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Saturday, January 21, 2017

Women's March 2017 - Dear Grandaughters,

UPDATE: I would just like to say this post was written PRIOR to the news coverage of some of the speakers. I was saddened by the vulgarity and the base attempt at inciting women using lower standards, nasty language and personal attacks. An opportunity wasted to continue to highlight inequality and discrimination that was an embarrassment. I stand by what I wrote, the need to continue to elevate women's issues, but NOT in the manner in which some public figures chose to denigrate others and by doing so denigrated themselves. Shock and Awe should be reserved for military combat, not moving forward the advancement of our society to higher ideals. Stand strong my little women. Hold yourself to a higher standard while representing daughters of our Heavenly Father and don't get sucked into a negative energy that overshadows the higher purpose.

Love Grandmother

My dear granddaughters,

Consider your world thoughtfully.

I am so grateful the campaign politics of 2016 has come to an end. I knew it would, one way or the other. I knew there would be those who mourned Jan. 20, 2017 and others who cheered, celebrated and looked forward to "change". It's like that every four years. There is always a winner of an election and there is always a loser of an election. You will experience being on both sides. Don't be a snotty winner and don't be a boobing loser. Stand up, overcome and put your shoulder to the wheel. Life goes on and there is dirty clothes to wash and toilets to scrub.

This post is not about who won or who lost, but about you my little girl. My sweet grand-recruit 3. The events of yesterday and those of tomorrow will shape the world you will find yourself in when you are my age. You have some influence. Be wise about where you exert that influence. Otherwise you will feel unsettled, hopeless and exhausted. Act where you can and don't take on what you have no control over.

Always walk with purpose and determination
I find myself more reflective and less vocal as I get older. I think I saw a meme somewhere that said that is what wisdom does to you. I don't know if that's true, I think I'm just tired and really don't care to engage in the heated debates that often have resulted in hurt feelings, name calling and demeaning of someone who you call 'friend'. That result cancels out any real sharing of thought, opinion or ideology. Keep that in mind. Berating and belittling some one's view point will never end well or be productive. Just watch footage from this past year. Even if you "win" your argument, you will lose something much greater.

I have my opinion, believe me. It's just as strong and defined as the next grandmother, but I find I don't need to always engage and defend it. It's still mine. I've done a lot more listening this go round.

little girl with hand on hip
Be firm and strong when you find what you believe.
I am not marching in person. I have a hard time with large crowds, the energy, the possibilities of what could happen are just not something I want to deal with... New Year's Eve in downtown San Antonio many years ago ruined me and my ability to handle enormous crowds where I might be trampled to death, or stabbed, or crushed or kidnapped or... you get the picture.

 My behind was pinched repeatedly that New Year's Eve on the way to the car and when Granddaddy Oohrah encircled me in his arms and pushed us through the crowd a knife fight broke out right in the direction he was pushing me. YES, I probably need therapy, but avoidance has worked well since 1997. I however am in my heart marching and cheering those on who are moved to march to show solidarity and support for women's rights. I am after all a woman, I gave birth to women and they in turn are giving me the most precious people, my tiny grand-women.

 Does that mean I'm a bra burner? Does that mean I want to hold the Priesthood? Um, no. An emphatic no. I have no idea what each woman today marches for. What their  personal issue might be that draws them into crowds of thousands.

Dance whenever you want!
And I am so okay with each person having their own personal motivation, even if it's not high on my list or if I have a different opinion or view of what women's rights looks like. I don't know that I do, I'm just sticking that caveat in there. I want you and your sister to allow others the room to have their own thoughts and opinions, even if you don't agree with them. THAT IS OKAY. You can love them for who they are without agreeing with them. Your not the boss of them. If you do engage in conversation, state your beliefs and stand by them, but be kind. You will never regret being kind. I promise you.

If I were to march it would be so my posterity would honor, love and cherish the women in their lives. It would be so you would cherish each other and the gifts you each bring to our family, especially because you are women. Unique beautiful daughters of God who have a purpose and who are strong, smart and kind.

9 day old grand-recruit 4, my sweet granddaughter
GR3 loves GR4 and is the sweetest when talking to her sister.

