15 November 2009

and it's times like these when we all need to hear the radio

I've been away for awhile. I have been very busy and I just... ran out of things to say.

I'm still working in the same place, Fort Dix, although now we aren't really Fort Dix anymore, we're part of the new Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst. It's weird having the Air Force in charge of the whole thing. They are not friendly toward Soldiers, which is upsetting. Working with the CPT is still the same; there are pretty good days and there are catastrophic days. I have 8 months and 15 days left on these orders, then - well, not too sure what comes then, but whatever it is, I'm confident it'll be great.

Tree and I are out of our beautiful rented lake house and into one nearby, that we own. Awesome, right? :/ I actually don't feel all that awesome about it. I mean, the house is great... I just kind of wish we hadn't bought it. Tree and I were talking about all the renovations we want to do today, and I asked him how long he thinks we'll be here. He said 5 years and my heart sank. I just want to be back in Massachusetts and be near my family and friends, and people with my accent and who love the Red Sox and the Patriots and know what a grinder is. I had planned on purchasing this house as strictly an investment property - fix it up while living in it for a year or so, then move back home and rent it out to someone working on Fort Dix. But Tree has really fallen for this place... it's heartbreaking to imagine myself here 5 years from now...

"cause from the lips of some old singer
we can share the troubles we already know"

- Elton John "Sad Songs (Say So Much)" -

09 October 2009

oh momma, I've been years on the lam


Dear Blue House (old house),

We had big plans for you, and I truly regret we won't have the chance to see more of those become a reality. Thank you for providing a surprisingly cooperative garden and for offering such a stunning view of the lake. We've decided to leave behind the 7 blueberry bushes we purchased and planted where the yard monster used to lurk, so try to pick a family that will take pleasure in fresh blueberries in their cereal. I'll miss your bizarre quirks - the mismatched lighting, the mismatched wall treatments, the mismatched doors/door frames, the questionable paint colors, the awful "seashore" theme - because, while these quirks both frustrated and baffled me, I can appreciate the charm in a house that Jack built. And despite your faults - the leaky skylights, the backed up plumbing, the creepy neighbors - I will remember you fondly. Farewell, friend.

Dear Cats,

I'm sorry to move you for the, ahem, sixth time, but I think you will like our new home. You will miss having the screened-in porch to sun yourselves and watch birds, I know, because I will too. That, I think, will be one of the hardest things to lose. But you will learn to love this new house, I promise.

Dear Tree,

What can I say but thank you. You've proved to be more understanding than any human should be, and the work you have done to take us on this new adventure has not gone unnoticed. You have been strong and supportive every step of the way, from making the first scary call to the realtor to sitting down with the huge scary loan packet awaiting a hundred signatures. I couldn't imagine a better co-conspirator, or more importantly, a better husband.

Dear Half-Brick House (new house),

I won't say much, because we aren't even moved in yet, but know that things are going to be strange for the first few months. I know I'm probably going to feel a little resentful for awhile, but don't be offended, it's just that I'm still missing my Blue House. Don't worry, though. We've got plans for you, too. ;)

"the jig is up, the news is out
they finally found me"

- STYX "Renegade" -

23 September 2009

who dat say dey gonna beat dem Saints?

Alright, so this past weekend was pretty cool. Tree was away in MA for training and I had planned on doing what I always do when he's gone - sulk, eat tofu hotdogs for more days in a row than is probably healthy, and sleep with the bedside lamp on and a knife under his pillow. I know you're all jealous of how much my life rocks.

But I'd agreed, like a month ago, to go to the Eagles home-opener (vs the Saints) with a few people from work and had already paid for the ticket, so there was Sunday. And then Tea convinced me to go to the Delaware Sängerbund Oktoberfest in northern Delaware with her sister and a friend on Saturday. Not much time for sulking.

So Saturday I drove out to their house and we took the Prius into trashy Delaware. The Boozen Puken Oktoberfest was actually pretty cool, and if I go again next year, I'm totally going to buy a dirndl to wear there. You know, even though I'm not even a little bit German.

We drank some German beer (Märzen), ate a giant pretzel (didn't wait in line for the mustard though), had some more beer (of course), ate an apple streusel (cause we're fat), watched some Bavarian folk dancing (so cool), was hit in the shoulder by a flying stuffed parrot (didn't see who threw it at me, but now it's sitting in my bedroom). Drove back in awkward silence as Tea's sister made out in my backseat with her, ah, friend?

Sunday I got up a little earlier, picked up Ariz at brigade headquarters and drove out to Philly. We met up with the CPT, her boyfriend (both rabid Eagles fans), and one of the battalion SGMs, who happens to be a huge Saints fan. And even though I really didn't care either way which team won, I had a great, great time. Ariz and the SGM are hilarious together, and the CPT was actually really cool (she was a little drunk - we all were). The Saints ended up stomping the Eagles and like 3/4 of the stadium cleared out with 10 minutes left of the game. There's some loyalty, right?

We stayed until the end, which made leaving the parking lot rather difficult, but Ariz is also from MA, so he watched for openings in traffic and helped direct my asshole moves through the wall of cars. Haha. Massholes.

So not the weekend I planned, but a good one nonetheless. Friends are good.

Oh also, Tree had flowers sent to our house today. Adore that man. <3

22 September 2009

now tell me who's your housekeeper

Very quickly, because time is at a premium these days (sorry about that...):

- officially transferred into the NJ Guard and put the MA good ol' boys club in my rearview mirror

- whoops! then found an E6 slot in the Reserves - bye NJ, and thanks for the (two weeks of) memories! (signing the paperwork tomorrow; the transfer should go through in a matter of weeks)

- probably going to have to have two of my wisdom teeth pulled - will find out at the consult tomorrow

- homeowner of the weird half-brick front house countered our offer, so now we counter-counter, and hopefully I'll know for sure - YES or NO - by the end of the week...?!

- going to Maryland at the beginning of October for a wedding and to celebrate our 3rd anniversary

- oh and Tree comes back from training on Friday!! :)

Tomorrow I'll try to get back on here to tell you about my weekend. An unexpected sunburn!

Are you custom-made, custom-paid, or you just custom-fitted?

- Ludacris "Roll Out (My Business)" -

14 September 2009

'cause baby, something beautiful's dying

Waiting, waiting...

Still haven't worked out of my slump. I think I'll feel better once we have a home, but I'm getting discouraged. Maybe we're being too picky, I don't know...

We've turned down one because it had steeply slanted ceilings in the second floor and a teeny postage-stamp kitchen...

One because it was a split-level and far too big (6 bedrooms, wtf)...

One because it only had 2 bed/1 bath and no possibility for expansion... it was a 100+ year old restored farmhouse, and it hurt to let that one go...

One because it was CREEKfront, not LAKEfront, and the listing agent vastly exaggerated the interior square footage, and it smelled like wet cats...

One because the sellers were smoking crack if they think adding two rooms and a pool to a freakin RANCH equals $330,000. We walked out of that open house in disbelief.

Meanwhile, we have less than 60 days on this lease. We've started packing non-essentials (books, seldom used kitchen gadgets, extra clothes and bedding) in anticipation of the move. I just really want the dude to accept our offer on the weird half-brick-front ranch. It needs some love but shit, who doesn't?

..Sigh..

"we had a love,
a love, a love you don't find everyday"

- Righteous Brothers "You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling" -

08 September 2009

and now I think I'm sick and I wanna go home

Sorry all - I'm just drained. Between the stress of knowing we have less than 2 months left in this house to trying to find another one we love as much as this one, plus the normal horrors at work, and impending unemployment in 10.5 months...

Oh and did I tell you Tree is getting deployed, like for real this time? Yeah, right before I come off my active duty orders. I'm going to save the remainder of leave I have from last year plus all the leave I have coming this year so I can take a whole bunch of time off right before he leaves. I was in denial for awhile and haven't really talked about it, but it's coming...

I'll try to write something more tomorrow. I took some pictures of the house we're putting an offer in for, so maybe I'll post those for you to check out. But all in all feeling pretty glum.

"did you lose it in a hateful fight?"

- Green Day "Emenius Sleepus" -

02 September 2009

and he likes to sing along

Most of my "accidental" blog traffic arrives here by searching aut viam inveniam aut faciam tattoo or what does aut inveniam aut faciam mean? This is kind of funny because I actually have a tattoo of that phrase (also the title of my blog) but do not have a picture of it posted, and nowhere on my blog do I give a definition of it.

