Thursday, June 23, 2011

Way back...

YAY!  It's that time again...

Bop on over, check out the tunes, and add YOUR song!

I've been *accused* of having an obsession with the 80s and 90s--in terms of music (can't help it), movies (they were good), tv (we got Seinfeld), and hair (that's genetics--not my choice).  What can I say?  I'm a fan of banana clips, leg warmers, Chuck Taylors (do they ever go out of style?), big hair (again, because I have it), jams, high tops, Magnum PI, Camaros with t-tops (I had one, 2002 model but my love affair began in the 80s), the Miami Vice look, Michael Jackson, Debbie Gibson, New Kids on the Block (that was my first concert, by the way), MC Hammer, the original Nintendo, The Fresh Prince of Bel Air, TLC, SWV, 90210, oh the list could go on and on and on...

Anyway, I love it.  Good times.  Good fashion.  Good music.  GOOD STUFF.  Part of this goodness was GOOD TV!  And what was one of the best of the best shows?  SAVED BY THE BELL!  I don't think I actually watched the show as it was airing the first time.  But I remember the syndication after school.  I saw every episode--at least three times, I'm sure.  I wasn't as much of a fan of their middle school years, but the high school Saved by the Bell crew was THE BOMB.  (Yes, I'm also a fan of the lingo from the 90s.)  Loved it then, love it now!

I remember one time in 9th grade, we had a substitute, and my class tried to name all of the Saved by the Bell episodes on the board...just like the kids in the movie Dazed and Confused did with Gilligan's Island.  The show was iconic for my teen much so that I was really close with a group of 5 other friends in high school.  There were 3 of us girls and 3 guys.  We WERE the Saved by the Bell crew.  Hi-larious to think back on this.  I was Lisa (though I was never up on fashion) because Screech was Buzz--yes, in our pseudo-/bizzaro-(if you're a Seinfeld junkie like myself)/parallel- Saved by the Bell world, my husband and I were Screech and Lisa because he liked me first and, for a long time, I was not interested.  Hahahahahaaa! 

We have always had connections with Saved by the Bell.  Remember Zack's cell phone? 
We laugh at the "older" cell phones now and when someone has an outdated phone, we refer to it as the "Zach Morris Edition."  This has gone on for years.  And, here comes my song and the point...

I have had a Blackberry since early last year.  I hated it.  It was always messing up and I do not need to be THAT connected.  I need to GET AWAY from my computer--so why did I get a phone that brings my work with me?  No clue.  So, this week, I bid goodbye to my Smartphone and updated by going way back...with what I will lovingly call my very own Zack Morris Edition.  It is a little more updated than Zack's, but it's 10 steps backwards from where I was.  No internet, no email.  Love it!

So, in honor of simplifying my life in a small but significant way and this fun few minutes of reminiscing about some of my faves, here we go!

[Saved by the Bell Theme Song]

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Is it just me?

Is it just me, or...

Do other husbands leave their dirty clothes in every room in the house?  I mean, I don't feel it is ever appropriate to have dirty socks in the dining room.

Do other people get mosquito bites in random places?  Apparently a swarm attacked my bootie!

Do Blackberry's suck?

Speaking of technology, has the technological revolution gone too far with social media?  I mean, how connected is too connected?

Do others ever wonder what their dog is thinking?

Do other people love their "work" while at the same time want to do nothing other than hang out with their kid(s)?  (Hello, cognitive dissonance.)

Am I the only one who loses sleep after seeing an actor or actress on tv/a movie and can't remember what else he/she has been in?

Does the saying "If I've told you once, I've told you a million times" bother anyone else?  If someone's told me something once...they've told me once, not a million times.

Do other teachers literally bang their head against the wall while questioning the purpose of their existence while grading?

Is it common to feel like you're finally catching up financially only to have some minor (or major) disaster set you back...again?

Does singing in the car free the soul?

Do others find it impossible to ever have ALL the laundry done...and put away?

Does playing the "what if" game keep you up at night?

Do the parents who get really competitive at their young (i.e. 4-8 year old) children's sports events really get on your nerves?  This is supposed to be fun, people!

