Saturday, March 19, 2011

Navy News

I was so excited to see news and a great article about the ship my son is on.

USS McCampbell Provides Aid to Host Nation

By Ensign Emily McMenamin

Posted: March 17, 2011

PACIFIC OCEAN - USS McCampbell (DDG 85) was among the first U.S. Navy ships to move into position and offer assistance to Japanese citizens March 11, after the nation was struck by an earthquake and tsunami. Within hours of the disaster striking, McCampbell moved northeast along the coast of Japan towards areas that were most affected.
McCampbell patrolled waters off the coast of the Miyagi and Iwate Prefectures north of Sendai conducting search and rescue operations for survivors and stranded vessels. Helicopters attached to the ship also patrolled the shoreline helping provide the Navy with a better grasp of the situation on shore and what aid was immediately needed.
“The aerial view revealed massive destruction in the low-lying areas of the towns surveyed along the coast,” reported Lt. David Farrell.

There were countless Japanese citizens stranded in the area in need of food and shelter. In response to hearing the conditions in which the local population was stranded, the crew expressed a great desire to do more. McCampbell sailors were compelled to help their host nation as much as possible. Not only is Japan an important U.S. ally, but also home for McCampbell and her sailors. Many sailors have extended families that are settled throughout the Japanese islands.

“Japan has been my home for the past ten years. In the face of this disaster, there is nothing else I would rather be doing than aiding in the relief efforts,” said Ensign Brett Bittner.
The crew gave donations from their personal belongings that could be delivered to shore by the aircrew. McCampbell was able to deliver more than 1,500 pounds of much needed clothes, blankets, hygiene items, and food and water.

Additionally, over $8,000 was collected to purchase additional food and supplies from the ship’s store that may be contributed to the relief efforts.
“After identifying safe landing areas, in the areas of greatest need, our helicopter had the privilege of delivering desperately needed supplies to our Japanese friends,” said Lt. Farrell.
These donations were critical in providing immediate aid to victims stranded in areas not yet accessible by vehicle ashore while the larger relief effort was mobilized.

USS McCampbell Commanding Officer, Cmdr. Steven DeMoss, said “I am truly impressed by the generosity and depth of compassion that the crew has shown towards to our host nation of Japan and could not be more proud of their efforts. We will continue to do everything within our capability to help the Japanese overcome this disaster.”

McCampbell is one of seven Arleigh Burke-class destroyers assigned to Destroyer Squadron 15 and is forward-deployed to Yokosuka, Japan. McCampbell will remain on scene, continuing to provide assistance, as part of the overall humanitarian effort being conducted by U.S. 7th Fleet forces.

Monday, March 14, 2011


I am being selfish, but I am having a really bad mommy moment.    My son Grayson is deployed out of Yokosuka, Japan.    I know he is safe, the Navy made everyone call their families after the earthquake hit to let us know.  Thank you Navy.

I've heard from him via an email and the phone call on Friday, and I can only imagine what they are doing over there.  The McCampbell (his ship, a destroyer) was sent to do search and rescue off the coast of Sendai, the area hardest hit.

When the wind changed and they were exposed to "nominal" amounts of radiation, they moved the ship off the southern coast of Hunshu.   I hear they've had after shocks of 5 - 6.   I guess the safest place is to be on the water (so they say)

He said the debris in the water is unbelieveable.   And I can't help but think of the possible bodies they might pull from the sea.   Everybody on ship volunteered for rescue and recovery.   Ever single one of the crew wanted to go where ever help was needed.    I don't know if some went ashore and some stayed on the ship.  I assumed that's what he meant.  I know Grayson was dissapointed that all he was doing was helping to load helo's with water and food, as much as they could afford to send.   If it was up to the crew, I think they would have given it all.  

I love my son and am very proud of what he is doing, even if it's "just" loading helo's with supplies.  They all want to do more.   They want to do anything they can.  They all love the Japanese people, country, and culture they have shared.   I told him that just because he wasn't on "the front line" on land helping, that didn't mean he wasn't performing a vital function.   But again, they all want to go.  They all want to help. 

I am proud of him and the ship he serves on....   but if he glows in the dark when he comes home for Christmas, I am going to be seriously pissed.

Monday, February 07, 2011



All right folks!  It's not the end of Ze world.  Sooo.... bring on the self motivational tools.  Grab a cheerleader or make one yourself.            (high kicks and splits optional)

Let's snap to it
buck up
put on your big girl panties
suck it in
stand up straight
take a deep breath and
slap a smile on your face

It is time to put my hair into Polyanna braids, don my rose colored glasses, sing a few off key bars of "Tomorrow" from Annie, and get to work on being positive. 

So I owe the IRS...... Pfffft...  Who cares.    It's only a few (cough) thousand dollars.

Better yet, let's look at the bright side to owing IRS shall we?   hmmm.....   errr...  good side...  ehhhhhh....

