Thursday, December 29, 2011

12 hour days...

California was fun, and it was great to be warmed by the spirit of family and friends. Even though most of my plans to see friends and family didn't pan out the way I'd hoped, it still was a great trip. I set up a few occasions to meet up with groups, but with the holidays, schedules just couldn't collide (including mine), but I got to spend time with a few people and my awesome family.

Finding the 40th anniversary Disneyland time capsule!
And I'm glad to report the weight I've lost since Thanksgiving has continued to help a fit with my wedding dress! I am excited with my progress so far, which is even more incentive to keep at it. Weigh in day is next week. I've been able to eat right and work out even with my long days, so I'm sticking to it!

I got a few surprise words from My Sailor recently! I wasn't expecting to hear (well, read, since there are no phones on a submarine) from him until next year, so it was a nice surprise that made the extra work more tolerable.

Speaking of extra work...

Since I've been back, I've been working 12 hour days, and will be until the end of the year. Weekends included. (Hence the lack of blogging.) I've really decided to buckle down and seek balance during this heavy work period. I'm taking care of myself, working out on lunch breaks, and eating right. Today I made a big pot of Chicken Thyme barley soup. It turned out pretty darn good, and I have servings all lined up in the freezer for the rest of the week. Between that, some salad greens, fresh fruit, and my usual morning goodies (egg beaters, turkey bacon, and oatmeal), I'm all set to stay in and get as much done as possible. Clydas has been a couch potato lately, but it's because I don't have much time for play. I'm working on it though!

So, what did Santa bring me? You'll just have to wait until "2nd Christmas" (my celebration with My Sailor next month) to find out!

As for the upcoming New Year's eve - I do have a bottle of bubbly in the fridge. I'll not only be toasting the New Year (unless I save it for My Sailor's return), but I'll be toasting the end of 12 hour shifts! Sunday and Monday I have OFF!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas in California

It's 75 degrees this Christmas day. Bright and sunny as usual, and warm of heart with my family around me. I'm glad to be here on Christmas day.

My favorite day of the year is Christmas Eve. It was great to spend it with my parents, but once they went to bed I had a "date" with My Sailor! See, I had uploaded A Muppet's Christmas Carol (his favorite Muppet movie) on to his Ipod before he left. It's also on mine, so we decided that Christmas Eve, no matter where we are, we'd take some time out and watch it. I haven't seen it in years, and I forgot what an a fun, warm film it is! For a little while, I felt one step closer to My Sailor.

I'll share photos and get into more detail about my trip (and Disneyland) on a later post. It's been a jam packed schedule.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Just Dance 3 Saved My Life

Okay, so that's kind of a lie. Alright, it's an outright bold faced lie, but it got you to read this blog, didn't it?

Seriously speaking though - for the past 4 weeks or so I've been doing a Just Dance 3 competition with a fellow MyFitnessPal'er. I just move the coffee table out of the way, and get my groove on. Each week, we dance it up to 3 songs, and whoever gets the highest score (2/3 songs) wins $5 from the loser, paid via paypal. Nice set up right? The rules are - YOU have to do it, meaning the high score HAS to show YOUR profile name. Honor system here. To submit the score, we send photos of the song selection screen, which shows the name on the profile, the score, and the song title every Thursday (though the cut off for dancing is Wednesday night).

Having the strong competitive spirit that I do, I've busted my hump every week. And, yes, it's only $5, and sometimes we pass the same $5 back and forth. But $5 adds up, and so do the health benefits! And, I'm having fun, AND (ready for this one?) I WEIGH LESS NOW THAN I HAVE IN THE PAST 3 YEARS! When My Sailor left, it was before Halloween, and I was weighing in about 213ish... So I decided I wanted to lose 15lbs before he got back in Jan. That really doesn't allow for slacking off. As of this morning, I was down to 201. Almost to my goal and there is no word on when he's coming home yet. Anyone wanna bet I can make it to 20lbs before he comes home? ;)

Between making small changes to my diet, and working out at least 3 days a week (the min for a good score on that game), the results are really starting to show and pay off. I can see it in inches AND on the scale! It feels painfully slow, but in hindsight, it's a good, steady loss.

Next week we are skipping score submission, so basically we have 2 weeks to do the same 3 songs and practice before submitting our highest scores. I'm really hoping I can borrow a Wii and do a few dances at my parent's house on Christmas day (since that's really the only day I'll have time).

It's also had some other benefits too. It's a GREAT stress break from all this work, and nothing takes your mind off of your worries quite like moving and good music (even if you're a pretty aweful dancer like me). Strangely enough, I am actually learning some moves off of this too! I mean, I physically can NO sit still to songs like "Price Tag" or "Airplanes". I'm sure I look completely silly, but I'm having so much fun. I didn't think workout out could be this much fun - or this addictive! When I need to get some stress or energy out, it's my go-to.

Need to get someone with a Wii a gift for Christmas? Well, I don't review video games often on here, but this one is worth every single dime. It hasn't been taken out of my Wii in MONTHS. It won't make you bullet proof, but it will make you feel like it.

A Little more Christmas - and a zombie

It's just after midnight and for the last 20 minutes, I've been enjoying a little down time. Sigh. Lovely. Sitting in my candle lit living room, getting ready to compose the email to My Sailor for the day.

So I thought I'd share a bit of my artistry with you. Clydas seems to approve.

