Friday, April 30, 2010

Joint Warfighting Conference #jwc10

It's coming up - are you ready? If you can't be there, do you have questions?

Here's a link to the Conference schedule.

1st up -
May 11th
Kickoff Address
The Honorable Michele A. Flournoy, Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, U.S. Department of Defense

April 30, 1975

"35 Years Ago Today"

This is a must read from The Armorer.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

What's The Opposite Of Relaxing In the Spa

It's when you work for a medical equipment/home oxygen company and the Joint Commission shows up!

After my wonderful relaxing Sunday in the spa at Foxwoods, I woke up Monday and headed back down to the 9th floor. We were going to head back at a leisurely pace, there was no rush.

I stopped at the front desk and asked about a pedicure at the Grand Salon. I got my pass for the spa. I stopped at the women's locker room desk, got my locker key, etc. I stowed my bags in the locker and headed back out. I had left my wrap in the lounge the night before, I wanted to go see if someone had turned it in. I also planned to grab a tea to sip as I read by the pool.

As I passed by the front desk, my cell rang. It was Rachael. "The Joint Commission is here. I am NOT kidding!" My brain froze, I was 100 miles away. "That's fine. I am on my way."

I told the woman behind the desk to cancel everything, ran down the hall to the locker room and grabbed my stuff. As I passed the woman at the front desk, she was holding out the money I had just paid for the pedicure.

I grabbed my boss, stuffed her in the car....and we were off!

I must admit, this was much easier than previous visits. The surveyor was much nicer and very relaxed. A former Marine. Plus we all have cell phones and instant messaging, so there were no surprises. I knew what was happening and what questions were being asked. that made me soooo much more relaxed.

We passed.....I rock!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Is There Anything Better....

...than whiling away the afternoon lounging, reading, moving between the jacuzzi, the sauna, the pool......

Who invented the jacuzzi? I love that man.

I have Cosmo because that is the decadent choice and what is Princess Crabby if not decadent.....but that Ralph Peters book "War After Armageddon". Yeah, I know, it's kind of dark, but it's really good. Plus I think I am in a bit of a dark place right now with the house and the car and stuff.....

Now it's off to dinner....and drinks!

Happy Birthday, Mary Ripley!

To the great blog wrangler and Media Marketing Director of the U.S. Naval Institute - and my good friend -

My Secret Plan Is A Go!

Back in the days before cancer, I had money. One of the assets left over is Foxwoods points. You can't liquidate them to pay bills.....but you can use them to in the spa!

My boss is taking me and we are going to go in a little bit. I am having my favorite, favorite thing - body polish.

The room is free, all I have to pay for is my half of dinner.

I wanted Jen to come too, but too much driving is bad for MS, so she passed.

I am bringing the laptop and if I can catch some WiFi, there will be poolside blogging!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Saturday Snippets

I'm leaving in a few minutes for what will be my last stint as an appointed election worker for the town of Kingston. Once the house forecloses and I move, I won't be a Kingston resident. I've been doing it for 20 years. It's had it's ups and downs. It mattered to me to do my part in protecting democracy. Sure it wasn't military service. I wasn't on a front line somewhere. But democracy has more subtle enemies. Apathy. Incompetence.

When I work those elections with my boss Bette, who happens to be "warden" to my "clerk", we are focused and serious. There is no "that's good enough" or "that's close enough". Even in elections where we know it will be simple or not controversial, we still cross every "t" and dot every "i".

It mattered and I was good at it. I'll miss it.

So what to do while I am gone? Well you can go to this post by Rajiv Srinivasan - "The Bus Stop". Rajiv is a real live, frontline Milblogger. Greyhawk thought this was worth directing people to and I agree.

I've started to re-read "Common Ground: A Turbulent Decade in the Lives of Three American Families ". Right off the bat I am just as irritated with Colin Diver as I was 20 some odd years ago.

I'm hoping tomorrow to sneak away and do something fun and relaxing with friends. wish me luck.

Pope Benedict XVI 5th Anniversay

Five years ago today there was white smoke and the Vatican's Senior Cardinal Deacon, Agostino Cacciavillan told us "Habemus Papam!".

I am very pleased with this first five years. I haven't always agreed with him, but I understand what it is to follow the man who wears "the shoes of the fisherman".

I agree with his principles. I believe in his committment to the Church.

I was incredibly proud and moved when he went to Ground Zero.

If you aren't Catholic, you won't get it, so don't try. And American Catholics, we they have to remember that America is constitutional republic. We elect leaders and expect them to govern in accordance with the Constitution. The Church has no constitution. The Pope is not a president.

I wish him luck and health and I pray for him every day.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Visiting CHINFO

First, let me say I know this post is two weeks late, lol. Two weeks ago today....I was in The Pentagon.
So after the regular tour and meeting in the Pentagon, some of us had the chance to sneak over the Navy side.
Now a much smaller group - @publicrelations, @NotJustANurse, @MyMilitaryLife, @NavalInstitute & @FbL1 - we moved out led by @USNavy & @NavyNews.

