It became second nature…

We have spent increased time at the Veteran’s Hospital this past month.   Appointments and classes and tests have given us the chance to drive up to the mountains and spend some of our days at this facility.

Yesterday, we were there for an appointment for my hubby.  Some friends of ours went along with us, keeping us company.   It was wonderful to have them with us and she commented a couple of times, how honored she was to be there, seeing the men and women who have served this great country of ours.

I readily agreed, and once more, as I usually do, started looking at the men and women heading into their appointments.  There were a couple who looked like they had served in WWII, a few more that looked like they had served in Korea, and a lot of our precious Viet Nam vets.   Some of them were young and had on Wounded Warrior shirts and you could tell they were our newest veterans.

This time, though, I looked at the women who were pushing wheelchairs, helping men with walking, and those sitting beside their men waiting with them. These women.  These spouses who have served along side these heroes.  These women who kept the home fires burning.  These faithful few.

I am one of them.  Last night before falling asleep, I thought of these women.  I thought of my story.  Adapting to military life did not come naturally.  It was not second nature to me at first.   We were married on a Saturday, on Monday we were in the office at my husband’s command getting my military I.D. card.  At the time, there were stacks of papers to sign.  I had only had my married name for two days.  I had to sign my married name on each of those papers.  I concentrated.  I was purposeful.  I kept repeating to myself my new name.  I had to, because hubby and the man behind the desk kept teasing me to not write my maiden name.  I managed to sign several copies before they won.  They laughed hysterically when I goofed up.  I was not happy.

The next day, I went to get groceries.  On the base.   Alone.  As I had dropped hubby off for work that morning, he sternly admonished me to not speed on base.  I did my best, although, I couldn’t keep the car at 25 mph. .   I did not get pulled over.

I went to pick up groceries.  I had my list.  But, this naive little girl from a small Northwestern Pennsylvania town never expected to see Filipinos.   I had never seen anyone from another country.  I had never heard Tagalog.   I confess, I stared , a lot!   Picking up hubby that day, I excitedly told him about the Chinese people in the commissary.  He looked at me.  Actually he stared at me.  He told me, it was not possible for someone from China to be able to shop on base.  I stood my ground.  I was adamant.

He took me back to the store just to see what I was talking about.  There, by the frozen foods, a group of people were standing by their carts, talking.  I pointed.  Yes, I did, pointer finger out, and aiming directly at them.  I was determined to prove how right I was.    At this point, hubby leaned over and told me to stop pointing.  I obeyed.  He started to laugh.  I really didn’t appreciate it.  He explained to me that these “Chinese” people were from the Philippine Islands and they were, in fact, serving in the U.S. Navy.

At that point, I knew I would never adapt.  I would never understand, and I would never survive the Navy life.  I held back tears on the way home.  This life was all too much for a small town girl.

Yes, the first few months of being married to a military guy was hard.  It was confusing.  It was different.  Nevertheless, I persevered.  Actually, I flourished.  It became second nature to me.  I learned the ebb and flow of how things worked.  I learned how to cook Filipino food.  I was stretched and pulled.  Many times, I resisted, to no avail. The bases we were stationed at became familiar to me.  Familiar like your hometown is.  It was comforting for me to see men and women in uniform.  To see salutes being passed.  It is comforting still for me to see our uniformed military.

So, yesterday as we sat waiting for hubby to finish, I looked at these women.  They are my people.  They understand.  They have been through similar situations as I have.  They have looked at the cupboard on the 14th of the month, wondering how to stretch that last bit of food until tomorrow, when it is payday.  We have rushed to the mailbox hoping for a letter, or even a note to just have a connection with a spouse who is deployed.  We have sat alone on the floor in the dark, praying for our spouse’s safety.  We have run our homes and done our duty.  We have been creative in raising our children, making certain Daddy is always mentioned and pictures of him shown, so they have some connection to a parent miles away.   We waited.  At piers, at airfields, at airports, at staging grounds. We stood, sometimes for hours, until we could run and throw arms around our man.

