Sunday, February 28, 2010

Best day of my life?

Four years ago, I was in labor. I had absolutely no idea how much my life was getting ready to change...or how much I could love another person.

I can't believe four years have come and gone. Through deployments, dogs, new jobs, school, and all that came in between, I have made it through with my partner in crime--my daughter. :) She helped me finish my thesis and my master's degree. She gave me a reason to get up in the morning (even if it was earlier than I would have liked) when Buzz was on the other side of the world in a war zone. She made me laugh and gave me a hug when I needed it most.

I am working to resist the urge to tell her every little detail of what happened on this day (this minute) four years ago. (I DO remember every detail.) But I will be up at 9:08 in the morning--recalling what some would call the best moment of their lives. Everyone says that..."The day my baby was born was the best day of my life." But I beg to differ--That WAS the best day of my life at that moment. In all reality, that was when my life started. Every day since has been better, because it has been another day to grow with her. Every day marks the new best day of my life. I look forward to opening presents and talking about THE birthday, but in my heart it is so much more. Mommies know what I am talking about. And my baby girl will day. But for now I will crown myself the proudest woman on earth on THIS day--and I will celebrate with gifts, too much sugar, and Hannah Montana decor--because that's what SHE wants. And SHE is what makes my world go 'round.

Monday, February 22, 2010

She's all mine!

I can't believe my little girl--my baby--is getting ready to turn 4. In some ways the time has flown yet I can't remember what life was like without her. She's my whole world. But back to her birthday...I have been shopping for gifts for weeks. I have a bit of a problem over-shopping for her. My wardrobe is outdated and I don't get new "gadgets" and such. But my daughter is dressed to impress and has more "stuff" than we know what to do with. It's an addiction.

I remember her first holiday--Easter. I was so new to motherhood and lost in a cloud of exhaustion and love. But when I realized I got to shop for this little part of me, well, the rest is history. That was my first shopping spree for someone other than myself. It was amazing--and it continues to be. I'm a frugal (cheap) shopper so I don't go over the top in cost, just over the top in stuff. Shopping for her has been therapeutic for me during all of the deployments in addition to the fun and escape it provides during "normal times." I think this is a disorder. :) But it's fun! I am able to get lost in her world--which is much better than the world out here that we all live in.

Anyway, I still feel like I am living a dream. My amazing little girl is growing up--which means her clothes and toys get bigger (and cost more even when you do shop cheap). Sometimes I question whether or not I am spoiling her. I don't think so--I hope not. She's got the biggest heart of anyone I know. I like to think I played a big part in that. So I will keep on shoppin'. Why? Because I want to. Because it's fun. Because she's all mine...since she's a part of me, I figure I can continue to sport last years' threads as long as she keeps lookin' fine. :)

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Author unknown

Sometimes those who are unknown say things the best. I got this in an email from a friend today--it was PERFECT timing. I have been feeling on the outside of everything here lately and this reminded me of my inner strength, all that I have been through and accomplished, and all that I CAN do. I also shared it with my military wife friends (who didn't get the email the first go-round) to remind them of their awesomeness and have gotten some great responses as a reminder that I am among the most AMAZING group of women on earth. :) Here is OUR story...

Military Wife

Lots of moving...
Moving far from home...
Moving two cars, three kids and one dog...all riding with HER of course.
Moving sofas to basements because they won't go in THIS house;
Moving curtains that won't fit;
Moving jobs and certifications and professional development hours.
Moving away from friends;
Moving toward new friends;
Moving her most important luggage: her trunk full of memories.

Often waiting...
Waiting for housing.
Waiting for orders.
Waiting for deployments.
Waiting for phone calls.
Waiting for reunions.
Waiting for the new curtains to arrive.
Waiting for him to come home,
For dinner...AGAIN!

They call her 'Military Dependent', but she knows better:
She is fiercely In-Dependent.

She can balance a check book;
Handle the yard work;
Fix a noisy toilet;
Bury the family pet...

