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How to Win a Race Without Actually Running It.

1. Wear something comfortable.  Something like jeans and a t-shirt.  Something that says, I am not a runner.  I take myself too seriously.  I would rather sit on the sidewalk drinking beer while you fools go run like it’s fun or something.

2. Arrive at the square with enough arms and bags to carry all of your non-runner stuff (camera, purse, reading material, umbrella, water bottle, etc.) and all of your significant other’s runner stuff (water bottle, free t-shirt, wallet, car keys, etc.). Promptly lose significant other because you had to run back to the car to get more stuff (aka. your jacket because it’s cold and you, the smarter of the two, will not be running).

St. Patty's Day Race Raleigh

3. Find significant other standing in line to acquire his bib (that’s fancy runner talk for “numbers”).  Quickly become bored and wander off to see how many random strangers will let you take their photos.

I now own a piece of each of your souls. Mwahahahaha.

4. Realize how many people are there.  Start to experience a pang of anxiety.  Calm yourself by remembering that soon they will all be gone and you will be left relatively alone because, as one of the smartest people in Raleigh, you will not be running.  You will be free to breathe, holding nothing but 80 lbs. of crap.  And also, somehow, a glass of beer.

Will you all just GO already?  You’re drinking all of the beer.

5. Strategically position yourself in a place where you can get a good view of the lesser species — that running breed of human — as they leave your life forever.  Or at least the next 20-50 minutes.

Observe that the most hardcore competitive runners wear the most colorful footwear. Do you think that makes them faster, or is it simply so you can see something — a bright streak of color — as they zip by at lightening speed?

Some are clearly in it to win it. (Bright green shirt guy.)

Some wear looks of sheer determination. (Green tank top girl.)

Some are probably stoned out of their minds.


Some are… well.

I actually think he might be on to something here.  A kilt could provide excellent breathability.  Though he could’ve gone shorter.

This is NOT responsible running attire.

I sure hope he’s wearing a sports bra.

People who run with children are like extreme gluttons for punishment.

And also kind of badass.

It’s fun to embarrass your significant other by screaming and yelling like a crazed fan while snapping photos with paparazzi-like ferocity.

6. When they’re gone, find yourself the bar.

Order a Smithwick’s (but pronounce it Smiddicks, so you sound like you know what you’re talking about), sit on the sidewalk, and make friends with the other smart people who don’t run.

When the mob returns with the wet stench of sweat and pain unfit for human habitation, feel slightly superior in the fact that you’re still clean and happy as the last wash of Smithwick’s slides down your throat.

Totally, totally winning.

(For the record, I love runners.  They’re like the happiest people on earth, and the truth is I just like to be around them and try to absorb the endorphins via osmosis and beer.  Click here to see the last race I watched, and here for my friend Erin’s experience at the Merrell Down & Dirty Mud Run)

Today I Will Take My Coffee With A Shot of Cojones.

Does that title sound as gross as I think it sounds?

Good.  Then I have your attention.

Some of us have a time in our lives when we have to take a stand.  When we have to say, from the gut of our gut (because just our gut isn’t enough), and with as much confidence as we can muster (which usually isn’t nearly sufficient), “I may not know exactly what I’m doing, but I know it has to be done.”

And some of us have to do it twice.

God help us.

But since God (or whatever superior being to whom you might occasionally make a plea for help) likely has more important things to do, like end world hunger or help Tebow win a football game, we’re usually pretty much on our own.

And that can be a pretty hard thing to do.  It’s a tough call — to go against the grain of you feel you should do, and instead choose what you want to do.

The super enlightened among us might call this “living our truth.”

I call it “throwing out the shoulds.”  It’s less mystical sounding, and a little more self-explanatory.

After all, if you’re unhappy, it’s likely the shoulds that got you into this mess.  You should go to college right after high school.  You should land a stable job and start a retirement fund and have medical coverage.  You should buy a car.  You should buy a house.  You should water your lawn and wear nice clothes and attend company holiday parties and smile, because you just got a promotion which pretty much guarantees that you now get to spend even more time each day in this place that’s not so bad, but it’s not, somehow, where you know you’re supposed to be.  It’s not.  But you feel stuck because you should be happy.  You have all of these things, and everyone else who has these things is happy, right?  And if you change, you might lose these things.

So you should stay.

And you should learn to love it.

And you should spend the rest of your days trying to hypnotize yourself into this trance known as the American Dream that seems to come so easily for everyone else.

And that, my friend, is how you waste years.  How you brush them into the dust pan, one by one, and throw them out with the trash.  Because if you really feel this way (and believe me I feel you if you do), it’s not just going to magically get better.  Because if you’re not happy, you’re missing the things you already have in your life that are wonderful.  You know you should love these things, but you can’t.  It’s like you’re not even present.  You’re watching your life through a telephoto lens, and you never really even experience it.


