+Friday, July 29, 2005+
I haven't updated for a little while because everything in my life is perusual - I neglected my regular Tuesday update merely because I had absolutely nothing to post about. And as it turns out, I still don't really have anything to post about, but I am in terrible need of a good rant, and hey, that's one of the reasons I have my little nook of the internet, right?
:-)~ What I'm getting at here is if you don't want to hear me complain about people you don't know and morph into somewhat of a bitch, perhaps you should skip this post. If you don't care one way or the other, your advice and insight on this situation would be very appreciated!

First a little history: Matt has a friend who for privacy purposes we'll refer to in this post as "Greg" (though I'm not sure why I really care one way or another about his privacy). Matt and Greg are by no means great friends, and to say they were even good friends would probably still be pushing it a little, but Matt is a very reliable guy and has always been willing to lend Greg a helping hand when he needed it. Matt and I had been dating a few months when Greg met the girl who is now his wife - we'll call her "Lindsay" - and from the very beginning, Lindsay never meshed well with our group of friends. No one liked her. Mostly because she turned what used to be a good man into a pathetic mass of a human being, but also because she's an atrociously selfish bitch (I'll cite one example, though there are many: Matt and I had gotten into a big fight over something and were on bad terms for a few days. When we finally came to an agreement on whatever the fight was about - I honestly can't even remember - Lindsay approached me and said, "I'm so glad you and Matt aren't fighting anymore. You were giving me really awful vibes and bringing me down.").

When we figured enough was enough, we (when I say "we" I mean myself and Matt and a handful of our mutual friends) sat Greg down and told him about our concerns with his and Lindsay's relationship. It was (and still is) an extremely unhealthy relationship between two people who have very misconstrued ideas of love - Lindsay had ruined her fair share of men, and Greg...well, Greg is as inexperienced in love as they come: Lindsay was his first girlfriend. Ever. Yes, really. This isn't to say I have anything against first loves - I believe very much that there are people who marry and stay madly in love with their first girl/boyfriends, but this was a different situation entirely. We had watched our friend Greg completely lose control of his own life - a real life succubus story (should we submit it to MTV? LOL).

Despite our intervention that night, Greg disregarded our advice. In fact, it was shortly after that that things took a turn for the worse - Lindsay got pregnant, so they got engaged. Since it was quite apparent we were in for the long haul, all of Greg's friends reluctantly accepted that there was nothing further that could be said or done to persuade him otherwise. She was pregnant with his kid (which I feel I should mention is due to the fact that she had conveniently stopped taking her birth control)!

Begrudgingly we all agreed to take various rolls in the wedding - Greg asked Matt to be his best man which shocked the living be-jesus out of all of us because they'd never been especially close and because Greg's best-friend-since-high-school seemed like the blatantly obvious choice. Not to mention Greg's best friend had not been present at our infamous intervention whereas Matt had been right there with the rest of us condemning this relationship. Matt didn't immediately pick up the title. In fact, he felt a little uncomfortable doing so, and for a while he tried to insist that Greg's best friend should be best man - he was quite apparently the "best man" for the job (har har).

Greg would not hear of it though, so Matt hesitantly said yes to being his best man. They took Greg out for a wild bachelor party (believe me, they took my car, so I got to see all the matchbooks from all the fabulous little places they went. I mean, c'mon, this is NEVADA. 'Nuff said); Matt paid for his tux, his brother's tux, etc and we gave them a very generous amount of cash as a wedding gift. All in all, we spent at the very least $400 on Greg and Lindsay's wedding, and in return, we got nothing. Not even a verbal thank-you, let alone a written one. Thank-you notes are a common wedding tradition, and to not even send one to Matt - who mind you did NOT want to be the best man but still footed the cost of the bachelor party and a few tuxes in addition to his own - is just downright RUDE.

Lindsay was never one of my friends, and I never pretended she was. I was always nice to her, but were you ever to meet this girl, you would see how much of a task it is just to do that - prior to her, I'd never met someone with whom it was actually physically exhausting to be nice to them. It's difficult to be nice to bad people, especially when they're not necessarily going out of their way to be at all pleasant. Regardless, Greg was my friend, so on a few occassions we dragged Lindsay out for a girls' night at his request (and I only mention it because I find some sick humor in it, he once PAID my friend H to hang out with her so he could go out with the guys).