OK.... so maybe there is no bright side to owing IRS any amount of money, much less A FEW THOUSAND fucking dollars.....  but we shall persist anyway, and find a &(@)$(! silver lining if it kills us...  er me.

So ummm yea a bright side....

HOKAY it is not the end of the world.   THINK.

Alrighty then.  A bright side is that I had a Roth IRA to rob,  the key word of course is HAD.   Past tense.   The IRA is now depleted, gone, kaput, finis.  My re-start of a retirement account gone in an instant.  BUT the federal IRS tax can be paid.

 :::dusts off hands::::

I also had, again the key word HAD, enough money left in my home equity line of credit to cover the state income tax. Oh sure, the credit line was mainly used to replace car engines blown (read long ago blog entries for all those good times), or in case of emergency...  and this qualifies as an emergency.    But (le sigh) it was also an equity line that was slowly, creeping it's way down into a dollar range that didn't make me shiver or cry to see, until today.   But now, the glorious state of GA bill is also paid in full!  So what the hell.  What's a little more debt?  I'll just work til I'm 80.  Yea, that's the ticket!

 ::::dusts off hands again::::   

So now I no longer owe the IRS.   YAY me.  

In a sense, I just owe myself.... with interest being charged of course.  And to save that kind of money again will take me another 8 years or more which won't amount to shit to help me in retirement, but it is official!   I don't owe the government.   YAY me. 

Who the F cares that I have no retirement, no safety net, no back up plan, no fail safe, no rainy day fund, AND that I am in debt up to my equity credit limit which is a small fortune in itself!  Not me! Nope, working well into my 80's sounds like a great way to live.

But... and here it comes, GASP...  can it be another bright side?!!!

I may be completely broke, alone, in debt and with no retirement at all, and doomed to work into my 80's, I am SOOOOO fortunate as to still be living in my awesome house;  my kids and I are healthy;  I am gainfully employed again with a nice job, and .. the best part of all....

currently eating chocolate chip cookies backed fresh from the oven.'s all in the cookies, you know.  Cookies are the bomb.

:::::::::pushes the rose colored glass back on her face:::::::


So see it's not the end of the world ....   This is....

Sunday, February 06, 2011

Lessons learned

Some people just don't learn... or maybe they just don't get it.  Case in point, companies advertising during the super bowl.

I mean c'mon people... HOW can your company air boring, dull, even rerun commercials during the super bowl?!   You pay what, $3 million for a 30 second spot?   Some companies just don't learn I suppose, but if you ask me, that's a $3 million dollar financial mistake. 

My own financial mistake is much less in total dollar amount, and much more costly in emotional and financial terms.   Maybe I never learn either. 

I don't know anymore.    I used to sail through life putting a humorous slant on everything thrown my way.   But lately, things just seem to taking a piece out of me.    I take 2 steps forward and get knocked back 4.  

I am running out of time.   Time to make enough money for any type of financial security.  Time enough to find a meaningful relationship.   Time to find a life, before it's too late.

So how late is too late?

I guess it depends on what you want out of life.

p.s.   Half time shows are also dumb.

Cranky me is going to go take a shower, wash and roll my hair, and set out a nice outfit for tomorrow in hopes that my outside appearance will help adjust my insides.

Saturday, February 05, 2011

Taxing the pony

Bowling was such great fun.  

Back when I was a "lady of leisure" I was on 2 bowling leagues and was really very good.   Well, I wasn't really a lady of leisure, I was a mom of 3 who managed to escape the crazy race of raising 3 boys by bowling twice a week in the mornings for 3 hours... but I was really really good.

I was kind of worried that I was going to throw out my back or fall on my face since it's been at least 10 years since I went bowling.    Nothing like going splat on a bowling lane to perk up a crowd of people.    I managed to stay on my feet, not throw out my back, or fall, and I ended up bowling 1 good game.  

But man oh man my fingers were killing me.   House balls suck.   I didn't bring my own, it weighs too much now for me to throw that thing, so with 100 other people that night, did the best I could with a house ball.   Oh, ummm   did I mention I'm competitive?    Yea... if I'm going to do something, I like to do it well.   So anyway...  it was fun.  The people were friendly as usual, and I managed to bowl well.    All in all a good night.   Damn, I'm so easily amused.

The next event I signed up for is Trivia night again this week.  :)

But tomorrow...  tomorrow is going to be a BITCH.  I am going to have my taxes done and it is scaring and depressing me.  After cashing in my 401k last year, I am going to owe a huge amount in taxes and I'm at a complete loss as to how I am going to pay it.  I am treading water as it is, and adding another payment plan onto my already stretched budget is going to put me under water.  