I didn’t intend to get all deep and philosophical on you this morning.  But I’m going to assume you needed to hear it, because I needed to type it.  What I actually intended to tell you is that I need to do it again.  I need to make the difficult choice.  And while I know, in my gut of guts that the choice is already made, sometimes a pep talk is necessary to do the deed.

You see, if you’re fairly new here, you might not know that I quit my job back in August 2010 in order to go make hot sauce in Costa Rica for a couple of months.  I had intended it as a jumping-off point — a type of cold turkey shock therapy to push myself into figuring out what, exactly, it was that would make me happy.  The plan was ill-conceived, at best, and when I returned home my depression was at its peak.  (I know, lucky Justin.)  Instead of focusing on building a writing career, I let people should all over me.  I had no job.  My marriage was in a state of limbo.  My self-esteem was lying somewhere along the side of that lonely stretch of road that took me to that lowest point in my life, and I just didn’t even know where to begin.  So, by August 2011, I took a part-time job as a real estate assistant.  The job market was horrendous, and, if you want to know the truth, that is the only interview I could get.  Even though I’ve had some baby-step success at getting my foot in the writing door, I lacked gumption.  And now, here I am, nearly a year-and-a-half after the epic quitting event of 2010, and I’m scarily close to where I first started.

My backyard view in Costa Rica.

And now, I find it’s time to make another choice.

On New Year’s Eve, my boss sent me an email.  A very nice email.  A complimentary email, on how he appreciates my hard work and dedication to the team.  And he extended me an offer.  A very nice offer.  An offer to work for his company full-time, to become an integral part of the team, and to devote myself to this career path.  To his career path.

The money would not come close to what I was making in 2010, but it would be better than where I’m at now.  The job is more stimulating than where I was back then, but I still know that it’s not where I’m supposed to be.  At least, not full-time.  Because, if I choose that path, I know I won’t dedicate the ambition I need to fulfill my goals this year.  It feels wrong, so wrong, to turn it down.  And yet.  If I accept, it will mean I’ve learned nothing in the past year-and-a-half.  That it was a waste.  That I’m destined to make the same mistakes over and over again.  Turning down an opportunity that would put us in a better financial state feels wrong because that’s how we’re trained to feel.  But, if I remember how I really felt in August 2010, I remember very clearly that money was not the issue.  Not even close.  So, I’m going to politely decline his generous offer, as soon as we’re done here.  And hope I’m not making a huge, huge mistake.

Something tells me I might need something a little stronger than coffee this morning.

But you know, so far, all I can figure is that we need to make a series of difficult choices to start taking back control of these limited and precious lives that we have — choices that feel right, even if they don’t look right.

Obviously, I can’t tell you if this is really the way because I’m not there yet myself.


You can be sure I’ll let you know how it turns out.

Here’s to Making the Most of a New Year and to Trying Our Damnedest to Not F*ck It Up.

Well, it’s about that time.

You know what time I mean.

That time.

That time when we’re supposed to get all reflective and introspective and think about everything that happened (or didn’t happen) during the past year — about all of the goals we accomplished and how our lives changed because we achieved said goals and how we’ve miraculously become these emotionally centered, successful, zen-like people because we perfected the art of meditation somewhere in the time between attaining all of our hopes and dreams (which ironically isn’t the goal of meditation but just work with me here), and now, finally, we can enter the new year with a sense of peace, contentment, and, most important, sans resolutions.


Because that’s realistic.

Sadly, if the psychological distance on the self-satisfaction scale I’d hoped to travel during the last year was a mile, I’ve managed to physically propel myself forward a foot.  Maybe two feet, if I want to account for the fact that I’ve mostly emerged from a pretty uncomfortable bout of depression.

And why wouldn’t I want to account for that?

But still.  That means I fell 5,278 feet short.  I’m not disappointed, per se, because I’m not surprised.  I mean, it’s me we’re talking about here.  I frequently quote the Gin Blossoms in saying, “If you don’t expect too much from me, you might not be let down.”  Genius.  Or demoralizing.  But whatever, it’s true, and it applies to me, too.  If *I* don’t expect too much from myself, I can’t let myself down.


If I were to look back on 2011 and come up with a single word to describe it, there’s really only one obvious choice:








I mean, really, Katie?  2010 was an all-around shit year, which lead to you losing your shit, quitting your respectable, well-paid job, and moving to Costa Rica for 2 months to make hot sauce.  Oh yeah, and to find yourself.  But really, all you found was the first decent tan of your life and the fact that you have to first know yourself in order to find yourself.

And what do I know about myself?

For starters, I’m happiest when I am traveling and meeting new people.

I have a passion for writing.

I like learning my way around a camera.

