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Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The Year in Review

It's hard to believe that in just a few short days, a new year will have begun. In some ways 2008 just crawled by, and in others, well it seems like just yesterday I was celebrating the birth of this year. So now, I sit here and reflect on what has transpired in the last year. I have been journaling less here, so I thought that some of my friends would be interested in seeing what has been going on in my life.

January - I made the momentous decision to really get serious about losing weight. I'm fat. Period. There is no way to say it nicely so I won't sugar coat it for you or for myself. I made a plan to exercise three times a week and to eat healthier. I am very proud to say that I lived up to that plan.



February - my husband was gone - AGAIN. Needless to say, I am still boycotting Valentines Day. Ugh. I did have an awesome craft party for my little girls though that they just loved and my dad came to visit. All in all, not a bad February...





March - I survived a visit from my MIL, do I really need to say more?? My husband and I also attended the Submarine Birthday Ball. That was a lot of fun!



April - my oldest turned nine. NINE! how the heck did that happen. Worst of all, she tells me every day that she is halfway to an adult!!!!



In May, I graduated from Ombudsman Basic Training - for those of you not in the military - an Ombudsman in the liasion between the Command and the Families left behind.



In June my husband deployed.... AGAIN.



In July, our best friends from Georgia came up for a visit. It was a welcome diversion for all of us!



In August, my youngest, my baby, celebrated her 5th birthday! How the hell did that happen?? Seems like yesterday she was a newborn and now, she's growing by leaps and bounds!



In August, we also added to our family by one. My furry baby, Seamus, has brought so much joy to all our lives!


In September, both of my daughters went off to school. Sporty is in the Fourth grade now! And my little Posh? Well, she started Kindergarten...



October saw me rocking Halway Night 1950's style. Our boat went to the North Pole to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the USS Nautilus being the first submarine to surface there.

My girls love the fall... especially Halloween!



November brough my mom, Thanksgiving and, best of all, a reunion with my husband in Hawaii!!!!





December saw Christmas come a week early for my family!



The end of the year finds me 25 pounds lighter than the beginning of the year did!



My plan for the new year? Enjoy my family, exercise four times a week, eat healthy and lose an additional 35 pounds!

I'd love to see what all my friends have been up to this past year. If you get a chance, please post your own year in review journal with pics! Happy New Year everyone!!!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Course Adjustments

So I hate using Navigation terminology, but in this case, it fits. Those of you that are in the military will understand what I am talking about - reintergrating your loved one back into your life after they have been gone for so long. It's difficult to say the least.
At first of course, you are so blissfully happy that you go through a honeymoon like phase. Everything is right in the world, everyone is happy and the sex is both frequent and fabulous. Like I said - a honeymoon.
After that though, reality comes back in and often in the most unexpected ways. It started when he was looking for his tools. My step father had been here and helped me fix the garage door that has been in need of attention for three years now. It finally got done but in the process a tool was waylaid. Ok, so we look for the tools, which then becomes an interogation of me and a search of our house. It wasn't comfortable and while I don't mind helping find something that I probably misplaced, I do mind the Spanish Inquisition that goes along with it. Ugh.
It has also been difficult for my husband to adjust to our new family member. How anyone could not adore our little furry puppy at first sight, is of course, totally beyond me. Still, it's an issue. The other night we are at dinner. Sporty share the fact that Ms. Lea's other dog is having puppies. My sweet and loving husband goes Manson on her and yells at her, in the restaurant, "If you ever, EVER, EVER!!!! get another dog they will both be out on the street!" Wow. Then he proceeds to lay into me about getting the dog and how wrong it was. He has a point, I know. Still, if he had given me any inclination that he would even CONSIDER a dog, I would not have done it. I just don't think it is fair that the Navy should put a permanent veto on my children having a dog. Period. Now it hasn't.
What gets me the most about this whole episode is that not once, from the time that I told him about the dog until now, has he ever honestly expressed his feelings. I expected his anger - earlier but he came home and acted like he was blissfully happy and that everything was normal -which all turned out to be a lie. I am also unhappy that he chose to air his dissatisfaction with me in front of my children instead of it being a private discussion between us. That wasn't right.
Now I feel like I don't know what is true and what isn't. I don't know how he really feels about anything because if that is a lie, what else is he just not telling me? I just don't know.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

We Wish You A Merry Christmas!

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Sunday, December 21, 2008

The trees

Did you know that you can see your whole life passing in the leaves of a tree? It's true. I have watched the leaves for so many months now... waiting for the changes that I knew would eventually come.
When my husband left, the trees were full. They were in the first blush of summer. The branches were thick with the dappled shades of green. Here in Connecticut, the trees are so lush that often they form a canopy over the road. It's a welcome respite from the summer sun. So many days I drove down the road wondering when I would get the first colors of fall....
Until, one day, it happened. The cool autumn wind brought the trees to life. Their colors blazed across the forest. Some of the trees were purple, some red, orange, yellow and some remained green. The orange is always my favorite and I think the rarest of all colors. Fall is my favorite season because I love to watch the trees dress up in all their finery. Still, this year, I rushed the season instead of drinking it all slowly in as I usually do. I was waiting for the hush of winter....
Eventually the wind got colder and the leaves began to Fall. I waited for the bare branches with baited breath because I knew that with the chill of winter, my heart would finally have it's summer back.
My husband has been gone for six long months. I have watched a lifetime in the leaves of the trees waiting for his return. Christmas came early for me this year and finally... Santa did bring me what I wanted for Christmas:

Friday, December 12, 2008

Tribute

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Wednesday, December 3, 2008

It's Been a While

It's amazing how in the blink of an eye, your whole life can change. I haven't been around much lately... there have been a few things going on in my life. Approximately three weeks ago, my mom and I were driving down the round on our way to the gym.
We were chatting and having the normal day. We had our day all planned out, right down to what we were going to order from Subway for lunch. All of a sudden, on the road ahead, I see a blue car fish taling out of control. I said to my mom, "Oh my God, look at him..." and by the time I had that sentence out, he had hit us - head on. I did my best to try to avoid him, all to no avail.
In the blink of an eye my whole life had changed. My car was gone. My mom was hurt. I'm just thankful that somehow we both managed to make it through the accident with our lives. In an instant, my children could have been motherless, all because some asshole wanted to drink and drive - at NOON.
Thank God I was driving an SUV. My Hyundai did exactly what it was built to do. It probably saved my life. Now that I am looking for a new car, I'd like another Hyundai.
I have never been in a ambulance before. I guess I was in shock. I can remember people scrambling all around, firemen saying things to me - I could see their lips moving but not quite make out what they were saying. The ambulance ride was almost as terrifying as the accident itself. I hate feeling out of control and nohthing is as helpless as being strapped on a board with a huge neckbrace on so that you can't move while someone else drives.
These life altering moments really bring real life into perspective though. This year, I am accutely aware of what is really important in my life. I am thankful that my mom and I both walked away from the accident. I am thankful to be with my family and my children. I am thankful for my LIFE. Situations like this are a reminder that we are all one second away from the end. Every time we say good bye to a loved one could be the last. We don't have any guarantees. I'm going to make sure my loved ones always know I love them because I don't want my last words to be harsh ones. I am going to live every day like it could be my last because that truly is the reality.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

These are a Few of My Favorite Things:

Just like the songs says, sometimes when I am feeling sad, thinking about my favorite things makes me feel better. Here are some of mine:

*The way my husband's smile only goes up on one side of his mouth but goes all the way to his eyes.

* The sound of my little girls laughing - hard.

* The first strains of a favorite song when it comes on the radio.

* The way my husband calls me sweetheart.

* Dragons.

*72 degrees with sunny, blue skies.

*Lilacs in bloom.

*My children playing nicely together.

* The sights and smells of my moms house.

*AN Empty Laundry basket.

* Anything Chocolate.

*The Fresh smell of the Christmas Tree.

*Butterflies and hummingbirds.

* Listening to my daughters sing.

*The peacefulness of the ocean, especially under the waves.

*Wishing on a star.

* The way my husband's arms and shoulders feel when he hugs me.

* Whales, dolphins, fish and all sea creatures.

* Snow on Christmas

***HOMECOMINGS****

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Sometimes it Rains....

