Dispatches from a go-gettin journalist. Because not all Army wives live behind the lines...

Sunday, May 29, 2011

U.S.S Intrepid

Our memorial day weekend is off to a great start! We met up with my coworker (and friend!) and her husband and toured the U.S.S. Intrepid. This was Superman and my first time on an aircraft carrier.

I know it's said that all military men are history buffs. But Superman takes it to a whole new level. In fact, we joke that Superman has graduated early to the status where he can put the "Iraqi Vet" trucker cap, complete with a boatload of pins, and just hang at the VFW with all the good ol' boys trading more war stories than the day is long.
Of course Superman knew all you never wanted to know about these planes. All Superman needed was some dress whites and he could've pulled off  being a tour guide for sure.

Besides the interesting history, we had some majestic views of the Apple overlooking the Intrepid. Absolutely stunning.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Homes for Our Troops

With all of these charity events coming up that require donating money, it's hard to keep track of the "good" organizations (the ones that really do amazing things) and where the money will go - especially with military organizations. In good faith, we donate and tell ourselves that we have to believe that our tiny contribution will make a difference.

But Superman and I have never seen a better organization in action than Homes for Our Troops (HFOT). HFOT builds specially adapted homes -- completely mortgage free! -- for severely injured veterans. The work HFOT does is amazing -- and entirely based on volunteer work. In fact, Superman had the chance to help build one of these homes for a soldier in his unit who was hit by an IED and lost both of his legs.

He, along with hundreds of other soldiers, civilian volunteers, and local businesses, built entire one level house from the ground up.

We attended the "welcome home" ceremony for the soldier and his family -- when they saw the house for the first time. It was a real-life "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition." Except, instead of crying tears of joy at the TV screen, we cried tears of pride because we had a direct hand in helping this family. The house came complete with doors wide enough for his wheelchair. Countertops were also sized at a level that was convenient not only to him, but to his wife and three kids.

We were so moved by our experience with HFOT, that we decided to allocate the money that we would've spent on wedding favors for our guests to HFOT. It was one of the best "wedding-related" decisions we made.

Now, I've set up a little 'tip jar' on the right column of this blog. I don't want to stop giving to HFOT -- if not financially, then physically! A majority of the proceeds raised through that jar will benefit HFOT. I hope you will consider donating.

** P.S. - I do NOT work for HFOT, nor do I know anyone who works for HFOT. We were just completely moved by our experience with them -- one of a dwindling number of organizations who spend less money on overhead costs, and more on helping military families in need!!!!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Friday Roundup

Can't wait for this weekend to begin! It'll be sunny all weekend and my parents are visiting! But before that happens, let's recap the madness that was, "this week."

I pondered life as a SAHW, and decided -- no thank you. Not for me, not right now. I've got too many goals and deadlines at the moment. I haven't done enough yet to put my feet up! Okay, maybe that's a poor excuse. I'm just scared to death of  that uncharted territory. 

I concluded that in my mind, at this moment, I'd be free to be a SAHW if I was a SAHM.

But of course, Superman says N-O to everything. Ah, yes. This is life, married to the military.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

That's What He Said!

If you don't believe that there are enough of these to start a series... then you obviously don't know Superman.

This morning, as I was getting ready for work, I wanted to ask Superman for a favor. But before I could complete the sentence, Superman said: "no, babe."

Me: What?! You always 'no' me. I mean, N-O me.

Superman: I N-O you because I K-N-O-W you.

We've been married for less than a year and we already have our own "married-speak." This is crazy talk.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Favorite Place(s) to Write

I knew I wanted to be a reporter since I was 8 years old. And, of course, my mother knew that I would be a writer long before then. Today my career entirely revolves around telling good stories -- it's an absolute dream come true!

When I told my mom a few months ago that I'm going to thrust myself into book writing... there was about 5 minutes of silence on the phone.

"Yeah, I know," she said. My mom is not the type to say, "duhh!!" but if she was, that's probably what she would've said. Darn woman knows me better than I know myself... (sometimes)

While the thought of writing sounds so romantic/serene/flowy... it's not. It's a labor of love. No, worse. Some days it's a hard fought battle. Half the battle is just getting over the fear of starting. And the other half is just mustering the confidence that what I'm writing is worth writing.

I've been thinking alot about productivity -- especially because, since Superman has been around, I've been working extra hard to maintain a high level of productivity. But I feel guilty when I am spending more time writing than with Superman.

Mark Twain, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and all those other fancy shmancy writers had getaways to inspire their writing. I have a 30 page manuscript due in 2 weeks and don't have the vacation time nor the place to arrange a shmancy inspirational getaway.

