Monday, November 29, 2010

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Sweets for my sweet.

I have a hard time with care packages. First of all, after nearly nine years at war, military infrastructure is such that R has better access to some American items down range than I do living on post in Germany! Also, I'm not a big fan of sending "stuff" for stuff's sake. After watching him pack and repack his rucksack to accommodate a command-issued list full of redundancies, it doesn't seem sporting to send boxes of items that he'll have to store. Or eat, and frankly, that just gets stored around his middle, right?

But it's Christmas. And maybe it's not about the "stuff" but when you're 2,500 miles away, it's pretty hard to whisper "Merry Christmas" into a cardboard box and hope that the holiday spirit makes it to the middle of the desert intact. Here's where tradition comes in to save the day, because homemade treats, brightly wrapped packages, colorful cards and shiny ornaments all sing out"Merry Christmas!" and will make it to the desert (mostly) intact.

I didn't think it was possible, but I'm finding that my inherent practicality and infrequent sentimentality intersect at Christmas.

Sunday, November 21, 2010


Baking a delish gingerbread rum cake. This is NOT conducive to my deployment weight loss plan.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


One of my regular walks with Heidi features this old farmhouse. You'd think I'd be bored after walking the dog past it about 25,000 times, but in the spring and summer, the house is completely hidden by the amount of foliage those trees bust out. So in reality, I've only seen it about 3,000 times and, much like German beer, German farmhouses don't get boring until after at least seven in one night.


That analogy doesn't work at all, does it? What I mean to say is, this many-windowed charmer is still enchanting and I will miss it when we're gone.

Monday, November 15, 2010


Dropped the ball again, didn't I? This every day stuff is WAY harder than I thought it was going to be!

Had an eventful weekend; got everybody together to make banners to send to the guys down range for Thanksgiving. Had a really great turnout throughout the battalion and we're sending some very colorful and creative messages down there!

From a photography standpoint, major fail on my part. Didn't take my big flash and tried to do without one at all, but there was just too much movement and too little light. Also, should have taken the kit lens, which is considerably wider angle than my Tamron zoom and even if the Tamron does stop down to f/2.8, the larger aperture was no match for the poor light in the room. Should have gone with the image stabilizer lens! Lesson learned: don't try to be all artsy-fartsy when large groups of small children in dark rooms are involved!

Friday, November 12, 2010

A Silver Lining

So yesterday was kind of a heavy topic, and my usual blogging habit would be to step away for a few days and let that settle before I put anything else up. But the nature of this project doesn't really allow that, and I'm afraid my true, schizophrenic nature is really going to come out over the course of this year! Because today is a new day, and a new picture and attitude prevails.

Silver Lining #4 to the Deployment: A full year of PROPERLY SQUEEZED TOOTHPASTE TUBES.

My husband is a tube-masher, with little regard for the uniform thriftiness and order of squeezing from the bottom up. Now, I'm not so OCD that I will re-shape the tube every time he uses it (anymore...), but I will admit to getting some measure of satisfaction out of seeing this perfectly squeezed, flat-fin tail of a tube every time I brush my teeth. As silver linings go, it's reaching, but not insignificant!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Veteran's Day

I don't have any sort of meaningful insight about Veteran's Day.

I can't; my husband is deployed.

My job is to keep myself at an even emotional keel so that I can function alone twice as well as I do when he's home. In addition to that, other people are depending on me to set an example of "dealing with it" and not least among those people is my thirteen year old daughter.

I can't shout at media outlets that insist on focusing on fallen veterans that a dead soldier is dead every day of the year, not just Veteran's Day.
I can't scream at well meaning acquaintances that I don't need the pity that always saturates their "Thank you for your husband's service," as though my only choice is to endure it.
I can't give the military and government a giant middle finger for cutting support funding for family programs at the same time they get on TV and profess to be "so proud and grateful" for what we do.
I can't watch tribute programs or documentaries that talk about soldiers who come home in pieces - both physical and psychological - because letting myself dwell on those horrors means spending the next 11 months in constant terror.

Look, I'm not against Veteran's Day. I think it's an important national and cultural ceremonial marker. Necessary, even, for those who don't live close to the military. But it's not my holiday. It's not a freaking holiday. It's my life, my reality, my day-to-day existence. I won't wave my flag harder or sing louder or do anything else just because it makes the rest of the nation feel better.

I can't; my husband is deployed.

Maybe someday after his retirement I'll pin a little flag to my lapel and be glad for the extra day off from work. But for now I'll just do what I've been doing - functioning twice as well alone as when he's home, avoiding the news, struggling to live the Serenity Prayer - living through a war.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

This is so meta!