Clydas checking out the tree and our box of Christmas cards. Keeping them safe and handy for My Sailor to check out when he gets home.
 Now, Picasso and I have a lot in common apparently. My artwork seems more...conceptual... lol Look, I'm an artist in many forms, but drawing and painting have never really been 2 of those talents. So honestly, and 8 year old probably could have painted my tree, but I put my best into it, and I actually kinda like that it's FAR from perfect. Life is far from perfect, so it suites me in it's artistic statement (though that wasn't my intention).

 I did a bunch of tidying up and photo taking tonight. Though I'm utterly exhausted from all this work work work, I can't help but feel empowered by my recent good news.

Good stuff
: My holiday bonus arrived! Which has loosened up my budget for my Disneyland trip this Friday. Yeah!
More Good stuff: Though I have my gripes about the company I work for, they have been great when it comes to being family friendly. When I told my boss one of my bosses that I'd like to take some time off next month, but odds are I'll have 24 hrs notice, or less, when My Sailor comes home, he was great about it. He actually sounded happy to hear I'll be taking some of my 50+ hrs of PTO. 
Dining room table
Even MORE Good stuff: I feel like, short of getting the carpets cleaned, 90% of the apartment is ready for My Sailor's homecoming. KEEPING it that will be the greatest challenge, since it doesn't take much to clutter up a small space. After I'm done folding clothes in the bedroom tomorrow, the apartment will be in awesome shape for the new year. Though I don't know when My Sailor is coming back exactly, it's encouraging to have so much good stuff going on within these walls lately. Now all I have to do is keep it up. Sounds easy, but I'm no domestic goddess, so it's easier said than done! It's probably a lot like my challenges with weight loss, though I've learned a few tricks to making better decisions on that front. I'm also learning balance - and maybe that's a lesson that needs to keep seeping into my life.

So, have you spotted the zombie yet?

I'll give you a BIG hint...

Monday, December 19, 2011

I won the lottery...

Here it is, nearly 2:30am and I just finished work. Maybe I'm a bit punchy, but I kinda feel like I won the lottery. Not the money lottery (though that WOULD be nice!) but the life lottery.

First, I got on the scale and found out I'm down 2lbs from when I was on the scale this time last week. Another nudge towards my goal!

Then, I needed to get an RX refilled and they did it within an hour! Usually they end up having to call out for it, so I won there.

I knew I had 10 hours of work ahead of me, but I wasn't ready to go home, so I swung by the local movie theater. I promised myself a flick, IF there was something playing at that time. Arthur Christmas had started 5 minutes before I pulled in, which means I only missed the previews anyway. Awesome. And the movie was FANTASTIC! I laughed, I cried, I can't wait to see it again. I'm owning this new Christmas Classic. Way to go Sony Animation!

But that's just the little stuff - winning the life lottery is so much more... (Do NOT cue Charlie Sheen here please. No Charlie Sheen allowed on this blog - EVER.)

I've mentioned before on my blog about how I won the parent lottery (if you're a new reader, check out some of the "adoption" or "family" tags for more info)- and my parents are still amazing me. Since I'm adopted, there is some argument for "nature vs nurture", but I have to say that I feel I owe all my good traits to my awesome parents. I value my family more each day. Even my big brother is pretty amazing - a puzzlement, but amazing none-the-less.

I won the "guy" lottery too. (Sure, unlike the parent lottery, I had to play and lose a few times before hitting the jackpot, but isn't that how the lotto works?) My Sailor had been my "safety net" for nearly 1/2 my life before he became, well, My Sailor. He's taught me some very valuable things over our time together. But the one that stands out most tonight is the mentality of "It'll be alright." As long as I can remember, those were his magic words to make me feel better. Sure, I'd heard them before, but for some reason, coming from him, I always believed it. Maybe it's his stead fast belief (that I now share as a recovering-fatalist) that all things work out for good, and, even if it's not what you expected, it's alright. Or it will be - eventually.

As I wind down tonight, I'm re-reading his emails he's sent me from this deployment and I'm reminded what a good writer he is and how his writing, for me, has the same quality as his spoken words. It's sincere, well said, and simple. So even though we've discovered there are only so many ways to type "I miss you" and "I love you" and "I can't wait to see you again", the value doesn't diminish over time. I still believe every word. I guess I finally understand what trust really means. It goes beyond the simple fact that I don't worry about cheating in our relationship (yes, there are women on his sub). I wish I had better words to describe it. I feel I'm close to describing it adequately, but still falling far short on the deep under current of empowerment that runs through it.

And I have a holiday bonus coming! That IS like hitting the lotto right there!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Need thoughts? I think not.

So I was working on this "deep thought" blog about the evolution of relationships. After all, a recent relocation is part of my journey (moved from Southern California to Western Washington ), and relationships have changed dramatically during that time. I wasn't worried about keeping in touch with folks, or meeting new people. I'm good at going out and meeting people now (a skill I continue to hone, which says a lot for this natural hermit), and already know I'm pretty great about keeping in touch with long distance folks. But I never expected to go home and find that people who were like family to me now no longer have a moment to spare for a hug and a hi. It's healthy for relationships to ebb and flow and evolve (or fade away) over time. And it's natural that family should come first. It's just disappointing that I probably won't be home again until 2013 after this trip, or later, and I'll miss those hugs and hi's. Facebook just isn't the same as face time. I guess I didn't anticipate how tough it would be seeing people I've come to care for over the holidays. I 'assumed' (and we all know what THAT word means) that when I was in town, it would be simple to hook up with folks.

And I'm not singling out my California family of friends. Even up here it's been challenging. People from My Sailor's regular boat are working crazy schedules, so naturally, their families need time together (alone) during the holidays to bond. They don't think to call up the girl (who they have barely met) and say, "Hey, want to grab some lunch?" Honestly, if I were in there position, I wouldn't really think about it either. Time with family is number one. Just like I'm sure I'll "disappear" for a while when My Sailor gets home.

