That Time Of Year

Tis the Season! You know, when you go out into the roads trying to find those last minute gift ideas or whatever else you need to buy and then you wonder why you left the house in the first place?

There's been snow on the ground since November 22nd, which was when we had our freak blizzard. It melted in town but out in the boondocks where we live, it's hung around a little while longer. Giving a young married couple with no kids a lot of thoughts on what to do besides the obvious. I love winter, it's a great time of year, but you are limited on what you can do especially if you are looking for ways to conserve money.

So I am looking for things to do with my man (besides the unspoken obvious) that doesn't require us to continue to dive into the bank account. He's got the next week off from work, you see. So, it's list making time!

The Unspoken Obvious (come on, we're married)

Working Out (middle of week two for P90X!)

Horse Back Riding (we're feeding them anyway, might as well put them to use)

Surf Internets (certain sites are not conducive to maintaining healthy bank accounts, Craigslist comes to mind)

Watch movies (loves Netflix!)

Play Video Games (Wii, Playstion 3, Xbox 360, and older consoles, we have plenty to use)

Play Browser games (biggest time waster in the history of time wasters!)

Snowboarding (alas, money issues arise, expensive hobby, but we got the equipment as long as we don't mind making the trek to where the hills are)

Writing (loner activity, doesn't excite hubby much)

Blog about Random Crap (sure my readers would appreciate this, especially if they like me blogging about random crap)

Photography (what is it with men and taking pictures anyway?)

Bake cookies!

Sledding (damn, we need a sled. Hmm, see snowboarding)

Combine sleds with Horses! Or Snowboards with Horses!
Build a Snowman (wait for the powder snow to get the right consistency)

Fireworks! (we live out in the boondocks, this will likely be a new years thing since we're hosting this year and I've got a tote full of them)

Do Art (I got a whole room downstairs dedicated to a studio, as soon as I get it organized. . . hmm)

Organize Art Room (so I can do above)

Clean house (*sighs* yes, when you've got nothing else going on, this is probably a good one to fall back on. A clean house is a great feeling)

Work on long neglected Webcomic (best done when honey is not home, because he would undoubtedly grow bored)

Read (again, loner activity)

Visit a Bookstore (I used to LOVE doing this, should do more often)

Indoor Rock Climbing (got all the gear, if it wasn't below freezing out it would be FREE!)

Hot Cocoa, a Fire, and cuddling (can lead to unspoken obviousness)

So, that is SOME items I came up with. I'm sure I can figure out some more. So, any suggestions? Think childless married couple who often acts like big kids themselves, because that's us to a tee.

EDIT - MORE Items to consider!

Scrounge through crap and list on Craigslist for a little extra mullah

Rearrange furniture (though probably to soon to do this)

Clean out the garage/shop so hubby can have his space

Come up with to do list for little projects that need to be done around the house (honey's love honey do lists I know! Hah!)

Look for a job in this crappy economy so we don't have to worry so much about finding free things to do


P90X Week One

P90X, week one complete.

To give you a little update on me, I try to stay active, but lately I've been kind of ho-humming it around the house and living married life, and now I know why people tend to settle down. Anyway, my original plan was to get into spectacular shape and then maybe work on getting pregnant so I can stay active through my pregnancy.

Of course, when I discovered I had gotten pregnant sooner then expected, you kind of are forced to take it easy, and if you weren't all that active before the pregnancy, you really shouldn't be choosing then to up the activity level.

Alas, with my miscarriage, and the holidays, and everything else, I've been kind of taking it easy for the last couple months or so. I'm feeling it, so I decided I was going to begin working out. My husband had P90X workout videos and I decided I was going to do these to get into shape.

So, what is P90X? It is basically a work out regimine that is constantly shifting so you are working your entire body doing different kinds of exercises every day, and therefore working different muscles and giving other muscles a break. For my first week, I didn't do a whole lot of pushing myself, mostly because I didn't have the proper equipment and also because I needed to familiarize myself with the exercises before I just jump full on into it.

The first day is Back and Shoulders, with a little abs thrown in there as well. Back and shoulders basically is Pushups, Pullups, more pushups, more pullups, and when you thought you had enough, you do more pushups and pullups. This one is very much back to the basics and anybody who's been to basic training has likely done something very similar to this exercise (except pull ups in the army are dependant on pull up bars, which we don't always have readily available). I should have done better on my pushups, because, well, I'm in the army, but I've been neglectful on my conditioning and that is one of the places I've been neglectful on. So I did my pushups, not pushing myself to hard this week because I knew I would be sore the next day and that would be the end of my motivation to work out (because I'm human, and that's one of the sucky parts of working out is the pain the next day).

