Archive for the ‘Military’ category

Be Stronger Than Your Excuses

November 22, 2015


Yesterday I posted a gym rant about focus. It seems that today I’ll be forced to eat my words. I have to admit that today was the first day in a really long time that my focus was a broken. Don’t get me wrong, I still put in a killer chest workout, but there was a guy in there that distracted me a little bit. It was a good distraction. This was actually worthy of my time and thoughts, because it wasn’t a shallow guy parading around in tiny shorts or a vain woman with her ass in the air.

Today was the first time I have ever seen a person with one arm working out. At first I had to give him a double or maybe even a triple take. He was on the other side of the gym being trained by a guy who looked like his twin brother. They were also working chest. By the time I was hitting my finishers, the duo had made their way to my side of the gym. There he was… sweating and pushing a 90 pound dumbbell with one arm. I stopped to watch. 

I took the time to say a few words to him which I rarely do. “No excuses,” I said and he quickly responded, “nope. None!” I told him, “good job. That’s awesome!” He thanked me. It seemed like he liked hearing that. He was really working. His will and courage was beautiful. I worked hard on the cable crossovers, but my mind worked even harder. All of the sudden I felt very guilty because I had two arms. It somehow seemed unfair. Maybe it was because I was sure he lost that arm upholding my freedom.

Several thoughts ran through my mind… How does he feel in the gym? If they are twins, they must have an unexplainable connection like my brother and sister which is why his brother is helping him regain both mental and physical strength. Why do I take my body for granted? Where did this happen to him? Was he born this way? Was it a bomb? What happened to him? I almost asked him, but I realized he comes here like me… to be nothing but strong and shut that other world out.   

He was a young, decent looking guy with one arm and heart so bright it burned. I give respect to people like him because he deserves it. It is people like him who are true champions… all bodybuilding competitions aside. He deserved the 2015 Mr. Olympia trophy. I’m sure he was a veteran. I wanted to thank him for his service, but I didn’t. For about half an hour, I felt really sorry for him. I felt sorry for him until I realized that he has more strength and power than I will ever have no matter how hard I train.

Read about other
heroes I respect:

When We Are Disfigured

A Lady, A Hero and Hooks


May 25, 2015

Thanks for the great thank you G!! 🙂

Rethinking Life







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Kissing statue, San Diego

March 27, 2015

I love this sculpture by Seward Johnson. An amazing artist captured this moment between a sailor and nurse after WWII. I can only imagine what this man was “feeling” when he swept this woman up in his arms in real life. It’s part of Johnson’s Unconditional Surrender series. Feelings are so powerful. ~~~F

Pursuit of Life


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Bitter Sweet Belladonna

November 12, 2014

I have uploaded a new and improved theme and gravatar for my web site. The new site design features my Poison Ivy cosplay and a quote from Ambrose Bierce… “Belladonna, n.: In Italian a beautiful lady; in English a deadly poison. A striking example of the essential identity of the two tongues.” Awesome!!

You have to like the works of “Bitter Bierce” right? His satire is remarkable! He was an American military man. Later, he was an editor and journalist who also wrote short stories. He was known for his “nothing matters” motto. Ironically, as a writer, I’m sure everything in his world mattered. A look at his writing will reveal that he was hurt by someone he loved.

Bierce would have liked the comic book character Poison Ivy. Unfortunately, she was birthed with ink in 1966, over 50 years after Bierce was last seen somewhere in Chihuahua in 1914. Poison Ivy is a fictional, toxic woman he would have appreciated.
“You’re dead and buried, darling. Sorry love. You’re plucked.”

••••~Poison Ivy’s game over lines from Batman: Arkham Asylum 🎮


November 11, 2014

I am thankful for all the servicemen and women of the United States of America. I thank my cousin Justin who is currently deployed in Iraq. I also thank: my brother, Brian; my cousin, Melanie and her husband, Shane; my cousin, Jonathan (KIA); my cousin, Bobby (MIA); my uncles, James, Clarence, and Nelson; my grandfathers, Phil and Gilbert; Feliciano and Mike; my friends, Betsy and John; and all the military wives, husbands, and other people who provide support for those who have serviced or continue to service our country.  ~~~Sincerely

••See my military posts here.
••See my veteran posts here
••See a USSS post here.
••See other posts about the veterans in my family here.
••See my post about New Mexico’s Project Healing Waters here.


foto friday: {san diego} the kiss

October 10, 2014

Love it!!!

