Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Still alive, still writing

If you have ever followed Life in a Cracker Box, perhaps you would be interested in following me at my new blog,
Simplicity, Interrupted.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Once upon a cold, rainy day...

The rain lapped against the windows yesterday. The air was chilled, almost frigid, and winter was knocking at the door. So far, we have enjoyed a lengthy fall and the warm temperatures have spoiled us rotten. It is one of the first bone aching cold days of the season.

As I was inside rushing to accomplish two hours worth of tasks in twenty minutes, J.R. was outside working on installing new gutters - a project that has sat unfinished for longer than I care to think about. After a long while, J.R. appeared in the kitchen to relieve me from Baby detail so I could head to work.

His fleece coat was dotted with rain drops, and a cold draft snuck into the kitchen when he opened the door. I watched as he took his shoes off and reached for the zipper of his jacket. His hand fumbled with the pull tab for a moment before he could firmly grasp and pull the zipper down. It seemed like smooth sailing until the zipper caught at the very end. Frustration. Stuck in a coat that wont come off because an injured hand is too cold, too stiff, and too riddled with nerve damage to function. He rips the jacket off and throws it to the ground. Another zipper broken.

While four years have almost passed since J.R. was injured, we still deal with his injuries every day. To say that we (and I say WE because my life has been rocked by the events of Dec. 19th as well) have "recovered," is stretching it. We have both learned to cope, but occasionally the zipper breaks and anger bubbles to the surface. In an hour the anger simmers down and the coo's of an infant remind you that there is life to smile for.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Library Therapy

School has been in session for over a month now. While four weeks doesn't sound like a long time, I assure you, it feels like an eternity. The fact that snow has been blanketing the city of Menomonie for a number of days makes the semester feel as if it should already be drawing to a close. Already I am running around campus-bundled in my warmest jacket and thickest mittens-with cheetah like speed in an effort to spend as little time in the brisk weather as possible. Oh how I long for sunny summer days spent soaking up the sunshine.

It's no secret that I have been struggling with my semester. For the past week, each day has produced new frustrations that have slowly been bubbling to the surface. I'm living in a constant state of "I'm going to burst into tears at any moment so don't say anything that might make me cry." Perhaps I need to boil over to return to my simmering state, but I'm trying to avoid that stage all together. In my attempt to feel better about life, I have returned to the one place that always makes things better: the library.

I entered the doors at 4 pm today and was immediately struck by that library smell. A mix of paper and hospital cleaning supplies, it has a distinct aroma that should be bottled and sold as aroma therapy for students. I made my way to the fifth floor where I was happy to see that I would not have to reclaim my territory of my favorite cubby. Sitting in the hard wooden chair, I feel as though the simulation has been paused and my fingers are once again able to keep up with my mind.

I know in an hour the simulation with unpause and I will be sitting through a three hour night class. For now, I will enjoy my peaceful time and continue to work on the never ending piles of writing homework.

Thursday, October 8, 2009


It was a lovely fall day. The sun was shining, the trees were looking stunning dressed in their fall colors, and I was sleeping on my couch. What's wrong with this picture?

I'd like to blame Brutus for my lazy day. A few days ago he managed to cover himself in burs. Frustrated, he began pulling them off himself and EATING them. While he gets an A for effort, his attempt at cleaning himself up ended with him hacking and coughing and finally throwing up the burs. His breathing has been a little odd and scratchy sounding and he's been silent. A very different dog than the one that woke the entire house up bellowing at 3:45 a few mornings ago when a large deer entered the yard. Feeling sorry for him, we doctored him up with some doggy Tylenol which has made him rather drowsy. How could I leave my poor dog all alone inside feeling yucky while I walk the hillside? I couldn't. So I slept on the couch with him snuggled near me on the floor. And yes, I'm blaming the dog because it sounds much better than simply saying I'm tired and got nothing done because of it.

In reality, the last few weeks have been non stop. Weddings, school, work, school, house, school... you get the picture. Rarely do I have a full day off to do nothing, and today was a quiet day with only one 55 minute class on the schedule. While I had planned to clean the kitchen, sweep the floors, wipe down the bathroom, etc... I ultimately decided that these chores would still be here tomorrow, and so would my headache if I didn't take some me time.

I'm pleased to say my headache is gone and my pile of homework sits, untouched and ready for tomorrow. Ahh.. the life of a student.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009


My life has turned into countdowns.

One month until my birthday.
3 days until the dreaded word "snow" enters the forecast.
12ish hours until a reworked paper PLUS reading responses are due.
9ish hours until a written memo (semi-done) and uber professional e-mail (not started) are due.
37 minutes to my math test.
3 minutes until I need to leave my house.

Thank God for coffee.

Sunday, October 4, 2009


Life after Walter Reed was not fun or easy. Returning home to the quiet of our two bedroom apartment after living in the Fisher House was not only lonely, but stressful. There was no Sandy one door over to be a fill in Mom, no Faith across the hall to provide the daily dose of chocolate ice cream cake, and no Mary downstairs to provide a swift kick in the ass for motivation to keep breathing. There was just me, my thoughts, and J.R.

It was easy to dive into school. The library provided me with quiet to ease my mind, and busy work in endless mounds gave me plenty of places to hide. It's no wonder I have been able to keep my grades up and pull through two years of school with a cumulative 3.9 GPA. But this semester something has changed. I no longer have the desire to hide in my school books and knock out straight A's. My heart just isn't in it. Procrastination has become my worst enemy and I'm unable to complete any project until moments before the deadline. Even today as I sat at my computer, determined to make a dent in this weeks workload, I have ended my day with nothing but a long list of things to accomplish tomorrow.

Frustrated by my lack of enthusiasm for the semester and desperate to figure out what has changed, I have put a lot of thought into what life has been like for the past few months.

This summer was filled with time in the garden, fun filled nights on the town with friends, and novels about Wisconsin living. I spent days bent over our tiny plants, muscles aching, while my hands pulled the menacing weeds. I watched the garden that J.R. planted and I tended grow into mature plants that produced ample amounts of delicious food. I became obsessive with storing away our home grown food and dived into the world of food preservation. To an outsider looking at my food pantry, I'm just one bomb shelter away from the crazy lady preparing for nuclear war. But as I look at my collection of goods I can't help but to feel a lasting since of accomplishment that no "A" will ever outlive.

For the first time since J.R.'s injury there is an ease of life. A routine has fallen into place and our days are no longer filled with unexpected frustrations and problems that need immediate solving. We hit a few bumps now and then, but for the most part things are pretty smooth.

The first day of class I fought back tears. I didn't want to be buried in homework spending hours at the library reading until my eyes could take no more. I was already longing for days digging in the dirt, sweating in the hot sun, and whining about sore muscles. Four weeks into classes and I'm still cringing at the thought of opening a book. While I may not have Mary downstairs to kick me in the ass, at least I have her on facebook to provide the much needed "you can do eet!" that I so desperately need.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Hunting the Elusive Turkey

Winter has faded and spring is here, but in the Salzman house there has been yet another change of seasons--the hunting season. For the last week the focus has not been fish, or deer, or pigeons in the barn, but turkeys.

I have yet to decide what is appealing about turkey hunting. It is my understanding that in order to be a successful turkey hunter, you sit in the woods in complete camo, scrapping two pieces of wood together that produce the most obnoxious sound known to man kind. The hope is that eventually some turkey will think you're a hot piece of ass, come walking towards you, and then *BAM* lights out Mr. Gobble.

Why anyone has the desire to do this is beyond me, but J.R. seems to be very excited about it.

Every morning for the last few days, the alarm has gone off at 5:30. Unlike J.R., when an alarm goes off I'm awake for the day. There is no falling back asleep. Much to my annoyance this has meant waking an hour early everyday. J.R. then gets dressed in all of his camo and heads off to the woods with a big plastic turkey. After a few hours he emerges from the middle of no where and with great excitement tells me how he sat in the woods and scrapped two pieces of wood together every few minutes. He either then returns to the woods, or waits until dusk to go find where the turkeys are roosting.

Now everyday I've heard stories about finding turkey feathers, seeing scratch marks on the ground, and hearing the tom gobble, but no turkey has been killed. My point: J.R. makes a very ugly turkey for no Tom will come near him to get his head blasted off.

The one thing J.R. has been successful at is bringing loads of ticks home with him. We have pulled many, many ticks off his clothes, body, and boots. Last night while I was making dinner I even found one crawling on the kitchen cupboards. I screamed bloody murder and frantically threw the tick onto the hot stove where is died a horrible, painful death much to my enjoyment.

My conclusion: Turkey hunting is the devil.

Now for a total change in subject...

Today was my registration date for fall classes. I once again was lucky enough to register with most of the freshman. My late date ensured that every class I needed was already full, and half the classes I wanted were missing in action. I did manage to come up with 15 credit hours, but it ain't a pretty picture. Math 121, Principles of Marketing, Discussion, Technical Writing, and Critical Writing. I have to admit, the only class I'm somewhat thrilled about taking is discussion, which counts towards my speech communications minor. I'm slowly realizing the business classes are horrible boring and technical, and lets be honest... how exciting can technical and critical writing truly be? It shall be an interesting fall semester.

...and in other news...

Many of you have heard about the issues concerning J.R. and his prosthetic arm. For the moment, all I will say is that J.R. will soon be receiving a brand spanking new arm and his old arm will be rejuvenated with new life as well. More to come on this story at a later date.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009


You know it's been a while since you last blogged when it takes you SIX tries to remember the password and access your account.