This conundrum has taught me alot about forcing productivity. I've found that my favorite place to write is ALONE.

Doesn't matter if I'm in a cubicle, at home, at a coffee shop, or on a bus. I can bang out stellar copy when I am alone. No one looking over my shoulder. No one around so that I feel guilty that I'm stealing time away from togetherness.

Sad, I know. But if I'm going to get anything done, I've got to do it alone!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Stay at Home.... Wife?

Of all the acronyms -- and there are ALOT -- that are used in the military (and perhaps in civilian life!) SAHM -- stay at home mom -- is one of the acceptable ones.

Many women who hear SAHM think a busy mother with a household full of children, a supportive mother who is putting her all into raising her children... you know, all that good stuff.

But what about those of us that don't have children? When our husbands' jobs are constantly evolving, taking us from one location to another, or their schedules are just too erratic, or perhaps we're active duty and are PCSed numerous times that we can't even maintain a career, let alone hold a steady job.

So what if we turned that 'M' upside down. What about Stay at Home Wives? Are SAHW just as readily acceptable as SAHM?

Before becoming an Army wife, I viewed SAHW as a crutch. A SAHW was just as embarrassing -- if not more so -- as when the military calls you a "dependent." Certainly they're not talking about me!

But I've thought about this concept many times over the past few months -- since Superman is currently in between assignments and we're not quite sure where his next job may take us. And let me tell you, the thought of being a SAHW still scares the bajeebees out of me. This article didn't quite help make the case.

I've interned every semester of my undergraduate career, and worked three jobs during grad school. I've been lucky enough to be over employed. Even now, I have a few side hustles besides the full-time dream job I now have. When I have a weekend or a few days off, I don't know what to do with myself.

Don't get me wrong. There are so many days that I idealize kicking back and just relaxing. But I snap out of it really quick. Who am I kidding. I am a "work"-a-holic. What would I do with myself? This, I now think, is my biggest fear.

I often wonder how some wives who, premilitary, were attorneys, teachers, stockbrokers, producers, nurses, etc. cope with the fallout?

Is the only "acceptable" way to be a SAHW is to be a SAHM?

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Running Day!

Today was the big day! And I never knew I would be as nostalgic as I was walking into Fenway Park. The last time I was in the Park was nearly 6 years ago, when Superman and I went on our "first date." This time though, we came back to the park married (!!) 

Now, this place is so close to our hearts and we were so excited to come back for such a meaningful event - the Run to Home Base Program.

Superman looked so dreamy...

In fact, this is the same Gate that we entered nearly 6 years ago...

I didn't know it then, but today I  do. There's the love of my life!

One of the many fun moments of the day is when Superman totally beat Senator Scott Brown to the finish line!

Almost there!


And here's Superman crossing home plate and shaking hands with the president of New Balance.

We absolutely had the time of our lives. We think Superman came in the top 20 -- hopefully we'll get the times and ranks soon! Thank you to all who contributed to the Run to Home Base Program and made this run possible!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Run to Home Base

Tomorrow's the big day!

The whole day today Superman was practically non-stop eating (carbo-loading, he calls it), and randomly running in place out of pure adrenaline. Something tells me he's going to knock it out of the park tomorrow. Fenway park, that is...

Friday, May 20, 2011

Friday Roundup

In case y'all missed it... this week, these Appleites:

Told the military (which hates when we plan things) to take a hike and booked a Mediterranean cruise! While I've visited Turkey once before, we'll be stopping in cities neither of us have ever been. We're super pumped, but I'm super anxious! Can we afford everything we'll want to do once we get there? Will the military/life/work try to foil our plans before we even get there?

But before we get there, there's so much work to be done! Day and Night has been work work work. This is why I don't have any fun Manhattan shots to show...  I've been working so much, in fact, that Gatto has picked up on my habits!

And now, I'm out of breath.

What are you up to this weekend? I need to know so I can live vicariously through you!

Thursday, May 19, 2011


I'm itching to share with you some thoughts that I have been trying to repress, but that have been exacerbated after I read something really interesting...

But tonight, I'm exhausted.

I'm trying to keep up. Work has been draining. I have two classes starting soon that I don't feel prepared for, certain applications piling up, emails unanswered, friends whom I still haven't called back.

Meanwhile, as I sink into this couch, hoping to spare a few minutes of my mind not thinking about the to-do list... Superman has cleaned the whole house, fed the cat, made dinner, and is now in the kitchen cleaning all of the dishes.

Love of my life...

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Pullin Out the Stops

A few answers to my last post...

