Sunday, December 17, 2006
Anyway, I'm sure I'll get to post some while I am away, but wanted to make sure I posted at least once before leaving. News on Mike: he's doing well, besides getting a little bit of a cold that he has dubbed "consumption" in one of his latest emails (I'm sure he's exaggerating, just a tad). He's keeping busy with work, trainings and catching up on many, many emails that he got while he was away. He has said that the weather has been colder and rainier since he's gotten back. It seems like maybe that in between stage we call Fall totally missed him and it's gone from blazing hot to really, really chilly. He did bring back a Navy sweatshirt so he'll have that on top of his warm-weather gear. He is, as always, remaining upbeat and positive, but I know that being away from home, family and friends during the holiday is just as hard on him as it is on all of us. If anyone wants and has a free a moment I know he'd love to hear what everyone is/has been up to - he may not have time to reply (he still doesn't have a regular computer on his desk), but I'm sure he'll enjoy hearing from everyone.
Well, I think that's about it for now. My taxi is coming at 5:00 am - yikes! I wish the best to everyone else braving the holiday travel in the next few days!
I love you Mike!
Saturday, December 16, 2006
I love you Mike!
Saturday, December 09, 2006
I'll admit that having to say good-bye to Mike again has pretty much been one huge bummer (and that's an understatement!). It was, however, so good to have him here and spend time with him and our families. I hated dropping him off at the airport - totally sucked! I got back in the car and was, honestly, crying really hard. But then something on the radio actually helped. It's a weird coincidence, actually - or at least I think it's maybe karma?? I listen to NPR (something Mike is constantly making fun of me for, by the way) and they were playing a segment with Ben Taylor, James Taylor's son. The song that was on was "Nothing I Can Do" and the words just really, really struck me. The next song, "Digest" also had words that really sunk in and helped calm me down. I started feeling better...not good, but better. Then, after these two songs finished the local radio guy broke in and said he apologized, they had accidentally replayed a show from last week...and took us to the regularly scheduled programming of All Things Considered. I sat there amazed that their mistake was actually a blessing in disguise for me because it honestly calmed me down so much and just lifted all that sadness just enough. I promptly went home and bought those songs on i-tunes. I've shared this silly story with Mike, as well as the two songs. Now, each time I listen to these two songs (which I do daily) I think of Mike and a little smile creeps over my face...and I feel just a little bit better inside. Sorry if that's too cheesy for my blog-return, but it's the truth!
On a totally different note, I've just finished watching an excellent movie that I am going to recommend to everyone out there! It's called Joyeux Noel and was an Academy Award & Golden Globe Nominee for best foreign film...which really doesn't matter because it's just a darn fantastic movie - especially for the time of year we are approaching and all that is going on in our world today. The story is of a 1914 Christmas Eve truce between French, German and Scottish troops during WWI. I can't say enough good things about this film - and the soundtrack is equally powerful. It's a must see and is out on DVD right now.
Anyway, I hope this entry finds everyone doing well.
I love you Mike!
Saturday, November 11, 2006
I may not post much these next couple of weeks as Mike is home, but will try and update the blog at least a couple of times!
I hope all is well with everyone!
Sunday, November 05, 2006
I hope everyone has had a great weekend and has a wonderful start to the work week!
I love you Mike!
Saturday, November 04, 2006
Anyway, just a few more days until Mike is home on R&R and I can't wait! Over the holiday we have a few "busy" days, but the remainder of the time it will be nice to just relax together! I know he's looking forward to being home too...and I know that his family is super excited as well - just a whole lot of excitement going around! :)
I have half of the house ready for Mike's return...the other half is supposed to get done tonight...we'll see about that! I bought a track light system that I want to put up in the kitchen and I bought a dimmer switch (thanks to a helpful phone call to my Dad) for it too, which will be nice I think.
Two big football wins today - ND won and so did Purdue, finally! My sister and her family (hubby Nate and son Curran) were tailgating at the Purdue/MSU game. She called me from the tailgating festivities to rub in how much fun they were having. I got them back though when I reported that at 10:00 in the morning it was about 70 degrees here...she was freezing! :)
This is kinda old news by now, but I thought I'd post the picture Mike sent because he knows a few of these people...kinda cool, even though Mike's not in the picture! He thought it was pretty funny at any rate. We all saw it, I'm sure, before he did because it hit the presses while he was asleep...but anyway, he got a kick out of it!
Well, I hope everyone enjoys the rest of the weekend. Take care!
I love you Mike!
Tuesday, October 31, 2006
and then when you open the card up and....
Isn't that hilarious? I seriously laughed out loud when I opened it up! :)
Things are getting a bit crazy. I'm expecting Mike home for his leave soon (SO excited) and then my parents are also coming out to visit, which will be great, especially over the holiday! I'm trying to get the house ready for both. I can't remember if I mentioned our roof and back porch problem in an earlier blog, but that is still under major construction. I'm hoping it's done within the next week. I'm also trying to organize other parts of the house...lots of work (fun, but work)! We are also getting ready for two exhibitions at school, one for our students' internship and one for our semester-long project. Needless to say, the days aren't long enough to get everything done. Last week I took my car in for an oil change and $400 later, had it back. Today something else went wrong, so now it's back in the shop...go figure! On top of that, I've been dealing with the smog check on Mike's Jeep...totally a pain in the ass (sorry, but it is!). Because I haven't been able to drive both cars as often as I'd like, the Jeep had a dead battery. So, I put my neighbor put a new one in so I could get to the smog check place and evidently you have to drive it around for a couple weeks before a Smog Check...which I learned when our car failed one portion of it...so I bought a new battery, spent an hour and a half in the DMV to get an extension for our plates and will be taking it back to pay for yet another smog check at the end of this week!
