Sunday, December 12, 2010


Mark's battle with depression.

It's a Reel Thing: A Christmas Carol Revisited

It's a Reel Thing: A Christmas Carol Revisited
From time to time I like to read older post. I like to see how much I have grown over the years, becoming what rabbi mark Gulon calls a lovely human being. This is one of my favorites and fitting for the season.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Home For Hanukkah

It was so nice to have the hubby home for Hanukkah. With all that we went through this year, Mark and I decided to keep it lowkey. But we did get together with friends one evening and of course enjoyed the sights and sounds of the Festival of Lights.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

It Ain't Easy: But Worth It

We who are the sons and daughters of Abrahma know how different our life is.
I have no problem with being amoung "the chosen people." We have been chosen to bring Torah to the world. We women light the Shabbat candles once a week, light that shines from Shabbat to Shabbat. And whether you believe in a real, personal Messiah (like we do) a Messianc Age, that he has come or will come, it is from the loins of the hebrew people he shall come.
It is an easy life. Everything in our lives, from clothing to food reminds us that we have the Name of the Creator upon us. That we are called to live a life that is shines like the menorah that once stood in the temple, shining forth a light that draws all men and women to G-d. I cover my head to keep my beauty for my husband alone. Mark the kippah becuase he is under the submission of G-d. How often Mark and I are seen as the "jews first" and then Mark and Laini.
This is true even in the army. 
How often we hear, "how can you be  jewish and in the army." "isn't Mark being in the army against Torah?"
 I often find that wheen people hear the word “military”, they automatically think of  cool umiforms, guns, jeeps, warships and bombs. They think of airports with men and women dressed in greens and blues heading for home or another deployment. 
Or they think of the technology that continues to makes our military the superior force in the world, of what seems to be an never ending war in a land that is stuck in the Stone Age.
As Mrs. Major, I hear this all the time.
 What I also often see is that people overlook, that undereath the cool umiform are real flesh and blood people who are leaving loved ones and praying that they return home safe. They forget there are family and friends praying for their loved ones far from the supper table. They forget that they want to be a force of change. That with the guns, tanks, jeeps and bombs, but also stuffed animals, clear water and building schools. That many carry with them into the warzone their faith That faith is one of the common threads that unites us not only as a nation, but remains one of our strongest military assets.

They forget that when these servicemen and women are off duty, many head for places set aside for worship. And for some, those place are also their sleeping quarters.
While all faiths are welcome in the armed services and many do, it is hard to practice one's faith in the mililarty. And for some of us, it is harder than others.
When you think of soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines of faith, jewish isn't the first faith that comes to mind. During this time, our thoughts turn to getting Christmas gifts and cards to servicemen and women.
Not Hanukkah.
I remember taking Mark to the airport when his R&R was over last Feburay and an older gentleman stopped us to thank both of us for our service. Spotting Mark's kippah, he asked if it was hard to be jewish and in the army. Mark said sometimes, but he makes it work. He says he craves out the time he needs to pray, to study torah and keep Shabbat the best he can. Sometimes he is the only Jew in his unit and sometimes there are a few jewish soldiers.
The man nodden and noted that with Mark's size, few would mess with him.
So true.

Even from the birth of this nation, the jewish people have had a hand not only in the building of America, but also serving and protecting her.
We are commanded to be protectors of life. Not to sit back and allow others to attack us and not fight back. When our home, family the inoccent are threaten, Torah commands we stand up and protect ourselves, our loved ones, our homes. And therefor it is right and proper for those who chose to, to join the mililarty and service their nation.
But it ain't.
I hate that last week before he leaves, when I have to face seeing Mark's thick and lush beard shaved off. Packing extra Tzit Tzit and Shabbat candles.
If there are other jews in the unit, Mark shares Ere Shabbat and other holy days with them. If there are none, and most of the time there are not, he calls me, we light the candles together, and then he goes to his room to keep Shabbat the best he can.
It ain't easy, but its worth it. For while hard, it is a challenge that we chose to meet.
Just as we do in every area of our lives. Just as there are times when we are to past on a dish because it isn't kosher, Mark has to be just as picky when on post. Just as we take care of what we read, watch and the company we keep, so too, Mark has to do the same when deployed.
For in having to find created ways to practice our faith, it becomes something precious and more dear.
Hmmm, sounds like a jewish marriage.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

It's been Four Months????

