Monday, January 31, 2011

Job Hunting 101

Maybe you know, maybe you don’t…but my background is in recruitment. I started by working for a staffing company about 10 years ago as a Personnel Manager, and grew from there in to HR. I fell in to the job pretty easily by following advice from one of my best friends.
Whether you are looking for entry level or professional positions, here are a few tips I have come up with to help you find a job:

1. Edit your resume! I once had a 9 page resume land on my desk, and I would have thrown it out, but I kept it just in case the guy ever contacted me, so I could educate him (Which he did!) If you are applying for different types of positions, and not just one target area, you will need several versions of your resume, highlighting your relevant experience. (I will do a post specifically on resumes down the road, going in to more details.)

2. Let someone do the work for you. It can be time-consuming, but registering with as many staffing companies as you can, will give you an “in” with many local companies. Temp Agency is mostly a thing of the past. Most of the positions offered by staffing companies such as Randstad, Adecco, any of the Robert Half companies, specialize in “temp to hire”. This is a full-time, permanent position that the company has to fill. They call it “temp to hire” because during your 90 day probationary period, which you would have at ANY new job, you are paid through the staffing company. It allows the business to pay the staffing agency over time rather than in a lump sum payment. If you aren’t interested in doing temp work, then tell them that, and they will only call you for the jobs that will ultimately result in a permanent placement. Most staffing companies have an executive level placement service for higher level positions. This is a great way to go for upper level management, because you can negotiate pay and benefits through the agency. Believe me, they want you to get the highest salary possible, because their fee is based upon it.

3. Follow up on your resumes and applications. In this day and age, we apply for most jobs online, making it difficult to connect with a real person, prior to an interview. Be creative! Pull up the companies website and find out who the HR Manager is. Call them about a week after you submit your resume, just to inquire on the status. Don’t harass them, and definitely don’t stalker call them. But one phone call shows your interest above others.

4. Interviewing: If it’s one thing that makes me irritated, it’s when I interview someone who shows up in jeans. It doesn’t matter if you are applying for a job slopping pigs, you are making a first impression that you care about your appearance, and that you take the job seriously. Trust me, I would love to go to work in sweatpants, but even if that was appropriate dress for your job, DON’T GO TO AN INTERVIEW LIKE THAT!!!! You should be dressed in a business casual outfit, which consists of a dress, or dress shirt and pants. A tie is not necessary, but is suggested. And please, make sure the dress or skirt comes down to your fingertips at a minimum and no cleavage.

This is just the basics. If you have any questions specifically about applying or interviewing for jobs, email me or leave me a comment.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Home is Where the Heart Is...kind of.

An update on my "Situation":
I went back to the dentist yesterday afternoon, after I was pushed to the point that I "yelled" obscenities at my facebook status because of my pain level. He did shove more of that nasty gauze down the hole, but it does feel better now. He also refilled the Motrin and the Perc's. ;)
I'm using them sparingly because they make me feel itchy, like a crackhead. Also because when Andy had his vasectomy 11 years ago, he was on them for a month and starting repeating himself I know they are pretty potent.

Andy and I are going to PA tonight by ourselves, but it's not a fun trip. I wrote a post last week about organ donation, inspired by one of my best friends mothers who was suffering from liver failure and needed a donor. Unfortunately, she passed away last Friday, so we are going home to attend her funeral and to be there for my friend. Even more reason to get out and do something to help someone else.

I am a horrible smart-ass. (gasp, followed by shock and awe)
I make fun of people sometimes and enjoy it. Okay, I make fun of people A LOT and enjoy it. But I don't target those who genuinely have a problem...I'm not a total jerk. I usually make fun of stupid people who should know better. In spite of my mean girl-ness, I am a really super nice person. I try to avoid confrontation, mostly because if I ever did have to throw it down, I would seriously hurt someone. (Hold my errings.)I am not opposed to physical violence...ask my younger sisters how I used to beat the crap out of them growing up. But people who know me really well always say I am "too nice" and I let people have too many chances. Because I make so many snide remarks and mean commentary, I feel like I have to do nice things for people that are less fortunate. So I volunteer when I can, go on shopping sprees for the local Food Pantry, and I have even paid for a strangers gas when their credit cards was declined. I figure that even though life sucks ass sometimes, I have it pretty damn good and with that, a responsibility to pay it forward. That is probably the ONLY reason I sleep at night. That and the Percs.

Anyway, this weekend I am spending time at my sisters house. She just turned 30 and has 3 foster kids. I love watching her direct the chaos of having kids. I can't help it. It makes me smile. I love the kids, and I get to spoil them rotten by getting them a slime-making kit. I figure I should spend as much time with them as I can before we move far away. I am also looking forward to some PA Dutch cooking and the delicious things I can't find anywhere else. I will probably gain 10 lbs being home (just driving in to Lancaster County adds 5) and then I will have to starvation diet for the next 3 weeks to fit in my new Victoria's Secret Miracle Bathing Suit for my vacation to St Lucia-where I just found out I can take my laptop because it has Wifi, and post pictures to make you all insanely jealous of me. I plan to be drunk all week, so I'm sure it will be interesting. ;)

Hope you have a great weekend! Next week, I will actually be posting some things that have useful content, rather than my narcotic-induced rants.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

2011 Blizzard Bloghop

Okay, I'll bite....

If you are out touring around the Milspouse Bloggie World, welcome to mine!

Take a peek around, read some of the posts and pages.

Something good to read would be About Me

If you like me, come back and hang out sometime.
And don't forget to comment and leave your site!

Back to HH6 Website

Dude, I need to lay off the Perc's

And so, 6 days after my wisdom teeth came out, I finished the last of my Percocet. (sniffle) It was great going to sleep, feeling like I was floating...not overanalyzing the day I have had. And NO PAIN. Oh yeah...I better update you on that:

So I was having a little bit of pain on Tuesday in my jaw. Not what people describe dry socket to be like...just a dull ache, which was what I had assumed I would feel all week. So I figured since I had to go back to work Wednesday after lounging in bed for 4 days straight, I would get a visit in with the dentist to confirm it WASN'T dry socket. Well, he said it was, and shoved this clove-tasting gauze down in the socket. It didn't hurt, just tasted horribly nasty and I thought I was going to ralph. When Andy got it shoved down his tooth hole, it made him feel better immediately. It has made absolutely NO difference in how my jaw feels AND the dentist didn't give me an antibiotic, which is leading me to believe that I have an infection, NOT dry socket. (Don't you like the way I diagnose myself? Damn WebMD!)

