Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Why Navy is Better than Army (in one picture)

If a picture is worth a thousand words...

This beach is on base at Naval Air Station Point Mugu.  My father, who is a commercial real estate developer, always said that the US Navy owns the best, and most expensive property in the nation.  From Pearl Harbor to Annapolis to Coronado.  Point Mugu is certainly no exception as we have learned first hand the past few weeks.

Malibu is just to the south, but Point Mugu is much less crowded because of the restricted access.

Go Navy! 
Saturday, December 28, 2013

We Aren't in Kansas Anymore, Toto

The real line from the movie, in an effort to avoid the movie nerd correction emails, is "Toto, I've a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore".  And I've a feeling that is correct for us, though we were brought to SoCal by way of Honda minivan and not tornado. 

In the two weeks we have lived in California I have been the receiving end of that joke, oh, 20 times.  But that's okay because I'm sure I would probably say the same to an alien life form moving to the Los Angeles area from the heartland.  It is only slightly awkward because we're not "from" Kansas.  And so goes my military spouse identity crisis where I sit in bed at night and ponder how to answer the "where are you from?" question without making people think "dang, lady, I was just being polite.  Didn't need the life story".  

In case you wondered whether we embraced the Kansas life, here is a picture from this past Halloween:

John was understandably hesitant about going as the scarecrow, but quickly agreed when I told him my mother (who was visiting for the weekend) would be the wicked witch.  Every man wants to call his mother-in-law a wicked witch at least once without being knocked out cold.  Our Kansas neighbors have a dog that looks just like Toto and they were happy to let us tote him around for the evening.  It was fate and I am forever the owner of ruby slippers if anyone wants to raid my closet.

On December 13th, John graduated from Army school (Command and General Staff College) and we were so anxious to get out of the icy cold and into the warm sunshine that we drove all the way to Denver that very afternoon.  Kansas is not a very dynamic state to look at.

By Monday the 15th we had arrived at our new home in Camarillo, California and I did a happy dance at the sight of palm trees, and mountains, and Trader Joes!  We went to the beach the next morning and it was like we had never left the coast at all. 

We camped on air mattresses until Thursday the 19th when our stuff arrived.  John cracked the whip, and we were pretty much 100% unpacked in time to host my brother in law and his fianc√© for Christmas.  Thankfully, we didn't even have to tell them to find their own sheets, pillows, and towels amongst the boxes of crap.

There is a lot I could write about our new area, but simply put:  I'm spoiled.  This area might ruin me for future moves.  It is warm.

Obligatory smug weather screen capture

I have palm trees in my yard (that the HOA cares for). The shopping is amazing.  There are more bars and restaurants than I can even fathom.  We are very close to a large city that we get to explore and access to a huge international airport when we want to escape.  The ocean, the fruit trees, the lack of mosquitos and humidity. It's glorious. The jury is still out of my east coast personality can hang with west coast cool, but so far everyone I meet seems very nice and personable. And they love wine.

I think we'll be quite happy here.
Sunday, December 8, 2013

The Breathings of my Heart

The poet William Wordsworth once wrote, "fill the paper with the breathings of your heart".  Writers need to write.  It is stress relief, it is cathartic, it is important.  Some need to run, some need to draw, some need to yell and scream.  Writing has always made me feel better; like getting a thousand pounds off my chest.  It is freeing.

This blog takes on many different functions for me.  I wrestle with it sometimes.  Do I want to be as outspoken as I am sometimes?  Do I want it to be a diary?  If my kids read it in 15 years would I be proud? Do I want to be so public with my emotions and feelings and opinions?

I honestly don't have good answer for what I want it to be.  It just is.  I guess if I were to say something to Kate and Connor who might read this in 15 years - this blog is a good reflection of me.  Imperfect. Changing. Rough around the edges. An example of how in life it is okay to be happy and sad.  It is okay to be an open person.

We are entering our last week at Fort Leavenworth.  Moving again in the deep freeze of December and heading west to Southern California.  I'm excited about California.  I love the warmth and the ocean and I have always had a strange affinity for palm trees.  John even looked all over Pensacola for an apartment with some palm trees when he started flight school over a decade ago.  He knew the palm trees would put a smile on my face as we embarked on this crazy life together.  Our new house has palm trees in the driveway.  I can't tell you how excited that makes me.

But sadly, I'm not all sunshine this week.  It has actually been a remarkably sad few time for me.  Moving is hard.  The holidays are stressful. And as I approach the due date of our most recent loss I find myself in a trifecta of hurt.  When I watched the tree lighting at Rockefeller Center I burst into tears.  When I got pregnant last spring, I imagined us preparing for a new baby around a Christmas tree.  Instead, I see boxes and moving tape and no tree at all.  And no baby.  And it sucks.

This surge of emotion has taught me an important lesson about grieving. If you don't do it when the bad stuff happens it will eventually find it's way to you again.  I moved on from my most recent miscarriage with much more poise and grace than my first two.  But as I approach my due date I find myself sadder than I ever was at this point.  A good lesson in letting myself grieve.  It isn't weak to mourn your losses; it is healthy and necessary.

Moving around the holidays is never ideal.  My kids are at a magical age where I want to admire them looking up at a tree in their Christmas jammies. Instead I am explaining why they are leaving their familiar bedroom, schools, and friends.  It is too fast.  We just did this last year.  348 days ago we moved in and we are already packing up.

Packers come tomorrow, the moving truck comes Wednesday, John graduates on Friday and we are headed west to Denver that afternoon.  I am praying for peace; to be okay with this holiday season surrounded by boxes and without my extended family.  To get through our baby's due date gracefully and without too much pain.  I know I have many blessings and I know everything will be okay.  This is a season and things will look up soon.

This is what is on my heart right now.  Thanks for listening.   

Hi, I'm Jill!

Hi, I'm Jill!
Extrovert. Mom of two. Wife of a cute Naval Aviator. Lover of wine. When I'm not chasing my two kids around town you will find me writing, taking too many photos, and researching the ten future areas the Navy could potentially (but probably won't) PCS us. We are fish out of water, landlocked at 7,000 feet. For now.

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