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Monthly Archives: May 2012

This week’s Thursday Things are actually movies that I would love to catch this summer.

I don’t have enough time on the weeknights to catch a movie, nor do I have $12 to pay for one movie (especially when I have Netflix and Redbox is only $1.99).

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Memorial Day this year seemed to be more personal now that I’m here in the nation’s capital.

Usually, I’m working at a part time job or simply enjoying a day off. Since I’m out here, I took the opportunity to go to Arlington National Cemetery for the day.

It was going to be a HOT day, so I layered on the sunscreen and filled up a very large water bottle. We got there in enough time to see the President and the First Lady drive up to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

You can see the outline of Mrs. Obama’s head in the back window

While it’s cool to see the President’s motorcade, I was much more impressed with the Honor Guard that was present. I was dripping sweat in a sundress in the shade, and these guys were in their full dress uniform in the sun.

Because of the ceremony taking place at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, we decided to stop by Section 60 to pay our respects. For those who have never been to Arlington before, there are different sections of the cemetery to make it easier to find the graves. Many of the sections are dedicated to certain conflicts, like World War II or Vietnam. Section 60 is where our newest casualties are laid.

It is certainly different than the rest of the cemetery for a couple reasons. First is the age difference. Many of those buried in Arlington who fought in WWII, Vietnam or Korea lived to be older than 60 years old before being buried (Yes, I know many, many died during these conflicts. I’m talking about those buried in Arlington only). In Section 60, many are under 30. I saw many who were born the same year as my brother and me.

Second is the amount of activity. Many of the other sections are calm and quiet. There are flowers laid from families, but in general it’s a peaceful area. Section 60 has much more going on. There are flowers, photos, and other mementos over many of the gravestones. Today, many Gold Star families brought chairs and umbrellas to their loved ones stones to spend time with them.

While I did not know anyone who is buried in Arlington in Section 60, I was much harder than I thought it’d be. To see so many of my brothers and sisters in arms laid to rest in this single area really dug at my heart. Many were my age or younger. It’s hard to put into words how I was affected by visiting this section, but it was much more powerful than I anticipated. After 10 minutes, I had to step away.

After laying roses on the grave of a Marine my age and a Seaman my brother’s age, we left to walk to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

On our walk up, we saw the President leaving the cemetery.

You can see the outline of the President’s head in the back window

The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier was a quite, solemn place (as quiet as you can get hundreds of people to be).

Although the President laid his wreath and left, many other groups lined up to lay their wreaths. The organization I am a member of, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, was also laying a wreath.

I actually met IAVA’s Policy Director, Jonathan Schleifer, while standing off to the side of the tomb in the shade. He was there with Tom Tarantino, who laid the wreath for IAVA. It was great to meet one of the IAVA team who has been fighting hard for us vets.

Although it was close to 100 degree heat index, there is no where else I’d rather be. It definitely puts things in perspective. While I was in Section 60, all the little things I worry about seemed like non-issues.

Hopefully, I will be able to go again next year.

I hope everyone had a great Memorial Day and thought about those who sacrificed their lives for this country.

This weekend was also relatively busy (I see a theme starting).

Friday night was dinner out at La Tasca in Old Town Alexandria. They’re a tapas place with the most delicious tapas. And for all of June, all you can eat tapas are only $30. I’m so FREAKIN’ excited about June now. Last time my mom and I went to all you can eat tapas, we literally ate them all. I woke up at 2am STILL full. I can’t wait.

After a delicious dinner of tapas and sangria, we wandered down King Street in Old Town and ended up at the Ben and Jerry’s. Obviously, ice cream had to be had.

Mmmmmm Chunky Monkey

Saturday morning I ran errands and grabbed groceries for the week. My mom found a great website called Wag.com. They sell all sorts of things for animals, like food, litter and supplies. The best part? It’s free 2 day shipping! And the prices were comparable to brick and mortar stores and I don’t have to fight traffic after a long day of work, and then haul up 40+ pounds of cat litter and food up the stairs. The service pays for himself.

Saturday night, I worked at my part time job after picking up a shift. I spent the night at my aunt and uncle’s house for the weekend, so I headed over after work and had some delicious left over BBQ. I had the guest room and shared it with two others in the house.

Angel and her counterpart, Snowball, hung out with me

Sunday was basically a repeat of Saturday: working at my part time job and then heading home to my aunt and uncles for dinner.

We’re a wild and crazy family…the three of us watched Beauty and the Beast. I haven’t seen it in forever and forgot how much I liked it.

Monday, my mom and I spent the day at Arlington National Cemetery for Memorial Day.

It was a very hot day. As soon as we got home and ate, I crashed and took a nap. Not by myself of course.

The rest of the night was spent cleaning, folding laundry, and trying to not melt (our AC in the living and dining room doesn’t work).

How was your long weekend?

To many, today is a day off work and a chance for a get away during a three-day weekend.

For veterans and those who have lost a loved one in combat, today is a day to remember and pay tribute to those we lost.

I lost a friend overseas and two more here at home.

Today I’m headed to Arlington to pay tribute to all the men and women who gave their lives. I was lucky enough to come home; many were not.

So while you enjoy the day off work, take some time to remember why we have this holiday and thank a veteran.

P.S. Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America are encouraging everyone to #GoSilent at 12:01pm today in honor of veterans. You can pledge your minute of silence in honor of a veteran you know or veterans as a whole. You can check it out on @IAVA’s twitter page or their wedsite.

