The Book

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I am not talking about the first book, or the second book, I’m writing; I’m talking about the book pictured above on my nightstand.  This summer has been an adventure for me, and it is not been a pleasant adventure.  It started out with a phone call from my mom, stating that my dad had had a massive heart attack.  The phone calls following that one phone call had confirmed that my dad had lost his battle with heart disease, diabetes, and obesity that had plagued him since he was in his forties.  After that, the summer was a blur.  I went from one thing to another kind of in a zombie state.

While I was in Orlando burying my dad, I restarted my second novel, I had been working on it kind of half assed all spring.  The first novel, I put down on the desk, and I have not touched it.  I became obsessed with finishing the second novel.  When I got home from Orlando, I struggled with everything.  I struggled to get up in the morning, I struggled with meaning in my life, and I struggled with some of the decisions I had made.  I started to even resent some of those decisions, and I felt completely powerless.

In July, my husband told me that he was going TDY the first week of August to fly, and then he was going to say good-bye to one of the Technical Sergeants working in the squadron that was leaving Oklahoma City to greener pastures, and he said that we were going to come with.  He took us to Shreveport, and we spent the days he was flying going bowling, at the SciPort, and then we went swimming at the base pool.  Before the bowling alley opened the first morning we were Shreveport, I decided to make a Target Run.

Growing up in Minneapolis, I have a love-passionate love for Target.  Needless to say that at most bases south of the Midwest the Targets are scant and rare.  You have to travel quite a distance to get to our favorite store.  There is a Target right outside of the base at Shreveport, so the kids and I ventured to Target.  I walked the aisles.  I didn’t know why I wanted to go Target in the first place.  Ryan shares my love for Target, perhaps we ventured there to get him a shirt, which we did.  I promised Sophie a toy of equal value to his shirt.  She picked out one of those old school 1980s coloring relief fashion designer toys.  I remember owning one as a child.  She was absolutely enamored with it.  I walked through the grocery section, looking for Boom Chicka Pop White Cheddar Popcorn (my weakness), and snagging a few boxes of fruit snacks. I then remembered I needed to pick up a gift card for someone, so we ventured to the gift section.

Target has a new aisle of dorky little gifts.  I remembered that I had bought a gag gift for the Holiday Party last year there.  It was a coffee mug that changes when you put hot water in it.  When the hot water hits the mug, a Great White Shark appears to be eating swimmers.  I saw that mug, and laughed at it.  Then the book caught my eye.  I picked it up, and turned it over in my hands. Shrugging I put it back down.  My daughter asked me about it, and I think I told her that it was a journal of some kind.  She shrugged too.  Ryan picked it up and put it in the basket.  I picked it up again, I think I was frowning, and I paged through it.  Something told me I should grab it.  I don’t know why.  It was the only book like it in the whole aisle.  I picked up a few blank journals.  I usually buy a journal and only half way fill it.  I put the journals down, and picked up the book.  I paged through it.  I put it back in the basket, shrugging again.

I checked out.  I thought about sending it to my mom.  It would be something she would appreciate.  It sat at the bottom of my backpack.  We got back from our road trip.  It took me several days to unpack.  The book was left untouched.  School was starting in a few days, my husband was preparing for yet another TDY, and I was back to struggling, resenting, and trying to adapt to my new normal (my parents and I are close, so this is tough loss for me).  I set the book on my nightstand, waiting for the perfect time to send it to my mom.  The time never came.  I will probably send it to her untouched, as I flipped through it, I decided that it was the perfect blog fodder.  The writing prompts are genius.  So for the next 642 days, I will be writing between 500-1200 words on the topics in the book.  Perhaps it will help me break the writer’s apathy I have (I don’t really call it writer’s block, as there is no block, namely it’s 100% apathy)…

Not All Airmen Are Wimps

Picture Courtesy of USAF Public Affairs

I am an USAF veteran, and a disabled veteran at that.  My disability rating occurred during a chemical accident that happened when I was active duty.  I make sure that every time I state this, I mention this very important caveat, as I hold combat veterans in very high regards.  When I go on veteran’s websites, I see the Air Force the butt of every other service joke.  The Air Force itself is called the Chair Force.  We build decent golf courses instead of barracks.  Our officers are Prima Donna’s, who zoom through the air in fancy air craft.  Our enlisted force is usually portrayed as large men, eating donuts, and complaining about the bike test (that went away nearly 12 years ago).  The Air Force is seen as the joke of the US military.

