Thursday, April 07, 2011
Monday, April 04, 2011
Ha! got your attention, right? Confessions - I have been known to eat an entire pan of brownies, warm from the oven and chewy... ['scuse me, need a napkin] Anyway... Since we are hurtling towards another deployment, I'm gathering ideas for care packages. After 4 deployments, you really think I'd know exactly what to bake to put in those white flat rate boxes, but I get tired of making snickerdoodles (no melting, don't get inedible too quickly and if stale will crumble nicely over anything) and chocolate chip during the winter (melt into sticky goo with crumbs in the summer and turn rancid) I don't like sending package brownies - chemicals and sodium levels are too too high for my liking.
I got an email a few weeks ago - promising me a great brownie recipe for carepackage brownies. Curiosity and hope led me here. A baker actually downloaded and deciphered the MRE brownie recipe... the description is hysterical and horrifying! then the expert took over. As he says, they needed to be close to indestructible, but tasty!
Eventually I turned out what I consider to be epic care-package brownies—dense, with an intense chocolate flavor. Even better, they had a sturdy crumb that didn’t crumble. These brownie weren’t just tasty; they were tough as soldiers.
His taste testers pronounced them good, they lasted for days without getting hard as rocks or rancid. So, I think I'll head to the store and get some of the ingredients and see what's what. Go to the site and read the post - it's funny. And here's the recipe. Now some of the comments show that some substitutions are easily done - cocoa nibs are expensive and while our care package recipients are worth it... let's face it, it's not always affordable. The espresso powder is available, but in a pinch instant coffee will do as well.
Now then - how about some of our loyal readers do a little experimenting and let us know how it goes? As soon as I get some homework, shopping, laundry, work... done, I'll bake and report!
Sunday, March 20, 2011
I cannot imagine the terrible conditions those heroic men and women at the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant are working in. This story from the Daily Mail tells it all. They know they are basically committing suicide by staying and doing their jobs. That level of courage floors me. My heart goes out to their families too.. what pride mixed with such sorrow they must be feeling right now.
Then yesterday - we started enforcing the no fly zone - bombing Libya. Now... I have such mixed feelings here. Qaddafi is insane - completely nucking futs.. and having lived there I have that personal link (tenuous, but still..) and I understand that Qaddafi only understands, in his twisted reality, force and strength. I understand what he was doing in Benghazi and the rest of the rebel held areas was genocidal. but. But. Bombing a country with all the "collateral damage" of the civilian casualties hurts the soul. Of course the thought of how are we going to do all this with what our military already has on their plate - are we getting ourselves into something else that can turn into a mess? I'm going to be cautiously optimistic.
Saturday, March 12, 2011
As most of us know, its that time of year: PCS Orders! We've been here for 3 years, so we knew something was going to come down. Of course it was - I'm getting established here, I may have the opportunity to work in a family support position... so yeah, time to move! It's a joy and a heartbreak of military life - we get to see new places, but we tear up our lives to do it. Chief would rather do another individual assignment downrange and let me stay here, with a good support structure and we honestly didn't think that would be a hard thing!
The Branch Manager [off stage right -hissing, booing from the audience] had other plans. First this fort, then that one. one close to the family! OK, lets go... what do you mean that's been pulled, it was on the table last night? oh, ok, the other one is in the middle of nowhere and not much decent housing off post... wait.. wait.... Nope - there's a short notice IA downrange...
Wound in and around this insanity - is a family issue that I'm not going to discuss- it's not mine to do so, but it's hard on everyone in the family, causing stress and worry. Add in Chief being sick, deadlines and family strife - it was just a stew of emotion, stress, lack of sleep and migraine.
Throughout all this, my online friends were there. I got emails, if they saw me on gmail chat or on FB chat, they were there. One afternoon, in the middle of the worst of the uncertainty and stress a knock on the door ushered in a vase of sunshine yellow tulips, from an online friend - sending me her love and support. They let me rant, let me talk it through, kicked me in the butt to get off it, go outside, take a walk and clear my head. **today, the mailbox had a funny looking package in it.. Yarnlove from another knitting "imaginary friend" who knows how to make me smile.
For everyone who says that online relationships aren't "real"... I'll beg to differ! Yesterday, after many years of emails, blogging and commenting on each other's blog - I met with an online friend in person while she's here for a conference. It was marvelous, we knew so much about each other already and I felt entirely comfortable sitting and talking with her, she brought another blogger with her...and again it was so much fun meeting with a person who writes online.
Looking at the destruction of Japan, reading the pain that another online friend is going through because of a recent casualty - my own problems seem minor now. Plans are firm now, the uncertainty is gone. I'm a planner, uncertainty makes me nervous and stresses me, I'm not good at "just let it all roll". My friends helped me through it. I couldn't be more grateful. I hope I can be there for them when they need it - I better be, because that's what a friend is, what a friend does.
