Monday, December 11, 2017

Change is Good

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I was raised by a mom who believed there was always a solution to every problem, if you worked it. She is tenacious and it has rubbed off on me. Telling me it's not possible just makes me try harder (shout out to the high school counselor who said I'd never get into the Air Force :-)). 

So it's been interesting in our house lately as we have come to realize that quitting an activity and changing to a different level class is the right thing for each of our kids. Nearly every fiber of my being is shouting (inside my head) YOU CAN DO IT, WE GOT THIS! Then I see how the current situation is demoralizing--they are not quitters--but a change would really lighten their load.  

I admit to being ever so slightly dramatic - my kids are healthy, well adjusted (if sometimes smart ass-y), kind to others and don't complain (too loudly) when we ask for help around the house. As I said to my husband today, they are either straight with their parents or the greatest covert operatives ever.

I know there is a lot of value in sticking with something through thick and thin, but there is value also in knowing when it's time to make a change. So I quiet the "work it" part of my brain and say, "Ok, I see you put thought into this. We support you 100%. Here's what we think should happen next. And we love you."

Friday, December 8, 2017

Guest Post: A Few Ways to Not Be a Jerk While Flying

Inspired by our recent coast to coast flight for Thanksgiving, my son decided to start writing a book on how to be a better passenger. It's pretty amusing, especially coming from a kid who has more airline miles than most adults. I think he crossed the Atlantic 4 or 5 times before he turned 2! What follows is his introduction, and I hope that having a place to share his writing will inspire him to continue to do it. Enjoy! (Authors note: hope you don't mind comic sans)


Being the son of a commercial airline pilot and a mother who won’t tolerate any form of BS (Editor's note: ahem :-)), I have been on a lot of flights and been taught a ton of manners and just general politeness the hard way, and with these two lenses you tend to see the world and the way people act in a whole new and annoying light, especially when it comes to air travel. First off, I don’t want you to think I’m better than everyone like a comedian. I’m just your average 15-year-old who likes to observe and has an opinion on like, everything. There is just something about being in a crowded line, cabin, or, terminal that just turns people into these animals. The whole point of this endeavor to be a polite person while going from point A to point B is just be the most forgettable person you can be. 

Now I know that might sound condescending but if you’re not very forgettable then 99% of the time your fellow passengers will have a new story to tell at the dinner table about how annoying that weird guy sitting in that seat behind them. “But what about the other 1%?” I hear you thinking, that other one percent is when you are so well behaved and polite and kind that you are remembered for your actions of kindness. However, I have never encountered such a person, and thus the chances are so low that you might as well get struck by lightning while winning the lottery because that has a greater chance of happening.

Now that the boring intro crap is out of the way let’s get to the good stuff. I put each “rule” into different chapters about different points during your flight experience from leaving the house to pulling away from the airport. Also, each rule has a color-coded level to show the importance of each rule. For example, green is just a suggestion, yellow is a strong recommendation and red is if you don’t follow you run the big risk of being THAT guy. Now that this simple system is set up and explained let’s explore the disgustingness of human behavior as we dive head first into the abyss of the commercial airline business.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Finding the Elusive Balance

A writer that I follow, Lisa Harper, has had a couple posts lately about having "fluffy parts" that she needs to work on. Fluffy is a good way to put it, and I can so relate. For me, it's that feeling that comes from too much time sitting at a desk or in my car, grabbing whatever is handy when I am hungry. I must do better, I admonish myself. I must buy better food, and get to the gym. 

A lesson I always relearn this time of year, though: soy egg nog is gross and doesn't remotely emulate the real deal. Sure it's like half the calories, but who wants a shot of such sadness in their coffee on these dark mornings. Every time I load up on foods that are supposed to be better for me (aka, low cal), I remember that practicing moderation with good, sometimes home made, hopefully less processed stuff makes me and my family way happier. For further inspiration, check out this helpful list of healthy holiday food - it includes real food like pumpkin pie, turkey, red wine and candy canes :-)

I've adopted moderation as my new gym mantra as well. Although in this case, it means it's better to go moderately than not at all. With just a tiny bit more effort I feel like I can get back on the fitness train. Lately I am on call to pick up my son after school, which gives me about an hour to get to the gym between work and his text saying come get me. Gym clothes must be in the car, because if I go home the gym's not going to happen. We'll see if I can get this new habit to stick.   

What do you do to find a healthy balance in your life?

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving from Gals in Blue! 

Another year is rapidly coming to a close and I am thankful for many things, espcially the chance to spend some time off with my family and dear friends (that really are family too.) For those of you who are taking shifts so your airman can spend time with their families, who have opened your house to those stationed far from home, who are working over the holiday protecting us here at home or in the many far away places in the world, thank you. 

