7.31.2007

What's cooler than cool?

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When your best friend marries your brother-in-law!


Congratulations! And welcome to the family...both of you!




Pau.




- hfs

7.29.2007

Math problem

On a Saturday night 3 tables of 4 women, military spouses each about the age of 30 (+/- 5 years), meet to play Bunco. In addition to the assorted yummies, there are 2 pitchers of Long Island Punch.


If 9 of the 12 women are indulging in the Long Island punch and the 3 tables of 4 women, military spouses each about the age of 30 (+/- 5 years), contribute $3 to the "Dollar Game" at the end of the evening and one girl wins the "pot", how much cash does she go home with?


In addition, how much of the Long Island Punch was left at the end of the evening? Was 2 pitchers enough for this group of women?




Discuss.




Pau.




- hfs

7.27.2007

One year

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12 months
52 weeks
365 days
8,760 hours
525,600 minutes


I can't say it has become any easier, per se. Just longer. Sucks regardless.





Come home soon, babe. I miss you desperately. Colorado is waiting for us.




Pau.




- hfs

7.26.2007

Boring.

I have nothing to write about. Nothing to report. Nothing really to gripe about. Nothing exciting to share.



I like it that way. Heh.




Pau.




- hfs

7.21.2007

In the middle of a war? Take a vacation!

Iraqi PM: Parliament should cancel break


You don't say...


I'm sorry, they are taking a vacation? Excuse me? In the middle of a war in their own country, for their own sovereignty and freedom? You have to be JOKING.


My husband and thousands of other soldiers have been extended and will have to spend an additional 3 months away from their families and all that they know and love and these people are taking a vacation? UNBELIEVABLE.


I hope someone is going to take these lousy SOBs aside and conduct some wall-to-wall counseling with them. Either that or send my husband home.




NOW.




If the people who are supposed to be leading the country feel the need to take a flipping vacation in the midst of some of the most important times of this fight (i.e. General Petraeus' report to Congress and the fate of the Coalition's mission in Iraq hanging in the balance) then I see no need for MY husband and the rest of our soldiers to put THEIR lives on the line to fight and sacrifice for something that is obviously not that important to said leadership.



UNbelievable.




Pau.




- hfs

7.18.2007

Starbucks and motorcycles

The kids and I went for ice cream this evening. I needed it. They didn't so much deserve it but *I* needed it. So off we went. Met up with a friend (I'm SUCH a bad influence) and enjoyed our treats.


She needed to head to Wal-Mart which is in the same shopping center so we left the ice cream place and started to walk over. As we are passing Starbucks, my son looks at me and says...


SON: Mommy?

ME: Yes, son?

SON: Isn't that a Starbucks?

ME: Yes, it is. Why?

SON: Why are you walking past it? Aren't you going to go in?



That truly is sad. Of course it's not going to stop me from using the wonderful Starbucks gift cards I received for my birthday but sheesh...I think I go there too much.




*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

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My FIL has a subscription to several motorcycling magazines. This weekend, MIL calls and asks me if I've seen the latest issue of MotorCyclist.


No, I have not.


She tells me there is a picture in the latest issue that is of MacGyver. The caption does not have his name nor does it say where the picture was taken. But she's right (and she should know...she's known him longer than I have!)...that's him. I bet large quantities of money on it. I recognize the stance, the head cock, the CamelBak, the feet. And the wistful, knowing look on his face.


He's in BDUs so I'm assuming this was taken a while ago. Though I'm not sure where or when. I've emailed him so hopefully he can shed some light on the picture. If you want to see the high resolution scan, go HERE. I'll let you know what I find out.

It was neat to see him in there though!




Pau.




- hfs

7.17.2007

Blue Falcon

This is for you SGT Botta.


You've earned it. There are a few others on my list that deserve to wear this shirt. He's just the one that stood out today.




Pau.




- hfs

7.16.2007

yep

What type of swimmer are you? (pics)



Butterflyer
You are a BUTTERFLYER. Congratulations you sexy beast. You have the body of a Roman god, equipped with broad shoulders and sturdy legs. You're fearless and everybody looks at you as a role model. Practices are super tough, but you enjoy the feeling you get after the rough practices. You have a strong presence on any team you're on.
Take The Quiz Now!Quizzes by myYearbook.com

7.15.2007

Venting

Maybe I should give this an R rating before I even get started. I'll just warn you ahead of time that my language may not be suitable for all audiences.