So, after a brief bout of the fire-under-the-ass kind of inspiration which led me to vehemently absorb a zillion books and articles on freelance writing and photography, submitting exactly one super professional official travel article pitch, receiving exactly one acceptance  after multiple follow-ups only to learn of an 80% decrease in the original advertised pay, and then working in a bar for a few months, I’ve settled, once again, into a job for which I have exactly zero passion except now my income is significantly reduced and my co-workers aren’t as fun.

Well, that’s not entirely true.  My co-workers and I are getting to know each other, which takes time, and my new job does allow me some of the freedom of creativity I lacked in the former — I do get to write, take pictures, and mingle with the townsfolk, which is a vast improvement from sitting for 8 hours a day in front of a computer monitor.

But this is not, to say the least, where I’d hoped to find myself with just a few days left in this 11th year of the new millennium.  I mean, it seems like just yesterday we were partying it up like it was 1999 because it was 1999, dammit, and we had all this time to become more awesome than we already were when we were only 17 frickin’ years old.


It appears as though I need to take this goal thing a little more seriously this time around.

I’m not going to call them “resolutions,” because that has all kinds of negative, clichéd connotations about not following through or only lasting until the Christmas lights finally come down, which will probably be sometime in February, much to our neighbors’ dismay.

(Our Christmas lights, in all seriousness, are the most hideous display of half-assedness we’ve publicly flaunted in a while, my friends.  The thing is, after Justin finished installing new floors, smoking a turkey, and baking 2 cheesecakes for upcoming holiday festivities, for some reason he didn’t have the energy to commit to professionally stringing outdoor lights. Yet he still insisted on doing it.  And all I have to say is that the drooping, scalloped string of white lights hanging from our front porch — only our front porch — look something akin to a melting frosted gingerbread house.  But I didn’t have the heart to tell him.  At least, not until guests were arriving and I’d already had a glass of spiked cider and it was finally okay to just relax and laugh it out.)


This year I’m going to stick with the term “goals,” instead of resolutions, because it sounds more political and serious and spreadsheety.  There’s a sense of accountability, if you know what I mean.

And I’m going to follow these guidelines as written out by Nicole, from

Except maybe… not so anally.

And maybe… a little less intensely.

And probably… a lot more half-assedly.

Because that’s how I roll.

But I kind of feel ahead of the game because I’ve already done Step 1 and Step 2.  Step 1 is to make an “Eff Yeah” list for 2011.  That’s easy.  I survived depression, I went to Spain, I threw the best baby hot tub party ever, and I didn’t die.  Eff-to-the-Yeah.  Step 2 is to come up with a word or phrase that best represents my hopes and dreams for the coming year.  Again, that’s pretty easy.  If the word for 2011 was anticlimactic, especially when it comes to finding a sense of purpose, then there can only be one word for 2012:








So.  We’ll see if I can actually make that happen.  Not that it will matter since the world is supposedly going to end at the end of the year anyway.

But, if I follow the steps, at least I’ll be able to say I tried, right?  And in the end — the real end of the end of the end of the world type end — that’s all that really matters.

Color Me Embarrassed


Remember, not too long ago, when I ran my mouth about never hearing back from a certain website to which I’d applied for a writing/photography gig, so I just assumed I didn’t get said job?


You know what they say about assumptions.

And if you don’t, I’m not going to tell you.  Because that would only make me look worse.

It’s probably not necessary to say at this point, but I got the gig!

I’m going to be providing virtual tours of “green” homes and I’m going to get paid for it.

Yep.  They’re going to pay me to do 3 things I love:  Look inside people’s houses, take photos, and write.

This is like, unbelievably cool.  So Jaime, thankyouthankyouTHANKYOU for sending me the job posting and then forcing me to apply.

As those of you who’ve been reading this blog for a little while know, I’ve been having a not-so-mentally-stable time of things over the past year or so.  And while I’m a true believer that life will always be full of fluid highs and lows and nothing ever just stays the same way forever, it’s amazing how people — sometimes even complete strangers — come into your life exactly when you need them.

Don’t believe me?  Just wait.  You’ll see.

The trick is recognizing help when it arrives, trying as many new things as possible, and, most important, paying it forward.

So, who needs help?  Because I’m pretty sure I owe you.

On a completely unrelated note, we ate something amazing last night.

I gave a little preview on the Facebook page last night, but decided I needed to share it here as well.

Because it’s unbelievably delicious.

Fig, Prosciutto, and Goat Cheese Pizza (adapted from blue cheese pizza on

1)  Buy one (10 oz.) thin crust Boboli pizza crust.  Sure, you could make your own, but that leaves less time for eating.  Drizzle it with olive oil and bake for 9 minutes at 400-degrees F.  (I’m not sure I would do this step next time — I might just bake the whole thing at once without the olive oil to get it a bit crispier.)

