Thursday, December 29, 2005

40

I added some new pictures to the fotopic site. As always the link is: http://cristin-fanning.fotopic.net/ and they are under the December folder.
It's been snowing here all week and I'm more than tired of it already. I've spent the past 3 mornings shoveling snow outside my building because obviously the other 2 couples that live in my stairwell and don't have children are too lazy to do it. Right now I don't mind that much, but if this continues until spring I'm going to get frustrated. On a positive note, I've been getting off work early a lot!
I had the first practice for my youth girls basketball team last night. Only 3 out of 7 girls showed up but that's actually more than I thought would. I only have 2 girls back from last years team. All the others moved or are too old this year. I was pleasantly surprised by one of the new girls last night. It's going to be interesting to see how the other 4 are. It's possible that it could be a long season this year! I'm sure it'll still be fun regardless!

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

38



The big announcement on Friday - there was nothing to it. It was a briefing with Gen George Casey, and he didn't say anything we didn't already know. I'm still trying to figure out why in the world the brigade made such a big deal about it. He DEFINITELY didn't say anything about them coming home. The briefing can be seen at http://www.pentagonchannel.mil/ .

My weekend was pretty busy but I'm so glad it was a 3 day. On Friday night I went over to my Laura's house and we just hung out and watched tv. On Saturday I ran all my errands that I usually do on Sunday. I then came home and made a dish to take to a friends house for dinner. We had a Christmas Eve dinner and then went to the candlelight service at church. On Sunday morning I got up and went to church then came home and started preparing for Christmas brunch at my house. My neighbors came over and we spent the whole day eating and just enjoying one another's company. I talked to my family and opened my presents from them - a sweater, the traditional Barbie ornament, a personalized baking pan with cover, and lots of little stocking stuffers. Later I attempted to talk to Bryan and I opened my palm pilot and Martina McBride and Carrie Underwood cds from him. Yesterday I was just a bum most of the day. Laura and baby Tally, Pam, and I all went to have mexican food for supper last night. It had been a while since I had eaten Mexican so I enjoyed it. Today I'm just back at work. I sure am glad it's Tuesday and not Monday though!

Friday, December 23, 2005

34

Anxiety.
That's the word of the day.
I received a phone call around 1800 (6 pm) last night from the Family Readiness Liason (FRL) of Bryan's battery. I was a little startled when he identified himself because the FRL usually doesn't make phone calls. The Family Readiness Group Leaders and their Point of Contact people usually call us.
The FRL informed me that there would be an announcement made by the Department of Defense today at 1700 German time (1100 EST). All family members are highly encouraged to watch the news today for the announcement. That's basically all they told us. I do know that there was a requirement that 100% of the families be contacted. It sounds like it must be something pretty big for them to go to all that trouble to contact everyone. Myself, as well as many other families, are experiencing a lot of different emotions. I am hoping that our soldiers will be able to come home. However, I fear that we are getting all worked up to be told no new, real information. There is no desire to be told yet again "365 or until mission complete". We've already heard that quite a bit in the time leading up to the deployment and the short while they've been gone. What if they do come home in a few months but then receive orders again for 2007? That scenario could mean that we get caught in stop-loss/stop-move and don't get to PCS when we're supposed to in 2007. That would result in Bryan getting behind in his career because he wouldn't be able to attend his captain's course on time.
To many people this annoucement won't mean very much. Many civilians back in the states may not notice or pay attention to what is said today. However, there are thousands and thousands of us who are trying our best to be patient for 4 more hours. They have our future in our hands. This could impact us today, tomorrow, next month, next year, and even the years after that.
Oh, the anxiety......

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

32

I'm a quarter of a century old today!
Congratulations to Mama and Daddy on the anniversary of the birth of their first child! Thanks for being great parents and doing an awesome job raising me - and those other 2 kids!
From my parents (& siblings I guess) I got a sewing machine. I've had it for a while but I'm actually going to open it tonight. I'm really excited about learning to sew! Thanks y'all!
Thank you to Mrs Tena and family for the Victoria's Secret gift certificate.
Thank you to Yalonde and Kimberly for the Happy Birthday wishes and ecard.
I'm working today but tonight I'm going to go to dinner with my neighbor friends.
I'm also going to get to talk to Bryan and I'll open my present from him while we're on the phone. I can't remember for sure, but I think this is the first time we've been apart on my birthday in all 8 years. At least I will get to talk to him though. I'm very thankful for that!

