Small town girl. Joins Navy. Sees the world. Flies in planes. Hunts submarines. Gets out of military and has 3 kids. Rejoins Air National Guard as an "old lady" of 38.

A humorous compilation of stories and lessons learned. Usually the hard way.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

A Funny Thing Happened...

This morning I thought to check Amazon to see if my new book, Still My Dad (due to release Nov 25) had been listed yet.  I was delighted to discover that it was!  However, upon further reading- I realized they had posted the wrong description.  It was an entirely different book! 

Perhaps its the ex-sailor in me, but when reading this description, I couldn't help but think it sounded like some kinky 'adult' book.  I nearly spit my coffee all over my keyboard chuckling over this.

Tell me, am I crazy or does this crack you up too?

I'm not sure if it will hurt sales- or possibly help sales!  All I know is before I can get in touch with my Marketing Director, I must put it out there that this is not what my book is about.  For a proper description, one may refer to Barnes and Nobles.  Ha ha ha!

Have a great Wednesday everyone!  Don't forget to order your copy of Still My Dad.  And if I make the best sellers list I shall buy everyone a beer!  Of course you will have to come to Maryland to get it.  :)

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Liz & Me

So this one day, I met a woman of inspiration.  You may have heard her name before.  Elizabeth Gilbert.  She wrote this little book called Eat Pray Love.  I think it maybe sold a few copies in a few countries...went on to become a Hollywood blockbuster staring an academy award winning actress.

I just happen to be checking her website last week (investigating author websites ideas) and randomly discovered that she was going to be at a synagogue here in DC to do a book signing/reading.  I jumped at the opportunity and dragged my very pregnant sister (the crazy one) along with me.  We arrived right as the doors opened and patiently waited an hour in our fabulous 4th row seats to listen to Liz.  And when she finally began, it was amazing.  She was not only full of great advice, but she was funny, witty, and kind.  And she said a few swear words which made me like her even more.

At one point, she looked at me square in the eyes and told me it was time to get off my procrastinating ass and write something already.  Dummy.  Or in some words along those lines.  And perhaps it wasn't specifically directed to me- but it was the resounding message that filled the holy air of the hundred year-old synagogue that night.

It is true that I had come up with every excuse possible in my head.  I can't write right now, I need to clean the house.  I need to do laundry.  I need to go to work.  I'm too tired to think.  The kids need me.  I should drink wine with my friends.  I should spend hours on facebook and randomly check my email because at the end of the day that always makes me feel so accomplished.  Not quite.

So (standby- I'm going to make this about everyone now instead of just me) if writing (or whatever your true passion is) is what makes you feel complete, why do we procrastinate doing it?  Why do we put off the hard work, the challenging stuff, the painful exercise even when we feel so great afterward?   

Is it just because we are lazy?  Because we have to think too hard?

Or is it because we feel like we've already failed so it's not worth the effort.  Have a candy bar because that's easier and much more comforting.  Watch TV because it loves you back.  It's mindless and easy.

I have literally been procrastinating for so long now because I have gotten to a point where people (a very small amount I might add) are actually reading what I have to say.  Before I was writing for myself.  Somewhere in there I got an audience and it freaked me out and I began trying to think of what they want to hear vs why I started writing in the first place.  I've begun to throw ideas aside and listen to the voice that tells me over and over it's not good enough anymore.  So much that it has backed me into a corner where I lie in the fetal position every night and do nothing but rock back and forth.  Okay, I'm being a little over dramatic now.  But that's what it feels like as I DVR every new show that has come out this fall and spend every free second screening them and eating nachos- because I 'have' to watch these shows.

Well, Liz told me it's time to get up and do something- something that's been burning a hole inside of me.  The muse nagging and haunting my waking moments.  Put myself out there- even if the world hates it.

Enough already.  Time to write.  Time to exercise.  Time to jump off that cliff- to stop making excuses and put ourselves out there.  We will never please everyone- we must accept that.  The time has come... well, after one more quick episode of New Girl, that is.  But then- then it will be time!! 

