Monday, December 9, 2013

The Good, The Bad, and The Downright Evil

I've learned quite a bit during my time in and around the Army.  I know I haven't been around it as much as most, but I would have been in for 10 years this summer, and my husband just hit 16 years this summer.  I have met all sorts of people, and many of them are wonderful.  There are so many wives and service members that will give you the shirt off of their back if they could.  I love those people.  I've noticed there are lots of insecurities of military service members & their wives.  Here's my list of craziness, good and bad.

1. A wife thinks it's okay to get her vehicle repossessed during a deployment, and then tell her husband a different story because hey, he's deployed.  He doesn't know any better!

2. A Senior NCO will take his baby mama anger out on a single mother Soldier of his...but she will remain true to herself & still push her way through the ranks.  All he did was make her tougher.

3. Men love their pets.  If you "lose" his dog, cat, bird during a deployment he will eventually let that bottled up anger in him overwhelm him...unless you address the lie quickly.

4. When a wife you know lies about her "pregnancy" just to get into a bigger house on post & you anonymously call in a complaint to housing she will eventually realize you did it.  Then, she will tell everyone how horrible of a person you are.  Eventually you get to move away from that craziness...and it's great!

5. Facebook can be the devil.  People, in general, are so much quicker to post grievances with their fingers than say something out loud.  Have no fear, when I post grievances online I still have my face turn bright red & my anxiety takes over.  That could be a result of the PTSD but it lets me watch what I post online.

6. Many wives have body image issues.  Fat, thin, round, muscular, crafty, etc.  These women have a hard time seeing how wonderful they are at what they do, and many times have to embellish stories or live off of their husband's careers because they just don't realize their true potential.

7. People don't understand that satire is a form of comedy...it's not meant to hurt your feelings.  It's meant for you to get over your insecurities & realize we all have flaws.  Love those flaws!

8. Children can't catch RSV from someone's house.  Especially when that someone & her children are healthy & were not sick or getting sick while you were there.  It's also not a good lie to spread about that person.

9. Sometimes race does come into play in office politics.  It's sad, because I just don't care what color someone is...although if you're lime green I may send you to a doctor...but hanging a sign up on the office of a white NCO that her replacement is "the epitome of a strong black woman" isn't okay.  No matter who you are.  That white girl will be political about it & find a higher ranking black person who agrees with the inappropriateness of that sign. 

10. Lying about your childhood is only lying to yourself.  If you're still holding onto something from your childhood then it's time to talk to someone.  Now.  I didn't know my dad working long hours left me yearning for his love...until I went to counseling.  He helped me realize that every time my dad came to & from work & gave me kisses on my forehead (even asleep) that was the best symbol of love my dad could ever give me.

11. Try to keep your insecurities away from your actions.  Those around you learn from you, whether it be good or bad.  Have people remember that you are full of love and care about them, not that you're always complaining about your hair, lips, thighs, etc.

12. I understand the pride a wife has of their husband, but his uniform is his uniform (or hers).  Try not to wear it in a way they aren't allowed to wear it in public.  Easy enough, right?

13. Deployments are rough on everyone...it's okay to get yourself set up ahead of time with counseling, baby sitters, and support.  Sometimes the FRG will fail you and that's okay.  They are human and we all have flaws.

14. Don't try so hard.  You don't HAVE to make friends with people just because of your husband's (or wife's) position.  You just have to be tolerant of them...and welcome them to the family with open arms.  You'll learn real quick who wants that welcome.

15. There are so many wives I know that, even during their husband's deployment, are volunteering long hours each day/week/month to make sure other families/Soldiers/wives have the best time they could without their significant others.  These wives love their husbands & miss them deeply...so it's okay to talk to them about your fears & get real answers. 

16. Yes, many spouses come home from deployments with nightmares and a few will even choke out their wives during a nightmare...it's not okay to tell a wife that WILL happen with their husband...let her find out on her own.

