Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Vacation Hangover, and 2011

I have nothing of note to report, besides how shitty it is to come back after vacation. Im pretty sure vacation is supposed to leave you well rested and super happy to return to your job and/or real life, but sometimes it just makes you realize that youve sort of got the shit end of the stick rocking in real life ...

Okay, this only applies to the weather. But still, its difficult to go from 6 days of sunshine to flood conditions. Washington is lucky its pretty attractive in the summer or no one would sleep with it.

So we saw Mickey, we didnt die on the plane ride either way (though ... it was close. And by close I mean that we didnt get hurt, or even encounter that much turbulence, but every time I get on a plane and it doesnt crash it feels like I have emerged victorious in cheating death once again ....)

In related news,  every time Allen swears is the last time he flies with me .....

We got some sun, spent some time with our (soon to be) teenager (moms of toddlers? Enjoy the time of no testosterone mood swings .....), and got to actually have a conversation without some sort of work related emergency/exhaustion preventing us from doing so.

It took us about 12 hours back at Fort Lewis to decide that 2011 must be the year of the PCS, no matter what the cost, and hopefully we can get the Army to cooperate.

Ill wait while you laugh.

There is genuinely nothing wrong with Fort Lewis. Weve loved our time here (over  3 years now) and Im so grateful that weve had the chance to come here. But weve also spent our fair share of time away from our family and friends ... so now wed love to try a few years within driving distance of those that we love most. Things are great here, but after 3 years we are still sort of confused by the way life is run. So its time to go back to where things make a little more sense, and also where I can get Natural Light in a keg.

The one thing that I am devastated to leave behind is my job. Yesterday I got word of some media attention that may be coming our way for the changes weve made to the BECCA program in Pierce County. I know I have put my blood and sweat into this program, changing not just the thinking of my co-workers but my own philosophy as well. I have to credit my boss and the DAC counsel for not only giving me more control than any paralegal ever, but teaching me everything they know along the way. Its been a fun and challenging time to see a total focus shift in a program that was punishment based, not rehabilitative based. We are working closely with our kids, we are finding root causes and making plans accordingly, we arent throwing kids in detention without  first giving them a chance to solve the problem .... and so much more. Its still in its beginning stages, and its a slow move from years of doing it differently, but its exciting just the same. I can only pray that Ill find a job I like 1/4 as much when we leave.

My boss says that I should at LEAST take the LSAT and then go from there. Who knows ... maybe that law school dream I thought I gave up a long time ago could still come true.

In last news, I did turn 27. Its a pretty boring birthday - but I dont mind this getting older thing. Ive got some wrinkles and I cant drink like I used to, but Im secure, self aware, and (best of all) stable in my finances and my marriage. Also, I make more time for enrichment and less time to entertain others insecurities.

Ladies, dont let anyone tell you that loving yourself is "stuck up" or "rude". You dont have to think you're better than other people, but there is nothing wrong with being your biggest fan. In fact, if you arent, then something is missing. It feels good to not only know who you are, but love who you are.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Day #23: A picture of one of your biggest accomplishments. Day #24: A picture of your car.

Day 23: Here's where Im supposed to put something like "my degree", "my job", or "being a parent". But Im not. Because I see every day what skills it takes to do all of the above. So Im proud of something that is less common, and that is having a good marriage.

(Our last picture before we became Mr. and Mrs.)

Its not a marriage that is so perfect its good: We fight like cats and dogs sometimes. We make mistakes. We want to kick each others asses. 
Its not a marriage that is good on Facebook: If I post something, I mean it. I dont have to exaggerate what it is.
Its not a marriage that is good because I need him, or vice versa: Were both strong, independent people.

It just is good because we work at it every day. We love. We forgive. We appreciate. And genuinely, life is good.

Day 24:

Theres the car. Apparently it looks like its from 1985, but its not :D

WLC Limbo

Im bored with the photo of the day thing. Its like ... heres another picture! Bet you didnt see that coming!

Im up at this unGodly hour for two reasons:

1) Its WLC time in my house. Everyone is all "thank God he comes home at night!", but I honestly dont feel that way. I suppose as a military spouse I should be grateful for every time we sleep next to one another ...  but shit, Ill say it, this is hard.

