May. 18th, 2012 11:14 am
bravocharliesierra: (Default)
Today, I came into the office and found on my desk a note from a VP at one
of my company's remote locations. On the back was a note, thanking me for
helping her and her admin with creating an organization chart. While I
hadn't been at my desk when she arrived, the guy who sits next to me said
that she was very appreciated. As is appropriate, I sent a thank you e-mail
and followed up with a phone call - and instead of reaching her, I reached
her admin, who I had originally been helping out. She was very nice and
said she was so happy I'd helped her. even without knowing her - noting
that in many workplaces she had been, people were loath to help her if they
didn't know her.

I did this work for her in support of my work with the admin-focused
website I run at work, which I helped to create and for which I act as sole
administrator. It is not really in my job description, and it's not
something that is even that well-known, but a lot of people use the site
and remote admins can go there for information that they wouldn't otherwise
be able to easily access. It is rare that anyone up-top will see this work,
since it's all on the admin level. But, this time, someone did.

It really made my day.

Road Map

May. 15th, 2012 05:01 pm
bravocharliesierra: (Default)
I am reaching a quiet turning point right now. I have a three year spread
ahead of me of some major priorities. I can either succeed or fail with
them, there's not really an in-between. The consequences for failure aren't
as extreme now as they would have been a year ago, or even six months ago.
There would be emotional and mental consequences, but it isn't striking
terror in me.

I have been trying for years to figure out who I am, what I want to do,
where I want to go, and now I am pretty sure I know some of it. I'm making
little steps toward it. It's a little like tip-toeing, mostly because I am
constantly trying to not allow my lack of self-confidence override my need
to complete things. I want to succeed, but I don't know where to set a
marker of success. Is it moving into a professional field instead of an
admin job? Is it just finishing my degree? Is it being able to not work, by
way of TGW's success? This is possibly the most complicated decision.

I feel like my life is constantly changing, never staying the same.
Sometimes this is good, but it can be pretty exhausting.

I have been trying to figure out some key goals to continue becoming
happier and better at life in general. These are some new ones.

- Learn to balance habits - I like to drink coffee and Red Bull, but if
I drink too much, I risk having too much caffeine in my system and I don't
sleep and feel the crash more when it wanes. I did a short break of
caffeine over the past 2 weeks - weaning down from a ton to almost none,
and I have found a lot of balance in the interim. I know now when I can
drink caffeine in order to make it easier to fall asleep, which is really
useful. I also am learning slowly that there are legitimately times when I
should listen to my body and not exercise or overdo it. It is more
damaging. I have to be willing to sacrifice that workout for the ability to
do other things comfortably the next day.

- Listen to my system - As I mentioned, I have to listen to my body to
know when too much is too much. I also have to understand what works for
me. I did aerobic exercise on an exercise bike on an average of 3 times a
week for about 4 months before I finally broke down and just started doing
primarily weights, with some aerobics. The difference was incredible. With
just the aerobics, I lost no weight or inches, and I didn't feel better at
all. With the weights first, then adding the aerobics in small doses, I
immediately started feeling better and lost a pound consistently (my weight
fluctuation on a whole dropped down by 1 lb.), plus I had some waistline
reduction. That made me super happy! I listened to my body, and I felt
better for it.

- Expose myself to healthier habits to enforce them - If I have someone
else to go to the gym with, I'm more likely to go. We signed up for a farm
share, and having veggies, fruit, and other local farm foods every week has
increased our healthy eating quite a bit. It's not perfect, but it's doing
better. It was a big up front expense, but I think it is totally worth it.

- Show my successes - I am slowly, *slowly* becoming better at showing
that I've done well at something. I still feel like it's bragging, and I'm
sure there are plenty of people who do, but without recognizing what I do
well or when I succeed or "win", I don't learn to keep doing those things.
Knowing I can do it and do it well is necessary to do it better all the

- Ask for feedback - I am trying to learn to always ask for feedback on
everything I do. I preemptively ask for people to tell me what they think
of things I want to do or say, just to get a better perspective. I ask for
peer checks (a Human Performance tool we use at work, but I'm using it
personally too) instead of just doing things without a review. I e-mail or
call people after I complete a task for them and say, hey, did I do okay?
How can I do better?

I am started on doing these already, but I really, really want to keep up
with it. Putting down things like this is a good way for me to keep doing
them, to see my successes, and to build the healthy habits that I need to.
Hopefully, I can keep doing better.

bravocharliesierra: (Default)
I haven't posted in a long while for so many reasons. First, I am super
busy with work, school, and nearly everything else. My family has been
flailing with health problems (mine, my fathers, my grandfathers, and my
mom had a heart attack yesterday), my husband is incredibly busy, and
things haven't seemed to slow down at all.