Anyway, I'm not really complaining even though it might seem like it. Things are really going well around here...I've got nothing to complain about!! I hope everyone is keeping busy, enjoying the awesome Fall season and taking care.
Also, for those of you who know my Grandma, please keep her in a special place in your thoughts. She's going through a move right now and isn't really feeling her usual, spunky self (she's got a better golf game than most of us!). I wish I could be there to help cheer her up...but maybe sending some happy thoughts her way will help! Love you Grandma!
I love you Mike!
Saturday, October 28, 2006
I love you Mike!
Go Irish...errr...Anchors Away...
Friday, October 27, 2006
Yesterday we held our one and only battalion Fun Day. It was essentially a sports day geared towards taking a break from work, convoys and the caves everyone migrates to after their days are done. I played on our command staff dodgeball team. We got our asses kicked. Apparently I need to dodge more wrenches. Actually dodging wasn’t my problem. I was put out three times because I got lazy and threw floaters which the other team caught. Otherwise I was zinging them in pretty good, although I didn’t hit anyone in the face, which I was kind of hoping too. I’m glad Dad taught me how to throw a ball, both baseball and football, because some people really look ridiculous throwing anything. So in that sense I made out ok, but my team still got crushed. We were 1-4, but at least we didn’t get shut out completely. That was the only sport I played, which was a good thing because my arm was falling off afterwards. Thank God for Advil. I watched a little bit of volleyball and floor hockey, ate a cheeseburger, and was going to play basketball but a couple of rockets hit somewhere on the other side of base, so as you can imagine the fun was over. At least I got the cheeseburger in beforehand!
Sunday, October 22, 2006
Thanks for the post Mike. I love you!
Friday, October 20, 2006
Take care everyone!
I love you Mike!
Thursday, October 12, 2006
I love you Mike!
Wednesday, October 11, 2006
Tonight I also bought a 1/2 gallon of apple cider. I LOVE apple cider. It might be my favorite thing to drink (other than wine, of course). This cider isn't bad, but it makes me miss home (Grand Rapids), where you can find the BEST apple cider of all time at Robinettes Apple Orchard. Bold statement, I know, but I think it's true. I've tasted cider from several different places and states and have yet to find one that compares to Robinettes - honestly! So, as I am sitting here tonight sipping cider and waiting for the new episode of LOST to air, I find that I am looking forward to my trip home to GR in December during which I will spend some quality time at Robinettes drinking as much cider as I can!
Sunday, October 08, 2006
Also on my list today: towels and a new shelf for the "guest" bathroom! I had one little shelf for in there, but actually did not like it at all, and this new one is much nicer and was actually the same exact price as the other one! That is pretty much all I did today. Sadly, I did not get enough school work done, but I did get some...so I guess I can't expect to get it all in on one weekend! I submitted a proposal for a conference in Boston for the spring of next year, which would be cool. I've never been to Boston, but my cousin Mike is there right now for graduate school so hopefully he'll be there and can show me around...or at least tell me some cool places to visit!
Well, that's about all I've got for now. I hope everyone had a great weekend and has a good week coming up!
I love you Mike!
Saturday, October 07, 2006
I love you Mike!
Thursday, October 05, 2006
I got some beautiful birthday flowers from Mike today and a nice package from my parents too. My mom asked me what I was doing for my birthday and I told her that I was spending a very relaxing evening at home watching some good television. Might not sound too exciting, but it's really nice to just relax for a night!
I just finished watching the season premier of LOST...it was really good, but I hate that I now have to wait until next week to see what happens next. I don't think I'm patient enough for this show even though I love it so much! I'm looking forward to watching Grey's Anatomy tonight too. These are two of my favorite shows (I also love 24 and The Unit and, of course, all the Law and Order shows!).
Mike is doing well even though he hasn't been able to post anything in some time. He's keeping busy and is finally over his cold. He said that it's starting to really cool down at night, but even though it's getting cooler during the day, the temperature recently went back up a bit. He's doing much of the same things at work (sorry, I don't know details) and is reading a lot when he gets "home" at night. I know that he's really looking forward to coming home on leave in just over a month - just in time for Thanksgiving! My parents are coming out to visit during that week too, so it'll be great to have everyone around for this holiday. We'll be eating LOTS of Turkey and hopefully have lots of leftover Turkey sandwiches as well.
Well, that's about it for today. Sorry I don't have more to post. I'll try and take a picture of the flowers Mike sent and post that too...just for fun! I have another all-night LAN party to chaperone tomorrow night so I may not get to post much this weekend (I'll be sleeping most of Saturday). That being said, I hope everyone has a great weekend!
I love you Mike!
Sunday, October 01, 2006
I love you Mike!
(next year, no excuses...Navy Ball!) ;)
I love you Mike!
Saturday, September 30, 2006
I know the way-more-loyal ND fans (Mike and his parents and probably my brother Tom) are rooting for the Irish...but I gotta go with my alma mater here!
Go Team! :)
I love you Mike...and yes, I'm still taping games for you! ;)
Thursday, September 28, 2006
Enjoy the evening everyone and have a wonderful Friday!
I hope everyone is happy and healthy!
I love you Mike!
Tuesday, September 26, 2006
Anyway, I hope everyone else had an enjoyable and relaxing (or productive) weekend.
