Monday, December 12, 2011

Because I Was 19 Once...

I've seen a lot of articles and books lately where people write letters to their teenaged selves (they're now "grown-ups"). The more I thought about it, the more I realized I wanted to write my 19-year-old self a letter. Technically, I was a teenager, but that was one of the worst years of my life. Now, at the incredibly young age of 37, I am going to write myself a letter and go back 18 years.

Dear Erin,

What a year. Remember your 19th birthday, when the world was wide open, and you had plans for how the future was going to be? Your heart was whole. Sure, you had experienced pain and loss, but this, I promise you, will not break you.

It's scary to lose 13 pounds in two months because you cannot eat. I know it feels like the world is ending. There seems to not be any kind of future. Where do you go from here? Why, all of a sudden, does it seem like the whole world is crumbling around you?

This is a chance to learn. It doesn't feel like a learning experience right now - it feels like shit. Don't lose hope. Take this opportunity to remember who was there for you, because chances are, they will always be there for you. True friends will lop off your hair because you ask them to, because they know you are in pain and are doing what you need to to free yourself from that pain, one hair at a time.

ERIN - that guy, really? What the fuck are you thinking? You're not. You are looking for someone to pay attention to you, to love you again. But really, Erin, paying attention to you by ripping a phone out of the wall so you can't call for help isn't love. Threatening to bash in your windshield with your brother's bat while you are driving? He needs help. RUN, run fast, and run far. You know you are worth more than that.

It's scary to lose your way in life. Remember all those hours of playing Life (the board game) and how you got to choose different paths? This is one of those times. There is always another path.

Do not lose your fearlessness. This year will make you realize how utterly shitty life can be, but it will also make you realize, eventually, how very strong you are, and as you get older, you will become that much stronger in every way imaginable. You will do things you never thought possible.

I'm sorry, Erin, that this year happened. But I'm not. Because in time, you will look back at it and realize that this was the year you became you. Never stop learning, never stop dreaming, and most of all, never become someone who others think you should be - just be you. Remember when Lynne told you that you'd always be called "cute" and you just rolled your eyes? It works out when you're in your late 30s and still getting carded, kiddo.



Can you believe this was all because the kids from Beverly Hills 90210 graduated from high school and I was heartbroken? Just some humor, in case my writing touched you that much and you're weeping into your hanky.

This was amazingly cathartic. Take some time, and write yourself a letter. Pick an age that was difficult for you. Let it all out.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Because this is why I love Christmas...

Picture it: Christmas morning, 2004. Addison is 5 years old, and is up at the butt crack of dawn to open his presents. Within minutes, the phone is ringing. It's Adam, who will listen as Addison tears into what Santa brought him. I listen along with him, watching our son, with tears in my eyes. Adam is deployed. It's our first Christmas that our family isn't together.

Picture it: Christmas 2007. Reference above paragraph. Same Christmas, different year.

I'm a Christmas freak. I have no problem letting anyone know. This is my way of letting everyone know exactly why I love Christmas.

In 2004, my best friend Ely's fiance was also deployed. In an effort to make it fun, we wore pajamas, tiaras, and feather boas all day long. We drank mimosas and had tacos for Christmas dinner. Even though our men were overseas, we did our best to enjoy the holiday. We didn't try to re-create what Christmas would be like if they were there, because they were not there.

I put on a brave face for Ely and Addison. But it wasn't the same. It was glaringly apparent that Adam wasn't there. I made it through the day, but it wasn't easy. It was a bittersweet day. I was able to spend it with my son and my best friend.

We're a military family from Massachusetts. We live in Georgia. We aren't able to just jump in the car and be at grandma's house, or an aunt, uncle, or cousin. At the holidays, and every other day, our military friends are our family.

I admit, I felt sorry for myself on those two Christmas days without Adam. I also know that there are families who will never enjoy a Christmas with their loved one again, whether they died fighting for our country, from an illness, accident, etc. I knew I was lucky that Adam was alive and well.

This Christmas, Ely, her husband, and her son (my godchild) will be spending Christmas here at our home. They will fly from Utah to Georgia, and spend a glorious week with us. I am beyond excited. I haven't seen Ely in three long years. I miss her terribly.

Any year Adam is home is a special Christmas for our family. We do not take it for granted. So, if I gush a little (or a lot) about Christmas, let it be. It's a special day for us all.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Because this gets my panties in a wad...

