Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Its that time of the Deployment

Well I have watched others go through it. Now I am at that stage of deployment where its wrapping up and little things seem to send me into a tail spin. I am sleeping less and less. I am bitchy... not that I haven't used the bitch card over the past 11 and half months. I still doubt the last months or weeks of deployment are harder than the first. At least for me. But I have yet to finish so we will see. Lately I am so moody and emotional. I cry over things that I haven't cried over in awhile. I have been feeling jealousy, abandonment, and fear. I have done so well with the abandonment feelings till now. I have expected them all along. I mean I am smart enough and my husband and I know neither of us are cheating and I just know him. So these feelings are superficial and not worth the blog their written on. I mean they mean crap and its just myself trying to trip me up.

James gave me an excuse today and it just set me off. I have overcome so much this past year. I have accomplished so many goals and I see him change slowly for the better but at the same time he is holding himself back and his fear is not getting any better. He's just holding on to his fears for dear life. I would have never gotten anywhere this year if I lived for my fear. I just want to have another yet another confrontation with him and say you see how I braved up and how much better my life is? What about you give it a try? I think my willpower is strong I have always thought so. When I put my mind to something I WILL do it. I am stubborn that way. I am built that way! I guess bottom line is like this. There is no I can't there is just you'd f**king BETTER!

As far as excuses go they are all bull crap. When I don't want to drive down town I don't give people my sob story about hitting a pole. I just say I don't like to drive down town and I won't. So if I am supposed to go down town for something I just say sorry I'm not doing it. End of story. As far as I am concered if your going to feed me your excuse you might as well just tell me your dog ate your homework and I will snap right back. You know its that time of the deployment where I am not taking anymore shit. I have to live through these last few months of this crap and If I have made it this far I expect it out of you too!

Expecting too much? Maybe but I don't care you better give me your all or just go sit in your corner and not bother me with your issues. I am not buying the crap your dishing out.

The bitch card just says this... Its that time of the deployment where I won't tolerate excuses, bull shit, or drama.Its that time of the deployment where I won't take your shit either. Its that time of the deployment where I will pull out the bitch card at random but i won't be a bitch to you if you haven't crossed me.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Military Lifestyle

My husband has been a Soldier for over 20 years. I can't speak for him. Himself but during our conversations he has told me his favorite part of the Military Lifestyle is the ability to do the not so usual things. Traveling and Living in Germany. Visiting Turkey which he loves. The knowledge he gains from the Military. The schooling. Face it boys like toys so Rick gets to play with alot of toys doing what he does. All that can grow old on a person and now that we are married I think he's ready to enjoy the civilian life not that he has completed his years with the Military. Now he wants to watch our kids grow and his oldest himself be a Soldier.

As for me I have been a Military Wife for a little over a year. My adopted father was Retired Air Force and my sister was in the Air Force. I saw first hand before my duty as a wife in the Silent Ranks the challenges of the Military and even tried to do my duty and enlist myself. Unfortuately my health kept me from joining. I knew I wasn't cut out to be a Military Wife and in a huge aspect of the world I still don't think I am but in ways I am a good Military Wife. Even the step son thinks so. That means alot to me. I don't like to live far from what I say is home and family. I am not very very close to my family but I would like to be. I still feel I need them close. I laugh and tell people that I am a delicate flower, I bloom where I am planted I don't do too well transpotted. I love to visit new places but I would have a hard time adjusting to new cities as a place to live. Plus as a child who was tossed around alot its hard for a child so my first thought is always on the kids. My biggest joy for the Military Life style is supporting the love of my life. Being part of a very special group of people. The very Brave. I am a very patrotic person and I believe that The Military is a Tradition and without it no telling where we would be as a nation. So I feel special to be supporting our Military in my own ways and getting to live it even if its for a short time, The military and this deployment have taught me some good lessons in life that I needed to know. For that I could never repay. I can't wait to have my husband home though.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Weather Forecast Outlook Cloudy


A Cloud Near our House picture taken 2008 June 06.

The Weather forecasts predicts a cloudy outlook. .... This blog isn't about the weather wouldn't that be boring? This blog is about my life on Cloud Nine for over the past 511 days. Sure enough you would think Deployment within the first year of marriage would all but tear us apart or dampen the cloud but neither has happened. When Rick and I first talked about meeting. I was trying not to fall for him so I could keep a clear head. Sometimes when I fall I fall hard. My little cheerleaders I call them at the time weren't helping much. Oh yeah they knocked some sense in me but also told me there was no rescue clouds leaving Cloud Nine I was stuck. It was Kismet. I've never one to fight Kismet. I am not one to pull cupid's arrow out of my rear either. Rick has been with me on Cloud Nine through it all. He has been the wind beneath my wings that helps me fly up here. As he would correct me in the comments and say We are each other's wind beneath or wings. We brought each other to life. He has certainly changed mine for all good. I hope and I trust our life on Cloud Nine can out live us. Spread love and hope to others. I am so cheesy in love. I still consider us newlyweds even if its been over a year. Just because we still give each other butterflies, we still make each other blush and shiver. We get giddy, giggly and a crush on each other. Can the Army PCS us to Cloud Nine and give us a permenant order for here? Cause I am all for you sending my mail here. I don't think Rick realizes just what this has been like for me but at the same time I feel at times intensely that he feels the same.

