7.29.2005

Back in the saddle again

One of the things I truly enjoy doing with my "free time" (read : any moment I have to spare between attending to the children's needs, tending to my own basic needs, and sleeping) is scrapbooking.

I have managed to complete Princess Trouble's baby album through her first birthday, our wedding album, and McGyver's Army album through Warrant Officer Candidate School. So basically I'm about...oh, 8 years behind. The last page I scrapped prior to yesterday was a 2 page layout from Christmas of 2003. I have NOTHING of Little Man scrapped.

I had some friends over for a get-together to work on our scrapbooks. We got a little bit done (with 6 kids in the house, it's amazing that we got ANYTHING done!) and I did some more work last night and this afternoon.

I am not that experienced nor do I consider myself to be that good. I have yet to have any original ideas - I usually "scraplift" them from magazines, other people's layouts, etc. And my style is nothing remarkable - it's simple and that's the way I like it. But I like the pages I create and that's the important part.


Here are the pages I managed to get done yesterday and today :


This is the Disney layout. I used a map from Disneyworld as mattes for some of the pictures as well as a "ribbon" to tie together the smaller photos at the bottom. I also had found blank library envelopes and used one to hold ticket stubs, parking passes, and to do my journaling on.




This is the left side of the layout. The highlight of Princess Trouble's visit to Disneyland was meeting the Princesses...especially Cinderella. So I chose to highlight the picture with a different matte than the others.




The right side. Again, the highlight being the Princesses so, here, I chose to highlight Princess Trouble with Sleeping Beauty.




This is the layout I did today. These 2 pictures were taken at The Fish Bowl and I love the lighting and just the overall look of Princess Trouble. I sat down and "interviewed" her about her favorite things. I plan to do this each year to chronicle the changes over her life.




So I'm back in the saddle again, so to speak. Feels good.




Pau.




- hfs

7.27.2005

Loss

BIL's unit lost one of its soldiers 2 days ago. I didn't know him nor do I know if BIL knew him but I am sure that the soldier's family, his unit, and my BIL could use some prayers right about now.


Too close to home. Entirely too close to home.




Pau.




- hfs

7.26.2005

What's on YOUR nightstand?

Andi of Andi's World has tagged me with another MEME. She asks, "What's on your nightstand?" Good thing she didn't ask, "What's IN your nightstand?" because that could have become interesting.

Given the fact that I have 2 small children, there isn't much ON my nightstand (Little Man likes to swipe things off of it so I keep it pretty clear). Currently there is :

A LAMP - my mom bought several cheap lamps from IKEA when they were selling my house (notice I said "MY"...still haven't quite gotten over that one) back in '91. After the house sold, I hung on to the lamps. I think they cost all of $10 each and (14 years later) work great! The lampshade that is on it right now doesn't match anything else in the room other than the blue walls though. Need to look into getting something that coordinates a little better with the decor...

AN ALARM CLOCK - which seems a little unnecessary seeing as how my children like to be up before the sun and therefore I (having no job which necessitates me leaving the house on a schedule) have no need for it. It's one of those clocks that sets itself (based on radio signals I think) but it can't pick up those signals over here in Hawaii. Ah, well.

BOOKS - currently, I have "What to Expect - The Toddler Years", "Reflections From a Mother's Heart", and "The Heart is a Lonely Hunter" stacked there.

MAGAZINES - which are stacked under the books (there really isn't that much room on my nightstand...). Only 2 right now : "Woman's Day" (great recipes) and "Creating Keepsakes" (scrapbooking)




That's about it. Like I said, there isn't much room on my nightstand - maybe 24 inches by 24 inches. It's not like I have much time to lounge around in bed these days...




As for who to tag :
a Patriot because I'm curious to know what a 17 year old, obsessed with politics, has on her nightstand

my Haole friend because anything she writes makes me laugh

my DIY friend partly because I want to know where she finds the skill to complete some of the projects she has completed and partly because I want to make my Haole friend work harder for her tags...

The Mother of Presidents because she doesn't have enough to do with 3 children under the age of 6 in the house

Glenn (or his wife...whoever answers first!) because I'm curious to know whether they even HAVE nightstands in Afghanistan...




Pau.




- hfs

7.25.2005

Something new

I read a LOT of blogs. Not as many as some do but for me, a lot. And there are always ones that strike a chord with me - most are military-based but some are not. So I've decided to start highlighting some of the better ones I read in a new feature - SPOTLIGHT BLOG OF THE WEEK (see link at left).

