Welcome to Rat Camp

Howdy Y'all!

I hope this can be a place for us all to share our ramblings. The curse of 'Giddiyup!' (and the modern lifestyle) has placed us all far from the old ranch house (aka. Rat Camp), but if you're like me your heart still resides there.
Com'on y'all, show us what you're made of!

Monday, August 25, 2008

ERIC'S Wedding

OH MY GOD!! Eric Congratulations!! I am so happy for you. I did not know that you got married. Way to Go! I will e-mail you later. Carolyn Lee

Mom & Andrew update

OK, here I am again. I had to call Jed to find out how to sign in.
Update on Mom & Andrew. First, Andrew. He is still at the VA and is in the SR. ward. He is up walking a bit. He likes the food, and knows me and his daughter Debbie, but still calls Mom his mother. Go figure. He called Mom last night wanting out of the place because the "people" are mean to him. They have him schedule to move into a nursing home after Labor Day. He needs at least 2 full time people to take care of him. Mom cannot do it alone.

Now for Mom. I took her to her surgeon on Friday. He was amazed and said because of her age, 77, he figured she would take at the bare minimum of 3 months to get back on her feet. She is up and walking with a cane and is looking forward to driving again in two weeks. She has a titanium hip and is showing everyone the picture that they give you to pass through the airport. She is quite pleased with that. She still scares me going up the stairs to her closet; but she promised she would not do it unless someone was there... so we will see.

It is still hot in AZ. 108 today. The rainy season has not been much at our place, but overall Phx is up 3.55 inches for this year alone which is good.

Casey is back from Germany and is in Tucson. Jed and Tracey are in Flagstaff and I know you probably already know BUT I am going to be a GRANNY!!! I am so excited!!

That's the news from AZ. Now that I know my password again, I will try to post more often..Auntie Carol :) Love to you all, Carolyn Lee

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Another addition to the family next February

I received the following message today from Kimberly and I asked her if I could post it here and she said sure. So, here it is:

"It is with great pleasure that we share with you, ourfamily and friends, that we are expecting again. We have reached the significant mark of 12 weeks and therefore we thought this would be a great time to share the news with all of you. While we do not knowyet if we will be having a boy or girl, we did get confirmation of a very strong heartbeat and active baby growing inside at today's doctor's appointment. Dylan is very excited about the baby inside mommy's tummy and about becoming a big brother. We expect our newest family member to join us somewhere around February 22nd of 2009. We look forward to sharing more excited news with all of you as we know more. Love you all!!! Eric, Kimberly & Dylan "

We're OK here in the Land of Enchantment! Hope all are well! Love, AC

Friday, August 8, 2008

Photo's of Brad's Homecoming Ceremony

Hi everyone! Well, maybe I have finally figured this out...was simple...don't know why it didn't work (or I couldn't get it to work) before. Now the next step is to figure out how to add a picture or two...so, hopefully I'll be able to do that! I hope to add some photos from Brad's homecoming ceremony from Iraq, on Monday, July 28!

Love to you all!!!! JOYCE aka JOYCE ANN
HA! Well...I did it...I hope anyway! The top two pictures are of Brad holding the company flag...called a "Guide". He was the bearer when they departed as well as on their return...more weight for him to carry all the time! You would not believe how much all of their gear weighs!
The lower photo is, of course, Craig and I with Brad! We brought him some smoked salmon from Oregon and a T-shirt from a favorite place here on the coast...the Beach Dog Cafe!!!! We are all very glad to have him and his company home safely!
Brad has now left on leave...he is in LA to visit Dave and Jeff this weekend. Then he'll fly up to Portland on Monday 8/11 to come home for a while....then it will be back to Ft. Campbell and on with his life!
Take care everyone!!!! Love...JOYCE

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Brad's Home Safe

Joyce and I want to thank you all for keeping Brad in your thoughts and prayers (and for the care packages) over the past 9 months. Brad returned to Ft. Campbell a week ago. Joyce and I were there to greet him when he arrived.
He, individually, and his unit performed with distinction. Apparently, his unit has a long history of distinguished service. They were called to deploy unexpectedly when another company could not prepare in time. They completed 4 months of training and preparation in 40 days. While at Camp Taji Air Base (the busiest helicopter base in the middle east), the unit directed 60,000+ flights without mishap. His senior officer and NCO received Bronze Stars, Brad and one other received Army Commendation Medals.
Despite being ATC trained, Brad's role there was more administrative but still mission-critical. He functioned as the supply sergeant and company administrator (it's a long story). He had no training for either role, but learned them OJT with 12 to 14 hour days. Kids with great computer skills, smarts and a sense of responsibility are still at a premium in the service. Most of Brad's fellow soldiers were sequestered on the air base. Brad was assigned some responsibilities that got him into Baghdad, Kuwait, Qatar, and other locations in Iraq. Not all of these were unpleasant.
Most of the time, Brad was relatively safe. But not always. The air base was a target for random mortar attacks. Brad had one or two close calls, but always had his battle gear on and was uninjured. Aside from that, and one other incident (the kind that parents are better off not knowing about), he was out of harm's way. Perhaps the worst part of his tour was having to endure extreme weather conditions (temps peaked at 138 degrees, sand storms, etc.) and no beer.
Now that he's back, he has to complete his re-integration program (a euphemism for no drinking for several days), then flies to LA to visit his brothers (a euphemism for much drinking in several days). He will be home with us next week for 10 days (a euphemism for moderate drinking).
Brad's immediate future in the military presents several options. He is deliberating over those and will decide what he wants to do over the course of the next several months. He still has over two years left on this enlistment and is considering a re-enlistment.
Again, we all appreciate your support of our son. It means a lot. Things are different now compared to the Viet Nam era. We took Brad and a couple of his buddies out for dinner last week at one of those Japanese steak houses. Four others shared our grill station and struck up conversations with the guys. They were fascinated by the stories from Iraq. When dinner was over, I went to pay the bill only to discover that one of the other gentlemen had picked up the whole tab (not an insignificant amount). Our bill came back with "Thank you for your service. Y'all are taken care of." scrawled on it. Military service is still largely a thankless task, but gestures like these and the support you have given our son help a great deal.
Love to you all.
Craig and Joyce