Thursday, February 28, 2013

Sharing Secrets

Did you ever have a secret that you held deep inside? The longer you held it in, the harder it was to actually deal with the secret.

I have a secret...

The nightmares have returned. I kind of expected that they would. What I wasn't expecting was how hard it was going to be to deal with them.

I contemplated not even talking about it. The more I dive into the underlying issues, the more my nightmares increase, the more panic attacks I have, the deeper I dive into depression. I can't escape.

A part of me wants to return to normal. I want to bury it in the past, like I have done before. I don't want to talk about it, but I am being forced to. So the only thing I can think of to do, which might help me and help others as well, is to spread awareness.

So, after burying this secret for 13 and a half long years... I am finally going to talk about it.

I suffer from PTSD from MST.

Secrets can consume us. Some
of us are strong enough to hold
on to them until we eventually break.
For those of you who don't know acronyms, that means Post Traumatic Stress Disorder from Military Sexual Trauma. What it comes down to, is this refers to a psychological trauma that resulted from a physical assault of a sexual nature while serving on active duty.

Saying what happened to me is difficult. In fact, very few people knew about it. But I am not alone. During screening for MST, 1 out of 5 woman and 1 out of 100 men have responded "yes" to being involved with MST.

What was my mistake? I didn't report it. Now it haunts me.

When I got out of the military, I eventually filed a claim for my PTSD. I was suffering from depression. My relationships were hurting and I was cutting myself away from people. After several attempts, I gave up. My disability rating was not high enough to compete with the war veterans coming home that needed the appointment slots with the psychologist.

I concurred. They needed the help more than I did, and frankly I couldn't continue to live with the constant talk about the past. I eventually dropped out of the system. What they were doing wasn't helping me. I wasn't a priority and I was put on hold.

Now I am back in the system again. I attempted to reopen my claim last June. I procrastinated so long, that an appointment I should have made last year, is finally in the works. But that means everything is resurfacing again.

The panic attacks are returning. I am back on medication. And my claim is back up and ready for them to send it back unapproved because they don't have enough evidence. Once again, I am living this nightmare all over again.

Yet this time it is different. MST is a hot topic. They are recognizing it as a serious issue now. I have the opportunity to step forward and get treatment. I am working with some people that finally understand a little bit of what I have went through.

But that doesn't help. Because deep down, until they service connect my MST, I will have to pay VA (veteran affairs) for my treatment. Not only with money, but with my time and my sanity.

I don't feel good.

And while there are people out there that understand, there are also people out there that don't. They make you feel guilty. They make you feel like it was your fault, or that you were stupid for not following the right protocol. It isn't an easy topic to discuss. It isn't one easy to throw out into any conversation.


You feel guilty, you feel dirty, you feel overwhelmed, you feel used, you feel hurt, you feel unloved, you feel gross, you feel like it is your fault, you feel like you asked for it....

So what do you do - you hide from it.

But I am telling you right now. Don't hide. You need to face your fears. Take it from someone that knows - 13 and a half years later, I am still being haunted.


If you are a Veteran and you need help contacting someone to deal with MST, click here  for more information. And please spread the word. Maybe then something positive can come out of this whole situation.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Wordless Wednesday: Popcorn

Sometimes the best pictures can be grabbed and what you may think is the most inopportune time... for instance... making popcorn before family movie night.

I had a little fun experimenting with this picture in Photoshop, but the original snap was just as neat. If you too would like to join Wordless Wednesday and share a photo, check out Pictimilitude for submission guidelines.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Losing The Cutting Edge

Most people who know who I am, know that I am...

A Hairstylists
A Cosmetologist
A Barber

Whatever you want to call it... I cut hair. I style hair. I color hair. Frankly, I am pretty good at what I do (even if you consider this a pat on my own back!), but I do specialize in barbering, more specifically, military haircuts.

I specialize in barbering... which is a great thing to do
when you have a young boy who needs regular
haircuts and a husband that
has a military haircut!
One of the most irritating things I hear, is when people cut down my specialty by assuming that cutting a guy's hair is so easy. Why do they assume it is easy... because they apparently assume the only thing I do is take a clipper and completely zip it all off.

Just because I use one of these on
the majority of haircuts, doesn't
mean the hair cut is easy!
It isn't like that. It is about matching the lengths and layering and perfection and checking your work. The reality is a man's haircut (or a short haircut) is actually much harder than a woman's haircut (or long hair trim).

The reason - because the shortness makes it hard to hide the mistakes!

With that being said, I think all hairstylists have the ability to be the best they can be, whether they specialize in men's or woman's hair. It is a matter of wanting to do a good job. So it sickens me when I hear people call certain shops "chop shops" because they think only the bad stylists work there.

It just isn't true. You can find a great stylist there just as easy as you can find a bad stylist at a very expensive shop.

The reason I say this, is because as a hairstylist, I know how to cut hair. But, unfortunately, I find it very difficult to do my own. While I could, it would just take me more time than I am willing to invest. So it is easier to pay someone else to cut it.

