Author Archive

Extreme Makeover: Snow Edition

Hi everyone, I know the US has had quite the cold snap going on, but I wanted to share what we have been dealing with… The first picture is from the summer. The second is from today. Brr. By the way, we haven’t been above about 30 degrees for a couple weeks now. It spends most of the day sitting right about 25 degrees. (Please excuse the fact that we have taken these pictures through the screen on the window.)

January 11, 2010 at 6:16 PM 5 comments

We’ve been meaning to post but we haven’t had time…

[Rant]

So this morning I sat down to read my dose of Roots and Rings. Chelsea always has something interesting to say and if you don’t read her blog, you should. Today she noted that another blogger had written about people who say “I wish I could do…” but then never make the effort to do whatever it is their heart’s desire. Along those lines, I can’t stand it when people say “I haven’t had time to…” I left a comment about this over on RnR, but I had to get my rant out here as well…

It is a huge pet-peeve of mine when people tell me that they “haven’t had time to…”

“I wanted to call you last week but I didn’t have time.”

“I wanted to read ‘Harry Potter’ but I haven’t had time.”

BULL.

Very few people “don’t have time” to do things.

But John, I work 12 hours a day 5 days a week and… blah blah blah. The fact is, most of us have time that we spend relaxing, watching TV, going for a walk, working on a home improvement, mowing the lawn, doing whatever.

Instead of telling me you didn’t have the time to do it, please tell me that you have had the time, but you’ve chosen to spend your time doing something else. I promise not to be offended.

name

 

 

 

[/Rant]

October 5, 2009 at 9:25 AM 6 comments

Prop 8, National Defense, General David McKiernan

First I want to let everyone know that we are being featured on the Newlyweds Blog! Swing by there and check it out!

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Obligatory Disclaimer for Talking about the Army: Let me be clear that I write this post as a private individual and in no way does this represent any of the views of the Army or the United States Government.

We typically keep this blog clear of politics (for the most part), but I am feeling extra “politicky” today… Emphasis on the “icky”.

First, the passage California’s Proposition 8 effectively banned marriage between two people of the same sex, and yesterday the California Supreme Court upheld this decision. This is absurd. Before any of our more conservative readers recoil in shock, allow me to explain… I think when examining marriage it is important to note that there are two completely separate institutions that we as a society label “Marriage.” The first, in my opinion, is the true definition of marriage: Marriage before God. God defines Marriage as between one man and one woman. He unites them in an unexplainable way and they are to be a beautiful earthly picture of Christ’s love for the Church. The other definition of marriage is Civil Marriage. The Government recognizes a joining of two people as partners for life and offers them legal rights. Many people see “Gay Marriage” as a threat to the sanctity of marriage, but I, for the life of me, cannot figure out why. If the United States Government suddenly decides that my Marriage to Sarah is null and void, this does not change the fact that Sarah and I are married. God has joined us and no man, or Government can break that covenant. The government has no place deciding which two people can or cannot be legally joined, provided their relationship doesn’t violate any other laws. (As is the case with incestuous relationships) I could go on but my point here is, let’s allow the God to decide who can and cannot get “Married before God.” The Church can decide who they want to allow to get married in their church and the State can and should provide equal rights to everyone under the law.

Last Thursday, President Barack Obama gave a speech about national defense. I have to say, I agreed with darn near everything he said. (Again, our conservative readers recoil in horror!) 🙂 On the subject of closing the prison at Gitmo, it is absolutely ridiculous that we are having a problem finding a place to imprison these terrorists. The idea that keeping them inside the US is any more dangerous than housing them anywhere else is absurd. No one has ever escaped from a federal super-max prison, and no one will. Let’s get Guantanamo Bay closed so we can move on from what I consider to be a dark time in American history. Additionally, the fact that we don’t offer due process to these prisoners is appalling. We, as a country, should not be imprisoning people without at least putting them on trial first.

General McKiernan… I have to be careful what I say here… I am sad to see that GEN McKiernan has been asked to leave Afghanistan. He wasn’t even given a full year to try to work things out. I understand why he was asked to step down but nonetheless, it’s a bit disappointing.

Sorry to be so vague on the General McKiernan thing, but I have to be. If you would like to know more hit me up personally.

Ciao!

name

May 28, 2009 at 8:35 PM 2 comments

April Fool(ishness)

On this day, traditionally reserved for fooling friends, family, and… well anyone you want to, I decided rather than playing an elaborate prank on all of our readers, that I would share with you some of my all time favorite April Fool’s day Pranks.