I love you Mike!
Sunday, September 24, 2006
Not much going on lately. Today is Sunday and it’s slow here at the office, as usual. I’m trying to get over a cold so the extra sleep this morning helped. Yes, I have a cold in 105 degree heat. I think going from air conditioning to blazing heat and back finally caught up to me. Ah well. So it looks like everything is all set for me to leave here November 14 for my R&R leave. I’ll get to
On my office wall I have a Notre Dame pennant and a Purdue pennant. I took a bunch of shit last week for the ND loss, but I haven’t heard much from all the
Anyway, I’m off to dinner - probably another cheeseburger and macaroni salad. Colleen thinks I’m weird for eating macaroni salad every day, especially since I didn’t eat it that much at home, but the four or five varieties of it here are pretty damn good. And consistent! I’ll gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger for today...
Saturday, September 23, 2006
You can see the schedule of readings across the country if you click here...if it comes anywhere near you, you should check it out.
Wednesday, September 20, 2006
I wanted to write tonight to thank everyone who responded to my last post...kind words are always nice to hear! To everyone who read the post but didn't comment, I hope you at least had a few moments to reflect on all the good in your worlds!
Before I sign off, I want to wish my brother, Tom, a HAPPY BIRTHDAY! I hope he had a great day and enjoys his first nights in his NEW apartment!
Take care everyone!
I love you Mike!!
Monday, September 18, 2006
I learned today that a new species of shark was found in the waters off Indonesia. This shark evidently walks on its fins across the ocean floor. If that is not cool, I'm not sure what is! If you want to read a short article about this and other discoveries, click here. Last year I went on a sailing trip from Long Beach to Catalina Island (I'm going again twice in the next couple of months) and on this trip I was mesmerized by the huge kelp beds that I swam and snorkeled through. I hate seaweed, so I wasn't expecting to enjoy this at all. However, moving in and out of these huge, flowing walls and being surprised by all kinds of fish at each turn, I couldn't believe I hadn't done this earlier in my life! Happily, I came face to face with several beautiful fish, mostly the Garibaldi, an awesome golden, orange fish that heavily populates this area. I also met a few gorgeous jellyfish that were so beautiful I couldn't stop watching or following them. They move so gracefully in the water! I have always loved the water, but this experience just gave me a whole new appreciation for it and I am always looking forward to my next opportunity!
Another thing I'd like to share is how proud I am to be part of one of the greatest families ever! First, I'd like to share just how darn proud I am of my "little" brother, Tom (Tommy, to me). He has worked so hard to achieve his dreams and last week he finally was able to proudly stand beside my Dad in the same uniform that my Dad and Grandpa wore for the Grand Rapids Police Department. I know this has been a long, tough road for him and I am so proud of him for keeping his eye on the ball and a positive attitude throughout. Way to go Tom! Beside my brother are my parents, two of the most amazing people I've ever met. I am so proud to be their daughter! They work so hard at everything they do and they ALWAYS have time for their family - which no matter what, has always come first. I know a lot of people who cringe when they realize they are turning into their parents, and even though I joke about my quirky sense of humor (thanks Mom) and my growing love of Builder's Square and "measuring 20 times to be sure to cut once" (thanks Dad), I am more than proud to find myself growing up in the image of my parents! My sister Nicky is equally amazing to me. She is an awesome Mom who is also the best sister I could have ever asked for. We didn't always feel this way and we didn't always get along, but as we were growing up we ALWAYS looked to my mom and her sisters and hoped that we too would, one day, have that same wonderful, close relationship. I am happy to say that, even though we live far apart, I feel we do have that relationship now and I couldn't be happier. My nephew, Curran, amazes me daily. He is so happy, honest and helpful and such a great kid to be around that I feel inspired each time I see him or a picture of him and realize he is growing up to me such a magnificent young man. His mother has A LOT to do with this, but so does his Dad, my brother-in-law, Nate. Nate has been such a great role model for Curran and, with his love of life and his easy-going nature, seems to constantly put a smile on both Nicky and Curran's faces, and for that, I am forever grateful! I remember one Christmas when Curran got one of those mini-Jeeps that are so popular for kids. The first thing he did was to take a "tool", climb underneath it, and "fix it"! We have a picture floating around somewhere of Curran's little legs sticking out from under this Jeep and it is so precious! Next to Nate is my Grandma Warwick, my Dad's mom. I can't say enough about what she's done to inspire me over the years. A few years ago we vacationed in Cancun (yes, and we sipped margaritas by the pool together!) and on the plane she told me she once wanted to be an airline attendant. I loved that I learned something new about her that vacation and my respect for her and all she devoted to help keep our family (her kids, grandkids and my Grandpa) a happy and healthy family never ceases to amaze me. I only wish that, someday, I will be half the golfer that she is! :) Also in the picture is Keri, who is as much a part of our family as anyone else. She and Tommy have been - close - for a long time and I know that we all hope that they continue to grow together and lead happy and healthy lives. The only flaw I can find with Keri (but still love about her) is that she kicks all of our butts in the Christmas Craft!!! Anyway, that's my family and I have been thinking a lot about them lately. I love you guys!
