Tuesday, May 5, 2009

My Life List

1. Get married
2. Have children (3)
3. Buy a house
4. Get a new car (suv)
5. Finish School
6. Get a great job
7. Graduate school for a master's degree
8. Pay off credit card debt
9. Pay off student loans
10. Have a big savings account
11. Buy a new laptop
12. Be completely 100% organized
13. Learn how to cook (classes?)
14. Learn Spanish
15. Learn another language
16. Start a blog
17. Write in a journal every day
18. Write an article for a magazine or online
19. Write a book (published)
20. Become a freelance writer
21. Read 1 book each month
22. Read the whole Bible
23. Pray every day
24. Take an art or craft class
25. Make scrapbooks
26. Make Mom scrapbook or collage.
27. Recycle!
28. Join at least 2 nonprofit organizations
29. Change someones life
30. Volunteer a few hours each month
31. Organize a charity fundraiser
32. Give up/dedicate a birthday or Christmas to charity
33. Go on a charity/volunteer vacation
34. Run a marathon
35. Swim for a whole mile
36. Complete triathlon
37. Go on a long hiking trip
38. Go camping
39. Climb a mountain
40. Go skydiving
41. Go white water rafting
42. Go skiing
43. Learn how to surf
44. Own a bike and ride it
45. Go up in a hot air balloon
46. Go sailing
47. Go on a cruise
48. Visit all 50 states
49. Live in another country
50. Travel or live in Europe (go back to Rome!)
51. Lose weight and maintain
52. Get back into lifting weights
53. Get professional pics taken
54. Be a vegetarian for 1 month
55. Go to Disneyland
56. Swim with dolphins
57. Go scuba diving
58. Take my mom on vacation to special place she has never been
59. Learn how to sew (make a piece of clothing)
60. Change jobs until I'm completely happy
61. Take dancing lessons
62. Stay in touch with old friends (email, call, myspace, facebook, etc)
63. Call my family more often
64. Get a tattoo
65. Get my palm read (fortune teller)
66. Learn how to meditate
67. Take a yoga class
68. Take a Pilate's class
69. Become an expert or teach a class
70. Meet someone new every day
71. Get coco (my dog) a work certificate
72. Go to church on Sunday (become a member)
73. Message all my friends on myspace, facebook
74. Rescue a dog
75. Take horseback riding lessons (ride a horse)
76. Go to museums, art shows, etc more often
77. Attend a wine class, learn about wine
78. "Forgive" people from my past, overcome anger
79. Be positive every day
80. Run 30 miles a week every week
81. Run 2 miles in less than 14 minutes
82. Start my own business/work for myself
83. Go on a picnic
84. Be on Amazing Race!
85. Go 30 days with no soda
86. Go 30 days with no chocolate
87. Learn how to change a tire
88. Say no without feeling bad
89. Meet the President
90. Make a fashion journal (magazine pics)
91. Go to Britney Spears concert
92. Attend a catholic mass
93. Go to drive in movie theater
94. Learn more about how to plants (how to plant and keep alive)

Monday, May 4, 2009

Why blog?

What an accomplishement! My blog has finally been created. This is my first offical blog entry. All of the posts prior to this one were written before this blog was created. Since I have been writing periodically for the past three years, I wanted to share my written thoughts and experiences as they occurred. Since there has already been so much explained about my past, today I plan on writing on what is actually happening now.

Today was a good day even though it rained here in Oklahoma. I should be used to this weather by now, but I still miss the always sunny California. Even though Oklahoma is not as bad as I thought it would be, I still have not entirely embraced this new home of mine. A few people have told me that it might take me up to a year to feel at home here. With 4 months down and 8 to go, I will remain hopeful. Of course having a job would help this situation since I would actually be doing something. Last week I heard back about a position that I had applied for back in February. Even though I was selected for the position, I am now waiting for the official offer and start date. Having a job will help me to pick up the pieces of my life that fell apart.

Well thats all for now. Goodnight

Thursday, April 30, 2009

I Need a JOB

Written November 6, 2008
I haven’t written in about two months. I apologized to myself and now I am moving on. Let’s see what’s new with me?

My last class is much better than the first time I took it. Of course with no military training interference, I am able to get online when I need to and write my papers without interruptions. Of course, I told myself that I would be doing my work ahead of time and have every single assignment completed before it was due. Well, it seems that I will always procrastinate, unless I am taking adderall. That is honestly the only thing that works for me.