No matter how long you are apart, someone will always say "When *WE* did WLC we had to be apart for 45 days, no phone (uphill .... in the snow ..... forEVER .... yes. I get it. You are tough.). And I'm not trying to say "We have it worst". Im just saying, this is hard. He comes home at night, exhausted after 14 hours, eats his food like a zombie, and heads to bed. Its just enough time for me to plan my entire day around it, but not enough time to feel like we are getting ANY sort of married communication whatsoever.

And, I know separation. Weve done 13 months of deployment, endless month long trainings, and plenty of Army emergency long hours. But when I know hes not coming home it seems to be easier. I miss him, and I want him here, but I go about my day. I work, I hit the gym, I grab a frozen dinner and crappy TV. I hope for a phone call. I make plans with my girlfriends, get a new book, whatever the mood may call for. Im absolutely cut out for this life in the fact that I am strong, independent, and I dont have to have him around. The separations arent what bother me - I knew what I signed up for when I married him, and (although sometimes I reserve the right to want to punch the army in the face) its always worth it in the end.

When he started this course I laughed. I was like "Whatever. He comes home every day. Thats not hard, We did deployment. AT LEAST HE COMES HOME AT NIGHT". Now Im kicking myself for saying that because I really had no idea how difficult it becomes to co-exist in a house while getting no form or fashion of quality time whatsoever. Heck, I dont even know what quality time means ... but I assume its not sitting in silence because hes too tired to talk, or watching TV in bed (which we NEVER do. We dont even have cable in the bedroom because thats our place to be with each other) while your husband sleeps. I cant even pinpoint what about this makes it so hard on your marriage - I just know its strained. It feels a little like all the classic signs of cheating ... even though you know who the mistress is (the Army ... and that bitch gets her way every single time).

Dont get me wrong - my husband is pretty fly. He spoils me rotten and is genuinely my best friend. We dont have a child here, so when hes home its just me, him, and two dumb dogs. Im used to 100% of his attention, affection and love (sometimes to the point of telling him to sit down and stop bugging me).

All complaints aside, at least this is over in a few days. My heart honestly goes out to my friends in the civilian world, who have to work two jobs or overlapping schedules. This is difficult - sometimes so much is focused on our sacrifice during deployments that you can forget that struggle comes in all shapes and sizes.

And (bonus) we vacation soon .... that will be the perfect reward for wanting to kick each others asses for a month straight :)

2) I forgot what two is now. But I had one.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Day #19: A picture of what you did today; Day #20: A picture of you and a celebrity; Day 21: A picture you had no idea was being taken; Day #22: A picture of you and a sibling.

Day #19: A picture of what you did today.

 (I designed our work Christmas Card on Thursday. Im pretty sure it's a raging success in the truancy circles)

Day #20: A picture of you and a celebrity.

(Jess and I waited in line for hours to meet Jen Lancaster, who is -hands down- my favorite author. And I love books so much that my favorite writer is way better than any actor!)

Day #21: A picture you had no idea was being taken.

(Dana and Donald's rehersal dinner, right after my pretty damn good if I do say so myself speech. It was a fantastic night!)

Day #22: A picture of you and a sibling.

(My brother Andrew, my mom and I. Can you believe we are all related?)

(This is my sister Andrea and I when we were young. We havent seen each other for a very long time ... I also have a brother Gerald and a sister Mia that I dont have any pictures with. Maybe one day.)

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Day #18: A picture of the town/city you live in.

Of course I live in Fort Lewis, WA.

Oh, excuse me. Its not Joint Base Lewis McChord (because they couldnt come up with anything more creative). Thats a dumb name, so I like to call it "J-Blam!".

I wont post any other pictures, because without a doubt youll have some really poorly dressed military wife start screaming about OPSEC. When, in reality, they dont actually know what it is (having never read it in full) or how to interpret it. So here ... this was already on the internet, and if the terrorist overrun us then you can thank this bitch on Photobucket. 

Living on post really isnt that different from living "out there" (where you dont have to be part of our cult to shop and eat ....). I have a house, we have neighbors (and my husband doesnt work with any of them). Living on post you arent in the Truman Show ... and you arent on Army Wives either.

