The Verdict 
Our trip to the river this past weekend was great! Some people poked fun at my four fans when we got there, but they were the ones complaining about being hot at night, not me. I was actually even a bit chilly on Saturday night. Whew, crisis was averted!

We had a really nice-sized campsite at the Lazy L&L on River Road. The campsite was great, but the campground itself was really way too big and crowded. It looked like there was three hundred people there! Really long waits for the potty and showers, and VERY dusty. I think the car had a half inch of dust on it when we left – no kidding.

But, on the plus side, our site was big enough for all four tents, a truck tent, and an air-mattress on the ground with still plenty of room to spare for our chairs, BBQ pit, and other paraphernalia. It had a table that was at least twelve feet long and it was right on the Guadalupe River.

We got there on Friday night. We probably would have just squeaked in right before dark, but our lovely GPS decided to take us on a little tour of the hill country first. Luckily, Dee and Jake had our tent set up and ready for us. All we had to do was unload our junk, blow up the air mattress, and get those fans blowing! Jake’s friend Dusty had purchased a keg of Lone Star to share with the group. My favorite kind of beer has always been the ‘free kind’ so I helped myself to a glass… or two… or three. We also played a few rounds of LCR that evening.

On Saturday, we got up and had some coffee and powdered donuts. (A really big “thanks” goes out to Jill for bringing along a coffee pot – she saved me Travis a trip to the gas station.) We all lathered on layers of sunblock, packed into the truck, and headed into town to float the Comal River.

The River has a tendency to be freezing cold, but this trip was really nice. It was cold, yes, but not unpleasantly so. I counted seventeen people in our group!

After the first trip, we had some sandwich fixings. Isn’t it amazing how tasty a ham and cheese sandwich and fritos can be after floating? One of the best meals ever! We floated once more, and then headed back to the campsite for hot dogs and hamburgers.

Sunday morning came with the smell of chorizo and eggs being cooked to perfection by Jake for breakfast tacos. They were oh so fattening and delicious! We got everything packed back up into the car and started the long drive home to Houston.

Travis has a few pictures posted here.

Next time, I would like to head out early on Friday so we can hit Gruene. We were considering going on Sunday for lunch, but we were ready to be home so we skipped it. I would also like to maybe camp out closer to the Comal so you don’t have to worry about driving back to River Road.

While I’m on my wish list spree, let’s just go ahead and rent a house next time. Camping was fun and all, but I still like my cool AC, a hot shower, and a clean potty!

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The River 
Ok, so this weekend is our river trip, and I am stressing myself out to the point of needing that inhaler to unclog my breathing passages! Just in case you didn’t know it, I am just the wee bit of a princess when it comes to getting hot. And it has been H-O-T in Tejas these past few weeks.

I have no clue what was going on in my brain when I agreed with Dee that it would be a great idea to have a ‘Wedding Party’ river trip prior to the wedding. I’m sure at the time of said agreement, it must have been the beautiful weather we were enjoying in FEBRUARY that was making me just giddy to be outside.

Now it is July… in Texas… and we are going…. GULP…. camping…. In a TENT!!!

I have been suggesting to Travis that we buy a window AC unit to take with us and somehow prop up in the tent. We would then just return it – Walmart will take anything back, right? (And, yes, I freely admit that I am being a complete wuss and whiney baby about all this.)

Travis has firmly and absolutely put his foot down and nixed my plan despite my repeated desperate pleas. The edict was laid that if I bought the AC, he would not be coming. Period. End of story. (His exact words during our ‘discussion’.)

So, for the sake of my marriage, I guess he gets to win this one.

I have now accepted the fact that I will be hot. I will try my best to not complain and ask about the AC. I will buck-up and be a bigger person when every fabric of my being is screaming for the cool breeze of an AC. I will realize that it is only two nights and one full day out of my life. People all over the world do this every stinking day.

But, I have put the phone number of a co-worker of mine that lives on Canyon Lake and the addresses for both the New Braunfels Walmart and Home Depot into my blackberry… Just in case….