I would march for each woman's agency to determine what she needs to march for, even if it is against what I believe I should march for. I wouldn't march out of fear for the future because of Donald Trump or any other man.  He is but a player on a much bigger, more eternal stage. He will go away just like all presidents go away. He is just a man. One I will pray for, one I hope can do what is right and good and one who I hope gets his Twitter account taken away... 

I prayed for President Obama, and I prayed for President Clinton. Wanting good things for our country is not just for one political party or the other. What each administration leaves as their legacy will just stack neatly on top of every other administrations legacy like a wonky mismatched stack of Lego's. So I think a women's march  should take place after every inauguration. Not just this year. 

Let's march EVERY four years to remind whomever is in office that we are not a silent uneducated population. We are here and not going away. We have voices and will express them... And we vote. We are intricately woven into the history of this nation and we are integral to the strength of our country. 

American women will not go quietly into the night. We won't be shoved back into obscurity. I can't even imagine that being a possibility, but who knows. It doesn't hurt to remind the pant suits that we can wear them too.

Grandmother and GR3 
Many I am saddened march out of fear. Not for the crowds like me, but for the future. I think faith should replace fear. Faith in a higher power, whatever your higher power is. Mine is Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ and in their plan. I would march in faith, which ironically because of my very mortal fear, I won't go march. I'm a mess. I know. Hopefully I don't ruin you...

I want each of you to be allowed to live by the dictates of your own conscious. I want you to have equal pay for equal work, I want you to honor those who have gone before that fought for our civil rights so you and I could vote, and we could decide all by ourselves what we think and who we support and if we want to share that or not. I support the march because I believe freedom to choose is one of the biggest blessings in our lives.
Find your own style!

So you can be a mom, or you can be an astronaut or you can be both. Or a ninja. A ninja who wears pearls.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

The Start to Retirement Life: So Much Fun, However There is Always a Fly in the Ointment...

My darling friend's
Since June so much has happened. We moved, started a new church/Ward, schools, teams, new friends, one of my dear friends got a new husband, (he is fabulous!) we have a new granddaughter, The Marine started his first post retirement job and on and on and on. My heart is truly full. And Elder Recruit 2 comes home in just 4 short weeks.

Did I say full? No, my heart is growing three sizes, and I think it was already feeling full to start with!

There is only one problem that truly has me concerned, perplexed and just uncomfortable dang it.

Wedding set up
  "I've been driving/working look"
It's The Marine and his facial hair. I hate it.

Now hate is a strong word and I know this, but I feel THAT strongly about his whiskers. I have even threatened to not shave until he does and have made darn good starts, but then I just gross myself out and pull out the razors.

He grew a full beard and then trimmed it down to the goatee type thing, that to his credit he groomed faithfully.

In the beginning I indulged this hairy behavior because, well, it was expected. Almost 28 years of faithful shaving (except on leave, I'll admit he had moments) I figured the boy was entitled to some face fur. But then it just kept staying there, you know like moss? It spread out and continued to cover every surface.

 A couple of months had gone by and I began to suggest (whine) that maybe it was time to morph back into the man I fell in love with. No joy for Kelli.

Then one day he appeared. That hunky Marine I said I do to. I was elated. He truly loves me! I leaped upon him in glee and smoothed my cheek next to his, sighing with happiness and contentment. I said "you love me, you really love me!"

A slight pause which gave me pause.

"Um, sure, of course I do" the now soft cheeked Old Marine said.

I looked at him. He grinned. I asked "WHAT?"

"Well, actually I've been trimming and it started going crooked, so I've hit the reset button. I'm starting over."

I love him in spite of the whiskers.
 I just didn't think
to add no whiskers to our vows.
NOOOOOOOO! Say it isn't so! This is a bad dream. WAKE UP WAKE UP

Yes, yes he did. Now we are back to the scratchy dirty phase. I so want to go take a little razor and just shave little divots into the whiskers while he sleeps. You know, how rich people stomp divots during a polo match? Only I'd use a razor. In the dead of night, dressed in black.

Then I would run. Really, really fast.

Or a strip of hair depilatory down the center of his chin. Only I'd have to be ready to never sleep again as the next night I'd find the center of my head slathered in said depilatory.

