Sunday, December 25, 2011

What She Said

I would have waxed poetic but...
She has it right.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Last Minute Shopping @ Ranger Up

If you've someone to shop for and haven't the heart to hit the stores, I can heartily direct you to RangerUp. Let me tell you what they've done - seems they had a supplier who wasn't going to make his shipment date. Well, that would mean orders already received would go unshipped. And you know what that would be?


So Tommy and his fair maiden Kelly have been on a roadtrip - they went to the very door of the supplier, found they hadn't finished a run of shirts, helped get the run done, loaded in the truck and are now steaming for home and promise that they will be there in time to make all their shipping obligations.

There is a reason I do a lot of my birthday and holiday shopping with them. Sure, it's just a shirt. But it is a shirt backed by the promise of men and women who will do what it takes to get it right and get it to you.

Better still, they have a sale - use the code BUYNOW25 and get 25% off all items until the end of Wednesday. And everything on the site will be available for the Christmas delivery deadline.

You'll find just what you need and you'll support some terrific folks who know how to Ranger Up.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

You NEED A Dog, Right?

Look, now - this darling black lab pup came to the house last week. If I hadn't two hellions already, I'd never have given it over to the shelter. About 3 months, I suppose, maybe a bit older...learned the kennel in an hour, had a natural Heel instinct, and played instantly well with my two very rough playing dogs.

He learned to sit, wait, in, out, and even fetched toys to his kennel by himself, selecting a chew toy on his own rather than something naughty.

If you need a VERY smart lab that will be rather large (pontoon paws), please please let me know. We called him Thor...and he'll be an amazing dog for anyone who saves his black hind end.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

From Him - Security Note

The Trooper sent this along to me - it is both very slick and a wannahave and also "damn it, yet another threat assessment to deal with..." when considering good guy and bad guy.

Ares Armor RAD Pack

Personally, bless `em for coming up with such an amazing hack of a pack. But just be aware of the option when approaching a suspect.

(I think I gotta have one, though...I just can't stop grinning at the idea...)

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

About That Droning On...

Mind you, the drone landing nice and neat Over There had me scratching my head.
As the notes here state, it ought to have done a RTB routine. Or, me thinks, a "this isn't Kansas...kaboom!" routine. But as I scratched, something akin to the following came to me. One wants to go all negative on the tale but...I have to hope the Alphabet Soup types have better sense than the guy at the top of the stationery.

"...Another conspiracy theory to chew on: this drone was “allowed” to be either crashed in Iran or pirated… not because the Administration is the freakin’ Manchurian candidate, but because the CIA and NRO are devious bastards, and this airframe is loaded to the gills with the *worst* technology possible. Computers filled with nasty but invisible trojans, fuel and hydrocarbon polymers that emit chemicals that are hard to detect but which will give people who examine the thing too closely some really nasty cancers, radar absorbent materials that light up IR sensors like the Statue of Liberty and IR treatments than emit radio waves louder than Howard Stern."

Remember that the system was hacked recently (well, within the year if I recall...) and that a certain hacker went all room temp in the same timeframe as that Siemens snafu...maybe it was just a bit of this finally acquired...I far prefer to believe we've IR tagged everything in reach but I suppose it is possible we are Had.

Hell, I'm frankly more surprised that the Toner Wars haven't started.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Running Silent, Running Deep

There are...Puzzle Palace doings just now that force my hands to be...circumspect these days. So I've opted for quiet in place of the vague mundane.

Everyone has been prolific, of course, and my bleating hardly missed. Go to Ed, Brigid, Six, Momma, Joannie, K-man, or anyone else over there on the right and you'll have a damned fine buffet of literary genius. Instead, i've sated myself with a new addiction (Audible) and trying to find gifts suitable and yet reasonable. It shall be the Season Of Handwork And Belly Filling.

And then...I came across this and went all thoughtful again, the tune reminding me of decades gone when the song meant something else, entirely.

We've certainly gone through a lot in a few years. There is, surely, more to come. Particularly as pieces on the table are moved into position and cautiously played. It could all bend `round and twist everything apart. It is possible. We will have to be, as we always have been, a team. Back to back and taking on whatever comes. It is a dark humor that strikes at me, though. A kind of universal jest that makes me wonder which side the punchline will land on.

So there - the cryptic nonsense I've been trying to avoid. Let me cleanse your palate with this small amusement. After all, I think He likes a joke better than droning supplications. Or so I believe.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Savoring The Flavors of Youth

The holiday melancholy swings on its annual arc, bringing that nostalgia and
hints of winter's chill. It was a whirlwind ride of 250 miles yesterday to visit family and friends. The usual suspects decked the tables with their warming scents and familiar satisfaction.

The wheel turns and carries us with it, bringing valentines and Easter eggs, fireworks, turkey legs, and stockings full of welcome mysteries. But the way that wheel speeds up as we get older...that is a thing I did not expect. Age brings that introspection and patience as the challenges of the season assault us in the grocery store and on the street. Best to step aside and let that frantic soul pass - that, the lesson age brings.

As Trooper works another long shift and the dogs sleep from their day of snacks and running around, I've time to remember the holidays before...of mom's hands - not so gnarled - expertly managing every dish, the timing and logistics managed with the grace of long-experience. Each year we have the annual scorching of the crescent roll in her honor. A humorous gesture I am sure she'd laugh at, it was still a solemn moment of acquiesence. No more that bend of her head into the stuffing to sniff at the herbs and call it sufficient. She wouldn't call again for someone to hold the heavy oven rack as she spooned more butter over the turkey's glistening crisp skin. All these things we have taken away and made our own, trying to do as she did with as much quiet certainty.

I remember the first time I prepared the feast, taking the burden from her shoulders for a year. A rite of passage, a passing on of the rites - fold this, scald was close but not the same even when it was my nose buried in the bread sack to breathe in the sacrament of sage and pepper.

And no more the walks on snowy streets after, the digestif of the pedestrian. I can recall dimly an ice skating rink of frozen corraled water over the dead grass at a park with "cheater" blades that helped not at all. And a sister, blonde and perfect, whose pom-pom'd leather boots skimmed with delicate hissing across that mysterious transparency.

Older, I remember a quick knock at a back door of a basement apartment and a mother's confused face as she carried in a basket full of a holiday's feast-making. She was not one for charity, the queen of Making Do. But I still remember her glistening eyes and furrowed brow - waves of anger, shame, and relief rolling one after another across it. I was too old to be concerned with such old fashioned familial concerns. I had alley assignations to attend to, and blue-crusted snow to break in a dangerous night stroll. I never really understood until much later the importance of that moment...the salvation of her duty provided by the kindness of a stranger.

So it is that a suggestion or request the other morning in a sleepy down comforter haze came with surprise, shame, and confusion...I'd given up that role and surrendered it all. Did I want to do it, in nearly the same late age as she did, so that the hands that wipe tears and pull warm rolls from an oven bear the same lines and thin skin?

Thoughts whirl, years blur, and I think on immortality. On giving more meaning to the season. And it scares me half to death.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

I'm A Princess, Damn It! Day

Yeah, was "I am a special snowflake" day for me and I was nicely spoiled. My stepdaughter took me for a lovely day of Sephora sampling (got the needed Mercier blush, of course) and lunch after.

And then Trooper hauled home after his class to fetch us to dinner. But before he left I was given my gifts - just what I asked for! Every girl needs new Wilson mags, right?! And I coveted this bag so he got it for me, too. (Handy, I thought, for when you just want to be hands-free and holstered up on one side...) All the guys at GT's were cracking up when he said he was shopping for his wife's birthday. Hey - what can I say? I'm easy to please...

And now? Homemade cake, courtesy of my stepdaughter (mocha with orange buttercream frosting). And maybe a couple of these on my pillow. Trooper knows how I adore the little balls.


Monday, November 14, 2011

From Camo To Heels

Sometimes a girl just wants to be a girl...and after a weekend of masculine delights, this was a delightful dessert.

"Hard to dance with a devil on your back..."
Damn straight.
Shake it Out.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

A Good Day's Work

One has to wonder at their choice of banana-yellow caps and shirts for the ROs but we sure did stand out. Just not a color one tends to wear, generally. Of course, they were rather filthy by the end of the 10 hour day...

