Thursday, January 31, 2008

Third and Final

This is my last on blog of the State of the Union address delivered by President Bush.
I am going to miss him and honestly I fear at a few of the alternatives for next years address
Most of you know my feelings for GB

Key statements from Monday nights delivery.

We have other work to do on taxes. Unless Congress acts, most of the tax relief we've delivered over the past seven years will be taken away. Some in Washington argue that letting tax relief expire is not a tax increase. Try explaining that to 116 million American taxpayers who would see their taxes rise by an average of $1,800. Others have said they would personally be happy to pay higher taxes. I welcome their enthusiasm. I'm pleased to report that the IRS accepts both checks and money orders. (Laughter and applause.)

Most Americans think their taxes are high enough. With all the other pressures on their finances, American families should not have to worry about their federal government taking a bigger bite out of their paychecks. There's only one way to eliminate this uncertainty: Make the tax relief permanent. (Applause.) And members of Congress should know: If any bill raises taxes reaches my desk, I will veto it. (Applause.)

This progress is a credit to the valor of our troops and the brilliance of their commanders. This evening, I want to speak directly to our men and women on the front lines. Soldiers and sailors, airmen, Marines, and Coast Guardsmen: In the past year, you have done everything we've asked of you, and more. Our nation is grateful for your courage. We are proud of your accomplishments. And tonight in this hallowed chamber, with the American people as our witness, we make you a solemn pledge: In the fight ahead, you will have all you need to protect our nation. (Applause.) And I ask Congress to meet its responsibilities to these brave men and women by fully funding our troops. (Applause.)

Our enemies in Iraq have been hit hard. They are not yet defeated, and we can still expect tough fighting ahead. Our objective in the coming year is to sustain and build on the gains we made in 2007, while transitioning to the next phase of our strategy. American troops are shifting from leading operations, to partnering with Iraqi forces, and, eventually, to a protective overwatch mission. As part of this transition, one Army brigade combat team and one Marine Expeditionary Unit have already come home and will not be replaced. In the coming months, four additional brigades and two Marine battalions will follow suit. Taken together, this means more than 20,000 of our troops are coming home. (Applause.)

Our military families also sacrifice for America. They endure sleepless nights and the daily struggle of providing for children while a loved one is serving far from home. We have a responsibility to provide for them. So I ask you to join me in expanding their access to child care, creating new hiring preferences for military spouses across the federal government, and allowing our troops to transfer their unused education benefits to their spouses or children. (Applause.) Our military families serve our nation, they inspire our nation, and tonight our nation honors them. (Applause.)

The strength -- the secret of our strength, the miracle of America, is that our greatness lies not in our government, but in the spirit and determination of our people. (Applause.) When the Federal Convention met in Philadelphia in 1787, our nation was bound by the Articles of Confederation, which began with the words, "We the undersigned delegates." When Gouverneur Morris was asked to draft a preamble to our new Constitution, he offered an important revision and opened with words that changed the course of our nation and the history of the world: "We the people."

By trusting the people, our Founders wagered that a great and noble nation could be built on the liberty that resides in the hearts of all men and women. By trusting the people, succeeding generations transformed our fragile young democracy into the most powerful nation on Earth and a beacon of hope for millions. And so long as we continue to trust the people, our nation will prosper, our liberty will be secure, and the state of our Union will remain strong. (Applause.)

So tonight, with confidence in freedom's power, and trust in the people, let us set forth to do their business. God bless America. (Applause.)


I finished reading Ten Points. by Bill Strickland
I actually picked up the book before Christmas from the library and I kept shuffling it to the bottom of the pile.
I know that I was interested in reading the book, but I kept moving it down. But when I sat down and started reading I discovered it was really good. It gives you insight about his abuse by his father, his struggles and his family.

Small Excerpt -


She was shimmying around on the toilet there in her bathroom, my daughter, and swinging her feet against me as I sat on the floor, still sweaty in my cycling clothes. I was propped back on my arms, my legs stretched out in front of me, and as Natalie said, “Hold me,” she ticked her feet against the left side of my chest twice.