Just for the fun of it, here's a recap of this day in history!

1620 - The Mayflower, and its passengers, pilgrims from England, landed at Plymouth Rock, Massachusetts.
1849 - The first ice-skating club in America was formed -- in Philadelphia, PA.
1909 - McKinley and Washington schools of Berkeley, CA became the first authorized junior-high schools in the U.S. (grades 7,8 and 9). The schools were actually identified as introductory high schools.
1913 - Readers of the New York World Sunday edition were treated to a crossword puzzle as an added feature of the Fun supplement.
1914 - Marie Dressler, Charlie Chaplin, Mabel Normand and Mack Swain appeared in the first six-reel, feature-length comedy. The film was directed by Mack Sennett and was lovingly titled, Tillie’s Punctured Romance.
1937 1st feature-length color & sound cartoon premieres (Disney's Snow White)
1944 - Horse racing was banned in the United States until after World War II.
1945 - U.S. General George Patton died in a German hospital this day. ‘Old Blood and Guts’, whose Third Army swept across France and into Germany after the Normandy Invasion, had been injured in a car crash near Mannheim, Germany twelve days earlier. He is buried among the soldiers who died in the Battle of the Bulge in Hamm, Luxembourg.
1966 - The Beach Boys received a gold record for the single, Good Vibrations. A-one, and a-two and... “...I’m pickin’ up good vibrations. She’s givin’ me excitations...”
1967 - The Rolling Stones LP, Their Satanic Majesties Request, was released. It cost $50,000 to produce and came complete with a 3-D photograph of the Stones on the cover.
1973 - Joseph Danzansky announced that he was unable to meet the financial conditions that would allow the San Diego Padres baseball franchise to move to Washington, DC. Strange thing, because major league baseball owners had already approved the move based on Danzansky’s financial condition. He didn’t stay around very long. McDonald’s founder Ray Kroc bought the struggling team and vowed to keep it in San Diego. He even refunded the cost of admission to everyone in Jack Murphy Stadium one night, apologizing for how bad the team played.
1981 - Cincinnati defeated Bradley 75-73 in seven overtimes! The game became the longest collegiate basketball game in the history of NCAA Division I competition. The marathon game was played in Peoria, IL. If it can play there... it can play anywhere!
1983 - The NCAA men’s basketball rules committee rescinded the controversial, last-two-minute, free-throw rule. It had been enforced at the beginning of the 1983 season to eliminate excessive fouling at the end of a game. The idea bombed. There were even more fouls after the rule was enacted.
1985 - Bruce Springsteen’s album, Born in the USA, passed Michael Jackson’s Thriller to become the second longest-lasting LP in the top 10. It stayed there for 79 weeks. Only The Sound of Music, with Julie Andrews, lasted longer: 109 weeks.
1985 - Heart’s album, Heart, was #1 (for one week) in the U.S. The tracks are: If Looks Could Kill, What About Love, Never, These Dreams, The Wolf, All Eyes, Nobody Home, Nothin’ at All, What He Don’t Know and Shell Shock.
1986 - Atlanta center Jeff Van Note played his 246th and final NFL game as Atlanta downed Detroit, 20-6. At age 40, Van Note was the oldest player in pro football.
1988 - Pan Am World Airways Flight 103 was the target of a terrorist attack this day. The jet exploded over Lockerbie, Scotland killing 259 passengers and crew, plus eleven people who were on the ground at the site of the crash. (In Jan 2001 Libyan Abdel Baset Ali Mohmed Al-Megrahi was found guilty of planting the bomb that blew up the plane.)
1991 - The Soviet Union formally ceased to exist and was dissolved into Russia and fourteen other independent countries. The U.S. supported the change and pledged to extend as much help as possible to the new Russian state under Boris Yeltsin.
1998 - Israel appeared headed for early elections after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu failed to restore unity to a government badly shaken up over his decision to suspend the Wye River land-for-security accord brokered by the United States in October 1998. The embattled Netanyahu was heckled by members left and right of the political spectrum when he rose to address Israel’s 120-member parliament, the Knesset. (Netanyahu was indeed defeated in 1999 by Ehud Barak.)
2000 - Fears about a harsh economic slowdown and continuing weakness in corporate earnings sent U.S. stocks sliding, with the Dow Jones industrials giving up more than 260 points, dropping to 10,318.93. The Nasdaq hit its low for the year, falling 178.93 (or 7 percent) to 2,332.78. “Investors are seeing a confirmation from the Fed that the economy is very weak and that earnings are going to be pretty poor and that assistance from the Fed is not going to be right away,” said A.C. Moore, chief investment strategist for Dunvegan Associates in Santa Barbara, CA. (The Fed [Federal Reserve System Board] did respond in 2001, dropping interest rates eleven times, pushing rates to the lowest level since 1961.)

