Mile High

The panic attacks seem to have subsided though I am most definitely still counting the days until I see my kids again. I still have no idea what triggered it all - they are in wonderful hands and are being spoiled rotten by grandparents, aunts, and uncles. Three and a half more days and they will be in my arms again.

In the mean time, Colorado is wonderful. Every time I come back here, I ask myself why we left. Damn Army. That's ok though - we will get back here. We're already starting to scope out job possibilities and places to live. Granted, we're talking a good 10 years down the road but, as I've seen in the first 10 years of my marriage, time flies when you're having fun and sooner than we know it, our time to move back will be here.

One of the first things we did after we got here was to take a trip on the Ski Train up to Winter Park. It was COLD but beautiful. We met some wonderful and interesting people including a man who was a Chaplain's assistant during the Vietnam War who now teaches at CU, a gentleman visiting from Montana, another from Australia who was going to both the Bronco's game and the Denver Nuggets' game and then on to New Orleans while here in the states. The conductor was a hoot as was our car host who played the harmonica. And we also met a gentleman who tunes pianos for a living. Little did I know they make $100 per hour!

Our train car.

We landed in Denver just minutes before Unite Airlines canceled 166 flights into and out of DIA due to a big snowstorm. This was followed by a strong cold front. BRR. It was 2* when we woke up the morning of our train trip and the temp at the top of the mountain in Winter Park when we got there was all of -15*. Thankfully, we did not ski.




We tooled around the town of Winter Park for a bit and found a lovely buffalo to pose with me. Thankfully he wasn't as big as buffalo usually are. Nor was he very mobile.

It was still really freaking cold when MacGyver asked me to stop for a picture. Needless to say, I wasn't very happy about it.

Union Station at night, lit up for the holidays.

Saturday night, we had reservations at our favorite restaurant, The Flagstaff House. They knew we were celebrating our 10 year anniversary and had our menus printed with "Happy Anniversary" at the top (which they then wrapped up for us to take home) and presented us with a wonderful tray of petit fours following desert. We were so full from all of the wonderful food that we had to wrap up the goodies to take back with us.


Sunday morning we rousted ourselves from our food-induced coma and headed off to meet up with several of MacGyver's fraternity brothers to tailgate before the Denver Broncos/Minnesota Vikings game. Thankfully, the Broncos decided to actually show up to this game and won, 22-19 though they had to rely on Jason Elam to save their sorry butts in overtime.


There were a few odd sights at the game, including "FroMan" and "The Walking Car Wash", below.

They looked like something out of a Muppets' nightmare.

Yes, these are the people we went to college with.

We're giving the new Nikon D40 a workout. It was a great Christmas gift from MacGyver's parents. We still have a few days of our trip left and we're looking forward to driving up the Front Range and visiting old haunts. And maybe scoping out some property...


- hfs


I am pathetic.

MacGyver and I are on a week-long getaway in Colorado. We didn't get a chance to celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary this past fall so we booked a trip to Colorado as part of our Christmas mainland trip. Complete with nice hotel room, visits with old friends (we went to college in Colorado in the 90s), lots of good food, tickets on a ski train up to one of the resorts, and tickets to the Denver Broncos/Minnesota Vikings football game.

Sounds like fun, right?

The kids are spending the week with grandparents (along with assorted other family members including my best friend!) and will get to go to Disneyland, the LaBrea Tar Pits, and the Rose Parade. They are thrilled!

Sounds like fun, right?

I'm a mess. I had a lovely little panic attack last night after I tucked them in and actually found myself hoping that my appendix would burst or a horrible snow storm would strike Denver and we wouldn't be able to go. I miss them terribly. Horribly.

I am pathetic.

I am doing my best to have a good time here. Really, I am. MacGyver has been wonderful and sympathetic. And I *am* looking forward to all that we have planned here.

But I'm also counting the days until I can get back to my kids.


- hfs


You Better Watch Out!


To: ALL Personnel
From: Goode, U. B., MG, Commanding

Reference: Operation Order 12-15-07 for: Official Visit of Lieutenant General Santa Claus

1. An official staff visit by Lieutenant General Claus is expected at your house on 25 December. The following directives govern activities of all soldiers during the visit.

a. Not a creature will stir without permission. This includes warrant officers and mice. Soldiers may obtain special stirring permits for necessary administrative action through the Battalion S-. Officer stirring permits must be obtained through the Deputy, Post Plans and Policy Office.

b. All personnel will settle their brains for a long winter nap NLT 2200, 24 December. Uniform for the nap will be: Pajamas, Cotton, Light Weight, General Purpose, ACU pattern, and Cap, Elf, Woodland Pattern w/White Fur Trim and Ball. Wear of the beret is not authorized. Equipment will be drawn from the supply room prior to 2130. While at supply, all personnel will review their personal hand receipts and sign a Cash Collection Voucher, DD Form 1131, for all missing items. Remember, this is the "season of giving."

c. Personnel will utilize standard "MRE" ration sugar plums for visions to dance through their heads. Sugar plums are available in "MRE" ration sundry packs and should be eaten with egg loaf, chopped ham, and spice cake to ensure maximum visions are experienced.

d. Stockings, Wool, Cushion Sole, will be hung by the chimneys with care. Necessary safety precautions will be taken to avoid fires caused by carelessly hung stockings. First Sergeants will submit stocking handling plans to S-3, Training prior to 0800, 24 December. All Platoon Sergeants will ensure their subordinate personnel are briefed on the safety aspects of stocking hanging.

e. Upon first indications of clatter, all personnel will spring from their bunks to investigate and evaluate the cause. Immediate action will be taken to tear open the shutters and throw up the window sashes. On order OPLAN 7-2006 (North Pole), paragraph 6-8 (c)(3), dated 4 March, this office, takes effect to facilitate shutter tearing and sash throwing. Non-Commissioned Officers will be familiar with procedures and are responsible for seeing that no shutters are torn or sashes thrown in house prior to the start of official clatter.

f. Prior to 0001, date of visit, all personnel possessing Night Vision Devices will be assigned "wandering eyeball" stations. The CompanyBattery/Troop First Sergeants will ensure that these stations are adequately manned even after shutters are torn and sashes are thrown.

g. The Battalion S-4, in coordination with the National Security Agency and the Motor Pool will assign one each Sleigh, Miniature, M-24 and eight reindeer, tiny, for use by Lieutenant General Claus. The assigned driver must have a current sleigh operator's license with roof top endorsement and evidence of attendance at the winter driving class stamped on his DA Form 348. Driver must also be able to clearly shout "On Dancer, On Dasher, etc." Under no circumstances will CW4(r) Tuttle be assigned the duty, due to a special drective from ANGCOM.

2. Lieutenant General Claus will initially enter house through the Company/Battery/Troop Dayroom.

a. All houses without chimneys will draw Simulator,Chimney, M6A2 for use during the visit. Draw chimney simulator on DA Form 2765-1, which will be submitted in four copies to the S-4 prior to 23 24 December. Personnel will ensure that chimneys are properly cleaned before turn-in at the conclusion of visit.

3. All Non-Commissioned Officers will be rehearsed in the shouting of "Merry Christmas and Happy New Year" or "Merry Christmas To All and To All a Good Night." This shout will be given upon termination of the visit. Uniformity of shouting is the responsibility of each Company/Battery/Troop First Sergeant.

Mission First!
MG, Commanding

(stolen shamelessly from John who got it from Parrothead Jeff)


My Christmas gift

Merry Christmas to ME!!! I have laryngitis.

In the days before my 18th birthday, I had a cold. I woke up on my 18th birthday, walked into the living room, went to say good morning to my parents and all I could muster was a hoarse squeak. It was pathetic. So I spent my 18th birthday silent.

For those of you who know me personally, you know how big of a deal that was. Nothing short of a miracle.