This week, it is Holly at
  • Politics of a Patriot - A Young Girl's Journey From Civilian To Sailor

  • I found her a few weeks ago when it was announced that she would discontinue her blog (JUST my luck). Thankfully she has changed her mind and, with a few adjustments, decided to continue to blog.

    She is 17 years old and has enlisted in the Navy. She will be shipping off in October. I have taught high school and I must say, she is one of the most articulate and well-informed 17 year olds I have ever had the pleasure of knowing.

    Go check her out (if you haven't already...sometimes I'm behind the curve and it's entirely possible that all of YOU already know who she is).




    Pau.




    - hfs

    Not a bad way to start the week

    CPT Z update
    John Michael update



    AND, if those two weren't enough to put a smile on my face (which they were), I found out today that I managed to pull off a B- in my accounting class! Not sure how that happened. But that gives me an A (Drugs and Society class), a B (Nutrition), and a B- (Managerial Accounting) and my cummulative GPA is still above a 3.5! Woohoo!

    Add to that the fact that Princess Trouble had a wonderful first day of preschool and Little Man enjoyed his exclusive "Mommy Time" and it's been a good Monday. I'll take it!




    Pau.




    - hfs

    Hugh Hewitt, Pakistan, and Tom Tancredo

    Hugh Hewitt has a few things to say about Tom Tancredo's ideas on how the United States should respond to a nuclear terrorist attack.

    I'm currently reading "Crude Politics" by Paul Sperry and some of what Mr. Hewitt had to say got me to thinking.

    First, I agree that Congressman Tandcredo's comments serve no purpose, are irresponsible at best and incindiary at worst, and he should have never opened his mouth. However, Mr. Hewitt sees Pakistan, Egypt, and Jordan as allies in the GWOT. I do not.

    Pakistan is no friend of the United States. Their "cooperation" with us in the GWOT is superficial, at best. Pakistan boasts a history of strong ties to Al-Qaeda, support of the Taliban, and hostility toward America that beats out even that of Iran. Currently, it is believed that Pakistan is providing shelter to many top AlQaeda leaders, possibly even Osama bin Laden.

    Egypt and Jordan have yet to take the lead and denounce radical Islam, AlQeada, or Osama bin Laden. For them to do so would go a long way in helping steer the GWOT and help eliminate the scourge of radical Islam from the face of the Earth.


    And, while Congressman Tancredo's statement was - as mentioned above - irresponsible and unnecessary, most likely it discusses a possibility that has more than likely already been used by the "propagandists for Islamist extremists". Al Qeada leadership is smart enough to know that using the threat of nuclear retaliation against Mecca is a wonderful motivator for those they wish to incite.


    My way of thinking on this issue mirrors (in some ways) that of Matt over at Froggy Ruminations.

    At the end of the day, Hugh is right that targeting Mecca would be of no strategic benefit, but it hardly matters what we do or say about islam because the paranoia and backwardness of most of the islamic world precludes our ?message? from getting through to them anyway. The best way to get our message ?heard? is to be victorious on the GWOT battlefield.



    Linked to Mudville's Open Post



    Pau.




    - hfs

    7.23.2005

    Who am I?

    There are many different little political quizzes floating around on the Internet. I messed around with a few and here are the results (some may make you laugh, especially if you know me) :

    OkCupid! quiz
    You are a
    Social Liberal
    (78% permissive)(PROBABLY HAS A LOT TO DO WITH MY BELIEF THAT MARIJUANA SHOULD BE LEGALIZED, THAT THE "WAR ON DRUGS" IS WORTHLESS, AND THAT MY GOVERNMENT HAS NO BUSINESS TELLING ME WHAT I CAN AND CANNOT DO IN THE PRIVACY OF MY OWN HOME/BEDROOM)

    and an...

    Economic Moderate
    (50% permissive)(I CAN GO WITH THAT...I TEND TO BE MIDDLE OF THE ROAD ON ECONOMICS...MAINLY BECAUSE I FEEL I DON'T KNOW ENOUGH ABOUT THE SUBJECT AT HAND)

    You are best described as a:
    Democrat (NO SH!T? REALLY?? WHO WOULDA THUNK? I'M NOT BEING SARCASTIC HERE EITHER...)

    You exhibit a very well-developed sense of Right and Wrong and believe in economic fairness.




    The Advocates quiz
    ACCORDING TO YOUR ANSWERS,

    The political description that
    fits you best is...

    LIBERTARIAN (DING! DING! DING! WE HAVE A WINNER!!!)

