Friday, May 29, 2009

What an Awesome Day!

I had an amazing week with Siren, which I'll tell you all about this weekend, but what made this day super special is that my sister gave birth to my niece, Lyla James. This is my sister's second child. Lyla's big brother is so happy that she is finally here. Check out my sister's blog Baby and Tot Tales for info if you are interested!

Right now I am super tired from a fun-filled and almost sleepless week, so I am going to bed! I'll catch up with all of you tomorrow!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day

My husband, Leland Sage, was named after his uncle who served as a Lieutenant in the Vietnam War. He thinks of him from time to time, despite the fact he never met him. He has a POW-MIA tattoo in his honor. Please read on and know his story.

Name: Leland Charles Cook Sage
Rank/Branch: Lieutenant/US Navy

Unit: Attack Squadron 144
USS Bon Homme Richard (CVA-31)

Date of Birth: 23 December 1943 (Chicago, IL)

Home of Record: Waukegan, IL

Date of Loss: 23 June 1969

Country of Loss: Laos

Loss Coordinates: 171759N 1054359E (WE779127)
Click coordinates to view maps

Status in 1973: Killed/Body Not Recovered

Category: 3

Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: A4E "Skyhawk

Other Personnel in Incident: (none missing)


SYNOPSIS: The Douglas A4 Skyhawk was a single-seat light attack jet flown by both land-based and carrier squadrons, and was the US Navy's standard light attack aircraft at the outset of the war. It was the only carrier-based aircraft that did not have folding wings as well as the only one which required a ladder for the pilot to enter/exit the cockpit. The Skyhawk was used to fly a wide range of missions throughout Southeast Asia including close air support to American troops on the ground in South Vietnam. Flying from a carrier was dangerous and as many aircraft were lost in "operational incidents" as in combat.

On 23 June 1969, Lt. Leland C. C. Sage, pilot; launched from the deck of the USS Bon Homme Richard in a flight of A4E aircraft on a night combat mission against enemy activity in the rugged, jungle covered mountains approximately 7 miles northwest of Ban Thapachon and 21 miles southwest of the Lao/North Vietnamese border, Khammouan Province, Laos.

This area of eastern Laos was considered a major artery of the infamous Ho Chi Minh Trail. When North Vietnam began to increase its military strength in South Vietnam, NVA and Viet Cong troops again intruded on neutral Laos for sanctuary, as the Viet Minh had done during the war with the French some years before. This border road was used by the Communists to transport weapons, supplies and troops from North Vietnam into South Vietnam, and was frequently no more than a path cut through the jungle covered mountains. US forces used all assets available to them to stop this flow of men and supplies from moving south into the war zone.

Once the flight arrived in the mission area, Lt. Sage contacted the on site Forward Air Controller (FAC) for target assignment. The flight was cleared in to attack an enemy target and, after rolling in over his target, Leland Sage's aircraft was observed to impact the ground and explode. No rocket explosion from the ejection seat was seen, nor any other evidence of ejection. It was believed that the verified anti-aircraft artillery (AAA) fire directed at the Skyhawks was the cause of the aircraft loss. Aerial search and rescue (SAR) efforts were immediately initiated, but no further communication could be established with the downed pilot. The intense enemy activity in the area precluded a ground search of the area for Leland Sage. At the time search efforts were terminated, Leland Sage was listed Killed in Action/Body Not Recovered.

Lt. Sage is among nearly 600 Americans who disappeared in Laos. Many of these men were known to be alive on the ground. The Laotians admitted holding "tens of tens" of American Prisoners of War, but these men were never negotiated for either by direct negotiation between our countries or through the Paris Peace Accords which ended the War in Vietnam since Laos was not a party to that agreement.

While the Navy believed Leland Sage died in the crash of his Skyhawk, he has the right to have his remains returned to his family, friend and country. For other Americans who remain unaccounted for in Southeast Asia, their fate could be quite different.

Since the end of the Vietnam War well over 21,000 reports of American prisoners, missing and otherwise unaccounted for have been received by our government. Many of these reports document LIVE American Prisoners of War remaining captive throughout Southeast Asia TODAY.

American military men in Vietnam and Laos were call upon to fly and fight in many dangerous circumstances, and they were prepared to be wounded, killed or captured. It Probably never occurred to them that they could be abandoned by the country they so proudly served.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Any Ideas?

A while ago, a blogger friend of mine, Atomic Lola, wrote about her spring break visit to see her brother. When she arrived, her brother and his girlfriend had made up a goodie basket for her and decorated the guest bedroom to make her feel like she was a special guest and to enhance her spring break feeling. I thought this was a super cool idea, so I would like to do something for Siren when she visits next week.

Any ideas?

She's bringing her boyfriend for their first vacation together, so I thought I could get them a bottle of wine and some glasses, along with some chocolate to compliment the wine, but after that, I'm stuck. After the craziness of the past couple of weeks, I really want her to be able to relax and have a good time. However, I don't have tons of money to spend on a gift basket. Please help!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Hip Hip Hooray!

Siren is going to be okay!

Yes, she has tumors in her head, but the new doctor she went to has told her not to worry. He says all of her symptoms are from migrianes, and the old doctor blew everything out of proportion when the tumors were found. Apparently people can be born with tumors called Cavernomas and live with them for their whole lives without ever knowing they exist. The blood that was in her brain was old blood, so her tumors were bleeding at one point. She'll have to have an MRI every six months to monitor the tumors, but she isn't in any danger as of right now.

