Friday, November 11, 2011

oooo.... you're in TROUBLE!

Tonight is Date Night. The one in which we go to the theatre to watch a musical about deer camp. Except I want to trade in my date. Because right now Big V is irritating me in a major way. Like, in an I'm about to spear your eyeball with this fork if you even utter one more word kind of way.

It started last night when I entered our home after a long day at the office only to find several able-bodied people plopped in various comfortable positions around my living room. They called it relaxing.

The Bean had a long day at school (that ended at 2:30pm).
Dotter had a long day at her school (that ended at 3:00pm).
And Big V had a long day at work (that ended at 4:00pm).

I walked in from my long day at the office at 6:00pm.

All three turned their pathetic heads towards my direction and one of them - the biggest one, also referred to as the Role Model, actually voiced the words out loud - so that I could hear them: what are you making for dinner?

Well, that pretty much sealed his fate for the upcoming two weeks.

Except now I have to go out in public with him. And be in the company of witnesses.

Wish him luck.

Veterans Day

The following words aren't mine. In fact, they've been around so long people may have read it a time or two before, but on this great day I suspect it bears honor to read it again. I wish I knew who wrote it but I think he or she would rather each and every one of us personally thank a veteran for their service rather thank them for writing these words.

Some veterans bear visible signs of their service: a missing limb, a Jagged scar, a certain look in the eye.

Others may carry the evidence inside them: a pin holding a bone together, A piece of shrapnel in the leg or perhaps another sort of inner steel: The soul's ally forged in the refinery of adversity.

Except in parades, however, the men and women who have kept America safe Wear no badge or emblem. You can't tell a vet just by looking.

What is a vet?

He is the cop on the beat who spent six months in Saudi Arabia sweating two gallons a day making sure the armored personnel carriers didn't run out of fuel.

He is the barroom loudmouth, dumber than five wooden planks, whose overgrown frat-boy behavior is outweighed a hundred times in the cosmic scales by four hours of exquisite bravery near the 38th parallel.

She or he is the nurse who fought against futility and went to sleep sobbing every night for two solid years in Danang.

He is the POW who went away one person and came back another or didn't come back AT ALL.

He is the Quantico drill instructor who has never seen combat but has saved countless lives by turning slouchy, no-account rednecks and gang members into Marines, and teaching them to watch each other's backs.

He is the parade riding Legionnaire who pins on his ribbons and medals with a prosthetic hand.

He is the career quartermaster who watches the ribbons and medals pass him by.

He is the three anonymous heroes in The Tomb Of The Unknowns, whose presence at the Arlington National Cemetery must forever preserve the memory of all the anonymous heroes whose valor remains unrecognized with them on the battlefield or in the ocean's sunless deep.

He is the old guy bagging groceries at the supermarket, aggravatingly slow, who helped liberate a Nazi death camp and who wishes all day long that his wife were still alive to hold him when the nightmares come.

He is an ordinary and yet an extraordinary human being a person who offered some of his life's most vital years in the service of his country, and who sacrificed his ambitions so others would not have to sacrifice theirs.

He is a Soldier, Marine, Sailor or Airman, and also a savior and a sword against the darkness, and he is nothing more than the finest, greatest testimony on behalf of the finest, greatest nation ever known.

So remember each time you see someone who has served our country. When you see one just lean over and say Thank You.

That's all most people need, and in most cases it will mean more than any medals they could have been awarded or were awarded.

Two little words that mean a lot, "THANK YOU".

Tec 4 Gerald J. Sterken
HQ Co., 192 Tank Battalian

Born: 30 March 1918 - Richland, Iowa

Parents: Gerrit & Catherine Sterken
Siblings: 2 brothers, 1 sister
Hometown: Avalon, Wisconsin

Enlisted: Wisconsin National Guard
Inducted:  U. S. Army , 25 November 1940 - Janesville, Wisconisn

Duties: mechanic

Overseas Duty: Philippine Islands

Battle of Bataan

Prisoner of War:
9 April 1942
The date of surrender on Bataan.

The Death March Followed.

POW Camps:
Philippine Islands: Camp O'Donnell and Cabanatuan

Friday, 24 July 1942 -dysentery & malaria

Approximate time of death - 11:30 PM

For more information of the Men of the 192nd click here.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Frank Breneisen Pottery

There is a potter located in a quaint little village by the lake.

His name is Frank Breneisen.

I am in love with his pottery. 

He also travels to faraway lands.

All by himself, carrying only a single backpack.

And he sketches what he sees in journals.

He is nothing short of amazing. 

Monday, November 7, 2011

Planning for the Future

I just realized if I go blind I'm totally screwed because I don't trust dogs. Or monkeys. And there just aren't a whole lot of helpful seeing eye cats available. I once heard about someone using a miniature pony to help them get around but we all know how I feel about horse teeth. That is so not happening.