We'll be stopping at various places in Italy, Greece, and Turkey. We are so excited. In fact, we just dug up our passports, and I've secretly started packing 2 months ahead of schedule!

I guess that's why Superman's asking where all his socks went...

Monday, May 16, 2011

Bonjourno! Yasas! Merhaba!

July is going to be an amazing month... because we're cruising here:

And here:

And here:

Yes, we just booked a Mediterranean cruise. And now we've gotta work hard and save up so we can enjoy it even more!

Can you guess these three locations?

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Work it

Lately Superman and I have been on a duo gym kick. I'm not a big gym person -- about 1 hour is all I can tolerate, and then I start to think about all the germys that are lurking on all the equipment and need to come home asap and shower.

But Superman and I have been taking some classes together. First spinning, and now kettlebells. And it's been no walk in the park for either of us. But it's so awesome, and has motivated us (especially me) to push my limits.

I drag my feet to the class and give Superman grief, but once our trainer gets that Jay-Z going, I'm totally in.

At first I was nervous that Superman -- the gym connoisseur -- would find these classes to be a breeze. But by the end of class, the man just looks completely worked out.

My sexy sweaty hubs!

And that justifies my feeling completely sore and worn out.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Scheme Scheme Plot Plot

The furthest out Superman and I have ever planned was our wedding day. We picked our wedding date a year in advance and, after putting thousands of dollars down on all of our vendors, we prayed that the date would work. In fact, we had deployment clauses placed in all of our contracts so we could get a refund in case the military found out about our plans (shhh!! it's listening!!!) and decided to have its way with us. Luckily it worked out for us.

Now that I'm an Army wife, I'm completely convinced that'll be the furthest we will ever plan ever again.

We'd really like to take another honeymoon for our first anniversary, but we're not sure where our lives will be come October. I know. Even October, which is only a few months away is too far out!

For now, the furthest out we can plan is July -- so we're taking full advantage! Nowhere is off limits!

Where in the world should we go???

Friday, May 13, 2011


When you're married to the military, many of those around you who are not truly believe that your household is run like bootcamp.

Many will think that since your hubs is the model of fitness (which they know only because they've seen "those guys on TV"), you, by default, are one as well. Therefore, your fitness advice becomes word. And when they say they're looking  for a "workout buddy," they're really just looking for you.

Lucky for me, our house is run like bootcamp. (Kidding!) But more often than not Superman does kick my bum in shape. So when a group of girls at my office talked about signing up for a Warrior Dash, naturally they figured that the Army wife (ahem, me!) could get the team in shape for the big day.

I know it sounds crazy but I feel like if I don't do a great job at this, I'd be letting every Army wife down. After all, I gotta represent the team ;)  So I'm determined to woop their bums... in a good way of course.
Today was our first work out day, and I definitely brought the Army to the Apple! Some of them figured that I would lead them this first time, and then they'd hire a personal trainer  to keep things going. And since they're better invested Appleites than me, they had some well-known superstar trainers in mind. But after our workout today, they're kicking those superstars to the curb and keeping the wifey!

In fact, our team name is now, "Special Forces." HAHA!

I guess I'm just keeping the stereotype going for these ladies that all Army wives, by default, are fit and fabuluous. Enh, that's a stereotype that I can live with.

Now, if I can only get them to stop thinking that all of our ARMY hubs belong to Seal Team Six... ;)

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Going mobile

Blogger is down tonight so I'm forced to go mobile! Nothing will stop this Appleite!
Of course Superman had to take this photo of me. Shameless tech geek, I know.

P.S. That's Gatto taking a nap on my lap. She too is bored with my tech obsession!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011


Seven months ago
Life changed for us forever
For best or for worst.

Monday, May 9, 2011

From the Outside, Looking In

One of the more interesting parts of the unconventional wedding Superman and I attended this weekend was some people's reaction to hearing that we live in the Apple. When we told one couple sitting at our table that we live in Manhattan (only because they asked) the immediate followup question was: "Do you like it?"

We do.

Then, the wife replied: "Whenever we visit Manhattan, I hate it. It is just so dirty, and people are always touching you. And isn't it just so expensive?"

The words escaped us. We didn't know if that was a rhetorical question, or whether she really did mean to stomp on our territory.

There's more to the Apple than Times Square, than the Empire State Building, than the pushcarts and the street vendors. In fact, you'll never find Manhattanites anywhere near these "tourist traps."

You're more likely find us at the $1.50 Oyster nights in a swanky spot on the Upper West, at volunteer meetings on the Upper East, at a remote garden lounge in Greenwich, or even at a grocery store picking up food -- because yes, those exist here, and yes, some Appleites do cook.

But I guess you'll never know if you're on the outside, looking in.

