Tuesday, November 4, 2008

It's a sign...

I walked into the orthotics office where I was going to be fit for a knee brace, signed in, and sat down in one of the chairs in the waiting room. I picked up an issue of Glamour magazine that was on the side table next to me and started thumbing through the pages, not really paying attention to what I was reading but at the same time being mildly amused by the trivial nature of many of the headlines. I stopped at a spread about an “edgy makeover,” as they called it, and was quite impressed by the transformation the woman had actually made. As you can see above, she started off as a sort of dowdy, tired looking blond with ratty shoulder length hair and deep set eyes, but after an “edgy” bobbed haircut and a little makeup, she literally looked 10 years younger. She looked completely different. I started thinking about what it would be like to cut off most of my hair – I’ve always wanted to donate my hair to Locks for Love to help make wigs for those suffering with cancer, but I’ve never had the guts. I had a traumatic short hair experience as an eight year old when one of my older brother’s friends asked if I was his brother, so I started growing my hair out right then and never looked back.

But today, right when I was thinking about making a big change and going for it, I heard a voice in front of me mumble “never cut bangs into your hair, miss…” I looked up and there was an older man hunched over a walker coming over to sit down a couple chairs away from me. He continued, “I was a surfer back in the sixties and I had hair down to my ankles. Now my son comes over and gives me a buzz cut when I need it.” Well, almost a buzz cut. He still had a little bit of his past with him in the form of the ever so ugly rat-tail trailing down his upper back. But on him, it was actually kind of endearing. “All that hair was just too much work. But your hair… your hair is very nice. It reminds me of the hippies when I was younger.” I thanked him, which I guess he interpreted as an invitation to tell me his life story. When he talked a mouthful of decayed teeth presented themselves to me, and he had some trouble enunciating. His eyes were slightly beady, and it looked as if he had had a stroke that left part of his face paralyzed. If he had been sitting outside on the street I would have thought he was homeless, and although when he first sat down near me I was a little creeped out, as he went on to tell me stories of his surfing days in Hawaii, Australia, Indonesia, and all the way up and down the 101 freeway, I could tell he was just an old man looking for a way to relive his good old glory days by talking to his neighbor in a waiting room.

The doctor opened up the door and called my name. I looked at the old man next to me, wished him luck with his back pain, put the issue of Glamour back on the side table, and went into the hallway. Maybe I won’t cut my hair right now, as I’m sure my husband is ecstatic to hear. Maybe I want to keep looking like a hippie from the sixties until it’s no longer age appropriate. But for some weird reason, I won’t forget the old man with a rich history who had an indescribable look in his eyes when he spoke of catching a 14 foot wave off of the North Shore in O’ahu. I should be so lucky to find something that I am so passionate about that I have that look in my eyes forty years from now.

Monday, October 20, 2008

To Mrs. Ssgt. Mike Hudson

So there I was, sitting at work, wondering when my husband would get online so we could talk on gchat. It was a busy morning but I finally had a window of about thirty minutes when there wasn’t much to be done. Whenever I have those windows of nothingness, it inevitably leads me to think about Aaron, when we’re going to be back together, how excited I am that we only (ONLY!!!) have about four more months left to go without each other. It’s such a wonderful feeling. But then, of course my wonderful feeling kind of turned sour a little bit when my Blackberry buzzed, alerting me to a new email. It was from the blogmaster, whoever he is, letting me know that someone named Mrs. Ssgt. Mike Hudson had left me a comment regarding my most recent post. I had never heard the name before but assumed it was the wife of one of Aaron’s buddies who wanted to see how I was doing or something of that nature. But no, I have found that not many experienced Army wives go out of their way to help or welcome the newbies into their circles. We are left to essentially fend for ourselves if we don’t live on or near a post, finding solace in the occasional Myspace comment from our fellow newbies, but mostly finding refuge in the only person we know who has any inkling of an idea of what is going on in our lives. None of my family and none of my friends (save one whose boyfriend was deployed while we were in college) have ever really known anyone in the military, much less been married to a deployed soldier. So I have confided in Aaron the anguish I have felt over the last 10+ months, not only because he is my husband and that’s what husbands and wives do, but because he has been through this before. He has been deployed before in far worse conditions and knows how to be a great soldier and an amazingly supportive husband at the same time. He can listen to me and help me deal with stressful situations one minute, then turn around and jump into a stryker, leading his soldiers on a successful mission the next minute. Anyways, I’m getting ahead of myself. So this Mrs. Ssgt. Mike Hudson lady, whoever she is, decided to put in her unknown two cents on my post. Here’s what she had to say:

“I was searching for military wives and came across your blog and even if I don't know you I just had to comment! You LIKE your husband worry about you? You don't think it's more important that he worries about STAYING ALIVE?!? It's one thing to vent about having a bad day, but getting pissed off and fighting is a no-no for most military wives for a good reason. We rather keep that to ourselves & vent to each other so we know that our men can focus on coming home to us in one piece. I'm sorry but you seem very naïve and selfish. You need to get your priorities straight or your marriage won't last.”

Well, oh wise one, thank you for your expert marriage advice. Now, I hate it when people turn nothing into drama, and since I’m not one of those people, I’m not going to do it. But I would like to calmly and rationally (AND WITHOUT CAPS AND EXCESSIVE PUNCTUATION TO TRY TO MAKE A POINT!!!!!!) address a few things. Instead of starting with what I did say, let’s start with what I didn’t say, shall we? Maybe I didn’t make myself clear in my previous post. Never once did I say that it’s more important for my husband to worry about me than it is for him to worry about staying alive. That would be ridiculous. I also never insinuated that I enjoy getting pissed off at him and fighting with him. That’s also ridiculous. So. I’m glad that we’ve gotten that cleared up. (By the way, Mrs. Ssgt. Mike Hudson, do you have kids? I can picture you wagging your pointer finger at me, saying “Oh, Sarah, that’s a no-no for most military wives for a good reason,” then doing the “tsk! tsk!” sound with the appropriate sign language… Just asking…)

Now, about that “naïve” thing. Without putting too much of our personal life on blast, my husband and my marriage is very different than a lot of other military marriages. What works for us is not what would work for Jack and Jill’s. What I tried to express in my previous post is that in our marriage, it is important for both of us to feel needed. We have talked about it and we have agreed on it. I know for a fact that my husband will always worry about me, because he knows I’m living alone in a place where I don’t know anybody, and in a place where the closest active base is over two hours away. He knows I don’t have the support system that a lot of Army wives whose husbands are deployed have. I’m not living on a base (but I’m not complaining – I honestly wouldn’t really want to), I’m not living near a base, and I’m not even living near my family.

