Friday, May 20, 2011

Champagne Friday: 2 is Always Better Than 1

Cheers to you! Happy Champagne Friday! 

Normally, I go all out and pick up a chilled bottle of Liquor Barn's finest $5.00 champagne. But today, I think I'll get the $7.00 bottle because hallelujah and pass the flask...the sun finally broke through the doom and gloom. I feel like I'm smack dab in the middle of a Jimmy Dean commercial. Way to take your own advice, Mr. Sun! 

Also, I've been hassling Neal for more pictures...which, admittedly, are hard to come by these days (please see last week's post on how to effectively endanger our troops). But he did send me this one last night. 

 The 2 barriers in the back feature the 143rd's (the unit above us) emblem on the left and our unit's emblem on the right (yes...we are the flaming screw. I would like to direct all of your questions to either Mama Bear or Medusa because I honestly have no idea what that's all about. Something having to do with transportation or logistics....or what happens when you pick up chicks in a bar...). But I would like to now focus your attention on the barrier in the front because that, my friends, is awesomesauce straight out of the jar. And I wish they could bring it home and fasten it to the front door. Many thanks to the amazing and talented SPC who made it happen. You did well! 

I've been on Neal's camo'd butt about art photos because I am trying to submit some pictures to The Graffiti of War Project. If you are unfamiliar with the G of W, it is a project started by "Doc" and Melissa Parsons to collect photos of the artwork created by units deployed to the Middle East. When they have enough for a book, they will compile it, publish it, and donate the proceeds to various organizations that support the military and the invisible wounds of war, like PTSD. Regardless of whether any of my photos make it into the finished product, I will still buy the book. But how sweet would it be to see this photo in there! 

In other news, Tami @ Boyette Babble Time has named her foundation, launched the blog and the Facebook page. Wings for Our Troops "in loving  Memory of CPL Chad S Wade," has taken flight and has done so at a fortuitous time. Chad's unit arrived home from Afghanistan this week and Chad would have celebrated his birthday next Wednesday. Tami and her family continue to represent bravery in the face of unimaginable tragedy as they travel to Camp Pendleton for Chad's memorial service, which will be held on his birthday. 

And now...on to the goods. I am posting 2 R.E.D. items today because everything has sold so quickly that I'm taking it as a sign. If you make it...they will buy it. So...See it. Love it. Click over to the fan page and let me know so you can buy it. Then proudly wear your R.E.D.! 

 May your weekend be filled with a million tiny blissful moments. 

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Open Letter Thursday: Too Many Fish in the Sea to Do Business With a Shark

I will fully admit that the universe's abduction of the sun and the constant dump of rain over the past week has soured me a bit. Add to that the March temperatures in May and the full moon've got grouchy Ally forking paleo brownies straight out of the pan. Yesterday called for drastic measures....outlet retail therapy. I had planned on waiting until Saturday, but when I woke yesterday, I realized that I have very little patience for my fellow mankind right at the moment. It was best to go in the middle of the week and in the avoid a collision with stupid. And I have Citibank to thank for my escape to GapBliss. Although...I do have a few words about the entire situation.

Dear Citibank (and each of your 394749107463 employees, who all seem to be from either Dubai or South Carolina),

I have been a loyal card-carrying member of The Citi Empire since 2005ish. That's longer than I've done a lot of things in my life...including marriage. Over the years, you have jacked with my payment due date, reluctantly refunded service fees that should have never been charged to begin with, and raised my interest rate to obscene levels (fortunately, Neal has a zero tolerance policy for carrying a balance). The only aspect of my account that has been executed successfully is the reward points. Although you basically have to buy a medium-sized island in the Pacific to garner enough points for a wrist watch, the points are easy to redeem and the item ships quickly. So...there's that. I guess.

But let's talk about the rest.

