After-Action Review: Christmas

All in all it wasn't bad. Not great. But not bad. It helped having my best friend here - made me feel not quite so much of an outsider. The kids received more toys than they deserve but that's ok. No major dramas and no major fiascos so all is well.

Both of my laptops are currently out of commission (I'm posting this from my BIL's computer) so I will not be around much until MacGyver gets home on R&R in a few weeks and can fix them. And, once he's home, I won't be around much then either ;~) We have nothing exciting planned (well...nothing that I'm willing to post about on the internet!) and are simply looking forward to enjoying his presence for a short while.

Thank you all for your thoughts, kind words, and prayers. I truly believe that they made a huge difference in the amount of joy felt this holiday season.

I wish everyone a safe, happy, and prosperous New Year!


- hfs



Can anyone tell me why my blog and IE/AOL do not get along? I've looked at the individual posts and tried to figure it out but I'm at a loss.



- hfs


Making a list and checking it twice

I already know who is naughty and nice...

BusyBusyBusy!!! The in-laws are here so life has jumped from mundane and normal to "tour-guide speed". I've been dealing with some medical issues this week so the first full day they were here I was ordered to stay home and rest while they took the kids to the Bishop Museum and the swap meet. Works for me. I managed to sneak in a 3 hour nap which did wonders for me. That was followed by 11 hours of sleep that night and another 2 hour nap the next afternoon. At this rate, I should be back up to 100% in no time.

Today was a day to get OUT of the house. It was raining early in the AM but then cleared up nicely (though my father-in-law doubted me). We headed up to the North Shore to check out the big waves. And they were BIG. 20-25 feet. Of course, this put a damper on the plans to snorkel but what are you going to do? We stopped at Kua Aina Burgers for lunch and then grabbed shave ice at Aoki's afterward.

Then it was back home for more naps!

This evening, we took the kids downtown to the mall for the "Gift of Aloha" Christmas show and Candy Cane Train ride. They had a ball.

Tomorrow, Uncle K and Aunt W come in. Before they come in I need to hit the commissary for the Christmas fixins. We also need to hit the Navy Exchange and the Class VI/Package Store for a few things. And then we are going to grab dinner at the Hale Koa and watch fireworks on the beach tomorrow night.

I have yet to wrap a single present. Need to get on that.

My house is a mess and I need to tidy things up a bit. My car could stand to be washed as well. But those things can wait.

Less than a month before MacGyver comes home for R&R. That will be MY Chrismtas gift!!!


- hfs


Must be nice

My husband is over in Iraq, in a war-zone, away from his family and friends during the holidays while LT Ehren Watada gets to sit at home and flap his gums about the war in Iraq. He gets to enjoy his family, his friends, and all of the benefits of being an American IN America this holiday season while my husband, and thousands more like him, stand up to do their sworn duty over in Iraq.




Mele Kalikimaka you traitorous coward. I hope you rot in jail next Christmas and find nothing more than a lump of coal in your stocking this year.


- hfs


All I want for Christmas...

The question was posted over at the Castle...
"Whattaya Want for Christmas?"

So, I answered. I was in a somewhat melancholy mood and trying my best to avoid throwing myself a pity party.

I would like a better answer to my daughter's comment that she misses her daddy besides "me too, baby. Me too." *sigh*

A winning lottery ticket would be nice. I'm not greedy - 5 zeros would be acceptable. A fast forward button on life? That would be kind of nice. Just to get us to July-ish.

I'd like to not be a single parent for a little while. I'd like to sleep the sleep that you sleep when you're not the ONLY adult in the house, responsible for the health, welfare, and spiritual guidance of 2 children who depend on you wholeheartedly. I'd like to have someone to sit with on the couch at the end of the day and just BE with. I'd like to have someone here to help me put up Christmas decorations.

Honestly, though, I do not want for much. My family is safe (relatively speaking) and healthy (well, physically at least!). We have a good church family here and good friends throughout the world that love us and pray for us like we love them and pray for them. We have a roof over our heads, food on the table, and the freedom to do as we please. That pretty much covers it.

Though snow would be nice ;~) Gosh, I miss snow!!!

Mele Kalikimaka!

John saw fit to give my comment its own post. I'm not sure that was warranted. I was simply trying to be honest. I've been asked several times over the past few weeks what I want for Christmas. I have no answer.

Yes, there are things on my Amazon wishlist that I would like. But nothing really jumps out at me. Everything that I truly want for Christmas this year is sitting about 12,000 miles away in a CHU (containerized housing unit...a shipping container with a window and a door) missing me and the kids probably as much as we miss him. And Amazon doesn't have him in stock ;~)

So I could wallow but I am doing my best not to. It does not set a good example for my children nor does it do me any good. It is not productive. So I am trying to focus on the things I *do* have this Christmas...

- people who love me (some more than others but still, there are people who love me)
- people whom I love (again, some more than others!)
- my needs are met as are many of my wants
- a man in my life who has a sense of duty, honor, and integrity
- 2 wonderful chilrdren
- family coming to town for the holidays
- friends around me
- a church family that loves us and supports us in more ways than I could have ever imagined
- the ability to give to others who are in need

The list is long and I could go on. And on. And for that, I am truly greatful.

But I do miss the snow...


- hfs


I nominate myself...

...for the "Bad Mommy of the Month" award. Last weekend was the unit FRG (family readiness group) Christmas party. Oops, my bad.
HOLIDAY party.

/rolling of eyes

Anyway, I got the flyer but hadn't really planned on going. Our weekends are hectic enough and I already had 2 other engagements scheduled for that day. So I tossed the flyer. A few days later, I got to thinking about it and realized that a.) I hadn't seen a lot of these people in weeks if not months and b.) it was early enough in the day that I could squeeze it in before my other committments. Cool beans. I remember the flyer saying that we all needed to bring a dish. Ok, fine. Not a problem.

I called a friend in the unit and found out where the party was taking place (remember, I threw the flyer away) and we headed down. The party was good. Bounce house for the kids, good company, good food. And SANTA!!!

Oh, crap. Santa.

What does Santa DO??? Yep, Santa hands out presents to "good little girls and boys".

GUESS whose mommy forgot to bring presents for Santa to give to my "good little boy and girl"?

Yep. You guessed it. Me. D'oh!!!

Thankfully, my children were very understanding when I explained to them that Santa was still working on their gift and wasn't able to bring it with him because it was just too special to give to them BEFORE Christmas. And, for the most part, they were content with their goody bag of candy canes and gummy bears. I, on the other hand, felt like a loser.

Fast forward to Wednesday. Princess Trouble's school is hosting a "Gingerbread Event" for the Kindergarten classes. A chance for the parents and the kids to come together at school and make gingerbread cookies. Lots of fun!

There are 6 Kinder classes at Princess Trouble's school and the multi-purpose/lunch room can't accommodate that many kids and adults all at once so they split the event up over 2 days. One half of the classes went on Wednesday and one half went Thursday. I faithfully wrote the event on the Family Calendar as being Wednesday, December 13th. I scheduled day care. I talked to Princess Trouble about the fact that I was going to be a few minutes late because of the distance between day care and school. She was ok with that.

I busted my butt (and the speed limit...slightly) to make it back in time. I get there, only to realize that Princess Trouble's day to participate in the Gingerbread event is THURSDAY. D'oh.

And, of course, I had an engagement that I could not cancel, no matter how much I plead and grovelled. Dammit.

I'm 0 for 2 this month. One more and I'm out. Sheesh.


- hfs


Update on us

Hopefully this week will be kinder to us than the past two weeks have been. Little Man is better with just a minor cough left over. I am on the mend too but cannot seem to shake the fatigue. The toe is feeling better too.

Princess Trouble raised $25 on her toy sale. Which, given the fact that it wasn't a big sale in terms of quantity and the fact that it rained off and on all day long, is pretty good. We'll add that amount to the amount I had already budgeted.

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas around here. The lights are up. No tree yet but we'll be getting that sometime this week. The Advent calendar is out and the kids look forward to the treats each evening. Given the fact that this will be our first Christmas without MacGyver, they are holding up well. I am too, which is a blessing. It helps that his R&R date falls shortly after the holidays.

Two weeks until family gets here and we get to start playing tour guides. Should be lots of fun. We plan to hit the North Shore a few times, hike Diamond Head and the Moanalua Falls Trail, experience Haunama Bay, hit the Windward Side of the island for pancakes at Koa Pancake House and then head to Lanikai beach for a bit. I'm hoping to finally take the time to go visit the Pearl Harbor memorial and the USS Missouri. I was able to tour the Mighty 'Mo back before she was decommissioned during Desert Storm and I'm looking forward to seeing her again. Hopefully my brother-in-law and I can get some scuba diving in while he's here as well. And there will also be a trip to the Bishop Museum (they are opening up a new dinosaur exhibit that Little Man will flip over!), Dole Plantation, and Bellows Beach Park as well. Busybusybusy! Keeps us all out of trouble!

