Friday, June 30, 2006

My Turn To Brag

OK…one of the advantages of having a forum that few people read is that I can brag. And I am going to brag unabashedly!

This past week Bonnie Blue has been a Youth Counselor at our state’s National Guard Kids’ AT. It is a camp for kids of National Guardsmen that allows the kids to go away for a time like their parents do every summer for Annual Training (AT). I have tried over the past couple of years to get her interested in going as a camper and then last year as a Youth Counselor but she was never interested. Fortunately, this spring she attended a briefing at our armory that mentioned this camp and she showed some interest. Signed her up right away!!

Through the week I heard from her about every other night and she sounded like she was really enjoying herself. This is the kid who did absolutely nothing without her “posse”. If it was 4-H camp or church camp, she always did everything with a group of local kids and had never done anything like this where she knew absolutely no one! So that in and of itself made the whole week worthwhile.

And then…she was a squad leader. AND she was honored as the Youth Counselor of the Week for her Platoon. Too cool. She had an awesome time and now has a list of cell phone numbers for all of her new friends. Made her mama proud!!!

The other cool thing that happened is she got her ACT scores back. This is her first attempt (10th grade) and she was sure she had scored a 10 maybe 14 if she was lucky! Well she scored a 23 and was just thrilled. That will get her into any school in our state and will allow her to get the necessary state sponsored scholarships. She was upset with the science portion (which was 19 and brought down the 26 in English) but we know that the science program in this school district really stinks. Is there a science program in this district??!!

Anyway...the kid thinks this has been one of her best days in a long time!

I am done bragging and am going back to folding laundry. HOOAH!!

Friday, June 23, 2006

Our Travel Log

As I said last night, we ran away from home and went to visit Tanker. As much as I hate the drive, it was great to spend some time as a family. So far this summer, the time is flying by.

• Driver’s Ed…check. Bonnie Blue is now the proud holder of a Learner’s Permit. It’s hard to believe our baby is old enough for this phase of her life but I am getting used to it and have actually survived a couple of rides with her at the wheel.

• Visit Tanker…check. It is amazing to me how my body is no longer happy with me sitting in a vehicle and driving for 8 hours! I used to do that at the drop of a hat to go visit the folks in PA when we were living in Kentucky. Those were the good ole’ days, I guess. Then to top it off, when we got on post the AC was out in his room so we had to move him into another unit…at 10 PM to a room on the 3rd floor with no elevator. This man sure has accumulated a lot of stuff since he has been there!

• Wedding…check. We flew to Pittsburgh to see my youngest cousin’s wedding and had a great time. Flew in on Friday, had dinner with the folks and my brother’s family, wedding on Saturday, stayed with sister Saturday night, and flew back out at 0600 on Sunday. The visit was WAY too short but Tanker had to be back to work so it was the best we could do. Bonnie Blue stayed until Wednesday so we had a few days of couple time which was great (wink, wink).

We are now back home and have a day to get all of Bonnie Blue’s laundry done. We head back out tomorrow morning. She is going to be a youth counselor for our NG Kid’s AT and I am looking forward to a week of peace by myself. Time to get the house back in order.

And ahead we have…

Head back to Tanker. They are having a 4th of July blowout on the post with a concert that we are going to go to. It will be good to spend a normal 4th with Tanker. Last year he was in Iraq and I was with my sister attending my uncle’s funeral. The year before that Tanker was home on leave during their pre-deployment training and we just wanted family time.

We then will come home for a couple of days and then head to the coast with my girlfriend. A week on the white sands of Destin (with a side trip to the outlet mall) will do Bonnie Blue and me some good!

Now all I have to plan is a 16th birthday party for Bonnie Blue in August. I think I want to try to surprise her but I am clueless. Any suggestions?

Thursday, June 22, 2006

We are back!!

Sorry for the disappearing act! We headed out to visit Tanker and the computer situation there was less than desirable. Thanks to those of you who have checked in while I have been gone (especially Miss Smitten) and I promise to update after I get some sleep.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006


It is now 2:47 PM (CST) on 06/06/06 and we are still here. Imagine that!!

