Sunday, December 31, 2006

Prayers and Loss

02 May 1967 - 31 December 2006

Your words of comfort are needed, as are your prayers over at A Storm in Afghanistan. Ellicia has passed.....

Reid, please know your family have been in our prayers daily, and will remain.


IT is the cusp of the New Year, and for the last few days I have thought a lot about the passing year.

First off, yes I am blessed, and I know I am. I am living my dream.

I am most grateful this year for HEALTH. Everyone has been pretty healthy. My Father scared us a couple of times, I had my own frightening health scare, but all in a all, no major illness or diagnosis that are life changing. Ahhhh.....

I am thankful that our spirit is good in the house, we all have bad days, or melancholy days, but the general spirit of the house is good and joy reigns most of the time.

I am thankful for my Husbands efforts at his job. He keeps trying to push the envelope and do what is right. I am proud of him.

I am grateful I am able to stay at home with my children. We waited a long time to have these children for this reason, and as much as I fuss about being at home, please note, it is usually done with a smile on my face. (EXCEPT for the plaster of PARIS thing, that really did suck)

My goals for the next year, well there are several...

I think they are normal and expected. They are just typed out, and are not in order...

-make exercise and nutrition a priority for the entire house
-go to church regularly
-go through those piles of crap in the kitchen that drive you CRAZY!
-photo albums, need to be done
-projects for spousebuzz, organize them
-become an instillation ambassador for
-read at least one book per month for pleasure
-cook one new and different meal from a new recipe every week
-clean out closets
-clean out drawers
-organize a garage sale for the neighborhood this spring
-get children involved in the reading groups at the library
-the collective will take swim lessons this year
-work on activating my nursing license for 2007
-prepare Sir Rowland socially as much as I can for kindergarten
-make sure all paperwork for a possible looming deployment get done
-visit family back in Nebraska
-visit family in North Carolina
-a family VACATION is in ORDER
-loose 15 pounds
-date with Husband one night a month (even if it is a ride on the bike!)

Easy goals really. This year was fun, and enjoyable. My list not hard, just a matter of moving forward.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Hello, Grand Central Station

The phone has been ringing off the hook.

DH: "We are so predictable, people just call here on a Friday night.."

AWTM: "I will take predictable, especially if it means being predictable with you"

and then there was a big mushy smooch.

If the kids were teenagers, they would have barfed.

Out and About

Today is a shopping day.
DH is home.

I am a bit under the weather with "red tent issues"...

Pink Ninja is in need of new tennis shoes, or casual shoes. I think she is practically a size 12. I managed to dress them both in new shiny clothing. They look great.

We also need to get to the commissary, as New Years is around the corner. We have a celebration to prepare. It is time to prepare for a new year.

Sir Rowland will turn 5 on New Years day.

Sir Rowland will turn 5.

I have a 5 year old.

Friday, December 29, 2006

It is a jungle out there

Jimbo from Joisey (who btw, should get paid to write this stuff) reminded me of something tonight.

"I confessed that I do get Animal Planet, although I don't watch it much, because every time I tune in I either see badly abused animals at the hands of human maroons, or I am treated to the spectacle of one animal killing and feasting on another animal. I understand that the latter is the way things go in nature, but Id sooner watch something else"

I know what Jimbo means, I too seem to always flip to Animal Planet at the most awkward, and horrifying moments...

I think it was summertime, and I was in deep need of rest. (Sir Rowland, never slept or napped, and was up at 5am daily.) Anyway, I made a bed on the floor in hopes he would nap beside me.

So the two of us, were lying on the cool carpet on a summers day. I flipped and perused through about 40 channels until I found a show on monkeys. I love monkeys, and was sold immediately. So we sat, the two of us engrossed in the program. Listening to the camera mans soothing voice, as he spoke about the drought in Africa, and how the monkeys had wondered for days to find water.

When all of a sudden, we see a very well camouflaged alligator or crocodile pop its mean jaws up only to clamp them onto a monkeys head, while it tried to rehydrate itself in murky and swampy puddle. A horrible thing in its own right, and I was clamoringng about to find the remote, when I see the monkeys very own mother try and save it from these hideous jaws. A horrible thing to expose a baby to, for the love of God. I found the remote as fast as I could, never to know the fate of the poor little monkey. (I will guess, the monkey lost)

I felt horrible for subjecting Sir Rowland to such a violent scene.

But now looking back. It is really no worse than a Disney movie. You have Bambi's mother, the crazed killer in 101 Dalmations, the animal abuse in Dumbo. Heck the first 5 minutes of Finding Nemo are gut wrenching.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Cabin Fever...

We are going crazy here....a month of perpetual running of errands, followed with a "I cannot stand crowds one more day" mentality.

Well it has simply made us nutso!! Too chilly to go to the park, so we are headed out to get Thank You notes. That way we begin the New Year right.

I have no idea where we are headed, but photos are sure to follow....

I also have a mountain of laundry to tend to. It is a small mountain...but none the less, someone has to do it.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Man Hands

*that is a burn I acquired, getting dinner rolls out of the oven.* (It seems I get these every Holiday.

*2 nails missing after a battle of twist ties, a small cut under the bird finger from the knife. One of them got sliced off from my little knife on the juice tool, all fingers are intact for now...

A confession here, I never have had great looking hands..

a lifetime of work with my hands...detassling corn, factory work, kitchen work, house work, helping Dad cut wood, picking bugs off of potato plants, and then my life as a nurse. Washing and washing hands with hot water, and antibacterial ruins hands.

Another confession, I bit my nails until probably 10 years ago. Ugly hands.

Oh and while we are at it, I never had a manicure, until I got one for an anniversary gift from DH.

However, over the past few years, I have taken pretty good care of my hands. My nails do not get painted regularly, because I think chipped and worn polish looks worse than none. Any polish is likely to get messed up within 2 hours of a paint job. I do give myself a lovely manicure, if I am going to be out and about...

The Holiday war, has left my hands in turmoil. Particularly the deadly twist ties. If you are a parent, you know what I am speaking of. And you know the battle that ensues. Whoever has twist tie duty is a bitter, bitter person.

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot was Santa thinking?

Santa, *cough* must have been high on "new toy smell" while in the toy store. Because Santa picked up harmonicas for The Collective, as stocking stuffers.

