Sunday, January 31, 2010

Semester Wrap-up


I am finally finishing up my finals... and doing a little catch-up work from the last few weeks. 

You see... online classes have this silly little concept of discussion boards.  I guess DB's are the schools way of allowing students to interact with the other students.  I think it's an online thing... or it could be a Grad school thing?  My hopes are that when I return to the real world (physical classrooms) I will not have to interact with my classmates via the virtual world. 

The problem is... I never interacted with my fellow students.  Well, not with course work... if it were boy related, or concert related, or where  and what everyone was doing on the weekend related... then I interacted, but not for class work.  Then again, it has been quite a while since I was in school.

Back to the point:

My school requires me (each week) to post a 2 page comment on an issue relating to our readings that week.  After I post my comment... I am required to respond to two of my classmates posts.  Ughh...

Why? I am paying the Professor to teach me, grade my work, and hopefully learn a little. It's odd to have my work criticized by other students and I do not feel I am qualified give an opinion on other student’s posts. And it's in the field of politics... so almost everything relates back to the war. So you can imagine the plethora of opinions and varying comments.

Usually, I post VERY late in the week (lick minutes from the deadline)... so everyone else has already posted and commented on others students. 
And the topics can be overwhelming when you have not properly read the material. 

If you think I am being over dramatic... as Harry accused me of early this morning... here's a taste of what my catch-up session looks like.

DB #1
Please write a 2 page essay comparing and contrasting the ideas of Francis Fukuyama (The End of History) with those of Thomas P. Barnett (with the “core-gap” model). It is possible to comment on Fukuyama’s focus on the democratic idea and on Barnett’s emphasis on rules-based societies.

After reading each of these articles – and ideally making reference to Kant's Perpetual Peace – please evaluate what each of these theories entails, especially for the United States in the international system

DB #2
Is the democratic peace - the concept which holds that democracies never or almost never go to war with one another -- a valid theory? Are there any possible exceptions? And just how interventionist are democracies in non-democracies, historically speaking?

DB # 3
The current era is defined by both forces of integration and disintegration. We see the creation of the European Union and the break-up of the former Soviet Union, the former Yugoslavia, and the former Czechoslovakia.

Looking at these and other cases, discuss whether what is occurring in fact is economic integration and political disintegration.

DB #6
In Federalist 10 and 51, Madison explains how a large polity and a representative framework remove the deleterious consequences of earlier (classical) attempts at republics, in that they "refine and enlarge public debate" and mitigate the adverse effects of "factions," or "sinister interests." Modern telecommunications have eroded some of Madison's arguments for large polities. Today factions can amass regardless of geographical distance -- the size of the polity is of no consequence. This, coupled with the factions under the guise of political action committees (PACs) and the devotion of modern representatives to opinion polls, undermine the political process as Madison intended it to work. Imagine yourself as Madison today. Briefly, reflecting back on your learning in this course, what one (1) change (if any, and why or why not) would you make to Federalist 10 and 51 as you consider anew the challenge of faction in relation to the Congress, the Presidency and the Bureaucracy?


These are just a few I am working on from earlier in the semester... I had 1 of these each week per class.  I have 2 classes.

I will graduate in May.
I will graduate in May.

(sorry.. it seems my posts here recently are consumed with House and School)



Saturday, January 30, 2010

Remodeling and exposure


Well well... the funky smell carpet is gone.   

We are back to the bare tile flooring.

Exposing all our flaws (asbestos) for the entire congregation to see.

We operated like this for over a year...back in the day, before carpet.  This Sunday we are going to move all the chairs back in.  Will try to get the sound equipment up and running... not sure what all has been damaged in the flood.

The word on the street is... we are receiving carpet first of next week (Navy time.. not sure how that translates to real time). Harry is ready to have everything squared away before his replacement Chaplain arrives on the 10th of February. That and he was embarrassed when he saw the religious paraphernalia side-by-side with the toilet when I posted those pictures last week. I am to inform everyone "that the crosses and other religious items are no longer in front, to the side, or anywhere near the toilet".... per Harry's orders.

So some reason.. the carpet is reminding me of myself right now.  A lovely new piece of carpet hides what's really seen underneath.

I have amped up the blog complaining lately... I think it's my defense mechanism for what's really going on inside...