Spring has arrived and bringing with it all sorts of beautiful sunshine that is long overdue here in Wisconsin. I wish I could say I've been spending loads of time outside, soaking up the rays and getting lots of yard work done. Sadly, not the case. School has me so busy I'm barely finding time to sleep, let alone eat one meal sitting down. Finals week is fast approaching and soon I will be able to enjoy the sun, but no sooner than May 15th.

I have been writing. Small bits here and there that I manage to cram in between annotated bibliographies and research papers on W. B. Yeats. None of it has been displayed anywhere other than my own personal computer screen, and for the time being it shall stay that way. There are so many new dramas in our life that need to be shared, but right now I must focus on finishing my brutal semester of Math and Science before I can even begin to give these dramas the passion they need to in order to be told.

I am planning to revive the blog this summer when I have many more hours available to sit at my computer and let my fingers roam the keyboard. I'm working on a list of people from Walter Reed that deserve recognition for their actions that made our time at Reed enjoyable. Someday I'll tell their stories. Until then, put your big girl panties on and just deal with it. There will be time for drama at a later date.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

For Turtledove:

Dear Alanzo Elfanzo

There once was a man named Elfanzo,
Who stole north from the town of Patzcuano.
He couldn't pay rent,
It was time to collect,
So you said, “Hit the road Dear Alanzo!!”

But Alas! There’s no use, he left his abuse,
In the form of a scar on your heart.
He left you the mark,
For he hated to part,
And now you must find a fresh start.

You thought he was gone, you thought he was dead,
But that was just not meant to be.
He found a new place,
Just south of your face,
And you screamed “you are such a nut case!”

You said, “This won’t do, you make me so blue,
I must kill you now once and for all!”
You took a deep breath,
Scraped him off of your chest,
And moved on from that once fowl pest.

It’s time to move on, and time to rebuild
Now Elfanzo is swimming towards Hades.
The scar on your chest is no longer a mess
And you now have two fabulous ladies!
-Josie Salzman

Monday, February 16, 2009


I'm not dead. I am just very busy trying to maintain a 4.0 gpa and all of my spare moments go to updating my status on Facebook. What can I say? I've been a member from the very beginning, so I've had 5 years to build my addiction.

Maybe someday I'll have time to write worthwhile posts about dealing with the VA, or life post-injury, but for now I'm going to sit through Biology and try to look interested.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Alive Day

It's 11:27 pm and J.R.'s second alive day is almost over. Two years ago today our lives changed drastically. In celebration of J.R. surviving the blast, we spent the day snowboarding and ended our evening with a couple of beers. I know J.R.'s phone rang continuously, and I think he was pretty thrilled that so many people-especially the guys in his unit-remembered the day.

Eventually I'll expand on the day, but now it is time to drag my half drunk, incredibly sore (I fell a lot), extremely exhausted body to bed.

Happy SECOND alive day my wonderful soldier.

Friday, December 12, 2008


Blogging slacker, I am, but life has been crazy!

Last night left me with little sleep and walking up the five billion flights of stairs to get to my Econ class today seemed like cruel and unusual punishment. Half way up to steps it hit me, I only have to walk up the steps in Harvey Hall ONE more time for the semester, and then it's Christmas break. It was excellent motivation.

I'm officially done with my human resources class and my econ class. All that is left is one final band performance (that happens tomorrow morning at 8 am and sounds a lot like Pomp and Circumstance on repeat), one bassoon recital (10 minutes of me blaring away to a crowd of four), and one English final (aka hell in paper form). It's a lovely feeling to be so close to freedom.

J.R. and I are both looking forward to Christmas break, especially our trip to Colorado the beginning of January. It recently dawned on me that this trip will be our first trip together that doesn't involve a large group of wounded soldiers, or have some other form of work attached to it-like logrolling. I'm looking forward to true quality time together. For any of you that know us... this, of course, translates into five days of nagging, bitching, fighting, and stubborn I'm-right-you're-an-idiot moments. We have such a loving relationship :)

At least I have a real husband and I'm not a 33 year old software designer, living with my parents, unable to find a perfect real woman (can't imagine why???). He has designed a robot woman and has this to say about her.

"Aiko is what happens when science meets beauty," Le Trung tells the Sun of London. "Aiko doesn't need holidays, food or rest, and will work almost 24 hours a day. She is the perfect woman."

Sorry J.R., just because I am a woman does not mean I will be at your beck and call 24 hours a day. This man is delusional and deserves to be shot if he feels that it is a woman's duty to be a stepford wife. Welcome to 2008 when women hold jobs, have college degrees, and have thoughts and desires of their own! Did I mention the android also has "clear skin, and a thin and shapely body." Don't get me wrong, his work is very impressive, but his motives and thinking behind this perfect woman idea are out of line. If I ever met the man, I'd kick him below the belt.

Monday, November 10, 2008


Time: 9:11

Hours left till paper due: .... stopped counting

Pages written: 3 FULL pages (MLA style, 12 point, times new roman, double spaced, 1 inch margins, and a header.. no title page necessary)

Pages needed: 2 more to go baby!

Words typed: 914

Current craving: Still on pickles. All of Grandma's pickles disappeared before the last Econ test, but I'm pretty sure there is a jar of vlassic kosher dills somewhere in the depths of the fridge. Thinking about bribing J.R. to make brownies by giving him a can of Coke.

Current distraction: Taylor Swift and her stupid Love Story song and a puppy who thinks he needs attention (as if he doesn't get any at all).

The paper continues...

Time: 7:56

Hours left till paper due: Who cares...

Pages written: 2ish

Pages needed: 3ish to go!

Words typed: 503

Current distraction: J.R. and his crabby mood. I'm curious as to what he is doing upstairs as he keeps "dropping" things on the floor, but am afraid to look. His grumpiness (brought on by me checking on him to make sure he was awake this morning and interrupting his sleep, and then by me forgetting to hang the phone up, and I'm sure I've done something else in there too like telling him I love him to many times in one day *oh the horror!*)is keeping me far, far, far away from him.

Current craving: pickles


Time: 7:21 pm

Hours left till paper due: 19

Pages written: 1

Pages needed: 5

Words typed: 235

Currently feeling: Unmotivated, yet slightly more motivated than last night.

Maybe a pan of brownies will make life better.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Unmet Needs

I was standing in line at Burger King a few days ago when I noticed a brochure for an organization I had never heard of before.

Unmet Needs is a program administered by the VFW and focuses on helping military families. The amazing thing about this program is the different ways you may donate assistance. We are all feeling the effects of the economy and the limits of a dollar bill today, but with Unmet Needs you may also donate your time and skills to help military families. Maybe you're a handyman who can help build a play set, or perform routine maintenance on a lawnmower or snow blower. Maybe you can cook a meal to help a busy "single" parent relax for a night. Please, please, please stop by their website and learn more.

My ONLY complaint with the group is the picture on the brochure that also appears on the front of the web page. The woman appears to be an older mom with a super conservative wardrobe. Her children are straight from a 50's American Dream image and they scream perfection. If someone can find a real military family that looks like this, let me know. A more accurate photo would be of a young woman with her hair in a pony tail wearing an old shirt that has spit-up on it. A baby propped on her hip and a second child covered in dirt from playing outside.

Maybe it is just my constant struggle with the average US citizens perceived age of our military members. It can be hard to remember that it is not a "traditional" lifestyle and the average military wife is not the average American girl getting married at 25.1 years of age.

Regardless of image, check out Unmet Needs and don't forget the military families who are also serving our great country. And if you're a military family that needs assistance, APPLY FOR HELP!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

The Dungeon

Last night I somehow convinced J.R. to let me have my very own office. This sounded like a good idea at the time, but now I've realized I really just have a dungeon in the basement to escape to. Our house is a bijillion years old, the basement is creepy as hell, and the light switch is at the BOTTOM of the steps. One has to clutch the side of the wall and search for the next step that leads you into the pit of darkness. I usually try to get Brutus to run down first, after all, if anything scary was in the basement, I'm sure he would fight it off (haha). So far I haven't fooled him. Even throwing a ball down the steps hasn't convinced Brutus to run down first. And so I take a deep breath, run down the steps as fast as possible, and flip the switch.

Last night I fixed up the room so that it was a bit more inhabitable. I vacuumed the spiders and gave the cement floor it's first cleaning in what I believe to be twenty years. I threw an old rug down that doesn't cover the whole floor, but enough to keep you from walking on cold concrete while you're in the room. J.R. insisted that I keep the shelving in here that has all of his junk stacked on it. I quickly disguised them by taking an old red shower curtain and hanging it from the top wire rack. Now I have one red wall in the midst of all the white painted blocks. After twenty minutes of begging, whining, and completely obnoxious behavior, I was able to convince J.R. to haul my desk down to the basement. He mumbled something under his breath as he carried it down. I'm pretty sure he said something along the lines of "My wife is the most beautiful person in the whole world, I love her more than anything." At least that's what I'm going to pretend he said. With the addition of my desk, my desk chair, and the basket chair, I've made a comfortable place to study. Sure it's freezing cold, really creepy, and there are no windows, but it's my OWN space. It provides me a place to stumble in peace.

Speaking of stumble...

With a research paper that is close to being due, I have been cramming in all sorts of reading on Hmong culture (it's much more fascinating that I make it sound). In an act of procrastination, I have been hitting the stumble button for about the last 40 minutes. I just happened to stumble upon this honest list and couldn't help but share. Thanks to whatever random site had this posted...