Another popular way people arrive here is by searching for song lyrics. This makes sense: each post title is a snippet from a song I feel relates to the particular post... ...or it was playing on my iPod when I was typing the post. Or I heard it on the radio on my way to work. There's really no formula here.

But then in the last few weeks, some wacked out people visited my blog. I have no idea how any of these searches led these weirdos here. A sampling:

Someone from the UK arrived here by searching for mom to be baby aut on Aug 20. Maybe the aut was supposed to be aunt? Otherwise I don't get it.

A person in Ontario searched for f scott fitzgerald scotch whiskey on Aug 21 and ended up here - this I sort of get (I have a quote from The Great Gatsby on the left side panel of my blog) but it's still a weird search.

Then on Aug 25, a New Yorker using a Mac searched for "colleen hickey" blog -saffron single mother and bizarrely ended up here. What.

An unknown ISP searched i have my whole life ahead on Aug 31 and viewed 4 pages of my blog. I hope this was someone trying to find lyrics to the Kenny Chesney song I used as a post title and not like searching for an abortionist or something. Yikes.

And then it got fucking creepy.

On Aug 31, someone in the US did an AOL search for mothers incest desires. How??? did my blog end up in the search results??

Another US search (but the search language was Chinese) brought someone here Sept 1, this time for aut graduation photos. I don't get it either.

Oh, here's a goodie: Someone in India found their way here by searching for story of me and my aut fucking in bed room on Sept 1. I assume aut was again supposed to be aunt, but I actually think that makes it worse.

And finally, also on Sept 1 (International Weirdos-on-Google Day) someone arrived here by searching vagina aut beby vidio - they were using Google English, however they arrived here from Indonesia.

What.

"but he knows not what it means"

- Nirvana "In Bloom" -

31 August 2009

I don't mind stealing bread


I have been away from this blog for awhile, mainly because I've been at a loss for words in many areas of my life.

Now, here again, I don't want to rage at anyone (who will likely never read this anyway), I don't want to express my extreme disappointment in some people I (wrongly?) consider my friends, I don't want to rehash old (but ongoing) worries, anxieties, frustrations, and fears.

If I'm going to get through this, it is going to be by remaining positive, afterall. So I thought I'd instead share a few small pleasures I have enjoyed in the past few weeks.

- humidity that wilted everything in sight, but helped my orchids bloom beautifully on the porch

- Yoshi and Beeb greeting me when I got home from work

- strawberry rhubarb pie that Tree ended up hating, so shucks, I had to eat the whole thing myself ;)

- resuming work on my WWII foot locker project

- the new kitty, Fiyero, still insisting on sleeping sweetly next to me

- preparing for a breathtaking Halloween

- a zucchini as big my foot

"but I can't feed on the powerless
when my cup's already overfilled"

- Temple of the Dog "Hunger Strike" -

12 August 2009

it's sleeping in my memory

I'm feeling very overwhelmed today. Things were going great and then in the last week it all got fucked up.

I'm going to set aside, for the moment, the never ending nightmare that is my job. The CPT is never going to change; she'll be the worst boss/officer in existence right to my last day of orders. 353 days to go...

An ongoing issue at the back of my mind has been my parents' financial situation. Yoshi told me today they are behind on nearly everything and are now close to having the electricity shut off. It fucking kills me. My dad has his own construction business, and as home-buying slowed with the economy, so did building and renovations. What makes me so angry is that their situation is not their fault - they have not been irresponsible, they don't live beyond their means, they have not accumulated a ton of credit card debt, haven't spent lavishly on vacations or cars or anything. My dad just goes to work every day, pays his workers fairly, and my mother keeps the company books along with a part-time job. They are honest, salt-of-the-earth people who could not deserve less the situation they are in. But people aren't building much, and some jobs he'd started are now in limbo as the buyers ran out of cash. They are owed a good amount of money, but how can you tell that to the collection agency? And very few new jobs are coming in.

My dad asked Yoshi and I to fill out online applications for him to Home Depot, Lowes, etc because he's not good them and always gets frustrated. He's put his truck and motorcycle on Craigslist; it's the motorcycle that really hurts - it's such a big part of him. He's president of the Band of Brothers (Central Mass) Chapter of the Nam Knights. What does that mean for him if his motorcycle is gone?

I haven't talked to Tree, but I want to and am going to help. I know my parents won't take money from me, so I have to stick to bills that don't require me having to answer a lot of questions. I tried to pay their electric bill, but the company won't take payments over the phone, and I can't send a check without the account number. So I called the lumber company I know they have an overdue account at (almost $1100 I learned today) and paid $400. After I get paid this weekend I'm going to pay the rest. I don't know what I am going to say once my mother (who keeps impeccable books) realizes there is an unexplained payment. Hopefully she'll understand and just not say anything to my dad. Sometimes you do what you have to do, to take care of your family. I don't think I'm going to say anything to Tree, either.

There is another thing, but it's not really my story to tell. Perhaps I will be able to elaborate more later, but for now all I will say is that I love my sister and niece and would do anything to help them.

Then I found out today that the owners of my house, my big beautiful house, won't sell it for less than they paid - about $50,000 more than the house is currently worth. Our lease is up at the end of October and it makes me literally sick to my stomach to think of all the work we're going to have to do from now to then. Tree told the realtor we aren't interested in overpaying like a motherfucker, so she's going to look for other houses in the area. But shit - this place is fucking amazing, even with the work it needs. And we talked so much about plans for the garden next year, renovating different parts of the house, what our end vision for the place is... I just hope we can find something else, lakefront, so I don't regret losing this house for the rest of my life. We have put so much time and love into the house and yard already - we just planted 7 blueberry bushes like a week ago! I suppose that serves us right for getting attached to a house that wasn't ours, but fuck... I love this place so much I'm starting to cry over it again.

So in light of everything, maybe Tree and I should go back home? Gee, that's some timing, considering I just quit my GS job in MA and transferred into the New Jersey National Guard last Friday. Everything is awesome, right?

"and a rock feels no pain
and an island never cries"

- Simon and Garfunkel "I Am A Rock" -

10 August 2009

well I'm a waste like you, with nothing else to do

First day without the husband (he's away on training for a week).

This is what I planned to do today:

- vacuum large rug in great room and shake out small area rugs

- repaint toenails

- begin moving my crap out of my barracks room and into our house (it's only been 9 months, stop rushing me!)

- throw away dead flowers and pick/buy new ones for the kitchen table

- schedule a hair cut for later this week

- laundry (always)

- sweep out guest bathroom and wash tub

- open windows and let some breeze in

This is what I managed to do today:

- you're looking at it. :/

"why are you alone,
wasting your time
when you could be with me,
wasting your time"

- Green Day "Sassafras Roots" -

09 August 2009

are these times contagious?

So, yesterday was my birthday. (Happy birthday, me!) Tree was wonderful and decorated the great room for my birthday and got me a few thoughtful, photo-related gifts that incorporated photos I'd taken of our house and his garden. He also got me an ice cream maker but I totally bullied him into giving it to me early under the premise of making a batch before he left for AT - he's leaving in 2 hours and guess who never got around to making any ice cream?

Anyway, he was a great little husbandy and let me do anything I wanted for my birthday. We were originally going to spend the weekend away doing cool stuff, but there was some mandatory Army shit to take care of in the morning and then we had to go drop my car off at the Toyota dealership to get serviced/detailed/the-part-on-the-front-that-fell-off-like-the-day-I-bought-the-car-last-August-and-am-just-now-getting-around-to-replacing replaced. By the time we got back home it was nearly 1:00, so we decided it wasn't worth it to really go anywhere.

He made me my favorite lunch (a particular brand of organic mac & cheese - stop laughing!) and then I wanted to go check out a yard sale we'd passed on the way back from Toyota. Well, we ended up spending the rest of the afternoon cruising through all the twisting, eclectic lake-communities, hunting for yard sales. I found a ton of new clothes for Beeb (shirts, skirts, shoes, a winter coat, dresses, a sweatshirt, teeny jeans...), plus a pair of jeans for myself and two Halloween decorations, all for less than $15.

As it got later in the afternoon, most of the yard sales had been packed up, so Tree and I explored some more of the lake communities we hadn't seen before (there are like 10 lakes right near where we live). We've decided we live on the best lake. :)

We got home and Tree lit the tiki lights that line the walkway down to the lake and then we started a fire in the small firepit he built this week. While I puttered around doing laundry and odd chores, Tree started dinner (my favorite burritos, even though we just had them the other day) and made birthday chocolate cupcakes for me.

