Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Merry Christmas, Happy Festivus

To all of my milspouse and non military readers - have a peaceful and happy holiday with those you love. If you are like me, in deployment mode, I hope you have a good friend or other family members who will be there, will help, and can make your holiday a good one.


Sunday, December 20, 2009

Happy Anniversary to us

Thirty two years. This one is sad, not only because he's down range again, but more because our dear daughter in law just lost her dad to cancer on Friday. It's a sad holiday season for our family.


Friday, December 11, 2009

Fort Hood - Support our Military Community

Support Ford Hood Community Strong

On Fridays, if you look around, you'll see a lot of people wearing red - some of us wear it as a tribute to wounded warriors, some for deployed servicemembers, and today - it's for Fort Hood. The USO has been working with the Community at Hood, and this Friday, December 11, Fort Hood and the USO - with the support of Fort Hood FMWR and AAFES – is proud to host "Fort Hood Community Strong," a day for healing, fun and entertainment. Held at Hood Stadium, this event will feature free carnival rides, games, food and top-notch celebrity performers. The biggest gift we can give the community, however, is to honor them with our sincere thanks and support.

Since the November 5 shooting, the USO has stepped up to provide support for the community in any way they can. From grief counseling to the two Mobile USO units providing meals - the USO has been ready to assist the troops, families and command at Fort Hood however needed.

We need to take time to support that Community, to support our military family. There are so many who need that support, who are having their own quiet crisis, and need that shoulder to lean on, that ear to listen, that hand to hold. If you can't be there in person for someone, if you aren't near Hood or another base, if you can't physically do it, there are so many groups that are trying to do this. Find one, and tell me about it.

There's a Wall of Remembrance from the USO, a place to put down in a few words a thank you, show support for Hood and the rest of our military family.

This post was created as part of the USO’s Community Strong event at Fort Hood –a day for healing, fun and entertainment to uplift the spirits of the Fort Hood community in the wake of the Nov. 5 shooting incident. You can help show your support for Fort Hood and its more than 349,000 military personnel, family members, retirees and civilian employees by visiting the Community Strong website, Tweeting your support with the #CommunityStrong hashtag, leaving comments on the Official USO Blog and donating to the USO’s ongoing efforts to support our troops.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Little Old Man Cat

It's official, JJ is an old man cat! He started acting "off" Monday evening when I got home, and on Tuesday I knew he was sick - couldn't jump up properly, was so clingy and upset, I figured he was coming down with something. Off to the Vet$$....and after lots of very expensive tests - the little guy has a heart murmur and High Blood Pressure and probably hyperthyroidism. he burst a couple of blood vessels in his eyes, so he's having a little trouble seeing, but that should go away as the blood reabsorbs. I asked why he was acting so peculiarly, according to the Vet, he must have had a monster headache! So - if you want some bizarre- go to a civilian pharmacy and get a prescription filled for blood pressure medication for a cat. Filled out a Store Card, and got his RX at a reduced price. Telling the pharmacist that no, the patient didn't need to get counseled about the side effects - cause he's a CAT!!! Priceless.

So from a rainy DC area, and with the little old man cat on my lap, talk to you later.


Monday, December 07, 2009

househunting (part deux)

Oh... I saw one yesterday - and I'm in deep deep lust for the kitchen. only downfall, no deck. but Chief is ok without a place to sit and BBQ... got an appointment to see another one in that same area. Giving notice to this place today. now that they made it even less convenient by rescheduling the bus, instead of every 20 minutes, now every 40 minutes. so if you miss the bus - you wait for 40 minutes at the Station... no, not so much, y'all.

time to start getting boxes and packing. books first!

wish me luck - and patience!


Thursday, December 03, 2009

house hunting - not so much fun

I'm househunting (townhouse, to be specific) first, we don't want a SFH, mostly because the yard work, I just don't want to be worrying about a yard that isn't mine, and when he deploys again (and c'mon, y'all, we already know he'll be doing another one in the future) I'll have to hire someone to do the heavy work, since the neck doesn't allow for a lot of hard digging!

So, in the tipping rain I saw three. First one, the yard and deck was great, but the kitchen was small, and separate from the living area, the bedrooms were ok, but the closets were terrible. It was tired, worn out and just not what I want for the $$$.

Second, the master suite was gorgeous, huge jacuzzi tub, closets etc but on the 4th floor! the other bedrooms were tiny, the kitchen was a small small galley, no yard, no deck. and parking was a nightmare

Third - decent neighbourhood near a friend, kitchen was large but appliances kinda worn out, master suite was ok, good closet, large bed/bath on the 4th that would be great for an office, deck/yard right across from the neighbours. and what a mess... owners moving out and just piles everywhere.

think I'll keep looking! I saw one on a listing, that was already gone, that was PERFECT. and one that I was supposed to see (and would have grabbed) but it's been withdrawn... sigh.

on with the sucky week, my IT guy has driven me completely crazy all week, and it's still not right... so wish me luck


Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

It's Thanksgiving - and I want to wish you, my loyal readers, a happy, peaceful and joyous day. Being thankful for - my family, my friends online and in person, my job, my plans for the future. Last year was spent with Chief at the home of a friend, who now has a child in the hospital, please keep her in your thoughts. Chief is in the Sand again, barbequeing (as he loves to do - but WHY spam burgers, hon?) and eating pumpkin bread sent by another friend. I will be with good friends today, thinking of them and of next year, when he'll be home. Our dear daughter in law's family is also going to be together, and a member of that family is very sick - he is also in our thoughts today.

I hope you and your family have a wonderful, gluttonous and peaceful day. for those of you who will actually go shopping tomorrow - better you than me!


Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Counting - My way

Now that Chief is around/about/approximately/best guess less than 60 days from coming back (maybe), I'm getting a lot of "oh, it's so close, only ## days", or "well, you are in the homestretch now!" or "You must be thrilled that it's so close to being over". Well - yeah, ok. Two problems, for me, with this counting.

1. I count differently. See, to me right now, it's Thanksgiving, Anniversary (our 32nd), Christmas, New Years, still apart. OK, so I'm being negative. Sue me. In the past 8 years, we haven't had a lot of those, or any other "big days" together. Yes, I have great friends that invite me for Thanksgiving, and I'm heading to my parents for Xmas. It's just not the same.

2. The last time I started to get excited about his homecoming, we got smacked in the face with the Surge. I know, I know, I KNOW! It's not supposed to happen again and it probably won't. But - hey, it's just a feeling, it's not rational, it's silly, stupid, self defeating... blah blah....

See. Told you, I count in a whole new way.


Tuesday, November 17, 2009

It's a Happy Day

A good friend who writes at MyArmyWifeLife is having a wonderful day today. After 12 months apart when he was downrange in the Sand, after innumerable phone calls, emails, letters, long distance grumbles and long distance making up, and after days of "the plane broke - it'll be hours/days/dunno when"... He's Home.

And I'm smiling, because after the last few weeks of sorrow and tears, THIS is the good part of being a milspouse. This is what we wait for, work for, and hope for. She's been running around like we all do, cleaning, making a sign, shopping for the BEST outfit (hey, it WAS sweater weather after all, wasn't it!) and I'll bet, dollars to doughnuts, he didn't care about any of it.. he just wanted to be there, with her. We all know that's how they feel, but we do it anyway. It's our "nesting" thing, I guess.

It's A Happy Day. Just thinking about them is making me smile. Welcome home, M. B, talk to you in a few days!


Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Signed - sealed and delivered. MSRRA

Today - for us - the proud and grateful military spouses one and all. On a day we remember the veterans, and the military families who supported them, the President signed the MSRRA. For us.

The White House

Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release
November 11, 2009
Statement by the President on S.475

Today I have signed into law S. 475, the "Military Spouses Residency Relief Act". This Act, among other things, would provide that when a service member leaves his or her home State in accord with military or naval orders, the service member's spouse may retain residency in his or her home State for voting and tax purposes, after relocating from that State to accompany the service member.

When the military orders service members to move, spouses who move with them often have to pay taxes in a new State or locality and lose the right to vote in the place considered to be home. This legislation will alleviate these and other burdens on our military families. As the Congress has recognized, and as the legislative history reflects, this legislation is an important means of maintaining the morale and readiness of our Armed Forces and significantly enhances the ability of our military to effectively recruit and retain these highly valued service personnel.


November 11, 2009.

Veterans Day - Armistice Day

To the Vets - to the Coasties of USCG Spencer (best damned boat in the fleet) who served with my dad - to the Navy Submarine Fleet, who served with my father in law - to the men who served in the Pacific Theatre (Leyte, Okinawa and all those islands in between) with my uncle - to the men and women of 1st Armored who served with my son and my daughter in law - to the men and women of the Army Security Agency/INSCOM who served and serve with my husband; to the Grenadiers of the Coldstream Guards, to the men and women of the Inniskilling Dragoon Guards; the men and women of 1st Cav who broke our hearts yesterday at Ft. Hood; to the men and women who will march today, visit the graves today, lay wreathes today, who wore or wear the uniform -

Thank you.