    LIBERTARIANS support maximum liberty in both personal and economic matters. They advocate a much smaller government (AMEN!); one that is limited to protecting individuals from coercion and violence. Libertarians tend to embrace individual responsibility (BOY, WOULDN'T THAT BE WONDERFUL...), oppose government bureaucracy and taxes (CAN I GET ANOTHER AMEN?!), promote private charity (AS OPPOSED TO GOVERNMENT CHARITY), tolerate diverse lifestyles (I DON'T REALLY CARE WHAT YOU'RE INTO AS LONG AS IT IS CONSENTUAL, DOESN'T INVOLVE HARMING CHILDREN, AND I DON'T HAVE TO WATCH), support the free market, and defend civil liberties.




    Typology Test
    Enterpriser

    Based on your answers to the questionnaire, you most closely resemble survey respondents within the Enterpriser typology group. This does not mean that you necessarily fit every group characteristic or agree with the group on all issues.

    Enterprisers represent 9 percent of the American public, and 10 percent of registered voters.

    Basic Description
    As in previous studies conducted in 1987, 1994 and 1999, this extremely partisan Republican group’s politics are driven by a belief in the free enterprise system and social values that reflect a conservative agenda. Enterprisers are also the strongest backers of an assertive foreign policy, which includes nearly unanimous support for the war in Iraq and strong support for such anti-terrorism efforts as the Patriot Act. (YUP. THOUGH I MUST SAY I DO NOT BLINDLY SUPPORT THE GOP OR ITS POLICIES. THERE ARE A LOT OF SMALLER ISSUES THAT I THINK THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION - AND REPUBLICANS IN GENERAL - HAVE SCREWED UP)

    Defining Values
    Assertive on foreign policy and patriotic; anti-regulation and pro-business; very little support for government help to the poor; strong belief that individuals are responsible for their own well being. Conservative on social issues such as gay marriage (UM, PERSONALLY, I DON'T REALLY HAVE A STANCE ON GAY MARRIAGE - ONE WAY OR THE OTHER. GAY MARRIAGE DOESN'T AFFECT ME AS I AM NOT GAY AND I HAVE YET TO SEE WHY IT BOTHERS OTHER PEOPLE SO MUCH. LIVE AND LET LIVE), but not much more religious than the nation as a whole. Very satisfied with personal financial situation. (I DON'T KNOW THAT I WOULD SAY *VERY* BUT WE'RE OK FOR NOW)

    Who They Are
    Predominantly white (91%)(YEAH), male (76%)(UM, NO) and financially well-off (62% have household incomes of at least $50,000, compared with 40% nationwide)(I WISH! C'MON...WE'RE MILITARY! NOT EVEN CLOSE.). Nearly half (46%) have a college degree, and 77% are married. (YEPPERS TO BOTH) Nearly a quarter (23%) are themselves military veterans. Only 10% are under age 30. (I USED TO BE...)

    Lifestyle Notes
    59% report having a gun in their homes; (HECK YEAH) 53% trade stocks and bonds in the stock market, (DOES A ROTH IRA COUNT?) and 30% are small business owners – all of which are the highest percentages among typology groups. 48% attend church weekly; 36% attend bible study or prayer group meetings.

    2004 Election
    Bush 92%, Kerry 1%. Bush’s most reliable supporters (just 4% of Enterprisers did not vote)

    Party ID
    81% Republican, 18% Independent/No Preference, 1% Democrat (98% Rep/LeanRep)
    (WHERE IS THE "LIBERTARIAN" OPTION?????)

    Media Use
    Enterprisers follow news about government and politics more closely than any other group, and exhibit the most knowledge about world affairs. The Fox News Channel is their primary source of news (46% cite it as a main source) followed by newspapers (42%) radio (31%) and the internet (26%). (I WOULD SAY, FOR ME, IT'S THE EXACT OPPOSITE...INTERNET FIRST, THEN RADIO, THEN TV (DOES "THE DAILY SHOW" COUNT AS NEWS?), AND THEN NEWSPAPERS (I REFUSE TO PAY FOR MY NEWS)



    So, there I am in a nutshell. Well, not really. Seems I am all over the place, politically. Which is pretty much me - I don't vote the party line. I vote the issues. Were you to try to actually pigeon-hole me, I'd fall into the Libertarian category which is right where I want to be.


    Not that anyone really cares but it was interesting to me.




    Pau.




    - hfs

    7.22.2005

    Anyone have any Toradol?

    Lifeguarding is one of the many jobs I have held over the course of my life (and one of my favorite jobs at that) and when I was 21 or 22, my Senior Guard pulled a "white cap" drill on me. It's called a "white cap" because the "victim" (usually a patron but sometimes it can be one of the other lifeguards) puts on a white water polo cap to signal that they are the "victim" while they are floating in the water.

