July 18, 2008

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Well we have made it through another week and we're almost to the weekend. So how was your day? Mine was pretty good all things considered.

We had rain again today like we have been for most of the past week. We officially have our first storm to come near the coastline and it has brought a ton of rain with it. Tropical Storm Cristobal, the first tropical storm to menace the Southeast seaboard this hurricane season, sent outer bands of intermittent rain lashing the eastern Carolinas late Saturday as forecasters predicted it could dump several inches in some areas of drought-stricken North Carolina. At 8 p.m., the center of the storm was about 130 miles east of Charleston and about 185 miles southwest of Cape Hatteras, N.C. The National Hurricane Center said Cristobal was moving northeast at about 6 mph with maximum sustained winds of about 45 mph and some higher gusts. Although the center of the storm was forecast to remain off the coast through the weekend, tropical storm warnings were in effect from the South Santee River in South Carolina to the North Carolina-Virginia state line, including Pamlico Sound. Flood advisories were posted for coastal counties and Wilmington, N.C., received 2 1/2 inches of rain Saturday. Eastern North Carolina is under a moderate drought while areas along South Carolina's northern coast are considered abnormally dry, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. Officials have blamed the drought for a huge wildfire that has charred more than 40,000 acres in eastern North Carolina since it began June 1 with a lightning strike.

Then there is also Hurricane Fausto which strengthened far off Mexico's Pacific coast, while Hurricane Bertha raced rapidly to the northeast over the North Atlantic, hundreds of miles off the coast of Newfoundland, Canada. Neither of those storms currently threaten land. Bertha had blustered across Bermuda earlier this week, knocking out electricity to thousands there. So it looks like the hurricane season is off and running. Hopefully, we will not have any major ones come any where near Jacksonville. I have lived through hurricanes and have no desire to do it again any time soon.

Barak Obama has generated more media buzz with his current trip to Iraq than has been seen since the days of JFK. Barack Obama visited Saturday with U.S. troops and Afghan officials in this war-weary nation, which is the focal point of his proposed strategy for dealing with threats to the U.S. if elected president. While officially a part of a congressional delegation on a fact-finding tour expected to take him to Iraq, Obama was traveling Saturday amid the publicity and scrutiny accorded a likely Democratic nominee for president rather than a senator from Illinois. Security was tight and media access to Obama was limited by his campaign, and his itinerary in the war zones was a closely guarded secret. Obama, dressed in light khaki colored trousers and a checkered shirt with his sleeves rolled up, and others in the delegation received a briefing inside the U.S. base in Jalalabad from the Afghan provincial governor of Nangarhar, Gul Agha Sherzai, a no-nonsense, bullish former warlord. The area where the meeting took place is not far from where Osama bin Laden escaped U.S. troops in 2001 after his al-Qaida terrorist group led the attacks on Sept. 11. With the ousted Taliban regime resurgent and given the al-Qaida goal of terrorizing the U.S., Obama has argued that the war in Afghanistan deserves more attention as well as more troops. This is Obama's first overseas tour since securing the Democratic nomination. He is scheduled to travel to Europe through next week and will be key to honing his foreign policy strategy with less than four months before the election. His rival for the presidency, Republican Sen. John McCain, has criticized Obama for not spending more time in the region and for developing a policy without more firsthand knowledge. So we have already gotten our weekend dose of mudslinging during the presidential election.

My day was pretty low key around the house with the pets. My friend, Patrick, did stop by for a visit for about a half hour to talk. Gary and I will be going to Dale's memorial on Sunday at Patrick's place. I can tell Patrick is still going through the motions of life and Dale's passing hasn't fully processed yet. He is also having some problems with his mom and dad which doesn't help anything. They were suppose to move in with Patrick and help with the mortgage and bills and now are saying they don't think they will be moving in with Patrick. So he has that additional stress while planning Dale's memorial. Not to mention he is also painting the den for the memorial but I think that is just to keep himself busy. I know how hard it is when you lose a partner. You try and find any way possible to stay busy and not think about it. It's bad enough that you expect to hear their voice and see them come around the corner for the first couple of years after they are gone.

So what's going on in your world? Are you remembering to take some time for yourself and stopping to smell the roses? Or are you rushing through life not really living or enjoying your life? Think about it. We only get one shot. Why not make it a great one and live your dreams.

Wishing you health, hope and happiness.

Big bear hug,

Daddy Dab