I still haven’t lost all the weight that I have gained over the past year. I can’t fit into any of my jeans, work clothes, or anything else for that matter. I wear sweats and workout clothes every day and I’m really tired of it. I went running today for about an hour with Coco. My chocolate lab demands physical exercise which has motivated me to get out of the house. I hope that I keep up my morning walks/runs so that I can shed off some weight before the holidays. I have cut out some foods in my diet and I hope to become as healthy as I was before.

Clee and I are still in Tulare, California. We are so ready to move away from this place and start our future together. We have always considered this location to be temporary so we haven’t focused on planting any roots here. We don’t go out too much, I haven’t gotten a job, and we really don’t have too many friends. I hate not working. Well, let me rephrase that…..I hate not having money, I love not working. Seriously, I have to get a job and soon. I am running out of money and fast. I have been barely paying my bills and after this month, I will be completely dependent on someone else for the first time since I was 15. I miss my nails, my hair appointments, my stylish clothes, and all my splurges on sushi and other expensive fun stuff. This may have something to do with my depression and this rut I seem to be in right now. Hopefully getting a job will improve my life, so I can say that I am happy again.

No Smoking

September 27, 2008
Today will make it the first time that I have written two days in a row. On the flight back to California, I made a promise to myself that I would keep writing on a regular basis. I’m not really sure why I haven’t been writing. I just don’t think about it or I think about it after I am already in the middle of doing something else.

There is a reason why I remembered to write today. I realized that today will make it DAY 4 that I have not smoked a cigarette. My smoking habits had increased about a year ago, around the time that I realized my life was all wrong. I have been smoking occasionally ever since high school. I normally had a few cigarettes when I went out for drinks, and sometimes I would quit smoking for months at a time. The last couple of times I came to visit Clee in California, I didn’t even have to try to quit smoking, so I’m not sure why this time was any different. Four days ago, with only one Marlboro light left in my pack, I told myself that it was time to quit. I think about it sometimes, and I try to convince myself that it will be my last pack, but honestly how many last packs has it been so far?

Now, if I could only make that kind of commitment to running and writing, my life might just fall back into place.

Searching for Myself

September 26, 2008
The last time I wrote, I was on a plane returning back home to California. It will probably be one of those days that I will never forget. I’ve been trying to find the best words to describe my feelings on that day, but I honestly can’t even figure it out myself.

I felt happy, excited, relieved, guilty, shameful, confused, angry, betrayed, and most of all disappointed. With so many emotions constantly running through me, it all makes since as to why I can’t get back to normal.

The promises I made to myself are not happening. I don’t have a job, I can’t get back to running or the gym, I can’t get my relationship back to normal, I can’t get ME back. That girl that was always on the go, always finding a way to work out no matter what, always maintaining her appearance compared to the highest standard, always ready to go out for drinks and meet new people, and always smiling because she was having fun. That girl was me or I guess I should say used to be me.

I’m not back to normal yet and by normal I am referring to the person I was before everything that has happened in the past few years. I want to get back to happy, confident, and fun.

Its not that I haven’t tried…..I have been looking for a job, I registered to take my final course before graduating (again), I go running or to the gym occasionally, and I’m trying to be the me that Clee fell in love with.

Flight to Life

Written July 26, 2008
Today is the day I start living. I am not referring to the day that I was born and I am not a believer in rebirth or reincarnation. What I mean is that today is the first day for me to take back control of my life. I will always remember today because it is the beginning of happiness. Today is the beginning of a new chapter of my life. It is a day that I will never forget because it will always be a reminder of personal strength and growth. Today I am free and I can now begin to work towards peace and happiness, two feelings which have been erased from my life for so long that I fear that I will forget what they are like.

I am on a plane writing in a standard notebook tablet because my laptop continues to blackout immediately after I unplug it from the outlet. I'm sure I have a problem with the battery or charger, but sure enough when technology fails, one can always depend on pen and paper.

I plan on writing everyday, similar to journal entries that will also include stories and information about my past. Three years ago, I planned to write a book, but I have to wonder if "Blogging" is the new "Book" for the 21st century. It is to early to predict what will become of my written thoughts and experiences.

My plane is getting ready to land which means that I am one stop closer to being home. After several flights in the past two years, it is this one flight that I will never forget. Years from now, I will still recognize this flight as one that had a great impact on discovering myself.
7 July 2008 – This is the start date of mobilization which was a travel day to home station in Richmond, Virginia. I left my home of record at 0500 and arrived in Richmond at 1800. I immediately notified my squad leader that the plane had landed and I was told to look for the van outside after I got my luggage. I called him back when I did not see the van and he informed me that they were on the way. He called me 45 minutes later and I found out that nobody had left to get me because they were all eating dinner. I was not so much bothered that it took so long to pick me up, but I was angry that I had been lied to twice by my immediate supervisor. Since I already have so many trust issues with leadership and others in the unit, something like this really has an affect on my mood. I got really upset and didn’t think that I would be able to make it.