Saturday, June 03, 2006


As I have aged, my thoughts about motherhood and career have changed dramatically. I certainly bought into the whole “you can have it all” BS that was given to us as the result of the women’s movement. I worked my entire life with small amounts of time where I felt I needed to be home. And during those times I was home, I was constantly working on how I would get back into the workforce. It was just what I thought was expected. If I was a good enough Mom, if I was a good enough woman, I would figure out how to do this…juggle all these balls and make it work.

I remember vividly when Bonnie Blue was an infant and Big Bubba was about 9 years old. We had just moved to a new city after her birth and I had not yet found a job and, although I knew it was where I needed to be, I was having difficulty not contributing to the household financially. Issues of dependency I think now as I look back but I digress

Big Bubba would come home from school, literally throw his backpack in the front door, and head back outside. Everyday. Same ole’ thing. Whenever there was discussion of me going back to work, this boy became extremely quiet. Tanker felt Big Bubba just wanted to know I was there. A constant. Mom was home. And at the time, I was too young or too stupid to see it. I had grown up thinking I was inadequate if I wasn’t able to have well adjusted kids, the perfect home, AND a job.

The latest decision to head back home is the result of finally learning that I can’t have it all. Granted, I don’t have the benefit of having Tanker home to help with all of the activities that Bonnie Blue is involved with but the bottom line is that she needs me available. Being gone from the house for almost 50 hours a week wasn’t working for us. And my husband needs me. Although staying Active Duty is a decision he has made (and I support this decision completely), and he loves what he is doing, it is my job as a wife to be there for him.

This is a HUGH change in my thinking. There is such a peace that I am finally doing what is right. You probably wonder what brought this all on. Apparently, Elizabeth Vargas’ decision to leave ABC is causing folks in the women’s movement to question what’s really going on. Why can’t they just embrace this woman, support her decision, and believe what she is saying? Maybe there is more to the story, but why do they automatically question her decision.

God bless you, Elizabeth Vargas. Enjoy your time with your family. Because in the grand scheme of things, there is nothing more important than family.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Back From Iraq

Our guys have been back from Iraq since last fall. Everyone I have talked to since then are dealing with what I see as normal post-deployment issues; i.e., sleeplessness, irritability, and the ever popular “creative” driving techniques. I will never forget the time I went to pick Tanker up during their demob process (they were sent home during the Hurricane Rita evacuation) and we got caught up in all the traffic caused by the folks heading north. Fortunately I was driving. We were in bumper to bumper traffic and I needed to get into the right lane to make an exit. To my right was a pickup whose driver was not very interested in being kind that day. Tanker’s response was “Just push him into the bridge!” He was just livid with this idiot in a pickup truck and I saw a look in his eyes that I never had seen before. This should have been my first indication that we might be headed for an interesting adjustment period.

Since their return, Tanker has stayed Active Duty and is stationed far enough away that we see each other a couple of times a month. It really isn’t any different than our life before he deployed. His civilian job (long haul trucker) required that he was home every other weekend and we had been doing this for about 3 years.

Over the past few months, I have occasionally wondered how things will be when this phase of our life is over and he is home full time but I can’t say that I have been too worried…until tonight.

During our conversation this evening, I was updating him on some of the guys in his unit and how they were doing. Some are having trouble adjusting to work, school, and/or living situations. I then mentioned one guy in particular whose wife had called and was concerned with some anger issues he was having.

Tanker then says…”I can understand that completely. I really had to check myself last weekend when you were so insistent about the Phelmer thing.” We had been discussing a change in ownership of a local auto repair shop and he had half of the facts right and I was just trying to explain the piece of information that he was missing. No big deal. Or so I thought.

This is the guy that is normally so easy going. We have always been proud of the fact that we really don’t argue. We both have been married before and really knew what we didn’t want when we married…and big blow up fights just weren’t part of what we wanted for us.

Fortunately, his next comment was that he thought he might go back to see the counselor that he saw a few times when he got back. And maybe I need to talk with the Family Life counselors they have available for us around here.