We pulled up in a hall while someone checked to see if "The Admiral" was ready to see us. While we waited @CNO_PAO came by and was introduced to our group. When he got to me, he playfully pretended to dismiss me, then he asked me about the car. Fun times!

So, who were we waiting for? RDML Moynihan of CHINFO. How cool is that? I was pretty impressed. Sure I talk a lot of nonsense about how important I am and how everyone should drop everything because I am visiting....yada yada yada. But I actually know how hard these Sailors are working and how much stuff they have to get done every day. I know their time is valuable and I am very appreciative of the time they took out of their schedules to meet with me.

CHINFO is the U.S. Navy Chief of Information. Currently the head of CHINFO is Rear Admiral Dennis Moynihan.

While we waited, we got to meet LCDR Tamara Lawrence, who @NavyNews described as the "fulcrum" of CHINFO. Tamara gave us a short description of her duties...and let's just say we'll keep her on speed dial!

Then it was into a very nice conference room where I took a seat at the head of the table! (Have you noticed sometimes I am a tad pushy? Shhh....). We had an off the record talk about social media with the heavy hitters of CHINFO including RDML Moynihan himself. And as if I couldn't love him more.....the Admiral is a Bruins fan!

This is me, setting forth policy.

RDML Moynihan will see this at some point because he has very competent people who will point it out to him, so....let me say - Sir, please know that my offer of assistance was heartfelt. Anything I can do for you, I will.

Mary Ripley, Media Marketing Director, USNI - gives advice that is actually useful vice my nonsense.

It was very gratifying to see how far the Navy has come in the social media world. Their accomplishments in just this last year, getting different commands on Twitter and Facebook; opening up lines of communication between decision makers and those at sea and on the ground in IAs; bridging the gap between the military world and the civilian world have been impressive.

Two Bruins fans ans some other people.

Are you looking to connect with some facet of US Navy social media? Your 1-stop-shop is this directory.

Hey! Is that guy on the left Twittering while I am setting forth policy?

On our way out, CDR McIlnay talked to us about the blog they were about to have up and running. Mary asked some questions and gave some feedback, after all, she is an experienced blog wrangler! And's up and running! You can see it here - Navy Live!

Who Told Me To Read This Book???

****UPDATE - We have a tentative confession "I may have told you since Cormac McCarthy is one of my most favorite writers". Really? Well, it's been nice knowing you ADMIN!

I will keeeel you!

I can't remember if it was in comments of one of the blogs I frequent or in one of my email groups. But someone recommended "The Road" by Cormac McCarthy and so I got it.

I read the first 60 pages while I ate breakfast yesterday morning. It really drew me in, but the subject matter is brutal.

An Amazon review by Dennis Lehane, a favorite author -
Cormac McCarthy sets his new novel, The Road, in a post-apocalyptic blight of gray skies that drizzle ash, a world in which all matter of wildlife is extinct, starvation is not only prevalent but nearly all-encompassing, and marauding bands of cannibals roam the environment with pieces of human flesh stuck between their teeth. If this sounds oppressive and dispiriting, it is. McCarthy may have just set to paper the definitive vision of the world after nuclear war, and in this recent age of relentless saber-rattling by the global powers, it's not much of a leap to feel his vision could be not far off the mark nor, sadly, right around the corner. Stealing across this horrific (and that's the only word for it) landscape are an unnamed man and his emaciated son, a boy probably around the age of ten. It is the love the father feels for his son, a love as deep and acute as his grief, that could surprise readers of McCarthy's previous work. McCarthy's Gnostic impressions of mankind have left very little place for love. In fact that greatest love affair in any of his novels, I would argue, occurs between the Billy Parham and the wolf in The Crossing. But here the love of a desperate father for his sickly son transcends all else. McCarthy has always written about the battle between light and darkness; the darkness usually comprises 99.9% of the world, while any illumination is the weak shaft thrown by a penlight running low on batteries. In The Road, those batteries are almost out--the entire world is, quite literally, dying--so the final affirmation of hope in the novel's closing pages is all the more shocking and maybe all the more enduring as the boy takes all of his father's (and McCarthy's) rage at the hopeless folly of man and lays it down, lifting up, in its place, the oddest of all things: faith. --Dennis Lehane

I went home after going to the movies last night and only meant to read a little more....two hours and I was finished.

Wow! A very heavy book.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

My Lilacs

...are almost in bloom. I am grateful, I will get this last season with them.
APRIL is the cruellest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain
The Wasteland - T.S. Eliot - favorite

Annnndddddd...They're Live!

Welcome to Navy Live
Navy Live is the official blog of the United States Navy and is maintained by Department of the Navy, Office of Information (CHINFO)

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Milbloggers Take the Pentagon

Ok, it wasn't an invasion, we were invited. Imagine...they invited me back after last year!