And although it was just a simple, low-key day, I had so much fun with Tree. He was so sweet and completely open do doing whatever I wanted, because it was my birthday, and it was important to him that I got to do what made me happy. And just driving around, pointing out yard sale signs and then turning down all the crazy streets looking for the actual yard sale (some signs went nowhere), just me and Tree without any stress, no worries, was just so, so great. It was, hands down, the best birthday I've ever had.

:)

So, the other day I got blog-tagged by bodoba!

This is what ya do:
1. Link to the person or persons who tagged you.
2. Post the rules on your blog.
3. Write six random and/or revealing things about yourself.
4. Tag six people at the end of your post and link to them.
5. Let each person know they’ve been tagged and leave a comment on their blog
6. Let the tagger know when your post entry is up on your site.

So here we go, my 6 things (WARNING! Possible TMI ahead):

1. In general, I dislike having all my toenails painted the same color. I mean, what's the fun in that? So right now, from the far-left toe of my left foot to the far-right toe of my right foot, they are painted: orange, orange, orange, purple, purple, orange, orange, purple, orange, color-changing pink/yellow.

2. One of my nipples used to be an "innie." Like, it would wake up in cold weather and at other times (wink), but for the most part, it preferred to be a little cave. But then I got my nipples pierced and now all is right in the world.

3. I love watching medical-mystery type shows, like the Tree Man or Mermaid Girl. I'm both captivated and horrified. How easily any of these things could have happened to me!

4. While I don't anticipate giving up being a vegetarian, sometimes I miss the convenience of a restriction-free diet. Going out to eat is especially difficult - you can only eat so much salad/pasta.

5. Every time a lightning bug makes its way into my house, I catch it and make a wish while releasing it back outside.

6. I have never seen any of the Star Wars movies, nor do I have any desire to (I listed this one last in case you've now decided to stop being my friend; at least I made you read all my 6 facts so hopefully you'll make an fair decision and not base our friendship on a stupid 70's movie with lame hot-girl slavery, shitty special effects, regardless of how "groundbreaking" everyone says they were - oh and incest. So if you're choosing incest over being my friend, maybe I don't want to be your friend, either.).

I don't have very many blogspot-friends (so sad) so I'll just tag Meg.

"have I got a long way..."

- Collective Soul "Run" -

06 August 2009

maybe it's just you're not enough for me

Ok, so I totally ripped this off from The Bloggess's advice column (sorry, Jenny!) but this was just too fucking awesome not to share.

SFW if you keep the volume low.



Or watch it on YouTube here. Best part of the video is at 1:35.

"like a penis, but reversible"

- Storm Large "(My Vagina Is) 8 Miles Wide" -

02 August 2009

did it take long to find me?

So yesterday was a good day, a real nice end to these 12 days of leave - blueberry day! And some other cool things...

We slept in a little, then ate leftover pizza for a late breakfast/early lunch. After showers we headed out, first to Old Navy. For my military readers, Old Navy offers a military discount (with your ID, obviously) on the 1st of every month. Usually it's 10%, but in checking my receipt on the way out, I realized it was 30% yesterday. Kick ass.

After Old Navy we went next door to Bed, Bath and Beyond to try to find a glass carafe for Tree's lemonade (we've been keeping it in the fridge in a large flower vase that I bought at a yard sale for 50 cents... embarrassing...), but no luck.

Then on to the blueberry farm! I found DiMeo Farms online, in Hammonton, N.J., the Blueberry Capital of the World, and it seemed pretty cool, so there we went. What sweet people, I can't even tell you. Tree and I picked out 7 blueberry plants and I got a really neat rustic wooden hand-tray for carrying vegetables from the garden (so quaint it breaks my heart).


Before we left, the lovely blueberry lady gave us 8 poblano peppers to thank us for our business. Tree turned them into a superdelicious salsa when we got home (onions were store bought, tomatoes and additional peppers from our garden).


(a bit too much flash in that picture)

Got home and managed to get 4 of the plants in the ground before it got dark/we were tired. We still have to clear some more random wild crap away from the fence before we can get the other 3 plants in... tomorrow, hopefully. I also made a stick pile for Tree's eventual fire pit.

Then we made my favorite vegetarian sweet potato/bean burritos (don't hate until you've tried them) and I opened my birthday present early. My birthday is actually on Saturday, but Tree is going away for two weeks of training the very next day, and we wanted to enjoy my new toy a little before he leaves - an old fashioned ice cream maker!! I can't wait to get started. I'm going to at least try to make one batch before he goes back to MA.

And that was pretty much it. All in all a great day!

And now... I'm feeling very nervous about going back to work. It's really sad - the CPT makes me hate the Army a little bit. Words cannot describe what a terrible boss she is - she actually damages my self esteem. I dread going to work mostly because I healed so much over leave, and I don't want to go back to feeling like shit every day.

So I'm going to brainstorm a bit this week about my options, and I'm going to hang on to my Zen for as long as possible.

(crosses fingers)

"and if I ever lose my eyes,
if my colors all run dry
yes, if I ever lose my eyes
I won't have to cry no more."

- Cat Stevens "Moon Shadow" -

31 July 2009

off through the new day's mist I run


What's that? you ask?

That. Is a Yard Monster.

Tree and I pulled it from its nest in the pine trees along the side of our back yard with the weird vampire neighbors (the other side has the cool neighbors who invited us to their cookout on the 4th of July). Actually, I'm not 100% sure they are vampires, but since I've yet to see any of them in the 8 months that we've lived here, I can only assume. I do know they own a small dog, though, who is sometimes out on their deck, so I guess they must not be the dog-eating kind. Unless the dog is the only one living there. In that case, bravo on teaching yourself to drive to the store to get dog food. Unless the dog ate the neighbors. Yikes...

Getting off topic. So the Yard Monster was a huge snarly viney grapey thing that was strangling like 4 trees to death. Plus it was a terrible eyesore. Tree brought home some pruning shears and we hacked and yanked and untangled and cursed for the better part of two afternoons - and there's still some left. Unfortunately, the previous occupants of our house (technically still the current owners as we are mere renters) never tried to cut the thing back. And obviously the next-door vampires/dog didn't do it either. In fact, the type of fence that separates that section of our yards (there are two different kinds of fencing on that side... sigh...) is such that I suspect the wild grape debacle was no accident.

But that part of the yard is definately coming along. We're going to pick up some blueberry bushes tomorrow and get them planted hopefully tomorrow afternoon, if the weather is ok. It's been raining something awful lately. One of our tomato plants (we only had 3) was killed in the vicious storm we had the other night. Luckily everything else was unharmed. The squash/zucchini/pepper plants are all doing fine, giving us a pretty decent return. Again, we didn't plant much because it's only the two of us here and this was our first garden, but I'm impressed! And we have so many great ideas for next year. The blueberry bushes we're planting tomorrow won't give us much, if anything, this season, but it will be nice to have berries next year. And they'll be covering up the nakedness created when we took out all the wild grape vines - the vampires' yard is overgrown, filled with junk, and just horrible, and I'd rather not have to look at it.

That was kind of snobby. :P

Well, that's pretty much it for now. Two days left of leave, then back to work. More stuff to do outside before I'm satisfied. We've got the cookout to plan for, and I know it's early, but I'm already gearing up for Halloween. And there are a whole list of recipes I want to try while we can take advantage of these fresh summer vegetables. Busy busy busy.

---

Side note: Tree was featured on My Sleeping Husband! (shhhh, he doesn't know) Go on over and take a peek.

"so seek the wolf in thyself..."

- Metallica "Of Wolf and Man" -

29 July 2009

and I ain't got no worries 'cause I ain't in no hurry at all

Haven't posted in awhile - I didn't realize it, but I needed to take a break and decompress. I'm currently on leave from work (day 8 of 12) and am feeling much, much better. I don't really want to get too much into it (I always say that, don't I?) so I won't, and instead look to better things and what has been nourishing me lately.

A quick rundown (I hate these lists):

- Tree's homemade lemonade, the best lemonade I have EVER tasted

- pulling vines/weeds/yard monsters out of the trees and lawn, and envisioning what a beautiful, welcoming space we will have once we're done

- picking and eating fresh tomatoes, summer squash, zucchini, and green peppers that Tree grew in our backyard

- visiting local farm stands and buying corn, blue berries, and carrots

- planning for Halloween (some projects I plan to try are a few sinister-looking Witch Jars for out on the porch and a whimsical, kid-friendly Witch's Cauldron for the front entryway - there are a lot of small children in my neighborhood...)