But that's actually NOT the blog I wanted to write. So before this starts to sound like an invitation to a pity party, I wanted to blog about my GOOD day, that's about to end shortly. Not the good part, but that's when I go to bed.

I got a bunch of overdue cleaning done, the kitchen is spotless (wahoo!) except for the floors, which will happen tomorrow. I feel like I'm FINALLY ready to start actually drawing up the tree soon. I want to make time to do it before I leave on Thursday.

I also decided to take my lazy, lonely arse up to PrettyBre's apartment-warming party! She's house-sat for me once now, and will be doing it again while I'm in California for Christmas. I got to meet her boyfriend, Bre's E, and a few new folks that were very cool. (Remember what I said about being better about making new friends? Fudge and wine always helps.)

I also found out that holiday bonuses are on the way from work! Whew! I never expect or plan for a bonus, but every little bit helps, especially since...

WE SET A WEDDING DATE!  FINALLY! I have a deposit down on the photographer, the DJ, and (as soon as they reply to my email) the venue! So time and date are in place now! At least... until the Navy tells us otherwise.

I can't wait for my Disneyland time and a BREAK from work. Yes, I know I do it to myself. I work so much to keep myself busy, so that the time flies - but I could sure use a vacation from the stress of working, waiting, and goal reaching.

So Christmas in California? Bring it on.

  But that's not the blog I wanted to

Friday, December 16, 2011

I'm 31 years old... and I Believe.


Good. Now that we understand each other and that's out of the way, let's proceed, shall we?

My Christian friends are probably cringing right now. No, I haven't forgotten The Reason for the Season. But it's time I came out of the closet.

I'm 31 years old, and I believe ... in Santa. (Double click on the box below.)

Available for rent through Youtube and for free through (No, no one pays me to advertise. What you get here is what I've stumbled across and what's moved me.)

If you see one holiday movie this year, make time to see Becoming Santa.One man's journey into becoming Santa Claus really hit home for me today. He discovered a feeling I've tried to put words to for years now. Thank you Jack and your team for making this film!

Yes, I believe in Jesus Christ, but yes, I also believe in Santa.

And yes, I don't believe the 2 have to contradict one another.

Do I believe a fat, bearded home invader in a red and white suite will show up on my rooftop and leave coal or presents in my stockings that are hung by the fire with oh-so-much care? I should explain...

I believe in all Santa stands for. And I believe anything that opens the doors to the kindness, the goodness, and the generosity in people's hearts, is a good thing. So in that, in short, I believe in Santa. My face still lights up when I see him in the Disneyland Christmas parade and he waves to me. (Yes, just at me! Not at you, even if you're standing right next to me.)

A few people interviewed in the documentary put to words what I've always felt, but never been able to find a way to vocalize:

"To stop believing in Santa Clause at an 'appropriate age' is a completely foreign concept to me. I kinda feel sorry for people who stop believing at any certain time."- Unknown

"Is the faith that there is a gentleman in the North Pole who actually comes on his sleigh that actually lands on your roof and comes down a chimney and puts all these toys there? Is that what we're believing in? Or are we believing in the goodness and the kindness of humanity? The fact that we've created a story for a child but as adults we actually perform what it is that this being is doing." - John Merian, President of Tuxedos by Merian.

"I don't think there is anything better about humans, anything more redemptive about humans, than when we give." - David Pilgrim, PhD, Fonder Jim Crow Museum

"Whether it's doing it for charity, or just to bring joy to your child or a loved one, there is something wonderful about being a secret giver and doing it mysteriously." - Santa Tim Connaghan, The Kringle Group, LLC.

"We need a person or a force out there to promote the ideas of goodness, and kindness and generosity, and happiness, and joy." - Santa Earl Nicholas

"I think Santa is maybe a bit of a common denominator for us all...For me, Santa Claus helps deliver all of those feelings that should be present in all religions. I think that he creates this...this magical experience for people without having any of those road blocks that we put up. I don't think we mean to put up those road blocks, but we do." - Unknown

"There are Christian Santas, there are Jewish Santas, there are Muslim Santas, there's a Budhist Santa, there are Wiccan Santas, and there are probably Santas that have never seen the inside of a place of worship in their life. What do they share in common? They share the belief that love, hope, and joy is the best of us." - a Military Santa

No matter what you believe, Santa Claus was, at one time, a real person. His story of generosity has grown into a tradition. Even if Christ's Birthday and Santa's arrival weren't  celebrated on the same day, I'd still believe. (In fact, how awesome would be it to celebrate them on different days?! After all, St. Nicholas died on December 6th, but Germany and Austria celebrate Santa's Arrival on December 5th.) Because, at the risk of repeating myself, if it can open people's hearts to accentuate the goodness, kindness, and generosity - Sign. Me. Up.

This year, my one gift from Santa would be to please find My Sailor on his submarine and give him the feeling of a warm hug from me.

Yes, there's there's a little Santa in all of us.

White Christmas and New Years Eve

Tonight I took myself out to see White Christmas at CStock theater in Silverdale. Despite a few set mishaps, the night turned out to be delightful. I have never seen the movie, but the show brought back memories I wasn't expecting.

See, the show opens during WWII. The audience is treated as American Soliders in the Army who are overseas for Christmas. The audience/soilders are being treated to a Christmas Eve show by the Captain and a Private. Honestly, I don't think I breathed through the begining of the show. While it was intended to be awkwardly comical, my particular situation this holiday season made it instantly personal. While My Sailor is not on the front lines of WWII, nor is he in the Army, the general idea was enough to make my eyes water. The case would be hard pressed to bring this to the "comical Christmas show" I had heard this was going to be.

