+Monday, August 29, 2005+
This song haunts me. I liked it until I saw the video, and now I can't hardly listen to it period. Much to my dismay, the radio station I listen to plays it about a trillion times a day, and the thought of the video makes me cringe. What song am I talking about? Why, Green Day's "Wake Me Up When September Ends," of course. If you haven't yet seen this video, you can get that runnin' by clicking here (you'll need Windows Media Player to run it from the link I've supplied, and as with all things, the slower your connection, the longer it'll take to load, so if you're stuck in the stone age with dial up, be patient!!). There's "acting" in the video, so take the 6 minutes or so to devote your entire attention to it...I'll wait for ya (if the link didn't work, please let me know in the comments and I'll find another way for you to watch it. Or you could just go to someplace like Yahoo! music and find it for yourself...)


Are you done? Did you watch it? Good. Now I can tell you how incredibly outraged I was with the middle of the video when his girlfriend slaps him for joining the army. He yells at her that "of all people I thought you'd understand. I thought you'd be proud." DAMN RIGHT!! That portrayal seems so far off base to me, I feel a little ripped off. Granted, this is supposed to be a couple of 18-year olds in the video, but I know a handful of girlfriends in my FRG who're no older than that themselves who would certainly not SLAP their boyfriends for joining this cause. It struck me as unbelievably selfish. Okay, I know, it's "just a video," but this got me boiling because the majority of the girls I talk to who're back home waiting for their soldiers are nothing but 110% supportive of what their loved one is doing. I would've much rather have seen a video of a girl who's sad to see her soldier off, but sucks it up and does what she has to - that seems so much more realistic to me, and no less "dramatic" if shock factor is what they were after. In fact, I think it would be MORE tear-provoking. I also probably wouldn't have even been so appalled were it not for the fact that she freaking slapped him - my initial reaction was, what? Did he cheat on her? Especially because she was yelling, "How could you?" Oh, no, she slapped him because he joined the army and she's a selfish little girl....

Of course this is all just my opinion of it :-) Other thoughts or comments on the video...?

wishing matt was here @ 3:38 PM+

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+Thursday, August 25, 2005+
I've been posting a lot in August 'cause I'm not sure I'll have much time to once school starts on Monday. I can't help but feeling I've totally overloaded my plate in a very successful effort to stay busy as all living hell. When I'm not at work or in class, I'll be doing homework or planning my wedding. Screw breathing and sleep - it's all just a means to an end. LOL. Everyone copes with deployments differently; my way, apparently, is morphing into supergirl and eliminating any and all free time. I'm wondering now if this really isn't such a great idea?

When I got home from work yesterday there was a message on the machine that one of my classes was cancelled for the semester. For a few hours, I took it as a sign, but after dwelling on it for too long at work today, I refilled the time with another class. The thought of having nothing to do on Tuesday nights absolutely horrified me, and instead of taking into consideration that maybe having one night a week for me IS a good idea, I was more concerned with my goal of keeping insanely busy. I'm starting to wonder now if I should drop the class. My intuition is screaming at me that I should and more than once today my cursor has lingered over the link to drop the class despite the fact that just today I added it. I haven't yet though; I have till Tuesday to decide whether or not I want to, and I suppose it's never a bad idea to "sleep on it."

I started painting my guest bedroom yesterday, all the while cursing our stupid jerk of a roommate who ever thought it might be a nice idea to paint all 4 walls dark, dark green. He might as well just have painted it BLACK! Honestly. It appears I'll have to slap on another coat of primer today before I can even paint on the color I bought - "Polar White." It's mostly white with just the tiniest hint of a powdery blue hue. Currently the walls look like white painted over dark green. Go figure. By the time this is all said and done, that poor wall will have about 7 coats of paint on it. Regardless, it's fun. It seems silly to me that when Matt comes home the house will look entirely different than the house he left. He says it'll be "our little dream home." I love him so much for appeasing me.

He'd called me yesterday morning as I was heading off to work, but the connection was so terrible we didn't talk long and he said he'd try to call back that night. I hate it when I'm anticipating phone calls from him - he never "promises" he'll call, just says he'll try, but nonetheless, I get my hopes up to hear from him. Whenever I tell him to call back soon and he asks when, I tell him to surprise me; anticipating his phone calls gets me bouncing off walls and it's direly disappointing when he doesn't call me when he says he will. Not his fault, I know. I know everytime an hour he's said he'd call has passed and he hasn't, he feels just as awful for being unable to call me as I do for not receiving the call.

Needless to say he didn't call last night during his "usual" time, so I curled up in bed with my book and fell asleep. I know he'll call when he can; sometimes I detest how indifferent I've become to this whole situation. I'm not talking about Matt's absence - I miss him like all hell - but I hate that I'm so "used" to things that only a few months ago would've had me bawling - him not being able to call when he said he would, bad connections, dropped phone calls. It's all just a part of the deployment package, and I've gotten to the point where I'm not only used to it, I expect it. I thank God when we get a clear connection and can talk uninhibited for the allotted amount of time Matt's allowed. I feel terrible when I have to continually yell "WHAT?" into his ear because the sound of static drowns out his distant voice.