Birthdays
1639 - Jean Baptiste Racine dramatist:
1804 - Benjamin Disraeli author, statesman
1860 - Henrietta Szold humanitarian
1879 - Joseph Stalin (Dzhugashvili) Russian dictator
1892 - Walter Hagen golf champion
1908 - Sylvester Pat Weaver President of NBC-TV
1913 - Andor Foldespianist: played with Budapest Philharmonic at eight years of age
1917 - Heinrich Boll Nobel Prize-winning author [1972]
1918 - Kurt Waldheim government official
1921 - Alicia Alonso (Martinez Hoyo) dancer
1922 - Paul Winchell comedian, ventriloquist
1926 - Joe Paterno football coach: Penn State
1928 - Ed Nelson actor
1926 - Freddie Hart country singer
1935 - Phil Donahue TV talk show host
1937 - Jane Fonda Academy Award-winning actress
1940 - Frank Zappa musician, songwriter, singer
1941 - Paul (Paulino Ortiz) Casanova baseball
1942 - Carla Thomas singer
1943 - Jared Martin actor
1944 - Michael Tilson Thomas jazz band conductor
1945 - Gordon Kannegiesser hockey
1946 - Josh Mostel actor
1946 - Carl Wilson musician
1947 - Elliott Maddox baseball
1948 - Samuel L. Jackson actor
1950 - Jeffrey Katzenberg movie producer
1951 - Nick Gilder singer
1954 - Chris Evert
1955 - Jane Kaczmarek actress
1957 - Ray Romano comedian, actor
1959 - Florence Griffith Joyner (Flo-Jo) track star
1960 - Andy (Andrew James) Van Slyke baseball
1965 - Andy Dick actor
1966 - Kiefer Sutherland actor
1966 - Karri Turner actress
1968 - Khrystyne Haje actress
1969 - Julie Delpy actress
1969 - Jack Noseworthy actor

Chart Toppers
1950
Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer - Gene Autry
White Christmas - Bing Crosby
Nevertheless - Jack Denny
If You’ve Got the Money Honey I’ve Got the Time - Lefty Frizzell
1958
The Chipmunk Song - The Chipmunks
Problems - The Everly Brothers
One Night - Elvis Presley
City Lights - Ray Price
1966
Snoopy Vs. The Red Baron - The Royal Guardsmen
Winchester Cathedral - The New Vaudeville Band
That’s Life - Frank Sinatra
Somebody Like Me - Eddy Arnold
1974
Cat’s in the Cradle - Harry Chapin
Angie Baby - Helen Reddy
You’re the First, the Last, My Everything - Barry White
I Can Help - Billy Swan
1982
Maneater - Daryl Hall & John Oates
The Girl is Mine - Michael Jackson/Paul McCartney
Steppin’ Out - Joe Jackson
Somewhere Between Right and Wrong - Earl Thomas Conley
1990
Because I Love You (The Postman Song) - Stevie B
Justify My Love - Madonna
Impulsive - Wilson Phillips
I’ve Come to Expect It from You - George Strait

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

31

So, I was "tagged" by Shelleigh which means I am supposed to share 5 Strange Habits of mine. I'll oblige but I think I'm just going to turn it into 5 Strange Things about me. Bryan would probably be better at this than me, but I'm going to give it a shot.

