1.31.2008

PFC Ray Jacobs - Someone You Should Know

One of the first flag raisers at Iwo Jima died today.


Remember the *1st* Iwo Jima flag raising? The one Joe Rosenthal *didn't* get a picture of? Nothing bad against Joe - he got the best one that day, no argument!

Private First Class Ray Jacobs was one of those flag-raisers. He didn't make it into the pictures. They were kind of busy, taking the island and all. They had other things on their mind, I'm guessing.

He died today.



As Lex said, "We are diminished."


But we are also blessed that he (and those like him) lived.


Semper Fi, PFC Jacobs. And thank you.




Pau.




- hfs

How I feel




Look at all these rumors surroundin’ me every day
I just need some time, some time to get away from
From all these rumors, I can’t take it no more
...
I can’t show my face ‘cause when it comes to rumors I’m a dead ringer
It seems from rumors I just can’t get away
I bet there’ll even be rumors floatin’ around on Judgment Day
I’ll think I’ll write my congressman and tell him to pass a bill
For the next time they catch somebody startin’ rumors, shoot to kill
...
What’s mine is mine, I ain’t got time for rumors in my life
I’m a man who thinks, not a man who drinks, so please let me live my life




It's been 4 months since MacGyver made it back safely from Iraq. And, already, the rumors are starting to swirl about when and where they will go next. Doesn't help that General Mixon let the cat out of the bag and kickstarted the old rumor mill personally.


Grr.


I was letting myself get wrapped around the axle about all of this but then I realized what was happening. Now, if MacGyver doesn't have deployment orders in hand or I've not received a DoD release in my InBox, I don't want to hear it.


Period.


Ugh.




Pau.




- hfs

Uncoordinated

That's me. Can't walk and chew gum at the same time.


I've had a membership to a local gym for a few months now. Usually I just go and hit the treadmill or the stairclimber or the pool. But MacGyver's been on me to really get my money's worth (or his money's worth if you want to look at it that way) so I checked out their class schedule and they had a 30 minute step class at the perfect time. I figured, 30 minutes...can't be TOO bad, right?


Riiiiight.


Let's just say that I got my butt kicked. Physically, it was a good workout - not too long, not to short. Had my heart rate right where it should be and I worked up a good sweat without feeling like I was going to die. But I just could not keep up with the little Asian girl leading the class.


I'm amazed I didn't trip over my step and break my fool neck. Just as I would get the pattern of steps she was doing down, she'd change it up. And it would take me 7 of the 8 beats to get THAT series down. And so on. She was good though - encouraging and kind (well, as kind as a perky, bouncy little Asian woman can be in the middle of a step class with music blaring and 40 other women watching).


I'll be going back next week and then sticking around for the hour long Pilates class that follows - I heard that it's a great class, especially when it comes to working your abs. Works for me!


I do want to add some muscle weight though. But (if you can believe this) the free weights and weight machine section of the gym intimidates me. Not so much the equipment as the people there. I'm really NOT a fan of making myself look like an idiot. We'll see. In the meantime, I have some free weights at home that I'm using.


Though it's not the same. *sigh*




Pau.




- hfs

1.30.2008

Writer's block

I've hit a wall, creatively speaking. Nothing bad going on. I just don't have much to say at this point.


Odd, for those that know me.


Life is good here. We are settling back into a routine which is nice. Awana, gymnastics, Bible studies, and dodging raindrops seem to fill our days.


Boring is good, if you ask me. Though it doesn't make for good blog material.


Sorry.


I'm sure something will light a firecracker under my butt one of these days. In the meantime, feel free to hit the links to the left
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and enjoy.


I'll be back. One of these days.




Pau.




- hfs

1.24.2008

Warning

Do not swallow bubble gum.
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Pau.




- hfs

1.22.2008

Hooker Pr0n

Chinook lands on three landing gear.


Impressive. I'm not sure but I think I know the crew on this bird. Very cool.




Pau.




- hfs

It's about time.

Marine may finally get Medal of Honor




Shot in the face as he and other Hawai'i Marines cleared a house, Peralta, 25, had the presence of mind to grab a tossed Iraqi grenade and pull it into his body, saving fellow Marines.

Peralta was killed instantly.

He was not only a hero, but an immigrant hero who got his citizenship while in uniform, loved what America and the Corps stood for, and proved it with his life, say those who knew him.





No better friend, no worse enemy. Semper Fi, Sergeant.


