US officials flunk test of Amerian history, economics, civics

US elected officials scored abysmally on a test measuring their civic knowledge, with an average grade of just 44 percent, the group that organized the exam said Thursday.

Ordinary citizens did not fare much better, scoring just 49 percent correct on the 33 exam questions compiled by the Intercollegiate Studies Institute (ISI).

So, how well will you do? Take the Civics Test and see how you rate. Can you beat my 81.82%?


- hfs


Manic Mondays

I seem to hit the ground running on Mondays. Lists to tackle, errands to run, things to accomplish. And it seems like it takes me the rest of the week to recover. From my Monday. Which is ridiculous, if you ask me.

The latest news on the US-Iraq pact does not change things for MacGyver. Might change the nature of the deployment but other than that, everything else is still on track. Which is ok with me. Really.

I know that's odd. But I made peace with the fact that MacGyver will be heading back a long time ago. In fact, when the whole Guard thing popped up last week, I found myself actually uncomfortable with the idea that MacGyver would possibly NOT deploy. Odd how the mind of a military spouse works. Seems that the possibility of MacGyver getting out and being able to go Guard at this point in his career is slim at best. But that's ok.

In other news, I passed 1,000 posts last week. It was a Project Valour-IT post which made me smile. The fundraising drive is on-going and there's a long way to go.

I keep meaning to take a picture of MacGyver in one of his newest shirts. Actually they are about 6 weeks old. The night that he came home from his shoulder surgery, it dawned on us that he was going to have a very tough time putting on shirts. And it dawned on me that I was blessed to have someone in my life who created a company to meet just that need. So I dropped Ginger a note and asked her if she had any shirts lying around that she could bear to part with. And she did. She was kind enough to pack up several and ship them on over.

Sew Much Comfort has made our lives SO much easier. Thank you, Ginger and ALL of the people that make up SMC. The even cooler thing is that just by MacGyver wearing the shirts, word about SMC has gotte out around here. The ortho department knows about them, we'll be donating the shirts to the Physical Therapy department once MacGyver is done with them.

I was talking with MacGyver the other evening about my attitude toward the political world. It's going to go one of two ways - I'm either going to jump in with both feet and go completely on the offensive or I'm going to retreat into my hole for the next four years. Right now I'm leaning toward the latter. Just seems easier. Especially if we're struggling to keep our heads above water.

Which I'm not sure that we are but it sure feels like it. Things are getting tighter. Costs are going up here faster than pay is. The electricity rates are outrageous and have been for a few months. Gas prices have eased a bit but the state is facing fiscal shortages left and right. The other day, I read that the DOE here is $24 million THIS YEAR. That means they can't pay the transportation bills and food bills. Good thing my kid doesn't ride the bus or eat school lunch.

We're cutting expenses where we can. Gymnastics is on hold for now (partly for financial reasons but mainly because we need a break from the go-go-go of the week). We're putting up a clothesline in the hopes of cutting our electricity bill. Lots more eating at home rather than eating out. Christmas will be modest (which it usually is) which, if you ask me, is a blessing. And when MacGyver deploys, I'll be canceling cable (woohoo!!!). EBay and Craigslist are our friends and once the new year starts, I'll be picking up the pace on my subbing.

I'm mailing in my application for the EMT program as soon as MacGyver's commander signs off on the form (so I can qualify for resident tuition). We'll see how that goes. Hopefully they won't try to make me retake Anatomy and Physiology.

Ball is coming up soon. A chance to get dressed up and be Princess-like. This is the first time I've been involved in the planning and it's been...interesting. Can't say I'd like to do it again. But I'm glad I've done it. In the end, it should be a wonderful evening. Assuming the Cav guys can behave.

Any bets?

Christmas is beckoning. Several friends, for a variety of reasons, have their trees up. I'm itching but doing my best to wait until after The Most Adored Food Holiday to put it up.

I promise.


- hfs


Give until it hurts - repost

This is a repost of a Project Valour-IT post I put up a little over 2 years ago.