Thursday, February 24, 2011
Anyone else still have a copy of the TIME Magazine, with the three servicemembers in uniform - that proclaimed servicemembers as the TIME Person of the Year?
I do, my son and husband were both deployed that year, and I thought it was a fitting tribute to them and all the others in uniform.
This year, Kristen Tsetsi, who wrote the book Homefront, is spearheading the effort to get TIME to declare the military FAMILY as the Person of the Year. She's called it LIFT - Like It For TIME. On February 28th, Kristen will be posting a letter that she'll be sending to TIME Magazine , not by email or posting on line - but a paper and ink letter. The plan is, we all print it out, sign it (add something personal) and buy a stamp, put it in the post.
The goal is to overwhelm TIME Magazine with letters from across the country. The letters will introduce the editors to the idea, and with luck, they’ll get so many of them it will attract media attention.
Media attention is key to the effort. If the military family community and its supporters make enough of an impact to be addressed by the media, people will have to take an interest.
The date for this flooding? March 4th (March FORTH) I'll be interviewing her soon, but I wanted to make sure that all our readers have the website, and the Facebook link - we need to LIFT the awareness of military families. The White House has been doing it, The Oprahness happened, now it's up to us to get this additional word out. So - get ready.
Here's the Facebook page. And here's the website.
I'll be printing and sending, I'll send copies to my family - how about you? Can we count on you too? If you are a journalist, if you know a journalist, will you send them the notice to get the word out? We may be only 1% of the population, but we can make some noise!
Xposted from Left Face
Saturday, February 19, 2011
Defunding Planned Parenthood. As we all know, or those of us who can read above the level of Run Spot Run, one of the "platforms" of the tea party movement is that of being anti choice. They want to make sure there is never an abortion ever again in this country, no matter if it saves the life of the mother, whether it's a result of incest or rape, or if the mother is 13 years old. No More Abortion EVER is their constant shriek - usually from a bunch of middle aged MEN. so - in their never ending quest to make sure they are as foolish as possible - they vote to defund a group that has provided health care including contraception to MILLIONS of lower income women; to women whose health insurance didn't include contraception (but usually included Viagra); to college students; low income women; women who needed good quality health care of all kinds. THAT's who they decided shouldn't get any more federal tax money.
You know who they decided should continue to be funded, to the tune of $6 million dollars? The US Army NASCAR team. Yup - your tax dollars at work, y'all! NASCAR team over low income women.. I think I see the priority, staring me in the face.
Does this piss me off? OH HELL YEAH! I've been fighting this for decades. I'm sick of that way of thinking. Sick of the prattling fools who piously tell me that it's "god's will" if a woman gets pregnant; sick of the morons like that military chaplain who told a woman that it was "god's will" that she was raped and she should go to church more often; sick of the indescribable barbarity of a proposed law that no abortion could be performed in the most exigent of circumstances - when a woman is bleeding to death and the only way to save her is to abort; sick of MEN deciding that procreation on THEIR terms, on THEIR schedule, is how WE live our lives. If they want to go back to the "good old days" when a woman bore children yearly, or miscarried, or found a back alley abortionist; when women's sole purpose on earth was to procreate, stay home and keep his house clean, slippers at the door - I suggest they toddle their misogynistic little selves off and find a good fundamentalist state where the man rules, the women stay in purdah and wear the burka outdoors.... Anyone else know where this bastion of male superiority can be found - oh yeah, try heading to Kabul, then head south, into the Hindu Kush..
Thursday, February 17, 2011
In the previously discussed vein of reunion pron*, the latest "reality" show to be floated is this one.
Coming Home will feature U.S. soldiers reuniting with loved ones after serving long tours of duty. The show will be paired with Lifetime’s hit drama Army Wives.
Now - my own two cents? you want reality? then follow along with these military spouses while they try to function for a year; thrill to the deployment gremlins as they strike the unsuspecting family right in the wallet; feel the tension as the phone calls get cut short or the internet connection is turned off after "an incident"; sit with that spouse at an FRG meeting or briefing; control your excitement when that dark sedan comes down the street and stops on your block! Now that show - will never happen. And I'm damned if I want a happy tense exciting time to be voyeuristically watched by anyone else. Will they follow us when we have that first post deployment fight? NO. They want to watch us ride off into that pink sunset on a white steed and live happily ever after. Until the next deployment of course... and then they want to greedily watch as we say goodbye... tears are great for ratings!
Here's the website for the show announcement - go on over and make your voice heard.
*no, didn't misspell, just hate the creepy traffic I get when I use the word!
Friday, January 28, 2011
After the REAL support we saw on Oprah for military families and veterans yesterday, the very real support for military families and veterans shown by the 16 different agencies as announced on January 23 at the White House – may we present the latest in “wave the flag but don’t support veterans”. As reported, Representative Michelle Bachmann (R. Minn) is proposing her “plan” to cut $400 billion in federal spending which includes a freeze in Veterans Affairs Department health care spending and cutting veterans’ disability benefits.
