Monday, January 31, 2011

But, they're my babies!

Warning: This is a one of my longest posts, since I'm pretty upset and this requires a lot of background.  

For my wonderful followers, you must know how much I love my furkids.  I mean heck, my blog is named It's a DOG TAG Wife Life, and not just because we are military.  The pups and the kitty are everywhere, so we know that I am pretty attached to them.

Well, something happened today and I'm really upset about it.  Little D, our boy dog, has issues.  We've known about them basically since the beginning.  He has, what they believe, is fear aggression.  It sucks, yes.  But he's also unbelievably territorial and crazy protective, especially of me.  Part of his problem, we think, is that he was abused by a puppy.  I adopted him when he was a week shy of 1 year old.  So I really don't know everything that happened since we never got to talk to his previous owners. 

His story is he was adopted out to a single lady, who had a part time job and it seemed like a perfect fit.  Not long after having him, her job changed and she was crating him, boarding him, and leaving him for long periods of time.  So she gave him to her son's college-aged friend.  This guy, I think, is where the problems started.  He left Little D locked outside, in a fenced in yard, with no one to play with.  Just left him out there.  We also think he was abused, because he is afraid of some of the strangest things.  The oven scares the crap out of him, so do flashlights.  He runs away from them.  But vacuum cleaners, he'll bark and bark, and sometimes try to nip at.  Not the person with it, the object itself. 

Anyway, Little D got out of the fence and animal control picked him up.  He is micro-chipped and he was still registered to the original rescue he was born into.  They went to the pound, found him covered, dirty, and miserable, shaking in the back of his pen.  He is brought back because it is against their rules to give him to someone else.  So he's in a home.  Unfortunately, they owned a boxer (not a rescue, like Little D) who was the same age, roughly the same size, and even more dominant.  They got in scuffles, provoked by the boxer.  When I first got him, he had a deep gouge in one ear and a scraped up nose.  So he moved to a different home in the rescue.  But they were a terrier home, and once they got terriers, he got moved.  This kept happening, so he moved another 3-4 times.  And finally I got him.  And he's my little lovebug, to me (and the hunny).  We've taken him to training and done everything we can to quell his, uh, craziness.  He's the most obedient and smartest dog I've ever known.  At home, he's also the sweetest and just wants to cuddle up with you.  He is protective and dominant, but at home, he's great.  He does amazing with Little Girl, you'd think that they were from the same litter.

Fast forward.  He's always barked and growled at dogs, oh and people he doesn't know, ESPECIALLY men.  But we took him to daycare, starting about a year an a half ago, to get him socialized and also so he could get exercise.  I worked an hour from home, and wasn't about to leave my baby in a crate for 10-11 hours a day.  That's just cruel. Last April, I got a job 6 minutes from home, so I was bringing him twice a week.  And he did great.  They love him there and understand he's a little, well, different.  He has cage aggression, so when he's in his cage and someone he doesn't know comes by, he'll bark and bark.  But...when you open the door, he comes out, wagging his tail, happy as he can be.  Then, we got Little Girl, and they go every Monday.  Well, I don't think so anymore.

As I mentioned yesterday, Little C is going in for surgery tomorrow.  When I dropped the dogs off this morning, they suggested that I bring Little C in to get fluids and to make sure that he's strong enough for the surgery, since he has hardly eaten in two weeks.  They suggested this evening.  Well, I worried all morning, so early this afternoon I called to ask if i could bring Little C in early this afternoon (I take a late lunch).  As I'm talking to them, their office manager tells me "Well, Little D, is alright but I have to tell you something." Oh my God, I think, What happened? "Well, during play group today, he decided it would be fun to bite a new lab puppies neck. Don't worry, both dogs are fine, and when the kennel attendants ran to him and told him to stop, he did, but we had to take Little D out of play group."  Oh, ok.  Sometimes Little D DOES get carried away when he plays, especially if he's been cooped up a lot, like he was this weekend (I'll explain in a little bit).  Both dogs were fine, so I thought, you know, they took him out for the day, just to calm him down.

I went to drop off Little C for fluids and tests and stuff, and asked "Is Little D out just today, or permanently?" And they told me it was for good, at least for now.  I am heartbroken.  I know my little guy isn't perfect, but they've had him there for over a year and a half, I would think that this is definitely an exception to how he normally is. Usually, he plays really well.  He loves going, his little tail goes nuts when I tell him we're going to "Visit his friends."  But now, I can't.  If I take him to doggie daycare, he'll sit in his cage, and be walked on a leash just a few times a day.  What good does that do me or him?

I understand that they're trying to protect the other dogs.  But he's played with many of those dogs for a long time, and has always done really well with them.  Now, because a new dog is in the group, my dog is being kicked out.  To be honest, I'm not sure he really "Went after" or "attacked" the other dog.  He just plays hard.  At home, him and Little Girl grab each others neck's all the time, it's how they play.  Sometimes he just gets overzealous, especially if he has a lot of energy.

But, to be fair, he did have a rough week last week.  The hunny had a friend over who Little D doesn't know, and the hunny tried to introduce him, and I guess Little D went after him.  For starters, I don't like Little D to be introduced when I'm not there.  I've got a really good handle on him, and also, I know what his triggers are so I can prevent them.  But he was introduced while I wasn't there, and I don't think it was done quite right.

Then this weekend, the hunny's parents were at our house.  Well, his mom HATES dogs.  Especially Little D, because he barked at her once (because she came in the house while he was sleeping and scared the pants off of him and me).  So anytime they come over, I have to keep the pups in their crate.  Well, his parents were up Friday afternoon and all day Saturday.  At one point his dad went over to talk to Little D, and he barked like crazy at him.  This is unlike him because Little D likes his dad.  I think Little D felt like he was being teased since he wasn't actually being let out of his crate. Little D has a fair amount of energy (not a puppy, but he is part lab & is energetic) so when he doesn't get to go outside a few times a day to run around, he gets a lot of pent up energy.  That's usually when he plays really hard.  Sometimes we do separate him and Little Girl, but not because they're fighting, they're playing, just super super hard. 

I have a feeling he had pent up energy and was playing a bit too hard today.  I know my dog.  He doesn't "attack" without provocation (and they said he did it out of nowhere).  Also, he does well with almost all dogs (just not really dominant ones and we know in seconds).  Especially if they had been playing fine prior to that.  So I'm really upset about this.  Like, trying not to cry.  I feel like someone just told me my kid is the playground bully and isn't allowed to go out to recess anymore.

And the hunny is REALLY upset.  He thinks I should go in there, find out what really happened from someone who was out there at the time, tell them how upset and disappointed I am, and not bring them back anymore.  He doesn't even want to take them there for medical care he's so mad.  I won't do that because I really like the vets.  But if Little D isn't allowed to play, I won't bring them.  There isn't a point.  And I'm not going to bring Little Girl if Little D can't go.  I do understand their side, but I also feel like I have to stand up for my pets, especially since I know how he is. I would think after a year and a half of being in this playgroup, they'd know how he is too. 