Does holding hot change make your teeth hurt?  (I think this came from having braces for too many years.)

Are the of words "I love you, Mom." the best on earth?

Can petting a dog really solve 85ish % of your problems?

Do you stir about the fact that owning a pet is so irrational, since your best friend is getting really old?

Do other people give voices to their pets?

Does mom-guilt bother you really bad?

Do you wish you could just hug away all of life's "bad/challenging/mean/though stuff" from your kid(s)?  But realize it's your job to teach them how to handle it...and freak out a little bit?  (That's a big job!)

Do you forget what it was like to not be a mom?

Does it seem impossible that you were ever young and carefree?

Does humidity make other people's hair look like something from a low-budget 80s video?

Do others only buy stuff on sale at the end of the season, so that their "fashion" is always at least a year behind...and not really care?

Do other people not really even know what is in fashion?

Should summer never end?  (I miss Florida.)

Is the beach the best place on the planet?

Do people who get really agitated while driving make YOUR blood pressure rise...yet you can't help but watch in amazement at other people's insanity?  (I recently witnessed what almost became a fist fight over a gas pump.)

Do other people stew over crazy questions?  :)

Just wondering...

Head on over to
and find out what's going on in other people's heads today. 

Friday, June 17, 2011

5 Minute Fridays: The Full Circle Back Home!

I'm back again for a 5-minute Friday link-up with The Gypsy Mama.  This week's topic is, it's 8:27--Ready, set, GO!

The definition of "home" to me has greatly changed over the past 9 years.  I lived in the same house my entire life until I went to college--1998 (good grief).  When I say "went to" I mean like 20 minutes away.  I lived on campus, but HOME was never far away.  If I was sick, needed to wash clothes for free, or just wanted a home-cooked meal, I still had that luxury.  I even moved back into my old HOME after graduating college for about a year before I got married.

Yes, I got a MARINE.  At age 22 I left the comfort of my HOMEtown (in southwestern Virginia) and all that went along with it (to move to New England--hello culture shock).  HOME had to take on a whole new meaning.  I remember my minister talking to us before we got married telling me that HOME would have to be wherever Buzz's career took us--not the comforts of my childhood dwelling.  I didn't know how that could be.

I was HOMEsick for a few years but then I managed to love my new life away from what used to be the only place I considered HOME.  I made a new HOME that could move--with my husband.  After those few years, Buzz started deploying again.  So my HOME, which I was able to finally define as the place where my family lives, had to be redefined again.  But I had a beautiful daughter to remind me that HOME truly is where the heart is.  And we made our HOME by ourselves, away from most friends and all family.  It was lonely.  But the military family came out in full force and we made our definition of HOME different again--it was right there waiting for Buzz to come home--and my daughter and I were the perfect team.

I have lived in 5 states and 10 dwellings since my marriage in December 2002.  HOME is where we make it.  But my original HOME will always be a part of my life.  Recently, my daughter told me that she has 2 HOMEs:  The one we live in AND her grandma and granddaddy's house (i.e. my parents' house where I lived until marriage).  I love it when things come full circle. 

And it's I must stop.  :)

For a great song and previous post on my thoughts of home, check out My home (has no walls).

And check out the other posts at 5 Minute Fridays!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Party! (in my head)

I don't usually go for the newer songs on here, mostly because they haven't been around long enough to "speak" to me.  BUT, this week we have an exception, for a few general reasons.

1.  Any song that can fit "Zach Galifianakis" into the lyrics of a song gets a major awesome point from me.

2.  I have a huge conscience and, what those close to me call, a guilt complex.  I overthink EVERYTHING and that overthinking turns into excessive worry.  I replay things I have said or done in my head over and over and come up with countless ways that I should feel bad, made a fool out of myself, or made someone think less of me.  And when something even remotely "bad" does happen, it's stress city in my brain!  Some recent examples of my overthinking (not to mention I still stress out about events from years ago, as well):

