Thursday, December 30, 2010

I think we have only spent 5 weekends home since Andy came back from Iraq with no company since July. So we are going to Turning Stone Casino near Syracuse, NY for New Years Eve to have some “alone time”, which is sorely needed. We are leaving tonight, and all week, I have been like a crack addict jonesing for her next fix! I love-love-love gambling!!! I have dreams a week before we go to a casino that I am going to win big, and then it never happens. You would think I'd learn by now, but I can't stop myself from getting excited.

It’s been a mixed bag, this year and I have held up pretty well considering. Finances are the only thing I really didn't stress out much about, and it's usually the #1 thing that makes me lose sleep. But this year, I had a great opportunity to pay off a lot of debt, which took a lot of stress off my shoulders, especially since we are moving in 6 more months.

My New Years Resolutions:

1. To go to bed earlier. I keep myself awake on weeknights so I can watch tv, like a child who is afraid they will miss something. I am going to invoke my right to DVR, and get those much needed extra Z’s. I will even fall asleep with the tv on, saying I'm "listening" to the show, even though I can't keep my eyes open anymore.

2. To finally quit smoking. I have made several haphazard attempts to quit smoking for the past 3 years, but this time I will do it for good. I will miss it, but I won’t. I think that's why I have been unsuccessful at quitting. To understand how you can love it and hate it, you have to have been a smoker.

3. To lose 50 lbs. I can be okay with not being a size 6, but I need to get the 50 off to keep me healthy and more fit. I fell off the diet-wagon this month, and gained back 10 lbs that I had lost. Now I am paying for it by having to go through the stomach shrinking week all over again! I have to wear a bathing suit in 2 months, people! It's bad enough that the St. Lucian's will have to see my pasty, white skin, but I need to trim a few lbs off too.

I'm afraid my list isn't very original or exciting. But it's relatable, since most people I know have the same things on their lists.
Good luck to everyone in making their resolutions happen, and I hope everyone has a great New Years Eve!!!


Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Do you really save money shopping on base?

Every time we have guests, they are always intrigued by the mystery of the PX and Commissary. After all, anywhere you can shop ONLY if you have proper identification is a draw for people. But I just want to clear it up for those of you who are wondering if you are missing out on some “secret squirrel” deal.

The “Shoppettes” are your run-of-the-mill gas stations. Things are generally overpriced than if you would buy them at a grocery store. They carry the same things as other gas stations, but they do carry alcohol which is great in a pinch, depending on your state’s liquor laws. Gas is normally a few cents less than it is off-post, but not cheap enough that if I didn’t pass by it on my way, I wouldn’t bother.

The Commissary is the grocery store. You definitely save money here, but it’s not a gourmet grocer. That being said, you can find a large selection of ethnic foods here because it caters to the military families, whose ethnicity is widespread. And you can special request things. Pricing is great on your canned goods, boxed sides and frozen meals. The deli section is not any cheaper than Walmart, nor is the produce. However, we have much better fruits and vegetables at ours than off-post. One downside to the Commissary is that their meats seem sketchy to me. I have gone back there several times to find raw juices dripping all over the shelves. NASTY. I have to be careful when I buy yogurt, that it’s not too close to the expiration date. They will fill an entire shelf of products that are on the cusp of expiration and this drives me insane. The other crappy thing is that the baggers who work there only work for tips, so you feel incredibly guilty if you don’t let them bag your groceries and they insist on taking it out to your car. And a lot of them are retired Veterans, so you really feel like an asshole if you say no. All in all, I avoid the Commissary when I have money to spend on better quality, but in a budgetary pinch, you can’t beat it.

The PX or Post Exchange, is like your Kmart. While you can get your department store cosmetics, Coach purses, and perfumes here, I find that most things aren’t any cheaper than Walmart. Some things, I think they charge MORE for because they can…like electronics. The clothes are all generic, and I rarely see anything that I have to have. The pro to shopping at the PX is that it’s tax free. If you are looking for souvenirs for friends or family who come visit, take them to Clothing and Sales instead. Here you will find PT shirts that say “Army”, as well as other apparel, hats, shot glasses, lanyards and car stickers.

I was nominated on Babble's Top 50 Mom Blogs List. So pretty please take two minutes and click here: then scroll down to "Glamorous Life" and click on the "like" button.
Thanks a bunch!

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Monday, December 27, 2010

Memories of an Awkward Youth Part 2

I had several things going against me growing up. One of them was the fact that my mother was blessed with 3 daughters, and my aunt, the hairdresser, had 3 sons. My mother had NO idea how to do little girls hair. This is one of the reasons that I prayed for sons. I couldn’t imagine putting a child through the emotional scarring that I endured, just in case I too, couldn’t figure out how a barrette worked when applying it to someone else’s head.
In order to solve this dilemma, my mom made us get our hair cut really short. Really short. Like butch-short. I was still in second grade at my new school, and my teacher who never really bonded with me after the Valentine fiasco, was out sick and we had a substitute. 
Now at this point in my education, I was still a good student. I excelled in English, and my teachers had always adored me. Our substitute was giving a spelling lesson, and one of the words was “orchestra”. I was so excited because I knew it, raising my hand, bursting with excitement to be the first one in the class to figure it out when the teacher called on me, saying “ you a boy or a girl?”
Now, over the years I have tried to figure out what could have possibly made the teacher think that this was a politically correct way to address a child. Did this lady not realize that kids get made fun of at this age? Did she think I was used to being mistaken for both genders? I have no idea, but I can tell you I am 31 now and this happened when I was about 7, so it kind of fucked with me and still does.
I was so shocked and horrified, I could barely eek out the word “girl”. And this was about the time I stopped raising my hand to participate in class. The substitute would become my teacher later in elementary school, and if you think I didn’t remember this bitch the whole way up until that point, you are WRONG. Needless to say, I did not have a productive school career in 5th grade.

I was nominated on Babble's Top 50 Mom Blogs List. So pretty please take two minutes and click here: then scroll down to "Glamorous Life" and click on the "like" button.
Thanks a bunch!

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Wednesday, December 22, 2010

I Inspire Someone...It's about time.

On my weekly blog-reading spree yesterday, I found that I was featured on:
                              Flip Flops and Combat Boots
On it, I made some recommendations about some of my favorite things and guilty pleasures. It's a great blog.

Other than that, I just wanted to wish everyone a Merry Christmas full of holiday cheer and little to no family drama.

I won't post again until Monday, due to holiday travel. (can you sense my excitement?)

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Can you have a Christ-mas without the Christ? You can if you're heathen.

I can't seem to get in the holiday spirit this year.

Last year was much the same, but Andy was deployed, so it's to be expected when that mess is going on. This year I don't really have a reason. I never really feel like it's Christmas until I see two movies:
Bing Crosby's White Christmas
National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation

When I was growing up, I thought I hated being forced to sing Christmas carols and go to church. Now I find myself missing it. I grew up going to church almost every Sunday until I was about 12. I have rarely taken my kids to church, mostly holidays. One of my many shortcomings as a mother. I always said "once we get settled" we would start taking them to Sunday school. I don't like going every Sunday, but the kids should have a chance to learn the basics about Christianity so that they can make an informed decision of what they believe in when they're older. The problem is that I never quite have felt settled somewhere. I'm a moving junkie, and always looking for my next fix.

We are heading to Washington DC to spend the holidays with Andy's mom. It's been a rough year for her, and we are trying to be good children. The great thing about Andy's family is that they drink. My parents rarely have a beer or glass of wine, but when you spend time with Canadians, it's expected.

