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A bitter-sweet Sunday for a proud COW

It’s another lovely, southern California Sunday, at home with my Lovey. Our last, for a while. Mos refuses to acknowledge Father’s Day, and merely growls at The Commander when he attempts to snuggle him. He’s kind of  a shit like that.

The Commander is a little behind schedule with breakfast; he’s always in charge of Sunday meals when he’s home. To be perfectly honest, his meals always take WAY longer to make than he ever anticipates. And they are always totally worth it.

I have a load of his uniforms drying now. I soaked all of his “Whites” in Oxy-Clean yesterday. He’ll be the whitest officer Pearl Harbor has ever seen.

He’s leaving in two days, and will be gone for a while. It’s not a long underway, per say, but it’s an important one. It’s an important exercise, and he has just taken command of his ship. We’re playing in the Big Leagues now.

I’m a COW, a Commanding Officer’s Wife. I’m Mrs. CO.

That’s nothing. He’s the Captain, now. Still a Commander in rank, but a Captain in title.

Don’t try to understand the Navy. I’m still trying to get someone to create a color chart for me.

I am beyond proud. I got weepy at the ceremony. For 17 years, he has worked for this. Some people are born teachers, or healers, or whatever. The Commander… He was born to Command a ship. Maybe that sounds silly. But seriously, he’s just good at what he does. He was a good EX-O, but stepping into Command has been like stepping into an old pair of favorite shoes. It fits, well, and comfortably.

I feel like a proud mama, sending her kid off to school for the first time, as a I get his gear ready for his first underway as Captain. I’ll miss him. His absence always leaves me a bit disoriented at first. What do I do with myself? I’ll worry, I’ll wonder. Is he getting enough sleep? Is he eating? Is he drinking enough water?

He’ll be fine. He’s The Commander. His officers and sailors all respect him, even if they don’t all like him ( how dare he expect them to do their jobs, and to take pride in doing them!). He’s more than competent.

I think I might cry.

No, no I won’t. I’ll enjoy this Sunday, and the breakfast that was just delivered to me here in my favorite chair. Later, we’ll take a walk on the beach together.

Our last Sunday. For a while, anyway…

 

 

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O, The Places We’ll Go…

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Ancient Aliens?

The Commander and I just came back from an epic, much-needed adventure in Utah. It was our first break together in nearly two years. We’ve had a few long weekends here and there, but not a proper getaway where “Vacation Commander” could come out. I’ve missed Vacation Commander. He’s a riot, and I haven’t seen him in ages. For nearly two years now, he’s been in “Command” mode, gearing up to take command of the ship. He hasn’t really allowed himself any time to just be. So after I picked him up from the pier on his first day as “not EX-O”, we cracked open a bottle of champagne and began to plot our escape.   IMG_0509 We put our cell phones on airplane mode and hit the road. The Commander was all mine. Not the ship’s. Not the Navy’s. He was mine. And it was awesome. We saw dinosaur bones, hoodoos, and petroglyphs; we walked across scary sandstone fins to see stone arches; we drove miles thru beautiful gorges, just soaking in the beauty and the wonder of it all. IMG_0179 We hiked until my toes blistered, and then we hiked some more. We took a bazillion pictures of gorgeous natural wonders. IMG_0563We floated in the Great Salt Lake, saw bison and antelope. We laughed, and dreamed of our future. We sat together, in comfortable silence. We stood in awe, and collapsed in delicious exhaustion. IMG_0218 It was a glorious week.

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You have a choice

I’ve been thinking about Mother’s Day for the past week, or, more specifically, the blog posts about hating it.

I don’t understand.  Seriously, of all the Hallmark Holidays to hate, why would you hate  Mother’s Day?

“… Mother’s Day celebrates a huge lie about the value of women: that mothers are superior beings, that they have done more with their lives and chosen a more difficult path.”

You seem to be missing the point.

“I hate the way the holiday makes all non-mothers, and the daughters of dead mothers, and the mothers of dead or severely damaged children, feel the deepest kind of grief and failure.”

Did you know that Anna Jarvis, the founder of Mother’s Day had no children? That her own mother had passed away? She loved her mother, respected and admired her. She wanted to honor her. It struck her as a good idea for everyone to take a day and just honor the woman who gave them life.

How dare she.

I am not insensitive to the pain of women. I should be hugely pregnant right now, my due date only a few days away. But, I’m not. Last Saturday night, after The Commander had gone to bed, I sat up late into the night crying.

Weeping. 

Sunday morning, as I sat in my cozy chair, rehydrating, and reflecting on motherhood,  I found my eyes once again tearing up. This time, they were tears of gratitude.  I thought about all of the mothers that have touched my life in different ways. In my heart, as I listed and honored each of them.

And it made me feel profoundly happy, and deeply loved.