So, Mrs. Ssgt. Mike Hudson, I’m sorry that it feels good to know that somebody is thinking about me and concerned for my well being. I don’t think (and my husband doesn’t think this either) that a person’s location should change how they feel about their spouse. Am I more scared now that he’s back in the place that almost claimed his life his first time around than I would be if he were safe in bed next to me? God yes. But is our relationship any weaker or at any more risk for failure because he worries about me? I would think it’s the opposite. In the beginning of this awful deployment, our brand new marriage was on the rocks. I would love to blame it on my naïveté, because God knows I was. But it wasn’t all that. It was a mixture of naïveté and weak communication, but over time we have found our groove. We have figured out how to communicate effectively and rationally, which will ultimately be the key to our successful and happy marriage.

I don’t know why someone I’ve never met decided to write negative things about my marriage. Maybe she has some issues within her marriage that she needs to figure out. But whatever the reason, I know that I do have my priorities straight. My first priority is my husband. My second priority is my stepson. My third priority is my immediate family. My fourth priority is myself. My list goes on, but my very last priority – the one way way way down at the very bottom – is being concerned with how other people think of me and my marriage. I have learned that lesson the hard way, but am so glad that I did. Especially people who have nothing nice to say and who only want to stir shit up.

Like it or not, we’re all in this war business together. I am extremely proud to be married to a United States soldier who is fighting for and who has given up so much already for your right to say bitchy things, but I’m not going to conform to the “Army wife” stereotype of being the fake smile and fake happy voice on the other end of the phone if, indeed, I am not happy. Like I said in my previous post, the whole non-disclosure thing may work in some marriages, but it doesn’t work in ours. Easy as that. Nothing more, nothing less.

Mrs. Ssg. Mike Hudson – if you happen across my blog again for some reason (even though from the sound of your comment, you’d rather eat one of those raw pig’s feet I see at the Mexican market down the street than read my blog anymore…), please feel free to comment again or leave me your email address so that we might actually get the chance to get to know each other. I’m not trying to attack you in this post, but I am trying to defend my marriage. From one military wife to another, I’m guessing you’ll understand that.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

I tell him when I'm pissed.

So here’s something that I have been having issues with since I became an Army wife, especially since pretty much the whole time I’ve been an Army wife, my husband has been deployed. When I read about or hear how other wives deal with stress and bad things happening while their husbands are away, I just don’t get it. Everybody says, “No, don’t tell your deployed husband about any bad things. You don’t want him to worry about you – all of his attention needs to be on the mission, and not on you. He’s got it bad enough as it is.” Now, for some marriages, that might work. But for me and mine, that couldn’t be farther from how it needs to be.

I feel like if I were to just put on a happy face no matter how sad or upset I was, our marriage would kind of be a fake for 15 months. As far as I’m aware, Aaron is still the man he was before he deployed, and I am still the woman I was before he left as well. When I’m sad, I need to talk openly to my husband about it. When the truck breaks down and the car gets a flat tire on the same day and I don’t have a ride to the shop so I have to run in the 105 degree weather 2.5 miles to pick up one of the vehicles and I want to vent about it, I’m going to turn to my husband for support. Don’t get me wrong – I know that what he is going through, and the conditions in which he has to slug through every dehydrating day, is far beyond my comprehension. I know that. But I also know that venting to my husband is not just me being selfish. He needs it just as much as I do. He needs to know that life has not continued in the same, easy way it was before he left. He needs to realize that I need him more than he or I really know. And if I have to go through a day that has been made harder because he’s not here to help me, I want him to know it. Not so he feels guilty or worried, but so he feels like he’s still a part of me, and that he’s needed by me. If one of those hard days happen and I brush it all off and tell him everything is fine and that I had no problems, I would be lying to myself, my husband, and our marriage.

I like that my husband worries about me. In the end, I am a pretty self-sufficient and capable woman, but it feels so good to know that the man I am with truly cares about me, because I have never cared about anybody the way I care about him. So, that being said, even though the non-disclosure thing works for some military marriages, it doesn’t fly in ours. And I think we’re okay with that.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Life and Death and Everything Inbetween

The thoughts usually start brewing in my head at around this time at night after not hearing from Aaron by the time I thought I would have. My mind starts to go into overdrive, and I start creating the scene as I would imagine it would happen. I can’t help it either – I don’t know what I’m thinking about until I’m done thinking about it.

There are times, like right now, that I realize he could be gone and I wouldn’t even know it. Since the Army doesn’t have my correct address (as far as I know), I would get a phone call from one of Aaron’s fellow soldiers. It’s not protocol, but times like those are more important than protocol would ever be. So I would get a phone call, I would crumble to the floor, and I wouldn’t know what to do next. My mom would get on the next flight down here, and if there wasn’t one for a while she would jump in her car and drive like a maniac. I know she would. But then what? Over the past 8 plus months, this scenario has gone through my head many, many times, and the endings are always different. In one ending, I shut down and keep going through life as a robot, doing and saying what other people expect me to say, just trying to hold it all together. In another ending, I go to Austin, TX, to where Aaron’s ex-wife and son live, and I sit in their living room with Diego in my arms for hours. In yet another ending, I quit my job, bail on my lease, and make my mom come to a deserted island with me for a few months. But in every single scenario, however different the endings might be, one thing is always the same. I feel lost. And destroyed. And utterly helpless.

A lot of people cringe when I tell them I think about the possibility of Aaron not coming home. A lot of people look at me like I’m the ultimate pessimist and worse, like I’m a bad wife. But, the way I see it, the ultimate sacrifice is something that needs to be thought about and respected. Is it sad and terrifying to think about? Absolutely. But in a way, I feel like if I don’t think about it or don’t give it the respect it deserves, I’m only fooling myself.

Death is only a natural part of life when it occurs naturally. But when it comes before someone’s time is supposed to be up, it’s just not fair. So many young men and women have been taken from their loved ones because of this war we are in. I absolutely refuse to say that they died for nothing, though, and when I hear anyone say that I want to slap them across the face. The ones who have died for nothing are the ones that die in drug deals gone wrong, in gang related violence, in alcohol related car accidents. Those are the people that die for nothing. The ones that have died in combat or as a result of combat have died for EVERYTHING. They have died fighting for our freedom, our independence, and our quality of life. They have died with their honor intact.

I wonder if anyone other than a military spouse can know what this feeling is like. It’s like a pit at the bottom of my stomach that won’t go away until my husband is actually physically in my arms again. It’ll be there until I can smell his cologne, feel his breath when he whispers into my ear, and run my fingers across his scars, knowing he will never have to go back to that awful place. But for now, I am left waiting for that phone call that will put my fears to rest and that will let me sleep peacefully for at least one night.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

I went to Baghdad!