Then once everyone leaves, the excitement begins for R&R. I'm trying not to get too excited just yet. Let me get through the holidays and then I'll focus on R&R. One thing at a time. Otherwise I might just explode!

That's about it from this end. Going to bed early lately has really put a crimp on my blogging. For that, I apologize. In the mean time, head over to SpouseBUZZ and see what's going on!


- hfs


Adding injury to insult

So, on top of everything else, I think I've managed to break my toe.


Please don't ask me HOW I broke my toe. I do not know. (hey...that rhymes! I'm a poet and didn't know it!) My foot started hurting Monday but the pain was very generalized and I couldn't put my finger on it (literally). Tuesday the pain became more localized and I was able to tell that it was my 2nd toe on my left foot that hurt but it didn't look broken or swollen or bruised or anything. It just HURT.

I woke up this morning and the damn thing is swollen to the point that they almost had to cut my toe ring off (managed to get it off with a lot of Vaseline and a lot of cussing!). I'm still waiting to hear what the x-rays show. But it sure FEELS like I broke it. Of course, there is really nothing to DO for a broken toe except limp and complain. Both of which I am good at.

Still, quite annoying. As if the chest and back pain (from the coughing) and sore throat weren't enough. Lovely. I'm not a fan of my body at the moment. Grr.

At least Christmas and R&R are coming!!!!! Yay! Something to look forward to!


- hfs


The DX

For those of you unfamiliar with medical lingo, "dx" refers to the diagnosis. A lot easier to write too, especially for those poor doctors who never passed penmanship in elementary school ;~)

Anyway, the diagnosis is acute bronchitis which is what I figured. No pneumonia which is good but the doc did say that it looks like I've sprained the intercostal muscles (the little muscles between the ribs) pretty well. Yay. Thankfully, no chest xray.

I was sent home with all sorts of fun meds - albuterol (a stimulant), benzonatate (causes drowsiness), Robitussin with codeine (another depressant), the ever-present 800 mg Motrin, and Zithromax to be taken if my symptoms do not begin to improve in 48 hours. The doc doubts that it's bacterial so I'll hold off on the antibiotics for a bit. And, as AWTM mentioned in the comments for the previous entry, LOTS of fluids. Don't have to worry about humidity - Hawai'i has an overabundance of that at the moment though hot steamy showers do seem to make me feel better.

So, I'm not dying though sometimes I feel like I am. But again, small blessings in that the timing of all of this is as good as it's going to get! Thanks for all of the well-wishes!


- hfs

Still breathing...barely

I've managed to come down with bronchitis (at least I think it's bronchitis. Maybe it's pneumonia and I'll get the really good drugs!). Not fun. So I'm still alive and breathing but it HURTS. I"m hoping to head to the doc tomorrow and, if I can't get a same-day appointment I will do a walk-in at the Acute Care Clinic.

Yes, it's that bad. I don't head to the ACC unless it's that bad.

Thankfully this is happening now as opposed to 3 weeks from now when family starts to arrive for the holidays or 6 weeks from now when MacGyver heads home for R&R. Small blessings.

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving. Ours was good. Not great. Not awful. All that I could ask for right now.


- hfs


Charity through the eyes of a child

Most of the time I think my children are pretty amazing. I know...I'm biased. I freely admit that. I think that, as a parent, part of my job (along with being their biggest advocate) is to be my childrens' biggest cheerleader.

And then sometimes they do things that simply blow me away (in a good way!). First, a little background. My children get 3 gifts from us (their parents). Jesus got 3 gifts on his birthday therefore my children get 3 gifts on His birthday. This does not include stocking stuffers or the gift that Santa brings - just so we're clear. But from us, as parents, they each get 3 gifts.

One of the things I try to teach my children is a concern for others as well as a sense of responsibility toward those less fortunate. One way that I try to do this is to have them go through their toys and select 3 toys that they no longer play with that are still in good condition. My goal was to have them donate those toys to an agency that gives toys to less fortunate children at the holidays.

Well, my daughter took that idea and ran with it. First, she decided that she has too many toys and that there are more than 3 toys that she is willing to part with. Then, based on the fact that one of our neighbors just had a yard sale a few weeks ago, she decided that we should sell the used toys in the yard sale instead of simply giving them away.

At first, I hesitated. I didn't want her to sell them, I wanted her to give them. But this is where she blew me away. She then proceeded to tell me that we should take the money that we make from the yard sale and use that money to buy NEW toys for other kids whose parents might not be able to buy the toys themselves.

When she told me this, I sat there with my mouth hanging open for a few seconds. Once I gathered my thoughts, I asked her what her reasoning was. She told me that just because kids didn't have a lot of money doesn't mean they don't deserve new toys and that we could probably raise a lot of money by selling our old toys so that buying new ones wouldn't be a big deal.


So that's what we're going to do. We are going to have a toy sale and sell off a lot of the kids' older toys. My children are not usually too rough on their toys (though there was this one time...) so most of their toys are in pretty good shape. Most of us know that people tend to donate more when a price is not named and the proceeds are going to a named charity so we are not pricing any of the toys. It will be donation only and we will have a specific entity that the proceeds will be benefitting already chosen (we're looking at choosing children from the Angel Tree on post). My hope is that people will be generous and therefore allow US to be generous. I have a budget already set aside for this purpose so any monies raised from this sale will just add to that. I would love to be able to buy gifts for an entire family and not just 1 or 2 kids. We will see.

Sometimes I forget that she is only 5. She loves to surprise me in ways that I never see coming. She is amazing (and so is he).


- hfs


You know what sucks?

When I was a teenager, we used to play the game "You know what sucks worse?" It went something like this:

"You know what sucks?"

"No. What?"

"Getting a flat tire in the parking lot at school."

(people nod their heads in agreement)

"You know what sucks WORSE?"

"No. What?"

"Getting a flat tire in the parking lot at school and not being able to run from the cops when they roll up to catch you drinking on school grounds after hours."

And so on.

So, today it is my turn to relive the glory days of that game...

You know what sucks?

Being sick.

You what sucks worse?

Being sick while one of your children is sick.

You know what sucks worse?

Being sick while one child is sick and the other is healthy as a horse and running around like a maniac because he's BORED.

You know what sucks worse?

Being sick while one child is sick, the other is healthy as a horse and running around like a maniac because he's BORED and you live too far away from family for them to help.

You know what sucks WORSE?

Being sick while one child is sick, the other is healthy as a horse and running around like a maniac because he's BORED and you live too far away from family for them to help and having your husband deployed.

You know what sucks worse???

Being the deployed husband and having to listen to your wife complain about being sick while YOU are sick in the desert.

He wins. Dammit.


- hfs


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(via Cox and Forkum)

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via Military.com:

A Brief History of Veterans Day

Veterans Day, formerly known as Armistice Day, was originally set as a U.S. legal holiday to honor the end of World War I, which officially took place on November 11, 1918. In legislature that was passed in 1938, November 11 was "dedicated to the cause of world peace and to be hereafter celebrated and known as 'Armistice Day.'" As such, this new legal holiday honored World War I veterans.

In 1954, after having been through both World War II and the Korean War, the 83rd U.S. Congress -- at the urging of the veterans service organizations -- amended the Act of 1938 by striking out the word "Armistice" and inserting the word "Veterans." With the approval of this legislation on June 1, 1954, Nov. 11 became a day to honor American veterans of all wars.

In 1968, the Uniforms Holiday Bill ensured three-day weekends for federal employees by celebrating four national holidays on Mondays: Washington's Birthday, Memorial Day, Veterans Day, and Columbus Day. Under this bill, Veterans Day was moved to the last Monday of October. Many states did not agree with this decision and continued to celebrate the holiday on its original date. The first Veterans Day under the new law was observed with much confusion on Oct. 25, 1971.

Finally on September 20, 1975, President Gerald R. Ford signed a law which returned the annual observance of Veterans Day to its original date of Nov. 11, beginning in 1978. Since then, the Veterans Day holiday has been observed on Nov. 11.

To ALL of our veterans...thank you.


- hfs


Colbert calls it quits

The Colbert Report

I must admit I have not watched either The Daily Show or The Colbert Report as of late. I think I'll start watching again. I'm curious to see how the Democratic majority is treated by these two.


