color: SOME SOLDIER'S MOM: July 2009

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Exploring Arizona: Williams and Wildlife Zoo/Aquarium

Have tickets to the Antiques Roadshow in Phoenix this weekend... taking Indian pottery, a lamp from the 1890's, some Currier & Ives prints (not valuable, but I want to learn how to tell how old prints are... and DH and I are treating ourselves to a weekend at a ritzy hotel for our anniversary... also seeing my dear brother while we're in the Big City (LOL).

Here are some pics from a recent excursion through the back country to Williams, AZ (Gateway to the Grand Canyon) (if you go, be sure to visit American Flyer Coffee Co. -- DELICIOUS coffee and really nice people!! ) and pics from a trip yesterday with Tom Terrific to the Wildlife World Zoo & Aquarium (Note to self: do not go to Phoenix for outdoor activities in July... 115 degrees... oh yeah -- it's a dry heat @ 8% humidity LOL)

you could say that...

[bad] weather on the red rocks...

came around a bend and this old boy was trotting along

where the deer & the [pronghorn] antelope play...

oh beautiful! for spacious skies

part of the Perkins Ranch

open range state... no fence between me & him... (not Perkins cattle btw)

tracked this dog across a wide open field...

who then sat and howled at us like a wolf!!


baby pygmy goat in the petting zoo

shark tank


twin baby white tigers!!

touching horseshoe crabs & starfish!!

Labels: , , , ,

PayPal is Anti-Gun.

Via Chuck Z

From Kevin @ The smallest minority
No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

OK, I'm livid.

As most of you know, the fourth annual Gun Blogger's Rendezvous is fast approaching (43 days away as I write this), and this year I planned to make a special contribution to support Project Valour-IT - a gun giveaway that would be for even those unable to attend. But I'm not a 501(c)(3) organization, or any other kind of tax-free charity, so I couldn't actually run a charity raffle. Besides, I'm not really set up for it and wouldn't know how. So, with the aid of Rendezvous organizer Mr. Completely, arrangements were made with Soldiers' Angels to provide on-line ticket sales. Tickets went on sale Friday, July 17. We were ON!

Soldiers' Angels uses PayPal for their on-line donations. PayPal even has a "Case Study" of Soldiers' Angels' success (PDF) using PayPal, bragging:
Today Soldiers' Angels' biggest online contributions go through PayPal. "It's trustworthy to people and so they donate," says (Founder Patti) Patton-Bader. "There's a confidence that donors feel – that it's a safe way to make a donation. There are not many companies that inspire that kind of trust."

Coincident with the Gun Blogger Rendezvous Raffle, Soldiers' Angels had also started a fund drive for other projects that same weekend. PayPal put a stop to that. Here's Patti Patton-Bader's official statement:
Online donations through PayPal are a huge part of our fundraising. They shut down our entire account-not just the raffle button—for twelve hours right in the middle of an email fundraising push. Looking at the Terms of Use, we couldn’t understand where we’d gone wrong, but we had to immediately remove the raffle so we could get back online ASAP. This just breaks our hearts because we were so excited about the tremendous fundraising impact the Gun Blogger Rendezvous raffle was already having.
(My emphasis). The "tremendous fundraising impact"? In the short time (3.5 days) the PayPal button was live, they had 42 participants and 109 tickets sold.

As noted above, we're still 43 days out from the Rendezvous. I just found out about this today.

And not only did the contributions for the raffle stop coming in, ALL contributions to Soldier's Angels via PayPal were cut off for twelve hours.

Because PayPal is anti-gun.

So where does that leave us? Well, you can call Soldiers' Angels and do a transaction over the phone. During normal business hours (PST) you can call (626) 529-5114, or you can call their voicemail service any time at (615) 676-0239, leave them a callback number and they'll get back to you - probably the less expensive option, timewise. It's not as convenient as a mouse click, but it beats snail-mailing a check.

You can also contact PayPal. Their Customer Service phone number is (402) 935-2050.

I've never asked this before, but I would appreciate it if every gun- and mil-blogger on the web and every gun board picked this up and spread it far and wide. I'm tired of gun-bigots. PayPal needs to hear from US - the law-abiding gun owners of this country - that we're no longer willing to just roll over when we're abused by the companies we "trust" just because we believe in and practice the rights guaranteed to us under the Second Amendment.

This post will remain at the top of the blog for the next couple of days.