Life goes on in what seems like an ordinairy fashion and then... all of a sudden, a streak of bad luck hits. Maybe bad luck isn't exactly the right phrase, but a series of disasters strike. It's like quicksand, first one thing goes wrong, then another and then another, until, before you know it, you are in over your head.
I hate the quicksand moments but I had my most recent turn with it last week. It was a seemingly great week. My mom was coming to visit, I wasn't going to have to deal with the last crappy part of this deployment alone. I'm gearing up for my vacation and BAM! Disaster.
I was at a meeting last week and on the drive home my check engine light goes on. Well, that's the night I am supposed to get my mom. So I tinker with my husbands' car and get it working. Then I make an appointment for my car at the dealership. $200 dollars later, my o2 sensor and EGR valvue were fixed. Yuck.
No biggie though, right? Well, that night, I wake to what sounds like a jet engine landing in my basement. The fan on my vent for our heater, which we have been nursing for some time, finally decided to make it's last stand. Nice. So I call to have the guys come out and fix it, only to deal with little miss "I have a bad attitude" on the phone. Trust me, not what I needed. Actually, who the hell needs to deal with some woman being bitchy on the telephone?? DOesn't she get that if I'm calling for an emergency repair on my heater that my life is already bad enough??
Someone needs to buy her a clue. Long story short, my fan got fix, disaster averted -mostly. $1000 later, my week is finally over. Anyone know a good rock that I could hide under for the next six weeks or so??

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Joining the 21st century

So, I finally did it. I have finally joined the 21st century. It feels strange to feel behind the times instead of riding the trends. At any rate, two things have happened recently helping me become a full fledged member of the 21st century.
First of all, I have a myspace page. I swore forever that I wasn't going to do it, I saw myspace as a cess pool of insanity that I just didn't want any part of. So many of our ladies from our boat have a myspace page though, that I finally realized it would be a good idea if I had one too. It makes it so much easier to keep in touch with what is going on in their lives. I feel much more a part of things now than I previously had. Once I joined, I realized that myspace is pretty much like everything else in life - you get out of it what you put into it. If you are there for raunchy pictures, hooking up and other like activities, you can certainly find that there. However, if you are there to share pics, stay in touch with friends and share your life - well, there are many, many other people there for those reasons too. In the end, I re-learned an important lessons. You just can't judge a social networking site by the sum of it's members but rather by your own personal experiences. I doubt it will ever become a favorite online place to be... but hey, I'm there.

Secondly, and I think this will probably shock more of you than the first item, I finally got an ipod. As much as I love music, you'd have thought that an ipod was a given long before now, but the fact is that I didn't think I really had much use for one. When will I have time for an ipod? I was so wrong!! I love my ipod and use it all the time. It's great for walking the dog or cleaning the house. It will be the perfect distraction for my upcoming trip. Flying makes me nervous so it will be nice to have some soothing music selections along.

Honestly though, what's next? Biometric recognition devices to start my car or log on to my computer? Who knows....

Friday, October 24, 2008

This is really Cool!



So, as you can see, I have been given this totally awesome award from my friend, Kelly at Telecommuting Truths. Kelly has, for many years, helped women who wanted to work from home by sharing her wonderful wisdom and useful techniques. If you work at home, or are interested in starting, I can't recommend her blog highly enough!

Part of accepting the award is:
*displaying the award
*linking back to the person who gave it to you
*paying it forward & nominating 7 blogs
*adding links to those seven blogs
*leaving comments on their blog telling them you gave them an award
*enjoying the award


In no particular order:

I'd like to recognize Ken at Everything Must Go - A Male Perspective. Sometimes I find his blog illuminationg, other times I find it infuriating, but I always find it entertaining and you will too. It is definitely interesting getting a peek into the dark and often obscure place called the male pysche.

Ariel Rising - this blog is written by a friend of mine from Cafemom. She shares my passion for music and photography. Let me tell you, she has awesome taste, so if you dig music, especially classic rock, this blog is for you!


Under the Sea
is written by my friend, Ann, a fellow Navy wife. She just recently had a baby. Her blog is poignant, often thought provoking and absolutely hysterical! I love peeking into her life.

LIfe Happens is written by my friend Steph. We met on an online community some years ago. She is a fellow Navy wife and mom. I love her blog because it's real - she deals with real issues with grace and humor. It gives me hope...

My best friend, Jen, has her blog over at A Night without Armor. She doesn't blog nearly enough, but when she does, it is always amazing!

In every parent's life, a little guilt will fall... and since that is the case, you should definitely check out my friend, Nikki, over at the Guilty Parent. Her blog is fun, full of insight and always humorous. Because sometimes, you just need to laugh.

And finally, a glimmer of hope for all of us Navy wives - words of wisdom from one who actually made it out!!! Check out my friend Kim at Half My Heart. She has heartfelt stories and amazing recipes. You'll be glad you did!

So these are some of my favorite blogs. Check them out and tell them Snow sent ya!

Friday, October 17, 2008

A Kiss Shouldn't Be A Privilege

Recently, I was giving my two daughters, ages 9 and 5, an impromptu civics lesson. We were talking about rights and priviledges and the difference between the two. A right is a just claim or title, whether legal, prescriptive, or moral. For example, as Americans we all have the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. While on the other hand, a privilege is defined as a right, immunity, or benefit enjoyed only by a person beyond the advantages of most.

So, what started out as a political discussion and lesson for them turned out, in fact, to be a lesson for me. My oldest daughter told me that she didn't think that most people understood the differences between the two concepts. To be fair, they are intricately related in many instances. I asked her to explain.

She said that she felt most people took their freedom for granted. They go about doing their day to day things, not really realizing all the things that they enjoy that so many others do not. Our very right to vote is something that is seen as expected and yet, women have only had the right to vote for about 90 years. People of all types, throughout the world, can not vote for a government of their choice.

Every day we exercise our rights to make decisions that impact our lives and the lives of our families. We do this without realizing that in some countries, the government tells them how much bread they can buy, or how long they have to wait in line for health care. Some countries even tell their people how to dress or what religion to practice. Not here! We have all these rights and exercise them without a thought.

Then, she brought it down to a very personal level. She said, "every night, my friends kiss their mom and dad goodnight. I can't. Something like kissing the person you love goodnight should be a right that every person has - not a privilege." You know what, she's right.

So today, as you go about your daily lives probably complaining about some inconvenience that a loved one has caused you, remember that not everyone can kiss those people that they love the most goodnight. Don't miss your opportunity to do so! Live every day with the people you love to the fullest. You'll never regret it if you do.

You know, I think that I am raising a very smart young lady....

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Today, I feel Blessed

Sometimes the life of a Navy wife is hard. Those of you that have read my blog on occassion already understand that. But today, I just want to say how lucky I feel, because through it all, I am lucky.

My husband and I have been married for almost 10 years. We have been together for 13 years. It's strange looking back on that length of time. Sometimes it feels like a really long time and others, it feels as if it has just been a drop in the bucket. Time has changed both of us. We have grown up together, become parents together, life has changed us in many ways - mostly for the better.

Still, there are some things that haven't changed. When I look at him, I still see the man I married. I know I always will, even when we're old. When I catch sight of him on the pier as he comes home to me, my heart skips a beat and jumps for joy!
I would recognize his walk anywhere.

That lopsided smile of his still drives me crazy - even after 13 years. When I see him, my knees still get weak and I get butterflies in my stomache. When we are together, just doing nothing at all, I know true contentment.

Today, I feel lucky because some people never have these things. Or worse, they have them and over the passage of time, come to take them for granted.

Yes, there are some things about Navy life that are very difficult but I feel blessed that because of the life we lead, I will never take the one I love most for granted. I know I will always appreciate the smiles, the big bear hug, his hand in mine, the sound of his voice, the smell of his uniforms... all of that and a million other things, I will reflect on and treasure in my heart. That's why today, I feel blessed.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

It's Not Just About the Pink Ribbons You know!

I think by now, a person would have to be brain dead to not know that October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. I mean, my goodness, the pink is EVERYWHERE! They even have pink cookware at Target... (It's a little strange if you ask me, considering that the pink is amazingly like Pepto Bismol)

Here's something that you may not know - October is also the month to raise awareness for Domestic Violence. Here's what's real - from the American Institute on Domestic Violence:

*85-90% of all domestic violence victims are females.

*Over 500,000 women are stalked by an intimate partner each year.

*5.3 Million women are abused each year.

*1,232 women are KILLED every year by an intimate partner

*Domestic Violence is the leading cause of Injury to women.

5.3 Million women abused each year - that's almost unbelieveable. There is definitely a reason that Domestic Violence is often referred to as the "silent epidemic". So many people - men, women and children suffer in silence. They suffer because they are afraid to share their pain. They suffer in silence because they are ashamed.

I was one of them. Once upon a time, I let a person who proclaimed to love me lay his hands on me in violence. I thought that if I just loved him enough, that I could change him. I was so wrong and I lost five years of my life because of it.

I'm one of the lucky ones. I got out. Something snapped inside me one day and I knew that things were never going to get better and that, quite likely, they were going to get much, much worse. That realization most probably saved my life. Every day I think about those that weren't as lucky as I.

Today, I have found new strength. Today, I have been married to the love of my life for 10 years and together we are raising two beautiful little girls. I worry for my daughters. I always want them to have the positive self esteem to know that they are worth more than that. I want them to know that real love NEVER raises it's hand in anger.

