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These words are my diary screaming out loud

Friday, November 30, 2012

A month of thanks: Day 30

Yeah, I know this daily thanks thing is a little silly, but you know what? I kinda liked it. It really made me put some things into perspective, especially when I was having a bad day. It really helped me remember how well I do have it, even if things aren't always perfect. Hell, they HAVE been worse for me.

So today, for this last day of the month of thanks, I'm thankful that things are as good as they are. I'm thankful that we've gotten out of the slump we were in a couple of years ago. I'm thankful that I have a place to live, a job that pays enough to live on, a wonderful fiance who I love with all my heart, a family that loves me no matter what, a soon-to-be family that has accepted me from day 1, and some of the best friends in the world.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

A month of thanks: Day 29

Today I am thankful that I still have a great relationship with a bunch of my old coworkers. I got the chance to have lunch with a few of them today, and also to surprise another one by showing up to his little birthday shindig in the office. As much as I do not at all miss that job, I do miss the people that I work with all the time. They really are a good crowd!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

A month of thanks: Day 28

Man, I am starting to run out things to be thankful for!! All of the things I was thinking of today (my chiropractor, because its that time again, my fiance, just to name a couple) I've already used!

But then I started listening to the news, and I read the paper. I know back on Day 6 I talked about being thankful that I live in a country where I could vote with no issues. But today, its more than that. I am thankful that I live in the United States. We absolutely have our problems. But we don't have a President issuing decrees that make him little more than a dictator (Egypt), or car bombs going off regularly in busy areas of big cities (Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, to name a few). We have regulations in place that prevent over one hundred low-wage workers from being trapped in a building on fire (Bangladesh), and there are no rebel armies fighting the government and forcing us out of our homes (Congo).  Kinda makes all of our fighting over tax rates and universal health care seem a little silly, if you think about it.

So yeah, today I am thankful that I am an American, and that I do not have to deal with all of the so many worse things that so many people in the world are dealing with today.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

A month of thanks: Days 26 and 27

Day 26: Yesterday I was thankful for the best dentist check up I've had in years. I chalk that up as another win for cleaning up my diet - since I cut back on sugar and processed foods and refined carbs, I've had several benefits, not the least of which are the weight and inches that have come off. Yesterday, though, I got another one. I've always had trouble with my gums and been borderline for minor gum disease. Yesterday, they didn't even do the checks that they usually have to do to measure the inflammation in my gums - she said they looked perfectly normal! The only thing I can think of that could be attributing to that change is the change in diet.

Day 27: Today I am thankful for companies who truly take the phrase customer service to heart. So many businesses and companies these days seem to forget that their customers are who keeps them alive, and make it VERY hard to interact at all, much less get anything done. There are those few, though (*cough Sixthman cough*) that are just awesome. Ask a question, and they find an answer, and if its not the right answer, they work it until they can figure out a right answer. Today, I asked a question about gift certificates for The Rock Boat. We switched cruise lines this year, and on the old cruise line we could purchase gift certificates without a reservation on the line. We never have reservation information this early out, because we're a charter. The new line doesn't offer that, you have to have a reservation number with the line. But that's not the right answer, so what does Sixthman do? Not just leave it at that and say too bad. Nope, they're in the process of working out a way for people who want to give onboard credit as a gift for Christmas to call their office, do it through them, and they'll settle it with the line. How cool is that??

Monday, November 26, 2012

A month of thanks: Thanksgiving Weekend

Day 22: Thursday I was thankful for the time spent with my family, and for being able to share how my family does Thanksgiving with my future in-laws. And, yes, everyone got along well :)

Day 23: Friday I was thankful for the opportunity to take the future in-laws up to Annapolis for a little while to show them my school and my grandparents' house. It was also really awesome to see how much they enjoyed my Uncle Mark, and to see the look on his face when FMIL showed up with a whole dish of deviled eggs just for him, as promised when he told her how much he'd liked them on Thanksgiving!

Day 24: Saturday I was thankful for friends, family, and football. We had the biggest group we've ever had over at our house for the afternoon - his parents, all 4 of my siblings that were in town, and a friend. Our little house almost couldn't take it! We had a great time eating oysters, shrimp, corn bread, chili dip, and pecan pie.

Day 25: I am seriously thankful that I drew the lucky straw when it comes to the in-laws. I've heard so many horror stories, and while yes, my FMIL can drive me crazy sometimes, its nothing compared to the love and support she has shown me since the first time she met me. (The crazy isn't really crazy - its just different from what I'm used to, but there is absolutely nothing malicious, which is more than I can say about some of my friends' in-laws. It comes from the greatest place, and I'll take it.) And my FFIL is just the nicest, sweetest guy in the world. So yeah, absolutely thankful. It was a fantastic weekend, and it makes me all the more excited for a wedding this fall!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

A month of thanks: Day 21

Today I am thankful that we have set a date for the wedding!!

