How does it work…Here?

It seems to be that time of year again when people leave and new people come to reside in the homes that others left behind.  Your regular routine of going to the commissary or to installation services are no longer simple as you hear, “Well, when I was at Fort Hood…”

Here’s the Thing….This is not Fort Hood or you last place of residence. You moved, you are no longer living in the States you are in a new culture, new area and needing to learn and respect both. Those who have lived here for the past few years and offering suggestions in order to help you should not be scolded or ridiculed. Take the advice being offered and thank the person for taking the time to help you.  Whether you use the information or not, thank them.

Moving overseas is a daunting thought and extremely stressful for all involved.  There’s learning that the commissary does not have your favorite cereal, that stores are not open on Sunday’s and that you need to take a driver’s test to get a license to drive in Germany. All this can be overwhelming and lead to short-tempered behavior that expands beyond the boundaries of you own home.

Stop for a moment and consider this, It is not better, nor worse, just different. If you think this way you can stop and think before jumping down the throat of  any well intended person wanting to share with you the ropes. So, next time instead of saying, “Well, when I was at Fort Hood” ask, “So, how does it work here?”


Is this You?

Reality Television

I was watching a 20/20 show about adults losing it and it got me thinking, Why are we seeing this more often? A parent, a news anchor, kids behaving poorly on a bus or someone in an authority position just absolutely going nuts.

Here’s the thing……..We are watching far too much reality TV, so call reality TV and this is shaping our culture. Snooki is a household name, and is plastered everywhere, Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan, Housewives of the crazies, all are on the TV showing us how others live. We can not get enough, it makes us feel like somehow our lives are somewhat better, more stable or just down right boring and many think, how can I get on TV.

What happens when reality becomes violent? What do we do when kids are caught taunting a bus monitor and brings her to tears? We not only are outraged but shower her with more money than any of us can afford. Seriously, is this really the way to express remorse for what happened? What are we as a society going to do when the next bus monitor gets bullied in the Fall? Maybe we should just set up a fund for all bus monitors to give them money for vacations. I am not saying that I accept the behavior of the kids but I am saying that we need to think about what and how we react to it. In a world of reality TV someone is going to find another way to out do the latest drama unfolding on the news.

We do not need to take the bait, unless it is us who are finally getting the 15 minutes of fame.

Just Breathe…..


English: Animation of a diaphragm exhaling and...

English: Animation of a diaphragm exhaling and inhaling (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


I have been missing and am now coming up for air. Deep breathing, yes, deep breathing.

Here’s the thing….  I hate hospitals. Not dislike them, hate them and as I sat in the car driving to a place I really do not like to go to, I could not help but think of  what could happen. Everything is so hypothetical, so “what if” and  I really do not want to discuss what may go wrong. I take migraine medication before I even get there, if I could have a drink, I would.

So that’s where I have been lately, sitting at the hospital wondering if everything would work out. Sitting there waiting for  his surgery to be over. I begin thinking about all the things we have done and where in the world are we going. Life seems to always take a shape when you are sitting staring at the clock ticking.

I watch the nurses go room to room, I watch the morning sun turn to afternoon and my face is hurting from smiling at the nurses, who know I have no idea what they are saying in German.

I reach into my bag and grab the sandwich I made and  hope that soon he will appear.

And when he does, I am smiling and yes….breathing.


What did you say?….





It is about time someone stopped the poor language that seems to spew from kids, to parents to anyone who just thinks that cursing is a valid, acceptable way to talk. The town of Middleborough , Massachusetts just voted on and approved to impose a $20 fine on public profanity. That’s right, you could be written a ticket for what you say.

If the government could only do this on military installations, the problem with the budget would be SOLVED. Military police (MP) could stand right outside  any building and they would be writing tickets every second. Have a few stand in any office on the installation and they would be able to collect more money than what they need.

I say, let the ticket writing begin.

Scream while shopping…

all-out tantrum on the sidewalk outside the pu...

(Photo credit: sean dreilinger)

What is it about children crying, no, SCREAMING in a store? I can understand a little crying here and there but when there is a full blown  temper tantrum and the parent does NOTHING makes me wonder why. Who’s fault is it? The child’s or the parents?

I am sure there are plenty of you who have comments and experience in this field but really, there is no reason for a child to be running down the stores aisle screaming, kicking and being otherwise extremely disruptive.  Nor do I expect them to sit quietly every minute and say thank you with a smile.

I guess after going  shopping the other day I am sensitive to this topic and yes, a bit embarrassed as I acted as foolishly as the child. As I was trying to decide what brand to buy, I had a little kid screaming at the top of his lungs at his mother. She was doing a half-hearted job to subdue the little guy and continued to do her shopping. I was not able to focus and the high-pitched sound was driving me crazy; my ears were ringing.