We arrived at a very windy range with a bit of a chill in the air. I was pleased to have my wool cover shirt in the truck as it was the perfect layer over my silk longjohn shirt (hey, it's thin, light, and very warm) and this lovely RO shirt. I wondered how the 1000 yd range shots would work with that gusting wind but, as it turns out, I would never know.

We arrived, waited at the briefing, and were assigned by our good pal to be ROs at the Top Shot range. Two teams (red and blue, of course) of two people each would shoot and try to be the fastest to hit two stationary and one stubby falling target at 100 yds. I wish I could speak about the rest of the ranges, vendors, BBQ, etc. but from the moment we arrived at our spot we were hauling ass. Trooper and the other ROs took the OBRs, mounted scopes, and got them squared away.

Before you could say ".308 " there was a line of at least 25 people on each team. And it never slowed until the cease fires. Trooper and his mate would greet the two shooters on their team, introduce them to the weapon, and then get them squared away to ensure they got the best shots for their 5 rounds. Meanwhile, I loaded mags with 5 rounds over and over and over again for 10 hours. Yes, my nails are ruined and, yes, I have a terrible case of mag thumb. I was so proud of my husband - he gave each person the same briefing over and over again but never made it sound rote. And each shooter was given very individual attention to ensure an optimal experience.

I have to say most of the people were VERY good about the lines, and there was very little grumbling. I think we managed to keep our line to about 30 minutes wait at the worst because we worked like a machine. One of the very first shooters (with a respectable 6.38 seconds, I think) was Dustin Ellermann. Trooper is a great fan of his, having such respect for how he represented himself on the program. They had a few moments to speak and shake hands. Many people recognized him in the few minutes he had in the area.

However, the most impressive shooter at our side of the range was Daniel Harubin. We'd been told that the fastest shooter would win a "big gift" so when the injured vet stagger-stepped his way to the platform we wondered how fast he could shoot - after all, shooters could only put a foot on the platform and then take their preferred position and shoot. This guy had a foot and leg in a brace, still recovering from having it very nearly shot off in Afghanistan.

Well, hell - we didn't need to concern ourselves as he shot the hell out of it. Sure, he took time getting up again but he just went back into the line. All day long he'd appear, take his shots and see if he could improve on his time. Eventually, the line understood - he would sit on the crate at the front and if there were any single shooters, he'd offer to take the other gun.

Meanwhile, 5 rounds were loaded in each mag, over and over and over again until I just knew only that - a glance up now and then, a judging of the line, ensuring there was a party of two or finding a match for those rare single shooters...and let me add here that the weapon shot perfectly regardless of the filth blowing into it, and the constant firing. We personally saw over 2000 rounds go off our table into the two guns so just assume 1000 rounds over 1o hours with only the briefest of swabbing with a dirty shemagh and a swipe of oil twice that day. (BTW, the LaRue mags were far easier to load than the PMAGs...not to denegrate the latter as they are AMAZING but for girly hands, they were nail breakers.)

During the first cease fire, DPS Air came in, SWAT in the doorway of the helicopter, performing a bit of aerial shooting. In the winds that day, it was impressive flying. I suspect Trooper's academy mate was one of the guys in the doorway but we were too busy to do any meet and greet. Instead, there was just enough time to break down the OBR, swipe out the worst of the dust, and get it back up again.

The hours sped by, rare glittering cylinders of brisket made their way to our AO, and I only managed to get a single one. I was glad we'd packed a cooler with snacks to keep our energy up. As the sun started to set, the line dwindled and Danny had lost his top shot standing ever so briefly to Wes (4.4 seconds). He came back and kicked it - knelt so fast that you would never have known he was injured a few weeks ago. Three hellaciously fast shots, three hits, and the timer sang out - "4.35!" and he stood with rather some effort. Wes just shook his head with a smile then shook Danny's hand.

Just this morning, he noted on his Facebook page, " much as I would love to be selfish and keep it, I'm going to donate the "Top Shot" LaRue Tactical OBR that I won yesterday to the Wounded Warrior Project. These people do alot of great things for wounded Soldiers and their families, and I couldnt think of anyone more deserving. Hopefully, when they auction it off, they can get alot of money to help out more wounded guys!!!" I am telling you - the guy is an impressive individual. Now, if only he'd quite smoking. *snicker*

With that, the day ended - as we packed up the gear we could hear the announcer call his name, and give him the OBR. Filthy, but smiling, we packed it in and headed to the Monument Grill for dinner. We felt a little bad going in there as rough as we were but it was on the way home and good eats.

I can hardly think of any criticism, really. It is an incredible kindness to the shooting community and fellow Texans. I might ensure there were better comms to each range and a Director to disseminate information. It might be better to host a two-day event as it seems to have become quite popular. And I might try to have more ROs to relieve others to permit down time and a few hours to scope out the vendors. If it wasn't within 100 yards, we didn't see it. That, and a separate supply of brisket for us. HA! Yeah, that's a must for next year.

Just add it to your calendars, friends. It's one hell of an experience courtesy of one hell of a man.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Big Damn Weekend

The thing with being married to the law is that you take your off days seriously, plannning as best you can to make the most of it - even if that's planning a few extra hours sleeping. So it is that we'll be at the LaRue Day...Trooper will RO and I will help where help is needed. We've several friends with booths who can use a hand so I'll be their Girl Saturday and do whatever is needed.

Of course, being a woman I am trying to decide on the best attire for the day. Obviously, sturdy boots and a long sleeved shirt but...the Statement T-shirt is the decision at hand. Perhaps the Happy Face! Or...Kalashnikitty...

Or maybe I should just go with the standard Crye Combat Shirt which does the job without saying a damned thing.

The really nice thing, though, is that I get to hang with some really amazing guys (and gals). That they admit me into their world is a great compliment and I never forget the somewhat rarified air I breathe among them...unless they have the beans with their BBQ. In that case I battle for air.

Hope your own day brings big bangs and smiles...

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Making Men Happy - It's Easy

From the first day I met him, I knew Trooper was a man who had once held the very best weaponry in his hands and had skills to use each one professionally. Sadly, you do not get to keep them. And so...I have hoped to replace those missing pieces over the years and on Friday a large component was finally scratched off the list.

The LaRue OBR is one of the most respected rifles made. And I can tell you now how I know that's a fact. Mark LaRue is an amazing gentleman. He is also one of the most frenetic men I've ever met.

We were accompanied by a good pal who is an old friend so we were given a bit more personal a welcome than most might get. And a tour of the facility that reinforced the fact that the man not only uses the best materials and machinery but that he hires the "superbowl" level machinists who love what they do and never forget those they do it for. It was an experience that few receive and one that I will always feel honored to have had.

This morning we were able to give it a thorough breaking in and I was given the distinct prvilege of being the first to shoot it. Of course, it is tested before leaving the shop so I knew it was right on target. It was just the scope that needed adjusting and the Leatherwood was quickly spot-on.

We all had a blast and I cannot wait until we are at the long range...bang a gong...

Monday, October 24, 2011

Look For The Signs

So, things in the south have been getting really ugly and there are activities taking place that do not make the news. There are tactics being deployed that cannot be discussed. And some of the reason behind that is this.

You need to start to learn the signs, the tattoos, so that you can gauge for yourself who may not be desired in your "tribe".

Some word has been getting out of fairly sophisticated actions and techniques being used in the southren battles. It is no coincidence. Add in the dissemination to that 1.4M number and you will find the math unpleasant.

I'll see if I can acquire some useful data on the signs...meanwhile, watch for those clues in your area. Target acquisition, early.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Stop It

I saw this at Tam's and it just generates exhausted sighs, now.

I have serious sympathy for anyone that has to fly for work. We haven't taken wing in a long time and I doubt we ever will again unless it is a private aircraft. And I think that may be the only solution - stop using the service. The airlines have chosen to ride along on this trip to hell - I choose to not reward them for it.

Now, the TSA road show? They know several people are driving more so I am not surprised at the TN insult. But I AM surprised that those folks stood for it. The state police ought to be no-shows if they had an ounce of Goddamned ethics and a shred of honor left.

But it does set that populace to thinking - is this a state I can continue to live in? There is a reason behind my selection of TX. Not that it is immune to such affrontery. Just that most Texans will only tolerate so much bullshit in their lives.

One thing I think we ought to do...aircraft. It stays in my mind and I cannot let it go...especially after the flight recently in a craft that will hold rather a lot of gear and family.

