Monday, May 31, 2010

An Airman's Tribute

I slept in today, my husband curled up beside me.

For her, another sleepless night passed, the other side of the bed still empty.

I enjoyed a four-day weekend.

For her, four months feels like four years, forever.

I got great deals at weekend sales.

For her, the ends still don't seem to meet as they used to.

I enjoyed cookouts, friends and the sun.

She placed another set of flowers on the lonely grave.

I will pause at 3pm today to remember.

She will pause at 3pm today to remember.

My Memorial Day is made possible because of her Memorial Day.

Tomorrow I will put on my boots, proudly salute and go to work to honor his sacrifice. Her sacrifice. Their sacrifice.

I will be grateful for the chance I have to serve in this great nation's military, a backbone to America's calling of offering freedom and opportunity for all.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Happy Thursday

We got a wonderful little surprise last night. Baby F's mom called and asked if we could watch her for a few hours so she could get some sleep and some things done around the house. Apparently Baby F has not been a good sleeper lately and her poor mama was worn out.

We were more than happy to do it!

As most kids do, our little ladybug is growing and thriving. She's almost 3 months old now! What was once a gassy or sleepy grin has turned into full fledged smiles and addicting giggles.

So I can't think of a better way to kick off what I hope is "Friday" for most of you or just Thursday, than to share some of the love!

(For those of you a little late to the party, we fostered Baby F for the first  month of her life. You can read all about it in my Feb blogs.)

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

10-sentence Tuesday

10 things I have/get as part of my Reserve job as the chief of public affairs at Andrews AFB (in no particular order).

1) A reserved parking space
2) A BlackBerry
3) My own office
4) Lots of weekly meetings to attend
5) Pluck-my-eyes-out taskings (it's not even a real word, but SUCH a part of my days now)
6) Authority to grant leave, sign time cards and even buy stuff
7) A very motivated 2nd Lieutenant deputy
8) Phrases like "Presidential movement"
9) Responsibility to communicate on behalf of my commander to diverse audiences
10) A super team of talented, dedicated Airmen who make the job the best in the world!

Ok, so these are not really sentences, but just go with me on this one.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Absorb mode

As some of you might remember from my last blog, which was oh so many days ago, I am currently serving at Andrews Air Force Base as the chief of public affairs there. I am a reservist and have a special job of augmenting that position when the active duty person who would normally be there can't be.

In this case, he is deploying to Afghanistan, and even though I had the opportunity to go in his place, I declined and am instead filling his seat at the home office. Don't get me wrong, I'd love to go to Afghanistan. I've actually been trying to go since 9/11. I almost deployed there in 2006, but got diverted to Kyrgyzstan instead. That turned out to be a great deal! But, right now is just not a good time for me to go.

Working at Andrews, however, is a super deal. It's only about a 20-minute commute from my house, I worked there for a few months last year so I'm familiar with the drill and, of course, I get to put on my uniform and serve my country.

Coming in to lead a very busy office that is just about to go through some major transitions has been very interesting. We have DoD's largest air show coming up this weekend. We will get a new commander a few weeks after that. We have some folks who have been in the office the longest leaving for retirement and new jobs (and of course, nobody new coming in to replace them). And then there's me. A completely different leadership style than my troops are used to and a different hairstyle, too. I mean, I even change my hairstyle from day to day: straight, curly, up, down. It can be very confusing.

So I've been in absorb mode for the past week. I'm just taking everything in and getting a feel for the pace and nature of things. I've never been one to just go into an office and start changing things immediately. I've got to talk to the people who know things. Observe relationships. Find out what the most important issues are. Learn the best ways of communicating with all the important parties. Figure out whose refrigerator I can put my lunch in without danger of it being thrown away (that one's for you, SMSgt Land).

But this mode will only last for a few more days, then it's go time. We've got so much to do, problems to solve, worlds to save, you know!

So I hope it's ok if my blogs seem more work related than the baby ones you might have come here for. Oh! Speaking of the baby-- Baby Z is still with a respite home, but now it looks like he will be going home to his grandma next week, so he probably won't come back to us. I'm sad our time was so short, but am glad they were able to work it out for him to go home to his family. For whatever reason, we didn't get to develop any kind of relationship with his family, so it's highly unlikely we'll get to see him again after he goes home. I am going to try to sneak down to his respite home and give him a few goodbye kisses.

That's how it is with most people, though, right? We're never promised tomorrow with anyone, so we have to pour out all the love we have for them today.