I do not like change.  Leaving my friends and new found family is overwhelmingly terrifying.  I am not an open person in everyday life.  I am not one to talk to new people... not because of them, but because of me.  I prefer the quite corner and observe from afar.  It's not easy to take a two year relationship, have a few good-bye parties, and pack everything up, with kisses and hugs say farewell.... to only have contact via cheesy Christmas card exchanges. 

I guess that's Navy life.  Not sure if my stress level will make through Harry's career? 

Off to a new duty station....  The thoughts of starting over with new neighbors, new friends, new Chapel people... it scares me. It's the carpet thing again...

If everyone sees the nice new shiny carpet... everything will be okay.  BUT, if for some reason the carpet gets flooded and needs removing... will everyone like what's underneath. Or will my asbestos (short-comings, insecurities, flaws, etc) be exposed for all to see. 

I enjoy my friends here... they know me.  They have seen a little of what's underneath.  It's daunting to think of starting over with new relationships.  I guess I should think of it as adding to... not starting over. 



Thanks for sticking around while I figure all this out.  And I will try to curb the complaining down to a minimum. 



Friday, January 29, 2010

Home (Greece) Inspection


It's time for the pre-home inspection...

which means... the Housing Department from the base comes with our Land Lord to pre-inspect our humble abode. 

They peruse the premises to inspect for damage incurred by our habitating in his house.  The landlord (well we just simple to do like him) inspects with his evil eye... trying to scam as much money from us as he can.  As if he doesn't already every month when we pay double rent prices (Greek residence pay half of what we pay).

With clipboard in hand.... they enter the house.  They do not know... I have formulated a plan... to point out all the problems with the house caused by poor construction so they do not notice all our little minor everyday use wear and tear on the house (candle wax stains and damaged counter tops). 

I point out the leaking toilet. 

The mold in the kitchen.

The mold in the bathroom.

The front door that leaks every time it rains.

The mold forming around the door that leaks every time it rains. 

The window seals that leak every time it rains.

The mold growing around the windows that leak every time it rains. 

THIS IS starting to sound like a DR SEUSS book. 

Then we arrive at the fireplace. 

There is grave concern about the smoke damage, on the walls, from the fireplace, where the smoke billows in, from a poorly constructed chimney. 

The Housing Lady looks more than a little concerned.

She wants to know how and why this is happening.  I respond with a too answer.  I inform her that I have notified Housing and the landlord attempted to rectify the problem... only to do absolutely zero for our little smoke problem.

Huge patches of stained stucco line the walls and ceilings. 

Housing Lady speaks to the Landlord in Greek... so I have no clue what's being said.  She has a furrowed brow?

This is the before picture....

Before the Hansen's moved in and ruined the walls. 

Nice shiny and clean.

The Landlord wants to know if we opened the flue.  Ah, yeah... I think we know to open the flue. 


The problem occurs when we have a ragging fire... and along comes a gust of wind and sends smoke back.

Filling our house with a fine mist of soot.

We spent a long time with the smoke problem.

Then we moved on to the electrical problem...

We were given "proper" instruction on how to unplug an appliance... as if I yanked them all out of the walls on purpose.  I might by that... if it were not almost every outlet in the house. 

Here is the before the Hansen's defaced the Landlords house photo...

The crew finished up the house...

all in all... we have taken pretty good care of his house. 

The major problem the landlord had with our up keeping of his house was the patio outside. 

He found some rust stains on the tile.

Perfect circular rings all over the place. 

All over the place.

The rings are from our patio furniture..

that rusted...

from the constant rain...

all winter...

and improper construction....

of the patio....

where the rain water ...

does not drain off.

So there are MANY little circular rings... all over the patio.

Here's the before the Hansen's made rusty rings all over the Landlords patio photo...


We made it through the inspection, needing only minor repairs.  The final inspection might reveal more problems...? 

Anyone have any ideas how to remove rust stains from tile?


Chuck Norris


I yet to officially confirm this ... but supposedly the house just down the street from us (in Greece) was once Chuck Norris's house. 

It's a house he had built in the early 1990's.

The Chuck Norris house is situated on the cliff with an amazing view of the Mediterranean.  The house is equipped with swimming pool, tennis courts, basketball courts, and so many more things that I could see if the gate  ere not always closed!

This is also the house....

where Miss Peabody (when the gate is open) runs in and snags a chicken or two. And last time I had her (off the leash) she bolted through the gates.  All I saw was a fowl flora of winged creatures hovering above the fence line as Miss Pea parted the way. 