WHY oh why did I lend a certain someone 4k.    Why oh why did I put hardwood floors in my house and have a built in, built in.  Why did I fix the A/C?   I could of survived another GA summer without it, right?   Why did I buy a car?   oh.. well the car I had to, 'cause I totaled my other one.   But I did the other things because I was thinking I was going to put my house on the market and it needed the updates to somewhat compete in this awful market.    And after realizing that although this house is way too big for me, and the winter gas bills of $480 (ouch) were killing me, and the rest of the repairs that would need to be done, that selling the house wasn't really going to be that beneficial once all the numbers were run.  I would probably end up taking out the same mortgage that I already had, and if you add in the condo fees, the gas bill would pale in comparison over 12 months.  le sigh....

I am so screwed.  

On the bright side, the job is going good.   My boss and I are settling into a routine, and I don't feel like I am going to be fired every day.   He has had 9 admins in 12 years, so either he is mellowing, or he likes me.... I hope that both are true. 

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Can you feel me now?

Getting old SUCKS.    I hate it.

I wonder how it would be to walk through life as one of the beautiful people....  how would that feel?   We see them day in and day out on tv and in movies....  it almost makes you think that is what the world is made up of.... these incredibly beautiful people with dazzling teeth and bodies...   how fucking depressing.

I am not aging well and every day when I wake up and look in the mirror, it slams into me.   

Oh sure, I can take a decent pic, if you have the light just right, and angle my face to the perfect degree, and squint, with a filter on the camera.....  

I'm photoshop age.  UGH

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Trivial things

Thank goodness for Trivia.

I signed up for an outing again, and went last night to Trivia night at a local restaurant.  

As usual, when the clock hit 5pm and it was time to leave work, the boring me started her usual littany...  "I'm tired.  You don't know anyone that will be there.   Why do you want to go.    You will revert back to your shy, boring self, sit there feeling out of place..."   yadda yadda yadda.

I went anyway.   I'm a sucker for Trivia games.  And my head is full of useless information anyway.

And once again, I'm glad I went.   The people are always nice, friendly and inspite of my self perceived lack of social finesse, I managed to smile, engage folk in conversation, share a few laughs and had a good time.

Next up.....

Bowling night.   I'm just a thrill a minute, eh?

Monday, January 10, 2011

A long long vacation

It's been so long since I've been at work, it will feel like a new job all over again when I go back.  It's now Day 11 at home.

I'm not complaining, I could quit working with no problem and would, if it wasn't for that no money thing that happens without employment.   

And I do happen to have lucked into a great job, so I really do have no complaints. 

but today is a SNOW DAY!  woot.

And tomorrow might be one too.  :)

Sunday, January 02, 2011

Ahh It's another Year

Happy New Year to all.

The holidays were very quiet around here but nice.

I got to Skype with the son in Japan, and see him open his present on his Christmas morning, and then got to see him again on Christmas day here in the States.  It was really nice to be able to see him and not just talk to him on the phone. 

I ended up getting the two sons here beds.  Raise your hands if you already knew I was going to break down and figure out a way.. lol

Since you really should pick out your own bed, I took them shopping the day after Christmas to pick one out.  Nothing fancy, just mattress and box springs, but when you've been sleeping on a futon or twin bed 1/2 your size, a real bed is pretty special. 

New years was even quieter.  I stayed at home and spent some quiet thinking time.   I don't know why I say quiet time, my life is hardly busy or noisy.   Resolutions anyone?

I suppose if I had to make any resolution, it would be to engage life more.  


Monday, December 06, 2010

Christmas 2010

Once again I face the Christmas "I don't know" gremlins.   Money is a huge disadvantage this year, as was last year and that always makes shopping a huge chore for the holidays.  I hate not having a plan.   The guys are no help either.   They can't come up with anything they want for Christmas...  unless you count one of the wanting a bed....  which isn't going to happen.

He has a bed, it's just that it's a twin bed he has had since he was a younger (and much shorter) kid.   But damn, beds aren't cheap!   Not gonna happen this year son... 

So, I'm planless, again.   Bleh.

Only 2 of the 3 sons will be home this year, and I have yet to find stuff to fill up a box, much less ship a Christmas box to the son stationed in Japan.   If I don't figure out something soon, he will be opening a box sometime in February.  

Bleh, bleh bleh.   Bah humbug and all that.

I need a plan!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Turkey Coma, day two

It was a much quieter Thanksgiving than I care for around here.... but it was nice nonetheless.   I cooked two turkeys, two sweat potatoe souffle, two pans of dressing, mashed potatoes and a new string bean dish and other assorted side items, making sure the son who lives in Athens, Ga had enough leftovers to take home, thus doing my motherly duty of sending him home on a full stomach and with enough food to feed him for a month at least.  

I wish I was part of a loud Italian or Greek family....  Where there is alot of screaming and fighting and craziness around the holidays.   Hmmm....  Maybe not, there might not be leftovers.....   Wait, yes.   Definitely yes.   And, I want to host the holidays at my house.  Yep, I do.  

