Oct 30, 2008

Helping Eachother Cope

Meghan, I came across this entry just today -- I realize it is several months old. Tom is my brother. Tomorrow is one year since he was killed and I've been spending a lot of time googling his name and his handle "tommym1080" to read about him and find people like you who have been touched by his life. It helps this week -- which is very tough on all of us. Thank you for your post. And my best to you, your brave husband and your family. -Sarah

For anyone who has been reading my blog for a while, you may remember my post about LT. Tom Martin. If not, feel free to go back and read it again. It is listed as Tom's Ranger School Blog. Tom was killed in Iraq last Oct 14th. I just saw the comment on my old post from Tom's sister. It is amazing that she found my post and that now we are somehow connected. I'm glad that she found my blog and knows how sad I was to read about Tom's death. It is another reminder of the sacrifies that many soldiers and familes are making in this time of war. It shows us how many people are being affected through loss and suffering.

One of my new hobbies is to read the blogs of military spouses and families. You wouldn't believe how many blogs there are that are written by military spouses. I'm starting to believe that it is a condition of being a military wife. Reading these blogs helps me understand that the things I'm feeling are normal and Ok. Sometimes the stories and sadness are overwhelming and other times I feel supported by people that I don't even know. I think that blogging gives us an outlet to vent and read about the events in others lives. This brings us all closer together to not feel so lonely.

Here is a link to my previous blog http://meghanargo.blogspot.com/2008/06/toms-ranger-school-blog.html

Oct 29, 2008

I've been tagged

This blogging thing is pretty interesting. Most of my blog readers are not bloggers themselves just friends and family trying to keep up with our adventures. But once you enter the blogosphere, new and interesting habits form between yourself and fellow bloggers. You begin to follow other peoples blogs and get to know them and follow what they are doing.

I have been "tagged" by one of my fellow bloggers and new friend Uma. I'm supposed to tell 6 interesting facts about myself. I will tag a few people as well so that I can learn a little bit more about some of my favorite bloggers that I keep up with. So I will tag Liz, Christina, and Janet. I won't be mad if you don't do it, but come on--- it will be fun!

Fun Facts!
1. I love musicals. I know, I'm a dork. Growing up, I preformed in tons of community theater plays. I loved it! I used to dream of being on Broadway and starring in a cheesy musical. My favorite is Legally Blonde. I know the entire show from start to finish. I will preform the entire thing for anyone who would like to see it.

2. Even though I am a serious girly girl, I like to camp, hike, and mountain bike. Reamer introduced me to these fun hobbies and many people were suprised to find out that I actually enjoy them. (one of them being me!)

3. One time, I beat up my sister! If any of you know my sister, you wouldn't believe me. I have always been the girly girl of the family, and she has been the sports girl. She even played rugby! She has always been a lot tougher than me. But this one time she made me really mad, so I just beat her up. My family called me Mohammed Ali for a few months after that. Luckily, she forgave me. I think that she was in such shock, that she froze and didn't know what to do. It actually made us grow closer together and after that we became best friends.

4. Math is really hard for me. I know this sounds weird, especially because I have had a career in finance since college, but it is true. For some strange reason, I wanted to prove to myself that I could do something that I thought was really hard for me and so, I decided to make it a career. I don't understand why I do things like that?

5. In college, I had the best car ever! It was a 97 Toyota Paseo. Most people would have hated it, but I loved it. I was a convertible and I have so many awesome memories in that car. It was sort of a piece of crap (duct tape holding up the back window, fishing line was used to sew the top on, scratches and dents were all over it, it smelled like mildew because rain would pour in the windows through the duct tape), but I still loved it. It was so tiny that it could barely fit anything in it. Reamer and I would load that thing down traveling from college back and forth to Newnan and you couldn't even see out of the windows. We went on so many road trips in that car. If you sat in the back seat, your head was higher than the front windsheild. It looked hilarious. But my friends and I loved riding around T-town with the top down and music blaring! So many fun memories! (I didn't change the oil in it, and the engine blew up. After 7 years of driving it, I think it was time for it to go anyway.)

6. I absolutely love TaeBo! I know that it is really nerdy, but Billy Blanks really inspires me. You can't get a better workout than with the Advanced Ripped TaeBo video ! I have around 25 TaeBo tapes but I have one that is my favorite. I might even be able to do it without the video. It is sort of embarassing, and I know that it isn't as popular as it once was, but it is still AWESOME to me! Just remember, "you gotta give something to get something...." That is what Billy always tells me!