Ever since, ever significant cold I get goes right to my vocal cords. I'd say I've lost my voice 10 times since the first time. Once, I even lost it prior to state swimming championships. It was interesting to coach a swim team with no voice.

Last week, Little Man was kind enough to share his cold with me. And of course, it went right to my voice. I think God is trying to tell me something.

Time for me to shut up.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. Thank you so much for all of your love and support this year. See you in 2008!


- hfs



I. Want. One.

For no other reason that it's cool and the commercial made me howl with laughter.

The interactive "break stuff" section on the website is hilarious too. Especially if you click on the bunny.


- hfs


It's that time!

I got a wild hair this week and felt the undeniable urge to purge. Our house. Specifically the kids' room. Part of that is due to the fact that it is coming up on Christmas and in our house, our kids each choose 3 toys (in good condition) to donate to a local charity in order to share their blessings and in order to make room for the gifts they will get from friends and family.

And part of that is timing.

We've been here almost 3 years.

For those of you well-versed in military life, that means it's almost time to move. Permanent Change of Station. PCS. The itch is getting stronger. There are weight limits to worry about.

Not really. We applied for, and were granted an extension. So we'll be here a little while longer. Which goes against every fiber of my military-wife nature. Three years is the longest I'm supposed to reside in any one place, right?

Even before I became a military spouse, I moved a lot. I lived in the same house until I was 18 but then my father retired and my parents moved to the other side of the country. I took off to college and, from that point on, moved 16 times in 17 years. Some were within the same town but moving is moving (it all sucks). When we had lived in Alaska for a year and a half, I found myself with the oddest urge to move. MacGyver came home one day and I had rearranged the entire living room. If I couldn't pack up and move, I would satisfy the urge one way or another. After that, it was off to Alabama for just over a year and a half and then on to Fort Campbell for a whopping 8 months.

The urge to move was being satisfied. Then we get here and have to move twice in a year. Woohoo! No itching there!

But now we've been in our current house for a year and a half and were just granted an extension. Needless to say, we'll be here for a while. Which is great but...now I'm getting the urge to pack stuff up and wave goodbye to it as it drives away in big, giant wooden boxes on a truck hoping that I see it all on the other end.

So I purge. I went through every single drawer, box, cubby; crawled under beds and moved furniture. The tally? 1 big, black trash bag to the dumpster (the Costco size trashbag), 5 board games for the Thrift Shop on post, 2 boxes of toys for the church nursery and preschool rooms, 2 trash bags of clothes to donate to Goodwill, and a helluva lot more space!

My closet is next.

By the time we actually DO leave this island, my hope is that we are far below the weight we came here with.

I'm off to ponder the fact that we are going to be living in the same spot longer than I've lived anywhere since I was eighteen! Gotta love military life.


- hfs




You feel like a candle in a hurricane
Just like a picture with a broken frame
Alone and helpless, like you've lost your fight
But you'll be alright, you'll be alright

'Cause when push comes to shove
You taste what your made of
You might bend 'til you break
'Cause it's all you can take
On your knees you look up
Decide you've had enough
You get mad, you get strong
Wipe you hands, shake it off
Then you stand, then you stand

Life's like a novel with end ripped out
The edge of a canyon with only one way down
Take what your given before it's gone
And start holdin' on, keep holdin' on

(Repeat chorus)

Every time you get up and get back in the race
One more small piece of you starts to fall into place - yeah

(Repeat chorus)

Yeah then you stand - yeah
Yeah, baby
Woo hoo, Woo hoo, Woo hoo
Then you stand - yeah, yeah

I've been mulling this post over in my mind for a while. At SpouseBUZZ Live, one of the women in attendance stood up and discussed how some people lose their self-esteem while their husbands are deployed. This one of many things that she discussed that I disagreed with but we'll just focus on this one for now.

I found, while MacGyver was deployed, that my self-esteem actually rose. Soared, in fact. It was as if Rosie the Riveter had taken over my personna. While I recognized my limits, I felt as if there were very little that I could not do. Don't get me wrong...there were days where I felt like I could not last one more second with MacGyver gone. There were days where I prayed that the day of his homecoming would magically be the next day.

But for the most part, life's every day catastrophes and speed bumps failed to truly get me down. Based on the "testimony" of some of the women in attendance at SpousBUZZ Live, I realize I had it relatively easy. But I had my fair share of run-ins with the deployment gremlins. And each time, after I had my "aw, shit!" moment, the can-do attitude would kick in and I'd keep moving forward. I think, during a deployment (much the same as in life) you have two choices when presented with an obstacle...either suck it up, stand, and drive on or admit defeat, curl up, and die.

Maybe it's the red hair. Or the stubborn streak. Or both. But I've never been one to admit defeat or give up. So I sucked it up, got back on my feet, and kept moving forward. And every time I did, it added to the feeling that I *could* do this. I might not like it but I could do it.

And I learned a lot while MacGyver was gone. About myself. About my kids. About how to fix washing machines and air conditioning compressors. And there is a part of me - small, though it may be - that is actually looking forward to his next deployment. (weird, I know)

I'm looking forward to doing it even better next time. To accomplishing more of the goals I set for myself. To tackling challenges head on. This deployment was our first and I learned a lot. And, while I realize that no two deployments are ever the same, I know more of what to expect next time around.

So does your self-esteem suffer while your spouse is gone? Or do you find yourself rising to the occasion? Do you stand?


- hfs


Holiday expectations

Toad has a good post about expectations this holiday season over at SpouseBUZZ. And he's right. People's expectations are so high. And we buy into it.

At Princess Trouble's school, the expectation exists that goody bags will be provided for every holiday. And I'm not just talking about the biggies - Christmas and Halloween. We're talking Valentine's Day, St. Patrick's Day, and Columbus Day. Oh, yeah, and your kid's birthday.

Yes, you are expected to provide gifts for your child's classmates on your child's birthday. I do not understand that concept. Nor do I abide by it. My children are demanding enough - a trait we are working diligently to eliminate - and do not need to be encouraged to want more. As parents, we do our best to encourage a desire to give as opposed to receive.

After Thanksgiving and before Christmas, the kids and I go through their toys (of which they have too many, if you ask me) and determine which toys they no longer play with as well as which toys they have outgrown. From amongst that group, they select 3 toys each to donate to a local charity or to church. They seem to enjoy thinking about which toys other children will enjoy the most which is exactly the train of thought I'm looking for.

For Christmas, they each get 3 gifts from us. A friend of mine a few years ago explained how she and her family did gifting. Their theory was that Jesus was given three gifts on his birthday (Christmas) - gold, frankincense, and myrrh - therefore their children each receive three gifts. I love the idea. I also love the fact that my kids (for the most part) get as excited about selecting gifts for others as they do about getting gifts themselves. Part of that could be the fact that they are shopping with someone else's money...but I'll take it any way I can get it.

This year, for our "local" friends, we are making goody boxes. Nothing fancy but sweet, nonetheless. The kids are helping and having a blast. When we get done putting them all together, the kids will give them out to our friends. They are looking forward to donning their Santa hats and passing out yummies!

I love this time of year. I love the opportunity it affords - even forces - us to teach our children how to have a joyous heart when it comes to giving.


- hfs

Oh look! A Chicken

Little Man does not like to have his picture taken. Not to mention the fact that my poor little Power Shot is not designed to take pictures of someone who moves at the speed of sound. I managed to snap a halfway decent picture of him this evening while we were goofing around.

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It looks like MacGyver is suffering from some form of PTSD after all...

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Last night, I had some friends over to play Bunco. My friend, 'Nifer, had been out of town and found me some coasters. They read, "I have ADD and no one understands...Oh look! A CHICKEN!!" It's SO true.

