30 July 2008

A year

My baby is one today! I can't believe a year has gone by. This time last July I had just woke up from a nice peaceful nap thanks to wonderful drugs leaking into my spine. I had no worries and a stress free labor/delivery. Although Mattea was considered a "big baby" (8lb 1oz) I thought she was rather small. Who cares...I didn't feel a thing!!

Daddy is in the field this week so we're not celebrating until Friday when he gets home. I didn't want this day to go uncelebrated (is that a word?) though, so I decided to take the kiddos to the pool this afternoon. However, after about 10 minutes of sitting in the baby pool it was clear that the birthday girl wanted nothing to do with water today. I'm not kidding when I say she just sat there...staring around..not even splashing or attempting to move. BORING! We got out and ate snacks while brother played with some long lost buddies from last school year.

She did seem to be in a very chipper mood today, which for those of you who know her, is rare these days. Mattea has a very guarded personality, is afraid of almost everything (at least the first few times), doesn't trust anyone that lives outside her home, and whines rather consistently. OK, ok, so that sounds worse than it really is. She does laugh and smile and eat and sleep, but that's pretty much it outside of the above explanation! I feel bad! How did I end up with such a reserved child? For those of you who know me...well its a mystery.

Mattea has yet to realize the unharnessed and destructive powers she holds inside. Translation = she is not walking yet. She gets around very swiftly on her hands and knees (or really hands and knee and one leg out straight) and gets into the dog food (her fav sneaky snack now) but makes no attempt to let go of something while standing. Again...very little trust in things around her...and I guess a bit of a self-esteem issue? Perhaps I need to cheer her on a little louder or jump up and down laughing and clapping my hands wildly for every little milimeter she edges away from the sofa.

I love my daughter to pieces. I wanted nothing more when I found out I was pregnant than to have a baby girl. Mattea brought a piece of me back that was lost and she has changed my life forever. Her sweet smile and extra-nerdy laugh go perfectly with her double roll thighs and rosy cheeks. This is a picture of my baby on her special day.

29 July 2008

Teasure in the Trash

Recently I was reminded of the value of trash. It makes me laugh to say that, but its true. Bulk trash is picked up curbside on post certain days of the week. One day last week, we picked up an entertainment center from the curb. Of course, I was too embarrassed to do it so I sent hubs. God love him...he does anything for me! We brought it home and he diligently worked on purchasing a couple of pieces of hardware and salvaging an old scrap of wood from our backyard fence in order to get it back together. After cleaning it up, he presented it to me proudly. It now sits in our living room looking like new. To think we were going to drop a few hundred on a new one!

My son must've learned a lesson from seeing us do this. A few days ago I went to an early morning doctor appointment. My son stayed home and I left him instructions to get the garbage cans out to the curb as soon as I was gone. I came home about an hour later and as I walked in the front door, there stood my son, proudly holding the top of a towel that was draped over an object on the floor. I stood there, confused, and asked him what was under the towel. I figured it was something he'd drug in from the vast desert nothingness behind our home. So far I've seen large branches, rubber balls, large rocks full of fool's gold and other odds and ends find new places in his room from the "sand box". Nope, I was wrong. He beamed as he told me he'd found Sister (my daughter's nickname) an early birthday present. As he snatched the towel off in a dramatic woosh, a sun-faded, barely put together toy was uncovered. My heart was full as I saw how pleased he was with himself and how happy he was to give his sister a present he'd been so clever to discover. "Can you believe those people were just throwing this away mom?". Apparently our neighbors had it sitting out on the curb...another piece of bulk trash becomes treasure.

28 July 2008

Lost Identity

I've lost my identity!! Really, my military i.d. but on a military post you have no identity unless you've got one! You've got no priveledges (grocery shopping is a priveledge, don't you know) and can be turned away at any type of countertop. Good Lord...Lord? Are you there? Its me...Renee....

My hubs is headed to the field to blow things up for a week, my daughter has a possible case of the chicken pox (but oddly enough has never been in a better mood!), I have a doc appt in the morning and I'm sure I'll need SOMETHING from the PX or Commissary this week. Can you please, Lord, make my i.d. appear before my eyes? Yeah...like that's going to happen. That'd be right up there with the bush burning or the waters calming during the storm. I'm not sure I'm on that level of PRIVELEDGE.

