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Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Salut!

I am about to share dinner with my family, so I hope you don't mind the copy and pasting of a post:


Cheers to all!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Holiday Update - more or less

Can it really be that a month has passed since I last posted?

My goodness.

Well, let me fill you in on some mundane (or not so mundane) happenings.

We have been battling the winter here in our neck of the woods since the beginning of December. Actually, things have been crazy since we returned from our vacation around Thanksgiving. My shoulder is healing, still never went to see the doctor, but I'm doing ok. I'm sure LAW will give me 50 lashes with a wet noodle for not taking her advice. Of course, since that incident, I also fell down a flight of granite stairs, seriously bruising my arse. Honest, I am not super graceful when it comes to difficult tasks like walking, but I try. This fall was due to wet stairs and slippery granite at work. My ego was greatly bruised as well. It was a heck of a fall and had it not been me, I would have laughed my butt off and rushed me to see the doc. Nonetheless, I'm doing ok. Oh, wait, I threw my hip out this morning. Who knows how that happened! Well, my loving husband decided to take the credit ~ funny guy.

At any rate, I am still alive. Hard to believe after all that, eh?

Outside of the injuries, we've had sick kiddos and numerous power outages because of the winter storms for the past few weeks. We roughed it here and there but made it through a little better than most. I can't believe the winter has only just begun.

Work has me straight out busy, but I'm still loving it. For those of you who give a hoot, I deal primarily with domestic relations work. Not surprisingly, things are really busy during the holiday season. Of course, my employer has been gracious to give us some early days here and there to tend to things with our families and whatnot. We also had a blast of a holiday party last week--on the day I fell down the stairs no less. Go figure! No worries the fall was at work and not at the open-bar festivities. ;)

I'm really hoping to get back into blogging soon. I truly miss it and was just telling one of my coworkers about it today. I feel as though I'm missing a part of me know that I don't blog as much. It's so much therapy for me to just write, even if it's just a brief posting. I'm sure many of you can relate.

For now, I should run, or hobble, to get a little one back to bed who has snuck her way down the hallway.

Hope this post finds you and yours happy and healthy and ready to bring on 2009!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Happy belated Thanksgiving my friends!

Well, I have so much to be thankful for this year. Not only did I have my husband home to celebrate the holiday with me and the children, but we also just returned from a wonderful vacation. Of course, it was one of those vacations where you need another vacation to recuperate from it. You know the type, right? What can I say, with three small children in tow, there typically isn't much relaxing on vacation, unless, of course, you had a nanny or mother's helper along with you. We entertained the thought but realized money would be better spent in other ways on the trip.

At any rate, we are home. And, as they say, there is no place like home. Going from a small hotel room with 2 adults and 3 pint size individuals and lots of luggage, anything slightly bigger would have been inviting. Mama needs her personal space you know.

Oh, and how I missed my big, comfy bed. Although, I will say, my big comfy bed may be too big or too high off the ground. Our first night/morning back home (around 0530) I fell off the bed (sort of) and busted up my shoulder. The baby was beckoning me by screaming "Mama Mama" from his room. In an effort to rescue the little critter, I decided to pick up my middle child (who snuck into our bed in the middle of the night) and return her to her room first. With her in my arms, I started to get off the bed, slipped but quickly regained my balance. Nevertheless, as soon as I did that, I tripped on something (a shirt I think) and down we fell faster than you can say "oops".

Well, that hurt like the dickens. Somehow I saved our heads from crashing into the closet or the corner of the wall and only injured my shoulder by landing on my side. My dear sweet girl says to me (as I'm screaming in pain) "Don't worry Mama, I've got you." Made my heart melt.

My husband leaped out of bed and consequently, so did my eldest daughter to see what happened. Well, folks it wasn't Santa landed on the roof or an earthquake, it was just me at my finest. And, that my friends, is why another one of my nicknames is "Grace". Honest. It all began with me walking into a glass wall at a bank once upon a time, but that's another story for another blog post.

The jury has been out as to whether I busted my rotator cuff or just pulled a muscle. My mother has been urging me to go to the doctor while my hubby says I should tough it out, like he does. I've regained motion (for the most part) and some of the swelling has gone done. Thanks to, the hardcore military medical regime so many of us are accustomed to. What is that? Why, it's 800 mg of Motrin and water of course. It's the miracle cure. ;)

Oh, and what to wondrous eyes should appear when I returned home, but a fabulous new blog to follow (created by one of my favorite bloggers and artists and her friend): Glam Gals. Glory be!

Ciao for now.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Tomorrow, tomorrow....

Is only one wakeup away. Yippee! We're going on vacation. We're going on vacation.

Can you feel the excitement! I can. Heck, I don't even know how I am going to work tomorrow morning. My adrenaline is already kickin'.

I'll be back around Thanksgiving to give you the lowdown and hopefully share some photos.

Have a great week everyone. :)

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Pull up a seat, grab a cup of tea, stay a bit.

So, my friends. Here I sit for a moment. How are you? I trust that life is treating you well and you are enjoying the ridiculous early holiday season we are experiencing. Seriously, Christmas music? Either I haven't been paying attention or it gets earlier every year. One station has been doing the 24 hour holiday music since Halloween. Give me a break. I'm all for the holiday spirit, but it's too much for me at this early date. I will say that the rumors about this has to do with the government and/or retailers desiring to stimulate the economy does make me chuckle. Um, ok.

On another note, I am pooped. Since I entered back into the workforce and became a fully taxed citizen once again, my life has been a whirlwind. Don't get me wrong, I'm so thankful to be gainfully employed, but boy, juggling it all takes a toll on a girl.

I was nominated for MSOY, thank you very much. That was a nice happy thing to happen to me recently. There are so many wonderfully deserving nominees. Seriously, after reading what these folks do and have done, you will want to do more too. Last year's winner, Chelle Brewer is a gal worth reading about too. She is remarkable!

On yet another note, I am going on vacation soon. Yes, that's right, a real live vacation where I can sleep-in. Hah! Nevermind, I forgot have three kids, I highly doubt there will be any sleeping in. Of course, I'm sure it will be a marvelous time despite the lack of sleeping. I'll fill you all in when I get back. We leave next week and return just before Thanksgiving.

Since I haven't been blogging lately, I am having withdrawals. I can't believe I didn't even post about the election. What a historical, time, eh? No matter what your views, this was such an amazing and intense time in our Nation's history. Of course, because I like to remain non-partisan and spare you from my personal politics, I'll leave it at that.

I promise, I will try my darndest to get on this blog and post some more before I jet out of this area for my vacation. I hope you are doing well and I'll try to stop by and visit your blog. Let me know you were here and I'll swing by and say 'hey'!

Cheers!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

A day of honor.

Happy Veterans Day to all my Veteran readers! Thank you for your service and thank you to your spouses/families who have supported you allowing you to serve this great Nation.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year!

No, no, not Christmas. I am talking about autumn. I have always loved this time of year.

Today, the kids and I enjoyed the backyard. Well, I should say, I raked and raked and they then scattered my leaf piles all over the place. Needless to say, that was not 100% fun for me, but they had a good time. I felt accomplished. Silly me though, I know more leaves will fall and my backyard will once again be a rainbow pasture.

Oh, and great news on the troop front. We FINALLY have a meeting place. After ignores or "no's" from churches and schools, we had one place that said YES today. Yippee! I've got to make all of my parent phone calls this week to let them know where and when we will be meeting and what to expect for the first meeting.

This week, will be a crazy one for me. Isn't it always though? Sheesh, I need to stop making myself sound SO important. I may or may not be tapping my toes tomorrow night. The jury is still out on that. I have a parenting group on Tuesday. Wednesday is a jumping jive class. Thursday, well I think I can breathe on Thursday and then poof Friday is Halloween. The little goblins are going to be an adorable dinosaur, Ariel (the Little Mermaid) and Cinderella (which was supposed to be Giselle and has changed). Is it next weekend yet? I'm tired just thinking about all of this. Oh yeah, and work. Can't forget that.

Have a great week all!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Boo!

Peek-a-boo.

Life is one big race these days. Days are melding together, the weekends are not nearly long enough and my feet hurt. That's right, the tooties are sore. That' s only because I spent the day tapping away in 2 1/2 inch heels though. I don't do that every day--though it might do wonders for my thighs if I did.

Tonight, we had an ice-cream social of sorts with the kids in lieu of trudging out in the cold for a local pumpkin festival. Ironic. We stayed in side to eat cold ice cream instead of going out in the cold.

