Wednesday, September 30, 2009

I haven't given up

We've just been super duper busy. Tomorrow we're moving back to the barracks ... so that means Dana will be stuck in the room without TV all day. THUS .... I get to super duper update the blog.

So don't go ... you'll have much more to read soon.

xoxo, Dana

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Beauty and the Beast

We went to the Nuernberg fall market this past weekend and it was like the whole downtown was a big market place. They had these adorable lil kids playing music from Disney's Beauty and the Beast. At the end of the video, you can hear John asking me about a little kid, I "shoosh" him ... because OBVIOUSLY he doesn't understand the importance of Disney's music. LOL I'm kidding ... but he really didn't get it until I sang the song to him.


video

Friday, September 18, 2009

My asses


These boys, well really men, are my Asses (Adopted Single Soldiers). They're so sweet. I feed them, and they are greatful. They come over just to hang out and play video games. There's Michael (Mike) and Houston (a Michael also).

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Kaufland


So get this ... there's a shopping cart escalator in the grocery store! How frigging cool is that???

Monday, September 14, 2009

My husband

I wanted to take a moment to say something about my husband. This man gets up early in the morning, when he'd much rather sleep in, to go to PT (I still have no clue what this stands for). He works on helicopters everyday, burning his hands, scraping his knuckles, sweating, and cursing when something goes wrong. He counsels soldiers when it's necessary. But he's a friend to them when he doesn't have to be the boss. He's so kind hearted to the least of them. He really goes out on a limb for these guys. He loves these guys, truly loves them. I can see it when he's frustrated with them for whatever it may be, I see that he's frustrated with them because he expects better ... and he knows they're better.

John stands by these guys, holds them up when they can't stand (mostly to alcohol ... let's not kid ourselves ... they all just got home) ... pays their tabs when they can't, listens when they need to get things off their chests, and backs off when he knows they need their space. It's like he can read their feelings without ever saying a word.

His closest friend, Tony, is like his big brother. They may bitch and moan about each other, but it's rare you'll find one out and about without the other, or without talking about the other. They haven't always been close, but I know this brotherhood will last a lifetime. We're very blessed to have Tony, Katrin, and their youngin', Julian as a part of our Army family.

His guys, Travis, Record, Miller, Houston, Parmy, Calderon, Cantu ... are like his compadres. I see these men looking up to John all the time. He may miss it ... it's sometimes hard to notice something you see everyday ... but I see it. They see how he respects them. They know that John knows wrong from right, and they respect his decisions. His superiors know he's smart, they know he's talented. They really entrust him with a lot. Right now, he's "running" the company, pilots and all. This is big timing it! He is really excited about this experience, since this is one of his goals ... to be a First Sergeant. I'm so proud of all the extra duties he has on his plate. I know he gets stressed out over them sometimes, but I know he handles these tasks with professionalism. That, is something, you can't learn ... it's something you are instilled with.

It's not just the ones he knows that he looks after. Just the other day, we're driving home and find a party. Some guy is far too intoxicated for his own good. John jumps out of the car to clean up the situation at hand, and NONE of these soldiers know him, they're not even in his battalion, and they jump to near attention. They know he's here to help, but don't cross him ... or he'll hem you up. Then about a week ago, we're driving home from the Shopette, and there's this brand new private. This is this boy's, and I say boy truthfully ... since he looked 15, first duty station. He had what John called a bare flash (front of his beret). John shouted for this boy to come over, nearly scaring him. The boy came to parade rest and kept calling John, Sergeant. John was concerned as to why someone hasn't given him his unit sign thingy (I can't remember the name of it). This poor boy was scared of John, and John was just looking out for that boy. He was mad that someone wasn't helping this boy feel part of his unit.

I see how John looks after these guys and I know that, when the time comes, he's going to be a great father. In the meantime, I can see why he wants to be a Drill Sergeant. He wants these recruits to be the best they can be. He wants to teach them to be great soldiers, and great citizens to boot.

I look up to him and his core values as a person. He's the most honest, trustworthy, caring, and compassionate person I know. I truly am blessed to have this man in my life.

I could never ask for a better best friend, partner, penguin, soul mate, or husband.

John, I truly feel like the most loved person that walks this planet. I'm so lucky you found me :) Remember, no matter how much water or sand is put between us ... I am and always will be waiting for your safe return.