I'm a mother, a wife, a sister, a daughter, etc. I'm a woman, obviously. And this is what's got me pissy lately:

If I was new to this country, just woke from a coma, or something along those lines, I would garner from commercials that all moms drive mini-vans, wear khakis with cardigans (or, God forbid, Mom jeans), and think that their kids' shit doesn't stink. Wives are often portrayed as nagging shrews - why can't a dude change his daughter's diaper while discussing the football game with his buddy on speakerphone? Why can't a guy sit down and watch a football game on Sunday without his wife/girlfriend giving him a hard time?

I drive a Jeep. I have one child. I watch football, hockey, soccer, baseball, NASCAR, you name the sport, I'm most likely watching it. My adult drink of choice is beer.

I'm in no way saying I'm better than those women. I'm just different from them. There are others like me, some I'm lucky enough to call friends. But you will not catch me posting about Grey's Anatomy on Facebook, because I don't watch it. I'm more likely to be watching any old show I can (Charlie's Angels, The Brady Bunch, Three's Company).

So, advertising companies, listen up - not all moms fall into your stereotypical neat little packages. We're all different, we parent our children differently, we don't all watch the same shows or wear the same clothes. So there.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Because today can be gone ...

Today has been tough. I'm feeling lonely and depressed, the first day I have through all of this deployment. It's been almost two months, so I see that as a good thing, a silver lining.

It's extremely hard for me on holidays. With the 4th of July coming up, I see on Twitter and Facebook all the plans others are making with friends and family. My best girlfriend in town is leaving tomorrow for a month. Well then, just make your own plans, Erin, you might say. Thing is, whatever Addison and I do, it's always glaringly apparent that Adam isn't there. When there's just three of you, and one isn't there, we both feel it. So while I don't want to sit around feeling sorry for myself, it's also kind of sad when we do fun stuff.

But, tomorrow I will wake up and shake this. We'll figure out something to do. Because, I know, in the back of my mind, we're incredibly lucky to have Adam be healthy and alive.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Because I'm holding tight...

In two weeks, I will be the mother of a 12-year-old boy. I'm not one of those moms who declare, "Where did the time go? They grow up so fast!" No shit. I'm well aware of every day that passes, every minute, every hour.

Addison found a dictionary given to him at school a few years ago last week. It said, "To the Class of 2017." Wait, what? That's in seven years. Seven years may seem like a long time to most, but for me, I have exactly seven years left to make the most of every second with him. He's my only child. I have one shot to make him a productive member of society, to teach him manners, to nurse him through his first broken heart, to teach him everything he needs to know before venturing out into the world on his own.

Though I wish Adam didn't have to deploy, I am a realist at certain times. This is my time to spend with Addison, to make memories with just me and him. I want him to look back someday and remember that although Dad was deployed, Mom tried her hardest, we had fun, we laughed, we cried, we bonded. I have no doubt Addison will always be close to Adam and I. He's a good kid. But I also feel him beginning to test his independence. The upcoming teen years will be hard. The day he gets his license and drives off on his own I will be a wreck.

But I won't worry about that now. I have a few years left to cherish this time, to grab every day by the balls and make each and every day special.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Because I believe in signs...

I often have dreams where my relatives who have died visit me. After my aunt died, I had a dream that we were sitting at a table together at some sort of function, and she said to me, "It's okay that you didn't go to my funeral." I had the flu so entirely bad I spent the day before her funeral, at my son's baptism, on the floor in the priests' room. I was too sick to go to her funeral, and felt bad about it. Her coming to me in my dream made me feel a lot better, and I truly believe she came to me specifically, in my dreams, to let me know that.

I've had several including my beloved grandfather. They are always fun, and I appreciate him coming into my dreams.

Last night, however, was different. I was getting ready to go on a boat trip. I met up with a red-haired man. The man I met was Jason Dahlke. Jason died in Afghanistan in August of 2009 while on a mission. He was one of my husband's Soldiers. I never met him. I have heard many great things about him as a person, and hearing and reading about him makes me know I missed out on knowing an extraordinary man.

I knew it was Jason in my dream. I can't recall everything, except I instantly liked him. Not romantically, mind you. He has a beautiful wife. We were instant friends. I offered him some sort of clothing to take on the boat. Then he went and got a jean jacket that was lined with lambswool to take with him. At the last minute, I decided against going on the boat, because of a warning of rough seas and my tendency towards seasickness. I made Jason promise to keep in touch through the boat ride, and that we would meet up again when he got back.