Santa's thought process was this "an inexpensive musical toy", a real instrument. Heck one never knows when harmonica skills could come in handy. Perhaps, they could fill in for the Blues Traveler guy, or Willie Nelson's guy. Someone might end up in the pokey in the future. Maybe I have a blues protege on my hands. We do after all live close to the Delta.

If I were Emma Peel.....

I would stay in my jammies and take nap today!!

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

The morning after The Most Wonderful Time of The Year...

A brief post, as I have a date with an interesting man. Ahhhh....

I was upset most of Christmas Eve.

I was starting to mourn the passing of the Holiday.

I have been enjoying the Christmas Season so much. The Collective are finally old enough to really "enjoy" and participate in traditions. It warmed my heart.

I have no idea where we will be next year. I would love if all family would come down here next year, it would certainly be warmer for them. It would be a nice break from the frigid I do like entertaining.

However, we sit here unsure of DH's current status. Will he be here? Will he be in Iraq? We have no idea.

So through the entire Holiday, the uncertainty of the situation loomed. Me taking a photo of everything imaginable. Trying to savor every momnet, every smile, and giggle. Presents opened...

It is what we have learned to do as military families during war time, and we are not the first, nor the last, and it is what it is.

I do hate to see Christmas fade, as it seems to. I almost dread taking down the garlands, trees, and wreaths. I will miss having a cheerful note or photo in my mailbox. I will miss making special holiday cookies with The Collective, even if eggs get dropped onto the floor, and cocoa gets spilled. I will miss hearing them sing Holly Jolly Christmas, and Away in a Manger.

The empty boxes with the words Christmas on them lined up in the garage, waiting to be filled. My holly leaves and berries on the front garland turning dark.

Something about the Holidays being over makes my heart feel full and broken at the same time, it is the most wonderful time of the year.

My nemesis

Later today a photo of the near crippled state of my hands, and the poor state of my nails. 2 fingernails down...

Monday, December 25, 2006

Christmas Day

The greatest shock this morning....

The Collective gave us the gift of sleep!! They slept until almost 8am!!

I even had to wake Farmer Sir Rowland!

WOW, that NEVER happens....NEVER...

The children enjoyed the opening of gifts, and the very apparent Santa Visit, they inspected the carrots and empty plates, and the cup of egg nog.

Santa brought Pink Ninja her Talking Dora House, Sir Rowland got the Rokenbok! I am still trying to figure out the control for the Rokenbok. (dork)

I must add here, I am amazed at the physical strength my children have shown today. Both were able to lift LARGE boxes from Santa. I really am amazed, these are the same children that complain they cannot lift things...often. I might have to start wrapping things around the house, in order to have them picked up!!

Most of the boxes, bows and paper have been picked up...most. Tummies are full. Pink Ninja has eaten a lot of candy...sneaker...

And because I am the daughter of a daughter of German farm folk, it appears I have made too much food.....AGAIN. Everything was delish!!

Christmas bonus...Santa brought Momma a bottle of Ketle One, Daddy got a bottle of Makers Mark. Thank you Santa...a drink will be good tonight before bed!

Merry Christmas to those who are doing our fighting this year...and last year, and next year...

Go over and wish the following a VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS, and thank them today. Please read and see how they are spending the day...*sigh*

I did manage to go over to see a couple of them today, and I thought of the families as well...

Jack Army

Acute Politics

Unchartered Territory

Badgers Forward

Brent's Blog

Chaplain Luken

Feel free to add other active bloggers in the comments section if you know of any!!

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Christmas Eve 2006

The new camera from Santa works great.

Here are a few pictures of The Collective from this morning. They were allowed to open THE gifts from each other. Granny called and said they could open a box from her as well...

Sir Rowland got a signal for his Thomas track from Pink Ninja. Pink Ninja got her "Activity" nativity set. She played with it all day. She even took the baby Jesus to sleep with her tonight.

It was a wonderful day. Our home wishes yours a blessed Christmas Season, and a 2007 filled with joy.

I cannot wait until the morning! It appears Sant was here while I was bathing. The cookies have been eaten. The carrots have bites out of them, and the syrup, drank by the elves!!

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Holiday feeling

1.Wrapping paper or gift bags?

wrapping paper

2.Real tree or artificial?

fake (read last years entry on a fake tree here)

3.When do you put up the tree?

The week after Thanksgiving

4.When do you take the tree down?

After January 7th.

5.Do you like eggnog?

love it, especially with a nip of bourbon!

6.Favorite gift you received as a child?

a real art set that included pastels, charcoals, and paints.

7.Do you have a nativity scene?

several, I collect them.

8.Hardest person to buy for?

My DH, he is so hard to buy for, becuase he buys himslef what he wants. VERY HARD. Even his Momma thinks so...

9.Easiest person to buy for?

my Sister, she NEVERS buys herself anything.

10.Mail or email Christmas cards?

If I have your address, you sooo get a card.

11.Worst Christmas gift you ever received?

I have never recieved a "bad gift"

12.Favorite Christmas movie?

Do I have to pick one? Must I? I love them all.

13.When do you start shopping?

As soon as I have the scratch to do so...

14.Have you ever recycled a Christmas present?


15.Favorite thing to eat at Christmas?

I love holiday eating and dining!! I do not have a is the only time of the year we consume a lot of things...(which is why I will be slowing it down January 2!!

16.Clear lights or colored on the tree?

white lights indoors and out of doors.

17.Favorite Christmas song?

once again I hate to commit to an answer here...I love christmas music. Love it, I sing it all day, I teach the children songs, I have a lot of Christmas music, a lot of different types.

Maybe, Nat Coles The Christmas Song

18.Travel at Christmas or stay home?

Either, there are definate pros anc cons about both. I try and appreciate where I am am, and who I am with to the fullest.

19.Can you name all of Santa’s Reindeers?

of course!

20.Angel on the tree top or a star? star

21.Open the presents on Christmas eve or morning?

I grew up opening gifts on Christmas eve. However, we open gifts in the morning!
(I prefer Christmas morning now. There is something magical about The Collective gasping, and checking to see if reindeers have eaten carrots, and Santa his cookies, and the elves they're syrup.)

