Tuesday, May 28, 2013

16 Days and Counting

 We hit the road in 16 days. Time is flying. I think out of all of our moves, I am the least prepared going into this one. Just a little over two weeks before we go and we don't have a house in Florida yet. We are almost 1000 pounds over our max weight and haven't solved that problem yet either. We were (maybe still are) going to have a garage sale but nothing has been organized for it yet. I need to make arrangements to have my car shipped. I have done absolutely no cleaning or organizing within our current home. It's pretty ridiculous.

Even so, the closer we get to our move date, the more anxious and excited I am for it to finally get here. Once you know you're moving, especially a big coast to coast move like we're doing, your life is pretty much put on hold. It's hard to make plans. Every time I see something that I might like to buy for the house like new curtains or bathroom stuff or whatever, first I think, we're over our max weight and we don't need anything new and then I think, what if it doesn't fit/match/go with the new house?

After that, then I start fixating on all the stuff that I don't like about where we're currently living.
  • My refrigerator barely functions and I hate it but if I let housing give us a new one (this one can't be fixed) then I have to take a smaller one. Stuff already falls out on our feet, this one is so full. My freezer melts stuff.
  • The cable/internet here is horrible. 
  • I hate the traffic. 
  • All four of us have allergies so bad that it's like we constantly have the flu or a cold and none of us were like that before we moved here. 
  • Both of my adjacent neighbors smoke and they do so outdoors (and really. If you do something or have a habit that you won't even do inside your own home, is it really something that you need to be doing at all?????) so that when I have my windows open, I can smell it and I truly hate that. Badly, severely hate that.
  • I'm tired of all the barking dogs. 
  • I'm tired of not being able to find a place to park at my own freaking house. 
  • I'm tired of the beach being inconveniently far enough away that we've only been a handful of times in the three years we've lived here. Then, when you get there, there's no where to park and it's so crowded that you share towels with complete strangers. 
  • I'm really tired of the traffic (did I already mention that?) and California drivers. Not every trip on the roads should be a competition of who can drive the fastest and the most reckless but it is.
  • My carpet is an ugly poop brown color that housing probably picked out so that it would hide pet stains. 
  • And we're crammed into 1500 sqft of poorly laid out space where about 200-300 sqft of that space is unusable. One room is an oversized closet laughably called a fourth bedroom. 
  • A yard that takes ten seconds to mow because it's so small. If we had a riding lawn mower, five seconds. 
  • Out of seven ceiling fans, only three of them work right. 
  • Out of 3 toilets, only two of them are usable right now. 
  • I'm tired of living in a neighborhood where we're packed in like sardines: no yards, no parking, and streets aren't wide enough. And for the privilege, we get to be treated like idiot, charity cases by Lincoln Management (base housing people).
  • San Diego Unified School District. The schools here are atrocious. Terrible. Just horrible. I have a lot to compare them to and wow.

Then I think of the things I'm going to miss.

  • The scenery. 
  • The city. 
  • Shopping. 
  • Nearly perfect weather. 
  • The canyon outside of my back fence (which is probably the source of our allergies but it gives us a modicum of privacy that we wouldn't otherwise have at all).
  • Free utilities. We pay way too much rent for a place this size, but it comes with free electricity, water, sewer and trash. I like having my windows open with the AC running, bwahahahaha!
  • Base housing doesn't care what size dog you have (one of my neighbors has a Great Dane. It's the size of a pony.) as long as it's not on the aggressive dog list i.e., pit bulls, dobermans, chow chows. They don't consider Boxers to be an aggressive breed which is about the only logical thing housing has ever done. 
  • The things you only get in large cities:  Professional baseball, concerts, downtown, awesome restaurants, shopping (did I already mention that?), cultural stuff like museums and zoos, amusement parks.
  • Bevmo and Paso Robles wine. We have a hard enough time finding wines from Paso Robles here. I seriously doubt we'll be able to find any at all in Florida. And Bevmo is just awesomesauce.
  • The Pacific Time Zone. Weird, I know, but I like living in the Pacific Time Zone. The Central Time Zone sucks. 
  • Miramar's Exchange. It's so nice. I'll miss MCAS Mirarmar in general. I love that base and it feels like home. The Mister has served eight of his 16 years at this base.
  • Jennifer S. and her family even though I got to talk to and see more of them and her when we lived on opposite coasts. 
In my heart, the list of things that I'm not going to miss outweighs the things that I am going to miss and it makes it a bit easier to be going. Don't get me wrong, I'll miss California. I love it here and San Diego is the most fabulous city, but we've had a rough three years here and I think it'll do all of us good to be somewhere else for a while. We had really high expectations when we moved back here three years ago and I think we set ourselves up for disappointment before we even got here. Will we ever move back? Only time will tell. Who knows how we'll feel about things four years from now. Maybe we'll discover that Florida perfectly suits us and we'll buy a house and settle there for good. Maybe we'll find out that moving around for 20 years is in our blood and we'll be bitten by the moving bug and move somewhere totally new.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Thaddeus Nowak: Mother's Curse

Thaddeus Nowak, Mother's Curse

Title:  Mother's Curse

Author:  Thaddeus Nowak

Publisher:  Mountain Pass Publishing LLC

Pages:  269

Genre:  Young Adult/Fantasy

Setting:  A sort of mix of the fantasy world of Cothel and a medieval castle and country.