- hfs


What I want

The elections are over (for the most part...there are a few races still to be finalized) and the message has been sent. Time to get to work. I am not going to do like Uncle Jimbo and list everyone I voted for in my state of record. I will say that, even though I tend to fall in line with the Republican party, the majority of my votes did not follow party lines. But who I voted for is a moot point.

It is now time to get to work. President Bush has 2 years left to do his job. This new group of Congressmen and Congresswomen has 2 years to steer this country on to a new, and hopefully better, track. Here is what I want:

1.) Iraq - I want a clear policy on what needs to be done to secure our withdrawal from that country. I want to see our government (and the governments of the Coalition and the International Community) say to the Iraqi government and the Iraqi people that it is time to get their shit together and begin to take responsibility for the future of their country.

I want to see our military given the go-ahead to do what it does best...fight. I want to see them given the go ahead to do so with both hands, not with one tied behind their backs like they are right now.

2.) Immigration and National Security - It was tough for me to make this my #2 issue. I think immigration and the war in Iraq/GWOT are intrinsically linked. I want to see a coprehensive and STRICT policy here. I want TIGHT border control. TIGHT. Not 700 miles of chain link fence with a sign that says "Keep Out" but an honest-to-God, we're not letting ANYONE in, sign-the-MinuteMen-up-for-Border-Patrol and arm-the-National-Guard-to-the-teeth policy. Anything less is not good enough. This policy should also include a way for illegal immigrants to earn their citizenship as well as some kind of temporary guest worker program.


4.) Energy - let's get serious here. There have been a few baby steps made toward making alternative fuels more mainstream but I don't think we've been aggressive enough. Time to step that up. Additionally, I'd like to see the issue of ANWR revisited though I am not holding my breath. However, with a Republican set to take the reins in Alaska, this might be possible. We'll see.

5.) Health Care - I hope and pray that the concept of "national health care" doesn't rear its ugly head again. The idea of socialized health care terrifies me. I have no problem with privatizing it and letting the forces of competition and such keep control of prices but I am NOT in favor of any kind of governmental control on health care. I still say that the government can't seem to run Tricare properly. What makes you think they can do better with a larger concept.

6.) Those pesky things called ethics and morals - It's time for the Republicans to clean house. Booting Dennis Hastert is a good start. Let's keep that momentum rolling. The scandals, the sleaziness, and the bullshit are some of the things that cost the GOP this election. Fix it before 2008.

7.) The economy - Time to start living within our means again. I don't know what the hell happened to the idea that the GOP was the fiscally conservative side of the house but they sure haven't been acting like it. Fix that too.

All in all, this should serve as a wake-up call for the GOP. There are some serious issues within the party and within the leadership. Fix it now. Otherwise you'll have 4 YEARS to fix it following the 2008 election because you'll lose that one too if you don't.


- hfs

Donald Rumsfeld is stepping down

Rumsfeld resigns.

I can't say I'm surprised nor am I disappointed. My hope is that this signals a new focus for the war in Iraq and a renewed focus for the Global War on Terror. Let's "git'er done!".


- hfs


Happy Birthday MacGyver!!!

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You are the love of my life and I cannot imagine myself without you. Happy birthday babe! I can't wait until you are home...


- hfs


A confluence of circumstances

It takes a lot to get me dressed up. I am decidedly "low maintenance" when it comes to clothing. My favorite outfit consists of denim Old Navy shorts and a t-shirt and slippahs if I need shoes. Thank goodness I live in Hawaii.

Saturday night was the "Hail and Farewell" for the outgoing commander's wife who is also our FRG (Family Readiness Group) leader. Saturday night was also "Parents' Night Out" at the child care center on post. Nice timing. Saturday was ALSO the day I bought a new blouse. Completely out of my realm of style but I liked the colors and the price was right (read: on sale!). So I grabbed it, thinking it would be a nice "going out" piece and perfect for the evening.

We ate at a local pasta place and I ordered the Garlic Steak (because, you know...what did you expect me to order at a pasta place?) which was quite yummy. I also ordered a Creme Brulee martini. Those of you who know me know that I rarely drink and when I do it tends to be at home because I hate paying $6.50 for a drink I can make on my own for less than $2. But it sounded yummy. And it was. It was a great evening though I am sad to see our commander's wife go. She's a sweet person with a heart of gold.

Nine times out of ten, on occasions such as this, I forget my camera. Not this time. AND I had the presence of mind to ask one of my friends to snap a picture of me. I am putting together some scrapbooks and it dawned on me how FEW photos I have of myself. I'm usually the one behind the camera. Hard to be IN the picture when you're taking it.

So, given the fact that all of these forces had combined into that point in time, I did something I rarely do which was ask my friend to take a picture of me. You'll notice I am wearing jeans. The only other times I get more dressed up than this is church, weddings, and military formals. So this is as good as it gets!

When I went to pick up the kiddos from Parents' Night Out, my daughter told me I looked "wonderful". I'll take it.

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UPDATE:Eric is stateside and on the mend. He has a bit of a long road ahead of him but he's alive and that's the most important thing. Thank you for your prayers and good thoughts. I'll keep you all posted.


- hfs


MacGyver is just fine.

Apparently, there was some confusion with my last post. Just to clarify, MacGyver is perfectly fine. Our good friend, Eric, was the one who was injured when his Humvee hit an IED. He's stateside again, experiencing all that Walter Reed has to offer - especially the narcotics.

Chuck stopped by to leave a comment on my previous post that eventually turned into a novel (those of you who know Chuck know how this is par for the course) and I wanted to reprint it here for everyone to read.

Let Macgyver (and your friend) know that it really isn't the end of the world, it's a setback. I love working with my hands, and do lot of projecs too... everything from brewing beer to refinishing furniture. It takes longer, and I have to take my time and actually watch what I am doing, instead of working by feel, and I think my playstation days ended a long time ago, but the hard thing to get through my head was that it wasn't the end of the world. You have tyo adapt, and the fixes are neither immediate or easy.
Things that used to be easy, or even so simple I didn't consider them, are now often insurmountable (like buttoning a cuff or collar.) I was once completely unable to bathe myself, my hands were so sensitive I couldn't hold the poofy soap things. Hell, at one oint, I couldn't even wipe myself. Luckily, I was unable to kill myself, too.
It wasn't luck, it was love thsat saved me though. Carren and my Mom spent months picking up the pieces, putting me back together, and pushing me to do the little things that make up a normal day.
Don't get me wrong, I wanted to do things, but everything was so hard I had no idea where to start... They stuck by me and kept me focused. Valour-IT was a start, of course. As swelling went down and "angry" nerves calmed, I slowly regained strength and flexibility. I re-learned how to do things like get dressed in something other than sweats, and (the matterhorn of challenges) tie my kid's shoes. (It still takes a while.)
It's been 17 months now, and I am so far from where I was on 22 June 05 that it's hard to believe it was only a year and a half.
The surgeons and nurses at the Army Medical Centers are geniuses, as are the occupational and physical therapists--all the kings horses and all the king's men, as it were.

I never planned on any of this. I'd never have considered it, given it a second thought, except maybe to think "wow, better him than me." This was never part of my career path, not the way I envisioned my personal or professional life. As I look to the future, I see a lot of changes... I'm probably never going to tech the boy to throw a fastball properly, and never start that second career as a brain surgeon. Okay, so that was a long shot to begin with.

Things get better. Even if my injuries had been worse, things would've eventually gotten better. I doubt things will ever be the way they were (unless I sprout some nerves and bones--damn you, BushMcHalliburton, why can't we do more stem sell research?) but then again, it'll never be last Thursday again either. Plans change, life changes. Sure, when the movie we wanted to see isn't showing, we see someting else. Not hard, really. When something requires not only a conscious decision to do something else, but long, determined action(s) to make them happen (some of which fail, miserably) it is much harder to see the point in trying, and continuing. You continue anyway, making adjustments as you go, because the cost of quitting is too high--wallowing in self pity, failing to continue enjoying life, in effect, you were killed when you were wounded, you just took longer to die. (Wow, sounds like current our President's Iraq policy vs. Kerry, Murtha, Pelosi, and the rest of those cowards.)

Sounds pretty grim, doesn't it? Well, the good news is that, although life is a zero-sum game, I'm still living, still healing, still able to do things. I'll be here when my son pins on his bars, and when my daughter pins on hers. I'll be here to give her away, to whichever brave soul measures up to my standards. I'll even be around when Carren and I decide to sit outside nekkid in separate bathtubs and watch the sunset -- what's up with those cialis commercials, anyway? If he's taking stiffy meds, why aren't they in the same tub?