Rick and I have had our share of rain and tears. We have had some thunder rolls and disagreements but it doesn't last long and we hold each other through it either emotionally or phsycially. He's just what I need.

When Rick and my eyes meet no one else exists (until Skylar starts screaming.) So please forward all email to 1 Cloud 9 because we seem to be the only ones that exist on our beautiful little cloud I hope never has storms.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

What is your worst dating experience?

My worst dating experience was when I was first starting to date. All of my group of friends used to play around on the phone chat lines and I met a man off the phone chat line and he took me to my favorite resturant for dinner and then proceeded to talk about this woman through the whole date and put her down. He didn't know that woman was me. Its either that or I was set up on a blind date by someone much older than me when i was 21 and my sister suggested I go to the movies with him, so I did. The whole time I was clearing my throat hinting I wanted a drink or snack or something. He never bought me anything but my movie ticket but expected his good night kiss. EWWW NO! Ok guys so if you want to take a girl to the movies (Which I hate going on a date to the movies) then buy her something if your too broke or cheap then don't take her there and don't expect a good night kiss for being cheap on a first date.

15 Tips to Stay Positive in Negative Situations

15 Tips to Stay Positive in Negative Situations

By Donald Latumahina, September 10, 2007 There are times when we must go through negative situations. Maybe people say something negative about us, or they show rejection or even resentment against us. In such situations, it may be difficult to stay positive. We may be inclined to react negatively to them. That won't do us any good though; doing so will just make the situation worse. People may behave even more negatively to us. Our day would be filled with anger and disappointment. At the end, nobody wins. Though it's not easy, it's important to stay positive in negative situations. Beat the negative situations by staying positive. Here are 15 tips on how to do it; pick the ones that work for you:1. Never respond when you are not calm. If you are not sure that you are calm, don't respond. Take time to calm yourself down first. 2. Take a deep breath as a first step to calm yourself down. 3. Speak in gentle tone to reduce the tension of the situation. 4. Realize that you can find opportunities in negative situations. Albert Einstein said: "In the middle of every difficulty lies opportunity." 5. Look at the content of what people say to you for something positive that you can act upon to improve yourself. Don't just reject the whole messages. 6. For the rest of the messages which is negative, simply ignore it. 7. Maintain positive view of the people. Maybe you don't like their messages or behavior, but that doesn't mean that you can hate them personally. 8. Realize that having negative feelings will just hurt you, not them. So there is no reason for you to have any negative feeling. 9. If you make mistakes, be open to admit it. 10. If you make mistakes, remember this quote by George Bernard Shaw: "A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable, but more useful than a life spent doing nothing." 11. If you can, listen to motivational audio program to feed positive thoughts into your mind. 12. Talk to a positive friend who can encourage you. 13. Remember your favorite quotes to give you inspiration and motivation. 14. Look at the negative situations as your training sessions for real life. The higher you climb in life, the worse the negative situations would be, so you'd better be prepared for them. 15. Realize that you can't please everyone. In fact, nobody can. Sometimes you need to just let some people go. Realizing this will relieve you from a lot of unnecessary burden so that you can focus on the people that you can positively interact with.

Posted by my girl Dayna I've Got a Pocket full of Sunshine

Vote 10 for Red White and Blue

AH CRAP His Shampoo Doesn’t smell the same in my hair

That is the name of someone's profile. I laughed and then had a memory of my sweet smelling husband coming home for lunch and as I fixed him lunch in the kitchen his scent triggered my being and my soul. He smelled so good I could have sworn he just stepped out of the shower. But there he was my handsome husband in his ACU's (Army Uniform) waiting for his sandwich and salad. If I didn't have a four year old underfoot I swear he could have had me for lunch.



How do I feel now?

Today is so final. I honestly didn't think I would feel the way I do today. The past two weeks I had some temptations. I mean I had some things on my mind that part of me wanted to open up and let you in, again. But I left it alone to see what would happen. I just asked one thing of you. I am writing this to you like you would even read it. *Shrugs* I guess it doesn't matter does it. These are my feelings and emotions take it or leave it. Its really no one's place to judge me in my opinion anyways. I guess its just going to be some dust that is swept under the rug, eventually. For now I just glare at the dust and wondering what could be different. I left the chore up to you to decide what to do so now I have to deal with the mess thats left. As close as we were, as close as we could have been. Would I have even wanted it? I know I wouldn't have wanted this mess. I never wanted the drama and I was hoping things if they had to end so be it but they didn't have to end like this. I guess I have a problem if I don't feel there is closure. This is the first time I have gone through something like this. So I am not sure how I feel or what to do even. I guess I will get the same answer I get about everything. Pray. Pray for the feelings and emotions. Pray for you and Pray for me.

Friday, June 6, 2008


After I posted the blog on Modesty and your Child here on my blogger this is the quote that was posted for the day

Set standards for your children as you teach them the importance of modest dress. They should represent themselves as holy and acceptable unto God.