So last Friday, my husband took me to the salon to get my hair done. He had to force my hand because I frankly don't like being the one in the chair. I would much rather do someone else's hair than have mine done.

I don't have a good thing to say about the whole experience.

I went to a local salon here in the Hemet Area called On The Cutting Edge. I have been there once before and I absolutely loved what the last stylist did to my hair. She provided great service, was very personable and I can't say a bad thing about it. She made me want to return. Sadly though, she had left to teach by the time I returned.

This time, I can't say the same. Not to mention, this experience has far outweighed the positive experience prior and will keep me from giving them any return business.

I walk in the door and I am in a good mood. I let them know up front that I am a trained hairstylist. Maybe that was my first mistake, but apparently, it didn't matter to them at all. I know if it was me, that would make me attempt to do a better job because they will be able to find all the errors.

My husband told me to do color with the trim. I told him no because I could do it myself for a whole lot less. Like I explained earlier, I have a hard time sitting in a chair and being the client.

So the stylist assigned to me went back to her station. I say she went back to her station because she didn't lead me back there. I wasn't even sure if I was supposed to follow her. I couldn't name her because she never even introduced herself.
This was my haircut the last time I went there.
It is about a month grown out already, but
I still liked the style.

The first thing I noticed was her attitude. When I told her what I wanted, she asked me if I wanted to look at a book because she wasn't clear on what I was stating.

This is what I told her:
"I am not overly particular. In fact, I am always up for suggestions. You can do whatever you want. In fact, you are going to have to mess up pretty bad for me to be upset!"
Does that seem hard to understand? Obviously to her it was. So I showed her what my hair looked like the last time and she went from there.

There was no suggestions, there was very little consultation. She was obviously bored with her job and was never taught customer service.

I already have this figured out before she even went back to her station with out me, where she stared at me like I was supposed to know that I should follow her.

The first thing I noticed, her station was a mess. There was hair on her seat. It wasn't much, just a little.

She was obviously in
a hurry!
Whatever, I can look past those things. If you have been busy it isn't acceptable, but I do understand. I worked in the business and sometimes you just miss a few hairs.

I tried to get her into conversation. She resisted. She had my haircut done in 10 minutes flat. Toward the end, a mom with about 4 kids walked in. I jokingly said, "It looks like you are about to get busy."

Her response was a curt, "Well, at least it will make the time go faster until I get to leave at 3!"

Talk about bad attitude!

I made her cut my hair twice. First off, I am a bitch. I think she went too fast. Second off... if you are going to cut my hair the same way it was last time, don't give me the grown out version.

When she was done, she couldn't find a mirror to even show me the cut. When she eventually did, the mirror was so dirty, I could barely see anything. And then I was left in the chair as she walked up to the front to check me out. She never offered a wash afterwards to get rid of any lose hair. Apparently because I am a hairstylist, she assumed I didn't want that. But I did.

I walked next door to meet my husband who was completely shocked at how fast I was done. He was expecting me to have some pamper time and thought it would have taken longer.  That is when I noticed it was heavy on one side. After 10 minutes of seeing how bad it was, I knew I needed to go back and have it fixed.

We walked next door as she was finishing up a little boys haircut. When she saw me, she looked surprised. After all - she is obviously good at her job so why would I return.

I told her my hair was heavy on one side. She responded that it would be because she cut it with a part there. I never asked for it to be cut with a part. It was just the way I walked in with my hair. In other words, she didn't move it from how I came in with it. Her solution... thin it out.

She brought me back to her chair. She didn't even bother to clean her station up after the last haircut she did. She even watched me as I wiped the child's hair from her seat.


After a few snips, I told her it looked better. I am now a liar. It didn't look better. It was still heavy. It looked like shit. But, with the attitude she was delivering, I didn't need her hacking up my hair to a point of non-repair.

I went home and spent an hour and a half fixing it myself. 

This was the results of the haircut after
I spent an hour and a half fixing it!

It looks much better, even though there is still a lot of spots that need fixing. I will attempt that later in the week. Believe it or not, trying to cut your own hair, while watching yourself in the mirror, is a very difficult thing to do.

After a few days of thinking about this whole situation, I am still pissed. Normally, I don't like to call businesses and complain, but frankly, the manager needs to hear about this. After all, if the state came in this business would be heavily fined!

Needless to say, I am ashamed for them. After all, it is people like her that not only give business's the reputation of being a chop shop, but they also give all hairstylists a bad name.

For me, I like to make every experience the best one possible. 
Have fun with your job. After all, you will find it more enjoyable if you actually enjoy what you do.

I once suckered my client into a $10 tip... by challenging him to a snowball eating contest. Not only did he return to me weekly, but I also consider him one of my friends.

Being a hairstylist isn't just about cutting hair. It is about building relationships!

Monday, February 25, 2013

Music Monday: Still Alive

Yesterday, they planned a mandatory power outage for our area.

We knew in advance. They sent us letters and they even called us on Friday to let us know it was going to happen. Yet, when Sunday morning arrived and the power went out... I was surprised.

