26 February 2010


Last week my parents, Swiss and I went over to the on-post bowling alley for a little friendly competition (the bowling is a weird tradition that somehow grew out of my Mom goading Swiss about how she could kick his butt bowling... now we do it every time we are together). There was a birthday party for a sweet little girl in the 3 lanes next to us- it was chock full of the prototypical young military families all laughing and bowling (badly, just like us) and celebrating. But amongst the couples and the kids... there was a young man. He looked to be in his early twenties, fresh faced, clean cut in perfect military style... his manner was quiet and easy, he was good with the kids... but he wasn't bowling.

I thought nothing of it.

Then I saw him turn around. Splitting the dark hairs of his high and tight were two massive scars. One, a wide path running from the base of his neck, along his spine, up to the middle of his scull. The other was a crescent shaped scar standing out like a sliver of the moon against a field of dark brown.

I didn't pity him, he seemed to be doing fine. Out with friends, an otherwise normal young man, still in the Army, still living his life. He moved without any other indications of permanent damage and while quiet, he had an unmistakable confidence about him. But... those scars. Those were awfully big scars for a man so young. My heart sank.

It made me think back to the times that Swiss and I would be out on post... at the Shopette, Food Court, the Commissary... when you would see the men with the scars. The physical manifestations of whatever horrors they saw in combat... their lasting reminders of this war, this career, the marks that will always stay with them. Maybe you have seen them too- maybe not- living on post, I suppose, make these encounters all the more common. I remember the man in the Food Court last summer with most of the left side of his face caved in, probably 10 surgeries in to the 20 that it will take the plastic surgeon to try and make it look normal again. The man too young to be limping and walking with a cane coming out of the Shopette with a case of beer in the other hand. The burns. The scars. The eye patches. The men who you can't help but notice, but don't want to stare at... the ones who don't act ashamed (nor should they) but who clearly have so much more to cope with, deal with, face every morning when they look in the mirror.

I don't want to be all maudlin about this and I don't want to come off as melodramatic. But I look at Swiss, the bullet hole an Iraqi insurgent put in his calf... his own lasting reminder of this war, and wonder. Just the other day I caught myself staring at the bright white dot, encircled with dark, purplish skin and the oddly smooth texture of it... and I couldn't help but think of how different it all could have been if that bullet was a few inches higher, if there had been more than one, if the insurgent had been closer. Would he have that leg? Would he be able to go out and run and chase the dog and be the vibrant, active man I know? He was a lucky one.

It all makes me feel foolish for the trials and tribulations I 'dealt' with as a twenty-something. The "dramas" and "issues" I had to cope with while in my youth... where not getting a class or a phone call by a guy or office politics were the major trials in my life. I didn't have to worry about what someone of the opposite sex would think of my burns or amputated leg. I never had to worry about sidelong glances at my scars. I can't fathom having to deal with those things, on top of the horrors of war, of facing your own mortality, or the prospect of living the rest of your life knowing it will be colored by this war and the wounds you bear. I can't fathom it.

I don't have some grand point to make, nor do I have an agenda to push in regards to this... I guess I just wanted to remind all of us, for it is easy to forget when you don't see it. I wanted to remind us that there is a cost to this war... not paid in money, oil or body counts. Some of these debts are less obvious... paid in forever altered lifestyles and appearances...  paid with limbs and youth and innocence. It is paid, bit by bit, every day by those who served, those who were injured, those who will never be the same.

24 February 2010

Wreck this Journal... and odds 'n ends.

So yes, there has been a lot going on at Casa de Tucker and Swiss. My parents have been in town and Swiss has been on a shortened work schedule so that hasn't left a lot of time for blogging. We did travel around the state a lot... found an awesomely remote and delicious winery, a sweet brewery and visited my Grandparent's old home. But fear not dear readers! I am back!!!