8 July 2008 – Home station

9 July 2008 – Home station and farewell party for family and soldiers. My dad and brother both attended this event. My dad asked the platoon leader several questions concerning the unit structure and was surprised that we did not know who the chaplain was for the unit. I also had to fill out my civilian mobilization checklist which I did not understand. Since I have been ignored and forgotten by supervisors in my headquarters for so long, I do not rely on their help or assistance. I really wanted to have it explained to me, but I just did not want to deal with the frustration of having to contact anybody.

10 July 2008 – This is the travel day from Richmond, VA to Ft. Dix, New Jersey. After we arrive to Ft Dix, we eat lunch, unload the bus, and attend a few briefings. LTC greeted us on the bus, I thought she was the CDR for the mobilization, but I was not sure. After I unloaded by bags into my room, my platoon leader motioned for me to stay back and the LTC had me follow her outside with the platoon leader. I figured that she would probably want to talk with me about my medical concerns and the deployments. I was not at all expecting the meeting to go as it did.

She started by telling me that she has had briefings with several different unit personnel, and she understands that I am trying to get out of the deployment and that I don’t want to go overseas. I told her that this was not correct and that I simply wanted to be able to seek the correct treatment so that I could be happy again and go back to how I was two years ago. I explained that I had been seen by several different behavioral specialists in the past five months which whom I only met with briefly and I am still in the process of trying to once again be my normal self.

She explained to me that at the SRP, if it is determined that I am non-deployable, I will immediately be separated from the army reserves. She added that this would be an immediate action that would take only a few days. She also pointed out that with this separation, I could lose benefits, and I would also have to consider that my federal civilian positions would not continue. I let her know that I did understand this and that I had taken those into consideration. I continued to tell her that at this time, all I want is to be the person that I was before and be happy again and that was more important to me at this time.

She brought up the separation/discharge again and reminded me that it would be an immediate action. I started to feel like I was being threatened to be separated/discharged if I did not go on the deployment.

I mentioned the different prescriptions that had been given to me in the past few months and she asked if I was still taking prescriptions. She stated that military doctors could give me medications and I could see them overseas. I explained that at this time I really don’t even know what medications I am supposed to be taking. I started crying and I got really emotional and told her about how I had been to several different doctors and after only 30-45 minutes, I just get medication that might work and then that medication changes later. I also told her that I just started taking a new medication about 4 weeks ago that is still being monitored. I mostly wanted to let her know how much I wanted to be able to know and understand what exactly is wrong with me and actually feel like I was improving.

Her emphasis on being separated/discharged immediately felt like a constant threat or punishment for not being able to go on this deployment. I know that it is her job to inform me, but it was repeated at least 4-5 times during the conversation.

She asked me how long I had been in the army and reminded me that I would be coming up for reenlistment overseas and I would be eligible for the bonus tax free. I stated that at this time, my medical condition and my need to get back to normal were more important to me than money.

She informed me that these issues would be determined in the next few days.

After the conversation, I was extremely upset and I cried for about two hours. I didn’t eat dinner and I was kind of out of it all night. I was so upset because I felt like the conversation was a constant threat of the consequences of my mental health concerns. I felt guilty, sad, angry, hurt, and alone. More than 18 months ago I had not realized that my life was slowly falling apart. It took a lot for me to admit that I could be depressed and actually seek help. It was kind of embarrassing and I felt like other people would think that I wasn’t strong enough to deal with things. I left feeling weak and guilty for not being able to just overcome my condition, The conversation that I had with the LTC made me feel this way and even worse. At no time in the conversation had she seemed the least bit concerned with my condition or my well-being. I thought that the number one priority of a CDR was to “take care of Soldiers” and after this I know for sure that the only person worried about taking care of me is me. I felt like I had to justify my reasons for wanting to get the proper care and treatment that I need.

My main priority in my life right now is to overcome depression/bipolar or whatever else a doctor diagnosis me with and get my life back. Trying to get help from the military has caused me to regret ever seeking help since it has only caused more grief and frustration than it has support and improvement.