Where did you get it?  I received a free e-copy of the novel from Novel Publicity for participating in their whirlwind blog tour.

Why did you read it?  I'm always looking for something new. This book appealed to me because I've been in a Young Adult/Fantasy/Steampunk kinda mood lately.

From the publisher:  Sword Woman, Princess, ... Cursed Witch

Tradition holds that a mother who commits a mortal sin against the gods will be cursed with a daughter born a witch. Stephenie, the youngest princess of Cothel is just such a curse.

Hostage to her mother's will while her father and older brother fight a war two countries away, Stephenie must overcome her mother's plots if she is to save her father, brother, and the many soldiers she trained with.

Fearful of her mother's growing traitorous behavior, Stephenie must escape Antar Castle. But to do so, she might have to rely upon her hidden powers, risking others discovering she is a witch...a risk that would most certainly result in her death by burning.

With the help of a select group of soldiers and an unexpected ally, she just might survive.

What did you think?  I'll admit right at the start that I had a hard time getting into this book. It opens with the protagonist, Stephenie, locked in political machinations with her mother and then literally locked in her tower room of her family's castle. Other than the comings and goings in Stephenie's room, there isn't much action. I perservered though and I'm glad that I did.

Nowak pays great attention to setting the scene and the mood in his novels. Once you're pulled into his world, you can't stop reading and want to know what happens next. What's more, Nowak's approach to fantasy is unique. The fantasy genre gets a lot of flack for being formulaic and predictable; you take your prince or princess, throw in some magic and dragons and you have yourself a fantasy novel. Nowak's methods are fresh and it's really hard to tell that this is his first published novel. It's well-fleshed-out and you end up loving the world of Cothel and really caring about the characters and what happens to them.

That being said, I don't think I'd recommend this book for anyone younger than 14 but more like 15 or 16 and older. Nowak is detailed and expressive and some of his descriptions of fights and battles, injuries and casualties are pretty graphic. Other than the younger crowd, I'd recommend this series to veterans looking for a fresh take on the fantasy genre and anyone looking to try something new and different. Mother's Curse was fun and intriguing and leaves you wanting more.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

An Interview with Thaddeus Nowak

I am lucky enough to be participating in the Mother's Curse blog tour. The following is an interview with author Thaddeus Nowak. The interview was provided by Novel Publicity. My personal review of Mother's Curse will be posted on my blog this week. I really enjoyed the novel and it's sequel, Daughter's Justice. If you're looking for something new to read, I hope you'll take advantage of the $.99 price tag on both of these e-books.