It’s been 9 months since he has been back in the states. He probably won’t be home for good until November. Maybe then we can really begin our “demob” process.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Memorial Day Weekend

The past few days have been busy ones at Tara. My last day at work was Wednesday and I haven't really had a chance to enjoy the downtime yet.

Tanker got home about 0930 Thursday and we spent the afternoon helping get together decorations for Bonnie Blue's current best friend's 16th birthday party. Then dinner with the mother-in-law and her husband. Fried fish doesn't really fit in to the Weight Watchers program but I managed to stay on track with a baked potato and salad. Friday was spent working on Tankers latest project. He is rebuilding a 1978 Camero and having way too much fun with it!! My truck went in for it's latest checkup and came out with a $382. bill...great...two days after my last paycheck hits the bank. And Saturday we had some friends over to join us for dinner. Isn't life in a small town exciting??!!

Today we went to church to hear the interium pastor. Haven't been there in awhile - that whole situation will be fodder for another post - and I am praying fervently that they find a new pastor soon. I have come to the conclusion that I don't need to listen to another Baptist preacher who has Dr. in front of his name. It was the most tedious sermon I have heard in a long time. And if I get one more hug from an insincere person I will probably lose my lunch. There was, however, a very fitting tribute in the bulletin that I thought I would share.

They answered their country's
call to arms,
into battle they do go.
Where their final destination was,
no one will ever know.
May their final resting place,
under some unknown sod.
Be forever hallowed,
for it is known only to God.

We will take some time tomorrow to remember those who have made the ultimate sacrifice serving our country. This is one thing that they do right in small town USA.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Someone You Should Know

I am not usually up at this hour...have to be up for work in about 5 hours and normally require at least 7 hours of sleep...but I just finished a great book. It is Heart Of A Soldier by James B. Stewart.

From the back cover:

Heart of a Soldier is the extraordinary story of war, love and comradeship, danger and heroism, told by a Pulitzer Prize winner who is one of our finest writers.

When Rick Rescorla got home from Vietnam, he tried to put combat and death behind him, but he never could entirely. From the day he joined the British Army to fight a colonial war in Rhodesia, where he met American Special Forces' officer Dan Hill who would become his best friend, to the day he fell in love with Susan, everything in his remarkable life was preparing him for an act of generosity that would transcend all that went before.

Heart of a Soldier is a story of bravery under fire, of loyalty to one's comrades, of the miracle of finding happiness late in life. Everything about Rick's life came together on September 11. In charge of security for Morgan Stanley, he successfully got all its 2,700 men and women out of the south tower of the World Trade Center. Then, thinking perhaps of soldiers he'd held as they died, as well as the woman he loved, he went back one last time to search for stragglers.

I wish I had known Rick Rescorla.

Reading of interest

There are several blogs that I on a pretty regular basis and have been following a few stories that you may find of interest:

This is a story I have been following since Brian Kilmeade did a story on Fox and Friends. I sent a card to Joshua during his stay at Walter Reed and have wondered what has been happening since. Take a tissue and check out the story on Joshua Sparling at The Gunn Nutt . You will see the best and the absolute worst America has to offer.

Another story I have been following is the closing of Fran O’Brien’s restaurant in the Capital Hilton, Washington, DC. Here is the latest, thanks to Fuzzilicious Thinking …and yes, I will be joining the boycott of all Hilton properties.

And last but certainly not least, Greg is a soldier that I have been following for awhile. He is back from Iraq and is now battling colon cancer. Leave a note of encouragement for him and his wife, Sher.


Friday, May 19, 2006

There IS good out there.

It's been an interesting reading the newspapers lately. Seems like everywhere you turn there is nothing but negative news and then...I find this amazing story about people going above and beyond the call of duty. Active duty soldiers miss so many important events in their kid's lives and now, because of the goodness that is out there, there is a group of soldiers that will be able to see their children's graduation from high school. Too cool! Check it out here.

And for those of you who know me well, did you see the hyperlink? I'm learning!

