Monthly Archives: November 2012

The joys of homecoming

I wrote last week about how the last days of deployment were long. Really long. But today I can tell you with 100% certainty that having your loved one home is absolutely amazing. I can’t even describe how great it felt to see him again, and spend time with him. I first saw him on a video screen, watching the Soldiers come off the plane at the airfield, and squealed with joy. Then I waited a really long time (read: the Soldiers then had to fill out a bunch of paperwork and stuff, then deal with crazy traffic to meet up with the families on the other side of JBLM). I spotted him walking in the formation in, I hardly heard the words of the chaplain or commander releasing them.

Me with my sign. Photo courtesy of Jessica Hall

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The longest days of deployment

As you read this I am spending some quality time with the hubby, for the first time in about 8 months. I am writing this prior to his homecoming ceremony because between his return and Thanksgiving, I may not be able to blog for a few days. But while I’m sure there are a lot of emotions going through my head right now as I hug and kiss him for the first time in what feels like forever, the days leading up to it were loong. So looooong.

Circle banner hung on the mantle with care. Photo by Jessica Hall

Circle banner hung on the mantle with care. Photo by Jessica Hall

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Review: Married to the Army: Alaska

Oprah recently announced her favorite things of 2012 and they included 30 military spouses who were finalists in this year’s Military Spouse Magazine‘s Military Spouse of the Year award program.

Not coincidentally I’m sure, a new show premiered on OWN last night about the lives of Army families stationed at Fort Richardson, Alaska. When I found out about this show I was with a friend. We both were amazed. While I blog about my life I can’t imagine being on a TV show chronicling that, just because of what I know about how reality show producers edit shows and portray people. I was also surprised that the Army approved the show; I have learned that they approve each episode. But it’s also amazing to me that these families agreed to be a part of a reality TV show. Don’t get me wrong, I love reality TV but I also know that after filming for hours upon hours, it gets edited into 20-45 minutes of show. So you are only getting a snapshot at the whole story. Continue reading

5 Things Military Spouses Don’t Like to Hear

Warning: This post is a bit snarky, I won’t lie to you. So now that you are prepared, proceed…

Since my husband and I got engaged I’ve been asked a whole lot of questions about my military life but there are a few that irk me. And it’s safe to say that some of them I have had to restrain myself to not just glare at the other person. And I’m not alone, my fellow military spouse friends and I talk about weird things we hear from people. (All time favorite: “Can you visit him (in Afghanistan)?”)

I know that not everyone understands the military life, which is what prompted this blog, so I try to be kind and give people the benefit of the doubt. But if you’re talking to a spouse, think twice or try to find a more considerate way to say on of these phrases.

I’ve heard some of these first hand, but others come from an informal poll on my Facebook page and here are the top 5:

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Liebster Award

Thanks to Salena over at Journey of the Luptons for nominating me for this award!

Here’s how it works. There are 4 steps to receiving this award:

1. List 11 things about yourself.
2. Answer your nominator’s 11 questions.
3. Choose up to 11 bloggers with less than 200 followers and ask them your own questions.
4. Inform your nominees of their award nominations.

11 Things About Me:

  1. I consider NYC my second hometown after going to NYU and living there for a total of 5 years.
  2. I love trying out new recipes, I have subscriptions to 3 food magazines.
  3. My favorite boy band was 98 degrees, followed by N’Sync.
  4. I’ve been a fan of fun. since they were The Format back in AZ. (Ok the lead singer is the same, but still, love them!)
  5. I almost didn’t go to the get together at my friend’s the night I met my husband.
  6. I have a dog planned out in my head down to the name. We just can’t have a dog yet.
  7. I love tonic water, just by itself, with a lime. And with gin.
  8. During undergrad I did not drink coffee regularly.
  9. I can only make coffee with my Keurig.
  10. One of my favorite foods is crepes. My grandmother’s family has French origins, so crepe pans are a necessity in our kitchens!
  11. I’ve seen all seasons of Project Runway, including All-Stars.

