My 365

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

My day started out pretty swimmingly.  I had plans to go to the park, the kids were excited and when the kids get excited about something they are shockingly more cooperative.  It always helps to have something to hold over their head. ;)  Then my super fabulous FRG leader calls me and asks if I would be willing to start a newsletter for all our FRG gals.  I was so excited at this prospect.  I mean, stupid excited.  I called my mom, plastered it all over facebook, texted my friends and then in middle of all of it Mike IM'd me.  I started off the conversation with a boisterous "GUESS WHAT???".  Of course, he is either thinking, "oh, crap what now?"  or, "geez, she's hitting the Monster a little early".  So after I filled him in on the "big news" (you'd think I was pregnant or something) he of course shared in my excitement.  It makes me even more giddy to think that I might have a hand in something that all his buddies and coworkers can see and he will be able to say, "my wife did that".  I just want him to be proud of me.  This project is just the thing I've been looking for.  I needed something to do, a purpose, an outlet.  Prayers were answered.

So I've been flying high on this all morning.  Then we get to the park.  It seemed like a good idea at the time, but then again I forgot that I'm living on the first floor of hell.  It was SO hot.  It was so hot that the breeze, and I use this term loosely, felt like someone standing in front of you with a hair dryer on full blast.  We tried to play soccer, but it felt like my feet were melting to the astro turf.  Yeah, it was that hot.  So we bailed and came home. 

Did I mention I have my stepkids for the next two weeks?  It's a lot of fun having them here and the two little ones are in heaven.  But with two extra kids, comes extra mess.  It just goes with the territory.  Coming home to a house that was an absolute disaster, more than usual, wasn't exactly the soothing balm to my pending heat stroke.  So I found the playstation and decided to once again use my powers of bribery and told the kids that if they helped me clean up I would hook it up for them (insert evil laugh).  When I go to put a t.v. into the spare bedroom, lifting the thing by myself and setting everything else up I realized just a little too late that this t.v. didn't have the right connections.  Off to Gracie's room I go.  I get it set up again and everything is almost working until I discover the little drive thingy (yes that is a technical term) that you put the game in won't open.  Then when I get it open, it won't close.  Broken.  Awesome. 

Later I was in the upstairs bathroom and as I flushed the toilet I could feel the chain to the little plunger thingy (yes, another technical term - I know what I'm talking about!) snap.  So then I spend the next 10 minutes with my hands in a toilet tank trying to reattatch this stupid chain.  But this chain just doesn't want to go home.  Broken.  Rad.

Even though my day went from good to bad I'm not gonna let it get to me.  I guess I'm still riding high on my wave of giddiness.  Keep on truckin!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Help Wanted

There is a position opening for anyone looking for an exciting, fulfilling and somewhat demanding job.  This is a prestigious position and I will be happy to give a full job description.

Be warned:  There is an extensive, painstaking, laboring and uncomfortable interview process that may take up to two days or more to complete.  Only the strong will survive.

Position Title:  Full Time Assistant to company CEO and Vice President.  Company name is subjective at this time.

Salary:  N/A...this position is done "out of the goodness of your heart".  The rewards are great but not monetary.

Description:  Must be on call 24 hours a day to fulfill every need, physical, mental and emotional of both CEO and Vice President.  Must be bilingual as the bosses speak very broken English.  You will be responsible for all the meals and snacks, this includes grocery shopping and preparing the food.  You are also responsible for the clean up of aforementioned food as well as any other mess the CEO or Vice President create either separately or together.  It is suggested that you simply follow them around with a dust buster.  These particular bosses can be moody and tempermental and argumentative with each other.  You will be required to act as go-between for them and resolving any arguments with as little bloodshed as possible.  But when there is bloodshed you are also required to administer the proper medical attention as well as cleaning up any equipment broken in the process.  There is also some handyman experience needed as you will probably need to fix holes in walls, broken recreational equipment, maybe some light plumbing as well.  You must also act as chauffer, making sure the CEO and Vice President get to all their appointments, meetings, lunches and dates on time.  You must make sure your employer is in bed at a decent hour but don't worry about having to wake them up...they will do that for you and very early.  They require their clothes to be laundered and/or dry cleaned and selected for them.  Most days they can change clothes two to three times, so be prepared for a large workload.

