Monday, September 26, 2005

My own private Idaho

I have had the wonderful opportunity to meet few folks that are all spouses of Chinookers. When ever I read or hear about a Chinook going down I bolt off to their blog to see if there's news. As the saying goes most often no news is the best news. Luckily none of their spouses have been injured this time around. Unfortunately an Active Duty Soldier whose blog I read lost a member of his unit recently. His account of the funeral detail left me in tears.

I sometimes find myself lulled into a sense of security knowing that my spouse is deployed in Afghanistan. The country is more stable, has had more time to work through the difficulties of becoming a new nation and it gives you this false sense that there isn't so much to worry about. Yes, the investigation is still underway and it appears that this was not due to the Chinook being shot down but it still is a reminder that no this is not as safe a place as home. Nor, is it a place where you can sleep at night without some worry that things can go wrong.

This month was a tumultuous month due to the elections and I am sure the unrest will continue through November which is the month of Ramadan the most holy observance of Islam. So hang tough, keep your head down and Godspeed to those whose spouses are still deployed (regardless of location).


Over the weekend as I puttered around getting things for the house, planting my fall plants in the window boxes, etc I bought the newest edition of Blackbelt magazine. It had an article about knife defenses that I wanted to read about.

As I am reading through the magazine, my face scrunched up in "eww" fashion. Apparently Dr. Laura was in the previous month's edition as she knows some kind of martial arts and they did an article on her. If you were to place me on the political line up you would set me just right of center. I don't like extremists on either side of the political fence but just the thought of Dr. Laura having to keep her mouth shut, and not be the caustic, nasty, sardonic twit that she normally is - is just so hard to imagine. I had to put the magazine down and come back to it later in the day. I am still having issues with the concept considering most martial arts came from (may not be so much in their current format) monks or are heavily laden with religious undertones. So I am really surprised that she actually studies something that is not Christian in nature.

On a silly side note, I also have problems with Dr. Phil. There is just something so pretentious as to use the salutation Doctor and then sticking your first name afterwards. This just gives new meaning to the phrase "PhD = Pile higher & deeper."

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Ich sage - Es gibt Licht!

Our kitchen is a dark place. There is one fluorescent light in there and to add a little more, the hubby put up some small under the cupboard lights when we moved in. Well since we are getting new kitchens in October my neighbor informed me that lights would not be included. So all this brand new stuff and this creepy, old, dank light.

Last week my neighbor changed her light out and her kitchen looks nice and bright. I am at the point where I know better than to hold my breath if I think the Landlord will change the light for me. So I hit Praktiker (Lowe's) on Tuesday and bought a new light. As much as I have 'gone native' I still laugh at some of the designs the German's like for light fixtures (or clothes and especially shoes). My neighbor is pretty cool. She and I go to karate together and I've borrowed SSG H's drill a few times to put up all those bathroom fixtures and art work.

What was pretty cool was last night they showed up with a drill in hand and a memory stick - looking for fair trade. They needed to download some software for their telephone stuff and SSG H was going to put the light up. Now, I wanted to do it myself because well I wanted to learn how. I didn't mind that he volunteered and I helped. I had spent part of the morning yesterday looking up the European colour coding system for domestic wiring. In the states (Thank you Daddy!), the live wire is normally black or red, the neutral is white and the ground is green. Here in Europe, brown is live, blue is neutral and the green w/yellow stripe is the ground.

That evening, I had laid out all my stuff and had the fixture off by the time they arrived. After letting them in, I handed Ms. C the directions and asked her where the hell do I attach the ground wire? (No Frickin' pictures in the instructions). I read all the instructions to her in English that I translated earlier but couldn't figure out where the ground went. Well guess what? The ground isn't called the ground - it's the damn safety lead!

Anyways because the fixture was 95% plastic, it didn't need the ground to be connected anywhere. I was running back and forth between the PC and the kitchen helping out with things. I walk into the kitchen just as SSG H opens the hardware bag - it exploded spraying hardware all over the place. I called him by his full first name and promptly told him he was fired. As we are picking up the parts SSG H is placing in on the lip of the counter right near the sink. I nearly peed my pants! I grabbed a little bowl and dumped the hardware in there. He told me he would have never thought of that - ugh my Daddy taught me that long before I was old enough to even drive - my Dad rocks folks!!

Anyways, the light is in and it looks pretty good. The only thing I don't like so much is the height of the kitchen and the angle of the lights this creates. When you cook you have to be careful to not stand directly in front of your food or it's not as bright. It doesn't block all the light but it is not nearly as bright as when you weren't eclipsing the light.

My next home improvement quest - replace the dining and family room lights sans my neighbor. Maybe I should become a construction worker? Or at least join the village people as an excuse for buying a tool belt.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

179 and counting!