She’d already gotten dressed for pre-K, in a red sweater and, crumpled around her feet, kitten underpants and blue jeans with flowers embroidered on the cuffs. Nat has Beth’s nose and lips and cheeks and ears, and also my wife’s way of setting her face whether in joy or sorrow. Her blue eyes are hers alone, but there’s something of me in them -- not the color or shape, but a thing that dances in and out of sight. It flitted between us now.

“Dadda, hold me,” she said, as her feet whapped me twice more. Under the black spandex streaked with snot and smears of the banana that had been my rolling breakfast, my leg muscles squirmed like something trapped inside me. My rib cage registered two more thumps.

Natalie’s caramel-blonde hair, curled in where it ended along the lines of her chin, swayed in time with her legs. I sat up and leaned toward her and put my hands on her shoulders, then back and down, across the pointy angles of her shoulder blades, so sharp on her they always seemed to me like wings about to bud. She lay her head against me.

This ritual was a remnant from potty training, when Natalie read more

I loved this post Eight benefits of reading memoirs

Monday, January 28, 2008

In just two sentences she had me smiling.

AWTM had me smiling with just one thought today.
I started to think about my "jewelry" box. It is almost hard to call it that, but it is what it is.
So, to share something personal I am opening my boxes to you.

Box 1

Extra buttons
A Pearl that we got at the Hawaiian Marketplace in Honolulu in 1992 in the orginal package
An Army Unit Citation Award
An Amway pin
Mickey Mouse lapel pin
An Opal ring that has a cracked band
A beautiful ring that was given to me by moms favorite Aunt, Aunt Maria
A magnet from my old church
Random clip on earrings from Casual Corner in the mid 90's (I do not have my ears pierced)
A winnie the pooh charm bracelet
The head of a Dalmation pin

Box 2

A cookie cutter from my mom
More random Army "stuff"
A rosary blessed by the Pope in Rome
A black Army buckle
A SGM coin
A snoopy cartoon pin
A Guardian Angel pin that I grabbed while cleaning out my grandma's things at the nursing home
a pocket knife
a random silver chain
a razor

Note: these were not staged or prepared for presentation (obviously). I have no idea why I have these things here.

both of them melt my heart

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Randomness for the weekend

I watched about 4 hours of TLC this weekend. I know 4 hours I can never get back, but I wanted to t watch Jill Stevens from the Utah National Guard compete in the Miss America pageant. And of course they had a reality TV show to go with the whole ordeal.
She did not win, But congrats to Miss Michigan. Being from the mitten state, this is a good thing! They could use some good news and excitement in the state.
We cleaned for a good three hours on Sunday. It was nice enough to open the windows. I spent some time in yard cleaning things up and cleaned out the bunny cage. The garage is organized and swept out which was much needed. We are housing several boxes and bags of gear for a few friends and an extra Harley! We just cannot help out friends!
We kept my almost three year old niece over night on Saturday. She literally talked non-stop for three hours. Oh my, I forgot how much energy can come from someone that age. Tonight we have my nephew and he is amazing. Cracking us up!

But the excitement of the weekend.... I took my hot yoga class. I have always been very interested in taking the class. I like yoga and I like hot dry air. It was the best 90 minutes I have spent for myself in a very long time. Now, I just need to figure how to fit it in my schedule and budget.

Have a great week. I have drill this coming weekend and I am doing a bit of battle with BOA and travel vouchers. There may be a separate post coming soon on this topic.

Oh, and if you get a chance go welcome a fellow Guardsman serving to the blog world.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

I did it.
I made the commitment.
I purchased the airplane ticket.
THere is no turning back.
I am headed on an overseas mission trip to Azerbaijan

Location: South Caucasus; bordered by Russia to the north, the Caspian Sea to the east, Iran to the south, and Georgia and Armenia to the west.
Area: 33,774 sq. mi. (includes Nakhchivan and Nagorno-Karabakh); slightly smaller than Maine.
Cities: Capital--Baku.
Terrain: Caucasus Mountains to the north, lowland in the central area through which the Kura River flows.
Climate: Dry, subtropical with hot summers and mild winters; forests, meadows, and alpine tundra in the mountains.