So I am going back today after work to have them pull this gauze out and undoubtedly stuff more back in. My life doesnt sound so glamorous today, huh? All this, and it's still not as bad as I thought it was going to be, so I can't really complain about it.

But back to the I had this cracked out dream that I was trying to call my mom on this retro cordless phone that had an antenna like 2 feet long, and J-Lo was there, bartending but she refused to perform "Jenny on the Block" for us, her long-time, barmate friends, and it really upset me. After all, what is the value of being BFF's with J-Lo if she won't perform her music/dance numbers for you? I also wanted to try on her Versace dress from the P. Diddy Era, but it wouldn't even fit in my dreams. I can only assume J-Lo being in my dream is a reflection of the one haphazard episode of American Idol I unfortunately watched last week. As for the old-ass cordless phone, I am guessing this has something to do with me being attached to my Droid 24/7 lately. It's got something new to play with every day. It's so much better than my Blackberry was. I actually "peeped" from my phone last night for the first time. I keep wanting to type "peed" though. I think I like "tweeted" more.

I am hoping the Dr gives me some more Percocet...and it's not completely lost on me that a drug addict would say the same thing. lol. Honestly, I don't think it would make a difference because my jaw hurts the most while I am at work, and taking narcotics at work is generally frowned upon...At most of the jobs I've had anyway.

Andy and I are headed to PA for the weekend, ALONE...SANS CHILDREN. Which is a good thing, since last night he grounded Gavin for 4 weeks for back-talking. It started with a week, and then Gavin kept going so Andy kept going. I explained to Gavin this morning, the finer points of winning an argument with his father, and that he was not going to EVER win by challenging him. Andy's like a bull...when you challenge him, he sees red and has to charge. I also told Gavin that I could be a powerful and mighty ally to have when he is a teenager, and that I could be "bought" for a price. (I figure if I get in there now, I can profit off this.)He mostly looked confused, as is the case at 6am. Shit, it's 9:15am and I still look confused. Did I mention I've been taking Percocet this week?

Have an awesome Thursday.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Oh Crap! I think I’m going to hell. (As if this is surprising news)

I would like to believe that, above all else, God has a sense of humor. If he/she doesn’t, I am royally screwed. How can he not, though?…he invented the penis.
Anyway…I spend a decent amount of time on BlogFrog, checking people out who have similar interests as mine so I can find other blogs to read. One of my blogger pals, Madge is a Mom, did a post on how she was doing a bloghop by clicking “Next” on the Blogger screen and going from blog to blog and her shock at how many people have religious blogs.
I have to say I agree. When I look at member lists of people who are on Blogfrog, it gives an opportunity for them to write a blurb about themselves. When I sit down to write a paragraph about myself, God doesn’t seem to ever enter my mind, and perhaps that’s a reflection of my self-absorbed nature. But it’s not that I am not spiritual. I grew up going to church every Sunday. I stopped completely in my adult life (add it to the list of bad parenting practices) but more out of being utterly exhausted and needing my Sundays to lay in bed and complain that I have to go back to work the next day. But I believe in God. I believe in Christianity, but I believe a little bit of all religion is true. Personally, I think they are all the same thing fundamentally, with cultural changes.
But I find myself rolling my eyes when people put on their profiles, “I am a child of God, the Father Most High,” and then have a picture of themselves with their knockers hanging out and covered in tattoos. (That is not a knock on tattoos…I also have them.) Somehow, I don’t think you are going to church like you portray you are, and I’m pretty sure Jesus was the only man alive that didn’t love Hooters like most men do. If you love God, shout it out and be proud, sure. I am not the type to go knocking down doors in the name of religion at THIS point in my life, however I’m sure if the Rapture happened, I would be singing a different tune. I’m just saying don’t be blogging about your crazy drinking habits and party animal behavior, and then be spewing the “Saved” speak. It really lessens the value of religion for those who live a well-behaved life, and it’s false advertising about your blog content.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Guilty Indulgences January 2011

To highlight some of my favorite things, I am starting this post once a month. These are items I have bought, not review products. If you have a product that you would like me to review and consider for feature, please contact me via the "Contact" Tab.

Buxom Lashliner, $15, SEPHORA
When I bought this, I had no idea it was going to help condition and thicken my eyelashes! I apply it with a flat, tapered brush to my upper lids, and it glides on like a gel. Easy to use and it goes on smooth, but it lasts ALL DAY! I have tried so many liners it's not even funny, but for price and value, I am going to be sticking with Buxom.

Tiffany & Co, Pendants and Necklaces, $100-250
I'm not a huge fan of following silly trends and buying logos (although some I do like), so the heart-shaped tag charms are not my thing. But Tiffany has several really cute pendants, such as The Pineapple, Mittens or my favorite, Round Initial Pendant

Always wanted a Birkin bag, or a classic Quilted Chanel....but can't afford to shell out $20,000? Check out Avelle. This is the most kick-ass idea anyone has ever had in fashion. You pay to "borrow" handbags, jewelry, etc...keeping them as long as you want. Pay by the week or the month. Switch bags as often as you would like. If you want to buy a bag, then the amount of money you have paid to rent it, counts towards your final price.

Relax Riesling, $14-20, Relax Wines
This a great tasting wine, and affordable on any budget. A light, sweet wine, it pairs well with some snacks, a backrub and a lazy Friday night.

Welcome to Ikea meets Crate & Barrel, presented as CB2. I got a catalog in the mail for them, and they have some really unique pieces for decorating in a minimalist or modern home. My favorite deal is their dinnerware. They have some great sales going on their plates and glasses.

Monday, January 24, 2011

The Deed is Done...and I was a big sissy

Okay, okay...everyone was right. IT WASN'T THAT BAD!

