Tuesday, January 31, 2006

a note of thanks

Just left a thank you note for Congrees woman Lynn Woolsey.
She is the one that invited Cindy to the State of the Nation address, which landed up Cindy being arrested.

Webster may have it right.

Definition found on m-w.com - picture depicts the obvious
One entry found for buffoon.
Main Entry: buf·foon
Etymology: Middle French bouffon, from Old Italian buffone
1 : a ludicrous figure : CLOWN
2 : a gross and usually ill-educated or stupid person- buf·foon·ish /-'fü-nish/ adjective

Respect - Commander In Chief

Thank You -


A hopeful society acts boldly to fight diseases like HIV/AIDS, which can be prevented, and treated, and defeated. More than a million Americans live with HIV, and half of all AIDS cases occur among African Americans. I ask Congress to reform and reauthorize the Ryan White Act, and provide new funding to states, so we end the waiting lists for AIDS medicines in America. (Applause.) We will also lead a nationwide effort, working closely with African American churches and faith-based groups, to deliver rapid HIV tests to millions, end the stigma of AIDS, and come closer to the day when there are no new infections in America. (Applause.)

Fellow citizens, we've been called to leadership in a period of consequence. We've entered a great ideological conflict we did nothing to invite. We see great changes in science and commerce that will influence all our lives. Sometimes it can seem that history is turning in a wide arc, toward an unknown shore. Yet the destination of history is determined by human action, and every great movement of history comes to a point of choosing.
Lincoln could have accepted peace at the cost of disunity and continued slavery. Martin Luther King could have stopped at Birmingham or at Selma, and achieved only half a victory over segregation. The United States could have accepted the permanent division of Europe, and been complicit in the oppression of others. Today, having come far in our own historical journey, we must decide: Will we turn back, or finish well?
Before history is written down in books, it is written in courage.
Like Americans before us, we will show that courage and we will finish well.
We will lead freedom's advance. We will compete and excel in the global economy. We will renew the defining moral commitments of this land. And so we move forward -- optimistic about our country, faithful to its cause, and confident of the victories to come.
May God bless America. (Applause.)

hmmmm pretty funny

Bush declares:
We must also confront the larger challenge of mandatory spending, or entitlements. This year, the first of about 78 million baby boomers turn 60, including two of my Dad's favorite people -- me and President Clinton.

If I could write like this....

Favorite line's from the well delivered speech tonight:

The road of victory is the road that will take our troops home. As we make progress on the ground, and Iraqi forces increasingly take the lead, we should be able to further decrease our troop levels -- but those decisions will be made by our military commanders, not by politicians in Washington, D.C. (Applause.)

Our coalition has learned from our experience in Iraq. We've adjusted our military tactics and changed our approach to reconstruction. Along the way, we have benefitted from responsible criticism and counsel offered by members of Congress of both parties. In the coming year, I will continue to reach out and seek your good advice. Yet, there is a difference between responsible criticism that aims for success, and defeatism that refuses to acknowledge anything but failure. (Applause.) Hindsight alone is not wisdom, and second-guessing is not a strategy. (Applause.)

With so much in the balance, those of us in public office have a duty to speak with candor. A sudden withdrawal of our forces from Iraq would abandon our Iraqi allies to death and prison, would put men like bin Laden and Zarqawi in charge of a strategic country, and show that a pledge from America means little. Members of Congress, however we feel about the decisions and debates of the past, our nation has only one option: We must keep our word, defeat our enemies, and stand behind the American military in this vital mission. (Applause.)

Congratulations - Daniel.
Today's entry is dedicated to one of my favorite boys in the entire world.
Have a great day and good luck at wrestling practice.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Roller Derby

We went to the birthday party for the sweet little six year old - and both the daughter and I donned the rented roller skates and did our thing. It was very comical and a good time was had by most (a few fell pretty hard and a few never let go of the wall).
I loved to see grandma and aunt J's face and hear the laughter. It is nice to enjoy a happy two hours filled with no fussing, no crying just pure birthday bliss laced with sugars ans sweets. We bought the present last minute after church and did not wrap it - the daughter ridiculed the make shift instant wrapping of the Marshall's bag and putting the new princess panties in the new Hello Kitty bag - but birthday girl was excited even with out the brightly colored papers and ribbons.