In fact, the Army very isnt all that different from civilian life until you hit deployment time. Long days at work? Everyone does that (I have friends whose husbands are gone for 15 hours at a time trying to make sales). TDY? (In the real world those are called business trips). My husband gets paid vacation, he gets 4 day weekends, and we have more family benefits than anyone I know.

Granted, most units could give a shit about the wives (or, their own soldiers for that matter). And during deployment, or any training thats over a few weeks, the above doesnt apply. That part is the suck, plain and simple. But still, living "on post" isnt a mythical world - one way or the other. 

Monday, December 6, 2010

Day #17: A picture that always makes you sad

It makes me sad because I miss it so very much. 

People assume that because Im so loud and obnoxious about everything else that my silence is indicative of a lack of caring. But if you know me, you know that Im most quiet about the things that hurt down to my heart and soul. One of those things being decisions that I made when I was young and thought I had no choice leading to a big huge massive hole today.

Sometimes they call me a bad mother. Sometimes they say I have no heart. Sometimes they tell me that Ive screwed it all up. I dont know if they're right ... maybe they are.

But I know that no one could ever punish me as much as I've punished me, day in and day out. I try not to live with regrets ....  but I know I live with a huge hole in my soul. This isnt easy to talk about, and this is about as much as Ill get out in public. But I just wanted the people in my life to know that this, right here, is the Achilles heel. I might be loud, smartassed, I might act like I dont have a care in the world ... just know whats underneath. And try to be gentle about it. We all do what we have to do to survive, and sometimes when you are 18 or 21 or what have you, you dont realize that the choices you make will surely bite you in the ass when youre older, or at least leave you "doing the right thing" for someone you love more than life itself, even if it breaks your heart in the process. 

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Day #16: A picture of you being absolutely ridiculous.

I have no idea why we were on the ground, but it apparently seemed like a good idea at the time!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

As a wrap up:

"Ladies, be honest with yourself about who you are and have the courage to be that person. No one has it all figured out, especially not the people who are acting like they do and judging you because of it. Pretending to be something you aren't to please a bunch of judgmental hypocrites and shitheads is not the way to be happy. Living the life you want to live is. It really is that simple."

-Tucker Max

Day #14: A picture of you truly being yourself; Day #15: A picture that always makes you smile.

Day #14: A picture of you truly being yourself

This is me. Maybe not so much the Little Mermaid dresses, but the whole "yeah, lets try on stupid clothes and take some pictures, why the shit not?". In fact, I pretty much am down for anything unless it involves roller coasters, plane rides (Ill get on them, but I dont have to like it), illegal drugs, or going anywhere during the work week because its fucking cold outside and a bitch doesnt like getting up.

Day #15: A picture that always makes you smile.

This was taken on R&R. You try not to smile when you look at it.

You cant. I already knew.

Day #13: A picture of you and your best friend.

 Since I couldn't pick just one, I had to put a "best of" collection.

I recently had someone bring up "Drama Free" friendship to me, and it got me thinking - is a friendship less of a friendship if it encounters "drama"?

(Lets add another note about how I fucking hate that word. Not the word itself, but how everyone uses it to mean "someone has expressed an opinion other than the one I currently hold true, therefore he/she will henceforth be known as causing 'drama'")

So, by that definition, well say that your friendship encounters a bump in the road. For some, it might be a disagreement over someone saying something off hand, or someone talking in an inappropriate way. It might be a cumulation of several small disagreements that add up.

And for some people, they may solve it by "taking time away to cool down". They might not talk as much during that week,  or they may choose to simply go their separate ways without discussing the issue.

Or, if you are Dana and I, you will hurl insults across an entire restaurant (a closed one, thankfully), and then one of you will throw a roll of paper towels at the other. And then you will cheers over a drink and laugh about it later.

After a lot of thought, I suppose where I stand on the issue is that

A) I must be really different from other women (hello ....)
B) Thank God I found someone like me

A - I take full responsibility for being in what must be a small part of the population who is overly outspoken and has far too many feelings. I live my life "out loud", and this causes no shortage of disagreements with others. I dont ever set out to hurt or offend anyone (although that might not seem true), but of course if you say how you feel, youre going to offend some people. I have to learn to take responsibility for my actions, and I am slowly learning to have more tact, and choose my words more carefully.