A little past midnight, the phone rang and I knew it was him - not just because of the caller ID, but because no one in their right mind in the states would call me at that hour. I think I must be a sight when I get Matt's late night calls. I sleep with one of those satin "sleep masks" (it's not a beauty sleep thing, but because I honestly cannot fall asleep if there's even the tiniest bit of light - this includes digital alarm clocks and the little clock on the face of my DVD recorder...unless I have a nightmare, but that's a different story). The first ring gets me wide awake - nothing can wake a person up faster than a call from the other side of the world. I push up my mask and fumble for the phone in the dark. The second ring I turn on the reading lamp next to the bed to make sure I hit the right button when I answer the phone (I've hit the wrong one before, and trust me, it's traumatizing to accidently hang up on a call you've been waiting so long for. And yes, there is a "wrong" button on my cordless phone. It's high tech).

The first thing he does whenever he calls me at an outlandish hour is apologize for waking me up. Oh my God baby, I love you! It's so cute that he thinks I'd actually care, like one day I'm going to say, "GOOD! You should be sorry! I was fast asleep you &#(*&!" and hang up on him. I crave being woken up by his phone calls. Granted, it's tough to fall asleep after them because I'm floating around on such a natural high, but who cares? I'd stay awake for weeks if it had to do with talking with Matt. :-) He was on his lunch so we had a little while to talk, and praise God, it was a crystal clear connection, an ENORMOUS relief as it's literally been about 3 weeks since we've had a good connection.

There's always a few brief moments after a phone call when I forget how much I miss him. I simply hug the phone to my chest (this must be a psychological thing) and grin and feeling nothing but this immense love; I reminisce on what we said, on how he sounded, and immediately start looking forward to the next time I get to talk to him. I measure my weeks by his phone calls - the entire duration of the deployment thusfar has been measured on a time line of one phone call to the next. They're what remind me that somewhere out there he's thinking of me and missing me and loving me as much as I am him.

His sister came out last weekend for a day to spend some time with me and my friend H. She's older than me by just about 2 and a half years, and I was actually a little nervous about hanging out with her! I've never gotten the chance to "get to know" Matt's sister because every time I was with her I was also with Matt or Matt's parents. I somehow always got the feeling that she was constantly judging me - looking out for the best interest of her little bro. Hanging out with her this past weekend was a blast though. I was actually really surprised at what a great time I had (not that I thought I'd have a terrible time, but you never really know what to expect in these situations).

This weekend I'm heading up to Tahoe to start throwing wedding planning into full force. We've officially booked the church for August 5 though the priest wouldn't let me have the ceremony at 11 a.m. like I had hoped because it's not one of the times he'll perform weddings, but I suppose I can't complain too much as I'm not only getting married at just about the most beautiful church in the world, but it's in freaking Lake Tahoe (there's huge bay windows behind the alter that overlook the lake). Perhaps the only place that rivals its beauty is Alaska....

My mom's going to take me around and show me a few places she's scouted at as potential sites for the rehearsal dinner though ultimately the deciding factor in that resides with Matt's parents. I'll be meeting the priest who's going to perform our mass (though my mom and I have been parishioners at this church since I was just a wee little girl, they recently had a new priest come in in July and I haven't had the chance to meet him yet - all my prior correspondence had been with the priest that was there before). I also get to go through all my old baby photos (for a storybook slideshow I'm making of Matt and I from when we were little babies to current) and go over with my mom what I've pretty much settled on for the invitations - oh, sure there's a possibility I'll change my mind, but I doubt it. I just ADORE these invites. I love that the wedding is less than a year away now!! I could hear Matt smiling over the phone last night when I was updating him on everything - it thrills me that it makes him happy that I'm so happy. I know he doesn't really care one way or the other as is typical with grooms, but once again, I just love him to death for appeasing me. LOL.

Sometimes I get a little distracted when I think about wedding planning because currently the date of Matt's homecoming is so much more important to me than that of August 5, but I suppose on the same note, keeping busy with wedding planning is what will seemingly get me to that homecoming date faster! Just about 6 more months baby!!! We're finally in the homestretch......

wishing matt was here @ 4:15 PM+

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+Tuesday, August 23, 2005+
Last week I received an email from Robert Williams, the Marketing Coordinator for the program Helmets to Hardhats asking if I would be interested in including a link to their website on my page. I'm going to go a step further and post the article he attached to the email he sent me; since Matt worked in the construction industry before being deployed and plans to not only return to that trade, but to hopefully start his own business in it, I find this program to be an excellent opportunity for our troops returning home. I've included a link in my sidebar (under "My Blog"), so please check this out and spread the word on it!

Helmets to Hardhats Press

It seems like everywhere we look, tributes are being made to the men and women who have served our country. We saw it at the super bowl, we see it in the daily news and we see it on the wrists of people that pass us by on the street. Thousands of our troops are still fighting in Iraq and others have returned home to take the next step in their civilian lives and careers.

Helmets to Hardhats is a national program that was started in 2002 that connects National Guard, Reserve and transitioning active-duty military members with quality career training and employment opportunities within the construction industry. The program is administered by the Center for Military Recruitment, Assessment, and Veterans Employment and headquartered in Carlsbad, Calif. Direction for management of the center comes from a board of trustees comprised of equal numbers of employer and labor trustees.

The program has experienced tremendous success in a short amount of time as evidenced in our metrics, success stories and positive public relations. Through the proactive support and registrations of the building and construction trade unions, quality employers and JATCs, we now have over 45,000 careers listed on our website and have referred 21,161 candidates into careers.

Everyday calls, letters and emails pour into the Helmets to Hardhats headquarters from candidates that have been placed in a career through the program with their thanks and appreciation for what has been done for them. There is unbelievable emotion in the things that they tell us.

Here is what one candidate had to say.

“My name is Kurt Stumpf and I wanted to thank you for this wonderful program for veterans. I am a bricklayer from Indianapolis, local 4 and I have been deployed recently to fight in the war. I have been able to utilize the training that I received in the union. My primary job here is masonry and I have been able to help train and work next to the local people here. The members in my unit respect the knowledge I have learned in the union and have shown a desire to join a union when they return home. I am so proud of you guys for giving my brothers in uniform a chance to better their lives. I've shed a tear for that and thank you for this grand opportunity you have given to all veterans. I've never felt more proud about being a union worker than I do now.”

Direct Entry

One of the major milestones achieved in 2004 with the program was the beginning of statewide direct entry signings. With the help of the Indiana BCTC, all of their affiliates, and the Governor, we were able to create a direct entry process to help our candidates get accepted quicker and easier into all of the Indiana trades. Ohio soon followed with a similar direct entry-signing event.

This year Connecticut, West Virginia, Washington and Rhode Island have also had direct entry signing events. The direct entry signings provide a common agreement between the BCTCs, the affiliates, JATCs, governmental authorities and Helmets to Hardhats leaders to support all Helmets to Hardhats candidates within each state.

With the implementation of a statewide direct entry program, Helmets to Hardhats candidates are able to get into quality construction careers soon after applying for them through Helmets to Hardhats. Once the state proclamation is signed, it allows all JATCs and locals (at their discretion) to accept current and former military candidates and provide credit for military training and experience.

Various public media entities approached Helmets to Hardhats on several occasions wanting to hear the “good news” story. Helmets to Hardhats was featured on CNN, ENR Magazine, Public Radio News, On Guard Magazine, CBS, NBC, ABC and many other military publications. Also the program was asked to be game day sponsors for the Seattle Seahawks and Baltimore Orioles professional sports teams. In addition to those mentions, the Department of Labor put together a documentary that highlighted Helmets to Hardhats calling it the best example of a transition program for our veterans.

Helmets to Hardhats is also working in conjunction with the Outdoor Living Network to produce 30 second and 90 second commercials.

Our “Good News” campaign for 2005 is all about proactively sharing our successes. We want the world to know what the Building and Construction Trade members and employers have done for our troops. In order to support those efforts, we will soon release an online media center that will allow the public to view our success stories, photos and voices of candidates that have been placed with a simple click of a button.

Sharing our successes will help to bring in many more supporters of the program that will allow it to continue to grow and prosper. During this time of war, there is no better news to share.

For more information please call (866) 741-6210 or email sarah@helmetstohardhats.org

You can also find further reading on the program here.

wishing matt was here @ 1:56 PM+

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+Thursday, August 18, 2005+
Today is quite possibly one of the best days of my life. The only way it could be any better is if Matt were here to share it with me, however I have not let the fact that he's not here deter the significance of the events of this wonderful day. Despite being on the opposite side of the world and being unable to give me the congratulatory hug and kiss I absolutely crave, he can still at least share in my joy, and in a deployment, one takes what they can get. :-)

I slept great last night - the best night's sleep I've had in what seems like ages. My nightmares had gotten to the point where I was developing a case of insomnia - they were so horrid I was actually afraid to fall asleep. But sleep came easily and naturally last night; I gave my pillows a good dousing of Matt's cologne. Matt had called arond 9 p.m., but the connection was terrible and our call got disconnected. I held onto the phone listening to the dead air for at least a minute before I finally hung up - sometimes the phone just goes silent and eventually I'll hear Matt's voice coming through again. This was not the case last night. I was a little disappointed, but I didn't let it bring me down; I've gotten the opportunity to talk to him a lot more than usual this week, and it's not like a call getting disconnected is a surprising or uncommon occurrence.

On a whim, I took a shower last night before going to bed instead of in the morning before work like I usually do. I had a feeling Matt would call back in the morning and taking a shower that night would decrease the amount of time it takes to get ready for work, giving me more time to talk to Matt incase he called. He did!! Mostly he was curious about the annual raise I was supposed to get yesterday (but didn't because we were so busy the opportunity to discuss it with my boss never arose), but also to let me know he'd gotten a few letters from me, to tell me he loves me, to talk about what a good week he's having, and of course, to pester me about remembering to water our tree and bushes LOL.

It's funny to me how our good weeks and our bad weeks always seem to coincide. We always talk less during bad weeks because his mood directly affects mine and vice versa (and we make up for it during good weeks), but the similarities in the patterns of our weeks strengthens my belief in soul mates. It's almost like the psychology that's studied behind twins - sometimes I'll get a sick feeling in my stomach for no apparent reason only to have Matt tell me later when I talk to him about something bad that happened. Ridiculous as it may sound, it's one of the things that's held me fast through the hard times of the deployment; there's something enduring in knowing that we're always on the same page.

After an excellent and upbeat conversation with my baby this morning, I came into my office to have my boss call me into her office for the review I've been waiting for since the beginning of August when my second anniversary rolled around. I was a little nervous; I knew what I wanted to say and I knew how much more money I was going to ask for, but there's something about being in the "hot seat" that's disarming and makes me feel quite vulnerable. I had nothing to worry about though - my evaluation went fantastically. My boss filled me up with wonderful compliments about what a great asset I am to the company, how great I am at my job, and how one day when Matt and I have our business, I'll fully understand what a blessing it is to have an employee that's as reliable as I am. I was so flattered I felt on the verge of tears. She then offered me a raise that was a good deal more significant than what I had been planning on asking for - it amounted to just over a 9% raise!!! Unbelievable!!!

I was all smiles when I came out of my boss's office. I don't doubt I was emitting a glow that could've lit up New York City during a black out, and even if I'd tried, I wouldn't have been able to prevent my ear-to-ear grin. I thought I was going to have to argue for the amount I wanted, and here I was offered quite a bit more!! An even happier feeling came when I realized I paid all my bills on my last paycheck while trying to figure in my car payment that's due this weekend (I get paid weekly). I thought I would be a little tight for cash until September, but I erred greatly in my finances - I erred greatly in my favor. I kept thinking tomorrow was the 26th - the day when my car payment's due. Imagine my surprise to discover that tomorrow's the 19th and my car payment isn't due for another week. With all my bills paid, that means this week's paycheck is completely free and clear!! It feels like I'm getting free money - I might as well just have won the damn lottery! Erring in one's favor when it comes to money is an excellent feeling. :-) It's the first (and probably the last) time in the deployment I've been glad it was earlier in the month than I thought.

My friend H is coming out to spend time with me this weekend and Matt's sister is also coming in from out of town to visit for a little while on Saturday. I'm really glad that Matt's sister is coming - she's one of my bridesmaids because she's family, but I've never really gotten the opportunity to "bond" with her the way I have with Matt's mother and father. It'll be great to hang out with her like she's just one of my girls; we are going to be sisters soon, after all!

My darling Freedom has to go in for her last set of kitten shots next Thursday. She's growing so fast and getting so big! She's officially reached the gangly and awkward phase of kittenhood - I can't believe next Friday she'll be 4 months old, and it's still such a strange thought that she'll be a full grown cat when Matt gets home! I'll have to post more up-to-date pictures of her since the ones I've linked to are now a couple months old. I'm still utterly convinced that babies are the antidote to a deployment - baby animals, baby humans, it doesn't matter. If it's cute and little and can keep you occupied, it'll fill your heart with joy to the point where sometimes you actually do "forget" the underlying pain that's a part of everything you do when your loved one is so far away. God bless my little deployment kitty (and Matt for letting me get her! hehe).

wishing matt was here @ 3:28 PM+

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+Monday, August 15, 2005+
I'm so tired I can hardly keep my eyes open. I slept like crap last night as vivid and grotesque nightmares have lately become a regular occurrence. I woke up around 3 a.m. last night and though I couldn't remember exactly what had happened in the dream, I had broken out in a cold sweat and my heart was racing at an alarming rate - I slept with Matt's dim reading light on for the rest of the night. Next thing you know I'll be checking my closet for the Boogeyman; you'd think I'd have outgrown the whole "afraid of the dark after a nightmare" thing years ago, but apparently this isn't the case. In the beginning of the deployment when I'd have a bad dream, I'd mindlessly still reach out in search of Matt and feel my heart break all over again when I came up empty handed. I know better now, but it doesn't put my mind at ease after a brutal dream.

Dreams aren't very common for me, my sleep is usually just a black void. I've had people claim that we always dream, every night, it's just a matter of whether or not we remember them in the morning. I find that when I dream, I at least have a vague recollection of it - I always wake up tired when my mind's been apparently active, and I haven't had a single "good" dream since Matt left, only nightmares that make no sense and seem to have no common ground, if I can remember them at all. If it's true that dreams are a reflection of what's in the deep recesses of your mind, I must have a lot inner turmoil going on that I'm unaware of - I just want these dreams to go away. I can't decipher what they could possibly mean because I can never remember what exactly they entailed - only that they struck enough fear in me that sleeping in the dark seemed utterly unappealing when normally I can't fall asleep except for in pitch black conditions. They don't happen nightly, but lately they've been happening frequently enough to make me wonder where they're coming from?

My weekend was relatively uneventful. On Saturday my dad came down to help me hang shelves as a part of my redecoration project; we went out to lunch afterward, and I spent the remainder of the afternoon watching TV inbetween writing thank-you notes from my bridal shower. I had 39 to write and didn't finish until yesterday, but thank God they're finally done - I can't imagine what I'm going to do after the ceremony when we'll have over 100 to write. Matt, honey....::evil grin::...don't think for a second you'll get out of helping me write those.

I had planned on repainting the guest bedroom this weekend - a past roommate painted all 4 walls the most hideous dark, dark green, and I hate the room because of it. It feels like a dark, dank dungeon; I don't even like going in it, and I had planned on painting in a nice cool shade of light blue - basically white with just a hint of blue - but upon discovering that it's going to take a lot more than just a layer of paint to cover that icky green, I've decided to hold off on that project for a little while. I put a lot of time into the house this weekend, and my energy was absolutely drained from decorating by Sunday. I plopped down on the couch and went from decorating to watching other people decorate on my new favorite channel, HGTV. I need to submit an application to one of those designer shows, save myself the hassle and have an expert do it for me LOL. Nonetheless, the house is starting to look excellent. I'll post pictures when it's done, which I'm hoping should be within the next few weeks. Thusfar, the living room and kitchen are nearly done, the guest bathroom is completely finished, and I haven't even started the master bathroom.

On Sunday I went garage saling and antiquing with my friend K in hopes of finding some thrown out knick knacks that would make a good addition to my decor - namely I'm looking for some cute end tables to use as nightstands in what will become the guest bedroom (but is currently a green dungeon with a bare mattress). My search was relatively unsuccesful - I only came home with some silk flowers to put in a pretty ceramic bowl I got at my bridal shower.

I finished reading "The Count of Monte Cristo" on Friday (it was one of many books that Matt bought on his leave and asked me to ship to him, but this one stayed behind as I desperately wanted to read it because I vaguely remembered enjoying the movie when Matt made me watch it). In celebration of the completed novel, I also watched the movie, and I have to say, this movie is based on Alexandre Dumas' book? Really? Most of the characters' names are the same and the plot is the same basic idea of revenge, but the similarities end there. The end of the movie is, well, very Hollywood. The book's ending is not. And it's not just the end where the differences are glaringly obvious. Regardless, I still love the movie. I regret that I read the abridged version of this book - I was actually really sad when I finished reading it because I wished it could go on forever, and I plan on rereading the unabridged version just as soon as I finish my latest venture (Leo Tolstoy's "War and Peace"). I would suggest "The Count of Monte Cristo" to anyone and everyone - especially if you're a sucker for classic literature from the late 19th/early 20th century such as myself. I envision the late 1800s as a very romantic era and sometimes wonder if I wasn't born in the wrong century LOL.

Classes start in 2 weeks and I'm VERY excited - school seems to have taken on new meaning now that I've firmly decided on receiving my AA in finance (officially called "accounting technology")...it's relevant to my current job (I work in the accounting department), but it'll be a great benefit when Matt starts his business a few years after getting back from good ol' Afghanistan. I ordered my text books today (I've found that ordering them on the internet for in-store pickup is much more convenient than battling the crowds), and they cost me a whopping $389.57. YIKES! And I'm only taking 9 credits...it troubles me how expensive text books are getting - how in the world do unemployed full time students do it?!? The kicker is that when I sell them back at the end of the semester, I'll probably only get $20 - $30 for them, if they take them back at all!!! It's sad that the cost of a post-high school education has become this obscene, but I guess that it weeds out those who really want it and those who do not.

Anyway, August 29th couldn't possibly come soon enough - I'm more than eager to rid myself of all the free time I've had at my disposal during the summer months. The deployment moved much faster for me when I kept busy, and though it's possible - and very likely - that I've loaded more on my plate than is humanly possible, my Virgo tendencies drive me at subhuman levels on occasion. Everyone deals with deployments differently - my way is by filling up every second of my time. In this deployment, free time is an enemy.

Well, if anyone knows something about sleep patterns or dreaming, I'd love to hear your theories on my nightmares - especially if you possibly have a remedy for getting rid of them! I yearn for a good night's sleep!!

wishing matt was here @ 2:55 PM+

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+Friday, August 12, 2005+
From the beginning when I started this blog, I've opted out of using it as a resource to express my political views and instead have hoped to have it serve as somewhat of an outlet for other military wives/girlfriends/fiances. I love it when I'm emailed for advice because that was what I had hoped to achieve through my blog. However, some posts in some blogs I frequent were brought to my attention today, and I find it extremely difficult not to at least make mention of it here.

The ongoing debate seems to be between Grey Eagle (a female soldier) and Sarah over at Trying to Grok and is in regards to women in the military - not so much as to whether or not they should be allowed in combat situations, but more along the lines of what role they play in the adultery that is committed on the bases overseas. I'm choosing not to voice my opinion on this matter - this is not news to me, it doesn't come as a shock or surprise, and is something I know is happening on the base Matt's located on as well as many many other bases in Iraq and Afghanistan.

I can't find the permalink's for Grey Eagle's individual posts, but you can scroll through and find her mentions of the matter fairly easily on her blog. You can find mentions of it on Sarah's blog here, here, here, and here. While I've chosen not to share with everyone my exact feelings on this issue, I will say that cheating is not okay. EVER. I find there are no circumstances where it should be allowed to slide either on behalf of the spouses or their soldiers. Being under "stress" is a terrible excuse and no reason to commit adultery. My concerns do not reside in single soldiers who find love in war. What sickens me is the married couples who're making cuckolds of each other - both the soldiers overseas and their spouses back home. I reiterate firmly that cheating is not okay. Period. What the hell ever happened to for better for worse? The people who've done this and have used the war to justify their actions absolutely disgust me.

wishing matt was here @ 2:26 PM+

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+Wednesday, August 10, 2005+
Ah, half way through another week. I typically hate Wednesdays - it's much easier to pull through the day with the knowledge that tomorrow is Thursday. And boy, do I love Thursdays (really).

This past Sunday, some of my mom's cronies threw a bridal shower for me, and it was a great time. I got a lot of gifts - more than I ever even received for my birthday when I was young and cute and spoiled rotten (well, I'm still the first two....hehehehehe) - but of all the material possessions I received, I'd have to say the best gift was something so simple yet so personal I got from Matt's mom.

You can't tell so well in the picture I have posted, but as you probably know (or have at least guessed), my engagement ring has 3 diamonds in it. What you don't know is that two of these diamonds have a history - and one is in the process of weaving a great love story :-) The biggest diamond in the center is almost 100 years old; it's an heirloom from the maternal side of Matt's family, and is so old, its cut is obsolete and therefore extremely rare - you can't find a new diamond cut like this anymore. One of the smaller side diamonds comes from Matt's paternal side, and the third diamond is the one Matt bought for me that has little history behind it now, but will one day be handed down to our children as proof of our enduring love.

A week or two before the shower, I emailed Matt's mom and asked her if she would mind terribly typing out and emailing me the complete story behind each of the diamonds on my ring. I thought I should know their histories since I wear them on my finger every day. She went a step further - she researched it completely, had it printed out on really nice thick paper, and binded together with a ribbon. My heart swelled when she gave me this gift; and the thought put into it and the wording of the stories brought tears to my eyes. Nothing could've topped this gift.

If you didn't happen to catch my "sneak preview" of the pictures from my bridal shower, you can view them here. It really was a beautiful party, and I've begun to prep myself for what seems like the thousands of thank-you notes I have to write (it's more like 30, but hey, that's a lot!!). Having everyone celebrate the wedding makes it seem more tangible - it's so much closer now!!

I don't have much else to post about. So many different news syndicates have posted so many different dates the Afghan elections will supposedly take place on; the latest I've heard is September 19. Oh, goody. Happy birthday me :-( I've moved into a rather awkward stage of the deployment (for myself at least) where more than anything, I'm just utterly annoyed. I'm antsy and impatient and irritable and would give my left arm for Matt to come home tomorrow. Are you kidding? I just did 7 months and now I have to do 7 MORE? I know it'll go by quickly, but the thought of spending Thanksgiving and Christmas without Matt depresses me to no end - even the idea of have a Mattless Halloween disgusts me. Halloween has always been kind of "our" holiday. Last year we dressed up as Hugh Hefner and one of his bunnies - this year I don't want to do anything, not with my girl H, not with my family, not with anyone, because Halloween is something that was always ours. Sure, it sounds silly, but every couple has their "things," and Halloween is one of ours.

School starts in about 2 and a half weeks, and I'm craving the busy schedule I'll have. I signed up for 9 credits this semester to work around my full time job, my redecorating, and my wedding planning. The idle time I have now seems to sit at a stand still, and it's been driving me mad. In the attempt to find things to keep me preoccupied, our house has become impossibly clean. I leave the TV on just to fill my overly quiet house with noise. I talk to my pets like they're people. I was upset that my dad wouldn't come help me hang shelves TODAY, and I have to wait a couple days. I go out with friends on the weekend but never seem to have as much fun as I should because in the back of my mind I keep thinking that this time is a means to an end. Hurry home Matt!! LOL.

Well, I suppose that's enough griping for one day....

wishing matt was here @ 3:23 PM+

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+Monday, August 08, 2005+
I thought I'd copy Emmy and give making a doll of me a go. Well, that wasn't enough to appease my boredom, so I made one of Matt too. This is what we would look like if we were cartoon anime characters....Matt's hair is a little screwed up though - they have over 800 different hairs to choose from and none of them seemed to suit Matt; this was the closest I could find! Go figure. (And thank goodness he doesn't really stand like that and look all skinny LOL).

Image hosted by Photobucket.com Image hosted by Photobucket.com

There ya have it! If you feel inclined, you can make one too. There's so many different ways you can make them look, it's definitely a good way to kill some time if you need to!! I'll be posting more about more bridal shower with pics later this week - and I haven't forgotten the photos I promised on my last post. I just haven't had the time to get them up yet! :-)

wishing matt was here @ 2:07 PM+

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+Friday, August 05, 2005+
This is it! One year from today at this exact moment, Matt and I will be at our reception, blinded by love and wedded bliss :-) When I started the "wedding countdown" (back when Matt proposed on December 12), there was over 500 DAYS in the countdown - and now just look! We've past the one-year-till mark, and I'm so excited. Matt called this morning and I happily wished him a happy "pre-anniversary" anniversary LOL. In celebration of the day we've staked as "ours," I've decided to do a post on love and how absolutely unconditional ours is, so be forewarned: mooshy stuff ahead (I'll also be adding pictures to this post later, so if you're reading this, check back later for pics)!!

It's funny to me that in retrospect I can pinpoint the exact moment I fell madly in love with Matt, the exact second I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that I had to have him in my life forever and always. We hadn't even gone on our first date yet, so of course to say I knew that at the time would probably sound a little obsessive - scary even - but looking back on it, it seems so obvious to me that that was the point in time I knew that Matt would one day become my darling hubby: he came into our apartment and stood in the doorway for just a second or two, but the sight of this tall, dark, handsome, kind, funny, confident (etc etc LOL) man filling the space in our door frame made me absolutely weak in the knees. Call it cliche or sum it up to one-too-many romance novels, but from that moment I was positively smitten.

Matt and I met through mutual friends - how he ever came to be friends with my roommate at the time is beyond me, but in my head clouded with romantic notions, I like to believe he met my roommate because that was how Fate had planned on leading him to me. For the longest time I kept hearing about some guy named Matt, and how I just had to meet him. I've never been one to let my friends hook me up, so as you can imagine, the idea didn't thrill me. And the fear of letting my friends plan a date for me aside, I was in a "relationship" (I put it in quotations because I find it absolutely atrocious to refer to what I was in as a relationship - all I ever did was tell him his fart jokes were immature and not funny and how, on occasion, I DO like to be treated like a girl and all he ever did was gripe at how I just didn't understand his humor and that I was high maintenance).

But then I met Matt. The exact circumstances of our first meeting and exactly when it was, I can't remember, but I do remember picking my jaw up off the ground and developing what could only be described as a crush. There is something awe-inspiring about the way Matt carries himself, and when he walks into a room, it affects every person in that room. He has the ability to talk to and relate with people in a way I never knew possible - if I leave him for a few moments to go to the restroom while we're out and about, he'll have struck up a conversation with a complete stranger about any topic under the sun by the time I get back. I know no one more intelligent, well-spoken, and all around charismatic as Matt. I still thank God every day that I'm the girl who gets to be his wife.

Shortly after I met him, he left for a couple weeks to take a trip back to his hometown to visit some high school buddies, and the entire time he was gone, I annoyed my friends to no end with incessant babble about how great Matt was. Before he left, we'd had the opportunity to poke and tickle and push at each other like a couple of 13-year olds inexperienced in love - we flirted like teenagers - and when he came back, he called me up and asked me to go to dinner with him. Le sigh.

At that time in my life (I was 20), I was working as a part time DJ at an alternative rock station and was in what Matt and I now fondly refer to as my "groupie phase." Naturally a blonde, I had dyed my hair brunette and chopped most of it off. Unfortunately this wasn't a very flattering look for me - I look MUCH better with long blonde hair than I did with short brown. But I digress. The night Matt picked me up for our first date, I was clad in faded black jeans, a black zip-up hoody sweatshirt with red "racing stripes" down the arms, and red Converse. Yes, the kind that were popular back in the early 90s with the white toes. Matt was wearing nice khaki slacks and a collared shirt. Need I say more? Luckily ours is a story that proves first impressions don't last forever.

Love came very naturally to Matt and I, not to confuse "naturally" with "easily," because though loving each other seemed as natural as I imagine flying is for a bird, it was always something we had to work toward. The deep unbreakable bond we now have the privilege of sharing was something that required overcoming many obstacles to obtain, and just when we had withstood so many trials and tribulations that we knew we had finally achieved a love that could be uninhibited, Matt got word that his unit was under alert for activation and that orders for an 18 month deployment would follow shortly.

I'm a firm believer that you can't have the sweet without the bitter, and I do feel that if Matt and I had not been through what we've been through, our love wouldn't be as strong as it is. Having [what we thought at the time was] an 18 month deployment to separate us by thousands and thousands of miles and vast bodies of water seemed almost like a sick joke. We didn't, however, let the news deter our love for each other, and we had a good 3 - 4 months to enjoy together between the time Matt received his orders and the time he was actually deployed. On December 12 - our 2 year anniversary and just about 3 and a half weeks before he left - Matt presented me with the most gorgeous three-stone diamond ring I've ever seen (the picture in my side bar doesn't do it justice) and asked me to marry him.

In my past I'd dated a few guys I thought I was in love with - passing fancies who always failed to hold my attention long enough to have any sort of a meaningful relationship with - but I realize now that I never knew love till I knew Matt. I only love him more with every passing day and even though I haven't seen him in a few months, even though we're on complete opposite sides of the world, the thought of him and the feelings I have for him overwhelm me into tears. There is only one man. It may seem like an accomplishment to have to wait 14 months for him to come home so we can resume our lives, but the truth of the matter is, I would wait till the end of time for him if I had to. I must admit that I had my concerns at the beginning of this adventure - what if our feelings for each other faded? But I see now that's just not possible. Time and distance have no affect on us. Absence truly does make the heart grow fonder, and as my anonymous quote (in my sidebar) states, "No matter how painful distance can be, not having him in my life would be worse." I love you, Matt. You are my sun and my moon. Seven more months and we'll never have to be apart ever again!

wishing matt was here @ 2:07 PM+

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+Tuesday, August 02, 2005+
Just a mere three more days till the countdown to the wedding can really begin. I haven't wanted to allow myself to get too excited over a wedding next August when this August hadn't even rolled around yet, but I think I can put my reluctancy aside now. :-) My bridal shower is on Sunday, and at the risk of sounding selfish, very few gifts have been purchased off my registry and knowing my mom's friends, I have this inkling of a fear that I'm going to get a lot of gifts I don't want. Mine and Matt's pup also gets to make an appearance at my shower - I wouldn't have asked if I didn't know the woman hosting it was an avid dog-lover - so for all your viewing enjoyment, I've included a picture so you can see the torture I've submitted him to. LOL. Matt would be horrified if he knew I was playing dress up with his dog. I can't wait to see his reaction to the photos I send him of from my bridal shower.

I got this adorable puppy polo off eBay (click picture to enlarge), but much to my dismay, I underestimated the measurements of an XL. It doesn't fit!! I had to snip part of it for it to even fit (and I had to bribe him heavily with treats to get him to hold still for me to put it on - notice how thrilled he looks in the photo. LOL. Like father like son!). Since she's getting bigger and older, I also took the liberty of getting Freedom a new collar. We had a full-fledged bidding war over it, but ultimately I won, as I very well should have - to think that any other cat is worthy of wearing a collar this cute is absolutely asinine. I'm convinced it was made especially for her. Oh gosh! I've become an eBay addict!!!

As I mentioned in my previous post, I did not go to my "friend's" wife's baby shower. I sent my regrets in the morning, but for some reason they saw it fit to bombard my voice mail and answering machine with awful messages. Se le vie. I suppose it wasn't too polite of me to tell them the morning of I wouldn't be attending, but it also wasn't too considerate to give me so little notice of the shower. So there you have it - an eye for an eye. I haven't returned any of the messages I was left. I'm actually pretty appalled that they don't seem to understand why I didn't go; do I need to spell it out on a large banner for them?? Perhaps I'll just link them to my blog and let them read all the nice things I wrote about them :-)

Anyway! I've been tagged by the wonderful and friendly Deanne with the question "What is on my nightstand?" Nothing much interesting, that's for sure! Hehe. Alright, so what exactly is on my nightstand, you say?

That's it! My exciting nightstand - thank God we don't have to list what's INSIDE the drawers - far, far too much to list. That's where I stick all my clutter! Well, I suppose now I have to tag someone in return, so I'm going to tag Beth. :-) Have fun girl!

wishing matt was here @ 2:24 PM+

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