17. Marriages where people aren't physically around each other are tough.  The last thing one of the spouses needs is to hear a rumor that their spouse is talking to a person of the opposite sex.  Wives - if there's a female voice in the background when you're talking to your man it doesn't mean she's sleeping with him....Husbands - THAT MEANS YOU TOO!!  I was blasted by a wife during a deployment...her husband was less than ideal, lol.

18. Just because she's a single mom in the unit doesn't mean she needs your love.  It means she's been dealt a hand of cards that she handled gracefully and is now raising her beautiful child all on her own.  She's okay with that and doesn't need a man to keep her happy.

19. It's okay for people to go to marriage counseling, or counseling in general.  This means that we all have demons and battles we are trying to fight.  Sometimes we need that extra push from a professional.  You may think he or she has had it easy...but she may have been abused during her childhood & you have no idea because of how graceful she is.

20. You don't HAVE to make friends with everyone you meet.  Moving around as much as military members do makes it hard to get to know people as deeply as many want.  This allows others to make up lies and other stories to fill voids in their lives.  Many service members live paycheck to paycheck...not because they want to.  They do that because they buy things to fill voids in their lives.  Get to know these people, help them figure out they are wonderful...just the way they are.



"An insincere and evil friend is more to be feared than a wild beast; a wild beast may wound your body, but an evil friend will wound your mind." - Buddha



Monday, December 2, 2013

Satirical News vs Real News & other "real" news

During my time in the Army I was an Intelligence Analyst.  My job was to sift through information and decide what was actual information and what was not able to be used.  These resources all had to be researched extensively to see if they knew what they were talking about.  I even was part of an introductory course on Critical Thinking.  This course was amazing and shed some light on so much for me.  It made me realize that society as a whole has stopped critically thinking.  Period.

I've seen my personal Facebook blow up with people posting how much they disagree (Or agree...which sometimes is scary) with satirical news sources like they are truths.  I also tried to find a clear list, of the many satirical websites, or news sources, I see almost daily quoted as truth.  Let me put it this way, if you agree with it that's great...but do some digging to make sure what you agree or disagree with is the truth!  I understand if you agree with someone's personal blog post.  Just remember that many things we post as truth & everyone MUST know the TRUTH are opinions...and sometimes opinions with no merit that could end up hurting someone.  Make sure you check the credibility of the website.  Here's some information for you, so you can cheat!


1. The Onion - www.theonion.com - Many people STILL don't know this is satire.  Here's actual information ON their website's FAQ section stating that they're satire:


 "The Onion is a satirical weekly publication published 52 times a year on Thursdays. The Onion is published by Onion, Inc. The contents of this material are © Copyright 2010 by Onion, Inc. and may not be reprinted or re-transmitted in whole or in part without the express written consent of the publisher. The Onion is not intended for readers under 18 years of age.  The Onion uses invented names in all its stories, except in cases where public figures are being satirized. Any other use of real names is accidental and coincidental."


2. The Duffel Blog - www.duffelblog.com - I have LOTS of military friends/family that read posts on this page & think it's real.  Here's their legal disclaimer on their webpage's About Us section:

"We are in no way, shape, or form, a real news outlet. Everything on this website is satirical and the content of this site is a parody of a news organization. No composition should be regarded as truthful, and no reference of an individual, company, or military unit seeks to inflict malice or emotional harm.  All characters, groups, and military units appearing in these works are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, or actual military units and companies is purely coincidental."

3. The Daily Currant - www.dailycurrant.com - This page has been quoted A LOT on my newsfeed as real news stories.  It saddens me really, that people don't research things they repost.  I understand if it's someone's personal blog post and you agree with their opinion...but satire is a completely different beast!  Their first question in their FAQ asks if their news is real & they answer no!! Their about section states this:

"The Daily Currant is an English language online satirical newspaper that covers global politics, business, technology, entertainment, science, health and media. It is accessible from over 190 countries worldwide - now including South Sudan.  Our mission is to ridicule the timid ignorance which obstructs our progress, and promote intelligence - which presses forward."

