Sunday, March 29, 2009

Doing What I've Got to Do

As I write this, I am sitting on my mom's computer somewhere in PA. It was 10 hours in the car yesterday for my two little girls, our dog and myself. It wasn't terrible because the children and Seamus were so well behaved, but it wasn't exactly what I would call a joy ride either.
We are here because my father's health, and in conjunction with that his ability to care for himself, is failing. He doesn't know that I am here predominantly to see him. It would bother him to think so. He has always said, "When you hurt a man's pride, you hurt him where he lives." That is my dad to a "T". So I told him that I am here so that the children can visit with their grandmother and suddenly, his whole attitude about my visit changes. It's wonderful that I am coming to see him now that I'm nto coming to see "him". If that makes any sense?
My father is a retired Air Force pilot and what I like to think of as the human equivalent of a Sherman tank. He is absolutely unstoppable. That is what I used to think, until 4 years ago when he was diagnosed with cancer. It was an extremely aggressive type 4 Cancer - not something to mess around with. My dad sought treatment. The doctors had to take out his kidney. Fortunately, the tumor was almost completely contained in the kidney and after a round of chemo, my dad was declared to be in remission, where he has remained ever since. We were very lucky. However the short dance with the big C brought my father's mortality - and my own - to the forefront and since then, I know we are all living on borrowed time.
I guess it was inevitable because at the end of the day, we all finally face the truth.
My father says that he wants me to help him around his yard - raking and such. I'm happy to do it, but realistically there are so many more important things to be done. The BIG reason I am here? To cook for him. He really doesn't feed himself very well and he has been losing weight. I am planning on making pot roast ( one of his faves) baked spaghetti, beef stew, cornbread, pork chops with apples, and I'm not really sure what else. I hope to do a lot of cooking while I am there. I shudder to think what may be waiting for me in his refrigerator. Wish me luck...

Sunday, March 22, 2009

I Don't Think That Means What You Think It Does...

I was talking to a friend the other day about a document that we had received via e-mail. We both enjoy a love of movies and share a favorite - The Princess Bride. It's a great movie if you haven't seen it, very funny and full of moral truths. At any rate, in the movie one of the characters, Vizzini, goes around saying "Inconcievable!" all the time and as the movie goes on, it becomes clear that however smart Vizzini may think that he is, he clearly has no idea what the word "inconcievable" actually means. It's good stuff.
As I was reading the above mentioned document the other day, a similiar thing happened with the words "integrity", "trust" and "responsibility". In my book integrity means the adherence to moral standards and ethical principles. "Trust" is the reliance on a person's integrity, ability, and strength of character to make the right decisions and "responsibility" is a particular burden placed upon one who is ultimately in charge or the responsible party.

Does this scenario sound like ANY of the above mentioned principles are being met? Imagine a group of married men, drinking such that they are no longer in control of themselves. Same married me go to a bar with naked women where the leader of said group buys lap dances for the other men - in spite of thier protests - whether they are married or not. Does any of this sound like responsiblity, trust or integrity as defined above were in any way invovled?

If a person has integrity, it isn't something that you have sometimes. When a person is a LEADER, this burden isn't something that they wear when it suits them - they wear it all the time. And trust? It isn't something that can be dictated - it has to be earned. None of the above mentioned behaviors do anything to earn trust. In fact, the above mentioned behaviors undermine trust - that trust that a navy wife places in her husband's commanding officers to make the right decisions, especially when lives are ont the line. It also undermines, in some cases, the trust she has in her husband thereby possibly damaging her family and, more importantly in the eyes of the Navy, affecting the ability of the sailor to do his job.

Integrity, Responsibility, and Trust - they are more than just words and those who would use these words should learn what they mean and strive to live by them.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

The Truth at Last

Several months ago I had a falling out with a "friend" that I had a relationship with for some years. I thought that we were close. I thought that our friendship could weather disagreements and differences of opinion. I was wrong.
For the longest time, I acted like her words and actions didn't bother me. I was so busy I allowed my work to distract me from what I was feeling which was disappointment, betrayal, and anger. I held these emotions in for months. I never really aired them to anyone, other than to her - my sister, my "friend".
It all started with a poorly worded post in a social networking site that I administered. The bruhaha and the subsequent fallout escalated and escalated until there was no room left for friendship.
How can a person possibly have any type of relationship with someone who leaves no room for any opinion but her own? How can one have any type of relationship with a woman who used fake "identities" on said social networking site to personally attack and malign them? How is it possible to turn the other cheek, look beyond the betrayal and try to understand another point of view? Well, the answer is I have forgiven, I do try to understand her bitterness and anger, but there is simply no room for any type of friendship left. Sad, isn't it?
This was a woman that I spent several hours with on the phone every week. This was a woman who, if she called me in the middle of the night for help, she could expect to get it. This was a woman I respected and trusted and now, this is a woman that I have no contact with whatsoever.
The things that she said about me were not only hurtful, they were LIES. Flat out lies. After everything that is the one thing that I just couldn't get beyond.
It still makes me sad, the loss of this friend. I think about her and wonder how she is, but deep down, I realize that no relationship can exist without trust and frankly, after everything, I could never trust her again.