- First, Let me not forget my pay it forward adventure and its aftermath. Seriously, even when I try SO HARD to do the right thing, the NICE and KIND thing all planned out but things don't go exactly the way I think they should, I end up overthinking and worrying and being totally awkward.  I mean, I am awkward, but you'd think by now I could just embrace that and run with it.  :)

- I spent an evening at a little party at a conference with my colleagues, my professors, some other sociologists I didn't know, and a few cocktails.  Everyone was having a good time, most way more than me in the cocktail department, but I don't get in social situations with these people very often.  So, for so long after that, I stressed over whether or not anything I said was stupid or if the stories I told were boring. (Luckily, after talking with some friends after the event, I was totally not the most awkward one there and other people did things silly enough to be remembered over any faux pas I may have made.  Yay!)

- I have made plans to go out to dinner and a movie with Buzz and another couple this weekend.  We NEVER do things like this.  K has even been asking if she could have a "young" babysitter come hang out with her like they used to do before she went to school.  BUT, I feel guilty because I am going out and leaving her at home--even though she will have way more fun that if she were to come with us.

- When we do go out to special events, like the Marine Corps Ball (seriously, that's the ONLY time we really go out), and someone else puts K to bed, I can't sleep when I get home because I feel guilty and feel like a bad mom for staying out later than her bedtime.  I seriously have issues--most of these probably stem from the fact that for so long, it was just the two of us--Buzz was deployed so much in her first few years and I was away from family and most of my friends.  I never had the option to do such things.  K and I are a team.  But SHE has cut the cord, I believe this is MY problem.  Mom guilt sucks...especially when you worry like I do!

Anyway, back to 2. on my list...These are just a few examples of how I feel and overthink everything and lose a lot of sleep over things that no one else probably even remembers, or people don't even remotely care about if they DO remember.  I dream of being able to let things go, of having fun without worrying that I said or did something stupid or to "silly," of not caring if I am an awkward faux pas queen.  I have always prided myself on being true to me--of who I am and what I stand for.  I wouldn't compromise that for anything, but I will stress about it!  :)  So, this song makes me smile big smiles--and laugh.  Because I can't IMAGINE being in such crazy situations and saying "Whatever." "It doesn't matter."  Oh well!"  It seriously makes me uncomfortable to watch people being awkward on tv or hear about an embarrassing story of someone else.  The scenarios in this song make me uncomfortable--but they make me laugh because of the anecdote to just be like "whatever!"  And I dream of letting myself off the hook--even for just one night--to let my crazy hair hang down and not look back with anything except for happy laughs.  It's not likely to ever happen, but in the soundtrack of my mind, it's a good hypothetical story. 

And, 3.  I like the beat.  :)

So, without further ado, here is MY song for the week...(and, yep, I'm bouncing and smiling right now)  :)

Head on over to

to link up and hear other great songs!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

When I grow up...

"Every day you make progress. Every step may be fruitful. Yet there will stretch out before you an ever-lengthening, ever-ascending, ever-improving path. You know you will never get to the end of that journey. But this, so far from discouraging, only adds to the joy of the climb."
--Winston Churchill

Age 5:  When I grow up, I want to be an astronaut, a movie star, or one of those people who run the checkout register at the grocery store.

Age 8:  When I grow up, I want to be a lifeguard, or maybe an Olympic gymnast.

Age 10:  When I grow up, I want to be a teacher.

Age 12:  When I grow up, I want to be a veterinarian.

[7th grade--A friend is in a horrible car accident, leaving him with TBI.  I spend many hours at a pediatric hospital for head trauma]

Age 13:  When I grow up, I want to be a physical therapist.

Age 14:  When I grow up, I think I really do want to be a veterinarian.

[I take a biology class--not my thing.]

Age 15:  I don't know what I want to be when I grow up.  Why are we talking about this?

[Buzz, who I have been dating for nearly 2 years, joins the Marine Corps]

Age 17:  When I grow up, I want to be a Marine wife.

[I enter college and have to make decisions on what I want to be when I grow up]

Age 18:  Uh, when I grow up, I want to, uh, be in banking?  [Buzz and I break up as I am in college in VA and he is stationed in CA]  When I grow up, I want to be anything but a Marine wife.

