Sunday, September 30, 2007

Yesterday, I read a semi-controversial book.
It is the memoir of Joshua Keys
He was a member the 3rd ACR at Fort Carson.
His book talks about his harsh upbringing in Oklahoma. How he fell in love with his wife Brandi. Why he joined the Army. He enjoyed basic training and was a overall eager soldier that enjoyed the Army until he was deployed to Iraq.
He and his family now live in Canada as a deserter. He went home on R&R and could not bring himself to back to the horrors he had experienced.
The Deserter's Tale: The Story of an Ordinary Soldier Who Walked Away from the War in Iraq by Joshua Key
other opinion
I am glad I read it, but I do not believe much of it.
I am glad I got it from the library.
I am glad he has taken 4 children and wife out of the country and they feel safe.

BUT to avoid all of this he could have claimed to be a Conscientious Objector or he could have reported the infractions to his chain of command or the next level of command or to the IG or to the chaplain.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

A Three Dog Life by Abigail Thomas
When Abigail Thomas’s husband, Rich, was hit by a car, his skull was shattered, his brain severely damaged. Subject to rages, terrors, and hallucinations—and with no memory of what he did the hour, the day, the year before—he was sent to live in a nursing facility that specializes in treating traumatic brain injuries. This tragedy is the ground on which Abigail had to build a new life. How she built that life is a story of great courage and change, of moving to a small country town, of a new family composed of three dogs, knitting, and friendship, of facing down guilt and discovering gratitude. It is also about her relationship with Rich, a man who lived in the eternal present, and the eerie poetry of his often uncanny perceptions. Hailed by Stephen King as "the best memoir I have ever read," this wise, plainspoken, beautiful book enacts the truth Abigail has discovered since the accident: You might not find meaning in disaster, but you might, with effort, make something useful of it.
A very well written memoir. I think I would like Abigail to be a neighbor.
And of course during research - I found this adorable blog. life with three dogs
Check it out. The pictures are adorable and his stories are great.

Friday, September 28, 2007

December 1961

Thursday, September 27, 2007

This picture really shows and says so much.
I love the fact my mom has braids in the picture and the glasses are amazing.
I have no idea the name of this dog. But my mom must have liked him.
Her plate is clean.
Her nails are done.
The curtains are vintage.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

One of these things looks like the other

My niece

My brother

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

interesting article

You know how you are told to give your kids organic food because pesticides will give them cancer? Well, it’s technically true that there is a link between the chemicals and illness, but the risk is miniscule in any well-regulated country.
There is another threat that you haven’t been told much about. One of the best ways to avoid cancer is to eat lots of fruit and vegetables. Organic items are 10% or 20% more expensive than regular produce, so most of us naturally buy less when we “go organic.”
If you reduce your child’s intake of fruits and vegetables by just 0.03 grams a day (that’s the equivalent of half a grain of rice) when you opt for more expensive organic produce, the total risk of cancer goes up, not down. Omit buying just one apple every 20 years because you have gone organic, and your child is worse off.
My intention isn’t to scare people away from organic food. But we should hear both sides of any story.
Consider a tale that has made the covers of some of the world’s biggest magazines and newspapers: the plight of the polar bear. We are told that global warming will wipe out this majestic creature. We are not told, however, that over the past 40 years – while temperatures have risen – the global polar bear population has increased from 5,000 to 25,000.
Campaigners and the media claim that we should cut our CO2 emissions to save the polar bear. Well, then, let’s do the math. Let’s imagine that every country in the world – including the United States and Australia – were to sign the Kyoto Protocol and cut its CO2 emissions for the rest of this century. Looking at the best-studied polar bear population of 1,000 bears, in the West Hudson Bay, how many polar bears would we save in a year? Ten? Twenty? A hundred?
Actually, we would save less than one-tenth of a polar bear.
If we really do care about saving polar bears, we could do something much simpler and more effective: ban hunting them. Each year, 49 bears are shot in the West Hudson Bay alone. So why don’t we stop killing 49 bears a year before we commit trillions of dollars to do hundreds of times less good?