I can't believe it has actually been four months since I have written in this blog!
But then, it has been a crazy four months.
Right after mark was placed in the Woulded Warrior program, we learned a friend almost died. It seems he hadn't been taking care of himself (very high blood sugar) and found himself in hosptial. He lost a small part of his right toe. He lived alone and no one to care for him when he went home. So Mark and I talked about it and he came to live with us.
What we thought would be three weeks, turned into almost four months. It is always hard having another person in your home. And our apartment isn't that big.
But our friend fully recovered, coming along further and faster than anyone had expected and now back in his home, thankful for the second chance he has been given.
But it was hard. As believers in G-d, we know it was the right thing to do. But it was hard on us, for this our time. Little help came from his church. A few people helped with meals or taking him over the weekends, etc. This was Mark's leave and we really had to work through the feeling that time was thrown away.
We know that G-d shall bless us. He has blessed us.
 During this time, with the delay of Mark's homecoming, illness, family drama, Mark's depression, our marriage took a hit. There was a point where someone even tried to take advange of the tension and  tried to inbetween us.
It was a nice try, but no go.
So last week, for Thanksgiving, Mark and I went away to Colonial Williamsburg to celebrate and to reconnect. We truly love each other, but we had to knock down the wall that was beginning to build between us.
It takes work to have a great marriage. Like the tending of a garden, one needs to keep watch of the weeds and bugs. Sometimes there is reseeding, pruning. That way you can enjoy the beauty all year round.
So we enjoyed five amazing days in Williamburg and now getting ready for Hanukkah.
Last year, i was sending Hanukkah to Afghantisan.

This year, my soldier is home.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Home and Yet Not Home

A funny thing happens with deployments and reentries. Things you never hear about in the news, they don't tell you in the briefings (if they call you) is there could be a delay in your loved ones coming home.
In our case, Mark being a cancer survior, he had to enter a program to go through the whole Cancer screening before he could come home to me.
And because of several bolts of army red tape, it took three weeks after Mark was in the States for him to return to Virgina and enter into the program here.
So, he was home on a four day past, last weekend and starting Monday, he gets to come home in the evening. But it a strange twist, being that he is now on medical orders, he is still "gone."
Go figure.
I don't complain because I get to see him off in the monring and welcome back in the evening. And that is a good thing.
Once he is relaeased from these orders, Mark will be on Leave.
So until then, our travel plans are on hold.
But that's ok.
Because I'm back in his strong arms again, hearing the beat of his heart.
He's almost home.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

A Quiet Fouth

To all our readers; A very happy fourth of July.
Since it is Mark's second weekend home, we decided to make it a quiet one, a quiet celebration.
Frankly, being fresh from the warzone, the fireworks are just alittle much for Mark. They remind him of the bombs and bullets. He doesn't need that reminder.
So I am making pasta salad and grilling hot dogs, making Moroccan SunTea and enjoying these few days with my guy.
He returns to work Tuesday and the good news, he gets to come home in the evening. The army is just making sure hubby is ok because of the cancer years ago.
Once I am given the all clear sign, we are planning a cook-out to welcome Mark home. And then we take off for Mark's birthday/my birthday/ our wedding anniversary celebration.
But today, we celebrate this nation's birthday, our freedom.
And our being together.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Loose Lips, Sink Ships

He swore to protect this country... I swore to protect his heart"....We never get used to it, we just get through it" "combat boots + flip flops=Love

when I started this blog, it was to help see me through the rough times of Mark's deployment. A way for Mark to be able from time to time to share what he could about what his life in the field was like. A way for folks at home to send messages of love to him, those messages he could read if and when he could get online.
We both made mistakes: gave out bits of imformation at time when we should not have. As I learned more about being an army wife, I began taking more care of what I did and did not share.
We do not share the date of a unit's leaving or returning. You never write about a unit moving. In the field is one thing: where that field is- a no-no.
I watch the pictures I post. If another soldier is included, I make sure their name and naything that would give away the unit is not seen.
We don't share where the unit is stated, if there are injuries or death, never wraite about it until after the families are contacted. That is why there is often a news blackout.
There is quite a bit more. The reason: to protect the troops.
People don't realize that the enemy also reads and what we as spouses, as military folk could endanger our loved ones in the fields.
Often I am asked when is he coming home and when some folks get mad because I don't answer. Not because of some deep, dark secret, but because until he is released from present orders, he is a soldier on the move.

And I want him and all our loved ones home in one piece.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

To Be a Soldier's Wife

A deployment is something you can only understand if you've been through it, and we who have loved ones in warzones need all the support we can get. Not your judgement.

