Thursday, September 29, 2011

Sharing Thoughts

I've been debating for the last couple weeks if I want to keep sharing my poems...I'm torn. I feel as if by posting them, I'm at least doing something - putting them out there into the world instead of hoarding them. However, when you share something you're very proud of and get no response, it's a bit of a blow...I guess I knew it might be tough from the beginning when I talked about my thin skin. We'll see if by continuing to post, I can make it a bit thicker...

Random Thoughts

Random thoughts - 
meaningless to anyone other than me

Would that change - 
if they knew what it all meant?

Would they take the time to see me -
in all the words?

Will I ever have the courage to share -
knowing I won't be able to explain, even if I could?

Random thoughts -
my life on paper

Fears, hidden in words -
dreams, revealed with care.
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Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Funky Sizing



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Monday, September 26, 2011

Abbey Ruins

As you may recall, in the post about my recent birthday (read it here) I discussed how one of my David Winter Cottages broke during the earthquake. As a wonderful surprise, one of my friends found a new one for me. He's actually the one who started my collection. I'd liked David Winter cottages for quite a while since my step-mother was a collector (mostly the castles). My friend gave me my first two cottages (I bought a third from him) and now he has given me another one. That means he is directly responsible for over half of my collection! Pretty good way to remember a friendship...
As you can see by the picture, the new one seems to be in better shape than my old one. You can definitely tell when comparing the two side by side that these cottages are hand painted and no two are exactly alike. The colors in my new "Abbey Ruins" are much brighter and well, more colorful. 

Thank you, trebord, for the wonderful gift!
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Friday, September 23, 2011

100 Days

Actually, it's 99 days. Yesterday was the day when it was 100 days until the end of the year. I just thought 100 days sounded better than 99 for a title...

I don't remember ever even thinking about things like "100 days left" in a year. This year it seems to be all over Twitter. I wonder how come?

Anyway, my problem is that as soon as I saw "100 days left in the year" I started thinking of all the things I might be able to get done in that time. If you've read any of my past posts, you know I've always got lists of things I want to do and get done. So of course, ever since yesterday, I keep thinking of things to add to the "get done in the next 100 days" list. The fact that I didn't even get the blog done until 99 days should tell you something...it's been a busy week.

So here are a few things I've been thinking:
Lose 10 pounds - pretty doable considering I have almost 100 days to do it (would be great if it ends up being more than 10...)
Start walking again (a couple/few times a week)
Start the McGuire scrapbook and get at least three months worth of pages done
Sort through "stuff" - enough to take three trips to Goodwill (or throw the stuff away)

Doesn't seem like too much...most are things that can be done at the same time. A quote I recently saw was something along the lines of "the bridge between goals and accomplishments is discipline." So, I guess we'll see if I manage to accomplish any of these in the next 99 days...it's worth a shot, right?
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Thursday, September 22, 2011

The Reward

I wrote the following in the spring of 1999. I don't remember what was going on at the time, just that I was starting to feel like an old maid...

The Reward

A memory lasts
in the mind and it's dreams - 
Adding it's texture
as a rock in a stream

Care must be taken
if it isn't to fade -
A key to the future;
a toll that's been paid

Look back to the visions,
the memories you've stored - 
Remember them fondly, 
they are aging's reward.
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Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Adventure Aquarium

We went to NJ this weekend to visit some friends. On Monday, Bubba and I went to Adventure Aquarium in Camden, NJ. We arrived about two hours before closing which turned out to be just about perfect. It was almost as if we had a private viewing. We only ran into about 15 other people, total. We didn't have to wait in line or peep around shoulders. Bubba was able to walk around and I didn't have to worry about him taking his time or getting in anyone's way. In other words, it turned out to be a very good experience.

I lived in NJ for two years and never once went to the aquarium. Strange because I love aquariums. I used to go to the one in Boston every chance I got. Actually, I didn't even know Camden had an aquarium until our NJ visit this weekend. All this time, it was just down the road from where I lived when I was there. On another note, I drove by my old apartments (I had two while there). I can't believe I remembered how to get there, probably only because I remembered I lived off of "Exit 5." Seems like everyone in certain parts of NJ give directions based on which Turnpike exit you take...

Anyway, the aquarium has these two HUGE hippos. They were kind of hard to see since the water was so dirty but we waited around so Bubba could see them from the under water window. I didn't get a good picture of their faces but you can see how big they are...out of all the stuffed animals they had in the gift shop, Bubba wanted the hippo. I love hearing him say "Hippo" - don't little kids have the cutest way of saying things?

The aquarium has a ton of things you can touch - sharks, stingrays, jelly fish, star fish, etc. Pretty neat. They even had baby (4 months old) sting rays for the little people to touch. Bubba almost touched one but stuck with just getting his hands wet for the most part. The aquarium also had Purell dispensers all over the place to keep everyone clean.

