Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Dealing with Disappointment

One manifestation of my anxiety and need to plan every minuscule aspect of my life is my tendency to get my hopes up and then to be crushed by the inevitable disappointment.

I've been looking at apartment listings on Craigslist since late December--when we found out Rob had the job--and I've found the perfect apartment about seven times.  I have a running list of apartment listings in my bookmarks that I check and re-check day after day to see if they're still there.  I look at the pictures and imagine where our furniture will go, what we'll do with the third bedroom, where we'll go to walk the dog.  Inevitably one day the listing is deleted, or one of my inquiry emails is returned with apologies, because the house has been rented.

A few weeks ago we found the perfect house (again).  There was an enclosed chicken coop, a jet tub, brand-new washer and dryer, and it abutted a huge mass of government-owned land perfect for our beast frolic time.  I kept the listing in my bookmarks and checked it about 7 times a day to see if it could still be ours.

I found out yesterday that it was rented last week.

I feel disappointed, yes, but in a way also relieved.  I felt like I was in a self-imposed prison of worry about this place; I was so afraid that it was meant to be ours and I was erroneous in not jumping on it sight-unseen.  It's been so bad that my stomach has felt like it did pre-celiac diagnosis.

I was able to stop worrying about it for a good 10 minutes until I found a new place.  And the cycle starts over once again.

It's been a real struggle to relax and let things happen as they should.  Life and death do not hinge on us finding the perfect house, and if we find a somewhat-less-than-perfect place we'll make do because no matter what we have each other. And Cypress.

Wish me luck that I find a great place next week and that I won't totally lose my sanity in this move.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Vlog: Tips for Reducing Stress and Anxiety

After making a few of these vlogs I can confidently say that YouTube is on a mission to make bloggers look ridiculous through their video stills.



Find my post on grounding here.

How do you handle stress and anxiety?

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Tattoos and Things

So this is what I did with my Saturday:

Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App

The design is from this artist. We bought three of his prints (including this one) and I just fell in love with the art.  I brought this one to Adam and though he at first expressed minimal enthusiasm for all the tiny lines, we had fun with it and it didn't even hurt all that bad. My eventual goal is to have my right arm composed predominantly of neo-traditional, heavy lined pieces and I can't wait to add to it.

How is your Saturday going?

Things to be Thankful for on a Saturday

I haven't done a thankful post in awhile, and frankly I just feel like I need to do it because the anticipatory stress of moving is starting to physically manifest itself and I need some positivity.

1. I'm thankful that Rob and I have enough money to buy groceries and pay our bills, and have some left over for fun stuff.  At the store the other day we were in line behind a woman who thought she had $197 in her bank account, but it was actually only $97, and her bill was pretty high. So the cashiers had to help her put back $100 worth of merchandise.  I could tell she was so embarrassed but happily no one in line pitched a fit or called her out.  One thing I love about living in a small town. We also saw a couple that was meticulously counting how much they had in their cart because they couldn't go over a certain amount, and they still had to buy gluten-free stuff which is expensive on any budget.  You see that kind of thing a lot around here, but still, it was a good reminder for both of us to appreciate what we have. I'm thinking of writing some sort of post about my issues with money so stay tuned.

2. I am thankful that Rob and I both have reliable health insurance.  Rob was around a lot of stuff in Iraq that could eventually lead to cancer, which terrifies me, but I know that if something happens (like he's out of a job or randomly loses benefits) he'll always be able to go to a VA hospital because of his Purple Heart.  VA hospitals may not be the best of the best, but it's nice to know we have a backup should something happen.  One of my biggest fears coming out of college was not having health insurance, which I think is absolutely unconscionable in a country as rich as ours but I won't get too far into that.

3. Along those same lines, I'm thankful that Rob and I are both healthy. We eat (mostly) healthy foods and try to exercise as much as possible (Rob more than I).  

4. I'm very thankful that Rob got this job in Santa Fe. Since he got out of the Army I worried (what? I never do that!) about him finding a job that provided him fulfillment and made him happy. I knew working at a desk would drive him insane and I knew learning to work within a typical office hierarchy would be difficult, to say the least.  I'm glad he found a job that will allow him to physically and mentally challenge himself.

5. I'm thankful we have a place to live (and that we can afford a much more expensive place to live in Santa Fe), gluten-free food in the cupboards, and above all, each other.

And finally, here are some photos of our week:


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1. Martini on our date night!
2. Probably my favorite Rob/Cypress snuggle picture ever.
3. Cypress at the vet.
4. Nachos!
5. This is how I look when I'm in the car wash. F'ing hate it.
6. Lazy belly scratches.  Like my socks?
7. Quinoa vegetable medley made from this recipe (we added basil & parsley).

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Things I Love Thursday

Have you ever wondered if that Kanji tattoo actually says what you think it does?

Man builds fairy tale home for his family for only $4700! This is AMAZING.

This Facebook status has been going around for a bit but it makes me laugh every single time.

60 completely unusable stock photos.

Check out this hilarious "Fotoshop by Adobe" spoof video. Thanks Meg!

Sexist '60s Coffee Commercials.  How can such a pretty wife make such bad coffee?!

I love this post on marriage, which I found through Liz.

My new favorite Tumblr combines Arrested Development and Downton Abbey.