Ok, I'm done.  I'm just very saddened that this happened.  I know he's a little nuts sometimes, but he is the sweetest dog when home, I just wish he could be like that everywhere he goes.

January 31 V2: I Love You Because

You always ask if I want the last bite, even though you know I won't eat it.

i accidentally posted the wrong one yesterday, but at least they are all there

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Just a Quick Update

Thank you to all my new followers (and my old ones too).  I'm so excited you've decided to join my little space in the blogosphere.  I had so many of you comment on my blog design, and while I love it, I can't take credit for it.  Yes, the pictures are mine, yes, the dog tags were my idea, and yes, I picked out the color scheme, however, Brea, over at Utterly Chaotic Designs actually did it for me.  And she did an awesome job!

Also, there are so many of you I wanted to respond to personally, but when I go to, I see no-reply@bloggrt.com (or whatever it is) and it makes me sad.  Recently, my friends over at Uncork & Unwind and Poekitten from Many Waters wrote posts about this, so if you want to receive personal comments back, please take a quick peek.

I feel like I have been very absent lately.  Things are a bit crazy here.  But soon, I'll hopefully be back to normal.  I apologize to my giveaway winners since I haven't had a chance to send out the prizes yet, this hasn't exactly been the slowest week I've ever encountered and I'm feeling just a tick overwhelmed right now.   Especially since Little C goes into surgery on Tuesday.  He hasn't been eating for over a week now, has lost a ton of weight, and is very low energy. We (as in my vet) think it's because he has a bad tooth that needs to come out, ASAP.  He went to his normal vet on Monday and she thinks that's the reason.  Then to the kitty cardiologist on Friday to make sure his heart was healthy enough for surgery (and he is).  But there's always a risk, especially with older cats and mine is 18.  But hopefully all will go well.

But I'm going to leave something with you that's a bit lighter.  Here are a few pics from our amazing honeymoon (I always want to write hunnymoon in honor of the hunny) in St. Lucia.

Enjoying mudslides & banana coladas
Ahhh, a lovely day at the beach
We came back to a new surprise every night.  This was one of them.

Dinner our last night.

The view from our room

Obligatory self-portrait (I do these a lot) right before we left.



January 31: I Love You Because

You are tidier than me.  We'd live in a pigsty if it weren't for you.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

January 29: I Love You Because

The world is a safer place with you in it.

Friday, January 28, 2011

MilSpouse Friday Fill-in #28

Stop by Wife of a Sailor and join the fun.   Plus, it's a great way to discover/meet other bloggers.


1. If you were a famous movie star, what types of movies would you star in?
Romantic comedies. Mostly because my life can be really entertaining at times.  Maybe not even romantic, but definitely comedy.

2. What is a vacation you would like to take if money were no object?
This is going to sound really strange, but Antarctica.  I've always wanted to go and we have friends of the family who did it and they said it was one of the best things they've ever done.  However, it's also crazy expensive.  If not that, then an African Safari, but the kind where you look at the animals, not hunt them

3. Did you have pets growing up?
Yes, my first pet was a hamster named Cuddles that disappeared.  He got out of his cage one night and we never found him.  It was very strange.  Also, I've had Little C since I was 9 years old.  Sadly, little man isn't doing too hot right now and I actually have to take him to the cardiologist today to see if we can safely put him under anesthesia for a tooth extraction since he isn't eating.  Yes, I know I'm about to spend a ton of money on my 18 year old cat, deal with it.

4. What do you do for exercise?
Uh, right now, nothing.  But starting in a couple weeks I'll be doing the Couch to 5K program and then start training for a 10K.  I really like to swim, but my gym doesn't have a pool.  Or hiking with the puppies.

5. What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received as a MilSpouse?
When he deploys, don't kill yourself with worry.  Yes, it's hard while he's gone, and yes, it sucks, but if you spend every moment thinking and worrying about him, it will drive you made and deteriorate your life.

January 28: I Love You Because...

You love me WAY more than video games.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Blizzard Bloghop 2011

Hi there, this is J from It's a Dog Tag Wife Life.  I'm a VERY new military spouse, just since the beginning of January.  I'm never sure how to describe myself in an introduction but here are a few words: animal lover, baker, naturally caffeinated, scatterbrained, loyal, goofy, clumsy, analytical, spontaneous, unique, independent, stubborn, thoughtful, and 100% ME!  I hail from the great Midwest and am a huge Packer fan because of it.  I never in a million years thought I would end up with a military man, but I am thrilled that I have.

Isn't he handsome?  My husband is pretty good looking too.

We're just starting out this life of ours, but it's definitely going to be interesting.  We share our lives with two goofy mutts and a wonderful cat. I love to cook and the hunny loves to eat.  Traveling is my one passion and I've been all over the world on my adventures and from the way we talk, the hunny & I will go on many more.

Me, in Paris, doing my obligatory self portrait. 

I use this blog as a way to share what is going on in our lives, the funny stories, the heartfelt stories, as a place to share recipes, to meet interesting new people, and to share all of the fun stuff in our lives.

Our first anniversary, NYE/NYD 2009

I don't claim to be perfect, but our life definitely isn't dull.  But, I am genuine and don't try to put on pretenses.  What you see is what you get.  So thanks for stopping by and I hope you stick around and read a little.

And thank you to Household6Diva for hosting!

Blizzard  Bloghop 2010 hosted by Household 6 Diva

January 27: I Love You Because...

Every dish that I make, you think it is "The best ever".

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Something Smells Good...

...over at Our Love Never Fails. Normally I don't enter giveaways for a couple reasons: a) the stuff is cool, but some of it, I'm not sure I would ever use b) I'm lazy.  Not going to lie.  I comment on blogs when I really have something to say and I blog when something is in my mind.  Or when I'm bored.  That doesn't make me a very good blogger, does it?  ::shrugs::

Anyway, she's doing a giveaway for Żyliński Fragrance House for 3 roll on fragrances & 1 body lotion.  Ok, I LOVE body stuff.  Our spare bathroom is filled with my obnoxious amount of purchases from The Body Shop.  I love smelling nice (although I never wear perfume on a plane or in an interview).  It always makes me feel a little sexy. ::blushes::


Also, her blog is completely adorable and I love reading her entries. So you should hop on over and check her out.  You won't be sorry!
 

January 26: I Love You Because...