What people fail to mention are the heroes of our Air Force.  Our latest hero, A1C Spencer Stone from Oregon was on a high speed train, when he and three of his friends stopped a lone-wolf terrorist from massacring 500 fellow passengers.  Airman Stone sustained severe injuries to his hand, his back, and his neck.  When the news first broke, the press reported that it was three US service members, then it was three marines, and finally as the story is continuing to break it was one active duty service member– an airman, his two civilian friends, and a 60-something year old grandfather of two.  When the press hears of a military hero, it is the assumption that it’s not a marine.

The Air Force is full of heroes.  In 2003-2005, my husband was stationed as an ALO (Air Liaison Officer) in Germany.  He was deployed with the 1 ID during the height of the Iraq war.  While there, my husband used drone footage to find insurgents hiding in a building, there was nearly 1,000-person convoy returning to the FOB.  My husband called in an air strike, saving the regimen from the insurgents.  He earned a bronze star for his actions.  He doesn’t advertise that this had happened, he doesn’t talk about it much at all.  I found out about it after I was there when he got his medal, and they read what he had done.  Other airmen in his command did incredible things, especially during the siege of Fallujah.

Our airmen are strong, they are heroes, and they should not be seen as POGs.  Of all the services, the Air Force is one of the only service that allows women to participate in front line combat.  I have females friends, who I have known since I was in ROTC, who have flown missions along side men.  Not only are women leading the way in the military, we also have suffered some significant injuries.  One of my closest friends was in Iraq, helping fight fires after Saddam burned the oil fields.  She now suffers from brain injuries, and debilitating pain from her service in the military.

It’s time to recognize some of the heroes, and stop portraying the United States Air Force as donut-eating, chair-sitting, e-mail sending fliers, and start recognizing them as the heroes that they are.

I’m Back…

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In November, I ran this huge race called New York City Marathon.  It was not the performance I would have liked, in fact, I was very, very, very disappointed with it.  A few months prior to the race, I started noticing a pain in my hip.  I took time off, and the pain didn’t abate.  A few weeks prior to the race, I could not stand, sit, or do anything without extreme discomfort.  I went to a massage therapist to loosen what I thought was a tight muscle to no avail.  The race was expensive.  The race alone was almost $400.  We had pre-paid our hotel, pre-paid our airline tickets, and my parents cleared their schedule to come up and visit with the kids while we enjoyed New York.  I was not going to “not” run it because of an injury.  It was a once in a lifetime race.  I had waited literally years to run this race.

I got back from NYC, and went to the doctor.  Long-story short, I was told I would never run again, and was risking my long-term health by running.  I listened to the doctor long enough to call my mom and bawl.  I decided I would run again.  I went to a physical therapist and wonderful spine doctors, who told me that the doctor was WRONG, WRONG, WRONG.  My goal race in 2016– probably my last race was NOT in jeopardy.  I was going to run again.

The weather in Florida is not ideal for running during the summer.  I ran outside when I could tolerate the heat, I spent the rest of the summer on the treadmill.  I supplemented my training with walking, and doing Jillian Michael’s Body Shred.  I started to rebuild my base.  My long run was 4 miles, my short run was 2 miles.  In August, I signed up for a Sprint Triathlon.  Signing up for that gave me a goal to work for, besides the June goal of Grandma’s marathon.

Today I ran, and it was a huge milestone.  I ran 10 miles.  This was my first double-digit run since November of 2014.  It was not a hard run either.  It felt easy.  I ran it a 9:30 min/mile, which is the same pace I was training for Georgia Publix (my PR marathon).  Granted, I was inside, and on a treadmill, it felt comfortable.  It was fun.  I was smiling the entire time!!!  My weight is starting to come off again.  My weight had gone up since my dad passed in June, and now I have 9 pounds to lose before I reach my goal weight, and everything today seems so achievable.  What’s more, I just got an e-mail from a client!  She got my number from another runner, and I may be working with a high school soccer star on his endurance and running.

Lions and Hippos

There are two animals that live in the plains and jungles of Africa– lions and hippos.

