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?