Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Strange Days

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Today the gray sky mirrors my mood. It's not that I am sad today; rather, I am stuck in a state of confusion. I feel like I am pulled in so many different directions. And as Grace aptly said Sunday night: this confusion may not be of my own making but I do choose it.

The choosing of the drama isn't intentional...I don't like drama. I prefer for life to move along witht he least amount of heartache possible...it would seem like a given wouldn't it? Anyway, I know that I have always drawn in those that are hurting or confused or those who just need some reassurance or light. This stage of my life is no exception. Though, there is one now who challenges what I always thought I knew. I don't mean that on a deep spiritual level as though I were going to lose myself or my faith...it's not like that...if anything this person strengthens my my faith and my belief system. I now have someone other than Clark that can calm my mind in return for me calming the world around me.

I'm still not used to being taken care of by those who intrinsically understand more than the physical. I have always had amazing people in my life and I couldn't be more grateful. I love you all without question or reservation and I am extremely blessed with the life I get to lead. Thank you.

I do however find myself confused by things that should be clear to me. There are things that should be cut and dried...black and white with no room for gray...and yet, here I sit...confused. Sigh...I know that I will work things out, just as I always do...but this time it's bigger...it's more permanent than it's ever been. This world isn't quite as it seems and nothing is as it should be. I will weather this storm as I have all the others. At least I have wonderful people who will follow me as far as I will let them.

I am done with dwelling for the time being...I can't force change or action or anything else onto others...no matter how much I care about them. So, moving on to another topic.

If you're in need of some good, thought-provoking reading, go see Miss Joan she has outdone herself yet again I'd vote for her is she ever went in to politics.

When you are done there, go see Zach he has written yet another post both haunting and beautiful. Stay safe out there Zach, you are your boys are in my prayers.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Informational bulletin

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Photos of Jean and Spencer's wedding are up at the "real life" site. If you need the link again...email me. Hope ya'll are having a good start to the week.

I will write about Thanksgiving and the weekend at some point today...for now I am the only one in here so work must come first. ;-)

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One of Those Weeks

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I went driving tonight...I had to get as far from myself as I could...if only for a short time. I wanted to yell and scream and be angry...not that it would do me any good. I'm not even angry...and I am long past frustrated. But there are moments (more and more fleeting) when I want to strangle Clark because I can't have what I want. I don't deal well with "no".His inability to get his life together has precluded me getting what I want...and I having the life I want to lead...the life he promised.

I'm really not as selfish as all that...I have far deeper understanding that it sounds. But mania is an interesting beast and when it rears its ugly head...one never knows what I will say...so, I drove...and as I drove I had two songs running through my head...this is one of them.

Carry On My Wayward Son ~ Kansas

Carry on my wayward son
There'll be peace when you are done
Lay your weary head to rest
Don't you cry no more


Once I rose above the noise and confusion
Just to get a glimpse beyond this illusion
I was soaring ever higher
But I flew too high

Though my eyes could see I still was a blind man
Though my mind could think I still was a mad man
I hear the voices when I'm dreaming
I can hear them say


Masquerading as a man with a reason
My charade is the event of the season
And if I claim to be a wise man, well
It surely means that I don't know

On a stormy sea of moving emotion
Tossed about I'm like a ship on the ocean
I set a course for winds of fortune
But I hear the voices say


Carry on, you will always remember
Carry on, nothing equals the splendor
Now your life's no longer empty
But surely heaven waits for you

Carry on my wayward son
There'll be peace when you are done
Lay your weary head to rest
Don't you cry (don't you cry no more)

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Thankfulness Abounds

This is cross-posted from Seven Inches of Service. This week we decided to make a short list of things (Military-related of course) that we are thankful for. The rest of the posts are up. Go check them out. Here is mine:

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As Thanksgiving rapidly approaches, I am again reminded of how much I have to be thankful for. I truly am a lucky girl. I am surrounded by wonderful, caring people and I am blessed to count them as friends. As I look back at my life since the military became such a part of my existence, I am a bit overwhelmed by how fortunate I have been and how many fantastic opportunities I have had.
It was difficult to pare down the list of things I am thankful for...however, I still have much cooking and baking to finish this afternoon, so this is a truncated and more generic list than I would normally write. So, here are some of the important ones.
  1. I am thankful I live in this country and the freedoms that living here affords.
  2. I am thankful for the men and women of all branches of the Armed Services both past and present for their tireless service and sacrifice to keep this country safe and free.
  3. I am thankful for the wonderful family members who brought Clark into my life in the first place. Without them my life would have turned out so differently, and I wouldn't know any of these wonderful people.
  4. I am so blessed to have all of my Service Sisters. They have been the most wonderful support system for the last few years. I don't know where I would be without these incredible ladies.
  5. I am thankful for all the ways that Clark has touched my life. Words are not enough to say how deeply he has impacted my soul. So thank you, Clark. You are an amazing man.
It is my hope that ya'll have a wonderful Thanksgiving, wherever you are, in the world and in life. Have a blessed holiday!

Monday, November 21, 2005

I Need More Hours

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There don't seem to be enough hours in the day lately. As ya'll can see by the serious lack of posting, I am barely treading water. I'm doing alright, don't get too worried yet; it's just that i have been running nonstop for the last two weeks.

Since Thursday, I have averaged about 3 hours of sleep a night. Normally that would leave me a bit tired but none too worse for wear...the last few days however...well it's been a different story. Not that it's been all bad...quite the contrary actually.

I started out my weekend badly though; I stayed home sick from work on Friday. I quite literally didn't move until 5pm. (Sometimes being a girl is overrated) Anyway, my migraine finally subsided and with 5 vinvins in my system I was ready to face the world. Grace and I went to Napa to say goodbye to g-ma. (Grandpa wasn't speaking to me, so I barely said goodbye to him) G-ma, on the other hand, was having a terrible time because she wasn't even close to wanting to leave. We left my aunt's house around 10pm and came home.

From there my brother S called and demanded that we come out to G's bar to see him and some of my Fire captains. So, another Vinvin and off we went. It was a good night, we stayed to close but not any longer than it took to close down. Before that happened however, Kee somehow (the actual mechanics involved are still not quite clear to me) managed to get me up to sing with him. My voice was so not up to a performance...though only the people who know what i sound like normally noticed a difference.

I slept fitfully that night and the dreams were very vivid...there is so much going on right now...I don't have the ability to shut my brain off. Anyway, Saturday was boring housecleaning during the day. But that night, T took me with him to the City. We went to Cirque du Soleil. It was incredible!! I was like a little kid, completely mezmerized... Besides how often have you been able to say, "Today i saw acrobatic midgets in a spinning hoop." Honestly though, superlatives escape me...the show was like a gigantic dream. Thanks T! :-)

Yesterday was a ceremony honoring the "heroes" in our community: the Police, Firefighters, Sheriffs, CHP, and Armed Forces. It was a beautiful tribute and I am so proud of my dad for the owrk he did to get all of the men and women together to be honored...in case you wondered, it's not easy to get real heroes to sit still to be honored. They usually prefer annonymity. Anyway, it was made even more poingnant by the fact that our community lost a CHP officer this week in the line of duty. It has been a somber time around our EMS agencies. If ya'll think about it, keep him family in your thoughts.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Back to Life

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I am home. Well, I am back to work at least. My mini-vacation is over. Four days off from work, two of which were spent driving...I am tired. It was a wonderful trip though.

My extended family went to Disneyland (I say "went" though as I type most of them are still playing in the Magic Kingdom) and I brought along Grace and G. We drove down after G closed the bar on Saturday night...technically it was Sunday morning.

We spent two days at Disneyland and it was wonderful!! I honestly think that as amusement parks and tourist traps go, it really is the "happiest place on earth". When I'm there, I'm like a little kid; everything is new and exciting and fun. It's good to have that escape every now and then. It has been a long time since I have been able to set aside all of the stress and drama that surrounds me. But for two days, I was able to return to the child I am at heart.

