Monday, December 9

25 Days of Christmas: Ornaments and Memories!

Sorry we're a little behind in all of this - sometimes a girl just has to catch a cold and then get drunk off hot toddys in order to avoid the pain of constant mucus running from my face (I literally had to sleep with hankies on my pillow because my nose just. wouldn't. stop). But let's get to the action!

6.) What's your favorite Christmas ornament?
7.) Most memorable Christmas?
8.) Post a picture of Christmas decor
9.) Easiest person to buy for?
10.) Favorite holiday scent?

Day #6
Our family implemented the new ornament each year until 18 (or so), so the early 80's ones are definitely cute and different since they're wooden and probably coated in lead paint. But my favorite ornaments are the interactive ones. From the bullshit notion that "every time a bell rings, an angel gets its wings," I do love having a bell on my Christmas tree. Though last year brought this gem:

That boy is just awesome.

Day #7
Somehow I think trying to pull a favorite Christmas is like trying to choose a favorite offspring (but clearly, parents, its me). How do you rank Christmases (or is it Christmasi?) between the different families? I've had some crazy times with my family in Hometown, Oregon; but I'm pretty sure Mr. Wookie claims psychological scars with the amount of people and volume level that typically happens when my family cracks the wine and hangs for the holidays. And there's been great low-key events with Mr. Wookie's side where we pick up candy at the supermarket and then trek to the movies (seriously, genius; no lines!).

So I'm going to answer with "Switzerland." I can't choose. Though, again, this one is pretty special. He'll be home!

Sunday, December 8

25 Days of Christmas: GIMME GIMME!

And we're back in 5.......4.......3......2.....1, "Hi, welcome again to the Wookie & Co. daily blogging of all things mistletoe-y, festive, and alcoholic. While, yes, I did contract a strain of sinus cold that kicked my ass to infinity and beyond, I'm Backstreet's back. Now where did we leave off?"

Are you enjoying the fun?!?! Seriously, what's a better way to get into the Christmas spirit than to endlessly talk about yourself and annoy your fellow bloggers with the BEST HOLIDAY SONG EVER (take that Well-Adjusted Pessimist!). ;)

5.) Best gift you've ever received?

OOOOooooooo, now this is a question to question upon questions? (Get that?)

Where do I begin? What category do I discuss? Do I thank my parents for the horizontal polka to which gave me life?? (You're welcome, readers). Where does my hammock rank in the gift list? (It's pretty effin' high up.) What about the sock money wine cover?


I think I'd like to rephrase the question (because I totally can write the rules). Let's convert it to, "What's the best gift you've received yet?" Because seriously, your ______ may later be surpassed by a later-received _______. My 24th birthday was pretty awesome as I was surprised by a weekend trip to Disney World from NAS No Thank You (Pensacola). Christmas 2 years ago brought a fancy shmancy DSLR to my life (which in all seriousness could use a new dog as the perfect theme for 2014, eh Mr. Wookie?).

Best Gift Ever
Port Call: Sorrento, Italy

This guy home for Christmas when it was questionable a couple months ago (we were told to mentally hunker down on 'end of January'). I'm still in shock and can't believe they're almost home. It's definitely a surreal moment after been jacked around to know that there will be another human in my house (other than my fellow girlfriends/wives who stay the night after we slay wine bottles like dragons). We have T-Minus _ days. Can I get an amen?

Saturday, December 7

"Do You Really Need to Work?"

We're taking a brief hiatus from the 25 Days of Christmas in part to a mega illness that I contracted (it's HIV, yo!) and the mental recovery of dropping the "work bomb."

I've toiled and I've troubled with this for a short bit. It was a mid-morning text from the boat (he really just emails my phone number, but that way we can have a 'conversation' when he's not flying/being awesome) when the words rang out. "We have Orders."


I remember exactly the day the last time this happened. I couldn't wait to give my two-week's notice then. I was burnt out and over the 'office drama' that everyone complained about (umm, I don't do drama). So one Friday, I walked into my boss' office and put my letter on her desk. "We're moving in 2 weeks." And that was it. My old job was a great blip on the employment radar. I learned a lot in life and corporate atmosphere (I worked as an Event Planner for a Legal 100 Law Firm). But damn, it wasn't hard to leave.

Now enter life in beautiful California. Other than this nasty cold spell that's plagued most of the Nation, life is perfect here....when he's not deployed, when our dog doesn't die, and when it's not rainy (like this morning). And so with a lot of counseling from past "work at home"-ers and business friends who makes sales look like stealing candy from a baby, I went forth with the plan to tell my boss the news of Wookie & Co.'s future. Almost everyone was in agreeance, "tell them early so they'll make the arrangements to keep a position for you just across the country."

