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These words are my diary screaming out loud

Monday, December 26, 2011

Merry Christmas!

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas, or if you're not a Christmas celebrator, a wonderful last full weekend of 2011 :)

I'm not one to just post random holiday blogs, but my good friend Gil wrote an awesome post on his blog yesterday, and I wanted to share it. Gil wrote about how he and his wife Lee don't buy each other gifts for Christmas, and how he was explaining it to his kids when he picked them up from their mother's house yesterday. Then he talked about some of the things that he didn't get for Christmas, but that some of his friends (some of whom are also my friends) unfortunately did:
You see, this Christmas, I did not get news about headaches that are result of a brain tumor that requires surgery. I did not get more chemotherapy in an ongoing battle with cancer. This Christmas, I did not get reminded that I will not be sharing the holidays with a child that has passed away. This Christmas, I also did not get an ongoing dramatic saga with an ex-spouse that refuses to take ownership of her actions and act like a responsible adult. I look into my wife’s eyes and remember how this Christmas I was not giving an ongoing and aching tooth that’s required multiple visits to the dentist.
In the end, I look up to heaven and thank God for all the things He didn’t get me for Christmas. And that is the most blessed and humbling gift of all.
Gil has a wonderful way with words, and there's no way I could have said it any better than he did. No, I don't know everyone that he refers to in his post. But I can associate someone with just about all of the examples, as can, I'm willing to bet, most of us. So this Christmas season, I'm thankful for my wonderful family and friends, and for the life I've been so lucky to live.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Decade of Dominance!

For those of you that didn't already hear, Navy beat Army last weekend, 27-21. It was probably the most exciting Army Navy game in years, and just as cold as they always are.

Not too much more to share about the game, just wanted to share some pictures!

President Obama did the coin toss with a Reagan half dollar

Sister and I at the game

Pretty logo

Prisoner Exchange

President Obama is in there somewhere

Jet flyover

Huddle love

Apparently Lee Greenwood is still doing it

Final score!

The Army Chief of Staff. He lost the bet :)

Friday, December 09, 2011

In anticipation of THE football game

The fact that its been 10 years really just hit me.

Well, that's only half true. It hit me the week of 9/11 too. But tonight, watching the From Philadelphia to Fallujah documentary that my local CBS station aired ahead of tomorrow's Army-Navy game, and seeing the footage from that game 10 years ago, my firstie (senior) year, and realizing that I barely remember it, that I barely remember firstie year as a whole, it really hit me. It's been 10 years. It's been a lifetime.

Tomorrow I'm attending the Army-Navy game for the first time since 2002. That year, my other new Ensign friends and I were attending the Surface Warfare Officer School Division Officer Course in Newport, Rhode Island. Those of that were Academy grads were getting our first taste of real life, with help from our ROTC and OCS counterparts. The game that December was at the Meadowlands, just a couple of hours from Newport, so a crowd of us decided to drive down. We had no tickets and no plans, we just wanted to have fun. We were just over a year into this new post 9/11 world, and we still didn't really know what we were getting into.

Fast forward to today. Almost all, save for one or maybe two, of us that went that day have completed our obligations to the military and moved along. I don't think any of us could have had any idea where we'd be now, that we would have lost some of the friends we partied with that day, that we'd still be at war 9 years later.

I'm lying in bed after watching that documentary completely unable to sleep. The footage from Army-Navy 2001 looks so old and grainy. I remember more about the events surrounding the game than the game itself, but more is coming back as I think about it. I think I blocked out much of the fall and early winter of 2001 similar to the way that I blocked out plebe year. There aren't many halts things about that time, so I leave it locked away. For some reason, the documentary tonight stirred up some emotions that I just can't place. Theres some almost misplaced anxiety, some grief, but over what and for whom I can't say.

So for now I'm going to try to sleep and get excited about the only game of the year that matters. I'm going to get up tomorrow, get dressed, and cheer until I'm hoarse for my team from my school to whip the asses of the team from that other Academy, whose alumni I'm proud to call my brothers and sisters at arms.

After the game, of course.


Monday, November 21, 2011

Pardon me, I need a moment.

I've always been a fixer, attracted (both romantically and platonically) to people who could benefit from my help. Wait, that sounds pompous. But I don't know how else to say it right now, the words aren't forming in such a way that I can translate them to sentences and type them out so that they make sense the same way they do in my head. Anyway, I've always been a fixer. And there are very few worse feelings in my world than to feel completely helpless, like there is nothing at all that I can do for someone that I care about. There HAS to be something I can do to help. There has to be something, anything, that will make that person feel better, or BE better. There is no way that I can be completely powerless in a situation. In ANY situation. That's just not how my mind works, it doesn't compute.

Unfortunately, I'm starting to feel more and more powerless with regards to a certain part of my life. I'm starting to feel as though the effort I have been putting in to it and trying to make things better is wasted effort, energy that I could be saving for other things. But its so hard to let go. Its so hard to not have control over the situation.

Because in reality, it may not be so much that I'm a fixer than that I'm a control freak. I like to be in control of situations, I NEED to be in control of situations. When I'm not in control, I feel like I'm losing it. When I don't have control I feel vulnerable, and when I open myself up to vulnerability I get hurt, usually very, very hurt. Hurt in ways that I never fully recover from, because small pieces of that hurt attach themselves to my insides forever, and become part of my complex, my permanent insecurity, those parts of me that are forever holding me back from the real happiness that I need and deserve.

