•October 27, 2010 • Leave a Comment

I always dither back and forth on titles for these little posts. i’d prefer them to be witty and eye-catching, deep yet subtle. so they almost always end up being whatever song is stuck in my head atm, or else a line that is running around in my brain that vaguely connects to what i’m writing about.

currently, i got nothing since i have To Be with You lyrics in my brain and i’ve already used that one.

my shop has been tdy for the last 1.5 weeks, and i’m struggling to find the motivation to push myself to complete the very easy task that they left me with. i just really really don’t wanna. i don’t even have the drive to play around in Photoshop… which is saying tons and tons.

i’ve ordered all my college transcripts and at least some of them have arrived at the school. i need to write my admissions essay, which is, Why I Want to go to a Christian University. Honestly, the faith aspect of it is a neutral point to me. i want to go there because it’s conveniently located, i can afford it, and they have a good program and great connections for graduates.  My NY’s resolution this year was to stop lying about things…so i have to figure out a way to sell myself so that they’ll want me. in 250 to 300 words. which dude, that is not enough to explain my convoluted ideas. just saying.

yes, i am a pottymouth and my head is all kinds of messed up, but overall i’m very teachable and i work hard at everything i do. (except for this week. not happening). i’ve been googling myself to make sure there’s nothing scandalous out there about me- this is the only thing that shows up. i like to think that it’s just a track record of some of my successes and frustrations, good days and bad days. not too bad. i hope? yeah hopefully. it’s awkward to be stuck by in that “oh, i hope they like me” phase. ick.

i’ve also been working and reworking my budget. not extremely easy since i’m just going off guestimations. my income will be my retirement pay from the AF and my housing allowance from the new GI Bill (both of which i have a definite number for) and my disability ratings from the VA. which i don’t know. i’m waiting for a form to arrive so that i can file my claim. i was told that if i file the claim while still on active duty the processing wait time is about 3 months, vs 8+ if i wait til after i get out. definitely trying to do that now.

anyways, i’m hoping that i can afford life without having to work. i’m a nerd and i like getting good grades, so ideally i won’t work at all. big reason why i want to stay here; life is cheap in this town. i lived in cool places the first 18 years of my life, i can wait a few more years before i get exotic again. i know this. per my budget and known income, i won’t have to work. i’ll won’t have a lot of extra money, but i’ll have enough to cover all my bills (which includes savings) and still have money for nonsense, which is good. i’m very used to living by a budget, however i’m also very accustomed to my current income level and it will take some time to get used to the decrease. however, i got this.

ew i’m rambling about boring stuff now. sorry kids.


my little ticking timer.

•October 22, 2010 • Leave a Comment

I got my results back on the 6th. I’m being temporarily medically retired with a disability rating of 30% through the AF. once i’m fully separated I’ll take all my medical records to the VA and then they’ll possibly give me more.

so that’s that.

i’d been outside smoking (yes, as an asthmatic, i still smoke) and i’d been thinking about calling my contact and asking. i didn’t want to be annoying so i decided not to. walked back inside, logged on to my computer, and saw an email from her. lots of attachments. my mind started flickering and i couldn’t focus on anything; all that registered was the attachment that said “separation worksheet” and “please come see me”.

i forwarded everything to everyone that needed copies.

and then i just sat there, in shock.

 honestly i’ve thought this whole time that i’d be separated, but i didn’t believe that it could actually happen. i’ve worked so very, very hard over the last 5 years and it’s difficult to imagine doing anything else. not being a part of this system.

after a bit i collected myself, went to go tell my boss i had to run by the hospital, and started bawling. poor guy. then my CC walked in a wrapped me up in a hug, which i thought was very nice of him. my sobs were borderline hysterical by that point because whenever i’m upset and people are nice to me it always makes me want to cry that much harder. funny right?

<i wrote all that bit a week ago. much calmer now>

after my initial 48 hour freak out (stayed totally sober, yay me! i got this!) i realized….omfg i won’t be in the AF anymore. i get to be a college kid. only without the debt. omg. omg. omg.

so i’m applying to a school in town, for their graphic design major and hopefully i’ll get in. that starts on Jan 18th. My final day of work for the AF is 15 November if i’m not mistaken; which leaves me two months to dick around and be a bum. if i had tons of money saved up i would soooo go on a road trip and drive around being silly.  unfortunately i have a relative plethora of bills so that’s just not going to happen.

much as i’ve not loved living in this town, it is really cheap. the new 9/11 GIBill benefits will cover my tuition and rent and a couple of books even, then adding my disability pay it’s looking like i might not even have to work….which makes me so freaking happy. god.

i’m nervous about not having medical insurance. i’m worried that the VA will take a long time and i’ll be broke without an income. i’m scared that i’m too out of tune with being a fulltime student. and i’m very grateful for my extremely supportive friends who keep telling me i got this.

i totally got this.