Anyway, there is much to write and so little time to order my thoughts. I know I am rarely at a loss for words and that continues to be true despite the lack of posting that appears to contradict my statement. I am hoping to have time to at least breathe in the near future. I went four days without meaningful sleep of any sort from Thursday to Monday. Though I finally slept last night. It's the first time in over a month that I've slept an entire night through...I woke up for OIF times, but that doesn't even count anymore-- it's such a normal part of my sleep pattern.

G-ma leaves on Saturday and that is an event I would prefer not to think about. I haven't been able to spend hardly any time with her on this trip though I have seen her dozens of times. That fact saddens me because I won't see her again until February. Sometimes I'm still angry at my grandpa for bullying her into moving...she cries whenever we talk and it rips my heart out each and every time. I know that it's partly for selfish reasons that I want her to be closer to me again...but I miss her terribly these days.

I won't be around much tonight either...I have to be at the fire station as soon as I get done with work. Afterwards, I am going to visit Kee. He has answers and I have questions; so I decided that now is an excellent time. My soul is very restless today...there is something in the air...I have felt the pull from many directions. I know several others feel it today as well. Kee calms me; and that is what I need right now.

On a happier note, Jean and Spencer's wedding picture proofs came back. I've seen some of the pictures and this weekend, I'm going to look at all of them with Jean. I am so very excited for her!

ooh, and one more thing. The fabulous and talented Ms. Rae has a new home. Go visit her. Congrats Rae, it looks fantastic!

Friday, November 11, 2005

Thank You

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Today, of all days, ya'll don't need to read my words, hear my opinions on inconsequential matters. Today is Veteran's Day or Rememberance Day.

This is a time when all I can say is thank you. I know my words cannot fully express the gratitude in my heart; nor can they illuminate fully the pride in my heart for my loved ones who are or have been in the military.

Rather than continue a feeble attempt to say all the things that need said, I direct you to a few people more eloquent than I.

First, I ask that you visit my dear friend Joan. She has a very moving and heartfelt tribute to a brave man with a beautiful soul.

Next, visit my wonderful Service sister, Lauren and see what she has to say.

Also, go see the fantastic Sgt. Hook who has a great photo tribute.

If you can, take the time to go say Thanks to these guys.

From the bottom of my heart, thank you to Clark, James, K, Greg, E, and all their brothers (and sisters) in arms.
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Thursday, November 10, 2005

Right Here Waiting

Sorry that posting has been so sporadic this week. I am still getting over being sick. I am however feeling markedly better, so posting should be back up almost to normal. This week, Seven Inches of Service will resume over at Miss Joan's place. All of the posts are up over there, so go read each and every one!!!
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This week's topic is loyalty and faithfulness; an issue pretty close to my heart. Clark and I were only a few weeks into our relationship when he went overseas. Most people thought I was crazy to think that I could really have a long distance relationship with a man I had only known for a few weeks; but I was certain. I knew deep down that not only was I completely in love with Clark, but that I would wait as long as I had to for us to be together.

It feels a bit strange to me that I am even writing this post. It would seem to me that in any relationship, it would be obvious that cheating is verboten. However, I've been around the military enough to know that cheating all too frequently portrayed as inevitable.

I have a difficult time with that idea. The thought of cheating on Clark never occurred to me. Was it difficult to be without him for eleven months? Hell yeah it was!! But he was the one I wanted, so why even consider looking elsewhere?

All the Army girlfriends and wives I surrounded myself with felt the same way. I did know of girls who were screwing around, but they were a minority by far. Most of us were (and still are) fiercely loyal and completely faithful.

Not to say that temptation doesn't exist. I really do thing that guys have this homing beacon that they sense when a girl has a deployed boyfriend. When Clark deployed, it was as if guys just came out of the woodwork. It's as though deployments can turn otherwise nice civilian guys into creeps who are convinced that army girlfriends want nothing more than to leave their soldiers for them.