Things I want to tell my children

First of all to Alexander and James. They are my boys. I may have only been in their life for 18 months but I care for them like I do my own kids. I carry the responsibility of making sure their needs are met. Yes they are adults but even adults need moms. I sure have in my life. I have heard so many times to count. James needs to be out on his own. You need to do this. You need to do that. But you know what? I know James. James and I have gotten pretty close partly because I am all he's got to lean on at times. James is far from being a social being so when it comes to his need for social interaction he does come chit chat with me. We can go for a ride in the car and out for dinner. He tries to treat me with respect and I treat him with the same respect and I am trying to give him the building blocks into adulthoood he is missing. If something happened to Rick I would be still left to clean up the pieces with James and Alex. I try to make sure Alex gets his care packages even though they are not as often as I like. I try and stay on top of them. I email Alex probably too much he probably finds me annoying and James probably thinks I am a royal bitch but they both realize I have good intentions. So as far as what I would tell the boys. James and I have already talked about it for the most part. The things I would tell them well I am not going to post in the blog because they do have the abilility to read it and its private but I guess ultimately. Alex and Jamesy. I am not your birth mother, adopted mother or anything like that. Nor am I trying to be. I care about you because you've both grown on me. I respect you for being the good men you are. I respect you even in your anger and frustration you still love your parents. I know how difficult it can be at times to understand why Dad is always nagging at you. I know how it is to be a teenager and just want to do things on your own without a parent lingering. HA! Alex what more do you want now your on the other side of the world? LOL Rick has no choice but to let you be and grow up. Alex and James are different where Alex wants to grow on his own, fall down on his own and pick himself up and learn on his own. James on the other hand needs coaxing and hand held to show him how to do things. BOTH are totally fine actually I like it that way for the most part. Alex and James.. I love and respect your dad and I will treat you with the same love and respect as he does Skylar. However I will say FAMILY. We are a family, not a broken home but a FAMILY and we will only choose to be as Blended as we want to be. Thats up to you boys for sure.

Your Gonna Be - Reba McIntire

To Mackenzie

Mackenzie... Hello Beautiful, Some of you may not know the whole story behind Mackenzie and where he is. I am not even sure he does. Mackenzie's father passed away in 2003 and since then I have always wanted to jot down my memories of him before they fade so one day his mom can share some good memories of his father. Also one day I will see him again and I will tell him about the mistakes i made and that I never stopped loving him. I never hurt him. I thought what I did was the best i could for him. Some of my decisions weren't the best but I think as parents we all have those bad moments where we don't make the wisest decision. So when Mackenzie is older I will tell him the truth and show him love. Thats all I can really offer him and thats all that prevails.

This song by Travis Tritt has always been my song to Mackenzie. After Adam and my marriage fell apart and then he died I promised Mackenzie so much and I couldn't hold on to my grip and I slipped. I fell down several times as matter of fact. I was steered down the wrong roads but never did I sink to the level of abandoning my son and not putting him first with Skylar.

Tritt Travis, Best Of Intentions Lyrics

Best Of Intentions - Travis Tritt

and Finally to the baby, My Princess now Five years old and getting ready to start Kindergarten. 

Skylar my Princess.

I wanted her to know we have also had our challenges that I was sick for the first few years of her life and I didn't get to truly enjoy her first mile stones. I had to work really hard from the time I found out I was pregnant and for a few years of her life. All I have ever wanted for her is the same thing I have worked very hard for stability, hope, faith, trust and love. I promised Adam I wouldn't give her up for adoption and I had times when I felt like I wasn't the best thing for her. At times I was very selfish living for her and waking up in my depression for her. I felt such guilt when she was born for ever being suicidial. I promised a friend that I would work through out Skylar's life to be like a best friend to her. I can say right now we are extremely close. I choose not to do things on my own because we are never without each other and I think that if its not a kid friendly enviroment more times than not I probably don't need to be there either. I think my place now is being the best and wife and mother I can be. I hope through the rest of Skylar's life she can be honest with Rick and I. I hope she knows I have tried to have strength and give her the best she deserves. I hope we remain close for a very long time

In My Daughters Eyes - Martina McBride

I am sure there will be... more to be continued.

Tragedy for the Chapman Family

My heart is heavy right now as I've learned of the death of Steven Curtis Chapman's daughter, Maria. It is especially tragic as their own son was involved in the accident, backing their vehicle out of the family driveway. He will need our utmost prayers.

"At approximately 5pm on the afternoon of Wednesday May 21st, Maria Sue Chapman, 5 years old and the youngest daughter to Steven and Mary Beth Chapman was struck in the driveway of the Chapman home in Franklin, TN. Maria was rushed to Vanderbilt Childrens Hospital in Nashville, transported by LifeFlight, but died of her injuries there. Maria is one of the close knit family’s six children and one of their three adopted daughters. "

I'm sure many of you are already aware of this tragic accident. But for a news article, click here.
To visit the Chapman site click here.
A special condolences blog is set up here for people to express their sympathies. It has a precious video clip of Maria and her daddy jamming at the kitchen sink filmed only two months ago.
Please pray for this dear family who loves the Lord passionately and who have been strong advocates for adoption. Josh and I both have enjoyed Mr. Chapman's music over the years, especially during our courtship years. His song (click link for music video and great testimony on parenting), Cinderella, is especially poignant in light of this most sad event.

Reference Link to the Blog in which this was posted. I didn't write this blog :)

Cinderella - Steven Curtis Chapman

Modesty and your Child

A fellow Army wife I met when I moved here, actually one of the first one's I met when I moved here. She blogs a bit. She had a new blog talking about God and Modesty.

Here's a link to her blog just to give her credit. Credit where credit is due.

Our Adventure: God, Family, Country.