Age 19:  I don't like accounting.  When I grow up, I want to be a physical therapist--that will be so rewarding.  [Volunteered for a summer at a pediatric physical therapy clinic]  I can't be a physical therapist--I'm way to emotionally involved and I would be a wreck all the time.  Hmmm, I'll be an economics major--it's still business but I don't have to take any more accounting.

Age 21:  [I graduate college and get a job as a commercial credit analyst at the bank where I have worked as teller and as a clerical assistant]  When I grow up, I want to be a VP of this bank.

[I'm miserable at my job.  I hate sitting in a cubicle all day.  I decide I need to go back to school and go back to the teller line, where I can be around people again, while I make some decisions...and start taking sign language classes.]

Age 21 1/2:  When I grow up I want to be a teacher.  I'm going to grad school to get a master's in education.

[Re-enter Buzz, our engagement, and marriage]

Age 22:  Oh good grief, can I ever have a career?

[I enter graduate program for deaf education, begin working at a elementary school for deaf kids.]

Age 23:  When I grow up, I want to educate deaf kids.

[Job at the elementary school is too emotionally draining and I can't finish that program before Buzz gets restationed.  I enter the master's in applied sociology program at the same university]

Age 24:  When I grow up, I want to do something with sociology.  I will go get my PhD.

[I decide it's time to start a family because Buzz will soon be deploying.  Pregnancy finds me immediately.  **YAY!!!**  No immediate plans for PhD school--only mommyhood]

Age 25:  When I grow up, I want to be this little girl's mommy.

[After being a stay at home mom for a year, I start teaching community college part-time]

Age 26:  I mainly want to be a mommy, but when I grow up, I want to teach.  Wait, I miss working with people with hearing impairments.  Maybe I want to be a speech-language pathologist--then I could do both.

[I apply and get accepted to a distance education program for SLP.  Buzz gets ready to deploy again.  I can't handle the program with a 2 year old.  I realize I need to get my priorities straight and decide not to begin said program.]

Age 27:  When I grow up, I want to be a mommy--and maybe still teach community college--but probably just part-time.

[We find out that Buzz will be restationed near a Research I university with a sociology program.  I apply--late--and still get in.]

Age 28:  When I grow up, I want to be a sociologist--though I don't know if I want to concentrate on research or teaching--and, first and foremost, I want to be a mommy.

[PhD school is very hard and demanding--it's even rougher with a family and all the challenges of military life.]

Age 30:  When I grow up, I want to be a mommy--why did I go back to school?  Well, maybe I'm just upset...when it comes down to it, I do still want to be a sociologist, too...I just don't know if I want to go research (most of the time, I don't but the thought crosses my mind), teaching, industry (probably not), or non-profit (that sounds rewarding).  I just want to get out of grad school, then I will work on making these decisions, based on where the Marine Corps takes us.  Wait, why is my daughter telling me what she wants to be when she grows up?  I don't want her to grow up so fast!  (sigh)  Well, back to my own school work...

Moral of this story:  Sometimes you go 3 decades with many changes and challenges in your life, you may be working on a doctorate and STILL not know exactly what you want to be when you grow up.  And that's okay.  Grad school is not a cop-out for me--as some have suggested--so that I don't have to make this decision.  I know that this field will lead me to the right thing--and give me options if my tastes change.  It also gives me the flexibility to spend summers with my daughter and I have had more at home-time with her WHILE doing something in pursuit of a career.  Complicated?  Absolutely!  This doesn't change and seems to get worse with age, education level, and Marine wife life.  Do I take conventional routes? No.  Decisive? No.  I'm not conventional or decisive except for the fact that mom is my #1 job...and everything else will work itself out.  Part of the fun of deciding what you will be when you "grow up" is the journey that takes you there.

Friday, June 10, 2011

The many faces and uses...of my back yard

So, today I was running behind (as usual) and did not have time for my usual run.  I have been working REALLY hard to run most days and I did not run yesterday (though I did some killer kettle bells and tae bo-ha!).  I had about 20 minutes before I had to jump in the shower to make a lunch date, K has requested not to be in the running stroller anymore (I get it--she IS 5, but she still weighs so little), and I didn't have time to go to the track we have been going to where she can ride her bike or swing on the nearby swingset while I complete my run.  What to do?  What to do?