Ok, time for my tagged bloggers to give me some fun facts! Happy Blogging!

Oct 23, 2008

Crazy Italian Drivers!

Don't worry, he is fine, but Reamer got hit by a car. He was doing a mountain biking PT and followed the PT leader the wrong way down a one way street. I have already established that Italians are crazy drivers and obviously this is true.

Against Reamer's better judgement, he followed the guy leading the PT down a one way street the wrong direction. A guy was speeding around a corner and didn't have time to stop before hitting him. Apparently, Reamer flew over the car and landed on his head. Luckily he was wearing his helmet.

Reamer's mountain bike is completely totaled. He broke his baby toe and has some minor scratches/bruises. He says that he feels fine other than being a little sore. He is upset about the bike, especially since it is his main way of transportation. I'm sure that he will buy a new one as soon as possible (despite the crappy exchange rate!).

Seriously, he is fine. So don't worry. I guess the major lesson here is to wear our helmets at all times, and follow all traffic laws at all times, no matter what!

Oct 22, 2008

My Celebrity Pup!

Champ is finally here and we feel like we are actually at home now that he is with us. Even though our household goods are not here, our apartment feels more like a home!

Dogs are everywhere in our little town. Around 5:30 everyday, people start coming outside to have a coffee at the outdoor cafe's, drink an apertivo (an early evening cocktail), shop and just walk around town to socialize. During this time of day, you see dogs everywhere. It is a very hectic time of day with the streets covered with bikes, people and dogs. I was excited to see how Champ would react to his new town. (and a little nervous!)

The first time I took him out, I felt like a celebrity. Usually the Italians aren't very friendly and seem a little stuck up. They are very concerned with fashion and appearances and unless they know you, they walk around with a scowl on their face. Well, if you want to know how to make friends here, just walk Champ around for 10 minutes and you will talk to the entire town. I was shocked to see how much attention we got. Everyones eye's were on us as we walked around. I've never felt like a celebrity before, but having him by my side made me feel like I was Britany Spears. People would stop conversations and I could hear words like "Bella, Bello, Bellissimo, Cane," Etc.... Tourists want to take his picture, store owners were coming out of their stores, people on their bikes would stop to take a look and everyone was smiling at him (and me!). Of course, Champ was eating this up! He loved the attention! I knew that he would get some attention, (because I think he is the most beautiful dog), but I had no idea how much he would get. Our town is pretty small, so I don't think it will last forever once people start seeing him more often, but for now it is pretty cool.

SIDENOTE: Every time Champ gets upset or stressed out, he gets a really bad case of diarrhea. It has been so bad in the past that we have had to take him to the vet for medicine. We were anticipating this problem because of the 10 hour flight and stress of being in the cage for that long. But when he arrived, he seemed to be OK and I was hoping that we weren't going to have that problem.

The next morning after the debut of my beautiful Celebrity dog, I was excited to see if he would still get the same attention. I first took him to the park to let him do his business. Everything was fine and he seemed to be doing great. I decided to walk him around the cafe/shop area to show him off once again (there is no grass in this area, just cobblestone streets with designer stores and cafe's serving morning cofee).

We window shopped and walked around receiving attention from everyone we passed. He seemed happy to be around all of the people and dogs and I was happy to show him off. Then, out of nowhere, he squats and spews the runniest doggie dirrerah I have ever seen. I only had one baggie left, and there was only so much that I could pick up. There was nothing I could do except stand there in embarrassment hoping that not that many people would see. I cleaned it up to the best of my ability and searched for the cafe to get some water to try to clean between the cobblestone (there were tables outside, but I couldn't find the actual restaurant or a waiter to help me). After looking for help for about 2-3 minutes, the people who saw the incident had already passed by, and I could think of nothing else to do but flee the scene. I felt so bad for my pup and could tell that he thought he had done something wrong by the look on his face. I reassured him and took him to the park again in case he needed to go again.

There are so many dogs here, I know that has happened before, but at the time it was pretty embarrassing. I guess until his problem is better, I'm sticking to the park to avoid that from happening again!

But once he is feeling better, we will definitely be returning to receive some more celebrity attention!!

Oct 13, 2008

Technology is Amazing!

