Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Timing can be a powerful thing, in more ways than one.

Sometimes you come across items, photos and nowadays webposts that really hit you. The timing is always uncanny and it is almost as if a higher power put it there for you to read.  Today I was googling some things and a link to a link of a link sent me to a blog post. The blog is of an Army Medic, it was his last post before being killed in theatre. I hesitated at first for obvious reasons, the strongest being that the post was about his tour ending and him being on his way back to the USA after a year in AFG.  I prepared myself to get sick, weep or whatever else would come along with reading something so powerful.  To my surprise, the topics he wrote of were aligned with what I feel daily and I am a civilian, not a soldier.  His writings are about so much more than a war or the military.  What I found to be the most comforting part of his final blog post is how proud he was of his work as a medic during wartime and that he would do it again in a heartbeat.  His family should be proud, I am to assume many  others aren't left with such a poignant gift from a loved one lost at war.  We all have our worries when it comes to a deployment, that is natural, war is a horrific vision in our minds.  Finally I have realized that constant manic worrying (like I did for our previous deployment) doesn't do a thing for anybody. I am going to try my absolute hardest to keep it under control.

We ALL have our gifts and purpose in life, not just service members; all of us.  It is the path of life.  I think many of us are feeling the way Eric was about society in America these days.  He wasn't and isn't alone.  What I take away from the little I know of his legacy and his candid opinion on his return home from a foreign land is this.  If we can't control what everyone else is doing collectively, continue with your standards & beliefs. In your work, in teaching your children and who you surround yourself with.   In the end, it is who you are and when you leave this life, your character is what you pass on to others.   You did a good job Mr. Williams, and today you gave this military spouse a little bit more strength to persevere through this next mission.

Thank you for your service Eric Williams, and thank you for your words today.

the post I read:

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

It always starts with a run.

Although the deployment ticker hasn't officially started yet, I am in that nesting like mode of planning and organizing as much as I can before Steve steps on the plane and I melt down for a few days.... I started consistently running as a result of the last deployment.  I had no kids, lived in a large motivating city and running tamed my constant anxiety.  In recent days I was close to committing to a half marathon on Long Island but fate intervened and today I ended up joining Team USO Fort Drum to run the ING NYC Half Marathon.  I ran this race recreationally in 2009. It is by far my favorite distance and to date, my favorite memory of all road races.  With this I will have to raise $1700 for the USO in which 90% of those funds WILL go to our local soldiers and families via our on post chapter.  They do amazing things throughout the year like give away 100's of free bikes to kids, bring shows like Sesame Street Live at no cost to families,  offer free daily meals & a place for soldiers to unwind. They are almost always the first faces our soldiers see at airports nationwide welcoming them home.  During deployments the USO's support ranges from helping loved ones left behind to cope to enabling deployed military members call or Skype with their families from across the globe.  We are one of those families and I know the USO will in fact be a place of support for our family during the coming 9 months if we need it.

Race day is March 17th 2013- between now in then I ask that if you can please support the USO via my race if you can.

Team USO Donation Page for Danelle K.

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.  My family thanks you, the USO thanks you and I know our military thanks you.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Blogging the deployment.

As most of you know my posts will touch on topics concerning current events, big events in my life and things that are usually running or fashion related... I try to keep the foodie stuff on the business blog.  As many of my friends and family know, Steve will be off to Afghanistan in the coming weeks.  It's a hard deployment for us as it is the first with children and unlike our last 15 month stint, the war is lost from not only headlines but most of the publics mind.  It isn't any one's fault, it is just how it is.  We rarely see in the news or in movies what is the true in between and real realities of war for our military families.  We either see death or homecomings. We don't see the goodbyes, we don't see the joys of the first email or phone call from daddy and don't see the challenges the children, soldiers and families face until they all come home.

I have chosen to blog through this deployment in an uncensored way. There will be days that are status-quo, there will be days where I may be in a complete panic and others filled with the sentiment of "we can do this".  I am hoping my blog helps regular civilians (who are still very much a part of sending our loved ones away) see what this all entails. Hopefully it will also show all of the different walks of life we come across in our Army life. The new found friends that move away abruptly, constant change and travel.  We don't all hunt, aren't all from the deep south and I certainly don't drive a pick up although there isn't anything wrong with a pickup.  ;)

My disclosure before this whirlwind of 9 months begins is that please take what I write with a grain of salt.  There will be a lot of emotion or distraction at times.  I take full responsibility for my transparency if you read it with perspective.  What I hope to gain is a therapeutic outlet to get me through the days and possibly a place where other spouses/family members can say: yeah, I feel this too and I am not crazy for it.  Until then I am going to enjoy my last days as a whole family for about 9 months... xxoo dk

Monday, December 17, 2012

One article isn't the answer.

