My Recurring Nightmare

Lately, I’ve been having the ‘deployment’ dream. You know, the one where I play out Josh leaving me over and over until I wake up sweating in my sleep.

In every single other aspect of my life, I have been able to shut off the thoughts and feelings like a garden hose.

But I haven’t been able to shake this. There are 2 different scenarios that I play out in my mind (the first is more unrealistic than the second). The first is me dropping him off at the airport and not being able to walk past security with him. I break down in public and people stare. The second is I’m on base, and I have to leave. This has happened before, and it was messy. The five-hour drive home was filled with a lot of James Arthur and sad country music.

Regardless of which scenario is more realistic, I need to shut it down. It’s far too early to start thinking about D-Day. I truly don’t want to start thinking about it until Josh is gone so he doesn’t have to see the snot-nosed sobs that are inevitable. I will manifest the type of wife I want to be during this time in hopes that I can actually be positive, happy, supportive, and realistic.

For now, I’ve found hobbies and work that’ll continue to waste my time and occupy my mind.

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Survivor: Edge of Extinction’s Cast & Their Demises

It’s fascinating to think about what Survivors should have done or could have done to experience just one more day out on the island. As a spectator at home, I found myself analyzing the actions of the eliminated Survivors and drawing conclusions about what single alliance, decision, or challenge was their ultimate demise that snuffed their torch of life.

Reem “Dude” Daly was not Survivor’s most annoying contestant (Phil or Abi still hold that title in my opinion), but she was like the mosquito that wouldn’t leave me alone. She didn’t bring anything to the table for her tribe to keep her around. She was an “old” woman, weak, and not socially apt enough for the game. Do not, under any circumstances, touch or move stranger’s belongings on the first day at camp. You will be targeted, and you will be a social threat to people. Reem is quoted off of the CBS website as saying “My social game is amazing and although I am honest to a fault, I know when to chill. I’ve been watching since 2000—I trust no one. Words mean zero to me. Actions speak louder!”. Reem “Dude” Daly’s ultimate demise was trying too hard to make her tribe happy and be indisposable at camp. Stop trying so hard, Reem, you’re annoying people by moving their stuff. 

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Keith Sowell was doomed from the start. A guy who can’t swim isn’t going to last long on an island competing in challenges where at least 2 always involve swimming of some sort! Keith’s ultimate demise was his physical abilities and lack of strength. He was an easy target to pick off because he was dead weight in challenges. Probably better to vote him out first before he drowned and died during the season. Keith, it was for your own safety!

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Chris Underwood has the ultimate Survivor story. Voted out third because he put too much pressure on himself to play a perfect game, Chris won his way back onto the island to ultimately win a million dollars. After betraying Keith and eliminating him, Chris had to face him on Extinction Island and all of his shortcomings. This allowed Chris to reflect and motivated him to ‘earn’ his way back in – thus offering himself as a tribute to beat Rick in a fire making competition.

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Rick Devens should have won the million dollars – don’t even fight me. He earned it! He fought and fought through so many tribals where he was “public enemy #1”. Rick Devens did nothing wrong except he didn’t make a fire fast enough to beat Chris. Period.

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Aubry Bracco played a very emotional game this season. She was here for redemption and out for blood from the start. Initially a target due to her strategic history, Aubry got voted out as a threat. When she didn’t play the perfect game, Aubry fell apart and ruined her chances at getting back in the game when Extinction gave her a second chance. Aubry is one of my personal favorite Survivor contestants (as well as Davie Rickenbacker, Zeke Smith, & Russell). I related to her story, and she seemed like a normal person with a cutthroat competitive streak. This is a similar mindset that I would play the game if given the opportunity.

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Wendy Diaz‘s elimination was the most cut and dry elimination of them all. “Don’t save the chickens. Don’t do it” I screamed at the TV as she secretly released the only source of protein the contestants had. Sigh. Some people really know how to put a target on their back. Wendy was likable, quirky, and different, but didn’t have the strategic foresight to see that releasing the chickens would be her ultimate demise. Wendy had a second chance on the Edge of Extinction, but she lacked the mental fortitude to survive the lonely conditions it brought.

