Friday, September 28, 2012

Spirited child

Remember that trophy you got for soccer, mommy?
You think you can get me to play, no way.
I won’t get in the car or even try.
I’ll cry.
You can’t make me go to bed or eat my dinner.
You want me to get my trophy?
Here’s what it’ll say.
The World’s Greatest Brat!

Had a convo with a grandma that told me she was babysitting her grandchildren and they told her to f**k off when she said it was bedtime.  They are 7 and 6.  Aren't they darling?
Linking with G-Man for a Friday Flash 55

601.  Today, I'm glad I'm not a grandma yet
602.  Only 39 days until the election
603.  Can I say Friday!  (I know I've said this before)
604.  A husband that just GETS me

Thursday, September 27, 2012

It's always about my weight

I don't want to believe this, but I do.  No matter what success I find in my life.  No matter what accolade I receive in my job.  No matter if my witness of Jesus moves someone to accept the grace.  No matter what, it's all about my weight.  My size.  Always.

I have had an issue with my body ever since I can remember.  In fact, I'll tell you the first time I can remember just HATING my body.  I was eight years old.  I know!  How in the world can an eight year old hate her body?  I'll tell you.  I was at a rollerskating party for girl scouts.  I wasn't a great roller skater.  I wasn't great at any sports, but I really wasn't a good skater.  I was wearing a dress at this party.  I know!  But back in those days girls wore dresses to school and they wore dresses to parties.  I remember this dress very well.  This dress was a dress that buttoned up the front, from top to bottom.  It was horizontally striped with mostly red, but also gold, green and brown stripes.  The buttons were gold.  It was sleeveless, so I wore a white mock turtle neck underneath.  There was no definition of a waist in this dress.  It was straight up and down.  It matched my body.  No waist.  Just chubby, up and down.  I was skating with my friends and having a pretty good time.  Then, the worst thing happened.  I fell on the skating rink.  I fell and every button on this dress opened up and I was trying to get up and hold my dress shut, ON SKATES.  In my mind, EVERYBODY in the roller rink saw me standing there in my white mock turtle neck and underwear with my dress unbuttoned.  I wanted to die.

How is it that a 55 year old woman can remember an incident from when she was eight like it was yesterday?

When I was 14 years old I remember my mom making me stand on the scale and telling me I was fat.  I remember looking down on the numbers on the scale, 138.  I remember my mom telling me that I should have definition in my arms.  My arms were rounded and had no definition.  I had an hourglass figure.  I never had an athletic figure.  I could have dressed up as Marilyn Monroe every day, and pull it off.  I had boobs.  I had a butt.  Are you getting a picture?  I don't think my parents were happy with my shape.  I remember my dad encouraging me to run around the neighborhood and following me in his car to make sure I did it.  I know he wanted my chest and hips to shrink into a tomboyish 14 year old body.  It just wasn't going to happen. 

I was so confused about my body.  My best friend was tiny.  She was petite and thin and my parents told me I should look like her.  But they also told me I shouldn't be friends with her.  She was Catholic.  (my dad had some kind of issue with Catholics

My whole life has been one diet after another.  I lose the weight.  I gain the weight back.  It's been a constant struggle.  When I was 25 years old I weighed 150 lbs on my wedding day.  I wanted to weigh 130, but it didn't happen.  I think I look pretty in my wedding pictures.  But every time I look at one, I remember, I weighed 150 lbs.  Isn't this awful?  I wish I remembered how happy I was on that day.

The battle has continued every day since then.  The other day I was thinking to myself that it was a shame there aren't many pictures of me.  No one can avoid a camera the way I can avoid a camera.  I've been known to toss pictures of myself in the trash as soon as they come to the house.  Now, with digital photography, it's so much easier to delete.  And I delete A LOT.  I catch myself people watching sometimes.  While I watch them I try to compare my size to their size.  Are there more people out there larger than me or smaller than me?  The funny thing about this is that I can't really tell.  There must be something wrong with me or with my eyes.  It is difficult for me to see my actual size.  Sometimes I look at my reflection and think, "I'm huge!  I can't go outside and let anyone see me."  Other times I think I'm ok, but need to lose some weight.  If you lined up a group of women of different sizes in front of me, I'd be hard pressed to pick out the one closest to my size.  This must be some kind of mental disorder.