My Momma: There is SO much that I have to thank you for, but at the top of my list, is showing me what unconditional love really is, by holding onto me, no matter how hard I foolishly pushed you away. And when this prodigal daughter returned to you, you didn’t hesitate to welcome me back with open arms.

Also, because of you, every time I travel, someone asks me if my bags are full of rocks, and they usually are. I love you. I honor you.

Momma P: You raised the man who I am delighted, and privileged to be married to. You have inspired, encouraged, and taught me in all of my housewifely and crafty endeavors. I love you. I honor you.

The “P” Sisters, my aunties: What can say? You are a wonderful, beautiful, and crazy bunch of ladies, the proverbial village that raised me; and a helluva village it was. Is. Your doors and arms have always been open to me. Your children are still my best friends. I love you ladies. I honor you.

My sisters and cousins, both biological and bonus: It has been an absolute joy watching you blossom into motherhood. I get weepy sometimes, seeing the next generation growing up, knowing the word ‘cousin’ to be synonymous with ‘friend’. Seriously, our village is awesome. I love you. I honor you.

There are so many more…

We all have choices in life. You can choose to celebrate whichever holidays you want to, or not at all. You can choose to focus on life’s disappointments, or you can choose to take the day for what it is, and choose to put the focus on someone other than yourself. You can choose to look around a room and just love on other ladies, because seriously, why the hell not?

You have choices. Why not choose to love? It feels good.

And love is the point.

 

 

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There is beauty in the broken

I almost titled this post “I blame my mother”, but then thought better of it.

I’m a collector, I always have been; I get it from my parents.

Last year, I took a trip to the Lelanau Peninsula with my mom, aunties, and cousins. One day we took a walk on lake Michigan, and in a very short time I had managed to fill all of my pockets with rocks. Looking down at my full hands, I thought to myself “It’s a sickness, really.” At that very moment, my mother approached, hands full of rocks. “It’s a sickness, really” she said to me.

So you see, it’s her fault (and my Pop is just as bad).

Over the past few years, The Commander and I have visited a number of beaches. While I do love a perfect shell, I find myself drawn to the odd and the broken ones…

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And he’d always wonder aloud why on earth I’d pick up those broken bits. “What are you going to do with those” he’d ask me. “I don’t know yet, but something” I’d say. I just loved the idea of creating something beautiful using those overlooked and under loved pieces.

Well, I finally figured out the something…

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Don’t let the jar of sand dollars behind the frame confuse you

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I don’t know, maybe they’re silly, but they sure do make my heart happy.

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It’s not defeat, it’s just good sense.

Sometimes, I’m a little slow to accept things. Sometimes, I need a smack in the head. Literally.

Many months back, I told myself that I was good with an easier pace of exercise. Yoga and longs walks on the beach are a far cry from my history of karate, Krav Maga, and MMA. I love yoga, and I REALLY love walks on the beach; but I found myself longing for the days of Drunken Ninja attacks. I told myself that those days were over, and that it was ok, because my body has been through a lot and this is a new chapter in my life.

Acceptance. I told myself that I accepted this truth about my life, but in truth, it felt like defeat.

In November I had a miscarriage. I needed something more after that. My mental, emotional, and physical well-being depended upon my being able to do something really aggressive and intense. I needed to thrash someone.

Don’t judge me.

I signed up for Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. I’m pleased to say that my instincts in high adrenaline, “fight or flight” situations is to inflict damage and create space from an attacker, however, that is of no benefit in BJJ. The idea of keeping very close to your opponent is very counterintuitive to me. For the first few weeks, I really struggled to not hurt my classmates while we were ‘rolling’. They were practicing submission techniques and sweeps, I was trying hard to ignore my krav training to crush a throat, or stick my thumb in someone’s eye. It was hard.

Jiu Jitsu has been very satisfying, but honestly, I’m not twenty-one anymore and my body really has been through the wringer. Training is painful, and coming home covered in bruises… no bueno. I was in class on Tuesday, I’d just gotten kicked in the face, I was trying hard to protect a knee that I’d injured in class the week before, I was covered in bruises and conscious of new ones being created by the eighteen year old that was giving me a sound thrashing, and I thought to myself “What the hell am doing here?” Two minutes later, that eighteen year old’s knee connected with my right temple.

Back in 2004, I got a concussion from a hit to the right temple. It was bad. It took a long time to recover from that hit, and I’m still affected by the damage ten years later.

I stood up, stumbled, and then crumpled into a fetal position, my arms cradling my head. With my adrenaline pumping and my head spinning from the hit, I really couldn’t tell right away if I was damaged or not.

I cried. Not because it hurt (although it did), but because I was terrified. It was embarrassing.

Once I’d sat up, and the room stopped spinning, I knew I was alright. Even then, I was still telling myself that I’d just take a week off and then get back into training….

I still couldn’t accept defeat.

