Friday, April 25, 2008

R & R

Yesterday around 6:30pm, we went to the elementary school favored by Daniel's sister. They have some really great playground equipment and although she is 13, she loves spinning so fast she can't stand up afterward.

Daniel went with us. He had to take off his pajamas to do so. His leave, when he's not seeing people, is consisting of "general sloth, followed by lazing about, after which a little bit of eating before an afternoon nap." [see "Red Dwarf"]. He's loving the freedom to do what he wants, or not do anything because he can.

He is being fed regularly. Getting ready to shower, he noticed a "bloomp" on his otherwise skeletal frame. He said he looked like his Japanese teacher Spann sensei, only pregnant. She, unlike the mental image of a Japanese teacher you've just constructed, is blonde, very tall and model thin. I suggested his "twins" might be regular food and he countered with the very real possibility it was just the copious quantity of cheese dip made for his birthday celebration.

I'll pull a Cookie Baker and post a recipe. It is a bold deviation from this blog protocol, but indulge me. Hats doffed to Marsha Chester, the originator of this recipe, with whom I worked at Boeing before Daniel was born.

Chili Cheese Dip
1 lb. Velveeta
1 can chili without beans
1 can diced green chilies
1 bunch green onions, chopped
dried red pepper flakes to taste
cilantro to taste (not in the original recipe, but hey, if it's good, it's good)

Cut up the cheese (and I use the term loosely) and mix in 2 qt ovenproof container with the rest of the ingredients. Bake covered at 350 until soupy. Remove from oven and let sit for about 10 minutes until it becomes a consistency which allows you to scoop with tortilla chips, crackers, hunks of bread, etc.


Thursday, April 24, 2008

You couldn't ask for a better Aunt!

My sister's post for today is wonderful. I thought I'd share, in case you aren't avid food blog readers :)

Thursday, April 17, 2008


Yes, for those of you who wondered whether he had to *walk* from Portland, no, he's been here 4 days and I've been enjoying his company rather than blogging. Here are some striking tidbits from our conversations, in no particular order.

  • One of the "culture shock" items occurred before he left. When he had to turn in his weapons, he felt like he had lost an appendage. He said it felt weird and it wasn't a good weird. Not having a means of protecting himself meant he felt naked and vulnerable.

  • We were talking about how many military transition to civilian life by choosing a career in law enforcement. When I told him I had read the adrenalin rush which comes from being in a combat situation becomes addicting and many ex-military find a desk job too mundane and boring to want to do it for any length of time. They feel more alive under dangerous situations.

    Daniel said he totally understood. When he gets shot at, he frequently finds himself laughing - he says he finds it "fun" in a deranged way. He supposes it's "fun" all the way up until the time you go down with a hit.

  • He is not finding it difficult to talk about himself and his experiences because he's alive, kicking and in one piece. He has shown us a video taken by someone in a vehicle 2 behind his which recorded an EFP hitting Daniel's vehicle. The blast took out the "rhino," a device which sticks out in front of the Stryker, and probably saved at least 2 lives inside the vehicle. Daniel said it was a rude awakening, because literally he was fast asleep at the time.

  • Other people's experiences he has more trouble with. He has made it through a telling of Perez' death twice and finds himself shaking at the telling. I have not heard it yet.

  • He wears a memorial bracelet for Sgt. Johnson and his squad have ordered the one for Spc. Perez. I was thinking of the promise we give to remember the fallen troops. Their brothers in arms put it tangibly.

The picture is sent by Mrs. Cap (wife of Daniel's friend Capellino) of Perez' memorial service.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

He's almost here

We got a call from Portland - he's on his way!!!!!!!!

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Nothing yet

It's all quiet on the Daniel front. We've decided to stop getting nuts about it and wait till he calls.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Wait and see

He's in Kuwait! He called to say it was 8pm there; he had arrived 4 hours earlier. They finished their in-processing and had been allowed to go to chow.

At 7:30 tomorrow they will give him either his final travel plans (which he hopes to be able to pass on to us) or an indication of his being on standby. Either way he gets to eat regularly, sleep regularly and no one is shooting at him. In terms of Army life, it doesn't get much better than that!

Wednesday, April 9, 2008


Daniel was online last night. He is parked at Camp Liberty, which is where he will leave from. They were sent there early, only to be told, “You’re early.” Best indication is he will arrive Thursday or Friday of this week, depending on when he actually ships out.

He will go to Kuwait, from there to Atlanta to check in for leave. He flies from Atlanta to Dallas and Dallas to SeaTac. No idea what flight or when (I hope they’re not using American Airlines), but he said he changed his mind on group meetings, at least just for the airport. He would love to see anyone who would like to come out and greet him when he arrives.

If you want an update of arrival times, send me an email back, along with a “sure, let me know even if it’s 2am” or “just let me know during normal waking hours” and I will do my best to keep you informed.

I am going to pick up his car today and make sure it’s clean (it’s not) as well as his cell. Same number – it will be on for 2 weeks.