Friday, December 19, 2008

Baby, it's cold outside!

Well time is drawing nearer for my big trek across the country over the holidays!

Tuesday early morning I will leave for Tennessee and then Sgt. and I will board a plane the next day for Cold Northern State! I'm starting to get anxious, as I do before most trips. I am so excited, but of course there's all the stuff that has to get done between now and then! Trust me, there's a lot of it, I know... I have been making the list! One thing on the list is

  • Buy shoes you can wear in the snow!

You see.... I love shoes but I have never really had to buy a pair of boots that are purposeful... adorable, yes but purposeful... no. 'Round here in Texas Y'all... weather is unpredictable this time of year, but even if the unspeakable happens (Read: Snow flurries) it usually doesn't last long and there is really no reason to change shoes. Of course.... last Tuesday, the unspeakable DID happen, and although I didn't need to change shoes for the 30 min. snow shower (ok ok... dusting...) it DID remind me that - "HELLOOOO you are going near Canada, that white stuff you never see, IS THERE... what the hell are you planning on wearing missy?!" - yes, I really do think these things to myself.

So, off to shoe shopping I'm going (soon), - This is the perfect excuse to buy some new boots! This is completely necessary and while I don't want to spend the money, I will sacrifice for the greater good. Although Sgt. would go to great lengths to love me and take care of me.... dealing with frostbite or pneumonia is not exactly a theory I want to test.

Back to the snow though... what exactly does a Texas snow down here in the hill country look like, you ask? Now, before I post these pictures.... don't make fun. Don't make fun of ME anyway... this was definitely picture worthy... we don't see it often! And I promise, I saw actual flakes of snow... not sleet, but the dusty white stuff. Ok, I'm done making excuses..

(The hood of my car after the "storm")

And this is what I'm traveling to:

Yes, I think new boots are definitely in order. And maybe more new sweaters... God, I'm going to FREEZE! Of course, there is always the added bonus of extra hugs and cuddling when one is cold, maybe this isn't such a bad thing after all ;)!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Light bulbs, and other bright things :)

I haven't posted in a while... and there's a very good reason.

First reason is because (and I'm giving you the WAY simple and short version because I could ramble forever if I wanted to) blogging for me is an outlet, sort of a way to vent and get things off my chest (obviously right) - well Sgt. and I were talking last week and I had a light bulb moment that my dear, sweet, wonderful boyfriend brought up. I've been asking him to communicate better with me, but I wasn't really making the effort to communicate with him. Instead I would blog about it. I would blog about it before even mentioning to him I was feeling a certain way. Light bulb! And he was absolutely right.... how unfair of me to ask, and how unfair that he would have to come to my blog to figure out what was going on with me. I love him, he's my best friend, and I should trust him enough to tell him the good AND the bad.... it's never a problem when he's here, but when he's away there is a distance felt and it makes it harder to bring those things up. However, I've been trying, because the thing is, I WANT him to know that stuff... all of it, he's always the person I want to tell things to, even when they're bad. Often times I mention I posted a blog just so he'll read it and know what's up.... chicken, I know. But I'm working on doing better now!

I'm sorry honey, that I wasn't thinking about how it might come across. Thank you for being patient with me, and thank you for giving me, or being my outlet in whatever capacity I need. I love you!

The only down side to this is that once I talk to him about it (whatever it is, good or bad) I suddenly don't feel the need to type it all out to get it off my chest! I still WANT to... I love my blog, so just bear with me as I don't hope to jump to my blog first every time something happens in my life, I'm now focusing on jumping to the phone :).

Things between us are going good! A week or so ago we had a really good talk about the distance. About being apart. On my end of things, as I've blogged before, I just feel so far away from him when we're at our respective homes. The connection I feel between us, that feeling of awe while just being near him... the absolute and perfect love I feel from him, how great we work together when actually together is just slightly turned on its side when we're apart. It doesn't disappear, and glimpses of it show up from time to time, but it's a different dynamic. As we both talked about this and were honest with how we felt it became very apparent to me that really neither of us were wrong, and both of us felt the same way - we just felt it IN different ways. Sgt. is very level headed and it's a great quality when trying to talk through something together. I tend to react very emotional based... but Sgt. can think through it, he can keep me on track... which is what I need. We agreed that the distance made communicating harder.... if 85% of communication is non-verbal, then that is a great indicator of why we feel the way we feel when we're apart. 85% of our communication, how we feel loved just by being in the same room together, how we don't have to fill silence, we can just BE together, is already gone by logistics. LIGHT BULB. It doesn't mean we found the solution... it just makes more sense now.