It was then that I noticed that I was screaming in chorus with the little guy and it was not till he looked at me in total surprise did I realize I was out screaming him. His look of total shock made me realize I was acting pretty childish. The mother started to quickly move  away from me; I think she thought I was crazy.  The kid, well, he was no longer screaming. Gosh, it felt really good doing that and I was able to make the decision that I needed to make, now that the little kid was gone and there was quiet.

Here’s the thing….maybe I should have been doing this a long time ago. Gosh, you do feel so much better after you have gone and belted out a good scream now and again. Shopping along side little kids now has taken on a whole new meaning. Maybe they are on to something.



No Yogurt, Budget Cuts….

Yogurt and raspberries

I get it, there is no more money. I know, I know, there are things we need to be refocusing on and need to accept that money is just not growing on the money tree. Obviously, there was never a money tree but now the phrase, “There is no more money”, is being used to explain everything  from local community services to yogurt not being stocked at the local commissary/grocery store.

I get it, we are in a new fiscal responsibility and there will be changes. Hours of services will be changed, people will be let go and we need to get use to it. Nobody likes change. I accept  the changes  but when the phrase , “We do not have yogurt stocked because there have been budget cuts”, makes me tilt my head and wonder. Seriously, the shelves can not be stocked because of budget cuts?

Maybe there should be  better communication of what things are actually being cut so that basic folk can fully understand the severity of the crisis. Maybe then yogurt  and other products can be stocked properly without using excuses.

Using the budget crisis to not stock shelves at the store IS NOT how I would think the, “There is no more money”, phrase should be used. It minimizes the importance of the actual crisis and makes it just another phrase that blends in with everyday living.

Here’s the Thing, the yogurt still needs to be stocked and yes, someone had to go get it. It was in the backroom.

A New Sense of Direction….

Yesterday I went shopping with a friend of mine  on the economy. I usually do not venture far from post but today I needed to get out and see the German countryside. I was so hungry for some kind of old fashion shopping, like a mall to find clothes that I could buy for the family.

We found this place that my friend had wanted to show me as it always gave her a little taste of home. So, off we went, using our sense of direction to find the place. Thank goodness for known landmarks like Burger King to guide through the tight German roads; yes, a good GPS works wonders too. Who would have thought knowing to turn right at the Burger King would make me feel like I was at home. When I lived in the States I never ate at either McDonald’s or Burger King. Now they bring me a nostalgic view of home.

Part of shopping in Germany is first understanding the signs, which I always mess up and knowing how to calculate the Euro, which I also have not mastered well yet. Signs, thank goodness for pictures. I know how remedial to rely on pictures to help understand the signs. A red sign with a % sign on it means the same here as in the States.  Discounts, that is what I was searching to find.

I was feeling a bit daring and decided to split from my friend and shop on my own with her daughter, who actually was driving her crazy.  I was beginning to feel like I was at home even though I was having considerable challenges reading signs and labels but rather than get frustrated I embraced the cultural activity I was participating in. Feeling really proud, I wondered into a store that was a combination of food, home goods, etc. like a Wal-Mart. Feeling like I had just stepped into Wal-Mart, my eyes were overwhelmed with the products before me. Up to this point my shopping experience had been limited to very small selections and very little variety.  We wandered around aimlessly and before I knew it, I was not lost, just misplaced.

We needed to get back to the rest of the group and we came upon the entrance we had come into when we had gotten to the store but there was one problem, the steel bars that opened for us as if to say, come right in, were now closed shut and not letting us past. It appeared that we were not going to be able to leave the store the way we came in.

Then it happened, a bunch of people proceeded to make the steel gates open! To my delight I figured we could just walk past them and we would be home free.

So, we started to walk, almost through and then I heard the most ear piercing alarm go off, and the bars were closing on us. My girl friend’s daughter was horrified and I was looking pretty ridiculous myself. We turned back and just stared at the bar, how were we going to get out?

Thinking it may not have been us, we tried again and the same thing happened. This is when learning the language of the country you living in is a good thing to do. It was then that I thought it be a good idea to ask a women who was near by, how do we get out of the store? Through a series of sign language and broken German, she came to our rescue by pressing a button under her desk top and the doors opened without any alarm. We were free, free at last!

I was glad not to see any police come running towards us as we existed and we decided it was time to stop shopping and go get a sandwich. Ordering a sandwich is another story but all I can say is I felt right at home. I can not remember now how many times I have set off store alarms when something I had bought had not had the sensor tag taken off.

With the day a success, we traveled back home, following the Burger King signs and a new sense of direction for shopping in Germany.