So while I think it's wonderful to raise awareness for Breast Cancer ( a very worthy cause), I think that all of us should be aware and thinking of those that continue to suffer in silence. There is nothing domestic about violence. If you or someone you know if suffering, please stand up and be silent no longer! Let your voice be heard! Please call the Domestic Violence Helpline at 188-799-SAFE. Help stop the silent epidemic!

I'm a survivor - 10+ years and counting. You can be a survivor too!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Drama Drama Little Llama

While I love the children's book of the above title - what I DON'T like is DRAMA. Why is it that in any given group of women that drama seems to be the norm and not the exception? I almost feel guilty for even saying that about my fellow ladies, but honestly I would trade five or six ladies for an entire submarine of smelly men... no kidding.

With men, usually what you see is what you get. If they have something to say, they simply say it. It's refreshing really. With women, so much of our conversation is covert. We say one thing, but what we really mean is a whole different ball game.

Some women seem to be little more than a whirling dervish of drama. They go from one area of their lives to another somehow managing to generate the same intensity of gossip and trouble where ever they go. It never ceases to amaze me. Then there are others who do nothing but complain while never even attempting to make a positive change in their life.

I hate feeling this way, because I feel that because of this emotion I am somehow doing a disservice to the many, many women out there who aren't this way. I guess it's like they say, for every negative comment or response, there are 100 good ones that go unsaid. Isn't it said that in our world, negativity is like a cancer that just spreads so easily?

I am going to resolve to stay positive, smile at strangers and be proactive to make positive changes in my life and in the lives of others. Sometimes it's a tall order...

Monday, October 6, 2008

It's Getting Scary Out There

So I have stopped watching the news. What's the point? It's always just full of more good financial news. Geez.... If you told me that one day I would watch my President stand on national television and tell the world that we are on the verge of financial collapse, I would NEVER have believed that. Never. Not in a million years.

Fast forward to today. In spite of the bailout, the stock market plummeted another 800 points. Oh joy. I see advisors saying that if you need the money in the next five years to take it out of the market. Nothing like dire warnings to inspire consumer confidence, if you know what I mean.

I'm scared - shitless. I have never been so scared in all my life. I have no idea how my family will survive this, or whether we will be able to weather this. My girlfriends go around with their head in the sand. They think that because their husband is military that their job is safe. No one is safe now. No one.

I worry about the money that we have invested for the children. What's going to happen to that? Will it survive? Will it all be gone? I just don't know. I just don't know anything today.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Hectic or Peaceful?

Today someone asked me whether I preferred my life to be hectic or peaceful. To tell you the truth, I really hadn't realized that it was an option. I guess most people would probably say that they preferred a more tranquil life, but not me.

Time goes by faster when you are busy. When life goes from one event to the next, you don't have time to consider the days as the pass or how many of them have gone. When I sit down and think about it, it makes me sad. Yesterday was my birthday and yesterday, I sat down to think about all those days that have gone. 101 to be exact. 101 days since I last saw my husband. I guess to some that doesn't seem like so very long, but here, it is an eternity.

When I am caught up in the whirl of everyday life, I don't think about the time that has been lost. I guess that some people may even view it as wasted, but I don't. Every day life goes on. Some days are better than others, which in the light of events on the stock market yesterday is probably the understatement of the century. Still, we don't cease to live when bad things happen and so we must struggle forward.

I love it when I am so tired at the end of the day that all I have time to do is whisper a few words of gratitude to God before I fall into a deep and dreamless sleep. When I am busy, I don't have time to miss him. At least not as much as I do when I think about it. Who has time to dwell?

So I say to life - bring it on - the more the better! I want to live my life from one whirling activity to the next. Maybe when I feel whole again, I will slow it down and smell the roses. Until then.... I have about a million things to do!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Honoring the USS Nautilus




The year was 1957. The world watched in astonishment and horror as the Russians launched Sputnik 1 into space. The United States was scrambling - far behind Russias superior technological advantages in the space race at a dangerous time when the cold war was just heating up. As a country, we had lost faith in American Exceptionalism. Then, just a few short months later, something truly amazing changed all of that. You see, while the Russians looked off into the stars, we were busy finding new ways to explore our planet.

In the summer of 1958, we took the world by surprise when the worlds first ( and finest) nuclear submarine surfaced from under the ice pack at the North Pole. Commander Anderson announced to the world, " For our country and the United States Navy, this is Nautilus, 90 degrees north." This event helped restore our faith in ourselves, but what is most amazing about that event, wasn't the aftermath, but the feat itself.

It was dubbed, ironically, "Operation Sunshine". After two failed attempts at the Pole, one in which Nautilus lost one of her periscopes, the Nautilus finally succeeded. It was my honor and privilege to meet one of the wives of the brave Nautilus crew last night. He was the chief sonor technician on board the boat. It was his challenge, and that of his men, to monitor the depth of the ice flows that the Nautilus had to navigat.

It's almost impossible to imagine the bravery and curiosity of those men. They truly knew and understood what it meant to "boldly go where no man had gone before". Not only did they prove that a nuclear submarine could traverse the treacherous waters of the icy north, but they were knocking on the back door of the Soviet Union itself. After all, if Nautilus could surface at the Pole, couldn't she also potentially launch her missiles? It caused the russians enough concern that they rushed to produce their own nuclear boats, to the great detriment of many of their sailors. ( K-19 anyone?)

Because of those brave men, all of our sailors are safer. Their journey gave us improved technology and navigation systems. Their journey gave us invaluable information about ice flows in the Artic. Their journey reestablished the superiority of the US Navy. But most of all, t heir journey made reaffirmed the capabilities of humanity - both for good and for evil.

Today, I honor their achievement.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

It's that Pivotal Moment

First let me just say that I can't believe it has been this long since I have blogged. As a person who uses their writing to process.... going this long just seems wrong in some way. I have been swamped with work, and so tired at night that crawling into bed is about all I can do. Still, I realize that I need to make more time for myself and especially my writing, so here it goes...

I was thinking about pivotal moments the other day... you know, those moments where everything in your life changes. I have had a few in my life. I'm sure we all have.

I guess the first really major one that I remember was watching my kitten get abused. I know this will surprise the people who truly know me, but I was in an emotinoally and physically abusive relationship for five years. It didn't start out that way - it never does. I thought that I could change him. I believed that if I just showed him that love is constant that he would find the strength and the courage to change his life. I was so wrong. Things didn't get better for us - they just got worse. We met when I was 15 - young, niave and vulnerable. ( I wish that he could see the woman that I am today, the woman that I am in no small part because of what I suffered at his hands)
At any rate, I came home from work one day, and I found him and a friend abusing my kitten. My kittens name was Stripe and in a hopeless life, he was the one thing that gave me joy. As I watched the kitten get abused - I felt a well spring inside me - one that I didn't know existed. I immediately intervened and saved the kitten. For some reason, I knew that I had to save that small, helpless creature, but in reality, he saved me. For some reason, I could do for that kitten what I couldn't do for myself - WALK AWAY. I walked and though I looked back on occassion, the important thing is that I never turned around.

The pivotal moment of my life - the first time our eyes met across a crowded room. When my friend introduced me to him, I knew he would change my life forever, though I couldn't have at that moment, ever have imagined how. Three years later, I looked into those same brown eyes and promised to love him forever and I know that I will. No matter what happens, no matter what the future holds, this much I know is true.... my husband is the only man I have ever truly loved, and he is the only man I ever will truly love. That night that we meet- every second of my future balanced on that night, though I didn't know it then.

Since then I have watched him draw solar systems in the sand, seen him become a father, I have sent him off to war in places that I may never know.... We have grown up together and I hope to grow old together. But whatever the future holds for us, he is my soul mate - the only one I will ever have. Without that night all those years ago, I don't know where I would be today. Sad, lonely, unhappy all those things probably. Well, I guess it's just like the song says... "what's meant to be will always find a way" and I feel so blessed that it did.

There are so many days that each of us face that pivotal moment. Open up your heart and embrace them, because they truly do shape the future.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Tired

Today was a busy day. I am gearing up for sending my daughters off to school tomorrow. I can't believe that the start of school is finally here. NOw I just have the baby puppy to contend with. Still, he's so cute it is more of a joy than a chore - most of the time anyway.

It was a busy day with work. I am trying to collect mail to get to our sailors. It is no small logistical feat collecting all the mail, organizing it and then getting it where it needs to go. Still, small chores like this one make me happy because I know how much those letters from home mean to our sailors.

I heard from a good friend today which is always such a welcome thing. It was so nice to catch up with her, I just wish that we had more pleasant things to talk about. Instead, we were dealing with "Sybil", the multiple personality wonder. Nope, there are about a million and one things that I would rather have talked about.