Its not that I'm not happy, because I am. I'm happier than I've ever been in my life. But there's this little piece, this part of my life over which I have no control, because I'm powerless, and I can't fix it. And I have no idea what to do. I have no idea how to sit back and just let life happen, with no interference from me.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Random Writers Guest Post - A Hero

(Cross-posted at Random Writers)

When my friends Gil and Lee were soliciting guest bloggers for the Random Writers project, I looked at the list and immediately knew that I wanted to write about someone that's a hero to me, especially this week that contains both Veteran's Day and the Marine Corps birthday. Regular readers of my blog have seen me write about this person before, but I just can't do it enough.

I'm pretty sure I met Matt Freeman on July 1st, 1998. I say pretty sure because that was our Induction Day at the US Naval Academy, and I remember very little of that day. But Matt and I were both in India Company, 17th Platoon, and we all had to meet and learn some things about each other in those first couple of days. For the next four years, we all lived on the same floor, trained together, had ups and downs together, and saw each other at our best and at our worst. Through it all, Matt was always there for everyone. He never got involved in any of the personality conflicts or other drama.

After graduation, I went off to Surface Warfare Officer School as a Navy Ensign, and Matt went off to The Basic School as a Marine Corps 2nd Lieutenant.  We were MySpace friends, and later Facebook friends, and saw each other at our five year reunion, but never kept in super good touch.  However, that did not make the blow that I felt when I heard about his death in August 2009 any less severe.

Matt was stationed in Japan, and had volunteered to go over to Afghanistan on an Individual Augmentation to support a Marine unit that was short on people. Just before he left, he quietly married his high school sweetheart.  A week after his arrival, Matt called his mother, who was a lifelong teacher, to tell her about what he was seeing with the children in Afghanistan. He told her that the children wanted to learn, and wanted pens and paper and school supplies almost more than food and water.  He asked her to ask around at their church and collect some school supplies for the children.

Two days later, Matt was killed in action. Below is his Bronze Star Citation, because there's no way I could do this description justice:
The President of the United States takes pleasure in presenting the BRONZE STAR MEDAL posthumously to CAPTAIN MATTHEW C. FREEMAN, UNITED STATES MARINE CORPS for service as set forth in the following


For heroic service in connection with combat operations against the enemy as a Fire Support Team Leader and Company Advisor for the 1st Battalion, 3rd Brigade, 201st Corps, Afghan National Army. Captain Freeman’s keen judgment and decisive leadership were ever present in all phases of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM. On 7 August 2009, Captain Freeman engaged in the combined and joint Operation BREST THUNDER in one of the most dangerous areas within the 201st Corps’ Area of Operations, the Shpee Valley of Kapisa Province. The strength of the enemy in the Shpee Valley was estimated to consist of more than eighty insurgents with reports that a large number of reinforcements had recently moved into the area. Acting to conduct a reconnaissance of force in the valley, Captain Freeman’s element received enemy fire almost immediately upon leaving the combat outpost. Pinned down as the result of this fire, Captain Freeman decided to clear a kulat in order to gain access to the top deck and achieve better observation of the enemy’s firing position. Receiving a heavy volume of enemy fire, Captain Freeman led the way in clearing the house and was the first to reach the rooftop. Once on the rooftop, he spotted an enemy Rocket-Propelled Grenade gunman and immediately killed him. He and one of this team members spotted several other insurgents and began to engage while under fire. It was at this time that Captain Freeman fell mortally wounded. He fought with bravery and determination while demonstrating unwavering courage in the face of the enemy. Captain Freeman’s performance of duty in a combat zone reflected great credit upon himself and upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the United States Naval Service.
Matt's family and friends are doing everything possible to make sure that nobody forgets Matt and that his last wish is fulfilled. Matt's mother took his request for school supplies and ran with it, and established the Matthew Freeman Project: Pens and Paper for Peace in 2010.  The Freeman Project has sent over 12,000 pounds of school supplies to not only Afghanistan but also Iraq and other war-torn nations.

People want to list celebrities and sports stars and famous political figures as their heroes, and I guess that's OK, because everyone defines the word hero differently. On August 7th, 2009, we lost someone that I believe epitomized the definition of a true hero.  Please consider visiting the Freeman Project website, watch the videos, read about Matt, and if you can, make a donation.

Friday, November 11, 2011

You're welcome?

Its not that I have trouble calling myself a veteran. I mean, it sounds a little funny, because when I think of veterans I think of the old guys in the funny hats that I see at ceremonies and special events. I don't think about young people like me, people that most don't realize are veterans until they're told. But yeah, when people ask who in the room is a veteran, my hand goes up. I have veteran's preference at work. And on and on I could go.

So why is it that I feel so weird when people thank me for my service, especially on Veteran's Day? Maybe its because I didn't really DO anything. Sure, I was on active duty for 6 years, and I did a 7 month ship deployment to the Persian Gulf. But I've never been on the ground in Iraq or Afghanistan like many of my friends and colleagues.  I was never shot at, or injured, or made to truly fear for my life.

But I understand that the TRUE 1% in this country are those who are willing to sacrifice and put on the uniform for the higher cause, who are willing to put up with the life that many would not be willing to lead. And I understand that I am part of that 1%. The fact that I didn't do some of the hard things that some of my friends and colleagues did, that some of my friends and colleagues died doing, shouldn't make my service any less than theirs. But it does, in my mind. Maybe that's just humility, or maybe in some strange way I'm a little ashamed that I didn't do some of that hard stuff, that part of the reason I left the service when my obligation was complete was so I didn't have to. I know I shouldn't be, that there is absolutely nothing wrong with serving honorably and taking off when my time is up. I live every day thankful that there are people willing to do the things that I didn't want to do. But then I remember that I'm one of those people, someone who did things that many, many people in this country were unwilling to do.