Reservist Seeks Exemption From 5th Deployment


My first thought, upon reading the headline, was "Wow. Fifth deployment? That poor guy." There are one or two people in MacGyver's unit that are on their 4th deployment (I don't recall anyone being on their 5th) and that is just incredible. Granted one of those was the emergency deployment to Pakistan to help with the recovery from the huge earthquake they had but still - it was a deployment in between deployments.


But the more you read into the story, the more you realize this guy is truly a pussy. Yes, he's facing his "fifth deployment" but the previous four, when ADDED TOGETHER only total 10 non-consecutive months. Wah. Wah. Wah. Shall I call the Wahbulance?


Seriously. And, not only has this guy not even spent a year in a war zone (consecutively or non-consecutively) he's already been granted a year-long exemption! He's had more flipping "dwell time" than my husband will see! Give me a break. Find your big girl panties and put them on. Welcome to the Army. YOU SIGNED THE CONTRACT.


Now honor it.


*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~


Pentagon Approves 18-Day R&R For Some


Gee, isn't THAT nice?


There is a part of me that is grateful for the fact that they are lengthening R&R by any duration. Truly, an extra 3 days would have been wonderful and I am thankful for the 15 days that we had. Soldiers who fought in WWII and Vietnam didn't have this luxury (or the luxury of email and webcams) so there is that perspective.


But there is another part of me that resents the fact that I feel as though I have to be grateful for every little God-forsaken crumb the Congress (and the Pentagon) throws at us. They screw us over and then toss us a bone and expect us to be thankful and soldier on (no pun intended) under the banner of "love of God and country" and "doing our duty" while they continue to hunt for their backbone and debate whether we are going to "cut our losses" and slink out of there like cowards who didn't have the courage and honor to see it through to the end. It makes me MAD.


They gripe and moan about our "lack of successes in Iraq" while tying the hands of our military behind their proverbial backs. They bitch about how many casualties we are suffering yet they get their panties in a wad if we are overzealous in our pursuit of the bad guys for fear that we might possibly injure a civilian (never mind that said "civilian" had in his hands the makings of a roadside bomb less than 15 seconds ago but put them down somewhere and claimed to be an innocent civlian just like that) or violate the Geneva Conventions or (*gasp*) piss of France. The double standard ticks me off.


Personally speaking, the extension, the extra days of R&R, all of it would not be necessary if our lawmakers would simply stick to that for which they were elected - law making - and leave the military operations and decisions to the military. If our military had been allowed to do what it is TRAINED for 5 years ago (or even 10-20-30 years ago) we would be done and all of this would be MOOT.


*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~


I'll step down off my soapbox and go to bed now. I feel much better now thankyouverymuch.


BTW ~ for those who are wondering, Louie passed away yesterday. The kids are so sad. If the rain here lets up tomorrow, we will bury him in the backyard. We'll miss you Bud!




Pau.




- hfs

7.13.2007

Friday the 13th

triskaidekaphobia \tris-ky-dek-uh-FOH-bee-uh\, noun:

A morbid fear of the number 13 or the date Friday the 13th.





Remind me never to schedule a dental appointment on Friday the 13th. The numbing medicine is beginning to wear off and OUCH. I've never had a cavity. NEVER. My mother would be SO proud! That changed today.


My first cavity. Bummer. Hopefully the Motrin I took will offset the pain as the Novacaine wears off.



*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*


The kids woke me up this morning (as I managed to oversleep and MISS my track time...damn...) to tell me that there was blood in Louie's cage. Not good. He's an older guy so health problems don't surprise me. He's had a swollen rear foot for a little while and it looks like it abcessed. Hopefully Neosporin will help him out but it's not looking good. He's lethargic and not using that rear leg at all. Poor guy.


*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*


So, all in all I'm not a fan of Friday the 13th. Let's move on.




Pau.




- hfs

Happiest of Birthdays Army Wife!!!

So it's Army Wife's birthday and, while she isn't here to enjoy a mojito with me, I thought I'd pass along this incredibly yummy and super easy recipe for one of the best things the Hawaiian islands has to offer...


KALUA PORK AND CABBAGE
Ingredients:
2-3lb pork butt (boneless)
3 Tbsp Liquid Smoke (mesquite-more mellow tasting/Hickory-Stronger tasting)
2-3 pinches of Hawaiian Salt (to taste)


Directions:
1) put water to fill crockpot 1/2 way after pork is inside.
2) Add Liquid Smoke
3) Cook about 6 hrs on high (or until pork is easy to shred)
4) Remove pork & shred w/fork
5) Cut up Cabbage in cubes
6) Place about 2 cups of remaining sauce from the crock pot into a pot on medium heat on the stove.
7) Add cabbage, pork, and Hawaiian salt. Stir.
8) Cover and stir often for 15 mins or until cabbage is soft.
9) Serve and enjoy!




