Brag Boards, Step 1

(or…I am out of school for two weeks and will now finish as many crafts as I can before school starts again and the next thing is a quilt for a friend that’s like…two years over due…)
Cheap canvas, pencil, ruler, period table of elements


Next: glue and paint over the lines

Then: assemble the wires and clips


I Got Called a Dependapotomus and It Doesn’t Matter

You can find the definition of dependapotomus here.

(I was going to post a picture but you can Google for yourself…the pictures are all very…creative?)

Here’s the scene:

I was sitting in a Starbucks on post working on my nuclear chemistry homework (OMG the brain cells…they hurts us, Precious) and there were two female soldiers waiting in line to order their drinks. One of them starts chatting with me about my school work and what I’m going to school for and what’s what about my life. The other one says, “You don’t even have a job?! It must be nice to be a dependapotumus, but I actually have shit to do all day.” and she laughed with her perfect teeth all over her perfect face. At which point I got all sweaty and nauseated and my vision went all wonky (adrenaline can be so inefficient sometimes) and I said something like, “You don’t know my history, or my spouse, and you should be more careful to whom you speak. And in some cultures having a fat wife is considered a sign of success and virility.”

(Seriously. Where is this culture? I need to move there.)

Then a CWO (Chief Warrant Officer. Respect them. Love them. Fear them.) politely asked the lieutenants if they would please accompany him to a “sidebar”, only he said it like if they didn’t go with him he’d murder their puppy twelve times before lunch. I don’t know much after that because I just stared at my chemistry book, trying not to cry from shame, and cursing my stupid brain for not coming up with a witty, soul-crushing response.  I’m sure I’ll think of something in the shower tonight and it will be epic.

I texted a couple of friends and made a Facebook post. Everyone is on my side and they are all sufficiently pissed off on my behalf. Also, everyone has wonderful retorts and I am going to write them down and keep them in my pocket like Mr. Collins’ keeps compliments. Folks are like “they are just jealous” and “what bitches” and “you are awesome” and “lets cut them” which leaves me feeling incredibly warm and fuzzy. Nothing says love like the prospect of violence on behalf of friendship.

The fact is that I am a dependent. My home, the food in my belly, the clothes on my back, the classes I’m taking, the children (who are clean, well-behaved, and brilliant, by the way) I’ve birthed are all dependent on my husband. I would have none of these things (at least not in their current, blissful iteration) without my husband and the work that he does. I am aware and I am grateful and I won’t spout off about “my role is just as important as his” because that argument makes me very uncomfortable. I am blessed enough to be able to study at a Starbucks…my life is pretty good. We are a team and the execution of our contract isn’t anyone’s business; he’s happy with the state of his life and I’m happy with the state of my life and we will skip off into the sunset together just as soon as the next FTX or JOAX or JRTC or deployment or PowerPoint Rodeo will allow.

I could defend myself with “I’m not fat” (but I could lose some jiggle, its true) and “we don’t have that many kids” (we have 3 and if it weren’t for miscarriages we’d have 5) and “I do stuff all day” (its school work so my house isn’t really that tidy and won’t be until after finals). Really, though, who cares? I’ll be the size I’m gonna be (and finish marathons, by the way) and have as many kids as we want to have (we’re Catholic…we should have a squad by now) and I really am busy all day (with three kids in sports and scouts and clubs-this is obvious to anyone with, like, eyes.) and I was studying fricking nuclear chemistry for Pete’s sake… “I am Spouse, Hear Me Roar” defenses are pretty hollow sounding.

I don’t know why that female thought it was funny but my guess is that she’s seen someone who fits whatever mold she thinks warrants the name dependapotomus and was looking for an excuse to use the word. So that’s fine; she’s entitled to her opinion and I’m grateful for her service to my country. I hope she can get to know other dependents and gain some perspective on military family life. I hope she grows as a person, sees the error of her ways ,and befriends a military spouse in order to appreciate the other side of the tracks. I wish her success in her career.

Also, in the cozy little cockles of my shiny, patriotic heart I kind of hope that CWO made her cry like the crusted over barracks bunny she probably is. 