So, tonight, we're reading "The Tortise and the Hare" as a bedtime story. MacGyver was talking to Princess Trouble about staying focused and being diligent in pursuit of the goal (she's easily distracted...she's six). I piped up with "Oh look! A chicken!"
Princess Trouble's response? "WHERE?!?"

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She kills me.

Always fun around here!


- hfs


A Bleg on behalf of Fisher House Hawaii

I know it's the holiday season and money is probably tight. But the Fisher House here on the island is in need of some help. Their funds are short this year and they are only able to cover the basics for the 19 families currently residing at the 2 facilities here on the island. So housing, food, and utilities are covered but that is about it. The families are left to fend for themselves in terms of incidentals and activities.

This is where the bleg comes in. I am asking, on behalf of the Fisher House (they, themselves cannot solicit), for donations. I'll post a list at the bottom of the items that are needed but let me also add here a request for a few specific things. Fisher House Hawaii is in desperate need of discounts to local area attractions or even donated passes. Some examples of these attractions include:

Paradise Cove Luau
Germaine's Luau
Polynesian Cultural Center
The Hale Koa Luau
Sea Life Park
Hawaiian Waters Adventure Park
The Bishop Museum
Honolulu Zoo

The management at Fisher House Hawaii have also made a request for donations for "feel good" items - manicures, pedicures, massages, etc. Anything to make the families' time at the Fisher House less stressful and more enjoyable.

In addition to the above-listed activities, the need exists for the following items:

Permanent Items to remain at the Fisher House™:

Power Strips
Air Mattress w/pump
Karaoke CD’s
Wii Games
XBOX console and games
Patio Cushions
Picture Paper
Bake ware
Serving dishes

*Tripler Fisher Houses consists of 19 suites total, a common kitchen, laundry facilities, spacious dining room and an inviting living room with library, and toys for children.

Disposable items that will need to continually be replaced:

Laundry Soap High Efficiency(Tide)
Combs Wet wipes
blank CD’s
Hand Soap
DVD movies
Zip lock bags
Hand Sanitizer
Nail Clippers
Air fresheners
Music CDs
Video games
Cotton Balls
Garbage bags
Toilet paper
Sippy cups
Dixie cups
Paper towels
Shaving Cream
Coffee Creamer
Cooking oil
Hard candies
Coloring books
Carmex/lip balm
Board games
Disposable cameras
Feminine hygiene products
Art Supplies
Books adults/child
Picnic basket set

The have recently added a Menehune water system to the house, if you would like to purchase coupon for replacement bottles contact the Menehune water company so they can just use them as the bottles are emptied and would not need to worry about storage (which is limited).

As you can see, the need is great and yet small (in terms of the items requested). Anything you can offer would be great. You can look at the Fisher House Hawaii website directly and contact them to make a donation or you can contact me via this blog and I'll get you set up.



- hfs

Disappointed and frustrated

Today was NOT my day. About a week and a half ago, the local paper ran an article about a new program that the city was implementing. Seems they are facing an 18% vacancy rate in their EMT corps. So they decided to open up an "academy" and offer EMT training for free to interested candidates. In addition, they would pay candidates $2,917 per month during the training in exchange for a 2 year commitment to work for the city as an EMT.

Oh. My. Goodness. It was perfect.

See, I would love to be an EMT. I actually took the course while living in Southern California but never pursued employment because we moved to Colorado and there the going rate for EMTs was about $6.50 per hour. Not enough to make ends meet. At one point, I considered retaking the class while we were living in Alaska but then Princess Trouble decided to make her appearance in the world which automatically disqualified me from the program. That was ok - I'd much rather have her than my certification.

There is a great EMT program offered at one of the local community colleges on the island but the classes are $65 per credit AND I would have to figure out child care for Little Man and after-school care for Princess Trouble. Not the most financially wise situation, given the fact that student loans from college are still hanging around. So I set that idea aside as well.

Then this article came to my attention and I was SO excited. What a perfect opportunity! And, the timing seemed right due to the fact that we have just secured an extension that will put us here long enough for me to fulfill the 2 year commitment to the city. Yay!

I signed up for the first CPR class that I could get into. I dilligently filled out the application, detailing my years of experience as a lifeguard, swim coach, pool manager, and teacher as well as my years of certification in First Aid, CPR, Lifeguarding, Water Safety Instruction, Disaster Preparedness, and the EMT class I took years ago. I had the work history detailed, references set to go, my resume updated and attached.

I missed the part of the job announcement that stated that my CPR certification had to be valid by the date of application.

I am not able to take the CPR class until next week. The application deadline was today.

Damn. Damn. Damn.

I hate it when you get so mad that you cry. HATE THAT. But I did it anyway. I was at least able to hold off until I got in my car after visiting the HR department downtown, only to learn that I was not eligible for the program. So very frustrating. The program would have been a very good fit for me, for my family. I don't handle disappointment very well. So, needless to say, I am having a MAJOR pity party at the moment.

I do not understand why, if the training does not begin until next YEAR, I have to have my CPR certification RIGHT NOW. They aren't even notifying qualified applicants of their status (there is an exam to be taken in late January as well as an interview and a physical following the exam) until the middle of January. The requirement to have a current CPR certification RIGHT NOW seems so arbitrary.

I guess the city really doesn't want to eliminate that 18% vacancy rate as much as they say they do. I'm about as qualified as they get for the program and yet I'm not eligible. I could probably test out of the CPR certification RIGHT NOW but the ARC doesn't do that (yes, I called and asked).

Damn. Damn. Damn.

I really wanted it. *sigh*


- hfs


Mele Kalikimaka

Boxes of Christmas decorations? Check.

Boxes of lights? Check.

Hot cocoa? Check.

Christmas tunes on the radio? Check.

Air conditioner on full blast? Check.

Welcome to Christmas, Hawaiian style. This will be our 3rd Christmas since living in the island state and I find myself oddly getting used to the way things happen around here during the holidays. We have Santa flashing the "shaka"...

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We have boat parades in the marina down at Hawaii Kai...

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We have temps in the 70s and 80s and high surf on the North Shore. It's great. A little odd but great. So I'm off to turn up the "Mele Kalikimaka" and start setting up the train around the tree. And then I think I'll try out a recipe for iced cocoa. Mmmm...


- hfs


I don't sew but I'm a quilter

I've come to the conclusion that, even though I can't sew a button on a piece of clothing, I am a quilter. A lot of talk at SpouseBUZZ Live 3 centered around support. Support for the soldier that is deployed and support for the spouse left behind.

Ideally, every spouse dealing with a deployment will have a wonderful FRG supporting them. Ideally. But that doesn't always happen. And sometimes, the FRG cannot meet all of the needs that a family may have during a deployment. It may just not be possible. The FRG cannot be all things to all people. Such is life.

We are a resourceful bunch, us military spouses. We bloom where we are planted. We make lemonade out of lemons. We kick deployment gremlin butt. We do it all. But we don't do it alone. We can't (loathe though I am to admit that).

So we quilt.

We piece together our support and make a "quilt", if you will, that surrounds us and keeps us warm. Some pieces can come from our neighbors and those that live around us. Some pieces can be found in church. Or at the gym. Or at a play group. Or at work. It's colorful. It's unique. The panels may change based on the circumstances under which it's needed.

And what do you do when you can't find a piece for that quilt? A certain fabric or thread? The same thing you don when you can't find anything in the stores near you...you call friends and family in other towns, other states, and other countries. Those long distance connections can often provide us with the pieces to the quilt that we lack. And when we can't find that piece that we need any other way? Where do we turn?

Yep. eBay.

I'm joking. Kind of. But the internet does provide avenues for support and connections that we, as military spouses, might not otherwise have. Email allows us to stay in touch with friends that would have otherwise faded away. Websites such as SpouseBUZZ let us see that we are not alone. All are pieces in the quilt that surrounds us.

So I can't sew my kids' AWANA patches on their vests but I sure can put together a quilt that will keep me warm while MacGyver is away. I am a quilter.