I had my wisdom teeth pulled Saturday morning. I was pretty calm and under control. It was reminiscent of the tummy tuck since they had to give me an IV to knock me out, although I didn't have oxygen during the tummy tuck. I really expected to look like holy hell afterwards, since Andy did...but I woke up pretty nicely and slept on the way to Target to get my meds filled. I planned on waiting in the car, but I felt fine enough to go inside, so we grabbed some yummy soft things to eat while we waited. I fell asleep on the way home and then when i got home, I fell asleep for a while. But I was up around 2pm, ready to eat something. Now it's Monday at lunchtime and I really don't have too much pain....I didn't the whole time. So I guess I was a wreck for nothing. My cheeks didn't even swell up. I don't look like anything even happened.

Unfortunately, the kids ended up getting today off because it's -22 degrees. That's not even that cold, so I don't understand what the deal is? It started as a two hour delay,which was fine with me since I'm off today and tomorrow and I could sleep later before getting them off for school. But then they canceled it altogether. Now I have to decide if I am going to keep Andy company tonight for the "MANDATORY" FRG meeting. They make it mandatory every time, but so far, its only like 10 people and us that get suckered in to believing that. I try to tell Andy that no one else believes it's mandatory but he insists we have to go. So I am going to end up having to go again tonight, which sucks because Andy only has 4 more weeks of work until he leaves for recruiting school, and when he comes back, we will be clearing post to get ready to PCS (move, get the hell out of dodge, etc...) So I don't know why we have to go find out what will be happening in the unit, since we won't be here. But that's the way it is, and Andy always gets suckered in.

My weekend mostly consisted of trying to decide how to work some new aspects in to my blog (when I wasn't snoozing happily or picking stuff out of the giant holes in my mouth because I am afraid of getting infections.) As you might or might not notice, I added two pages. "Glamorous and Girly" is where I am going to hide away any discussions we have about marriage and sex, fashion and other stuff that we like to talk about. "Extracurricular Trouble" is about travel, events, etc...If you have an awesome trip and want to guest blog about it, let me know!

Other guest blog topics I would like to cover:
Sex and the Single Girl
Top 5 Things I Can't Live Without
The View from the Mother of a Soldier, Sister of a Soldier, Girlfriend of a Soldier
Questions from the New Girl on Post
Bachelorette Party Ideas

If you would like to contribute a guest post on the topics above or you have another idea, let me know.

Friday, January 21, 2011

I’m Single-Handedly Responsible for the Demise of My Son’s Social Life

In other words, it's just another day of my Bad-Assery in the realm of parenthood.
Before I made their "shitlist."

I would like to start by saying that I am fundamentally opposed to the idea of a 10 year old having a cell phone. I didn’t get a cell phone until I was 21 and had two kids. It exposes them to the demons of “sexting” and all the disgusting forwards that I know damn well these kids are sending each other. It also makes it harder for me to spy on him, now that I know he knows that I check his texts periodically and I’m sure he deletes them. It allows him to receive phone calls that I am not screening because I don’t know if he’s getting them, like he would on a home phone.

All this being said, I am generally lazy. This means that I don’t want to have to call 8 parents to find my son when he is outside playing during the day, and then get stuck in long, boring conversations with people who I have no interest in befriending.

Thank god my son’s best friend here has a cool mom. We had the chance to bond when the boys were arrested last spring for stealing a skateboard, and charged WITH A FELONY!!! We literally met at the police station when they hauled them in. Sometimes violations of the law bring families closer together! Turns out, there was a 3rd kid who actually made off with the skateboard and our two sons went to the house from which the skateboard was stolen and told them what happened, but the mother believed that since our ten year olds didn’t tackle the kids and stop it, they were also involved, so all three boys were charged with larceny and burglary. Which kills me, because it was broad daylight and it was taken out of an open garage. Gavin has had his skateboard and two bikes stolen out of our garage, but we are the morons who left it open, so that’s our bad. I am not one of those mothers who think their kids do no wrong. Believe me, I was ready to hang him upside down by his toenails when the cop came to my door. But you know when your kid is lying, and I knew he was telling the truth. The other mother and I cross-examined each other's kids and their stories matched up. They had also gone back to her house and told her what happened right away, so we felt confident that they did the right thing. They ended up having to write an apology letter to the kid, which I wrote since I was not going to make Gavin apologize for something he didn’t do…it’s the principle of the thing. Had the mother come to me, I probably would’ve grounded him just for being in the vicinity, but she was a bitchface and utterly RIDICULOUS, so screw her.

Anyway…back to cell phones…

So I got a new Droid Incredible this week. It IS pretty incredible, other than the fact it doesn’t hold a charge longer than 9 hours, whether I’m using it or not. So Gavin was super pissed because he doesn’t have a texting phone, and threw a giant fit that EVERYONE else he knows has them and he’s the only one without one. He actually said it hurts his fingers to text on a normal keypad. WHAT???!!! Never mind the fact he was already grounded from it for some other infraction. But then I have my sister, who works for Verizon, get my account checked out to make sure I’m not paying too much a month…and she discovers that the little shit texted back to a commercial and now it’s charging me $20 a month!! Instead of taking it like a man, he immediately lied about it when I confronted him. So I grounded him for another two weeks. Which is more of a punishment for me, normally, but tomorrow morning I get my wisdom teeth out, so I figure I will sleep most of the weekend anyway from all the fun drugs. So it’s more of a punishment for Andy. (Callous Snicker.)

Now it’s my fault that we are moving, and that he isn’t going to have any friends, so I should be letting him spend what time he has left with the ones he has here. He gives a compelling argument, and when he gets really creative, I just want to give in because it’s impressive. Sometimes I do. I take pride in their ability to talk their way out of a situation. That’s not something that comes naturally to most people, unless you’re a politician. But I didn’t give in this time because I was pretty mad. So I have become the WORST mother, and he is about to become a social outcast because he is without his cell phone for three weeks (even though it’s not a texting phone).

I will sleep well tonight with that thought.

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Thursday, January 20, 2011

Donate a Kidney! Or atleast some blood, people!