Occasionaly you will be provided with a temporary assistant to help with the smaller chores, but these are usually only available after 3:00 p.m. and their fees will be taken from your non-existent pay check.

If you are strong enough to stay with the company for an extended period of time you will be promoted to Executive Assistant and the following duties will be added.  The CEO and Vice President will be continuing their education and therefore you will now be responsible for dropping them off and picking them up from classes.  You will need to purchase their school supplies as well as assisting them with any work or assignment.  This sometimes requires staying up all night.  The addition of their educational duties will also bring with it extracurricular activities.  These are also your responsibility to purchase the necessary equipment and to get your bosses to and from their practices on time.  Occasionally you will need to provide drinks and snacks for not only them but their teammates as well.

If you can make it through Phase Two which ends with the CEO and Vice President taking their positions to a remote location, then you shall be rewarded with a vacation.  This can take up to 18 years or more to happen.  You will still be required to be on call but the frequency should decrease considerably.  You will also be responsible for any monetary needs and will need to form a relationship with your banker.  However this is the final step before retirement and what a sweet retirement it will be.  Our retirement package is unmatched by any other.  It includes, but is not limited to, extensive periods rest, leisurely walks, traveling and eventually junior CEO's and Vice President's that you will be able to supervise and then relinquish to your former CEO and Vice President.

If this position sounds right for're crazy.  But I think you'll find yourself very happy with the result after years of hard work and dedication.  Only serious applicants need to apply.

Saturday, July 17, 2010


So here's a hard question.  Maybe one of the hardest.  What would you put on the soundtrack of your life?  If you think of your life as a movie (doesn't everyone do this, or am I special like that?) then what would be your soundtrack?  We all know that a movie's soundtrack is just as important, if not more so, than the movie itself.  I don't really know if I can answer this question. 

It's like that first date question "what's your favorite song?"  I hate that question.  It's both a good and a bad question to ask.  Good because knowing a person's favorite song can give you a lot of insight into who you're asking.  Music is tricky and essential.  It's the basis of our souls, can you imagine never hearing music?  So people tend to take the music they listen to seriously.  We all have our likes and dislikes.  But the way a song makes you feel cannot be compared.  Music is very emotional and personal.  So to ask a person what their favorite song is, is well, like asking to read their diary...personal and insightful.

That question is bad because how many of you can name just one song?  I can't.  I may have a favorite song of the moment, but I assure you that will change at some point.  We choose our songs of the moment, because they are just that, of the moment.  They define a time in our lives or an event.  My favorite song 15 years ago was No Doubt's "Just a Girl" because I was 14 (do us all a favor and do not try to do the age math) and related to the song.  My favorite song right now is "What Part of Forever" by Cee-Lo Green, because I miss my love and this song expresses what's in my soul...right now.  When my first love broke up with me after I moved to Colorado the first time, I listened to Shawn Colvin's "Sunny Came Home" on repeat for two weeks.  Ask my brother, he can vouch for that because it drove him nuts.  But I cannot give you an all time favorite song.  It just can't be done.  There are many, many songs that I like, a few that I love and only a handful that I can listen to repeatedly, non-stop without getting tired of them.  Although my husband, I'm sure, would argue that he gets very tired of those obsessive songs of mine.  Sorry honey.