Sunday, November 08, 2009

Fort Hood - the names

We've been seeing the name of the shooter ad nauseum. But today, I want the names of the dead to speak. They represent a cross section of our country. They represent what the President called the best of our country, members of that One Percent who were willing to serve their country in uniform. They represent my Military Family - I didn't know them, but I know so many like them. My heart, my condolences and my unequivocal support goes out to their families, their friends, and their fellow soldiers.

Fort Hood releases names of casualties

Nov 7, 2009

By III Corps & Fort Hood Public Affairs Office

FORT HOOD, Texas -- Fort Hood announced today the death of twelve (12) Soldiers and one (1) civilian employee.

The following Soldiers and a civilian employee died Nov. 5 on Fort Hood of wounds suffered from small arms fire.

Lt. Col. Juanita L. Warman
, 55, of Havre De Grace, Md. She was assigned to the 1908th Medical Company, Independence, Mo.

Maj. Libardo Caraveo, 52, of Woodbridge, Va. He was assigned to the 467th Medical Detachment, Madison, Wis.

Capt. John P. Gaffaney
, 54, of San Diego, Calif. He was assigned to the 1908th Medical Company, Independence, Mo.

Capt. Russell Seager, 51, of Racine, Wis. He was assigned to the 467th Medical Company, Madison, Wis.

Staff Sgt. Justin Decrow
, 32, of Plymouth, Ind. He was assigned to the 16th Signal Company, Fort Hood, Texas.

Sgt. Amy Krueger, 29, of Kiel, Wis. She was assigned to the 467th Medical Company, Madison, Wis.

Spc. Jason Hunt
, 22, of Tillman, Okla. He was assigned to the 1st Brigade, Fort Hood, Texas.

Pfc. Frederick Greene, 29, of Mountain City, Tenn. He was assigned to the 16th Signal Company, Fort Hood, Texas.

Pfc. Aaron Nemelka
, 19, of West Jordan, Utah. He was assigned to the 510th Engineer Company, 20th Engineer Battalion, Fort Hood, Texas.

Pfc. Michael Pearson
, 22, of Bolinbrook, Ill. He was assigned to the 510th Engineer Company, 20th Engineer Battalion, Fort Hood, Texas.

Pfc. Kham Xiong
, 23, of St. Paul, Minn. He was assigned to the 510th Engineer Company, 20th Engineer Battalion, Fort Hood, Texas.

Pvt. Francheska Velez
, 21, of Chicago, Ill. She was assigned to the 15th Combat Support Battalion, Fort Hood, Texas.

Chief Warrant Officer, retired, Michael Cahill
of Cameron, Texas. He was a civilian employee on Fort Hood.

Friday, November 06, 2009

How do we fathom this?

One of ours, an officer in uniform - killed his fellow soldiers, wounded more, and left us with so many questions.

This week went from the high of the MSRRA victory and the celebration of a job well done, the camaraderie of working together and knowing we made a difference. To the lowest low at Fort Hood, when our military family was stunned and angered by the wanton slaying; by someone who was supposed to be helping his fellow man, to be counseling the sad and confused, to be a guide for those who had lost their way in their minds.

Why did he do this? I hope we eventually find out why. The military spouse, Sgt. Kimberly Munley, the hero who stopped the murders, did us such a huge favour in NOT killing him. He's alive to answer all these questions; because until we know WHY someone does this, we can't know what we need to look for, what warning signs should send up those red flags? We cannot continue to say it MIGHT BE, it COULD BE, or MAYBE it's his religion, or his stress or not wanting to deploy, or anything else. We need to KNOW why.

All of us in the milspouse world know at least one person who has been there, is going there, or is there now. It hurts. Being on post is supposed to be safe, it's home, it's where they understand our language, where we can read the uniform and know who that is. It's the known, no matter where we end up in the world, Post/Base, is the same. There's the PX, there's the Commissary, there's HQ, there's the unit, the orderly room, the theatre where you stand for the national anthem, the flagpole where you face when retreat is sounded. Whether it's AFSOUTH, or Belvoir, Bragg or Quantico, it's home. It's not supposed to be dangerous; it's not supposed to be scary.

During the moment of silence, my boss called me. And when I told him that I'd get back to him, it was the moment of silence, he had no idea what I was talking about. I was angry at first, then realized, he's just not one of us. I missed my military family today, being in the civilian world. I wanted to run on post, to people who understood. But my online family members, the women (and a couple of guys), who are grieving too, were there. Maybe my new "post" is on my screen? But it still doesn't feel safe.


Tuesday, November 03, 2009

MSRRA - it passed! IT PASSED!!!


A couple of years ago, two military spouses, Rebecca Poynter and Joanna Williamson - entrepreneurs and businesswomen - decided that they had just had ENOUGH of the tax differences, the standing in line to change their drivers licenses, not having their personal property with joint title because of tax issues, and the myriad of other consequences of having to change their state of residency every time they PCSed with their military spouses. They went to Congressman John Carter (R/Tex) who represents that behemoth in Texas - Fort Hood. He was very surprised to realize that the SCRA covered those in uniform, but not their spouses. So they began. During the first cycle, it didn't pass through all the committees in time. But this time, it worked. Now, in the Month of the Military Family, so proclaimed by the President - we got a present.

If you haven't watched legislation being shoved through this system - I can tell you, it's alternatively eye glazing tedious, listening to hours of testimony (and some of it, when it's not on YOUR bill, is unintelligible!) and then nail bitingly nervewracking, hoping someone won't put a roadblock in the way, listening to mutterings about which way a Senator or a Congressman is thinking about maybe voting... As the saying goes, sausage and legislation - you shouldn't watch either being made.

Then yesterday, instead of it going through another committee, it went to the full House. It passed the Senate a while ago, and this was the final step. With a final plea from Congressman John Carter (R/Tex) [youtube=] - on a voice vote, it passed. IT PASSED!!

From the AP

Congress on Monday sent President Barack Obama a bill that allows military spouses to claim residency in the same state as their wives or husbands.

Under current law, service members can choose to keep their original residency as they relocate.

Spouses who lobbied for the change said having that same right would prevent hassles associated with every move, such as obtaining a new driver's license and reregistering to vote. In some cases, it also eliminates the need for couples to file separate tax returns and lowers the income taxes that some spouses pay.

Moving is a ritual repeated nearly every three years on average for military families.

The House passed the legislation on a voice vote. Rep. John Carter, R-Texas, a bill sponsor who represents Fort Hood, Texas, said it would give "invaluable relief to numerous military spouses who regularly uproot their entire lives to accommodate our Armed Forces."

Carter said in a statement that he expects Obama to sign the legislation into law in the next few days.

The legislation had already won approval in the Senate, where it was sponsored by Sens. Richard Burr, R-N.C., and Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif.

THANK YOU to Rebecca and Joanna, thank you to Congressman Carter, Senators Burr and Feinstein, to all the people who called their elected representatives to support this bill, to the Veterans and Military Associations who supported this effort and who testified at the hearings for it.


XPosted at LeftFace.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Cleaning the Clutter

Last week, I was bruised by another one of the nasty little exchanges on Facebook between myself and former friends. What that was about - I'll write about later. Suffice it to say, their stance is that if you are a "true" military spouse and troop supporter, you can't be a liberal or a democrat. It hurt, it really did, and I wasted a lot of time being angry, hurt, allowing it to fester. Today - I was going through my blog list and reading, and went to a site where this blather is reiterated ad nauseum. I've read this blog for about 3 years or so. Today - I deleted the bookmark. Doesn't sound like much, but for me it was a step. I keep wanting their approval, their understanding that, like them, I AM a military spouse, a troop supporter, but think about certain things differently. And I'm done with it. They don't like me, fine. They think I'm a traitor, a Sheeple for voting the way I did, that's THEIR opinion. They are wrong to think that way, but trying to change their narrow little minds, is not going to happen. I honour them, a couple of them have established a superb charity for the wounded, they work incredibly hard, they have husbands and children in the service and tirelessly support them and their chosen careers. Their political views seem to me to be completely wrong, but I don't think that makes them any worse or any better as military supporters. Guess that's just me, huh?


Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Valour IT - Fundraising (II)

Valour IT is having its annual fundraiser. Due to problems with Blogger and the widget, I cannot post their cool link and spot to join on my side bar, as I did last year. So - I'll just put it Here.

and Here is where you join the Army Team... Well, you ARE, right?.

and Here is where you donate.