What is new you ask? Well, besides being up to our eyeballs in retirement briefings, not much. I have enough fodder from these briefings to last like 12 posts... but that is for another time. Reintegration is going well... I am getting used to having less free time, less control of the remote, and sharing the bed again... and not having this always just so... but having Swiss around and not being married to my cell phone is TOTALLY worth it. We are learning how to 'fight' again... you know, navigate the normal (for us) ways we discuss things and disagree and reconcile. But it is going well and thankfully we are both being pretty patient with one another. All in all? Life is good.

I've also decided that I need to take this year off of work and DO something with it. Not in the find a job way. In the take the opportunity to change/improve/learn things way. So I'm doing the Pear 365 thing with Brit to force me to work on my photography skills. I researched and found a little old lady teaching art classes in a town not too far away and I am going to take some painting lessons from her. And I bought this book: Wreck this Journal, by Keri Smith. I started yesterday and it is FUN! The 'assignments' are random and wacky and odd, but even one day in it has done a great job liberating me from my normal stodgy artistic constraints. Hooray for that! I figured I would document the cool, odd, quirky things that pop up along the way... maybe seeing them will inspire you to check out the book and give it a shot!

Anyway, that is all for now. I'm off to order text books for the hub's last class (he's finishing up his degree in the little time we have left in the Army) and doodle in my book! Happy Wednesday!

First assignment: Draw circles. Second: Doodle over the instructions.

21 February 2010

Pimping out mah new blog.

Oh goodness... the new blog! I am totally going to pimp out my new bloggy project with my best blogger friend Brittany of My Army Wife Life fame to you all. Shameless pimping! Go check out our project 365 blog Pear 365! (Get it? Pear? Pair!)

Britt and I are both going to post a photo a day for a year and it is going to be fun! So go check it out and be sure to give us some feedback about our photos! Thus endeth the pimping!

Carry on and enjoy your week!

19 February 2010


Hey everyone! So sorry for the lack of posting lately- my family has been in town and Swiss has had a few days off so needless to say I haven't been as cozy with my computer as I usually am. I will have loads to write about when things settle back down... so stay tuned and thanks for hanging in there with me through this whole readjustment period! Y'all rock! *muwah!*

14 February 2010

Valentine's and a 5K.


Today Swiss and I went to the Big City and ran my first 5K. You know what??? That wasn't as scary or hard or bad as I thought it would be! And I even finished 5 minutes faster than my goal time. Now, I'm no Usain Bolt so don't go laughing when I post my time... but I finished in 35 minutes and a few seconds!!! And I ran the entire first mile! HOORAY! I ran this race before I finished the whole Couch to 5K program (I was only in the middle of week 5) so I know I can most certainly improve. Plus it was actually sort of fun!

And you know what else? I BURNED two girls who looked pretty fit right at the end of the race... and that felt 18 shades of awesome! So yes, I had a lot of fun and will most def do it again. I am digging how much I tap into my competitive reserves and I'll totally admit that Swiss is an awesome running partner. So more training here I come- and who knows when and where our next race will be!

Hope you all have a super day and remember that EVERY day should be Valentine's Day! :) *muwah!*

12 February 2010

Oh Olympics... how I love thee.

I won't lie- the Tucker and Swiss household is ALL kinds of fired up for the Olympics this winter. There's just something about the wholesomeness of it all; the genuine emotions, the unity, the pride, the celebrations, the unbridled enthusiasm and human experience that makes me feel all warm and gushy about the state of our world and human kind... a pleasant change from the usual sturm und drang.

Anyway, yes, I just wanted to get on here and let the world know that I am STOKED for the Olympics to start. This gal loves her some sports montages set to stirring musical scores... I will even admit to you that a good montage will get me misty (don't even get me started on One Shining Moment). So bring on the Opening Ceremonies, the exuberance, the stories, the glory and the best stage in all of sports. I'm ready to lap it all up...

Oh, and one last thing: Don't forget to give a shout out to our Service men and women who are also Olympians--- Hooah and Oorah!!! Go get 'em!

