Thursday, February 25, 2010


I'm told that this little blog made it into an article in Military Spouse Magazine. Since I didn't get mine yet, and I can't get on post until tomorrow - I'm just floored, flummoxed, dumbfounded, and pretty amazed! Can't wait to see it.

If you linked here from the magazine, welcome! Please read, please comment, or just say Hiya!


Terrorist or Hero - Martyr or Murderer

A person with a grudge, gripe or deep seated belief of some kind, whether justified or delusional, decides to “take action”. The person takes a vehicle, supplements fuel or adds explosives to said vehicle. The vehicle is directed, at a high rate of speed, into a building which is used by the entity against which this person has a grudge, or left sitting next to the building and remotely detonated. Innocent people are killed, wounded and traumatized. In Baghdad, or Bagram, Kandahar or Peshawar, they are called terrorists. What do we call them in Austin, Oklahoma City?

HOW does one call them hero? I can’t, for the life of me, understand that. To call Joe Stack a hero, to justify his flying that plane into the IRS building (just because he hated taxes and refused to pay them and had problems with the IRS) is unfathomable. How is he different from the terrorist in Peshawar who set off a car bomb outside a hospital emergency room as a followup to bombing a bus full of pilgrims? For one man, his religion became fanaticism, his hatred of anyone who didn’t believe exactly as he did, became a reason to murder, a justification of an act that killed, wounded and maimed innocent men, women and children. For another man, his distrust of government, his deep seated belief that taxes are unjust and he shouldn’t have to pay them, his ongoing battles with the IRS (and what most of us see as tax evasion and skipping out on his responsibilities as a citizen) became a justification for flying a plane into a building, with the clear intent to kill people.

To me – that’s just Murder. To hear someone say his actions were “inappropriate” – stunningly inadequate. And when I read that he has been called a martyr – gruesome. As gruesome as calling a truck bomber in Kabul a martyr.. these violent acts are not martyrdom. They are the selfish act of someone who doesn’t have the intelligence or the humanity to figure out that what they are doing is murder, pure and simple, murder.


Saturday, February 20, 2010

No words - just a picture

Well... a couple words - this was up in the Bike Shop we took the motorcycle to... unexpected place!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Presidents Day

And another day off... yes, I'm glad to be home, because the commuting is making me totally crazy. the VRE was running well on Friday (first day back at work) but the Metro - not so much. the office - um yeah, most of the secretaries didn't show up, but the rest of us struggled in.

We are buying out Ikea - book shelves, organizational stuff - Michaels for frames, Bed Bath for... well, bath and kitchen stuff... this continuing contribution to the economy is starting to be noticeable!! one more trip to Potomac Mills. Getting settled into a much larger space makes it so tempting to unpack ALL that stuff that has been in storage for so long. Now if I could just find the photo card reader to upload those pictures I took during the last storms!

have a good week, everyone.


Monday, February 08, 2010

Snowpocalypse - Snowmaggeddon - Sn**

We left Minnesota to get away from snow - we've laughed at the way DC closes down when it gets an inch of snow, and the hysteria from the media about impending storms. Well, y'all... they were right this time! Good Grief!

For the last week, it's been awful The train/VRE isn't running, Metro isn't running above ground, the roads are only partially cleared. The blame game is in full scream on mode - why aren't they able to run, able to do this/that/the other. I am thrilled to bits that we only had a very short power outage in the middle of the night once and those hard working folks at Dominion Power got us back up in a few hours.

Went to the grocery store between storms, did our usual shop, just a couple of days early, but as we were leaving, the hordes were descending and I'm sure it all became a mess and a place full of cranky people. The second storm is sleet/freezing rain/snow and then more of the same. We've been able to get out a bit, but the road in and out of the subdivision is a truly awful mess. Riding in ruts is ok until the center becomes so high it takes out the bottom of your car!

How the area will dig out of the second storm, I have no idea. We hear of snow plow trucks breaking down and the drivers are absolutely exhausted from trying to clear 2 feet of snow and put down chemicals before, during and after the first storm. Some folks haven't had power or heat in 4 days, that's a long time to be cold and dark.

We'll get through it, it won't be pretty, and Chief's back may need some massage and lots of Ranger Candy from all this shoveling, but we'll make it. Talk to you after this next storm.


and by the way - Facebook needs to get their act together, this "new" system sucks. badly.

Friday, February 05, 2010

LAW hits the Hill

Well, actually the Congressional Military Family Caucus Briefing on mental health issues.

First – don’t ever try to get into the Capital Visitor’s Center with food, water or knitting needles (even circulars) they make you throw them away. If you dislike TSA at the airport, you will detest the Capital Security police – they make the airport folks seem downright polite by comparison. Watching a cop scream at a tourist who obviously couldn’t read English (signage on door only in English) about opening the In door instead of the Out door, which set off an alarm… ridiculous. Welcome to the Nation’s Capital!

