Sunday, December 30, 2012

Catching Up

Wow, this year has flown!  And because it was SUCH a busy year I neglected my poor blog :( It may take a bit to get used to blogging regularly again, but make the attempt I will. catch up on some of the more eventful things that happened this year:

I began my fieldwork in January of this year and after many trials and tribulations finished up all my required hours for graduation in December.  (Yep, I did that happy Snoopy Dance, too.)

My husband got his fifth and sixth bouts of strep throat for the last 4 years since we've moved to Virginia.  He'll be having his tonsils removed early next year.

Bess started 4th grade in September and my mind started leaking faster out of my ears LOL

Lightning started Pre-K also in September and that brain leakage got ever faster

Dare revolted over Lightning going to school & leaving him alone with Daddy all day.  More brain leakage commenced.

In May I began the experience the worst pain in my adult life which shot through my left knee, down to my foot, and back up.  Feeling the equivalent of lightning running through you really, REALLY sucks.  I'm still waiting to see a neurosurgeon to get the issue resolved, but my neurologist has been super helpful and with the help of physical therapy I've gotten most of the use of my leg back.

So.....that's a quick round up of things going on for us.  There were lots more things, but those were the most pressing.  Happy Almost New Year to one and all!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Conforming to Traditional Gender roles is Bunk

Otherwise known as my thoughts on the new Pixar movie, Brave.  I've been wanting to see this movie for several months and then the posts on Merida possibly being gay came out.  I read the first review speculating that Merida may be gay and was quite taken aback.  Not because a female character in a children's movie might be gay, but because a strong young woman was being labeled as something other than a strong young woman who didn't follow the traditional gender roles of her time.  Another article regarding Merida came out about two days afterward and you can read that here.  By now I'm really dying to go and see Brave for myself because I'm just so very curious to see what actually happens in the movie.  We saw it this afternoon, and if all anyone gets out of it when they see it is that Merida might possibly be gay then they weren't paying attention.

First to address this issue of Merida being gay.  Are all female athletes now to be considered gay?  Merida is a very headstrong young woman who knows what she likes and what she likes is to practice her bow and arrow.  She enjoys practicing with her short sword.  Merida is a young woman who is growing up in a warrior culture.  I'm not entirely sure what time period Brave is supposed to take place in, but I do know that for several hundred years Scottish women were taught to fight.  Because Merida is a princess instead of a commoner she is expected to marry and keep the peace of the covenant of the four tribes.  So what does that tell me?  It tells me that it sucks that Merida was born to a chieftain and has been raised since she entered young adulthood to become a pawn in political games.  

Now, on to the fun stuff.   When I walked out of the theater practically dancing from the gorgeous soundtrack of Brave, the very first thought I had was this movie was about Trans-formative Relationships.  What the heck does that mean?  Well it means that all healthy relationships change....if they don't change at some point or another they become static and that tends to be a bad thing.  The main relationship in the film was between Merida and her mother, Queen Elinor.  I genuinely adored the way their relationship was shown from when Merida was a tiny thing, from the rift caused by the political games being played, and on to the gorgeous relationship mother and daughter developed in the wilderness.  The movie was about finding yourself (your true self) when everything around you was changing.  It was about growing as a person and really listening to the people you love.  It was about sacrifice and above all, the absolute bravery it takes to truly love someone to your fullest.  And it was about standing up for what you believe in no matter what.  This is such a hard thing to do when your life is no longer just yours (as was the case with Merida's marriage prospects) but if there is trust and love in your primary relationship (as there was with Merida and Elinor) it becomes possible to be true to yourself.

I would love to walk into the theater and see that movie again, and I just may take my daughter for the second time around.  She and I will be having our own trans-formative relationship in the next few years ;-)

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Review of Snow White & the Huntsman

I've not done a movie review on here, but I've been very much into fairy tales and archetypes lately and this movie dug into the heart of that material.  So here goes:

It would be so very easy to identify Ravenna as the villain in this tale, but I believe she played a dual role of villain/victim.  Her gift of magic (given to her as a child by her mother or grandmother) instead became her curse.  Her mirror was the closest thing to a lover she allowed as she could love no one truly but herself.  Her brother was a fairly accurate reflection of what she actually was - old, scared, and stuck.  And while her brother knew she was a sorceress, he could not "see" the mirror as she did.

There is much made of the idea of "reflection" in the film.  The mirror is the most obvious of course.  But Ravenna's army reflects what she is - an illusion which cannot last.  An illusion which will continue to fight because to stop is terrifying.  The land reflects the loss of the king.  There is some mythology that could be considered Arthurian here as the land dwindled once the king died and the king is married to the land.  There was also the White Hart (which is a quest symbol) later in the film.  

The princess could symbolize the re-birth of the land as well as purity.  I found it very interesting that Ravenna was the traditional Euro-American model of beauty (blonde hair, blue eyes) while Snow was the darker of the two (black hair, dark hazel eyes.)  Snow was able to access an area called the Sanctuary which I really believe pulled more from actual faery tales and fantasy fiction.  It would a gorgeous thing to look at, but I'm not sure how much relevance it had in the film itself.

