Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Talk about it Tuesday: Cheers to us, my Love!

At the beginning of the month I posted a compilation of life lessons I've learned while being married. More specifically- being married to an EOD tech. Now, although those particular lessons seem futile to those outside EOD I figured I should share the lessons that we've learned just by being married in general.

We met in high school and dated for a couple years before we decided to get married. It was the best decision I have ever made. Nine years ago I promised the man of my dreams that I would love him until the day I die. We have learned so much about each other and what it means to love whole heartedly. Our relationship today is stronger than it has ever been. We have so much love for each other that it almost seems unreal.

Right now, Husband is thousands of miles away but even still I feel his love for me as if he were sitting right here on our patio on this beautiful and perfect fall morning.

We were talking a couple weeks ago about what we've learned over these past 9 years and without a doubt, for us communication is the number one thing that has made this marriage a success. I think our greatest strength as a couple has to be the way we openly talk about anything and everything. There is no fear of hurting each other's feelings when it comes to the nitty gritty stuff because we know how to talk through whatever situation we find ourselves in. Looking back at it now, we have hardly ever bickered. The little things don't get to us anymore and over the course of our relationship I can only think of two major arguments. And even then, we talked it through logically and rationally and we're still standing side by side today.

Respect for one another is just as important as open communication. We respect each other's differences of opinion and even when we don't see eye to eye we have never talked down to one another. There was never any name calling or degrading of each other's feelings. We respect each other's personal space and we understood early on that it is important to encourage one another regardless of whether we agree or not. We are each others' biggest fans and greatest cheerleaders. You may not talk shit about my Husband in my presence. Granted, he gives nobody any reason to do so. You know those couples that vent to their friends about the things that get on their nerves about their spouses? Yea, we're not that couple. You will NEVER hear either one of us say a bad thing about the other. One, because we actually like each other and two, we've always looked at it as "Us against the world."

Maintaining a strong sense of self is something that I think makes us a phenomenal couple. It is so easy for a couple to mimic each other, especially after being together for as long as we have. I must admit that I lost sight of who I was as an individual early in our marriage but with his encouragement, I was able to find that girl again and I've stayed true to myself ever since. Husband and I have always encouraged each other to pursue our separate passions and we have never resented each other for doing so.

Understanding the fine line between giving each other space when we're dealing with personal demons and knowing when to just be there for each other is something that we have mastered over the years. We know that sometimes it's not about solving each other's problem right then and there, but rather just having that unspoken support. Sometimes, we just need one of those hugs...

Lawrence and I are an incredible team. We tackle things together like no body's business and I am so grateful to have had the love of this man for so many years. I still think God made a mistake for bringing us together because I don't feel like I deserve this amazing, selfless man.

I'm not one for gushy love stuff but when I think of what makes me truly happy, the only thing I see- is him. From the start of our relationship I have been so smitten with Lawrence it was almost gross, haha. When I get to talk about him to other people, I can feel myself light up from inside. I've been told on multiple occasions that I glow when I talk about him. I can't help it... I am so proud of the man he is today. He has accomplished so much in his life already and I am just so grateful that I got to be apart of it all. All the good that I do and the positivity that I bring to the table is simply because of him.

This man has loved me for so many years, it's mind boggling. I'm not an easy person to love, and I mean that with all seriousness- ask anyone. There are so many different opinions on what "true love" means. And I know it sounds soooo cliche but really, it was just one of those things that I knew from the get go. I felt something special with him- deep in my heart with utter certainty and even at 16, I just KNEW he was the one person who would impact my life in so many positive ways.

All of my dreams have come true because of Lawrence. He has taken me on some wild adventures and has given me the life of a princess. He is my best friend and my absolute favorite person in the whole wide world. Even on our bad days, and we've had a few, there was never a doubt that we were made for each other.

I can't imagine a life without him, and I hope I never have to. No matter what the future holds for us he will always be my rock, my home, my peace. Cheers to us my Love!

Monday, September 23, 2013

3rd Annual AKG Memorial Golf Tourney

Adam K. Ginett Memorial Golf Tournament and Auction
Friday, September 27, 2013
Alpine Golf Course at 8am.