I was REALLY stressing out over some things related to the wedding the last few days, namely making sure that we were definitely going to be able to afford the venue that we want, and getting the date squared away. Well, it appears as though we have finally gotten that figured out, which means that I have MUCH less stress than I did yesterday at this time. HOORAY!!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

A month of thanks: Day 20

Today, I am really thankful that I never had to go to Iraq or Afghanistan.

Let me explain. I'm currently reading the e-book extra of In The Shadow of Greatness. This is the part where my story, along with 20 or so others that didn't make it into the hard copy of the book. So many of my classmates talk about how bothered they were about being on ships far away from the land campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan, and how they volunteered to go over there to be part of it.

I had exactly the opposite reaction during my time in the Navy. While I was on the ship in the Northern Arabian Gulf, or Persian Gulf as its also known, within only a short distance of both Iraqi and Iranian international waters, and only 12 more miles beyond that to their shorelines, I was thanking my lucky stars that this was as close as I was getting. When my name was added to a list of people being put in for an individual augmentation (we called it being voluntold instead of volunteering) I was scared to death that I would actually be chosen, and so relieved when I wasn't. When I found out that my shore duty station was essentially IA-proof, I was thrilled that I would be able to get out the end of that tour without having had to go overseas. When I found out that the Navy had accidentally completed separated me instead of just transferring me to the Inactive Reserve like they were supposed to, I was freaking out that they were going to reward me for their mistake with an all-expenses paid trip to the desert.

I've often been a bit ashamed of this, and afraid to say it out loud. But the truth is, I didn't sign up for that. I didn't sign up for the Marine Corps or the Army. I signed up for the Navy, and didn't even get to do what I actually wanted to do in the Navy - I wanted to fly, and I ended up on ships. That doesn't change the fact, though, that reading the stories of my classmates who volunteered to go over and who had extremely rewarding experiences while there makes me wonder if I didn't miss out a little bit.

Today, though, I'm saying it. I'm thankful I didn't have to go. I'm thankful that while we had some scares on the ship, I was never truly in harm's way. Does that make me feel a little undeserving when people thank me for my service? Sure. But honestly, I volunteered to serve, and had I been told to go to Iraq or Afghanistan, or anywhere else for that matter, I'd have done it. But I'm REALLY glad I never had to.

(I feel like I'm rambling a little here, like I can't quite find the words I want to use to express my feelings. I hope I'm getting my point across.)

But let me make this perfectly clear. As thankful as I am that I didn't have to go, I am even more thankful for those that did and that continue to do so. There is not a person in the military today that did not choose to either join or stay in knowing full well that their chances of going to either or both places were extremely high. There is not a person in the military today who did not CHOOSE to put their lives on the line if called to do so. I am incredibly thankful to the Matt Freemans and the Jen Harrises, the Ronnie Winchesters and JP Blecksmiths and Travis Manions and Jonas Kelsalls. Google them all. Every time I'm thanked for my service, I say you're welcome, but I pass it on to these folks.

Monday, November 19, 2012

A month of thanks days 17, 18, and 19

Day 17: Saturday I was thankful for friends that came in from out of town to visit us. Well, sort of. They came in from out of town for football games, but they got to visit with us as well :) Matt's best friend came in from North Carolina and the two of them attended the Florida State - Maryland game, which they enjoyed immensely since Florida State won by a lot. That night, Matt's roommate from Atlanta (we started dating right before Matt moved into his house) and his girlfriend got in for Sunday's Eagles-Redskins games. They're Eagles fans, so it didn't go as well for them! It was great to see all three of them.

Day 18: Sunday I was thankful for some quiet time. While the old roommate was at the football game, Matt and his friend went fishing, so I had a few hours to just relax. This was especially good because my back has been giving me some trouble again lately, so I needed that time to put some heat on it and relax. That was super nice.

Day 19: Today I'm thankful that I finally get my old property manager for my house in Virginia Beach back. She left the company where she was working when I hired her (but I had picked her, not the company) and now that my tenant is getting ready to move out, I can finally drop the old company and get her back! This is fantastic for me, because I just have not felt as comfortable with the situation since she left. But I had a contract with the other company, so I had to see it through. However, as soon as I got word that my tenant might be leaving, I tracked her down and established contact with her. As much of a pain in the rear end it is to switch services (and its expensive too!!), it will be totally worth it.

