color: SOME SOLDIER'S MOM: August 2009

Thursday, August 27, 2009

New Leave Rule to Provide Warrior Care

from the American Forces Press Service via

New Leave Rule to Provide Warrior Care
August 27, 2009
American Forces Press Service|by Donna Miles

Defense Department federal employees could receive up to 26 weeks of unpaid leave to care for a military family member injured in the line of duty if an Office of Personnel Management proposal is adopted.

The proposal would allow eligible federal employees to take 26 "administrative work weeks" provided for under the Family and Medical Leave Act to care for a servicemember wounded in the line of duty, OPM officials explained during a telephone conference call.

The provision would extend to families of National Guard members or reservists injured while on active duty, explained Jerry Mikowicz, the OPM deputy associate director for pay and leave administration.

To qualify, the federal employee must be the spouse, child, parent, or next of kin of the servicemember declared medically unfit to serve, he said.

The OPM proposal also would allow agencies to advance up to 30 days of sick leave to federal workers who care for wounded military family members.

The OPM proposals were published in the Federal Register Aug. 26, and the public will have 60 days to comment on them.

OPM officials will review the comments before issuing a final rule, which will proceed through the regulatory process required before it is implemented, Mr. Mikowicz said.

© Copyright 2009 American Forces Press Service. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. [my emphasis]
[Note to the AFPS: what's the point of issuing these stories if you don't want the information REDISTRIBUTED... you know, so that PEOPLE CAN BE INFORMED???]

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Sunday, August 23, 2009

"That" Day... 4 years on

Today is the anniversary of "that" day. Some people call it an Alive Day... Noah just says it was the worst !@#$%^& day of his life (and ours). Not dwelling on it... I'm sure it won't be mentioned in our house at all... it is old news... but it is not forgotten... will never be forgotten...

Pay attention to the yellow dump truck in the lower left at the start of the video...

and while those responsible for this attack thought many Americans would die that day in Ramadi, only Noah and one other soldier were evacuated for their wounds... and no Americans died. Can't say the same for the Tangos.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

National Airborne Day 2009: Silver Wings on My Son's (& Dad's) Chest

My friends at Blackfive remind us that it's National Airborne Day 2009... When Noah told the DH (a retired Navy Aviator) that he wanted to go Airborne, the Dad said, "I'll support you in whatever you want to do... but you know, son, there are only two things that fall willingly from the sky: Airborne and birdsh*t..." (and they both laughed & laughed). Yup... Airborne & birdsh*t -- and very brave men. So today, on National Airborne Day, I'll repeat what I said in 2005:

My son's wings

My Dad who lost his left arm while in the Army (1945)
(you can see his wings there on his left chest)

One of my favorite t-shirts (the front is above)

I got to pin his wings on!! (2004)

The day I got to pin those silver Airborne wings on my son, was one of the proudest days of my life. I was concerned (but not worried) about his split lip, the bump and gash on his forehead, and the even larger gash and goose egg on the back of his head... and the soldier I saw with stitches from lip to ear. I say to him, "Geez, jumping out of those airplanes sure is dangerous." And he says, "It's not the jumping, Ma. It's the quick stop." (Apparently, an old Airborne line... but priceless all the same!) And he says, "Ya know, it's not like they broom sweep the LZ." (sorry... Landing Zone)

So here's to my Dad and to my son (and -- BLACKFIVE) and those other Hunters from the Sky: Airborne! We thank you! We honor and salute you!

Here's the full text of the U.S. Senate's Resolution:


Designating August 16, 2009, as ‘National Airborne Day’.

