Monthly Archives: January 2012


Let’s turn up the heat and stir things up a bit:

I think every girl, at least once in her lifetime, looks at a man and just drools.  As we all know, I’m not seeing anyone anymore, so there is no reason not to add another hottie to the hotties list.  For a Saturday night treat, I rented Kenneth Branagh’s Thor.  Knowing me as you do, you had to know that Chris Hemsworth was going to make the list.

For all of my gal-pals that need a bit of beefcake in their day, here’s the hottie of the day:

There are a lot of really good reasons, outside of his charming good looks, that he’s made the list.  Y’all know me!  I never do anything without a plan or a really good reason.  Okay then, let’s get on to my reason for posting a new hottie of the day, to open up the topic of tall, hunky men (who can kick butt) that are just one of those things where any girl that’s anywhere near sane will just knee-buckle when a man like that walks into a room (especially without his shirt on).

Chris Hemsworth and the two hours I spent watching Thor gave me a really good reason to look at my tastes and choices.  Have you ever noticed that sometimes after a traumatic situation you look at what you just went through and say, “Nuh uh, not doing that again…”  Well, if you haven’t, I sure have.  Namely the thought of ever, ever in my life ever looking up on purpose at a man.

After my ex hit the door, being that he was 6’4″, I said to myself that even at 5’5″, I never wanted to look up at my romantic interests ever again.  I thought eye-level would be good, thinking that a guy that was 5’8″ or 5’9″ would be okay for me, even as much as 6’1″, but not any taller than that.  The thought of dating someone tall after my ex left meant that it would lead to me craning my neck and going through all kinds of unnecessary pains, essentially reliving the emotions of forcing myself to fit with someone I had no business trying to fit with in the first place.  It was effectively like adding cinnamon to a chocolate poundcake.  You can do it, but why would you want to?  Besides, will it work?  Odds are, probably not, but it’s a taste thing.  What is good to one person might not be necessarily good to another.  The point is that I never again wanted to be around a man that was really tall.  I wanted to avoid any reminders of my pain and humiliation.

What about the strength thing girls always go ga-ga about?  A girl likes to feel safe, right?  Thor is one thing, he’s a fictitious superhero, but it reminded me that a lot of men I’ve been around have abilities that allow them to kick some serious butt.   I’ll admit it, my ex knew 20 martial arts, so after he hit the road I wanted to do the inverse of what I knew and be around someone who could have cared less about being violent.  But, as fate would have it, my world is filled with men who know a bajillion different martial arts while others like guns (but only in a home-protection kind of way).  Look at Ace, KP and RJ, they’re all soldiers that have no compunction about using some sort of martial prowess should something threaten their families.   But it brings me back to thinking about how better to feel safe than to hang out with a guy that knows those things?  (It doesn’t hurt that I’ve got some skills on how to immobilize or disarm an attacker, but still, I’d rather a guy take care of those things.  But as begrudgingly as this admission goes, OK, I’ll admit it, I like having a bodyguard.  What girl doesn’t?)   Is it necessary?  No, but it’s nice to have.

Here’s the brass tacks:  I know what I like and I know what I don’t like in a man I would want to date.  I would like to hit the male trifecta: a mental, physical and spiritual equal.

Some things I like and don’t like may be superficial to you, but I tell you what, if I don’t like what I’m looking at, why the heck should I be expected to stay with them!  I don’t like my men with fur.  A chest full of fur has always turned me off, but knowing that we can’t have everything, I’ve always kind of lived with it.  Here’s the secret though, I don’t have to put up with it if I don’t want to!

Good gods, my ex was a walking fur ball over his entire body but he was going bald!  You know what, he’s been out of here for close to three years now and it’s only been up to this moment that I just realized I don’t have to deal with things like that anymore if I don’t want to!  I like my men with bare chests and a full head of hair!  I know the odds of finding a man my age that isn’t balding are slim, but I don’t have to date a balding guy if I don’t want to!  If I have to look at fur on a man’s back, he’s out of there!  I don’t like it, so I most certainly don’t have to put up with it unless he’s really, really charming and I mean charming on the Samuel L. Jackson scale of Arnold the Pig in Pulp Fiction type of charming.  If they choose to shave their head bald, I’m cool with that, but at least I know it’s there and there is always a possibility of them growing it out!  I really would prefer a guy with long hair!  Y’all know that I’m a real sucker for a guy with long hair, so why on Earth can’t I have one!