Holy shit, I was an internal hot-mess.

I poured open the knowledge that our bags will be packed in a few months and the caravan across the great United States will begin. While we won't have a resident canine in tow to help make the miles more enjoyable with her lovable slobber and room-clearing flatulence, we have a petite gatita that's made a better friend than I could have imagined. So while we plan on shipping my car because it makes one less ass-pain, she'll be free to roam about the cabin as long as her tray table is in it's original location upon arrival each night and we can smuggle her into the hotel room like ninjas. Honesty is overrated.

What was I expected out of this? Frankly my dear, I don't give a damn, I wanted to provide ample opportunity so they can realize I'm not a commodity to lose. I wanted them to realize they have a few months to get everything in order for a remote Mrs. Wookie to answer the phone a week, "Good morning, this is Ashley" to my sales accounts and constant contacts. I wanted this not to be a band-aid-rip-off shock that I'm just moving without notice. I want them to pour over my sales records and customer loyalty. I want them to realize I'm a 'need' to the team.

But then the words left my boss' mouth as she soaked in the news...

"Do you really need to work?"

I. hate. these. words. And I can sense she was coming from a good place, however they just made me cringe. But she did warn that there is the reality that her upper management won't want a so-remote Mrs. Wookie, and that's the slice of pie I'll have to dollop with a mega coating of cool whip.

Who wants to help eat my feelings?

Define "need." Do we financially need me to work? No. We are fine with just one income (his). But what does that leave me? I get to be a housewife? thanks. Why did I go to college then? What would I do all day? I already feel like an incomplete person just after relocation because I have nothing 'going for me.' Yes, it's nice to settle into the house and explore the new area...but after 2 weeks, the jig is up. I'm a feminist with a pretty sturdy foundation that women can do a lot in this world (minus throwup after being kicked in the crotch) and that includes hustling a non-1950's Secretary paycheck. So why would I want to decline the twice-monthly deposits into the ol' bank account?

So my conversation ended just before the 5:30pm mark. I knew my boss needed a cocktail to soak in the news. And I need a drive home to escape. So into the car I got, tears brimming at my eyes, feeling like a failed at trying to negotiate my own future and happiness amidst Uncle Sam. I sent Mr. Wookie an email, but what I really wanted was a hug. A big, deep bearhug.

Once home, I didn't open the margaritas. I didn't open a bottle of wine. And I didn't open a beer. I sat on the couch with my loving feline, obtuse to any knowledge that I just dropped the "work bomb" as we've coined it. She just wanted a place to snuggle while my feet were propped onto the coffee table. And together we watched Jeopardy and then a marathon of Say Yes to the (Overpriced) Dress before calling it a night. But still...I tossed and turned the whole night. What will come of this? Will they make the arrangements to super-remote me? Will they offer a handshake and stack of letters of recommendation instead?

Part of me wishes I would have waited until Mr. Wookie is home that way I could have had the comfort of an actual hug with this situation. But out of discomfort comes growth, and this deployment has just reassured that I'm still as bad ass as I thought I could be (though sometimes it's nice to be a chickenshit, lol). So I just wait for my hug now in __ days (and get to cleaning the house before he comes home - crap!).

And yes, I've already started my secret Pinterest board for my Job Search 2014. I've worked hard for my resume, why give up now? So the suits and heels will get dusted off once we're settled, I'll start networking my old connections, and something will happen. Something always happens.

Wednesday, December 4

25 Days of Christmas: Turn Up The Tunes!

In continuing the trend of 25 Days of Christmas, on schedule (holla!), our next topic is:
4.) Favorite Christmas song?

Should you ever get to know me on a personal level, outside of the drunk-induced slur that occupies this blog, you'll come to learn and love my loud nature of voice immodulation. It's a genetic trait that allows brainwaves to generate between siblings and constantly and consistently annoy our parents to an early grave. They're very welcome.

With that, the holidays are no escape for our fun and entertainment. Poor Mr. Wookie tells me that my "(last name) is 'showing.'" Babe, seriously....that's not a threat. That's a high five.

My ab FAVE Christmas song.

Tuesday, December 3

25 Days of Christmas: Santa's a Fake, Yo!

In continuing the trend of 25 Days of Christmas, on schedule (woohoo!), our next topic is:

3.) When/How did you learn that Santa wasn't real?

