Cower in Fear or Situationally Aware

I believe that PTSD is a spectrum. Just like that of Autism.

I also believe that it shouldn’t be diagnosed lightly.  Like Autism.

Seems that nowadays everyone is on a “spectrum” of some kind and we have to tip toe around their diagnosis.

Today a man came into my office to make a repair and somehow got into a discussion with one of our attorneys about cops/dwi then it turned into cops who are veterans. The punch line (meaning the part that pissed me off & made me sick to my stomach) was the repair guy made a comment about how veterans turned cops abuse their power here in CONUS because they have “haji flashbacks and think they are back there again.”

WHAT?!?

Are you fucking serious?!?

I couldn’t do anything but keep my mouth shut in fear it would cost me my job. My husband & I know SEVERAL veterans turned cops that keep their spectrum of PTSD under control so as not to harm a civilian unless absolutely necessary because other lives are at risk. (But that goes with cop territory no matter what.) Let me give you a story of how an outsider could view a veteran with PTSD and think it is a liability but I consider it to be one of his greatest assets.

A while back ago as Mike and I were enjoying a meal together after he came off shift, he told me a story of excitement from the night before. It was late at night before the guys were getting ready for bed when the tones drop for an assault of some kind. Luckily the call was for right off the highway by their station, so not far of a drive. As the guys proceed to the bay to get in the trucks some guy comes running up to the open back door screaming for help covered in blood.

Let’s play a game on what happens next. As a firefighter/EMT your duty is to save lives, what do you do:

A) You rush up to the person to start treatment right away. They are covered in blood and screaming for help.

B) You tell them to stop where they are and sit/kneel down and call for back up.

If you answered B, you are a PTSD crazed veteran who is a liability to society!

*sarcasm* obviously.

Let’s go through the reasons why B is the better choice.

1) National Registry for EMTs dictates you ALWAYS secure your scene & make sure everyone is safe first before rendering aid. Not a military thing. A common civilian organization. If you as an EMT aren’t safe what good are you to the victim.
2) Military training did kick in for my husband at that point because he didn’t know WHOSE blood was on this person. It could’ve been the victim, it could’ve been the attacker’s, but which of the two is the blood on this guy?
3) Taking a few minutes to verbally halt this person is going to save more lives than running up to them & not realizing they have a weapon, if they have one.

Did Mike’s actions flip out the non-veteran coworkers at the time? Well yeah. To a lot of people, they COULD HAVE seen a veteran flip his lid because in a brief moment he saw a bloody insurgent coming right at him. Does it matter? Not really. Whether in that field or in my office, I’d rather work with a veteran like that than a civilian who tosses up their hands & cowers in the corner. When I hear my husband tell this story my heart swells with pride on so many levels. I love his situational awareness that he can think on a split second’s notice and take command of a situation like that. He kept everyone safe while helping a victim, as it turns out.

I did kind of giggle during his story for a few reasons. First I asked him how everyone else felt in his moment of “reminiscing”. LoL he said they were all a little shocked & dumbfounded. Then I said “Did you reach for your weapon?” He grinned and replied “Maaaaaybe.”

So my point is this… Yes there are some who never address their PTSD and it effects them negatively on the job and at home. Yet, we can’t group them all together and place a burdensome stigma on them and then bitch because they are unemployed sucking up state/federal benefits. The ones who can work need our help and compassion to work through those issues that may arise in the civilian world. I like to think that I’m able to provide that for my veteran and that he always views me as a soft safe place to land when shit gets real.

PS I’ll take my situationally aware infantry grunt over your pansy-ass civilian wuss any day. PTSD or not. That command voice is hot ūüėČ

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Through the Looking Glass

As part of our Spring purge I took on the task of FINALLY organizing my picture collection. I used to scrapbook pretty religiously & printed out oodles of pictures through the years. After being printed they sat in boxes on the bookshelf waiting to be assembled into a grand masterpiece. For years. Of course school and work took precedence and my scrapbooking got put on an indefinite hold. Im hoping that by getting pictures and supplies into a system, I’ll be able to pick up my hobby again. The other night we stopped by Michael’s to pick up this nifty photo case that happened to be 40% off also. Its one big case that holds sixteen smaller 4×6 cases.