PS: Just let me say for the record that I really DO want to go on this trip. I know that it will end up being a great time with our friends, etc etc…. But it is just so freaking HOT outside. Ug.

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Could this have been me? 

“Who are these people?”, I’m sure you are asking yourself. Who are those smiling faces of people having fun and enjoying life? Are they friends on vacation? Or, was it taken at a family reunion? I’m positive you can find similar photos of yourself and your friends and family.

You might be surprised – I know I was – to learn that this photo was taken at Auschwitz, one of the Nazi concentration camp of World War II. Yes, those smiling, happy people – people like you and me – were employees there.

This photo is from a newly discovered personal album of photos taken by a member of the SS. The album is full of pictures that depict the everyday life and activities of the people that were stationed there.

I came across this photo today from a post in a blog that I regularly read. The blog itself, EtTu?, isn’t one of my favorites, and I doubt that I would hit it everyday if it wasn’t in my fabulous Google reader that Travis set up for me, but the author does have some really good posts that just make you think, especially about your relationship with your faith.

A little bit of background: EtTu? lived as an atheist for most of her life, and she has only recently embraced Christianity as a member of the Catholic Church. Which, at least to me, is really unusual in that you don’t find too many people that have ‘found’ the Christian faith for the first time by embracing the Catholic doctrines. And let me tell you, she has embraced the whole kit-and-kaboodle of it! (Remember that I grew up Catholic, and I know first-hand that it can be intimidating for new-comers.) In her words, the blog is the chronicle of her journey in finding her faith. But, that is a whole other story, and I will leave you to explore her site and read her story in detail if you are interested.

But, I am digressing here as usual…. What has prompted me today to post about this was not only the picture and the album and history behind it (I am a bit of a history geek in case you didn’t know), but also this little snippet from EtTu?’s post (please excuse the paraphrasing):

“… I would have thought of myself as fundamentally different than the people in those photos. They were bad people; I was a good person. Now I see that, frighteningly, there is no ontological difference between me and the smiling employees in that Auschwitz photo; the difference is nothing more or less than the stories we tell ourselves about what was going on in the background. Whether or not any one of us is a good person or a bad person can fluctuate from day to day, from moment to moment, depending on the number of lies we allow ourselves to believe. And, as the cheerful faces in the photos illustrate, there is no limit to the level of evil the average person can fall into supporting if the pressure is high enough and the lies are insidious enough.”

When clicking through this photo album and website, I found myself asking the same questions that I have asked myself many times before when reading a history book or seeing a WWII movie or documentary:

How can these seemingly normal, everyday people just let their moral and ethical standards and integrity go to the wayside? Did they really think they were doing the ‘right thing’ by facilitating the murder of millions innocent men, women, and children? Did they truly think that God was on their side when the dead bodies were stacked up and buried in mass graves? How is it that all these bright, smiling faces could just turn off what is accepted by humanity as right/wrong?

There are so many people that have devoted their lives to studying and researching these questions and yet there is still no satisfying answer for me yet – and, I seriously doubt that there will ever be.

But, today when I considered that these 'new' photos where taken through the lens of a different perspective, a new light was put on the topic and made me think of some new questions:

Am I really and truly all that different from them? Would I have been able to see the truth of the situation against the enormous pressure to buy into the lie?

Of course I most definitely do not excuse the heinous crimes that these people participated in; I just find this to be a very interesting and different perspective on a historical topic that I felt I already knew quite a bit about.

Check out this weblink from the United States Holocaust Museum when you have some time. The short video about the album is a must-see, especially if you are a WWII history buff like I am.

If you ever happen to be in Washington DC, consider going to the Holocaust Museum. It is a VERY POWERFUL thing to see.

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Mommy Bag 
BC (“Before Carissa”) I would carry the cutest purses. I even traded out the contents of my purse on a weekly, if not daily, basis because the bag HAS to match the belt and shoes, right? Most of my collection was small handbags – just big enough for my wallet, a compact, chap-stick, and other little essentials.