It is a new work week and almost a new month. Gotta get busy, much to see and do.
I am sure the world will bring us more shocking stories of devastation and greed - but I am concentrating on the good in it all.

Yesterday during Church we took a few minutes to welcome new members. One family was smiling clutching an infant - He had just returned home from Iraq on Friday - On the opposite end on the line was a couple clutched together with pasted on smiles, he leaves for Iraq this morning. I wept. I will try to remember to pray for both of them this week as they transition.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

MMMM Yummy - Now my stomach aches

While doing a little research - I read about this ---
Portion Pac Inc., Stone Mountain, Ga., is being awarded a maximum $24,785,000 firm fixed priced contract for MRE spreads for use in the Meals Ready to Eat Assembly Program. This is an indefinite quantity type contract. Using services are Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines. There were 30 proposals solicited and three responded. Contract funds will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. Date of completion is Dec. 20, 2006. The contracting activity is Defense Supply Center Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pa. SPM3S1-06-Z135.

OK - I am thinking maybe we will get new varieties with the new mre contract... That would be good news. We are keeping business in America - all is well.

So, doing more research I discovered:

Portion Pac Inc. of Stone Mountain, a subsidiary of ketchup-maker H.J. Heinz Co., on May 3 won an $11.2 million contract with the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA), the Department of Defense unit that supplies the food eaten by American troops. The contract calls for the factory to make individual portions of cheese spreads, peanut butter and jam packaged by other companies into what are known as "meals-ready-to-eat," or MREs.

Now I am thinking - the few things I do eat out of the MREs are produced/distributed by HER.

Oh.... the irony of this all --- it looks like Kerry's wife - who does not support the war - is probably thrilled her company is winning contracts to SUPPORT the war.

Guess I will stick with the granola bars in the Vegetarian Entrees and Hoohah Bars.

Year of the Dog NOT CHICKEN

Frustrated... Why in America would we need to get chicken meat from China - I think we have plenty of farmers and ranches here. We can raise and package our own chickens - seriously.
Take a look!

BTW - Happy Chinese New Year - Happy Chinese New Year

the weekend

Another week checked off the calendar.
Although for the most part uneventful, sure glad it is the weekend. I have drill Super Bowl weekend and then we celebrate the daughter's 15th birthday in Chicago over President's Day. So, this is relax and catch up weekend.
It is early Saturday morning and the daughter needs dropped off at the school in 20 minutes. She will be helping to manage the Varsity wrestling team at the city tournament. All day observing young men in tight wrestling gear. Say a few good thoughts for her! I packed enough snacks for her to live remotely in the tundra for the entire weekend.
I have Not a huge agenda this weekend. Errands and I might start painting the second bathroom. I finished the master bath this week and it looks pretty good. The curtain material I bought for 5.00 at Joann's looks pretty good. Daughter has decided she wants some frugal quick curtains too. She needs a change in her bedroom (this week we can barely find the floor in front of her closet!) She plans on working that soon...
I finished reading The Myth of You and Me last night. It had a read a good review I read in December. I found it to be a good read about women and friendships. Very light hearted - just what you need sometimes.
The best thing I get to do today is buy a special birthdaygift for a sweetie turning six tomorrow. Little girls at the age are so much fun. She is having a roller skating party tomorrow - That will be amusing and entertaining to watch. Shag carpet on the walls and all - perfect. When I was a kid we skated all the time. Most events were innocent - but the rink was a place of coming of age as well.
Well I am off to taxi and to Curves followed by a long walk.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Shop Whole Foods today ----

Shop Whole Foods Market January 24 to Help Improve Farm Animal Quality of Life

Company Donating 5% of Day's Global Sales to Support Non-Profit Animal Compassion Foundation.
The press release states:
"The quest for cheap food in our society has created an industrialized model of meat production in which animals are bred and raised in conditions focused on efficiency rather than on the basic needs of the animal," said John Mackey, co-founder and CEO of Whole Foods Market. "As another important milestone on our path to being a responsible tenant of the planet, Whole Foods Market created the Animal Compassion Foundation to act as a forum in which meat producers can learn, share and be inspired to ensure animal welfare as a top priority."