After our morning adventure at Walter Reed, Bouhammer, Gina Elise, Mary Ripley and I set out across DC noon. If you've been to DC at noon, you know that we didn't want to go through Dupont Circle. But the way we are have to listen to the lovely woman in the navigator's box. Bouhammer's navigator had an Australian accent. It didn't really help us. LOL Still, we made it there, even if it was by the skin of our teeth.

On our way to Walter Reed I had recieved a direct message from my fav Navy Tweep @NavyNews. "This is LT Sweetser. Do U want 2 come to 2 milblog soc med PNT tour & panel today @ 12:45? If yes, need fullname.plz DM me here"

LOL! Someone doesn't know my real name?????

I answered that I was on the list, look for "Diane". You see, even I know that the Pentagon would frown on my using "BostonMaggie".

So the tour was led by Lindy impossible high heels that she walked in backwards! the tour ended in a conference room full of public affairs officers. And there was @NavyNews!!!! CAPT Dave Werner is just as nice and funny as he is on Twitter. If you don't follow him, you are missing out. I say that not just because I am a Navy girl, his tweets are funny and engaging for everyone.

@NavyNews asked what I was doing after the meeting and I said I was doing whatever he was doing! LOL, I can't believe he had to ask! The Navy wanted to take me over to their side of the Pentagon. Yay! I quickly introduced Mary and she was invited as well. Then I pulled over Wendy, a fellow Navy blogger from "My Military Life".

Then we took our seats. Everyone represented their service very well, although Baldilocks gave the "raised eyebrow" to the Air Force. But that's just the way it is, right? You want your own service to shine. I know how she feels.

I sent out a few Tweets, but phone service was sketchy.

Wikileaks came up, but it was bound to. It was very nearly the hottest topic of the conference.

When the meeting broke up, I was introduced to CDR Scott McIlnay, LT Sweetser and some others.

Then it was off to CHINFO!


Come know you want to know.

Go AW1 Tim's blog and get in on the beginning of something.

Orion, Intro.....

Stop What You Are Doing & Buy This Book!

Operation Blitzkrieg - that is the title of BlackFive's post.

An FYI on a plan by the guys at Ranger Up (who won't see a dime from this book):

Mixed Martial Arts IQ: The Ultimate Test of True Fandom (Volume 2) (Paperback)

Okay, here's the plan. At 1200 to 1230 Eastern TODAY, we need to get as many individual people to buy this book as possible. Amazon reworks everything every 30 minutes. If we can get 100 orders or more this book will be in the top 100 and success sort of takes care of itself and it should raise the maximum amount for Soldiers' Angels.

Get the word out!

Monday, April 19, 2010

My Fav Senior BMCS Embraces the Suck

What's the Michelin rating on this fine establishment?
Did you know only two U.S. Navy ratings have remained in continuous use since 1797--Boatswain's Mate and Gunner's Mate. Congratulations, Senior!

BMCS Dotson asked our group - "Who could NOT buy something from this brat?" and a very cynical (but wise) voice answered "They all look cute. Don't trust a one of them."
Here's a place I could work on my tan.
I'm trying to get the Navy to send me over to visit the SeaBees of NMCB 21. don't you think they should let me?

Patriots Day and Sam Adams......Beer

A post for Jennifer

On my way into work I was listening to NPR's Morning Edition on WBUR. They had a brief interview with Jim Koch, founder of Sam Adams Brewery. He wants to make Patriots Day a federal holiday.He also discussed how he came to found Sam Adams brewery.

Jen loves Sam Adams, he is her favorite American Patriot.

She also loves Jim Koch's fine products. It is so funny to be around when the seasons change. You have never seen anything as funny as Jennifer when Octoberfest or Sam's Summer comes out.

So, Jen.....I expect you to raise a glass Sam, to John, the John Hancock...and that glass will have Sam Adams in it!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

As Always, There Was A Plan....

Thursday night on the way to the Milblog conference, Mary and I reviewed what we wanted to get done over the weekend. Friday there were two things planned; our tour of the Pentagon from 1-3 pm and then the evenings festivities beginning at 5 pm.

Seems pretty simple right? Sleep in, relax, blog....then be in the lobby by noon to make the trip to the Pentagon. Run some errands afterwards...maybe sneak in a manicure and be down at the Jake Rademacher event by 5 pm.

Thursday night before closing the bar, Bouhammer made us an offer we couldn't refuse! He was going over to Walter Reed the next morning from 10 am to noon. He was also on the Pentagon tour list, so we didn't have to worry about being late for that. It was a small group and he had two spots left for Mary & I if we wanted them. Hell yes!

So, while we had considered being bad.....and finding SK & LL & Blackfive....we went right off to our room and set an early alarm.

The alarm goes off and we both start crying, Team M (Mary & Maggie) is not the morning crew!

But somehow we managed to be in the lobby before the scheduled 9am departure. Bouhammer and Mrs. Bouhammer are morning people. Good thing I like them...grumble, grumble.

So into Bouhammer's SUV we go and it's off to Walter Reed. I have been to Mologne House, but that's it. Mary of course is more familiar with the hospital. We were following another vehicle that was transporting Gina Elise and her friend.