These first few have been offered by google over the past couple of years:

2009: CADIE (Cognitive Autoheuristic Distributed-Intelligence Entity) http://www.google.com/intl/en/landing/cadie/index.html

2008: TISP (Toilet Internet Service Provider) http://www.google.com/tisp/

2007: Google Paper http://mail.google.com/mail/help/paper/index.html

TacoBell bought the Liberty Bell in 1996 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taco_Liberty_Bell

NASA claimed to have found water on Mars… it was actually a picture of a glass of water on a Mars candy bar. http://www.nasa.org/water/

In Korea, there were many reports of Bill Gates having been assassinated… it caused the stock market to drop 1.5%

Burger King took out an ad claiming to be selling Left Handed Whoppers. People ordered them!

I couldn’t resist the rickroll on april fools day. Sorry to all of you who clicked on the candy bar link. 🙂 (And if you don’t know what rickrolling is… http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RickRoll)

Sarah and I have decided that we would not prank each other. April fool’s day is for fools. I hate it. I have my reasons. (Ok so in 7th grade, the girl who broke up with me, told me she wanted to be my girlfriend again. At the end of the day she said “April Fool’s!!! Loser!”) I refuse to be fooled again.

Do you guys do the April Fool’s thing?

name

April 1, 2009 at 8:14 PM 2 comments

Army Life

Warning Long Post:

Like the rest of the United States, I always knew that members of the Armed Forces and their families made sacrifices to serve their country, but I didn’t realize the extent of what that meant until I lived it.

In terms of sacrifice, of course giving up one’s life on behalf of others is at the top of the list. It is the ultimate selfless act, and to those families who face that loss: Thank You. We Love You. We’ll pray for you.

But sacrifice in the military goes far beyond death on the battlefield… One of the challenges that Sarah and I have not had to face is that of a deployment. A single 12-month deployment is a lot to place on a family. It requires great stamina, commitment and dedication to keep a family together when dad or mom (or even both in some cases) have to go away for a year. I have seen families torn apart. I have seen marriages fall to pieces. Now multiply that times four or five. That is what many of us face… spending 4 out of our children’s first 7 years away. This is not what a family is meant to be.

Don’t stop there, consider that families are forced to pick up and move every 2 to 4 years. Children know no stability. Adults and children alike have no long term friends. You can’t live the American dream, settle down, buy a house, and raise a family. The military dictates where you will live, when you will live there, how long you will stay, and sometimes even the exact house or apartment you will live in. “But rent is free,” you might say. You are correct in that we don’t pay a monthly rent check, but we most certainly pay for it in other ways.

Now many people might think that being stationed overseas is a treat. You may think living in a location like Germany, the UK, Japan, or Korea is a blessing. People say things like “oh you are so lucky to be in Europe,” but many also don’t realize everything that means. Next time you hop in the car and drive to a friends house or to see your family remember that for those service-members stationed overseas, the trip to a friends house is 15 hours and the military decides when you can go. Now imagine not being near your friends and or family for 4 years.Next time you stop at your favorite restaurant, remember that for a service-member stationed overseas, we get a taste of home only once or twice a year. The conveniences of home just aren’t available to those of us stationed outside the US.  Not so much of a vacation.

Now imagine you are at work and your boss comes up and says I need you to go on a business trip for a week. You say, “I’m sorry but I can’t. My wife will be giving birth to our first child.” If he is reasonable, he tells you that he will find someone else to go or he will reschedule the trip. In the military they say “you have to go to the field next week for training.” You say, “I’m sorry but I can’t. My wife will be giving birth to our first child.” They say “too bad, you have to go or you can go to jail instead.” Members of the military don’t control their own lives. The military controls your life.

This is in no way meant to be taken as me whining about being in the military. I signed up, I have to deal with it. But, I wanted people to understand that just because we live in Europe, we are not on vacation. The military is hard, so hard that during the first three months of this year there were more suicides in the ranks than combat deaths. That’s not because the number of crazy people in the military is higher than that of the normal populace. Its because military leadership pushes hard. They push families in the military to the limit and often times beyond.

For Sarah and I we are doing our best to push through the tough stuff and look at the bright side of things but it is often overwhelming. The idea that we have a little over two years left is daunting right now. I look back and think about when I left Texas and it seems like so long ago, and now we have to do that length of time all over again.

The reason for writing all this was not to get you to feel sorry for us. We don’t intend this to be a request for pity. And, we don’t intend it to be a request for gratitude. We just want people to know what we are going through. The one thing that is a pet peeve though, is when people say “oh you must be having the the time of your life!” Nope… just having life. I work 5 days a week if not more. Traveling is EXPENSIVE over here. For Sarah and I to go away for the weekend is usually at least $1000… Stupid Euro exchange rate.