But I do it time to start getting to know each other? Should we understand where we each are and our strengths and ETAs if things go all pear-shaped? Friends...ports in has been on my mind a lot lately.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Pre-bay: Bianchi 77 Piranha Holster

Through a rather silly set of steps, we've wound up with a holster that we do not need instead of the one we do. If it suits you, the $58 unit can be yours for $45 + USPS Priority Box shipping.

Says it fits 9mm/.40 Automatic Glock 17, 22 - check the link below for your gun...
Bianchi Model 77 Part No. 24100

Never out of its box, never used. Plain, Tan, Right Hand just like shown here.

Let me know!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Quick Draw

So Trooper has started working at and participating in the three gun thing lately. He's pretty damn good and we've much of the proper gear for it. But I don't know that he'll get this fast...But it sure is fun practicing!!

Ann Hits A Solid

She doesn't have single links to items so allow me to paste the entire thing in here. I have detested BofA for YEARS. I only bank with our local small bank that took no part in any bailout. Find your local banker and get with them.

Um, I think we should all stop paying taxes now.
Posted by Ann Barnhardt - October 18, AD 2011 7:10 PM MST

I think I'm going to withdraw my consent to be taxed by the Federal Government after this. Bank of America, as we have previously discussed, is exposed on Over-The-Counter forward contracts to the tune of $75 TRILLION, which is more than FIVE TIMES the total economic output of the United States in one year.

They are now moving contracts from a segregated trading division within the Bank Holding Company which operates under the venerable name "Merrill Lynch" to their retail banking division alongside their customer deposits in order to get these contracts under the umbrella of the FDIC.

It is known that Merrill Lynch had OTC exposure of $22 Trillion. So, in shifting these contracts from Merrill to Bank of America, they are making YOU, THE AMERICAN TAXPAYER the de facto guarantor of these contracts. YOU ARE NOW THE "EXCHANGE". If the counterparties on these OTC contracts default, Bank of America will have recourse to turn to the FDIC to "bail them out". Where does the FDIC get its money? From the United States Treasury.

Bank of America just illegally dumped tens of TRILLIONS of dollars of OTC contracts on YOU.
But that isn't the greatest crime here. The crime is that your evil, corrupt and/or imbecilic and unqualified U.S. government regulators are not only letting this happen, but seem to be encouraging it.

A few years back my brokerage was audited by the regulatory bureaucrats, which is a standard bi-annual occurrence. These people just about had KITTENS over a six dollar interest credit which I had booked, but it was placed in a current account, and the regulators wanted it in a non-current account. Just to repeat, it was SIX DOLLARS. As in a fiver and a single. As in a modest lunch at a drive-thru fast food chain. SIX DOLLARS. This six dollars drug my audit out for WEEKS and cost me I-don't-know-how-much in CPA billing hours. And these people acted like I was some sort of criminal.

You just got illegally prison raped for $22 TRILLION dollars, America, and the fed regulators are the ones watching the door to the gang showers and videoing the whole thing on their cellphone.

There needs to be a tax strike. And I'm not joking. This has to end.

“The concern is that there is always an enormous temptation to dump the losers on the insured institution,” said William Black, professor of economics and law at the University of Missouri-Kansas City and a former bank regulator. “We should have fairly tight restrictions on that.”

Monday, October 17, 2011

WTF, Indeed!

As stolen from here (God Speed, Sir...)...

A Kind of Prayer

Courtesy of a very good friend and excellent pilot, I was able to spend a brief time in one of these. It is an amazing aircraft - a lot of room, quite stable in flight and just fun as can be. I took the wheel for about 45 seconds as he worked back to the airport but someone in the queue behind us was getting frantic so I gave it back and we worked our way to the ground.

It is a very strange thing to be in the air like that with only the most brief of statements to a tower. No searches, no fears, no bother...but I know it's like riding in someone else's boat - you only get the pleasure, not the misery of ownership.

I keep bugging the man in jest about how long it'd take to get us all to Alaska. Or "can it go to Hawaii??" Trooper and he laugh - yes, with pontoons and a lot of rowing. What a delight...what a lovely kindness to give those few moments of utter joy. Like a kid in a candy store, all I could do was giggle and watch his sure hands adjust the machine like some wizard performing magical alchemy. Oh, for the brain of a younger person...

Just for fun, we went around a local good guys' range. A friend of sorts, we felt fairly secure from incoming.

Friday, October 14, 2011

"That's Only Part of It..."

I always wondered why this movie was so touching to me. And then I read, "Portions of John Williams' music are derived from Ralph Vaughan Williams' "Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis."" - and my mind smoothes with comfortable recognition.

Audrey Hepburn's last role, she plays it with such delicacy and lightness that you can hardly stand to watch her. But then there are the planes...all the planes...and the man-filled environment with the one feminine influence. It makes me remember the one job where I was really happy - the one woman among a bunch of guys, carrying my own load. No makeup, no fancy clothes - just manual labor all day and a satisfied exhaustion as your head hits the pillow.

But I know, too, that dulled life of mourning where the only thing that works is the breathing in and out. And then that hesitant, angry yearning when the next chance at love stands in front of you.

But that's life - well, as Audrey says about death - that's only a part of it.

In these dim days when little hope shines there is sometimes only that - the knowledge that this is only a part of it. It is what I like to believe, anyway...

Add it to your movie queue, friends. Especially my wing'd ones...

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Must See - Save The Date: Feb 17

Looks amazing...

Monday, October 10, 2011

Finance Geek?

So I know my 401k is gonna be worth crap before long but...I was really needing someone who knows what they hell they're looking at to give it a peek. Essentially, I want OUT of the market. But it all is "in" and they won't let us move to gold so...

Anyone good at that sort of thing?

Saturday, October 08, 2011

Got Your Six Right Here

Well, you leave it to some people to get it right and they just don't quite get it...

I think this is a proper answer. Good man, great warrior. And some decent eye candy, no?

Friday, September 30, 2011

Happy Friday!

For all the guys...(and the gals!)...

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

"Save A Pretzel For The Gas Jets!"

I told Trooper - the security team simply must get tshirts made with that exclamation on them for a photo-op. That, and The Man should add this video to his own Youtube site. It's that damned funny. And not in the crude or cruel way we've all braced ourselves for of late - but a genuinely hilarious send-up.

Well done. Very well done.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Playing Dress-up

What can I tell you? Every outfit is a costume to me. It's true - every workday outfit is selected with a kind of set design in mind - who will I be working with today and what impression is needed?

But I really enjoy the coming holiday when one can just let loose with that desire to be Other. If you've the same need, I can recommend these folks without reservation.


I acquired this number for our Ren Fest trips. It is flat out amazing. The flax fabric is sturdy but also light enough for summer wear.

Better still, they've a sale and I can assure you that you will not be unhappy with either the quality or the fit - everything is made to measure so you can expect it to take about a month, overall, to get your item. However, it is absolutely worth it. This is particularly useful for the wench that would prefer her assets remained restrained to meet the local norms. So many costumes are made cheaply and "one size fits no one, really". You will not find that to be the case with these folks.

Be sure to order early if you've a New Years event. Not sure they can get it to you for Halloween but...maybe!

They also offer all manner of fun stuff for guys...

BTW, guys - no woman would be upset at receiving a delicate flaxen gown...after all, we all have a secret princess inside. Even if she does sometimes smell like CLP.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Sunday Schooled

It was an amusing morning. At one point Trooper was antagonizing Kota, giving a kind of mock attack - bending over and across the sofa to get in her face...she gave him a left to the jaw so fast and hard that her paw was a blur while his surprised face remained clearly etched in space as he fell backward in slow motion. I worried for a moment that her amazingly large and sharp claws had gouged out his cheek or, ack, his eye. Then I laughed so hard I couldn't breath.

That'll learn him.

Later, I saw this on the site of the person I'd most like to hear sing.

Amazing artistry...and the costume! Oh, you know those do not come cheap. Lovely...

Last night, Trooper told me he was having a hankering for his Appalachian home. Seems this was remembered and rediscovered - the way he spent his youthful Sunday mornings before church. Look at that hair! And the clothes...goodness.

I suppose it all started from this. I love that music and we watched it the other evening...but then he found this lovely voice and we spent some time enjoying her this morning before he had to get ready to go. (He keeps laughing at the little boys' comment at the start...)

