Sharon…

I first met Sharon when I was her brother’s secretary.  She, along with her Mom and her brother were visiting and came into the office to spend time with her brother.

I confess the first time I saw the family walk into our offices I was very intimidated.  I didn’t know what to say or actually how I was supposed to act.  I remember Sharon was so sweet, she smiled and we exchanged pleasantries and shortly after they all walked out.

Through the years,  I grew to love the family, and we are very close friends. Today I talked with her brother and sister-in-law.  We talked about Sharon, and like that first day meeting her, I didn’t know what to say.  Tears ran down my cheek as we visited on the phone and we talked about Sharon.  She passed away today and this world lost a very special person, although Heaven gained a mighty warrior of faith.

As is typical, the words, she is out of pain were said, along with words she will be missed. Kind words with good intentions, but, so sorely lacking in what was desired to be said.  So, as I can usually express myself much better in writing, I have taken to this blog to express my thoughts.

Sharon had a wonderful laugh.  The kind of laughter that is quiet but filled with mirth and life.  Her eyes twinkled when she talked about her youngest brother.  Those eyes reflected years of memories and adventures they only knew about.  She was proud of her brother’s family.  I saw that many times while sitting on a couch with her as she watched her niece and nephews and their children experience life.

She loved to pray and we often talked about prayer and in particular, praying for her brother when we were together.  I knew when I prayed for him and his wife that there was a strong back-up pray-er that joined with me.

It has been several years since I last saw Sharon.  We actually live across the country from her and her brother.  But, with relationships that are not just friends, but family, time and distance does not make a difference.

After hanging up with our friends today, my thoughts have gone back to the conversation we had.  Things I wish I could have voiced are still rambling around my brain, it will take a few days for them to connect into coherent thoughts.  I have also thought of my two sisters and how difficult it would be to say good-bye to them.  Time quickly passes and there are times when you don’t call or check in.  There have been too many of those times in my life, and I will not recover those missed opportunities to tell my sisters how much they mean to me.

So, as my rambling comes to a close, allow me to say once more, the world lost an amazing woman today, one who encouraged me, challenged me and in the short visits we would have, made an impact on my life that I will carry with me until I see her once more in eternity.   Each person we lose here on earth makes heaven just all that more sweeter.  As I end this, I will text my sisters, just to check on them.  Thanks for stopping by today, Cathi (DAF)

Grandma Challenge…

For the past few weeks I have seen my Facebook friends posting photos of their grandchildren with this explanation: Every day I select an image from a day in the life of being a grandma and post it without a single explanation.   In turn you are to nominate a friend to do the same.    Two days ago, a dear friend of mine nominated me.   I smiled and thought about it, as I usually do not share pictures of my grandchildren.  Only when I have the permission from their parents.   In this day and age, there is a fine line in sharing and over-sharing, but, I digress.

So, yesterday I shared a picture of Little Man and myself.   A sweet moment captured by my youngest and a photo that I love.  I can still remember the moment, the feel of his tiny body so comfortable, no squirming, no jiggling, just a tiny newborn with that fresh newborn smell.   Now he is all boy.   Lots of movement and noise and talking.  I wouldn’t have him any other way.  Of course, that newborn smell is long gone.

Today I posted a picture of Little Miss, curled up in her little bassinet, sound asleep.  Another precious picture.  I remember when that photo was taken, it was a warm San Diego day and she was only in a diaper with a little bamboo blanket on to keep the air off of her.  This morning I face-timed with Little Miss who, in her excitement for seeing us at Christmas had a list of thoughts she wanted to tell me in preparation for our visit.  I have laughed rethinking the conversation in my mind.  Gotta love a five year old with an active imagination.

The thing about this challenge, as they call it, is no explanation, how in the world does any grandmother not explain and tell a story about their grandchildren? That is literally impossible!

As I thought about this sharing of photos, I came to the realization that moments in a grandmother’s life is not only her grandchildren.  I thought of when I became a grammy for the first time.  Seven plus years ago, when Little Man was born, it was a hot July day and my life changed forever.  I saw my daughter and son-in-law walk in with this tiny bundle.  That moment is etched in my heart and mind.