4. ANYTHING found on a Comedy Central link, Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert, CC:Indecision, etc...they are also SATIRE.  They are funny to share, don't get me wrong.  But most of what they post only have a smidgen of truth...the rest is what turns the truth into a comedy.

5. The Spoof - www.thespoof.com - I didn't think I had to link their description of being satire...considering they have their heading as "Top Satire Stories." Hopefully people see that before linking it as truth!

6. MOVIES!  Okay people, something I've noticed a lot & to me it's just sad.  Harry Connick Jr., Morgan Freeman, Ashley Judd, and the kids in the movie DO NOT WORK AT THE CLEARWATER MARINE AQUARIUM.  You will not go on a regular visit to the aquarium & see them training the animals.  I understand if a kid is confused, but seeing adults constantly post on the aquarium's Facebook page about seeing the "real kid who saved Winter" during their visit is just sad to me.  Didn't their parents ever teach them not everything on TV is real?  There are actual employees who help bring these animals back to life and take care of them.  Just go to the aquarium website (www.seewinter.com) and see the actual story of Winter, the movie did change it a little.  It's Hollywood.  

7. Unconfirmed Sources - www.unconfirmedsources.com - this one is pretty blunt on their disclaimer.  They're also a little more mean than other pages, so they are easier (usually) to see as satire.  I've also seen them quoted as truths & have seen many get fired up from their posts.  SIGH.  Their disclaimer:
  "In case you didn't get it, none of the stories are real.
It's all fake.
We made it all up.
It's satire.
The people might be real but the quotes are not.
If it gets you mad, get a life.(see first amendment)"

8. Wikipedia - www.wikipedia.org - Now, I use Wikipedia in my college courses...BUT, I use them as my first source & always scroll down to the bottom of any article to find their resources for their article.  From those resources you can find the actual links, usually more credible sources.  You see, Wikipedia can be edited by ANYONE...and even though you can flag some information it could take weeks/months/lots of time for information to be deleted or validated.  That's what's scary about Wikipedia & the internet in general.  Here's part of their disclaimer (it's a long one):

"Wikipedia is written collaboratively by largely anonymous Internet volunteers who write without pay. Anyone with Internet access can write and make changes to Wikipedia articles, except in limited cases where editing is restricted to prevent disruption or vandalism. Users can contribute anonymously, under a pseudonym, or, if they choose to, with their real identity."

9. News Mutany - www.newsmutany.com - This is another page that has the word "satire" on their homepage, so it should be rather easy to decipher!  Hilarious site though, definitely one to check out.  Their disclaimer actually says "Satire for the wise, news for the dumb." 

10. HumorFeed - www.humorfeed.com - This page is just funny.  Plain & simple.  Humor in the title should give it away that it's satire.

My goal of this post wasn't to make fun of any of you who have fallen for any of these fake news stories, it was to enlighten many of you.  We've all fallen for something in our lives, doesn't mean we have the word gullible tattooed on our foreheads...or naive as a tramp stamp.  It just means we are all human & must strive to learn about everything.  Hopefully this list helps you realize to check out a source before you cite them as truth!!  (I won't even get into political pages/news sources, lol!  Not my cup of tea!)

Friday, November 22, 2013

Who Else Works On Thanksgiving?

Black Friday...I was curious as to why it was considered Black Friday.  There are many things circulating the web as to why it's called Black Friday, which sounds pretty sad after a day of giving thanks.  Well, there are many possible origins for Black Friday, but the one I found that I seem to see as  the most likely was from Philadelphia (Go Eagles!!) police officers, bus drivers, and taxi cab drivers who dreaded the day after Thanksgiving due to the amount of people just out and about, starting back in 1966.  This was the official start of the Christmas shopping season in the city and there was massive overcrowding from that day until Christmas with everyone shopping.

