Tag Archives: life

Where are you from when you’re a military kid?

First, I just want to say thank you to all the people who commented on my post that was featured on Freshly Pressed this weekend. THANK YOU! I read every single comment and tried to respond to as many as possible. To any new followers, welcome!

Let’s get down to business.

A Facebook friend I know from high school posted this article about military kids having a tough time answering the question: Where are you from?

I’ve lived in 6 different states and in Europe for 10 years.

Standing on the Prime Meridian in Greenwich, England

My whole life this has been a tough question, and to this day I still hate when people ask me where I’m from.

Do I tell them where I was born but lived only for the first 6 years of my life?

Do I tell them where I spent the majority of my life?

Do I tell them where I went to university, the first place I felt like calling home?

Do I tell them where my parents currently live, even though I have never actually lived there?

Do I tell them about the little pieces of me that have been left in states all over the country?

Invariably, this often leads me to have a confused look and say, “Well, what do you mean by ‘from?'”

Although the answers to any of these questions would be truthful, there’s something uncomfortable about picking one and steadfastly sticking to it, with no explanation. It almost feels like you’re telling a slight untruth to a stranger.

The weird thing is that a lot of people are weird about it. They don’t get it, and you have to explain the whole military thing, moving every couple years, etc. A lot of people get sympathetic and say, “That must have been hard growing up like that!” Not really. It’s all I or any of us knew. Another common thing is that they’ll latch on to one thing – that I grew up in England. They can’t understand why I don’t have an English accent. It’s weird to me because everyone pretends to be so patriotic with all the “support our troops” stuff, but they seem to be simultaneously confused about the existence of a military and the lifestyle that must accompany it.

Largely to avoid the same conversation/explanation for the millionth time I’ve developed this odd (to me) thing of saying, “Err … ummm … well, I was born in Florida, but I’m from Ohio now.”

Even though I’ve come to love Ohio as the Great State, I still feel like I can’t fully say I’m “from” there.

Sometimes I wonder if I’ll ever settle down and end up living in a place for so long that I’ll finally be able to say yes, I’m from here.

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If you’ve ever wondered what city life is like …

Some days are normal. You wake up, go to work, come home, go to sleep.

Other days you wake up, go to work, walk out of the tube and hear a woman screaming in absolute anger.

You don’t think “Cool! A fight!” because it’s a big city and what if there is a knife flying around or you get hit with a stray fist?

Then you walk closer and hear:

THE BUS DRIVER WON’T LET YOU ON THE BUS IF YOU CAN’T FIND YOUR MONEY. IF YOU DON’T HAVE YOUR MONEY, YOU GO SIT DOWN, AND YOU LOOK FOR YOUR MONEY. IF YOU DON’T HAVE YOUR MONEY YOU AREN’T GETTING ON THE BUS BECAUSE YOU NEED MONEY TO GET ON THE BUS.

Because it’s a big city everyone walks by and either doesn’t notice or pretends it isn’t happening. I’ve learned that a lot of things can happen in a big city before people will stop and acknowledge.

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When your first pet dies.

Some girls know from a young age that they want to be mothers. They carry baby dolls around and practice for when the real thing happens. One time for a middle school class project I had a bag of rice that I was supposed to put clothes on and pretend like it was my baby, and I was so interested that my “baby” spent most of its short life in the back of my locker.

The only time I’ve ever felt maternal was when I was preparing for the arrival of our little baby girl, Tiger. I was 10 and we’d never had a family pet before. I’d wanted a cat for so long that I couldn’t think about anything else besides how much I was going to love and take care of Tiger. I always imagined this is how women feel when they think about having a baby.

She was still a really small Calico kitten when she came to live with us and I loved her SO much even though she was kind of evil. She was so out of control that we had to get another cat, Boo, for her to play with so she wouldn’t run around biting our feet anymore.