Although its not an excuse, I can honestly say that I came from a place (both growing up and before the army) where people were very expressive. Passive Aggressive, or "keeping everything inside" doesnt work when those that surround you are loud, bold, outspoken and honest. The women around me taught me to "say what I mean, and mean what I say". This sounds like I was brought up to just "steamroll" my way through life, but thats not entirely true. I learned early to stand up for myself, to believe in myself, and to not let people push me around. In return, I was surrounded by strong women who loved me even when I was upset with them - and it was okay to say "I love you, but I dont love the way youre acting right now".

I think I made the mistake of assuming everyone was at that level of friendship with me, no matter what the circumstance. Im learning (slowly) that these things take time ... and that not everyone cares what I think right out of the gate (but believe me when I say THATS a hard pill to swallow). Im working on being a little more methodical with my thoughts, even slower with my actions, and trying to understand that not everyone wants to be my BFF.

Even if I totally think they should.

B) And so thank God I found my Dana. Because not only does she understand the above about me, and not only is she like this, but she also loves me despite being the only one in the world that knows exactly what I think about everything .... including all that stuff that is so private you might not even write it in your journal. But I dont need a real journal. Ive got a best friend ... if I forget anything, Ill just ask her. She was there for all of it anyway.

I dont believe in a "drama free" friendship any more than I believe in a "disagreement free" marriage. And maybe there are millions of women who will absolutely disagree. For my part, I believe that if Im sharing all of me with someone - Im laying it all out on the table, with no censors .... there will come a time that we may fight. But the best part about it is, once you fight and you overcome it, you grow even stronger in your bond. You know that there is a person who loves you for who you are - who you REALLY are. Its not about "coffee and chitchat". Its about "Bitch pick up your phone because I just screwed up something so hard core even you arent going to believe it".  Its not a "lets catch up once a week" its "I havent heard from you in two days so you better be dead or have a damn good excuse".

Im not saying that you dont have to have all kinds of friendships ... and I am OBVIOUSLY not an expert on all kinds of friendships (clearly). But I do know that everyone should have that person who  they can "word vomit" to ... and tell them all the things taking up the space in your head, without worry that they will assume that is the absolute or only thing that makes you who you are.

Its better than therapy. My best friend is family, and thats all there is to it.

Day #11: A picture of your celebrity crush.; Day #12: A picture of somewhere you want to visit.

Day #11: A picture of your celebrity crush

One day, Rock of Love. 

Day 12: A picture of somewhere you want to visit.

I know. Im supposed to say something like Greece, or Fiji, or somewhere else that proves I am well educated, incredibly diverse, and have grand ambitions. But this is definitely the Atlanta Skyline. And thats definitely the one place on earth right now that I physically yearn to be. 

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Day #8: A picture of you in one of your favorite outfits

Ah yes. Every girl's wedding dress should be her favorite outfit. Mine was no exception.

Allen and I were broke ... and not broke in a funny, "Oh, we only have a few hundred in savings" broke. We were BROKE, and we didnt have shit. Thats why we decided to just get married already .... I had just drove a million hours from GA to Arizona, and I figured once I had put in that sort of legwork I deserved a little BAH.

So, with my roommates by our side (oh - Mr. Atlanta Recruiter that told us we could 'totally live off base together in AIT once we were married'? You are on my eat shit and die list), we set off to the Sierra Vista, AZ courthouse for a little quick hitchin'. 

 We showed up at the courthouse, they didnt even ask for ID, and gave us our license (apparently we looked trustworthy?).  The judge told us that the "people before didn't show up" (I told Allen that on the way the guy must have told the girl that his life insurance wouldn't be going in her name .... so she called it off ....) and we proceeded to get married in the quickest ceremony EVER. And then I took my new husband back to the barracks. We, in fact, did not spend the night together until the next Saturday.