Friday, November 16, 2012

A month of thanks: Day 16

Today I am thankful for drugs.

No, not the illegal kind, thank you. I like my job.

I'm talking about the kind that make my sinuses stop burning, and my nose stop running, and my cough stop. The kind that I have to go to the pharmacy counter to buy, because they're the good stuff. The kind that you have to sign for, agreeing that you are, in fact, using them for your intended purpose and not to make meth or something. The kind that actually work.

I'm also thankful that its Friday, and that means almost the weekend, which means relaxation!! While I do have some cleaning and stuff to do this weekend ahead of the in-laws getting here on Monday, and because we have some friends in this weekend, I don't have to do much of anything in the way of entertaining or anything, so I should get some good relaxation time.

Also, I'm thankful that, for the most part, people have stopped talking about Gen Allen as part of the sex scandal. Not everyone, but some. I REALLY want for him to have done nothing wrong, and nothing out there right now seems to indicate otherwise. The more information that comes to light, the more it sounds like this Kelley chick was just a little nuts, and that most of the 20-30,000 pages of emails were conversations where every new email was printed out with history, and that Mrs Allen was either on the "to" or "cc" line for most of them. But the investigation is ongoing, and it needs to run its course. I just get irritated when he gets lumped in with GEN Petraeus.

So yeah, there are some things to be thankful for today. And everyday, to be honest. Sometimes its harder than others to find those things, though.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

A month of thanks: Day 15

Today I am thankful for sleep. As someone with a diagnosed sleep disorder, and who had some serious insomnia issues going on a couple of weeks ago, I've slept AMAZINGLY the past couple of nights, and I love it. It really makes a difference in my day. But it also really makes me want more of it, so here's hoping I can get it tonight!

A month of thanks: Day 14

Yesterday I was thankful for family close by. I'm extremely lucky to be getting to live near my parents and youngest sisters right now. They were really young when I left home, and its great to be close to them now and get to know them better as adults (or close to it).

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

A month of thanks: Day 13

I'm not going to lie, I'm finding it hard to find things to be thankful for today.

First of all, I woke up this morning to the news that one of the people I have admired for a good portion of my adult life, Marine Gen John Allen, is now under investigation for possible inappropriate communications in this whole soap opera surrounding General Petraeus. Now I know how others have felt when people they've looked up to have been implicated in things. I almost started crying.

Then, I found out that my friend Ali, who has been fighting cancer for a little more than 2 years now, is probably very near the end of her fight. She's been in hospice care since May, and her nurses now believe she probably only has days, or maybe weeks if she beats the odds yet again, left on this earth. We've known this was coming for a long time, but that doesn't make it any easier. While I'm far from being part of Ali's closest circle, she's someone I've gotten to know pretty well over the past 5 or 6 years through the local music scene, and her absence has been noticeable. Cancer really really sucks.

So it makes it really hard to be thankful today. All I can think of is that I'm thankful for my health, and that of those around me. I'm thankful that I know Ali, and for the way that she has touched my life, even if it has been small. I'm thankful that there is a full process for investigating Gen Allen, and hopeful that the process will result in not having one of my professional role models' reputation permanently tarnished. I'm thankful that even if it is, that won't change what I learned from him.

And it sounds awful, and I'm mad at myself for thinking it and writing it down, and for it being true, but I'm glad that its not me. In either of those situations.

A month of thanks: Days 11 and 12

Day 11: Today I am thankful for the fact that I was able to go wedding dress shopping with my mom, and that it was WAY easier than I thought it would be. Seriously, it was so much less stressful

Day 12: Today I am thankful for all of those who have served our country, and all those who continue to serve. Less than 1% of the population of the US is in the military at any given time, and many have zero concept of the sacrifice it takes to do it. I'm incredibly proud of all of my friends and family that have chosen to serve (because we all CHOOSE to serve in an all-volunteer force), choose to risk their lives, and in some cases actually do.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

A month of thanks: day 10

Today I am thankful for a fiancé that can cook! I can follow a recipe all day, but I have to follow the recipe. When I start getting too creative, bad things can happen. So sometimes cooking becomes painful. Luckily, Matt is really really good at it :)

Friday, November 09, 2012

A month of thanks: Day 9

Today I am thankful for Fridays. It may be lame, but its been a long week! Fridays are generally a little more laid back, and people tend to be in a better mood because the weekend is coming. Tack onto that this this particular Friday is the start of a long weekend, and its even better! Fridays mean 2 days of sleeping in are upon us, 2 days of no work, and 2 days of relaxation, fun, and time to get all the things done that you didn't get done during the week. Especially since Matt's been working so much, it means that we get to relax together tonight without having to worry about getting to bed early for work in the morning :) Hooray for Fridays!

