, and at technology production plants.

Security at our airport, Sky Harbor International, is breached with alarming regularity and the airport is either evacuated or put in a lock-down.

Yes, I have fear.

However, it is not the potential of terrorism that haunts my thoughts. Of course, the apprehension caused by the sights and sounds of that horrific morning will always sit in the back of my mind ...

... but today my fear comes in the form of an insidious insect: the mosquito.

Arizona has had more cases of West Nile Virus in 2004 than any other state ... with an unprecedented amount of deaths attributed to the disease.

But wait! Arizona is a desert. Mosquitoes breed and grow in water ... desert? Water? Huh?

We have golf courses galore with ponds and water hazards ... housing developments with "fake lakes" ... literally hundreds of thousands of swimming pools ... a canal system throughout Phoenix fed by untreated river water ... and a wet season of rain called "the monsoon" that leaves small pools of water in trash, discarded tires, and any other vessel that can hold water for 3-5 days ... the perfect time and breeding place for the mosquito.

I can no longer sit outdoors in the wee hours of dawn to read or watch the sunrise without dousing myself liberally with foul smelling, clothes staining insect repellent. In fact, venturing outdoors anytime is a game of chance.

No longer can we take a casual neighborhood walk and stop to chat outdoors with our neighbors without the constant buzzing ... and the resulting swatting, moving ... and panic that this blood sucking mosquito could be "the one".

Lately, every person I know who says they do not feel well also mentions being bitten by mosquitoes ... mentally we are all making a connection.

Legitimate fear? You betcha.

[1:35AM EST] [Permalink]


Where does time go? Is it true that my last journal entry was three months ago?

Can I report that I experienced wonderful adventures during this "sabbatical" from writing?

Did I travel to exotic lands ... dance with handsome men ... eat feasts from tables laden with delicacies?

Did I fall in love ... write a Pulitzer Prize winning novel ... run for President?


I actually have spent my summer doing a whole lot of nuthin'.

No health woes to report. Just status quo.

Summertime ... and the livin' is easy.

I will admit that I had composed numerous journal entries in these past 90+ days ... composed them indeed: in my mind.

Perhaps I will draw from those moments of creative inspiration and write herein with more consistency.

However, I wonder ... is anyone still out there?

[12:01AM PST] [Permalink]

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