This would also involve very fast running at some point as well. So due to the fact that I abhor running, and I appreciate a good night's sleep, I continue to bear this burden of facial hair experimentation with the same grace and resolve I faced many challenges from life with a Marine. Grim determination, a great deal of complaining, continued hollow empty threats, tantrums and shortly bribery.

There was a reason I married  a Marine. I always thought it was the uniform. I now know it was because I could actually see his FACE!

I'm pretty sure I am thinking about his facial hair.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Dear Marine - How I've been emotionally damaged...

Dear Marine
I sit here at 2000 pondering what to write to you. The picture of Recruits 5 and 6 you sent "our two peas in a pod" tucked in for the night in the RV on their way to our new home was adorable. I love our peas.

I look around at all that needs to be done and wonder what was I thinking kicking you all out??

Then I remember, I am amazing. I have this. And I also remember the reason I kicked you out. It was because of the recipe box 23 years ago. Do you remember that? WELL LET ME REFRESH YOUR MEMORY...

Once upon a time there was a beautiful young Marine wife. She had just given birth to an adorable tiny princess and was having to pack up her little life and move home with her mom and dad because her handsome prince (Marine) was deploying to Desert Storm.

The fabulous young wife had the utmost faith in her dashing Marine's ability to pack all she felt she would need back home with her mom and dad during their separation. She was packing for an unknown amount of time but leaving many of their belongings behind in storage in Oceanside, California.

She was also preparing for your death. I mean her Marine's potential demise. Why? because he was a Recon Marine AND a communicator. Someone had ridiculously told her that his life expectancy in combat was 4 seconds. REALLY??? Who the heck would tell her that? Well I don't remember but some crazy nut did.

So there was this recipe box. They had received it as part of a wedding shower where everyone provided recipes and the dry goods. Uncle Korean War Marine even gave the young Marine a can opener saying that he knew the women in this family and he knew that if the young Marine had that can opener  he would never starve no matter what the new bride tried to fix out of the recipe box.

The young Marine did not realize what that recipe box represented to the sensitive but brilliant young Marine bride.

As items accumulated for the trip back home there began to be a great tension in the land. The Marine removed items and the young bride wisely and expertly and dare I say, eloquently, made a solid case for each and every item he questioned. Finally his desperate little beady eyes, I mean seeking eyes, fell upon the tiny, almost invisible yet symbolic recipe box.

He latched onto it in a desperate attempt to not lose his last man card and to prove he was right that she was packing too much and non essential items.

He said "AHA, you do not need that recipe box." He thought he had finally found the one item that she could not effectively defend other than to stamp her delicate foot and declare that it was indeed going.

How could she tell him he was going to die? How could she explain that that recipe box represented the new life they had started together? She knew he needed to know she was strong and valiant and if she were to reveal all it would weaken his resolve to go to war. Well not really because being UA and a deserter is terribly unsat. Anyway... She wanted his last memories of her to be of strength, wisdom and courage. Yes that's better.

The little family arrived at their destination. He unloaded her and the princess and she began to put away the few meager belongings she had fought so hard to keep.

She looked and looked for that little tiny, insignificant in size recipe box only to discover the horrid Marine had snuck into the pile of "to go" items and moved it to the "storage" items all with swift, silent, and deadly skill that such men are known for. It was a devastating blow. She staunchly made it through that deployment and many more in the next 25 years. However it made a lasting impression on the tender and impressionable young wife. So much so that it affected certain decision making skills...


Your darling forever companion. FOREVER COMPANION....Do you feel it?

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Confessions of a Missionary Mom

I have no idea why this
 piano is in the yard.
My son. My sweet, wonderful son who is currently serving a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, he never ceases to amaze (surprise) and inspire me.

I have loved watching him grow from afar. His emails, letters, and Facebook posts have woven together a picture of sorts of his journey from "greenie" to seasoned missionary.

 His writings have matured and his understanding of the Gospel and Christ's love for all His children has been wonderful to read. And then one day you see the title of a blog post that says Don't Tell My Mom. It opens with "if anyone has an inappropriate family it's me..." WHAT??? However in the end he redeems himself and I laugh with him AT us.

Buuuuutttt.... I'd like to take just a minute to clarify somethings.