Something I realized we can do (and I believe he realized, though I won't speak for him) is handle each other how they are, not how we are. I am a very "emotional" person - though not a big crier, I generally feel most emotions on a big scale. Something good happens "I'm SO EXCITED!" Something bad happens "I'm miserable". Sgt. is just not like this. I love him, but his reactions are much more subdued, which is ok, I just never thought of it like this before (can you tell I'M SO EXCITED about this new revelation :) ). Just because he doesn't react with pain and heartache at our separation, doesn't mean he doesn't miss me, it doesn't mean he doesn't love me, and it doesn't mean there is something wrong. Conversely, just because I feel very disconnected when we're apart, and miss him some days so much it consumes most of my thoughts, because I ask so many questions about his day in an attempt to feel close to him, it doesn't mean that I can't handle it or that I'm literally suffering. It doesn't mean I'm trying to stifle his independence or control his time... it just means I miss you, and I love you. His reaction is ok, because that's how he is, and I LOVE who he is.... my reaction is ok because it's who I am, and Sgt. loves who I am. Part of the reason we make each other so happy is because there is a part of the other person we don't have in ourselves. Sort of like a puzzle piece that fits together.

Is this making any sense? It does to me.

So yeah, it was a wonderful conversation!! I have missed him a lot these past couple of days in the anticipation of seeing him next week. I can see us growing and learning more about each other, even that I figured we'd already found out. I am gaining more faith in his love for me... he never walks out on a conversation, he never intends to come across and mean or hurtful, and he's doing better at being patient with me as I hope I am with him. This whole reintegration thing is an interesting phenomenon, but if nothing else it has taught me that no matter what we may go through, neither of us has ever wanted to walk away from it and that's a pretty reassuring feeling :).

-- ok, on to less serious topics of discussion --

This week should be busy busy busy! I'm working all week until after 11pm but Friday starts the holiday fun! Friday I'll have Christmas with my family and Saturday I'm hoping to volunteer at the USO with Linds before driving down to Corpus for Christmas with my moms side of the family! Sunday is a recoup day and tie up loose ends day, then Monday I have work and will head to San Antonio Monday night! My flight leaves bright and early Tuesday and by 10am I will be warm and cozy in the arms of my man! After that - it's Cold Northern City for 5 days and back to the south where we will enjoy some time together. Can't wait!

Hope everyone is doing fabulous! I'm off to drop off some Christmas cards, (I know... I'm SO LATE) and run errands over lunch! Adios!

P.S. Pictures of a Texas Snow are coming your way next post!

Monday, December 8, 2008

The soldiers' night before Christmas

*For those of you who are elementary teachers and mommies this is an actual children's book, written by Trish Holland and Christine Ford, illustrated by John Manders*

'Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the base
Only sentries were stirring - they guarded the place.

At the foot of each bunk sat a helmet and boot
For the Santa of Soldiers to fill up with loot.
The soldiers were sleeping and snoring away

As they dreamed of "back home" on good Christmas day.
One snoozed with his rifle - he seemed so content.
I slept with the letters my family had sent

When outside the tent there arose such a clatter.
I sprang from my rack to see what was the matter.

Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Poked out my head, and yelled, "What was that crash?"

When what to my thrill and relief should appear,
But one of our Blackhawks to give the all clear.
More rattles and rumbles! I heard a deep Whine!

Then up drove eight Humvees, a jeep close behind...
Each vehicle painted a bright Christmas green,
With more lights and gold tinsel than I'd ever seen.

The convoy commander leaped down and he paused.
I knew then and there it was Sergeant McClaus!
More rapid than rockets, his drivers they came
When he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name:

"Now, Cohen! Mendoza! Woslowski! McCord!
Now, Li! Watts! Donetti! And Specialist Ford!"

"Go fill up my sea bags with gifts large and small!
Now Dash away! Dash away! Dash away, all!"
In the blink of an eye, to their trucks the troops darted.
The engines did flutter, they sputtered, then started.