So, I'll try again to lose weight.

My blog-friend Emily has written a book that has just been released about her struggle with and success at conquering anorexia.  It is called Chasing Silhouettes.  I've got it on my kindle.

I know this is the opposite of my story, but I think all eating disorders, whether anorexia or overeating, have a similar root.  I don't want to define myself by a number on a scale.  I don't want any woman or girl to define herself by a number on a scale.  We women are much more than a number on a scale or a dress size.  We are fearfully and wonderfully made by the creator of the universe.  He knew everything about us before we were even born and LOVED us.  We need to love ourselves back.

596.  Choosing to focus on the positive today
597.  Being happy my husband is going out without me tonight instead of resenting it
598.  Sunshine streaming in my window
599.  Going to bed earlier and feeling better rested
600.  Enjoying the success of others

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

How I deal with my Islamophobia

Yep, I have Islamophobia.  I admit it.  I'm not even ashamed of it, for that matter.  But, I know, I cannot and will not be controlled by it.

The biggest symptom of this, for me, flares up when I fly.  There is a tiny part in the pit of my stomach that tenses up when I see a person I perceive to be a Muslim on the plane with me.  I don't get off the plane.  I don't alert everyone that I think there will be a problem on the plane.  In fact, after the plane takes off and I get involved in my book, I don't even think about it again.  But I remember what happened on September 11, 2001.  I remember the faces of the terrorists that attacked our nation.  I remember.

And then I remember what Paul says in Romans 12:18-21.  He says, "If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good."

The image of heaping burning coals on a person's head sounds like it means to cause a person pain, but it really is not. It is meant to give the image of stirring up the coals of a fire to bring it back to life after the fire begins to die down. This is to be an image to cause a person a response of remorse, when they see your kindness in the face of their meanness. Paul is saying, in this passage, we cause our enemies to be remorseful for their actions toward us, or as we say these days, "kill them with kindness."

This is the rub.  "... but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, "Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord."  Waiting.  Leaving vengeance to God.  Trusting God will do what he says he is going to do.  Trusting God will do what he says he is going to do without being around to see it.  Waiting...  Trusting...  Believing...

Then letting it go and overcoming evil with good.

On a person to person level I can absolutely do this.  I can be helpful to a Muslim mother struggling with groceries and children.  I can hold a door open or do whatever kindnesses would be needed on a person to person basis.

As a group, I'm frightened of Muslims.  I know there is a faction that hates me just because I'm an American.  I know this faction preys upon the poor and uneducated in their nations and trains them in hate from early childhood.  I know that this type of hate is not born into them, but fed and nurtured and brought to full hate-filled bloom.

As certain as I am of the hate there is for me, because I'm an American, I am equally certain the images in the Atlantic Wire are true.  As certain as I am that there are Muslims doing nothing more each day than plotting and planning to harm and kill me, because I'm an American, I'm equally certain the images of the Muslims portrayed in Gawker about #Muslim Rage are true.

I can only begin to wait and trust and believe from where I am right now.  I struggled with the verses the study had us use to go through this lesson on Islamophobia.  (You can check out these verses yourself, if you so desire:  Genesis 34:1-31, Leviticus 19:1-3, 9-18, 32-37, Jonah 1:1-17, John 10:11-16, IChorinthians 10:23-11:1, and ITimothy 6:1-5)

I chose to stick with a tried and true verse I know by heart, "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life."  (John 3:16)

I will continue in my struggle to love others as Jesus loved.  I will continue to pray for peace.  I'm left where I started.  As a Christian I need to love; forgive as I have been forgiven; and be a reflection of Christ.  As an American, I cannot tolerate an attack on my country without repercussion.  I cannot allow attacks on our allies and threats of attacks without defending them.  So what do I do?  How do I act?  What am I to feel?  It seems if I'm to be a "good" Christian I need to act passive.  To me, this seems weak.  I hate to appear weak.  But I remember the child's song that reminds me, "when I am weak, He is strong."  I'm not a child anymore, but maybe I need to be like one, in this case.

