Friday, September 30, 2011

The truth

I've got nothin'.  Sorry.

I was thinking about doing a 30 day blog and exercise challenge, but that just is not going to happen this month.  I just don't have the energy for it. 

I don't want to whine about my house.  So I'm going with one of my Dad's favorite sayings.  "If you don't have anything nice to say.  Don't say anything at all."  I think it's appropriate. 

I hope you took a moment to stop by Kati's CulturTwined blog.  She wrapped up her interview with me.  If you look, you will get to know me even better.  :)

More truth.

"You don't have a Soul.  You are a Soul.  You have a body."

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Dear Sweetheart,

Thank you for all you've done for our family during this difficult time in our lives.  Thank you for patching our roof with a patch strong enough to last for a year.  I know you worked for two days on this patch just to put my mind at ease and allow me peace while we traveled west.  I know, because I see them everyday, that a blue plastic tarp would have kept most of the rain out of our house, but it wouldn't have allowed me to enjoy my time away from the house.  That's what you did for me.  You scrubbed your fingerprints from your fingertips with your hard work.

Thank you for cutting up the trees and moving the debris to the side of the road.  I saw you out there in the drizzle working all day.  I know you did this for me.  The mess of the trees and dying leaves and you are out there cleaning it up.  All for me.  Because you know the chaos brings me so low.  Thank you for telling me our son was helpful in this process.  It helps me feel better about him when I think he has pleased you.  I love you both so much.

You are a very good man.  You have sacrificed so much of yourself for our family.  I know you have put your education to the side to work on our home.  I know you feel frustrated by the time passing during your dissertation process.  You are more than a PhD.  You have done more for our family with the time and effort you have spent trading options and managing our portfolio.  You are so smart.  And lucky.  I thank God for the luck he has given you.  I know the luck comes from your good sense and your willingness to work hard.  So, what I mean is, I thank God for you.  If you decide to continue your schoolwork, I will support you in every way.  I feel I can do more in our home restoration process.  I am coming out of the depression I was feeling and I know I can do better.  *amazing what a good night's sleep will do.

Thank you for reminding me of your love for me.  I know my self doubt and whining must be so annoying.  Yet you are always there to boost my spirit.  I want to do the same for you, and yet it doesn't come easily for me.  And you love me anyway.  You understand my character flaws and love me in spite of them.  And I appreciate this more than I can say.  I love you so much.  I often feel unworthy of the love you have for me, and that is why I doubt it sometimes.  Thank you for understanding this about me.

It is said our true nature is revealed in adversity.  You have a generous, loving, compassionate nature.  This is what has been revealed to our family.  I hope these words convey the depth of my feelings for you.  I want to be your partner in this life.  I want to be strong for you.  Thank you for being there for me while I was down.  Thank you for appreciating me when I don't appreciate myself.  If you ever find yourself doubting yourself, stop.  You are a very good man.  One of the best.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Irene, one month ago

It's been a month since Hurricane Irene hit the mid-Atlantic coast.  It's been a month.  I will give you a short update of where we are in the restoration process.
  • The insurance adjuster has been to our home.  They've written a check to us and our mortgage company.  In order to get money to pay for repairs we have to send a notarized affidavit to the mortgage company to get the money to pay for services.  Every time.  For each service.  Tedious.
  • We've hired a roofer.  Hopefully they will begin roofing within the next 2 weeks.
  • We've hired someone to replace our deck.  This is not to begin until after the roof is replaced.
  • We've hired someone to replace the picture window in our bedroom.  This may be coordinated with the roof replacement.
  • I've worked with my son to sort through his clothing.  Truthfully, we are only half-way through this process.  He found a bunch of old clothes he had stuffed in a couple dresser drawers.
  • My son sold his old X-Box.  *cheering*  He's learning to let stuff go.  <3
  • Big tree in the front of the house (with the giant root ball) is cut up and branches removed.  Still need to get the giant root ball out of there.
  • One tree in the side yard of the house is cut up and branches removed.
  • Valium prescription for Happygirl get some sleep, filled.
Things left to do.  No, I can't go there.  How much does all this cost.  No, I can't go there.  It's the thing that's keeping me from sleeping at night.