The armored moved out - it was "Duty or bust."
McClaus disappeared in all of the dust!

As I drew in my head and was turning around,
Through the tent flap the sergeant came in with a bound.
He was dressed all in camo and looked quite a sight
With a Santa hat added for this special night.

His eyes - sharp as lasers! He stood six feet six.
His nose was quite crooked, his jaw hard as bricks!
A stub of cigar he held clamped in his teeth,
And the smoke, it encircled his head like a wreath.

A young driver walked in with a seabag in tow.
McClaus took the bag, told the driver to go.
Then the sarge went to work. And his mission today?
Bring Christmas from home to the troops far away!

Tasty gifts from old friends in the helmets he laid.
There were candies, and cookies, and cakes, all homemade.
Many parents sent phone cards so soldiers could hear
Treasured voices and laughter of those they held dear.

Loving husbands and wives had mailed photos galore
Of weddings and birthdays and first steps and more.
And for each soldier's boot, like a warm, happy hug,
There was art from the children at home sweet and snug.

As he finished the job - did I see a twinkle?
Was that a small smile or instead just a wrinkle?
To the top of his brow he raised up his hand
And gave a salute that made me feel grand.

I gasped in surprise when, his face all aglow,
He gave a huge grin and a big HO! HO! HO!

HO! HO! HO! from the barracks and then from the base.
HO! HO! HO! as the convoy sped up into space.
As the camp radar lost him, I heard this faint call:

"Happy Christmas brave soldiers! May peace come to all!"

Friday, December 5, 2008

The Grinch

The Grinch: That's what it's all about, isn't it? That's what it's always been about. Gifts, gifts... gifts, gifts, gifts, gifts, gifts. You wanna know what happens to your gifts? They all come to me. In your garbage. You see what I'm saying? In your garbage. I could hang myself with all the bad Christmas neckties I found at the dump. And the avarice... The avarice never ends! "I want golf clubs. I want diamonds. I want a pony so I can ride it twice, get bored and sell it to make glue." Look, I don't wanna make waves, but this whole Christmas season is stupid, stupid, stupid! (exerpt from Dr. Seusses How The Grinch Stole Christmas, Directed by Ron Howard)

It never occurred to me how true the story of The Grinch could possibly be. However, move a few of those words around and leave some EXACTLY how they are and you have the man I love right there, although much less green and hairy. At first when the whole talk of the holiday season came around, I thought that he just didn't like the holidays because he hadn't really had many good ones these last few years. Always deployed or what have you... I figured it to be nothing more than a case of the "aiming lows" and that a great Christmas would turn his attitude a bit, but the more we talk about it, the more it becomes apparent that Sgt. really, honestly, HATES Christmas. Loathes it. Much like Dr. Suesses Grinch.

Last night while on the phone he snapped at me because we were on the topic of what to get his family for Christmas, and he said something like "look, babe, I REALLY don't want to talk about Christmas right now" and so we tried to change the subject. This morning we talked for a little bit and headed back to the Christmas subject again.

You see... I have been trying to think of a great gift to get him. Not because I feel obligated. Not because he only asks for expensive or outrageous things. Not because I'm trying to measure up to him flying us to Vermont for Christmas... I've been searching because I LOVE giving gifts to show appreciation and love. I love getting something for someone that I know when they open it will get a huge smile on their face and get to do something they really want to do or have something they've always wanted to have. It's not about the GIFT, it's about how I feel knowing they feel special. It's about being able to do something for someone I love. I've been trying to score him tickets to see the Titans play at home. True Tennessee fan through and through, when I thought of the idea I couldn't believe it hadn't occurred to me before! I was so excited, because I knew he would love it. Well, I was outbid for the tickets I wanted and so the idea came and went today.... but I was still happy because I knew I was able to think of something he'd really like, so surely I could figure out another idea. When we talked about it, (yeah, I spilled the beans about what I really wanted to get him) he was appreciative of the thought... but was also a little upset. We had talked about a spending limit for Christmas gifts for each other this year. We're both a little tight on money and with lots of family to go around, we decided to not go extravagant on each other. I remember the conversation, but I don't remember the limit (I was informed today it was around 50 dollars.... ) and it just upset him.