22.Most annoying thing about this time of year?

exasperated people. Merry Freaking Christmas exasperated people complaining, yelling, rolling eyes, being rude to staff at restaraunts/stores.

23.Do you have Jesus in your heart this Christmas?

of course

24.What would you like for Christmas?

I want my children to remember this Christmas as magical.....

I should tag 5 people, but I hate to, I was late with this one. It is Christmas after all...

Friday, December 22, 2006

I have been such a good girl...

I got my Christmas present early!!

Thank You Santa!!

I feel like a bit of a brat, but I loathed the last camera. And as family historian, I need a camera.

Santa surprised me tonight!


Ok Folks, move on the shows over. You don't need to go home but you can't stay here. Come back tomorrow for the noon showing, and try the veal.

The Commissary...

There is really nothing worse than a screaming and crying child.

OK, there are worse things than a screaming and crying child, a lot of things. But a screaming and crying child immediately puts all adults on alert. It pains us to see a child that is in misery...

Today, we made the 45 minute drive to the Commissary. Which they should rename "comMISERY", just to please me today.

They have jet carts, and car carts. I prefer the jet carts, because The Collective are elevated, I can whisper..."Stop", and the other Mommy Mantras without the entire store hearing. The cart carts, The kids are way up front, near the ground, they can get out, and lastly they can touch one another.

So as we enter the parking lot Pink Ninja sees a green car. She tells me she wants the green car. I told her, they are much more manageable when they are in the jet. I then ask her to pick out a jet.

A little background. Pink Ninja has taken over Sir Rowland's dairy farm 5am waking. by 9am, Pink Ninja is tired. I will also note here, she looked adorable. She was dressed in a new dress, and tights, a new red furry coat from her Grandpa (which is getting harder to remove from her, even on 70 degree days). She also had a big bright red ribbon in her hair.

So I grab a jet cart, much to her dismay, and the crying starts. I walk 10 feet into the store and KNOW I better take The Collective potty. So we enter the bathroom, and I am trying to sooth her, and make the crocodile tears go away...

Some elderly woman stops, and hands her a quarter and says "Honey some times in life, all of the green cars are gone".

We leave the restroom, and there is another retiree couple, another quarter, and a compliment "Oh honey our Grandbabies, live so far away, and you look so pretty".

We head down the produce aisle, and I see a quarter appear in front of Pink Ninja, another retired couple, and they also say "Oh honey you look so pretty, we don't have any Grandbabies".....

This pretty much went on for the next 4 aisles.

I hated that people were giving her money for crying, not exactly the sort of thing I would promote...I kept telling them to keep their money to no avail. Arguing with retired people, is a losing battle.

So I tried to look at the positive side of the events...

Her first paying acting job.....I have no idea where she gets her "dramatic skills"..


Thursday, December 21, 2006

Santa Baby...

*Eartha Kitt was the best Cat Woman

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

She is making a llist and checking it thrice...

More boring lists of things I did today....(however note here, I do the lists to benefit myself. I need to look back on the day and feel as though I accomplished something.)


Needed gas, filled up. Gas was $2.17

Went to the PX, looked around....Nothing there really. No really interesting perfume gift sets...Etc. Although I did see an Olympus camera in my price range, with an optical zoom.

Went to Commissary, bought as much of Christmas fixing as possible. I treated us to lots of fancy items, it is the Holiday after all. And I love to eat. I picked up Brie (I am going to serve warm with chutney on top and apples), lots of fancy crackers, and toasts, German mustards. I also needed butter, eggs. I am making all of the neighbors either rolls or cinnamon rolls for Christmas. Oh and I bough nice olives...

Had to run home and wrap my Sisters pajamas, and mail them off. (they MIGHT get there on time)

Also needed more stamps, I ran out 1 day ago. The Post office ran out of ALL Christmas stamps, they had vegetable stamps. So your card might be delivered with a "kooky zuchinni stamp".


Had to get more Christmas photo card printed out, I ran out, AGAIN. This happens every year. Order more... next year lady. I also had some othe film developed for the family....they miss Sir Rowland and Pink Ninja.

Had to go to the bank and deposit a small amount of money...


Came home and made "Runza casserole" (recipe courtesy of my Sister in law) YUMMY, if you are of German heritage or love cabbage.)

2 tablespoons vegetable oil spread
1 pound lean ground beef
1/2 cup onion (chopped)
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
2 cups cabbage (chopped)
1 can low sodium mushroom soup
2 cans crescent rolls (eight per package
1 eight ounce package shredded cheddar cheese
1 eight ounce package shredded mozzarella cheese

Melt vegetable oil spread in skillet. Brown hamburger in spread. Add onion, salt, pepper, and garlic. Add cabbage and cook until tender. Stir soup into hamburger. Press eight rolls into bottom of 9 X 13 glass baking dish. Pour hamburger mixture on rolls. Top with both cheeses. Cover with eight more rolls. Back at 350 for 20 minutes.

*note I did not use any cheese, or onion soup mix tonight...I also included an entire onion...I also used butter....*

I walked in the house at 4:56, and had this meal prepped and cooked and on the table at 5:40. This is a great way to get people to eat cabbage. The Collective like it sliced in long narrow strips they eat them like noodles!)

and now I am off to wrap gifts!!

be good, he is watching.

Only a few more days of Christmas Music left...

Darn it...

enjoy it while you can!

MyMother In Law just sent me a wonder Christmas CD....which includes both of these!!

Thank You!!

We are enjoying it!

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

If it isn't Scottish, its CRRRRAP.....

DH serenaded me tonight...

Activity set

Tonight, I sat down with The Collective, and discussed the Christmas lists for the final time...

You know, Santa really needs to know, time is running out.

Sir Rowland, yeah...He has not changed or altered the list, there are 3 things he really wants. I am sure, Santa and his helpers have managed to make these items.

On the other hand Pink Ninja, really only wanted 2 things this season. The pony Butterscotch, which I am pretty sure Santa does not have the means to build, and The Talking Dora House. I then ask...

AWTM: "are you sure that is it, you do not want anything else?"

Pink Ninja: "an activity set"

AWTM: "an activity set?"

Pink Ninja: "yes, an activity set."

AWTM: "what kind of activity set?"

Pink Ninja: "an activity set."