Such was the response -- said in an incredibly polite fashion, and followed up with a big happy Appleite grin (seen below): 

Sincerely, the Supers.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Mama's Day

It's Mother's Day -- Shouldn't we all get a bloggy day off?? I just realized that I'm a "fur-mom" to Gatto. Does that count?

Even if you're not spending time with your mother (nowadays, we live such mobile lives!) I hope you're spending yours with someone with whom you have a similar nurturing relationship.

Saturday, May 7, 2011


Tonight will be the first wedding that Superman and I are attending since our own wedding! Well, only if  you don't count the random destination wedding that we crashed at our honeymoon....

The random wedding in Belize we watched from our honeymoon hotel room balcony. No idea who these people are, but I still managed to cry from beginning to end.

So scratch that. This will be the first that we are actually invited to.

We're not in the wedding (whew! We know too well the work involved to pull one of these bad boys together). I'm really excited to kick back tonight, take a lot of pictures, and dance dance dance!

Given the group of friends that's getting together tonight, I expect to have a few memorable stories to share. Only if they're PG, that is.

Stay tuned!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Foot in Face

You know that empty pang in your heart that you get when you haven't seen a good friend in a really long time? I've been getting what I call "I-miss-your-face" symptoms more frequently nowadays since it's been nearly half a year since I've seen one of my best friends, Darcy.

Well, I had to put an end to that, asap. I called that little lady up and walked this woman through setting up Skype (life saver!). And we had the time of our life catching up!

Now, if you read Darcy's account, you'll see she missed a crucial element. So I'm here to set things straight.

Superman would NEVER be the first to "foot in face" Darcy. Of course, he would only "foot in face" if preempted. See visual evidence here:

Darcy's piggly wigglies make their Skype debut!

Right back atchya!!!

From Manhattan to Iowa, with love ;)

Thursday, May 5, 2011


I never imagined how much this this city would change me. People don't come to Manhattan to cruise -- they're here to chase and climb. The energy, ambition, and competition is extraordinary. This city has showed me a whole new meaning of success.

I've certainly tried to give the Apple the best of what I've got to offer. And sometimes I wonder how many times I've got to be stomped on in this town before I'm cut some slack.

I put in for a job a few weeks ago and found out that I didn't get it today. I know in any other town I would've gotten it, no doubt. But this is the Apple. And I think I haven't found the right formula for success just yet.

I'm totally bummed, and glad I'm taking a hiatus from the rat race this weekend.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Books Books Books!

Here are a few books I've read lately that have helped me grasp military culture from a spouse's perspective.

"Standing By," Alison Buckholtz 

"The Army Wife Handbook," Ann Crossley & Carol A. Keller

"Under the Sabers," Tanya Biank

I need more great books to read! Got any recommendations? Share the wealth!

Monday, May 2, 2011

9 Years, 7 Months, and 21 Days

Life was so different.

And today, as a Muslim, Military wife, and Manhattanite, every day since September 11, 2001 has challenged everything I ever thought I knew then.

I could explain it -- but it would take me a provocative front cover, edge of your seat back cover, and many chapters in between...

Sunday, May 1, 2011

"The Other Woman"

If you're married to a Soldier, you know that the inner circle you think you've created, also known as "marriage," is really a triangle. Because just as long as your Soldier is in it, the military will always be, "the other woman."

In fact, there will always be one person in the military -- whether it's an XO, a battalion commander, or even just a good buddy -- to whom your Soldier will beckon at every call. And in the military, that "call" most likely means no spouse allowed.

We definitely have one of those. Let's just call our triangle completer... C.B.I.

Superman describes C.B.I. as almost inhuman. At first, I thought Superman was a little loony. Until a couple years ago when I met C.B.I. I realized - it's no lie. The man walks with purpose. And when he speaks to you in a crowd, the whole room disappears. Many times I wonder what his wife must be like. I mean really now, it's one thing to be married to a Superhero, but an X-men?

The good and bad of it all is that C.B.I has taken Superman under his wing.

(No, C.B.I. doesn't really have wings... I think.)

Every so often, C.B.I will appear back in our life, and give Superman an offer he can't refuse. And the bad part is sometimes, Superman doesn't. A few times, it landed us in a relationship conundrum because the decision was made before I could even chime in. I thought the "other woman" should just be quiet background noise, but initially it started to have more clout than the Superwife! You betchur bottom that didn't last too long.

Still, every now and again, when the phone jingles with the special C.B.I. ring -- or during a public event when C.B.I. scoops Superman away to talk business -- I can't help but get a little anxious about what new obstacle course adventure "the other woman" will be throwing our way.