We are also going to visit my sisters, grandparents and mother in PA for two days heading down. It's not easy when your parents and your husbands parents are divorced during the holidays. We could spend all of our time going between them all, like the movie "Four Christmases". And so next year, I think we are going on a cruise for Christmas. Just us. Time to relax, be in warm weather and sunshine, and maybe pick up a church service or two.

Monday, December 20, 2010

I’m not a talk show host, but I have Favorite Things too!

I don’t know about you, but my favorite time to watch Oprah is when she has her Favorite Things episodes. I don’t really know why I bother, because all it does it piss me off that these people get all this fabulous crap for free and I don’t. I am a very jealous person, I guess. I am still trying to figure out what magic she was lucky enough to be born with, making all these billions of dollars sitting on tv and talking.

Anyway, in the spirit of the holidays, I decided I would share with you my favorite things:

-Home Food Delivery: Sometimes I just don’t feel like cooking, nor do I feel like making myself presentable enough to leave the house. Fortunately, the restaurant industry understands this and they bring to food to me. The only thing that would make it better is if they would bring it directly to my bedside so I wouldn’t have to hover around the window waiting for them to avoid the doorbell ringing and my dogs going beserk.

-Lifetime Movie Network: I could, (and sometimes do) spend an entire weekend in bed watching these salacious morsels of delight. I used to make fun of people who watched “Television for Women” until I realized what crap these shows really are. Now, I can’t get enough of watching women who are having affairs with their stepsons, and try to poison their husbands with arsenic. This is really “trash tv”.

-Vodka and Red Bull: I know that this is dangerous when you binge drink on them, but I find that the older I get, the harder it is to stay awake past 11pm if I am drinking. These babies allow you to keep up with the young pups and keep your buzz. I don’t get the opportunity to have them as much as I’d like.

-The Food Network: A whole channel devoted to my favorite topic.

-My bed: Growing up, I had hand-me-down, mismatched bedroom furniture that probably came from my great-grandmother’s house. A few years ago, we splurged and spent $8000 on a gorgeous four-poster, king sized bedroom set. Aside from my tummy tuck, it was the best money ever spent. I want to send it post cards when I’m away on vacation.

-Mental Health Days: I love staying home sick when I am exhausted, and it is a valid legal reason to call in sick. There are no children to corral, no one to make you do housework and you can watch Maury Povich tell women of low moral value that that is not their baby’s daddy.

-Hazelnut Flavored Coffee: It warms you up, it wakes you up and it keeps you from getting constipated. ‘Nough said.

-Melted peanut butter on ice cream: I was horrified to learn that most ice cream shops don’t offer this as a topping when I moved away from Lancaster. This is one of the reasons that I love Friendly’s Restaurant.

-Built in seat warmers: I don’t know why, but I love having a warm heiny. I would gladly sacrifice half the features in my car in order to keep my butt warm. I do realize that it may become a useless tool if I move to Florida though.

I was nominated on Babble's Top 50 Mom Blogs List. So pretty please take two minutes and click here: then scroll down to "Glamorous Life" and click on the "like" button.
Thanks a bunch!

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Friday, December 17, 2010

Deployment-Part 3- Welcome Home!

When you get to the end of the deployment, many things start to happen. You may have forgotten what it feels like to be kissed or hugged. You may get very nervous about reuniting with your spouse. You may even feel like a different person. YOU ARE. You may have just spent a year of your life as a single mother. You should be proud of yourself for the accomplishment you have just made. It’s not easy when your kids cry that they miss their daddy, or when they are so used to him being gone that they don’t even ask about him. Either way, it breaks your heart.

You should find out from your FRG group or husband when to expect him home, and what activities the unit is planning. His flight home will change 8 times before it’s right, and you need to keep getting updates up to the minute, because it can be adjusted right up to the end. You definitely don’t want him getting in early, only to not have you there. Don’t post this info on your Facebook page…you are advertising to potential terrorists a target.

You will have to decide whether or not to take the kids or other family members. I have chosen to take my kids once, and go alone once. Neither time, did I allow any other family members to be present. You need time to adjust to your entire family again, and so does he. Expect to have a great night’s sleep..because you haven’t in the past year.

Your spouse will be briefed on all kinds of things when he gets home, and just prior to leaving. They discuss how stressful it is after the “honeymoon” phase is over and how to smoothly re-integrate in to the family. Keep in mind that while you may have changed something while he was gone, you have to let him know what to expect. It would be scary to come home after a year and find nothing the same. While your soldier is proud of you for being a strong army wife, he also needs to know that you still need him. Find ways to incorporate him back in to the fold, such as cooking together. Andy is not, by ANY means, a cook, nor has he ever been. But since he’s been back in July, I ask for his help preparing meals. It’s something we can do together, he can feel like he’s helping, and it’s more quality time that staring at the tv all night.

The bottom line is…give it time! Things may be perfect, or they may need some fine tuning. Andy’s first deployment made me realize how much I love him and how much I WANT to be married to him. We both learned to appreciate what we have together, and we have a chance to miss each other. Sometimes instead of hating what the army takes away from us, we have to respect what it gives us in turn. It’s all what you make of it.

I was nominated on Babble's Top 50 Mom Blogs List. So pretty please take two minutes and click here: then scroll down to "Glamorous Life" and click on the "like" button.
Thanks a bunch!

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Wednesday, December 15, 2010


I was reading this article on Yahoo a few days ago about companies hiring private investigators to go out and spy on people who take their sick days for non-sick reasons. Though I thought to myself that it was kind of pointless to pay $75 per hour to a private investigator instead of just letting the $20 an hour employee slide, the interesting part of the article was all the comments after it. There was over 3000, with people on both sides of the fence.

People get mad when you rip off their employer. There were so many indignant remarks about people being lucky to even have their job, let alone a week of sick time. Then there were other people, making arguments for Paid Time Off, rather than “sick” time, or justifying the behavior because employers don’t give people enough paid time off and often put pressure on their employees to not be sick and not take more than X-amount of days off consecutively.

I just thought this made a really good topic to talk about because people have such strong reactions to the issue.

Personally, I’ve worked for more employers that have fallen on the “crappy” side of things. I’ve even worked for companies that have given PTO, but didn’t want you to use it. Most bosses have made me feel horrible if my children or I were sick, so that I felt even worse being off, instead of getting better. I have sat through countless vacations with my Blackberry in hand, waiting for calls or needing to check in to see what I am falling behind on. I have given countless hours of unpaid overtime.

I’ve also worked for employers that are amazing. People that would give you their own vacation time if you needed it, and some do donate in to “banks” for people who have medical or family emergencies and have exhausted their leave. People who honestly believe that your family life is more important than any job, and they should come first. They understand that a happy employee is generally a more productive employee. The federal government has great benefits. Even if I hated my job, I would stay because I can take off when I want, and I have flexibility to make my own schedule. I can even work a compressed schedule if I want to have a 4 day work week. Not all federal positions can accommodate this, and it’s still up to your supervisor, but mine is pretty great.

I think that for an employer to not give sick time, or harass their staff if they do, is archaic and these employers will pay for their mistakes. They will experience higher than average turnover, wasting thousands of dollars in return by training new people. If the economy is able to rebound, more baby boomers will start to retire, opening tons of positions for qualified people to step in to. There will be opportunities for people to be selective in where they WANT to work, rather than where they HAVE to work. Having a business pay to hire a P.I. is a great example of corporate misuse of funds, if they are spending more to investigate their employees rather than give them better benefits.

I’m curious to see what comments you guys have on this one. It’s a random topic, but that’s okay.

I’m totally in.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

If they’re called “Wisdom Teeth”, why the hell do they pull them out???

I am terrified of the dentist.