Registration to play is CLOSED now
but all non-golfers are encouraged
to participate in the auction which starts at 2pm

For more information, 
call 623-7345

Hope to see you all there!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Talk about it Tuesday: A double feature

I just want to say 
for all the positive feedback I've received on the EOD post.
I had no idea it would create as much buzz as it has. 
You guys are too kind for checking out my little blog 
and for sharing it with your friends. I'm glad everyone enjoyed reading it. 
I had tons of laughs writing it and long giggle fits 
going through all the pictures I've collected over the years. 
I hope that it brought back some fond memories of your very own. 
You guys rock! Thanks again!
For many years the Sharpie Bandit plagued our parties.
More of the Sharpie Bandit's vandalism
To my 16 year old self

I've been talking to a few friends from high school recently, and it's neat how different I was back then. I always thought I was a pretty confident person even at 16, but I could have used a few words of wisdom from my future self. 

This is what I would tell 16 year old Crystal, if I could.

  1. Wear more sunscreen. Like get crazy about it starting right now. I'm talking 30+ SPF, daily. 
  2. Stop eating shit like BK, fried gyoza from JNN- pretty much anything fried and cut sugar out of your diet completely. Mountain Dew is poison. You're going to get so fat and it will take you YEARS to reverse all these bad habits. 
  3. Don't dress like a 40 year old lesbian lawyer, with your gross polyester pant suits and hideous pleather loafers. And get rid of that stupid leather brief case. Use your locker. You're 16 and a size 9 with a booty and C cups... Dress that body appropriately, Honey. 
  4. Take this time and just be a kid. You'll have plenty of time to do all those overrated grown up things when you're an actual adult. And it will suck most days.
  5.  Go to college. He will wait. I promise.
  6. Study Japanese. Really throw yourself into it, you'll end up being a foreigner for a good part of your adult life and learning other languages now will only benefit you later.
  7. Listen to more Tool and don't just hear it, actually listen. You'll appreciate the connection when you're older. When you see them in concert for the first time, you will develop an addiction to live music. They will become your favorite band. 
  8. You're going to meet a girl on a plane on your way back to walk at graduation. Don't under any circumstances invite her to hang out with you and Dean. She will seem super cool but she is bad news. I'm talking the kind of crazy you will only understand when you're in your mid twenties. This girl will ruin your summer.
  9. You and Adrian will drift apart and stop talking altogether by 2005. Although it might seem like the end of the world- you can live without him. He's going to straighten his life out. He actually turns into a really great guy, he joins the military if you can believe that. He'll create a happy life for himself, and he'll fall in love with someone who is perfect for him. 
  10. Wear white at your wedding. You're going to want to be different but fight that urge with all your might and wear a white dress. It's the only wedding you will ever have. 
There are probably 100 more things I would tell my 16 year old self to avoid or watch out for, but I do believe that everything happens for a reason. I think if I were to protect my 16 year old self from half of the things I got into, my life would not be as awesome as it is today. All the things I've experienced in high school and before I got married have made such a huge impact on how I go about things these days. Those are the top 10 things I wish I would have been warned about... If I had known better at the time, I think it would have made my life today 10 times better. 

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Talk about it Tuesday: Under the Tuscan Sun

Spontaneity is a luxury I hope to never live without. It is chaotic and expensive but totally worth it. I got a phone call last Wednesday morning from my dear girlfriend and fellow world traveler, Kimber. She's been home from her stateside summer vacation for almost two weeks and I could hear in her voice that she was itching for an yet another adventure already. We spent a good half hour throwing ideas back and forth and then we finally came up with a place that we wanted to go. We chose Florence for it's beauty and utterly romantic atmosphere. But what to do in Florence for the weekend was still a mystery. We decided to take a day to come up with a game plan and rented a flat so at the very least we could just have a full on slumber party with manis and pedis, girly pop music and loads of wine and much needed coffee talk.