I'd like to also say that I am always, always thankful that I have Mike in my life. Even though being apart is difficult (it sucks actually, no matter how you spin it), we try and make each other laugh and smile as often as possible. Sometimes we do this by telling each other (or emailing) silly jokes (A Grasshopper walks up to the bar and the bartender exclaims, "Hey, we have a drink named after you!" To which the grasshopper replies, "No Way!! You have a drink named George?!?"), or sometimes it is remembering old vacations and looking ahead to new ones, or sometimes it is just by calling each other a silly nickname. Regardless, we are constantly trying to make this deployment easier on the other person. I am lucky to have someone so considerate and loving as my boyfriend - seriously, you gotta love that mug, don't you?? Mike's family is also amazing and has pretty much adopted me while he's been gone. It's great because they live only a short way away from here so we get to see each other often and we talk often as well! Actually, I see all but his sister Erin who is following her dreams and working as a guide for tours all across Asia - how amazing is that?? Erin keeps in touch via email, but my blog is banned by the Chinese government - how funny is that?
Ok your turn now...think of all the things that you are proud of, thankful for and amazed by and enjoy the rest of your week!
I love you Mike!
Sunday, September 17, 2006
Today is my day to sleep in. It’s Sunday and I don’t use my alarm clock so I usually wake up around 8 and get to work by 9-9:30. This morning the weather was awesome – sunny and around 80 degrees. It felt like 60, and it felt like a perfect fall day to watch football, or at least catch the scores on Sportscenter since we’re half a day ahead. Come to find out Notre Dame lost bad to U of M so my day is pretty much ruined. Whatever, I’ll get over it. Eventually. The Padres won so that’s somewhat comforting. Anyway, enough of sports I can’t watch at a reasonable hour. Like I said, today is Sunday and is pretty quiet around here. It’s a good day to catch up on work and not get bothered by too many people. I think the high is only going to be 109. Second day in a row, and the only two since I’ve been here, it’s been below 110. It’s getting brisk!
So Colleen and I were talking last night about the trench they are building around
I'm still fighting a little cold, but this afternoon I am going to the 14th Annual Sea Shanty festival at the San Diego Maritime Museum. I have lots of work to do this afternoon and am going in to school in just a few minutes so that I can work for a few hours before I get to see "Pint and Dale" perform! :)
I love you Mike!
Monday, September 11, 2006
Today I had to teach 9/11 as a history lesson. I found this challenging and emotionally trying. I can not yet look at the events that unfolded that day as history - they are still too close, too painful, too fresh. Challenging too was that the students I was teaching were a mere 10 and 11 years old on that morning. Those that do have memories have vague ones, others have no memory at all. I was both sad and happy about this. I was glad that these students did not have the same emotional memories that I have from that day. But I was sad because they also were finding it difficult to even sympathize, let alone empathize, with those whose lives were changed forever 5 years ago. They made amazingly mature comments about how sad it was to see people commodify this date, taking advantage of other peoples' pain by selling photos, flags and continuously replaying the harsh images. They noted, poetically, that the great thing about the days, weeks and months after the tragedy was that everyone felt like family and pulled together but that now that closeness seems to have been forgotten. They chastised all of us (me included) who have ever thought that this tragedy has made us appreciate our lives more because, according to these amazing young people, we should all ALWAYS appreciate our lives and it should never take a tragedy for us to recognize how lucky we all are.
With or without detailed memories, each student had a perspective that opened all of our eyes just a bit wider. I admit that I have often thought back on this day and found myself thinking how grateful I am to have a happy, healthy family, a wonderful group of supportive friends and an amazing, brave and dedicated boyfriend. I still thought this today and will continue to think these things every day from here on out. As my students so appropriately pointed out, living each day like this is truly the only way to honor the memory of 9/11. Included in this for me is a continued thank you and show of support for all the men and women serving our country so proudly and all the families that stand by and support those soldiers, sailors and marines.
Thank you Mike and I love you!
p.s. - if you are interested, The Chronicles of Narmya has reposted what I think is a pretty touching memorial on his blog. It's a big file, so you have to let it load, but I think it's worth it. Click here
Sunday, September 10, 2006
Anyway, that's about all I have for now. Hope everyone is enjoying this lazy Sunday!
I love you Mike!
Saturday, September 09, 2006
Anyway, the party went off without too much of any trouble and though I tried to get a little sleep, I didn't really succeed in doing so. I was basically a zombie much of the night and morning. I did drink several Mountain Dews, the only thing that would keep me awake as I don't drink coffee or those crazy energy drinks like Bawls.
What helped perk me up is that I got to talk to Mike this morning, which just made my day! He said he's been keeping busy and not much else by way of excitement has happened, so no worries there! I am sure that the early part of our conversation was hilarious to him because I was so out of it. I came around after awhile and started making more sense, so we ended up having an awesome conversation. Each time we talk I still get just a little sad because I just wish so much that we could be having our conversations sitting next to each other on the couch, but I am also so grateful for every phone call that it usually helps get over that sadness. Actually, today I was reading the message board on the BTB website (linked off to the side and here) and one post helped - once again - put this experience in perspective for me. This one woman was writing to her husband about how excited they were to see him...evidently he's taking his leave soon and will be home with his family for 15 days. She told him that their one daughter has her 2 bottom teeth now, that she will be turning 8 months old (Happy birthday little Brooke!) and that she looks more like her daddy every day. She also said that he'll be amazed when he sees their two-year-old daughter who is like "2 going on 20" - an image I think we can all picture in our minds! I don't know these people, but I feel a connection to them: this deployment. However, I am reminded when I read things like this, or hear about other families like them, that there are people making sacrifices that are likely much more difficult than ours. I am not saying that I do not feel Mike's absence every day or that I do not miss him more than ever. I do. I think about him and his safety and how excited I am for him to come home each and every day. But, knowing that there are fathers out there who have missed so much of their kids' lives puts things in perspective for me and helps me get through every "rough spot" that I have. I know how difficult this has been for me and I can only imagine how tough it would be on families with children. A thank you is not truly enough repayment for their sacrifices, but I want to thank them all the same!