Maybe it was my half asleep state...

Maybe it was because I only skimmed over the letter...

Maybe it was because my husband is the one who answered the phone...

Ok, so maybe it is nothing more than I am forgetfull and didn't want to think about facing a torturous day without power or amenities. If we would have remembered, we would have planned better.

Ah... but that wouldn't have made nearly as good of a blog post either!

I mean seriously! What would I have said? Yep! The power went out. So we went to Disneyland. End of story! Boring - I know!

Spend the weekend with good friends and
board games.
Instead, what really happened is we stayed up way too late the night before playing board games with friends. I woke up to my son who was suddenly going through Wii withdrawals and wanted to play Mario. I forced my husband to get out of bed and assist my son because I may or may not have had a headache directly related to the amount of wine I consumed the night before.

So we got a chance to clean the house. What else were we going to do? There was no power, but at least we had water.

We wanted to leave and escape the house, but since we forgot about the power outage, the car was stuck in the garage. (Sure, we could have manually unlatched it... but it wasn't worth the effort or the possibility of breaking the garage door. We are just good like that!)

So instead, we did things that people used to do. We went outside and played. Rode bikes... jumped on pogo sticks... jumped rope... and even went for a walk. We came back in and I taught my daughter how to play cribbage. My husband read a book.

People used to survive like this. NO TECHNOLOGY! They used their bodies and their imaginations.

Made me wonder.... It was just so quiet. Is this what it would be like if the apocalypse happened? Without the zombies of course. I can only assume they would be noisy.

Would you stop with all the moaning
and groaning. You are going to
wake the kids!
But mostly, we survived this power outage. Even without TV, without the Internet (I know - impossible and torturous scenario - right?), without lights (in the bathroom), and without killing each other.


Which is why, for Music Monday I choose the song Still Alive from the game Portal.

Hope you enjoy!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Writing and Editing Can Really Make You Crazy

I have been pretty busy lately.

I don't remember feeling this busy since I was participating in NaNoWriMo and I attempted to write an entire novel in one month. Was it hard? Yes! But it was so worth it.

My book is done.... well, at least the thought process anyway. The story is down. The editing phase has just begun.

The editing phase is making me crazy!!!
It isn't that I don't like editing. I can edit other people's stuff without a problem. I can pick out typos and missing words like the page isn't in black and white. I wrote for a newspaper. We had to find the typos and fix them before it went to print.

However, when it is your work... it is so much harder.

I am close to this story. The story is inside me. I know all the characters right down to the color they painted their toenails (even if that was a detail I didn't reveal!).

However, what important details have I left out? I question the timing. I question some of the characters actions? Does it make sense? Would a person act this way in real life?

Now I have caught a few errors... some that are obvious and a few that are easily missed.

The fact that I keep mixing up coach and couch makes me laugh.

How I mixed up the characters names at random times gives me a headache.

But mostly, this is just exhausting work!

And then I wonder... will I ever think it is good enough? Is this author cold feet setting in?

It isn't that I don't want people to read it, but it scares the crap out of me. What if people don't like it? What if there are spots that are too graphic (you know - the steamy sex scenes that I really wasn't comfortable writing but was necessary for the book!) What if the timing doesn't make sense? What if people don't like my characters?

Either way, I am pushing through. I have a goal. I want to have the book Mother's Day out to beta readers by March 1st.  I have another 10 chapters to edit and about a week to do it in.

If I made it through NaNoWriMo I should be able to make it through this!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Wordless Wednesday: Photo Bombing at The Grand Canyon

This past weekend we headed out to The Grand Canyon for a much needed weekend of R&R. We were fortunate to meet up with a fellow blogger, Terrye, from The Adventures of A Misplaced Alaskan, and her wonderful family.

However, old habits die hard. Usually, I am the one behind the camera so if I want to be included in the pictures, I have to take self portraits.

When I uploaded the pictures, I couldn't help but laugh when I realized we had been "Photo Bombed!"

Happy couple enjoying a break from the stresses of life.
If you too would like to participate in Wordless Wednesday, check out Pictimilitude for submission guidelines!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

I found the Alaskan who was Misplaced in Arizona

The end of 2012 was upon us and I knew I was in trouble... after all, I was getting a new neighbor.

Ok... so it really wasn't a new neighbor. I was already familiar with her. After all, I was listening to her advice about how to get dressed for a zombie apocalypse and how to make money illegally. What can I say, this type of information is invaluable!

What she didn't know was what she was in for. She joked about the crazy lady hiding outside her house in the bushes. But I bet she never imagined what that would lead to...

A couple hour train ride that lead to a big hole in the earth!

Ok - it could have been dangerous. After all, I am known for my bad acting skills. I once knocked myself unconscious acting out a scene done by Rick from the Walking Dead. Can you imagine acting out a scene from Thelma and Louis?

Well, my husband does have a life insurance policy out on me... but I prefer to stick around and torture him.

