The journey of a thousand miles begins with...the perfect pair of shoes.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

RTT: Meetings


James Bond did not know today was Tuesday. We actually argued about it until I reminded him of what he told me he did yesterday at work. Read on:

*James Bond has a...job. I have a very vague idea of what the job is (I obviously know he's in the intel field), but what he does specifically, I have no idea (isn't that weird?). We're not allowed to talk about it, so....we don't. Most of our conversations go something like this:

Me: How was your day?
JB: Fine.
Me: Do anything exciting?
JB: Yep.
Me:  Can you tell me about it?
JB:  Nope.

And that's the end of the conversation. Exciting, right? Yeah, I know, be jealous. One thing I know he does is attend meetings. I swear it is a freaking miracle that the army gets anything done because they are always in meetings (2-4 a day for JB).  He does on occasion tell me that he had a meeting.  I always ask what the meeting was about (thinking he might slip up and tell me-ha!) and he usually says something crazy exciting like "stuff."  Oooooh, stuff?    You don't say?  Anyhoo, yesterday he told me had a meeting and once again I asked what it was about (More stuff?  I'd like to hear about that).  He surprised me and actually gave me a different answer!  What to know what the meeting was about?  It was about a meeting they were having today.  You read that right.  They were meeting to discuss a meeting they were having the next day.  WTF?  I asked JB if this was common and he said that sadly it was.  I asked him what the most bizarre or pointless meeting he'd ever attended was.  He thought about it for a minute and then told me he once to go to a meeting about how to properly hold a meeting.   This is why men should not be in charge.

*Han Solo can sleep through freaking anything, the dogs barking (a frequent occurrence), TV shows, Indy acting like a fool, seriously, anything, except a creaky floorboard.   He can be sound asleep, but the minute he hears a floorboard, his little eyes pop wide open.  Our entire bedroom is creaky floorboards!  You should see JB and I creeping into our room.  It's pretty comical.  And sad.

*We're supposed to move in 31 day.  We can't do anything (and believe me, for even a short move like this will be, there's tons of crap to do) until JB gets orders (official paperwork that says where we're moving, when we're moving, etc, etc).  31 days out and still no orders.  This means we'll be running around like crazy people when they finally do come in.  Sigh. 

*So, the season premier of Castle (SQUEEEE!!!) was last night.   AFN (American Forces Network) won't air it until tonight (though that's a HUGE improvement from being a season or two behind like we used to be).  I couldn't wait to watch, so I watched it on today (shhhhhhh, don't tell JB).  It was awesome.  Hulu has commercials though (I don't miss them).  I did laugh at the Jimmy Dean commercial with the guys as the sun (you know what I'm talking about?).  Another commercial really caught my attention though.  It was from Lowe's.  You've probably seen it before, but if not, watch this.  It's only 15 seconds, but cute as can be.

See, wasn't that worth it?

*You know I'm still completely confused by the fact that Robbie Williams is not all that popular in the States (WTH, people?).  This is (IM-not so-HO) this is hands down his best song ever.  Watch the video.  Seriously.

*Do you ever get tired of everything being PC?  I sure do.  I get tired of remembering what I'm not allowed to say or what I'm supposed to say instead of something else.  It's exhausting and taxes my brain.  Sometimes I just want to be completely un-PC.

*Some days I get tired of women's lib.  They ruined some really good stuff.  Listen up all two of my male readers:  if you want to open a door for me, I will not give you a snide look and tell you I can damn well open the door myself.  I will thank you for your politeness (something that seems to have gone by the wayside).


Click the button at the top to read all the other Randoms.  Castle is about to come on here and I have to pretend I don't know what happens!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

The slow death

For those associate with the military, force transformation (the shutting down and combining of base) is no surprise as TPTB been talking about it for YEARS. We've known they were happening for a long time, but until now, we've never experienced it. Mannheim, which is about 20 minutes away from us, and was an important industrial center for the Nazis was reached by the Allied ground advance (in this case the US 44th Infantry Division) into Germany in late March 1945, has officially closed its doors. There are still a few units and families there, but not for long. Heidelberg is next and it's like watching something slowly die as more and more services and housing areas are shut down.  Let's go back to the beginning for a short history lesson of this amazing place.