But after that scene was over, and the next scene took place several years later, I was assured that I could indeed laugh and would make it through the show dry-eyed, just as long as no one sang "I'll be Home for Christmas". (To see one of my fellow Into The Woods cast mates sing that song during this show would have been too much for me tonight.)

The show was really great, despite a few hiccups. It's always fun to see people I know play different roles. Even though I know none of them well, I was more than happy to greet them with hugs and honest "well done"! when it was all over. There were a few noticable set hiccups. While that's not unheard of (especially in community theater), it was surprising to me that the live band didn't really role with the punches and fill the dark spaces with music. The conductor's profile denoted a world of experience, so it surprised me a bit that he didn't roll with it - at least as well as I expected. That was always one of the advantages of having a live band to begin with.

The acting was top notch. Truly. Mr. Wise is one of my new favorite actors and I was so glad I got to work with him during Into the Woods. His somewhat manic manner taught me a lot about self confidence, and the power of NOT over thinking things and just going with your gut. It's obvious he has fun on stage and his belief in what he's doing is so powerful that you, as an audience member, have to believe in it too. He reminds me of Danny Kaye (one of my favorite old time actors) and is a deeply believable actor.

Well done one and all.

One thing I love about Washington Community theater - they don't seem to be afraid to cast people of a variety of shapes and sizes. In California, if you're not a size 4, don't expect to EVER land a leading role, even in Community theater productions. It's TRUELY rare to see a curvy cast. But thus far, Washington seems to be breaking the mold, unafraid to get curvy girls, tall guys, and various age ranges involved. It's heartening to see that some places are moving beyond the Hollywood anomalies that so much of the country considers the "norm".

So with a live Christmas show behind me, and my trip to California in front of me, it leaves me to think of just one more thing.

What the heck am I going to do with New Years?!

Honestly, it's never been a HUGE holiday for me. I've gone to parties when invited, and thrown some quiet dinners myself, but I know I'll be working this year. Outside of that, maybe Clydas and I will wait until midnight - maybe not. I'll probably just treat myself to lunch and movie on New Years day and move on into 2012. The Navy is throwing a few family events, but I don't quite feel like I fit there, and I haven't been invited anywhere else. Having spent Thanksgiving and Christmas in California, it'll be nice to have a quiet time at home for a change.

And off to bed I go! Back to work in 6 more hours!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Spontaneous Authordom?

Perhaps it's the solitude of late, but for some reason, writing just FLOWS out of me lately. All kinds of writing. Emails, poetry, blogging, Disney articles (yes, Tim, the next one is on its way!), Facebook messages... you name it! They just keep on flowing out. My work at my day job (which has nothing at all to do with writing) productivity has gone up the last 2 days (after a dismal week of awefulness we won't even bother discussing here). Could it be I'm happier lately?

Maybe just a smidge. I'm looking forward to a Disneyland trip next week (yeah!)and seeing some old friends that I missed on my last visit home.

I'm really glad it's happening though - the writing I mean. I'm in a much better space mentally for this kind of stuff now. It means my imagination is well fed and looking for a way to overflow. And for an artist, that's kind of exciting.

The best part is, I'm not doing any of this for money. There is no foreseeable paycheck involved. I'm doing it for me. The only true place where are can come from. It's just expressing itself all over the place, and I've decided to direct it, rather than try to cap it. So I'm working on my articles well ahead of time, rather than smashing my head against a deadline. The storyline and characters for my book continue to flesh themselves out in my head and on paper - and actually make me wonder if this COULD be publish worthy, once I figure out where it's going.

I guess there is a term for this kind of artistic diarrhea...


Tuesday, December 13, 2011

A Little Bit of Christmas and the Resident Hollow

So I've done a bit of Christmas decorating. I haven't started on 'the tree' yet, but it's on the list soon! I know exactly where I'm going to hang it now, and that alone makes me happy.
Even the bedroom got in on the act - including a little vinyl lettering addition to the wall - I highly recommend these things by the way. They add a bit more warmth when hanging a picture doesn't really work.
As soon as the dining room table is finished, I'll post a photo of that too. I've actually eaten at the dining room table the last 2 nights in a row for dinner, rather than in front of the TV at the coffee table. And yes, I actually COOKED too! Yesterday was baked salmon with a fresh salad and tonight was the rest of that salmon (chilled), and steamed zucchini, brown mushrooms, acorn and local squash. All followed with some delightful Spanish white that I've come to enjoy.
Today I also weight in. And I'm down another pound! That's 9 pounds down! 6 to go to meet my goal of 15 lost while My Sailor has been away. If I don't hit it exactly, I'll end up very, very close.

Maybe getting injured was actually just the health boast I needed in some ways? My foot is getting better, but only because I'm really paying attention to my body's cues. And replacing 1 meal with a whey protein shake instead of a Lean cuisine or something like that has REALLY helped to keep the healthy decisions going in the right direction.

So what's the Resident Hollow?
The first chapter of my fantasy novel! Of course, even as I write fantasy, I find myself drawing more and more from my own life experience. I was once told to "write what you know". That single simple piece of advice has stuck with me in all aspects: poetry, blogging, songwriting, etc.