For those of you who don't know Valour IT - it's a charity that was started when a wounded man who blogged, the famous ChuckZ (then Capt, now Maj. Chuck Ziegenfuss) was trying to stay in contact with his readers. After driving his wife Carren to distraction trying to tell her what to write, erase, write (her story about this will make any wife laugh in sympathy) he said he wished he had Dragon Naturally speaking or something like it on his computer. Someone read that on his blog, and sent it to him. This programme allows the user to speak into a mike and the words appear on the screen. To this old milspouse - it's just magic! (my Dr. uses it... kinda cool) Anyway, everyone realized this was a fantastic thing for the wounded! they could stay in touch with their friends, they could be amused, informed, and have some independence as well. No need to dictate to someone, no need to wait until someone can help with it...

So dig deep, please. If you can give in Team Army to bring our count up, great. If you want to give to any of the other teams, great. But give.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Knit One, Purl One - to keep a soldier warm

X posted at Left Face and ParentsZone.

Operation Gratitude has a great site, and does some superb work. Right now, there is a push to send hats, scarves and helmet liners to Afghanistan. It's getting cold there already, Kabul tonight is in the 30s. In the mountains, it's going to be colder, and it's only October. The link here will give you patterns and information. There are some more patterns on Ravelry and other sites, I'll put them below.

There are some rules you need to follow, and these are not suggestions, these are mandatory. First - NO acrylic or rayon or other artificial yarns. It must be 100% wool. Acrylic melts when it burns. When it gets wet, it gets cold and nasty. Wool, even when wet, keeps the body warmth in. I'm told that the Cascade 220 superwash is warm, soft and washable. There are other washable wools too. Second - muted colours. tans, browns, Army green, black, deep maroon if you must, dark blue if you want to send to airforce.

Other sites - patterns

USMC helmet liner

Helmet liner

troop hat

Scarves - any pattern you want, plainer the better and long enough to go around the neck once and get tucked in. A Gaiter is great too. You know how miserable it is when your neck gets cold!

Get the needles smoking - let's get these guys something warm, something made with care and gratitude. The address to send to by December 5 is
Operation Gratitude/California Army National Guard
17330 Victory Boulevard
Van Nuys, California 91406

If you want to, you can put in your name and email address, enclose a card, or anything else you think they'd like - the list is on the Operation Gratitude page, but those of us in the milspouse community know what to send, right?

See you at the Yarn Store (if you live in the DC area and want to get together, comment and we'll knit together.)


Wednesday, October 07, 2009

accepted - an offer on the house

********** UPDATE:

The sale has collapsed, and we are happy about it. Getting jerked around the way we were - going that far in the hole. paying their closing costs. now another thing, oh and then this... and maybe that.... NO. Basta! Enough! they kept telling us what good Christians they were... huh. sure. taking advantage of a family that had to move because the service member had to PCS.. that's just Such a Good Christian Value? huh??? not the last time I looked!

OK. so we accepted an offer on the house - a very very very very low offer - because there isn't anything else out there. So now the insanity begins. Tenants move out, we take care of the encroachment on the way over there part of the property (neighbour, please sign the ground lease already!) get the rest of the stuff out of the basement that belongs to us, change locks... so much to do, and do it long distance too. Fill out HAP paperwork and hope.

sigh. years of building, working on the house for years - poof! gone. and while I'm glad it is sold, I'm mourning that future we had envisioned a dozen years ago, living on 10 acres in the country, chickens scratching, wood stove fire simmering, canning and drying the fruits of our garden - poof. gone. sad.


Sunday, September 27, 2009

Gold Star Family Remembrance Sunday


Today is the day we remember the Gold Star Families, those who have lost their service member in combat.

These families now have a new way to stay intouch, both with each other and with others, including the military family that has become so important to them.

As a story from Defenselink News reported,
a new Virtual Installation, such as the Army Strong Community Center that opened in Rochester NY in September, is a way for these families to maintain ties to the military. As three families who met with Army Reserve Chief Lt. Gen. Jack C. Stultz made clear to him :

What they said they’re lacking now is a way to stay tied to the military their sons died serving, and to get information and help when they need it.

These families have had difficulties with finding counseling who could help, in one case helping the fiancee of the fallen servicemember receive benefits for the daughter he never saw, and in assisting the siblings who were suffering with the death of their brother. This installation could be of service, could help this group of families who need to feel that we haven't forgotten them.

I have a blog friend, who lost her son 5 years ago. I visit Ken at Arlington periodically, and think of his mother often. As a former Blue Star Mother, and a current Blue Star Wife, I honour her service and her loss, I honour the Gold Star Families around the country who grieve the loss of their servicemember, their son or daughter, who miss their brother or sister, the father or mother they will never see again. Our country needs to remember these families, we need to make sure that their sacrifice is never ever forgotten.

General Casey remembered these families Saturday at the 4th Annual Time of Remembrance at the US Capitol, spent time talking to them, especially the children. The White House Commission on Remembrance proclaimed that the purpose of this day is

To unite our citizens in remembrance, honoring all those who died in service to our country with a special tribute to America's fallen in Afghanistan and Iraq and the families they left behind. To demonstrate to these families that in addition to their family and friends, their fellow Americans care about their loss.

We must never forget that each one of the names on the roll of the fallen have a family that will never be the same again, that have sacrificed so much.


Thursday, September 24, 2009

I get to boast

Here's my first cardigan, made for my granddaughter... I'm awfully chuffed about this.


Wednesday, September 16, 2009

School? Career? Help!

Xposted at LeftFace

I was at the MOAA Job Fair yesterday. Now that is the place to find a job if you are military (and you don't need to be a member of MOAA or an officer) and about to retire or leaving the military (son, you MUST come out next year!) But for me, well I don't have that kind of experience or skill set - but it still made an impression. They had a resume critique panel, and a very pleasant Lt. Col (ret) went through my resume with me and gave me some great pointers to punch it up and make it stand out. I did drop a few resumes at a couple of sites, especially those who are supporting vets and families. But the folks that I spent the most time with, were the ladies at the Fleet & Family Support Center (yes, I'm Army - hooah- but they had great information and were partnering with the Army Career & Alumni Program) No matter that I have over 20 years experience in my field, that I'm considered a "senior" paralegal, they all think I need to finish my degree. So - since I want to work with either wounded warrior advocate programs, or with military families - do I get a degree in counseling, or social work, or what? anyone got any advice for me?

One suggestion I will definitely be checking out, and from the website I am NOT the only one, is the Military Spouse Career Advancement Account MyCAA Has anyone used it?? Seeing my son doing his school work completely online, and talking to a lot of others who are doing the same thing - I'm seriously considering it. So, if any of our readers have used the program, please leave a comment and tell me if it worked, if it didn't, what I need to do to make sure it works for me. And isn't it peculiar, the granddaughter is starting preschool, and I just ordered a "school" backpack for her... should Nana get one too?



Thursday, September 10, 2009

The Speeches

Quick note. The speeches were both great. Rep Wilson is NOT a Southern Gentleman, he's a nasty bad-mannered twerp. But please, tell me, the Republican response - I need to figure out what part of "you will not lose your present health care" did they NOT understand?? Srsly?

Longer post later.


Monday, September 07, 2009

Happy Labor Day

Happy Labor Day - and that sounds peculiar... [shakes head] The end of summer, the last BBQ - How did you celebrate the 3 day weekend? I'll bore you silly, tell you how I did mine.

Saturday, I ventured out on the Beltway - those who know me know I detest the Beltway - but it was for a good cause. Operation Bombshell! (the link is to a Facebook page - here's a blog link as well) And the word for the class - FUN! we laughed ourselves silly - the boas molted cheerfully (the blue ones even smurfed those who used them!) and learned a fun routine, and people came out of their shells, and we talked. Talked about the whole milspouse/deployment/homecoming experience, and didn't have to explain what we meant by anything. It was a great afternoon out. I met K, a woman I have been emailing, phone calling with, and who had invited me to a BBQ! Fun to meet in person! The Garmin lady had to spoil it by taking me down Wisconsin Ave and M Street Georgetown to get me home. Yeah, a gorgeous warm Saturday afternoon in Georgetown - talk about crowded! AARRGGGHH.

Sunday, commissary run, then take a migraine pill, then off to a great BBQ, with military families and a few civilians.. Lots of great food, and I'm sure the Sangria was fantastic but Relpax and booze don't mix, so I couldn't even sample (whine whine) thanks, Kristy and Reese, it was so much fun! Doug, the shrimp was magnificent! The ribs were awesome and whoever made the brownies.... num num num...

Monday - so far I'm cleaning my desk (and decided to post) and then I need to clean, even though my knitting is calling to me... can you hear it? k2, p2, B2.... I'm actually learning to cable knit! whoo hoo. ok ok... not exactly rocket science but hey, it's keeping me busy and entertained.