I received an e-mail from my husband today - the first in several long weeks. It wasn't much of a letter, but at least I know he is ok and thinking of us. He actually said, " I look forward to seeing you when time permits..." I nearly keeled over I was laughing so hard. I mean really? When in the near future does he think that is going to happen? I guess it isn't at all funny, it's just that if I weren't laughing I'd be crying.

Look for some back to school pictures of Posh and Sporty tomorrow.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Finally Home!

God, it feels so good to be home! After thirteen hours, a hellacious experience with the rental car, and now an incurable case of insomnia - it is just so damn good to be home. I pulled into the driveway and saw my house - still standing there - waiting like a beacon. I walked in the door and thankfully, other than the situations I deal with every day, there were no calamities waiting for me.
I know that tomorrow I will pay the price for being up tonight blogging. My dad is here and I adore him, but he requires a lot of attention and care. He isn't doing so well. He is very unsteady on his feet and it really scares me. I'm not sure what I can do for him other than make him as comfortable as possible.
Tomorrow the insanity of laundry, grocery shopping and every day life begins again.

Thankfully there is some bullshit that I don't have to deal with right away. Though sometimes, I'm not quite sure that is a good thing. I have one situation hanging over me like a storm cloud just waiting to break. I remain unsure of how I am going to deal with it - delicately of course, but other than that I am debating over the best course of action. Confronting people is never fun, and while I hope for a positive outcome, one is not really expected.

Oh well, it's just so good to be back!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

"Dolts" and Other Nice Compliments

You know what I really hate? I really hate it when some people go around acting so superior when in fact, they are so involved in their own life that they can't see the forest for the trees. I'm sick of it, and I'm not just going to sit around and take it anymore.
I have a group on a social networking site that is supposed to be a place that people can share the ups and downs of their life - THEIR life - THEIR reality. Every member there should be free to share, but lately, I have felt ham stringed by certain member/members. Reality only applies to them and anyone who inadvertently offends them with their own reality is a dolt.
I think being a dolt is being so wrapped up in yourself that you can't understand that people will have differing perceptions about various topics. I think being a dolt means that you feel the need to verbally "bitch slap" anyone who you don't think has it as bad as you do.
Certainly an occasional dose of a different reality can make people more tolerant. I know that I have learned a lot in the past two years, and I apply that knowledge in my everyday relationships with people. I know that I am more careful about the things that I say around this particular group of people because - heaven forbid - you never know when you are going to offend someone with some comment about how you are feeling. And no, everyone isn't free to share, we are all just free to share on certain subjects but others are sacrosanct -if you share on THOSE subjects, you are labeled ungrateful, non -compassionate , or as just recently happened, a DOLT.
Can you tell I'm a little pissed? Good, because I am. I have always welcomed everyone to say what they have to say, and being a Libra, I have restrained myself in the name of "getting along" - well, those days are over. If I have something to say, I'm going to say it - whatever it is, no matter who it may offend because I'm tired of getting shit on when the shoe is on the other foot. So look out ladies, the gloves are officially off.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The More Things Change.... The More They Stay the Same

All my life, my relationship with my sisters can best be labeled "strained". I have two older sisters, who happen to be identical twins. They are five years older than me, blonde, hair, blue eyes, Christy Brinkley look alikes. Scary. It was a lot to live up to, being their sister, and somehow, I never quite measured up.
I guess at some point I stopped trying and became the "antithesis" to all things that they were or that I thought they were. Neither seeking acceptance or pretending that I didn't care about it was a very good course of action for me.
Finally, as I grew into my own, I stopped caring what others thought, stopped overtly seeking approval and learned to live for myself.
Or so I thought. Fast track to this past week with my sister.... It's amazing how quickly I feel myself sinking back into the same habits, the same thought patterns, the same need for approval. It sort of sickens me really how, even now, approval is something that I would like to have. i thought I was beyond all this. I guess some things never change.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Tick Tock....

The girls and I made it safely to Pennsylvania. My mom was so right about the business class on the train. It was roomy and very comfortable. The girls were absolute angels. They were better than most adults on the train, no kidding.
You know, I hadn't realized how much I needed to slow down and take a break. Unfortunately, in conjunction with "slowing down", I have also realized just how much time is left and how slow time is actually moving. I miss my husband. I hate having him away from me. Still, the girls and I go on and do the best we can.
We have some fun events planned for while we are here. On Sunday, we are going on teh Gateway Clipper. That's a river boat cruise that tours the Three Rivers here in Pittsburgh. It is a Sundae on Sunday cruise ( Make your own sundae's...) so you know the kids are going to love it!
I finally relieved the stress of how we are going to get home so that is a really good thing. I have been wound so tight, it's amazing when it actually sat down and took time to realize it.
I knew that being out of my realm of control was going to be a rael challenge for me, but even I didn't realize just how much. I have my hands in too many cookie jars. I told my husband that my goal while he was gone was to stay as busy as possible while he was gone, and fall in bed exhausted every night. Mission accomplished at home, but it is all catching up with me here.
Tomorrow my sister and nephews arrive... who knows what their arrival will bring...

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Dotting the I's and Crossing the T's

Well, our vacation is finally upon us and I am busy making sure that everything is ready here for our departure. By everything, I mean everything with the job because my house and my yard are clearly NOT READY! I feel like I have a million and one things to do and yet here I am... blogging. Oh well, first things first, right?
I have to turn over the info for my job, in case something happens while I am gone that can't be handled from afar. I have several meetings this am. (It's good to have a babysitter!)
The laundry is sitll in a pile, the weeds are taking over my flower beds and sadly, nothing of any real importance has been done lately. Oh wait, I did stain the front stoop a week or so ago - it looks so much better now. But there is so much more to do. My beds need changed, the garage needs cleaned, the bathrooms need done, is there anything worse in the whole world than coming home to a dirty house??
Thankfully I still have a few days and my mom will be here to help! I'm starting to feel a little overwhelmed.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

These Dreams of You and more...

I had a dream about my husband last night. It was one of those dreams - so deep and true that it feels like it must be real. It's horrible to wake up disappointed so early in the morning. It's wonderful to be with him, even if it was only a dream. I wonder where he is and whether he's thinking about me too.
It was a rough day today. Our friends are visiting from GA and seeing their friend with her Dad has hit the girls particularly hard. I feel like such a bad mom because I hadn't even realized that this may be a possibility.
Still, we got some time, just the three of us tonight and that was good. We went for a walk around our neighborhood. There have been a rash of baby bunnies around, and we were able to see several of them. It was really cute. The girls and I all enjoyed our visit.
I thought that July would be our longest month and thus far, it has been. Still, I'm not sure that August is promising to be any shorter. I'm looking forward to picking up our puppy, the start of school, and hopefully hearing my husband's sweet voice soon enough. Still, the phone calls make things worse in the short term. I guess it brings all the things that we are all missing more sharply into focus.

For my Robbie:
Last night I slept on a bed of stars

Wrapped safe in my lovers arms.

Now he's gone away so far,

And there's no one here to keep me warm.



Heaven is found when he is so near

His absence -a dark abyss.

I can't help hold back the tears,

I long for stolen moments like this.



The hours tick past and multiply,

Time moves so terribly slow.

I sit here and question why

Wishing he never had to go.



I long once more to see his smile,

To hold him in my embrace,

To have him once more cross the miles,

To see his handsome, beloved face.



So come home safe to our bed of stars,

Wrap me in your loving arms.

Never again go so far...

Stay here forever and keep me warm.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Why Does it Happen?

Sometimes I hate the transience of Navy life - the constant moving doesnt' do alot for building lasting friendships. I have many wonderful friends - scattered throughout the United States - but it doesn't really help me here in CT. Don't get me wrong, my local friends are awesome too, but I miss my sisters.

Heather is in Maryland. She is the sister of my heart. Like me though, she has a crazy life - four kids - a hubby - a job and we rarely get to talk these days. I know we are still as close as ever, but I do miss her. It's as much my fault as anyone else's. Sometimes it's just hard to pick up the phone.

My best friend Jenn moved back to GA almost a year ago now. We swore that we would talk all the time and remain close. Yes, we are still close, but we talk rarely at best. I'm not good at friendship maintenence and sometimes I think that this makes me a terrible friend. Jenn always tells me that to have good friends, a person has to be a good friend. Honestly I don't think that I do the long distance thing very well.

I can remember talking to my husband, a long time ago when we were still just friends, about why people seperate. I get it, we are all going through different things in our lives, different phases and sometimes we lose the ability to relate or the commonality that made us friends in the first place. It still makes me sad to think of the people drifting in and out of my life as I drift in and out of their's...

