Category Archives: TaMara
After initially being fine, I’m very sad to say that Missy did not make it through surgery. We don’t know why. She recovered enough to come home, but passed about an hour after. I was able to hold her for about a half hour and snuggle with her. I’m sure Harley was there to greet her, he was always taking care of us.
I love this picture of her, because that was her attitude, always just a bit judgmental of me and my pet skills. RIP
Paul and John (Harris), shamelessly stolen from my brother’s facebook page.
This post is a bit different, but I wanted to share this interview with members of my brother’s Army National Guard Unit.
Ten years ago my youngest brother was stationed in Kuwait, running convoys to Iraq as a National Guardsman. It was a tough time on a lot of levels. I’m sure tougher for him :-D. But from my perspective, there were a lot of sleepless nights, waiting by the computer when he was out on missions. He would always check in when he got back, via Yahoo messenger, where I could IM or video chat with him.
Then one day the phone rang. It was my brother. Dread set in, because a phone call meant something was wrong. I could hear it in his voice. He didn’t tell me much, just that their convoy had been ambushed, some of his friends had been injured, but he was okay. I have always said it was the worst/best phone call I’ve ever received. Worst because of the sound of his voice, best because the SOUND of his voice. I’m glad they all made it back home.
In all honesty, we’ve never talked much about it. Most of what I know about it I have learned over the years from various news accounts and interviews with the soldiers. On the tenth anniversary, Nebraska Public Radio aired this piece.
Ten years ago today a group of Nebraska Army National Guard soldiers was in a life or death battle on a highway in Iraq. Mike Tobias looks back at the Battle of Bismarck, with reflections from the soldiers who fought it.
“One of the most beautiful days I can remember weather wise, the entire deployment I was over there,” is how Jay Schrad remembered the morning of March 20, 2005.
Schrad and 13 other soldiers from the Nebraska Army National Guard’s 1075th Transportation Company were rolling out of a base in Kuwait, taking a 33-vehicle supply convoy into Iraq. They were young, most in their early 20s. Most were from the Columbus area. They’d been doing this for several months at this point, halfway through the deployment. This convoy included pairs of Nebraska soldiers in green semi-trucks, civilians driving white semis and three Humvee gun trucks providing security.
They had been attacked on previous missions with roadside bombs and small arms fire, which was no surprise, because regardless of tactics, mile long convoys attract attention in a war zone. “We made our presence known,” A.J. Bloebaum said. “They knew when we were coming.”
But they’d always sped away from the trouble.
“You’re in a semi with a 40-foot trailer. You’re not equipped to sit there and fight,” said Josh Birkel. “So our SOP (Standard Operating Procedure) honestly was to hit the gas go.”
Normally this worked. But soldiers say that beautiful day, 10 years ago, was different from the moment their trucks pulled out on a four-lane divided highway called Route Bismarck.
“There were things that kind of triggered a sense of, hey, there’s something weird going on today,” recalled Schrad, driving a semi toward the back of the convoy. (the rest is here)
It doesn’t seem possible that it’s been ten years. They all got together this weekend and I’m guessing it didn’t feel like 10 years to them, either. Always grateful for their service – TaMara
Bixby is 9 months old today. I was going to have him write a diary entry, but I was afraid it would be filled with profanity, drinking, smoking and graffiti. In other words, we’ve hit the terrible teen weeks.
The photo above is him basically telling me I suck because I have banned him from the couch. Why you ask? Is it because dogs shouldn’t be on the couch (true, but no), because he’s too big (almost true, but still no) or because I just washed the cover, blankets and pillow (again, true, but nope)?
No, he’s banned from the couch because no matter how many times I correct him, he thinks it’s a playground. Digs, scratches, rolls around, tries to take the cushions off, and brings all his toys up on the couch. He’s allowed to nap on the couch, nothing else. So no more couch.
He’s 120.5 lbs, still only 32 inches at his shoulders, but much longer now – it’s hard to measure a moving target – but he towers over me when standing up on my shoulders. His neck is 24″ around and he’s almost out of the largest collar I can find. That’s larger than the Great Dane next door. And while our neighbor is much taller and much heavier (he comes in at a hefty 210 lbs and is svelte, so you can imagine how tall he is), Bixby’s neck is bigger, he definitely has his dad’s build there, a more European style. I may have to buy his collars in the men’s belt section.
That dog is still here?