With regard to the article I keep seeing shared.  People seem to be virtually searching for someone to have an answer to this tragedy.  There are professionals for this, and we may never have the answer considering Adam Lanza and his mother are no longer with us.

This is very private for me to share but I am writing it because I keep seeing this article being passed along enthusiastically on Facebook. I am not a doctor, but have spent my entire life taking care of someone who is mentally ill. Even as a young child when I had no idea what I was involved in.  I've spent holidays in mental wards, seen the horrors of extent of what the human mind can do and share in the horrible frustration these diseases bring our families.   Like anything else we need more help, but I think this article is irresponsible. The public does need to be aware, I as a family member need more support and resources. Truth of the matter is we aren't a country full of twisted horrific mentally ill killers. Most of us will never deal with true mental illness in a child or family member.  Now, some facebook users will read this article posted like doctrine and suddenly think they understand or have the answers.  Mentioning ADHD and other social disorders that kids are over diagnosed with right now along with the names of multiple mass murderers to explain how broken the mental health care system is does nothing to help the rest of us. It will probably add to the urge to hide and seclude what I am really dealing with. Did you know after reading this article that many mentally ill people aren't violent? I wouldn't have. We now have a ton of people on social media that still have no clue about what these children and adults truly need, just more self proclaimed experts with a voice.  In my experience (the last 15 yrs)  psychiatric hospitals need more money, patients need access to private care, stigma and assumption from the doctors need to be removed. Get rid of government run social programs that take these patients from the hospitals to society like an assembly line rather than individuals with very different diseases. Families need to say NO when someone is threatening to harm themselves or others and the emergency room says they have no psych beds. Drive to the next county and find one. Learn the system yourself.  Like any challenging sickness paired with bureaucracy it's exhausting, it can destroy your family. But you CAN take care of those in need- it's just a horrible cycle with many obstacles we hope are being corrected. Turning this issue into the next Komen-like branded conversation in America is not going to help- and bunching many different diagnoses of mental illness into an event like this is such a sad thing for the rest of us, who actually have to live it.  The final thing I will say is none of us are Adam Lanza's mother. We are all judging her and she isn't here to defend herself.  I wish strength and courage to anyone dealing with true mental illness and if this tragedy helps better the system of care, then I am all for it- but this isn't a time to link such a complex arena of sickness to an event none of us can begin to piece together.  I never see the outrage of terrorists overseas killing tons of children w/car bombs or shelling their happens daily... no one ever searches for answer why?  I guess I will never understand where people draw their lines in judgement. Bless those innocent children and staff at Sandy Hook Elementary, may they rest in eternal peace.

Monday, September 10, 2012

The 11th Year.

     Tomorrow marks the 11th year since that tragic day we call 9/11/2001.  As with every year since 9/11, it is automatic that my thoughts get foggy, my moods are inconsistent and my worries weigh heavily on my mind.  This year, more than last there is a glaring significance that stares me in the face.

     Last night, my husband positively reflected on how America has prevailed over the intentions of those monsters.  The terrorists.  As a solider, he is pretty well versed and has earned a valid opinion on the topic.  His opinion was, aside from the wars... how successful were they in "destroying" America?  He felt, all in all we have rebounded and other than the Airline industry, every day Joe isn't effected.  I agree, I guess.

     Eleven years since the smell of burning fuel and a cocktail of other things filled my apartment, my life is still touched.  It is the Fall of 2012 and all of the joys that is a happy and healthy family has a cloud of anxiety looming.  The cloud is a direct effect of September 11th 2001.  Eleven years later, I will be watching my two daughters ship their father off to Afghanistan this winter. No party politics or miracle will alter that as of now.

My dear husband, we are the Americans still effected. Not broken, but effected.

What happened in NYC that day, in DC and in PA was tragic and horrific. Would I erase it from my memory? No.  I physically witnessed the true goodness and pride that does exist in this country.  There is a sick voice in my head that wishes without the death and destruction it could be September 12, 2001 everyday.  Especially, this year. I want to be confident that those around me are as proud to be an American as I am when I send my husband and his fellow soldiers to war for the umpteenth time.  I want them to think of all of the loss on that day and the sacrifice regular citizens made to help one another across the country.  Why we need absolute tragedy or a more significant anniversary to stop from our daily lives and become united again I personally will never understand.