I haven't talked to Kate since she started back to school. I have called her a couple of times but somehow we can't seem to connect. I am dying to hear how she is doing, but sometimes, at the end of the day I'm so exhausted that I fall asleep without making the connection.

I guess by verbalizing this, I am making a promise to try and do better. To reach out to my friends more and let them know that I love and appreciate them. I don't want to wake up one morning and realize that they are all gone, all because I didn't say the words when I had the chance.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

All Dressed Up with No Place to Go...

It's 3:30 in the morning, or at least it was when I woke up. Sadly almost an hour has passed since then and I can't get back to sleep. Ugh. Tomorrow isn't going to be pretty - no matter how much coffee I inhale.
Still, I got my picture taken on the top of Mt. Fugi without ever leaving my bed tonight. How many other people can say that? After all the excitement, here I am, all dressed up in my red t-shirt with no place to go - not even back to bed.
I went to sleep with one of those "I'm way beyond exhausted" headaches and sadly, the three hours of sleep I have gotten so far haven't helped. Yuck.
Maybe I will get a nap tomorrow....Anyone have any good headache remedies? How about a loneliness tonic? Either would really help right now.
I've got my period again which just SUCKS. I mean, my husband isn't here so it doesn't really matter, but still.... I'm almost 38 years old and I've been dealing with this crap since I was 10. Isn't it time to call it a day? My last period - I was under so much stress that I essentially had it in one day. I got the shakes and had to sit down on the sofa for three hours just to deal with it. I know, that's way too much information - sorry.
Still, I just want you to understand why I would be totally ok with the doctor just ripping it out... I mean, my uterus has done more for me than I ever thought it would. I have two beautiful children and I could ask no more of it. Can't we just wrap up that phase in my life? I'm totally ok with it.
Do you ever feel like your life is one big list of things you "should" do? Things your slated or supposed to do? But not necessarily things you want to do? Well, that's my life right now. I spent 5 hours sweltering today at a garage sale - it definitely wasn't on the top of my "fun to do" list. Craziness I know.
Well, I guess I will slink back to bed in a vain attempt to go back to sleep. Wish me luck....

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

For My Dad

video

For My Daddy

video

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Reaching for Transcendence

Have you ever heard of Maslow's theory of needs? According to Maslow, in order to achieve transcendence, which is real self actualiztion, all the lower needs must be met.





Looking at the pyramid, I realize that transcendence may be some time away for me. I have my basic needs met - I'm not hungry or thristy. We have a nice house. I feel secure - most of the time. But then, I hit the snag....the need for love, belonging... I have those things, but I don't feel it all the time.

Every time my husband leaves it's like taking two steps forward and one step back. It's a slow process. I don't know, maybe by going through this, I am growing and learning... on my way to being a more self aware human. But sometimes, like today, the journey is really painful.

Imagine finding out that your husband had safely arrived at some destination - from another human being. That's what happened today. Imagine working really hard to keep your smile on and not have it look too thin for your two daughters - because that is every day for me.
Imagine hanging on by what some days feels like a really thin thread...

According to Maslow's theory, each level of the basic human needs must be attained before reaching for the next level. Sometimes I feel like I will never get there. Then I think, well, maybe that's the point. Maybe I'm just like Holden Caulfield going through life with my hunting cap on. Maybe it really is all about the journey.

Deep down I know that there can be no light without the dark. There can be no joy without dispair, there can be no love without some loss and sacrifice. It just doesn't make days like today any easier. So, what am I going to do about it? Well - head out for a day of fun with the girls and cap it off with ice cream of course. There isn't much that ice cream can't fix...

Of course, i will have to chase that with two miles on the tread mile unless I want to gain five pounds on each thigh... but I'm willing to make that sacrifice.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Go Sell Crazy Someplace Else.... We're Full Up Here!

I'll tell you, it has just been one of those weeks. I have had no time for writing - or anything else for that matter. It's good and bad. I have been so inspired so many times throughout the week for a topic to write on and it just didn't happen.
I can't believe that today is Friday and another week has passed me by. I'm glad. I wish I could close my eyes and it could be Halloween, at least!
July has been the hardest month of the summer because the girls are home and there is little to break up the day to day monotony. The things that do occur that are out of the ordinary are usually not enjoyable. Still, I will say that it is satisfying to feel like I am helping people, and once in a while, I really do feel that. It's nice to have a purpose in addition to the most important purpose of my life - being a mom.
Tomorrow I am hoping for a stress free - low phone call day. I want to just go outside and spend the day with my kids without anyone needing me for anything. I want to just enjoy myself, my daughters and laugh. I'm tempted to turn the darn phone off, but I really can't do that.
One great thing happened this week - the silence is finally over! It was so wonderful to hear from my husband, even if the e-mails were written a while ago. I miss him like crazy so those e-mails are almost like hearing his voice. When I got those e-mails it was like a great big sigh of relief.... I hate all the stress and worry.

I did take my daughters berry picking this week. Fresh raspberries and blueberries! What could be better? The raspberries were sadly disappointing, but the blueberries.... absolutely divine! I love to pick them right off the vine and so do my girls.

Tomorrow I am going to back some blueberry muffins for them, that will be fun! I also got a kids cookbook and we are going to get into that tomorrow. I love to bake and even cook, when I have the time. I will enjoy teaching my daughters. I already like to bake cookies and cakes with them, but learning to cook is so much more important- a real life skill. I hope that we will create delicious meals while at the same time making happy memories. Here's hoping for no more insanity tomorrow. Just one day off...

Saturday, July 5, 2008

The Struggle

Yesterday was Independence Day. Fireworks have never been a favorite of mine - I don't like the noise, but my husband and my daughters love them. We are supposed to go see the fireworks tonight, amidst a weather forecast of rain and thunder storms. It figures. I am hoping all the rain will work it's way out early, but you just never know with the weather we have here in CT> Still, I guess I shouldn't really complain, after all, my trees and my grass are in fairly desperate need.

We are still dealing with the silence here -the thing I hate most in the world. Still, I comfort myself with the knowledge that bad news travels fast. In some cases, no news truly is good news. I wonder how much longer I will have to hang on to that thin thread?? The hardest part is holding it all together while the panic in those around me escalates. I know that if they see me acting concerned or scared, it will only make their emotions worse and that much more intense.

The other night, I had a lady call me just sobbing.... I was so heartbroken for her and there was nothing that I could really do or say to make it any better for her. Where is that magic wand when I need it??

For those that read my last blog - the girls and I had a great time at the picnic. We had a bet to see how long it would be until someone clueless civilian asked us where Daddy was. Kaylee won - the answer was 27 minutes.... Ugh.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Keeping On... Keeping On... All the While, the Silence is Deafening

The thing I hate the most about my husband being gone? The silence. Most people don't realize what it is to not even be able to tell your husband that you love them - not even by e-mail, every day. There is no instant messaging, no two way phone, no nothing... just silence. That's my life for a large portion of the time that my husband is gone, and when he is silent, I worry.

I try every night to thank God for all the good things in my life, all the things that I have to be thankful for. It makes me feel good to accentuate the positive. I have my girls, so far they are having a wonderful summer and we are staying busy. We love going to the beach together, and thankfully, I have a fabulous and trustworthy babysitter. Things aren't too bad.

I have survived the first little while without some major disaster - knocking on wood profusely as I write this! All in all, things are not off to a bad start. I'm relieved.

Still, there are those moments when I am alone... working in the house and I look up and see his smile. My heart catches, my throat constricts, and.... it's just a picture. In that moment, the enormity of how long it will be just a picture hits.

I try to allow myself to feel what I feel. I like to end the day on a positive, as I said, and for the most part, I like to keep my days on a more positive than negative note. But sometimes, I need to cry. After I do, I pick myself up and life goes on.

Today, my oldest has her flying up ceremony. She will no longer be a Brownie, but instead, a junior girlscout. It's hard for me to believe. Even in a Navy town, I know it will only be a matter of minutes before some obtuse asshole asks me where my husband is. Still, with high hopes for a beautiful day together, my children and I head out the door.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

"Sisters"

A couple of weeks ago, I went on a "mom's night out" with some of my friends from my real life book club. You know, I love those ladies but the evening itself can only be described as painful. There was a lady with us who is not usually a part of the group. She's a warm, wonderful person... but, well, she just lives a very different life than mine and while I can relate to hers, throughout the course of the evening it became painfully obvious that none of them there could really relate to mine.
This particular woman, we'll call her "Trish", was bemoaning the fact that her husband was on a business trip. For the better part of three hours, I listened to her complain about how he was gone and what in the world was she going to do with her kids? I calmly asked her how long he was going to be gone. Her reply... " Three whole days!!!"
At this point, the urge to bitch slap her into reality was nearly overwhelming, but then thankfully the rational part of my brain took over. You see, I can do three frakking days on my head! But rationally, I realize that everyone brings to their lives their own perspective. I get that for her, three days may really have been a long time. Though why "dealing" with her children for "three whole days" was so difficult still remains a mystery....
Sadly, Trish didn't end her thoughts there. The ladies invited me to a casino with them, but it was getting late, the babysitter was waiting and frankly, I wasn't having a very good time, so I bailed. I told them I had to get home to the sitter, which was true. Trish then says, "where is your husband?" So I explain that he is Navy, currently underway and getting ready to deploy. Period. That's just my life - stated matter of factly. I don't need or want their pity. But at this point Trish says, "Oh you poor thing! Six, L-O-N-G, L-O-N-E-L-Y, months. What will you DO? How will you manage? I could NEVER be a Navy wife, I'm too selfish!" Well, that's like implying that I don't mind when the Navy takes my husband. I do, but that's my life, I knew it when I signed up for it, and really, last time I checked the Navy doesn't give a shit about my opinion, they just take my husband on the day and hour appointed. End of story.

