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 ├╝bercunt 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.


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" -