1. It wasn't just Dove Soap. One day while living in El Paso, Texas Recruits 1 AND 2 both were in need of a little vocabulary cleaning. Recruit 1 climbed the stairs to her room spitting and wailing and gnashing her teeth about how awful it was. Recruit 2 followed close behind saying "you know, it's not that bad once you get used to it.". It was then I knew I had my work cut out for me. In their defense this has been a challenge for their mother, I am working on replacing 'burn' words with big SAT words. One time Recruit 2 told me "mom, your so much smarter than that word." Just recently Recruit 4 said "that was just uncalled for". I have smart children.

2. Poop is important. I am a firm believer in healthy body systems and mothers need to know these things. I can't help it if I had mostly boys and they are inherently gross. And funny, but mostly gross.

3. Recruit 4 swears he's the one that hickied Recruit 6's head. I told you that's why
Recruit 4
I need to blog. My children will tell my history wrong. And now I really don't know who did what. Elder Recruit 2 your power is great you have siblings believing your version of the past and when you go to fix it, they refuse to believe you.

4. In spite of the family secret now revealed in the blog o'sphere that my family is inappropriate (I say normal) I am fully supportive of Elder Recruit 2's message.

God is a loving wonderful Father in heaven and is waiting for us to make good choices. He WANTS to bless us and sends us help in so many ways. If we ever feel God is far away from us, maybe we should consider that we are far way from Him. He will never leave us, but we often turn from his loving guidance and
his commandments thereby distancing ourselves from his blessings.

As night closes in here in this beautiful state we have called home for the last ten years I can't help but feel my Saviors love and see God's hand in my life. The advance party leaves tomorrow by 0830 (Grandmother, The Marine  and Recruits 5 and 6). Our house is rented, The Marine has a job, no one has gone to jail and we are all well (mostly, I am fighting some nasty something).

This in spite of the tear stained cheeks of Recruit 3 as she begins the rounds of saying goodbye to her friends, my splitting headache and upper respiratory infection, the dwindling bank account, the trials of moving, vehicles, short fuses, anxiety, excited children nervous dogs, goodbyes yet to be said, 2500 miles of hwy between each of us and an unknown future, address or friends waiting to be made.

Tonight I feel peace and love, what's even better, even though a few hours ago I was making faces behind The Marine's back because I was annoyed, it doesn't change the fact that I not only love my sweetheart I still LIKE him and am glad he is mine as we face this next chapter of our lives together. My heart is full and my cup runneth over.

And yes, my family is fabulously inappropriate! ;)

Saturday, June 7, 2014

3 Down 3 to Go!

 Today we watched Recruit 3 graduate. For real. It happened. She is our third to get through the hallowed halls of high school. We secretly high five over her head this morning as we prepare to make our way to our high school's football stadium.

It was a beautiful Saturday to celebrate the graduating class of 2014. Sitting in the stands I reflected on the joys of motherhood and the goodness that is parenting. 

No not really. I have three more to get out of the house and they are all boys. I really don't have time or energy to reflect... at all.

We are missing a few of our family folks, Grams, Elder Recruit 2, Recruit 1's fabulous husband and other aunts, uncles and cousins. However we are blessed to know they wish they were with us. 

Meanwhile back at the church building we had a luncheon for our three graduating seniors and their families. I have to say, all the food was yummy, great company and the high light was this amazing Neapolitan cake. Sister Cake Baker outdid her self. I mean coconut, strawberry and chocolate were beyond delicious. 

Now begins the packing up of our ten years here at this duty station. I did reflect on how blessed we have been to have the family and friends in our lives the past ten years. Military makes friends family and this duty station has been no exception. A little piece of them goes with us and I know pieces of us stay here. Seriously, I am pretty sure the 273rd dump run ensures parts and pieces of us will be here long after we have all passed on.

And my reflection on motherhood as I listen to Recruit 1 sing with big Red and Recruit 4 jokes and for once the two of them are enjoying each other's company and not having a war of words and almost fist. I reflect that God is good, family is forever and how much I really LIKE my kids.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Life with a Retired Marine!

*Note - recently I have felt bad not keeping up on my blog aka my story to my posterity. I am attempting to (once again) pick up the proverbial pen and record my history because my kids tend to tell it wrong!

