Therapy By Abe Lincoln

Sometimes the best outings are the impromptu ones. Last night I just looked at Ken and said “Let’s go out.” Not even hesitating, he nodded and said “yeah, let’s do it”. Just like that we packed my camera bag, hopped onto the metro at 7pm and headed into the city. After one transfer and some metro reminiscing we ended up at the Smithsonian station, where we just started walking and photographing the National Mall. My DLSR gave out around the Washington Monument, and I had to iPhone it from there but whatever, we were having fun. We walked the Vietnam Memorial, and ended it with sitting on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.

The Lincoln Memorial is a special place for me. I’ve spent a lot of time there day and night, sitting on those steps. Thinking about my life when i was happy, sad, anxious about things. Staring at others doing the same. The tourists, the solo people, people eating lunch on their lunch breaks. Its just one of those places where you can people watch every type of people imaginable and yet be lost in your own mind all at the same time. (and no one thinks you are insane if you run down the steps screaming JEN-NAY!!!!! and racing toward the reflecting pool. However security frowns on trying to get IN the water to meet up with the imaginary Jenny from Forrest Gump.)

We got our fill of sightseeing and tourist madness, (even met a couple willing to take a rare picture of us and is emailing it to us later!) and decided to walk to a different metro station to soak up a little more of the city before getting our grub on in Chinatown. Basically in Chinatown you just walk into a place and start eating and the place we chose had the usual chinese and sushi fare, and was pretty decent. We even went all out and split a bottle of sake. What’s nice about the city, is that kitchen’s are still booming at midnight so you can pretty much get a full meal anywhere on a Friday night, depending on what you want. We also discovered a THREE STORY WALGREENS with gourmet food in it, in case that’s of interest to anyone out there, because we were fascinated.

The impromptu night out was just what I needed to pretend I wasn’t in the pits of depression for a few hours, maybe even help me climb out with a little inspiration. That I can always come home, see my happy places and things can be ok for a few hours, when I can muster up the energy to get it together and try to get to them.

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There’s No Place Like Home.

Going home is always so cathartic for me. Traffic sucks but I just love being back in DC even for just a few days. I’m excited to hop on the metro today for old times sake, a little of the traffic nonsense on the Beltway was even comfortingly familiar. Today I woke up to DC news. I learned that a taxi accidentally followed the Obama motorcade through the security gates and is in hot water, and another guy tossed a back pack of nothing in particular over the White House fence. Just another day in the district. But still its news that I miss hearing because I don’t get to hear about all the hotspots and suburbs I’m familiar with anymore. Funny, sad, bad, memories flood back and I enjoy it all as I watch TV, drive the streets, shop in stores or eat out and meet up with local friends and family. I do not hate this place, not at all. Its my heart. It’s just the traffic of having to plan my day around 6 hours of whats considered “rush hour” that I hate.

Today we are taking my grandmother refrigerator shopping. On the metro. As city people do. I’m expecting her to act lost just as usual, towering over the crowds, even though it’s at a stop we are both crazy familiar with. What would really funny is if we had to actually take a fridge home on the metro, but alas, they deliver for free. I’m pumped about the metro anyway because I spent half my life as a subway rat and it brings back all sorts of crazy, creepy, hilarious and even annoying memories for me. I might take my camera and pretend to be one of those tourists I hate so much.

 

We’re Still Having Fun, And You’re Still the One.

Five years ago today woke up next to my best friend. We got dressed, ate breakfast with my roommate, she went to work like it was just another day. It wasn’t for us however. We proceeded to do the scariest thing I’ve ever done. We went downtown and got married. Yup, just like that. There was a moment of cold feet in the courthouse elevator but other than that the story was short and sweet.