Friday, June 21, 2013

Random Thoughts #507: Why I should Eat More Salads.

It all started one night as a nagging thought entered my head and refused to leave.  The more I tried to extinguish it, the more it insisted on pushing through.  My strange realization:  It seems that every time I casually pass by my basil plant I seriously considered taking a bite off of it.

I know.  I know.  That's just weird, you're thinking.

And it's true.  I'm pretty sure that's quite weird. 

I've decided it all must have stemmed from this,"You must eat salads" talk that has me so confused and taste buds downright frustrated.

The other night I dined on a barbecued chicken thigh for dinner topped off with a glass of white wine.  And it was amazing.

It was a night in which I truly listened to what my body was telling me to eat.  Meat and alcohol.  It doesn't get much more primitive than that.  Perhaps that is the real "caveman diet".  What more does one need?

Well, apparently basil.  Because as I was washing my face, getting ready for bed, I glanced over my shoulder as one does- just as they do in the commercials, swinging one's hair from side to side.  It was then that I saw it.  The basil herb plant that was resting ever so peacefully in my bathroom windowsill.
"Go ahead," she beckoned.  I'm sure it's a female plant.  "Try me.  Just one little leaf.  No one will know," Mrs. Basil insisted.

I began to feel awkward.  My basil plant was taunting me like an adolescent girl with a pack of cigarettes in the bathroom.  The pressure was more than I could handle.

Naturally, I did not want to be rude.  And yet, it still felt weird to just rip off one of those tiny, succulent leaves and start gnawing away on it.

After this went on for a while, I finally decided enough was enough.  I turned my back from my plant and continued to brush my teeth, ignoring the enticements.

No.  I would not be eating basil tonight.

That would, after all, just be weird.

However, it was in that moment of clarity that I also concluded that it just may be time to introduce some more "greens" into my life.  Perhaps I shall start with spinach.  It seems less pushy and a much better personality.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

If You Dig It, They Will Come: How to Catch a Man.

Since the beginning of time, women have always had what is believed to be "traditional" places to find a man.  A bar.  A club.  Church.  Sporting events.  The gym. Iceland.

And while all of these "traditional" locations generally prove to produce positive results, there is a deep secret that not many in our modern society know.  It is a method that has been proven so successful- it has been kept on the down-low for centuries.  However, I am here today to reveal this secret.  Are you ready for it?

If you want to catch a man... you must dig a hole.

Yes, I said a hole.

What kind of hole?

Most any hole will do, however, it has been determined that the larger and more complex your hole, the better your luck.  Additionally, your success in catching a man will not only depend on the magnitude of this hole, but the location as well.

Sound crazy?  Perhaps.  So crazy, in fact, it works.

Observe:  Any time there is a hole, one can be guaranteed to spot men congregating.   It is true.  No one is quite sure why this phenomenon happens.  Many scientific studies have been performed to determine the cause.  However, when it comes down to it- the answer is simple.  Men are drawn to holes.  Men cannot resist investigating a hole.  A hole is the perfect location for a socializing affair.

In many cases one man will be observed digging the hole, while other men randomly stand by and watch.  In their minds they are working just as hard as the digger- by keeping him entertained, and every so often throwing out helpful suggestions to the man digging. 

And so to my single lady readers- you now know what you need to do.  Find a busy location in which men frequently pass.  Begin digging a hole.  Give it some time, and before you know it, I guarantee men will come.  Though I cannot promise you that the men that come will necessarily be your dream men, or that you will not be arrested, but you will, in fact, meet a man.  Or several.
Happy digging.  And if it so happens that you meet the man of your dreams, well a simple thank you is all that I need.  Or thank you diamonds.  Diamonds are always a good way to show your appreciation.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

My Not-So-Pretty-Freak-Out Moment

It all started with a phone call.  It had been a night like any other night.  The whole family was driving down the road in our SUV.  We were just about to break out in a round of Row Your Boat when my phone began to ring- playing Flo Rida’s Whistle loudly over our sweet voices.  Whistling, I answered the phone. 