It’s not that I don’t like getting my teeth shining and fresh. It doesn’t bother me at all to get the cleaning and exam done. It’s the possibility of something being wrong that I don’t like.

I loved my dentist as a kid...Dr. Miller. This guy was born to work with kids. He had cute murals all over the office of The Muppets and Sesame Street characters with teeth. There were toys to play with, and at the end of the visit when your mom was checking out at the counter, you got to pick a prize from the treasure box. (I would appreciate a treasure box every now and then. It’s these things you miss as an adult.)
Then it all changed.

I had to go to an orthodontist in about 4th grade to get a retainer. Dr. Long. This guy thought he was quite a stud. He only hired attractive young women…a bevy, if you will…seeming to serve his every whim and desire. His shirt was unbuttoned to his hip, and through his sea of wavy chest hair, gleamed a gold pimp chain. And he had caps, I think. I remember always thinking that his teeth were so white and straight that they looked like those wind-up, clapper teeth. This image still scares me. (Shudder.) His daughter went to high school with me. I always felt bad for her that her dad was such a skeeve.

Anyway, I went through about 6 retainers because I was/am ADHD and kept throwing them out on my lunch tray at school. I was a kid…Jesus Christ!!! What did you think was going to happen, MOM? My parents and I spent their 10th wedding anniversary digging through the dumpster at my school, looking for one of them. Gag. Number one, if my sons need a retainer, it’s getting cemented in to their heads. Two, it was like $50!!! I am not digging through a dumpster again.

Then I had braces for 3 years, through Jr. High and my freshman year of high school. 3 F&*$-in YEARS!!!! Only to have my wisdom teeth grow in and make them crooked again! What, did you not SEE on the XRAYS that there wasn’t enough room??? And now I have to have two of them filled Friday (I have NEVER had a cavity) and the other two pulled out in January. Without being knocked out. Oh, I asked. I am a nervous wreck. (P.S. I called my dentist to ask if they at least had laughing gas, and THEY DON’T! So I pussed out and scheduled the removal at an oral surgeon so they can just knock me out.)

To make matters worse, Andy got 3 of his pulled last week, and spent most of Monday drooling blood on my bed. I went home at lunch to check on him and give him fresh bags of ice, but he was passed out and the bags wouldn’t stay on the sides of his face. I was half-tempted to duct tape around his head. My only consolation was that he forgot he had heart-monitor sticky things stuck to his chest and stomach until the next day, so it was fun to watch him try to pull those off…and of all nights, I flung my arm back in my sleep and punched him in the face. Lol. He woke me up to yell at me, to which I ignored and went back to sleep. I feel bad now. (Kind of.) (P.S.#2 Andy had to go to the dentist again today due to immense pain over the weekend and he has dry socket.)

But the army even had the decency to knock him out. The timing couldn’t have been worse to make me even more anxious about my cavities. I am seriously considering calling my Dr and asking for a valium.

I hate Dr. Long.

Monday, December 13, 2010

The birthday of my baby, and no, I don’t look old enough to have a 12 year old.

Yesterday was Taylor’s 12th birthday. It’s interesting to look back and realize that there’s only one more year until he’s a teenager.
Andy and I only dated for about 3 months before we got engaged. We met 3 months after I graduated high school. I was going to a state school in PA, Kutztown University, only because the school I wanted to go to, Pace University in Manhattan, was like $30k a year and my parents couldn’t afford it. So I figured I would do really well in college and get a scholarship and then transfer. I hated Kutztown so badly, I woke up one morning and decided that joining the reserves would give me money to go to school. So I did. The night before you do your contract, the recruiter takes you to the MEPS (Military Entrance Processing Station) and you stay at a hotel. This was where I met Andy. He was shipping to basic training the next day. So I have literally been with the man since Day 1 of his military career.

The weekend before I went to basic training, I went down to visit him. This was 6 months after we met. It was Friday the 13th of March, and he proposed to me. I promptly responded by getting pregnant that night and then leaving for basic training. Yes, basic training. I didn’t know because I was only like 3 days pregnant. And I didn’t find out for two more months. I just thought I was so tired because HELLO! IT’S BASIC TRAINING! And I found out by accident too. I went to the clinic to get an ACE bandage for my knee, and I guess it was standard procedure to do a pregnancy test. The doctor came back and told me I was knocked up, and was not really that comforting when I burst in to tears. Army doctors really need to work on their sensitivity training. I knew phone use was limited, so I called my parents and when they didn’t answer, I left them a voicemail. Then I felt bad and had my friend Matt go over to the house and break the news to them. Now THAT is true friendship to tell your friends parents that their 18 year old daughter is pregnant!

I had a stressful pregnancy, being so young. I wasn’t sure what kind of mother I would make, since I didn’t plan to have kids until I was about 30 (never). But I knew more than anything that I did want to have this baby. Andy went through the same fears and anxieties, and the fact he was stationed in GA and I was living in PA with my parents only made things worse. But in the end we made it through, and realized how much we wanted to be a family.

Andy and I didn’t end up getting married until two months after Taylor was born, a fact which Taylor himself realized when doing the math about two years ago. You can’t put anything past these kids. Now we can’t imagine our lives without him. He looks just like Andy and nothing like me, other than his thick hair.

Turns out, having Taylor was the first thing I did that made sense. It was the first step towards being an adult and actually growing up…although that hasn’t even fully happened yet. He changed my life and will always be my little man, even though he will be taller than me in about two years. Happy Birthday, baby.

I’m totally in.

Friday, December 10, 2010

A Year of "Status" Posts in Review, brought to you by Facebook

I was going to post something completely different today, but when I logged on to my Facebook account to see if anyone loves me today (they don't), they had a new app that you can choose from your "status" updates from the whole year and post a year in review. So here you have highlight reel:

Oh, I’m sick of working. Ready to retire.~I have a headache from lack of carbs and fat. Dieting really sucks.~2 weeks with no fast food. Too bad I’m going to replace it with alcohol!;)~YAY! I will be an Aunt soon!~Went tanning as to not scare the Californians and now to tackle laundry and packing!~Am I the only one sad that Capt Phil from Deadliest Catch died?~Ready for Olympic viewing in bed..if I can make it without passing out first!~Good luck to the Iraqi’s voting in their election today. Let their freedom not be in vain, for the soldiers that have given their lives, and let it continue so those that are still there can come home safely.~I drank 3 beers on a Monday night. I just want to be held accountable for that.~There are time when I seek solace to keep from losing my temper. One of those times is when my 10 year old decides it’s a good idea to spray paint the carpet.~SPAM is an underappreciated source of pork. Just sayin…~Sometimes I have to dig deep to turn on the sparkling charisma that is me. SIGH.~Oh, my. Can I call in sick tomorrow? Or just call in lazy?~Happy at the thought of my little sis waking up a mom tomorrow. I can’t wait to hear how it went to get 3 kids up and ready for school for the first time!~Hmmmm. What can I eat?~Stop being paranoid about the government and fill out your damn Census! (There, that was me being civic-minded)~Sometimes you just have to make lemonade when life hands you lemons. (And sometimes you get squirted in the eye with the juice!)~Too nice out today. Makes me wish I actually had something fun to do. LIKE GO TO THE CASINO!~My Yahoo homepage just told me that I spend 5 years of my life eating. Somehow, I know that is setting the bar a little low.~One of the worst things to experience, is when you lose the remote control and have to keep getting up out of bed to change the channel. I might spill my margarita!~Shopping, shopping, shopping! Momma got a new purse…or two. Nothing heals the soul quite like it.~Wish for today: That I could drop it like it’s hot. Maybe not the dropping, but the picking back up without my knees cracking.~I never win at bingoL~Remind me again why I work? Oh yeah. I like purses.~Laws of Attraction, huh? Well, in the unlikely event it works, I am visually channeling no laundry to do, a clean house and a cheeseburger.~My head hurts, and I don’t know which person I’m irritated with to blame it on!~What a weird week. It’s amazing what makes you stop and adjust your perspective.~Anyone want some inlaws? I will give you a good deal for cheap!~I wish the cleaning fairies would come tonight while I am sleeping. ~I say the “Speidi” separation is just for media attention. And I am kind of ashamed I devoted my status to that.~Where did THOSE wrinkles come from???!!!~I had a really big drink tonight. It made me very happy.~I exercised two nights in a row. Yeah, I know. All you know in the world to be true has now been shattered. Just don’t start setting high expectations.~Glad my beefcake is what?~Why can’t these kids go back to school already?~What is an acceptable amount of doughnuts to consume without being judged?~Yucky week. Andy’s stepdad just passed away.~I just want to eat lots of bread and go back to sleep.~Are you sure this exercise stuff works? So far I just hurt.~I heart Gordon Ramsey.~I sneezed and I think I broke my ovary.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