And far be it from me to tell the President how to do his job but sir, it's time to give this man the honor he deserves.




Pau.




- hfs

1.21.2008

Way to make it tough

Right now, the object of my discontent is MTSS or Military Training Service Support.


MacGyver will be heading to Mother Rucker this summer for about 4 months of courses. Keep in mind, the man just returned from a 15-month deployment and, in approximately 12 months will be heading out on yet another 15-month deployment. All expected and no objections. However, the lovely MTSS guidelines state specifically that 21. Students are not authorized to bring dependents/family members to Fort Rucker. Facilities are not available to provide adequate support.


To which I say, "horse hockey!"


Used to be, under the old MTSA program a soldier could opt to stay off post with the understanding that the military would only reimburse them up to the cost of what it would have paid to house them on post.


Not anymore.


And while I understand the motivation behind the new program and the new regulations, it seems the Army is cutting off it's nose to spite it's face. Something about being "penny-wise and pound foolish".


They are saving pennies by forcing soldiers to come alone and remain in the BOQ/BEQ but they are making it even harder on families that are already dealing with horrible OPTEMPOs and 15-month repeated deployments. Now add to that the fact that, even if they wanted to, they cannot join their husbands while they are away from home on training. It's not like he's going to NTC and we're looking to join him there. He's going to Fort Rucker for 9-5 classes. Yet the Army has throw yet another roadblock in the way of trying to piece together something that resembles family life.


We're already dealing with the fact that he's going to be gone for 30 months out of a 48-month timeframe. And now we are prevented from spending a few weeks with him while he's in a non-combat training situation. Doesn't seem to me to make a whole lot of sense. I would think that the Army would see that making it easier for families to be with their soldier when feasible would be good for the Army when it comes to retention.


Obviously not.




Pau.




- hfs

1.18.2008

Not a good day on the island

Yesterday was not a good day here on the island.


First this.

A middle-aged woman was cleaning her kitchen stove when she heard Tupuola's screams. The woman rushed outside to find Tupuola clinging to a stop sign pole at the intersection while the suspect repeatedly struck her in the head with the butt of the shotgun.



He also struck and injured a man who tried to help the woman.


Someone should have shot him.


And then this.

Higa allegedly dropped the toddler 30 feet from the Miller Street overpass onto H-1 Freeway at about 11:40 a.m. where one or two west-bound cars struck the boy. The toddler was pronounced dead at the scene at 12:07 p.m. The medical examiner did not release the name of the child.


News reports indicate that the suspect in custody had occasionally babysat the boy but the boy's mother told reporters that she had never left the boy in the suspect's custody unattended.


I cannot even imagine. I pray to God that baby was dead before that monster tossed him on to the freeway. As for the suspect, string him up by his toes and dangle him over the overpass during midday traffic and let him rot there. He deserves nothing more.




This island has a cloud hanging over it today. You can feel it. No one understands how or why any of this has happened. I don't think there is a way to do so.




Pau.




- hfs

Economic Stimulus Package

Tax Rebate Urged to Rescue Economy



A better title would be "Tax Rebate Urged to Rescue Those Who Were Dumb Enough to Take an Adjustable Rate Mortgage or Buy More House Than They Need".




Pau.




- hfs

1.16.2008

Burnt Out

Lengthy volunteer stints burn out military wives


I have toyed with the idea of volunteering to lead the FRG next time around if they need it (no, that is not a firm commitment!) but I'm not sure I could do it. There were days that I felt like I was drowning. Days where my sole focus was merely keeping my head above water. Days where the only thing I could do was to keep putting one foot in front of the other.


To have to act as a support system for the families in our unit on top of being my own support system might be too much.


We do not live anywhere near family. And, while I have friends - wonderful friends - here on the island and a wonderful support group through church, it is not the same. The friends I have are overwhelmingly military so they, too, have their own survival issues to contend with. And my church is wonderful but it would not be appropriate to rely on them as a major source of support for 12-15 months, non-stop.


I do not know that having an all-volunteer FRG is the right way to do things. I think the idea of having a paid, non-spouse leader - at least at the Battalion level - would be a wise decision and money well-spent. If there are spouses that want to head up a unit-level FRG in addition/to complement the Battalion-level FRG, that would be wonderful but not required. I see the paid position at the Battalion level alleviating a lot of the stress of the unit-level FRG leader, freeing them up to focus on the more positive side of things.


It's an interesting article that you should take the time to read. Let me know what you think.