Nationality: Noun--Azerbaijani(s), Azeri. Adjective--Azerbaijani, Azeri.
Population (July 2005 est.): 7,911,974.
Population growth rate (2005 est.): 1.0%.
Net migration rate (2005 est.): -4.64 migrant(s)/1,000 population.
Ethnic groups (1999 census): Azeri 90.6%, Dagestani 2.2%, Russian 1.8%, Armenian 1.5%, other 3.9%. Note: the separatist Nagorno-Karabakh region is populated almost entirely by Armenians.
Muslim 93.4% (majority Shi'a), Russian Orthodox 2.5%, Armenian Orthodox Church 2.3%, and other 1.8%.
Languages: Azerbaijani 89%, Russian 3%, Armenian 2%, and other 6%.
Education: Literacy--97%.
Health: Infant mortality rate--83.41/1,000 live births (2000 est.). Life expectancy (2007 est.)--65.96 years.
Work force (3 million): Agriculture and forestry--42.3%; industry--6.9%; construction--4.2%; other--46.6%.
I have not tried this -
BUT - I would someday like ORganic Prairie Chicken delivered to my door....
Store info

The Sharper Your Knife, the Less You Cry

I just finished reading Kathleen Flinn's book. I enjoyed hearing about her adventures in Paris. I was keeningly interested at the fact she used to prepare content for eCommerce sites, was laid off and decided to take a huge risk and enroll into the Le Cordon Bleu cooking school in Paris. What an adventure. Midway through she gets married. It is an encouraging book and shares many recipes. Her website is available here and her BLOG is here!
Audiobook available now at (hear a sample!)
She has a drawing... and what the heck you never know.
New drawing!
Win a $100 gift certificate to Sur La Table and a signed, official Le Cordon Bleu apron. Simply email and include your name, city and zip code. Contest ends April 30, 2008.

Recipes are a must. Some require a bit more technical skills than I actually have! Induldge

Wednesday, January 23, 2008


Please take a moment and go read this amazing journey.
CF Husband

Warning, it take a few minutes to read. So grab a cup of coffee and maybe a tissue.

She passed her driving test today and now she is a licensed driver.
I am not sure how all of this happened, but it happened too fast.

Monday, January 21, 2008


I have been wanting to post about a few things we have tried lately that we really like.
At our house we are mad consumers of stuff.
I try not to be, but it just happens.
So, I have a few recommendations.

This product might be marketed towards the younger crowd, but it is fantastic.
My daughter ate the entire pack in two days.
Earth's Best Apple Sauce Cups
Earth's Best knows that kids love to snack! That's why Earth's Best Kidz has developed Apple Sauces that provide wholesome ingredients to keep little bodies and minds growing strong. These Apple Sauces are made with 100% organic apples grown without the use of potentially harmful pesticides, herbicides or fertilizers.

According to the web ... This naturally sweet snack offers...
delicious taste and superior nutrition
no artificial colors or preservatives
no genetically engineered ingredients
kosher certification
Organically grown, without potentially harmful pesticides, herbicides or fertilizers. Certified Organic by Oregon Tilth.

It has only 50 calories per serving and a good portion of Vitamin C and it tastes great! AND believe it or not we found it at Walmart.