Plus, you get drugs. Lots of drugs.

Finally, if Macgyver hurts his hand(s) I'll deliver his Valour-IT laptop in person. And remind him, it could be worse, imagine losing a nut or two.

Recovery is a long, hard process (speaking of cialis). Remind your friend that if it was easy, we wouldn't call it rehab, we'd call it the Air Force. Life has a funny way of coming at you. As long as you have people who love you, and people to love, it's worth living.


Now, I would HATE to think that it would take MacGyver getting hurt to make it possible for me to meet up with Chuck again (after having met him in DC at the MilBlogging conference) but that would definitely be a silver lining in an otherwise dark cloud. Actually I'd be just as excited to meet up with his wife Carren again, if not moreso.

The one thing I've learned over the past week is that there are some truly wonderful people out there. People who are more than willing to bend over backward and do whatever needs to be done to help out. And I am greatful beyond words for that. This was "just" a friend who was hurt. Not my husband. I cannot tell you how comoforting, reassuring, and GOOD it is to know that should I EVER find myself in the position where my husband is hurt, I will be well-taken care of.

Thank you. And please, if you haven't already, head over to Project Valour-IT's website and make a donation today.


- hfs


Better late than never

It's been a rough week. I had every intention of jumping into the Army's effort on behalf of Project Valour-IT with both feet.

And then I got the text message while I was at church on Sunday. Our friend had been injured.


There was mention of a broken leg and injuries to his hand.

He was being prepped for evacuation to Germany.

And then there was silence.

He's ok. Thank goodness. No word on the long term prognosis with regard to his injuries but he's alive and that is THE most important thing. But his recovery may take a while. And while he's recovering, he may need some help. Which is where Project Valour-IT comes in.

Here is the bulk of the post that I made for the Project Valour-IT fundraiser last year. It still holds true today.

One of the things that MacGyver and I have talked about it how we would handle things should he be injured in the line of duty. It's not a pretty conversation - things like that never are. But I am not a fan of surprises so I'd rather discuss this now, before he deploys.

Those of you who know MacGyver know what type of person he is. He is a very "hands on" type of person. He works a LOT with his hands. He is a mechanic by nature - at the age of 2, he took apart a transistor radio while he sat in his crib. Our 2 car garage is full of his projects - the BMW 2002 that he is restoring, the Yamaha YSR 50cc motorcycle that is his labor of love, the oddball projects that he always seems to have more of than time - and his tools. His hands are strong. Not necessarily big - small, in fact, for someone who is almost six feet tall. But they are powerful hands with scars that show where he has been and what he has done. Each scar has a story. There are the scars that have come from working on our cars (we don't own new cars...). There are the scars that have come from working on helicopters. There are the scars that have come from who-knows-where. It's not uncommon for MacGyver to come in and be bleeding and not know how he got hurt.

We've talked about the different injuries that can be sustained in combat and the one injury that worries him most is the loss of his hands or the loss of the use of his hands. He can deal with spinal cord injuries, shrapnel injuries, leg injuries. But to take his hands away from him would mean taking life away from him. He's a strong man but it would take every ounce of strength he has (and then some) to overcome that.

When CPT Z was injured, it really illustrated how big a challenege it is to function without the use of one's hands. They do SO MUCH over the course of a day - things you don't even THINK about. Here is just a small sampling of the things I did with my hands this past weekend :

rubbed sleep from my eyes
brushed my teeth
washed my hair and body
dried off
buttoned the button on my shorts
brushed and dried my hair
typed e-mails to friends and family
typed a blog entry
chatted on IM
made a few phone calls
put on my makeup
fixed my children waffles for breakfast
brushed my daugther's hair and teeth
tied her shoes
opened my purse
buckled my children in their car seats
started the car
cleaned the laceration on Little Man's toe
bandaged Little Man's toe (three times)
wiped tears from Little Man's face

And the list goes on and on. How many of those things - little things, really - could I have NOT done had I not had the use of my hands?

Think about not being able to do those things AND not being able to be in contact with friends and family across the globe. Let's face it...most of us are (or were) military families and very few of us live close to friends and family. So the phone and the internet are incredibly important to us. Imagine how important those things would become if you were trapped - literally - in a hospital bed on the East Coast...thousands of miles from anyone you know...with a debilitating injury and no way to speak with family and friends without the help of another person.

How helpless and frustrated would you feel?

Tie your hands behind your back for a moment and then try to interact with the world.

Not easy is it. And you're not injured. You're not hurt, scared, or alone in a place you don't know.

There are 4 days left in this fundraiser. Sgt. Hook had a good point - if everyone who reads my blog (I average about 80-100 hits per day) were to donate just a couple of bucks - say $5 - that would just about raise enough money to purchase one fully-loaded laptop computer with software. Five bucks. That's not even lunch money anymore. It's a latte at Starbucks.

The next person that needs that computer could be MacGyver. Or someone close to you. Five bucks is nothing compared to the freedom and independence and healing that computer would provide.

Five bucks.

This year, everything hits a little closer to home. Like text messages during church. I don't know if Eric will need the help of Project Valour-IT but if he does, it is because of people like you that he will get what he needs.

Please give. Give until it hurts. THEY did.


- hfs

The balance between chaos and silence

I can't find a balance. There's no happy medium.

During the days, silence is non-existent. I have a hard time, with two energetic children demanding and deserving my full attention, eeking out a moment to have a thought of my own. From the moment they get up they are talking, moving, needing things, demanding things, requiring my attention, my love, my patience. My time.

There is no break. No rest. No silence.

At night the silence is deafening. The only noise heard in my house is the TV if it's on. And the ceiling fan. There are no discussions. No debriefing. No aimless chatter or intimate conversations.

Nothing but silence. Oppressive silence.

And I hate it.

How can you crave something all day long and hate it at night when you get it?


- hfs


My husband is not smart.

According to John Forbes Kerry.

“You know, education, if you make the most of it, if you study hard and you do your homework, and you make an effort to be smart, uh, you, you can do well. If you don’t, you get stuck in Iraq.”

Reeeallly? Nice to know that's how you feel, Mister Kerry.

If you want to take a deeper look into Mister Kerry's appearance that led to his wonderful statement, you can read about it over at Michelle Malkin's place.

But it gets even better!

He was then kind enough to release a statement clarifying his previous comments.

“If anyone thinks a veteran would criticize the more than 140,000 heroes serving in Iraq and not the president who got us stuck there, they're crazy. This is the classic G.O.P. playbook. I’m sick and tired of these despicable Republican attacks that always seem to come from those who never can be found to serve in war, but love to attack those who did.

I’m not going to be lectured by a stuffed suit White House mouthpiece standing behind a podium, or doughy Rush Limbaugh, who no doubt today will take a break from belittling Michael J. Fox’s Parkinson’s disease to start lying about me just as they have lied about Iraq. It disgusts me that these Republican hacks, who have never worn the uniform of our country lie and distort so blatantly and carelessly about those who have.

The people who owe our troops an apology are George W. Bush and Dick Cheney who misled America into war and have given us a Katrina foreign policy that has betrayed our ideals, killed and maimed our soldiers, and widened the terrorist threat instead of defeating it. These Republicans are afraid to debate veterans who live and breathe the concerns of our troops, not the empty slogans of an Administration that sent our brave troops to war without body armor.

Bottom line, these Republicans want to debate straw men because they’re afraid to debate real men. And this time it won’t work because we’re going to stay in their face with the truth and deny them even a sliver of light for their distortions. No Democrat will be bullied by an administration that has a cut and run policy in Afghanistan and a stand still and lose strategy in Iraq.”

(h/t Matt over at Blackfive for this)

Ok, lemme get this straight. You insult my husband for not being smart enough to avoid getting "stuck" in Iraq. And then you have the audacity to call ME "crazy" for seeing that comment as an insult? You're batting 1.000 right now Mister Kerry.

I believe the old saying goes, "Better to keep your mouth shut and be thought a fool rather than open it and remove all doubt."

Stupidity should be painful.

People voted for this asshat? Good grief.

I hope McCain, Duncan Hunter, and the rest of the GOP and the military at large eat him alive. Let us see how quickly his allies jump to his defense - at least that will give you a clear picture of who truly supports and believes in our military and who does not. (some may not need the real-life example; for others it may come in handy)

And, for the record, I happen to think that my husband is one of the smartest people I know. It has nothing to do with his college education (though he does have a college degree) and EVERYTHING to do with his brain. But vanity and superficiality prevent Mister Kerry from understanding that about my husband or any other member of the Armed Services.