Well guess what? The next day I was feeling it. But I gritted my teeth and told myself, damn it! I'm going to do this and there's no backing out now! So I popped in the next disc, which is Plyometrics. This is basically a bunch of exercises that help you be more nimble and quick on your feet, and help with the jumping aspect of life. It's a cardio workout, in otherwords. And Cardio is where you start sweating. This workout had me going and I certainly felt it. What's interesting, I didn't feel like I was working the same muscles as before, it worked all different muscles.

Wednesday was arms, and it boiled down to weights. If you don't have proper weights, you won't get a good workout here. Well, I basically got a gist of the workout, but I wasn't really worked because I lacked the equipment, and ended up doing it with three pound weights. It got some tricep muscles worked, but that's about it. So before I do this excercise again, I went and got some bigger weights. Eventually I plan on having a few at my disposal. Oh, and when you're done, you do Abs.

Thursday was Yoga. Yoga and I are going to have to learn to come to an understanding, because I'm not flexible at all. Eventually, I'm guessing that that will come, but in the meantime, my balance and all of these funky moves will need to be worked.

Friday was legs and back. Lot's of lunges and squats, and more weights, I definitely felt this one, but would have felt it more if I had proper weights. And the pull ups were back. Oh, and don't forget, Abs.

Saturday was Kenpo, think kind of a TaiBo workout. Lot's of kicking and punching, definitely a cardio workout.

Sunday is a day of rest, or you can do the stretch workout that they provide. I haven't done this one yet. I'm debating on getting up the motivation to stretch out. mostly because each of these workouts are between an hour to and hour and a half. i feel that I'm in pretty good shape regardless, but now I need to push myself a little harder.

Who knows, a month of this and i might be able to do Combatives level 2


Women in Combat

I saw this on Hotair and thought, "hmm, current topic that I can comment on!"

The topic of course, being apparently that some congressional panel decided it's time to send women into combat. For whatever reason. My thoughts on this?

Largely mixed. I do believe if a woman is capable of doing something that she sets her mind on, she should go for it. But in regards to combat arms, capability is key.  She needs to be able to do the job to a high standard.

Look, I'm talking as someone who was stationed at Fort Knox Kentucky for 18 months (non concurrent) and the units I was in were all male, and then there was me. I might have had an XO or a supply sergeant that was also representing our gender, but you guessed it, female here, in a company of up to 258 people which most were representing the opposite sex.

The thing was, a lot of these guys eventually went on to work in non combat arms fields and chances are they were going to be working in a co-ed environment. Now don't get me wrong, I pulled my weight and held my own, but I had to push myself that much harder to do a task that was very easy for my male counterparts. And sometimes I fell short, which was a gross disappointment to myself.

Look, let's just get to the grit here. This isn't about Women in Combat, because women are in combat all the time. This is about women in Combat Arms. Tankers, Cav Scouts, Engineers, Artillery and Infantry. They are broken into smaller units and have a very precise and often demanding job to do. Because every soldier is an infantryman first (even women, that's what Basic Combat Training is all about) I know most about the infantry set up. You know what the infantry does? They ruck, go out on patrols with all their gear, and kill things. Sounds good, sign me up! You know what, when I was twenty, I would have been all over that. I'm thirty now, and trying to pull my weight with my infantry counterparts (and great guys they are too) and damn, my 5'3" frame is not always up to snuff on those long road marches up Misery, Agony and Heart break. You know what, a lot of those young privates aren't up to snuff either. A lot of them fall back, some fall out. Infantry is no joke, it is very demanding.

You know what I didn't see a lot of in Fort Knox? Stress Fractures in the hips. You know what I see a lot of at Co-ed basics like Fort Leonard Wood and Fort Jackson? Stress Fractures in the hips. Because in Basic Training you are learning basic Infantry techniques. These are the basics. You want to learn more, go to Fort Benning and they'll grill you for an additional month.

The thing about Combat Arms is everything about Combat Arms is very physically demanding. Which gets me back to my original point.

If a woman wants to be an infantryman, if that is her one heart's desire is to endure Sand Hill at Fort Benning Georgia so she can wear that Blue Chord and Disc, she better be able to perform up to a certain standard before she even makes it to the reception station. She should pass the PT test at the female standard at the minimum and pass it at the male standard before she graduates. See, the military understands the differences of physiology between men and women, some think it's a bunch of bull but sorry, and sure there are exceptions (I've seen many weak ass boys in my time) but by and large they are there. That's why there is a different scale for men and women in the army. I only have to do 17 push ups to pass a PT test whereas a guy my age has to do 39. I only have to run an abysmal 20:30 two mile to pass, and the same age for a guy has to break under 17. If a woman can prove she's the exception, let her have it. But she needs to meet the exact same standard the men have. And you know what? it's hard! Is it possible? Yes, I've know some tough as nails chicks in my military career, but they have to work their asses off to maintain that physical condition.

Me? I'll let the young bucks do the hard work, and I'm at a stage in my life where I'm done with that phase of wanting to kill myself. Would still love a shot at doing Airborne, but if it never happens, I guess it just wasn't meant to be.

