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Friday, September 26, 2008

Psttttt.....In case you were wondering

I accepted a new position (I had 2 offers) this week. Shhh, not many folks know yet. More to come later.

Geranium thoughts.

Flannery O'Connor fans, are you out there?

Even if you aren't or have no idea who Ms. O'Connor was, know this, she was a writer of that which most people can relate. Even if it's not on point, there's probably something in one of her stories that will ring true for you.

The Geranium is one such story for me. I can relate on a couple of different levels. I've had my roots up in the air, specifically when I first arrived in the black hole that was Jacksonville, NC. Mind you, after some time my views changed, but at first, I felt completely out of my element. My first unit was at Camp Johnson, if you can even call it that was a MAT platoon. What did we do? We waited, day in and day out to commence MOS classes. I wanted to be dropped to class so badly just to avoid the ridiculousness they had us doing. We field day-ed. Incessantly. Everyday. Oh, and then we scrubbed and brasso-ed the crap out everything some more. I won't even go into my assessment of the city outside the base gates. Just know that it was not beautiful. Good times. Good times.

So, you see, the changes that were happening in my life were less than desirable. I envisioned MOS school would be vastly different. Alas, it was merely an extension of boot camp games, with only slightly more freedom.

Going back to The Geranium, I can also relate to the issue of discrimination, although slightly varied from O'Connor's description. I did not experience this as much in the fleet (okay a little bit) as I did in recruit training. Just like O'Connr's character, Old Dudley, I found myself in a foreign setting (and you thought boot camp was a country club-hah). Upon settling-in at boot camp, as I became familiar with my fellow recruits, I quickly learned that I was a minority. Aside from delving into the issues that were ever-present, I will say that from this experience I gained a different perspective on discrimination and prejudice and learned that some folks will remain ignorant even if you slap them in the face with truth. Still, others will wake up.

As a military spouse, I never have personally experienced discrimination. Of course, maybe I have been the target of it, and haven't even noticed. LOL

So, back to the issues of roots. For you military spouses do you ever feel as though your roots are in the air? Or, do you firmly replant yourself in your new location?

Thursday, September 25, 2008

RAINN Day 2008 - Sept. 25th

"We must remember that every 2 minutes, someone in America is sexually assaulted, and college age women are 4 TIMES more likely to be victims of sexual assault." (

For more information:

Become a RAINNmaker.

Victim of military sexual trauma/violence? Visit United Against Military Sexual Trauma for helpful links and information.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


Worldess and pictureless Wednesday. How's that for excitement?

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Unconventional cover letter yields....

well right now, it's yielding an interview at least. I hope to report back later that it was an amazing interview with the perfect job prospect. I'll keep you posted.

Until then, I had to share. I did something I never do with applying for jobs. I strained from the serious, formal format my industry often requires. I feel vidicated. I wrote this on a whim with no expectations. I sent the letter attached to my resume yesterday morning and within four hours had a phone call. Either they are really desperate or I wowed the pants off of them.

So, my advice, if you care, for the week: stray from the norm.

p.s. If you are wondering, yesterday's interview wasn't all that horrible. It was slightly pleasant, but still not sure I'd be taking the job if they offer it. The jury is still out on that one.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Can you smell the coffee?

Ignorance is not bliss. Stereotyping is not acceptable. Discrimination is not okay.

Sometimes, people say things that make you want to shake them and wake them up.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Finding my way in the civilian sector

I’ve been back on the civilian side of life for a good amount of time now, so my title is a tad misleading (pardon me, but I couldn't think of a snappy one today). Still, I find that people treat me differently when I talk about my military experience, largely the foundation for my current career path. They get this glazed over confused look. It’s a bit like ****duh****huh?****what’d she say?****

Now, I try to put things in layman’s terms and in a way that isn’t all military acronyms and numbers. Still, they get bewildered and don’t know what to make of it. Foolishly (and obviously narcissistic), I used to think they were perhaps impressed by my experience acquired at relative youth. Sadly, I now believe just the opposite. I truly believe they think I’ve lost my mind and maybe even made up a bunch of mumbo jumbo.

Here’s why.

Today, during a phone interview, a potential employer quizzed—no grilled--me about my experience and skills. Now, in the past, I've heard things akin to, “Thank you for your time, but it would seem that you are a bit overqualified for this position.” I kid you not. Today, this guy made me feel about 2 centimeters tall. I felt grossly lacking in any skills including the ability to use a fork at the dinner table. By the time he finished analyzing and critiquing my every single position and my education -- I was mush. That’s what I felt like. Sad, pathetic mush.