#1 - I am a creature of habit. My life is basically like the movie Groundhog Day. I do the same exact routine every day.

#2 - I MUST wash my face and brush my teeth every night before I go to bed. No matter what state I'm in, I will always wash my face and brush my teeth.

#3 - I don't drink sweet tea. To many people that wouldn't seem odd, but I'm from the deep South. Everybody drinks sweet tea. I can make it if I must, and I will drink it if I must, but I don't prefer to do either.

#4 - I can't keep my feet still when I'm trying to go to sleep. I have to be aware of it and make myself keep them still. I'm constantly moving them back and forth, back and forth.

#5 - I don't like to watch movies a second time but I can watch episodes of The Real World 100 times over. I'm a reality tv nut!

Yea! I did it! Now I "tag" Laura & Kimberly.

Monday, December 19, 2005

30

I've been too busy to blog today - no really! Maybe I'll get a chance in the morning.

We are at the one month mark today!



Army Wife
The good Lord was creating a model for Army wives and was into his sixth day of overtime when an angel appeared. She said, "Lord, you seem to be having a lot of trouble with this one. What's the matter with the standard model?"
The Lord replied, "Have you seen the specs on this order? She has to be completely independent, posses the qualities of both father and mother, be a perfect hostess to four or forty with an hour's notice, run on black coffee, handle every emergency imaginable without a manual, be able to carry on cheerfully, ever if she's pregnant and has the flu, and she must be willing to move 10 times in 17 years. And oh, yes, she must have six pairs of hands."
The angel shook her head. "Six pairs of hands? No way!"
The Lord continued, "Don't worry, we shall make other Army wives to help her. And we will give her an unusually strong heart so it can swell with pride in her husband's achievements, sustain the pain of separations, beat soundly when it's over-worked and tired, and be large enough to say 'I understand,' when she does not, and say 'I love you,' regardless."
The angel circled the model of the military wife, looked at it closely and sighed, "It looks fine, but it's too soft."
"She might look soft," replied the Lord, "but she has the strength of a lion. You would not believe what she can endure."
Finally, the angel bent over and ran her finger across the cheek of the Lord's creation. "There's a leak," she announced. "Something is wrong with the construction. I am not surprised that it has cracked. You are trying to put too much into this model."
The Lord appeared offended at the angel's lack of confidence. What you see is not a leak," he said. "It's a tear."
"A tear? What is it there for?" asked the angel.
The Lord replied, "It's for joy sadness, pain, disappointment, loneliness, pride and a dedication to all the values that she and her husband hold dear." "You are a genius!" exclaimed the angel. The Lord looked puzzled and replied, "I didn't put it there."

Friday, December 16, 2005

27


From www.wral.com

Religious McDonald's Sign Draws Attention In Raleigh

Woman Asks Restaurant To Remove Sign, 'Jesus Is The Reason For The Season'


POSTED: 7:16 am EST December 14, 2005
UPDATED: 10:25 am EST December 14, 2005

RALEIGH, N.C. -- Everyone celebrates religion and holidays in their own individual ways, but currently there are questions about whether the two should be more connected. One of the latest places involved in the controversy is a McDonald's restaurant in Raleigh.
The sign at McDonald's on the corner of Falls of Neuse and Spring Forest Road reads: "Merry Christmas, Jesus is the Reason for the Season." It is a holiday message that Amanda Alpert thinks comes on a little too strongly.
"It offends me because it specifically talks about Jesus, Merry Christmas. It doesn't give credit to anyone else," Alpert said.
Alpert called the McDonald's corporate office in Atlanta and requested that the sign be changed to the politically correct Happy Holidays. The response was the owner has the right to do what she wants with the sign.
"I care because I'm Jewish, and the reason for the season is upsetting to me," Alpert said.
None of the drivers WRAL spoke to were offended by the sign.
"I've always known it to be Merry Christmas, and it is Jesus' birthday," said Tom David of Smithfield.
It's a debate that's struck a chord nationally and locally. The White House Christmas card surprised some with its "Happy Holiday Season" message. A proposed nativity scene in Raleigh recently drew a crowd at council chambers.
McDonald's managers say the sign has been good for business. They say church groups have stopped by to eat, and some people who usually don't eat food from McDonald's have stopped by because of the sign. The store's owner did not return WRAL's calls.