10 February 2010

Foodie goodness.

So, the huge plus (among the many plusses) to being a SAHW is that I get to really cook. I love cooking, but I loathed cooking for one and usually after a full day of work I only had the patience/time/energy/motivation to throw something haphazardly together. Not any more. I am totally getting to embrace my inner foodie and I love it! Also, I finally get to make great use of all the fantabulous kitchen goodies/gadgets we got for our wedding!

Just since Swiss has been home I've made Chicken rolls stuffed with feta, spinach, sun dried tomatoes and olives in a yummy tomato sauce. I've made Teriyaki (homemade marinade of course) pork tenderloin* with (again) homemade mango salsa*. And last night I made adobo chicken soft tacos with avocado salsa* and it was To. Die. For.

Tonight, shrimp. I'm sitting here pouring over my pile of food p*rn cookbooks and trying to decide what to make. Do I go asian? Caribbean? Garlicky? Spicy? And you know what? I love this. This is the stuff I never did before... and now that I have time for it? I am totally digging it. And so is Swiss.

Anyway, I've been super thrilled with the recipes I've found lately and all the ones with a * behind them are from this awesomesauce book: The Food You Crave by Ellie Krieger. Go buy it! It is full of healthy, low fat, flavorful and easy recipes that make me drool. Seriously, that avocado salsa? I thought Rich was going to leave me and marry it instead. It was THAT good.

I think I will make Red Shrimp and Mango Curry (can you tell the mangos at the commissary are fabulous now?) from the divine Ms. Nigella Lawson (recipe from Nigella Express) tonight... must get more limes and cilantro because we are going through them like nobody's business. Seriously, we are going through fresh produce left and right and I must say, the food is so much better and we eat so much healthier this way. And y'all are welcome for dinner any time!

09 February 2010


Well Hello Blog-o-sphere! Long time no talk!

So Swiss has been home for a hand full of days now, and I won't lie, so far it has been awesomesauce. I am relatively sure that there will be some reintegration stuff that will rear its head in the coming weeks, but right now we are sort of just basking in the glow of togetherness. Hello! My name is Sappy McRomanceCard. Sorry.

Anyway, we have tried to hit the ground running and tackle the things that lie ahead for us. The exciting news is that we got an approved retirement. Real Deal Holyfield approved. That means tons of briefings and appointments and videos and STUFF. And he also got an invitation from the Army to stay in another 3 years at a ROTC position. Of course that has our wheels turning and we are looking into it- who knows if it will even work out or if we will choose to do it. One never knows with us! And also? Leave it to the Army to tell you this stuff only AFTER your retirement paperwork is submitted and approved. Seriously.

But otherwise things are moving along well and I'm typing this on my shiny new MacBook Pro. I'll post pictures later! Swiss also got me a Bamboo Pen & Touch Tablet for my Birthday present and it is 84 shades of coolness. I get to doodle straight to my computer and it is so stinking fun! I will make up a doodle just for y'all and post it here so you can see how fantabulous it is!

But that is it on the news front here. Just popping in to say hello! I hope you are all doing well and Thanks for all the kind words you sent along with Swiss's return!

03 February 2010


He is home!!!

Finally home... safe and sound, back where he belongs. Its been a long time coming, but this deployment is over and it feels spectacular.

Also? My husband is really HAWT! (Go me!)

Anyway, I fully intend to jump head-long in to hermit mode with Swiss for the next chunk of days... so I won't be around much til next week. I'm sure I will have loads to write about though! Right now, I'm just elated that it is over and he is home.

Thank you, dear readers and friends, from the bottom of my heart, for your support, humor, wit, friendship, wisdom and for just being there and getting it. I never could have imagined the kind of support I found here and for it I am eternally grateful. You all are amazing! *MUWAH!*

02 February 2010

How to Leave a Soldier... your take:

So there was this letter, posted on salon.com... by a former MilSpouse, talking about the demise of her marriage in the face of being a military family. I personally would call it incendeary and self-serving and sad... and a missed opportunity, but I think you all should read it and throw in your two cents over at the other blog I write for: LeftFace. There has been a lot of great debate and talk about it and I'd love to see what y'all think about it too!

