Blonde moment

And the silver spoon.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Sharpiro will get his

I will rant on Ben Sharpiro when my inner demons have settled down. So, if you'd like to keep up with Sharpiro and his chickenhawk antics, please visit Vox
here and here.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Update on Military Benefits

Josh’s old unit was not particularly helpful when it came to informing troops of special things like National Guard day at the State Fair, Twins Games, Vikings Games, etc. And they also were not helpful when it came to benefits. So, I did not have high hopes for this new unit that Josh is part of.

However, I am pleasantly surprised with the amount of information that Josh’s new unit provides. Yesterday, he had six or seven e-mails from the unit providing information from the trivial to the very useful.

Here’s something from the MN State Legislature on recently enacted Military and Veterans benefits.

On a different note, for the first time in my life, I do not feel competent to file my own taxes. And I also wonder if Josh will have to file Mississippi taxes… Well, that’s what an accountant is for.

Of course, I'll be posting more on these benefits and others that I find out about. Our meeting is next week, but after that, we're going to Houston for Labor Day weekend. So, if I don't get to more information before Septelber 6th or so, please understand. We're starting the really hectic month where we try to see everyone and do everything, so I may be neglectful for several weeks.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

The perfect Cribbage hand

I got it, and I wasn’t even dealing. Yes, you read about the near perfect Cribbage Hand , but I got the perfect one. Five of clubs, five of hearts, five of diamonds, Jack of spades with a top card five of spades. It is “fifteen” for sixteen points, pairs for twelve points, and “knobs” for one, making 29. Don’t worry, though, I got my due. I was skunked the next game.

And the orders are in...

On Wednesday, Josh received his deployment orders. It was not a happy day in my life, but it is nice to have a date and be able to make firm plans. I do have a couple of thoughts that may or may not seem connected to a reader. They're connected in my mind because they are all related to the day we found out.

First, it is tacky for the Star Tribune to have written a story about the deployment orders before all of the families heard a date. Plus, people started asking us specific questions before we had them. In the future, it would be nice to have a couple of days buffer from the media.

Second, and though I don't say this often, and rarely in a public forum, Vox Day is right. Ben Sharpiro needs to pony up. Or don't Ivy League boys like to sully their pretty hands? Yes, Ben, it is OK to be supportive of a war and not participate. It is not OK to say:

"But toppling Saddam Hussein and democratizing Iraq prevent his future ascendance and end his material support for future threats globally. The same principle holds true for Iran, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Egypt, Pakistan and others: Pre-emption is the chief weapon of a global empire.
"No one said empire was easy, but it is right and good, both for Americans and for the world. Forwarding freedom is always important, but it is especially important where doing so ensures America's future security -- as in Iraq. Maintaining American empire will require Americans to recognize the dangers of impatient isolationism. "

and not offer justification as to why you're not part of it. The chickenhawk arguement is name calling, but it can also be accurate. There is a difference between honorable men and dishonorable men. Honorable men of the Vietnam era did the right thing by fighting in a war that they were called to serve in. The current President Bush did the dishonorable thing by joining the National Guard to avoid conflict. My husband is doing the honorable thing by fighting in a war he believes in, and Ben Sharpiro is a chickenhawk because he seems to be an able-bodied twenty-something man who is sitting down at a computer instead of fighting a war. Part of fighting for freedom is fighting. Ben Sharpiro is not paying for the freedom of the press he uses. And I also believe that the reason he takes offence at the name "chickenhawk" is because he's trying to justify his own dishonorable behavior. I will stand by Ben Sharpiro's right to say whatever he wants, but I will still call him a chickenhawk.

Third, this deployment is very hard on Josh and me. I am trying not to be a whiner or anything, but I am short tempered lately and also very testy. Please be understanding if I am not as friendly as I usually am, and please also be understanding that Josh and I have plans ever single weekend between now and his deployment. If we can't spend time alone with you and we ask you to share, don't throw a fit. Also, for obvious reasons, I am not publishing his orders. I hope you all understand. I'll let you know he's gone when he's gone.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Deployment Link and Random Thoughts

And here’s some press from today’s Star Tribune . There are a couple of lunch time thoughts on this, randomly, of course. First, since Norm Coleman has had some forums on who pays for Reservists and National Guard members who are injured, I must not be the only person with mis-information and confusion. Second, Pawlenty is right. Long Reservist and Guard deployments should not be a regularly occurring thing. Private employers and families will eventually get sick of it. I have more to say on both topics. But, I have crocheting to do, in-laws to entertain, and little time to opine.

Oh, a nod to Tonya and Ben for being so understanding. Hope the deployment is towards the end of October.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

A hat tip to Saturn of Bloomington

My dad drives a Saturn. I drive a Saturn. So, do both of my sisters, as well as my brother-in-law. And we all bought them within the last four years. I take my Saturn to the dealership to get maintained. I go to the dealership because one of the service associates was a band parent when my sisters and I were in high-school band and orchestra.

Yesterday, I had regularly scheduled maintenance. And the band parent brought out a part to show to me, the transmission pan. It had a divot. And he said that though it wasn’t leaking, it likely would and I’d have to keep an eye on it. I explained that Josh is going go to Iraq, and I’d rather replace potential problems before they become problems and before Josh leaves. I have never had a problem with my car, and I didn’t want it to become a problem during the next two years.