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It took me about two and a half hours to sort through all the photos while watching Hulu. It was kind of fun reminiscing about old friends and finding gems like this:

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Yeah thats Mike. About 1994-ish. He’s 18 or 19 in that picture with his pride and joy Mustang. Damn he’s a good lookin man. I’m sooooo keeping him.

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And then there’s this. Me. Junior or senior year in high school. Yeah that’s about all I’m giving out. On either of us.

This is the end product. Used some washi tape to label the small boxes by year or event. I like it for now. It’ll do. Now if only I could get a hold of those shoeboxes in the closet Mike won’t let me touch… They are seriously driving my Type-A up the wall being in a haphazard mess. Ugh. He has to work sometime… ūüôā

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We Met in a Bar

So we met in a bar. Fareal. No joke. Let’s take a walk down memory lane to August 2007.

I was working at Buffalo Wild Wings as an Assistant Manager. The night we kind of met, Mike came to BWW with his buddies to celebrate a birthday. I had mentioned to my bartender on shift that he was really handsome. (Only after he took off his hat and I noticed he had salt n pepper hair.¬†HAWT!¬†Also, while walking past to the kitchen I noticed he was wearing a Big Red One t-shirt.¬†MUCHO HAWT!!) She said the buddies came in all the time but he was new and she didn’t recognize him. I asked her how old she thought he was. She thought 31, I said 29. Bet accepted. Whoever lost did the bar dishes at the end of the night. She went over to the table and told the guys about the bet. Well if I wasn’t the one to do the damn dishes that night. Shit. (Mind you I was 20 and trying to get out of my shitty marriage at the time.) Towards the end of the night, with a more than a few beers in the guys, and I’m at the bar scrubbing pint glasses, one of the buddies comes up to the bar top:

Buddy- Slides a cocktail napkin towards me. “Here’s my friend’s number. He’s too shy to ask you out.”

Me- Completely shocked but impressed. “Ok. Thanks!”

I’m not one to be all “Well he needs to call me. I’m a lady. blah blah blah” I took the number. I texted him the next afternoon. He asked me out to float the river with his friends, I sadly declined, prior commitments. I suggested a lunch date in a few days. He accepted. Texas Roadhouse was our first date. I made sure to wear a top that was very suggestive. hehe We meet up on our first date and the server comes by to take our order.

I boldly say, “6 oz sirloin, mashed potatoes, and a ceasar salad to start. Your turn.”

He gives me this look like “What the….” That’s right I ordered steak and mashed potatoes. You don’t mess with a Texas girl and her food. And this is where I slowly reeled him in over the next few weeks. We finished lunch, I hugged him bye and we went home separately. We texted, he came to see me at BWW, we watched football together (another point for me even though we are a house divided), we had many debates with harmless bickering, shared a love for sarcasm… The list goes on.

Sadly we only got about two weeks to ourselves before¬†The Incident¬†occurred and our relationship was put on a sudden halt. While I spent a week in the hospital, he was there everyday by my side when he wasn’t working. (Told ya I reeled him in. hehe) That is the start of our story. Around that time is when I picked up blogging. I was pissed a lot of the time and blogging helped me sort out my thoughts without harming someone or something.

Below is our first official picture together when my mom officially approves of him to the world on Facebook.

Our REAL Rockwall Weekend

*Disclaimer: I’m writing this post on February 26th but I won’t publish this till after everything has been set in stone.¬†

Mike and I spent a 3 day weekend in Rockwall, TX with some close friends. (Rockwall is east of Dallas. I equate it what New Braunfels is to San Antonio. Distance, population, etc) We drove up Thursday night and stayed til Sunday morning. We told everyone it was just to get away for the weekend when in actuality Mike was taking the written test for Rockwall Fire Department Friday afternoon. Last fall Mike’s current department started stirring up some political drama. It was getting to the point of not knowing if he’d have a job by the time the next paycheck rolled around. We had been through this before and it took a toll on everyone. Since I was graduating with my bachelor’s in December Mike took a look on the TCFP website at the job postings. To his great surprise there was a posting for Rockwall which happens to be the same town our friends lived in. He texted me about this offer and asked what I thought. Without hesitation I told him to apply. What could it hurt? I also decided that I didn’t want to say anything publicly about this because it seems every time I get excited over something and tell people, it goes wrong. We told our friends Chris & Amy (that live in Rockwall), and a select few others. Then we waited.

