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January 7, 2014 § Leave a comment

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Idea vs. Reality

April 18, 2013 § Leave a comment

I think pictures like this are misleading:

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They make people think that French Bulldogs are adorable and full of love and light. I know from experience that French Bulldogs are actually full of mischief and farts. Our friends didn’t believe us but they learned when they came to visit:

Potential Frenchie owners, I know you want this:

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But really, you get this:

You expect this:

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But take it from me, you get this:

Just so you know.

Well, hello stranger

April 11, 2013 § 2 Comments

It’s been a long time, I know. For a long time, writing just seemed like a huge chore, I didn’t feel up to the task. I have enjoyed this blog, although it has also taught me that writing consistently is not something that comes naturally to me. I wish it did. I think writing is a fantastic way to express thoughts and feelings and relieve stress. Writing can help you make sense of things that at first seem confusing or overwhelming. I heard a woman say the other day that writing for her is like the process of clarifying butter… Through writing, she gets rid of a lot of useless stuff taking up space in her mind and is left with a few key thoughts or concerns. I’ve never clarified butter, but I have had that experience with writing. It’s a very useful tool. Some days writing is easier for me than others, but often I have to make myself sit down and write. All that is to say, I know I should write on a more regular basis. I find it difficult to be consistent, but I think I need to do more writing, whether on this blog or privately to clarify my thoughts.

In any case, I thought I’d get on here and give an update of what’s been going on in my life for the past 6 months. The biggest news is that I stopped drinking 6 months ago, on October 8th. Pretty much everything I’ve thought about or done in the last 6 months has been somehow related to that. It’s kind of a long story, I don’t want to get into the details here, but I had been drinking pretty steadily since my early 20’s and I just knew it was headed in a dangerous direction. When I say I stopped drinking, I don’t believe I did that entirely on my own; I believe God guided me into alcohol recovery and has given me the strength every day since then to stay sober. The first days and weeks felt endless… It was a big change in my life, and I struggled with it at first. I started going to Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, and that has been wonderful. I started feeling better physically after a few weeks. I started feeling a little stronger in sobriety after about 3 months. I just achieved 6 months of sobriety last week, and I feel pretty solid about it now. I still go to meetings and plan to be a member of AA for the rest of my life, although I am learning to live my life one day at a time. It’s an amazing fellowship, and I really enjoy being around people who are trying to change their lives in positive ways.

I did not plan on getting sober when we moved to Newport, but that’s what happened, and I couldn’t be more grateful. I am all about the 12 Steps and learning to live a sober way of life. That takes up most of my time, but besides that I have just really enjoyed living in Newport, even though it was winter and VERY cold. We rented an amazing 2 story house, which is within walking distance to the shops and restaurants downtown. Guy has been very busy with school, so I’ve been on my own a lot. I spend my time going to AA meetings, walking Pancake, going to the gym, working with my Reserve unit, and volunteering.

I’ve always wanted to volunteer, but never felt like I had time to spare before. When we moved to Newport I found I had nothing but time, and I thought volunteering might be a good way to explore potential careers. I got involved with an organization called Junior Achievement, and had an opportunity to teach 11th graders for a few months. I always wanted to see what teaching is like, so it was awesome I was able to do that through JA. Then I got involved with an organization that does hospice care. I meet with hospice patients a few times a week, usually for companionship. I chat with them, read to them, rub their backs, or just sit with them. My patients so far have all been elderly, they usually sleep for part or all of my visit. I wanted to see what nurses and social workers do in a health care environment, and I’ve been able to explore that through hospice. I learned through JA that teaching is not what I want to do, although I have enjoyed my experience with hospice and hope to continue as a hospice volunteer when we move to San Diego. Nursing and social work are at the top of my potential career list.

The Reserves has been interesting. It took me a few months to settle in to the routine, but I think I like having one foot in the door still, so to speak. I had an opportunity to go to South Korea for 2 weeks with my unit, which was amazing. The people I work with are great, too. Unfortunately, just when I’ve gotten used to how they do things, it’s time to transfer to a new unit in San Diego. We’ll see how that goes; the good thing about the Reserves is that you can get out pretty easily.

Guy is almost finished with school. The next 6 weeks are going to be very busy for us. He finishes his course in early May, then we’re taking a quick trip to Florida to visit his family. Then we drive from Newport to San Diego, our next duty station. Less than a week later, Guy goes on deployment. By the last week of May, I’ll be unpacking our house in San Diego all by myself! It’s going to be an adjustment, but I’m not stressing too much. I’m really going to miss Newport and the people I’ve met here, but I’m excited to live in our house in San Diego! I’m planning on jumping into AA out there, and would also like to volunteer with hospice, as I said. My mom may come and visit, and then I’m planning on crossing something off my Life List in July/August… #X on my list is “Go on a multiple day hiking/camping trip”, which I plan to accomplish by hiking the John Muir Trail in the High Sierras for 22 days. It’s something I’ve wanted to do for a really long time, and I thought this summer would be the perfect time to do it! I’m glad to have something positive and fun on the horizon to keep myself occupied while Guy is away.