I tried to explain, it's NOT about the money, or the gift, which he agreed to, but in his eyes, because it's not about the gift or the money, whats the point in getting one, and in mine... because it's not about the gift or the money, it's about the feeling and appreciation I want to show, I should be able to get him whatever I want. I don't want anything in return for it, I don't expect it to be matched... I want to make him happy, I want him to feel loved, I want to be able to do something nice for HIM for a change. Sgt. is by no stretch of the imagination stingy... he's incredibly giving, particularly with every day type of things and ideas. His big problem with it, is it feels like such an obligation. Everything about Christmas is an obligation to him. He told me yesterday "I really just hate Christmas" and it actually stung.

He's not trying to be mean or stifle how I feel about the holiday... but when we talked about it today - I agreed with him - the commercial side of Christmas is ridiculous, but that's not why I love Christmas. I tried to explain to him, I love Christmas because it's a time to reflect on the year, a time to appreciate your loved ones, a time to be thankful for the birth of Christ and what that means for us... being appreciative of that blessing so that we are able to be blessed abundantly. "Well that's exactly why I hate this freaking holiday baby!" HUH? - I gave him a moment to explain, and his point was... he feels like you should always be thankful for that (agreed) that you should always appreciate your family (agreed) that you should always be gracious and be able to give someone a gift just because you love them, not because it's a holiday and it's expected. And while all of that is a great argument, I still love the fact that everyone, if only for a short while, is a little more appreciative, and a little more thoughtful this time of year.

Granted.... he was actually angry so some of his wording may be off. I don't think it's any different from mine... but I think that's where we butt heads... he sees them as very different. He is in NO WAY judging me or saying I'm selfish or only a Christian for Christmas... not at all, he knows better anyway... but his point is that, that's what the holiday has become and the entire day just feels like a huge obligation.

I asked him if he could do Christmas his way how he would do it, and he said he would have the day off, and spend time at church with loved ones... (I'm actually throwing in the loved ones part because I THINK that's what he said... the day off and church were definite's though) - so I told him, lets just do that. He said we wouldn't be able to this year because of plans already made.

I love Christmas, I love love love love the entire holiday season, and it breaks my heart that he hates it so much. It doesn't make me mad, and I never feel like he's attacking me about my Christmas passion, it just makes me sad that it's not something we can share. It's not about the gifts, or how much we spend on them... I would love Christmas just as much if we got up in an undecorated house, went to church, and spent the rest of the day lounging around because what matters most to me is that I'm with people I love and care about, and they know that's how I feel. I just wish there was a way I could figure out an idea where we could celebrate Christmas together in a way that would make him happy. Don't get me wrong, the decorations are a blast, and I love looking at lights, I like the music and am a stud at wrapping gifts, don't even get me started on cookie recipes... but that's all bells and whistles, and it's not what's most important.... I just wish there was a way we could meet in the middle on it.

Any ideas?

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Standing still

I feel like at the moment, that's what I'm doing. However, my mind is not exactly sure what to make of it. The initial reaction is "MOVE!" "WHY are you just STANDING here?!" but then somewhere deep down a faint voice says "just wait..." "take a deep breath" "stand still"

This standing still notion has infiltrated all the areas of my life. And like I said, it's not a bad thing, I'm not upset or hurt or angry about it... some days it stings, but mostly, it just is. Sort of like a deer caught in the headlights.... curious at first, not exactly sure what to make of it. Now I'm just trying to decide if, like the deer, I should bolt as fast as I can in one direction or sit still and risk the chance that it may be an oncoming truck... or it may just be lights reflecting from somewhere else. This deer analogy sucks, sorry.

First, lets start with work. Working two jobs currently, one which I love, and another that is just necessary and at best annoying. Neither are what I want to do with my life. I'm trying to get back to school, but The University of Texas (and yes, I'm using their name so you can all know that this stinks and the smell is coming from Austin - but I love my Texas - Hook 'Em!) won't give me my transcripts. In fairness, they won't give me my transcripts because I owe them some student loan money.... but I can't return to school anywhere without that baby. Not no way, not no how. Tried. I am working on paying it off but it's a slowwwww process. So I can't go get my teaching degree, which is the ultimate goal. I've been looking into some teacher assistant (para-educator, educational assistant... whatever you want to call it) positions in the local school district (and in a few others in San Antonio and *cough* Tennessee *cough*), since it would at least put me in that direction . There are a couple available and I fit all the criteria, just have to take the para-pro test which coincidentally they are not holding in Texas again until March. So I would need to wait until August to go that route. 8 Months. All of my closest friends are starting their careers and lives and I sort of feel like I'm stuck at this place, wherever it is, not being allowed to move forward. *cue the smallest violin in the world playing me the saddest song*