After my conversation with Mike, and these ensuing thoughts that I've just let you all in on, I walked up to the post office to mail my weekly letter. The reason I didn't post it on Friday, as usual, was because of that LAN party. I went in to school around 6 a.m. on Friday morning and didn't get a chance to return home prior to the LAN starting...so the letter had to wait. As I was walking home, the marine layer burned off, just in time for the Notre Dame game. And here's my idea of the ideal SoCal day: I rolled the television as near my back porch as I could, set up my chair in the sun and sat outside most of the afternoon watching ND beat Penn State, 41-17. It wasn't entirely a bad game, despite that score. I was, however, hoping for a closer and more exciting game - or even second half. Regardless, it was a great afternoon! Of course, it would have been a perfect afternoon if Mike had been here watching with me. But, I cheered enough for the both of us!!
Well everyone, that's about all I have for now. I hope that everyone is having a great weekend.
I love you Mike!
I will have more to post later today when ND beats Penn State, but for now and before I forget I wanted to provide a little hint about mailing packages to our sailors, soldiers and marines in Iraq (or, elsewhere, for that matter I think) to anyone reading this blog. So, I might be a little slow on the uptake and you all might already know this, but the post office has "flat rate" boxes in two different sizes (one boxy the other longer and skinnier) that will cost, no matter where you ship or what you put in them, only $8.88. Generally packages aren't all that much to begin with, or at least they aren't from my experience. The last package I sent Mike was the in the medium size "ready-to-post" box and it cost me around $12.00, which I thought was pretty good considering all that I could pack into it. However, my sister and my mom both informed me about this flat rate box and I checked on it when I went in this morning to mail my weekly card (which usually goes out on Friday...more on that in a later post). For those of us who want to send packages often, this flat rate box might be a better, cheaper way to do it. You can't fit as much stuff in each box, but then again, it might be more fun to send several boxes!
Hopefully this is worthwhile news for those of you who didn't already know this!
I love you Mike!
Tuesday, September 05, 2006
I experienced my first rocket attack a couple of days ago. It was the third or fourth since being here, but this one I actually heard and felt. A large group of us was sitting in a meeting area discussing some convoy procedures when the first rocket landed across the road from us. It felt like an earthquake, but carried a sonic boom with it. Then we heard debris hitting our roof. A second and third one followed, not as close, but close enough to hear it. And then a few more further away. What sucked is waiting for the “next” one to hit, the one to come through the roof into our meeting. I had a tanker on one side of me and an artillery guy on the other side, and they kept on saying, as we were all ducking, “Here comes another” and “sounds like another one incoming” all the while I couldn’t hear shit. The weird thing is that here is this room full of experienced soldiers and the only thing we could do to defend ourselves was to duck. Kinda funny actually. What was really funny was the chaplain who was there with us was the only one to have his helmet and body armor with him, and he immediately put it all on. The artillery guy next to me made a funny remark about the chaplain’s lack of faith, but I think it might have been divine intervention – he was the only one with the forethought to bring his armor! Ah well, it’s all funny now that it’s over and no one got hurt. Hopefully that’s the last one for awhile though.
Sunday, September 03, 2006
I love you Mike!
I did it to myself again so I really shouldn't complain, but I'm going to. This morning I've been watching Meet the Press and Rick Santorum and Bob Casey are the guests. Poor Tim Russert. Seriously, I don't know how he doesn't just reach over the table and smack both of these guys in the head! To leave my own political bend out of this, I won't tell you which one I think fared better on the show...but I really think one guy did outshine the other! I have a problem with politicians in general because it seems they NEVER directly answer a question. If the question calls for a Yes or a No response, why can't they be like ALL OTHER PEOPLE and give a straight answer. Also, if they are asked questions like: What are a few of the programs you'd cut to help balance the budget? or Would you vote to start removing troops from
Hail, Hail to Old Purdue,
All Hail to our Old Gold and Black,
Hail, Hail to Old Purdue,
Our friendship may she never lack,
Ever grateful, ever true,
Thus we raise our song anew,
Of the days we've spent with you,
All Hail, our own Purdue.
- First Stanza -
To your call once more we rally,
Alma Mater, hear our praise!
Where the Wabash spreads its valley,
Filled with joy our voices raise,
From the sky in swelling echoes,
Come the cheers that tell the tale,
Of vic'tries and your heroes,
Hail Purdue! We sing. All Hail!
- Second Stanza -
When in after years we're turning,
Alma Mater, back to you,
May our hearts with love be yearning,
For the scenes of old Purdue.
Back among your pathways winding,
Let us seek what lies before,
Fondest hopes and aim e'er finding,
While we sing of days of yore.
Rally sons of Notre Dame:
Sing her glory and sound her fame,
Raise her Gold and Blue
And cheer with voices true:
Rah, rah, for Notre Dame
We will fight in ev-ry game,
Strong of heart and true to her name
We will ne'er forget her
And will cheer her ever
Loyal to Notre Dame
Cheer, cheer for old Notre Dame,
Wake up the echoes cheering her name,
Send a volley cheer on high,
Shake down the thunder from the sky.
What though the odds be great or small
Old Notre Dame will win over all,
While her loyal sons are marching
Onward to victory.
