Cafe Today | Iraq Troops Home For The Holidays

“Today I can say that troops in Iraq will be home for the holidays.”

President Barack Obama TODAY declared an end to the Iraq war, one of the longest and most divisive conflicts in U.S. history, announcing that all U.S. troops would be withdrawn from the country by year’s end.

“As promised the rest of our troops in Iraq will come home by the end of the year. After nearly nine years, America’s war in Iraq will be over,” Obama said.

Image: U.S. soldiers take a rest in the shade of armoured vehicles at Camp Liberty in Baghdad
courtesy Mohammed Ameen  /  Reuters
U.S. soldiers take a rest in the shade of armoured vehicles at a courtyard at Camp Liberty in Baghdad. U.S troops are scheduled to pull out of the country by the end of this year, according to President Barack Obama.

The president made the announcement at a White House briefing following a private video conference with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. Obama said the two were in full agreement about how to move forward.

The withdrawal of American troops marks a major milestone in the war that started in 2003 and resulted in the removal of Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq. More than 4,400 American military members have been killed, and another 2,000 wounded since the U.S. invasion.

“Over the next two months, our troops in Iraq, tens of thousands of them, will pack up their gear and board convoys for the journey home,” Obama said.     via  Associated Press


Cafe Conversations | 9-11 Remembered

World Trade Center 9-11  – NY times

Catastrophic events bring out the best of a nation’s people.

 The best came without being asked.  

The devastation and sorrow experienced was immeasurable.

 The best rose above unthinkable tragedy to show we are not to be defeated.

The best allows us to live, heal and prosper.

The best is who we are.

A Quiet Moment at the 9-11 Memorial

9-11 Memorial Walkway

Photo courtesy of N Y Times.

One Dollar a Day!

According to the U.S. and World Population Report from  website, the populations are as of this posting: 


 U.S.  population      310,776,120
World population        6,898,504,305
20:58 UTC (EST+5) Feb 07, 2011


More than  2 Billion people in the world live on $1.00 a day or less.  You can do the math on percentage here.  This according to the World Bank Data Report. 

I discovered these shocking numbers  while reading a Wall Street Market Report.  I had to research the facts myself.  Sadly I report this to be quite accurate. 


Next time I shop for food, I will be grateful I can


I Need a Road Map and GPS to Find My Happy Place

In a castle far far away

My friend Nancy, of  Embracing Myself  Blog , shared the simple pleasure of spending a day with friends over coffee and pleasant  conversation.  I had forgotten what that could be like.  I had always worked long hours, putting my workplace before inner peace.  As I read Nancy’s words, I could sense the contentment that she felt after sharing time with her friends.   All this has now brought me back to my quest.   Hence I will share an earlier post of my little  journey to find my Happy Place.  

In a galaxy far far away there is a place called Happy Ville!    I need help finding my own Happy Place.  (Be nice!)     Did I just………. not remember how to get there?  Had I ever really been there?    Oh, yeah,   “I’ve been there!”    So, why is it now,  being at a certain point of my life, that I cannot get to my doggone Happy Place as often as I should!    I have tried Prayer.  That takes patience.  I’m a bit short on that.    And, just  maybe, it wasn’t such a swell idea when I was stomping my right foot,  while standing in the middle of the kitchen, declaring ” I want to go to my  Happy Place NOW!. “  Maybe a tad too immature?  Probably!  I need a Yellow Brick Road and a pair of Ruby Slippers.  Click, Click, go the Ruby slippers,  “there’s no place like Happy Place, there’s no place like Happy Place.”   There it is………mmm….Nope!  Nothin,  Nada,  Zero.  A big fat donut hole of nothingness.   If I have to buy my way to Happy Ville, well you can  forget that too.   The “take money out whenever you need it” store closed in 2007. 

So today, my bag was piled high and wide, loaded with all the essentials:  sunglasses, lip gloss, snacks, a few best sellers, iPod loaded to capacity, (160 gigs of rip-roaring fun),  the GPS mounted adeptly on the dash, a folded map at the ready (good luck re-folding that sucker).  Cell phone charged to the max, sandals, heels, toning walking shoes.  Did I forget anything?  Something No doubt!   I am off to see the wizard of  my Happy Place.

 Nice little getaway place, huh!  In my dreams.