Whatever you decide to do, keep safe, take a second to thank a veteran or a servicemember. Later, y'all.


Saturday, September 05, 2009

Embed Photographers - Who is to Blame?

Contrary to what I've read - embed photographers are NOT an "invention" of the current administration or of the Secretary of Defense (who was, if my memory serves me correctly, appointed by the previous administration).

In 2003 - at the beginning of the Iraq War- the Pentagon and the previous adminstration allowed over 700 journalists to be embedded with the troops during the invasion. They were vetted by a group called the Rendon Group - who has been paid well for their dossiers and services. As Stars and Stripes reported:

Rendon examines individual reporters’ recent work and determines whether the coverage was “positive,” “negative” or “neutral” compared to mission objectives, according to Rendon officials.

The fact that the Rendon group has been linked to questionable activities including CIA links etc... has made many including the Star & Stripes and the Pentagon, question whether this "vetting" was entirely neutral, and their contract has been either suspended or canceled.

NONE of this has anything to do with the disgraceful publication of the photograph of the young Marine in Afghanistan. Why on earth there is ANYONE else being blamed for this disgusting release other than the photographer and the Associated Press, is absolutely beyond me. The stretch of logic, tying the recent decision by the Secretary of Defense (may I reiterate that he was initially appointed by the Republican prior administration) on Dover AFB - to the abhorrent publication of this photograph --- is epic, unfathomable and so convoluted, it is amazing.


Friday, September 04, 2009

AP - shame on you.

From my husband - downrange.

For years, the Associated Press was one of the mainstays of journalism, a source for unbiased reporting of the events of the day. Period. The decision of AP to run the image of a Marine as he died in Afghanistan, and the statement explaining why they chose to run the image, shows the Associated Press has abandoned impartiality, and joined the ranks of biased news organizations such as CNN and Foxnews. I will no longer rely upon the AP as a source of factual information.

This post X posted at Left Face

The recent decision by the Associated Press to publish a specific picture of a young wounded Marine, who later died of these wounds in the hospital, has galvanized the military community in a way I haven't seen in a very long time. The family of Lance Corporal Bernard specifically requested, in an interview, and phone call, that this image NOT be published. This is the stand taken by Secretary of Defense Gates in the recent Dover decision, if the family says no, that means NO. SecDef Gates also requested that it not be published, when contacted by the family.

“Out of respect for his family’s wishes, I ask you in the strongest of terms to reconsider your decision. I do not make this request lightly. In one of my first public statements as Secretary of Defense, I stated that the media should not be treated as the enemy, and made it a point to thank journalists for revealing problems that need to be fixed – as was the case with Walter Reed."

“I cannot imagine the pain and suffering Lance Corporal Bernard’s death has caused his family. Why your organization would purposefully defy the family’s wishes knowing full well that it will lead to yet more anguish is beyond me. Your lack of compassion and common sense in choosing to put this image of their maimed and stricken child on the front page of multiple American newspapers is appalling. The issue here is not law, policy or constitutional right – but judgment and common decency.”

The Associated Press, in an appalling lack of respect for the family, lack of respect for the military community, showing a complete disregard for common decency, decided to publish it anyway. They claimed they needed it because

We feel it is our journalistic duty to show the reality of the war there, however unpleasant and brutal that sometimes is

The Huffington Post has seen fit to post this image also - and I for one am horrified that they would do this. (and no, I won't link to it, that image does NOT need to be here) There are thousands and thousands of other images, that don't zero in on one particular man, that can show us all what is happening in Afghanistan. To publish this is a slap in the face to the Bernard Family, and to the rest of the families of the military, amongst whom I am proud to stand.

This will now put into further question the entire embed program. The Secretary said it well, the press has been seen as the enemy by many in this military community, the AP and Huffington Post just solidified that opinion. How stupidly shortsighted this decision was. How hurtful.

To Lance Corporal Bernard's family and friends, please accept my condolences on your loss and may I apologize to you for the anguish inflicted on you by the AP and others that published this photograph.

A New Low

I'm still capable of being shocked - which is a shock in itself. I watched the video I have linked to* - of a woman in a wheelchair at a healthcare town hall being heckled and screamed at - and was stunned at the illogical and ridiculous "anger" being shown. The woman was asking for help with her HEALTHCARE issues. I guess she wasn't screaming about "death panels" (who actually believes that twaddle? a new code being added for billing so a doctor can bill for talking to a person about end-of-life care and their wishes, and it was deliberately twisted and lied about by the pundits and talking heads, and started by a shill for drug companies)

I suppose that her problems with her health insurance company don't mean much to the jerk who said "I didn't come here to listen to other people's opinions"... that statement alone says it all. No, they aren't there to listen, to actually discuss anything. They are there to scream, to yell, to disrupt. Rational discussion - listening to other people's opinions, getting the facts to make an independent decision - is that asking so much? When you get your "information" from groups set up and financed by health insurance companies and drug companies - you get what they paid for.

* tried to imbed, Blogger wouldn't let me...

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Saying Goodbye to the Liberal Lion of the Senate

Xposted on LeftFace

Yesterday, I watched the funeral of Senator Kennedy while in the waiting room of the Toyota Dealer, which meant I had nowhere to go, nothing I could do other than watch, knit, and remember. Remember when I was young and President Kennedy was assassinated, the sorrow and shock; when I was older and Bobby was killed, the shock and anger. This Kennedy was put to rest after a long life, this was a celebration of his life, with his large family around him, saying goodbye to "Le Grand Fromage". There were tears, laughter, homage and stories of a complex man; not a perfect human being by any means. A man of great wealth, who worked tirelessly for the less fortunate; a man of questionable decisions in his private life, who was a committed campaigner for the causes he felt strongly about; a dedicated and unabashed Liberal, willing to reach across the aisle and work with his best friend, the very conservative Orrin Hatch. As one of the women in our discussion group, HellCatBetty, said:
He was such an admirable man; passionate about the things he believed in (which I happen to agree with), but also a true American that believed that no matter what your beliefs/politics, The Constitution provides and protects the opportunity for you to express yourself.

He was the rallying cry for both parties, the conservative camp vowing to block him and his policies; the liberal camp vowing to back him in those same policies. We've forgotten that he learned to work with his opponents, while holding fast to his principles of aid to those in need. Another commenter in our discussion -
Ted had a few things in his past that bothered me, but I always loved that he was fighting for people who wouldn't have had a voice otherwise. Through his family, wealth, and connections, he could have done whatever he wanted -- looted Wall Street, lived off the family name and investments, whatever. Instead, he chose public service, to represent folks who weren't anything like him, and I think that is awesome. I'll miss him something terrible.

We didn't avoid talking about Chappaquiddick, nor did he. His decisions that night were deplorable, wrong, and despicably foolish. His drinking bouts were legendary and idiotic, a weakness that he acknowledged in later life. Whether he only went into politics because of his father's urging and because his brothers told him to, we don't know. But it's what he DID for the country, for the poor, the disabled and yes, the military, that counts for me.

There are many pages devoted to his legislative accomplishments and I culled the list below from many of them - but this is NOT the comprehensive list.

Civil Rights Act of 1991, Protection and Advocacy for Mentally Ill Individuals Act of 1986, the Nutrition Labeling and Education Act of 1990, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, the Ryan White Comprehensive AIDS Resources Emergency Act of 1990, the National Institutes of Health Revitalization Act of 1993, the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act of 1994, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, the Food and Drug Administration Modernization Act of 1997, Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) in 1997 (“HIPAA”), the Children's Health Act of 2000, the Project BioShield Act of 2003, the Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness Act of 2005, the FDA Amendments Act of 2007, and the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008. In 1972 he helped push the Women, Infants, and Children Nutrition Program (WIC. In 2000, the Public Health Threats and Emergencies Act and in 2002 the Bioterrorism Preparedness Act. 1992 Mammography Quality Standards Act, and in 2009 he introduced the 21st Century Cancer Access to Life-Saving Early detection, Research and Treatment (ALERT), in 2003 he helped make the Medicare changes to allow for more use of generic drugs. 2007 Matthew Shepard Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act, and the Civil Rights Act of 2008, which forbids the discrimination against men and women in uniform by their employers. The Immigration Act of 1965, and the Enhanced Border Security and Visa Reform Act of 2002. Religious Freedom Restoration Act in 1993. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), which became law in 1978. Early Head Start, created by Senator Kennedy in 1994. Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, and the TRIO programs for college students, Basic Educational Opportunity Grant (Pell Grants Thank you Ted) and Title IX, Workforce Investment Act of 1998, College Cost Reduction Act of 2007, Higher Education Opportunity Act in 2008. National and Community Service Trust Act of 1990, which established AmeriCorps in 1993, and the Serve America Act of 2009. Raised the minimum wage twice. Pension Protection Act of 2006. Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, National Military Child Care Act of 1989, and introduced National Month of the Military Child in 2008. National Guard and Reserve Mental Health Access Act of 2008. 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act, Crime Victims and Disabilities Awareness Act of 1998, The Rehabilitation, Comprehensive Services and Developmental Disabilities Amendments of 1978

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Senator Kennedy

RIP Teddy. Your dream of universal healthcare isn't done yet, but we are working on it. For all your faults, your past, your foibles, your mistakes - you were a passionate liberal, you refused to be ashamed of that honourable label, you worked hard for the causes you believed in. We'll miss you.