Saturday, September 02, 2006
I did talk to Mike this morning on the phone and he is doing well. They had a little "excitement" it seems at his base yesterday but luckily everyone is safe and no injuries!! He did say it was little nerve racking just waiting. Afterwards he said he and the other guys he was with were talking about what it might have been like in the trenches during WWII. I think they were all pretty glad to be behind concrete! Anyway, his mind quickly turned to football - and he reminded me to tape the Nortre Dame game for him today. I'm not going to be sending them to him because he doesn't have a way to watch them, but he'll certainly enjoy watching game after game when he gets home...kinda like his very own ESPN Classics series! :)
Well everyone, I'm sorry I haven't been more regular at posting. Things got a little crazy these last couple of weeks. Hopefully now that school has started, things will get back to a more regular schedule!
Hope all is well with everyone. Enjoy the games!!
I love you Mike!!
Wednesday, August 30, 2006
Tuesday, August 29, 2006
The wine dinner sounds awesome! Normally I can’t check the blog from work (I have to do it from the MWR computers) but Colleen emailed me her posting which contained the menu and wine list. Needless to say I’m jealous and have been craving good food and wine for quite sometime. Cheeseburgers, nameless casseroles and mystery meats aren’t cutting it, and Gatorade and bug juice don’t have much of a kick. Ah well.
So I figured I’d share my thoughts from the wine dinner I didn’t attend. Colleen and I have had a sparkling wine from the Prosecco region before, and I think we may still have some at home, unless we drank it all before I left. Not sure. Actually I think some went into a pitcher of sangria. Anyway, it was very good. I have not had the Nino Fanco though. The first course, the carpacio and sauvignon blanc, sound like an interesting mix. I’m not sure what came over me the last month in
Now I still encourage Colleen to attend future wine dinners until I get home, even though she said she won’t. I think she should, and buy more wine in the process!
Sunday, August 27, 2006
Pluto getting dumped bull%$@&! How will people adapt now to only 8 planets?! I liked having nine planets. Nine is a more comfortable number than eight. Will the Disney character go away? What happens to the old science books with outdated information about the solar system? I wonder what G.W. thinks about it right now? I have no idea why that idea just popped into my head. I wonder what G.W. is thinking about
Thursday, August 24, 2006
So, last night I went to a wine dinner with another teacher and her husband (Amy and Patrick). Actually, Mike and I met them last year at a wine dinner at this same place and then Amy came in an applied for a job at my school - and the rest, as they say, is history! Anyway, I know Mike was really bummed that he couldn't attend this dinner and I've promised not to go to another one until he returns, but the menu was great and I thought I'd share, for lack of anything better to write about! And no, Mike, I did not leave with any bottles of wine, but they have TONS of new stuff and you're going to go crazy when you come home and see it all! :)
We began with finger foods and a NV Nino Fanco Prosecco di Valdobbiaddene from Italy (like a champagne)...then dinner began.
Carpacio Toscano a thinly sliced filet mignon with arugula and shaved parmigiano reggiano paired with a 2005 Honig Sauvignon Blanc from Napa Valley
Penne Cornelia a penne pasta with mushrooms, peas and fresh basil in a rose cream sauce paired with a 2004 Cardwell Hill Pinot Noir from Willamette Valley Oregon
Insalata di pere mixed baby greens salad with thinly sliced pears, imported cheese and our light house dressing paired with a 1999 Mazza Rosso Toscano from Italy
Rotolo Lombardo a beef roll stuffed with proscuitto, fontina cheese and a tomato caper sauce paired with a 2003 Sinor-La Vallee Syrah from Paso Robles
and then dessert...
Zuppa inglese a pastry cream with fresh fruit paired with Graham's 10 Year Tawny Porto from Portugal.
As I said, this dinner was great! I was not impressed at all with the Mazza Rosso. It tasted a bit too musky and flat, but other than that each of the wines were excellent and paired with great choices in food. Although I really hate peas, the penne cornelia was very tasty and the cream sauce matched the Pinot perfectly! The rotolo lombardo was, by far, the highlight of the meal and, even though I was pretty full by the time that course came out, I ate nearly the entire thing! My goal is to try and replicate this dish and I might have to butter up Francesco (the owner of Bacchus, where the dinners are held) a bit to get his trade secret! I also loved the dessert, mostly because it had great fresh kiwi and strawberries in a very smooth and light custard cream that complimented the port well. Ah, but this dinner was not nearly as good as it could have been if Mike had been sitting by my side and comparing his tasting notes and thoughts with mine! After a few of these dinners and other tastings, Mike and I decided to host our own wine bonanaza (his word, not mine!). We had the best time planning it all out and creating our food (we kept it pretty light at some really great cheeses and meats and also some fruit and chocolate) and wine lists. Our pours were also a tad too big and pretty much everyone got drunk, which was very fun but not really the point! ;) We were going to do another dinner the day after we moved into this new apartment and just before Mike deployed, (yes, it was a crazy idea) but the timing just wasn't right. So, we're both looking forward to his coming home and kicking the planning back into gear! This time, smaller pours!!
Well everyone, hopefully you've had a great work week and have nice plans for the upcoming weekend. I'll be planning for classes that begin on Monday!
Take care everyone!
I love you Mike!
