Thursday, September 3, 2009

Check it Out: Cool Hawaiian

 

Garret recently bought a necklace carved from whale bone.  This design symbolizes marriage and growth in love.  He had “G (heart) A” engraved on it!  I love this necklace!  Not only is it the coolest design, but the symbolism behind it makes it a thousand times more awesome!  It will make a great Hawaiian keepsake!

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Monday, August 31, 2009

More Hawaii Fishing Pics!

A couple of weekends ago Garret and Company went on one of their Kaneohe Bay fishing trips! Here are the pictures of that adventure!  Garret’s friend, AJ, caught a stingray!  Fun times!

Scenery 6

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AJ & the Stingray 2

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Clouds

Scenery

Scenery 5 

 Clouds 2

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Update: Our Status in the Army

Ok, so I haven’t written in a while about what’s going on with Garret and the Army situation.   So here’s the Reader’s Digest condensed version (notice it’s still forever long! Imagine what the real version is like!).Frustrated Smiley Clip ARt

We had really wanted to get Garret into the Warrior Transition Brigade (WTB) so he could solely focus on getting better, have a primary care manager, and a little guidance through the maze that is the Army.  Long story short that isn’t going to happen.  Why? Two reasons.  The first is that the packet of paperwork we turned in two and a half months ago to his company to fill out their portion and then submit it to Tripler, is now lost.  That’s right no one knows where it is.  Although, Garret and I, and a few of the other SGT’s in his company believe that it is still in his Platoon SGT’s car who is gone to the NTC right now and won’t be back until next week.  The second reason is that one of the requirements to get into the WTB is that you have to need six months of complex medical care.  Two and half months ago he needed that much care, now he doesn’t because he’s already two and a half months into his treatment, and therefore would not meet the necessary and mandatory requirement. 

So, what are our options now?  That’s a good question, and if someone figures it out, would you be so kind as to let me know!!!!  One of the most frustrating things about the Army is that if you ask 3 different people a question, you will get 3 different answers!  Too bad in our case it’s been more like talk to 20 different people who have power and authority and are supposed to know what the hell they’re talking about, and get 20 varying, some even ridiculous, stories/answers!  How can anyone accomplish anything with this sort of behavior?  Seriously, I don’t know how the military functions (at a worldwide level) with so many people like this in it!

We realized a long time ago that his Chain of Command would be absolutely zero help and essentially worthless to us in our quest to find a solution.  This realization has been confirmed time and time again, just like it was yesterday when we found out the WTB packet was lost.  It’s really rather pathetic actually.  As an NCO you’re whole focus is on the mission and the welfare of the soldiers beneath you.  Well quite obviously, in our case, they failed miserably on maintaining and aiding in the welfare of this soldier, and if that’s true then their mission cannot succeed either.  Don’t you feel better knowing that the security of the country lies in the hands of people like this?

Comedic Soldier

To be fair, not all of the Army is like this.  There are some truly amazing people and leaders within the Army community.  Unfortunately for us, they’re just not part of our unit.

Then yesterday we get a call saying he had to be back at Tripler today to talk about his med board.  WTF?  Are you kidding me?  You mean the one that was started and then abruptly stopped because the profile that initiated it wasn’t even approved?  But, when the Army calls you have to go and so he did.  The outcome for today was once again to toss it out, this time supposedly officially, unlike last time apparently. 

The NCO handling Garret’s case today (another completely new person, might I add) also said that if he was put in for another med board anytime in the near future, he would most likely be honorably discharged due to medical reasons.  This is the last thing we want.  Especially since Garret is finally getting better.  Very, very slowly, but getting better none the less, and that’s all that matters!  Even though he may not be able to do all of the physical aspects of a mechanic he would be able to do so many other jobs in the Army.  Ultimately  that would be our goal, for him to get well enough that he might be able to do a ruck march and qualifying (both include carrying or having on you very heavy items) so that he can get a P2 Profile instead of a permanent one and re-class to a different MOS (job).  So we’re trying to bide time and make that happen, all the while trying very hard to avoid being sent up for another med board, because this time it would most certainly be the end of Army life for us.  There are some other rather remote options, that probably wouldn’t work anyway, but we' re keeping them on the back burner just in case, because really you never know what’s going to happen.