    This time, my "victim" was another guard - "J". J is about 6'2" and weighed about 250 pounds. I, on the other hand, stand a full 5'3" tall and (on a good day) weight about 115. This drill took place back when the Red Cross still used the "1-2-3-Dunk-and-Hoist" method of extracting a drowning victim from the water (assuming that you did not suspect a spinal injury).

    So here I am, all 115 pounds of me, dunking and hoisting a 250 man out of the water. I "1-2-3'd", "dunked", and began to "hoist". About that time I felt (and HEARD) a "POP!" in my shoulder. I managed to get J out of the water and finish the drill before I ran, screaming, in to the guard office. There was a HUGE knot near my shoulder blade and good GOD, did it hurt.

    Off I went to the urgent care. They wrote me off as having pulled a muscle but I learned, much later after the damage had been done and was irreversible, that I had torn the rhomboid muscle in my back. The rhomboid muscle is the one that allows you to move your shoulder blade back toward the center of your back (i.e. in a rowing motion). Come to find out, I have a good inch or so of scar tissue along the edge of my shoulder blade where the tear occurred. OUCH.

    Over the years, it has occasionally flared up and been quite annoying and painful.




    Fast forward to last week. I woke up and stretched. Bad move. BAD move. Immediately, I heard another "pop" (not quite as loud as the first time) and pain shot up and down the right side of my shoulder, back, and up in to my neck. I dove for the Advil. I managed to get the pain under control and it was *this* close to being gone.




    And then I stretched again. It's such an innocuous move. Stretching is one of those things you do without thinking about it. It's as much a part of the "wake up" routine as peeing and brushing your teeth.




    Not any more. I cannot look over my right shoulder. I can barely look over my left. I can't find a comfortable position to sleep in nor can I tolerate turning over. Advil (4 of them at a time...I'm just going to start taking McGyver's "Ranger Candy") doesn't touch it. I can't pick my kids up and I can't really drive.


    It's pissing me OFF. I am about *this* close to heading over to the Acute Care Clinic and *ASKING* for a shot of Toradol. Those of you who know me, know that I am deathly afraid of needles so this speaks to the level of pain my shoulder is giving me.

    Between my knees and this damn shoulder, I need a rebuild. Good grief. And of course, there are no appointments to be had today.




    Of course.




    Pau.




    - hfs

    7.20.2005

    Where did my comments go?

    If you find yourself asking that question, here's the answer...


    I tweaked my code and switched to HaloScan comments (which also allows Trackbacks) rather than relying upon Blogger's comment option. Other than allowing for Trackbacks (not that I write much that is worth tracking back to...) there really no other reason to do so except that I COULD.


    I apologize for all of the comments that were lost but I look forward to your comments in the future!


    Pau.




    - hfs

    7.19.2005

    You know you're from...

    Even though I was born and raised in SoCal, when I think about "home", I long for Colorado. The five years that McGyver and I spent there were some of the best years of our lives. We both miss it terribly. So I laughed when I read this :






    You Know You're From Denver When...


    You identify directions by the location of the mountains.

    Your diet consists largely of Cliff Bars, granola, tofu and Fat Tire.

    You've been tear gassed in a riot to celebrate a team's victory.

    When visiting friends at sea level, you can drink a case of beer and not get a buzz.

    Snow in June is not unheard of. Neither is 100 degree weather.

    You scoff at the weatherman on TV. Especially when giving a five-day forecast.

    "Timberline" is somewhere you've actually been. Many times.

    You know what a "Chinook" is.

    You know what the "Peoples Republic of Boulder" is - and why it's called that.

    You know what a "fourteener" is.

    You know what a "Rocky Mountain Oyster" is.

    You think a red light means three more cars can go. The fast lane is for cruising and the slow lane is for passing. Turn signals are optional.

    Shorts are worn year around, regardless of temperature.

    "Wildlife" means more than squirrels and pigeons. You don't stop and look when you see deer.

    You're not sure if Colorado extends west of the Rockies.

    You know where Buffalo Bill's grave is.

    You own a big dog named Aspen, Buck, Cheyenne or Dakota that wears a bandanna.

    The entire top of your head is bald, but you still have a pony tail.

    You think that formal wear is ironed denim.

    You've never actually been to Aspen, much less ski there.

    "Damn Rockies" is an expression you use when you can't find a parking spot Downtown.

    During a thunderstorm you wonder which I-25 underpass is flooding.

    If it rains more than 2 days straight you compare the weather to being in Seattle.

    If the humidity gets above 25%, you consider it muggy.

    People driving on the 16th Street Mall are considered "tourists".