Today a co-worker mentioned that if I had better insurance I wouldn't be going through all this trouble.  He says his insurance company has NO deductible for hurricane damage.  Wow, thanks for telling me this.  I have no way of  confirming it and you had no damage to your home, but THANKS for the information.  It's good to know I have crappy insurance.  I hope you feel great about yourself now.  (btw, I didn't say any of that out loud.  :))

And, today a Kati posted the first part of a question/answer conversation we had.  Kati writes a blog called CultureTwined.  Kati is a Christian storyteller.  She is a world traveler and is fortunate enough to be able to work all over the world.  Kati, I think, sees the ways all the people in the world are more alike than not.  I love her positive and loving attitude about life.  I love how she can put what she sees around her into words.  Thanks for for the kind words about me, Kati.  It was fun.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Good stuff on the 'net. Who knew?

I've been inspired this morning.  Well, some of the inspiration came this morning, some of it came over the weekend.  Anyway, I found a couple blogs that just gave me that "Ah Ha" moment.  And I really needed that moment.
I don't know how I stumbled upon Lorrie's blog, but I'm so glad I did.  She was just about to start a challenge to eat when hungry and stop when full.  I know, all you skinny girls out there do this naturally.  Well, some of us don't.  And it shows.  So, I decided to leave the comment "I'm in."  And, she called me on it.  So, I'm in.  I'm doing the challenge.  I know portion control is one of the keys to weight loss and know when I'm beginning to feel full, contrary to wanting to stop eating, has been an issue for me.  So I'll use portion control along with stopping and starting my eating with the hungry and full urge. 

Thanks Lorrie.  I'm looking forward to the accountability and encouragement.

Another blog I read is Matt's blog.  I've been reading Matt for a while, but... sometimes I just don't get Matt.  Maybe it's the age thing, I don't know.  Anyway, I still glance at his blog once in a while and see what he is up to.  TODAY was gold.  Matt's post, Homelessness is Next to Godliness, was just what I needed.  I've been struggling with the attitude of a growing number of younger adult christians.  I especially noticed them in the church I recently left.  And, one of them was in the hurtful women's bible study.  I couldn't put my finger on what it was that was bothering me.  I couldn't stand hearing them call themselves "poor" and begging for money.  I mean, I could articulate what I bothered about them, but I couldn't find a "name" for them.  Matt coined the phrase, "Recreational Poverty."  He defines this term this way.

"The difference between these people and real poor people is that they are able bodied, capable of working.  They just choose not to.  They have chosen a life that may be free of idolatrous “things,” but they are also free of responsibility.  No one is counting on them.  They contribute little of value to communities."

Thanks Matt.  I can't tell you how naming it helps me so much.

Please take a moment to look at each of these blogs.  If you like either of them, tell them I sent you.  :)

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Maya Angelou knows something about life

I've never been a huge Maya Angelou fan.  Maybe because of Oprah.  Maybe because of Bill Clinton.  Maybe because people used her words to promote their political agenda.  I do this sometimes.  Sometimes I don't like someone just because I don't like people that like that person.  Does that make sense?  I'm not saying I think the sun rises and sets with anything Maya has said, but she HAS said some pretty wise things.  Maybe if you are prolific enough, something wise comes out.

Maya said, “The first time someone shows you who they are, believe them.”

This is truth.  When someone tells you they are a liar, believe them.  When someone tells you they are not a good friend, believe them.  When someone says something hurtful to you, believe they will be a hurtful person.

Maya said, “If you have only one smile in you, give it to the people you love. Don't be surly at home, then go out in the street and start grinning 'Good morning' at total strangers.”

I think the world would be a better place if more people did this.  We should be the MOST pleasant with our family.  Maybe marriages would last more often if we decided to be the MOST pleasant with our spouse.

