A Right of Exclusive Sale

I’m one of those Monopoly lovers. I think you can find one in every family. The kid who gets all excited at the mention of Monopoly even though the rest of the family is groaning. Yup, that was me! Whether or not you like the game as much as I do, I’m going to assume that you’ve played it. At least once.

You know that feeling of horror that builds as you see one person gain control of more and more properties? There he goes, controlling at first just a few, but then half, or more than half, of the board. And you know that after you round the next corner, your best bet will be to land on “Go Directly to Jail” just to make it safely through another turn… Meanwhile he (the monopolist) is over there smirking and rubbing his hands together in anticipation, twirling the ends of his handlebar mustache.

Monopolies are scary business!

Walmart. Need I say more?

Here’s what will really scare me: Walmart, Google, and Facebook combining into one company. Walooglebook. Enough to make me run and hide!

What do you think? Do you fear a breakdown of our system of competitive pricing and free trade, as I sometimes do?


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Five for Friday XVI

Previous Fridays

1. I love when you hold doors open for my Gramma.

2. I love that you found Dragon Age: Origins just for me!

3. I love your brilliance, even though it means you usually win.

4. I love you making me breakfast, especially when it involves French toast, eggs, and/or bacon.

5. I love watching you with kids.


Block Leave

What it is – What it do!

Leave, in the Army, is taking time off from work. Basically, it’s vacation time. You save it up and then spend it, similar to how you save and spend vacation hours at a civilian job.

Block leave is a block of time usually several weeks long when the whole unit takes leave at the same time. Block leave is usually given around holidays such as Christmas and before and after deployments. It’s supposed to be optional (after all, you’re “paying” for those days with your “vacation hours”), but usually soldiers are all but forced to take block leave because, if they don’t, the officers in charge have to come up with work for them to do and people to supervise them.

Pre-Deployment Block Leave

It has been going well for us so far! Hubby and I took a short vacation that included a lot of time in the sun. Two all-day trips to amusement parks and a day and a half at the beach! Hard to decide which part was my favorite! I think Hubby’s favorite was Six Flags Fiesta Texas, and I do have to admit that was quite a fun day. We rode the Poltergeist at least three, maybe four, times. That is my new favorite rollercoaster!

The beach was, of course, lovely. The only downside was getting stung by a jellyfish for the first time. I couldn’t believe how many jellyfish were in the water! I’d never seen anything like it! Sea World was fun, too. The sea lion show was my favorite part of that day.

I was somehow able to make it through the whole trip with very minimal burns. Hubby got to worst of the sun, but he has a nice tan to show for it now. Finally his torso skin color matches the color on his hands and neck! (Silly Army tans are even worse than farmer tans.)

To sum things up, here are some pictures from the trip!


block leave packingblock leave coaster

  block leave sea worldblock leave 004

block leave 027

Friday Fill-In #7

Several blogs I read are participating in this weekly meme that was created by Wife of a Sailor. She has a linky to all the blogs that are participating, so if you’re interested, head on over there!

MilSpouse Friday Fill-In

1. What is something you wished you’d learned to do earlier in life?

I wish that I had learned to make daily exercise a habit when I was younger. I never really exercised as a kid or teen. Now, I’m trying to do it, and it never seems to stick. I have to fight myself every step of the way because I’m just so un-used to it. This is one thing that, when I become a mother, I really want to help my children learn early on. Be active every day!

2. What is your biggest pet peeve with the military?

I just hate the disorganization. You’d thing the MILITARY, of all things, would be the most organized unit. Our country needs the military, right? We need them to be able to take care of certain things – quickly and efficiently. Argh! If I were running things, by golly, they would be running much more smoothly. Communication, people! Seriously!

3. What tourist attraction near you have you never seen?

Hrm, I don’t know! I haven’t seen the museums on post, for one thing. Does that count? There aren’t really any tourist attractions in central Texas – that I know of!

4. What are you avoiding doing right now?

I’m avoiding my habit of worrying. My hubby and I are leaving on vacation in a matter of hours, and we’re not finished packing, he’s still at work, and I’m due at the doctor’s office in 10 minutes! Hubby is supposed to be picking me up. So, rather than stress about that, I’m using the spare minutes to update the ol’ blog.

5. Wine, beer, or liquor?

I’m very picky about my wines. If I can find one that basically doesn’t taste alcoholic at all, I’ll take wine over anything else. But otherwise, shots are the way to go. Get it over with. 😛

Five for Friday XV

Previous Fridays

1. I love you for saving me from a billion crickets every day! You’re my hero!

2. I love you for taking turns cleaning the litter box.

3. I love when you help me cook by chopping the chicken/veggies/whatever.

4. I love playing Ragnarok with you.

5. I love your non-scrawny-ness.


How Real is Army Wives?