    The biggest event of the year is the Western Stock Show.

    The only RTD bus you've been on is the 16th Street shuttle.

    The two major newspapers have the same owner, yet one insists on making its own rules regarding what to call the new stadium.

    There is not enough money in the world to get you to move to the Springs.

    When giving directions, you never say "Turn left, turn right", it's always go West, then South.

    When the Broncos are losing you refer to them as the "Donkeys".

    You think 5-Points is a ghetto.

    You are the third car to run a red light after it has changed.

    You consider LoDo a tourist trap with expensive condos.

    You have a broken windshield.

    You have absolutely no recognizable accent.

    You have been skiing less than 3 times in your life.

    You know that "The Narrows" refers to I-25 between University and Broadway

    You know where the city ended when you were a kid, and would never move further out than that boundary.

    You merge onto the highway at 15 miles an hour.

    You never plan a picnic between 3:30 and 6:00 in Spring or Summer months.

    You only go to Lodo when friends are in from out of town.

    You say things like "I don't care how big Parker is, it's still a one-horse town".

    You see no reason to travel to Aurora.

    You think most of the people in Colorado Springs are religious freaks.

    You think the rest of the freaks live in the "People's Republic of Boulder."

    You voted for higher taxes to fund Coors field, but voted down taxes for public transportation.

    Thornton, Northglenn and Westminster are "Another State".

    You actually get these jokes and pass them on to other friends from Denver.










    Pau.




    - hfs

    Why?

    Why is it that my family seems to congregate in the SMALLEST room in the house?


    And WHY is it that they only do this when I'm taking a SHOWER? I mean, c'mon people...can't a girl get 5 minutes of PEACE??? How hard is that? Is it too much to ask?




    Good grief.




    Pau.




    - hfs

    7.16.2005

    Hawaii's Rail Tax Proposal

    I am sitting here, scratching my head. I do this often when I read the news but this one is a local issue. The State of Hawaii is looking to build a fixed rail system to help ease the traffic problems that it is facing. Gridlock, especially prior to 8am or after 3:30pm, is an every day occurrence.

    The fixed rail system would cost approximately $26 Billion to build and another $20+ Million to maintain. The State does not currently have the money. To help finance this fixed rail system, the State legislature has proposed an increase in the General Excise Tax from 4% to 5%.

    Having moved here from the "great state of Tennessee" where the tax on food items is 8% and the tax on non-food items is 9.5%, 5% is NOTHING. The estimate is that the 1% increase in General Excise Tax will cost a family of 4 about $900 per year.

    Now, $900 per year is nothing to sneeze at. BUT, I have a solution...one that has yet to be mentioned. But let me preface it a bit...


    Tourism is one of the LARGEST contributors to the economy in Hawaii. Millions and millions of tourists visit the islands each year. WHY has this asset not been tapped in terms of tax revenue??? How hard would it be to hike the General Excise Tax up to, say 8% and then offer a state tax refund to all island residents? How hard is that and WHY has this idea not been brought forth before??

    An increase in the General Excise Tax will not hurt tourism. Heck, you could hike the GET up to 10% and I seriously doubt you would see even a blip in the tourism statistics. Why burden the residents of the islands when you have a vastly untapped resource right in front of you?

    I'm not saying I am for the rail tax. Actually, I think a lot more could be done to address the traffic/gridlock situation before sinking BILLIONS of dollars into a rail system. I'll post links below that will give you access to some of the arguments I have found for and against the rail system.

    Hawaii has many issues that need to be addressed - roads, schools, municipal facilities, etc. Why not make the tourism industry work harder for the residents of the islands?




    LINKS :

    No New Taxes Hawaii

    Alliance For Traffic Improvement

    Grassroot Institute of Hawaii - "What's Wrong With Rail" article

    Vote Hawaii.com's articles on Mass Transit





    Those of you who understand economics (or tax law...) a little better than I (and that is most, if not ALL, of you...), please let me know if my idea is feasible.




    Pau.




    - hfs

    I once was a Flappy Bird

    For a brief moment in time, I was a Flappy Bird in the
    The TTLB Blogosphere Ecosystem. It was nice...I was pretty excited about being mentioned on Hugh Hewitt's blog. And I was even more pleased that the entry that garnered all the attention was the one about the SEAL memorial.

    But now, life has returned to "normal". I am back to my "pre-Hugh" days with my average of about 100 hits per day. Works for me.

    Nothing new or exciting to report here. We have a friend in town and we are enjoying showing her around. We postponed our yard sale.

    Like I said, nothing new or exciting. But I kind of like boring from time to time.




    Pau.