I made a short shopping list and I am heading over for lunch.

Monday, January 23, 2006

One good read:

An adoption story written by a journalist in England,
From China With Love. The story reminds when my friend Beth and I devoured any book that dealt with parenting and adoption.

An Extremely Important Read:

I started The Heart of a Soldier on Friday and finished it on Saturday, Kate Blaise retells her experience with the 101st and the love and dreams she shared with her husband Mike. Read Chapter One.
I could not put this book down and was emotional exhausted when I closed the book. Thank You CPT Kate Blaise. I honor Mike Blaise for making the ultimate sacrifice two years ago today.

Cascading events

Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let it Snow!
We received a few inches of snow and it was nice to get a little bit of moisture in the air.

Husband has been working in Southern Louisiana for over a week with the job. He is bored and somehow we have talked more on the phone in the last few days than we have talked in a month when we have been together, Guess life is strange like that. We are amazed that they have tailored all of the prices for the workers that are cleaning up the mess down there. He spent 27.00 on Vietnamese Food and was still hungry!

I am approaching the anniversary of a pretty significant date in my life.
In January of 1988, I made a commitment to enter in to the Army's delayed entry program. This single event triggered a chain of events that impacted my family.

The first nine years of my life I group up in rural Michigan next to corn fields and pastures. I was the only granddaughter on my paternal side and learned to make tree forts, mud pies and create havoc like the best of my cousins and brother. One "game" (I use this word loosely!) was playing war in corn fields. My brother and his cronies would create corn guns and chase me through the rows of corn stalks hoping for completely victory and annihilation of his sister. These games of war lasted for years until we moved. My brother and his friend Hans joined of dreaming the military, I was oblivious to any thought of military service until January of my senior year. I had already had some experience of wearing fatigues (I had bought a pair of awesome solid olive pants from a vintage store in Ann Arbor :)). I randomly walked in to the recruiting station and announced I wanted to join the Army. This was to much delight of my recruiter SSG L. I was an easy recruit and chose the Army based on color - I liked the idea of wearing green.

I went to MEPS in Detroit. I still think about this adventure sometimes. I sat there in a room with variety of people filling out paperwork, I was in shock. The only significant note I made on historical paperwork was that I had had my tonsils out when I was five years old. I saw women my age or a bit older with tattoos, pregnancies and various scars. I met with career counselor and chose to be a 72E, Airborne option, and station of choice. (Only later did I find out how lucky I had been with the variety of options)

Most people were completely shocked, to include my poor mom that had to sign my paperwork because I was not 18. Later after some consultation from my uncle that was a LTC in the AF that had a good MSG friend in the Army, I went back up to MEPS to change my MOS to 92Y to become a supply clerk. Everyone agreed that this role was probably better suited for me (of course this became a "challenge" for the recruiter - but all ended well). Now, this left my corn field comrades in a predicament. How could the younger sister - serve in the military before me... So, my brother made an abrupt decision to join the Marines. He tested very well and became a linguist. He left and completed his basic before I left for mine. My mom really liked the female Marine recruiter and they tried to talk me into jumping ship and promised me the world, I stuck with the Army and I am glad that I did.

Everyone talks about parents suffering from "empty nest" syndrome - my mom was faced with both of her children gone within 6 months of my DEP enrollment.

I guess the rest is history. I turned 18 in basic training and learned what it meant to serve your country and true patriotism.

I experienced eating grits, fought off chiggers in Alabama and began to fold into Army life. Hard to believe my one decision stemmed hundreds of others and changed the shape of my entire family. 1988-2006 - 18 years. More to follow...

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Yesterday I suffered from LOM all day.
Don't get me wrong, I did all I needed to do and even got the oil changed BUT just not motivated.
Registration opened for the Foreign Service Exam. Registered. However, I probably do not get any extra points for doing so the first day the window opened.
Today is a new day though!

I heard from our dear friend. I received a real snail mail letter from Iraq and took about 16 days to get here! Brian thanks for taking the time and sharing --- we love and miss you. (sorry about the Green Bay packer ordeal). Travel safely.

