Saturday, January 15, 2005


Yesterday, 2/63(the unit my husband is in) had their first casualty. His name was Pfc. Gunnar Becker, and he was 19 years old. It is said to be friendly fire, which stings. I don't really know what to say; the reality of death hits closer to home every time. I tried finding information on him, but couldn't. It's tragic that my boys are six weeks away from coming home, and something like this happens. My heart goes out to his family, even though I know that isn't much consolation. Here's to Private First Class Gunnar Becker.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005


Well, Mark has left for Iraq once again, but it was SO GOOD to have him home.

I found myself wondering what to do today when I woke up...I forgot my routine! I tried thinking about what I did before he came home for R&R. It's amazing how seven months disappeared when he stepped foot into our house. I will miss him, but we only have about six weeks left.

Sunday, January 09, 2005


I was online last night, playing spades. Again.

For any of you that have played online spades, you know there is a little chat box at the bottom of the screen. People usually playfully talk trash to their opponents, tell their partner what a good job they are doing, and so on.

Well last night, I asked everyone where they were from. After they all responded, one of them asked me where I was from. I said, "Seattle, but I live in Germany". Somehow the conversation morphed into why I was here, what my husband does, and the fact that he is going back to Iraq in a couple of days. I should have known this would warrant a moron (my opponent) to use her First Amendment right.

She started blabbing about all of the "Support Our Troops" vinyl stickers she had plastered all over her vehicle. This would be great, but it was followed by, "But I don't know if I agree with the government's reason for going over there". Here we go...She done pissed me off.

I wanted to reach through the screen and shake her profusely, but I politely said, "Well, September 11th was enough reason for me". And my partner said, "Yep, me too". Yay!! I didn't even know this guy and I already loved him. Not only did we spank our opponents in spades, she didn't say a damn thing after that.

There's just one thing I would like to point out about this. It seems to be a common thing to hear, "I support the troops, but I don' t support the war". This is a load of crap. First of all, the troops you are referring to signed a piece of paper vowing to protect their country and their constitution, vowing they were ready to give their life, and being trained to do all of this. So if you don't support the war, you REALLY DON'T support the troops. They knew when they signed up that it was a possibility they would be deployed. THEY SIGNED UP FOR WAR. They didn't sign up to PLAY Army. All they had to do was wait for the word from their Commander in Chief.

So if you've said something like, "I support the troops, but I don't support the war", maybe you should consider if you REALLY support the troops, or if you are REALLY against the war. You can't do both.

Tuesday, January 04, 2005


On a lighter note, today is my two year wedding anniversary. It has been a good day, considering Mark is here. We danced to our song at 12:30 this morning, and stayed up playing online spades until 06:30. We've decided to order food and watch movies tonight to recover from our lack of sleep. Mark gave me strict orders today, "NO SPADES TONIGHT". I laughed it off...Even though I was wondering if I could go one full night without my addiction. Well baby, I'll do it for you. Happy Anniversary Billy Ray.

Sunday, January 02, 2005


The other night, I had the opportunity to sit down with my hubby and get inside his head about the conflict in Iraq. When we talk on the phone, our conversations are usually filled with, "I love you, I miss you, I can't wait to see you". My husband is also super OPSEC, so he won't tell me anything over the phone. I was glad to get the chance to ask him the questions I've wanted to know. And he surprised me on a lot of his answers - his views have changed drastically since the day he left for Hell.

Erin: What do you think about America's involvement in Iraq?

Mark: At first I thought it was ridiculous. But now, I realize that there are people who care about their freedom - which has changed my outlook. Overall, I would say that I agree with America's involvement in the war.

Erin: Do you agree with the people who think we went to war for oil?

Mark: I don't think it's about oil. There was evidence of weapons of mass destruction. We weren't willing to take any chances, so we went in there and fucking got him (Saddam Hussein).

Erin: What gets you through your long deployment?