We finally set up Skype on our computer and I have realized how amazing this software is. You can talk to any other Skype user for free online and you have the use of your webcam so that you can see the other person. If you keep the program up at all times, people can call you whenever they want and you answer it just like a phone. You can also put up away messages or sleeping messages if you don't want to be bothered.

After living in Italy for about 2 months, it was great to use Skype to call our friends and family and chat away! Seeing the person on the computer actually gives you a more normal feeling and you don't feel as distant from everyone. I definatley recommend that everyone download this program to the computer especially military families! It makes you feel as though you are closer to you loved ones even if you are on the other side of the world. Check it out at www.skype.com

We are also going to get a program called SlingBox! This is really neat! You can put a peice of equipment on a TV and it will send the signal to our computer in Italy. We are going to ask our family to put the box on their TV for us to use. It will send us all of the channels from their U.S. TV. There is a second piece of equipment that we will attach to our TV that will send the signal from our computer to our TV and it will be broadcast like we are watching TV in the U.S. You can also buy it so that it will play in HD quality so you know that Reamer will definately have to set up the HD component so that he has crystal clear picture.

This technology thing is really exciting for us and will make our life here much more comfortable. It's amazing what we are able to do in this day and age and it's exciting to see how far technology will go to make our life more comfortable in the future. Check it out at www.slingmedia.com

Oct 5, 2008

THIS IS NOT SANITARY! (only read this if you want to be disgusted!)

**Ok, I stole this picture and idea off of my friend Janet's blog, sorry but I couldn't resist.
I had to let all of you know who are planning to visit us what you will encounter. For some strange reason Italians think that this is a more sanitary way to use a public bathroom. In most stores, offices and general areas you will find a normal American-style toilet but in restaurants and bars, you find a hole in the ground. Now, this may seem like a good idea, but if you are a woman and you have been drinking (which you normally do --AT A BAR!) this becomes somewhat difficult. (espically if you are wearing heels and tight jeans!) Please notice that there are no handle bars or or anything to help you with this situation. Just your own will to be strong, squat like you are working out and not to fall over in the disgustingness that is all over the floor. I don't want to scare anyone away from reading my future blogs by getting too graphic, but I'm sure that you get the picture. I'm positive that a MAN invented this novel idea to torture women and to trick us by labeling it as sanitary. Believe me, this is anything but SANITARY!!!

Oct 3, 2008

Who needs a car??? Not me!!

My new best friend is my bicycle. I take her everywhere. As of now, we still do not have our car so my only mode of transportation is my bicycle. We live in the center of the town in Vicenza about 20 min bike ride to post. Many of the streets around our house are for walking/bike riding only, so they are really nice to ride on especially when the weather is nice.

Everyone here bikes. Women ride their bikes in skirts/dresses and stilleto heels. (while smoking and talking on a cell phone). At first it is kind of funny to see, but I am getting used to it now. Typically I ride my bike to post everyday. I go to the gym, check the mail, go to the commisary and get the necessities. I usually enjoy the ride, but at times it is pretty scary.

Why is a bike ride scary you ask??? ITALIAN DRIVERS ARE INSANE!!! In a country where the culture calls for pleasant and lengthy social interactions and laidback ways, these people turn into devils on the road. They zoom and zigzag as fast as their sport cars and smart cars will go. Using no hesitation in passing someone even if they come seconds from having a head on collision. Mass transit is everywhere with huge city buses that drive the same way the small cars drive. Because of the age of the town, the buildings are very close together which means that the roads are pretty small. These roads must accomadate drivers, walkers, busses, and of course-bikes! Also, instead of 4 way stops, here they have traffic circles which is kind of scary if you are riding a bike.

Of course, Reamer has no problem jumping on his bike and entering the world of crazy drivers. He has No Fear! I, on the otherhand, feel differently and get nervous when I begin my journey to the post everyday. For the most part I enjoy feeling the nice weather and seeing people, shops and buildings as I ride around---UNTIL I AM ABOUT 1 INCH FROM GETTING HIT BY A HUGE BUS! (I'm exaggerating mom, don't worry, I'm safe)

Just as I feel nervous and want to get off my bike and enter the tiny sidewalk I see the 85 year old woman in front of me speeding along with her groceries and a nun in full nunswear passing me. (ok, I might be exaggerating again, but maybe not) Seeing all of these Italians gives me the courage to venture on. Everytime I make it to my destination, I'm proud of myself and realize how much I enjoy the journey.