Labels: , ,

Thursday, July 23, 2009

PTSD... a Parent's Perspective

As anyone who has read this blog for more than 30 days knows, our combat-wounded son also carries the invisible wounds of post-traumatic stress disorder.

Back in 2006, I was honored to have something I wrote included in Operation Homecoming: Iraq, Afghanistan & the Home Front. I had been invited to attend the launch of the book with other contributors at The Library of Congress in Washington, DC. Excited as I was, I didn't attend. I made a journey instead to a different destination after I received a call from Fort Benning that my son had been hospitalized for his worsening PTSD crisis. As I had before -- when Noah graduated Basic, when he graduated Airborne, when he deployed to Iraq, to Germany when he was wounded and when he was returned stateside -- I flew to offer encouragement and to do what I could. It's what a parent does... when they can.

We had been in constant contact with Noah in the 18 months from deployment and that point in 2006... In Noah's case, it took a lot of guts and a lot of asking for the help he knew he needed. He overcame the resistance of his unit NCO.. he overcame the stigma. In real words, he said, "I'm fucked up and I need help."

We have been there every step of the way. His dad is a Vietnam veteran and he and I have friends who fought the invisible war after their return, so we strongly encouraged him to seek help. We have been there through his treatment and his diligent attempts to stay in the Army... and his eventual medical discharge. We're still here with him.. and for him. It's what a parent does... when they can.

Through all of this, we have tracked his PTSD... the steps forward and the steps back. I have ranted, raved, blogged and asked the obvious questions about diagnosis, treatment and the stigma of PTSD. I have blogged (here and many, many more times) about the changes in our son... I have tried hard to tell everyone that combat-induced post-traumatic stress is a normal response to war and that it doesn't always rise to the level of a disorder but that if it messes with you and your relationships and your daily life, IT IS OK TO SEEK TREATMENT. You are not victims... and PTSD is as real as is cancer, tuberculosis, diabetes.

As for Noah, he has reached a plateau in his recovery; it has not been nor is it easy for him on a daily basis. Or for us.

PTSD is like -- no, it IS -- the bogeyman... behind every door, hiding in every shadow... the invisible monster that has stolen the smiles and maybe even a part of these soldiers' souls... and they fight every day to keep from losing more and trying to get that piece back. It's incredibly TOUGH for those veterans and HARD for their families... the nightmares that we cannot send away; the fitful sleep that we cannot ease; the anger that we cannot avoid or abate but that is not really about us; the inattention; the forgetfulness; the moodiness. There are days when he's having one of "those" days or he's in one of "those" moods that we cannot have a cogent conversation unless we are willing to agree with everything that comes out of his mouth... so some days we just don't have conversations. I joke that I gave birth to just one child named Noah, but we live with two of them -- and we're never sure which one will walk into a room.

We accept that all that can be done is being done... we
know the who, what, where, when & why, but no matter what we do we cannot ever fully understand because.. well, BECAUSE. The only comparison to the difference between "know" and "understand" that I can relate to is childbirth. Everyone knows what it is. We know it's painful. We know it's more painful for some than others. However, if you haven't given birth, you can't understand. I hope that makes sense. That is not to say that non-sufferers cannot be empathetic and supportive. We know many who are encouraging and supportive to both Noah and to us. We don't tolerate condescending, but we know that when we see it.

In addition to the day to day moving forward with this bogeyman is dealing with all things that are Life. Noah does a lot of balancing... parenting a 19-month old, trying to find a job (no, O, there are STILL no jobs), attend school, work as a Reserve (part-time) firefighter, attend medical and counseling appointments... that can be -- and often is -- exhausting mentally and physically. Sometimes for us as well. We still see flashes of temper... we know he has restless (and some mostly sleepless) nights and nightmares. He has flashbacks which occasionally are intense.

I continue to read and research on the topic... but the amount of information can be overwhelming. Here is just the most recent Clinical Trauma Update from ONE organization:

This issue of CTU-Online contains 6 summaries:

1. Meta-analysis suggests drugs are more effective than psychotherapy for treating combat-related PTSD: PTSD treatment research has made important advances over the years. One of the key questions remaining concerns the relative efficacy of drugs and psychotherapy. There have been very few direct comparisons. The best evidence comes from meta-analyses, which have tended to show larger effects for psychotherapy. Investigators at the University of Michigan recently conducted a meta-analysis of 24 studies to specifically compare the effect of the two modalities on combat-related PTSD.
Read more… [snip]