How cold does it have to get to make a “Snuggie” desirable?

The answer to that question, my friends, is whatever temperature it is right now. Though I’ve mocked it many times, the concept is slowing winning me over. A blanket with sleeves and a hood is just the thing for your multi-tasking loved one. Especially when they live in hell and the dumbasses that built the housing put the heating vents on the ceiling. Because apparently in upstate NY, schools don’t teach that heat rises. It’s especially fun when Andy is downstairs and cold, so he cranks up the heat. Naturally, I am in bed trying to nap, but sweltering away like I’m in the sauna.
I told Andy I would send him a camouflage Snuggie when he was deployed. There were some nights he was so cold there, he would’ve used it. I like the idea that it comes in different patterns and colors. If there was a pinstriped one, you could even wear it to work. I WOULD wear it at work! I have no heat in my office, since when they built it out, it somehow slipped their minds that we have feet of snow and it gets a tad chilly.
Another benefit of owning a snuggie would be the easy accessibility for streaking, though I haven’t done that since high school. Maybe Amazon should market them as a BOGO to sell with their pedophile books, because even perverts like a good bargain. (See my post on “Amazon sells “how to” books for pedophiles and realize that I am being sarcastic.)
Personally, I don’t think anything says “do me” like a snuggie. Its great for avoiding sex. You would never need to come up with a good excuse of why you don't feel "in the mood" because you would never be asked! You definitely won’t have to worry about whether or not you look fat in it…It’s a snuggie! Great for masking those extra pounds you put on during the holidays.
I’m totally in.

I was nominated on Babble's Top 50 Mom Blogs List. So pretty please take two minutes and click here: then scroll down to "Glamorous Life" and click on the "like" button.
Thanks a bunch!

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Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Like having another baby...just without gaining 40 pounds!

I am so happy (and relieved) today to announce that my new blog, "Bacon in my Suitcase" has been born!!


Bacon In My SuitcaseI was a moron for going through Word Press since I have little to no experience creating websites, and I got so frustrated dealing with the "themes" and "templates" and "headers", I finally just ended up going on and hired someone to do it for me! Let me tell you, it is so much easier to use Blogger to manage all the gadgets, etc... on a blog. I ate an entire container of chocolate Haagen-daaz last night, and I don't even like chocolate ice cream.

Thank you to Abe at Eugene Web Solutions for putting up with my temper tantrums, frustration and meltdowns, and for doing an amazing job creating my theme!

I decided to split up my blog and move the travel and food parts in able to feature them more prominently. "Glamorous" is more of my personal blog, "mommy" blog if you must, military-related blog.
"Bacon" is to feature kitchen/cooking product reviews, opinions, recipes, wineries, wine education, restaurants, food in general, travel, vacation reviews, travel on budget.

Where did I come up with "Bacon in my Suitcase" for a title? It came to me in an Ambien/Xanax-induced half-coma. If I had to travel with my favorite food, what would it be? I think anyone would be hard-pressed
to NOT say bacon.

Anyway, you will notice my travel and food pages disappear from this blog soon, and you will have to give me a week or so to get things rolling, but thanks for your support through it and CHECK OUT MY NEW BLOG!!!!!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Um, books have PAGES!

First, it was the DVD player.

The only benefit I really saw in buying one, was that Blockbuster could no longer screw me backwards by charging ridiculous fees when I didn’t rewind my VCR tape. I mean, let’s be honest…we know those minimum wage clerks on the day shift have nothing to do anyway.

When Andy and I got married, he already had a blooming video collection. Soldiers who live in the barracks have two options for consistent entertainment. Video games or movies.

I decided I was going to create the most expansive movie collection anyone I know has ever seen. So I poured money in to buying, cataloging and alphabetizing VCR tapes. I researched online to find out what were “must-haves” and bought all the boxed sets too. We ended up with over 600 movies that we have lugged everywhere we went, and we haven’t owned a VCR in at least three years. I refused to buy a DVD player until you pretty much couldn’t rent tapes anymore, and I didn’t want to be caught up in a game of “your movie-viewing device is obsolete”.

Now it’s an “electronic book”.

If I want to read an “electronic book”, I will get on the internet. It’s the biggest “book” that exists. I can read about anything I want in seconds. But I’m not going to call it a “book” because it’s not.

Mankind started to advance once the written word evolved. We have documented our history and imagination, all in different handwriting and languages. We learned the stories of our grandparents by reading handwritten letters sent across the world in a romantic tale of love and war. I have boxes of letters between Andy and myself through the years and separations that we’ve endured with the military. Books are typed, but they still hold the character of their owner through the years. My Nana still writes her name inside the cover of a new book. When they make their way to me, I can look at that signature and feel her here. Books are warm, they smell, the pages are stained and tattered. We keep them for a lifetime, and pass them to those we care about.

So please stop and think twice before you ruin our barely funded libraries with Kindles and other E-books. One day, when you drop it in the pool and it erases your memory, you will think back to this post and wish you had listened.

My VCR collection?
We just got rid of it two months ago. I am still sick over it.

I was nominated on Babble's Top 50 Mom Blogs List. So pretty please take two minutes and click here: then scroll down to "Glamorous Life" and click on the "like" button.
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Monday, December 6, 2010

I’ve Decided:

...that I like myself with bangs. It makes me look younger and kinda sexy, like Bridget Bardot. And it hides the roundness of my face. So screw you if you hate it.

…that grape chapstick is making a comeback. It’s like a little snack every time I lick my lips.

…that my only regret is to not take guitar lessons growing up. I would’ve been one bitchin rockstar.

…that apple pie counts as a serving of vegetables.

…that I only keep Footloose on my ipod because I am hoping a spontaneous yet choreographed group dance number will happen somewhere I go, and I want to be ready for it.

…that the most relaxing thing I have done all week is taking a 30 minute shower so I have time to shave my legs.

…that it’s not a good thing when you have to “pencil in” sex because you have too many family members visiting at one time.

…that my husband looks sexy while applying varnish remover to my dining room table. Or does my table look sexy because it’s being re-stained?

…that the only thing I don’t like about being married, is that I don’t know how to tell my husband that I need “me” time to lock our bedroom door, crank up the radio and dance and sing in to the mirror in my hairbrush.

…that having your own office isn’t as great as it’s cracked up to be. It’s very lonely.

…like a mouse to it’s cheese, okay…like me to my cheese, I crave my best friends.

…that some days, I just want to crawl in bed with my mom and watch a movie.