Last month, I received a letter from Citibank. Congratulations! You've been upgraded to Preferred Status! Your new card is on the way! Which would actually be fairly fantastic news...except that you canceled my card when you shipped my new card. How did I discover this, you ask? I was trying desperately to pay for gas at Sam's with my Citibank card. Ordinarily, I would just whip out the AmEx, but it's Sam's and they are Discover or debit. We are not Discover people (because even though it seems like no one takes AmEx, NO ONE takes Discover. Except for Sam's). Had it not been for my debit card, that I just happened to still have with me, I would have been hoofing it to the nearest gas station to get gas for my the gas station. And thus the CitInsanity began.

The next day, I began receiving emails of accounts that were in default due to a declined card. And I received one nasty phone call from a company who thought this was my sly attempt at dodging a payment. They also did not take American Express.

Fast forward to last weekend...approximately 4 weeks after the entire debacle began. My credit card payment was due and I was babysitting a fully decorated wedding reception hall, which was located across the street from the ghetto and had no keys for any of the doors. I needed to pay my bill in a bad way. So, like any red-blooded American, I called the customer service number. First I got the lady from Dubai (who I had to ask several times to please, for the love of God and all that is good and holy, please slow down) and then I got the lady from South Carolina. Oh! A southerner! I speak this language. Except what I don't speak is Rude because somehow it went down like this:

Genteel Southern Belle: How many I help you today, ma'am?

Me: Oh I just need to pay my bill.

Scarlett: I would be happy to help you with that. Can I get your account number?

Me: Well, that's the problem. I don't have it because you all sent me a preferred card and canceled my other card, so I shredded it. But then I never received the Preferred card. So I don't have my account number.

Golden Girl: I'm so sorry you never received your card. I would be happy to take your payment over the phone and I will waive the $14.95 service fee.

Me: $14.95? For what?

Circling Shark: For making a payment over the phone.

Me: Um...thank you? 
I give her the necessary payment information while I try to recover from the idea of charging someone $15 to pay their bill over the phone.

The Spawn of Stefano: It looks like you never received your Preferred Card because your mail is being forwarded. Are you having problems with your mail? We obviously do not forward credit cards for security reasons. Would you like for me to send you another card?

Me: Sure I understand that. Yes, my mail is being temporarily forwarded while I'm home for the summer. I actually don't need a new card. I have not had access to my Citibank card for a month now since y'all (a term I thought she would understand and relate to) canceled my old card before I ever received my new card. If I didn't need my credit card for a month then maybe I don't need it at all. I will most likely just cancel it when my thank you points are redeemed.

She Who Put the "B" in Itch: Is there anything else I can do for you then?

Me: No thank you. You've been great. Have a...
Except that ruderific beyotch hung up on me!

So, in conclusion, I just wanted you to know, Citibank, that there was the possibility that I would have returned to the flock at some point down the road. You offer many great credit cards with an array of rewards...this may not have been the end of you and I. But now? If half of your call center speaks English as a 4th language and the other half needs to be schooled on simple phone courtesy, I have no business with you. I appreciate the 3 hours I spent wandering around the Gap outlet yesterday, redeeming gift cards from a slew of thank you points...but I can't say that's enough to overlook the rest. There are just too many businesses jockeying for my business. You have to do better than that.

Now Clad in Khaki

Friday, May 13, 2011

Champagne Friday: I Am Seeing R.E.D.

Happy Champagne Friday, Bubble Lovers!

Is it just me or did this week sort of last FOOORRREEEVVVEERR?? Also the fact that it's 2 PM and I am just now getting today's R.E.D. item up and it has already sold is not my fault. I blame Blogger because...well, it is indeed Blogger's fault. It has been down since last night and now I've discovered that they lost all of yesterday's posts. (Note to self: back-up posts more frequently...or...begin backing up posts.) Fortunately, yesterday's post was neither lengthy nor all that earth-shattering. At least I hadn't written a Pour Your Heart Out only to have it vanish into thin binary code. 