Disappointed in the Army

Written October 15, 2007
I have learned the most information about the war from the Soldiers. They do not put the information in the news for everybody to view. They do limit certain information to radio interviews which I have experienced. I had to drive from VA to PA back in July and while I was driving through D.C. I started listening to a boring news conference or something that kept repeating the same story. I’m not sure what caught my attention, but I ended up listening to about an hour of an interview with an Army Veteran who was reporting on the number of Soldiers being discharged for personality disorders. It was upsetting for me to hear about how the Soldiers were being treated after they returned home from war. I ended up doing even more research on the internet when I got to my hotel room that afternoon. I have heard so many stories which are wrong and immoral, I often think about the stories I might write one day when I finish up my enlistment. Oh I forgot, they would never get published.

Fashion Tragedy - My Hair Cut in Kuwait

Written December 17, 2007
In Kuwait, I experienced uncertainty and anxiety when I went to the salon to get my hair trimmed. Camp Arifjan had a salon that provided services just like a salon in the states. Most of the women that worked in the salons were from the Philippines.

My hair was really long and I needed to get in trimmed. I went to the salon with one of my friends, but I was really nervous and felt a great deal of uncertainty. Even at home, I would always select a hair stylist very carefully because I never wanted them to cut off too much.
As she was beginning to trim my hair, I asked her if she knew how to do layers. She said yes confidently so I felt a little better about the situation. After about five minutes, I noticed that my friend had a scared look on her face. My friend came over and was trying to figure out what she was doing to my hair. Apparently she was just chopping off layers and didn’t really know the proper techniques.

My friend tried to explain more what I wanted, but the stylist didn’t understand. She finally got frustrated and slammed the scissors on the table and walked out. I ended up having to come back the following day to have the head stylist fix my hair. I only wanted about 1 inch trimmed from my hair, but I ended up getting a 4 inch hair cut. It’s a good thing I would be wearing my hair in a bun for the next 8 months.

Stories from Kuwait - Culture Shock

Written December 17, 2007
When I was in Kuwait from 2004 to 2005, I experienced so many situations in which I was the victim of culture shock. While I was at Camp Arifjan, they were in the process of expanding the camp which included new buildings to replace the tents that Soldiers were currently living in. We were moved to one of the first buildings completed so we watched as the others were built around us.

The construction workers were men from surrounding third world countries referred to as TCN (third country nationals). They would be working continuously even as the weather reached the 130s. They didn’t look anything like the construction workers I have seen in the states who stand around talking about what to do next. Sometimes they would come over to our building and ask for water. The water came in large bottles that were probably about a liter. They were stacked on a pallet and placed outside of our building so that we could take them as we needed them. Of course most of us had small refrigerators inside the building that we put them in so we weren’t drinking hot water. Sometimes a couple of us would give them the cold water instead, and they completely thrilled.

One of my friends said that she would sometimes hand out sodas to them and they acted like you were handing them a $100 dollar bill. This made me feel so upset and angry. I didn’t understand why they were working for such small amounts of money and not provided with cold drinks or food. I also couldn’t understand how they were satisfied with this and I couldn’t imagine what they thought about any of us.

This was a complete culture shock to me, as I realized that Americans take such small things for granted such as a can of soda. There is a lot that I learned from the experience which I will carry with me always. I learned from them to appreciate everything that I have today. They were so happy for just cold water or a coke, something that I take for granted almost every day.


This post is an email that I wrote to one of my professors explaining my situation with work and the military so that I could request a later due date for my assignments. I decided to post this because it provides a detailed explanation of how my work environment was affecting other areas of my life.

Written November 27, 2007
The purpose of this email is to explain the reasons why I have not been active in the in conferences and discussion for the past few weeks. I would also like to request that I be granted an exception to your assignment acceptance policy based on the following information: I work in a dual status position with the United States Army Reserves as a Federal Government employee and as an Army Reserve Soldier. As a Unit Administrator, I act on behalf of the Commander throughout the week.

In the past month, this reserve unit has undergone transformation, reorganization, alert for mobilization, change in command, and last minute orders for a mandatory Soldier Readiness Processing. I have been solely responsible for planning, organizing, and informing Soldiers in Richmond, Virginia about these changes. I have been unable to access multiple databases, uninformed about changes from headquarters, and uninformed about the status of my position as we undergo these changes.

The past few weeks have been filled with last minute changes and miscommunication. Until last month, I have been able to submit discussions, reports, and assignments in a timely manner. For both the October and November military training weekends, the unit was planning to attend training in Pennsylvania, yet we had not received any guidance on orders or travel arrangements. We finally received orders on Friday afternoon for duty the next three days (October 27-29, 2007). This was the case again in November when we received orders in the late afternoon for duty that began the next day.