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Joe Anglim lost because he didn’t chop his God damn hair off. On a more serious note, Joe was too much of a physical threat to last long with the multiple strategic players in the game. He didn’t win the first immunity challenge, and the freshly merged tribe took advantage of the opportunity to pounce & eliminate while they still had the chance. Joe wanted to play a chill, low-key game. That’s what is tough with players like Joe, Malcolm, or Ozzy. People see the strength and are intimidated by it. Once you have two strong seasons, everyone is going to gun for you. Joe’s ultimate demise was not forming a secret alliance with the other returning players: Wentworth, Aubry, and David.

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Eric Hafemann’s ultimate demise was his inability to please people and lie. When Julie came up to him with a plan, he needed to go along with it instead of outright refusing. Survivors need to appease people even when it’s not natural. I feel bad about this elimination because Eric didn’t do anything wrong, but paranoia got the best of the other Survivors and he was eliminated because they thought he somehow had an ulterior alliance with David and Rick.

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Julia Carter is one of those players I will forget about because she had no stand out moments. She blended into the pack, and I respect her for that because it got her quite far. The drama started at Tribal Council when she got a little too cocky and said “You’re such a passenger, Rick.” This prompted one of the craziest Tribal Council’s I’ve ever witnessed! Rick proposed turning on Kama as a last-ditch effort to save his own skin, and Julia freaked out. Whispers started floating in between Julia and Rick’s debate about who would potentially work with who. Julie, a bottom member of Kama who knew her time in the majority alliance was limited, started stirring the pot to try and swing the power into her favor. Julia, at this time, should have kept her mouth shut. By talking so defensively and rudely, she gave everyone a reason to write her name down.

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David Wright is another Survivor contestant who won me over on a previous season. I love how David surprises the audience at everything: social gameplay, athleticism, intelligence, strategy, and mental fortitude. I loved watching David evolve into a confident man from a demure, self-conscious temperament. David’s ultimate demise was not playing with Rick when he had the opportunity. Rick trusted him with half the immunity idol after he was awarded it on his return to the island. The two had a falling out about who to vote for, and they parted ways. Unfortunately, David elected to vote with Kelley’s alliance (the old Lesu tribe) which Rick was opposed to since they had been responsible for voting him out the first time. This didn’t immediately ruin him, but eventually, Kelley’s tribe voted him out in a later tribal council.

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Kelley Wentworth‘s demise was not having a back-up alliance other than Wardog and Lauren. Lauren is manipulatable enough to just listen to whatever Wentworth has to say, but Wardog is a snake in the weeds. Kelley’s ultimate demise was not creating many bonds with other tribe members other than Lauren and Wardog. She stuck to her clique and did not waiver. Wardog betrayed Kelley’s trust and teamed up with a motley crew of underdogs to eliminate her.

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Dan “Wardog” DaSilva was a very strange contestant. He boasts of being military and a lawyer, but he didn’t play like it. I was expecting a much bigger physical threat, but instead, Wardog was like a puppy learning how to swim when it came to challenges. Wardog’s ultimate demise was not including Gavin in on the plans to eliminate Wentworth. Gavin was out for blood and convinced everyone to blindside Wardog come next tribal. Karma is a bitch, sometimes.

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Ron Clark’s energy was captivating. I can totally see him standing up in front of 32 high school kids and demanding their full attention and not takin’ no shit! Unfortunately, Ron’s demise was his ego. He forgot that Survivor is a game where anything can happen. When you feel too comfortable, you are more than likely getting blindsided or stabbed in the back by your alliance. Ron Clark boasted about being a “double agent” and that he was “in charge of this game” to his husband during the family visit he won. Bold statements from someone who would be shortly disposed of! Ron got caught                        “[manipulating]” people. Does TV truly capture the character of a person, or do the producers depict character archetypes however they want by hand selecting the clips they use? Ron could potentially be one they wrongfully characterized.

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Aurora McCreary should have operated under the mindset of “if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.” If Aurora could have put aside her personal vendetta against Rick Devens and worked together, they could have both been in the final three, hands down. They were both challenge beasts, both outsiders for the entire game. Aurora’s ultimate demise was not forming an alliance with Rick Devens when she needed it the most. She hyper-focused on working against Devens so hard she lost sight of what really mattered: the final 3.