•October 21, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Watch this amazing video. feel free to laugh and snicker a little while possibly gasping at the foul use of the word FUCK…. but stand up and show some fucking support people.

and here’s my miniscule contribution:


just call me thumper

•October 4, 2010 • Leave a Comment

my heart has recently developed this freakish habit of beating so strongly that it gives me away constantly. there goes my calm exterior.. which is overdue for a hiatus i believe.

so i might find out this week or next week about my MEB. i’m trying very very hard not to become annoying and phone-stalk the poor people that are handling my paperwork but fml i want to know now dammit.

i can’t not plan. i just can’t not do it. i’m scrambling for school ideas, or work possibilities. i’m feeling terrified that my skills aren’t marketable, that i won’t be able to get a job to last me until school starts and i can get the GI Bill benefits.

i just looked up unemployment calculators, the average i’d get seems to be around $400, give a few bucks. based on my bills, totally livable. i just strongly dislike leaving things to chance.

i can see myself getting cranky and irritable,  and i’m trying very hard not to be, but my brain just won’t shut up and let me sleep or be quiet or at peace. i’ve stopped drinking, almost completely. it’s a strange experience i have no idea what to do with all my new sober hours, so i’m a little bored. but at the same time i’m restless because there’s so much going on, and i can’t concentrate on things i normally enjoy doing. and then of course all the things that i had tucked away behind an alcoholic barrier are resurfacing, which adds on to my irritability. eek. can’t win here kids.


Hero Worship: Margaret Moth

•September 20, 2010 • 4 Comments

I’ve been basking in hero worship.

This (beautiful) chick was the first female camera woman from NZ.. And then was one of the first of 5 amazing powerful and talented women working together to document the many wars.

Her life is what I’m setting mine into being. She’s incredible and ballsy and talented and amazing. I want my obituary to be almost exactly like hers. Probably just the whole being shot thing. I don’t need that one in order to feel fulfilled.

Hold On, Little Girl

•September 10, 2010 • Leave a Comment

i don’t think i’ve actually written about any of my medical issues over the past 12 months or so.

the most consistent and annoying is that i seem to have developed asthma. well, i’ve also broken my ankle, had a wee bout with cancer, depression, migraines, mri’s, etc etc.

most importantly, asthma.

last year in the ‘stan, on the first big mission i went on, i couldn’t freaking breathe. i was gasping and aching and hyperventilating and it was terrifying. as the deployment continued i had misc other silly things go wrong with me, but i kept having massive shortness of breath. they started giving me inhalers in….November i think it was. i had the black lung for multiple months, kept being put on different antibiotics, and it just wouldn’t clear up. either way, the doc’s in the desert strongly suggested i get my lungs checked out.

so in Februaryish i did. told a doc on base i’d had breathing issues in the desert and that i needed some help. they gave me a little breathing thing on base, kind of traumatizing- a nurse yelled at me to exhale harder, while the more i exhaled the more stars i was seeing. that went on for about 30 minutes and at the end i pretty much collapsed. end result was that the doctors were unimpressed and referred me to a pulmonarist. Dr Yeh. who i happen to think is the bizbiz.

somewhere during that timeframe, Marchish was the last time i moved faster than a quick walk. we were doing circuits inside the gym and one of my friends challenged me to a race. so i did. and we had to call an ambulance. it was extremely scary for me: i had tunnel vision, as in, the edges of my eyes started to fuzz and my viewpoint started getting smaller and smaller. meanwhile, my lungs felt like they were the size of a small tube that was being plugged, from the bottom up. i could feel my intake getting shorter and shorter as my tube was collapsing. fml.

Dr Yeh sent me to get a me to get a methaclone challenge done at a local hospital. also scary. i sat in a very, very small cubicle not fun asthma test.while i had to breath from a tube that was being filled with different levels of medicine to induce asthma. Basically, they measured my lungs at a resting rate. Then they put a low dosage into the tube. Then i had to exhale as quickly as possible and it was charted. Repeat x 5 with increasing level of drugs. At first i was my normal chatty self, but by round 3 you could hear my lungs wheezing from across the room. i didn’t want to talk because i didn’t want to the stupid air that i was struggling to get into my lungs. (the napkin was in case i drooled on myself. hot, i know.)

anyways, apparently if your lung capacity drops by 20% of the starting point, you have asthma. or at least, your lungs are fucked up.

mine dropped by like, 20.4%, which i figured meant that it was a mild case of the assssmar (Lord of the Flies anyone?). ain’t no thing, right?

ha, wrong.

i was told that asthma is one of the things that the Air Force will automatically send you to an MEB (medical evaluation board) for. At first they tried to do a “fast track” which i believe means local area review only. It got sent back because I’ve only been in for <5 years. Next i was informed that i was being full MEB’d. ie, it was going to be reviewed by multiple doctors on base, letter of reccomendation by my commander, etc, and then it would be sent to AFPC (which runs AF manning and stuff) for additional review.

that package was supposed to be mailed on mid-June, (i know that because i had to leave Washington early so i could come back and sign some gd paperwork) and my contact told me that the earliest i’d hear anything back would be December.