I can be kind of a language nerd so I really like things like lists of idioms.

For fellow book nerds: Bookshelf Porn. Totally SFW, by the way.

Check out these awesome Kindle covers!

Gah! These milk + sprinkle shots look amazing!

Famous websites depicted as superheroes.

These entries to National Geographic's 2011 photo contest are predictably amazing.

29 Video Game Characters That Would be Horrifying in Reality.

One thing that makes me very grateful to blog is all the people I connect with who become good friends.  Those people include, but are not limited to: Ayla, Amber, Jessica, Tricia, Sara, Nova, Ivelisse, Michelle (and Chad and Bodhi!), Adie, DEANNA, Melissa, Holly, Liz, Jessica, Maryam. I'm sure I forgot some so please don't take it personally; you know who you are :)

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

5 Tips for Love, Long-Distance

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What a long, obnoxious title.

So for awhile I've been like, I really like posts with tips.  I want to do one of those.  Problem is, there is little I know how to do well and those things I can do well (pet my dog, fly in planes, sit in a chair and watch TV, take the garbage out) aren't all that groundbreaking, and something that a whole lot of people can do far better than I.

The one thing people ever come to me for in terms of advice is relationships, which doesn't always make a ton of sense to me because I've only ever been in one, but regardless it keeps happening. Specifically people ask about having a boyfriend/husband living far away, maybe in the military or maybe just frolicking in fields of gold, since as most of you know our love story heavily involves a four-year separation and one Iraq deployment.

Sometimes I am of the mind that all couples should spend some time apart, if only because it teaches you more about yourself and more about your significant other than a lot of other experiences you go through as a couple (though certainly not all).  Also, I think that with a few exceptions, most of the tenets below absolutely could (and should) be applied to really any relationship.

Is it just me or do I always give really long intros to things?  Let's just move forward with this.

Tips for Love, Long-Distance

1. Communicate.  Let me communicate that some more: communicate, communicate, communicate.   I had people tell me when Rob was gone that I shouldn't burden him with my own issues, which was good advice to some extent.  But in general, I am of the mind you should be telling each other how you're feeling, what you think needs more work, and things that have upset you.  Something I did sometimes which I do not advise, however, was to use that line communication to make Rob the object of my feelings and ended up playing the blame game because I felt hurt.  I'm lucky that Rob understood me well enough that he stayed with me, but we could've avoided a lot of unnecessary fights and crying if I had made it less about me and more about us.  All that aside, I think that Rob and I have always been very good communicators with each other and I think this has been one of the foundational elements of our relationship.

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Rare visual evidence of us communicating.  Also: 1) amazing hair, Caitlin and B) I'm wearing that sweatshirt right now!

2. Stay busy and stay true to yourself. This was pretty key.  One of my greatest regrets about our time apart is that I didn't do more of my "own" thing.  I holed myself up in my room and watched the same television shows over and over again, promised to go to meetings and events and backed out, and kind of forgot some of my friends.  I did the same thing in Russia, and that totally sucks.  Part of it was that there wasn't a ton to do outside of drinking, another part of it was that I didn't find many friends who could or wanted to understand what I was going through, and a lot of it was just my own issues.  It's so easy to assume that there's nothing outside of your little bubble and your phone, but I promise that you'll feel better if you build a strong base of friends and activities to engage in, and maybe a hobby you can do to keep yourself busy when you're sad or stressed. Step outside of your comfort zone and always remember that you are a unique person outside of your relationship, no matter how awesome that relationship is.

3. Write letters. I can't tell you how many times after a fight, or just whenever honestly, that I'd write a letter to Rob outlining everything I felt.  I know it's strange, but it felt like I was "talking" to Rob when I wrote though he may not read the letter for weeks (or never, since I often forgot to send them).  When I was in Russia I couldn't send any letters at all, so I just wrote a cumulative book of letters in a notebook I bought.  Makes for a neat journal of my time there and a neat testament of our love.

4. Sometimes it's okay to go to bed angry. Generally I preferred not to end the night in tears or anger, mostly for fear that Rob wouldn't be alive when I woke up and I would hate myself.  What I should say instead--though it's not as snappy of a line--is that it's okay to step away from a conversation if it isn't going anywhere or is only going in a bad direction (which will inevitably happen).  There were many times that Rob and I would go around and around and around, never actually accomplishing anything or communicating. I generally would avoid hanging up on your significant other (I did this far too often) but am fully supportive of a calm, "I can't have this conversation right now. I love you." Give yourself some time to put things into perspective and when you are ready (this is key) call back and talk it through.

5. Choose friends wisely.  When your significant other is far away you'll learn a lot about your friends (I found this to be especially true in a military situation). Someone is going to whine to you about their boyfriend being gone for two weeks and it'll be obnoxious. Your best friend might shy away from you a bit. Be easy on them--it's hard for people to understand the ups and downs of long distance or understand how their careless words may affect you.  Along the same lines, just as in normal life, if you find someone to be toxic do not hesitate to get them out of your life.  I had a "friend" in college say to me, "I don't know how you could date a soldier," and another implied that my husband was probably killing innocent civilians.  These people were not worth my time and I'm glad I realized it.

I hope these tips are somewhat helpful to you whether you are loving someone long-distance or short-distance.  

