Saturday, August 30, 2014

FAMILY with a Capital F

Oh MY Goodness!  Where have I been?  I made a vow to myself to get my blog going and be consistent, but here I am at this point in my life again when I have to apologize to myself!

Ben and I at the Market
. . .Well, life and my undisciplined self got in the way.  What have I been
doing??  Our daughter and son-in-law came in December of 2013 (don't know if I mentioned that!), and our son came in January.  That only leaves our older son and his family (the three grands) who have not made it out.  Since our older son lived here for a period of time in his grown up and single life,  it is not a high priority to come back the Pacific Northwest.  They, too, have been making big moves--like from Georgia to Pennsylvania!  Anyway, I am blessed with an awesome husband who sent me to Florida and Kentucky in March of this year where I got to spend time with all of them.  We enjoyed some real family time in Florida, and I worked Ben to death in Kentucky.  Enjoyed them all so much!
Enjoying Sushi in Daytona
I returned home to Washington thinking that I was good to go only after a couple of months of routine to experience the PCS migration, the end of PWOC, and the closing of my regular gym/pool.  I wrote a post about that moment in time and will now post it as it has been experienced and overcome!  Ha!  By the time that the end of June arrived, I was wanting change!  My husband again decided to spring a trip on me this time!  So off to Kentucky I go for a week and the July 4th tradition of being with our best buds, Martha and Billy Jackson.  Oh, did I mention that this trip was a surprise for Phillip and Rachel as they were moving back to Kentucky, and Roy, Ben and I pulled it off!  That was payback for their surprising me in December!  Woot Woot!

Well, that brings my timeline up to date, somewhat, so now I will begin to write about the here and now!   Also, you may see a little ongoing post about our furry babies--Huck and Finn--that I am writing to share with my oldest grandson who is new at reading and also for one of my new favorite young writers named Ryleigh. 

But Everyone is Leaving!

(Drafted in May, published in August 2014)

I have written 50,000 blog posts in my mind during the months that you have seen nothing published on my blog site.  Today, however, I am feeling that I will burst open at the seams if I don't write this and publish it as a therapeutic gesture!  Being part of the military family is both an adventure and a harrowing ride!  You spend a number of months, when it comes time to make a change, of living in flux that you yourself cannot control.  While you are living in this "valley of someone else's decision," the people with whom you have gotten really close in the vast scope of faceless others living on and around the base are getting orders and the "hail and farewells" begin!

 I feel alone in a crowd. I feel held in suspended space while everyone around me is spinning around bumping unto each other!

The sun is beaming outside, and if you know anything about the Seattle area, you know that more times than not it is raining!  As I prepared our juice for the morning, my husband and I watched a Allied moving truck, two times the width of our house, maneuver it's way in front of the house next door.  We are saying goodbye to the precious little couple and their little boy next door as they move off to San Antonio and forever sun.  In a few short days, our neighbors next door will be in the same position as they move their furniture to a bigger house a few streets away in preparation for the new baby who will be added to their family of three.  This along with recognition and goodbyes to all of the PCSers (for non military, this means Permanent Change of duty Station--the irony being on the word permanent) at PWOC (Protestant Women of the Chapel) yesterday produced my "being all alone on an island" feeling.

Many of those whom we recognized yesterday, in addition to the many more who were not there, are Chaplain's wives.  That is significant for many reasons.  The first reason is because my husband is a Chaplain, and it is with these women that I have attended coffees or learned to make bread in the home of our Senior Chaplain of the Post wife's home, or prayed together over one of our Chaplain spouses who was diagnosed with cancer.  Secondly, within our own SF Group this summer, three Chaplains will be covering down for what would normally be six positions.  What a hole to fill!

In civilian life, I have had friends move away;  in military life, I have had many friends move away all within days or months of each other!  That may be the harrowing ride of the military, but I readily acknowledge that the spouse of a frequently deployed Soldier may have many things to add to the dark side other than moving friends.

The adventure of all of this is that I am constantly meeting new people and making lifelong friends that I would have missed had we lived in our small town in mid- America.  I would not have experienced living in the Pacific Northwest or in the Mid West or where ever else The Lord and the military sends us had we not been part of this family of people.  I would not have pushed myself to engage in classes like water aerobics or yoga, or in community choir performances, or in spouse events requiring total foolishness on my part, or to help my husband meet needs of fellow Soldiers who need some encouraging words or home cooked meals!  The sun is shining, and my heart is at rest as I trust God to lead us and plug the lonely holes in our hearts.