Author, Thaddeus Nowak, Mother's Curse,

1. Stephenie surely defies stereotypes. Born a princess, but a tomboy. Cursed as a witch, but a likable relatable character all the same. How did you go about creating her character?
Stephenie was born in my imagination many years ago.  It was during a time I was struggling with another story. To help “get my creative juices flowing,” I started to write random scenes with random characters.  One scene I wrote was about a young girl who was alone in a public house where a conflict broke out, and she had to fight her way out.
Well, I kind of fell in love with the character and had to find out who she was, where she was going, and why she was alone in the world.  In making that discovery, I crafted the current story arch that is the Heirs of Cothel Series.  It took some time to work out her past and what her life would be like growing up as a witch and how the damaged relationship she has with her mother would affect her.  Based on those factors, her break from what would be typical for a princess seemed natural.
Which then led me to think of the girls I had grown up with and the women I know today; many of them are tomboys and are not afraid of getting dirty and running about the woods.  So it just seemed natural that Stephenie would be that way as well: a strong young lady who has her own motivations and agenda, but is compassionate and can sympathize with others, even if she cannot fix all of their problems.
As a bit of trivia, many aspects of that original scene are in Mother’s Curse.
2. Did you face any special challenges writing a female lead character, given that you are a male author?
Yes and no.  I grew up surrounded by girls.  My family had the only boys in the neighborhood for many years, so all my friends were female and that does give me something to draw from.
When writing Stephenie, I try to get into her head and see the world through her eyes.  Occasionally, I need to refocus and make sure she would really react in a particular way.  The good thing is I have had her in my head for so long that I usually have a pretty good idea of what to write for her.  My bigger challenges come with some of the other female characters and making sure I am true to them.
3. The tension between Stephenie and Sergeant Henton is one of my favorite parts of the book. How did you develop their relationship using such subtlety and not hitting us over the head with cliché romantic dialogue?
I am glad the subtlety of their relationship is being noticed.  I had one reader tell me they were worried that I might fall into one of the overused traps they see in so many YA novels.  Once they realized I had not done that, they were ecstatic.
I can say this approach in the story is very much me.  I am something of a romantic, but I don’t care for most of the stories dubbed as “romance”.  Do people act in stupid ways when they are trying to attract other people?  Of course, but too many stories seem to force stupid decisions upon the characters to ratchet up the tension.  Too many times, that is done through obvious misunderstandings that could be resolved with half a minute of conversation that the characters work very hard to avoid.
My goal is to never have a character deliberately sabotage their relationships for stupid reasons (at least not a character I respect).  If things work or don’t work, I want there to be more substance to the reasons.  I want the investment in the relationship to be greater, and so the emotions stronger.  Perhaps I’ve watched too many classic movies, but there is something very powerful about what is never said aloud between people.
4. The Kingdom of Cothel is at war. Could you tell us more about the front lines Stephenie is so desperately trying to escape to?
At the opening of Mother’s Curse, Cothel, and most of the other countries to the west, are fighting against an invading army that sailed in from the Endless Sea.  These invaders have many witches and warlocks in their ranks and are overwhelming the holy warriors and soldiers of the people who live around the Sea of Tet.  These Senzar invaders have killed royal families and left countries without rulers.  Stephenie’s father was quick to join the battle because his oldest daughter was married to the crown prince of Esland and one of the first to be killed.
The Senzar spent most of their focus driving toward a prominent mountain range in the middle of the land between the Sea of Tet and the Endless Sea to the west.  Their main forces have yet to cross over Cothel’s boarders.  However, they are on the doorstep of the country and Cothel’s forces are low on supplies and reinforcements.  Stephenie’s desperation is to reach her father and brother, the King and Crown Prince, because she fears her mother is plotting something that could put them and the people of Cothel at risk.
5. Although firmly rooted in the fantasy genre, Mother’s Curse and Daughter’s Justice remain quick-paced engaging reads not mired in the details of exotic lands or creatures. Why did you decide to depart from the genre with regards to this important aspect of storytelling?
While some fantasy novels feature lengthy descriptions and details about the various inhabitants, to me Mother’s Curse, Daughter’s Justice, and the subsequent books that will be in the series, are foremost about the main characters: Stephenie, Henton, and Kas.  The backdrop of the world, while important, really is a backdrop and I have tried to embrace the idea of less being more.
I am proud of the world I have created, but I am also willing to let the nuances soak in over time as they become relevant to the story.  For those who like to find out more about the lands Stephenie has to explore and the history I have created for those lands, I try to put some extra information up on my website.  I’ve been adding to it slowly, but have had requests for more information and will work to increase the frequency of the postings.
6. Which authors, film makers, and other sorts of storytellers serve as your primary influences in crafting this book series?
This is a good question.  In all my reading, I cannot recall consciously thinking I would like to expand on a specific idea in my own stories.  I am certain all the things I have read have had significant subconscious influences.  I grew up with a mixture of the classics (Isaac Asimov, Tolkien, Ursula Le Guin, and Arthur C. Clarke) and contemporary writers such as Joel Rosenberg, Barbara Hambly, Jane Lindskold, and Kate Forsyth.  There are, of course, many more I did not list.
From TV and movies, I would tend to pull more influences from the scifi realm.  For conscious influences, I would say I really liked the whit and humor of Farscape and how the characters got along.  The only thing I can say I remember the actual spark of the idea was from the movie High Spirits.  That movie lent me the idea that over many years ghosts would fall into a trance and continually relive an aspect of their lives, no longer aware of the world around them until something disturbed their environment.
7. How did you write the interactions between Stephenie and her mother without wanting to strangle the latter? And how did you craft such a formidable villain despite her maternal relation to our loveable hero?
Well, first off, I love my own mother, so no parental issues there.  I do know she got a few questions when other people first saw the title and read Mother’s Curse, but having been an early reviewer of the story, she’s also a strong supporter.
For Stephenie and her mother, I wanted the interaction between the two of them to be very toxic and antagonistic.  Years of mutual hate meant they knew how to push each other’s buttons and get under the other person’s skin.
Some of it I think I may have pulled from my experiences working in sales and dealing with difficult customers, but mostly it came from the number of years I worked in what was effectively the advanced support team of a crisis management center.  Our job was to help people recover large computer systems that were in real trouble.  It was high pressure work and not everyone could handle the customers who were themselves under incredible stress.  A big part of the role was simply human psychology, empathizing with the customer and helping to make sure they knew you had their best interests at heart.  It was really more managing the people than actually working to repair and troubleshoot the databases.
A natural side effect of learning how to help reassure people in a crisis is an insight into how one could hurt people.  Hopefully, I’ve managed to put those years of experience to good use in making believable villains.
8. Have any experiences, personal quirks, or people you know worked themselves into your writing? If so, how and where?
Well, not so much in Mother’s Curse or Daughter’s Justice.  There is a lot of me in the characters, especially when it comes to the pragmatic nature of several of them, but I did not really draw from any other people.  As a kid, I spent a fair amount of time gaming with my friends and that has lent me the ability to quickly imagine another person, craft some personality traits, and put on a different hat to play that part.
However, the next book, tentatively titled Daughter’s Revenge, will feature someone close to me in the pages.  I’ve had numerous requests to include a character for our horse, Dollar (original show name was Silver Dollar due to a white mark on his withers about the size of a silver dollar).  So, in book three, look for Stephenie and others to spend some time on horseback, and Dollar to be along for the journey.
9. When not writing, what do you like to do with your free time? Tell us something whacky and cool!
Free time?  I don’t quite understand the question. :-)
I have had to narrow down my list of hobbies and “want-to-dos” considerably over the years.  There is just not enough time in the day.  However, the primary activities I keep up with include:
Hiking.  Though we lack any mountains to make it challenging, I try to spend time on a couple local trails.  It is excellent time for working out specific plot details in my head.  This year I have two different vacations planned, both of them involve a week of hiking with my wife.  One will be in North Carolina, and the other will be on the west coast.
I often mix photography in with the hiking.  My wife and I are generally landscape photographers who want trees and mountains in almost every shot, though I do like shooting soft water.  I’ll definitely post a few shots of my vacations online after each of those trips.
I also try to keep fit at the gym, but that unfortunately slips from time to time.  However, I need to get back into proper condition to hike 15+ miles a day in the mountains with about 35 pounds of gear (cameras, lenses, and a tripod gets heavy).
And of course, I read a lot of novels when I can.  Though lately that has also been hit and miss.  I always feel guilty reading something else when I can be working on my own novels.  But sometimes I just have to take a day or so of solid reading and knock out a book simply for the joy of it.
10. What’s next for the Heirs of Cothel Series, and when can we expect book three?
Book 3 is tentatively titled Daughter’s Revenge.  I will let the title imply what it will.  As I have already alluded to, Stephenie and others will be going on another road trip, this time using horses.  She will learn more about herself and continue to grow as a person.  There will be a couple of new characters introduced, but aside from that, I don’t want to give too much away.
Regarding the release date, the first two books have released in the first quarter of the year.  I am am aiming to move that up some, but a lot of things have to come together with the proper timing to make that happen.  I will definitely keep everyone posted about when to expect book 3 on my website as things get closer.