Yes! I looked at my counter this morning and the deployment is officially 1/2 over. Only 179 days until my hubby should be heading back my way on a permanent basis. I am so excited and can't wait for R&R!

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Abandon Wrongdoing

Abandon wrongdoing. It can be done.
If there were no likelihood, I would not ask you to do it.
But since it is possible and since it brings blessing and happiness, I do ask of you: abandon wrongdoing.
Cultivate doing good. It can be done.
If it brought deprivation and sorrow, I would not ask you to do it.
But since it brings blessing and happiness, I do ask of you: cultivate doing good.
-Anguttara Nikaya

I enjoy the different Buddhist thoughts I get and thought I'd share.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Crank - Not just an illegal substance

Wow, apparently I needed a little rest this weekend. I sounded just a wee bit CRANKY. After reading my Friday comment I pretty much hid out this weekend. Funny I was in a great mood all week. Maybe having to cut my sleeping hours by a 1/3 to go back to my regular job on Friday set me up in a mood. I normally don't take my boss' smart remarks so hard so I was a bit surprised. When every person on the autobahn was an idiot or four letter word, I figured I was cranky and needed to keep my crankiness to myself.

On a good note, I bought a linen schrunk that I've wanted for two years now and promptly broke part of it while trying to get it upstairs. I laughed at myself because it really wasn't anyone's fault. I asked the neighbor to come over since it came apart in 3 pieces. While we were pulling the top portion off the doors came crashing down and split the little lip that goes over the inactive leaf of the door. It's fixable and she's dragging me to a wood repair man in my village on Monday.

Oh well things could be worse right? At least I got enough sleep and quiet this weekend to check the crank a bit.

Friday, September 16, 2005


Ya, know I think I really feel like telling certain people to just piss off today. I hate it when people stand there and lie to your face. I just spent all week in a work related class only to find out that there’s no way in hell I am actually going to use it. When I asked about using what I learned I was told “we’ll see.” I am not eight years old here that means “no, hell no. Fu#$ no!” So what a waste of my time. The boss knows when my DEROS is so to tell me I will get my chance later is bullshit – I will have PCS’d before my organization goes through the downsizing. I liked the course and am good at doing the work but will not even get a chance to use it. So what $3,000 went to waste – maybe someone should file fraud, waster and abuse charges for me….

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Indisposed at the moment

I haven't had time to do much blogging this week. I guess that worked out well since I don't have all that much to say. I've been in a class for work learning the ins and outs of what will happen when parts of the military in Europe move back to the states. It was such a fun class I should do it again! (Not really but I was being polite)

My only irk this week I think is not really an irk as it is funny. It took me like two seconds to decide whether to be irked or laugh at watching someone attempt to turn and run from me like a gazelle runs from a sleeping lion. I have really good peripheral vision, so I saw it all - the look of fear/being startled when they saw me, the quick search for a way out and the complete ‘about face’ to scurry off in the other direction before they figured I would notice them. I had to chuckle, glad to know I have such a presence that I am worth that much effort to avoid. My only lasting thought is – get over it and get over yourself.

Ah, looking at my counter this morning the 180 day mark is almost upon us! That would have to be the best thought of the morning. It’s half over and not much longer before R&R. I am so excited to know this is going by so fast.

Show some love to your neighbor and have a great weekend!

Friday, September 09, 2005

The furry victims of Katrina

Look at this face! This poor pup was locked in his home in New Orleans after his owner left or was rescued. This just breaks my heart.
Image hosted by
We had a discussion at work the other day as to whether we would leave our pets behind. I would be like many owners that refused to leave their pets behind. I would either become a pain in the arse instisting that they allow me to bring fluffy on the boat or just stay behind. Rescue workers for the ASPCA and others such as volunteer vets are now going into areas hit looking for and rescuing the pets that owners couldn't take.

With a face like this guy above I would be hard pressed to not want to adopt all of the animals affected by Katrina until their rightful owners could be found - just look at that face!

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

A Homer Moment

After the alcohol went missing I asked my housekeepers to leave the key after they were done cleaning. Every week I place the key for them to use. The housekeeper shows only a few minutes after I leave so there is little chance of it being taken. While placing the key last week, I hear a ker-plunk. Oh crap, I’m thinking and feel about in the dark for the key. It’s not there. It fell through the grate into the depths of the cellar window shaft.

In Germany most houses have a cellar. If you have an exposed wall the windows for the cellar are there. If you don’t have an exposed wall, they create air shafts that lead down to the window. Both the shaft and the window are fitted with security grates but unfortunately the grate holes are large enough for a key to slip through. I need to leave to go to work but I can’t just leave the key down there.