You don't love the fact that I have a blog, but you don't stop me, because you know how happy it makes me.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Tasty Tuesday - Chic Quiche

The hunny loves quiche.  He almost always gets it if we see it being served.  And truthfully, I love it too.  We've actually made it part of our Christmas tradition.  My parents came to visit for Christmas last year and the hunny's parents came for brunch and I wanted to make something nice.  So I made a classic Quiche Lorraine.  And man, it was good.  Granted, I had made it before then but it was great.  We made it again for Christmas this year.  It was nice because it was the first time we spent a holiday just the two of us.  Granted, we went to his parents & aunt's later in the house, but it was nice to spend the time together and we've decided we have to make a quiche every Christmas.  My dad makes cinnamon rolls usually and it's nice that we, as a couple, are starting our holiday rituals.

I have promised this recipe to the Lovely HMB after a Twitter conversation.  I can't take credit for this recipe, it's actually from this fabulous cookbook my mom passed onto me.  And it's old.  Like, circa 1979.  Older than me, that's for sure.  It's the Better Homes and Gardens Complete Step-by-Step Cook Book. And it's fabulous.  It's basically how I learned how to bake.  It has pictures, and thorough instructions, it's the best, and most used, cookbook that I own.  If you find it, I HIGHLY recommend it, especially if you're just starting to cook.

I made it just this past week and it was wonderful as always.  The best part, while it isn't the healthiest, it's not too terrible.  Ok, on to the recipe.

Classic Quiche Lorraine

1unbaked 9-inch pastry shell (I like the Pilsbury ones that come in a two pack, already in the pan)
8 slices bacon
1 medium onion, thinly sliced (I find the thinner the better)
4 beaten eggs
1 cup light cream (around here, it's called coffee cream, just check the label)
1 cup milk (I use skim and it turns out fine, but it would probably be better with 1-2%)
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
Dash ground nutmeg
1 1/2 cups shredded Swiss cheese

Line the unpricked pastry shell with foil; fill with dried beans.  Bake in 450 degree oven for 5 minutes.  Carefully remove the beans and foil.  Bake 5 to 7 minutes longer or till pastry is nearly done.  Remove from oven; reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees. (Pie shell should still be hot when filling is added; do not partially bake pastry shell ahead of time.)

Meanwhile, in skillet cook the bacon till crisp; drain, reserving 2 tablespoons drippings. (I did this for the first time, makes a HUGE difference, so much more delicious.)  Crumble Bacon finely and set aside.  Cook slidced onion in reserved drippings till tender; drain.

In bowl thoroughly stir together the eggs, cream, ilk, flour, salt, and nutmeg.  Stir in the bacon, onion and cheese; mix well.  Pour into warm pastry shell.  If necessary, cover edge of crust with foil to prevent overbrowning.  (I do this and I never have a problem with my crust).

Bake in 325 oven for 45 to 50 minutes or til set in cent; test.  Let stand 10 minutes.  Makes 6 servings.  (Testing basically means sticking a knife in it and if nothing sticks to it, it's done.  If it comes out egg-y, bake it a little longer.)

Enjoy!


January 25: I Love You Because...

You're the hardest worker I know and it makes me aspire to be better.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Daddy, I Think You Should Get me One - AKA Weekend Recap

This weekend was definitely entertaining.  We went out for gourmet comfort food on Friday night with another military couple.  Almost all of my friends are civilians, so it's really nice to go out with another couple once in a while that "get" the military life thing.  But there's something about comfort food, it definitely has the name for a reason, nom nom nom rotisserie chicken, mashed potatoes, chocolate mousse, nom nom nom.

Saturday we were pretty busy also.  Like I've mentioned before, the hunny is really into racing.  He's been working on a car/team since he was about 14 years old so it's a big part of his life.  I wasn't too keen (yes, I just said keen) on it when we first started dating.  Actually, I hated it and thought it was so redneck.  But now that I've gotten into it, understand the sport a little more and am getting to know the drivers, it's actually a lot of fun.  So we spent most of the day at the team's new raceshop.  Let's just say it was a good thing I brought my Kindle.  I love hanging out with the guys and the smell of motor oil and campfire (it's heated by a wood burning furnace) but I also know when it find a chair and stay out of the way.

Onto more racing stuff, we went to watch some indoor racing and that was hilarious.  Even better, was when one of our friend's children said that they wanted to drive one of those cars.  Her daddy is going to be in a lot of trouble because she saw the new '11 Chevy Camaro and said "Dad, you could get me one of those when I turn 16."  Yeah, she's 9 right now.  I was practically on the floor rolling with laughter.

We met up with the same people from Friday night for breakfast on Sunday.  They're new to our area, and the hunny has been friends with the girl for a long time so we've been trying to show them some new restaurants.  I think breakfast was definitely a success.

Speaking of success, can I tell you how excited I was that the Packers won!  I was born in Wisconsin so I bleed Green & Gold.  Probably not a happier person at Buffalo Wild Wings yesterday afternoon. 

And finally, after the holiday craziness, the wedding madness, and the recovery of it all, we finally took our tree down.  I always get a little sad for that, but knew it had to come.  At least Christmas is only 11 months away :-)

January 24: I Love You Because...

At least once a day, you call me beautiful.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

January 23: I Love You Because...

You are so predictable.  So when you do surprise me, it's a HUGE surprise.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

January 22: I Love You Because...

You can't say no to the puppies.  That's why we get woken up everyday at 6:30, so they can get on the bed and snuggle with us.

Friday, January 21, 2011

MilSpouse Friday Fill-In #27

You should visit Wifey over at Wife of a Sailor and join in.  Lots of fun and all the cool kids are doing it!

  1. What do you usually want to know about someone when meeting them for the first time? I want to know where they are from.  I love hearing accents and finding out where people are from.  It really shows a lot about them.
  2. Would you rather know everything about your spouse, or be regularly surprised? I would rather be surprised.  Plus, there are some things that I don't need to know about him.  Just like I don't want him to know everything about me.  We're all entitled to our embarrassing secrets.
  3. If you could live in one city for the rest of your life, where would you live?  If it had to be the US, I'd say Boston, I adore Boston.  Except for the price.  But it has so much culture, has amazing food, plus, I love the East Coast.  If we're talking anywhere, maybe Barcelona?  I'd have to work on my Catalan but it was amazing when I visited and I couldn't get enough of the markets.
  4. When you go out of town, what one material thing do you ALWAYS take? My journal.  I might not always write in it, but I love having my memories close to me.
  5. Using no more than 10 nouns, and ONLY nouns, describe yourself. Ok, this one was really hard.  Baker, lover, caretaker, worker, traveler, critic, goofball, klutz, friend, student (I'm not in school anymore, but I think it's always important to keep learning)


January 21: I Love You Because...

You thought I looked sexy wearing my Carhardtt coat, pointy toed high heels, and my rock star sunglasses.  Yay for no other clean coats.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Getting my Hopes Up

Ok, I finally am getting to do the next installment on how the hunny and I came to be.  You can read about how we met here.  I will try not to have a month in between next time.