I can't remember the exact year that the jig was up, but it was definitely later thanks to my parents running Navy SEAL night operations to keep the younger sisters still believing on the action. Though that doesn't change the tune of Mama Ging when she found out my dad had farmed out the Easter Bunny's duties to me at like 10 or 11 years old. :)

All parents,

Never let your 10-year-old daughter hide the eggs. She will torment the shit out of her sisters. The eggs will be MacGyver into the most asinine hiding spots. And I'll go back after they've whined and quit, and scoop up the goodness.

Yes, I'm mean.


Get over it.

They don't care. They've developed UGG habits that'll rival the set of Baywatch.

Monday, December 2

25 Days of Christmas: The Christmas List.

In continuing the trend of 25 Days of Christmas, on schedule (mind you!), our next topic is:

2.) What's on your Christmas list?

Ahhhh, yes....this one is a doozy. The Christmas list. The make it once, check it twice, re-edit for budgetary requirements since siblings don't have the funds the parentals do, submit to the family in a massive email, and then continue "Reply-to-All" so they're aware of updates since half the family isn't on PInterest to do an accurate stalking of daily activity.

Did you get all that?

To be completely honest, I don't know what to do about Christmas. We've been mute on the topic, minus Facebook (since I keep a separation between military life and work life), but there are Orders for us in the near future (time frame: 3 months). So what do you ask for when you're just about to pack up your life and trudge elsewhere? Exactly. I don't know either.

My Pinterest board could use the work, but I find working hard and playing hard way more fun than updating a Pinterest board for things that people can buy me. I've hit a recent "I don't need anything" phase with our impending relocation. Why buy me something that has to stay in the box until we move? Or what if it doesn't work with our next home? Or what if it....breaks?

Something You Want
What do I want? Minus a lobotomy? Oh, just another human in the home.

Something You Need
I honestly don't need anything. Okay, I lied. I need a new timing belt in my car since I'm 10,000 miles overdue. Dear Dad, you can add this to my list. Thanks!

Something You'll Wear
Well I'll always wear Gap Tall, Old Navy Tall, Banana Republic Tall, JCrew Tall, Loft Tall, Ann Taylor Tall, and every other store that slings tall-built dresses for us lanky, long-torso'd, life-could-be-worse ladies.

Something You'll Read
How about an instructional guide on what to wear to a Navy Homecoming Fly-In? I'd read that front and back, left and right, and probably search for chat rooms just to confirm that I'm not looking to corporate, or too lazy, or too poor, or too slutty. I'm honestly at a loss and the shopping in my area has left me saddened that I'll be reworking my own closet for that special day. Lame.

Have you welcomed home a long-lost aviator? What'd did you wear? What time of year was it? Did you keep the jacket on since the hangar is windy? Is black too depressing of a color?

Sunday, December 1

25 Days of Christmas: My Favorite Holiday Movie!

Holy Toledo, where did November go?!?! Seriously. I swear, I was just bitching about how Mr. Wookie is missing the last remains of college football (though good thing he did with Oregon State's 6-6 season this year.....harrrumpph!), and here it is....DECEMBER!! Well, I guess there's only way to greet it.

With a 25 Days of Christmas BLOGGING Challenge. Yes, there'll be multiple challenges in this month:

1.) I have to blog every day.
2.) I have to clean my house to prepare for a fingers-crossed eventual homecoming.
3.) I have to Christmas shop 900+ miles from family.
4.) I have to recover from this sore-left-side-of-my-throat business.
5.) I have to convince my cat I still love her after ditching her at a friend's for the Thanksgiving holiday in frigid Oregon (it was a morning temperature of 33. Brrrrrr!!).

So won't you join me?? I'll help you with the first five:

1.) What's your favorite Christmas movie?
2.) What's on your Christmas list?
3.) When/How did you learn that Santa wasn't real?
4.) Favorite Christmas song?
5.) Best gift you've ever received?

My Favorite Holiday Movie. Boom.
Muuuuuuch to Mr. Wookie's distaste, I can't get enough of the TBS 24-hour marathon of A CHRISTMAS STORY. I loooooove the fa-ra-ra-ra-ra-ra-ra-ra-ra, I love the "C+......ahahahaahahahahah! C+! Ahahahahahaha!," and I especially loooove the bunny suit. Seriously. Best. outfit. ever.

Mr. Wookie typically hides away in his cave, but I try to drag him out whenever possible. And when he's joined me in a pilgrimage with Christmas with my family, he has no choice but to deal with it since it's happily a family favorite. Sorry babe.

If Mr. Wookie were answering this question, he'd answer Charlie Brown. What a nice guy.