All of it a reminder of home, of being gone so long, of a yearning for a green and fresh world after a year so bereft of any such thing. There is an avenue - just past Highland - where the trees bend over and drop their autumn gold on the road. I ache to see them falling like rain...

Thursday, September 22, 2011

What's Her Name

Led to this via a bit of reminiscing - dark times, dark people.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Deeper Look

I had tried to find this video a few times and gave up, forgetting after awhile...and I don't know why this isn't shown instead of...the rest.

Minute 35-37 has the most awful, terrible price in audible evidence.

This is what we are supposed to believe is caused by our actions abroad, by the blood left there, the schools built as a buttress against a future horror but to no avail...that delicate, soothing feminine component will never be allowed to step forward. The girls are broken, early, to ensure the men have nothing to care about.

You must remember that sound when someone tries to tell you we asked for it. You must remember that awful sound when you have doubt...when mercy tugs at your sleeve.

Friday, September 16, 2011

"So What You're Saying Is I'm Old And Fat"

That is all I could hear in my mind as the doctor made her pronouncement. Just as I knew would happen, she decided that blood pressure meds were necessary. And it infuriated me.

The sheer anger that descended was an amalgamation of several things. It was a declaration of age, for one - that no matter how old I feel inside, the flesh is failing. It was a kind of Use By date stamped in my file. I have an expiration, of sorts, that I hadn't really sensed before.

It was a pointed comment on working out - or not, as the case has been - this last month. I wanted to draw out my schedule, illustrate my life and how there IS NO TIME LEFT to me. She just blinked and said that we have to make time for ourselves. Really? How liberal of you. I've people to care for, dogs, a house, and a full time job so...yeah. All that Me time is gonna get carved out of that.

And it was a reminder - "Is that all there is?" - that what I have and know now is...not too damn much. But everytime I think that small thought, I can imagine charred foundations a few miles away. Which makes me feel old, fat, and fucking selfish.

I'm exhausted, folks. It has been a heinous month, this one isn't getting better, and I could sleep for days...may as well start now.

(That whole hot chick video is making sense now, huh? Lure `em in with sex then crush them with pain. It's a lot like marriage, this blogging thing.)

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Because I Am Too Damned Busy and I Love You

I offer up this salacious bit of mindlessness. (If you detest fine hip shakin' hind ends, do look away.)

*I do hope someone cleaned that countertop later...

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Aid and Comfort

This scene was all I could think of as Trooper watched the scenes fading in and out on the screen before his duty day. It is easy to forget as we move through our days one year to the next until the annual debriding of old wounds. And we remember the pain, fresh.

A commenter noted here, "IF we had a President worthy of that title, when the Resolution comes up in the U.N. for the U.N. to recognize the existence of a Palestinian State, our Ambassador to the U.N. would have the lights turned down low and show this video and when it was over, turn up the lights and say “The United States of America will NOT vote to give the Palestinians a state; if they should get one it should be ONLY in face to face negotiations with Israel. And henceforth, the United States of America will cease all aid to the Palestinians AND TO ANY OTHER NATION WHICH VOTES FOR THIS RESOLUTION.”
Then walk out of the General Assembly."

And it will never happen.

It is why I promise my good man - and know I have his assurance in return - that there will be no surrender, no waiting, no hesitation. I will do whatever I must. To paraphrase, we must "smile when the wolf gnaws."

Thursday, September 08, 2011

One Thing I Really Hate... when the door makes a sound like a key in the lock and the dogs go apeshit except no one is due home.

Springfield, momma loves you.

Puppies, have a biscuit you cuties! Rrrrarrfff!

(Yeah, cursory check made at door - not gonna do full perimeter since Trooper has likely already called the locals to make a run through and he'll be home presently.)

Times are rough out there and people who might have never tried a door before may damned well consider it worth the risk, now.

Carry: every day, every where, with enough bullets to make a difference. Period.

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Distant Flames

The view yesterday was not one I had expected so close to home. It was only the grace of a southbound wind that kept us from scavenging through ashes today. We saw one cattle hauler after another - even horse trailers with cows shoved in. And truck beds buried in hay following after...

It was difficult to sleep, wondering if the alarms would sound with little notice. We woke to a quieter sky. Trooper noted the aircraft were many and low as the winds had died down, permitting them greater freedom to haul the water.

So many stories of troubles and tragedies. But as Texans I know they will recover and likely with the help of their fellow Texans. It is sad, though, to know the pines will be lost for a long while. Bastrop's State Park had acres of ancient pines that we walked through each winter. Once I heard that it was involved I knew there would be no way to stop it - too much fuel and rich fuel at that.

I can only hope the winter will bring healing rains with refreshed pastures of luscious grass. That is the only good thing I can think of to come from this. That and a renewed sense of community as we all help each other.

Meanwhile, we keep the safe open, go bags and animals ready, and vehicles fueled. However, I remembered all the food stored and give warning to everyone who also prepares for hard times - insure it. Insure it for replacement value in today's prices. Inventory again if you haven't for awhile. An addendum will be necessary in the morning...and a new video of all the belongings to confirm any future loss.

And perhaps a trip south to lend whatever comfort we can...

Thursday, September 01, 2011

History Revisited

A very intriguing link courtesy of the Ghost...

The thought experiment started here..."Could I destroy the entire Roman Empire during the reign of Augustus if I traveled back in time with a modern U.S. Marine infantry battalion or MEU?"

And then a fine person took up the task. It blossomed, as such things can, into an amazing collaboration and tale. I predict it on the screen in 2 years or less. The whole thing is here. With a movie poster that made me crack up.

It harkens back to a favorite series of mine, Heroes In Hell. But I suspect most of the contributors are unfamiliar with the stories...nothing new under the sun, perhaps...still, a very interesting little find!

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Those Damn Kids

I can recall back in the day when rendering simple hair movement took Sun SPARC's and a couple of days. Add in that the young are processing the speed in these things in a way that makes me feel like a toddling crone. Just damn.

Monday, August 29, 2011

SOP Will Now Be SBD?!

Fair warning: angry language below.

So one looks at a photo like this of older days when men knew war was hell and it was practiced as it always has been.

I am pleased that Trooper need not deal with the nonsense that goes on now. I cannot fathom having to find words to soothe his irritation at an order to withhold his wind.

" farting has been banned for some Marines downrange because it offends the Afghans."

Seriously - what the fuck are we still doing bleeding into their Godforsaken sands? And fuck that We shit, anyway. I'm not suffering a bit. I am no isolationist but...fight it like men (and women - you better fight like men, too) or come the hell home.

All this pussification of war has me fed up. It is supposed to offend the opponent! It is supposed to be so damned offensive that he gives up and walks away!

One can only reflect on the difference in the sentiment above and the lack of sentiment in this.
(Though, I thought I saw a Tactical Noogie at 1:38m.) Real men, real wounds, real blood. You know, all those things the boys of today are being deprived of...

What in the hell is this world coming to?

Get `Em

Guess what's on sale cheap today only?
The Perfect Pushup things. They really do aid in making each pushup count. If you are stocking a gym with decent gear, consider these a worthy investment of less than $10.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Over There...No, Over Here

My father sends me this over the transom and it pleases in a strange, twingey way...
"At first, in dim light, I thought is was a Navy unit band, like the one I played in. These kids are pretty good.

Okay, the solo work was mostly stilted, and I'd have turned the drummer loose for more rim shots, but the section work was very good. Give them to me for a month and they'll match the original!! This stuff was like mother's milk to me, but not to these kids. They have done a fantastic job on it. I loved the trumpet gal's mouse!!

Trivia: Glen Miller made the soloists play the exact same solo each engagement. Oh well. Matched the recordings....."

(The link is from a Japanese movie, Swing Girls.)

I suspect I inherited a bit of my father's musical appreciation - I have a deep love of that time in history and the music thereof. Any Miller gets me "in the mood". I love the uniforms, the dresses, the planes and the movies. And I have always harbored that feeling...I knew this, then, intimately.

I'd been watching Normandy: The Great Crusade much of the morning, thrust into those hellish days and helplessly linking them to our lives today. Such privation, risk, and sense of duty and a willingness to give a name to the enemy - even derogatory names - and a media that was honest enough to present it...

We will never see its like again, I think.