2)  Grate 4-5 oz. of mozzarella cheese, and sprinkle most of it over the partially baked pizza crust.  Then layer with 2 oz. of crumbled goat cheese (or blue cheese or whatever kind of cheese you dream about at night), 4-5 sliced figs, 1 oz. of sliced prosciutto, and a few diced green onions (green part only).  Then sprinkle the rest of your mozzarella cheese over the top.

3)  Bake the whole thing for another 9-10 minutes at 400-degrees F.

4)  Pour yourself a glass of red, take a bite of this warm, gourmet pizza that took you all of 20 minutes to make, and allow yourself a moment to just enjoy it.  Don’t think about the calories.  Don’t think about the cheese.  Just let the medley of flavors — salty prosciutto, rich cheeses, sweet figs — do amazing things — naughty things — on your tongue.

Then breathe.

Everything will be okay.

UPDATE 4/24/2013: I have since made this with fresh figs. It is PHENOMENAL.


Step 2

Good news!  I think I finally — finally — figured out what my problem is.  And it only took a highly complicated cocktail of conditions — nearly a year of unemployment, months of over-analyzing my situation, a bout of depression, more over-analysis, a breakup with a therapist, and this morning’s epiphany — to get here.

All-in-all?  I’d say it was worth it.

I was looking through a shopping list app I have on my phone.  You’re about to realize just how much of a freak I am, because while I do occasionally use it for groceries, the main list I utilize is my list of blog topic ideas.  As a “writer,” I pretty much carry a notebook with me wherever I go so I can immediately jot down ideas when I find myself inspired (which, unfortunately, usually happens while I’m driving, in the shower, or doing anything that virtually makes it impossible to write in a notebook).  But sometimes, when all I think of is a random topic for the blog, often triggered by something someone says to me during a conversation, I enter it into my little shopping list app and forget about it until I need inspiration for something to write about.

And this morning, after all of your super awesome and generous comments on my post yesterday (THANK you), the fact that some of you even thought it was good enough to share with your friends on Facebook (THANK you), the fact that I had more hits on this site yesterday and the day before than I’ve ever had without extra effort on my part (holy cow, THANK YOU!)… it really laid on the pressure.

In a GOOD way.

In a sense, I got stage fright — writing impotency, if you will.  And while that’s not necessarily a good thing, it made me realize that this site really is worth my time if, every now and then, I can come up with something people like to read.

So.  I needed a topic.  I referred to my trusty app, full of sure-to-please post ideas for the average Domestiphobia reader.

Among the most interesting are some of these gems:

  • Green Farm Show
  • Thunder from Down Under
  • Pink tissue paper stuck to my fingertips
  • Are your nipples easily fortifiable?
  • Why my POA (Property Owner’s Association) sucks

I mean, really — with jewels like that, I can’t figure out why this isn’t an award-winning blog by now.

But there was one, when I read it this morning, that had a highly profound meaning for me — a meaning that, for some unknown reason, was more significant over orange juice and a handful of vitamins than it was back when I first typed it out.

It says, There will always be someone better than you.

Now.  That’s not meant to be self-deprecating.  I know it’s not meant to be self-deprecating because I wrote it.

What it means, is that I need to chillax.  Stop stressing.  Tranquilla, as they say in Costa Rica.

Be tranquil.

Because the reason I haven’t sent any pitches, the reason I still don’t have a real job, the reason I’ve been stuck in this mucky mess of a limbo for so long is that I’m afraid that even when I put forth my absolute best effort at something — when I work my mind to its threadbare bones, when I emit actual tears of concentration, when everything in me would bleed if it could because I’m trying so hard — there is always someone who can do it better.

Who makes it look effortless.

Who makes me want to give up before I even start.

That fear — it’s paralyzing.

Impotence.  When, even if I could get it up, I’m not sure I want to.

But this morning I read that little note to myself.  A note which, undoubtedly, was originally written out of self-pity.

There will always be someone better than you.

This morning it has an entirely different meaning.  It’s a release on the pressure valve.  Because you know what?  There will always be someone better than me.  Smarter.  Prettier.  More eloquent with words.  Has a better blog.  Has a better career.  Has a better grasp of what she wants.

And finally understanding — and accepting — this fact is like an epiphany.  Liberation.  Viagra for my troubled mind.  For you Sex and the City fans, it’s like when that guy tells Miranda that the man she’s seeing just isn’t into her.  If he was into her, he would’ve gone upstairs.  He would’ve booked the next date.  It’s not as complicated as women think.  And Miranda’s all, he’s just not that into me.  He’s just not that into me!  It makes so much sense!

This whole time — this whole period since I quit my job, moved to Costa Rica, determined I wanted to be a writer, then sat on my butt and was mentally productive for 10 months — it’s like I’ve been climbing the steps of a downward moving escalator.