Tuesday, November 26

Am I literally blogging from the sofa?

I'm posting this from my phone because I'm incredibly lazy and am more concerned with my margarita than the blog. But hey...this could be the future of my life.

We'll see if the picture of the USS Seriously, Come Home comes through. So we'll see...

How are you doing? You ready for Thanksgiving? All done with Christmas shopping yet? What's your favorite cocktail?

Monday, November 18

Deployment Survival 101: Be Awesome

The sweet, sweet Ashley @ Eights on the Move threw out an email to me to see if I still had a pulse today. I know, I know, I've been dodging the blog front lately with due reason.
Clearly you're too busy drinking wine & loving up on your kitty to pay any attention to your blog :) So the rest of us want to know how you're doing & what's the latest with Mr. Wookster coming home?! And does 30 suck as much as I think its going to in a few months?
My dear blog and readers, damn, I've been enjoying myself as best as possible during this fun time in life.

This is me. This is my typical night...minus the unEarthing of the workout clothes drawer looking for a bright outfit for a night run. This is an example of the entertaining pictures I take of my cat.

Seriously. I haven't missed the writing. There are times where I think about telling my story, discussing my theories in deployment survival and such, but it's a subject that's been beaten to death like an Oregon Duck by a Stanford Cardinal. A Naval deployment isn't a combat deployment. The aviation community is a small, tight-knit community that has sufficed my social schedule beyond belief. I've emailed the boat, waited for responses, and sent the care packages as requested. And I've received the post cards needed to appease me during his duration away. Oh, and let's not talk about the sunshine, weekends, and wine tasting. :)

And that duration still continues. We have another Homecoming date, but I'm not holding my breath. A nasty typhoon hit the Philippines and I wouldn't put it past Uncle Sam to divert the USS Extended Past Schedule to assist in the recovery efforts. I for one, don't give two shits about humanitarian aid right now. There's plenty of assistance from OCONUS stations. Yup, it's a cold-hearted bitchfest right about now. I just don't care.

So seriously, don't cry for me Argentina worry about me. I'll be just fine. But I'll be sure to turn off my "bitch" switch and maybe start entertaining you with my Deployment Survival 101. First steps: Wine and Whine.

Friday, October 4

The cancelled tickets to Hawaii.

Yes, there's OPSEC. And yes, there's PERSEC. And then there's the life happenings that are cancelled that you're allowed to talk about because ...sadly...your plans have changed and that information is no longer relevant.

Yesterday, my phone hadn't gotten the message. My GoogleNow was chomping at the bit. "Your flight, Hawaiian ###, is on time for departure from LAX at 8:40am." Ugh. didn't get the memo did you?

Sometime at the end of August/early September, worldly events shifted - it required these tickets to be cancelled and our travel insurance utilized. I was bummed, but I couldn't let it get the best of me. My life, for a moment, was turning into a romantic-comedy moment. I would de-plane in Hawaii after a refreshing flight across the Pacific (<hilarious, because 5-hour flights are DRAINING) and find a Mr. Wookie there in the terminal with sign and flowers. I would breakdown crying at the sheer excitement of this moment in my life. How often do major life moments coincide?? What are the chances to spending my 30th birthday in Hawaii, sharing a North Shore condo with a boy who's finishing up a WestPac deployment??

It was too good to be true.

What if I hadn't told my parents the elusive birthday plans?? Would world events have maintained course (or at least happened after Hawaii, so our trip could have acted like a second halfway)?

But this morning I woke up in my own bed, no bagged pack by the door. There's no Welcome Home sign in my carry-on. And I'll continue my life just like this bleating piece of hope hadn't happened. Instead, Mr. Wookie is still deployed - though thanks to, my birthday is being celebrated from across the world. But I can still marvel at the fact that 30 could have been snorkeling, majestic hiking, romantic dinners, a plethora of sunscreen, and a calming of the mind for _ days of port call.

Complaining won't get anyone anywhere, so I've focused my energy on more deployment projects. The whispers of Homecoming dates have swirled around, never stopping for longer than a week's time, which only solidify the fact that I don't need to shave my legs yet. :) I even crept past the Midnight mark last night with a rally of energy for quilting squares and my next practice project. Deployment Project, Party of 1 + cat.

So this weekend I'll enjoy the beach and a cocktail in the sun, and start researching Botox and Juviderm since my old-ass will need it with the new decade.

Friday, September 27

It's my 26th Friday alone.

And with that I have no energy to be creative. So I stole from the Daybook Blog (hello, Mormon fashion bloggers - I love you!) this little quip of filler. You're welcome.