One of my closest friends is going through a tough time right now. Her mother is dying because of liver failure. My friend cries every day, as she sees pieces of the woman who raised her and kissed her boo-boos, slowly fading away. She can’t speak sometimes, she’s confused, and she can’t care for herself. She didn’t drink, and took great care of herself, so it’s not self-inflicted. It’s the result of a brain disorder. She’s been in and out of hospitals for the past month, sometimes in a comatose state. The worst part about all of this is that it can be fixed and she can go back to herself again…IF she gets a transplant. The problem is that the registry is so long, she would likely die before she comes up for a donor. And so she waits, hoping that one of her children will be a match.
People are afraid to become organ donors for several reasons. Here’s a Fact list from Donate Life America:
Fact: Anyone can be a potential donor regardless of age, race, or medical history.
Fact: All major religions in the United States support organ, eye and tissue donation and see it as the final act of love and generosity toward others.
Fact: If you are sick or injured and admitted to the hospital, the number one priority is to save your life. Organ, eye and tissue donation can only be considered after you are deceased.
Fact: When you are on the waiting list for an organ, what really counts is the severity of your illness, time spent waiting, blood type, and other important medical information, not your financial status or celebrity status.
Fact: An open casket funeral is possible for organ, eye and tissue donors. Through the entire donation process the body is treated with care, respect and dignity.
Fact: There is no cost to the donor or their family for organ or tissue donation.

You can also help by becoming a living donor.

Who can be a living donor?
While many people are willing to be living donors, not everyone has the qualities necessary to participate in living donation. Donors must be chosen carefully in order to avoid outcomes that are medically and psychologically unsatisfactory. While the individual circumstances of each potential donor are discussed privately and tested to determine compatibility, all potential donors must be genuinely willing to donate, physically fit, in good general health; and free from high blood pressure, diabetes, cancer, kidney disease and heart disease. Individuals considered for living donation are usually between 18-60 years of age. Gender and race are not factors in determining a successful match.
Types of living donation
Although not all transplant centers perform all types, living donation has expanded to include many variations since the practice began in 1954, including:
• Related - Blood relatives of transplant candidates including brothers, sisters, parents, children (over 18 years of age), aunts, uncles, cousins, half brothers & sisters, nieces and nephews.
• Non-Related - Individuals emotionally close to, but not related by blood to transplant candidates, including spouses, in-law relatives, close friends, coworkers, neighbors or other acquaintances.
• Non-Directed - Individuals who are not related to or known by the recipient, but make their donation purely out of selfless motives. This type of donation is also referred to as anonymous, altruistic, altruistic stranger, and stranger-to-stranger living donation.
• Paired Donation - Consists of two kidney donor/recipient pairs whose blood types are not compatible. The two recipients trade donors so that each recipient can receive a kidney with a compatible blood type. Once the evaluations of all donors and recipients are completed, the two kidney transplant operations are scheduled to occur simultaneously.
• Kidney Donor Waiting List Exchange - If a paired exchange cannot be found, living donors in certain areas of the country may be eligible for living kidney donor list exchange. In this type of exchange, a kidney donor who is not compatible with their intended recipient offers to donate to a stranger on the waiting list. In return, the intended recipient advances on the waiting list for a deceased donor kidney. This type of living donation is also referred to as list-paired exchange and living donor/deceased exchange.
• Blood Type Incompatible - This type of donation allows candidates to receive a kidney from a living donor who has an incompatible blood type. To prevent immediate rejection of the kidney, recipients undergo plasmapheresis treatments before and after the transplant to remove harmful antibodies from the blood, as well as the removal of the spleen at the time of transplant.
• Positive Crossmatch - The positive crossmatch process is similar to the process used for ABO-incompatible living-donor kidney transplants, where patients can receive kidneys from living donors with blood types incompatible with their own. Similarly, treating patients with plasmapheresis also greatly reduces the chance of organ rejection in patients with elevated antibody levels. Previously, these elevated antibody levels made tissue rejection almost certain. Positive crossmatch live donor kidney transplants are usually only performed if no other live donors (with a negative crossmatch) exist.

Risks and recovery
Although transplantation is highly successful, complications for the donor and recipient can arise.

However, living donation does not change life expectancy, and after recovery from the surgery, most donors go on to live happy, healthy and normal lives. For living kidney donors, the remaining kidney will enlarge slightly to do the work that two healthy kidneys share. The liver has the ability to regenerate and regain full function. Lungs and pancreas do not regenerate, but donors usually have no problems with reduced function. The usual recovery time after the surgery is short, and donors can generally resume their normal home and working lives within two to six weeks. Be sure to talk to your doctor about what to expect.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The Unlikely Skier

So I was kind of busy over the weekend. We went skiing with Andy’s dad and stepmom up in Canada at a place called Blue Mountain Resort, Ontario, Canada. See link:
Let me start by saying that I have only ever skied once in my life, and that was last February. Andy came home on mid-tour R&R and we went to Lake Placid for a long weekend. I wasn’t really scared to ski because I didn’t know what to be afraid of, other than falling. The first 5 minutes on my skiis cured me of that, as I tried to go down a little bump and fell immediately upon walking outside. It was then that I realized that Andy hadn’t told me how to get back up again, and there I sat, stuck on the ground while he was in the building trading Taylor’s snowboard for skiis. (He couldn’t even stand up with the snowboard.) Gavin came over to me, and after he proceeded to mock me (BRAT), he told me to get on my knees and stand up. Well, since I didn’t know any other better way to do it, and taking my skiis off hadn’t occurred to me at the time, I did just that. By the end of the day, my knees were so wrenched from turning them to the sides to get up, I could barely walk.
I was terrified most this weekend of meeting with my old nemesis… the ski lift. Last time, I didn’t even think I was going to have a problem getting on and off the ski lift. It looks so easy and graceful! You squat and sit, and then get off, right?? Uh, no bitch. That’s only in the movies. First, they had this little ramp you had to ski down right when it was your turn to get on the lift chair…so you have to move quickly. But then you have to stop on a dime, or you’ll keep going right off the platform!!! Every time we went down this little ramp, Taylor fell, so the operator had to keep stopping the whole damn thing until we could situate ourselves.
Then we get to the top, and EVERY DAMN TIME I thought I was home-free getting off, and then the back of my skiis would get tangled with Taylor and I would biff it. After doing this like 10 times, I lost my mind at Andy, who grew up skiing, and made him take Taylor with him. That was much better. But this was the one thing that stuck in my mind as we approached this year’s trip. One interesting twist to this year’s trip was that last Tuesday, Andy sprained his ankle. I mean, size of a grapefruit! But we got off lucky. We didn’t ski very long, because Andy’s stepmom has asthma and his dad has a bad back, so it was only a few hours Friday night and a few Saturday.