I woke up not knowing how to feel. I feel honored that Jason came to me in my dream. I felt the need to share this, to see if anyone had any other ideas. I like to think that this means that Jason and his fellow comrades are looking down and taking care of Adam and his men, currently deployed.

Thank you, Jason. I feel, in a small way, that we have met. You really are extradordinary.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Because it's been a week ...

So I haven't been blogging every day since Adam left. Oh well. But I know exactly how I have felt since he left nine days ago. You name the emotion, I've felt it.

The first week I allow myself to feel a bit bad for myself. Just a little - no pity parties here. Addison had a tough time the first day and a half. It's tough for an almost 12-year-old boy to know his dad will be gone for the next few months. He'll miss seeing him play baseball for the All-Stars, miss his last day of sixth grade, miss his 12th birthday. Addison is a resilient, tough kid though. I like to think the life of a Special Operations soldier's child will prepare him for most anything life will throw at him.

So the first week is done. I'm still trying to pick myself up by the bootstraps, whatever the hell that means. Putting on my big girl panties. It's not easy, no matter how many times we've done this before. (EIGHT) It's an uneasy feeling giving that last kiss, the last goodbye wave, the last glimpse of his face. I try to be positive. He'll come home. He'll come home safe and sound. I can't bear to think of it any other way. Reality can kiss my ass right now.

This trip seems a bit easier in some ways. I was honest with myself. I went to my doctor. I'm on an antidepressant. It's only been two weeks since I started it, but it is helping. I still can't sleep worth a crap, but that is something I can work on.

So far, so good. I'm laying off the booze for the most part, and getting out and doing things. I can't stop life, and life won't stop me.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Because I've been thinking ...

I've been thinking that I might try to blog this next deployment. It's hard, because of the operational security related to Adam's job, but I think maybe I can do it in generalities, more like what I'm feeling, how it's going, etc.

When Adam calls us from "over there" as we call it, we talk about my day, and Addison's day. It's hard for Adam to share anything, because we both know he would never and never has shared anything even related to being over there over the phone. He takes his job and his security and that of others around him seriously. I appreciate that. I wish everyone would just shut their mouths and do their job, and not put others in danger. I wish wives would stop trolling for sympathy. Some is fine, but not ALL the time. I finally admitted to myself that I owed it to Adam, and Addison, and myself even, to get to the doctor for help. I am now armed with antidepressants, because I recognize the past few deployments have been harder than they should have. I don't need to walk around in a constant fog of depression. That's not healthy for anyone.

So I think most days I will try to post what that day feels like. I'm no dummy, so the first few days will all probably show up at one time. I'm not telling you when he leaves and I'm not letting you know when he'll be back. I want each and every person over there to come home safely.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Because sometimes secrets are good ...

I had an interesting conversation on Twitter today. Basically, it was about the constant need of the general public to know absolutely everything.

We aren't owed anything. We know there's two wars going on, but really, how much do we really know about what goes on in the big sandbox across the globe?

Honestly, I don't know a whole lot about what Adam has done with each and every deployment. In a sense, I don't want to know, because realistically, we don't know how many more times in the next few years he'll have to go over. I'm a realist, and I know his job is a dangerous one. I just don't want to know how dangerous quite yet.

We made a deal many years ago. On the day of his retirement, we're getting a couple cases of beer, and he's going to go through all of his memories, and share them with me. I know what he has done overseas is amazing, along with his entire unit. The public and mainstream media will never know all the brave acts of these men.

Why people feel the need to think they know absolutely everything because they watch the news and read the newspaper is beyond me. They have no clue. Someday, I look forward to these men and women being able to tell their story. We had the Greatest Generation, now we have the Next Great Generation unfolding before our very eyes.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Because do you really think I wouldn't have something to say today? ...

I knew something big was happening last night while laying in bed watching t.v. The president speaking at 10:30 at night? Something was up. So of course I got on Twitter, because if you want to know something, anything, get on Twitter.

Within minutes it was confirmed that Osama Bin Laden was dead. I waited for a few more confirmations before rousing Adam and telling him the news. I had to repeat myself a few times, it sunk in, he gave me a high five, then fell back asleep.

It wasn't the reaction I was expecting from a man who has spent a good amount of time overseas for the past 10 years. But that's him, not me. For me, it was a catharsis. Each and every deployment, every lonely minute Addison and I spent was somehow made right. Sure, there are a million more bad guys for every one Bin Laden, but for me, he embodied all that is evil. He was the mastermind behind 9/11, and that day began our war against terror. Everyone's lives were changed, including our entire military.