Mark: Being constantly busy. Also knowing that I have a mission coming up, and executing that mission. And talking to my wife. And haji movies.

Erin: What is the one thing you would like to say to people who think we shouldn't have gone over there?

Mark: You don't know until you've seen kids running down the streets asking for food, no shoes on. There are Iraqis who work for on post for two dollars a day, and feel wealthy. The country is fucked up, and we are there to help. You shouldn't say anything unless you've experienced it.

Erin: What do you think about the job President Bush has done as your Commander in Chief?

Mark: At first I thought he was trying to finish a war that his daddy started. But now, I think he's the best damn president we've had in a while. He really knows how to take care of his soldiers.

Erin: What are your feelings about the soldier who confronted Donald Rumsfeld about lack of armor?

Mark: If you don't feel fucking safe, then go Active Duty or go to the scrap metal bin, and fucking weld the shit onto your vehicle. Fuckin' quit bitchin'.

(He explained to me that the Army and the National Guard have different funding...So he's never had any problem with armor...Thus the reason to go Active Duty. He also says that on every post there is a scrap metal bin, so if you need a piece, you just go grab it. Red Six gives his opinion here.)

Erin: Would you say that the Iraqis you've come in contact with are grateful or resentful for America's presence in their country?

Mark: Grateful. I have yet to come across an Iraqi that hasn't shaken my hand or put their hand over their heart and said, "Slalom Alecum" (Peace be upon you). I have NEVER been treated poorly by an Iraqi.

Erin: How long do you see our forces being there?

Mark: There is no way to know for sure, but I think eventually it will be a permanent duty station. I don't see the fighting stopping anytime soon.

Erin: Do you feel that Iraq has become a better place since you arrived there?

Mark: I can't say because when I first got there, I wasn't going out on missions. So I have nothing to compare it to now. But just by the noises I hear, it seems worse. We hear mortars and small arms fire everyday, whereas a few months ago, we would go weeks without hearing anything. It just goes to show that you can never become complacent.

Erin: Tell me a story about your deployment that you would like to someday tell your grandchildren.

Mark: Well, a lot of what I've seen I want to forget. But one of the stories I would tell would be about two Iraqi kids I came in contact with. We had just raided a house, and school was letting out. Two Iraqi twin boys came up to me and a buddy. They were showing us their English books, and asking about our handcuffs. One of them pointed to my ink pen. I pulled it off of my uniform and gave it to him. In return, they gave me and my buddy a piece of candy. It was a good interaction. I hope when they are older they remember us, because I will remember them.

Call me sick, but I love hearing this stuff. I can't wait to hear more.

Saturday, January 01, 2005


In the past few years, I have given up on making resolutions. I have never kept a resolution, whether it was to quit smoking, lose weight, stop buying shoes, keep my house clean, or get on a certain sleep schedule. I'd like to consider myself a free spirit...I like to do whatever it is that I want to do...even if it means breaking my own rules. But then guilt slowly starts creeping up on me, telling me I'm a nicotine pheening- fat- obsessive shoe shopping-lazy ass- insomniac.

This year is no different. However, I'm going to make a mini-resolution to not be so hard on myself. If I smoke for the rest of my life, fine. If I don't look like a model, ok. If I find a pair of shoes that I must have, even if I don't have anything to go with them, bag 'em up. If I have to hire a maid to clean the house, sweet. And if I stay up all night playing spades, and can only half-function at work the next day, oh well. Bottom line: I just want to be happy.

I want to develop the good things about me, not dwell on the "bad" things. I know that sounds like something we've all heard a thousand times from our favorite magazine, but this year, I want to put it into practice. In fact, Shawn Mullins puts it perfectly:

"...cause I want to shimmer
i want to to shine
i want to radiate
i want to live
i want to love
i want to try and learn how not to hate"

Here's to happiness, guilt-free pleasures, and fabulous shoes. Happy New Year everyone.