This morning when I dropped my daughter off at the bus stop (Yes, I still drop my freshmen off at the bus stop in cold weather) there was a young boy standing in his ROTC uniform. I said, "Look at that soldier" Daughter response... "He is a so quiet, mom". I thought about him all day. Just his demeanor and the frank possibility that he will probably be a junior enlisted soldier someday. Made me proud. Made me a little sad. I think of all the quiet soldiers in OIF and OEF.

Interesting news (sort of) Caffeine gum now in Army supply channels. Each piece of the gum contains 100 mg of caffeine, which is about the amount found in a six-ounce cup of coffee. OK.

You must go see this website. It is absolutely inspiring. I read through the last year of events for this family, it is incredible.

Finally, a call to all. Soldiers, supporters, ney-sayers, liberals, conservatives, Steeler fans, Bronco fans... Please read this and give it some thought.
Must read.

To send a note to recovering soldiers at Walter Reed Hospital.
Recovering American Soldier
c/o Walter Reed Army Medical Center
6900 Georgia Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20307-5001

Monday, January 16, 2006

Five teenagers, 2 moms and the movie Tristan & Isolde.
Warning... this is a "chick flick" and very heart wrenching. OF course, I cried. I am not sure if there are any movies I do not cry watching these days. ugh. Love can create such agony.
Case in point, yesterday we were watching a 9/11 documentary in class. I started welling up, then I began to hide it by drinking water, playing with the water bottle, loading lead into the pencil... just fidgeting. But I managed not to have a public outburst. I guess I am just really vulnerable to these things - I need to stick to FoxNews.
We are headed off to see Memoirs of a Geisha.
We have had this movie on the list since December - If we wait until the dvd comes out, the husband probably will not pick this one up.
Decided to skip snow shoeing, it is pretty windy and did not want to drive for an hour to get to the trail.

Funny Animals - Make me smile!

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Something’s in life you just cannot predict!

Something’s in life you just cannot predict! It is mid-January, the beginning of a three day weekend. The weather is almost perfect. It was warm today; I opened up all the windows and aired out the house a little. Yes, I still have the Christmas tree up. It is a live tree and it still looks and smells great. I will leave it up for a little longer.
School is going well and I am learning all I can about terrorism and counterterrorism. Midterm and presentations are tomorrow. We sure do live in a crazy world. We have a very long road ahead of us to make a significant dent in GWOT.
We officially mailed off the daughter’s registration form for the mission trip to Peru. We will wait and here back to whether or not she is accepted as part of the team. Then we will do some fundraising and see where we are at. She has her passport all ready to go!
She received the sweetest email today from a kid in her youth group tonight. He said, “I did not even notice you got your braces off until you had already left. You have a pretty smile.” How sweet! Not all kids would take the time to send a note like that.
I finished reading Love My Rifle More Than You by Kayla Williams. This is a soldier’s memoir of her deployment with the 101st. A great read, I could not put it down. Her stories and candid comments had me smiling; she is right on about so many things.
We are hoping to snow shoe on Monday, pending the weather. If not I could handle reading and relaxing all day! But would rather get outside if I can.
I have been keeping an eye on the Alito nomination process. Ted Kennedy is nuts. He needs to retire. Seriously. What is he thinking?

A quick good news story from Afghanistan -
BAGRAM AIR BASE, Afghanistan, Jan. 6, 2006 – U.S. forces dropped eight bundles of humanitarian assistance supplies near Bamyan in central Afghanistan to help hundreds of families there survive the harsh winter, military officials here reported.
The bundles consisted of winter clothing for men, women and children as well as beans and rice, cooking oil, tarps, health kits, took kits and blankets. Together the supplies weighed more than 14,000 pounds.
"As the cold winter months come to Afghanistan in force, we've found that we are in a unique position to help those who are suffering the most," said Air Force Lt. Col. Josh Jose, Combined Joint Task Force 76 deputy chief of operations. "The delivery of these items to Bamyan allows our forces in that area to ensure that numerous families would be safe from the elements as the winter months move on."
U.S. provisional reconstruction teams in the area are distributing the supplies with the help of local government leaders.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Please send the HAMMY clam chowder back to the kitchen