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Victoria “Beanie” Baamonde was a quiet player compared to what I initially thought about her from the first episode. She played a pretty passive game compared to her bold statement she provided to CBS stating “I am and always have been a hustler.” I wanted to see Vic manipulate Gavin and Julie in her favor. She is a strategic player. Calculated. Vic’s ultimate demise was being too passive in situations where she needed to be controlling, manipulate, and daring.  She has the balls for it but wasn’t able to fabricate a perfect scenario to execute a plan. And also, whatever casting director that made her wear a wool beanie in Fiji needs to be fired immediately.

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Lauren O’Connell’s ultimate demise was playing her idol for Chris. Here’s my problem with Lauren: for a girl who boasts of being an athlete, other females kicked her butt in challenges. Lauren needed to win more immunity necklaces and establish herself as more than a goat along for the ride. Lauren kid in Kelly’s shadows until she was gone! Nobody was intimidated by her because she was easily dispensible once her posse (Wentworth and Wardog) were eliminated. Lauren needed to play her idol at the perfect time, and unfortunately, she felt too comfortable playing it for someone who wasn’t a true alliance.

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Fighting the Negativity

Oh my God- she is SO dumb! (side eye at another coworker).

I saw him leave at 3:30… He must not be committed to his job! (motions to Social Studies classroom).

She showed up 5 minutes late to the meeting – how disrespectful! (text sent during a staff meeting to the woman sitting directly next to you). 

(Through bites of leftover tacos from the night before) He is such a jackass! (Flips him off as he is exiting the staff lounge)

If any of these scenarios sound familiar, then you must be a teacher. A staff lounge is a scary place filled with moldy, mystery refrigerator items that no one claims all year, decorations that are collecting dust, and coffee mugs that date back farther than the school itself.

I am not the type of person that can live and thrive in negativity. I cannot bear to swim in it all day long! Too many sad or horrible things happen to us or to “our kids” throughout the school day to even put one ounce of extra effort into being negative. I have decided to cultivate a business-like relationship with my coworkers. I don’t want friends – I want reliable staff who has my back and has the students’ backs.

Here is what I have found works with these toxic or negative workspaces:

1.) Straight up avoid

We teach our kids to face their problems with bravery, but when it comes to negative nelly’s, I straight-up avoid those people. If they eat my lunch shift, looks like I’m eating alone. I would rather isolate myself than partake in a toxic school culture that breeds bad bacteria that erodes the integrity of our staff. Be like Ron. Think: WWRSD? What Would Ron Swanson Do?

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2.) If a conversation takes a turn for the worse, don’t say anything and start playing on your phone

Even if you are mindlessly scrolling through your Facebook feed, it’s better than being “the middle man”. This works only if you are in a group of more than 3 people because the negative nelly can turn their frustration on the others in the vicinity of their rath. This method does NOT work in smaller crowds because you will become the person they vomit their words at!

3.) If you are somehow roped into a “shit-talk” conversation, I like to pull the “Smile and wave, boys” move

If this move is performed correctly, the assailant will eventually grow tired and venture off to find someone who will fuel their rage fire. Just continue nodding your head without using words. Maybe throw in an “mmhmm” every once in a while to trick your predator into thinking you are listening.

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4.) If you are in a staff meeting and seemingly trapped with that one old guy who seems to question and hate everything developed within the last century, leave to “use the restroom”. Fake an emergency call. GET OUT! 

Don’t even play with me – you know exactly what kind of guy I’m talking about. Usually, his name is “Matt” or “Martin”. Excuse yourself by whatever means necessary! Oh, your grandmother just died? Better go! You suddenly have the urge to use the restroom. You need to take an important call from your lawyer. ANYTHING.

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5.) Tell your administration.

I’ve never had to use this one because I am SO GOOD at number one. But, if you can’t control your circumstances, tell someone in charge. And if your administration is negative too, at least you tried! At the end of the day, you can have dignity and pride in knowing you are a good person trying the best you can.

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Good luck and Happy Hunger Games! May the avoidance odds be ever in your favor!

