The Hazards of Dancing on your Washing Machine

What can happen in the blink of an eye

I was almost finished. Just one more shelf. The job was easy enough. Getting rid of all the junk, unused, outdated stuff crammed up on high shelves. It was freeing to be getting rid of clutter.

I was standing, (not actually dancing) on the washing machine, an act that felt as natural as breathing to me. What I didn’t predict was the chair I was using to step down onto would tip over. So many times I had climbed up & stepped on kitchen counters to change lightbulbs, stood on cabinets, stepped on the washing machine to reach something needed that standing on stuff seemed like the best way to get what I needed and fast. Sometimes I even just jumped straight down onto the floor.

 In the blink of an eye, I was falling. Backwards. Out of control.

And fast and hard. My back hit the filing cabinet and the ledge of the desk with a vengeance. I felt the trashcans and pieces of junk on the floor all around me.

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Stayin Alive on the 4th of July

I wrote the following post back in 2011 when my son, Rob, was deployed to Afghanistan.

Today, I am privileged to be working with Soldiers who recently returned from Afghanistan. Their stories are chilling, young men who know the horrors of war and are trying to make sense of it all.

As we celebrate our nation’s birthday, I hope that all of us remember our service members & their families.

The ones who are still deployed, still in danger, the ones who are struggling, and the many who are wounded warriors.

Think for a moment about the ones who did not return.  Think about their families and take a moment for gratitude.

Send those families some love.

July 4, 2011

I wonder what Rob & the other Marines will be doing on this day when we celebrate our nation’s independence and freedom. How many patrols will he be out on today? Will he be in a humvee or on foot?

Just exactly how hot will it be?  I think about these things as we go to the 100 degree mark here & my house is 87 degrees inside tonight even with A/C , I’m hot. I imagine he would smile if he heard me complain, especially since I don’t have to strap on 80 pounds of gear to begin the day and think of air conditioning as some distant luxury.

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The Good, the Bad, & the Ugly….

The real truth about working overseas

Traveling around the world is wonderful.  I adore it.  Live for it.  I practically die for it.   Lucky me, I found a way to work internationally.   The real truth is that it can be downright uncomfortable and annoying.   And  it’s definitely not the same as being on vacation or holiday.  However, that said,  I’m willing to put up with A LOT of things I don’t like.

Window Sill

I arrived in Germany 2 weeks ago.

It went the same as usual: 2 days of flying, the jet lag stupor, and arrival at the hotel. I found my room and opened the door, dragging 2 rather large suitcases behind me.

This time was a shock.

I glanced around.  Two small twin beds, a desk, and barely room to turn around.

My heart sunk.  Deeply.   A lilliputian room for six months.  Six, yes, 6 months.  It’s not a good feeling.  I was not impressed. Room with a View

So I did the thing I do when I’m shocked and appalled. I defaulted to the Scarlett O’Hara thinking:  Tomorrow.  “I’ll think about this tomorrow.”

So now, after almost 2 weeks,  I’m off my prima donna status and I’m dealing.   Because there’s actually  good, bad, and the ugly.

The good.

I have a room with a view of a castle and a river.

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The Women Behind the Scenes

                   What it Really Means to Wear the Uniform

I am the mother of 2 active duty Marines.  Each of my sons have strong, patient women waiting for them.  These women & I wait for them to return from war, from deployments, from dangerous and faraway places.  We have been waiting 7 months.  We have been waiting 3 weeks.

We are waiting women.  We wear the uniform, too.

I remember back in 2007, when General Peter Pace was serving as the Chairman of the Joint Chief of Staffs, he said, “Thank you for your service.  You are serving in the military even though you don’t wear a uniform.”  He was speaking to a rather large audience of family members on an Army base in Hawaii.  All of them had a loved one deployed, mostly to Iraq.

At the time, I didn’t get what General Pace meant but I thought, hey, that’s a nice thing to say to the families.  My sons were new Marines and so we had not experienced a deployment.

Today I get it.  TOTALLY.   When I saw my daughter-in-law bravely send her husband off to war, just 6 months after getting married, I knew she would be wearing the unseen uniform.   That was their first goodbye.  My son has just returned from his second deployment in less than 2 years.  Since they have been married, they have spent more time apart than together with his 2 deployments to Afghanistan.

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An Unconventional Conversation…

What Alaska Said to Guam

Life is about contrasts.

Who would have thought I’d be in such opposite places in the world one year apart?

Like, did you ever think about where you were a year ago? And how they compare?

At the moment I find myself in cold, dark, ALASKA.

This time last year I was in paradise.

Tanguissan Beach-largeI remember waking up and seeing sweeping ocean views of blue green tropical waters. It would take my breath away & I’d pinch myself and say, really?

I was waking up in Guam, the beautiful US territory in the Western Pacific.

Today in Alaska at 9:00am it is still dark. There are no azure skies and ocean; I do not hear children’s voices running and playing on the beach. Instead I hear the crunch of ice beneath my feet when I walk to my car. Looking out the window, I see darkness, although when the sun at lasts wakes up, I will see various shades of grays, whites, & browns.

In Guam, I remember my glasses fogging up when I walked out of the air conditioned buildings into the hot, humid tropical air. The strange twist is that when I went to the library on base, I’d have to wear a fleece jacket to be able stay there for more than 5 minutes to deal with the sub temperatures of the air conditioning.

2012-10-30-Alaska-snow-dark-carsHere in Alaska, I wouldn’t dare go outside without a warm coat, hat, gloves. And sometimes hand warmers.

That’s contrast all right.

 What if Guam had a conversation with Alaska? Reasonable, eh? They’re both the US, both not attached to the Mother Land.

GUAM: Hey there Frozen Man. How’s it going? I heard you guys got a lot of ice up there and not much snow this winter. That’s too bad.

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