I'm already seeing some revolting remarks by people from whom I expected some semblance of taste and class. How sad that they cannot wait a few hours to begin their nastiness.

Monday, August 24, 2009

I know. I know... I KNOW!!!

I owe y'all a large post about the great fun we had. I know, I owe y'all something decent written with care. But I'm addicted - to something new. My blogs are suffering, the blog I share with great friends is too, the apartment is a wreck. And why, you ask? (and you really don't give a rip, but I'm being egotistical today)

KNITTING! On the shared blog - we have a great friend, who loves to knit and is so enthusiastic about it, her nickname is the neighbourhood crack dealer of knitting. Many trips to Michaels later, I have a tote, various sizes of needles, yarn (and I have a huge bin of yarn left over from crochet projects and from my mother's stash as well), patterns and I even joined Ravelry online - to look for more yarn, patterns.... it's an addiction!

so forgive the lack of writing. I'll get my act together soon - my knitting will go back to being something else I do, instead of the ONLY thing I've done. k1, p1, YO....


Friday, August 14, 2009

Waiting for -----

No, not Godot. waiting for three of my "imaginary friends" - fellow bloggers on Left Face! they are coming to town to meet, greet, eat! and do the whole tourist thing. I'm so glad to be having them here, wish the others could be here as well.

Let's see - beds made, food (and beer) in fridge, the good Pride and Prejudice ready (Colin Firth IS Mr. Darcy) knitting needles ready (we are all learning to knit, thanks to our friend Lopsided Mom). I'm ready!

Talk to y'all after this weekend, there's so much to talk about, isn't there?


Friday, August 07, 2009

something useful

I love my IPod. I love being able to get my BBC podcasts and listen to them while I'm on the Metro or at work (some very LOUD attorneys on my hall, who do conferences by speaker phone). So when it froze up completely the other day, I was NOT happy. It had been acting up for a few days. took a couple more taps to get to menu etc. What to do... find the Apple Store and stand in line for hours - no, I don't have time for that. Think!

Googled IPod diagnostics - and voila! I'm sure lots of you knew this, but if you didn't, this could save you a trip/wait or some frustration.


Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Jet Lag - Exhaustion Haze

So, I got back Sunday afternoon, and went to work yesterday. 300+ emails, some the "using printer 2 for large project", but many of substance... and nothing was computing in my head! trying to get the insurance/bank bit accomplished, calling mortgage company, dealing with workmen by phone, trying to get with realtor, renters, mortgage company, and all while feeling fuzzyheaded. I even had to tell one of the attorneys that I really wasn't going to be able to help him out until the next day - I couldn't rely on my work product to be accurate with the way I was feeling.

Don't get me wrong, I appreciate the fact that I got an extra day with Chief by both of us flying out on the last possible day. But I coulda used a day without being at work to recover - napping would be a start! And the house is bare of essentials - need a commissary run big time - but tonight is my night to clean cat cages at Petsmart/FancyCats. I'm unpacked, which is good. If I don't unpack right away, that suitcase could be standing in the corner for a few days - and that could be bad, if you know what I mean! I've been doing laundry - but I'm running out of detergent - need to put that on the list as well.

A good night's sleep last night helped. I'm almost feeling human. got bills paid, got cheques deposited (LOVE the online cheque deposit from USAA) and now hoping that the work day will feel better. Need to write reviews for the hotels we stayed in, the thank you letter to the last one....


Monday, August 03, 2009

I'm Back! Not happily, but I'm back.

So - anyone who was wondering (and my latest stats say very few of you are there) - I'm Back from our wonderful damp, cool, superb, glorious 2 week R&R in Scotland and Ireland. We had a great time - somethings went great, somethings didn't. I'll post some pictures and a bit of a travelogue when I'm not a little jetlagged, and a lot sad. Talked to Chief on the phone early this morning - he was in the airport lounge waiting for his trip to the less damp, cool spot he calls "home" for now... and I'm sad.

One not so nice thing - some jackass cretin bozo has hacked ParentsZone - and I'm not sure how much can be recovered. Karma will hit this person upside the head, sooner I hope.


Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Honouring the heroes

I just watched a report on BBC World news on the repatriation of eight young soldiers, all killed in Afghanistan on the same day. In contrast to our own secretive and exclusionary arrivals at Dover, the arrivals were filmed, in silence, the only sound was a trumpet call and the slow march of the bearers. The families were not filmed. They then had a private service at a private chapel, and all eight hearses set off from the base. They were escorted by police and the route was lined, through the town of Wooten Bassett all the way to Oxford. The town shut down. All the way to Oxford, the route was lined with veterans groups, families, strangers and friends. Flags were dipped as the hearses passed, veterans and current soldiers saluted, children stood with their hands over their hearts and roses were flung to land on the hearses and the road before them.

The entire country paid respect to those young men, to their families, to their Regiments. Respect. No paparazzi dashed forward to take pictures of the widows, no disrespect or protesters were seen. Dignity and respect, sadness and loss were the only emotions I saw on the faces of those standing on the route. As it should be.


Monday, July 06, 2009

Now THAT was quite a weekend!

Three days of fun, fireworks of all sorts, low humidity and high drama - quite a weekend.

I was lucky enough to be invited to a friend's apartment in Rosslyn, with the most amazing view of DC and the Maryland suburbs and down the Potomac to the airport. The river was packed with boats, the roads were shut down and huge groups of people clustered on the bridges and through Arlington Cemetery and clambered on the Iwo Jima Marine Memorial. The fireworks were fantastic! and watching them burst over the Washington Memorial and the Capitol... amazing! We turned up the music on the TV coverage, after all, what are fireworks without Souza! The trip home was the usual in DC after an event. I waited for about 45 minutes (when the flow of people had backed off to a trickle coming off the bridges and Arlington) and went to the Rosslyn station. And then I waited another hour, but not on the platform, that was way too crowded and dangerous. It looked a little bit like pictures we have seen of Tokyo, people trying to shove onto already crowded trains! but the system was working, and I got home safe and sound.

R&R aka Mid Tour Leave is coming up fast. The suitcase is up in the bedroom and I've started prepacking, pulling together what I think I want to take, pulling together what Chief wants me to bring,(yes, dear, I have the recharger for the camera) The cat met his new friend, who will be staying with him and took to her immediately, plunked himself in her lap and proceeded to demand her attention. That's a plus, having him content with her and not hiding under the futon which is his usual station when meeting new people.

The house disaster is coming together, my handyguy is a miracle worker, got the paint off the kitchen cupboards and spent at least 30 hours sanding the paint off the wood throughout the house. A realtor we had been talking to about listing has said he wants to now that a couple of things have been done or are being done, so keep the fingers Xed. We have renters, who will be moving in at the end of the month, wish us luck there too. The best part? The insurance company is 99.9% certain they are paying for the repairs, which is a HUGE weight off our shoulders and means that we can take our MidTour Leave.

Not to say there hasn't been drama - after all, this is MY life, so there HAS to be drama! The caretaker drama has kept me awake, reduced me to tears more than once, and I've chosen to back off, to respond strictly in a professional manner and refuse to respond and feed the circus.

The Palin drama was and is a feast for anyone on the Internet, that rambling wreck of a "speech" (I put it in quotes, because speeches are usually understandable, and I've heard it at least 6 times in it's entirety, but I still cannot figure out what the hell she said!) and her ongoing "what do you mean you don't understand, you are picking on me, leave me alone/pay attention to me" blathering - well y'all, I just shake my head in amazement.

Hope your weekend was a good one, if you were spending it without your loved one because of deployment or other duty, I hope you had good friends to spend it with.


Friday, July 03, 2009


She is quitting, Sarah Palin is Quitting! If she can't handle being governor, how the hell would she handle being in National Politics?? oh, this is so bizarre, so absolutely her way of doing things... Bye bye, Alaska Barbie.


Saturday, June 27, 2009

Enough already!