And now, ohmygod now I know!  All I have to do is ride it to the bottom and just take the stairs!  I can stop trying so hard to figure out ways to beat the best.  I’ve been fighting a fight I can’t win, and all it’s done for me so far is suck away time, energy, and drive.

I’m applying for jobs today.  Many jobs.  And I’m committing to a part-time writing gig I’ve been afraid to take (if they’ll have me).  And I’m going to get back on track with some other projects I’ve let fall by the wayside — things I verbally committed to but never actually did.

It’s important to note that this isn’t just a declaration, like all the others.  It’s just a fact.

Today, I stop being a turd.

*Every so often I take a break from the humor and get a little real with you readers.  The funny is me, but sometimes, so is the struggle.  And this blog isn’t just about making you laugh or giving you recipes or motivating you to take on home renovations or share my love of travel — it’s about me.  And because I know I’m not as unique as my 3rd grade teacher insisted, I think some of you can relate to this part of me, too.  Click here to read Step 1.

Why You Should Either Pay Me to Collate or Contract Bird Flu. Or Both.

So.  This morning I had a revelation.

I know… you’re thinking, here we go.  She’s going to talk about one of those revelations again — it’ll be one of those posts where she makes some big declaration about how she’s finally going to get off her ass and start making changes and find her dream job and discover spiritual enlightenment, and blah, blah blah.

Seriously.  Can’t.  Wait.

Well, you’re in luck, because it IS one of those.  Kind of.  But not really.

Because I have to be realistic.  I’m realizing it’s kind of difficult to get off your ass and make your dream job happen if you don’t exactly know what it is or how to get started.  So, following that train of thought, I’ve been looking for an interim job — something to get me out of doing laundry every once-in-a-while and help me remember what it’s like to earn a paycheck.  Maybe an office clerk or a realtor’s assistant or something along those lines.

Because dammit, I would be good at that.

The problem is that at the moment, these jobs are few and far between.  And where they do exist, they’re highly competitive.  And for some reason, “Freelance Writer from Jan-July 2011” and “Hot Sauce Maker Extraordinaire from Sep-Nov 2010” don’t immediately present themselves as qualifying work experiences.

But that’s because they don’t know me.  If they’d just get to know me, they’d see how my life experience, combined of course with technical know-how, above-average literacy, and superb communication skills, would make me pretty much an awesome person to have as their right-hand-man.



Unfortunately, the only jobs I’m finding listed along those lines turn out to be spammers — jackasses who solely exist in this world to prey upon people who are just looking for a decent break.

At least they give Karma something to do.

The good(?) news is that the 247 illegitimate employment responses I’ve received are making me reevaluate my entire find-something-to-keep-me-busy-and-pay-the-bills-so-I-can-structure-my-schedule-and-feel-less-guilty-about-not-working-and-just-find-time-to-write-on-the-side plan.

See, not too long ago, I whined about lack of signs showing me I was on the right path.  And, in effect, perhaps I was ignoring signs telling me I was on the wrong path.  But here’s the thing — It’s pretty impossible to ignore the fact that every single sign I receive about getting a crappy office job is telling me NOT to do it.  (Let’s just pretend the terrible economy and almost nonexistent job market has nothing to do with it, mmmkay?)

The sad fact is that when I’m honest with myself, one of those jobs would put me exactly back in the position I was in when I first flipped my lid, quit my job, and moved to Costa Rica.  And that really can’t be a healthy cycle to start over.


Where does that leave me?

Well, I’m going to continue my quest for interim employment and keep my fingers crossed for something remotely stimulating, challenging, and worthwhile (perhaps an assistant to someone busy and interesting and trusting of my creative personality and the ways I can assist him/her in maintaining the status of being the type of person I’d like to become).

Because, hey — laundry is laundry and a paycheck is a paycheck.

But.  I can’t lose focus on my goal, which is writing.  Or travel.  Or both.

And for me, travel is like breathing – a bare necessity of life.

I kind of forgot where I was going with this, so I will end with two propositions:

1)  If you need an assistant — even a virtual one who can type, make phone calls, organize schedules, file, collate, fax and email, I’m your girl.  Oh, and I can also make really awesome flyers.  Because if you’re cool, you probably need someone who can make flyers.

2)  If you want to pay someone to travel to exotic places, take pictures and write back to you about all the exciting things I’m eating, drinking and doing because you’re curious about the world but terrified you might get stuck on a plane next to the most banal, talkative person in existence who also happens to have the bird flu and never washes his hands or covers his mouth when he sneezes, I am definitely your girl.

Because while I don’t particularly want to contract bird flu, I have a feeling that kind of job would be worth it.

So, so worth it.

Related Post: How to Land a Job as a Classy Hooker or Someone Who Gets to Look at Eddie Vedder’s Butt

I Used To Be A Bartender, Back When I Was Working My Way Through Bartending

While the movie, “How Do You Know?” required no less than 3 alcoholic beverages for me to get through it, I have to say — a couple of the lines were real gems.