When Carissa was first born, I drifted from this daily swap and bought a purse that would just go with everything. I first had a light blue one and then a deep red one. Both of these could be carried with almost any outfit as they would work well enough with all types of shoes.

When I picked up my purse a few weeks ago, it suddenly dawned on me that it was now at least six times bigger than the largest purse I had BC. Granted, it is a really cute purse that I like a lot, but… it is really big… and it is definitely all brown… and I don’t change it out… ever… even when I have on black shoes.

I opened it up to investigate the contents. Still there are the essential wallet, chap-stick, and compact along with other acceptable items like my work badge, my blackberry, my inhaler, IPOD, and a small hairbrush.

But, as I dig deeper, I find a baggie full of crayons plus some loose stragglers, a diaper, some disinfecting wipes, a notepad and pen (since I have mommy-brain big time), a Percy engine, a travel first aid kit, coupons for diapers, a pooh-bear book, smarties, a Terrance Tractor, suckers, an extra wallet plus a cherry coin purse (because Daddy was frowning on Carissa playing with mommy’s wallet), two pairs of little girl sunglasses, Advil, some kind of plastic twisty-toy, and more!! People - this is no exaggeration!

Disgusted at this ‘mommy-bag’, I decide no-more lugging around all this crapola. I went to the store and bought the cutest, LITTLEST purse I could find. I carried it for about a week, but have since grown tired of my stuff not really fitting in it. (Good thing it was only $7, or I would have had to carry it around some more to justify the purchase to my financial analyst aka darling hubby.)

So I went back to the nice compromise: a pretty, medium size, yellow purse that can go with anything and fits all of MY things just right.

I guess there are just some times that a mommy has to think of herself first!

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Why Momma? Why? 
Well well well, here we are July 9, and I have been dreadfully neglecting this posting duty I committed to do. For what should be a relatively easy thing to do on a semi-regular basis, it really does take some thought and time to find something of interest in just another ordinary day to post about, get those thoughts in order, find relevant links, edit, edit, and then edit again before finally posting, etc.

Anyways, here is a run-down on what has been happening at das Cherry haus since the last posting dated June 18:

*** Carissa returned from her Pennsylvania vacation. Thomas was a big hit, and I think we might try and hit the Rusk, TX event in October. She came home with a new set of Thomas PJs which, judging by the pictures, was apparently worn all over Philly.

After about the fourth day of their week-long trip, Carissa was growing tired of the hotels and kept asking to go back to Pa’s house to check on Shelby every time they got in the car. No mention of Momma or Daddy though… But, Mom said that Carissa was great, and she will be invited to go with them on vacation again which is what counts I suppose.

The highlight for my parents was the historical portions of Philadelphia – Independence Hall, Betsy Ross house, Liberty Bell, etc. They have people in period costumes, street vendors, and educational-type shows. Mom and Dad plan to return one day to truly see and appreciate ‘that’ part of the trip again, sans two-year-old granddaughter.

*** Travis and I went down to Angleton to attend Nathanial Jablecki’s engagement and graduation party. Nate is probably Travis’s oldest friend (not old in age, old in time known).

Nate has recently completed his MD residency and has accepted a position in North Carolina. His fiancée, Myla, is a lovely gal who seems to know how blessed she is to be marrying a great guy like Nate. And, Nate is smart enough to know how lucky he is too!

*** We attended a five-year-old birthday party. The theme was really cool – they advertised a showing of Disney’s Sleeping Beauty (which is my personal favorite) and served popcorn and other movie treats along with the standard birthday cake. It was a fun and inexpensive idea that I just might have to borrow in a few years.

Carissa behaved very well despite having a temper fit the whole way there (over a forty minute drive, people!) over having to wear a shirt that was unacceptable to her. Daddy was not going to lose that battle - and he didn't. He sticks to his guns much better than I do!