So, after my service was complete, the band parent sat down with me, went through my service receipt and explained everything, including what I’d likely need to have done before winter and why.

I am competent for daily maintenance to my car. I change my own fuses, I gas it, I can check the oil level, top off fluids, and other such things. But, it was comforting to know that someone was telling me what I’d need to watch for while my husband is gone.

I am going to give hat tips from time to time (that don’t disclose my location or who I am) for armed service friendly businesses. I am not doing so for any financial gain for myself. Rather, I’m interested in promoting businesses who give good service, especially to those who may be more vulnerable. I fancy myself a pretty competent woman. But, a woman alone in a car dealership, and some other businesses, can be a target to unsavory business practices. I am also going to take my hat tipping one step further. I intend on letting the company know that I received good service.

A Higher Calling…

Yesterday’s Star Tribune had an editorial written by Ed Murphy regarding how we’re not all in this war together. He squandered a legitimate opportunity to talk about real sacrifice to say that because oil companies are profiting, health care costs are going up, and the burden of this war is unfairly distributed that the rich should pay more taxes. I’d love rip this all apart, but I am not in a particularly good mood and I would be somewhat unfair.

Rather, I’ll just say that perhaps we need to teach the concept of sacrifice to a community that is ripe for such teaching. Mr. Murphy is the child of “the Greatest Generation.” I am the child of Baby-Boomers. My parents happen to be among the finest people on earth, but I’ve had a lot of experience observing other Baby Boomers.

What have been the two of the best sellers in the Christian non-fiction market? A Purpose Driven Life and Your Best Life Now. Both are written by Boomers. There is a desire among Christians and Boomers for more to life then gathering material wealth, working, and the same old pew filling. I think the reason why people are craving more is we have been fed a regular diet of “the power of positive thinking,” “God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life,” and the oft taken out of context “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.” The difference between these three quotes, besides only one being taken from the Bible, is the first two were written by middle class American Christians and the third was written by someone imprisoned by Nero. I am more apt to believe the person imprisoned by Nero.

The books mentioned above do not fill our longing. They re-enforce what we have been taught for the last thirty years. So, Mr. Murphy, taxing the well off is not going to fix the problem that more Americans are not altruistic. To fix a problem, pastors need to return to the fundamentals of Christianity: sin and grace. Then instruct Christians to do a person sized job to serve God and man. The problem is not about taxes, oil, or economic disparity between armed service personnel and the rest of society. It is an attitude problem.

Oh, and as a disclaimer, I’m picking on Christians because I am a Christian, and I already know that those of the Jewish faith and decent know how to sacrifice.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Deployment meeting

Well, the deployment meeting is scheduled for August 30th, so I'll know a lot more then about what's going on. I'll keep everyone up-to-date as I can.

Thanks for the prayers and the love and support and e-mails! I'm going to start posting more regularly, and probably daily after Josh leaves.

News on VA benefits

I went to Sen. Mark Dayton's office over lunch yesterday and his staff did a little research for me on VA benefits for National Guardsmen in combat. I got to work with a voice mail from the office manager, and if a National Guardsmember becomes disabled in combat they do qualify for VA benefits. This is something kind of new, we're all guessing, because there's been 30 wives from the same unit calling with the same question and mis-information.

I got the information I have been talking about from a Gulf War I vet.

Which leads to quick topic number 2:
I called my insurance agent last week to see about a private disability insurance policy without an act of war clause. My insurance company doesn't have them. But, they're willing to sell me more life insurance without an act of war clause (which I bought when Josh and I first got married).

There's probably a couple of reasons why there isn't an act of war clause in life but there is in disability. One guess is that someone is far less likely to die in an act of war then get injured these days. The other guess is that there is an assumption that VA benefits and Social Security will be enough and also around. Or this could be a market issue, and since we're not in a military town, there's not a lot of demand for something like this...

In the next few weeks, when I get a chance, I'll call Josh's mom's insurance agent. Perhaps he has something as they're by Ellsworth AFB in Rapid City.

Thanks to Dr. Banaian for helping with research.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005


A few weeks ago, my parents, sister, and I watched my husband swear to uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of Minnesota and obey the commands of his officers, the president, and the governor. Later, at dinner, we had a conversation on beliefs verses practice. During this discussion, it was said that we could either use our beliefs as a standard to achieve or as a means of justifying our bad behavior. We also discussed whether or not it is enough to say you value and believe something, you eventually need to practice your values and beliefs.

It is time to put Josh’s promise and our beliefs into action. Josh has been called to go to Iraq fairly soon. He has not received the official orders, but they are expected any day. So, for all practical purposes, he’s going. And here is what is called our crisis of faith. Am I willing to give up my husband at the command of the state or country? Am I willing to trust that God is in control? Are my faith in God and my love for my husband enough to carry me through these next months? I only hope and pray so.

As a society, we have lost the value of sacrifice. We value our right to say whatever we want where ever we want to say it. We demand more and more money and more and more material goods. We want service now. We want the right of way. We don’t want to work for something. We want everything for nothing.

I’m not saying that we need government imposed sacrifice, or that we shouldn’t be free or important. I am saying that there is a higher practice. What are you willing to give up so your beliefs become practice? I am willing to let Josh go. But that doesn’t make it any less painful or any less of a sacrifice.