The reality of it is, when The Undiagnosed Mad Woman meets ups with The Misplaced Alaskan, we had a blast!
This is just one of the many pictures of The Grand Canyon.
Honestly, pictures just don't do it justice!
We met up at a hotel in Willimans, AZ. Our rooms were even right next to each other. We wore the kids down in the pool. We ate at a fancy restaurant  - AKA Pizza Hut - and arm wrestled for the bill. (Ok - there was no arm wrestling at all - I showed off my mad Kung Fu skills! Ok - so I stole the bill before they had a chance and refused to let them pay because they picked up lunch!) Then we put the kids to bed and caused commotion outside the hotel room by talking in loud voices about keywords, SEO, making money with Google Adsense, and naked mule riding!

Hey - us bloggers don't get out much!

The next day was a train ride to the canyon where we explored for a couple of hours and even had to endure a train robbery. There was no children or husbands or bloggers injured on this trip... unless of course you can consider laughing your ass off an injury.

You know it's gonna be a good time when The Misplaced Alaskan meets
The Undiagnosed Mad Woman in The Grand Canyon!
We had a blast and I find it fortunate to have such a wonderful blogger neighbor and I look forward to the next adventure we meet up for! Who knows... maybe next time we will take over Las Vegas!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Music Monday: Ring of Fire

This weekend... I ruined the song sung by Johnny Cash for Terrye over at The Adventures of a Misplaced Alaskan. It really wasn't my fault. Let me explain....

This weekend, Terrye and I dragged our families out to The Grand Canyon. Ok - so some may say we did it for the breathtaking view of this giant hole in the earth. Nope - we were morbidly curious about each other and we thought this was the perfect chance to meet!


Anyway, we decided to take the train ride to the canyon and on this couple hour trip, there was entertainment provided. This cowboy came and sang and played his harmonica. One of the songs... is my feature for Music Monday.

Johnny Cash's Ring of Fire

Now you are probably wondering how I could ruin this song for her... Well.... let's just say when I was in Cosmetology school, I have vivid memories of a girl singing this at the top of her lungs will doing her business in the bathroom.

There really is no need to explain further. Not sure if Terrye will ever think of this song the same way again.

Hope you enjoy! 

Friday, February 15, 2013

Sometimes You Just Don't Feel Like it....

I woke up this morning and I was not in the mood to blog. I don't know why because I love blogging. But I have come to realize that living in the digital world seems to be a bit overwhelming. I am sure others can relate.

People think of blogging as a hobby. I love writing, but let me tell you, it is a lot of hard work. Sometimes I write words and I wonder... does anybody even hear me? Is there any point to really writing this?

Sure... I can check my stats. I can see how many "hits" I get a day. But what does that really mean? Do they stick around long enough for it to make a difference? Do they even read what I have poured out into the digital world? Or is the view nothing more than a click and a opps because that really wasn't what they were looking for?

And then there is being a good community member. It is a vital part of blogging. But what happens if one day or one week I just can't be that community member? Suddenly I see my views plummet. Then it gets me wondering. Do people just come by here to return the favor.... an "I scratch your back, you scratch mine" kind of scenario. Do they read me just because I read them or do they read my stuff because they like the way I write?

It is a complete mind-fuck!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

How to Make A Zombie Fall In Love With You

If you are the everyday, average and normal person, you probably wouldn't be asking this question.

However, you are not. I know this because you have gotten here by some means. That can only tell me a few things...either you are here because you like me and you will read anything I write... or you are not the normal, everyday average person... you are a zombie enthusiast.

It is ok to be a zombie enthusiast. I am one too and I know several others who are the same way. Believe me, you are not alone.

However, zombies are not made of the same material us humans are made out of. After all, they are the undead. Therefore, when it comes to getting zombies to fall in love with you, you are going to have to change your pick-up techniques.

So, if you would like your weekend date to be that of the undead, I am here to help you. With these few tips, you will have that Undead Wedding before you know it!
There is no reason to let the relationship
die after you say "I Do"... particularly if it
was already dead in the dating phase!

1. You got to have brains!

That is right. If you want a zombie to fall in love with you, you need to have brains. Any zombie enthusiast knows that is what a real zombie craves. So no more going out and acting like you don't know anything. If you want a zombie to fall in love with you, you are going to need to prove it.

You can start by saying something smart... like "E equals MC squared!" I bet that will get them swooning!

2. Fat is the new Skinny!

Do you think zombies are interested in skeletons? Wrong. Why would they be? They are hungry for human flesh. Therefore, the best way to attract a zombie is to actually have some meat on your bones! The more you have the better because it will keep them with you for a much longer time.... while they keep munching and munching and munching....

And on a positive note, you no longer have to worry about that workout. Most zombies don't move that fast. So if you are in shape, chances are good you will leave them in your trail of dust. 

Now how are you supposed to attract a zombie if they can't even keep you in their sights?

3. Feed them a Romantic Dinner!

Zombies have an appetite for flesh, but I bet what you didn't realize is that there favorite thing to eat is the brain. The reason is because it makes them feel just a touch more alive then they do when they are walking around rotting like every other corpse. So if you want to treat your zombie honey right, and ensure that they will fall in love with you, you need to feed them a romantic dinner of your ex-significant other's brains. Chances are likely your former lover will have some good memories of you stored in their brain providing a delectable menu for the undead lover.