In five years, we have moved 8 times, were separated the first 4 months of our marriage, been though the countless struggles and issues with my illness, craziness of the military, spent almost 3 years as a poor college couple and survived a deployment. I came to realize that though all of this, we have never fought, REALLY fought not even once. Mind blowing. I was raised in an environment where knock down blow out fighting was the norm, and taught that early on and throughout a marriage it was to be expected and for 5 years I’ve been waiting for that ball to drop. I realize now, this warped expectation of relationships has caused me great anxiety when really I have the healthiest relationship right in front of me. We are being our own example and I didn’t even know it.

So, today, I’m still waking up next to my best friend. And we are going to get dressed, eat breakfast, and celebrate today the best thing we ever did in finding each other. Committing to it long term.

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Some of you may remember this, but for those who missed it, here is my wedding story.

I feel like we are that couple that no one ever knows quite what to do with. It’s marvelous. He’s this super nerdy nice guy who’d jump in front of a train for a total stranger…..or a puppy. I’m a headstrong sometimes bitch who will cut you if you dare abuse the niceness of my husband, or try to legislate my uterus, whichever. We were brought together during such outwardly mundane circumstances (work). He was a small town boy (LIVIN’ IN A LONELY WORLD….sing with me!) who joined the military and ran into me, a city girl (WHO TOOK THE MIDNIGHT TRAIN GOING ANY-WHERE!), working at the Pentagon. We clicked, and that’s all she wrote.

Actually, that’s not “all she wrote.” We actually have one hell of a story of an evolving friendship and quite a backstory to go with it that’s led to this incredible thing we rightly and proudly call a not so traditional marriage we have today. (DON’T WORRY INTERNET, IT’S TOTALLY LEGAL AND NOT PERVERSE, AND THERE ARE NO ANIMALS INVOLVED, RAND PAUL).

What I love the most about our story is this: IT’S OURS. Some people know the abbreviated version of events. Our closer friends know more of the intimate details. However, there are only two people on the planet that know some of the most important memories of all involving how everything came to be when we started legally sharing the last name of Woodland, and that’s Ken and I. I intend to keep it that way, because I’m complicated like that.

But I’ll tell you this. Our original wedding rings were purchased by hopping off the Red Line of the Metro at Union station and bought from a street jewelry vendor. We took a cab to the courthouse in Arlington and were legally married in a law office underneath a Jerry’s Subs and Pizza. No one mentioned God, nor did we bear any vows to a religious nature. (Gasp! No! Those Atheists have gone and ruined the sanctity of marriage!) We promptly had 5 shots of Jameson at an Irish bar to celebrate after. There were no witnesses. And I was married in my sneakers. Hell yes. I love the city.

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Driving Ms Eileen. Crazy.

I had the greatest snippet with my ultra conservative Fox News loving, Ann Coulter reading, Sarah Palin worshipping Great Aunt the other day. Sometimes I forget what music I have on XM in the car……

Car ( playing ” Back That Ass up” )

Eileen: “OH MY GOD. WHAT IS THIS?”

Me: (snickering) “Sorry about that, forgot to change the channel.”

Eileen: “WELL. That’s certainly not very CHRISTIAN music now is it.?”

Me: “I never claimed to be a Christian. I’m an Atheist.”

Eileen sucked in her breath SO hard I thought it was going to suck the car and all of us right into a black hole. Meanwhile my grandmother erupted in laughter in the backseat and later told me it was the funniest thing she had heard anyone say to Eileen in a LONG time.

Speaking of my godlessness, my dad specifically wrote in his card to me that he hopes God will step up and show me that “I Am Here” so that I believe once again. Uhhhh. I appreciated the rest of the sentiment, why did he have to go and throw that awkwardness in there? Religious fundamentalists just cannot help themselves can they??

Grandma: Bringin’ It Full Circle.

My grandma is a serial cell phone swapper. She doesn’t even use it. She is one of those people who still turns it off every second it’s not in use, charges it every day at home anyway, and uses only three minutes a month. You can NEVER actually call her on it, which is annoying since she does spend A LOT of time outside the house wandering all over D.C. on foot. We do get concerned because, whatever, Carole does what Carole wants! She takes the city by storm with no car at 86 years old and there is nothing you’re gonna do about it! And she’s kicked cancer in the ass THREE TIMES.

