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Going Forward in Reverse

IMG_0301Cue “something, something, whale noises.” Totally metal.

Things have been happy and healthy around here. And by happy I mean incredibly busy with school, volunteering, and the revelation that I will be moving in December. Where, you ask? Not sure yet. Ask Uncle Sam. He may know, but he’s not telling me yet.

Fair enough, and so it goes. Although the chart toppers were Honolulu, Washington D.C., and Virginia Beach, let’s face it: Wyoming or Oklahoma are the most likely outcomes with my track record. But you know what? I’d like to think there would be immunity from North Dakota… but nothing is written.

Man, I’m all over these quotes today.

Fotor148918534056038_99a3fbca-5c10-4251-a571-024ac835c2b5Anyway, staying positive over here. In fact, there has been too many episodes of “My Island Life” and “House Hunters” about Hawaii and Washington, D.C. going on in this house. It’s always fun to dream, but as the last 10 years of military moving experiences dictate, one must be aware of the gravity of 100 people duking it out Celebrity Death Match style for one placement at Honolulu… or any place not Kansas.

As for healthy, I’m back in the gym! I do lead a fairly healthy lifestyle, but there’s always room for improvement. I got a really cute exercise and food planner from Fox & Moon and am loving the organization of everything. It’s so calming to me to know my plan and stick to it. Takes out the guess work.

I’ve been updating my Instagram quite a bit these days. I know the feed shows up below, but most fashion and lifestyle pics will be displayed there.

I returned from Central Florida this past Sunday. My grandmother passed away recently and I flew over there for her memorial service. During the service, I played the piano and my sister sang. FullSizeRender-8I was very proud that she was able to do such a great job: my job was easy. I can concentrate on music and not have to look at anyone, much less talk or sing. It was a beautiful celebration of life ceremony and I’m so happy I could give a little music back to Grandma. I also got some great time with my extended family, including an early birthday celebration at the Chart House in Melbourne. Dolphin watching was beautiful, as was the sunset, casting orange and pink hues across the Indian River.

Funny thing is, each time I visit Florida with Larry, we have some amazing wildlife experiences. On his first trip to Cocoa Beach, we witnessed about sixty Green Sea Turtles hatching and crawling to shore. This trip, we saw manatees. He must think Florida is this idyllic place, chock full of unique flora & fauna. I guess it really is. Nothing like a few years—all right, a decade—in the Central Time Zone to help you realize your good fortune.

Continue reading “Going Forward in Reverse”

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Real Talk.

I’m ready to check in with some writings of value or importance to me.

A friend and I were discussing how the world as of late can weigh you down, especially during tumultuous times such as the recent US election season and inauguration. It’s easy to become swept up in the huge amounts of negativity that seems to be everywhere. I suggested a simple meditation, a loose form of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, or “brain retraining.” He remarked he hasn’t the time or money to make this happen. I remarked it cost me no time and $0. Here’s what I said.

I started with small steps… paying attention to what I was thinking and how I tended to react to things. I placed a large focus on keeping unforeseen events and feelings in perspective and organizing them based on real, not perceived, importance. I started cutting out all the extra bullshit from my life.

Once I cut out the distractions, I could concentrate by focusing and meditating (thinking about, relaxing) on what truly matters to me and the person I want to be.

Here is an example:

OK, I am in bad traffic and I am running late for a class (or work or whatever). Instead of my old reaction of some sort of road rage, I tried putting on music or podcasts I liked, breathed deeply, realized others around me were going through the same shit, and tried to think about something positive.

So, let’s plan. What are the consequences of being late? Don’t jump to the worst possible outcome because being locked out of the class and publicly ridiculed will likely not happen today. What is the true, realistic outcome? Being late to class means it will be embarrassing for one class session because I have to walk in late, and quietly shut the door. No one else will remember this in a day. Nobody else cares about someone walking in late. I know I wouldn’t care or judge. Everyone has different things going on in their lives.

And lastly, how can I not be late next time? Let’s be realistic: Being late was nobody’s fault but my own. I have to take responsibility for not sticking to my schedule; acknowledging it is my fault is confirming that I know I have control to change it. If I blame someone else for my problem of being late, I cannot change their actions (only my own), and thus take this mindset of helplessness. Nobody benefits from feeling helpless.

I started small with things like this traffic example, then applied it to other scenarios. Eventually, over time, I changed my entire personality simply by reframing how I reacted to challenges. I became less jaded and angry, depressive bouts disappeared, and my personal resilience increased. I can handle just about anything! So it’s actually a retraining of your brain, in a way. Your immediate reactions change, if you let it. I used to get angry very quickly and hold petty grudges. I no longer get angry and never hold grudges. It is freedom and release to reclaim the power OVER you (outside actions) and changing it to YOUR power (how you let it affect you). And the best part? It costs $0.