The job is marvelous. The boss is great, thus far. No complaints. The hubs is being very domesticated lately and is making my transition back into the working force rather smooth.

I miss blogging. There, I've said it. I know you missed me too. I'm trying. I will try. I will get a schedule and have better blogging-management skills. Scout's honor. Just give me awhile to work on that. ;)

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Apologies.

I still breathe and live. I reside most days at a desk that has proven to be relatively lucrative and requires me to wear snazzy shoes and speak smart words.

Just lettin' you know I'm still here. Sort of.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

M16 Dreams.

Tell me why I had the most bizarre dream last night about fighting and sporting an M16 (me and my friend Amber together were be instructed by some crusty SgtMaj). Separated from my friend, I was then some odd combat situation wherein the goal was to retrieve/protect some egg (something like the snitch in Harry Potter, I guess).

Anyway, there were folks from my high school designs who were to be in some sort of relay team wherein they would run at the enemy hoping to survive. You know, like the lines of battle in archaic fighting, think lines of battle and company columns. Many of them perished. At one point, I recall thinking to myself (in my dream) that I was glad not to be a fast runner.

There was much more to the dream, but as they day goes on my memory is already getting foggier. I have no clue what the point or moral of it was. It was just plain weird.

Have you had any weird dreams lately?

Friday, October 10, 2008

Balancing Act.

I have survived and enjoyed my first week. Seriously, I really am digging the new job. The paycheck is nice too. I love volunteer work, but it's nice to get paid too.

Here's the question of the week now. How do I successfully balance the volunteer stuff. I'm managing okay thus far, and am open to delegating some of my tasks. Still, I am a bit of a control freak and like to run the show, if in fact I have the chance. My friend and biggest supporter and my VP/co-chair/Design Guru/Spouse Extraordinaire (we really need a title for her) is wonderful. She has offered to take on a lot more work for one particular organization that I have/share what-have you. Still, I feel a bit guilty.

You see, she is a giver (bless her heart) and she likes to do a lot for a lot of people. She is worth her weight (and then some) in gold. Though, I don't want her to take on too much. Know what I mean? I'm having this dilema as she is a million miles away helping out another friend of hers and knee-deep in that admin stuff. Again, she is a giver.

What suggestions do you all have for:

a) Maintaining/increasing the success of an organization without delegating too much; and,
b) Recognizing someone who means so much to you that is often an unsung hero?

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

I am here, sort of. My day kicks off now about 5 a.m. when the buzzer alerts me that morning has come far too fast. Rushing everyone here there and everywhere, I do drop offs and commence my commute. Arriving at my destination, only 2 days into the job, I am swamped.

I love it though. I am thrilled that I'm busy and not bored to tears as is often the case when you are 'training'. Still, I think I bypassed that stage completely and I was just thrown to the proverbial wolves.

My day typically closes when my head hits the pillow at 9pm far earlier than I have gone to bed in a long time. Of course, a long day drains a girl. I need my beauty sleep.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Tick tock goes the voting clock.

Are you ready? Have you done all you need to? Are you registered? Are you set up for your absentee ballot?

Voters who are Military/Spouses/Dependents: be sure to get your act together in time.

Give 'til it hurts.


AnySoldier.com is a great cause, especially if you are looking to donate.


Recently Maj Pain of One Marine's View wrote a blog post on donating and being thankful. Read it.


I am starting a the new job on Monday. It's been a whirlwind of a week. I had hoped to spend the time doing mini day trips with the two younger kids, but instead we spent the days running errands and tying up loose ends. There were a lot. I'm surprised we hadn't unraveled up to now.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Absolutely amazing.

I have been sending resumes out into the universe for a ridiculously long time now. Some were to see what responses I got in a particular field and others were downright serious with intentions on holding a particular position.

In the last two weeks, the rains came. I have had 2 job offers now, and 3 (other) interview requests. One of which is my ideal position. The call came yesterday. I am speechless. Part of me is overjoyed that I am in such *clears throat* high demand (LOL) and the other part is frustrated. Why is that when you accept a position somewhere, something that is seemingly equal and perhaps slightly better comes along just a little too late.

So frustrating!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Psttttt.....In case you were wondering

I accepted a new position (I had 2 offers) this week. Shhh, not many folks know yet. More to come later.

Geranium thoughts.

Flannery O'Connor fans, are you out there?

Even if you aren't or have no idea who Ms. O'Connor was, know this, she was a writer of that which most people can relate. Even if it's not on point, there's probably something in one of her stories that will ring true for you.

The Geranium is one such story for me. I can relate on a couple of different levels. I've had my roots up in the air, specifically when I first arrived in the black hole that was Jacksonville, NC. Mind you, after some time my views changed, but at first, I felt completely out of my element. My first unit was at Camp Johnson, if you can even call it that was a MAT platoon. What did we do? We waited, day in and day out to commence MOS classes. I wanted to be dropped to class so badly just to avoid the ridiculousness they had us doing. We field day-ed. Incessantly. Everyday. Oh, and then we scrubbed and brasso-ed the crap out everything some more. I won't even go into my assessment of the city outside the base gates. Just know that it was not beautiful. Good times. Good times.

So, you see, the changes that were happening in my life were less than desirable. I envisioned MOS school would be vastly different. Alas, it was merely an extension of boot camp games, with only slightly more freedom.

Going back to The Geranium, I can also relate to the issue of discrimination, although slightly varied from O'Connor's description. I did not experience this as much in the fleet (okay a little bit) as I did in recruit training. Just like O'Connr's character, Old Dudley, I found myself in a foreign setting (and you thought boot camp was a country club-hah). Upon settling-in at boot camp, as I became familiar with my fellow recruits, I quickly learned that I was a minority. Aside from delving into the issues that were ever-present, I will say that from this experience I gained a different perspective on discrimination and prejudice and learned that some folks will remain ignorant even if you slap them in the face with truth. Still, others will wake up.

As a military spouse, I never have personally experienced discrimination. Of course, maybe I have been the target of it, and haven't even noticed. LOL

So, back to the issues of roots. For you military spouses do you ever feel as though your roots are in the air? Or, do you firmly replant yourself in your new location?

Thursday, September 25, 2008

RAINN Day 2008 - Sept. 25th

"We must remember that every 2 minutes, someone in America is sexually assaulted, and college age women are 4 TIMES more likely to be victims of sexual assault." (RAINN.org)

For more information: http://www.rainn.org

Become a RAINNmaker.

Victim of military sexual trauma/violence? Visit United Against Military Sexual Trauma for helpful links and information.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

WW

Worldess and pictureless Wednesday. How's that for excitement?

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Unconventional cover letter yields....

well right now, it's yielding an interview at least. I hope to report back later that it was an amazing interview with the perfect job prospect. I'll keep you posted.

Until then, I had to share. I did something I never do with applying for jobs. I strained from the serious, formal format my industry often requires. I feel vidicated. I wrote this on a whim with no expectations. I sent the letter attached to my resume yesterday morning and within four hours had a phone call. Either they are really desperate or I wowed the pants off of them.

So, my advice, if you care, for the week: stray from the norm.

p.s. If you are wondering, yesterday's interview wasn't all that horrible. It was slightly pleasant, but still not sure I'd be taking the job if they offer it. The jury is still out on that one.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Can you smell the coffee?

Ignorance is not bliss. Stereotyping is not acceptable. Discrimination is not okay.

Sometimes, people say things that make you want to shake them and wake them up.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Finding my way in the civilian sector

I’ve been back on the civilian side of life for a good amount of time now, so my title is a tad misleading (pardon me, but I couldn't think of a snappy one today). Still, I find that people treat me differently when I talk about my military experience, largely the foundation for my current career path. They get this glazed over confused look. It’s a bit like ****duh****huh?****what’d she say?****

Now, I try to put things in layman’s terms and in a way that isn’t all military acronyms and numbers. Still, they get bewildered and don’t know what to make of it. Foolishly (and obviously narcissistic), I used to think they were perhaps impressed by my experience acquired at relative youth. Sadly, I now believe just the opposite. I truly believe they think I’ve lost my mind and maybe even made up a bunch of mumbo jumbo.

Here’s why.

Today, during a phone interview, a potential employer quizzed—no grilled--me about my experience and skills. Now, in the past, I've heard things akin to, “Thank you for your time, but it would seem that you are a bit overqualified for this position.” I kid you not. Today, this guy made me feel about 2 centimeters tall. I felt grossly lacking in any skills including the ability to use a fork at the dinner table. By the time he finished analyzing and critiquing my every single position and my education -- I was mush. That’s what I felt like. Sad, pathetic mush.