A couple months ago, I had a dream. I’ve been meaning to write it down, since it’s mighty strange, and I really don’t want to forget it. Here it is:

I was lying in bed one day at my apartment in Riverside, and I decided it was time I give Aaron a visit in Iraq. I hadn’t seen him in so long, so I hopped into an open topped Humvee that was outside of my apartment, and started the drive to Baghdad. It was only about 45 minutes away (I guess that’s a subconscious testament to how I feel about Riverside), but I realized a couple things on the way. First, I realized I didn’t have any protection on – no Kevlar, no vest, no weapon, no roof, nothing. Secondly, as I drove by a mass of soldiers, some lined up in formation and others running along the side of the road doing PT, it crossed my mind that what I was doing might not be legal, especially since I wasn’t authorized to drive the Humvee I was in. Regardless of all that, I made it to Baghdad and found myself at the town bazaar. I parked the Humvee, looked in the back of it, and realized there was an M4 in the trunk. I debated whether or not I should take it with me for protection, but decided against it. Besides, it would be safe there, right?

I made my way down to the town bazaar, and immediately saw Gallagher, Demo, and Smith standing in a group having a conversation. I subtly walked up to them, and nonchalantly joined into their conversation. They turned, surprised to hear a girl’s voice, and said “Sarah??? What the f—k are you doing here???” I spent a minute saying hi, and asked them if they had seen my husband. They pointed me in the right direction, and I went off to find him. I wandered through the dusty streets, weaving in and out of the booths selling colorful fabrics, shiny trinkets, and strange-looking food, and then I saw him. It was like he had never left – there was a long, tight hug and a deep kiss, but other than that we fell into normal conversation like we had never been separated. We walked, not holding hands, because any public display of affection is against the rules of the Army. All of a sudden, as happens only in dreams, my mom was walking next to us, fluidly joining into the conversation. We continued to walk and talk, talk and walk, and when I looked down I realized I was wearing ACU’s. Aaron was nervous because he didn’t want me to get in trouble for impersonating a soldier, so we all walked over to an American resort, where there wouldn’t be any higher-ups to yell at me. As we approached the resort, I saw three people lounging on beach chairs in the front in the middle of a dusty expanse of land. We got closer, and I realized who it was. It was Mimi (my mom’s mom), Amy (my godmother), and Linda (Amy’s sister, and also my brother’s godmother). I was pretty shocked to see them on vacation in Baghdad of all places, but we sat and talked for a while before Aaron, my mom and I made our way back to the Humvee I drove there in. We got to where it was parked, I checked on the M4, and could tell there was something different about it. I picked it up, and there was a spear stuck down the barrel. Aaron then told me that whenever the Iraqis saw an American weapon lying around, they would jam a spear down the barrel so that it was annoying for the soldier to use it again. It made perfect sense in the dream, I swear.

My mom disappeared as fast as she had appeared, and Aaron and I knew our time together was coming to an end. There was another tight hug and deep kiss, and I hopped back into the Humvee and off I went. And then I woke up. Hmmmm… I wonder what it all means…

Monday, August 4, 2008

The World Goes 'Round and 'Round and 'Round...

My 25th birthday is on Friday. That’s right, it’s on 08/08/08. It’s got to be the coolest birthday ever. But aside from the coolness factor, I’ve been thinking a lot about the significance of it. 25 years old. A quarter of a century. Like I have said before, I have never been the one to dread a birthday or cry about how I’m getting so old. It’s quite the contrary, actually. I have always looked forward to my future, and love my birthday every year. It signifies the passage of time, yes, but it also inspires me to make the best of my future years as well.

That’s definitely the case this year, but I have been thinking about the past a little bit more than I usually do. I have been thinking about how life can change so drastically in a short period of time, but inevitably it comes full circle. When I was 7, my sister was born. In an instant, my world had been turned on its head, but that’s really when my life seemed to start. Sure, I had 7 years before Abbie came into the world, but once I got to hold her in the hospital and look into those blue eyes, those 7 years seemed to disappear. I know I was young, but I think I understood that the little baby I was holding was going to bring so much happiness into my life and into the lives of the people around her that I didn’t really care if I wasn’t going to be the youngest in the family anymore. About 6 years later, when I was 13, I met my best friend, Bonnie. I didn’t know it at the time, but the first day we met at a soccer practice was going to be the day that I look back on with the most gratitude and love anyone could ever have for another person (who isn’t her husband…). Bonnie and I spent the following ten years going through everything two best friends can go through – divorcing parents, high school drama, crying over pints of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream, older brother issues, summer birthday trips to Seattle, Oregon, and San Francisco, 4 (or 4 ½ in my case) college years spent in different parts of the state, lazy days by the pool at Sveadal, and riding down the bike path in Pacific Grove on surries. Everything felt like it was rolling along smoothly, then June of last year hit. Bonnie was engaged to be married in September, I had moved to Hawaii to “find myself,” and had just met the man that would later become my husband. In a flurry of 14 months, I got engaged, Bonnie got married, I got married, Aaron was deployed, Bonnie got pregnant, and I moved to the boonies to go to school. More has happened in the last year than has happened in the last 10 years combined…

The main reason I have been thinking so much about the years past is not because my birthday is coming up, but because a much more important day of birth is right around the corner – that of Bonnie and Travis’ new baby girl, Liberty. She will be coming into this crazy world sometime around August 15th, and a month after that, my own baby sister will be off to college. Life keeps going even if you don’t want it to, but it is in that continuous spinning on its axes that you get the most wonderful times and people you will ever experience. Change can be hard, but in the end it’s inevitable, so you might as well welcome it with open arms. I can’t wait until this weekend when I will be home with my family, but there will be one huge thing missing – there has been and will continue to be a hole in my heart that only one person in this entire world can fill – my husband. I would love nothing more than for him to be with me to share my special day, but really I just want him here to share any day with, because every day with him is special. Well, I need to go practice guitar, or else my teacher might kill me on Wednesday. Have a good night!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Oh, good ol' Bank of America...

I saw a commercial a couple months ago and it made me half laugh and half cringe. It’s supposed to be about Bank of America’s risk-free CDs they offer, but to me it was about something very different. I wrote down the script as I watched the commercial. Here it is:

“With most 9 month CDs, you won’t see your money for 9 months. What if you couldn’t see the sky for 9 months? Or hug your best friend or have a Cherry-Berry-Double-Swirl for 9 months? This is America! You can have breakfast at 3 in the afternoon, wear white after labor day, have Halloween in July. And with Bank of America’s risk-free CD, you can get your money out before 9 months without an early withdrawal fee. Wouldn’t you like to have that kind of freedom? Now you can, with Bank of America.”