And on a positive note, if your  relationship is failing anyway, now you won't have to worry about a nasty break up or divorce papers. You can just feed them to your new love and move on with your life!

Set the scene for romance. Granted, they probably aren't
interested in the wine. But that just means there is
more for you!
4. Speak to them in Terms the can understand

There is nothing more frustrating than trying to get your point across and having it misunderstood. Communication is the key. So, if you really want to impress your zombie lover, you need to start conversing with them in a way that can't be misinterpreted.

So get with the program and give it your best grunt and groan and growl. You zombie will appreciate the effort you have made!
Communication doesn't need to be
hard. Impress your zombie
with your grunts and groans. 
5. Get a Gift That Will Keep Your Undead by Your Side

Nothing is worse than finding the love of your life and finding them suddenly dead... and I am not talking normal undead... I am talking really dead. Every zombie enthusiast knows that to kill a zombie, you need to kill the brain. But would you really want to see the brains of the person you loved splattered all over the wall? Didn't think so. To protect your Zombie in Shining Armor - get them a helmet and protect that brain. They will be groaning thank you until the end of your days!

Can you imagine the romance ahead of you, knowing
you can dance the night away with your undead lover!

After you have followed these short and simple steps, you should have no problems snagging the zombie of your dreams. And who knows, before you can even start the honeymoon, you might be rotting along side them groaning in a language only they can truly understand.

No one ever said loving a zombie was smart... but with a few sacrifices, you can have a life you have only dreamed of. 

Note: No bath salts were sniffed in the process of writing this article. Alternately, zombies don't really exist in this world, at least that we know of. Any reference to persons real or fake is purely coincidental. If zombies really did exist, I promise no zombies would have been hurt in the making of this article. After all, this post is about love. What sick person would try to hurt the person they love? And most importantly, if you haven't learned anything important from this yet, make sure you wait at least 30 minutes after you eat before swimming, brush your teeth everyday, and tell your parents you love them. 
And if you liked this, feel free to share on Facebook, Twitter or Google+... I would really appreciate it and so will all those other zombie enthusiasts out there! :)

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Wordless Wednesday: Writings in the Sand

It's Wordless Wednesday and today I wanted to show that love is all around! After all, it is Valentine's Day tomorrow. 
So celebrate the person you love. Find a unique way to show it!

If you too would like to participate in Wordless Wednesday, check out Pictimilitude for submission guidelines.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Bad Tooth Fairy

My daughter came home yesterday one tooth short. If any more teeth come out of her mouth, I am going to need to get her some dentures.

She has been losing teeth like it is a new fashion trend. Sure - there are other teeth coming in behind them so no worries. She isn't getting into any fights and getting them knocked out. I promise, she is a good kid!

But you know who is not? The Tooth Fairy!

The Tooth Fairy out here is a bad seed in the garden of dollar bills!

I am serious. When we lived in Wisconsin, the Tooth Fairy always seemed to be on top of things. Out here in California, it is a different story. The Tooth Fairy can't seem to get his (or her) act together!

Now I am sick of coming up with excuses as to why the Tooth Fairy didn't arrive...

"No sweetie, it must have been because you lost your tooth too late so you weren't put on her tooth pick up schedule!"

This Tooth Fairy needs to get their act in gear. I don't care what the excuses are... if they have a sick kid they have been caring for or even if they are just plain tired! I don't even care if tomorrow is a scheduled Apocalypse.

Tomorrow, the tooth better be on the schedule or else!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Music Monday: The Hamster Dance

Rhino The Hamster and his penthouse view!
He seems to have made this his bedroom,
even bringing up some of the bedding
and some food for later!
I don't know what made me think this was a good idea. My daughter has been asking for a pet for a long time. She is downright obsessed but we can't have the traditional dog or cat. It isn't allowed on our lease (OK - maybe because I requested it!) We just don't have the time or ability to take good care of a pet at this time.

Yet, when Christmas came and there was no baby turtle under the tree, she was in tears. It was the only thing that she asked for.

Yesterday was her birthday. She turned 8. As an 8 year old, she is spoiled. She isn't really lacking in anything. So when it came to finding her a birthday gift, we were stumped.

So we got her a pet. Not just any pet... a hamster. We were going to get her a fish, but you would have to clean out the tank, you would have to plug the filter in... there was just no where to go with it.

So we opted for a hamster instead, and we even let her pick it out.

She had to go ahead and pick out the most hyper hamster in the cage. She said it fit with her personality. He is a character already, much like my daughter Bella.

So naturally, how could I not choose The Hamster Dance for Music Monday!

Friday, February 8, 2013

Flashback Friday: The Scale Doesn't Call You Beautiful

I was very relieved after yesterday's post, Passing on My Fate Genes. I actually thought I was going to get some sort of hate mail for sticking up for the Diet Mom and understanding her side to the story. But what I got was actually people who either agreed with me, or just didn't say anything.