On to the two men in Snow's adult life.  The Huntsman (whose name I don't think was ever given) was clearly the man of her present while William is the man of her past.  The ideal youth Snow preferred as a child can't quite compare to the complexity of the future.  While the film ended with no clear showing of the relational choice, it was quite clear that Snow's choice would have been the Huntsman.

Overall I was quite pleased with the film and am very glad I saw it in the theater.  Here's the song Florence and the Machine wrote specifically for the movie.  It is quite powerful & fitting.
Breath of Life

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

The almost Whacktastic wedding

Sometimes when you're dealing with someone who has a personality disorder it can be easy to think that you're just imagining things.  Especially if that person is high functioning.  But.  When you begin to notice you're not the only person having problems with a particular individual you then have a behavioral pattern that pertains to more than just you.  That behavior pattern also screws with other peoples' lives.  And then you know that the problem lies with the individual who is displaying all this wonderfully whacktastic behavior (I'm aware it's not a word, but it's fun ;-)

I have't written about the incident which involved most of Donald's maternal family last summer because I needed some distance from it first.  Enough time has passed that I think I can present it with some sarcastic humor rather than just horror.

Donald's cousin was getting married and plans were being made.  The bride made the decision that she and her groom would prefer not to have any children at the ceremony because there were lots of small children in the family & they really wanted a quiet ceremony.  (As anyone who has children knows, they tend not to be quiet.  Ever.)  We got a very nice wedding invitation and had picked out the clothes we would wear because we were driving in & we needed clothes that could travel well.  Then I got a phone call.

Now, this was a very unexpected phone call.  The bride's mother (who is sister to the Borg Queen) was on my phone.  She and I get along quite well, but we don't talk often because she loves her sister and I avoid her sister like the plague.  It's a difficult relationship but we make the best of it.  Anyhow, she's quite frantic on the line and I'm having trouble understanding what's gotten her so upset.  The conversation went something like this:

Me - Hello?

D - Jenn?  Hi how are you?  I need to talk to you about something...

Me - Okay, what's up?

D - We're having a problem with the wedding and I thought the easiest fix would be to call you.

Me - (baffled) Well I'll be happy to help in any way I can...

D - well you know that (bride) doesn't want any kids as the wedding...

Me - Right...

D - well Borg Queen keeps going on and on about how she's bringing the kids to the wedding and she's got clothes picked out for them for the pictures and it doesn't seem to matter what we say to her she just keeps saying she's bringing the kids.  And (bride) finally just told me I need to take care of it because they can't have any kids there or the groom's family will be offended

Me - wait...Borg Queen is telling you guys she's bringing OUR kids to the wedding?  And she's bought them clothes?  She hasn't mentioned ANY of this to us

D - I feel so bad for calling you because I feel guilty, I mean she's my SISTER, but this is my daughter's wedding and I'm not going to let her ruin it.

Me - (silence for a moment)  Well we had already made plans to leave the kids with my parents in Lexington (wedding was in Louisville) since kids aren't supposed to be there so it won't be an issue.  I'm so sorry you guys have been dealing with this.  

D - she's also been complaining about the wedding cake (bride) picked out because she can't stand fondant icing and so she brings it up all the time that the cake is going to be awful.  I just don't know what to do!  

Me - well she can't do anything about the cake but complain, so (bride) can do whatever she wants.  And like I said, the kids won't be an issue.  If there's anything else we (meaning Donald and I) can help with please let me know.  

D - please don't tell her I talked to you.  Thank you so much - we were so worried about this!

There was more to the actual conversation, but there's the gist of it.  The thing that really got me was never once did the Borg Queen apologize for putting her family through this.  And it was very stressful on the bride, her mother, and the groom's family dealing with the Borg Queen's behavior.  So while I have my own problems with her, I always remind myself that I'm not the only one.

Thursday, June 7, 2012


Nature's ability to keep going through any and all things has always amazed me.  Humans have some of this ability, but it seems to me that Nature in all her majesty is the master of this.  Take this little nugget for example:

Last year one of my neighbors found a nest of raccoons living in a tree in his backyard.  His solution to this was to cut down the tree.  I didn't know at the time what happened to the raccoons but I wished them well & hoped they were able to find a new home.

This spring looking up into a tree that lies just on the edge of our property and this same neighbor's, I saw something way up in the tree that might have been a nest.  I continued to keep an eye on said tree and sure enough, that evening we saw a raccoon.  Now, most people don't really understand what I mean when I say that I gravitate toward animals and natural things in general, but that evening is a fine exampled of what I mean.  I stepped out on to the porch and saw the raccoon at the same time it saw me.  We both froze & just continued to watch each other.  After a few moments the raccoon went back up the tree.  In those moments I made a mental agreement with the raccoon.  Basically it went like this - I won't bother you if you don't bother me and mine.  Laugh all you like at the idea of a grown woman talking to a raccoon in her head, but after that the raccoon went up in the tree and I went back in the house.