Then it happened.   A giant  SMACK  up side my head.   A Great Wisdom Cloud then surrounded me as the words of the great Homer Simpson hit me.  “D’oh”     Yes!  There it was.   I came to the realization that My Happy Place is not just a destination.  It’s a journey of the mind and heart.    Or, at least  what is left of my mind after crazy world.  Here I am thinking I need to physically go to a place, a dot on the map, a special place where happiness abounds and  falls like brightly colored skittles from the sky.  Everything I need for my Happy Place is within me.  So why aren’t I happy?  I had been looking for a map to follow or at least some divine guidance.      Nope!  Nothing to pack, nothing to assemble, no need to leave my home.  No Pat Downs or Airport Pornographic x-rays.   Wait a minute!  Well then, why do we say things like:  I need to GO to my Happy Place?   Is it a true destination?   Apparently it’s all within and around us.  Nope!  Here again I will need a GPS or tour guide to find it within also.   Is the cloud of “do not have a clue” passing over.  It appears I have no sense of direction at the moment, so I need tech support to find Happy Ville.

Well, I did try going to my Happy Place mentally one day at work.  Happy Ville seemed so peaceful and serene.  Darn near nodded off!   oops!   Oh, and note to all.  Do not attempt to visit Happy Ville when driving your car.  I drove to my old house once, attempted to use the garage door opener which refused to open and I had no memory of driving there.   A baffling moment at best! 

So, today, a small window to a possible “Happy Place” opened up.  Yippeee- Skippee!  I happened to catch a bit of Vh1‘s  100 Greatest Artists.  WOW!!   Short sound bites of music and videos I have not seen or heard for some time.   A trip down memory lane…it was quite nice.  I tossed the remote on the table and didn’t pick it up for quite a spell.  You know, just like the guys do, when they discover Zena, Warrior Princess  reruns on TV!  :)   I have not thought much about  many of these groups for a while.  They are getting old, man!  You know who you like, so I don’t need to list them all.  Ya know, music is one of my Happy Places. Thankfully!   Sorry,  I digress a bit.  My respite on a cold day was a welcome trip to Happy Ville that had me humming along.

Meanwhile, it’s back on the road again to find my Happy Place.   Perhaps the key here, is not to try so hard, huh?  Just let it envelop me, while performing simple everyday tasks, taking pleasure in each and every moment.  Not quite sure how changing the furnace filter or digging out weeds from cracks in my sidewalk  is Happy Ville, but I’ll play along.   I can take pleasure in those simple things on  most days.  A great cup of coffee,  aahhh…. mmmm good…… a phone call from a friend………., writing on my Blog……….taking photos around town…a good book.  Maybe, I’m just not paying attention when my Happy Place does put in an appearance?   Thinking about it too much seems a bit taxing. 

The Islands are a must see

Long Vacation?  Yes,  I know I really need a vacation.  Since, my last vacation was in 1995.  I believe I am overdue like a lost and lonely library book.   When I returned from that vacation in 1995, I decided one week later, to turn in my resignation at work.  Boy oh boy!   Nothing like being away from  the “crazy world” I worked in, to make me realize what a toxic environment really was.   Well, let me tell you that is another story for another time.   Oh, yeah, I remember, at one time,  I had planned a vacation to that lovely state of California once before.  As it always seems to happen,  that was the precise time my co-worker left for a better paying job.  Imagine that?  Then 20 other events happened.  Regardless, I was not allowed to take a day off, let alone a vacation.  I was doing the work of 3 staff members.  There was a hiring freeze.   Fiasco…. is the word that comes to mind for those days.  Nightmares come from experiences like that, you know.  Therefore, because a co-worker left and started me on the downward spiral for no days off, I believe this is all her fault.  Wendie, you have some explaining to do!  

 So, believing 15 years is too long between vacations, I just need to do it.  Does anyone have a vacation getaway place to rent?   Anyone…… Anyone??  Or even recommend a destination?    First place that comes to my mind is where I had planned to go in 2003… Napa Valley,  Sonoma,  Russian River Valley in Northern California. 

I left that crazy world in 2007 and have been seeking peace, contentment and my own little Happy Ville ever since.    Apparently my GPS is still on the fritz.  Know the number to tech support?