Here's where I become angry - the whole joyous event of finding out about his death has become politicized. How hard is it to simply say, "Way to go American troops, you did it!" Why turn it into an agenda? How very immature and self-centered. Do you know how much planning, how many years of intelligence, how many troops on the ground and beyond went into the operation? It wasn't one person.

The surge in patriotism is great, don't get me wrong. Do you want to know where the patriotism has been since '01? With every single military family. We have been quietly sending our men and women off to war, never knowing if we will see them again. We let that breath go when we see them again, no matter how long the deployment may be. We grieve with those who lose their loved ones. We offer support to each other; we are a family. Adam, and his brothers in arms, are the true silent professionals. They leave and come back with no fanfare. They do their job, and they do it spectacularly. They don't ask for handouts, or recognition.

My wish is this - for just one day, put aside the politics. Celebrate the death (my that sounds horrid of me, but you get the gist) of a tyrant, who killed our fellow Americans. Don't forget those still fighting, those returning, and those getting ready for yet another deployment. Take a minute to remember our fallen service members, their families, our wounded warriors and their caretakers. It's just one day, one day, to look beyond yourself to recognize some truly amazing people, people I am proud every day to say I know and love.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Because I love books ...

According to Adam, I'm a nerd because I read so much. Well, I think he's just jealous and I actually really hate when people who read are branded as "nerds." I love to read. As soon as I learned how to read in first grade, I've always had my nose buried in a book, and for the last two years, in my Kindle. I LOVE my Kindle.

At the beginning of the year, I gave myself a goal of reading 52 books this year. So far, I've read 40. Hey, I don't work and I have one kid who is almost 12. I have the time, especially the hours I spend at the baseball field for his practices and before games.

I've been keeping track of every book I've read. Here's the list:

1. A Shore Thing - Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi
2. The Hunger Games - Suzanne Collins
3. Catching Fire - Suzanne Collins
4. Mockingjay - Suzanne Collins
5. The Best Laid Plans - Lynn Schnurnberger
6. Water for Elephants - Sara Gruen
7. When You Reach Me - Rebecca Stead
8. Prom and Prejudice - Elizabeth Eulberg
9. Starlit - Lisa Rinna
10. Between Friends - Debbie Macomber
11. The Red Garden - Alice Hoffman
12. The Wolves of Andover - Kathleen Kent
13. Sprinkle With Murder - Jenn McKinlay
14. The Weird Sisters - Eleanor Brown
15. Here Lies Bridget - Paige Harbison
16. I Think I Love You - Allison Pearson
17. Buttercream Bumpoff - Jenn McKinlay
18. Less Than Zero - Bret Easton Ellis
19. The Clique #14 - A Tale of Two Pretties - Lisi Harrison
20. Trapped - Michael Northrop
21. It's Not Really About the Hair - Tabath Coffey
22. These Things Hidden - Heather Gudenkauf
23. Before I Fall - Lauren Oliver
24. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society - Mary Anne Shaffer
25. The Book of Joe - Jonathan Tropper
26. How to Talk to a Widower - Jonathan Tropper
27. Everything Changes - Jonathan Tropper
28. Eighteen Acres - Nicole Wallace
29. Three Stages of Amazement - Carol Edgarian
30. Secrets of My Hollywood Life 6 - Jen Calonita
31. The Peach Keeper - Sarah Addison Allen
32. A Visit from the Goon Squad - Jennifer Egan
33. The Boyfriend List- E Lockhart
34. Sweet Valley Confidential - 10 Years Later - Francine Pascal
35. The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake - Aimee Bender
36. Bossypants - Tina Fey
37. Garden Spells - Sarah Addison Allen
38. Sugar Queen - Sarah Addison Allen
39. Commencement - J. Courtney Sullivan
40. The Shadow of Your Smile - Mary Higgins Clark

I find that books are a very particular taste. I read a bit of everything, and yes, there's a lot of Young Adult books in the list. It's okay to be an adult and read YA. Hello, Harry Potter? Hunger Games? All written for kids, yet it seems like adults enjoy them the most.

The books I really enjoyed are anything by Jonathan Tropper and Sarah Addison Allen. They are two totally different authors, and the books are not similar at all. Commencement was a great book. A Visit From the Goon Squad was great, and actually, it just won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. Bossypants I absolutely loved. Tina Fey is not only hilarious on TV, but on paper too. The two books I really didn't like is Starlit and The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake. Lisa Rinna should stick to making her lips look not so fucked up, and the Lemon Cake book was just weird. I kept waiting for the book to start, and yet it never seemed to.