Anybloggersucks, I hope everyone remembered to throw on something red today. I told Amy @ PBJDreamer that she was free to wear red underwear, although we may ask her to prove it. Because we're distrustful that way. Also, underwear photos are the new sexting. For my Friday R.E.D., I had to scrounge more than I thought I would. Apparently, somewhere between being a redhead and coming back around to blonde, I ditched most of my red clothes. But have no fear, I put a foot (or a sandal) back in the red direction today with these Payless beauties (and PSA, it's BOGO, people! Which reminds me...remember when BOGO = Buy One, Get One Free? First no more free shoes, then $4.00 gas. It's the beginning of the end).
 Thank you Google Images

Somehow, after shopping all over town yesterday and today, I had a really hard time finding anything red that I loved. But I don't have to be head-to-toe...just an accessory...or willing to photograph my underwear (which I wouldn't be because my father reads this blog). I can wear these everyday all summer long and be completely content. Until I break my ankle. 

If you remembered your R.E.D. today, I would love it if you attached a photo on my Daisy & Elm fan page wall!  And I promise to have someone photograph me tonight at the rehearsal dinner in my red. 

Now, on to the goods! (which have, as I mentioned, already sold. Sorryaboutthat). I generally don't work a lot with bead chips because they cause me to turn a certain shade of crazy. They are tiny, don't string well onto wire, and are sort of like putting a puzzle together (and I detest puzzles, but do them occasionally with Mama Virgo because supposedly a puzzle-a-day keeps the Alzheimer's away). However, I found the pendant first and went all ape in the middle of the store over the color (hooker red, who doesn't love that?), the design (it's right about this time that I wish I was picking shells off the beach instead shells in a retail store), and the shape (pendant will double as a weapon if you are approached in the Walmart parking lot). I just needed accompanying beads. And, both conveniently and obnoxiously, there they were....perfectly matching bead chips about 3 rows down.

So, because I support our troops, I made a necklace with bead chips. It caused me to mumble curse words at the cats and drink a little more than usual, but I love the end result...unique, tropical, and just the tiniest bit stabby.

Hooray to the new owner!

And cheers to you!! May the dog continue to potty outside instead of on your Pottery Barn comforter, may the children let you sleep late(r), and may your days be full of sun and umbrella drinks...for Monday comes way too soon.                    


Thursday, May 12, 2011

No Wasted Wake-ups

Much of what the 352 is doing is too sensitive to blog about and many of our conversations end up sounding like this:

Hey did you get the box of ___________ that I sent?
Well, where are my pictures?
The box is still in the office. No photos allowed in the office.


Hey I want to see a picture of the Keurig in action!
Too's in the office.


So I sent you a million Derby decorations. I need photos please!
I used them to decorate the office.

And so on and so forth. I don't get many specifics over the phone (which is fine with me because the last thing I want to be responsible for is putting our troops in jeopardy. Which reminds me...I had to stop listening to CNN altogether last week because the press corp just kept pushing for more details on the Osama bin Laden raid. Listen people...the military very rarely spills the beans about an operation...especially a covert operation. Take what you have, be thankful for their generous release of information, and go home. Do you want to be the journalist who wrote a story that got a servicemember killed? Yeah...I didn't think so...).

But a couple of ceremonies have occurred over the past couple of weeks that I can actually blog about.

The first was the "patch ceremony." This event officially recognizes each man and woman in the unit as combat veterans and free to wear the Shoulder Sleeve Insignia (SSI), or "combat patch." Each deployment's combat patch is different and for Neal, this is his third. He originally thought that only Soldiers on their first deployment would be recognized and receive the combat patch, but they included everyone. While Neal is more concerned with others than himself pretty much on the daily, I was glad to see that they extended the ceremony to all of the Soldiers in the unit.