Oh...this was funny...yesterday we were driving the ever-so-scenic, hour long drive to Victorville to run errands and all of a sudden this SUV comes up next to me in the truck lane (this lane only runs 55 mph...according to the signs). This guy in the drivers seat has his teeth on the steering wheel and is cracking up while going at least 85. The dude in the passenger seat is in the normal "fall asleep while driving" position (head back, mouth gaping open, a drop of drool trickling out one side) totally oblivious to his driver's talents. Have to admit..haven't seen that one before! I needed a good laugh!

25 July 2008

Randy Pausch

I was heartbroken when I saw that Randy Pausch had passed away. If you have a chance to Mr. Pausch's lecture, I recommend it. It might just change the way you look at your life. http://www.cnn.com/2008/SHOWBIZ/books/07/25/obit.pausch/index.html

Yep, I killed it

This disgusting creature was in my guest bathroom shower last night. My son came running up to me and said "Mom! There's a giant daddy-long legs in my bathroom stuck to the ceiling!" I knew right away it was NOT a daddy-long legs. I followed him to the bathroom and holy legs this thing WAS giant!! I swear the body of it was about an inch long and its creepy legs were probably two inches. If it had stretched out at all it most likely would've added another inch to them. I felt like throwing up!

I told my son to get the Solumel (melaleuca cleaner) from under the kitchen sink. He brings me the Solumel and the glass cleaner, which foams. I sprayed that thing with a mixture of both for probably a minute! Not one part of me felt bad either. I made my son get it out of the tub this morning...ahhahaha. You think I was going to touch it? I just adore living in the desert...

23 July 2008

Hot Potato

Why must we, as dependents in the military, settle for being passed around like a hot potato when it comes to healthcare? This is one issue I've never been able to come to terms with. Yet none of us say anything because we're too afraid the smack-down will be brought on our soldier because their wifey complained about something. That, or we just don't say anything because we know we'd be fighting Goliath's unbeatable giant brother (his name is Sam, you may have heard of him).

Anyway, we've been at our post just over three months now. I've had some long standing issues with my nose and shoulder that I figured I should have checked out before I completely lost the use of my left arm and couln't breathe anymore (yes, I like to wait until I'm rendered useless before I get seen for something). Out of approximately 8 visits I've not seen the same doctor twice. They were either here temporarily to help out with a "doctor shortage" (I love that the medical team uses that exact term...doctor shortage), they have already PCS'd, they went on TDY themselves, or they're over booked. This means telling my "story" over and over again and holding back the irritation in my voice gets more difficult each time. In fact, I've been referred off post for services offered here...literally across the intersection from me at the hospital! I now drive 40 minutes both ways three times a week for physical therapy on my useless shoulder! What?!

Some dependents I know are so frustrated they are opting to be referred off post to a civilian doctor. They're willing to dish out major dough just to be able to see the same provider each time. And pregnant women? Some I've talked to are terrified to have a baby in the military! This is not to say that is the feeling of the majority. I had my daughter at our last post and everything went smooth...during the labor and deliver, that is. My care leading up to it was uncomfortable and downright frightening at times. Especially when you are forced to see a doctor that looks like the KFC guy turned anorexic (colonel...what's his name?). More and more women are opting for home births to stay out of the hospitals on posts, paying midwives upwards of $4000 to come to them for the care and delivery. Tempting...until I think about how nice those drugs felt in the hospital.

My point is, I hope some day the military lives up to its promise that it cares about families in terms of how it delivers healthcare and makes available providers. I'm sure this post will stir a lot of emotion in some, anger in others and possibly get my hubby a kick in the rear but shoot...I'm not a potato, I'm a person and I needed to say it (even if only virtually).

21 July 2008

I was the stuffing

I was the celery, onions, bread and spices today. I was magnetized and traumatized. I was shoved into a tube after having foam shoved into my ears. I had an MRI....and I never want one again. I'm screwed up from that thing! I was so scared, and I don't normally get scared or nervous or even queasy from any medical procedures. First off, the man comes to get me out of the waiting room inside the radiology department. He has a thick accent from I have no clue where, and walks so fast I have to practically trot to keep up with him...and I have giraffe legs! So before I know it we're walking through a side door out into the parking lot. I'm starting to wonder if this guy is for real and if not, wouldn't it sound pretty stupid on the evening news report that the "missing young woman" followed her abductor right out of the hospital and into his car? So we end up walking to this trailer. Ah....its a mobile MRI machine...that makes me feel so much better (dripping sarcasm). The front end of it is open and there's oil dripping onto the pavement. I start to silently pray that its not the MRI machine that is leaking oil...please let it be the monster-trailer motor or something....