Times they are a changin'!

The Marine is on a Mission Impossible Marathon. Not Tom Cruise's either. Recruit 1 has introduced her dad to Netflix. He found THE OLD Mission Impossible. He's addicted. 7 years worth of episode are running on his tablet. I have to say the thematic music is quite entertaining. I keep looking over to see what is happening but then I am lost... lost in the crazy amazing sixties hair styles. I don't want to watch the old Mission Impossible. While I think Tom Cruise has turned a strange corner in his life and I know longer hope to run into him on the street, I do enjoy his movies. But those aren't on. And I turned off cable. So I'll blog.

The Marine retired. My life as I knew it ended on 13 February. He was home. ALL the time. He has no troops. He had no office. I still worked. The problem is I work from home. We had to have a talk. I told him he was invading my space. He told me it was his space. I said I'm at work. He said your in the kitchen... I sighed. Loudly. 

We had to have another talk. I told him he was bugging me. He told me I was inefficient. I told him stop watching. He told me he couldn't. I then made the mistake of asking why not. He answered, rubber necking at train wrecks or traffic accidents was part of the human condition.

I was not alone when it came to adjusting to the constant presence of the Marine. Recruit 3, now a senior in high school and only in school for a half day was also trying to figure out how to deal with the attention we were now receiving. The first few days of The Marine NOT going to work Recruit would come home, forget he had retired and ask "why are you here?" The Marine in a somewhat offended and annoyed tone would say "I live here, it's my house is that okay?" 

Recruit 3 would sigh and cut her eyes, but wisely kept her mouth shut... most of the time. 

Finally the day came when she could contain herself no more. The Marine needed troops. I refused to be his troop. By default and because she was home earlier than everyone else, Recruit 3 became his troop. It all came spilling out as she yelled in frustration "when are you leaving? Don't you need to go get a job?!"

The Marine calmly explained he had decided to extend his time at home. I remained calm, he refrained from laughing and Recruit 3 retreated to her room in deep despair. 

Finally, March 24th arrived. Recruit 3 and I waved as The Marine left in his new Ford Fusion. The big grey truck was dying a loud, smokey death so we put it out of it's misery in exchange for fuel efficiency during our transition from active duty to the world of retirees. The Marine was leaving for Texas. He was on his way to Recruit 1's house to begin the job search. 

I was ready for things to move forward but it had been a while since I had been home without The Marine in town. I hadn't seen much of him in the last four years due to his job with the Marine Corps and his church calling as the Bishop the last 21/2 years for our church. But he had at least been in the same 95 mile geographic area with us. I wondered if I was going to be able to manage all that still needed to be done to get our home ready to be sold, keep it up to show potential buyers (which I knew would be just truckloads waiting to tour my kingdom...) 

What you need to understand is if I didn't want to do something all I had to do was look inadequate, flail around and whine. The Marine would, in disgust and annoyance, say "stop stop just stop. Move, just let me do it" and there you go. I could retreat to my room and watch my shows while whatever task I had decided I didn't want to do would get done. In record time and quite well. Four years of flailing my arms around and moaning was now looming over me. Had I lost my edge? 
I went to bed wondering what the next few months would bring. 

Sometime during the night the switch flipped. Just like that I woke up in deployment mode. It was amazing. I bounced out of bed, got the kids up, made it to seminary and started the next few months off with a bang. It was good to know the skills I accidentally developed during many separations from my Marine over the last 25 + years were not lost. 

The adventure of transition had truly begun!

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Easter weekend 2013 - Saturday

It's been a good day. Recruit 1 will be here by the end of this week with the two reds. I am looking forward to having these two tiny people in my home! I am learning what it means to have joy in your posterity! We are in for a busy week, but all of it involves good things and I am amazed at how blessed we truly are! Even when Marines turn cranky. I'm not sure why I bring out the cranky in him... but sadly I do.

So today was supposed to be a day of work. I had everything planned. Sort off. I have a work trip to DC and since it's spring break the Marine is coming along with me and we are bring Recruits 4-6. In preparation, because we live on the edge of the world, I typically have to pick my rental car up Friday or Monday. So I had PLANNED to get it yesterday (Friday). I also needed to get my hair cut and we had a church social to go to. A potato bar. I signed up to bring something. I'm not sure what.