The next time I felt that way was two years later, on another hot day, this one in October.  I stood with hubby outside a hospital room and heard the first cry of Little Miss.  Tears of joy welled up in my eyes.   A new life, a new child, a new little girl.

These moments bring to the realization that these lives, these two precious lives are ones that I won’t be a part of completely.  In conversations about your grandparents,  how many are in the present tense?  For most of us, words like, was, were, did, had are in the sentences.  Past tense words.  I remember,  a phrase commonly used in talking about grandparents.   That’s part of being a grandparent.  We strive to make memories so that when our sweet babies are grown, they, too, can say, I remember.

For me, grandma moments are not restricted to Little Man and Little Miss.  My moments are those when I channel my Mother-in-law without thinking and find myself reacting and saying things she did when my girls were small.  She is present in my heart and mind whenever I am with my grandchildren.  I know she would have loved her great grandchildren dearly.

Seeing my daughters and their husbands with their children also are some of my grandma moments.   Watching them interact, discipline, explain (for the umpteenth time) things to the kids, play games, build things, and laugh with them does my heart so much good.   Seeing a foundation built into my grandchildren by their parents is a visible reminder that there is a legacy being built.

I am blessed to have two more granddaughters.  Two beautiful girls (although one is grown now) who were gifted to me by my son-in-law.  Two girls I didn’t have the honor of seeing as infants, but feeling a bond with them I never imagined.   They bless my heart, hearing about their accomplishments and wishing I could wrap my arms around them often.

A grandma’s challenge is multi-faceted.  It reflects so much that goes unspoken.  Like a diamond catching the light, the heart of a grandma will flash a glimpse of laughter and surprise, it will reverberate with a pride that cannot be contained in the heart, but beams through facial expressions.  A grandma will hold out her arms waiting for a hug and hoping the child will absorb not only the hug, but deep love and emotion that is in the hug.  A grandma’s challenge is to plant deeply the roots of all she is into her grand-babies, so that in years to come, any and all conversations about her will bring to the foreground the love and comfort she put there.

Thanks for stopping by today, I appreciate your visit.   Cathi (DAF)

Juggling…

I have a faint memory from childhood of having juggling balls.  I remember looking at the direction book and practicing with them.  I think I was able to get up to three balls.  I was excited at what I could do, but when I tried the fourth ball, I became discouraged and quit.

Isn’t that how it is when we are trying something new or going through new experiences?   We step out confident, and then that fourth ball comes into play and all of a sudden we are all fingers and toes and can’t hold onto anything.

How did this memory come back to me, you ask?   Well, here is how it came back from the dark recesses of my mind.   That mind of mine is a scary thing, as I really don’t have to let you know.   I am certain you could perceive that from reading this blog!

Hubby and I are starting a new regiment in our old age.  We are watching what we eat, how much we eat, when we eat and along with that, we are exercising.   We had been faithfully walking until the rains hit starting a bit last week and continuing into this week.   Knowing we couldn’t afford to just go to Costco and walk around there to get in our steps and exercise, we pulled out our Wii system that had been packed away since before we moved.     Yes, we did move five years ago, but, let’s not get into that.

As we all know, Wii’s are those game systems that help you move.   I did the normal favorites of mine, finding out I am much more unbalanced and slower than the last time I used it.  Plus that Wii board groans when I step on it, which I personally think is very rude of it.    Anyhow, I am going off on a tangent…

One of the games is hitting soccer balls with your head while trying not to get hit by random objects, mostly shoes or stuffed animals.  I haven’t broken ten hits of the balls.  I have, however been hit many times by shoes and stuffed animals.  Each time you are hit with a shoe, the system makes a sound like a splat! The first time I played I was laughing so hard that there really was no way for me to hit the balls.   I played a few more times just to keep laughing at myself.

Last night as I lay in bed I thought of that game and being hit by the shoes.  That is when the memory of the juggling balls came to mind.   The shoes were virtual, they really didn’t hit you or hurt you, but I still remember the feeling of the juggling balls that dropped on my toes.  They fell with a thud and I felt each one on my feet.