As we come to the tail end of this our fourth deployment, I cannot help but reflect on these past months.
In May 2009, Mark went off for training, to prepare for an upcoming mission.
In June, he left to join his new unit.
July, there was a halt: You had cancer? We need to make sure your cancer free. This is of course AFTER Mark's THIRD deployment AFTER cancer treatment was finished.
Test done, Mark is send to rejoin his unit.
Northeastern blows into Virginia. Power is out for five days and I stay with Mark's parents.
December. I contract the swine flu. Lousy Hannukkah except for the cards I got off to Mark and the cards he got to me.
Feburany 2010. Mark comes home on R&R. He has a bad cold that is really a virus and leaves it with me, giving ne another bout with the Swine Flu.
I am not suppose to be getting the Swine flu: I'm Jewish!
Lungs were damaged, but slowly began to heal.
During this time, I did a lot of sleeping (to recover) reading (to stretch my brain and to learn new things) and even had a Starbucks buddy I met once a week.
To be a soldier's wife (or married to any of the branches of our armied forces) means to stand beside your soldier as they defend the nation.
It means Carepackages and letters and waiting up until 12 am for the phone to ring.
It means those special days are spend alone. And if you don't have children, like Mark and I, the lonliness wraps you like a shroul.
It means finding your voice, creating your space and keeping the home fires going for your loved one. It is knowing it is ok to cry yourself to sleep as well as to go out and have a good time with a buddy.
It is knowing that folks Support Our Troops and friends Support Their Spouses.
It is recieveing an e-mail thanking YOU for your service to our nation. It is a child saying, "I am praying for your husband."
It is Mark telling me about the letters he recieved from Betty and the Carepackages from Isreal. About the little Iraqi girl who played with his glasses and having out footballs. It is the tribal leader shaking Mark's hand and thanking him for all he is doing for his people.
It means you are part of something bigger than yourself and dispite what the nay-sayers claim, knowing your man is working to help improve the lives of others as well as stopping the forces outside our gates that threaten us.
Frankly, I never thought growing up I would marry a military man, but G-d did.
And as hard as this is, I have never regretted a day I said yes, I will marry you, to my soldier.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

It's My Birthday!

It is hard to celebrates with your love away.
So I dug out some old from my 50th birthday party.

Lead By Example

By now, most already know about General Stanley McChrysal, the Rolling Stone story and the outcome. I personaly respect the General, for his 30 plus years of service to our nation and for the difficult job he had in dealing the task handed to him with little support.
Dispite that, General McChrysal made a huge mistake. One I would have expected from someone flesh and green, not a seasoned warrior.
General McChrysal had a right to his opinions. But disrespect to the Commander in Chief will get you a$$ time on the carpit. The world wide open  disrespect for the President, his CO, could not just be brushed away. He set a poor example to the men and women under him. In openingly voicing his frustations, he came no thought to the feelings, the needs of the men and women who are out in the field, following his orders.
Mr.Obama had no choice.
In the military, we lead by example. My husbands says if he wants respect from those who serve under him, he has to show them not only respect, but that he cares for them. He must model respect by showing it to his uppers. And when there is a disagreement, go to the CO and dicuss the matter. And no matter the outcome, never diss a CO or his/her orders and/or actions.
General David Petraeus is now in charge. May G-d give him wisdom.
May G-d bless General McChrysal as he moves onto whatever the future holds for him.

Friday, June 18, 2010

It's a Reel Thing: One Week Ago#links#links#links#links

Remembering five years ago when our engagement pictures were taken...

Dwayne asked Mark to think about what life was like before he met me....

What is like with me in it.....

Mark said: "My beloved and my best friend...

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

It's Worth It

It's Worth It
So I dragged the three trunks into the study. They weren't that heavy.
Dinningroom regain. Now I can dress the table and prepare for a romantic meal; whenever I get the news he's coming home.
Then after my shower and braiding my hair, I went  to the store. Man alive it is hot out there!
But at least I didn't get sick. After several days recovering from food posioning, I wasn't sure how I would do. But I made it.
 However, I did catch a cab home.
The cabbie I got was awesome. He not only opened the door for me, placed the bags into the trunk of the cab, but carried the bags upstairs for me.
After speaking to my mother, I put away the food and went to take a nap.

 During the day, I'd been wondering if all Mark and I have gone these past several years; his coming home with cancer, chemo and radition, back to back deployments, delays one after another. Is waiting for retirement really worth all of this.
And then there are the people who make our lives so difficult inside and outside the service because we are army Those americans who view my husband as a killer, a rapist, helping to steal another country's land or worsr, trying to bring to its people freedoms we enjoy here, but take for granted. Why not just quit and return to full-time teaching....