The Hardest Part

The hardest part is going to bed. Not sleeping, not cooking, not working, not coming home from work. The hardest part about being alone without actually being single for me is the act of going to bed. I will binge television shows I don’t care about far into the evening/morning hours to avoid slipping into bed. When I’m on the couch, I’m not consciously thinking about my husband or our situation, but I feel a sense of unease. I could be utterly exhausted; I could be straining to keep my eyes open. But, I would rather suffer from exhaustion than get up, walk into the bedroom of my crummy apartment, and lie alone in my bed. The sheets are too loud and noisy. I’m either too hot or too cold, and the train noises remind me I’m in the heart of downtown. Not the nice part of downtown – the part where a billion dollars was invested in to revive it. The seedy part. The part where you lock your car doors and lock yourself in your apartment during the middle of the daylight hours because ‘ya never know’.

I have a few colorful neighbors that frequent my street. One of them is this man in his 30’s who collects bicycles. And by collect, I mean he steals them. He once told me he has over 30 of them. I’m not sure where he lives, or if he even lives in our neighborhood, but boy does he sure love to ride his bicycles up and down our street.  I try to avoid this guy not because he’s violent or threatening, but he’s the type of guy that will not let you exit the conversation at any point. You could be like “I am leaving right now, and I’m done talking to you” and he would still continue carrying on about his bicycles.

Another man lives in his van. I haven’t seen him this winter, but I’m pretty sure the cops made him move. This man goes by a few names: the most interesting being “Jesus Hitler”. The side of his van says “Wolf Man”, but he introduced himself as the previous. I met him when I used to work at the grocery store. He would always come through on the city bus. He walks with a cane and has one giant dreadlock ponytail that touches his bum. He isn’t formidable either – just quiet and strange.

The man I interact with the most is my next door neighbor. Whenever he sees me, he asks me if I can spare $2 for bus fare. He frequently talks about his PO (Parole Officer) and complains about literally anything. He has a pretty cute dog, but he had to get rid of it because his apartment didn’t allow dogs (duh). The last time I saw him, he almost walked into my apartment because he thought he lived there! I redirected him back to his house (next door) and shoveled a path for him because I was outside shoveling over a foot of snow that had fallen. He, too, has a bad knee and needs a cane.

I’m sure there will be a time in my life where I look back nostalgically on this part of my life, but right now I cannot see the silver lining of it. I’m great at living alone for the most part. 

At certain points though, I feel as if enough is enough. I force myself up off the couch and into bed. In the morning, I force myself out to face the next day. I am strong. I know that already. But it just sucks to have to be alone all the time.

I wonder what’s harder  – raising a bunch of little ones on your own, or not having little ones to come home to.

It’s quiet. The train that rushes by every hour is the only thing that drowns out the furnace’s white noise. I wonder if my life will always look like this? I chose to marry someone in the Army, and someone whose civilian job keeps them away for 6 out of 7 days in the week. Time will tell. But for now, I’ll continue to binge TV shows that don’t matter and write blog posts in order to postpone going to bed another evening alone.

Living A Military Lifestyle

My new husband and I are no strangers to time apart. His job in construction keeps him occupied Monday-Saturday for as long as the weather allows them to work in whatever city needs new roads. The phone calls are lack-lustered with the exhaustion of the days labor pulling his eyes closed. The Sundays together are filled with chores: laundry, grocery shopping, resting, and cleaning. The hardest weeks are when he has to come home on Thursday night, leave Friday morning at the crack of dawn, drill Friday-Sunday, and come back home Sunday night, up on Monday morning to work in another city for another job.

This lifestyle has been good practice for us in preparation for deployment. I hear about women who can’t spend one night apart from their husbands, and I can’t help but think of what kind of alternate reality universe they’re living in. I don’t pity them for one second.

I have been forced to gain self-confidence, self-assurance, and an independence that I never had before I met Josh.

Hobbies have saved me from pure insanity. Volleyball, bartending, running, and lifting have all been my sanctuaries that I run to when I’m lonely or depressed. I’ve learned that I can’t stay home in my small apartment and hide from the world while watching an absurd amount of Hulu. My cell phone can’t fill the void that my husband has in my heart. I have created these positive and active hobbies so I don’t sit in my dark valley for too long – staring in the blue light of my cell phone wishing for a text message or a phone call.

Getting out into the real world is the only cure to pass the time. I’ve always struggled with finding my ‘tribe’, but it was essential to find good people to share life with – all the good and bad.