I love you, Penguin of Mine.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Military Blues

The ASU, Army Service Uniform. It's a formal thing. John will be wearing these for many special events, the deployment ball, things for school and when he's a Drill Sergeant (formal events only) and most IMPORTANTLY our church wedding.

It was very, and I mean, VERY expensive ... but well worth every penny ...

We went to get John fitted for it, and get all his ranks and stripes sewn on. Where we did this was in the center of town in Ansbach. It was a Friday afternoon, and just before everyone was getting off work for the weekend. We're in the alterations shop and John comes out in his blues from the changing room. My God he looked soooooo good!

As he's getting fitted for his uniform, everyone that passes by the shop does a double take at John in his uniform standing up there in the window. He thought it was because he's a soldier they were looking, but I think it's cause he looked so damn good ;)

We had some troubles with this lady at the alterations shop, but I'll let John talk about that one ... he was quite hot over the whole ordeal :(

Saturday, September 12, 2009

My 9-11





I can clearly remember sitting at home on the couch in Yorktown, VA when nearly every TV channel redirected to the breaking news of a 747 colliding with a World Trade Center Tower....and then another into the opposing tower.

I don't exactly want to draw this out to be a seven page report-slash-tribute. My intent for choosing this topic is that I'd like people to know my position at the time of 9-11 and my position when I joined the Army in November 2003.

Watching 9-11 happen on TV was a complete shocker to me. I felt a personal attack was being carried out on me. I know and knew then that none of it had anything directly to do with me. But I felt it in a more personal way than I had ever felt anything, of national interest, before.

Days went by after 9-11 happened and there were signs on the road, commercials on TV, radio shows, bumper stickers, and t-shirts all in tribute of those who were lost in the 9-11 tragedy. The true impact of this attack was being shown everywhere I looked. Our people, the people of this great country, were coming together to mourn...to tribute...to remember.

I can remember when we sent troops to Afghanistan to hunt down those responsible for the attacks on our country. I was driving down a long stretch of interstate shortly after we invaded Iraq in March 2003 and came up on a convoy of Army trucks...there must have been 25 or 30 of them. I started to think about where these guys might be going and if they'd be heading out to fight for our country anytime soon and started to get that welling up feeling you get just before you cry.

Out of impulse, I threw my flashers on and slowly passed the entire convoy of trucks while I honked my horn, pumped my fist in the air out the window, and cheered for them. Every driver I saw in those trucks and every soldier who poked his head out from the canvas in the back of those trucks smiled and waived.... They new that they were being supported.

In alot of ways, all a soldier needs in order to complete his mission is Outstanding Leadership and the support of the people he's fighting for.

I joined the Army in November 2003 because I wasn't financially stable and had trouble paying my bills. It was a means to an end. I didn't join the Army because of 9-11. But I felt better about my decision to do so because I knew I'd probably get the opportunity to serve my country in atleast one of these ongoing wars...... I was right. I have served in Afghanistan, Kosovo, and Iraq.

And I would do it all over again so long as it meant that I'd be actively protecting the freedoms and liberties that we, as HUMAN BEINGS ... not just as Americans, are entitled to.

Brotchen


Are the BEST thing ever in Germany!!

They're these crusty dinner rolls. Wonderful, plain and simple :)

Friday, September 11, 2009

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

Germany is one of the cleanest countries that I've ever visited.

You never see trash on the ground.
You MUST recycle in public. Like there's no just "trash" trash cans. There's a sorter station.
In the grocery stores, there's a HUGE recycle station just inside the door.

There's also a way to get a deposit back for recycling. I know this happens in the states too, but here it's a much bigger level. If you have a soda can that's got this funky recycle label on the back, you can take it into a store like the one you bought it at (say a fuel station) and you get money back :) If you buy a case of beer that's local (Side note all beers that are here in Bavaria are region specific, you can find Bud Lite, but it's only on post. Off post you get Bavarian beer.)

My favorite part of this environmentally clean effort is the windmills. They're HUGE! And the fun part is that some days they're spinning like crazy and others they're still and even others they're slow. Now this would make sense, windy day ... fast speed. Negative. The windiest day since I've been here they were moving slow. I wonder why ... if you know, fill me in ;)

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Adventures in Pooch Sitting (Part Deux)


Well really it's part one. We sat for Katrin and Tony. Their Dauschaund puppies are named Oscar and Bucky.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Pooch Sitting

Ok, first of all...this is my (John) first blog on our page, as Dana has much more time and drive to do this kinda thing. So, if you guys like what you've seen prior to this particular post, please comment back and let her know, as she has done a beautiful job of keeping our blog updated.