Once in the lobby, we actually got to meet Gina Elise, who is just lovely and her very friendly assistant. What they do with Pin-ups for Vets is just phenomenal. Gina Elise has her own website, she sells pin-up art and she donates tons of money to veteran's hospitals. She also visits the veteran's hospitals and gives out the calenders and in general brings a lot of smiles to a lot of faces.

Our tour guide was Walter, but he barely got in a word because we were there with Big John Miska! Big John is a definite frequent flyer at WRAMC. He was our gracious host as we walked through the wards. I was hoping to pop in on 1st LT Bergan Flannigan, but she was resting. But we did visit some great guys who were more than happy to accept Gina Elise's calendars and T-shirts and posters. She sat and talked with each Soldier or Marine before autographing an item or two for him.

We were in the physical therapy room, talking with the guys, having an enjoyable visit. Mary and I had Soldiers' Angels items to give out thanks to Greta. Mary had asked me what we were going to do at WRAMC, I said "Who cares! No one will notice us in a room with Gina Elise." But we were having a good time too. At one point I was standing in front of Big John and a young kid who was waiting for his therapy to begin. Big John started to make a point about a particular month in Gina Elise's calendar and he looked up and shooed me away! LOL! I had to leave so there could be "man talk".

After that we headed over to Mologne House so that Gina Elise could light up a few more faces. It was a very successful visit.

Next.........The Pentagon! They let me back in!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Milbloggie Awards

So in the lead up to the Millbogger Conference, I wrote about the Milbloggie Awards. This post will explain a little more about them.

First off, if you are not already, you should be signed up at JP tracks all the milblogs, he is the godfather of Milblogs. There are 2,643 military blogs listed there.

The first step of the process was to break those 2,643 milblogs up into 11 categories. Then there was a nomination process from which the top five were selected in each category.

Finally....on to voting.

So you can see how remarkable people must have felt these blogs were. If you get nominated in for a Milbloggie and you are a fan of get it. When I say it was an honor to be's not just words.

You can view Milblogs by branch here.

There are currently 104 blogs listed in the category "Military Supporter" and a bunch of people decided I was in the top 5. Wow. I was happy with my standing. I knew I didn't deserve to win, but I didn't want to be last, lol. So, I was 3rd - perfect!

I was extremely pleased with the USNI blog winning in the US Navy category. It was well deserved. They had some stiff competition from the Phibian! I also thought it was a great thing the ADM Harvey's US Fleet Forces Command Blog was also in the top five.

At the conference CDR Salamander made the speech while Mary Ripley and Jim Dolbow looked on. I was the one in the tiara, whooping and yelling. Again, one of those times I really wish I knew how to [put my fingers in my mouth and whistle really loud!

The sentimental favorite was "A Little Pink in a World of Camo" who won in the category "US Military Spouse" out of 400 possible choices. We gave Rachel a standing ovation when Mrs. G finished reading her acceptance speech. Rachel wrote in her blog that she was sorry she wasn't at the were we, Rachel.

So, now, do you get it? It was a big deal for a blog to win a Milbloggie just a little over a year into it's existence.

Congratulation to all those who contribute to the United States Naval Institute blog! I also wish to congratulate Mary Ripley who has shepherded this blog as it came online and continues to grow and inform.

In other categories -

Thursday night I got to hang with the winner and a fellow nominee in the "US Army" category. YouServed radio is hosted by CJ, this years winner and Bouhammer who was nominated in the same category.

During the award ceremony Uncle Jimbo's speech accepting the "US Military Veteran" on behalf of "Blackfive" was interuppted by the crazySniper. He played Kanye and explained that the award should have been won by This Ain't Hell.

But nothing got a bigger laugh than Taco of The Sandgram, the runner-up in the "US Marine Corps" category reading an imagined acceptance speech on behalf of the winner Castra Praetoria. "Kill! Kill! Kill!"

We were teasing Jim Dolbow after his speech accepting the US Coast Guard award on behalf of "The Unofficial Coast Guard blog". We told him he should have said "Save! Save! Save!" or "Swim! Swim! Swim!".

The "Unknown Soldiers" won for "US Reporter" and that kid was very enthusiastic. He gave a good speech.....but I was rooting forSusan Katz Keating (shhh!)

Congratulations to all the nominees and all the winners!

Friday, April 16, 2010

A Side Note

You know that I had a great time at the Milblog conference.

You know I have a blast at all these Milblog events, this was my 8th.

You know I went to San Diego because of the blog.

You know I am like the Navy's special guest star wherever I show up.

It's all because of the blog.

And the blog wouldn't even exist if it weren't for the Armorer and my Darling Chief Tuttle.

Bill was responding to someone in our private email group who was teasingly questioning his accomplishments -

"Aside from luring assorted lurkers from behind the drapes and getting them to actively participate? Not much."

That reminded me how much I owe these two guys.