There is always something going on. This isn't always a bad thing, but it
can be overwhelming. I have been feeling lately like I take no time just
for me - even when I do get a break, I spend a lot of time internetting
(thanks, Tumblr). It's not that I don't enjoy that, or the small amount of
video game time I get, but I don't have mental downtime. I try to watch TV
shows or movies, but I feel understimulated. I think about reading, but
only get a few pages in before I have something else to do, or decide I
don't like the book enough to read more, or it takes weeks to get through a
chapter. I often find myself not wanting to go socialize, hoping that I
will eventually get relaxed enough and be "done" with enough of my other
priorities that I'll have nothing to do, but then I feel guilty and end up
doing whatever the socializing was in the first place.

When I get a break from everything else, I always think about the housework
that needs done, but I am either a) too physically/mentally exhausted, b)
in pain, or c) just don't want to. I try to be there for friends and keep
building relationships, but some days I just don't even care enough.

I am writing, but it's dragging on so slowly. I feel like I'm wading
through tar, but at the same time like everything is moving so quickly
around me that I can't hold onto it.

Does anyone else get that feeling? It's not just with the writing. It's
with everything. Everything is rushing, rushing, and I'm just dragging
myself through, hoping that I can climb out.
bravocharliesierra: (Default)
My life has not been that tough. In comparison to a lot of people,
it's been pretty great. I know that, and I'm thankful for it.

However, just like anyone else, I have gone through some things that
have hurt me. I have hurt other people. I have been changed completely
by the actions of other people and by my own choices.

Some of the things that have happened were bad enough that I had to go
to therapy. Bad enough that I had to return to taking medication,
completely change my habits and lifestyle, and totally change my
environment. In the end, they resulted in good things, but the
emotional damage is still there. The kind of emotional damage that
makes it hard for me to go to some events that I used to love going
to. The kind of emotional damage that makes me almost afraid to see
people I care about and want to spend time with, just because someone
else might be there. I feel anxious and panic at the thought of seeing
these people, not because I am ashamed of what happened, but because
they ran me through over and over.

It's horrible. It is not something I like to live with.

However, I've been working on dealing with it. The fact is that, in
the case of the things that happened, I will never be able to forgive
these people for what they did. I would imagine some of them,
including people that things happened a decade ago with, would never
remember or even care what they did. But I can't forgive them.
Damaging the things they did. Hurting me, or taking advantage of me.
The abuse is more than I could ever sit back and say "Yeah, it's okay.
I'm over it."

I'm working on something that is harder than forgiveness. Everyone
says it - forgive, but don't forget. I call bullshit. Forgiveness can
be one of the biggest lies anyone will ever tell. What forgiving
without forgetting means is that it will always be held onto, and that
the wound will never truly heal. That's crap. I don't want to deal
with that.

I want to forget.

I don't want to remember the things that hurt my feelings or that made
me scared or that left me depressed and filled with self-hatred
because of how much people hated me. I don't want to feel panic just
from seeing someone's face or name. I want Eternal Sunshine of the
Spotless Mind shit here. I want a wipe out.

So I'm working on it. Meditation and practice and just trying to
remember the positive points and erase the bad things. It's so fucking
hard. It's exhausting. But, I have to do this. I know that forgiveness
will never happen. I won't ever forgive myself for letting it happen
and the ways I contributed to the conflicts. I know for sure I will
never forgive these people, either. It's not that I wish bad things on
all of them (although there is one or two that I wish nothing but the
worst on, which I know will come back karmically). It's just that I
don't want them to exist in my mind anymore, and that I think the
things they did are unforgivable.

My goal is that by the end of this year, I will look at the new year
with no paranoia that I will lose all of my friends. I won't be afraid
of dying. I won't be scared that everything will be ruined by the new
year beginning. I want a new beginning for real, where the things that
weigh in my mind are washed away. I don't want to forget the lessons I
learned, but I want to forget the pain and the people, so that seeing
their faces and hearing their names won't make bile rise in my throat
and so that it will no longer make tears come to my eyes.

Don't forgive. Just forget. That's what I'll do.


Mar. 9th, 2012 09:59 am
bravocharliesierra: (Default)
I have been trying to think of a good blog post, because I haven't
blogged and I'm succumbing to the peer pressure of all of my friends
blogging. What friends of mine are blogging? Well, let me share with

My sister, Casey, blogs at My Adventures in Treasure Hunting:
She writes about coupons, does giveaways, and talks about her DIY
projects. It's really cool!

My friend Colleen blogs at Scrap and Run:
She writes about running, her everyday life, does daily outfit posts,
and has guest bloggers. She posts a ton of statistics about her
exercise goals and you can check out her outfits back to, I think,
2005. How cool is that?

And recently, Audrey, who used to run my work gym, started Wine,
Women, and Other Wonderful Subjects:
She writes about loving yourself, relationships, and empowerment. It's
a good read!