Again, I will trust that there is true evil in the world and trust what Paul says in IITimothy 3:1-9.  "But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people. For among them are those who creep into households and capture weak women, burdened with sins and led astray by various passions, always learning and never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth. Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so these men also oppose the truth, men corrupted in mind and disqualified regarding the faith. But they will not get very far, for their folly will be plain to all, as was that of those two men."

And I'll pray, Jesus, do not tarry.

Linking with Emily at Imperfect Prose on Thursday

589.  Allowing God to chip off my sharp edges
590.  Reading the bible with Christians much further along in their walk than I am
591.  Learning to wait, by reading about Noah
592.  Learning to trust, by reading about Joseph
593.  Learning to believe, by reading about Jonah
594.  Learning to pray, by reading about Jesus 
595.  Being able to let myself be weak and allow him to be strong  

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

I like lamb

This is the lamb I'm getting next week.

I think I'll name her, Delicious.  :)

582.  Good study last night.  I'm still processing.
583.  A healthy, pastured lamb and this recipe
584.  A view of the river from my office window
585.  Christian radio and the music they play
586.  A hot shower on a chilly morning
587.  Watching the leave just begin to change color
588.  Observing my son take an interest in his class

Monday, September 24, 2012

Christian or American

I think some day soon, I may have to decide.  I never before thought it would be difficult to be both.  I don't think I'll have to make this choice in my lifetime, but you never know.

Tonight my small group bible study starts up for the fall.  I'm excited and nervous.  I'm excited to meet with a group of people, I can say, I call friends.  I'm looking forward to diving into the bible and learning more about how I am to live in this world today.  I'm nervous because, this fall, we are using a new study and a very different format.

I've been in a BUNCH of bible studies in my life.  I know the drill.  I know a lot of the answers already.  I think this new study will be quite challenging.  This study is a life to bible study.  (as opposed to a bible to life study.  bible to life is reading and studying scripture and applying it to your life.  life to bible is taking current events from our life and discovering what the bible has to say about these things.)  The study is called The Wired Word.  It is non-denominational and looks to be thought provoking.

This is my first life to bible study.  Tonight we are delving into the anti-American protests that erupted in the last couple weeks in Cairo, Egypt and Benghazi, Libya in response to the YouTube video.  It will be interesting to look at these events through the bible and not through the media.  (here's an analogy for the bible from Phillips Brooks "The Bible is like a telescope. If a man looks through his telescope, then he sees the worlds beyond; but if he looks at his telescope, then he does not see anything but that. The Bible is a thing to be looked through, to see that which is beyond; but most people only look at it; and so they see only the dead letter.")  I believe this study is going to challenge me.  I've looked over the material for tonight's study.  This is the first set of questions we are going to tackle.
    1. Are you aware of any personal attitudes or concerns that might be rooted in Islamophobia? How do those stand up when compared to the reality of the Muslim world, as best as you can ascertain it? What concerns do you have about Muslims/Islam that seem rooted in reality? What appreciation do you have of Muslims/Islam that seems rooted in reality? What religious resources help you not to demonize all Muslims? 

I'm a little scared.  (I'll let you know how it goes.)

The idea of looking at current events through the bible peeked my interest.  My husband and I were watching a movie about a trio of Jewish Nazi hunters in Germany after WWII.  They were to hunt down and kidnap a Nazi surgeon.  Helen Mirren was in the movie.  This movie got me to thinking about my life.  What if my husband and I had been German citizens during WWII?  What if my husband had been a career navy man when the Nazis came to power?  Would we have been Nazis?  Could you be a Nazi and be a Christian?  If my husband had wanted to leave the navy he probably would have been killed or imprisoned.  How did German Christians behave during this time?  How did churches respond to the political climate?

I believe our nation is entering a new political climate.  We, as Christians, are going to have to decide what we will be the base for choices we make in our lives.  Will we act on the basis of our faith or will we act on the basis of nationalism? 