Aside: On the way home from the party, we were coming down the Beltway, and Carissa spotted Bass Pro Shop and squealed about wanting to go. You think I was excited at her recognizing Target? It was nothing compared to Carissa’s Daddy’s excitement over a Bass Pro spot. He actually U-turned at Cullen with a big goofy grin on his face and went back!

*** My friend Kelley and I hosted Dee’s bridal shower at my mom’s house. We did a ‘Caribbean-influenced’ theme as Dee and Jake are going to Jamaica on their honeymoon.

We served lunch (jerk chicken, pineapple and black bean salsa, rice, grilled veggie skewers, and fruit salad) and Kelley (aka ‘The Cake-maker Extraordinaire’) made a fabulous cake complete with two monkeys – one even had on a pink coconut bra – sitting under a palm tree.

Dee received a lot of good loot for her new house at this shower AND at the ‘family’ shower that was the next day. Matching dishes are oh so nice to have….

*** I had another week-long trip to California. This trip was a decent one I guess because I got to see all my Cali-co-workers and clients in one place, but I honestly didn’t really need to be there.

Long story short, I thought we were meeting to discuss our thoughts, ideas, and opinions and actually make some decisions on how to reach our goals early. But, it ended up being a meeting to just TALK ABOUT and PLAN how in the FUTURE we will discuss thoughts, ideas, and opinions on how to reach our goals early.

You corporate people will appreciate this: The meetings were facilitated by some touchy-feely consultants. Waste. Of. Time. And. Money.

*** Happy Independence Day! We spent the 4th at my aunt’s parent’s Lake Livingston house. Travis enjoyed a guided fishing trip with my dad, my brother, and my Uncle John on the morning of the fourth. Trav says that fishing on a lake is nothing like fishing in the Gulf – people are right on top of each other for little-bitty fishys. But, they all had a great time and came home with a cooler full of fish. (Enjoy some pics at No, I have not learned how to do the picture-posting thing yet. Laziness on my part.)

There was a really good crowd for lunch – 21 people in all. And, the really big news: Carissa actually put on her life-jacket and got into the water with everyone. Schlitterbaun just might be a possibility again!

*** I had Monday off as my ‘holiday’ day so Carissa and I decided to go out to Moody Gardens to enjoy our membership one last time before it expired. She would tell you that she saw sharks with big teeth, penguins that swam very fast, a BIG snake, some frogs, but no butterflies.

I had assumed that the ‘Rainforest Pyramid’ would have butterflies and told Carissa such. They didn’t, and Carissa had to ask the whole way home ‘How come, Momma? How come there aren’t any butterflies? Why, Momma? I want to see the butterflies, where are they? Why, Momma?'

Aside #2: I came across this article in the Chronicle this morning. Eeek!!! I almost had to use my inhaler just THINKING about this. *heart is beating wildly, and my feet are subconsciously coming up off the ground* I loathe snakes...

*** Travis comes home from Kentucky today. Carissa has been wondering about Daddy all week. ‘Where’s Daddy? When does he come home? Why did he go on the airplane? Why, Momma, why?’

*** Ok then, now that you are up-to-date, here is what is going for the next couple of weeks:

***** This Saturday, I have a bridal shower for a cousin. Sunday, I plan to do nothing because...
***** Next weekend is a river trip with Dee and Jake.
***** July 25 – 27: Jake’s bachelor party weekend in Louisiana
***** Aug 1-3: Dee’s bachelorette party weekend in San Antonio
***** Aug 8: MY BIRTHDAY!!! WooHoo! I will be turning 25 again on 08.08.08
***** Aug 15-16: Dee’s wedding
***** Aug 23: Baby shower for Parker Ray
***** Labor Day Weekend: Rockport with the Cherry clan
***** Sept 13: Programmer Day (Travis – See? It is on my calendar!)
***** Sept. 27: Trav’s birthday – he will be 20+11.

AND THEN….. comes October and our Panama Canal Cruise!!! Yip-yip-yippee!!

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