I have seen so many people posting about how retailers shouldn't have their employees working on Thanksgiving Day.  Yes, Black Friday is creeping onto a day that is meant for family, for giving thanks, which to me should be the biggest focus.  Many people forget about spending time with their families.  I feel sad when I meet people who have family within a couple of hours of them, and they say they're not spending the holidays with them because they just don't feel like making the drive.  Financially speaking, if I could afford to drive to TX or PA for every holiday, or fly to and from each state, we would spend every holiday, birthday, and special event with our families.  We chose a lifestyle where we can't, and we just make sure our children see the happiness that they can spread to others during the holiday season.

People who have jobs will have to work on holidays and other special days in their lives, it's a part of being employed.  I'm sure there's a bigger list of people who have to work on Thanksgiving Day, but this is the list I've thought of that no one seems as bothered by as people supporting retail employees.

1. Hotel employees (I worked in the Health Club of a hotel & while I wasn't happy with working on holidays I still wanted to be employed, so I still went into work & we worked our Christmas/Thanksgiving meals around work schedules.  You'd be shocked at the amount of people who stay in hotels for holidays and still want to get their workout on or eat at the restaurant!  Many of these people in the hotels were on business trips and didn't have family to celebrate with, so the hotel staff was their family for the day/weekend.)

2. Steel Mill Workers (My father has missed many holidays/Sundays at church due to his work schedule.  We scheduled around it, and still had the family time.  There were many holidays where he was late and still gross from work...but it didn't matter.  Sweaty hug or not, he was still there!)

3. Armed Forces personnel & their support overseas (Yes, while stationed stateside & some overseas locations you do get a 4-day weekend, but deployed it's just like any other day.  The DFAC has extended hours & fancy decorations to make it seem better for most...but there's still the guy in a hole or on a mission missing out on any sort of celebration with friends or family.  By the time he gets back to the bigger FOB it's time for him to fly out from the deployment or the Thanksgiving feast is long gone.)

4. Law enforcement Personnel (Even more so because of certain stores being open and having to have extra protection, but nonetheless, they never have the day off.)

5. Plumbers, Tow Truck Operators, etc. (These guys will come out to your home on an emergency basis...we had a plumber come out to fix our garbage disposal on Thanksgiving & because it was completely our fault gave him a nice tip!  He was happy that he not only got holiday pay, but he received a sizable tip for an easy fix.)

6. 911 Operators (Yes, someone still has to field the calls for car accidents & heart attacks!)

7. Firefighters & EMS (Yeah...again, they won't let your house burn down and take out your neighbor's house because it's Thanksgiving & not their problem.)

8. Doctors/Nurses/Hospital Workers (They still have patients, and still have to take care of them and keep them alive.)

9.  Various restaurant/truck stop areas (Truckers are still required to make their deliveries and many prefer to drive during times where there is less traffic.)

10. Truckers (Again, they are given a time to deliver their goods, someone else's furniture, etc. and they need to get it done.  It's easier for them to do it when there are very few other drivers on the road)

I'm sure there are more to this list, but I see people getting upset about the workers having to work retail and are forgetting about many other employees that still have to work on those days.  To me, a boycott is not what is needed.  Rather, I'd like to show these individuals that I support them.  For instance, making little gift and goody bags to give to these people, or cookie trays.  Not necessarily driving all over the nation on Thanksgiving....but letting people know all year round that you see their sacrifices that they do, to make sure every family is taken care of.  Not just theirs.

I ask you to focus on the happiness of the holidays.  You're doing great if you can still read the store ads, if you can still cook any sort of meal for your family, if you can walk to and from your table to your sink, or even if you have a sink!  My biggest lessons as a child were going to homeless shelters, nursing homes, or other places where people NEEDED our thanks, and needed our giving spirits.  Those are the bigger lessons we need to remember through the holidays, and keep teaching our children.  The more we teach our children the more we will see things change all around us.

Happy Thanksgiving to you all, and I hope you can give thanks for all you have and are able to give!