Then I pictured The Commander’s face when I told him what happened, and I knew that I was being ridiculous.

I was done.

I am done. With all of it. No more grappling or fighting of any kind. It’s out of my system.

It’s not defeat, it’s just good sense.

I’m going back to the beach.

 

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It’s A Mosiversary

He was advertised as a Shi-Zu, but he’s actually a Lhasa Apso.

When I met him, Mos was malnourished, had a skin condition, a hernia, and was (and still is, apparently), allergic to life. Nevertheless, it was love at first sight.

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Mos Eisley

He was rescued from the streets of one of the Carolinas. His long hair was matted, and he was hungry. He was then adopted by an abusive family in MD. They ignored the recommendation to repair his hernia, treated him poorly, and ultimately returned him to the rescue organization, claiming he was agressive.

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Mos

I reckon that if one is kicked around and not fed well, one might get a bit cranky.

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Mosey

It’s been a year since Mosey joined our family.

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Moser

 We’ve been through so much together, it really feels like it’s been much longer.

Mr. Mosely

Mr. Mosely

We’ve driven cross-country, just the two of us.

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Woofy

We’ve battled his health issues.

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Captain Itchy Pants

He’s kept me company while The Commander was away.

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Sir Mooch-A-Lot

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Cozy Mosy

I’ve comforted him during time of pain and trauma, and he’s done the same for me.

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The Count of Cozy

We’ve tackled a Pitt Bull.

Seriously, I tackled a Pitt Bull to rescue my boy. In retrospect, it wasn’t the wisest thing I’ve ever done, but I’d do it again in a heartbeat.

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The Most Interesting Dog in the World:
I’m not always adorable, but when I am… well, it’s pretty much always.

He makes me smile and laugh, every day.

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Silly Woof

He runs from the neighbor’s Chihuahua, but strolls by the Pitt that attacked him like nothing ever happened.

The Unfortunate Woof

The Unfortunate Woof

He’s terrified of flies. And farts.

He snorts while he sleeps.

Frito Face

Frito Face

He has no interest in chasing or fetching balls or sticks, he’d rather pull apart a ball of yarn.

Bubs

Bubs

He growls at The Commander, then snuggles up to him.

Goober

Goober

Recently, he started doing this:

…which makes me laugh, out loud, every single time I see him do it.

I’m so grateful for my furry friend.

My Furry Lovey

My Furry Lovey

Happy Mosiversary!

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Tying up loose ends… Or, really, just one loose end.

For a few weeks there, all of my creative energy was being poured into all things “Wilbur”.  Blankets, booties, sweaters… But with the abrupt ending of my pregnancy came the immediate need to put away all things “Wilbur”, finished or not.

I refocused my energies on a half-finished project from my pre-Wilbur days.

A few months ago, The Commander and I were sorting through some things when we came across his desert-camo uniforms. We re-packed the uniforms and gear, but he told me to pitch the undershirts.

I couldn’t do it. It’s silly, I know. They’re a homely brown, and neither of us would ever wear them. But I just couldn’t part with them. When I see those shirts, I think of our year apart. The year when he worked nearly non-stop over in that dusty kingdom, while I worked as a nanny and a janitor in PA.  For both of us it was a year of challenges and growth (I won’t act like my year had as many challenges as his did, but mine was rough in its own ways…). That year solidified our relationship as one that could withstand time and distance.

So, I stashed those ugly shirts in the back of my closet, which is where things go when I decide to “deal with it later”.

Then The Commander’s mama sent me this awesome tutorial on how to make tee-shirt rugs.

A-HA!

Mos liked the plan, as he is attached to the shirts too.

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I decided to also use one of my tee-shirts from that year.

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Hey, don’t judge me. I was a nanny, after all. Silly tee-shirts were part of my uniform.

On a side note, I tried donating that shirt at least twice, only to rescue it from the donation bag at the last-minute. I just couldn’t part with it.

I got to work tearing the shirts into strips while Mos supervised.

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By the way, if you try this, don’t make your strips too narrow. I suggest no less than an inch wide. That’s easier said than done, unless you cut each strip with scissors instead of tearing madly at the fabric (like some people…).

The tutorial is pictorial, which meant that I had to figure out some stuff by trial and error.  I had to re-start at least a half a dozen times, but with Mos’ support, I figured it out.

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Be sure to add stitches as the circumference grows, otherwise you end up with a basket.

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I found that periodically laying it out flat helped me monitor that issue. Also, it helps to have a Mos around to assist with the testing of the coziness.

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Cozy Mosy…

Mos is good like that.

He’s a big fan of the rug. He’s been enjoying the unfinished product for the last two months.

I finished it last night. It smelled like dog. Mos, specifically. So did I, after having the thing on my lap for two hours while I finished it.

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I used multiple skeins of colorful yarn to make it more colorful… Totally unplanned.

He seems to approve of the finished product. I do too.