The Resident Hollow, in the fantasy aspect, refers to Ashta's homeland. Ashta, a unique being known as a Balance Keeper, or Keeper for short, is one of the last of her race. Relentless hunted down to satisfy those that would experiment and discover in the name of immortality, she hides away in a stone cathedral, many centuries old. Nearly completely devoured by the forest, the stone bricks of the once hallowed grounds lay scattered between the ground and the branches of the evergreens that defy its structure. Listen for a moment and the sounds of a thriving forest will not touch this place. Rustling leaves and the whistling breeze through the trees simmer with the barely audible whispers of spirits - quiet enough to entice one to listen more closely, and indecipherable enough to drive one insane...

Sound like a new vacation spot?

Anyway, the feel and sense of the Hollow is part of an eternal loneliness that travels with our main character, Ashta Shadowcare. And it's a sense this author has been acutely aware of most of my life. There is a silence, I believe, in the souls of everyone, but artists are more in tune to it than most. While some may associate that kind of silence with depression, it isn't always so. Yes, there is a loneliness artists are (IMHO) more aware of than most, but it's a silence and a loneliness that begs to be filled. Not with money, or fame, or often even people (many artists are reclusive by choice). It's something that I was reminded of when My Sailor left. Not that I haven't been alone before - there are many times I've felt alone in a crowded room, especially during my youth. I've found many ways to embrace it and find strength and independence in it (which I believe Ashta embodies as well, but you'll have to wait and read the book to find out).

Knowing that all fiction is based in some area of the author's life, it makes ya wonder, when you read a book, just what the writer is thinking/feeling.... doesn't it?

(And if the 2nd half of this blog make NO sense, don't worry. Just read the book... if I ever finish it and manage to get it published. lol)

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Hamster Zombies

Today I took a little drive to Tacoma and discovered a new favorite store, Tacoma Boys.
The produce was fresh (and mostly local), the meat looked amazing (I came home with some Salmon I'm looking forward to trying tomorrow!), and the service was friendly at this small farm-stand/butcher/wine cellar (seriously - over 300 wines! I was in heaven, though I didn't bring anything new home, just a bottle of Spanish white I've had before and enjoyed).
Anyway, I was getting in the car for the long drive home and I heard a commercial on the radio where a man and a woman were talking about bank fees. The plot was simple. The man had a "recurring nightmare" about $5 disappearing from his bank account over and over again. A woman reminds him that they just switched banks to a free checking account. He relaxes and says that he can go back to his "other recurring nightmare" - Hamster Zombies.
I laughed out loud. Hamster Zombies... would that be like the black plague all over again? Yeah, I know, scary thought in reality, but I wouldn't mind seeing a movie on hamster zombies. I have the perfect title:
G Force, First Blood.

Some Days, it's the Simple things


As you know, this Christmas is a bit unconventional for me. I'll be spending most of it with family and friends on a quick trip back to my hometown, since My Sailor is underway.
That said, we're still planning to have our own Christmas celebration when he returns. I think that is when it'll really feel like Christmas to me.

Anyway, it's odd to think we won't be creating any traditions this year - or will we?

Well, I think this one is going to stick. You see, we live in a very small apartment already stuffed to the gills with stuff in storage. I'm working on making it festive, and keeping it up for when he comes home, but the biggest challenge was what to do about a tree. All the local tree farms will be closed by the time he's back, and I don't think I want to deal with moving furniture around to find space to put it up. And I don't care for tiny table top trees. Don't get me wrong, they are fine on their own, but a Christmas tree (to me) should be REAL and should be at least as tall as me.

So that said, I figured it out.

And I think I may just have started a tradition on accident.

I was inspired by watching a Hallmark Family Movie (of which the title eludes me currently) where a small family didn't think they had space for a tree - so they drew one on a wall. I'm not a fan of trying to match paint colors, so I put a more portable twist on it. I'm doing it on a huge roll of paper instead!

After going to several stores and not finding paper big enough (remember, I'm around 5'9" and it has to be AT LEAST as tall as me), I decided to ask at a FedEx store - and it was truly ment to be.

When I walked in, I was helped by a lady who helped me out with a problem before, so it was a familiar face I felt comfortable talking with. Once I explained my situation and my plan, she started to think of ways to get me the paper I needed. Finally, she covertly motioned for me to follow her. We went over to a HUGE printing machine, and she opened it up, letting me pull out as much as I needed, and cut it off for me. She rang me up for something small to charge for it and I was so thrilled! Now, don't try this at your local FedEx store - they don't typically sell paper like this, but I'd mentioned to her that I'd tried several places before (and asked if she had any suggestions if she couldn't help me). I was never rude or putting on a sob story or anything like that.

Now for the medium! I was thinking of markers, but that would probably kill my budget on dead pens, so I'm starting to think water color maybe?

My master plan is to pin it up to a wall, and use other thumb tacks to hang garland (and maybe even lights) on it. Then I was going to hang on to a box of thumb tacks and the ornaments, so we can hang them together when he gets back - if he's game. I wouldn't blame him for having other things on his mind just wanting to enjoy it too.

Why is this a tradition?
Well, it's something we could hang on the back of a door or some less elaborate place every year to remind us of how precious time together really is - or, if we have to spend Christmas apart again, he can take it with him as a little piece of home.

And don't even get me started on how our future kids could get involved with this! SO many options!
So tomorrow starts my Christmas care packages, and mission decorate!

Wish me luck! Photos will follow!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

"EEEEeeee!!!! I did it!" or "The gift of Giving"

I'm so excited! I did it! I finally put something truly magical in My Sailor's latest mail drop. He doesn't have much time to comment on things, so I know it's good when he takes a whole paragraph to talk about it.

So, what was this magical gift that went over so well?

The sound of my voice.