- hfs

Lunch break

So we're on lunch break right now at SpouseBuzz Live. Let me tell you, it has been great so far!

The first panel was comprised of Carrie (SemperFi Wife), Ruthie (AirForceWife), Sarah, and Mike (Maintenance Toad) and was a look at the humorous side of military life and the coping mechanisms spouses have in place to cope with this crazy life we live. There were some incredible ideas and suggestions that came forth from the audience. The main "takeaway" from this panel is that you cannot compare your "normal" to someone else's "normal" because everyone's life is different. EveryONE is different. Sarah made the comment that "deployments are like snowflakes". Each deployment is snow but they are all different in many ways. So very true.

That panel was followed up by a performance by Cliff Hudson with his song, "Send My Love". Helluva song and it made me wonder why I bothered to put makeup on. Many of the spouses in the audience (and on stage) were in tears, given the fact that Fort Bragg has many soldiers deployed at the moment. Cliff's song will be coming out on a Country compilation CD put out by To The Fallen Records next week. Stop by and check it out - it's incredible. They also have a rock CD coming out and have already released a hip-hop CD. All songs are performed by military members (or former military members).

The next panel up is mine so this should be interesting. The title of this panel is "No, You're Not A Weirdo. Finding Your Inner WonderWoman." Boy are they mistaken because I personally think I *am* pretty weird. But I also think I channel Wonder Woman from time to time and kick some serious Deployment Gremlin @$$. So we'll see how this goes.

The live feed on SyncLive will be up once the next panel gets rolling. Enjoy and try not to laugh too hard at me. Riiiight.


- hfs

WHY are you HERE?

Get over to SyncLive and check out SpouseBUZZ Live LIVE!!!

I'll post more later.


- hfs


How you doin' this evening?

So I managed to pick up some kind of icky bug while traveling. The kind of bug that makes you ache from head to toe and shiver and basically just want to curl up in a ball and beg for death.

Yep, that's where I am. Wrestling, once again, with "the curse" (we can't seem to travel without getting sick. It's our curse.). So I stop at the grocery store on my way back to my best friend's house to get saltines, chicken noodle soup, popsicles, and NyQuil (hence, I am no longer responsible for any typos. Nor do I plan to edit this when I'm done). I'm shaking so bad from having the chills (and probably a fever) that I can barely swipe my debit card. What does the checker do?

Asks me "How you doin'?"

I am not kidding.

I told him I felt like ass. (hey, he asked) That was the last I heard from him. Genius.

Hopefully the concoction of NyQuil, Airborne, vitamins, and H2O2 gargle will help kick this thing to the curb by tomorrow. I'm off to pass out.


- hfs


SpouseBUZZ Live 3 - airport blogging

I'm off on the first leg of my adventure to SpouseBUZZ Live 3 in Fayetteville, North Carolina. Even though I'm simply sitting at the gate, waiting to board, the adventure has already begun. It's a sad state of affairs when your carry-on (in my case, a computer backpack) weighs more than your actual suitcase. Such is life these days, right?

I've come to the conclusion that airport security is of the devil. There really is no rhyme, reason, or common sense to any of it. The poor couple in front of me were about stripped searched because the bar of soap in their carry-on set off an alarm somewhere. We can put a man on the moon but we can't come up with sensors that can tell the difference between Dove soap and C4??? Really?

I'm currently being "observed" by an older gentleman (tourist, I assume based on the manner of clothing he is wearing) who seems to be fascinated by the fact that I have my laptop up an running, plugged in to the outlet next to my seat, while talking on my cell phone getting directions to my BIL's house from the airport. I didn't realize that was such an oddity. Huh. Maybe I should charge admission?

It's an 8-hour flight to my layover. I plan to knock myself out and sleep. Hopefully I won't be dragging by the time I get to the actual event. It's not like there's a lot to look at while you're over the Pacific Ocean. At night.


Stay out of trouble and I'll post again when I get to the mainland!


- hfs


Weekend funnies

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Princess Trouble lost her first tooth today - big news around these here parts! The tooth is currently awaiting the Tooth Fairy's arrival in her pretty pillow made by Auntie 'Lor. We'll see what the Tooth Fairy brings!

My baby's growing up. *sniff*

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Last Christmas, Grandma and Grandpa B. got the kids an Ice Cream Ball and we broke it out tonight to make ice cream. The kids had a ball (no pun intended) rolling it around and back and forth. Little Man then remarked, "I hope mine's a Clown Cone!" hee hee

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Wednesday, when Little Man and I went to pick up Princess Trouble from school, all of the kids were coming out of class with all sorts of crafty turkeys. When Princess Trouble came out with hers, I asked Little Man what he thought it was. "A chicken in a dress, Mommy."

Kid cracks me up! Have a wonderful remainder of the weekend.


- hfs


Tech Lust

It's name is "Mike".

Digital avionics suite. Embedded GPS and INS technology. Threat invisibility system. Onboard Integrated Vehicle Health Management System. Anhedral blades which generate more lift and hover capability and a rotor system with a wide-cored composite blade, which can stand up better to enemy gunfire. AN extra 100 shaft horsepower. New seats for the crew and pilots who sometime suffer from back injuries as a result of hard landings and seats contain variable-load energy attenuators, basically customized shock absorbers which allow the pilots to digitally dial in their weight. The pilot and crew seats will then "stroke" on seat support poles.


Anybody have a few extra million lying around that they don't need?



- hfs


Where do we find such men?

Hawaii man seeks new start as Army recruit at 40

His 40-year-old father is joining the Army. After nine weeks of basic training and then some more instruction, he'll be assigned to a post as Pfc. Clayton Beaver. Soon after, there's a good chance he'll end up in Iraq or Afghanistan. The boy is excited, sad and a little worried all at the same time.


The Army and Beaver have turned to each other out of desperation. Beaver, who had never seriously considered military service as a young man, needed a steady job, income, health benefits. An already strained Army, fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan while maintaining its presence elsewhere in the world, is struggling to make recruiting quotas.


"This is for Kalani," he says, while driving. He envisions better schools for his son and unique experiences for the entire family. As a private first class, he will earn only about $18,400 a year — less than some fast-food workers make. But Army benefits from educational aid to housing allowances more than offset the meager salary, he believes.


"I don't want him to have to worry about money," Beaver says. "I want him to see everything the Mainland or Europe has to offer. I want him to see the Grand Canyon, the White House, a Major League baseball game. ... I want to have a little money to take him on a vacation. I want him to dream about doing something big. It's hard to dream here; people are trapped. The Army is the only way for me to do it."


Five weeks later and 25 pounds lighter, Beaver stands at attention with other recruits at Fort Jackson. A drill sergeant pins medals on the seven soldiers among the 54 in Beaver's platoon who have won sharpshooter awards for above-average shooting with their M-16 rifles. Beaver — who, other than hunting a few times as a child, had never handled guns before — is one of the sharpshooters; he hit a distant target on 30 of 40 shots.

Read the rest.


- hfs


Happy Thanksgiving

This past year has been one of the most difficult, most stressful year of my life but it has also been one of the most wonderful, most rewarding, most fulfilling years as well. And that is due, in BIG part to you. The support and love my family and I received while MacGyver was gone was - and continues to be - an incredible blessing.

Thank you. So much.

Have a wonderfully blessed Thanksgiving.

- hfs


One of those days

I can usually handle one day at a time. But when they start to gang up on me, I get a little pissy. Which is where I find myself today. Not really the frame of mind I was looking to be in as we head toward a day when we are supposed to count our blessings and revel in the love of those around us. Instead, I would very much like to take a baseball bat to the heads of the following morons:

1.) The broad (i.e. mother of one of the darlings at my daughter's school) that drives a nice, big, shiny SUV and can't park it to save her freaking life. Honey, learn how to drive that damn thing. You sure as hell don't need to take up THREE frigging parking spaces in the morning when parking is limited and a major PITA to begin with. Women who can't drive make me nuts. And just because your SUV cost more than most of the other cars parked in the lot to begin with doesn't entitle you to three parking spots either. I have two words for you: PULL. UP.