And I haven't written a proper post lately. I'm working on another
length-to-be-determined writing project, which I'm excited about. I
still haven't sent out "DREAD" because I am paranoid about failing
(mostly I just am a coward about taking risks with my writing), and
also because I have no idea how to write a synopsis.

My health has been in the gutter. I would write about that, but,
seriously, I know people do not want to hear that.

I have been very busy with school. I am taking Conflict Resolution and
Negotiation, and Effective Speech. They are hard as hell. I have been
working super hard on them, but feel kind of exhausted after every
assignment. Apparently, these assignments are nothing compared to the
things the engineers at work had to do, so when I'm frustrated about
it, I don't really have anyone to talk to, because gosh, it's just not
as hard as what other people did, or no one has had similar
experiences. I am taking sculpture this summer, to balance out taking
Industrial/Organizational Psychology, which sounds fascinating but
also sounds hard as hell. It's very applicable to work though, and
since I am vaguely considering moving into something for Human
Performance & Organizational Development, it fits my tentative goals.

I want to write about interesting things. I want to write creatively,
but I know I'm not good enough to do creative writing on a regular
basis on a blog. I'd like to write about women's issues or science
stuff, but they're so political it's stupid. I don't like writing
about politics.

I went to Gettysburg and will eventually post photos from that because
even though they're phone pictures, we had beautiful weather and I'm
proud of what I can do with a phone camera. I also want to eventually
review Cafe Saint Amand in Gettysburg and the Lodges at Gettysburg
because they were awesomesauce, but that takes time, so I've been

I've been playing the original "Trine" game, and it's fantastic. Also,
you should check out "Snuggle Truck". I've been kicking butt any time
I play Civ 5 because I play on easy and go for a cultural victory. I
haven't played Arkham Asylum in a bit because I needed some happy
feelings and it's depressing. I'm still reading the New 52 and loving
some of it. Yay, geeking out!

This is too long.

bravocharliesierra: (Default)
Carry me home where I'll lie in my bed,
blankets overhead,
and dream little dreams of London.

Pick me up and carry me far and away,
beyond the night and day,
and fly over the rings of Saturn.

Hold my hand and don't let me fall,
I know I may be small,
but my love and body weigh more than tungsten.
bravocharliesierra: (Default)
I rarely, if ever, watch sports of any kind in Pittsburgh. I like a few of
the Steelers - Polamalu & Keisel, and sometimes Hines Ward - but most of
the time it's an "eh" situation. However, Sidney Crosby is the only thing
that ever got me interested in hockey (aside from my interest in people
punching other people). I think Sid is an awesome, awesome person, and
consider him to be a prodigy.


This post reminded me of that. It's absolutely devastating to me that Sid
might not ever play hockey again. He is amazing at it, and he deserved to
have the happiness and success that comes with doing something he's good at
and that he loves. He is a generous person, and I am just really hoping
that he gets better, and that he can maybe play again. It's just not fair
to see a talent like his be lost, and to see someone so fantastic lose his
bravocharliesierra: (Default)
I don't write because I'm good at it.

Writing is an outlet for me, but most of the real "outlet" stuff doesn't
get posted anymore, or even shared with anyone. I've thought of going to
therapy just to have somewhere to talk that I can say anything without
risking offending people or upsetting people or feeling like I have to
censor myself, or because other people have worse problems than me or
because I know how annoying it is. I normally vent by talking or writing,
but that's not why I write anymore.

I write because I need to. Something about putting words to paper is
valuable to me. I share my thoughts with this empty blog, and it's not a
journal anymore but a way to talk about things that mean something to me.

Lately, though, I've had these weird desires to do creative stuff I hadn't
previously been interested in, because I'm no good at them. For example,
I've started painting occasionally. I'm rubbish, but it's a fun activity
and I get to learn how paints work and mix colors (something I genuinely
enjoy is making new colors). I also have been burning to sculpt. I have
done one or two sculptures, a long time ago, and I loved it. They weren't
super awful, but weren't any crazy good thing, either. It just felt good.

I started coloring in a coloring book to de-stress. It is super fun. It's
not very creative and I don't do anything special, but I enjoy it and I
really want to do it all the time.

I wonder if anyone else gets this kind of feeling.


Jan. 23rd, 2012 11:36 am
bravocharliesierra: (Default)
Soma is one of my favorite stores ever. I love the place. I wish there were
more of them in the Pittsburgh area, and let me tell you why.

I discovered Soma the first time I went to Ross Park Mall. I was pretty
horribly dissatisfied with Victoria's Secret at the time (they had just
reduced their sizes in the stores local to me, which made me unable to buy
bras from them, and some bad experiences with some *customers* there left
me a little bitter), so I was interested to see what they had.

I should note that the Soma store in Ross Park Mall is TINY. It's super
small. That's my only real complaint, because it can make it difficult to
shop on busy days and it makes me super anxious. I wish they had a larger
store, so hopefully someday that will be the case.