I would have to say my highlight was that the bunny hills had flat escalators, like at the airport, that took you up the hills, so I didn’t have to maneuver the ski lifts. I think that the world should have escalators all over the place instead of sidewalks. I just wanted to throw that in since it was relevant and I may not ever have an opportunity to mention it in my blog again. It was worth the almost 9 hour drive from Watertown. I didn’t realize that we were driving that far. I thought it was near Toronto, but the way my inlaws took us, it was 6 hours from their house. It’s right on Georgian Bay, which is part of Lake Huron.
The bad part of this years’ trip was when I let them convince me that a normal size hill just looked bigger because of where we were standing, and that it was no more steep than the bunny hill. So up to the top we went (On a normal ski lift, in which I managed to remain upright). It looked like a bunny hill for the first 50 feet, and then it dropped off in which I can only describe as a sheer cliff, before leveling out again. Now I don’t know if they got a lot of snow right before we went, or what, but this didn’t look like anything we should be going down at our current skill level.  Had I stopped panicking for 5 minutes and turned to my right, I would’ve seen the “sissy escape path” that went down to the bunny hill, however I didn’t notice this until several black and blue marks, two wrenched knees and a heart attack later.
Me walking down the death hill, PISSED!
I started to ski down the hill, then lost my confidence and fell. Andy thought it would be a good idea to come over to “help” me, by telling me to get up. Now, I tend to get a little bitchy when people feel the need to state the obvious. It insults me to the highest level to have someone tell me something my dog could figure out. “DUH…I need to get up. BUT I CAN’T, YOU ASSHOLE!!!!! So unless you have a crane or a hula hoop (I saw a parent doing this with a child) that you can drag me down behind you, then screw off and leave me alone to figure out what the hell I’m going to do!!” I also want to mention that I had no idea where my children were at this point. As far as I was concerned, they were on their own. I realize now that this was not the best display of parenting skills, but I figured that between Andy and his parents, they could deal with how to get the boys down.
Somehow I managed to get up and get going again, but as I approached the cliff, I panicked, and the next thing I knew, I was falling backwards and my legs were flailing around, bouncing off the mountain because my skis were still attached. I remember muttering, “oh shit” and then closed my eyes until I came to a complete stop. You would think after a fall like this, I wouldn’t have much further to go, but NO…I think I had only fallen about 15 feet and I was still above the cliff, only now, my legs were bent in opposite directions at the knees and I couldn’t move them because my skis were too heavy at that angle. I had to punch the bindings several times to release the skis, and then I picked them up and proceeded to carry them all the way down the hill, which proved to be almost as bad as skiing down it. When I reached the bottom, I was pretty pissed with everyone and myself, so I went to have a drink so I could cool off. I was in a lot of pain, and I didn’t understand why I felt no control of my legs, so I went and had my boots checked. Turned out, I was wearing a whole size too big, and my skis were too big too. After I got this changed out, I was fine the rest of the day and even did a little night skiing because I was having fun, and also because I went shopping while we were there and spend $500 on a new ski outfit and felt guilty. So now we are going to be stuck going skiing every year until I feel that I have used the outfit enough to justify the expense.
The moral of the story, is that I will not let anyone peer pressure me in to skiing down a bigger hill. I have fun on the bunny hills, so why is it necessary to force myself to go bigger? I am too old to become an Olympic athlete, so what does it matter? I was so tired each night that I didn’t even have the energy to drink any wine that I had brought, and I came home with a black and blue mark on each shin, the size of a fist. I am so glad it’s over.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

My Interview on "Like it for Time"

As I've posted before, my friend Kristen is on a crusade to get Time Magazine to make "The Military Family" their annual, "Person of the Year". In order to do this, she has created a Facebook page in which people need to click on "Like" to create a petition.

She recently interviewed me for her webpage, "Like It" For Time:

Keri Smith, 31, works in Human Resources for the U.S. Government. She is a 31-year old mother of two sons, Taylor the “sweetheart” and Gavin the “smart-ass,” and, she writes at her blog site The Glamorous Life of an Army Wife, “I happen to be married to a soldier in the Army.”

LIFT: Why that phrasing, “I happen to be…”?

KERI: I got married to a soldier at a young age, only 19. I had yet to develop my own identity, and here I was, a mother and a wife. I see too often that
military spouses fall in to that “space between” where they have gotten married young and never developed their own lives and goals, and then they have issues later in life trying to figure out who they are. You are NOT your husband’s career. That was a choice that he made for his job. The military takes so much of my husband from me, but they won’t define me by slapping on an “Army Wife” title. I am a daughter, a caregiver, a writer, a mother, a friend… but none of these one things say who I am as a person, and what I have done with my life. I like to find my own way.

LIFT: I think people tend to believe a person is either a proud military spouse who identifies him- or herself as such, or someone who shuns all association in an effort to remain fiercely independent. Is there a middle ground, and if so, what is that middle ground?

Click Here to Read the Rest of My Interview!!

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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Thursday, January 13, 2011

The Death of a World War II Hero, Major Dick Winters, from Band of Brothers

I just wanted to post this because he was a man who touched my life, and I would have loved to meet him. He came from where I am from, Lancaster, PA. He was a true hero.