2.) The butthead (i.e. the father of one of the little darlings at my daughter's school) who seems to think that the 15 mph sign applies to everyone BUT him in the mornings. Just because you and your kid can't seem to get out of the house on time and to school on time does NOT give you the right to drive Mach 2 down the damn street during school hours (or any hours, for that matter!). How about you pull your head out of your dark stinky place for a moment and set your flipping alarm for 15 minutes earlier in the morning so WE are not forced to worry about YOU running us over as we walk our children into school.

3.) The woman at Wal-Mart who chooses to ignore her rotten 4 year old as he darts up and down the aisles and gets in my way repeatedly and then manages to run YOUR cart up the back of MY heels while I'm trying to find the Drano. It took every ounce of self-control not to whack you upside the head with said Drano for being a bonehead parent.

4.) The self-absorbed 20-something at the gas station who, rather than park her car in a position that would allow others to maneuver around her easily when finished, gets her panties in a wad when I try to maneuver past her after I was done getting gas. Had you parked just 2 feet further back, I would not have had to try to weasel my way past you in the first place (which I could have easily done, thankyouverymuch. I happen to know the capabilities of my car as well as my driving abilities) which would have allowed one of the 5 cars in line behind me to pull up to the pump and begin pumping gas. Instead, you were too busy talking on your cell phone to even take into consideration the situation. And, instead of hurling obscenities at me because I was too close to your car (I was at least 2 feet from it), you could have simply hopped in the front seat and backed up a foot or two.

5.) The people in charge of taking care of paperwork for the Army (at the local level). Ever hear of "timeliness"?? 'Nuff said on that one.

6.) The woman who about took out the front end of my car while I was making a legal U-turn. *I* had the right-of-way dammit. That's what that pretty green arrow just above the sign that says "U-turn permitted on arrow" means. And, given the fact that YOU had a RED light, had you hit me I would have owned you. And THEN you had the audacity to flip me the bird? May the fleas of 1,000 camels infect your armpits.

Seriously people, it's only 2p.m. Give me a break already. I didn't even attempt to go into the commissary. I drove up, took one look at the overcrowded parking lot, and came home. Otherwise, MacGyver would be on her blegging for bail money. I think I'll stay home for the rest of the day.



- hfs


Friends far and wide

I am starting to compile addresses for my Christmas card list. I like to try to get started on them early so I can have them out in the mail in early December. Sometimes that is unrealistic (like last year) and sometimes it's not. This year, I should be able to do it.

As I work on the list, I realize that in front of me sits a testament to how rich my life as a military spouse truly is. I have friends (and family) in all corners of the earth. Literally. Left coast, midwest, Alaska, east coast, Europe, Asia, medium-sized-turd-in-the-middle-of-the-Pacific-ocean, middle east...you name it and I probably need to send a Christmas card there.

And I love that. I do not know that there is another lifestyle out there that could afford me such richness. And I DO see my life as incredibly rich. I am blessed by the fact that, pretty much no matter where I go, I will know someone in that area. I am heading to North Carolina in a few days for SpouseBUZZ Live and I am looking forward to not only seeing family members but also a few friends that I've been missing. And, of course, my SpouseBUZZ cohorts.

When we go back to SoCal for Christmas, not only will we be able to spend time with family but I'm hoping to be able to hook up with a few friends in the area as well. And not just the friends I have from my childhood but friends I've made via "this blogging thing" and via my life as a military spouse as well. What a rich life. I am incredibly thankful for it.


A few other things on my mind lately...

Some Soldier's Mom has a wonderfully informative post up about HOLIDAY PACKAGES FOR THE TROOPS. We are blessed to have our soldier home, safe and sound so I'll be taking the kids out to put together a few to send off sometime this week. What a wonderful way to let them know they are not far from our hearts. I think one of the hardest times (they are all hard, aren't they?) to be away from loved ones is over the holidays.

I know I've not been very prolific (is that redundant?) with the blogging lately. I promise it will pick back up. In the meantime, there are a few incredible things out there I would encourage you to read. The first of which is Michael Yon's latest, Come Home. I have no words to describe it so you'll just have to go read it and see what I'm talking about.

The next thing I think each and every person - especially those returning from combat, is Grim's piece On Coming Home. He discusses - in an incredibly honest and blunt fashion - the concept of PTSD and how we should be dealing with the issues that come along with it.

I was reading the part where Grim says,
"Yet now we have a society full of people who have never looked death in the eye, and never felt what it feels like to want to kill, or the guilt that comes from having wanted it. You have to come home and live among them, but to them you seem strange."

And it made me wonder...with such a small percentage of our current population having been involved in combat (in comparison with, say the generation surrounding WWII) is THAT a factor in PTSD? Grim says that those who have been through the rigors of combat have seen a part of human nature that those of us who have not been there have never glimpsed. If that is the case, is THAT why PTSD is such an issue these days?

During previous wars, servicemembers were not always in the minority. There were many others in society who were going through the same thing. So the illusion, the belief by those dealing with these issues, that they are the "odd man out" wasn't as prevalent. Is that a mitigating factor? Would the feeling of being alone, of having something "wrong", be less if more people had experienced the same things? I'm not sure if I'm articulating my thoughts very well on this.

I just wonder if the uniqueness of the current military experience, based on the fact that such a small portion of society is dealing with ever being in combat, has any bearing on how returning servicemembers are coping with the adjustment to being home.

Did any of that make sense??

That's about all for now. Try to stay out of trouble and I'll post again soon, I promise.


- hfs



MacGyver and I were in the kitchen making cupcakes for the Awana Grand Prix and he throws a completely random question at me...

Does Dave Ramseyever say, "Give credit where credit is due."?

Huh. Don't know.

The other day I heard a Chinook out flying and, since it is not a sound that has been heard all that often around these here parts lately, I went out to look. They had some serious altitude going on. And I realized that, at that altitude, the Chinook looks surprisingly like the widget in a Guinness bottle.


I think not.

These are the things that plague my brain these days.


- hfs


Damned if you do

and damned if you don't.

First, the Army drops $8 billion on the Comanche program which it then gave up on. And were ridiculed for spending too much.

Now it seems the pendulum has swung in the opposite direction and decided to go with the bare bones, no power windows version of the newest addition to the flight line. Whoops.

Moderation in all things people. Sheesh. Back to the drawing boards, boys. Opt for the air conditioning for goodness sake.


- hfs


Garden Gnomes and barricades

Crystal's post reminded me of a morning back in high school. I'm pretty sure it was the morning after a football game but don't quote me on that one (I've slept since then). My dad came in and rousted me out of bed which is not something he usually did. He was quite insistent upon me coming outside with him.

Which is also not something I usually do in the morning just after I wake up. But again, he was insistent so I dragged myself out of bed and headed out into the front yard with him.

As I walked out the front door, I about tripped over a barricade. A construction barricade.

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On my front porch.

Out in the yard were another half-dozen or so along with cones, caution tape, and all sorts of other pieces of equipment from the construction that was going on across the street.

Come to find out, two of my friends thought it would be funny to swipe them from the construction site and load them up in my front yard. I thought it was funny too. Until the foreman from the site showed up.

Crystal's story is funnier than mine though. And we never stole garden gnomes. Though we did think about stealing Bob from Bob's Big Boy...

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- hfs


Gotta gloat!

I. Am. Too. Cool.

I figured out John's "Whatzis"!!!!!

And it wasn't even a helicopter "Whatzis".

And now that I know more about tracked vehicles, unmanned armoured vehicles, muzzle brakes, and the like, I can no longer be classified as a "Lex Babe". Heh.