How to write a paper in college/university:

1. Sit in a straight, comfortable chair in a well lit place in front of your computer.

2. Log onto MSN and ICQ (be sure to go on away!). Check your email.

3. Read over the assignment carefully, to make certain you understand it.

4. Walk down to the vending machines and buy some chocolate to help you concentrate.

5. Check your email.

6. Call up a friend and ask if he/she wants to go to grab a coffee. Just to get settled down and ready to work.

7. When you get back to your room, sit in a straight, comfortable chair in a clean, well lit place.

8. Read over the assignment again to make absolutely certain you understand it.

9. Check your email.

10. You know, you haven't written to that kid you met at camp since fourth grade. You'd better write that letter now and get it out of the way so you can concentrate.

11. Look at your teeth in the bathroom mirror.

12. Grab some mp3z off of kazaa.

13. Check your email. ANY OF THIS SOUND FAMILIAR YET?!

14. MSN chat with one of your friends about the future. (ie summer plans).

15. Check your email.

16. Listen to your new mp3z and download some more.

17. Phone your friend on the other floor and ask if she's started writing yet. Exchange derogatory emarks about your prof, thecourse, the college, the world at large.

18. Walk to the store and buy a pack of gum. You've probably run out.

19. While you've got the gum you may as well buy a magazine and read it.

20. Check your email.

21. Check the newspaper listings to make sure you aren't missing something truly worthwhile on TV.

22. Play some solitare (or age of legends!).

23. Check out bored.com.

24. Wash your hands.

25. Call up a friend to see how much they have done, probably haven't started either.

26. Look through your housemate's book of pictures from home. Ask who everyone is.

27. Sit down and do some serious thinking about your plans for the future.

28. Check to see if bored.com has been updated yet.

29. Check your email and listen to your new mp3z.

30. You should be rebooting by now, assuming that windows is crashing on schedule.

31. Read over the assignment one more time, just for heck of it.

32. Scoot your chair across the room to the window and watch the sunrise.

33. Lie face down on the floor and moan.

34. Punch the wall and break something.

35. Check your email.

36. Mumble obscenities.

37. 5am - start hacking on the paper without stopping. 6am -paper is finished.

38. Complain to everyone that you didn't get any sleep because you had to write that stupid paper.

39. Go to class, hand in paper, and leave right away so you can take a nap.

I'm sure at some point I'll finish the paper, but it's not due till Tuesday. Until then I'll just stay in my dungeon listening to Jack Johnson and checking my facebook pages every three minutes.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008


Four years ago on election day, I was TWO days shy of 18. This year I was able to vote for the first time, and yes, it was everything I thought it would be. I have written about my voting experience, but it's only half way written and it was much to special of an experience to leave out any detail... so I'll get to it sometime in the near future when I'm not working on a massive research paper.

Tonight I say goodbye to 21 and hello to 22. Now if I could just get through tomorrow without any of the freshman asking me how old I am so I can avoid the "wow you're old... will you buy me beer?" remark.

With school being insane there isn't much planned for celebrations. Quiet dinner with JR and some time with the girls. It will be a much needed break from my week of chaos.

Monday, November 3, 2008


I've made my decision in who I will vote for tomorrow, and it was not an easy choice to make. I feel as though I am being forced to choose between the lesser of two evils.

There is no denying that our country is hurting. I don't believe that anyone can have the answers to fix our issues tomorrow. We are down to trial and error and tomorrow we decide which trial to try first. Maybe this will work, but maybe we have four more years of dreams that fail to fully repair.

It's been a close election and whatever the outcome may be we will ride out the next four years together.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Christmas Shopping

I'm sitting in my living room beaming from ear to ear. Why? Because it's October 21st and I have officially purchased J.R.'s Christmas present. Every year I sit and wonder, "What do you buy for a man who has everything?" This year I've nailed it. He has a present that is not only perfect, but FUN. Now all I have to do is keep it a secret. I'm doomed.

No in an effort to change holiday gears, I'm off to dust off some Halloween decorations so I can beat the neighbors at their game. They have huge balloon decorations in their yard. At night they light up and are the total opposite of creepy. For those who don't know, I LOVE Halloween decorations. I have more gadgets for Halloween than Christmas. All I have to do is convince J.R. to let me borrow some extension cords.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Night Life

My class schedule this semester has allowed me to take on J.R.'s sleeping patterns and stay up all hours of the night. It's not uncommon for the lights in our house to turn off around 2 or 3 am, and live bodies don't start moving around before 9 am. If you ever call my house before 10 am with anything but an extreme emergency, you can be assured that there will not be a cheerful voice on the other end of the phone.

A close friend, and coworker of mine, has to go to the doctor tomorrow morning and was looking for someone to cover the shift. Under the emergency circumstances I gladly volunteered and reassured her that it was fine. It wasn't until about an hour ago that it hit me.... I have to be at the store, dressed, make up on, by 8 am. Just to get to the store by 8 am I have to leave my house at 7:30 am. It takes me around an hour to get ready for work. I have to wake up at 6:30 tomorrow (that's currently 7 hours from now). Is the sun even up at 6:30 am? I honestly don't know if it is or not at this time of year.

Oh the life of a student. Late night study sessions, 2 am bar close, and the inability to function in the morning. I'm planning a nap into my day tomorrow. Don't interrupt it.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Cross Words

I'm sitting in the coffee shop waiting to go to work. I'm sure the new girl will LOVE that I'm downing this iced pumpkin latte right before going to work. I'm sure I will be wired, which is good for me, bad for her.

I was trying to surf the web, but the couple sitting in front of me just has me mesmerized.

They are an older couple. Their high-waisted blue jeans are about four inches to short when they sit down, revealing their matching new balance walking shoes, and white socks. Their wind breakers don't match, but still make me smile. They are sitting in the coffee shop completing today's cross word puzzle together. She reads off the clue, and he quietly mutters possible answers.

I'm pretty sure if J.R. and I tried to do a cross word puzzle together, we would end up tearing the paper apart and not talk to each other for week. Besides, we all know that J.R.'s answers would be pointless because I am CLEARLY smarter than he is. This ability to work together on mental projects must come with age. Lets make that a goal for the future.

Sunday, October 12, 2008


I am going to go to work today. I'm going to be happy at work. I'm going to smile and greet guests with enthusiasm. I'm not going to make the new girl cry.

If I keep repeating these ideas over and over, maybe it will all come true.

Happy Sunday world.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Election Fever

I was waiting for class to start the other day when a younger student sitting next to me turned and enthusiastically asked, "So... who are you voting for this year?"

The girl was decked out from head to toe with Obama gear. Obama shirt, Obama button, Obama bracelet, Obama stickers allllllllllllllllllllllllllllll over her computer. She should have been getting paid by the Obama campaign for being a walking billboard. I'm pretty sure I threw up a little in my mouth out of disgust for her enthusiasm. Sad, I know.

I politely responded that I hadn't picked a candidate to support yet and continued with my class preparations.

"Well, you should totally vote for Obama. He's going to bring great changes to this country."

"Oh? What kind of changes??" I enquired.

"Changes. He's got great values, you'll see. Vote Obama."

"Oh? What are his values?"

"Well, umm, I dunno. But it's going to be awesome."

I'm really excited that so many students at Stout are taking the time to become involved in the election. However, a lot of them just seem to have Obama fever, and haven't even taken the time to read and understand what both candidates stand for.

I've been finding it really difficult to choose a candidate this year. I'm not taking my right to vote lightly and I want to be an educated voter. So many students are looking at me as though I should instantly know who I'm going to vote for because my husband was injured in Iraq.

"So, you're husband was hurt in Iraq right?"


"Does that mean you're voting for McCain?"

Iraq has been such a huge part of my life. There isn't a day that passes that I don't think about the Middle East. I watch J.R. put on his prosthetic every morning and I remember. I remember all the goodbyes, all the hellos, the midnight phone calls, the care packages. I remember our family sacrificed for the country.

It is so important, this election especially, for all of us to take a look at what we as individuals need, and then to step back and take a look at what our country needs. There's no hiding the fact that the economy is horrible. What do we do about the financial industry, or health care, or the war? It's time to vote for what is best for the country, not the individual person. If that means we pay some hire taxes, so be it. Suck it up citizens of the United States and remember, we did this to ourselves.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Horror in the Library

I went to move desks, turned around, and sitting there is my psych professor from last year. He's a very interesting man that feels as though no topic is off limits. All that pops into my mind when I see him is a rather uncomfortable classroom discussion about porn viewing habits (apparently nothing is off limits in a college psych class). I can stay at the desk, crabby and pissed off that my bubble has been popped, OR I can get up and move and risk facing a run in with the old Professor. Being that the professor is facing me, I'm sure he has noticed me, and thus I risk appearing rude if I do not acknowledge his presence when I turn and leave.

Decisions, decisions.

Why did I pick a small college?


I have a bubble and I hate when my bubble is invaded. When I'm sitting in the library... the empty, silent library... my bubble expands to a larger circumference than if I was waiting in line at the grocery store (don't get me started on THAT bubble).

A boy has sat down on the opposite side of my cubby desk. If I stretched my feet out, they would touch his. I don't play footsie with strangers. There are many, many, many open desks that have no one sitting on either side of the cubby.

He has unnecessarily popped my bubble. Now I'm crabby and bubble-less.

Hump Day

Oh hump day *sigh* I suppose it is named that for a reason, but does it have to be so exhausting?