He practically discounted my graduate degree and dismissed my volunteer work. I agreed to an interview. Don’t ask me why. I don’t even know why he wants to meet me. Perhaps he wants to kick me while I’m down. I’m debating on keeping this interview. After telling my husband about it all, he summed up my feelings and said the guy sounded like a stuffed shirt. Bitter? Perhaps.

Maybe, just maybe he's way better in person. Maybe this is the job of a lifetime. Maybe.

I know; I should bounce back and just keep plugging away knowing that my ideal position is out there. I know there is something.

Still, this evening, I’m a little cranky after the ordeal and would prefer to sulk a bit more.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Monday, September 15, 2008

Blogger Rendez-Vous

This weekend in Las Vegas, bloggers from all over (?) will converge on the Las Vegas Convention Center for the 2008 Milblog Conference (part of Blog World Expo, I assume). Well, don't be so surprised if you've never heard of this, I was already surpised enough earlier this year. It's like a phenomenon *chuckle*. You see, there are many other genres of blogger conferences. You have the Wine Bloggers and Chinese Bloggers who meet, then there is Blog World Expo (mentioned above) and even BlogHer. I am sure I've barely scratched the surface, but you get the picture.

Now, as much as I enjoy blogging and love to meet other folks who blog, I can't say that I'd make the trip to a location holding a conference on blogging. I won't say "never" because you never know. Still, if I had the dough for the flight and time today to make the trip to Vegas, I likely wouldn't be sitting at a conference. I'd be whooping it up and painting the town red or better yet, I'd take that money and go to a tropical island for holiday. That sounds a little more enjoyable. Don't get me wrong, I'm sure the conferences are wonderful and I've heard great things, but it's just one of those head scratchers for me.

So, what are you thoughts? Are you going to any conferences this year? Would you go?

Friday, September 12, 2008

Leading troops of a gentler kind.

It's official. I'm going to be leading again; Girl Scouts that is. Once upon a time, I was a co-leader for a Brownie troop. This was before I even had kids. I even assisted with a troop when I could when stationed in North Carolina at a church not far from Camp Lejeune. The Girl Scout organization just appeals to me. It's truly a great outfit. As a young girl, I only actually participated for one year, but I hope my daughters will enjoy it for years to come and maybe even become leaders themselves one day.

Girl Scouts of America has recently restructured, well recently as in the past year. One little example of that is that Daisy Girl Scouts will now be 2 years instead of one. This is perfect because, we won't PCS for 2 years so at least I can finish out here, and if we move she can bridge to Brownies at our new location and our younger daughter can start her scouting adventure there at the same time. I was so concerned that my oldest would start Brownies next year and have to switch troops.

So, it's all very exciting. And, what's better is my co-leader showed up planning on only registering her daughter, who happens to be my girl's friend from school. I think someone convinced the mom to lead because by the time I saw her again, as I was leaving, she said she was going to co-lead with me. Yippee!

That's the news of the day. Now, to find a venue for our meetings. We used to hold that at leaders' homes, no apparently you are not allowed to, which is fine with me. That's just one less group for which I'd have to clean my house. ;)

Thursday, September 11, 2008

On freedom, peace and being an American.

Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn't pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children's children what it was once like in the United States where men were free.
Ronald Reagan
~~~~
On this day, September 11, 2001, we must remember and honor the lives lost in the attacks on our Nation. We must remember, too, that freedom is something not to be taken for granted and we are not immortal. Unspeakable atrocities happen in this world and it is up to each and every one of us to appreciate the relative peace that comes with being an American. No, we are not all living Utopian lives and we are not all wealthy. We are not all free from pain or grief.
We, however, do have a strong Constitution, a brotherhood and sense of community that will remain so long as we work to preserve it. After 9/11, people came together in support, love and hopes of peace. The Nation was awakened. While there are many on both sides of the fence concerning war and involvement in missions throughout the world, this is not a partisan issue. Freedom, justice and domestic tranquility are a goal shared by all parties. We must remember this. So, on this day, I urge you not to be concerned whether or not we should be fighting a way. There is a something bigger at stake. Something so much bigger than you and I, but it takes you and I to be the ones to always remember that in one day, in one morning, in an instant our sense of security and safety can be shattered.
Be kind to your neighbors, open your eyes to that which you were ignorant to before, share your vision for peace, get involved--in something, anything, and if you are an American, figure out what that means for you. Define your American citizenship by what you do and not what you say.
~~~~
United we stand, divided we fall.
Aesop

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Seven years ago.

Seven years ago, about this time in the evening, we were finishing up some dinner that was likely barbecued (his forte) and swapping work stories. In the morning, he was going to sign some reenlistment papers. I can recall us hemming and hawing wondering if that's what we really wanted. Ultimately, it was.

My job was mentally exhausting. About a month before, I commenced to working in a new firm. After my first day, I went home and literally cried my eyes out. I hated it. I detested the atmosphere. I loathed the laziness I had already witnessed in my new coworker who was senior to me. I would have preferred to endure scrubbing the tile walls at Grand Central Station with a chamber brush. That's how bad (I thought) I had it. At this point, someone should have slapped me up side the head stating: Self-pity is our worst enemy and if we yield to it, we can never do anything good in the world. ~ Helen Keller.

My employer was a discontented individual, I learned quickly that switching to this firm was a poor choice--career wise it was smart, but our personalities clashed. She was a curmudgeon, me an eager learner with a energy that would soon find itself sucked into a vacuum that was that office. Thankfully, at some point I did smarten up and find new employment elsewhere. Anyway, that's neither here nor there. My point is I had my own pitiful woes and was feeling sorry for myself for taking the overburdening job and I already had short-timers attitude wondering where the Coast Guard would take us next. I knew at some point with his reenlistment on the horizon we'd be on a new journey in the next couple of years. Or, so I thought.

I digress.

I'm pretty sure there was some hanky panky that evening. I'm also sure I was probably procrastinating on some class assignment. I'll just do it tomorrow, I probably thought. Time wasn't that big of a deal. There was always time and there was always another day like the day before to get the same things done. Not much changed from day to day in those days.

Tomorrow came. I went to work. He went to work. I sat at my desk. He sat in the YNs office in Boston and started to sign his name on the dotted line (again).

He called me.

Our world stopped. Everybody's world did. It was September 11, 2001.

It wasn't a joke he told me. Look on the web--check Yahoo news. They just locked the base down. I don't know where I'm going or what's going to happen.

Bewildered, I saw the images, and any naïve sense of immortality I had slipped from my body. Individually I felt powerless and very naked. It was all so real and present.

My boss wouldn't let us leave. Where would we have gone anyway? She showed little concern despite her daughter living in NY. The office, the clients, everyone was in awe except the curmudgeon.

My husband and I were separated by an hour. My family was another two hours away. While I worried that the military bases might fall prey to an attack next, I sat befuddled in my rolling chair--helpless. I had friends there. Where were they on this day?

My heart broke in innumerable pieces for the lives lost. My mind scrambled to make sense of it all. I felt alone.

Though...in the hours, days and weeks that would follow brought changes. I never felt so connected to people, to a Nation in my life.

Seven years ago, my life and perception on a lot of things changed. It would be vain of me to think that I was alone in this transformation. All I can say with any certainty is that any self-pity I once had was replaced with feelings of kinship and empathy for my neighbor as well as a distinct awareness that freedom was fragile.

May those of you reading this who lost loved ones in the attacks on 9/11/01 continue to find peace and comfort in your memories of them.

We interrupt this Wordless Wednesday for crucial, life-altering blogging annoucements...

Sadly, the Coast Guard has been omitted from this year's MilBloggies. If you read that over at Waiting for Ships, you already saw my email to Milblogging about it, so I won't restate it.

At any rate, this blog is still in the running for Veteran Blog, and.....

My Crazy Amazing Military Life is deserving of votes. My Crazy Amazing Military Life is a great blog to visit, if you haven't had a chance to stop by yet, please do. It's run primarily by Wendy of Navy Wife Radio fame, and she has involved an eclectic group of spouse contributors to share their stories on the blog. We hail from all branches and each bring a bit of our respective service-related slices of life to the table. Of course, you will find that we also share a lot of the same lifestyles, habits, traits, interests and so on. Such is the life of a military wife, right? Still, we are all unique in our own ways. So, if you get a chance swing on by.