This Dog, Jaeger (pronounced like "yager" or Jaeger from the infamous label of "Jaeger Meister") has to be one of the most bizarre creatures I have ever encountered. He is a 100 lb European breed of Boxer, INCREDIBLY energetic, and very friendly (never...ever bites.......unless he's playing and even then he never leaves a mark of any kind). He drools to no end and every time he comes around to play he automatically reminds me of one of my favorite Tom Hanks movies, "Turner and Hooch." Remember that disgusting "shoelace" drool that Hooch had hanging from his jowls? That's Jaeger, all the way around. Just stand clear of him when he does that thing that all dogs do...the violent twisting and tossing of his head along the lateral axis of his neck as he slings these shoelace-like gobbs of drool all over the place.

We "Pooch-Sat" for a friend over the weekend in a small, small town called Wiebelsheim. This a quiet farm town that is usually woken up, rather abruptly, when Jaeger is taken for his morning walk. I'm suprised we didn't hear shutters slamming shut as when came out of the front door with him on his leash. He wants to bark at anything that moves, chokes himself nearly to death because he'd rather walk YOU than you walk him, and "marks" EVERY fence post and tree in town atleast once per outing. When we got him back into the house after his walk....he plopped on the floor and wouldn't stop panting (at an unbelievable frequency....as fast as he was breathing, I was suprised the oxygen was reaching his brain, let alone his lungs). But, his owner said it was normal and not to worry.

In the house, it's hard to keep him still. He always wants to play and keeps you on your toes as you're constantly worried about what a dog like that is doing when he turns the corner. But you know it's ok when your what sounds like a duffel bag full of softballs being dropped on the floor...it's just Jaeger getting ready for a nap. I had never seen a dog actually PUSH a leather couch across the floor as he lays down to take a nap until this past weekend.

I'm providing a video and several photos of this dog so that you may get an idea of what it is we had our hands full with for an entire weekend.

In the video...he literally grabs the leash between Dana's hand and where it attaches to his neck in an attempt to "walk" her, instead of the other way around.






























video

This is Strictly a Hand Holding ZONE!!!

German Soda


Mezzo Mix. NOT GOOD!

It's cola and orange blended together. ICK!

(I know the photo is blurry ... well I just now noticed it now that I posted this blog, you're not drunk ... don't worry ... it's the photo ... we were driving when this was taken)

I'll keep my head in the clouds, you'll keep my feet on the ground

Every beautiful day, and I mean EVERY beautiful day ... there's a hot air balloon that flies all over. John wanted to be all romantic and take me on a ride, picnic basket, bottle of wine, smooches and all.

We look up just how to do this, and find out that it's going to cost us 190 EUROS which equates to about $276 EACH PERSON!

So looks like there's no hot air ballooning in our future, at least until John gets promoted again ;) LOL

For now, we're forced to enjoy the ballooning from the ground :( But hell, atleast we're together.

Aushfart


It sounds just like it's spelled.

Aush-fart.

It means exit.

Tee hee hee ...

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

This is so bittersweet

I'm here, in Germany ... and my very best friend is having her baby today. I'm not there. I can't help her. I can't support her. I can't be a good "surrogate aunt" to Jake. I can't help call the list of people once he's here.

My heart, to be honest, is REALLY quite broken right now.

I'm so happy for my favorite couple, but man this blows that I can't share it with you. I love you both so very much, and I can't wait to come home and see y'all and my new little "nephew".

I miss you both (and Jake too) so very much!!!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Blumen Garden

There's this thing called a Blumen Garden. It's literally that, a blooming garden, a flower garden. You go to the garden, and you pick the flowers you want then you trim them at the station and drop in your Euros. The honor system here is great. They trust here, unlike in America. So no one "mans" this garden, they just expect you to do the right thing, and you do.







































































Where we live

To put it in perspective on where John and I live, here ya go. We are in barracks, ALL MEN'S BARRACKS that is. In addition, we're in a building where there's communal showers and bathrooms. Thus, John must stand guard whenever I need to simply pee. You can forget me leaving this room to go to the bathroom when John's at work. So we're going to house sit for people as much as possible, hopefully this'll make things better ... for now though ... photos.