2. Neurobiological stress response may predict PTSD treatment outcome: A new study conducted by researchers at Mount Sinai School of Medicine and the Bronx VAMC examined how treatment for PTSD affects cortisol and other measures of the function of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenocortical (HPA) system. Cortisol, which has been a particular focus of research, is produced to help regulate the stress response. Some researchers have even suggested that abnormalities in the HPA axis may increase vulnerability to the development of PTSD. But prior to the new study, there had little evidence about whether the HPA system predicts treatment response or is affected by treatment.
Read more… [snip]

3. Cognitive-behavioral therapy for PTSD improves patients’ sense of their physical health: Individuals with PTSD suffer more chronic health concerns and have a poorer perception of their physical health than individuals without PTSD. If PTSD is associated with poor health, it follows that treating PTSD could improve health, but in fact, there is little evidence that this is the case. Prior studies have found no effect of PTSD treatment on physical functioning, although the effect of treatment on symptoms has not been examined until now. Investigators in a new study assessed self-reported physical symptoms in 108 women with PTSD who were treated with one of two evidence-based treatments for PTSD, Cognitive-Processing Therapy and Prolonged Exposure.
Read more… [snip]

4. CBT [cognitive behavioral therapy] treatment for substance use and PTSD decreases PTSD, not substance use: An estimated 30-50% of individuals undergoing addiction treatment also have a lifetime diagnosis of PTSD. Several therapies developed to address co-occurring PTSD and substance abuse have been designed as stand-alone treatments. Now researchers at Dartmouth Medical School have developed a cognitive behavioral therapy intended to be integrated with ongoing addiction treatment.
Read more… [snip]

5. New findings from the Millennium Cohort Study: Investigators recently took advantage of data available from a unique project underway in the Department of Defense, the Millennium Cohort Study. This is a longitudinal survey of a large sample of active-duty and Reserve/Guard personnel who were enrolled between 2001-2003 and will be followed for the next 21 years. One study examined how current and past PTSD relate to mental and physical functioning. The other examined whether how physical and mental functioning predicted PTSD several years later.
Read more… [snip]

6. Gender differences in potential mechanisms of PTSD and substance use comorbidity: Many individuals with PTSD also have a substance use disorder. The two problems are mutually reinforcing. Substance use for self-medication can actually exacerbate PTSD symptoms, creating a cycle that is difficult to break. Furthermore, substance abuse may complicate treatment. Thinking that emotion regulation might play a role in explaining the link between these two disorders, the authors of a new study examined difficulties controlling impulsive behavior when distressed and lack of emotional awareness and clarity in 132 men and 50 women admitted to an inpatient alcohol and drug treatment center in Washington, DC.
Read more… [snip]

If you're interested in this level of study, you can subscribe to this newsletter yourself:

And, of course, you can check out the "PTSD Resources" link on my right side bar...

And here's a few more..

Iraq War Clinician Guide, 2Ed.
Deployment Health Clinical Center/PTSD
Dept. of Veterans Affairs: National Center for PTSD
Iraq War Resources
PTSD Combat: Winning the War Within (Info Blog)

In our life -- in Noah's life -- it's harder some days than others... but we can see that Noah continues to move forward... and he deals with it (some days better than others heh.) I'm not sure that we always equate "moving forward" with "progress", but it's better than it's been but not as good as we hope it will be.

We once worried that we might not ever see our son smile again, but he does smile. There was a long spell when he couldn't laugh. Now he can laugh... maybe not as often as we'd like, but we know that his CAPACITY for life... and loving life have been restored. We have witnessed
over these past few years a return of a measure of Noah's optimism... some days he doesn't see the glass as half-empty... and that's something.

IF you have PTS or PTSD, get help. It works. It can get better.

Labels: , , , ,

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

This Week from My Camera

Summer Monsoon Rains
(who would figure that you could live in a place where the population CHEERS when it rains??)

Tom Terrific... he gets better (and bigger!) every day!!

Gopher snake in the driveway... they eat rodents and aren't poisonous... but their coloring mimics the rattlesnake which is...

Labels: ,

Monday, July 20, 2009

Godspeed, Darrell "Shifty" Powers

From Blackfive, with permission.

Airborne Icon and Hero Passes On - Godspeed, Darrell "Shifty" Powers

Posted By Blackfive

Update July 20th, 2009: Today we're doing a Virtual Memorial for Shifty Powers. Please blog, FaceBook and Twitter about Shifty. For Twitterers, at the WLF Twitter (@warriororg), we're using #shiftypowers to raise awareness.