As part of this special promotional extravaganza sponsored by Novel Publicity, the price of the Mother’s Curse and Daughter’s Justice eBook editions are just 99 cents this week. What’s more, by purchasing either or both of these fantastic books at an incredibly low price, you can enter to win many awesome prizes.
The prizes include a Kindle Fire, $450 in Amazon gift cards, and 5 autographed copies of each book.
All the info you need to win one of these amazing prizes is RIGHT HERE. Remember, winning is as easy as clicking a button or leaving a blog comment–easy to enter; easy to win!
To win the prizes:
  1. Get your copy for just 99 cents
  2. BONUS:  The sequel is also discounted to 99 cents
  3. Enter the Rafflecopter contest below
  4. Visit the featured social media event
Mother’s Curse is a coming of age story about the youngest Princess of Cothel and her efforts to save her father and brother from her mother’s schemes, while at the same time, coming to terms with what it means to be a witch. Get it on AmazonBarnes & Noble, or iTunes.
Daughter’s Justice continues Stephenie’s journey of discovery, where she must overcome national opposition to her being a witch as well as lead her friends and protectors on a mission to stabilize her countries finances. Get it on AmazonBarnes & Noble, or iTunes.
Thaddeus Nowak is a writer of fantasy novels who enjoys hiking, photography, and the outdoors. Visit Ted on his websiteTwitterFacebook, or GoodReads.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Feeling Like Staying Home

I've been having a streak of bad driving experiences. It may not seem like a big deal to most people, but my anxiety has been through the roof lately with moving and such. I have to leave to pick the Youngest up from school in seven minutes and I'm dreading it.

Friday, I'm backing out of my driveway and almost plow into someone driving down the street. In my defense, this big behemoth of an oversized Freudian pickup truck was parked next to my driveway. I did look before backing up, but couldn't see anyone. Would it have been so much trouble for this neighbor of mine to have not slowed down and let tiny old me out of my driveway instead of speeding up so that I almost hit them?