read the rest here

Saturday, September 22, 2007

I need to get out more

At first I thought this was a joke....
But no it is serious purchasing potential for someone.
Kittywalk SUV Pink Pet Stroller

Stroll with your pets in the lovely and fun to use SUV Pink Pet Stroller.
Fits cats or small dogs
High traction tires
Removable cup holder
Faux fur cozy pad cover
Two heart-shaped flashing safety lights
Ready-to-engrave license plate

My daughter would have loved this when she was little.

a blue ornament for a blue moment

Thursday I had a meeting and I left the office feeling a little blue. I was hopeful but not cheerfully bouncing off the ceiling singing Joy to the Word!
Retail Therapy just does not do it for me, occassionally it works though. I needed to run into my favorite store Tuesday Morning for some new candles. Preferable fall candles with pumpkin and spice scents to match the crisp air and turning leaves. I love a strong aromatic pumping spice candle. Admittedly, I have been burning pine candles since July. As I was checking out I noticed a very tiny ornament sitting by itself.

IT was Polish pottery. So, I bought the first ornament of the year. I will not be buying a bunch of Christmas items this year. Last year during the after Christmas sales I stocked up on paper goods, trinkets and the like. But this baby was a gem!
It is the small things.

reason #12358869 why I love my daughter

I guess this picture just represents innocence.
I know she is not completley inccocent. She is a junior in high school. :)
But she still loves to draw and color. She like to create. I hope she never loses this and continues to pass this for generations. She is loving her drawing class this semester. Her teacher is very kind and has encouraged her to draw. He said he would help her build a portfolio. And maybe place her work in a show. It is random acts of kindness like this to people that you will know for just a few months is what makes this world better.

hooah -

Ok - Hooah - it is not my favorite expression used in the Army - but after reading this story, it made me want to say something militarily that meant "good job".

A British-led multi-national force in southern Afghanistan says it has found a network of well-established bunkers at a former Taleban stronghold.
BBC news story

Friday, September 21, 2007

Typically, I only blog about what I am reading or what we have watched and etc...
But, today is different.
My husband sat down and read a book for the first time in years. He is typically way to anxious to read more than an article or two in a magazine.
He finished a novel. a novel.
Marley & Me by John Grogan.
I feel kinda proud, I know it is weird. But I just do.
This book was popular last Christmas and now the author has a children's book coming out for this season.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

not bad for lunch

Butternet squash ravioli... It is actually pretty good and has fewer calories than my stand by Eggplant Parmesean.
There is a blog for everything - and this was very interesting.. heat eat review
but fun

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Excerpt from The Goldfish Went on Vacation

A Beginning
The snowy night I met Willem at a synagogue in New York City, in February of 1990, I knew we would marry, but I did not know it would last only ten years. He was sitting in front of me and I fell in love with the back of his neck. The floor sloped down to the front, so I didn't realize he was six feet three inches—more than a foot taller than I. He was from Holland, the son of a Mennonite minister, and was drawn to Judaism. I was the child of suburban assimilated Jews. He was almost forty and had never wed, and I was thirty-seven and had just about given up on men, Jewish or otherwise.
Soon after, he dragged me to the Lower East Side, where we met an old rabbi, who looked at us a bit askance and said wisely, "You will have a sweet and crazy life together," which we did.
Nine years later, on an April day in 1999, our little family—Willem; Jake, our three-year-old son, whom we'd adopted from Lithuania as a baby; and I—visited a friend's sheep farm in Connecticut. When we returned to New York, Willem parked the car on the street near our apartment. We walked from the car with Jake riding on Willem's shoulders.
In the middle of the block I said, "Should we get the car seat?"
Willem said, "What's a car seat?" and with that seemingly simple question we entered a new kingdom. Suddenly, the work I'd been doing the past twenty years, teaching writing workshops where I give simple memory assignments to help my students, who are all older than fifty, to write their life stories, became my own person quest to remember my life, my husband's life, the life of our little family before it was lost. I began to do the assignments I gave my students, so that I had a taste of my own medicine, or, as the Dutch would say, "a taste of my own cookie dough."