And that’s what I’ve been up to. Pancake is still his usual stinky self. Pretty soon it’ll be just me and him, holding down the fort in San Diego.

Visitors are more than welcome, if you plan to be in the area please let me know! And thanks for reading!

You can’t fool me, Victoria’s Secret

October 20, 2012 § 1 Comment

This is so fascinating: The Unretouched Images Victoria’s Secret Doesn’t Want You to See. Of course I know that magazines use Photoshop all the time to touch up their pictures, but to see the before and after pictures side by side like this is interesting. Yes, the woman modeling the bikinis for Victoria’s Secret is still a supermodel, and her body is amazing all on its own, but it is nice to see that she is not quite as perfect as the photos would have you believe. She has some wrinkles. She has that bit of skin between her boob and armpit. The skin on her back and on her side rolls and bunches a little. This is minor stuff, but it’s stuff that women spend thousands of dollars trying to change about their bodies with procedures that are really only the results of Photoshop

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Bodies, even the bodies of supermodels, are not magazine perfect in real life, so why on Earth would we regular people hold ourselves to that standard?? It’s just not possible.

1) Nuts. Period. 2) Taller legs. 3) A bigger mouth with lots of sharp teeth so my bite can finally match my bark. 4) Smaller ears. I swear to God, if someone says I look like a rabbit one more time… See item 3. 5) Eyeballs that look in the same direction. 6) Muscles. Lots of them. 7) All one hide color, like the perfect tan. 

What I find more frustrating than the changes to the model’s body are the changes to the clothes! It’s not an accurate representation of what you’re buying! Besides the fact that a bikini is going to fit a supermodel differently than it fits me, it explains why what you get in the mail doesn’t always look or feel like what you expect when you see it in a catalog or online. Victoria’s Secret has used Photoshop to make some of their clothes less transparent, for instance. They retouch hemlines and remove straps. That is the worst advertising sin, I think, removing the straps from bikini tops and bras. OF COURSE a bikini top or bra fits differently with straps! The straps help it to stay on your body better, and they also make your boobs sit and look a certain way. Without straps that damn thing is always trying to fall off, no matter what kind of shape you’re in. You just get a saggier, sloppier look. I hate that VS took all these pictures of a top that has straps, then removed the straps with Photoshop for the final picture. It’s not an accurate representation of how that top actually fits, even on a supermodel! Plus it makes the model’s boobs look perkier than they actually are. No woman needs to have that thrown in her face. How annoying.

No wonder I can’t shop from the Victoria’s Secret website and catalogs. They’re total liars when it comes to advertising. I do like their products though, just have to go to the store to buy them.

Pit bull picture (source)

Newport

October 5, 2012 § 1 Comment

So, our last month in DC was eventful. Guy and I took a trip to San Francisco, and then two close friends of ours got married! Those were the good things. Moving was a pain, although I’m thankful the Navy sent movers to do most of the work. Living in an empty apartment for a week was depressing. I felt like a hobo squatting in an abandoned property. Guy came back for the weekend to hang out and help me pack my car for the drive to Newport, and we ended up having a great last day in DC. We ate dinner at our favorite place, Siné Irish Pub in Pentagon Row, and then we took a walk along the National Mall. Randomly, we had a moment alone by the Reflection Pool, and a photographer happened to take an amazing picture of us!

What makes this picture even more special is that the National Monument is where Guy proposed to me when we first moved to DC. We didn’t plan it, but it’s just so appropriate that we ended our time in DC there, as well. I’m so glad that someone captured the moment!

By the time Sunday rolled around, I was more than happy to hit the road. Pancake and I left our apartment at noon. It’s an 8 hour drive from there to Newport, but I wasn’t able to get the keys for our new house until Monday, so I knew we were going to spend a night on the road. I ended up being glad about this… it was a tough drive. The Rolla was PACKED as full as it could possibly be.

Poor Pancake was stuffed in the front seat and just couldn’t get comfortable. He was pretty miserable the whole trip, but it couldn’t be helped. I felt terrible about it.

The car was so loaded down that it was driving weird. I was worried that something was going to break or we were going to blow a tire the whole time. Also, I had so much stuff in the back seat I couldn’t see very well to change lanes to the right. It was just very uncomfortable and probably unsafe in retrospect. Thankfully, we made it the entire way without issue.

Except for driving through New York City. That is always such a BITCH. Just a total traffic nightmare. I was stuck in stop and go traffic trying to cross the George Washington Bridge for over an hour.

It was so bad that my left knee was hurting from constantly mashing the clutch. And the people on the road were so RUDE! What pissed me off the most was when cars would ride in an exit only lane until the last possible second, then merge back into traffic. Um, no! That is not what the exit only lane is for! It was just making the traffic jam worse, and was so unfair for those of us who drove the whole time in the correct lane. I was having very hateful thoughts until I got across the bridge, and into Connecticut.

Pancake and I spent an uneventful night at a Red Roof Inn in Connecticut, which was only slightly sketchy, being in the middle of nowhere and full of construction workers. I guess $55 per night doesn’t buy peace of mind.