We haven't had any issues with raccoons getting into our trash, harming our pets (our cat is only about 8 pounds), or causing any general ruckus.  A few days later I noticed several other nests high in the trees in my neighbor's yard.  These raccoons are amazing to me as they have proven smart enough to build high in trees where they won't be noticed, and also smart enough to stay away from the human homes that might take their tree home from them.  I continue to be amazed at the resilience in the natural world around me, and try to learn and commune with it as much as possible.

Friday, June 1, 2012

I will not be brought down by my pain

Lower back pain has been a problem for me as long as I can remember.  My massage therapist tells me I have a high tolerance for pain, which can be both a good and a bad thing.  Lately it's been more of a bad thing because I ignored pain in my knee for about 2 or more months.  If I had actually gone to a doctor and had it looked at, I may not be in the state I'm in now.  

There have been very few times in my life when I've experienced pain great enough to make me cry.  Each time I've been in labor I've cried, the last time I really threw my back out I cried, and for the last four days I've been crying.  I honestly didn't know my knee was as bad off as it was, but man is it letting me know now.  There have been times over the past few days when (much like migraine pain) I just want to slam the knee into a wall to make it quit hurting. I did go into the version of an ER we have at Langley AFB where they put me on crutches.  :-/  This only made it worse - creating spasming in my lower back.  

But really, the point of this whole post isn't to point out how pitiful I am and how much my life sucks.  Because it really doesn't.  The pain I am experiencing right now is only a small part of my life, and really I have a pretty darn good life.  We may not make a ton of money, but we have enough to pay our bills.  All of our kids (even the 1.5 million dollar baby) are healthy little hellions who keep me busy every day.  The internship site I'm working at is WONDERFUL and I couldn't ask for a better place to learn how to use my counseling skills.  Donald and I are getting along better now than we have in YEARS (with the exception of dealing with the Borg Queen, but I'll take what I can get).  There's a short story I've written that has the potential to become a publishable novella (hello dream!)  Over the last year while Donald was TDY to Guam I made a TON of new friends on Twitter, which is really awesome for me because I'm so very introverted it's really difficult for me to be around loads of people.  Lots of my Twitter friends are what I consider "real" friends because they aren't too faced, they don't judge, and they accept me for the accomplished mess that I am ;-)  And...I have possibly the best parents on Earth who are literally dropping everything to come back here and take care of my kids while I'm laid up.  (I'm going to be really sad when they take the kids back to KY early, but it's awesome that my parents can do that!)

So even though I'm in pretty severe pain right now, my life definitely doesn't suck.  And I refuse to be brought down by my pain.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Mulling things over

Donald just left for a six week training TDY in Montgomery, Alabama & right before he left his mother made a point to ask how she could talk to the kids while he was gone.  It occurred to me that Grandma making plans to talk to the kids (catch the plural there?) would be wonderful...except that she doesn't ever try to talk to the kids when their father is home.  Which means she's reacting to the fact that Donald not being here means (in her mind) that she can't contact the kids.  I would actually really enjoy it if the MIL would make a point to talk to the kids because that's a sign of a healthy relationship.  But...someone who only wants to contact their grandchildren because their son is out of the area and they're feeling threatened...that's pretty much the definition of a crappy relationship.  And my kids deserve better than that so it really pisses me off.

On a side note, we made these pumpkin pancakes yesterday and they were fabulous!  I'd highly recommend them with maple syrup and some whipped cream.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Bed time story

Last night at bed time for the kiddos I wanted to try something new for Friday nights.  So I sat on Lightning's bed with the boys and told a made up story for them.  The results were pretty hilarious, so I thought I'd share ;-)

Me:  Once upon a time there were two princes named Lightning and Dare
Lightning: But I don't want to be a prince
Me:  Do you want to be a knight?
Lightning:  No, I want to be a brother.
Me.  Okay so there were two brothers named Lightning and Dare who were trying to rescue their sister from the Snagglepuss (no, I don't know where that came from :-/)  The two brothers rode their horses across the plains to where the Snagglepuss was holding their sister.  Now (turning to Lightning) what do you think you should do?
Lightning:  Give him lunch!
Me:  Okay so we feed him and maybe he gives us the sister back.  (Turns to Dare)  What do you want to do?
Dare:  Kill him!
Me:  *blinks*  You want to kill him?  I guess we could feed him lunch and then kill him, but....(at this point I broke into fits of giggles, and the boys thought this was hilarious, so they joined in.  Enter Bess from the other room who heard us laughing and couldn't resist the urge to know what was going on.  I relayed the story so far to her & she was laughing to.  When I could stop, I continued the story)
Me:  So the brothers fixed him a wondrous lunch of cucumber sandwiches and lemonade & while the Snagglepuss was eating they were able to grab their sister and run back to their home where they never heard from the Snagglepuss again.

