Category Archives: lists

24 Ways You Know You’re an Adult Military Brat

1. You get that “deer in the headlights” look for a minute when someone asks you where you’re from.
2. You have to remind yourself that you’re not supposed to tip civilian baggers at the commissary grocery store.
3. You may or may not have called the liquor store the “Class Six”.
4. You know all the words to “Taps”, and you kind of miss not hearing it at 5pm on the dot every day.
5. You’ve bonded with other former military or military brats over your shared love/hate of AFN commercials.
6. You could probably fold an American flag with your eyes closed.
7. It takes you months to convince yourself to paint or put stuff up on the walls, because that TOTALLY wouldn’t pass inspection.
8. You still think of downsizing your stuff before a move in terms of meeting your “weight allowance”.
9. You knew at least one kid growing up who was American but had a foreign accent from living abroad for so long.
10. Your own accent/vocabulary is a melting pot of different regional slang and military lingo.
11. Your hand goes instantly to your heart whenever the national anthem starts playing anywhere.
12. You think any food court without a Popeye’s and a Taco Bell is basically a waste of time.
13. You can’t help but think your neighborhood would be much improved by adding an MWR.
14. You couldn’t wait to finally get your dependent ID card so you could buy candy from the Mini Mart.
15. And you mourned a little when your dependent ID card expired.
16. The smell of bilge water, gunmetal, and diesel fuel reminds you of your childhood.
17. You’re completely befuddled by civilian medical insurance. Like, more than usual.
18. You think the term “permanent address” is an oxymoron.
19. You’ve felt “the itch”.
20. You have actually moved to a new place because of “the itch”.
21. You’ve gotten on a hop after waiting hours on a space-A.
22. You know what #21 means.
23. The biggest culture shock wasn’t moving to a different country, but having to live off base.
24.  You never really finish unpacking. Honestly, what’s the point?

What say you, fellow military brats? Have anything to add?

Crowdsourcing: Best Breakup Songs

Disclaimer: Don’t panic. Jerry and I are not breaking up. 🙂

But I read a story (okay, it was a fanfiction–don’t you judge me) this weekend and it got me thinking about breakup songs in general. There seem to be a lot of them about, but it’s such a hard feeling to encapsulate in words that to put it in songs seems next to impossible while still getting the “heartbreak” part of the proceedings across in all of their soul-crushing glory. So I started Googling and, lo and behold, all I’m turning up are things like “Since U Been Gone” by Kelly Clarkson.

There is a time and a place for “you left me, but I’m strong, and I’ll get over it” songs, but that is NOT what I’m looking for. No, I’m trying to track down the best, most gut-wrenching, most “damn, that’s some pain right there” raw-ass breakup songs. I want to find the songs that are more like “holy shit, it feels like I got punched in the heart with a spike fist and now all of life is pain”.

I’ve got my own list going right now of likely songs, but I want to put this out there to my more musically savvy friends: what is the BEST breakup song you’ve ever heard? The ones that just grab you right in the FEELS and make you reflect on and remember that first gawd-awful breakup in all its chest-sucking agony?

Share your favorites in the comments! In the meantime, check out some of my picks below, in no specific order:

Bonnie Tyler – Total Eclipse of the Heart: You know, behind all the campy 80s glam, it really is a very wrenching song, lyrically, and Bonnie Tyler’s plaintive raspy wail is the perfect delivery vehicle for it.

Jewel – You Were Meant For Me: This is one of those songs I heard on the radio all the time as a kid, but never really listened to, probably because all of the loudest lyrics were things about putting on PJs and hopping into bed. LAME. But after giving this one a proper listen and looking up the lyrics, I’ve completely updated my opinion of this song from “lame mid-90s singer-songwriter nonsense” to “damn fine breakup ditty”.

Toni Braxton – Un-Break My Heart: I’m a little embarrassed how long it took me to think of this one, considering its ubiquitous radio play during my childhood, but when I did remember it, I was instantly like “Oh yeah: that’s a BREAKUP song if there ever was one.” Xander Harris on Buffy was wrong: the music of pain is not country music, but R&B.

Case in point: Whitney Houston – Heartbreak Hotel. DAMN.

And in case you needed ONE MORE EXAMPLE: Keyshia Cole – Love.

Dido – White Flag: This one was making the rounds when I was in high school, and it came on the random shuffle the other day, so it was fresh in my mind. This was sort of the tone I was looking for when I was checking through other songs: hopeless devotion in the face of the crushing certainty of the end of a relationship. (And please, nothing from “Grease”. You have absolutely no idea how much I hate that musical.)

Duran Duran – Ordinary World: Not a lot of male artists making the cut on this list, but this one is probably one of my very favorite breakup songs. I was going to put “Lovesong” by The Cure, but that seemed just a little bit too obvious, you know?

No Doubt – Don’t Speak: Considering this one was based on Gwen Stefani’s actual breakup with the bassist in her band whose name I can’t remember, I’m not surprised this is such an effective “ow, ow, the pain” breakup song. I am just surprised she sang it with her ex standing RIGHT THERE. Seriously gutsy, lady.

Julie London – Cry Me a River: Do I even need to write a description here? Y’all know the song.