[Enter my "great" idea]
Yes, the back yard.

We spend a lot of time in the back yard.  I love this house--and the back yard was the biggest selling point.  For a family who loves to be outside with two big dogs, this fenced in back yard was calling our name.  So, what did I do today?  I ran a few laps around my back yard--forwards.  Then I galloped sideways to the left, then to the right, then I ran backwards...and repeated.  About 20 minutes of that helped me work up a sweat and made me feel like I had the check in the box for some sort of cardio activity for the day.

Crazy?  Maybe, but it was another chance to reflect on our home here.  I love this house--more than I have loved any other place that we have lived.  Maybe because Buzz is here more often than at our past houses, maybe because we have such great neighbors, maybe because of this yard--I don't know, but I love it.  And the back yard is still my favorite place.  It has it all:

A hammock, under a weeping willow tree.  Ahhhhh...

A playset for our kiddo and her friends--I knew this house was a "yes" when I couldn't get K off of the playset when we came to look at the house.

This is the "cooking facility" and table where we prepare and eat most of our meals--the grill is now dimpled and without a cover thanks to the hail storm, but we still love it.

This is K's private diner--sometimes it's in the tree house, sometimes it's under the tree house, sometimes it's in the yard--today, it was in the sandbox.  :)

Oh yes, and the fire pit.  Notice the "seats" around the fire pit?  Well, those are new.  Those came from an old friend of our front yard--the birch tree.  The birch tree used to drip sap and stick leaves to the cars in the driveway, and Buzz was convinced it must come down.  Last weekend he was on a mission:

That would be my husband--on my neighbor's house, preparing for the goodbye ceremony for the tree.

Thanks to some great friends and neighbors,

And some pulling and tugging while chainsawing...

That bad boy came down!  Whoot Whoot to men with chainsaws!  ;)

It took a couple of days to clean up the front yard, but, anyway, the trunk gave us some fire pit seats.

So, that's about it.  I love my yard.  It gives me rest, play, exercise, food, and good stories--all of which often involve dog poop, but that's okay.  I love it here.  I'll miss it when we leave for the next part of our journey--we found out when and where we are going next year.  I'm excited and ready to get back to the beach--but this yard will always hold a special place in my heart.  :)

Thursday, June 9, 2011

A simpler time...

I'm linking up again today with

Head over, listen to some great tunes, and add YOUR song!

I've been away for a while.  Well, I've been right here but I've been away from my blog quite a bit because every second at the computer is (or at least should be) devoted to school work these days.  (Sigh)

But today, I'm back with a GREAT song and even better memories.  Do you have a song that gives you chills?  Not because of the words or meaning of the song itself, but because of how it makes you feel?  Well, this is one of those songs for me.

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Flash back to a college summer, at the beach, with a few friends--a couple I would like to forget and one who was one of the best friends I have ever had--ever.  We'll just call that one "B."  And, first of all, may I say that I get constant criticism (mainly from my husband) that a male and a female cannot be true friends without some sort of "romantic" element.  Well, I don't believe it, because through high school and a large part of college, B and I were super-close amazing FRIENDS of the opposite sex.  But anyway...  Back to that beach trip.  We were a few stories up at our oceanfront hotel, sitting on the balcony having a few drinks (we were, of course, all 21 by then...or something).  The restaurant next door had a second story outdoor restaurant and every night we were there, the same guy played the guitar and sang.  He was okay--not the best, but he was just what we needed on our vacay.  Somehow, at just the right moment one night, he broke out with "Main Street."  No lie, we wrapped our arms around each others shoulders, swayed and belted out the words to the song ourselves as if we'd been practicing for months.  Also, no lie, the people at the restaurant turned around and applauded us.  Awesome!  We ended up  hanging out at the restaurant and the guy who was singing.  Instant friends, of course.  We requested songs from our balcony the whole week--with Main Street as THE ONE.  It became my and B's theme song.  For a while. 

