I absolutely adore the fall.
Not for the weather, though.

For the FOOTBALL! Happy to report that my Hurricanes came back storming...first opening game 52-7 against Charleston Southern (ok, I know - who CAN'T beat that team?) was at Dolphins Stadium and it was a HUGE success, by all accounts.

Suzy (my mother) threw the biggest, baddest tailgate in the lot (people were jealous, I'm not kidding) - and the standard was met. I, unfortunately, was not there, but baby brother & girlf
riend were in attendance and I got frequent phone calls/texts and instant messages.

I breathed a sigh of relief as the victory came.

But this week. Ah. This week.
We're in the Swamp. Against the University of Florida Gators. We return to the Swamp for the first time since 2002, when we won 41-16.

But the Gators weren't #5 back then.

I have faith, I believe in my team and I know we'll come out of that Swamp alive. LET'S GO, CANES!!!
Look at that girl - man, we haven't seen a lot of Kayla lately, have we? I have to say, I miss that kid like a limb. Sebastian moved to Miami in April of this year, and not having my favorite girl within arm's reach feels like somebody performed an amputation on me. Thankfully, though, we've got iChat, constant photo updates via BlackBerry and Christmas just around the corner, when I'll travel to South Florida to be with everyone.

I'm just back from a work trip to Louisville. It was the once-every-two-years meeting of every MWR professional in the Army. Although the conference was full of work and constant sessions/meetings/workshops, I did manage to get some personal time with some of the key leaders in my specific org
anization; and it was of GREAT benefit!

There are new things on the horizon for me, and I'm SO encouraged! I will, more than likely, be leaving Monterey in the next year. I adore my life here, it's been such a blessing! I'm coming up on 4 years now - the longest I have been ANYWHERE...even longer than Germany...and, it's time to move on. I want to be back on the East coast, near my family. Near Kayla. Not quite ready to lay all my cards out, as nothing is set in stone...but I promise, I'll blog! Stay tuned!

A quick Labor Day weekend getaway to Hawaii. And before you think me the elitist jet-setter, I used frequent flier miles, stayed with a friend for free, and spent LESS THAN $100 for five days!!! In Hawaii. Again, as much as I crab and moan about all the work travel, the miles PAY OFF! It was so fantastic to just...sigh...exhale. I got to spend the weekend with Tamar & her family (Tamar, who is my best girlfriend from Monterey). The weather was perfect, the company divine and the rest much-needed.

Tamar and I - Kailua Beach - Oahu, HI

No surprise to anyone reading here, I managed to meet up with two other friends from Germany - Melanie Williams (Hooper) and Karen-Maria Anderson, who both now live on Oahu.

Karen and I - Kailua Beach - Oahu, HI

The Williams Family - Schofield Barracks - Oahu, HI

Friend in every port, people. Friend in every port. I never pay for a hotel. What a blessing it is!

Off to Kansas on Sunday, for a 2-week class. This - dare I say it - will be IT for work travel, for me. At least until after the first of the year (Lord willing). I'm excited to buy groceries again. You heard me. Buy groceries. I have been home so infrequently in the last year that I can't even get a decent load of groceries for fear of spoilage.

And - finally, the election. I sat up last night, way too late, and watched John McCain tell the most moving, inspiring and emotional speech I've ever heard. I was in tears, all alone, in my living room.

Country first. AMEN, Senator McCain!
AMEN! Just when I thought I couldn't get 'that' excited about him, he picks the incredible Sarah Palin (if you haven't read this commentary yet, you should - it's the best I've read since her announcement), then he delivers a speech like he did last night.

I am extremely proud of my country - and proud to support the McCain/Palin ticket. I'll be volunteering each Wednesday night between now and the November election at Monterey4McCain Headquarters.

I won't make fun or talk smack about the other candidates, or what they CAN or CANNOT do; nor will I do that to anyone who disagrees with me. I just refuse to get into a "My Dad is better than your Dad" or "But your Dad believes this and voted this way" peeing contest. I won't.

You know why? Because
THAT is why John McCain spent 6 years in the Hanoi Hilton.

So we can choose.

God bless America.

Toma's Favorite Song Today: "Dreamer" by Chris Brown (thanks, Boo - you hit the nail on the head tonight, and I love you)