Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Losing a Grandbaby

May 18, 2015 was a new day for a new baby girl that I only got to love for four months.  Grandbaby number five.  Being retired from the military, I now had more time to play with the children. Especially when they're little babies.  I like little babies.

September 22, 2015 was the last day on Earth for that new baby girl.  A monster got to her and took her away from us.  Monsters can be surreal, especially when they stand back and watch as I attempt to push air into the tiny lungs; wanting her chest to rise and fall with natural breaths.  But it doesn't. Not even with the chest compressions her grandfather was applying to accomodate the breaths.   

Then paramedics take over and attempt to supply air to her lungs, and continue as they take her little body on the stretcher to the ambulance to take her to the baby emergency room.      

In the children's hospital, her mother holds her lifeless body, as momma rocks and cries.  And rocks and cries.  The monster was there and he had a panic attack, so he got to go to the other emergency room.  His father went with him.  

Momma had to talk to people, so I held my new baby girl and rocked and cried.  And rocked and cried.  

Two days later, the monster confessed to the police that he had killed his daughter.  Blunt force trauma around the head and a broken arm.  

He sits in jail; alive.  

I hate him.  

Monday, December 19, 2016

Crappy days . . .

Crappy days for me is when I sleep so late that the most productive times of day are gone.  I detest sleeping.  It's a waste of time that I could be doing better things.  I wish there was a capsule to take, like in the Jetsons, where the pill kept you up as long as you wanted and you got the body rest that's needed to function effectively and efficiently.  I hate days like this and then I will do nothing in particular the rest of the day because it's so pissy to not have time to do what was wanted to be done.  So you just say screw it.

Monday, December 5, 2016

I Am Both Of My Parents - Ponderings . . .

I PONDER LIKE YOU WOULD NOT BELIEVE.  I mean, I have plenty of time to and I enjoy pondering; especially when I get to come to some conclusion about whatever.  In fact, I have a Conclusion journal where I write those down, what I've learned.

I think I have turned into a form of my mother.  I know that sounds strange coming from me because you and I have talked about those things; even when she was still alive.  All my life she'd tell me, "You're just like your father."   It didn't matter what I did, good or bad; I was just like my father.  Now, I am the grandma who's always feeding everybody when they come over. My mother did the same thing with us kids and our families; have everybody over for dinner or lunch.  Or we'd just go there and hey, let's cook up some rice and kimchi, with dried cuttlefish as an appetizer.  Okay!  We were always eating at my parents' house. Mom was always feeding us.  Heck, she even knew our favorite foods because she'd fix them just for us, personally, on our birthdays.  Like, I loved Kraft Macaroni and Cheese.  One whole box of Kraft Macaroni and Cheese was ONLY for me.  Mom would fix two pots of Kraft Macaroni and Cheese and everybody else had to share only one pot full.  The other was mine. 

Hey, didn't you go with me to my mother's house one day for lunch?  For as long as I can remember, she was always cooking food for somebody.  When we lived on Posts, she always cooked during the holidays for soldiers that didn't get to go home.  They'd either come eat at our house or she took a full menu of holiday feats just for them, usually MPs, and then later the 164 SFS.  Anyway, for a few years now, along with my chirren an 'em, we've got people that have nobody to share Thanksgiving, so they come here.  And we will eat, thank you, Jesus.  ^_^ 

I never learned how to cook.  I never had to.  All my life, everybody fed me.  Really.  I think people felt sorry for me because they all fed me very well into my adulthood due to no cooking of my own.  I didn't even know how to make sweet tea, living in the South for as long as I have.  I can't say that I hadn't tried to learn cooking at a young age; I did.  I even took Home Ec for four years; I majored in it.  I used to be a member of the FHA.  Go figure, huh?  We were taught cooking and given recipes after the teacher and we made meals.  We were taught how to run a home effectively and efficiently.  I learned everything in Home Ec except how to cook anything that tasted any good, or come out right, or come out at all.  In high school, I never learned to cook or bake anything.  Nothing.  I got an F for that part of the class, but that was okay because everybody fed me.  Besides, I passed the rest of Home Ec with flying colors so my grades made up for that F.  I think my Home Ec teachers hated me.

2009 was the year I started learning to cook anything other than white bean dip or Rotel dip.  As the years passed and nobody ever got sick, and more and more people liked what I was preparing because it was "tasty" (I like that adjective for foods - tasty), the more my own palette crave tasty foods.  The meaning of the saying, "You are what you eat" hasn't been the same as it was pre-2009.  Maybe because I don't have to pass a PT test, so to speak, anymore, I am more aware of tasty foods and not as much on super healthful foods as I did pre-09.  Don't get me wrong - I make every attempt to eat things in moderation, and I usually do.  But I make one heck of a 14-bean soup with ham and ham Goya (seasoning), with a pork bone that still has plenty of meat left on it.  (I think there are currently two ham bones in the freezer for later.)  I think I've come to the conclusion that I really love pork.