There are some things I still really like even though throughout all of my failed relationships I never got the right mix of the things I really do enjoy!  I like men who are sweet inside yet rough on the outside and take a while to get through all of the tough to get to the sweet, knowing that when I do finally get through that tough exterior, that sweet part is meant just for me because my heart won it and I earned it.

I enjoy the thought of knowing if some doodah comes and tries to break into the house, my man will dispatch them post-haste!  I like the thought of seeing a tall man in my environment.  I like the thought of getting on my tip-toes to kiss my guy or know that his huge hands will catch me should I fall.  Those are all good things and I’ve realized that by trying to distance myself from the good qualities that were diminished by bad experiences I’m cutting myself off from the things I really do want!

There is a guy out there just for me who knows to put things back EXACTLY where they found it, that understands that an environment is a shared space, that the toilet seat should always be down, that computer games are a shared experience and that all great gamer couples I know are tank/healer combos…wait, that’s profound, I just hit on something there that is at my fundamental core…I need a tank to heal.  That’s EXACTLY it!  I need one tough fella who’s a little worse for wear that needs my skills and that I can heal up to full.  It gives me reason, purpose and a goal which is what I need all the time.  Ooh!  Big breakthrough there!  He also is a sweets junkie that can handle my need to bake along with all of the good food I make and who understands down to the core of his being what the phrase “nutritional value” really means when it comes to relationships.  Oh, now that’s what the doctor ordered!

We all know that we’re the sum of our parts and experiences.  What one moment tells you is horrible, the next tells you that same thing isn’t so bad.  It’s odd what time and healing will do for your spirit once you realize that what you went through, while traumatic, wasn’t all that bad and you’re better off having gone through it.  It’s amazing what a little bit of retrospection can do because it makes evident what you like, don’t like and gives you a clear focus to get to what you really want.

I’ve noticed a few things lately and I’ll try to sum it up in a way that is subtle yet still proves the point.

Have you ever been in the kitchen and followed a recipe to the letter and still have the dish turn out horribly?  In fact, so horribly that you had to toss the whole thing out?  I know I have and I’ve figured out that relationships are no different from each recipe we try to make in our kitchens.  What if, and it’s a big IF, when you were cooking, one ingredient out of the many on your recipe list had spoiled or gone rotten and you didn’t know it and added it anyway?  Could that be the reason that the dish went so horribly wrong and resulted in it going into the garbage or down the kitchen sink garbage disposal?  Maybe so…  But, how about if you put the ingredients into the dish in the wrong order?  I could go on forever, but I think you get my point:  What if relationships are really like cooking and it’s a matter of putting the right ingredients, in the right order, into it combined with the right amount of time to prepare it and allow it to simmer and bubble until it comes out right?

My friend RJ is a great example of this.  Yep, he’s been through three wives, yet he still keeps trying.  He unknowingly put spoiled ingredients into his situations without knowing it (then everyone around him still said the dish came out good, even when he screamed at the top of his lungs that it was rotten).  Even through three honest efforts, he just couldn’t quite seem to not get rotten ingredients or what he tried to cook in was a dirty pan he thought was clean.  How on Earth was he supposed to get nutritional value from rotten ingredients and dirty cookware?  I honestly feel sorry for the guy because he’s tried so hard only to be met with failure.  I keep my fingers crossed for him though.

I’ve been through one husband, and yet I stand in my kitchen looking at the pots and pans and know in my heart I can get the dish right if I could just get the right ingredients.  My failure came with the caveat that I wasn’t properly emotionally prepared for the situation on top of the fact that the oven wasn’t properly pre-heated (read: my personal growth needed work).  While the ingredients were in the right general vicinity, they weren’t exactly the right ones, after all there is a difference between baking soda and baking powder or olive oil vs. butter.  