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Round Up of Good Things

I am deep, deep in a stall, avoiding a task: going to the gym and attempting to fix a problem with our membership (which is, it's gotten too expensive). It's a combo of two things I dislike: exercise and wrangling with customer service. So what better way to continue to stall than to recommend to you some excellent distractions.

I just finished reading Jodi Picoult's Small Great Things. Wow. I had absolutely no idea what the story was about, and started reading it because it't the pick this month of my book club. Again, wow. I could not put it down. Yesterday the metro was parked at the station for about 5 minutes before I realized I was at my stop and needed to get off.  It has to do with a labor and delivery nurse, Ruth, who is reassigned after performing a routine check up on a new baby. She is African American, the baby's parents are white supremacists. The hospital honors the request of the parents to keep Ruth away from their baby. The next day, the baby has a seizure and Ruth is the only one in the room. What should she do? What did she do? It deals with lots of tough stuff, but in a way both compelling and aware.

If you need your distractions a bit more portable, here are two great podcast episodes:

The Nerdist with Jon Bernthal.  If you are a fan of the Walking Dead you'll recognize the name but I didn't. The conversation sounds very bro-y, but he says some pretty great stuff about being good at your job (showing up on time and being prepared) and being a good parent (sometimes you are on it, sometimes you completely fail)

TED Radio Hour: How Art Changes Us. This podcasts gathers several TED talks around a topic, and this one was great. They talked to two guys turning houses in the slums of Rio into outdoor art spaces and the woman who started the yarn bombing movement. But the interview with Titus Kaphar is what really stuck with me. He talks about not erasing art that is now considered problematic, but rather make new monuments that stand next to the old monuments, to start a new conversation.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Let Me Decide

My husband and I were talking recently about fake news, this seemingly new phenomenon that is being blamed for a lot. Congress recently called on Twitter, Google and Facebook to testify, as they try and figure out what to do about Russia's alleged influence in the election. With something ephemeral as the internet and its influence on people's beliefs, there is little Congress can do other than pin some blame on these companies. But I'm not sure if I want legislative input into my internet its worst, wouldn't that limit free speech? Doesn't Caveat emptor apply?

Here is what I think: fake news (and false advertising) has always been out there. It doesn't matter how much you police information, how much you demand transparency and disclosure. There will always be people that believe we keep aliens in Area 51, that we never went to the moon, and that the earth is flat (Seriously, check out the Flat Earth Society).

Am I perfect at this? Absolutely not. But I do see how often real news outlets get details about the military wrong, even with hundreds of Public Affairs professionals working to help news organizations get it right. They are human, just like I am. Surely we can evaluate what is "real" and "fake" and make our own decisions.

I like what this blogger had to say:

"What better way to sharpen our critical thinking skills that to confront fake news. Fake news challenges us to think critically about the news we read. Being fooled by fake news challenges us to scrutinize sources more carefully, check facts and critically respond to new information, hopefully never to be fooled again."

Hopefully :-)

Monday, October 23, 2017


If you are on social media in any way shape or form, I am sure you have seen #MeToo.  If not, read about it here. It's heart breaking how many there are, isn't it? A couple nights ago I was having a conversation with some friends about it, and an old memory surfaced, a good one.

It was 1995 and I was stationed at Osan in South Korea.  It's a "remote" location, so for civilians, that means that most are assigned there for a 1 year tour without their family. It's kind of a weird dynamic, because on the one hand, you are forward deployed, on the other hand, there are 1,000 bars right off base and a lot of folks with time on their hands. I spent my working hours in a windowless, fortified building, wearing my chem gear to walk to work, but also went on skiing and hiking trips on the weekends. Weird.

I was a brand new captain (out of college 4 years) and one of the only women in my work section. But it was never an issue. They were all really great guys and it was a great assignment. So it was kinda weird when at some welcome or farewell at a downtown bar, one of the guys kept playing with my hair. It was about the time when the party was getting really rowdy and I was about to head home, so I happily left.

The next work day, I was talking to someone, I don't know who, and mentioned the weird hair playing.  My boss' boss, a Navy O-5, immediately peaked over the cubicle wall and had me explain everything in detail. He then called in that guy, talked to him, and made him come apologize to me. It was extremely uncomfortable for both of us, and I felt like a tool for blabbing in the office and getting someone in trouble.

To be honest, I haven't thought about that for ages. But as all these heartbreaking stories surface, it makes me appreciate so much, so so so much, that there are good guys out there (guys in the unisex sense). Keep in mind this was probably a DECADE before the Air Force started required annual Sexual Assault Response and Prevention Training.

This is what comforts me as I think about my daughter graduating from high school and heading off to college next year. She wants to study engineering, she wants to be a pilot, she wants to join the Air Force. Despite tremendous work by so many female trailblazers, my daughter will still enter a profession that is largely male. There will be situations that won't be great, where she might be a target for being female. But I hope and I pray that the more we talk about it, the more people will be aware of the bad guys out there, and the more likely there will be good guys there when she needs one.