Have you ever heard of putting HAM in New England clam chowder?
That is crazy! So, after my series of unfortunate events, yesterday, I have a few more things to add to the mix.
At lunch I ordered Soup and San Pellegrino = the comfort food I needed after a not so great morning. The soup came out piping hot with a hefty aroma of HAM. (I have not eaten ham in since 1995, so if I were to go off the pig wagon, it would not be with hammy clam chowder – it would be a succulent BLT. Currently, Turkey BLT’s are sufficient.) So, I sent that back and settled for a side salad – and enjoyed the effervescent. I did get the massage which actually helped with the ailing neck. I popped a Tylenol PM and slept fitfully through the night. Today is a new day…
The weather is good, plenty of work to do, good books to read and I am making a big pot of veggie soup tonight.
I have school all weekend, so I am might as relax now.
I do have good news of sorts to pass along. My brother has landed a job back where he and his new wife can be closer to family. They are expecting in April, so this should be a good adjustment for them. I love to buy baby things. woo hoo!

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Ok - One last thing to add. Lucky, the big dog, I just caught eating Daughters Old Navy flip flops. I bent down, scooped up the flip flop and made hard physical contact on his behind - while doing that I just cricked my neck. So, here's to a good Wednesday - sure to be littered with more fun. I will be calling for a massage as soon I get to work. Hopefully the safety of a three walled cube will prevent any further damage. Cheers.

Good morning, I think.

Frustration... You wake up and you feel like you did not really even go to sleep.
Last night, I Heard every snore, every gurgle, every noise from the dogs, the rotation of the fan blades, the milk man truck, the dogs barking... You get the picture. Well I am off to start the day.

My theory is never miss an opportunity to pass up a good book and learn something new. I just finished reading Zainab Salbi's Between Two Worlds: Escape from Tyranny: Growing up in the Shadow of Saddam.

What a story how she has to tell. The oppression and fear that Saddam imprinted on the people of Iraq turns my stomach and crushes my heart. Her family was under the thumb of Saddam and her father was a pilot for him.

Women for Women International firmly believes that in post-conflict societies, when women are given full access to rights and economic opportunity, the entire country fares better. They help women in war-torn regions rebuild their lives by giving them financial and emotional support, job skills training, rights education, access to capital and assistance for small business development.

For additional information on Women for Women, Click Here
Nearly 20,000 women survivors of war in Afghanistan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Colombia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Iraq, Kosovo, Nigeria and Rwanda will participate in our programs this year. Since its founding in 1993, Women for Women International has assisted more than 52,000 women and distributed nearly $21 million in direct aid and microcredit loans.

An important reminder:

The Foreign Service Written Exam will take place on April 8, 2006. Registration information for the 2006 written exam will be available at this website in mid-January 2006. Last year enrollment opened up the day after MLK. Click Here This is great experience and I highly recommend registering and studying ahead of time.

Monday, January 09, 2006

I am ready for the week

Another drill weekend down... Did you feel safer this weekend? Hope so. We were standing by.

One thing I look forward to every day is the trip to the mailbox.
It makes me feel like a little kid. Today I received a few weird and wonderful things to my surprise.

  • A gift of yummy coconut lotion from a dear friend that vacationed in Fiji with her boyfriend over the holidays for a week. Yes, I said Fiji, Yes I said a week. No not jealous - but may post a picture from her vacation soon.
  • A note from the Care - an organization I often make small random donations to. Inside this month's cry for help was a pencil (like the one's you use to keep score at the miniature golf courses) with the following note: To take on the Taliban, the US military used 10,000 troops and the most advanced weapons on earth... But girls across Afghanistan defied their oppressors with something much simpler: a pencil. You see, the Taliban had forbidden education for girls. But despite that ban, CARE kept small study going. And ever girl who flocked to them eagerly. When the regime finally crumbled, CARE-support schools filled up in the blink of an eye! Today in Afghanistan, these school help equip more than 23,000 boys and girls with the skills they need to overcome a life of poverty.
    So, with my recent quest to read more and more about the Iraq/Afghanistan area - I guess I will donate. They got me. Come on the girls need schools supplies and money.
  • I have also received my new Republican National Committee card - along with a request for money. I am not certain what benefits I get from this - but I do sometimes taunt my liberal friends that I am card carrying Republican.
  • A great Christmas Card from a dear family friend.
  • A few bills, a bank statement...