As a child, I hurt each time I was hit by a flying ball.  It must have hurt if I can still remember the feeling.  That thought brought this thought to mind, as we get older, the things that are thrown at us can either continue to hurt or we can stand our ground and not have it affect us.

Juggling is not only about tossing balls into the air with a flourish, it is about concentration, ability, agility and confidence.  I confess I possess little of what I just wrote.   But, I do have the Lord on my side, who gives me all the concentration, ability, agility and confidence I need especially when life starts throwing not only balls, but random objects at me.  I may not hit all the balls with grace, but I am learning how to dodge those random objects thrown my way.  I may end up a bit bruised in the process, but, I am still standing and that my friends is victory.

Isaiah 43: 2 says: When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you.NLT

With having this assurance, I can stand, not only on that Wii board, but, in my daily routine and know that flying objects that appear out of nowhere trying to distract and discourage me won’t  overthrow me.

Thanks for stopping by today, I appreciate your visit.  Cathi (DAF)

 

Confessions and Memories…

I discovered today that there is actually a National Day of the Deployed.  Never heard of such a thing, and yet, when I looked, there is actually a day for those who are currently deployed, or have been deployed as a day to honor their sacrifice and commitment.  So, to make it official, I thanked my hubby and son-in-law for their service, and then I got off of Facebook and started to do my ironing.

As I was ironing, I figured I would write and wax poetic on how wonderful these two men are in serving in the Navy.   I would try to make it sound great and noble and I could feel good about writing that.

Then, as I was in the middle of ironing hubby’s shirts, reality hit me.  I like ironing.  In fact, I like doing most housework.  As my daughters used to tease me, I am a 50’s housewife.  Not like Donna Reed, with heels, dresses, aprons and perfectly coiffed hair, no, I am more of the likes of Roseanne.   I prefer tennis shoes, jeans (the old ratty ones), stained tee shirts (sometimes with holes in them), my hair is all over the place and please, make-up?  No, not around the house…

I truly became a 50’s housewife while my hubby was deployed.  When you spend months at a time on your own, raising a family, you have got to start to fill your time somehow.  I started cleaning.  Scrubbing down walls in frustration and anxiety when I didn’t hear from him for weeks.  Back then we did not have e-mail or video chats, we had snail mail and yes, sometimes a snail was faster than mail arriving at my home.

I could watch the news and worry.  I could read the newspaper and wonder.  Or, as I often did, I would pull out the bucket, and scrub walls.  It was therapeutic, it was exercise, but most of all, it was a stress reliever.   Windows would come next.   Washing windows, like cleaning toilets or ironing is a perfect exercise in instant gratification.  You immediately see results.   It’s rewarding.

After months of deployment, this all became a habit for me.  I guess I owe my habits to the deployment rotation of my husband.

Weekdays were okay, I could clean, I could do laundry, I could keep busy.   Weekends are a killer for those whose spouses are deployed. Weekends are the fun times for families.  Those are the days of togetherness.  For us, my daughters and I, it was just another day.

Sundays were the worst for me.  We would go to church, and afterwards hear everyone making plans for lunch.  I would load the girls back into the car and fight the lone-lies, you know that feeling sorry for yourself and wanting to wallow in it.    Each Sunday, as I drove down the freeway,  my pity party would begin.   That was the season that began going to the malls in the areas to look around.  We would have lunch, mostly at home, and head out to a mall.  Sees candy shops were my salvation.  These stores, then, had sugar sticks, all different flavors.  They sold them 3 for a quarter.   So, for less than a dollar,  we could go window shopping and the girls could pick out their favorite candy sticks and have a bag to prove they had been shopping.  Plus, with the free sample they gave to everyone who came into the store, we could each have our chocolate fix for the day.   I loved it when they passed out my favorite, a Mayfair, with milk chocolate, a white creamy center with cherries and walnuts.

Days do pass, and eventually deployments end.  The spouse arrives home to much fanfare and pomp and you head home.   A family reconnected and yet, there is a time of adjustment.  For us, hubby’s voice was deep and louder than ours.  It took a day or two to recognize and remember the comfort of his voice.  Schedules that I had in place were disrupted.  Meal times changed with his schedule.  None of this earth-shattering, but different.