I feel like I haven’t seen the sky in 7 ½ months. I haven’t hugged my best friend in 7 ½ months. And I haven’t been able to get a Cherry-Berry-Double-Swirl with the man that I want to share it with for 7 ½ months. And you know why I haven’t done those things? Because this is America. Sure, you can have breakfast at 3 in the afternoon (or at 2 in the morning, as Aaron and I have done on several occasions… Thank God for Denny’s!), or have Halloween in July, but how much do those things count for if you don’t have the one person around to do them with? My sky, my best friend, my Cherry-Berry-Double-Swirl, is putting his life on the line so that everyone else can see their skies, hug their best friends, and eat all the ice cream they want, and still take their money out of a CD before 9 months. If that’s not the ultimate sacrifice, what is?

Blue in the face

I just bought a Bluetooth thingamabobber. And yes, that is its technical name. “It’s the law now,” I reasoned, so I made my way to the Verizon store. After essentially being wined and dined and encouraged to buy the one that was $30 more (But it was silver! And designed by David Beckham! Psshhh.), I settled for the cheaper one, because I really didn’t think I would use it much. So I bought the thingamabobber, brought it home, charged it up, called my sister, and left her a message. I didn’t know if I was using it the right way, so later, when Aaron called me, I talked to him on it for a little while. And damn it, I liked it. “Why?? Why do I like it so much?” I asked myself. I now had what I thought was a rational fear of turning into that woman who carried a grande soy mocha frappachino with two pumps of hazelnut and light whip (don’t tell me if that’s not a real drink, I just made it up. I stick with the simple non-fat Chai…) in one hand, a Gucci purse in the other, with perfectly straight blonde hair falling over a light pink cable knit cardigan, the outfit complete with slim-fitting khaki pants and cute white heels, all the while talking way, way too loud on her Bluetooth thingamabobber about how she was so upset that she couldn’t get a walk-in appointment at the nail salon. And I really didn’t want people to look at me like I look at the slightly disheveled man walking down the street, seemingly talking to himself with arm gestures and everything, but in reality has the little device hooked to his ear but hidden in his greasy hair.

Any way I looked at it, I really didn’t want to like it. But I did. And it got me thinking a little bit about technology and about the good old days, as I’ll call them, back when I could get on an airplane with my trusty turbulence-resistant Discman and a good book and be completely entertained on a cross country flight. Two weeks ago, when I went to Chicago for the weekend, I was disgusted by how many different little pieces of technology I packed with me. Here was my list: my laptop, the power cord for the laptop, DVDs to play on my laptop, my digital camera, the battery charger for the camera, the cable that connects my camera to my computer, my Ipod, the Ipod charger, my Blackberry, and the charger for my Blackberry. Now if that’s not sad enough, part of me feels like I really need each and every one of those things. Without one of them I'm afraid I would be bored. What has the world come to? And now I have the Bluetooth thingamabobber and its charger to add to that list. It’s pathetic, I know.

Tomorrow I’m off to Northern California for the weekend to go to my best friend Bonnie’s baby shower. I think I might try to challenge myself. I’m not going to bring my laptop, and we’ll see how it goes. But I’m bringing my Bluetooth.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Baby Girl Chucky

I was accosted by a baby today. Full on assault. And the thing is, I couldn’t really get back at her because, well, she’s a baby. All I could do was give her a nice little smile and look the other way. I guess a little background is needed in order for me to not sound like a completely soul-less ass. My dad and stepmom (along with other step-relatives) are in Antioch, IL for the 4th of July, and at the last minute I decided to head out that way to spend the weekend with them. As was to be expected, it has proven to be an incredibly busy travel weekend, but I think I got the worst of the worst. After scrambling to pack a weekend’s worth of clothes for unpredictable and unknown weather after work today, I rushed out of my apartment and started driving toward the airport. I got there with time to spare, time that was then eaten up with trying to find a long term parking lot that wasn’t either full or $17 a day. I finally found an empty spot in the $12 lot, got my stuff out, and started walking toward what I thought was my terminal in the 103 degree, breezeless heat. So, there I was, walking at a brisk pace, sweat running down my back, pulling my suitcase behind me. I finally got to the terminal, went inside, and low-and-behold, I was at the wrong one. The right one was about a quarter mile of sweating down the road. Wonderful.

I wasn’t going to let it get me down though. I made it to the right terminal, checked in, went through security (at which point I had to take so much off that I may as well should have gone through naked), and boarded my first flight to Phoenix all within the span of about 7 minutes. The first flight went off without a hitch – although I did have the dreaded middle seat. Oh, and when the woman sitting in the aisle stood up when we got to the gate, she smelled like baby poo. But that’s beside the point. I stepped off the plane and found myself in a place that was more oppressively hot and more desert-like than Riverside. Ugh. Not a fan. The 108 degree blast of air was quickly rectified (and then some) by an overactive air conditioner that gave me the chills. Walking into that airport was like walking into a real-life version of Frogger, the game that my brother and I were so infatuated with playing whenever our Chinese babysitters in San Francisco took us for a night. Darting between people rushing every which way while trying to hold a fruit cup, pretzel, and a phone in one hand and luggage in the other is not quite as fun as jumping from lily pad to lily pad while sitting on a nice plush couch with a controller in your hands. Speaking of that fruit cup and pretzel, I found people in Phoenix (or at least the people at the Phoenix airport) to have a complete disregard for other people’s personal space. My boundaries were invaded relentlessly while I was there, the most blatantly while I was waiting in line for said fruit cup and pretzel. I got into line, and WHOOSH!!!, all of a sudden a woman was standing thisclose to me. Her face was literally 6 inches away from mine. It was the kind of close that you would only want your husband or best friend or mother to experience. She was so close that her pores could have spoken to me, and I would have seen each one moving. Anyway, enough with the pores.

I finally made it on to my second flight, the one flying into Chicago. My seat: 21B. Another middle seat. No big deal, I thought, it’s only a 3 ½ hour flight. It won’t be that bad. I shouldn’t have been so optimistic. I trudged down the aisle, stopping at row 21. I looked at my seat, but I couldn’t see much of it. Now, before I go any further, I need to say something. I am not a mean person. Nor am I racist or religion-ist or size-ist, or any other -ist for that matter. BUT. And there is a but. I do believe that when it comes to airplanes and the already miniscule amount of legroom, armroom, and headroom they give you, if you are overweight, you should have to buy an extra ticket. Yes, there was a very, VERY large man sitting in the aisle seat. I told him that I was sitting in the middle seat, so he started to get up, and that’s when I saw them: a mother and her 1 ½ year old baby sitting in the window seat. So. In a row that, with three people sitting in it, has you running for the exit as soon as the plane touches down, there were essentially five people. The woman, her baby, me, and a man twice my size. Thanks to the large man on one side and the baby on the other, the armrests couldn’t even be lowered. As I squeezed into my seat, I think I said out loud (but under my breath, hopefully), “Oh, heaven help me…”