- continuing the process to purchase this lovely house that Jack built (despite its issues quirks - or perhaps because of - I am head over heels for this house)

- oh! and getting ready for the superawesome summer cookout we're having at the end of August; I can't wait to have everyone I care about, together, at our home

I guess that's really it! You could say I've done a whole lot of nothing on these days off, but sometimes it's the nothing that refreshes you to take on anything.

"well, if it rains, I don't care,
don't make no difference to me"

- The Doobie Brothers "Black Water" -

16 July 2009

cause I'm alive, so alive now

[untitled] by: Garden Variety Photographer


"I wanna run through your wicked garden,
heard that's the place to find you..."

- Stone Temple Pilots "Wicked Garden" -

14 July 2009

I'm gonna break my rusty cage and run

I really don't want to get into the whole knock-down-drag-out horrible thing, but here's a (kind of too long) summary (I'll try to be as impartial as I can but honestly, I'm still fuming) of my mindblowing (not in a good way) weekend:

Our entire purpose for going home this particular weekend (last weekend) was to attend my friend Julaaay's wedding Saturday evening. Julaaay and I worked together at Shaw's for several years and now only sporadically keep it touch, but I still consider her a friend. Anyway, we received the invitation for her wedding and RSVP'd several months ago (as in, this was not a spontaneous decision to go to the wedding).

Saturday was also the date of Tree's mother's big summer cookout/graduation party for her fiance's daughter, who recently completed hairdresser school. Tree's mother knew we had this wedding to go to when she planned her cookout.

So Saturday morning we went to Tree's mother's house to spend a little time with her while she got ready for the cookout. We called on our way over to see what she wanted for breakfast (bagels and coffee, also some for her fiance's daughter, who didn't even acknowledge our presence, much less thank us for bringing her breakfast... but I digress) and took it to her as she was getting ready for the day. We ate, chatted, said goodbye. The understand was, as we drove away, that we would stop by her cookout after the wedding was over. She knew the wedding started at 5 pm.

(Full disclosure: she also trimmed my hair a little, at her house, to fix a mistake the last hairdresser had made... which really just led to another mistake: allowing myself to become indebted to her by letting her trim my hair. Next time I'll stick with the shitty cut.)

We got dressed, met up with Yoshi and Sharty, drove to the wedding. It was beautiful, Julaaay looked like a princess, and it was really nice to spend time with the old Shaw's crew. I missed them more than I'd realized.

But everything kind of took a long time. After they were married, the guests enjoyed a cocktail hour while the official party posed for photographs. Then we went upstairs to the reception hall, the official party was introduced ("...and for the first time in public, Mr. and Mrs..."), the bride and groom's first dance, and so one. It wasn't until 7:30 when we were first being served the meal. Then the best man/maid of honor toasts, then cake cutting... then the bride's dance with her father, the groom's dance with his mother, the throwing of the bouquet and the taking-off-of-the-garter thing. Then dollar dances with the bride/groom, a conga line (!!) and so on and so on. It took awhile. And even after the "traditional" part of all of it, I was having a nice time dancing with my sister and Shaw's friends. But could you really just get up and leave in the middle of it? Oh look at me, getting ahead of myself.

So Tree's mother screams at him over the phone while we're still at the wedding (it was right after the food was served), freaking out that we weren't at her cookout yet. I guess she expected us to split the night between the two events? I don't really know because (a) she talked to Tree, not me, (b) Tree had actually been talking to his brother when she took the phone and started yelling, and (c) was evidently really drunk. At least, that's what everyone keeps telling me (like it's an excuse?). She went on about how important the cookout was to her, how important it was to her that we be there, and how she feels blown off because we weren't there already.

That left Tree in a shitty mood for the rest of the wedding, so thanks! I didn't really get to enjoy my night, either.

Before it got out of control and while I was still only mildly annoyed at her reaction to Tree and me ATTENDING A WEDDING WE'D PLANNED ON FOR MONTHS, I texted her to apologize that the wedding was running later than expected. I tried to call also, but both went unanswered. She also stopped taking Tree's calls, so when we got out of the wedding (around 10:45 pm) Tree texted his brother to see if anyone was still at the cookout and to let him know we were on our way (we first had to drop off Yoshi and Sharty).

His brother texted back that we shouldn't bother because their mother was "really mad" and that it would just "be a big scene." So I'm sure we were the talk of the stupid cookout. Whatever.

The next day Tree tried to call her to talk it out, she initially didn't want to take his call, finally talked to him. He drove over to her house (alone) and tried to explain how unreasonable it was for her to get upset when she knew we had the late wedding and we told her still stop by afterward but that it would be late. We even offered to go to eat with her Sunday night to make up for it (not that it was our fault, but just to smooth things over) but no, the cookout was "really important" and blah blah. She also told him we only call her when we need something (an unshakable desire to... bring her breakfast?) and that she feels like we put her on the back burner by not making time to go see her the way we do Tree's dad and my parents/sister. (Except Tree's dad and my parents/sister don't try to guilt us into breaking plans with other people to spend time with them.)

I just can't fucking win. We went to go see her before the cookout and offered swing by both after the cookout and the following evening to make up for missing the bulk of the cookout. Not good enough.

I understand she wants to spend time with us, especially since we've moved and aren't in MA very often, but she's going about it ENTIRELY the wrong way. Behaving like this just makes me want to go see her less, because now the next time we are there it's going to be awkward, and I just don't feel like being in that situation. I'm really too old for the drama.

So now we get to be the bad guys with everyone because we "blew her off." My life is fucking amazing.

That was an inappropriately long "summary." Well, I don't care. Suck it.

"you tied my lead and pulled my chain
to watch my blood begin to boil"

- Johnny Cash "Rusty Cage" -

06 July 2009

anyone can see my every flaw


Time for some early-summer reflecting...

So, a new baby and a new kitten - can you guess which one was a bigger deal?

I was perhaps a bit untruthful in my previous post when I said the kitten was to comfort Tree when my niece arrived; I find the little guy is comforting me as well. I won't lie and say a part of me feels left out of all the (fun?). My mom tells me about the adorable little booties she found in the attic that Yoshi and I used to wear. Yoshi wearily repeats her future M-I-L's most recent crazy declaration ("I would never tell my child Santa didn't exist, no matter how old they were. I would tell them Santa used to exist but that now he doesn't."). But then she has to go - The Little One needs to eat/be changed. Suddenly my artful arrangement of candles on my dining room table doesn't seem so captivating.

But quite honestly, I rationally don't want kids, like, full-time, if that makes sense. Like, today, I was searching for summer craft ideas online (more on this another time) and came across all sorts of cute things to make with a child. I was looking for more adult and permanent crafts, but the felt jungle and puppet theater made me a little sad. I would like little hands to help me cut the felt or pick out fabric! And I'd like my crafts to have some use, unlike the endless "good ideas" I've had (hand painted/stamped stone magnets, my WWII service trunk, handmade notecards, you can even throw Athena's in here...) that were superexciting for all of 5 minutes.

Wow, rereading, I kind of got away from what I was trying to say in that last paragraph. What I meant was, it would be great to help a child assemble a puppet theater, watch them put on a show or two (guess I'd have to help them make puppets, too), and then have them leave my house. Oh, but that's possible now that I'm an aunt, you say? Except I live 4 (or up to 7, depending on the hellish traffic jam that is the George Washington Bridge) hours away. And yes, Tree and I have talked about moving back home to be closer to family, but I was really unhappy in Massachusetts, and I don't want all my (adult) life decisions to be based on other's people's happiness while sacrificing my own (our own?). You know? My family is (I guess?) happy in MA, and who knows, maybe someday I'll want to return, but not right now.

Kind of getting off-topic again. Fuck! Anyway, maybe I could just volunteer at a preschool or a YMCA or something. Otherwise I fear I'm going to get overwhelmed by all the cool things I'm (missing out on?). Because I honestly do feel like I'm being left behind... I'll be 24 next month and Tree will be 26 in December...

TL;DR I'm torn on the whole "having a kid" thing. Fuck.

"I don't feel the way I've ever felt,
I know
I'm gonna smile and not get worried,
I try but it shows"

- Jimmy Eat World "Pain" -

30 June 2009

I'm melting (I'm melting) like hot candle wax

So - I've been absent for a few days, I know, but really - VERY BUSY. (Update: I actually started typing this post three days ago)

And though I hate having to post an update list (boring?), here we go:

- To lessen the blow of my niece's upcoming birth, I let Tree get a kitten. Actually, that's a lie. We were at PetSmart to pick up some litter and the foster/adoption people were there - cats and kittens and puppies galore. Tree wanted to go check them out, and when one of the adoption ladies asked us if we were considering adopting or just visiting, Tree said, "Oh, both?" and I knew, fuck, I'm coming home with a cat.