We went to the hospital for him the night his son was born. When he found himself down and out on his luck and in no position to afford a wife and a kid, Matt got him a job at the construction company he was working for. I make mention of all this not to make us as sound as though we're exemplary people, but to highlight what kind of friends we've been to Greg.

When Matt was deployed he had but one request for Greg and that was to check up on me occasionally incase I needed any help doing yard work or other odds and ends things around the house. Greg never came by to check up on me. I tried numerous times in vain to get a hold of him when some things went awry, and I needed him to mow my lawn. I called another one of Matt's friends and asked him to relay the message to Greg if he saw him to please call me. Nothing. When Matt came home for his leave, we invited a few friends over, and Greg did not come - for Christ's sake, this was the best man at his wedding, and he couldn't even take the time to come see him while he was on home on leave from freaking Afghanistan! Matt didn't mind too much that he couldn't seem to make time to see him on his leave - what he cared more about was the few broken appliances and the overgrown grass that had resulted from 5 months of unreturned phone calls (I've since learned how to use the lawn mower so I don't have to rely on others. We didn't have much grass where I grew up!!).

On Saturday, I saw Greg for the first time in more than 6 MONTHS - nearly the entire duration of Matt's deployment thusfar. You might be wondering if he came to check up on me. No, he did not. The reason he came by was to ask me to come to Lindsay's baby shower (they're pregnant again) on the 30th (tomorrow). Let's for a moment forget the fact that Lindsay is not my friend and never has been and instead focus on the fact that he's asking a favor of me after completely avoiding helping me out in any way, shape, or form these past 6 - 7 months. And, "she's not registered anywhere, but a gift certificate should be fine." Because after spending hundreds out of pocket on their wedding that everyone condemned and not receiving any sort of gratitude in return, I'm sure you can imagine how eager I am to spend more money on them.

I'm not a malicious person by any means. Quite the contrary actually. I'm more than willing to bend over backwards for any of my friends, and even in this case, a good part of my subconscious is telling me to be the better person and suck it up and go. But at the same time, I'm deeply bothered that someone can expect so much yet give so little in return. I LOVE to give - I'm absolutely a giver at heart. I enjoy Christmastime because I get indescribable joy out of giving people things I know will make them happy - far more than I enjoy receiving gifts. I don't claim to be a philanthropist or a wonderful human being, but my friends' happiness is important to me and I love them and am willing to give them anything they need if I can because I know in turn that my happiness is important to them and that at any second they would return the favor if need be. There is no room in my life for half-ass friends. I have no people in my circle I consider "acquaintances" and am extremely close to those I call my best friends. To me, friendship is all or nothing. If it's the latter, you're not my friend.

Unfortunately I'm having a difficult time justifying in my mind why I should go to Lindsay's baby shower - why I should be the better person. Since I've known him, Greg has done nothing but take and take, and I'm afraid I have nothing left to give him. I've completely exhausted my resources for my friendship with this man; I'm extremely disappointed that he's never been there for me when I've needed him and each time a favor I've asked of him goes unfulfilled, it gets harder and harder for me to give myself reasons why I should continue to be his friend and do things like go to his awful wife's baby shower. For those of you who've actually made it this far in the post, what would you do in this situation? I've already made the decision not to go to the baby shower tomorrow, and despite myself, I feel really guilty about this. It's not like me to blow off a friend and regardless of how unreliable Greg's been for me these last 6 months, I can't help but feel really bad for doing it. Am I completely out of my mind here or am I in the right in believing that going out of my way to resume a friendship with someone who obviously could care less about mine is pointless? It will help to have different perspectives of this - for all I know, I could be being a selfish bitch and have this situation completely askewed! Does needing more really warrant deserving more?

wishing matt was here @ 3:46 PM+

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+Tuesday, July 19, 2005+
I miss Matt. I realize this isn't much of a news flash or anything, but after months of subduing my pain to a numb ache, the feeling has recently made itself more prominent once again. With registering and a bridal shower right around the corner and the wedding nearly a year away (and therefore more acceptable to start planning for), I'm constantly reminded that I am so very very much alone during this time. My mom and sisters-in-law and girlfriends all chuckle at me and say the same thing: "Oh, the groom never takes part in the planning anyway," but I find this comment extremely irrelevant. Despite how much he decides to participate in the planning, other brides at least have the luxury of having their fiance near. It's easy to overlook small things the groom does take part in - like registering and perhaps cake tasting - until you have to do that stuff alone, until you can't go home and ask for even a little bit of input. I'd rather have Matt home on the couch grumbling, "I don't care. I really don't care" than half a world away and unable to take part even in the customary groom grumbles.