B and my lives went separate directions soon after that week at the beach.  We would see each other off and on.  Occasionally we would hang out.  Later we might just bump into each other downtown or something like that.  I got married and moved away and his life took him away, also.  Every few years we would manage a phone call, but that was about it.

Over the years, "Main Street" has remained one of my faves.  Every time I hear it, it takes me back.  It warms my heart.  It reminds me of things that are good in the world and there is joy in a simple moment.  It helps me recognize that change is inevitable, but is just a part of growing, even if sometimes that growing means growing apart from others you always assumed (and hoped) would be in your life.  Military life has taught me that some friends come and go in your life, that some friends are there for a time or just to serve a purpose for a short period--but they are all friends who color your life and make you who you are today.  This has helped me better accept the loss of close relationships with some friends, but that doesn't make them any less important in your heart or lessen the strength of their friendship in shaping your world. 

Recently, B and I have been back in touch a little bit more. It's not like it used to be, but I am glad we have not fallen off the face of the earth to each other.  Sometimes, I miss the simpler times when the most important things in our lives were what the weekend plans were and if we could get through to the radio station to request Main Street.  But, then I flash back to reality.  I love my life.  I wouldn't change it for anything.  My husband, my daughter, my dogs, my house, military wife-life, my path to PhD-dom.  All huge responsibilities, all amazing, somewhat complicated, but all perfect...for me.  But that doesn't negate the power of a song that can take me back...or the amazing friendship that lives on even when it may not be as close as it once was.

Okay, I take back a previous line in the song has meaning from the words itself:  "And sometimes even now when I'm feeling lonely and beat, I drift back in time and I find my feet...Down on Main Street!"

Wednesday, June 8, 2011


**Disclaimer:  I love my husband and all of the people who support me in my life.  I am a genuinely happy person, but sometimes, I just gotta let out the griping...and what better time then when I can
(And, my's a long one--I'm making up for lost time.)
I've been MIA from the blogging world lately.  I literally have not had 10 minutes to sit down and write if it was not for school, teaching, exams, or a publication.  So, here I am.  I'm tired.  I'm tired of doing so much.  I'm tired of being so misunderstood.

I've mentioned before how I don't fit in--in military wife life OR in grad school life, because each is so different from the other and I'm juggling both sets of roles and responsibilities in two different arenas where neither side understands the other.  But it goes deeper than that.  I get so FRUSTRATED when people think I'm "just" a stay at home mom.  First of all, HELLO?!?  "JUST" does not belong in that phrase.  Mommyhood is the hardest (yet best and most rewarding) job on the planet and it gets under my skin when people take it upon themselves to say how that's not a big deal.  But I digress...

I AM a mom first and foremost.  This is the way I want it.  It is my favorite of my favorite roles.  But I am also many other things: 