Wednesday, August 23, 2006
Thank God for cloud cover. It was only 100 degrees today, and now that I’m on foot that makes a huge difference! I had to turn my wheels in, and my new one is in the shop getting worked on. No big deal, the walking has been good for me. It’s 32 minutes from my front door to my office. And since I do the walk early in the a.m. and later in the evening I don’t feel the full brunt of the 120 degree midday heat. Plus I usually stop for chow on the way home, so I get a break halfway. Speaking of chow, last night I ate noodles and braised beef, just like on the ship. Weird. I’ve been eating a lot of cheeseburgers and sandwhiches because the quality of food on the “main line” isn’t the best. They do make a good macaroni salad. And they have ice cream every night. 8 flavors to choose from! Friday is steak and lobster night, which is decent, but your wallet with enough A-1 will taste decent, ya know? Other than the break in weather not much else is new. Colleen sent two books and I’ve started the first called The Warlord’s Son. So far it’s been pretty good and it’s been easy to read. Nothing complex for me right now – my brain won’t handle it. I think I’ve read four books since leaving in June: Paris (a biography of the city), In Cold Blood, The Crocodile and In the Belly of the Green Bird. Thanks to Colleen for helping me to remember the names of the last two! I recommend all of them, but Green Bird is a pretty unique book in the sense that it’s by an American reporter with a Jewish last name who was imbedded with the Iraqi insurgents. Good stuff! Enjoy!
Other than the break in weather not much else is new. Colleen sent two books and I’ve started the first called The Warlord’s Son. So far it’s been pretty good and it’s been easy to read. Nothing complex for me right now – my brain won’t handle it. I think I’ve read four books since leaving in June: Paris (a biography of the city), In Cold Blood, The Crocodile and In the Belly of the Green Bird. Thanks to Colleen for helping me to remember the names of the last two! I recommend all of them, but Green Bird is a pretty unique book in the sense that it’s by an American reporter with a Jewish last name who was imbedded with the Iraqi insurgents. Good stuff! Enjoy!
Tuesday, August 22, 2006
Being back to work I realize just how quickly the weeks go by - tomorrow is mid-week already! Classes officially begin on Monday, but this week has been full of all the planning and getting ready. If it's not as tiring as when classes are in, it runs a close second! Overall, things are going well though and I am looking forward to a couple really cool opportunities for this semester - especially a couple of trips that, once I know more, I'll be sure to post about. I'm also a bit anxious because I should be hearing the results of my exams sometime next week. Keep your fingers crossed for me that I've passed and can move on to the next phase - writing crunch time! I'll keep you posted on that as well!
I just got off the phone with Mike and it was so good to hear his voice! It always is, but I just can't get enough, you know? Our emails have been sporadic at best because he's been pretty busy at work and, again, doesn't have email access at his desk or at "home" yet. We've also had some connectivity trouble where some of our emails haven't been going through. This is tough because we rely on email so much to keep in touch. Hopefully the bugs are worked out and that stops happening. Mike said he's been walking a lot since they gave away his humvee to some other people who, it sounds like, needed it a bit more. He's hopeful he'll get another mode of transportation soon, but until then, he's hoofing it! In our conversation tonight I was reminded, once again, that I can't take anything the news back here says at face value. We don't usually spend a lot of time rehashing news or current events, but every once in awhile, I'll tell him what I've been hearing on the news circuit here, just to get his perspective - even though he really can't actually share much because most of what he knows or sees falls under that blanket of security he's not allowed to discuss! But, tonight I was telling him that the last couple of days they have been making a big deal about Bush's recent comments that we'll be staying in Iraq through his Presidency, that things are terrible in Baghdad and all over and that we are calling up "thousands" of reserve troops "involuntarily". Mike reminded me, however, that pretty much all reserves are 'involuntary' in the respect that they are not on active duty. But, I don't think this is what the news is talking about. In an email, Mike said this:
I can't access the blog from work but I was talking to Steve (my officemate!) about it and he seemed to think they were IRRs, or Inactive Ready Reserves. IRRs are guys who have just gotten out of the service but remain inactive for a period of usually 4 years in case something happens. Everybody that is active duty has to do it. So when I get out I'll have 4 years of waiting around…[in a later email] If you're in the military, active or reserve or IRR or guard, you shouldn't complain when your number gets called. That's my two cents anyway. :)
As to the other parts of current news speculations, I don't know if you've been reading the other blogs on our Navy Bloggers list, but they also help give a little different perspective on things. For example, this evening I heard someone (can't recall who) on the news say that their turning over any security forces or authority to the Iraqi police or Iraqi military forces is impossible and a long way from happening. However, if you read this article and others that have been recently posted on the Desert Periscope blog you'll realize that we really are only hearing the grim details about what's going on in
Well everyone, I'm trying to get back in the habit of going to bed early...which is very tough to do! I hope everyone is doing well and has a great day!
I love you Mike!
Sunday, August 20, 2006
Last night I was invited to see an awesome band, Las Rubias del Norte. One of the percussionists is married to the daughter of one of the Green's family friends (Wendy) and so we joined them for dinner and then attended the show later that night in North Park. The music was invigorating and the two vocalists were amazing. They played a lot of Peruvian songs and a couple Cuban songs, along with several others that were excellent. I have to send out another thank you to Neil and Wendy for allowing me to tag along and for giving me a copy of their CD, Rumba Internationale. I'm actually looking forward to getting their new CD and then sending it to Mike so he can listen in as well! I found myself humming a few of the songs during the day today. One of my favorites from last night was a song called "Baby" which was beautiful, and really made me think of Mike. So, also a thanks to the band for a great concert and great memories!!
Hope everyone had a great weekend and has a smooth start to this coming week!
I love you Mike!
