The American Dream

I was reading a post from someone a little while ago (and I’ve lost the link now, but if I find it again, I’ll link the post!)  She was talking about the American Dream.  In college, I had a whole history class devoted to the notion of the American Dream.

Dr. A was so great at what he did.  He was a fantastic professor.  I was in my senior year, my last semester of college.  I had already completed my Senior Thesis class the semester prior, in which I wrote about immigration in the United States–not an easy topic to be sure.  So, I thought I would take a 1000 level course with a professor that taught my Methods of Teaching History class.  He was tough, got me to think in new and creative ways about presenting the lessons of history.  My mind had never been so twisted in my life.  So naturally, I thought that he wouldn’t be too tough in a 1000 level course (read: I thought I was going to be taking an easy course)–not like he was in my 4000 level Methods class.  Boy, was I ever mistaken.  That history class was (and will remain) THE TOUGHEST college class that I’ve ever taken.

He was the only professor that taught current American History.  Most history classes start with Colonial history and it abruptly ends with WWII.  History stops for most people there.  I mean, we KNOW about Vietnam and the 70s and 80s…but too many teachers think that it’s too close in our American Memory and the wounds are too fresh to teach it.  It’s rather a shame, too, it’s interesting history!

So anyway, I decided that I wanted to have a definition of the American Dream.  I mean, I understand it–probably too well and I was kind of curious if the definition had changed much since I was in college (in what 8 years?)  It hasn’t.

I remember the first day of the class when Dr. A said, “Define the American Dream.”  He wrote on the white board (or was it chalk, I can’t recall)  And 44 students did not know what to expect.  So, I raised my hand.  I said, “A white picket fence, a dog a husband and a few kids running around playing in the precious Denver water”

That was *actually* not the correct answer, can you believe it?  I figured that most Americans WANT that (well, maybe not EXACTLY that, but something similar).  Dr. A started talking about the poor people in the US and how actually they were getting poorer and poorer, while the top 5% were getting richer…by means of places meant to steal from the poor and line the pockets of the rich: eg, Rent-a-Centers and Payday loan stores.  I could actually write a whole term paper on this thought, but I really don’t want to write someone’s paper today.

In the 1950s, the standard of living was set fourth by the types of items that you had in your home. (citation needed) Such lists included a refrigerator, washing machine and other various appliances.  Today, we look at whether someone has a computer and access to the Internet as a measure of some sort of wealth.  There is a technical way of determining wealth and the standard of living, but I’m not going to post that here.  That really isn’t the point of this.

I asked Rob on the way to the Class 6 what his American Dream was and he said that I was asking him to recite a 20 page essay to me.

My American dream is this: Husband (got it) master’s degree, own a home (I don’t need a white picket fence, but I do NEED a fence!)in a major metropolitan city (but near my husband’s family–I could totally agree with Cincinnati!), get a high powered journalism job, have at least one child (but I’d like 2 or 3), a cat and a dog (got it). 

What is your American Dream?

Boring Day

Hi!  There’s not a lot going on today.  I watched a disk of the Simpson’s Season 5, watched most of an episode of Desperate Housewives, tried reading a book and now, I’m waiting for my husband to get home so that we can go to Hanau for a Hail and Farewell for his First Sergeant.  Rob called about 20 minutes ago to let me know that he would be leaving the office soon, but had to finish up on some stuff before the Battalion Commander went on leave for a couple of weeks.  Woohoo!  I can’t believe it’s Friday and it’s the last day of the month.  Woohoo!  I’m almost there–1 more day of the month and I will have blogged everyday this month!  Hooray for NaBloPoMo!!!

Today is the AFN (Armed Forces Network) screening AKA–A First Run movie–of Indiana Jones’ new movie!  I really wanted to go, but it wasn’t possible, seeing as how we have to be in Hanau in just about 2 hours from now.  Thankfully, it’s only about an hour’s drive (it would be more like 1.5 hours, but with the M3, we just fly down the autobahn!)  Woohoo!