By RON TODT, Associated Press Ron Todt, Associated Press –
PHILADELPHIA – Richard "Dick" Winters, the Easy Company commander whose World War II exploits were made famous by the book and television miniseries "Band of Brothers," died last week in central Pennsylvania. He was 92.
Winters died following a several-year battle with Parkinson's Disease, longtime family friend William Jackson said Monday.
An intensely private and humble man, Winters had asked that news of his death be withheld until after his funeral, Jackson said. Winters lived in Hershey, Pa., but died in suburban Palmyra.
The men Winters led expressed their admiration for their company commander after learning of his death.
William Guarnere, 88, said what he remembers about Winters was "great leadership."
"When he said 'Let's go,' he was right in the front," Guarnere, who was called "Wild Bill" by his comrades, said Sunday night from his South Philadelphia home. "He was never in the back. A leader personified."
Another member of the unit living in Philadelphia, Edward Heffron, 87, said thinking about Winters brought a tear to his eye.
"He was one hell of a guy, one of the greatest soldiers I was ever under," said Heffron, who had the nickname "Babe" in the company. "He was a wonderful officer, a wonderful leader. He had what you needed, guts and brains. He took care of his men, that's very important."
Winters was born Jan. 21, 1918 and studied economics at Franklin & Marshall College before enlisting, according to a biography on the Penn State website.
Winters became the leader of Company E, 506th Regiment, 101st Airborne Division on D-Day, after the death of the company commander during the invasion of Normandy.
During that invasion, Winters led 13 of his men in destroying an enemy battery and obtained a detailed map of German defenses along Utah Beach. In September 1944, he led 20 men in a successful attack on a German force of 200 soldiers. Occupying the Bastogne area of Belgium at the time of the Battle of the Bulge, he and his men held their place until the Third Army broke through enemy lines, and Winters shortly afterward was promoted to major.
After returning home, Winters married his wife, Ethel, in May 1948, and trained infantry and Army Ranger units at Fort Dix during the Korean War. He started a company selling livestock feed to farmers, and he and his family eventually settled in a farmhouse in Hershey, Pa., where he retired.
Historian Stephen Ambrose interviewed Winters for the 1992 book "Band of Brothers," upon which the HBO miniseries that started airing in September 2001 was based. Winters himself published a memoir in 2006 entitled "Beyond Band of Brothers."
Two years ago, an exhibit devoted to Winters was dedicated at the Hershey-Derry Township Historical Society. Winters, in frail health in later years, has also been the subject of a campaign to raise money to erect a monument in his honor near the beaches of Normandy.
Winters talked about his view of leadership for an August 2004 article in American History Magazine:
"If you can," he wrote, "find that peace within yourself, that peace and quiet and confidence that you can pass on to others, so that they know that you are honest and you are fair and will help them, no matter what, when the chips are down."
When people asked whether he was a hero, he echoed the words of his World War II buddy, Mike Ranney: "No, but I served in a company of heroes."
"He was a good man, a very good man," Guarnere said. "I would follow him to hell and back. So would the men from E Company."
Arrangements for a public memorial service are pending.

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Wednesday, January 12, 2011

“That’s me in the spot-light, losing my religion”

Sometimes you get to a point in a friendship and have to decide whether or not it’s worth going forward, similar to a boyfriend/girlfriend.

Thankfully, I haven’t had to go through this much in my adult life. The nice thing about the military life is that the ones you don’t really care about that much just kind of fade off in to the sunset each time you move. Some you stay in contact with, but most fall by the wayside, and you float by yourself until you meet new friends at the next place.
I’ve found myself in that strange, friend-limbo lately.

I moved to NY, following one of my closest friends from GA. Andy worked with her husband and they liked to hang out, so a couple-match was made. Unfortunately, they ditched us in the cold, snowy tundra (guilt trip) and headed to warmer weather in NC. I was devastated, because I hate it here and because I was alone. I had no one to gorge on candy while watching Lifetime Movie Network with. It’s sad when you don’t have a friend close-by who knows you. Now she’s in Alaska. But we talk all the time.
My other best friends live in Cali and NJ, so I don’t get to see them often. That’s why we are hoping we get recruiting duty in CA. But these are people who know me since I was my sons age. They know every dumb thing I have ever done and STILL LOVE ME. But they never make me feel like I have to be something that I’m not. If we don’t agree, we don’t agree. But we aren’t afraid to say what we think.

Lately I’ve been friends with someone who doesn’t respect my opinions or how I choose to live my life. I can say black, and they will say white every time. I have had good times with them, but I think it’s time to say goodbye. Enough is enough when you feel like you are compromising yourself to be what someone else wants. A relationship with someone is not good for the soul when you have to “try”. I think the best friendships are effortless. Sure, there will be fights and disagreements, but it happens when you are vulnerable and care for someone. I battle with my mother and sisters all the time, but it’s always known that tomorrow, it will be like today never existed. Some people, you just click with. People will always have drama in their lives, because LIFE IS DRAMA. I prefer a dramatic life over a stagnant, boring one. This being said, there was no big fight…no argument. Just something that I have been thinking about for a while.

I don’t like when people act fake. And I don’t like it when they don’t say what they feel. And, I guess I prefer a lonely life over one where I have to compromise who I am. I am very different from my best friends and even my husband, for that matter. But it's those differences that round us out. Being lonely sucks...but feeling like I have to apologize for the way I live my life to someone who is supposed to be my friend, sucks way more. Sometimes I’m not willing to back down, and I guess this is one of those times. You just have to have faith when you end any relationship that there is a new one on the horizon, even better. I would give up a thousand friends if it meant I could keep the 5 that are the closest to me, or even the top 2. It's hard to make friends as you get older, because you are less likely to compromise yourself like you did when you were younger. I find that I am less of a "people-pleaser" and more of a "me-pleaser". Quality vs. Quantity.

Since I made the decision to let them go, I feel a sense of peace and that’s how I know it’s the right choice. And I am okay with that because it’s a journey and everyone I meet has something to contribute to who I am and who I become.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Screw Yoga. And besides, I’m not that flexible anyway.