Videos of returning troops make me cry.   They are honest and true.  I have been on the waiting end.  I remember being swooped up in hugs and kisses and tears.  These are the initial moments and they are wonderful.  They will live in your heart forever.  No one sees what it’s like after the camera is turned off.  Those awkward times of loud voices and laughter that is different from the quiet giggles that had reigned for months.   The presence of a spouse that completes a family, but also adds a difference to a routine.

These are the times though, that made me a 50’s housewife.  The times that I had to look afresh at this man I had married.  This man who was absent for birthdays and anniversaries and Christmases and school programs.  This man I love.   This was when my resolve cemented.  Yes, I would gladly iron his shirts and do his laundry.  Yes, I would put out towels for his shower and at times I would lay out what I knew he would wear.  I would gladly prepare his meals and make certain it looks beautiful.  He deserves it.  He deserves it all, because for years this man ate in a mess hall.  Having food put on a plate and handed to him, overcooked and unappealing.   For years this man lived out of a seabag.

Today, while ironing, this is what I realized, I have gladly become a 50’s housewife, fetching, cleaning and cooking.   I do it because I have been blessed to have the memories, sometimes haunting memories, of what a deployment means.  The insecurity of not knowing where he is and what he is doing.  The fear that can come with wondering.  The disappointment of going to the mailbox to find it only filled with bills, and no letters.   All of these memories make the time, even in retirement when there are no deployments, worth it all.   So, thank you to all who are currently deployed, soon to be deployed or have been deployed.   You are heroes all.   But, to all who wait, be brave, take courage and find new adventures for you and your family.  They don’t have to be grand to be memorable.

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

 

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)

 

Cinderella after the ball…

Have you ever stopped to wonder how Cinderella felt after the ball?   She had had a very bad day.  Wicked stepmother ruining a dress she put together to go to the ball, yelling at the poor girl and banishing her to the kitchen.  Not a good day.  I am certain she felt like nothing good was ever going to happen to her.  This really tugs at my heartstrings.  I am certain we can all relate to that type of day.

Suddenly, out of nowhere, her fairy godmother appears.  Day is saved.  Pumpkin turns into a coach, mice are horses, rats are footmen, I believe a lizard is the driver and her ragged dress is turned into a designer gown complete with a hairstyle and glass slippers.

Wow!   What an ending to a bad day.    As we all know she goes to the ball, meets her handsome prince and they dance the night away, well, at least until the clock starts to strike twelve.  She runs away, leaving a glass slipper and even though everything else goes back to the way it was, she manages to keep one glass slipper.

A reminder.  A memento.  A physical object to let her feel and remember that night.  Did she look at it often after that night?  I know I would.

Now, I stopped believing in fairy tales long ago.  There is still that part of me, being a female, that longs for a fairy tale.  But, fairy tales and reality don’t live very well together.  It’s like the glass slipper giving you a blister.  It just doesn’t happen.

Saturday morning I woke up, had my cup of coffee and went online.  It’s a normal routine for me.  I open my email, go to my Bible verse of the day, study on that for a bit, go to my news page, weather, and end up with Facebook.  Sounds exciting, doesn’t it?

Well, on my email was a reminder about submissions for stories for a magazine I am hoping to contribute to.   I read the reminder, thought about my blog and the zero views I rack up daily and told myself, nope, I cannot do that.

Discouragement lifted it’s ugly head a little and gave me that sly smile.  I went to my Bible verse of the day.   Psalm 37:4, “Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you your heart’s desires.”   One of my favorite verses.   I kicked  Discouragement away and smiled, yes, I am not going to fall for discouragement, I am going to delight myself in the Lord.   Sounds promising, doesn’t it? 

Well, like most things in life, I didn’t listen to my own pep talk, and by mid afternoon, I was really looking forward to preparing dinner.  I needed to pound some chicken breasts and I was ready to get hold of that meat mallet and pound something!  That, folks, is me, being very honest with you.