Juicing--the Swisher Experience

Update to this post that has been a draft since February--we are still juicing!  We are still doing fruit juice and have only added green veggies one time with a not so good result.  My next experiment, though, is to perfect the green juice and make it palatable to us.  My husband loves pineapple always + a carrot and apple each time.  I vary the addition of pears, peaches, blueberries, strawberries, grapes and various kinds of oranges.  We have nixed the mango and rarely use kiwi.  My daughter and son-in-law, who now has a juicer, shares recipes with me occasionally, and she and her husband may be a bit more adventurous with their fruit and vegetable choices!

(Written in Feb. 2014)

Last year in the two months or so that I lived in Kentucky,  I kept reading the research on and exploring the practice of juicing.  Although I was impressed with the benefits, I, in the end, decided not to pursue purchasing a juicer because I really like to chew my vegetables, and if I eat fewer carbs, fruit is not one of my choices!  My son, the one who shares my love for the unusual in food and in the preparation of food, observed and discussed with me my search for answers in regards to juicing.  This Christmas, he surprised me with a Jack LaLanne juicer.

I must say that my husband and I have tried multiple workout routines and modified nutritional avenues --okay, call them diets, if you must--in the past two years trying to get our 50+ bodies in shape, reduce belly fat, and just, overall, maintain our good health.   Although I lost 40 pounds using the Adkins diet 10-15 years ago, the low carb agenda no longer works for me!  It must be my current age and hormonal plateau that I have reached that is to be blamed because getting unwanted pounds off is extremely hard!  After the low carb diet, my husband decided that we should count calories!  Ha!  I'm sorry, but I am not good at journaling my intact by calorie, and, in particular, I can forget putting my calories in an app in which I cannot find exact replicas of the food I ate to even put in!!!  That kind of frustration drives me to eat!!!!

After getting the juicer, we have made more changes;  changes that I believe are good, sound health choices.  Those changes revolve around our intake of "sugar," a solution to bread choice, and the infusion of fruits and vegetables.

The Sugar Experience

 I have retrained my brain to stop feeling guilty if I eat things that are high in carbs (I must confess, though, that it is a work in progress since I lost the only significant amount of weight in my lifetime following the Atkins plan).  I do still steer clear of white flour and sugar.  I use Splenda in my tea, and I do buy ice cream sweetened with Splenda.  Yes, I know the research concerning artificial sweetners, and I have Stevia in my cabinet, but the aftertaste makes me be a non-follower.  In fact, I recently purchased a six pack of Zevia colas, and I had to give them away as neither my husband nor I could consume them.  I also have added honey to our arsenal of sweetners.  I make homemade bread every couple of weeks because I can control what is in it; our homemade bread of choice is whole wheat with flaxseed added.  We do not eat bread everyday!  So our journey continues as we attempt to make healthy choices.

Creating Outside Living Space on a Budget

(Written in April 2014)

Two things you need to know:
1) Currently, we live in a rented house outside of a military base
2) My husband is away for 12 days of military training

Why are those things important?   While we have a place we call home which is our "retirement" house where we do not mind speeding money on improvements, I do not want to spend a fortune to "improve" someone else's investment or a rental house.  Also, I am officially admitting that I cope with short term change/stress in my life by taking on projects for the purpose of self-distraction by keeping myself busy and very tired.

One of my projects in my husband's absence is to work on our side yard that now contains a hot tub and some retro lawn furniture that I purchased last September, when we first arrived, at a local estate sale.  I paid $60 for the cute little set on our front porch and the retro group--plus, the broker threw in covers for the furniture for the winter months.

All Wood Shelf which was
obviously used outside
So how can I create a comfortable outdoor living space for my two furry babies and myself during the days that it does not rain in the Seattle area and give myself a pop of color outside of my windows on wet days without investing a month's retirement check?  YES, I CAN!  My newest "go to" place for miserliness is one of our base thrift shops.  I only bring home things that I  a)have a need for  b)don't mind leaving them when we PCS or c) simply have fallen in love with.  So, I chose a few items to create hardscape and mainly hold my flowers.
Plant Holder?
Tabletop Fruit Holder?

$9 Investment from Walmart
Throwaway from a Neighbor
I went to Lowe's (because Lowe's and Home Depot are awesome at giving a military discount) and purchased a bit of paint and other small screws, etc. needed to change the purpose and look of these items.  Huck and Finn and I worked a couple of days on putting it together, and. . .here it is, for under $100 (including the furniture but not the grill)!