Last Tuesday I went with my mom to register for a few necessities that I want at my bridal shower (I gotta add here, I'm absolutely smitten to be able to say my bridal shower...hehehe. Being a bride-to-be is good fun!). I didn't register for anything along the lines of dishes, pots, pans as I'm quite sure those are things I can do without until the actual wedding. My current project right now is transforming Matt's bachelor pad into a married couple's abode and what I really wanted to do was simply ask for money at my bridal shower and put that money into my house redecoration project. My mom, however, informed me that this is "bad etiquette" so instead I registered for everything I need to redecorate: frames, cute and colorful vases, bathroom decor, a couple accent tables, sheets for the guest bed, lots and lots of throw pillows, etc.

From the get-go my mom had been very adamant about us registering together. It was to be one of those feel-good mother-daughter bonding experiences, but what it actually turned out to be was my mom disappearing for long intervals to look at stuff she wanted, leaving me and my scanner alone to beep bar codes in a sea of happy couples. AHHH!!! The feeling of loneliness returned full force and settled in for the long run; registering alone surrounded by happy smiling couples registering together hit me like an oncoming freight train and I wanted nothing more than to find a nice cozy hole to curl up in, away from this constant reminder of how alone I am and how emotionally draining this deployment really is. Since no holes were readily accessible, I did the next best thing and went home and cried. And cried and cried. I cried and cursed the army and just felt all around sorry for myself.

Luckily my "poor me" phase subsided rather quickly, but it left behind the feeling of an egregious void inside of me. Matt is really far away. I, of course, never forgot this important fact, I just never went through the trouble of constantly reminding myself; it hurt to fathom the distance between us and my way of coping was to just avoid doing so. We are on complete opposite sides of the world - if I were the north pole, he'd be the south. My Tuesday night is his Wednesday morning. We are just a half hour shy of being separated by exactly 12 hours. The distance, the danger, the consistent absence of Matt from my life have all played a part in the loneliness that seems to constantly follow me wherever I go, and now with wedding planning in our midsts, I feel like I have to be stronger than ever - already I feel I might crumble and all I've done so far is registered and received an invitaiton to my bridal shower.

Seeing Matt's parents this past weekend really helped. Seeing Matt's parents is always most therapeutic because not only am I among other people who are missing someone, we're missing the same someone. On Friday they took me out to dinner and then made the 20 minute drive outside of town with me to pick up a coffee table my friend was giving me, a small addition to my vision of the "perfect" living room. I received great joy in discarding the Bachelor Plank (the sad excuse of a surface with legs we previously referred to as our coffee table). The new coffee table is enormous and elegant - beautiful curved wood legs, two large squares of tinted glass that sit on top of an otherwise wood surface with a border underneath the surface of bronzed leaves. My description does it little justice - I'll have to take a picture of it which I'll add to this post later this evening so you can check back if you care to see it. Matt's mom loved the coffee table. I think she shares my joy of ridding the house of the days when no one but dirty guys lived there, and I have to say, if I did nothing more to the house as far as decorating, it would look ten times better just because of this new coffee table. My head's still spinning that I got something so magnificent for FREE (Thanks Ky!!!).

On Saturday I went shopping with Matt's mom who told me she wanted to buy me a new outfit for my bridal shower, but instead got me not only a new outfit, but 4 new candle holders, a bunch of new candles, a new pair of earrings, and a fuzzy pair of socks that are entirely pointless in the heat of the summer but are undoubtedly the softest things ever and that I have been wearing despite our 105 degree weather because they're so soft. I kept insisting that she didn't have to buy all this stuff for me, that I was more than willing to buy all this home decor stuff with money from my own pocket, but his mom would hear none of it. When I talked to Matt that night (it was actually more like 3 a.m.), I told him that I'm apparently incapable of saying no to his mom.