And then Mark sends me this picture. This is Mark gurading a set of Colours that were flown over ground zero in New York City. I look at his face. The expression says it all.
It is worth it. As an officer in the Untied States Mark has vowed to guard those colours. And I stand behind the man.
Full circle. We were attacked on 9-11-2001. President Bush did not start this war; 19 men on a plane did. And what the world did not expect was we would hit back.
It has been said Amercians have no stomach-no guts when it comes to war. That when we start seeing the body bags flown home, we will go running to the White House and demand an end.
Some have done this.
My take; get the job done; make friends with the people; kick the emnies a@@ and bring them home when the job's done.
I want my man home; I need my man home.
But I remain a proud Cpt's wife.
Yes, it's worth it.

Monday, June 14, 2010

This Stinks!

From Mark's Birthday, 2009

Actaully Frday night, that isn't the work I used....
Mark: "Come on Laini, I want to hear you say it...The Army Sucks!"
Laini: "I can't say that!"
Mark: "Yes you can. Now let me hear you..."
And I let it rip!
It isn't Mark's fault; this is his job and the army is making sure he is ok.
But Mark has been in the Untited States for almost two weeks and I haven't seen him yet. And I can't go up to him: I still wounldn't able to see him. Just sitting in a hotel room all alone.
How much are we as military spouses and families are suppose to take?
I thought the days of "if the army wanted you to have a family, they would have issused you one were over?"
This is the longest war this nation has ever fought in. I am not going to get into the politlical ins and outs of this conflict: Mr. Obama is the President and it's his to deal with.
We the families, however, are having to deal with it as well. With back to back deployments that aren't even a year apart now, marriages are under more strain and many are breaking up. More and more military children are having problems and getting into trouble. And while more folks are entering the service, it is the Army Reservist that is still the most used.
I am proud of my husband. I am proud that he has chosen to serve his nation. I stand with him and would never dream of asking him to leave the service, or leave him.
He has been gone for so long....
Just let me hold him....

What Do Mean You Another Seven to Ten Day?????

It all started really Monday afternoon.
I went downstairs for the mail and found two We Tried to Deliever notices.
Really? No one rang my door bell, nor were the notices on my door.
So I called to have them redelievered.
The two boxes arrived the next day just afternoon the laptop was returned form repairs.
I then looked at the notice again because I was expecting trunks. One notice was for boxes and the other for trunks, so I had to call for redelievery.
There suppose to arrive Friday by 3pm,
Having this funny feeling, I went downstairs to the mailbox and sure enough, the mail carrier did not come upstairs and deliever the trunks. Another notice was in my mailbox, this time a final notice!
Back on the phone.
And this time, I wasn't nice. I amde it clear someone was lying: no one made an effort to deliever the thrunks and I was home all day. My day had been shot; my holy day was about to begin and voilated because the US Postal Service no regard to anyone's faith and the trunks were the personal items of a returning soldier from a year's deployment.
Do you call this supporting our troops????
Yes, I had the flag waving and the tears flowing. I was promised they would arrive Monday.
Bright and early Shabbat, I recieve a call from the Post Office. It seems the Manger recieved my complaint and called. The local post office never recieved the messages to redeliever. He didn't knwo what was going on, but would deal with it. But if I was home this morning, he would have the trunks delievered. Two hours later, Mark's trunks and three boxes being placed in the Dinningroom.
Marty, I'm not finish....
After the phone calls Friday, I broke with Tradition and ordered Chinese Food.
Then Mark called.
Change of plans. Fort Dix no longers does the ongoing medical care (like cancer screening) unless your station at Dix. So new medical orders have to be cut and Mark has to send to a treatment center (we are praying for Portmouth Naval, that way he can come home). New orders take seven to ten days to cut.
Seven to ten days.
"This means your not coming home Monday or Tuesday..."
"This means you may not be coming home this coming weekend...""This means the army could send you to a treatment center outside Virgina for 60 days...."
I didn't the news do you accept the fact that the man you have for prayed for, longed for, watched out for, for a year, is sitting six hours away and you have to wait another two weeks. How much is a military spouse to put up with? Don't we pay a high enough price without being jerked about like this?
Forty-five minutes after supper Mark called, knowing his wife was a mess.
Plus I was royality sick from the worst Chinese food I'd ever eaten
I think I earned that crown, Marty.....
I am finally on the other side of being sick from Chinese. When I told Mark where I did take out, he groaned. That's not the one we use and it is even looks nasty outside.
Now he tells me.