…that I want to buy a car wash foaming brush to ensure my sons are really scrubbing in the right places.

I was nominated on Babble's Top 50 Mom Blogs List. So pretty please take two minutes and click here: then scroll down to "Glamorous Life" and click on the "like" button.
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Thursday, December 2, 2010

Is it creepy that I am 31 and like the Jonas Brothers?

I totally don’t consider myself some old pervert, but evidently my sons do. I downloaded that “Burnin up” song from the Jonas Brothers and Gavin told me that I am too old to listen to them. Apparently, it’s disturbing to my sons that I am young enough to still listen to pop music, though, I’m not some soccer-mom that has CDs of children’s music and watches tween movies like, “High School Musical.”

Never mind my slight fascination with Zac Efron. (What? I would TOTALLY do him if I were like, 25.(30) sigh.

Taylor took a low blow to my gut at this point with, “When you get to be your age, mom…you have to start listening to Beethoven to increase your brain power so you don’t get “all’s-himers” because then you won’t know us anymore. And calcium because your bones are going to crack when you fall down the stairs” (I actually do trip down the stairs quite often, but more as a result of tripping over our dog than straight clumsiness.)

Then Gavin poured salt in the wound with my favorite, “Yeah, you’re even too old to have any more babies.”

Ummm…I’m 31, so I feel the need to defend my choice to stop popping out children. I’m young, especially to have two kids that are almost teenagers. Of course to them, we seem ancient as all parents do, but having issue with the tag team approach they were taking on my youth, I told them that if they even think of knocking some girl up at the age I was when I got knocked up…I will lock them in their room and ground them. Gavin tried to say he could figure out how to get out without us knowing if I did that, and I told him I would maim him. Like, staple their little balls to the floor. “Try to sneak out the window if I do that!”

Teenage pregnancy is a frequent topic of discussion at my household. We like to horrify the kids beyond imagination by telling them they will have to work at McDonalds for the rest of their lives and never go to Disney World with their children. (Which is about the most horrible thing they can imagine.) I make them watch Teen Mom and then tell them that if they get someone pregnant, they become abusive like Amber.

I also tell them that sex without condoms when you’re not married produces gremlins, which is why they aren’t allowed to eat after midnight.

My worst fear as a mother of sons is that they can get MULTIPLE girls knocked up simultaneously. I really thought they would have the male birth control pill by now. When they do come out with it, I will be first in line. Forget parents who actually believe their kids will practice abstinence---I know my spawn. I will totally crush it up in their Capt Crunch, make them snort it…I don’t care. I will make it to my mid-forties before I am called Nana. I have no room in my Coach for packets of crackers and moist towelettes.

I was nominated on Babble's Top 50 Mom Blogs List. So pretty please take two minutes and click here: then scroll down to "Glamorous Life" and click on the "like" button.
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Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Things I love: Diet Foods that don’t suck

If you have read my blog for any length of time, you know that I will not eat something that doesn’t taste good. In my current battle of the thunder thighs,and recently inspired by the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show (skinny bitches!!!!), I have uncovered some decent foods that don’t make me want to eat my own hand:

Chobani Greek Yogurt: This stuff is 0% fat! I was afraid to try it because it just sounds like something chunky and gross. But greek yogurt is the same consistency as regular yogurt, just a little creamier and heavier. It keeps you full longer and you don’t have to feel guilty about it. And the best thing is that I use the plain as a substitute for sour cream, so I can still indulge myself when I eat baked potatoes, pierogies and chicken quesadillas….oh my!

Pringles Stix/Honey Butter: These little sticks are so delicious, I want to lick the inside of the package(and sometimes do!). Only 90 calories a pack, they make you feel like you are eating something bad for you so you don’t give in when you have that late night craving. They fulfill both the sweet and the salty, and taste like a little cracker stick.

Green Giant Singles Pack/Cauliflower and Cheese Sauce: These little individual microwave containers are sold in a four pack in the freezer section. It’s actually covered in cheese sauce! You can also get broccoli and cheese sauce. The best part, is that they are only 40 calories and if you do Weight Watchers, it’s 0 points! I have one of these with my dinner every night and a glass of milk to help give me the illusion I am full.

100 Calorie Cheese Bites: I crave cheese like no tomorrow, but it’s one of the things that hinder me from losing weight. I was so happy when I found they sell 100 cal packs of cheese cubes in all different flavors. They taste like normal cheese, no imitations. I like to have a pack with my Friday night wine, or as an afternoon snack to get me through until dinner.

Smartones Meals: These are the only diet meals I can even come close to eating. My favorites are the mini-cheeseburgers and the Cranberry Turkey Medallions. They are small, but if you add a small salad to the burger, or a singles pack of veggies(see above), then you feel pretty full. Most meals are under 300 calories and are full of flavor.

I was nominated on Babble's Top 50 Mom Blogs List. So pretty please take two minutes and click here: then scroll down to "Glamorous Life" and click on the "like" button.
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Monday, November 29, 2010

I won an award!! I feel so warm and fuzzy!

How awesome is that? I was awarded the “Stylish Blogger Award.”

What a nice surprise!
It’s good to know someone’s reading it!

Thanks so much to my benefactor!

I’m all giddy with excitement!!

In order to accept this award you must….
1.Thank and link back to the person who awarded this to you. (Check)
2.Share 7 things about yourself. (Check)
3.Pay it forward to 15 recently discovered great blogs. (Check)
4.Contact those bloggers and let them know about their award. (Check)

So, here goes nothing:
7 Things About ME

1. I have a great respect for living in the south after moving back up north. I have decided I hate snow.

2. I love CNN and the Weather Channel. I can flip between the two all day. I love horribly stupid
reality shows too, but I absolutely need to know what is going on in the world in case there is a natural disaster coming my way.

3. I have never been arrested for anything. And am slightly saddened that I have lead such a boring life.

4. I am fairly certain I will never live in Canada. Just as certain that I will never live in Lancaster again either.

5. I could live happily on cheese and bread. (and wine)

6. I still have my trophy for winning the 6th Grade Spelling Bee at East Pete Elementary. It is one of my proudest moments because I beat Pete Toole...and he was a jerk then, so it was an accomplishment. It is on my dresser in my room. I think my husband wonders what my deal is, but is afraid to ask.

7. I still love 2 hour delays as much as I did when I was a kid.

Blogs that I pass along my award to: (in no particular order)
I will even go one step further and offer to do a button trade with you for a week, or longer. If interested, let me know!!!

Deployment-Part 2- Adjusting to life on your own

As I said in Part 1, I moved home to live with my parents during our first deployment. If you have thoughts about moving in with your family or even a friend, be forewarned…any drama they have in their lives WILL spill over in to yours. Do you need even more stress? Do you get along with this person even when you are in bad moods? These are valid questions to ask yourself. Don’t let people talk you in to doing something you are unsure of. A year is a long time to be stuck somewhere. The second deployment, I stayed put, although this is when my dad moved in with me, which, as you will read, was a darn good thing. I had help when I needed it, but he stayed out of the way when I didn’t. Plus, it was my house and my terms, which helped the control-freak that I am.