Mystery voice on phone:  Julia.  Hey.  [long pause]  I have something I need to tell you.
I recognized the voice of my best friend.  However, she wasn’t speaking in her normal happy tra-la-la voice.  Rather, it was more of a voice of dread.  I knew instantly something was wrong.
Fearing the worst, I asked her right away what was wrong.
Unhappy friend:  Well, I’m making... the phone call of shame...
Me:  The what?  [knowing that times were tight, my first thought was I wonder if she had taken a job as a stripper.  She can be compulsive like that.  Not that I have anything against strippers.  I’ve known some really nice ones.  They were always sparkly.  I just didn’t really foresee this as the optimal career for my friend.  When she is in front of a large group of people she doesn't know she gets nervous and makes really awkard jokes.  It just wouldn’t be good for tips.]
Unhappy friend:  Well… my kids... have... lice.
There it was.  She said it.  The words all mothers fear the most.  Well, almost.  They were the words that caused shunning among the PTA and the whispering and not-so-discretely pointing with eyes, lips, and head nods.  We would be known as the ‘dirty people down the street.’  
Quick say something to your obviously distraught friend.  Say something!!
Me:  Ooh,  gross. [not so supportive]  Ugh, that sucks.  Well, um, okay- thanks for letting me know… [Our kids had spent several days together that week. Crap.]  It’s no big deal! [AHHHH!]  They have all kinds of treatments for that now.  [Don’t panic…don’t panic…]  OkayIbettergonowbye.

I hang up the phone and look over at my husband.

Me:  Haha.  [Unhappy friend’s name] kids have lice.  Isn’t that funny?

Husband:  [Looking at me thoughtfully for a moment.] Okay.
I am silent for a moment.  I take this in.  I begin to do inventory in my head.  My head begins to itch.  I scratch it.  I recently had read something on Pinterest about ‘natural remedies’.  I laughed and scrolled on- thinking how embarrassing it would be to ‘pin’ something like that.  That would suggest my kids could get lice.  Oh funny Pinterest.  That would never happen to us.  I inform my kids not to wear random hats of strangers.  
But it was happening.
Though the details are somewhat vague from that moment on- I know the rest of the night went something like this:
Husband drops us off at home and goes on a run to the store for supplies.
I order the children to run downstairs and strip down to their underwear, throwing everything, including their coats into the washer.
I strip down to my underwear and throw all into the washer as well, turning it on the hottest setting possible.  
I kick myself for not having a burn barrel to just throw everything into.  
I wince in pain where I kicked myself.
I run upstairs and tell the kids not to touch anything.
I call them over and begin head checks on all three of them. 
I find nothing but am unconvinced.  I look further and find a few specs of dirt in my youngest child’s hair.  I resolve to give her baths more frequently.  (it’s a third child thing)
My head itches some more.  I run upstairs to check in the mirror.  I see nothing- but still remain unconvinced.
I run downstairs and into the pantry to pull out some apple cider vinegar.  
I drag the kids into the bathroom and begin pouring it over their heads over the sink.
It smells horribly and they complain of it.
I hush them and pour it in my own hair.  I consider pouring it onto the cats but I have run out.

I quickly run to their bedrooms to begin stripping their sheets.

I carry the bundles of bedding and toys- anything that may have touched their beds- down the stairs and throw it on the laundry room floor.

Husband arrives at home bearing coconut oil in his arms like a storybook hero.

I leap forward and grab the jar from his hand and began dousing the children’s hair in the oils.

My sister (the crazy one) arrives and I cannot understand why she will not treat her hair since she has been in the same room as my children who have been in the same room as my friend's children.

She says it's not a plague.  She's a nurse and uses all of these medical terms.

I begin yelling a lot.  Freak-out mode is on full force.  I cannot understand why no one else is taking this as serious as I am.

I fear the house is already condemned but do my best to save it as I begin bagging all of their clothes and blankets and throwing them outside.  I really love my house and don't want to lose it.

I isolate myself to my room as I've been told I've officially lost it.

The bugs continue to crawl all over me- reproducing every minute.