For me, the extra attention was the last thing I wanted. I wanted Clark, plain and simple...nothing and no one else. One guy told me he could make me really happy. My response: "Great, so you're going to go get my boyfriend from the Sandbox? Because he's the only one who's going to make me that happy right now."

I've been cheated on before and it's not in me to be that girl. I could never cause Clark that kind of pain. No matter how bad things ever got, cheating was never even a consideration. So, while Clark had a lot of things to worry about while he was deployed, my faithfulness and our relationship weren't on that list.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Bouncing off the Walls

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I talked to G this morning. It's official: She finally got picked up full-time by the department. Her orientation starts January 1st. This is beyond a dream come true for her. I am so very proud of G!! This job is the end result of three years of intense training, hard work, and superhuman determination.

For a moment anyway, there will be nothing but rejoicing!! G, I am so proud!! Love you to the moon, girlie!

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Care Bears

I'm a child of the 80's...it's not my fault.

Nihilist Bear
Nihilist Bear

Which Dysfunctional Care Bear Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

PS~ I got this over at Stacy's place.

I thought it was amusing...that and I don't have time for a real post right now. I will write a real post soon, I promise. My weekend has been crazy busy and that is exactly what i need right now. Anyway, I'm off to G's bar...so for the time being, I leave you with one of my favorite Bob Marley songs...enjoy.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Seven Inches of Service

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I know it's a day late...yet again...but I do appreciate ya'll being so patient with me. It is time once again for Seven Inches of Service. This week the girls discuss surviving the Holiday season during a deployment. So, enjoy this week's column!!

Christmas Spirit
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Anyone who knows me knows that I love Christmas. While I love summer weather, Christmas is my favorite time of year. Usually, I eagerly await the start of the Christmas season. I love decorating, baking, and generally just reveling in the holiday spirit.

The year Clark was deployed, however, I dreaded the approach of the whole holiday season. I didn't want to celebrate. I didn't even want to think about spending our first Christmas as a couple thousands of miles away from each other.

Fortunately, the Christmas spirit overcame my temporary humbug attitude. I decided that since we had to be apart, I would expend my energy making Clark's Christmas in the desert as fun as possible. Once I had ideas in my head, I couldn't wait to act on them; so, I started the week after Thanksgiving...

My sister and I went to the BX and bought enough decorations for an entire barracks. I bought Clark a three foot tall fiber-optic lighted Christmas tree, ornaments and light strings. He had enough that he and James decorated their room and their wrecker.

For our own tree at home, my sister and I made "deployement ornaments" by placing photos and other momentos inside of clear class ornaments. It was fun and different and helped bring our soldiers just a little bit closer during the holidays.

I also sent Clark a stocking full of candy and toys and video games. I knew that he would be home about a month after Christmas so I kept all of his big presents to give him in person. I did, however, wrap several smaller presents and send them so that he could have presents under the tree.

When we were on the phone, Clark and I tried to keep the conversation light when it drifted to Christmas talk. We both had a countdown to our own Christmas celebration, which we had the day he returned stateside.

In the interim, I focused lots of energy on my nieces and nephew and spent as much time as I could with my g-ma who understood that for the first time in my life it was work to be happy at Christmas. We did each survive through the holiday season; and we definitely made up for lost time with our "Christmas in January" routine.

If Only in My Dreams

One of the definite drawbacks of a deployment is missing out on the holidays with your sweetie. Last year was Gene's first Christmas away from home - and it was mighty depressing for him. Granted, it was only OUR first Christmas as a couple - but it still felt a little depressing to know that I wouldn't be snuggling near any yule-log with my soldier.

As soon as the Christmas crap went on sale at the local Walmart, I was down there picking out various holdiday-related things for Gene's care package. My roommates and I made a day of it... Christmas in November. We bought non-perishable gingerbread cookies and candy canes - which we wrapped individually with long strips of holiday paper. (My sister thought it would be a riot.) I bought him a little foot-tall fold-out christmas tree, with a little garland of battery-operated christmas lights -complete with batteries, and little cheap ornaments, so he could trim his own tree while in Iraq.