Yet it still got me thinking. I don't want people to think that I am obsessed with losing weight or even that I am a "Fat" hater. I am not. I think people of all shapes and sizes are beautiful. It really is what is inside that counts.
Stop listening to your scale calling
you fat. It is only a tool.

When I was younger, I was the fat kid. I got teased for it ruthlessly. I eventually grew out of the baby fat, but I also became obsessed with my weight. I became obsessed with dieting. To me, I thought this was just a normal part of teenage life. But looking back, I wasn't fat. I was just blinded by what I thought I looked like.

This leads me to how I am today. I believe in exercise and eating right. But I also believe that you can't restrict yourself from a treat every once in awhile. I believe that you are almost 99% in control of what you look like, and therefore it is up to you to see the beauty inside. This has taken me many years to find out.

I will probably never get to my goal, and that is ok. After all, I am not in high school anymore and I have also had 3 kids. I enjoy the occasional treat and don't like obsessing over calorie counting. I hate that I can't always control the numbers on the scale. But mostly what I learned, is that the these tools that make us believe we are or we are not the "proper" size can only kill our self-esteem.

My kids see that I am in a habit of exercising daily (although lately I have been slacking). They have also seen me count calories and restrict treats. I have openly talked to them about why I have done what I have done. I recently lost 45 pounds and I feel much better now than I did before. I don't want to go back to that person. But I also don't want that person or the health obsessed person to dictate who my children become.
Mostly, I want them to have a healthy outlook on their life. I want them to love themselves. Because of that, we openly talk about healthy eating and the importance of exercise.

So for Flashback Friday, today I am featuring 

The Scale Doesn't Call You Beautiful.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Passing on my Fat Genes

This is probably going to cause a fight, but this is a topic that I hold very close to my heart. Yesterday, I was watching Anderson Cooper (DVRed - I got kids - I watch my shows on their schedule!) and it was about the "Diet Mom." You know the one - the one who put her 7 year old kid on a diet.

I don't even really know how to start this because in a room full of people, I am probably the only one that seems to be able to understand her side of the story. Dara-Lynn Weiss, author of The Heavy, is the woman responsible for starting such a controversy.

First off, let me say, I don't believe in putting children on a diet. Sometimes kids just have what I like to call baby fat. They will grow out of it.

However, childhood obesity is a big problem. It isn't something we can really deny. What is the source of childhood obesity?

  • Is it the lack of parenting in the first place that might cause the child to develop poor eating habits to begin with?
  • Is it the food that is offered due to financial restraints or possibly a lack of time?
  • Is it the lack of recesses at school to get in more education?
  • Is there too many video games and not enough time outdoors?
I really don't have a straight answer to that. But I do know that Childhood Obesity is a problem and it is something that needs to be addressed. However, I am not talking about putting your child on a diet that has 10 vanity pounds to lose. I am talking about the children whose doctors are classifying them as obese and are having health issues because of their weight.

Yesterday when I was watching the show, I was insanely frustrated. Why? Because the body image consultant blamed Weiss for passing on her obsession for weight since she had admitted to having body image problems when she was a teenager. And therefore, she was vicariously living through her daughter by putting her on a diet. And the other woman, who was blaming her for her future daughter having an eating disorder. And then questioning whether she actually loved her child because she put her on a diet. I was about to lose it. Some of these people sounded ignorant!

Why? Because they don't know what is going on behind the scenes. They are looking at the outside picture and they are listening to everyone else saying how wrong this is. And it all revolves around the word "DIET!"

I made my kids a smoothie with spinach in it so they
would enjoy their vegetables. Does that make me a bad
parent for pushing a "Diet" on my kids!
So yesterday I sat down at dinner and we had a family talk about diet. After all, I was that child that struggled with being heavy. I was that child that might have needed to be put on a diet. But on top of that, I was also that child who grew up into a woman constantly obsessed with diet pills, constantly obsessed with exercising, and constantly obsessed with the number on the scale. I would hate to pass on my fat genes to my kid! So after listening to this show, I wanted to make sure my kids understood the word diet.

The definition of diet is:
Food or drink regularly consumed. Habitual nourishment.
Ok - so it can also be used as a verb, meaning to cut calories. But for the most part, being on a diet is eating. If you have a diet of chocolate and french fries, you are still on a diet. Who am I to judge. The question is what you choose to be a part of your diet!

And if you have to count your calories so you can understand what a proper serving size is and the proper amount of food you should eat in a day, what does it matter? Does it really affect you? But the reality is, we have been teaching our kids that eating large servings of food is acceptable. It is not. It will and has made us fat! Obesity is a disease and it is something that we can change if we want to!

Now, according to the body image consultant, my obsessive exercising, my need to count calories to stay within my weight range is showcasing a bad example to my kids. In fact, they will probably have an eating disorder later in their life because of it. Why? Cause I am obviously passing on to them my fat genes.