Whereas the airborne forces of the Armed Forces have a long and honorable history as units of adventuresome, hardy, and fierce warriors who, for the national security of the United States and the defense of freedom and peace, project the effective ground combat power of the United States by Air Force air transport to the far reaches of the battle area and, indeed, to the far corners of the world;

Whereas August 16 marks the anniversary of the first official Army parachute jump on August 16, 1940, an event that validated the innovative concept of inserting United States ground combat forces behind a battle line by means of a parachute;

Whereas the United States experiment with airborne infantry attack began on June 25, 1940, when the Army Parachute Test Platoon was first authorized by the Department of War, and was launched when 48 volunteers began training in July 1940;

Whereas the success of the Army Parachute Test Platoon in the days immediately before the entry of the United States into World War II led to the formation of a formidable force of airborne units that have served with distinction and have had repeated success in armed hostilities;

Whereas among those airborne units are the former 11th, 13th, and 17th Airborne Divisions, the venerable 82nd Airborne Division, the versatile 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), and the airborne regiments and battalions (some as components of those divisions, some as separate units) that achieved distinction as the elite 75th Ranger Regiment, the 173rd Airborne Brigade, the 187th Infantry (Airborne) Regiment, the 503rd, 507th, 508th, 517th, 541st, and 542nd Parachute Infantry Regiments, the 88th Glider Infantry Regiment, the 509th, 551st, and 555th Parachute Infantry Battalions, the 325th and 327th Glider Infantry, and the 550th Airborne Infantry Battalion;

Whereas the achievements of the airborne forces during World War II prompted the evolution of those forces into a diversified force of parachute and air-assault units that, over the years, have fought in Korea, Vietnam, Grenada, Panama, the Persian Gulf region, and Somalia, and have engaged in peacekeeping operations in Lebanon, the Sinai Peninsula, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Bosnia, and Kosovo;

Whereas the modern-day airborne force that has evolved from those World War II beginnings is an agile, powerful force that, in large part, is composed of the 82nd Airborne Division, the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), and the 75th Ranger Regiment;

Whereas the modern-day airborne force also includes other elite forces composed entirely of airborne trained and qualified special operations warriors, including Army Special Forces, Marine Corps Reconnaissance units, Navy SEALs, and Air Force combat control teams, each of which is part of the United States Special Operations Command;

Whereas in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks on the United States on September 11, 2001, the 75th Ranger Regiment, special forces units, and units of the 82nd Airborne Division and the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), together with other units of the Armed Forces, have been prosecuting the war against terrorism by carrying out combat operations in Afghanistan, training operations in the Philippines, and other operations elsewhere;

Whereas in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks on the United States on September 11, 2001, airborne units played a pivotal role in the war in Afghanistan, including the unflinching pursuit of the enemies of the United States during the battles of Mazar-i Sharif, Kabul, Qala-i-Jangi, Tora Bora, and Operation Anaconda;

Whereas United States paratroopers, which include the 82d Airborne Division, 75th Ranger Regiment, Special Operations Forces, 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat team, and elements of the 4th Brigade 25th Infantry Division, have demonstrated bravery and honor in an effort to pursue the enemies of the United States, to stabilize Afghanistan, and to strive for calm in a troubled region;

Whereas in the aftermath of the announcement of Operation Iraqi Freedom by President George W. Bush in March 2003, the 75th Ranger Regiment, special forces units, and units of the 82nd Airborne Division, the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), the 173rd Airborne Brigade, and the 4th Brigade Combat Team (Airborne) of the 25th Infantry Division, together with other units of the Armed Forces, have been prosecuting the war against terrorism, carrying out combat operations, conducting civil affairs missions, and assisting in establishing democracy in Iraq;

Whereas the airborne forces are, and will continue to be, at the ready and the forefront until the Global War on Terrorism is concluded;

Whereas of the members and former members of the United States airborne forces, all have achieved distinction by earning the right to wear the ‘Silver Wings of Courage’ of the United States airborne forces, thousands have achieved the distinction of making combat jumps, 69 have earned the Medal of Honor, and hundreds have earned the Distinguished-Service Cross, Silver Star, or other decorations and awards for displays of such traits as heroism, gallantry, intrepidity, and valor;

Whereas the members and former members of the United States airborne forces are all members of a proud and honorable fraternity of the profession of arms that is made exclusive by those distinctions which, together with their special skills and achievements, distinguish them as intrepid combat parachutists, special operation forces, and, in former days, glider troops;

Whereas the history and achievements of the members and former members of the airborne forces of the United States Armed Forces warrant special expressions of the gratitude of the people of the United States; and

Whereas, since the airborne community celebrates August 16 as the anniversary of the first official jump by the Army Parachute Test Platoon, August 16 would be an appropriate day to recognize as National Airborne Day: Now, therefore, be it

Resolved, That the Senate--

(1) designates August 16, 2009, as ‘National Airborne Day’; and

(2) calls on the people of the United States to observe National Airborne Day with appropriate programs, ceremonies, and activities.