At first, the baby girl was cute. She was smiley and had several teeth growing in, and would laugh when I looked at her. But apparently she didn’t like something about me after about 5 minutes, because that’s when I saw the devil in her. I have never seen the hairy eyeball like I did tonight. Her face morphed from a happy smile to a disturbed, exorcism-worthy snarl. Honestly, it was quite frightening. And I’m not being sarcastic or witty now. It was the kind of look that made my spine tingle. From that time on, I tried not to look at her. It was kind of hard not to though. When she wasn’t sleeping, she was staring at me. I put my headphones on, started playing Jack Johnson, and pretended to be asleep for a while. But I could still feel her stare. Every so often, I would be jolted out of my calm Jack Johnson stupor by a little hand with a big slap. Yes, that’s right, the little devil baby was slapping me. My leg was usually the target, but a couple times she got my shoulder and once she got my face. I know what you’re thinking – she’s a baby, and babies are kind of spastic when they move, so maybe I was a mistake. Nope. Not a mistake. I would look over at her and she would be giving me the death stare. At one point, the mom even told me that she beats up all of the other little babies her age in her play groups. Jeepers creepers. Needless to say, once the plane touched down, I was off like a prom dress. As soon as I could get by the man in the aisle, that is.

It is now almost 3am local Chicago time, and I have another few hours before my stepsisters’ flight comes in. Once they get here, we’ll pick up our rental car and drive about an hour out to Antioch, where the rest of the family is waiting for us. Until then, I’m at the Chicago O’Hare International Airport USO (United Service Organizations) lounge, which is actually really nice. It’s for military personnel and their families to pass time at the airport… There’s a movie room with a big flat screen TV and comfy chairs, an eating area with plenty of snacks and drinks, a few computers with internet, and even a dark room with cots that you can pass out in for however long you need to. Sometimes it really does pay to be in or associated with the military. Well, I need to find an outlet so I can charge my laptop. I hope everyone has a fun and safe 4th of July!

Monday, June 30, 2008

There aren't as many druggies and/or crazies there as you think...

So I just received the latest Women's Health magazine in the mail today. I always enjoy Women's Health, because it satisfies the bit of girliness in me ("65 Skin, Hair, & Makeup Problems Solved!" - what would I do without that article??) and also the health conscious athlete ("We've Got You Covered - Don't miss a single muscle with part five of our 20-minute workout series"), and it even does a little something for my husband ("56 Reasons to Have Sex"). But I mostly like it because it has random little facts here and there, like how deoderant really doesn't cause cancer, or that 42% of women said that if they had their cell phones, they would go places after dark that they normally wouldn't (don't worry, honey, I'm not one of those 42%...). But what caught my attention the most in this issue was a little quarter-page article called "States of Mind." It described a survey spearheaded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration that was administered to 136,110 Americans ages 12 and older to track state-by-state substance use and mental health patterns. Here are a few of their findings:

Serious psychological distress (ages 18 and up):
Lowest: Hawaii (8.8%)
Highest: Utah (14.4%)

Major depressive episode (ages 18 and up):
Lowest: Hawaii (5%)
Highest: Nevada (9.4%)

Pain reliever abuse:
Lowest: Hawaii (3.9%)
Highest: Oklahoma (6.7%)

Notice any trends? I wonder how the results came out that way... Oh wait, I think I know. It might have to do with the 500+ beaches to relax on and soak in the Vitamin D and good vibes, or maybe it's the lush mountain greenery just begging you to inhale the pure oxygen it is gifting you. Or could it be the laid back "Hawaii time" atmosphere, that sometimes gets annoying when you have a meeting and your counterpart shows up a half hour late in an aloha shirt and swim trunks, straight out of a surfing session, but that hardly ever gets stressful? It's a combination of all of these things and more, and I can't wait to move back there to cleanse my body, mind, and spirit.

On a completely different note, I am watching Nashville Star on TV right now. Billy Ray Cyrus must be the world's WORST host of all time. All I have to say is WOW. Absolutely horrible. Ok, that's all. I'm going to bed. Goodnight!

Sunday, June 22, 2008


What is it about the human touch that makes everything feel alright? It could be a kiss on the cheek from a mom, a hug from a best friend, or the fingers of a soul mate running through your hair; no matter what kind of touch or who it is from, as long as it is genuine it will comfort you. Have you ever noticed that when you are having a bad day and have been doing everything you can to not break down throughout the entire day, all it takes is a concerned friend’s hand on your shoulder or the warmth of your mom’s hug or your husband’s caring hands on your face to unzip whatever strong front you have put up and let the tears flow out? What is it about human touch that makes us open up like that? Is it the touch? Or is it the person doing the touching?

It has been found (not surprisingly) that men tend to limit themselves to ritual touching, like shaking hands or patting each other on the back, while women touch much more warmly and gently, with hugs for example, to express support, comfort, and affection. But what about the touch between husband and wife? (Or husband and husband or wife and wife if you live in Vermont or now California…) There is some kind of electricity there that fuels the fire of life. So then what happens when you don’t have that all-powerful touch? What happens when that electricity has been rerouted for the time being? Are you just supposed to deal with an electricity –free life? Or do you dig out the candles from your emergency kit while you wait for the electrician to come fiddle with the circuit breaker so you can have some light? The candles might not give off enough light or power to live a perfect life, but they create a soft glow that can lead you down dark hallways or help you read the words on a page in a book. During a deployment, the candlelight comes from various sources - jobs, working out, friends, family, volunteering, etc. Every time you have a good day, it’s like adding a candle. Have a bad day, though, and you might as well blow all but one of them out. But all you need is one. That single candle is like one of those trick birthday candles that never go out no matter how hard you blow. I used to hate not being able to blow those damn things out, but now it’s my saving grace. There seems to always be a twinkle of light in my heart that allows me to go about my everyday life, regardless of if it is the result of 10 fully burning candles or one little spark from that last trick candle that won’t let the flame die. That spark is guiding me down a long, dark tunnel, at the end of which there doesn’t seem to be a light.

That’s ok, though, I can light my own way.

Friday, June 20, 2008

He's been in Iraq for too long.