Thursday, November 08, 2012

A month of thanks: Day 8

Today I am thankful for the new windows in our house! Not only do they seem to block MUCH more outside sound, but the biggest difference I've been able to see so far has been that the temperature difference between the main floor and the upstairs is much less. The thermostat is on the main floor. Before the new windows, we had some definite problems with the seals downstairs to the point that one of the windows wouldn't even stay closed all the way. Luckily, that window was very close to the thermostat, so the heat was on probably more than it needed to be. The result was a chilly main floor and a VERY toasty top floor. That was fine for sleeping, but sucked when it was time to get up and get ready for work in the mornings. Now, its much closer to the same. Its still going to be cooler down there, just because its all hardwood on that floor, but the difference is much less. Here's hoping it results in a smaller power bill - it's been COLD outside, and the heat has been on!

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

A Month of Thanks: Day 7

Today, I am thankful for my chiropractor.

Go ahead, laugh. Get it out.

I have chronic back pain. Have for years. Enough that it counts towards my VA disability rating. Every three weeks, I go to the chiropractor. And he does his magic and settles things out. Sometimes, I get significant issues with my back, and I go in outside of that three week window, and he fixes me.

Some of you may be saying hmm.... but aren't chiropractors kinda shady? I'll answer that by saying not this one. I've been to my share of chiropractors who made me feel like all they wanted from me was my payment when they were through. This one absolutely is not like that. He listens, he asks you what your problems are, and he works with it.

I know, this sounds like a Yelp review. But believe me, my Yelp review is better than this post. But I seriously am thankful for him and the work he does on my back, and I wanted to say so :)

My take on the election results (And your fair warning)

Pre-upfront disclaimer: This is a bit of a ramble. But it's my blog, dammit, I can post whatever I want! :)

Up front disclaimer: I am a lifelong Republican. However, as I've shared before, this has been a very hard year for me. I was undecided much longer than most people, it appears, but ultimately, I made the decision that I made for who would receive my vote for President based on everything except which party affiliation was in parentheses after the candidate's name. 

So perhaps that's why I'm so perplexed at the anger I'm seeing this morning from people over America's rejection of the following:
- A return to the policies that got us into economic trouble to begin with
- A return to the 1950s on women's rights
- A presidential candidate who proved, over and over again, that he was willing to say absolutely anything, true or false, consistent or not, in order to win this race
- A vice presidential candidate who did absolutely nothing to appeal to independents and moderates
- A campaign that allowed A LOT of nastiness towards the President, much of which was attempted in 2008 but was shot down by John McCain

Here's the thing. Yes, we are in a lot of debt right now, and we have a large deficit. 12 years ago, we had a pretty solid surplus. Then 9/11 happened. You absolutely never know how the future is going to look. But what I do know is that as worried as I was when Barack Obama was elected in 2008, most of that worry has not materialized. The military is doing OK. Yes, there is downsizing happening, but its appropriate. The sequestration thing would be a HUGE problem, absolutely. But while that may have been a suggestion from the President, the Republicans that want to blame it on him VOTED FOR IT. The President never thought it would actually happen - the whole point was to put something in front of the supercommittee that was so ridiculous, so unbelievable, that it would never, ever pass and they'd figure it out and come to a compromise. Obviously, that was not what happened. But to say that all of the blame goes on the President for that is disingenuous. Do I absolutely love Barack Obama? No. But in this case, for me, it came down to a known vs unknown situation. I could not determine what his policies would be, what he would do about certain issues, and what he would actually do to help the economy, besides just getting rid of everything Obama had done. That, and I don't think Obamacare will be the death of this country. Does it need work? Yes. But that does not mean complete repeal with nothing to replace the really good stuff that's in it.

This campaign was dirty and nasty. It was full of negativity, stretched truth, and massive amounts of spin on both sides. But from one side in particular, I just saw so many instances of blatant lying, making things up, refusing to acknowledge facts and math and other things, that I just couldn't bring myself to vote for the person that all of those things were representing. And yes, I understand that most of the ads came from PACs, but those PACs were never denounced by the Candidate they represented, so therefore its on him. On both sides. Either way, I'm glad its over so we can get back to our regular TV ads for junk food, fast food, and weight loss products.