I also want to have money so that I can get up at 1am to get to stores to shop for Black Friday.   

But I have neither the large family nor the money to engage in Black Friday madness, so instead I will go fix another heaping plate of leftovers and descend blissfully into a turkey coma, phase two.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Accident waiting to happen

I was tired, but went to BBQ and Whirly ball anyway.  

The BBQ was good, but the band (a really good blues band) was too loud to do any chatting with the folks there.   I was tired, it was a long week at work, though I don't know why, nothing unusual went on for the week. 

So on to Whirlyball.  I opted out of getting into a bumper car and having other people slam into me.   It actually reminded me of the car wreck I had, and I thought... hmmmm.....  not sure I am in the mood to relive that, even on a small scale.   I'm just a party pooper I guess. 

I watched a few of the games and went home. 

But tired or not, I went.... which is a step up from my normal routine of being tired and just going home.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

I have to get better shoes.

Salsa lessons rock!   I enjoyed those moves much more than Samba moves.  There were less people this week, but the lessons were still great fun.

After lessons the group went to a trendy sushi restaurant.  I don't care for sushi, or spicey foods, but their menu was expansive and delicious.... and the place was 9/10 empty.   You realize how the lifestyle/economy has changed when walk into an awesome restaurant and nobody is in there.

Afterwards the group wanted to go dancing.   The choices everyone offered were crazy.  It seems, according to some, The Holiday Inn down the road was the place to go....

O.M.G.   Ok.... What can I say about the H.I.   It is THE place... the place for the over 70 crowd to dance.  Seriously.   And no denim is allowed.   It was funny/weird/awful/interesting... a little bit of everything.   Remind me when the wrinkles get too bad, to never, EVER wear pancake makeup.   It was both sad to see older women (and remember I am old!) squeezed into spandex, cake on makeup, and get all dolled up, ignoring the fact time had marched on.  But it was also nice to see that life doesn't end at any age, and flirting and dancing at any (chronological) age still happens.   So after the initial "Are you kidding me?!" look I gave to the folks that wanted to go there, I might actually go back with a group one night.  It looked like a nice group that was there and most importantly, least we forget.... older men know how to dance!   Not that blasted rocking back and forth stuff so many call dancing.   Older me, they've got moves!  

Unfortunately some of us were wearing jeans, and weren't allowed in, so off we all went in search of dancing.

We arrived at a small bar/restaurant that was what can only be described as, a meat market.   I had forgotten what those felt like.  EWWW.    There was live music, which was really good, but when you try to squeeze 200 people in a bar the size of a postage stamp, it becomes unbearable.  None of us were in the mood to play meat market, and dancing was impossible so off we went again.

This time we ended up at a large club that's been in Atl forever.   And there we danced, and danced and danced. 

I hobbled in my house at around 3am.   Today there is bowling.... I don't think my feet can take it.

I've not signed up for anything else yet, but I will.   This has been too fun, getting out and meeting some new people!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Happy Hour

I tried out one of the happy hour gatherings on Wednesday, after work.  

On the drive there, I went through my usual spiel in my head...... "This is stupid... why are you doing this?    I'm too tired to go.  I won't know anyone.  I don't even drink.  What the heck will I talk about?   I'm too old to be going to bars.   This is stupid...."       ok I repeated that one.   Normally that one is the one that makes me point the car home.

But instead, I went anyway and actually had a pretty fun time.  I guess about 80 people showed up and I met a few more women, all who were really nice and fun to talk to.  I didn't really chat up the men....  in fact I kinda carefully avoided making eye contact with most of them.  I'm getting out to make friendships, not meet men.  Just not interested or motivated .   Besides, if I wanted a guy, I could call up the barely 30 something I was kinda involved with months ago.... Oh, I forgot to mention him didn't I.

....  oh yea, I so robbed that cradle.

Anyway.....  tomorrow night is Salsa lesson night.   Should be fun!

Friday, November 05, 2010

Twinkle Toes

1,2,3    1,2,3,   Samba lessons were tonight.  1,2,3,   1,2,3,   1,2,3.   I can't keep 4/4 time, so  imagine me latin dancing... it wasn't pretty.   It sure felt good though to be out and doing something with real folks.

But OOOOOOHHHHHH my achin tootsies.  

The teacher was really good.  It was basically Samba for dummies.  Perfect! 

After a long week, and being a slug for a few years, I was exhausted after the hour long class.

....but it seems, I wasn't the only one, the whole class worked up quite a sweat. 

I still can't dance, but at least I'm "can't dancing" with real people. 

Now home, with a cup of coffee to drink and ymmmmmm  warm water to soak my tired feet in... Damn, I'm getting old, but who cares, my feet are thanking me.  
and tomorrow.... sleeping in.  Happy Saturday!