I know so many people shake their heads at this story. With the way weddings are today, there are plenty of folks who cant fathom a union that begins with no family, people you've only known for a few days, no cake, no DJ, and no family tiffs over place card settings.

There are times when I wish we would have done the whole shebang, and had the big dress, the first dance, the grand honeymoon. But more over I see how fitting our ceremony really was. It was the two of us, scared to death, in a new place, vowing to lean on only each other. And through the years thats exactly what we've had to do, over and over and over again. 

Some marriages fall apart when the bottom falls out and there's nothing left. As for us .... we started with nothing, so there's no real precedence set for anything else. I loved my husband when it was him and I in a rented room with a borrowed bed. And I love him now, when weve gained a whole lot of shit. I see how far weve come in four years, how hard weve worked, and what the payoff from that has been. 

To get back to the dress, it was found on sale .... I couldnt afford much, but I was all alone in a new place, and didnt have shit to do anyways. I wandered into the little hallway of a mall, and wished my mom or my best friend was with me to find something suitable to commit my life in that was under $30. I found this dress, on a serious clearance for $18. It was the only one left, fit perfectly (oh .... those were the days. Look how young and thin ....), and was everything I wanted. Although white was a bit of a stretch ....(clearly) it was perfect. I would have chosen the exact same thing, even if I had a budget of a million dollars.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Day #7: A picture of you from your younger years.

Dont act like you wouldnt have wanted to be friends with me AND my mullet. 

Day #6: A picture of you on your birthday.

Birthday 2009 - 26 years old  (but actually feel 21).

Spent the day with some of my favorite people in the great state of Michigan. I always miss MI this time of year. 

Also, this was my favorite birthday present of all time. It came in an email, and was the only way I saw my husband on my birthday. Sure puts this birthday in perspective. 

Thursday, November 25, 2010

I'm obligated to post at least one blog with the subject of Kanye West.

Please to enjoy the Rap-Up.com recap of Kanye West's latest faux pas ..... his outfit.

The article states that: "Clad in a black peacoat, fur vest, shiny gold shirt, gold chains, and headband, the rapper lipsynched (as most do) the words to his Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy album closer “Lost in the World.” 

Negro, you just appeared on national television in a SEQUINS and a HEADBAND. If I can offer you one piece of advice, its dont ever, ever, EVER roll up in the hood again.

Here's the full video, in case you missed it. I could not give a damn less what he said about GWB or to Matt Lauer .... but my eyes about fell out of my head when I saw what he had the nads to put on this morning. All I could do was watch and hope that 'Lil Stomachache and Pistolstarter dont get the Macy's parade on their rabbit ears, lest Kanye get killed. 

In fabulous quotient, Im going to give Kanye a 7.5 (the point 5 being for not only wearing a gold shirt, but a SHINY one). 

For street cred Im giving Kanye a 2, and thats only because he might be able to use his fur coat to barter with a homeboy (generosity added for the giving season ...).

To wrap this up, Ill just say that Kanye should now join hands with Ice Cube and walk off into the suburban sunset.

PS: Yes, Ice Cube. Because he went from:

Being a Nigga Wit Attitude, who was Straight Outta Compton, hanging out with Smokey, and trying not to use his AK ....
Taking a road trip in his mini van with his pesky upper middle class kiddos. Such adventures he meets along the way!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Day #5: A picture of you with a parent or two

A picture of me and my momma. Theres nothing really funny to report on this one. My mom taught me that its okay to be myself - even though that means some people may not like who I really am, at least they wont love me for someone Im not. She taught me to never judge people until I've "walked a moon in their moccasins" (I think that means that I dont need to be all up in their Kool-Aid if I dont know the flavor). She taught me that its never too late to have a fresh start, that family is something you can always count on, and that I should really stop smoking, swearing, and generally feeling like I could bulldoze my way through life (I have stopped the first ... still working on the other two ...).

Most important, my mother has never, ever, ever ... no matter how many times I may have deserved it, or how many times she may have felt it .... told me that I disappointed her.  Theres something to be said for a person who is successful (which I suppose is debatable in my case .....), or moreover a person who is confident, when they were never told that they couldnt do something. I owe that to her, and I appreciate her helping to shape me as the raging narcissist that I am. Love you mom!