1.15.2008

May the Schwartz be with you.

Do you?

Yes.

Do you?

Yes.

Good, You're married. Kiss her.



Introduced the kids to Spaceballs tonight. You should have seen the look on Princess Trouble's face when the alien punched it's way out of the guy's abdomen and started dancing on the counter.


Priceless!




Pau.




- hfs

1.13.2008

General Georges Sada

General Sada came to speak at our church this morning and then came back again this evening to speak with our youth group. While I didn't get a chance to hear what he had to say this morning (our church should have it up on their website early this coming week), what he had to say thing evening was incredible.


I've not yet finished reading the book but I know the basics about General Sada. General Sada is an Assyrian Christian living in Iraq and worked for the former dictator, Saddam Hussein. He officially retired from the Iraqi Air Force in 1986 but was recalled to active duty in 1990 at the beginning of the Kuwaiti invasion. He was briefly imprisoned for refusing to hand over 45 POWs, citing the Geneva Conventions, and was released and dismissed from the military.


After the 2003 invasion of Iraq, he sided with the US-led government and was appointed National Security Advisor.


In 2006, he released his book, Saddam's Secrets in which he discusses Hussein's plans to destroy Israel, hide WMDs, and control the Arab world.


Our meeting was very informal - mainly a bunch of teenagers listening to a living history lesson and asking questions. Having worked with these kids, their questions and their intelligence never ceases to amaze me. General Sada started off by giving us a brief history lesson on Iraq. In the first century, the Christian gospel came to what is today, Iraq. In 634 A.D., Arabs took over what is today Iraq and the Muslim religion was introduced. The 1700s - 1800s saw Iraq become a battleground between the Ottoman Turks and the Persians. During WWI, the British liberated Iraq from the Ottomans and placed it under British mandate. British mandate ended in 1932 and the next few decades saw several changes in leadership through military coups.


In 1958, General Sada entered the Air Academy after high school, having scored near the top on his graduation exam. The same year that Saddam Hussein lead a failed assassination attempt on the president, General Sada began flight training.In 1968, Saddam comes out of hiding in Syria and is appointed chief bodyguard of the newly appointed president. It was during this time that Saddam demanded officer's rank and is appointed a four-star general. Not bad for a guy who was merely a thug and had no military experience. In 1979, Saddam forced President Al-Bakr out of power and becomes both the president and the prime minister of Iraq. Then the fun really begins.


General Sada discussed what it was like, growing up within a Christian family in a Muslim country. He said it was extremely difficult but he reminded us that Jesus never said life as a Christian would be easy. He pointed out that Christians in Iraq are living by hope (1Corinthians 13:13 ~ "But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love."). He discussed how the Koran refers to Christians and Jews as "pigs and monkeys" and that, as a Christian you could not ascend in your job/life unless you were #1. If you were the best, they needed you and therefore you were granted privileges that others were not. You survived because you were needed. You had to make yourself indespensable and irreplaceable.


He also talked about how those in the upper echelons of leadership within the Iraqi leadership and military would choose Christians to work for them because they knew the Christians, because of their faith, could be trusted. They were trusted to do the right thing. They were trusted because the leadership knew Christians would not attempt to assassinate them. Interesting perspective.


One of the kids asked him when he became a Christian. His answer was that he was born into a Christian family but his family is of the "old style" Christianity - not the evangelical style more common in the West. He talked about when he was "born again". A preacher from Fresno, California had come to preach at his church and talk about salvation in 1989. The preacher asked if anyone wanted to be saved and his son walked up first. General Sada followed him. He was the only General in the service who was not a Muslim and who was not a member of the Baath party.


He went on to discuss January 17, 1991. Forty-five pilots had been captured during the opening days of the Gulf War. General Sada was placed in charge of them. Saddam's son, Qusay, came looking for them and planned to execute them there, on the spot. General Sada upheld the Geneva Conventions with regard to the treatment of the POWs. He told Qusay that, should the POWs be killed, America would make this war very personal and turn it against him and his family. The thought of thousands, if not millions of Iraqi citizens being killed in this war didn't phase him but the thought of having his family face the consequences gave Qusay pause and saved the lives of those pilots. General Sada was imprisoned for refusing to follow orders but was soon released and discharged from the military immediately.


He gave the kids a quote that really resonated with me: "Never think that you are only ONE and that ONE cannot do anything. Sin entered the world through ONE - through Adam. And salvation came to us through the ONE."