I worry a great deal about what might be. Easy to do so when the house is empty and quiet as it is today. I have no answers, no predictions, nothing I can point to and say, "There. There is your proof. Now, go and get ready." But it is a feeling - as if Chamberlain is again muttering, "I've got it!" and we are all blindly cheering with a sense of safety and comfort. Meanwhile, somewhere else the Declaration of Independence is being trundled off to storage with, "...the F├╝hrer replied, 'Oh, don't take it so seriously. That piece of paper is of no further significance whatever.' "

Meanwhile, a stage is being designed and set upon which to host a final play. And we shall all be made actors, willingly or no, based simply upon our Facebook preferences and friends. After all, they can shut down an entire factory for wont of a slip of paper. You think it isn't that simple to compile evidence enough to place you behind bars?

The Holocaust was ignored by thousands within eyesight and earshot. You (and I) would slip beneath those waves with hardly a ripple. And perhaps that is my awful, selfish confession. I do not wish to go gentle into that good night.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Friday Funny

These guys have a new release out that looks interesting...and from there I found their series of outtakes. If you have ever wondered what kind of goofy crap those high speed/low drag types enjoy, it's here in spades.

Reminds me of Trooper and his buddy. Being the only girl around them can be rough. Amusing - but rough.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Support Structure

I am usually driven to navel-gazing, introspective posts during the night shift. But those are no more with the new schedule. Rather, it's an hour or so in the morning to talk, and perhaps 30 minutes at night, each of which are already booked with work or kitchen closing. That is our new normal.

And even that will be edited soon...Trooper is taking the last of the training the state demands to get him on the road with the - what is it they call the person? - dignitary? I don't recall the euphimism. At any rate, once that paperwork is stamped and filed, it is up in the air. Literally and figuratively. Some are gone for two weeks, catching perhaps 6 hours of sleep/day. Odds are he will become a preferred traveler - he is very good at what he does and he has done this sort of elevated work before. So I try to remember how it was when he was in the academy and I was a thousand miles away, writing, calling and just waiting. It was when I started this place as a kind of silent associate that would agree with me and offer mute comfort.

I look at all the housework that needs done, I try to soothe Kota as her eye irritation (vet appt pending) drives her mad, I deal with other familial issues, and consider that after work, I have to also find time to get upstairs and workout. The I have to get the dogs exercised in a heat that makes those options very, very few. In short, I feel rather put upon lately.

I know that it isn't true and even voicing it makes me seem and feel small. So many are going through so much worse. But I suppose it is the unending "sacrifice" that is getting to me - this constant keeping of the home fires burning thing. I can recall the same feeling when he was away and the wondering at when it would be my turn to be supported and uplifted as I sought my dream. But there is no dream...

What would I do if I could wave a hand and have it? No dogs to care for? Well, then go the companions that are all I shall have for a time. No house to keep? Foolishness. So then what? What is to be done that I cannot do if I would just do it already? Not a damned thing. But there is no one to help me do it. And that - that - is the problem. So what? I try to wrestle the frustration to a halt with that refutation that I hear in my mother's voice - so what? From the age of 16 to this day, decades on, I have always taken care of everything. And I do not know why I think it will suddenly change.

I was made strong so that I could carry those heavy loads. I was made smart so that I could see what needs done and how best to do it. I was mated with a warrior so that he could be away and not worry that all he loved would be at risk of loss or leaving. These are the things that I try to tell myself as I put one foot in front of the other. It isn't easy - all I want to do is pout and spout Why Me's and shovel in some chocolate. I want some damned sympathy and someone to do the ironing. And it isn't going to happen.

Time to put on those big girl panties - when they are out of the dryer - and suck it up. The support structure is ME. I am the pillars, my feet on the threshold and my hands holding up our small world. With some thought and care, it won't come crashing down. But I don't think that ironing is gonna get done.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

The List `O Books Meme

Courtesy of Leeann and nothing better to do...I read most of these when I was very young so I bold them knowing that I can hardly recall a thing from many. I went through every Asimov book - fiction and non-, every Heinlein, Bradbury and Clarke, also. Rather sad to not see C.J. Cherryh! But then I definitely feel there is a generational thing going on - my generation had read the "current" field as well as the originators of the theme. By now, there is a rich and deep variety to choose from...

Bold is read...

1. The Lord Of The Rings Trilogy, by J.R.R. Tolkien
2. The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy, by Douglas Adams
3. Ender’s Game, by Orson Scott Card
4. The Dune Chronicles, by Frank Herbert
5. A Song Of Ice And Fire Series, by George R. R. Martin
6. 1984, by George Orwell
7. Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury
8. The Foundation Trilogy, by Isaac Asimov

9. Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley
10. American Gods, by Neil Gaiman
11. The Princess Bride, by William Goldman
12. The Wheel Of Time Series, by Robert Jordan
13. Animal Farm, by George Orwell
14. Neuromancer, by William Gibson
15. Watchmen, by Alan Moore
16. I, Robot, by Isaac Asimov
17. Stranger In A Strange Land, by Robert Heinlein
18. The Kingkiller Chronicles, by Patrick Rothfuss
19. Slaughterhouse-Five, by Kurt Vonnegut
20. Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley
21. Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep?, by Philip K. Dick
22. The Handmaid’s Tale, by Margaret Atwood
23. The Dark Tower Series, by Stephen King
24. 2001: A Space Odyssey, by Arthur C. Clarke
25. The Stand, by Stephen King
26. Snow Crash, by Neal Stephenson
27. The Martian Chronicles, by Ray Bradbury
28. Cat’s Cradle, by Kurt Vonnegut
29. The Sandman Series, by Neil Gaiman
30. A Clockwork Orange, by Anthony Burgess
31. Starship Troopers, by Robert Heinlein
32. Watership Down, by Richard Adams
33. Dragonflight, by Anne McCaffrey
34. The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress, by Robert Heinlein
35. A Canticle For Leibowitz, by Walter M. Miller
36. The Time Machine, by H.G. Wells
37. 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea, by Jules Verne
38. Flowers For Algernon, by Daniel Keys
39. The War Of The Worlds, by H.G. Wells
40. The Chronicles Of Amber, by Roger Zelazny
41. The Belgariad, by David Eddings
42. The Mists Of Avalon, by Marion Zimmer Bradley (One of my treasured possessions is a letter from her in reply to my inquiry of a movie being made one day - she was doubtful it would be possible or well-done. She was half right.)
43. The Mistborn Series, by Brandon Sanderson
44. Ringworld, by Larry Niven
45. The Left Hand Of Darkness, by Ursula K. LeGuin
46. The Silmarillion, by J.R.R. Tolkien
47. The Once And Future King, by T.H. White
48. Neverwhere, by Neil Gaiman
49. Childhood’s End, by Arthur C. Clarke
50. Contact, by Carl Sagan
51. The Hyperion Cantos, by Dan Simmons
52. Stardust, by Neil Gaiman
53. Cryptonomicon, by Neal Stephenson
54. World War Z, by Max Brooks
55. The Last Unicorn, by Peter S. Beagle
56. The Forever War, by Joe Haldeman
57. Small Gods, by Terry Pratchett
58. The Chronicles Of Thomas Covenant, The Unbeliever, by Stephen R. Donaldson
59. The Vorkosigan Saga, by Lois McMaster Bujold
60. Going Postal, by Terry Pratchett
61. The Mote In God’s Eye, by Larry Niven & Jerry Pournelle
62. The Sword Of Truth, by Terry Goodkind
63. The Road, by Cormac McCarthy
64. Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, by Susanna Clarke
65. I Am Legend, by Richard Matheson
66. The Riftwar Saga, by Raymond E. Feist
67. The Shannara Trilogy, by Terry Brooks
68. The Conan The Barbarian Series, by R.E. Howard
69. The Farseer Trilogy, by Robin Hobb
70. The Time Traveler’s Wife, by Audrey Niffenegger
71. The Way Of Kings, by Brandon Sanderson
72. A Journey To The Center Of The Earth, by Jules Verne
73. The Legend Of Drizzt Series, by R.A. Salvatore
74. Old Man’s War, by John Scalzi
75. The Diamond Age, by Neil Stephenson
76. Rendezvous With Rama, by Arthur C. Clarke
77. The Kushiel’s Legacy Series, by Jacqueline Carey
78. The Dispossessed, by Ursula K. LeGuin
79. Something Wicked This Way Comes, by Ray Bradbury (One of the very best books ever for dropping you into a mind - you feel as one with the character...)
80. Wicked, by Gregory Maguire (Mr. Maguire makes my top 4.)
81. The Malazan Book Of The Fallen Series, by Steven Erikson
82. The Eyre Affair, by Jasper Fforde
83. The Culture Series, by Iain M. Banks
84. The Crystal Cave, by Mary Stewart
85. Anathem, by Neal Stephenson
86. The Codex Alera Series, by Jim Butcher
87. The Book Of The New Sun, by Gene Wolfe
88. The Thrawn Trilogy, by Timothy Zahn
89. The Outlander Series, by Diana Gabaldan
90. The Elric Saga, by Michael Moorcock
91. The Illustrated Man, by Ray Bradbury

