Welcome Home!

I love my country dearly and I care deeply for the friends that served with me in Desert Storm. I think about the soldiers that are in the Middle East now and wonder how they're doing. I hope they have everything they need to keep them safe and I wish they would come home soon. Almost every night when I lay my head down on my pillow and get snug under the covers, I think of all the soldiers who are over there on guard in the early morning hours while I am warm and restful in my bed. And then, I thank them!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Decisions, decisions...

Yesterday I got a call for an interview. This is a good thing, except that I've been very contented staying home with my young son for the past 3 years. Being a stay-at-home mom has allowed me to make my house a home. It has also allowed me to spend some very nice quality time with my son that I wouldn't have had if I was working.
So now I am faced with a decision to make, and it's a very hard decision to make. I'm not gonna gloss things over, so I will say that staying home has a lot of nice benefits. I don't have to wake up early, I can stay in my pajamas all day if I want, I can take a nap when I'm feeling tired, and I can work at my own pace. I am the boss! And I like it! On the other hand, a job will give me the extra money I'd like to have to spend on things like monthly manicures, pedicures, massages, new clothes and shoes, a big screen tv, a king size bed, money to pay off the visas, extra cash for vacations, and the list goes on. I love to shop and for the past several years I've had to curb my enthusiasm. This is my chance to get out and start spending again. So what do I do?
I am a teacher, and the job I will be interviewing for is working with adjudicated youth; kids who are taken out of the public schools and put into private, alternative education schools. I will be a history teacher at this school. Now you might be saying, 'hey you better take this job, jobs are hard to come by in today's economy', but you don't know those kids! They like to fight, and I refuse to break up fights at this point in my life. They also don't want to learn, and don't give a damn about the Great Depression, the Vietnam War, or today's war. All they care about is who is 'dissin who, who looked at them wrong, and what their girlfriend is doing at home.
One option is to take the job and say, hey, if they don't want to learn then I can't force them. So I could give them a passage to read and let them answer the questions at the end of the chapter. Easy. But could I get away with that every day? Yes, I have passion for history, and I like working with kids, but when they don't want to learn and don't care about school, I don't care how passionate the teacher is about the kids Or the subject, you're not gonna change that kids mind! All you can hope is that something that you say will one day stick in one of those kids' minds and changes his views on something. I have racked my brain at nights trying to come up with creative teaching ideas to get these kids interested and involved in history, but to no avail. So, this job would be different. I would be in it for the money. And trust me, it's not that much.
Life is full of decisions and I pray that I make the right choice on this one. Be well my friends!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Colby Buzzell

I should be cleaning, finishing a painting I started, or doing something else productive, but instead, I wanted to share my thoughts on a book that I just finished reading. Colby Buzzell is a Veteran of Iraqi Freedom and published a book called, _My War: Killing Time in Iraq_. It is probably the first book that I read that is so blatantly honest and real, infact, it's the first book that I've read that uses the word "fuck" on almost every page. Some of his readers found it offensive but I didn't. I thought the language was pretty funny and expressed what everyone in the military wants to say. I give the publishing company credit for publishing it.

The book was inspired after Colby wrote a series of blogs from Iraq. He explains in his book that news got out to his Commander and the Battalion Commander that he was writing the blog. After reading his stories his chain of command thought that he was exposing too many critical details of his company's missions that could potentially put his unit in danger. He was ordered to stop writing for a period of time but then once he did start writing again it seemed that he just gave up fighting the system.

In his book, he criticizes his chain of command saying that they had no reason to stop him from writing, and that he said nothing in his blogs that would have compromised the security of his unit. However, if you read his blogs, then you'll know that he Did give out critical information that could have given the "enemy" some very useful details of his units exact location (near the water tower), the roads they traveled every day, the weapons they were using, the time of day they typically completed missions, and the names of the local interpreters that were working with his unit.