They became best friends, or a lesbian couple, however you want to look at it. Boo was the only cat Tiger ever loved.  Boo joined Star Clan back in March, and like any long time lover Tiger joined Star Clan yesterday after only 3 months without her Boo. My friend at work said it’s like The Cat Notebook.

This picture made me so sad! It was taken this weekend while she was sick before they could get her to the vet.

Here is Tiger back when she was healthy during an Easter photoshoot my sister did with the cats. Don’t laugh. Karen is a photographer and we love our cats.

Tiger on the Valentine’s Day photoshoot.

Us together about 3 years ago.

Tiger loved to read at night with her daddy. She’d sit there every night and just look at the pages. Kind of weird actually!

Tiger even loved her New York Times.

Goodbye Tiger!

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Sitting is officially on the list of things that will kill you

I’ve always said, based on my own bad experiences, that sitting at a desk for 8.5 hours a day isn’t natural and is unhealthy. When I first started working in an office full time I’d frequently get leg cramps. My eyes would really hurt from staring at a monitor for so long. Even a year later my legs still hurt from sitting and they get so antsy that it’s hard to concentrate on working.

All I can think about sometimes is getting away from this desk and up and moving. Taking the recommended 5 minute walking break every hour doesn’t help, and it’s not an option anyway because people will think you’re lazy if you’re not at your desk working. I have no choice but to sit here (or some other desk) for the next 40 years.

Don’t get me wrong, I like my job, but if I had a choice I’d be doing a job where I wasn’t sitting all day. I feel like it’s too late now. I can’t afford and don’t have the time to go back to school to do something else, and any job I can think of where I’d be standing I wouldn’t make a living wage. It seems to be a case of how much do you hate sitting vs how much do you hate the job.

Of course this infographic hasn’t changed the way I think about this. For a while I’ve been trying so hard to think of a way out of office life, but I can’t see a realistic one for me that doesn’t involve more school and more money. If only I had it to do over again …

Sorry for the whiny post. I’m actually very happy with my life apart from my desk chair!

Sitting is Killing You
Via: Medical Billing And Coding

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I’m going from desk to 5K!

Here’s a picture of me at my job, and chances are this is what you look like too.

No offence to my job, it’s a good job. But any job where you spend 8 hours a day staring at a computer screen will lend itself to physical atrophy. After my first full year of life in the real world I didn’t feel the excitement I thought I’d feel. For making it through the year I was awarded a very nice pen with my initials engraved on it, but all I could think was, “This is all I have to show for a year post-college? A pen?” Sure, the pen is nice and it’s great to be recognized. But my problem isn’t with the pen. The pen was just a reminder of the fact that I spent the whole year learning nothing on my own.

The workforce is full of people who graduate, start working, and then just let life happen to them for the rest of their career. You see people who have been working for 20 years and they are completely dead inside. I always said that was NOT going to be me, so I worked really hard and enthusiastically last year. I did the best I could do and I ended up being the top performer for the year, but I was still really disappointed and I couldn’t figure out why. Now I know it’s because I worked really hard for the company but I didn’t do one thing to better myself.

In addition to still trying my best at work I’ve been involved with several objectives for self-betterment:

1) I’ve been teaching myself HTML and CSS, and I finally learned how to change the CSS (colors, fonts, etc.) on my blog. There will be changes happening in the next few months! I have a cool new blog name and have purchased the URL, so I just need to wait until I’m confident enough in my skills to possibly self-host my blog and get a new theme which I can CSS the heck out of.

2) I bought Adobe CS5, and I believe this will go hand-in-hand with my developing Web skills because I’ll be using Photoshop, Dreamweaver and eventually learning Flash. I also recently got a new camera, so now I’ll be able to edit my photos!

3) My body was wasting away so I’ve decided to try the Couch to 5K program. I prefer to call it the Desk to 5K program, because most of my time is spent at my desk at work rather than on my comfy couch playing Fable II. Basically the Couch to 5K program slowly but surely builds you up to being able to run a 5K, which I plan to do this summer. I’m on week 2, woo hoo! I’ll let you all know how it works out, but so far I’m really happy with it.