I started my morning off right and I ate a brownie. One really, really big brownie. Thinking that nothing could go wrong in my day, I sat down and opened up my econ folder to do some last minute cramming for my quiz on utility. When I got to the make your chart section, I opened up my graphing calculator and hit the power button. Nothing happened. I changed the batteries and again hit on. Nothing happened. @*%$&)*#@!@ turn on! *bang bang bang* and poof(!) a screen popped up!! Unfortunately it was a screen of dashed lines and random numbers. I hit the clear button a million times until eventually the screen just went blank and nothing happened at all. One hour to test time, and no calculator. Panic.

"J.R. do you have a calculator?"


"Yes, well... I have a quiz due today, a test today, a report due today, a three page analysis on education to write that's due tomorrow, 30 pages of reading WITH questions to answer due tomorrow, ANOTHER econ test on Friday, 13 hours of work at the store, and midterms next week. Now, do you have a calculator?"

"..... no."

"OK Then."

No big deal, stop at Lammers (a local grocery store right next to campus) and pick up a small calculator. After all, it didn't HAVE to be a graphing calculator. I pulled in thinking it would be a quick in and out. It definitely was quick, but only due to the fact that they were sold out of calculators. I drove to the other side of town and stopped at Walgreens. They too were out of calculators.

*deep breath*

Wal-Mart. I did find my calculator, but had to struggle through the store as it was senior citizen and stay at home mom shopping hour. Everywhere I walked there were people standing in the middle of the aisle, blocking the entire section. I weaved in and out with the speed and grace of a rookie race car driver. Sure I bumped into a couple things, but no major damage was done... right???

$10.44 later I had a lovely Texas Instruments calculator.

I made it to my test in the nick of time. Thankfully this test went smoother than the last (which I got a C on, and yes I'm still pouting about that).

After the test I made my way to HR management. I caught a lucky break in the fact that the Professor let us out 45 minutes early on account that half the class was missing, and the other half of the class was falling asleep. In my extra time for the day, I whined in my blog :)

I'm off to finish hump day by writing my analysis, studying for econ.. again, and reading this very stupid book. What an exciting day.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Phone Etiquette

With the invention of the cell phone came the devolution of human manners. I think it's safe to say that most of commit the cardinal sin of talking on our cell phones while driving. Unless you're my Mom, in that case you can't shift the car and talk on the phone all at one time (sorry Mom). How many of us have completely ignored a cashier at the grocery store in order to not interrupt the very important phone conversation about who did what at last nights frat party? Or, my ultimate favorite rude cell phone behavior at the moment, answered their cell phone in the middle of class... I thought I had witnessed the worst of the worst cell phone behavior moments, but today a woman in Target topped my list.

After chugging down two fountain drinks at lunch with Jackie, it was no surprise that after 45 minutes of shopping in Target I was ready to burst. Leaving Jackie at the check out I darted over to the restroom. I entered the restroom and noticed that stall one and stall two were occupied. I thought nothing of the woman's voice coming from inside one of the stalls as we all know women flock to the bathroom in groups where we then gossip for ten minutes before returning to the real world. As I entered a stall to do my business, it occurred to me that the conversation I was unintentionally eavesdropping on was completely one sided. Moments later a toilet flushed and the occupant of the stall left the restroom. It was at this moment I realized I was in the bathroom with one other person; a person who was locked in a stall, pants around their ankles, and talking on their cell phone in a very busy public restroom.

I washed my hands but skipped drying them as I was fighting the urge to either giggle or blurt out some nasty comment about phone etiquette. It was an interesting mix of disgust and humor that someone could be so carefree in their cell phone usage. I couldn't help but wonder, what did the person on the other end of the phone think of all the flushing in the background?

I found Jackie moments later and blurted out the entire story. This led to a ten minute conversation on bathroom stories which only goes to show, you're never to old to enjoy a little potty humor. Maybe it's the redneck in me shining through.... I guess that explains the copy of Up Shit Creek sitting in my bathroom.

After Target, Jackie and I made our way to the mall for pedicures. It was so relaxing. I picked out this wonderful pink polish, which stayed looking wonderful for all of two hours. Figures, when you pay to get the polish placed perfectly in the lines of your toes you are DOOMED to mess it up somehow.

As I sit inside the "warm" house stewing over my messed up toe, J.R. is outside running around the pitch black yard with a head lamp muttering something about "God damn moles" under his breath as he injects the ground with poison. I have to say it's rather entertaining to watch the little ball of light bounce around the yard from inside the house. At least he's staying busy.

Although the day was relaxing, it's back to the world of stress and homework. This week promises to be another week of homework overload. I can't wait to see what finals week will bring.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Blissful Time

It's 1 pm. My next class starts at 2:30. I have nothing to do.

I'm sure if I thought hard enough I could find school work that needs a jump start. For now, I'm just going to enjoy my hour and half of silence in my brain. With no need to worry about price elasticity of demand, or summarys on Hmon culture, I can actually relax for a little bit.

I think it's time to head up to the practice rooms and play the bassoon for an hour. At least then I can curse myself for not playing in the last three years and letting my skills go down the drain. As J.R. has told me often in the last two weeks, "it sounds like a dieing cow trying to hang on to life." He's always so supportive and sweet.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

The Beginning of Fall

The last two days have brought a fall feeling to Menomonie. The air is crisp and cool. The wind blows, rustling the fallen leaves across the sidewalks and you shiver as the breeze wraps around you. While the trees have not fully changed, they have begun their transformation from green giants to bare bodies dotting the horizon. The articulation of green soy beans to green alfalfa has been broken by the transformation of the beans into golden beauties. The yellow leaves radiate the warmth of the sun as it shines down upon the farm fields waiting for harvest. The sun's rays beckon me like a siren calling to a sailor, but I am forced to resist the urge to run into the light as I am chained to my homework for the evening. The broken front door of the farm house stands like a gate keeper from heaven and hell, locking me inside this dreaded house.

Inside it is a warm 60 degrees. The wood stove has yet to arrive so the furnace kicks on once in a great while to keep the house around 60. I sit in my jeans, two pairs of socks, tank top, t-shirt, and hoody. My body is still chilled so I wrap myself in a fleece blanket. With hot tea next to the computer, I have finally reached a temperature that allows me to think of things other than how cold I am inside my own house. It's 6 pm and soon the sun will sink under the horizon and darkness will rule the night.

My head hurts. Not your normal dull, annoying hurt, but a forceful pounding that rolls from the back of the head to the front. My eyes feel as though they will explode at any moment and I'm tired. In an effort to forget about the pounding I joined J.R. and Brutus wrestling by his computer. For a moment there is laughter and enjoyment while we play with the puppy. Then the back of J.R.'s head makes contact with my check bone. For a moment I am calm. Then before I can realize what is going on, a jolt of pain rushes through my head, into my eyes, and tears begin to run down my cheeks. J.R. is left speechless. Apologizing over and over saying he didn't hit me that hard. I try to explain to him that he didn't hit me hard and that I'm fine but he doesn't understand. He can't understand how the migraine has taken over and how a simple tap on the cheek can cause so much pain to an aching mind.

And so I sit, tears still rolling down my face and the headache worsens. The Excedrin migraine has done little to nothing to ease the pain and I am coming to the realization that I'm going to have to suck it up to make it through my homework. Thirty pages of tough reading with questions to answer, a summary to write on Hmong culture, and a report on the 4/5's rule, all due tomorrow. I wish I could blame myself, call myself an idiot for procrastinating. However, that's not the case. All of the assignments were handed out on Tuesday and are due tomorrow. Wicked, cruel teachers.

There is so much to write and discuss, but the homework load has been sucking up all of my time. I try to work ahead yet seem to be stuck always digging my way out in the last moment. Such is the life of a student. One can only hope that the migraine weakens, the fingers type quickly, and that the thoughts continue to flow freely from an unblocked mind. Maybe then the front door will stop blocking me from the beauty of a fall day.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Writers Block

I don't often sit down and struggle to find words to put on paper. Tonight however, was a different story.

Faced with the challenge of writing a descriptive paper about any place I'd like to write about, I froze. Does one write about Walter Reed, Fisher House, my childhood home, or my new house? What details are valuable about these places and why on earth does anyone want to read a three page essay of me describing what something looks like?

I really wanted to write about Walter Reed but I quickly became overwhelmed with the details of the hospital. The smell of bandages being changed, the squeak of the floors, and the never ending drip of the IV. It wasn't worth dredging up memories that took so long to "forget."

Six and a half hours later I'm going to bed. Three pages of useless crap written on paper about a swamp to satisfy a teacher.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

I'm Back.. and I'm Sticking Around

Lately, I've been feeling the urge to dust off the computer and return to the wonderful world of blogging. I must admit I've enjoyed my break from blogger and the outside world, but two weeks of writing English papers on topics that are a waste of ink have reminded me how wonderful freedom of speech truly is.