Communication: Make sure you and your spouse are prepared for the fact that you might be able to talk daily, or not for weeks at a time. It can make you a little crazy when you don’t know if he is okay, but you need to stay calm and remember that no news is good news. I guarantee you that he is more upset at not being able to reach you. He’s in the desert..not out bar-hopping. Chances are, he will have the opportunity to get in far less trouble than you would….not that you would. But you have to remember he will hear all kinds of stories about what is happening back home, as will you, and this may cause some tension. Cell phones are a bad idea and very dangerous. Use this as a time to get to know each other again. You are going to be doing a lot of talking, so you might discover some things you didn’t know. We paid about $60 a month for Andy to have internet in his “room” and we talked on Yahoo IM webcam every night about 10pm. Another source is Skype. This was a nice option because then we could see each other. As it can make you crazy to NOT talk to each other, it can have the same effect if you talk TOO much. You run out of things to say about your day when you have already told him the day before. And it makes time go entirely too slow. Every three days is a good rule of thumb, if he is available. Don’t ever discuss locations, etc…over the internet or the phone. Always assume that someone is listening in, and that someone might be a threat.

Speaking of threats…don’t advertise the fact you are home alone by putting a Service Star Flag on your house. A yellow ribbon is general enough to blend in, yet not announcing to be robbed or attacked. Likewise, don’t put the “Half my heart is in Iraq” bumper-stickers on your car for the same reason. We can support our soldiers in all the other things we do, but the most important thing you can do for your husband is be safe.

Have a talk with your husband about how to handle any bad news with the family or other friends while he is deployed. Does he want to know while he is gone, or wait until he comes home? We were tested with this several time. During the first deployment, I was in 4 car accidents and Taylor was hospitalized. During the second deployment, our dog killed our cat and I had to have the dog put to sleep. This was a horrific day, and had my dad not been there to shield me from seeing it, then the kids and I would have walked in to that scene after work/school. We also got news that Andy’s stepfather was terminally ill and might not make it until he redeployed home. Make sure you have the information for the Red Cross, because chances are that you might very well have to get a message to him.

The last thing, is that you want to stay as busy as possible during the deployment. Use this time to explore your interests. Is there somewhere you want to travel that he doesn’t? Go visit a girlfriend or family member. Take a class or lesson. You can also look forward to your mid-way point, which is R&R for two weeks. This will be a fun break. Ask your spouse what they want to do…don’t just plan a big party or trip. They may just want to sit on the sofa with you, and not do anything. You need to keep in mind, they may be a little jumpy. It’s not a good idea to drink too much during this break either. Have an enjoyable time with him, and when he leaves to go back, know that you are almost done!

I was nominated on Babble's Top 50 Mom Blogs List. So pretty please take two minutes and click here: then scroll down to "Glamorous Life" and click on the "like" button.
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Saturday, November 27, 2010

Memories of an Awkward Youth Part 1

I relate to both of my kids in different ways, but they couldn’t be more opposite. Maybe it’s my polarizing forces from being a Gemini. Maybe I’m just bipolar. Who knows?

My sons don’t even look alike. One looks like Andy and one looks like my mom. We remind him of that every chance we get, because what 10 year old doesn’t want to look like their grandmother? Their personalities couldn’t be further apart. One is crafty, cocky and popular with the kids in his class, and the other is quiet, awkward and socially inept. Between the two, they cover the evolution I have gone through in life.

I was always able to make friends easily growing up, but I was my own worst-enemy. I guess that part hasn’t changed much. When I was in second grade, we moved out of the city and in to the suburbs. My first day of school was near Valentine’s Day, and my sister was in Kindergarten. I was walking down the hall by myself and noticed there were hearts on the bulletin boards, decorated by my peers. One of them had fallen off the board and was laying on the floor. I can’t tell you what went through my mind at the time, but I thought it would be a good idea to take it and give it to my sister as a gift to tell her I was thinking about her on her first day at school.

Here’s where it went wrong:

I didn’t fully erase the name of the kid who actually made the valentine before I added my own message of adoration. And then I actually took it to her teacher to give to her, whose classroom happened to be down the hall from the bulletin board where the other 30 valentines of the same style were hanging. So, my first day at my new school, I was hauled in to the principals office to explain where I had gotten the present for my sister.

What did I learn from this childhood blunder? The boy whose valentine I stole and had to later apologize to in writing, probably never dated me because of it. That, and use a better eraser.

In all fairness, the same boy, Joe, gave up a recess to teach me how to stand on my head… and a first crush was born. A boy-craziness that lingered, mostly unreturned for the next 10 years. And it took me about that long to start to figure out how to attract the opposite sex.

I was nominated on Babble's Top 50 Mom Blogs List. So pretty please take two minutes and click here: then scroll down to "Glamorous Life" and click on the "like" button.
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Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Black Friday Madness: Yup, that’s exactly what it is!

The day after Thanksgiving brings the hoards of shoppers racing to find the deal of the century. I am not one to turn up my nose at some bargain shopping, but I hardly agree with the premise of Black Friday. Let me tell you my reasons:

1. Who the hell wants to get out of bed before 8am to get a family-sized trampoline or a Tickle Me Elmo? We get so few days off during the year, I am invoking my right to sleep in after I have crammed my gut full of carbs the day before.

2. The traffic is ridiculous. Unfortunately, if you don’t feel like cooking after you’ve slaved the day prior, you’re kind of screwed since they put all the good restaurants around the shopping centers. It’s even worse when you live near a town like Watertown, NY…where there is literally one road that everything is on.

3. Bitches ARE Crazy! Yes, I said it! People will get in your face and fight you if you grab the same pair of shoes. There were people trampled to death for the opening of a Walmart sale on Black Friday! I don’t know about you, but I am NOT going out like that! What would it say on your Tombstone? “I just had to buy that Paula Dean Cookware at a discount.” (It is good stuff, though.)

And #4…

I don’t like that it’s called Black Friday because I always get it confused with the day Jesus died, and then I feel guilty. That day is called Good Friday. Seems to me like somebody confused the two, because I would think a holiday devoted to shopping would be called Good Friday, and the Lamb of God being ruthlessly murdered would be Black Friday. I’m just saying…

I was nominated on Babble's Top 50 Mom Blogs List. So pretty please take two minutes and click here: then scroll down to "Glamorous Life" and click on the "like" button.
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Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Rest-less Me

Well, my in laws came this weekend and I was exhausted. I picked up some kind of sinus infection Friday, so by the time they got here Friday night and we went to eat dinner, it was about 9:30pm. I get up at at the crack of dawn as it is, so I was pretty tired. Not to mention, I decided to try on the smallest pair of pants I had while we were waiting, and THEY FIT!!! Just a tiny bit snug. But I figured it would be good motivation to keep me in check at the restaurant because it would be horribly uncomfortable if I ate too much. So, I wore them.

I am a complete and utter moron.

Of course I am going to eat when you take me to a restaurant that has bread shoved in my face when I walk through the door!!! (Or when it’s within an unrestricted reach) Duh. I can’t resist buttery buns and steak and deep fried pickles! Plus the 3 sweet teas I pounded to get it all down. My jeans were going to explode. All I could think about was how I wanted to get in to a horizontal position and unbutton my pants, while Andy took off my shoes. I don’t know how I made it in to the car, but then Andy’s stepmom wanted us to just go back to their hotel room instead of going to our house. FOR THE LOVE OF SAM!!!!

The whole time we were driving back, I was making silent promises of how I would repay God if he kept me from passing out from the pain. Andy and I quickly devised a plan by using clever hand signals and a series of clucks. He would pretend to fall asleep after 10 minutes, giving us an exit strategy.

It would’ve went well, except it took forever for them to notice he fell asleep!! I almost had to throw a box of tissues to get their attention. But we finally got out of there and I went home to peel off my jeans. Ok, Andy had to help…and not in a scenario HE would have liked!