The Goldfish Went on Vacation
A Memoir of Loss (and Learning to Tell the Truth about It)
By Patty Dann

Friday, September 14, 2007

Lauren Green's blog at Fox News

The Inaccuracy of Kathy Griffin's Remarks on Jesus

.... So, you see, Kathy Griffin, Jesus has everything to do with you winning that award. You live in a free country where your abilities can be recognized if you're willing to work hard enough. That's at least the dream of America. If you'd been born in many other parts of the world, your daily activity might involve seeking out a way to survive, or even trying to avoid persecution and death. Luxuries like pursuing a career in the entertainment industry would never have been realized; luxuries like being able to insult the founder of a religion of forgiveness and acceptance would not have been possible.
Kathy Griffin, just because you "can" say something, doesn't mean you "should." When you say "suck it, Jesus," you didn't just insult Christianity … you insulted the very reason you've prospered.

Thank you Lauren Green for blogging this.
Kathy Griffin can be very funny, but I think she really just stepped on it with latest rant.
Good evening. In the life of all free nations, there come moments that decide the direction of a country and reveal the character of its people. We are now at such a moment.
In Iraq, an ally of the United States is fighting for its survival. Terrorists and extremists who are at war with us around the world are seeking to topple Iraq's government, dominate the region, and attack us here at home. If Iraq's young democracy can turn back these enemies, it will mean a more hopeful Middle East and a more secure America. This ally has placed its trust in the United States. And tonight, our moral and strategic imperatives are one: We must help Iraq defeat those who threaten its future and also threaten ours.
Eight months ago, we adopted a new strategy to meet that objective, including a surge in U.S. forces that reached full strength in June. This week, General David Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan Crocker testified before Congress about how that strategy is progressing. In their testimony, these men made clear that our challenge in Iraq is formidable. Yet they concluded that conditions in Iraq are improving, that we are seizing the initiative from the enemy, and that the troop surge is working.
The premise of our strategy is that securing the Iraqi population is the foundation for all other progress. For Iraqis to bridge sectarian divides, they need to feel safe in their homes and neighborhoods. For lasting reconciliation to take root, Iraqis must feel confident that they do not need sectarian gangs for security. The goal of the surge is to provide that security and to help prepare Iraqi forces to maintain it. As I will explain tonight, our success in meeting these objectives now allows us to begin bringing some of our troops home.
Since the surge was announced in January, it has moved through several phases. First was the flow of additional troops into Iraq, especially Baghdad and Anbar province. Once these forces were in place, our commanders launched a series of offensive operations to drive terrorists and militias out of their strongholds. And finally, in areas that have been cleared, we are surging diplomatic and civilian resources to ensure that military progress is quickly followed up with real improvements in daily life.
Anbar province is a good example of how our strategy is working. Last year, an intelligence report concluded that Anbar had been lost to al Qaeda. Some cited this report as evidence that we had failed in Iraq and should cut our losses and pull out. Instead, we kept the pressure on the terrorists. The local people were suffering under the Taliban-like rule of al Qaeda, and they were sick of it. So they asked us for help.
To take advantage of this opportunity, I sent an additional 4,000 Marines to Anbar as part of the surge. Together, local sheiks, Iraqi forces, and coalition troops drove the terrorists from the capital of Ramadi and other population centers. Today, a city where al Qaeda once planted its flag is beginning to return to normal. Anbar citizens who once feared beheading for talking to an American or Iraqi soldier now come forward to tell us where the terrorists are hiding. Young Sunnis who once joined the insurgency are now joining the army and police. And with the help of our provincial reconstruction teams, new jobs are being created and local governments are meeting again.
These developments do not often make the headlines, but they do make a difference. During my visit to Anbar on Labor Day, local Sunni leaders thanked me for America's support. They pledged they would never allow al Qaeda to return. And they told me they now see a place for their people in a democratic Iraq. The Sunni governor of Anbar province put it this way: "Our tomorrow starts today."
The changes in Anbar show all Iraqis what becomes possible when extremists are driven out. They show al Qaeda that it cannot count on popular support, even in a province its leaders once declared their home base. And they show the world that ordinary people in the Middle East want the same things for their children that we want for ours -- a decent life and a peaceful future.
In Anbar, the enemy remains active and deadly. Earlier today, one of the brave tribal sheikhs who helped lead the revolt against al Qaeda was murdered. In response, a fellow Sunni leader declared: "We are determined to strike back and continue our work." And as they do, they can count on the continued support of the United States.
Throughout Iraq, too many citizens are being killed by terrorists and death squads. And for most Iraqis, the quality of life is far from where it should be. Yet General Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker report that the success in Anbar is beginning to be replicated in other parts of the country.
One year ago, much of Baghdad was under siege. Schools were closed, markets were shuttered, and sectarian violence was spiraling out of control. Today, most of Baghdad's neighborhoods are being patrolled by coalition and Iraqi forces who live among the people they protect. Many schools and markets are reopening. Citizens are coming forward with vital intelligence. Sectarian killings are down. And ordinary life is beginning to return.
One year ago, much of Diyala province was a sanctuary for al Qaeda and other extremist groups, and its capital of Baqubah was emerging as an al Qaeda stronghold. Today, Baqubah is cleared. Diyala province is the site of a growing popular uprising against the extremists. And some local tribes are working alongside coalition and Iraqi forces to clear out the enemy and reclaim their communities.