He practically discounted my graduate degree and dismissed my volunteer work. I agreed to an interview. Don’t ask me why. I don’t even know why he wants to meet me. Perhaps he wants to kick me while I’m down. I’m debating on keeping this interview. After telling my husband about it all, he summed up my feelings and said the guy sounded like a stuffed shirt. Bitter? Perhaps.

Maybe, just maybe he's way better in person. Maybe this is the job of a lifetime. Maybe.

I know; I should bounce back and just keep plugging away knowing that my ideal position is out there. I know there is something.

Still, this evening, I’m a little cranky after the ordeal and would prefer to sulk a bit more.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Monday, September 15, 2008

Blogger Rendez-Vous

This weekend in Las Vegas, bloggers from all over (?) will converge on the Las Vegas Convention Center for the 2008 Milblog Conference (part of Blog World Expo, I assume). Well, don't be so surprised if you've never heard of this, I was already surpised enough earlier this year. It's like a phenomenon *chuckle*. You see, there are many other genres of blogger conferences. You have the Wine Bloggers and Chinese Bloggers who meet, then there is Blog World Expo (mentioned above) and even BlogHer. I am sure I've barely scratched the surface, but you get the picture.

Now, as much as I enjoy blogging and love to meet other folks who blog, I can't say that I'd make the trip to a location holding a conference on blogging. I won't say "never" because you never know. Still, if I had the dough for the flight and time today to make the trip to Vegas, I likely wouldn't be sitting at a conference. I'd be whooping it up and painting the town red or better yet, I'd take that money and go to a tropical island for holiday. That sounds a little more enjoyable. Don't get me wrong, I'm sure the conferences are wonderful and I've heard great things, but it's just one of those head scratchers for me.

So, what are you thoughts? Are you going to any conferences this year? Would you go?

Friday, September 12, 2008

Leading troops of a gentler kind.

It's official. I'm going to be leading again; Girl Scouts that is. Once upon a time, I was a co-leader for a Brownie troop. This was before I even had kids. I even assisted with a troop when I could when stationed in North Carolina at a church not far from Camp Lejeune. The Girl Scout organization just appeals to me. It's truly a great outfit. As a young girl, I only actually participated for one year, but I hope my daughters will enjoy it for years to come and maybe even become leaders themselves one day.

Girl Scouts of America has recently restructured, well recently as in the past year. One little example of that is that Daisy Girl Scouts will now be 2 years instead of one. This is perfect because, we won't PCS for 2 years so at least I can finish out here, and if we move she can bridge to Brownies at our new location and our younger daughter can start her scouting adventure there at the same time. I was so concerned that my oldest would start Brownies next year and have to switch troops.

So, it's all very exciting. And, what's better is my co-leader showed up planning on only registering her daughter, who happens to be my girl's friend from school. I think someone convinced the mom to lead because by the time I saw her again, as I was leaving, she said she was going to co-lead with me. Yippee!

That's the news of the day. Now, to find a venue for our meetings. We used to hold that at leaders' homes, no apparently you are not allowed to, which is fine with me. That's just one less group for which I'd have to clean my house. ;)

Thursday, September 11, 2008

On freedom, peace and being an American.

Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn't pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children's children what it was once like in the United States where men were free.
Ronald Reagan
On this day, September 11, 2001, we must remember and honor the lives lost in the attacks on our Nation. We must remember, too, that freedom is something not to be taken for granted and we are not immortal. Unspeakable atrocities happen in this world and it is up to each and every one of us to appreciate the relative peace that comes with being an American. No, we are not all living Utopian lives and we are not all wealthy. We are not all free from pain or grief.
We, however, do have a strong Constitution, a brotherhood and sense of community that will remain so long as we work to preserve it. After 9/11, people came together in support, love and hopes of peace. The Nation was awakened. While there are many on both sides of the fence concerning war and involvement in missions throughout the world, this is not a partisan issue. Freedom, justice and domestic tranquility are a goal shared by all parties. We must remember this. So, on this day, I urge you not to be concerned whether or not we should be fighting a way. There is a something bigger at stake. Something so much bigger than you and I, but it takes you and I to be the ones to always remember that in one day, in one morning, in an instant our sense of security and safety can be shattered.
Be kind to your neighbors, open your eyes to that which you were ignorant to before, share your vision for peace, get involved--in something, anything, and if you are an American, figure out what that means for you. Define your American citizenship by what you do and not what you say.
United we stand, divided we fall.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Seven years ago.

Seven years ago, about this time in the evening, we were finishing up some dinner that was likely barbecued (his forte) and swapping work stories. In the morning, he was going to sign some reenlistment papers. I can recall us hemming and hawing wondering if that's what we really wanted. Ultimately, it was.

