Saturday, May 31, 2008

Ryan Dam

Ryan Dam
Originally uploaded by ZhenPanda

OVERFLOWING! it is awesome- go see it!

Ryan Dam from the island high point

Urban Deer- Helena, MT

Urban Deer- Helena, MT
Originally uploaded by ZhenPanda

I forgot to mention tha tI got to witness the "urban deer" problem Helena has. wow. These guys are just right at home near the high school.

The latest bi-weekly visit to the Fort & Capitol city

This is the last of the bi-weekly visits! Next trip will be in four weeks. YAHHHH!

Don't get me wrong I like to travel but currently I'd like to see some place different. Anyway.

Son#1 and I got a late start but made it to our respective appointments on time. I enjoyed by training session and feel I learned some very valuable information and made a few good contacts.

The downside today was all the wrong turns i made. *sigh* I really got turned around in a couple of areas with lots of traffic.

The high point of the day was lunch with Kim & Greg! I have been reading Kim's blog for (I think) two years now. I was very excited to finally get to meet her and chat for a bit. Son#1 was very groggy after his dental appointment and I think he would have preferred to have slept but was a good sport & toughed out the meal.

After the visit we stopped at the Carroll College campus and looked around, took pictures & then decided we should head home.

It was a very long day.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

So sad

Harvey Korman. 81.

I'm going to go watch Blazing Saddles.

Food for thought

blogging is NOT as anonymous as many hope...

I will keep this article close to my computer so next time I feel like writing about my boss or co-workers I WON"T!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

The calls I hoped to avoid

So this week I was lucky enough to receive calls from both the Clinton & Obama supporters.
yah me.

I was mildly annoyed by both but I noticed a difference in the calls that I found funny.

Obama's caller asked me who I was supporting & why, then went on to explain how Mr. Obama had an "equally good or better" stand on the issues. I was rather irritated that I had to hear from them at all but this call was a bit nicer than the message left on my voice mail earlier this week for "Pam" (whoever she is). The Obama people did use my first name throughout the conversation which was rather nice (vs. calling me Mrs. Droopy)

Clinton's caller greeted me politely and asked if I was going to support Hillary. When I said NO she asked if I was voting Dem or Rep and when I said REP she politely ended the call.

So I hope that is the last of the calls!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

OK...i gave in

I ordered an ipod.

Yah, just a little shuffle but i got a spiffy pedometer to go with it so you will see me out walking around listening to the ipod & trying to get my 10,000 steps in!

Go me!

Monday, May 26, 2008

Charles M. Russell

Charles M. Russell
Originally uploaded by ZhenPanda

So I found the last of the 3 "Famous people" buried in Great Falls. Woo Hoo!

They will be waymarked shortly!

Saturday, May 24, 2008


Dick Martin of "Laugh In" fame died today.

I remember as a kid watching it religiously. There were very few shows my parents allowed us to watch, so this was a treasure. It seems silly to think of TV as such a novelty when today it is the norm.

Happy fish

Happy fish
Originally uploaded by ZhenPanda

Happy thoughts for a gloomy weekend...

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Things that grab me while reading...

I occasionally read new blogs and special sections like Yahoo! Shine for women. It has had a few interesting articles. The one I read today started out blah, blah,blah and then I caught one line & it had me.
Buy quality!

So I'm going to buy new shoes next month! Not another pair sketchers I have been wearing for 3 years.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008


The last week has held a couple of flashbacks.

To times when I was single & happy...LOL

Of course I have to add pictures to explain.
I hope you can excuse the nostalgia.

Caught up with a favorite comic book artist... he even featured me once!

Then I heard from one of my favorite dance partners! It has been almost 14 years! wow.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Day at the dentist

Day at the dentist
Originally uploaded by ZhenPanda

Son#2 had a day with the dentist but it hurt my pocketbook.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Vista problems?

I love the commercials that tell me my PC is crap & that Vista will do nothing but screw up. I laugh every time I see one.