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Lions
Lions are the warriors of Africa.  They are beautiful, lean, muscular.  There are movies about lions, musicals about lions, and kings have been named after lions.  The “Ghost and The Darkness” is a horror movie about man eating lions that lived along the fledgling railroad being built in the 19th century in Africa.  “The Lion King” is a beautiful animated film, and live action Broadway musical about the life of a lion.  It begins at the infancy of a small lion named Simba, and finishes when Simba becomes the King of Pride Rock.  The musical and the movie won awards and accolades.  The English King, King Richard I, was known as the Lion Heart.  He was born in 1157 and died in 1199.  He was considered brave.  He led armies at the age of 16, and used his position as king to raise one of the strongest armies throughout Europe.  He was fictionally portrayed in various “Robin Hood” productions as the cousin of Maid Marion, the love interest of Robin.  He was seen as strong and the heroic king, who fought in the first Crusades.

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Hippos
Hippos are the polar opposite of lions.  They are not brave, they are not dangerous, and they are not portrayed kindly in most movies.  There are no kings named after hippos.  Rather, they have become the representation of a joke.  Hippos are seen as lazy, demanding, diva-ish, dependent, and fat.

The Reality

Hippopotamus are one of the largest animals in Africa.  They are rarely hunted by lions, or any other animal in the water or in the land, because they socialize in large herds upwards of 40-50 animals.  Though the animals are slow on land, they are very fast, and aggressive in the water, and can swim up to 5-6 miles per hour (by the way, that’s faster than a man can swim).  They are one of the most dangerous animals in Africa and are responsible for more wild animal inflicted deaths than any other animal in Africa, they are considered the most dangerous animal in Africa.  Hippopotamus can live up to 50-60 years old in captivity, and in the wild 40-50 years in the wild.  Zulu warriors prefer to be called Hippopotamuses, since even Lions don’t match them in bravery.

Lions are the largest cats in Africa.  They weigh up to 550 pounds, which is considerable less than the Hippopotamus.  The Lion life span is considerably shorter than the Hippopotamus, males generally live 10-15 years in the wild, and 20 years in captivity.  A Lion’s pride usually consists of 20-30 lions.  Most of the pride is female, with 1-2 males.  Female lions are considerably smaller than the males, and are faster and more aggressive.  When male lions turn 2-3 years old they are turned away from the pride. They either become nomadic lions, or they form their own pride.  The males sleep over 20 hours a day.  The females do hunt, but ironically, most of their diets are from scavenging rather than killing the animals themselves.  Often a pride will steal the kill from hyenas or cheetahs.  Many of the animals they consume die from natural causes.  The males will sometimes eat offspring that do not belong to him, to preserve his blood lines.  Lions do not normally kill, or consume humans.  Historically there are two instances of male lions killing and consuming humans– the first was the inspiration of “The Ghost and The Darkness” and occurred in Tsavo, and another instance occurred between 1995-2005 in Tanzania.   It is estimated that there are 200 Africans killed by wild animals in Tanzania annually, lions are only responsible for around 70 of all those who are killed, the rest were killed by Hippos, Rhinos, or Elephants.

Recently, the hippopotamus has become the mascot for military spouses.  It is meant as an insult by those that see themselves as the warriors, or lions.  It is meant primarily to put some people down, while building others up.  The funny thing, the animal that’s perceived as the most dangerous, beautiful, and king of all beasts, is actually not seen as all that brave or heroic in the native culture in the area where both lion and hippos roam.  Tanzanians and Zulu see hippos as the heroic and brave creature.  Lions are seen as scavengers and lazy.  Africans both fear and revere the animal meant to be an insult in American Culture.

If I were asked which animal I want to represent me, I would not pick either a hippo, or a lion.  I am not technically considered a hippo, and since I left the service, I don’t really consider myself a lion.  Rather than a hippo, lion, cheetah, or any number of other animals in Africa, I would pick a dentist.  Recently, a dentist killed both a hippo and a lion, and honestly, I’m more afraid of dentists than I am of anything else.

Caveat:  This piece in no way advocates the hunting of any animal.  I believe that the only thing an animal should be shot with, is a camera…

Sources:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hippopotamus
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lion

Welcome To My New Blog…

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The school year has begun, and I sat down with my family this weekend to our last supper before the school year started.  I asked each family member what their goals were for this year.  It appears that this is our last year in Florida.  It is a bittersweet realization that this is the last 10 months in our home.  I love it here, and I hope that my husband can find a way for us all to stay for another year, yet with each passing day I feel more and more ready for the next step in our lives.