One of tomorrow's meats is a big ole' Springfield ham that Rick is cooking on the grill.  Lana is roasting the turkey.  I love ham steaks.  I love pork chops browned in butter.  I love bacon.  I love bacon.  I love sausage.  I love sausage gravy and biscuits.  Tennessee Pride puts out a very tasty sausage gravy in those boiling-pouches.  Just add more cooked sausage and herbs and voila'.  I tried to make pork chop gravy twice.  The second time it was pretty good, and I ate a lot of it.  I'm going to come back a pig.  Snort, snort!

So here I am, 61 years old, a Lali and a Pee Wee, I cook well, the kids' friends who have come to dinner have told Steven that they wish they had a grandma that cooked like this; that they heard stories of grandmas who liked to cook.  I laugh.  I am not a big fan of cooking.  I am a huge fan of eating tasty foods.  Tasty.

Pre-2009 was a whole other life.  I had careers.  Being domesticated was not in the cards for me.  Especially when it came to cooking; I didn't have to.  Remember?  My life, pre-2009, was nothing like my mother's life at all.  Never had been.  I didn't cook if I didn't have to, which was actually a good thing because what I had learned to fix in that time was hardly ever tasty.  But I had work to do out there, learn everything, be all that I could be, because nothing was just a job - it was an adventure!  And I knew I'd never go hungry, as my father knew this during the Great Depression.  He was too scrappy to go hungry much less his younger siblings be hungry.  During his Army days, he was friends with the soldiers from the mess halls.  My father was an excellent scrounger, especially when it came to food.  Like meat.  I am an omnivore.  I came to dislike meat during a part of my young life, but that's another story.

I think I've come to the conclusion that I got to get the best of both worlds with what I've learned from my father and my mother.  My first 54-years of life was used to doing things I was taught by my father; which in a way carried into my career life and helped me be all that I could be with that adventure.  I've only had seven years to learn to be domestic.  I'm not too good at most of it but I can cook.  I can cook tasty foods, that is.


Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Mid-Century Style


FURNITURE DESIGNS from the 1950s/60s are now called Mid-Century designs.  I heard this on an episode of "Let's Make A Deal".   I was born in 1955, which makes me a Mid-Century design.  I like that term, Mid-Century design.

I was lucky to have been born in 1955.  That year and more to follow would be a fast-moving collage of life being made and mastered.  If you think about it, the world as we know it, inhabited with people, is actually not that old.  Technology has progressed and renewed swiftly and continues to do so.  Positive proof of progress is the Hearing Aid.  I saw my first Hearing Aid in 1961 when we visited my grandparents for the first time in Memphis when I was six.  My grandfather wore around his neck and on his chest (over his shirt) a black box, bigger than your cell phone, that was a receiver with a tube that led to his ear.  When he spoke on the telephone, the ear-piece of the telephone was turned downward and over the black box.  The telephone was held upside down and the mouth-piece, the transmitter, was on top by his mouth.  Here it is, 2016, and Hearing Aids are so small now; or you can even get them in bright colors.

The Dental Experience has come a long way since the Mid-Century.  The Dentist Office with chair, the porcelain sink with water constantly swishing down the drain ("rinse and spit"), the giant, blinding, overhead light, the Dremmel tools on the silver tray in front of you, novacaine from big needles if it was available, the large films stuck in your mouth to take X-rays.  The sounds of the whirring as the Dremmel tool whined and screeched in your mouth.  Here it is, 2016, the Dental Experience has come a long way, baby.  Small needles for novocaine, small overhead light, Dremmel tools are out of sight for the most part, they offer Nitrous Oxide, and music plays.  I like nitrous to get the Dental Experience pleasant and relaxing.



     

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Civil Defense - What To Do Now

     Do you remember since childhood having civil defense classes and drills throughout school?  I do when I lived on military installations; all of them.  I spent my last two years of high school in the civilian community during the mid-1970s.  I do not recall ever learning more about "preparedness" or civil defense.  When I moved to the civilian world, the American Red Cross was the only place I found that taught any such classes to the public.  I was already familiar with the ARC since I had been a volunteer back during the late 1960s, during the war in Vietnam. 