Of course, there is that other dynamic of working in a largely male unit as a female. let's get real, hormones exist, they flare, and in the sweaty stinky environment that is the army, especially in the close quarters that is combat arms (and hell, Basic Training), you think that testosterone isn't running rampant? We breed for testosterone, Hooah! Now, lift don't ask, don't tell policy and let Lesbians serve in combat arms, you probably won't have to much fraternization between the sexes in those cases, but every other case? You know how often men and women sleep together in NON combat arms units? What happens on TDY stays on TDY is an military way of living for a reason. Hormones FLARE! I don't know what went wrong with me, guess I was just a fluke (and let me tell you, my battles knew I was an exception to the rule) but half of Co-ed Basic is baby sitting the boys and the girls and making sure they don't shack up with one another. What a pain in the ass. Ever have that workplace relationship that went sour and you still have to work with those people? Imagine that happening on deployment, ten thousand miles from home, and you find yourself feeling a little something with your saw gunner. Things get intense, you rendezvous in the foxhole a couple of times despite your Squad Leader saying otherwise (because it doesn't matter what the squad leader/drill sergeant/company commander/general order number one says, when two privates want to do something in the horizontal, they are going to find a way to do it) and suddenly things get sour. Awkwardness ensues on patrol. You think office romance is weird? Try infantry romance. I bet it is equally awkward with two men who happen to fall under the don't ask, don't tell policy (and why perhaps don't ask don't tell should stay in affect for combat arms for this very reason).

What I'm saying is, it happens. Hormones are a very human thing, and I don't care what kind of super soldier you think you are, people are driven to procreate. Combat arms is a very different environment then the rest of the military. And it would be even a little bit more awkward when one of your riflemen ends up pregnant, despite the use of birth control, because I doubt the logistics will always be fail safe in the middle of Afghanistan and the condom in the heat of the desert may just lose some of its effectiveness. Oh, and the whole monthly constitutional that women go through.

So, in finality, can women serve in combat arms? Yes, but mostly on a case to case basis. Discrimination is absolutely vital in these regards, and the military completely should have the right to discriminate. Dude, it's not always a bad thing. I know some people always flout the evils of discrimination but sometimes it exists for a reason, and the military has a very good reason. I don't think they should open the flood gates to let any woman who wants to swear in to the US Army to take a position in a combat arms unit. The selection process for her should be very difficult. And if she stirs up trouble once she gets into her unit, well guess what? Maybe she shouldn't have been there in the first place.

The military is about team work, not about the individual needs of a person's desire to be a grenadier (ooh, pick me, pick me!). And if a girl shows that she has what it takes to earn that infantry title, she further needs to prove that she has the fortitude to be a soldier first and not be a distraction to her comrades. You know what? That's easier said then done. The needs of the army should always be first, and if they need more bodies for cannon fodder on the front lines and they need to open up combat arms to women to get those numbers, well, they might discover they've opened up a can of worms.

But I guess if Israel can do it, why can't we, eh? Do it all over again, maybe I should have gone infantry?

Hmm, nope. I think I'll stay where I'm at.


Killing Myself Through Working Out

So, I am seriously thinking that getting my lazy butt into shape is in order. Married life has not been conducive to my productivity, or so i have coem to notice. And I am finding myself circling the internets, and I must say that facebook is the biggest waste of time ever invented.

Starting next monday, I want to change it all.

I'm going to do P90x.

What is P90X you might ask? Well, it's this really intense workout that you do for 90 days, fortunately you can do it at your own pace, but i've heard a lot of good about it and your supposed to see some amazing results. Since I've been kind of in recovery mode for the last month, I think it's high time I get my lazy butt in gear. So on Monday, I'm going to start working out. I might have to restart it a couple of times, you know, because my muscles will be soar the first few days and I might lose motivation when I wake up stiff the next morning, but damn it, I'm going to do this! I just have to keep myself motivated and not lose sight of my goals. And that goal is to get into fantastic shape before I attempt to get pregnant again. Because with my luck, I'll get pregnant right away and then I'll be up a creak with out a paddle because if you haven't been working out before getting pregnant, it's not always a great idea to start working out. But if you are already working out, and doing something crazy like, say, P90X, I think they recommend you tone it down a little but otherwise carry on.

I do not want to be that person who gains 50 pounds and sits on her ass throughout her pregnancy. My genetics is kind of predispositioned for weight gain *sighs* (thanks mom) but I do want to be in kick butt shape before another surprise pregnancy happens, and this time, dag nab it, I plan to be ready!

So, er, does anybody care if I blog about my p90x experience or are you all thinking 'meh'.

Maybe I should take some before and after pictures? Especially if I make it through. If I give up half way (or I don't make it past the first week) you can all point and laugh at my feeble attempt.