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Weekend Stuff & Things

Here are some of the things we've been doing this weekend.

1. I have been having the most vivid dreams EVER you guys.  I haven't been able to figure out what exactly is causing them; the only thing that's different is this cream I'm putting on my face for the treatment of milia (gross) and I can't imagine something I'd put on my skin could actually affect how I dream.  All of the dreams I've had have involved very strong, negative emotions--in my dreams over the course of the last few nights I was threatened with broken bones and sexual abuse by the evil guy in "Girl with the Dragon Tattoo", I had a really horrible miscarriage while fighting with my husband in Iraq and woke up sobbing, and last night I had to sneak into Cypress's daycare to get a picture of her teeth and was caught.  That last one doesn't seem as intense but I promise you, it was pretty stressful.  Anyway though you might think that this would make me not want to go to bed, I'm actually interested each night to see what my brain will come up with.  Is that weird?

2. Rob and I saw a hockey game with his brother and his brother's wife last night.  As I've told you guys before, hockey is literally the only sport I can tolerate and actually enjoy watching.  It's fast-paced, very high-tension, and the periods are the perfect length of time (and the sport doesn't require you to stop every 5 seconds like football).  Plus our team won and we got to see some blood from one of the fights, and who doesn't love a good old-fashioned brawl?

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3. I finally sent my Nikon away to get repaired so you guys won't have to deal with randomly-sized iPhone images for too much longer.

4. I'm getting very close to my trip to Santa Fe and I've narrowed down the places that I most want to see. I can't really make appointments until next week, so I have all my fingers and toes crossed that the ones I want to see are still available at that time.  I don't want to jinx any of the good ones so I won't share any here...but I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

5. I just finished this book about poison in Jazz Age New York and I loved it.  Maybe it's because I'm a huge crime nerd but I found it absolutely fascinating, and written in a way that was extremely approachable and intriguing.  Every time I'd read it I would excitedly tell Rob some fact or another that I had learned about Prohibition, murder, or poison.  I'm pretty sure he loved it judging by his half-hearted "mm" and "huh"s.  Also, this was one of the only times I've been genuinely disappointed that a book ended.

6. On a somewhat related note to the previous bullet point, in the book the author explains that the body of a person who was poisoned with arsenic decays at a much slower rate; she even cites one case in which a body was exhumed over a year after death that, aside from some "patches of mold" on the face,  was in near-perfect condition.  I decided to learn more about that, because I find things like putrefaction interesting.  So I started Googling, and fell down ye olde Internet Rabbit Hole and long story short, ended up on an article explaining why the Holocaust never happened.  A quick aside: this is not in line in any way, shape or form with my beliefs; the article was also about carbon monoxide detection in corpses, which probably doesn't assure you any further of my stability but there it is.  Anyway, a bit shocked to say the least I scrolled to the top of the screen and realized I was on the forum of a White Supremacist website. And interestingly, they had a whole forum dedicated to White Supremacist recipes you could make for your family. So if this blog gets shut down it might be because I'm being investigated by the FBI for racist cooking.

What scary and possibly damning websites have you visited this weekend?

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Sometimes...

I got this link-up idea from Sam of Young People in Love.  Her blog is lovely so if you don't know it already, you should go look at it now.

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Sometimes...

It's hard for me to not be awkward everywhere I go.

 I'm reminded of how much I love cheese when I randomly remember that we have cheese in the fridge. 

 I feel self-conscious when...always.

 I am mildly dishonest when I tell myself I'll stop looking at apartments on Craigslist for the night.

I can't imagine a world without beast snuggles.

 I'm surprised that I still crave Lipton Chicken Noodle Soup despite being gluten-free for a year.

 I get a little too easily wrapped up in searching for and worrying about a new place to live in Santa Fe.

 I indulge in guilty pleasures like crappy food and reruns of 30 Rock. 

 I wish all things in life were as wonderful as snuggling together in bed on a cold, snowy night.

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If you decide to do this, link up with Sam or below in the comments! Hope you all have a great day and weekend!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Thoughts on Marriage

For those of you who are readers of the mega-blog dooce, you know that she and her husband announced that they are on a trial separation this week.  I used to read dooce pretty religiously a few years ago, but in recent months I've found her to be significantly less relatable and I've sort of strayed.  Regardless, the announcement of her separation affected me and got me thinking a lot about marriage. As usual this post is a few steps above stream-of-conciousness, so if it's difficult to follow I apologize. I would also like to reiterate that I am speaking only of my marriage here and do not mean to comment on anyone else's.

Any newly-engaged person can tell you that one of the most frequent platitudes that people dispense when they find out you're getting married is, "marriage is work." As the children of divorced parents we went into marriage fully aware of the costs should we fail.  Though many in our situation are cynical about marriage because of past experiences, I found that it gave us an even greater determination to succeed.

I think that I've been lucky in the husband department because I married my best friend, a man that has somehow always understood me better than I ever understood myself.  This made our relationship and subsequent marriage one of the easiest things in my life.  Though I always try to find a way to doubt it or question it, it's simply the most stable, consistent thing I know.  We've been through our fair share of pain, hardship, and separation, and we still have a lot more to go through, but I like to think that we've set a solid base that could weather any storm.