And then the email came…

He got through! His application was selected to move on to the written test. He had to fill out a book of a background packet to bring with him to the test. We decided to make a weekend of it to see our friends while we were up there and possibly explore our future town. We drove up Thursday night after I got off of work. Friday morning Mike & I navigated to the nearest Planet Fitness so we could sweat out some anxiety and tension. Well… no one told us that the Garland South location is borderline ghetto. LoL I think we were the only white people in the whole gym. Yet, I felt completely comfortable there and we knocked out some exercises before lunch. We headed back to the house to shower and get ready for lunch with Chris who was working a half shift that day. After lunch we explored some of Rockwall until it was time to test. We took him to the testing center and then proceeded to do what women do best. SHOPPED! And… we’re bored. Well we were more anxious to see how it went and couldn’t focus on shopping. So we drove back to the testing center and sat in the parking lot.

And sat…

And sat…

And took a selfie…

*Amy & I waiting in the car while Mike finishes his written test*
Then they started trickling out! We found out Mike passed and was invited back to do the physical agility test next week! (I want to brag on my man here for just a second and say that he was #2 in the group that tested! #2! Ok I’m done. ūüôā ) One step down and three more to go! We should know by the first week of April if we’re moving or not. That evening we all met back up at the house and Chris made steaks (chicken for me) and we sat around bullshitting all night.
The next day was to relax. Sort of. Amy arranged for me to meet up with some of the Dallas-Fort Worth area of the Texas Fire Wives since I usually run the San Antonio/ Austin area. Lunch was at Goodfriend Beer Garden & Burger House (insert review here) where we decided to sit outside so that we weren’t distracting to the other patrons. (We later learned that wouldn’t have been possible since many people had brought their dogs with them. It definitely had an Austin vibe to it.) It was so exciting to finally meet so many women that I had interacted with on facebook for over a year! (Hopefully a few of them now know that I am in real life the same way I am online.)
*FIFTEEN ladies showed up for this event!! HOLY MOLY*
*(L->R Me, Samie, Amy, & Jennifer + cute bump*
Once we all gabbed for a few hours, a few of us decided to head to Emporium Pies (insert review here) for a lil something sweet. Holy wow. It was so yum! Same Austin-y vibe as the burger place.
*Heading out to Emporium Pies*
After the overload of estrogen, Amy & I went back to her place to meet up with the hubbies for dinner. They had gone out fishing while we were doing our thang and they were ready for some grub. We all freshened up, piled in and drove to a Cajun restaurant in Rockwall. Not so grand idea though… sitting on the patio with the lake breeze. *BRRRRRRRRRRR* We ate quickly and then got the hell outta there.

*Obligatory date night picture*
Right after dinner we were walking around on the pier deciding if there was a local coffee shop nearby when I spotted…
STORMTROOPERS!!!
I looked at Mike and was like “OMG THERE ARE STORMTROOPERS DOWN THERE!!!” He didn’t believe me until he saw them and then we both insisted we go down and get pictures with them. Unfortunately our friends, whom we love dearly, may need to be educated on all six Star Wars movies next time we come to visit because they were fairly clueless for a minute there. *sigh* Poor souls. It was fun though. We got a picture then went to Starbucks for our dinner coffee then back to the house.
The next morning we got back on the road to head home and I’m chomping at the bits for this next month to fly by so we can see where our journey leads us. We/I are stuck at a standstill until we get the final ok. I can’t apply for jobs or put the house on the market or anything else that would keep my anxiety at ease. Pretty much all I can do right now is start purging the house, which if we end up staying put still helps with my Spring purge that I would’ve done anyways. We shall see what happens…
Update March 7th: Sadly, Mike went up the next week to do the physical agility test and did not pass. I will not go into details other than I think the format of the test was complete… whatever. They could have proceeded in a more efficient manner but that’s their loss. Just like any small town it’s all about who you know and how to rub elbows best. We’ve taken it in stride and now that our hindsight is 20/20 we realize it was a blessing in disguise. Now we are moving on to Option B and seeing where it takes us. Just because one door was shut doesn’t mean something even more awesome isn’t waiting for us. We are staying put and dealing with everything being thrown our way. Every day is a new day!