After minutes of yelling and arm flailing Miss P finally retreated out with something in her mouth.  She refused to stop for me (she knew she was in trouble).  A little piece down the street... I found what she had stolen from the Chuck Norris house.  A baby Peacock. 

Miss P is still in timeout.  And is never allowed within the vicinity of the Chuck Norris house without her leash securely around her neck. 



Thursday, January 28, 2010

Finals Week


Harry is upset with me. 

He thought I was working on my homework.... when in fact

I was blogging about Cabbage Patch Dolls.

I will do anything to avoid the 10 page Point Paper on Neo-imperialism in my International Relations Theory class.... or the 10 page Research Paper on the adverse effects of socialist policies on a capitalistic economy in my The Presidency, Congress and The Bueraucracy class. 

Seriously?  Is there any question why my mind wanders aimlessly into a cabbage patch?

I will find anything to break the monotony of all things Political Science at this point! 

I keep reminding myself:

I will graduate in May.
I will graduate in May.
I will graduate in May.
I will graduate in May....

if I finish these papers by Sunday midnight Eastern time.   I have 80 hours and counting to read about 600 pages of material and write 16 more pages!

I will graduate in May.
I will graduate in May.
I will graduate in May?

(I hope)



The Cabbage Patch


On our walk today... Miss Peabody and I (along with her boyfriend Vince) came across a cabbage patch.

I am surprised the sheep have not enjoyed a few heads of this leafy roughage.

Beautiful green head of cabbage .. row after row.

I had no clue... winter is cabbage season in Greece.

The large heads of lettuce... for some strange reason reminded me of me Cabbage Patch Kid Doll I had when I was a kid.

I was not a prissy little girl.  I did not play with dolls.  (My sister did, but I had zero desire to play house with dolls.... Maybe why Kasey has 2 kids and I have zero!) 

I cannot remember ever owning a doll, except for the cabbage patch kid one.  I asked my mother what I played with as a kid.. and she said paper, crayons, and markers.  She said I played outside a lot. 

I guess I was a Tom boy of sorts?  But never one to walk around and cuddle a baby doll. 

So I have no clue why the only doll I can ever remember owning pops into my head while walking past the cabbage patch field.  I even remember her name

Nessie Galethia. (such crazy names for those dolls)

What's even crazier...  the doll is still in my room at my parent's house.  I must not have played with her much... she is in excellent condition for a 25 year-old toddler.
Do you remember the name of your Cabbage Patch Kid?  (or am I the only crazy one)


Wednesday, January 27, 2010

House makeover


Let me introduce you to our house:

The traditional Colonial or Early American styles floor plans are normally rectangular in shape with two floors with exteriors of wood lap siding and often have columns and shutters. The inside floor plans of traditional Colonial style floor plans generally consist of a center hallways with large square rooms on each side and two additional rooms in the back.

Colonial homes often have chimneys on both ends of the house and commonly have gambrel or a barn roofs. The upper floors generally have 4 large rooms which follow a similar layout as the main level floor plan. Federal or Georgian style floor plans are often characterized by brick exteriors without front porches and often feature gables and decorative dentils. While Southern Colonial floor plans, often include heavy columns in the front of the home often with an upper balcony supported by a large covered front porch.

I cannot contain myself....

I have already started remodeling the house (in my head) and started a little online shopping (much to Harry's dismay).

First things first...

Get rid of the forest of plants surrounding the entryway.  I am not a plant person.  So I can remove them now... or wait a few weeks when I have killed them all. 

Better to give them away now!

Must repaint the hideous baby blue paint that trims the windows, railing and porch flooring....

thinking of a dark charcoal or even a black.

Repaint porch swing... Harry wants to keep it.

New lighting. 

Here are the items in my cart... waiting for check out.

It's a toss up between the Adirondack Rocker...

Or a few old fashion Southern Rocking chairs?

I like the Adirondacks, but the Southern rockers are more indicative of a 1920's house.

And for the lighting... I am going with the trendy large hanging pendant lanterns..

The excitement is growing...

This was NOT my first choice of house, but I have started to accept life without Westover and begin planning life in our traditional / colonial home.



Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Honey We're Home..


Well we are back in trying to get into our Souda Bay routine again.

We had such a magical trip (magical means: made every flight, luggage made it, and first class)... it is only typically for something to go wrong somewhere.

For starters:

The house is a mess... the house cleaner spent several hours trying to put our house back together!

But the Chapel is the kicker... it flooded last week.