Deployment is looming in our future. I’ll keep my blog updated throughout this whole process. Three months until he goes back to work, and five months until Deployment – counting down. I’m hoping to use this space as a release of all of the good and bad, the pretty and the ugly, the crazy and the logical.

Continuity Errors in “The Good Doctor”

“The Good Doctor” is another one of television’s efforts to create a medical drama that gives Grey’s Anatomy a run for its money: literally. Shows like Scrubs, Chicago Med, ER, General Hospital, House, Private Practice all work to give it’s audience a dramatic interpretation of what it takes to be a surgeon. As a Grey’s Anatomy Stan, it takes a lot for a medical drama to impress me. There are a few shows out on networks that are trying to change how medical dramas are viewed; New Amsterdam and The Good Doctor are trying to combat stereotypes and draw in a varied audience instead of middle-aged housewives. I’ve been indulging on The Good Doctor over Christmas break, and my husband and I are fans of the show! Since I’ve consumed such a massive amount of TV in such a short period of time, I’ve noticed a few inconsistencies in the plot, character development, and writing.

With that being said, if you don’t like SPOILERS, don’t read ahead!

 

Nicholas Gonzalez and his oddly placed tattoo..

As I talked about earlier, this TV show is making a clear effort to try to appeal to a wider audience and break stereotypes. One of these stereotypes producers immediately tackle is tattoo’s in the professional community with the character Nicholas Gonalez and his peek-a-boo neck tattoo. This effort falls a little flat, though, because if Neil Melendez’s tattoo was real, it would be the weirdest placed tattoo ever. I feel as if the writers were like “Let’s break molds and tear down barriers in the professional world by giving a doctor a tattoo! But not too much tattoo! Or else that would be scandalous!” And Voila! A half-assed stag tattoo emerges. They didn’t want to fully commit with the neck tattoo, and it shows.

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This decision qualifies as a continuity error because falsifying a tattoo can never be perfectly positioned every single application. Sometimes the tattoo is visible in his typical collared shirt, and other times it’s not. Sometimes the stag’s antlers are thin and delicate while other times they are bold and vibrant.

Marcus Andrews and his potential impotence…

Head of surgery at San Jose hospital and eventual president in Season 2, Marcus Andrews is a character I would not want to challenge. Andrews attempts to start a family with his wife but quickly finds out he has a low sperm count and is unable to have children. The conflict arises when the audience doesn’t receive any follow through with how his character is handling the new information about his surgery that could leave him impotent. Does he accept the surgery? Does he have children? Or does he reject that fact that something is ‘wrong’ with himself and run from the truth? At the end of season 2, we still do not know.

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Claire Brown and her mother…

We see Claire write her mentally ill mother a check for $2500 (plus a little more, ya know, for furniture) so she can move to San Jose to be close to her daughter, Claire Brown. Claire exits the hospital after writing the check with tear-filled eyes and tightens her trench coat. What happened to her mother? Did she run off with the money? Does she live a happy and healthy lifestyle? Does she blow it on her addictions? We imply that her mother is never to be seen again because that’s how addicts act normally, but we don’t know for sure.

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Marcus Andrews, Part II

It’s easy to get lost amongst a show with so many strong characters. Marcus Andrews is a ruthless leader who doubts Shaun’s abilities to lead and conduct himself in accordance with the hospital’s high standards. We know that Glassman steps down as President due to Shaun’s mistake, but we don’t see Shaun suffer any ramifications for his error. For someone with autism and savant syndrome, he seems to be unphased by his lack of attention to a young college student’s case. In addition, he receives no ‘punishment’ from any of his superiors. Many times throughout the show, the residents ask if they are being punished, and what for. Shaun never seems to understand the lesson of his scut punishments, so maybe his superiors have given up their efforts in punishments.

Jared Kalu and his bad reputation…

Some people can’t seem to shake off their past mistakes. Jared Kalu is iced out of his residency but doesn’t leave the show gracefully or logically. We see Jared begin a new relationship with one of his patients that he hands off to Shaun for further care at the end of Season 1. Why would he start a new relationship with someone in San Jose if he’s supposed to be moving to Colorado to continue his education? What’s the point? Image result for jared kalu the good doctor

 

At the end of season 2, I’m filled with hope for the future of the show getting a renewal contract for Season 3!