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.
Thanks a bunch!

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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.
Thanks a bunch!

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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.
Thanks a bunch!

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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.

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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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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Monday, November 15, 2010

WTF is a “jegging”, and why would you sell them in a plus-size store?

As we have already established, I am a gal of a rather husky nature. Called curvaceous by some, and that’s just fancy-speak for “carrying a few extra lbs,” I hear your cries. Over the years, the only store I have found that hasn’t shunned and punished those of us who can’t control our food intake, is Lane Bryant. Their clothes make a concerted effort to mimic those in the rest of the fashion world, giving us options other than pleated mom jeans and the ever-popular Mumu. The downside to them is that they charge us for the extra fabric, so their prices are more than what you would pay at Old Navy.

So the other day, I kicked back with my monthly mail ad, only to be horrified. Apparently skinny jeans just weren’t skinny enough, and they have created jeans that are actually leggings. I don’t know what is worse…a silk-screened print of denim on a spandex-knit or that fact that someone thought it was completely appropriate to sell in a store that starts at size 14 and goes to “You can fit a bowling ball in their bras.” Now before you start leaving me nasty comments, asking me why I hate my own kind…SAVE IT, or I will come show you how this fat bitch can kick your ass! I believe that curvy women are certainly sexy, and you can be bigger and beautiful. But I don’t want to see my own cottage cheese thighs rippling through spandex, and no one wants to see yours either.

Which leads me to unfold yet another revelation that no one has put out there…if you have an “awning over the porch,” aka: your belly hangs over your pants, or you have what is referred to as a “muffin top”, then you need to stop wearing jeans made for anorexic teenagers. I know what it is like to have to bite back your pride and go a size up, but GO A SIZE UP! It’s just not healthy to cram it all in there. If you need to use a shoe horn to scoop your fat roll in to your jeans, I am talking to you! Proper care and feeding of a gut, is to treat it right and let it breathe. If you truly love your body the way it is, then let it love you back by not tethering it in such a manner that it creates TWO rolls instead of one, which is what happens when you wear clothes that don’t fit. They have this wonderful invention called SPANX, which smoothes things out so nicely that you kind of WANT to spank your ass because it looks so good.

I am sorry if I hurt your feelings, but there is a civic duty that comes along with a blog and I am just using it as another way to serve my country. You will thank me for it later when you see photos.

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.
Thanks a bunch!

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Friday, November 12, 2010

What I heard: Amazon sells "How to" guide to Pedophilia

Last night as I watched CNN, I saw a story on and how they are under fire for selling not one, but MULTIPLE books on the subject of Pedophilia, and I just had to throw my two cents in. I watch the news more than most people I know, and if I hadn't heard about it until now, chances are that others haven't either. The main book under question is basically a "how to" guide for people who "live that lifestyle" and, as the books author states on the cover, "This is my attempt to make pedophile situations safer for those juveniles that find themselves involved in them, by establishing certain rules for these adults to follow. I hope to achieve this by appealing to the better nature of pedosexuals, with hope that their doing so will result in less hatred and perhaps lighter sentences should they ever be caught."

I will not give this author more notariaty by mentioning either his name or the name of the book. But I can tell you that I will not be shopping from anytime soon. I believe in the First Amendment, however I do not believe that means that a national retailer needs to sell that book. I think it's irresponsible and disgusting that they would give this author a platform in which to peddle his crazy. It actually hit the Amazon Bestseller's List!!! When it comes to subjects that are encouraging a reader to do something illegal and harmful to children, the retailer has a duty to use common sense over "Freedom of Speech". I am definitely not a "book banner", but there comes a time to make a choice between profits and integrity and this is why I am outraged. Shame on you, Amazon.

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Thursday, November 11, 2010

My belly grumbles for home: A Shout out to the PA Dutch

I love it when people ask me if I am Amish when they find out I grew up in Lancaster County, PA. Actually, if I were Amish, I would not have a blog, because they don’t use electricity. Had I been an excommunicated Amishwoman, I wouldn’t have any family discussed in my blog, because they wouldn’t be allowed to talk to me anymore.

But, I am Pennsylvania Dutch. The people called “Pennsylvania Dutch” are descendants of German-speaking settlers; the word “Dutch” is a corruption by English-speakers of the word “Deutsch,” meaning German. Pennsylvania Dutch food is hearty and filling. The cuisine often mixes sweet and savory or sweet and sour foods all in the same dish. It also loosely translates in to “the reason why I have saddlebags on my hips.”