"I could hear bullets and shrapnel hitting the plane. As I jumped out the door, I could see that the left motor was on fire." - Darrell Shifty Powers talking about jumping over Normandy, France, on D-Day.


Many, many of you have sent me notice that Shifty Powers of the heroic Easy Company, 2-506th PIR, 101st Airborne Division, died on June 17th. I had no idea that he had passed on. I have written here a lot about Easy Company and even have an autographed photo (Bill Guarnere) on my desk of the jump into Holland (Market Garden).

If you use GoogleNews (any combo of Darrell and/or Shifty Powers), there are less then ten notices of his death. There are less than four articles about his passing on from "old media" news agencies.

Shifty Google

Reader Mark send the link to a NBC piece on Shifty. Good that they recognized him.

Quite frankly, this is an affront to a genuinely good man. Shifty Powers received two Bronze Stars and a CIB and fought in every campaign that Easy Company was in. He was severely injured on his way home in a truck accident (the irony is that the men of Easy rigged the lottery to go home so Shifty would be first, but he ended up being one of the last to get home after an extensive hospitalization).

This email has gone viral about Shifty:

We're hearing a lot today about big splashy memorial services.

I want a nationwide memorial service for Darrell "Shifty" Powers.

Shifty volunteered for the airborne in WWII and served with Easy Company of the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, part of the 101st Airborne Infantry. If you've seen Band of Brothers on HBO or the History Channel, you know Shifty. His character appears in all 10 episodes, and Shifty himself is interviewed in several of them.

Shifty sgt_darrell_powers_506e
I met Shifty in the Philadelphia airport several years ago. I didn't know who he was at the time. I just saw an elderly gentleman having trouble reading his ticket. I offered to help, assured him that he was at the right gate, and noticed the "Screaming Eagle", the symbol of the 101st Airborne, on his hat.

Making conversation, I asked him if he'd been in the 101st Airborne or if his son was serving. He said quietly that he had been in the 101st. I thanked him for his service, then asked him when he served, and how many jumps he made.

Quietly and humbly, he said "Well, I guess I signed up in 1941 or so, and was in until sometime in 1945 . . . " at which point my heart skipped.

At that point, again, very humbly, he said "I made the 5 training jumps at Toccoa, and then jumped into Normandy . . . . do you know where Normandy is?" At this point my heart stopped.Shifty2
I told him yes, I know exactly where Normandy was, and I know what D-Day was. At that point he said "I also made a second jump into Holland, into Arnhem." I was standing with a genuine war hero . . . . and then I realized that it was June, just after the anniversary of D-Day.
I asked Shifty if he was on his way back from France, and he said "Yes. And it's real sad because these days so few of the guys are left, and those that are, lots of them can't make the trip." My heart was in my throat and I didn't know what to say.
I helped Shifty get onto the plane and then realized he was back in Coach, while I was in First Class. I sent the flight attendant back to get him and said that I wanted to switch seats. When Shifty came forward, I got up out of the seat and told him I wanted him to have it, that I'd take his in coach.

He said "No, son, you enjoy that seat. Just knowing that there are still some who remember what we did and still care is enough to make an old man very happy." His eyes were filling up as he said it. And mine are brimming up now as I write this.

Shifty died on June 17 after fighting cancer.

There was no parade.

No big event in Staples Center.

No wall to wall back to back 24x7 news coverage.

No weeping fans on television.

And that's not right.

Let's give Shifty his own Memorial Service, online, in our own quiet way. Please forward this email to everyone you know. Especially to the veterans.

Rest in peace, Shifty.

"A nation without heroes is nothing." - Roberto Clemente

Here is a clip of the men of Easy Company (Shifty too) talking about heroes...

However, I particularly like this quote from his the SWVA online edition:

...Johnson said her father kept a busy schedule up until the end. Two
years ago, he visited soldiers stationed in South Korea and Japan. Last
September, had he not fallen ill, he would have traveled to Iraq.

He kept a busy schedule up till the end. Two years ago, he visited
soldiers in South Korea and in Japan. Last September, had he not fallen
ill, he would have made a stop in Iraq.

“I had his suitcase packed,” Johnson said.

Missing the trip overseas disappointed him, she said, especially the worry of disappointing the soldiers there.

“My daddy was a simple man, not complicated and very comfortable with himself and approachable,” Johnson said. “He spoiled us. Right now I don’t feel as safe. I know I’ll never be as loved.”...