And that makes me feel just a little bit better about being thanked for my service. I guess. But not completely.

So please don't be offended if you thank me for my service and I don't reply right away. You're welcome sounds odd to me, and I've been told its bad form to say that there's nothing to thank me for. I appreciate your thoughts today, and in my mind I'm passing them along to all those who came before and those still yet to come, those who have done and will do those things that I was very glad to not have to do. They need that thanks far more than I do.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Where Am I?

I've kind of lost myself when it comes to blogging lately. I've been thinking about blogging a lot, about what I want to write about, and what direction I want to take this in, and honestly, I just can't figure it out. I started this blog quite a long time ago as a journal, and I've been inconsistent at best with how I use it. But sometimes getting my thoughts written down is easier said than done. Sometimes when I look at the words on the screen they just don't quite communicate what it is I'm thinking, and I get frustrated and give up. Quite often I just talk myself out of writing things, and that's something I absolutely need to get over. Combine all of the above with a little extra workload, class starting back up again, and life in general, and I've got an empty blog. So I'm going to try to make writing more of a priority, and try to just write what I feel and not worry so much about it. That's the point, right?

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Welcome home!

I've been a little quiet since I got back from Europe, because a couple of days after I got home, the boyfriend returned from his summer of playing music in Florida! It was a LONG seven months without him, but I'm so happy that he's home now.

To get an idea of what he was doing while he was gone, check out a couple of songs by his band, Kalani Soul, available on iTunes - you can get Lucky and Resolution Reverie, complete with artwork by the amazingly talented Miles at Massive Burn Studios and produced by the guys of Kalani Soul at Trace Studios in Atlanta.

Let me know what you think!

Sunday, October 02, 2011

Sigh... I'm back :(

Europe was AMAZING. I don't even have words. So I'll share some pictures.
Sacre Coeur Church on the way up the hill

The steps to Montmartre

Sacre Coeur Church
The Eiffel Tower at night

The view from the top of the Dome at Sacre Coeur

The first of about 7 wedding dress models we saw in Paris

The "I Love You Wall" near Montmartre

Bugsy's! This was our home bar during the 2002 internship days

A Rose Window at Notre Dame de Paris

There's this bridge in Paris where couples put a lock on the fence to symbolize their love, then throw the keys in the River

Notre Dame

Palm Trees in Paris! Les Jardins de Luxembourg

Saint Sulpice, one of the churches featured in The DaVinci Code

The best cookies EVER.
Beer at the Stuttgart Fest

A real live German Flume ride!

Party in the Beer Tent!
I have a ton more, but that's just a taste. 

So yeah, I was definitely sad to leave Paris, and wish I'd had a little more time to enjoy Stuttgart, but I'll take what I can get. Now to start planning the next trip....

Monday, September 19, 2011

Just a little plug...

So, my sister and brother in law are trying to adopt. They've always wanted an inordinate amount of children, but have had a little trouble getting there. They're hoping that word of mouth will help in the process, so feel free to read their blog, follow their progress, share their link, do whatever you think might help.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

So much to do, so little time, so I'm procrastinating, as usual.

I'm supposed to be writing a final right now, but I just can't concentrate.

I've got all the notes done. I know what I need to be saying to answer the three essay questions that make up the final. I also know that I'm going into the final with a 99 in the class, which means as long as I score a 74 on the final, I'll have an A in the class. Not that I'm going to aim for the 74, but still...

Why am I so distracted, you ask? Well, the time has finally come, and I leave for Paris in just about 58 hours!! I am seriously so excited for this trip. But I also have a TON to do. Between the final, getting some work things ready for this trip (because yes, Paris is fun, but the only reason I'm going is because I have to go to Germany for work), doing the final, and going to actual work... guess what on that list I want to do the least.

So here I am, procrastinating on the final. Seriously, if I'm not going to do the final, I might as well get off my bum and get some of the other things I need to do done, right? One of those things is a trip up to Annapolis - gotta find a gift for the guy who's letting us stay in his apartment for free. Eek! Better get moving!!

(Oh, and for those of you who may have been wondering... (Ha. Sure you were.) Traveling on 9/11 was... interesting. There were a ton of police at the airport, but the airport was pretty quiet. A little extra security, but the lines moved and it wasn't crazy. Seems as though pretty much everyone just wanted to keep their heads down and get through the day. I'm also very proud of myself for not watching the news for about 3 days - I had my own way of memorializing the day, but the rehashing of the coverage of that day is not it.)

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Is it just me?

As we come up on the 10th anniversary of 9/11, there's more and more recap, if you will, on the news, with specials, newly released photos, and, as I just saw on NBC Nightly News, new tapes of the air traffic controllers talking as they're realizing what's going on.

I don't know about the rest of you, but all of this still FREAKS ME OUT.

There was a "Children of 9/11" special on the other night. I watched about 10 or 15 minutes of it, and had nightmares that night about it happening again. I am fairly certain that the air traffic controller tapes may have the same effect on me tonight.

And NONE of this is helped by the fact that I have to fly on Sunday, the actual 10th anniversary. NOT excited about that.

Thing is, that day was one of the worst days of my, and probably many of your, life. It happened my senior year at the Naval Academy, and completely changed the world that I had signed up to defend.  I almost lost my father - he was supposed to be in a meeting in the section of the Pentagon that was hit. I went to a 9/11 funeral. And I've lost friends and acquaintances in the wars that have resulted from that day. Our world is an entirely different place than it was on the 9th of September 2001.

And there's a homeland security issue out now. NOT OK WITH THIS. Seriously.