577.  Quiet day at the office
578.  Receiving an email from my son with part of a class paper and asking for my opinion
579.  Listening to acorns on the glass topped picnic table on my deck (BANG!)
580.  Getting back together with my small group bible study
581.  Reading encouraging blog comments

Friday, September 21, 2012


I’ve heard tell the eyes are the windows to the soul.  If so, yours are cracked panes, leaking crocodile tears.  A saline soul slips down your cheeks.  Where did you learn to use this whimpering weapon?  This girlish game won’t play in a man’s world. 

Wash your face, contain yourself, heads up.

Be a woman!

After watching the DNC and watching the tears flow.  I'm wondering if this nation of "feelers" needs to suck it up a bit.
Linking with G-Man for a Friday Flash 55

572.  County fair
573.  Cows
574.  Corn dogs
575.  Cotton candy
576.  Chickens

Thursday, September 20, 2012

True beauty tips

This is a poem attributed to Audrey Hepburn, when asked to share her beauty tips.  

For attractive lips, speak words of kindness.

For lovely eyes, seek out the good in people.

For a slim figure, share your food with the hungry.

For beautiful hair, let a child run his/her fingers through it once a day.

For poise, walk with the knowledge that you never walk alone.

People, even more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed; never throw out anyone.

Remember, if you ever need a helping hand, you will find one at the end of each of your arms.

As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands; one for helping yourself, and the other for helping others.

The beauty of a woman is not in the clothes she wears, the figure that she carries, or the way she combs her hair. The beauty of a woman must be seen from in her eyes, because that is the doorway to her heart, the place where love resides.

The beauty of a woman is not in a facial mode, but the true beauty in a woman is reflected in her soul. It is the caring that she lovingly gives, the passion that she shows.

The beauty of a woman grows with the passing years.

Doesn't this move you?  It touches my soul.  One thing I will say is that Audrey Hepburn certainly held on to her beauty until the end of her life.   Certainly much of her beauty was due to her genes.  There is nothing we can do about our genes.  We're born with them.  Yet, our attitude can certainly contribute or detract from our beauty. 

I don't know why I want to pick out my favorite stanza of this poem, because they all speak to me so strongly.  My favorite stanza is the one that speaks of the beauty of a woman not being in the clothes she wears, or her figure or her hairstyle.  No, the beauty of a woman can only be seen from her eyes.  This is how to see into her heart, the place where love resides.

We've all been there, haven't we?  We've seen the white haired, wrinkled old woman with the smiling eyes.  The eyes that still see the wonder in the world.  The eyes that show the warmth of their soul.  And, we've all seen the botoxed, facelifted woman with the eyes that look bored and show a dearth of feeling in her soul.  It's in our power to choose.  This beauty does not depend on our genes.  We can decide how happy we want to be.  We can decide how often we want to show the world our kindness.  We can decide if we will let our light shine or if we will withhold that light and hide it under a bushel basket.

I started yet another diet (or eating plan if the word diet is a four letter word) this week.  I look in the mirror and I see the years changing my face and my body.  I walk up a hill and it's more painful than it should be.  Audrey reminds me of my beauty and the way my creator sees me.  He sees through the shell and into my heart.  This is the beauty He cares about.  My choice is to develop the beauty in my heart and then to choose to let it shine through my eyes.  Let it be known through my lips.  And share it with my hands.

Thank you, Ms. Hepburn, for theses wonderful beauty tips.  :)

Linking with Emily at Imperfect Prose on Thursday 

566.  Kind words making my mouth look beautiful
567.  Seeking the good in others making my eyes lovely
568.  Sharing my food is slimming
569.  Having a confident walk, because I walk with God
570.  Beautiful hands to help myself and others
571.  Growing more beautiful as I age with grace, kindness, and generousity

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Poor or lazy?

Seeing clouds from the other side reminds me that everything looks different from a different point of view.  As I soared over theses clouds, existing because Hurricane Isaac was creeping up into the mid-West, I thought about those viewing the clouds from the other side.  These clouds were threatening rain.  From my vantage, the sun was shining, but down on the ground there was, most likely, no sunshine.