That said, every marriage has strengths and weaknesses; indeed, when you pull together two imperfect people all you can expect is more imperfection. What I find interesting is that my marriage (at least my half of it) strongly reflects my own strengths and weaknesses at a person.  For example, I'm a natural-born communicator and have no problem expressing my opinion, thoughts or feelings.  As much as I try to keep stuff in, it all finds a way out somehow because it's just how I express myself. Along with being excessively communicative, however, comes a tendency to overanalyze and hold grudges.  I also have difficulty trusting, meaning that I'm constantly afraid that the floor will collapse out from under me and I'll be alone, abandoned. For his part, Rob is less of a verbal communicator but is excellent at sensing when I'm in an emotionally precarious situation and (generally) at doing the right things to help ease me out of it.

Over the course of the last nine years together, Rob and I have achieved a rhythm that sometimes came naturally, but most times required a few growing pains here and there.  Looking back on it I like to think it's been relatively smooth, but the truth is we fought pretty damn hard to get where we are and have a lot more fighting to do.  For me, I don't think there's anyone in the world more worth fighting for, and I'm determined to make this work and determined to make sure that we support each other in the best and most mutual way possible.  I know Rob feels the same way, even if he isn't as verbal about it.

I hope this doesn't come across as self-righteous; I don't mean to imply that I know what can fix anyone's marriage but my own, and I don't mean to imply that I think I have all the answers or that people who face divorce/separation should just try harder.  I know from my parents and Rob's that sometimes things just don't work out and it is not my place to judge anyone's situation but my own.

All I am trying to get across  in this post is that though we may have shrugged off the platitudes and defiantly forged ahead, we always took and should continue to take time to reflect on the path that got us here.  And of course remember how lucky we are to have each other and to have the opportunity to build a life together.

If you made it through all that, as always, kudos! And have a great weekend!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Currently

Currently I am:

Reading: "The Poisoner's Handbook: Murder and the Birth of Forensic Science in Jazz Age New York." Call me crazy, but I love nonfiction and especially learning about crime and forensic science.  I'm only on chapter 2 (which is focusing primarily on the use of wood alcohol as poison) but I feel like I've learned so much already. You'd think a book like this could be dry or boring but it's quite the opposite!

Watching: Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Legend of Boggy Creek II.  I don't know if any of you have watched MST3K or heard me talk about it, but if you like campy sci-fi movies and funny commentary you should go watch it now.

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Really excited about: Going to Santa Fe in T-3 weeks to look at apartments with my sister. I have a bookmark folder of apartments on Craigslist and every day I check each listing to see if they're still available...such a nervewracking process! I'm  I'm also excited for my new tattoo on January 28th, and for Rob's on January 31st!

Bemoaning the fact that: We're still too far from moving (around 5 weeks, eek!) to actually do anything. I've been planning how we'll go about packing, what rooms we'll pack first, etc. but it's just not the same as actually planning anything.  I have, however, managed to get rid of some of our bigger items or at least made plans to do so, made final vet and doctor's appointments, called a few apartments/houses, and cleared out our closets like mad.  Feels good but I'm still stressing. Sorry to keep complaining about it.

Laughing at: Rob's old phone. We finally had to get him a new one after this one's screen went totally blank.  We considered upgrading him to a smartphone but (1) we don't want to pay for more data and (2) it doesn't really make sense to get him a somewhat-flimsy smartphone with crappy battery life when he's going to be in the woods for weeks at a time. Plus he tends to be kind of rough with his electronics.  So he's stuck with another 2001 special.

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Wondering why: Certain people have such a hard time gaining insight into their own emotions/actions/thoughts.  What's difficult about helping others work through problems it that it's hard to just flat-out say what you think is the issue for fear of hurting them;  you sort of have to dance around and hope they get your point.  I'm not saying I'm any better about this because when you get down to it, none of us want to accept that we might be the cause of our own issues and how others treat us.  Am I making sense, or incoherent as usual?

Wearing: Today I put on a blue t-shirt and blue pajama pants, causing the song "Blue (Da Ba Dee)" to be stuck in my head for a good fifteen minutes or so.  I've said it before but I'm a pretty classy bitch.

Dying of cuteness because of: My husband and his familiar dog. And seeing said dog survey her empire from her "throne."

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What is currently going on in your life? If you do a post like this (I've seen many around the blogosphere) link to it in the comments!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Weekend Bits & Pieces

This was one of our last calm, non-packing weekends and it was a lovely one.

1. We saw "War Horse" tonight and all in all, it was a pretty good movie.  I was in tears most of the time, though, because war scenes + animals in pain = fragile Caitlin.  Can I tell you something weird? When I watch war movies, whether it be the Civil War or Vietnam, I think about how our lives would've been different if Rob had fought in one of those wars instead of Operation Iraqi Freedom.  And sometimes I wonder if in some other time, in some other place, we were together in some way and he did fight in one of those wars.  I know that sounds crazy and yes, I totally stole it from an X-Files episode, but regardless the thought always causes me to well up in tears.

2. Does anyone else eat plain fresh mozzarella as a snack? I could eat cheese all night and all day, and that is simply fact.