It's a Reel Thing: New Month, New Challenges#links#links#links#links

It's a Reel Thing: New Month, New Challenges#links#links#links#links

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

The Bitter and The Sweet

When our service member is home and life is happy, it is easy enjoy the military life.
But when duty calls, many decide this isn't the life for them anyone.
Mama didn't tell me their would be days like this....
Whether it is traning exercises or real world deployment or worse, now into it's seventh year, back to back deploymnents in a warzone, so many complain by letter, e-mail and phone that the service doen't even want to call home, knowing what waits them.
Parnets complain about missed birthday and angry that they shall miss their sister's wedding.
Wives fear being a young widow and raising children alone, while husbands fear their wives will fall in love with one of the guys she works with.
There are often outburst of anger when one hasn't had a phone call in days or weeks and the service member may stop calling all together. Ultmatumn often issued: it's the service or me.
As the mum of a sailor, I have indeed done my share of prayer-worrying. Sad that I missed a birthday, but send a huge carepackage. I still light a candle for him.
As the wife of a soldier, I also know the frustations of no e-mail or weeks of no contact. But I don't get angry. I am aware that computers and phones go down or if there was a death in the unit, a news blackout until the family can be contacted. When my phone rings, I am just so happy to hear his voice. I am thrilled to get a e-mail and the little surprises like a new tunic from where he is, always makes my day.
It is bittersweet to marry into the military.
It is a hard life when your beloved is away. But that person is still your beloved.
No one can warn or really prepare you for this life. There are now books on the subject and the military is doing a better job at preparing families, but it is still like learning to swin: you can't just read about it. You still have to get into the water.
The military doesn't destroy marriages; it does shine a light in it. It can make your marriage stronger, or you can allow it to make it weaker.
Notice I said ALLOW.
Marriage takes two people. And like any marriage, a military is as strong and weak, as loving as the couple.
No, I shall never say it is easy for my Mark to be so far away from me. To not feel his warmth in our bed or feel his arms around me when I am cooking.
But I love the man and I know he loves me. We are committed to the G-d we both love, each other and OUR job.
The military.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

House Work

Yes, I know, many women hate it. I can't say love cleaning.
And yet I can't say I hate it too.
Because when I think of the love that went into creating this apartment, the feel we wanted, the love that is shared in this home, how can I hate to clean it?
I think of the meals we have shared with family as well as friends. The laugher that has filled the air. When I think how Mark and I took our time (well, Mark was patient with me) to find just the right apartment. How we together picked out the Dinningroom set and Mark's excitement when he found just the right livingroom suite. And it was; we just had to change the colour.
It is the place after a year's deployment, my beloved comes back to, rest his head and be with the woman he loves.
And G-d willing, one day, the laugher of children shall fill our home.
So, off to cleaning my lovely home I go.
Maybe I shall even recieve a call today.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The Thin Line

There are times it is very hard to figure out when one has crossed the line from sharing one's pain and longing and whining. To know when it is ok to stay in bed for the day or to put on your big girl panties and deal with it. When letting the housework slide is ok and when you need to really pull yourself together.
To know when to be strong and when it is ok to admit your not.
When do we allow  friend to cry on our shoulder because their missing thier beloved who still has six months to go on their deployment and when do we grab them by the shoulders and tell them to "Man Up! Your spouse needs YOU to be strong!"
Not having children (yet) I don't have the blessing of little people to take care of. And since I am a homemaker, I keep the Tent of the Reel Tribe in running order.
For me, I allow one day of depression, of sleeping in, of crying and maybe a bowl (small) of ice cream.
But then there is the next day....
"Mrs R! Look at YOU!!!! Get in that shower! Braid your hair! Put on rose body oil, the scent your man likes. Put on your sweats and go out for that morning walk! MOVE IT!"
There are times the tears fall and I let them.
Others, i go and wash my face and smile into my reflection in the mirror, remembering that there is someone half way around the world that loves this face. And I need to take care of me and our home for him. Just as he is taking care of himself to come back to me.
I look at that reflection and remind myself that I am a woman, not a child. That I don't whine, but shine.
And that only big girls get to wear Hot Pink Panties.
So deal with it.

It's a Reel Thing: Anesthesia, Oxygen and Other Stuff#links#links#links#links

It's a Reel Thing: Anesthesia, Oxygen and Other Stuff#links#links#links#links

Think I'll go back to bed.....