    - hfs

    7.13.2005

    Military Family Faces Tough Prospect - clarification

    Some of you have written and asked some questions so I hope this clarification clears some things up. Thank you for the suggestions to date.

    These are my friend's words when asked to provide a history of her situation:


    *Discharged 4 years ago from Active duty Army, entered National guard.

    *Discharge was Honorable, chapter 8 (pregnancy). National Guard, Was in for almost a year, then had flight school orders (husband), moved to Rucker

    * Discharged National Guard because of move- placed in the IRR. Never had any contact with St. Louis (IRR) in almost 4 years- never mentioned need to have a Family Care Plan (FCP).

    *Registered at AKO to check my active duty record, St. Louis gets ahold of me- Mailgram comes two weeks later.

    *Applied for an exemption- based on FCP and medical. Denied.

    * Appealed. Denied based on medical. My appeal was 2 pages long - only 2
    lines mentioned medical- all else was talking about lack of FCP. Appeal
    declined, no mention of FCP, just medical. Given an extension of 6 months
    to heal.

    *CW5 ********** in charge of me now, am to report in November (27th), Ft.
    *******.

    *JAG wrote a letter on our behalf stating regs for FCP which didn't help and St.
    Louis won't talk to lawyers unless I am deemed incompetent by a phsycologist.
    JAG is baffled, doesn't understand.

    * Hubby now dealing with his command on lack of FCP, they are trying to get in
    contact with CW5 ************, no word yet.

    *All family members wrote letters to appeal board and exemption board stating
    their inadequacies, as was requirement in regulation, didn't make a difference.




    So that is where things stand as of now. The Army is looking to discharge a pilot (whom they invested millions of our tax dollars in) in order to reactivate his wife who is an enlisted computer specialist.


    Dave, they were in the MACP when they first enlisted but they didn't have kids at the time so it wasn't an issue. Thanks for the info though!


    I hope this clears some things up. Any thoughts/advice/contacts that might help are much appreciated. She's in the process of writing letters to her Congressmen as I type.




    Pau.




    - hfs

    7.12.2005

    Military Couple Faces Tough Prospect

    Military Couple Faces Tough Prospect




    Please read this article. And if you know of someone who can help, please let me know. My e-mail address is : homefrontsix @ yahoo.com (no spaces)

    They did everything by the book and now the Army is changing the rules. Additionally, the Army may force itself to discharge a helicopter pilot in order to activate an enlisted computer specialist...your tax dollars at work there.


    I will link this to Mudville Gazette's Open Post when it's available.


    Pass the word, please.




    Pau.




    - hfs

    7.11.2005

    SEAL Memorial at Punchbowl

    Welcome, Hugh Hewitt readers.




    Home is the sailor, home from sea,
    And the hunter home from the hill.


    (Robert Louis Stevenson - 'Requiem' from Underwoods)




    The Blackhawks from 2-25 Aviation Regiment, 25th Infantry Division performed a missing man formation flyby during the memorial ceremony while the bagpipes played "Amazing Grace".




    It was a fitting tribute to the men lost and a wonderful expression of the sentiment of those left behind.




    The ceremony also included recognition of the members of 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment who were lost as well.




    If thou didst ever hold me in thy heart
    Absent thee from felicity awhile,
    And in this harsh world draw thy breath in pain,
    To tell my story.


    Shakespeare - Hamlet, Act V, Scene II





    Pau.




    - hfs




    I always forget to do this : Linked to Mudville Gazette's Open Post.

    Thanks, Greyhawks, for all that you do!!!

    7.07.2005

    USED - PhotoFriday

    Today, the average car payment in America is $368. If you take that $368 and invest it at an average of 12% interest, in the course of 30 years, you will have $1,286,146.80.


    Additionally, a new car will lose 60% of its value in the first four years.


    Now, we NEED at least one car. But we have - as a family - decided that we will not ever finance a vehicle. We will never take out a loan on a car again. We have better things to do with our $1,286,146.80 than breathe in that new car smell.


    That being said, we buy USED.




    Pau.




    - hfs

    London Bridge is Falling Down

    Tim Worstall has a great quote that I hope sums up the British reaction to today's bombings :

    "Yes, we’ll take an excuse for a day off, throw a sickie. But you threaten us, try to kill us? Kill and injure some of us?

    Fuck you, sunshine.

    We’ll not be having that.


    No grand demonstrations, few warlike chants, a desire for revenge, of course, but the reaction of the average man and woman in the street? Yes, you’ve tried it now bugger off. We’re not scared, no, you won’t change us. Even if we are scared, you can still bugger off."