3. Isn't my dog just so fancy?

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4. I just finished the 3rd book of "The Hunger Games" series and I must say, it's a great read.  It surprised me, but I really did enjoy reading it and quite frankly couldn't put it down. I think what I liked about the ending--without giving anything away--is that the emotions and actions of everyone involved were very realistic.  Instead of everyone just frolicking on their merry way I think the toll of war/stress etc. seemed pretty believable.  I don't want to give away anything else but if you like dystopian fiction, you should definitely read it. My next book is "The Poisoner's Handbook" all about murder by poison in Jazz Age New York.  Morbid? Probably. Warning: Reading any of the book I have below might give a little bit away if you plan on reading it.

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What did you do this weekend? 

Saturday, January 14, 2012

A Funny Thing Happened

Since I don't have much in the way of a post in my head, I thought I'd share with you a [true] story of something that happened to me a few years ago.

I'll begin by telling you that my family still mocks me for this story.

If you don't know by reading, I went to college in Beloit, Wisconsin.  By the time I matriculated, Rob had finished OSUT and Airborne School, and had been stationed in Fort Richardson, Alaska.  While it was far away, we were still able to see each other relatively easily since O'Hare was so close.  I usually got direct flights from O'Hare to Anchorage, but on one occasion I had to make a stop.  Keep in mind that returning to Wisconsin after spending a week or so with my then-boyfriend was absolutely unbearable.  One time I cried the entire 6-hour flight.

We landed at this airport (can't remember where it was now) at maybe 5:00am or so.  I found the one cafe that was open, bought myself a bagel and an orange juice, and sat down.  I looked around to see a very drunk woman being helped by a very pregnant woman.  The VPW bought the VDW a sandwich and a drink and wished her the best of luck, which I feel would've been weird enough to warrant its own story altogether.

Suddenly the Very Drunk Woman, who was maybe 30, sits down at my table across from me and kind of eyes me a bit.  Then she proceeds to tell me that she bought far too much to drink on the plane, and asks me if I could feed her the sandwich.

And you guys, I totally did it. I held up a sandwich to to a grown-ass woman's face because she was apparently too annihilated to hold it herself.

I also let her drink some of my orange juice (gross, Caitlin), talked to her about her failing marriage, and tried to find a place where she could smoke outside without leaving security. I also helped her get to her gate.

I can't really defend my ludicrous behavior except to say that I am terrible at confrontation or telling people no.  I tell my sisters that having never been in a similar situation, they can't really judge me, but that's not altogether true.

What's the strangest thing that has happened to you in an airport?

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Goals for Santa Fe

Since we found out that we will be moving to Santa Fe in February, I've been formulating some goals for myself in an effort to be proactive and not end up huddled in my room watching old episodes of 30 Rock and MST3k.  When I spent a month in Arizona, I was determined to get out and enjoy my time there, and that determination helped me from completely falling apart.

These sort of reflect my resolutions this year, but I'm hoping to flesh them out a bit more here. As I said in my New Year's post, I hope you will all help me adhere to these.

1. Join a Crossfit Gym.  I've learned something about myself over the last few months, and that is that I can't be trusted to work out without structure.  I can convince myself that I don't really need to do that set of arm curls because today's a rest day with ease.  I've eyed Crossfit, but we don't have a Crossfit program near us and I know it'd be difficult to do the Workouts of the Day on my own.  When I found out we were moving this was one of the first things I checked out, and I'm happy to say that there is a functioning Crossfit gym in Santa Fe.  Depending on costs and whether or not I have to travel for work, I want to join Crossfit within the first couple of months of moving.

2. Meet up with one or more of the groups on http://www.meetup.com. Have you guys ever heard of meetup.com? Basically it's a way to join and create meet up groups in a particular city or area.  I have already signed up for a women's group there and I really want to strive to meet some new people and make good friends.  A lot of the groups in Santa Fe have to do with tarot and developing one's psychic abilities, which aren't really up my alley, but I've found quite a few that I think may be interesting.  The key is actually getting up off my ass and going to events.

3. Don't take out any frustrations out on Rob. I talked about this in my resolutions post but it bears repeating, if only to cement it further in my mind-grapes. I tend to lash out when I'm feeling hurt or sad or hopeless, and because Rob for some reason agreed to be stuck with me for the rest of his life he's often on the receiving end.  But this isn't fair to him, and he deserves my support in this new endeavor.

4. Blog like crazy about the moving process and getting to know life as a "firefighter's wife."  I feel like my blog has been pretty stale since well, ever, so I think it'll be cool (and hopefully therapeutic) to share my growing pains with you guys.

5. Check out as many new restaurants as possible.  This one is pretty self-explanatory.  We'll have more money since Rob will be working, not studying, so we might as well get out and enjoy ourselves when we can.

I feel a little better (and a little less stressed) now that I've written all of them out.

Do any of you have advice for moving to a new city?

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

What I'm Honestly Wearing Wednesday

Want to feel better about yourself today?  As always, I am here for you.

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A few things:

1. I'm pulling out my shirt like that so you can't tell I'm wearing a bra.  Small boobs = braless pointy boob syndrome.

2. Yes, Vladimir Lenin is on my shirt.  I bought this t-shirt on the Arbat' in Moscow.  It's an old propaganda poster and has an excerpt from a Mayakovskii poem, "Lenin lived, Lenin lives, Lenin will live!" 