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Unpacking & Cracking.

FALL. So with Louisiana’s nine month gestation of mosquitoes, humidity, and 95°F oppression drawing to a close, it is almost time to unpack boots, scarves, and everything that makes me a white, upper-middle class coffee-drinking American female. Or whatever stereotype works. And by that I mean boots, scarves, and baller grades in graduate school. This semester is focusing on theoretical approaches to counseling, and we have to basically select our model we will be using… forrrevverrrr. The one I am most interested in is, of course, abstract and scares people. Let’s talk about how you feel about what you’re doing with your life… & death.

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Anyway, it makes the most sense to me, and seems pretty useful for counseling military, veterans, and couples, with an emphasis on remaining respectful. So many therapists seem condescending or frankly, insulting that it frustrates me to no end. Acknowledging independence and encouraging personal responsibility always seems like a fair bet.

tumblr_o8kz2jJAxn1qiuiebo1_1280.jpgPROGRESS. I really believe this dumpster fire of an electoral process should just be summed up by who has the most clever memes…because that’s really all you see around the internet anyway to sway voters. Hills allotted like $125 million to make memes. Trump and Johnson have people doing it for free on Reddit, although Johnson did allot funds to make hilarious viral videos like this one. Dead Abe Lincoln should win a medal. Anyway, I sent my ballot in absentee last week. Pretty sure Hillary will steal it and use it as kindling to light a bomb fuze to kill Syrian civilians. And Trump will try to steal it and somehow write it off his tax return to avoid taxes. I told Larry I want to be a psychologist on Mars; Earth’s problems would seem so tiny when you have to worry about your potato crop getting wiped out by one teensy Mars outpost explosion.

The last “debates” were a snark fest. If I wanted to watch two people hurl clever jabs at each other, I’d watch an instructional video on marriage counseling. There was absolutely no debating, just insane claims and the so much fact checking that it’ll be completed by next election cycle. The New York prisoners’ debate team that defeated Harvard’s would be great coaches for Trump and Hills. Maybe they can both be sent there for charity fraud and improper handling of classified, respectively.

This Sarah’s Scribbles comic makes me sad. So much progress was made, and a year later, so many steps back… into the burning inferno of uncounted 2016 Presidential Election absentee ballots.

Continue reading “Unpacking & Cracking.”

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Road Trip Souvenirs

TINY DOGS. In biggest news, after a three-week road trip, I brought back a tiny Dachshund puppy for a souvenir. Of course, she is more than just a souvenir. She is now a distinguished, important member of our family and household. Anyway, we adopted her from the same breeder as Otto… and four of my mom’s Dachshunds. Say no to puppy mills! She has disapproving eyebrows and a tiny bark.

Speaking of road trip, I packed up the PT Cruiser and headed to Pensacola to visit my friend, Devin. I stayed there a week, then headed to my parents’ place near Asheville, North Carolina. Devin’s condo is half way through to their house, which is pretty convenient. We plan to come back right before Christmas, but this time we are renting a condo down the street from my family. You know what? There was the cabin next door to them for sale and they didn’t let us know. Could have had a sweet mountain cabin. My cousin Marjorie also just moved to Asheville, so it was great to see her. She is pursuing her masters in Social Work.

MSCP. As for my masters, I am signed up for four more classes starting next Tuesday. The first class I took for summer was only a month long… which left me with a sweet two-month break. Also got most of May off. I know it’s starting to be time for me to go back to school when I consider putting on a bra and washing my hair an accomplishment for the day. Anyway, learning about Statistics, Ethics, Counseling Theories, and some other class I forgot. Then, next semester I start my thesis! I AM AN ADULT.

SOCIALLY WILLING. My Rotary Club has named me the social media manager. And by named me, I mean “Hey, you guys need to be on social media to attract new members. I got you a Twitter and Instagram. Oh, and your website looks 2001.” So, follow us. Better yet, join your local Rotary Community Service Club. Meet people, share experiences, yada yada. I’ve never been a huge fan of social media. I have an Instagram (I just got it two years ago), and I deleted Facebook in 2012. I think we have a huge problem with oversharing every detail… as I sit and type on my 15-years strong (well, hasn’t had significant gains) blog. It’s a way to connect, I get it, and it’s fun. But wow, it is time consuming! Oh, and here is a photo of me speaking to three Rotary clubs about the benefits of sending 10th graders to RYLA camp in the summer. I went a million years ago. It’s a confidence booster. Just look at those briefing hands.