Nancy Sinatra – Bang Bang: Ditto this song. Mid-60s songstresses sang the music of pain.

Sinead O’Connor – Nothing Compares 2 U: Okay, technically this is a Prince song, but that’s like saying “I Will Always Love You” is a Dolly Parton song: that’s just not the artist most people think of when they hear the song title. Sinead sang the CRAP out of this, and it might be way over the top, but so are most breakups.

Okay, your turn! What songs would you add to the list?


-Insert bogus excuse about being swamped, tired, uninspired, and/or sick here.-

Here’s a short list of what I’ve been up to lately, and what you might expect to see mentioned on the blog sometime here in the future:

  • Making preparations to DM a ladies-only D&D group. My first time DMing. Eeep.
  • Researching tax junks and business document hard copy retention schedules to possibly get a small business professional organizing home business going. Double eeep.
  • Learning Javascript and jQuery at the Google Pittsburgh offices. Triple eeep, but I’m slowly getting the hang of it. Need to tack on “get not-sucky at HTML/CSS” to this to-do list.
  • Going to Washington DC to see Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds and a whole bunch of friends from college. (And one from middle school–small world!)
  • Cleaning up this sad winter hidey hole I call my apartment.
  • Reading “Cloud Atlas” for book club and trying to figure out some fun artwork to do using the book’s themes.
  • Buying a positively embarrassing number of New Wave records, but not actually being all that embarrassed about it.
  • Clearing out my storage area and figuring out what to send down to Georgia when my grandparents drive down to visit my parents next week.
  • Talking to my little brother about his crisis of education.
  • Rewatching Veronica Mars in (perhaps premature) anticipation of the successful Kickstarter-funded movie that I definitely backed for $35, which will get me a t-shirt, an PDF copy of the script, and a digital copy of the movie.
  • Catching up on RuPaul’s Drag Race, Season 5. Also, Untucked.
  • Sleeping off this unfortunate sinus thing I’ve picked up over the last couple of days.
So that’s been my last few weeks. 

13 Reasons Why I Love Mardi Gras


1. It’s fun. Holy COW, is it fun.
2. It always reminds me of living on the Gulf Coast, which I loved, except for the hot weather and bugs.
3. It is a great excuse to eat pancakes and/or king cake. As if I needed an excuse.
4. I’m not Catholic, so it’s all of the excess with none of the penance.
5. The colors are flattering on me. I definitely trotted out my purple, green, and gold today.
6. Free beads. Forever.
7. It’s the one time of year parades are actually fun.
8. The floats look like little islands of awesome in a sea of people.
9. My friends in New Orleans and Mississippi post a lot of fun photos, which make me equal parts jealous and happy.
10. There are a billion names for it, and they’re all fun to say: Mardi Gras, Fat Tuesday, Shrove Tuesday, Pancake Tuesday…
11. Did you know kids get like three or four days off of school for Mardi Gras on the Gulf Coast? It was awesome.
12. Sometimes they throw Moon Pies off of the floats.
13. In Pittsburgh, Mardi Gras means Lent, and Lent means fish fries and pierogies courtesy of local bubbis at churches everywhere. It’s going to be awesome.

10 Awesome Shelving Solutions (That No One Would Ever Use)

You all know how fond I am of organization, decluttering, and generally keeping things labeled and tidy. I’m that person who used my college graduation mad money to buy a label maker. I get visibly excited when I visit The Container Store website. I spent last Friday night carefully dividing a large old cache of pearl beads by color into new containers. I love folders, I love labels, I love any and all posts labeled “pantry porn”. And I read A LOT of design blogs.

But here’s the thing about design blogs; they’re showing you houses that are TOO perfect for people to live in. You know it, and I know it. Even if people actually DO live there, I often find myself looking at a picture and thinking thoughts like, “Where do they put their car keys when they come home?” or “That looks like the least comfortable chair of all time.”

What I’m getting at here is that, like fashion, what looks good in home design photographs isn’t always practical. In fact, sometimes it is almost laughably IMpractical. And with that, here are ten breathtakingly beautiful shelving solutions that I would be UTTERLY ASTONISHED to see any sane human person actually put in their homes.

That’s one way to use all of those Goodwill tables you accumulated in college. Probably a bear to clean though.

This is probably the sanest shelf photo I have in this post, but it’s still messy and lopsided and looks like one big coffee table edition would send the whole thing tumbling. You can tell this person doesn’t have kids or pets.

What is this hot mess? I don’t even…

Twee as a Wes Anderson flick? Yes. Practical storage solution? Nay.

Awesome in theory. In practice? Your video games obscure all your awesome Pacman shelf, and your flatscreen looks teeny by comparison. Also, I hope for their sake they found the studs when they put that thing up.

Yes, I see the little wedge there, but I’ve stacked a lot of beers, crayons, tubes of paint, and markers in my time and the one constant for all of them is that GRAVITY MAKES FOOLS OF US ALL where round items are concerned.

Just because I will never NOT want an awesome book nook in my home doesn’t mean I don’t recognize how UTTERLY IMPRACTICAL angled built-ins are.

…seriously, hipsters?

This looks cool as hell, but can you imagine the DUSTING you’d have to do if all of your walls were actually shelves? 

They missed a golden opportunity for a book rainbow here.