See, in case you didn't know, we don't get phone calls, skyping, etc. We have something a kin to email for the more day-to-day stuff (though no pictures, attachments, or links can be sent or received - and we only get transmissions when it's safe for the sub to send/receive), and what the sailors take with them on the boat. So when it's possible to send something extra, we take full advantage of it!

Thankfully, he's wonderful at leaving sweet voice mails and I never deleted 2 of them from my phone. I'm SO glad I kept them. When I'm feeling especially lonely, it helps to hear his voice (even if it was from August or September). But he has no way to hear mine. So I searched around and got the idea to send him a mini-tape recorder. I spoke into it for about 2 minutes (I don't even really remember what I said to be honest, but I know I was getting choked up by the end of it) and that seemed to be the biggest hit.

Could you imagine what it would be like not even being able to hear your loved ones voice over the holidays?

So while we're all searching for the perfect gift this year - maybe it's not as hard as you think. ;)

Now I'm off to take advantage of some sales and get my care packages ready to hit the mail!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Updates, Updates, and a Lucky Lucky Girl

So my x-rays are negative, but that doesn't really mean much, as stress fractures often don't show up on them anyway. So I'm off to the podiatrist to figure out what's really wrong. I hate to say it, but there is a chance that I'm "getting old" and this is going to be par for the course. My flat feet have plagued me pretty much all my life, so it's possible that this is just another adventure in the life of my very flat feet. I'm resting it and hoping for the best at this point. I doubt I'll be pushing my running limits for a while.

That said, I have other updates as well!

I did not with the First Kiss Raffle, but a good friend reminded me that it doesn't really matter if My Sailor is first off the boat or not. Our first kiss will be unforgettable, if it's the First Kiss or the last one. Ya know, she's completely right.

Do I have any other updates to share?

Well, it's not so much as an update, but another "I feel lucky" moment.

One other vent I often hear float around the Navy waves is, "I can't because I want to wait for my sailor..." There is a very fine line we in the military life walk, somewhere between "I need to get out and about" and "I want to save XYZ event for 'us' to experience together when he/she comes home." It's not as easy as it sounds. We all wish we could just click "pause" when we drop our loved ones off, fast forward through the coming months, and click "play" when they get home. But life has no DVR. And we must live while our loved ones are protecting us.

I'm so grateful that I don't feel trapped. Even though there are things I am planning on saving for My Sailor's return, I'm so very lucky that he doesn't begrudge me getting out and about without him. While the thought of the princess pining away and wringing her hands while her prince is off to war is terribly romantic, it's not a very healthy one. I love that I'm free to go to movies, go out to eat, explore local festivals, and generally live my life while My Sailor isn't with me. With so many wonderful seasonal things going on, and no promise that My Sailor will be here next year, or the year after that, or the year after that (you get the idea)to enjoy them with me, I'm so lucky that he doesn't begrudge me living my life while he's away. It gives me something to share when I write to him, and it allows me to play the "scout" instead of the walled away princess, which (for those who know me, is MUCH more my speed). If he's around in subsequent years, I will have saved him from the boring, awful, waste of time events, and I'll be able to include him in the amazing, awesome, well worth the time events. Making memories alone isn't so bad. Making memories together is even better.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

"Trade you Toes" or "Feeling Lucky"

Tomorrow I'm going into the doctor to get my feet checked out. Remember that toe I was complaining about at on the 5k post? It still hurts. It's 4 days past the race and it shouldn't still hurt. My money is on a stress fracture, though the way my other foot is starting to act, that may be stress fracture #2 as well. We'll see what the MD says. I have all the signs of a stress fracture, so we'll have to see if they surprise me. As long as I can still drive with them, I'll get by. If I can't drive, then I'm kinda screwed... but I'll work something out, I'm sure. Crutches would be BAD.

But I gotta admit, lately, I've been feeling pretty lucky.

If there is one thing Navy gals do when we're around each other, we "vent". Which is good and healthy and all that jazz. And one thing I keep hearing about over and over again are concerns about infidelity (despite the fact that it's doubtful our sailors will see a port). I guess it made me realize how good I have things with My Sailor.

See, nearly every relationship I've had has ended due to infidelity on his part. When divorce changed my little world, you'd think I would be become SUPER snoopy. But nope. The opposite happened. I realized this simple truth:

If it's ment to be - it will be. If I feel I have to worry about things like infidelity, something else is wrong.

Either it's a communication issue (lack of communication can easily lead to mistrust and misunderstandings, lies by omission, etc), or a self confidence issue.When I was MOST jealous, it was because I felt that I wasn't "enough" for him. That someday (fill-in-the-boyfriend-here) would roll over and realize that I wasn't what he wanted, so anything more tempting would "beat me". Isn't it sad to feel THAT competitive, and already convince yourself that you're going to "lose"? Needless to say, it was NOT a good place to live.

But hearing these concerns reminds me of what it's like to live in that place - and how blessed I am to not be there. I learned that if I feel like I have to snoop, there is a serious communication issue going on that needs to be addressed. Snooping won't fix it. Discussing it might.

I don't want a man who can't tell another woman "no" to an unwelcome advance. I expect the same of him as I do from me. That's, to me, what love is all about.

And I guess that's why I feel so lucky. Having known each other as long as we have, we didn't "settle" for each other. We got to work through those kinds of insecurities a long time ago, and realize that wild horses couldn't drag us apart, and those that weren't ment to stay in our lives, have gone -the reason why doesn't even matter anymore.
We grew to a place where we were ment to be. I'm sure he doesn't worry about me around other men, and I don't worry about him around other women - no matter the setting. I trust that he values our relationship as much as I do. So I don't think twice about that kind of stuff. Possibly even for the first time ever in a relationship. While I trusted before, I was never quite convinced it was a perfect match. Until now.