She is intimately familiar with drywall anchors and toggle bolts.
She can file the taxes;
Sell a house;
Buy a car;
Or set up a move...
.....all with ONE Power of Attorney.

She welcomes neighbors that don't welcome her.
She reinvents her career with every PCS;
Locates a house in the desert, The Arctic, Or the deep south.
And learns to call them all 'home'.
She MAKES them all home.

Military Wives are somewhat hasty...
They leap into:
Career alternatives,
And friendships.
They don't have 15 years to get to know people.
Their roots are short but flexible.
They plant annuals for themselves and perennials for those who come after them.

Military Wives quickly learn to value each other:
They connect over coffee,
Rely on the spouse network,
Accept offers of friendship and favors.
Record addresses in pencil...

Military Wives have a common bond:
The Military Wife has a husband unlike other husbands; his commitment is unique.
He doesn't have a 'JOB'
He has a ' MISSION ' that he can't just decide to quit...
He's on-call for his country 24/7.
But for her, he's the most unreliable guy in town!
His language is foreign
And so, a Military Wife is a translator for her family and his.
She is the long- distance link to keep them informed;
the glue that holds them together.

A Military Wife has her moments:
She wants to wring his neck;
Dye his uniform pink;
Refuse to move to Siberia ;
But she pulls herself together.
Give her a few days,
A travel brochure,
A long hot bath,
A pledge to the flag,
A wedding picture,
And she goes.
She packs.
She moves.
She follows.

What for?
How come?
You may think it is because she has lost her mind.
But actually it is because she has lost her heart.
It was stolen from her by a man,
Who puts duty first,
Who longs to deploy,
Who salutes the flag,
And whose boots in the doorway remind her that as long as he is her Military Husband,
She will remain his military wife.
And would have it no other way.

--Author Unknown

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Sam Doggy Dogg

If ever there was a dog with issues, that dog is Sampson. The last time I wrote, Sampson was going in for an ultrasound. They found enlarged lymph nodes and something else that was indicative of IBD. But nothing more than that in the belly region. An x-ray revealed that his spine has pretty much fused together--all of his vertebrae are calcified (I think I am using the right terms). So after our last round of difficulties, our regular vet sent us to a vet who does acupuncture. I was REALLY skeptical but figured I would try anything. I decided to embrace the idea and prepared myself for the laughter of those who found out. It paid off! Sampson is a new man. He can kidney bean dance with more flexibility, he runs around the yard, and plays like he hasn't done for months--maybe years!

So it's all good news, right? Uh, I'm not so sure about that. As I speak, he is having a "lump" removed from his shoulder. It's really small so hopefully if it is "the c-word" we caught it early. They are just removing it with local anesthetic (because he is the MAN and can handle that) today and sending it off for a biopsy. I am worried, of course. I mostly feel guilty because he was feeling SO good today and I spring this on him. Poor guy. His doctor was impressed at how great he is doing otherwise. Since we just moved here last year, she has not seen him in his full Sam Doggy Dogg element. I do believe she was impressed, amused, and entertained with his energy, kidney bean dancing, and "talking."

He'll be home in an hour or two. Luckily, Daisy is handling their time apart better so I am not having to tend to her every single second. (Our little Daisy Duke just MIGHT be growing up...maybe.) Anyway, I am going to hope for the best. I suppose that's all I can do at this point. Well, that and enjoy every amazing day we have of Sam Doggy Dogg in full effect!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

I'm not crazy!

Okay, maybe I lean toward the crazy side, but it's not because of what I do for my dogs. As we got some not-so-good news at the vet today and I prepare to keep taking care of Sampson (and the possibilities for the worst), I must also prepare myself for all of the comments (and rudeness) that come with taking care of a "special needs" dog. So, I am going to practice my "comebacks" here to hopefully thicken my skin since I know that I am doing what is right for my family. So, here goes:

Yes, it is a lot of money, but my family is not suffering. We would suffer more if something happened to Sampson, especially if there was something we COULD have done.