So what are some of your soundtrack songs?  Songs that mark a time in your life that you will always remember, good or bad.  Here is a short list of some of mine:

1.  Neverending Story (childhood years)
2.  Arial "Part of this World" from the Little Mermaid
3.  Aerosmith "Livin on the Edge" (tween years)
4.  Reba McIntyre "Take it Back" (I had some variety :) )
5.  M.C. Hammer "2 Legit" (stop rolling your eyes at me, you know you did too)
6.  N.K.O.T.B "Hangin' Tough" (two words: shut.up.)
7.  No Doubt "Just a Girl"
8.  Nirvana "Smells Like Teen Spirit"
9.  Bush "Glycerine"
10. Chumbawumba "Tubthumper" (I know, I know)
11. Orgy "Blue Monday"
12.  Mindless Self Indulgence "F****t" (we're going through life phases here, don't judge)
13. The Dandy Warhols "Sleep" and "Bohemian Like You"
14.  Norah Jones "Come Away with Me"
15.  Muse "Sunburn" "Unintended" "Showbiz"  (I REALLY like them, can you tell?)
16. All American Rejects "My Paper Heart"
17. Muse "Supermassive Black Hole" "Uprising" "Neuron Star Collision" (yeah, I think we get the picture)
18.  Metric "All Yours"
19.  Lekke Li "Possibility"
20.  Cee-Lo Green "What Part of Forever"

Ok, so maybe not such a short list...and that's only a sampling.  See what I mean? 

Sunday, July 11, 2010

The 3 AM Ramblings of a Night Owl

Ok, so we all know that deployments make you crazy.  They also mess with your sleep schedule...big time.  I was already a night owl before Mike left, but now, it's just nuts. 

The other night was one of many nights where I was having trouble sleeping.  When I looked at the clock it said 3 AM.  So I decided to grab a notebook and write Mike a letter.  In the front of this notebook was a note from him from when he left for the last deployment.  I started reading it and I was struck by one line he wrote.  This is where my wacky letter began.  Don't judge me. :)

I am just going to copy the original letter I wrote, word for word.  Keep in mind I was so tired I don't really even remember writing this...

"3:00 AM.  Paper/Pencil.  Thoughts racing, sleep eluding.  So tired my hair hurts, but still can't sleep.  Deployment.  A blessing and a curse.  Strengthening and soul crushing.  Remembering you.  Missing you.  Needing you.  You wrote to me, "I have never been loved as much as you love me."  How did that happen?  What made you finally realize that?  How can I realize that?  Will it last?  Will the mind numbing mantras of positivity I keep repeating hold true?  "It will make us stronger", "if we can make it through this we can make it through anything", "our love will only grow stronger with separation".  Am I just trying to convince myself?  Where are you?  I need your touch.  I need your strength.  It can't be me anymore.  Not all the time.  Where am I?  I need to dream.  I need to go. Please. Love. Me."

Ahhhh, gotta love the deployment crazy...

Saturday, July 10, 2010


And I'm not talking about a birthday!  Ladies, this blog is for you.  Men, this blog is going to be about lady things.  If lady things make you squirm then stop

Ok, so I'm talking about bras.  It's the one thing I've been putting off for a while.  I usually don't mind shopping, if it's recreational.  But when I have to do it, that's another story filled with kicking and screaming.  So I realized that I only had one bra that still fit decently.  After Gabe was born and for the 8 months following while he nursed I wore my nursing bra and that was fine.  However, he stopped nursing...a while ago, yet I'm still wearing a nursing bra and it's starting to go.  And let me tell you, there's nothing more embarassing than going to adjust your bra and accidentally unhooking the nursing flap.  No one needs to see that.  Ugh.  This means I have to go (cue dramatic music) bra shopping.  I don't even have a clue what size I am anymore.  It went up with preganancy and then waaaay down afterwards.  I think I even shriveled up smaller than my pre-pregancy size.  You kids just have no idea!  So I had a couple of shirts to return to Khol's and $20 in Khol's cash that expired tomorrow.  I took it as a sign and reserved myself to go.  I put the kids down for a nap and Mom and I headed out on an adventure. 

