Thursday, June 14, 2012

Bloom Where You're Planted!

For someone whose blog is entitled “My Life, Army Style,” I’ve noticed my blog doesn’t contain all that much of either.  ;-) This isn’t intentional, as I think of blog posts all the time but never get around to actually composing them.  But today I’d like to talk about a military-related topic that I’m pretty passionate about: negativity towards duty stations.

I didn’t realize until I had been an Army wife for a few years and started being around military spouses how many of them hate where they have to live. And I see it more and more all the time.  It has started becoming a source of frustration to me. That’s not to say I haven’t had to learn my own lessons in this area. I believe I have mentioned here about the meltdown I had when I found out we were moving to Ft. Bliss/El Paso, TX! However, perhaps my meltdown would never have occurred had I not been hearing for years what a horrible place it was and having people pity me once they found out where we were going. Once I started doing my own research, I realized the importance of having an open mind and experiencing things for yourself before forming an opinion. I’ll also never forget what a wonderful thing it was when, in the chorus of “I’m sorrys” and “ughs” on my Facebook post announcing our move, a friend of mine who was a more senior spouse (and I intend to do another post soon on why all junior military spouses should spend time with senior spouses) sent me a message to tell me how much she and her family had enjoyed Ft. Bliss, that they still missed it, and that they were so happy for me that I was going to experience it too. Talk about a reality check. =) That was the moment when I decided that I was going to have a positive mindset about every place we were sent, no matter what negativity people were trying to pass along to me.

Having been here in El Paso for almost a year now, I can without hesitation say that I really like it here. There are a few aspects I am not a fan of (such as the wind storms and no Trader Joe’s!), but overall the good far outweighs the bad. Here are a few of them:
  •  There is some crazy good food here. And it’s not all Mexican either.
  • There is an awesome outlet mall, plus 2 regular malls.
  • Ft. Bliss has the nicest PX/commissary/restaurant/movie theater plaza of any Army post, and amazing free gyms.
  • You can drive to the mountains in 15 minutes and go hiking.
  •  Desert sunsets and sunrises.
  • You get a tan without even trying.

That’s just a few things. Is this my favorite place in the world and do I want to stay here forever? Well no. But can I live here happily and contentedly with my husband for the few years we are going to be here? A thousand times yes. And even though I am still known to make statements like, “Ugh, I’m going to die if we ever got sent to Ft. Bragg!” that’s just talk, because I know that if it came right down to it, I could have a good attitude about Ft. Bragg too. When you talk to military couples (the mature kind) who tell you they loved and miss places like Ft. Irwin, CA or Ft. Polk, LA, it really gives you some perspective. And if you want to understand the significance of that statement, just go on Google maps and put those places in the search bar. Go on, I dare you. ;-) But that’s when you realize that attitude makes all the difference. It isn’t always that the physical place turns out to be amazing; sometimes it’s the amazing people you meet there instead.

For someone like me who has made up her mind to be positive about places and the military in general, I can’t tell you how draining it is to be around someone who is constantly complaining. I know nobody ever wants to hear this, but happiness does NOT depend on your circumstances. You CAN choose to be positive, to let little annoyances roll off your back, to not think everybody you meet who isn’t gushingly polite to you is being a product of their locale, and not to blame everything bad that  happens on where you are being forced to live. I know we all have bad days/times and need to vent, but after awhile, if a person has done more dragging me down than me lifting them up, I give up. Being positive is hard enough on your own without being in the company of negative people. Even if you’ve tried your hardest to like a new place and you can’t, you are only making it worse for yourself (not to mention your husband!) by giving in to constant negativity.

So with all this in mind, I thought I’d jot down some of my tips for handling a not-so-welcome PCS and duty station. =)

Thursday, June 7, 2012

My Little Deviants

These little cuties look so sweet and innocent, don't they?

Think again.

Take this cutie, for instance:
He takes it upon himself to decide when I'm sleeping too long. Once he has come to this decision, he jumps on top of my dresser thing by my side of the bed. Then he proceeds to slowly knock my things off, one by one, stopping to sit and stare at me in between to see if that item's destruction has worked on me or if he should go on to another. Cell phone...glasses...Kindle...lotion...all goes onto the floor with a flick of the paw until I wake up and swat him down. It was funny for awhile but now I'm starting to worry about the consequences of my Kindle hitting the floor so many times. Time to find a more secure place for my stuff!

And now for this one:

He has a serious addiction: cat treats. This addiction has led him to desperate measures. Despite the fact his parents are probably more generous with the treats than they should be, he is not above breaking bags open with his teeth and devouring all the treats therein if said bags are left out. When his parents started making sure to never leave any more bags of treats out in the open, his descent into crime went rapidly. Soon he had figured out how to jump on the counter, pull the cabinet where they are kept open with a clever paw, knock down the treats, and consume them quickly before he was caught. 

Unfortunately for the Albus cat, he has finally been thwarted. 

This cute little plastic container is impenetrable by any species lacking opposable thumbs. 

Gotcha, you little miscreant.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Strong Bands Fitness Week!

I just found some photos posted by the Ft. Bliss MWR of a fitness event I participated in last month, and decided to snag a couple containing yours truly so I could write about it! Both Army posts we've been stationed at so far have had amazing gyms, and at least once a year host an aerobathon. I have yet to miss one and they are always a blast. Whereas Ft. Lewis only had one a year, Ft. Bliss has one every quarter. For their May event, they really amped it up!

On Monday we got a Strong B.A.N.D.S. (stands for Balance, Activity, Nutrition, Determination, Strength) card with a block for every day. We had to attend at least one fitness class a day and get a signature from the instructor. This wasn't hard for me since I am somewhat addicted to fitness classes, although it was different finding one to do on Friday since Friday is usually my day off. I ended up doing my usual yoga on Monday and Wednesday, zumba on Tuesday, spinning on Thursday, and Gravity on Friday. All the classes were extra full because of all the people taking the challenge and it made for some nice energy!

[By the way, this is the machine used in a Gravity class, and it involves your body weight used against an incline:
It's more challenging than it looks and I'm always extremely sore after doing it!]

The week culminated in a 2-hour aerobathon on Saturday morning. This was the fun part! I got there early to make sure I got a spin bike because they go fast, and my two fitness buddies from the week, Nicki and Ellen, followed my example. Spinning was first for half an hour, and since the teacher is a beast, we were all worn out and dripping with sweat just after that! I couldn't find any pictures of this where I was visible though.

Next was half an hour of a class called Ripped. It was a mixture of aerobics and weights. I didn't completely care for it, mostly because I'm so uncoordinated that I get easily frustrated trying to follow the routines (and I know this is contradictory considering I love zumba, but somehow this was different!). As proof, here I am doing something completely different from most of the people around me...although I don't feel too bad since I'm clearly not the only one confused. ;-)

After that was zumba. Zumba is fun. And I get annoyed when people say they can't do zumba because they can't dance. Zumba teaches you how to dance! ;-) If this awkward white girl with no moves can get a workout from it, you can too!

The last event was of course my favorite: yoga. It wasn't exactly an ideal environment for a good practice, with such a huge crowd of beginners, but it was still a good closeout to the event. 

(Why do I always think I'm sinking lower into my front leg than I actually am?! Arghhh! Must fix.)

My two workout buddies and I were definitely on a workout high afterward! It was so much fun!

If your gym ever offers an aerobathon, I encourage you to participate! I already can't wait for the next one. =) Major kudos to Soto Gym and the Ft. Bliss MWR for putting on such a great event!