Chasing 405

September 20, 2014

Awesome….inspirational post Ashton!! Keep chasing…one day, it will not be a dream anymore!!

Learning About Cathouses

May 4, 2014


*****From left to right: Laura Gonzales and Felicia Lujan~ NMHU campus~ and images of Laura’s slides.*****

On May 2, I attended the 2014 New Mexico History Conference. I had a good day and had the chance to network with many interesting people. The conference was in Las Vegas, New Mexico. This is a beautiful, quaint little town with a rich history. The sessions, a book fair and lunch were held on the campus of New Mexico Highlands University.

The best session I attended was “Women, Wives and Weapons: Everyday Realities of Life.” The session was comprised of two presentations which were complete opposites. The second was about “pious and submissive” army wives, but I preferred the first which was about the cats that scratched service men. I don’t believe in piety. I took a photo with Laura Gonzales who presented “Caves, Cribs and Cathouses: How Frontier Prostitution Helped Build the West.” Gonzales presented a flawless and extremely interesting paper.

This presentation explored the topic of “prostitution in frontier communities during the 19th century with special attention to prostitution in and around Fort Union.” My maternal line hails from Mora, so this particular fort plays a prominent role in my family history. Gonzales called these women the “scantily clad daisies of the frontier,” and she talked about the women of bordellos, brothels, dance halls and the streets. I loved the photos she used in her slides. Her presentation highlighted the social hierarchy of “crib walkers” and “street women.”

Through her research, Gonzales discovered that these women “enjoyed mobility” afforded to them by working in military posts and mining camps. Many have found that Fort Union was “the hub” of prostitution at that time. Some of this was due to “the scarcity of women.” She called the women available to military men “shady ladies” and “soiled doves.” Gonzales said that many “legitimately employed laundresses” were also “engaging in prostitution.” Seeing several blueprints of these forts indeed confirms that the laundress quarters were often directly across from those of commanding officers. Coincidence? I think not.

I found Laura’s presentation much more intriguing than “Trials and Triumphs on the Western Frontier: Army Officers’ Wives 1850-1890” by Mary Ann Kerstetter and Martha McCaffrey. Though the army wives presentation was interesting, it was a stark contrast to that of Gonzales. I felt that her presentation was much closer to reality. I complimented her for a great job. I like it when people break out of the historical box! She called her presentation “risqué,” which I loved!!

If a scholar, historian or genealogist can keep me thinking when I leave that room, I’m always impressed. I came away thinking…some people just like to think that they are “pious.” It makes them feel better about being a flawed human I guess? With enough practice, men and women get good at hiding the shade and smiling a pious smile because nobody is pristine…not even a white dove!!!


*****From left to right: Charlie’s Spic and Span~ (Oh yeah) I met Charlie~ delish looking sweets (no I didn’t eat any)~ Our Lady of Sorrows Church~ Kermit Hill and company.*****

Anthony Mackie Says Captain America: Winter Soldier Kicks Ass

October 5, 2013

Can’t wait!!!!”

Mystique and JFK

May 25, 2013
• Inside the Kennedy Mystique by Chris Matthews (Smithsonian Collector's Edition~ Summer 2013) •

• Inside the Kennedy Mystique by Chris Matthews (Smithsonian Collector’s Edition~ Summer 2013) •

Today I picked up JFK: The Ultimate Guide. The magazine is the newest Smithsonian Collector’s Edition (Summer 2013) and features 14 articles about John F. Kennedy. It was kind of expensive, but it will be a good one to save in my personal collection.

Tonight I read the introduction by Chris Matthews of MSNBC and NBC. This piece is titled “Inside the Kennedy Mystique.” I like JFK as an icon/symbol of several things, but I didn’t know that “Kennedy was a dead-serious student of history.” Really?!? At age 14 he read about WWI in The World Crisis by Winston Churchill. At age 14? I have to say that the Matthews piece alone has already made me like JFK even more. I can’t wait to read the rest of the magazine. I will write about each article I like after I read them over the next few weeks.