Maya said, “I've learned that you can tell a lot about a person by the way (s)he handles these three things: a rainy day, lost luggage, and tangled Christmas tree lights.”

The real you shows up in adversity.  She is absolutely correct about this.

Maya said, "If you don't like something, change it.  If you can't change it, change your attitude."

This is practically my credo.  I've always believed this is truth.  I don't expect the world to change for me.  I believe I either change the world, or I change me.

There are many website dedicated to Ms. Angelou.  She is a prolific writer.  I may not like her politics, but she has said some pretty wise things and they are written down.

Friday, September 23, 2011

I need focus

My mind is so scattered at this time.  I'm pulled between the restoration of my home, an additional 5 lbs and lack of exercise, an additional hot flash added to my day (thanks Tamoxifen), and my performance at my job.  I need to find focus and perspective.  Instead, my reaction seems to be inaction.  Not good.

My thoughts on this are swirling around.  I'm going to take a few moments and seek some clarity as I strive to untangle the mess in my head.

First of all, I'm tired.  I've been struggling to get up in the morning and make it to work on time.  *job performance suffering*  My desire is to go to bed earlier, but when I do that, I find I'm laying in bed, staring at the ceiling and watching the clock.  *frustrating*  I've begun taking Tylenol PM and it helps.  A little.

Solutions?  I'm thinking if I restart my exercise routine I will feel more tired at night and fall asleep quicker and sleep sounder.

Problem.  I'm not exercising now and getting started is the toughest part.  Ok, ok... I hear you.  Just do it.

So, if I'm looking at this stream of consciousness correctly, exercise may be a key.  Regular exercise may help me lose the weight.  Regular exercise may make me more tired and a better sleeper.  Thus allowing me to get up on time in the morning and make it to work on time.  Ergo, my job performance gets better.

I'm thinking I may need to ask for some encouragement in the motivation department.  I'm thinking about doing a challenge.  I'm still investigating exactly what a blog challenge is and how I could integrate one into my blog and real life.  So far, I think I may do something with exercise and gratitude.  I know gratitude would certainly help me with my "poor me" attitude, in regard to my house and mess.  I need shake this off.  I think some of my insomnia may have to do with the worry of fixing things and the costs involved.  Sometimes I feel overwhelmed.  I know people get sick of hearing about it, so I try not to talk about it too much.  Sometimes I think it's the biggest thing in my life.  But, when I stop to think about it, it isn't.  I still go to work.  I'm still a wife.  I'm still a mother.  It isn't the BIGGEST thing in my life.  It's just the messiest.  *and I've mentioned, I don't do well in mess*

Comments and suggestions are welcome.  Seriously.  I'm open.

*sigh*  None of this will help with the hot flash, however.  My new normal is at 7:30 a.m. and 9:00 p.m. I feel the heat.  Yuk.  Thanks Tamoxifen.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Balloon ride

Indigo skies await me
Held breath and cold feet
How high will I fly?

Colors glow
Fires blow hot air
How soon will I fly?

Crowd grows
Spines will chill
How many will fly?

Soar, float, rocket high
Blast into the sky
How can this craft fly?

Hot air, cool breeze
Calm hand, shaking knees
How long will I fly?

Cluster of colors
Gather in groups
How do we fly free?

I break from the pack
Float above trees
How free from earth am I?

Sweet silence is mine
Peacefulness find
How it quiets my mind.

Yet gravity wins
All flying must end
How long must I wait to rejoin the wind?

images by Mark Smith

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

I LOVE going to Tailhook

I know most of you don't know what the Tailhook convention is.  Here, again, at the Being Happy blog is another educational opportunity.  The Tailhook convention, in a nutshell, is a annual gathering of members of the Tailhook Association.  These members are naval aviators committed to the interests of sea based naval aviation.  They provide scholarships and honor their members.  The name "tailhook" references the apparatus of the carrier based aircraft that catches the arresting wire to facilitate a carrier landing of the aircraft.  My husband is a tailhooker.