I started watching Army Wives while my husband was at JRTC. I’d heard a lot of good things about it, and several friends of mine regularly watch and enjoy the show. But Hubby…he’d seen bits and pieces before and had decided that he didn’t like it, so I knew I needed a chance to watch it alone. A show just for me. I finally got that chance when he was gone for a month.

The Differences

So, he left, and I watched…and watched, and watched. I watched all 3 (complete) seasons of Army Wives within the first 2-3 weeks of JRTC, and I was sad that there wasn’t more to rent from Netlix. The first episode caught my attention right off the bat. Within the first 10 minutes, a soldier proposes to a girl he’s known for only a couple days. Hey, I thought to myself, I know a couple like that. I knew I’d be able to relate to the show… and that incident was just one of the commonalities I’ve found between the show and the real thing.

However, there are a lot of differences, too. If you’ve watched the show but never really been part of the Army life, you may not be aware of these:

1. FRGs – Army Wives implies that there is one FRG per post, and the woman in charge is the wife of the highest-ranking soldier – or something like that. This is not the case. FRGs are normally organized at a company level. If, for instance, there are 2 divisions on post, you’ll have about 3 brigades, 9 battalions, and 45 companies, which would mean 45  different family readiness groups. These aren’t exact numbers, but you get the idea. And these are not always headed up by the company commander’s wife, though from my understanding that’s not uncommon. I can’t speak for how FRGs in general tend to work as I’ve only been a part of one, but I can give you a little peek inside ours, and maybe some other wives can chime in with how their FRG has worked or not worked in the comments. 🙂

  • Meetings once a month include all families in the company, not just a select few.
    Our FRG meets once a month. Generally speaking, one member of each married couple in the unit is required to attend. If my husband can’t make it to the meeting and I don’t go in his stead, they can scold and/or punish him for it. Sometimes, to encourage soldiers to go to the meetings, they have been known to give them a day off from PT. Sometimes, they bribe us with food… 😀 Basically, the FRG meetings are supposed to include all married soldiers and spouses.
  • Meetings cover upcoming events and training schedules.
    Usually, the company commander or another officer goes over the schedule for the upcoming month. They’ll tell us when our soldiers are supposed to be working late, working normal shifts, or getting days off. (It’s a nice little fantasy they have since nothing ever goes according to plan.) Then, the meeting is turned over to the FRG leader, who goes over upcoming events and fundraisers, talks about how they need volunteers, et cetera. If we’re lucky, the meeting ends there and we can either eat, if they’ve brought pizza, or go home.
  • Women either try to be involved or try to stay out of it.
    In our company, I seem to see two groups of women: The “FRG Ladies” and the we-don’t-do-that-stuff Ladies. It’s a kind of strange division. I haven’t figured it out completely yet.
  • The purpose is to provide information, not take care of individuals.
    Unlike on the show Army Wives, our FRG does not organize things such as taking care of new mothers and newly widowed women. That is the job of another organization (they mentioned it recently, but I can’t recall the name of that organization). The FRG is here to make sure the families are at least as up to date as possible on the unit’s schedule – be it training schedule or deployment schedule. They relay information from the company to the families. And their secondary purpose is to provide some companionship for the ladies when the men are gone. For example, when the boys were at JRTC, our FRG meeting was held at the bowling alley. Fun! I will definitely appreciate that aspect of our FRG more once the men deploy.

2. Deployments – They are a little different, too. Yes, you can be deployed unexpectedly. But, generally speaking, you’re going to know when it’s coming. Units deploy on a schedule, so you know that if they got back at this time of year, they’re going to be deploying about the same time a year from now, unless something unexpected comes up. We’ve known that Hubby was going to be deploying this fall ever since, well, last fall. We didn’t know exactly when, but it’s not like on Army Wives where they call you up out of the blue and say, hey, you’ve leaving in 3 days. And I’m very glad it’s not like that.

3. Station – For for the rest, a lot is unfamiliar to me because the show revolves around officers and one NCO. Keep in mind that there are a lot more enlisted in the Army than officers. A lot more. (One website I checked claimed the enlisted to officer ratio is 6:1.) It didn’t fit in to the show for them to include these families – perhaps because it’s harder to show a realistic friendship between a group of wives that diverse. But there are a lot privates, privates first class, and specialists in the army who are married and who live the army life just like the rest… only different. They have less control, less stability, fewer expectations placed on them. Does anyone else feel like the show is a little TOO centered around officers?

I Love It!

As for the drama in the show, well… a show’s gotta have drama. That’s what makes it interesting and intriguing to watch! The writers/producers are trying to pick up on all the stresses that can and will happen in Army life and concentrate them on one small (very small) group of people. I think they do a grand job of it. Hopefully most of us don’t have to go through ALL of these things, but we’ll know people or know of people that do.

I can relate to Army Wives even if it doesn’t exactly represent the Army Wife Life I live on a day-to-day basis. And for that, I love it!


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