We made a couple of other stops first, stalling as long as I possibly could.  But then we arrived at the store and after browsing, I finally made my way over to the bra department.  There is a whole DEPARTMENT dedicated to the torture of women.  This shouldn't be legal.  So I just started grabbing different sizes and styles, because there were about a million (no, seriously, a million) different kinds.  Full coverage, light push up, BAM! push up, underwire, no wire, invisible look, sports, racer back, front closure, back closure, lace, satin, microfiber, cotton and the choices go on and on and on.  That was enough to make me want to go braless for the rest of my life.  Yeah, the big thud you just heard, was Thelma and Louise hitting the floor.  I guess that option's out.  On to the dressing room!  Now starts the real fun.  Either the band was too tight or the cup too small which creates that lovely armpit bulge.  Or the cup was too big and the band small which gives you that oh-so-coveted back bulge.  The straps were either too far out on the shoulders or too far up, almost a halter.  Bras tried on: 10, bras that fit: 0.  On to round two.  I bring back a whole new crop and set to work again.  By this time the skin around my torso is raw from putting on so many bras then having to turn them around and flip them up.  I tried on some Wonderbras, thinking of Mike coming home in December and wanting something a little special.  Yeah, there's really nothing wonderful about them.  There is no amount of water, air or gel that's going to make these puppies look like they never endured pregancy.  That's out.  So I finally come across one bra that doesn't squeeze me in all the wrong places or make me feel like there is a metal rod being shoved into my armpit.  Done.  I get it in white and I'm outta there.

Bras tried on: 20 (give or take one, I lost count), bras that fit: 1 (sort of).  It's not exciting, it's not pretty but it will do the job.  Hopefully for a long time so I don't have to do this again anytime soon.  Is there anything that men have to shop for that they have this much trouble with?  I think not. 

This is the dressing room after round one.  Crazy.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Memories of Granddad

My Granddad is 91.  He is still with us, in fact, I'm lucky enough to still have all four of my grandparents on this earth.  I've never lost anyone close to me and I don't really know what to expect.  Death is foreign to me in my reality.  I have a bad feeling once someone I care about passes, a firestorm is going to be unleashed on me.  So I've decided to write about my grandparents, one by one, while they are still here.  This way I can think with a clear head and remember all the things I want or need to remember about them.  Something that maybe they can read now so they can know just how big a part of my life they all were.  Time is not on anyone's side, no one lives forever, so I feel the need to do this now.  Diplomatically, I will start with the oldest and work my way down.

His hands are large, massive actually.  It was always the first thing I noticed.  As a little girl my hand was literally swallowed up by his.  He has the hands of someone who is no stranger to hard work.  He grew up on a farm in Montana, the only boy amongst a family of girls, other than his father.  He lived the typical farm life, up with the sun to do chores that we would consider hard labor today.  But if you were to ask him how he felt about it, he would tell you stories of fond memories and adventures that would make Tom Sawyer green.  From there he joined the Army like so many men did in those days and served in WWI.  After the Army he married my grandmother, started having children and lived the simple life that followed.  He worked for a refinery for over 30 years.  He worked with his hands, that's what he was born to do, it's what those hands were made for.  That's not to say he isn't smart as a whip though.  The man is a walking encyclopedia spouting facts and events like Old Faithful (which he took us to see when we were kids).  He always had a little informational tidbit to offer no matter what we were talking about.  Unless we were talking about video games, then he pretty much tuned us out :).  I always told him he should have been a contestant on Jeopardy...he would have broken the record! 