Of course they also had "Nemo" - lots and lots of Nemos...Bubba didn't want to leave them. Since at some point we did have to leave, he finally settled for looking at the pictures. Once we got into the shark tunnel he totally forgot about Nemo. There's this cool glass tunnel where you walk under the water in their giant shark tank. The sharks are literally swimming around you - pretty cool.

The only downside to the visit was I only had my cell phone to take pictures. I didn't get any good ones in the shark tunnel because it was too dark. I got plenty of pictures but with a good camera would have gotten even better ones.
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Friday, September 16, 2011

POW/MIA Remembrance Day

As today is POW/MIA Remembrance Day, I thought I would share with you a poem I wrote about POWs. I wrote it in November of 1991. I can't really remember what was going on at that moment to bring the words, but I do know I had been reading about POWs since I was in high school and going to the Academy only reinforced that. Out of everything I've written so far, this has remained something I'm most proud of. I used to think about sending it to someone in the POW/MIA remembrance community but didn't know who or where. So I'm sharing it with you now.

Faith and a Prayer (21 Nov 91)

Name, rank and service number –
That’s all I’m going to give.

Please, please, let that be enough –
Just to let us live.

The days drag on –
The months don’t end.

How many years
have we been here, my friend?

The questions have stopped –
Our knowledge is old.

Yet, our cells are still dark –
Our bones are still cold.

A question remains –
Running deep in our hearts.

Why did you leave us –
Did we not do our part?

The years flow by –
There aren’t many left.

Our faces are covered –
In the stillness of death.

Once we believed –
That our country did care.

Now all we have –
Is our faith and a prayer.

Secretary of Defence Leon Panetta gave a good speech today. If you'd like to read it, you can find it here.
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I'm not sure why the intro paragraph isn't showing up right...sometimes it's there and sometimes it isn't. Usually, it shows up when I click on the title. Anyone have any ideas why it's not always there? Funny thing it, that's what I was trying to do with the "read more" thing but that wasn't working and I haven't had a chance to try and fix it. Read More......

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Strands of a Web

I'm not sure if this is exactly a "poem" but it's something I've written, so I'm posting it here for Theme Thursday. 

Strands of a Web

memories fill my mind until I can think of nothing else -
I think about things I've done and decisions I've made -
wondering how I ever thought they were for the best -

just as time changes our lives, it changes our perception -
of what our lives were or what might have been -
we see things more clearly and begin to understand -

how actions and decisions molded our lives -
decisions and events become strands of a silken web -
that over time grows in size and strength -

adding beauty and color to our lives -
silently threatening to trap us -
within the memories of what life once was.

I wrote this in October of 1997 - about 16 months after graduating from the Academy and two months after moving from Recruiting in PA to Aircraft Maintenance in NJ. 
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Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Underwhelmed

So, the OSC function yesterday did not go quite as expected...as in I'm not sure if I've ever felt less welcomed anywhere.

On the OSC website was the following statement:
"Whether you are new to the area or have been here for years, you will enjoy our Super Sign-up. You can find out about our club and all our great Activities and you'll also learn about other groups and things to do in our area."

I had made a conscious decision not to bring cash to the event because I knew they were supposed to have a lot of crafts and other neat things to look at and buy and I didn't want to buy anything. I still think this was a good thing, especially now as I realize I probably would have felt pressured to pay the membership fee before I had even learned anything about the club.

I wish I had handled the whole thing better in person, but was so surprised at having been "dismissed" that I just wanted to get out of there and not go back...still not sure if I'll participate in any of their events at this point - they just left a really bad taste in my mouth...

Below is the e-mail I sent to the person in charge of the information fair as well as to the "info@ OSC" e-mail provided on their website. There was a lot more I wanted to say but I felt that getting too into my hurt feelings and emotions would only get in the way...Take a look and let me know what you think - too much? Not enough?
___________ 
To whom it may concern -

I attended the welcome fair yesterday but wanted to let you know I have never felt less welcome at any base I have ever been to.

Based on information on your website, I thought this was an opportunity to get to know your club, see what you had to offer and decide if I wanted to join and participate. Since we just moved here, I had been looking forward to the Info Fair for over a month thinking it would be a good introduction to the base/area.

Upon arrival at the "Welcome" table there was an expressed expectation that I join the BOSC in order to participate in the event. When I stated I did not have any cash and wanted to check it out before joining, I was no longer "welcomed" and was told to mail in a membership form and/or check out the Facebook page and to "have a good day." My impression of having been thus dismissed was reinforced by the fact the woman in front of me was given a "gift bag" (as it seemed were the other women present) and I was not. When I asked if I could look around, I was told "I guess, but you can't sign up for anything since you're not a member."