Confession time.  This I’m sure will make you laugh out loud, but it’s so sad even I laugh at it.  Brass tacks are that as a woman, you can’t honestly believe that after ten years of needs not being met in your bedroom, to come out of a failed marriage in your prime, and not expect for things to be really and I mean REALLY super hot in the bedroom department when, after all that heartache and disappointment, you finally find that one special guy.  Anything short of scalding hot when you’ve been that deprived for so long is going to make your expectations extremely high and if parts aren’t working and needs aren’t being met, you’re out of there in one quick hurry because when you date, it’s a process.  If you don’t like one, you throw it back and try another.  At my age, you don’t have the luxury of wasting time in a relationship that doesn’t work.  But don’t complain to me, tell it to human body chemistry.

Are we all just trying to figure out the exact right combination of ingredients that would make us happy?  When do we know that we’ve attained just the right mix?

Lately, I’ve modified my views on a few things.  I realized that I don’t want to be alone for the rest of my life.  I’d really like to have a partner, but it’s not something that I am going to consciously search for.  I’ll be fine alone if I have to be, but what if, just what if, there were someone who held in their heart just the right ingredients that would mix with mine and become a dish filled with nutritional value that would be satisfying and last for a long time?  That’s something to think about, isn’t it?  Don’t you ever look in the mirror and realize that maybe the ingredients you have inside become amplified and more special because of the people you are around?

So right around now, I’m thinking that you’re understanding my conundrum, that there were things that I’ve encountered that I really like, but I’m mortified by the thought of welcoming those traits back into my life because the memory of those good things are tainted by bad experiences.  RJ keeps telling me that I’m giving too much power to people I’ve dealt with in the past and that, like KP says, I should just build a bridge and get over it, and trust myself enough to enjoy those things without attaching the bad memories to them.  I think he’s got a good point.

Why all of this now?  Well, I’ve known someone for a really long time who just very recently decided to pop out of the woodwork and let me know in no uncertain terms that the sun rises and sets wherever I am.  Good for my ego?  Heavens yes.  Like KP, Raj, Michelle and the rest of my pals, he was there when the world went kaboom and watched me reel from the experience.  From what he says, he just woke up one morning and realized he thought the world of me and given the opportunity would snatch me up in a heartbeat.   What do you do with that knowing that he’s really tall, that he’s super tough and that he’s well-trained in protective arts?  That he’s got shades of what I’ve experienced before but has a completely different take on things that are so similar to mine it’s outright frightening on top of the fact that he’s a total sweets freak and loves the smell and taste of home-baked goods?  This is someone who I considered a close friend for a long time that I’m just now finding out that there is a lot in common I never dreamed was there!  When you’re faced with someone you thought you knew really well that through a lot of time spent together ends up becoming someone brand new but completely familiar, what do you do?    I want to know the answer because it’s really scaring me!  I know him really well, but up until very recently I wasn’t willing to hear what he was trying to tell me!  This goes back to a while back where I said, “An audience isn’t  going to hear what you’re trying to say until they are ready for it.”  Well, I was an unready audience until I realized I should be listening to what he has to say and oh have I gotten an earful!  Special message to Houston:  We have ignition…43 FTW, playin’ TOR mah brothah. L33T codeslinger. Ghostbar haunted. Blackthorne righteous.  Hand-in-glove The Palm’s 9.     

Here’s the part where you go “Awwwww!”  It contains a spoiler if you haven’t seen Thor, so if you’ve not seen it, you may want to skip this part…

At the end of the film, Thor walks up to Heimdall and says, “Can you see her?”  Heimdall replies, “Yes.”  Thor asks, “How is she?” and Heimdall says, “She searches for you.”

I think I’ve read too many romance novels, watched too many movies and held out hope that one day all of the ingredients would come together perfectly.  Oh well, there’s lots to do, a semester to conquer, the NSAC to win and so much stuff that if the ingredients are coming together perfectly, I’ll be able to have my cake and eat it too at the end of the semester.