2b. No, I'm not a Communist.

3. THOSE PANTS.

What are you wearing today?

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Whole Again

Robbie is home and I couldn't be happier.

I drove to pick him up at Manchester Airport (around 3 hours from here) on Monday.  When I was 20 minutes away Rob called to tell me that his flight from Newark, which was due to leave at 9:30pm, was actually not leaving until 11:30pm for absolutely no reason at all.  All I can say is thank the lord for iPads and 30 Rock on Netflix, because or else I would've spent my four-hour wait walking back and forth across the airport and watching TSA agents laze around like there's no tomorrow.

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Pictured above: a face that proves how much Tina Fey Liz Lemon and I have in common.

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Anyway Rob arrived and as goofy as it sounds, I had a big-ass grin plastered on my face from the moment I saw him come down the stairs until we arrived home.  The three-hour drive went by so quickly because we spent the entire time laughing and catching up again.  I'm not sure how I didn't pass out but we made it home at around 4:30am and snuggled like crazy...at least until my husband got too warm and banished me to my side of our double bed.


I know you guys, he was only gone for like five days.  But we agreed that out of all the times we've been apart since he got out of the Army, this felt the most like an Army separation.  He had a great time at Fire Camp (and totally kicked ass, naturally) but the atmosphere and the activity had him feeling like he was in Basic again.  I could tell that he was really happy to be home.

He was even happier when I brought Cypress home from the kennel today, though maybe not as excited as Cypress was.

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Rob's trip to Fire Camp made me feel a little nervous about what's coming for us this fire season.  He'll be called out for indeterminate amounts of time with minimal to no cell reception and chances are, I'll be spending a fair amount of the summer alone.  It's nothing like the Army, or a deployment, but after close to 4 years of seeing each other most days, I know it'll be a relearning process. I'm having a lot of conflicting feelings about it and I've been trying to sort it all out.  I'm going to need to relearn how to be alone, and how to be happy while being alone even when I'm missing my other half. 

But I don't have to think about that for awhile.  So I'm just going to enjoy the fact that my little family is physically whole again, at least for now.

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I know I do this a lot, but I want to apologize for the lack of real posts lately.  It's been a lot of "here's what we're doing, isn't that fun?" Also, because I'm feeling anxious, I apologize for apologizing.  And so on.

I hope you are all having a great week so far!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Sisters' Weekend

First of all, as always, thank you guys for your sweet comments on my last post.  I know that sometimes I can be incessantly whiny when it comes to my husband so your tolerance is much appreciated.

This weekend was a much-needed respite from my few days of loneliness. On Thursday and Friday I sat in on a class for work, and I'm not sure why but I have a terrible time focusing in an LVC (online class) so I tend to get easily distracted by Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.  I made it though and got a lot of good information.

Also, I drew some shower art on one of our breaks so that Robbie would have something fun to see when he comes home.


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Finally the class ended on Friday, just in time for my sister Ashleen and my niece to arrive at my door.  I stuffed my niece full of icing-covered brownies (like a good aunt should) and we were off on our way to my mother's house, who was watching Brielle for the weekend, to meet up with Megan.

My sister Megan, as most of you know, has an adorable little studio in Boston that I rather enjoy visiting when 1) I want to see her and/or 2) want a taste of city life.  Now that my niece is older and it's easier for Ashleen to leave her with family for extended periods, we've been trying to hang out at Megan's and enjoy time together.

On the first day we went to IKEA and holy schnikees you guys, why didn't anyone tell me how amazing it is?! I wanted every goofy little room setup we saw.  The most exciting part of the trip, however, was that I found a new table for Robbie and I.  Our current table is a hand-me-down, is ugly, and is rather big and obnoxious to transport.  We thought it'd be perfect to buy one at IKEA since the boxes are compact and easy to move.  I don't have a picture of the table but you can see it here.

By far the strangest development of the day, though, was the temperature. If you don't live in the Northeast, let me stress to you that it never gets into the 60s in January.  Honestly I think this has literally happened one other time in my life.

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And though 60 degrees feels pretty cold in August, let me tell you that it feels downright tropical in January.

Anyway that night we went out to a little restaurant called Davoli's and got yummy drinks and delicious food.  My dad had texted us earlier asking us casually where we were going, and used that information to call the restaurant and pay for our meal.  How sweet is that, right?! I love my dad.

Also, check out how much of a classy bitch I am.

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I know, I know, pictures aren't all the same width.

On Sunday we did lots of shopping which was bad for my bank account but great for my closet.  I just love H&M, as a side note. 

Ashleen and I got back to my house late, made dinner and crashed with my niece.  She left early this morning for work and I've been sitting in on yet another class, in between folding laundry, closet-purging and trying on a few of my new outfits:


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Birds on belted dresses? Ironic "vintage" sweatshirts? I'm such a hipster.

Anyway, it was a lovely weekend spent with two of my very favorite people.  I'm really going to miss them when I leave for Santa Fe, especially because Ashleen hates planes and likely won't be in a hurry to come visit me.

I'm leaving for the airport in about an hour to pick up my husband.  He did very well at Fire Camp and made a few new friends, just as I expected him to, but he is more than ready to come home.  He told me it felt a lot like Basic training and he feels like he's been away from home for months.  I wholeheartedly concur.