Since my day was moving in a downhill direction, you know, not just a gentle slope, but the hills you see that are more like a precipice, take one step and you will fall off the side of a mountain.  That was my mood and mind set.   Since I was like this, I figured I might as well see how an older post of mine which I had re-posted was doing on the blog.  I anticipated maybe three views, as I knew my cousin had looked at it and had actually shared it.  I knew hubby had read it and I knew that a man who graduated with my husband and had gone to the same church with me as a child had shared it.   I figured that could all add to my energy in pounding out my chicken breasts.

I went to my blog, I blinked.  I looked again.  I panicked!  Something was wrong with the blog site.  It somehow had my stats all messed up.  I started thinking of how to fix this error.  The number was in the 800’s.  I am really amazed my laptop didn’t just quit.  It’s not used to such excitement.  I sat there a minute.  I watched as the numbers climbed, rapidly.

I am part of a few blogging groups.  I have read posts where people have talked about having an abundance of views and how to handle it.   I read those posts, smile to myself and think, “how wonderful for them.  I will never have that problem.”

I have that problem.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s a great problem to have.   I know it must be a fluke, but, it’s a wonderful feeling.  I had the desires of my heart given to me.  Not a fairy tale, but, a gift from a loving God.   I actually had an audience to read what I wrote!

Stunned amazement, is an understatement.  Shock.  That’s a good descriptor.  Actually, though, I have felt muffled.  Like it’s a dream.  I have been walking around in a cocoon of cotton candy.  That’s how I have felt.  Things are suppressed.  My reality is off kilter.  I go to my stats page, almost afraid of what I will see.

The post that exploded had been written in 2012.  I remember writing it.  I wrote it in less than ten minutes.  It was just something I did.  I posted it and forgot about it.  Until last week when I re-posted it.

I felt like a writer.  I was so encouraged by the comments, the visits, the shares.  Forget the designer gown, forget the pumpkin carriage.  Words from people sharing their experiences, their thoughts, their memories wrapped around my heart lifting me up and bringing tears to my eyes.  Hearing that people played in the same park,  sledded on the same hills and spent summers in the same public pool.   Although, I know I was never alone doing any of that, hearing memories of people brought echoes of laughter to my mind.  I could feel the sting of a snowball to the face by some kid who was sled-riding at the church the same time I was.   I heard the music and smelled the chlorine at the pool, I could almost taste the french fries from the concession stand and I remembered the smile of my first boyfriend, a little bit of a side smile, but one I will never forget.

I sit today, looking at the stats, which are still extremely high for me, and I am thankful.  I never thought I would experience this.  I have no expectations, but I am going to attempt to somehow keep a forward movement in writing.   My stats page will be like my glass slipper.  I can go back and look at it, remember, and hold on to that memory.  The views and the comments are like the orchestra that played music for Cinderella to dance to, making her feel… worthy.

Thank you for stopping by today.  Thank you for being you.   Cathi (DAF)

 

 

 

This Day…

For the past several days there have been photos, articles, memes and memories of September 11, 2001.  Each one pricks at my heart and brings the tears to my eyes.  Each one is a jab at what happened to our country.  I still feel anger and shock when I look at the pictures and read the articles.  It will always be like that, I think.

This time of year everyone asks, “Where were you that morning?”   or,  “What were you doing when it happened?”

These two questions cause me to realize that this day, with all the grieving associated with it, gives me pause.

We were in San Diego, three hours behind the east coast.  What was I doing when the planes hit the towers?   Sleeping.

That morning I woke up.  I woke up smiling.   My baby was turning 18 that day.   We were going to go to the DMV so she could get her drivers license.  We were going to celebrate this young woman who was a freshman in college.  We had dinner reservations with a friend of hers and her god-parents.  It was going to be a great day, a day to celebrate this woman who was starting out on her great adventure of life.

We did do everything we planned that day, but, although it was a bright sunny day outdoors, we were glued to the television, watching events unfold.   A depressing pall fell on everyone.

To this day, I feel conflicted on this day, I want to mourn what happened in our country, yet, I want to celebrate this person.  To me, this day is a joyful day, it is the day my youngest was born.   A day I celebrate daily in knowing she is in this world.  She completed our little family.  She has succeeded in so many areas of her life.  She has given this world Little Man.  She deserves to be celebrated for so many reasons.