Like, Never drink to feel better — Only drink to feel even better.

Good advice, no?

And, Don’t judge anybody else until you check yourself out. That way you’re lucky if it’s your fault because you can check the situation.

That’s so… zen.

And, I think I’m in love with somebody when I wear a condom with the other girls.

Never have truer words been spoken.

I even felt a certain kinship with Reese Witherspoon’s character, Lisa, when she was talking about how it seems like everybody’s “regular plan” is to fall in love, get married and have babies, but she’s not sure she’s cut out for everyone’s “regular plan.”

Umm… Domestiphobic much?

Seriously.  There were so many profound thoughts and quotes stuffed into this movie, they could compile ’em to create volume 537 of Chicken Soup for the Existential Soul.

But it turned out there was one that worked its way out of the mass of banality to stick in my head like gum to a shoe and I can’t figure out why.  At one point in the movie, Paul Rudd’s character George says,

I used to be a bartender, back when I was working my way through bartending.

At first I thought it was hilarious.  I mean, what a clever way for him to describe a time in his life when he really was just doing what he was doing.  There was no bigger plan.  There was no ultimate goal.  The plan was to make enough money to pay that month’s bills, and the goal was to go home with the most attractive woman in the bar that night.

That was it.

But as I thought about it more, it became… less funny.

Because I realized, if most of us were really honest with ourselves, we’d recognize that we’re doing the same thing.  We’re fairly certain our lives are heading for something better, but until then, we’re just floating along, trying to get from one day to the next.  Sure, we might have generic goals, like buy a house, find our dream career, start a family… and it’s awful because we’re so sure that once we achieve these goals, we’ll finally be satisfied.

George even says, “We’re all just one small adjustment away from making our lives work.”

Many people love that line.

I happen to hate it.

I mean, really George?  I just need to make one little change — finally buy that throw pillow I’ve been eying?  Pop out a couple of kids?  Quit my job and move to Costa Rica?  Tell me, what is that thing that will finally solve all my problems?

Quench my restlessness?

Satiate my unhappiness?

Because if I knew what it was, and I knew it would make everything roses and double rainbows for the rest of my life, I’d do it without hesitation.

But that’s the problem with this type of mentality.  If I’m constantly making these adjustments and waiting for the next thing to happen with the expectation that I’ll finally reach this ultimate level of satisfaction, I’m probably going to be waiting forever.  My life will be spent like the greyhound chasing the fake rabbit ’round and ’round the track — thinking, if I could just catch it, my life would be complete.

The fact I have to grasp is that I won’t catch it.  And soon I’ll be too old to chase it.  And even if I did catch it, I’m pretty sure it wouldn’t taste how I expected.

Contrary to how it might read, this isn’t intended to be pessimistic.  It’s meant to be a revelation, of sorts, on my part.  A way for me to say to myself, It’s okay that I’m going to work in a bar tonight.  It’s okay that I still haven’t sent any pitches to any editors.  It’s okay that I’ve been writing this blog for over a year now and WordPress still hasn’t Freshly Pressed me.


As cliché as it is, I need to start finding joy in my every day, because they’re passing by at an alarming pace.  I can still make daily goals and work on things I want to accomplish, but no more thinking, “If only I had this, then I’d be happy.”

It doesn’t work that way.

I just need to be.

And the happy will come.

What Happened to Miss Independent?

One thing I write very little about on this here blog is not the fact that I’m a spouse – but that I’m a military spouse.

I hint at it on occasion, like how I need to be respectful of Justin’s superiors at holiday parties and how sometimes our house shakes with explosions and it makes it hard to concentrate on anything but… you know… explosions and how it’s generally frowned upon for spouses to get speeding tickets for going 20 miles over the limit.

On base.

While driving a government vehicle.

What?  I didn’t write about that last one?


I guess maybe I haven’t gone into details about these things because I feel like there are about a billion and a half blogs out there written by military spouses for military spouses, and I should probably leave the advice-giving to the actual good, non-domestiphobic military spouses who’ve managed to not only accept, but embrace this lifestyle — the ones who visit the Commissary (that’s the on-base grocery store for you non-military peeps) on a weekly basis; the ones who head to the Bx or Px (Base Exchange or Post Exchange) for their various sundries first, before making a stop at Target or Wal-Mart; the ones who are actively involved with the FRG (Family Readiness Group) and attend the spouse get-togethers and know their commander’s name and mumble acronyms in their sleep.

Okay, I lied.

That’s not really why I don’t write about it.

I think I don’t write about it because there’s a chance — and this is only like a 98.9% chance — that I resent it.

A little.

A lot.