My job was mentally exhausting. About a month before, I commenced to working in a new firm. After my first day, I went home and literally cried my eyes out. I hated it. I detested the atmosphere. I loathed the laziness I had already witnessed in my new coworker who was senior to me. I would have preferred to endure scrubbing the tile walls at Grand Central Station with a chamber brush. That's how bad (I thought) I had it. At this point, someone should have slapped me up side the head stating: Self-pity is our worst enemy and if we yield to it, we can never do anything good in the world. ~ Helen Keller.

My employer was a discontented individual, I learned quickly that switching to this firm was a poor choice--career wise it was smart, but our personalities clashed. She was a curmudgeon, me an eager learner with a energy that would soon find itself sucked into a vacuum that was that office. Thankfully, at some point I did smarten up and find new employment elsewhere. Anyway, that's neither here nor there. My point is I had my own pitiful woes and was feeling sorry for myself for taking the overburdening job and I already had short-timers attitude wondering where the Coast Guard would take us next. I knew at some point with his reenlistment on the horizon we'd be on a new journey in the next couple of years. Or, so I thought.

I digress.

I'm pretty sure there was some hanky panky that evening. I'm also sure I was probably procrastinating on some class assignment. I'll just do it tomorrow, I probably thought. Time wasn't that big of a deal. There was always time and there was always another day like the day before to get the same things done. Not much changed from day to day in those days.

Tomorrow came. I went to work. He went to work. I sat at my desk. He sat in the YNs office in Boston and started to sign his name on the dotted line (again).

He called me.

Our world stopped. Everybody's world did. It was September 11, 2001.

It wasn't a joke he told me. Look on the web--check Yahoo news. They just locked the base down. I don't know where I'm going or what's going to happen.

Bewildered, I saw the images, and any naïve sense of immortality I had slipped from my body. Individually I felt powerless and very naked. It was all so real and present.

My boss wouldn't let us leave. Where would we have gone anyway? She showed little concern despite her daughter living in NY. The office, the clients, everyone was in awe except the curmudgeon.

My husband and I were separated by an hour. My family was another two hours away. While I worried that the military bases might fall prey to an attack next, I sat befuddled in my rolling chair--helpless. I had friends there. Where were they on this day?

My heart broke in innumerable pieces for the lives lost. My mind scrambled to make sense of it all. I felt alone. the hours, days and weeks that would follow brought changes. I never felt so connected to people, to a Nation in my life.

Seven years ago, my life and perception on a lot of things changed. It would be vain of me to think that I was alone in this transformation. All I can say with any certainty is that any self-pity I once had was replaced with feelings of kinship and empathy for my neighbor as well as a distinct awareness that freedom was fragile.

May those of you reading this who lost loved ones in the attacks on 9/11/01 continue to find peace and comfort in your memories of them.

We interrupt this Wordless Wednesday for crucial, life-altering blogging annoucements...

Sadly, the Coast Guard has been omitted from this year's MilBloggies. If you read that over at Waiting for Ships, you already saw my email to Milblogging about it, so I won't restate it.

At any rate, this blog is still in the running for Veteran Blog, and.....

My Crazy Amazing Military Life is deserving of votes. My Crazy Amazing Military Life is a great blog to visit, if you haven't had a chance to stop by yet, please do. It's run primarily by Wendy of Navy Wife Radio fame, and she has involved an eclectic group of spouse contributors to share their stories on the blog. We hail from all branches and each bring a bit of our respective service-related slices of life to the table. Of course, you will find that we also share a lot of the same lifestyles, habits, traits, interests and so on. Such is the life of a military wife, right? Still, we are all unique in our own ways. So, if you get a chance swing on by.

Still, tonight if you want to vote this blog for MilBloggies in the SPOUSE category, you can

Make sure you are registered on MilBlogging.Com first so you can cast your vote.


A bit off topic, conserve resources.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Frustrated and watering a tree that doesn't want to grow.

I'm so frustrated this week because I'm running in 20 different directions. Isn't that every mom's story though? I have three meetings tonight, and I missed on last night due to finding out too late and having no back up childcare plan. Last night was a Marine Corps League meeting, the first back from summer break. I was so disappointed about this.

So, tonight, we have Open House at my daughter's school, which also happens to be the same evening of a parenting group session that starts tonight. We have to forgo one. Next week, I have a class that commences on Wednesday night which also happens to be the first PTA meeting of the year. Oh, yeah, and I'm SO going to be THAT parent. So, I'm hoping to make at least half of the PTA meeting before my class.

Of course, all of this begs the question, Am I the only one who feels like everything always happens on the same day or at least the same time? If the times didn't coincide, life would be peachy. One might say that this is where cloning might be a good idea. Scratch that, with my split personality tendencies my husband alleges I have, cloning might be detrimental to my reputation or that of my child.