Then Friday afternoon, I'm parked at the curb waiting for the Youngest to get out of school. A pickup parks behind me. Typical afternoon. I'm reading my book waiting for the kids to get out and I'm totally oblivious to the world around me. I happen to look up as she is walking towards the car just as the pickup behind me is pulling away, having already picked up his kid. And he yells at me through our open windows, "Don't even bother to pull up a little bit!!" What? First of all, I was there before he was and didn't make him park on my bumper. Secondly, I had no clue that he was having such a hard time pulling out into traffic. I wasn't, and it isn't my responsibility to, pay attention when I'm parked. Jackass.

Monday, yesterday, I'm driving to pick the Youngest up from school (I really only drive the kids to and from school these days. I have absolutely no life.) and I notice a bee in the back of my car. I freak. I hate bees. So, I drive as fast as I dare to get to her school so I can let the bee out of my car before it flies up to the front to ride shotgun. I felt pretty silly about that but I really hate bees.

Then, this morning, I'm dropping the Oldest off at school and traffic is backed up for blocks because the city of San Diego thinks it's a smart idea to start construction during rush hour and traffic was down to one lane. THEN, on the way home from dropping of the Youngest, another pickup, turns right on red. Instead of turning into the near lane like they should have, they turned into the far lane right in front of me. I was probably going 45 mph and I had to slam on my breaks. I slid a ways laying rubber and almost didn't have enough space. I came so close to eating their bumper. And I would have, my compact versus their pickup. My hands were shaking for a good ten minutes.

Now, I have to go. Wish me luck.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Freedoms, Poop, and Parenting

All we hear about these days is, "It's my right" to whatever; say what I want, go where I want, do what I want. Yeah. You'd be correct. Speaking from the point of view of an American, as a citizen of the United States, I do have certain freedoms. Speech, bearing arms, religion and all that. But those freedoms come with the responsibility of living with the consequences of my decisions and actions. Sure. I can say that I agree or disagree with gay marriage, but then I have to live with the backlash of whichever group disagrees with my opinion. I can decide to breastfeed in public, but then I have to live with the consequences of offending people that think baring my breasts in public should be considered indecent exposure. I can beat the crap out of my kids with a belt and defend my actions by saying, "It may not be the exact right thing to do, but at least my kids aren't shooting up their school." But then I have to live with my kids' hate and fear of me and the judgement of the public that believes that is abuse.

Parenting, Starbucks, Diaper change

This week, two headlines have been going through my head. The first one is about the couple that changed their baby's diaper in the middle of a Starbucks. It's my opinion that the parents in question were incredibly rude and that it's just disgusting to wave around human excrement in a place where food is being served and consumed by the public. Also, the headlines for this story are so misleading. The Huffington Post, for example says, "Starbucks Diaper Change Prompts Call To Police". It wasn't the diaper change that caused the Starbucks' employees to call the police, it was the actions of the father, Alex Burgos, that prompted the call. According to the article, he became belligerent and purposely dumped coffee on the floor. Really raises my opinion of these people that they behave so childishly right after claiming they were doing nothing wrong in the first place. How would you feel if I changed my kids smelly, dirty, germ-laden diaper on your dining room table during dinner and then right after than, shoved the meat platter onto the floor for kicks? Those parents had other options than changing that diaper in the middle of the Starbucks. I've been the parent of two babies. I speak from experience.

Armed Forces, Veterans, Discrimination

 Secondly, I just saw this article from our local news station this morning:  "Group of Vets Refused Service at Oceanside Grill" According to the article, the Davino's Cabo Grill refused to serve a group of American Legion motorcyclists because of the vests they were wearing. The motorcyclists said that the vests were covered in pins and patches that were all military related. But, the grill has a policy not to allow patrons to "wear colors", no matter what those "colors" may or may not be associated with. I guess that this particular grill has had problems in the past with certain groups so they have a policy in place that doesn't allow people to wear clothing associating them with a group, any group. 

As you know, my husband is a Marine. I also come from a very long line of veterans serving all branches of the military. I've even lived in a place where we didn't advertise being a military family because military service members were oftentimes the targets of violence and discrimination. Even so, a policy is a policy. This group wasn't being singled out. It's like a rep from the grill said, if they allow one group to get away with violating the policy, then they have to let everyone which, in the past, has led to fights and whatnot. It's my opinion that this business, or any business, should be allowed to protect their property and their patrons. The bikers had the option to remove the vests and then be served, but they refused. Free will exercised.

It's easy, at least to me, to see both sides to each of these two stories.

Sure. As a parent, sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do. Been there, understand that. On the other hand, unless that baby had explosive diarrhea (in which case the baby should have been at home resting and not out on the town), I have a hard time believing that the parents had no other choice but to change that diaper in the sitting area of an establishment that serves food. I've been places where there wasn't a changing table in the restroom. I remember using the pad thingy that comes with diaper bags in the backseat of my car in those cases. If the situation was so immediate, why did the parents let the diaper get so full in the first place? Diapers hold a lot.    