Well friends, I hope you had a lovely weekend and an even better week ahead.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Bacheloretting it Up & Other Thoughts

...This post might be kind of boring and pointless. But that isn't totally surprising, right?

On Tuesday Robbie and I drove to a hotel in Manchester, New Hampshire so he could be ready to fly out at 6 a.m. the following day.  Since we passed the only Chipotle in Maine we of course had to go, and once we were at the hotel we of course had to snack on more crap (this is almost all my influence, by the way):

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And here is a gratuitous picture of Robbie hiding from my camera snuggling in our hotel bed:


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We got up at around 3:45 am (gross).  For my part, I was stressed about getting gas the next day (don't ask) so I'd hardly even slept at all.  I dropped Rob off and made the long drive back home.

Since we had taken Cypress to daycare for our overnight trip, I came home to a pretty cold, empty house, and it made me sad.  But I eventually got some work done, and had a delicious dinner of vegetarian burgers with my friend Sarah, her girlfriend Ashleigh, and their rugby buddy, which cheered me up quite a bit.

Yesterday was my first full day alone.  I picked up my needy beast, ate take-out gluten-free pizza and made brownies with icing after sitting in a class all day. I wish Cypress would be more of a therapy dog, but her anxiety actually builds off my anxiety and my sadness, so she usually just ends up staring at me all day.  Kind of counter-productive, eh?


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First off, I'm sorry that those pictures aren't all the same width. If I've learned one thing from "how to blog" posts it's that your pictures should all be the same width, but I just can't be bothered to edit these. I hope your eyes can stand it.

I'm not sure what it is about Robbie being gone, but when he's not here I feel like...half of myself, I guess.  I feel less sure of myself, clumsier, and more forgetful.  Does anyone else feel like that? I hate to admit it because I'm pretty sure it makes me a codependent weirdo, but if I can be honest anywhere it's on my blog so there you have it.  I feel like this post, in all its incoherent majesty, is reflective of where my mind is right now--disjointed is the word that comes to mind.

I know what you're thinking--codependent weirdo.  And I know, I totally am.  It's something that I've tried to work on particularly in the years since we moved in together.  I used to be really good at being alone when Rob was in the Army, but once he got out it's like I turned into this blathering mass of neediness.  What's bizarre is, when he leaves it's as though my mind accepts that he's gone for good or at least a long time.  I see his car and have to stop myself from feeling all nostalgic and saying to myself  "I remember when we drove to ___ in that Jeep".  He's not dead, and he's not gone for longer than five days.  So why can't I just shut my mind up and be normal, dammit?

Also, in perfect technological timing, his phone totally died today. Luckily he was able to call me before this happen and warn me, or else I would've been absolutely hysterical when he didn't call.  I guess I should look at it as a learning experience, especially since with his new job he'll be gone for weeks at a time with potentially no cell phone reception whatsoever.  I've said it before but the man is damn good at finding new and creative ways for us not to see or talk to each other (I kid, I kid). 

I guess "incoherence" is the word of the year so far in 2012 on this here blog.  I apologize for the disjointed and whiny thought process, but I appreciate your willingness to listen.

Do you have any plans for the weekend? I'm going to my sister's apartment in Boston today and staying there until Sunday!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Things I Love Thursday

Check out this 86 year old's awesome rage comic.  Click the link and then click the image to magnify.

Loved reading The Bloggess's honest account of her recent bout with depression.

A list of Don'ts for Women on Bicycles, c. 1895. Thanks to Megan, my darling sister, for this!

Loved this article and this couple: Navigating Love and Autism.

This story about an older brother defending his younger brother to their intolerant father just warmed my heart. I super hope that it's real. Thanks for this too, Megan!

How to Explain Gay Rights to an Idiot.

12 Things Happy People do Differently.

Check out this awesome old school bus turned into a tiny house! I'd totally live there! (Thanks, Lauren!)

If you don't follow Margaret and Helen's blog, you definitely should.

I love Stephen Colbert.

This is pretty sad...and quite the commentary on American society and culture: Comparing U.S. & World Covers for TIME Magazine.

Tipping etiquette around the world.

Back to the Future: really, really cool photography project.

What are you loving this Thursday?

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Not-so-Coherent Thoughts on New Beginnings

I realized that most of my posts over the last few days have touched on the new year quite a bit, probably to the point that you're wondering when I'll just shut up and deal with the fact that it's 2012.  I don't blame you, I'm kind of wondering the same thing.

Is it weird to say that 2012 just feels different? I feel like there are big things happening this year; not necessarily bad or good, just big.  And minus the move and all the challenges it will bring, I have no idea what any of these changes will be.

Because 2012 feels different so far, I want to be different in response.  I want to not be so quick to anger or frustration at tiny things, I want to not allow those in my life who seek to hurt or overcompensate have an irrational effect on me, I want to be the absolute best wife and friend I can be.

2011 was the first year I ever really engaged in therapy, and though I struggle every day, it was as though a light switch came on in my head.  It's a double-edged sword, developing insight into your own thoughts, and it can often be even more stressful than the original anxiety.

Earlier today I caught myself getting frustrated at losing a Words with Friends game (lifelong competitiveness, it's tough to stop) and I wondered why these sorts of things bug me so much. Why do I let tiny, meaningless frustrations dominate my demeanor and my mood?  Why, in these moments, can I not see the proverbial forest through the trees?