February Check-in

I meant to do a monthly or bimonthly check-in but… life. Ya know? Anyways this is about seven weeks after I started back into our 12 week program. I’ll be honest that the first four weeks (Phase One) I wasn’t trying to do anything spectacular. I was going in there and doing just enough in weights to feel sore but I was focusing on my form and trying to remember HOW to do the exercises. The second set of four weeks (Phase Two), is when I started to test my body and push myself. The more research I’ve done and the more people I’ve met online in the “fitness world”, the more motivated I’ve become. For example, I wanted to push myself one week and try to double my weight (ha! in the end it was like a 10-20 pound increase) just to see how far my body would go. Surprisingly, I’ve done pretty well. I’ve found a decent weight range and now I’m perfecting form and trying to hit a solid 3 sets of 15 reps. Once I can accomplish that, I plan on upping the weight again. Slowly but surely.
Jan 06, 2014 
  • Stats:
  • Height: ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†5′ 6″ (ish)
  • Weight: ¬† ¬† ¬†¬†140 lbs
  • Bra size: ¬† ¬† ¬†36D
  • Shirt Size: ¬† ¬†M/L
  • Pants: ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† 4/6
  • Dress: ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† 6/8 or M/L
  • Measurements:
  • Upper Arms:¬†13¬†inches (not flexed)
  • Bust: ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†37¬†inches
  • Waist: ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†28¬†inches
  • Hips: ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† 39-40 inches
  • Thighs: ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†¬†22¬†inches
Feb 26, 2014 (items in bold are changes from January)
  • Stats:
    • Height: ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†5′ 6″ (ish)
    • Weight: ¬† ¬† ¬†¬†141 lbs
    • Bra size: ¬† ¬† ¬†36D
    • Shirt Size: ¬† ¬†M
    • Pants: ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† 4/6
    • Dress: ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† 6/8 or M/L
  • Measurements:
    • Upper Arms: ¬†12¬†inches (not flexed)
    • Bust: ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†35¬†inches (this could be a difference between bras. Need to find a consistent method.)
    • Waist: ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†28¬†inches
    • Hips: ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†40 inches
    • Thighs: ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†¬†21¬†inches

I can’t see much difference between the two photos but I can physically feel the difference when I run my hands up and down my arms. People are leaving gracious and motivating comments for me on facebook and instagram when I post my progress photos. (Which I am a little bashful of but still appreciate!) I found a group on facebook that I joined and it’s been super refreshing to talk to women of all different steps in this process. Let’s put this out there because it’s been nagging at me for a while…

 
*Back: February 2014*


I want to tell all the women out there that keep saying “it’s not doing anything” or “the scale isn’t moving” or whatever your excuse is that it takes time. LOTS of time. Find a realistic goal picture and put it somewhere that you can see it all the time. I’m not saying to find some lean ripped out fitness model and be like “THAT! I want that!” It’s highly unlikely. For anyone. Do you know what it takes to ACTUALLY look like that? Let me break it down for you:

*They prep for those photoshoots by dropping to 1000 calories/day for like a week! Any personal trainer/nutritionist¬†that is looking out for your well being will tell you that’s not feasible.¬†
*Genetics. Unfortunately it’s true. Some have it. Some don’t.¬†
*You live, breathe, eat weights and boring food. Doing that for extended periods of time may not necessarily keep you happy. 
*How long did it take you to get where you are now? Expect for it to take that long to get rid of it.