The world grows dark.  I either black out or go to sleep.  I'm not sure.  But when I awake- it is morning.  I look around to find the house is still intact.  Was it all a nightmare?  I touch my hair and feel the greasy oils in it.  Nope.  Wasn't a dream.

However, something has changed.  I suddenly don't feel as though the walls are caving in on my infested home.  I breath calmly.  In fact, my head doesn't even itch anymore.  

My sister comes into my room with a list of facts and myths about lice.  Looking around the house, it dawns on me that I may have overreacted- just a little.  Perhaps this is something that we can survive.

I also learn that it is not necessary to go to such measures when a louse has not even been spotted just because you know someone who has it. 

Somewhere in there I realize I may have slightly overreaccted.  Just a little.  I make several apologies and wonder what in the heck had come over me.

And then I call my unhappy friend.  I listen to her tell me about all of the crazy things she did the previous night too.  And then I realize- I am not alone in my crazy, irrational fears.  

Perhaps bugs make all mothers go a little insane.

And sometimes, if I'm very still, I can still feel them crawling all over me...

Thursday, January 31, 2013

I Got to Fly!

An amazing thing happened just the other day.  Something that I have been longing for.  The missing link in my current career...

I got to fly.

Now I’m not talking about just any kind of flying.  I got fly on my old plane- the P-3 Orion- but as a civilian this time. 

Though it felt like a lifetime ago, it had [only] been eleven years.   Fortunately, I was able to still squeeze into my old flight suit that I had held onto all these years (and three kids later). 
So when I arose that morning, I was sure to tell everyone I know that I was flying.  The babysitter.  The gas station worker who made my breakfast burrito.  Fred, the hitch-hiker I pass every morning on my way into work.  He was not amused.  I swear Fred has no sense of humor some days.

And although I was slightly disappointed to not be met with a grand brass band serenading me as I gallantly walked up the ladder, my smile never left my face. 

The most surprising thing that I realized- as I climbed the ladder that I had once fallen down and broke the fall with my face on the tarmac- is that essentially nothing had changed. 

I found immediate relief in this.  With the looming threat of the “new and improved” P-8 threatening to take over our happy P-3 world, casting aside the old war craft with a swift fling,  one tends to cling to the familiar.

What was it about these dirty old planes that leaked oil, smelled of old men, and JP-5 exhaust with a splash of stained urine on the bathroom floor?  And when I say bathroom what I really mean is a closet with a free-standing urinal that never gets completely washed out after each use- but simply is reused as is.  Again and again.  Now imagine that smell in an air-tight sealed plane.

What is it about this hunk of steel that often brings me to the brink of nauseousness over and over that I’ve missed for so long?

Was it the thousand plus hours of my life that I devoted to the P-3 and her various missions?

Was it the way her engines lulled us gently in a dazed and relaxed state?   And just as we're about to fade off into a deep sleep, the plane drops, instantly causing everyone’s stomach to choke up in their throat as we broke through a slick of air and dropped a hundred feet.  God I miss that.

Or maybe it was the stressed whine she made while yanking into a turn, wings vibrating and blood draining out of our face. 

I could not be sure.

Perhaps it is just the memories that are tied up in those hours of staring into the deep blue Atlantic, Caribbean, or Mediterranean waters- searching for illegal drug runners- all the while dreaming of what my future held in far off places.  Or sitting sideways without a window, staring into a green computer screen littered with lines from ship engines- looking for one tiny line- a single minute of contact that stood out different from the rest.  Or maybe it was the on-station conversations at three o’clock in the morning, with a cheek full of salty sunflower seeds, as we tried to stay alert and awake through the long night.

Maybe it was the thrill of the catch- finding a submarine, a ship, a landmark, or even survivors of a wreck at sea.

Most likely it was a combination of all of the above.  Every airman has their favorite memories of the P-3.  The people and the places she took us to.  The reminder every so often that all of those hours counted for something.

The P-3 will always remain the guardian of the sea.  As long as she patrols the coast lines, her country’s citizens can sleep easy at night.

I promised myself in that moment I would never take a flight for granted again.  And I would buy Fred a bus pass.