Still, tonight if you want to vote this blog for MilBloggies in the SPOUSE category, you can


Make sure you are registered on MilBlogging.Com first so you can cast your vote.

WW


A bit off topic, conserve resources.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Frustrated and watering a tree that doesn't want to grow.

I'm so frustrated this week because I'm running in 20 different directions. Isn't that every mom's story though? I have three meetings tonight, and I missed on last night due to finding out too late and having no back up childcare plan. Last night was a Marine Corps League meeting, the first back from summer break. I was so disappointed about this.

So, tonight, we have Open House at my daughter's school, which also happens to be the same evening of a parenting group session that starts tonight. We have to forgo one. Next week, I have a class that commences on Wednesday night which also happens to be the first PTA meeting of the year. Oh, yeah, and I'm SO going to be THAT parent. So, I'm hoping to make at least half of the PTA meeting before my class.

Of course, all of this begs the question, Am I the only one who feels like everything always happens on the same day or at least the same time? If the times didn't coincide, life would be peachy. One might say that this is where cloning might be a good idea. Scratch that, with my split personality tendencies my husband alleges I have, cloning might be detrimental to my reputation or that of my child.

I'm also trying to raise funds--beaucoup bucks to fund and initiate IRS filings for an organization. The money tree is not growing. I keep watering and watering and it looks at me, sad little sapling that could, and taunts me.

Yes, my dreams are bigger than the tree. Fear not! I have confidence in the universe. My mother tauts the powers of the universe, Put it out there, and it will happen, she asserts. Now, I enjoy a rousing discussion of entropy and energies as much as the next gal, but sometimes I don't have the intestinal fortitude to wait for the universe to spit something back at me in the form I desire. I'm impatient. I think (rarely brainstorm). I decide. I create. I like to see my plans realized instantly. You know, One shot, One kill instant. However, I know that just like red stuff in a plastic bottle, good things come to those who wait. So, I wait (drumming my fingers).

I think I need to go take a dip in the hurry-up-and-wait pool to bring up some of the patience I once had. Maybe if I wait really long, I'll be the next Albert Einstein or Stephen Hawkins. Hey, maybe I should talk to Mr. Hawkins about that whole universe thing. Maybe he's got some pull. ;)


Genius is eternal patience.
~Michelangelo

Saturday, September 6, 2008

My little old lady.

I bet you didn't know I gave birth to a middle aged woman. Well, now, she's matured into a little old lady. Alright, so she's just an old soul with a penchant for music from a bygone era, much like her Mama.

Walking, hand in hand with her Daddy on her first day of school, he reported that she regaled him with the following:


Good sign, right? She was quite obviously optimistic about her little world and the first day! From her perspective, opportunities abound, it would seem. I will admit thought that she hears the Michael Buble version more than version sung by Ol' Blue Eyes, just because that's the CD most often played in the Mom-Mobile.

Let's hope that after a rough day someday, I don't hear her crooning Blue's in the Night. Of course, that might just come after her first little crush heart-break. Of course, if she ends up makin' it big, like Katie Melua, I think I could handle almost any song she wants to sing.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Dispelling a myth about deployments and my thoughts.

Having been a Marine, I'm very familiar with high op temp, plentiful field exercises and training at CAX, and so much more. I haven't been endured all of them, but am familiar enough. At any rate, it's not surprising to me when people view the Coast Guard as being vastly different. Of course, all of the services vary in their training exercises and deployment schedules.


Recently I read on a question and answer forum an individual's query about the best service was to join and which had the least amount of deployments. Two people responded, in varied words, The Coast Guard. You will get stationed close to a single port. You will rarely deploy.


To that, I say, Watchoo talkin' 'bout, Willis?

This is a fallacy. It can be true for some rates and units. For others, it couldn't be farther from the truth. The Coast Guard certainly trains, but members of the Coast Guard are also deploying units all the time. Recently, Commandant, Admiral Thad Allen stated in the Leadership Journal, "Coast Guard men and women, with our partners at the Department of Homeland Security, are deployed all across the country and stand ready to respond to all threats and hazards as we carry out our duties as America’s lifesavers and guardians of the seas."

I don't like to cite Wikipedia as a absolute perfect reference, but this says it quite well and cites a Time article I wanted to share anyway: While most military services are either at war or training for war, the Coast Guard is deployed every day..." (citing, The Coast Guard Gets It Right Amanda Ripley. TIME. October 23, 2005. )