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Pau.




- hfs

7.10.2007

Do you want to use a "Lifeline"?

Several of my friends in our unit chose to move back to the mainland for the duration of the deployment. Slowly, they are returning to the island. One of my good friends is back this week and is moving stuff out of her storage unit into her new home. She is a capable woman - former military herself and no stranger to hand tools and such. Nor am I.


Given that our husbands - our technical advisors - are in a war zone, we can't just call them when we need help with something. So we call each other. Our lives are like the MilSpouse version of "Who Wants to be a Millionaire".


The first situation posed to her that she needed to use a "Lifeline" for was the ratchet strap/tie down. Tricky buggers if you are not used to fiddling with them. And she's not. Shoot, it's been a year since she's had to mess with anything other than the microwave in her parents' kitchen. So she got stuck. Well, the tie down strap got stuck. Thank GOD for Google! We figured out HOW to un-ratchet the ratchet strap though it was too balled up to be of much use for now.


The second situation that required the use of a "Lifeline" (thank goodness that, in THIS game, there are unlimited "Lifelines"!) was the jump-starting of the car that has sat in storage for 12 months. Needless to say, the battery is D-E-A-D. She couldn't remember the order in which jumper cables should be hooked up and how to ground out the jump so again, she called me. Didn't really need Google for this one though I did consult it, just to be sure. Didn't want her to blow the poor car up!


Military life is a lot like the game, "Who Wants to be a Millionaire". If you survive, the winnings are great. But there are many times that you need a "Lifeline" in order to continue on to the next round. Thank goodness for friends (and Google!).




Pau.




- hfs

Mail

I just got THE BEST thing in the mail today. MacGyver has started sending some stuff home ahead of his return. And in the box he sent was a T shirt.


In a Ziploc bag.


And it smells like HIM.


And, for just a moment, I can bury my face in that shirt and breathe him in and it's almost like he's right here. Right next to me. Just for a moment.




Thanks babe. You have no idea how much I needed that.




Pau.




- hfs

7.07.2007

+ and -

We are rapidly approaching the one year mark on this deployment and I have to say, it SUCKS. I know once THIS month is over it will seem better but this is the month he was supposed to be HOME. So it seems like all of the spouses I know whose husbands are deployed are having a tough time this month. And so we gripe. And we gripe. And we gripe. It's our way of venting so that we can then get on with life. Otherwise it festers and becomes a real problem.

During one of our griping sessions, it dawned on me what my problem is with the extension. It's not the extension itself. It's not. Deep down in my gut, before MacGyver even left, I knew that he would most likely not be home at the one-year mark. I don't know why I knew. I just knew. So I planned accordingly and mentally prepared myself for the idea that I would be happy as long as he was home by Christmas. And I will be.

The thing that gets me is this...we are going to be PCSing early next year. We are an aviation family. If I recall, there are six Army Combat Aviation Brigades (CAB). At any one time, three of those CABs are deployed. The other three are ramping up for a deployment (enjoying that wonderful 12-month "dwell time" that the Pentagon lauds). So our choices with regard to where we are going next involve three CABs that are currently deployed and two that will BE deploying sometime in the next 12 months (more likely, sooner).

So much for our "dwell time". Had MacGyver come back when he was supposed to, we would pretty much have our guaranteed 12 months of dwell time even with a PCS in the middle of it. But, because of the extension, we've now lost 3 months of that dwell time.

One quarter of that precious time, down the drain. And no way to regain it. MacGyver will miss, yet again, the first day of school. A birthday. An anniversary. And more than likely, he will miss all of those again NEXT year because more than likely we will be moving to a unit that is either deploying before we get there or will deploy shortly after we arrive.

I am not complaining. I know it may sound like it but I am NOT. I understand that this is his job and this is what WE (yes, WE) signed up for when he accepted his commission and his appointment to flight school. And I'm ok with him deploying. In fact, I'm so ok with it that I am willing to endure back-to-back deployments in order to get to the installation and the unit we desire.

