They weren’t expecting me when I showed up to work for them last May. I found myself in an office full of retired and active-duty military pilots and strategists, all men, none of them communications experts, but they were somehow responsible for implementing the commander‘s vision for a strategic communications team … and I was put there to help them.

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11:14 a.m. – The snow is melting, and the roads and sidewalks are mostly clear. I‘m here sipping my coffee this morning, and furiously debating with myself: should I go for a run? It‘s still so cold. But a run will be good. But I will probably find ALL the black ice. But … you need a run, Julie. Just go and do it. But … it‘s winter …

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No Good Shepherd

Afghanistan. August 2007.

Question 1208: What movie or book ending really left you hanging to the point of anger?

Spoiler alert: if you haven’t seen that Matt Damon and Angelina Jolie movie, and you still want to, then don’t read …

We were in Mehtar Lam, Afghanistan, our fifth location in less than four weeks. It was August, and everything was hot and dusty as we schlepped all our gear, weapons, and armour from place to place, documenting Airmen as they went on convoys, destroyed weapons caches, and trained the Afghan police force.

I was sleeping in a room designated for distinguished visitors, since I obviously couldn’t sleep with my two male teammates in their room. The room had a bunkbed, a wardrobe without a door, and bars over the tiny window in the corner near the ceiling. Compared to a tent, it was nice.

But it sucked.

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Real Life Cartoon

Sunday morning cartoons with the boys, laughing my ass off during the “Fun Run” episode of Peppa Pig. Daddy Pig trying to raise money for the school” … story of my life every time I got involved.

The nuggets they throw in there for us parents…THEE best. Caillou never did that!


These ladies insisted on blocking the one trail leading to Germany’s most famous castle, waving to their friends to join in one-by-one for a series of group photos. Realizing they weren’t going to let others pass any time soon, I grabbed Jaz’s hand and jumped in! I hope it’s their favorite.

Ashley tells me, based on their reactions as I walked away, it was not.

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Political Science Prep

During my check-in with our au pair today, she admitted that dinner time (which I missed due to traffic this evening) was exhausting.

“J didn’t want to eat what I made for him. He started listing the foods he WANTED to eat, but I told him none of those were options. Then C tried to negotiate with him, but he wasn’t having it. So then L tried to negotiate with him, too, but I was like, “You guys! You can’t negotiate with him!!! He eats what he gets!”

So I was like, “Amanda, aren’t you majoring in political science when you go to university? I promise, this year with my kids is going to prep you in SO MANY WAYS. Once you figure out how to wrangle them in, trust me, international politics is going to be a BREEZE.”

You’re doing GREAT, Amanda! THANK YOU!