This brings me to my current situation. I left said social networking site, in no small part due to the poison and the lies. I joined another site - Facebook - and I love it there. For the most part, I am friends with people that I genuinely care about - people who I want to keep track of and be a part of their lives. There is one individual there though whose friendship I accepted and now I regret. She was party to the events described above and though she did not actively participate in the lying and maligning of my character, she appeared to be cheering on the sidelines during the worst of it.

I want a fresh start. I do care about this second woman, but I'm unsure whether I am capable of offering her true friendship based on all the hurt and betrayal that I still feel. Any words of advice?

Friday, March 13, 2009

The Waiting is the Hardest Part....

Here we are on the cusp of yet another monumental decision and potential change for our family. We are on the verge of yet another move. You would think after 10 years that some things would become old hat, but each time a decision needs to be made, they all seem more important than the last. This time there could certainly be lasting implications for the whole family - this time we are facing a move that could mean not just leaving our home, but also our country... at least for a little while.
The move could potentially take the Schultz family over the pond - to somewhere that I have always wanted to go - LONDON! It certainly would be a big change, but when I think of the cultural exposure for the children it just sends shivers down my spine. London could be used as a launching pad for us to see, ideally all those things in Europe that we would wish to. I mean, we could go to Paris, Berlin, Greece! Need I say more? Plus, the fact that I am a HUGE history buff doesn't hurt the longing to go there either.
So what you ask is the problem? Well, we are an American family. I have always raised my children to be proud to be American. The sad fact is that there are many people throughout the world who simply do not like us. I worry for some of the things that my children will be "taught" about their country. I will miss seeing the most beautiful flag in the world just driving down the street. And that is just for starters...
I have never lived more than a couple of hours by car from my mother. This time we would have an entire ocean seperating us! My father is 85 years old and his health is now in a rapid decline. I worry that saying goodbye could be for the last time. I worry that something could happen and I wouldn't be able to get back. That is a very real concern for me. Then there is my husband's family - his mother is in dire straights. Moving over to London would make his assistance with her more problematic, not that it is ever really good simply because of his job and schedule, but being an ocean away certainly wouldn't help.
His sister is full up - I don't know how she bears up with all the stress she has on her plate. I don't know how much more she can handle and frankly, I'm not sure that it's really fair to her that she has to. ( Although this point can certainly be debated)
It's exciting this potential move.... and scary. I don't know what the future will bring. I just know that whatever comes, the five of us will face it - together.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Why Are Men So Thoughtless?

*******WARNING!!!!!******* PMS VENT IN PROGRESS!!!!!!

Ok, you all know what a great guy that I usually think my husband is. Sometimes however, like all men, he can be a bit... for lack of a better word - DENSE. He has known about a re-enlistment ceremony going on today for the better part of two weeks. He had no intention of going, even though it is two of his guys re-enlisting.
Today, out of the blue, he shows up at home and intends to go. It really isn't a huge deal, but he brings a friend home with him and here I am - in the kitchen, cleaning, still in my pajamas, looking and feeling quite literally like shit - and he brings home another officer from the wardroom. Hello???? Could he not have taken five seconds out of his day to give me a call and let me know that he was bringing someone home? At least so I could get out of my pajamas?? WTF?
Then he chases this all by saying, " There was nothing going on at work today so I decided to go to the re-enlistment." He's going all the way to Providence ( 1 hour both ways) to go to a Dave and Busters. I'm beyond irritated. He could have come home early today, instead, he's off partying with some of the very people who I can't stand, don't trust, etc....( I do really like the guy he went with, he's great.. but it's just the other people who will be there...)
I hope he has dinner while he's there because I have a sinking suspicion that I'm not making anything special tonight.
Well, I did warn you....

My year end goals UPDATED

My goals with an update added:

In Febrary, I did exercise three times a week for every week, so far so good with that goal. I am not dropping weight but the inches are still dropping. I don't mind muscle conversion so that's a good thing.

I am making healthier choices, especially at snacktime and sometimes, I avoid the after dinner snack altogether. Yeah, another thumbs up for me! I am definately snacking much less.

I am down 2 pounds since new years.

The weather is finally starting to get nicer so getting outside is starting to get easier. I'm so glad! I have missed my walks! I actually worked out in the yard most of the day yesterday and it felt great!