I've been attending Tailhook for the last six years.  I LOVE it.  I have so much fun at Tailhook.  I'm fortunate to be able to work at Tailhook with the artist Hank Caruso.  He is VERY popular with the aviators.  He "just gets" the different navy and marine aircraft and the men and women that fly them.  He has also been honored by being named Honorary Naval Aviator #27.  Quite an honor.

Ok, that is one reason I love Tailhook.  Another reason is that it is held in Reno, NV.  The convention used to be held in Las Vegas, NV, but that won't be happening again.  'nuff said.  I think Reno is a wonderful little city.
I took this picture.  :)
Here are a few of the other reasons I like Tailhook.

LTjg Erik Sink, USN         1/LT Jeffery Monroe, USMC
LTjg Greg Mayers, USN         1/LT Reid Savid, USMC

Aren't they the cutest men EVER.  These men had their winging ceremony at Tailhook.  It was my first winging.  It was SO INSPIRING.  I met my husband after he got his wings.

Here is one of the guys later that evening.  We were at the "Bug" Roach cocktail party.
Our country's best, bravest and brightest

All aviators wear flightsuits to the "Bug" Roach cocktail party.  I LOVE flightsuits.   I think ANYONE in a flightsuit looks good.  I know I like it much better than the dress whites.  (Just my opinion)

  Hiding the jean clad bottom.  Hot in a flightsuit.
Yep, give me a flightsuit any day.  Leave the khakis at home.
You're starting to see it my way, aren't you.
You may have heard of the Tailhook convention.  It made a few headlines back in 1991.  Anyway, thanks to political correctness the convention is now "family friendly."  Yes, we have a cocktail or two, but everything is out in the open now.  I hope the Tailhook doesn't become too politically correct.  I like the "SWAGGER" a naval aviator has.  I agree with what former Navy Secretary John Lehman said in his Washington Times article yesterday.  And, yeah, women can have swagger.  I believe in the big ego that a naval aviator has been accused of having.  I think confidence in one's abilities is key to landing on a carrier.  I believe in work hard / play hard.  When you decide to put your life and millions of dollars of aircraft in these hands, I believe you should allow a bit of "down time." 

Thanks for sharing my happy time in the biggest little city in the world every second weekend in September.  I can't wait until next year.  :)

Monday, September 19, 2011

Sorting the stuff

This is a little post regarding the ongoing saga of my family's recovery from Hurricane Irene.

Last Friday the insurance adjuster made it out to our home.  My husband handled this all on his own.  He did a pretty good job.  He was completely focused on the roof and the damage in the attic.  And why wouldn't he be?  This is where he has spent most of his time and energy.  I counted on him for this.  We also have to have our deck replaced.  They dropped the tree on the deck while removing it from the roof of our house.  Our deck no longer meets code, so no one will repair it.  It has to be replaced.  Also, we have about a dozen other trees that are either down or leaning that need to be removed.  I depended on my husband to remember to deal with all these things.  I, however, was thinking about the interior space of the rooms.  I was thinking about the dry walling, the carpeting, the painting, the STUFF.  I called the insurance adjuster today and left a voice-mail.  I hope she will call me back.   *Please Heather, call me back.*

But, back to the STUFF.

I remember making a statement in my post, Goodnight Irene, while I was still in shock about my house being broken.  I remember saying something about it being a positive opportunity to clean out my son's room of STUFF.  Obviously I was in shock.  Obviously, I didn't know what the heck I was saying.  There is NOTHING positive about this experience in ANY way.  Ok, I'm sorting through my son's stuff.  With him.  I have discovered my son is,... sort of,... a hoarder.  He gets this from his father and possibly from a recessive gene on his mother's side.  *sigh*

Now we are back from vacation and hip-deep in the work of restoring our home.  Of course, my son did nothing on the sorting of stuff on his own.  Because, seriously, he thinks it is all precious.  Oh my.