Copyright Some Soldier's Mom 2005 & 2009. All rights reserved.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Congressperson Ann Kirkpatrick's "Town Hall"

Updated 8/8/09: HERE is video. As you will see from this video, she is in the entryway of a grocery store and the crowd is a bunch of white-haired gents and ladies. When one woman directly asks Rep. Kirkpatrick a question on health care, Kirkpatrick tells her she's not going to answer any questions on that. When the woman tells her that these people all want to know (and the people clap signaling their agreement with the woman), Kirkpatrick simply walks out. So much for the wild, swastika-bearing organized mob... (and kudos to the guy who calls after her, "You're our employee!") And note, these senior citizens don't get "unruly" until she has left.

This is all about the news/gossip reports about how Ann Kirkpatrick's "Town Hall" meeting in Holbrook, AZ was supposedly overrun by a group of organized thugs. Not true... According to people who were there, she simply canceled the event when a crowd showed up. (Transcript here.)

First, I was not AT that "Town Hall" meeting... or at any town hall meeting because -- according to my conversation with Ann Kirkpatrick's office earlier this week -- she is not holding any town hall meetings... just small hand shaking or photo ops. I have been trying (along with a number of other private citizens we know) to get Ann Kirkpatrick to hold a meeting ANYWHERE in the state to answer questions about the president's & congressional health care proposal. She has refused... she and her office telling me OUR representative prefers small "Chats with Ann". (see the list HERE.) No one organized me to call. I didn't receive a robocall encouraging me to call or attend anything. We have attended Town Hall meetings in the past held by Senator McCain and information meetings held by Senator Kyl and the former Congressman... and it was important to us to have the opportunity to ask questions of our ELECTED REPRESENTATIVE.

Rep. Kirkpatrick is limiting her "chats" to areas remote and far off the beaten path -- AND SHE IS HOLDING HER "GET TOGETHERS" IN THE LOCAL GROCERY STORES!!! Her office told me that her only appearance in my area was an invitation only press conference to talk about TARP funds but it was a short visit and there would be no opportunity for questions FROM THE PUBLIC. They did tell me that I could drive the two hours from the most populous town in this county -- where she will NOT meet with constituents -- to attend one of the small gatherings in either Payson, Winslow or Holbrook in one of two neighboring counties... BUT she had no intention of addressing the health care issue at any of them. SHE was coming home to discuss infrastructure projects and public safety (as in fire and police). Note in the transcript referenced above, the woman says of Kirkpatrick, "She didn't want to answer any questions..."

When I asked why she wasn't scheduling any meetings in the immediate Prescott area, her staff informed me that the Congresswoman "already heard enough from the people in the Prescott area and didn't see a reason to meet here." Pardon me?? So I asked the staffer, "You mean because the people of Prescott are informed and communicate regularly, the Congresswoman is penalizing us?" Of course, her answer was, "No, of course not..." After registering my strong disapproval at Ms. Kirkpatrick's lack of communications with her constituents, I asked her staffer to relay a message to my representative: "NO on H.R. 3200!"

Now let's look at Ms. Kirkpatrick's tactics at staying as far away from the maddening crowd while she's home this summer. Holbrook and Winslow are in Navajo County. Payson is in Gila County. Prescott is in Yavapai County. I'm sure the choice of Ms Kirkpatrick's "chats" had nothing at all to do with the fact that Navajo county is 44% registered Democrats to 32% Republican (she won the county) and Gila County is 44% to 36% Democrat/Republican (she won the county) and whereas Yavapai County is 46% Republican to 26% Democrat (she lost the county)? (/sarcasm).

