Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Been there

Her face registered disbelief and shock. She’d just gotten THE NEWS. The kind of news, that makes your heart stand still as your world suddenly shifts. It’s the kind of news that’s like a train jumping to another track with stopping or slowing down.

While doing the weekend warrior thing this past weekend, a woman in my Navy reserve unit found out she is deploying to Afghanistan this fall. I looked at her face and thought, “That’s what my face must have looked like when I got the news.” I remember hanging up the phone that day in October 2007 and feeling my world move in an entirely unplanned direction. I remember feeling like I was looking at myself and not believing that it really was me. It couldn’t be me who was suddenly headed for Afghanistan.

Oh, my heart goes out her. I can imagine only too well what she is feeling. When I saw the hint of tears starting to well up, I just had to give her a hug. I know the changes that are coming, the mind set you have to find and the inner reserves you have to dig so incredibly deep to find. I’ve been there.

Please keep SR and her family in your prayers. Keep all of our service members in your prayers. They need all of the faith they can get.

Me, in Afghanistan last year. Nope, it's not named after me, it's just a coincidence.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Our market is back

The doors finally opened and inside were the familiar sights and smells of meat and fish on beds of ice, fruits and vegetables piled high, homemade cheese and some from around the world, bouquets of flowers and baked yummy-ness. Eastern Market has re-opened its doors after rebuilding from the fire two years ago. Yay!!

I loved the kids playing in the bubbles. I just couldn't resist.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009


never been a sports fan but
there’s something about sitting at a game
squinting from the sun setting directly in your eyes
trying to wear a nuetral color t-shirt and
inadvertently wearing the opposing team's colors
watching the marine corps color guard march the flag in
listening to the silence of "oh, say can you see..."
and the crowd goes wild
cheering ‘cause your team just made an amazing play

cracking open salty peanuts
dropping the shells on the ground
sucking down ice cold, sweaty lemonade
yes, ben’s chili bowl is really that good
hot dog
half smoke
can't choose between them
licking ketchup and mustard off your lips and relish off your fingers
standing up anytime someone wants to leave your row

hearing the connection of a bat and a ball
yelling “down in front” a million times to the guy on the phone
singing "take me out to the ballgame"
teddy losing... again...
cheering ‘cause their team just made an amazing play

trying to pick your personal baseball theme song for when it's your turn to bat
a little less talk and a lot more action - runner up
hit me with your best shot - the winner
mocking the players' theme songs
what's up with the phil collins theme song?

texting your brother to rub it in that you’re there and he’s not
chatting with your girlfriends about how cute the players are
getting upset because a player seriously fumbles the ball, thus committing an "error"

watching your team lose 11-3 against boston

go nats

ya gotta love baseball.

but really i’m not a fan.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Musings on a love letter

"Dear Christine,

"I got your letter this morning in mail call. I couldn't wait to start reading, but duty called. I read it over lunch. Now I'm down in berthing writing you from my rack. I have to tell you I feel exactly the same. I can't stop thinking about you and last night as I was falling asleep, I imagined your face. Those green eyes and your smile that make me feel loved when you look up at me. I had good dreams with you.

"I told my father about you and he would like to meet you. He says you seem very good for me. I agree. You make me want to be better, which is a new thing for me. Usually, I'm more interested in myself and what I can do for myself. But since I met you I'm more interested in what I can do for you, how I can make you smile and how I can make you proud to know me. It's an interesting feeling.

"Well, gotta run, I have to get back down to the office. We're supposed to run battle drills tonight, and I need to know where my post is, so the YN1 is going to show me what to do. Sometimes, I really hate this boat, but hey it's all part of being in the Navy, which is what we signed up to do. Well, except you did the reserve thing.

"I'll be thinking you again tonight. Thanks for letter. Can't wait to hear from you again. Love always, D" (name omitted to protect the innocent)

Whatever happened to this boy in my life? I'd forgotten all about him, until the weekend I was in Utah packing up my storage unit and going through a box of old papers. I opened the envelope and pulled out his letter and began to read. By the time I was done, I had a big, ol' grin on my face, and I was remembering...

