Monday, May 30, 2011

The American Widow Project

Connecting a New Generation of War Widows  is part of a new effort to reach out to this generation's widows of war.  Nearly 3,000 military spouses have been widowed during the global war on terror, according to the U.S. Department of Defense. The American Widow Project is open to widows of any service member as well as women who were engaged to a service member. If you know of a wife or fiance who lost a servicemember to this war, help connect them to other widows so they don't feel alone. Want to get involved? Check out the American Widow Project website at and see how to help.

Military Report - Gates Suggests Pay Cuts

To our Government:

I have an off our salary for a week and see if military cuts stay on the table. I am blessed, but we are far from rich!

Military Report - Gates Suggests Pay Cuts

MEMORIAL day means honor our is NOT Veteran's day.

When I hear somebody tell me "happy memorial day" my blood boils. I hope my friends Deborah or Jenni never have to hear it. Both lost their husbands in this war and Jenni also lost her best friend Ben to an IED attack a couple of years before that.
I am not trying to be cranky, but in reality when somebody carelessly tosses out that phrase, I often wonder if they have truly thought about the sacrifices made by these military families. I betcha if they did they would say "thank you" rather than "happy"...yes we celebrate their lives, but for crying out loud this is MEMORIAL day not VETERANS day.  When you think about it, please take a couple of minutes out and think about those who gave the ultimate sacrifice.  Memorial day may kick off the summer, but some people need a good kick in the pants. 

Ok, I am off my soapbox.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Coffee Prices Set to Rise Again?

The price of coffe is set to increase worldwide, but that does not mean I plan on drinking less.  I am an admitted coffee snob, and if I could find a job where I do nothing but sell the benefits of coffee to other people, I would be a happy camper.  Cupping and slurping, coffee is my indulgence.


While others drown their misery away in gallons and gallons of beer and liquor, I choose to pause and indulge in it's aromatic bouquet of bright florals or earthy flavors.  When paired with a quiet time and a journal, my day begins to go from dull to full.  As the coffee beans grind, I smile and think about what lies ahead of me and I plan my day.  Coffee invigorates my senses and awakens my spirit.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Sweet Dreams are Made of These....

My husband surprised me last night with the news that he had bought something for me that I have had my heart set on having for 20 years.  It is a Kitchen Aid Artisan 5 speed mixer and perfect for mixing dough, grinding meats to make sausage, and for mixing the ingredients for a delectable desert.  I could not be happier, especially since it comes in a screaming tangerine orange which reflects my love for all things from the University of Tennessee. 

Now when people walk into my kitchen, I expect them to be completely grossed out by the orange color scheme and blinding sheen reflecting off of my growing collection of kitchen aid appliances and cutlery.  This should also add some color to the putrid brown, tan, and green color which permeates the typical army housing block.  Tan, tan, tan, er, I mean sand, sand, sand is the color adorning the typical exterior and it is not pretty.  But before I launch into a speech about the woes of living in concrete army housing, let's go back to my mixer and how excited I am. 

Some of my earliest memories of baking were from shared moments I had with my mother helping her make brownies for school.  I grew up using a Kitchen Aid Mixer and everything else pales in comparison to its power and ability.  Using one is where I learned the proper steps for slowly incorporating dry ingredients into wet ones, and where I discovered that creativity in the kitchen is one of life's greatest and simplest pleasures. 

One day it is my goal to teach my own children how to bake.  When my fingers and eyes are too old to continue, I want to pass on my mixer to them so they can experience the rhapsody of beating butter and the splish splash of whipping cream churning into puffy clouds.  The experience and memories are enough to make me wanna stay up all night and bake, just for the heck of it.  After all Sweet Dreams are made of these....

Monday, May 9, 2011


I went in Friday to have my biopsy performed. Basically they brought in another Radiologist, who looked at my mammograms and the ultrasound and talked with my Radiologist about the concerns they had over my breast tissue. They pulled up the ultrasound machine so they could mark where they needed to go in on the breast to perform the biopsy, decided they did not like the machine they were using, and sent the tech out the door to grab a higher powered machine.

Here is where it gets funny. The room they had me in was at the end of a long hallway, which basically intersected another hallway in the middle. When the tech left the room, she left the door wide open so I was in full view of anybody coming down the hall. This was NOT the experience I wanted to have since my arm was extended above my head, I was turned out at a 45 degree angle, and my breast was exposed to the world. My radiologist about lost it and yelled at the tech to shut the door. AWKWARD!

They marked the spot on my breast for where they needed to make an incision, numbed me with local anesthesia, and then made an incision. I barely felt the cut, but I could feel the biopsy needle going in and it was uncomfortable. They took a bunch of samples, stitched me up, talked to me about next steps, and then told me I would know Wednesday. Not good enough. My mother made a call to her breast center in Knoxville, and set up an appointment for me for Monday morning. So here I am in Knoxville waiting for my appointment tomorrow morning. Early results point towards a form of breast cancer called DCIS with a mass of unknown makeup. They are running tests tomorrow and will determine what my next steps are in the process. If need be, I will undergo a lumpectomy this week to remove any of the bad tissue, and will also start radiation treatment. Til we know for sure, I am keeping my fingers crossed and my prayers lifted.
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Saturday, May 7, 2011


I went in for a baseline mammogram last week and within a couple of hours was called back in for additional views. Yesterday I went in and for the next 1.5 hours had to endure the vice like grip on my right breast, the agony of waiting for 45 minutes for some sort of answers, and the additional misery of sitting through an ultrasound for another 45 minutes while they looked at my breast tissue.