Everybody sees the world through their own eyes.  And, let me tell you, as a former forensic chemist working for the Naval Investigative Service, I can tell you that eye witnesses provide the least reliable evidence for a crime solver.  Everybody sees the world through their own paradigm.

I have a difficult time seeing the world through other people's eyes.  In my worldview, if you want something, you work for it.  In my world, saving money for the future and the possibility of a rainy day is important.  I'm my view, you don't always have to have the biggest and the best and the newest.  Sometimes being satisfied with what you have is a good idea.  In my world, having your hand out and borrowing money from friends and family is NOT an option.

I've observed some people living in a way I cannot understand, but I'm sure, from their point of view they are doing everything the very best they can.  I've seen a wife and mother of two take out a student loan of $40K to get a master's degree to promote herself in her teaching career and then quit teaching to stay home with her two children long before she is even close to paying off her debt.  To me this looks greedy.  She wants it all, the high priced education and the freedom to be a stay at home mom.  It's difficult for me to imagine making choices like this without thinking them all the way through, but there you are.

I've watched family after family sell their tiny starter home when the housing market expanded to an unreal height and buy BRAND NEW and EXPENSIVE homes, with money they hoped they would make some day, who now find themselves living in homes that have mortgage payments of, at least, $100K more than the homes are now worth.  To me this looks greedy.  They weren't content to stay in their small starter home and continue to make payments they could afford.  They thought they were rich and could have anything they wanted, and now they cannot pay the price.

I've associated with people who are happy to have their hand out and expect you to put money in it because they've had to take on a new job at an entry level at low pay.  They've begged and borrowed money from everyone they associate with and don't mind crying "poor me" at every turn.  Now they've been with the job for a while and gotten a few promotions and they are done eating beans out of a can.  Now they can go out to Applebee's  for lunch and dinner a couple times a week.  To me this looks greedy.  I can't imagine taking a family out for food this often while being a SAHM.  I can't imagine not wanting to pay back everyone who was kind enough to give me money.

I've seen a family that has begged it's church for money for food and now sport brand new tattoos.  Do you think they've started tithing now?  No, I don't think so.

When did we turn into a nation of people with our hands out instead of inside our bootstraps?  When did we turn into a nation that believes there is no need to pay back your debt?  When did we turn into a nation that believes we all deserve the same things in life?  When did we turn from a nation that believed that "them that don't work, don't eat" to a food stamp nation?  When did we become a nation of lazy people?  When did it become "normal" to be lazy? 

I don't know how to look at the world through everyone's eyes, but I have seen the world through some people's eyes (thanks to the fact that they blog).  We need to come up with a new word for the poor.  We cannot call people in this country, for the most part, poor.  We need a new word.

These people with their hands out and the "poor me" attitude need a name.  They're making it more difficult for actual poor people to get the help they really need.

562.  Sunshine
563.  Leaves just beginning to turn colors
564.  Pansies
565.  Hope 

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Rockie Mountain high, in Lake Tahoe

It is so great to get away from home and be somewhere that is completely different than where you live.  I guess this is one of the reasons I love Lake Tahoe so much.  There is just something about the air in the mountains that make Lake Tahoe a such a great vacation spot.  When I'm there, I'm reminded of a scene from my husband's favorite movie, Groundhog Day.

"Phil: I think people place too much emphasis on their careers. I wish we could all live in the mountains at high altitude. That's where I see myself in five years. How about you?
Rita: Oh, I agree. I just like to go with the flow. See where it leads me.
Phil: Well, it's led you here.
Rita: Mm hmm. Of course it's about a million miles from where I started out in college.
Phil: You weren't in broadcasting or journalism?
Rita: Uh unh. Believe it or not, I studied 19th-century French poetry.
Phil: [laughs] What a waste of time! I mean, for someone else that would be an incredible waste of time. It's so bold of you to choose that. It's incredible; you must have been a very very strong person."