I'd rather go deaf. Mostly because I am experienced at exaggerated facial expressions which makes me confident that I could still get my various points across. Also, my primary form of communication happens to be Facebook and ridiculously lengthy text messages so that wouldn't change a bit. And everyone knows I don't talk to people out in public because I'm freakishly convinced of Stranger Danger to the they're-going-to-duct-tape-me-and-hide-me-in-the-trunk-of-their-car degree.

Not to mention, with the amount of whining and complaining that goes on in my house, a little bit of peace and quiet would be well deserved. But that got me thinking:

If I do go deaf, how long will I be able to sustain the (usually foreign accented) voices that conversate in my head? Do I have enough years of listening and talking to keep that going? Or will the sound I hear in the silence of my mind eventually be, well, silenced?

Because I think I could keep myself entertained pretty well if it was just me listening to the nonsense I come up with. Either that or I need to hurry up and get all this nonsense written down before I lose access to it.

On a completely separate note, if I end up in a nursing home when I'm old, unable to communicate, please do not let anyone put a dog on my lap. I won't mind them if they stay standing on the floor while I'm in my wheelchair but I promise to lose my mind (and probably all bladder control) if you put that thing in my lap. You never know when they're going to turn on you and rip your face off. Don't judge me; it's my irrational fear, not yours. Also, respect the elderly.

Cats are okay. Especially gray cats. Or grey cats. I've never really understood what the difference between gray and grey is and I'm far too lazy to google it. Someone find out and let me know if it's interesting.

But no birds. At all. Absolutely no birds around me ever. Not even in a cage in the building.  I swear, you watch one Alfred Hitchcock movie and live the rest of your life completely freaked at the possibility of avian violence.

Darn you, Manwich, for not speaking to the masses!

I left Big V alone with the children.

Which meant the house was clean, the pantry was stocked, the toddler had just drifted off to sleep, the teenager was taking her 4th nap of the day and the 10-year old was in the car heading out with me.

All he needed to do was sit on the couch and ensure the safe escape of two children should the house spontaneously burst into flames.

And also he needed to make dinner.

"The frying pan is already on the stove," I said, pointing to the pan sitting on the stove.

"The can of Manwich is already next to the stove on the counter," I continued, pointing to the can of Manwich sitting on the counter next to the stove.

"As are the buns." I pointed to the buns.

"All you need to do is get the hamburger out of the fridge and fry it in the pan. Then, drain the grease. Put the Manwich in. Heat it up for a few minutes and it'll be ready to eat."

Big V looked at the stove. "So, I just fry the hamburger? Drain the grease? Put the Manwich in and cook it?"

"Yep. Fry the hamburger. Drain the grease. Put the Manwich in. Stir it all together and let it cook for a bit."

"How long do I cook it?"

"Uh... I don't know. You'll have to read the can. The directions are on there. I'm late - but just read the directions."

Fast Forward two hours....

I'm sitting in the middle of a rehearsal. People are singing. I'm supposed to be singing. But I have six missed calls from Big V and another one coming in... someone must be hurt. Maybe Cletus fell down the basement steps; dammit! I've told them to make sure that door is closed! What if he broke his neck? What if he has brain damage? Ohmygod - what if he got strangled in the window blinds? That's why I tell them not to lift the blinds all the way up - the cord gets too long and drags on the floor and he likes to pull on it and what if it got twisted around his little neck and I need to take this call!


"These are the stupidest directions ever!"

"Is Cletus okay? Is he hurt? Can he breathe?!"

"It doesn't tell you anything!"

"Are you at the hopsital? Which hospital?!"

"All it says is 'heat through' - it doesn't give you a time frame or anything!"

"Do you hear that music in the background? That's me not singing at my rehearsal."

"I fried up the meat then drained the grease - which was a pain because I couldn't find a bowl big enough --"


"You know, to catch the grease. I found the strainer but I couldn't just let the grease go down the drain and all the bowls in the kitchen were too small. I finally found one big enough to rest the strainer on - in that fancy cabinet in the living room with all that pottery in there that you collect."

"You poured hamburger fat in a one of a kind Frank Breneisen?"

"Who's Frank?"

"The man's pottery I collect. Which happens to be the only thing I collect. Which I happen to love more than life itself. Which you happened to use to put grease in."

"I thought you loved me more than life itself."

"At this moment, not so much."

"Anyway. These directions are stupid. After I drained the grease I read the directions and it just says heat through. That's it! Heat through. What is that supposed to mean? There's no temperature, no time limit. Am I supposed to cook it for ten minutes? Twenty? In the oven? On the stove? Whoever wrote these directions didn't do a very good job."

"Why don't you just put it on the stove and turn it on low and cook it until it's warm enough for you to eat. You know, until it's heated through enough to be an enjoyable meal?"

"How long is that going to take?"

"Turn the knob to number 3 and set the timer to eight minutes."

"Well, why didn't they just say that on the label?"