     When I joined the military in 1983, it was like I stepped back to a time where we did what we did and were taught whatever there is to know about what to do and/or how to handle things when shit hits the fan. I don't know about you but I've always found this life long training as some pretty important stuff to know.  I've always known the world had some mean, bad, and evil people out there who thrive on damaging others.  And I knew that there would be survivors in such events when these deranged people try to get their way.  I was going to be one of those who had an idea of what to do come time and how to help others do the same.  I was given the opportunity to learn even more about how to help and keep one's mind and bearings straight during these times.  

     Years ago after I got my military career off the ground, I realized that the civilian community where I live didn't do a lot involving their citizens in disaster preparedness.  We did at my Air Guard unit.  Having plenty of members' children to work with, working in close association with their Family Readiness Group (FRG), and the local American Red Cross (ARC), we started holding classes geared towards children like the Professional Baby Sitter course that taught them basic first aid and child wellness, to include a form of child CPR.  We held enough of those classes that we had spouses and even grandparents who would take this class to get knowledge for use at their work places or if they were out.  We held disaster preparedness classes, to include pet-preparedness.  The children loved the four to six hours of exciting topics and ways to be and stay prepared should an emergency or disaster strike.  The children even came up with ingenious ways to use tools and how to calm people down. 

     Now, the reason I worked hard to get these military children educated on such topics is because I have come to realize that BRATs "get it", and the term BRATs I am also using as the children of Guard and Reserve members because I know how much they deploy and what it does to their families back home.  I've seen it first hand.  I know how most of them raised their children and in the ways of "raising", those kids got a lot of the same values and ethics we did as BRATs.  My conclusion after all my years on earth is that a lot of military children get to learn how to keep control, how to stand up to a task when needed, and how to help others when it's time for them to panic.  Again, I have seen this first hand when I find out that one of our BRATs got to use first aid knowledge or emergency training in dire circumstances.  It makes my heart swell with pride knowing our own children know how, and can, keep their heads together in times of trouble.  I cannot say the same for hardly any civilian children (or their families) that I know.  My BRAT child (who is now grown) took all the Red Cross classes available through the FRG, to include more disaster training through networks she met.  She got to participate in a huge disaster training mock scenario that was held in the city that included the local Navy base, the local Air Guard unit, Homeland Security, the Red Cross, City Police and Fire Fighters, County Sheriffs, and lots of essential personnel to make a mock scenario of a 7.0 earthquake and pull off getting to the destruction and aid. 

     To me, military children, BRATs, have an ingrained understanding of helping maintain a household when a parent is away and understanding and effectively reacting to unusual events.  They get this understanding from their military families and those other military BRATs they are exposed to on a regular basis.  With this "civil defense" knowledge given to military children/families, I feel assured that if and when disaster strikes in a nearby civilian community, there are our military and citizen soldiers and their families who will be readily available to step in and successfully help.

     Do you miss the days of your community knowing what to do in a time of emergency or disaster?  Here's how you can help.  Give some of your time to your local American Red Cross chapter.  Become a Disaster Preparedness Educator and get communities together to give them ongoing training.  Or even just as good, help coordinate between a local ARC chapter and a local Family Readiness Group to offer this free (usually) training and knowledge to our military families so we can continue to do what we've usually done - be and stay prepared.

     I've always said, "Be alert.  The world needs more lerts." 

   


       
    
    

Friday, December 12, 2014

My pure-D Civilian Hubby

I am a 23-year veteran BRAT.  I am also a 23-year USAF Veteran.  Only five years of my almost 60 was spent as a non-Card-carrying civilian.  I was no longer eligible to use my dad's G.I. Bill, so no more school but that was okay.  I became an administrative pro and entered the city's work force until I could stand it no more.  No travelling, no Exchange, no Commissary, no esprit de corps that I was used to, I had to learn a new language but I prevailed.  (The Southern accents and drawls here is a language of its own.)  So off to the military I went. 

Fast forward to Aug 2014.  Shortly after turning 59, I got married again, but this time to a pure-D civilian.  Totally.  Absolutely.  No former experience whatsoever.  After three years of dating, I figured that I could do this, even though this was a relationship that was like no other I ever had before - with a civilian.  His name is Rick.  Bless his heart.  We had actually met long ago when he was a minor and I was an adult, so dating was out of the question back then.  

The first thing to do with my newly gained dependent was get ID Cards issued, so we went to my old Base, the 164 AW, back to some of my old buddies and the first time Rick actually went into any offices on base.  (I took him to a Family Day there once.)  When he was issued his brown ID Card, he was like a 10-year old finally being of age to get one issued.    He showed it off to some friends that night.  He even showed it off to his father the next day.  