I recently replaced my 8yo PC which the hubby built for me back when we started dating. He has, over the years, made minor repairs to it and added more memory and hard-drive space when needed. In December the power supply and we believe one of the hard drives began to fail. I begrudgingly used the laptop until we could decide how to replace it. Because we did not feel I needed a souped-up-top-of-the-line overpriced model we waited until one appeared that seemed to fit the bill. It happened when we made a late night trip to WalMart to get the gun cleaning kit he kept forgetting about. $650 later we had a new computer- not for me though. It was more of what the hubby wanted in an upgrade so I got his hand-me-down.

I'm not complaining.

I have been using my *new* computer for almost a week and it has had ZERO problems. I can run all my programs and peripherals. Where is vista a problem? It sounds alot like when XP came out & everyone said it was a failure.

I missed it somewhere. For what I do & Want to do vista works. period.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Quote of the week....

Photography is a way of feeling, of touching, of loving. What you have caught on film is captured forever... it remembers little things, long after you have forgotten everything.

Aaron Siskind

I felt this explained how I feel about photography..whether or not I am any good at it. :-)

Tuesday, May 13, 2008


I think Louisiana has more specialty plates then Montana...maybe more than any other state! I'd say there are over 200.

My fav:

Friday, May 9, 2008

The bane of my existence

The bane of my existence
Originally uploaded by ZhenPanda

I hate bras. They never fit right, they pinch and they pull. I've tried Victoria Secret Bras but at $48 each they were NOT worth it. My current favorite cost me $12 at ShopKo.
The hubby & I recently debated big vs. little boobs.
I am unhappy with either currently.
I can't find a sexy comfortable bra at 40D and when I was a 34A I couldn't find any that were comfortable. I just can't win.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Shock & sadness

(U.S. Air Force photo/John Turner)

A decorated airman from Malmstrom shot & killed another airman on Monday night.

Monday, May 5, 2008

This is going a little too far

I can understand enjoying a particular brand of beer but this is too much!

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Books for soldiers needs help

I received this email
Books For Soldiers
2008 Fundraising Update Newsletter April 2008

It Is A Bad Economy

Starting at the first of this year, BFS started a robust fundraising campaign here in North Carolina. We contacted small companies and some large companies you probably have heard of. To date, we have received a stack of letters that begin with "we deeply regret not being able to donate this year" and no cash. From our corporate donation campaign we have received a tad under thirty dollars from a philanthropy grants group in Winston Salem, NC. That was it, nothing else.

Times are tough for all non-profit groups, food banks from all around North Carolina and across the nation are suffering from a lack of donations and a sharp increase of those in need. The article below arrived in my email today about a women's shelter closing because of a lack of donations.

The Next Step

The BFS Board of Directors have discussed this problem for some time and have decided to have another go at fundraising. We are working on a different campaign aimed at companies in larger states - California for example. Every time we want to do fundraising in a state (cold call, direct mail, advertising) we need to file with that state's Secretary of State - filing in all states if prohibitively expensive so we have to pick and choose.

In our last newsletter, we reported on the hacker attacks that coincided with our 5th Anniversary. Those DNS attacks didn't help our balance sheet. Our final IT bill from the datacenter for that week was a tad over $11,000. If you recall, the hackers brought down the whole datacenter just to try to kill us.

The Board set a goal of $70,000 to raise by November 1st of this year. If that amount is not raised, the site will close on December 31st, 2008.

If we cannot make the fundraising target, the Board will seek to sell the site to another 501(c)(3) and any new owner will need to be qualified - have the IT talent to run the site, the funding to keep it going and the funding for the required upgrades, both software and hardware. We would also stop accepting new OVs on November 1st and stop accepting new books requests from soldiers on December 1st, 2008.

What Does It Take?*

It takes a lot to run BFS on a monthly basis. The monthly funds required to run an operation like BFS are large. Here is a partial summary of where the donations go.

All figures are a monthly average for 2007.

Books, DVDs, other carepackage items $1153
Postage $812
Rent $1600
Utilities $277
IT Services (server farm, hosting, bandwidth) $4258
IT Maintenance Contract $1500
IT Security Software License Fees $350

There are other things like broken computers, the occasional software purchase, insurance, pencils, toilet paper for the bathroom, etc. that we purchase.

No one at BFS receives a salary.

The BFS presence on MySpace, Flickr, YouTube are all free. Our presence in Second Life has also been donated.