One of the kids asked him what he did for fun when he was young. He told us that he was one of the better divers in Iraq and that he played football - "the real football. Not what you play here in America. Our football doesn't involve the hands."


Another asked him about his thoughts and feelings when Saddam was executed. The General discussed how no Christian ever truly wants to see another human being killed. The hope for salvation is always there. However, eventually, evil will be punished, though God does not like punishing us. He is our Father and, like every father, He loves his children and always wants them to be better.


One of the last questions was whether the General had hope that Iraq would ever be a true country again. The answer was a resounding "YES" but that it is going to take time. Rebuilding will take time. However, it is much easier to rebuild buildings and infrastructure than it is to rebuild society. When the people are spoiled, the process is lengthy. The looting and corruption is destroying people. The suffering is destroying people. Those are powerful forces to have to work against. How do you rehabilitate a society? But there is HOPE. Hope that Iraqis will choose a better life for themselves and their children. He was firm in his belief that carbon-copying American society is NOT the way to rebuild Iraq but that it can, and will, be done.


I am so grateful to have had the chance to listen to him speak and to meet him in person. What an honor. Now I have to go read the book.


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Pau.




- hfs

1.12.2008

MOAT

Over at SpouseBUZZ, ArmyWifeToddlerMom talks about her friend, 550 Cord. In the comments, a discussion ensued about not only 550 cord but also 100 mph tape and zip ties. MacGyver is the King of them all. We have 55 cord everywhere. It keeps the 100mph tape company and sometimes they party with the 1,027 zip ties scattered throughout the house.


I am not kidding. Those who know me personally will attest to these facts.


So, today we deconstructed Christmas. I know, I know. It's January 12th. Cut me some slack. We didn't get back home until the 8th and we've been dealing with a snotty, puking boy. So deconstructing Christmas had to wait. Once we broke the tree down and had everything back in its box and the boxes back out in the garage, I stumbled across what HAS to be the "mother of all tape"...aka MOAT.


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I about DIED. That is one heckuva big roll of tape! I'm sure MacGyver can come up with 1,001 uses for it.


We used to own a 1974 Jeep CJ5. She was a BEAST. Full roll cage throughout, powerful V8 engine, suspension built for off-roading and bouldering. At one point, one of the joints in the front end started to come loose. Being college students and short on cash, he opted to temporarily "fix" it himself. He took a 3/4" zip tie (might have been a 1/2 inch but I'm not sure...it was THICK) and cinched that joint down, nice and tight. It held like that for a good, long time. You have to admire the ingenuity! One of the many reasons I love the man!




Pau.




- hfs

Dog.

Little Man is sick as one.


A month ago, he caught a cold. Over the course of our Christmas trip to the mainland, it started to go away and then resurfaced with a vengeance. Poor kids has a horrible cough, horrible head congestion (and drainage...ew!), goopy eyes, earaches. You name it - he has it.


We're now a month into this whole thing and it's not getting better...it's getting worse. The other day, he added a tummyache and a fever to the mix. Lovely.


So, off to the doc we went. She didn't seem to be all that concerned that this has been going on for a month (*I* am). She didn't notice anything abnormal with his tummy, his ears, his eyes, or his throat. She swabbed him for strep but I'm doubtful that it will show anything. She sent us home with a prescription for an antibiotic (begrudgingly...she didn't think he needed it but I pushed) and instructions to push fluids and keep his temperature in check with Motrin and Tylenol.


I don't know how much of the antibiotic I've managed to get into him - he's bounced it all back up, all day long. I don't know what else to do for him. And I feel so badly for him. He just wants to be healthy and go play. He tries but doesn't last long. He was so tired yesterday and today that he actually put himself to bed for a nap twice. You know the boy isn't feeling good when he puts himself to sleep.


We'll keep a watchful eye on him this weekend and if he's not better by Monday, we'll be back at the doctor's office. Though I don't know what else we can do for him. *sigh*


It's so hard when they are sick and you can't make it better.




Pau.




- hfs

1.11.2008

'The most disturbing thing I've ever seen.'

...according to MacGyver.


Well=Grounded



I don't know that I would call it "Hooker Pr0n"...




Pau.




- hfs

1.10.2008

Top 20 Videos of 2007

Military.com offers up it's Top 20 list.


Pretty good pickins...not sure if my favorite is the one of the Funny Crew Chiefs or the very last one - "This Is Why I'm Hot".