The first thing I found out about Soma is that they have a great range of
sizes. I wear a 36DD or 38D, and have no trouble finding my size in almost
any of their bras. That is super awesome. It makes it easy to find bras
that I like that fit, and that look really nice! The charts below are from
the Soma website, but don't include all of the DDD sizes.

[image: somachart2.jpg]

[image: chart3.jpg]

They also have reasonable sizes in their clothing, pajamas, and panties.
They unfortunately don't have much for plus size clothing, but their sizes
are larger than many stores, so I can wear a L or XL in a lot of their

Their Vanishing
are the bomb. No, seriously, these things erase panty lines, and
they're thin and super comfortable, plus they come in tons of different
colors and styles. I personally love the hipster and high-leg ones, because
they look great under dress pants.

Their bamboo panties are soooo great. They feel like you're wearing
nothing, and they are rayon-bamboo so they have a bit of stretch, but not
too much, and since they're more natural fabric than a lot of the other
panties, they are more breathable. I didn't buy them at first, but now that
I bought them, they're hard to stop wearing! I love wearing them for
working out. I have replaced nearly all of my panties with the bamboo-rayon
panties and the Vanishing Edge panties, thanks to their Panty Raids, where
you can get a bunch of panties for a really nice price.

One of my favorite products they have right now is the Vanishing Back bra.
I know a lot of women who have troubles with "bra bumps" on their back,
where the seams on the edge of the bras sits. It's uncomfortable and looks
kind of weird, so when I saw the new Vanishing Back bras when they came
out, I was ecstatic. They really work, too, and are SO comfortable. I have
slept in them and it didn't even feel uncomfortable at all. They also look
pretty good - very standard full-coverage styles, but they have both front
and back-close bras, in a bunch of colors. The only real complaints I have
with them are that the front-clasp metal plating tends to wear off, and the
backs of the bras (especially the front-close) will stretch out pretty
easily. However, it's worth it to get such a comfortable, flattering bra in
multiple styles. I own four of them.

[image: soma2.JPG]

They also have what they call "cami-bras". These bras are really cool. They
have mesh or lace over the bra that makes them look like a camisole. It is
great for summer when you want to wear something to cover up cleavage, but
don't want to wear a full layer. They're also really nice under dresses!
One issue with them is that they feel like they are sized smaller and
tighter - they can create a bit of a bump in the back and are really not
for all-day, all-night wear.

[image: soma1.JPG]

Their pajamas and workout clothes are some of the comfiest things I've ever
worn. I love their workout clothes - the sizing is reasonable and not as
rough with the vanity sizing. The fabrics are also really nice. One of the
workout jackets I have is a nice, stretchy fabric, and also has zippers on
the wrists and up the side of the jacket that goes the whole way to the

[image: soma3.JPG]

I really love the products at Soma. I think their prices are comparable to
Victoria's Secret, and that the quality is as good or better. They may not
have as big a variety of products as Victoria's Secret or other bra and
clothing stores, but it makes a difference in what you get!

One of the BEST things about Soma is their customer service and their
Passport program. I have never had any issue with Soma. In some cases, I've
had returns or lost coupons, and both times the customer service was
excellent. Replacing lost coupons (including loading them onto my Passport
account so I don't have to pick them up or wait for them in the mail),
allowing quick and easy returns, and just generally being super-nice is all
standard for Soma. I love that.

Their Passport program is great because any coupons you earn are typically
loaded directly into your account, plus you get 5% off each purchase! You
don't get as many free products as you do with Victoria's Secret, but I
don't mind. The ease of use with the Passport program is what matters to
me. I don't have to worry about whether I forgot a coupon, most of the
time, and it makes the checkout process much faster.

Next time you need to buy a new bra, I suggest you check out Soma. They do
bra fittings, and it's best to get one every six months, so go out and get
a new bra that fits! Check out their Panty Raids when you want to get
something comfortable that looks great under your dress pants or formal
clothes. If you work out a lot, pick up some of their workout clothes - or
get some pajamas for your rest days! Soma is one of my favorite stores, and
I hope that you can check them out and fall in love with their products,

http://www.soma.com Images borrowed from their website or newsletters.

The Rules

Jan. 20th, 2012 10:07 pm
bravocharliesierra: (Default)
The Brad Pitt Rule: The dirtier or more repulsive a man is intended to be
in a movie, the hotter he is. See: Brad Pitt in *Meet Joe Black* or *Interview
with the Vampire* vs. Brad Pitt in *Snatch* or *Seven Years in Tibet. *For
the full effect, check out *Twelve Monkeys*.
The Gerard Butler Paradox: Why do women like Gerard Butler? Gerard Butler
is not attractive. Gerard Butler is not talented. Gerard Butler is not
actually even that funny. However, Gerard Butler is MANLY. Yes, with
capital letters. He is muscular in the way that men who work out but also
drink a lot of beer are muscular. He is dirty (see Brad Pitt Rule). He is
offensive (think frat boy), he is promiscuous and dickish with a "heart of
gold" (think Barney Stinson), and he's just MANLY.