Now, I've been working on a book about my time in Desert Storm for about 8 years now. I put it away and stopped writing for all these years for a few reasons, one of them being that I was weary that the "enemy" could use the information to their advantage. So, now that I'm back to writing again I censor each sentence. While Colby's book was interesting to read, I do think he exposed too many details in his blogs. But on the other hand, I think our media also exposes too many details. Sigh!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Author Jean Sasson Writes about the Lives of Women in the Middle East

I first started getting interested in the lives of women in the Middle East once I began reading Jean Sasson's books. The first book I read of hers was the first that she published, "The Rape of Kuwait." From then on I became an instant fan. Not only because I spent time in Kuwait and could vision and empathize with the stories she reported, but because I love oral histories. Her first hand accounts of the disasters, fears, and struggles that people (mainly women) face intrique me because they give an insiders account of history.

Jean's most recent book is, "Growing up bin Laden" which is the story of Osama bin Laden's first wife and fourth born son. Most of all, it gives us insight into the type of father Osama was and is: strict, un-loving, and hateful of America(ns).

Jean is very personable and the stories that she writes can help us understand the Middle East's past, and realize that not all people in that part of the world are evil.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Haiti

You know, I'm getting real tired of hearing about the earthquake in Haiti. Everytime I turn on the news that's all I see. Last night, Bill Clinton was on CNN trying to raise money for the people there. Now, how many people in our country are suffering at no fault of their own? How many veterans are walking the streets because they're so messed up in the head and can't find a decent job to support themselves? How many women are living in shelters with their children because their husbands physically and mentally abused them? Where is the outpouring of money for these people? We are always so gracious when it comes to another country's needs, but when it comes to our own needs at home we turn an apathethic eye to them. It's all about politics. Our country is still in a recession yet we pour money that we need to be spending here at home into countries that could care less about us. Unreal!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

When in Rome...

After the war, but before going back to Germany where I was stationed, a few soldiers from my company got the opportunity to go to a secluded destination, on a ship, for some much needed rest and recooperation. Myself and three of my girlfriends were three of the few who were chosen. During that time, we decided to spend a day exploring one of Saudi-Arabia's villages. I can still smell the mixture of inscense and dust, and feel the dry heat on my skin. We seemed to have been in a town market with lots of fruits and vegetables displayed in the store fronts. Women strolled the streets covered from head to toe in their Abayas while men seemed to be standing in the background guarding an invisible enemy. No one bothered us, yet looking back I can't say that we felt completely welcomed there even though we were in civilian cloths. Perhaps it was our clothing that bothered them. All three of us girls wore t-shirts and pants that we rolled up to our knees due to the heat. For footwear we had on flip-flops. Our guy friend had on shorts, a t-shirt and flip-flops. Now, had we known that women in Saudi-Arabia do not expose any part of their bodies in public, we most definitely wouldn't have dressed the way we did. But we didn't know. I feel a certain amount of rage toward our military for not sharing this information with us prior to even entering the country. To a large extent I feel that we misrepresented our country. Some may say that the phrase "When in Rome do as the Romans do" doesn't apply when you're at war, but I disagree. We should have known about the proper dress for women and perhaps a bit more about their culture. How can we expect to build positive relations with countries when we so blatantly disregard their customs?

War Between the Ethnic Factions in Afghanistan Similar to Past War in Eastern Europe

Lets face it, one of Afghanistan's biggest problem in its history is that it had no established government. When a government was in place, it favored the majority ethnic race of the Pashtuns. People of other descents, the Hazra's for example, had very little control over the management or establishment of laws for the country. Similarly, in former Yugoslavia the Serbians were the ethnic majority in the government and the Croats, Bosnians, and Slovenians were discriminated against. Even in districts where the populaion was mainly Croats, several Serbians in that area felt inferior to the Croats which caused tension between the two groups. It wasn't until the countries fought for and won their independence from Yugoslavia that they gained the freedom and respect that they deserved. In my opinion, the only way Afghanis will be at peace in their country is 1: they form their own governments within their own districts, or 2: they form a centralized governement that represents all the ethnic backgrounds and their needs. A centralized government is the only way to get rid of the Taliban and members of Al qaeda.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Finding Veterans Forums and Blogs is Like Looking for a Needle in a Hay Stack!

For the past several days I've been searching the internet for Veteran's forums and Blogs. I have to tell you that I haven't had much luck. The ones that I did find were outdated and un-occupied, like ghost towns. Or, others are loaded with advertisements from pharmaceutical companies or other money-making gimmicks. Where are the real voices of the people who served and are serving our country? I will continue my search until I succeed. Until then my friends!