After a hectic summer of logrolling and home buying, we are finally moved into "The Farm." The house is old, creepy, and haunted by Larry the poltergeist who is obviously thrilled to have someone in his home that he can drive nuts by breaking their belongings. As we learn more about the history of "the farm," we have a better understanding of the property in general. We know the house was built in 1900 and that at one point there was a dairy farmer who lived here with his family. The original barn burnt to the ground and this allowed the farmer to build three new pole barns with cement floors. These barns are still standing, but they need a lot of work. When the dairy farmers passed away there son Larry took over the property. Larry was a Vietnam vet who came home with his share of mental health issues. He sought comfort at the local clinic and, from what I understand, drank himself to sleep every night. Recently he too passed away, but in his stay at "the farm" he never once cleaned anything or maintained any of the property. The house was eventually repossessed and purchased by one of our neighbors. When they bought the property every square inch of the house and the barns was filled with garbage. The floors were literally covered in junk and it took the whole family weeks to throw everything out. It is for this reason that I have decided Larry is still hanging around the house, waiting for his moment to break our belongings so that the property can once again be a junk collectors dream.
Even though we are moved into "the farm"there is a long way to go before we are settled in. Renovations are slow, boxes remain packed, and cable tv is now only seen at night when I close my eyes to sleep. On the bright side, we were able to get DSL so at least I can rot my brain away online! Brutus is probably the only member of the family that feels completely at home. He's not 36 pounds and growing everyday. Just three weeks ago I had to stop what I was doing to listen to the strange noise coming from the bathroom. Unable to place the sound I walked into the bathroom to find Brutus drinking from the toilet, proud as can be that he could finally reach the fountain of youth. I ran out declaring that Brutus really did grow over night since yesterday he could NOT drink from the toilet and today he most definitely could. J.R. responded by giving the dog a treat and proud "That a boy." He may not be the bravest dog but he does have an amazing personality and has glued himself to J.R. Once in a while I do get to spend time with the dog, however I've learned to stay off the floor as Brutus believes that you are a bed.

Aside from the house, school is in full swing once again. And although there are many, many school related items to discuss they each deserve separate, well thought out entries and must therefore wait for another day.

As for now, my bed is calling and the new version of TV is eagerly awaiting it's opportunity to play. Hopefully tonight's episode is better than the last.

Friday, August 1, 2008


It's hard to believe that a year ago today the bridge in Minneapolis collapsed. I was sitting on the bed in our room at Fisher House. The blue floral print comforter lured me to the cushion of the mattress where I sat in a moment of relaxation. The room was torn apart, boxes lay half filled on the floor and paperwork was scattered everywhere. The light at the end of the tunnel was getting brighter and we would be returning home soon. Home to the comforts of our own couch, our own kitchen, and our own quiet neighborhood. It was in this moment of relaxation at the Fisher House that I would learn of the bridge collapsing in Minneapolis. After a fast check to make sure that no one we knew had been traveling the bridge we would continue to watch the news in disbelief that such a tragic event could happen in a city that we love. A few weeks later we would return to life in the Midwest and the site of the collapsed bridge.

It's been a little over a year now since we left Walter Reed Army Medical Center and returned home for good. Our move was full of so many emotions. There was excitement to be in our own space, fear of what the future held, and anxiety over going back to school. Mixed in with everything else there was heartbreak. We were leaving behind friends that became family, therapists that became our best cheerleaders, and a house that became a home.

The move home was incredibly bittersweet and the last year we have come so far. There have been ups and downs but somehow we've managed to not kill each other. It took a lot of time to adjust to life after Walter Reed. For the first time in a long time it feels like J.R. and I are once again in sync and we have a somewhat normal routine for our life.

This year the warm weather brought logrolling back into our lives. It was so amazing to watch J.R. roll again this year. His body transformed from the thin frame of post war injury back into his toned muscular self. His eyes had a new light shining in them and his smile was bigger and better than ever. Although the end of the Lumberjack season didn't go exactly as planned, the summer of training was not wasted. J.R.'s return to the log proved that the enemy may turn your life upside down, but they can never break the spirit of any American Soldier.

As our one year anniversary of returning home from Walter Reed approaches, there is once again a move happening. In a few days we will close on our very own home. A cozy three bedroom farm house built in 1900 will be the new Salzman residence. The home comes with five acres of property and two extremely large man caves (AKA pole barns). And although I'm not sure I've convinced J.R. that cows would be a lovely edition to the property, I am confident that Brutus will be very pleased to become king of the hill and will rule the yard accordingly.

Although I am excited to be moving into our very own home I am struggling to leave behind my two bedroom apartment. This was my very first place that I made my home. It was in this apartment that I weathered a deployment. It was this apartment that J.R. longed to come home to while he was in Iraq. It was in this bedroom that I learned of J.R.'s injury. This was the home that helped me survive Walter Reed. It was my light at the end of the tunnel, my refuge when I needed it most, and because of that it will always be a special place for me.

Sunday, July 6, 2008


6:45 AM. This seems to be the new time my body has decided to wake up everyday now. It doesn't matter if I go to bed at 2 AM, I am wide awake at 6:45. I've decided that the only explanation for this is my unconscious mind is telling me their is shit to be done and sleep is reserved for after you are dead. Because Sunday is my day to sleep in and I happened to be up at the crack of dawn today, I now have this lovely two hour chunk of time that is all mine and it is time for a blog entry.

I am well aware that the blog has been silent for long periods of time. It's not that I don't want to write... actually it's quite the opposite. This summer I have started writing Life in a Cracker Box - The Book. I started this project thinking it would be rather easy to pull blog entries and fill in some cracks and then *poof* there would be a book. Funny how it doesn't work that way. Sitting down and recalling memories has turned out to be hell. There are so many moments I would love nothing more then to just burn out of my mind. Arguments I wish never happened. Words I wish were never said. As painful as some of these memories are they are still moments in my life that I can't take back. They are moments that define what J.R. and I have been through and how his injury has affected our lives. They're important. So when you see a long stretch of silence rest assured that life is still being documented. It's just at a slower pace with more proofreading.

On top of writing a book this summer I am picking up a million hours of work whenever possible. Cost of food is rising, gas is only going to get more expensive, and I refuse to work a million hours this fall and take 16 credits at the same time. I am hoping by saving my pennies now I will be able to cut my hours back at work once again and focus just on my studies. It's a nice dream.

Now onto the good parts of life.

This summer J.R. and I are welcoming a new member of the family. No, I'm not pregnant. Shame on you for jumping to conclusions. He is furry, has four legs, and goes by the name of Brutus. He happens to be the cutest springer spaniel I have ever laid eyes on and even though he is a giant pain in every ones ass I am completely in love with him. He's currently living with J.R.'s parents as we cannot have a dog in our apartment, but come August we will be in a new place that will allow us to have as many pets as our hearts desire. Currently he has already destroyed one internet cable, one pencil sharpener, and I'm sure a few other objects that we have yet to locate. We're going to have to work on that whole chewing issue.

This summer has also kept J.R. busy with logrolling. He's back at it and better than ever. After weeks of rolling he seems to finally be back to his old style. He looks healthy and he smiles more than he has in the last year. His body has made such a transformation from a year ago when his face was thin and sunken in, his arms were limp and tired, and all of his pants were falling off. The muscle has returned to his legs and arms, his face is full once again, and he now looks like the healthy man I married. It's a relief. Currently he is in Canada competing. I would love to tell you the exciting results of his three competitions but I have a feeling that he will kill me if I spill the beans. So for now my lips will have to remain sealed. As always we encourage anyone in the Wisconsin area to come watch him roll at the Lumberjack World Championships in Hayward, Wi. Come see him July 25, 26, and 27th!

In our spare time when I am not working and J.R. is not rolling, we have been busy sawing lumber. We have sawed thousands of board feet of wet heavy red pine timbers. Because J.R. doesn't trust me running the actual mill (every time I ask to run the mill he mutters something about me+power tools+sharp spinning blade=scary) I get stuck pulling boards. Now I don't know if you've ever had the chance to pull 16 ft long boards of heavy red pine up hill, but if anyone ever asks you to do this run. J.R. has the ability to saw the boards faster than I can pull them and re-stack them on the trailer. Although it was grueling work for both of us we managed to survive the sun and our tempers. And even though I would never admit it to J.R., I actually enjoy sawing lumber with him. It's a great upper body workout for me and I get a tan while doing it.

For now that is all I am able to spill to the world. Of course there is more news to share but once again my lips must stay sealed until a later date and time. It's time to take my coffee, glue on a smile, and head to work for another day of selling clothes to the good people of Menomonie.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Concourse E

After J.R. was injured I became an airport pro. Flying from Wisconsin to D.C. and back again once every month or so made me very comfortable with airport policies and has often made me wonder if I should just work for the airlines. After all… there wouldn’t be much left for training. I’ve got the crabby look, the short text book responses of “ID PLEASE!” and “NEXT IN LINE” and “your bag is overweight give me money.” I sometimes wonder if they just pocket that money.

As I walked into the terminal this morning I wasn’t surprised to see a million people all in line and holding passports. It takes forever to check these people in. Language barriers, passport checks, a million bags. I hate people that can afford international travel. I made it through the check in process with no problem and entered the security check point. This step went surprisingly fast. It wasn’t until I walked up to the first ID checker that I ran into an issue. Typically when I fly I use my military ID card to make my way through security. Fewer hassles, faster checks, and much more friendly TSA agents. Not today.

“This ID is expired.”

“Really?! I’m sorry, my husband and I don’t live on a base. We’re a national guard family so I rarely have to use my ID. Let me grab my license for you.”

“How do you not know your ID card is expired?”

“……I.Don’t.Live.On.Base. National guard.” (I resisted the urge to use jazz hands as I tried to make the national guard sound extra fabulous and special)

She stares at me with a blank face. After spending an extra few moments staring at my license she returns the ID cards and again comments on the fact that I wasn’t aware my military ID was expired. It’s not like a license, I don’t get some cool reminder in the mail saying “Hey guess what… we need you to come stand in line for five hours so we can take a nasty picture and slap it on an ID.” Doesn’t work that way.