As part of the Nazi military buildup, the German 110th Infantry Regiment was activated in May 1936 and stationed in Heidelberg. The existing Grenadier-Kaserne (now Patton Barracks) was not large enough for the regiment. Accordingly, a new installation was built in 1937 on what was then farmland on the southern outskirts of Heidelberg near the suburb of Rohrbach.
The first Allied troops entered Heidelberg on the morning of Good Friday, March 30th, 1945, and the city surrendered without a fight. The Wehrmacht had left Heidelberg a day earlier but not before blowing up the bridges crossing the River Neckar, which in Heidelberg meant blowing up the old bridge.
The U.S. units that initially occupied GroƟdeutschland-Kaserne are not known, but by V-E Day, 8 May 1945, the headquarters of the U.S. 6th Army Group occupied the Kaserne.  The Kaserne was formally renamed Campbell Barracks on August 23, 1948 in memory of Staff Sergeant Charles L. Campbell, 14th Infantry Regiment, 71st Infantry Division, who was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross posthumously for extraordinary heroism. On March 28, 1945, two days before the surrender of Heidelberg, Staff Sergeant Campbell led a patrol across the Rhine River near Mannheim and was killed while covering the withdrawal of his patrol as it returned to the west bank with valuable information.

Here is a photos circa 1945 when the Americans took over the Kaserne:

Since that photo was taken, Campbell Barracks has grown by leaps and bounds.  The surrounding farmland no longer exists and is now covered with buildings.  Circa 1963:

 These photos were taken just a few years ago (and it don't even show the whole thing).  Look at the difference from the 1945 photo:

The areas across the street from the main gate (at the bottom of the photo) are mostly family housing (called Mark Twain Village), as are the few buildings you can see off to the top right.  This is the section I live in, though my building isn't in this photo.  There are also buildings not shown just off the left of this photo that were at one time also family housing.  Most of them are closed and have been turned over to the Germans.  They have been empty for years (they shut them down around 2006/7) and no one knows what the Germans will do with them.

This is a recent aerial view looking from the rear.  You can see all the buildings across from the main gate.  The smaller buildings are German houses.  The building I live in is just barely visible to the far left about 1/4 of the way from the top.

As of the end of 2012, all of Mark Twain Village, which has 708 apartments and houses about 2000 soldiers and family members, will be shut down.  All remaining families will be housed on Patrick Henry Village, which is about 3 miles away (and a complete ghetto, IMO).  Most of the building shown at the top of the last photo (across the street from the main gate) are completely empty with only 1 or 2 families left per building.  My own stairwell (there are 2 stairwell per building) is mostly empty.

By the end of 2015, the US Army Europe Headquarters, which has been based out of Campbell Barracks since 1952, will officially move to Wiesbaden, Patton Barracks, Nachrichten Kasern (where the hospital is), and Tompkins Barracks will also shut down and US Army Heidelberg as we know it will no longer exist.  Campbell Barracks has been a NATO base since 1993 and will continue to be so after the HQ pulls out.  There will still be a small contingent of Americans here for NATO.

Carved in the stone of the gates that flank the main entry of Campbell Barracks, there are 2 German eagles (one on each side).  Below these two eagles are 2 of only a handful of swastikas still remaining in Germany.  They are covered by the US 7th Army emblem, but if you look at them closely from the sides, you can still see the circle that goes around the swastikas.   I have no idea why they didn't chip them off like most of the swastikas in Germany, but it's interesting to know they're still there.  I tried to find a photo of them (with the emblems of course), but couldn't.  I'd go take a photo, but having a camera around the post is just asking for the MP's to pay you a visit. 

We've been to Heidelberg 3 times now and have incredibly fond memories of it. Both our boys were born here and it makes me sad to know that while we might visit it, we'll never again live in this amazing place.

Linking to:  Weekend Bloggy Reading

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

RTT: Sleep , weird laws and Snape GPS


Tuesday!  When all the flotsam and jetsam that have been floating around my brain can be scooped up and put into one semi-coherent place.  Yay!

*We had a minor emergency here yesterday that ended up with Arf (4 pound Maltse) having emergency surgery. He's okay though, so don't worry. He had a tooth abscess and push up through his face (it didn't break through, just pushed up). The vet had to remove the tooth and six others that were bad. He's a much happier camper now. This came up almost over night. Poor baby.

*I tried to get photos of Han Solo is his gorgeous Christening gown, now that he's actually big enough for it and can smile.  He would not smile for anything.  Indy and I were practically standing on our heads and nothing.  I took it off him (you know, so he wouldn't drool on it) and 10 minutes later he was smiling like everything is the world was hilarious.  Awesome.

*Han Solo discovered his feet recently and now all he wants to do is put his toes in his mouth.  