Fast forward to last night. I went out on another "mom's night out". This time with the ladies from our boat. We got together to celebrate one of the ladies birthdays so she didn't have to celebrate alone. We went to Applebees and had a fabulous time. Everyone was laughing and sharing... everyone was relating. Each woman there, even those I didn't know very well, felt like a sister to me. Every single one of them "gets" my life - the reality of my life. They don't offer pity - they don't want it any more than I do. They just offered love, laughter, support and most of all understanding.

They all get that sometimes my children misbehave and I yell, maybe louder than I should. They all understand the 45 minute crying jag in the garage because you don't want your children to hear. They all understand the hope when you check your e-mail and the disappointment when there is nothing there fromthe person you long to hear from. They get the worry, the fear, the anxiety that I feel. They just get it and for once, just knowing that I was in their company and seeing them shake their heads as I was talking... well, it was enough. And that's a really good feeling.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Surreal

This whole week has been so surreal. I have looked at my husband's face - staring at him - trying to remember every freckle, every curve in his dimple when he smiles. I have felt his arms around me and tried to memorize the way my head fits against his shoulder.
For days - no, actually months now, I have put off thinking of the inevitable. I haven't faced the magnitude of the next several months alone. I won't get to see his face, hear his voice, feel his lips on mine... I hate it when he's away.
Sure, the kids and I survive. We focus on staying busy and doing fun things. That takes up my day, but at night, when I am all alone and the house is quiet around me, the magnitude engulfs me.
I know that I can do it - I can take care of the things that need to get taken care of. I can deal with being a temporarily, sort of, single mom. I just miss having my partner beside me to share my life.
I actually got to tell him last night how proud I am of him, and I even managed not to cry. I sent him off today with a smile, like I should, even though inside I was dying as he walked away.
I keep telling myself that every day from now on is one day closer to home. Now this difficult time has started, the goodbyes are over for now, and all that is left is the waiting. Still not my favorite aspect of being a Navy wife, but hey, homecoming is definitely something to look forward to, no matter how far away it is right now.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Looking for the Bubbles...

When you get disorientated under the water, you are supposed to check for the bubbles to see which way is up. Right now, in my life, I'm just looking for the bubbles because without them, I have no idea which way is up.
Life gets so hectic and crazy sometimes that all those little moments that make life magical seem to get lost in the shuffle. Here we are, caught up in the throwes of the latest goodbye, and all the little moments get lost in the shuffle of the checklist of "things to do."
I'm still waiting for my husband to get the phone calls to his family out of the way. I hate having that to look forward to. They always call at the worst possible time and then want to talk for hours.... My goodness, my nephew, who my husband hasn't even seen in over 3 years, has to say "goodbye" while my children wait patiently to get their time with their father. It's frustrating... and it's frustrating for him too. Still, nothing ever really changes.
I feel slightly less emotional this time as I wait for the inevitable. I guess in a short while the flood gates will open and I will be here all alone. It's better that way.
I hate feeling like world is spinning out of control, and I just want to hold up the "STOP!" sign. I'm looking forward to some sembelence of normal and balance to come back to my life, though I don't know what "normal" is most of the time, or when that may happen. I guess I will keep looking for the bubbles and try to figure out which way is up.

Friday, June 13, 2008

The Things that Matter... and the Things that Don't

Last night was my first official social event as Ombudsman. It was particularly stressful because our old ombudsman was given the task of making this event happen and then we switched halfway through... so it ended up being my task. The event was a kids and dad's craft night sponsored by our Fleet and Family Support. I know that I have many civilian readers out there - so basically we had counselors coming in to talk to the children about the upcoming deployment. They were discussing some of the feelings that the children might experience.
We didn't have a very good showing - only 2 dads and their kids - six children altogether. At first, I was a little disappointed, but then I started to think about the things that matter and the things that don't. Numbers don't matter quality matters.
I looked around at the children's faces... the way they were able to freely talk about their fears, their emotions and all the things they were going through WITH their dads... that was priceless. The counselor listed all the feelings that the children may be experiencing and asked everyone experiencing those feelings - like confusion, sadness, loneliness, pride, and others... to raise their hands. It was so moving to see those Dads raise their hands right along with their children.
I can honestly say that my children were able to connect with their dad in a way that I haven't seen in some time.
They made pillowcases for the children to use while the dads are deployed. Those pillowcases just brought tears to my eyes. The messages written on them were priceless - good luck in middle school, I love you, I'm so proud of you, I'll miss you ... so many emotions. The children did such an amazing job decorating them too, they really were beautiful.
Even though it wasn't a huge turnout, I am so proud to have been a part of this event. I know that the children that were there, really benefited and to me, that is what is truly important.

Monday, June 9, 2008

The Pink Rose Award



First, I want to thank my friend, Ann, for nominating my blog for the "Pink Rose Award". ( Check out her awesome blog at Under the Sea I thought this was a really cool idea and I also have some individuals that I would like to recognize.
It's funny really because I haven't written in what feels like forever. I needed a reason to come back. There has been so much chaos in my life lately and this morning, I just decided to buckle down. It really meant a lot to me coming here today to find this award, so thank you very much Ann!

First of all I would like to send this award to my friend Kate. I have been lucky to call Kate my friend for some years now. Seems like forever really... Kate is without a doubt the strongest woman I know. She inspires me every day, and so many other people too. Her writing is like her - thought provoking, inspiring, sometimes brutal and always real. Check out her blog here Jonathan's Closet.

Next, I would like to recognize my real life best friend, Jenn. She doesn't write as often as I would like, but her blog and her poetry are AMAZING! When she does write, her thoughts are always worth reading. Check out my favorite blog - A night without armor.

And finally, I would like to recognize another military wife, someone who is so strong as a woman, as a wife and as a mother. I love reading her blog, hope you will too. Check it out at Chaosmommy.


Here's what to do:
1. On your blog, copy and paste the award, these rules, a link back to the person who selected you, and a link to this post: http://smartone.typepad.com/smartone/2008/05/pink-is-my-favo.html. You will find the story behind the Pink Rose Award and other graphics to choose from there.
2. Select as many award recipients as you would like, link to their blogs (if they have one), and explain why you have chosen them.
3. Let them know that you have selected them for an award by commenting on one of their posts.
4. If you are selected, pass it on by giving the Pink Rose Award to others.
5. If you find that someone you want to nominate has already been selected by someone else, you can still honor them by posting a comment on their award post stating your reasons for wishing to grant them the award.
6. You do not have to wait until someone nominates you to nominate someone else

Monday, May 26, 2008

Homefires....

I am working hard to keep the homefires burning bright, but it gets harder and harder with no relief in sight.

I hate only having e-mail and the occassional phone call to cling to, but I know it's better than nothing. Still, lately it has been practicially nothing. I've reveieved one e-mail from my husband. Now I know that he is working hard and getting little sleep, I get it. What worries me is the time ahead. Is this all that I can look forward to for six long months?

Love's a heavy weight and I don't think that I can carry it all alone. I can't keep the homefires burning for both of us. He has to do his part too. I'm not sure he gets it. I'm not even sure he cares.I sat down and wrote a list - 10 things that would make my life easier while you're gone. I'm not going to give it to him. Why bother? I'm not sure he would read it, it may even seem ungrateful. I have a terrible habit of always coming across in the wrong way when talking to my husband. It usually never goes well.