Taking a picture of the new computer on which I'm viewing my pictures! Great googaly moogaly, how I love new toys!

This moment of meta joy was 2 months in the making, but it did turn my craptacular day around, so I pronounce its worthiness to be adequate.

Sunday, November 7, 2010


Okay, so besides being one of the most pitiful snapshots I've ever taken, the above photo also explains why I didn't get any other pictures today! These baby girls were hanging at our house this morning while their Mama drove to the airport to pick up visiting family. Despite the fact that one is perfectly content to sit in one spot and watch the world pass by, and the other - tho very active - is quite satisfied to make her own fun, these girls Wore. Me. Out.

Oh, wait... you probably think I mean the two baby girls? Oh no. I mean all four of those females pictured above. I think it's hilarious that the flash spotlighted the dog, because she clearly felt she should be in it! Heidi just couldn't understand why these two little interlopers were getting all HER attention. At one point, she literally burrowed between Ro and one of the babies to separate them, then rolled over on her stomach and thumped her tail on the floor as if to say, "No, see... your hands go here. On my belly. Remember? You no rub anybody else's belly when I'm around. I can haz all ur attention??"

Ro shocked the hell out of me by sticking around to play, cuddle, pick up when fussy, feed and rock to sleep the twins. Typically, Ro's M.O. is run in the opposite direction from babies, who heretofore have freaked her right the heck out.
"Ah! It's looking at me funny! And making weird noises! What do we do??"
"Well, Ro, I believe now we change it's diaper."
But today she was a total champ and even declared afterward that playing with the girls was the best part about her day. Which was actually the EXACT OPPOSITE reaction I was looking for. I figured that a double dose of baby would be almost as good as a depo provera shot, but unfortunately these babies were much too angelic to fulfill that purpose.

So yeah. They were only here for five hours, and I needed a two-and-a-half hour nap after they left! ....Well yes, okay, I probably would have taken the nap anyway. What's your point?!

These girls are the daughters of one of our FRG's families. A young family who had complications at the delivery and for whom we all kind of went out of our way to help out. It was one of my first "acts" as FRG co-leader and... well, it made an impression. Anybody who knows me knows I'm not a "joiner". I don't particularly like interacting with people and I sure wasn't looking for more responsibility. But while I got involved out of mainly frustration and a desire to make my own receipt of information easier and faster, I've had a few unexpected pleasures, as well. This family is one of them. There are days when I want to throw in the towel - when I think, "I want to NEVER TALK TO ANYONE AGAIN." But then there are days when I get to smell sweet little baby heads, or hang out with genuinely nice people, or somebody just says, "Hey, you have a hard job. Thanks for doing it," and I go... Oh yeaaaaahhhh, it IS worth it. :)

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Ground view

Sometimes it's not practical to take my big dSLR out. I'm afraid of getting rained on, Heidi is being psycho-dog on the leash, or I just don't want to be stared at. At those times, I dig out the Canon Powershot SX100 that we bought a few years ago for my first foray into digital. It's a fine little camera (not as fine as the new Canon S95, by my saying so puts my husband's head in imminent danger of exploding - "ANOTHER CAMERA?!") and among its many desirable traits my willingness to put it places I would never put my big camera. Like on the ground.

Not so burning bush.

Still trying to play catch up. Something is desperately wrong with the Deutchland portal to Yahoo and Flickr, and sometimes Blogger. It's maddening. But also, there is the fact that "trying to stay busy" has somehow morphed into "OMG-the world is spinning too fast! Make it stop!" But unfortunately I set myself on this speeding bullet of personal projects, FRG madness AND GUESS WHAT?! The housework still doesn't do itself! What the heck, man?

Lucky Thirteen

Sometimes, you just aren't feelin' it, y'know?

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Not my fault!

Interwebz having fits, tried to log on but couldn't for a long time! Here's day 12...

Yay! The Tuscany photobook came in the mail! And it looks HAAAAWE-some. It looked awesome on Snapfish when I was putting it together, but I was prepared for a noticeable difference - a certain anti-WYSIWYG, if you will.

That's part of what took the book so long. First, I had edit the picts, then I had to format the book to my satisfaction. Then I had to walk away from it for 30 days so I could preview it with relatively fresh eyes. Then I had wait for the prints to get here so I could make sure the site printed in a quality that wasn't complete crap. (It's very inexpensive, so you can understand my hesitation.)

Aside from the fact that my prints took a long time to ship, I was pleasantly surprised that the quality was very good, even going so far as to crop my edited pictures appropriately, instead of trying to force it onto a single size for their convenience. So I ordered the book, and voilá! Hardbound memories, made to order.