Maybe it’s because of my parents. Or maybe it’s because I DON”T drink enough. Either way, my life is not what you would call “balanced.” I don’t really know anyone whose truly is. There is always something missing in your life…something unattainable and teetering on the edge of “off”. 
I am a passionate person. I love hard, I play hard, I crash hard. I don’t believe in doing things halfway. If I am going to fail at something (which I have plenty of times) then at least I will succeed in failing. And I am okay with that, because I have realistic expectations about my life, and I know that shit is going to happen.
This being said, I am a horrible over-analyzer…to the point it gives me panic attacks. (Hence, the Xanax)
This is a recent gift that has been bestowed upon me, in the last, say, two years… pretty much since I moved to New York. It sucks. It feels like someone is sitting on your chest and you feel, well…panicky. What do I stress out about? All things that I have no control over..that’s why I am stressed. I have a certain amount of faith in my own abilities, and relatively none in anyone else. In the evening, I look forward to taking my Xanax and not stressing out. Have a cup of tea and just sit and relax.
My problem is that I have to stop taking it because I think it’s making me depressed. Well, that and the fact I am depriving my body of delicious things to eat that make me happy. Oh, and there could also be some residual effects from the fact I HATE where I live and it’s miserably cold, boring and dreary. I think that about sums it up. But I think it’s mostly the pills. It’s also made me have almost no desire to have sex, which, for me is highly unusual. So I stopped taking it about two weeks ago and am waiting for my internal fountain to spring once again. And I am going on vacation in approximately 2 months, and then I am moving somewhere where people can breed without medical approval…which will be a HUGE stress while it’s happening, yet relieving at the same time.
Until then, however, if I get one more person explaining the finer points of yoga, I swear I will do some ninja moves on your ass and help you find YOUR inner chi. My brain works too fast to meditate, I don’t look good in spandex and you can call it what you want, but it’s still exercise. You are fooling NO ONE! In the meantime, I will increase my alcohol consumption and sleep a lot.
I open my chakra’s with Mojito’s, baby.

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, January 10, 2011

My interview with "Army Wives Lives"

One of my blog friends, Army Wives Lives thought me special (and glamorous) enough to interview me for her blog!
Here is my interview, and be sure to click the link above to check out the wealth of information her site provides!

Interview with Keri Smith of The Glamorous Life of an Army Wife

Posted by Candace on Jan 8, 2011 | One Comment
Keri SmithWe chatted with Keri Smith, aka “GlamorousArmy”, to find out more about her humorous take on the ups and downs of Army life and to discover how she adds a touch of Army Wife Glamor to even the most difficult situation. Keri blogs at The Glamorous Life of an Army Wife.
What topics do you write about on your blog?
Life as a military wife, of course! The great things, the not-so-great things, tips for survival. I also talk about how evil my children are, what it’s like to deal with my son’s Asperger’s Syndrome, and other random topics.
What is a favorite post of yours?
The Deployment Series-Part 1-Letting him Leave.
Tell me a little bit about your military spouse journey.
My husband has been in [the Army] over 13 years and I met him at MEPS the day he joined, because I was joining the Reserves. We wrote for 3 months, and got engaged 3 months after he graduated from Basic Training.
Yes, [he's deployed] twice. Once in 2004 and last year. Both times to Iraq.
What are the challenges of being a military spouse?
It’s hard to get family members to understand that our service as military spouses is just as important as our soldiers. We are sacrificing our fathers, mothers, husbands, wives and trying to live our lives without them. It’s also difficult to learn how to make easy transitions, between PCS moves, friends leaving, new schools for children, new jobs. It’s a challenge to get used to having a partner at home when they have been gone half the time. You need to be self-sufficient and independent when they are gone, but they still want to feel needed when they are home. It’s a life of mixed emotions.
What are the best parts of being a military spouse?
I love moving! Each duty station brings it’s own adventure, and that’s just how you have to think of it. We moved to Alaska for 3 years. Yes, it was far away and completely unknown to me, but we looked at it as our challenge.

To what extent have blogging and social networking affected the military spouse experience?

It makes it easier to reach out to someone else who will understand, because unless you have had a spouse deploy, you really can’t relate in the same way. It can be a lonely road, but it can also be very rewarding. After all, we get to date our husbands again every time they are gone! We write letters and emails, we have long phone calls. We have a chance to miss each other, and therefore appreciate what both sides contribute to the relationship.

If someone you care about was about to marry a military servicemember, what one piece of advice would you give?

Be social, and make your own life. Your soldier is not going to create one for you. You need to accomplish goals for yourself and as a couple. Take advantage of the free education benefits the military offers for spouses. Keep your chin up, and reach out if you need help. We all do from time to time. You aren’t alone in this

Help Make Time Magazine's Person of the Year the Military Family!

I recently came across a blog in which our fellow military spouse is working hard to have Time Magazine feature US as the collective "Person of the Year." Let's get behind this!

The following is an excerpt from her blog, From a little office in a little house

I want to nominate TIME’s next person of the year, but are regular, everyday people who read the magazine afforded that opportunity?

My nomination would be the American Military, but TIME has already recognized The American Fighting-Man (1950) and The American Soldier (2003), and they’re not likely to do it again. So, I choose the American Military Family.

It’s not uncommon for TIME to name groups as Person of the Year. In 1960, it was U.S. Scientists. In 1966, it was 25 And Under. 1969: Middle Americans. 1975: American Women. 1993: The Peacemakers. 2002: The Whistleblowers. 2006: You.

But since 1927, through all of the wars and conflicts our country has seen, not once has the Military Family – often touted as the ‘backbone’ of the soldier and the country (during wartime) -  been recognized by TIME. These are families that undergo repeated periods of a year or more of anything from mild anxiety to absolute anguish, from “See you next year” to “I hope I see you again someday,” from “Goodbye for now” to “Goodbye forever.” Some children don’t meet their deployed parent until they’re a year old. Others have barely gotten to know who their father or mother is in the brief time they’ve shared between multiple deployments.

The military family (the spouse, the lover, the child, the father, the mother – big or small, married or not) has no idea how it will receive the loved one at the end of a deployment. Unscathed? Missing an arm? Missing two legs? Brain damaged? Challenged by PTSD?  Until the families see their loved ones get off that plane from Iraq or Afghanistan, all they can do is hope. Hope nothing bad happens today, hope they come home safe and whole. Hope the last time they saw them wasn’t the last time they’ll ever see them.
This generation’s military has been deploying for ten years to the Middle East. Their families have been suffering their own unimaginable war experiences for just as long. It’s time, TIME.

Listen to Kristen's radio interview!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Do you know what your husband does for a living? Need to know info for a new spouse:

I can’t tell you how many army wives have no idea what their husbands do and who they work with.