I'm not sure if that's a good thing or a bad thing.

Still, too freaking cool. I got the "Whatzis"!!!!!! Shweet!


- hfs



The blog, people. The blog. Good grief.

Things may look a bit different to those paying attention. I'm just cleaning up around here a bit. Long overdue in that department. If something's not working for you, let me know.

I'm debating leaving blogspot and going elsewhere but it's free and, unlike scrapbooking, airsofting, and scuba diving, this "hobby" has (for the most part) been free so I'm loathe to start paying for it now. We'll see. I've also been looking for a new template that works well with Blogger and have yet to find anything that jumps out at me. So we'll see on that too.

In the mean time, go take a look not only at the General Pace coin that I have up for auction for Project Valour but also the other items up for auction. There's some cook stuff over there (see link in post below). But don't bid against me for the Thunderbird stuff - that's (hopefully) going to be some of Little Man's Christmas gifts!


- hfs


Up for auction!

Peter Pace challenge coin up for auction.

In case you don't remember, I was given this coin at a Town Hall meeting with General Pace a few months back.

The money goes to Project Valour-IT and helps to provide laptops and voice-activated software to wounded servicemembers.

Happy bidding!!!


- hfs

Crud. I missed it.

Sometime yesterday, I hit 100K on my sitemeter. Wasn't paying attention. I knew it was getting close but I've been paying attention to other things lately.

Cool beans. Thanks y'all.


- hfs


Hooker pr0n!

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A U.S. Army CH-47 Chinook helicopter carries a humvee loaded with medical supplies to a drop zone at Soto Cano Air Base, Honduras, Oct. 31, 2007, during an exercise to airlift Joint Task Force-Bravo's Mobile Surgical Team. The exercise demonstrates the ability to move the operating room into areas where access by road would be impossible. This is the first time this capability had been tested in the task force's 25-year history. DoD photo by Capt. Joseph Skinner, U.S. Army.


- hfs

Nickelodeon goes moonbatty

Hollywood writers going on strike

Hmm...this could be a good thing. Heh.

Nickelodeon is trying to brainwash your children in the morning, or a leftist primer

You can watch the video clip here.

AWTM suggests that you pay particular attention to the second and fourth parts of the segment.

She shows a group of "tweenagers" walking around in orange jumpsuits, hooded and yelling from a bullhorn. "We are not ok, with people being tortured by American soldiers!" "Are cooperation's priority over human lives?"

There is also a call for the impeachment of the President in the second segment of the video, "democracy is at stake because of the President violating the Constitution".

The fourth segment of video shows another tweenager, who has put together a video of wounded Iraqi children, with the song Jesus Loves Me playing over it. This teenager blames America, the military, for what is happening in Iraq. This young girl says "she finds, videos and facts on the Internet" to show what is REALLY happening in Iraq. I am guessing she is getting these images from Al Jazeera.

Now, imagine this...my six year old is watching one of the limited number of approved channels one morning. Her daddy has just returned home from a 15-month tour in Iraq. She's aware of where he's been. After "Dora, the Explorer", a segment comes on that shows kids slightly older than her yelling about American soldiers torturing detainees and Iraqis. That's followed up by another segment showing images of injured and maimed Middle Eastern children set to the song "Jesus Loves Me" being sung by a child.

Then daddy comes into the room and his daughter asks him why he was torturing the people in Iraq and why he lied to her when he told her that his mission was to HELP the Iraqis.


If you are as upset as I am over all of this, feel free to contact Nickelodeon and let them know how you feel:

Nickelodeon-East Coast
1515 Broadway
New York, NY 10036
Phone (212)846-2543

Nickelodeon-West Coast
4040 Vineland Suite 105
Studio City, Ca 91605

Nickelodeon Animation Studio - Burbank
231 West Olive Ave
Burbank, California 91502

Yet another reason I would like to cancel cable.


- hfs


And they're off...

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No need to reinvent the wheel so I'll first direct you over to Fuzzy's place. She has a wonderful overview of the entire thing.

In case you're wondering what the heck I'm talking about, it's time for the annual Project Valour-IT fundraising drive.

Fuzzy has links to her "selected Valour-IT posts" on the right sidebar of her blog. For a look back at my posts regarding Project Valour-IT, you can check out:

The original Op-Ord
Kickoff for the 2005 fundraising competition
Your hands
Better late than never
MacGyver is just fine

I will post more throughout the fundraiser, which is scheduled to wrap up on Veterans' Day. For now, start collecting those pennies and recycling those cans so you can help Team Army kick everyone else's @$$. Because that is what we do.


- hfs



Why is it that when I go to the commissary, I manage to get stuck behind the stupid people? Seriously.

I had to run today to grab a few things for our potluck tonight and I managed to get stuck behind this couple that insisted on parking their shopping cart smack in the middle of the aisle. Seriously.

Every. Single. Time.

I finally got fed up and simply shoved my way past their cart as it sat in the middle of the aisle while they debated over CocoaPuffs and Captain Crunch. Good grief, people.

And why is it that no one on this island comprehends the difference between a "yield" sign and a "merge" sign? It's really not that freaking hard. A yield sign is like a stop sign if there is cross-traffic present. You STOP and you WAIT until the cross-traffic is GONE. A merge sign means that you blend in with the lane of traffic that has the right of way. They are DIFFERENT.


As I was heading to the commissary, there is a part of the road (off post) that has a lane that takes traffic from another road and directs it on to the road I was on. At the juncture, there is a YIELD sign. Not a merge sign. So I'm moving slowly along the road (there was traffic) and this guy comes up to the YIELD sign on his road. He stopped and then proceeded to try to pull out in front of me. I was trying to move forward as much as possible to give the idiots behind me a chance to get OUT of the way of oncoming traffic (because they were idiots and blocked the intersection while making their left hand turn) and was NOT obligated to let the guy at the Yield sign in front of me.

So I didn't.

He didn't like that and tried to cut me off.

I didn't like that.

So I rolled my window down and told him to back off.

He didn't like that and told me where to go and what to do when I got there.

I didn't let him in front of me. It's just a car and *I* had the right-of-way. So, had he hit me, not only would he have had to have dealt with a pissed-off red head, he would have to foot the bill to repair the damage to my car.

If you're going to argue with me, get your facts straight first, genius.


All good things must come to an end. Or so they say. I think that's bullshit but hey, who am I to tell people how to run their lives?

A few weeks ago a blogger that I admire deeply, Andi (formerly of "Andi's World"), decided to stop blogging at her personal blog. She did so because she has so many other irons in the fire (SpouseBUZZ, MilBlogs, SpouseBUZZ Live, etc.) so it's not like she's disappearing off the face of the earth.

Ok, fine. I can handle that. Seriously.

Then, another blogger that I admire deeply, Cassandra, decided to hang it up. I don't know the details surrounding her decision and, though I respect it, I sure don't like it. But that's ok. She guest-blogs at others' blogs occasionally so I can still get a fix of her wit and intelligence.

Then, today, Lex decides to 'go sinker'.

You all are killing me.


(I'm half-joking. I completely understand that "real life" takes precedence and that there are more important things than blogging and I wish each one of you the best in everything. Now I just have to go find other blogs to read and love. *sniff*)


- hfs


Moto madness

The family that rides together stays together, right? Within days of coming home, MacGyver had Little Man's training wheels and pedals off his bike to teach him how to ride a two-wheeler. Took my son all of about 30 minutes to master that and then he was begging to try the electric motorcycle that Princess Trouble received from Santa a few years ago. Didn't take him long to master that either. Though, if I had a dime for every time MacGyver told him "watch where you're going!" I'd be able to pay for the dentist bill that I'm going to get when I take him in tomorrow. He wasn't watching where he was going and bounced right off the rear tire of the YSR and literally endo'd into a face plant on the asphalt. Thank goodness he had his helmet on. Though he DID manage to give himself a nice fat lip and knock one of his front teeth loose.