My brother and I would go out to their house in Oregon, where they retired, every summer.  I loved it.  Well, I loved it until I got to be a teenager, then I wanted to have the typical summer with my friends.  However, I wouldn't trade those summers in Oregon for anything.  I have so many fond memories of helping to fix dinner, watching Granddad make his sourdough bread (he was an avid and amazing baker), picking blackberries and then taking them to Aunt Sarah's house (his sister) where she would make pies out of them.  They took us to Tilamook where we got to see how they made cheese and ice cream and were introduced to beef jerky...yum.  They always took us somewhere I never would have seen otherwise.  We went to Yellowstone, Mt. Hood, ate dinner on the top of the Space Needle, down the Oregon coast and even to Canada and Northern California to stare in awe at the gargantuan redwoods.  There are countless other road trips and camp outs we had.  Sometimes we would just hang out at the house.  The house that my grandfather built as his dream home to retire in.  It sat on a hill that on a clear day your see all the way to Mt. Hood.  There was a big field in the front where the neighbors cows would sometimes wander and graze.  It's where I stumbled upon a baby calf one day.  There was a huge garden and a tire swing in the back yard.  I picked carrots, strawberries and got my first taste of fresh dill out of that garden.  I learned how to play croquet, UNO, Rummy Cub, Solitaire and Challenge (a game the Granddad made up from UNO cards) at this house.  I used to pin my brother down with the wickets (from croquet) in the front yard.  Sometimes I would just sit under the giant cypress tree and read.  Granddad cut away the lower branches of that tree so I could sit a chair under that tree.  For years after the last time I was at that house he would always tell me that my reading spot was still there, that he kept the branches trimmed.  That still tugs at my heart.  I have an image in my mind of an empty chair sitting under a solitary tree with freshly trimmed branches, waiting for me to come back a read a story. 

They sold the house a couple of years ago to come live here with my Aunt Jane.  It was the practical thing to do and I have loved being able to see them so much more often.  But I will dearly miss that house and all the years of memories that it held for me.  A large part of my childhood was in that house with my grandparents.  I wished I had appreciated it more at the time instead of worrying about stupid kid stuff.  I wish I had listened closer to some of the stories and remembered the little details of his life.  But I will forever cherish the memories I do have and hope that he knows what a special part he played in my life.  Even though we don't say it out loud that often, I love you Granddad and thank you for showing me the world.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Call me Orson...

I have befriended a spider.  Now all you spiders out there, don't get excited.  This is a special circumstance, a one time deal.  If you are unwise enough to cross my path, you will die.  Death by flip flop isn't a pretty way to go, so stay outta my way!  That being said, my spider friend and I met about a week ago on my back porch.  Every night I let Rufus out before I go to bed and this is usually just an in and out type of thing.  On this one particular night I let Rufus out as usual, but as I looked up there was a huge spider web stretching across the entire length of my awning.  Ordinarily this is where I would have grabbed my trusty spray and anihilated him.  As I was standing there, spray in hand, I stopped to watch this little spider spin his elaborate web.  Then a moth flew into it and the speed at which this spider moved was impressive.  The moth got away and the little spider went back to his stoop in the middle of the web, just waiting.  I was intrigued so I let the spider live.  Every night since then I have gone out and observed my spider buddy.  I watch him spin his web with precision and then patiently wait for the bounty.  I don't know if spiders can actually possess patience, but my spider does I'm sure.  I wait for a spell, curious to see if a wayward bug will fall prey, secretly hoping one will.  I have actually found myself rooting for the spider like I'm at a sporting event and then letting out an emphatic "Awwww!" when a bug gets away.  Like a Motel 8 I leave the light on hoping it will attract a bug for dinner.  If I could actually bring myself to do it and I had the skills of Mr. Miyagi I think I would actually catch a bug and throw it into the web for him.  A peace offering perhaps, for almost killing him.  But that would require actually touching a bug, so that's out.  And so our odd little friendship continues.  I still hate spiders, though. :)

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Deep Thoughts...

Picture unassuming girl sitting in her living room in the basement of her parents house, wearing a snuggie and listening to the Eclipse soundtrack contemplating life.  If you feel like it, slap on your snuggie and join me down my road of self-reflection.