What about you? What's your leadership style when it comes to change? Why don't people ever answer the questions I ask here at the end of my blogs?

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

10-sentence Tuesday

1) I owe you an update on the past few interactions with Baby Z's parents.

2) Friday went much better with brief, but mostly positive, interaction.

3) Sunday and Monday they had appointments to see him but were no-shows. :-(

4) This made me so sad because he is too precious to be stood up.

5) It was hard to drop him off at his new respite-mom's house on Monday night, but I know I will get him back in two weeks.

6) Today I put on my uniform and started my tour in the Air Force Reserves at Andrews Air Force Base.

7) For the next two weeks, I'll be working on the Joint Service Open House, otherwise known as the Andrews Airshow, which is May 15&16.

8) If you're in the DC area (or can come here), you should come because it's free and so much fun!!

9) Questions count as sentences.

10) What have you been up to?

Sunday, May 2, 2010

"At least it's something to blog about"

I'll start this story with the end.

She's ok and almost back to her old self.

Now you can rest easy when I tell you the whole thing.

Friday night we found ourselves with no plans, no desire to cook and no reason not to go out to eat. So John loaded the baby in the car and I grabbed the diaper bag and headed out the door. Now, usually Mocha, our 5-yr-old chocolate lab, tries to come with us, but we block her exit and tell her no and slip out the door.

This time, however, she pushed past me and gleefully started her romp around our little neighborhood. It was still light out and lots of neighbors were outside, so we figured she would be more interested in meeting new people than running and we'd be able to catch her soon. We positioned ourselves where we could best watch her, because chasing her doesn't work. It was all fun and games until after about 10 minutes. I guess she got bored with our neighborhood and ran across the road.

I was standing where I could see her, but not catch her, so unfortunately I had a clear but helpless view of the incident.

She ran in front of a black Jaguar, which clipped her back end and sent her flying into the ditch. The car didn't even slow down and I screamed as I watched what I thought was my dog getting killed. I turned my head to scream for John, then looked back to where she had landed.

Miracles of miracles, my stupid, lucky dog was walking back across the road toward me. I yelled her name as yet another car was bearing down on her, so she ran the rest of the way right to me with her tail between her legs.

Several neighbors had heard both the thump of the hit and her yelp, so they came running with blankets and offers of help. John and some of the guys loaded her into the Jeep and I got in the car (where Baby Z was sleeping the whole time) and we raced to the Vet ER.

On the way I realized I have developed a new coping mechanism. Instead of freaking out when crisis hits, I start composing a blog in my head. I wrote this one a few times on the way to the vets.

As I kept replaying the scene of her getting hit and thrown into the ditch, the more I felt it, like it had actually happened to me. Then I remembered. It had happened to me.

Seven years ago I did a sprint triathlon. During the run portion, about a mile in, an elderly lady who was confused by the cones in the road and picked the wrong lane to drive in, struck me from behind, throwing me about 10 feet forward. Fortunately, I landed on my arm and only suffered a deep abrasion there as well as a torn ligament in my shin. I felt fine enough to get up and finish the race, then went to the ER out of concern a more serious injury was being masked by the adrenaline and endorphins. So, I got a great story and a big scar out of the ordeal.

(Crossing the finish line displaying injury that earned me the nickname "Road Kill")

Now I was experiencing it again and thinking of how just a few seconds would've made a world of difference on where she was hit and what would've happened. I was also replaying her escape, trying to think of what I could've done differently to keep her in, how we should get her some training on not running away, and hating the driver of the black Jaguar for not even slowing down.

Mocha, on the other hand, thought she was having a special ride with her master after getting lots of attention from her new friends. She walked cluelessly into the vets with only a slight limp, just wagging her tail and smiling like this was fun.

John was amazing the whole time, assuring me that he wasn't mad at me or blaming me for anything.

X-rays and an exam revealed nothing broken or busted. The vet released her with some pain meds and instructions on what to watch for.
(For only a few hundred dollars, we got a free CD with her x-ray shots)

Other than walking around stiffly, she is ok and almost back to her old self. She still follows me everywhere around the house. She still tries to get as close as possible at all times to either me or John and still tries to follow us out the door.

I think my husband is starting to understand the way I need to process things. While we were waiting for the verdict at the vets, he turned to me and said, "Well, at least it's something to blog about!"

(Oh, and so as not to leave you hanging on what we did for dinner, there was an Outback right next to the vet, so we got takeout. Yummy!)
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