This has been an ongoing issue since the army reserve transformation began to affect my military and civilian job beginning October 1, 2007. I have communicated with my headquarters to inform them that these circumstances are negatively affecting my performance and health. I was on sick leave 19-20 November after returning from military duty performed 16-18 November in Pennsylvania. I scheduled an appointment with a counselor to discuss these issues and I am seeking guidance to find out my legal rights as a federal employee.

My supervisor recommended that I see a professional so that I could get documentation which would validate my reasons for transferring. The doctor gave me a two week medical note on Monday, 26 November, which restricts me from working until 14 Dec. She said that this will give me the time to search for a new position, finish up my courses this semester, and take time out for my personal needs which have been neglected in the past year. I will also be excused from the next military training in December (whenever that may be). This will allow me to focus on the assignments as well as the final exam.
The outcome of these events could possibly lead to a transfer within the federal government or my resignation due to an unhealthy work environment. I have worked hard this semester even under the constant pressures and worries of my full time job. I can provide you with orders, a Commander's letter, or anything else required in order for you to make a decision. Thank you.

I Don't Talk Army...

Written November 14, 2007
I have been surrounded by the many rituals and metaphors used by Soldiers today. Although the army uses an alternative vocabulary for some words and many acronyms, I still choose to use most of my own vocabulary. For example, the army uses the word “latrine” for what I call the restroom. I will only use the word “latrine” when I am doing some type of military training and I think I might get corrected. Another military ritual and policy is to refer to others by their rank and last name. I usually refer to most of my co-workers and Soldiers in my unit by their first name, unless we are conducting training with a number of leaders in the organization. I still sometimes have to correct myself when I realize I have called them by their first name in front of other leaders and senior officers.

I really do think that the army is its own culture. I have never been active duty other than for mobilization, but from the people I have known on active duty it seems like they are a separate culture from civilians. They use their own medical facilities, dining facilities, gyms, neighborhoods, and even have their own judicial system. I found that most active duty Soldiers don’t have many friends or contacts that are outside of the military. Since most of them joined in their late teens or early twenties, their whole life has been accustomed to the military life and the military culture.

Kristin Close to Blackout

This master To Do List was an attempt to bring some order to my life. This is when I should have realized that my life needed to change. Just reading this list makes me stress out all over again.

Written September 27, 2007

1. Weekly conferences for Technical Writing course
2. Weekly conferences for Communication course
3. Check on my grade change from last semester – email professor to tell her about why the paper was submitted late (I sent to her email instead)
4. Find out if tuition was paid by army
5. Send tuition assistance office grades from last semester
6. Study for CLEP exam for information systems course (talk to Kiersten at work about the test)
7. Register for final exams (ask Mr. Neal about being the proctor)
8. Check to find out about final course COMM 495
9. Start looking into masters programs

1. Complete the UA basic course online
2. Fill out the application for UA basic course with Kiersten and Pam in October
3. Organize and clean out my 201 file, make a home copy of 201 file
4. Update government resume for three different government jobs: mobilization, atrrs operator, budget analyst
5. Email Mr. Sharky to fix military hours section of civilian LES so that I don’t lose hours 1 October.
6. Complete my own civilian evaluation (initial, annual, anything else I need for records.
7. Follow up with WLC wait status to find out who input the Nov. 3 class for me?
8. Update SGLV and DD 93.
9. Organize and file all civilian documents into my civilian work binder.
10. Complete online schools and training for civilian position so that I can put them on the resume.

1. Finish filing income taxes (find out why it won’t submit on turbotax)
2. Sort through all mail from the last 2 weeks to trash, shred, save, and reply.
3. Follow up with insurance claim that did not properly fix my car.
4. Make a dentist appointment with the new dentist or just go to the old dentist.
5. Doctor’s appointment October 2, DON’T FORGET
6. File all recent personal documents: insurance, banking, credit card statements.
7. Call T-mobile to get my phone and send back the broken phone.
8. Buy a plane ticket for Christmas in Colorado

1. Write a complaint to Delta to get a free ticket.
2. Write a complaint to T-mobile to ask for a free month of service.
3. Completely clean out car and trunk
4. Buy the mustang floor covers for my car.
5. Send Chanel sunglasses back to get fixed.
6. Make CDs for Clee
7. Organize all military clothing and records into one or two containers.
8. Sort through all clothing and jewelry to send to goodwill or sell in Cary town.
9. Completely clean out backyard shed to prepare for moving
10. Buy jewelry cleaner and organizer.(organizer for hanging necklaces)
11. Finish Lori’s scrapbook, start another scrapbook
12. Call to make a hair appointment with Stacey
13. Learn how to cook more things.
14. Read magazines that I have bought, shop online at Victoria secret for underwear, sephora for face blotting strips.
15. Start Christmas shopping early
16. Move to California with a job and be happy.