I made it through the rest of security without a hitch. After redressing myself and putting all of my gadgets back in my bag I reached for the boarding pass to check where I was off to next.

Gate: E12

I wasn’t surprised to be flying out of concourse E. It seems that every time I am in the Minneapolis airport I am in this same concourse. As I walked through the concourse and pass every gate memories come flooding back.

I made my way to the end of the concourse. As the hallway opens up into a large area with the six remaining gates I stand and hold back tears. There before me is E15. For a few short days in November of 2006 this gate carried with it a happy memory; the memory of J.R. returning home from Iraq for his R&R. That day I stood next to a fellow Army wife and took pictures as her husband walked through the gate and saw their newborn child for the first time. Shortly after I snapped a picture I was able to wrap my arms around J.R. It was a hug full of relief, full of love, and even a few tears. It was as if our bodies had melted together and I could no longer tell where one began or ended. We were one for a few sweet moments. There was no one else in the airport, there was no world around us, no stress of Iraq, just us. To this day it remains one of my most memorable embraces.

As I continued to stand in the concourse my mind raced ahead to two weeks later. I found myself once again in concourse E standing by gate 15. This time I was saying goodbye. We sat in the chairs holding each other in silence. This goodbye was different than all of the others. We knew in our guts that something was changing, something wasn’t right. We held back tears as we whispered the only words that could come out, “I love you.” The first boarding call was made. As the tears started to flow we held each other closer, not wanting to let go but knowing that it was inevitable. Determined to make every moment count we allowed the boarding calls to continue. It was a moment when you felt that everyone was watching you, and for once you were right to feel this way. One brave woman gathered enough courage to approach us in our final minutes together. Seeing us struggle with saying goodbye she came up and told us how much we had touched her and how proud she was of our family and thanked us for what we were doing. There were tears in her eyes. Seeing her emotion I broke down. As the attendant called the third final boarding call the tone in her voice was authoritative and we knew that this was it. The plane was leaving. A quick kiss and I turned and ran. It was too painful to watch him walk through the gate and board the plane. I literally ran through the concourse crying. As I exited the airport through baggage claim “Have Yourself a Very Merry Christmas” played over the speakers. Disgust filled my body and I ran faster. I made it to the car and broke down. For half an hour I cried, unable to put the car in gear and drive home I let go of my husband and for a moment I made peace with the knowledge that life was going to be different soon. I didn’t know how it was going to change, or when, but I knew it was coming. As I left the airport I began to accept this feeling.

A few days later the phone call came. J.R. had been injured and the mystery of what was waiting to happen had been solved. In a few days I would once again find myself in the airport. This time sitting in concourse E, exhausted, stressed, and lacking nutrition. For days I had been able to eat very little. I was so anxious to see J.R. that food didn’t matter. I sat in my chair watching the seconds tick by, willing the minute hand to move faster and attempting to eat a bag of trail mix that would eventually end up in the garbage. All around me people were smiling. It was Christmas day and the airport was relaxed. I wanted to scream at people. I wanted to lash out and punch someone. I needed someone to feel what I was feeling, to understand my urgency to arrive at my final destination. It was the longest wait of my life.

In the following nine months I would fly in and out of concourse E more than I could have ever imagined. The Minneapolis/St. Paul airport began to feel a bit like home. There was always a sense of excitement as I returned to concourse E and a sense of dread as I left. When I enter the airport today it can be hard at times to hold these memories at bay. Even as I sit here now and reflect about my time in E I am holding back tears. How bittersweet military life is.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Here, There, Everywhere...

I assure you all, I have not died. The end of school brought long days and nights and a crazy final exam schedule. Having survived the semester I began my summer vacation with a positive attitude. Thinking I would have many lazy days with few commitments I began vacation with a trip to MI. It's been go go go ever since.

Tonight I'm packing for my trip to Plymouth, MA. I'm heading to the coast to see two friends from Fisher House tie the knot. I'm thrilled to go but rather unhappy that it's 10 pm now and I'm leaving for the airport in 5.5 hours and I haven't finished packing. If I get sleep tonight it will be a miracle. I take that back.. sleep would be a blessing.. a miracle would be all of the flights working tomorrow and my mother and I both making it to Boston as scheduled. I'm trying to have a positive attitude but lets face it, she has three different flights to get out to Boston so we're screwed. It's a glass half empty kind of night.

Life has been full of ups and downs. When it's up it's sky high and when it's down the devil would have to travel south to find me. I've come to the conclusion that at this point it's best to just enjoy the ups and hold on for all your worth in the low. It all evens out eventually and lets face it, I'd rather ride the roller coaster then sit on the merry-go-round my whole life.

For now I'm off to finish packing and find a small snack before I attempt sleep. I'm ready for the ocean.

**side note: I just got my e-mail account up and running again. I have not been ignoring anyone. Please be patient. I have been sorting through more e-mail then one could imagine.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008


I can tell it's close to finals week. The library is packed and all of my usual seats are taken. I once again find my personal space bubble popped and am left sitting awkwardly close to people I don't know. The kid behind me is clicking his pen, the girl in front of my is swinging her foot, and the boy to my right has his headphones on with music blaring so all I hear is muffled screaming. Lovely. Thankfully I am well prepared for finals and the stress levels aren't overly high. Even if I failed every final I would still be walking out of all of my classes with a solid B, so I'm not going to kill myself in the next week and a half.

Speaking of bubbles, my gym bubble was invaded the other night. I entered the gym at 11:30 pm to find one other person as crazy as me lifting weights. I had my pick of treadmills (I love when that happens) and so I hopped on the second one in from the right. Two minutes into my warm up a college aged boy enters the gym. Mind you all of the treadmills but the one I am walking on are open (that's like... 6 open treadmills). I watch as he walks over and stands behind the treadmill right next to mine. I tried to give him the evil eye in the mirror but apparently this wasn't very intimidating. As I began to run he jumped on the treadmill to my left and began his workout.

Now the thought crossed my mind of stopping the treadmill, cleaning it, and moving to one at the other end. After a minute of considering this possibility I decided I was much to lazy to clean not one but two machines and told myself to suck it up and keep running. So I did. Ten minutes later the boy was sweating like crazy. I watched as he raised his hand to wipe the beads of sweat off his forehead. Then to my horror he flicked his hand on the way down. It was as if the world had suddenly gone into slow motion.... I watched as little tiny drops of sweat went flying through the air towards me and then I felt it. Not one, but MULTIPLE direct hits. Tiny beads of some strange mans sweat hitting my skin.

I stopped the treadmill and went home, forever traumatized.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Proof I Married a Crazy!

Proof that I am married to a crazy man! There is snow and Ice and he's logrolling. At first glance of this picture I was so glad to see he had a hat on. Then I asked myself, "If you're logrolling in a lake that still has ice, in shorts, while it's snowing, does a hat really help or make any difference?" He's a smart one :)
If anyone has sent any e-mails in the past few days I'm not ignoring you, I just don't have working e-mail. J.R. has been moving his website which disrupts everything. It should be up and running shortly.
As for now I'm off to get my run in at the gym. Finals are coming up so every minute of my day counts right now.

Friday, April 18, 2008

We Are Not Alone

Leaving Walter Reed and returning home was hard for so many reasons. Not only were we leaving behind close friends but we were leaving behind a community who understood what it meant to be an amputee. It's easy to return home feeling as though you're the only one for miles going through this. Then, as time goes on you realize there are a heck of a lot more amputees out there than you think.

A few months after being home I was waiting on a very nice woman at work. As she opened her wallet to pay for her merchandise I noticed her wedding picture. As I took a closer look I was shocked to notice that her husband was missing his arm. After a short conversation I learned that they lived only 15 miles away from us and that her husband enjoyed many of the same outdoor activities J.R. does. She still comes into the store and I always love seeing her. It's nice to have someone around who doesn't look at you with concern when you tell them your husband broke his arm.

It wasn't soon after meeting this family that J.R. met another student at UW Stout who is also missing his arm. I have yet to meet the other student, but I do know that they both fish.

Then today as I was walking out my bank I stopped dead in my tracks. There was a man filling out a form with a prosthetic arm.

It just goes to show that even when you think you're the only family for miles experiencing this lifestyle there really is someone nearby that understands. It's a good feeling.

As for now it's to say Happy Birthday to the Cracker Box. Today marks the one year anniversary from when I started my blog. I can still remember writing my first post in the kitchen of the Fisher House. We've come so far in a year. Here's hoping for another year of good memories and many posts.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Who's got mind powers?!

Alright today is test day and yikes. I've done the review questions in the back of the chapters three times now (that's over 300 questions each time) and I still suck. I've come to accept the fact that this is not going to be my best test ever and that if I somehow manage to get a C I will die of a heart attack. If someone can figure out how to telepathically send me the answers to the test while I take it, I'll give you a million dollars.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Day of Study

Today is the day that I hate myself for not putting more time and energy into Economics over the weekend. Not only do I have an Econ exam tomorrow, but I also have a listening exam tomorrow. I have prepared myself by ordering not one, but TWO medium pizzas from Pizza Hut (I had a coupon) and I'm breaking out the container of oreos that will be lucky if they make it until 2 pm.

It's a good thing I have a gym membership.