I remember the families and victims almost daily. I am thankful for the heros that stepped up that day, and now may be suffering with sickness.  I am thankful for all of the heros that continue on, because our leaders ask them to.  Most of all,  I am thankful to live in this beautiful country everyday regardless of all the bull and distractions in between.

Never Forget. September 11th 2001.

Monday, January 30, 2012

With a Budget that big.....

All of us in the Fashion/Design community understand the realities and constraints of our work.  Fast fashion has become something we have all come to love and hate.  Personally, I usually try not to get too wrapped up in the little details or my head would spin.  When product development was my main job, market shopping and "inspiration" is just a reality.  I am also speaking to working at a mass and fast fashion level, not Designers who are known for being the inspiration behind our fast fashion.  Anyhow, like I said, I try not to let my head spin at the realities of what some 24 yr old "designer" is doing in their cube for 12 hours a day.

Last week I had read on about the U.K. design team allegedly knocking off an Atlanta based artists work for some home goods at H&M UK.  Annoyed, but not REALLY effected.
Today? Head is spinning.

See the H&M drama here:

Let us proceed.

My best friend Kat is the owner and designer of the brand BabyLady Inc.  BLI is a kids line she started from scratch, out of her home on no sleep with a household to run.  She has 2 beautiful children and a 9-5 job that keeps it all going.  Since the launch of her line in Fall 2010, she has run a graphic on t-shirts, bags and sweatshirts called "Blushing Eyes" that has become a signature of the brand.  Her line has done really well, is all American made and continues to grow at a retail level internationally.  Today, excuse my french.... my head is FUCKING spinning. Apparently Paul Smith's design team thought with a few elements of change, they could make HER "Blushing Eyes" their own.  Maybe legally, sure... Kat probably can't do much. As a member of the Fashion Community, small business owner and mother trying to make the glue to keep it all together, I say shame on all of you "designers" (really?).  Shame on your sample budget for not leading you to an ounce of creativity and shame on your parents for not teaching you about pride or work ethic.

Here is BLI's original "Blushing Eyes" work:

*you can see all of the pieces seasonally in her line sheets

And here is the Paul Smith Brand genius (put your finger over the mouth and nose):
And I must say, they made it look like..... how would you say it in the UK? Rubbish.

I love you Kat, keep on keepin' on... Brooklyn style. What.

Support BabyLady Inc. here:

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Dare I say... Finally?

OK, I KNOW everyone is tired of hearing about the marathon, my running, etc. After years of babies, bakeries and all sorts of obstacles that have kept me away from the infamous NYC Marathon.... Sunday, I will run, jog and crawl to the finish line. 

A HUGE thank you to everyone who donated to MS last year, the money went to an amazing cause and in honor of one of my best friends w/ MS who is now.... expecting!

Training at Fort Drum for this marathon has been nothing short of a mind**** considering there is absolutely nothing to look at in the physical sense. As far as I am concerned there is a lack of paper somewhere, because we kept all the trees to ourselves.  My motivation to run always comes from the struggles we as a military community face, watching friends with multiple children endure seasons passing without their husbands and the joy that is a soldier returning home from war. My husband is home, but since May I have barely seen him.  If he sleeps- it's in a truck sitting up, he eats freeze dried food and works around the clock training to leave us again. When that quit voice kicks in, I remind myself that THIS is nothing compared to what he does, and sacrifices for us.

Sunday as always my race will be to honor all of the lives lost to these wars of my generation. One of which I am praying not to send my husband back to next year.  I hope to never have to watch my daughter say goodbye to him.  This is a very different life we live in now, and for our community lonely holidays and very sad news are usually only a few friends away. It is our choice to serve, so I guess we just cope....but I hope the average citizen doesn't forget the sacrifice.

In my little world, I run to honor them all... on my 26.2 miles I will sing, cry, reflect and thank all of them in my own little way. I love NYC, it is my home and I wouldn't want to attack this challenge anywhere else in the world.  Good Luck! to everyone running... and Natalie, the 2012 lottery opens the next day? ;)

Anyone who wants to follow the events which are pretty awesome here are the details:

In New York: The race will be broadcast live exclusively on NBC4 New York beginning at 9:00 a.m. A two-hour highlight show will follow on NBC Sports from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. In the New York metro area, NBC Sports is on NBC4 New York.
In the United States:
NBC Sports will broadcast a two-hour highlight show nationwide, from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m.; check local listings for details. The broadcast will also be shown on Universal Sports' digital cable channels. Check for the channel number and times in your local area

Follow my progress! (slow as a turtle- don't say I didn't warn you!)

*you can't track till race day- my bib #61075 I start at 10:40am est.