Go check it out!

01 February 2010

Let's ruffle some feathers!

"Some people aren't cut out for this military lifestyle."

I've heard that statement, or a derivation thereof, a million times. And I'll likely hear it a million more. The thing is... I just don't get it. I don't buy it and I don't know that I ever will. But let me tell you why before you cite the girl(s) you know and the yadda, yadda, yadda- we all know that girl and we all have heard the horror stories. Swiss lived the horror story last deployment. I'm not contending that there aren't folks who "can't hack it". I'm contending that they are choosing not to hack it and not because they don't possess some special superpower the rest of us apparently have. (BTW- if the superpower thing is true, I want to know why I didn't get issued a cape when we got married.)

Here's my point: What we do isn't really anything special. We take what life and our spouse's employer and our own personal choices hand us and do our best. We act like grown ups and take responsibility, accountability, and we get pro-active. We choose to make it work- our marriages, our life, our careers, our situation, our families. We focus on the good. We act like adults. In some ways, it isn't any different than dealing with other personal circumstances... sick children, ill parent, losing a job, you name it... you choose do the best you can with the cards you are dealt because that is what adults do. You don't get a do over. You don't get to sit this one out. You don't get to say "I don't want to". It is your life and you put on your big girl panties and just DO IT. People do it all day, every day. And you don't hear people say "Some people just aren't cut out for having a sick kid" do you?

Of COURSE there are people who are, for lack of a better word, failures as MilSpouses. But it isn't because they aren't "cut out" for it. I don't even know that that means... is there a prototypical MilSpouse type? Not a chance. It takes all kinds and of the many MilSpouses I've met, the one thing that always strikes me is how gloriously different we all are, yet we all succeed and are united by the service of our families. These spouses who fail are what they are because somewhere along the line they chose to not deal with this life and make the best of it- they chose not to do whatever it took to make it work. They chose to walk away, ignore it, rebel against it, defy it, and ultimately be selfish. They chose to give up.

Life isn't ever easy... and I won't ever contend that the Military Life is easy. It is probably harder than the Average Joe's life. But life, for anyone, is sink or swim. Military life isn't any different. I chose to swim... no matter how hard it got, how little I knew, how tired I was, how aggravating it got, how hopeless it sometimes seemed. Because I never saw another viable option- this was my life and it was up to me to make it work. I married the man I love and he was in the Army- so there was nothing to do but step up and make it happen. One way or another. That is what adults do. We ALL have the choice to fail or succeed. I chose to succeed. No special super powers. No certificate deeming me a prime MilSpouse candidate. I just chose.

To me, when a military marriage fails, it isn't the military's fault. It isn't the lifestyle. It isn't the deployments (though no one will ever contend that they make marriages easier). It is because, at the end of the day, the two people in marriage failed each other. And that happens. It happens ALL the time in the civilian world. They don't get to blame the military- so why do these folks pin the blame on the the Army or the Corps or the Navy or AF or CG? That isn't fair. My guess is that any of these marriages would have failed in the military or out. Because it is personal. Not inextricably tied to the military... you can blame a million things on the military, but the failure of your marriage isn't one of them. That one is on you and your partner.

It just seems like that statement is more of a cop-out or excuse than a reality. An easy way out for the ones who don't want to step up to the plate. Yes, it is hard. Yes there are challenges. But that's not unique to the military. That is LIFE. Some marriages will fail and some will succeed, some people will thrive and some will struggle- but these are personal issues that can't be blamed on the military lifestyle. It is about attitude and desire and being personally accountable for the way you choose to life your life and the consequences thereof. The honest truth is that anyone, ANYONE, can hack it as a MilSpouse. You just have to want to.

But hey, that's just my two cents.