-I am a military wife. That's not an easy job.  My husbands's job dictates not only his life but my daughter's and my lives.  He never has the option to put off his responsibilities--nope, it's always my commitments that have to give.  People MISUNDERSTAND a military wife's place in her family--and in the military structure itself.  It is hard to pursue anything for yourself in this life.  You never know what's around the corner, but you know YOU will be the one who must be flexible.  YOU will have to be the one to break plans and mold your life to his duties.  YOU will have to live in his shadow--no matter what I accomplish, he always "trumps" me in the eyes of others.  That's fine--he deserves it.  I have the utmost respect for our military and have seen first-hand how much they sacrifice and have witnessed their superhuman strengths and abilities.  BUT I wish that didn't have to negate MY accomplishments.  I work hard, too.  I keep this family together in his absence.  I, for all practical purposes single-handedly raise our amazing daughter.  And, this is fine with me because I love it.  I only wish I had more time away from other responsibilities to do more fun things with my little lady--but I feel bad for her missing out on a "normal" family life (whatever that is) and I feel bad for him missing out on fatherhood on a more regular basis.  I pay the bills--no, it's not MY income that pays the majority of the bills, but I am the one who make sure things get paid.  I clean the house, I mow the grass (sometimes, like today), I cook every meal that we eat at home.  I handle the house, the cars, the EVERYTHING that keeps us above water.  Does that not deserve some credit?
-I'm a teacher--a college instructor.  This is not an easy job, either.  It's very important but it involves a lot of work, time, and effort--and irritation at times.  It took a lot of hard work, education, and sacrifice to make it this far.  MY merits got me here.  But people don't seem to understand.  "Oh, you JUST teach online" they say.  Yes--but this is also A LOT of work.  Maybe more work than being IN the classroom--which I have also done and will be doing again come August.  Not to mention, I'm trying to work WHILE taking care of all of my at home duties--they don't shut off during "work" hours.  Or, "Oh, it's JUST community college" others might add.  What's up with "JUST" coming before all of the things that challenge and reward me as an individual?  Community college is no walk in the park.  Imagine a group of 30 people, all from very diverse backgrounds with a variety of goals, family situations, ages, etc. and try to come up with a course that can reach all of them.  Not the easiest thing on earth.
-I am a graduate student.  "Oh, you're in school?" people say with a strange tone as if to look down upon me.  Yes.  I am a 30 year old and I am STILL in school.  I am STILL in school because my husband (who I fully and wholeheartedly support) has a career that has taken me places and put me in situations that made it impossible to get this far without breaks in my education.  And when I say "this far" I mean I am working on my PhD.  A very, very small fraction of the population has such credentials.  I don't think I am better than anyone else and question this decision on a daily basis.  It's not for everyone, that's for sure!  But do I not deserve SOME recognition for these accomplishments?  Maybe people just don't understand.  I write--I publish--I work very, very hard to be the best that I can be and make a name for myself--a career for myself.

I'm also a daughter, granddaughter, niece, friend, and pet owner among other things.  I take everything in stride, though I do get down and complain sometimes (okay, a lot).  But don't we all deserve to just let it out sometimes?  To remind people that we are ALL unique in our own ways...and it is all relative. We only know what we have had the opportunity to experience.  I just feel so misunderstood so so many people in my life.  My colleagues do not get the military experience, my military acquaintances don't get the grad school experience, my civilian acquaintances who haven't been to grad school don't get either. I get moved around to places that make getting the job I want, that I have worked so hard for in pursuing this PhD, nearly impossible.  But I go.  I follow.  I remain in the shadow hoping for the chance to be seen in a brighter light for MY accomplishments in all areas of my life.  Thankfully, I have an amazing group of friends and family who, while they may not understand me fully, are my rocks.  I'm so blessed to be surrounded by amazing people--especially on days like today.

I said a long time ago that I was going to stop being irritated and start being proud.  So, in my bloggity journal, this is that time when I got it out and turn over that new leaf.  So, go me!  I am so super proud that in a single day I spend time with the most amazing little girl on the planet (in my eyes), make our house (that we are blessed to have) clean and beautiful--including the yard, make sure our bills are paid, run a half mile farther than I have been running, work on a publication, prepare for an exam that will put me one step closer to PhD status, work on my dissertation project, and feed my family.  Our family lives a life with many battles and challenges, but that just makes us stronger.  We might not be "normal" by any standard, but the opporunities and experiences we are privy to on this journey are priceless.  As are the amazing people we meet along the way.  When I put it that way, I guess it doesn't matter who does or does not understand me from the inside out, as long as I can stay strong, keep pushing forward doing the right thing, and have my rocks to stablize me on this crazy journey.

Okay.  Griping done.  Stay tuned...when time permits, I'm still working on putting on my "happy blog face."

And, I'll leave you again with one of my favorite quotes that I break out when I feel like I'm pushing against a brick wall.  It reminds me that I must keep plugging along, even when the going gets tough.  Obstacles before me, beware!  :)

 “…the evident genius of the human spirit lies in the hard fact of life that we, like our dogs…[are] limited in all the important ways… We cannot do all that our powerful minds trick us into thinking we can. In a word, this is the mystery of being human. Our finest nature is not our ability to think and do. It is that we do and think as we do in spite of the obstacles…On average, the better ones among us continue to think and do what they can with no assurance that solutions will be found.”
--Charles Lemert