Today I got a surprise in the mail. Well, technically it wasn't really a surprise, since I've been waiting for it for almost three weeks, but I finally got it. A box that was packed with love and care in the sandy, dusty, smelly armpit of the world (or so I see it) traveled out of that hell and made it here, to the land of the free. In it were traces of my husband - CD's and DVD's that he thought I would like, the first season of Heroes that he watched in about two days flat, an Iraqi-made puzzle ring that is one of the most frustrating things I've attempted to put together but that will be intensely satisfying once that attempt finds it full potential, two little teddy bears, some magazines, and a very funny "You Know You Have Been in Iraq Too Long When..." list. I have a feeling that when I start to think about what the soldiers over there are going through too seriously, all I will have to do is pull out this list and have a little chuckle. Here's a little sampling of it:

You Know You Have Been in Iraq Too Long When...
  • You start humming with the Arabic song playing on the radio on the shuttle bus
  • You start picturing your wife in traditional Arab dress
  • You drink the water from the tap because you want to drop 20 pounds in two weeks
  • Your idea of a fun Thursday night is to go to the Palace pool to watch the State Department folks get drunk, naked and try to pick each other up
  • You make the new guy show you his count down timer just to make you feel better about your time you have left in country.
  • You forget there are other colors than brown that can be found in places other than power point slides
  • When you call home and your kids ask "Who is this?"
  • You find it completely acceptable to pick your nose while talking to a complete stranger or member of the opposite sex
  • You go on R&R, you duct tape your child to the roof of your car, hand him a pellet rifle, and assign him a sector of fire for the ride to The Olive Garden
  • During the BUA, "DIV asked MNSTC-I for the FRAGO that MNC-I was supposed to publish, but couldn't because MNF-I hadn't weighed in, since they were too inundated with MOD and MOI wargaming the JCC's within the ISF to square us away!" is a valid comment and generates no questions.
  • You're in the Air Force, and you're on the plane home because an Air Force tour is too short to have been a long Iraq tour. Ignore this, you won't get it.

Sorry to those who might be offended by that last one, but I have to admit it kind of struck a chord with me. If Aaron were Air Force (or Marines or Navy for that matter), chances are that he would either be home by now or be coming home soon. Instead, we get to wait as long as it takes to create a human life. Ugh. Anyways, I like the list. Along with the other goodies in the well traveled box, it lifted my spirits and made me smile. That's all I can ask for.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

In His Own Words

I have been relaying what I thought was Aaron’s views on the war, where he is, and what he is doing for 6 months now. I have been acting as the middleman between a world I am getting to know and a world I used to know, thinking that I have been doing a relatively good job of it. I email my family and closest friends once a month with news, achievements, and stories from the world they will never know. I started a blog to kind of do the same, but mostly to use words as therapy as I muddle through dozens of CNN and MSNBC and FOX news reports that blare “3 Soldiers Killed in Baghdad,” “Al Sadr: New Force to Fight U.S. in Iraq,” and “1 in 8 Returning Soldiers Suffers from PTSD.” We friends, brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers, and wives back home are bombarded by this news coming from every direction – TV, radio, internet, newspapers – that cannot be ignored, as most Americans do. When we see those headlines, they don’t serve as pure news or information. When most would respond with “Damn George Bush” or “Iraq still must have weapons of mass destruction” or “Those soldiers knew what they were getting themselves into,” the first (and usually only) thought that races a shot of adrenaline to the finish line of the brain is “Please don’t let that be my husband/son/daughter/brother/sister. Please.”

I never knew the extent of the mind-twisting inner turmoil that Aaron and his fellow soldiers are feeling with respect to what they are doing. Whenever I would ask him what was going on in his head, he would usually say confidently, “This is my job. This is what I have been trained to do, this is what I do love doing, and I can’t let politics influence that. Once you start thinking politically, you lose sight of the mission, and above all, you need to keep your mind on the mission.” And then, a couple days ago, he emailed me and opened a little window into his mind. I want you all to read it, really read it and feel it, since there is nothing that I could write that would even come close to matching the raw sentiments that came from Aaron’s own soul. Here it is:

I thought I’d share this with you. This country, this shit hole they call the cradle of civilization, hasn't managed to keep anything alive or keep anything from withering away and dying. As you drive around here all you see is dusty old torn down buildings, crops, people, animals, children withering away, and us stuck in the middle. Sometimes I feel like we’re this country's last hope. And then I feel like I want to completely obliterate this whole place with a MOAB, affectionately called "Mother of all bombs" by us, but actually called a Massive Ordinance Air Blast Bomb. It’s the biggest bomb short of it being a nuclear explosion. One would take out Texas. OK, that's enough with the morbid talking. My point was that one flower of all things kept my hopes up, if just for a little. At the new COP, among all the debris and the new construction and all the clearing of trees and grass they were doing, I noticed that there was a Sunflower - of all flowers, a Sunflower. Standing there all by itself, looking proud and beautiful and full of life. I’ve taken a liking to them because they always look towards the sun, kinda like they’re always looking towards the sky for something good. And it reminds me of the sun’s rays as they hit my skin and how wonderful that feels. To think that a flower feels this too is really amazing. Every day when we drove to the new COP, the first thing I would do is look toward the Sunflower and almost instantly, all that crap I saw on the way there, all the sadness, would go away. Two days ago though, I noticed that the sunflower had died. Withered away and turned brown like everything else in this place. And it made me sad. It really did. I was reminded of all the bad, the hatred, and all the darkness there is in the world. I think they've since cleared all that area now, which again is an all sad reminder that we are here. That we are not going anywhere. And that things......honestly….aren't getting any better.
That’s all.

I read that email when I was in my car (thanks to my Blackberry), stopped at a red light, and when the light turned green again I actually had to pull over. I didn’t cry, I didn’t scream, I just sat. I sat and thought. My heart hurt in almost the same way as it did when I waved goodbye to the buses pulling away from the troop at Schofield 6 months earlier. To know that this man that I am so inextricably connected to is hurting in any way – physically, mentally, or emotionally – and that I can’t do anything about it, not even give him a simple hug or hold his hand, makes my heart sink down into the depths of my gut. And to know that he can’t be the only soldier over there that feels this way, and that not one of those men can be held by their loved ones and feel any sort of physical-turned-emotional comfort from them kind of rocks me to the core. This is not how the world is supposed to be. This is not how peace on Earth is made.

I feel like I am a changed person. Six months ago I was brutally awoken to the true realities of the distant world around me, going from being an inwardly thinking, see the world through rose-colored-glasses 24 year old girl to a not-so-innocent, slightly cynical but still partly hopeful young woman. In this new world that I am getting to know it’s all about give and take, but I can’t help to hope that this war won’t take what I have given it for good. I want my husband back.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Nightmare on Iowa Ave.

Last night I had a dream. I am at the same troop at Schofield that I was at when I said my first goodbye to Aaron. It is the day he and his fellow soldiers are supposed to get home. Girlfriends and wives and children line the buildings, eager to see the ones they love after 15 treacherous months without them. The wives that have become friends through their loneliness are standing in a group, exchanging plans they have with their respective husbands for that night. Many of them, I can tell, are hoping that when their husband steps off that bus, he won’t be coming back from Iraq as an unfixable man, like some inevitably will. I, on the other hand, am standing off to the side, by myself, knowing that this will be the last time I will have to wait for my life to begin. We all hear the buses before we can see them – the rumble of the engines sends goosebumps down my arms, and as the sea of people turn their heads to the gates, I do the same. The chattering of the crowd gets louder and it turns into nervous, giddy babbling. The kids run around, getting their “WELCOME HOME DADDY!” signs ready.