Is anyone else as bothered by all this as I am? Please make me feel better...

UPDATE: Thankfully, looks like this homeland security issue is not related to flying. Phew.

And, as my good friend Krissie just said and I totally agree with, I DO NOT, by any means, let the terrorists dictate my life. They DO NOT WIN. But that doesn't mean I don't get the chills or get nervous over all this stuff!! :)

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Second Chances

A few years back, I met an asshole. Sorry, there's no nicer word for it. He was a belligerent drunk who threatened my and a friend's well-being after we made a joke that he didn't like. He said he'd never hit a girl before but he didn't have a problem doing it. He had to be physically restrained, almost had the cops called on him, and still hears about it from both people who were there that night and people who were not - apparently the story got around. For the purpose of this post, let's just call him Guy.

Guy is a musician, and is in the same circle with many musicians that I know and enjoy, so I'm always bummed when one of them comes to town with him, because frankly, he made me nervous. So I never went to those shows, but never said anything.

This week, one of those musicians came to town with Guy, and I was super bummed because it had been a while. So I tweeted that it was too bad he was playing with Guy, because it had been to long since I'd seen him but bad things happened last time I was in the same room with Guy. He replied, asking what kind of bad things, and I told him. He said he'd be my security guard, and I kinda blew him off. But not long after, I got a tweet from Guy himself - turns out they were in the car together.  He offered to put my name on the list, said that things change, and we should move past it. I told him he makes me nervous, but I'd heard that he's a different person now, so I'd be willing to give him a shot.

So I showed up, and there I was on the list. I didn't get a chance to talk to Guy before he went on stage, but after his performance I went up, thanked him for the ticket, and we chatted. He was actually pretty cool, and I could tell that he was making the effort to make amends, even if he never did actually say he was sorry for what happened that night. I made a comment that he probably didn't remember it anyways because he had been so drunk, which is when he told me he still hears about it.

Even before this incident, I wasn't a huge fan of Guy's music, so its not like I'm going to become superfan or anything like that. But I've always believed that people deserve second chances (and third and fourth and fifth... some people tell me I'm too forgiving), and that's even more true when someone puts forward the effort to right a wrong. So what this means for me is I don't have to miss shows just to avoid this guy anymore, and that's a bit of a relief. Its the little things, you know? Insignificant, perhaps, but a minor stressor that I had control over. And that's always a pretty good feeling.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Well, that was somewhat underwhelming...

Hurricane Irene has come and gone. I only lost power for about 15 minutes, starting at about 11 last night, which I only noticed because everything shutting off woke me up, then everything coming back on woke me up again. There's a tree down in the back of my apartment building, but from the front, it just looks like we had a big rainstorm.  Unfortunately, it also feels that way in my sunroom and the corner of my living room closest to my sunroom.

A few pictures from the storm:
Pat in the Hat, getting us through the storm
The clouds came in going the wrong direction

Big rain storm...

We had some pretty good wind
Water seeped in through the windows that don't open
As predicted, this hurricane was more of a pain in the butt than anything else. See ya later Irene.

Friday, August 26, 2011

This might have been the strangest week ever.


First, I threw out my hip. I sound like a 70 year old. OK, technically I didn't "throw" it out - I pulled it out of alignment and it didn't put itself back. I've spent half the week in strange pain that I can't seem to get rid of.

Then, we had an earthquake on Tuesday. Centered 80 miles from DC. 5.9, even. My office shook, the lights swayed, I freaked out a little, my cats freaked out a lot. I thought everything I owned had survived, but realized earlier tonight, as I was pulling something out of the windowsill in anticipation of the HURRICANE that's coming, that a big glass picture frame had fallen off of the top shelf of my desk, broken on the desk itself, and now there's glass all over the top of the desk and the floor under it.  All during a time where I can't so much get down on the floor and clean it up, because my hip is all a mess. So that room is now closed off, much to the dismay of the cats, until I can get in there and clean up all the glass. Awesome.

And now, we're prepping for a hurricane. Well, technically we're under tropical storm warnings here in the DC area. But 20-40mph sustained winds and possibly 3-5 inches of rain, and likely lots of power outages.  Because the earthquake wasn't enough. Or the thunderstorms we've had in the past week or two. Nope, we need a hurricane.  Don't get me wrong, I'm thankful to not be getting the worst of it. I feel for my friends in the Hampton Roads area and New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, and elsewhere on the coast that will be getting it worse. For me its mostly just going to be a pain in the ass. Power outages suck, especially when you live in a high rise and the elevators stop working.

All of that combined really made this week DRAG at work. So I'm thankful for the weekend, but can't relax so much because I have a midterm I need to finish before the power goes out. Good times... So anyone reading this in Irene's path, stay safe and enjoy the ride!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Sometimes I write.

I hope you don't mind indulging me for a second. I wrote this the other day, and while its nowhere near complete, I really like where its heading and wanted to at least share the words, since who knows if I'll ever finish...

She said I would be in another place now
If I'd done one thing differnet
I'd be living a life so far from this
If I'd made the other choice
I can't help but think about it
The now and what might have been
A constant game of what if in my mind
Weighs me down from time to time

I never thought my life would go this way
She says as she wipes her eyes
How could I have known I'd want this now
After a pause she cries aloud

What is really truth and lies
Who decides what's right and wrong
How would I change if I had the chance
If life gave me just one do over
Where am I supposed to go from here
Who will help me make it through
I don't know where this crazy life is taking me
And I'm not sure I'm enjoying the ride

She stops, silence weighs the room down
As it mixes with the tears
Pain hangs over us, as she settles down
And her eyes say everything

To be continued... maybe...