I resisted getting a kitten because I know older cats are harder to get adopted and I really wanted to be able to help one of them, but after talking with the adoption people, they convinced us a kitten would be easier to introduce to our two possessive adult cats. And the adoption/foster folks don't destroy any of the animals, they assured me. So we came home with a little spunky ball of energy that went nameless for a few days, but is now Fiyero. I'll post some pics when he sits still long enough...

- Now that it's been warmer and every few days there is a full one without rain, Tree (aka Crash Bandicoot) and I have been spending more time working on the house. I started digging out some of our decoration-type things (still in boxes from when we moved here... last November...) and Tree has his garden. Today we pulled out these weird and horrible weed/tree things growing along the edge of our "beach" on the lake. It's really only like 2 feet of wet sand, but it was getting overrun by rooty plants that are obnoxious to pull up. We also re-staked the tomatoes, took stock of growing pumpkins (three so far!) and pulled weeds growing among the pepper plants. We've also been talking about all the things we want to do with the yard... it's a good sized one and there are a TON of weirdo plants the previous owners planted without rhyme or reason.

- And the best thing - a little niece!! She was born the 25th at 8:30 pm, 7 lbs and 4 oz. Tree and I made it up there in time to wish my sister Yoshi luck before the big moment. And a short time later, there she was (even though the bitchy nurses were kicking us out of the hospital)! She is so beautiful, I can't even tell you. I know everyone says that about babies they care about while everyone else looking at the baby thinks it looks like an alien (just kidding?), but this baby is freaking adorable.

Gah, I'm fucking exhausted. This post pretty much sucks but I don't want to come back to it later, so there ya go. I'll try harder next time. 'Night.

"lovely is the feelin now
I won't be complainin"

- Michael Jackson "Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough" -

18 June 2009

I'm a high life flyer and a rainbow rider

It has been raining for the last 3 million years. So far this is the worst summer I have ever had.

I got talked into going to a concert tomorrow morning in Manhattan (at the Intrepid) so look for me - it will be played on the CBS Early Show. I'm sure the cameras will pan the audience a few times. What concert, you ask? Earth, Wind and Fire will be performing, also Chicago (the band, not the musical, unfortunately). I can't name a single song by either. Also we are leaving from Dix at an ungodly early hour to make it to NY in time.

Yeah, those two groups on the USS Intrepid on the CBS Early Show with military members in the audience randomly in the middle of June doesn't make any sense to me, either.

Which just reminded me! Tomorrow is Juneteenth. A special thanks to Old Navy (my friend from Iraq, not the company with the creepy talking mannequins) for educating me on such an important historical event. White girls from the northeast don't find this stuff in their history books. Also the "John Waters" mustache. I'd never heard of that, either.

Wow, this post is literally about nothing. I'm going to go eat something (ran out of hot dogs, though...).

"and he always had some mighty fine wine"

- Three Dog Night "Joy to the World" -

17 June 2009

'cause it takes me where I can't find...

So Tree will be home on Sunday (though I might end up meeting him in MA if the baby comes early!!), exciting, right? Well, I'm excited. I haven't had a good night's sleep in two weeks, nor have I eaten a decent dinner. For the past three nights I have had soy hot dogs. Now I'm so sick of them that I think they are ruined for me forever (joins root beer and black olives). But I literally can't bring myself to try making something else. I can make pasta and sauce, but that's about it really. I'd be like the worst housewife ever - like Peg on Married With Children. Good thing Tree (mostly) doesn't mind doing all the cooking.

What am I good at? Bullshitting, spending money, and making impulsive decisions. I'm actually supergood at these things. Also good at planning (though not so good at executing, hence the impulsive decisions).

But it's ok! Tree sends checks out for the bills and buys groceries, and I make sure we have awesome throw pillows and plenty of orchids. I can talk my way out of any problem/issue we are faced with and Tree reminds me of the value of being nice. Then sometimes he's too nice and I have to kick some ass. He agonizes and procrastinates and talks and talks and talks about doing something and then one day while he's at work I just do it without telling him. He's grounded and more rational but I keep things interesting (and way fun... mostly). He takes the cats to the vet/groomer as needed and I feed (wild) ducks and geese out on the lake (the cats adore him and kind of just tolerate me). He cleans the litter box and I do all the laundry (I even pair all his socks). I spontaneously spent $240 on my new haircut when he left for AT, and he asked me if it was ok to spend $89 to buy us a lawnmower.

It's kind of fucked up but hey, it works.

"I wonder which cup you'll drink from...
I hope it's mine"

- The Verve "Slide Away" -

10 June 2009

got my whole life ahead; hell, I'm just a kid myself

So I was at the Acme this afternoon and saw a bunch of baby-things that were in the clearance section. I called my sister to see what she still needed (less than 2 weeks!!!) and she told me what colors, sizes she preferred.

On my way home, I was thinking about the cashier, who looked at the replacement valves for the spill-proof cups I'd also picked out and remarked that she had no idea what they were. I'd laughed and shrugged - I had no idea what they were either, they were just hanging next to the cups and the package said they were for them so I just grabbed some.

Yeah, they are little white snappy things that go into the lid of the cups. It had never occurred to me that those cups would have replaceable valves, much less that replaceable valves in kid cups even existed. The whole concept was foreign to me because it wasn't really my business. I saw the cups and valves and they were for babies and were brightly colored so I bought them.

So that was kind of sad to realize, that I knew nothing about something as trivial as baby cups (or toddler cups, really), and if it were not for my sister, they never would have even appeared on my radar. I just don't care enough on my own to learn.

I tell people all the time that I'm never having kids and I'm approximately 75% serious. But what if I don't even have any maternal instinct, what if I really shouldn't have kids, even if I wanted some. I mean, I can't even bring myself to try to understand the workings of a baby cup. I also have no idea how diapers go on, when is too young to let a baby use scissors, or what to do when a baby I'm holding starts crying/throwing up (generally I try to avoid holding babies to begin with - "Yes, your baby is adorable, I just don't want to touch it, smell it, or in general be near it.") I am going to have to get familiar with some of these things for my sister, but otherwise, would I even care?

Babies give me the willies.

"all he could see were his dreams goin' up in smoke
so much for ditching this town and hanging out on the coast"

- Kenney Chesney "There Goes My Life" -

05 June 2009

I don't know your fucking name

So, I pretty much despise sleeping in an empty, silent house with one whole wall and half of another made of glass. I put two knives and a riot baton next to me under Tree's pillow, another knife in the bathroom (it's only the best place to get killed by a scary guy with a knife/gun/chainsaw, duh). I put my cell on the nightstand and the house phone in the bathroom (to call for halp!) and finally uneasily fell asleep with the light on and the television on silent.

Ok, so I'm a huge wuss. Whatever. This house is supercreepy at night when there's no one else here.

Oh and I just got a text from Angel's son saying "I will kill u jk"

Hence, the knives in my bed.

---

16 days until Tree gets home :(

"all day I dream about sex, yes
all day I dream about sex"

- Korn "A.D.I.D.A.S." -

04 June 2009

I'll start this off without any words

So... Tree left this afternoon for his two weeks of sitting around AT and already I'm lonely.

He went grocery shopping before he left and made sure the kitchen was stocked with things I can actually make (read: a lot of pasta), so that was nice. He also vacuumed, cleaned the kitchen until it sparkled (!!) and mowed the lawn. I looked around for a sweet note he might have left for me before he left, but no such luck. Ah, no one's perfect.

The next two weeks are going to suck.

Oh and it's raining monsooning and the Commander's Golf Cup that was supposed to be tomorrow has been cancelled (lost my excuse to wear a skirt to work!) and the stupid Dining Out is Saturday and the CPT talked me into driving to her house (an hour away) tomorrow night so we can go buy dresses at the outlets (30 more minutes away). Just what I wanted to do. "Oh but you can stay overnight at my house." Yeah, probably not.

I'm just a big complainer tonight, eh? But what the fuck, I'm entitled.

.....FINE. What else should we talk about?

Well, I rediscovered my love for The Daily Show and The Colbert Report. One of my cats excaped from the porch today and was joyously eating grass next to the garden when I found him. My dad is getting here the day after tomorrow. Last week I created a brochure for the brigade FRG because (a) I was bored and (b) they needed one and besides, (c) I have Adobe Creative Suite on my computer - this later turned into a huge fucking deal that I made the brochure and not the civilian who's the full time FRG person and she really got into trouble for not creating it herself even though (a) she never asked me to do it and (b) it was really no trouble at all... and I felt bad (but the brochure came out really cool and everyone loved it and I'm happy they are still going to use it).