Here's my list - I have to share it with someone, even if it is just myself.
1. Please leave plenty of emergency reserves so that I don't have to worry. The car may need something, my washer is as old as our oldest child and both the refrigerator and the microwave are on the fritz. It's only a matter of time...
2. The price of gas is killing me. Please increase my monthly budget to allot for this. This will be the first 'raise' in 5 years.
3. Please check the shutters, gutters and roof. I don't want anything flying off while you are gone and you know how bad the wind here gets.
4. Please forget about getting the lawnmower fixed and let me keep the lawn boys.
5.Occassionally think about the girls and I - an e-mail once a week just isn't cutting it, especially when I know there will be times that I won't even get that.
6. Plan ahead. Did you ever think that I might like a little something for halfway night? A love letter would be great - it doesn't have to be something you buy. Tell me how you feel, that would be the greatest gift you could give me.
7. I am running on empty emotionally. Fumes.... how will they get me through this long time ahead?
8. Tell me that you love me so I don't have to worry while you are gone. Tell me that you'll do your best to be safe, because if you haven't figured out that when you leave my heart goes with you... well, you aren't as smart as I know you are.
9. Fill out all proper legal papers.
10. Must have POA's for everything. I can't function any other way. How can I do the job you expect me to if I don't have to the tools?

Really I just want to say... Don't go. Like Rose in the Titanic as she is about to be swallowed by the Ocean - Don't go. Stay here with me. I know he can't. I know he has to go. I know it's my job to send him with a smile. God, can you imagine - a smile? How will I do that? I don't think I will be able to smile for the next long time.... Good thing it's summer or my face could freeze with this unhappy look. Somehow, I have got to keep it together for myself, my children, for him, for all the people counting on me... Shit. Guess I'll have to put off the breakdown indefinitely....

Ok, the pity party is over for now. I feel better already and now, I must face the day. Another day, without him. Memorial day - yet just another day. One more day and one more day and one more day... I feel like the little engine who could - maybe if I tell myself it often enough, I really will survive the next little while.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Dealing With Issues - Why Can't I Just Let it Go?

I am on the edge of a cliff facing the great abyss, the chasm of the long goodbye. Every time i feel like I will handle it better this time, I'm more prepared, I can DO this. Yet every time I feel engulfed by all the same emotions: despair, hopelessness, loss of control and so much more. I feel like there are so many emotions bottled up inside me that if I have to deal with just one more, I'm going to explode.
In order to be prepared to do the things that I am going to need to do, I have to first deal with my own issues. Sometimes I feel at a loss as to how I will even do that. At times I feel so overwhelmed that I grasp for even a place to start. I guess I have to come to terms with my own issues and my own feelings first before I can deal with other issues or help others with their emotions.
So here's the thing. I'm hurt, devastatingly so, and I'm angry. I have all these emotions pent up and memories from last year that I thought I had dealt with and moved on from which are apparently still there somehow, like a splinter in my heart that is just festering.
I have all this anger - rationally I know that I shouldn't, but I do. I feel angry that my husband is leaving, even though I know that this is out of his control. I feel angry that so much of our time is shared and we have so little of it to begin with, and worse, I feel angry when he's tired all the time. He makes an effort to spend time with me, but honestly it's like being with a zombie - someone who is only half there. I sense this and I get mad. I get mad because I feel like I shouldn't have to feel second best or take second place, though rationally, I know that for right now at least, I must.
Do you see my conundrum? I GET that what I feel isn't right, isn't rational, but I can't stop feeling it and I can't change it. I WANT TO CHANGE IT, but I just don't know how to let all these feelings go.
Every cruel word - even those I know he didn't mean - they all weigh on my heart. Every careless comment like how it wasn't "worth it" for me to travel to see him, they each weigh on my like a planet of pain and regret. As I said in the past, I know that my man is not the "throw caution to the wind" type, but once, just once - because he loves me, I wish that he would.
I pour my heart out, in letters, in pictures, in blogs and I wonder: does he see? Does he know? Does he understand that it kills me to watch him walk away? Especially knowing that my job is to watch him go with a smile on my face. It seems like an impossible tasks.
How can I let these feelings go? How can I take the anger out of my life that is eating me and my marriage like a poison from inside? I just don't know the answers and I feel like I'm just groping in the dark. Still, I keep searching for a way to find the light. Any thoughts? Suggestions?

Monday, May 19, 2008

Love Stories

Whnever I am feeling sad or lonely, I love to hear love stories. They are always so happy and full of hope and promise. The best thing about them is that everyone loves to share their own love story, and I am no different than anyone else.
Mine started with a letter in the mail. At 23, I finally went back to college. I worked very hard and maintained a 4.0 GPA, an accomplishment that I am very proud of. One day I received a letter in the mail - from Phi Theta Kappa - the International Honor Society of two year colleges. The letter invited me to attend a meeting and be inducted as a member. I was so excited!
Here I was about to celebrate the progress that I was making in my life, about to enter a new phase in my journey. I was on a CUSP - you know, those moments that change everything - I just didn't know how big the CUSP was.
When I arrived at the meeting, I realized that one of my best friends was there. She was already a member and she began immediately introducing me around. I'll never forget that moment, " I want to introduce you to my friend, this is Robert Schultz." Now, if you are a Kappan, you know that they are a big group of huggers. As I hugged him, I knew that my whole life had changed. I knew that knowing him would effect me forever, but I had no idea how. I looked into those big grown eyes, and I just knew that everything was different. No, it wasn't love at first sight, it was more a sense of "knowing"... the feeling that I had known him before, or recognizing him perhaps. I believe it's like that when you meet your twin flame - the spark in each raises as you recognize each other, the flame burns brighter when reunited.
Since that day, so much has happened. Robert - he became my best friend, my soul mate, my lover, my husband, and finally, the father of my babies. He's the first person that I want to share all my good news with. He's the first person I want to share my burdens with. He's the person that challenges me to be the best person that I can be. He's my inspiration, my joy, my hope, my dreams....all neatly packaged.
We've been together 12 years now. I always thought husband was such an antiquated word, until it attached itself to him. I thought wife was an outdated mode of thinking, until it meant that I belonged with him. Now, I just want to remind myself everyday how lucky I am to have found him.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Polaris

I know that Mother's Day was two days ago now, but I wanted to honor my mother and today seemed like the perfect day to do so. Polaris - that may seem like a strange title for a post about someone's mother, but it isn't. That is what my mother has been in my life, my constant, the North Star.
I wish I could say that I was always the perfect child who did everything in the manner that I should, but that would be a lie. My teenage years were very troubled. It was a difficult time in my life that began really when my grandmother died and sank further on the slippery downward spiral when my parents divorced. None of my actions are their fault, I made my own choices. I try to own up to the choices that I made.
I hurt my mother in so many ways, disappointed her, worried her and caused her an untold amount of grief - all to my everlasting shame. When I was young, I thought I understood life. I thought that I knew it all, and that I had nothing left to learn from my mother. Lucky for me, in her wisdom, she knew better. All through the lies, the pain, and the terror that was those dark years of my life, my mother's love was there - shining like the North Star, pointing my way back home. All I had to do was look up, reach out and see her there - loving me no matter what.
It's hard to believe that my mother made it through those years, still loving me. But, somehow, she did. My life didn't get better over night, but, slowly but surely through her patience, I made my way back.
When I had a child of my own, I finally understood how little about life that I actually knew. When I became a mother, I finally understood the pain that I had caused to a heart that did nothing but love me. I tell my mother often how sorry I am about those years and those times, and I try to show her how much I love her. I know though, that no apology or amount of love could ever repay the unconditional faith and love that she had for me all those years.
I guess the greatest tribute that I can pay to my mother, is to try to be Polaris for my own daughters. I hope that they won't make the same mistakes that I have made in my life, but if they do, I will be there loving them and hoping to guide them safely home.
Mom, I know I don't say it often enough - but THANK YOU, so much.... for EVERYTHING. You really are my hero, my inspiration and everything good that I may be is a mother, is all because you taught me the way with your love.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Faith Vs. Trust

I just finished Ombudsman training last week. Whew, what a week it was. I had training every night from 5:30- 9:30, and the topics that we discussed were so beyond anything I even anticipated. I am by no means a new Navy wife, hubby has been in for 13 years, and I have been "in" with him, for 8, (9 actually, but I feel guilty counting school time...) yet even I was surprised by how much more that I could learn.
I realized that accepting this responsibility would be a big job, but I had no idea how big. One night, our instructor came in, slammed the door and YELLED," This is an emergency, there's a submarine down, presumed LOST." That is the moment that it hit me, if the unimaginable happened, I would be one of the first people to get that call. That was a really hard pill for me to swallow.
You may be wondering what all this has to do with faith and trust. Well, it was actually my graduation ceremony from Ombudsman training that got me thinking about this. Our boat's captain was there to see me graduate, and my husband and children were there as well. After the ceremony, the Captain gave me a Commanding Officer coin with our ship's logo on it, a token for accepting this responsibility. Collecting this coins is the new "thing" around here - it's a really big deal to receive one.
My husband received a coin the same night. Now, here's what got me thinking, he received his coin for a years worth of very hard work. I received mine for what the captain believes I WILL do. It's daunting when you think about that. My husband earned his coin, I haven't yet. Our captain has every reason to trust in my husband's duty, devotion, hard work and ability. All he is going on with me is faith.
It's my job to help take care of all the families on our boat while our sailors are deployed, and knowing just a little about me, our captain put his faith in me. It's humbling. I truly hope that I will live up to his expectations and give him reason to trust in my ability, as my husband has. I hope that I will make my husband proud, but most of all, I hope that I will be able to help those that need it when the time comes.
I'm praying that won't be at 3 am to a phone call saying that something terrible has happened to our boat. Scary.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Are You Up to the Challenge?