AWTM: *looking at DH, with a horrified deer in the headlights look*

DH: "honey what is in the activity set?"

Pink Ninja: "like the activity set in the kitchen, and on the mantle, and in my room."

AWTM: "OHHH, a nativity set."

She currently has one on her bookshelf in her room that is glass, and sort of South American looking (I collect them). It is unusual, and is bright. However, I have not let her play with it, because it is glass.

So I must get her one she can touch. I used to love rearranging my parents nativity. It had been my Fathers parents set. I do recall it had a small blue light bulb and had to be plugged in. My favorite Christmas item, for many years. It is now packed in a box at my Fathers home, waiting for me to collect it, and bring it safely to my home.

Someday she will get that one, but for now...

I think this one will do....

Looks like I am not quite done shopping.

The Curse of the Broken Appliance, and other expensive shit looooms....*sigh*

I am tying loose ends up around here. There seem to be a lot of loose ends...

Every year, I promise myself I will not be running around a the last minute, and every year..

Yeah, go ahead picture me running around.

The good news is "I know when brakes are bad".

The bad news is "I know when brakes are bad."


Monday, December 18, 2006

They know that Santas on his way....

Today I

paid all medical bills from all of the "vagina whisperers", radiologists, hospital...etc. DONE. That felt good.

I washed truck
Had oil changed in truck
Post Office
Let The Collective consume McDonalds
Went to a park for a picnic
spoke to an insane neighbor...

Ended up going Walgreens getting Christmas cards done, because it was DRIVING me batty. I ended up using one of the photos of The Collective in matching jammies under the Christmas tree, chapped lips, A&D and all. However, I feel soooo much better knowing they are done, and out...people know we are thinking of them.

The family potrait will get done. The studio is booked, people are grouchy, and DH just does not have time right now. So I suppose this will be something to do right after the New Year. Maybe I will look relaxed in this years portait.

While out today I noted that my left front wheel well is making a noise. Actually I just knew it was someone elses car...HA!! I am sure it is the guess where I get to spend the afternoon tommorow? Hell maybe I will take the wagon, and lug them to the park? Damn. Brakes at Christmas, and right after I mailed out a bunch of bills to vagina whisperers.....I am tired of things breaking, and replacing things. Honestly I am. Since July. I think I have had a major appliance die, or need repairing. Ughhh...this gets expensive. However, I guess I should thank my stars I have appliances that need fixing, and I should thank God, all of these things did not go to hell at once.

The Christmas shopping is almost done... ALMOST.

Every year I promise it will be done ahead of time, and every year, it goes undone until the last moment. I am ashmed, and I promise, I am not doing this next year...nope I will start early.

Tonight I tried to get my nieces a subscription to a magazine which they will LOVE...and no dice...I will have to call in the morning, and get that done after going to the gym. The subsription info will not load...for some reason.

There a couple of things I spent the evening looking for, and I did not find, so the search will continue.

On an exciting note, I have asked Santa to bring me podcasting equipment!!
I have a lot of projects I would like to do over at SpouseBuzz. I have several interviews lined up, I am ready to get going. However I know NOTHING about the podcasting equipment. I have put out feelers, to RSM, Andi, and Op-For...asking about equipment. Thank you all for the good advice. It is still very intimidating technology for me. Heck I might be able to use it here, at AWTM, perhaps the collective would tell a joke, or sing a song? However, with any luck I should have it up and running by 2008. HA. Thank you to my very generous Santa.

So think of me in the morning, rememeber I will be at the mechanic......oye, I would almost rather be trapped in a Toys R US with 50 children on pixie sticks during Christmas season..

*also if I have had your address, I most likely misplaced it, AGAIN. So please send it again. Oh and if you have moved, I need your new address....

Sunday, December 17, 2006

hello walls...

Before reading this, go over, and read THIS. It really is imperative. One of the white elephants in the military household...

The wall.

Some of our soldiers come back home with walls. Some walls are thick and high and others are jagged and rocky. Some of our soldiers have become artists, and can change the wall from day to day.

Some spouses, family and friends become expert at crack detection. Finding a hole, a way in. Deciding when the wall should remain up, and when they can climb over. Hands reach in to grab a hand, or to try and help someone out of themselves...

Some soldiers become great at learning to find a way out. Others just cannot.

We work on our wall. Because there is one thing for certain. War, does change a person, some of those changes are good, wonderful lessons are learned, friends are made, a brotherhood emerges, that is unlike any other. There are other changes too, some that are hard, life is frail, and there is guilt involved in war. Guilt about missing life back home, guilt for surviving....

And so today when I read this, I am reminded of all of the work all of the Soldiers and families I know do daily. The hard work of Soldiers, the war over there and the war at home...
Santa is a Jerk

Must watch!!
Too much

Hello gorgeous

The weather continues to surprise and amaze me. I think it was almost 80 degrees here yesterday. 80 degrees. Wow.

DH had managed the day off.

I had A LOT of Christmas things I needed to do, but the things went to the side. (eg:gift wrapping, buying, cards, cleaning, laundry...etc he has to work Sunday, so might as well take advantage of the day)

We went to the park, and stayed out of doors, for as much fresh air as possible. It
is absolutely amazing to me, these sorts of temperatures. I also needed to get a nice walk in. The cookies, and candy have been finding their was into my mouth, despite my not needing them.

I will be late with Christmas cards, it is as simple as that, so for those of you on my list, I do apologize. I was going to send one out of just the children, but then decided a family portrait is in order again this year. As we are lucky to be spending the Christmas as a family. It is a good reminder and excuse to get this done. Hoping I will have this done by New Years. No it will be done by New Years...

It was a fun filled day, with great weather!! The Collective had a great time, and Pink Ninja flew up the climbing wall. I missed the photo op. After we got home, I managed to have the collective help me make buckeyes!! Yummmmmm....DH then took them out of doors for a wagon ride, and a game of catch. During that time I decided to clean bathrooms, and get a load of wash done, and go through bills.

Dinner was a delicious beer in the rear chicken on the grill accompanied by grilled veggies with carmelized onions...

DH had to work today, we wish he were home.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

The Collective=comedians...

I spent yesterday afternoon, trying to get the house prepared for the weekend, and as I was vacuuming I hear this...

"Hey turn that thing off, we can't hear the T.V."