- hfs



MacGyver and I have a friend that we've known since college (he and MacGyver were fraternity brothers and roommates) and he has been injurred and is on his way to Germany. Can anyone track down some information on him for me? I know I'm not family - he does not have a wife at this time - and I'd like to get some information to MacGyver if possible.

Please, if anyone can track down some information about him, contact me at homefrontsix-at-yahoo-dot-com


UPDATE:Thank you MaryAnn for all of your help. Our friend is on his way to Germany and in good hands. His condition seems to be non-critical so that is a blessing. We are so thankful.



Defiant Iraqi PM disavows timetable

"I affirm that this government represents the will of the people and no one has the right to impose a timetable on it," the prime minister said.

As long as OUR service members are there, putting THEIR lives on the line because YOU and your government and the people of YOUR country can't find the balls necessary to stand up to the foreign fighters and tell them to go the @&%$ home so that you all can get on with your lives and not live in CONSTANT fear, and as long as OUR country is sending MY tax dollars over there to rebuild your freaking country because you people ONCE AGAIN couldn't find the backbone to stand up to a freaking lunatic dictator...YOU BET YOUR ASS WE HAVE THE RIGHT IMPOSE TIMETABLES!

You represent the "will of the people"? Then step up and start protecting them so WE DON'T HAVE TO. Didn't anyone ever tell you NOT to bite the hand that feeds you?? You might want to mosey on down to the market place, Mr. PrimeMinisterMan, and get you a new pair of underware because it seems to me that you are getting just a little to big for your britches.

Crowds of Shiite men, some carrying pistols and others hoisting giant posters of al-Sadr, swarmed onto the district's streets Wednesday morning, chanting, "America has insulted us."

Throughout the day and into the night, U.S. F-16 jet fighters growled across the Baghdad sky, and at one point the report of tank cannon fire echoed across the city five times in quick succession.

Streets were empty and shops closed, although the district still had electricity from the national power grid.

We've INSULTED you? Seriously? Really. Insulted? Seriously. We deposed one of the NASTIEST dictators on the face of the planet. You have a government that "represents the will of the people" (see quote at beginning of post). You have electricity in areas that haven't seen electricity EVER (yet you all choose to close up shop and go home rather than stay open and make money in order to improve your standard of living). And you have THE BEST military force in the world laying their lives on the line to the best of their ability (well, the best of their ability while limited by all sorts of bullshit politics and ridiculous concerns about "political correctness" and "winning hearts and minds") and yet WE insult YOU. Riiiight.

I am sick of this. I am sick of watching my husband and the rest of our military forces bust their ass for a nation that is unwilling to put forth even the most meager bit of effort when it comes to taking responsibility for themselves and their future. How DARE you??? You think it would be BETTER if we left? Yeah, we see how well you all did the last time we tucked tail and ran. You all got yourselves in an even deeper pile of dog doodoo.

So, no thanks. I'd rather we do this and do it right, and do it right now. Because I don't want my SON to have to clean up the THIRD round of this shit 15 years from now thankyouverymuch.

So, Mister PrimeMininsterMan, why don't you spend less time on your knees under Muqtada alSadr's desk and more time on your feet leading your country out of the f$@*&%$g dark ages so my husband can COME HOME?

Good freaking grief people. Seriously.


- hfs


Well, THAT'S a pisser

Our morning routine consists of the following:

1.) roust children from bed
2.) remind them to visit the bathroom
3.) mix up Carnation Instant Breakfast in sippy cups and distribute
4.) turn on TV to watch Dora the Explorer

It's a nice little routine. We like it. This morning I get to step 4 with no problem. I go to push the "ON" button at the bottom of the TV and it gives WAY! Darn thing falls INTO the control console!

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Hmm...I don't think it's supposed to DO that. We only have 1 TV. I do not believe in having TVs in the bedroom. So we have ONE. Thankfully we have a remote for this TV so hopefully it will continue to function, at least until MacGyver gets home for R&R and can tear into it. It's entirely too big and heavy for me to schlep to the repair shop nor do I really like the idea of being without it for however long it will take them to fix it.

We don't watch much TV but I am a single parent at the moment with 2 small children, very little sanity, and an approaching rainy season (therefore outside play will be limited). Can't say I'm really a fan of being without a TV for any period of time.

Lovely. Score one for the Deployment Gremlins. Little bastards. Heh.


- hfs


"Broke College Student" decor

Airforcewife has a post up about her decorating style over at SpouseBUZZ and it got me to thinking about my own decorating style (or lack, thereof).

When MacGyver and I were married, my father (a woodworker) asked me what I wanted as a wedding present. I told him I wanted a mission style bed made out of cherry wood. That and my photo albums and scrapbooks are really the only two things I own (can't speak for MacGyver on this one) that would cause me grief if they were to be damaged or destroyed. Everything else is either purely utilitarian in nature or a hand-me-down, or both. The leather sectional couch was given to us by MacGyver's parents when they got new furniture. The oak dining set came from an old cabin up in Big Bear. The china cabinet is actually an old stereo cabinet that we found at an antique store in Colorado. One of our dressers is MacGyver's old dresser from when he was a kid and the other is an old dresser we found at an antique store in Tennessee. Our computer desk is 2 filing cabinets and a slab of plywood.

All of it seems to hold up well to the abuse that the children and the military movers dish out to it. None of it is irreplacable. None of it is expensive (I had a hard time spending $400 on our entertainment center. I think that is the most I have EVER spent on a piece of furniture in my life.).

Our decor matches the style of our furniture. We have family pictures up but the focal point of our wall decor is 5 mounted and framed posters from The New Belgium Brewery in Fort Collins, Colorado. Yep, beer posters. What says "college" like beer posters?? Granted, they are nicely done and nicely framed but still, they are beer posters. However, I like them and they remind me of Colorado so they stay and always will. Maybe not always in the living room where they are right now but they will stay.

The only other piece of decor that really means much to us is the rug that MacGyver's brother sent us from Afghanistan.

EVENTUALLY I would like to get REAL furniture. Stores like Restoration Hardware, Ethan Allen, and Pottery Barn have always fascinated me. I walk through those stores and just drool. I would love to be stationed overseas if for no other reason than to be able to bring back some lovely furniture.

But the idea of the kids climbing all over it and leaving smudgy fingerprints on it or the movers destroying it is enough to give me ulcers. So the "real" furniture will have to wait until either the kids are older or the military movers are no longer a part of our lives. Maybe that will be part of the retirement celebration - new furniture to go in our new house. Ah, something to look forward to!

So, if you ask me what my "style" of decor is...I'd have to answer "lived in". Sounds better than "broke college student", doesn't it?

What's YOUR style?


- hfs

For us.

Got this from a friend and, although it refers specifically to Army wives, I think it holds true for all military spouses.


For all of you who wake up in the morning, lay there for a few moments, trying to swallow the sick feeling in the pit of your stomach as you wonder where your soldier is, or how he's doing...this is for you.

For all of you who start a countdown the minute he leaves, and continue to until he is back in your arms again...this is for you.

For all of you who tear up everytime "Far Away" comes on the radio, or who press repeat when "Come Home Soon" plays in their car...this one's for you.

For all of you who see Army billboards, ads in the paper, or commercials on TV and next notice the tears rolling down your cheeks, this is for you.

This is for you.

I am one of you too. This is for us.

For all the times we sleep with our phones on the loudest possible volume, just as to not miss the call that just MIGHT come...

For all the times we roll our eyes when another girl is depressed because she hasn't seen her guy in a week...

For all the times we hear our soldier's name mentioned out loud, and are momentarily frozen...in a trance...in love.

For all the late nights that we spend alone, cuddling with our stuffed animals, wearing our soldiers army sweatshirts and sweatpants, and clutching the precious dog tags around our necks...

This one's for us.

We may feel weak on the inside, but on the outside we're strong.
We may be drowning in tears on the inside, but on the outside, we are a rock.
We may want to crawl in bed and sleep until our man comes home, but instead, we get up and go on with our daily lives with our men in our hearts.
We may feel like we're slowly dying with each day we spend apart from our men, but instead, we put one foot in front of the other, and take each day as it comes.

We are strong, and we are proud.
We have more love in our hearts than we ever thought possible, and for this, we are thankful. We are thankful for our men and also for each other. We are Army gals, and we lean on each other.

Alone we are weak, but together, we are strong. We help each other, and we survive.

To all you Army (and the rest of you dealing with deployments) gals out there, hold your head up and be proud.

We are connected, ALWAYS.