Its just unnatural to be conveyor-belted into a tube that barely gives you room to breathe and just lie there feeling like a sardine packed in stale air. I was having visions of my button and designs being sucked off my jeans because they were metal...or my fillings being ripped out of my teeth and sucked through my cheeks. I even nearly convinced myself that if I stifled enough of my yawns that my brain would suffocate from lack of oxygen and I'd pass out. It all sounds stupid now, but when you're crammed inside the tunnel it all seems possible. Ugh...I hope the pictures all come out nice and pretty because I'm not going back in to the tube of delusion again!

Friends and the Military

Apparently I stink at making friends! When we moved to our first duty station, I was torn to pieces having to leave my friends back home. OK, so I only had like a handful of friends, but I'm at the point in my life where I only need that many and the rest can be filed under acquaintances. But really, it took me almost 9 months to make a good friend when we moved! I met people, talked to my neighbor almost every day, knew people at church, etc. but never really clicked with anyone until a few months before we moved again. I miss her to bits now along with my friends back home!

I've tried to fit in to a couple different online yahoo groups. I am trying to have my own business (successfully) so I joined one for that specifically. I'm not sure I've ever had a "post" acknowledged on that one. Another one I'm part of is great. I get a lot of my information from there and am able to comment or vent or whatever...but I've only met like two of those women in person and really haven't spoken to them since! My neighbors have only spoken briefly to me. At least the ones on the sides of my house have. The ones across or down the street a little ways haven't even acknowledged us.

I've met one person that I have felt comfortable around. She's spunky, fun, has kids for mine to play with, and loves to be spontaneous. We have those things in common. So far we've gone on a last minute midnight trip to the Survivor auditions, the pool, we've had dinner at their house once and gone to the gym. I think she'll probably end up being the person I "click" with here. Still...I want to have more than one friend! I know I can come off as being a little intimidating because I'm quiet when I first meet people. I like to watch people and see their personalities before I expose my own. I like to see how they talk...do they spend their time gossiping or backbiting? Do they have hobbies I also like? Are they too afraid to go on spur of the moment shopping or beach trips with me?

Its inevitable, in the military, that spouses get lonely. But seriously...I'm on a post surrounded by other spouses probably thinking the same thing and I can't seem to find where I belong. We make playgroups for our kids, have playdates at the park or pool, have virtual conversations on the internet...but where are the adult playgroups? Where are the playdates for grown ups where we can interact in person? How am I supposed to grow a bond with these women when I can't seem to find them...even within this tiny area?

I think I'm outgoing, but maybe I need to be more inviting. I could start a group specifically for hobbies and things I like to do....instead of going to ones that I hate but do it out of desperation for an evening of adult conversation and keeping a shirt clean of slobber for a while? I'd love to have people come to my house to have dinner or a game night. I just never invite people because part of me is afraid they would look at me and think "ugh...I guess I'll say yes, its free food" but another part of me knows that in order for me to stay sane and have fun, I need to do it.

Man...I sound like a big whiner or wimp right now...but I had to vent. Its been a long time since I've been able to just have time with a friend (in person, not email or phone) and its really wearing on me!

18 July 2008

I want to....

I purposely left off the "before I die" part of the title for this post because that gives me the excuse that I have a lot of time to get these things done...meaning I won't start them until its too late. I'll be adding to the list and updating it as I cross things off. They always say if you write down your goals you'll be more likely to accomplish them. Let's see if I can prove that to be true.

*refinish furniture
*decorate my home...I mean actually decorate it, not just get some pretty things to hang on the wall
*write a book
*write a song
*lose 20 pounds
*breathe out of both sides of my nose (seriously)
*bench press my own weight (better lose more than 20 pounds)
*be debt free
*own land
*own land with a willow tree and a pond
*find a hairstyle that suits me
*volunteer with the Red Cross in another country
*go rock climbing
*learn not to judge as often
*read the Bible
*have family home evening EVERY WEEK

"Oh expletive"


Good read. I had to post it...we just PCS'd from here a few months ago. Who knew being a band member could be so dangerous! Strange things happen in Kansas....

15 July 2008



oh....and no staring at people...and no lipstick...oh yeah, and no holding hands...no using the bathroom...no laughing too loud...and only clap three times if you're happy.... GOOD GRIEF.... I'm all about not bringing weapons to the long jump, but if China seriously thinks they're going to control something like someone spitting they're crazy.