As for the Vets, I believe in the absolute respect of our nation's Veterans. But I don't believe that being a Veteran makes you exempt for rules and laws. They were expressing their freedom of speech but the restaurant was also expressing their freedom to refuse service.

All actions, opinions, and words have consequences. Be sure you're willing to deal with those consequences when people call you on your sh--, er, I mean crap. And now that I've used my freedom of speech to express my opinions, I have to be prepared to deal with people that disagree with me. 

One last thing. Being a parent does not mean you get to behave like an inconsiderate, disrespectful, holier than thou, asshole. Being a parent does not put a golden bubble around you that allows you to violate other people's freedoms by being naked in public or exposing perfect strangers to fecal matter. Being a parent does not give you the right to behave like you are above the expected rules and norms of society. It certainly doesn't make you better than anyone else. Again. Just my opinion. 

America, Free Will

 Ok. One more last thing. Maybe we, as Americans, should learn the difference between freedoms granted by the Constitution and free will. I'll explain what I mean. As a sentient human being, I have free will. This means that I am in control of myself and free will allows me to walk where I want, say what I want, behave how I want, etc. I could, right this minute, grab a gun and walk into a bank and and use my learned vocabulary to demand that they give me all their money. There is nothing physically stopping me from doing this. That's free will. Free will comes with consequences which means that my hypothetical actions would most likely result in my being jailed. The Constitution grants me the right to say what I want but it doesn't exempt me from negatively using my free will to say what I want when it threatens the safety of others. Those parents had the free will to change their baby's diaper in public. Free will didn't exempt them from being inconsiderate human beings. No man is an island. Unless you decide to cut yourself off from society 100%, you have to deal with the consequences of your actions. Get the difference???

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

I Admit Defeat

Last night, the Mister and I were running a quick errand to the drug store to pick up the Oldest child's allergy prescription. I grabbed a pair of shoes out of the closet, being kind of in a hurry because it was already eight pm and she had gone all day without her meds. The shoes I grabbed have a history.

This bad pic doesn't do them justice. They're really cute.

First of all, the Oldest child picked them out as part of her 2012 Back to School trousseau. I just happened to think that they were the cutest pair of wedges and sort of commandeered them for myself. Turns out that she was pretty okay with that because she didn't like the heel on them. She's selfconscience  about her height (she's 5'7") and doesn't like to wear shoes that make her even taller. Tall, thin, blonde. Yeah. She has sooooo much to complain about, lol.

I wear these shoes with all sorts of outfits because they're a neutral color and go with lots of my neutral colored clothes.

Remember my post about the 2012 Miramar Air Show? I shared my humiliation about falling on my ass in front of dozens of spectators. I was wearing the same wedges that I was wearing tonight to the drug store when I stepped on a crack in the sidewalk next to the car and fell on my ass...AGAIN. Luckily, this time around it was dark and we were the only ones on the street. I'm done. Those shoes have kicked my ass, figuratively, literally and I'm done wearing them. I've fallen in them twice and have almost fallen in them countless times. I can walk in heels. I have high heeled platforms with a bigger heel than these shoes. There's just something about them that whenever I step on something uneven or a rock, the shoe twists and I lose my balance.

My neck and shoulder feel like I have whiplash and my ankle and wrist are all sore this morning from where I tried to catch myself from falling. Surprisingly, my tailbone, which I landed on, doesn't hurt at all. Done. Done, done, done wearing those shoes. They're trying to kill me.

Wednesday, May 08, 2013

Being Out of Order

I'm supposed to be blogging on a pseudo-schedule that I made for myself. Aside from skipping days altogether, yesterday was supposed to be a teenager post and today is supposed to be a current events post. I'm not in the mood. Anywho...

My most recent Bzz campaign is from Covergirl. I have to be honest with you. I love makeup but I'm not much for foundation. I hate the way that it feels:  heavy, cake-y, almost greasy even. Then, once I get past how it feels, the overall effect isn't worth the effort. So, going into this campaign, I have to admit that I had preconceptions and figured I'd hate it. Enter:::

Covergirl's Outlast Stay Fabulous 3 in 1 Foundation applies easily either using your fingers or a makeup sponge. I tried both and didn't prefer one over the other. I would call the coverage light/sheer. It looks natural while making my skin tone look more even and covering spots. I have oily skin which usually causes foundation to look like an unnatural buildup on my face at the end of the day. I didn't notice that with this foundation. I also really like that it has a built-in sunscreen which I need using acne medicine every day.

In the end, I'd totally recommend this foundation, especially to women who don't usually like to wear it or find it hard to apply. I used to think of foundation as a special occasion makeup but I'd use Outlast as an every day makeup as well. I was surprised to discover how much I liked this foundation.


I received a coupon for a free bottle of Outlast Stay Fabulous 3 in 1 Foundation from www.bzzagent.com. All opinions are my own.

Tuesday, May 07, 2013

Been Around The Block

United States Map
States I've Visited. 32 down, 18 to go.