In the grand scheme of things, it doesn’t matter. I probably shouldn’t have said anything or made a Facebook post or even written this blog post. But…what is technology good for if not rallying one’s friends for a bitch-lynching?

Sticks and stones, Love…sticks and stones…

Now, I have to get back to my studying for finals, laundry, making dinner, running 4 miles, organizing the garage, getting the oil changed, paying the bills, burying the family pet and consoling kids, getting kids to baseball camp, making everyone’s dentist appointments, electronic griping, preparing Cub Scout meetings, hiding my true emotions about family upsets back home, arranging the prospective purchase of our future home and farm, wrangling the teenager and all of her social contacts, cleaning out the car couch and preparing to get blasted on Easily Offended Military Spouse websites…


The Goods

Vampire Weekend and Caffeine

“In December drinkin’ horchata, I’d look psychotic in a balaclava…”

-Vampire Weekend

WordPress tells me that I started this blog 5 years ago.

5 years is a hot minute

5 years is a hot minute

That’s just trippy. I remember my husband was deployed and I was cooking a lot and taking lots of photos and generally wanting to feel productive and connected. So, you know, instead of making friends and getting out, I started a blog. Makes total sense.

The Goods

The Goods

Anyway, I made some coffee stuff just now and since I’m in the kitchen alone, I had to tell somebody.

Iced Horchata Coffee Stuff

1) make some coffee

2) put ice and ^^^ that’s stuff in it

3) drink it and feel awesome

Its pretty good stuff, yo.

Timbale TARDIS

Doctor Who is one of the greatest shows of all time.

Irma Rombauer was a genius.

Chocolate and espresso were meant to be together.

This thing that happened in my kitchen tonight was an inevitable supernova of awesome:


The “white cake” recipe from The Joy of Cooking calls for beating the egg whites to stiff peaks. I’ve never done that before, but i’ll never not do it from now on!

No recipe here. Just a picture of unadulterated Joy


(special thanks to my kid for leaving the lunch box on the table.)

National Running Day: perspectives in failure

“…in what I have done and what I have failed to do…”

The first pair of Nikes I ever wore belonged to my mother: red and white Cortez. She bought them at a yard sale for a quarter or fifty cents or something like that. We were fairly broke, so to me, Nikes were only for the cool kids. And now we had some in the house. And I wore them even though they were too big for me.

Because I wanted to be cool.

Now I am, officially, a real runner. After starting off not being able to jog to the end of my block, then progressing to the stop sign… And my first ever 5k run. My husband drove the minivan beside me down a dark and buggy farm road, kids snoozing in their car seats, music from the dash scaring cows from the rusty barbed wire fences. That was 9 years ago and I still feel victorious when I think about that run.

It is impossible for me to think about running races and not think about the Marine Corps Marathon. Impossible. I have tried three times; the last time with a friend to pace me starting at mile 12. The wheels have fallen off 3 times. I have failed 3 times.

…no. Not failed.

I began to think about perspective: glass half full or empty? Here’s what my half empty looks like:
3 DNF’d marathons
1 DNF’d half-marathon
1 DNF’d 10 miler

Here’s my half full:
2 completed full marathons
14 completed half marathons
2 ten milers
At least 4 completed 10k’s
More 5k’s than I can count
At least 22 finished


I’m terrible at math, but even I can see that my glass is most certainly half full. Full to the top. Running over.

My cup runneth over.
(Snort snort…puns…gotta live ’em.)

The Bataan Memorial Death March 26.2 will forever make me proud. I cried. I bled. I stumbled. I finished. And I think I’d take that one finish over all the others if I had to.

…so, no; I am not a failure. I have not failed. I have not finished 5 races. 5 Out of…guessing…at least 40 events. That’s pretty good.



On this National Running Day there will be those who brag about mileages and events and podium finishes and I will join them. I will remind myself that I get to join in on the Facebook festivities and the running shoe shop games because, quite simply, I rate a seat at this party, too. Those first painful and humbling miles, the next ten thousands of miles less painful but still more humbling, the tears on the sag wagons, the high-fiveing dozens of water-station volunteers, the 0300 wake ups, and the cheers at the finish lines rate my ticket.