The leftover burrito I had for dinner was superdelicious. One of my orchids died (I think). I'm totally ditching out on PT tomorrow. It's still raining (sounds kinda nice on the skylights).

And my nails are still perfect, in case you were wondering. :/

---

17 days until Tree gets home. :(


"I got so high, I scratched til I bled"

- Nirvana "On a Plain" -

27 May 2009

sometimes I'm right, and I can be wrong

The nail protein I bought made my nails fucking beautiful. I'm getting a haircut next week (shhh, it's a secret!) that will be gorgeous. My skin is pretty clear. The eczema on my leg finally healed. I mastered tweezing my own eyebrows. I found a lip gloss that actually looks good on me. I redecorated the dining room (flashy and fashionable) and picked out the patio furniture (serene and comfy). Our cats love me and my Class A skirt fits. I'm good at things.

After seeing it referenced in like eleventy billion places (gossip blogs to CNN to People), I gave into the hype and watched the encore showing of the season 5 premier of Jon and Kate Plus 8 on TLC. And it was actually pretty interesting. I kept waiting for the moment where I realize she's the übercunt everyone thinks she is. It never came. Everyone hates Kate (seriously, Google her and take a look) but I think she's, well - stressed, angry, breezy but scared, driven, strong but bitchy. 

I think Kate is me. :|

My toe is still broken (or something) and now my right arm is fucked up. I pinched a nerve (or something) and I can't fold it up to my chest (as if I were doing curls with a free weight) without causing a spasm and a sharp, electric pain in my forearm.

I got into a huge fight with Tree last night over stupid, stupid shit. I was so angry over, seriously, nothing, and he was just whiny and intolerable. I hate his fucking XBox. He did nothing but play Call of Duty until he had to go to work. I sent him pissy texts all afternoon and then didn't answer the phone when he called. He had to work until 10 and I went to bed before him and made him sleep in the spare room. 

I'm just a normal fucking person and I happen to have great nails and my porch is awesome and so what? Nothing will ever be perfect. Some days are going to suck. I'm going to sometimes make mistakes and screw up and that's ok. I need to stop feeling like I'm not living up to my own life's hype. I'm not perfect. I'm just a regular person trying to navigate through this experience, doing the best I can, one moment at a time.

"the butcher, the baker, the drummer and then -
makes no difference what group I'm in"

- Sly and the Family Stone "Everyday People" -

26 May 2009

man there's so many times I don't know what I'm doing

TO DO (for real, y'all):

- set up meeting with NJ ARNG recruiter [today][Wednesday]
- contact 444th directly [today][Wednesday]
- order 26th MEB insignia for my Class As
- buy my dad's ticket - !! [today]
- check back on BNCOC phase 2 status in ATRRS [by Friday]
- mail more checks to the property manager [tomorrow]
- oil change [by Friday]
- finish Soldier of the Year story [today]
- plane ticket for this weekend? [today/tomorrow]
- call real estate agent [by Friday]
- ???
- Profit

It's going to be a busy week. :/

Also, somewhat related - I tried on the skirt yesterday and whaddaya know, it fits. From now on I'm blaming all fashion mishaps on my period. (gross)

"if she can find daylight
then she'll be alright"

- Rob Thomas "Her Diamonds" -

25 May 2009

this is pouring rain


This Memorial Day I am remembering Air Force Staff Sgt. Chris Frost. A combat journalist working for one of our subordinate commands in theatre, Multi-National Security Transition Command - Iraq (MNSTC-I), Chris had essentially the same job I did; he facilitated responses to media queries, coordinated interviews/media visits in country, and covered the ongoing Iraqi-Coalition partnership (he got to do this far more often than I did). Reporters in Baghdad thought highly of him. He and I had corresponded through email for several months, mostly passing requests to each other as the reporters often contacted the wrong public affairs staff. I finally met him in person at a press conference in early 2008, where he suggested the group of us enlisted PAOs meet at the Green Bean inside the Embassy sometime for coffee and to swap stories.

A month or so later, I traveled to Landstuhl for a few days for an unexpected mission. I checked my email from my room the night before I was to return to Iraq and opened an email from a friend still in Baghdad. Chris had been killed in a helicopter accident along with 7 Iraqi airmen March 3.

He had one month left of his deployment. He was 24. 

Immediate Release
No. 0181-08
March 5, 208

DoD Identifies Air Force Casualty

The Department of Defense announced today the death of an airman who was supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Staff Sgt. Christopher S. Frost, 24, of Waukesha, WI., died March 3 near Bayji, Iraq in a crash of an Iraqi MI-17 helicopter. He was assigned to the 377th Air Base Wing, Kirtland Air Force Base, N.M

You can see some of his photography and read his deployment blog here.

You're still in my thoughts, Chris. I'm so sorry.

"it's the sound of the unlocking
and the lift away"

- Bon Iver "Re: Stacks" -

19 May 2009

life in plastic, it's fantastic

So, I was four days late and I was starting to be like, fuck. I'd heard pregnancies are contagious (my sister is due in a little over a month) but come on, I don't even want one a little bit.

But then yesterday, first thing in the morning, the world was right again. :) Except now I want to carve my ovaries out with big knife. :(

Also, the stupid Dining Out is in just over two weeks, and I have to lose 10 lbs. Maybe just 5. But still. My dad is going to be my date so I'm sure he doesn't care either way, but I care, damnit. I want to be the prettiest princess at the ball.

The ice cream truck is on my street right now as I type this. Someone is smiting me.

This post sucks. :/

"I'm a blonde little girl
in a fantasy world"

- Aqua "Barbie Girl" -

15 May 2009

she took the midnight train goin anywhere

So... a FRAGO?

1. Not going to combatives - too many events we have been ordered to take photos at invited to, so we will have to put this off. What I really suspect is that we're going to have to attend the class one at a time while the other covers down on the office. The CPT thinks it will work out so we go together. We'll see.

2. What was 2? Oh yeah, my footlocker. No changes here.

3. Vegetable garden will hopefully be planted this weekend (or at least we'll have the area dug out). At the advice of a trusted Gardeness, we're planting a few tomato plants, some zucchini (I just had to look up the spelling = embarrassing) and summer squash, some peppers, and perhaps a pumpkin vine or three. I'm also going to buy a gnome for luck and to watch over the garden. Cause gnomes are the shit.


4. Nap. Yes.

***Some additional changes... (or perhaps just the continuation that I never got around to)

5. My home unit/state SUCKS DICK and individuals I thought were looking out for me (namely, V) are decidedly not. Also there has to be some unspoken agreement that Soldiers serving on Title 10 orders outside the state don't fucking matter and should be passed over for promotions/etc. Today I was basically told to "calm down" about wanting to get promoted (I'm already over a year behind my peers) . "You'll get there eventually. Look at me, I've been sitting at [this rank] for forever." The person who told me this is also supposedly taking the only slot for me to get promoted. Yet he's not MOSQ, and won't be until the fall, and thus won't be eligible for promotion until next spring when the new list comes out. So essentially, that vacant slot, which I am currently eligible for, is going to sit vacant for a year until this other individual is eligible. Wow, sounds a lot like what happened to me last time.*

I'm not even going to fuck around with an IG complaint this time. While yes, it would be valid, and I'd probably win and get the slot, once you file a complaint, you are silently labled a problem Soldier. Speak out against the man or the system and you're a shitbag, you're fucked. I know because I already lived it, 3 years ago. Besides, I need to confirm that this individual really is getting that slot. I'm going to call my commander back home early next week and see what he says.

So in the meantime, I called the NJ ARNG today and spoke to a recruiter. There are two available E6 slots in NJ for my MOS. She said the fact that I'm on Title 10 orders is not a problem (in other words, they won't try to recall me early) and that I'll just have to turn my TA 50 back in to my state. No problem. She said all the interstate transfer stuff will be handled on her end and that I don't even need to contact my state if I choose not to. I'm going to meet with her in person next week because I want to see everything in writing (I'm not stupid).*

6. Maybe buying the house, but the above situation is already affecting a decision I thought was a done deal. If we commit to the purchase, I only have guaranteed income until July 2010 (leaving the MA ARNG means losing my military technician job at the MA JFHQ). But I've been wanting more and more recently to go back to school (for real this time), so maybe I'll just collect benefits, go to class, and not worry about a job? This will require more research. It will also be dependent on what state I end up in as NG education benefits are different in each state.