I actually hadn't thought of D for over 15 years. I wonder whatever happened to him. Is he still in the Navy? Is he married, divorced or single still? Does he ever still think of me? I remember he had short blond hair, blue eyes, was quite tall and that's about it. I don't even remember specifics of how we met or even how we kissed. I do remember liking him though, but it took finding his letter to remind me of that.

This was written to me in the fall of 1993 by a boy I'd met at "A" school for the Navy in Meridian, Mississippi. ("A" school is where learn your Navy job.) This was before the advent of email, where you got actual handwritten letters stuffed into an envelope that was touched by the hands of the one who wrote it.

It’s so much more intimate to receive a letter in the mail and hold it in your hands knowing that just a few days ago he was holding it in his hands, folding to fit the envelope, licking the glue to seal it up. Hm, it’s kind of fun to think about that. I also liked the waiting, wondering if I would get a page or two of a letter detailing his activities or his thoughts on one of his favorite subject-me. So much better than an email or text. So much more permanent and lasting.

In 15 years you'll find a love letter, but will you find a love email?

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Random searching

The lady's name is Christine Boyer, first wife of Lucien Bonaparte, one of Napoleon Bonaparte's younger brothers. It's the classic story of the landlord's daughter marrying a prince and becoming a princess. See, I always knew I was royalty. I demand better treatment and shoes!

This is the Blc. Hilltop Star orchid. It's just one of over 22,000 species. Amazing, and kind of cool.

Have you ever Google searched yourself to see what comes up. Alas, nothing about me personally ever shows up on the first 5 pages of the search results, but I do come across some random findings on Google.

There's a new website that made news headlines this week called http://www.hunch.com/. It helps you make information based decisions based on your responses to questions. I was curious. A website that makes your decisions for you? I tried it out to see what it was, and basically learned what I already knew. I should just follow my hunches.

So, I started off by answering 20 seemingly random questions, like "When you go to a party, who do you talk to? People you know and are comfortable with or everyone, including strangers," and "Your new home entertainment center was just delivered. Do you: hire someone to put it together for you, sit down with the instruction manual and hope you get it right, or just pull everything out of the box and go for it?" I then was able to ask my question about buying a car. I'm planning to buy a car within the next year, so I thought I would see what the suggestions were. I answered about 10 more questions about car related topics such as two or four doors, sporty or practical, and price range. I got three solid answers and a wild card answer. Number 1-Honda Accord Two-door Coupe (So, not a fan of two door coupes, but like the Accord a lot). Number 2-Mini Cooper Convertible (Yay!! Love the mini. Seriously considering this car for purchase.) Number 3-Volkswagon Golf (I like VWs, but like the Jetta better). Wild Card-Chevy Uplander FWD mini-van (Big thumbs down. I even answered a question about putting a baby seat in the car. Boo!).

Interesting little experiment here. Hunch.com was co-founded a woman name Catherine Fake. Does that mean the irony is that it's a Fake Hunch?

Really, though I'm a firm believer that you can always find what you're looking for. If you look for happiness, you'll be happy. If you look for misery, you'll be miserable. I've found it's easier to get answers when I can let go of expectations, and just expect to get an answer or at the very least find what I'm looking for.

Lately I keep losing my keys. What's that a sign of? Maybe nothing, but still an interesting thought considering I've spent quite a bit of time over the past month and a half looking for some keys to a storage unit with no luck. So, maybe my theory of always finding what you're looking for doesn't work on keys. Then again, there are no magic keys in real life.

So, in this information age, when we have so much at our finger tips, it's interesting to think that a search algorithm might be able to help you make a decision or find you answer to a question. All my Hunch.com experience did, was confirm that I pretty much had my own answer all along. Granted there are some things that you do want to ask for help on, or maybe just talk about with a friend just to hear yourself think it out.

In searching, it's always fun to see what you find. I never expected to find a portrait of a 18th century French princess or a hilltop star orchid while doing random online searches. What pleasant surprises these answers turned out to be. Maybe that's point of searching; there are always pleasant surprises to be had. Often all we need to do is stop and listen to the divine within ourselves. We just have to get to a quiet place in order to listen to the right voice for the answers we already have.