I've told you I'm a fan of the show Hoarders.  I know those people have a mental illness and cannot be shamed into cleaning up their act.  So, I was gentle with him.  At least, I was as gentle as I can be with anyone.  We started with clothing.  I convinced him to part with clothing that no longer fit him.  In fact, a couple times he came to the realization the articles of clothing were from his middle school years.  He was able to part with quite a bit.  It's a start.  I moved on to empty boxes.  I know this is a gene inherited from his father.  I cannot, for the life of me, understand the allure of the empty box.  However, I've seen the attraction my husband has for them, so I could understand there would be the same attraction here.  He was able to part with four empty boxes.  It's a start.  I can see this is going to be a long process.  I'm a little scared.  I think I may take to clearing stuff out in the middle of the night, just to get this job done.  *sigh*

I don't want to dwell on this area of my life, but right now, cleaning up and restoring my home seems to be swamping all other things I do right now.  I go to work, but when I get home I start working on the house.  This is my new NORMAL.  This is How My Life Is, for a while.  And I think it will be a long while.  I covet your encouragement and well wishes.  I intend to stay positive, but some days it is tough to do.  I'm seriously trying to let the negative go.  I try not to think about the people complaining that the tennis courts are still damaged and why don't we GET GOING and get them fixed.  It's amazing the attitudes some folks have.  Can you say empathy?

I certainly have more empathy than I ever had before.

Thursday, September 15, 2011


I have just spent the last week in hotels.  I think I'm a fan of the hotel room.  I think I should make my house more like a hotel room.  I love the minimalism of the hotel room.  I love having everything I need in a small space.  I noticed all the storage opportunities and the elegance of simple furniture.  One of the things I REALLY noticed was the plethora of mirrors.  Wow!  I have spent the last week seeing myself from every angle possible.  This was not a pretty sight.  In fact, the sight of me from every angle, at potentially any time of the day or evening really put me off my food.  All I could think about was, "oh my...  I must stop eating and lose weight."

I wonder how I am able to put off looking at myself for so long and then be shocked at the reality of myself when seeing my image EVERYWHERE I looked?  I'm thinking about putting more mirrors in my house.  BIG, full length mirrors.  I'm thinking I should put them near the refrigerator.  And maybe some more by the couch.  And, another one or two in the bathroom.  Near the shower.  Mirrors do tell the truth, don't they.  Yep, I now know what people walking behind me see.  I'm so sorry people walking behind me.  I didn't realize it looked so bad back there.
One thing about the mirrors I enjoyed, were the mirrors on the sitting room walls at Harrah's in South Lake Tahoe.  Because of the mirrors I could see the sunset over the mountains no matter where I stood in the room.  Breathtaking.

Friday, September 9, 2011

My 9-11 story

Do you remember where you were on September 11, 2001?
Everyone remembers, don’t they.   On this 10th anniversary of the tragedy I will share my 9-11 story.

My story begins on Sunday September 2nd, 2001.  My husband, son and I traveled north to NYC.  We met some old friends at Liberty State Park, NJ and hopped the ferry to Liberty Island to view and visit the Statue of Liberty.  My son was 14 years old and this was his first visit to the NYC area.  It was our friend’s son’s first visit to the Statue of Liberty.  His dad drives a Red Cross blood truck in Manhattan, so going to the city or even near the city isn’t high on his list of favorite things to do.  We were all so excited.  It was so much fun.  We took the ferry.  We saw Ellis Island on the way to Liberty Island.  We disembarked  at Liberty Island and got in line to go inside the statue.  When we got to the top of the pedestal of the statue we stopped and took pictures of ourselves with the Twin Towers in the background.  It was the iconic NYC backdrop and the classic NYC touristy visit.  We continued our visit to the statue by climbing the stairs to the crown of the statue and looking out over the harbor and lower Manhattan.  We took the ferry back to NJ and got in the car and scooted through the Holland Tunnel and down to the little Italy area of Manhattan.  We had a lovely lunch at Umberto’s.  I’m talking about the REAL Umberto’s on Mulberry St.  The one with the real bullet holes in the wall from the killing of Crazy Joe Gallo.  We drove down to the financial district and debated visiting the Twin Towers, but decided we had stood in enough lines for the day.  There was always next year.