I'll keep adding to the list as I read more. I guess my goal now is 100 by December 31. Wish me luck.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Because Here I Go Again ...

Last week I was pissed off. It happens every now and then. I've gotten better at controlling my anger, and waiting a day or two before I go spouting off, my emotions bubbling over no matter how hard I try to keep the lid on them. I'm not angry right now. I'm not sure how to explain it. I'll try though.

One of the best things in my life is being a military wife. It's such an intense feeling of pride to know my husband serves his country each and every day and has for almost 16 years. I've been right there with him, and although I've complained a LOT (mostly when I was younger and immature), but for the most part, being a wife in the military community has become a large part of who I am. I was angry last week because of the government shutdown that was looming, and the fact that it looked like if it happened, Adam's paycheck would be cut in half. Ouch. I don't care who you are, half a paycheck hurts. It didn't happen, I'm happy to say.

BUT, this week it seems like all of a sudden the White House is pro-military everything. I saw a quote on Twitter by Joe Biden about owing us military families a lot. This is where I will most likely disagree with him, and others will disagree with me. Why are we owed anything? Anyone whose spouse joined after September 11, 2001, knew the word "deployment." Even if you just dated them for awhile, you knew there was always a chance of a deployment, or 10 deployments. They are difficult things, and you might question why in the fuck did you agree to this life when you agreed to marry them. One word, my friends, one word. Love. I love my husband. So I do the deployments, the loneliness, try to help my son understand why Dad is gone yet again. This is what you do for love. I would expect the same thing from Adam if the roles were reversed.

I'd rather see all the effort go toward the men and women who are in the Armed Forces. One thing that really makes my blood boil is seeing the stickers that say, "Army Wife. Toughest job in the Army." REALLY? I mean, really? You deploy to a foreign land and get shot at? You are away from your children for months on end? I don't think so. Get over yourself. A lot of places offer military discounts. Thank you to these businesses. Every little bit helps. We get free passes to Sea World, or Busch Gardens, and Disney World offers (or used to) a discount to military families.

What more do you want? I don't feel we are "owed" anything. You know what satisified me the most? A simple, heartfelt thank you to my husband. He does the hard part. I'm simply here supporting him. And that's enough for me.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Because this is what disappointment looks like ...

I've tried to be positive. I've tried to realize that there are tons of things that I cannot control, and to not worry about these things. I've done well, for me, lately. Until now. I won't hold my tongue. I try to control my temper, I try to hold my tongue, but sometime the Irish temper flares, and there's just no dousing it. The government has not yet shut down, yet the paycheck Adam will be getting next week is ALREADY halved. It's not all about the money, but in reality, a lot of the anger is directed at that. We'll be okay for awhile. We don't live beyond our means, but we enjoy what we can afford after many, many years of living on slim means. We have sacrificed. When we bought our house, we made sure we were several hundred dollars below what we are given for a basic housing allowance to allow for the bills associated with owning a home. But still, each paycheck makes a difference. Today I can honestly say I have never, ever been so disappointed in my country. Adam has given 15 years of blood, sweat, and tears to this country, and Addison and I have been right there along with him. We have endured holidays, birthdays, anniversaries, etc. alone. We have sent him to war 8 times to be blessed enough to have him return to us each time. I have sacrificed, damn it, for this country. I try so incredibly hard each and every single day to not be selfish. But when my government basically tells us that Adam has to work and be paid eventually, it really chaps my ass. I don't have a job or career because I always wanted Addison to know that he had one parent with him, always, that he could depend on so he wouldn't feel alone. No one likes to feel alone. But that's how I feel, because my disappointment is so damn thick today. I can say with all honesty I am crying while I write this. All of the pride I have in Adam and his fellow Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines drives me to tears to see what is going to happen to the families who depend on this money, who sacrifice so much every single day. (And this girl is NOT a crier. Only when the Red Sox lose in the ALCS. Goddamn Aaron Boone.) My fellow military families, let's band together. Let's tell our government we're not expendable, that we count too. Make your voices known. Do not rest.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Because this is for Marlo ...