Also, for a little bit of housekeeping, I'm trying to make my life a bit "cleaner" this year.  That's why my blog is now http://www.itsadogtagwifelife.com instead of http://itsadogtagwifelife.blogspot.com.  It'll still work to get here, just wanted to clean things up a bit.

A couple of weeks have gone by and I haven't heard much from N&T, nothing from Military Guy, and have therefore told myself to get over it.  Although, to be honest, I was pretty disappointed.  He was the first cute, decent guy that I had met that I was attracted to since moving.  Back to basics, I told myself.

When I was a carefree girl with just a cat and plenty of time, every Monday night I would go wine tasting.  It was one of my favorite things to do.  I had a few friends who I always went with, and most of my other friends knew about it who would occasionally show up.  For some reason, I was a real crank that night.  I couldn't figure out why.  Probably because I had left my work badge at home and had to go back to get it.

Well, L, one of the people who convinced me to go to N&T's party, she had a free evening and decided to join me at the wine tasting.  When she showed up, she had this mischievous smile on her face.  I knew it meant she had something to tell me, but wanted to keep me in suspense.  I asked what was up with her and she told me that she had some news that I might like.

"Remember Military Guy, from that party a few weeks ago?"
"Yeah, what about him?"
"Well, I was talking to N&T the other day.  Turns out that he's single."
"Oh, that's cool."  I was trying to play it cool, but my stomach flipped over about 80/second.
"And he's interested in you." jawfloor (similar to palmface)
What?!?!? I couldn't have heard her right.  This was weeks ago when I met him.  I was just hearing this now?  But he was interested!  WAHOO!!!!  I had to do everything in my power to not jump out of my skin.  Or spill my wine.  I was thrilled.  Plus, L told me that N&T were trying to convince Military Guy to have a New Year's Party at his house and would I be game?  Would I be game? Call me Aaron Rodgers, slap some shoulder pads on me, and put me in coach!  Wait, wrong kind of game. 

Ok, enough of me trying to be funny (I know I'm not funny, but I like to think I am).  Here was my journal entry that day:

"Wheeeee!!! I am so excited.  At wine tonight, L told me that Military Guy from two weeks ago is single and interested.  N&T are trying to convince him to have a New Year's party, but he's INTERESTED!  It totally makes up for the fact that I was a b!%@& to S and that I left my badge at home, but blamed my computer so I worked from home... AHH so excited."

I was excited, can you tell? But I was trying not to freak myself out too much.  I was even asking some guy friends for advice on how to play it cool and not come on too strong.  Note: hard to come on too strong when you don't even see the guy. 

That weekend I had a girls day with L and T.  It started with Manis and Pedis and wound up in the kitchen.  Well, it turned out Military Guy was thinking of coming up and stopping by to say hi. I was freaking out a bit.  Here I was, in a sweatshirt and jeans with my hands and feet in the air while they dried.  Alas, since we were at L's house, she said it was a girls day and that if they came it would only be for a little while, and if he had dinner with us, he'd have to leave right away.  So no Military Guy, but at least I had Chinese, watched Love Actually, & made caramels with my girls.  Plus, I got to ask T more questions about Military Guy and what he was like.  Since he'd majored in Mechanical Engineering in college, I thought maybe he had more potential than I had originally given him credit for.  I still didn't know this guy, but I was definitely starting to crush.  I felt silly crushing on someone when I was 24, but I guess that these things can happen at most ages.

Journal entry:

"L & I got our Mani/Pedi as I'm freaking out because Military Guy may be coming, but ended up not.  T came but had been having a really rough week.  I was able to ask her about the guy a little and I am still not quite sure what to think."

Although, the next weekend, when I spent some time at N&T's house, N kept mentioning other guys and buddies and wanting to introduce me to them, but no mention of Military Guy.  Should I be suspicious?  Or is he just being protective of his buddy?  Or does he just have a lot of guys that he wants me to meet? This is where the doubt came in...

"I went over to N&T's tonight & N kept mention other guys than Military guy.  I don't just want to be sent through a string of them.  I'd like to take it one at a time. Oh well."


January 20: I Love You Because...

We break into a random dance party in the kitchen with the puppies.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

And The Winners Are...

FINALLY!!!!

I know, I know.  This was one of the first things I should've done when I got back from my honeymoon (which I keep wanting to write as hunnymoon, you know, because of the hunny).

Well, I finally went over to Random.org, made my spreadsheet, and let three numbers be picked.  Well, your winners are as follows:

Basket #1 - Brea from Utterly Chaotic and Utterly Chaotic Designs.  If you love how my blog looks, then you should definitely talk to her, she did mine!

Basket #2 Teri from Bombs, a Boy, & Blues. She's an air force girl in love with her air force guy.  MAJOR PROPS to you girl.

Basket #3 Nicky from The Recovering Brit.  Who is off somewhere in New Zealand with her boyfriend.  So I'll hold off on hers for a few days (especially since I have to cook it all!

Way to go girls.  I've sent you all a message to let you know the good news :-)

Soon I will do the next update on how the hunny & I became.

Also, I wanted to let you all know that I'll be donating $64 to Wounded Warrior Project.  Plus, from our wedding, we collect an additional $258, which we are thrilled about.  Even more amazing, the hunny's aunt said that she would match everything we got, so in total, we'll be donating $580 to Wounded Warrior Project.  We're super excited about helping such a great cause.  So thank you to you all for your support.  I truly appreciate it. 

January 19: I Love You Because...

The night you asked me out, all you did was kiss me on the cheek.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Tasty Tuesday: Carbonara and Chocolate

Finally, the first Tasty Tuesday of the year!

So I may have mentioned this, but the hunny LOVES cheese and chocolate.  He actually loves chocolate more than most women I know.  We actually keep a big jar of chocolates in the kitchen to satisfy our chocolate cravings.  He also loves cheese.  All kinds.  Cream cheese, cheddar, swiss, cheese whiz, although he is not a fan of stinky cheese and blue cheese (but then again, neither am I).  So the other day when we had cream cheese filled crepes with bananas and nutella at our favorite diner, I thought he'd fall over.  He has strongly requested that we experiment to make them in the future.

Last night, I wanted to make a quick meal using up something in our freezer.  I happened to have a container of Carbonara Ravioli from Trader Joe's (and we all know that I LOVE Trader Joe's).  I love Carbonara.  I make my own version of it often as a meal.  However, i make it more of a primavera style since I don't use eggs in my recipe.  That's besides the point.  I took the ravioli out, however, I couldn't decide what kind of sauce to put on it.  I didn't feel like a marinara was right for it, and an alfredo may be too thick.  I thought about doing it primavera style (like my version of carbonara) but didn't know if it would have enough flavor.  So you know what I did?  I made carbonara carbonara!  I cooked up some bacon and peas, put olive oil in with a little bacon grease, the ravioli when it was done cooking, and voila! a new meal.  And the hunny loved it!  He said it was the best dinner he's had.  I assume because there was cheese and bacon involved.