If you don't have the time to read the Time article, here's the blurb I really wanted to share, said by then (10/23/05) Vice Admiral Thad Allen:
'The Coast Guard has always been, in a word, busy--whether during war or peace. "We are deployed every day," says Allen. "We fly every day. We respond to oil spills every day." Also, since the Coast Guard is the only military branch allowed to perform law-enforcement duties, it is accustomed to engaging with civilians. In one day, a Coast Guard boat crew off of California might arrest as many people as it saves.'

~~~~~~~~~
Being a Spouse: Some people have cast doubt on my ability to understand the trials of military deployments.

I am the wife of a Coast Guardsman. I am a military wife. I know the sadness and emptiness that goes hand in hand with your loved one being deployed. I have been there and will be there on and off until he retires. I know the look of confusing and bewilderment that leaps from a young child's eyes when you say, Yes, daddy has to go away again. I know the power of simple communications (email, letters, a simple I love you during the rare phone call) and how they can rebuild your spirit to go for long stretches. I know the yearning for a warm body beside me in my empty bed for weeks and months on end. I know.

Don't tell me the Coast Guard doesn't deploy. Don't tell my friends who's spouses are serving in PATFORSWA and other combat areas that they don't understand military deployments, because they do. We do. We are military spouses, no matter what branch.

I live my life. I breathe my air. I love a man who is sometimes far away. I do fine (most of the time). I may not have an FRG and we may not fall under the DOD, but the USCG is an armed service. We are a military family.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

WW

Watching from afar. There were no tears, for those of you wondering.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Bittersweet Feelings - a little girl and her hero

While folks are buzzing and bickering about Vice Presidential candidates and recent Olympic memories, my sights are set on smaller, yet, important-to-me things for the time being. Today, I ushered my daughter into a whole new world. We met her first teacher at Open House. My daughter shouted to me after asking her thoughts today, "Mommy, my teacher is going to be
F-U-N". That's right, off to Kindergarten she will trot next week. Of course, don't get me wrong, I don't normally dismiss political issues or athletic triumphs for grade school matters. Still, right now, this is what counts. The campaigns still have a few good months left in them, the first day of Kindergarten; however, is breathing down my neck.

I have all the usual emotions—excitement, happiness, sadness. It's all bittersweet. My first baby is going to school. She's growing up. The worst part, I'm not going to be there to see her off. I'll be at home, probably balling my eyes out.

Our daughter declared "Daddy is taking me to school on my first day. Mommy, you can pick me up later." Hmph. Trying not to pout, I plastered on a smile for my girl and hoped she can't see the tears in my eyes. I wanted to be the one to bring her and hold her hand and watch her walk into her classroom. I always planned on being the one.

When I see my husband don his uniform and throw his sea bag over his shoulder as he boards a ship, I know he's going to miss things. These types of things often are seemingly small but are big in our world. In a life where change is constant and deployments plenty, it's nice to have the little things and childhood moments to share. Fortunately, he's home right now, which is why HE became the chosen one and not me.

Despite my melancholy mood about the situation, I know how much it means to her that Daddy is home right now. He's missed so much in her little life so far. Being there to escort her to her first day is an achievement—an extremely proud moment for her. He's her hero. Who wouldn't want to show off their very own superman to a new set of friends? Smart girl, I have, very smart girl who loves her Daddy so.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

More Financial Tidbits for Military Families (from NMFA)

More Financial Tidbits for Military Families, as reported by National Military Family Association (NMFA) citing Donna Miles (American Forces Press Service, 8/15/2008):


The economic downturn that has hit many Americans appears to have had less impact on service members, partly because of the nature of military service and partly due to the vast network of programs and services available to help them. The latest annual Defense Department status of forces survey conducted in April by the Defense Manpower Data Center supports this assessment. The full results of the survey have yet to be published.

There’s no question that service members and their families feel the pinch of spiraling gas, grocery and other prices. However, because service members have secure full-time jobs, commissary and exchange privileges, free to low-cost medical care, and allowances for housing, they are less likely to be as financially stressed as some of their civilian counterparts. In addition, service members on deployments benefit financially from tax-free earnings in combat zones, hazardous duty pay, and if married, family separation pay.

Three-quarters of service members who live off base rent their homes, so they’re not as hard-hit by the depressed housing market. Additionally, as discussed last week in the Government and You E-News, the recent change to the Joint Federal Travel Regulation (JFTR) authorizes the military to pay for local moves when a landlord defaults and the military tenant is forced to relocate to new housing.

One segment of the military population likely to be hardest hit by the housing downturn is the twenty-five percent of service members who own their homes. If individuals are unable to sell their houses for what they owe and can’t get enough rent to cover the mortgage, they’re likely to feel the pinch. This is especially true for service members moving from a high-cost housing area to a lower-cost housing area. Another provision in the JFTR offers a protection for service members. They can elect to leave their family at their old duty stations as they move to a lower-cost area and continue to draw their housing allowance at the higher rate where their family lives. It is not an ideal circumstance, but it could be a lifesaver to some families facing a financial crisis. Each service Secretary may determine the circumstances that authorizes/approves a housing allowance based on either the dependant’s location or the old duty station. This discretion is left to the service Secretary for each branch.

NMFA would like to take this time to remind service members and their families of the myriad of financial services that are available to help at no cost to service members. Personal financial counselors, legal assistance staff and aid societies are available for one-on-one sessions. If you are not comfortable with a personal meeting, take advantage of financial counseling over the telephone through Military OneSource by calling 800-342-9647.


(Source: http://www.defenselink.mil/news/newsarticle.aspx?id=50833)

Wow, only 25% of service members own their own home? I didn't realize the number was so low. Perhaps, that's actually high. Whatever the case, the above news is a bit daunting. We are due to PCS in the next couple of years and since we own, I'm getting worried. Fortunately, we could always do the GEO thing. I guess we will just play the wait and see game.

Wordless Wednesday


Tuesday, August 26, 2008

In 2025, my boy will be old enough.

He will be old enough to enlist. He will be eligible to apply for entrance at any one of the military academies. Of course, my girls, being older, will have reached that eligible age already. However, for the sake of all that is sugar and spice and everything nice (and to not cause ulcers in my husband's belly), we'll just discuss the boy.

I was a Marine. My husband is a Coastie. Stop laughing. Yeah, yeah, he can swim, and I sink. I've heard it all. Carry on.

At any rate, we are obviously a military family. I had always envisioned that if I bore a son, he'd grow up to show interest in the military. Notice I say show interest? I'm not going to force him. My husband is quite possibly going to dissuade him. Still, I can't help but wonder what the years will bring. I am on the fence about the matter, which is quite comical because (1) he's still in diapers and (2) since it will really be all up to him one day.

I see many parents in this day and age cringing at the thought of their child trotting to the local recruiter's office. I try to put myself in their shoes. It's frightening. It's got to be. I'm sure for many, it's honorable and they are extremely proud of their youngin's joining the Armed Services, but not everyone feels that way.

I've recently been reading about a mom named Carla. You see, she writes a blog "Some Soldier's Mom" (and apparently many other things) all about her life as a military mom and spouse. In 2004, she wrote:

We always thought he would grow out of it. The wanting to be a soldier. It was going to be just a fad he went through. Like most boys...Although his two older brothers were in the Navy (one after high school and one during college), we actively discouraged this son from enlisting. It wasn't that his Dad and I objected to the military, but we wanted him to consider all his options. At his insistence, enlisting remained a part of every conversation we had with our son about his future.By his senior year, we were certain that he could be distracted from enlistment as his and his friends' attention turned to colleges and graduation. By November, we had become so tired of his insistence that we sign the consent for the Army's delayed entry program (DEP), that we forbade any mention of it until after the first of the New Year.

He honored our wishes. Until New Year's Day. Then the floodgates opened. And every day after that, multiple times each day, he implored us, begged us, pleaded with us, argued with us to meet with the Army recruiters. We refused. After all, he was still about 90 days from his 18th birthday. No amount of cajoling or urging on our part could convince him to apply to colleges. With the talk of war escalated, he never wavered. His friends talked to him, but even they will tell you that he wanted to serve, that his highly developed love of his country and his patriotism drove him.Three weeks before his 18th birthday, accepting that it was unlikely that he would change his mind, we agreed to meet with the Army recruiter. But we made no promises other than to hear them out...He wanted infantry. He wanted Airborne. Straight. Square. Bold. Certain. He looked us firmly in the eyes and said, "Yes, Dad. Yes, Mom. This is really what I want."

(To read Carla's full post, visit: http://somesoldiersmom.blogspot.com/2004_12_01_archive.html for her most updated post, please visit: http://somesoldiersmom.blogspot.com/)

So, I guess my worrying is for naught. My son will grow up. He will ultimately make his own decisions. I should know this. I should accept this. After all, I too had the passion (perhaps rebellious streak) that Carla's son had. I too had my heart set on the military much against my parents' (mostly my mother's) wishes. When I was 17, I joined the DEP and less than a year later, I was on a flight to Parris Island to begin my military journey. *sigh* I suppose if my son is anything like me, I better get used to this idea now.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Once Upon a Time, I was Snow White.


I just visited a lovely military spouse blog, and chuckled at her quote. It goes as follows:

I used to be snow white, but I drifted. ~ Mae West