You can thank the PA Dutch for the following foods:
• Scrapple –a pork-hybrid breakfast meat
• Rivvel soup
• Chow-chow
• Apple butter
• Shoofly pie
• Whoopie pies
• Funnel cake
• Fastnachts-Donuts that are kind of tasteless, but have a PA holiday named after them
• Apple dumplings

If you have ever heard of Shoofly Pie, but were afraid to try it, let me alleviate your fears and concerns. ITS EFFING DELICIOUS. When I lived in Georgia, I missed it so much I paid $30 to have one shipped down to me because I didn’t know how to make it. And now, to avoid the price racket the Amish have going on said mail-order pies, I give you the gift of shoofly pie. You’re welcome.

1/2 teaspoon salt
3 1/2 tablespoons ice water
2 cups all-purpose flour, divided
Cooking spray
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
3 tablespoons Crisco
1 cup boiling water
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup molasses

Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine 1 cup flour and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a bowl; cut in 1/4 cup shortening with a pastry blender or 2 knives until mixture resembles coarse meal. Sprinkle surface with ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time; toss with a fork until moist and crumbly (do not form a ball). Press mixture gently into a 4-inch circle on heavy-duty plastic wrap; cover with additional plastic wrap. Roll dough, still covered, to a 12-inch circle. Freeze 10 minutes or until plastic wrap can be easily removed. Remove 1 sheet of plastic wrap; fit dough into a 9-inch pie plate coated with cooking spray. Remove top sheet of plastic wrap. Fold edges under; flute. Preheat oven to 350°.

Combine 1 cup flour, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and brown sugar in a bowl; cut in 3 tablespoons shortening with a pastry blender or 2 knives until mixture resembles coarse meal. Combine boiling water and baking soda; stir in molasses. Pour molasses mixture into prepared crust; sprinkle flour mixture over molasses mixture. Place pie on a baking sheet; bake at 350° for 40 minutes or until set. Cool on a wire rack.

On another completely unrelated note:KEEP ME IN THE TOP 50!
If you have already wasted 2 minutes reading this post, let me bother you for another 2 seconds to hop on this link, scroll down to Glamourous Life and click the little "thumbs up" sign to vote for me:

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Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Random rant about Babies…and other ships that have sailed:

I don’t know if it’s that whole “biological clock” thing that everyone talks about, but lately I have wanted to have a baby. (GASP) I know that is the most shocking and disturbing thing I have said in the past ten years. I kind of want to wash my own mouth out with soap….and then violently cut out my tongue with bolt cutters.

One reason is that they smell good. And they are cuddly. I have a constant battle with my sons about the finer points of deodorant and Stridex pads. With babies, you still have everything to experience with them: The First Day of School, getting to see what their personalities are going to be like. My kids are boring! I already know them, and let me tell you…they are NOT all that fascinating right now. They don’t believe in Santa anymore…they don’t even play with toys anymore. It’s all about video games, skateboarding and giving me looks of disgust. Telling me how I need to stop living their lives for them now that I am 31 because mine is over. (Yeah, they kind of got me on that one, for right now anyway.)

I keep waiting for my sisters to have babies so I can smother them with kisses and give them sugar, and laugh hysterically when their kids fill the cat’s ears with ketchup. No, but seriously, I want to have my nieces and nephews every summer for a week. I want all my kids cousins to be close to them, just like I was with my cousins. Unfortunately, the only way this is going to happen is if they come stay with us. The good thing, is that we live far away so they can’t just drop in for babysitting.

So why don’t I have another baby? There are a few reasons, one being that Andy can’t. I forced him to be the one to get fixed after I had pretty much two pregnancies, back to back. Evidently birth control was not one of my strong suits, so left to my own devices, I would probably have 12 kids by now and live in a shoe, undoubtedly, a Birkenstock, not a Jimmy Choo. Secondly, my kids are 10 and almost 12. I would be a complete moron to start over, just when the finish line is in sight. I guess I will just have to continue admiring from afar until my clock breaks completely.

Or until my children continue on the pattern of teen pregnancy in our families, and make me a grandmother before I turn 40, which is more likely the story.

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Monday, November 8, 2010

The Hate Stops Now: A story of Intolerance

I have given you an introduction to my son, Taylor, and our struggles with his Asperger's Syndrome. Now I will give you the story of his struggles within himself.

Since Taylor was a toddler, he always loved long hair. The only thing he wanted was barbie dolls, much to certain friends and family members dismay. He even had an imaginary friend, whose long, silky locks he would stroke for hours as he talked to himself. For Halloween many years, he wanted the girl costumes, and when we would go to friend's houses to play, the princess costumes were his favorite.