And sopping wet carpet remained in place for over 9 days.  Not sure why... but it's been total chaos...

Not only does a puddle emerge around your shoe when you step on it, but it STINKS!  It reeks of mildewed wet carpet.  The Chapel and along the hallways of the building are disgusting!

Here are the contents of  Chapel... now in the Fellowship Hall area.

Harry's office is not so bad... other than he has gone Catholic (check out his new robes)

The other Chaplain's office has gone minimalist... (until the new carpet arrives and is in place).

And the kids room is now just a storage / junk room for everything else.

And the bathroom is the new confessional...

Check out the toilet just behind the cross...

It's nice to be home... we were hoping for an easy transitional out of here.  Oh well.

Good times at Souda Bay!



Monday, January 25, 2010

Monday's Matter-of-facts


1.  Jetlagged... more so than I think I have ever been before.  (splitting headaches from interrupted sleep patterns)

2.  Watched Shelock Holmes and loved it.  Watched (on the airplane) 2 documentaries Michael Jackson's This Is It and The September Issue and loved them both.  Simply amazing,  the amount of production that was going into MJ's final tour.  And I had no clue what it took to print the September issue of Vogue. 

3.  Still reading Alchemy of Murder.... and In the Web of Politics Three Decades of the US Federal Executive, Misreading the Public The Myth of a New Isolationism, World Political Systems, and last but not least... Friends and Foes: How Congress and the President Really Make Foreign Policy.  All very riveting!

4.  FINALS week.  Ergo the crazy reading list in #3.  Paper after paper is due... and I am only 2 weeks behind (too much house hunting and not enough schoolwork).

5.  House is taking 3 days, 100 Euros worth of wood, and 100 Euros worth of heating oil to make it livable again. 
6.  Dream shopping online for new house instead of school work. 

7.  Miss Peabody tangled it up with a alley cat.  She has a bloody nose, ear, and scratch marks all over her upper torso. 

8.  Kayne is not sure if he is going to stay in Greece or move back stateside when we go?!?

9.  House cleaner spent 4 1/2 hours cleaning house today... getting ready for tomorrow's inspection.  (Yes we made that much of a mess... crap junk everywhere).  Tipped her generously!

10. Car insurance company cancelled wrong car and we found out we were driving on a cancelled policy for the 10 days house hunting leave (from Florida to Virginia)... and the car here, which we sold, is still insured.  I have never seen Harry rude with folks on the phone... he must be jetlagged too.



Saturday, January 23, 2010

Last day of Leave (day 10)


We left on Friday and arrived home mid day Saturday. 

It was an interesting flight...

All flights on time.

First class from Atlanta to JFK (sat behind Scottie Pippen).

First Class to Athens.

Quick flight from Athens to the island. 

All baggage made it.

By mid-afternnon I walk into a freezing cold house.... wanting a bath, but must wait for the FREEZING cold water to warm up.

Harry went in search of a cheap monthly rental car (remember we sold my car... and have not bought a new one yet).

Then Harry went to take a sneak peek at the recently flooded Chapel.

All is well in the Hansen household.  Lots to do in the upcoming weeks.



Thursday, January 21, 2010

House Hunting Leave Day 9


Up early as we begin our journey back to Souda. 

I am going back to collect my bets from the Chapel folks.   

No we do not bet at NSA Souda Bay Chapel, but the congregation was betting that I did  not return with Harry... actually they thought I would never come back... that I would just stay here in the states (I do have a tendency to stay for long periods of time when I come to visit). 

I am tempted, but I would NEVER trust Harry with the pack out. Harry would have zero clue what stuff to pack express, what stuff to send the normal 3 month route, and what stuff to give away so we never have to see it again (that stack is growing).

Packed and ready... even with a huge dog crate... that's empty.
Traveling blessings,


House Hunting Leave Day 8


Still on house hunting leave.  Our flight is tomorrow morning.  Fort Walton Beach, FL to Atlanta, GA to JFK New York to Athens, Greece and finally to Chania, Greece.  Just over a 24 hour trip. Ughh. 

We need a few things... so I am off to make a supply run / shopping trip.  Harry does not say anything negative (he always does when it's shopping time)...  I think he feels guilty for being so mean spirited about Westover.     

Tonight we will spend time with the family, pack up, and mentally prepare ourselves for what comes next.... a move half-way across the world.  I am not sure if a days worth of shopping can alleviate all the stress.



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