In a nutshell we have absolutely no idea what is going on, what’s going to happen and when it  will happen.  For that matter we don’t have a clue as to how to make it better either!  So, in the meantime, we’re just taking it one day a time, focusing on the good like Hawaii, our Couple with Ocean Sunsetfriends, and each other.  Resting on the fact that was is meant to be will be, and it will be for the best.  I may not have any faith in the Army, but I do have faith in the Universe and in God’s plan for us, and I will trust in that whole heartedly.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Early Bird Gets the Worm and the Fish!

Last weekend Garret got up @ 3:30 in the morning to go fishing with his friend Carbone.  Considering this plan was formed after 11:00 the night before, I thought he had completely lost his mind and was sure he wouldn’t actually succeed in waking up at the designated hour.  I was even more sure that Carbone wouldn’t be at our house to pick him up at 4:00 like they had planned.  Carbone’s a good guy, but he’s not the most reliable tool in the shed.  I was wrong (not about Carbone being a good guy, but about them not being able to successfully wake up before dawn on a Saturday morning) who knew fish were so motivating?  This information could prove quite useful later!  :)

Here are the pictures that were taken in the early hours of the morning at the Kaneohe Marine Corp. Pier where they found themselves shortly after 4:30 AM.  I know I’m biased, but my hubby is developing quite the eye for picture taking!

Sun Up 1

Sun Up 2

 Sun Up 3

Clouds 1

Clouds 2

Clouds 

Glmy Mt Side

Green Mt Side

 Grn Mt Side 2

They didn’t catch a whole lot of fish, but they made up for it in some great shots of Hawaii at it’s finest.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Latest Fishing Trip

Garret’s been fishing with his friends a few times over the last few weeks.  It’s one activity he can do considering it’s not very physically demanding.  Although there can be and have been times when he’s not even up for this, as of late he’s been feeling a tiny bit better (and we will happily take any improvement) and celebrating it by getting out of the house and throwing a line in with his buddies!

Here are a few pictures of his last fishing trip at Kaneohe Bay.  Unfortunately he’s not in any of them because he was the designated photographer that day, but still he wanted to share them just the same.

TJ with his first White Belly Jack

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AJ’s Mom, AJ, and his wife Karis

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While TJ sits and waits for a bite, Carbone is in the background catching bait fish

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AJ’s Dad catches a Puffer Fish

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Everyone gathers around the Puffer AJ’s Dad caught

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Close up of the Puffer Fish (Icky, but aren’t all fish really)

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TJ with his first Hammer Head Shark

TJ Shark

They always catch crabs!

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Garret always invites me to go, but lately I’ve said no each time because the thought of being away from my laptop for that long of a period of time gives me separation anxiety.  We’re complete opposites, but what can I say, it totally works!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Check it Out: Tribute to the Military Family Video

I saw this video in one of my AFTB instructor classes and there wasn't a dry eye in the room.

I am proud to be the wife of an Army Soldier.

Check it Out: Military Tribute Video

 

 

I found this this video on YouTube and I was moved to tears.  I just wanted to say to ALL the Soldiers out there, thank you.  Whether you've deployed or not, you made a huge sacrifice to protect me and my freedom, and I cannot express how grateful I am for men and women like you.  To the wives and families of Soldiers, thank you for all that you endure in the name of freedom.

Angela - The proud wife of an Army Soldier

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Check it Out: Cool Picture

I found this awesome photo while I was stumbling through cyber land using StumbleUpon.  It's from Wikipedia and it was titled "Peacekeeper Missile Testing"

Peacekeeper-missile-testing

Friday, July 17, 2009

Blog Update

It can be tricky at times inter-weaving two blogs for one family.  I've debated back and forth on the best way to handle this dilemma, and I've recently decided to make a change.  From now on all things pertaining to me will be found on Angela's Soliloquy.  All that Garret and I do together and all things pertaining to Garret will be found here.  I'm going to it try this way for a while and see how it goes.  I apologize for any inconvenience this may cause, and I hope you keep reading!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Garret Physical Therapy Update

As of today Garret has completed his physical therapy.  I wish I could report it worked wonders and he's feeling a huge improvement, but not so much; and the quality of his physical therapy treatments have been a little questionable.  He said that after he'd check in they'd just send him off to corner do his exercises, and that's pretty much the extent of it. 