The possible options are:

a) i’m perfect, somebody was wrong, and life would go on.
b) that they’d keep me in the AF, but Code C me, which means that i’d have limited assignments and probably never deploy again.
c) i’d get a pat on the shoulder, a severence check and be on my merry way as Ms Tracy or
d) that i’d be placed on TDRL (temporary disability retired list) which means i’d be a civilian, but that every few months i’d have to check in with doctors. if my condition improved then i’d be back in the AF. if after 5 years there was no change, then i’d be permanently retired.

anyways, imagine my surprise last week when i got a call saying that the package was finally ready to be mailed off and they  needed me to come sign some stuff. i immediately tacked on the extra months (June bumped to September, so December was bumped to March) and just figured…same as before, schoolschoolschoolschoolSAVINGMONEYschoolschoolschool.

so i went in today to sign my papers. and the lady told me that in her professional opinion i would be getting option C or D. like, for real. and that AFPC is all caught up on their shit so i should hear by the end of October and maybe even November. and that she doubts i’ll be in the military by my birthday next year.

wow. big.

i asked her if her thoughts were based on my case or what- she told me that the AF is just not happy with asthma cases right now. that the last asthma case she handled, the guys lungs were much better than mine. he consistently passed his pt tests with 90+, and ran everywhere. he got option C.

see, this whole time people have been asking me which i’d prefer. do i want to stay in, or get out? Airman or Ms?

i know without a doubt that i’d be happier not being in the military…but it’s so comfortable. it makes me so very nervous to think about getting out and trying to find a job and apartments… where would i go? what would i do?

i’m not quite as scared these days because i feel like i have friends that i can rely on, and i’m more comfortable with the GI Bill system. i would have enough to live on, and life paid for a bit. it’s just… nervous making.


The Ending of a Saga

•August 31, 2010 • 4 Comments

Have you heard that the war in Iraq is over?

it is. I guess.

I was there in 2007, and being the lovely nosy person that I am, i consistently asked everyone what they thought. Did they prefer Saddam, what was their take on the US troops? what did they think the future held?

in the older generations, ie, the grizzled men old enough to be my father, it seemed that they were pretty unhappy about us being there. they agreed that Saddam sucked, but his small-scale massacres they could deal with. it was our invasions and clearing out of places that they had issues with. they were more than happy to take our [seemingly] excessive pay for easy work, but they did not want us there.

the men my age, the ones that were teenagers in 2003, and babies during the Gulf War, they were the hardest to talk to. they were the ones who had seen their fathers and uncles killed by our bombs, or by Saddam’s troop responses. didn’t really matter who pulled the trigger or set off the explosive, their loved ones were dead. gone. while they had spent most of their formative years under a dictatorship, for the most part people remained untouched. especially the ones on the outskirts of society. until we came. then we either killed them ourselves, or they died by association.

the little boys that i met, the ones born within the last ten years, they had hopes. visions. either they’d take all the American money possible from the troops living next to their houses, or they’d move to the US and make something for themselves. those children saw ways to manipulate their future based on the visions of wealth, education and healthcare that we were offering.

reminded me a bit of Timor Leste in 1999, when the government finally decided to just massacre as many people as possible, which forced the UN to step in and assist the nationals to “independence”.

While the UN was there, the country seemed to be on a trek to wonderful financial independence. I traveled intensively interior, to tiny villages without electricity or running water, where you could buy things at the market for USD, Euros or Indonesian Rupiah.

and then the country became “stable”, and the UN left. taking their income, their electricity, their hospitals, their road crews, everything. in my uneducated-and-on-site-viewpoint, the country collapsed. they had no internal source of income. at all.

Iraq is lucky to have their oil, but are they able to fund its production without outside help? who used to pay for it? who’s going to pay for it now? who is going to pay for the guns to protect their country? that’s honestly been my consistent question- who the fuck is going to step into the gaping financial hole that the coalition forces are leaving? hm? who?

i wish them the absolute best, but i don’t think there’s a way possible quite yet.

The men old enough to take over were raised in a dictatorship and have 40+ years of cultural training branded on their lifestyles.

The men my age a) won’t be trusted to be knowledgeable because they’re so fucking young and b) have grown up in a violent culture of hate and anger. possibly not the change that the world is hoping for.

the children however, as always, there’s hope for them. just not for another 30 years.

i see Iraq turning into another Philippines, or South Korea. unable to leave completely because we feel responsible, not to mention they ask so sweetly.

i’ve been reading articles all day about the Iraqi war. all the lives lost, on both sides. the innocent civilians accidentally shot, the families waiting for people who never come home. or when they do, they might as well have stayed gone because of what their traumas have turned them into.

i was about to say “there’s so much focus on the mental transformations of returning troops” when it hit me that perhaps there isn’t. maybe it’s just a obession of mine that leads me to find articles about it, and be morbid about how fucked up so many are.

people in the States get offended by babies having babies. personally i find it worse to send children to war.

*puts away soapbox.* i cant afford to get emotional where i currently am, so i’m done.

please enjoy a violent set of beautiful photographs from the Iraqi war.