By way of another example, the other day my friend Amie, who has an interest in spirituality and astrology, read some astrological information relative to each of our birthdays from a big book with each day of the year.  Mine was kind of hit-or-miss, but Rob's was absolutely dead-on.  And though neither of us believe in astrology to any great extent (or any extent at all), it really hit home to me how though I know Rob very well after nine years together, there's still so much more to learn about him.  I've done both him and me a disservice by not spending more time learning more every day about my husband.  I don't mean to say that we don't communicate, but as with any marriage, we can always communicate more.

So in response to 2012's brash arrival, I will work toward being the best possible person I can be.  To not make everything about me, and to spend time focusing on what really matters.

And if you made it through that semi-incoherent post, I admire you.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Some 2012 Bits and Pieces

First off, thanks for all your comments on my New Year's post! I hope I get to know all of you better in 2012.  I'm pretty excited to kick off another year of blogging.

I've been wanting to blog lately since I feel like I haven't actually written anything of substance in a month or so.  Sadly I'm sort of at a loss of what to write and how to do it coherently, and what do I do when that happens? A bulleted post!

1. Does anyone else play Words with Friends? It's a word game, for smart people.** My username is tomakelovestay so if you want an easy win, play Scrab-whoops, I mean, Words with Friends, with me.

2. On Wednesday Rob flies to Colorado for Fire Camp, a four-day class that will prepare him for his new job as a Hotshot.  I keep calling it "Fire Camp" because I like imagining him singing goofy camp songs and sitting around campfires.  Maybe I'll send him a giant care package with candy and Pop-Tarts.  Anyway for some reason I'm okay with being away from home, but it's really hard on me when Rob is gone.  I'm dreading it but at the same time sort of excited about the "me" time.

3. To keep me distracted my friend Sarah and her girlfriend Ashleigh said they'd make me dinner! Very excited.

4. I'm also spending the weekend in Boston with my two sisters.  We're going to eat yummy food, drink yummy drinks, and I will earn my Ikea stripes.  I'm hoping to find a table that we can easily bring with us when we move.

5.  Ugh, the move.  I'm at a point now, similar to when I was planning our wedding, where I can't actually execute anything for a few more weeks.  I can't place serious apartment inquiries until two weeks from now, since we'll be making our 4-day trip within the 3rd week of February, and I can't really pack since we still need a lot of the stuff we'd in theory be packing.  I hate this limbo period.

6. Last night we saw "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo." I hated the book, full disclosure, so I didn't have much hope for this.  However, I was pleasantly surprised, and now I think that the story is just better suited for a movie than a book.  I could've done without the really, really graphic rape scene (which is meticulously detailed in the movie. I am not a prude but this went a little too far for my taste) but otherwise I think it was quite well-done.

7. If you followed me on Instagram, here's some of the images you would've seen this week:

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Pretty adorable little family I have, eh?

How is your week so far?

**SNL Alec Baldwin reference.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Our New Year in iPhone Pictures

You know, I don't think I have ever been to an adult New Year's Eve gathering with more than 5 or 6 people.  A few years ago Rob and I rang in the new year with his mother in Florida, as we watched a Law and Order marathon and drank champagne.  This is how exciting we are.

But really, we aren't big party people, so this is for the best.

This year, like the last few, we spent the holiday at Rob's brother's house.  My sister-in-law and I are close so we always have fun drinking and playing games together (usually Apples to Apples).

This is what I wore!

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When we first drove to their house we decided to eat at the China Din-ah, which contrary to what you are probably thinking is not a Chinese restaurant but just a restaurant located in a town called China.  For some reason I was feeling really nauseated--a problem I've had for the last two weeks--so I ordered a caesar salad.  Though the chicken was marketed as "grilled" it was actually "boiled, kept in the fridge for 3 days and then microwaved" so suffice it to say, worst salad ever.

Back at their house, we caught up on a few episodes of "Dexter," got back massages from my sister-in-law (who took a class on the subject a few years ago), drank margaritas and cocoa cabanas, laughed a lot about their giant, evil cats and the cats' propensity for spooning each other, and ate our weight in snacks.  But I didn't have dinner so snacks are a totally acceptable replacement.


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It was pretty exciting to say goodbye to 2011 and hello to 2012, since 2012 will definitely be a year of changes for us.  We counted down like all people do and I got 3 or 4 New Year's kisses from my favorite person in the entire world.

Below is the first picture I took in the New Year, one of me and my sister-in-law, Jessi:


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On big milestone holidays like this, I'm always reminded of how lucky I am to have my Robbie safe and alive with me at home and not in some far-off land getting bullets hurled at him on a daily basis.  


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This morning we got up bright and early to head home and enjoy the all-day Syfy Twilight Zone marathon, which is where I'll be most likely for the rest of the night.


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I hope you all had a wonderful holiday this year, and I send you all my best wishes for 2012.

Also, I succumbed to blog peer pressure and bought "The Hunger Games." I finished the first book in a total of about 3 hours and obviously had to buy the second.  I was quite dubious--as I'm not usually a fan of YA fiction--but I found the first book very enjoyable and had a hard time putting it down.