We piled into my car early Saturday morning, super pumped for our trip. We drove a good two minutes before stopping at a cafe to have a cup of coffee and an AM spritz! Because we are experts at just living in the moment, we sat there for an hour and giggled our faces off- catching up on our summer adventures and our plans for the fall.

Our short three hour road trip was spent singing, dancing, getting mooned by fellow road trippers, giggling some more, and an epic ping pong session of 21 questions (which really was more like 100, each).
We were starving by the time we got into Florence, parked the car, and found our sleeping quarters. We beelined to the first open cafe, guzzled some coffee and grabbed a quick bite to eat.
Not one for serious planning, we had a little hiccup for dinner plans. It was Saturday night in Florence- most restaurants were either fully booked or closed for private events. So it took us a little bit of exploring and with the suggestion of the locals we found ourselves on the roof top terrace lounge of The Winston Excelsior. We dined on fine food, chatted with the best staff ever, and then swindled our way into their VIP section just off the patio. The divine wine, coffee, and chocolates paled in comparison to the incredible views we were basking in. Florence during the day is beautiful no doubt, but at night, is when all that romance comes alive and just fills your heart with total happiness.

 We met a bunch of awesome people as we pub crawled our way back to our flat. By the time we collapsed into bed it was nearly 5am! It wouldn't have been that big of a deal if we didn't have to be functional in 3 measly hours. No matter, when our alarms went off the sheer excitement of getting to cruise Tuscany on Vespas was enough to fuel us to the nearest cafe for our much needed caffeine charge.
So Tuscany is gorgeous. But something about being on a Vespa made it fifty billion times more magical. My cheeks hurt so bad from smiling and laughing all day long. We strolled through the country side making stops every so often to take in the breathtaking sights. For lunch, we kicked it at this sweet villa and even had a chance to sneak in a nap. Like seriously, how awesome is that?!?! I napped on the most comfortable Pinterest style palette lounger while Kimber chatted with our new friends.
The drive home was torturous. We were so unbelievably tired and cranky. For dinner we stopped at our favorite Thai joint in Treviso. We booked it home from there and if the weekend wasn't perfect enough, I got home just in time to take a bath and welcome Monday morning all snuggled up in my cozy bed with the windows open, slipping quickly to the sound of soft rain.

Oh....La dolce vita! 

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Talk about it Tuesday: On loving an EOD tech

Husband and I will be celebrating our 9th wedding anniversary tomorrow. The entire time we've been married he's been EOD. Our first year of marriage he was going through tech school and it was tough on us. He worked long hours and I didn't really get to see him much because I had a full time job as well. On top of learning how to sustain a healthy relationship, I had to learn a few things about how to do that while married to an EOD tech. As a disclosure, if you have a weak stomach, stop reading now and check out a different post... Otherwise, grab a beer, kick back and read on.

Lessons from a seasoned EOMFDW.

1. How to compromise with a man child and constantly tolerating the most ridiculous behavior imaginable.
     It is no secret that EOD techs are, for lack of a better word, cocky. They are wild and love to party and I absolutely love it. I think the whole "work hard, play harder" phrase was created to describe EOD. When they are home, especially right before and immediately after a deployment there will be looooong stretches of intense partying. For someone who abstains from drinking heavily, it is tough to talk sense into these guys- some would say impossible even. So, compromising is the only way to go.
"If you're going to jump off the roof, just try to aim for the pool this time." 
- One of the first things I remember saying to Husband during our first EOD party.

"If you insist on dancing like a mad man in the bed of the truck, do so only while we're stopped at a traffic light." 
-During the attempted kidnapping of the captain at 2am

"If you have to throw your phone against a cinder block wall tonight, make sure you forward your calls to my phone first."
- To Lo, on more than one occasion

     And tolerance... get some. Learn to pick your battles. Ridiculous behavior is inevitable and you will go insane if you cannot tolerate driving around the city with a truck full of drunkos singing at the top of their lungs with 100 tacos from Jack in the Box some being eaten, some getting thrown at Honda Civics on the freeway, going from sex shop to sex shop searching for the perfect flesh light for their tactical vests for some training school they have to be at in 4 hours. You will get kicked out and/or banned from multiple bars, clubs, cities, and even entire countries if you're not careful. Learn to tolerate randoms joining your party, these guys pick up strays like crazy. They can't help it.