I'm also trying to raise funds--beaucoup bucks to fund and initiate IRS filings for an organization. The money tree is not growing. I keep watering and watering and it looks at me, sad little sapling that could, and taunts me.

Yes, my dreams are bigger than the tree. Fear not! I have confidence in the universe. My mother tauts the powers of the universe, Put it out there, and it will happen, she asserts. Now, I enjoy a rousing discussion of entropy and energies as much as the next gal, but sometimes I don't have the intestinal fortitude to wait for the universe to spit something back at me in the form I desire. I'm impatient. I think (rarely brainstorm). I decide. I create. I like to see my plans realized instantly. You know, One shot, One kill instant. However, I know that just like red stuff in a plastic bottle, good things come to those who wait. So, I wait (drumming my fingers).

I think I need to go take a dip in the hurry-up-and-wait pool to bring up some of the patience I once had. Maybe if I wait really long, I'll be the next Albert Einstein or Stephen Hawkins. Hey, maybe I should talk to Mr. Hawkins about that whole universe thing. Maybe he's got some pull. ;)

Genius is eternal patience.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

My little old lady.

I bet you didn't know I gave birth to a middle aged woman. Well, now, she's matured into a little old lady. Alright, so she's just an old soul with a penchant for music from a bygone era, much like her Mama.

Walking, hand in hand with her Daddy on her first day of school, he reported that she regaled him with the following:

Good sign, right? She was quite obviously optimistic about her little world and the first day! From her perspective, opportunities abound, it would seem. I will admit thought that she hears the Michael Buble version more than version sung by Ol' Blue Eyes, just because that's the CD most often played in the Mom-Mobile.

Let's hope that after a rough day someday, I don't hear her crooning Blue's in the Night. Of course, that might just come after her first little crush heart-break. Of course, if she ends up makin' it big, like Katie Melua, I think I could handle almost any song she wants to sing.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Dispelling a myth about deployments and my thoughts.

Having been a Marine, I'm very familiar with high op temp, plentiful field exercises and training at CAX, and so much more. I haven't been endured all of them, but am familiar enough. At any rate, it's not surprising to me when people view the Coast Guard as being vastly different. Of course, all of the services vary in their training exercises and deployment schedules.

Recently I read on a question and answer forum an individual's query about the best service was to join and which had the least amount of deployments. Two people responded, in varied words, The Coast Guard. You will get stationed close to a single port. You will rarely deploy.

To that, I say, Watchoo talkin' 'bout, Willis?

This is a fallacy. It can be true for some rates and units. For others, it couldn't be farther from the truth. The Coast Guard certainly trains, but members of the Coast Guard are also deploying units all the time. Recently, Commandant, Admiral Thad Allen stated in the Leadership Journal, "Coast Guard men and women, with our partners at the Department of Homeland Security, are deployed all across the country and stand ready to respond to all threats and hazards as we carry out our duties as America’s lifesavers and guardians of the seas."

I don't like to cite Wikipedia as a absolute perfect reference, but this says it quite well and cites a Time article I wanted to share anyway: While most military services are either at war or training for war, the Coast Guard is deployed every day..." (citing, The Coast Guard Gets It Right Amanda Ripley. TIME. October 23, 2005. )

If you don't have the time to read the Time article, here's the blurb I really wanted to share, said by then (10/23/05) Vice Admiral Thad Allen:
'The Coast Guard has always been, in a word, busy--whether during war or peace. "We are deployed every day," says Allen. "We fly every day. We respond to oil spills every day." Also, since the Coast Guard is the only military branch allowed to perform law-enforcement duties, it is accustomed to engaging with civilians. In one day, a Coast Guard boat crew off of California might arrest as many people as it saves.'

Being a Spouse: Some people have cast doubt on my ability to understand the trials of military deployments.

I am the wife of a Coast Guardsman. I am a military wife. I know the sadness and emptiness that goes hand in hand with your loved one being deployed. I have been there and will be there on and off until he retires. I know the look of confusing and bewilderment that leaps from a young child's eyes when you say, Yes, daddy has to go away again. I know the power of simple communications (email, letters, a simple I love you during the rare phone call) and how they can rebuild your spirit to go for long stretches. I know the yearning for a warm body beside me in my empty bed for weeks and months on end. I know.

Don't tell me the Coast Guard doesn't deploy. Don't tell my friends who's spouses are serving in PATFORSWA and other combat areas that they don't understand military deployments, because they do. We do. We are military spouses, no matter what branch.

I live my life. I breathe my air. I love a man who is sometimes far away. I do fine (most of the time). I may not have an FRG and we may not fall under the DOD, but the USCG is an armed service. We are a military family.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008


Watching from afar. There were no tears, for those of you wondering.