So emailed back -

My Darling Chief,

Have I ever properly thanked you for that? Especially considering all the fun I had this past weekend. Without you "luring" me out and making me blog, so many things would never have come my way.

With much appreciation,
Princess Crabby, the Empress of La Moata, she who has no equal, Princesa Malhumorada, Maggie, GODNAVBLOGSTRIFOR

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Thursday at The Milblog Conference

OK, so one week ago tonight.......

I arrived at BWI just before 6 pm. Mary Ripley, Media Marketing Director at USNI and the other half of "Team M" (Mary & Maggie) picked me up and we were off to the Conference.

We arrived at the Westin will just enough time to throw our bags in the room (I was Mary's roomie) and head down to the YouServed broadcast happening in one of the conference rooms.

In the lobby I ran in to TSO & Caro of the USO Girls! I did not hug TSO, I know how he feels about this. (See, I can be nice.)

Then I spot LL of Chromed Curses and she tells us which suite we will find the guys in. She and the Domestik Diva (who doesn't blog but is the most ardent troop supporter I know) will find us later.

Bags in room, hair and teeth brushed, we head off to cause trouble.

As we approach the room the show is being broadcast from, I hear their voices and yell "Bouhammer"! They start laughing because surprisingly, they somehow know just from my voice that it's me......(You can hear my entrance at the 46 minute mark or so of episode #83 on Youserved Radio)

First up...presents! Greta had a set of Navy beads that she caught herself, just for me during the Saints celebration parade. Pretty smart of Navy recruiting to come up with this idea.

Marcus and Troy are in person from the usual crew (CJ would be calling in later) and standing in for CJ was the lovely and talented Greta from Kiss My Gumbo. They were interviewing JP of JP couldn't get out of his seat fast enough, he was happy to be out of the spotlight.

I was interviewed, Mary was interviewed and Wendy from My Military Life & Navy Wife Radio. Wendy is also a Tweep (friend of mine from Twitter).

Troy and I discussed blogging, what I hoped to get out of the conference, my Milbloggie nomination in the "US Military Supporter" category, my "Black Cloud"...and my massive ego! They were equally astonished that I was going to be allowed back in the Pentagon on Friday.

When Mary was being interviewed about the US Naval Institute blog, we had the Milbloggie discussion. As you know USNI blog was the WINNAH in the "US Navy" category. Between the two of us we were trying to name all the people who make the USNI blog what it is. There is a whole list of guest bloggers. If we left you out, we are sincerely are all important to us!

Then something really bad happened. Something I never imagined in my whole life could happen to me.

Marcus said "You owe me a pledge." He meant to have me recite it for them to record for future use. Yeah, ok. Sure. Everyone should hear someone with perfect Boston diction recite the pledge.

Marcus asks if I need the words. Words? Are you kidding me. When I was in school we said it every day. I was a Girl Scout from Brownies through Juniors. I was a Cub Scout Den Mother. I am the Goddess of the Naval Blogging Strike Force. Good. God. Who do you think you are talking to...words! Please!

So they start talking smack about stage fright. And I decide to turn my back on them in case they make funny faces. Just as I turn Bouhammer says "Can I pinch you?"

"I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the republic for which it stands, one nation......(did he say on the air that he was going to pinch me?)....Oh my God!"

I turn around and gape at the assembled group. Besides everyone I have named, we also have people wandering in and out. Ponsdorf, Mrs. Bouhammer and others.

How can this have happened to me?

Marcus says they are going to cut it and start again. He hold his Blackberry or IPhone or whatever he's got up in front of me. Of course, I can barely see it, thanks bifocals!

So I start again -
"I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

and make it through.

Boy! I needed a drink at that point! You can go to the YouServed broadcast and listen at around the 100 minute mark. I have the Mp3, but have no idea how to upload it here.

So it was off to the bar where we found other bloggers including Toby Nunn.

Mary said she was hungry and I said "ME TOO!! Let's get food." We had margarita pizza and calamari. People were teasing me and questioning. Cause you's kind of ironic for the GODNAVBLOGSTRIFOR to eat squid....or is it?

Everything was better after that and we toddled off to bed once they threw us out at closing time.

So, Maggie....What's The Deal?

Are you wondering why there is jackshit out here for posts?

Well Maggie is having a turbulent time here.

Yesterday was supposed to be the foreclosure sale on my house. The car is dead. It feels like everything I touch goes wrong.

I have spent the last few days wallowing. I haven't even been packing. Without a car, I haven't been able to shop or go to the gym or call the shots with my own schedule. The girls in the office have been very good about getting me into work and Frankie's Brittany has been equally good getting me home.

I found season 5 of "24" on a book shelf and I have been wasting precious packing/blogging/working/sleeping time reliving President Palmer's assassination.

I've been having terrible dreams. Nightmares where I was nearly afraid to go back to sleep. Like scary Stephen King stuff. Last night I had a dream where my mother was angry with me about money and bills. My mother is not upset with me in any way, so I don't know where that came from.