I guess we’re just going to have to go to the movies tomorrow afternoon or something 🙂  I really can’t wait for Sex and the City to come to us (hopefully next week 😉 ).  We get everything a week or two later than everyone gets them in the states.  So, we get the spoilers (if we want them) and we also get the reviews.  I don’t much care what the critics have to say about a particular movie…I typically don’t agree with many of them anyway!

So, I can’t make this too long, I should get the gate opened and be ready for Rob anytime now.  Thanks for reading and have a great day 🙂

PS:  This is my 200th post!  Horray for me 🙂

A Quite *ahem* Colorful Past

Well, yesterday after some deliberation, I decided to call the adoption agency.  They had pretty much told me that it was a big solid “No!” for adopting from Russia for a couple of different reasons.  Mainly because we couldn’t get a home study done here in Germany (it’s always better to error on the side of caution.  And then…there’s my *ahem* colorful past.  It seems to catch up on me at the worst possible times, too!

Well, some of it was my fault and I’ll take credit for my mistakes, but some of it wasn’t and it’s being held AGAINST me…like stuff that happened when I was a child…stuff that I really had no control over…and genetics…blah (stupid genes–always getting in my way!)  LMAO 😉  Actually, it’s honestly and truly my mother’s fault, but I can’t blame her–not really–it’s in her genes!  Something that Rob reminded me was that I can’t blame my parents for everything.  I don’t live with them anymore and they don’t control my life anymore, so any problems that I have really are my own…and that’s true, for the most part.

Well, if you must know, my mother has schizophrenia and a touch of depression.  As part of her court order, she had to go to counseling and since I was a part of the family I had to go, too.  And I probably inherited stupid ole depression, though it really doesn’t affect me that much–well it hasn’t in a long time anyway.  And with that said, Russia generally won’t adopt to people who have had depression or any mental health issues!  Blah!

So, I called yesterday about possibly Ethiopia as an alternative.  Well, see there’s other stuff in my long-line of colorful stories and it could MOST LIKELY cause us problems (stuff I’d really rather not get into, but no, it’s not THAT bad!)  Blah!  It probably will affect us–not being able to get an adopted kid…most likely an international adoption, anyway.  Not entirely sure how it would affect adopting domestically or not, but, I’ve no doubt in my mind that it WOULD affect it!

So, needless to say, I’m feeling quite dejected at the moment.  I called Rob all teary and upset and he said, “Well, we’re just going to have to explore the IVF route, then.  I’ll endure your mood swings.”  The funny thing is, he’s not lying.  I took one cycle of clomid and I was NUTS!  I cried during movie scenes that were supposed to be funny.  I would start shouting at stuff that really was not big deal and just losing it in general!  Okay, I’m already a bit moody, I’m a Cancer, I’m ALLOWED to be a little moody! 😉

So, I don’t know if we should wait until we get back to the states or if I should get things started here…I guess I’ll have to talk to Rob because some of these appointments require him.  They won’t even look at me now until Rob’s got a valid sperm test done (which they did in Feb 2005 and he came back perfectly normal) but they said it has to be less than 1 year old.  Blah!  It’s not supposed to be this hard to have a baby!  Grrr!

An exercise in writing…

Summer had arrived.  The air was warm and damp.  The bright blue sky was clear, save a few puffy pure white clouds that were held high in the sky.  Abbie heard the bell, which brought her out of her daydream.  It usually rang every 15 minutes, it was something that could be counted on.  There was usually only “dong-dong” every 15 minutes, so Abbie couldn’t understand why the bell still rang for over seven minutes.  Was there something special going on?  Was there a wedding or is school being let out?  No, there is no school right now, Abbie postulated.  “It doesn’t matter anyway.  The bell was going to do what it was going to do.”

Trier Pictures

Please pardon the crude pictures.  I took them on my iPhone and it took A LOT of doctoring in order make these few pictures look decent.  I hope you enjoy 🙂

This is the Porta Nigra.
Notice how the bricks are whiteish yellow sandstone that has been blackened through the years.

This is a view of the main market.

The Tourist Information Center is located at the Porta Nigra.  It is to the right.