Saturday we stayed busy running errands, and I scored some new coffee mugs from Pier One, as well as a nifty set of candle holders and a wall decoration. Getting stuff always makes me feel happy. Until I am just ready to go home and relax, which after about 3 hours, I was. So we ate dinner, and I cracked open a bottle of wine. When they finally left for the night, I was so exhausted and I immediately went for the bed. I stayed there for the next 23 hours, which was apparently not enough to knock the sick out of me because I am exhausted, sick, nauseous and I can’t breathe right out of my nose, unless I wear a breathe-right strip, and lean to my left with my right arm up in the air. It’s like trying to tune an old television with rabbit ears! I guess I need to take more vitamins because I have been getting sick every few months. Maybe I am just sick of NY.

Shameless Begging About to Commence: I was nominated on Babble's Top 50 Mom Blogs List. So can you please take two minutes and click here: then scroll down to "Glamorous Life" and click on the "like" button.
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Monday, November 22, 2010

Bargaining with the Food Devil

So, I was calculating what calorie-allotment I am allowed to have on my MyPlate diet, and plugging away all of the things I am making for Thanksgiving. I am allowed to have half a sliver of pumpkin pie, a spoonful of gravy and 3 oz of turkey.

Or I can have two bottles of wine.

Yeah, like that’s going to happen. (There is really no choice there.)

There were days at my fattest, when I seriously contemplated gastric bypass surgery. It sounds too easy to have a surgery and lose 100 lbs in 6 months. I stopped considering it because I couldn’t get past the image of eating Thanksgiving Dinner out of a Dixie Cup. In fact, I think it made me actually cry a little bit for those who HAVE gotten the surgery done. The one holiday that’s whole existence is to feast, and you would be done in one bite. It’s just sad.

I will pour some gravy on the floor this Thanksgiving to honor you, comrades.

I haven’t really discussed it on my blog, but I have been dieting since October 4th.

I know the exact date because it was the last time I have had real butter.

If you know me, that’s a feat in itself. I don’t think I have ever bought margarine before, and it’s very confusing to know which one to go with. Nevertheless, I will lose 60 lbs before I move in May. But the problem is that I didn’t know what to do in the world of diet foods. I am not normally a “snacker” so I didn’t really know if it would be a good thing to eat those 5 smaller meals. I thought it may just encourage me to eat more often, which is a slippery slope. I ended up with a pretty good system. My mom recommended using MyPlate on to track my calories. It tells you how many you can eat per week, depending on your size and how many lbs a week you want to lose. I’ve lost 26 lbs since I started, which SOUNDS good, but since I need to lose about 80, it’s like dropping a stone in a pail. My biggest struggle with food, is that I have to constantly remind myself that this is not the last time I will be able to experience it. Like my taste buds are scared that they will never see the likes of another taco, so I have to eat 12. I eat for the taste. I eat for the endorphins. Cheeseburgers are one of the top things in life that make me truly happy. If that makes me shallow, so be it. And so I have had to “up” my dosage of Xanax and cigarettes to compensate.

Don’t judge me.

Thursday, I will eat my Thanksgiving Dinner. And I will eat it with pride. But I will not over-do it and wreck my accomplishments thus far. I WILL wrestle with the Food Devil, and win. And so can all of you who are trying hard to shed some lbs this holiday season, instead of embracing the fat-girl within for one more Christmas.

Shameless Begging About to Commence: I was nominated on Babble's Top 50 Mom Blogs List. So can you please take two minutes and click here: then scroll down to "Glamorous Life" and click on the "like" button.
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Friday, November 19, 2010

Anderson Cooper…and other things I’d like to give thanks for...

With Thanksgiving coming rapidly, I thought I would take the time out to tell you about the things in my life I’m thankful for, since I bitch so much about everything else.

Anderson Cooper. You light up my life. You make me have to make a conscious decision to turn off reality TV and turn on CNN to catch the important stories of the day. I can hear an intelligent conversation, and still get lost in your baby blues. You made grey hair SEXY. Were it not for you, I would have a blank space on my wall at work where I hang your beautiful face. Aside from Andy, you are my second longest relationship with a man. I don’t care about the naysayers that try to tell me that you are gay…. SHHHHH….baby, don’t speak. I don’t need to know details, because this works in my head, and it works in my marriage. And I know where you live. (Wink.)

I am thankful that I don’t have any food allergies. I shed a tear for those poor souls who can’t eat peanut butter, gluten, chocolate or dairy…for what is a world without these things? I don’t know how it would be possible to go on, or even why you would want to.

I am thankful that I have a car. Because it would suck to have to walk two miles to work. Even though I abuse it verbally every time I have to dump more money in to it, and punch the door when the window won’t go up because the kids have superglued the childproof button with sticky candy. Because, I don’t want to be a “scrub”, and I have an innate distrust of people who exercise intentionally.

I am thankful for Gordon Ramsey and his band of Waffle-House-cook-rejects on Hell’s Kitchen to watch for two solid hours on Wednesday nights. I wouldn’t let you moron’s make me eggs and toast, and yet you have the chance to run a restaurant with a 6-figure paycheck. Without you, cooking wouldn’t be as potentially violent, nor would be considered a spectator’s sport. You make me wish I could pull off saying words like, "Bloody" and “Bollux” and not sound like a jackass, and wish that I had an English accent.

I am thankful that even though I am fat, my boobs are proportional to my body. In fact, they are really big. No, they aren’t fake. It’s just more fat. But it’s in a place that works for me. Because there is just nothing sadder than when you are fat and flat-chested. It’s like an anomaly in the universe of fairness.

And finally…

I am thankful that I am moving away from upstate NY. Because I can’t take another winter of getting out of bed an hour earlier every day to dig my car out of snow, trying too hard to make friends with people who just don’t get “it”, having nothing more interesting to do than spend exciting Saturdays at Walmart, and getting out of a place that is only now just getting an Olive Garden.

Shameless Begging About to Commence: I was nominated on Babble's Top 50 Mom Blogs List. So can you please take two minutes and click here: then scroll down to "Glamorous Life" and click on the "like" button.
Thanks a bunch!

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Thursday, November 18, 2010

Do you ever just NOT want to go home?

Normally, I am ready for Friday to come on Monday, but this week I feel like Elton John and George Michael let the sun go down on me.

My in-laws are coming. Unexpectedly. And last-minute.

Andy got home from Iraq in July. Pretty much the ENTIRE YEAR he was gone, none of our parents came to visit, other than my father who came and just never left…so I don’t count that as a visitor. Now, you would THINK that they might figure I would need a little break and offer to take the kids, but my own mother hasn’t even been here in over a year. Since the week after Andy got home, we have spent 3 weekends without any excess parenting. That’s it.

This confirms that everyone likes him better.

My Travel Tips for Las Vegas, NV

I love to go to Las Vegas. Even if you don’t want to gamble, there are plenty of things to keep you busy for weeks. So I figured I would share some info on how to roll like you’re rich in Vegas…or at least have a really great time.

Hotels: I almost always use Priceline for my hotels, and “Name my own price”. You can specify where you want the hotel located and what Star Level. Request, and receive a 5-Star Hotel for $100/night. Last time I did this, we stayed at the new Trump International and had a suite with a full kitchen! The bathroom in this thing was the size of a normal hotel room. Pros/Cons: No Smoking Hotel, No Casino in this hotel. For a cheaper hotel, use Priceline also. Name your budget and come out with a bit nicer place.

Other Hotels I Recommend: Paris, The Luxor, The Bellagio, The Wynn, The Palms and The Hard Rock Hotel

The best places to gamble are definitely downtown. The slots are looser, and the table minimums are much cheaper. One shining star I have found on the Strip, is the Sahara. This is one of the oldest hotels on the strip, so they compensate by having $3 Blackjack. You can sit down with $100 at a BJ Table, and unless you hit a horrible streak, you can play on this for hours at $3/hand. If you have to play slots ( I do too) then make sure you play the Max Bet. Yes, your money goes faster, but I can’t tell you how many time a $300 win would have been a $3000 win, had I not been a cheapskate.