Most of the time I try to be pretty open minded, but this really got on my nerves. I appreciate diversity. However, diversity and stupidity combined don't go over too well with me. I don't expect someone who is of a different background or religion to wish me a Merry Christmas butI am a Christian so I'm definitely going to tell them Merry Christmas.
Everyone wants to argue about this story and say that Ms Alpert was exercising her freedom of speech and that there are more holidays this "season" than just Christmas. That's all fine and dandy but READ THE SIGN!!
The owner of the restaurant said "Merry Christmas" and "Jesus is the reason for the season".
Therefore, she was saying that Jesus was the reason for the Christmas season. C'mon, a little bit of common sense would help anyone understand that!
People are going so overboard with their political correctness that they're not even being rational anymore!
By the way, I applaud McDonald's for allowing their owners to do as they would like. If I was in that area, I would go to that McDonald's and eat just because of their sign!
Have a great weekend and MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Thursday, December 15, 2005

26

So here's the story of mine and Bryan's attempt to talk on the phone last night.
We had planned on him calling around 6pm my time. He's never able to call at exactly the time we plan because he has to wait in line to use the phone at the call center.
I had also invited my neighbors to come over around 7 and I was going to order and pick up a pizza for us.
Well, I waited until a few minutes after 6 for Bryan to call. I decided I better go ahead and order the pizza because I knew once he called we'd be on the phone for a while. I figured by the time we got off the phone the girls would be there and I'd need to be ready to go pick up the pizza.
So, I decided to call really quickly and order the pizza. The number I had turned out to be wrong so I didn't get an answer. In that EXTREMELY short amount of time Bryan called and ended up leaving a voice mail. When I hang up the phone rings to let me know I have a voicemail. I listen to the voice mail and apparently while I'm doing that Bryan is trying to call again! I hang up the phone to wait for him to call back. It's about 6:30 by now. I decide to call the pizza place on my cell phone so our house line will be open. I get through and order the pizza. They tell me it will be ready in 20 minutes. Bryan eventually calls back and we get disconnected not once, but twice.
Still following??
So I wait and wait for him to call back but after about 20 minutes I haven't heard anything from him. My neighbor arrives and I don't know what to do because I need to pick up the pizza but I don't want to miss Bryan's call. I give her the phone and she's going to tell Bryan what's going on if he calls back. I run over to the pizza place which is maybe about 3 minutes from our house. When I get there they tell me that they had just sold our pizza because they didn't think I was coming! I have to wait for them to make a whole new pizza! Those 10 minutes felt like an hour.
Of course when I get back to my house, Bryan has called again. I finally end up calling him on his cell phone and we are able to talk for a little while before he has to go to sleep.
By the way, this is the second time already that we have had a big telephone fiasco! I hope it doesn't happen again anytime soon!

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

25 - Tomorrow is another HUGE day for Iraq!



The following was sent to me by Timmer from http://rightingamerica.blogspot.com/ :

Here is an idea for these elections, which I am putting out to as many other bloggers as possible:

Conservative radio personality Bill Bennet suggested that on Iraq's upcoming election day (December 15th), in a show of support for the Iraqi people and our mission there, his listeners should also apply purple to one of their index fingers. This seemingly childish idea is clever in its subtlety. It will be like Ash Wednesday, without the ash (or religion)!

It's time for some more good news in Iraq, and we should let our Liberal neighbors, colleagues, friends and family know what it feels like to be on the right side of things. Fellow bloggers PASS THIS ON!

