Thursday, March 21, 2013

Sunny Days

     Sunny days like this are days that make me miss home... make me miss home in a good way.
     Sunny days like this are days when I recall watching the small, wispy clouds roll overhead with my hair blowing slightly in the breeze, listening to birds and frogs and bees all doing their thing so close by... something I took for granted every day of my life and now wish for.
     Sunny days like this are days when I long for that ever-hated humidity to soak through my clothes and stick to my skin, making me curse the heat and dream for the air conditioned inside of my mom's welcoming and loving home (and let me tell you, I never thought I'd crave that).
     Sunny days like this are days when I wish I were more of an outdoor girl, for those rare moments when I'd participate in family volleyball games or a walk in Richland Park with Lucy and James or an adventurous trek through the woods.
     Sunny days like this are days that I crave burgers and dogs on the grill, eating outside, and watching the sunset, especially in the company of my loved ones.
     Sunny days like this are days when I miss after-school band practice or settling in for a night of watching my brother play soccer or enjoying my then-boyfriend/now-husband do his thing on a tennis court.
     Sunny days like this are days when I can close my eyes and remember the heat swelling up from the inside of my mom's school bus, after everyone had been dropped off and I went to the back to enjoy the bumps and curves of the backroads home.
     Sunny days like this are days when I can hear my dad starting up the lawn mower and filling our house with the scent of freshly cut grass, coming in darkened by the sun and soaked with sweat.
     Sunny days like this are days that I long for a dip in my best friend's pool or an afternoon at the country club or a run through our backyard being soaked by the water hose.

I know it's sunny everywhere at one point or another, but for some reason I relate bright, beautiful days like today with home and it takes me back.  Back to those days when we'd wake up early on a Saturday, open all the windows, blast some music on the record player and dance around while we cleaned or made brunch or just... were.  Back to those days where the hardest decision I had to make was what games we were gonna play or who we were inviting over for dinner.  Back to those days when I longed for the cool of the night to take over and I could hang my head out the window and see the stars for miles.  Back to those days when things were simpler, easier, less stressful.

And not that I can't have wonderful experiences like that here, but it just isn't the same.  It's not home.  And until I came here, I never even realized how much I loved home.  Until I came here, I only ever longed to get out of there.  But there is comfortable and familiar and warm and not a bad place to be.

There is where I'd rather be.

But I'm here.  And here isn't as bad as I could imagine.  It's certainly not ideal, but it's not horrible.

It's just far.

And that farness only makes me long for those sunny days back home.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Me and another glimpse into the fun I have

These days, moments of inspiration seem fleeting for me.   I try my hardest to gather my artistic and inventive side and come up with profound things to say and write about, but I've been coming up short.  I dunno if it's Italy, my lack of enthusiasm, or simply me.  In any case, I've decided to give up on this not writing streak and just jump back in.  Sure I'll keep posting updates about my life, but I will probably be MIA as I finish my second book... I stopped midway through during the move and have since only added like 100 words to the incomplete manuscript.  It's been almost 8 months since my previous deadline came and went and I've gotta do this thing!

That being said...things have been fun around here, when I'm not home with the pooch and hubby's off to work. Last weekend I went to the Verona Zoo with some friends (and unfortunately without him) and we had a blast! Check it out:

My favorite animal :D


Little dude is just derpin' out :)

The chimpanzee exhibit!  These guys were awesome
This is a rapid shutter of a fight between these two!!!

Yes we broke into the dinosaur exhibit to take pics with em!

And that's all folks...

It was a pretty awesome day and I certainly hope we can hang out again soon :)

That's all for now, but I'm sure to post some photos of this past weekend's extravaganzas sometime before St. Patty's day.  Keep readin'

Until next time...

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

UPDATED - Budget cuts affecting military members!!!!!!

Hi everyone! I'm not sure if you've heard the news, but it has been passed down that the tuition assistance offered to military members has been cut. Basically, this means my husband, who's REQUIRED to carry a degree for advancement in his career field (as are most military personnel) must now bare that cost solely without the aid previously offered from the government. Yes everyday people get degrees and pay for it themselves, but this was a major incentive for a large portion of soldiers, airmen, and sailors (my husband included) when they enlisted and it's now being taken away. Additionally, most military members' pay falls below the poverty line, making it almost impossible for them to pay for expensive college courses and books without this help.