Now you would think that a Congressperson would want to reach as many of her constituents as possible? (Population HERE.) Holbrook has a population of approximately 5,100, Winslow has 9,900 and Payson has 15,500. Prescott (alone) has 42,700; add Prescott Valley and Chino Valley (which border Prescott on either side), there are an additional 38,500 and 11,100, respectively. But Ann, who made exceptionally few campaign appearances in Yavapai
County her entire congressional campaign, doesn't feel the need to talk with the people of Prescott or Yavapai?

The whole health care issue is THE topic everyone is talking about and everyone (including me) wants to talk about it... and people everywhere want to talk to their elected (as in YOU WORK FOR US) representatives... and I can't blame people one bit if they showed up at an event that is publicized on their Congressperson's website and where her staff directed people to go... and they get boisterous and perhaps even irate when she DOESN'T SHOW UP AND CANCELS THE EVENT???

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Tommy's First Bike

I wish I had a picture of the smile on Tommy's face the minute he saw Grandpa's gift to him... it was absolutely PRICELESS!!! These pics and video will give you a smidgen of an idea... and the little man (20 months old already!!) has A NEED FOR SPEED. Get him a few feet up the driveway and he picks up those little feet and he plummets to the bottom of the hill laughing all the way! (I'm sure it's fun for Tom, but it is heart stopping for old Gram & Gramps!

Tom is Love in Motion...

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Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Truth Hurts??

The Daily Mail:

But the President's supporters have condemned the image, calling it 'mean-spirited and dangerous.'

A spokesman from the Los Angeles urban policy unit said that depicting the president as demonic and a socialist 'goes beyond political spoofery.'

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Tuesday, August 04, 2009


Antiques Roadshow was such a BLAST!!

The Currier & Ives prints that I was certain were not originals (but c/n verify from research) were not -- although 3 are very good quality reprints, the 4th not so quality -- probably from the 1950's. The prints are each worth between $30-$50 and add a few bucks for the framing/matting. Nick Lowry the appraiser took the time to show me how to identify reproductions from originals... Appraiser Alasdair Nichol was appraising what he & Lowry believed might be two Rembrandt etchings -- which unfortunately had been matted & framed sometime in the 1800's so much of the art and the signature were obscured -- AND THEY AREN'T ALLOWED TO TAKE THE FRAMES & MATS APART (even though the owner said she would right there -- she had bought them at a garage sale for $5 each!!) They told her to take them to a certified appraiser and if they were real Rembrandts (which he suspected they were) they could be quite valuable!!

DH''s metal lamp with a mica shade (which I call the ugliest lamp in the world LOL) made by the Rembrandt lamp company in Chicago (which we knew) was made in 1927-1928 and is a good art deco lamp worth $250-$300.

The millefiori paperweights (Google images HERE) were all made in the last 20 years and were worth between $10 and $30 each.

My two Indian style pieces of pottery which I picked up at a garage sale a few weeks ago for $10 each were appraised by Joan Caballero as being worth much more. The pottery by Taos Master Potter Mary Witkop (which I knew because it is signed) is worth $300-$500. If it were by a Native American potter, it c/b worth thousands!

Joan told me that there are at least as many Anglo artists working in Taos as Native American. My other piece of pottery she said was one of the most interesting pieces of tribal pottery she had seen all day...

She didn't think that was by a Native American because it is not an Indian style... but Anglo. It has a mark on the bottom but she had never seen that mark before. That pot is also worth $300-$500 -- but again, if I could find out whose mark is on the bottom (which she said would probably take a trip to Taos to find out) and if it was a Native American, could be worth much, much more!

After doing more research, it is probably a piece of either Mary Witkop or perhaps her son Carl Gray Witkop... I find this exact style pottery all over Mary's work... and although she still works in the oxidized clay, I don't see any of her current work in the dark oxidized clay. There's a short video of her studio on YouTube where she briefly talks about oxidizing her clay and the colors it produces. Her son is or was in the San Antonio (TX) area...
although this piece doesn't match any of his current work in form or color. I have yet to find a reference to the slashes/hash mark that is on the bottom of the pot anywhere and I could not find a reference to his signature or mark. You can see some of Mary Witkop's pottery on a number of gallery websites as well as pics on her MyFace... (you see the pot in the upper left photo is close in design to mine although mine is all black, and the blue pot in the middle of the second row is almost identical to my terra cotta colored pot!) If anyone recognizes the mark on the bottom of the black pot, let me know!!