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The Birthday Gift

As my readers know, Mark's birthday was last week.
And he informed me that I, his loving wife, brought him a beautiful silk rug for his birthday.
Aren't I the thoughtful wife :)
This called The Four Seasons, because it changes colours when you turn it in different directions. And I know it is going to look great in our bedroom.
Today I packed a carepackage for my beloved. Filled with dried fruits, a few cans of kippers (Mark loves kippers in his salad) a four can pack of Del Monte Mandarin Oranges (he loves mandarin oranges with cottage cheese) and Empire's Truffles from Isreal. I send those to Mark in his Passover Carepackage and they were such a hit I brought him another box. Since there is Volanico ash causes flights to be rerouted, instead of baking cookies and taking the change of they arriving to Mark fresh, I found Mrs. Fileds oatmeal raisin with walnuts cookies. They are nice and big as well as soft and chewy..
And of course a few letters. Mark says he likes getting letters from home. Something he can read over and over again.
He recieved some cards from home yesterday. But still not my cards.
But Mark reminds me not be upset: they will come.

How To Survive an Deployment

The above is a project I did several months ago, mainly for my sanity. But I also knew a few women who were about to walk under the formation of sword arches and recieve that smack on the bump with the words: "welcome into the army Mrs..."
Which is one of the reasons I didn't want a military wedding.
While my answers may not be for everyone, they are what keeps me going. It is what keeps me connected with my husband, keeps the love alive and the flames going.
Being a military spouse isn't easy and it isn't for the faint of heart. But I wouldn't trade my life with anyone. For I am married to the greatest guy in the world, my bestfriend, a man who loves me dearly, and I him. As a army wife, I am part of something bigger than myself, somehting that makes a difference in the world as well as my nation.
And how people can really say that?

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Pictures from Passover In Afghanistan
These pictures are from The Seder Mark and his unit had a few weeks ago. Due to a rainstorm, the flight to where are the hebrew soliders were meeting for Passover was canceled. So Mark and the other quickly came up with their own celebration.
Go Army!

Catching Up

Well it has been an interesting two weeks.
I survived my first Passover without Mark.
I have kept Passover before we even met years ago; it just isn't the same.
Last week was Mark's birthday and the unit gave him a card and a small celebration. We shall save that for when he gets home.
And then during the Feast of Unlenaven Bread, I began to experence heartburn. So bad I thought I was having heart problems. My doctor said my heart was fine. But he was concern about the bloating of my feet and tummy.
Turns out my hitial herina is misplaced and I need to go in for a Endoscopy series.
Tomorrow afternoon.
There goes my morning cup of coffee.
So, once I started feeling better, I started picking up the apartment, getting things back into order.
I have to be honest: as much as housework isn't my favorite thing to do, it does keep me busy and stops my mind from coming up with strange thoughts and imagines.
So, this afternoon, I continue working on a baby afghan for a friend. And then perparing for tomorrow.
I did have the joy of speaking to my beloved this morning before he went to bed.
Always a nice way to start the day; knowing he is ok.
I just wish he was home right now.
It's a bummer being sick and your man isn't about.

It's a Reel Thing: Happy Birthday, Beloved#links#links#links#links

It's a Reel Thing: Happy Birthday, Beloved#links#links#links#links
Mark's birthday and how I coped.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

It's a Reel Thing: Who Says G-d Doesn't Have a Sense of Humour?#links#links#links#links

It's a Reel Thing: Who Says G-d Doesn't Have a Sense of Humour?#links#links#links#links

Well, I have survived our first Passover apart. (See the above link)
Now to Mark's Story.
It seems that he had the same pouring rain we had here in Virginia. So their flight out was canceled.
This means the five hebrews of the unit had to run about like mice to gather the things they would need to celebrate Passover.
LOL, sounds a lot like was happening in my house.
But they got it together. One soldier had the finger puppets send by her parnets to ask the Four Questions. Mark drew out a Fred Flintstone looking bone as the shank bone. Their Seder plate was a paper plate with dividers.
And someone's family tradition was actually to Sing "Go Down Moses!" An old negro spiritual.
We decided to add that to our Seder next year.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Mark's Quilt.

I had planned on going to bed early. I didn't sleep well last night.
But I thought that maybe tonight I would work on Mark's quilt. It might help me relax.
I have exactly been working on it since just before we were engaged. The first thing was the pattern, which was easy. I wore at the time (it has since broke) a Star of David that had in each of the triangles a symbol of each of the 12 tribes. Well, we have since changed it a little. It will now be twelve Stars of David with the symbol of each trible.
Next was finding just the right fabic. That took a few years, but finally I found several pieces that had hebric patterns.
This is one of the Star of David panels.
So now, I have nine stars finished. Once the other three are done, I have a starry night backgound that the twelve stars will be sewn onto.
As I work on Mark's quilt, I think of my beloved, of so many loving memories we have made. I pray for his and his unit, for our troops and all who serve this nation in the miliarty. I imagine what Mark's face will look like when he sees it finished. I imagine what it will look like on our bed.
I imagine, G-d willing, one day our children laying this quilt, tugged under Mark's arms as he reads or tells them a story.
I pray G-d will bless us with children indeed.
I pray my beloved returns home.