4) I’ve worked hard at changing my diet so I’ll feel better, and it’s working!  I’m eating almost no processed foods or meat now. For example, there is a trend going around of making “green monster” smoothies, so today I decided to make a green monster salad.

I’ll sign off with pictures of the fresh organic spinach salad with avocado, sauteed asparagus and a light lemon/olive oil dressing. The warm asparagus tasted so nice on top of the cool avocado and spinach. Yum!

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If you’ve got a case of the Mondays …

… just look at a baby marmoset. I found a website called ZooBorns, and it posts pictures of animals born in zoos all around the world. This thing is sure to banish any blues case:

Photo credits: In Cherl Kim / Everland Zoo

Happy Monday!

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I’ll be friends with anyone who wants to file my taxes for me.

This has been a big week for me in terms of life revelations. I found a reason to have children AND a reason to become a British citizen.

This year was the first year my parents said (in February), “You need to make sure you file your taxes.” I said, “OK,” and now it’s the deadline in three days and I haven’t filed my taxes yet. I’m scared.

Being an adult isn’t very fun. I don’t want to file taxes. If I become a British citizen I’ll never have to file taxes again, unless I become self-employed.

Yes, that’s correct. I pay taxes over here and I don’t have to file a tax return. “They” do it for me, and I carry on living my life.

Filing a tax return is the kind of thing that makes you start thinking, “My parents should have to do this for me. I didn’t ask to be born, so why am I being punished? You aren’t just a parent for 18 years, you are a parent for life! Who do they think they are?? The audacity!”

I want to go back in the womb. Kind of like Benjamin Button, except my story wouldn’t be so gawddang boring and make people paralyzed with rage that they wasted three hours of their life watching one of the worst movies ever made, and then have to hear obnoxious, self-obsessed, a-doublesnakes-holes talk for months about how the film was “beautiful” and “Oscar-worthy.” No, no it wasn’t. I don’t want to be friends with anyone who can look me in the eye and honestly say that was a good movie. There’s being tolerant of other people’s opinions, and then there’s this movie.

 So, who wants to be my friend? This offer is on the table only until April 18.

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Little confidence killers

People always say it’s the little things in life that count. Well, I think this goes for mean things as well.

Today I put on a shirt for work and remembered one of the many nasty things customers said to me back in my Banana Republic days. I could always count on customers to make the average day as unhappy as possible (Outside of deaths, tragedies, etc. I’m talking daily life unhappiness).

Obviously, working in retail meant I didn’t have a lot of money. Even with BR’s discount, which on some items was up to 75%, I still couldn’t afford to buy their clothes.

On the rare occasion when I could afford one of their basic “cheap” shirts I cherished it. At BR you aren’t necessarily expected to wear the current season’s clothes, but you are expected to look as if you are wearing BR clothes.

One of my first purchases was a simple gray shirt with a satin-like trim around the collar. In the store, before being washed, it looked really shiny and perfect. Here is the shirt today:

I guess you are supposed to hand wash it, but who has time for that crap? Besides, I didn’t think it looked bad. It just looked less shiny.

We were having a sale and these shirts were going for about £5, which is a really good deal.

A middle-aged woman spent a few minutes browsing the shirts and then walked up to me at the register with a pink one in her hand.

“Ugh. Is that the same shirt as this?” she asked about the shirt I was wearing, holding hers up next to me to compare. “Well if that’s how the shirt is going to look once I wash it then I won’t waste my money.”

She tossed the shirt on the counter at me and turned around and walked off.

I still wear the shirt occasionally because I don’t think it’s bad, but it’s not one of my regular rotation shirts. It mostly comes out close to laundry day. Every time I wear it I’m reminded of my low mental state back then. I would get rid of it, but it’s a perfectly good shirt that still fits. Maybe I should trash it. I hate customers!