He is generally a good dog, but the last three weeks have been challenging. And I am being kind here. This morning he started his ninth month out by refusing to get out of bed, chasing Zander, challenging Emma – who never backs down, the only reason Bixby’s nose doesn’t look like coleslaw is that Emma is secure in her alpha, queen of the house, status – so she just hisses at him and stands her ground – and refusing to sit and hold while I opened the door for him to go outside. Basically he bowled me over like the ten pin. And that was all before breakfast. More importantly, that was before my first cup of coffee.
He continued his misbehavior on our walk by throwing his weight around. When he doesn’t want to stop sniffing something he crouches down and digs his feet in. If he doesn’t come when I request it, he has to walk at heel, no sniffing, no stopping. We spent most of the walk at heel.
But the good news is, he has stopped grabbing the leash from my hand and running away. It took him a bit of detective work to figure out that it was this behavior that was getting him in big trouble. It was fun watching him work it out. He has three or four behaviors lately on leash that I’ve been discouraging, but only the grabbing the leash and running away got him in big trouble. He didn’t quite get it at first, so he would test out each behavior and watch and listen. It only took him twice grabbing the leash before he got it. He’s pretty much over that now, though every once in a while, he turns, starts to grab it, looks at me, and decides it’s not worth it.
I am confident we’ll work the rest out. A lot of it is challenging me, to see if he can get away with something. He’s learning that if he wants to get scritches from other people he meets, sitting gets him the attention he is seeking, instead of charging at them, jumping on them or generally cornering them at the door. I get all the “make me” behaviors. Some days he’s a perfect gentleman, others he just wants to do it his way and I’m an obstacle.
Suddenly I have an understanding why two of my four Danes came to me at just under a year. I can see how people not familiar with how sweet these dogs are as adults would be overwhelmed by the power of their rebellion. I am confident Bixby will be a charming adult dog. Even if at the moment he is completely exhausting me. Luckily, he’s cute and gives great hugs.
Since I’m all happy that spring looks like it’s going to make an appearance (high 60’s today) I feel like celebrating. So I thought an Irish theme would be fun for Friday.
I was doing some research on Irish Soda Bread, thinking that should be part of an Irish theme. Never made or had this bread, because, well, it looks dry and has raisins. But what I found out, that raisin stuff is not real Irish bread. So I’ve found a somewhat authentic recipe…sounds much better. Stay tuned….
Serendipity was afoot last week. I had read a recipe for Nutella flourless brownies and promptly went to the store to buy a jar and make them. Turns out, on that same day, the creator of Nutella died at 89.
The brownies are pretty good and one of those recipes that taste much better the next day. The process is very similar to my Chocolate Flourless Cake, recipe here.
I prefer the chocolate cake, but the Nutella brownies were a good second. If I make them again, I will add toasted hazelnut pieces (they should be chopped fine so they don’t all sink to the bottom of the batter).
Both recipes are super easy and a make for a very moist chocolate treat. And gluten-free as an added bonus.
- 4 large Eggs
- 1-1/2 cups Nutella
- Powdered Sugar for dusting
8×8 baking dish or springform pan, oiled and lined on the bottom with parchment cut to fit
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Beat eggs on high for 5 to 7 minutes until they have tripled in size. Beat in Nutella on low until fully incorporated*. Pour into the baking dish. Tap the dish on the counter firmly to remove any bubbles and then bake for 30-35 minutes, until a wooden skewer inserted into the middle comes out with a just few crumbs, no batter. Mine actually took about 40 minutes, but I forgot to preheat.
Cool completely before dusting with powdered sugar, cutting and serving. I found it tasted best the next day. Also it freezes very well.
*some recipes call for you to microwave the nutella, but since the jar specifically says, DO NOT MICROWAVE, I just used a spatula to scoop out most of a 13 oz jar.
Things are very busy here. Bixby is now 117 lbs, he’s slowed down to about 2.5 lbs each week. He stands a full head taller than me when he’s up on my shoulders. He has been a pill/beast/troublemaker all week and we are working diligently to correct some difficult and persistent problems. Running away being the most urgent.
He broke away from me three times/days in a row this week and refused to come back, putting himself in some dangerous situations. The breaking away is very deliberate and his little mind works very hard at devising an escape strategy. So we are doing some serious re-training. After I finished yelling (yelling btw, very ineffective for training, but needed to be done so I could stop freaking out and then focus on the problem).
The dragon was a gift from his most recent playdate…he adores it.