Both boys:  But we didn't kill him!
Me:  *Facepalm*

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

New Outlook

I have a dream of eventually becoming a published author.  That dream has pretty much been pushed back until my kiddos are at least in middle to high school so that I'm not constantly running after them as I do now.  School has also been a factor is pushing the dream back - when sleep becomes a priority you know you don't really have enough "you" time.  But...that may all be changing.  Because I read a recent blog of Neil Gaiman's that you can read here where he talks about how he once read that if you w!rite 300 words a day, you can have a book in a year.  HOLY CRAP!  This was a revelation to me - that I could possibly be closer to my dream of eventually being published than I ever realized.  Now, to be completely realistic, I'm going to shoot for 600 words a week.  Because sometimes even that small amount is very difficult in the rambling chaos of my life right now.'s one step closer :)  

And for another fun & interesting tidbit, there's this great YA blog (that's really more of a YA blog for adult readers) which is hosting an awesome ARC giveaway right now.  So check out The Midnight Garden and their giveaway :)   

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Reflections on the Anita Blake novels, books 1-6

The Anita Blake and Merry Gentry books are my two favorite series out there.  I love them both and the worlds Laurell K Hamilton created for them.  With that being said, I do tend to love the Merry series a bit more than the Anita series.  But I didn't understand WHY I loved one more than the other, so I decided to explore that a bit.  (It's an INFJ thing, I really can't help it.)

So I went back and read the first six books in the Anita Blake series and discovered some things:

  • I don't like Richard all that much.  And when I explored that is was because Richard could never accept himself fully, but expected Anita to accept him fully.  

  • You can always count on Jean-Claude to get the job done.  Whatever that job may be, if Anita asks it of Jean-Claude & it is within his power to do, it will get done.  

  • Vampires tend to kill less messily than lycanthropes.  This does not apply if either the vampire or the lycanthrope is mentally unstable.  Vampires sip their food while lycanthropes tear their's to pieces.  

  • Lycanthropes tend to be much more sexual than vampires.  They have a different kind of energy to them and lycanthropes tend to channel that more towards sex than vampires.

  • I really like when Edward and Anita are working together to take bad things out.  I really dislike when Edward and Anita are at odds.  They make a good professional team.

  • The second book was probably the hardest for me to read because of the murder scenes depicted.  But in terms of being pure evil, I'd say Dominga Salvador took the prize, not the killer zombie she raised.  Prize for most manipulative monster goes to Alejandro's master (whose name escapes me at the moment) who narrowly edges Raina out at being the most willing to use his underlings as fodder

  • As I've gotten older and have had more life-experience, I've realized that while Anita remains a favorite kick-ass heroine, she has some problematic personal issues.  Mainly being unreasonable at times.  But...nobody handles a gun like Anita ;-)

I will be continuing my re-read of the Anita Blake novels over the next few months.  A re-read of the Merry Gentry books will also happen, but I have no idea when at this point.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Running Interference

Something that Donald and I try really hard to make sure we're not doing is guilt-tripping or manipulating our kiddos.  I think it's safe to say that as parents we don't do either of these things very often (& this is something we're both very proud of.)

Others in our family don't consider how some of their actions could be considered manipulative.      Over Easter weekend I inadvertently walked in on Donald's mother telling our 9 year old daughter how she should go to a certain college and she could live with Grandma while she went to said college.  This was all said while Bess was sitting in Grandma's lap and Grandma was petting Bess' hair.

Rather than pointing out to my MIL that trying to coerce her granddaughter into agreeing to go to a college close to her was inappropriate, I kept my silence and thought about it.  And after some time I found a way to turn this into a learning experience. 

Talking about college had been quite a ways off in my know since the child is only 9 and all.  But since the topic had already been broached, I casually mentioned to Bess that if she applied to a few different colleges when she got older she'd have a better chance to get a scholarship.  Which can be explained to a 9 year old as free money to go toward that school.  Bess immediately brought up that Grandma wants her to go to the school close to where Grandma lives so Bess can live with her.  (Funny how that worked....)  In response to this I was able to point out that at that time it would be up to Bess to decide where she wanted to go to school.  And that if she didn't want to go to that particular school she didn't have to because it was her education.  I also explained that Bess could apply to as many or as few schools as she wanted to, and that we could talk about it more as she got older.  This seemed to give her more options and make her feel less that she needed to go to a particular school.  And she learned just a bit about scholarships.  So when Donald and I talked about it later that night, he was happy with the way I addressed the situation with Bess and I was happy that my 9 year old daughter no longer felt urged to go to a particular college.

All around I consider it a pretty good ending to something that didn't start out well ;-)

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

I am Me

I read a wonderful blog entry from someone I consider a good friend & soul sister this morning.  Here's the link to that wonderful blog.  And as I read it I realized that it was okay I feel the apprehension and angst I feel every time my MIL comes to visit.  Because I really did try to be understanding and supportive of her feelings when I was at an earlier stage of my marriage.  And I received nothing positive from her in return.  I received more demands and no empathy from her, which is pretty standard for those with NPD.