Godspeed, Shifty. I'm sure the Jumpmaster has you cleared on the manifest.


Labels: , , ,

Monday, July 13, 2009

The Sotomayor Hearings

I am so impressed with Senator Kyl's opening remarks at the confirmation hearings. He hits every salient point -- in a reasoned, straight forward manner -- on why this woman's nomination should be setting off alarm bells!! A little long at 8+ minutes -- but SSSOOOO worth the time!!

Fox video


Labels: , , ,

Saturday, July 11, 2009


We are a military family. All three of our sons enlisted while they were single (unmarried) and many of "Our Guys" (soldiers we consider family) have also been single. As a result, I have from time to time done some complaining about how about half of Army soldiers are UNmarried but that "family" resources and information were principally for spouses -- parents left out of the loop. (I actually asked what was being done for the "other half" of the Army while participating in a blogger's roundtable that included the Secretary of the Army...)

While recently cruising the Army Home Page on Military OneSource, I was pleased to see the following prominently featured on the page:

New to the Army? Help Keep Your Parents in the Loop

If you’ve just joined the Army and your parents aren’t familiar with military life, keep them in the loop with these materials:

I don't know how long that's been up there and I'm sure the Army didn't need any prodding from parents... however it got there and however long it's been there, THANK YOU!!

The information under "When Your Son or Daughter..." is pretty basic (it's a starting point), but you should also seek out additional information from sites specific to the military installation/branch of service where your child is undergoing training.

The "Resources..." page provides links to official and unofficial web sites that you might, as a parent, find useful, but also be sure to check out blogs like and other military blogs ("Milblogs" -- you can find blogs by branch of service as well as those blogs by parents at

As the parent of a soldier, you should become familiar with some of the other resource information contained on other Army and Dept. of Defense sites for future reference... such as the Army Well-Being site and the Military Homefront page.

I'd really like the Army and the other services to produce content specific to parents (or non-spousal family) with the idea that these people are usually remote (away) from their soldier's military installation and typically have no idea how to contact the installation or chain of command (or even who that might be) in an emergency... or what resources are available to their soldier/sailor/marine/airman/coastie or to the family member (be that a parent, aunt, uncle, sister or brother...) when faced with serious issues involving their child (for example, post-deployment issues). (And, yes, I know that there are those who actually joined the military to AVOID their parents... but every soldier has a next-of-kin somewhere -- that are not "in the loop" but should be!)

I did also find some parent-related information for the other services (some official, some unofficial):

for Parents of Marines
A Parent's Guide to the Marine Corps
USMC - Recruit Training
For Navy Parents
Navy for Moms
Navy Dads

For Air Force Parents
Parents of the Enlisted

AF -- you could do better... information or links for parents could easily be added to AFCrossroads.

For Coast Guard Parents (nice job CG!!)

For National Guard Families

General informational links for all branches, Guard and Reserves at Today's Military and

Labels: , ,

Sunday, July 05, 2009


Independence Day having just passed and people (hopefully) have been reminded of all the good things a Free America provides... so I thought it appropriate to remind people (although probably preaching to the choir) that THERE ARE THOSE STILL ACTIVELY FIGHTING on our behalf... as well as those who have fought and paid a heavy price... some of these Warriors could use a little help. So below is my "Help Our Heroes" list...

the newest addition to that list is a new and worthwhile NON-PARTISAN organization to advocate on behalf of veterans of ALL wars and all peace time service as well as for those who still serve -- the
WARRIOR LEGACY FOUNDATION. For information on the necessity and mission of WLF, read Blackfive's post HERE. You need not be a veteran to join -- just someone who wishes to honor those who serve and those that have served. Membership is free, although donations are welcome.

Labels: , ,

Friday, July 03, 2009


Happy Birthday

to the greatest country in God's universe!!

A reminder to Veterans and military personnel not in uniform* that you may -- if you choose -- render a salute to the U.S. flag during its raising, posting or lowering, as well as during the National Anthem. Placing a hand or your hat over your heart is also appropriate if preferred.

* The tradition/custom of the Navy and Marine Corps of not rendering a salute when not in uniform or when uncovered has not changed.

Labels: , ,

Thursday, July 02, 2009

This Can Not Be Good

U.S.: American Soldier Captured in Afghanistan

Details as known HERE

Prayers for this soldier and his family. Sources in the know tell us that the family of this soldier has been notified.

Labels: , ,