If we get what we're asking and hoping for, we will leave here approximately 3 months after he comes home and hopefully hit Mother Rucker en route for some training and then head on to our final destination where, 30 days after he gets there, he will leave to catch up with his gaining unit. We will be lucky to have him home with us for 6 months before he heads out again.

But we KNOW that. The thing that gets me is that we could have had him with us for NINE months at a minimum if not for this extension.

Aviation is a different world compared to the "regular Army". Which is a double-edged sword and brings with it benefits and drawbacks. I am grateful to be a part of the Aviation community. I cherish it and love the community. Just goes to show you that there are positives and negatives in every aspect of life.




Pau.




- hfs

7.05.2007

Perception

SteveC made a comment over at Lex's about why "we don’t get to hear about the numbers of baddies that assume room temperature very often?" He has a point that the lack of mention of bad guys killed off tends to give the impression that we are the only ones suffering losses. Which we all know is not true but sometimes it isn't just about knowing.


His comment tied in with something I had read earlier in a transcript from a news briefing with Deputy Director for Operations, Joint Staff Brig. Gen. Perry Wiggins.

Q General, I noticed that you mentioned both in talking about Iraq and Afghanistan the number of enemies that have been killed. Do you think that the enemy body counts is a real measure of success in these operations?

GEN. WIGGINS: I can tell you that, personally, I don't think that that's necessarily an indicator, particularly when we're looking at military efforts alone are not going to win the fight, whether it's Afghanistan or whether it's in Iraq. You know, we're primarily providing security in order to shape and give time and space to the Iraqi and Afghan governments so that they can formulate their security forces in order to take the fight to the Taliban and take it to al Qaeda, particularly in those two countries.

So body counts is not necessarily something that we get into. It's not something that I advocated as a success measure or gauged success on, but I can tell you that those are just indicators that we're taking the fight to the enemy, the enemy's still there. It's also indicators that it's still a dangerous place out there, and -- but as far as success can be measured, I think we measure success on the security, primarily securing the population, enabling governance to take place within Iraq and Afghanistan. Those are the important indicators that we look at.





And while I understand that body counts are not the ONLY indicator of success, one of the things that I think the military and the White House have dropped the ball with regard to is public perception. Americans are relatively smart people but "people" in general are NOT. If all they hear is that we've lost 108 servicemembers in June 2007 then their PERCEPTION is that we are getting our asses kicked. There has to be a way - a balance - in order to counter the drumming that we've "lost the war" (#%@& off Harry Reid). And we've not yet found it.




Pau.




- hfs

7.04.2007

July 4, 2007

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Photo via US Air Force



IN CONGRESS, JULY 4, 1776
The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America

When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. — Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their Public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected, whereby the Legislative Powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.

He has obstructed the Administration of Justice by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary Powers.

He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.

He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:

For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

For protecting them, by a mock Trial from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:

For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:

For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefit of Trial by Jury:

For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:

For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies

For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:

For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation, and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & Perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these united Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States, that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. — And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

— John Hancock



To learn more about the Declaration of Independence, visit US History.org.



Happy 231st birthday, America. I am truly blessed to live here. I've been reading through my archives, looking for ideas and inspiration and found my post from the 4th of July 2 years ago...


As I sat this evening on the grass...


My perspective this year is different. Much different. But I stand firm to my thoughts and beliefs on this subject. Read it and let me know what you think. And have a wonderful 4th of July. Please keep those who have fought and continue to fight for our freedoms and our way of life in your prayers.




Pau.




- hfs

7.02.2007

We're going to try this again

I have yet to hear back from either General Pace or his staff regarding the question I posed to him last month. He's a busy man so I'm not surprised.


Doesn't mean I don't want, and EXPECT, an answer to my question. For those of you who do not remember the question, here it is again:

What are the incentives for an Army aviator to stay in past their original 6 year commitment while facing longer and more frequent deployments coupled with the fact that the amount of Aviation Continuation Pay offered by the Army is less than ONE HALF that of what the other branches of service offer?


This time, I will have the opportunity to throw it at the acting Secretary of the Army, Pete Geren. He's the gentleman that started the brouhaha over the possibility of extending the extensions during his testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee.


And Patti, I'll have one of those wonderful Soldiers' Angels coins for him as well.




Pau.




- hfs

Thanks Hugh

A friend of my mom's had an opportunity to meet Hugh Hewitt at the Nixon library last month and was kind enough to take a print out of a page from my blog to have him sign. He graciously did so and sent along a personal note.

What a sweet birthday present! Thanks Mary and thank you Hugh!




Pau.




- hfs