Saturday, May 2, 2009

A Brother Abroad

April was a cruel month.

April 30:
Petty Officer 2nd Class Tyler J. Trahan, 22, of East Freetown, Mass., Sgt. James R. McIlvaine, 26, of Olney, Md. and Staff Sgt. Mark A. Wojciechowski, 25, of Cincinnati, Ohio. died April 30 while supporting combat operations in Fallujah, Iraq.

Petty Officer Trahan was assigned to Explosive Ordnance Disposal Unit Twelve in Norfolk, Va., and was deployed with an East Coast based Navy SEAL team.Sgt. McIlvaine was assigned to 1st Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force, Twenty-nine Palms, Calif. Staff Sgt. Wojciechowski was assigned to 7th Engineer Support Battalion, 1st Marine Logistics Group, I Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Pendleton, Calif.

April 25:
Staff Sgt. Leroy O. Webster, 28, of Sioux Falls, S.D., died April 25 near Kirkuk, Iraq, after being shot while on a dismounted patrol. He was assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 82nd Field Artillery Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, Fort Hood, Texas.

April 24:
CSM Benjamin Moore, Jr., 43, of Waycross, Ga., died Apr 24 at Contingency Operating Base Speicher, Iraq, of injuries sustained in a non-combat related incident. He was assigned to the 2d Battalion, 27th Infantry Regiment, 3d Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, Schofield Barracks, Hawaii.

April 22:
Cpl. Brad A. Davis, 21, of Garfield Heights, Ohio, died April 22 near Baghdad, Iraq, of wounds sustained when an improvised explosive device detonated near his vehicle. He was assigned to the 82nd Brigade Support Battalion, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, N.C.

Cpl. William C. Comstock, 21, of Van Buren, Ark., died April 22 as a result of a non-hostile incident in Anbar province, Iraq. He was assigned to 2nd Supply Battalion, Combat Logistics Regiment 25, 2nd Marine Logistics Group, II Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Lejeune, N.C.

April 16:
Lance Cpl. Ray A. Spencer II, 20, of Ridgecrest, Calif., died April 16 as a result of a non-hostile incident in Anbar province, Iraq. He was assigned to 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division, Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii.

April 13:
Sgt. Raul Moncada, 29, of Madera, Calif., died April 13 near Baghdad, Iraq, of wounds sustained when an explosive device detonated near his vehicle. He was assigned to the 563rd Military Police Company, 91st Military Police Battalion, 10th Sustainment Brigade, 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry), Fort Drum, N.Y.

April 12:
Spc. Michael J. Anaya, 23, of Crestview, Fla., died April 12 in Bayji, Iraq, when an improvised explosive device detonated near his vehicle. He was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 27th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, Schofield Barracks, Hawaii.

April 10:
Sgt. Christopher D. Loza, 24, of Abilene, Texas, died Apr. 10, 2009, at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, Washington, D.C., of a non-combat related illness after becoming ill 17 March in Radwaniyah, Iraq. He was assigned to the 1st Squadron, 124th Cavalry Regiment, 56th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 36th Infantry Division, Waco, Texas.

Staff Sgt. Gary L. Woods Jr., 24, of Lebanon Junction, Ky., Staff Sgt. Bryan E. Hall, 32, of Elk Grove, Calif., Sgt. Edward W. Forrest Jr., 25, of St. Louis, Mo., Cpl. Jason G. Pautsch, 20, of Davenport, Iowa, and PV2 Bryce E. Gautier, 22, of Cypress, Calif. died April 10th when their military vehicle was struck by a suicide vehicle-borne improvised explosive device in Mosul, Iraq. They were assigned to the 1st Battalion, 67th Armor Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, Fort Carson, Colo.

April 5:
Spc. Israel Candelaria Mejias, 28, of San Lorenzo, Puerto Rico, died April 5 near Baghdad, Iraq, of wounds sustained when a mine detonated near him during combat operations. He was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 2nd Infantry Regiment in Task Force 3rd Battalion, 66th Armor Regiment, 172nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, Grafenwoehr, Germany.

April 3:
Lance Cpl. Stephen F. Dearmon, 21, of Crossville, Tenn., died April 3 as a result of a non-hostile incident in Anbar province, Iraq. He was assigned to 2nd Marine Logistics Group, II Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Lejeune, N.C.

Sgt. Daniel J. Beard, 24, of Buffalo, N.Y., died April 3 in Al Diwaniyah, Iraq, of injuries sustained from a non-combat related incident. He was assigned to the 147th Postal Company, 21st Theater Sustainment Command, Wiesbaden, Germany.

This is Day 97.

Friday, May 1, 2009

A Brother Abroad

Paul and Julie are Skypin'.......

It's a movement, I tell you!!!!

This is Day 96.

AND 57 days until leave!!!

Dedicated to my Darling O

Ever the chatterbox and virtuoso in the art of distraction, I sing this song to her at every meal....

Add it to my Mommy soundtrack.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

A Brother Abroad

It seems after weeks of searching, we have settled on the perfect Carolina rental for our summer vacation in honor of Paul's brief leave from Iraq at the midway point.

It's on the ocean, it has a pool, and, most important to O, it's pink.

Perfect for a Marine, don't you think?

So, perhaps it's also time to also start a countdown to that event (especially since the current tracker is such a downer)......

This is Day 95.


58 Days until leave!

Nefarious Dictator of the Day

Funny Clip of the Day

American Idol Results

Wow!!! Allison and Danny were the top two and I couldn't be happier. It's about time my favorite got some props and Adam got put in check. Kris was at least #3, which makes me feel okay.....

WOW, wow, season ever.

But who went home????

It was Matt Giraud....ahem, ahem.

And for the record....PAULA NEEDS TO GO!