December 15th is PURPLE FINGER DAY!

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

On This Day in History....



On December 14, 2003, the Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) of Iran first reported that Saddam Hussein had been arrested, citing Kurdish leader Jalal Talabani. These reports were soon confirmed by other members of the Governing Council, by U.S. military sources, and by British prime minister Tony Blair. In a press conference in Baghdad, shortly afterwards, the U.S. civil administrator in Iraq, Paul Bremer, formally announced the capture of Saddam Hussein by saying, "Ladies and gentlemen, we got him." Bremer reported that Saddam had been captured at approximately 8:30 PM Iraqi time on December 13, in an underground "spider hole" at a farmhouse in ad-Dawr near his home town Tikrit, in what was called Operation Red Dawn. Bremer presented video footage of Saddam in custody.
Saddam Hussein was shown with a full beard and hair longer and curlier than his familiar appearance, which a barber later restored. His identity was later reportedly confirmed by
DNA testing. He was described as being in good health and as "talkative and co-operative." Bremer said that Saddam would be tried, but that the details of his trial had not yet been determined. Members of the Governing Council who spoke with Saddam after his capture reported that he was unrepentant, claiming to have been a "firm but just ruler." Later it emerged that the tip-off which led to his capture came from a detainee under interrogation.
The
Special Operations Forces soldiers who captured Saddam Hussein turned him over to the 4th Infantry Division in order to avoid media publicity that would compromise their future missions. The 4th Infantry Division troops also received credit for their months of Military Intelligence and scouting work prior to the operation. The soldiers involved have this operation noted on their official US Army records (Officer and Non Commissioned Officer Evaluation Reports), and have received US Army Awards.

24

"One day in retrospect the years of struggle will strike you as the most beautiful."
– Sigmund Freud

"It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end."
– Ursula K. Le Guin


Athletic Kid
Even if you weren't a football star, you spent a good amount of time playing sports and keeping fit.
People may have stereotyped you as a "dumb jock" - but they underestimated your will, wit, and determination.
Who Were You In High School?

Monday, December 12, 2005

23



The weekend in review..
I'll back up all the way to Thursday because I actually did something that day. On Thursday night we had our battalion coffee group. Many of the officer and senior NCO wives from the battalion were there. It was actually a better turn out than usual. There were also about a million kids running around! We had a little dinner and then Santa Claus came. I took a few pictures on his lap but have yet to see how they turned out. We also had a raffle and I won my first piece of polish pottery.
On Friday night I baked red velvet cupcakes for our battalion Christmas party on Saturday. Once again, there was food, a bunch of wives, and many, many kids! I can't complain though because I got a big, fairly good meal out of it. Later that afternoon I went over to a friends house to visit for a little while. We just made small talk, ate chocolate chip cookies, and played Phase 10. I was able to talk to Bryan for quite a while that night. My phone bill is probably going to be very painful to look at next month!
Sunday was a normal Sunday with one very good exception. I went to church and ran my errands, but my neighbor and another guy were finally able to get the hood up on my car! It's been stuck since my car was repaired in April. Both of them are serious car guys so they were determined to not let my car get the best of them! They fought with it forever and finally got it fixed. I am so greatful!
Last night I baked for Bryan's soldiers and prepared a care package for Bryan. I also packed up some presents to send home. I am working hard on getting my Christmas cards finished because I don't know if they're even going to make it to the states before Christmas!
This morning the roads and sidewalks were EXTREMELY icy. There were many times that I almost fell. I think I would probably rather have snow than this awful ice. I hope it doesn't get that bad again any time soon! I'm definitely not made to live in winter weather like this!

Friday, December 09, 2005

20 - Rumors are flying!

I'm really not giving this much credibility but since it's all the buzz I might as well post it on my blog. I'm not getting my hopes up by any means though. That would just be setting myself up for disappointment. The lady at the end says exactly the same thing I would say about Bryan being disappointed.