When I'm in Lake Tahoe I'm thinking this is what the people there are like.  I think the high altitude and thin air makes them less likely to focus on the mundane things of life like career and education and more likely to focus on the beauty of the area and their dreams and just "going with the flow."  I don't know if this is why I notice so many artsy crafty places or if this is because so many people vacation there.  (I don't know anyone that actually lives there all the time.  So I don't know if this line of thinking has any actual truth to it.)  I love finding "cool" places to eat and drink coffee or tea or kombucha or carrot juice.  Even though I can't walk two blocks without being winded (because of the altitude and the fact that I am incredibly out of shape), I feel younger when I'm in Lake Tahoe.  I know it's delusional, but it's how I feel.

Seriously, look at this view.
And this one.
See that little island out there.  There is a little stone house that was built by someone as her "tea house."  She had her servants row her out to the island and make her tea so she could sit, sip tea, and enjoy the view.  I'm sayin', that is living.  :)

I can't leave you without sharing this view, too.
While we were there we took the gondola ride to the summit of Heavenly Mountain.  Isn't that a perfect name for a mountain with a view like this.
It was a wonderful ride to the top.  Then I got off the gondola and had to walk around the trails/ski runs up there.  Needless to say, I huffed and puffed my two block walk and then sat down in a chair and soaked in the sunshine.

I'm back home and back to the regular routine.  I'll tell you a secret I haven't told my boss yet, ...I'm going back to Lake Tahoe in March.  I don't know if you remember, but my husband went skiing there right after he retired.  I stayed home and went to work.

This is not happening without me again.
See, it's even pretty in Lake Tahoe with snow.  Even though I don't ski anymore, I love the snow and being around and in it.

I hope you enjoyed my vacation pictures.  I know they are a lot more fun than listening to me rant about terrorist bomb threats and the killing of a U.S. ambassador and the fire bombings of embassies in Libya and Lebanon.  I know they are more fun that listening to me complain about our weak foreign policy and our president whining at Google for allowing a YouTube video to be uploaded and available for viewing.  Seriously, our president whines at Google instead of responding to the terrorists with force?  How weak does this make our country appear to the rest of the world.  Anyway, the vacay was wonderful and I hope you enjoyed the pics.

I'm doing what I can to get in better shape so I can walk around the mountain in March and not pass out.  :)

557.  Crisp fall air
558.  Memories of a fun trip
559.  Talking to my brother on the phone
560.  Anticipating the iPhone 5
561.  Enjoying the last of summer's tomatoes

Friday, September 14, 2012

I'm back and what the heck is going on in the world?

I'm back.  I didn't know what in the world to blog about today.  I was going to share some amazing pics of Lake Tahoe and my vacation, but then I started getting news alerts on my computer.

  • The University of Texas in Austin is evacuated because of a bomb threat at 8:35 a.m.  A man claiming to be al-Qaida says he has placed bombs all over the 50,000 student campus.  He says the bombs will explode in 90 minutes.
  • North Dakota State University in Fargo receives information that there is a bomb on campus.  The dean orders evacuation of the 20,000 students from the main campus and downtown campus.
  • Neither university has located any bombs or had any explosions, yet this day of classes was lost to terrorist's threats.
  • Mobs attack the U.S. embassy in Tunisia.  Windows are broken.  Fires are started.  Anti-American violence swarms through the city.
  • Protesters attack the German embassy in Sudan.  Fires.  Violence.
  • Tripoli, Lebanon experiences mob violence when a KFC and Arby's are burned down in protest to the visit from Pope Benedict.
  • The U.S. embassy in Yemen is stormed in reaction to a film considered blasphemous to Islam.
  • This attack in Yemen follows similar outbreaks of violence that have occurred in Cairo, Egypt and Libya.
  • All this while we watch and wait to see how Israel is going to respond to Iran's nuclear threat.

And I wanted to show you my vacation pictures.  I celebrated 100 years of Marine aviation with The Few, The Proud, The Marines.  I love Marines.  I mean, who doesn't?

I relaxed in South Lake Tahoe and breathed thin air and tried to catch my breath while walking two blocks at a 15% incline.  I am so out of shape.

I've missed reading all my blogger friends and discovering what is new in the blogosphere.  I'm going to try to catch up with everyone this weekend. 