ONE more word about Michael Jackson - I'll scream! Even the BBC - my place to go to when US media is driving me mad with the trivial BS - they did wall to wall coverage! So my friend misericorde (I know who she is, but she's shy...) started doing RIP tweets, with a different Navy Casualty in Afghanistan. I picked it up and did the Iraq 2009. Yes, MJ was talented, but batshit crazy, drug addicted and had a penchant for strange behaviour and tantrums that were somehow allowed because "he never had a childhood"..excuse, excuse, excuse for bad behaviour - often close to criminal (if not more than close)

But what talent did THEY have? those men and women on the casualty list? did they sing, dance, write songs? Were they great cooks, comedians, runners, writers, poets, students of history, painters? Why are we forgetting to mourn them? Why are we no longer taking a moment to pay our respects to them?

We do have other problems in this country, anyone trying to sell a house (another post altogether) or find a job will understand that... but these men and women died in the service of their country, their ideals. It is time to remember that again, not just on Memorial Day, Veterans Day, July 4. Every day.


Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The road to Suckyville - heads down into the valley

My friend Tucker (if you haven't gone to her site, get your butt over there) talked about Suckyville. Thats the place that all deployments get to - and it is just miserable. I hit the outskirts of town last week, and this week I think I hit downtown Suckyville.

I'm tired - tired of being alone, tired of taking care of everything. When the house was broken into and vandalized, the whole who will fix it, trying to get it cleaned up so we can list it, dealing with the insurance company, was added to the regular crap, and piling on my OCD problem with making reservations for our upcoming R&R... it's all just sitting on my head and driving me batshit. I have a tendency to want to have it all perfect and did too much research on hotels in Edinburgh and Dublin, worrying that I'm spending too much - did I get somewhere nice and clean and quiet? did I get some horrid place that will stink of old cabbage with a disco across the way? I read reviews like crazy - like I said, I went nuts.

Now the whole "rent the house, don't rent the house" decision has to be made, are these prospective renters a nice couple or some meth head bunch who will trash the house some more?

And I don't have the husband to turn to and say "what do YOU think?" He just says he trusts me and my decisions... and I don't trust my own decisions.

Work - that's another FUBAR problem, with an attorney with a severe case of ADHD who is getting ready for vacation - so you can imagine how much time he's spending on anything I need to have done/answered.

Waah, waah waah. I sound like an absolute IDIOT - there are so many people have a worse time, and I'm making my own problems. and I Know It. but for some reason, I cannot dig out of this pit right now. So I think I'll wallow for a while (with visions of baby hefelumps in the mud making me smile) and I hope like hell I can see the other side soon.

OK, grump post over.


Thursday, June 18, 2009


DoD Identifies Army Casualty

The Department of Defense announced today the death of a soldier who was supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.

Sgt. 1st Class Kevin A. Dupont, 52, of Templeton, Mass., died June 17 at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, Texas, of wounds suffered March 8 in Kandau, Afghanistan, when an improvised explosive device detonated near his vehicle. He was assigned to the 79th Troop Command, Rehoboth, Mass.

I have been following SFC Dupont's fight for life at BAMC through Caring Bridge. He touched a chord with me, probably because we are the same age, he was a little younger than my husband. He didn't need to be there, he volunteered to be there, with "his guys". His wife Lisa has been a rock through this, has written in the daily.. and was always strong and sure that "Iron Man" would pull through. His family in Massachusetts held strong throughout!

My deepest condolences to Lisa and the entire Dupont family.


Tuesday, June 16, 2009


I am watching the Iran coverage, and there's a lot of emotion swirling around. A friend of my parents was in the Embassy, all those years ago. He was held hostage, and we saw the crowds roaring, the chanting... and the biggest sound we heard was - Death to America. We worried about him everyday. And I found this - this is our friend, and he's making the exact point I am trying to make as well.

Now Tehran is again boiling over. Twitterers are tweeting like crazy, and the demonstrators are marching again. And there are those who want us, the United States, to make grandiose statements and accuse the Iranian government of fraud. Yes, we KNOW there was fraud, that's a duh.

But we CANNOT say more. We cannot give the present regime any ammunition - we cannot let them use our support to make a point that the opposition is "under the control of America". We are still the Great Satan in Iran. We have a terrible history in Iran, of toppling an elected official and propping up the Shah who was pretty brutal in his crushing of all opposition. We cannot be seen to be doing this again. We cannot.


Sunday, June 14, 2009

it's been a while... and this week just sucked!

I can finally blog this all, I was waiting to tell Chief all about the house, didn't want him to find out by email...... what? What am I talking about?.. well, gather round, my friends (and those anon lurkers, pull up a chair)

I went to MN a couple of weeks ago, and figured out what needed to be done to the house to get it all spiffed up to list for sale. A little bit here, some paint, the siding needs cleaning and re-staining, the yard needs weeding and all... After a fast visit with good friends, home I came.

My parents came out to visit that next weekend, it was my Dad's birthday (#88!) He started feeling bad when we were at the Smithsonian, looking at a picture of himself in the Second World War and it escalated... the next day we finally persuaded him that he needed to go to the ER.. and after hours of waiting, he was admitted for an Ileus. The next day - right before I left work to pick them up from the hospital - I got a call.

It was my neighbour/caretaker/realtor - and she was calling to tell me someone broke into the MN house, and spray painted the walls, and the kitchen cabinets. They drank the wine that we were using for display (the not so good/cheap nasty stuff) drank sodas, scattered hot dogs around... sigh. Why the HELL they had to vandalize the house? I have no idea.

So now - we won't be listing soon, I have to deal with insurance (but our wonderful USAA rocks!) BUT - my dad is ok, back home where they live, and going to see his own Doctor. My handyguy will be able to take care of most of it, and his buddy the paint guy thinks he can do something with the kitchen cabinets.

This next week, has to be better!


Friday, May 29, 2009

poke - poke - poke

I haven't had a medical history taken in that depth in years! we went through everything. and then...the needles! I'll confess, I closed my eyes (I'll maintain I was tired... but you and I know the truth, I HATE getting a shot). The first one she put in "oh holy cow" that one hurt (in my right palm, at a "fire"/headache point) the others on the right side of my foot hurt too(my neck and headaches, all on the right side). The ones on the left side - I didn't feel more than a little prickle. The ow was momentary... then I lay there (gotta bring in my own music... didn't like hers) for 20 minutes (no burning, LM..) then she came in and tweaked them, and another 15 minutes. Today - no headache and my neck is feeling better too. So we'll try a few more sessions... and keep the fingers crossed.

Booked the R&R trip and got trip insurance (through USAA, deployment and leave cancellations are covered events!) wow... the flight was not too bad, but the fees/taxes.... ouch.

time to get some sleep before I head out tomorrow.

later. LAW

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Pins and Needles

Today - my first appointment with the acupuncturist. When I reminded Chief of that, his emails became riddled with needle humour.. he just loves to poke at me that way - [right back atcha, dear!]

Started into my new group at work - this is either going to be interesting, or I'm going to want to just scream in a month. One of the reasons I was told I would be moving, was that I wouldn't "wilt" under the pressure. This, my friends, is code for "this group is full of either crazies or arrogant, misogynistic jerks (what, attorneys?.. no, you can't be serious {snark}) and because you are an old broad who won't let them reduce you to tears, or work until 3:00 am to satisfy their ridiculous last minute requests [really, one of the younger paralegals did that, and then slept at the office!], we will put you in this group and know you won't quit." I keep telling myself it's a job, it's a job, and I'm grateful to have one.

This weekend I set off to the midwest to check on the house, get some eyes on the place and see what really needs to be done, meet up with a few old friends... and while I'm flying get some writing done.

talk to y'all later.


Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day

Yesterday - He held this salute for over 3 hours.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

XPosted from Left Face

The launch for Beyond Tribute that I went to Thursday, and the Memorial Day weekend coming up, combined to bring it to the top of my list.

Beyond Tribute is - to quote one of the founders - not a charity, not an organization, it's an idea! The idea is to make the holidays that should be devoted to veterans and those who gave their lives, mean more again. To those in America who don't know anyone in the military - honestly, right now Memorial Day is the day for a good sale - and none of us will turn down a good sale! But wouldn't it be even better if the business doing that great sale on purses (that's for Pam Eggleston the purse maven, the milspouse who spoke at the launch about her life with Charles, her husband and wounded warrior) was going to contribute part of the profits from that sale to programs for vets? General Wesley Clark said at the launch that we need to transform Memorial Day and Veterans Day back into a holiday of more meaning.

So - if you haven't taken the pledge yet - go over and do it. Then send the link to the businesses you use - big and small. Send the link to your family, send the link to your friends and co-workers. Let's put the memories back into Memorial Day, and by Veteran's Day - make the rest of the country remember the veterans.


Monday, May 18, 2009

MSRRA - one more time! CALL

OK - guys - time to really buckle down and call the VA Committee. The Markup hearing - in which the committee can delete wording or leave it alone - is Thursday morning! The Facebook site is here.