I've been doing a lot of talking about books lately. I found what I thought was this awesome site called the 50 book challenge. It's a place where you talk about and critique the books you have read. The only thing is, the members aren't very nice. The only time they comment on your thoughts is to let you know your graphics are too large for their Dial up or to spell check you. ( Sorry, I'm a mom who does most of my writing very early in the morning, occasionally spelling mistakes happen. Ugh.)
So, since I loved the idea so much, I started a group on Cafe mom for any of you who may want to join in. The idea is to read 50 books in a year. Here's what's cool though - YOU pick the books. It can be any book you want. There isn't a length requirement. There won't be any scripted questions to "make you think" or lead a discussion on the subject matter as with other book clubs. There is only you, your choices and your thoughts on them.

I created this group because I love to read, and I love to see what others are reading. Just click on the new banner above to get to the group. One word of caution to my male members - you will be asked to join Cafemom. If you are interested in participating, and I would love to have you, I highly suggest creating a "female persona" to join as some women haven't come as long a way as they say they have. Discrimination is rampant on the Cafe against any human being that happens to have a penis. I have no such qualms.... I actually enjoy that half of the population - most of the time. :)

snowflake submerged

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Books, Books and more Books!

What’s Your Favorite Book?

My friend Roe was blogging about this not to long ago. She posted this very interesting poll which was conducted to discover what the favorite book of most Americans is. Here were the results:

Harris Interactive surveyed American adults to find out "What is your favorite book of all time?" The answers:

1. The Bible
2. Gone with the Wind, by Margaret Mitchell
3. Lord of the Rings (series), by J.R.R. Tolkien
4. Harry Potter (series), by J.K. Rowling
5. The Stand, by Stephen King
6. The Da Vinci Code, by Dan Brown
7. To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
8. Angels and Demons, by Dan Brown
9. Atlas Shrugged, by Ayn Rand
10. Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger

It’s an interesting list, isn’t it? I mean what a combination of topics and titles. I was surprised to see Angels and Demons by Dan Brown on the list, I certainly didn’t think it was nearly as good as The Da Vinci Code, but to each their own. I think that it is also interesting to note that according to Zogby, the average American reads four books in a year. Can you imagine that? I could read four books in a week! I think that is such a sad commentary on our society… I

So I sat and thought about my favorite books. Where to start?? There are SO many! I don’t think that I could possibly limit it to 10. Anyway, here goes, in no particular order except for the first:
1. Lord of the Rings – the only book that was so real to me that I actually had dreams about it. I will forever be thankful to JRR Tolkien for opening my heart to the wonder of magic and fantasy.
2. Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand. It is a long book and detailed, but so worth the effort that it takes to read. It is particularly interesting to read Rand’s commentary on capitalism considering her own personal experiences and background.
3. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn – Smith’s lyric style and colorful story telling speak for themselves in this largely autobiographical work.
4. Anything by Charles Dickens, especially A Tale of Two Cities – what greater love can there be than the willingness to sacrifice oneself for the happiness of the one you love?
5. The Three Musketeers – because I love a great action/ adventure story and this one does it all. Who doesn’t love the visual of Athos, Porthos, Aramis, and Dartagnan as they cross their swords saying “ All for one and one for All!”?
6. Brave New World – I love Huxley’s story about finding humanity in the most surprising of places…
7. Harry Potter – because from start to finish the story of the “Boy Who Lived” captured me. Rowling’s story brought me into Harry’s world and I was so sorry to see it end, no matter how satisfyingly the story came to a close.
8. Fahrenheit 451 and 1984 – both offer a frightening glimpse of what the future could be if we for one instant lose sight of our precious freedom.
9. A Thousand Splendid Suns – I don’t typically like contemporary authors, but Khalid Hosseini had me at hello. Seriously, this book grips you from the first sentence and the story never stops.
10. Night by Elie Weisel – nothing can be said about this book except that every single person should read it so that we never forget.
11. Wuthering Heights – possibly the greatest love story ever told. I didn’t understand it the first time I read it. I didn’t understand why Heathcliff and Cathy couldn’t just figure it out – but sometimes, that’s the point isn’t it?

It was hard to compile this list and I’d be willing to bet that tomorrow, my choices may look very different. Again, aside from number one, these books really aren’t in any particular order, I love them all. I’d love for you to share your top 10 list, since I’m always look for the next great book to read.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Another Interesting Study... When We Say NO, They Hear Yes

So a communications professor just did some interesting ( and very unscientific) research at UC Davis. He canvased the campus asking over 1000 men and women what different phrases in their relationship meant to each of them. He spent a lot of time talking about what a man hears when a woman says no. Interestingly enough - the majority of those interviewed seemed to think that no meant - "get busy because I'm tired" or that no means " maybe, I just need a little convincing."

Some other interesting miscommunications between men and women?
She says, " I'm invovled with someone else." He hears, " I still want to hook up with you, just discreetly".
She says, " I just want to be friends". He hears, " I still want to have sex with you, just no committment."

Communication between the sexes is a minefield. I'd be the first one to admit that there is a lot going on between what a woman says and what she is also communicating on a unspoken level. That said though, my husband knows when I say, "I tired" it doesn't mean "Try harder" or "convince me" it means - "That isn't happening tonight. Period."

Why do we - women and men - read so much into what one another is saying that may or may not be there? Guys, for your own protection, if you are with a woman and she says no, assume she means NO. Any other thought on your part can lead to some very serious repurcussions. These types of studies just reflect how rare candor is in our society, especially in the dating pool.

For all you men out there, here's a translation of what a woman really means. Ladies, I think you will enjoy this too:
Nine Dangerous Words Women Use

1.) Fine: This is the word women use to end an argument when they are right and you need to shut up.

2.) Five Minutes: If she is getting dressed, this means a half an hour. Five minutes is only five minutes if you have just been given five more minutes to watch the game before helping around the house.

3.) Nothing: This is the calm before the storm. This means something, and you should be on your toes. Arguments that begin with Nothing usually end in Fine.

4.) Go Ahead: This is a dare, not permission. Don't Do It!

5.) Loud Sigh: This is actually a word, but is a non-verbal statement often misunderstood by men. A loud sigh means she thinks you are an idiot and wonders why she is wasting her time standing here and arguing with you about Nothing. (Refer back to 3 for the meaning of Nothing.)

6.) That's Okay: This is one of the most dangerous statements a women can make to a man. That's Okay means she wants to think long and hard before deciding how and when you will pay for your mistake.

7.) Thanks: A woman is thanking you, do not question, or Faint. Just say you're welcome.

8.) Whatever: Is a women's way of saying SCREW YOU!

9.) Don't worry about it, I got it: Another dangerous statement, meaning this is something that a woman has told a man to do several times, but is now doing it herself. This will later result in a man asking 'What's wrong?' For the woman's response refer to 3.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

"I'm so Tired..."

I'm so tired of hearing "I'm so tired." My husband works his ass off for his family. I know it, I understand it, and I certainly appreciate it. He works long hours and his job is very stressful sometimes. (Most of the time) I can look at his face when he comes home from work and I know that he's bushed. He doesn't need to tell me. I hate it when he tells me.

Every day I think to myself, tonight we'll do something fun together. We'll have some deep conversation. We'll have a political debate. Maybe we'll even make love.... I think of all these things that we are going to do and then.... he comes home and says, "I'm so tired." None of these things are going to happen. Why try? Especially in the love department, when my man is tired, he just needs his sleep. Anything else is going to end badly, usually with me frustrated and him hurt and upset. It just isn't worth it.

I know I shouldn't complain, but the fact is that if I'm not venting him, I'm bitching to him. I feel bad bitching to him so I just need to get it out. I'm tired of feeling deprived. I'm tired of my husband being gone for MONTHS at a time. I'm just so tired.....

Honestly, my life is wonderful in most aspects. I know my husband loves me. I have two beautiful little girls, and I feel so priviledged to be their mother. I live in a beautiful house, with a beautiful garden. My husband is even thinking about putting in a pool. Sometimes though, I just miss my partner who seems to be gone more and more of the time, even when he should be here with me, and that makes me feel really sad.