This is a post just for a woman I know named Marlo. I know Marlo because we went to high school together. While we didn't hang out, we had friends in common, and Marlo was one of the nice kids. Fast forward to today... Marlo is a newlywed who today saw her husband off for a yearlong deployment overseas. She's now a fellow military wife, going through her first deployment. I promised I would writer her a blog post with my best advice on how to survive this trying time. I'm not an expert. I have never gone through a yearlong deployment with my husband, because his job is different, but I have been through eight deployments averaging about four months in length since 2001. What I write here is my own ways of coping I have found to be beneficial to myself and my family. Everyone has to find their own groove and what works best for them obviously. I'm not going to lie. The first two weeks are always the hardest for me. That first morning I wake up after he has left hits me like a ton of bricks when I remember he won't be laying next to me in that bed for awhile. It's okay to be sad. There's a list I see every so often that has major stressors in life (like having a baby, moving, becoming an empty nester, etc.). I haven't seen one lately, but I wonder if they've updated it to include deployments. You will feel stress. How you deal with that stress is up to you. I chose to drink, probably too much, for a few deployments. Not the best coping mechanism, that's for sure. As I've gotten older and had a better grasp on what was to come, I've tried to use that stress as a motivator to exercise instead. Again, it's totally up to that individual how they choose to deal with the stress. Expect the unexpected. Something will break or need to be repaired at some point. In my case, it's usually within that first two weeks that Murphy's Law goes into full effect at the Nash house. I've gone and bought lawnmowers (twice), a washing machine on Christmas Eve, and much more, by myself, because I had to. Be prepared, especially if you don't have family readily available or in your area, to learn how to do a lot of things you never thought you'd have to do. You might amaze yourself as to the strength you do have as a woman, and as someone who is able to do stuff independently. It's okay to ask for help. I admit, I am awful about this. I will try, and try again, and try some more, before I ask anyone for any sort of help, be it watching Addison or figuring something out. I've become independent to a fault I suppose. When people offer help, or even say, "Hey, if you need anything, let me know," well, let them know. You will find out soon enough whose ear you can bend at any time of the day, and who may be a little standoffish because suddenly you're alone. You'll find out who your true friends and family are. It's very rare that I will unload my fears or sadness when I get the chance to talk to Adam when he's overseas. He's got enough on his plate. I'll complain every now and then about something trivial. But for the most part, I make sure he knows that everything is under control here. A Soldier is only as good as his counterparts are back home. If a wife is constantly nagging him, asking why he only emails once a day (HI, HE'S AT WAR YOU SILLY BITCH), his head isn't going to be where it needs to be. If you have to fake it, fake it. I'm not saying you have to BE fake. But I also wouldn't want Adam to be worrying because I happen to be having a crappy day and have his focus taken off what he is over there to do. You don't have to be Sally Sunshine, but there's really only so much he can do from over there. We don't often get much more than a 15-minute phone call once or twice a week, so there's no way I'm filling that time with complaining. He can't tell me what he is doing over there, so I let him know what we did that day, or what we have coming up, to give him a feeling of home and normalcy. If he's reassured that we're okay, it should be that much easier for him to be able to do his work. Again, not going to lie, but holidays, birthdays, anniversaries, etc., are hard when he's gone. Our first Christmas without Adam was miserable, no matter how hard I tried to put on a happy face for a 5-year-old Addison. The second Christmas was somewhat better, but really, it's just not the same without him. I've become somewhat jaded after almost 15 years of being a military wife, admittedly. It's fine he will be gone for my birthday this year. I've had 36 birthdays, and I understand. Addison will turn 12 without his father here. He is somewhat understanding of it, and as a typical kid, let Adam know that it "sucks" he won't be here. There's probably all sorts of things I forgot to add here. Mostly, the first deployment is all about learning what to do and what not to do. It's a scary, exciting, prideful time. Most of all, let him know how much you support him and what he is doing. And, of course, how much you love him. Marlo, I have no doubt you will be exactly what your last name is. You have my number - don't ever hesitate to use it. I wouldn't say it if I didn't mean it.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Because it's who I am ...

Sometimes I'll be driving around, and see a blonde woman in her BMW, Acura, what have you, and think to myself, "I wish I was blonde and had an expensive car." That lasts for about a second before I remember who I am. I'm happy being me, because I accepted that this is who I am, which is not a blonde in an expensive car.

I was blonde once, because I was 18 and had a major lack of self-esteem. I thought I looked beautiful. In reality, I looked like a Puerto Rican porn star. I'm neither Puerto Rican, nor a porn star, so it was pretty ugly. I really believed that blondes had more fun. I was fun no matter what my hair color was, I just didn't realize it way back then.