Today I was able to add another important piece to my redecorating - the new entertainment center that's been taunting me for about a month now but that I've been holding off on buying until I was sure it wouldn't be a frivolous purchase. If I thought the Bachelor Plank was a monstrosity, our current entertainment center is about 425,892 times worse. However, any doubts I had about purchasing the new center were put to rest with my horoscope today: "While you hate to waste money on frivolous things, your home is a major exception. A comfortable, tranquil escape from the world is not too much to ask for someone who gives as much of themselves as you do. Indulge." So I went ahead and finally bought the damn thing (I don't normally follow my horoscope, but this was just too blatantly relevant to ignore). I can't wait to get it - putting it together is half the fun!! It'll be arriving just in time for my bridal shower so I can do some bulk decorating the second week in August after I reap the benefits of my registries.

Apart from being officially dubbed my "busy month" (because of full-force redecorating, wedding planning, and the start of school), August is even moreso significant because it's the half way point. August 5 (the date of our wedding next year, oddly enough) marks 7 months Matt has been deployed, and while I can't put an exact date on the "middle" of the deployment, August marks 7 months down and 7 to go. That's right, folks - in about 2 weeks (give or take), we will be half way through this separation nightmare!! The unit that will be replacing Matt's has already been alerted for deployment to Afghanistan. It reminds me of when we first found out Matt's unit was going to be deployed; it's been nearly a year since then and makes me so glad that I have such a hefty portion of this deployment under my belt. I don't remember exactly how I felt when we knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that Matt would be deploying; we didn't know when and we didn't know where, we just knew, and despite having the facts laid out in front of me, it wasn't until January 5 when I was in Matt's pick up tearing after a charter bus full of soldiers down an empty early morning freeway that I realized this was going to happen regardless of how badly I did not want it to.

There's a lot of solace in knowing there's already a unit alerted to relieve Matt's unit - while it doesn't completely eliminate the possibility of an extension, it certainly makes it seem a lot less likely. Somewhere right now there's a handful of girls feeling the exact same confusing emotions I was dealing with around this time last year when we received word that the unit was under alert for deployment. There's a handful of girls who won't really be able to fully accept it until their husband/boyfriend/fiance is already gone, and who will, half way through their time, think to themselves, Wow! I've made it half way through and it really wasn't as excruciatingly horrible as I imagined it would be. It feels weird to be on the side of the deployment where I'm offering condolences to girls (and guys!) just starting off what they no doubt imagine as a long and lonely year (and there's many times it IS a long and lonely year, but there's also many times it's not), but I'm also very much still on the receiving end of advice - it surprises me how often I still need to hear "It'll go by fast. Before you know it, he'll be home."

To the spouses of the unit that will be relieving Matt's next year in Afghanistan and to all the spouses who are just beginning The Deployment Adventure, I offer you this (regardless of how much you won't believe it and how little help you'll find in it at this point): It'll go by fast. Before you know it, they'll be home.

wishing matt was here @ 2:31 PM+

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+Tuesday, July 12, 2005+
Matt called me this morning before work and as always when he calls, I was exhilerated. My heart literally picks up a few beats just at the sound of my phone ringing; it goes haywire when the caller ID shows the number of the call base that connects our calls - the number that shows up every time Matt calls (I even set a ringer to it on my cell phone). Some things in this deployment have lost their original allure, like writing letters. When he first deployed, I used to write Matt 4 or 5 times week, even when he was just a few hundred miles away in Oklahoma. Slowly my letters have lessened - not because I miss him any less than I did on Day One but because hand writing letters is very time consuming and if you try to write 4 to 5 letters a week for over 4 months, you'll realize just how time consuming it is. I still write him about twice a week but only because I know how much it means to him to receive my letters.