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Is it September 20th yet??

Because on that evening, I'm getting on a plane to Paris! And I just needed to share.

I am seriously SO EXCITED. I last went to Paris in 2002, and when a work trip to Germany came up, I decided to take a couple of extra days of leave and go back to Paris for a few days too.  Even better, it looks like one of my good friends is going to be joining me. I seriously can not wait. I just made the hotel reservation, right around the corner from where I lived the first month I was there in 2002.  Now the only thing left to do is put aside the right amount of money and, MUCH closer to the trip, book the train ticket from Paris to Germany.

It really will make the days go by faster (I hope) knowing that in just 6 short weeks, I'll be enjoying Paris once again, even if it is for just 4 days. Better than nothing though!

Thursday, August 04, 2011

Remembering a Hero

This weekend marks 2 years since the death of my friend, USNA classmate, and 12th/17th companymate Capt Matthew Freeman, USMC, while providing cover for fellow Marines on a rooftop in Afghanistan.  He'd just married his high school sweetheart a couple of weeks before leaving, and in fact only their families and closest friends knew that they'd gone ahead and gotten married prior to his departure.  He was only in Afghanistan for a little over a week when he was killed. (I've written a little about Matt here and here.)

The last conversation Matt had with his mother before he died was about the kids, and how they seemed to want school supplies, specifically pens and paper, more than anything, even food and water. He asked her to start up a collection and send him the supplies.  A career teacher, Mrs Freeman was all about it, and even though Matt was killed 2 days later, she decided to do it anyway. The Matthew Freeman Project: Pens and Paper for Peace, was, according to its website, "not created because Matthew is dead. Not because he died serving his country. It’s because of how he lived."

If you have a little cash or some time to spare, please help remember this true American hero and honor his final wish by making a donation to the Freeman Project - you can donate financially or help collect school supplies to send overseas. All the information is on the site.

RIP, Matt. You're sorely missed.

Monday, July 18, 2011

This whole Casey Anthony mess

OK, first and foremost, I didn't really follow the trial much, but at the very end I was down in Florida with boyfriend's family, and his mother followed it the whole way, so I saw the end. But I've been somewhat fascinated by the aftermath.

I'm no lawyer, but I did take a whole bunch of law classes in undergrad (I thought I wanted to go to law school at one point) and I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night. OK, not really. But you get my drift. Here's how I see it.

Something happened. Casey was arrested, charged with First Degree Murder among other things, and (eventually - don't get me started on what constitutes "within a reasonable time") was entitled to a trial by a jury of her peers where the burden of proof, which is on the defense, is beyond a reasonable doubt. For you non-law types out there, that basically means that its not up to her to prove that she didn't do it, its on the prosecution to prove that she did - the old innocent until proven guilty idea - and they must prove it to the point that there is no reasonable doubt in the jury's minds that she did it.

The prosecution failed to prove Casey's guilt. The system worked the way it was supposed to. All of these people that want to scream and protest and call her a baby-killer sound ignorant. Our justice system was set up the way it is on purpose - the founding fathers determined that they'd rather have a few guiltys get off than some innocents be punished. America is fairly unique in that regard. And now the jurors are getting death threats?? Are you kidding me? They didn't ask for this. They did their civic duty. At least one of them has even come out and said that she didn't think Casey was innocent, she just didn't think the prosecution proved beyond a reasonable doubt that she did it!

I have less issue with the people's reaction to Casey getting out - karma's a bitch, and if she actually did do it, she'll have to live with it for the rest of her life. But Nancy Grace, give it a rest already. I mean, she obviously has issues she needs to work out, and I wish her the best. But leave the woman alone to deal with her demons (or whatever) on her own.

My personal opinion? The kid died accidentally. Maybe in the pool, maybe not, who knows. But Casey freaked out and didn't report it. I doubt this was premeditated murder. But even if it was, the system worked the way it was intended.

I hate to say it, but I feel like the people still making noise about "justice for Caylee" and all are ignorant. Justice was served, even if you didn't like the outcome.

OK, now I feel better :)

Monday, July 11, 2011

I have no words.

This is why I walk for Arthritis every year. I cried. Please remember, Kids Get Arthritis Too.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Meet Ruthie!

Well, the car boredom finally got the best of me.

I really wasn't going to do it right away. I'd been doing my research, looking at features and prices and safety ratings and fuel economy and all that stuff, and I really was just planning to get my research in a row, figure out where I wanted to be financially, save up for a bigger down payment, and wait a little while.  Based on all of my online research, I'd pretty much decided on the Nissan Rogue, pending a test drive.

So when a water main break at work resulting in loss of water pressure in the building meant we got out early, I figured it was as good a time as any to go test drive and make sure I like the car.  I got to the dealer, and went out on the drive, and REALLY liked the car. I went in to talk numbers with them, and told them straight up where I was coming from, and that the only way I would be buying now was if they gave me an amazing deal that I couldn't say no to. I told them to crunch their numbers and I would go home and crunch mine, and they could give me a call.

When I got in my car to leave, I had this definite sense of disappointment. Like oh, this. 

(A little background: when I bought Jethro, I wanted certain things in the car. But I settled, and bought the most basic model on the lot, instead of holding my ground and getting what I wanted. So Jethro has no button to unlock the doors, and the only key hole is in the driver's door. He doesn't have cruise control. And he's so low to the ground.  And I had REALLY wanted a sunroof, but I didn't get one. So I knew, from the start, that I was NOT going to step down from the features I wanted for the next car.)