So when I see these women, I feel bad about myself for a millisecond. A lot of work goes into being them. That's not me. I feel exhilarated every single time I get into the Jeep and the top is off. The feeling of sunshine on my face makes everything better. My hair inevitably is mussed and tangled, but I don't care.

If I had it my way, I would live on or right down the road from the beach. I would love the feeling of sand between my toes every day. I crave warm weather, sea breezes, and beaches. When it's warm outside, I also crave beer. I don't know why, but I do.

I guess I am a beach bum at heart, a girl who should have inherited millions of dollars early in life, so I could pull a Hemingway and write wherever I wanted to my heart's content.

Those girls can have their fancy cars and their manicures and such. I'll be the girl with the top off the Jeep, barefoot, hair blowing wildly in the breeze, dreaming about my future beach house stocked with good beer.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Because sometimes it's too much ...

As someone who keeps up with Facebook and Twitter on a somewhat regular basis, I have to stay I'm pretty surprised at what people put out there these days.

First off, enough of the friggin' complaining. Maybe I follow the wrong people on Twitter or have overly negative friends on Facebook, but it seems like for a long time now all everyone does is complain, and complain about everything! Shut it! I'm sorry if your life is so sucky, but instead of whining about it, why not try something different or new? I understand that not every situation is fixable, but attitudes are. I sometimes find myself falling into a chasm of self-pity, especially when Adam is out of town, whether training or deployed. Then I remember the families who will never again see their loved one, who never got the chance to say goodbye, whose son, husband, father, etc., died in a foreign land for his country. That'll clear up any feelings I have about feeling sorry for myself pretty quickly.

Then there are the "oversharers." Again, I'm sorry you are in a very loveless marriage and you hate your husband. I really don't want/need to know this, neither does the whole Internet. I'm sorry you can't afford basic life necessities for your family. But when you post the same link countless times to your blog with this information on it, it seems like maybe you're looking for a handout or donations without actually saying it. If so, that's fine. I do my best not to judge. At the same time, though, I wonder about people like this. Are they really that miserable? Are they trolling for sympathy? Do they want attention?

Maybe I'm just a simple person. I don't have Internet-worthy drama. In fact, I don't even have drama, because I choose not to become entangled in anything that could potentially turn into drama. I have a happy little life. I'm thankful for what I have, and I don't pine for what I don't have.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Because I don't understand why ...

I don't understand why adults feel the need to proclaim their hatred of Justin Bieber. The psychology behind it fascinates me. I think back to my teenage years when all the boys I knew absolutely hated The New Kids on the Block. It seems to make sense that they were jealous - jealous of their fame, money, ability to get girls, etc.

It's not a new phenomenon. I'm sure tons of young men wanted to be Elvis, or John Lennon, even Mick Jagger. But lately it seems like the people who are supposed to be mature adults like to spit their vitriol toward someone Justin. I think it's ridiculous. He's a child. Do these people realize they're letting the world know, via Twitter, Facebook and other social media, that they are incredibly immature and "hate" a young teenaged boy?

You don't have to like his music, or think he's talented (which he is, jealous much?). Don't listen to his music. If he offends you that much, you might want to examine yourself first.

Who wouldn't want to be a teenager worth a reported $100 million dollars with Usher as your mentor? Sounds like a pretty good life to me. I, as a newly minted mature adult, wish Justin the best of luck in his life. I hope he stays true to himself, his family, and his fans. Americans seem to like others to fail, so they feel better about themselves. I find that truly pathetic. Worry about your own life, and cheer on others when good things happen to them.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Because New Englanders are going to hate me ...

But I really do miss the snow this year. I've lived in Georgia since April of 1996. I haven't seen more than an inch of snow at one time since then. Growing up in New England I saw my fair share of snow. My dad always asks me if I remember the Blizzard of '78. Nope. I was 4 years old. I do know the story that we went across the street and got some Kentucky Fried Chicken though.

I know New Englanders are hating the snow. There's been storm after storm after storm, and they all seem to dump copious amounts of the white stuff at one time. I get it. I remember being about 19 years old, and that winter we had more than 100 inches of snow. And that was on Cape Cod, who usually gets rain.