One year ago, Shia extremists and Iranian-backed militants were gaining strength and targeting Sunnis for assassination. Today, these groups are being broken up, and many of their leaders are being captured or killed.
These gains are a tribute to our military, they are a tribute to the courage of the Iraqi security forces, and they are the tribute to an Iraqi government that has decided to take on the extremists.
Now the Iraqi government must bring the same determination to achieving reconciliation. This is an enormous undertaking after more than three decades of tyranny and division. The government has not met its own legislative benchmarks -- and in my meetings with Iraqi leaders, I have made it clear that they must.
Yet Iraq's national leaders are getting some things done. For example, they have passed a budget. They're sharing oil revenues with the provinces. They're allowing former Baathists to rejoin Iraq's military or receive government pensions. Local reconciliation is taking place. The key now is to link this progress in the provinces to progress in Baghdad. As local politics change, so will national politics.
Our troops in Iraq are performing brilliantly. Along with Iraqi forces, they have captured or killed an average of more than 1,500 enemy fighters per month since January. Yet ultimately, the way forward depends on the ability of Iraqis to maintain security gains. According to General Petraeus and a panel chaired by retired General Jim Jones, the Iraqi army is becoming more capable -- although there is still a great deal of work to be done to improve the national police. Iraqi forces are receiving increased cooperation from local populations. And this is improving their ability to hold areas that have been cleared.
Because of this success, General Petraeus believes we have now reached the point where we can maintain our security gains with fewer American forces. He has recommended that we not replace about 2,200 Marines scheduled to leave Anbar province later this month. In addition, he says it will soon be possible to bring home an Army combat brigade, for a total force reduction of 5,700 troops by Christmas. And he expects that by July, we will be able to reduce our troop levels in Iraq from 20 combat brigades to 15.
General Petraeus also recommends that in December we begin transitioning to the next phase of our strategy in Iraq. As terrorists are defeated, civil society takes root, and the Iraqis assume more control over their own security, our mission in Iraq will evolve. Over time, our troops will shift from leading operations, to partnering with Iraqi forces, and eventually to overwatching those forces. As this transition in our mission takes place, our troops will focus on a more limited set of tasks, including counterterrorism operations and training, equipping, and supporting Iraqi forces.
I have consulted with the Joint Chiefs of Staff, other members of my national security team, Iraqi officials, and leaders of both parties in Congress. I have benefited from their advice, and I have accepted General Petraeus's recommendations. I have directed General Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker to update their joint campaign plan for Iraq, so we can adjust our military and civilian resources accordingly. I have also directed them to deliver another report to Congress in March. At that time, they will provide a fresh assessment of the situation in Iraq and of the troop levels and resources we need to meet our national security objectives.
The principle guiding my decisions on troop levels in Iraq is "return on success." The more successful we are, the more American troops can return home. And in all we do, I will ensure that our commanders on the ground have the troops and flexibility they need to defeat the enemy.
Americans want our country to be safe and our troops to begin coming home from Iraq. Yet those of us who believe success in Iraq is essential to our security, and those who believe we should begin bringing our troops home, have been at odds. Now, because of the measure of success we are seeing in Iraq, we can begin seeing troops come home. The way forward I have described tonight makes it possible, for the first time in years, for people who have been on opposite sides of this difficult debate to come together.
This vision for a reduced American presence also has the support of Iraqi leaders from all communities. At the same time, they understand that their success will require U.S. political, economic, and security engagement that extends beyond my presidency. These Iraqi leaders have asked for an enduring relationship with America. And we are ready to begin building that relationship -- in a way that protects our interests in the region and requires many fewer American troops.
The success of a free Iraq is critical to the security of the United States. A free Iraq will deny al Qaeda a safe haven. A free Iraq will counter the destructive ambitions of Iran. A free Iraq will marginalize extremists, unleash the talent of its people, and be an anchor of stability in the region. A free Iraq will set an example for people across the Middle East. A free Iraq will be our partner in the fight against terror -- and that will make us safer here at home.
Realizing this vision will be difficult, but it is achievable. Our military commanders believe we can succeed. Our diplomats believe we can succeed. And for the safety of future generations of Americans, we must succeed.
If we were to be driven out of Iraq, extremists of all strains would be emboldened. Al Qaeda could gain new recruits and new sanctuaries. Iran would benefit from the chaos and would be encouraged in its efforts to gain nuclear weapons and dominate the region. Extremists could control a key part of the global energy supply. Iraq could face a humanitarian nightmare. Democracy movements would be violently reversed. We would leave our children to face a far more dangerous world. And as we saw on September the 11th, 2001, those dangers can reach our cities and kill our people.
Whatever political party you belong to, whatever your position on Iraq, we should be able to agree that America has a vital interest in preventing chaos and providing hope in the Middle East. We should be able to agree that we must defeat al Qaeda, counter Iran, help the Afghan government, work for peace in the Holy Land, and strengthen our military so we can prevail in the struggle against terrorists and extremists.
So tonight I want to speak to members of the United States Congress: Let us come together on a policy of strength in the Middle East. I thank you for providing crucial funds and resources for our military. And I ask you to join me in supporting the recommendations General Petraeus has made and the troop levels he has asked for.