But today is better. I am getting my hands on a car that I get to keep for a week. And strangely, the bank postponed the foreclosure yet again.....January to March to April 14th and now to April 28th.

So starting tonight I will start putting up Milblog stuff.....promise.

In the meantime, a good place to start is here -
From the Outside In: Observing the 2010 Milblog Conference
This is a Milblog summary by Claude Berube who is a professor at the US Naval Academy.

Did you read it? He sounds like he had a great time at the conference, doesn't he? Well I should think so....on Saturday he had lunch with me!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Thank You Tussing Elementary School!

This is from CJ & I really want you to read this story and lend a hand. I am reprinting his post whole. The link to his post is embedded in the title.

Thank You Soldiers
April 14, 2010 By CJ

Remember all those teachers indoctrinating our youth in the liberal ways of stupidity and supporting socialism and marxism? Remember the teacher at Langley High School that decimated the honor of our Iwo Jima veterans by putting a McDonalds sign on top of the famous flag-raising photo and inciting students to “discuss” it for a grade? Well, I’ve actually found a teacher who found an honorable way to recognize our troops with a positive song that understands the true sacrifice of our troops.

This is the Tussing Elementary 3rd grade class singing a sincere thank you to our brave and strong soldiers, men and women, past and current, for protecting us in times of war and peace.

The song was written by Michael & Angela Souders.

If you’d like free sheet music to the song or want to buy an audio copy of the song, check out their website here.

Now, I freely give away contact information when I ask you to scream and yell at teachers and faculty. This time, I would like you to send letters and emails and phone calls of support and appreciation to this school and its staff, especially Mr. Sounders (interesting name for a music teacher, eh?). Here’s how you can contact them:

David K. Staples, Principal
5501 Conduit RoadColonial Heights, Virginia 23834
(804) 524-3440

Michael Sounders, Music Teacher

Here is the contact information for the board members:

Sandra ColemanChair

Leslie P. FryarVice Chair

Chris Kollman

Cindy Shortlidge

Dr. Joseph O. Cox, Jr.

This is a Virginia school and it’s important that we recognize the ones that are doing it right, especially after the pounding we gave Langley High School for their ignorance and lack of patriotism.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Bravo Zulu, Senior Chief Dotson!

My fav BMC has been selected to become a Senior Chief!


Congratulations to Russ and all the selected Senior Chief Boatswains Mates!

I also wish to congratulate all the Sailors named on the "FY-11 NAVY RESERVE E8 AND E9 SELECTION BOARDS' RESULTS" page.

Have a great Navy day!!

I'm Not Saying That My Black Cloud Was Dangerous...

....but I did kill a Munchkin.

I wrote about my car in this post & quoted the Coroner of the Munchkins.....

...and now he's dead.

Sorry buddy.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Can I Do Anything Right?

I was supposed to blog.

I didn't.

I was supposed to go to the gym.

I didn't.

I was supposed to watch "24".

I didn't.


Saturday, April 10, 2010

My Milblog Rollercoaster

We've been running nonstop since early yesterday.

Walter Reed

The Pentagon

The opening panel of the Milblog

The Jail-n-Bail fundraiser

Panels all day today

The Navy presence in quality and quantity from last year to this has been night and day

One more panel, but then we just move on to dinner, and the Milbloggies.

You should be following the live stream.

I should be pulling together links.

Oh well, for someone who blogs, I am not that technologically advanced. Ward Carroll was teasing me about my lack of an IPad or some such. "Oh you're from up in Boston with your sailing ships!"

He's right! But not to worry, I will devote some time to this later. There's lots of content out there at some fine blogs, including some of the many Castle Argghhh!!! denizens who are Darling Chief where are you!

My stuff will come know I am always tardy.

Friday, April 09, 2010

My Black Cloud Has Not Lifted Yet

My boss got me to the airport on time. I checked my bags, passed through security, got a seat on the plane with no one beside me.

I thought things were turning around.

Then the turbulence.

I won't say it was awful, but it was unsettling. I apologized to those in my direct vicinity.
"I'm sorry about that. This is just part of my bad weekend. Last night my car engine blew up. Today my son lost his job. You will be fine once you are clear of me."

Then it was off to the hotel. My roommate, Mary Ripley picked me up at the airport and we were off to the Westin.

We got there in time to make an appearance on YouServed Radio. CJ called in, but Marcus and Bouhammer. Greta of Kiss My Gumbo was filling in for CJ. In the audience we had the charming Mrs. Bouhammer and Ponsdorf.

Mary, the blog wrangler of the United States Naval Institute blog discussed the blog and the Milbloggie they just won in the "U.S. Navy" category.

JP of was there. I think he was being interviewed at some point...but I just saw schmoozing and drinking of beer. LOL

Wendy & Sherri popped in at one point, then I lost track of them for the night - boo!

CJ told us he wanted a audio clip of me reciting the Pledge of Allegiance. Easy, right?

Marcus asked if I needed the words. I was quite dismissive of that suggestion.

We said it every day in school.

I was in the Girl Scouts.

I was a Cub Scout den mother.