I'd like to recommend that in the future, if this is truly an information fair, that "Membership" be separate from "Welcome." As you welcome people, you can take their information if they do not want to join right way (thereby keeping track of the number of people who attend and enabling your group to reach out to them later) or if they are interested, point them to the membership side to sign up. It's a small distinction but may help alleviate misconceptions about who is "welcome" and who isn't.

Thank you for your time.
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Monday, September 12, 2011

New Place, New People

We moved about three months ago and so far the only new people I've met and talk to with any regularity are my neighbor and the women at Bubba's daycare. As nice as they are, I don't think we're exactly friends...

Tomorrow is the "Welcome Social" for the local Officer's Spouse's Club. I'm actually looking forward to going and seeing what they have to offer and meeting new people. Judging by their website, they seem like they have lots of interesting things going on: books clubs, a "Tea Time" group that goes to different "Tea" places around the area, a mom's group for play dates and mom's night out events, a crafting group, and a group that just gets together to explore the area. I hope to get a lot of information and see what kind of plan I can come up with to get involved and still have lots of time with Bubba. I already had to promise my husband that I would not volunteer for anything and especially not to be on the board. Easy promise to make...I had enough of being on the Board and dealing with opinionated women at our last base.

Tomorrow's event is supposed to be stroller friendly, so hopefully Bubba will do OK and not get bored too quickly. I figure if I have milk and crackers, he should be good to go. Plus, he loves to see new things and watch people so it should be fun for him too.

I plan on doing some recon today so I can find the Officer's Club more easily tomorrow...I'll let you know how it goes.
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Thursday, September 8, 2011

Palm of Tomorrow

I've gone back and forth with myself ever since I wrote the post last Thursday saying I'd share my poetry. Now, I know I only have two or three readers so it really shouldn't make a difference if I share something uber-personal or not. I've only shown my poetry to a handful of people so it's hard to break out of that and "put it all out there." Plus, as I've mentioned before, I'm not sure I have the thick skin needed to withstand harsh critiques of my most personal writing....

Despite all of that, I'm pressing on, thin skin or not. I wrote this on August 21st, 1991. Classes were probably about to start following 9 weeks of summer programs (SERE, Summer Ac, and CONUS for me). I would have been moving into my new squadron meeting all new people. I'm not sure what else to say about the time frame or what I might have been thinking at the time...Do you even want to know the background or prefer to read it "blind?"

The Palm of Tomorrow 

Ghosts - 
floating in and out of consciousness
Memories - 
of days locked in the past.

Keys -
thought lost, or
purposefully misplaced
Suddenly jingling in a dust filled corner.

Pain and anger - 
heating the metal to a crisp, red heat
Burning its imprint on the palm of tomorrow.

Drawn by the wizard of confusion - 
tumblers fall open, followed by relief

Spirits of tomorrow -
cower unseen, hidden by abrupt flashes of contentment
Balancing on the shoulders of thinly veiled hope.

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Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Scent of Life

Have you ever smelled something and all of a sudden you were transported to another time and place?

A few months ago I splurged and bought Wheat Germ Oil & Honey shampoo from the Vermont Country Store. The first time I used it (and every time since) I had the strongest memory of the country club we belonged to when I was little. We used to go swim there pretty much every day, every summer. I guess I must have used Faberge's Wheat Germ Oil & Honey shampoo quite a bit one summer since I got such a strong memory of it. The smell of the shampoo brings to mine sunshine, friendship, long, fun days in the water...in other words, a happy childhood.

Another such memory booster is a certain pipe tobacco. I have no idea what it is or what makes the right smell, but when I smell it I always think of Father Garvey. He was the priest at the church my family attended. He presided over my First Communion and numerous confessions. One year the church did a "tubing" trip - I remember hiking in the woods with Father Garvey while he was smoking his pipe. I normally don't like any kind of smoke but when I smell that particular tobacco, it makes me feel young again, safe and secure in knowing life was good and everything was going as it should.

I know there are other smells out there that remind me of different things or moments in time but these two seem to stand out. I wonder if it's because they both remind me of happy times - times when I felt all was right with the world. Whatever it is, I'm glad for it - it's nice to have those memories to think of.
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Monday, September 5, 2011