1. I don’t get to spend enough time talking to Clee on the phone.
2. I didn’t have the time to make Clee’s CDs
3. My first assignment was turned in 3 hours late.
4. I procrastinated with doing homework (which I’m trying not to do)
5. This week I haven’t been able to completely dedicate to the supply turn in (people talking about me, think I’m not working, etc.
6. Completely forgot that Mom invited me to Tom’s b-day party
7. I do not have the time that I want to work on finding a new job.
8, I hate that Clee is alone in CA and I want to live with him.
9. Being rude to my mom and hurting her feelings.
10. I always plan on buying Clee DVDs from best buy or circuit city, something for his apartment, a shirt I saw at Old Navy, and other fun gifts, but I never have the time to remember what I was thinking until sales are over.
11. My credit card debt
12. I still haven’t finished the book CrazyBusy since I have been home from vacation.
13. I missed my dentist appointment because I took the wrong turn and would have been late.
14. I missed my eyewear exam because I completely forgot since it was Monday morning.
15. Not making plans with my best friend like I promised before she left.
16. Always disappointing Clee by forgetting things that he has told me.
17. I totally screwed up my workouts and I don’t know where I will be at when I go back
18. Making Clee’s electricity bill double
19. Not writing or calling my Dad as much as I should.

1. Gaining weight and losing my tone because I haven’t been to the gym.
2. Having to go on the deployment with the 444th
3. If I am forced to go on the deployment, not being able to go to WLC and make E-6
4. If I go on the deployment, Clee will not be able to wait for me again. I will lose him forever after this.
5. If I am forced to go on the deployment, my career will suffer, school will be delayed, and I will lose touch with all friends again.
6. That one day I will just crash and fall into depression.

Interracial Dating

Written December 10, 2007
Describe a major event in your life and how it affected you.
I would consider my entire life until this point to be major events that have affected me. After a parents divorce, mother’s remarriage, strict religious upbringing, competitive young adulthood, enlistment into the army, deployment to Kuwait, and battle with acceptance of an interracial relationship, choosing the one that has affected me the most is difficult. I have chosen to describe the most recent event that affects not only me but the person that I am in love with. I am currently in an interracial relationship which has taught me so much about love, life, peace, understanding, and acceptance.

In high school there were less than ten black students. My first black friend was a girl that I met in college. We became best friends since we lived next door to each other. I didn’t see anything wrong with interracial dating, but I knew that people around here in the south still have some issues with the idea.

When I was deployed to Kuwait, I became best friends with a black man who I grew to love. My parents were uneasy about this decision as well as a few of my best friends. I knew that this would be a hot topic for people to discuss in my small suburban hometown. It took a little bit of time for me to be strong and stand up for what I believed. My entire perception and outlook on life has changed dramatically after this experience. When I talk to people from home, I realize that my views and beliefs are so different from them. Even after explaining things to them they just don’t understand that:

I understand that everybody is different whether by race, color, religion, language, or life experiences. We shouldn’t judge people because they are not like us, but we should be interested in them to find out what makes them unique. We can learn from them, appreciate them, and in my case fall in love with them. I am affected by this because I remember each day that my current relationship has opened up my eyes to the world and far beyond the small minds and judgmental people from my past.

Major Accomplishment in my Life

Written December 10, 2007
It has been almost five years now since I first enlisted into the U.S. Army Reserves. I would consider the whole experience to be a major accomplishment in my life.

I made the decision to join the military so that I could pay for college on my own. My parents divorced when I was 8 and my mother remarried a much older man who had already put four of his own kids through school. The fashion merchandising program I was in had a strict attendance policy. Since I was working about 30 hours a week, and trying to experience college life by joining a sorority, my grades were low. I felt guilty so I wanted to take responsibility somehow.

My stepfather was the only person who actually thought that I wasn’t crazy. I remember my entire sorority saying to me that I would be home after a week since I wouldn’t be able to wear make-up, do my hair, and be the girl that I am. Everybody kind of laughed at this idea which made me even more determined to prove them all wrong.