The Morgan Freeman Principle: Everything sounds like a parable when Morgan
Freeman says it.

Action Hero Formula: Action heroes + more action heroes = cool guys not
looking at explosions.

The Samuel L. Jackson Limit: Every actor has a subjective screen-time
limit. For some, it is five minutes (see: Samuel L. Jackson). For some,
it's nigh-infinite (see: Bruce Willis).

The Dame Governance: Any woman with the title of "Dame" in a film or
television show makes everyone else look like a tool.

The Betty White Dilemma: Old ladies swearing and being offensive will leave
you torn between amusement and horror.

Ginger Birthright: In before "soulless" joke.

(potentially more to follow)
bravocharliesierra: (Default)

In a word, yes.


Because Barbie is, and has been, a representation of beauty to little girls
and even little boys for as long as I can remember. Are some of us
surprised when we get older and realize those body types are unattainable?
Hell yes. Is a lack of consideration for different body shapes, skin tones,
and ethnicities? Of course.

Both of those things are something that are a problem with Barbies, and I
get that. However, that doesn't mean that Mattel would be wasting their
time to make them, or that encouraging Mattel to make them, is a waste. I
rarely hop behind Facebook-based causes and I'm not a big fan of the long,
flowery, tear-jerking stories trying to make support for cancer or breast
cancer research.

I think this would be a good business move for Mattel. In honesty, I think
altering the body shape of Barbie to a more realistic size (even moving
them back to the size Barbies were when I first got them in the end of the
80s) would be a good business decision. Why?

People are going to buy Barbies either way, at least in some degree.
However, they can make Barbies more respectable. Even today, as much as I
know how bad the body image damage can be and how racist Mattel's lineups
can be, I still love Barbies. There's still too much pink, and they could
definitely be a little more appropriate to a realistic human being's body
size, but dangit, they're fun. I played with Barbies because it was fun to
dress something up, and they had tons of different clothes options. I don't
understand why there wasn't ever a bald Barbie before (like I didn't
understand why almost all Barbies had long hair, either), since some people
actually are bald, on purpose.

Mattel is a business for kids. All of the business classes talk about
corporate responsibility and community involvement, and this is one of the
best, most emotionally impactful ways Mattel can accomplish both of those
things. Make regular Barbies, just with special "bald" heads, and (as
someone mentioned in The Mary Sue's comments) call them "Survivor Barbie".
Give as much of the proceeds to charities as possible (a good charity that
will not waste the money) - heck, do even 50% of the Barbie's sale price.

Then, make wigs.

Tons of them. Different colors, styles, shades, and sell them at a price
that's reasonable and will give a good return. I think they'd make their
money back. People spend OODLES on accessories for Barbies now, imagine if
they could get a Barbie that has a clean slate and make it have whatever
hairstyle they want!

I think it would be awesome. I understand that changing the body style of
Barbie is expensive and takes a crapton of time and effort (but that
doesn't mean it's a bad idea), so it is less likely to happen. However,
making a new head, and then making just a bunch of different Barbie wigs,
should be more affordable. I know that businesses have to make money, and I
think this would be a good way to do it while still making a bald Barbie
like people are asking for, contributing to charitable efforts, and
responding to consumers.

THAT is what I want to see. Do it, Mattel!
bravocharliesierra: (Default)
I have been thinking about this blog a lot lately.

I don't have a lot to put down here anymore, because the only point of a
public blog is dialogue, and I have nothing to create dialogue. I don't
even really discuss anything complex off the blog, either. This isn't
supposed to really be about my life (yet it is), and was supposed to be my
way of taking things I care about and sharing my thoughts, and hearing
others in return, but that hasn't been the case for quite a while.

I am going to leave it up here, and I might post sporadically, as per
usual, but it's nothing I'll be focusing on explicitly. Hopefully, I'll get
some inspiration.

bravocharliesierra: (Default)
My husband spent a year in Iraq shortly after we got married. I can't tell
you how many times I wished for the war to be over just so he could be
home, and damn whether the war was right or wrong. Occupation in Iraq has
ended, and I'm happy for it, but the war is not over - we're still at war,
and it's a war that has gone longer.

I look back at the last ten years mostly thinking "Holy crap, 10 years!"
It's been over ten years since 9/11, over ten years since I sat in a
chatroom with new fellow students asking "why?" and "what is happening?",
and over ten years since the world I know was changed forever. Regardless
of why we really went to war, or who knew what, I personally believe we
would not have been there if 9/11 had not occurred. The terrorist attack
opened up the possibility for war, and once we had gone to Afghanistan, it
didn't take much to convince people to go to war in Iraq.