Another thing I've realized is that I have emotional memories attached to the experiences I've had with my MIL that make it very difficult for me to relax when I'm in her presence.  The closest I've come to having anything like PTSD have been experiences associated with this woman.  And so, even though I go through all my breathing exercises, and coping methods when the MIL comes for a visit....I can never fully relax.  And it's okay that I don't like that.

And then I got to read another wonderful blog entry later today entitled You are not accidental that clued me in to this idea that maybe I NEED to understand that I can't really change my body's reaction to this particular person.  And I CAN accept that it may not change.  And I DON'T have to like it.  But even though I don't like this particular aspect of myself, I really and truly can say I love the complete package that I have become.  And since I'm still learning and growing, perhaps in time I'll be able to handle time with my MIL in a way I like.  But for now I just need to breathe and cope through it.

Monday, April 2, 2012

What's your flavor?

Pretty much from the time I could string two words together I knew I loved books.  The term I lovingly use is bookworm and I have many friends who feel the same.  My preferences with books have changed through the years.  In my early teens I preferred fantasy and romance.  (This explains so much about my late teen years in retrospect.)  Once I reached my early twenties I loved reading psychological thrillers (Not horror.  Never horror.)  and supernatural romance.  

Now that I'm in my mid-thirties I can't stand reading your run of the mill romance.  If there's nothing supernatural in it I want nothing to do with it.  And much to my surprise I find I've been reading my preferred genre for the last few years without even knowing it.  My favorite series include:  The Merry Gentry series, Anita Blake (Vampire Hunter), The Hollows, Downside Ghosts, & the Wicked Lovely series.  Each and every one of these series is considered Urban Fantasy....and I had no idea until recently.  How funny is that?

So my fellow bookworms out there....what's your flavor or genre?

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Looking up

Wanted to write a quick entry on how thankful I am for the good things that have happened recently.  My mother has offered to come stay with us and watch the kidlets for me while Donald is off on his TDY's in April & May.  This really is a lifesaver as I was wracking my brain trying to decide how I was going to provide full time childcare (which we can't afford) while I was trying to complete my first Internship.  Mom's retired and so has much more ability to be able to come out whenever she likes or wants to help out.  I'm so lucky to have the relationship I have with my mother as an adult because as a teen I was not the nicest of daughters at times.

The kids are pretty much set on clothes for the rest of the spring/summer now.  I went to the Williamsburg outlet mall near us and pretty much did a shop til you drop day, but the kids are set now.  And I dropped that night LOL

Donald is locked into his current job until next January, so we won't have to worry about getting orders until next summer at the earliest.

Things are looking up :)

Friday, March 16, 2012

The currents of change...they keep on coming

So I finished my last official week of practicum and holy freaking wow....this whole finishing up school thing is going to be interesting.  There's two main reasons I haven't been working outside the home and they are:  the cost of childcare and the crazy military hours. that I'm working (for free) and paying for childcare (not free!) and still dealing with the crazy military hours it's a damn mess.  And I'm not Superhuman so I sit and wonder just how long this is going to keep working.  With a military exercise looming for Langley mid-April and Donald going to 13 hour shifts I'm almost guaranteed to get no hours in that week.  I MIGHT be able to work from 1300-1700 that week (which would give Donald just enough sleep to function on) but I don't really know right now.  It's disheartening to know that I may or may not be able to get enough hours to finish my master's. may happen.  And I'll deal with it one way or another as it happens.

Good news!  (Cuz geez have I been venting enough lately, or what?)  After the whole crappy experience of everything that could possibly go wrong going wrong in the house we own in NM, we are getting enough money back to fully pay for the repairs!  I'm excited by this since we won't have to foreclose on the damn house now.  So woohoo :)

I find that working with people right now wears me out.  Don't get me wrong...I do enjoy it.  But I'm exhausted every night I come home from work.  So if I finish this wondrous degree I think I'll be taking a break afterwards.  If we don't end up getting orders (please no) then I can work part time with people here cuz my supervisor ROCKS!!

And my kiddos are just amazing little wonders.  They constantly learn and grow and make me so grateful every day.  The youngest turned 3 today and I think part of me is in shock at that.  He was just a baby...but not so much now.

Lots of changes going on in my little world.  I'm doing my best to go with that current of change, but sometimes I just need shallow place to rest in.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Storm Moon

This has been one heck of a week.  There's been more damage found in the New Mexico house. Bess' progress report came back with a C in Math.  Lightning is arguing with me over everything it seems (typical 4 yr old I'm guessing.)  The boys are constantly fighting.  Bess got another stomach bug.  One of the interns I work with was having a really bad day (which I could totally understand) and then somehow became pissed off at me over something I still don't understand.  I'm ready for the Storm to be over now.  (The March Moon is the Storm Moon.)