It’s a bit surprising that I ended up finishing as the honor graduate of the class. I received awards, a medal of excellence, and a sense of accomplishment that I never knew existed. I compare this to how Elle must have felt when she was chosen to work on the case in Legally Blonde. I basically decided to turn a bad experience into something incredible. I was determined to prove to myself and to others that I could do absolutely anything.

The moment that I am the most proud of through the entire experience is the moment when I crossed the finish line after running two miles on a broken foot. I had been told that I had a stress fracture and that I should stay off my foot. I knew that if I didn’t pass the final physical fitness test, I would have to spend even more time in training. I hoped that after the first two laps, my foot would eventually go numb. Unfortunately, this did not happen, so I ran in pain for about 18 minutes. I started crying the last two laps as I continued to “limp run” my way the finish line. I immediately fell to the ground to rest. Once I stood back up, I wasn’t able to apply even the smallest amount of pressure to my right foot. The next day I went to see a doctor and he confirmed that I had run on a broken foot.

I have never experienced so much pain or sense of accomplishment in my life. I was so proud because I never imagined that I would do anything even close to what I did on that day.

"Fo Shizzle" to Lori, Jessica, and Brandy...

This was written in response to a discussion question in my Speech class regarding slang words. Hopefully, my friends appreciate being recognized for their vocabulary contributions.

Written September 16, 2007
I can remember when I was a sophomore in high school, everybody starting using words like “sweet” and “nice” while emphasizing certain vowel sounds. “Sweet” sounded more like “Su Weet” and “nice” included a long drawn out “s” sound. “Nice” was used to talk about someone or something that you didn't like. For example if you thought somebody had ugly shoes or something, you might hear, “Those shoes are real “nice”.

My friends have created a slang of their own. No matter what are plans may be, a form of the phrase “fo shizzle” is included. We created evite invitations for a night out on the town beginning at the restaurant PF Changs but of course our version was “PF Chizzles”.
Other common slang used among my group of friends:
“That’s Hot” meaning we like something
Holla” meaning get back with me about it later or bye
“Bank” meaning a lot of money
“Work hot” “Gym hot” “Richmond hot” meaning we might not actually think a person is good looking but they are the most attractive in the area listed

I use the following which I picked up from movies but I haven’t really heard many people use:
“What the F” meaning I actually say just the letter F in place of the bad word
“Whack” which more people around here used years ago but I still love to use in when describing something crazy or not normal
“Paper” which refers to money I picked up in rap lyrics
Ridic” which is short for ridiculous

My two favorite phrases that I have heard are from my best friend, Lori and my boyfriend. My best friend recently moved to New York City and when I was last on the phone with her she said “Double “F” that” but actually used the bad word. I liked how she added the double onto that phrase. My boyfriend uses the phrase “put the luv on’em” to describe when one athlete stomps all over another once such as a tackle in football or a hit in boxing.

My Mother...

Written May 5, 2007
The most influential teacher or leader that I have had would have to be my mother. She was in fact my 1st grade teacher at a small private school where we also attended church. My mother did all that she could to support and raise two children on her own. Her faith in God, which she encouraged every day, gave her the strength to overcome the past. I can not ever remember a day that my mother said one negative word about anybody. She is the most humble woman that I know today who puts everybody else first. She has remarried and is now enjoying a life that she well deserves. Her unconditional love will remain constant as she is now caring for her widowed mother. Even though I may attempt to follow her example, I know that I may not ever come close to my most influential teacher and leader.

2 Years Ago...

The following is a personal introduction that I wrote in one of my college courses on April 1, 2007. I absolutely loved reading this again. This short memoir was written only a few months before the events that would shape the next few years of my life started to unravel. The young woman who wrote this was confident, ambitious, and most of all she loved life. She represents everything that I was and everything that I strive to become again.

Written April 1, 2007
After weeks of anticipation, I have finally received my official evaluation to reveal that I am only 18 credits from my bachelor’s degree in Communications with a minor in Business Administration. It seems that this journey has been long, ever-changing, and at times utterly impossible. Immediately after high school graduation, I began college at a local community college in Virginia where I remained on the Dean’s List for that entire year. I was accepted at Virginia Commonwealth University to study Fashion Merchandising to fulfill my dream of working for a fashion magazine or in some other similar fashion career. The art department is demanding and strict by dropping letter grades after only two absences. I felt guilty for letting my parents down so I joined the Army Reserves in an attempt to relieve them of the increasing tuition burdens. After one semester away at training, I was back to what I thought would be my last two years of college bliss with sorority functions, campus hangouts, and finally my degree. Those two years quickly turned into one semester since my unit was being deployed to Kuwait. I must admit I was upset about having to leave home and venture into a hazardous duty location, but I was even more upset that my life would now have to be put on hold. I did not anticipate that I would be sent off to the desert so soon after my initial training. My plans for college would now have to wait.