Sunday, June 14, 2009


If you could hear a sunset, it just might sound like this:

Vespers are evening prayers. Here's the translation of the prayer you just heard:

GLADSOME LIGHT of the holy glory of the Immortal One,
the Heavenly Father, holy and blessed, O Jesus Christ!
Now that we have come to the setting of the sun,
and behold the light of evening,
we praise the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, God!
Thou art worthy always to be praised in hymns by voices.
Son of God, Giver of Life; thus the world glorifies Thee.
(Vespers, Sergie Rachmaninoff, #4)

Beautiful, yes. I felt I could see the colours of the setting sun as the choir sang, this evening at Strathmore and just wanted to share a small part with you. Rachmaninoff's Vespers are gorgeous vocal paintings.

Another phrase of this prayer, that I liked from the 12th Vesper is this:

Lord, I flee to Thee, teach me to do Thy will,
for Thou art my God, for with Thee is the fountain of life,
and in Thy light we shall see light.
(Vespers, Sergei Rachmaninoff, #12)

Rachmaninoff composed this work in the late winter of 1915 over a two week period. It was performed in March of the same year and so well received that it was performed 5 more times within a month's period. Less than three years later with the rise of the Soviet Union all performances of religious music were banned. This composition is considered by many to be the end of an era. What a shame, that a nation with a musical light like Rachmaninoff would cover it and ban it.
Just had to share a bit of the beauty.
P.S. The photo really is a Russian sunset. Ya gotta love Google images.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009


I love home. I spent the weekend at home for one of my newest nephew's blessing. I also decided to pack my storage unit into a moving pod and move the rest of my life out to DC. So it was a very busy weekend. I'm very excited for what comes next. I've no idea what it is, but change is a'comin'. I can feel it in the air.

For those of you who didn't believe me, yes, this is our garage and it's clean. Mom was even able to park her car inside Saturday evening. Ha! Great job to the two working men who not only cleaned up the garage, but helped me pack up my moving pod. You're the best-est.

Auntie Christine with a screaming nephew. Really he does like me, I promise. He was laughing and smiling just a moment before. What a little cutie!

Monday, June 1, 2009

What I want to be...

"Hey, Christine when you were a little girl, what did you want to be when you grew up?" T.G. asked me today at work. I started to laugh, thinking back on everything I had ever thought of doing in my life.

I recall distinctly two things I wanted to do when I was little. First, I wanted to be a nurse like my Grandma B. She had magic hands that always made me feel better and I wanted to be able to do that for people, because feeling better when you feel crappy is such a wonderful thing. This lasted until the day I was left in charge of my younger siblings and my then obnoxious little brother skinned off his thumb knuckle with his brand new Boy Scout hatchet. I discovered I don't do so well with blood. I did manage to retain enough presence of mind to wrap his thumb in a towel, apply pressure to try to stop the bleeding, and then call our neighbor, Norene, to take him to the doctor for stitches. I think I all but passed out. Thus ended my days of wanting to be a nurse.

Next I wanted to be a teacher like my Grandma O, who taught in the Logan City schools for a very long time. I remember how fun her classrooms looked when I visited her. She had really great bulletin boards full of colour and fun characters. For Halloween, there was an eight foot tall, cone-shaped paper witch with green or orange hair outside her classroom door. Not only was she teaching, but she was being an artist as well. It looked so fun to be a teacher--I wanted to do that. This is the little when-I-grow-up-dream has stayed with me over the years. I think eventually I will teach.

So tomorrow during lunch I'm going to be interviewed by my over achiever co-worker. She's pregnant, on active duty in the Navy and in school with a crazy credit load. She's going to ask me a few questions about what I wanted to be when I grow up. Very fun to think about being a kid again with the open book of dreams ahead of me.

Over the years many variations on this dream have crossed my mind and I've been able to try a lot of things. In many ways I still feel no closer to knowing what I want to be when I grow up. I have discovered that what I want to do is the means to what I'd really like to be when I grow up. Being, in so many ways influences the ability to do. It is by by imagining, then creating and doing--by living--that what I want to be is achieved.

So, what I do want to be? Happy.

And I am.