The transition from Winter into Spring is always difficult on the kids and I.  When the temperature fluctuates as it has for the last two months we get sick.  And when the kids get sick it makes this whole working thing very difficult.  I can already tell the rest of this year is going to be just as chaotic as the last few months have been, with the small exception that the kids and I generally don't get sick in the spring and summer.  So I'm more looking at the rest of this year as something that just has to get done.  

On a completely different note....I came across a blog a week or so ago that for me was incredibly provocative.  You can find that blog here and if you know any military families you may want to pass the blog entry onto them.  The core of that article addressed an issue that is a particular fear of mine because of the relationship I have with my MIL the Borg Queen.  (I've written previous blog entries about our relationship and they all have the NPD label in them.)  Basically, if my husband were to die while on duty I would have to notify his mother of his death.  And my fear is that she would then try to gain custody of our children.  The blog entry actually talked about some cases of this happening with other military families.  So it opened up an avenue for me to talk to Donald about what would happen if he suddenly passed.  And he agreed with me that his mother trying for custody was a possibility.  So now he gets to at some point talk to his mother about what might happen should he suddenly die.  (What a morbid topic, right?  But these are the realities of being a military family.)  I've already spoken to my parents on the matter of my sudden death (because even though Donald has a higher risk job, it could still happen) and happily they indicated they would support Donald in keeping the kids.  So yay!  But I think both he and I are dreading the conversation he'll have to have with his mother.  So here's hoping it turns out to be a good thing for us rather than something that bites us in the butt later.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Run over by a Truck

Nobody was actually run over by a truck this week (thank goodness) but I sure as hell feel like it.  After several weeks of being told Donald would have training to go to, he was handed a training rip at work.  So for 6 weeks from the end of May to June he'll be in Georgia.  Not a big deal normally, but now it has a large impact on how much work I can get done.

We were also informed that our NM house is sucking more money out of us.  The stove needed $230 worth of repair from damage (they think mice did it) and then the damn water heater died.  That cost $724 all by itself.  So almost another 1K in damage in one week.  I'm so not happy with that damn house. least these repairs had nothing to do with the asshat tenants who wrecked the place.  There's horrible mineral amounts in the water in Alamagordo, NM that wreck everything, so no surprise on the water heater.

I get the super fun job of talking to my current babysitter and basically telling her that I'm going to have to start looking for another sitter on Tuesday.  It kind of sucks because I like her and my kids love her.  But the problem is she brings her kids sometimes when she watches my kids....and if my kids are sick she doesn't want to watch them.  Now when I say sick I mean a cold or stomach bug...nothing serious.  This bugs the shit out of me because I've let her bring her kids to my house when they're sick because a simple bug doesn't bother me.  But I can't have a sitter who doesn't want to come over because she MIGHT get her kids sick.  I have a limited amount of time to get the hours needed for my degree and if I don't get them because my sitter doesn't want to watch kids that might make her kids sick, then I don't get my degree.  And that's not acceptable. the bad mom who gets to talk to the sitter.  Yay.

I missed my phone supervision session because my school supervisor had to switch the days and I got confused.  Had to leave my site early on Tuesday because of the whole babysitter thing.  Missed seeing clients on Tuesday which I hate because I feel like I should be there.  Donald was late man on Friday which means he goes in around 8 pm and gets home at O'dark thirty.  Only when he got home around 3 am he got a phone call from work at 8:30 am because they're apparently unable to look at their schedule.  And last night Dare ran a fever.

So's been that kind of week.  I'm hoping next week will be a lot less chaotic and maybe even a harbinger of good news. 

Tuesday, February 21, 2012


The last couple of week have really worn on me.  I've been juggling the full-time mom role with the practicum student role and haven't really had the chance to fully go from one to the other.  Internship is just looming around the corner and I don't know if I'm mentally prepared for it.  My youngest child is turning 3 next month and I keep wondering how he got to be so big.  Donald may or may not be going to 6 weeks of training (thanks Air Force for the hurry up and wait training) and so I feel like I'm sitting in a big river with lots of broken pieces of Arctic ice floating around me and I don't know which direction to take.  At the end of the river is a waterfall creeping ever closer, so the decision making will have to kick in soon.  But for now I just don't know what, if anything, I can do.  And I don't like it one bit.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Reflections on The Hunger Games & The Hollows (parts 1 & 2)

This is a new one for me, but I've been thinking about blogging about books I've read that had enough of an affect on me that I think of them long after they were read. goes.

So this post is going to be about three different books:  The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, Hollowland, by Amanda Hocking, and Hollowmen also by Amanda Hocking.  And I have to say first and foremost that these two ladies wrote extraordinary stories.  Their writing style is extremely engaging and I will be reading more of their books.  But these three books were very dystopian and at times hard for me to read.  So I thought maybe I should explore that because obviously I was reacting to something in these books.

Spoilers will follow so if you haven't read these and want to, you might want to stop reading.