They found a mass and a bunch of other triggers that concern them. Basically I have a bunch of calcification next to my areola which is also encompassing a mass. I knew something was wrong when the radiology tech took 45 minutes to come back and tell me they were doing an ultrasound, and especially when the Radiologist came in and scrutinized the ultrasound live.

My suspicions were confirmed when he pulled up a chair, and in a voice which reminded me of a Funeral Director coordinating a funeral, told me what they believed was going on. All I heard was a four letter acronym called DCIS, calcification, blah blah, tissue, blah blah, biopsy, blah blah...wait!? BIOPSY? Huh?

So, they scheduled it for today. The sooner the better. Having just been blindsided with the news, I sat there stunned and then burst into tears. My mother is a breast cancer survivor. All I could think of was her and what I went through 20 years ago. The painful memories flooded me and I cried for the unknown. What was happening? Was i dying? Is it treatable? What am I going to do? I hope it isn't cancer. Will I have children? What about my husband....what will he do?

I am numb. My mind is vacant. I don't know what to do....I am 38 years old. I am not supposed to be battling something like this, but I trust God and this is HIS war to wage.
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Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Housing Waitlists

I confess I am a little neurotic about waiting to get a house a post.  After crunching a few numbers, Ben and I decided that the most feasible option for us is to put in for housing on post and cut costs wherever we can.  Sure we get a decent BAH, but when you factor in the water, trash, electricity, fuel costs to drive back and forth, internet, ADT, pest control, and grocery bills, it just doesn't make sense to either one of us to continue in the same path we have been on for the past couple of years. 

The waitlist for housing used to drive me bananas.  Like any normal person would check their facebook account, I have been checking our position on it no less than ten times a day to see if it has budged at all.  When we initially put in our application, the lady at Balfour Beatty said it would be 2 to 3 months before a house would open up.  Sweet!  Well, it has been three weeks and for a while there I thought it was going to take 6 months based on how little the waitlist moved. 

Today I got a nice surprise.  I checked our position and we had moved 8 spots.  That may have been a small step for somebody trying to find housing immediately, but for us it was as if the moon moved closer to us and we didn't have to shoot so far.  So yay for moving and DEAR LORD I have so much packing ahead of me.  All whining aside, I am blessed that I can move on post, that I won't have but a five minute commute to work, and I will be much safer when Ben deploys again.

Monday, May 2, 2011


I remember the morning well. Sitting in my office at ABVI-Goodwill, I heard the distinctive gait of my CEO's footsteps running erratically down the hall. Soon, the outer door to our office blew open, as one of our counselor's from the Low Vision Center burst in to tell us that a plane had flown into the World Trade Center. Horrified, we ran down to the conference room to turn on the news and see what was going on. A few minutes later, our lives were forever changed when the second plane struck. Watching the screen, we all began to weep as we realized this was no accident unfolding before our eyes.

Stepping out into the hallway, I was greeted by Joanie, one of our employees in our manufacturing division, who had stepped out into the hallway for a break. She told me that a plane had struck the Pentagon and I responded to her by saying that it was not the Pentagon, but the two main towers of the Trade Center. She said no, they were listening on the radio, and heard them report on the Pentagon being hit. I crumpled to the ground and began to sob.

Very shortly thereafter, I frantically tried to get ahold of my best friend George in NYC. He was working with MTV at the time, and they had a shoot scheduled that morning in one of the towers. I called and called, and could not get ahold of him. Worried sick and frantic, I went back to watching the Today show and the coverage of the event. At that moment, the images of the towers were forever burned into my head as people started to jump from the towers in an effort to save themselves.

Joanie and a few others asked me to describe what I was seeing on the screen. How do you describe the horrors of people jumping, the images of both towers burning, and the chaos of people running away from the scene to people who were born without sight and have no point of reference to gauge its magnitude? As I described what was happening, the finality of the situation became even more profound as one of the towers collapsed and imploded on itself.

In absolute rage, I sobbed and wailed as I realized that I was watching people die before my eyes and somebody was behind this massive attack. Fear shook me as instantly our world had changed, and resolve gripped me as I, like thousands of others, rallied together to proclaim our love for this Country and our undying patriotism.

It took me two days to get ahold of my best friend. He was fast asleep when the towers were struck, and unaware of what was unfolding below him in lower Manhattan. The shoot had been cancelled and his life spared. Had the shoot gone on as planned, I would be mourning his loss alongside so many other precious families who lost loved ones.

So many people lost loved ones on that fateful day. Maybe the death of Osama Bin Laden may not measure up to your personal beliefs about life and death, but to me the endless pursuit to hunt and take him down means justice is finally served.

To those who engaged him in the final moments of his life, thank you for sticking to the mission at hand. For those who criticize the Pursuit of terrorists, remember that freedom is not free and it is for that freedom that our Service Members put themselves in harms way day after day, week after week.

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Sunday, May 1, 2011

Osama Bin Laden...Dead!

DNA confirms....Osama Bin Laden's body has been identified.  He was killed due to a military action by the US Military.  Stay tuned...President Obama is about to speak on the situation.


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