MEDALING KIDS. Lastly, the Air Force ball is next month. I’m no longer active duty, but Larry is. As an officer, he feels it’s his duty to attend these sorts of things to network, and I totally agree. So, I found a dress… it was the last one and in my size. It fits perfectly, and my medals will look awesome on them. No bling needed; it’s built-in with years of service. & for fuck’s sake, ladies: no sateen, rhinestone-embellished prom dresses. Tacky as hay-ell. I’m ready to move away from the South. & where are the people my age? So odd. It’s like a black hole around here.

Went to Starbuck’s yesterday. Tried to contain the excitement that in a month I will have sugar-free PSL in my life again.

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Take a Napa & Go to Napa.

PEN&INK. You know, writing is always in the back of my mind. Updating. How could it not be? I’ve been doing it seventeen years. Most of my life. I like to write to explain things. I like to write to understand things. I like to write to have a chronicle of life. “What did I do in 2004? What did I feel? What did I learn?” and I can pull up a digital index of everything. Things I’ve forgotten. Things I maybe wanted to forget, and had… but my digital brain doesn’t forget.

So I am updating when I can, when I want to. So many good things are happening all at once; or maybe my outlook has changed on how I approach everything that happens. I think it’s the latter. I guess most people can recreate the years with a Facebook page, or a Twitter feed. That’s fine, but very limited… you physically can’t type more than 140 characters at a time on Twitter: fragmented thoughts. And who has ultimate control over a Facebook or Twitter? I am proud to own my writings in my own online space and archives.

Pfft, let’s be real. Haven’t updated lately because of Witcher 3 & a replay of Dragon Age: Inquisition. It happens.


Geralt, you magnificent bastard.

MSCP & SANFRAN. Get this: I’m six months into my Masters of Science in Counseling Psychology. When did that happen? I also went to San Francisco last month to attend the Couples Conference, a professional conference for those practicing counseling or psychology. It was also a thinly-veiled excuse to get over to the West Coast and tour Napa Valley. Which we did. Highlights of the trip include a really lovely wine-tasting and tour at ZD Wines, and lunch at Auberge du Soleil. We stayed at the historic Ledson Hotel while in Napa, right in the heart of downtown Sonoma. We spent a few days in San Francisco while I attended the conference, and also hoofed it around the city. FitBit says 20,000+ steps and 90+ floors climbed & I believe it. Good thing I wore a fancy jacket to dinner at Gary Danko so you couldn’t see my armpit sweat stains after a 45-minute hike.

The counseling conference was pretty stellar. Many different workshops and speakers were offered… and because it was San Francisco, it ranged from “Crystals & Auras” to actual Neuroscience. Most of the attendees were older and looked like this. That’s from Meet the Fockers for the uninitiated. They were even selling those kinds of clothes there. I thought I was smart and looked smart in my Hillary-esque pant suit, but I kinda stuck out. Anyway, Esther Perel regulated on modern relationships and not expecting your partner to fulfill every role in your life. Preach. Anyway, it was enlightening to see a West Coast Party. Bet the East Coast Party would include information on Freud, prescribing Dyziplen, and how to embrace being miserable. I jest. I think.

When this masters brouhaha is all said and done, I’m probably going to round robin right into the VA or on-base mental health clinics. B-52 Radar Navigator… instant rapport. I know how the military works, I know what it can put families through, and I know how to sift the story from the chaff. I had a hard time relating to the mental health clinic I went to before my first deployment: The clinician looked no older than 24. What did she know about deployments, or what I was experiencing? She went to college, got her masters, and here she is. What experiences has she had? I was so angry and frustrated that she couldn’t possibly understand. Now I know how to help. Frame that Honorable Discharge on the wall and we good.

ROTARY. I’ve joined my local Rotary Club; I think I’m the youngest member. No shame. It’s a small club, rather than the large Shreveport one. I figure I can make more of a difference and develop closer friends in a smaller club for the time I have left here… about two years (until I finish my degree and can leave this area). Anyway, I noticed the web site needs an update (very circa 2002), and there were no social outlets besides a Facebook that isn’t updated regularly. So, naturally, I took over the social media job. I made a Twitter and Instagram, and the Facebook is connected in to receive updates. Take that, Millenials… I do know how to use Twitter! But I still don’t see the point besides news agencies to distribute news fast. Oh well. We are in the game now.