A few years ago, another layer was added to this day.  18 years ago, our son-in-law, (Little Miss’s dad) received his first military I.D. card.   This man has served this country faithfully and has loved his family.

So, this day is filled with emotions for me.   Sadness, anger, pride, joy, hope.  I guess, in thinking about those things, it is a good day.   I will never forget, but the pride I have in my son-in-law and in my daughter will never die.  And because of the reason for my pride, I have joy and hope for the future because I know great things will happen because my family is who they are.

Thanks for stopping by today, Cathi(DAF)

 

Hey.. Hey…

You know when some event happens and it brings back a flood of memories?   Today (well, technically yesterday as it is after midnight now), such an event happened for me.   I was on Facebook and saw that Peter Tork of the Monkees had passed away.

For a moment, I did not believe my eyes, so off my fingers went to google and sure enough what I had read was correct.   Peter Tork had passed away.  A part of my middle school life was gone.  Sweet memories flooded my mind and also a weird pang in my heart jabbed me.

The teeny-bopper television show was one I loved and I was a faithful fan of the Monkees.   Posters crowded my closet door.  I would save my baby sitting money to buy teen magazines so I could keep up with the latest on the Monkees.   I had their 45’s.  I had their albums.   To this day when I hear a Monkees song on the radio I can sing right along and also know where the needle on our record player would jump or stay put.   Of course, we all know that if you put a penny on the arm the needle would track the record better.

Beyond the usual teeny-bopper craze were the memories of a group of friends I had.  Marlene, Lorraine, Vicki and I spent each lunch hour together.  We were good friends and had spent each lunch hour together as long as I can remember.  We did not go home for lunch as many students at St. Joseph Catholic school did.   No, we ate in the lunch room and then went to the playground for the rest of the lunch hour.  The playground was actually the asphalt parking lot for the church, but, it was what we had.  No swings, no slides, no teeter-totter, just asphalt.   There were the occasional jump ropes and if we truly scored there was a ball to play with, but for the most part, it was conversations as we huddled in the corners between the spires of the church.  It was there that Marlene told us that her mom was going to have a baby and she hoped it was a girl as she only had one sister and five brothers.  It was there that Lorraine told us she was going to be an aunt, and we marveled how she was able to be an aunt in sixth grade even though we knew her brothers were much older than she was.   I know it was also where I could talk about my Mom and how much I missed her.

My Mom died in 1966, the year the Monkees television show started.  Their music and their show distracted me away from the grief I felt most of the time.  When I was with my friends and we were talking about the Monkees, I was no longer that girl whose Mom had died, I was just a normal girl.  Somehow, the Monkees enabled me to be a regular person and one that could carry on conversations.

I actually did not realize until today how much that group meant to me.  I knew I liked them.  I knew I was a fan.   But, it wasn’t until today, some fifty years later, that I realized they helped me move past my grief and back into normalcy.

So, thank you gentlemen for helping me through that season of my life.  Rest in peace, to my favorite Monkee.     Cathi (DAF)

 

Tea…

I sit here drinking a cup of chai tea.  It is warm, comforting and I am enjoying it very much.   I decided to have a cup after reading Chai and a Chat on Ritu’s But I Smile Anyway.    I commented to her that in comparison to what she would be drinking, mine is a weak American counterpart.

I grew up with tea.  My folks being of Irish and Scottish descent, tea was ladled out for all sort of remedies.   Don’t feel good?  Here’s a cup of tea.   Feeling sad?  Here’s a cup of tea.   I continued that tradition with my girls.

During dinner when we were young, I remember my Mom would heat up the water and fill the teapot.  After dinner, the teapot would be placed on the table, and both of my folks would have a cup of tea to finish their meal.  I always left a bit of milk in my glass because, if I was lucky enough, Mom would pour some of her tea into my glass and I would be able to join in with them.

I don’t remember the teapot being on the table after my Mom got sick, but, the memory lingers in the deep recesses of my brain.   I remember the teapot as a teapot.  I can’t remember the color or design, but the image of it sitting on the table comes back to me often.