Chairman Sen. Daniel Akaka [D-HI] (202) 224-6361
Sen. John Rockefeller IV [D-WV] (202) 224-6472
Sen. Patty Murray [D-WA] (202) 224-2621
Sen. Sharrod Brown [D-OH] co-sponsor (202) 224-2315
Sen. Jim Webb [D-VA] (202) 224-4024
Sen. Jon Tester [D-MT] co-sponsor (202) 224-2644
Sen. Mark Begich [D-AK] co-sponsor (202) 224-3004
Sen. Roland Burris [D-IL] co-sponsor (202) 224-2854
Sen. Arlen Specter [D-PA] co-sponsor (202) 224-4254
Sen. Bernard Sanders [I-VT] (202) 224-5141
Sen. Johnny Isakson [R-GA] co-sponsor (202) 224-3643
Sen. Roger Wicker [R-MS] co-sponsor (202) 224-6253
Sen. Mike Johanns [R-NE] co-sponsor (202) 224-4224
Sen. Lindsey Graham [R-SC] (202) 224-5972

They can make changes - some rumblings about deleting some language. We need to ask them to leave in every word!

Call - call NOW. The Markup hearing is May 21, at 9:30. Get those fingers dialing!


x[posted on LeftFace

Friday, May 08, 2009

Happy Military Spouse Appreciation Day

To all the milspouses I know and those I don't; the ones who lean left, and those who lean right; the ones who have their service member home, and those who are alone because of deployment, TDY, school or whatever; the women and the men (Hey Chris, Hey Toad); To Us - a Happy, peaceful, healthy and wonderful Military Spouse Appreciation Day.

May we have the strength to keep going when it just crashes down around us; may we have the joy of seeing our spouse, our children and our families happy and contented; may we kick some serious PCS butt when we move; may we show those who are near and dear to us that we care about them.

I'll wish us all peace, love and happiness.


Saturday, May 02, 2009

Quite a week!

It's been a while, here on my own personal little site. Busy out there in the rest of the world. Work - well, it's feast or famine, I'm either so busy I don't have time to think, or so bored I could cry. A friend congratulated me on my moving to a new division, after she heard about it at a training meeting - huh, funny, I hadn't (still haven't) heard anything from anyone who actually is in "command"...

The other blogs - Left Face, Parents Zone - they are going well, I think. My co-authors on LF are absolutely amazing. And the new authors on ParentsZone are fantastic, more than making up for those who decided not to write anymore, or so I assume, since we haven't heard from them in months.

I went up to the Hill for the MSRRA hearing in the Veterans Affairs Committee of the Senate - report here on LeftFace. If you are a member of the military family - call your Senator!

Whilst sitting around here one early morning (sleep - not happening lately) I came across a "letter to Obama".. you know the kind, the usual crap about him driving us into bankruptcy etc (of course, the past 8 years of tax breaks for the rich, two wars, etc... had NOTHING to do with it....) but one line just made me furious.

*You scare me because you did not spend the formative years of youth growing up in America and culturally you are not an American.*

Do you believe this crap? Let's see, how many military kids does this describe? How many State Department kids, like me, does this describe? How many immigrant kids, who are now proud American citizens does this describe? Talk about closet racist - pretty close to coming outa the closet there!

Time to clean the pit I call an apartment, do the commissary run etc. Take care!


Friday, April 24, 2009

MSRRA - The Surge!

I was asked to put in a link for this post - this is the Facebook link to the MSRRA Facebook site.

DC Area Spouses Are Invited - Senate Bill 475, Military Spouses Residency Relief Act, which provides the option of a home state to Military Spouses, will be heard in a Senate Hearing, Wednesday April 29th. The time of the hearing is 9:30 to 10:30am in the Senate Office Building Dirksen, Room 562. Please be there by 9:20am. Please allow 30 minutes to walk from the Metro Capitol South stop and get through security.

See you there! Let's work for something REAL!


Monday, April 20, 2009

MSRRA - time to get loud, Y'all!

From the MSRRA site: From Monday, April 20th to Friday, May 8th (Military Spouses Appreciation Day) we are launching a campaign to inundate the Senate with calls from military spouses urging their Senators to sign on as Co-Sponsors of this bill and show their support of Military Spouses. We truly believe in the power of the Military Spouse network and need your help in order to get this legislation signed into law."

Now, from me - call the Senator from your home state, call the Senator from the state you live in now, call the Senator from the state you lived in before you PCSed...CALL - Email - if you see one of them in town, talk to them. Call the local office, call the DC office, ask for the Military coordinator, ask for the Veteran's coordinator, the Women's issue coordinator - We need to be heard! Call your friends, tell them to call. There are thousands of military spouses out there - let's just call this our ultimate phone tree.


Thursday, April 16, 2009

It's the little things that help the most

Chief emailed me today and alerted me to this group. Now he loves music - plays guitar, is trying to learn the bagpipes (oh, the dog LOVED that one... howled in a descant!) and the mandolin, plays harmonica... and when he saw Operation Happy Note, he was intrigued. Then he saw - they are from Fergus Falls Minnesota, so there's a "home state" connection for us.

The Baker's, from Fergus Falls MN sent their son and a friend of his guitars when they were deployed in 2005. Since then, they set up Operation Happy Note, and have been sending all kinds of instruments, guitars, violins, banjos, mandolins, harmonicas to deployed troops. They have help from manufacturers, but the shipping costs - are up to OHN and can be quite high (as you and I know from sending our care packages!) It's hard to know that there are instruments waiting to be sent to someone who could use that escape that can be found in making music, because of postage!

If you are feeling in the giving mood - think about Operation Happy Note Oh - Pass it On!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Never judge a woman by her looks

Or a book by it's cover. For those who haven't seen this - you need to go, take about 5 minutes and watch a woman change a lot of people's perceptions.


Saturday, April 11, 2009

That BLOODY Cat!

I've been worrying, the cat is going through one of his phases of "I don't want to eat this... or that.... and not that either".. (which is why my kitchen cupboard is full of different cans of cat food) He first decides on one, then after a few days he refuses to touch it, and I get a few different ones, till he chooses another kind to be the favourite. But right now, he only wants treats and won't touch the food. I checked his litter box - Nothing. So I'm worrying he's not - let's find a nice euphemism - voiding at all. I checked around the apartment, no little piles or wet spots... I'm thinking the vet, ya know?

THEN I checked out on the balcony. A large pot that did hold a tomato plant last year, that I hadn't bought a plant to put in yet was sitting there... and I wondered what on earth.... Yeah. the little brat has been using IT for his litter box! So that soil has to be emptied out. I have the pot covered. covered all the other pots too - and I suppose I should be glad he's not sick, that I don't have to take him to the vet, but this is the first time I've had box problems with him.

That BLOODY bloody cat!

*** After a full day of his stubbornly standing by the balcony door and yelling, with me not opening it... the sweet sound of the automatic litter box proved, once again, the woman with the opposable thumbs WINS! ****


Thursday, April 09, 2009

How to be a good milspouse

OK, now I didn't believe this the first time I read it... and I still don't. When I described it to someone, they wondered if it was copied from some book in the 1950s... You be the judge.

Try This

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Military Spouse Employment - A Series

No, not here - it's on Left Face. We are talking about employment for milspouses, what kind of job can we find, discrimination in hiring and pay, job satisfaction. Please come over, join the conversation. We love to hear from you!

Click HERE and drop in for some thoughtful conversation, and please add to it, it's about all of us who move, and move, and move, whilst trying to hold on to the career we trained for, make enough money to keep our family happier (or in some cases, to pay for the house you still own at the LAST duty station) , use the degree we are still paying for... all of it.


Monday, April 06, 2009

A wounded National Guardsman

This family needs our help - our support. This story hit me very hard, SFC Kevin Dupont is a 52 year old Massachusetts National Guardsman - he was VSI in Afghanistan and is now in an induced coma at Brooke Army Medical Center. He's our age! He could be home, in Massachusetts, with his family but he volunteered to go. His wife is also Guard, an MP and did her tour in Iraq. This brings back so many memories of our time in the MN Guard and for me, this is what the Guard is, a family affair and now one of our family needs support. A fund has been set up - the address is on Blackfive - the link is here. Please, drop by and read the full account. Send his wife Lisa a note of encouragement - she reads everything to Kevin.


Sunday, April 05, 2009

Wounded Warrior Project

So... I just sat and bawled like a 2 year old watching the CMA's - and saw Trace Adkins and the West Point Glee Club sing for the Wounded Warrior Project.

Normally, I'd put a link in right about here... but I can't. The page won't load, the traffic seems to be so heavy that there isn't a way to get through. And I'm so happy about that! I'm hoping every single person who goes to wounded warrior buys that download. I'll put the link in as soon as I can get it!