DOD may halt deployment of two brigades to Iraq
By Terry Boyd and Jeffrey Schogol, Stars and Stripes
Mideast edition, Friday, December 9, 2005

Some or all of the Germany-based 1st Armored Division soldiers currently in Kuwait may be coming home after only a few months under a new plan to draw down U.S. forces in Iraq.

No official drawdown of troops has been announced, but an Army official at the Pentagon said the Baumholder-based 2nd Brigade Combat Team of the 1st Armored Division is likely to come home after Iraq’s Dec. 15 parliamentary elections.

The departure of the troops is not tied directly to the outcome of the elections, and is not a certainty, the said Army official, who asked not to be identified. The final decision depends on the commanders’ decisions on the ground, “[but] it’s the plan right now,” with officials confident elections will go well, he said.

Whether the changes affect the 1st Brigade Combat Team, based in Friedberg, is unclear, though sources tell Stars and Stripes that some units are scheduled to deploy to Iraq in January. Division officials stated in a new release that there is no change in the 1st AD’s and the 2nd BCT’s current orders.

In addition to the 2nd BCT possibly returning to Baumholder, the 1st Infantry Division’s 1st Brigade Combat Team, based at Fort Riley, Kan., will likely not deploy to Iraq in summer 2006, the Army source said on Thursday. However, about 2,000 personnel above company level are expected to go to Iraq as part of the transitional team for Iraqi security forces, the source said.

Instead of 1st ID troops deploying as a brigade combat team from Fort Riley, portions of the brigade would be divided into platoon-sized teams that would work separately to train Iraqi forces, The Associated Press reported Thursday.

Pentagon officials have said they plan to reduce troop levels — now at about 160,000 for the run-up to elections — as the Iraqi army and police become more capable of battling the 30-month-old insurgency.

On Thursday, both AP and The New York Times reported the possibility of changes in deployment schedules after members of Congress began pressuring the Bush administration to begin a withdrawal. The 2nd BCT could remain in Kuwait as a quick-reaction force, or all or part of the brigade could be sent home, depending on whether the situation in Iraq stabilizes after the elections, according to the Times story.

AP reported that two-thirds of the 2nd BCT would return, with the rest staying in Kuwait, prepared to respond to emergencies in Iraq.

Most of the 2nd BCT deployed to Kuwait after a Nov. 10 departure ceremony in Baumholder. But the 2nd BCT’s final mission has been cloaked in secrecy. Earlier this year, Baumholder-based troops were told the BCT would be attached to the 101st Airborne Task Force in Iraq, though some division artillery units were told they wouldn’t be deploying.

A number of 2nd BCT spouses told Stars and Stripes they received verbal notification — though nothing official in writing — from Family Readiness Groups that the 2nd Brigade would be staying in Kuwait rather than moving into Iraq.

The Washington Post reported last month that the U.S. would keep a reserve force in Kuwait, the first time that’s happened since the war started in March 2003.

The possibility of the brigade coming home is “good news,” said Capt. Roderick Pitman, with the 40th Engineer (Combat) Battalion. He is scheduled to do a follow-on deployment “and if they come home, it means I may not have to go,” Pittman said. He and others caught up in stop-movement and stop-loss orders may be allowed to complete scheduled permanent changes of station, he added.

Assuming her husband is coming home, “it’s great news, especially here at Christmas time,” said a 2nd BCT spouse who asked not to be identified.

Preparing for his second deployment since 2003, her husband and his comrades put in long hours, training, she said. “Knowing my husband, he’s going to be disappointed, because he wanted to be part of this,” the spouse said.

“This is their life. This is their job.”