- hfs


So, Grasshopper, what did you learn?

The Big Island quake that rolled everyone here out of bed (or shook them out of bed, depending on who you talk to and what kind of bed they were sleeping in at the time) was a good dress rehearsal for other, more serious, emergencies that may arise in the future.

I grew up in Southern California. My father is a Safety Engineer by trade. He has worked for an international construction firm as well as the Southern California Gas Company in the field of safety. The man is, bless his heart, a walking public service announcement. Needless to say, I NEVER ran with scissors (or a lollipop in my mouth) and I always have disaster preparedness supplies on hand. Not that I would have ever wanted to actually experience Hurricane Katrina but if I had to live through that (assuming that my house was not flooded or blown away) I would have done just fine, thankyouverymuch. It would not have been pretty and there would have been much crying and gnashing of teeth but I would have been just fine.

However, as prepared as one may be, there are always lessons to be learned. My friend discusses the things she learned over at her blog. Some of our lessons were the same (or similar. I would have used 100-mile-per-hour tape but that's just because I'm a nerd) and some were not (our 4 food groups for the earthquake aftermath were peanut butter, chocolate, beer, and pretzels). So what did I learn? Here are a few things:

1.) that my husband being a battery hound is actually a GOOD thing! (I usually give him grief over this) We have MagLites and they use D batteries and we had plenty of those. The kids each have small flashlights that usually don't have batteries in them and I had plenty of AA batteries for those. (Thanks babe!)

2.) that I need more water on hand. I was able to fill the tubs with water and fill up the stock pot and a few jugs I have with water. I also had a case of bottled water in the outside fridge in case we needed it but I think we need more, just to be safe. I also had bleach on hand and I *think* there are water purification tablets in the big, giant camping box. If not, I'll add those in. Funny thing is, I did not drink a DROP of water all day long. We drank the milk (didn't want it to spoil) and then we drank the juice (didn't want that to spoil). And then we moved on to the pina colada mix that was in the fridge (definitely didn't want THAT to spoil nor did we want to waste the ice we had on keeping other things cold!). Priorities, people!

3.) that I needed a car charger for my cell phone (which I have now). God forbid I not be able to TALK to people (or at least send text messages). However, right about the time my cell phone was beginning to die, it dawned on me that we have 2 power inverters. Woohoo! I hooked one up and just as I was getting ready to plug my phone in, the power came back on. God is good!

4.) that we CAN go 24+ hours without the TV (or the computer) and survive. And we will. From now on, Sundays will be "TV Free Days" (unless someone is sick...namely me). Amazingly enough, my children had no trouble whatsoever entertaining themselves without the television.

5.) that I'm really glad I have the cell phone I have because I was able to get instant message and MSN Messenger on it (my old phone didn't have that capability) though the connection was spotty at times.

6.) that news travells fast. I got a text message from MacGyver less than an hour after the quake hit. Not bad for a guy in Iraq! The even better thing was that he did not worry about me. His faith in my capabilities is incredibly flattering.

7.) that, as much as I chide him for it, I am greatful that my husband is so mechanically inclined and such a gadget hound. He had several items in the garage that were of use to me during the power outage.

8.) that I need to go do some target practice with the Beretta because I've never fired it before. I've fired the Sig but not the Beretta and I'm not sure what the kick is like. And it's been a while since I've fired anything and I'm sure I need practice. When someone is breaking into my house or threatening my family...that is NOT the time to practice.

9.) that I am greatful for our gas grill (and camping stove if I really needed it) but I want a generator too. Not a big one, just a small one.

10.) that there is much fun to be had with raincoats and umbrellas when there is no power and nothing better to do

11.) that the trade winds are a wonderful thing. I miss them when they are not here. Blech.

12.) that s'mores taste even better when the power is out!

Oh, and Haole Girl...did you save any of those graham crackers to dip INTO the chocolate frosting? THAT would have been close to perfect!


- hfs


POA or is that POS?

Interesting discussion about Powers of Attorney going on over at SpouseBuzz. It's amazing that one little piece of paper can wield so much power and yet be so useless in some situations.


- hfs

Colorado Dreamin'

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MacGyver and I are approaching our 10 year anniversary next year. Should be happening about the time he gets home from the sandbox. One of the things that has helped me keep my sanity is planning our 10 year anniversary getaway.

He and I attended college at Colorado State and we both feel in love with Colorado. We miss it TERRIBLY and we both hope and pray that DA (department of the Army) gets their act together and moves 4ID up to Fort Carson, Colorado (near Colorado Springs) SOON as that would mean that there would be an active-duty Chinook unit in Colorado. Anyway, I digress.

We fell in love with the state and we miss it terribly. So, for our 10 year anniversary, I am planning a week-long get-away for the two of us to our adopted home-state sometime next fall. I'm trying to skimp in some areas (using frequent flier mileage and companion tickets for airfare discounts, renting a cheap car instead of a luxury car) so that we may splurge in other areas such as lodging and food. One of the options I have found, in terms of lodging is a WONDERFUL hotel called the Hotel Teatro downtown. It looks YUMMY. I can almost smell the pine trees and crisp mountain air as I type.

Can you tell I miss it??

While we are there, we will most definitely hit up our favorite restaurant on the planet, The Flagstaff House. Hell, it's our anniversary and MacGyver has put up with me for 10 years (15 if you count all the years we will have been together). I think we should go TWICE and we just might. We will also be stopping at Beau Jo's for pizza, New Belgium and O'Dell's for beer, and Walrus Ice Cream for dessert.

I'm also hoping we can work this trip so taht we can catch a Colorado State Football game (GO RAMMIES!!! BEAT WYO!!!) and possibly a Rockies game too.

This is my way of coping, I suppose. I could spend hours on line just looking up all things relating to Colorado. I've never been so homesick for a location before in my life. Not even when I left my hometown years ago. So I plan.

I plan.

I dream.

I wait (somewhat) patiently.

Because not only will we vacation there for our 10 year anniversary, we plan to retire there someday too.

Someday. *sigh*

I can't wait.

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- hfs

Rocking and Rolling in the Pacific

First, those of you having a drink on my "behalf" please be aware that I am drinking right along with you! I'd much rather drink WITH someone as opposed to alone ;)

**For those of you living under rocks, Hawai'i was nailed with a magnitude 6.6 earthquake Sunday morning about 7am. It was centered under the Big Island of Hawai'i which is the southernmost island in the state and the Big Island was what took the brunt of the damage. However that damage was limited and I have not heard anything about casualties. **

Everyone in our house is good though I'm pretty sure I aged a bit this morning. Having grown up in Southern California with a father who was both a safety engineer and an employee of the Southern California Gas Company, I am well-versed in earthquakes, aftershocks, and disaster preparedness. The first thing I did this morning (after downing a shot of chocolate tequila) was get out the gun, shut off the breakers to the important stuff, and store a bunch of water. My daddy didn't raise a fool ;)

Power came back on about 3pm and has been spotty since. But it seems to be back on for good at this point. Still not sure about the water supply - there was talk about water shortages due to the power outage but I'm not sure what's up with that since the Hawaii Civil Defense website is down (go figure). We're ok with that for now. Hopefully it will hold out long enough to get the kids bathed.

The earthquake itself was pretty impressive. I had just hit the snooze button for the second time and things started rocking and rolling. I'm not a fan of earthquakes by any means so I had to remind myself not to panic and to breathe but it started to taper off so I started to relax. Then the second jolt hit and things got dicey so I bolted downstairs to check on the kids. They were still asleep so I hung out in the doorway until the shaking stopped. Power went out about 5-10 minutes later. We had decent-sized aftershock about 5-10 minutes after that and I have not felt anything since.

Preliminary reports put the magnitude at about 6.6 with the large aftershock measuring 5.8. Impressive by any standards. Even more impressive that the worst thing to happen was some damage to the hospital on the Big Island of Hawaii, some possible damage to bridges on the Big Island, and the power outage (statewide).

So we're good. Thank God for cell phones. I was able to text message and talk to MacGyver and reassure him that we are ok. I was able to stay in touch with most people via IM/Yahoo on my phone though it was spotty and still is. Thanks for the prayers, kind thoughts, and concern!


- hfs


If anyone finds my brain

can you please send it back to me? Seems I have lost mine.

Wednesday night I had a class on post. My neighbor watched the kids for me. The audio/visual equipment wasn't working so class got out early. Cool beans. I had time to hit the commissary and even stop at Baskin Robbins for ice cream before I needed to come home and get the kids. I got what I needed at the commissary and grabbed a sundae at BR. Came home, put the groceries away and the ice cream in the freezer for after the kids went to bed.