In the thirty seconds it takes for the buses to pull around the corner and take their places in the long processional, I run the entire past 15 months through my head. I think of how much Aaron and I have gone through and how much we have grown, and I am so happy that we can finally go on a date that doesn’t include a computer screen or a phone. As the soldiers pour out of the buses, I see families reunited again after such a tough ordeal. I see tears, hugs, smiles, laughter, and kisses that never want to end. But I don’t see my husband. I wait and I wait and I wait, thinking that he will find me. I see Matt Gallagher, a mutual friend of ours, hugging his girlfriend Annie not too far away from me, and as I run up to him he sees me too.
“Where is he???” I gasp.
“What, you didn’t hear?” he responds.
“Hear what?” My mind races.
“Oh man, Sarah, I don’t know how to tell you this. They decided to keep him there for another 15 months. They need him to lead special missions… building a new JSS… important for the well-being of… very important role in the rebuilding process…” I couldn’t make out what he was saying over the screaming in my head. My stomach twisted and my heart broke as my body sunk to the ground. Another 15 months.

And then I woke up.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Bed of Bloody Roses

Today I learned about blood. I'm not talking about platelets and white blood cells and red blood cells - I'm talking about arterial spray, directionality of blood stains, voids, high, medium, and low velocity spatter, cast-off patterns from bloody instruments such as machetes, baseball bats, and hammers. I studied the differences in a blood stain that has been dropped from 3 inches versus 6 inches versus 1 foot versus 3 feet versus 6 feet versus 8 feet. I saw slide shows of crime scenes of homicides with unidentifiable bodies, only to scour it for inconsistent marks such as wipes, transfers, timeline issues, and vertical bloodstains. And I liked it. Call me sick, call me twisted, call me whatever you'd like, but I liked it. I was learning how to put the pieces together, and I got a step closer to having the whole picture.

I have been torn up lately about what I really, truly want to do with my life; I am interested and curious about so many completely different things that it's been very difficult to just pick one and move forward. But now, I think I've figured it out. I just need to knuckle down, get dirty (or bloody), focus, and work hard. Crime Scene Investigation is really what I'm good at, and it's what I enjoy. So there.

I just turned the TV on, and on came a marathon of Jesse Palmer's season of The Bachelor. He was bringing one of the many wannabe blushing brides into a "fantasy suite" with him, which was complete with a trail of rose petals leading to a rose petal covered bed. At first glance, I saw a trail of blood leading to a bloody bed... I guess I have chosen the right profession, but I think I need to say a sorry to my husband, who now needs to work a little bit harder to romance me, now that I've started to see blood in rose petals.

Thursday, June 5, 2008


When most I wink, then do mine eyes best see,
For all the day they view things unrespected;
But when I sleep, in dreams they look on thee,
And darkly bright, are bright in dark directed.
Then thou, whose shadow shadows doth make bright,
How would thy shadow's form form happy show
To the clear day with thy much clearer light,
When to unseeing eyes thy shade shines so!
How would, I say, mine eyes be blessed made
By looking on thee in the living day,
When in dead night thy fair imperfect shade
Through heavy sleep on sightless eyes doth stay!
All days are nights to see till I see thee,
And nights bright days when dreams do show thee me.
.::William Shakespeare::.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Pet Peeve #1

When I was driving to the post office to send off a box to Aaron after work today, I was reminded of one of my pet peeves. When I was pulling out of the parking lot, I was nice enough to not jet in front of a pickup truck about a quarter of a block down from me. I let him go by, then pulled out behind him. We both turned left at the second intersection, and as it usually does, my blinker clicked off. His didn’t. Blink, blink, blink. It bugs me. I don’t know why, but it does.

After a few blocks of driving behind him, and after being slightly annoyed the whole time, I reasoned to myself that whenever he had to turn the next time he would realize that his blinker was on. Nope. For some reason, that damn thing would not turn off. I was behind him for a couple of turns, but there it still was, blinking. “I’m gonna turn left, I’m gonna turn left, I’m gonna turn left… JUST KIDDING!” It seemed like it was teasing me. Like it knew that it was one of my pet peeves and was just there rubbing it in my face. In fact, when we were in high school, my best friend Bonnie and I actually bought mini white boards and kept them in our cars so that if we ever came across a car on the highway (or anywhere else for that matter) whose blinker was blinking unnecessarily, we could write “BLINKER” on the board and hold it up to the window as we drove by them. Just our little contribution to the sanity of the world.

So, I was finally relieved when I made a right turn towards the post office and the truck actually finally turned left, hopefully towards a mechanic who can fix his damn blinker. Even though I was going the opposite direction, I couldn’t help looking in my rear view mirror to see if it had stopped now that I wasn’t behind it to be annoyed. Blink, blink, blink. Ugh. I pulled up to the post office, happy to be away from the irksome blinker. I gathered the box and the customs form up, lugged it out of the car, and looked up. The line was out the door. But that’s a pet peeve for another day.

Oh, and by the way, Aaron spotted an IED on the way from the FOB to the COP today, and had to wait for hours on end for people (I’m guessing EOD) to come check it out. And I thought I had it bad.

Happy Birthday!!!

So... I posted a new entry last night, and now it's not here. Mysteriously gone. Buggers. The underlying theme of it was to say a big HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my husband, who is a world away in another land. Birthdays are an interesting concept. I have always loved mine (I mean, it's only the coolest birthday ever - the 8th day of the 8th month, 8 o'clock in the morning, weighing in at 8 pounds, 8 ounces... I'm a goddess in China), but some people don't fare so well on theirs. For some, it's a joyous celebration of life, and for others it's just another sad reminder that another year has passed them by. I have always looked forward to the future - when I was little I wanted to be not-so-little, when I was not-so-little I wanted to be a big girl, when I was a big girl I wanted to be able to drive, when I was old enough to drive I wanted to be in college, and so on. I was always excited for the next milestone - driving at 16, voting/buying cigs/buying porn at 18 (ok ok, voting was the only thing that related to me at that milestone...), drinking at 21, and FINALLY being able to rent a car at 25. Which reminds me - who thought up that nonsense? And what's next? Not being able to cross the street without holding the hand of the stranger next to you until you're 28? (Now, although that would encourage some interesting conversation between some unlikely pairs, it's still a little extreme.) Anyways, Aaron, to a certain extent, isn't really like that. But I think it's because he's never really had somebody to truly celebrate life with. But here I am, to the rescue! :) No matter how young or old you are, or how young or old you want to be, a birthday should be a time for love and laughter and happy ever after. My goal in my life for my family is to celebrate life - past, present and future - with excitement and happines. I have to go to work right now, but I'll try to write more tonight. I hate rewriting stuff, so I probably won't rewrite what I wrote last night, but I'll think up something else.

