Tuesday, November 25, 2008


I almost never blog about this. Or talk about it, for that matter. But, someone once told me that writing things down helps. Let's see...

For some reason, I was given the independent gene. I don't know where it came from, but I have always been ok with:
  • being in charge of a situation
  • eating alone in a public place (what's the big deal?)
  • managing things at home
  • being the only grown up in the house for periods of time

OK, that last one I don't really love, but I do it. In 1994, I made a promise when I married Jon. To some, the promises mean love, honor, partnership, and togetherness. Because of Jon's line of work, our promises also included long stretches of time apart, 'single' parenting, and lots of extra work to keep our marriage tight. I promised to handle the hard times that Army life would bring, and I promised to be the boss at home so he could be the boss at work.

Well, you would think that after 14 years of marriage that I would be good at these separations. I'd like to say that I am, but I am human, too. I miss having him here. Even though we don't have a lot of time together - the Army demands a lot of Jon's time - I miss the sound of that motorcycle pulling into the driveway. I miss the 5 times (or more) every day that the phone rings, even though most of those calls from him are only a minute or less. I miss his presence. When he's not here, things function, but they don't. There is a certain silence at bedtime, when my room is missing another grown up and the TV is not tuned to Sci-fi :0) There is a strangeness at dinner, when the kids eat more ramen than they should and we're not wondering "When is Dad going to walk through the door?" I have a lot of trouble sleeping when he's not here - I leave the TV or the bathroom light on for company. (Friday night I woke up and cleaned up the toys in the backyard at 12:30 am because I couldn't sleep.)

So, today I am missing my other half. It's only been a few days since I talked to him, but sometimes those days feel like weeks. "Normal" families take for granted that their dads are home for dinner everynight, and don't have to go on month-long business trips (with little or no communication back home). They never worry about who will repair the lawn mower or figure out why the ceiling fan is a little more wobbly than it should be. They get the man of the house to do those things. When the man of our house is gone, we find solutions to those problems. (Now that Alissa is older, she is a tremendous help when she wants to be.) But, there is no substitute for the real thing.

So, in a nutshell, I am missing Jon terribly today. And, he doesn't return for over 21 days. I don't think he ever reads this blog, so I will have to tell him these same things when he calls again. Until then, I will miss him silently but press on, knowing that the world doesn't stop just because I am feeling a little lonely here in the eerily quiet house. Soon the girls will be home and I will forget what the quiet house sounded like just moments before...

There, that does feel better! Now if only he would call...

Thursday, November 20, 2008

I Ran!!!

Ok, I did something today. Something I thought I couldn't do. Something I never imagined I would ever do.

Wait for it.....


Ok, I'm sure you're either thinking "So what?" or "What's the big deal?" Hang on while I briefly catch you up.

If you've met me, or ever spent time with me, you know that I am NOT a runner. Never have been. Ever. Did I mention that I am, at best, a sporadic exerciser? Well, until we moved here to Hawaii.

I have been on my elliptical machine quite a bit in the last 6 months. But, I got bored from it and I was afraid that I would lose the momentum I'd gained - "working out" 3 or 4 days a week. It felt good, and it is a great stress relief, and boy did I feel accomplished that I could stay on that thing for 45 minutes at a stretch without dying. I even took pictures of the control screens to prove that I had done it!

I decided, after talking to my neighbor, to give walking in the nearby neighborhoods a try. Why not? It's sunny almost all the time, and warm, and there are always TONS of people walking, no matter what time of day. So, about a month ago I did. I just started walking. It started with a mile. About all I could do. Then, before I knew it, I was up to 4 miles a stretch! (To those who are not impressed, believe me - it is worth screaming from the rooftops to me.) I've been doing this about 3-4 days a week.

But this week I decided that I was ready to add - gasp - jogging! Well, to me, jogging is just walking a bit faster. But, I did it. Walk, jog, walk, jog. And I felt good. Really, really good.

And today I took it even a step further. I RAN! I mean really ran. Not sissy running, not fast walking. (OK, not sprinting, though, either.) Running. And for half-mile stretches!

HALF Mile stretches.
And it didn't kill me.

For those of you still not impressed - did I mention that I have never been a runner in my life? Ever?

Being active on a regular basis is - dare I say it - Fun! And, sometimes it's the only time that I leave the house all day (besides school carpool).