Friday, December 15, 2006

Grab a cup of coffee, or a cup of tea....

and come over to Spousebuzz for a listen.

We had the opportunity to speak with Kristin Henderson, author of While They Are At War. .

Go over and listen to the podcast, and if you are a spouse, try and get your hands on the book.

*if you have itunes, and want to subscribe to SpouseBuzz podcasts, scroll the right sidebar of SpouseBuzz, and click on subscribe to the podcast feed. It is easy!! *

Go Huskers!!


Thursday, December 14, 2006

Do you remember 16?

Summer was the best...

Drinking beers by the river, Marlboro costing $1.00 per pack. Waking at 4am to detassle, home by 9am. Just in time for a nap some days. Most days I would throw on my swimsuit, and a shirt and I would collect my girlfriends. And we would go to the river, or the lake. And we would sit quietly sunning ourselves, one hand in the water.

I can recall wind in my hair and cruising through town in my girlfriends 1974? Yellow mustang with white leather interior, and t-tops. We would smoke cigarettes, hoping they would make us "sophisticated", only to find we loved smoking.

Drinking cheap beer, bought by a cousin, or someone from work. Sitting by the river, sitting in the sun in swimsuits that would never even fit my arm now...Tanned... Gloriously tanned skin. Unmarked by days, the occasional scar from some crazy stunt, that required drinks and a certain amount of bravado.

No responsibility in the summer with the exception of my 4am detassling gig, and the 4pm-close at Bonanza. Wearing that horrid bonanza wrap around Burgundy bibbed skirt things. A cap I had to slide my pony tail through the back. I wonder if I have a picture....? I ended up learning every job in the place. It was very easy work, I learned to balance the books, grill, fry, prep cook, and run the damn all you can eat salad bar...Only working there, because all of my girlfriends did.

So nightly we would close, clean, everything. Then I would go home, take a shower, dry my hair upside down, put on brand new clothes, and head out again. Replacing a pack of cigarettes, and the cheap beer with a bottle of rum...And head out into the night, with my girlfriends.

First kisses, drive in movies, skinny dipping, late nights, street dances, first loves.

Being ignored by mad crushes, and dating nice boys from surrounding farm towns...Nice boys. Boys that thought smoking and drinking were naughty, and wrong.

A t-shirt with Sex Pistols, black chuck taylors, and going to town to get "the flop" cut into a Mohawk.....

And now I am wondering what happened to all of those girls, some of them got married, one of them had triplets, one had a miscarriage, most got married and moved far away. The guys? I do not know what happened to the guys. I know I married one of them....I told them I would. They didn't believe me that day at the pool. I was 15, and I told them. "Ya know, I am going to marry him someday"...and there was giggling, and a general 15 year old eye rolling.

And when I look at the Christmas cards they have sent and read the notes. I read about diets, minivans, a knee surgery, a parent that has passed, and a job....And it makes me smile....

If I were Emma Peel.....

The Holiday Season would be romantic, and I would not have snot on my jeans....

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

They don't call them FUNctions, for nothing...

The Collective are ill, with some minor cold virus. This does not happen real often as we do not spend our days with other filthy tots.

Yes tots are filthy.

I have proof.

For the last 2 days I have said this "cover your mouth when you cough", at least 426 times.

I have also enjoyed this little ditty "do not wipe your nose on your sleeve, get a tissue, and wash your hands". Ughhhh....

I have even had to say this..."did you just wipe your nose on my jeans?"

Seriously I am having to say this to my beautiful, children. My kids.


Also a new fascination with flatulence. Sir Rowland has started flatulating in peoples general direction. Pink Ninja pretending to catch it and throw it back at him. Sir Rowland telling her she has missed the flatulence, and it will go "into her mouth"...for the sake of Pete, where does he come up with this stuff?

Sir Rowland has recently taught himself to belch. A talent he discovered while we were in the PX a couple of weeks ago. We were innocently strolling down the aisles, in the stationery/book department. Nice. All he could say was, "listen Mom, listen to this, I figured it out." And then the belching and grinning began. (I did congratulate him on his new skill, I think I was 8 when I finally figured it out.) It is "something" I suppose. But I begged him, to refrain from doing it publically as some sort of performance piece. The uniformed men at the PX, were not discouraging his new talent, and they found my frustration with the performance as equally funny. So I tried doing what every Mother tries to do, I "ignored him"... So, Sir Rowland burped his way from stationaery, to cosmetics, to sundries...all the while with a smattering of chuckles.

I guess I should be glad he was not flatuating in they're general diection, because you know it is coming. I pray to God the Adjutant General, and his Mrs. do the shopping on Saturdays.

What can I say?

Last evening my fellow SpouseBuzz contributors and I had the good fortune of talking to Kristin Henderson. She wrote the book While They Are At War. I had a terrible time narrowing my questions down.

One of those questions I wanted to ask.....I wanted to ask her about the widows. The widows. What do I say, what can I do, do they know my guilt? I have met many widows in my day, but not many young war time widows. Andi, and Kristen touched on this for a moment. Kristin had a hard time with the knock on the door chapter in her book. It took a long time for her to muster the courage to speak with those left behind.

I recalled talking to Ward Carroll about this, while in Killeen, at the first SpouseBuzz conference. He suggested I listen to his 3 part podcast series from August.

Part 1

part 2

part 3

I finally sat down and listened to it. And although heartbreaking, to hear a woman speak so candidly about her loss, I am glad I did.

I was amazed at Ward, and Joanna's candor during the interview.

It is an amazing listen.

I am thinking of Joanna tonight....thank you for sharing your story.

Christmas in July

All I have to say is.


It is glorious out.

It has been for the last 2 days.

70 degrees.

How am I supposed to bake in 70 degrees?

Especially when I have two perfectly good toddlers that need the exposure to fresh air. 70 degrees in December.

Wow...and I do not mind it one bit.

I have some deer pulling a sleigh on the side of the house, maybe I should get them a surfboard? And the nativity up front, well even sans manger, they look ok.

So it looks like the sunshine this week will mean, not much in the way of baking.

Lots of sunshine...


I was reading Andi this morning, and this story was brought to my attention.

DO read it, count your blessings, say a prayer, and send a note of care and support.

