Monday, September 17, 2012

Election Time is Near Again

I'll admit it, I love my DVR! I love it because it lets me skip over commercials and get back to important stuff like Army Wives and Big Bang Theory (don't judge). I love it even more come election time. I realized this earlier this evening as I watched "regular TV" while waiting for dinner to finish cooking. I was assaulted by three political ads in one 2 minute commercial break. One was advocating for a state proposal, the next against another proposal, and lastly a congress member vying for re-election.

Now, I love politics and have some pretty strong feelings about the subject, but I keep that information private, just like I keep my vote.

I don't want to try to sway you for or against any candidate or proposal, lord knows there is enough of that going around. However, in this season of ├╝ber propaganda I want to challenge you to do some leg work, research of you will.

I challenge you to first, make sure you are registered to vote and know where your polling location is.

Second, I dare you to check out your local ballot, most are available online See who is running for what office and what proposals or millages are there.

Third, google the candidates, see where they stand on issues important to you. If the are the incumbent, check out their voting record, do they vote for the issues you care about? Or do they vote for their own personal agenda? What about their attendance; are they even there to cast their vote? These people are representing YOU! You need to know where they stand.

Next, I challenge you to research those ballot proposals and millages. I know, they are full of legal mumbo-jumbo, but look for plain, layman's terms extracts. Ballot proposals can be small changes, like a local watering ordinance, or can be huge game changers, like an amendment to the state constitution. And those millages, what is it going to fund, or who. You don't know if you don't read.

My final challenge is to go out on November 6th, stand in line at the poll (with your photo ID), and cast your ballot knowing that you are making an informed decision about the future of your community, your state, your nation.

Good night and God bless!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Reflecting on 11 years

Twelve years ago yesterday I stepped into the Lansing Military Entrance Processing Center (MEPS) and began my journey in the military. Shortly thereafter I enlisted in the Army.

Eleven years ago I was an Army Reservist working part time at Sears and attending Delta College in Saginaw, MI. I woke up that morning to find that terrorists had hijacked four planes. Two of the planes were used to attack the World Trade Center in New York, NY destroying both towers. One more had slammed into the Pentagon in Washington DC.  The final plane had crashed in a field in Pennsylvania after the passengers had displayed extreme bravery and fought to regain control of the plane from the hijackers.

I spent the night of 9-11-2001 working at the Reserve Center in Bay City, MI answering phone calls and wondering what our nations response was going to be to this heinous act. My friends and comrades in the military and I were all ready to defend our nations honor just the same way that our fathers and grandfathers had in 1941. We firmly believed, then and now, that an attack on our nation must be answered swiftly and surely.

In February 2003, I became a part of that response as I was activated to deploy to Turkey to form part of the invasion in Iraq. Turkey however did not agree to that plan, so I and my company were stood down. I was reactivated again in December 2001 and did deploy to Iraq. I have not written much about my experiences in Iraq and Kuwait. Some things are still just to vivid and painful even after 8 years. I promise that I will write about it someday.

Today, however, I pause to reflect on where I am now and where we are as a nation. I am proud to know that in any time of disaster whether it be hurricane, flood or terrorist attack, Americans will always band together and help each other. That is what makes us great.  I am proud to be a Veteran of the United States Military. I am proud of my brothers and sisters in arms, may God protect and keep you all safe. I am proud to be an American Citizen, the United States of America is still the only country I want to call home.


Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Starting New Chapters

I know that I have of late abandoned my duties as a blogger. I look to correct that as I begin a new chapter in my life.

Monday I started a new position as a Human Resources Assistant for Eastern Michigan University's Military Sciences Department (ROTC). I know some of you may have some questions as to what this change really means.

First, yes, I still work for the Army as a DA (Department of the Army) Civilian, and all of my benefits, seniority, vacation time, etc. follow me. This means that I am continuing toward my goal of a dual retirement and dual pensions courtesy of Uncle Sam.

Second, I am still in the Army Reserve and will continue to perform my monthly weekend and annual "summer" training. I have served 11 1/2 years as a Soldier and have no plans to quit when the goal line is now, however faintly, in sight.

I will endeavor to keep you all in the loop as I continue to write the story of my life.

Go Eagles! Army Strong!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011


Both my weekday job and my Army career require me to travel all over the the state of Michigan as well as the rest of the country. I have stayed in 4 star hotels and barracks that the condemned sign was removed five minutes before we crossed the threshold. I'd like to illustrate my point a little here...

 One can become accustomed to this...
or this...

Both are great examples of the comfort and relaxing qualities moderately priced hotels offer. What follows next is reminiscent of WWII era Nazi torture chambers, few have even likened it to horror movies such as Saw and Hostle...if you are squeamish look do not have been warned.