The new doctor also noticed that the old doctor botched the Spinal Tap she did, so she is on pain meds for that but should be feeling like her normal self within the week.

I am so relieved. Thanks so much for all your kind words of support!

Friday, May 15, 2009

I'm on the Verge of Freaking Out

My best friend and kindred spirit, Siren, is sick. Not just "feeling a little under the weather" sick, or even Swine Flu sick. Siren is 2 tumors in her head sick. A week after having stroke like symptoms, we still don't really know what is going on. At first the doctors thought she was having a TIA stroke, then they ruled that out. Then they thought she had a seizure, but then crossed that off the list as well. After an MRI, they diagnosed her with having 2 tumors in her brain known as Cavernoma. They are bleeding. That was on Monday. It is now Friday and her doctor hasn't returned her calls or given her any follow-up information. She is now spending the day looking for a new neurologist.

I am very worried. Worrying is one of the things I do best. I just can't stop and I'm having a hard time thinking about anything else and staying focused on things I have to do, like work. Instead I am searching the web, trying to gather as much info as possible to try to help her find a new doctor. She's supposed to be coming for a visit in two weeks. If she is still well enough to travel, I will be taking her to Minnesota to go to the Mayo Clinic. It is apparently the best neurological center in the United States and has the most experience treating Cavernomas.

Siren is 29, has 3 kids under the age of 7, and except for one friend in Austin, she is completely alone. I so badly want to fly down there and be with her, but at almost $500 for a plane ticket, I just can't afford it. And I hate not being able to do anything for her. Have I mentioned that I'm worried?

Monday, May 11, 2009

My lists of 8

So many people have been playing this game and I decided to join in on the fun!

8 things I am looking forward to:
1. Siren coming to visit at the end of the month
2. Getting my motorcycle
3. Tearing up my extra driveway and making a yard
4. Learning how to ride my motorcycle
5. Seeing Murderboner's first live show
6. Camping in August
7. Seeing Eric
8. This weekend

8 things I did yesterday:
1. Made potato salad
2. Made avocado salad
3. Sang Happy Birthday to my dad
4. Chased Stink around the yard
5. Had french toast for breakfast
6. Hung out with my mom
7. Laundry
8. Played with The Bachman

8 things I wish I could do:
1. Lay on a beach right now
2. Pay all of my medical bills today
3. Knit
4. Enjoy my job
5. Ski
6. Run a marathon
7. Play the banjo
8. Keep plants alive

8 shows I watch:
1. Grey's Anatomy
2. True Blood
4. The Daily Show
5. I
6. think
7. that's
8. it!

8 Favorite Fruits:
1. Avocado
2. Raspberries
3. Blueberries
4. Strawberries ( can you tell I like berries?)
5. Mangoes
6. Honey Dew Melon
7. Bananas
8. Pineapple

8 Places I'd like to travel:
1. Venice
2. Florence
3. Tuscany
4. Barcelona
5. Seattle
6. Maine
7. Antigua
8. Poland

8 Places I have lived...well, I've only lived in one...Woodstock, Il

If anyone wants to play along, go for it!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Falling Behind

My life usually doesn't feel too busy, but lately I can't keep up with anything. I have three weeks of laundry I need to do, and honestly, if I wasn't out of clean panties, I would probably be putting it off another week. My kitchen is a mess. The only reason my sink isn't overflowing with dishes is because The Bachman has decided to start taking things out of the sink and chewing them to a million pieces. Even though I mowed last week, my yard looks like a jungle and I have no idea when I'm gonna be able to mow. Oh, and I have a dining room table full of bills that I have to go through and start paying.

So, what have I been busy doing you ask?

Working. I picked up a couple extra shifts at the Animal Emergency clinic this week. On Tuesday and Friday I worked from 8am to midnight. Then on Thursday I spent the day at doctor's appointments. And I have a ton of stories from the week to share, I just can't get started on them yet because I really need to pay some attention to the previously mentioned laundry and then spend the rest of the day with my mom.

Hopefully tomorrow I'll be able to catch up a little!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Go Cubs Go

On Saturday I went to my first Cubs game of the season. Hot Husband and I took our friends JD and Sonic with us. We usually make it to about 5 games a year and this was probably the nicest day I have ever been at the ballpark. 70 degrees. Sunny. A very calm SW wind. Sort of unusual for early May at Wrigley Field.

Dos Equis Ambar is my favorite beer, but for some reason I absolutely love Old Style Light when I am at the ballpark. We all drank a lot, and because the Cubs beat the Marlins 6-1, we did a lot of cheering and chest bumping. Here is a picture of Hot Huband and I chest bumping at the Captain Morgan Club after the game.

And here is a group pic with JD and Sonic.

After 4 Old Style Lights, 1 bratwurst, 2 orders of nachos with peppers and 1 licorice rope, 1 win by the Cubs and approximately 65 chest bumps, I made it home just in time to pick up some beer and start all over with friends for the evening.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Three Things I Have Realized in the Past 24 Hours

1. I will never understand why men cannot clean up after themselves after they have compromised the integrity of a bathroom.

2. I have become one of those really sweaty guys in the free-weight section of the gym who grunts when he lifts. I like it and my new muscles.

3. I have learned to stop expecting to hear "thank you." I am genuinely surprised when people remember their manners.