Alexia Foods
Every product I try, I really like. The commisary recently added mushrooms and mozzerella sticks. I know, not healthy but yummy! The bread and potatoes are wonderful
The website also has coupons alexia foods

Bertolli I really like the premade frozen Gnocci and Tomato Sauce. and they have coupons.
Website Warning - the fat content is pretty high, try not to stare directly at the package when reading.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

good reading

The Rest of Her Life: A Novel
by Laura Moriarty
Chapter 1
Several times that summer, Leigh further tormented herself by considering all the ways the accident might never have happened. She thought of the stray dog, and how its presence had, in a sense, decided everything. If there had been no dog, there would have been no accident. If the dog would have stayed home where it belonged, if it would have had a more responsible owner, if it wouldn’t have dug under a fence or slipped through an open door, it would not have followed some scent this way and that until it ended up in the middle of Commerce Street at that particular time on that particular afternoon. Leigh’s daughter would most likely have driven home without incident, and Bethany Cleese would still be alive.
But the dog was there, standing on the raised median of Commerce, and maybe enjoying its freedom, though Kara later said that it was panting hard when she saw it. It was warm out, the middle of the afternoon of the last day of school. Kara, being a senior, had already been out for a week, but she and Willow had gone back to the high school to pick up their graduation gowns. On the way home, they stopped at the Sonic drive-thru, and when they pulled back onto Commerce, they noticed the dog as it started to step off the median. They watched, cringing, as the dog moved past screeching tires until it reached the other side of the street. Kara, who volunteered Sundays at the animal shelter, who on her twelfth birthday asked her parents to take the money they were going to spend on her presents and instead buy food for the shelter’s animals, couldn’t just drive away. She pulled into the parking lot of Raymond’s Liquor, where she and Willow got out of the car, crouched low, and held out their still-warm fries to lure the dog away from traffic, into their arms, and eventually, the Suburban that Gary, not Leigh, had allowed Kara to start driving around town as soon as she’d gotten her license.

Monday, January 14, 2008

MR. MCCORMACK: Good afternoon, everybody. Let me just start off with one note of interest. I know people were asking about it this morning and I anticipate that I will get questions about it, so let me pre-empt those questions. We did do a notification to the Hill this morning about part of the Gulf Security Dialogue arms packages. As you know, we do these in and they're of a piecemeal fashion. As they are ready and prepared to go up to the Hill, we go ahead and do the notification. So today's notification was just about one part of this overall package that I know you all have been writing about over the past several months, I guess.

Under the auspices of the Gulf Security Dialogue, the Administration today initiated the formal 30-day congressional notification process for the proposed sale of 900 Joint Direct Attack Munitions. The acronym for that is JDAMs to Saudi Arabia. And the best back-of-the-envelope estimate that I have of the cost for those is about 120 million -- million -- million. And we have done just for the historical records here, we've done five other Gulf Security Dialogue cases. There's already been the notification. We have done these in December. The list of those are two proposed sales to the UAE -- one, a Patriot missile system; two, an E2C Airborne Early Warning System support, one to Kuwait which is for Patriot Missile System upgrades and two others to Saudi Arabia; some targeting pods and AWACS upgrades. So that's where we stand. That's the most up-to-date information that I have with regard to the sales. And as there are other pieces that may need to be notified, they'll go and do this. But I know that this was an item of particular interest to you, so I wanted to fill you in as best I could on it.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

saddle up

I bought these amazing pants for my niece in Michigan. They are hand made locally. A very sweet western motif.
I begged my brother to send me a cute pic of her wearing them.

He sent me the pics this morning and an additional suprise.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

band of S

This has been a hectic work week.
But tomorrow is Friday and I am grateful.
I am reading a fantastic book.
I typically wait until I am finished to give a recommendation, but this is fantastic .
Band of Sisters: American Women at War in Iraq
by Kirsten Holmstedt

blog link --- Pick up this book. Seriously.

More information from the publisher:

In Iraq, the front line is everywhere . . . and everywhere in Iraq, women in the U.S. military fight. More than 155,000 of them have served in Iraq since 2003--4 times the number of women sent to Desert Storm in 1991--and more than 430 have been wounded and over 70 killed, almost twice the number of U.S. military women killed in action in Korea, Vietnam, and Desert Storm combined.
But should women be in combat? Do they have what it takes to be warriors? Compelling questions once . . . but empty questions now, because more than ever, American women are in combat, and they are warriors. The real question is: What is their experience of war? We haven’t heard their stories--until now.