Tuesday, September 11, 2001 was a beautiful blue sky day.  We woke up to a regular school day after a fun fun weekend in NYC with our friends.  I sent my son off to school on the bus and turned on Good Morning America and poured myself a cup of coffee.  I heard Diane and Charlie saying something about smoke coming out of one of the towers.  I continued to get myself ready to go bowling.  I was on a bowling league.  This was one of the perks of being a stay-at-home mom.  Suddenly I saw the second plane hit the second tower.  I was stunned.  I was sick.  I didn’t know what to do.  My decision was to continue with my day and go bowling.  It was the right decision. 

A little background information on me.  At this time I am a retired naval aviator’s  wife.  My husband retired from the Navy as an S3 flier.  He is currently working for a contractor in the Washington DC area. He is, what is known as a “beltway bandit.”    He travels to the Pentagon for meetings on a regular basis.  Most of the women on the bowling league I bowl with are either active duty military wives or retired military wives, like myself.  I was in good company.

As we bowled we watched the events of that terrible day unfold on tv.  We were nervous that the terrorists would continue hitting targets down the coast.  I couldn’t remember if my husband was at the Pentagon or in town that day.  I couldn’t reach him on the phone.  I could reach my mom.  She reminded me his usual Pentagon meeting was on Mondays, not Tuesdays.  *sigh*  Thank God for mom.

I watched the smoke billow from the Pentagon.  I watched the first tower fall.  I watched the second tower fall.  I saw the scorched earth in Shanksville, PA.  I still had not heard from my husband, but I wasn’t as worried.  Mom had put my mind at ease.

I decided I would go to my part-time job at the pregnancy care center.  I was an administrative assistant there.  All the volunteers and administrators were there.  I put in my four hours.  It was the right decision.

When I left my office, I decided to stop and my son’s school and pick him up a bit early.  I discovered I was one of the last parents to pick up their child.  My son was a bit upset with me.  We talked about it and he understood.  There was no one at home.  Being at school was the best place for him.   My husband was in town and not at the Pentagon.  We were all safe.  At the end of the workday we all gathered around the tv and watched the news together.
This is my 9-11 story.  There wasn’t another opportunity to visit the Twin Towers.  We know we need to grab opportunities when they occur.  We tell each other “I love you” when we are together.  Life is short.  And it can be snatched away at a moment’s notice.  
Live well, laugh often, love much.

And never forget.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011


I'm trying so hard to get a week's worth of work done in two days.  I'm going on vacation tomorrow.  It couldn't be a worse time to go away.  Work is so busy.  I've got two HUGE meetings to get ready for.  I sent out meeting materials for the meetings and I spelled satellite like this.


Seriously?  I didn't catch this misspelling in the document.  And, dang microsoft word doesn't catch misspellings when you use all CAPS.  I'm so embarrassed.  I sent this document to all the college trustees, the president and all the VPs.  It's pretty humiliating.  I didn't even see it.
On the up side.  It rained most of the night last night and the patch kept the rain out of the house.  And, I'm going on vacation tomorrow.  I'm going to have a good time, anyway.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Progress and a positive attitude returns

Two roofing experts have told me I do not have to have all the drywall in my son's room replaced.  I just have to repair the holes I put in the drywall to allow the water to  escape.  Wow, this is super good news.  I'm still waiting to hear back from the roofing experts to discover the estimates on repairing my roof.  So far, so good.

We will continue to take each day as it comes.

As I type this post, my husband is on the roof.  He is nailing plywood down, sealing the plywood with roofing tar, covering it with roofing felt and then he will nail shingles to the whole thing.  This is the mother of all roof patches.  I will feel so much more secure with this patch, rather than a blue plastic tarp.  I just love him.

Anyway, my family is moving forward in the recovery of our home security after hurricane Irene.  Thank you all for your prayers and encouragement.  I am feeling more hopeful than I've felt in 5 days.  My readers are the BOMB.