We live in a military community, where real men wear blue and green and they wrestle and play sports. We signed Taylor up for soccer, which was short-lived when he kissed a girl on the cheek in the middle of a game and the girls' parents screamed across the field at my 6 year old child so disgustingly that he ran crying, and refusing to ever go back.

My husband was unsure of how he felt about all this. But I reasoned with him that either Taylor would see that the other children would pick on him and he would stop to fit in, OR he would say "screw what you like, because THIS is what I like." Either way, he would be the one to make the choice.

Over time, Taylor has adjusted by cutting his hair short and wearing men's clothing. He is almost 12. But I still catch him wearing my accessories and dancing in my heels. He is comfortable in his skin.

But others are not comfortable with him.

This year, things have escalated. As a 6th grader, he rides the school bus with the high school children. He has undertaken abuse and bullying on a daily basis. He has come home with fist-sized bruises on his arms and thighs, and has been slammed in to lockers and called "fag" and "gay". My baby comes home crying daily, and I don't know what I can do to protect him. The school's stance is that anything that occurs at the bus stop is not the school's responsibility, and the bus driver says he does not witness any of this behavior. Last year, they DID catch one of the children abusing him inside the school on camera, but the bully was not suspended or expelled. If it weren't too late to notify the state of my intent to homeschool, I would have pulled him out. Now we count down to May as if it were Christmas, so that we can move, and hopefully, find a school district that has better control over the situation.

With so many children his age committing suicide over these same issues, it's time to take a stand and insist that schools take these issues gravely. I make my son stay downstairs when he is home, because I don't want there to be an opportunity for him to be alone too long if he is emotionally distraught. When I was his age, I too, was bullied. Teachers saw, and they did nothing. I know not much has changed. Most believe that kids should just "toughen up" to prepare for life in the real world. I want my son to learn to stand up for himself and I give him that opportunity. But it only goes so far, because I am still the parent.

It's time that parents buck up and take responsibility by teaching tolerence. I don't care what your religious beliefs are, or if you live in a conservative household. It's a matter of right and wrong. I don't know if my son is, or will be gay, but to me it doesn't matter. This is my child, as there are many out there like him. You don't have to approve of him, and you sure as hell don't have to approve of my parenting style because I "let" him do these things. He is a human being and he makes his own choices as to who he is. My only job is to love him unabashedly, and fiercely. And that is what I will do.

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Plastic Surgery: My Tummy Tuck

So, lots of people have asked me about my tummy tuck. What was it like? Did it hurt? Was it expensive? etc……So I guess I will just tell you my story, because I’m not really shy and if you ask me about it in person, I will totally try to show you my scar like a proud 4 year old.

About two years ago, right before my 10 year high school reunion, I was feeling pretty down about myself. I had made it through having two children and didn’t gain a ton of weight. But then I moved to Alaska and gained about 80 lbs in 6 months when I was 21 years old. Over the years, I struggled with gaining and losing weight. In reality, I always will. I had always wanted a tummy tuck, even when I was thin in high school. I never had a flat stomach….my gut was almost like a pet. It was always there. So as my high school reunion neared, I decided that I was going to go to a consultation and at least get the info.

I went to Chattahoochee Valley Plastic Surgery in Columbus, GA and saw Dr. Naman. A girl I knew had gotten her boobs done there, and they looked amazing. Dr. Naman graduated from Princeton and worked at the Mayo Clinic. If you are going to get plastic surgery, please check out your doctor. This person could completely screw you up!

I went in, discussed why I wanted a tummy tuck and my expectations. After discussing pricing (which was $4500) I walked out with an appointment for the following Monday to have my surgery. Now you can pay cash for surgery, or most plastic surgeons will finance them, like a car. The cost was what had made me wait so long to decide to move forward with this, because I felt guilty spending that much on myself.
I went in the day of my appointment, they knocked me out, and about 3 hours later, I woke up. I was groggy and tired, but not really in any pain. They stitched my abs back together because if you have kids, pregnancy often separates the muscles, making the wall sag. The stitches inside, I could feel if I breathed too hard or coughed. The incision didn’t hurt at all because when they open you up, they detach the nerve endings.