Here is part of her plan, directly from her website (no, I won’t link to it, it's bad enough I actually went to it!)
$4.5 Billion Cap increases in Department of Veterans Affairs health care spending, and reduce disability compensation to account for SS disability payments. Reduce Veterans’ Disability Compensation to account for Social Security Disability Insurance payments
Supposedly, Ms. Bachmann has made a statement that this is designed for “discussion purposes”. Really? Discussion? How do you discuss screwing over an entire generation of men and women who have been injured in the defense of their country? How do you “discuss” trying to cut the benefits of men and women and making them even more dependent on Social Security – which many of the “shining lights” of the Tea Party movement have been trying to privatize?
I’ve been looking around for any discussion of this “proposal” or “discussion topic” anywhere and except for various “liberal leaning” FB posts – silence. I found one supporter saying “it’s just a discussion” on Army Times… but other than that? Crickets. Why do I get the feeling that her supporters are whirling and trying to figure out what the hell to say?
I know what I say. SHAME! Shame on you, Ms. Bachmann for even bringing this up! Your other “proposals” are equally ridiculous, but this one is offensive and an affront to the men and women of the United States who are disabled due to their service to the country YOU profess to love. It’s a slap at my father, my son, my daughter in law, who have been injured while serving in the Armed Forces. It’s an affront to the men and women still serving, who risk their lives in the service of their country. It’s an affront to common decency. I wish I could say I’m surprised by your disrespect to the military and veterans, but I’m not.
To you, supporting the troops means sticking a sticker on your car, wearing an oversized flag on your lapel, and all the other empty gestures you and the rest of your ilk utilize to show your patriotism. Want to REALLY show your patriotism? Then stop trying to screw over Veterans!
Monday, January 24, 2011
Enter reality: Monday-itis in my new world. Up with the husband anyway, I need the car today, it's due for servicing. I forgot, I still need to scoop litter boxes, don't I. sit in traffic to get in the gate (did I remember my ID card?) drive back; get online/on phone. make appointments. Do all those errands we used to split up - get the car worked on, call the plumber (yes, I'll be here.. of course I'll be here). Look for online jobs, don't forget to get on conferences at school - get graded on responses. juggle chequebook (that paycheque is missed....)
OK, so I don't have to brave the Metro - and yes I'm saving money there... and I'm not facing the horrific traffic (especially when part of the beltway is closed due to a water main break and ice!) and I'm not sitting at a desk in the office. I am sitting at a desk at home, as tied to this computer as I ever was at the law firm, but for a lot less $$! Today, I'm wondering if the trade was really worth it. The trade of a great paycheque for school. The trade of working in a professional office doing work that I didn't care about; for trying to find work and studying.
Monday-itis is a state of mind. After so many decades of hating Monday- it's a hard habit to break. So maybe that's why I'm hating today!
Friday, January 21, 2011
Here's some link love. Left Face on the Bullshit from JP Morgan Chase - Big Bidness support the troops lacking where it counts (no, not the yellow ribbons on the corporate car, or the flag waving showing up at the local VA jobs fair) but where it COUNTS. Then a followup - with some info on a couple of Senators - DEMOCRATS, Y'all, not the flag waving Repubs too busy wasting time "repealing" the Health Care Act - who are asking for investigations against the Big Bidness who is screwing over troops and the SCRA extension of protections for servicemembers by.... drum roll.... a DEMOCRAT. I guess protecting servicemembers from Big Bidness creates a problem for the Rs? why?
So - what's going on with LAW? well, she's busy starting another school semester and wishing she could reach through the telephone and smack the morons at the college! No, not the profs (this set seem great!) it's the folks in accounts. Bear with me, this takes a while to tell. OK. So Chief gave me 2 years of his Post 9/11 GI Bill (thanks, dear...) since MyCAA went bye bye [yes I AM still pissed about that, how can you tell] When I finally got my letter from the VA, I called the school - was told to just fax it to this certain person and she'd get back to me. Weeks passed... I called, left messages. emailed... NADA. After weeks, I finally got an email - oh, you also need to fill THIS out online (no link anywhere else on their site... I looked!) so I did that, and refaxed the letter. Finally they sent it in - and the VA got it processed in it's due time (not over 4 weeks) Now the school is sending me nasty grams. I call, fax letters that I got from the VA saying they sent the $$. The school keeps telling me it takes this much time to apply it to the account - and then they send me another nasty gram. No, it's not the VA... it's the college. And they market themselves as Military/Veteran friendly. riiiiiiiggggght!
Work - well, trying to build a business. Lots of networking, lots of giving out cards, talking to people, and not much happening! I know it takes time .... sigh....
I'll try not to be so long again. but life keeps getting in the way!