Next we can of course move on to my relationship. Lets start with the GOOD news (and none of it is really bad but... I digress) - Our visit was amazing. It was nice to just BE together, not worry or fight about worrying and fighting. We goofed off, we drank wine with family, we played scrabble, we shot guns (I know... I know), we sat quietly together in the car with no need to ramble or fill the silence, just happy! I feel like he has really been making the effort, especially after our visit. It's much harder to pack all that into phone calls but when we got to spend time together I never once felt unappreciated, unloved, or that he would rather be somewhere else. He was attentive and loving and FUN... and I miss him.

However, there is a void when he's gone. The way I feel when we're together, is not how I always feel when we're apart. And I don't want this to sound hurtful, because it's not anything he's doing or not doing... it's just different. The way we are able to show the other person we love them when we're together is not feasible when we're apart. Sgt. is very loving in his actions, he can be a charmer at times with his words when he is particularly in the moment, but more than anything else, it's in the way he looks at me while I'm cooking, or the way he warms up the car before we go anywhere because I'm always cold, the same way he takes his jacket off and puts it around my shoulders when we go outside, in the way he makes me coffee in the morning or smiles at me when I've already gotten up and done it... as if I have super powers. It's how he kisses me on the forehead when he's done brushing his teeth and I'm still scrubbing away, it's in the way he squeezes my hand three times to tell me he loves me when we're in a crowded room, or in a quiet car. How he offers to help when I'm chopping or washing something, it's shows when he gets down off the couch during a movie to come sit on the floor next to me and fold our laundry, it's in him grabbing my hand and us sneaking away from the dinning room to take a nap on the couch together, it's in how he encourages me when we're playing a game and in how he is a good sport when I kick his ass at skeet shooting :) How he teaches me new things when I ask. None of those things are possible from 1000 miles away, and I am sick of being apart.

I know, lots more people have done it for much longer, but we've never been together. We've never had a point in our relationship where we didn't live at least an hour and a half from one another, and that was only for 3 months! The majority we've lived on different continents, and now, although closer, different states is not a whole lot more fun. Whining again, I know. I should be thankful, we get even just a weekend a month, and I am. Many women would kill for just that, I remember because I was there too. And I know, we're still growing and building up out of the funk we were in, and it takes time. After his four day visit, I thought to myself again, "yep, he's it, no worries" and I love having that feeling back, but I hate being afraid to talk about taking steps towards the next step. Does that make sense? We ARE growing, and getting better, and I know he misses me, but there is no talk of any moving anymore at all.... which is understandable, it just doesn't make it any easier. The logic and realistic side of me knows it all. Stand still. No planning or talk of progression, just... be. Which isn't bad, and probably what we need, but damn it... I'm impatient, and a worry wart... it's incredibly hard for me to just sit still.
My mind runs 1000 miles per hour and this vast unknown leaves WAY too much room for imagination and interpretation. I jump to the most asinine conclusions out of reaction and worry because I don't have any direction... I have no insight on plans or what he'd like to see happen. I could of course ask, which he would probably prefer than having to read it on my blog, but for one week I'd like to NOT be the one bringing up a serious topic of conversation. I mean can't I just give the guy a break. Can you imagine being in love with me all day? Tiring. *this is where Sgt. says "baby, your biggest fault, is allowing tomorrow to take away from today" and I say something like "I know..."*

A little over a year ago, I got really good at standing still. When I moved out here, in the boonies, in the middle of nowhere, with no one really around, Sgt. is deployed, I learned very quickly to just be quiet. To enjoy that. To sit outside and just appreciate the moment you had. Particularly a moment where I wasn't worried that he was on patrol, or cold, or hungry, or lonely. I learned to not be so worried about a plan... that life would happen one way or the other and it was better to just sit back and not fight it. Well, I had about a year of that... and now we're back to square one... where did all my new found sanity go?