And it's a nice place to be...

Now if only I had better toes...

Monday, December 5, 2011

Day Post 5k, how am I feeling?

Well, I'm not in as much pain as I expected. ha ha yeah right! Write it for REAL now, J.
My hips are tight and feeling yesterday's run. It's not too bad, but I notice it when standing. It's actually a GREAT feeling, because my hips are EXACTLY where I want to slim down! More pavement running and gradual hills for me! Though tomorrow is my weigh in day, I snuck on the scale today and I'm back down 6lbs from when he left. 9 more to go to meet my goal - hopefully 8 after tomorrow AM.

Thankfully, my toe pain ended with some rest, and my blistered arch is FAR more managable today. I took a rest day and it was worth it. I finished up my Christmas cards to the folks on the Boxer Boards.
I had a good lunch with a new found "get through this deployment" buddy, also my race buddy, and tomorrow I'll be back at work.

There are SO many rumors that float around during deployments, that it's sometimes hard to know what to trust and what not to.Though I've heard a fair share of stuff, I only trust 100% what comes from my moral officer and what comes from My Sailor (or official word from the Navy). The truth is, I'm not 100% sure when he's coming home. I don't have a date and time to pick him up. I've heard a couple different things, but I'm not even sure. I just know that I'll get a phone call, I'll get in the car, and I'll go get him. As I've said before, Submarine life is the silent life. It's not widely publicized, so it's hard to get any information as far as what to expect - except for this:

Apparently there is a very real "boat stink", and it will be on EVERYTHING. So I'm going to have a tub of oxiclean on hand as soon as he gets home.

But other than that nothing is assured, except for maybe one thing:

No amount of "boat stink" will keep me from hugging him for a good long time.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

My WA 5K experience!

So I MADE IT! Of course, I knew I'd finish. I struggled a bit during this 5K, but I made it in just over 36 minutes. For some reason, I always run TOO FAST and furious out of the gate. I guess because at that point it's fun darting in and out of the crowd, trying to get a better position in the crowd. I didn't get to cross the starting line until 22 seconds into the race, and I'm sure it would have been longer than that if I didn't use my excitement.

How did it go? Eh, my shoes came untied about 1/2 a mile in. That cost me time. It was 40 degrees (w/o accounting for the wind chill of being on the waterfront), which is COLD on your lungs. I ended up waiting around about 2.5 hours until the race (I thought it was earilier). I had a lot of pain in the right middle toe (nothing too new for me, but because I burned rubber out of the gate, it was severely aggrivated by the time I hit 1/2 way), AND a wrinkle in my sock caused my left foot to get a nasty blister on the arch.

Also there was no cheering squad to help us along, or talkative, encouraging strangers on the course... and this races idea of a water stop was COLD water (on an already COLD day) and sugar cookies?! Go figure. I skipped it.

Oh, and there was no photographers on the course... so I have no pictures of me. The local newspaper was there, though. And they snapped this one of me pre-race - It's like Where's Waldo though! I'll give you a hint. See the little kid with a green 1 on his shirt in the middle? See the lady in grey behind the kid? I'm behind her - see my fuzzy blue Stitch eared Santa Hat? That's me. Sneaky, aren't I? Anyway, here is the link to the article. But here I am on my way to the race!

Did I mention I didn't get a lot of sleep the night before? Too excited to sleep. I must be OUT OF MY MIND! Too excited to RUN?!
My uniform for this race was a pair of work out pants I'd worn before, a thin waffle knit pick long sleeve shirt, and my "I Heart A Sailor" t-shirt. On my shirt, I had my number on the front, and a sign I made that said "Runnin' Til Homecoming."

Here was my Magical Moment - About 1/2 way through everything seemed to be going wrong and the "stinkin' thinkin'" all racers are familiar with was getting the better of me. I must have looked it, because a couple of girls encouraged me while passing me. They were complete strangers and called me "Runnin' Til Homecoming"... and at that moment I remembered all My Sailor had been through (and all he was going through - not seeing the sun for months, tight quarters, lack of personal freedoms so we can call our December holiday whatever we want to in safety, all he WENT through in boot camp...) and  I picked up my pace considerably. I thanked them and said, "You're right. No matter how much I hurt, he probably hurts worse." Thanks to that one simple boost, I was able to tap into that deep place and get really moving again.

I finished a few minutes ahead of my saviors, but, like my very first triathlon - and that stranger that had seen me through that 5k - I never caught their names - but I owe my decent finishing time to them.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Submariner's Twas the Night Before Christmas

I ended up getting THREE emails from My Sailor last night - AND one this morning! Needless to say, it's already a great start to the weekend. I showered this morning, made a healthy breakfast (turkey bacon sliced up in egg beaters, a toasted harvest wheat crumpet w/ I Can't Believe it's Not Butter, a cup of stash holiday hot tea, and a large Honey Crisp apple), AND took my supplements. I was up at a far more decent time and I'm feeling good.

So, without further ado, here is the poem that may just make it into my Christmas Cards this year! (If you're in My Sailor's family - you may want to either stop reading now - or grab tissue!)
Twas the night before Christmas, the sub was up steaming,
Some sailors stood watch, while others were dreaming.
They rolled in their tiny racks, tight and small,
In a 30-man berthing, cramped one and all.