I love teapots.  I actually have a collection of them.  I have some from Japan (for loose green tea), and I have one from each member of my family.  Hubby got me a big one that I don’t use often as when it is filled, it is heavy.  My oldest gave me one that actually matched my kitchen when we lived in San Diego.  My youngest gave me a plain white one that, I confess is usually the one I grab when making tea for hubby and I in the evening.  It doesn’t pour well, I hold it over the sink to pour, otherwise more tea ends up on the counter than in the cup.

My most prized teapot is a special one my girls brought back from their vacation to London a few years ago.   They  said they went into a shop either in Piccadilly or Notting Hill,  (I am not certain which right now) and described me to the shopkeeper.  They told him that I collect teapots and I love unusual ones.  He reached down and produced the teapot they purchased.  It is one of my most prized possessions.  It sits in my china hutch and I use it on special occasions.  It pours so beautifully and brings tears to my eyes when I look at it.

I know things like this are made to be used and enjoyed, and after all, they are just things.  This one, though is more to me, as it reminds me that I have two loving daughters who care about me.   They spent time during their vacation with each other to remember me.  They made certain it was carefully packed to arrive perfect for me.

So, now my cup of tea is finished as is this post.   Just some random thoughts on this sunny day here, thanks for stopping by.   Cathi (DAF)

A Flash Back Memory…

Last night while I was browsing You Tube, I came across a video for the Navy Lodge in Yokosuka, Japan.   This caught my eye as this is where we lived for the first couple of weeks after arriving in Japan.  I clicked on the link and smiled to myself.

This lodge is definitely not the classier place to stay when looking at first class hotels around the world.  It is by no means a four star resort to most.   It is a good, functional place to stay when you are being relocated to a foreign country and you don’t have your own home to move right in to.  It is a great place to drop your bags when you have arrived after a long and hard flight across the ocean.

I remember well the relief I felt when we first arrived to the Navy Lodge in June of 1976.  It was a dark and dreary night, no lie! It was a rainy night and the drive from Tokyo to Yokosuka was both invigorating and strange.   The signs were flashing neon, beckoning people to come into the pachinko parlors and restaurants and bars.  Each was fascinating to see, but overwhelming after a long flight from San Francisco.

We had a sponsor from the base meet us, which meant someone who my husband would be working with met us at the  airport and arranged for our lodging and getting us settled in for the first few weeks.  He drove a work van to the airport and talked most of the way from the airport.  Hubby carried on a conversation with him while I stared out the windows wondering how this was ever going to feel like home.

When we were dropped off at the Navy Lodge that night we checked in and were shown our room.   It was down a dark hallway.  On the way to the room we were shown where the bathrooms were and where the showers were.  Women on one side, men on the other.  Sort of like when you had gym class, those types of showers.   The only t.v. was in the lounge at the end of the hall.  Our room had a sink in it, a double bed and a small window, but it was quiet and it was ours.   We sunk into bed and slept like you can only sleep after a trans-Pacific flight.

After a good night’s sleep, a shower, and fresh clothes we met our sponsor for breakfast.  I can’t remember what that was, or where it was, all I know was the new day brought new energy and an excitement.

It did not take long for Japan to feel like home to us.  The signs that were so strange on our arrival soon became friendly to us.  The noise of the traffic and  the crowds of people became the melody of our lives.  We learned to move and flow with it.  Trains were second nature to me as I did not drive while living there.  I became familiar with the bus schedules, the bus stops, the train stations.  There were very few boring days while living there.

I often wonder what it is like now.  After watching the video last night of the Lodge, I smiled to myself.   A kitchenette in each room, that was unheard of!   A bathroom in each room, how wonderful!  A television in the room, amazing!  Plus, right before we left Japan, the Armed Forces Radio network brought us American television!  So, there is no more watching American shows dubbed in Japanese!

Time changes so much.  Things advance and improve and improve some more.   I would surmise, though, the people of Japan are still like they were.  They welcomed us and spoke with us and shared what they had with us.  They are a part of my history, my story, my heart.

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