This turned into a much longer rant than I intended it to be, but I just really wanted people to know about life for us. Things aren’t always bad. There are certainly a lot of great things about our lives, but I wanted to take a moment to shine a light on the parts of our lives most people don’t get to see and that we don’t often talk about publicly. Maybe now you know us a little better.name

March 18, 2009 at 8:43 AM 6 comments

All Quiet on the Western Front

It’s early morning here, and the house is quiet. (Don’t you hate it when people type quite instead of quiet?) I’m enjoying a few minutes of relaxation before the house is up and we have to start our day. I LOVE having people visit, but the days certainly are “go, go, go” because there is so much to show and so little time!

Our trip to Ramstein and to visit the puppies went well yesterday. Sarah and I were amazed at how much of the breeder’s German we understood. I’d say we got about 80% of what he was talking about. I guess after having lived here for nearly two years that should be expected but it’s harder to learn German when you spend every day interacting with your co-workers and friends who only speak English.

The breeder told us the litter of puppies had been to the vet on the 7th and that everything looked great. They checked his heart, lungs, eyes, ears, ahem… underparts, hips, teeth, nose, etc. He got his microchip (which allows any vet to figure out who his owners are if he ever gets lost) and he got his first round of inoculations. Must’ve been a long day considering they have 8 puppies to deal with.

The trip to Ramstein was nice, Sarah’s dad enjoyed seeing the planes and telling us about them and what they are for, and then we ate at Chili’s. Boy did we eat. Chips, Salsa, Queso, Burgers, Fries, Margaritas (A story about this to follow), and dessert. YUM!

On the Margaritas note… So normally we order the Presidente Margarita when we go to Chili’s. It comes in a shaker with a strainer on top (plastic type) and an over-sized swirl martini glass. (a la Mexican martini if you are from the South/Central Texas area)  However, right now the bar is under renovations so they don’t have all the normal glassware. So rather than serving the Presidente in a Shaker with a Martini Glass on the side, Our drinks came in beer mugs. Yes, beer mugs. Normally when Sarah and I order these drinks the martini glass comes with ice in it. We normally dump the ice back in the shaker and strain our drinks so that we can drink them straight up, rather than on the rocks. Margaritas tend to get watered down if you leave them over ice because the tequila melts the ice down pretty quickly. (Plus I just like my drink that way!) So I asked our waitress to have the bartender chill the margarita as she made it and then strain in into the beer mug w/salt. The bartender comes out a few minutes later and told us that she isn’t allowed to to modify how they make or serve their “signature drinks” so she couldn’t do what we wanted. I explained, I didn’t want her to modify what went into the drink, I just want to be able to drink it the same way I normally do. She said “Ok” and went back to the bar.

A few minutes later she came back with two beer mugs chock full of ice and margarita (and no salt!). She told me she couldn’t take the ice out but she did chill the drink (what the heck does that mean? You can’t chill something and then serve it over ice… well I guess you can, but its pointless.) I again asked her to just strain what she had in her hands into another beer mug without ice and with salt. At this point, I was starting to get pretty flustered. She told me she would have to ask the manager if that was ok. I replied that I would like to talk to him to, so off she went. A few minutes later she came back with our drinks made the way we had asked, and told us that they made an exception this time but we couldn’t order them like that again. (WHAT???) I asked again to speak to the manager…. Out he came… I told him that since they couldn’t modify the drinks, I either wanted it served in the original glassware, or I wanted it served how I drink it when I have the right glassware. He said he understood and that’s why he made an exception. I also noted that I could have avoided the whole thing if rather than ordering the presidente margarita I had ordered a custom margarita with the same ingredients as a presidente served up. He said, “well I suppose that’s one way to do it,” and walked off. FRUSTRATING!

Ok, well now that I am good and pissed off about the margarita issue again, I guess I should start my day.

We will post puppy pictures later this afternoonamen.

March 11, 2009 at 8:32 AM 4 comments

SoJo 104.9 & the House Where I Grew Up

So after a quick scour of the internet I managed to find out that there is a radio station bearing our namesake… South Jersey’s own SoJo 104.9! 🙂

http://player.streamtheworld.com/liveplayer.php?callsign=WSJOFM#Main

I love it when they give the call sign… They say SoJo has you in the middle of another non-stop block of hits. LOL

On another note, I unintentionally came across an advertisement for the house I grew up in. Apparently they haven’t changed a darn thing, cause… well look for yourselves. YIKES!!!

http://randywatson.listingware.com/search/searchdetail.cfm?ListingID=766405

Ok hope you are having a great weekend!

name

February 28, 2009 at 6:26 PM 2 comments

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