Feel free to share any of your rude customer stories.

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I turned one this week!

On March 22, 2010 I was birthed into the world of money making and careering.

On March 22, 2011, behold! Career woman!

It was rough going through seven months of job searching and then finally getting hired because I couldn’t believe the search was over. Wild fears of mistaken identity or revoked new-hire budgets plagued me and kept me awake at night in the weeks leading up to my first day.

“Are they sure they’ve hired the right person? Surely after seeing so many people there is bound to a mistaken identity every now and then.”

Even when my manager came upstairs to collect me I still wasn’t 100% convinced that I was truly the one. I hadn’t met him before because he wasn’t in my interviews, so I was like, “For all this guy knows I’m some bum off the street who happened to wander in here in need of a comfy couch.”

When he showed me around and no one seemed to object, I only had to worry about the budget being revoked and being immediately fired. First in, first out. I don’t like that saying. Well, I started liking it a lot more once I was fourth in line from the firing squad. Yeah, now I kind of like it.

Anyway, my blog also turned one! Technically that was at the end of February, but happy birthday, blog!

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My cat had a better life than many Americans

When it comes to discussions of ending a suffering animal’s life, there is no discussion on the morality of it. It’s always a “when” discussion.

One week ago our famous cat Boo had to be put down due to kidney failure. She and her “sister,” Tiger, were our first family pets 16 years ago, so Boo is the first family pet death we’ve gone through.

In college we spent a brief time studying euthanasia, and I can’t forget the stories we read about people begging to be allowed to just die. There was a story of one man in particular who was dying of cancer and was in such horrible pain, but every time his heart stopped they would rush in and save him, prolonging his “life” for no reason. The nurse in the story said she couldn’t bear any longer hearing him begging to be allowed to die, so when his alarm went off  she waited a couple minutes before calling  in the people to save him.

I don’t really think religious arguments are fit to be considered here because they are generally so hypocritical and irrational that you can’t take them seriously. It is certainly a complicated subject, but I think it comes down to us not being able to trust ourselves with such great responsibility. Looking at humanity’s past and all the unspeakable things we still do to each other when given power, it is scary to give people the right to assist the terminally ill in welcoming death.

I’ve also thought a lot about the fact that Boo had a better life than many Americans. She had excellent health and dental care, and she never suffered in the slightest. I always thought it was sad that an animal with no concept of what dental/health coverage is had lifelong coverage with no question of whether she would ever be denied or dropped.

I still can’t understand how some people think it’s acceptable for anyone to be denied health care and basic dental care when they wouldn’t dare treat their pets with such disregard.

Hopefully with the changes in our healthcare now and in the future people will no longer have to aspire to the coverage our pets receive.

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My stupid false dichotomy.

Hi, remember me?

I haven’t been blogging lately because I’ve been focusing to the max on learning HTML and CSS. I figured if I was on the Internet I should be studying. I also cut out Twitter. I couldn’t cut out Facebook (impossible) but I cut my miscellaneous Internet usage by about 75% and turned it into studying. I like percentages.

The point is, I’m almost back to being a blogger. I just wanted to let my tens of fans know that I’ll be back soon. I also had some quick thoughts I wanted to share but I didn’t know where to write them, so I think a Dear Diary post would help best.

Dear Diary,

I have a problem with perfection. I accidentally made a dumb mistake at work today, as any normal person does, but this kind of thing deeply upsets me to the point where it ruins my day, and possibly my weekend or next week.

I feel like if you aren’t going to work with excellence in mind, don’t bother. It’s either be the best you can be, or take it easy and skate through life. Mediocrity sucks, and here’s why.

If you go to work every day trying your very best and striving for excellence you’ll be rewarded. You know you are achieving the greatest and in my experience hard work always pays off. If you do the bare minimum you have the benefit of having an easy life, with little to no levels of stress. But to go to work and do an average job? That absolutely doesn’t make sense to me. You aren’t going to get rewarded because all the people who are working hard will be rewarded. You aren’t going to have low stress because you’ll be working in an average manner. So, what are you trying for?