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Our Pathetic Life

Can anyone explain to me what's up with Grey's Anatomy? This is one show that Bonnie Blue and I both have on our "must see" list and Sunday/Monday's finale was no exception. We have gotten to where we watch everything after the fact on Tivo but didn't on Monday. Sat through commercials and all. Isn't Tivo wonderful?! There were so many good parts:

  • Webber...His wife setting him straight. It was a "You go girl!" moment.
  • Webber's neice...When she is telling him that she has been loved. Cool.
  • George...God bless him. He just needs to get over Meredith but I am not convinced that the bone girl is my choice for him.
  • Yang...I know this girl has emotional issues but please! I was glad she finally got over it and did the right thing with Burke.
  • Izzy...can you say dumb blond? Make that dumb, dumb blond. But then when Denny said it was his turn and gave his little speech, Bonnie Blue says "How cheesie!". It was a good opportunity for me to explain to her that I hope she finds someone who is that cheesie with her.
  • Doc...The tears started when they were putting him to sleep. I guess having just gone through that ourselves it just hit too close to home. I was glad to see Meredith pull her hand away when Derek touched her.
  • Alex...I knew this guy always had it in him. When he picked Izzy up and held her - we started the ugly cry!

I am so over the whole Meredith/McDreamy thing. We both were actually screaming at the TV when they went into the room...DON'T KISS HER...OH NO. THEY ARE NOT GOING TO. Once again, I am making a learning experience from a fictual television show.

So, does she pick Finn or McDreamy? We have decided that she really needs to not pick either of them and should go back to knitting. We like the vet too much to want him involved in all her drama and since Derek decided to stick it out with his wife he ought to stay there.

How pathetic is this? A whole, longwinded post on a TV show!!!

Sunday, May 14, 2006


OK...What's the deal with guys and Mother's Day? Earlier this week I ordered some chocolate covered strawberry's for my mother (her absolute favorite) and decided I should check with Tanker about his mom. I am thinking with the new laptop he has that he should be able to do the online thing for her too - but nooo he hadn't even thought about it!

So, this morning there is a beautiful plant in a really unusual container sitting on her table in all the colors that she loves. And she will spend another delusional year thinking her youngest son thought of her today. I just hope he remembers to call her!

The things we do for our loved ones...

Saturday, May 13, 2006

The Winds of Change

I am sitting here this morning thinking about all the changes that are about to happen with our family this summer. The big thing is I have resigned and my last day of work is Friday. 5 more days.

Now, I never really thought of this as a "real" job...I've always said my last "real" job was 8 years ago (did I actually say eight? OMG!!) when I worked as Director of Human Resources for a division of about 350 restaurants. Tanker got really tired of following me around (3 moves in 3 years) and we settled in the middle of nowhere near his family. But this job allowed me to learn about a different industry and kept me busy during his deployment. And my coworkers were lifesavers during that time.

It is time to move on...or actually get my priorities straight and be more available to Tanker and Bonnie Blue. She is almost done with high school and, before we know it, she will be gone. She never has really been good at entertaining herself and the thoughts of her being on her own, at this age, for 11 hours a day was not very appealing to me. She has a friend that she spends WAY too much time with (that whole story will be left for another day) so I am trying to keep her busy. So far we have planned...

  • Driver's Ed...2 weeks of 0830 to 1130.
  • Trip to visit my family up north for a wedding. (This will be WAY cool. My family has not seen Tanker since he got back from the sandbox.)
  • Bonnie Blue is going to be a youth counselor for our National Guards Kids AT.
  • Working on a trip to the Gulf Coast with my best friend.
  • Little Bubba is going to visit over 4th of July with his soon to be step-daughter.
  • And, of course, we will be able to spend more time with Tanker. His schedule will be less flexible this summer and won't be able to come home as much as he has this spring.

This puts us through about the middle of July. If I can handle all the driving we should be busy! And I was worrying about what I would do if I wasn't working!!

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Take a minute...

As usual, I am running behind, but May is Military Appreciation Month.