I read Hollowland first and absolutely loved it.  Remy is the heroine in a post-apocalyptic version of our world.  She kicks much ass and I loved her from the very first chapter.  Zombies have over-run all major cities and humanity is definitely on the losing end of a war with the undead.  Which were created based on a virus...I don't think it ever quite says whether or not that virus was created by humans, but please chime in on that one if it did.  Anyhow...the entire premise of the book is that Remy is trying to find her brother Max who is immune to the virus.  During the journey from point A to point B, Remy picks up a crew of sorts who follow her across the country.  Mostly she ends up protecting all of them from zombies b/c none of them are really any good at fighting zombies.  And she also picks up a somewhat domesticated lioness (around the Las Vegas area, so presumably one of the cats from the MGM Grand) on the trip, which is awesome because animals are immune to the virus and because I LOVE big cats.  

Eventually Remy & crew reach a compound set up by the military (because only the military is really ready for a zombie apocalypse.  No really, I'm serious.) and Remy discovers that she is also immune to the zombie virus.  Which means that she gets to trade her freedom to get her brother Max out of the doctors' experiments which are being performed on the little guy non-stop and practically killing him.  Oh yeah, and there's a romance between her & one of the guys she has to constantly protect from zombies while crossing the country.  This book was very high energy and even though it was dystopian I could not put it down.  I couldn't wait for the second book in the series....but it wasn't out yet so I had to.

Leading into the Hunger Games I knew absolutely NOTHING about the premise of this book.  I was actually looking for something light to read when I started it.  :-/  So....the premise of this whole world that Collins created is that the Capital (please forgive me if I get parts of this's been a few months since I read it) is the ruling power amid several "districts" that it controls.  It enforces that control by choosing 2 children each year from those 12 districts.  These children (who must be one male, one female from each district under the age of 14) are forced to fight.  To the death.  And it's televised for everyone to see.

I don't think there's any way I COULDN'T have a reaction to this premise.  I understand that Collins writes her tales to get people to understand the effect that war has on children.  I even applaud that effort and it was my own fault for not reading what the story was about before I started it.  But Oh My was horrible.  Staggeringly horrible to see what Katniss had to do to protect her family and then just to survive to get back to them.  I had dreams about this book for two weeks after I finished it.  The somewhat humorous thing about it was the dreams blended into the previous book in this post.  So I'd be having dreams about people who had to round up people who had been bitten by zombies and hadn't turned yet, but most certainly would & basically take them to interment camps where they could become ravaging monsters.  

There is a movie coming out based on The Hunger Games and I can't really believe that everything in the book is going to go into the movie.  Because it would end up being NC-17 or some rating higher than least I think it would be.  And if the movie wants to stick with the targeted young adult audience I just don't see how it's possible to portray everything in the book.

Moving on to Hollowmen.  I was really looking forward to the energy from the previous book and it JUST WASN'T THERE.  It was almost like once Remy busted out and found Max she didn't know what to do.  And really, I can't blame her.  Every single person she grew close to in the first book died.  EVERY SINGLE PERSON.  With the exception of her "romance" who took off and left her.  Now there's a very plausible explanation as to why he took off and left her.  And in all honesty I think the guy she meets in Hollowmen is a much better fit for her because he can take care of himself and she won't always have to save his butt.  (It is a zombie apocalypse after all - you're going to want to be with someone who can watch your back.)  But it was so depressing I almost couldn't get through it.  At least both of the kids survived, but I seriously doubt that Serg, Stella, and possibly Boden will live to meet the end of the third book.  If there is a third book - I'm assuming there will be because Hocking tends to write in trilogies.  

I haven't had any dreams about Hollowmen.  Maybe by the time I read this one my brain had worked out all the issues it had with the other two.  I think the finality of the last book had such an impact on me that my brain can't see any other way for the series to end than the zombies kill everybody.  Maybe I should be more disturbed that I'm not dreaming about that...I don't know.  But one thing that book did made me feel hollow.  Just like the I have to wonder if that's what Hocking intended.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Double Peanut Butter Cookies

This is a recipe I meant to make over the Thanksgiving/Yule/Christmas time frame, but it didn't happen.  Cuz that whole holiday typhoon doesn't leave a whole lot of time.  So I'm making Donald these cookies for Valentine's Day since we're on a very fixed budget (thanks to the asshat who trashed out rental home in NM & made us use the money in our savings account to fix it up again.)  I've never been the whole "I love Valentine's Day" fact I'm pretty much anti-V day because it's just about making money for corporations.  But hey, I can still bake the cookies LOL

Side note:  this is a fairly small recipe, so feel free to double it for a larger batch.

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup Creamy Peanut Butter (not low fat)
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup Reese's Peanut Butter chips

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Beat butter, sugar, & peanut butter in large bowl until creamy.  Add egg & vanilla; beat well.  Stir together flour, baking soda, & salt.  Gradually add to butter mixture, beating until well blended.  Stir in peanut butter chips.  Drop by 1/4 cupfuls onto ungreased cookie sheet, 6 cookies per sheet.  (I make my cookies smaller b/c my kids don't need a HUGE cookie like that.  And I use parchment paper, but YMMV.)