I was so impressed with the wounded warrior chosen to introduce the piece - he said it all - this is about the warriors, not the war. If we can all remember that!

**** I managed to get on this morning - but be patient, load time takes quite a while, due to increased traffic! That's wonderful!


Thursday, April 02, 2009

Go Vote!

Left Face- another blog made up of left leaning military spouses -

Unfortunately, one milspouse has decided to get inappropriate - ignore it please.


The infamous IPod

For those who don't know me, I am an Anglophile - I'll freely admit it. I've been reading about the gift the Obamas gave Her Majesty yesterday, and for some reason many people are SHOCKED that they would give her an IPod and a rare book.

First, HM loves her present IPod, and has been seen listening to it while walking the dogs and there are rumours that she listens to it when on trips. She loves music, especially musicals. So the gift, which had musicals already loaded and the pictures of her recent trip to the US, was a thoughtful, personal gift. The rare song book? Her library collection is one of the largest "private" collections (it belongs to the head of State, and will be passed on intact upon her death" and is one of the treasures of the State. She takes an active enjoyment in it, so a rare book, signed by a great American Songwriter - very suitable.

What do these people want to give her? another framed picture? GWB gave her a statue - not exactly a personal gift - although the box of letters from the archives was a nice one. Another sterling silver box? a little redundant, don't you think? These gifts are supposed to be personal, not an exercise in "look what I'm rich enough to give you"... She, one of the richest people in the world, gives a picture in a frame.

As for those who talk about the President's answers to reporters being stuttering and stammering - please, remember last year... GWB making up words and babbling inanely. Even you, the faithful, cannot say the man could actually parse a coherent sentence.


Tuesday, March 31, 2009

I got this from a PAO at DOD.

"Writers Needed for Washington Times coverage of Military: Base News

The Washington Times will soon launch a community journalism Web site devoted to reporting all the news about the military and their families, from the perspective of those who are most familiar with the issues. We need volunteers to write both for our weekly coverage that will appear in the print edition of TWT and for the daily coverage on our Web site, Writers need simply to follow the guidelines and accept to write without monetary compensation. Our mission is to transform the way the American media portrays the military community. We need to hear from as many different sources within the community, in bases all across America and around the world. If you want to be a community journalist, contact Grace Vuoto: 2026363165 or"

I like the idea of educating the public/media about what/who we REALLY are! and for those who are overseas it would be a good fit... unfortunately there doesn't seem to be any $$$$$$$$ involved, but then most of us write for nada anyway!


Friday, March 27, 2009

And the nutjobs keep on rollin'

Michelle Bachman - the one who wanted members of Congress investigated for unamerican activities, and when confronted with the evidence of her saying it twice claimed it was an "urban myth" has done it again.


Now, the President said he would NOT sign on to a global currency... But hey, Michelle Bachmann - twinkie extraordinaire who hung on to GWBush at the State of the Union address like he was her long lost boytoy... knows better!

Then we have the poster child for whiny pain in the butt - garsh, golly gee, wink wink...

palins-prayer-remark-angers-former-staffers/ Supposedly, she couldn't find anyone who wanted to hold hands and pray. Well, dear Governor P, I think praying by yourself is perfectly satisfactory if you believe - however if you are trying to proclaim oooh ooooh look at me, I'm praying I guess that's not good enough, huh?

Hey - I have the best ticket I can hope for - Palin/Bachmann.... wheeee.

ugh. this cold is kicking my butt

3 days I've been home, and I feel worse every day. but I have to go to the office today, conference calls, meetings, etc. I'm not infectious anymore (I am not one of those people who go to work and spread whatever it is that they have) I'm going stir crazy in this apartment. I should have done all sorts of projects, but ended up either in bed or on the couch.

And tomorrow - I'm so happy I'm going to help a friend do a vegetable garden bed - raised even! The weather will be a bit damp, but that's better than too hot. Another friend has broken her ankle, falling over a dog toy - get better soon AHH6, and we are all hoping that SisB improves more every day.

I lost a friend this week. but I guess if you won't listen to an explanation and insist on thinking something was said that wasn't... was that really a friend?

dragging off to the office...


Tuesday, March 24, 2009

It's Spring! yeah!

I went to a wonderful nursery in Maryland on Sunday - and after I stopped drooling and wishing I had more than a postage stamp balcony - I was sensible (dammit) got a few herbs, some morning glory seeds, and then I saw it. An Earth Box - and I have a question. Have any of you used this system? Is it sturdy enough? Is it something USEFUL or just another gimmick.

Hopefully, a friend is going to be starting a vegetable raised bed on Saturday - I get to go and dig in the dirt with her. Nothing like doing that to make everything feel better.

I also have the usual spring cold - that's not a cold. It's not allergies, it's just this little "I-have-the-feeling-I'm-getting-sick" Had this last year. sucked.

time for soup. Later!


Pandering! I've been accused of Pandering!

Well... slap me silly, y'all, I'm a Panderer! I guess because I say what I think? or I talk about whatever the hell I want on my own blog?

. Does the phrase "pot - kettle" ring any bells? But hey, I'm just a milspouse, not an all knowing person, like the kettle.

*** I have to make something really really clear - the wonderful lady who blogs as Potandkettle - she's NOT the person I am talking about. No way. no how. ****


Sunday, March 22, 2009

A New Place

Ok, y'all - there is a place for those of us, military spouses of the liberal persuasion... A bunch of us started a new Spouse Site - it's called Left Face . C'mon over and visit - tell us what you want to see - comment, talk to us!

It's exciting!


Thursday, March 19, 2009

He Listened

I am so happy about this, I could just - just --- I don't know what! The President and the Administration realized that no matter if the budget would be improved, it just wasn't right, it wasn't fair. From CNN

As the mother and mother in law of a vet, as the wife of a future vet, and the daughter of a vet, I'm thankful that the common sense and fairness prevailed. Pressure from some vet's organizations didn't hurt either!!!


Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Talk about DUMB Ideas

I am still wondering who thought this one up. Some idiot bean counter in OMB or the VA thinks it would save money and just be so wonderful if we had Veterans get their healthcare paid for by their private insurance. Notwithstanding the following: that EVERY health insurance that I have ever seen has a very clear clause that says illness or injury resulting from military service is not covered; Or that it is just a slap in the face to every veteran; that this will add yet another level of bureaucracy, paperwork, adjuster/investigator to veterans and families already going through all sorts of hell. Who the hell has decided we need Blue Cross or Aetna or United Healthcare to add yet another layer of crap onto what the VA already shells out? I have a son and daughter in law who have been trying to get through to the VA and after sitting for hours on the phone... get nothing, no answers... So HIRE some more adjusters (I did see that they are hiring, but getting new hires through the disaster of a hiring system for the federal government will take months!) get some temps in - there are plenty of people looking for work. Get a few good paralegals in, some insurance adjusters, and get through the backlog. Think outside the box, but this plan to try to shift it onto the private insurers, who will simply throw it back after a few months.... Dumb Dumb Dumb.

DUMB! Stupid! I know that General Shinseki has served honourably, even though his edict that everyone in the Army wear a beret was a singularly boneheaded move. But THIS, General Shinseki, really really sucks. Re-think this one, please!


Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Well well well. The House of Representatives has decided that 2009 should be the Year of the Military Family. The actual Resolution talks about the sacrifices, the hardships of being in a military family, the deployments, the PCSs, THIS part really surprised me - that someone has figured this part out, who isn't military (but there IS a milspouse in the House, Rep. Giffords - would be interesting to know if she had a part in writing this!)

Whereas thousands of military family members have taken on
volunteer responsibilities to assist units and members of
the Armed Forces who have been deployed by supporting
family readiness groups, helping military spouses meet
the demands of a single parent during a deployment, or
providing a shoulder to cry on or the comfort of understanding;

OK, great - now they have recognized us. Now lets get to work DOING something. What do you think? What do you want to see?


Thursday, March 12, 2009

ER - sigh...

Dr. Ross... he's still the Dr. I want. yeah. It's been great seeing the old cast back...


Sunday, March 08, 2009


Not just the clock, either! (oh I forgot those... so it's late now) but the weather! in the 70's... It's marvelous. I ended up taking a walk yesterday.

And I miss Chief. I took the walk we take, and looked at the gardens at the townhomes. The crocuses are up, the daffodils are starting to bud, the tulips are beginning to force the tips of their leaves out, some trees are tentatively budding.. The townhouse with the fantastic rose garden is up for sale - about 12 of the units in that group are. We usually talk about which one we'd want, that we have to have a garage (one or two of those are for sale too!) that we want an end unit - one of those is available - they are military I think.

so I missed that, missed the chats, the "what if" and the gardening discussions, what we'd do with the little back area... I missed it.