Coach Jeff at Team PRSFit has helped me in ways he will probably never understand, but along with the workouts and nutrition consultations, he gave me the best advice I’ve ever been given: “no more bull crap. cut the bull crap.” Feeling like a failure all the time is bull crap. So I don’t do that anymore.

My coach has prostate cancer and is working with Zero to put an end to the stigma, the stubbornness, and the disease. He’s running across the whole country, the whole fricking country , with prostate cancer, raising money and awareness along the way. You can donate to the cause here.Coach Jeff and Zero put together a team for MCM. I’m helping. I’m training. I’m running.

I am not a failure. I am a runner.



Romeo’s Funeral

One of our sugar gliders died today. I don’t know what happened, he was healthy, well-fed, etc. His name was Romeo.


The kids took Romeo’s passing pretty hard, especially the 9 year old. He kept asking me if I was sure the critter was dead. “Yes,” I assured him, “he is definitely dead.” I didn’t go into details, but when I had to collect his tiny body from the cage, Romeo was most assuredly corpsified.

Also, the nine year old was particularly annoyed that the critter was being buried in a cereal box. (No shoe boxes…) He vows to never eat Kashi again.

The 5 year old asked if we could have an autopsy. Actually, his exact words were, “Maybe we better cut his belly and see what badness he ate. Plus we can make sure he won’t be a zombie.”

(Happy thoughts, indeed… Zombie sugar gliders. 5 year olds who request autopsies. Dead pets in cereal boxes… Nobody prepared me for this crap.)

The kids decided there would be a funeral. They also invited their friends.


The 9 year old read from the book of Jeremiah and took the responsibility of shoveling the dirt.

Over the cereal box. The cereal box of doom, as the 5 year old called it.


Maggie attended the service, too.


So poor Juliet is alone. While she misses Romeo, she did confide that she thought he was a bit smelly and crude, always demanding Benny Hill reruns. She says she’ll date just as soon as the requisite mourning period is over. Happily, Romeo left her in fairly sweet digs and in possession of a stockpile of food pellets.

Traveling Pennies

First, an announcement: the Idiot Quilts are almost done! The first was mailed a couple of days ago, the next will be mailed on Monday, then again on Friday. :) The quilt for Coach’s online fund raiser is 50% complete. Yay! for being productive. (We won’t talk about the tardiness…)

Ever since our trip to Europe last summer and our trip to Disney World the previous October, the kids have been begging for trips. We explained to them that trips cost lots (lots!) of money and we’d need to save lots (lots!) of money.

We’ve cut out iTunes movies and music, trips to the coffee store, dining out, ordering pizza, trips to the money pit Target, and school lunches. We stay home more often, saving gas money. I haven’t had my hair done in…um…yeah…I can’t remember.

My best friend’s family bought me a race entry for my birthday and I was surprised with a half marathon entry by my Hubs, but there will be no more races for the year. This is huge. In a given year, I will enter several races, each costing between $30-$110 each. This doesn’t include travel, hotel, food, and buying stuff at the expos. When I really added up all the races expenses for the past couple of years, I choked. While I know the kids had fun on my race weekends, I know that these were very selfish expenses on my part.

For several weeks now, my youngest has been bringing me stray change “for our next big trip to see Harry Potter”. My heart melts. Tiny little fist full of pennies…to travel the world. The oldest wants to see Paris (she’s enrolled in French language class), and has never complained about the lack of pizza. The middle kiddo wants to go back to London to ride in The Eye again and he’s never whined about missing a movie. It’s pretty cool that they see the world as accessible and they’re willing to give up their little luxuries.

We have bank accounts, of course, but the Chang€ o£ $cener¥ jar is something in the house, something they can focus on, and actively fill. (Online banking is great, but clicking around on a computer is never as satisfying as hearing the chink! of real money.)

How do you encourage your kids to save? What method works best for your family travel goals?