So I ended up being at the hair place for two hours, was trying to get home so the Marine and Bishop was not late to church, realizing I still had no idea what I had said I would bring. I ran in, threw on some make up, changed my shirt, threw everyone in the car, screamed around corners to the church, ran in side announced, rather loudly, in the kitchen I had no idea what I was supposed to bring so what did they need? Sour cream. Got it! Recruit 4 and I ran back out and as I was pulling into the grocery store parking lot at 6pm on the nose I realized I had not gotten my rental car. I called, QUICKLY, but no answer. Seriously? They close at six. I really thought my rental car peep would wait for me. I rent like almost every month. I discovered in that moment, I was really not that special.

So I thought no worries, the recording says they're open tomorrow 9-12. (that would be Saturday, if you remember in the beginning of this post I mentioned I had to get a rental car either Friday or Monday. There is a reason for that.

So this morning the Marine drives with me to the rental car place. Locked up as tight as a stinkin' drum. THEY ARE NOT OPEN ON WEEKENDS. I knew that, but the erroneous voice message had given me false hope. I called the town 11 miles to the East of us, the guy whose name is TRAVIS was apparently about to spontaneously combust. Evidently he had triple the people this morning wanting cars than he normally had. My towns rental office is a satellite office of his rental office, so I innocently asked "well, what happened to the car I had reserved last night?" I seriously thought his head was going to pop right off over the phone. The Marine could hear him all the way on the other side of the truck.

So I called the town 19 miles to the West of us. I was put on hold. We sat in the parking lot. On hold. The Marine began to describe to me his cocnern about my personal business organization. The conversation went down hill. All the while the recording from the rental car company playing in the background about how fabulous they were because they were a family owned business and how well they treated their customers any time any where any day. I suggest we just drive there and show up. We stopped and filled the truck up. THE BIG DIESEL TRUCK. That's important because it takes a minute or two for that thing to fill up. I was still on hold.

We drove almost all the way to the airport location when Charles, the rental guy finally came back on. Sure I can help you, come on in. I said we'll be their in two minutes.

We pulled into the airport, I went inside leaving the cranky man in the truck. It was the wrong rental car place. Who knew there were two? No Charles in sight. There was however a lovely lady named Lori. I said Lori, listen, I'm in some trouble here. I need help. I CANNOT go back out to that enormous truck with that cranky old man and tell him there's no Charles in here. We are approximately almost two hours into this little errand to pick up a rental. Please, please tell me I can just get a car here.

She hesitated, looked over to the counter where all the other reservations were lined up, looked back at me. I looked at her. I tried to not beg with my eyes. She finally said, okay let's see what I've got left. YAY!!!!

I started the paper work for a Jeep Patriot. Not my favorite, but it was a car. And I was creeping up on two hours what should have taken 15 minutes. I ran out, grabbed the Marine's driver's license and finished up the paper work. I walked out with my new BFF Lori and waived at the Marine. I had the keys, he didn't need to wait. But he did. What a sweet man. He must have been worried something else would go wrong and he didn't want to strand me.

I chatted happily, walked around the car, looked inside. It's brand new, and only had 1100 miles on it. I heard the Marine drive up where my BFF and I were chatting away. He rolled down the window. I thought he want's to see the car I was getting. Lori laughed and waived at him and said no worries, all is well! He didn't respond. He didn't smile. He just starred at me. I thought "what the heck is wrong with him". He held out his hand. Oh, he wanted to hold my hand, but that is totally weird. What is WRONG with him???

He raised an eyebrow. I suddenly realized I still had his driver's license. OH! "here you go honey, (giggle, laugh) Didn't realize I still had your license!" I handed it to him. "I wondered why you hadn't left..." He shook his head, took his license and drove off. I looked at Lori shrugged my shoulders and said "Marines, what are ya gonna do?"

The day continued much better after that. It ended with a lovely family dinner and then family prayer in which Recruit 6 asked that we be blessed with a safe trip to "see the amazing things in D.C. and have good family bondage". Nice.


What follows on these posts is true to the best of my knowledge, except what isn't. I only change names to protect the innocent and not so innocent.