I was barely home when the dealership called me back and asked if I could come back out. I agreed to return after rush hour.  In that time, I looked at my budget, considered what they said they were going to give me for my trade in, and came to a number that if they weren't going to hit it, I wasn't going to buy. (But I also cleaned out Jethro.) I came back, and at first they wanted to talk about monthly payments, which I won't do - I immediately stopped the guy and said before we do this, let's talk round number. They took me to that page, and while they were almost a thousand over where I had wanted to be in top number, they were willing to give me an extra $300 on the trade in and a $500 rebate.

So I did it. I bid Jethro farewell.  I solicited name suggestions from my friends, and allow me to introduce Ruthie!
Last night it was actually cool enough to drive home from my parents with the sunroof open, which was AWESOME. I'm so glad I got what I wanted. I don't foresee being bored with this car for a LONG time.

A couple more photos, just for fun:
No more FM transmitter for the iPod :)

Yes, she's purple. Love it :)

My favorite part!

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

A Politics (but not political, I swear) Post

You know, I don't usually get political on this blog. On purpose. And I'm not trying to get political now, even though I do think that Sarah Palin is a less than ideal candidate for... well, anything, to be honest.  And I rarely agree with Eugene Robinson; I generally think that he's a blind liberal in the way that many conservatives are blind conservatives.  But every once in a while, he gets something right. And this opinion piece on Sarah Palin's version of Paul Revere's ride is one of those times.

From the article:

It was comical and weird, like a lot of Palin’s antics, but so what? Anybody can have a momentary lapse and say something dumb in front of a television camera. You laugh it off and move on.

Unless you’re Sarah Palin. She appeared on “Fox News Sunday,” and Chris Wallace asked the obvious question: “You realized that you messed up about Paul Revere, don’t you?” He must have expected her to be charmingly self-deprecating. Instead, to Wallace’s evident surprise, she insisted that her ridiculous account was correct.
I swear I learned as a young child that people will respond better if you just fess up that you made a mistake than if you keep insisting. But no! There are even people fighting on Wikipedia, trying to update the Paul Revere site to reflect closer to what Sarah Palin said!!

This statement by Eugene is most poignant to me: 
The gaffe is understandable — well, almost understandable. But she doubled down with a claim of persecution and a bald-faced lie. That is what we ignore at our peril.

This is a small, unimportant matter. But Palin demands to be seen as a big, important person in the nation’s political life.
In my book, this is a red flag, no matter what letter comes after your name.

Friday, June 03, 2011

Medical sagas of late... sorry, I had to

I feel like I've spent the last couple of weeks in the Doctor's office.

I thought about it yesterday, and in the last 3 weeks I've been to my general practitioner, the dentist twice, the allergist 4 times (shots have started - more on that in a minute), the radiologist, and the chiropractor. And next week I get to go to the ENT. I am a hot mess, and I'm going to play old lady and whine about my ailments for a little bit.

The general practitioner was just a regularly scheduled write me some more prescriptions visit. Nothing exciting. The dentist, which is actually now 4 times in the last month and a half or so, was for a filling and then back to get the filling filed down. HATE. It was my first filling, and I did not enjoy that process, thank you very much. And the chiropractor was just my regular adjustment. So no big deal on those, but they add up. The allergist stuff though... that's another story.  I've had allergies for years. As long as I can remember, but nothing ever severe enough to get checked out. Probably 5 or 6 years ago I started on a cocktail of allergy meds, because they didn't want to test me while I was on active duty. But in the last couple of years, I've been having about once a quarter incidents of what I like to call "sinus explosion."  I felt like they were sinus infections, but after being told by one doctor that they weren't and it was just allergies and/or a cold, I didn't try to go to the doctor again. But after this last round in April, I decided that I couldn't take it anymore and called an allergist.  I went and did the whole stick you tons of times across your back allergy tests, and the doctor took one look at the results and said well, its no wonder you feel crappy all the time! HALLELUJAH, praise the Lord, I might be getting some answers FINALLY.  She wanted to do a blood test to make sure that I will do well on allergy tests, and she wanted me to get a CT scan of my sinuses just to make sure that there's not something chronic going on in the sinuses.  The CT scan came back with enough issue that she wanted me to see an ENT, so I get to do that next week. Thank goodness for sick leave!!  I started the shots 2 weeks ago, so I've had 3 now. They say it can take months to feel the differences, and I can't wait. I also hope that the ENT can help with some of this as well. I just want to feel normal!!

And now I'm done with the ailment rant. Hopefully in the next few months I'll have updates that I'm feeling better and getting things sorted out.  Now if only I could get that extra weight off. Even though I'm spending an inordinate amount of time in Dr's offices, I'm glad to be finally taking control of my own health. I just wish I'd been more willing to demand it when it was all free through the military - even though I have awesome insurance, it doesn't cover everything!!

And now, cake next door... not that I need it!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

What a feeling!

I just paid off my car, and damn does it feel good. For the first time in 8 years, I don't have a car payment.

This brings me one step closer on my quest towards debt freedom. Which will take forever at this rate. But at least I can use that old car money to help rebuild some of the savings I depleted over the last few years. It is FAR easier to get into debt than it is to get out of it!!

I'm all about getting some ideas from fokls for helping me do it faster. All things considered, I don't REALLY have that much - a bit more credit card debt than I care for, and a mortgage. But that's it. I wish I had the discipline to do one of those financial fasts, where you spend no money at all for a set period of time except on what's absolutely necessary (groceries, rent, bills, etc) - no eating out, no shows, no shopping, nothing non-essential. Yeah right. I'd be bored to tears.