You see, everywhere I go, I’m labeled a dependent.  Even back when I had an actual job and made money and paid taxes.  Even when Justin had to leave for 3 months and I had no way to reach him and the house, the cars, the bills, the dogs – everything was my responsibility and mine alone.  Even now, when I can still successfully complete menial tasks without assistance and speak in complete sentences and buy my own vino and wipe my own ass.

Still.  Just.  A dependent.

And I’ll tell you this:  That awful word — that dependent word — brings my ailment of Domestiphobia to unprecedented levels.

There are people — military spouses and active duty members specifically — who would, and have, cut me down for saying things like this.

But it doesn’t change how I feel.

Sometimes I get confused and I think it’s Justin I resent.  But then I realize that’s not true.  Not even a little bit.  He was dedicated to the military long before we met.  I love him, and it’s a part of him, but that doesn’t mean I have to love every aspect of the military.

I don’t have to love the fact that I have no say in where we live.

I don’t have to love the fact that it would have been increasingly difficult to maintain my career path anyway, had I not succumbed to my quarter life crisis, quit my job, and moved to Costa Rica.

I don’t have to love the fact that at any moment my husband could come home and tell me he has to leave and I won’t see him for days, weeks, or months.

And I have it easy compared to many military spouses.

When I’m honest with myself, it’s clear I haven’t done a stellar job of embracing this aspect of my life.  I’ve let the resentment — not for Justin but for his career, for his passion — malignantly grow for way too long, and lately it’s become my crutch — my excuse — for everything I don’t like about myself.

For everything I’m not doing.

And that’s pretty damn ridiculous.

It’s time to stop fighting it and really own what all of this means, which isn’t just the bad stuff — the deployments and the uncertainty and the career upsets, but also the good stuff — the uniqueness and the travel and the opportunities his job affords me if I would just go with it.

So.  From now on, I will try to be more cognizant of the happenings on the installation.  I will try to shop more frequently (or at least more than never) at the Commissary and Bx.  I will try to get to know the other spouses instead of being afraid that they’ll judge me for being weird and outspoken and childless and stubbornly… fiercely… independent.

I will stop trying so damn hard to be a normal citizen because nothing about this lifestyle is normal.

Unless, of course, you’re in it.

UPDATE:  Just as I hit “Publish,” a helicopter flew directly over my house.  Low.  Like, scary low.  Like, they-probably-could-tell-whether-or-not-I-was-wearing-a-bra low.

Welcome to my world.

There are Many Things that I Would Like to Say to You

But I don’t know how…

Scratch that.

I do know how.  But that doesn’t make it any easier.  So I’m going to get straight to the point:

I broke up with my counselor yesterday.

I’d forgotten what that was like – to break up with someone.  To tell another person you’re pretty certain he or she no longer has a role in your life.  It feels pretty shitty.  But also pretty good.  Because, while I don’t want to hurt her personally, I know – in my guts – that this was the right move for me.

Of course I took the typical chicken route and did it via awkward voicemail.

I figured since we hadn’t slept together, I was still following acceptable breakup protocol.

And I might have called during a typical appointment time, so I knew she probably would not be able to answer the phone.  I know.  You’re thinking my cojones are like the size of bb pellets right now.  And you’re probably right.  Because instead of confessing the truth – confronting her with the real reason I wanted to break up – I left a rambling message something akin to, Umm.  I need to cancel my appointment for tomorrow.  I’m sorry for the short notice, but I think you said you need 24 hours, so hopefully this works.  Umm.  I think I’ve decided counseling just isn’t something I want to do right now.  Soo yeah.  Call me at this number if you have any questions.

Counseling just isn’t something I want to do right now?  That’s the reason I gave her?  I’ll admit that part of that excuse rings true, but that’s not even close to the real reason I’m certain our relationship won’t work.  And it’s not me – it’s most definitely her.

I knew it by the end of our second appointment.

I hadn’t really felt a “click” from the beginning, but considering I’d never seen a counselor before and wasn’t even sure if there was supposed to be a “click,” I wanted to stick it out and give her a chance.

But, like I said, by the end of date #2, I just knew.

At the risk of potentially alienating some of you lovely readers, I’m just going to go ahead and tell you something about me in case you haven’t already figured it out:  I’m not a particularly religious person.  I wasn’t raised that way, and no one since has been able to convince me that any particular religion is right for me.  Or just “right,” period.

I’m sorry if this upsets any of you, but trust me – people have tried to convince me to “join up” with certain religions.  Sometimes it feels like I’m being heavily recruited by several competing sororities and some are telling me, “Sign with us because we have the BEST social events,” or “Our philanthropy is TOP notch – we’ll spend your money wisely” or “WE have the nicest church, so you know God loves us best.”

And I’m sitting there thinking, really?  I consider myself a spiritual person.  And personally, I don’t feel the need to sign up for any particular dogma that (I feel) might keep me from growing and learning on my own.  And I love to learn from everybody.