As a girl who has been in physical therapy several times (some of which completely restored my quality of life after traumatic injuries) I have some experience here.  Not to mention I was the Front Office Manager of a physical therapy clinic, so again, I have more experience in this area than say, the average Joe.  That said, my physical therapists were a lot more involved in my treatments.  I mean how do they know if you're doing the exercises right if they're not checking in with you, and what, the exercises you learn the first day are it.  That's all you'll be doing the whole time?  Not in the clinics I've known.

To be fair, maybe therapy would be different for his type of injury.  Still I've seen (and even had) a variety of injuries, and all of them require more interaction than he got.  Maybe it's not the therapists at all, maybe it's the Army's regulations pertaining to physical therapy, although I would imagine in a profession where injuries, and severe injuries at that, are prone to occur they would have a fairly good program developed.

Also, in the civilian world, the therapist contacts the primary care or referring doctor once the prescribed amount of treatments had been completed to see if further therapy is needed.  But, Garret doesn't have a primary care doctor, and the referring doctor was just one of many doctors that all the soldiers see, in place of primary care.  In fact the doctor that finally ordered Garret's physical therapy (five months after the initial recommendation had been made by his surgeon) was just filling in and not even a regular member of the treating staff. 

Whatever the case may be, the bottom line is, it was of little help.  Fortunately Garret is still in aquatic therapy, in fact those treatments have been increased from one to three times a week.  Additionally, he's still going to the chiropractor and pain management as well.  There's still hope, it's just so unbelievably frustrating wading through the drama to find it.

Garret WTB Update

Ok, so remember how a couple of weeks ago I said that Garret's WTB packet had been signed and was going for review, just kidding.  Turns out his packet was JUST sent off a couple of days ago.  Are you freaking kidding me?????  All his Chain of Command had to do was sign one document, of an already completed packet, and still it takes them over a month to sign it and send it off to the appropriate people.  It's ridiculous!  It could take up to another 30 days to be reviewed!!!!! 

His Chain of Command has clearly shown that they are not interested in making Garret's healthcare and rehabilitation a priority, and this is just another prime example.  Given that his Chain of Command is the only channel we have to go through to get things done, we have a serious problem here. So what the hell are you supposed to do, when the people who are there to help you, aren't? 

Meanwhile he still continues to have no Primary Care Physician, no one to coordinate and facilitate all facets of his therapy and care.  Basically he's just floating in the wind, and whenever a strong breeze comes along he get's blown in a different direction.  That sounds like the right way for the Army to be taking care of their soldiers, doesn't it.  This delay is tremendously impacting his chance at rehabilitation (we've long since given up hope for "speedy" recovery).

One last little morsel of food for thought, Garret's pain management doctor had to fill out a matrix, which the Army use's in deciding whether or not a soldier should be transferred to the WTB.  The score for his matrix was >1000 Failure to assign or attach Soldier to WTB likely to result in poor medical or psychiatric outcome, administrative delay, poor transition (back to the civilian world), or decrement in unit readiness.  You would think the Army would be a little concerned about this, but I can tell you with all certainty his Chain of Command is most definitely not.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Polynesian Cultural Center Slideshow

Going to the Polynesian Cultural Center (PCC) was on our "Must Do" list for when my mom came to visit. Besides Pearl Harbor it is the most visited tourist attraction on the island of Oahu. Garret and I had wanted to check it out for a while, but since it's pretty pricey, we decided to wait to until we had company to go. Fortunately I had researched ticket prices prior to my Mom's arrival and knew that our best bet was to go through the ticketing office (ITR) on base for tickets. You can often get killer deals through ITR and this was no exception. We got tickets normally valued between $70.00 and $100.00 for only $30.00! We were so excited!