I wasn’t supposed to pick up the keys for our new house until noon on Monday, so I was planning on sleeping in and taking my time getting to Newport, but construction workers are damn motivated. They get up really early to go to work, and Pancake would lose his mind barking every time someone started a truck. I gave up on sleep around 5:30 and started making preps to leave. Since my little guard dog didn’t let me sleep in, I left him in the car while I had a long, leisurely breakfast at the Cracker Barrel.

Driving into Newport is quite lovely on a beautiful, sunny day like the day I showed up. You drive across the Newport Bridge, which has amazing views of all the boats in Narragansett Bay, Rose Island, the Naval War College, and the town of Newport.

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Newport itself is so charming! It’s an old New England resort town (pop. 25,000) full of colonial houses, shops, and restaurants. Sailing is a huge part of the culture here, as you might expect. The Navy also has several activities and schools based in Newport, so there’s quite a large Navy presence. Overall, it is such a welcome change from DC! From the moment I arrived, I was happy to be in a smaller town. I feel like I can breathe easier… big city life is just not for me.

So, Pancake and I have spent this week unpacking and getting settled in our new house. Guy is finishing up his class in Virginia and will arrive sometime this weekend. The house itself is awesome. It’s an antique, but very well maintained. The owners were here all summer renovating, and we’re the lucky jerks who get to just waltz in and appreciate their hard work.

When the property manager was first introducing us to this house, one of her selling points was that it’s right across the street from a dog park… Later, I was looking at a map of the area online, trying to figure out where the house is in relation to other things in town, when I noticed that the “dog park” was labeled as a cemetery. Curious… So I called the property manager to ask her about it, and she was all, “weeeeeeell, teeeeeeechnically it’s a cemetery, but people walk their dogs over there all the time, and nobody minds.” Ok. This is fine with me, I guess, it’s just that the words “dog park” and “cemetery” bring to mind two totally different things.

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During our first week here, I have seen a lot of people walking and playing with their dogs in the cemetery, so even though it feels strange, Pancake and I have gone there a few times to throw the tennis ball around. It may feel wrong to me, but Pancake doesn’t mind. Not one bit.

The first couple of nights, I was really anxious in the house once it got dark. I’m always like that in a new place, it takes me awhile to get adjusted, but the thing that was really bothering me was that some of the windows don’t lock properly. Knowing I wasn’t able to secure the house 100% just put me on edge, and I had a hard time sleeping. Finally, on Wednesday I measured the windows that had broken locks, drove to a building supply store and had them cut some wood to secure the windows.

I was inspired by the time my dad used a broken broom handle to “lock” one of the windows in our house. Thanks for the ghetto fabulous idea, Dad. I’ve been sleeping much better ever since.

Of course, since food and alcohol are the biggest loves of my life (sorry, Guy), I’ve been on the lookout for restaurants and bars to try. I was really happy to discover that there are several places within a few blocks of our house! There are cafes, coffee shops, pubs, and more formal dinner spots. And, it looks like there’s some decent shopping nearby! AND, there’s a Red Box! I knew the location was good for proximity to the base and Wal-Mart (always important), but I was thrilled to discover just how many things we can easily walk to from here. I really like our new neighborhood and our new town.

In summary, my first week in Newport has been a success and I’m already quite happy here. Now I can’t wait for Guy to arrive so we can explore together! And, I mean this quite seriously, if anybody wants to come visit Newport, we’ll be here until May 2013 and we have tons of extra bedrooms. Just let me know!

Trip recap – San Francisco

September 27, 2012 § 1 Comment

Guy and I recently flew out to San Francisco to spend some quality time with dear friends, JB and Amber. (Not their real names, but a little anonymity on the Internet never hurt.) We had such a great time. JB and Amber were both born and raised in the area, so it was really fun to visit familiar stomping grounds and hear old stories. I finally got to meet JB’s family, and we both were introduced to Amber’s family for the first time. We went to a Giants game and to a 49ers game. We visited the San Francisco Art Museum to see an exhibit by Cindy Sherman. We went to Alcatraz, toured a winery, and partied with a much younger crowd one night which just went to show that we don’t recover like we used to. I don’t know what we were thinking, but tequila shots will do that do you… Still, it was just such a blast, all around. I really love San Francisco and the surrounding areas. I could definitely imagine us living there one day.

A big thank you to JB and Amber for taking us around and showing us such a wonderful time! Can’t wait to see you both again.

Grasping at straws

September 25, 2012 § Leave a comment

There is reeeeeeeally nothing to do now that all our stuff is packed and I’m hanging out in an empty apartment. Pancake and I have been taking long walks and listening to a lot of music, but sometimes you just need to change gears. So I decided to stream a movie through Netflix, and had the brilliant idea to pop some popcorn for the flick. Only, I discovered that the single bag of popcorn in our cupboard expired in September 2010. That’s the last time I craved popcorn, apparently. It was before that, actually, since that was just the expiration date. I thought for a minute, and decided to pop it anyway. It isn’t too bad.

Just saying, that’s how bored we are here. Bored enough to watch Runaway Bride while eating two year old popcorn. Sad.

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