And still, we wait.  We wait as they slowly walk with canes or walkers.  We wait as they visit and keep their appointments.  Many of us are relics of the Cold War.   We are the old folks the new veterans look at.

However, if you look closely, you will see a different story than the apparent one that is first visible.   You can see a twinkle in the eye of the man in the wheelchair.  A bit of playfulness, like he truly does want to pop a wheelie and race down the hall to his appointment.  You can see in a walk that this man was once a force to be reckoned with, that yes and sir were directed his way daily.  The women who helps her husband up out of the chair used to pull him up to hit the dance floor at the NCO club.  Life is still there, it is just hidden a bit.

It is all just second nature now.  It is my life.  We may have retired years ago, but, that Navy wife is just dormant.

Thanks for stopping by today.   I appreciate you.  Cathi (DAF)

 

Pride Cometh Before a…..

I am often lecturing my sweet hubby about his balance.  His balance isn’t the best because of past injuries.  Having had one foot broken off on his left leg and a severed quadriceps tendon on his right leg, I repeatably tell him he hasn’t a foot to stand on.   He often takes a tumble and then I grab my soapbox and remind him of his problem with balance and how he needs to have a plan before overextending his reach.  I write all this so I can continue on.

Yesterday, (and yes, I do realize it is only October) I went upstairs to the little storage cubby where all my Christmas decorations are stored.  Again, I do realize it is only October.   I wanted to look at what ribbons I have to see if I wanted to buy more.   I am planning ahead here, folks…    I remember that I had a container almost completely full of ribbon and I wanted to see how tattered it may look and also give me an idea of what I want to do with my decorations this year.

I stuck most of my body in and saw that Charlotte had moved in.  Trying not to disturb the cobwebs, I ducked down and picked up my empty box of fall decorations.  I put it in the next room because, well, I need to pack up my current decorations once Thanksgiving is over.  Then, I saw it, a box laying in the small distance, marked “Christmas”.   Instead of walking in further, remember those cobwebs, I leaned in to reach the box.

With my right hand stretched out, I started to comprehend my dear hubby’s situation.  That box was just a bit out of my reach.  I glanced back and put my left hand on a stack of boxes.  That didn’t help.  Empty gift boxes are just that, fluff…  The boxes went flying.  I started to think that I was going to land head first onto the small opening on the floor.  I hollered , “Help!”.   Many thoughts racing in my mind, none of them pretty.  I felt my lecturing days waning.   I knew my soapbox was going to be removed.  I knew it was going to hurt.

Suddenly, out of the corner of my eye, I saw a big red storage box.  I grabbed at that.  Victory!  Again I hollered, “Never mind!”   I regained my footing.  I backed out of the storage area, with the box I was reaching for!

Laughing, I went to reassure my hubby that I was, in fact, okay.   I returned to check out that box of ribbons.  The ornaments in there were all wrapped nicely.  I returned to that storage area, I looked, and decided that I really did not feel like pulling everything out as I know that whatever I am looking for is usually in the very last box.  I will wait another month.

I went about the rest of my day, not giving my acrobatics another thought.  I went to bed, fell asleep and then, in the middle of the night I woke up in pain.  My knee hurt.  My hip hurt, my shoulder hurt.  My neck hurt.   I lay there a few minutes contemplating the reason.  I hobbled into the bathroom to put on the muscle cream.  As I got to the bathroom memories of  attempting gymnastic moves came to mind.  Image result for cartoon falls

I learned a couple of things yesterday.   First, don’t judge.   Second, why in the world am I concerned about Christmas ribbons in October?  Get a grip, Cathi!