Wednesday, August 16, 2006
After our meeting today I decided to run a few errands. I finally ordered our platform bed (which we've been just procrastinating on) at West Elm and also went into Borders and walked out with several books. One book I picked up on a whim was Fiasco by Thomas Ricks. I realize that this book is probably filled with biased, unsubstantiated opinions that will annoy and anger me, but I couldn't resist. Who knows, maybe it'll end up being all right. If I actually make it through the book, I'll let everyone know. I did just finish reading Longitude by Dava Sobel, a great little book (175 pgs) about the history behind the quest to find longitude at sea. Sometimes it seems to jump around a bit, but overall, it is a good read that I'd recommend.
When I was leaving OB to head out on these errands, I noticed the first weird thing of the day. My wonderful Jetta was on E and so I pulled into the Shell station to fill up and paid $3.25, relatively inexpensive for SD in recent times. But, as I pulled out I remembered that the local OB Gas station up the street (the way I was headed) had gas for $3.09 and I was a little disappointed I had forgotten this before shelling out more money! So, when I got up to the corner of the OB Gas station I noticed that I had been right about the cost of gas, but also noticed it wasn't a local OB gas station anymore, but was now an Exxon station! In OB? For those who don't know, Ocean Beach is pretty much the "local" of local spots...a place that Mike describes (with love) as "where the ghetto meets the sea". Now, OB is great, and it's not "ghetto" in a bad sense, it's just that it's about as laid back as you can find. In fact, when they had a Starbucks come to Newport Ave (our main street), people protested! Everything is local - the local grocery store, local bars, local food, local flower shops...local! I don't know why this actually strikes me as strange or important, but it's just a little less like OB with another BIG name around I guess!
The second weird (but good) thing I noticed today was while I was at our weekly OB market tonight. I went to pick up some fresh flowers and noticed that on all the street light posts in OB there are now cigarette butt containers sponsored by Surfrider Foundation. I think this is a GREAT idea, but I wonder how much use they will get. These containers aren't as ugly as one would think, but I just hope that they actually work to help clean up our streets!
Other weirdness of the day: JonBenet Ramsey's supposed-killer arrested in Thailand, a guy who is a 2nd grade teacher...where do these sick weirdos come from?!?
A flight coming from London diverted to Boston instead of DC because a woman had a panic attack. On TV they showed all the luggage being checked, bag by bag, on the runway. What are they reporting? That she had hand creme on her...a "no-no" according to recent security upgrades.
On my drive from GR to Chicago I heard an NPR story about how Pluto might lose its planet status...and today they've reported that it will likely NOT lose that status and we might have 3 MORE planets added to the list...if this is true, what will my new mnemonic be?
And, in local news...the U.S. Coastguard arrested one of the Arelanno-Felix drug cartel family members while he was returning from Deep Sea Fishing off Baja. This is could be big for TJ security and a big bust for the war against the drug cartels but I wonder...was he really only fishing out there?
OK, that's all I have for tonight. I hope you've all enjoyed reading Mike's recent posts. He said he's got another one he'll be sending soon, so I'll post that when I get it too. Oh, and after reading another Navy blog (Dried Squid), I'd like to post a link to a game I've wasted many hours playing (in grad school, especially during exam time!). It's Penguin baseball, and I have no idea what the record is...I'm terrible at it! I'm sure animal rights activists would HATE this game, but I assure you, no penguins or yetis were harmed in the making or playing of this game!
That's all for now folks. Hope all is well with all of you!
I love you Mike!
Thanks Colleen! ;)
Tuesday, August 15, 2006
So my trip outside the “wire” was rather uneventful, but an eye-opener nonetheless. They told us during our IED training to look for trash and tires and piles of dirt and rocks and things that look out of place, because those are the hiding spots for IEDs. Well, there’s trash and tires and piles of dirt and rocks all over the place! It’s kind of unnerving, but I guess you just go with it and here I am now safe and sound. I give all the credit in the world to the kids who do this day in and day out, in 120 degree heat with 80 pounds of shit on protecting supply convoys for 12 hours at a time in the middle of the night looking for buried IEDs while insurgents, local thugs and others of the sort take shots at them with small arms and rockets. It’s a little ridiculous if you ask me. Anyway, like I said, my trip was uneventful because we went south during the day where not much is going on. The radio relay points are set up sort of like a hunting lodge. They’re very Spartan, with running water in the makeshift kitchen, but not in the outhouses. Laundry is done in a machine but hung up to dry outside. All are equipped with huge grills, and we put them to use. We had chicken wings for lunch and steak, peppers and potatoes for dinner. Better than the Dining Facility back here! After dinner the Iraqi interpreter who works out there brought us flat bread, rice and a sauce that was similar in color and taste to curry but not as thick. We poured the sauce in the rice and then scooped it with the flat bread. Excellent! Afterwards I had to put my 80 pounds of shit back on to return to Tallil and I’m really surprised I fit! So that’s really about it for my trip outside Tallil. Oh, except for the cars going the wrong way on the other side of the highway. Cars are not allowed to pass military convoys, otherwise they meet the wrong end of a .50 caliber round, so what they do is cross into oncoming traffic and speed by in the far left lane (which would be the far right if they were coming at you!) and then cross back ahead of you. It was pretty comical the first time I saw it happen! But like I said I’m back safe and sound so Colleen and mom and dad can stop worrying for a bit. Ah, what’s really funny is that while I was in harm’s way (not really) outside the wire, the base got mortared! Ha!
I love you Colleen!
end of Mike's note, but here's some pictures from him. I realize that they are certainly self-explanatory, but I've added captions anyway: