I'm just an ordinary girl doing ordinary stuff.

I just happen to be a single mom in the military.

My kids are part of the military too.

When I deploy, their heart breaks too.

They're strong little guys.

Being their mom is the most humbling experience I've ever had.

Follow the adventures

See if you can keep up with me as I serve my country holding my kids in my arms.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Getting Out There

I think it's time this single mama gets put back on the market.  I figure, I'm a pretty good date.  I clean up nice, have a pretty fun personality, I've got good qualities.  Why not put myself out there?  It would be nice to have someone to talk to and laugh with.  I just have to remember how to do this.

So I started talking to someone.  He's a single dad too.  Two kids who live with him full time.  He owns his own business and loves to be outdoors.  He seems very nice and I can't help but feel excited.  I'm not very quick to get hooked on someone, which I think is a good thing.  But it's still exciting to meet someone new.  So even if it doesn't work out or we're not compatible... or he's crazy... I know I can walk away at least knowing I gave it a shot.

I know how to look for the red flags, which used to be my downfall.  I think my biggest struggle is not running away before I get to actually know him.  So this will be an interesting adventure for sure. 

So for all you single moms out there who are getting your feet wet in that dating pool, I'd like to list some red flags that you have to be aware of and heed.  Plus, it'll help me remember while I'm out there, too!

How Do You Know When To Walk Away?

1.  He lets you know all about him by spilling his broken heart stories.  He's such a good guy, why can't he find the right girl? Everyone just keeps cheating on him no matter how good he treats them.  Aww, woe is him.  Nope.  He has issues he needs to work on and unless you're dying to mend someone else's broken heart, I'd turn the other way.

2.  He is super clingy.  If he calls or texts you to wish you a good morning, that's nice.  But if he is constantly texting you and gets annoyed that you aren't always texting right back even though you do have a full time job or are busy with kids, run fast.  This is not a good sign and is actually a sure sign that he has control issues.

3.  He glorifies his mother.  Now don't get me wrong, we all love a man who loves his mother.  But if he reveals either right away or somewhere down the road that he is totally committed to her ... kind of like one would be committed to a wife... just drop him.  And fast.  A mama's boy will never change.  She will always be at the top of his list and you will never light a candle to her.  You don't want a boy, you want a man, right?

4.  He can't wait for you to pause while you're talking so he can tell you what's on his mind.  Of course, during a conversation, it's a two-way thing.  You want feedback and you want participation.  But if he's biting his nails to get his two cents in all the time, it's a sign that he's not really interested in what you have to say and more interested in you listening to what he has to say.

5.  He quickly talks about sex.  He talks about how it's "all about you" and that he's a "pleaser."  Step on the brakes now.  In the dating stage, your focus should be getting to know someone BEFORE you hit the bedroom.  A man should be interested in you, your personality, your strengths and weaknesses, what makes you YOU and what makes you special.  He should actually like you as a person, not as an object.  You're much more valuable than that.  Don't give in.  Walk away.

6.  He's a little too private with his phone.  If he's constantly placing his phone face-down so you won't see the caller ID, I'd be a little suspicious.  But if he's really quick to pick up the phone and rushing to another room to answer it, red flag.  

7.  Speaking of phones, if he's a phone-a-holic, you will have to ask yourself if you think he's worth it.  If he's constantly on Facebook, texting friends, or checking e-mails, chance are he's not that into you. 

Now, I've listed red flags to look for in a man.  You've got to make sure you aren't doing any of those things, too.  If you're doing any of those things I just listed, you really have to work on them.  Guys look for red flags too and they run FAST.  In fact, they're much better at that than we are. 

I'll be posting a blog about relationships and the things we do to destroy them, intentionally or unintentionally.  Keep an eye out!

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Das Boots! 29 Jan 14

Today's Blurb
Tomorrow is Caden's 7th birthday.  I'm letting him ditch school (he's only had one other missed school day this academic year so I don't feel so bad) and the three of us are going to spend the day celebrating.  We have a birthday tradition, which the boys started all on their own.  The birthday boy gets to decide if the non-birthday boy can get a gift as well.  It's their way of being able to share the day without jealousy.  I had no part in this decision.

Well, tonight, Caden asked me if Sean could get two toys instead of one.  The birthday boy gets four and the non-birthday boy gets one.  I told him, "Caden, the rule is that Sean can only get one."

He looked a little sad and said, "Well, what if I get just three and Sean can get two?"

I thought about this, a bit puzzled at what he was saying.  "Caden, you understand that you can get four, right?  But you're giving up your fourth gift so that Sean can get two.  Are you sure about this?"

He smiled and nodded.  "Yes, that way he won't be sad that he only gets one.  Besides, three is plenty."

I felt my eyebrows draw together in that confused manner.  How the heck did he become so selfless?  This is a kid who bullies his younger brother, gets annoyed with him when he feels as if he doesn't have his space, and can't stand when he is out-run by him.  Yet, here he is giving up a TOY so that Sean can have another.

I don't remember being that selfless when I was a kid.
S'mores for the first time ever.
Cool Moment
Someone paid me a really great compliment today.  I was told that I should be a model because of my facial features.  How the heck did I get so lucky to have been told such a thing?  Needless to say, I have been really needing a pick-me-up lately.  Been feeling a little unpretty.  So this compliment has definitely lifted me.

A more important somebody (ahem... Caden) gave me a great compliment as well:

Caden: Mommy, I'm about to pay you a compliment.
Me:  Oh really?  Okay, what's your compliment?
Caden:  I love you more than water.

Let's hope he really really loves water.  :-)

Relationships
Trying to rock those grays.
You know, nothing's really going on in the romance department.  I've made a single dad friend who I hang out with.  We let the kids play while we talk grown up stuff.  I also keep in touch with an ex-boyfriend whom I've managed to have kept a friendship with.  He's 52 and wonderful.  There could be something potential still there, but he's got some stuff he needs to work out which caused us to end the relationship a year and some change ago.  Nothing bad, but he's got a major life decision he needs to make and without that decision, we can't really move forward.  So for now we're enjoying our friendship and keeping things sweet.  Looks like my Valentine's Day will be another lonely one.  Maybe I should send myself flowers.


If you want the rainbow, you've got to put up with the rain.
-- Dolly Parton
I love this lady.

Random Photos


When I got out of my car at the Youth Center to pick up Caden, 
a gorgeous buck was walking around.
I had to stalk him just a little.


Creative Nonfiction

Amber Still
by Jasmine Shine 
AKA
Lucy Diamond/Sibyl Vane/whatever else I use online

We stood there for what seemed like a lifetime, staring at each other with our minds racing. Our breaths were one, a steady rhythm purposely designed to disguise our inner panic. Even the wind seemed to come to a halt. It felt as if the entire world paused, waiting to see what would happen next. Not a single sound was made.
I had just arrived at work after a morning yoga session. For the first time in weeks, my mind was clear. I'd spent nights tossing in bed, disturbed by a bout of mild depression. As a single mother in my early thirties, I was hit with a painful realization that I may just be undesirable to men. This rut brought waves of self esteem attacks and I'd found myself weeping when I was alone and a love song happened to sound within earshot. Yoga seemed to have brought me back to center this morning.
When I pulled into the office's parking lot, I realized all the spaces were taken. I had four other options, each would cause me to walk about five minutes in the winter wind.  I decided to take the one that offered a scenic walk.
I smiled when I exited my vehicle, pulled my beanie snugly over my ears, and headed toward the trail head. I stuck my right hand in my jacket pocket, making sure my phone was in there in case I wanted to take a picture. The trail offered a beautiful scene of trees and mountains. I was actually grateful there wasn't any parking at the office parking lot.
The sounds of nature rushed at me and they made me remember the breathing exercises in the yoga class. Fast, sharp breaths as I inhaled while holding the deep squat position and slow exhales as I closed my eyes. In the midst of a gray depression, the exercises pulled me into a place where I was faced with just myself and all my strengths and weaknesses. I remembered who I was and how valuable I really am.
Halfway through the trail, the winter chill nipped at my ears and I tugged at my beanie once again. And that was when it happened. A coyote stepped onto the trail five feet before me. It trotted across, climbed the hill beside me and stopped. We both froze as we realized what had just happened.
My mind raced, searching through that mental checklist we are all supposed to keep that told us what to do when we encounter wild animals. I remembered that for bears, I'm supposed to pretend to be dead. But what was I supposed to do for coyotes? Do I just keep walking? Do I scream at it and wave my arms to make myself appear larger?
As I asked myself these questions, the coyote seemed to also contemplate his next actions. I paused in my thoughts and actually looked at him. He was as big as an average sized dog. He blended in with the woods. Mange had taken over the majority of the back half of his body. His tail resembled that of a rat. And he looked a little thin. What really captured me, though, was his eyes.
They were a brilliant amber that shone in the sun and it almost looked as if I was looking into a pair of amber stones. Wild eyes. They burned holes in me as he stared and I realized he was in a state of desperation. We had a hard summer and the small animals were now scarce. He was hungry. And here I was all alone on a trail he happened to be crossing. An image of him attacking me made me shiver in the cold. And yet, we both just stood there. Silently. Waiting.
If ever there was a moment when I'd regret feeling depressed over matters of loneliness and fear of being undesirable, it was now. At this moment, I valued my self worth. I am a smart woman with plenty to offer a man. I'm a fantastic mom. And I am a damn hard worker. I was not coyote food.
He was beautiful just standing there with his wild reflection of nature. Hungry and contemplative. But I was hungry too. For my life. I stared back at him and stood tall. Taking in a deep breath, I took a quiet step toward him.
Like a dream that ended in a flash when you awoke in a panic, he was gone. His movements made no sound as he disappeared. I stood there, still in awe of my first encounter with a wild predator. I smiled to myself as I turned and continued on the trail.
What an amazing day.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

I'm Doing Fine

I am a single mom of two boys. 
There's no father in the picture.
It's just me. 
I'm all they have. 
And the questions people ask me.
"Who will teach them to be good men?"
It's me. 
"Who's their male role model?"
Me. 
"They need a father figure."
Well that's me too. 
I'm okay with being just me. 
I've had to do it by myself for years. 
I've been blessed when it could've been worse. 
Why is it not okay for the people who ask the question?
My boys are happy. 
They are smart. 
They are brave. 
They hold the door open for women. 
They scrape knees and climb trees. 
They beat up bad guys when they play. 
They roar. 
They sing. 
They dance. 
They fight. 
I am a single mom of two boys. 
And I'm doing just fine. 





Thursday, January 23, 2014

Amazing Wednesday

Yesterday was incredible.  The unit started the day off with yoga for our PT session.  I couldn't believe that yoga could actually make me sore!  What made it really cool was the fact that PT is usually the same thing all the time.  Sometimes we'd do a sport instead of a good work out, but for the most part things were pretty consistent.  Throwing yoga in there really surprised everyone.  I think every once in a while, change is needed.  We need to stop and do something different just to get an appreciation for a different perspective.

Later, I parked my car beside a trail and hiked a good five minutes to my office building.  About halfway through the trail, a coyote crossed right in front of me.  I stopped dead in my tracks.  I'm not familiar with coyotes and their behavior around humans.  Would he attack me?  Is there something I need to do so he doesn't attack me?  When he crossed, he trotted up a hill and stopped to look at me.  At this point, I thought it was safe to go on.  So I did for a few strides and then I stopped and looked back.  He stood there, frozen in his tracks, and stared at me.  He probably wondered the same thing about me.  Was I going to attack him?  Did he need to run?  We stood there for about thirty seconds just looking at each other.  Right now, thirty seconds seems like a flash.  But at that point, it felt as if I was in another world... forever.  I noticed things about him I wouldn't have appreciated in a picture or a TV show.  He blended in perfectly with the woods.  Patches of hair was missing on the back half of his body.  But his face.  His face was beautiful.  Wild and contemplating.  It was an amazing moment.  It was long enough for me to take a quick pic.

At the end of the day, I got to Caden's youth center and stared in awe at the sky.  Standing out from the usual beauty of sunset colors was a cross.  Yes, a cross.  I thought it was incredible.


When I reflected on the day, I was fully aware of how many gifts we are given each moment of our lives.  Stopping to appreciate them makes me realize how blessed I am.  No matter what sadness or frustration the day has held, there are small gifts all around us just waiting for us to appreciate them.  Meeting a coyote and seeing a cross in the sky are bigger and easier for me to identify as gifts, so I was reminded that these moments are rare and I have to treasure them for days when I need them the most.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Inspired

I did some art today. I'm not worried about the imperfections in the details. We're all imperfect so I like them. 


Some kind of hero. Not sure who he is but I like him anyway. 



I was mainly interested in her eyes. 

Self Portrait


I did a self portrait today. This is me. Imperfect. Weird. Me. 

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Awesome Song

Here's what I'm listening to tonight.  It's fitting for my current mood.

Another Girl
by Wild Belle


I lose sleep, I lose sleep.
Too much I've seen.
And I weep, yes, I weep,
Cut your lips upon her body.

Didn't I, didn't I, didn't I, didn't I treat you right?

If I was so gone, why didn't you say?
You keep me waiting by.
On the floor, you know I'd crawl,
Just to change your mind.
If I lock the door just to stall you for a moment,
I won't get you, even if I tried.

Didn't I, didn't I, didn't I, didn't I treat you right?

I'm just another girl, another one.
I'm just another girl, another one.
I'm just another girl, just another one,
I'm just another girl, looking for love.

I'm just another one of your experimentation,
You can turn me out, but I'm just another girl.

I'm just another girl, another one.
I'm just another girl, another one.
I'm just another girl, just another one,
I'm just another girl, looking for love.

I lose sleep, I lose sleep.
Too much I've seen.
And I weep, yes, I weep,
Cut your lips upon her body, oh

Didn't I, didn't I, didn't I, didn't I treat you right?

I'm just another girl, another one.
I'm just another girl, another one.
I'm just another girl, another one,
I'm just another girl, looking for love.
I'm just another girl, looking for love.
I'm just another girl, looking for love.
I'm just another girl, just another one.

Das Boots! 17 Jan 14

Today's Blurb

It's my Air Force birthday!


Thirteen years ago today, I stepped off a bus and into the life of the Air Force.  I grew not only as an Airman, but as a woman and as an individual.  I am a mother, a supervisor, a Wingman who can think for herself as a Non-Commissioned Officer.  I can count the number of times on one hand when I swore I wouldn't reenlist.  And each time I did that, I imagined hanging up the uniform and I knew deep inside I just couldn't do it.  I love serving my country and I love the Air Force.

It's a special day and I'm so grateful for it.

Kids Corner
I took the kids to a gaming center where they played bumper cars, rode roller coasters and climbed a big wall. Caden is quite the climber and isn't afraid to demonstrate it. Their faces were red and their hair was all matted with sweat. When we got home, they went straight to bed without a fight. 


Inspiring Quote

“You may not be her first, her last, or her only. She loved before she may love again. But if she loves you now, what else matters? She's not perfect - you aren't either, and the two of you may never be perfect together but if she can make you laugh, cause you to think twice, and admit to being human and making mistakes, hold onto her and give her the most you can. She may not be thinking about you every second of the day, but she will give you a part of her that she knows you can break - her heart. So don't hurt her, don't change her, don't analyze and don't expect more than she can give. Smile when she makes you happy, let her know when she makes you mad, and miss her when she's not there.”
― Bob Marley

Movie Highlight
I recently watched Grizzly Man, a documentary about Timothy Treadwell, a free spirit who chose to live in the wilderness... alongside grizzly bears.  Before I watched the movie, I heard about his story and the negative comments that were made about him.  People said he got what he deserved.  Even I slightly judged his decision.  But watching the documentary made me appreciate what he was trying, or thought he was trying, to do.  He had a passion for wildlife.  He was a troubled person with depression issues and sought a way to fulfill a purpose he believed he had.  In the documentary, you can clearly see his outrage for the human race and his compassion for the animals.  At the end of the movie, I was inspired by him.  Not to go out and do what he did, but to seek my own purpose and to find a way to serve it.  I thought it was a beautiful story and I believe he not only found himself but perhaps God as well.

Current Song Obsession
The movie Grizzly Man inspired me to purchase Coyotes by Don Edwards.  It is a beautiful song that speaks of appreciating the past and finding yourself alone with just the coyotes, a creature that doesn't even accompany man.  It is a passionate song and I enjoy it very much.

Random Photo

I just love this photo of my kids. 
It's not clear
It's not perfect
But it captures the beauty of my life.


Extremely Short Story
Empty Promises
by ... Me :-)

I passed you on my way to the daycare again.  My light turned green and I took the left, under the overpass.  The sky was gray and the traffic was as heavy as it normally was at five-thirty in the evening.  Impatience filled the streets.

I always expect you to be there, under the overpass.  My eyes always seem to seek you as soon as I get under.  And there you were.  Salt and pepper beard, so thick it reminds me of a dirty Santa Claus beard.  Like a beat up, crusty Santa Claus.  Covered in a dusty old olive-green jacket and some torn jeans, I see you shiver in the cold.  You stare at the cars as they pass you by.  Well, I don't know for sure if you're staring at the cars or just staring.  Deep in thought, inside yourself.

Like yesterday, the day before, and the days before then, I asked you in my head, "Why do you live there?  How did you let yourself become a victim to the world in such a way?  Why can't you get a job?  Have you tried?  Will no one hire you?"

I asked you these things as I drove past you, wondering when I'm going to give you some spare change.  I never carry cash.  But if I had some, I'd... what would I do?  Would I pull over under the overpass?  Would I really hand you money?

As I passed you, I focused on the traffic and fought my way to the right lane.  Trying to beat everyone else so they don't cut me off first.  I forgot about you then.  I drove down the street and found myself at my son's daycare.  He filled me with warmth when I hugged him after missing him all day.  Little arms wrapped me around my neck as a tiny voice squealed "Mommy!"  He was the best part of my day.

On the way home, I passed you again.  This time, my toddler pointed at you from his car seat.  "Bye bye!" he called as he waved at you.  You didn't see.  Or maybe you did, but you were too cold to smile.  Too hungry to wave.

Next time, I thought in my  head.  Next time I'll stop.

But I wouldn't.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Wednesday Night Outing

What a night.  Talk about emotional roller coaster.  

Whole Foods
So we had never been to Whole Foods before and I needed to stop and get some meat.  I absolutely fell in love.  This place had so much healthy food!  Grass-fed, non-hormone injected meat, organic chicken, everything.  They even had a fantastic deli with excellent service.

While looking for some premade meals at the deli counter, one of the staff asked if I needed help.  I explained that one of the kids was dairy-free and that I was just looking at the ingredients of all the meals.  He immediately called one of his co-workers over and that guy came to my rescue.  He identified each item that had no dairy product in it.  He was even patient enough to entertain the boys who went crazy telling me which food item they wanted.  I picked out a twice  baked potato, a small bowl of sesame-cucumber noodles, and a double breasted chili-lime chicken.  When he handed me the items, he told me that the chicken was on him.  How sweet!  I wanted to hug him!

I grabbed a couple of those recycled, cloth shopping bags and was amazed that they were only 99 cents.  At the base commissary, I spent $4 on each of those! 

Ihop
After the grocery trip, I took the kids to eat at Ihop.  I know, I know-- why do that when I just boughtt groceries.  Welll, it was already 7 p.m. and I didn't want to spend more time cooking dinner when I could just go to Ihop for a quick breakfast-dinner.  

At Ihop, our young male waiter was super cool.  He joked with the kids and was verry patient when Sean showed him what his toy robots did that was so spectacular.

While ordering our food, Sean decided to interrupt me and tell the waiter, "My mom doesn't have hair on her legs anymore because guess what!  She got LAZERED!"

The waiter laughed.  My face turned beet red.  And Sean...sweet, innocent Sean. 


Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Hypnosis?

I wake up a lot during the night. Not for a large amount of time. I just wake up enough to check the time, sigh, pray I don't wake up late, then fall back to sleep. Well I have a hard time waking up every morning because I'm so darn tired. So I did some reading and came across the techniques of hypnosis and meditation. I decided to give it a shot. 

I laid flat on my back in bed.  Arms at my side. 

Made sure my neck and head were comfy. 

Closed my eyes and spoke to myself in my head. 

Relax. Breathe in. Breathe out. 

The kids are asleep. They're safe. 

I'm safe. 

Breathe in. Breathe out. Nice and easy. 

Imagine calming sounds. The beach. A heartbeat. Soft wind. 

I'm going to sleep well tonight. 

I'm going to wake up refreshed and rested. 

When my alarm goes off, I'm going to feel ready to get the day started. 

I'm going to start the day quietly and calmly. 

I'm going to relax. I'm going to sleep. 



I fell asleep. And when I woke up at 2am, I told myself I was going to go back to sleep and that I was going to rest until my alarm went off. When my alarm went off, I slowly sat up, stretched and got into the shower.  I felt nicely rested and at peace. It didn't dawn on me that my technique worked until I was under that nice, hot water. 

Totally friggin awesome.