2.  Investing... in a closet full of outrageous attire.
     I don't know what it is about these guys but they LOVE to play dress up. This still surprises me every now and again because the ideas they come up with are so creative. I thought after years of costume parties we would recycle some by now, but no... constant innovation when it comes to costumes. It's gotten so bad that sometimes they just randomly and without prior coordination show up to dinner in the most ridiculous get ups. What irritates me is that when Husband raids my closet, pulls out a fancy dress and rocks it better than I can... knowing which scarf to wear and what red belt works best for his skin tone.

"If you're going to go out in that dress, you must pee like a lady or go behind a bush at the very least."
-To Lawrence, during our cross dressing party. He went as Jackie O. Accidentally.

Seasons don't matter either. Full on snow bunny party in the dead of summer in Phoenix- check. Kiddie pool party when the mood strikes, even when it's 60 degrees out and almost 1am- check. No pants party during Lent- check. Goodwill, Pennywise, the kid section at Walmart, and random piles of clothes on the side of the road will be your go to shopping destinations.
"If you're going to wear that homeless man's shirt, just Febreeze it before you get into the car."
-To Scott, after 3 weeks in Germany

3. Appreciation for the finest of fine arts.
     Projectile vomiting is an art form only to be admired by a select few... all of which apparently signed up to be EOD. It doesn't happen often given their collective tolerance and ability to be incredibly functional alcoholics. But when it does, the score cards come out and we revel in the distance, chunkiness, color, and insane splatter patterns. There is a gallery being constructed of these mesmerizing feats. I will be sure to send an invite for the opening.

4. Being comfortable with man on man tongue action.
     Homophobia is not acceptable in the EOD community. A true EOD wife will not even flinch at the sight of her not so sober husband sucking face with another man, or two, or three simulteanously. Usually, he is trying to share something special like a packet of mayonnaise or piece of cake. Other times it's just because EOD techs undoubtedly have delicious saliva. =/

5. Developing a toilet paper obsession.
     Nothing is worse, and I mean NOTHING, than being home alone, in the middle of the night, with absolutely zero toilet paper in the entire house. I am now a compulsive toilet paper purchaser. No matter what I go to the grocery store for, I always walk out with a pack of TP. Always. I will never be put in that tricky position ever again.

6. Prioritizing for the moment.
     I actually had to quit my job at one point because our wicked awesome lifestyle was being cramped by me having to show up to work on time, looking presentable, and coherent. Obviously, it didn't make sense for me to have to split my time between work and play. So leaving a job that required not a lot of thinking or effort on my part only seemed like the right thing to do. I have been self employed for three years now.

7. Stealth nursing skills and how to make a proper sandwich.
     Have you ever tried to give a drunken EOD tech a glass of water? It is fucken impossible. You might even get the bottle of water slapped from your hands out of disgust for the useless liquid that you are trying to force down their gullets. This is where the art of stealth nursing comes into play. Never approach a group of them with a bottle of water. They will scatter with a quickness and avoid you like the plague. Always use a solo cup, always only half full and corner them one by one. If you can get one backed up into a corner alone, you have a better chance of them swigging some H2O before they realize what it is. Also, try cutting the water with some Pedialyte, Powerade Zero (anything but lemon lime), or even coconut water. Also, send them to bed with a fresh drink, but replace it with a bottle of water once they hit the bed, couch, truck bed in a parking lot, sidewalk, random ledge on a cliff, or floor. I promise, that bottle of water will be consumed and much appreciated.
     I became the Mama Bear for our little gang of misfits. Every shop has one and lucky for me I was the chosen one. I am an exquisite sandwich and breakfast burrito maker. These are the absolute essentials and the one thing that can make a hung over EOD tech half smile through the pain of a throbbing head and nausea from mild dehydration. There will be tons of "I love you"s and "You're the best"s the afternoon after a party. Keep your fridge stocked with all the fixin's for turkey and ham sandwiches and your freezer chock full of turkey breakfast burritos. And mini chicken tacos if you're near a Trader Joe's.

