Thursday, January 31, 2008

Et tu, CBC?

I was listening to CBC Radio One before I got out of bed, and heard the news of Ms. Britney Spears' latest trip to a health care facility.

First off - I hope that Ms. Britney finally gets the help that she so desperately needs. I hope that the interventions and/or high-potency pharmaceuticals that she will receive are effective. And I hope that their efficacy is not immediately negated by the psychotic paparazzi the minute she goes back home.

But .. oh, you silly people at the CBC! Have you forgotten that you are the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation? If I wanted slime in my morning coffee, I'd watch Fox News or listen to Howard Stern.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

'Twasn't him!

There's a story on NPR right now which casts Fort Drum in a pretty dark light, at least in terms of how it treats its disabled soldiers.

A soldier, speaking on the condition of anonymity, told NPR that:

"To be tossed aside like a worn-out pair of boots is pretty disheartening ... I always believed the Army would take care of me if I did the best I could, and I've done that."

Immediately after that story aired, my husband was asked if he was the anonymous soldier. It wasn't him. My husband would have given his full name, rank, and serial number, and insisted that everything be spelled correctly.

NPR's story rings true. If any reporters out there happen to find this blog and wish to speak to my husband or to me, we would be happy to oblige. We no longer fear retribution. The truth needs to get out.

UPDATE - I can be reached at miniaturerose (at) gmail dot com.

Happiness is a cold nose and a wagging tail

There's a great piece on the CNN website about service dogs who help veterans with PTSD.

While I don't have anything resembling PTSD, the past few years of this Army wife's life have been rather challenging at times. My faithful canine, Chocolate the wundermutt, has literally walked me through some of the darkest of days. There's nothing like a brisk 2 mile walk to clear the mind and refocus the senses. When my husband's physical pain and mental fatigue rendered him bedridden for days on end, Chocolate was right there beside him. I don't know what we'd do without her.

Monday, January 28, 2008

It's a conspiracy, I tell you!

I have a secret.

A rather embarrassing secret.

I developed an intense interest in, of all things, the Miss America 2008 pageant.

I was captivated by one contestant: Miss Utah, Jill Stevens. Or, as she is known in some circles, Sgt. Stevens.

Sgt. Stevens has served in the Utah National Guard for the past six years. She is a combat medic who proved her mettle in a one-year deployment to Afghanistan. She also has a Bachelor's degree in Nursing from Southern Utah University. She has completed twelve marathons, and is a certified fitness instructor. She is also stunningly beautiful, with or without makeup.

She made it into the final 16 as "America's Choice", but was eliminated from the competition after the "fitness" portion of the pageant.

'Scuse me? The marathon runner and certified fitness instructor didn't meet the pageant's "ideal" for fitness?

Miss Utah took the news with grace, class and a touch of spunky charisma. When her name was called, she dropped to the stage floor and hammered out a round of pushups.


Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Gone too soon

Today, came the news of a premature and tragic death. A young man, just 29, who had contributed so much, is gone.

No, I am not talking about Heath Ledger.

The body of Army Specialist Laurence Holloway, aged 29, was discovered in his barracks room on Fort Drum on Sunday.

He was an Army Medic and an ambulance driver, who had served in Afghanistan. At the time of his death - the cause of which is "under investigation" - he was in the 3rd of the 85th, otherwise known as the Warrior Transition Battalion. Until recently, the Army called that unit the "Medical Hold" unit - the place where wounded/injured/ill soldiers marked time until the Army figured out what to do with them.

I cannot imagine what he might have seen and experienced on his tour of duty.

I do not know what happened to him.

But I weep for his family.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Don't make me go cold turkey!!

I am addicted to Scrabulous, the hugely popular Facebook application. My cousin and I usually have at least two games on the go at any given time, and we make several plays on each board every day.

Alas, Scrabulous may become a victim of its own success. Hasbro, which owns the US and Canadian rights to the real Scrabble game, wants Facebook to remove Scrabulous, citing copyright infringement.

"Poo" is an allowable word on Scrabulous, and I say poo-poo to Hasbro!

Two more items for my CV

I can now be officially labeled as a Wrangler of Huskies and a Husky Buzzkiller.

I live in a relatively rural area. I can see my neighbours' houses, but they're far enough away that I don't know what they're having for dinner.

Just up the road, there's a small rental property - a little house, and two cinderblock apartments. In one of those apartments lives a beautiful male husky. I often see him out front on a long chain. This morning, as I was sitting in my cozy parlour, a streak of black and white flashed through the field across the road. The husky had broken off of his chain, and was enjoying his freedom. He was running at full speed across the light dusting of snow, grinning as he fulfilled the niche for which he was bred.

I grabbed a leash, and set out to return the husky to his (pathetic) domicile. He ran eagerly towards me when I whistled, and I was able to tether him with a minimum of effort. As we walked the 50 metres or so back to his place of confinement, my long-standing suspicions were confirmed. The dog had no leash manners whatsoever, and clearly does not get to go for walks, let alone runs, with his human.