This edition of Thursday things is all over the place. I keep seeing things on other blogs that I really want.

Like these bento boxes by Laptop Lunches. I saw it on one of the healthier blogs I follow, and I know this would be PERFECT for bringing my lunch to work. And it’s super cute!

From College Prep I found this adorable necklace:

I love the fact that the Good Fortune necklace is a pig. It’s small, but it will remind me to work for my good fortune as well.

I’m a huge Instagram user. I love the ability to change the filter. The only downside is that all my photos are stuck on my phone. That’s why I love this idea. Instagram with the ability to print!

Right now it’s only a concept, but I miss Polaroids and would love this!

And last, but certainly not least. this awesome vacuum. Lame for a Thursday things post? Maybe. But when you have a crappy vacuum that refuses to pick up the cat litter, and instead throws it and spread it around, a good vacuum is amazing.

All I want is a vacuum that does it’s job. Hence my “New Vacuum” fund in my savings account.

I know that these were really random, but they grabbed my attention this week.

What are you craving?

It’s been a month since I deactivated my Facebook account, and I can honestly say that it’s been great.

Without it, I’ve texted (or called) people instead of messaging them. I’ve emailed and tweeted. And there’s only been one time that I’ve felt left out.

I’m not completely without social media. I now check Twitter all the time, but it’s far easier to digest 140 character bits than my Facebook wall.

Sadly, Facebook was starting to make me feel bad about my life. Everyone seemed to have an almost perfect life: great jobs, great trips and vacations, great photos, and EVERYONE was getting married. While I know in my head that everyone had their bad days, their bad hair days and their problems, it was hard to convince myself of that after a while. Twitter is nothing like that and I’ve been comparing myself to others a lot less because of it.

I’ve begun actually calling or texting people, instead of messaging and waiting for a reply. I realized how much I relied on Facebook to “build” my relationships. Now, I talk to someone if I haven’t seen them in a while instead of just checking out their Facebook page. Much more personal and much more effective (and less stalkerish).

I can see the upside of Facebook, but it really just keeps you in touch with aquaintances more than anything. My friends (my real, true, close friends) call, text, email or tweet me.

There has only been one instance of feeling left out, and that was when a friend of mine passed away. While I was called and contacted after it happened, no one reached back out to me to let me know when the funeral or visitation were (I couldn’t have made them, but I wanted to send flowers). That was upsetting, mainly because it was frustrated and upset at the whole situation.

Yes, there are many pictures I don’t see. But, again, those who are closer friends still send me them, either in an email or a text message. When a friend of mine got engaged, I saw her ring on Instagram and Pinterest. Another friend of mine had a maternity photo shoot and sent me some pictures. I don’t feel really left out. Just think: there was a time when NO ONE could see photos unless you physically sent them through the mail. And no one died or lost friends because they didn’t see all their photos or stalk their lives.

My mom constantly forgets I’m not on Facebook. Our usual conversation:

” Did you see the photos your brother posted?”

” No Mom, I’m not on Facebook.”

“Oh yeah, I forgot.”

A couple of my friends want me to be on Facebook so they can schedule times to hang out. But the majority of my plans aren’t on Facebook to start with. I’m not going to post my work schedule for the next week, plans with friends (most of them made offline anyhow), or stuff like that. A text or phone call realy is the easiest way to plan a dinner or a night out.

I really have no plans soon to rejoin the Facebook world. I’m actually pretty happy without it. I like not feeling the obsessive pull of Facebook and the constant need to check what’s happening or update my status.

What do you think about Facebook? Would you ever go without it?

I was rather busy this weekend.

Friday night after work, I drove up to my friend’s apartment in Maryland. Most days, I can get home on I-495S in about a half hour or so. I took I-495N to get to my friend’s and it took me an hour and a half to go the 20 miles. And that was after I got off the interstate and took smaller highways (I’ve finally seen the National Institute of Health compound). Had I stayed on, I’m sure it would have taken me 2 hours.

After finally getting there, we ran to the grocery store to pick up some ingredients for dinner. We decided to make some food instead of going out. We were making some shredded chicken tacos. the photos looked delicious, but the recipe was way more complicated than it needed to be. The beans and corn and the pineapple salsa was delicious. Overall, it turned out really well.

Saturday, I worked my part time job. We had recently changed stores in the mall and have a BRAND NEW, BEAUTIFUL store. It seriously looks like a boutique now. The dressing rooms are amazing (and they have chandeliers!). And we picked up a new line for full-figured women, which is adorable and awesome.

That night, I found probably the most amazing app ever.

You can insert cats into your pictures. It’s called Cat Effects. OMG. It’s my new way to waste time.

I now want to add cats to every picture.

Sunday, I went fly fishing with Project Healing Waters.

This was my outfit. I wore leggings because I figured I’d be wearing my waders. Instead, it was nice enough out that we all “wet waded,” or went without waders and just used boots. The water was like a pool: pretty cold when you got in, but you got used to it and it was warm.

And I caught a fish!!!!! I might have been a small chub, but it still counts. He was a fighter and kept thrashing around (I’m trying to smile and deal with a flopping fish at the same time). He finally calmed down enough for me to try to pull the hook out of his mouth (they’re not barbed like regular fishing hooks, for catch and release).

My guide, Jim, finally came over to help me with the hook. But I did catch one! I was pretty proud of myself! And today, my arm is super sore from all the casting. And I managed to NOT burn. So it was a good trip.

My weekend was pretty jam packed! How was yours?