I've heard this quote, and I have always enjoyed it. One reason is because one of my high school nicknames was "Snow White" for a number of reasons. I have dark, dark hair, fair skin and often wore my hair in a bob. I would love to tell you it was also because I was heir to a throne somewhere, but I never lie. So, I'll fib and just reference that I was verging on perfection. *giggle*

At any rate, my nickname also meant a lot more (if you know me, please don't act so shocked, there was once a time...). I was pure, you have no idea, how innocent and naïve I was. Seriously. It's amazing I made it through boot camp let alone to the fleet.

Rest assured, I've drifted. Of course, how could I not have? You just grow up. The military does that to you as well. I won't say I blame all of my drifting from complete purity on the military, but it can be said that the real Snow White probably never shot a SAW. Wouldn't that be a fascinating fairy tale?

Snow White looked at the wretched witch and declared I don't need your flippin' apple. Take a bite of this Evil Queen. And, from beneath her billowy skirts, the princess whipped out a SAW and blew the witch's head clear off her shoulders. Snow White returned to the kingdom and took the throne wherein she presided as the Queen for the next 50 years. Oh, and as for the prince, she didn't need him. She sent him packing despite his wooing and courting efforts. Silly fool couldn't do anything but kiss her. Hmph.

Alright, so that's not at all so pleasant. I suppose I won't be sharing that with my girls any time soon. Pardon my warped storytelling tendencies. I told you I drifted.

So, what's a quote about you? Is there one that perfectly describes you or the former you?

Sunday, August 24, 2008

One mile. One cause.

No person was ever honored for what he received. Honor has been the reward for what he gave.
-Calvin Coolidge




I ran today. I ran a mile.
A small thing for a much larger cause.


From RunForTheFallen.org:

ONE MILE FOR EVERY SERVICE MEMBER KILLED IN OPERATION IRAQI FREEDOM.
Beginning Flag Day, June 14, 2008, a dedicated team of runners will run across America from Fort Irwin, CA to Arlington National Cemetery, one mile for every Soldier, Sailor, Airmen, and Marine killed in Operation Iraqi Freedom. For ten weeks, team members will mark each mile with an American flag and sign card in an apolitical reflection of remembrance of each service member.


We encourage all Americans to run one mile for a service member on our last day Sunday, August 24, when we will reach the gates of Arlington National Cemetery. It is on this day that we run in honor and remembrance of all fallen service members killed in both Iraq and Afghanistan (Operation Enduring Freedom).
We refuse any political affiliation or agenda, but simply honor those who have fought, and those who have fallen under the American flag
.

Define Freedom of Speech for me. What does it mean to you?

What it does not mean to me is haphazard spamming (aka forwarding) email messages to everyone in your email inbox with political propaganda.

Still scratching your head on how to answer my intro question. Fear not, you don't have to define it. Our Constitution has already done so in the First Amendment.

Now, I have religious and spiritual beliefs, and I am political in my own right (no, I don't claim any particular party affiliation, I look at candidates individually not by their party). Still, I don't spout my beliefs or attempt to persuade individuals to see things my way, even though I really, really want to sometimes ;). I firmly believe that individuals must make up their own minds based on actual-no-bones-about-it facts, their personal experiences, and their respective spiritual and cultural values. That being said, I will share my opinions, but attempt to do so cautiously and fairly. I try not to judge, and I strive to provide accuracy when providing information on a religious or political issue. That is, when I discuss those two things, which is rare.

I will add that I do not typically discuss these things with friends. Let me rephrase that, unless I am 100% certain of two things, I will not discuss these matters with friends. These things are:

(1) I am knowledgeable of my friend's beliefs and know where they may stand on certain issues; and,
(2) Whether or not they are sensitive and whether or not such discussion is welcome.

I like my friends. I prefer to keep them. While we may not see eye to eye on things, that doesn't mean we cannot be friends. Still, if I don't know their perspectives, I think it's best to talk about other vitally important issues such as shoe shopping, alliteration, how angelic my children are, and, of course, favorite colors.

All that being said, I think most of my friends and family members know where I stand or maybe they don't and just don't want to discuss it themselvse. Regardless, it doesn't matter. Unless, they are running against me for some extremely affluent/public office, then I suppose it might matter a teensy bit.

Recently, an acquaintance sent me an email. It was a mass one and she added her two cents in. At first, I shrugged it off because she is one of those who is a chronic-forwarder. You know the type! They said you everything from "FWD: FWD: FWD: Let's win a million dollars together by sending this to a trillion people" and, even, "FWD: FWD: FWD: FWD: FWD: FWD: I haven't even read this but I'm going to forward it anyway". These people NEED serious intervention. In fact, there should be Email Forwarders Anonymous (EFA) group for them. Oh, look I just started a blog ----- http://emailFWDanonymous.blogspot.com/

So, if this applies to you, please join in the discussion. Everything will be held against you and I will forward everything I can to your email address as a way of therapy. Go ahead, it's like shock therapy.

I'm digressing way off here, anyway.....

I actually viewed the clip (I think I'm now dumber because of it). The video was utterly ridiculous and I can't believe someone wasted time (like I am now discussing it) creating it.

First of all, it was evident that said acquaintance had assumed I shared her views, otherwise she might not have shared it. Of course, perhaps she didn't give a hoot. I believe she thought I was hoping she would show me the light though, and forgot I had a brain. Or, perhaps, she was too stuck in her own ways to consider that others can see through such propaganda and do not tolerate the perpetuation of half truths and misinformation. Whatever her motive, she was not using her head, maybe it was located in another body part at that particular moment. I don't need to be educated, that's what I read gossip magazines and watch faux news for. I'm politically brilliant!

After providing the video clip link for the email recipients, said acquaintance warned readers to get their little hankies ready because it was going to be heart-wrenching. She then urged them to vote because what they would see would change their minds or at least get them to vote.

My problems with this are:

(1) Spamming (STOP please) (I have since rectified that problem as she is blocked);
(2) She assumed people the recipients weren't voting (okay, so many don't vote);
(3) Maybe by "not voting" she meant "not voting for my guy";
(4) She believes we are putting are lives, our beliefs, our everything into the one guy's hands, if he gets elected.

C'mon. Seriously? I'm all for supporting your party/guy/gal/what have you, but I refuse to believe all is lost if one person gets elected. I may not agree with the values, platform, voting record of one candidate, but I'm not going to give up all hope if he gets elected. And, despite what you may have heard, I will not move to France either. I may just piss and moan for four-eight years ;). Nevertheless, I like to think I have common sense (even if just a tiny bit). I like to believe (call me silly) that we elect members of Congress to also represent the beliefs of our Nation's people. We are not a country run by a dictatorship, despite what people believe.

As is my habit, I'm rambling. I do that. I apologize. Can you tell this acquaintance irked me. No? Oh, well then, here's why I'm so irked:

I actually responded to her. I stated that I respected her values and beliefs but advised that she not spread unsolicited emails presenting false information. I meant that. I do respect her values and even share some of them. Nonetheless, we don't agree on EVERYTHING. That being said, I don't think everyone should believe the same things (see, I'm smart) and I'm all for sticking to your guns and following your faith/ethics, if that's what is right for you. I also reminded her that the Commander-in-Chief does not unilaterally make decisions for the Nation, which I know many people disagree with, but I'm okay with that. It's my belief (take it or leave it).

So, after all that and some other words from me (no they weren't rude or 4-lettered), here is the response I got (more or less):

She came back surprised that I responded since I don't talk politics. Ummm, excuse me. Pardon me for sounding like a five year old, but she started it. She said she shared the clip because of the supposed atrocities represented therein (no, not in those words). Then she declared, "When I go and vote I want to know if the person I vote for Commander in Chief is one that I will stand up for, I don't want to be wishy-washy I want to be 100% positive that this is the person I want leading my family and friends. I know when I vote I am voting for their beliefs as well, and if this is a type of belief one would have than to each their own but I don't want any part of it. (I would like to think all people take this stance when voting. Nevertheless, it seems she assumed most people need unsolicited political issue education.)

Foolish acquaintance then stated: I was just getting something out that I feel everyone should have the right to know. Let’s see what's the first amendment? Oh yeah, Freedom of Speech...

Well, my goodness. Maybe I should be thanking her. Maybe I should have just read the email and not responded and just changed my thinking completely. After all apparently she is covered by the First Amendment and has just shared with me amazing information. Since I live under a rock, I might not have been privy to that sort of stuff. Also, I got the impression that because I didn't agree with her, Freedom of Speech didn't apply to me. Alright, maybe that's a big assumption, but when deal with an ass, you can assume things, right?

I should have said, "Good for you. Hooray! I hope you keep sharing all this misinformation because apparently the First Amendment allows you to spam folks with fiction purported to be fact, right?", but instead, I responded:

I appreciate your values. However, you were sending something political that was slanted. I can't stand by without a response. This is why I actually replied the way I did. I feel that once it's out there and in part directed at me (as part of an email recipient), it's up for discussion. You shared your beliefs in a way by passing it on, and I merely responded.

You are certainly entitled to your political opinions and values...
this is the reason I rarely discuss politics. My intention was not to hurt your feelings. It was to provide another side and to address the matter at hand. Freedom of Speech, right?

Sorry, perhaps that was snarky of me. I am just about fed-up with individuals feeling they need to share crap that is not true. Use your brain people. Disagree with someone, but don't make up a bunch of BS and try to tell me it's fact. Of course, if you have something you MUST share with me and you can back it up with facts, I'm all for listening (seriously), even if it contradicts my viewpoints. I'm open minded and I like to learn, that's just what I do. I just don't have patience for ignorance and mindless followers.

At any rate, before you hit that send button, before you feel like you NEED to enlighten people about the "truth", please make sure you have our facts straight or that at least be prepared to have a response. Because that recipient just may come back with their side and might even tell you that *gasp* what you sent was asinine.