7. Or I could just say Fuck It All and switch to the Army Reserve. I kind of think this is the best course of action... there are many more available full-time positions for Reserves that aren't for NG Soldiers. I could easily get a position at the schoolhouse on Fort Meade, at the NCOA here on Dix (they asked me to stay), and I know for a fact there are drill sergeant units in the Reserves that spend their ATs at basic training posts. Look, there are 3 things I'd like to do in the future, all available for me if I switch components. In fact, now that I just typed that, I think I'll call a Reserve recruiter on Monday.*

Why does everything have to be so hard?

*Please, if you are one of those people who knows what/who I'm talking about, don't spread this around. I don't want to jeopardize my move to NJ/the Reserves. Thanks for your understanding.

"oh, the movie never ends
it goes on and on and on and on"

- Journey "Don't Stop Believin" -

13 May 2009

I've been drinking bourbon, whiskey, scotch and gin

Well, BNCOC is over and done with (Phase 1, anyway). I had the second highest average in my class of 84. The NCOA separately recognized those who "Exceeded Course Standards" - the top 20% - which was nice. I was surprised how many members of the brigade came to see the graduation (out of the 84 in my class, probably a quarter of them were from my brigade). The CPT came and took photos, that was pretty cool. And afterward she and the LTC from my office took me out to lunch. I was surprised and touched that he even came to the graduation - he never, never goes to brigade functions. So it was nice.

So what are my upcoming plans?

1. Combatives Phase 1 next week. Since we don't have a unit for like 6 weeks, the CPT signed us up. It gets us out of HQ for awhile, and soon Phase 1 is going to be required of everyone, so why not?

2. Finishing my footlocker. A few years ago, I saved an old WWII footlocker that was destined for the trash. It had belonged to my grandfather's second wife's first husband (haha, we're not from West Virginia, I swear) who had been in the Army. It got passed around and eventually my dad ended up with it. And then the trash was going to end up with it. So I saved it (because I have an extreme, unnatural fondness for boxes/chests/trunks) and started repainting it, like, 2 years ago. Recently I've been feeling craft-y again, so yesterday I dug it out and started working on it again.

I'm not restoring it per se (a professional would probably say I'm ruining it, actually) but rather repainting and revitalizing. For example, instead of sanding the rust off and polishing the original metal fixings, I'm just painting over them with metal-colored paint. I plan to adorn it with old stamps/postcards/travel stickers (lots of antique places down here), attach some short legs to the bottom, and repurpose it as a coffee table. It'll be kind of quirky, but then so is my entire house. :)

I'll have to post photos when I'm done, but this foot locker is close to what it looks like now. The metal is on mine is slightly different at the corners, and mine has no writing on it (or maybe it wore off at some point). Also mine is in significantly worse condition.

3. Vegetable garden. This is more of Tree's project than mine, but this weekend we're going to tear up the existing horror show "garden" and replace it with some tomatoes and maybe a few other things. I have, like, the exact opposite of a green thumb, so I'm going to let him take the lead on this one. Although I would like to have some flowers out there, too. He can pick them out. I'll just help dig holes, or whatever. Also I want some pumpkins.

4. Nap. Sounds like a great idea! I'll finish this later. Maybe.

"one drink ain't enough, Jack
you better make it three"

- George Thorogood & The Destroyers "One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer" -

02 May 2009

there are things that drift away, like our endless, numbered days

BNCOC, Day 2

Up at 0530 (I stayed at the NCOA last night, since Tree is still at drill), feeling stiff and foggy.

FREEZING FUCKING SHOWER.

Got dressed, stood in formation, ate chow.

"Do Not Sexually Harrass Your Buddy" (the opposite of "Make Your Buddy Smile" ?)

"Why the FRG is awesome"

There was one other class on referring help to Soldiers who are considering/threatening suicide... then I got home and realized what day it is...

I think of you all the time, Mr. Yamaha. It's been two years today, but the pain and shock is still fresh. I hate you for what you did, and I hate you for never giving me the chance to repair the rift that formed between us (I'll admit, I was a huge bitch that night in your driveway), because maybe I could have been there for you. You could have called me. You're such an asshole, but I love you, and I miss you, and it's aways going to haunt me the way everything happened. If you're up there, out there, somewhere and can hear me, I'm sorry. Rest in peace, my friend.

Oh, and I'm probably not going to create a post for every day of BNCOC. Every day is pretty much going to be exactly the same, and since I'm fairly certain I'm the only one reading these posts...

Catch you all in two weeks. Unless something wicked crazy/weird/exciting happens. Doubt it.

"there are things we can't recall,
blind as night that finds us all"

- Iron and Wine "Passing Afternoon" -

01 May 2009

she should have had more time to spend

BNCOC, Day 1

Woke up at 0330 to quickly shower and get into PTs. Tree was flying out to MA this morning for drill, so I slept at home last night, which is technically not allowed, but whatever. Gave him a smooch goodbye and drove back to the NCO Academy to formally in process.

Height/weight, filled out some forms, gave a copy of my orders to, like, everyone.

Yelled 'hooah' a bunch of times to prove how motivated we are (this seems questionable).

Finished with two hours before the first class, so drove back home to say goodbye again. More smooches.

Tree left. I took a nap.

Back in the car, back to the NCOA.

More in-briefs ("You will only smoke in the designated smoking area, sergeants." "Don't let me catch you on your cell phone in the hallways, sergeants." "You will eat chow at every meal, sergeants. Can I get a hooah?" And so on.).

Lunch. Nothing there for a poor veggie like me except the standard shitty Army salad bar. Yay. (I am going to waste away to nothing by the end of this class)

Back to the classroom. Sang The Army Song (why??? why must I do this at every freaking school???)

"What Makes an Army Leader." Or something.

"How to Stop Your Soldiers From Raping People and What to Say to Soldiers Who Have Been Raped." (aka, "The Same Crappy Video You've Seen a Hundred Times Already to the Point Where You Know Who Rapes Who Before The Scenarios Even Start: Squad Leader/SPC, Male Soldier/Female Soldier, Female CPT/Male 1LT, Husband/Wife, Soldier/15 Year Old Hussy, Male Soldier/Male Soldier.")

Dinner. Same salad as lunch.

Drove home, called Tree, ate leftover pizza, watched the episode of The Office that I missed last night.

Typed this post.

Blech. Day 1 and I'm already sick of it.

"she should have made her mother proud
she should have stood out in the crowd"

- Nirvana "Been a Son" -

30 April 2009

run around the same old town

So I started BNCOC today - actually, it was just the report day; classes formally begin tomorrow. I'm really... nervous? I don't know. I've known I'd be going to this class for probably two months now (that's about when I requested a slot), but then that was it, there it went to the back of my mind, and here I went, on with my business.

Then this morning, when I reported to the NCO Academy to sign in, the cadre was walking around addressing us collectively as "sergeants," as in, "Sergeants, once you get your linen, bring it up to your rooms and then come back, hooah?" And it was like, Ohhhh shit, it's textbook Army time.

Because HHB isn't textbook Army, it's not even close. By textbook, I mean, addressing people by rank and last name, standing at parade rest every once in awhile, marching if you're in groups larger than 3. You know, the kind of things that are technically correct but get dropped off after you've been together for awhile. At least, that has been my experience. The 65th (my home unit) is about as un-military as you can get without being a straight-up civilian. Think Bill Murray in Stripes.

Oh, and I had to dust off my husband's my beret for the class. I'm in the real Army again!

I'll keep you posted over my next two weeks of - fun?

"I've been first and last
look at how the time goes past
but I'm all alone at last
rolling home to you"

- Neil Young "Old Man" -

28 April 2009

and suddenly you're in love with everything

Weird. Fucking. Day.

Remember back when I said I was going to start volunteering at the animal shelter near my house? Remember when I still haven't done it yet?

Today a lightning bolt came out of the sky/the ceiling in my office and hit me - and then there I was, typing in the website for the shelter and saving their phone number in my cell phone.

Then, like, 15 minutes later, I was overcome by the urge to sneak a cigarette. For those who do not know me, I've been battling a nicotine addiction for approximately a million years. Lately I've been winning (unless we have a unit in training or I'm in Iraq - what is it about the Army that makes me want to smoke more?). So today, not training and not in Iraq, it was odd but overpowering, my need for a Marlboro. I walked down to S6 and hit up one of the civilians, who was happy to get away from his desk for a bit.

We walked out back and sat on the picnic table and talked about his impending divorce (that sucks) and why no one wants to live in New Jersey (true story). He smoked a second one (I didn't) and then we headed back toward the building.