J.R. comes back from Iowa today. Don't worry... I ordered two pizzas he wont have any interest in so there shall be no study food crisis. (I think this qualifies me as a rather mean wife, but he "didn't have cell phone service" so consider it pay back for not calling to tell me they made it to Iowa safely) I'm excited to see him. As always when he leaves on these short trips I lounge around the house bored out of my mind. With no one around to annoy with conversation it's incredibly quiet (and I HATE quiet). It also makes me wonder how the hell I survived alone for over a year. I'm such a wuss when he leaves. I slept with the living room lights on and got up multiple times each night to check and make sure the door was locked. Pathetic.

The runny nose issue is finally starting to disappear. I have yet to decide if this is an allergy reaction or a cold. Either way I'm glad it's leaving and hope it doesn't come back.

For now I must stop my procrastination and return back to the world of graphs and GDP. Lucky me.

Monday, April 14, 2008


One more thought.

I saw this story on foxnews just before closing the laptop and I am outraged.

One never knows when a phone call from their soldier could be the last chance to say I love you. How can you deny a child, punish a child, for wanting to talk to their parent who is an ocean away in a war zone?


Life in Menomonie has been busy (this is a recurring theme in case you missed that memo). Tonight I sit wide awake, unable to breath through my nose, and unable to escape the stresses of consciousness.

The past week has been a rough one for all UW Stout students. April 6th we lost three students in an off campus fire. Though I did not personally know any of the victims their loss has been felt all across campus. Their tragic death was followed by a sizeable protest from the Westboro Baptist Church. Why they protested their deaths is beyond me. I don't believe it is possible for a normal rational person to truly understand the philosophy behind an organization that preaches hate. It is rumored on campus that the organization is filing a lawsuit against UW Stout due to a student stealing one of their signs. Lets all pray that if this rumor is true they lose miserably in court.

Just when we thought things couldn't get any worse on campus it was announced that we lost a senior student to a brain hemorrhage. For a campus of roughly 8,400 students it's been a hard hit. Their deaths remind us that life is precious and even at 18, 19, and 20 years old we are not invincible.

The four students, their families, and their friends remain in our thoughts.

We have officially hit the last three weeks of the semester and many of us are ready to explode. Professors are frantically cramming in last minute assignments and doubling up on chapters so we can cover everything on the syllabus. I eat, and sometimes sleep at the library (napping in between chapters is needed since REM sleep helps us organize and remember data... that's my logic for sleeping after studying economics). If I could shower in the library I think I'd move in. I keep reminding myself that we're ALMOST to summer vacation and then I'll be able to take a deep breath and relax.

Work... that's a topic we haven't talked about in a long time. I'm now financially able to cut back to ONE day a week. Working one day gives me some fun money to use on the weekend and it lets me keep my amazing 40% discount. Cutting back on my hours not only opened up more time to spend in the library, but it frees up some time for actual relaxation. Amazing.

Now I'm pretty sure that we are currently in the month of April. At least, my calendar says we are even if the weather outside is still stuck in February. With spring time comes not only spring cleaning but also a reminder that swim suit season is right around the corner. It's time for the gym. Normally I live on the elliptical when I work out, but lately I've been trying this whole treadmill running thing. I hate it. I hate the pounding on the knees, the breathing, and everything about it but oh do I love the feeling afterwards. It's a feeling that you just can't get from thirty minutes on the elliptical. I have way more energy and need way less sleep at night. It's better than any cup of coffee I've ever had. I think I'm hooked.. at least until next winter when it's time to hibernate again.

For now it's 2:45 in the morning and I must continue in my quest for sleep. I'm not sure if I have a cold, or allergies, or some random virus... whatever it is I'm not enjoying it. If I don't take the decongestant I can't breath out of my nose. If I do take the decongestant my nose drips uncontrollably. I got so annoyed with the constant wiping and blowing of my nose tonight while trying to do my Economics homework, that I cut a tampon in half and shoved it up my nose (a confession you would only get out of me in the middle of a sleepless night). It may not have been beautiful but it worked. Thank God J.R. is in Iowa turkey hunting for the next couple of days. I would never live this down if he was here to witness it.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008


Four weeks of school left. Four! Amazing.

Back to the books.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Freshman 15

Why is it when you cram in a four page paper at the last minute, you also cram in five million calories? Does the 32 once pop with the large bag of M&M's and the three bars of laughy taffy really improve my ability to think? Probably not. Does the consumption of sugar ease the stress of finishing the paper? Probably not.

And we wonder where the freshman 15 comes from...

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

The Little Engine That Could

I know I've fallen off the face of the Earth lately but I promise you all I'm alive and fine.

Like rail cars tied together and pulled by a locomotive, my responsibilities have tied together to form a heavy load to pull. And just like The Little Engine That Could I am pulling my load hirer and hirer up the mountain until I eventually reach the crest and coast my way down.

I think I can.

With the help of some angels who have shifted the load and given me a push I know I can.

Life has been incredibly busy homework, VA visits, and some other mucky things. But never fear, I'm still finding time to have some fun. Recently I joined J.R. on a trip to Vail, Colorado for some lessons in snowboarding. I fell a ton, laughed a lot, and we both had a fantastic time. More pictures and writing about this will happen... someday.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Thirty-five Minutes

Thirty-five minutes until Philosophy is over. That means thirty-five minutes until my spring break officially starts. Spring break means more time to write. I think.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008


War never interrupts life at an ideal moment.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Three Hundred Dollar Nap

Today I took the best $300 nap in my life. I value this nap at $300 because currently as UW Stout students, that's about what we are paying per credit and nap time happens in my relaxation class.

This afternoon in relaxation we practiced hypnosis. All 40 some students piled into the wrestling room and laid on the mats (all of us trying to convince ourselves that the mats are indeed clean). The tape began to play and a man explained the idea behind hypnosis.

"Hypnosis is done while you are still awake.. blah blah blah.. relax... blah blah blah.... deeper and deeper.. blah blah blah... sleep."

OK. I'll sleep. One second I was listening to the man talk and then bam... the class was moving and Kelsey was laughing at me while she tried to decide who was snoring louder, me or Josh. Lovely.

I will say that I feel incredibly refreshed and have much more focus for the rest of my day that wont be finished until 10:something tonight. As for now it's time for psychology and a test over Chapter 18: Social Psych.

Monday, February 18, 2008

RIP Hoover

I returned home around one pm today. I walked into the bedroom and *Gasp* the third and final fishy was dead. I'm telling you... J.R. sabotaged the fish. Here is my evidence:

1. Every time I left the apartment the fish were happy and swimming around just fine.
2. The fish were in clean, room temperature water and were not experiencing any extreme temperature changes.
3. They were fed the proper amount.
4. They always turned up dead after J.R. had been alone in the apartment with them.
5. J.R. use to decapitate frogs as a small child by putting a "leash" on them and dragging it around. What chance does a goldfish have?! No one ever should have told me that story as I find it highly entertaining and like to use it against J.R. whenever possible. For example...

"Jo, you left the light on in the bedroom again."

"Yeah well.. you use to decapitate frogs."

Oh the maturity that flows through this house.


I woke up this morning at the crack of dawn. OK it was more like 7 am so not exactly the crack of dawn.... work with me here. I took a few minutes to get ready for the day and ran out the door only to be greeted by the -11 temperature and blowing snow. I buckled myself into the car and said a little prayer before turning the key. The car started and off I went.

J.R. gave me strict orders last night to not allow my car to warm up. The coolant light has been coming on and it was once again empty. I was told to go to the shop, go directly to the shop, do not stop for coffee, and do not turn the car off. Yes Sir! Not a problem. After dropping my car off I suddenly realized that it's 8 am. J.R. is toasty warm under the covers of the bed, and I'm ten blocks from campus. With the wind blowing at 20 mph I set off on my walk to campus. I walked around the lake, over the unshovled sidewalks with drifts of snow averaging around 10 inches, and wind blowing the powdered ice into my face. All while J.R. was toasty warm under the covers, the xterra sitting nice and warm in the garage, and my car in the shop.

And just think... I get to do the walk all over again later today to pick my car up. I love living in the arctic.

In other news, I am very sad to report that a second goldfish (Harriet) has died and gone to fishy heaven. I'm blaming her death on heartbreak after Priscilla's sudden passing. I'm sure you're all thinking the same thing as J.R.

"Wow, you should really not be trusted with any living creature."

For the record, the fish have a lovely, ginormous goldfish bowl. The thing is huge and they have two and a half beautiful gallons of room temperature water to swim around in (and they're itty bitty fishies). They are fed the right amount of food, and they are kept in a room that isn't overly warm, or overly cold. They should not be dieing. I still say J.R. is sabotaging my fish. Someday this week I'm going to Eau Claire and buying goldfish from the pet store. Maybe they'll last longer than Wal-Mart fish.

And now for the real news.

The Family and Medical Leave Act has a new policy! Spouses, parents, siblings, next of kin, etc... are now being granted 26 weeks of FMLA to care of a recovering soldier. AMAZING! Though this law is not yet perfect we are looking at a HUGE step in the right direction. I encourage everyone to take a look and read for yourself.