I stood up and they were laughing. I turned around so I wouldn't see them teasing me.

I messed it up.


" nation under - Oh My God!"

I am stunned.

I got it in the second take. Marcus held the words in front of me, lol. It was a good comfort measure.

This morning as we ate breakfast and watched FoxNews cover the story of the Mennonite School not playing the National Anthem.
Mary comments "Unpatriotic things that start with "M".....Mennonites....Maggie"

We laughed and we're only kidding about the Mennonites. It's about freedom, the Fox&Friends interviewer needs to "get" that.

Off to Walter Reed where no one will notice me because we are going with Gina Elise.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Like the Coroner in Land of the Munchkins Said.....

"I've thoroughly examined her, and she's not only merely dead, she's really most sincerely dead."

So last night the Saturn blew up. Guess I was congratulating myself a little too soon, huh?

Is my trip to the Milblog cursed? First it was the expense of fixing the car eating my Milblog budget. Now, I am scrambling to get a ride to T.F. Green for my 4:20 pm flight. Am I meant to be there?

Yeah, blew up.

The oil light came on last night before I headed into Boston to grab Frankie. Not that unusual, the Saturn burns oil, I always get oil quickly. Most times I have some in my trunk. I stopped and bought two quarts thinking I'd use one and have a spare. But the car needed both. No matter, I was planning a trip to Walmart later, I'd get more.

I drove in and got Frank and we headed back south. The oil light came on. Now that was unusual. Frank and I flipped the mental coin - get off at exit 16 or 14 to get more oil.

We picked 14.

We picked wrong.

Big clunking noise. Then the car died. Then something fell out from underneath and banged on the ground. All the lights came on and the car died.

Flashers on, everyone out and on the other side of the guardrail. Then Brittany points up the road. What had come off of the car had bounced over the guard rail and was on fire and spreading.

Two fire trucks. Two State Troopers. Frank's friend in a car to pick them up. A tow truck for me.

My Marine says to me "Why is there always a cloud of drama around you?"

I said "Ummm.....doesn't everyone have one? It goes with my entourage."

So my car is dead. I got home and poured a Coke & ate some chocolate. There went Atkins, but what the hell, it wasn't going to make it through the Milblog weekend anyway.

My boss is driving me to TF Green.

Bet you are glad you are not on my plane, huh?

Wednesday, April 07, 2010


So I am three days late with this recap. I've been busy pestering everyone I know to vote for "A Little Pink in a World of Camo" for a Milbloggie.

Saturday afternoon my Dad called. He wanted me to pick up new tapers for the dining room buffet. Spring colors, pink and light blue.

Sounds easy enough, right?

I was leaving work soon enough and Jen & I were headed to Boston to meet with Grace & Frankie. We were going to discuss our parent's upcoming 50th wedding anniversary. There must be a dozen Hallmark and Yankee Candle shops between work and my parent's house.

But then Grace called and wanted us there post haste. No time for stops along the way. Still, I wasn't worried. After all, I would have time the next morning. Dinner wasn't until 1 pm.

Sounds easy enough, right?

The next morning I get up crazy early to shower and dress and drive to the Charlestown Navy Yard. I was there 10 minutes early! Yea for me!

I was in my seat in plenty of time for Colors aboard USS Constitution. It was a perfectly beautiful Sunday morning. The officers and crew did a fabulous job on everything. With a particular shout out to LCDR Savage who was Master of Ceremonies. Everyone was in their best dress blues or their Easter finery....but no one was prettier than Senior Chief Twiford's daughter, Kate. Kate celebrated her first Easter aboard USS Constitution...a Navy girl for sure!

I got to say hi to CDR Gillen, USN (ret), 59th in Command, a fellow Townie. I also got to meet LCDR Savage's wife and Kate's mother, Sarah.

I cornered the CO to review some secret machinations I am attempting for a future event.....never pass up the opportunity to engage in a power play!

I was off the ship before 9 am. Back to my candle errand right? Four hours until dinner.

Well, it's Sunday morning. It's Easter Sunday morning. Where to go?

How about 11 stores. Yes. Eleven.

Foolishly I chose the good looking inappropriate shoes, but no is surprised, right?

After hitting eleven stores....multiple Stop & Shop locations, CVS, Walgreens, Rite-Aid, Hannaford, Johnny's Foodmaster, Bed, Bath & Beyond....I was nearly crippled.

I found blue, but no pink. I got mauve. Dad was happy.

So, somebody make a note and remind me next March to have Yankee candle ship spring tapers to my parent's house.

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Milbloggie Voting

Ok, you have all done a fabulous job getting the USNI blog into the finals for a Milbloggie.

Now it's time to vote.

Please, please, please!

U.S. Military Parent - This is tough for me because I know and like more than one.