A few weeks later, we did the first-of-the-month trip to the Navy Base in Millington - to the Exchange, the Package Store, the Commissary, and then to the Mini Mart for fuel and a drink.  All us Retirees usually run into each other there because everybody takes the same route in shopping, so I got to introduce new hubby to plenty of military folks.  I first had to go over a few rules of the military parking lot and Reserved Spaces.  We had to park the truck in the lot across the street from the Exchange but I also taught him that R.H.I.P., and that I, a lowly MSgt, do not get a Reserved Space.

Rick was in awe over the Exchange and their selections of goods (and most of their prices).  He was more in awe over the electronics side of the Exchange, which was fine with me because I got to stroll up and down all the aisles, even the ones where I didn't need anything.  But then, when you enter our Navy Exchange, you feel like you're walking into Macy's.  It's pretty nice.    

Did I say Rick was in awe over the Package Store?  That's an understatement.  He's a Bud Light guy, I'm a Lambrusco girl.  At our neighborhood warehouse liquor store and with my 10% military discount, their prices sure don't beat what we pay at the Package Store.  And the German wines at prices I can afford!  Rick now hates buying his beer at our local stores when he knows he's paying almost twice as much for less than half.  

The Commissary.  All of us who know, know what the Commissary is like.  There is no other grocery store like the Commissary.  After I gave him more tools of the trade and rules in the Commissary, he stubbed his cigarette out in the ashtray (I already told him the rules about butts.) and he entered another world.  And I ran into another retiree friend and did the introductions and pleasantries.  My friend told hubby a couple of War Stories we were involved in that were funny as heck.  We hugged after we caught up on families (his oldest son is AD USA, 2nd tour.  I've known him since he was 10 years old.) and then we parted.  I got to tell hubby a couple of funny stories and I know he didn't quite get it, but he got it.  $400 later, the back seat of the truck is packed, things tossed in the truck bed, and 5 hours later we have one last stop before making the trip home.   But first, Rick turns and give the bagger/packer a couple of dollars for her help. 

The Mini Mart/Gas Station.  Fuel to make the trek home.  Fuel for the truck (at the same prices fuel is sold in the civ sector), fuel for us, and lo and behold, an old military friend that I hadn't seen in over a decade.  Did the intros and then babbled as we do.  Rick smoked a cigarette in the truck as we quickly caught up on former-spouses and grown up children, then a big hug and bye.  Jump in the truck and then we're On The Road Again.

Rick said that he has never in his life had that much groceries bought at one time much less ever packed it like it was in the truck, and he's got a big truck. 

Backing into the driveway it dawns on Rick how many bags of stuff we've got to take in and then put away.  Put away - oh no! That's another hour's work since most everything in the refrigerator and freezer has to be rearranged to accommodate the new stuff.  The canned goods in the cabinets are reorganized as is all the other cabinets, pantry, storage room, laundry room, bathrooms, spare freezer, and closets to take on more stuff.  Labels out.  Everything has its place and goes to its place.  After all the paper bags and plastic bags are put in their places, we chill for a while because a long day has been put in.  

Rick was in awe of what we are/were entitled to being a BRAT and/or a military member.  With me, he has found another Tribe of people that he thinks pretty well of.  Just like I have found that his Tribe of people are pretty cool; just very different.  And for the most part, that's okay.  I'm just still trying to learn their tribal Southern drawl.      

  

         

Friday, September 5, 2014

American Citizen Rights and Responsibilities (U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services)

                American Citizenship Rights and Responsibilities
 
Citizenship is the common thread that connects all Americans. We are a nation bound not by race or religion, but by the shared values of freedom, liberty, and equality.

Throughout our history, the United States has welcomed newcomers from all over the world. The contributions of immigrants have helped shape and define the country we know today. More than 200 years after our founding, naturalized citizens are still an important part of our democracy. By becoming a U.S. citizen, you too will have a voice in how our nation is governed.

The decision to apply is a significant one. Citizenship offers many benefits and equally important responsibilities. By applying, you are demonstrating your commitment to this country and our form of government.

Below you will find several rights and responsibilities that all citizens should exercise and respect. Some of these responsibilities are legally required of every citizen, but all are important to ensuring that America remains a free and prosperous nation.

Rights

Responsibilities

  • Freedom to express yourself.
  • Freedom to worship as you wish.
  • Right to a prompt, fair trial by jury.
  • Right to vote in elections for public officials.
  • Right to apply for federal employment requiring U.S. citizenship.
  • Right to run for elected office.
  • Freedom to pursue “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”
  • Support and defend the Constitution.
  • Stay informed of the issues affecting your community.
  • Participate in the democratic process.
  • Respect and obey federal, state, and local laws.
  • Respect the rights, beliefs, and opinions of others.
  • Participate in your local community.
  • Pay income and other taxes honestly, and on time, to federal, state, and local authorities.
  • Serve on a jury when called upon.
  • Defend the country if the need should arise.