But I digress. Back to the phones. At one point she owned one of those old people cell phones with only 3 buttons. Jitterbug it was called. Remember those hilarious commercials? (turns out Verizon was the parent company and just used the idea to pander to old people.) You actually had to CALL the Jitterbug customer service people and they programmed your phone for you because you were old and your phone only had 3 buttons. Operator, Tow (your car), and a 911 button.

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Three button phone, in all it’s glory. Who could mess this up?

Then she decided she could handle a real cell phone and got Verizon. Not long after that though she decided contracts were for suckers because she never uses her cellphone (remember she turns it off at all times unless she’s actively on it)…..and went to Virgin Mobile. However, now she needs me to figure out how to erase texts Virgin Mobile sends her to top up her minutes. I also have to program her directory, erase her voice mails, and all the other functions a normal cellphone user does when your phone has more than 3 buttons. So basically we have come full circle and now I’M THE JITTERBUG CUSTOMER SUPPORT PERSON.

I love my grandma. (Also, she routinely calls me up to ask me if I think going with Sprint like my mother does is a good idea. No grandma, just no. No more cell phones for you. I’m cutting you off.)

Ch-ch-ch-changes….

I’ve switched the layout of this here old blog a bit. I believe I’m going to do that from time to time, flex my creative design license a bit. See what WordPress can do for me. I’d like to be a bit more interactive with this page in the future, because after all, it is my project, coming straight at you from my brain. It’s also important though that its pleasing to the eye, and interesting to read, as well as nice to click around on.

So now, at the top right of the page are the RSS feed, twitter, and Flickr logos. Clicking on them will let you subscribe and take you to my photostream respectively. This is definitely a “test” layout, so it might not always be like this but I will never take access to either of these features away. I’m just trying to find the best placement for them. In fact, I’ve added a “Photography” page as well, for me to have some fun rotating pictures I take and sharing them. IT’S LIKE A PICTURE LOTTERY, YA’LL! Feel free to comment on them any time you like, whether its my cats inappropriate display of genitalia, the adorableness of some of the kiddos I’m lucky to be related to, or whatever. It’s all welcome. I would like a better system for this section, but this is my working brainstorm for the moment.

This week has gotten quite busy. This guy, pictured below, is having a birthday. His name is Rhys and he’s the big 2. And as his proud aunt I want to run up to D.C. and smother him with hugs and feed him things made of sugar. So we plan on doing that. I can’t wait to hear what entertaining vocabulary he’s got in store for us this time.

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Bring me cake.

It’s also coming up on my niece’s first day of Kindergarten so we are pretty excited for that big event and come bringing “school supplies” for everyone, to ease the transition we hope a little bit. Also, my grandmother needs to go to Costco with her sister and WE ALL KNOW WHAT THAT MEANS!

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School has no idea what’s about to happen. It’s never going to recover.

Also we will be setting foot in the Pentagon for the first time in quite a while. Flashbacks to the place where it all began for Ken and I, maybe it’s something I even need. Even if all our friends being military, are no longer there, save one or two civilians. It’s where I met my best friend who became my husband, and its a good time to revisit that memory. There is a memorial going on for the Commander we worked under, who passed away a year ago, a wonderful Colonel, and if we can we are going to attend that, as we were unable to attend his funeral due to military obligations at the time. I’d like the chance to pay him a last respect, because he treated us as humans and coworkers on his team, rather than subordinates in a distant chain of command.

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Ken, Col. Block, and I. Last day before we PCS’d to Ft Bragg. I was labeled “Benedictine Arnold”for choosing to leave with Ken over the Colonel and the clinic. He was a good man.

You Shouldn’t Have To Explain Love

So in light of all the news of love the past couple days, of course it’s gotten me reflective to my own situation. Why wouldn’t it? I love my husband very much and we are very staunch supporters of marriage equality.