I work out like it is a career. My kids see that. But does that
mean they will find their weight something to obsess over
or that they will find joy in a good sweat!
However, I don't believe that. Because I talk to my kids about diet and exercise. But I don't emphasize diet. I emphasize making good choices. I explain to them why it is important to exercise. Why it is important to choose fruits and vegetables.

Guess what? I may have had an obsession with dieting when I was younger and maybe even still a little even though I am adult. But my kids don't. They are healthy and to me, that is what is important. I have talked to them over and over again on the importance of loving themselves and loving what they look like, regardless of what size they are.

So what is missing from the diet aspect? It is the open communication that I have with my children. You need to talk to them about body issues, and healthy eating and healthy choices. And you also need to lead by example. And if your kid is obese and it isn't due to a medical issue, than that means you, as a parent, aren't doing your job. It shouldn't even have gotten to that.

But that is ultimately what is going to happen when your kid spends too much time in front of the TV, computer or even their Ipad. That is what is going to happen when they eat adult sized meals. That is what is going to happen when it is normal to have ice cream every night. That is what happens when you introduce them to large portion sizes and a sedentary lifestyle.

And if a doctor classified my child as being obese, you can damn well be assured that I too will be putting my kid on a diet. However, I wouldn't call it a diet. I would call it what it is... A Lifestyle Change!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Wordless Wednesday: Fire in the Sky

I have to confess something. I have a thing for sunsets!

To me, there is nothing more beautiful than the sun setting on a the end of the day. It is like a journey completed. It is a natural fire in the sky.

Nature just has a way of taking your breath away.


If you too would like to participate in Wordless Wednesday, check out Pictimilitude for ways to submit your photo.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Q*Bert and I: Reunited

My husband and I have a weird fascination with game systems. Some would think collecting the old game systems would be a sign of a midlife crisis. Ours started when we got married.

Playing video games together was something we always enjoyed. It was a fun night of smack talking back and forth. If it was a fighting game, I usually got my ass handed to me. On the other hand, if it was something like Dr. Mario, Tetris or Q*Bert, I would rule the kingdom.

What started off with us finding an old school Nintendo and collecting the games turned into finding all the old systems and investing in them. We were living our childhood over again.

Sadly though, as we started investing in the newer game system models, like the Nintendo Wii and the Playstation 3, the other game systems started collecting dust. When we moved, we couldn't bear to part with the game systems even though they were no longer being used. We packed them all up in plastic bins and when we unpacked into our house, they got hidden in the deep dark corners of our front closet.

Q*bert on a 60 inch TV screen doesn't have
nearly as impressive graphics as we once
remembered. But it was still fun!
That all changed yesterday. My husband pulled out one of the game systems and was playing it. Suddenly, memories started returning and the only thing I could think of was a want to play Q*Bert! Funny, because I haven't thought about Q*Bert in years! But I was determined. I knew we had the game and I was going to find it!

I did find it and we pulled out our Sega Dreamcast anticipating a night of alien interaction. Sadly though, we couldn't find the power cord. And with it being an older game system, buying a replacement cord would take time. But I knew we had to have a cord somewhere. And that is when the Playstation 3 came to the rescue. It worked on the Dreamcast. We hooked it up immediately and started a trip down Memory Lane.

We played for a little bit before bed. Our kids were fascinated by such a crazy looking creature. And then my daughter recognized him.

"Hey! He is the funny character from Wreck It Ralph!"

She was pretty excited. My husband and I felt old. The only reference these kids had to Q*Bert was from a movie about old video games. Oh how times have changed. The simplicity and challenge of a game that didn't require 30 million different button combinations just to kick. It was mind-numbing while still being a challenge. I miss that from the old game systems.

So today, I only have one thing to do on my "To Do" list! I am going to reunite with Q*Bert. Go ahead and laugh, but that game is not only addicting and fun, but it is hard and I can't get passed the first level. So today, Q*Bert and I will be spending quality time together.
A "To Do" List to keep me on track!

If you don't see me tomorrow... send a search party!

Monday, February 4, 2013

Music Monday: I Can See Clearly Now

Last week my oldest daughter came to me complaining that her vision was blurring throughout the day. I knew what this meant instantly. This meant we were going to have to take her in and check her vision.

For me personally, I have never needed glasses. I don't know what it feels like to start having blurred vision. My husband on the other hand, is blinder than a bat.

So we made an appointment and took her in to get her eyes checked. I guess we know who she is starting to take after and it is not me.

As of right now, she only needs to wear them while she is reading. But I keep catching her wearing them even when she is not reading. I think she likes the way they look.

I am sure the novelty will wear off once she realizes she is stuck with glasses permanently. However, it does give me the perfect song for Music Monday...

I Can See Clearly Now from Jimmy Cliff

Saturday, February 2, 2013

We Are Getting Old....

Last night was date night. My husband and I were pretty excited. After all, we don't do date nights very often. Why? Because they are expensive and because we have to find a babysitter.

I know - small price to pay for some time alone to celebrate your relationship.