I'm so thankful that caregivers are finally being granted some added protection. It's time our country recognizes the sacrifices being made by families. We still have a long ways to go but I'm starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

The battery on my computer is almost dead and I have a load of philosophy homework to review before class starts in 45 minutes.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Please Help

If you were in my cell phone, aren't sure you were in my cell phone, want to be in my cell phone, etc.... send me your contact information. This includes, but is not limited to close friends, family (immediate or extended), all soldiers from J.R.'s unit, and everyone else. If you're not sure send it anyway because I will not remember your number from memory... I can't even remember my own mothers cell phone number and I talk to her three times a day. Everything managed to delete itself and I can't locate the backup file (which I KNOW I made). You can send this information to my e-mail Josie@JRSalzman.com . I greatly appreciate it.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Best Week Ever

I am still alive and kicking. My goldfish... well that's another story. Priscilla kicked the bucket yesterday. I had a very lovely goodbye ceremony as I flushed her down the toilet and whined to J.R. that my very favorite fish didn't live to see a week. I swear he spiked the tank with vodka.

Aside from the fish dieing and my car torturing me with needed repairs, this week has been amazing. To sum it up very shortly Soldiers Angels made my year, J.R. is finally getting treated for TBI, and I got an A on both my psychology and my economics exams. It just doesn't get any better then that.

Someday when I have more time and I don't have to be awake in seven hours I will explain the above in more depth. Tonight however I have a very nice date with my pillow. Happy Valentines Day everyone!

Monday, February 11, 2008

My Cup is Empty

Yes that's right.. my coffee cup is empty again.

If I fall asleep tonight it will be a miracle.

Sunday, February 10, 2008


Tonight has not been a good night. There is a constant inner struggle with trying to sort out time to be a wife, a student, an employee, a housekeeper, and be a sane person. Tuesday brings two massive exams. One in psychology and one in economics. I've been trying to study all week little by little but between work and classes it's been tough. I'm down to the final crunch. I was so looking forward to auditioning for the school play tomorrow night, but an unexpected bill pulled out of my checking account and sent my numbers into the red. With my day booked solid tomorrow and the bank needing an hour and ten minutes of my time, I have to cut something from the plan. My options are simple... class, study time, or auditions. The auditions are gone.

I'm tired. I feel as though I have no help. I'm suppose to sort all of this out on my own and even my husband has no idea what I need most days. Most days he doesn't know what he needs so I can't expect him to understand my needs.

I know what the counselor will say this week. I'll tell him my stresses and he will turn to me and say "What can you cut out? What can you do for you?"

My options are simple. Cut school and work dead end jobs at minimum wage for the rest of my life. Cut out my husband and be a bitter old woman with a million goldfish. Cut out my job and freeze to death in the -40 weather. Cut the housework and hire a maid who will accept warm fuzzies for payments.

You figure it out.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Here Fishy Fishy!!!

Yesterday I made a trip to Wal-Mart and saved three little fishes from their sure death in the tanks at the super center. After making my way home I proudly entered the apartment to show J.R. my new pets.

"J.R. look... FISHES!!!!"

"Jo, why on earth did you buy goldfish. You know this is just going to be a repeat of last time and they're going to end up dead in a week and I'm going to find them in the freezer...."

He has no faith in me after one stupid little fish died. I barely had the thing for six hours and it was floating belly up. Infuriated I put the fish in a ziplock bag and put it in the freezer. I had every intention of returning the fish and getting a new one. By the end of the week I still hadn't gone for the new fish and the frozen goldie was long forgotten in the back of the freezer. Well, it was forgotten until J.R. came home on R&R and discovered the fish in the very back corner of the freezer. I tried to explain to him what happened but he's never believed one word of the story and from that day on he's been determined to keep anything living away from me.

"...Seriously Jo, why did you buy goldfish?"

"Well, we don't have a dog, or a cat, and you're never home at night anymore. Somebody has to keep me company and protect me and sense you can't seem to manage the job I'm going to have to depend on Hoover, Harriet, and Priscilla."

"OMG, you named them."

"Of course I named them. You can't have a pet without a name. It just doesn't work."


"No shit Sherlock. And they still deserve names. So here they are... Hoover the food mover, Priscilla the pest, and Harriet the hider (she's a little shy)."

"You've lost it Jo."

He may think I'm nuts but at least I'm entertained. Now if I can just keep them alive.

Moving on...

It's been another crazy week at school. I've managed to become completely confused with a great understanding of Hinduism (figure that one out), aced a quiz in Psychology, and made a new promise to never buy any clothing made in China ever again after watching the documentary China Blue.

Tuesday night J.R. returned to the VA for a psychology appointment. Although he may be just fine with how these go I'm a little disgusted. They usually last about 15 minutes. That's just enough time to say "Hey how ya doing? Great. Here's some Prozac take it everyday." How is that true counseling? I go once a week and it's an hour long drill session of "How does that make you feel? If you get angry what do you do about it? Why do you do that? Try this..." It's a never ending war.

The laundry is beeping at me and I have piles of school work calling my name. I'd love to keep writing as there is so much to say, but there just aren't enough hours in the day. Words will just have to wait.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Definitely a Possum

Last night my sleep was shallow and interrupted. J.R. spent the entire night working at the shop leaving me home alone. Some days I wonder how I lived by myself while J.R. was in Iraq. Now that he is home again I'm the biggest chicken in the world. Every little noise has me on alert. It's pathetic really. I fell asleep on the couch around 1:30 watching Father of the Bride II. One minute Steve Martin was finding out he was going to be a father and the next some cowboy was riding around on a horse shooting who knows what. Realizing the J.R. was still not home I closed my eyes and drifted back off to never never land. 5:45 rolled around and I was wide awake. Where was J.R.? Why isn't he home sleeping yet? Why is his phone sitting on the coffee table and not in his pocket where is belongs? Thoroughly annoyed and worried I dragged myself to the bed. Trying to sleep was pointless. I just kept imagining J.R. laying on the floor of his shop hurt and unable to call for help because he phone was sitting on the coffee table. I got myself so worked up that I almost drove to the shop to find him and yell at him to come home and sleep. Luckily the rational person hidden somewhere deep inside me told my imagination to shut up and remember that J.R. has possum blood in him and never sleeps at night. He came home eventually only to crawl in bed and steal the covers. I gave up on sleep after that.

I rolled out of bed and made the strongest mocha I could. I then dragged myself to the shower and got myself ready for the day. Feeling awake and refreshed I began the process of my new obsessive ritual... bleaching the kitchen counters. Yesterday I wiped them down three times. Today it was four. Maybe it is because for the first time in months I can actually SEE the counter. Or maybe it's just a great way to take out any built up anger. Either way my counters are so clean you could eat off them.

As for now I'm going to go sink into the tub and reread my philosophy chapters. I have a feeling I'm still not going to comprehend the written words, but all I can do is try.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

June Cleaver Meet D.J. Tanner

The first full week of school is over and what a week it has been. I already feel as if I have been back in class for months. I will admit it's nice to be back in some kind of a routine and I am feeling much more productive than I was over all of Christmas break.

I was really dreading my Economics class. After thinking about this for some time this weekend I've come to the conclusion that part of why I was dreading the subject was because I had no background in econ and my first experience was going to be a college class. I was very afraid that this would end up a lot like my experience at MSU where the professors were so amazing at their own subjects that they were unable to break it down to an elementary level. I can remember sitting through music theory classes just staring at the professor and thinking huh?! Half of the students came from high schools that didn't offer music theory as a class and therefore had very little background in the subject. It was incredibly hard to play catch up.


My econ professor is amazing. She is very easy to listen to and has a wonderful way of explaining theory in terms we all understand. The other wonderful part of this class is I am not the only "non-traditional student." Two of the students are in their early 40's and another man is around J.R.'s age, married, and has two daughters. It is refreshing to take a course with fellow students who have been there, done that.

This whole "non-traditional student" label can be very frustrating. I do not regret marrying at a young age. I would not take back J.R.'s injuries. These major events make me and J.R. who we are. As frustrating as it can be to overcome what life has thrown at us I do feel that we have grown in a very positive way from what has happened. Because of the choices I have made, the places I have gone, and the life lessons I have learned, I carry an advantage in the classroom. I am able to look at theories on life and apply them in a very different way than most students fresh out of high school. However, when it comes to making friends, a casual acquaintance, or speaking to a professor on a one on one basis outside of class, the life I've lead can make things a little muddy. Lets face it, most 21 year old students are going to find it a little odd that a peer their age is married. Tell them you've been to the playboy mansion, your husband has an ESPY, and that he has his arm blown off and they'll laugh at you in disbelief as they walk away. One has to become very selective about what details you can and cannot reveal which is exhausting. Some days I feel as if I have multiple personalities... June Cleaver (always perfect house wife) meets D.J. Tanner (young, hip, teenage girl that hangs with the cool crowd). Maybe someday I'll find a balance and I'll go back to being one person. Until then, I'm just non-traditional.

Aside from school I have been a cleaning machine. The bedroom is officially spotless. The kitchen is sparkling. The laundry bins are empty. It is wonderful. This week I made it my goal to find the kitchen table. It took a while but I found it. With my homework completed and the table exposed it was time to get a few projects done that I've been dieing to finish. Last night I pulled out my sewing machine and hemmed my bedroom curtains. I love any excuse I can find to pull out my machine. I am very fortunate to have a sewing machine that my Grandmother purchased after she graduated high school. As the years went on the machine was given to my Mother. As a small child I can remember begging my Mom to let me use the machine. I can't remember any specific projects that I actually sewed with the machine, but I'm sure I made a lot of pillows. When I moved out on my own my Mom passed the machine on to me. It still works just as well as the day my Grandmother bought it. Someday I'll upgrade and have a fancy new machine, but until then I'm going to enjoy my featherweight.

For the rest of my night I'm going to go bury myself in Hinduism and make an attempt at understanding the complex philosophy.