I can't wait for the 2008 Olympics!

No you don't...I do

So do you ever feel like you have the strangest family? I mean extended family. No you don't...I do. This is a very personal post. I'm not holding back any feelings in fear that someone I'm related to will read it. Its how I felt during my trip and I need to put it down on "paper" so I can get past it.

I went to Utah for my Grandpa's funeral. It was heartwrenching to say goodbye to him. He had a beautiful cedar casket with pine trees embroidered on the inside of it. Perfect for him. He had a full military burial which ceremony included my cousin who is in the Air Force. He's buried on a hillside at the foot of a mountain. It was everything he would've wanted. It was also the strangest experience I've had in a long time.

I know there isn't a perfect line of relatives out there anywhere but I feel like "the cake" was frosted with icing made from ingredients thrown in from every family on this side. I had such unreal moments like sitting on the living room floor next to my mother, listening to my 50-some year old uncle talk my Grandma into not going back to church while he holds the hand of his 21-year-old "possible" new wife while they sit next to his daughter who is 31 while I look up at the water stains on the ceiling thinking how it looks like marshmellow fluff and all of a sudden notice a piece of tape hanging off the fireplace mantle.

Another time I was sitting in the "family room" of the chapel waiting for the funeral to start and I see related folk of mine walk into the room wearing what appears to be strappy tank tops and painted on skirts topped off with faded tattoos and a fresh aroma of Marlboro. I wanted to throw up...yet at the same time I realized that I'm a part of this family and I need to accept them for who they are. I did at that moment, however, become keenly aware of my ever-so-modest black skirt, glasses, curly pony-tail, and explosion of freckles and realized they were probably thinking the same thing about me.

Of course we all pretended like were were 10 again and all got along while we played barbies in the "blue" room of Grandma and Grandpa's house. We laughed when appropriate, listened to each other's stories that we really didn't care about, and when it was all said and done we said goodbye, admitting that it would be a long time before we saw each other again so it didn't matter if our kids now remembered each other or not.

We have every color of skin in our family. We're quite diverse in culture. I swear I've never seen so many people of Dutch ancestry married to so many people of Mexican ancestry. As we all milled around the "family room" it sort of looked like a colorful dance. I listened to the muffled conversations, the crying and sniffling and the realizations people had as they recognized the person right next to them as a cousin or aunt they hadn't seen in 30 years.

I'm ok with the fact that 90 % of the people there won't remember who's kid I am or where I'm from or how I'm related to them when we're all together again (which won't be until the next time someone passes away). I do know that my Grandpa was probably smiling as he looked down and knew the feelings of everyone as they mingled so awkwardly together, the unexpected conversion to Buddhism by an uncle who bowed suddenly to the Bishopric during the funeral while quoting "his holiness...the Dahli Lama" (or however you spell it), or the heartbreak of my four cousins who were practically raised by him and called him their "best friend". Most of all, I know my Grandpa was full of joy when he heard so many people say we should live our lives exactly as he did...full of charity, giving, love, hard work and dedication. I suppose that means that I have to continue to learn to tolerate the differences in my wacky family...and hope they tolerate me in return (at least when we see each other next...right fam?)

08 July 2008


My grandpa passed away Monday morning around 1 am. He always seemed ageless to me. Growing up we would visit once a year, which would explain why he always looked the same. Grandpa was originally from northern New Mexico and didn't speak English until he was seven. I don't know much about his childhood except patchy details here and there mixed with foggy memories he had. I was always sad that I didn't look more like him. I wanted his heritage more than I wanted my red hair, numberless freckles and transluscent skin. I always wished I had his fingers. The shape of them were interesting to me and over the years I would always find myself staring at them. His mustache was always perfectly shaped and his hair, combed back, never seemed to move. Grandpa affectionately called me "nae" or "nae nae" and gave perfect hugs. He was a civilian medic for the Air Force for many years. I guess that's where I get my interest in medicine. The old jeep that sat in Grandpa's driveway at least as long as I am old was fascinating to me. I pictured him riding in it. I think Grandpa had a "wild and free" streak that he didn't talk about. He loved tamales with his eggs and toast at breakfast, couldn't eat or drink dairy, and loved taking care of his horses. He lost a lot of his livlihood when he eventually had to sell the last one. I didn't find enough out about him while he was here. Why is it we all make that mistake with the ones we know we'll miss the most?