Chaplains Office
ATTN: Mrs. Masek
Coalition Angels
Get well Joe
Unit 29623, Box 0022
APO, AE 09096-0022

We made it to Santa

The Collective were great. Pink Ninja was a bit shy, Sir Rowland made her feel safe.

You can read it over at SpouseBuzz.

can you tell me how to get...

to Sesame Street.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

All I want for Christmas...

The gift that keeps on giving...

I got to excercise class this morning, and all asked how my "company" liked Arkansas....

I started filling them in on Hot Springs.

Ya know the hookers, the gingerbread "village" that was actually a cardboard barn, or a graham cracker house...

Oh, and when I said wax museum, one laady in class chimed in with "oh that is a great wax museum". She was serious, I told her it was horrible. She told me that in the 80's "it must have been better".

Tammi has more photos.

I didn't get nearly the photos Tammi did, as I was afraid the flash might cause even more damage to the figures.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Bake Day

Today was cookie day here at Casa De Dust.

Mexican Wedding cakes

Gingerbread Boys and Girls


Sugar cookies.

I used Paula Deens suagar cookie recipe, and they are yummmmmy.

The Collective helped.

It took forever to clean the kitchen.

Sir Rowland was in charge of cracking eggs, sifting flour, and reading the recipes.

Pink Ninja was in charge of dumping pre-filled cups and teaspoons into the bowl.

I let them both run the mixer.

We made bells, angels, and stars out of the sugar cookie dough. They did a good job.

Suprisingly, Sir Rowland, is fast, and accurate in the kitchen, he enjoys cooking, and baking.

Sir Rowland: "I think I want to work with Paula Deeno" (I do not know why ha added a letter to her name, but he has claled her that FOREVER. He has only seen her show 3 times MAYBE.)

AWTM: "You could work with Paula Deeno, you are a big help in the kitchen, you do a great job."

Sir Rowland: "I know, I could also talk about kitchen safety, you know most accidents in the home occur in the kitchen."

AWTM: "Yeah, I am aware"

Sir Rowland: "She could have me keep track of how much ingrediant she needs."

AWTM: "How much brown sugar do we need?"

Sir Rowland: "2/3 of a cup, that is less than a cup you know."

AWTM: "You are right, it is."

Blogging will be light I am finishing a book, and RESTING...the baking wiped me out.

How bad was it?


I have gotten 2 e-mails this morning, asking me for proof of how BAD the wax museum was.

Would I lie to you?

It was bad.

Any wax museum that requires figures to be labeled, is bad. I mean really, if you must label a figure of George Washington, it really isn't a good one right.

Here is another example of how bad the museum is.

Please rememeber I bought a cheap camera. It takes lousy photos. Lousy. Second, remeber I am laughing hysterically trying to stay upright long enough to take photos, oh and last it was dark, very dark (to make these wax figures resemble anyone) and the sheer campiness of it all made me feel as if I were in a John Waters movie.

*a very curious exhibit, Prince Charles, meeting Richard and Pat Nixon.

There was a figure of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., Tammi swore it was Cedric the Entertainer.

I promise folks, if you show up, I will take you there. It is really that bad.

And She is gone...

After a nice visit, it seems as though Tammi had to get back to her regular scheduled program. We did manage to have a final lunch of nachos and beer in front of a football game, although none of her teams were playing.

I managed to showcase one of my most useless skills. "Let me guess where you are from". I managed to guess the ticketing agent at the airport, had lived in Boston for a time.....a Boston accent, that is EASY, that is really easy to guess. Well not so much when the said ticketing agent is originally from Germany. HA. A useless talent really.

The Collective enjoyed Tammi's visit, and were remarkably good. 2 minutes in the door, and they were playing CandyLand with her. PinkNinja got a beautiful doll with long blonde hair...she loves her new doll baby. I kept waiting for Sir Rowland to have one of his "meltdowns"...he didn't. He kissed and hugged her, he sat by here, and taught her all about Rokenbok, even making her visit the web page on her lap top. DH had a fun weekend, with the kids. Pink Ninja, was a rockstar, and pretty good. We had shrimp Saturday night, and she played with her shrimp tails and had them fighting one another.

I spoke with my Dad last night, and he wanted to know how "the visit" went. I told him I took my friend to a bad wax museum.....he was horrified, and said he was sure she would never visit again. I replied..."If I didn't want Tammi to come back, I would have taken her to the Clinton Presidential Library"...

Thank You for making the trip here Tammi, I hope you had a wonderful time, and are starting your week, energized and rested!

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Welcome, to the World of Wax...

Ta-Dah...DH, has the weekend off, he and The Collective had plans.

Tammi and I head to Hot Springs...

We arrived in Hot Springs today, just in time to indulge in a lovely lunch.

Latin food. Yummy.

With no real plan in mind other than little shops....

we see this.

A wax museum. A bad wax museum.

We enter and meet the wax receptionist "Amy",(please note Amy, is missing an appendage). I was thrilled to see "Amy" was gainfully employed, and The House of Wax, was an equal opportunity employer. We give her our money and enter...

Note to self, always pee before going into a wax museum with Tammi.

warm, and tastes like honey

warms the tummy....

Rest in Peace Captain Crosby

For the past 36 years, Crosby's family has awaited word about the fate of their son and brother.
Please go over to Radio Patriots and read the rest.

Last Night

We dined HERE. We had 1 drink.

We did not end up in jail, no money needed. (Thank you for the offer Chuck!!)

Dinner was yummy, company was good, the bombay and tonic warming...

Friday, December 08, 2006

Overdressed? Underdressed?

Princess Cat and I are having a MidWest/East Coast/West Coast...

Is is better to undress or overdress?

Santa Claus is coming to town

Taking The Collective to see Santa today!!

Sir Rowland is unsure about this. Seems as though the kid "needs more time"...

A little guilt for being naughty on occassion, and it is beginning to show.

"I just need a little more time", is what he keeps saying. I keep explaining, Santa is pretty forgiving....


Spoke with This Blogger...this morning. It seems like they are freezing in Florida.

62 degrees!!


Casa De Dust will have company arriving today.

Menu, done...

except for a dessert.

Trying to pick just one or two dessert items...well it is hard.

Just plain hard.

Tonight, I am being thrown out of my house to dine out.