Second was the transfer of authority over the CRY Yard (Container Repair Yard) in Balad. I would try to give you some background on the CRY Yard (it cracks me up when the military does this...when you spell it out, it ends up being Container Repair Yard Yard. Kind of like Headquarters Headquarters Battalion or Higher Higher Headquarters. Maybe the DoD should invest in a thesaurus next)...but this 1:27 video by 1st Lt Jon Hatcher, 289th Quartermaster Company in Charge & Contract Officer Representative for the CRY says it so much better than I ever could.

Last month, the 352 conducted a ceremony that officially turned the CRY Yard over to the Iraqi authorities. Three Iraqi leaders were on hand to speak and several awards were given out. Our commander also said a few words and thanked everyone involved for doing such a good job.

The plans for shutting down Iraq are being finalized as I type. It leads to a lot of uncertainty for the 352 and the families as this is unlike any other deployment. Instead of gaining new resources throughout the year, these Soldiers are gradually losing them. Neal tells me that Internet will most likely be phased out by the fall and several restaurants on base have already closed. For me personally, it's a frustrating process, but when I watch the above video and think about how we are finally leaving a country better off than when we entered, I take a breath and know that WE GOT THIS!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: The KY Derby (or why it's important to mount the fastest stud)

Admittedly, corn hole has nothing to do with the Derby...but the Derby is "the most exciting 2 minutes in sports"...what are you going to do the other 3 hours and 58 minutes? Grill brats and play corn hole. And drink bourbon tea, of course. Unless you are Neal. And then you will look ridiculous (or adorable if you're married to him) in a jockey hat and hold up plates that say "Talk Derby to Me." Because that's how we roll in the Bluegrass State.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Shake Hands with a Hero!

Thank you to Procter & Gamble, Kroger and the USO for sponsoring this blog post and the Shake Hands With A Hero initiative. Please click here to learn more about this program. I was selected for this sponsorship by the Clever Girls Collective, which endorses Blog With Integrity, as I do.

Last month, we went to the horse races. Everyone knows the Kentucky Derby, but Lexington locals flock to Keeneland Thoroughbred Racing and Sales for the 4-week spring meet and the 4-week fall meet.

Military Appreciation Day at Keeneland always falls on a Sunday during the month of racing and always features recent basic training graduates from the closest military installation, Ft. Knox. Hundreds of men and women who have survived rigorous training, isolation from loved ones, and complete re-molding pour into Keeneland for one day at the races.

 Taken with our point and shoot and not the big fancy camera, you can just barely make out a line of Soldiers on the inside track at Keeneland.

And it is our opportunity, as a local community that supports them, to thank them for their service…buy them lunch…offer our cell phones so that they can call home for the first time…prove that they are appreciated for the sacrifices they have already made and the ones they will be asked to make.

 Marching into Keeneland as we stand to salute them. Via Keeneland

Except…I never do. I am shy and I admit that it’s completely ridiculous. How can I encourage other civilians to openly thank our troops if I can’t do it? And I'm an Army Wife! As Soldiers spilled out of Keeneland on that atypically tropical April day, I wanted to clap…I wanted to scream thank you…I wanted to hug one or two or all of them. But I was paralyzed by the thought of being the only one. What if everyone looked at me like I was an idiot? What if I wasn’t supposed to do that while they were moving in formation? So, I stood still and at attention, showing them all the respect, but doing so silently.

I have had several readers over the past couple of years tell me that they suffer from the same paralysis. They see a Soldier in the Atlanta airport and they want to shake their hand, but fear of looking like a bumbling moron stops them. They give them a nod instead and move on. Neal tells me that Soldiers see and appreciate that nod, too. They appreciate any recognition of their service to this country. And now, Procter and Gamble, Kroger, and the USO are giving us the opportunity to virtually “shake hands with a hero.” The first 50,000 grateful Americans to utilize the Microsoft app at Honoring Our Heroes to shake a hero’s hand will receive a coupon loaded to their Kroger card for $1.00 off a P&G product. Do it for the coupon. But also do it because it’s our first step toward physically shaking a hero’s hand.