It's a Reel Thing: Passover Care Package.

It's a Reel Thing: Passover Care Package.

Monday, March 22, 2010

More Pictures From the Beach

While both of us did end up getting quite sick towards the end of Mark's R&R, we still had a wonderful time. I thinl our time at the beach was the best. For we were able to just relax and focus on each other.

The First Rain of Spring

I am actaully enjoying this day.
It is the first rainy day of Spring and I have a jug outside, catching the rainwater for my plants.
It is also a good day for a good cup of coffee, cleaning and other stuff.
The BathRoom has recieved a good washing down and now ready for Passover. The windows in the bedroom are open, letting in fresh air.
The next few days will be devoted to the little Shul. Mark's desk is back in order, but then there is my. And of course the dusting and fresh candles for the Menorah. Because is it made out of iron, it is the only menorah that doesn't need cleaning and polishing.
I was telling a friend a few days ago this holy work actually keeps the depression at bay. Yes, at night, as I prepare for bed the sadness comes because my beloved isn' here. But during the day, preparing our home for the High Holy Days, thought and giggles of Passovers past and playing of music keeps the clouds outside where they belong.
Last week I made Pumpkin Spice cookies for my upstairs neighors. Tonight, it will be chocolate chip. I found Peanut Butter cookie mix in the Cupboard, so I have to make those and get them out of the house as well. We have new downstairs neighors. I wonder if they like Peanut butter cookies?

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Sweet Surprise

This morning, alittle after 11 am, the phone rang.
It was my beloved.
Oh how good was to hear his voice.
But then again I say that all the time, don't I?
It was 8pm and after a long day, he was preparing for bed, but wanted to hear my voice before he went to sleep.
I know the feeling: Mark often calls as I am preparing for bed and I always sleep better when I had spoken to him.
The unit had two Challah makers (the egg rich bread we enjoy on Shabbat) one has since gone home. So Mark is helping out, since he use to help me at home every once in a while with the baking.
He said the one they made for this Shabbat came out rather large, light and fluffy, making three loaves. Right now they are using paper cups, guessing at the measurements. So I will be including plastic measuring cups in the next Carepackage. This way, whoever makes Challah will have the right tools to use.
I just think it is cool to celebrate Shabbat in Afghanistan.
Mark has left me pictures and permission to post them.
It is now in Afghanistan and Mark says the weather is rather nice.
But I forgot to ask how his little garden was coming along.
We are both now preparing for Pesach (Passover) Me cleaning the apartment, removing the leaven, Mark doing the same in his quaters. The Hebrews in his unit will gather together at the place the rabbi is now preparing to keep the Passover.
I believe that the Holy One is going to meet both of us in a very special way this Passover. Though a half a world apart, our love, our faith and even the celebrating the High Holy Days keep us closer and nearer than if we were in the same room.
It is a beautiful Spring day.
Too nice to be inside.
Time for a walk.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

It's a Reel Thing: A Day of Rest and Peace#links#links#links#links

It's a Reel Thing: A Day of Rest and Peace#links#links#links#links

One of the beautiful times in our lives is Shabbat. For Mark and I it isn't just a nice idea, but a way of life. While deployed, Mark does have Saturday morining off (for the most part) for prayer and study. I try to keep up our traditions as best I can, but it is the day I miss him the most.

Friday, March 19, 2010

It's a Reel Thing: Depression#links#links#links#links

It's a Reel Thing: Depression#links#links#links#links

Depression is a real battle each of one us 'left behind" go through with our beloved deployed.
The key I found is not to fight it, but realize that I am depressed, allow myself to feel the anger, the fear, release the tears and either through prayer and/or speaking to someone, I can get a handle on my emotions.
Having a hobby, a work-out plan, a good diet, doing a good deed for someone else and getting together with a good friend goes a long way in helping lifting the Deployment Funk

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Pumkin Spice Cookies

So I began my Spring/Passover cleaning by making Pumkin Spice cookies and giving them to my upstairs neighors. These folks are great; often stop by to see if I need anything, take out my trash, gone to the store for juice when I was sick. Knowing Mark is deployed, they keep an eye out for me.
I am alittle sad, since I would have loved to have made these for Mark. But his next CarePackage has to be kosher for Passover and these cookies would have been a no-no. But I did see some nice treats, so tomorrow when I go shopping for Shabbat, I shall pick up some things to send him.
It has been a few nights since I'd spoken to Mark. I am hoping he calls tonight.
I have good news: my health is much improved. Sarah and Paul had their baby, a beautiful little girl.