Her blog talks about while she was on Vacation in Florida with her three small children and husband they had to have a discussion with their oldest about Modesty.

I have had my own battles about small children and modesty. When Skylar was a baby I knew a person that would dress her chunky monkey of a two year old in the Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen line of clothing. Much to my disgust this woman was dressing her two year old in mid drift shirts and shorts where I could plainly see the diaper. Yes its just a diaper and it usually covers the precious baby parts needed to cover but I still didn't like the image of a two year old showing that much skin. Nor have I agreed with Skylar wearing a bikini at this age. I don't know if I will ever be comfortable with it. It is fine if you dress your child in a bikini (they are real cute on babies) but just not my daughter. Skylar being the kind of wild child she is. If the skirt is above her finger tips I am reluctant to let her wear it at all. (Those were my moms rules when I was young). If she does wear it she wears some type of cover underneath (even when she was a baby). I was blessed with a lanky skinny minnie five year old. She weighs 42 lbs and she is 3 foot 9 inches today at her check up. She's got a very small waist and very long legs so finding something that is long enough to cover skin and small enough in the waist without making her mummified is quite the challenge. I have the shirt test if we are going to a very public place that if she lifts her arms over her head and her belly is exposed the shirt gets put in the donation pile.

Life came as a big change when Skylar and I went from our apartment in Georgia of Freedom here to where we have to watch our every move because we are out numbered with boys. Plus with Rick around (when he's around) She has to learn she can't just be around when someone is naked or in the shower as well at her age she is starting Kindergarten she has to learn she can't just be naked around people too!

As Leah asked what talks have you had with your child? What are some rules and guidelines you have for modesty and privacy in your family?

Grandfather builds Web browser for autistic boy

By BRIAN BERGSTEIN, AP Technology Writer Tue Jun 3, 1:54 PM ET

John LeSieur is in the software business, so he took particular interest when computers seemed mostly useless to his 6-year-old grandson, Zackary. The boy has autism, and the whirlwind of options presented by PCs so confounded him that he threw the mouse in frustration.

LeSieur tried to find online tools that could guide autistic children around the Web, but he couldn't find anything satisfactory. So he had one built, named it the Zac Browser For Autistic Children in honor of his grandson, and is making it available to anyone for free.

LeSieur's quest is a reminder that while the Web has created important communication and educational opportunities for some people with cognitive impairments, computers can also introduce new headaches for families trying to navigate the contours of disability.

The Zac Browser greatly simplifies the experience of using a computer. It seals off most Web sites from view, to block violent, sexual or otherwise adult-themed material. Instead it presents a hand-picked slate of choices from free, public Web sites, with an emphasis on educational games, music, videos and visually entertaining images, like a virtual aquarium.

Other programs for children already offer that "walled garden" approach to the Web. But LeSieur's browser aims to go further: It essentially takes over the computer and reduces the controls available for children like Zackary, who finds too many choices overwhelming.

For example, the Zac Browser disables extraneous keyboard buttons like "Print Screen" and turns off the right button on the mouse. That eliminates commands most children don't need anyway, and it reduces the chance an autistic child will lose confidence after making a counterproductive click.

Children using the Zac Browser select activities by clicking on bigger-than-normal icons, like a soccer ball for games and a stack of books for "stories." The Zac Browser also configures the view so no advertisements or other flashing distractions appear.

"We're trying to avoid aggressive or very dark or complicated Web sites, because it's all about self-esteem," LeSieur said from Las Vegas, where he lives. "If they're not under control, they will get easily frustrated."

Autism generally affects a person's ability to communicate, and Zackary doesn't speak much. But his mother, Emmanuelle Villeneuve, reports that the boy can start the Zac Browser himself. He enjoys listening to music through the program and trying puzzles — things he always liked before but hadn't been able to explore online, she said from her family's home in suburban Montreal.

Perhaps most tellingly, while he still acts out aggressively against the TV, she said, he doesn't try to harm the computer.

LeSieur didn't create the browser by consulting with people who are considered experts in disorders on the autism spectrum. The small software company he runs, People CD Inc., essentially designed the Zac Browser to meet Zackary's needs, and figured that the approach would likely help other autistic children. Early reviews have been positive, though LeSieur plans to tweak the program so parents can suggest new content to add.

Several autism experts were pleased to hear of LeSieur's work, and not surprised that he had not previously found anything suitable for Zackary.

After all, the autism spectrum is so wide that a particular pattern of abilities or impairments experienced by one autistic person might be reversed in another. In other words, creating software that would work for huge swaths of autistic children is a tall order.

Indeed, the Zac Browser might do nothing for another autistic child.

That said, however, LeSieur's approach of limiting distractions and using the software as a confidence-boosting tool "is a very good idea," said Dianne Zager, director of the Center for Teaching and Research in Autism at Pace University. She said many autistic students tend to do best with educational materials that make unnecessary stimuli fade from view.

"Some parts of the Web have so much extraneous material that it can be distracting, and for the nonverbal child, there might not be an ability to negotiate that information," added Stephen Sheinkopf, an autism researcher at Brown University.

This is not to say the Web is necessarily barren for autistic children. James Ball, an autism-education consultant in New Jersey, said many children he works with enjoy Webkinz, where kids care for virtual pets. Others find chat rooms and instant-messaging a lower-anxiety way of socializing than talking to someone in person, he said.