Here's what my husband says about it himself:

     So, some saddening news today. I actually went YESTERDAY to get started on my tuition assisance to get my classes scheduled, and then I learn that the budget cuts cancelled out TA for the Air Force.
     I get budget crisis and such, and if there was an estimated time of bringing it back, I would hold out hope, but as a service member forced to educate myself this is disheartening. Financially, as an Airman 1st Class, I'm below the poverty line, so taking classes out of pocket is pretty unlikely. Getting shafted on something I was supposed to get when enlisting, College Loan Repayment Plan, this just hits a little harder. 
     If you feel like trying to help service members keep their Tuition Assistance, please follow the petition link below. Obviously I cannot ask you from a MEMBER's perspective, but this is a requirement set forth for Air Force members to achieve AT LEAST an associates degree to advance through their careers, and would be a real shame to see disappear. 

Below are the links to the news article and the petition that must accumulate 100,000 signatures by April 7th in order to be considered.  Please pass the word along and support this cause. Many troops put their lives on the line daily, and the least we can do is show a little gratitude in the form of helping them better their lives, both IN their military career and after it.  Thanks so much!!

Samantha Cain

Air Force joins Army, Marines in cutting Tuition Assistance 



For those of you who were concerned or participated or just care about how service members of the armed forces are treated...

GOOD-Guy Senate has ordered reinstatement of T.A. - the "bill" has to pass through the House first, but this is a huge thing!  It means our voices were heard and a response was not only necessary but carried out.  People are complaining, of course that reinstating this will mean cuts in other places, like to our health benefits or extra perks on base (ie: theaters, commissary, etc.), but a friend of mine shared this on her FB and I think it's definitely food for thought and should be taken into consideration:

"Things that can be cut instead of Tuition Assistance:
1) New unnecessary aircraft. Sorry guys, we don't need to re-vamp the C-5, get a new special fighter when the F-22 still doesn't quite work right, and we don't need to research a new heavy bomber to replace the B-52.
2) Old unnecessary aircraft: e.g. C-5 and B-52
3) Junk food in the DeFac, cake, cookies, etc. We get shunned for eating it, just stop buying it.
4) New random uniforms. If I see another picture of a Four Star wearing a "prototype," that's never been seen before...
5) Paper copies of anything we're required to read. We're all living in the 21st century now, just send us the information digitally and save on that ream of paper (seriously, this is millions wasted annually).

TA is something that's massively important to the betterment of our armed forces and for our continued superiority. This, among so many other great programs the military has, is something that draws in the many talented individuals that populate our armed forces. Without a doubt, education is one primary element that places us well above other militaries in the world. Why take away such an important advantage? Providing a means and an opportunity for self-improvement and further education should be a paramount cornerstone to our nation's strategic initiative."

So... if you have ideas, write your congressmen and woman, make your voice heard!  The U.S. acquired the necessary 100,000 signatures over a month's span in only 1 WEEK (actually getting 116,298 total with still 17 days to spare)!  IF something matters enough to the right group of people, things can be done!

My husband thanks your efforts :)

Monday, March 4, 2013

The joy of life

Celebrating someone else's 25 years of existence is so much more fun than your own, and I am speaking from experience here.  I mean, for me, 25 years seems like a long time; I was born, grew up, experienced some difficult milestones and unnecessary curve-balls, thought I fell in love a few times, actually fell in love and found my soulmate at the age of 16, graduated high school then college, got married and moved to Italy.  I mean, that's a lot.  And not that growing old scares me, but the thought of what happens after old has come and gone is what gets me.  So basically, a birthday is a traumatic event.  Not to mention that it only reminds me that my parents and brother and husband and other family members are aging right along with me, which is a whole other can of worms.  But to the point... our good friend and co-worker of the hubs turned 25 yesterday and we celebrated his birthday last week in a way that I, being a grown and mature woman, could never get away with - we went to the adult version of Chuck-E-Cheese oddly named "Colorado nonsolobowl" (what the hell does that even mean?  Freaking Italians).  Needless to say, I had a blast, as did the birthday boy and everyone in attendance, and it was nice to actually enjoy a birthday as an adult acting like a kid... it was fun to just forget that I'm edging closer and closer to death.  Yes, I know - I'm so morbid!  Anywho... live vicariously through the photo replication:

Party Animals :D

Playing some futbol while we wait for grub!

Dance Dance Revolution baybay!
All sweaty after DDR competition in which I lost horribly!

Me and my lover <3 
Mechanical bull time!!

Ride em Cowboy :)

LASER TAG!  This chic came in 3rd!  Woot Woot!
We won the mega jackpot (well the hubs did)!!!

Countin' em up!!  We ended up with 2200 tickets :D


Such a sexy man!

Yep that's right - my only strike of the game!!

And the birthday boy beat us all bowling like this!
We had a pretty awesome time and I hope we'll go back again when we need to blow about 60 euro and just be big kids!  I'm pretty sure the birthday boy had a great time and hopefully it'll be the one he remembers when he looks back on his time here with us in Italia!

Until next time...