So, humbled, I close this out, a bit sore from being old and having a momentary lapse of good judgment, but all in one piece!   Thanks for stopping by today.  Cathi (DAF)

 

For Everything there is a Season…

I usually do any deep reflecting at the end of the year, after Christmas and right around the New Year’s celebrations.   That is when I think of the past year and ponder what the new year will bring.  That is the way I have done it for years and years (and if I was truthful, I would add another ‘and years’ to that statement).

So, it has been unusual for me to begin to reflect this early in the year.  This time of year is when I complain about the heat and the mosquitoes, if nothing else, I am a creature of habit. Specific things for specific times.

I have a great-niece (actually, I have six nieces that are great) but this is actually a great-niece as in my niece’s daughter,  hopefully that made sense.  She is a wonderful young woman, (as is her sister), and she recently graduated from high school.  Her Facebook posts reflect those of a recent graduate.  They are filled with emotion and excitement, determination, anticipation and mixed in with all of that, is a measure of uncertainty and if I am being truthful, fear.    This is an exciting time for her.  Her whole life is before her.  A vast hallway filled with open doors and adventures.  She is standing in the doorway, ready to embark on the rest of her life.

Yesterday hubby and I were having a conversation with some friends.  We were talking about our age and how quickly we came to the point we are.  We talked how we felt on the inside versus how we ‘looked’ on the outside.  It’s a conversation I have had several times in the past few years.  In fact, I find myself saying the same things while having these conversations.

This morning I woke up in a pondering mood.  I lay in bed as I thought of my life.  I really could see many opportunities that I passed on.  I realized that my vast hallway filled with open doors had many doors still open or halfway closed, all covered in cobwebs for not being used.  I wondered if I regretted not exploring them.  As I dressed for the day listening to my creaking joints and looking at my gray hair, it occurred to me that, yes, I am as old as I look, no matter how young I may think I am.

I know these were deep thoughts for a Monday morning, but, when my mind starts a journey of thought, I determine that I will see it through, with or without my first cup of coffee.

A couple of songs went through my mind.  The first, by the Byrd’s , “Turn, Turn, Turn”  and then just a snippet of Frank Sinatra’s classic, “I did it my way”  But, for the latter, the only phrase that stuck in my mind was “regrets, I’ve had a few, but then again, too few to mention”.

There were two things I took away from my morning musing which, obviously I am going to share with you.   The first, I did not explore all that was available to me, but, I would not travel back down that vast hallway just to see what I missed.

Secondly, each part of our life is a new season.  Each part of our life finds us at the doorway of a hallway.  That hallway may not be as long as what it was when we were freshly out of school, but, nevertheless, it is a hallway filled with open doors.  We each have new things to discover and explore.  New adventures await.  So, by this afternoon, this white-haired, creaky lady, who still feels like she is eighteen, albeit a very slow-moving eighteen year old is about to take a step from the doorway into her hall.

I also leave you with a quote from Ecclesiastes, which is where the song mentioned above came from.  This is Ecclesiastes 3:11-13 from the New Living Translation.   It sort of sums up how I am feeling on this Monday afternoon.   11 Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end. 12 So I concluded there is nothing better than to be happy and enjoy ourselves as long as we can. 13 And people should eat and drink and enjoy the fruits of their labor, for these are gifts from God.

Thank you for stopping by today, hope you are having a good day.   Cathi (DAF)

 

Just Thinking…

Each year at this time I begin to remember and think of what I was doing and where I was.  Each year I add another number to the count of the years.  Each year I wonder where the time has gone.  Tomorrow is my oldest daughter’s birthday.  I don’t mind my own birthday, but, hers gets to me yearly.

Yes, I have two daughters, but until recently the only birthday that bothered me was my oldest daughter’s birthday.  Now, that her sister has made it to her mid-thirties, I begin to feel older in September also.