The change when I reached the room where the Caucus was held – amazing. Military supporters, and a lot of retired Brass- the kind with stars. I was frankly amazed when (not retired, and in full Blues) General Sutton came up and remembered meeting me at a function months before, she’s a great advocate for the mental health of military families. I have hope that some of the changes she is pushing for will happen and if it doesn’t, it won’t be for lack of enthusiasm on her part!

Kristy Kaufmann started the proceedings, as always telling it very much like it is! Running an FRG during deployment on cupcake sales – that really irked some very distinguished looking gentlemen I was sitting next to. They were pretty shocked when I told them that we couldn’t even sell those cupcakes to other units, just to our personnel. General, it really WAS that different when you were Active, wasn’t it! But Sir, we weren’t in two wars with a smaller military, dragging on for 8 years, back then. When Kristy showed us Peggy and Monique, and told us their stories, told us about Faye – those Army wives who just broke, who were so tired and so discouraged, that they ended it the only way they thought they could – that really hit the Congress people in the audience, and the rest of us. As the Rep from CA said, we won’t forget Peggy…

BG Sutton talked to us about the future plans for changes in how the mental health community is trying to assist both the serving military and families. I’m hoping that this is really going to happen, the availability of mental health counselors is limited! In OCONUS, we are hearing in one area that the counselor who is supposed to be handling special needs families, is also now tasked with PTSD cases and families as well!

The head of Tri-West - well he’s really got it. They are also partnering with the USO, to help those volunteers when they see someone needing an assist. When I chatted with him after the presentations, he first thanked me for my question – when I asked that they please please put counselors in place who at least spoke our language, who understood the military and how it works. All the degrees in the world don’t help when you are trying to talk to someone about how you are feeling and have to stop in the middle to translate terminology. Hearing from an AirForce spouse about the base civilian mental health worker who tells a pregnant young woman to go to the Company Command and demand that her husband come home from deployment for the birth of their child “because it’s her right and they have to do it”… oh, yeah, that really helped her, didn’t it???? I was told that there is training available, but that he was going to check that everyone is getting that! I told him that my experience with this was back in 2005-6, and he shared with me that they heard it a lot from those of us in the MN Guard who were using their services – we understood that they ramped those psychologists and counselors up in a matter of a couple of weeks when the extension happened, but he apologized so often, I almost felt bad for bringing it up!

The American Red Cross talked to us about the training they are giving their volunteers, the great Give an Hour partnership – there’s something we need to do some research on for our readers, and I promise I will. Any of you who have used this, let us know, ok?

Afterwards, a lot of talking, a lot of connecting, and questions from the TriWest reps about what do we need, ON THE GROUND. Kristy kept saying it, and I think and hope it got through, this is something that we need at the unit level. The top down approach – isn’t going to cut it!

If you haven’t joined the caucus on their Facebook page, do it. I know they are hoping for more conversations with and by US, the military families they want to assist. It’s a great way to connect, let’s help educate those who need to know what our real lives are like.

xposted on LeftFace

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

On The RAAAAAdio

I'm hijacking this from LawyerMama... thanks, LM! I'm gonna be on the radio today. Little nervous, but hey, I'm talking about something I care about, milspouses and trying to find jobs as a milspouse.

Join me for a blog radio program with Fem 2.0 on Wednesday, April 3rd at 1pm. For the last two weeks, Fem 2.0 has been getting into the nitty gritty of balancing work and family. This week, they're tackling an often forgotten class of women: the military spouse.

Join host Katie Stanton, Director of New Media for Blue Star Families, Stephanie Himel-Nelson, blogger Liberal Army Wife, and the President of the National Research Center for Women and Families, Diana Zuckerman for the program Work/Life and the Military: What It’s Really Like to Work and Serve.

From the Fem 2.0 website:

Military families are just like other families. Soldiers and their spouses are often are dealing with same work/life issues as everyone else, like wage gaps, caregiving, sick leave and more. But imagine dealing with these issues when you and/or your spouse are stationed overseas and serving in often dangerous situations for months or years at a time. Imagine being separated from your loved ones and still being expected to handle the day-to-day. Imagine being uprooted with little to no warning and moving to an unknown city or country, over and over again, and still having to provide for yourself and your family. Three experts who are passionate about military families and the difficulties they face will tell the whole story on what life is really like, how this kind of living affects men, women and children, and what can be done to help.

You can listen to the program Work/Life and the Military: What It’s Really Like to Work and Serve and join the chat. We'll be taking questions via Talk Shoe and Twitter at the end of the program. To participate via Twitter, simply tweet your question and end with the hastag #fem2 or #worklife. You can read more about how to participate on the program website.

Wish me luck!