Friday, November 15, 2013

Daily Mommy Battles

Let me tell you, being a parent is hard...regardless of what you have to deal with.  My kids are now 2, 3, and 8, and we just got settled into our new home in Florida.  I have had to move 7 times since 2006, some of those moves were as a single parent and some were as a married mother of three.  It is now 2013.  We are still at war.  My husband & I are currently having our own very personal battles.  I'm dealing with things I pushed back for so long that are now surfacing, and he's dealing with his last deployment that affected him more than he thought.  The worst part is that I can't go to counseling, because every therapist I've seen...okay, that sounds dramatic...the two I've seen on my own since we got married have told me I should let him deal with his issues himself.  The thing is...he's broken.  It's not his fault, it's not my fault.  They don't teach you to deal with these things like PTSD and TBIs in school.  They don't teach you how to deal with harassment and people not keeping in "their lane" in school.  You have to teach yourself these lessons and when you have other issues they all just pile on top of each other.

Shockingly enough, we "fit in" quite well into normal life.  No one sees our struggles until we say something.  Other moms are shocked when they find out I'm not only a Veteran of two deployments, but I've been wounded.  Other people don't understand the battles my husband is going through.  They see our kids who we shield as much from our battles as we can being well adjusted and happy.  They see our son on the honor roll and our daughters perfectly happy and healthy, with minimal tantrums.  They see our home well kept, and our pets well taken care of.  They see our nice cars, our nice clothes, and they think all is good.  That's where we go wrong.  There are people all over the world, Soldiers, policemen, social workers, teachers, etc, that see so much.  We're never trained to see or deal with what we see.  We are trained to deal with them in the moment, and then afterwards it's a trial and error type of thing.

I've noticed that moms are so quick to judge other moms and other people.  It's also a battle that many other people have, not just moms.  I've seen it in the "mom culture" quite a bit, ever since I left the Army in 2010.  I've been called a "sh***y mom" by two non-parents...and yes, I just can't get over it.  It's rough thinking that while you were trying your hardest someone else was thinking you were crap.  Let's face it, I'm human and it was hard.  Obviously I'm not too bad considering my oldest is doing just fine...with normal boy issues.  But yes, they felt the need to judge me.  They didn't know me, yet they judged me.  Yet, I can't get over it.  I'm more sad about the fact that I just can't get over it.  But...it's the driving force that makes me want to make sure my kids are well adjusted and doing as best as I can teach them to do in their lives.

Yes, I have my bad days.

Yes, there are days we all stay in PJs.

Yes, there are days where I just want to sit and cry...but the problem is, with my PTSD...I've stopped crying.  Have someone harass you for years & you learn how to suppress your emotions.  That has come back to haunt me, but I've slowly been able to bring my emotions back...the right ones at the right times.  Here's something to consider about people you see on the street:

1. That woman may have a torn shirt because she spends all of her money on others and has none for herself.  She may just want a hug, or someone to ask how her day was.

2.  That person may have bad teeth because they chose to use their finances to pay their child's medical bills instead of get their healthy, but crooked, teeth fixed...or a filling filled that wasn't exactly a "cavity."

3. That woman may drink a lot because she has no other way of knowing how to deal with the pain and issues she's had for years.  That man may be angry and yelling because he doesn't know what else to do.

4. That man checking you out may just be staring at you hoping that a little smile will have you talk to him, engage him, and just ask how he's doing.  He's really not checking you out.  That woman who is "judging you" may be looking at you thinking your hair looks beautiful.

5. No one cares that your hair isn't fixed...I haven't had my hair done since May/June and I STILL get asked if I just got my hair done.  It's all how you carry yourself.

6. That overweight person running or exercising is getting it done...while you laugh at them for being overweight.  We all start somewhere.  They are getting it done, and to me...that's all that matters.

7. That man that cut you off this morning on your way to work may have been afraid of a piece of trash on the side of the road...afraid it would blow up on him.  He probably didn't even realize your car was there.  Yes, not safe...but also not something that should make you follow them & flip them off.

8.  That woman driving the car with a Purple Heart license plate may actually be the recipient, and dirty looks that you give only make her smile inside because you are so quick to judge without asking...and she knows.