However, now its time to move on. The election is over, and like it or not, Obama won. What I absolutely hope will happen is that everyone who let politics get in the way of their personal relationships will put it all behind them and move forward. I hope that the Republican Party will step back, reassess, and move away from the extreme place they've gone for the past 6 years, especially with regards to social issues. This country is primarily made up of people who are much closer to the center than either extreme. The Republicans seem to have forgotten this, and throughout this election cycle, I saw very little attempts from that side to reach out to the moderates that were feeling torn between social issues and economic/fiscal concerns, like me. (And let's not even talk about why social issues are even still coming up in PRESIDENTIAL campaigns in 2012...)

President Obama said in his victory speech that he heard the concerns of those who didn't vote for him, and that he's going to reach across the aisle. Let's hope that's the case. So far, I've seen a lot more respect for the other side from both sides than I expected to see. It started with Mitt Romney's very classy concession speech, and has continued through watching Fox News and reading Facebook and Twitter. Yes, there is still a lot of vitriol out there, but there's also a lot of this is what have, now let's work with it. THAT should be the message moving forward.

A month of thanks Day 6

Yesterday I was thankful that I live in a country where I can go, stand in line, vote, and not feel as though my life is in danger for doing so. We have an amazing country, and I know well that most are not as free as we are, nor do many allow women the equal freedoms we enjoy here. No matter who you are voting for or whether or not your guy wins, that is absolutely something to be thankful for.

Monday, November 05, 2012

A month of thanks: Catching up

I will catch up... I will. One day...

[Day 2] Today, I'm thankful for my friends. (yeah yeah, getting the obvious ones out of the way first) I have an amazing group of friends, spread out all over the worlds, from all of my many walks of life. Just about everywhere I've traveled, for work or for pleasure, I always have someone there. Whether its letting me crash on their couch or just meeting me for dinner or drinks, there's always someone to keep from feeling alone anywhere.

I wrote the above post, and somehow managed to save it as a draft instead of actually posting it. Oops! But I'll take this opportunity to actually catch up!

Day 3: Saturday I was thankful for quality time with people I don't get to see near often enough, namely my two youngest sisters. The 2nd youngest is a junior in college up at York College in PA, about 2 hours away. She's the VP of her sorority chapter this year, and planned this really fun Girls Day Out luncheon. The youngest and I, along with my best friend who's been an honorary sister for years now, drove up to York for the luncheon. It was a lot of fun! Then, after that, the youngest came with me to see Tony Lucca and Matt Duke at Jammin Java. It was her first time at a show like that, and I think she enjoyed herself.

Day 4: Sunday I was thankful for my fiance. I know, sappy. But seriously, we had a blast just spending the day together. We did super fun stuff early like cleaning the house and running errands. Exciting. But the second half of the day was spent watching a silly movie (That's My Boy, probably the best Happy Madison movie in years) and eating the fantastic steak dinner he made us. That man can cook a steak, let me tell you what! I'm incredibly lucky to have him.

And today, Day 5: I am VERY thankful for my job and the people I work with. Mostly because I have a job and I don't hate going to every day. But also because they're flexible and supportive and good people, and because even though our job is incredibly important, and we all take it very seriously, none of us take ourselves too seriously, and it makes it a good place to work. Can't say that about everyone we work with, but my office in particular is good. I've hated going to work before, and I've been in a spot where I don't have a job to hate going to, so this is definitely the best of both worlds. Especially in this economy, I'm glad to have it.

And... phew! Caught up :)

Friday, November 02, 2012

A Month of Thanks: Day 1

I saw a few people start this up yesterday, and I think its a great idea. I may not be that great at remembering to blog every day, but I'm going to try. In these times of economic turmoil, never-ending election cycles, natural disasters, and any other number of things that can make people feel less than excited about life in general, there is so much in my life that I can be thankful for, and I'm not sure I take enough time to show it. So here goes.

Day 1 - My family

I have friends who have no family. Literally - they're only children and their parents have passed away and any cousins or other relatives they may have are not close (physically or otherwise).  I have other friends who have families, but less than ideal relationships - people falling off the face of the earth, parents creating drama by acting like children, half or step siblings holding decades-long grudges for things they made up, just to name a few. While my family isn't perfect, whose is? While there are definitely members of my family that I only talk to out of courtesy to others, I am blessed to have four grandparents who love me (even if they don't all always show it in ways I'd wish they did), two parents who are always there for me no matter what, 5 siblings who I wouldn't trade for anything even if I do what to toss them off of tall buildings now and then, and tons of aunts, uncles, and cousins who keep life interesting, to say the least. On top of that, I will be marrying into a family that is equally awesome. I really am a lucky girl.