In addition to providing this opportunity to thank our troops, Kroger and its family of stores and Procter & Gamble are teaming up to support the USO and donate $250,000! We utilize the USO almost every time we travel…from picking up books to take on the plane to grabbing a snack during a layover. Many servicemembers in transit also nap, eat, read, watch TV, and call loved ones at the USO, which is staffed by volunteers. This is in addition to the extensive range of programs at more than 160 locations in 27 states and 14 countries, and at hundreds of entertainment events each year. I am proud of Kroger and Procter & Gamble for choosing such a worthy organization to receive their time, money, and recognition. 

So, now it's your turn. Grab the button for your own blog, tweet it (#shakehandswithahero), Facebook it, share the love. But above all, click on the badge below to shake hands with our nation's heroes. You will be asked to enter your name, city and state, and then choose the military branch that you would like to honor. Once you have chosen a man or woman to thank, you can share it with your friends! The entire process takes 2 minutes and don't they deserve that given their lifetime of service? Thank you and HOOAH!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Champagne Friday & The Big Reveal

Happy Champagne Friday!

Wow...that is the first time that I have felt like I truly gave up something important for Lent. Although Red Wine Fridays were lovely (how could they not be, thankyouverymuch, Yellowtail Shiraz), there is just something jubilant about ending the week with bubbles in a flute. While each day we are alive is a celebration, I think we forget to actually celebrate it routinely. Champagne Friday is my gentle reminder to wrap my jiggly arms around each one of life's moments. 

Also, today is Military Spouse Appreciation Day. I have felt oh so appreciated as I had lunch with a dear friend and received a long strand of freshwater pearls in the mail today. (OK they were supposed to be for Mother's Day, but why let them waste away in a box when I could be wearing them for the weekend's activities?) And what a weekend it is going to be! When you squeeze Military Spouse Appreciation Day, the Kentucky Derby, Mother's Day, and U.K. graduation all into the same weekend, there is bound to be an opportunity for pearls. I have yet to select the appropriate hat for tomorrow's Run for the Roses, but I have pearls! 

Also...I have been dangling the promise of a big announcement all week...patiently waiting to release it until Champagne Friday. Here it is. 

Several years ago, someone introduced the idea of wearing red on Fridays to remember the troops who are deployed. They cleverly coined it R.emember E.veryone D.eployed. RED. Get it? This is why I don't work in advertising. One by the one, the idea caught on until it had circulated through my inbox on no less than 10 separate occasions. We were all wearing red on Fridays. And then one day someone wore blue because everything red was dirty. And then it was Breast Cancer Awareness Month so we wore pink. Then we forgot about wearing red on Fridays to Remember Everyone Deployed. 

I'm bringing it back! I have had at least 5,000 page views on my open letter to Obama and Congress, so I figure I am capable of going at least partially viral. It starts here. We are reviving R.E.D. Fridays! There is no better time to support our troops through wardrobe choices than now...while CNN reports that several pieces of reliable intelligence have already been acquired from the raid on bin Laden's compound. Even if you are too shy to chase down a Soldier to shake his or her hand...even if you do not know a single servicemember...even if you disagree vehemently with our presence in the Middle can still wear red on Fridays. It's a tiny gesture of silent support. And Daisy & Elm is getting this party started! 

Beginning today and lasting until the world runs dry of red beads, I will be posting a piece of red jewelry every Friday (my theory is more women will wear red if they own red, I'm working on something for you). I will put it on the blog, the fan page, and Twitter. Feel free to copy and paste into your own social networking sites in an effort to spread the word. If you purchase a piece of red jewelry on Friday (it does not have to be the piece on that can be any piece of red jewelry on any Friday), I will donate 50% to 1 of 3 military-based, non-profit organizations. If you purchase a piece of red jewelry on any of the other 6 days of the week, I will donate 10%. You pick which of the 3 organizations you would like to send the money to. At the end of each month, I will write a check to each organization for the total from that month. 