For the next 10 days, I had to walk bending over and constantly slather Neosporin over my incision so it would stay moist and heal with minimal scarring, which it did pretty quickly. I had to lie in bed with a pillow under my knees and slightly sitting up, but the painkillers they give you knock you out, so you still sleep. I took a week off work, but probably should have taken about 10 days. You wear a big Ace bandage around your stomach for a month. It helps the scar tissue form tighter around your abdomen.

A month later I was at my high school reunion, and everyone probably thought I had gotten implants rather than a tummy tuck, since I was pretty flat-chested until I had my kids. The money I spent was well worth the cost and the minimal discomfort I was in. I don’t ever feel like I look horrible now. I have days that are better than others, but I never want to just give up on myself. My husband has told me that if he knew what a big difference it would make for my self-esteem, he would have let me do it years ago!

Please feel free to ask me any other questions you might have about this topic.

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Sunday, November 7, 2010

Spa Sundays: My reward for good behavior

If you have a relationship with a man in the military or a single woman AND you have children, you realize that there are many times that you don’t get the weekend off to recoup. I find getting through a deployment like running a marathon (or so I’m told, because let’s be honest…I don’t run.) You just keep going and going, seeing that finish line in the distance, and even though you can’t even feel your rubbery legs, you somehow make it to the end. Then you collapse.

It normally takes me a few months to get in the groove again. Andy is borderline OCD, so he doesn’t believe in sitting still on weekends and relaxing. The first few years we were married, it made me feel incredibly guilty that I was sitting happily on the couch while he went by, lifting my legs out of the way as he vacuumed. But now, I am used to it. I look at Sundays as my “Don’t ask me to do anything” Day. I stay in bed late… sometimes just laying there. Then I might get up and cook some delectable breakfast for my family, but not out of obligation. That is what makes the difference. I only do what I want to do, not what I have to do. Today I did put in a pork roast to slow cook through the day. I will be making an apple cider reduction sauce to top it off with later.

Most of the day, I watch the Food Network or DIY. You can get a lot of good ideas from watching these channels. Or I sit and watch all the shows on my DVR that I taped for me, like Project Runway. I am about 5 episodes behind because Andy will NOT watch this show, although my sons love it. This week, spa Sunday will include me running on the treadmill for 10 minutes. Not because I like exercise, but because I like the thought of having a slender body. But we can’t always win.

I realize I am lucky that I have a husband that cleans. In fact, Andy does ALL the laundry when he is home. My father is NOT a cleaner. It used to make my mom manic because she would have to do all the chores/laundry/cooking/shopping herself. I am too much of a bitch. I wouldn’t have allowed it, because I have a sense of self-worth. I work a full-time job outside of the home, and there is no way I will do it all, wear myself in to the ground, and slowly grow to resent my husband and his Neanderthal laziness. Hell no. Give your husband a choice. He can do the grocery shopping, or he can do the cooking. He can do the laundry or he can clean the bathrooms. Divide things up. What is he going to tell you? No? HAHA. If he does, then see how fast he changes his mind once there is no dinner made for him, or no clean clothes when he goes to work.

I guess my point to this post is that you don’t have to wait for Mother’s Day to have some time to yourself. Obviously if your husband is gone, you are going to have to modify this. When your kids are old enough, you can develop Quiet Afternoon Sundays. The kids have to sit and work on an art project or read a book so that you have time to relax. It’s good that they grow up already having a time set aside to put all the stress out of their minds and just do something enjoyable. Laundry will wait…housecleaning will wait. Good mental health is worth so much more than 3-4 hours of work. You are the rock of your household, and no one is going to give you a break from that. I waited for years, but being the mom/wife is the keystone that holds the family together. So you have to just create what works for your family.

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Friday, November 5, 2010

What I ate: Fall Edition

This is one of my finer recipes and tastes delicious on a brisk fall day in November.

1 butternut squash
3 green apples, peeled, cored and chopped
1 medium onion, finely diced
¼ teaspoon dried marjoram
1/2 tsp. rosemary
4 1/2 (10 1/2 oz.) cans chicken broth (double strength)
3 cans water
3 slices white bread-torn up
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 c. heavy cream

Cut the butternut squash in half and scoop out the seeds. In a large saucepan combine all ingredients except cream. Bring to a boil, then simmer, uncovered, for 45 minutes. Remove butternut squash and scoop out the pulp. Discard the peel and add the pulp to the soup. Puree soup with a blender until mixture is smooth (if you do not have a hand blender, you can do this in a regular blender in several batches). Return soup to saucepan and bring to a boil. Just before serving, stir in the cream. Serve hot and garnish each serving with a sprinkle of cinnamon and dollop of sour cream or plain yogurt.

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