Wednesday, November 25, 2009

I'm Behind!

I can't believe I thought I'd be able to pull together a giveaway and a major family dinner the week my son got home from training. Sorry, everyone - I have the fabric cut but haven't managed to find more than a few minutes at a time for any actual sewing.

I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving, and I found this on an online forum:

The average age of the military man is 19 years. He is a short haired, tight-muscled kid who, under normal circumstances is considered by society as half man, half boy. Not yet dry behind the ears, not old enough to buy a beer, but old enough to die for his country. He never really cared much for work and he would rather wax his own car than wash his father's, but he has never collected unemployment either.

He's a recent High School graduate; he was probably an average student, pursued some form of sport activities, drives a ten year old jalopy, and has a steady girlfriend that either broke up with him when he left, or swears to be waiting when he returns from half a world away. He listens to rock and roll or hip-hop or rap or jazz or swing and a 155mm howitzer.

He is 10 or 15 pounds lighter now than when he was at home because he is working or fighting from before dawn to well after dusk. He has trouble spelling, thus letter writing is a pain for him, but he can field strip a rifle in 30 seconds and reassemble it in less time in the dark. He can recite to you the nomenclature of a machine gun or grenade launcher and use either one effectively if he must.

He digs foxholes and latrines and can apply first aid like a professional.

He can march until he is told to stop,or stop until he is told to march.

He obeys orders instantly and without hesitation, but he is not without spirit or individual dignity. He is self-sufficient.

He has two sets of fatigues: he washes one and wears the other. He keeps his canteens full and his feet dry.

He sometimes forgets to brush his teeth, but never to clean his rifle. He can cook his own meals, mend his own clothes, and fix his own hurts.

If you're thirsty, he'll share his water with you; if you are hungry, his food. He'll even split his ammunition with you in the midst of battle when you run low.

He has learned to use his hands like weapons and weapons like they were his hands.

He can save your life - or take it, because that is his job.

He will often do twice the work of a civilian, draw half the pay, and still find ironic humor in it all.

He has seen more suffering and death than he should have in his short lifetime.

He has wept in public and in private, for friends who have fallen in combat and is unashamed.

He feels every note of the National Anthem vibrate through his body while at rigid attention, while tempering the burning desire to 'square-away ' those around him who haven't bothered to stand, remove their hat, or even stop talking. In an odd twist, day in and day out, far from home, he defends their right to be disrespectful.

Just as did his Father, Grandfather, and Great-grandfather, he is paying the price for our freedom. Beardless or not, he is not a boy. He is the American Fighting Man that has kept this country free for over 200 years.

He has asked nothing in return, except our friendship and understanding.

Remember him, always, for he has earned our respect and admiration with his blood.

Now, I don't mean to harp on the subject of respect for our military, but this brought tears to my eyes, perhaps because it describes two of my three boys. And I love them, and I am grateful for the gift of all three!

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone, and please say a quick prayer for all those who are away from their families this holiday - whatever the reason!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Boys Are Fun!!

This one just spent the last fourteen weeks learning to be an Infantryman. We have him home through Thanksgiving, and then he reports back to the Army. He got up early and ran three miles with me this morning, and then spent some time on the computer sending e-mails and such.

And now, he's indulging in some well-deserved couch time:

And this one is finishing his first semester of college. They're on Thanksgiving Break this week, so he's at loose ends. He loves the fireplace - he'd have it running in the summer if his Dad would go along with that! You can see that he is entertaining The Naughtiest Dogs on The Planet, here:

And he just told me he wants to buy one of these:

Not just a car - specifically, a Mini-Cooper. And he is just over six feet tall - I told him he'll need to fold his legs to fit!

And I have two of my three ducks home for Thanksgiving and may have all THREE home for Christmas. Definitely cause for giving thanks, don't you think?

I'll be posting a giveaway in the next day or so - stay tuned!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Road Trip!

We get to take a very special road trip tomorrow - we are heading back down to Fort Benning, Georgia to bring home the youngest son, who is now officially an Infantryman in the US Army - and VERY proud of it! We bring him home Saturday for ten days, so he'll have Thanksgiving at home - hooray!

And I am working on a blog giveaway, but it will be on hold 'til we get the young man safely home. Have a wonderful week, everyone, and I'll try to post some pictures this weekend!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

I Need More Weekend!

Oh, the weekends are never long enough, are they? This one is over and I have several projects unfinished. I guess it's a good thing there are several weekends in the month!

Melissa and I took a three-mile hike early in the day today, while the Princess rode her horse. I haven't gone on the trail with them in awhile, and I was pleasantly surprised to see that the Princess is riding like a pro! She's improved by leaps and bounds since the last time I saw her riding. It was such a gorgeous day and I'm glad we took some time to get out and enjoy it.

I've been meaning to use some leftover fabric to make a stacked coins quilt - I worked on that today and the top is almost finished. Here's a couple of photos - I'll take a better one when I finish it - maybe next weekend!

