Thoughts on Veteran’s Day

As I scroll through Facebook, I’m amazed at how many friends, family, and acquaintances have served in all branches of the military, at all levels.  A cousin in desert fatigues next to a stop sign that looks to be in Arabic.  One of Skip’s oldest friends, who rose to the rank of Colonel (I think) in what appears to be his Army swearing in picture.  Stories of gratitude from friends and cousins about their sons who currently serve in the Marines and the Army.  And of course, recollections of dads and grandfathers from wars long over.

And yes, my dad served. He signed up in the Army Reserves in the 60s as a means to an end – it was one of many jobs that paid for his college degree.  At some point after my parents were engaged, but before the wedding, his unit was called up – so up moved the wedding.  A final round of training exercises before shipping out of Fort Lewis, WA meant my parents honeymooned in Seattle before Dad shipped out with the men of the 172nd transportation unit, a lot of jeeps and trucks, and one large, fiberglass crow that was “recruited” (according to the men of the 172nd) from a local surplus store called Yard Birds.  Every one of the men from that deployment came back, as did Crow – and while I can’t speak to whether any of the men went on additional tours, Crow shipped out whenever the 172nd shipped out, even managing a trek to Iraq in the early 90s.  (The 172nd is an interesting bunch … read more at

After their Seattle honeymoon, Dad shipped out to Vietnam and Mom returned to Nebraska – with a stowaway of sorts (me).  Mom thought she’d caught a virus in the northwest; only if you consider morning sickness a virus, I guess.  I was born three months before my dad returned, and it was a Red Cross volunteer who found him on a convoy with the good news.  We have a picture of my dad and three of his buddies, in rain gear, standing next to a truck, holding M16s, and smoking cigars.  I’m sure it wasn’t long before they were back on the convoy, delivering whatever needed to be delivered to the troops dispersed throughout the jungles of Vietnam.

While this makes a unique block in our Kramer family quilt, it’s really no different than the stories of countless men and women, scattered around the world, who left spouses, parents and children behind.  Missed births and parent teacher conferences.  Not being able to fill the role of the tooth fairy or to see your child ride a bike without training wheels for the first time.  The only difference today is technology, I suppose – FaceTime and other technologies make it possible for deployed servicemen and women to actually see one another, if not be in the same room.  A far cry from the reel-to-reel tapes my parents sent to one another, and the “It’s a girl … OVER!” broadcast over a radio.

So to all of the veterans and their families:  thank you.  It seems so inadequate and insufficient.  But thank you.

Lessons from Night #1 as Dugout Mom

  1. There are a lot of freakin hooks on catcher’s gear.
  2. It’s easier to put on the catcher’s chest protector on BEFORE putting the helmet on.
  3. Murphy’s law of the batting order means that the last girl at bat is inevitably the one who has to be immediately put into the catcher’s gear.
  4. Thank goodness they all have numbers on their shirts, and that I have a name-number roster at my disposal (didn’t stop me from calling Nicole “Sarah” at one point).
  5. Not being on the field doesn’t mean you don’t get all dusty.
  6. It only took Katie 1.5 innings to figure out that the new, sleeveless jerseys are ideal for armpit farts.
  7. Little girls can scale a chain link fence faster and further than most little boys.
  8. It’s harder to keep up with the activity on the field, but it’s pretty fun being dugout mom.


Aaaaannnddd … she’s off

So daunting, staring at a screen, coming up with your first official “blog”.  Do I be funny?  Inspiring?  Sarcastic?  (Oh wait, that last one will just come organically to all posts.)


What inspires me to write?  I can’t say what one thing makes me sit down and start typing.  Periodically I just have ideas rattling around in my head that are clamoring to get out.  So, the blog gives me a vehicle to do just that – and if others read ’em and enjoy ’em, great, and if not, at least I’ve silenced the voice in my head that’s nagging me to write (the voice that constantly reminds me about the M&Ms in the pantry NEVER shuts up.  EVER.  Not even when fed.)

I do enjoy reading other blogs – some quite popular (Mommy Shorts, Snarky in the Suburbs, Scary Mommy are faves) and some from friends (OnHavingOvaries – yes, you, Alison; and Sievers Stories from Tracy, one of Katie’s teachers).   I don’t know what it is about reading those snippets out of another woman’s life – maybe just the commonality and the amazing beauty of it all – the giggles, the snuggles, the late nights, the worry, the puke, the heartache – all of it.  Motherhood is a sisterhood, cliche but true.

I do have to say a big fat THANK YOU to my dear spouse, Skippy (he’s made me promise not to call him “hubs”, so here I’ve done it once and I’m done).  He bought me a laptop for Christmas as encouragement to write.  He’s  also official tech support – while WordPress has some pretty exhaustive templates and tools, he’s figured out the whole hosting thing, he’s working the best way for y’all to log comments, and he’s messing around with the different tools and stuff here in WP – all of the junk that would drive me batty in about two minutes and have me cursing at my screen.   He started the framework and picked out the initial picture on the front page, and it was Skip who put “and crap about Skippy” in the banner.  I think that makes him fair game for future blogs, no?   Also, since he’s my tech support, if you have problems with the site you need to talk to Skippy, not me.

And thanks to Heather for suggesting “Jen’s Pen” and my friends who encouraged me … I just hope I don’t disappoint y’all!

Not sure how often I’ll be on here … whenever I need to appease the voices in my head, I guess!