One can only hope.

But I do know this, through all of my Myst experiences that have fueled my need to problem solve and look at the world knowing it is one Great Tree of Possibilities, from the fighter’s spirit I have inside to the phoenix metaphor that I keep in my back pocket as a self-portrait, there is only one thing that I can never deny.  Hope is something just like me being a wise fool:

It’s eternal.

Song of the day time!  Today, from the ending credit’s of Thor, the Foo Fighter’s “Walk.”

Spring 2012 Semester Preface.

Good grief.  What a trip we’ve been on so far, huh?

I was just looking back for a moment and counting how many semesters we’ve been at this, and well, we’re now beginning semester number six.  Three years, a whole lot of posts, a whole lot of great people that I’ve met and had the pleasure of spending time with.

We’ve been through Nevada School Law, Composition II, Journalism 100, World Literature, Critical Analysis of the Mass Media, Environmental Science, News Reporting and Writing, Personal Growth, Global Media, History, Introduction to Integrated Marketing Communications, Afro-American Studies, Media Planning and Buying, Electronic Media Production, and Integrated Marketing Communications Strategy.

Yeah, go ahead, be like me with your tongue lolling out and go, “OMG, that’s a lot.”  LOL!  But think of it this way, you’ve been with me for the whole thing, all 46 credit hours worth.  Finally, we’re at the home stretch.  When I finish this spring semester, I’ll have 32 credits to go.  For those of you keeping track, that’s one more year, plus one semester.

A while back, Mom asked me why I wasn’t stuffing more than 12 credit hours in every semester.  For me, the answer was easy.  I know myself.  12 hours a semester is plenty for me, any more than that and it becomes a question of, take less and do better or take more and do worse?  I prefer to go a tad bit slower but have excellent grades.  Hey, a 3.7 GPA is nothing to sneeze at, so for this semester we have 12 more credit hours that I’m sure are going to see some lip service here.

This semester I’m going to go numerically by the class number so that way we don’t get anything confused.  Let’s get started.

On the bill for Spring 2012 we have:
Journalism 305 – Media Ethics
Journalism 374 – Advertising Copywriting (oh you know you’re cheering with me on this one).
Journalism 401 – The First Amendment and the Media
and finally…
Journalism 433 – IMC Campaigns, also known as the 2012 UNLV NSAC Competition Team. (The capstone course for my major, a.k.a. “The Show.”)

That’s right boys and girls, this semester we’re going to competition…and we’re going to kick butt!

Let’s start describing this semester’s fun and games…and I say that with all due sarcasm because it’s going to be a hard road until May.  Lucky for me, I’ve got a little bit of Doc Cat in my pocket along with a big cheering section that will see the hard work I’ll be contributing to the team stand center stage on Saturday, April 28th, live from the Greenspun Hall Auditorium.  (Contact me if you want to come watch!  I’ll have more info soon.)

Now, let’s break it down:

Journalism Ethics…doesn’t that just sound fun?  Considering I’ve written ethics lectures in the past for my Photoshop students, well, it’s not hard to imagine that I’m going to be putting my high-minded ideals to the test.  The professor, Ms. M., is a legend inside Greenspun Hall for her ethics class.  The caveat?  She either loves you or hates you and come 10 a.m. Wednesday morning, I’ll find out what category I fall into.

Advertising Copywriting, what I truly believe is my bread and butter will be up next and I’m hoping with the new professor they’ve hired for the class that it should be tons of fun.  The focus (that I know ahead of time thanks to sitting in with Doc S. on countless mornings just to hang out) will be Multicultural Advertising.  Just in time too with the goods coming up for the NSAC.  I’m hoping it will be a blast.  Keep your fingers crossed for this one.  If all else fails, I’ve got Luke, his blog and a copy of Whipple on my bookshelf, so I think we’ll be okay.