Band of Sisters presents 12 of these amazing and often heart-wrenching stories of American women in the frontlines:

Accounts from the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines
America’s first female pilot to be shot down and survive
The U.S. military’s first black female pilot in combat
A 21-year-old turret gunner defending a convoy
Two military policewomen in a firefight
A nurse struggling to save lives, including her own

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

I am turning into a news junkie.
I hope when people are voting they are thinking about experience, discipline and the qualifications rather than popularity and momentum.
And the Huckabee burger was cracking me up, I am suprised the PETA contingent did not show in full force.
Everyone is trying very hard.
Things I cannot imagine:
Obama - McCain ticket
Huckabee - McCain ticket
Ron Paul - Bloomberg ticket
Obama - Edwards ticket

I guess We just wait for now.
My daughter and I got in debate and she stomped off after she saw this video on Current tv.
I have to admit the guy representing the Army towards the end of the video is not the brightest and he comes across looking like an idiot.
We need smart people to fight in GWOT. Something to think about... we can lower standards on weight, bmi, education, tattooos and criminal records; but thus far we will not budge on homosexuality. The story comments that 60% of the countries providing coalition forces in Iraq do not discriminate.
Warning - if you have a very harsh stand on Don't Ask, Don't Tell, watch with caution.

Obviously, I am not in the Infantry, so some of the concern I cannot comprehend.
BUT, if the person can gather human intel like the best of them you would think we would want that arrow in our quiver.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Monday morning News

New Al Qaeda attack possile directed towards President Bush and his Middle East visit this week
Iran playing hide and seek with our Navy. 5 Iranian boats vs 3 US Ships in formation...

RUDY GIULIANI, FORMER NEW YORK MAYOR: "You go through every single record here, every single candidate, you're going to find that they have, at certain points, made mistakes along the way. If they haven't, they probably have never done anything. In my case, I've done a lot of things. I've made my share of mistakes. When I do, I own up to them. I learn from them and I don't make them again."

Sunday, January 06, 2008

House to House, an Epic Memoir of War, by SSG David Bellavia with John R. Bruning

good read.

Towards the end, it details Learning to Lives husbands final mission.
I have to admit that I got pretty choked up at that point. Not just the fact from one soldier to another, we lost a soldier, but the fact that I have been reading her blog for two years.
More reasons to keep praying.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Main Entry: cau·cus
Function: noun
Etymology: origin unknown
Date: 1763
: a closed meeting of a group of persons belonging to the same political party or faction usually to select candidates or to decide on policy; also : a group of people united to promote an agreed-upon cause
Thursday, January 03, 2008
Live Blogging the Iowa Caucus
8:30 PM Fox News just reported that entrance polls indicate a BIG night for Huckabee.
8:40 PM Fox reports that very early office returns are trending strongly for Hucakbee.
8:45 PM Fox reports "all signs good" for Huckabee. Exit polls show "huge" evangelical turnout; undecideds breaking strongly for Huckabee.
8:47 PM Fox: With 15% reporting, Huckabee up 36% to 23% over Romney. Thompson distant third.
8:50 PM Fox reports there was a "sense" among reporters that Romney camp was losing confidence.
8:55 PM Fox reports Romney spin already beginning -- trying to put best face on "decisive" Huckabee win. Crowd at Romney HQ emptying.
Well...that didnt take long.....and it is NO surprise to us or to readers of this blog.

I am watching the democrats and it is slugfest! Next week New Hampshire.
Note: at this point I am not announcing which way to I am going - But I plan to help on Feb 5th for the Caucus here.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Real Conversations

"Mom, I think I have a new hobby. I think cracking nuts will be new stress relief."
Over the last week she has cracked over 5 pounds of nuts.

Sigh. I guess somehow I never placed that tradition down to my daughter and this year she picked up a silver handled nut cracker.
Guess I will try to find some more nuts for her new hobby.