Teenage Obituary

As I was going through my "Writing Box" I came upon something interesting. Actually, many interesting things but this one will come first...I found an obituary I wrote for myself sometime my senior year of high school or first year at USAFA. I can't remember why I wrote it - I assume it was probably for an assignment of some kind, but who knows? I think those of you who know me will get a kick out of it - either way, it's interesting to see what my 17-18 year old mind thought was important, what would mark a successful, happy life...Maybe something I should think about some more and see how it would be different if I wrote it now.
___
Colonel Sam (actual full name here) died yesterday at the age of 53. She died during a test flight of the new Grey Falcon X-18 when the engines malfunctioned.
Col Sam was a recipient of a Bronze Star when she acted, with no thought for her own safety, and saved the lives of 35 Hungarian refugees as they fled from Soviet military police after a peace rally.
Col Sam graduated from the Air Force Academy in 1994 and went on to pilot training. During a night jump her second year, she fractured both legs and was told she'd never walk again. Overcoming great obstacles, she went through rigorous physical therapy and returned to the Air Force to become the first female fighter pilot.
Col Sam and her husband, Edward Johnson, spent many years in Africa in an effort to make the plight of the endangered elephants more well known. She spent her life doing what she could to save this endangered species. 
She is survived by her daughters Elizabeth, a lawyer in New York, and Margaret, a doctor in Louisiana, and her sons Jonathan and Marcus, both of whom are training to become fighter pilots. Her husband, head of Johnson & Johnson, has set the date for the ceremony (to be announced later this week). 
Col Sam is donating her organs and other useful parts for medical use and scientific study. She will be cremated with her ashes to be sprinkled over the ocean.
_______

The elephants and Africa are no surprise. Nor is wanting to marry someone fabulously wealthy. Even the Hungarian refugees makes sense considering I used to think about joining the Peace Corps to "help people."

The main thing I get when I read this is a bit of a "super-hero complex" thing - as if I wanted to be remembered for doing great things, for making an impact to the world and the people around me, to leave the world better than I found it.

I guess that's not really a bad thing...it just leaves a lot to live up to. And probably helps explain why I always feel as if I haven't done enough...now I know those feelings started 20 years ago.

What would your obituary say? What makes a successful life to you?
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Friday, September 2, 2011

Fear #2

One of my friends commented on my Fear post from a couple days ago and said one of his greatest fears is "being misunderstood." My immediate thought was that my greatest fear is being ignored or not heard.

Back when I was at the Pentagon I was given a call sign, Ditto. They said it was because I repeat myself all the time. Luckily, it was toward the end of our time there because I was really hurt and offended (thin skin kicking in). I thought because they remarked on (called attention to) a personal "fault" it meant they didn't like me. Every time I opened my mouth I questioned if I was going to be made fun of for repeating myself. So, I think I pretty much stopped talking to most of them and stopped talking in class and/or meetings. 

What a waste. 

Now that several years have passed I can see it a little more clearly. Call signs usually do make fun of something personal...it's possible they meant it as a "welcome to the club" kind of thing and not meanly, the way I took it.

The biggest thing I realized is that I do repeat myself. All the time. I'm so concerned that people hear and understand me that I sometimes say the same thing (again and again) to make sure the other person/people "got it." It's not really a bad thing. I guess it can be annoying for some people but if they're really my friends, they realize that's just one of my things. Plus, if you listen to me and I repeat something then it's a good sign it's something important to me or something that really means something.

Instead of being embarrassed or fearing people will see a weakness in me, I've tried to embrace my "Ditto-ness." Even as I write this post, I'm wondering, have I talked about this before? Maybe I have, but I guess it's important enough to me to talk about more than once.

So, what's your biggest fear and how do you deal with it?
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Thursday, September 1, 2011

Theme Thursday


So, I'm trying something new.

One of the things I talk about quite a bit is wanting to have a plan or some kind of routine. I figured one good place to start is with this blog.

I usually just write based on what I'm thinking about or feeling in a particular moment on a particular day. While I don't think there's anything wrong with that, I've also found it leads my posts to be all over the place. I'm hoping if I have some sort of a plan maybe it will come together a bit better.

One of the things I'm most interested in is writing - hence the blog. But I'm interested in all sorts of writing, and not just my own. I love reading, I love talking about books, I love collecting quotes...and of course I love writing. So, I thought I would start doing "Theme Thursday."

As you may remember from school when you were assigned writing themes - this particular word is not just about a "theme of a play" or something like that. According to the Thesaurus a "theme" is a piece of writing, blurb, commentary, story, think piece, etc. Sounds exactly like what I want to write about and now I know when to do it. Plus, if I do want to have a better explanation for "Theme Thursday" (based on any vague or blank looks based on the other definition of Theme) all I need to say is "Literature is the theme"...because it is...

I've been thinking about doing some kind of book review in addition to tracking the books I read. I've also thought about posting some of the poems I've written. I've collected quotes for a long time and have quite a few of them. I've thought about writing some kind of book using all the quotes I've got - why not start with some blog posts? Lots and lots of juicy ideas waiting to be written down...

If I like the way "Theme Thursday" is going, I might move on to one or two of the other days. Who knows? Let's see how this goes first...let me know what you think.
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