What are some of the ways you help keep yourself financially in control? I need all the pointers I can get!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Train Wreck Syndrome?

Does anyone have a TV show that they know is absolutely awful, but they still can't stop watching it? I do.

The Secret Life of the American Teenager might be the worst show on TV. And right now, I'm admitting that I'm watching it, and I've watched it from the start, and I can not stop. I mean, I really can not stop watching this train wreck of a show.  The acting is horrible, the storylines are totally unrealistic, and its an ongoing dialogue between 16 and 17 year olds about sex, marriage, and babies, of which there is one and another on the way in this group of teens.

The fact that Molly Ringwald is in the show gave me hope. But the fact that Brenda Hampton, the creator of Seventh Heaven, is the creator of this one as well, should have kept me away from the beginning.  The cameos by several of the cast members of Seventh Heaven (less successful than Jessica Biel ones) have even made reference to it.  (The actress who played Ruthie, the sweet little girl, plays a straight up whore, and the actress that played Lucy plays a guidance counselor, and the first time they passed in the hallway there was this long glance of recognition. I snorted.) 

This show is seriously ridiculous.  The first season was OK - a teenage girl hooks up with the hottie drummer at band camp and ends up pregnant, and it showcases the hardships and how she deals with being a pregnant teen where the dad is not so much in the picture.  If it had ended after one season, it would probably have been OK. But for a show based solely off of that, how do you continue? I'll tell you how. Lots of talking about sex, especially with their parents, of which include Josie Bissett, Bobby Bacala, and the aforementioned Molly Ringwald. Teenagers getting married, or getting fake IDs to try. Or doing it just to try to manipulate the exes. Or because they think that's what happens when you have sex.  And don't get me started on the actress that plays the original pregnant teen's little sister. AWFUL.

But even knowing all of this, and knowing how utterly bad this show is, why can't I stop? I tell people the reason I don't play video games is because I have an addictive personality. Maybe that explains why I keep watching this show. Or maybe I just keep hoping that its actually going to get better...

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Kalani Soul

I know I've mentioned before that my boyfriend Matt is an amazing musician.  He's been playing guitar since he was 9 years old, writing for almost that long, and can play anything - its kind of amazing, actually, I wish I could play at all, much less anywhere close to that well.

Well, he has recently teamed up with Maurice Mangum, formerly of the DC band Evenout, to form a new project they're calling Kalani Soul.  With the magic of Travis Daniels at Trace Studios in Atlanta, they've just finished recording three songs, and let me be the first to tell you that they're amazing. They should be releasing at least one of the songs in the near future, and Facebook and ReverbNation will be the best way to find out when (and, of course, I'll probably post something as well - I want as many people as possible to know about this).

Do yourself a favor, please, and go find them on Facebook (just search Kalani Soul) and ReverbNation. This is gonna be big... and I'm not just saying that because I'm biased!

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Boat Dumb

The cruise was amazing, but this explains why you're getting no recap yet. Enjoy!

Sixthman Public Service Announcement: Boat Dumb from Sixthman TV on Vimeo.

Thanks again to all the folks at Sixthman for all the wonderful work they do. If you're unsure about what to do for vacation, look no further than their webpage and pick one.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Vacation time!

This kind of cruise is WAY better than the Navy kind. That part of my life needed to end. But the Navy version of I'm On A Boat might be the funniest parody ever made, and never, ever gets old: (NSFW)

Best Cruise Ever (although I still think that title belongs to the Rock Boat), here I come! I'll post all about it when I get back :)

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Every cloud has a silver lining, right?

So, I'm a little bit bummed.

When I booked the VH1 Best Cruise Ever, I booked my travel knowing that Matt was going to have a show in Atlanta the night before. I spent the extra money to basically buy 3 one-way plane tickets so I could see him play, and I told my friends in Atlanta to keep the night clear.  Unfortunately, the booking of that show was handled unprofessionally by the people that said they'd take care of it, and those "confirmed" dates for Atlanta shows turned out to be not.

Of course, I'm not at all mad at Matt or his partner in this project. If they had not been 100% sure, they would not have let me buy plane tickets and make the plans. And not only did I spend probably an extra $200 and take an extra day off of work to make this happen, but they were relying on the paycheck they were supposed to get for these shows. So all around, just poorly handled.

But while I'm absolutely not happy about the fact that I won't get to see Matt for the first time in 7 weeks, especially since its going to be at least another 4 before the next chance I get (screw moving schedules, they suck), and I'm bummed that I STILL won't get to see this new band play, I refuse to call this a total loss. One of my best friends in the world lives in Atlanta, along with a couple of girlfriends that I got to know better while I lived there, and it looks like I'm going to be able to hang out with them tomorrow night instead. So its not all the way bad. Not as good as I'd hoped for, but who can complain about a fun night with the ladies?? Not me!

And isn't that what its all about, making what could have been a very disappointing situation into a better one? Life is too short to dwell on things. It took a lot of restraint yesterday for me to not publicly call some people out, but I'm glad I didn't name names. Its just not worth it. And that's been a goal of mine lately, to try to be more positive about things, especially when they're not going my way. Its not an easy thing sometimes, but I am so much better off than I could be, and so much better off than I was. As long as I remember that...

Friday, April 22, 2011

Winner winner chicken dinner!!

OK, I never win ANYTHING, so when I do, even when its something small, I get REALLY excited about it.

So the email I got from The Drop earlier made my day - they ran a giveaway on Facebook where if you posted a status message about their recent interview with the band Civil Twilight (to whose music I was recently introduced by none other than Ms. Krissie) you would be entered to win an autographed copy of their latest CD. I decided what the heck, you never know.