And now you ask, "What are the 3 groups?" 

The first is Military Missions. They are based here in Lexington, KY and started as a care package assembly group. They have grown into a full-blown military assistance organization with a slogan of "Reaching Beyond the Yellow Ribbon." They provide volunteers for Bingo at the V.A., raise awareness for invisible wounds like PTSD and Traumatic Brain Injury, and host 2 major care package assemblies at Christmas and Easter. With all of that, it is still an incomplete list of activities, events, projects, and support systems in which Military Missions is involved. There is always a need for donations, in one form or another.

The second has yet to be named but is a project that was founded by Tami of Boyette Babble Time. While the details are still being filled in, essentially her foundation will help to provide plane tickets for our troops to go home before and after deployments. The myth that our servicemen and women rake in truckloads of cash (especially during deployments) is being perpetuated by many sources. For many troops, this is simply not true. When your family moves at least every 3 years, it is difficult for the spouse to constantly find new employment...resulting in an entire family living on one income. As many of you know firsthand, when you have children, that income can be stretched dangerously thin. Tami's mission is to make sure that every single man and woman in uniform has the financial means to see their families, both before and after deployments. I think it is an impressive and daunting task and I am happy to help in any way possible.

The third has yet to be determined. So if you have a local organization that could use a little financial assistance from time to time, then please leave the name of it in the comments section. I will settle on a third group next week.

For our first R.E.D. Friday, I bring you...

The Berry Special Servicemembers Ring

Wire-wrapped in 24-gauge wire and featuring a berry ball of bright red seed beads, this ring measures 7" but can be re-wrapped to fit any size finger. If you are interested in purchasing it, please come find my Facebook fan page and let me know. I realize it's fairly late in the day on a very busy weekend, so I will extend the 50% off until Sunday night. It is my goal to get Friday's item posted by 11 AM, though.

Thank you in advance for your support of organizations that support the military. It takes a village to defend a nation. 

Happy Champagne Friday and Go, Baby, Go! KY Derby in 25 hours!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

The Hometown Perspective

Today I bring you Shana @ Fumbling Towards Normalcy. This is less of a guest blog than it is me pulling her blog from a few day ago over here. So, if you have already discovered the true awesome that is Shana, then just mark this one as read in your Google Reader and move on. However, please come back tomorrow as it is Champagne Friday (finally, thankyousweetJesus) and I have this amazing Daisy & Elm announcement regarding a new shop policy and our brave troops. Also, to my readers who continue to read and comment even though I have temporarily abandoned my Google Reader so that I can get all of these Mother's Day orders out in time, Thank You! I am coming back over...I just need to get through the weekend.

Now...the reaction to Seal Team 6 and their surgical extraction of a terrorist, from a New Yorker's point of view....

 Sometimes I go back and read something I’ve written here and I realize that I expressed myself perfectly and I wouldn’t change a thing.  Other times, I realize I didn’t make my point well and I wish I could go back and re-write everything.  Yesterday was one of those days.  I was going to just leave it alone, but I feel really strongly about this, so I decided to write a follow-up to yesterday’s post.
Last night I watched the news…the continued celebrating in the streets.  The dancing and singing.  The FDNY Pipes and Drums marching around Ground Zero.  There was much celebration and happiness.
I was in the city on September 11th.  I watched the towers fall while sitting in my office conference room, scared to death at what was coming next.  I walked over the 59th Street bridge while watching the smoke rise up from downtown.  We lived across the street from Ground Zero for years and passed it whenever we went to work or out to dinner or anywhere…a constant reminder of the devastation and death.

It was nice to know that the person responsible for all of that was dead.  It was nice to know that justice had been served.

I wrote yesterday’s post early in the day, just after hearing the news of Osama bin Laden’s death and that is how I was feeling when I wrote.