92. Sunshine, by Robin McKinley
93. A Fire Upon The Deep, by Vernor Vinge
94. The Caves Of Steel, by Isaac Asimov
95. The Mars Trilogy, by Kim Stanley Robinson
96. Lucifer’s Hammer, by Larry Niven & Jerry Pournelle (If you never have, read it NOW. It's important.)
97. Doomsday Book, by Connie Willis
98. Perdido Street Station, by China Mieville
99. The Xanth Series, by Piers Anthony
100. The Space Trilogy, by C.S. Lewis

Autumn, Any Time Now...

I've been suffering in this infernal weather for so long that it feels as though we've been stuck in time. Until recently, there weren't even clouds in the sky to break that steady blue monotony. But a breeze has come in the morning that gives just the smallest hint of under-100 degrees and it makes me ache for the season to change.

This, too, had me yearning...Halloween...

Of course, it might be just the thing for you any day of the week and we here do not judge. But I think I'll have Trooper making a few for me.

If only the chill would come...

Friday, August 19, 2011


See, now...I know, in my reptilian brain, that this is not possible. I come from some kind of Russian stock and will always be better built to pull a cart than to fence with an epee. Indeed, I've never been a sprinter but can walk a rather long time if necessary.

So this little bit of - mmm, what shall we call her? - salted caramel is not going to be possible for me. However, I still consider her a kind of aspiration of perspiration.

We've all been working out - Trooper putting on the ceramic again this morning for his run in the only 100 degree weather that the early hour brought. I am sane and chose the treadmill - perhaps 25 minutes of off and on running. Not bad considering I haven't done a damned thing in a long time.

But I am starting to remember how it once was before I met Trooper - just before - when I'd hit the elliptical for a hard 45 minutes at the gym after doing the circuit. I am remembering the egg white omelets and yogurt smoothies. I can remember, too, how I was able to get so much done in a day.

Complacency set in and set in hard. At first, we'd work out at the same gym, but the his schedule made it harder for him and we moved which interrupted the progress and it was just so easy to forget...

But I think the real setback was the surgery. I may have - if I really consider it - not quite dealt with the consequences of it well. I was alone during the recovery and months after. I believe I just tucked it away with a shrug while my subconscious was shoveling food at the emptiness of body and spirit.

Years, now...I have to admit that I simply languished in this tide pool. Fresh waters came now and then but...I didn't try to improve my lot. And I lost so much in that stasis. The thing is, though, that I can see the muscles lying underneath the flesh. And I suspect they'll come back much faster than I imagine.

I was recalling back in the day when I'd get on the elliptical and suddenly there'd be a half dozen guys behind me on the circuit machines. I had no idea at the time, of course. I was focused and still had in my mind the image of myself as a waddler. I can see, now, that I had a fine ass in tight workout shorts and it was working for all of them as I strode my way on the pedals...I wish I could have appreciated it more at the time.

I was damned hot and didn't even know it. How much does that suck? Well, no time to worry about that, now. Dogs to walk and some push-ups to kick out (just because). But I have to go heeled as usual - new neighbors and word is that one set is unsat. Very unsat.

Thursday, August 18, 2011


I've had a rough day and spent much of it with Diana in my ears. She's like a cashmere blanket swaddling the harried nerves. With a large tumbler of scotch.

Mmm, darlin'...

Calling Brigid...

You need this. I need this. As do all those gunny ladies we adore...
C'mon, guys! It's almost Christmas!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Just Right

It was a very slow day at the office which I filled with some knitting, some snail mail and some baking. Here's a rather poor phone pic of the amazing edition of Fenimore Cooper books I acquired for Trooper as an anniversary gift. Now, in these parts, such a thing would be impossible to find. Or it'd be costly. But then I thought to send a message to my dear friend in the north. Billy made a call to his book dealer and it was mere days before his photo came to me.

A few emails later and the set was on its way. Deliciously weighty, wonderfully adorned, and with etchings to help keep the value, it was a terrific kindness - frankly, I'd have been tempted to keep them for myself and find something else. But therein you see the difference in our characters, no? Trooper demanded a central slice of shelf and they deserve it. The first book remains at bedside and I suspect he has been reading late while I sleep. Wonderful bloggy pals I have...

Meanwhile, since we're all trying to be very good, I thought it would be nice to have some healthy (okay, healthier) bread than store-bought. So I knocked out a few loaves today, one in a boule since Trooper requested it a few weeks ago. It's wheat which means you have to add brown sugar or molasses (just the way of it, I dunno why). I tell myself that the utter lack of anything else in there makes up for that sin. No preservatives, no colors, just good nutty wheat flour. I like that my pan is smaller - you can put 1/3rd of a recipe and get a more petite loaf which also means less calories per slice.

Now, if I could only get Kota to stop scratching at her face and rubbing the fur off...sigh...allergies, maybe. So it's been sleepy treats and benadryl to see if it passes. But I think we'll have to make a vet visit. Poor thing.

Monday, August 15, 2011

It's On

Well, that goofy title could apply to rather a lot these days around the HQ. (And by HQ I mean my desk.) With the announcement on Saturday several wheels that were chocked are now released and things are in motion. We watched the speech (I wasn't as impressed as I'd like to have been with its delivery...) as Trooper noted that his boss was just behind that blue curtain.

I have been giving thought to the "cleaning up" of this place - though we all know the internet is forever - in order to avoid putting my darling man in any bad light. But I don't know that it's possible. What I have said under any guise is easily found. But it might require that I tone down a bit my own "policies" and present more dog & gun material which can hardly bother anyone.

Trooper is in a fitness mode - has been since taking on the new AO - which I aid via the daily cooler of healthy food. But he has upped things with a contest between he and my stepdaughter - most weight loss in 30 days wins. There were protests about how he could lose faster, etc. He just waved them off as he doffed the ceramic vest he'd been running in - outside. (Sweaty freak.) She surprised us both by trying on the vest and then turning out (after her own cardio workout) 8 very nice man-style push-ups with it on. I was proud, I'll admit, of them both. I'd performed (badly) an ab workout the day before and found that what I'd had has been severely compromised. I assumed it was merely missing. No, that shit up and left, people. So that's on my list of to-do's to-day.

He has his eye on some projects and plans. And he'll be on the road a lot, too, with the rest of the team for the next year or so. Which means I'll bitch a lot about having to do all the dog duty. I won't mind as much in the winter - I cannot wait for anything under 95 degrees - and perhaps by then I will be in great shape, too.

I have a goal, too. I intend to not be in the same shape at the LaRue day as I was last month. It is surprising what one sees in the mirror everyday vs. what a camera shows. I knew I was drifting a bit to "stout" but lied to myself that underneath the inches the muscles remained. Hmph. No, it's P90X for awhile along with whatever else I can manage. At least I can cook! I don't know how people do it without knowing how to make a good meal...'s on. The pressure, the athletics, the dogs, and the culinary wizardry. It will be an interesting year. If I can make it...

Saturday, August 13, 2011


I've had shanties in my mind all morning, errand running, and turned to GBS to satisfy that need. And there was was the best salute I could give to those who perished so far from the waves they crested. Fair winds forever...pick your pitch and sing, dear friends.

Sunday, August 07, 2011

Giving Back

It has been a hectic couple of weeks. We prepared for the visit of our godson, a young man of considerable intellect, sharp wit, an innate actor, and - with all that - a bit of timidity. We'd set up a fairly flexible schedule of events over 10 days.