I have paid off one of my credit cards and it felt great. I can't wait to get rid of them all.

I do tell my family that I love them everyday and I mean it! I also have been blogging at least once a week - so that is good. I'm enjoying my writing more so that's also a plus.

I need to work more seriously on my writing. To that end, I am going to commit to an hour a week - for now - to writing. That doesn't include my blog.

I have been saving a portion of my pay every month - so far so good.

The books I have read and plan to read:
The Brothers Karamozov by dostoevsky

The Castle by Kafka

Sons and Lovers by DH Lawrence - finished - it was extremely slow. Not Lawrences best but it did give me new insight into my MIL. Scary.

Oedipus Rex by Sophocles

The Heart is a Lonely Hunter by McCullers - reading now....

The French Lieutenants Woman by Fowles - COMPLETED

On the Road by Kerouac

From Here to Eternity by Jones

The Postman Always Rings Twice by Cain

Atonement by McEwan

Terrorist by Updike - finished. It was a strange book but it certainly gave me a different perspective on so many things. I would recommend it to others.

Plus 78 more!

I finished the Autobiography of a Stray ( great book especially for those with tweens), A Lion Among Men, which I LOVED, and I am currently working on Mercy by Jodi Picoult.

Saturday, March 7, 2009


I am reading yet another Jodi Picoult book. What is it about her topics that are so addicting? They almost, without fail, always make a great discussion for any book club. The only one I really didn't like was Picture Perfect because Picoult just didn't understand the nature of being a domestic violence victim/survivor. But, barring that one book, I have enjoyed most of the others of hers that I have read.
I am currently about half way through "Mercy". It is the story of a man who murders his wife because she asks him to. It is a mercy killing as she is in the final stages of her struggle with Cancer.The story certainly raises the question about what the true nature of love is.
In the story two characters have a conversation about 70/30 - this idea that in any relationship there is always a disparity among the partners regarding an unequal sharing of love. Jamie, the male character, suggests that one person always loves more. Do you think that this is true?
I can look back over my own life and see times when that has been true of my own relationships. The first boy I ever loved - I know that I loved him more than he ever loved me. I loved him so much that I risked everything for him, I would have done anything for him. It was an all-consuming and unhealthy relationship.
In the recovery phase of that disaster, I overcompensated in my life and made a stunningly bad choice in husbands. My relationship with my first husband is one that I rarely think about and barely consider except for the time in our lives that can't otherwise be explained. I married him because he fooled a lot of people - even me. I married him because he was a "nice boy" and what was wrong with me that I didn't want a "nice boy"? I can honestly say that I never loved him. I thought it was better that way, that I could protect my heart. I thought that friendship was enough and that maybe over time, I would learn to love him. I believed that passionate love was dangerous. I convinced myself that his love was enough for both of us and that it was better that way. I was so wrong.
They say that when you really love someone, it just happens, out of the blue. I can say that it was that way for me. When I became involved with my husband now, I wasn't expecting to feel all the things that I felt. He took me by surprise in so many ways.We do have a burning passionate love, but it isn't consuming - it's sustaining. It's such a beautiful difference.
I love my husband deeply, passionately and I would be lost without him. We have had ten beautiful years of married life and I can't wait for the next ten. He is, together with our daughters, every moment of happiness in my life.
Back to the point of this post though... I honestly believe that in real love - there is equality - it's 100% and 100% not 70/30. One of the readers here would ask how I know? The truth is that I don't know, I just feel it. I am sure that my husband loves me and I always make sure that he knows I love him.
It will be interesting to see what the outcome of Mercy is. I suspect that Jamie will also learn that real love isn't always 70/30.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Terrorist by John Updike - A Book Review

I have to say that Updike is one of those authors that many have told me that I should read, but I never have. I just couldn't get into his Rabbit character, but when I came across this book, I was oddly attracted to it. I wasn't sure what it was going to be about. I mean, I realized that it was about a "terrorist" but I was also savy enough to know that it just couldn't be that straightforward. I was so right.

This book was extremely well written, in that it made me see things from so many different perspectives, especially those that I didn't want to see. Ahmad, the "terrorist", is actually very appealling as a character. It is easy to understand his intense search for God when one considers his surroundings and influences. That is not to say that I ever find acts of terror to be excusable, just that I found him to be a more appealling character than I originally thought. I was pleasantly surprised.

I was rooting for Ahmad to be saved at the end of the story, and without giving it away, all I can say is that sometimes we make the right decision and loose our soul in the process. Updike definitely gives food for thought.

I have a goal to read 100 books this year. This one was number six. You can expect to see more book reviews here, and if you ever post reviews, please link them here. I am always looking for a good book to read!