Monday, April 20, 2009

Amazing weekend, good reading

I will admit that last week was difficult. The best laid plans changed. I was outsmarted by several stacks of books. And my emotions (and the emotions of those I love) were feeling worn down and stomped on. So when the weekend came, it was time to escape, and my Aunt T had provided just the opportunity.

I had planned to see the Hannah Montana movie the day it came out, but thanks to my new sleep schedule, I slept right through the showing for which I'd bought a ticket. Which turned out to be nice, because my aunt and I made plans to see it the following weekend. I got in my car Saturday, put on the Twilight soundtrack, and enjoyed a nice drive. The wonderful thing about living in Florida is that I no longer panic about getting lost, because I've been here on and off my whole life. It's already in my brain.

T and I met up, stopped in at a birthday party for her friend, then went to get my hair done. I so badly needed it permed, as the humidity was making my old perm flat. Everytime I move, I have to find a new everything: new dentist, new doctor, new favorite gas station. Lucky for me, my aunt recommended her hair stylist. I'm not only in love with my hair. I'm in love with all the ladies in the salon. They talked about everything, no holds barred. And I've been invited to go with a group of them to see the next installment of the Twilight series when it comes out. Look! Instant friends!

Next, T and I went for pedicures. It's the first time I've had a pedicure done by a man. A little odd, but he did a fantastic job. Then the little girl came over and painted tiny flowers on my toenails. So cute! And so needed, because my poor toes looked awful.

That night we went to see Hannah Montana. As a treat, T took me to this little theater that's nothing more than a hole in the wall. But they have a full menu, including wine and beer, all at more than reasonable prices. There was just something ironic and wonderful about watching Hannah Montana while nursing a Bud Light. Great movie, by the way. My favorite part was being surrounded by little girls who were singing along with all the songs. It was adorable! I almost joined in...

After the movie, we went for sushi. I have a very big problem with the whole "eyes being bigger than my stomach" thing with sushi. I want it all. And I've actually been having dreams about sushi, which made it worse. But it was so good, and despite the fact that the spicy tuna roll cleared out my sinuses, I walked out full and slightly buzzed. I hit the bed that night with my eyes closed and didn't wake up for 9 1/2 hours.

We had breakfast Sunday morning, then headed into Orlando to see Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. My aunt has season tickets to the Broadway Across America program in Orlando, and there's always an extra ticket for me. It was a cute show, but I'm of the opinion that Broadway shows and kids don't mix. It's not like a movie theater. It's a major issue when someone has to "go potty." And you would think that the show planners would have said, "Hey, this is a kid oriented show. Maybe we should have two intermissions instead of just one." It's a thought.

I had such a good weekend that I didn't particularly want to come home.

Two things happened today that are worth noting. First, I had a solicitor come to the door. We get a lot of them around here, and I've finally figured out how to get rid of them. The guy asked if my parents were home. I simply told him no. *grin*

And the second thing was that I got a box from my husband. He sends me as many care packages as I send him, but lately it's been that he's sending things home that he doesn't want to drag in his bag. Today it was letters. My favorite thing about deployments is reading the cards and letters that he's gotten while he's there. I know, this is my first deployment with him, but this isn't my first deployment go round. And it opens your eyes as to who really cares about the man you love when you see who did and didn't bother to write to him. My thanks goes out to my family. You are all truly wonderful, because a great number of the cards came from you. It also reminded me that my husband has great friends. I love you all.

Today's lesson: Good family is more valuable than even the most expensive shrink.

Thursday, April 16, 2009


There are so many things in life that can bring you down and break your heart. I've been through a few of them. But some days you just have to sit back, look at your life, and rejoice at the beautiful things you've been given.

1. I have the best husband in the world. In fact, he's given me just that: the world. I've always wanted to travel, and in our two years of marriage, I've been more places than I've been in my entire life. Most recently he decided to send my sister and I on a cruise to Italy, Greece, Turkey, and Croatia.
2. I live in a wonderful place. Florida is where I was born. It's where I belong. And being here makes me feel like I've come home. I get to sit by the pool and read or eat sushi or have a beer, basking in the warmth and drinking in the sunshine.
3. I am talented. Which is something I haven't been entirely upfront about. I've played the piano since I was 8. I love it. But I hate performing, mostly because the last time I performed, I made a little goof (it was at church) and this other kid at church mocked me mercilessly for it. I'm going to guess my second husband didn't even know I could play. I hate my nerves, but I love the way I sing and play for myself. And I once again have to thank Jerry for making the investment in what I love. I now have a piano that is easy to drag all over the US, no matter where we go.
4. I am smart. Darn smart. I'm good at math. I'm good at writing. And I'm surprisingly good with history, now that I've been exposed to it.
5. I'm darn pretty. Yes, I know that sounds conceited, but I've worked my butt off. Literally. Hard work pays off, and I'm proof.
6. I am a good wife. I can bake, I can cook, I can clean, and I care deeply about my husband and what happens in his day. I am good at what I do. And being a wife is my career.

What brings this on? I don't know. I guess I'm tired of thinking about the way others see me. I know the way that certain other people see me, and it's completely not fair. So I'm taking the time to wonder at myself and just how blessed and gifted I am. And I challenge each of you to do the same. It's not about being proud. It's about being honest with yourself about your worth.

And just ask my husband. I am completely worth it.

Today's lesson: There's nothing wrong with singing your own praises, as long as you know who to praise for your gifts.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Beach escape

What a completely fantastic day! And trust me, I needed one. The weather here has been iffy, what with thunderstorms and wind, so I haven't been spending a whole lot of time outside. I've kind of holed up in here watching/reading Twilight. Yes, that's dual immersion right there. For two solid days.

So when my aunt and uncle invited me out for lunch and a little beach time, I was thrilled! They're down with my cousins for spring break, and were headed out to Anna Maria Island today, which is just over an hour from me. I've lived here for a few weeks now, and haven't really made it further than the nearby shopping centers.

Most of the time, when I was a kid, the beach meant Daytona, New Smyrna, Cocoa, all Atlantic coast beaches. I made my first remembered trip to the Gulf coast a couple Christmases ago with Jerry, when we stayed on the beach and watched lightning hit the ocean out our balcony window. There's something magical about the Gulf and its light colored water and white sand beaches. It's as beautiful as the Carribean, but in such a different way. And today out at Coquina Beach, the sand was warm and perfect. The sun wasn't too hot, the wind wasn't too rough.

I showered and drove to the beach with the windows down and the radio blasting. My aunt, uncle, and cousins were there, already laid out in the pristine sand, my cousin Tavia surrounded by the shells she'd collected from along the water. We sat around for awhile, then headed out for lunch at this neat little restaurant right on the beach. Plastic chairs, palm trees, and coconut shrimp. I can't wait to bring Jerry back to this place!

I think I have a new favorite place in Florida. I love Key West, and I love wandering on International Drive. I love Daytona and New Smyrna and the Everglades. But today I sat with my toes in the sand and really felt like I have come home. Thanks to my aunt and uncle for showing me such a beautiful beach and for helping me feel some of that Michigan love. After all the years of living in the frozen north, it's easy to appreciate the wind and the waves.

Today's lesson: Listen to the recommendations of others. Their knowledge can be pricelessly valuable, especially when they lead you to a place of perfect happiness.