I'd coached his mother on what he ought to bring and what to expect - particularly the two large dogs. His dad had recently purchased him a slick little Mossberg .22 (he already had a neat ISSC) in order to let him get the "feel" of a rifle with the inexpensive .22 ammunition. They essentially sent him on the plane with only a backpack of necessities and issued a very large box with everything else he might need under separate cover. It was a superb solution, allowing him to have a generous amount of gear, clothes, and fun stuff without the issues of baggage at the airport.

We started off with an expert archery lesson (which gave him his first wound of the trip - a nice string slap bruise that he would display proudly), a trip to the main office of DPS, fully kitting him out in western attire (Wrangler's, pearl snap shirt, boots, Hereford Low Crown hat) and attending a special full-auto shooting event which, sadly, would not let minors shoot full auto. Sigh...

He was, however, able to visit the LaRue tent. I cannot say enough for the patience, kindness and good spirit in which his trepidation was received. He was very worried about recoil, you see. The gentleman shot one round without it shouldered, the PredatAR barely moving. We'd been challenging the young man the entire time to stretch his limits and not worry - that we would not ask something he could not do. He looked to me - "take a deep breath and give it one try...there are only a handful of kids your age who have had this experience..."

He sat with a sigh - I knew his eyes were moist with his fear but he sat at the bench and shouldered it. Five rounds per gun per person, the sales rep asked him to shoot just one. After, he sat back, looked over his shoulder and called out, "Five rounds, please!" And, yes, he contacted with at least one of his last. DING! went the metal silhouette and I know that bell rang inside his soul, expanding his confidence in ripples. Of course, I took my turn - the OBR was calling my name. It's an amazing weapon and nigh unto impossible to miss with it. Again, those people were the very kindest, most professional folks I've met. Smiles all around...

Of course, he had to meet and ride along with a Special Ranger from the Texas Cattle Raiser group. This was perhaps the most impactful portion of the trip as it was just the guys - real men just doing manly things. He seemed to come home from it with a bit more steel in his spine. And then a Krav Maga class with a wonderful instructor that allowed him to get a taste of it - we think he'll want to continue it at home.

We took him shooting at a private range, allowing us to do what we liked. He handled his ISSC with confidence, and we added a scope to the new Mossberg, getting it sighted in. We had a bowling pin duel which Trooper won, of course, shooting his beloved first .22 rifle. He's had it since he was 8 or so and can shoot anything with ease. Toward the end of the evening, the young man asked if he could do rapid fire shooting as that isn't allowed at their range. I laughed and told him that he could do whatever he liked. He loaded up his mags and set to. At the end of the first mag was a perma-grin. At the end of the second was an evil cackle.

The date I had feared arrived: SeaWorld. I'd acquired appropriate footwear a week prior to break them in only to find they needed no such help! They performed superbly and I cannot recommend them highly enough. The same goes for the amazing Neutrogena Sunblock Stick. It was over 8 hours in the intense sun and heat...perhaps 4 different applications throughout the day prevented any sunburn! I fully expected a light glow but it did a terrific job - it was particularly well-met by the boys who always hate to have lotion-y hands after application. (It also fit in my pocket and was easy to have in hand anytime for reapplication.) I will be putting sticks in every vehicle, go bag, and range bag.

The park was surprisingly neat, clean, and well-managed. We opted for both the premier parking - no long hikes at the end of the day - and the all-day meal passes. The latter paid for itself with one meal and we didn't have to cart in a lot of supplies. The godson and I had a couple firsts - first coaster and first water slide. We both declined the Steel Eel (which Trooper said chewed his tailbone up and did not ride again) and the Great White (which the others rode at least twice). But the wussified Atlantis flume was just right for the us and he was proud to have accomplished the goal.

Trooper was enthralled with the main show, watching the orcas cavort. It really was a very nice production. By the end of the day, we'd strolled all over the place and eaten far too much junk - precisely what one is supposed to do there. At the start of the day I'd given the young man one of our Ranger Up rubber bracelets. I told him to ignore the naughty word on it (RTFU in short) but to use it as a reminder when he got scared during the day. I knew the companion (we'd recruited another boy to join us often during his stay) was afraid of nothing and it might produce a bit of tension. He smiled at the bracelet and would finger it often during the day, noting that he might have to put a death grip on it once or twice.

At the end of the long day, his heels burning from wet shoes rubbing raw spots, he held to the black ring, stating that he was "Rangering Up!" Not a complaint, just a slowing gait as we made our way back to the car. He asked me if he'd earned the right to keep it and I had to smile and admit that he had. (What his parents will say I do not know.)

We took him to the airport the next morning, and he donned the full regalia in order to better surprise his father. He loved the hat and boots - word is he was hardly recognizable to his father. And that when his father tried on the hat daggers flew from his eyes. Yes, he has taken on that Texan trait already.

I guess all this is just to relate how wonderful it was to take a young man who never experiences these sorts of challenges and to push his comfort zone out a bit. I know it made Trooper melancholy for a son. But we both know they don't come that way naturally - the boy is a very good one because his parents work very hard at it. Still, I know it bothers him, deep down. And I feel something of a failure in not being able to give him one.

When we were home and packing all the small clothes away to ship back I wiped away tears at the miniature boxers, the tiny rolls of socks...all his treasures stuck inside with a secret gift included - a Maxpedition bag for him to carry all his manly things in...

I suppose there is a kind of satisfaction that if everything goes to hell he will at least know how weapons work and have a rudimentary concept of coping with stress. We wish we could do more. We wish they'd move here! Until then we'll just have to make do with annual summer camps. They were already making plans for 2012 as we drove to the airport, me sitting in the back, knitting, and grinning.

This is how I like to remember the of my favorite photos...he has his mother's hands and his father's wild hair. And, now, memories that we hope will stay with him a long time.

Friday, August 05, 2011

OBR Lust

Go on - just go ahead and put on your poutiest pout. Because this old, fat chick got to shoot not only the PredatAR but - yes - hands were laid on the OBR. Trooper has been instructed to take any OT offered because I want - er, no - we NEED - one each.

Thanks, you mad fools, for making a weapon that let me his 5 out of 5 without even TRYING. I'll be seeing you in November at the official Lust Day.

(Yes, there is video evidence, and no - you cannot see it because I look horrid and refuse to bring reality to this little fantasy land. Just know that it includes Trooper cackling as each shot brought out that divine PING! of success.)

Addendum: Go here for a recent article. I see I misspelled the product name. Fixed that for ya.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Renewed Tales

As a spelunker of all manner of folk tales, this intrigues me with its possibilities...

"Producers debuted the first photos of Stewart, as an armoured, sword-wielding Snow White, and Theron, as the Evil Queen, at the Comic-Con fan convention in San Diego, California.

Read more:"

Of course, if they make the huntsman into some sort of browbeaten fool, it will ruin everything. We shall see...

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Get it? Got it? Good.

Get it?

Got it?


Friday, July 15, 2011

Glory Days

Trooper sits, jittery, as the final moments of his favorite show roll by. Football dreams floating on a Hail Mary pass...I cannot know what those memories hold for him, how many he surrendered when he signed a dotted line and stepped onto Fort Hood instead of collegiate turf.

I keep the headphones on, listening to things like this, distracted but watching...I keep a weather eye for those lines crossed, as it was in that moment of the movie when men slipped down a rope in Somalia, knowing...knowing...did he hear old radio chatter in his head, still? Or remember a day on the range with the brave man who leapt to a certain death?

You cannot remove the memories or make them less urgent. And one ought not, anyway. But they should be measured...relived in pieces and parts for an appetite that is sated quickly with that bitter fruit. I haven't such terrors - or perhaps they were dulled, as so many of those years were, in diaphanous delirium. I feel quite impotent in the face of his mourning, years gone.

Years have passed so quickly that I can hardly remember most of those insults to the psyche. I have always been forgiving, too, understanding flawed souls intimately. I look back and see a great waste of time, decades spent on useless pursuits. But perhaps the path was intended to be barren, broken, and circular. It brought me here, now.

A witness. It was the one thing that stuck with me from the earliest days when I read Heinlein and his character of the "professional witness". I have tried to avoid making assumptions and believing very little that I had not, myself, experienced. It makes for a more lonely journey. But sure-footed, now.

Glory days...they sustain us, torment us, give us pause and urge us forward.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Quitting Endeavors

As my wedding anniversary creeps close I am, annually, reminded of the secondary importance of the date. Perhaps subconsciously selected and only seemingly random, it was rather surprising when I was reminded of its stature in history.