I don’t even know when I started thinking like this. I just sort of arrived at this conclusion and I’d like to unarrive.

When I found out about my error at work today my first thought was, “What’s the point now? My goal of 2011 record of perfection is tarnished in month two. Month two!” That’s dumb, and I know that. So why does it upset me so much? It’s not like I’d quit trying anyway, so why is that thought even there?

When other people in life (not just at work, this is a general thing) find out they have made a mistake it’s like water off a duck’s back. I don’t even care if that’s an overused expression. I like it because I love imagining little water droplets rolling down a duck’s back. I never get tired of it.

(Image Source)

I’m worried that if I start accepting mistakes more will come. And more. And more. Before I know it I’ll be average, and once I realize I’m not doing either well or poorly, I’ll sink down into the poor category. That’s why I always expect the best, from myself and from other people.

If you can be bothered, let me know what your expectations are so I can know if I’m normal or just a plain freak.

Oh yeah, and to make matters worse, I kind of have a couple friends now. That sucks because I can no longer make jokes and wild complaints about how nobody on the entire continent of Europe wants to hang out with me.*

Yours truly,

Debbie D.

*I am actually glad to have friends.

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The dead side of Paris

Did you know that below the streets of Paris there is an extensive tunnel network that also holds thousands of human bones? When Paris’ cemeteries were overflowing and causing public health problems in the 18th century they decided to exhume the bodies and bury them in the Catacombs below the streets.

For 8 Euros you can walk through the tunnels and see this:

It seems to go on forever. You walk and walk through long dark, and sometimes low-ceiling tunnels lined with the neatly stacked bones of thousands of Parisians.

Parts of it also used to be a mine, and here is a well they used as a water source.

You think this is an average cute Parisian apartment building, but directly below these houses are bone-filled Catacombs.

Well … we are sightseeing so why not snap a pic?

Yeah, it was cool.

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Me Kill Animal With Stick And Eat Animal.

This is what I packed for lunch yesterday.

At the end of the day I was sick with hunger.

I packed pumpkin whole grain rice pudding with apples, yogurt (to make it creamy), walnuts and a small drizzle of honey for breakfast, hummus and pitas for a snack (pitas are at work), and a bowl of chili with lots of veg and beef. Oh, and an iced coffee. And Marmite rice cakes in my drawer at work.

People always have all these suggestions and say that I’m not eating enough at meals or eating the right things. Let me tell you what, it doesn’t matter how much I eat at meals. I’ll be hungry or starting on hungry in 2 hours, maybe sooner. My metabolism is a furnace. I got that saying from my dad. What I eat matters a little. A McDonald’s breakfast will fill me up for roughly an hour. The whole grain rice breakfast or granola will keep the hunger away for about two hours.

Some people are just hungry! I’ve known other people like me, who have to eat every couple hours, and they also suffer from people not believing them or making fun of the amount of food they shovel in.

People will say, “Oh, hush! You don’t need to worry. You’re thin!” But it’s not fun. I do love food (a lot), but I always have to be thinking about where my next meal is coming from. Kind of like these guys:

That’s me with the arrow. I’m going to kill some small game. I leave the skinnin’ to the men. Ain’t no grizzly gonna slow me down.

I have to take an actual backpack to work most days because no lunch box will fit all my stuff, and even if there were a Jethro lunch box it certainly wouldn’t fit in my work’s British fridge with no freezer. No freezer!

My mom used to call me Jethro because a measly peanut butter sandwich never filled me up at school. I needed a full packed lunch and often had to buy snacks during the day to keep up with my raging appetite.

I didn’t really know who Jethro was, so in case you also don’t know he was a character on the show The Beverly Hillbillies.