    My heart aches for Britains today. Almost 4 years ago, we were in your shoes. And it's terrible.



    h/t Blackfive




    Pau.




    - hfs

    I missed it!

    My Blogiversary, that is. HFS is a year old as of last Saturday! Woohoo!


    Hard to believe it's only been a year. Cool beans.


    Thanks for reading and commenting!



    Pau.




    - hfs

    7.06.2005

    New pictures

    There are new pictures of the kiddos up for any of you who are interested. Click the link to your left for "A Princess and a Little Man".




    Pau.




    - hfs

    7.05.2005

    As I sat this evening on the grass with my family (and 50,000 other people), I took a moment to truly reflect on what this country means to me and why I am so incredibly thankful to live here. These things are different to different people and that is one thing that makes this country so great.


    I looked around and I saw so many DIFFERENT people - different colors, different sizes, different shapes, speaking different languages. And yet, when the lights dimmed and the band began to play the National Anthem, everyone rose. Hats came off. Hands went over hearts. Soldiers - in and out of uniform - stood at attention.




    And everyone was the same. Everyone there, regardless of their differences, stood tall beneath the flag that draped the stage. Everyone.




    My thoughts are so jumbled right now - so many things are runnning through my head. This past week has been another tough one - the crash of the Chinook in Afghanistan has brought about a roller-coaster of emotions. And word on the news tonight brings on another round of those emotions. Someone mentioned on another blog I read (lately I read it a lot) that we should not mourn for the soldiers on board that helicopter - that they were warriors and knew full well the fate that could befall them. It was not a tradgedy. It was war.

    I don't know that I mourn for the soldiers. If I examine my heart and my feelings, I see that I mourn for those left behind. The wives. The children. The parents. The friends and family left to deal with the hole that will always be there. Always. I think back to our friend who died in the Chinook crash back in April and I mourn, again, for his wife and children, his parents and siblings, his friends.

    I think it is natural to ponder, "What would I do in that situation?" A military spouse who says they don't think about that is most likely lying. And yet, you cannot know until you walk that mile in their shoes. And I pray that I never have to. I pray that our friends never have to.




    But mostly, I pray for those that HAVE.




    Pau.




    - hfs

    7.02.2005

    If I made the rules

    they would look something like this :



    COMMISSARY RULES :

    1. It is illegal to place your cart in a perpendicular fashion in the aisle at ANY time and for any length of time.

    2. Should you be in the process of making a U-turn in an aisle, you must check behind you on BOTH sides (to avoid swinging your cart into someone trying to get around you) and your U-turn must be made in 1 continuous motion (see Rule #1).

    3. The Commissary is NOT a tourist attraction. Do not bring all 8 (yes, EIGHT) of your out-of-town family members shopping with you. Bring a camera and take PICTURES for them.

    4. All children caught running up and down the aisles (WITH or without parental supervision) will be impounded and the parent will be SMACKED upon retrieval.

    5. The minimum age for piloting a shopping cart in the Commissary is 12. NO EXCEPTIONS.

    6. Should you run into or ONTO another patron, you will be removed from the premises. If you draw blood, you will be SMACKED.

    7. There is a maximum selection time in the freezer section of 3 minutes in front of any 1 door. If you're debating, move to a place where you are NOT blocking traffic and contemplate there.

    8. Commissary staff who feel the need to fill the aisles with stacks of merchandise and make it impossible to GET anywhere up and down said aisle will be FIRED.

    9. Step stools will be available in every aisle so that people who are shorter than 6 feet can actually REACH the items on the top shelf (especially when 50% of their shopping list consists of items on the top shelf). Personal shopping assistants (preferably ones who look like George Clooney or Sean Connery) will be provided, free of charge, to all blog-owners under 5'4"...

    10. Blog-owners under 5'4" maintain the right to SMACK anyone violating these rules with no repercussions on her end.




    Pau.




    - hfs

    7.01.2005

    More on the Chinook Crash

    Reports that are coming in are a bit confusing - to me and to others. The best recap of what is known so far can be found here : Day of Mourning for SEAL/Nightstalker Community


    While this incident is a terrible tragedy, it underscores the deep commitment of the American fighting man to defend this nation, and the incredible intrepidy of our SOF operators. This Independence Day weekend, take a minute and hoist a cold one for our boys. Because it is these men serving our nation around the world for the past 229 years that have made your BBQ possible.





    Consider it done.




    Pau.




    - hfs

    Quote of the day/week/month...

    The moment the idea is admitted into society that property is not as sacred as the law of God, and that there is not a force of law and public justice to protect it, anarchy and tyranny commence.