All of this was followed by us making chocolate chip cookies.  Too bad I used sea salt and a little extra fell in so we have chocolate chip sea salt cookies.  I like them, but the hunny isn't as big of a salt fan as me.  Oh well.  

Here's my recipe for Carbonara Carbonara:

1 Package Ravioli (I used Carbonara, but I think any cheese filled would be good)
1/2 Cup Peas
3 Strips of Bacon
2-4 Tablespoons Olive Oil (depending on how many ravioli)
Pepper to Taste

Cook Ravioli according to the package.  Set aside.  Cook peas, set aside or mix with ravioli.  Pan fry the bacon until crispy.  Once the bacon is done, set aside on a plate with a paper towel to absorb excess grease. Reduce heat on pan to low. Using a paper towel, absorb all but 1 tablespoon of bacon grease from pan.  Add olive oil to warm pan.  Add ravioli, peas, and crumble bacon into pan.  Toss well.  Add pepper to taste.  Enjoy!

And I promise, I will do my giveaway soon.  Now that I'm back home and finally in a routine, I've been working late to make up for some of the time that I was gone.  But soon, I promise.

January 18; I Love You Because...

You do everything you can to make me happy.  Even though you make me happy just by being you.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Sunday, January 16, 2011

January 16: I Love You Because...

You're the only person I know that wants a chocolate milkshake anytime of year.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Friday, January 14, 2011

Why I Love You

I've seen a couple of people post about why they love their husbands on Friday. I like this idea, but I think I'm going to do a daily post  (just to change it up) of why I love the hunny.  Some of them will make sense to no one else but us, but I think it'll be nice.  So I'm going to do a year of why I love the hunny.  Everyday, no matter what.  That way, when he checks my blog, he'll know why I love him that day.

So here's today's.

I love you because when I made waffles this morning, you acted like I parted the Red Sea.  I can't wait to make them again.

MilSpouse Friday Fill-In #26

Make sure you visit Wifey at Wife of a Sailor to participate in the Friday Fill-

1. What are you looking forward to most in 2011? from Jessica Lynn Writes
Starting my life with the hunny.  We've now been together for three years, but we started the year off in a big way by getting married on New Years Day.  I'm just excited to finally be his wife!
2. What is something random you do on a boring night when your significant other is away? from Lovin Ma Soldier
Sometimes I'll cook a really extravagant dinner.  I also do really odd things, for example, he wasn't home on St. Patrick's day, so I put green food coloring in my wine & called it my celebration.
3. What has been your greatest adventure as a MilSpouse?
Well, it has only been a few days (literally).  But we got stuck in Atlanta on the way home and luckily he thought to go to the USO to find a place to sit for the night.  I was pretty miserable, but they were great and had peanut butter cups, internet, and a movie playing as well as the news.  It made it more tolerable.
4. What is the ugliest fashion trend you ever bought into (I’d like to make fun of you, so can you please provide a picture as well)? from More Than An Army Wife
Uh, when I was a kid my mom basically gave me a bowl cut.  And then, I had a perm.  It was awful.  Ugh, the 80s.  Now that I'm seeing 80's fashions come back, I can't understand why they got started in the first place.
5. What was the high point of last month?
See, this is an odd one for me.  I guess it would be the 31st since it was the day before our wedding.  Almost my whole family was in town and we had this huge New Years Eve party in my parents suite at the hotel.  There were so many people that we really care about, it was just very special and I know I'll never have another quite like that.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

I'm Back!!!

Here I am, a married woman with a changed name and officially an Army wife (have the ID card and all). 

And back in the states.  Sadly.  We spent an amazing eight days in St. Lucia which I will update about very soon.  Unfortunately, we got stuck at the Atlanta airport on our way back.  I don't know what they mean about southern hospitality, the people at the airport were anything but pleasant.  And I've lived in the south and loved it.  Apparently Atlanta didn't get the message on Monday/Tuesday.  Wedding pictures will also come once I get them from our photographer.  The day was amazing and I will do updates about that (along with how the hunny & I met).

I just wanted to let you all know I'm back and to be honest, will probably not read all the back blogs, so if there's something you really think I need to know, PLEASE, leave a comment.

Also, I will be doing my giveaways and Wounded Warrior Donation.  I know I said through December, but I'm just going to do it until the giveaways are announced which will be the next week or so.

Ok, just a quick update.  Can't wait to start reading all the exciting things in your life again.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Guest Blog - the annoyed army wife

The annoyed army wife is one of my favorite blogs.  She's funny, sarcastic, honest, and has adorable chihuahuas that she dresses up in hilarious outfits (every time I think of the hoodie, I laugh). 

We all know about sacrifice.  Our hearts belong to soldiers, sailors, marines, airmen, and coasties.  Of course we know about sacrifice.  But here is a different type of sacrifice that she tells us about.  And if you haven't met her yet, you should head on over to her blog and make a new friend.

Sacrifice

I’m so happy to be doing a guest blog while one of my favorites walks down that aisle! I’m the
Annoyed Army Wife, well, an annoyed army wife, I’m sure I’m not the only one. You can find me here (annoyed-army-wife.com). I’m married to OccDoc, an army doctor on his first deployment currently in Afghanistan.

I know what you’re thinking: ‘Oh boy, another post from an army wife about sacrifice’. Wait! Don’t
leave yet…it’s not my sacrifice I’m talking about, it’s my husband’s, but not what you’re thinking. A few months before OccDoc deployed I was making dinner and went down to the basement to get some brandy or some other hard alcohol the recipe called for. I looked in our ‘stash’ and just couldn’t find it. I asked OccDoc where it was and he said he drank it. No, he didn’t. He doesn’t drink without me. In that moment I realized my husband had sacrificed his happiness to please me, I wasn’t the only around here sacrificing.

A couple years ago we moved to one of the most remote posts in the US. I don’t do well with remote. I need a Nordstrom Rack within a 20 mile radius. It was so remote that OccDoc (a brand new attending at that time) was the only doctor for 60 miles. I was petrified when he was TDY thinking I might accidently hurt myself and would have to be flown to the nearest hospital for treatment.

After about three months of living in the middle of nowhere something set me off. The warning sirens
were blaring, but this time was different. This time it did NOT say “This is a test.” Actually what they
said was ‘stay inside with your doors and windows sealed’ while I was standing on the back patio
trying to hear what was being announced. Oops! I hadn’t had a full blown panic attack in about
ten years before that, but this ‘incident’ triggered a mother of an attack. I called OccDoc and was
incomprehensible. As soon as the exercise was over he rushed home. I was still in a state of shock
when he got home. He told me someone screwed up with the announcements, but it was okay. Then,
he gave me some medicine to help me sleep – that’s what he said – I think it was just to stop my
screaming. The next morning I fired off a strongly worded email to the post commander (OccDoc asked that I sign with my maiden name – they figured out who I was anyway). OccDoc got an apology from the commander to pass along to me and procedures were changed on post to prevent a ‘misunderstanding’ in the future. It didn’t matter because my mind was made up. I was leaving for the city 90 miles away to go to massage school, work, and to live during the week. I couldn’t stand that post any longer.