This my friends is an example of the worst the Army has to offer when it comes to lodging. I, frankly, would rather sleep in a tent, on a cot and use a port-a-potty. At least then there would be some privacy...

I wish I were joking. I am off to check that my tetanus is current...that is all.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Christmas Time Wanderings

Last week the Army sent me for some new equipment training to a Reserve center in Ogden, Utah. I had been simultaneously dreading and looking forward to this trip. I had never been to Utah before and I had never spent any serious time in the Rockies, so that was exciting to me. What I was dreading was flying. I do not get air sick in the traditional sense, but I do get quite uncomfortable during take-off, landing and if there is turbulence, so flying holds little appeal to me. And since there is no way the Army was going to pay me for three days of driving at both ends...I had to fly.

I flew into Salt Lake City and I had no idea what I was in for when I arrived. It was dusk and the skyline was beautifully lit up with the colors of sunset. I unfortunately did not deplane in time to catch the stark beauty of a sunset in the mountains.

After some frustration at the rental counter I went to find my car in the lot. Now, you must understand, in my travels for the Army I have driven some great, some mediocre and some down right embarrassing cars (the white 2-door Yaris "egg" incident of 2009 comes immediately to mind). So, I was very pleasantly surprised to find that my "compact" rental was in fact a 2011 Ford Explorer...a very saawweeet ride!

My next surprise, after finally finding my hotel, was to find that the Hampton Inn of Ogden is a beautiful old building with smallish (compared to new construction) beautifully appointed rooms, a gorgeous lobby and a view of both the city and the mountains that made me want to relocate permanently. The staff were very friendly, which after a rough day of travel is extremely welcome, and the house keeper even left a Christmas card in my room.

After one of the best nights sleep in a hotel I have ever had I drove to the Reserve Center where the training was to be held and saw this...

This almost immediately made me want to start looking for a job here. I am serious, if I don't live here before then, I plan to retire in this town!

My first evening I decided to walk around the downtown area to see what was happening. I was amazed to see that almost a whole city block was dedicated to a Christmas light display. There were carolers from a local school singing, a bevy of various light displays, even a full nativity.

This town takes the celebration of the Christmas season seriously...

On my last day there I was not able to get a flight out early so I took the opportunity to explore the mountains a bit and what I saw settled my conviction to move to Utah in the future...

This was a small horse farm just after I came through a pass in the mountains...stunning!

And after I turned around to head back to the hotel, I noticed a scenic over look (and biffed my knee climbing the hill to get this shot, worth it!) I saw to convince a certain man that we need to live here!

Have a Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010


On October 23rd, 2000, I raised my right hand and spoke the following words; I do solemnly swear to support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God. 

In marking the 10th anniversary of that day, I reflect upon the words I spoke that day. I made a solemn oath to protect and defend this country and the citizens thereof. I also pledged to uphold the ideals on which this country was founded. The belief that all men are equal and are entitled to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, and that those rights are granted by God, not by man.

I am proud to be an American, and proud to serve my country as a Soldier. I stand firm in the knowledge that I live in and serve the greatest nation on earth. I can be firm in that knowledge, because I know what this country was founded upon. 

Five years ago, I was serving in Iraq, in an unpopular war. I was doing my part to help bring democracy to a nation oppressed by a theocratic dictatorship. I knew that what my comrades and I were doing was right and good. That we were fighting for the Iraqi people to have what we as Americans had taken for granted. I remember seeing pure joy and jubilation as the once oppressed were returning from their first free elections. It was a blessing to be a part of their new lives.

I am also blessed by my family and friends, who have supported me for the last decade and as I move into my second. I know that without the love and support you have given me, and the sacrifices you have made, I would not be able to serve. A Soldier is only as strong as their support system, thank you for being my support system.

All of this makes me reflect on where I have been, where I am now, and what the future holds. I know that God has a plan for me; I can see His hand in my life as I look back. And, I trust in Him to guide my path for the future. 

That is all.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Speaking of random observations...

As promised here is some randomness.

I realize that without proper female direction and guidance a majority of men would wear whatever they liked. Comfort over style, plaids and stripes, who cares! I can almost understand that. I am surrounded by guys who, (again not all of them) if the Army didn't give them clothes, would be lost in the sauce.

What I want to know is why a man would wear black knee socks and black dress shoes with faded, super casual, khaki shorts? And, why the woman, I am assuming his wife, accompanying him let him do it!?! Granted, it is not the atrocity of socks and sandals, but dress shoes with cargo shorts...REALLY!?!?!?!?

I need chocolate after trying to wrap my brain around that one!

I just don't get it...I hope I never do!

Off to find a brownie,
Army Chick