At least he waited until AFTER MacGyver was home. I knew there was a reason I didn't let them ride that thing while MacGyver was gone! It's crazy around here, I tell you! I love it!


- hfs


Coming up for air

He's been home 150 hours. It's wonderful. A little odd but wonderful nonetheless. One of the things I love the best about our family is how seamlessly we seem to transition. The kids fell right back into place with MacGyver being home.He slipped right back into the role of "Daddy!". And I set aside all of my control issues and have just reveled in having him home. I find myself staring at him for no reason. Touching him constantly. Finding things to do in the room he is in just to be near him. Life is good.

The transition was seamless. So seamless that, within 3 days he had Little Man standing up to pee, riding his bike WITHOUT training wheels, and both kids up and riding the electric motorcycle. Princess Trouble is really good at maneuvering the bike. Little Man likes to go straight and fast ("You're not going to be happy unless you're going Mach-2 with your hair on fire and you know it." Points to anyone who can tell me what movie that is from!). God, help us.

I've had to stop sleeping in the middle of the bed. MacGyver's bigger than me so I can't very well shove him out of the way in the middle of the night. But that's ok. I truly do not mind. It's nice to be able to go take a shower and not have to keep the door open and an ear peeled to listen for the kids while I'm rushing to get in and out as quickly as possible. And I find myself actually bored. For 15 months we stayed BUSY. For 15 months, we rarely stayed home. Rarely sat still. But MacGyver is a homebody so we're not goinggoinggoing all day long anymore. Definitely a shift in the pace of life.

I do feel badly for him in one respect. We had been attending our church for a few months before MacGyver left. After he left, the kids and I really dove into church. Awana on Monday, hula on Thursday, Ohana Bible study/pot-luck dinner on Friday. Military ministry, Old Testament Bible Study, etc. It all kept us busy and out of trouble. The bonus is that everyone at church knows MacGyver through us. They know what he looks like, how his week has been going, his favorite snack foods, reading materials, etc. (from packing care packages) etc.

He doesn't really know them. So dinner on Friday was a little awkward until he started to get names straight. Poor guy. Same thing goes for many of my friends. I made several friends here after he left. So he has some catching up to do. Thankfully we should have some time to do that.


SpouseBUZZ Live 3 is coming!!! We're headed to the Fort Bragg/Pope Air Force Base area on December 1st. Camp Lejune is about 70 miles away so this would be a great opportunity for Marine spouses to come and join us! It's FREE and you can register HERE. I would really encourage you to go if you are in the area. As of right now, each and every author/contributor to SpouseBUZZ will be there (me too!) and it's a great way to meet other spouses, learn some new things, share laughs, and just hang out. I've missed the last 2 live events so I'm completely excited about being able to make it to this one!


Please keep the people in Southern California in your thoughts and prayers. It has been one of the driest years on record there and the Santa Ana winds are blowing something fierce. This all means horrible fires and that is exactly what they are dealing with. Lex is watching and waiting, with a mandatory evacuation order in place for the area just north of him. Fuzzybear Lioness isn't sure whether her house is still standing and hasn't slept in days. Others are evacuating and many have already lost their homes. Belongings and such can be replaced. People cannot. But that doesn't mean the whole thing doesn't suck.

It's been 13 years since I had to worry about the fires. Growing up, we had friends who lived just on the other side of the Hollywood Hills, just below the infamous sign. Anytime we smelled smoke, we would worry about them and prep in case we had to go and help them evacuate. I remember the hills about town being on fire when I was very young and watching them burn as my mom came to get me from Day Care. I also remember the hills between my home and downtown Los Angeles burning. They may be a common occurrence but that doesn't mean it's not stressful. And this looks BAD.


That's about it for now. Lief is pleasingly calm and boring. It is good.


- hfs


Whole again.

We are.


- hfs

The last

When this deployment started, I pondered the first care package and all of the other "firsts" that would come.

Now I get to revel in the "lasts".

For the last time, I took my daughter to school alone. That's not to say MacGyver will be able to take her to school every day but at least he'll be able to consider the possibility. Other than R&R, he's missed every day of her school career thus far.

For the last time, I took my kids to Awana alone. From now on, if MacGyver isn't working he'll be able to join us and see exactly how much fun the kids have each week and what they learn.

For the last time, I tucked my babies in bed and for the last time I wished that their Daddy was here to give them a kiss goodnight. Tonight they went to bed with huge smiles on their faces because they know that, when I wake them up in just a few precious hours, we will be on our way to pick Daddy up.

For the last time, I took the garbage out. I HATE taking the garbage out.

For the last time, I slept in the bed by myself. Granted this could be a double-edged sword but I will willingly give up sleeping in the middle of the bed alone.

For the last time, I sat out on the back lanai and wondered which star MacGyver was looking at before he went to bed and whether it was the same one I was looking at a world away. For the last time I said a prayer that he would come home safe, sound, and soon.

For the last time.

The house is quiet. I can hear my kids breathing in their room. I can hear the sound of the ceiling fan spinning and the rain falling outside. The floors are mopped, the carpet vacuumed, the bed made.

The elephant has left the room. I can breathe again...almost.


- hfs


Is this weird?

I've been waiting, praying, and itching for this time to come. And it's about here. And I don't think I could BE any more excited.

But folding laundry last night, I realized that there is a part of me that wants this time to go slowly. I want to savor this. I spent the weeks before MacGyver's departure dreading the day he would leave. I spent the 15 months of the deployment dying for the end to get here.

And now it's here. And it's incredible. And there is a small part of me that doesn't want it to end. The excitement and anticipation is like a drug and I want more. It's intoxicating! Everything seems sweeter. Everything feels MORE.

As anxious as I am to tackle the man, I am seriously enjoying the wait. Strange.


- hfs


Blues on the Bay

The Blue Angels came to Hawaii this weekend and, after our experience with the Thunderbirds in Wakiki last month, I couldn't resist taking the kids. So we went. And it was awesome.

First, they had all sorts of other planes and pilots doing all sorts of crazy things, mocking gravity and defying death. The one that really blew me away was the Red Bull Helicopter. The guy that flies it, Chuck Aaron, is the son of a fixed-wing pilot who flew in WWII. Chuck has over 17,000 hours in a helicopter and was the first civilian to be rated as an aerobatic pilot. He had that thing doing maneuvers that fixed-wing aircraft should not be doing. I didn't get any decent pictures of it (I was too dumbfounded to operate my camera...) but you can check out the video on YouTube. There's a fine line between bravery and stupidity...

His performance alone was almost worth the cost of the seats.

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The show was opened with the Navy SEALs bringing the American flag in. Spot-on landing. Of course.

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We were sitting right in front of where the aircraft were parked. The whole thing was just so...precise. Which is a good thing when you're flying that close to one another.

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Like I said, precision is a good thing. They were incredible.

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It was a great day. And a wonderful way to kill time ;)

UPDATE: Check out this video for a great wrap up of the show!


- hfs


We have a date

It's tentative but it's a date. And it's soon. Thank GOD.


- hfs


Several of my friends' husbands came home today from Iraq. (and before anyone asks, no I still do not have a date or even a ballpark...but we won't go there right now) I went to help welcome them home and to support a friend of mine whose husband won't be coming home.

I am exhausted. Mentally, physically, emotionally. When I decided to go, my first thought was "What the hell are you thinking? YOUR husband isn't even home yet. Going to someone else's homecoming is crazy and asking for pain." And yes, a very big part of me is sad that MacGyver is not yet home.

But oh, wow.