No, I am not just going to put him to sleep--a dog who still begs for walks is not ready to go yet.

No, I am not crazy. Isn't that impolite of you to ask?

On that note, I don't need to think through this any more. It's the same thing as when people criticize my parenting (of my human child)--why do people care??? It's none of their business! People can be so rude, inconsiderate, and nosey. Oh well...

All I know (which is all that matters) is that Sampson has been (and will hopefully have time to continue to be) a great friend. He has been the one constant in my life over the past nearly 8 years. I couldn't have asked for a better shoulder to cry on, a better companion to laugh with, or a more sensitive presence through all of my ups and downs during our time together. He has been amazing to every member of our household--we are all better people (and dogs) for our time with him. And hopefully, we will be blessed with more time together.

I am such a fan of rescue, especially since getting Angel (and Daisy) from BARC. Sampson was my one (and will be only) pet that I got from a breeder. I try to remember everything happens for a reason...and I think that's maybe how Sampson and I found each other. Maybe he didn't come from a rescue per-se, but I believe we have rescued him (because I doubt many people would have gone to the lengths that we have for him) and I know that he has done so much for us. I think it was a match that was meant to be. Years from now, I won't dwell on the money spent, but on the happiness he brought to my life and my family. I am reminded of a great quote: "Rescuing a dog won't change the world, but it will change the world for that dog." I would like to add that it will also change the world for the human who opens their heart for a dog that no one else wanted...and if that makes her crazy, so be it!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Where's my librarian?

I like technology as much as the next person, maybe more. I love being able to do research from the comforts of my home and search the internet and blog and put off doing real work by "hanging out" on Facebook. But, at some point, I think it's just too much. Even putting aside the environmental cost of technology (I mean, whether or not you believe in God or if you think "mother earth" is in control, I feel like it's obvious that we are not taking care of our planet and we are out of our "natural" habitat and man is using his power to do things other than good), I just think the McDonaldization aspect has spun out of control. (The McDonaldization of Society is an awesome book by George Ritzer--even if you're not a sociologist--that basically tells how all aspects of society have taken McDonald's principles and run with them. Now they dominate tons of sectors of society.)

As an undergrad, working in a bank, I wrote a paper on the McDonaldization of the banking industry. It's a PERFECT example (that I often use in my teaching of undergrad classes now) of how McDonaldization takes over sectors of society. For example, what do you get when you go to McDonalds? No matter where you go in the world, you will have the same menu--complete with numbers so you don't even have to say the actual names of the food. Ritzer's work is based on Weber's (a classical sociologist) five characteristics of bureaucracy: division of labor, hierarchy of authority, written rules and regulations, impersonality, and specific technical (but simplistic) qualifications. That pretty much sums up fast food, right? You know who works the cash register, who cooks your food, who the manager is to complain to, and the excecutives out of the restaurants that rake in the big bucks. At the McDonald's here, they even have a push-button greeting (instead of someone saying hi) when you go through the drive thru--impersonality is an understatement. The employees must follow the rules and really only need to know how to push the button with the number that corresponds to your order. (Think about the chaos that ensues when you want no onions or light mayo!) So it's easy to put that into the context of something like banking--with drive-thrus, ATMs, and statistical programs that tell you whether or not you can get a loan--based on NO personal information at all.

As usual, I'm rambling...even though I love technology, it has its drawbacks. And I think there are some areas that we should just leave alone--like books. I would still rather read a real newspaper or a book I can hold in my hand than something online. I am okay with it being offered online, but I still want the option for my paper copies. And when I go to the library (you know, the home of the REAL books) I want it to be more tangible "stuff" than technology.

I went to the library at UT the other day, and as I was scanning my ID card and my books to check them out myself, my mind wandered to Ritzer. Seriously? Even libraries are McDonaldized??? What happened to the friendly librarian? Good grief!