I spent the next 7 months living in a (really trendy, but super cheap) studio (with exposed brick walls,
but crappy heating) going to school during the week and seeing OccDoc on the weekends. Living alone never bothers me, even now with OccDoc deployed. I lived along for several years before I met him, but he had always chosen to have roommates. I guess the dogs didn’t count for ‘company’. It wasn’t for a half a year that I realized how hard it must have been for him to be by himself on a really crappy post while I was ‘livin’ it up’ going to school, working fulltime, and living alone. I still feel bad about leaving, but he doesn’t hold it against me. I’ve since quit my fulltime ‘real’ job and now work as a massage therapist with a flexible schedule to travel with OccDoc when he goes out of town so that he doesn’t have to live alone again.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Guest Blog - Adventures in Wordspinning

Ok friends, I'm actually very excited about today's guest blog.  Jackie, from Adventures in Wordspinning, is a blog friend & a friend in real life.  She's a writer, works for Soldier Magazine, and grew up with a father in the Army.  So she knows a thing or two about the life we lead.  So I asked her to write about both experiences.

Guest Blogs from Jackie Hames

www.wordspinnerhouse.blogspot.com

Military Bratness

I am the daughter of a retired lieutenant colonel: LTC Daddy. Dad retired when I was in
seventh grade.

During the time my dad was actually stationed on post, I was still really young, so
most of my memories are the weird jewel-tone dream sequence kind. I remember him
pretending to prick himself on a cactus when we visited Spain. I remember rainbow-
painted playhouses near a lake from some other country, I think Germany—oh, and a
giant nutcracker outside a toy store, which is definitely from Germany.

I remember being in the officer’s club with my parents when I was maybe seven (give or
take a few years) sitting in a leather chair at a dinner table. It was dark and smoky, and
I sat very still and listened to the adults chat—I was the only little one at the table. You
learn a lot about the power of listening skills as a military brat, that’s for sure. Everyone
thinks you’re so well behaved when you’re quiet.

Most of all, I remember the way other military people treated me. Dad was always an
officer (Oh yeah, I’m that chick. The officer’s daughter.), he’d graduated from West
Point, so for as long as I could remember, people saluted him—and then they would talk
to me.

All the other officers we nice to me, and made it a point of making me feel like part of
the group, if only for a little bit. Anyone in an Army uniform, actually, would make me
feel included. As a kid, I didn’t really understand the ranking system, but I could tell that
it was a big deal if someone Dad saluted talked to me or my mom, and it made me feel
special.

I got a thrill out of the guards when they saluted the car as we drove onto base, too. That
made me feel like they were saluting me! I’d sit up a little straighter, then.

There are many things I think military brats learn over the course of their parent’s career,
but I don’t think any of them are really taught. Through observation, I the two biggest
things I learned were respect and kindness.

Some people had to salute my dad, but no one had to talk to me. They did it out of
respect for him, and out of kindness for a bored little kid.

Working with the Army

I work for Soldiers magazine, which is the flagship publication for the U.S. Army.
It’s okay if you’ve never heard of it before (but if you’re interested, check it out at
www.army.mil/soldiers). That being said, I am not a Soldier, Army or otherwise, I am a
civilian.

Excuse me. I’m a Civilian, with a capital C, because the military likes to make us feel
important.

Surprisingly, there aren’t many Soldiers on staff at the magazine, except for the non-
commissioned officer in charge. We’re only an 8 person operation, anyway, but don’t
tell. We do work very closely with Soldiers Radio and Television, which does have actual
Soldiers on staff—they are a great bunch of people and we coordinate whenever possible.

From the Civilian perspective, working with the military is very interesting. I entered
government service just over three years ago as an intern (no, I didn’t get coffee for
anyone, “intern” is a loose term, it was more a career training program), and I feel like I
definitely had the upper hand, because I was a military brat. I knew the hierarchy, which
is critical working in and around the Pentagon. I didn’t fumble as much as people with no
prior knowledge of the military—but I did have to get used to saying “sir” or “ma’am.”

Working directly with Soldiers is interesting. Some of the younger ones, generally junior
enlisted, are hard to categorize. I want to call them by their first names, because we’re the
same age and joke around, but you can only do that in-house, and not around the officers.
If we’re on a story, it’s “Hey, Sgt. Doe, can I jump in on this interview?” or speaking to
the officers, it’s “Sgt. Smith and I are working that issue, ma’am.”

One of my favorite people-watching moments is when a Civilian with no prior
experience interacting with the military first starts interacting with the uniformed people.
It’s very stiff and awkward, and sometimes, there are misunderstandings. Military folks
have a vastly different way of communicating than non-military. They command. It’s just
what happens. Civilians, not being uniformed, don’t respond well to that. I’m used to that
sort of phrasing, having grown up around it, so it doesn’t get to me much. Of course, the
Civilians have to get used to talking to the military folk, too. You can’t say “hey buddy!”
to a Master Sgt. while you’re on the job; it’s unprofessional and might offend the Soldier.

Working with the military is definitely a delicate balance, but I like it. There’s always an
immense amount of respect around, even with the occasional faux-pas.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Guest Blog - Uncork & Unwined

Kendra, from Uncork & Unwined, has me checking my reader all the time. I love her posts.  She writes about the German markets, chocolate, and wine as well as many other things.  But chocolate and wine are two of my favorite things.  Hmm, maybe one day I'll have to do a giveaway of the movie & book Chocolat (mmm, Johnny Depp).  Again, I digress.
I hope you like her as much as I do. 

Hello!
When J asked me to do a guest post for her, I was thrilled! I love her blog and think she is just adorable. When she first emailed me about guest blogging, she asked me to email it to her by Christmas. Epic fail on my part. Im such a bad guest! I was so caught up in the holidays that I completely forgot until two days later. Thankfully she told me not to worry and I was able to fulfill my promise to her. New Year's resolution #1- Be on time with guest blog posts! =)

Our first Christmas away from home:
What I've learned this Holiday Season

This was our first Christmas away from either of our families. We were sad to be away from them, but excited to have our first Christmas in our new home. We were also eager to experience a German Christmas and start some new traditions of our own. Now that the festivities have died down, Ive been able to sit and reflect on the differences between a Christmas in the States and a Christmas in Germany. Here's what Ive learned:

In Germany, few people decorate the outside of their house with lights. For the most part, the ones you see are Americans. There arent any spectacles of lights to drive around looking at, no neighborhoods that go all out with their decorations, no Griswold houses. The outdoor decorations are very subdued if there at all.