Then there’s the First Amendment and the Media, a law class (by the way, it’s my second law class, kill me, I’m no lawyer, I’m an ad girl.  Who knew you had to be one-half law student and one-half lunatic to be a journalism major?).  My trip through Media Law will be guided by my second Dr. B who is extremely different from my fave history professor, the Original Dr. B.  Ah yes, a whole semester of pounding through textbooks…not my idea of fun, but it’s a mandatory class, so guess what, it’s one I have to buckle down for because I know it’s not going to be the world’s sexiest read.  Filled with moments of “OMG, really?” of course because I’m convinced only great acts of stupidity land themselves in the court system.

But, the cherry on the cake of the semester, another fun filled five months with the king of IMC, the one and only Scorsese who along with KC will be going to battle with us for the National Student Advertising Competition that I’ve been dreaming the last three years and 46 credit hours of doing.  Ok kiddies, this is it, the moment we’ve all been waiting for.

Last Thursday, I went to my first team meet-up.  Walking up to Greenspun Hall at twilight will make any UNLV journalism major take a knee because it’s just breathtakingly beautiful.  I sat in a room filled with my teammates who are hungry to really take a chunk out of Chapman, USC, UCLA and the rest of the SoCal schools in our district.  It seems to me my teammates are a pack of scrappers and that’s just how I like it because I’m a scrapper too.  If I can get beat down and torn up and rise from the ashes, clawing and scratching for everything I’ve got, my teammates are just my speed.

So, that’s what Spring is shaping up to look like.  Wish me luck, it’s going to be a long, hard road.

One other thing…and I think I may just make my Mother faint with this one…last semester, I made the Dean’s List.  When I finish this semester, I’ll walk into Fall as a Senior.

Surrounded by Soldiers…

Basically since birth, and especially since July of last year, my world has always been saturated with soldiers.  Army men, a couple of Marines, Navy men and my big brother, who is an Air Force man.

Growing up, my father (who is an army man himself) would tell me a story now and again about what his experience was like in the Army.  Now, all truth be told, my father had a kind of (and I stress “kind of”) cushy job.  He ran an NCO club.  Of course, just like any soldier you know, they will tell you that there are things they just can’t tell you about, and I accept that because the question really is, “Do I really want to know what they did or what happened to them?”

Two soldiers I know, one from the Army and one from the Marines, both suffer from an all too familiar friend, PTSD.  Now where my PTSD derives itself from my childhood, theirs comes from the battlefield.  But why write about this now?  You all know that I’m a research junkie, I like to find out why things are the way they are along with the appropriate course of action to make sure I’m acting properly, crossing every “t” and dotting every “i” as it were.  It also goes along with what Daddy taught me a long time ago and it kind of applies in the terms of speaking intelligently about a topic.  He said, “If you’re going to criticize someone, you better be ready to stand shoulder to shoulder with them and take it.” Well, at the advice of my Marine friend, he encouraged me to watch the Stanley Kubric film Full Metal Jacket.

As we all know, I’m not big on war movies.  Actually, to the dismay of my friends from the Armed Forces, I’m a pacifist.  Heck, I can’t even kill bugs without guilt.  But, to sit and watch films like Full Metal Jacket, Apocalypse Now, The Green Zone, Brothers and so forth, well, it gives us a perspective and a view of what they’ve seen that, come on, let’s be honest, is just a minor shade compared to what they’ve really been through.

I get sick to my stomach every time I watch a movie like that, thinking of my dear, sweet, loving friends who have seen such horror.  RJ, my Marine friend, well, he’s very kind, gentle and loving in ways that I wouldn’t think were possible given the duties he had to carry out.  He’s only told me a mere fraction of what he did, but just that alone is enough to give me nightmares.

Ace, as we all know, is an Army man, a self-described helicopter mechanic who just happened to have to pick up and drop off soldiers like RJ into combat zones.  He too told me stories that still make me have nightmares.