I know many of my readers come from various cultural, religious and politic walks, so please know that this isn't directed at you (of course, if you are her, you will know - LOL). I am trying to vent and still be humorous. Maybe I didn't pull that off so well. I enjoy reading and learning about various political stances, I do (honest). Just don't pee on my leg and tell me it's raining. I already have kids who try and do that stuff and they get put in time-out.

All politics and foolishness aside, I hope you are having a wonderful summer and that you don't have to deal with idiots in your inbox.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Today was a beautiful day.

I was able to do some important research this morning. I compiled lists for a organization that is up and coming. That, to me, felt satisfying. Of course, it wasn't an easy task. You see there were, as always, children afoot. So, googling and yahooing and analyzing requires talent some days. Thankfully, I can multi-task. I enjoyed my bowl of Special K, tickled a baby, wiped up spilt milk and typed a list of resources almost all concurrently. Alright, so I'm not 8 legged and three headed, but some days I feel as though I am.

Do you ever just slump down on the couch at the end of a looooooong day and look around? Then you ask yourself How did I get it all done? That was me today. Of course, most days it's I need about 10 more hours to get it all done. Today was an exception. Maybe it was partly due to the fact that the children played well together today. Perhaps it was the gorgeous weather that lifted my spirits and got me going. Maybe it was even the fact that I'm much better with time management these days. Who knows.

So, I had a chance to do some things that rarely ever get done today. I pruned the weeds in my garden. It's not much of a garden, but it's there and I like it. I also washed our the van and my hubby's car. That was fun. I felt like a kid again. Nonetheless, I kept shouting No, get out of that puddle; and, please stop putting mud on the house, but it was fun. The baby truly amazed me and sat in his stroller the whole time. He just watched me and didn't put up a fight. I think he was just amazed that mom was off of her butt and away from the computer. It was like nothing he's ever seen. Maybe he didn't even recognize me.

The end of the afternoon did have my head spinning. Between the baby being practically choked by his sister and the girls losing their clothes I was so irritated. Yes, they asserted that someone stole them as they strutted around the house in their underwear. I was none too pleased and ordered them to put their clothes back on. Many tears later, I found that I was in fact the one who had stole the clothes (by accident). They were in the hallway with a pile of towels to be washed and I threw them in the dirty laundry. Oops, my mistake.

So, it's now nighttime and here I sit. My husband sits in front of the television, viciously clicking as though he'll miss something on another channel. I should go to bed. Instead I type. I fear I may not have another free night for awhile. I fear that I may be just posting articles written by other people again. While that information is great and hopefully helpful to you, I do like to type all about my wicked exciting life and bore you with all the details.

'til next time.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

You can't save everybody.

That's what my husband said to me yesterday.

You see, I was at a local drugstore picking up a few items when a man in line ahead of me was checking out. He was an elderly gentlemen, I'd say about 70+ years old. The clerk told him his debit card was declined. So, the man fumbled through his wallet and popped a new card into the machine. That too was declined. I watched him do this two more times and I watched the woman in front of me grow very agitated. She got upset and I got sad. Soon the man was pushing the bag off to the side and said something to the clerk.

At this point, the man shuffled out of the store and the woman in front me rushed to check out. By the time she was completed and leaving, the old man returned. He had a new payment method. Well, he swiped the card and again the clerk told him it was denied. The man's shoulders slumped and he sighed and said "nevermind". I was heart broken.

All the while he was checking out, I tried to read the screen to see if he was purchasing medication or something, but I couldn't tell. I know that's probably not polite, but I wanted to know. After all, if he needed the meds, someone should have helped, or so I thought.

I did see that his purchase was about $39 and some odd change. I only had my debit card on me and wasn't sure if I could justify the expense for a stranger to my husband had he asked. Part of me wanted to just pay for the man and part of me held back. Of course, I didn't want to offend him and bruise his ego. I know that can be humbling for many, especially a man of this gentleman's generation. Then again, I also didn't know if perhaps he was trying to purchase cigarettes or something unnecessary. So, all the while he was being declined, my conscious and my heart were in a battle to do the right thing. I don't think I did. I let the man walk away and I feel terrible. I feel utterly helpless and hope the man got what he needed later in the day perhaps with the help of a friend of family member.

It was so heart wrenching to see this man go through this and know that it could be anyone's father or grandfather. I know the expenses of medications and lack or low insurance some of these folks have to deal with. It's tragic at best.

I was still upset by the situation when I returned home and told my husband about it. He said he probably would have wanted to pay too and also agreed with my thinking. Of course, he said as terrible as it is that he couldn't pay for such a small purchase You can't save everybody. And, he's right. I can't.

Those who know me do know that this is one of my flaws though. I like to believe that I'm a superhero. I want to fix things and I want to help others in ways that I can't. I love the concept of giving and paying things forward. Still, I struggle with how to make it happen without putting financial strain on my own family.

Hmph.

I'm rambling. I just needed to get that out.

I hope I have another chance this week to help someone out like I should have helped here. I really do.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

ProjectWorkingMom.com/eLearners.com

ProjectWorkingMom.com/eLearners.com “Project Working Mom: Putting Learning To Work” Scholarship Awards
[Online Information at www.projectworkingmom.com and http://www.elearners.com/projectworkingmom/

Purpose: Project Working Mom seeks to raise national awareness about the educational challenges facing many working mothers. For instance, while 83% of single moms have high school diplomas, only 16 percent of them have a bachelor’s degree or higher. And, 35% of families in poverty are headed by single moms. Project Working Mom believes that online education is the answer to many of the challenges facing working moms, both single and married, who want to further their education and lives.

A select group of online schools have teamed with eLearners.com to support Project Working Mom. Each of the schools has committed to providing full-tuition scholarships worth up to $2 million dollars to working moms to help them further their education and obtain their degrees.
You can apply to one of the scholarship sponsors for a Project Working Mom scholarship. Each scholarship sponsor will designate its own scholarship selection committee to select scholarship award recipients.

Scholarship Sponsors: The following online schools are sponsoring Project Working Mom:
American Sentinel University - www.americansentinel.edu
Ashford University - www.ashford.edu
Capella University - www.capella.edu
Everest University - www.everest.edu
Penn Foster College - www.pennfostercollege.edu
Eligibility Requirements: “Project Working Mom: Putting Learning to Work” scholarships are for single and married working moms who are interested in enrolling in an accredited online degree program. Employees (and family members) of scholarship sponsors or eLearners.com and their respective affiliates are not eligible to participate. All application materials submitted become the property of eLearners.com. One application per person.

Application Process: To apply for a “Project Working Mom: Putting Learning To Work” Scholarship, simply complete the online application, located at http://www.elearners.com/projectworkingmom/Scholarships/EntryForm.aspx?tsource=home&tid=200 where you will be asked to fill in the following:
Name
Age
Number of Children
Current Work Status
Email
Current Address and Phone Number
Future Career Goals

An essay of 1500 words or less, describing why getting your degree is important to you. Tell us about (a) your life, education, and/or career goal(s), (b) how education will ultimately enable you to achieve those goal(s), and (c) why online education is the right choice for you.
We strongly encourage you to discuss any personal challenges or obstacles you have had to overcome in your pursuit of getting your degree.

Selection Process: Applications will be reviewed by Project Working Mom scholarship award committees of each of the online schools you designate in your scholarship application. The scholarship recipients will be selected based on the strength of the application and written essay as determined by each designated scholarship committee. Scholarship sponsoring schools and scholarship recipients are responsible for the details of the delivery and acceptance of the scholarship award including but not limited to any applicable tax obligations with respect to the award.

Deadline: Applications must be received online by Sunday, August 31st, 2008 (5:00 P.M. ET).
Award: The scholarship award recipient will be selected by Tuesday, September 16th, 2008 and will be notified shortly thereafter by the school awarding the scholarship. Scholarship award recipients will also be posted online at http://www.elearners.com/projectworkingmom/winners/ in late September 2008. The award recipient may be required to submit documentation (such as an IRS form W-9) to receive payment. Except where prohibited by law, the award recipient consents to the use of recipient’s name and application in any manner by eLearners.com without further compensation. The details of the terms and conditions of accepting a scholarship award will be set forth in an award agreement and affidavit/release to be signed by award recipients.

In the event that an applicant for the scholarship subsequently enrolls in an online college program between the dates of 6/23/2008 and 8/31/2008 and is awarded a scholarship by one of the member schools, eLearners.com will reimburse scholarship recipients for any tuition incurred from 6/23/2008 until 8/31/2008 on a pro-rated basis. To receive reimbursement, the award recipient is responsible for providing proof of enrollment and tuition receipts to eLearners.com. Members have until 10/30/2008 to file for reimbursement.

Choice/Opt-out: Scholarship applicants acknowledge that a representative from American Sentinel University, Ashford University, Capella University, Everest University or Penn Foster College may contact them about enrollment opportunities at each respective university. eLearners.com, EducationDynamics, and its subsidiary companies reserve the right to contact registrants for Project Working Mom for future communication and offers from eLearners.com. Users who no longer wish to receive any communication from eLearners.com may unsubscribe and opt out at the following address:
http://www.elearners.com/projectworkingmom/Scholarships/OptOut.aspx. If users are receiving newsletter communications, users can opt out by clicking on the unsubscribe link in the newsletter.