Tomorrow a trip to Hot Springs, to window shop, eat, snack, drink, shop, your, chat, shop, snack....

Should be fun, stay tuned.


Thursday, December 07, 2006

December 7th, 1941

Go here to see a newsreel of events that day...

and we remember those who died, those that survived and are living....

Interestingly enough my Father turns 65 today. May Father was born on December 7th 1941.

We spoke on the phone today, I sang to him. The Collective told him "happy birthday Grampanio".

However, I couldn't help but think of my Grandmother today, most of the day. She gave birth to my Father on December 7, 1941. And I wonder if she knew what had happened that day, during her labor? The had no indoor plumbing in the town of 200, or so. I am not sure if they had a radio...

I wonder if they knew?

I recall being pregnant on 9-11, and feeling guilty, sad, and horrified.

I am going to ask my Dad, if Grandma ever spoke about her experience on that day.

Does this work?


I know, it is spelled migraine.

I woke this morning with a doozy.

Took my advil, drank some coffee, before my feet were on the floor.

Got The Collective fed, dressed.

Debated with myself "do I dare go to the gym?"

"Of course you go to the gym, it is December, candy, lke to eat so go to the gym"...

I went to the gym. It was arms, shoulders, and back day.

Not good with the migraine.

Took 2 grocery sacks of books, and movies to the library. Did not check anything new.

To the commissary, 45 minutes away...

Grocery shopping, with a migraine, under flourescent lights...

The kids wanting to play the game of "I am touching you, I am touching you".


"Please do not do this today, PLEASE, Mom had a headache, sing a Christmas song instead."

So The Collective sang Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer, while I pushed a VERY FULL cart through the commissary. Cute, but still ouch. Flourescent lights, crowds, each step feeling like a nail was being pounded into my skull with a ball ping hammer...

All of the patrons, sweetly smiling at the carolers in the jet grocery cart, meanwhile the Mother is pushing the damn thing with half closed eyes, and a look of nasea. I am sure all of these people, were like "Those kids are so cute...but that Mom, looks like she has been on a 3 day drunk."...

I called the pharmacy to get my imitrix refilled. The good news is. I have not needed the imitrix since May, while visisitng my Dad. The bad news is, the pharmacy transferred my script to Nebraska, so now they have to give me a new script for Arkansas...UGHHHH. So I am waiting for a Drs. order to be faxed to the pharmacy, and the pharmacy to fill it....

I also came home, to open the door, and I found a large, and lovely basket filled to the brim with candy, cookies, nuts, fancy cheese, and a ton of goodies. I was thrilled to open whatever the kids wanted, so they would just...SHHHH. So far the best gift of the season, quiet kids snacking on caramel corn, nuts, and cookies...

Thank You...

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

On The Nightstand

I recently received a copy of the book While They Are at War, by Kristin Henderson. She is the wife of a Navy Chaplain. I am half way through. I would love to bury myself in it, but it is "The Holidays", so sadly I cannot.

I will recommend this book to every military spouse I know. Also, I wish every civilian I know would read it.

More when I am finished with the book, I must finish it because some of the contributors at SpouseBuzz will have the opportunity to speak with Mrs. Henderson.

Here is a sample of her writing, I think it speaks volumes. I also think they should hand this small article out at and FRG meeting, prior to a deployment.


*The Collective in matching Christmas PJ's from Granny...

O Christmas Tree...

I did not mind doing dishes last night...

I did not mind it one bit.

DH was home early for the first night in weeks.

We dined on pork roast, mashed potatoes and gravy, tossed salad, corn, home made rolls, and iced tea.

It was a wonderful meal, and wonderful company.

I didn't even mind doing the dishes, I sang through my entire Nat Cole Christmas CD.

I am trying to teach The Collective O Little Town of Bethlehem...


Well it looks like the final nominations are announced! Lets go run over and take a gander shall we?

RUNNING OVER.....scrolling






Maybe next year...right?

I guess I didn't make it.

It reminds of the pumpkin decorating contest in first grade. Yeah, I didn't I recall I didn't get a mention. I think I cried, yeah I know a complete pussy. Give me a break I was like 6.

Reminds me of 2nd grade, my teacher sent a painting of mine to the State Fair, white ribbon. Damn, she did however buy the painting for $5.00.

Third grade, singing a solo at a PTA Christmas meeting. The only person chosen to sing. Got stage fright , and shy, and no one could hear me. The only and last time I was chosen to sing.

7th grade, spelling bee, between all country schools. I made it to the top 5, (yes I used to be a fantastic speller (what the hell happened? I have no idea). Anyway, during the bathroom break, I was so nervous I accidentally walked into the boys bathroom. Standing at the urinal was "Danny" a boy I had a crush on peeing. When I gasped in horror, he looked over his shoulder, and he turned the reddest I have ever seen a boy. Needless to say, I went back the the spelling bee flustered and I lost. Also "the crush" was never reciprocated.

7th grade basketball. Country school, 4 very decent players on the team. I was 5'7 and about 80 pounds. (class mates called me "skeletor") Got fouled, and sent to the free throw line. Could not make a normal free throw over the head shot. With 80 pounds of muscle behind my bony frame. My coach yells from the sidelines..."you know you cannot shoot from overhead, granny shoot now!" (*note here the coach was my Dad) I made the granny shot, but was so horrified that I could not shot the ball like a "normal fucking cool person", it did not matter...)

8th grade, the trackmeet. 3rd place high jump. Damn. I had a couple of other shots. Relay races. I do rememeber my Dad in the center of the field running ahead of me saying "pump pump, run, run, run, your life depends on it!!!" I recall this. I was seriously running as fast as I could. Seriously. I think that is the fastest I had ever run. I was at that moment running as fast as I probably ever had or will, and trying TRYING my hardest only to come in dead last. I was disappointed, but the look on my Father face was what got me. It was the "that's it, that was your best effort?" look.

I am left recalling my freshman year of high school. Basketball season. That sucked. I made the team, got the uniform, but only got tossed into the mix, if we were 70 points ahead, or 70 points behind. The bad news here, is my effort was always there, just no natural ability it seemed. So I sat on the bench for most of the season.....The 2 times I did get thrown in the mix I sucked...

Anyway I sit here reminded of all of my averageness this morning.