In all though, from all of my sweet soldiers that I know, I keep hearing the same story over and over again.  Here is the part that is REALLY going to make you sick, and y’all know me, it just tears my heart right out…

Each and every one of them has told me about being deployed while being married.  How it is very hard to begin with, but then to add insult to the already incomprehensible situations these guys were put in, their wives found it necessary to find company with other men while they were away.  Ace calls it AIDS: Army Induced Divorce Syndrome.  My question to that is “What is wrong with these women?!?!?!”  I’d be shipping off cookies every chance I got and letters and pictures galore if I had my man sitting in a combat zone, reminding them that they’re loved and so forth…  But I guess that’s neither here nor there because I’ve never been through it.  I recognize that living with an active duty soldier is a hard life.  I’ve had a few conversations with some military wives that have told me that it is no picnic, not by a long shot.  I guess it really is a test of devotion and will no doubt prove strength of heart.  But it’s bad enough that they’re getting shot at, seeing things that no human being should ever, ever see, and then they just get sucker punched like that when they get home.  To me, that is just not fair.  Loneliness is no excuse for infidelity and that I can tell you from first hand experience.  Nothing good can ever come from it, but people buckle to it every day.

Both RJ and Ace have told me about how when a soldier is in combat or deployed for so long, they don’t really think about anything but their jobs and how deployment actually severs their connection to the, what they call, “the world.”

Here, let’s go through something RJ told me about.  Marines, similar to the rest of the branches of the Armed Forces, go through basic training, they get assigned to whatever job and so forth, and they become “programmed” in a very particular way.

I mean, look at my Dad, he’s 70 but he still is very much a military man because of the way he likes things done, pressed shirts, shiny shoes, you know what I mean.  And even though he might be 70, he’s still very much the lethal weapon that the army trained him to be.  I will never worry while sleeping under my father’s roof whether or not I am safe.  I remember when I first moved back to the States from Montreal.  My ex and I were staying at my parents temporarily while we searched for a place to live and well, my ex heard something outside that he didn’t think was quite right, and he heard someone jiggling an external doorknob to the house.  Well my ex, being trained in 20 martial arts, grabbed the door and what he got on the other side of it was what he called the equivalent in strength to a raging rhinoceros…the funny part was that on the other side of that doorknob was my father, who was then 62 years old.  My ex looked at me when he re-entered our bedroom and said, “Um, your dad’s appearance is really deceiving, I expected to just “handle” who was messing with things, and well, I quickly learned I would have been in trouble at the hands of your father had I been anyone else.”  That’s my Daddy.  *grin*

But a daughter’s pride aside, the soldiers that have graced and continue to grace my life have been very carefully trained and programmed.  They stand on walls so I can sit behind my computer or go shopping or do whatever I want and feel safe.  They see things that no one should ever see just so I can sit here and write whatever I’d like in my blog.  I am positive I owe them a lot for that.

My Uncle Bill, (probably one of the most gentle and kind souls I have ever had the honor of being around) was an Army man too, he was shot down over China during World War II.  He was missing in action for over six months.  My Aunt Sissy paced the floor until she had him home safe.  I actually interviewed him for an oral history report in my junior year in high school, and when I asked how he felt about World War II, he just said, “They told me to do things and I did them.”  That’s it.  He had no opinion about the whole thing, but I will tell you this, when I was around him, no child ever felt more valued or special.

My Uncle Lonnie (who was just so dang groovy, he had such a dry sense of humor and that dry southern, no-nonsense drawl of his still makes me laugh) came back from three tours of Vietnam with the diabetes that eventually killed him.  However, the stories and adventures that he had with his wife (my Aunt Betty) still resound in my ears, complete with stories of her exotic cat Tigrie and all of the diplomats and kings she met.  When I think of his son and his grandson (Hi Lonnie!  Love you!) I can only imagine the books they could write of anecdotes about those two and their amazing adventures along with their own.

RJ says that the hardest thing about coming back “to the world” is re-adjusting to life before the military and coming to terms with living within the civilian populace.  Ace has also told me the same thing.  How that since their responses to things are programmed, that they can’t sleep at night because they’re afraid something is going to jump out and they feel like they need to be prepared for whatever it is.  Ace can’t sleep without some kind of noise (his favorite is running water and frogs because frogs will go dead silent if anyone comes near) and like RJ (who doesn’t sleep, he just combat naps), they both have dogs that will alert them should everything not be quite right.