In the Matthew’s introduction, I learned that JFK’s father believed that his son was too shy to have a successful political career. As it turned out, “the politician would prove to be charming beyond both expectation and belief…” and that “charm made him almost irresistibly attractive to men as well as to women. It also helped him keep people at a distance.” Sounds true, and I may have known that already? Who knew an introvert could be so charming?

I have read about JFK over the last few years, but I never knew that he was very sick as a child? I was surprised to learn that he kept his medical conditions and pain secret in order to serve in the Navy during WWII. He also stayed quiet about this through his political career and while he was President of the United States of America. Kennedy had scarlet fever when he was a boy, he thought he had leukemia when he was a teenager, he had Addison’s disease and his back was very bad. The Catholic Church administered the Last Rites to JFK four times! Wow… Something I didn’t know? Matthews says that “as president, he took a half-dozen shots of painkillers a day simply to function.” He often used crutches, tried not to pick up his children, and had to be lifted into Air Force One with a forklift. Really?

I guess any politician must surround him or herself with intellectuals in order to be successful. It takes so many different kinds of people and perspectives to insure an accomplished career, in turn leaving a solid legacy. The other thing that stood out to me in the Matthew’s introduction was that JFK called his political speech writer, Ted Sorensen his “intellectual blood bank.” I absolutely love that term of endearment!

Anyhow~ I look forward to reading the other articles featured in the Smithsonian publication. I’m sure I will learn other interesting things that I didn’t know about my most favorite intriguing man. He is indeed a historical icon enveloped by mystique.

First Lady to Attend Signing of Md. Veterans Bill

April 15, 2013

Courageousness and the Asiatic Pacific Theater

April 6, 2013

Last week I helped someone who was doing research for the Names Project. The project honors “New Mexico’s 200th and 515th Coast Artillery (Anti-aircraft) units” which “served with bravery” and sacrifice “in the defense of Luzon, Bataan and Corregidor” during World War II. There was a memorial held in Albuquerque today to honor these brave champions. It was interesting that the very same day I helped that man,  I had an email come in through a list serve about the historical preservation efforts taking place with the Library of Congress.

It makes me sad to think that I never had a chance to meet or speak with my maternal grandfather about his service in the Asiatic Pacific Theater during WWII. I have so many questions I wish I could ask. I wonder what he was feeling when he left the United States on a ship of nervous men headed to the Far East? My grandpa Phil entered the service less than a year after the Fall of the Philippines in 1942. I wonder if he was scared leaving his family behind knowing that close to 2,000 New Mexico soldiers had been forced by the Japanese to march over 60 miles when the Philippines went down? I think he arrived in Manilla, but I need to confirm that. His arrival to the Far East came in 1945, just a few months before the Assault on Luzon (codename S~Day). I am not sure if he was part of that, but I need to find out.
180 meridian

The sacrifices that our soldiers make leave me in awe. It must be mentally taxing to leave your homeland not knowing if you will return. This month I will take time to remember the soldiers who sacrificed for us during the Asiatic Pacific Theater of World War II. Thank you to my grandpa Phil~ the grandpa I never had the chance to meet. He passed away right before I was born.

Timeline of Asiatic Pacific Theater of Operations of World War II
1939~1945~ World War II
1941~1946~ Asiatic Pacific Theater
1941~ December~ Japanese Attacked Pearl Harbor and two sites near Manila, Philippines
1941~1942~ Philippines Campaign (Bataan Peninsula)

1942~ January~ Battle of Bataan Begins (15,000 captured and interned)
1942~ April~ Fall of the Philippines/Bataan Death March
1942~ December~ Date of Induction~ Phil Garcia
1945~ February and March~ Smallpox/Typhoid/Tetanus Immunizations~ Phil Garcia
1945~ August~ Date of Departure~ Asiatic Pacific Theater~ Phil Garcia
1945~ September~Date of Arrival~ Asiatic Pacific Theater~ Phil Garcia

1945~ January~ Assault on Luzon (codename S~Day)
1946~ February~ Phil Garcia crossed the 180º Meridian toward the USA
1946~ February~ Date of Separation~ Phil Garcia

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