9.  That kid with the crazy messy face at the playground was just clean an hour ago.  Enough said!

10. You may think you're in a hurry...but that feeling you get when you help someone hold something while they search for their keys, or help them put something heavy in their trunk, is a feeling I can't describe.  You just have to feel it.  It's right up there with watching your baby take their first steps.

11.  Have you ever complimented a random stranger?  You should try...I recommend starting with the same sex, and see how their demeanor changes.  You'd be shocked at the feel good vibe you get.  I had to learn from other people complimenting me before I realized it's an easy concept.  It's just out of many of our comfort zones.

Now, I know that I'm probably just rambling...but hey, that's what my blog is for!  I am nowhere near perfect.  I schedule things & rarely actually follow the schedule, I always forget my purse or diaper bag when I leave the house, I can't get my kids potty trained until they're close to being three, and I can't keep my husband happy ALL of the time.  I've even had to leave a store because I forgot my debit card or cash...or my kids were so hysterical it only made sense to drop everything and leave.  But, I do know that I'm trying as hard as I can...and to me, I'm my biggest critic and I approve.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Frozen Hands!

I have three kids who don't stop snacking...they seriously eat more than I thought humanly possible. The girls love their Go Gurts, but hate how cold they are. I freeze them to make less of a mess...which in turn freezes their little hands! I finally found a solution about 6 months ago when the towels kept falling off of their Popsicles. 

Do you remember those arm/shoulder "pads" that come with car seats but end up getting gross or kids remove them and turn them into projectiles to throw at Mom?! Yeah, no bueno. I decided to keep them just in case, and they ended up in our kitchen. It was a week of no laundry, call me lazy...maybe, and I decided to slap them on the GoGurts! Sure enough they have been a perfect fit! The girls can easily adjust them as needed...and they stay on perfectly. Win win!


Saturday, August 17, 2013

Feeling Fancy, like Nancy :)

We have three munchkins who are now 2, 3, and 8. We always made it a point to give our oldest dates with each of us each month...but now our 3 year old is old enough to go on dates and actually carry on conversations with us.  Yesterday my husband didn't have to work, so I surprised our 3 year old and took her to see Planes with me! 

Now, we do spend quite a bit of time with the girls apart, with them being 2 & 3 dividing and conquering is easier, but it is never for a planned date. It's always for errands and things like that. Gianna was crazy excited that we were going to see a movie, and it was JUST for her! She always chooses her clothes & after I got in shorts & a t-shirt I took her to pick out her outfit. Well, since it was a date, she chose her favorite sundress, shoes, and a sweater. She made sure I did her hair, put lotion on her, and had her put "lipstick" on. She made me realize I should get fancier for her...so I got into a sundress of mine and some wedges. 

I forgot how good I feel if I put in that extra 5-10 min to put a cute outfit on to go somewhere. I'm a tomboy, always wearing comfy clothes...rarely fashionable. My 3 year old made me realize that to help me feel happier all I had to do was take a little pride in how I dressed myself.

I've realized my husband and I let ourselves go more often than not. Let's face it, we had two babies 14 months apart and we both worked long hours before we had them. Getting "fancy" has always been put on a back burner. I realized yesterday he wanted all sorts of kisses and love, just because I got fancy.

Now, before you think it takes a lot of time I'm going to be real... My nails weren't painted...my legs weren't freshly shaved...I had no perfume....very little makeup...hair was barely hair sprayed....dress was cotton & I didn't wear shape-wear...and I have gross looking runner's feet. But yet, the little bit of effort I put in yesterday made me realize that it doesn't take much to make yourself feel better about the day...just a 3 year old who wanted to look fancy for her date with you & a husband who sees that effort. 

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Healthy Eating

I finally broke down & bought cereal yesterday. I've been making breakfast for our kids each morning but let's face it. "Don't nobody got time for that!" 

Our kids are still happy, healthy, and content. They are just eating cereal for breakfast :)