Vegas is one of those places you can eat really cheaply, or really high-class. For a cheap, but awesome meal, go to Lucky 7’s in the Hard Rock Hotel and ask for the steak special. It’s a steak, salad and potato for $7, but is NOT on the menu. For another cheap steak dinner, go to Ellis Island for their famous $6.99 deal that includes one of their micro-brews. Up partying til 6am? Eat a meal in the middle of the night. After 11pm, you can find $2-4 Breakfast deals at almost every casino. For a more memorable dining experience, try Nobu at the Hard Rock. It will run you about $100-150 per person because everything is a la carte. But it’s amazing Asian cuisine, and you cannot miss the Kobe Beef Tenderloin!!!! Another more pricey meal not to miss, is the Gourmet Buffet at the Bellagio. It will run you about $35, but rest assured that this is the BEST buffet on the strip.

If you have money to spend, I highly recommend ANY of the Cirque Du Soleil shows. I have seen KA and O, and both worth the $100pp. Still want to see a show, but not rolling in the dough? Go see the Follies Bergere at the Tropicana. It’s the longest running showgirl act in Vegas, and you can usually find a deal to pick up tickets for about $30pp. You can also try the Last Minute Tickets Booth on the strip for day of the show specials. Still don’t have enough money for a show? Head over to the Rio All-Suites Food Court, where they do a Mardi Gras performance right there for free. See the acrobat performance at the Tropicana, watch the fountain show at the Bellagio, see the Pirates show at TI, the Lions Exhibit at the MGM, the Tigers at the Mirage, the light show at the Freemont Street Experience. Simply walking through each hotel gives you something interesting to do, and you will NOT have time to see it all. There are roller coasters and rides at New York New York, Circus Circus, and the Stratosphere. Whatever your budget is, there is plenty to keep you busy.

This is where it will be a bargain for you to go VIP. Make arrangements before you travel with a VIP Host, either one you find online or through the hotel. NEVER PAY A FEE FOR THE SERVICE! Tipping once you get there is up to you. Decide beforehand where you want to go, and reserve a table. You will be required to purchase a bottle of liquor. Prices run about $300 per bottle. But if you have 4 friends per bottle, then it brings down your cut to about $120, including the gratuity. You are going to pay $10-14 per drink in Vegas and there is nowhere to sit for free. You might as well have your own cushy couch, table, all your mixers are included and you make your own drinks right there at your table. Plus, you have security to watch your purse while you dance and your booze. Definitely worth every penny. And who doesn’t want to party like a rockstar when they’re in Vegas???

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Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Deployment Series-Part 1- Letting him leave

People always want to know what life is like when your husband has to go away for an entire year. It sucks, I won’t lie. We had been married for 6 years at the time of the first deployment, but we were still young and changing. The second time, I was 30 years old and married for 11 years.

I moved home to my parents with the boys before he left. I had a good job offer there, and I didn’t have any friends in Savannah other than a former coworker. Figuring that I would get to spend time with my sisters and friends that still lived there, I shoved all the concerns I had about this to the side. I love my parents…but when you live far away for 6 years and are accustomed to your own household, it’s not always easy to blend families again. I would say it highly depends on your personality. If you are more independent and you have some friends, stay on your own. If you don’t want to be stuck at your duty station by yourself, then move to where your family or friends are, but get your own apartment. You will have to pay for this move out of pocket, though, as the army won’t foot the bill without PCS(Primary Change of Station) orders.

One of the worst parts of deployments is waiting for the time to come. The last month before the deployment, you and your spouse will be on edge. It might be his first time downrange, and he might have a lot of fears that he won’t verbalize because he doesn’t want to admit it, and because he doesn’t want to scare you. I think Andy was just as worried about me being here to cope with everything as I was about him being in harms’ way. The first time Andy left, I was a little angry because it seemed like he was a bit excited to go. I didn’t understand at the time that this was what he had been training for all these years, and it IS exciting the first time. The second time was a different story, completely. He knew how much it was going to suck. You both might experience a pull-back in your emotions as the day gets closer. It’s easy to let the tension build up and have arguments, so just be aware of what is happening inside you and discuss it so that he knows you still love him.

When Andy left the first time, both sides of our families went to see him off. I didn’t know how to say no to his parents wanting to see him off, and I wasn’t sure if I would want to be alone. The truth is, you don’t want to be alone OR with anyone, other than your husband. The downside to family coming along is that when the time comes to say “See you later” (never goodbye) to your husband, you have even less time for one last hug/kiss because there is a crowd that wants to give their hugs to him. The second time he deployed, I had the kids give their hugs and kisses at home, and I drove him in. I stayed as long as I could bear, but I made plans to leave and go home to PA for the weekend. What I wanted to do, was go to bed and cry…but learning from the first time, I kept myself occupied. I made plans in advance with my friends from home and they took me out and kept me distracted. It was a much better experience. You can (and will) have your cry when you go to bed that night, but let your pals take your mind off things. It will feel odd, but it’s okay to smile, laugh and forget how much things are going to suck for a minute. But Day 0 is over and the deployment has begun.

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Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Social Gatherings: Army Style

There are a certain number of events that are quite common in the military community.

Probably the most common is the FRG Meeting. It is also the most dreaded.
FRG (Family Readiness Group): These are the wives/spouses of the soldiers in the unit. Often lead by the Company Commander or First Sgt’s wife. The meetings are usually about an hour in length. They may or may not put out a training calendar, so you know when your soldier will be home, in the field or gone away on training, as well as the days off or DONSA’s. These groups usually have children everywhere, not listening and running around. Sometimes there are potluck meals provided. There is planning of any unit events or holiday parties, in which each family signs up to bring a dish. There may be special information, as in pre-deployment, given out by the commander at these meetings. They also plan events, like Baking Cookies for the single soldiers for holidays.

Hails and Farewells: Only some of the unit’s do these with any regularity. These are parties, usually at a bar or restaurant, to welcome or say goodbye to a soldier who is moving. I have NEVER seen it done to welcome an incoming family. These are usually fun. Probably because there is drinking.

Military Balls: Some people enjoy them, others hate them. Think of a prom, but more protocol. Although I have seen people wear everything imaginable to these, the dress is formal. I have worn both short formal and long formal. Yes, some people get their hair done, but no, most people don’t wear flowers. There are usually photographers there to pose you in a Prom-like pose for a fee, and there is a reception held an hour beforehand. There is often a Memorial for Fallen Soldiers given, and many toasts (remain standing other than the toast “To the Ladies”. There is often a “Grogbowl” Ceremony, which you have to see to believe, and then a Chaplain’s prayer and Keynote Speaker Address. Somewhere in here, you actually are served your dinner. The formal part of the ball usually lasts about 3-4 hours, and then everyone can dance and cut loose. There are assigned seats.

Word of Warning:
I am all for RELIGIOUS freedom, however, at military functions YOU WILL BE present when they play the National Anthem. When you see the American Flag, FACE IT and keep facing it until you don’t see it anymore. When they start playing the National Anthem, your soldier will salute. YOU WILL PUT YOUR RIGHT HAND OVER YOUR HEART and keep it there until the soldiers are done saluting the flag. Don’t embarrass your husband by not doing this, or your kindergarten teacher who already taught you.

In other news, I was nominated on Babble's Top 50 Mom Blogs List. So can you please take two minutes and click here: then scroll down to "Glamorous Life" and click on the "like" button.
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