Phone calls are one of the things that have not diminished in importance. Granted our conversations aren't as gut-wrenchingly depressing as they were in the first few months as we've both had 6 months to settle into our "new" lives, but they're still the foundation of the communication I have with Matt and each one is equally important to me - even the bad ones - because just to hear his voice is a little chunk of personal heaven. Before he even left, we both agreed not to talk on the phone every day; we were in complete agreement that it would only make things more difficult and while some wives and fiances revel in the fact that they get to talk on the phone with their husbands every single day, I deeply enjoy getting to talk to Matt about twice a week. The infrequency of our conversations makes it hard to take the time we get to talk to each other for granted. It also ensures we have plenty to talk about - there's a lot less silence preceded by an elongated "so" when it's been a few days since we talked.

We've seemingly mastered the art of a deployment phone conversation as well. Randomly throughout the conversation we'll throw in our "I love you"s and "I miss you"s just incase the call gets dropped (which happens all too often), and I'm so used to the delay now I hardly even notice it. Some days I wonder if I hallucinated there ever being a delay - I remember all too well how annoying it was to have either long periods of silence or just an enomorous jumble of overlapping conversation, and the inconsistency of it now makes me wonder if it's not as big of a delay as it originally was or if I really just am that used to it. And fighting. Thankfully we haven't really "fought" since Matt's been gone though we have had a few conversations that left me feeling like I was toting around an anvil in my stomach, and I think it's important to mention to girls (and guys) just starting off on the Deployment Adventure that being thousands of miles apart doesn't exempt you from the rules of a relationship - you probably will fight. What's important is how you handle it and not to lose your head over it, which is certainly harder said than done; when you get in a fight with someone on the other side of the world and have absolutely no control over the situation, it's an awful helpless feeling, but stressing out over it isn't going to help alleviate the circumstances any - it'll only make it worse for you. Just ask Jennifer who got to handle me after Matt and I had our first "dispute" (which ended up not even being what I thought it was which highlights my point even more not to go bezerk over it!). :-)

Last week was the longest 4 day week of my life. I had to host a baby shower at my house on Saturday that I hadn't really been looking forward to, so I suppose I could partly attribute the slowness of the week to my own subconscious. Thankfully the baby shower was relatively painless, and I have to admit, the house did look awfully cute with green and gold streamers draped over the fence and a pink "It's a Girl" balloon tied to the mailbox. K, the soon-to-be new mommy, had decided a while ago that she wanted to make a mold of her belly; we decided to forego plaster as we'd been told by word of mouth that it gets "really hot" and instead decided to give papier mache a go. Unfortunately no one could seem to remember back to the days of art class and instead of a papier mache mold of an adorably pregnant belly, all we got was a deplorable lump of glue, water, and paper.

On Sunday afternoon I went to see War of the Worlds with my friend H and I hated it. It is my humble opinion that this movie sucked, and if you have never read the book or have yet to see the movie, I'm about to spoil the end for you, so if you actually want to waste 127 minutes of your life to see this train wreck of a Hollywood blockbuster, I don't suggest reading beyond this point (unless, of course, you don't mind having endings ruined for you. You can start again in 2 paragraphs). I've never read the H.G. Wells' book, but undoubtedly it's written much better than it was adapted to the "big screen" by Spielberg. Honestly. This movie was AWFUL. Nevermind that when an EMP knocks the city of New York so hard that cars stop running, everything electric or battery operated is apparently inoperative, and even Tom Cruise's wrist watch stops working, a tourist's video camera still works. Nevermind that when planes start falling out of the sky and one demolishes the entire neighborhood Tom Cruise and his kids are in, it somehow manages to completely miss their mini van. Nevermind that when Tom Cruise's hot-headed rebellious son runs away with the National Guard he manages to survive blasts and laser beams that take out the entire unit. Yes, discrepencies aside, you'll get to sit through 2 hours or so of people running away from tripods that can turn a human to dust with a mere braze of a laser beam and aliens that are oddly cute (don't let their bug-eyes fool you though! These maniacal little fuckers will harvest and eat you) so that you can never reach the climax that all good plots boast and get the movie wrapped up for you in about 5 minutes by the sudden death of all the aliens and a brief explanation of what's going on from the voice of a Twilight Zone-esque narrator.