On the way home, as the bus went up the highway, we were passed by four speeding police cars with their lights on and sirens screaming.  They were headed straight for the George Washington Bridge.  We all looked at each other with terror on our faces and we held our collective breath.  “What if…?” was the unspoken question on everyone’s lips.  As we passed the ramp to the bridge, we saw the accident that was the reason for the police and we all exhaled.  I stuck my nose back into my book with a sigh of relief…but the fear remained high on my mind.

But I realized that for a lot of people, bin Laden’s death marked the end of something.  The end of evil.  The end of terrorism.  The end of the war.  Allyson posted yesterday that people were even emailing her to ask when Neal was coming home…because, after all, bin Laden was dead.  The answer is still February…because Neal’s mission…like thousand’s of soldiers’ missions…has nothing to do with bin Laden.  And Neal’s mission is not over.  The war on terror is far from over.

Yes, there is one less evil man in the world today.  But there are a hundred evil men out there clamoring to take his place.  This is not over.

I hope the news of bin Laden’s death gives some closure to the victims of 9/11 and to other people that he’s hurt in his lifetime.  I hope that this death sends a message that the US is not to be fucked with because we will hunt you down…even if it takes 10 years.  I hope that there are no retaliations against the troops…or against anyone for what has happened.
But most of all…I hope that we can all remember that the evil and the hate are not gone.  We have to keep fighting and keep doing our part to make the world a better place.  And maybe, someday, the fight will be over.

Thank you, Shana. And if you have a moment, I suggest you click on "September 11" and read her post about her fondest memory of the World Trade Center. Every single time I think about Ground Zero, I think about Shana and J spinning by the buildings. And it makes me smile.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Momma Bear Weighs In

I hope you will forgive me, but I have decided to dwell on Sunday's news just a little bit longer. You are probably bored to tears with all of the press coverage and the news conferences where journalists pick apart each tiny detail until you just want to scream "ENOUGH!!!" I had that moment today and it occurred after just 15 minutes of CNN. How many times must you be told "I cannot give out any additional details without compromising the security of our troops"??? Let it go, press corp...let it go.

Anyrant, I am posting 2 guest bloggers over today and tomorrow. I am doing this because I think Americans as a whole can be excessively short-sighted and self-absorbed. These are 2 viewpoints that you might read in Time Magazine, but I know them personally and they have been kind enough to share their feelings on the death of Osama bin Laden.

Today, I bring you Tami of Boyette Babble Time. If Tami's name looks familiar, it is because she is Cpl. Chad Wade's mom.

Chad is a Marine who was killed in action in Afghanistan on 1 December, 2010. Chad is survived by his mom, Tami, and his beautiful bride, addition to many, many family members and friends who loved him dearly. I asked Tami what, if any, closure and peace this news brings to her. And here is what she had to say....

Hmmmm... I guess it could be summed up in two words, "cautiously excited". While it is great that one of the worst masterminds behind terrorism is now dead, I know it's not over. There is still much to be done. I've had lots of people ask me how I feel and if I feel justice has been served. Well, it's hard to answer that completely, but I will say that while it will never make it okay or make up for the loss of my son, there is a kind of vindication that comes from knowing they have been crippled up. It's a very difficult situation to be in and very hard not to want to hate, but there is no time for hate. If I allow myself to get lost in hatred or vengeance then "they" win. I won't allow that! Al Qaeda is made up of hatred (in my opinion) so I won't give them the satisfaction. Besides, I still have lots of bonus kids fighting the fight and still in harms way and until each and every one is back on US soil, not only will I not rest, but I will not get lost in the hatred and vengeance of it all. None of those things will bring my son back or any one's loved ones that have paid the ultimate sacrifice. It won't heal those who have been physically and mentally wounded. It won't make those visions that my "bonus" boys will have in their heads the rest of their lives go away. What it does do is gives us a little satisfaction that this horrible person can never hurt anyone (personally himself) again. Yes, he has those followers that will want to pick up where he left off and he has those that he mentored that will try to carry on his mission and take revenge on the US, but we will be ready. Our men and women will be ready. They are now (hopefully) rejuvenated a touch to carry on. Hopefully their morale is lifted somewhat that they truly are seeing progress with this recent accomplishment and seeing what they accomplished in Iraq and are trying to accomplish in Afghanistan. Is this over? NO! Not by a long shot, but it is a step. A huge step! I am so proud of my son and all his brothers that served side by side with him and the brothers I don't know, but support. It's because of you that we can even take a few minutes to celebrate in our hearts that this evil man is now dead. I will limit my celebrating (if no one minds) for when all our men and women are safe and out of harms way and personally for me, all my bonus kids that are still in Iraq or Afghanistan. Don't loose focus guys! Keep your head down and know that you have a warrior angel that is trying really hard to help watch out for you and you have lots of prayers from over here for each and every one of you. We won't rest until you can. Much love, "momma bear"