And I won! I'm super stoked to get their CD. Big thanks to Dan and Tiffany at The Drop. And if you're a music fan, check out their podcast - you can listen on the website (click the interview link above for an episode listing) or subscribe on iTunes. Do it!!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Wait, WHO is this??

Last night, as I was reading the last few pages of the book I was trying to finish, my phone rang. Normally the only person calling me at 930 at night is Matt, but he has his own ring tone, and this was my normal one. I looked at the number, saw a Corpus Christi area code, and answered because I have a ton of family in Corpus and after the epic fail of an attempt to sync my BlackBerry with my gmail, I don't have everyone's number saved in my phone.

Well, that was a bad idea. Turns out it was my ex from before Matt. Who, for some unknown reason, still has my phone number more than 3 years after he broke up with me. He tried to contact me once before, a couple months after we broke up and right after I moved to Atlanta, but nothing since. And honestly, I had no real desire to keep up with the guy. We had a long distance relationship for about 4 months that was a poor idea from the start, and I wasn't all that sad when it ended.

He asked how I was doing and if I still lived in Atlanta, and I responded politely to both, not asking for any information from him, until I finally said that it was a bad time, but thanks for calling, and ended the call. It was probably among the most awkward 53 seconds of my life. In hindsight, I probably should have just said dude, why are you calling me? I don't want to talk to you, so please don't.  I implied as much, but I hope he got the hint.

I need opinions - should I have been the a-hole and just said it straight? What do I do if he tries again?

Monday, April 18, 2011

The Movies!

I'm pretty sure the last movie I saw in the theaters before this weekend was Alice in Wonderland sometime last spring. But this weekend my Dad and I went to see The Conspirator, the new Civil War era movie directed by Robert Redford.

It was outstanding. It took a very well known situation (the conspiracy and resulting assassination of Abraham Lincoln) and picked some of the more obscure parts to further research and present, and that is my favorite kind of historical fiction. Everyone knows John Wilkes Booth killed President Lincoln at the Ford's Theater. Many people know that it was a group effort against not only Lincoln but also Vice President Johnson and Secretary of State Seward. Some people know that Mary Surratt, the owner of the boardinghouse where the conspirators met to plan their actions and whose son was allegedly part of the group, was arrested as part of the conspiracy. And even fewer people realize the conditions behind her trial, or that she was the first woman ever executed by the Federal Government.

The movie picks not only the more obscure story of Mary Surratt, but the even more obscure story of one of her attorneys, Frederick Aiken.  It tells the story of Aiken's transformation from a doubter who doesn't want to defend Mary to her staunchest supporter. It tells of his attempts to have her military trial delegitmized, and his fight for her right to a trial by a jury of her peers.

Obviously, he didn't succeed in that attempt, and she was tried, convicted, and sentenced to death by a miltiary court. He managed to get a writ of habeus corpus signed by a judge at the last minute, which would have prevented her execution and allowed her to be tried in a civilian court, but President Johnson cancelled the writ less than an hour before her scheduled execution time.

Anyways, if you're at all a history person or like the kind of historical fiction that leaves you wondering, go see The Conspirator. Its well worth your time.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

30 day challenge, Day 10

Day 10-Something you're afraid of

I am scared to death of spiders. Unhealthily so, in fact. Its really bad.

Is it just me, or is this challenge actually kind of boring? I'm not so sure about it anymore...

Friday, April 15, 2011

30 day challenge, Day 9

Day 9-A picture of your friends

Once again, just one?? Yeah right! Here are a few. 
The Atlanta crew at the Pumpkin Patch

Fellow USNA grads, including some of the best friends I had in school

Some of the people I can always count on for a good time out in DC

Melanie, my USNA roommate


Molly. That's all I need to say.
Now if only I could get them all in the same place, or at least a place closer to me...

Thursday, April 14, 2011

30 day challenge, Day 8

Day 8-A place you've traveled to

And yes, the grammatical incorrectness of this topic is driving me absolutely bonkers.

One place? I've been all over. One of the things about being in the Navy, you get to see the world. Of course, 75% of the world IS water.... but still. So I've been to plenty of places. As a kid we lived in London, so I got to go all over Europe. In college, we went to London and Rome senior year spring break. In the Navy, I went to Croatia, Bahrain, Dubai, and Spain. And I've been all over the US, I think 40 or 41 states? Lots, anyways. And I definitely want to see them all before I die.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

30 day challenge, Day 7

Day 7-Favorite movies

This one's not terribly hard.

Love Actually - I just love it. Its heartwarming, and the cast is fantastic, and I love pretty much everyone in it. And the soundtrack is also fantastic.
Aladdin (yes, the Disney one. In fact, let's just say any Disney animated movie. Pretty much ever. They're all on the list) - I don't think I need to say more here.
Catch Me If You Can - I love the twisty plotline and the fact that its a true story
Mean Girls - this one's mostly sentimental, it reminds me of deployment, and how we watched this movie once a week on the ship.
The Thomas Crown Affair (the new one, with Pierce Brosnan and Rene Russo) - its another twisty plotline, plus another great musical score. And it has Pierce Brosnan and Rene Russo.

And I feel like adding Almost Famous is a bit cliche, but I'm gonna add it anyways, because it really is a great movie.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

30 day challenge, Day 6

Day 6-A picture of something that makes you happy

Just one? Yeah, not happening. Here are a few. And they don't, for the most part, include my family and friends, who are absolutely a huge part of making me happy.

The view from my apartment on a nice day

Towel animals

Sunsets over the Gulf of Mexico

The Rock Boat


My kitties, who don't always love each other this much