To me, the war is a lot of things.

It is something that has taken and damaged more lives than I would like to
realize, and not just American. It has caused a lot of damage to families,
and I know the strain I felt while I was alone for the time TGW was gone.
It was hard. It was difficult for politicians. It was difficult for
citizens. It was hell for soldiers.

It is also the reason why I got married when I did. We had planned to get
married in a couple years, but TGW got his orders, and I was almost 18. We
talked it over, and I didn't want him to leave without us being married. I
wanted to be the first person that they called if something happened - I
didn't want to have to worry about not being able to visit him when he was
in training, either. I also knew that there were a lot of benefits to being
married as a soldier, but most of all, I knew that we would be married
either way, and that getting married before he left was much better than
worrying that I might never get the chance.

The war is a battle against perception. While we are dealing with
insurgents and there is a lot of hatred still resting in those opposed to
U.S. occupation, the U.S. soldiers are still rebuilding homes and making
clean water available, ensuring people have power and food, and that is so
crazy to me, still. I think it's great, but when we hear about the soldiers
from anti-war protesters, you never hear about how they built houses, you
only hear about them "killing babies". There is no way, I don't think, to
change the way people view soldiers in wars they don't support. Don't get
me wrong - bad people do bad things in war. But good people do far more
good than that.

The Iraq War is the public war. We have been at war with Afghanistan for
longer, and we're still there, and it seems like the media couldn't give a
fuck about it if they tried. We are at war with Afghanistan for what seems
to be good reason - the Taliban, along with Osama Bin Laden, are the ones
who attacked the U.S.

I am not really opposed to retaliation against them for that, I will be
honest, but I would love to see this war be over. This is in large part due
to the fact that I personally believe that it's not possible to really win
a war in Afghanistan - for either side. There is no "win hearts and minds".
We can't destroy all of the Taliban, and we can't protect the
innocent Afghans, either. They can't wipe us out no matter how hard they
might try. Not there, and not without measures that no one will and no one
should take.

The news doesn't care about that, though. They want to focus on the Iraq
War - victory or no - because it's controversial. I feel horrible for every
soldier, and every family member or friend of a soldier, who is in
Afghanistan. No one remembers them. They are heroes only in retrospect. And
many of them will still be there for a long while.

The war is NOT over. We may have left Iraq, but that was never the real war
we were fighting. So long as we are in Afghanistan, we're still at war. I
hope people don't forget that.
bravocharliesierra: (Default)
*Are you doing the absolute best you can with what you have?*
If you want a job, have you done the most you can to get it? If you're
unemployed, have you been willing to apply for jobs that make a little (or
a lot) less, or that are outside of your typical expertise, or that might
not be glamorous?
If you wake up in the morning and go to work, and you hate it, do you stay
in that place you hate? Have you looked at your options, and tried to see
whether it was worth the mental and physical and emotional stresses, and if
making a little extra money is worth it?

Are your relationships as good as you want them to be? Do you see your
friends and family often enough? Do you love spending time with your
significant other - or enjoy the time with yourself, if you are not
attached? Do you love yourself?

*Do you feel like you're at your best? *
What is success? Is it happiness in your personal life? Good relationships?
Self-love? Is it a good-paying job? Is it a job you enjoy, or at least one
that doesn't cause you excess stress and sadness?

I think it is all of the above, to varying degrees. *What do you think?*
bravocharliesierra: (Default)
Ugh, Tim Brevoort, you just made me so frustrated.

Tom Brevoort, Marvel’s Senior VP of Publishing, runs an active Formspring
> account and was recently asked quite boldly what he though Marvel’s
> responsibility was towards its female characters:

> Q: Do you feel like you have a social (beyond financial) responsibility to
> feature more female (or other underrepresented minority) headliners in
> titles? EX: DC has Batgirl & Woman, Voodoo, Wonder Woman, but Marvel has no
> book named after&featuring a woman. :

*I feel like we’ve got a social responsibility to feature characters of all
> kinds, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that those characters can or have
> to be headliners. That tends to be defined by the audience and the
> marketplace. If all of the fans crying for more series with female leads
> from all of the companies had supported all the ones that were done in the
> past, this circumstance wouldn’t exist. That said, that doesn’t change
> the responsibility, but ti[sic] may impact on the manner in which that
> responsibility plays itself out. [emphasis mine]*

I like to think that the market will typically handle when companies make
unwise decisions. However, I have to really wonder if Brevoort understands
that markets change. A lot of the people I know who buy comics now only
started buying in the last 5 years. Many women I know stopped buying comics
a long time ago because of the way women in comics were portrayed. The
market changes, evolves, and grows. He seems to miss that fact.

I buy comics because they have good stories, regardless of the main
characters, but I also really get excited for female leads - because it's
different, and because it gives a different perspective. Maybe if more of
your comics featured females like Psylocke (Uncanny X-Force) that are
normal sized, normal shaped, not presented as promiscuous and stupid, maybe
women would spend a little more $$$ on the comics.