We had THE.MOST.FUN.ever! at the Roadshow. We met loads of the nicest and most interesting people in every line and saw some incredible stuff -- like a LIFE SIZE metal (could be Hessian??) horse!! It had a chainmail-like knit "blanket" on it's back and a decorative chainmail covering on it's ears. As I said to J. Michael Flanigan as we both stood gaping at this horse, "So is that the first horse on the Roadshow?" He laughed and said, "No, but it's the first life-sized one!" Unfortunately, they did not allow photography in the filming/appraisal areas but the Roadshow photographer was taking lots of pics to put up on their website (none up yet...) All told, we got there a little after 11:00 (we stayed in a hotel close by) and although our tickets were for 12:00, they let us inside to a staging area (it was already 101 outside). We made our way with all the others into the appraisal area about 12-12:30; although the lines we were in were long, they moved pretty quickly and we were out of our 4 lines about 3:30. Originally DH & I were going to stay together, but after we saw the lines, we split up and re-connected at the last (pottery) appraisal. We opted not to do the Feedback Booth (looking back, we should have!) but I didn't want to have to unwrap & unpack the prints or pottery (I took a big wheeled suitcase -- and thank heavens we did!)

The air dates for the Phoenix telecasts are in January... it really was so much more fun than we imagined and the Roadshow people really have their stuff together -- well organized (it c/h/b pure chaos but wasn't!) We saw a number of filmings -- turquoise jewelry collection, a hugely thick (and apparently quite old) book (must have been 10-12" thick!), a painting... and we're sure the horse will make it to television! One of the producers I was chatting with while in line said they usually film dozens and dozens of segments (and in large cities like Phoenix where 5,000 people and more than 10,000 objects are appraised, it c/b more!) and then pick the best 8-12 for each show ... they would probably get 3 nights of shows from Phoenix. We heard that a few of the people we met in some our lines had been selected for filming, so it will be interesting to see if any make the shows! The film crews and people with ARS were more than happy to chat with people, and as I said, the appraisers were so nice and pleasant... not a snob or an ego among them! Many people had the ARS books with them and the appraisers were delighted to autograph them.

I was just happy to meet & talk to the Keno twins (Leslie and Leigh -- who really are that handsome and that nice and enthusiastic AND IDENTICAL in person as they are on the show!), Messrs. Lowry & Nichols & Ms. Caballero... and Mark Wahlberg (the host) -- what a hoot! I said to Wahlberg, "So whose idea was it to do Phoenix in August??" He laughed and said "Well, it could be Biloxi in August or Phoenix... but I knew I was going to be somewhere hot in August since the Roadshow only travels in the summer!" He laughed and said, "I keep asking them, 'Have you been to Phoenix in February?? It's really nice there in February!!' " All of us were laughing. He & many of the appraisers -- like the Keno bros. -- were in suits & ties! We had a wonderful and relaxing time... the best. AND we got to have a long and relaxed dinner with my brother Saturday night and we had a long and relaxed lunch with him again on our way home Sunday!! Two days in a row! It was great to see him!!

We heard (but did not see) that the appraisals in Phoenix included some pretty old furniture (a dresser for $25,000) and a painting which was apparently (or supposedly, since we heard and did not see it) a prototype for one of the original Star Wars posters, a fabulous piece of rare jade jewelry, and a special collection of Charles Schulz's Peanuts work... It will be interesting to see it all when it airs!! So that is the story of the Roadshow escapade. Here's a PBS video of what the experience is (was) like -- exactly! And a big thank you to all of the PBS volunteers who worked from 6:30AM until everyone was done (after 6:30PM) and were helpful and fun... and they stood ALL DAY.