But it gets stranger...
I received a note from the state that says I owe them 76.04. With the following note "... On going mission to ensure that all taxpayers report and pay their fair of taxes."

I am hysterically laughing. I pay my fair share, trust me. I guess I will send them a joyful note and a check. But the pure thought of us not paying what we owe - that is funny. (Just as a side note, if you attach any additional notes or letters to your tax returns they have to go in a special file and be hand processed.) Let me tell you, I always write a cheerful note on colorful paper and use a colored paper clip to secure everything. I hope it cheers them up. I think of it as my service to them. That is one job I could not sanely do. God Bless them.

The National Guard has instituted a new recruiting program. I can earn up $2000 per person that joins and completes basic training and individual training and $50.00 just for signing up for the program. I really want to go to Greece and go back to Slovenia. SO, fair warning, if you are in my address book and you are under the age 40 or have children under the age of 40 and you are physically and emotionally stable, I am going to try to recruit you. A good trip to Greece would be about 10,000 - THAT is only 5 people......

Ok off to the grocery, then laundry, dinner, carpets and kitchen floor.

Friday, January 06, 2006

simple advice

Do Not eat this...

When your stomach feels like this

Will keep you posted.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Normal resumes

The house is almost back to normal. Daughter is back in school and Mom and Dad are both back to regular schedules for work. After the twelve days off I was ready to come back to the office. However, the 4 dogs at home are a bit miffed that they now have to be kenneled and cornered into safe places for hours each day. Tough, I say. I do feel a bit bad for the baby - she cries and cries when she is in the crate, but I am sure she stops as soon as I lock the front door and pull out of the drive way.
I finished the spare bedroom make over. I have to say it looks pretty good for the amateur decorator in me. The curtains actually look as if someone spent more than 15 minutes and a 1/2 roll of iron-on tape. I may move on to the bathroom in the coming weeks...

A fresh coat of paint and bright curtains is just what it needs. I have most of the Christmas decorations down - but the tree and nativity are still up. They look so nice; I really do not want to take them down. I have drill this weekend, so that will be my excuse to leave them up another week. I have not been to drill in two months. With all of the Hurricane Katrina activity and escorting the Slovenian delegation, I have not had to go to monthly drill. It has been nice, but it will be nice to catch up with everyone after the holidays. We have a retirement ceremony this weekend for MSG W - so we are headed to Helga's for good German food and chocolate.

I decided to make the commitment to the daughter going to Peru for the Mission Trip over the summer. I will have more details on that soon. You can check out the Brio mission trip. It will be an opportunity of a lifetime.

I am getting ready for my next class IR 6685 - Terrorism & Political Violence. It is going to be a great class. It is being taught by the same instructor I had for Military Strategy and International Relations. He is currently a LTC teaching at the AirForce Academy. Very knowledgeable and insightful, perhaps I can grab some of that in the coming weeks.

I just finished reading In Case We're Separated. Pretty good read and the characters are very amusing. I am reading Between Two Worlds next.

Sunday, January 01, 2006


Happy New Year - All.

I cannot believe another year has passed. I have two more days of vacation, two walls left to paint, two books left to read and two more rooms to clean.

I hope that this year opens up new doors, closes unhealthy one's and brings many surprises and memories for all. We have pending births, graduations, marriages, reunions and departures ahead in 2006. It will be an adventure.

No resolution this year.

Snow shoe adventures

I can cross off -go snow shoeing- off my to-do list. This trip we will never forget - we had great weather, great company and a good old fashioned "car stuck in the snow" escapade. Luckily, we were able to borrow a shovel and flag down four women to help us get the car out.

I will have to say the county employees in Summit county are very disciplined. So much so, that a man driving a road grader - would not go off his predetermined county road to assist us. I was shocked - maybe chivalry is dead. At least it is for him. I think I am gong to drop the county a note and let them know what a quality employee they have on their hands.