To the Iraqi people: You have voted for freedom, and now you are liberating your country from terrorists and death squads. You must demand that your leaders make the tough choices needed to achieve reconciliation. As you do, have confidence that America does not abandon our friends, and we will not abandon you.
To Iraq's neighbors who seek peace: The violent extremists who target Iraq are also targeting you. The best way to secure your interests and protect your own people is to stand with the people of Iraq. That means using your economic and diplomatic leverage to strengthen the government in Baghdad. And it means the efforts by Iran and Syria to undermine that government must end.
To the international community: The success of a free Iraq matters to every civilized nation. We thank the 36 nations who have troops on the ground in Iraq and the many others who are helping that young democracy. We encourage all nations to help, by implementing the International Compact to revitalize Iraq's economy, by participating in the Neighbors Conferences to boost cooperation and overcome differences in the region, and by supporting the new and expanded mission of the United Nations in Iraq.
To our military personnel, intelligence officers, diplomats, and civilians on the front lines in Iraq: You have done everything America has asked of you. And the progress I have reported tonight is in large part because of your courage and hard effort. You are serving far from home. Our nation is grateful for your sacrifices, and the sacrifices of your families.
Earlier this year, I received an email from the family of Army Specialist Brandon Stout of Michigan. Brandon volunteered for the National Guard and was killed while serving in Baghdad. His family has suffered greatly. Yet in their sorrow, they see larger purpose. His wife, Audrey, says that Brandon felt called to serve and knew what he was fighting for. And his parents, Tracy and Jeff, wrote me this: "We believe this is a war of good and evil and we must win even if it cost the life of our own son. Freedom is not free."
This country is blessed to have Americans like Brandon Stout, who make extraordinary sacrifices to keep us safe from harm. They are doing so in a fight that is just, and right, and necessary. And now it falls to us to finish the work they have begun.
Some say the gains we are making in Iraq come too late. They are mistaken. It is never too late to deal a blow to al Qaeda. It is never too late to advance freedom. And it is never too late to support our troops in a fight they can win.
Good night, and God bless America.