We will be disabling the uploading of photos in the next few weeks to save bandwidth. Please post your photos to the Flickr BFS Group ( and include the Flickr link to the photo in your forum post. If you want keep your photos on BFS, place them on Flickr and post the code in your post. Instructions can be found here:

My hopes is that eventually we can raise more than the $70k survival goal. Last year our goal for 2008 was to move to a website design where the cumbersome OV process was performed online and searching and finding soldiers would be a breeze - subscribing to soldier requests is my favorite new BFS feature. Now we are just struggling to stay open.

How You Can Help

The ONLY reason we are open today is because of the OVs that have donated so far this year, but now I need to ask more of everyone.

1) Office party fundraiser - Coordinate a "Save BFS Day" at work and urge, beg, cajole your co-workers into coughing up something for BFS.

2) Have your company cough up some cash. We will send your company a formal donation request, just send us the company name, contact name and address and we will get it out right away. Send these requests to me personally (

3) Have your place of worship pass the plate (hat, kippah, whatever) for BFS. Consult with your church's leader about holding a "Save BFS Offering" one day this month. Checks should be made out to "Books For Soldiers." If they have any questions or concerns, please contact me directly to set up a call.

4) Visit our donation page and give what you can.

or by check

Books For Soldiers
2008 Fund Drive
353 Jonestown Rd #123
Winston Salem, NC 27104

In Closing

I started BFS five years ago and fully expected it to be online for only six weeks, that is the length of time I thought it would take for our troops to finish up in Baghdad and come back home. I am also terrible at predicting who is going to win the next NASCAR race.

If worse come to worse, it has been a good run - a great run in fact. In the first 6 months of operation, we collectively shipped over 400 tons of packages to the Middle East, that is when I stopped counting. We also built the largest English library in the Middle East - together with US soldiers at the Baghdad International Airport in the months following the fall of Baghdad.

We have done a lot of tremendous work, made a lot of great friends and even a wedding or two! We have also lost a lot of friends and we have received way too many memorial flags. Either way, you can all be proud of what we have achieved.

I promise that we will do everything in our power to meet our fundraising goals and will appreciate any help from you.

Thank-you for your support, patience and hard work over the last 5 years.

And most of all thank-you for your support of our troops.

Storm Williams
Books For Soldiers

*Legalese: BFS is exempt from filing IRS Form 990. Any financial information found here should not be considered as a replacement for IRS Form 990 or a supplement to an IRS Form 990.
I am spreading the word...

What is a chihuahuax?

What is a chihuahuax?, originally uploaded by ZhenPanda.


Saturday fun

We got moving early for a change and hit the 17th Anniversary sale at Action Cards & Comics with the boys. It was a quick visit but very fruitful. The boys got cards & dice. I got my free comic!

After a few stops we drops the boys back at the house and headed to the shooting range. We brought the new gun, the hubby's Marlin .17 and my .22. I figured it would be nice to put holes in paper and laugh about how bad a shot I am after not handling a gun for over 20 yrs.

The hubby to loaded the .40 and i put a few rounds into the .22.

009, originally uploaded by ZhenPanda.

I held my breath as i pulled the trigger the first shot.
Oops- I forgot to take the safety off.
LOL try again.
wow... tink, tink, tink...this is fun!
I reloaded and shot off another 10 rounds.

By this time the hubby had gone through 4 clips on the .40 & was fairly disgusted. It was really hard to tell where he was hitting.

I walked down to my target & found i had NOT HIT IT ONCE!

I suck.

I let the hubby site in the .17 and once I shot that I did not feel so bad. I at least hit the paper!

A couple hours and a few hundred rounds later we packed up & came home.

I'll tell you there is nothing like the smell of gunpowder!


(flickr group)

Which is your favorite May photo?
G free polls

Friday, May 2, 2008

Fluffy's day out

061, originally uploaded by ZhenPanda.

We took fluffy out to forage for a bit Friday afternoon. Son#1 & i took pictures while Son#2 made sure no predatory animals or birds were too close. It was fun.

I have been out having fun with my toy cameras!

Squirrel LOMO

Squirrel LOMO, originally uploaded by ZhenPanda.

I was afraid i had lost this photo because the film broke but I got lucky!

It may be just a squirrel but I just love this capture!