U.S. Military Supporter - OK, well this one makes me feel a little silly
Not Your Average Brooklynette
From Cow Pastures to Kosovo
USO Girls
Chromed Curses
and me

The other four are actively doing troop support, I am just screwing around here trying to get Sailors to pay attention to me. So vote accordingly. Leta, Jamie & Caro, Wendy are friends who I admire for the time and effort they put into supporting our military. Maja is a great Tweep who is a stalwart on #MilMonday, I would be happy with anyone of them.

U.S. Air Force - Now this was easy!!! 30 Days Through Afghanistan! WooHoo! Get out there and vote for Ken & Nathan (I owe them a post from the Roundtable, I haven't forgotten.) Click here to see their Milblogging page. Please consider giving them your "Air Force" vote.

U.S. Army - This had to be a super secret vote for me because I know 3 of these people well and love them. A fourth is an email/Twitter friend. So I can't sway you or reveal my vote. I will just say, this category has very worthy contenders and no matter who wins, I will be happy.

U.S. Coast Guard - Again, here is a category with more than one blog that I like, but I am going to go with CGBlog, the Unofficial Coast Guard Blog. Ryan does a great job. Here is his Milblogging page.

U.S. Marine Corps - One word. Taco

U.S. Military Veteran - Now, no one loves Matt O'Blackfive more than I do, but the guys at This Ain't Hell need a little love, so I am going with them. Besides TSO is a fellow New Englander and a Red Sox fan.

U.S. Military Spouse - ArmyHousehold6 and ArmyWifeToddlerMom are friends of mine and normally, I'd be torn. But Heaven knows we have to give this to "A Little Pink in a World of Camo" because there just isn't anything else I have to offer. Mrs. P (Rachel Porto) lost her Marine husband 3 weeks ago today. She has a post up today calling attention to the charity "Hope For The Warriors". She is carrying on by looking out for others, taking care of her daughter and blogging. Please vote for Rachel.

Foreign National Military - I have no guidance to offer.

U.S. Reporter - Whew! Another easy one! Susan Katz Keating

U.S. Navy - I am so happy with alllllll the finalists. But you know I have to stay the course and back the USNI blog. But I am sooooo pleased that my friend ADM Harvey is among the finalists with his U.S. Fleet Forces Command blog. How awwesome is that?

Saturday, April 03, 2010

Easter Aboard USS Constitution

In my mailbox -

The Captain, Officers and Sailors of


request the pleasure of your company at the

Colors Observance and Easter Service

on Sunday, the fourth of April

at forty-five minutes past seven o'clock

on Pier One

Charlestown Navy Yard

Military: Dress Blues or equivalent
Civilian: Semi-Formal
So what are you doing tomorrow morning? I will be front and center on Pier One! Come on down, we have plenty of room. The weather will be perfect and sunny.

The Saturn Lives to Drive Another Day!

So, I have had the Saturn since 2000 when Jen gave it me....for free. So right there, it's a bargain. Over the years I have added 180,000 miles to the 40,000 that Jen had put on it.

Every year or so, I put anywhere from four to nine hundred dollars into the car.

I just paid $450 for this repair. New battery, new alternator and a new chip in the cars computer. Turns out a faulty chip was causing the alternator to burn itself out.

$450 is right in the range for what I have been spending.

Everyone makes fun of it.

But it went to New York to get Jen.

It went to Tarrytown for SouthieBoy - who sends Sailors there anyhow?

It's still chugging along all these years later.

It was free.

If you see me at the Milblog me a drink, I am super poor!

Friday, April 02, 2010

Early Easter Presents!


Thursday, April 01, 2010

4th Annual Milbloggies

Nominations are open.

Rules are here.

The United States Naval Institute sponsors a group blog that you can read here -

It has the best of the Naval Blogosphere; well known bloggers - CDR Salamander, Eagle1, Galrahn of Information Dissemination, Springboard, Steeljaw Scribe. New bloggers Ultimate Ratio Regis & the Bunny. Non-blogging Navy insiders - ADM Harvey & MIDN Withington. Plus much more including Coast Guard perspective. In all the USNI blog is a unique collection of bloggers. You will not find anything else quite so comprehensive on the web when it comes to covering the US Navy.

The 2010 Fourth Annual MILbloggies has officially kicked off today, and runs through April 7, 2010 until 11:59 PM EST. The MILbloggies are currently in the nomination phase, which will last until Saturday, April 3 11:59 PM. The top 5 nominees in each eligible category then move into the Voting Phase starting Sunday, April 4.

I really want the Naval Institute blog to get this award. The other nominees are very good blogs and among my favorites, Everything I like about the individual blogs already nominated is in the USNI blog.... and more.

Please help me by going and nominating the USNI blog

You can help me -
Go to and sign in or sign up. There is an annoying pop up window, I apologize. Signing up is five simple boxes to fill in with name, email and password, six if you count verifying the password. Be sure to "uncheck" the "subscribe me to Milblogging newsletter" unless you really want it and "check" the "I agree to terms..."

Ok, you're there and signed in. Go to the Naval Institute's page.

Do you want to see the standing for all Milblogs? Go here.

I would also ask that you push this out to your email circle as well.

Thank you for helping me!