It will be another throw-sized quilt, probably 50" x 60" or so. I have some bamboo batting I've been wanting to try, so maybe I'll put that in this quilt and see what the result is.

I don't know what the ultimate destination of this quilt is - it all depends on how it turns out. I always keep the option open of making it a dog quilt, just in case the results of my experimentation are awful. The dogs aren't too worried about what a quilt looks like! But so far it's not looking too bad - it might not have to go to the dogs after all!

I got the thrifted wool washed and dried. I was trying to get it to shrink, so I washed it in hot water and dried it on high. It worked - everything felted down nicely. I want to do a few felted stockings, and some stuffed critters, and maybe even a cozy felted blanket. I might need a few more sweaters!

And now it's time to get ready for next week and then settle down for the evening. I need a few more hours in my weekend! Have a good week, everyone!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Saturday Shopping

Today was a good day. Melissa and I started the morning with a two-mile run, and then we cleaned out the remains of the summer garden and planted garlic. The garlic will grow all winter while the ground rests and we'll harvest it early next summer - a perfect use of otherwise dormant garden beds.

After showers and breakfast, we spent the day shopping. We found some wonderful wool items for recycling at the thrift store, some great fabric and yarn at the craft and fabric store and a treat for the princess at Toys R Us. And I found a perfect quilt pattern book - there are so many good things in it - I can't wait to sew some of them up and show them to all of you!

Tomorrow afternoon I think I'll break out the sewing machine for a bit. Hope you're all having a fabulous weekend!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Happy Veteran's Day!

I spent my Veteran's Day on call, which makes for a very long day! But we capped the evening off with dinner at Applebee's - they had free entrees for veterans. Thank you, Applebee's! And now I'm settling down before bed. Before I call it a night, though, I want to send a great big thank you out to all of you who have served in the military, or who have family that have served.

And, may God make me ever mindful of the sacrifices of thousands of men and women who protect our freedom every single day.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Surprises in the Mail!

Earlier this week I got an unpleasant surprise from the cat -and today I got a very pleasant surprise in the mail! As it turns out, I won one of the giveaways from Karen at Little Pieces of My Life. See the pretty parcel wrapped in tissue paper? It was tied with the sweetest little pink ribbon you have ever seen!

And when I opened the package, it contained a lovely vintage ivory-colored apron embellished with blue and red stitchery, and a "Quilter on the Move" luggage tag AND a new book! The book is "The Quilter's Kitchen" by Jennifer Chiaverini. Aren't I the luckiest person in Tennessee right now?

Even more than the package, though, I am happy about what it represents. It represents Karen's return to health, and to her life. So, thank you so much, Karen, and congratulations on your recovery! May you continue to gain strength and health with every day that passes!

And, if you're interested in participating in National Tie One On Day, you can read more about it at Karen's blog. She even has a link to an easy apron pattern - it's worth a look!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Beware Cats Bearing Gifts

I have the most loving cat on the planet. She loves to snuggle, and gives sweet little kitty kisses and brings gifts. And who doesn't love gifts? Anybody who's ever had a generous cat, that's who!

It's getting colder here, and when it's cold the poor little field mice start coveting the warm interior of the house - or, at least, the sheltered area on the porch. The cat found one of those little mice on the porch and she brought it inside. To share. While it was still alive. You know where this is going, don't you?

Yep, she let the mouse go. In the house. There's a live field mouse running around in here. Yay. Now I have to find some chihuahua-proof mousetraps. Wish me luck!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Tragedy at Ft Hood

I'm sure you've all heard of the tragic shootings that took place today at Ft. Hood, Texas. My prayers go out to all the soldiers and their families affected by this. My oldest son is stationed there, and he called earlier today to let all of us know he's okay. And we've been fielding calls all afternoon from family members who are worried about Joshua.

And then, on the news, I heard that one of the shooters was an army physician - a mental health specialist - who was afraid to deploy. Now I don't blame anybody for not wanting to deploy - not for one second. But how in the world do you justify taking the lives of the soldiers who are just as frightened as you are? Especially when you are a medical professional who is charged with protecting those soldiers?

The truth is, it makes me angry, and the more I think of it, the more angry I get. I could just scream! How dare he hurt - kill - the people he had promised to protect? As an officer and a physician, his mission was clear. I just don't understand how someone could veer that far off course.

And I'm left back where I started, praying for the young men and women who have been affected by this dereliction of duty, and for their families who may, even now, be awaiting word of their loved one's fate. And shaking my head at the madness.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

What's For Dinner?

What are you having for dinner? I had some leftover roast chicken (from the Kroger deli - I did NOT try to do a roast chicken dinner midweek!), and we decided to make some chicken stock. It has simmered all morning and the house smells lovely, and I found this wonderful recipe: Chicken Corn Chowder.

I think I'll pair it with some rustic bread and maybe a little bit of shredded cheese for the top. What's for dinner at your house?

Oh, and for my month of gratitude - I am thankful for chilly fall days and hot soup!