For me personally? I like the look of Jamie Eason¬†as my long term goal. My short term goal? To get back to being fit like I was at 19. I’m not looking to drop to 125 again but I would like to see some definition in my body again. So find a realistic picture to look forward to. Maybe it’s from you 2, 5, 10 years ago. Maybe it’s a celebrity. Whatever it is, make sure it’s a motivating and uplifting piece of inspiration. Not a depressing one. I KNOW I don’t have the genetics to have a “thigh gap” so I don’t find pictures full of young ripped girls with “thigh gaps”. I honestly don’t want one. (Use your imagination ūüėČ ) The point is to be healthy and love your body to the best of YOUR ability. No one else’s standards.¬†

 
And now I leave you with a little something. Here’s a few of Mike’s measurements. Get a tape measure out and think about it. Yeaaaaaaaaah he’s a big dude. ha.¬†
  • Arms:¬†
    • Not Flexed – 16.5 inches
    • Flexed ¬† ¬† ¬† – ¬†17.5 inches
  • Chest: ¬† ¬†49 inches
  • Thighs: ¬† 28 inches

Review: BlenderBottle GoStak

Remember when I went “Beast Mode” on my blender bottle the other day?
(Don’t know what Beast Mode is? Google it. It’ll provide some laughs.)
Anyways, I posted that picture on instagram with the hashtag “blenderbottle” and perused through other peoples’ pictures in hopes that I wasn’t the only person who managed to destroy one of these. Yeah not so much. BUT I did come across THIS!!! What is this you may ask? OH MY GOD it’s pure genius. Well not really. I think there’s a baby food/ formula/ something or other similar to this before but the point of the matter is it’s specifically made for people who workout and consume supplements. It’s called a GoStak and it’s made by the company Blender Bottle.
Specifically for this reason:
Anyone who has come into contact with a person who “bulks” or uses the gym frequently know that there are oodles of supplements to consume after putting your body through rigorous exercise. That bag above is what I like to refer to as the “Mary Poppins Bag of F*ckin Supplements.” It’s seriously ridonkulous the junk that people carry around with them. Take Mama Laughlin for example, at this post here, she carries a purse, a workout bag, a food bag, etc. My husband is the same way. He has his Mary Poppins bag, his overnight at the FD bag, his laptop bag, and sometimes a bag for all his bedding.
OH MAH LAWD with all the bags!!
No. Unacceptable. Just no.
In the Mary Poppins bag he carries: protein powder, instant carbs, BCAA (branch chain amino acids), Beta-Alaline, and preworkout powder.
I personally think this is frickin ridiculous. You need one powder for BEFORE you work out, THREE powders during workout, and then FOUR powders AFTER you workout. Geezus it’s so frickin complicated. Seriously. I’m not carrying around all that sh*t with me and THEN let’s add that I can’t use his protein powder because I’m on a “non-red meat” diet so whey/casein protein makes me sick. Like legit sick. Therefore I have my OWN GIGANTO tub of protein powder and my FemFire… Are you seeing where this is going?
I ordered my GoStak starter pack online with the 4 varying sizes. The cool part about the GoStak is it fits into a blender bottle for compact transportation. (Once the shaker bottle is all gross and dirty though, I’m just SOL because I’m not putting it into a dirty bottle.) Here is the GoStak broken down so you can see the height/size comparison to a 750mL Camelbak Eddy waterbottle.
*(L->R) 150cc, 100cc, 60cc, & 40cc, plus removable handle*
First up is preworkout mix in the 40cc (tiniest jar). I used one scoop of FemFire preworkout mix with one scoop of soy protein powder. I used the scoop from the FemFire container for a 1:1 ratio because the FemFire alone made me lighteheaded so I’ve been adding this for a little substance on my stomach. Technically you are supposed to take preworkout on an empty stomach but it doesn’t bode well for me so this does the trick.
*One scoop FemFire*
 