Bake 12 - 16 minutes or until lightly browned around the edges.  Cool 1 minute, remove to finish cooling on wire rack.  Makes about a dozen HUGE cookies.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Echoes of the Past

Something happened this week to remind me that no matter how much we think we've put our past behind us, if it's something traumatic it just doesn't go away on its own.  A bit of  back story needs to come into play here so I can loop all of what happened together.  So, here's the bit from the past:

Back in the day when I was still seeing my wonderful counselor Dr. B (which you can read about here) I decided the best course of action was to engage the Borg Queen & try to set some boundaries as I felt my marriage was going down the toilet.  (This was before I knew anything at all about narcissistic personality disorder & its associated fun.)  I informed Donald (code name for my husband) I was going to start writing letters to the BQ in order to try to clear up some of our gunk.  Donald thought this was a terrific idea.  So in my INFJ (my Myer's Brigss type) way, I wrote to the BQ and tried to explain what I thought was appropriate and wasn't appropriate for her role in my daughter's life.  Letters went back and forth for about a month and a half.  The gist of the letters ended up being because I was trying to set boundaries the BQ felt attacked, but she didn't think she had to change anything about what she had done in the first place.  Which basically defeated the point of the letters.  *Sigh*

So after one of the times the BQ came out to our house in New Mexico for a visit (which really needs a blog post all of its very own that I may write tomorrow)  Donald gets a phone call in which the BQ informs him that she wants me to have a phone teleconference with her & her therapist.  This sent up warning signals for me because it only fed into the whole "she was right I was wrong" thing.  So I asked Dr. B about it....and I asked him if he would feel comfortable with me bringing her in for a counseling session with me so we could try to has some of this stuff out.  His immediate response after telling me I was probably right to think a teleconference would not really help was "What does she want from this?"  I honestly didn't know.  But I was curious to see what a counselor who had never met her would think of our interactions.  Because I was starting to believe that just maybe....the problem wasn't so much our interactions but her unrealistic expectations.

The joint counseling appointment was agreed to for the next time the BQ came out.  I became immediately aware to me that the BQ fully expected the counselor to side with her on a professional level.  Upon meeting Dr. B she introduced herself with her name, LCSW.  Which immediately clued me in that she was going to try to pull professional rank on me.  I won't get into the details of the session, except to say that the entire thing had me almost in a panic attack & absolutely nothing was accomplished.  Except to let me know that the BQ indeed felt I was to blame for every problem with our relationship and she had absolutely nothing to change in her behavior.  (To put a somewhat positive spin on it, Dr. B was not taken in with her professional title & even said at a later point that she shouldn't be licensed to counsel.  I have thus far kept myself out of the same professional circles as the BQ & endeavor to keep it that way.)

Anyhow, during this entire period when I was actively trying to work with the BQ, I would feel panic attacks coming on.  Part of me could feel that I was having to part with my sense of self to satisfy the BQ, Donald, and the rest of that dysfunctional family.  And that part of me was reacting by causing panic attacks.  Eventually I just told Donald that he was just going to have to deal with the BQ & I not getting along or spending time together.  And the panic attacks lessened considerable.

Fast forward to this week.  Six years into the future and an echo of those panic attacks resurfaced unexpectedly when I saw an argument.  It was the strangest thing.  Not a true panic attack, but a shadow of one.  I felt my breathing change and a very small sense of panic begin and literally thought "What the hell is this?"  Because the panic wasn't mine in that moment I was able to breathe past it.  But it did remind me that the panic is there, beneath the surface.  It's there to remind me NOT to lose myself ever again.  And to help me empathize with people who are scared, and anxious, and frustrated, and just trying to get on with their lives.  

I've been there.  And I survived it....and maybe I can even help some other people find themselves again.  Because becoming lost inside yourself is the scariest thing I've ever faced.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Riding the Wave of Change

I knew that beginning practicum was going to be a big change for our household.  But I hadn't really factored in that my husband's shift change from day shift to swing shift was also going to be a change.  So I guess I shouldn't have been so very surprised when Lightning started having a very hard time falling asleep the week I started practicum.  Lightning has always had a harder time adjusting to changes than Bess and Dare - it's just part of his personality.  But for some reason it just didn't occur to me that my darling son would possibly get himself so riled up that he wouldn't let his younger brother sleep, either.  

We're now in my husband's third week of swing shift and my second week of practicum where I work Tuesdays and Thursdays.  Thanks to Sittercity I was able to find a nanny who would watch the kids for me between the time when their dad (who I'm going to start calling Donald so I don't have to keep typing my husband) leaves for work and the time I get home.  So while it is still a very big change, I've done what I can to smooth it over for them.  

I have a feeling we'll be in for some more issues before we're all adjusted to these changes, but when you're a military family you learn to either ride that changing wave or sink underneath the waves.  And we'd much rather surf than sink ;-)