We did our bedroom routine and the kids were in bed by 830. I tidied up the kitchen and the house (because my OCD doesn't allow me to leave dishes in the sink...) and then proceded to FORGET about the sundae. Yes, I forgot about my ice cream. Those of you who know me personally KNOW how out-of-character this is for me.

Once I was done with tidying up, I decided to sit down watch some of the shows I had on DVR. And I decided to pour myself a drink. So I went into my clean kitchen and poured the drink. I decided to change into my jammies before I sat down to relax so I went upstairs and changed. When I came down, I plopped down on the couch and, again, forgot about what I had prepared for myself. I watched my shows and then headed upstairs to bed.

I came down the next morning to find the drink on the counter and the sundae still in the freezer.

I am losing my mind.

So if anyone finds it, can you please send it back? Please? Thanks.


- hfs


Oh God, not again.

Plane Crashes into Apartment Building in New York

Please, God, not again. Not again.

Ali'i Beach Sunset

As if 5 days at the beach in Kauai weren't enough, we made it up to the North Shore and Ali'i Beach the day after we got back to O'ahu. We stayed long enough to catch a beautiful sunset.

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- hfs



Jack Army has a post up about choices. Even though he and his family are stationed here with us, I have not yet had the pleasure of meeting them though I feel, in some ways, that I already know them. I've been reading his blog for a while - long before they moved here.

Some folks might say, "easy decision: I'm never leaving the wire! Won't get shot that way." Others might decide to go on every mission. It's not so easy as that. First, I can't go on every mission. Sometimes I have things to do on the FOB that are pretty important. As for never leaving the wire, not gonna happen. Here's what I wrestle with: if I don't go and my guys get hurt, am I going to be able to deal with the guilt I'll feel because I didn't go? Is there something I could have done that would have made a difference?

It is interesting to get a different perspective on things like this. A few weeks ago, MacGyver was finally in line to start flying again. We were chatting on Instant Messenger and he told me he was on the board to fly the next day and was VERY excited. I was too...for about 2 seconds. Until it dawned on me that I would now truly start to have to worry about him.

See, prior to that, for about 6 weeks he had not been flying (LONG story). So, in my mind, he had been relatively safe. His CHU and the bulk of his work keep him toward the center of his FOB (forward operating base) and therefore away from most of the action that happens around the perimeter. He rarely went off base therefore I rarely needed to worry. He didn't have a choice. Now he does.

I worry about him. He's in a warzone and it's natural. I'm sure Jill Army worries about Jack in the same way. At the same time, I know that it is what he does and to expect him to sit behind a desk at the center of his FOB for a year is unrealistic and unfair.

But it sure would help ease my mind.

Be safe MacGyver. Be safe Jack and Clint.. Be safe.


- hfs



One of the best things about living in Paradise is the ability to get over to the other islands easily (and for little money). We snagged $29 fares and are hanging out on Kauai at the moment.

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This is the view from where we are staying. That's the North Shore of Kauai. It is beautiful on this island. I have not been to the Big Island yet (should be going over Christmas) but Kauai is my favorite island so far.

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Princess Trouble contemplating the universe.

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We spent Tuesday at Tunnels Beach on the North Shore. The snorkeling was incredible. From what I hear, it rivals Haunama Bay only not as crowded. We were able to hang out with 4 sea turtles, numerous Humuhumunukunukuapua'a, yellow tang, convict tang, parrot fish, and all sorts of other sea creatures. Princess Trouble is one hell of a snorkeler too! She pretty much ditched me and took off on her own.

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Taking a break from snorkeling.

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We miss you Daddy!

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Today we headed up Waimea Canyon. Oh, my goodness it was gorgeous! The elevation gave it a completely different feel from the rest of the island. I could easily LIVE there!

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This was as close as we could get to the Na Pali Coast. We had to hang around a bit for the fog to lift. It gave us a tease of a peek but that was enough!

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We took the Nature Walk at the Visitor Center up the canyon. Here is Princess Trouble posing under a tree bridge.

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Little Man spent the bulk of the day chasing the chickens and roosters around. In 1992, Hurricane Iniki roared through and destroyed several chicken farms. As a result, there are chickens EVERYWHERE. And I mean EVERYWHERE. Little Man had to have run at least a mile over the course of the day as he chased these birds around.

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Some of you have griped that there aren't enough pictures of me. I disagree but I'll relent. This is all you get.

Tomorrow we're heading back to the North Shore for some more snorkeling. I have an underwater camera so hopefully I can get some shots of the life underwater.


- hfs


The Foley Scandal

All I have to say on this issue is the following:

* Foley and the other Republicans who knew about this just cost the GOP control of the House. Thanks you dumbasses. Those that knew need to step down and face prosecution for being an accessory to a felony.

* It appears to me that there were some Democrats that were aware of what was going on as well. They should face the same fate as the Republicans that knew. Then again, the Democratic leadership or party did not seem to think that lying under oath, engaging in a sexual relationship with a minor, or running a prostitution ring from the home of a Representative worthy of any kind of prosecution or consequence, I doubt that will happen.

Foley needs to fry. But the difference between the GOP and the Democratic party is that Foley was booted the moment conclusive evidence came to light. The Democrats still hail Slick Willy as the Second Coming. Big difference.

Regardless, it is all disgusting.


- hfs

Happiness is...

...finding a box of See's Candy up in the cupboard when you thought you had eaten it all.


- hfs


"Quiet Clay"

Reid, over at A Storm in Afghanistan posted this article today from the September 26, 2006 edition of the European Stars and Stripes.

By Dr. (Col.) W. Thomas Frank
European edition, Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Editor’s Note: This column appeared Sept. 26 on the Opinion page in the Mideast, European and Pacific editions.

It’s Sunday in Afghanistan.

I was sitting — completing some clerical task or other — when the patient administration clerk stood at the door.

“Sir, mortuary affairs needs a doctor.”

“What?” I replied. “The last place they should need a doctor is mortuary affairs.”

“No, sir. They need a doctor to sign some death certificates.”

Usually on a Sunday, I can finish my work a little early and take some time off in my hooch — watch a movie, read or nap. I was eager to do so now.

I walked to the ER to see if the doc there was busy. If not, he could do this. This is a task that would usually fall upon the ER doc, but I suspected he was engaged. The telltale sound of a chopper outside suggested more business was at hand. The doc in the ER was working on a wounded American soldier.

“All right, I’ll go,” I muttered, an irritated edge in my voice.

The mortuary affairs sergeant picked me up in his white van — unmarked except for a white placard in the window that declared “Mortuary Affairs” for all to see. We drove up the ironically named “Disney Drive” — which is, in fact, named for a dead American soldier rather than for the fairy tale king — until we came to the little plywood hut that is mortuary affairs.

Outside were several stacks of oblong aluminum boxes labeled “head” on one end and “feet” on the other. Inside the building was cool and it had a tiled floor — a distinctly unusual feature for these field buildings. The tile here of course has a purpose. It can be easily washed, and there is a drain in the center.

In the middle of the room were three stretchers on stretcher stands. On each stretcher was a body bag.

“Here you go,” said a soldier who handed me a clipboard with a piece of paper on it. A death certificate.

He walked over to the first bag and, without flourish, unzipped it and pulled it open. Before me lay a young man perhaps 19 or 20. His eyes closed. His uniform in tatters. The flesh of his face and torso seared a brown color but not blackened.

Across his chest and flanks, large patches of flesh hung off in loose swatches. There was a large wound in his lower left leg.

I picked up the clipboard and stared blankly at the form.

“Cause of death.” What was it? That leg wound clearly wasn’t the cause.

I asked the soldier to lift the head of the corpse so I would know if there was any obvious brain injury. No. The head was intact. His mouth and nose were clearly burned, however. The last gulps of air he took into his lungs were on fire. He died of “burns.”

The next bag was unzipped. I stepped back. It was a woman. I hadn’t expected a woman.

Her arms were reaching up in front of her, her fingers having a grasping aspect — as if they were trying to steal back life from the lifeless air around her.

Where her head should have been, there was only a chin. Her uniform blouse was pulled up a bit revealing a regulation brown T-shirt tucked into her trousers.

Her belt, I noted, was exactly like mine. Store-bought, nonissue variety. It was pulled tight — just the way she had done it yesterday morning. Tomorrow someone else would loosen it.

I picked up the clipboard. “Cause of death.” I obviously couldn’t write “head blown off.” I thought for a minute. “Traumatic brain injury.” I first printed, then signed my name.