*One scoop of Soy protein powder using FemFire scoop*
Next up is the protein shake WHILE you are working out in the 100cc jar. I really despise the taste of my soy protein powder so I’m exploring some different options. I picked up this egg white one in vanilla. (I’m saving the time and energy it would take on a review to say soy isn’t as bad as I thought it was. YUCK.) Anyways, this little jar is one serving of protein powder, one scoop of BCAA, and one scoop of Beta-Alanine. It took a few tries to figure out what all would fit in each jar so if you are sifting things back and forth, big jar, no wait small jar, shit not big enough… Don’t feel bad. We did it too. Pictured below is all three in the 100cc jar ready to roll. (It still had a bit of room on top if you needed to add a little something else.)
*Tip: There’s this amazing thing called WASHI TAPE, it’s removable masking tape that’s PRETTY! Don’t judge. I’m still a Type-A, OCD, Planner, girl at heart and needed a way to label without putting permanent marker directly onto the containers. If I change up protein powders and the scoop is bigger/smaller then I can use the jar for something else. LOVE that I had washi to label my jars. So stinking cute!
*One scoop protein, one scoop BCAA, one scoop Beta-A*
Lastly, is the post-workout shake. I used the 150cc jar (biggest one) because the carb and soy scoops are HUGE. (Oh it fit. Don’t you worry.) Like the label says, you should drink this shake about 45 mins after your workout. At least that’s what Mike tells me and he’s been doing this for a while so I trust him. Why? How? What does it all do? I don’t frickin know. I just drink what he tells me to and hope it’s not poisoned. HA! I kid. Well sometimes I wonder…
*One 1/2 scoop of instant carbs, one HUGE scoop of soy protein powder, one tiny scoop of BCAA, & one tiny scoop of Beta-A*
TA-DA!! Isn’t it TOOT? I love it. Seriously. All of those containers down to one tower the size of a blenderbottle. Don’t you worry. I’ll be ordering a blue one for Mike as soon as I can stash some funds aside. I may order some more of the 40cc ones so we can put our vitamins (multi, fish oil, etc) on top of the preworkout jar. I plan on having one tower of jars for workout powders and another (possibly pink) tower for snacks like hummus, fruit, nuts, etc. They are dishwasher safe and BPA free in case you are wondering. I know it’s nice to have that information also.

Blender Bottle Beast Mode

You see what happened was…
I went a little “beast mode” on the blender bottle before going to the gym yesterday. We had to switch things up and go after work instead of in the morning like usual, so I took my preworkout/ protein powder mix in my lunch bag for later. All the blender bottles had been washed the night before and this one was fresh from the dishwasher. I pull up to the gym and am about unscrew it to pour my water into the bottle when my hand gets caught on it. Then I look closer and there’s a frickin crack in it!!! Like if I had shaken it, preworkout mix would have been ALL OVER the car. Mike said it was a new bottle. I think it was a knockoff one. Piece of junk. Mike was on his way to meet me at the gym and luckily when I called he hadn’t left the house yet and brought me a spare lid. YAY!¬†
He got to the gym and I showed him what happened. His response? “You shouldn’t have gone all beast mode on it and we’d still have nice things.” Hmph. Whatever. I still got my workout in and knocked out my sets like a champ. Even if I whined a little bit during dumbbell flyes and the lying tricep extensions. (I always feel like I’m going to drop/whack myself in the face laying down.)¬†
I posted the picture on instagram with #blenderbottle. I was sifting through the hashtag and came across this picture. I laughed. Yeaaaaaaaaah we’re so on our way to being that couple. Now if I can get Mike into the habit of not hoarding the bottles in his truck and bringing them inside to wash then we’ll be good to go. I swear it’s like finding matching socks to get a blender bottle around here!¬†

I’ll be shopping for new fancy girly blender bottles today after work. LOTS of pink and orange may deter him. HA! Who am I kidding he sports a Thirty-One red fru-fru bag to carry all his protein powders in. Oh well. I think if we have 14 bottles one for each of us for each day of the week, we MAY be ok in that department. Stay tuned for more beast mode shenanigans!!