The irony of it is beautiful - that all these aliens that have come to Earth to exterminate humans die because they can't handle our pesky Earth bacteria, but you can't simply throw a lot of special effects into a movie and impatiently hold out your hand for that Oscar you "deserve." Perhaps it's not entirely Steven Spielberg's fault that this movie was really really really terrible; it could very well be that it's just one of "those" books that shouldn't be made into a movie. I can see how it would be quite an undertaking to turn the story into a movie, but Spielberg didn't make it the undertaking it should've been - he went for glitz, not quality, and ultimately that is why I hated this movie: it had no substance. I need a movie where I care if a main character dies, but I wouldn't have minded too much, especially if it had been Dakota Fanning who I normally think adorable but only found incredibly annoying in this movie. I did, however, walk out of the theatre commenting to H that I was at least glad Matt wasn't fighting aliens. Who knew that if aliens attacked the National Guard would be the ones called up? Go New York National Guard!

This week is slowly passing through but already seems to be moving more quickly than last. I had to take Freedom to the vet yesterday to get her third set of shots; before sticking a wicked looking needle in my kitten's shoulder, the vet warned me that she might be a "little tired" after getting the shot. To say the least! I'd no sooner gotten home than my little darling plopped down on the floor and slept 12 hours, waking only once to follow me from the living room to the bedroom when it was my bedtime. It was wonderful to have a break from my little hellian for one night, to not be woken up before the sun had even risen because she discovered (and rediscovered) the interesting "dancing light" on my blinds that comes from the combination of my A/C vents and the eerie blue light of dawn. Ah kittens. Truly she is the closest thing to the antidote for deployments.

One of my mom's friends has decided to throw me a bridal shower in a few weeks despite the fact that the actual wedding is a bit over a year away. Well, who am I to turn down an opportunity to be the center of attention and get lots of gifts? Incidentally, the shower is going to be the same weekend the wedding lands on next year so we've decided to make it our "One Year Till" extravaganza. I'm going to register for gifts after work today with my mom (even though TheKnot.com warns, "The two of you should be registering for gifts you'll both enjoy...don't let mom drag you around - in this case, she may not know best."), so hopefully we'll be able to register peacefully without fighting that just because she likes the icky plaid yellow sheets doesn't mean I need to register for them; my mom and I are like the Odd Couple. Don't get me wrong; I adore my mom. She is, after all, my mother, but for both of us to agree on something is a rare occurrence. Hilarity ensues whenever we get together (of course, it's often at the expense of one or both of our feelings). Planning a wedding together will be.....interesting.

Matt's parents will be coming into town this weekend to visit me (their "favorite future-daughter-in-law" as they like to call me and as I like to gloat about regardless that Matt is their only son), and Matt's mom told me she'd like to take me shopping so I can get a new outfit for my bridal shower. Hmmm. Shopping with the MIL. I'm rather looking forward to it, actually. I feel that I've been blessed not only to be marrying the most wonderful man in the world, but that his mom is a) not insane; and b) likes me. Oh, I've heard the MIL horror stories!!

It's hard to believe that it's already been a month since Matt came and left for his R&R, which means I can stop griping about the length of 9 months... and instead move on to 8 (and so on and so forth until finally 1 is the magical number). I felt pretty certain that the first month after Matt left would move at an alarmingly turtle-like pace, but it didn't at all (save for last week). I got right back into my routine and time resumed flying right on by. I hope the next 8 months follow suit - and getting a kitty certainly didn't hurt in making the time more bearable! LOL.

wishing matt was here @ 4:47 PM+

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+Tuesday, July 05, 2005+
I have two notably bad habits that I've decided to spend the next 8 months kicking, and the old saying is true: old habits die hard. It's funny to me how in some ways these problems are on complete opposite ends of the spectrum - one of them will affect my mentality, the other, my physical well-being. Habit A is procrastination. Habit B (and I really hate to admit this, but they say admitting you having a problem is the first step to recovery) is smoking.

I am the worst procrastinator in the world. Occasionally I take it a step beyond procrastination and wade my toes in "slacking." Case in point? I should be working, but instead I'm updating my blog. It's taken many years to fine tune my procrastination into the wonder it is today, and unravelling all those years of "it can wait" is harder said than done. My motto thusfar has always been, "If it's still somewhat operational, don't fix it." My car is a good example of this, but here are a few others to whet your pallet: when not one but both of our toilets broke, I put off calling a plumber because the toilets were still fully functional as long as the water got shut off at the base every single time the toilet was flushed. When our washer started leaking, I was thankful to find the leak was not from the plumbing, but from the washer itself. The washer is still broken because it's fully functional as long as I make sure to turn off the water source as soon as the spin cycle is done.