I am a firm believer in Cesar Milan's approach to dog ownership. All dogs need exercise, discipline, and affection - in that order - and huskies have an extraordinarily high need for exercise. Over twenty years ago, my family welcomed a husky named Gatwick into our home. He needed to run, and we met that need by biking with him. Gatwick would essentially pull the human for the first half of his run, as he sprinted flat-out for a kilometre on our country road, smiling the entire way. A few dislocated shoulders, and countless cases of road rash resulted when Gatwick got distracted by a squirrel or rabbit in the bush. Despite the injuries, those exercise sessions were absolutely crucial to the dog's well-being. He lived 15 years, which is a startlingly long lifespan for a husky.

I know that returning the wayward dog was the right thing to do, but I feel badly for curtailing his freedom and wiping that unique husky grin off his face.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Good Karma

So, last night, as I was practicing Veterinary Medicine without a license, I was thinking that the universe owed me for this gesture.

The universe agreed, and with great speed. My pay stub just arrived, and I was delighted to see that I received a nice little "weekend bonu$" for having worked more than my share of weekends over the past six months. This is a benefit that my employer has been offering for quite some time, but I didn't think I was eligible, given that I am a casual employee.


UPDATE: Wow, Universe! You did me a solid!

I went to Target to spend some of my weekend bonu$, and found everything I was looking for and more.

I had been secretly coveting this sewing machine, which I had seen online while searching for Hello Kitty gifts for my HK-obsessed Mother-in-Law:

And LO! And BEHOLD! There was just such a machine at our local Target.

And because the Universe has smiled upon me today, it was 75% off. I scored a cute Janome sewing machine for a mere twenty-five bucks. I plan to give it to my niece for her 12th birthday. SHH! Don't tell Gwennie!

Do you think she'll let me play with it?

Something new for my CV

Last night, my friend Ms. R. called for some advice about Biff, her elderly hound. Poor old Biff has been having some .. ahem .. intestinal issues. Long story short .. I changed out of my jammies and back into clothes, gathered up some glycerin suppositories, gloves, and sterile lubricant, and drove up to Ms. R's house. As per the note left for me today - I take the Biffster for a little walk 5 mornings a week - my efforts were not in vain.

Rose: Army Wife. Homeschooling Momma. Registered Nurse. Dis-impacter of dogs. Makes housecalls. Try to top that, Cesar Milan!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Shades of grey

Gandalf looked absolutely ethereal this morning, lounging possessing the recliner and soaking up the sun.
I think he was thinking about elevensies.

How cool! Tolkien named the wizard after me!

Monday, January 07, 2008

The orange background - it hurts the eyes, doesn't it?

January 11, 2008, will mark the six-year anniversary of the arrival of the first "detainees" at the "tropical paradise" known as Guantanamo Bay.

One of the youngest members of that "exclusive club" is Omar Khadr. In July 2002, at the age of 15, he was involved in a battle in Afghanistan. He has been at Gitmo, in legal limbo, ever since. He alleges that he has been tortured.

David Crane, the former U.S. prosecutor for Sierra Leone's war crimes trials, argues that Omar Khadr should be treated as a child soldier, with the same sympathy and protection offered to him as the US and Canada offered to Africa's child soldiers, who were "forced to commit atrocious crimes."

The ACLU is calling upon the citizens of this great nation to wear orange on January 11th, to symbolize our "sadness and disgust with the national disgrace that is Guantanamo Bay."

I realize that tweaking the CSS code on my blog will have little to no effect on the indefinite detention and alleged torture that Guantanamo has come to represent .. but it's the only tool I have at the moment.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Ah, but what shade of blue?

Your Brain is Blue

Of all the brain types, yours is the most mellow.
You tend to be in a meditative state most of the time. You don't try to think away your troubles.
Your thoughts are realistic, fresh, and honest. You truly see things as how they are.

You tend to spend a lot of time thinking about your friends, your surroundings, and your life.

I'd like to think it's actually hooloovoo.

Quote of the day

"Whatever your taste in music or news, it is difficult not to wonder why those who know her - from family members, staff, doctors and lawyers, to her management, fans and even her casual observers - have allowed her life to essentially become one long snuff video."

Siri Agwell on Britney's Public Meltdown, in Saturday's Globe and Mail.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Feathered Friends


Captain Jack


Tuesday, January 01, 2008

I have an Ow-Wii

Last night, I finally had a chance to play on the Wii.

I totally don't get what I'm supposed to be doing in Lego Star Wars, despite my 10 year old son's admonition that "it's quite simple, really."

Wii Sports was more to my liking. I spent 2 hours bowling, boxing, and golfing with the kiddo last night. I was quite surprised, and a little disturbed, to discover just how much I enjoy pounding the snot out of the virtual heavy bag.

I'm paying for it today. My right deltoid and my left gluteus medius and latissimus dorsi are squawking at me now. Is it too late to get a patent on the term Ow-Wii?