For my husband:
I love you, baby. I hope you have as happy of a birthday that you can out there... I'm here thinking about you and waiting for you, as always, and will be until the second you step off that bus and come back to me. I miss you honey.

Love times infinity,
Your wife.

Friday, May 30, 2008


Exactly a year ago, I was getting ready to move away from Waikiki and into a house at the edge of Manoa Valley. My room there was on the second floor and was big - big enough to share with my eccentric Hawaiian roommate Kai, and probably about the same size as my old 2-bedroom apartment (though about a third of the price) - and was enclosed on two sides by screens. No glass, not much in the way of walls, just screens. Outside our breezy, hole-y windows stood a magnificent mango tree that housed many-a-fighting squirrel. It was also a pit stop for small green parrots that would flit in and out when they were hungry, squawking and scaring the squirrels away for their chance to slurp up the sweet tropical nectar of the fruiting tree. Kai and I always joked about needing a hard hat whenever you needed to pass under the tree... throughout the day we would hear the squirrels squirreling around, running up and down and around the thick branches, then SMACK!!! a mango would plummet to the soft earth below. There were many mornings that I would be lying in bed, not wanting to get up and put my uniform on to go to work, so I would procrastinate by staring outside at whatever caught my attention. Somtimes it was the parrots. Others, the flowers on the moss-covered rocky hillside at the back of the house. And then there were the butterfly and gecko mornings. A soft little green gecko would be on the window's ledge, directly on the other side of the screen (and sometimes directly on the screen...). Its body would be rigid, it's feet suctioned to the wood or wire. Asleep? No. Dead? I think not. Praying? Nope. PrEying? Yessir. The cute little slithery gecko's eyes would be fixed on an innocent butterfly perched on the outside of the perpendicular bathroom wall. Slowly, carefully, stealthily, the gecko would move... POUNCE!!! Breakfast. The first couple of times I witnessed the exchange, I tapped on the screen to scare both the gecko and the butterfly. But then I realized that that's just what happens in the animal world, and after coming to terms with that fact it actually became a beautiful thing to watch in a way. The whole notion of witnessing nature take its course without any influence of your own or any other human lends itself to feeling pure and connected to the land. Riding my moped to the Manoa falls trail, and looking down to where the lush green valley met up with the staggering emerald mountains would leave me breathless. I would feel a little skip in my heart and a little lightness in my step. I could be completely alone but feel so comforted. I had never felt like that before in my life.

And then, I met Aaron. And my world went topsy turvy. I had always liked the topsy turvy nature of life, but MAN, this was topsy turvy at it's craziest. It felt like a combination of the Teacups from Disneyland, Drop Zone at Great America, Skydiving on North Shore, and being in the Shark Cage in the middle of a big black ocean. Dizzying, gut-wrenching, exhilirating, and straight up scary all at the same time. We found our own home on the second to highest floor of a high rise that gave us a thrilling view of the mountains. Every morning at about 5 or 6am we would wake up to a sparkling sun rising over the dewy mountains and valleys, and during the afternoons we would get sprinkled with random rain showers. The beauty still awed me, and although we didn't have parrots or geckos or butterflies or mango trees, we still had our view. And we had something better too - each other.

And now, here I am, in Riverside, California, torn away from the clutches of what was my home for almost a year, and all I can do is think about what I used to have and what I no longer have - animals, plants, blue skies, moody clouds, clean water, sandy beaches, malasadas, laulau, Sushi Man, and Macky's shrimp truck come to mind, but there is one thing I miss beyond all else, which needs not to be remembered since it is always on my mind... my one and only love. All I can do is think about the good times in the past and hope for good times in the future. The rest is up to time (see below...).

By the way, just like the stunning Hawaiian mountains would leave me breathless and give me a little flutter in my heart, there is something that leaves me breathless here in Riverside, but it's not quite as pretty. It's name is SMOG.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

This too shall pass.

Hurry up and wait. Get there faster, wait longer. Why? Because they can make you. Just for the hell of it. Waiting has become such a big part of my life at this point - so big that it has consumed me, really. My monthly rent check reminds me that I have one fewer month to wait, as does my phone bill, electric bill, water bill, etc. It's the silver lining of paying our bills. I told Aaron today that I actually enjoy paying them - the methodical writing of the date on each check reminds me that time really is going by, slowly but surely, in an attempt to reunite us. Sometimes it feels like time has come to a complete halt, and it even feels like it's going backwards on some days, but then I take a step back and look at the big picture. As my guitar teacher just said today, it seems like Christmas was just yesterday. I remember waking up Christmas morning, in New York with my Dad, Stepmom, sister and brother, there to see my Grandmother, Aunts, Uncles, and cousins. The first thing I thought of was how it had been only 15 days since Aaron had left, and how impossible the next 435 of them seemed. Now, about 281 days remain... not such a daunting number anymore. If I can do 169, I can do 281. It's all about numbers...
10%: The percentages of Christmases in Aaron's life that he will have spent in Iraq as of December 25, 2008 (2004, 2007, 2008)

8+: The number of years Aaron will have been in the Army by the time he gets out (including the crossing of our fingers that he won't get stop-lossed...)

460: The number of days we will have been married by the time Aaron gets back

28: The number of the above days that we will have actually been in the same zip code while married.

3: The number of diamonds on my ring finger :)
2: Hearts

1: Love

So, from Christmas of last year to now, time has been doing it's thing. It tricks, it treats, it whizzes and it whirls. It makes you want to pull out your hair. It makes you want to do cartwheels. It's an all-around finnicky concept, but what I am beginning to realize is that in order to get by, you need to embrace its finnicky-ness. With wrinkles and deployments, you can't fight time, for time will always win in the end.

Here are some nice little quotes to leave you all. Thanks for reading my first post!

"How much of human life is lost in waiting." ::Ralph Waldo Emerson::

"We must be willing to get rid of the life we've planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us." ::Joseph Campbell::

"I never thought it was worth it, you know, waiting for your love, and then I felt your kiss... I could wait forever for this." ::Anonymous::
"Between the wish and the thing life lies waiting." ::Anonymous::

"If you have time to whine and complain about somehting then you have the time to do something about it." ::Anthony J. D'Angelo::

And finally,
"Time is too slow for those who wait, too swift for those who fear, too long for those who grieve, too short for those who rejoice, but for those who love, time is eternity." ::Henry Van Dyke::

Why we wait.