I don’t think I’m better than anyone else based on my fluid, loose-leaf belief system.

I mean, that’s kind of the point.

So.  My intention here is not to open a discussion on religion.  It’s to give you a little background information so I can properly explain why I felt the need to break up with my counselor.

To my second appointment, I wore my distinctively gaudy and very noticeable Ganesh necklace, which represents a Hindu deity known for his ability to remove obstacles.  And I’m not gonna lie – I could use some obstacle removal in my life.  I mean – remember the old lady and the kittens?

Long story short, I expressed to her my interest in trying out some mind expansion exercises (aka. “meditation”), and she all but flipped her lid.

I’ll expand on this little pet project of mine at a later date, but all you need to know for right now is that I did not bring up the subject of religion, but had simply told her how elated I felt when I started reading this book about meditation that my friend in India sent me because, after reading only the first chapter, it finally – finally – felt like someone “got” me.

Someone understood my particular brand of “depression.”

Which is more than I could say for this counselor.

I could tell she was trying to remain professional, but she spent the next 20 minutes (cutting 10 minutes into her next appointment) delicately dancing around the subject of how meditation practices could be extremely dangerous because they could take me further away from THE God and let demons into my life and did I know that people in India worship cows, for crying out loud?

I looked down at my necklace and contemplated this predicament.  My counselor, whose job, I thought, it was to help guide me to my own conclusions about what’s best for me in life without giving any true opinions of her own, was flat-out telling me that a drug-free mind exercise I wanted to try was essentially evil and, even worse, she was essentially laughing at another culture – another belief system that while I certainly don’t practice, I definitely respect.

Like I said – I’m here to learn.  Not judge.

And clearly, she thought she was qualified to judge.  Either she noticed my necklace and is extremely insensitive, didn’t notice it and is extremely unobservant, or noticed it and didn’t know what it was, which pretty much makes her completely unqualified to comment at all.

So that’s that.

Irreconcilable differences.

I don’t judge her for her beliefs, but I certainly judge her for judging mine.

Or something like that.

I realize I probably should have told her the real reason I don’t want to see her again.  But honestly?  I think she knows.

She took it really well.  In fact, she called me back shortly after and left me a very kind, professional voicemail.  (I didn’t answer the phone because I was in the bathroom – not because I was avoiding her calls.  I think.)  To her credit, I’m pretty sure she knew this was coming.  Even though I hadn’t implied that the problem was her, she did leave me the names and numbers of 2 other women in her office with whom I might be more comfortable working.

Those were her words – more comfortable.

But the thing is, I’m not sure I’ll ever be “comfortable” spilling my guts in the office of a complete stranger.  If she doesn’t make the mistake of spewing her own religious beliefs on me, I might be sitting there wondering – Is she judging me?  Does she think I’m an idiot?  Am I a lost cause and she just gets me to come back every 2 weeks so she can bank off my insurance?

No.  I think, for the time being, I’d rather spill my guts here in my own office to a whole bunch of complete strangers.  Because “listening” and giving feedback is your choice – not your obligation.

This doesn’t mean I’m done with counseling for good.  But right now, I have one other avenue I’d like to pursue, just to see if it’s a better fit.

My sister’s roommate (hey, Teagan!) gave me a quote from Lady Gaga who, surprisingly, describes my current sentiments based on this last experience exactly:

“I’m terrified of therapy because I don’t want it to mess with my creativity.”


What she said.

I Suck at Life. Sometimes.

Well, it’s official.

I only made it through one week of setting and completing goals for myself.  This past week, I failed miserably.

What can I say?  Sometimes I suck at life.

I’m not sure what happened – it’s like the past 7 days just disappeared entirely, and I have (almost) nothing to show for them.

If you recall, I had a whole laundry list of “small” items I needed to complete, including mailing out for a new social security card (not complete), book our favorite boarders for the mutts for our upcoming trip to Spain (not complete), call my counselor for a reminder of the name of the book I’m supposed to read by Thursday (don’t need to complete because I found the scrap of paper with the name of the book, but yeah… I haven’t bought it yet), find at least 2 healthy recipes (only found and made 1), and research at least 3 potential publications to which I could submit article pitches (COMPLETE).

So I’m 1 for 5.

Oh, and this pile still looks exactly like this:

1 for 6.

I rock.

So.  Needless to say, my goal for this week is to complete all of last week’s goals.

AND I need to finish at least one lesson per day of Spanish from Rosetta Stone, picking up where I left off before I went to Costa Rica.

The good news is that I’ve noticed a direct correlation between the weather and my ability to get things done.  When it’s beautiful and sunny and the birds are singing, good things happen.

And I’m pretty sure good things will be happening this week.

Because the thing is, sometimes Mondays are just a fresh start from the mess you made of the week before.

This is one of those Mondays.