As I began this entry, Mark called. It is so good to hear my beloved's voice. He had a lot of work to catch up on since his return from leave. So this was his first chance to call.
Ww spoke for awhile, giving and recieving updates and now he is on his way to the Gym before beginning his day.
As my begins to wind down.
So, having spoken to my beloved, I am going to take a warm shower, dress for bed and read some before sleep.
Thank G-d for watching over my beloved.

A Good Visit

The doctor's visit went well. I'd been taken off two medications and hopefully will be taken off the rest after my visit in May.
It has been since I'd spoken to Mark, so I will have good for him. I know he will be relieved.
Now it is time to start preparing for Passover.
I think I'm more excited about Mark celebrating Passover in Afghanistan than I am here. And the rabbi has agreed to Mark taking pictures of the celebration.
As much as I missed my guy, it is during these times I miss him the most. Mark loves to partake in the preparations, our sharing the Sedar table with friends and family. The memories we already share and the stories that are already part of the Sedar itself.
Our faith is a commuion faith. Yes, individual relationship with G-d is important. Prayer, worship, those special time are so sweet.
But as Hebrews, we are also part of a community. We stand before G-d as one on one as as One. As a whole. The High Holy Days draws the nation of Israel together to be with her G-d.
I just wish I could hold my beloved's hand as we do so.

In the Light of the Sun

As I prepare for my doctor's visit, I realize how bright the sun is today.
Spring is on her indeed.
And with her coming is preparing for Passover.
It is bittersweet since it has been years since I'd been alone for Passover. Mark and I have hosted at least one Sedar each Passover the past four years and this year with him in Afghanistan and we no longer attend Beth Messiah, it is going to be different indeed.
Given that asthma is often triggered by stress, I chose not to think about it right now.
Right now, I need to prepare to see my doctor and take it from there.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010


It has been a few weeks since I was last here.
Mark was home.
He brought home a virus.
And after several wonderful days at the beach, we both ended up in the E.R
He with an inner ear infection.
Me a full blown asthma attack that those several hours to get under control.
So, now Mark's infection has cleared up and he is back in Afghanistan.
And I am recovering.
Honestly, I am doing so much better than I was last week.
Tomorrow I have see my doctor and I believe she shall be pleased with how things are coming along.
My laptop is back home and right now the systmen is downloading all the backup files. Mark gave me some new pictures to share and once my laptop is ready, I will add them.

Today was a beautiful day. Bright, sunny and warm. I even got out and did some walking. Yes, there was some wheezing as I came home, but that's fine. I was able to walk a full hour hour before it began and that is a huge improvement since last week.
I am thankful for my recovery. Not just that I enjoy being sick. But Mark doesn't need to be worried about how I am doing. He needs to know I am healthy and happy. Well, as happy as woman could be with her man half way around the world.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

A Note From My Soldier

I figure I need to write this note so that those who have been praying for me, would have a better idea of what it is like in a war zone.

I live on a very large Forward Operating Base called FOB SHANK. Currently, I work in an office as a Program Manager for projects that are paid for using Commander's Emergency Relief Program (CERP) funds.
I also work with the Brigade S9, the staff officer that counsels the Commander on Civil-military operations, helping him to craft guidance for units so that they can more effectively consider civilian effects when they conduct their operations. If you have read the book, "Three Cups of Tea," my job is like the author's, except I carry a weapon.
The days are often very long as I work from 0900 to 2100, 2200 hours daily. The hardest thing for me is the separation from my wife and the grueling days. Often I try and get out and exercise, but often I get so busy, I forget. I try and celebrate Shabbat, but usually that means going to Friday night services and maybe taking some time off on Saturady. Other than that, I am constantly working, working, working.

I hope this gives you a better idea of what my days are like. I always pray that what I am doing is ultimately going to help improve the life of the average Afghan civilian. Thank you for your prayers. Please continue praying for me, my unit (173d Airborne and 405th CA), and the Afghan people.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Love From Afghanistan

Beanie Baby Poker

When your deployed, you need to have some fun on your down time.
Such as....Beanie Baby Poker.
Rabbi Abraham, the rabbi bear overseeing the game...
I see your blue butterfly and raise you two....