Ten day recap

I am finally finished with ANCOC - four phases later. Done. Now, I will only come to Fort Leonardwood if I really choose to.

My neice can now say, "Hi", "Bye" and a few other short phrases. She was talking up a storm last night. Very sweet.

I had internet access in my room and I am almost all caught up on my emails from work. It appears that the only major thing I missed was hours and hours of conference calls.

I did not bring any luxury reading with me only a text book and a business book.

Cutting my hair off was the best thing I did to prepare to come out here. I completely forgot home completely humid it is here. It was hot temperature wise, but the humidity really makes it completely uncomfortable. This is a basic training post and it reminded me of days from a long ago. I smirked to see all of the privates in the px lined up waiting and then catch cabs back to the their barracks. This is is a great place to people watch.

I have been keeping up with the news - the good, bad and the ugly. Fourteen more months of political bantering! Ugh.

Pretty boring, huh.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Confusing news... OK.. I am stalling for any news on the web that will prevent me from further working on my homework. I have seven essay questions left and I have until midnight!

I read this article and I have no idea what it all means... the headline states "New Chinese rules on Dalai Lama"
"No outside organisation or individual will influence or control the reincarnation of living Buddhas [eminent monks]," states one article of the new regulations. They also say that any reincarnation has to be approved by various levels of government. In the case of the most pre-eminent monks, who would include the Dalai Lama, China's cabinet has to give its seal of approval. Officials at China's State Administration for Religious Affairs declined to be interviewed by the BBC about who these new rules are directed against. But it appears China wants to control the selection of the next Dalai Lama. The current, 14th Dalai Lama, is now 72.

OK... First of all I did not know there were 14 Dalai Lama's and how does the communist government of China think they can interfere with the "reincarnation" activities? Perhaps they have been sucking on some Thomas the Tank Engine and Dora toys and the LEAD paint has gone to their head.

Secondly, I guess the next time you get pulled over by the cops you can try this excuse...
'Goat-free roads made me speed' -A Swiss man caught speeding on a Canadian highway has blamed his actions on the absence of goats on the roads. The man was caught driving at 161 km/h (100mph) in a 100 km/h (60mph) zone. A traffic officer's notes said the Swiss driver had said he was taking advantage "of the ability to go faster without risking hitting a goat".

Canadian police spokesman Joel Doiron said he had never found a goat on the highways of eastern Ontario in his 20 years of service. "Nobody's ever used the lack of goats here as an excuse for speeding," Mr Doiron told the AFP news agency. "I've never been to Switzerland, but I guess there must be a lot of goats there," he said. The driver was ordered to pay a fine of C$360 ($330; £175) for speeding.

Just keep it simple and blame it on the lack of goats.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

I made the cut - finally

You are looking at two years worth of hair - mailing to Locks of Love next week.