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!!