In the clerk’s office of this girl’s hometown, three pieces of paper would likely summarize her life — a birth certificate, a marriage certificate and a death certificate.

Now the third bag was opened. This soldier looked younger. His face was less altered by death. Aside from a few places where his skin was scorched, his face looked like that of one asleep.

Strange, I thought. He looks a little like me.

Below his neck his uniform was in disarray. His skin was burnt. There was a large defect in his groin where his thigh joined the hip, both legs nearly separated below the knees. “Cause of death — burns.”

I stood back. It was so quiet. A poet once referred to a corpse as “quiet clay.” How odd, I thought when I first read it. How true, I thought, as I looked upon these three dead American soldiers. They never expected to die. Given a choice they would not be dead now.

They, like me, had read each day the names and number of the day’s dead in our newspaper, Stars and Stripes. They, like me, never thought their names would one day appear. They were driving down the road. They never saw the blast. Their vehicle was engulfed in flames. One had died in the explosion — instantly. The other two could not get out before being consumed by the fire. So now there were three dead American soldiers.

They were dealt a bad hand. Today I considered something I had never before given much thought — the fact that I, too, am playing at the same table.

I have six more months of hands to play. Six more months of hands to be dealt. Like me, they too were married. They too expected to return to their lives again. When they pulled their belts tight … they expected to loosen them again. Now someone else will loosen them.

I felt some shame for the frustration that I had expressed before coming here.

The driver took me back to the hospital. The duty physician and a couple of other docs were still working on our fresh casualties in the ER.

I finished my work at my desk without much heart and was surprised when the loudspeaker system announced there would be a fallen comrade ceremony in one hour. The bodies would be flown out today. I hadn’t expected that.

At the appointed time, I joined the commander and the sergeant major and we drove out to the airfield where a C-17 was waiting with the ramp down. The senior officers of the installation stood on the tarmac nearest the airplane, as they always do for these occasions.

All along the road for a mile or so — from mortuary affairs to the airfield — soldiers lined up to pay their respects to the “quiet clay” as it proceeded to the airfield. For these few minutes most, I suspect, were aware that we are all playing at the same table — and every day each of us is dealt a new hand. Soon we were called to attention and then, to the strains of the dead march, the colors passed by and the aluminum boxes were carried past, now draped with flags.

I go to ceremonies like this at least once or twice a week. But today was different. I had seen these soldiers — I knew what was in those boxes.

Usually, once the coffins have been brought up the ramp, we stand at attention on the tarmac, while the generals and a few of those who served with the dead go up the ramp of the airplane and pay respects at the boxes themselves. Today we went into the airplane, too, because two of them were medics.

Each person in the plane walked past the coffins and knelt — most in prayer. I rested my hand on each box and said to myself, “I’m sorry this happened to you.”

Tomorrow, when I cinch my belt, I will think of three dead American soldiers and I will think of my wife and my daughter and of home.


- hfs


Stupid shipping policies...

Can someone (preferably someone who works for Target) explain to me WHY I can order a coffee table to be delivered to my OCONUS address but I can't order 2 MATCHING end tables to be delivered to the same damn address?

The end tables are SMALLER and LIGHTER yet they are only delivered to the 48 mainland states. However, the coffee table that is BIGGER and HEAVIER is deliverable.





All of this would not be an issue if Target would just get their act together and BUILD ONE HERE!!! Sheesh.


- hfs



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I cannot say enough about this book. Actually, I was so moved that I can't say anything at all. Words fail me. This book is incredible and I would recommend it to everyone - military and civilian. It is honest, real, hard-hitting, touching, and powerful. It made me laugh, cry, and scream all within 1 chapter.

And now, it is being offered FREE to all enlisted soldiers.

From Simon & Schuster (via SpouseBUZZ):

We're giving away free eBooks of The Blog of War, by Matthew Currier Burden, to all enlisted military personnel. It's a front line look at life inside the war zones in Iraq and Afghanistan by some of the best military bloggers in the field today. Read the powerful personal stories of soldiers in combat, med-evac units and hospitals, and spouses who must cope when a loved one has paid the ultimate price.

Just have your servicemember go to The Blog Of War e-book FREE for enlisted soldiers to download your copy today!

*** The password to unlock the download is BLOGWAR***

I am getting ready to order multiple copies to give as Christmas gifts. It was THAT good.


- hfs


Calling BS

Bill Clinton Defends bin Laden Handling

Clinton accused host Chris Wallace of a "conservative hit job" and asked: "I want to know how many people in the Bush administration you asked, 'Why didn't you do anything about the Cole?' I want to know how many people you asked, 'Why did you fire Dick Clarke?'"


Clinton said he "worked hard" to try to kill bin Laden.

"We contracted with people to kill him. I got closer to killing him than anybody's gotten since," he said.

He told Wallace, "And you got that little smirk on your face and you think you're so clever, but I had responsibility for trying to protect this country. I tried and I failed to get bin Laden. I regret it, but I did try and I did everything I thought I responsibly could."


Um, I'm going to have to call bullshit. Clinton's presidency was a joke and a waste. A waste of opportunity on so MANY levels, not the least of which were Clinton's wasted opportunities to PREVENT 9/11, the Cole attack, and many other precursors to 9/11. He wasted the opportunity to accept bin Laden from the Sudanese who served him up to us on a SILVER PLATTER. But Slick Willie was too busy getting lovin' from the interns and lying to Congress to be effectual in any way, shape, or form.

His temper tantrum is pathetic, just like his presidency was. He realizes this now and is making a last-ditch effort to influence how history views his time in office. Unfortunately, it's a matter of too little, too late.

UPDATE: Jake Tapper sets the record straight when it comes to Bill Clinton's perspective on history.
(h/t Instapundit)


- hfs


So close and yet, so far...

The internet is a wonderful thing. Before I met MacGyver, I dated a guy whose brother was in the Navy. When Desert Storm hit, he shipped off and left behind a wife, a 4 year old son, and a newborn baby girl. There really wasn't internet access then. Because of what he did, letters were rare and phone calls a miracle. He was gone for 6 months I believe. And for his wife, I'm sure those 6 months were the longest 6 months of her life.

When my Grampa shipped off to the South Pacific during WWII, letters and telegrams were incredibly rare. I don't know how long my Grampa was gone for but I am sure it was a long time and probably the longest months or years of my Grama's life.

This deployment...this WAR...is different in terms of the family's deployment experience. We have e-mail. We have Instant Messenger. We have webcams. We have Video Teleconferences. What a blessing it is to speak with my husband on an almost daily basis?? My children can see him - actually SEE him - and talk to him on the computer. No standing in 3 hour-long lines to use the phone. No 20 cents a minute calling cards. MacGyver, being the techno-stud that he IS, is in charge of setting up internet access for the people in his unit so that they can access the internet in their housing units. So, not only can we see and talk to him, he can see and talk to us in the privacy of his own CHU (containerized housing unit).

And then there is the saying, "So close and yet, so far."

So true.

Sometimes I feel like there is a cruel joke being played out. He's <-----> that close to us. Yet he's thousands of miles away. I can see him. I can hear him. I can talk to him. All wonderful blessings and I am so incredibly greatful for all of them.


(there's always a "but", isn't there?) I can't hold him. I can't feel his arms around me. I can't smell him (given the 120*F heat, this might be a good thing). I can't bring him a beer at the end of a crappy day. I can't kiss him or touch him or watch him hold my children. I can't feel him in bed next to me when the panic attacks set in or a bad dream dares to set foot in my mind. I can't run to him when I have had a crappy day (see post below) and feel the comfort in his arms.

All the other times that he has left, there was an emptiness right below my sternum until he got back. Like a piece of me - an integral piece - was missing. That emptiness is still there but it is also accompanied by a weight that I cannot seem to shake. Even on my best days, it plagues me. Almost like there is a large rock sitting on my chest, trying to cave in that empty space that waits for him.

So I stay up late and wake up early in the hopes of catching him on line. The possibility of seeing his face and chit-chatting with him on-line is enough to see me through the bleary afternoons due to lack of sleep. I pack care packages and hope that he can feel our love for him over thousands and thousands of miles. I show my children the pictures I have of him on the computer and we talk about how far away Iraq is. We talk about why Daddy is there and when he will be home. We talk about all of the wonderful, mundane things we plan to do while he is "home on vacation" (R&R). We plan and plan and plan. Because it keeps us sane until he logs on again.

And then we go back to having him "so close and yet, so far" away.

***cross-posted at SpouseBUZZ


- hfs


Wrote this six years ago. Nothing's changed.  One of my favorite movies is 'Bull Durham'. And one of my favorite scenes in ...