However, there are times when I DO NOT enjoy my trip. Last week after leaving the commisary and realizing that I bought too much, I had to return home on my bike with a 50 pound-stuffed backpack and groceries hanging off both sides of my handlebars. (the extra weight on handlebars make it so difficult to control the bike) I spent the entire walk/ride cursing myself for not realizing how much I was buying. I'm sure that I was a sight to see on my bike with my helmet on (you are required to wear a helmet on post but no Italians wear helmets and usually I put it in my bookbag when I ride through town to fit in, BUT MY BOOKBAG WAS FULL!). My huge overstuffed bookbag which made me hunch over because it was so heavy and plastic bags hanging from my handle bars which made me wobbly. I'm sure all of the Italians laughed at the crazy American trying to accomplish this task. All I need is a basket on my bike which I have yet to find. But believe me, I'm looking!!!!

Finally I returned home and felt pretty proud of myself. After cooking dinner I realized how difficult it was to go from the start of the meal to the end of the meal. Not only am I attempting to cook full menu's (something I used to never do) I have a much more difficult path to take in order to prepare it. It has made my meals that much more satisfying. But seriously, I'm looking forward to getting our car. I still want to ride my bike as much as possible, but grocery shopping will be reserved for the car, not the bike.

Oct 2, 2008


For my first visit to Germany, I'd say that I had a great time! We went to Oktoberfest with several of our friends and couldn't wait to start enjoying the festivities. After the long train ride and a hike to find our hotel, we finally made it to the main event. I really wanted to purchase a beer maid outfit, but they were around 100 euro and in american dollars, that would have almost been $160! So I decided to settle for German braided pigtails so that I would feel like I was fitting in! But I really wanted one of those cute outfits, maybe next year! Oktoberfest was seriously packed with people! It was difficult, (almost impossible) for all of us to stay together because the crowds were so thick. We walked around for a few hours taking in all of the sights, sounds, food, smells, watching drunk people-- all while trying to get into somewhere to have a beer. You must be seated at a table in order to get a beer. Finally we found a table in the Spaten beer garden and the real fun began!

The beer maids are awesome!! They carry a minimum of 7 beers all in one hand. Each beer is about a liter, and I even have trouble holding ONE up for a long period of time, so I can't imagine how much their wrists hurt! We enjoyed some Snitzel (spelling?) and potatoes. (Reamer was in heaven with all of the German food we ate--DonerKebabs, Snitzel, Pretzels, more Donerkebabs). We learned how to Propst correctly which is what we call (cheers). You must attempt to splash your drink into the other persons drink (to make sure they are not poisioning you). You can imagine how hard you must toast in order to acheive this. We even saw a beer stein completely break due to the forceful propsting (and of course this was from a member of our group of strong Army guys).

In the beer garden, we met people from all over the world, but somehow we ended up talking/chanting with the table beside us for most of the night and what do you know, they were Italian (we can't get away from them..j/k). After we had a few beers, the rowdy Italians taught us a bunch of their soccer (futbol) cheers! We stood on the tables for hours chanting soccer cheers and singing American songs. We just went back and forth. The Italians even knew some country songs.
We were pretty upset that we weren't at the Alabama game, but Reamer wanted to make sure that we still supported our team. He spent 30 minutes teaching about 20 Italians Rollllllllll Tide Rolllll!!!! They were happy to shout out the cheer as long as we returned the favor and supported their favorite soccer team!! It was hilarious to see them screaming Roll Tide and making the motions. It sounded like a lot of them were screaming Tiiiiiiiiddddeeeee Tide! I don't think that they understood Roll. But it was still really funny and made us feel like we were a part of the game. We got into the inside of the tent as the night was ending and saw the craziness going on around us! It was really fun!

We woke up the next morning and niavely went to the train station. We didn't think that there would be any problem with getting a train home but were we wrong. The disgruntled German train worker let us know that we would "NOT be getting to Italy at all today by train!" All seven of us were trying to rack our brains and figure out a way to get the boys back for morning PT. Missing it is not an option!! Even though everyone was freaking out a little bit, we actually had a fun time tracking around Muchen searching for bus stations, airports and rental car places. Finally we decided to rent a car and drive home. Luckily we found a rental car place that had two cars going back to Italy and we would get a discount on the price.
Even though we were exhausted, the trip back was great. Germany and Austria are beautiful. We saw the beautiful Alps and so many castles. I can't wait to go back and see more of those beautiful countries. We are going to have to go back soon!