Users of our site are always notified when their information is being collected by any outside parties. We do this so our users can make an informed choice as to whether or not they should proceed with services that require an outside party.

Contact Us: If you have questions, please contact us at projectworkingmom@elearners.com.
Please note: Each scholarship sponsoring school is responsible for administering each scholarship that it awards; eLearners.com and EducationDynamics, LLC are not responsible for the awarding or administration of the scholarship.

READ ONLINE

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Housing Law Provides Protection for Military Families

According to National Military Family Association (NMFA), August 12, 2008:

In late July, President Bush signed “The Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008”, H.R. 3221, into law (Public Law 110-289). This legislation is designed to help homeowners keep their existing homes and provide first-time buyers access to affordable housing.

Military families should know that there are several provisions within H.R. 3221 that uniquely impact service members and veterans.

The law will:

Exclude military housing allowances from counting as income when service members try to qualify for low-income housing;

Expand the foreclosure protection for service members returning from deployment. Previously, service members had 90 days of protection from foreclosure, now they have nine months. This temporary protection expires on December 31, 2010;

Provide a temporary increase until the end of the year for the maximum loan guaranteed by the Department of Veteran Affairs (VA). The cap can be as high as $720,750 and as low as $417,000 depending on the median housing prices for the area;

Require the Secretary of Defense to develop a program to provide financial counseling to returning service members, including credit and home mortgage counseling;

Provide a moving benefit to service members who are forced to move out of rental housing if the owner of the housing is foreclosed on;

Increase grants for severally disabled veterans from $50,000 to $60,000;

Make totally disabled service members held on active duty for medical reasons eligible for VA grants for home alternations before their discharge;

Extend grants for specially adapted housing and assistance to veterans with severe burns and veterans residing outside the United States; and

Allow veteran benefits received as a lump sum to be treated as monthly benefits for the purposes of eligibility for Section 8 Housing assistance.


We are especially pleased members of Congress recognize the problems military renters face when their landlords go into foreclosure. NMFA will monitor the implementation of this legislation and provide updates as they become available.

To review the full law, go to: http://thomas.loc.gov/ and type HR 3221 into the search field.

Hooray! Thoughts?

Monday, August 11, 2008

A program to help military families and spouses (OEF/OIF)

There are some folks down at the VA in Amarillo, TX, looking for some feedback. In fact, they are seeking the assistance of military spouses and families in order to help the same. Two individuals that I have been in contact with regarding a new program are Richard Johnson and Suzanne Morton of the LEAD program through the VA (Thomas E. Creek, VAMC).

Currently, they are looking for ways to assist with families and spouses in via an outreach program entitled LEAD. Recently, Mr. Johnson posted about goals to address the concerns, issues and needs of families on the homefront. They are currently on an information gathering session and are asking spouses to contact them individually (keeping OPSEC and PERSEC in mind of course).

They are open to your thoughts and suggestions on how to provide support to spouses and families of members in Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom (OEF/OIF) and said veterans. Use them as your sounding board, they may have more resources to share with you than you knew existed and if they don’t, perhaps they can make some waves in getting the resources you seek.

Keep in mind that anonymity will be maintained as when reporting their findings, no names or other identifying information will be used concerning spouses/families who contact them. VA members are well versed in the security matters and while they respect your privacy, you too should be vigilant not too give away any unit/deployment/rotation information. At this time, that information is not needed for this program. I would venture to say that if you contact them, you can even choose just to give your first name.

Some of the questions they are seeking answers to are:

1) What has been the hardest struggle you have had to overcome?
2) How has behavior changes affected your family and social environment?
3) What benefits would you like to see offered for the spouse/family of veterans?
4) Would you benefit from meetings with other spouses and or family members?
5) What avenues have you tried and what were the outcomes?
6) Do you know of any OEF/OIF family members that are having problems? What are they?
7) What do you think would be the best way to get the information out to spouses or family members; through email, letter, booklet or CD?

Another matter Mr. Johnson wanted to raise awareness about is that “Veterans have up to 5 years after separation to seek services.”

If you would like to contact them, you may do so via email or phone at:

Richard Johnson
Richard.JohnsonJr@va.gov

Suzanne Morton
W.Morton@va.gov

Phone: (806) 355-9703 ext. 4917

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Daddy is home and all is right with the world.

My husband flew home last night. Well, wouldn't you know the little boogers turned into perfect angels once they saw him.

Hmph.

Anyway, it's reunion time at my house. So, back to the arms of my man I run.

Oh, and for those of you wondering, I finally did get some sleep!

'Til later folks. :)

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Did you hear that? It's quiet?

Well, I'm on a blogging kick today, aren't I?

I should tell you that despite that, today has been chaotic. Alright, chaotic isn't the most accurate description. It's been verging on...well, it rhymes with swell and swell it was not.

It all started last night actually. I had a bout of insomnia. With the man in blue gone I've been out of my sleep comfort lately. Up until last night, it wasn't that bad. Well, I tossed and turned, catalogued things to do in my head, thought about what I didn't get done yesterday and pondered the complexities of the universe. I finally started to fall asleep at one point only to be jolted awake by a screaming black cat outside of my bedroom window. Black. Cat. Ugh.

Anyway, it apparently had been fighting with something. I was irate. I actually got up and started shouting at the menacing devil cat out the window. I even hissed. Yes, I did. The cat looked at me as if to say What the f&*! ? So, we had a staring match. All the while I could have been trying to get back to sleep. Somehow common sense smacked me upside the head and back to bed I sauntered. ****WAAAAAAHHHHH*****

Darn it, the baby's up. He starts with the "Ma Ma Ma maaaaa". So sad and sweet all at the same time. I gamble that he may fall back to sleep. After about 2 minutes, I cave and go and rescue him. Well, after he's soothed and back in his crib again, I gave the whole sleeping thing another shot. FINALLY, at what I assume was officially hours after zero dark thirty, I fell asleep.

Well morning was ushered into by two screaming banshees. My eldest had previously poked me and asked to play on Playhouse Disney, which I obliged only to squeeze out a few more minutes of sleep (as if that was possible). Her sister, bound and determined to do whatever she was doing scampered down the hall to join her. The quiet and sweet sisterly computer sharing lasted for approximately 24 seconds. My mommy clock told me so.

Wild, blood curdling screaming ensued. The pinching game was on. Well, I was up now and sleep would have to wait (again). The baby, of course, heard all of this joyous music and, he too, was screaming. Well, he needed a diaper changing (badly). So amidst, wrestling the foul thing off of my sweet boy, I was trying to wrestle the two girls apart. She pinched me. No, I didn't. She wouldn't leave me alone. I want breakfast. Mommy, mommy, mommmyyyyyyy. Seriously, they were about a foot from me all while this madness took place.

I'm truly amazed that I didn't absolutely lose my mind and dissolve into a pile of ashes right in front them. Okay, so this seemed to go on for an eternity, while it actually only probably was about 2 minutes before everyone was calm again. My eyes were barely open and I really, really wished the man in blue was home because he SWEARS stuff like this never happens with him. Okay, Super Dad, what's your secret?

At any rate, most of the day was back and forth bantering. The lady next door to us a school teacher. When retrieving the mail, I asked Is it September yet? She said all the parents ask her that and she doesn't want to go back yet.

Oh, yes, there is more. So, we finally made it out to run some errands at one point. My mother tries to reach me by phone and does eventually. Where are you? There's a tornado warning in your county! Get inside somewhere. Go to a basement. Where are the kids?

Ummmm, well I'm trying to buckle them in, we just got out of Target and I have to run to the grocery store. You can't, get to a safe spot. At this point, I'm already on the highway heading home. I was officially spooked as I did see a sudden onset of nasty weather and lightening strike down practically vertically about a mile up the road. Yikes! Okay, I'll call you later, we'll go into another store. Well, I decided to brave it and head home. We have a basement, so it was the wisest thought (in my crazed mommy mind). Fret not, we made it home safely.

We did have to venture back out to retrieve items from the grocery store and that included a lot of Can I have? and I want..... Please tell every child in America is like this. If they are not, lie to me because mine can't be all that spoiled. Honestly, they CAN be real sweethearts and are well-behaved (for other people ;) ).

So, since I am writing a book here I'll cut to the chase...bedtime has come and gone and all is quiet on the homefront. I should really go to sleep now. Wish me luck with that, would ya'?

WWII Hero Passes On

London - Eric "Digger" Dowling has passed on. His Legacy page is up on the net by the AP.

Many of you may have seen or at least heard about the 1963 film The Great Escape. It was largely based on the escape and the planning leading up to the escape (with some theatrics and dramatics added in, of course). Dowling was a Lt in the Royal Air Force Bomber Command and had become a POW at an Allied prison camp after being shot down in WWII (specifically in 1942). While Dowling didn't actually escape as part of "The Great Escape", he was instrumental in mapping, digging and assisting men in escaping.
So, I received all of my Fellowship materials this week. Classes don't actually commence until September. However, being the uber-excited student that I am, I'm already delving into the depts of finance.

A friend of mine has also received this Fellowship and we will be traveling through webinars and studies together. Oh, and another friend of ours has already completed the program. She was chosen as a recipient in 2006. I've declared her as my mentor. She is a wealth of knowledge and a pretty spectacular person to boot. It's people like her that make me want to do great things. Let me tell you a bit about my mentor. She's a mom to two beautiful young children. She's also a military veteran (of two services) and a military wife. She also has her MPA and is quite the Suzy Homemaker as well, from what I hear. I love people are multi-faceted. Don't you?