C’MON PEOPLE! If he was a civilian, you would know!!! You, who don't bother to find out, are the ones who make the rest of the world think that all army wives are uneducated morons that are one paycheck away from the stripper pole!

The reality is, our husbands are gone a lot and things tend to happen when they aren’t readily available. So you need to know these things in order to function when he is gone:

1. His Name (you would be surprised), Rank (PFC, SSG, SFC, etc…) and social security number. You will get to know your husband’s social better than your own in the first year. You need this info for Dr’s appts if you go on post, help at the finance office, or pretty much anywhere else on base.

2. His Unit. You should know what Company/Troop and what Unit. For example, Charlie Company, 1/17. It is a good idea to know who his Company Commander is, First Sgt and Platoon Sgt are. At least names. If he is deployed, you will need to know what FOB or Forward Operating Base he is located at.

3. His MOS. This stands for Military Occupational Specialty, or what job he does. Infantry, Mortar, Mechanic, Engineer, Medic, etc… It’s a number followed by a letter, such as 11B is infantry.

This is also information that you or his family would need if there were a family emergency. We don’t have the luxury of picking up a phone and calling them when they are deployed, nor can we just fly them home without involving the chain of command.

If you have a family emergency, such as a terminal illness, serious injury or death in the family, please contact the American Red Cross at 1-877-272-7337.

American Red Cross-Military Link

Thursday, January 6, 2011

I've decided....(2)

…it’s okay to take time to get to bond with your husband again after deployment. After all, it takes a year to get used to living without them, so it can take a while to get used to living with them again.

…that lint rollers are ineffective in the battle against dog hair on your clothes. I have learned to live with the fact that I have now grown my own winter coat.

…that new mothers that have jogging strollers and use them really piss me off. Who the hell has time to run with a newborn???

…I like to hibernate in the winter like bears. There is nothing more satisfying than to stay in bed when it’s cold outside, with a book and a cup of hot tea.

…that a new purse is like Chicken Soup to the Soul, more so than even Chicken Soup. And like new shoes, you can never have enough.

…if people judge you, they are really just insecure with their own choices. Everyone is different and no one has all the right answers.

…it’s okay to still hate people from your past. Anger gives you the power to make changes and can be very cleansing.'s okay to be a little surprised when you find out your ex-boyfriend got married and no one told you.

…to skip makeup once a week and just moisturize. My skin needs to breathe!!!

…my butt looks good in jeans. But it’s scary as hell in a bathing suit.

…I’m afraid to get a bikini wax. I cry like a baby when I get my eyebrows done, so I can’t imagine the agony of hair removal from my hoo-ha.

…I like my husbands grey hair, but will continue to color mine until I die.

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, January 5, 2011

Moments of an Awkward Youth Part 3

 “I don’t know what was going through my mind at the time.” I can randomly apply this phrase to just about some event, every year of my life.
For me, 6th grade became the Ground Zero ashes from which the rest of my life rose. There could be no getting lower. There I was, with my butch hair and my stone-washed jeans with holes in the knees. Not exactly popularity material. Dressing was also not one of my strong-suits. It was very popular back then, to wear your sweatshirt inside out. But me, coming so close, yet so far away, wore a white Toys R Us sweatshirt to school, thinking I would look cool. Unfortunately, the “I’m a Toys R Us kid” phrase was clearly visable on the front side of the shirt, making me look nothing but ridiculous. (My best friends STILL TO THIS DAY BRING THIS UP.) I blame my mother, of course, for buying me the damn shirt in the first place.
I always wanted to be something more than what I was. I definitely had dreams of becoming famous, and as it turns out, the name “Keri” wasn’t going to cut it for me. And so I informed my best friend in a note, that I was changing my name to “TT” which was short for Tori. I have a need to stop here and explain that 90210 had just started, so I loved it. As I tried to pass it to her, our teacher intercepted it and not only did he read it to the class, make me write it on the chalkboard, but he also posted it in the hall on the bulletin board so the other kids could read it! This is how I KNOW that teachers are fully aware of bullying, and sometimes condone and begin it.
Another way I know, is because there were these 3 guys that were the cool guys and they called themselves, “The Brothers”. One of them used to tease my best friends and I mercilessly on the school bus. He used to stand in front of the teacher and punch me right in the face! There was also an incident in gym class that involved about 30 dodgeballs and the whole class, but I’m still sensitive about that.  Now I was a moron, and didn’t know how to fight back then, but I saw this douche bag at a friends wedding a few years ago, and it took all I could to not follow him in to the men’s room and kick his ass!!! But karma came around and took care of him in high school. He was ugly and no longer cool enough to be a “brother”, so he was left in obscurity where no one we graduated with probably even remembers he existed.
As it turned out, Keri turned out to be a completely appropriate name for a female celebrity, and that’s why I can’t to this day, watch a movie with Keri Russell in it. She stole my impending fame and she was a Mouseketeer, which was what I wanted to be more than anything. Fuck Felicity.

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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Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Contest to Write to the Troops

Pentel's people contacted me, and asked if I would let everyone know about their contest, so here goes:

 “National Handwriting Day: Heroes Worth Writing For” Contest
Pentel has launched a contest  where they are asking children and adults to write a hand-written letter to our troops. Those who enter the contest will be required to send their handwritten latter to Pentel and they will ensure that they are given to our troops overseas via their partner organization, Operation Gratitude (
Dates: December 1- January 31
Prizes: Grand Prize: $200 Visa Card and $100 in Pentel Products, Four Second Prizes: $50 Visa Card and $25 in Pentel Products
To Enter: Handwrite a letter to the troops and send to:
Pentel of America-Marketing Dept
C/O National Handwriting Day: Heroes Worth Writing For
4000 E. Airport Drive, Ste C
Ontario, CA 91761

After the winners are announced, Pentel will send the letters to the troops.
I think this is a great contest, especially for the time of year. For many deployed soldiers, the holidays are a dark and lonely spot in their year since they are far away from family and friends. This is the best time of year to bombard them with letters, telling them how great we think they are for all they do!!!!
Please get involved and send those letters!!