Not only does the shaft hold my key but it also holds my favourite creature of all times – the arachnid. I am not talking about the little bitty spider that you leave around your windows to eat the bugs for you, but the huge, nasty, hairy, jump half a foot kind. Just thinking about it makes me break out in a sweat. As I head down into the basement I grab the golfing brollie my husband uses and a step ladder. Using the brollie, I open the window lock, pull open the window, unlock the security grate latch and pull open the security grate (yes I am quite agile with my brollie). I wave the brollie about in the shaft to remove any spider webs and carefully stick my head in to look for the key.

I spy the key and using the brollie I push the key over to the right side so I don’t have to lean so much to grab it. If something should crawl on me I will jump 60 feet in the air and probably end up unconscious on the floor until the housekeeper comes. With all this adrenaline in my system I am a tad sweaty, including my palms. I reach in, grab the key and within an inch of clearing the window shaft I drop the key. Now a long train of expletives cross my mind as I think about having to reach my hand into the unseen. In an effort to see where I am reaching for, I move the empty beer racks around only to find the mother of all arachnids hiding between them. This vile wee beastie had the body the size of the first digit of my thumb and a leg span the size of the palm of my hand. Quickly running upstairs I grab a fly swatter and beat it to death. I then stomp it a few times for good measure.

Finally I move the step ladder where I can look into the depths of leaves and muck to try and find the key. I used the fly swatter to move the stuff around until I see a small portion of the key. Wouldn’t you know that darn thing is sitting precariously on the edge of falling into some cave like hole? For all I knew it was a snake hole (not likely really) or the hole for the Arachnid King. No way in hell was I sticking my hand near there. “Pliers” I exclaimed as the idea popped into my head. I grabbed the key while maintaining approximately a six inch safety space between me and the home of the Arachnid King. I held that key in a death grip in those pliers as I moved it to the top of the fridge. I quickly closed the security grate, latched it, closed and locked the windows.

Late as hell for work, I carried everything upstairs and found a small key ring that didn’t take up to much space to place the key on – there was no way that was going to happen again! All the way to work I had to fight the urge to scratch. I had the psychosomatic, self inflicted, irrational fear of spiders crawling on me – in other words I itched for no real reason.

Soldiers Angel Volunteer

For those of you who don't know about soldiers Angels go and visit the main site. They are a program that lends a hand to injured soldiers coming back from down range as well as ensuring that "no soldier goes unloved."

Over the weekend I contacted Willie Aufmkolk who heads up the German section of soldiers Angels . I asked what I can do to help and how I could volunteer my time. Besides visiting soldiers at Landstuhl here's what they are in current need of:

For the November/Dezember/Januar/Februar backpacks we need warm clothes, sweaters and sweat pants and as a gift for the outpatient in the Kleber Barracks we need warm gloves.

We need at any time: long distance telephone cards - for US only and small blankets, too.

I know there are many things going on right now that need your help. If you can spread the love over the various charities in need that would be great! Either link above can tell you where you may send donations including how you can help military families affected by Katrina.

Thanks for your help!

Monday, September 05, 2005

What strange and fascinating creatures professor, what are they?

Those would be the in-laws. There are many folks in my office that have a great relationship with their in-laws; I am not one of those. My relationship with them is rather tenuous. Without rehashing about 8 years of incidents, let me say that their parenting style is quite different from my parents and extremely hard to get used to. My parents encouraged independent thinking, and self decision making while providing insight and often playing the devil’s advocate. For being from the Midwest, I was quite surprised to see how “California” my parents were when it came to creating free thinkers.

His parents were much more authoritarian. Being parents, they wanted to keep their child safe (as any parent) but often their decision was the only one and was not up for discussion. The coping technique my spouse learned to deal with this parenting style was to give lip service – telling them yes to something and then going and doing the exact opposite.

As you can see these two methods clash horribly and create the fun and joy of having in-laws. I take most of their comments with a grain of salt and discard 98% after listening to what was said. Unfortunately what got under my skin this weekend was part of a phone call from them. Their timing is usually poor, they always call during dinner, as we are leaving or while we are sleeping, but that’s not the problem.

While talking to mom the comment was made “Well are you lonely?” No actually I am not. My friends, co-workers, grad school, and my dog keep me quite busy. This was taken as some kind of affront because of the next question which asked me if I was looking forward to him coming home and then of course to him coming home for R&R. I had to bite my tongue to keep from making a smart remark about how I would be sad at having to end my torrid love affair with a friend and her husband but figured that would just NOT go well. Yes of course I am looking forward to him coming home. This to me is a silly question, but I seem to get these from her. The general feel (and not just me being sensitive) is that I am not good enough for her son or that I don’t love him. So I guess she looks for reasons or proof of some kind that I am being “bad” in some way shape or form in order to prove her theory.

I hate to tell you lady, but if I have stayed with him this long, I am not going anywhere. I love the man, with all my heart and there’s no budging me no matter what weird questions you throw my way.