I read Batwoman and Batgirl because they are gorgeous, intelligent,
powerful women who look like they're real. I don't read Catwoman because
she is presented in a way that is offensive. I know when I read comics like
Batman and Nightwing that the males are the leads, and I'm cool with that.
However, when the female characters are presented as mindless sex-bots or
major bitches, I'm not jumping on that bandwagon.

I don't want more women as throw-away or secondary characters. I want
comics where females are the front-runners, and look like they'd actually
be able to do it.

Get your crap together, Marvel!
bravocharliesierra: (Default)
"Work-life balance" sounds kind of pretentious. A little new-age-y. It
sounds like something they spout at performance reviews, on benefits
paperwork, and in staff meetings about ensuring human performance doesn't
suffer because people are overworked. It IS one of those things they say.
However, that doesn't make it bad.

It is important for men and for women. Men who don't get to spend time with
newborn babies or with their children (especially children with special
needs), who don't get to take some time once a week to read a book that's
not for work, or who don't get enough sleep, don't eat dinner with their
families most nights, or spend every waking minute thinking about what
needs done the next workday. It is difficult for men without children, too,
to find a balance. When you don't have kids, or you're single, it can be

It is equally difficult for women without children. For women with
children, I can't even fathom, especially single mothers, but there are
plenty of them out there who have amazing careers. But why is work-life
balance SO important?

Burnout is first on the list. If you do nothing but work, or mostly just
work, your performance can really suffer, because you can't get
perspective. You can't step back and let your brain refresh, and having
weeklong vacations once-or-more year is often not enough for that. Weekly
to bi-weekly breaks from work are important, that's why 9/80 schedules,
4/10 schedules, and telecommuting have become more normal in even
old-school and traditional corporations.

Second is the possibility of failed marriages or neglected children (not in
the abusive fashion, just normal neglect of parental relationships). How
many people end up having too close of relationships with people at work
and see their marriages fall apart? What about people who work too much
barely seeing their kids except for disciplinary or mandatory events? The
overworked (or workaholic) spouse or parent isn't just a Hollywood

Third, and possibly most importantly, is health. I am a big proponent of
the "I must take care of myself first because if I am not healthy enough to
function, I cannot care for other people" ideal, which is why I fall into
the category of "selfish," because people ignore the part after the comma.
If you aren't healthy, your work will suffer, your family life will suffer,
and so on. People who work in offices are more likely to have health
problems of so many different varieties (heart problems, more colds, back
pain, headaches, eye strain, blood pressure issues, etc.), have less
opportunity to exercise and eat healthy foods, eat on irregular schedules,
don't sleep enough or don't sleep well enough, and are more likely to skip
going to the doctor.

When people who do hard labor jobs get injured or sick, they go to the
doctor because otherwise their work is impeded drastically. When people who
work in offices get injured or sick, they work from home, they call into
meetings, they come into the office anyway. They get other people sick,
they delay their healing time, and many of them don't go to the doctor
unless it's near disabling. They don't notice how much their work suffers
unless they're very self-aware, and deadlines make it hard to examine your
quality of work sometimes. Being in work sick also distracts others - how
many cube rats like me get driven near-crazy by people coughing, sneezing,
and sniffling all day?

So how to fix it?

Alternate work schedules are a good start. More vacation time, in my
opinion, is really great, too. Allowing floating holidays is a plus.
Setting up "admin" days for employees to handle the administrative issues
(e-mail, corporate paperwork for benefits, etc.). Allowing people to have
legitimate mental-health days, and sick days. I think in the end it will
pay companies back, because the employees are more likely to actually WORK
at work, they will be healthier, there will be less people sick and out of
the office, and the productivity will not be as affected.

It can be easier if people enjoy their job or at least have healthy
relationships at their job. Not everyone can love the work they do, even
though that would be awesome, but recent studies have found that having
friends or acquaintances at work helps you live
Having a strong social network out of work is also really important.

Work-life balance is important for everyone, in every level of business -
whether you are entry level, manager, or upper-level management, whether
you are support or technical, whether you own a small business, you work
part-time, or you're in a major corporation. It's important regardless of
your personal situation - with kids or without them, single or partnered,
low-, middle-, or high-income, and regardless of gender.