I Love Technology (to be sung to the tune provided by Kip of Napolean Dynamite)

I think Facebook is fun enough, while Twitter doesn't interest me at all. I obviously love to blog, but what is my new obsession?

I'm a Skypin' Queen.

See that girl, in her monitor, she is the Skypin' Queen....oh yeah.....

Why Am I Such a Loser?? --Don't answer that

Though I have never watched the show, I got an advertisement email from Amazon about the release of the album (do we still say album?) for the winner of the first season of Britain's Got Talent.

Apparently, his name is Paul Potts.

Does anyone else think that's funny?

Do you think he'll tour Cambodia?

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

A Brother Abroad

During the 100 Days Press Conference, President Obama was asked by NY Times Columnist Jeff Zeleny: what has he been most surprised by, troubled by, enchanted by, and humbled by. Though the question required some notes, this was his reply to "Enchanted":

Enchanted? Enchanted. I will tell you that when I -- when I meet our servicemen and -women, enchanted is probably not the word I would use.

But I am so profoundly impressed and grateful to them for what they do. They're really good at their job. They are willing to make extraordinary sacrifices on our behalf. They do so without complaint. They are fiercely loyal to this country.
And, you know, the more I interact with our servicemen and women, from the top brass down to the lowliest private, I'm just -- I'm grateful to them.

This is Day 94.

Mother of All Creatures Great and Small!!! Could it BE???

Paragon of journalistic integrity, TMZ is reporting that Tupak Shakur is alive and well and living it up in New Orleans.

Could it truly be him?

Check out the photographic evidence above!

The thought of it sends my mind round and round, round and round......

Rainy Day Serendipity

Though I would not consider myself to be a "highly" organized person, I would go so far as to characterize myself as a "reasonably" organized one. I like order and everything having its place, and I cannot stand clutter. That's not to say that my house is clutter-free, but I get really anxious when it becomes more than a little apparent.

Since we have some gloomy weather, no pressing engagements, and an interest in avoiding swine, we three headed to the basement for some early morning play and some serious organization. I happen to have a love of bins and so, my first objective was to rearrange and sort them. It was during this time that I made a wonderful discovery!

Hidden away in a box marked "Memorabilia", my mother had neatly stored my entire childhood collection of Cabbage Patch Kids and barbies (with clothes!). I had completely forgotten it.

So, in keeping with our organizing sweep, O and I excitedly headed up to her room to pick out some pink storage boxes left over from her nursery and began the process of pouring through everything.

I remember every outfit, every doll, and even the way I played with them. Best of all, O is in doll heaven.

She's been in her room for the past hour, and completely engrossed....not a peep.

So much fun, and sentimental, and unexpected.

I Watch American Idol: Feel Free to Hate on Me

Kris Allen: It's official....I am completely crushing. I think that performance may have put him ahead of Allison for me....I'm such a cornball.

Allison Iraheta: I love "Someone to Watch Over Me" and she was AMAZING (what else is new?). She is not just a rocker girl....and she is STILL my favorite!

Matt Giraud: Though good, his vocals aren't as strong as the others, but he definitely sells the rat pack, smoldering vibe. He's just not enough to complete the full AI package....this week was a hit, though.

Danny Gokey: Though not as polished as the others (he can't help but smile like he's still surprised he's there), his voice has such a great tone to it.....and his performance reminded my of Bobby Vera and the Beaters.....great performance.

Adam Lambert: I feel the same as last week with Adam....he is a performer who knows how to take on a character....but who is he? Maybe Broadway bound, but do you see him on the regular pop charts? I'm just not a fan.....

I have NO IDEA who is going to win this thing....I don't think there's ever been such a competition, but if I had to pick the person to go home, I'd have to say.......

Matt Giraud.

In other news, could Jamie Foxx love himself anymore??

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

A Brother Abroad

This is a recitation of a last letter home.....

This is also Day 93.

It is never far from memory, is it?

I don't have any time to blog today, but wanted to post this....a incarnation of the pit in my stomach. Yes, it was a stupid decision on someone's part; but what's more, it shows how complacency does not replace memories.


Monday, April 27, 2009

A Brother Abroad

Talk about getting today's in at the eleventh hour.....

Since a college reunion of sorts brought me to Manhattan this weekend (and the slow recovery that ensues in the days following the realization that you are no longer a rock star), I have been playing catch-up with both sleep and work.

And I could be whiney, I guess, which is why now is as good a time as any to remind myself about:

5) My comfortable bed and air-conditioned room
4) The family that waited to pick me up at the train station after only being away 24 hours
3) The work that I do doesn't even require me to leave my couch
2) I may not be a rock star, but I have no interest in being one (or around one) at all
1) My biggest worry is Joseph's trip to the dentist and swine flu.

This is Day 92.


The Basu kittens have found a new home....hurray!!!

A loving family in New Hampshire has added them to their already happy cat family and all is now well with the world.

Considering how pets can often feel like a part of the family, it's so hard to let them go, whatever the circumstance. Which is why we're so happy to hear they've found a loving family!



O just got back from her first trip to the dentist (yes, I know I'm a few months late.....) but:

1) Dr. Andy Berman of Kids First Dentistry was AMAZING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

2) O did AMAZING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

3) Joseph is scheduled for his first appointment next week!

~~~~ Apparently, despite a pediatrician's recommendation of 3 for the first dental check-up, the American Something of Dentistry now says 18 months!

Yeah, teeth!


Swine Flu kind of scares me....

Sunday, April 26, 2009

A Brother Abroad

"On a day-to-day basis, people are not quite as tuned in as they could be. They're like, 'My boy's not over there.' . . . I mean, everyone's real helpful when it comes to wounded vets. But on a day-to-day basis, it's like, 'It's not my kid.' "

-- Army National Guard Sgt. Jared Jalbert

This is Day 91.