But RJ filled me in on something that Ace never did, that well, when soldiers go places in the civilian world, they don’t feel that they are treated with respect.  To me, that’s like a punch in the gut and insult added to injury.  If I see someone dressed in a military uniform, I always stop, give them a smile and say thank you for what they do.  I would think that it would be the right thing to do, don’t you?  I’m a pacifist!  I don’t believe in wars but I most certainly want to sit down and cry to think that my sweet, darling friends have gone through so much for the sake of making sure we’re all safe.  So I firmly believe to make sure I say thank you and recognize what they have gone through.  When it comes to my close friends like RJ or Ace, it breaks my heart that they did not come back home to be wrapped up in a blanket of love and supported while their bodies go through the traumatic process of deprogramming.  The lesson I learned out of the stories they’ve told me?  Always, but always send your soldier what they ask you for as soon as humanly possible, whether it be a case of cigarettes or several dozen home-baked cookies.  RJ says, “For God’s sake, when it comes to cookies, don’t send store-bought, get in the kitchen, bake them and send the real thing.”

Ace has nerve damage due to chemicals he had to work with while fixing helicopters.  RJ has Gulf War Syndrome.  They both have PTSD.  Yet they both need so much love and attention so that they feel like the world they survived horrors to protect is grateful they volunteered to go off and make sure we’re safe.  But no one stops to say thank you and that breaks my heart.  What I think is far worse is that these guys are not getting the care they need.  Every time I hear the acronym “VA”, there is always some sort of cursing that happens right along with it, either pre-fixed or directly after.  What’s worse is that the streets are lined with homeless vets who have come home damaged, often severely, and they can’t even get what they need to survive in the world they fought to protect.

Whatever happened to the concept of “A Welcome Home?”

But I’m not alone.  We’re all surrounded by soldiers.  It doesn’t matter if they run an NCO club or fix helicopters, sit inside a submarine for six months at a stretch without seeing daylight or taught other Marines how to be sneaky bastards (snipers), they’re just doing their job.  Why can’t they come home to people who love them and have their backs for a change?

Maybe I’m just seeing the exceptions to an overwhelming amount of servicemen coming back from harm’s way that actually do come home to loving families.  But I can’t help but think that these exceptions that I’m spending time with aren’t really exceptions, but the rule.  I dread to think that’s true.

About a month ago, I had to do something that broke my own heart, I had to let Ace go.  I tried everything from serving up a plate of fresh-baked cookies when he walked in the door to being supportive every chance I got, but I had to face the fact that I couldn’t fight all of his battles for him, how ever hard I may have tried.  When I hear RJ and KP tell me their horror stories, it breaks my heart all the more to know that no matter how much love I poured in, it couldn’t fix what Ace has to fix for himself.  I have guilt because I let a soldier down and that I wasn’t strong enough to carry his load along with my own.  But that goes back to owning what is yours to own…as you can imagine, it has been unbelievably hard on a deep-seated emotional level.

But, I will tell you this, RJ never walked into a home smelling of fresh-baked cookies and a jug of milk meant especially for him and I think that’s sad. My other soldier friends tell me very similar stories.  You never know, they could just be telling me a sob story because I’m a pretty girl, but somehow I doubt it.  These are real men with real feelings and whereas they are taught as young boys, “Don’t cry,” somehow I think that they have every right to when they know they are in the arms of someone who loves them.

Where’s a big blanket of love when you need it?  I know I have one for Daddy, RJ, Ace, KP, Uncle Bill, Uncle Lonnie, Lonnie, Heath, Josh, Brian, my big brother Carl, and my pals in Mobius on WoW’s Area 52 server.  I have yet to meet a woman who has come back from active service, and well for those gals, I take my hat off to them and they equally need every single bit of love we muster up for our guys.

So today, your mission, should you choose to accept it:  Hug your serviceman or servicewoman.  Say thank you to a soldier who passes you in the grocery store or wave and smile at one who pulls up next to you in traffic.  I think a little love and kindness goes a long way.  Help them readjust to the world we all take for granted.