Thursday, December 08, 2005

19

Here By Me
by
3 Doors Down
from their album
Seventeen Days
I hope you’re doing fine out there without me
‘Cause I’m not doing so good without you
The things I thought you’d never know about me
Were the things I guess you always understood
So how could I have been so blind for all these years?
Guess I only see the truth through all this fear,
And living without you…
And everything I have in this world
And all that I’ll ever be
It could all fall down around me.
Just as long as I have you,
Right here by me.
I can’t take another day without you
‘Cause baby, I could never make it on my own
I’ve been waiting so long, just to hold you
And to be back in your arms where I belong
Sorry I can’t always find the words to say
But everything I’ve ever known gets swept away
Inside of your love…
And everything I have in this world
And all that I’ll ever be
It could all fall down around me.
Just as long as I have you,
Right here by me.
As the days grow long I see
That time is standing still for me
When you’re not here
Sorry I can’t always find the words to say
Everything I’ve ever known gets swept away
Inside of your love
And everything I have in this world
And all that I’ll ever be
It could all fall down around me.
Just as long as I have you,
Right here by me.
And everything I have in this world
And all that I’ll ever be
It could all fall down around me.
Just as long as I have you,
Right here by me.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

18


When my family was here they helped me get all my Christmas stuff out and start decorating. On Friday night, I made me some hot cider, put on a Christmas cd and decorated. This is my finished tree. It is missing a tree skirt though because I've been unable to find one I like.
I have decided to stay here for Christmas. It was very hard for me to come to a final decision but I did. I'm sure it won't be as bad as everyone thinks it will. My neighbor friends will all be here too so we can survive the holidays together.
On Saturday I went over to K-town to run some errands so I could get out of the house. When I got home that afternoon I had a message from Bryan on our voicemail. He had waited in line for 2 hours to call me but I wasn't home. I felt so bad! You're really stuck between a rock and a hard place when it comes to communication. Either you can sit by the phone all day waiting for a possible call while being lonely and bored or you can go out and try to stay busy but risk missing a chance to talk. What's a girl to do!?
On Sunday, I went to church, the commissary and then staight back home in case Bryan tried to get in touch with me again. We ended up being able to talk on the computer that afternoon.
I sent Bryan 2 packages yesterday but I can't reveal what they are. It's a surprise and I don't want him to see it on my blog before he gets them. He sent me some pictures he had taken on a disc. If you want to see a few of them, you'll have to go to the blog I set up for him and his soldiers: http://427gators.blogspot.com/
I'm struggling through another slow week here at work. I did have my first meeting last night for my youth girls basketball team. We only had about 2 girls coming back from last year's team so I was wondering if we'd even have enough girls this year. As of yesterday, 8 were signed up so that's a really good sign. I look forward to the season starting again soon!
I'm not sure if my Christmas tree is going to show up. You can always go to http://cristin-fanning.fotopic.net to view my most recent pictures. There is one new one of Misha in the November section and a handful of new ones in the December section.

Monday, December 05, 2005

16

I can't remember if I've already posted this or not. I always love reading it though.

In April, Maya Angelou was interviewed by Oprah on her 70+ birthday. Oprah asked her what she thought of growing older. And, there on television, she said it was "exciting." Regarding body changes, she said there were many, occurring every day...like her breasts. They seem to be in a race to see which will reach her waist, first. The audience laughed so hard they cried. She is such a simple and honest woman, with so much wisdom in her words! Maya Angelou said this:
"I've learned that no matter what happens, or how bad it seems today, life does go on, and it will be better tomorrow."
"I've learned that you can tell a lot about a person by the way he/she handles these three things: a rainy day, lost luggage, and tangled Christmas tree lights."
"I've learned that regardless of your relationship with your parents, you'll miss them when they're gone from your life."
"I've learned that making a "living" is not the same thing as "making a life."
"I've learned that life sometimes gives you a second chance."
"I've learned that you shouldn't go through life with a catcher's mitt on both hands; you need to be able to throw some things back."
"I've learned that whenever I decide something with an open heart, I usually make the right decision."
"I've learned that even when I have pains, I don't have to be one."
"I've learned that every day you should reach out and touch someone. People love a warm hug, or just a friendly pat on the back."
"I've learned that I still have a lot to learn."
"I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel."


Thursday, December 01, 2005

12

Woohoo! Since I didn't post yesterday, I got to skip from Day 10 all the way to Day 12!
On to more important matters...
The blog page I made for the soldiers is up and running!
http://427gators.blogspot.com/
Please check it out! Even if you don't want to send them a package, they can always use a card or letter.