I can remember talking to my Dad on my birthday.  He would ask, “How old are you now?”  I always thought that was a bizarre question, I  mean, how could you not remember how old your child was?  I am beginning to think it was self-preservation that he asked that question.  I think he was most likely hoping I would give a lower number, which I never did, because, as I mentioned previously, my birthday never seems to really bother me. So, I would proudly announce my age and his response is one that I have become very familiar with, “How did you get to be that old and I really don’t think I am old enough to have a daughter your age.”   I guess with age comes wisdom.  I feel that same way.

Today as I was going through my Facebook page, I started to read the responses on a friend’s post.  As usual there was a secondary conversation that was between my friend and a friend of hers that I do not know.  The conversation went like this, (friend 1) “How is your Mom?”   (friend I don’t know) “She is good.  64 now and healthy.”

I swallowed hard.  This comment made it sound like at 64 the woman should be in a home for the infirm and aged.  This, on top of my oldest approaching what could be a milestone year as she hits a big year next year (sorry Sweetie), made me start to look for my walker, a cane or my bed pan.  Or all three of them.

It truly is amazing that I have my facilities to actually write this out and think coherently.  Age, in wine, cheese and Sean Connery it is a wonderful and delightful thing, each year making it better than before.

So, I will continue to think on this.  This business with age, and numbers and gray hair and arthritic hands.  This business of growing older.

I close with this quote I found.  
Never use the passing years as an excuse for old age. ~Robert Brault

Thanks for stopping by today.  I appreciate your visit.  Oh, and to my dear daughter, Thank you for the years of laughter and tears and worry and joy.  May #%* be the best year yet for you!  Cathi (DAF)

 

 

Aging… 31 Days of Observing….

My precious puppy is approaching 12 years old.  In March, he will celebrate that milestone.  We have had him since he was 7 and half weeks old.  He is a wonderful little guy, I would say he is my favorite dog of all time.  I have had several dogs in my lifetime and each hold a special place in my heart, but, this one has moved in and captured it all.
Our Shugo is a Shiba Inu.  Inu in Japanese means a dog.  So, here, in this country, when people say they have a Shiba Inu dog, they are actually saying they have a Shiba dog dog.   We love to let people know that fact.
Shugo is our Shiba.  He is a character.  Shiba’s are very independent dogs.  They are the most cat-like dog around.  They love to groom and they like to be petted on their terms.  His independence fits well with our family.
He is playful and is quiet.  He only barks when it is important, or if he is very playful and wants to hear himself speak.  We have vaulted ceilings and there are times when he is playing around and starts to bark, only to be surprised at the loudness of his bark.  He then continues, I think, to hear how loud he can make it sound.
He loves carrots, they are his treat.  He will sit, shake hands, give you a high-five and a low five and a house bark (a very low bark) and gently take the carrot from your fingers.  He makes me smile.
For the past few months I have noticed a change in our little guy.  He is starting to feel his age.  He is the equivalent of a 77-year-old man.  We understand that with him.  He sleeps more.  He doesn’t wake up as quickly.  He gets a bit grumpy if we disturb his napping.  He stands up a bit slower and we can hear his bones creak with age.  He still sheds a lot, and his red hair is being replaced slowly by white.
He still loves his walks and will go on them with a puppy like briskness.  His eyes aren’t as sharp as they once were, so squirrels aren’t as threatened as they once were.  Frogs aren’t lunged at as much.  Cats are just ignored.    His nose is still sharp and lately his walks are more about sniffing things out, discovering new scents.
He was never one to cuddle with you.  He was too much like a cat for that, until lately.  He will nuzzle up to me.  Pushing his nose into the side of my leg for a good petting.  He will let me know if I should continue by not moving from my side.
Thinking of aging today.  I think we all start to stop and sniff the life around us.  We like to have some good snuggles and close time with those we love.  We like to relax and get up a bit slower.  We may creak and groan and shed some hair.  Our color is replaced with white.  But, we are devoted to those we love.  We take more time to be with them, to let them know their importance to us.  We make certain our place in their hearts is permanent.
Shugo

Shugo

Thank you to my Shugo for showing me so much lately.  DAF