Salena’s questions:

  1. How long have you been blogging?   On here since October but in general: years. I had a Xanga and LiveJournal (oh I hope no one can find those…). I also have another blog too about food and travel.
  2. What made you start blogging?  For this blog it was sparked by a class, but the idea has been floating around in my head for a year or so. I want to share what military life is like, and that being married to a man in the Army doesn’t change who I am as a person, just some of the everyday things are a bit different.
  3. What do you like the most about blogging? Sharing stories and connecting with people.
  4. How many relatives do you have and how old are they? The hubby, 2 parents, a brother, 8 cousins + their kids and my in-laws (there are a lot of them). Ages: youngest is 5, oldest 71.
  5. What do you like to do on your free time? Cook, travel, spend time with my loved ones and friends.
  6. What kinds of movies do you enjoy?  Comedies and drama.
  7. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? Maybe a few inches taller…
  8. Who are you closest to in your family?  Besides my husband, my mom.
  9. Favorite website (not a blog)? Pinterest.
  10. What’s the best part about the holidays? The food!
  11. Where are you from? Phoenix, AZ

The winners!

These are some of my fellow MCDMers’ blogs, military spouses, and friends! In no particular order, but I hope you all enjoy their blogs as much as I do.

  1. Creative Quince
  2. Restrictions Turned Creative
  3. Unicorn in Uniform
  4. Vintage 1969
  5. Take That to Go
  6. Quartermisses
  7. The Manic Military Wife
  8. And Then We Laughed
  9. Look Beyond the Imperfections
  10. A Writer’s Purpose

My questions for these bloggers:

  1. What sparked your blog idea?
  2. What’s been the most difficult part about blogging?
  3. What have you learned in the process of blogging?
  4. If you’re on Twitter, whose your favorite person to follow? If not, favorite Facebook page?
  5. What’s your favorite food?
  6. If you could only make one trip, where is the one place you want to visit in the world?
  7. What are you most looking forward to this holiday season?
  8. What’s that last book that you read (for fun)?
  9. What do you think about Pinterest?
  10. What’s your favorite magazine?
  11. Holiday cards: a do or don’t?

So that’s it! Who are some of your favorite bloggers? Thanks again to Salena for the award!

Stressed until the end

When I found out when my husband was due home I was ecstatic, but the stress and anxiety that has gone along with him being gone, hasn’t gone away. And I don’t think it will until he’s home.

At a recent event for spouses in our brigade prepping for redeployment (homecoming) we talked about the reintegration after they come home, what to expect and look for, but the chaplain asked one question that has stuck with me, “When will you stop holding your breath?” we all answered: “When we’re holding each other here in our arms.”

We’ll probably be this happy when we see each other again. Photo © Casey Fatchett – www.fatchett.com

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Stuck in a self-made career rut

If only I knew what I wanted to do when I grew up. I know that sounds silly but I thought that I had life figured out to some extent two years ago. I graduated from college, got a job in magazines, had a great relationship, etc. But looking back on it now I’m not sure that even then I knew what I wanted to do. Even then I knew that I was soon to be an Army wife. I turned down interviews for other positions because I was moving in about a year. I regret still not knowing what my niche is. And here I am in graduate school, in a program that is exactly what I want to learn about to succeed, but I feel like the fact that I will move again stops me from getting a real job.

Honestly. It scares me that someone won’t hire me because I’m not in this area forever. After a personal reflection of my resume: lots of experience, lots of internships. When do I get out of the internship lull? When do I trust myself to just apply for jobs that I know I am qualified to do? What do those people need to see in my resume to say “yeah, we should interview this one.”

Me on the job as a newspaper reporter. Photo by Scott Hansen

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The Art of Saying No

I have a few volunteer positions, a job, grad school, friends, and family. Needless to say juggling it all has been pretty exhausting. It’s hard for me to say no. I like to help, but I’m learning that I have to say no, in order to sleep and feel like a human being.