I feel like we are that couple that no one ever knows quite what to do with. It’s marvelous. He’s this super nerdy nice guy who’d jump in front of a train for a total stranger…..or a puppy. I’m a headstrong sometimes bitch who will cut you if you dare abuse the niceness of my husband, or try to legislate my uterus, whichever. We were brought together during such outwardly mundane circumstances (work). He was a small town boy (LIVIN’ IN A LONELY WORLD….sing with me!) who joined the military and ran into me, a city girl (WHO TOOK THE MIDNIGHT TRAIN GOING ANY-WHERE!), working at the Pentagon. We clicked, and that’s all she wrote.

Actually, that’s not “all she wrote.” We actually have one hell of a story of an evolving friendship and quite a backstory to go with it that’s led to this incredible thing we rightly and proudly call a not so traditional marriage we have today. (DON’T WORRY INTERNET, IT’S TOTALLY LEGAL AND NOT PERVERSE, AND THERE ARE NO ANIMALS INVOLVED, RAND PAUL).

What I love the most about our story is this: IT’S OURS. Some people know the abbreviated version of events. Our closer friends know more of the intimate details. However, there are only two people on the planet that know some of the most important memories of all involving how everything came to be when we started legally sharing the last name of Woodland, and that’s Ken and I. I intend to keep it that way, because I’m complicated like that.

But I’ll tell you this. Our original wedding rings were purchased by hopping off the Red Line of the Metro at Union station and bought from a street jewelry vendor. We took a cab to the courthouse in Arlington and were legally married in a law office underneath a Jerry’s Subs and Pizza. No one mentioned God, nor did we bear any vows to a religious nature. (Gasp! No! Those Atheists have gone and ruined the sanctity of marriage!) We promptly had 5 shots of Jameson at an Irish bar to celebrate after. There were no witnesses. And I was married in my sneakers. Hell yes. I love the city.

And these are ALL the wedding pictures we actually have.

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The Meat of the Matter

I have a personal rule on this project. Not too many entries in a row where it’s super depressing sadness. Which is why I’ve struggled this week. I’ve been too tired and worn out to write, and bang out some humor up in this bitch that I’ve just held off. I do have so much I COULD SAY though, fodder from my recent trek home to DC was just a cesspool of material. So I might just change up the format a bit and get to the meat of the matter here and hit this entry with a few of the lessons bestowed upon me from my visit back to my roots.

DC is my soul city. I love my home, I think it’s beautiful. It’s vibrant, smart, fun, and full of opportunity. However, I also call it my domestic violence relationship. It’s always waiting to beat the shit out of me when I come home for a visit, because after all that’s where my dysfunctional family lives.

This trip I learned….

1. Some family members never change. You don’t even need to speak to them to be kept abreast of the news of things that continue to blow your mind to remind you that when all said and done, you’ll never be as important as others, or you’d find your ass out in the cold should a situation be reversed, or never ever gain the title of “fiscally responsible” no matter how responsible you actually are.

2. Apparently, my husband has a place to live when I kick him out and steal all his stuff and money. I have no idea where I’m going to live, but he brings in groceries, and programs VCRs making him a useful addition. My need to address things like budgets, bills and lowering myself to ask for help when we are in a hopeless situation due to my disability, his school, and military status due to gov’t bullshit, only makes me the bad guy and get this: “SELF ABSORBED, LIKE MONICA, FROM FRIENDS.” Conversations with my grandmother, extremely enlightening. And she’s the SUPPORTIVE ONE.

3. 4 hours of FOX NEWS and fixing a Windows Vista PC of a 70 year old conservative crazy republican will rot your brain and you’ll snap and start screaming at Marco Rubio on the TV and accidentally engage in an Obamacare debate with said old lady. Luckily, she will not regret you fixing her computer though.

