War by Sebastian Junger

A few weeks ago someone I knew in my past life (Army days) found me on Instagram. It seems weird to say I "let" him follow me but it's just how it goes when you keep a private account. I didn't follow back. I wasn't even sure I wanted to. I have found that the more settled into my skin I became, the further I was from connecting with my fellow Vets (even former friends from my Army days). The political rift in this country, the people who are anti-women's movement, the people who are against football players kneeling ... let's just say there are a plethora of reasons that in a protest, I'd be on the other side from most of the guys I served with.

This perspective and realization are actually horribly isolating. I knew by adding him into my circle that a few days after learning more about him, he might be shut back out. The fact is that if someone comes into my life and shouts down my lifestyle and argues against things I stand firmly by as a mother a…

Congressman Brian Mast: An Encounter

Veterans Day passed recently and to commemorate the holiday, I took my girls to the Veterans Day parade in Stuart. They have an annual parade that's a short drive away so it's an easy place to go check out. I'm a Veteran (Operation Iraqi Freedom / US Army) and I chat with my girls about what that means and why honoring Veterans is important.

The parade featured a ton of non-Veterans day groups: police, firefighters, girl scouts, local government officials with big banners on the sides of their cars, sheriff office personnel, and more. It's strange not seeing Soldiers in the parade and seeing a militarized police force there instead. My oldest said, "It's a Soldier!" but it wasn't. It was a SWAT guy in his tactical gear walking along side an uparmored police vehicle. Super strange. However, that's not even the primary point of this post.

Walking without a banner (that I noticed) was our double (leg) amputee congressman ... Congressman Brian Mast. I…

Walking alone to kindergarten?

Last night the girls and I headed to the neighbor's house for a beer (me) and a swim (my daughters). One never knows when a simple sentence needs clarification ... LOL

Anyway, I like to learn more about Swiss and German culture when we get together. I have so many questions!! I posted on instagram recently how shocking it was to walk around in Switzerland, go sunbathing or for a swim in the river, take the train, etc ... with one major difference between the USA and here. What's noticeably different in Switzerland is the lack of catcalling, shouting dudes, beeping horns and men (in any capacity) trying to get (or demanding) the attention of a woman in public.

Ever since I was a young teen, I remember getting unwanted from men. It has taken me years to figure out that the commentary directed at women (and girls) is not complimentary and *is* best defined as street harassment. Who thinks shouting "compliments" at women and girls is flattering? The men doing it. Who el…

Zürich two years later.

Facebook reminded me that we were in Zürich two years ago - to the day. So, I decided to bring the girls back to Zürich to celebrate their first train ride and the first European city they explored. Two years ago we were in route to Nicosia, Cyprus, for our first international housesit. We lucked out by having a long layover in Zürich and so we made the most of it. This summer our house sit is in Switzerland so why not head back to the city where it all began?!

To get around Switzerland, Germany, and Liechtenstein thus far, we have been driving. After all, the family here left me their car to use and I brought car seats so it's been nice driving. Gas (petrol) is crazy expensive here but the convenience of hopping in the car has many perks I enjoy. However, I wanted to give proper tribute to our Zürich anniversary and so we did a bus and train trip.

In Schaffhausen, there are bus stops everywhere!!! There is also the main train station a short distance away. Seems this country has…

From Switzerland

Hello from Switzerland. We arrived a few days ago and the host family was super welcoming. We were picked up from the airport after clearing immigration. The flight itself was pretty good. We had a flight from Florida to Philly and then Philly to Zurich. This gave the girls ample time to enjoy the airplane experience before being on the night flight across the pond.

The first flight was great. The girls were super chill and the American Airlines crew was super kind. The girls were on their best behavior so that worked out extra well with the crew. The second flight was a bit different. I was expecting a less shitty aircraft but this one was freaking prehistoric. No outlets, no personal screens at the seats ... seriously, this aircraft was like cool in the 80s but in 2018 was like ... "this shit still flies?" Not cool, American Airlines. Oh, and to make matters even worse, the freaking headset jacks for the community movie screens on the flight didn't work in our specifi…

Tide 2.9

Artwork from my Movement Collection is my absolute favorite. Even though I love the photographs I captured in the military (photojournalism) and while traveling the USA, South America, and Europe ... I still love the simplicity and peace of the artwork in that particular collection the most.

This piece is called Tide 2.9 (Limited Edition)
It's 70 inches x 46 inches x 1.5 inches deep
Manipulated photography on a gallery-wrapped canvas

This photograph was taken in Fort Pierce, Florida, USA. I love our local beaches and the color of the water.

For more information about this artwork visit Saatchi Art here.

Making a difference one animal at a time

I have been a volunteer foster for the local Humane Society animal shelter in town for a few years now. My home is usually chaotic enough with my two young daughters but occasionally, I'll opt to take in a litter of kittens with a mom, a litter of kittens without mom, an adult cat who does better in a house than in the shelter (naturally) and so on.

Every animal has his or her own unique personality. Of course, I like more than others but they all get equal amounts of love here. My goal as a foster is to acclimate these little dudes to living in a house, living around people, being around kids, around furniture, among household smells and regular household noises. Animals stuck in shelters don't have that luxury so they benefit immensely from being in a foster home.

I have two young girls who love fostering even more than I do. People often comment that they couldn't emotionally handle fostering - it's too hard to not keep them all, they say. They also say that it'…

Paddle Boarding with My Girls

A few months back, an awesome friend of mine gave me a paddle board. New ones run for $900 + and used ones steady somewhere around $400. She hooked me up with an ankle strap, paddle, and board for a whole lotta free. As I mentioned before, she's awesome like that. The board is old, beat up, and has done its fair share of time on the water but it still works!!

I bought a rack for my car roof last year while driving up the coast with my girls (easier to put luggage + stroller on top than to keep it in our small car). The rack works perfectly for a board - lucky me!! Now, let me tell you, this board is a beast. Loading it up and even getting it onto the water takes some serious balance but I feel like I've mastered the required movements. Newer and lighter boards have a handle and you can carry it under your arm easier. This one is far too heavy and big for me - I shimmy it from my roof to my head and then maneuver it carefully from my head into the water. Lifting it from the wa…

Chris Botti in Fort Pierce

It's been a while since I've written a blog but tonight, before I go to bed, I must write about my evening. I went to see Chris Botti in concert and there is quite a story to my love affair with that man and his music.

I don't quite remember when I was introduced to his music. I remember liking it for years (maybe since 2006?) but it wasn't until a couple of years later when I awoke in Kuwait a bit disoriented from traveling from Colorado --  I awoke to a song of his and was transfixed. I slept with headphones (Bose earbuds, more specifically because I needed to drown out the noise in the tent from other Soldiers shuffling about and making a racket or snoring or other annoying tidbits that keep people from sound sleep.) I put on some tunes but awoke early - maybe it was around 3am or so? It was early but I was wide awake. I stepped out of the tent and sat at the base of a T-wall (called a T wall because if you invert the "T" then you can imagine a tall wall w…