According to Wikipedia:

Another running gag is that Jethro was known as the “six foot stomach” for his ability to eat: in one episode he ate a jetliner’s entire supply of steaks; in another episode Jethro tried to set himself up as a Hollywood agent for cousin “Bessie”-with a fee of 10,000 bananas for Bessie and 1,000 bananas for Jethro. Jed once mentioned that Jethro was the only baby he knew born with a full set of teeth “just like a beaver”.

That’s me. Just like a beaver.

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Funny Thing About English People # 287

Many English people I have met believe Monopoly is a British game. They know this to be true.

It’s no wonder they are in disbelief when they are shown the truth. In true reflection of the outrageous drinking culture, there is even a website dedicated to going on a Monopoly pub crawl. You can do it in order, or simply visit all the sites.

http://www.monopolypubcrawl.org.uk/route/inorder/

At work when I told a couple of them it was 100% American they were sure it wasn’t. Even when they read the facts on the Internet I could see a sadness in their eyes that didn’t want it to be true.

According to some quick research on the net just now, I found out the first versions of the game date back to the early 1900s, and before long it became the official Atlantic City version we know today. Later it was taken to the UK and the streets were changed to London streets.

Ha! USA -1, England – 0.

I'm always the iron

 

There’s an English person who just been enlightened and is crying right now.

Pictures taken from http://www.worldofmonopoly.com

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Oh, The Weather Outside Is Weather

Whoever said Jesus was “the reason for the season” was a rhyming idiot. Christmas movies are the reason for the season, and that’s all I have to say about that. I just said that in a Forrest Gump voice.

(did you notice how I even put snow on the bench?)

When it comes to Christmas movies I’m a different person. Not only am I willing to overlook the corny, predictable humor, but I also … enjoy it. And laugh. The romance, the wholesome family fun, bring it on!

Here are some of my favorite Christmas movies, in no particular order. Rating them would be too difficult. Try not to make fun of me because these movies make me happy and I wouldn’t want you to soil my day.

The Santa Clause – Is there anyone who doesn’t like this movie? It’s seriously too good, and Charlie is adorable. See, when else besides Christmas would I call a child adorable? If you don’t like this movie you have some monster in your DNA.

 

Miracle on 34th Street – Old and new versions. It’s been my lifelong dream to see the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade live, and I love Christmas so this movie is for me. What happened to little Mara Wilson, you ask? Nothing. Child star who faded away, but apparently she doesn’t want to be famous from what I read on Wikipedia.

Christmas With the Kranks – I know. I don’t know why, but I have a strange addiction to this movie. The kind of addiction where I watch it several times a year, and not only in December. Normally I don’t like this kind of silly humor, but whenever I watch Christmas With the Kranks I find myself laughing in a slapping your knee and saying, “Oh, Tim!” kind of way.

If you were thinking, “Wow, that sounds like a really good story that I’d be interested in reading,” Christmas With the Kranks is based on the novel Skipping Christmas, by John Grisham.

A Christmas Story – Despite having a Thanksgiving dinner this year of fishsticks, canned spinach and Dr. Pepper Zero,  I did not give up on my family’s tradition of watching this movie after the big dinner. I just brought my laptop to work and watched it there! I love my job.

A Charile Brown Christmas – Classic.

Fred Claus – I can’t help it. I love this movie. How freakin’ fun would it be to be Santa’s sibling? AND it takes place partially in Chicago. I love Christmas, and I LOVE Chicago.

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer – You know the snowman in this show? Yep, he (Burl Ives) went to Indiana State University! HA. I bet no one that cool went to your school.

And who could forget Hermey the gay elf?

 

Holiday Inn – I love old movies, and this is a fun one with lots of good tunes. Apparently the song White Christmas was written for this movie.

How the Grinch Stole Christmas – The old  cartoon one, not the 2000 version, although that one is OK. This one:

Santa’s Slay – Just kidding. This movie was awful. In a funny way. It’s a “horror” movie. Get it, “slay”? What. A. Pun.

I hope you liked my list. I do.



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