Part of me is so incredibly happy for my friends. To witness the whole thing was incredible. I am so glad they allowed me to tag along. It did my heart good. So good. To see them literally tackle each other and their kids and melt into one another was just heartwarming. It's an odd sensation to sit here with a huge grin on my face while tears stream down my cheeks. But here I sit.

And to see my friend's grace and strength in the face of all that has happened and all that she has lost leaves me speechless. She welcomed those guys - men who loved her husband and called him friend - home with open arms. What an amazing woman.

Welcome home 2-6 Cav. Welcome home.


- hfs


Anticipation SUCKS

I don't even know how to start this post. I don't want to make anyone think I'm mad at them (I'm not) nor do I want anyone to think I'm bitter (ok, maybe a little but I'm working on that). So, here goes...

No, I do not know when my husband is coming home yet.

No, I do not have a date yet.

No, I do not know what chalk number he is on.

No, it is NOT getting easier.

In fact, I think it's getting harder.

Remember when you were a kid and Christmas (or your birthday) was approaching? Remember how it became more and more difficult to contain yourself as the date came closer and closer? Remember the anticipation? The feeling of wanting to be able to hit the fast-forward button on life and speed things up? The feeling of just about coming out of your skin with excitement?

That's me only I don't know when I get my present. We won't go into details here (I'm not exactly sure who in my husband's chain of command actually reads this blog and the words I would use to describe the situation would not be conducive to his career...) but he's in limbo at the moment. He's out of harm's way but he has no clue as to when he'll be heading home.


And I swear, the next person who pats me on the shoulder and says, "but he's going to be home soon, right?" as if that is supposed to make life ANY easier is going to get smacked.


There, I feel a little better. Not much. But a little.

And on a different note - a note that has nothing to do with ME - could you please hold our Cav unit and their families in your prayers? They come home soon and without 2 of their pilots. The wife of one is back on the island to welcome them home and thank them for their love and support. I cannot imagine how difficult this is going to be for all of them and their families. Such a bittersweet event. But they are strong and so is she.


- hfs


I'm weird

Not that that should come as news to anyone. But I am. Most people, as they get closer to a much-anticipated event, get outwardly excited. They get antsy and hyper and...excited.

Me? Nope.

Not on the outside at least.

I went to lunch with some friends today. I had received a piece of good news at o'dark thirty in the morning and you would think I would be bouncing off the walls with excitement. Nope. One of my friends called me later this afternoon to make sure I was ok. It seems that, the closer I get to MacGyver's return, the more reserved I become.

Stop laughing.

Those of you who have met me would most likely never use the word "reserved" when describing me. The word probably would not be used in the same conversation as my name. I'm not a reserved person. I'm a red head. And Irish (among other things). And, if you've met my mom, you understand the gene pool I come from.

I am not reserved.

Yet, here I am. The closer we get to MacGyver's homecoming, the more reserved I get. At least on the outside. Inside is a completely different story. I'm wound tighter than a spring. I tend to carry my stress in my shoulders (for those of you who are familiar with human anatomy...not that part of the anatomy, geez...it's specifically in my rhomoboids and trapezius) and my jaw. And right now, you could bounce a quarter off my back and it would bounce pretty darn high. I'm not sure I remember the last night I slept well. My appetite is a mess. My stomach is one big knot.

All on the inside. Outside, I'm as cool as a cucumber. Almost stoic. I don't get it.

I'm weird.

Then again, that really isn't much of a surprise, is it? Like MacGyver says, "Normal is boring."


- hfs


No more excuses

I've become quite absent-minded lately. Well, over the past 14-15 months or so. I've forgotten commitments, forgotten to grab my list/purse/items to return/what-have-you on the way out the door, forgotten my name from time to time.

I've blamed it all on the deployment.

Actually, I've blamed just about everything on the deployment. My absent-mindedness, my fatigue, my crankiness, my bad hair days. You name it, it's due to the deployment. It's a convenient excuse. Who is going to argue with me? I've yet to find anyone.

I lose my mind over something seemingly insignificant? Stress from being a single parent due to the deployment.

I cry over something that doesn't really warrant a frown, let alone tears? Stress from the worry over the safety of my husband.

I have a meltdown over something that usually would roll right off my back? Lack of sleep brought on by the stresses of the deployment.

Grey hair? Wrinkles? An extra 5 pounds? Yep. Damn deployment stress.

Comes in quite handy, doesn't it?

Yeah...that gig is just about up. What on earth am I going to do? I might actually have to take responsibility for my actions. Oh Lord. This could get interesting. Dammit.


- hfs


Productive day

~ clean fridge (inside and out): DONE
~ scrub baseboards in kitchen and entry: DONE
~ clean out kids play closet (aka The Harry Potter Closet): DONE
~ tidy up garage: DONE
~ laundry x 2 loads: DONE
~ paint 1 "Welcome Home" sign: DONE

~ more laundry
~ scrub baseboards in living room
~ paint trim surrounding front door
~ paint entryway baseboards
~ paint door to garage and surrounding trim
~ scrub banister
~ paint banister if time permits

~ reorganize entertainment center (VHS is dead. Need to take it out and move DVD and DVD/R around)
~ paint baseboards in living room
~ paint trim around back sliding door

Monday we'll be taking a break to go bowling and get to Awana. Tuesday the kids need haircuts and I need to check on renting a Rug Doctor. And I need to get some of that Windex Outdoor No-Wipe spray so I can hit the outsides of the windows. Easier than trying to yank the screens out. Wednesday the girl goes back to school and Thursday the boy starts back to preschool. WOOHOO! That should keep me busy and out of trouble...for a bit!


- hfs


Reunion Nesting, part II

In case you missed the first installment, you can read about it HERE. And, before I go any further, I need to say thank you to my friend 'ifer for coining the phrase "reunion nesting". She was the one that first said it and I took it and ran with it (because that is what I do).

A little update...

I've spoken with MacGyver and he has told me that he will be out of Iraq shortly and home sooner than I expected (remember, I am a pessimist...I wasn't planning on him being home until close to Halloween). And even though his impending return originally left me somewhat apathetic, that has worn off and I'm now in full "reunion nesting mode".

To that end, I just spent the last hour clearing out my pantry, sorting through the items in said pantry, tossing dated items, consolidating others (really, does one family NEED 3 boxes of flavored oatmeal?), scrubbing down the shelves, and putting everything back in neatly. It looks so pretty! And it will...

...until the kids get up in the morning. Maybe I should go take a picture.

Nah. I need to get to work on the fridge. Need to make room for the beer! (yeah, still working on that one...)

The portraits are at the framers. I have plans to rent a Rug Doctor and do the downstairs carpets. I am borrowing a friend's pressure washer and plan to attack the concrete this weekend. Ditto on the windows. I'm catching up on the laundry. The kids room is in my sights next week. And I need to get to Lowes to pick up a gallon of paint.

I've decided that, rather than scrub the baseboards I am going to paint them. Really, I'm not lazy. Whoever painted this house (whenever the last time this house was painted...?) was either blind, spastic, or both. The trim that surrounds my back sliding glass door looks like my 3 year old took a paint brush dipped in beige paint and dragged it up the molding with one swipe. It only goes up about 3 feet. The swipe coming down only goes for about 3 feet. The molding is 8 feet tall.

YOU do the math.

It's pathetic. As are the baseboards, the banister, the interior doors, and the walls in all 3 bathrooms. I'm not planning to tackle the bathrooms right now but I do plan to paint the baseboards and molding (and doors if I have any paint left).

I need to finish going through our files and purge them. I need to tackle my desk area and the craft closet. And there's always laundry needing to be taken care of. The list goes on and on.

And on. I realize at some point I am going to have to prioritize. I doubt that I will be able to get to everything on my list. But that's ok. In the meantime, I will stay busy which will hopefully keep me out of trouble and prevent me from spontaneously combusting from the anticipation of MacGyver coming home.

Soon I won't have to be the only adult in the house. Soon...


- hfs


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