Loyalty Day, May 1
VE Day, May 8
Military Spouse Day, May 12
Armed Forces Day, May 20
Memorial Day, May 29

Make a point this month to thank an servicemember (active/guard/reserve), veteran, or military family member. I know, from personal experience, that just letting a servicemember's family know that you appreciate their sacrifice will be greatly appreciated. Alot of times, the family member of a servicemember (especially guard and reserve) feel very isolated while their soldier is deployed. Most live miles away from a military installation and the people they interact with on a daily basis are understandably clueless. Let them know you care!

We purchased a new home about 3 years before Tanker was deployed. For months I had been complaining about the fact that I could not get a sturdy enough flag pole to fly my flag on because there is always a rather strong wind at our house. I can't even begin to tell you how many bent flag poles I have thrown away!! Tanker had been overseas about 3 months when Bonnie Blue and I went to Big Bubba's college graduation. On the way home I spent a good bit of the 4 hour ride feeling sorry for everyone because Tanker was not there to see him walk. I mean, he was so proud of the fact that Big Bubba was a college graduate...and had done it pretty much on his own with the academic scholarships he had received...and Tanker was thousands of miles away. Let me tell you - I can work up a pretty good pity party and I was at the peak when we pulled in our road and I saw something in my headlights that looked totally out of place. There in the perfect spot in the middle of my front yard was a gleaming commercial grade flag pole!! I sat there for several moments with the lights shining on it and tears streaming down my face looking at both the United States and Army flags flying. Friends of ours from our church had taken the time to put this up while we were gone! I can't even begin to explain how much this meant/means to me.

So the moral of the story is...take some time to listen and learn what you can do to help a military family. It doesn't have to be this time consuming (although Dennis swears to this day that it took them no time at all to get it cemented in) but do something to let them know you are there for them!!

And make sure your flag is flying...

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Who's Who

Since I will be attempting to post anonymously...I do have a teenage daughter that I seem to embarrass with great frequency and a husband in the military (wouldn't want to ruin his career completely!)...I thought it might be helpful to tell you who's who.

Hubby is affectionately referred to as Tanker. Just seems to fit. He is currently on Active Duty training troops to deploy overseas and loving it. The only down side is he is stationed about 8 hours from home. We are used to him being away from home alot (his civilian job was a long haul flatbed trucker) but after the deployment it just seems that we should get back to normal - whatever that is!

Our oldest son (24 y/o) is Big Bubba and graduated from college while Tanker was in Iraq. He lives about 4 hours away and is planning on going to law school. Big Bubba is absolutely smitten with a wonderful young lady who I am sure will be our daughter-in-law shortly.

Our next son (23) is Little Bubba. Daughter nicknamed them that years ago! Little Bubba lives "up north" about 13 hours away, and is settling down with a great girl (and her 2 y/0 daughter). They are expecting a child in October '06. I am hoping they will marry before the baby is born!

Daughter (15) is Bonnie Blue although this may become BB or Bonnie because I tend to be just lazy sometimes. I asked her for a nickname suggestion and she followed the whole Tara theme here. She is the only child left in the house and is spoiled rotten. While shopping today I decided we may have to have an intervention to handle her shoe addiction problem!

And I am Scarlett. I am a 40 something wife, and about to be stay at home mom. I have decided that I need to be available for both Tanker and Bonnie Blue this summer. I expect by the time school starts in the fall I will be needing to go back to work but, who knows, maybe I will actually enjoy the domestic goddess thing! I am involved with a great group called Soldier's Angels - check them out at - and am a co-leader for Tankers unit's FRG (Family Readiness Group). You will probably begin to see a thread in my posts. I am very pro-military and have absolutely no tolerance for those who do anything to disrespect the work these folks are doing for us. Enough said.

So, there you go. Until next time...

Friday, May 05, 2006

This is an interesting beginning.

I didn't blog through the time hubby was was in Iraq...and there was plenty of drama to write about then! It may have helped. Who knows. But we survived and he is now back in the states and for that I am eternally grateful.

Now we are learning how to keep going with an 8 hour car ride between us...a teenage daughter living here at home...#2 son about to make us grandparents...and #1 son comtemplating marriage.

So if you are interested - hang on tight - and enjoy the ride!!!