I am still disappointing my piano teacher, but it’s always great fun going to lessons. Still visiting my elderly friends each Saturday, too. I had an idea to maybe do something like “painting with a twist,” but with a patriotic eagle or something. I asked one of the residents if they would enjoy a painting workshop and she said no. Welp, there’s that. Lastly, I baked “Lavender Honey Cupcakes with Lemon Buttercream Icing” from this hippie dippy book Larry bought. I almost followed the recipe but I got bored and improvised. My birthday is tomorrow and I’m gonna be 31. Eating this cupcake.

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Stay Strong.

PRIDE. My thoughts are with those affected by the act of terror in Orlando at the Pulse club. I was a proud member and supporter of the LGBT community during my years in Orlando and these people were my family; I remember this night club was a diverse place for everyone to feel safe and accepted. I know this amazing, dynamic community will become stronger and closer than ever as a result of this difficult time.

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It’s Thursday.

GALA. I am getting pretty pumped for this 1940’s fundraising gala next weekend. It’s all for a good cause to support the local Shreveport Symphony. There’s going to be live entertainment from the ladies of the New Orleans WWII museum and era music. I talked to the event coordinator yesterday and she wants to put together a slideshow tribute to those who have served in the military, and/or their family members. I also sent her some links on YouTube to the fabulous Parov Stelar in case she hadn’t heard of him; the music is great for “retro parties” when you don’t always want all period music. Even as a huge collector of vintage music, I get weary of back to back Glenn Miller and Tommy Dorsey at “theme parties”. Plus, as I stress to people who ask me about how to obtain that perfect party atmosphere, I share that you and your guests are really only going to hear the bass and beat, and just snippets of the brass or vocals every now and then. So, the Parov Stelar does the trick, for sure.

Larry’s wearing his Air Force blue service dress, and I’m wearing 1940’s styling: dress, shoes, makeup, hair, back-seam stockings. It should be a blast and we get to meet new people who also love & support the arts in our community. I still have to dig out the shoes (I wore ’em for prom! The linked photos are out of the archives to show you. An ancient blog has its perks; any photo you can think of is stored somewhere on my server. Nice.

SKILLS. A big goal of mine since having a little more time on my hands has been to work on my updo game. In the past few months, I’ve taught myself how to French Braid, work with foam hair “rats” to create serious volume, finagle a sock bun, and tweak/clean up styles I’ve previously rocked. I’ve been taking some photos to share; I apologize that the quality isn’t top notch. Anyway, here are my styles: I am pretty proud of my handiwork! Which do you like best?

The new season of House of Cards premiers on Netflix this weekend. We already watch Vikings, so I’m glad that’s back again. Lagertha is my life inspiration.

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Dr. PowerPoint

“What is a week-end?” HAPPY LEAP DAY! Which means it’s an election year. Phooey. And spring break is in less than two weeks. What’s spring break? I haven’t had one of those in nine years. Spring break. Ha. Working people don’t care about your fabled “spring break.”

Further down the line, for the break between spring and summer semesters, we’re jetting to San Francisco. I’m attending a Professional’s Couples Conference for career development; gotta get an endorsement letter from the University. The fabulous Esther Perel will be joining a panel and lecturing. Something about her accent makes her that much more credible about relationships and intimacy. She’s pretty baller; check out her TED Talks if you haven’t already. She takes a realistic, mature approach to intimacy and love; no “soul mate” idealism. Just how people can strengthen themselves and their partner.

After the weekend conference, we plan to drive (more like bike or stumble) through Napa Valley, stopping at wineries along the way. Amie (whose in-laws own a winery in Napa) is going to hook me up with suggestions. Anyway, that’s what I have to look forward to after my first semester as a master’s student. Seems good enough to me.

Class is going well, I’m making fine grades and I have the lock down on presentations and public speaking. Thanks, Air Force! I was talking to one of my classmates about PowerPoint (I have gathered Millenials don’t know how to use Powerpoint. Just smartphones.), and how my dad has a Ph.D. in Organizational Leadership. aka. Powerpoint. She asked, “so, does that make him Dr. Powerpoint?” YES. Yes it does.

Rad Dates. On Saturday, Larry and I went to the Shreveport Symphony to see three tenors sing Broadway’s Best. On the particularly smooth, jazzy numbers, we kept saying how it sounded like “Family Guy”. Seth MacFarlane insists that each episode of “Family Guy” is recorded with a full orchestra. It was pretty great, especially the lovely tenors and their charisma. Chutzpuh. Zazz.

For Valentine’s Day, I baked cookies and played a “love themed” music collection for my war vets.