8. Ride or die. These are my people and I will never give them up. Ever.
     There is no doubt that when an EOD tech chooses you to be a part of his family, you are in for life. Lucky for me, I was accepted early on and I have had the pleasure of being surrounded by amazing guys for close to a decade. A glorious decade of debauchery! The term loyalty is something that bleeds from these guys. They stand with their brothers through the worst situations imaginable and their bond is just amazing. With my EOD family, I know that no matter what or where I am, I have the love, support, and raw muscle to take on the mean mean world. These guys would fight to the death for me, without question or hesitation. I knew that these friends of mine were fantastic and I always have a good time with them, but it is during the tough stuff that really highlights the exemplary men I have in my life. From the little things like driving to my house in the middle of the night to open a jar of spaghetti sauce, feeding me when I'm too sick to move, Pumpkin Spice Lattes waiting for me at work every morning, random lunch dates at Wildflower, and the funniest voice mails just to say "Hi" from the desert or ice. To big things like sitting with me on the side of the road when I got into a car accident, lending me cars to drive since mine was totaled, and just knowing when I need a hug because I'm sad and missing Husband. They are my family and I will do anything for any one of them.

9. Dancing is life.
     There will be so much dancing in your life once you marry an EOD tech. Dancing in places where dancing is encouraged and dancing in places and more importantly, on things where it might seem questionable... When in doubt, dance! Hip thrusting is crucial and flailing arms are a must. 80's music will be booming from your drum machine of a heart. One friend will try to get you into dub step, he's an idiot- but you go along with it because convulsive, seizure inspired movement is fun from time to time. You will be highly entertained and not remotely embarrassed when you reluctantly invite non-EOD people to a party. The dance offs are my favorite part of any party, brunch, road trip, or quick stop to Bashas.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

I've got a dirty little secret...

I'm a pretty open book, 9 times out of 10. The only thing I will not talk about to anyone are the details of my marriage. That is the only sacred thing to me. You can talk to me about every thing else, even your marriage if that's what you're comfortable with. I don't have many boundaries and I don't have an issue with putting a conversation to bed if the content makes me uncomfortable. That's usually when talk about money, religion, or sex gets too personal. Like, don't ask me how much money I have in my bank account or if my husband likes doing such and such... gross and that's none of your business.

So, I've been doing something a little dirty for the past 6 months and it's about time I come clean. And what better way to confess my sinful ways than to exploit it on the good ole Internets? For me, being held accountable for my words is only effective if I make some grand gesture, like a blog confession, otherwise I'll find a way to talk myself out of it. Which truly has the been the case for about 3 months now. I tell myself that "I will stop" but since no body knows about this, when I mess up and do it again, it doesn't matter in my head because I can lie to myself- but I can't lie to you.

You ready? Ok- here it is, here is my dirty little secret: 
"I've been smoking cigarettes, non stop, since March."

Gasp!?! I know right?!  Let me give you some background about smoking and what it means to me. I've been surrounded by smokers my entire life. The two biggest contributors to my smoking exposure are my father, and my late maternal grandmother. My entire life they have smoked and I'm 27 now. My second oldest brother also smoked for a really long time but quit cold turkey a few years ago when our grandmother died... of lung cancer.

Personally, I've only ever dabbled with cigarettes. I'm a social smoker on very rare occasions, or at least I was. My first ever experience with a cigarette was when I stole one from my father, took it to school and tried to smoke it in the girl's bathroom. I didn't actually smoke it because, guess what- I didn't think to steal a lighter! By the way, I was in the fourth grade. I felt terrible. Terrible about stealing, stealing a cigarette of all things, and stealing from my dad mostly. Then I felt dumb, for forgetting the key component to smoking a cigarette. So, I chucked it in toilet and vowed to never speak of it ever again. And I have never told anyone that story until today.