A problem with trying to bring Christmas cheer to a deployed soldier is that an innocent act of goodwill might backfire and depress him. To counter this risk, rather than sending him the traditional CD of sappy christmas songs - I sent him a gag mix of parodies and comedy tunes. (Tunes that made the list included "Chipmunks roasting on an open fire" and "Mr. Hanky the Christmas poo".)

Hey - anything to make him smile.

We took pictures of the entire packing process, and included print-outs in the package.

To make the silliness of the package even more evident, I printed out a colorful instructions as to how to enjoy his "Christmas in a Box!"

I shipped the package about a week and a half beforeThanksgiving, and it got there ON Thanksgiving day. It worked out perfectly - that Gene would be able to trim his tree on Thanksgiving, like so many other families do. Granted, shipping packages to Iraq can takw anywhere from a week to a month - so it is best to plan these things in advance.

In gratitude, my soldier came online Christmas Day (Granted, it was still Christmas Eve where I was...) and showed me on his webcam, the tree that he and his roomates had trimmed: With various shrapnel hanging from its branches, and mortar fins resting beneath them. Now THAT'S a soldier's X-mas tree.

This year things are gonna be different for Gene and I this Holiday season. Since he is stateside, he will be coming home on block leave for Christmas, Hannukah AND New Year's!!! I am looking forward to forcing that boy into lighting the menorah with me, as I am sure he is excited about me helping his mom with Christmas dinner.

Deck the Sandbox With Boughs of Holly?

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With the holidays quickly approaching we thought the topic of how we survive the holidays and the traditions we create/keep/abandon while our soldiers are gone was appropriate. It obviously gets very tough during this time of the year when your loved one is away, however, many girls come up with creative ideas on which to include their soldiers.

First off, I think its neccessary for friends and family to step up the support system. Holidays, special occassions, and birthdays leave us feeling very sad when our soldiers are away fighting for our country. The more support and love we can get at this time helps greatly, even though we miss our men more than we can explain. If you know your friend is depressed while her man is out, please be there for her.

Another very cute idea is that Army girlfriends and wives send their soldiers "Christmas in a box". You can include anything you wish...most common items are small Christmas trees with little decorations, lights, and anything else small that they could fit in their living quarters or desk. The same with any other holiday, like Turkey Day, Birthdays, and 4th of July. Its the small things that remind them of home...These deployed men love to see that their women did not forget about them during this time.

Couples learn that flexibility is a key for the holidays. If you realize that a military couple is having Christmas a few months before or after December 25th, its ok!!! We have learned to preserve certain traditions even if that means that we cant celebrate them like "normal" people. We think its wonderful to have Christmas a month late but physically with our soldiers. Yes, this can mean leaving up all Christmas decor until they get home. :)

Each and every couple have their own relationship and traditions so they must come up with things that work for them. Its just important to remember that they are far away with no family, so we have to help them! They love when you bring the holidays to them with fun and goofy packages. Although its killing us inside, staying positive on the outside also helps them. They want to be here with us just as much as we want them here...so keep it cool. Let them know you miss them, but yall can celebrate later and make up for lost time. *wink*

I'm Dreaming of a Late Christmas

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Christmas comes but once a year…unless your soldier happens to be deployed. Then it comes whenever it can.

Seeing as how Sidney will be in Baghdad for the coming holidays, I’m celebrating Christmas in stages. The traditional holiday (December 25 – how predictable these civilians are!) I’ll spend with family, doing the traditional holiday thing. I’ll send Sidney a tiny but ghastly metallic tree I scooped up for $4.99 at Lowe’s, trimmed with an assortment of better-than-usual stogies (not from Lowe’s). If I figure out the idiosyncrasies of the oven in my new home, I might even get some cookies and biscotti baked and sent. Might.

