Thank a VETERAN today for your freedom.
Learn more about Veterans Day here.
A veteran is someone who, at one point in his life wrote a blank check Made payable to ‘The United States of America ‘ for an amount of ‘up to and including my life.’ That is Honor, and there are way too many people in this country who no longer understand it.’
The Sack Lunches

I put my carry-on in the luggage compartment and sat down in my assigned seat. It was going to be a long flight. ‘I’m glad I have a good book to read. Perhaps I will get a short nap,’ I thought.

Just before take-off, a line of soldiers came down the aisle and filled all the vacant seats, totally surrounding me. I decided to start a conversation. ‘Where are you headed?’ I asked the soldier seated nearest to me. ‘Chicago – to Great Lakes Base. We’ll be there for two weeks for special training, and then we’re being deployed to Iraq ‘

After flying for about an hour, an announcement was made that sack lunches were available for five dollars. It would be several hours before we reached Chicago, and I quickly decided a lunch would help pass the time. As I reached for my wallet, I overheard soldier ask his buddy if he planned to buy lunch. ‘No, that seems like a lot of money for just a sack lunch. Probably wouldn’t be worth five bucks. I’ll wait till we get to Chicago ‘ His friend agreed.

I looked around at the other soldiers. None were buying lunch. I walked to the back of the plane and handed the flight attendant a fifty dollar bill. ‘Take a lunch to all those soldiers.’ She grabbed my arms and squeezed tightly. Her eyes wet with tears, she thanked me. ‘My son was a soldier in Iraq; it’s almost like you are doing it for him.’

Picking up ten sacks, she headed up the aisle to where the soldiers were seated.. She stopped at my seat and asked, ‘Which do you like best – beef or chicken?’ ‘Chicken,’ I replied, wondering why she asked. She turned and went to the front of plane, returning a minute later with a dinner plate from first class. ‘This is your thanks.’

After we finished eating, I went again to the back of the plane, heading for the rest room. A man stopped me. ‘I saw what you did. I want to be part of it. Here, take this.’ He handed me twenty-five dollars. Soon after I returned to my seat, I saw the Flight Captain coming down the aisle, looking at the aisle numbers as he walked, I hoped he was not looking for me, but noticed he was looking at the numbers only on my side of the plane. When he got to my row he stopped, smiled, held out his hand, an said, ‘I want to shake your hand.’ Quickly unfastening my seat belt I stood and took the Captain’s hand. With a booming voice he said, ‘I was a soldier and I was a military pilot. Once, someone bought me a lunch. It was an act of kindness I never forgot.’ I was embarrassed when applause was heard from all of the passengers.

Later I walked to the front of the plane so I could stretch my legs. A man who was seated about six rows in front of me reached out his hand, wanting to shake mine. He left another twenty-five dollars in my palm. When we landed in Chicago I gathered my belongings and started to deplane. Waiting just inside the airplane door was a man who stopped me, put something in my shirt pocket, turned, and walked away without saying a word. Another twenty-five dollars!

Upon entering the terminal, I saw the soldiers gathering for their trip to the base. I walked over to them and handed them seventy-five dollars. ‘It will take you some time to reach the base. It will be about time for a sandwich. God Bless You.’ Ten young men left that flight feeling the love and respect of their fellow travelers. As I walked briskly to my car, I whispered a prayer for their safe return. These soldiers were giving their all for our country. I could only give them a couple of meals.

It seemed so little…


RED TAPE BADGEI apologize to the clerk at the VA that I just went off on, but folks let’s get the BIG picture here. OUR veterans should NOT have to be repeatedly subjected to the WHIMS of each new doctor that has no regard for the pain of the patient or the costs to him and his family emotionally and financially while he is repeatedly put on the back burner and subjected to the same tests and assessments again and again without actually receiving the necessary treatments.