Do you ever look at yourself and wonder what there is about you that's special?  I don't mean the typical, cookie-cutter responses you get from people like "you're a great friend", "you're such a positive person", or "you're a great mom".  I don't buy it.  If you've ever read my blog at certain times, you know that I'm not always a positive person, I can be a crappy friend at times and I'm nowhere near a great mom, at least from where I see things.  Are my standards for these labels a tad high?  Maybe.  But I still don't see myself as these things, at least I don't see them as a definition of who I am.  So who am I?  You got me.  That's the question that runs over and over in my mind like a skipping cd (I tried to modernize the old "broken record" metaphor, did ya like that?)  Anyway.  I've always been just okay at things.  I've never really excelled at anything.  I was an A-B student, first chair of the second flutes in the band, a defensive player on the soccer team not the big scorer (my mom has pointed out that I was never really that good at soccer), nice looking but never the pretty girl and the list goes on.  I am always one step behind.  Which brings me to my next question.  What does it take to be extraordinary?  I think the terms of that definition have definitely evolved over the years.  Boundaries keep getting pushed, records keep getting broken until what?  We become superhuman?  The proverbial bar is rising higher and coming from a person who was always a beat behind the winner, is it realistic of me to think I will ever reach it, let alone rise above it?  Likely it's not realistic.  Which has been both my crutch and my hindrance. 

I want to find my purpose in life.  A purpose which is not defined by my ability to bear children or make a friend rather by a true talent.  Something I can be proud of.  Something my family can be proud of.  Something that people who know me will say "hey, I know her and she's fabulous".  I'm not necessarily talking about fame.  That dream died after an ill-fated audition for the high school production of "Fiddler on the Roof", but hey, that's another story and another notch on the "Not Quite Good Enough" belt.  I'm talking about sharing a part of yourself with the world and having the world relate to it and appreciate it.  Recognition.  But in order to achieve recognition, you have to actually put yourself out there.  This is where my crutch comes in. 

Given my track record I have such a inhibiting fear of failure that I can't even bring myself to take the first step towards my goal.  Right now I am talking of course about writing.  I also love photography, but have reserved myself to the fact that I will never be the best at it and I am ok with that.  I would rather just keep setting personal goals to improve my skill in that arena.  Writing, however, is another ballgame.  I enjoy it, I've been told that I'm good at it.  So what's holding me back?  The fear that I'm not actually that good.  That people are just saying nice things to me because they are nice people that care about me (which is not a bad quality to have ;).  I read other blogs and books and just think to myself "that person is so much better than me, so why bother?"  I know, I know.  It's annoying to me too.  Can you imagine having to listen to my inner dialogue all the time?  Oh, kind of are listening to it.  My apologies.  This is a personal challenge that I will have to overcome if I ever want to acheive my dream.  I need to reserve myself to the fact that I will not ever be the best at anything, but that shouldn't stop me from doing what I love, right?  Screw the world and it's standards!  Keep your record breaking, boundary pushing, bar raising and your stupid first place.  I'm here to make second place look good.  Cheers!

Monday, July 5, 2010

A Tribute

Heros are defined in many ways.  Personal heros could be anything from an athelete to an author.  More often they are defined by those who wear the uniform of public service, i.e. fireman, police officer, paramedic/EMT and military.  But how often can you say that your hero has worn all those proverbial hats?  My hero, my soldier, my husband has in fact worn all those uniforms.  Since he was 17 he has dedicated his life to public service.  He has always said that everytime he envisioned his future it has been in public service.  He started in the Army before he even graduated from high school.  He dedicated 14 years of his life to the Armed Forces before getting out and venturing on to other public service avenues.  All the while he stayed in the Air National Guard, never fully relinquishing his ties to the military.  He served in Panama, the first Gulf War and most recently the Iraq War.  For a period inbetween his military service he served as a firefighter and EMT.  When I met him 6 years ago he was on the police force in Savannah.  A thankless, tiring and often ridiculed job that he loved and was so good at.  Then he returned to active duty in the Army.  A ponderous decision for all of us, but one I ultimately think was right.  Even though it has separated us for long periods of time over the last three years, I know that he believes in what he's doing, he's in element.  He cares about his guys and is an impeccable leader.  This is truly what he was born to do.  I can't think of anyone I would trust more with my life, so much so that I've entrusted him with something far more heart.  So in the spirit of this holiday where we celebrate our nations birth and the brave souls who fought and continue to fight for it, I celebrate one brave soul.  My love, my partner and my best friend.  You make me proud to say that you're mine.