We went to the Kornmarkt Square to have a beer and figure out what our next move was going to be.
This young lad was building sand castles near the fountain.

This is another view from the main market.

This was in the Catherdral.

Also in the Cathedral.

A statue of the Virgin Mary and Baby Jesus.

In the basement were tombs.  This was at the base of the stairs.

You could go up to the alter and look down.
Notice the Dom in the back (where it’s completely washed out!)

There is a garden.  Inside is a graveyard.  It was very calm and still.

The backside of the Cathedral.

Not entirely sure what this is, but it was bombed in 1944 and 1945.  It was rebuilt about 30 years ago or so. It’s a facade.  Notice the top back of the building.

This is the palace.  It was quite beautiful.

This is the Roman Bathhouses.

This is where the warm bath was.  About 1 meter above ground is where the floor of the bathhouse started.  The water ran off and that was the water that was used for the tepid bath.

According to Rob (not the tour guide), there was a ritual when using the bath.  What Rob found so striking was that he didn’t mention that the bathhouse was for everyone.  It was the great equalizer because your class didn’t matter.  I think that’s kind of important stuff to mention.

Well, I hope you enjoyed your tour of Trier (heehee!)  If you ever get a chance to visit Germany or Europe, I would suggest making a stop to Trier.  We stayed for about 24 hours or so and that was enough for us, but we were glad to see it.

Well, thanks for reading and have a great day 🙂

Memorial Day

Today is Memorial day.  We are supposed to remember those who have lost their life defending freedom, our Constitution and our way of life.  What a tremendous sacrifice that those families made in the name of freedom.  For one to offer his/her life in the defense of our nation is remarkable.  Many people think that this is the day to thank the vets, and yes, you should be doing that each and everyday, but actually today is the day to remember those who gave the ultimate sacrifice or those that we have not found yet.  “All gave some, some gave all!”

I lost a friend in 2005.  His truck was hit by an IED and he lost his hearing for a little while.  Then a few months later, he went back out on mission and he was hit by an IED again.  This time, he was severely wounded and when he was MEDEVACed back, he told the medics that there were others worse than he was so the medics took someone else and he died while on the helicopter on the way to the hospital.  We used to email back and fourth and then one day, he stopped writing.  I kept sending emails to him, but there was no response.  Then, my husband and I were taking a drive when we were living in Heidelberg when an AFN report had come on the radio.  That’s how I found out he died.  I just cried and cried.  I couldn’t believe that he had passed.  I ended up speaking to his family and they were very nice.  I expressed my deep sadness for their loss.  I still have his emails that he sent to me.  I can’t bring myself to delete them!  It’s all I have left of my friend, besides the memories.

Rob also lost a colleague in the war.  They worked together when he was deployed in 2006.  His friend was conducted a site recon for his unit and the truck was hit by an IED.  There was another Soldier in the truck with him and he also died.  Dave, the friend of Rob’s, kept saying that he wanted to leave Baghdad and get to a line unit where he felt like he was doing some good–be with the Soldiers.  He was a Major.  His wife was in my coffee group and they had just had a baby.  She went back to the states to have the baby while he was deployed and she remained there for a few months.  Then, he came home on RnR leave and saw his precious family for the first time since she had been born.  I’m sure that the leave was too short and he headed back to Iraq.  It came as quite a blow to my husband.  He respected him a great deal and it was quite a shocking for a lot of people.  Rob attended his funeral service and because this man was so well respected, many people turned out for it.  Rob said he cried and it was just so moving.  He had never seen a military funeral before.

Anyway, please remember those who have or are serving.

Normandy Cemetery in France

Omaha Beach, Normandy, France

Gold Beach, Normandy, France

Never forgotten!

The Longest Day…

Today Rob and I cleaned house most of the day.  He was interviewed by a woman who is in the BN of 5/7 and I had to entertain her husband.  I’m not a great hostess, but I’m much better with my husband.  While he was in being interviewed, I offered the TV and DVD player to him.  He wanted to watch Seinfeld season 9.