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

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


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

He was being prepped for evacuation to Germany.

And then there was silence.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How helpless and frustrated would you feel?

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

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

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

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

Five bucks.

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

Please give. Give until it hurts. THEY did.



- hfs

Project Valour-IT

MacGyver is a hands-on type of guy. Those of you who have met him can back me on this. Everything he does involves his hands. About six weeks ago, he had shoulder surgery that effectively put one of his arms (and thus, his hand) out of commission. It's been a long six weeks for him - he's not used to not being able to use his hands. And for our family too. Our kids don't understand why Daddy can't wrestle with them or swing them up in the air or ride bikes with them.

I've done this in the past but I'm going to do it again.

I want you all to do me a favor this week. I want you to think about your hands. I would love for all of you to make a list of all of the things you do with your hands this weekend (keep in mind my mother-in-law reads this blog so let's keep it to a PG-13 rating...).

I dare you.

Post your list in the comments section.

Then, think about all of the things in that list that you could not do without your hands. Or your arms. Or your upper body.

You couldn't scratch an itch.

You couldn't button your fly.

You couldn't wipe your own rear end.

You couldn't wipe the tears away from your child's face or your loved one's cheek.

You couldn't dial the phone, type a letter, send an e-mail.

How would you stay connected to the outside world? How would you stay connected to your friends you left in the field?

Think about THAT for the the next few days...

Project Valour-IT - voice activated software and laptop computers (and Wii game systems and personal GPS units!) for our wounded soldiers. It's the least we can do.

Time to put your money where your mouth is. Click on the Project Valour-IT box on the sidebar to your right.

I have. Will you?


- hfs



Lots going on here. Nothing really newsworthy. Mostly mundane. But that's the way I like it.

I'm having a hard time wrapping my brain around the concept of Thanksgiving only being a few short weeks away. Probably because I'm still in shorts and flip flops. Rather than spend gobs of money on food that will eventually become leftovers, I think we are going to be heading over to the DFAC (dining facility) on post. I've heard the food is outstanding (B...there's that word again!) and the company will be great.

We'll be cooking plenty for Christmas Eve and Christmas so I feel no need to go all out for Thanksgiving.

Work (subbing) is good. I'm working sporadically which is fine with me. Like I said, I'm kind of stingy with my free time so I'm not feeling a burning desire to work every day that I can. Once we get past the holidays, I'll start aiming toward the higher end of my goal (10 days/month).

MacGyver's shoulder is still there. He starts physical therapy soon which will be good. He went back to work this past week and it's nice to get back into something that resembles "normal" around here. No idea when he'll start flying again - my thought is that won't happen until sometime next spring at best.

We've had some interesting possibilities land in our laps this past week. If anyone has any information on life in the Guard or Reno, Nevada...drop me a line (homefrontsix @ yahoo.com...no spaces). It's nothing solid at this point - just possibilities and something for my obviously underworked brain to churn over.

The rugrats are good. Staying busy with the usual things that rugrats stay busy with. Growing like weeds. I need to find the Halloween pictures and get those up.

So we're still here. Not much to report. Sorry about that!


- hfs


Thinking about trying this again

Some of you may recall that I've always been interested in pursuing my EMT certification. And I've been stymied at every turn. With Little Man starting Kindergarten next year, I might just be able to "git 'er done".

The course at the local community college is a 20 credit course and runs M-F from 830-330. After-school care is covered for the kids. And I'm eligible for resident tuition which is nice. So hmm...

Subbing is going well but, should Senator Obama get elected, I'm not going to continue to work - no point in doing so because it would put us up in to the next tax bracket and the cost of that completely offsets the benefit of working. So no thanks. Instead I think I'll pursue something that I've wanted to do for a VERY long time.

I'm going to print out and drop off my application and my transcripts and see where that puts me (there are some prereqs that I've met but might have to plead my case as they were met more than 5 years ago). Should be interesting!


- hfs


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