Last night was an exception. We have been waiting for the opening night of Warm Bodies for a long time. Originally it was supposed to come out on our anniversary last year, but they pushed back the release.

This movie is a zombie love story. Not only are we both obsessed with zombies... but it adds romance and comedy to make a perfect date night. So we decided to get out and break the bank.

These kids look so cute. Really,
why would anyone want
to get away for a night!
The first thing we did upon getting rid of the kids was headed for a nice relaxing meal. We were smart this time around. We made reservations.

We walked in and we immediately cut ahead of about 15 people waiting for tables. They gave us dirty looks. We stuck our tongue out at them for not being smart enough to call ahead. Now we had about 2 hours and 45 minutes to eat. This gave us plenty of time before the movie started.

Well, old habits die hard and since we are both ex-military, we had ordered, eaten and finished in 45 minutes. Now we still had another 2 hours to waste! Whatever were we to do?

We used to walk the mall every weekend. At one time,
we actually thought it was fun!
Remembering our younger selves, we decided to head across the parking lot to the mall to walk around. We used to do this all the time before we had kids. For some strange reason, I remember enjoying it. Yesterday, it was boring.

We walked through the mall and not a single store screamed out, "Come look at all the stuff we have here for you to buy!" I just wasn't interested in shopping.

However, one salesperson did scream out to us. She wanted us to try this moisturizer sample and then she nicely pointed out that my husband needed this eye serum to get rid of his wrinkles and bags... and she pretty much gasped when she realized he was only 33.

But no worries. He could improve the wrinkles under his eyes and look so much younger with this promotion today for only $199. I laughed... my husband was not amused! (Especially since neither of us got carded at dinner either!)

After 30 short minutes, we realized we felt out of place and awkward. We were surrounded by teenagers holding hands. Girlfriends running from store to store. Boys with their pants so low their boxers were showing. We were no longer a part of that "mall crowd!"

We were... GASP... the old people!

We promptly left and headed back to the movie theater. At least in the movie theater it was dark so no one could see how old we actually were!

After the movie we promptly drove back home to go to bed where we giggled like little teenagers with excitement because without kids we knew we were going to get something that most married couples don't get much of....

A couple of old fools..

Geesh... what you think I was going to say!

Friday, February 1, 2013

Flashback Friday: Clickity Clack Ads

I figured out the secret to Google Adsense!!

Yep, that is right! I know it. And if you want to know what it is, you need to gather around.

You see, this past month I have been very closely watching Google Adsense and checking to see how my earnings are doing. Why? Because I am curious and there is just something about seeing the pennies go up that just makes me giddy. I started planning for that meal I will be able to order off the dollar menu soon! How can you not be excited?

Well, in January, I managed to not only double my earnings from December, but I surpassed tripling my earnings and almost quadrupled them. I can't give you exact numbers because I do believe that is against the terms of service, so you will just have to trust me.

I sat long and hard to try and figure out what I had done differently... and finally out of no where it came to me. Now I am going to share the secret with you!

It's easy. It is so easy that I don't know why I didn't think of this before.

The secret to increasing your earnings with Google Adsense is....

Write Crappy Content!

That is right! Write crappy content.

I bet you didn't expect me to say that now did you? I hope you aren't disappointed with my answer, so let me explain what I mean. We all know that to earn money with Google Adsense we have to get someone to click on our ads. Now we can't ask them to do it, and we certainly can't do it ourselves. We also earn money if people stick around to our page for a long time. (So if you can't write crappy, write something boring so they fall asleep instead!) However, that is equivalent to pennies unless we get this huge surge of traffic with millions of people flocking to our site.

I hate to sound pessimistic, but with how vast the digital world is, the likelihood of having millions of visits a day seems unlikely, at least to me. After all, I am ecstatic if I get more than a couple hundred. So what does that mean? If we are serious about earning money on Google Adsense, we need to get the ad clicks.

So this is what I came up with. Write crappy content but content that produces good ads. That way, when someone comes to your site, realizes how bad it is, they will instantly click on the ad just to get away. What does that mean... your crap writing has earned you money!

You know how strippers get paid to take their clothes off? In this case, it is like someone paying for them to put a shirt back on.

Brilliant - I know!

So what does this mean for the rest of us writer's out there that believes quality will always surpass everything else...

Well, it looks like we are screwed!

Disclaimer: This article is purely satire. It is meant to be funny. I truly don't know the secret to Adsense and believe it is just a cruel entity to make online writers believe that one day they will be millionaires. However, like the rest, I am willing to give it a try and see if I too can become successful. If you feel you know the key to adsense feel free to let us in on your secret in the comments. If you feel this will help other writers you know, feel free to share the love. I will not charge you for spreading my work. And as always, keep your head held high, protect the children, wait 30 minutes after eating before swimming, don't feed the elephants, and take a daily multivitamin.

So today for Flashback Friday, I am featuring this article I wrote on Hubpages on how to earn money with Google Adsense. I hope you enjoy it!

Clickity Clack Ads - The Secret To Making Money With Adsense

Virtual Mirror