For now, I'll pray for the students and faculty and staff in Texas and North Dakota.  I'll pray for a stopping of the violence in the Middle East and North Africa.  I'll pray for Israel and Iran to find a way to co-exist.  I'm happy to be back from vacation, but the world is going to heck in a handbasket, and right now, all I can do is pray.

Continuing my gratitude list:
551.  Sleeping in my own bed
552.  Drinking water from my own tap
553.  Driving my own car
554.  Sitting on my own couch
555.  Cooking my own food
556.  Blogging and reading blogs 

Thursday, September 6, 2012

It's Tailhook time

I'm back in Reno at Tailhook.  Last year, at this same time, I wrote about how much I LOVE Tailhook.  To be completely honest, last year I had a tough time really enjoying my time at Tailhook.  I was still quite overwhelmed by the devastation we had experienced at our home by Hurricane Irene.  This year, I'm feeling much better about this trip and this experience.

I'm thinking about so many things this year.  There is something about having an annual event, like this trip to Reno, to give me an opportunity to reflect on where I am in my life.  I've been coming to Tailhook since 2005.  So this is the eighth year, in a row, I've been here.  In this city.  In this hotel.  On this exact weekend.  So much can change in eight years.

When I think back to 2005 I remember being invited to attend and work with the artist, Hank Caruso.  (if you click on the link you'll see Hank and my friend Amy, Hank's wife)  My friends were very encouraging of me getting out and developing a persona all of my own.  At this time in my life I was working part-time and mothering a high school student.  I had just returned to the work force four years earlier, but in a very part-time manner.  I still considered myself, first and foremost, a mother.  My friends knew I needed to look at myself a different way.  I needed to see who I was and what I thought about myself.  I had always had a love of Naval Aviation.  (Heck Yeah!  I was married to a career aviator.)  I had never been to 'Hook and they believed this would be a great opportunity for me to spread my wings and spend some time with myself.  Needless to say, after this first weekend away and on my own (and, my husband's deployments and business travel, not withstanding, I hadn't been "on my own" since my son was born) I had more confidence in myself and in my abilities.  I have to admit, I'm one "well cared for" woman.  When I travel with my husband, he purchases the airline tickets, he reserves the rental car, he drives to the airport, he tips the airport shuttle driver, he picks up the rental car or hails the taxi, he pays the driver and tips the hotel valet, he takes care of everything.  It's not that I can't do these things.  It's just that he does them because he's a gentleman and he believes he should take care of me.  When I traveled, on my own, to my first Tailhook those eight years ago, I had to do all those things for myself.  I not only gained more appreciation for my own abilities, but I gained appreciation for my husband's thoughtfulness.  It was a win-win.

I had a wonderful time on this weekend.  I worked.  I played.  And, I lived to tell the tale.

In fact, I told the tale so well, the next year my husband wanted to accompany me to hook in 2006. 

In 2006, attending 'Hook brought its own set of joys, as well as challenges.  This year my husband accompanied me.  This was not his first 'Hook.  He could attend this event on his own merits.  My husband is a "Tailhooker."  He has over 200 carrier landings (all successful) under his belt.  But, this year I had to find someone to keep an eye on my son.  Since I don't live near family, I had to impose on a friend.  I didn't feel as comfortable being this far from home, this time.  Even though we were only gone for four days, I didn't feel as relaxed and comfortable being away from home.  I guess I still had too much of that "mothering" stuff going on inside of me.  Even now, as I think about it, maybe I had too much need to control my son and make sure he got on the bus for school and didn't have wild parties in my home, while I was away.  No matter which it was, it was there, and it was part of my experience of 'Hook that year.  The benefit of having my husband with me was that I was well taken care of.  Besides all the benefits I've mentioned before, he brings me coffee in the morning.  I just love that about him.

I had a wonderful time.  I worked.  I played.  And, my husband took care to insure I lived to tell the tale.  (and he filled in any parts I may have not remembered due to a little adult beverage overindulgence

Thanks for joining me on my little reminiscent of Tailhooks past.  I'm looking forward to this year's celebration of 100 years of Marine Corp Aviation.  OohRah!

by Hank Caruso