You know that you move a lot when you can drive from one coast to the other and not hit any new states. This is a first for us.

This move has been the most surreal of any of our previous moves. We've had the movers here already taking inventory of our stuff. We put in our notice at the military housing office and have scheduled our pre-moveout inspection. We've been looking at houses in Florida since January. And still, this move doesn't seem real yet. We're almost 1000 pounds over our max weight, by the way. That's another first.

Looking over our route, we won't be driving through any new states on our way to Florida. Big bummer for me. That's my favorite part of any road trip, driving through a new state. I guess, considering that this is our third coast to coast move, it shouldn't be any big surprise. We'll actually be driving the exact route, only in reverse, on our way to Florida. On our move from North Carolina to California in 2010, we went out of our way to drive through Pensacola so that the girls could see where we had once lived (back in 1999), never considering we would be moving there in three years. Ironies.

From today, May 7th, we hit the road in 37 days. It still doesn't seem real.

Wednesday, May 01, 2013

Laws vs. Morals

(The following is my opinion. It is not meant as a resource for you to use to form your own opinion.)

I wanted to write this huge piece on this topic that would have been researched to within an inch of its life and cited and all of my opinions and facts backed up by scholarly, or at least, credible sources. I might still do that, but for now, this is where I'm at with this particular subject.

Gun Control

gun control, guns, gun violence, 2nd amendment
I’d say about 50% of what I see on Facebook are those card things, pictures, articles, and opinions about gun control. Whatever they might be.  It’s in the news almost every day. Everyone has an opinion.

Whether or not I believe in gun control, I don’t think that’s the root of the problem when it comes to gun violence. The problem began way before all of these various teenagers and adults decided to get their hands on a gun and shoot up the handiest target. The problem began way before those offenders were driven to commit these crimes.

What causes gun violence?

·      Lack of parenting.

·      Lack of morals.

·      Lack of  consideration for the consequences of our actions.

·      The stigma attached to depression and other mental disorders.

In my opinion, and from what I observe on a daily basis, parents don’t parent anymore and teachers don’t provide structure and consequences anymore. Nobody commands nor demands respect from kids. We allow kids to walk all over us. They strut around tattooed and pierced, wearing enough makeup for ten people and clothes that wouldn’t cover an infant, pretending to be adults when they still act like irresponsible kids that they are. They show up late for school or just don’t go. They disregard their curfew if they have one at all. These same kids play in the streets and vandalize people’s property either deliberately or due to a lack of respect for other people’s things. They don’t turn in homework because there is little to no consequences for doing so. They bully other kids because it’s funny, because the other kids are different in some way, because their parents and teachers don’t tell them it’s wrong. NOBODY takes ownership of their screw-ups and EVERYBODY passes the blame off onto someone or something else. A kid is failing their classes. Well, it’s the school’s fault for not teaching them. No. It’s the parent’s fault for not making them do the work. No. It’s the kids’ fault for not doing their job as a student. Pick one. You don’t have grocery money. Well, it’s the government’s fault for not handing you money. It’s the economy’s fault for not having enough available jobs. It certainly isn’t your fault for spending money on beer, drugs, cigarettes and cell phones instead of food. We don’t teach our kids the fundamentals of respect, that they are not entitled to passing grades or iPods or cell phones or trips to the mall. We don’t teach our kids that there are consequences for their actions.

Society’s moral compass has become skewed. When did it become ok to walk around with your butt and/or underwear hanging out of your pants or out the bottom of your shorts or skirts? Sometimes I see women/kids/teens (who can tell with the amount of makeup on their faces and the provocative clothes they wear) walking around my neighborhood and I honestly can’t tell if they’re hookers or not. When did it become okay to portray drug use on regular, non-late night, non-premium channels? When did crass jokes of a sexual nature become every day on TV? Our society has become accepting of these things to the point where we no longer even notice them because they have become normal.

So, if it’s ok to be a half-dressed, potty mouth, when will it become acceptable to have, to talk about, and to ask for help for mental disorders? When I finally figured out that I have depression and social anxiety, I started talking about it out loud. Almost everyone that I have told, when they heard me talk about it first, they talked about their own messed up heads. This has led me to believe that there are a lot more people out there with some sort of mental disorder, whether mild or severe, than we realize because they are too embarrassed and/or ashamed to talk about it. Bottling this stuff up inside and then compounding it with shame only makes things worse or at least seem worse.  It’s sad that people have to feel this way about something that is largely out of their control. I certainly didn’t ask to feel anxious every time I’m around people. How many of our veterans return from combat only to silently deal with PTSD and then when it becomes too overwhelming, opt for suicide?? The stigma attached to mental disorders has to go away.

These are the things that lead people to picking up guns with the intent to do harm to others or to themselves. And you know what? They also go for knives, chemicals, and other means of violence. The invention of guns didn’t facilitate the invention of violence.  People have been doing violence to each other since cavemen were defending their mastodon meat from a neighboring caveman with wooden clubs.