*The other night Indy freaked me out to no end.  I was sitting in the living room and noticed the time.  It was 10:30pm and I decided to go to bed.  Just as I was getting up, Indy walked out of his room.  This is our conversation:
Me:  What are you doing up?
Indy:  I'm looking for it.
Me: Looking for what?
Indy: You know.
Me: No, I don't. What are you looking for?
Indy: Never mind.
Me: Oooookkkkaaaaay.
Indy: Come with me. {gestured towards his room}
I get up and follow him and he's sitting on his bed.
Me: [Indy] what are you doing?
Indy: {gestured towards his night stand} I'm looking...for...the remote.
Me: What?
Indy: The remote!
Me: What remote?
Indy: For the thing!
I had no idea what he was looking for, but noticed his clock was missing. I knew it was in the school room though.
Me: Do you mean your clock?
Indy: Yes, my clock. Yes.
I go get the clock, bring it back and place it on his night stand.
Me: Is this what you were looking for?
Indy: Yes. {and he fell back into bed and his eyes rolled up in his head}

I should mention that his eyes were completely glazed over the entire time and he was COMPLETELY ASLEEP.  Holy moly!  He's talked in his sleep since he was small, but this is the first time he's ever actually walked in his sleep.  Yikes!

*I find old laws fascinating.  Here are a few examples:

 ----Modesty laws were very strict in the early 1900s. In 1919, a woman was detained at Coney Island for wearing a bathing suit in public—under her street clothes.  (Boy, there are a lot of women who belong in jail!)

----It’s illegal in St. Louis, Missouri, for a fireman to rescue a woman wearing a nightgown. If she wants to be rescued, she must be fully clothed.  (Darn, who wants to be fully clothed when a good looking fireman comes along?)

----A woman in Memphis, Tennessee, is not allowed to drive a car unless a man is in front of the car waving a red flag to warn people and other cars. (James Bond would say this is still a good idea  I disagree.)

Flirting in Little Rock, Arkansas, can land someone in jail for 30 days. (Do you think Clinton knew about this one?)

*Normally, I would post a funny sign here, but I found this and couldn't resist.  If you can't read it, click on it to enlarge.  You won't be disappointed.

Okay, I'm done for today.  I hope you all have a great Tues.  Click the link above to read the other randoms and link up your own.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Ten Years On

10 years. It seem like yesterday. I still cry when I see the images.

There are so many things I could say about this day, but all the words I could say can't sum it up my feelings as beautifully as the following quote from a Harry Potter book written more than a year before the attacks.  I think of it every September 11.

"We are only as strong as we are united, as weak as we are
divided...Differences of habit and language are nothing at all if our
aims are identical and our hearts are open."

-Prof. Albus Dumbledore
JK Rowling
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
(p.723, Scholastic Press, New York, 2000)

Never Forget. God Bless America.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Why 500? Giveaways are coming!

I missed RTT yesterday! Darn it, I hate when that happens, don't you? Of course you do, my RTT's are awesome. :)

So, if you can believe it, I'm closing on my 500th post. Well, to be fair it's about 40 posts away, but still. I had actually thought I'd be closer by this time, but when Han Solo got sick, my blogging kind of went out the window (you may have noticed and mourned). I'm actually thinking of being crazy and doing my giveaways for my 475th post instead. You know, just to be different. Why does 500 get all the love? 475 is just as important! I have several awesome giveaways lined up. Seriously, awesome. I working on one more giveaway settled (you won't believe this), and I'll be able to do an entire week of giveaways. Whaaa...??? Yep, a whole week. Keep checking back, because you don't want to miss this. Only 8 posts away!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

And we're moving!!!!

One of the great things about military life is moving. You get to go new places, see new things and meet new people. It's also one of the bad things about military life. You have to leave your home, all the familiar things and your friends.
We've been here in Heidelberg for almost 3 years now and our time was coming to an end (most tours are 3 years). We were hoping to stay in Germany and last night we got the word that we will!!! We will not be staying in Heidelberg as it is shutting down (sadness), but will be moving up to Wiesbaden (just over an hour north of HD). Wiesbaden is pronounced Vees-bah-den BTW.   James Bond is very excited because he wanted to got to V Corps and now he will. I don't know what's so exciting about V Corps (we can't talk about his job), but whatever. I get to stay in Germany, so yay V Corps.
Indy is excited because he's got "more traveling to do." My boy is almost nomadic in his love of travel. He says we need to go to Greece (he thinks we should cruise around the islands), Egypt (of course), England, Scotland, back to Rome and Naples and maybe (meaning definitely) do another Disney cruise.
We've been it Wiesbaden a handful of times and found it to be a lovely city. Mainz, which is only a few minutes away is also beautiful.. I don't have any photos of my own on this computer, but here are a few I found on the interwebs.



Doesn't this look awesome?!?!  I can't wait to see what the next 3 years bring.  Stick around for the next chapter in our great adventure.

Linking to:

Weekend Bloggy Reading

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