Anyway, back to the goal discussion, it was really cool to hear what my daughter’s goals were.  She’s 9, and every goal she had was a positive change, and not something like improve my score on Skylanders :).  Her first goal was to become a better writer.  She said that she was not happy that her grades were lower in grammar, spelling, and vocabulary.  She wanted to be a straight-A student, and she struggles in those subjects.  Because she is an honor student, she doesn’t receive help with them at school.  She also wanted to improve her violin playing, and perhaps go to an art and music specialty school at our next base.  She wanted to improve her physical conditioning, and wants to get her black belt in TaiKwanDo.  Finally, she wants to make a new friend at school.

My son wasn’t really into discussing his goals, but my goal for him was to get him reading and writing, and get him ready for the next step in his schooling.  We would ideally like to get him back to school.

My husband’s main goal was to not get fired.  He also discussed some of the newest things he would like to do with the squadron before his change of command.  He wants to leave the squadron in a positive light.

It comes to my goal, and my new blog.  I have come to slow realization that I will not be able to go back to work in a traditional sense.  I love writing passionately, and I would like to get back to it.  I don’t need a 180-day deployment to inspire me to write.  I am going to work primarily on my second novel.  I am going to hire a editor (in the writing community I freelance for), and get my first manuscript published once and for all.  I’m going to start dedicating more time to the craft, and perhaps sell ad space and try to make this blog a source of income.  This last week, I invested some capital into the blog– if you noticed, I purchased jodisgoing180.com!  I changed the layout.

So welcome to the new and improved Jodi’s Going 180…

More Responses…

Source: http://noguiltlife.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/Frozen4.jpg

I know that I should just let it go, but I just can’t, so here’s my top ten less politically correct, and more humorous responses for the “OLDER” retired Navy Spouse, who felt the need to post a personal attack…

10.  Well, bless your heart, you think I’m sarcastic…

9.  You have read my posting for two years, and you are just now stating realize that I’m sarcastic, snide, and superior.  It took you two years?!  It normally takes people a few minutes.

8.  A person, who does not know me is posted a response to a forum post stating that I am “snide” and “sarcastic,” and in the next sentence she says that “I must think I’m superior…”  Lady, here’s pot and here’s kettle, why don’t you get to know each other while I have a cookie and glass of wine.

7.  So I’m snide?  Ma’am, the 1970s called, they want their insults back.

6.  Your waiting for my response.  Here’s a thought, why don’t you hold your breath, and get back to me in a few moments?

5.  I’m sorry, I didn’t realize you were my mother, or tInternet police.

4.  Thanks for your input, I will give it precisely the attention it deserves.

3.  You have been reading my posts for two years?  I don’t know if I should be happy about having an Internet stalker, or creeped out for having an Internet stalker.

2.  I’m just here reading the comments.

1.  I’m so glad you know me so well by reading what I write on an Internet forum.  We should be best good friends!  Why don’t you come over, so we can braid hair, watch movies, and eat popcorn?

My Response

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I received this as a response to a post I made on a website a few months/weeks ago, this summer was kind of a blur, so I don’t really remember when I wrote what I wrote:

“I’ve been reading SpouseBuzz for years now, and it seems that many of your posts, jojo613, are on the snide/sarcastic side. Like this one, “reading comprehension issues”, really… You also come across as superior. Wow, cannot wait for your response to me:)”

That being said, the writer is waiting for a response from me, and I have decided to write one.  I wonder if it’s going to be the response he/she expects, or if he/she will be surprised, or if they will just write me off as sarcastic, snide, and superior.  So here are my responses:

I am sorry you feel that way.  With many other posters on this particular site, you have taken what I have said on such controversial issues as Dependas, Officer’s spouses, veterans, the commissary, and autism services, and have drawn a conclusion that I am sarcastic, snide, and superior.  I fill you in a few a things that you missed:

I was raised in a suburb of Minneapolis.  I spent the majority of my days in school from 2nd grade all the way until my senior year of high school on the defensive, because I was bullied.  At one point in time, in 8th grade I was on the school bus and four boys held me down, while another put his hands down my pants and another put his hands up my skirt.  The bus driver thought it was hilarious.  That was the last day I rode the bus to school.  The primary reason I was bullied is I have severe sensory processing disorder, along with ADD, and Aspergers.  On top of that, I also have dysgraphia (which is like dyslexia only with numbers and symbols).  Needless to say, I am beyond socially awkward.  I don’t have many “real” friends.  I usually end up saying something utterly inappropriate, or the way I say things completely turns people off.  Hence, probably the reason you posted what you posted.  And you probably drew that conclusion by reading what I write.  I mean you took the time to write a response that was meant to be degrading in the hopes to get a response that would be sarcastic, and exactly what you expect.  Here are a few things you don’t know about me:

  • My husband is probably my only best friend.  He and I have been married for over 18 years, we have been together since I was 15.  I’m almost 40, so that’s a really long time.
  • I call my mom every day, and more now, because my dad died in June.  I cry literally every day, because besides my husband, my dad was my champion.  He was so proud of me, even when I felt like an utter failure.  When I grew up bullied and with no friends, I spent the majority of my social time with my parents.
  • Despite being sarcastic and snide, I am actually a really good friend.  If someone actually sees past my social ineptness, and befriends me, I will do just about anything to maintain that friendship.  There are things I do for my friends that they don’t even realize.  I don’t advertise what I do, because I don’t want credit for it.  If anyone I consider my friend would ask me for something, I would move Heaven and Earth to do it.  I love Christmas, because I love giving things.
  • I actually will do things for my “enemies” too.  My sister-in-law, who hates me, opened a GoFundMe to buy a new dryer, I sent her $50.  It was all I could afford to do.  She doesn’t know I did it, because I did it anonymously (my husband didn’t know I did it either, and he would kill me if he found out– he doesn’t read blogs, so I’m safe).  My father-in-law who thinks I hate him (and I kind dislike him) would not get Christmas gifts if it weren’t for me.  All those cool books and DVDs he gets were actually picked out by yours truly.
  • I don’t believe in can’t.  I think anyone who says “I can’t do x, y, or z, because of insert stupid ass excuse here” is full of shit.  I was told that I couldn’t run a marathon, I ran 10.  I was told that I shouldn’t go to college (because of my dysgraphia), I graduated cum laude.  I was told that I should go to a community college and not bother applying to an Ivy League, I was accepted into both the Air Force Academy and Notre Dame (I elected not to go to USAFA, because my husband was a year ahead of me, and we would have had to break up, so I went to ROTC.  I didn’t have a scholarship to Notre Dame, and my parents couldn’t afford to help me).  If you tell me I can’t do something, I will do it anyway to prove you wrong.
  • I believe that sweating is good for the soul.  I may be sarcastic, snide, and superior, but I am not afraid of working my ass off.  If I don’t have things to make me sweat– like yard work to do, I will work out.  Above and beyond housework/manual labor, I work out around 2 hours a day.  I also spend about 4 hours a day writing, and no not on SpouseBuzz.
  • Honestly, I normally go on SpouseBuzz and comment on things when I am feeling low, because it is easier to be sarcastic, snide, and superior, when you are not feeling 100%.  My kids are sick– I’m on SpouseBuzz commenting about Ketchup-gate, Dad died– SpouseBuzz reading an article about how unhappy military spouses are, I had some snot nosed airman call me a Dependa at the track– SpouseBuzz trying to stop the lovely prejudicial behavior.  You get the trend.  I think that the majority of people who spend time reading commentary, commenting, or debating with strangers do so when they are not feeling good about themselves, and sometimes spreading negativity makes you feel better.  The sad fact is, and I know this better than most– it doesn’t make you feel better.  I know that you think calling me on my behavior (and ultimately writing an insulting comment like you did) made you feel better, but it didn’t really, did it?  It’s easy to be negative when you don’t really know someone.  If you found I was a friend of yours, would you call someone snide, superior to their face, and would you challenge them to respond to you in the same manner?  I doubt it.

So now that I wrote out this long response in an attempt to humanize myself, I realize that you probably don’t really care.  So…  Here’s actually my first and last response:  A random stranger on a spouse forum doesn’t like me, because she read the comments I made throughout the last few years, and this must be the sum of all that I am.  OK…  Boohoo.  Now it’s time to bake some cookies.  You like chocolate chips?