But the Zac Browser might turn out to be the rare tool that can be configured to strike a chord with a wide range of autistic students, said Chris Vacek, chief innovation officer at Heartspring, a special-education center in Wichita, Kan. Vacek is considering using the Zac Browser at Heartspring.

One huge advantage is that the browser is free, while many assistive technologies cost upward of $5,000 and work only on specialized devices. But Vacek, himself a parent of an autistic child, said the Zac Browser's best credential is that it appears to pass what he calls Heartspring's "acid test": It has a high chance of increasing a child's ability to do things independently.

"Let's hear it for grassroots innovation," Vacek said.


On the Net:

The Zac Browser can be downloaded or run directly from

Auctions on eBay: A Dying Breed

By Catherine Holahan Tue Jun 3, 8:08 AM ET

Bruce Hershenson, who auctions vintage posters online, is hanging up his eBay gavel. For almost a decade, Hershenson's business epitomized the e-commerce that made eBay (NasdaqGS:EBAY - News) famous. He sold rare, collectible, sometimes kitschy memorabilia in online auctions that had a starting bid of 99%. But as the business of buying and selling over the Internet has matured, the thrill and novelty of auctions have given way to the convenience of one-click purchases. Hershenson will hold his last eBay auction June 3. "The auctions are nothing like what they once were," he says. "They won't ever come back." if Auctions were once a pillar of e-commerce. People didn't simply shop on eBay. They hunted, they fought, they sweated, they won. These days, consumers are less enamored of the hassle of auctions, preferring to buy stuff quickly at a fixed price. Hershenson is emblematic of the legions of small business people who built their livelihoods on eBay but -- like eBay itself -- are having to rethink their whole approach to online sales.

Sales at (NasdaqGS:AMZN - News), the leader in online sales of fixed-price goods, rose 37% in the first quarter of 2008. At eBay, where auctions make up 58% of the site's sales, revenue rose 14%. "If I really want something I'm not going to goof around (in auctions) for a small savings," says Dave Dribin, a 34-year-old Chicago resident who used to bid on eBay items, but now only buys retail.

E-Commerce Continues to Evolve

Executives at eBay have gotten the message. Since taking the helm in March, eBay Chief Executive John Donahoe has made it clear that fixed-priced items are key to future growth. EBay's "Buy It Now" business, where shoppers can purchase items at a set price even when the merchandise is also listed in an auction, makes up 42% of all goods sold on eBay. It's growing at an annual 22% pace, the fastest among eBay's shopping businesses. "As (Web) search has developed, you can get a great deal in a fixed-price format," Donahoe said in an Apr. 16 interview after his first earnings call as eBay's top executive. "We are going to let our buyers choose." Donahoe did not comment for this story.

At the current pace, this may be the first year that eBay generates more revenue from fixed-price sales than from auctions, analysts say. "The bloom is well off the rose with regard to the online-auction thing," says Tim Boyd, an analyst with American Technology Research. "Auctions are losing a ton of share, and fixed price has been gaining pretty steadily."

To hasten the growth, Donahoe is spearheading changes to make eBay more friendly to users who favor one-click shopping. While former CEO Meg Whitman ended her tenure amid an ad campaign that championed auctions, urging consumers to "Shop Victoriously," Donahoe has taken steps to increase fixed-price inventory. In May, eBay announced a partnership with to sell a large swath of the retailer's inventory for set prices. "EBay has significantly de-emphasized dynamic-priced items in favor of fixed-price listings in the last six months," says Cantor Fitzgerald analyst Derek Brown.

EBay Fees Favor Fixed Prices

Perhaps the biggest example of eBay's new fixed-price focus is the new fee structure, announced in January. The changes gave breaks to many large vendors who sell fixed-priced goods on the site, while hiking fees for many eBay users who sell using a traditional auction structure (, 1/29/08).

EBay executives say auctions will always have a place on the site. In the future, the company plans to alter fees so that auction sellers don't feel so pinched, though executives have not provided details. The company also intends to showcase additional features that meld auctions and fixed-price listings during and after the annual eBay Live event, to be held this year in Chicago, June 19-21. One possible new feature is a split screen that shows an auction on one side and the Buy It Now price on the other. "Auction-style listings are what keeps the site unique, but fixed price is growing much faster," says eBay spokesman Usher Lieberman.

What happened to auctions? Not only do shoppers want convenience, they're also looking for value. And the proliferation of pricing information online has made it easier for consumers to bargain-hunt and lessened the need to risk overbidding in an auction. Hershenson recalls when a new $40 toaster could fetch $80 on eBay, thanks to a bidding frenzy. Now, a buyer can figure out the retail price with a few mouse clicks. A study earlier this year by the Pew Internet and American Life Project found that 81% of Internet users research products online before buying. "People have a lot of information at their disposal and that sets a reserve price of what they are willing to pay," says John Horrigan, an associate director at Pew. "It makes sense for eBay to set prices to appeal to that."

Auctioneers Up in Arms

But as eBay aligns its focus with the majority of buyers, sellers like Hershenson lose out. When he first heard of the fee hike, at a seller meeting in Washington with eBay management, Hershenson says he stood up and complained. "I said 'I am exactly the kind of seller who built eBay and brings people to eBay on a daily basis. And it seems to me your changes are hitting me hardest,'" he says, adding that his annual fees would have jumped from $120,000 to nearly $180,000.