*Do you have a good work-life balance? Do you think it is something you
need to change? What policies does your workplace have that you think helps
or hinders work-life balance?*
Some links:

Gen Y Women Prioritize Work Life Balance Even If They Don’t Have The
“Traditional” Life
‘Forbes Most Powerful Women’ Deal With The Work Life Balance Struggle
10 Notable Businesswomen On The Work Life Balance
Are Men Expected To Have Work-Life
Men Happier With Work-Life Balance Than Women: Captivate Network
Work-Life Balance: Men Want It,
Work-Life Balance Benefits Low-Wage Workers,

On Loss

Nov. 21st, 2011 12:41 pm
bravocharliesierra: (Default)
There was a really great post on Skepchick about grief and loss that I
wanted to link to, and share my comment:

My response:

I spoke to a man I know at work after the death of my grandfather. I was
having a very hard time coping with the fact that I didn't feel the loss as
much as the rest of my family, and that when I did think of the loss, I
felt more like it was unfortunate, but I didn't feel that sore feeling in
my heart that I still feel when I think of the loss of my great grandmother
(who I didn't know as well, but I think I felt more love for) and my great

He said, "The only reason to feel sad after someone dies is because we
don't want to stop having them in our lives. It's selfish." He explained
that whether you believe in heaven or not, the only reason to not want them
to die is because we want them to be here with us, not for any worry of
their suffering or lack of existence.

Since then, I've had a very different outlook on death. I still feel sad
when people die, but I acknowledge WHY I feel that way. I haven't lost
anyone very very close to me, but I think about it a lot.

The way I see it, regardless of whether I believe in heaven, the last few
seconds of brain activity can feel like an eternity, and many people see
the things that make them the most happy in that moment, and that can be
their heaven, and I would never begrudge anyone that momentary happiness. I
try to think of that when I think of how sad and scary death can be.

Grief is hard, but it is a selfish thing. I think remembering the lives of
the people we lose, and doing things in their honor, instead of feeling bad
that we don't have them anymore, is the best thing we can do. It is amazing
what you're doing to honor your sister!


Oct. 31st, 2011 11:13 am
bravocharliesierra: (Default)
I am very lucky to have a husband like I do.

On Friday, TGW was cool with me going to a party without him with a bunch
of people he'd never met, and crashing at a friends' place. It
was partially because he's not big on parties or bars, but he could have
just said that he didn't want me to go, either. He also dropped me off &
picked me up, allowing me to have a safe time without having to worry about
driving or relying on anyone else to get me out there and home. That was *
awesome*. From what I know of, there aren't a ton of people who have
spouses who are trusting and chill enough to do that.

I admit, I do feel a little like a part of me doesn't fit in with people
who go to parties or have parties like the one I was at, but it was more of
a social experiment than anything, so I was glad to have the chance to go.
I missed out on a lot of college partying, so I wasn't sure what it would
be like. It gave me a better idea if I'd go to a party like that again
(verdict so far: probably not for as long of a time as I spent at this one,
but I'd go for a little bit, I think).

I have been reflecting a lot lately on our relationship (since a test
psych-eval with a friend of ours in which I answered a question about how
my marriage is with a response close to "Good with minor conflict."). I
think it's pretty great. We've been married for over 5 years and I honestly
feel I can trust TGW 100%, without any concern that he's going to be
dishonest. I wonder often if other people who got married as early as I did
have the same kind of relationship.

Do we have conflict? Yes. Mostly money stuff, just like 90% of the
marriages I've seen. Some of it is the issue of communication of our
feelings and stuff, which we've been through trainings on through Strong
Bonds, but it still falls through. I don't think any couple is perfect at
communication. I'm bad at explaining things and I get frustrated when I
don't feel like I'm getting what I want, and TGW is often more closed and
doesn't always tell me when things are wrong. I don't think that's a
world-ending thing.

I am super lucky. Even though we're both working & going to school right
now (which is HELLISH stressful), he has been tolerant of my need for more
social interaction, my busy schedule that often conflicts with his, and
lately, my crappy health (physically *and* mentally). We've had blow-outs.
I am normally the first to be angry and more likely to raise my voice, but
when he does finally come out with it, it's a pretty big thing. But we get
through it, every time.

I hope he feels as lucky as I do. I hope that this super-stressful time for
us, with so much of a busy schedule and so little sleep, ends up being
worth it in the end. I am lucky to have him around to explain difficult
things to me. I am lucky that he loves me & calls me beautiful, even after
five years of weight gain, medication rotations, disabilities,
unemployment, long distances, and some really crazy external relationship

I know there is always a chance it will change. I don't think it would ever
go the bad way some relationships I have seen went (there were tons of
divorces in family & family friends while I was growing up, and I've seen
more since I turned 18), but relationships evolve. Regardless, I think it's
awesome to be where we are now.


Oct. 6th, 2011 10:00 am
bravocharliesierra: (Default)
There are a lot of things I would like to say about Steve Jobs. Most of them
have already been said. He was a brilliant man who changed the world from
his parent's basement. He was an inspiration for people who don't know where
they're going or how they're going to get there, but they just DO things.
Jobs never stopped going or trying. If every geek living in their basement
was like Steve Jobs, the world would be a much better, more advanced and
more amazing place than it already is.

There's some great things here:

I will seriously miss his presence, and I hope his legacy never ends.
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