I try to remember it all, those first grainy images as a 6 year old as we watched it on the television. Then there were later days in Florida when I built a cardboard mockup of a control panel to try and emulate those on Apollo 13 when I could manage any privacy. There was a kind of immediacy and magic involved - if I could manage to think it hard enough, they would come home.

As an adult I consoled myself with all the movies I could find. This series was a feast, though a melancholy one. I go here now and then to watch the footage and experience it all again, some of the shadowy frames bringing back hints of scents and sensations so long forgotten.

It was, no matter how ruined I was in my early adult years, the only dream I kept - not alive, per se. Merely...a touchstone. If not for all this, I would tell myself, I would be there. So much pain to dull and so little time, though. Years wasted rather than used to cram and, too old, too late, and too damned stupid even then. All so that I could sit here, gently greying with silent tears slipping over a fate long ago decided.

Today, as in those last days of Apollo, no one cares who landed where, who risked what on giant engines of fire. They'll perform a dangerous ballet of connections, visit a hulk that was never given its chance, and surrender all in a final return to a planet, a nation, that has stopped dreaming.

The craft, this last monolith, Atlantis, is already an antique. Contracted in 1979, if you can imagine, it first left earth in 1985. Someday not long from now it will be tethered at KSC and your kids can put their grubby hands on its fuselage - never knowing that it likely was the end of their chance to make that trip.

NASA has not been, in years, what it once was. Some examples of why your tax dollars have been wasted live here and here and here. Look at this chart to see how it all moved from pure science and exploration to...bureaucracy. No matter how much I wish it were otherwise, I know that the private exploration initiatives are now the only way to continue reaching out and away from this nursery of ours.

I cannot help but wonder what we might have done with the better budget - the percentage people thought it was using - rather than the pittance it received. Instead of an EPA slush fund (check out that STAG number and try to figure out how much special favor bullshit will go on with it) we could have a generous amount of serious work done on alternative engines.

It is all academic, though, Graduates aren't even capable of proper grammar. They cannot be expected to understand the concept of extinction level events in history and that, this time, human beings will be the ones going bye-bye. Nice experiment, y'all - been swell...

No, they're too busy with Twitter, murdering mothers, mad mullahs who "just want peace", and the people who Think They Can Dance.

But there is a kind of resignation to it - that "I remember when" nostalgia to ease a person into their decline. Tales to be told to children, "It once was so...". Young men once risked all. Some young men will once again do the same but maybe with feet on ground, hoping to just hold that piece of it against what comes on the horizon. No time, now, for those horizons to stretch to the stars.

No time for dreams.

Farewell, Abandon In Place, and rust in peace.

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

What I Wish I'd Said

It came to me at midnight, failing to find sleep though so very bone-weary was the anniversary of the death of my mother. All day long the malaise settled around me and I considered everything without ever running my mind over that speedbump of history.

If I'd had any sense, I'd have noted this.

On the Fourth, we celebrate open rebellion, high treason, and disobedience.

We celebrate men who killed their countrymen for their principles.

Men who risked being demonized and executed by their government, for their principles.

Don’t you ever, ever forget that.


It’s not about apple pie, baseball, fireworks, and the Declaration of Independence.

The Fourth is about men holding to their principles strongly enough to lead to killing, rebellion, and treason.

Such actions led them to freedom.

Expensive, horrible, priceless freedom.

Arctic Patriot

Yes, that is what I read the comments for further explication and why I do enjoy this guy...

Monday, July 04, 2011

Stand To

So many have written eloquent words about the day. I cannot bring myself to try harder...nothing left in me, no energy or will to color within the patriotic lines this day.

Trooper walks his post today, hydrating and opening the cooler to see what I've packed for him. My days start early, always, with dogs needing attention and Trooper needing breakfast and then, on most days, the preparation of the dinner meal at mid-morning for him to take along. Exhausting, all that labor to ensure he eats well on the job that does not allow any departure once there.

Exhausting, too, my own work...people with behaviors I do not approve of and yet must support. I have to remind myself of the comfort I enjoy because of that role. Hundreds of people would line up to have it. Hundreds...

Because the economy is set to teeter then totter and force us all to make decisions that we've never been forced to make. Our grandparents knew those awful options - and could make it work because they were up to the challenge. But what of our accounts, all electronic and so easily snatched to zero if it was declared necessary? Hence, my borrowing against it to fund our vehicle, our other imperative purchases...if it will be worthless, best I make use of it now. If I'd been thinking, I would have tacked on a bit more to just get away for a time.

All this...this dark view is tiresome, too. I try to remember the good things. But my patience is thin and I have little to offer to others...distant friends act like fools and it takes all I have to stay quiet in the face of it. I am weary of this mask of gentility. The cold heart of my youth struggles against my facade of respectability. When do I get to rant and yell? Where is my vacation you goddamned usurper?

Blame this unending heat and vanished rain. Blame the ironing stacked away. Blame the dogs, pressing for fun that doesn't include going outside. Everything seems prickly and wrong no matter which way I try to turn it. No amount of spin can turn this ennui around. I am no good friend to man nor beast these days.

Time, I think, for sleep. Rest - and later to try again to stand against it all and smile. Smile as the wolf gnaws. Hold what you've got. Stand to.

Just...tomorrow, okay?

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Duluth Trading Firehose Pants Sale - For the thin or stubby types

Just a quick note for any stubby men or women - Duluth Trading has their famous Firehose pants on sale - they say they're defective but my pair are fine. They've only got 30/30, 32 & 34 and 36/28's so you'll have to be thin and tall or standard and short.

Search for part # 92204SEC and get a pair of pants that will last FOREVER for less than half the normal price. I'll be getting a few more if the stock holds out!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011


Like so many, I traveled on Sunday to make a visit that is not made often enough. My father isn't that far away, now - just a couple hours' drive - but I will admit we do not travel that road with the frequency I'd imagined when he moved to Texas. I think I'll be adding it to my calendar as a Must Do.

Someone brought all the old photos along which was very wise - the usual familial sqaubbling was avoided as we laughed at and talked about the old homes, antique clothes, and of how "gee, mom, you were PRETTY". Yeah. I smiled at that as my sister gasped in mock indignation.

My father watched us all, keeping up the conversation as is his skill - a raconteur of sorts and a natural showman. One could almost feel the cruel twist of time in his many more of these will he be allowed to see? How much longer can he continue with the small defribrillator maintaining his tick tocking? Its presence is always subtle but announced with every hug of his slender frame, that small, hard box just under his skin and always right where a daughter will place her hand to reach for a kiss. My flinch is unavoidable as I snatch my hand away, terrified the smallest pressure will be his undoing.

The photos of him in his youth were what captivated me. He was strong, a gymnast, and had that gruff Germanic nature that declared one must THINK, damn it. But it has always been muffled with that innate jester - the musician, the actor - that would prefer to play. No need to grow up, not just yet...and even with that tiny metronome in his chest ticking out his hours, he will still cling to those ways...

I looked at images like this one and wished I'd been born earlier in the pack, to have had more of him than I had before his Peter Pan needs supplanted that of fatherhood. He must have been quite the sight to my mother, small town creature that she was. How he must have stood like a tall wave pushing her to new shores...

No matter - I always knew. He gave me my words. He gave me my strength. He made me what I am even when he wasn't there. I owe him a great deal for that.

A long drive now and then seems a pittance against it.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Silver Whip

I have been pouting lately over the sad demise of my Explorer - it saw me through many a long road and is just a sentimental darling but...with something awry in the transmission it was time to let go.

And did I evah!

It's used and came from an engineer type with a meticulous little book of his maintenance. It made me feel immediately better about the purchase. He also added in a number of neat options (Hella lights, MP3 connection, iPhone dongle...)

I can finally cart both dogs around! For awhile, now, they've been homebound as only one could fit in the backseat of the truck. I'll have to find some good local water holes to let them swim in - the heat is a bit much for these spoiled inside types.

Cool pic, eh? Pretty sunset of pinks and purples gave the silver a mythic kind of glow - appropriate because it came with a name - one that made me grin and cheer, being a fan of the Scandihoovian archetypes - Thor.

I think its call sign will be The Hammer.

Crap - there I go grinning again.