But, after all these years in the South, I sometimes do miss a good snowstorm. I miss being a kid, waking up at the ass crack of dawn to see if school was cancelled. I miss that night before feeling of making plans as a teenager with all my friends, prepping for the snow day. I miss having that feeling of togetherness with my family during a blizzard, because none of us could go anywhere. That "let's hunker down, make a fire, eat some candy, read some crappy magazines, watch t.v., etc." feeling is always pretty cool.

What I like the most is watching the snow fall, watching it accumulate on the pavement, the cars, the roofs of the houses nearby. I really think falling snow is pretty. Sure, a week later when it's brown and dirty it's not so pretty. There is really nothing I like better than a beautiful snowfall at dusk.

So, New Englanders, while I can feel your pain about ALL THAT DAMN SNOW, know there are a few of us displaced Yankees who are sort of jealous.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Because I'm embracing my role...

That would be my role as a housewife, homemaker, domestic engineer, whatever you'd like to call me (besides Bitch, although I have answered to that once by accident). I've finally started to find my footing as someone who can cook. I'm not sure why I always found it so intimidating. I'm experimenting with new things - veggies and meats and spices and everything else.

I cannot wait for Springtime so I can plant stuff. I'm feeling all Mother Earth-y and want to grow all kinds of stuff - cucumbers and squash and beans and everything else I can. I want to cook with said food.

I'm trying hard to be a good wife and mom, and feed these boys. Adam is a great husband - he'll eat anything I put in front of him, and grin even if it tastes like a hockey puck. Addison is good about trying new things. Hell, the kid has me cook him salmon and broccoli and I even got out my tweezers to take the bones out of it. If all else fails, the dogs will pretty much eat anything. (The new dog has been caught eating her own excrement. I'm sure anything I make will taste better than that. And yes, she's gross.)

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Because I realized this ...

I'm not looking for sympathy, or encouragement, or anything like that. I'm self-assured enough to not be that type of person.

What I realized the other day is that I seemingly have no discernible talent. I can't make things out of wood, or sew a quilt. I can't draw to save my life. I can't sing, or play an instrument. I can't take really nice pictures.

I've been searching myself and thinking, pondering, wondering if I do have some sort of talent. Maybe I do, and it's been dormant my whole life. Maybe I am just a really ordinary person. Maybe I still need to discover it. I think that it would make a really neat blog, like "Finding My Talent" or something like that, a quest to find out if I really do have any sort of gift.

Until then, I'm going to be thinking and thinking about it.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Because I like these days ...

I know everyone likes to complain about the cold, snowy, icy, what-have-you kind of days the entire country seems to be experiencing lately. Me, well, I like this weather.

I like the cold, gray days. I like to ask Adam to build me a fire so I can lay down in front of it and absorb the warmth (and dry skin). I like wearing sweatpants, a cozy sweatshirt, and thick wool socks. I'm lucky in the fact that I don't have to go out in the cold, or the snow (because I live in southeast Georgia.) I have no right to complain. It's January. It's winter. I'm making the most out of it, because in a few short months, the hot, sticky weather will be here, and then everyone will be complaining about that.

I'll enjoy the winter season as long as it will last.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Because these people bug me ...

I've been trying hard to be a more positive person, to roll with the punches instead of trying to fight everything. I think I've been doing a pretty good job of it, and life is a lot less stressful. What I've figured out, though, is that there is a certain breed of people who I will never, ever like. I bet you know one or two or even more, because they're certainly rampant. They are the "I'm better than everyone else because _____" (fill in the blank.)

You know those people who make you feel bad because you happen to like Justin Beiber's music? The ones who say, "Oh, if you don't listen to the new record by I Pull My Pud you suck so bad." It seems like everyone tries to be original, to not be mainstream. That's fine, but you don't have to try to make yourself feel awesome by making others feel bad about what they listen to.

Or read. Or eat. Or drink. I don't care if I won $190,000,000 - me and my taste buds would still be eating at McDonald's.

It seems some "trashy" things are cool to own up to - watching Jersey Shore, for example. I don't watch it, but if I did, I'd own up to it. I'm reading Snooki's book. Go ahead and mock me, I don't care. I read all kinds of books. I just finished the Stieg Larsson trilogy and really liked the books. I love Willa Cather and I love Jackie Collins books.

People need to get over themselves. If you want to drink your Keystone Light while reading Cervantes, you go for it. If you want to listen to New Kids on the Block while discussing Beethoven's works, who the hell cares? Like Joseph Campbell is reported to have said, "Follow your bliss." I'll add to that and say, "Follow your bliss, and fuck anyone who gives you any shit about it. They're douchebags, yo."