Rather than pay the fee hike, Hershenson decided to move his business onto his own Web site, He auctions 1,000 to 1,500 items on his own site every Tuesday and Thursday. Because Hershenson's merchandise is popular among a specific set of collectors, he feels confident that his customers will follow him and says that most already have. He believes he can attract others with some well-placed ads, purchased with what he saved for not paying the higher fees on eBay.

Not all eBay sellers have the luxury of branching out on their own or moving to a third-party site. When it comes to auctions, eBay is one of the few games in town. Even though growth is slowing in eBay's auction business, the site has nearly 90 million active users. Other auction sites such as (ubhi.ob.OB) have far fewer visitors. Ten-year-old Ubid had 181,000 active bidders in the first quarter, according to its quarterly report.

EBay sellers organized a weeklong sales boycott in February protesting the changes announced in January. "Everybody is mad because they feel that this company got built on them, and when eBay felt that they no longer needed them, they tried to get rid of them," says Maggie Dressler, an eBay seller who has auctioned antique trains and toys on the site since 2001. "It is deplorable."

Many auctioneers may have no choice but to close shop, says Hershenson, adding, "Their latest changes will have the result of ending auctions as we know it on eBay."

Reference Link

Ban on Sex for Soldiers in Afghanistan Lifted ... Sort Of

Ban on Sex for Soldiers in Afghanistan Lifted ... Sort Of

JALALABAD, Afghanistan -- Single soldiers and civilians working for the U.S. military in Afghanistan can now have sex legally. Sort of.

A new order signed by Maj. Gen. Jeffrey Schloesser, commander of Combined Joint Task Force-101, has lifted a ban on sexual relations between unmarried men and women in the combat zone.

Poll: Sex in a War Zone Okay?

General Order No. 1 outlines a number of prohibited activities and standards of conduct for U.S. troops and civilians working for the military in Afghanistan. Previously, under the regulation, sexual relations and "intimate behavior" between men and women not married to each other were a strict no-no. The regulation also barred members of the opposite sex from going into each other's living quarters unless they were married to each other.

To find more deployment news and resources, visit The Deployment Center.

But the latest version of General Order No. 1 for Afghanistan, which Schloesser signed April 19, eases those restrictions.

The new regulation warns that sex in a combat zone "can have an adverse impact on unit cohesion, morale, good order and discipline."

But sexual relations and physical intimacy between men and women not married to each other are no longer banned outright. They're only "highly discouraged," and that's as long as they're "not otherwise prohibited" by the Uniform Code of Military Justice, according to the new order.

Single men and women can now also visit each other's living quarters, as long as everyone else who lives there agrees, and as long as visitors of the opposite sex remain in the open "and not behind closed doors, partitions or other isolated or segregated areas," according to the new regulation.

Unmarried men and women who are alone together in living quarters must leave the door open, according to the new policy.

Men and women "will not cohabit with, reside or sleep with members of the opposite gender in living spaces of any kind," unless they are married or if it's necessary for military reasons, the new policy states.

A cursory reading of the order would seem to suggest that unmarried men and women could have sex in their living quarters, as long as all other persons who live there agree, or if they left the door open, if they were otherwise alone. But that's not the case, said Lt. Col. Rumi Nielson-Green, a spokeswoman for Regional Command East and Combined Joint Task Force-101.

"Sex in both scenarios … would be a chargeable offense under the UCMJ," Nielson-Green said, referring to the Uniform Code of Military Justice, in an e-mail to Stars and Stripes.

Nielson-Green said the policy change was "not significant on a practical level" since it simply aligns General Order No. 1 in Afghanistan with similar policies in the region. Neither U.S. Central Command, which oversees U.S. forces in Afghanistan and Iraq, nor Multi-National Forces-Iraq bar sexual relations between unmarried men and women in their version of the order, she said.

"The expectation is that troops should behave professionally and responsibly at all times," Nielson-Green said, adding that while the new regulation does not condone sex, it "does recognize that such behaviors happen, and if they result in any chargeable offenses, then appropriate actions will be pursued."

"The bottom line is that the troops are responsible for their own behavior," Nielson-Green said. She declined to "speculate" on the conditions under which soldiers could engage in legal sexual behavior.

The UCMJ contains several provisions under which sexual relations are prohibited between men and women. For instance, married persons cannot engage legally in sex with anyone other than their spouse, or they can be prosecuted for adultery. Sexual relations between subordinates and higher-ranking personnel are prohibited within the same chain of command. Sexual relations between officers and enlisted personnel are generally prohibited as well. Homosexual relations are completely prohibited under the code.

Nielson-Green said the new policy does allow commanders to make the provision on sex more restrictive, as long as they have approval from the CJTF-101 commander.

In eastern Afghanistan, the 173rd Airborne Brigade, which is nearing the end of its 15-month deployment, won approval to stick with the old policy that bans sexual relations between unmarried soldiers.

Maj. Will Helixon, the brigade judge advocate, said the issue was basically one of fairness.

"After we've treated the soldiers this way for a year, it's not really right to change," said Helixon said. "That's the bottom line."

According to Helixon's staff, 28 soldiers from the 173rd Airborne Brigade have been punished for having sex in Afghanistan or for violating the no-entry rule in the past year. Those punishments ranged from letters of reprimand to field-grade Article 15s.