Are you aware of the countries where gun ownership is already against the law or where they have very strict (I’m aware that’s a relative term) gun laws? Let’s take our neighbor, Mexico. The following are the types firearms Mexican citizens are allowed to own:

            1.            Semi-automatic handguns of caliber no greater than .380 (9mm Browning, 9mm Corto, 9mm Kurz, 9mm Short, and 9×17mm). Left excepted are calibers .38 Super and .38 commander, and also calibers 9mm. [Such as] Mausser, Luger, Parabellum and Commander, as well as similar models of the same caliber of the excepted, from other brands.
            2.            Revolvers of calibers no greater than .38 Special, left excepted is caliber .357 magnum.

Land tenure owners, common land owners and farmworkers outside urban zones, may keep and carry, upon registration, one weapon of those already mentioned, or a .22 caliber rifle, or a shotgun of any caliber, except those of a barrel length shorter than 25 inches (635mm) and of caliber greater than 12-gauge (.729" or 18.5 MM).

Additionally, Article 10 of the Federal Law of Firearms and Explosives states:
(translated) The firearms that can be authorized to participants of shooting or hunting, to keep in their home or to carry with a license, are the following:

            1.            Semi-automatic handguns, revolvers and rifles of caliber .22, rimfire ammo
            2.            Handguns of .38 caliber for Olympic shooting or other competition
            3.            Shotguns in all their calibers and models, except those with a barrel length shorter than 25 inches, and calibers greater than 12-gauge.
            4.            Triple-barrel shotguns in the calibers authorized in the preceding section, with a barrel for metallic cartridges of different caliber.
            5.            High-powered rifles, of repeating or semi-automatic function, non-convertible to full-auto, with the exception of .30 caliber carbines, rifles, muskets and carbines caliber .223, 7 and 7.62mm, and Garand rifles caliber .30.
            6.            High-powered rifles of greater caliber than those mentioned in the previous section, with special permission for their use abroad, for hunting of game bigger than those present in national wildlife.

Anything of a higher caliber than those listed above are considered to be for military and police use only. Additionally, Mexican citizens are only allowed to own up to two firearms for home protection.

·      The percentage of homicides in Mexico committed with a firearm:  54.9%

Now let’s consider our other neighbor, Canada, which doesn’t have a guaranteed right to bear arms law at all.

·      Percentage of homicides in Canada committed with a firearm:  32%

 I didn’t bother to look up statistics on gun violence that did not result in death. Call me lazy.

The point I’m trying to make is that countries with strict gun laws have not eliminated gun violence and I feel safe in predicting that they will not do so, at least not in my lifetime. Probably not my children’s lifetime either. When and if various countries eliminate gun violence, people will still have the ability to strangle each other to death with their bare hands. What's the solution to that?

Limiting or eliminating American’s right to bear arms isn’t the solution to the problem of gun violence. All this will serve to do is to take firearms away from law-abiding citizens while ensuring that criminals will remain armed. You can’t end gun violence until you get rid of all the guns on the planet, including those used by the police and military. Then you also have to get rid of all the facilities capable of producing and manufacturing guns. This includes getting rid of the minds with the knowledge needed to manufacture guns. What would you, those of you in favor of eliminating gun ownership, propose that we do with those people? Take them out back and shoot them?

Dreaming up stricter gun laws is easy. Taking away guns is a tangible so-called "solution". Actually owning up to our lack of morals and ethics as a society is hard to do. It’s not something that we can actually put our hands on whereas guns are and therefore the "obvious" answer is to take them away from law-abiding citizens. Again, admitting out loud that we are making mistakes with our kids and neglecting them by not setting rules and boundaries and then enforcing those rules and boundaries is hard to do. As is not making excuses for their bad behavior. It’s hard to admit and it’s even harder to figure out a solution and then act on that solution. You can’t look at incompetence and societal degradation and then take it away and melt it down into something else the same way that you can a gun. Gun laws are easy and America is kidding itself if it thinks an easy "answer" is the actual solution to this difficult problem. It’s not even a starting point.  

And for pete’s sake. Don’t you realize that the politicians who, yesterday, didn’t have an opinion on gun control or had a relaxed opinion on gun control but today they are all about writing new gun laws to "protect" their constituents are only doing so to get or keep your vote?? Can’t we think with our own brains and stop eating that crap up with a spoon?? Hello! Obama and gay rights. Just saying.

Further Reading (may or may not have anything to do with my opinion):



A vast repository of articles on the 2nd Amendment as well as a plethora of other political-type subjects. 

More: Do your own due diligence. Form your own opinion based on valid research, your own sense of ethics, and information presented from both sides of the issue. If you attend school, use your school's library to find scholarly, researched, peer reviewed articles.