You're almost guaranteed to have a White Christmas in Germany.

Almost every village in Germany celebrates the season with a Christmas market. The larger cities have markets that run all month long, and the smaller villages usually have one weekend in December for their market.

Forget about apple cider or hot chocolate (though we do have them), gluwein is the holiday drink of choice here.  It's a spiced red or white wine served steaming hot and in a commemorative mug. I was lucky enough to get four this year, even though I dont like the gluwein. I much prefer the Kinderpunch which is usually a mixture of orange juice, apple cider & fruit punch. It's chocked full of sugar and delicious!

The holiday isnt nearly as commercialized here as it is in America. Shopping and presents mean so much less.

As I shopped throughout the month, I didnt notice there being any more people than normal in the stores, nor was the traffic any heavier than normal.

Germans do decorate Christmas trees and give presents, but usually on a smaller scale than what we're used to back home.

Advent calenders are huge here. They are sold in every store, in every form and are often on the sides of large buildings in towns with Christmas markets. Something you might not find in America? - Sex Advent calenders. For 40 euro (about 52$) you could have yourself an Advent calender with surprises like lube, condoms and a "toy" on Christmas Eve.

Some of the best (the best, in my opinion) chocolates are made in Europe and are easily found here in every Christmas form you could imagine.

Christmas music isnt played ad nauseam for weeks on the radio. Instead, it's played only on Christmas Eve & Christmas Day.

In Germany, Christmas is celebrated on December 24th. Santa Claus comes on December 6th and leaves presents in a boot on your front doorstep. Seriously.

When I asked J his opinion, he agreed with the above and thought that in general, it's a more subdued celebration here as opposed to back home.

Despite and because of the differences, we had a fantastic Christmas holiday here in Germany and are looking forward to next year. We are so blessed to be able to experience the holidays in another country, immersed in another culture. We bought our own traditions in, will take some new ones out and will have a richer, more fulfilling experience when we celebrate over the coming years.

Happy New Years to Everyone!


Monday, January 3, 2011

Guest Blog - Married My Airman

Ok, so Miss Molly Danger, from Married My Airman, was one of the first blogs MilSpouse blogs I started reading.  She's funny, sarcastic, clever, and all around, highly entertaining to read.  I wish I lived closer to her because I have a feeling we'd be friends.

Sometimes you marry the military, sometimes you marry into the military.

I'm Molly and my counterpart is Superman.  This may be my second ever post about my husband, me, and our life prior to the military... maybe the third.  I met my husband 8 years ago in college.  We've been together for 6 1/2 years and married for almost 10 months.

us

I have no experience with marrying someone in the military, I only know what it's like to get married before military life.  We grew up together and I did way more growing than him.  We had some serious ups & downs, we even broke up for almost a year before we got married.  We've gone through the fun game of bar hopping and 21st birthdays in the real world as opposed to the military world (suck, suck, suck).  We've done it all.  I've moved away from him, he's moved out on me, we bought a dog, I sold his car while he was at work, we got into fights and we even had jobs & careers.  Come to find out, he's a better husband than he ever was as a boyfriend. 

We got married because he was joining the military.  Otherwise it honestly would have never happened, he couldn't jump off that bridge or any other bridge for that matter.  He didn't even ask me to marry him.  He asked me if I wanted to go pick out a ring.  I've never had a fancy wedding (or a wedding for that matter).  I've never worn a wedding dress or cut a cake.  I'm a little jealous of people who have worn the dress and have the pictures to prove it.  I'm not jealous of the people who had to stand in front of a billion people on the scariest day of their life and say intimate vows to the person they love.  Now he has the ability to do those things, with a little prodding of course.

There are times I wish we would have gotten married after he was in the military, hell sometimes I wish I met him after he joined the military.  I also wish he would have joined the military YEARS ago... but noooo.  Let me just tell you something, military guys cannot make a decision to save their real life (as opposed to their military life - YES, they are different).  I'm sure there are some out there but mine is not one of them.  He has this child-like ability to beg for things and drive me up the wall.  He also seems to think money grows on trees and that I'm the magic money fairy who delivers cash to the checking account to fund his pizza hut and b-dubs fetish that is taking over my life (OMFG).  I swear to you, I think I'm going to turn into a chicken wing soon.  I can tell you that I enjoy military life for the most part, there are some things I hate.  His recruiter tops the list right now.  I could beat that man in a dark alley, within an inch of his life, and not feel any remorse.  He totally screwed up.. but that's a whole different story.  Here's the moral of marrying a non-military man... they're the same person when they join the military, with some new rules.  They learn how to clean but they won't clean a house.  They learn how to pack but they definitely don't do that at home either.  They also love their video games more than they did before.  I'm also pretty sure that all military guys are republican too.  Have you ever wanted to be a domestic housewife?! Marry the military.  Before this, I had a life.  Now, I work for the air force except they don't pay me.  They pay him and I get the dubious honor of being his personal assistant.

So do I like my new life?  Yes.  I don't mind it (mostly).  I love the fact that we moved and the income is steady.  I love the fact that he's responsible for getting his work stuff done and I'm not responsible for that.  I like that I get "me" time... sometimes too much of it.  I love the fact that I got to leave my home state and take off to a new place.  I'm excited about the prospect of moving, repeatedly.  I think it will be fun to live in different places every few years.  I have met some great people since he's joined and this has become my life.  I have some new friends for life and they get me. You know what I'm not excited about?  Missing my family at holidays and the great PCS weight gain.

Congrats to J on her wedding.  Officially, welcome to the club! It's a love-hate relationship.  Have a great honeymoon and think of all of us who've never gotten one of those, we're all super jealous.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Guest Blog - Army of Two

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!! I have been following Natalia at Army of Two since I first started blogging and I love her.  It's really fun to hear her side of things especially with her background (coming from CA) and her recipes.  Definitely have to try brussel sprouts and bacon (mmm, bacon, I digress). 

Anyway, she recently decided to join the reserves.  I am CRAZY proud of her and think that what she is doing is really unbelievable.   She's my "New Year, New Life" blogger.  Here, she is sharing how she decided to do this. 

(written December 10)

38 Bravo

This is my new job title. As of today, I am on my way to becoming a 38 Bravo
Civil Affairs Specialist for the Army Reserves.

No joke. I swore in at MEPs today.

I know what most of you are thinking: Why would a 30 year old girl from Santa
Cruz leave her job at a Smithsonian to work for the Military? The answer is
simple: Because it's the perfect place for her.

I've traveled a long road to arrive at this decision, in fact, it's been 4 years in the
making. I'm now in a place where I can take the big step and enlist.