That is when I turned to UMUC-Europe and my opportunities began to re-open. I completed 19 credits while I was in Kuwait, which made 13 months in the desert seem to go by rather quickly. Once I arrived back home to Virginia, I was faced with a difficult decision. I could return back to the college life once again or I could finish my degree online while I started to work full-time. After much thought and research, I realized that my friends had already left school, and I was finished with the campus crawl lifestyle. I wanted to venture into the workforce while still completing my degree. Shortly after my return I was offered a position to work within the federal government as a civilian employee in administration and human resources. I was able to obtain a job that many of my recent graduates were still seeking. I have encountered a few obstacles that have made this process a bit more challenging, but I have never lost sight of the ultimate goal to achieve my bachelor’s degree and continue on with my education and career.

My name is Kristin Wasilewski and I am a 24 year old Virginian. Some might refer to me as the epitome of a Lost Angeles wannabe: I have very long blond hair. I have blue eyes. I tan about once a month. I have fake nails most of the time. I am a religious gym junkie. I use the word “like” in every sentence. I think that I watch the news because I know how Anna Nicole Smith died or the name of the most recent celebrity baby. I receive phone calls, emails, and text messages of entertainment issues on a daily basis from various friends. I started to eat sushi because it was the thing to do at the time. I have a MySpace account that is updated bi-weekly with the most recent photos of my friends and our most recent party or dinner we attended. I have tried to get into most clubs listed in any celebrity magazine in both New York and Los Angeles in hopes to bump shoulders with an A Lister. I spend at least $50 or a more a month on fashion and entertainment magazines. I watch television at a minimum but it is restricted to Entertainment, VHI, and MTV. I have requested new release songs at a club that the deejays have not even heard yet only to hear them play them over and over weeks later. I base my entire wardrobe on what I see in magazines. I visit at least thirty online stores and boutiques per week. I love pink. I think that Britney Spears will recover and make a come-back. I have always been referred to as a valley girl.

According to the descriptions above, it would appear that I am shallow and I live inside of a fantasy land. Never be deceived by the outward appearances of others or the personality that they wish to portray. True character is based on morals.
Moral character or character is an evaluation of a person’s moral and mental qualities. Such an evaluation is subjective –one person may evaluate someone’s character on the basis of their virtue, another may consider their fortitude, courage, loyalty, honesty, or piety. (Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia)

I am not addicted to celebrities and I do not ever think that I will become one. These issues interest me in a way deeper than that. My passion is anything that has to do with pop culture. If I was able to, I would like to use my journalism education to work as an entertainment journalist or a fashion journalist. I would like to integrate my hobbies with my career to produce articles for thousands of people to read. I have such a passion for fashion and I know that I would be the best at something that I truly care about. I sometimes find myself online searching for various hidden boutiques, new hip restaurants, and tips to find the best travel spots. I do this because I am interested in learning about what is new and exciting. I want to inform readers on these current issues that I research as a hobby. I want to succeed at my career and in life, but I also know that I want to wake up each day knowing that I will have to be creative, innovative, and open to new ideas in journalism.

With that being stated I will begin once again. My name is Kristin Wasilewski and I am a 24 year old Virginian. I attended private school until I entered the 7th grade where I was placed in the honors program in the public school system. I graduated high school at the top 10% of my class and I participated in various sports, clubs, and organizations. I volunteered at the local senior citizens center for two years while in high school. I wanted to work as a bank teller part time while in college when I was 18, so I researched online, took the exams, and was offered the position. My family and friends thought I was joking when I told them I was joining the Army Reserves, so I left for training and returned with an award being honored for graduating at the top of my class. I am now a Veteran for deploying in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. I was selected from my unit of over 100 Soldiers to take a helicopter ride with a three star General while in Kuwait. I recently completed a pay administration training course for two weeks with the highest average in the class.

My First Post.......

About a year ago, I thought about creating a blog to use as a life journal. As my life was spinning out of control, I contemplated whether or not I wanted to share those experiences with others. For someone who used to feel like she was on top of the world, it is difficult to face reality and tell the truth. I plan on using this blog to share my thoughts, feeling, and life stories. Since I will need to explain my past as well as my present, I will include journal entries and writings from the past few years.

My blog will not only act as a diary of my life, it will include several stories and writings that may be opinionated, intellectual, crazy, or just funny.

more to come.......