So, for the third time, I’m watching season 9!

Rob made a pepper and chicken stir fry and I made a cheese cake.  It was fun.

Anyway, there’s really not that much to chat about right now.  Rob’s playing on his computer and I’m just hanging out.  Have a great day!  Thanks for reading!


Trier is the oldest city in Germany.  It was founded by the Celts in the 16th Century BC.  The Romans came and took over and there stands some ancient ruins.  The Porta Nigra was the gate into the city that the Romans built and that was the only way in.  It was made of white sandstone that had a yellowish tint to it, but over the years, it’s blackened and that’s the reason for its name.  It could be cleaned, but they have decided not to.

Then, there is the Basilica that was ordered to be built by Constantine somewhere around 315 or 316 AD.  He lived in Trier for a while, but during the construction of the Basilica, he made his way over to Constantinople (Istanbul, Turkey) and remained there.  In the 19th century, it was fixed and became the first protestant church in Trier.  There were 24 Catholic Churches and 12 Bishops (that means that each one had two churches).  There was another protestant church built later.

There was also the Roman Bathhouses.  There were three separate baths, one hot, one tepid and a cold bath.  The warm bath was lifted about 1 meter and was heated from underneath.  It was pretty cool to see.

A funny thing happened today after the tour, though.  Since dogs weren’t allowed in the Basilica, Rob stayed outside with Casey and I went in withthe tour.  He really wanted to see the inside, so I stayed outside with Casey-puppy.  I was sitting down, relaxing, enjoying a Mezzo Mix (orange cola) and a cigarette.  Casey was next to me, sitting pretty and this old German lady came up to me and tried to hand me a 1 or 2 Euro coin.  I think she thought I was a bum or something!  I said, “Nine! Nine!” She looked horrified, after realizing that I wasn’t a bum and she said, “Entschuligung! (which is German for “Excuse me!”)”  She smiled back at me and walked away!  I kept thinking, “Do I look THAT unkempt?”  I did forget to bring my hairbrush with me, but I didn’t smell bad and my clothes were clean and neat, so I don’t know why she would have thought that way!  I know she was embarrassed, it didn’t bother me, though.  I can laugh about it, anyway  🙂

Last night, Rob and I went to the Irish pub there in Trier and we met some nice people.  Actually, we met a contractor who worked with the military and his wife is German and works at the Tourist Information Center and had a brief conversation with her about what we should do in the city.  They were really nice people and I got a phone number and an email address.  I got pretty drunk last night, though.  I feel more embarrassed about that than I do about the money thing that happened!

Admittedly, I forgot to bring my camera and I’m still kicking myself about that one!  I can’t believe it!  At least I had my phone on me and I was able to get some pretty crappy cell phone pictures that I’ll post later (I have to find the cord so I can download them onto the computer).  You’ll be able to see those pictures in my Photos album at the top of the page later today.

Well, thanks for reading and have a great day.

Memorial Day Weekend

Today is the first day of Memorial Day Weekend.  It means that summer is officially here!!  We were going to head back to Hanau today, but the stuff that Rob needed to get taken care of can’t be done because EVERYONE seems to be taking today off!  I don’t say that I blame them.  It’s been a while since there has been a Federal Holiday.  I know that when I was working I really was looking forward to long weekends.

Today, Rob wants to head to Trier and possibly stay the night (that is if we decide to drink).  I don’t know if we decided to take Casey or not!  Rob is currently downloading songs for his memory stick that he can play in the car.

Well, there’s not much going on today, other than that.  I’m going to sign off for now.  Thanks for reading and have a great day! 😉

Heart Breaking

I made the application with the adoption agency and they said, okay.  Now, all you need to do is contact the person for your home study.  So I called her and she said, “Nope, sorry.  We can’t do that.  We don’t do home studies for Hague Countries”  ACK!  She said, “If you want, I can take your information and we’ll let you know if we start doing them soon.”  No, I’m leaving Germany in under a year, but we wanted to get this process started!  So, no baby for us.  At least 2 more years   I’m actually crying.  I have to go now.