At Forward Operating Base Fenty, near Jalalabad, the reaction of soldiers to the lifting of the sex ban was mixed. Some soldiers declined to comment. Others said they were married, so the change would not affect them. Some thought it simply create more problems. "I think it's a bad idea," said Pfc. Shane Inman, 30, of Fort Dodge, Iowa. "I think there's going to be a lot more pregnancies going around. Not that there already isn't. But at least they won't get in trouble for it."

Sound Off...What do you think? Join the discussion.

New SIDS Link

LONDON (Reuters) - Researchers have pinpointed two common bacteria that may contribute to crib deaths, even when infants show no sign of tissue damage.

Post-mortem tests on more than 500 babies found high levels of Staphylococcus aureus and Escherichia coli in babies who died for unexplained reasons, a team from Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children in London said on Friday.

One explanation could be that the bacteria release deadly toxins, which damage the young heart, lungs or nervous system.

But bacterial growth may also be a secondary effect of other known risk factors like over-heating, parental smoking and lying a child on its stomach.

Sudden unexpected death in infancy (SUDI) is a leading cause of death in babies under a year old, yet its root cause remains a mystery. Healthy looking infants can often die in less than an hour.

The latest findings in the Lancet medical journal suggest underlying infection could be an important component.

"You've got to be very careful how you interpret this data," Nigel Klein, one of the researchers, said in an interview.

"But we did find an increased number of bacteria grown from particularly the lungs and spleen in infants who died unexpectedly without a known cause."

Cases of S. aureus and E. coli were significantly more frequent in the group of babies whose death could not be explained than in those who died of non-infective explained causes, such as congenital abnormalities.

Both S. aureus and E. coli are classed as "group 2 pathogens," which are known to cause septicaemia without obvious damage to tissues in the body.

Alan Craft, professor of child health at the University of Newcastle, said the findings were important but there might not be a simple answer.

"The bacteria found are ones which are in all of our bodies most of the time and there is nothing that can be done to avoid them," Craft said.

(Editing by Charles Dick)

So whould it help if we gave babies prone to SIDS a low dose of Antibiotic? I mean like those in families where it happens more than once or those who have aptnea or something? I am not an advocate for giving children antibiotics or over medicating for reasons they don't need to be medicated but its better to have a sickly child than a dead child. Also did you know that pacifers prevent SIDS as well?

Dell customer service

This is the complaint that Rick and I made with the BBB against Dell.  I recently purchased an extended warranty on my year old Dell Computer. My Wife called while I am deployed to the middle east after experiencing a technical problem today. She called Dell Tech Support. She was already warning them to not leave her without a computer since this is a source of income for her and also the main way of communication between her and I while I am deployed. She started the call around 11 o'clock. She went through 5 tech's one of which made the computer unresponsive and it still didn't work correctly after several system restores and a direct connect. She insisted in being connected with a supervisor. Her requests went denied until she gave them one last chance. She was then connected with a customer care rep. My wife told the Customer Care Rep My wife spent more than 3 hours on the phone with Tech Support and they made the issue worse and made my computer unresponsive. My wife had spent enough of my day on the computer and My wife needed to go do other things. She begged My wife to give tech another chance. My wife told her My wife needed her computer so she could send me a replacement and My wife would send mine back and My wife would be happy to send mine back to get fixed. She wanted to transfer me to tech support and she would explain they would only have a couple of minutes. My wife gave the phone to my son while she stepped away. They got disconnected. My wife called back the number she was given and went through the last two tech supports and finally gave up after starting back at square one. What good does a warranty do if they just make the problem worsen and spend hours of our day fixing it through a telephone and a direct connction to the dell system?

So this was weeks ago at the end of April. I was contacted by Dell and they tried to do it there way and continue to do it there way and I wasn't having it. They continued to blow me off and yell at me. They have continued to call me and harass me finally someone who seemed to understand what I am going through has done some tests and still no answers. My next option will be to get my hard drive backed up on my own dime and reinstall Vista. The fact this guy took time out and sent me the disks that I was supposed to have been sent when I ordered my dell tells me something.

Rick and Suzy both sent me this link

Dell deceived customers, judge says


Free Johnson's Baby Relief Kit

Homeschool Families Call for Boycott of Subway Restaurants

Homeschooling parents across the United States are now crying "Boycott" when it comes to Subway after the popular restaurant chain chose to exclude homeschooled students from entering their Subway Fresh Fit for Kids writing contest.

The contest, which you can view the details of here, invites students to write a story based upon one of four story starters, and encourages kids to be creative, while even encouraging parents to help their children write the story. Prizes for the contest included one Grand Prize winner who will receive $5,000 worth of athletic equipment for their school, a Scholastic Gift Basket for their home, a $100 Subway gift card, and the chance to have their story published on Subway's website as well as in Scholastic's Parent & Child Magazine. Six additional runners up will also receive a Scholastic Gift Basket and a $50 Subway gift card. In addition to the seven top prizes each entry that includes a Subway receipt store number will receive a free Scholastic book.

The homeschool community is a tight knit arena in which news travels fast. Forums, blogs, and email lists of homeschool parents have been a buzz all weekend over the exclusion with many heated discussions taking place. The number of parents choosing to homeschool their children is growing each year, and homeschooled students compete with public schooled children in many contests through out the school year. In 2007 the winner of the Scripps National Spelling Bee was Evan O'Dorney a homeschool student who resides in Danville, California.