Enjoy!




Pau.




- hfs

1.09.2008

Home again, home again...

jiggety, jig.


Suitcases to unpack. Laundry to do. Mail to sort. Groceries to buy.


Slept in my OWN bed last night. It was glorious. Took a shower in my OWN bathroom this morning. More gloriousness.


Blogging will be light for the next few days.


I heard back from the City and the application for the EMT program was denied. Their loss. As disappointed as I am, it's probably for the best. I have a full plate for the next few months and this summer will see us off the island for a large majority of the time. And childcare was a huge issue (such is the life of a military spouse, no?). So it is for the best. *sigh*


Now I will set my sights on working as a substitute teacher. My terms. My schedule. Good pay. Works for me!


Happy 2008 people!




Pau.




- hfs

1.02.2008

Parting Shots

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We drove back up to Fort Collins today. It was warm...almost spring-like. We drove up around the resevoir and scoped out land and properties. It's very quiet back in there - none of the hustle and bustle that Fort Collins possesses. I like that. No homeowners' association fees, no covenants.


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The rock at the top of the hill is Horsetooth Rock. From the front, it looks like a pair of horse teeth (so I'm told...) but from behind, it's just a rock on a hill. Sure is pretty though.


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Who knows? Maybe in a few years, when MacGyver is done playing Army...but for now, it's back to the kids and then on to Hawaii. Rough life we lead...


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Pau.




- hfs

1.01.2008

Looking back

Goodbye 2007. Don't let the door hit you on the backside on your way out.


I'm sure that is kind of harsh. 2007 wasn't a rotten year but it sure wasn't one of my favorites.


It started off on a good note and I rediscovered exactly how wicked my husband really is, but that note was short. And then things went south quickly.


In true "me" fashion, I used this lovely blog for its number one purpose - to vent. In case you missed it, you can go HERE, HERE, HERE, HERE, HERE, and HERE.


Amidst all of the venting, I was reminded that, as hard as it is to say goodbye, there are so many silver linings to military life. And then the punches keep rolling in and in and in.


I was able to get up close and personal with some of the local wildlife which about sent me over the edge. Somewhere in the midst of all of that, I decided to test what was left of my sanity and head to the mainland for a cross-country adventure where I was graced with incredible questions from a 5-year old.


And then the sucker punch came. That sucked. Big time.


As part of my therapy for my obvious anger management issues, I was able to write a letter to General Pace as well as the peckerhead that leaked the news of the deployment. Not sure if they made a difference but it sure did make ME feel better. In addition, I found out that it IS possible to blog while high.


Narcotics are FUN.


2007 was the year of the official visit. Both General Casey and General Pace, as well as the Secretary of the Army, Pete Geren all visited the island and the families of 25ID. Interesting, to say the least.


The MilBlogging conference was one of the highlights of the year and you can read about it HERE, HERE, HERE, HERE, and HERE. Oh yeah, and HERE.


There were sad times, some interesting times, good times, bad days, fun times, and sweet times.


I gained a family member (well, she was already family...this just made it official), realized I have ADD, and kicked some serious deployment gremlin booty. I also found that some can read my mind.


There was reunion nesting, beer bread, travel, the realization that not only am I weird but that once the deployment ended I would have no more excuses.


The deployment drew to a close and I realized how far we had all come. I reveled in the "lasts" of the deployment and tried my best not to come undone. And then, it was over. As quickly as it had started, it ended. Almost anticlimactic, in a way. But that's ok.


Sometime after MacGyver came home, I hit 100K on my sitemeter which was pretty cool for a little blog that I started up just to keep from going insane. And, while that was cool, I got a bigger kick out of being the first to figure out John's "Whatzis". Doesn't take much to please me! I was blessed to attend SpouseBUZZ Live 3 in Fayetteville, North Carolina where I was reminded that, even though I don't sew, I am a quilter and that the best way to face the challenges that military life throws our way is to stand and face them.


And now, to celebrate ten years of marriage, MacGyver and I ushered out 2007 (more like booted it in the arse) and welcomed in 2008 in the Mile High City. A perfect ending to a not-so-perfect year.


Happy new year everyone. May 2008 bring you peace, love, and prosperity. Thank you all for making my life what it is - wonderful. I can truly say (in answer to John's question) that meeting all of the new friends I was blessed to meet and deepening the friendships already in place fall under the category of "biggest blessings of 2007".




Pau.




- hfs