This is my life

A post shared by Jessica Hall (@jessicanicolehall) on

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Check out my guest post on SpouseBuzz

Today I wrote about 5 lessons I learned through our first deployment for SpouseBuzz. The 5 are:

  1. You can still work on your marriage.
  2. Don’t freak out when your loved one isn’t online.
  3. You can and will make amazing friends.
  4. Halfway point is not as joyous as you may think.
  5. The strain of deployment lasts until the end.

To read the full post head on over to SpouseBuzz: http://spousebuzz.com/blog/2012/11/first-timer-deployment.html

 

 

I paid $34.77 to vote in Election 2012

Let me start with a few facts:

  1. I have voted in every election since I turned 18.
  2. Most of these were in college, I had my mom forward my ballot to me. While I considered myself a bit of a New Yorker, my home of record is Arizona.
  3. As a military spouse my home of record is still in Arizona. And my driver’s license is still AZ, it doesn’t expire until I’m 65 so I’m keeping that baby as long as I can.
  4. My ballot arrived on Saturday, November 3, 8 days after it was printed and put in the mail. But that is the story. Why was this such an issue?

When we moved we set up a mail forward to my parent’s house in Phoenix because we didn’t have a Washington address yet. Once we moved in we changed the mail forward from their house to where we are now. Well, ballots aren’t mail forwarded. Mainly in case you move within the state and you should re-register and vote for your new districts. Well, since my parent’s address is my home of record, I want to maintain my residency there, at least for now.

I got a letter this summer informing me of this issue. If I failed to comply I would be deactivated as a voter. After consulting my mom, who works in elections/politics, I called my local county recorder’s office and explained my situation. They understood and told me to write a letter asking for my ballots to be sent to my temporary WA address and it’d get fixed.

On August 2nd I mailed my letter in. About a week later I got a call from someone in the Recorder’s office asking to clarify that I wanted both my primary and general election ballot sent to WA. I said yes. A few weeks later I voted in the primary election. No problem.

Then October rolls around. I knew when ballots were mailed out and waited about a week: nothing. I called on Wednesday, Oct. 24 and the woman told me I had been deactivated. But could be reactivated in the morning when her supervisor was in, and a ballot could be sent to my Phoenix address. Great. Friday, Oct. 25 shows up and my mom checks my status–ballot still not mailed. It was the last day to request an early ballot. I call immediately. Speak to a guy that reactivates me, confirms my WA address, and reminds me to vote as soon as I get my ballot and mail back so they receive it by 7 pm election day.

My mom checked again that Wednesday when it had yet to show up, and indeed my ballot was mailed according to their records on Friday, Oct. 25. But why is it taking so long? A card mailed from Phoenix on Monday, arrived in my mailbox on Thursday. My ballot finally arrived on Saturday afternoon, and I was gone all day, you know I have a life while all this is happening, so I voted Saturday night. At this rate I know that mailing it Monday morning from Washington, it will not get to Phoenix by 7 p.m. on Tuesday. So I went to FedEx Sunday afternoon but the envelope obviously couldn’t go out until Monday morning. I paid $34.77 to ensure that my ballot got to AZ by Tuesday morning. And to be even more sure that it gets turned in, I sent it to my mom’s office, and she will then drop it off to the polling station or elections department directly for me.

As someone that immensely cares about this election, this is completely disheartening. And if I didn’t care as much, or my mom didn’t have access to that information, or was able/willing to help me turn my ballot in, I would have never even gotten a ballot or had my vote count. Will I be changing my voter registration after this election to WA? Probably. I’m completely disappointed in my home county. There are so many important races, from President, Senate, Congress and Sheriff, that I want to voice my opinion for. All I want to do is vote, it shouldn’t be this hard. For anyone.