I have learned a couple of good lessons from being average.

I think the most important of these, is watching my own children. Watching them, learning where they have ability and where they do not. Learning what they enjoy and what they do not. Fun is what matters....In the end. Right? It is about having a good time....

Learning what you want to do, and what you do not. Learning what is fun and what is not.

I like blogging, it is fun.

The best part of blogging, the PEOPLE. The STORIES. Some of them make us laugh.

When the day is long, and we have gotten bad news, and it seems like our World may be small and crashing in. We see you.

Some of you had babies, some of you lost jobs, some of you got a new great job, some of you got fired, some of you are falling in love and some of you are getting a divorce, and some are at war.

It is a wonderful reminder of spirit...

"Life is a banquet and most poor suckers are starving to death"

*Auntie Mame

Tuesday, December 05, 2006


2 weekends ago, it was so lovely that we took The Collective out to the mountains. We had a picnic, went hiking, enjoyed a rendevous, watched wool being spun out of flax, I even saw a persimmon tree.

I wish DH's schedule allowed more time together.

my rolls

they are yummy, but my process needs a little work.

Patience is key
I'm singing!!


Monday, December 04, 2006

Christmas Cookie, Candy, and Bar Recipe Exchange Part I

Certainly I am not the only one that is preparing my kitchen for this grand holiday. I asked others to share they're favorite recipe's, in the comments, in a post, or send them in an email!! WOW. There are a lot of recipes to try here folks!

So get the flour, eggs, chocolate, and some counter space, because here we go!!

Biting the Heads off of Gummy Bears, submitted several recipes, some of these taking very few ingredients, which is a bonus.

There is toffee, mounds candy, snickerdoodle cookies and more! A recipe for "totally easy caramel corn", which looks delicious, I get so hungry for caramel corn, and I am definitely making this! I think it also makes a great gift for neighbors, teachers etc.

Shakey Pete, takes the time to steal one of Linda Lou's recipes, instead of reloading ammo!! Actually it is a family recipe called Grandma Hagen's Oatmeal Raisin Cookies. For the record Oatmeal Raisin cookies are the most requested cookie in this house. I also never feel bad feeding them to the children because, after all there has to be less sugar in them than most "kids cereals", which I rarely buy. Linda Lou's recipe looks yummy, and I will make these at some point.

A Rose By Any Other Name, also submits several recipes!! All of her cookies looked fantastic, and she includes her family favorites! However one caught my eye. Buckeyes!!

I have had these several times, but have never made them. THESE are delicious candies, and if my memory serves me correctly, they are a FAVORITE, everyone's loves these peanut butter and chocolately bits of heaven. These will be made this year!

The Lemon Stand, has done her Christmas baking this year, and even sent the goodies to her DH who is proudly serving our country. She has photos, and an extensive list of recipes.
This includes, banana bread, peanut butter cookies, molasses drop cookies (which sound like they would be good with tea and coffee), and a great recipe for Ginger Bread People. Which just happens to be on the list of things to make!! I think The Collective will have fun decorating these little people, and they love the story of The Ginger Bread Man. Plus biting the head off of a cookie, just screams Happy Holidays!

Sissy, from And What Next submits Mud Cookies. Which have to be easy, because Sissy does not as a rule "cook". There are not many ingredients in these, and they have chocolate in them. Everyone wins. She also submitted one of Tammi's favorite "cheater cakes", called Turtle Cake. I have never been privy to the cake, but I have heard all bloggers give it rave reviews!!

G.R.I.T.S.(girl raised in the south) includes a couple of recipes. Now I will say this, I know this lady can cook, as well as the rest of her folks. Her kin were on their way through here a few weeks ago, and man oh man did they ever SURPRISE us with the biggest of goodies baskets. Delicious.

I was even given some of her Fathers Infamous Fudge. Which I have started calling "my medicine". No kidding, it is that good. She also includes a recipe for Pumpkin Cheesecake bars. Did someone say cheesecake?

Boston Maggie, decided to play along, although she claims she is "a fly by the seat of your pants type of cook"...She calls this Cookie Pizza.
This recipe looks easy, and includes a cookie crust chocolate chips, and caramel...yeah...I thought you would like that. This would be the perfect thing to take to an office party. Although, if you do, take the recipe with you, people will ask for it. Yummy.

LadyGunn sends this recipe called "Everything but the Kitchen Sink" cookies. They have toffee in them!! How yummy is that. She also makes the suggestion that these be used with ice cream in the center!! Twist my arm!!

Sarah from Trying to Grok, has a recipe that is sure to please your loved one while deployed or at home!! She has even gone as far to name them "Terminator Cookies", after receiving a note that said this...

"I used to be bamboozled by the Terminator paradox...You know, Reese being the father of John Connor but also being sent back by John Connor? Well, now I'm bamboozled by your cookies. How the heck did you make those? They were incredible. I couldn't figure 3 cookies 16 ways, so I ate 'em all myself."
Now that is advertisement, for a cookie, is it not? Go ahead and give the recipe a gander, it is a good one.

My Blog Momma, Tammi played along. The recipe for Pepermint melt away, takes 2 ingredients, and is pretty on a plate. I have not had any for years. Something to do with the candy canes people are sure to send to the collective!

In addition to that easy recipe, she also put up a Chocolate Charlie recipe, 3 ingredients folks!! You can have your own Christmas candy in no time at all!! I love these recipes, because they are simple, and take little time!! You will feel guilty if you do not make any.

Stay tuned folks, due to such a high level of participation, I have part 2 coming up before the weekend!!

Birthday photos...

OK, so my "GREAT" camera broke, and I had to buy a cheapo, guess what, you will surprised to hear it takes crappy pictures, which has been depressing. I have reset, the exposure, and outdoor/indoor settings a million times, only to find much of the same. My old camera took better photos. These will have to suffice, until I can manage to save a little scratch for a new "nicer camera". I miss my optical zoom.....And the flash on this little thing is sure to blind us all.

*Pink Ninja and Sir Roland "playing together" without me blowing a whistle, or breaking some sort of rukus up!

*Pink Ninja opening up her little circus, she loves this little toy!!

*PinkNinja blowing candles out on her french toast!!

*opening Sir Rowlands's gift, he picked it out, and helped Daddy wrap it!