I’m screaming, can’t you hear me?  This vicious circle of red tape and apathetic government employees needs to end!!!!!!! You may laugh at my picture above, but all kidding aside our pile of paperwork is HUGE!!!!  The following story is just one example of a standard life within the VA system.
Did you know that the VA governmental computers are not linked?  There are a precious few who have the password” to see past records, but they are so far and few between that you, the soldier or military spouse are best armed by maintaining your own notes.  Be sure to include dates, names, length of time on hold, how many times you are disconnected or transferred and who said what.  If you move, all the records from the MTF (military treatment facility) or VA Medical Center do not really follow you, so be sure to stop by and always get your release of records so you can read and see what is right and wrong.  If there is wrong information stop by and see the patient advocate to make the correction.
We recently moved to a new city.  We immediately went to the VA Medical Center to get registered. (You have to register AGAIN at all facilities since they are not linked and each facility has their own procedures – in Texas it was mandatory to go through a half day orientation class, which was actually informative and would have been beneficial had it been taken when he first retired, but that facility didn’t do an orientation.  Much of what we learned that day was already out of date.)  
Anyway, during that process we were told by the Registration Clerk that an evaluative appointment would be made with my husband’s primary care doctor and he would have an appointment in the next 3-4 weeks.  We waited patiently for the appointment time to be mailed to us.  After 4 weeks, it wasn’t here.  After 5 weeks, it still wasn’t here.  After 6 weeks I was livid.  I called the VA and a week later, 6 hours of hold time, 4 times being cut off/hung up on, 12 transfers, 12 different answers and I finally spoke with the scheduling clerk for my husband’s doctor.
Cory (or attitude boy as I call him – the poster boy for apathetic I don’t really give a crap) proceeded to tell me that there are only 2 doctors at this facility and that my husband was 200 on the waiting list to see a doctor and that he would eventually get an appointment.  After some heated discussion I was able to get him fit in for an appointment 2 months from now.  Think about it, if they had made the appointment as promised, when promised, he’d be seeing the doctor next week instead of in May.
I then went to state our complaint to the patient advocate who took our name and number and promised to get back to me later that afternoon (last Thursday).   He never called.  We stopped by his office today and he didn’t remember ever speaking with me.  While he was cordial and sympathized with our concerns on the breakdown in the system, he said there really wasn’t anything he could do.  He did tell us that the reason there were only 2 doctors was that the doctors who came to this area rarely stayed past 6 months because the “wives” didn’t like the ruralness of the area, lack of shopping facilities and the lack of “decent” restaurants.  Really, I can’t make this stuff up as well as the real stuff.  He then referred us to a different office for a reevaluation of a problem hubby is having.  When we got there we found that they were closed and only opened when there was a scheduled appointment. Really?  how do you get a scheduled appointment?  No one knew – there was literally NO ONE in sight of this window!
From there we went to the pharmacy.  A line of 20 people with just as many already sitting and waiting.  Many had been in line “forever”, their words, not mine, so we opted to wait for the prescriptions to be mailed.  Keep in mind that they were supposedly mailed on the 8th, but have yet to arrive 10 miles away.
During my cancer ordeal hubby was at my side continually, but so much so that he let his own care slide.  Now that I’m getting better, I plan to make it my mission to get him the care he needs and the red tape cut and cleaned up for the VA claim issues.

I’ve heard many times that the VA is just waiting for the Vietnam veterans to die so they don’t have deal with them. While I hope this statement isn’t really true, I have to say that the amount of red tape paperwork generated by the VA to do the simplest of tasks is overwhelming and ridiculous and I can see why many veterans would give up hope of ever solving their claims.  We tried to contact a service officer also, but they work out of a different office.  The 2 veterans manning the front desk at the medical center had differing advice – one said you must call first for an appointment while the other said it was walk in only.  They gave me a slip of paper with a phone number and hours of M-T 1:30-4PM typed on it.  I called the phone number and they said if you MUST leave a message make it short and DO NOT leave repeat messages, they will get back to your eventually otherwise show up at noon, take a number and wait.  They will begin taking you in order at 1:30PMREALLY????  I want a job where I can work 2 1/2 hours a day, 4 days a week and treat those I serve as cattle!

Cards for Soldiers

Lucy at Lulu’s Petals reminded me of something we ALL need to do. When doing your Christmas cards this year, take one card and send it to the address below. If we pass this on and everyone sends one card, think of how many cards these wonderful special people who have sacrificed so much would get.

Holiday Mail for Heroes
P.O. Box 5456
Capitol Heights, MD. 20791-5456

Your card will be distributed by the American Red Cross to service members, veterans, and their families in the United States and around the world. Guidelines are here. Cards should be postmarked by December 10.

Please do not include any inserts, phone numbers, email addresses, or other “personal” information in your card, but don’t forget to sign it. The Red Cross suggests using a generic greeting such as “Dear Service Member.”

For more information, visit or for Holiday Mail for Heroes program guidelines.

Cards should not be mailed or delivered directly to Walter Reed Army Medical Center. Walter Reed is not accepting mail addressed to “A Recovering American Soldier.

final blog signature.

Finishing Touches

The Coca-Cola sign on the left had been my dads, the antique dryer on the right had been my moms and the butcher block next to the stove was my grandma’s. The flag my mom won at a golf tournament, but thought it would look better in our house and the ceramic heart above the mirror was a wedding present from my aunt and uncle. A few of our comfort items make it seem more like home.
I know there are still things to do, okay okay lots of thing to do~some of them major, but having a few finishing touches done makes me feel like we’re getting closer.