Many homeschooling parents understand that the reason for the snub may be the fact that the grand prize includes $5,000 worth of athletic equipment but they believe that this could have been gotten around by requiring homeschool families to donate the equipment to a park or charity of their choice, their homeschool association or co-op, or to a church.
Not only are parents who homeschool their children upset that they are not allowed to participate in the contest but they have pointed out the appalling typos that can be found in the writing contest rules. The writer of the copy misspelled United States by spelling it the "Untied States" and gift basket was misspelled "gift bakset".

While homeschooled parents across the web cry for a boycott and a public apology from Subway we can only wait to see if the proposed boycott will make a difference, and whether or not Subway can recover from this disastrous PR debacle.

Reference Link

Feed The Freezer: Freezer Cooking Guide

Once-a-month cooking. Frozen assets. OAMC. Meal assembly. Whatever you call it, cooking many meals in a single session banks home-cooked meals--and precious family time--for busy home managers.

What's not to like about freezer cooking? Economies of scale speed cooking chores. Buying in bulk saves money. Home preparation fosters good nutrition. New options like "meal assembly franchises" help home cooks build frozen assets quickly.

Whether you cook once and eat for a month, sneak up on freezer cooking, or fill the freezer fast from the meal preparation storefront, get ready to feed the family--fast!

Isaiah 40:31

Isaiah 40:31

"But they that wait upon the LORD
shall renew their strength;
they shall mount up with wings as EAGLES
they shall run, and not be weary;
and they shall walk, and not faint"

My friend Dayna IMed me the other day with this bible verse. If you know me you know that I am always looking for Bible Verses, Quotes, and lyrics that help define who I am or what I am going through.

In my beliefs, I think that my relationship with God is personal and not to be judged or defined however. I do believe that there are people out there that interpert the bible however they see fit.

To me this verse says I shall wait and trust in my faith and I will be filled with renewed strength. That I will soar with eagles. I will run and not be tired and I can walk with paitence and not be weak.

What does this bible verse say to you?

Going through this deployment there are days where I have to FIGHT to get through the day. To wake up in the mornings not seeing my husband on the pillow next to me as the sun touches the clouds in the sky. I have to remember as I wake that I have something more precious and thats the beauty and grace of my little girl. She is a gift (as is my husband). Just a reminder why I am here and what I am doing. Thats when she doesn't wake me up with her plea's for attention lol.

Military Wives ~ How to Nurture your Marriage

I can tell you I've been married to a civilian. We had a horrible marriage and it ended up falling apart and he passed away in 2003. Now I am married to a Soldier that has made the military a carrer for over half of his life. I can sit here and tell you that being a military wife its harder to keep a marriage together. That very well may be because your husband is gone and they are gone alot. I bet the divorce rates amongst soldiers is high if not then I know the lack of monogmous  for the unmarried soldiers relationships are.

I can also tell you I am a lucky one because my husband is not the average man. Which is probably the reason I don't hate him with a passion. I will reveal some of our secrets. Here they are. He's open to discussing topics and sometimes he even starts the discussion. I found a neat little website that sends us a daily email of Generous Wife/Or Husband Tips. I also get some from another site. At first I did worry that he wouldnt' read the emails but nearly every day he forward them to me and tells me his thought on that days Generous Husband Tip. We don't just discuss these topics we put them into action. Right now since he is deployed we can't do a whole lot but we find ways to have our date nights and just enjoy conversation together. We play games together online (I usually kick his butt). We discuss movies and books. Sometimes we will even have the same movie and watch it together just oceans apart.

People can sit there and glare at me for sacraficing so much of my normal daily time to spend with Rick. Normal families may get to crash on the couch in the evening with their family and bond. Rick and I have to do it over the internet. Almost like a long distance relationship but more complicated. People compare us to single mothers but we aren't its again more complicated than that. I have to manage pretty much three households. The one I live in, Plus make sure my soldiers that are over seas have everything to keep them happy. Thats my job. Off point anyways. I don't mind the glares from people because I realize they don't have my marriage and my understanding.

If you were to ask me how to achieve this? All I can tell you is you and your mate have to have an open mind. You know Rick and I have discussed going into family counseling and he won't do it but we do some things on our own that we don't need a therapist. I think that Rick and I are great as a couple but both of us are still and continuing to adjust to the blended family. Rick and I haven't gone to church together. No we aren't ashamed we can worship on our own and on our own time. With that being said we have thought about looking for a church once we know if we are going to settle here or not. I know I know give me 16 months and I am going to sit here and tell you my marriage is strong and seemingly near perfect. But we both are going into this and continue to believe that a marriage is an investment if we devote ourselves, time and love to our investiment its surely not to die and fade away. Its just going to grow and continue to do so. We have our books about marriage and work books we do go through. I have my chicken soup books I love, We have our marriage tips. We even have come up with some ways on our own as a family to stay close. I continue to strive to work toward a happy home and stability. Thats all I have ever wanted at all.

Patriot Family Salutes the “Military Spouse” Calendar 2009

Mark your calendars if you have the knack for writing as I do. Enter the contest I know I will. I know the topic i will write about

Love Is

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I love these little comic strips. I found one when I first married Rick and I made him a little scrapbook thing to hang on his mirror and its still there. It says... Love is... realizing mornings never will be the same without you.