"Hey, Sgt. Malibu, want to see some kittens?" I turned to see a MSG who works downstairs standing off in the grass near our parking lot. [It reads that way, but she really didn't sound so much like a pedo trying to lure me into a van as it looks here, I promise.]

"Um, ok?" I said, confused, and walked toward her. "Where are they?"

She pointed to the storm drain, hidden in the grass next to her. I peeked in, and at the bottom, about 4 feet down, three teeny kittens huddled together in the wet leaves. My heart melted.

"I called DPW [Department of Public Works] and they referred me to Pest Control - the guy is on his way here with something to scoop them out of there." She looked worried. "I don't know where the mother is, I think she may have been that cat that got hit earlier... and it's supposed to rain tonight and for the next few days. They'll drown down there, you know?" She knelt down and peered in. "But I don't know... I asked the Pest Control guy what he was going to do with them and he didn't really answer me."

Um. "What do you mean, he didn't answer you?"

"I don't know. But he's the Pest Control guy."

Lightbulb! "I can take them to a shelter that's near here. I was literally just looking up their phone number. Seriously."

She stood up, looking relieved. "Ok, want to go get a box then? I think we have some inside?"

We walked back in, got a box, sat back in the grass and waited for the Pest Control guy. He arrived a few minutes later with fucking Havahart traps (their spelling, not mine) and a long hook/pincher thing. It took a few tries, but by gingerly picking up the kittens with the pincher thing and lifting them up to the grate, he was able to place them in my hands so I could ease them through the grate.

They turned out to be smaller than I'd thought - little feet smaller than my smallest fingernail, and their eyes weren't even open. From torso to the base of their tail, they were about 4, maybe 5 inches. They mewed softly and found each other in the box and resumed huddling. Are they cold? I wondered. It's like 90 degrees out here!

"They can't be more than a few days old," said the Pest Control guy, perhaps rethinking his previous plan of murdering "disposing of" the kittens. "You'll need to get them to the shelter right away so someone can start feeding them."

I nodded and said goodbye to the MSG (and asked her to let the others in my office know where I was going) and got into my car. I plugged the shelter's address into my Garmin and drove off post, glancing into the box every couple seconds. The orphaned kittens - two gray and one orange - remained wedged into the corner of the box, their faces pressed into each other's fur. 

It occurred to me I should give the shelter a heads up that I was coming with three newborns, and it proved to be a good idea: they can't take wild animals unless they come from Animal Control (which Fort Dix does not have, evidently). The shelter gave me the number to the Animal Control for the closest country and I tried it: no answer, mailbox is full. Shit.

Called the shelter again to see what I should do now. She said the only other thing I could do was call the non-emergency number of the local police. Um, the DoD police on Fort Dix? Yeah, probably not. But I didn't know any other police stations to contact. I drove back onto Dix and parked in front of the DoD police station, carried the box in with me so the kittens wouldn't roast in my car.

The woman in the lobby (behind the bulletproof glass, that is) was surprised and very helpful, as were the police officers who came out to the main part of the lobby to peer into the box and coo at the kittens. They were able to get in touch with another county's Animal Control, who agreed to meet there at the DoD police station to pick up the kittens for transport to a shelter (probably the shelter I'd previously talked to, but oh well, I'm no stranger to slightly-ridiculous SOPs). I waited until they arrived so I could ensure the kittens wouldn't be destroyed (Animal Control promised me they wouldn't be unless they were rabid/whatever).

Drove back to work.

I know this picture is blurry, but I took it with my phone while I was driving to the DoD police station (pretty sure that's illegal or something). Anyway, here they are:


Also, and completely unrelated, I am pretty sure I broke one of my toes, possibly two. I walked around in pain all day.

"but now I'm dry of thoughts, wait for the rain
then it's replaced, sun setting..."

- Badly Drawn Boy "The Shining" -

24 April 2009

dance a little stranger

A beautiful fucking day that reminds me why the universe is so perfect right.

At lunch we had a farewell luncheon for our outgoing battery commander... going to really miss the guy. Not only is he a great commander, he's personable, approachable, funny, engaging, and most importantly, he sincerely cares about the Soldiers of HHB. I've been lucky enough to work with him on a number of projects since I've been here (and run next to him with the guidon on a number of battery runs) and can say he's one of the best officers I've served with. I hate to see him go.

Left the teary luncheon (we're all going to miss him, and you can see it on his face he's going to miss us, too) and fucked off for the rest of the day with the LT CPT (did I tell you she got promoted?). We drove over to the Air Force side and went to the thrift store to see if there was anything cool for sale. There wasn't. Then we headed to the BX/PX and I bought a $17 candle.

Got back to the office, answered some emails, then wished each other a good weekend and peaced out.

And now the sun is slanting golden sideways through the open windows. A breeze off the lake is stirring the curtains and bringing in the gentle smell of forsythia. Two (wild) ducks are floating slowly by on the grey/blue surface of the water. I feel like my heart could explode from the overwhelming beauty of my life.

"put your arms around me, baby"

- Sugar Ray "Fly" -

22 April 2009

well darlin' I'm telling you now

Thank you for reading this, because I need to tell you something.

If you ever need anyone to talk to, if you ever feel overwhelmed or scared or depressed and don't know what to do with yourself, please please please call me. I care about you deeply and I'm worried about you. I might not physically be there all the time, but I'm always there for you, at whatever hour and in any form of communication. I can't imagine this world without you, you know that? You make the day beautiful.

And that goes for all of you, whoever 'you' might be. I'm serious. I'll talk to anyone.

At any time: malibuniki@gmail.com.

"when the stars are shining in the sky
have I told you why the nights are long?"

- Rod Stewart "Have I Told You Lately" -

19 April 2009

but you tell me over and over and over again my friend

This makes me want to scream:



If you're outraged (I know I am), here's their email address: [redacted]. I already sent them a "confrontational" email to let them know what I thought of the video. Bravo guys. Seriously, way to go.

UPDATE 4/20:
I recieved this from Mr. Dennis Heitzmann, Senior Director, Center for Counseling and Psychological Services Affiliate Professor, Clinical and Counseling Psychology
Good morning [Sgt Malibu Niki]:

Thank you for the opportunity to give some background on this regrettable circumstance, and to allow us to sincerely apologize for the harm that has has been done. We have apologized to our campus vets and many others, many of whom have become supporters of our efforts to clarify and make amends.

The video you viewed was one of several that had been produced to highlight the services available to students, while addressing issues of relevance to members of the faculty (including ironically, unfair stereotyping of groups of individuals, sensitizing instructors to the unique milieu of their students, the inappropriateness of instructor-conveyed political positions in the classroom, reducing risk and mitigating anger). In the faculty workshop context, which has included veterans, the videos are used as a stimulus to discussion, and the very issues cited above, as well as others, are openly discussed in an effort to educate and support.

Unfortunately, since the posting of that single video to the cyber community, the portrayal of the student as a veteran, outside of the workshop context, unfairly stereotypes our student veterans. Whereas the producers of the video would never wish to be party to any such intention, it is understandable that this could be interpreted as such. Many weeks ago, upon realizing the unintended impact on some and the potential impact on others, we immediately removed the video from our website, and it will not be used in future workshops.

The Division of Student Affairs has enjoyed a longstanding quality relationship with the Office of Veterans Programs, and the student counseling service has helped scores of veteran students to resolve their unique challenges, as well as to facilitate their transition to the university. We would not want to jeopardize those relationships in any way, particularly in view of the many services we believe we have yet to offer this important student constituency. To that end, among other things we have been working with the Penn State University Veterans Organization to seek renewed ways to provide focused support and services.

As an infantry trainee at Fort Dix many years ago, I recall the words of Corporal
Ingram, my team leader, who reminded us that we can expect to fall time and again, but to get up, check your flanks, and keep moving till the mission's accomplished. Together with the support of the veterans, some of whom are seeing this as an important opportunity to not only right the wrong that has been done, but to advance the cause for all veterans, we feel a renewed sense of affiliation and support in our mutual efforts to provide quality services to our returning veterans --- perhaps the best way we can make amends to those who have been offended.........D.H.

P.S. If you have already forwarded your message to other veterans, I would appreciate I if you would forward my message above for their information

Dennis Heitzmann, Ph.D. Senior Director, Center for Counseling and Psychological Services Affiliate Professor, Clinical and Counseling Psychology

"ah, you may leave here for four days in space
but when you return, it's the same old place"

- Barry McGuire "Eve of Destruction" -