Yikes, right? Who let this girl out into the "real" world? When Matt came home for his leave, one of the first things he did was call a plumber to fix the toilets. Between the time he called and the time our toilets were working the way toilets are supposed to work, it took about 2 hours. Two measely hours. It was then that I decided when I say I'm going to do something, I actually need to do it instead of putting it off for so long that my "priorities list" becomes my "I'll do it when I get to it" list. I'm taking it in baby steps for now, like getting my car fixed. I try to use my cell phone as a pseudo palm pilot, but whenever an alarm sounds to remind me of an event, I simply turn it off and forget about it. I thought about getting a planner, but I'd have to literally have the thing surgically attached for it to have any affect.

So far I've done an okay job of doing things when I say I'm going to do them, but it's going to take a little while. Like I said, I have years of finely tuned procrastinating to break. If things go according to plan, perhaps this year I'll actually send out Christmas cards. Last year I bought the bulk cards, wrote down all my friends' and families' addresses, and put them off till December 26 when it was too late and too pointless. In case you're wondering, the washer is still broken partly because Matt doesn't know it's broken and partly because I plan on getting a new one soon anyway. No point in fixing something that's just going to end up in a dumpster in a few months.

My habit of smoking is a whole different story. I've been smoking since I was 16. I'll be 23 in September; I'm still 2 years away from being eligible for cheaper car insurance, and already I've held the title of "smoker" for 7 years. Absolutely disgusting, but as a result, I'm a huge advocate of anti-smoking (or just a big fat hypocrite). I've tried (unsuccesfully, I might add) many times to quit smoking; I've tried the patch, the gum, biting my nails, telling myself that if I don't quit I'm going to die, but all to no avail. Quitting smoking is hard, and I curse the day I ever started. The addiction has become a codependency for me: stress and smoking go hand in hand, so while I thought that quitting smoking would be easier without Matt around (because he, too, was a smoker and we never had success quitting together), it's actually proven to be a good deal harder because, well, deployments equal stress. I don't have a plan of attack against my smoking habit yet, only the desire to someway somehow drop the habit. Suggestions and advice would be much appreciated. :-)

My 4th of July was mostly time with friends and celebrating America's 229th birthday! I went to Winnemucca to spend the 3-day weekend with my friend H, got insanely sunburnt, and got to do a radio interview as the fiance of a deployed soldier (H's dad owns and operates a radio station, incase you were curious as to how I landed the "gig"). The interview was a blast, mostly answers to questions about what Matt does in the army, where he's stationed, how I cope, what my advice to other people in the same situation would be, and aside from accidently referring to "helicopters" as "hotels," I'd have to say all in all it turned out really good.

The last question in the interview was whether or not I considered myself to be very patriotic. I'm not one to hang out red, white, and blue banners for the 4th, I didn't wear all three colors yesterday, but I think that the concept of patriotism goes much deeper than wearing the colors or sending out mass emails with GIFs of flags and poems written in red and blue. They make me happy, some of the poems even bring tears to my eyes, but I think more than anything the idea behind patriotism, in my opinion, is graciousness. Do you fully appreciate all the freedoms you have because you live in America? Before they deployed, Matt's commander told us, "Sometimes you have to give your country more than she's going to be able to give back," and that, to me, is patriotism. If you want to go a step beyond slapping a "Support our Troops" magnet on the back of your car, take it a step further and send a thank-you card to a soldier. September 11 brought about enormous amounts of pride, but I consider patriotism somewhat of a permanent entity - something that was here long before 9/11 and something that will still be here many years from now when Operations Enudring and Iraqi Freedom are chapters in our children's history books.

Yes, I consider myself to be very patriotic. I love America; I've always had a sense of awe at her accomplishments and her endurance. The tug I feel at my heart during an emotional rendition of "Star Spangled Banner" has been something I've experienced since my earliest memories and not just recently because my fiance is overseas. We are the greatest country in the world, and I am so proud of Matt for what he and all of our military men and women are doing. God bless America!

wishing matt was here @ 4:58 PM+

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