But Sidney and I have agreed that our real Christmas will happen upon his return. That’s when the lights are strung, the carols are sung, and the stockings are hung by the chimney with care. That’s when I really start baking like a maniac. And that’s when he gets his Christmas gift, since new pipes for the racing bike aren’t going to do him much good right at this very moment.

We’ve got our plan. Now all I need to do is figure out where I’m going to find a tree in January.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Part Two

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I have a few moments of downtime here at work, so in the midst of my work blogging, I will take some time to keep writing about this weekend. Saturday was, for me at least, spent trying to rid my body of an awful migraine. I passed out for about four hours in the afternoon before the pain was under control. I am so grateful for painkillers...I don't know how in the world my grandparents survived their migraines years ago. I have a high pain tolerance, but this tests every limit I have.

Anyway, I intended to go to bed early since my head was still foggy even though the pain was gone. I almost succeeded too...but G called and woke me up a little before midnight. She claimed to be having some sort of glitter emergency. (It was Halloween dress-up night at her bar) At any rate, I had indeed promised to go see her in her "princess angel" costume, so Grace and I headed out for a quick visit. As referenced in the previous post, short stays are strictly verboten these days if Kee has anything to say about it. I managed to get us out of there and home by 3:30am...a good thing since i had to be up early the next morning.

Now, normally I would bitch and moan about having to wake up anytime before 10 on a Sunday morning...but this time it was a non-issue...I couldn't wait for Sunday to arrive. T and I went to a Niners game!! It was sooo much fun! As most of ya'll know, I am a die-hard fan...I've loved 'em through the Dynasty years and through the years like now, where they only win by accident.

This game was the best possible match-up in my mind...the Niners were playing the Bucs who happen to be my other favorite team. It was a really good game and made even better by the fact that my Niners actually won something.

I was stoked because my quaterback even started. :-) 'Bout friggin' time I tell ya!! I am a huge Ken Dorsey fan. I think he has the potential to be a fantastic QB...I am a big enough girl to admit when I am wrong and that is exactly what i had to do with Ken...when he was first picked up, I was not impressed...Clark was Dorsey's biggest champion...and yes, i had to eat many words during that first season. I am totally converted now...Dorsey rocks!! (I'm still pissed off that my damn Bucs broke him) I also got to watch my other favorite young player: Brandon Lloyd. I was a huge fan of his from the moment I first saw him practice after the draft. After watching a few catches, I called James and told him that I was positive that givent he opportunity, Lloyd would be the new Jerry Rice...which as any self-respecting football fan knows, borders on sacrilege. Favorable comparisons to Rice are not said lightly. ;-) I fully stand behind that one though.

Anyway, T got us incredible seats and we had a blast!! I haven't had that much fun in a long time. So, thanks T.

After we got back from the City, Jean had dinner ready for everyone. I finally got home around 9 or so...just in time to hang out with Grace and Jeanne. Good times had by all. :-D

Ok, back to the salt mines, I have more to say but work beckons...nay demands...my attention.

All Saints

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Happy All Saints Day ya'll! I have so much to say that I doubt I will get it all out. But, I am going to try. I suppose that I will have to write this in stages; but I can start here.

This weekend was wonderful and busy and distracting and exactly what I needed. Friday night, the whole crew (minus G, Kee and Spencer) went to the Rascal Flatts concert. It was a lot of fun; though the show itself left something to be desired. I'm sorry but dramatic lighting and elaborate sets do not make up for good, old-fashioned performing!

After the concert, we T and I played "cat and mouse" on the drive to G's bar. It was karaoke night (of course) so we had to go sing and play!! Grace and I sang one song...I would have sung more, but my voice was already shot to hell from the smoke at the concert. Jean rocked several songs however. It was good times!!

Jean and T left at one or so...I think...and Jean, D and I stayed until after closing as has become our custom...we would leave earlier some nights, but Kee won't stand for it...and around there, Kee's word is law...not that we'd have it any other way. ;-)

I will write more, but for now, I am off to bed.