I had come down the hatch with presents in hand,
And peeked inside to see this strange band.
I looked all about, a strange sight did I see,
No tinsel, no presents, not even a tree.
No stockings were hung, though boots close at hand,
On the bulkhead hung pictures of a far distant land.

They had medals and badges and awards of all kind,
And a sobering thought came into my mind.

For this place was different, so dark and so dreary,
I had found Submarine Sailors, at once I saw clearly.
One Sailor lay sleeping, silent and alone,
Curled up in a rack and dreaming of home.

The face was so gentle, the rack squared away,
This was the United States Sailor today.
This hero I didn't see on TV,
Defending our country deep under the sea.

I realized the people I would visit this night,
Owed their lives to these Sailors, willing to fight.
Soon round the world, the children would play,
And grownups would celebrate on Christmas Day.
They enjoyed freedom each day of the year,
Because of the Sailor, like the one lying here.

I couldn't help wonder how many lay alone,
On Christmas Eve on a sea, far from home.
The very thought brought a tear to my eye,
I fell to my knees and started to cry.

The Sailor awakened and in a calm voice,
Said "Santa, don't cry. This life is my choice."
"Defending the seas all days of the year,
So others may live and live without fear."

I thought for a moment, what a difficult road,
To live a life guided by honor and code.
It's Christmas Eve and the boat's underway!
But freedom isn't free. It's sailors who pay.

The Sailor gives freedom, "Be free and sleep tight,
No harm will come, not on my watch, not tonight."
The Sailor rolled over and drifted to sleep,
I couldn't control it and continued to weep.

I kept watch for hours, so silent, so still,
Over this Sailor, amazed at his will.
I didn't want to leave on that dark winter's night,
This guardian of honor so willing to fight.
The Sailor rolled over and with a voice strong and sure,

Commanded, "Carry on Santa, It's Christmas, and All is Secure!"

Thursday, December 1, 2011

And we're Over it.

It's almost bed time and I'm feeling better already. Why? Well, I took my supplements today, and one healthy decision leads to another with me - so I started drinking my water. Which head to actually having some energy when work was over, so I did the dishes, folded the laundry (and put away 1/2 of it, but I put the other 1/2 on the bed, so it's in my way and I HAVE to put it away). And my encouragement to call it a night at my feel-good bed time? My upstairs neighbor and her kids are running around above my living room - to the point where it's shaking a wrought iron mirror screwed onto my dining room wall.
 But the bedroom is usually much quieter upstairs. THANK GOD! Time for a cup of tea and some reading before I crash out.

Getting Over It

So today I realized that I need to get over this grump-slump I've been in.

I mean, it's uncharacteristic of me to be annoyed by other girls who have their Sailor's home for the holidays. In fact, I'm not even going to BE here for the holidays. Between work and events I have planned, I know this month will fly by. Yes, I don't hear from My Sailor as often as I'd like - but I'm not the first woman to go through this, nor will I be the last.  I remind myself that emotions that sometimes seem petty are a normal part of the process.

And I'm doing a great job at not taking it out on others - but I am NOT doing a good job of not taking it out on me. I haven't been great about taking care of myself, and it's time I came clean about it.

The apartment is a mess. Dishes have been in the sink for a couple days. The recycling needs to be taken out. The laundry needs to be done, FOLDED and PUT AWAY (it's been in baskets for nearly a month - clean most of it, but still).

But it's my body that is getting the worst of it. I've been taking Nyquil all week. First it was to stave off a cold, but yesterday it was to shut my brain down so I could sleep hard. I've been going to bed later, sleeping harder, and waking up later, still sore. I'm happiest when I'm in bed around 10-10:30pm and up around 6:00am. Then I have time to get everything done at work and still have a good chunk of day left. When I get up at 9 or 10am (the dog has been letting me sleep in too - bad dog), I'm scrambling to "make up" the day and get it all done before midnight. Not a good place to be.

I haven't been drinking enough water, or taking my supplements.

True, they are little slips, but it's better I get a handle on this now.
So Sunday I'll be cleaning the apartment and giving myself a fresh start to a new week.

And no good deed in my house goes unrewarded - Soo... I think I deserve some Muppet love. ;)

Tonight this morning...

I don't really have much to say. Today was really productive. I worked 12 hours, ran a mile, did 40 minutes of Just Dance 3, bought produce at the local fruit stand, found a bread outlet about 30 minutes away by the dog food store. Bought dog food, stocked up on bread. Talked with one of My Sailor's sisters. Ate in between all that and now I'm heading off to bed.

In a bit of a vent - Imagine emailing your loved one every day - never knowing when you'll get a reply. It's easy to feel neglected, etc, and it's perfectly natural - even though the lack of response has NOTHING to do with me. Or him for that matter. So I'm not really angry about it - but all these one way conversations have forced me to get creative. Last night I sent him a few song lyrics. I'm sure I'll type up a short story at some point. I'm running out of ways to be funny. Soon I'll be Googling jokes just to keep things lively. I always try to send him a smile, but it does get hard to have one-way conversations. It's like blogging but more intimate.

I got this from an email - those aren't our hands and I claim no rights.

And today - I miss him.

I'm also excited about the 5k coming up. Not scared - just excited. It's a good place to be. I hope that plenty of photos get snapped of my unique santa hat! Hard to take pictures of yourself to share with others afterwards! But I'm hoping my Navy pals don't let me down and SOMEONE shows up with a camera - other than me.

Thanks for all the love and support I've received from this blog and some new online friends. Some days I think it just might be all that keeps me sane. It's easy to go through the motions, but I'm SO impatient for his homecoming, my heart isn't in very much of it.

Maybe I just need a good LONG weekend. :)