4. Despite all the bad, I still am an aunt to 3 of the most beautiful, smart, and engaging children I’ve ever seen. And I’m not well enough to be the aunt I want to be and it breaks my heart every single second. Just watching them for one afternoon fills me with a range of emotions I can’t describe every time I see them, and it’s the #1 reason I always come back to get my teeth kicked in by the city I hate to love so much.

(Also, my physical therapist told me today he actually looks forward to my appointments with him because I always have THE BEST stories. I’ve heard the same from actual mental health therapists. Should I be worried?)

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Making my mind get with the program!

I had a couple things just cross  my mind to be looking up online this morning, but within seconds, my memory went blank. Like in the time it took me to open up a new tab on my browser it was gone….. lol.

So here I am, doing a little post to keep my plan of writing regularly in tact.

Today Ken starts his epidural back injections. Fingers crossed that he gets some relief. He accidentally took my medications last night, to include 2 klonopin and a lyrica, so he was a nice hot mess this morning trying to get him off to his company for formation. I had to drive, chuckling the whole way. At least he got a great nights sleep last night, haha. Tomorrow, is my pre admission appointment for my surgery on Monday, and I haven’t even had time to worry or stress about it, which is probably a blessing in disguise. I know its going to be fine, its minor, and minimally invasive and I have high hopes that it will fix at least one issue that’s been plaguing me for the past 10 years.

I learned last week that not even our military is exempt from fear of not bringing home a steady paycheck. Only difference is, they still have to report to work, AND not get paid, or face punishment to include time in military prison. Nice huh? My heart goes out to all those military families living paycheck to paycheck, like us, but with children, and to those trying to maintain the home front while their loved ones are in combat zones. I know how upset/stressed I was, I can only imagine the magnitude of fear they went through. And not that Congress reads my blog, but just in case I want to tell the Legislative Branch of our government to get its shit together, stop acting like 6 year olds on the playground and DO YOUR JOBS. Stop using the media and people’s livelihoods to put pressure on YOUR side of the political agenda. There are enough under informed people voting on politics in this country on issues they don’t need any more reason to flip out and be ignorant. Rant over.

I’m  excited and terrified at the same time to move forward with our plans to relocate to Richmond this summer. I know this is a common mix of emotions for anyone facing a big lifestyle change like this, I’m just trying to find my way of working through it.

onward and upward with today.

Letting Madonna’s Vogue get me in the mood….

After a vacation that was nothing but work, we’re home and hitting the ground running. But we’re armed with a wealth of information and a plan forming to get it all done. Just thinking about the next couple months is going to be exhausting, but having a working plan eases my anxiety.

While DC was a big pile of suck, with nothing but rain, and no cherry blossoms, Richmond on the other hand was an entirely different story. Our first day there was sunny and warm, and after discussing how we need to do things with Ken’s school, we met up with Shannon and she took us on a combo walking/driving tour of the basics of Richmond. It’s old, beautiful and charming. There are tangible activities that ken and I can do, from parks to hanging out in cute shopping districts. Even just lazing about on the James River that literally runs through the city. Rush hour traffic was a breeze compared to DC, and I think I’ll learn the basics of the city pretty fast. We took a cruise out to the West End, where his school is and we are trying to find a place, and we’re pleased that its not too FAR outside of downtown, and has tons of things like Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s to excite us for our cooking endeavors.

We townhouse hunted in the pouring rain the second day, and must have seen about 10 places before I just couldn’t bring myself to do another tour. So much information, so much exhaustion on my part, and we still had to drive back to Bragg that day. BUT…. we found at least two places we are really excited about, that will provide the space and features we need, and all within our budget. We’re going to digest and weigh the options of several places before making a final choice, but I feel pretty good about one place in particular.

So, this month’s calender is about to blow up with appointments, including the start of Kens injections for his back, and my upcoming surgery. Both within 4 days of each other. But we take what we can get right? Hopefully I can squeeze in some fun cooking, and process these few pictures I was able to take on our trip in the next couple days and get them up on flickr. Adios!