I first became interested in Civil Affairs when I started grad school in 2006 and
learned about their involvement with the looting of the Baghdad Museum in
Iraq. The Arts, Monuments and Archives Civil Affairs group helped protect the
museum from further looting and helped facilitate the return of stolen artifacts.
As someone interested in art history and archaeology, the preservation of culture
is extremely important to me. I found war and the protection of cultural property
in Afghanistan so compelling that I wrote a 200 page thesis on the topic for my
Masters degree.

The more I learned about Civil Affairs, the more interested I became. I was
envious of their work but dismissed any idea of ever becoming one of them as silly
and unattainable. I was too old, too liberal, from Santa Cruz, had a perfectly good
job, wasn't the "Military type", wasn't in shape, blah, blah blah,
ohmygodwhatwouldpeoplethink?

But I kept doing research on Civil Affairs operations, from WWII to Bosnia, the
tsunami in SE Asia to the earthquake in Haiti. I talked to Civil Affairs personnel
and I talked to soldiers, civilian contractors, museum curators and DoD
employees familiar with them. I learned that the Military is composed of many
different kinds of people, each with their own reason for joining (duh). I got over
my own stereotypes and accepted that it's OK to be patriotic AND liberal. And
most importantly, I listened to my heart.

I want to contribute to something greater than myself, to help a country literally
build its self back up from the rubble, to bring food and medicine to those who
need it the most, to be the face of the U.S. abroad. Civil Affairs needs intelligent
people who understand culture and care about people. Their work is important,
needs to be done and I believe in it.

There's a line in Hotel Rwanda that resonated with me when I first saw the movie
in the theater. Paul Rusesabagina (Don Cheadle), asks a UN Peacekeeper (Nick

Nolte): "How can they not intervene when they witness such atrocities?" The
Peacekeeper responds: "I think if people see this footage they'll say, "oh my God
that's horrible," and then go on eating their dinners."

Well, I'm tired of just continuing to eat my dinner.

So before everyone I know starts sending me emails with a million questions, here
are some answers to ones that I've already been asked or anticipate being asked.

What exactly is Civil Affairs?
Civil Affairs Specialists are the Army personnel that act as a liaison between the
U.S. Military and the local population in a war zone or disaster area. They work
with civilians, local governments, NGOs, and international organizations to
coordinate Military operations and civil projects (schools, water and sanitation,
roads, hospitals, power plants, etc...), work with refugees, provide aid and
distribute supplies, and protect cultural sites.

96% of Civil Affairs units are Army Reserves (there is one unit of Active Duty Civil
Affairs) and are made up of doctors, lawyers, teachers, engineers, business
professionals, artists, law enforcement, and at least one museum collections
specialist/archaeologist turned soldier.

What is the Arts, Monuments and Archives unit?
A Civil Affairs group that is responsible for the protection of cultural property
during war and natural disasters. Their origin is in the Monuments, Fine Arts,
and Archives program which was established in 1943 to assist in the protection
and restitution of cultural property during WWII. This group of men and women
joined Military forces to protect historic and cultural monuments from war
damage, and as the war came to a close, worked to locate and return works of art
and other items of cultural importance which had been stolen by the Nazis or
hidden for safekeeping. They are often referred to as the Monuments Men and
anyone interested in this topic should check out the documentary film The Rape
of Europa (based on the book of the same name) and the book The Monuments
Men.
Today the group is now responsible for implementing the 1954 Hague
Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed
Conflict. I would love to be a part of this group, with my background and training
hopefully I can make that happen!

Do you have to go to boot camp?
Yep. Everyone in the Army and Army Reserves has to do 9 weeks of Basic Combat
Training. Even the tuba player in the band. I leave for Ft. Jackson at the end of
March. My AIT (Advanced Individual Training) is in June at the JFK Special
Warfare Center and School at Ft. Bragg.

Do you have to wear a uniform?
Yep. And I can't wait. I hate shopping and putting outfits together.

Do you have to cut your hair?
No. You've clearly seen GI Jane one too many times. I can keep it long and wear
it in a bun.

Do you have to jump out of planes?
Yep, the unit I'm assigned to is airborne. I will do 3 weeks of Airborne School in
order to learn how to parachute out of an airplane. I've done it before and I can't
wait to do it again.

Will you live on a Army base in barracks full of bunk beds?
No. You've clearly seen Full Metal Jacket one too many times. After Basic and
AIT I'll live at home with my husband in Washington DC, I can get a job or
become an Active Reservist. And when Mr. F moves to another post, I'll move
units too. That's the thing about the Reserves, you can have a civilian job and
move where you want, when you want.

You have a degree. Why are you not becoming an Officer?
You cannot choose Civil Affairs as your MOS (job description) in OCS (Officer
Candidate School). I wasn't interested in choosing something random just to be
an officer. I'm not joining the Reserves to become an Officer, I'm joining to work
in Civil affairs. After some time and experience, should I choose to, I can attend
OCS and become a Civil Affairs Officer. It would be awesome if my husband had
to salute me.....

Will you deploy? Where will you go?
Yep, most likely to Iraq or Afghanistan, possibly to the Horn of Africa.

How long are your deployments?
Most Army deployments are 12 months long but it really depends on the mission.
The DoD is looking into the possibility of 9 month deployments but who knows
when/if that will happen. Hey, 12 months is a hell of a lot better than the 15
month deployments they had a few years ago!

Will you be in a combat zone?
Women are not allowed to hold combat positions. Therefor Civil Affairs is not a
combat MOS. How's that for vague and ambiguous?

Did your husband put you up to this?
Not at all. This seed took root long before him. In fact, he wasn't too stoked on
the idea at first but now understands my decision and fully supports me. Besides,
he's in the Infantry, you think he wants to be married to a Pouge (Person other
than grunt)?!? :-)

Are you crazy?
Define crazy. I think people who slide down mountains of frozen water with a
board attached to their feet are crazy. I think people who crunch numbers in an

office all day are crazy. I think people who wear 4" heels are crazy. I think people
who eat fruit in their green salad are crazy. Crazy is a relative term.

Are you turning into a gun-toting, pro-war conservative?
HELL. NO.
I'm still the same Natalia. I love farmer's markets and organic food. I like random
facts and watch Jeopardy to build my knowledge arsenal. I still have season
tickets to the opera, read Archaeology magazine, listen to world music, early
music and NPR. I still collect stamps and watch British period films. I support gay
marriage, health care reform, alternative energy and wish I drove a hybrid. I'd
still like to live in Italy someday. I avoid doing business with big business when I
can. I think most politicians are corrupt, left or right. I love my freedoms as an
American but also know that there are many other ways of running a country that
seem to work out just fine. I love that this world is made up of many different
cultures, cultures that need re-building, protecting and preserving.

"A nation stays alive when its culture stays alive"
-Sign above the entrance to the Kabul Museum, Afghanistan