And today was pure euphoria. I am crying as I write this because I have done something that I thought was impossible. Something I never thought I would ever even try. And not only did I try it, but I did it. And I think I'll do it again tomorrow.

I did it!
What a blessed day!!!

Monday, November 17, 2008


So, I've been hearing all day about the snow in Ohio. Family, friends, blogs - they all speak of a beautiful snowfall that occurred today. And, here in Hawaii it's 80s and off-again, on-again rain.

Living amidst Paradise, where you can swim in the ocean on New Year's Eve (and it's not a Polar Bear Club swim), do I miss the snow?

. . . . .yes, I do.

Can you believe it? The kids miss it, too. They have been talking about it for the last 2 weeks. "Mom, is it winter here too, or just in Ohio?". "Mom, what will Christmas be like with no snow?".

All my life I have associated winter with snow. I mean, I lived in Ohio until I was 24. In Ohio, there was (and is) a lot of snow in the winter. I remember bundling up so tight and full that I could barely move. Sledding in the schoolyard behind the house. Laughing and making snow angels when school was canceled for the day (or days).

Here in Hawaii, the seasons move - from summer to fall, and fall to winter. Just like everywhere else. But, there are no real weather patterns to mark the changes in the calendar. We don't even have Daylight Savings Time. (Well, November has been a rainy month, and I'm told that last November was the same way. Maybe that's the "sign" that winter is coming.)

Am I obsessed with the Christmas-but-no-snow thing? Maybe a little. Will it ruin our holiday? Most definitely not. One thing I have learned in all these military-related travels, is that you go with the flow.

So, our snow this year is replaced with sand from Bellows Beach. Our winter coats are replaced with bathing suits, and our turkey dinner might just be turkey sandwiches (or hotdogs on the grill)! Our family celebrations will not physically be with our loved ones, but with our new neighbor friends - our Hawaii Ohana. The cards will come, with warm wishes from Home, and those we love and long to be with.

And, despite missing our families, I am really looking forward to putting up the tree and filling the house with the sights, sounds, and smells of Christmas. It is a time like no other.

For those of you who we usually see during the holidays, but won't this year, your are always in our hearts.

For those we haven't seen in a while, or maybe have never even met in person, I hope that this coming holiday season (starting in just a few days!), brings you joy, happiness, love, and togetherness. As you open your gifts and marvel over the new iPod, earrings, or great clothes under the tree, remember the true meaning of Christmas. Remember those who are in your hearts but far from home.

Remember those sacrificing in countries far away, giving their time, their family life, and sometimes their own lives, for our freedoms. For them, a card, a letter, a small box, might just make their day. Their week. Their year. It might make them feel that their sacrifice is worth it.

Visit http://www.anysolider.com/ and find a serviceman/servicewoman to greet this holiday season. Trust me, it means more than just a card and a stamp. It brings hope, faith, and renewed spirit.

Those things mean much, much more than a new iPod, earrings, or clothes under the tree.

Happy Holidays ALL!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The End of the Road...

Jon and I have been trying to resurrect "Date Night". Anyone with kids knows that you need to try to carve out couple time whenever you can. (Don't worry, this is a G-rated blog...) Since Alissa is old enough to babysit and Red Cross certified, we have a great resource when we need someone to watch Alex and Abby so we can have "Date Night".

So, this past Saturday, we got our Harley Davidson gear out of the garage, boarded the bike and off we went. We just rode. One of the great things about O'ahu is that there are so many roads that are scenic and beautiful, and there is no pastime that pleases Jon more than riding the motorcycle.

After about 80 miles of driving, we stopped to have dinner at a great Mexican cantina on the North Shore. Then, we went to the "end of the road".

Literally. The road just...stops.

There are boulders stacked up to let folks know that you can't go any further. Actually, you can hoof it for another 3 miles to the site of a beautiful and mystical ancient Hawaiian legend involving souls and sacrifice. (We opted not to make the trek on this particular night since we had only the moonlight to guide us.)

So, we parked the bike, took off our gear, and walked approximately 50 steps to the beach. There was truly no one around but the 2 of us, a couple of night fisherman down the beach, and the moon. We took our blanket, laid it on the beach, and sat there for about 20 miutes, listening to the ocean and looking at the amazing night sky, full of bright stars. There was no city light to blind us, no car engines blocking the ocean's beautiful melody.

It was an amazing date.