Fast forward to high school, sophomore year. I walked into the girl's bathroom behind the auto shop class and found a few of the popular girls smoking. It smelled incredible, like summer. They were smoking these crazy cool strawberry flavored herbal cigarettes and when they offered me one, I happily joined them. But even then, I wasn't too impressed with it. I mean the buzz was cool and all, but, I also drank in high school. So if I wanted a buzz, I grabbed a little booze from the bar at home and that was that.

These past 6 months of constant smoking has been the longest run I've had with cigarettes. Ever. I don't necessarily know what happened or why I even started smoking this time around. I think because Husband was gone, I was bored and I just wanted something that I could do all by myself. I wanted a dirty little secret. I wanted something that no one else knew about me to just have for myself, if that makes any sense.

You would think that since my grandmother died of lung cancer from 60+ years of smoking, I would have known better. I shouldn't have been ignorant of the danger and damage it does. But the truth is, I just didn't care. I reasoned that because I eat healthy, and I workout daily, and a few cigarettes will not do that much damage, I was in the right- I deserved this guilty pleasure. Normally, when I smoked in the past, it would last for a couple weeks and then I'd get bored of it or the urge to light up would just disappear. I was counting on that to happen this time around. But the sad truth is that it didn't. It only got worse.

I've never considered myself to have an addictive personality. I say that I'm "addicted" to coffee but I can and have gone 4-5 days without it and no withdrawal issues arise. I don't wake up, wigging out for a cup of coffee or anything. The realization that I was starting to become addicted to cigarettes was when I was laying in bed, probably about 1am and I was just craving a smoke. Like sweating... I couldn't think of anything else that I wanted more badly.  I didn't have any here at home so I no shit, got out of bed, threw on whatever dirty gym clothes were on the top of my laundry basket and drove into town to buy a pack from a vending machine. I sat out on the curb and lit up. And then I had a second one. And then a third one, in a matter of 10 minutes. Yea...

I knew that it was starting to get out of control but I still didn't care. This was my only thing! My only thing I wanted. I don't drink- long story short; 21st birthday destroyed my body's ability to process alcohol. So I have to take it super duper easy when I drink now. I don't do drugs because come on, ain't nobody got time for that. I don't eat junk food, I don't gamble, and so I smoke. I smoke cigarettes because I like how it makes me feel. The only negative impact it's had on me is my ability to run. I've always been a bad runner since I've got the lung capacity of a 2 year old but smoking has completely handicapped me when it comes to distance running. Which I was ok with since I dislike running anyway.

But this past week I just got so sick of it. I got sick of seeing myself as this trashy girl, hiding in the corner, smoking her gross cigarettes. If I am not comfortable smoking in front of my friends or my husband, or admitting openly that I smoke- then I shouldn't be doing it in the first place. I'm not proud of it and so I didn't want to own up to it and that is ridiculous. So, I've decided to quit. Once and for all, for good, forever more. NEVER AGAIN will I ever smoke another cigarette for as long as I shall live. (Well, that's the hope anyway...)

By the way, I don't judge those who do smoke. And you shouldn't either. During these past few months that I have been smoking, let me just tell you how incredibly annoying it was when people would judge me about my personal decision to smoke cigarettes. I only ever smoke at home and on the rare occasion that I have smoked in public, I've been very courteous. I literally hide around a corner- far away from people if I'm at a cafe or something and so those run ins I've had were because people went out of their way to let me know that they don't approve of my smoking. That probably contributed to my addiction, I would do it out of spite to the a-holes who would walk right by me OUTSIDE, in an open air environment and fake cough while eyeballing me. Screw you judgemental pricks!

Anyway- that's that. I feel so much  better now. I've let it out and I'm over it. I'm over the secret, I'm over the smoking and I'm pumped because it's September 1, 2013 and it's a Sunday- the first day of the first week of the month and what an awesome day to start something! If you're anything like me and have minor OCD, you can understand how perfect today is for something this grand.

Lately, after an epic post like this I would "reward" myself with a smoke... but since that's not happening anymore, I'm going to take a quick shower and a cat nap- then in 3 short hours I am going to ride a Vespa through Tuscany.

Thanks for stopping by and send me tons of love vibes to keep me on the straight and narrow. Until next time, much love!