Thank you, Tami! You have a perspective that very few know and we appreciate you sharing it with us! xoxo 

Monday, May 2, 2011

The Wizard of Oz Has a Song For Days Like Today


I don't have cable. I was watching a Ken Burns documentary about the first cross-country trip made in an automobile. I was wire-wrapping a rosary and paying zero attention to Facebook, Twitter, and email. At 1 AM, I called it a night and checked my phone as I brushed my teeth. I nearly choked to death on toothpaste and tears.

Facebook status email from Neal.

Everyone is going stupid like it's going to change anything.

Always the realist he is.

We emailed back and forth for a few minutes.

It was 8 AM in Iraq. In my head, the 352 and the rest of Balad was spontaneously erupting into victory celebrations. The only image that came to mind? my head, our Soldiers were donning coconut shells and dancing the Macarena around a roaring bonfire. Because...that's what I would have done. In reality, very little occurred that could separate yesterday from the day before or the day after. There is a mission assigned and work still to be done.

This is not over.

I very patiently answered the swarms of emails I received last night and this morning asking me when Neal will be home...congratulating me on the if President Obama's speech would change anything for the Miller household. If 352's mission was to capture and kill Osama Bin Laden then I may very well have run naked through the streets last night, waving an American flag and trying not to accidentally stab myself in my girlie parts. That is not 352's mission...they still have work to do. So, we allow ourselves to feel vindicated, to rejoice in justice being served...we crank up Toby Keith and feel our American hearts swell with pride. We chase down men and women in uniform and vigorously thank them for their service. For the first time since World War II, we feel like we won. We just have to remember...

This is not over.

The phone rang at 10 AM. Caller Unknown.

You know I'm going to pump you for information, right? Everyone wants to know the reaction "over there."

There isn't much to say. There is some concern about retaliation, so we are being warned to be hyper-vigilant. But this doesn't really change anything. It's good for morale and justifies Obama's intent to leave Afghanistan by 2012...but everything is the same. 

Did you all have a victory party?


Are you just saying that because you know I'm going to blog about this and you don't want me to put it on the Internet that y'all were celebrating Bin Laden's death?

No. Although...that's pretty funny. We've been talking but that's about it.

That's very disappointing. The last time we "won" a war they had a ticker tape parade.
I want a ticker tape parade.

I'm sure you do. Sorry.

But I Googled images from the past 8 hours and I think I got my ticker tape parade after all. Thank you, United States Armed Forces...our men and women in all the branches and all the various uniforms. We salute you today. May this feeling never fade.

I am usually not one to advocate violence or revenge....however, to the families of 9/11...may you finally have the closure that you need and deserve.

*I apologize for not giving photo credit where it is due. My computer is being stupid. However if you Google Image anything related to "American celebrate bin Laden's death" or "bin Laden deceased," I promise these will all pop up immediately. Most of them are from various news sources around NYC and DC.