Saturday, February 23, 2008

Five...Or Six...Off-The-Wall Things About Me

Over on her blog, Erica Orloff asked us all to list five “weird” things about ourselves, or more accurately, off-the-wall stuff. Ok, so my first one may not be a great revelation in terms of the knowledge of my military background, but the rest may be.

I’ll always be a soldier…and I have lots of experiences from “special missions” in Thailand, Egypt, and Sinai when I was a lieutenant, to commanding a tank company in 1st Squadron, 2d Armored Cavalry Regiment in Germany during the Cold War. This involved patrolling the East German and Czech borders of West Germany. I fought in Desert Storm and commanded a Cavalry Troop at Fort Riley after Desert Storm. Retired in 1995, but returned to working for the Army in 2002 as a training developer and training team chief. I still work with the Army when I’m not writing…currently working on two projects of which I can say nothing further. I was “blown up” and wounded by an IED in Iraq in 2004.

I do genealogy research as a major hobby. My own family tree has over 7,900 individuals going back as far as the 400’s C.E. Admittedly the documentation is tenuous once you get to around 1400 for those particular relations. However, the genealogy DNA test confirmed a link to Niall of the Nine Hostages, the Irish king who kidnapped Saint Patrick from Britain and brought him to Ireland…the rest is, as they say, history.

I was on the equestrian team at West Point and twice competed in the Intercollegiate Equestrian Team Championships placing 7th and 9th overall in the Three Day Event (Dressage, Cross-Country Jumping, and Stadium Jumping). I’ve been on numerous fox hunts here and in the UK and Ireland (before they banned them in the UK).

Between retiring from the Army and today, I have also been a computer geek doing programming, data base design, system analysis, web design, business analysis and computer training – none of which are as exhilarating as being shot at.

I am a traveler. I have been to all 48 contiguous states, Mexico, Costa Rica, Honduras, the Canadian Provinces of British Columbia, Manitoba, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, and Nova Scotia. I’ve been to Thailand, Hong Kong, Singapore, Australia, Korea, Japan, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, The Emirates, Bahrain, Iraq, Egypt, Lebanon, Croatia, Bosnia, Greece, Crete, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, France, Holland, Luxemburg, Belgium, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Spain, Portugal, England, Scotland, Ireland and Iceland. I’m angling for a trip to Afghanistan on a contract for the Army…just missed the chance a year ago. I still have not made it to Wales, but plan to within the next five years or so. My favorite places outside the US are Scotland and Ireland.

I’ll list a sixth thing for giggles. I’m a foodaholic. That is to say, I love food…good food. Sort of like the rat in the movie “Ratatouille”. I’m not talkin’ hot dogs or hamburgers here, though I will eat those too. I like preparing it as much as eating it and I’m a better cook than my mother, grandmother(s), mother-in-law, either wife (yes, one wife is an “ex”), or any of my three sisters. I concede fancy cakes and pastries, but the main meal…that’s my specialty...I’m an above-average saucier. I love just about any ethnic food. One of my greatest regrets in life is that I won’t live long enough to try everything there is to eat.


Erica Orloff said...

THANK YOU for sharing. And that is very cool about the West Point thing . . . if I never need to get my facts straight for a character like that . . . I know who to email.

Ello said...

This was absolutely fascinating! I am extremely jealous of your travelling adventures and also am a fellow foodie. I think this is why I adore Anthony Bourdain and his show No Reservations. Because he gets to travel all over the world and show us all this great food from places we would probably never get to. I am a foodie as opposed to a gourmand because it isn't about fine dining with me, although I do love a fancy dinner once in awhile. For me, it is about finding the authentic hole in the wall type ethnic eating experiences. That's usually where you find the best food anyway. I'm a good cook, but am also lazy - which is a bad combination. I dont cook as often as my husband wants, but when I do, it is usually terrific.

And West Point? When I was young, I wanted to go there. Course when I was young, girls were not allowed in yet. When I was young, I wished I was a boy and could go to West Point. Now girls are allowed in which I think is really cool.

J. L. Krueger said...


I was in the last all male class, Class of '79. At first I was hostile to the idea of women at West Point, but then several women in the Class of '80 became my girlfriends. One of my former girlfriends from that class is currently a Brigadier General and deployed to Iraq. She's probably the only former girlfriend for whom my wife displays jealousy...they both have the same first name, but the "other" Deborah shares something that my wife can't...she's also a soldier.