Larry sneakily bought me one of my favorite albums on vinyl, Cugi’s Cocktails (1963). It is just about the most supreme cocktail party music. I mean, it even has it in the title. How could you go wrong? Each track is the name of a popular cocktail of the time. I always seem to play it when I am getting ready to go out. Somehow it makes my hair bigger and my winged eyeliner on point. Like the photo up there. That was from Valentine’s Day. So is this goofy photo of Otto being absolutely nuts.

Well, I’m off to, as I always say, “disappoint my piano teacher.” Until next time…

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It’s Gone Viral.

I READ IT. I posted in a community in Reddit about the “Facebook Mom Challenge,” a ridiculous Facebook viral “challenge” where you post five photos of what represents your “lifestyle” as a mom. I don’t have Facebook… for this exact reason. I guess people posted tons of photos of their kids (without proper security settings, too). In response, and as a social commentary, there was a Reddit thread about a “Non-Mom Challenge” and what we enjoyed about choosing a child-free lifestyle. I posted my “Top 5″… although I could have posted a lot more. Lots to be thankful for.

The UK Telegraph got wind of it and posted an article about this “Mom Challenge” and the backlash online. You guessed it, they found me. Thank god they didn’t directly link to Reddit. Blessings. I only hope others can consider that there are many different life paths, and don’t have to be locked into one. It’s what you make of it.

“An imgur user showed off her pristine white sofa…” Fuck yes I did. I love me some pristine white sofa. I’m heading to Pensacola to visit Devin tomorrow! Nothing like some bestie and Florida time to cheer me. Larry’s in Hawaii this week, so I deserve some sunshine and ocean air, too.

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Hello (again), world!

I am writing this on a perfect Friday afternoon. 70° and sunny. I have a lot of good things to share with the world.

NEW TITLES. I updated twice last year; that is pathetic. However, with everything going on — you know how it is… the busier you are and the more great things you’re doing, the less you have time or thought to write it all down. Funny how that works. I did change the title of the blog to a “there’s no dress rehearsal” mentality to life. Drafting Present means your only “rough draft” is what we are doing right now, presently. There’s no final, polished result unless you live it that way. So, it changed to Drafting Present from my aviation theme, which I no longer have an active role in…

NEW BEGINNINGS. For big mentions, I have officially changed careers from a B-52H weapons systems officer to a full-time Masters student. As I write this, a B-52 is flying overhead at 1,000 ft over my house. Do I miss it? Nope. It was a good run, folks. I got to travel all over the world, and even land in some awesome places. Most notable were Guam, Alaska, and Las Vegas. If I told you about all the cool places I flew over, well, I’d probably have to kill you. Ha. No, seriously. Ha!

Overall, the military was good to me. I paid off student loans with a great career right out of college, lived in interesting places (San Antonio, TX; North Dakota…), got a husband out of it, earned Veteran’s status, and they pay you to return to school for more education. Speaking of which, I am enrolled in the Masters of Science program at Louisiana State University to gain my certification as a Counselor. I think “Life Coach” or “Life Consultant” would be looking pretty good on a business card once it’s all said and done. I am just a couple weeks into the program and they really like us to “give presentations.” The Air Force helped with that, too. Overall, the military said, “What do you want to do? You can be anything now that you’re done and we will pay for it.” So here I am. Turned in my military ID last week for a “dependent ID”. It’s a transition to deal with no longer having that sweet officer title. Now people assume I have five kids and stay at home eating candy when I am introduced as my husband’s spouse. But one day I will have a P.h.D. and won’t care anymore. Dr. and Major. Feels good.

Next weekend I am heading over to visit Devin in Pensacola, Florida. He teaches brand new Lieutenants how to survive in the aircraft. There were rumblings of a cocktail party at this place: he knows how much I love parties! And, he has a sweet bachelor pad and is just minutes from the beach. And speaking of beach, Larry is heading to Hawaii tomorrow for a business trip. For his birthday. He has all the luck. Didn’t get him a gift. Sorry not sorry.

NEW SKILLS. During my two months of “down time” between separating from the military and beginning school full time, I’ve been working on a few skills. I can bake bread like a professional, and I’m pretty good with beautiful hair creations (up do’s) now, too. I am also taking piano lessons from the best teacher ever! He is helping me with theory. I am still visiting my elderly folks at the rest home on Saturdays. Last week I learned one gentleman was in the Battle of the Bulge. You never know who you are talking to.

I have a feeling these two years will fly by. I hope I can hang on and enjoy the ride, and the impending move that is sure to follow, if not sooner. For now, I’ll drink lots of coffee, sport my white girl yoga pants, and enjoy this opportunity to focus on school. Oh, and the trip to San Francisco/Napa Valley to attend to a Counseling conference. These people have the right idea.