    - John Adams



    The Supreme Court ruling regarding eminent domain is still really, REALLY bothering me. Can you tell?

    I heard this quote as I was driving in to town yesterday for my tour and it really struck a chord. I am blown away by the fact (and it is a fact) that the high court has moved SO far away from what the Founding Fathers envisioned this Republic to be. I wonder if Adams, Jefferson, and the like are rolling over in their graves.


    I sure would be.


    I think the first properties that should be condemed by a municipality should be the homes of the 5 justices who voted for this decision (John Paul Stevens, David Souter, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Anthony Kennedy, and Stephen G. Breyer) and a strip mall should be placed on each and every property - malls that include Starbucks. And an adult bookstore.


    And as I type this, I have come across this article : Souter home in imminent threat from Eminent Domain




    I. LOVE. IRONY.




    Pau.




    - hfs

    Work, work, work

    I spent the day playing tour guide. Only we did not visit the USS Arizona Memorial. Nor did we spend much time in Waikiki. Or at the beach. We spent the day driving all over Honolulu and Central Oahu. Who knew that driving could wipe you out like this? I'm more tired today than I am when I've spent the day chasing the kids around.


    However, my kids don't pay me what my job is paying me. For that, I'll be tired.


    My day started in a rush and ended in rush hour traffic - at 6:30 p.m. After hauling butt up to post to drop the kids off at day care (which they both LOVE...which makes me feel better), I flew back home to chuck the car seats at McGyver and take off to Honolulu. I was supposed to meet my supervisor at 9am. Things were going well until I got on the bypass and got stuck behind a lumber truck.




    Going 35 miles per hour.




    With a police escort.




    All the way into Honolulu.




    So much for being on time. And for someone as Type A as myself, that is STILL bothering me. But such is life. I picked up my supervisor, S, and we were on our way to pick up the HR rep for the company that we will be working for.




    A little background...I have been hired as a Domestic Relocation Consultant for my company. I am responsible for researching housing options for the company and, once the employees are here, helping them settle in and become oriented to the island.


    The "Welcome Committee" so-to-speak. Basically, they are paying me to do what I do for my family every time we move. Which, in military life, is often (4 times in the past 7 years...3 moves in 2 years). WORKS FOR ME!!! You want to pay me to do what I already do??? SURE!!! Sounds great! Can you tell I'm liking this? The nice thing is that I essentially work from home and I set my own hours. With small children, this is key. And I've made it abundantly clear that my kids and my family come first. And they are ok with that. Great!




    Anyway, we spent the morning discussing the housing situation in Hawaii and why it is so tight and had an appointment to look at some apartments. I don't know that this company has a very clear idea of how tight it is. It appears that their expectations (in terms of housing...square footage, amenities, etc.) does not match their budget constraints. This may be an issue. But it's not MY issue so I really don't care. My job is to research, present what I find, and then help the employees get settled once they are here. I don't have to make decisions!


    Lunch today was at Dixie Grill. They are in the middle of their Crab Fest and their food is good so I thought it would be a nice stop. Note to self : crab is not the best business lunch choice. But the plastic bibs did make for lively conversation and a wonderful photo opportunity...


    Once we cleaned up from lunch, it was on to look at more apartments. Again, there was the issue of expectations and budget not meshing. Again, NOT MY PROBLEM!!! By the end of the day, we were all wiped out and our client had work to do so it was back to Honolulu to drop her off. My supervisor, S, and I headed back to her hotel for a drink and to go over what follow-up is needed.




    I did something today that I don't normally do and it was exhausting. I listened. I used my ears more than my mouth. Those of you who know me know what kind of effort that took. I am exhausted and I'm not sure if it is because of all of the driving or the effort it took to keep my mouth shut. S (my sup) and the HR rep know each other so they had lots to talk about. I figured it was to my advantage to sit back and listen. There were thousands of times I could have jumped into the conversation but chose not to. I'm proud of myself. It's not often that I can shut up.




    All in all, I think it was a successful tour. I am still learning my way around the island so there were a few wrong turns here and there. But we never really got lost (it's an ISLAND...where would we GO???) and we made it to most of the places we needed to. The HR rep was impressed with my preparation and the little bit I do know about the area, especially since we've only been on island for 4.5 months. And I was able to identify several housing options for other military spouses if and when they transfer here.




    I think this job will be good. I already have another client in the works - a professor that is moving here from another country to teach at the University. So I'll get to add "International" to my title along with "Domestic". And, techinally, since I've been doing the military life thing for almost 7 years, I can say I've been at it that long. Makes the old resume look good!




    I'm off to collapse in bed.




    Pau.




    - hfs