When you go to the PCC, prepare for an all day event! There are seven villages representing the different Polynesian islands to go through. Each village has different exhibits, activities, and shows that are both entertaining and educational at the same time. There's also a Canoe Parade, the Horizon's Night Show, and an IMAX movie on the coral reef. If you get hungry there are several restaurants to eat at. Our meal was actually included in the price of our ticket and was buffet style!

The day we went was so hot and there was absolutely zero breeze, but despite that we managed to have a ton of fun!!! I would totally recommend it to anyone who's planning to come to Hawaii and wants to learn about the culture and history surrounding not only these islands but the other Polynesian islands as well.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Friday, July 3, 2009

Dole Plantation Slideshow

The Dole Plantation is known for growing many, many crops of pineapples, but they also have an amazing garden, a train that takes you around the property, and the world's largest maze too! They also have the most phenomenal pineapple ice cream you could ever dream of, it was delicious!

Most of my pictures are of spectacular flowers from the garden, sorry I don't really know any of their names, but I thought I should post them anyway because they're so beautiful. Funny how even though Garret and I drive past the Dole Plantation everyday on our way to and from base, we hadn't yet been there until my Mom came to visit, oh well, better late than never! Enjoy the photos!


Mom's Visit

Recently my Mom came to visit us for about a week and a half.  We had so much fun while she was here!  We did lots of touristy stuff around the island and captured much of it in photos.  I will post slide shows of the different places we went as my schedule allows.

A Mom Airport 

Me and my Mom at the airport after her arrival in Hawaii

G Mom Airport

Garret with my Mom at the airport after her arrival in Hawaii

Boston University

Last week while doing online research for something totally unrelated, I discovered that BU Logo Boston University offers a fully online undergraduate bachelor's degree program.  I immediately began investigating further, and I was so excited by what I found!

While they offer multiple graduate degree programs online they only offer one online undergraduate degree, it is a Bachelor's of Liberal Studies with emphasis on the humanities and social science and a philosophical theory focus.  Not only are all of these of large interest to me, but they would serve a law degree particularly well! 

The classes for this degree are taught by the same instructors who teach their on-campus classes, and held to the same academic standard.  As a result, the university makes BU Fall Photo no distinction between it's students: meaning whether you are part of the on-campus program or online program is irrelevant, you are simply a Boston University student period.  The program takes 30 months to complete, and is designed for students who have completed between 52 and 64 credit hours, which I have.

Boston University is a top 100 school in the nation as ranked by US News and World Report (it's official ranking on the list is #60).  It is a school known for it's prestige and high academic standards, and getting a degree from this type of institution (even an online degree) would be of huge benefit when going forward to law school.

Before I made my decision to go to an online school, I did a lot of research on the credibilityBU Lake Photo of online degrees, the results were mixed but usually positive.  Surprisingly online graduate degrees seem to be more accepted than online bachelor's, but as long as you're degree comes from a reputable school with accreditation, then typically it holds about equal weight with a traditional degree.  My research also showed that online degrees from traditional universities that had an online program could be of added benefit particularly if it is a well known and reputable school.

As with the on-campus Boston University, you have to apply and be accepted, however the online applications are accepted on a rolling basis, so I could still be eligible for the fall semester.  Additionally, the cost is double that of what it would be for one of the otherBU Building schools I'm currently looking into, and whereas the other schools include books in their tuition amount, BU does not.  Still, I think if I were accepted, and I could make it work financially, it might be the perfect place for me. 

I had really wanted to pursue a traditional school, but what I want even more than that, is to complete my degree so I can continue onto my next goal which is law school.  Ultimately, I'd decided the best way to facilitate this would be to attend an online program.  Now it seems I might have the opportunity to do both, combine the prestige of a traditional program with the convenience of an online program.  It sounds like a match made in academic heaven. 

In the end it will come down to, where I'm accepted and what my financial aid will cover.  I trust completely that wherever that is, it will be the perfect place for me, because at this point I'm only pursuing schools I would be happy to be a part of.  That said, I'm definitely making Boston University one of the schools to pursue.

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