Making: many memories of "deployment survival" with my fellow ladies. This is what I've been most excited about with the entire Navy lifestyle. The camaraderie of those "left behind." I've got this homefire burning at a decent pace. But I never imagined I'd be on call for baby labor!

Cooking: decently healthy meals that are occasionally deflected with the necessary In 'N Out for sanity's reasons.

Drinking: Old Moon Old Vine Zin (it's okay)

Reading: Eights on the Move! Her hubby just selected OSC for SWO-hood! Congrats!

Looking: forward to an eventual Homecoming, but not too soon. Life doesn't work that way.

Playing: with Mommy McD in a handful of days. Can you imagine it's been 3 years?!?!? We're going to DIE!

Wasting: the evening hours on avoiding my laundry.

Sewing: station just got set-up since moving in.

Wishing: that I could put a hug into email format for the boy on the boat.

Enjoying: Old Moon Old Vine Zin ;)

Waiting: for more information on Homecoming.

Liking: how sales have picked up at work and I'm busy from 8-5pm.

Wondering: if I'll ever keep a spotless home.

Loving: the few Bulldogs on Instagram that leave me with a blushing love for our next family member. Hello new furry, four-legged love!

Hoping: peace since the aircraft news of Sunday morning.

Marveling: at my strength at deployment. I'm hearing I'm pretty solid.

Needing: a personal assistant to help with laundry, cleaning, car care, and dinners.

Smelling: Old Moon Old Vine Zin ;)

Wearing: a shirt of Mr. Wookie's.

Following: in the footsteps of many military families before: experiencing deployment.

Noticing: my knack as a hermit is stronger than ever. And thankfully I'm able to convince visitors over to my new house to entertain me.

Knowing: Mr. Wookie will be home when life allows it.

Thinking: about all the tacky/cheezy signs at Homecoming.

Feeling: that tacky/cheezy isn't my style at all. What about, "Hey, didn't you just leave?"

Bookmarking: more deployment projects despite it being many moons since he left

Opening: a tab at the local wine store. #just kidding #Iwish 

Feeling: hopeful.

Thursday, September 26

If I could put a song on repeat.

I'm in love with this song. If I could lay in bed, after a glass of wine, and have it never stop...I would. I repeated the words in my head at my desk all day deep in my work.

It resonates in me.

I just want to drive to the hangar, wait the unbelievable amount of time for the planes to arrive, welcome Mr. Wookie home from a fly-in, and feel the biggest hug in my life.

But instead, the Donut of Misery lays in a perpetual state of "We don't know."

So I listen to this song as it propels me through.

I accidentally cuddled with my partner-in-deployment-crime last weekend. It was an honest mistake. I rolled over in the middle of the night. I felt a sharp elbow into my face. I thought nothing of it. I brushed the elbow aside and continued my sleep next to the warm body enveloped by my bed. I recalled the last night Mr. Wookie had in the old place; the night before he deployed. I barely slept, yet I slept so deep. The last time I'd be comfortable next to his billowing body, I sunk into his scent next to me. Yet I was jarred awake last weekend when I realized the body next to me is fully feminine and missing the same in life (her boyfriend is Mr. Wookie's bunk-mate on the USS Ship Happens).

So tonight I finish the wine bottle split with the same friend. I put the leftovers away for lunch another day. And I keep hitting repeat of this song. Eventually I'll be able to say, "Just hold on, we're going home."

Tuesday, September 24

Deployment Anchor

Saturday and Sunday, while they were littered with good times of hiking, sun soaking, college football, and dancing, the happiness was ended when the reminder that service comes first.

Sunday morning brought the news that no one wants to hear: military aircraft + crash.

I had two other ladies staying over at my place that morning since my new digs was the closest home from our evening out. I received the phone call first. I passed the word. And the 3 of us did what was natural. We hunkered into my bed and shared a box of Kleenex. We hugged. We wondered. We imagined. We couldn't imagine.

We panged at the months that have passed to this deployment. When the "light at the end of the tunnel" was move back, then up, then further back, and more, I was the anchor of reason in the weeks past for my fellow Junior Officer attachees to 'pull up yer britches!'

But this....this news just broke the camel's back. The aviation lifestyle is one that nerves the soul. Deployment or not, occurrences happen. It still doesn't make it any easier to stomach.

We ran out of Kleenex that morning.

I sent a lengthy email that morning. I knew he wouldn't get it in a timely manner, but I still sent him. Hi handsome, it's Sunday night for record. For when he had the time to sit down at the shared computers, he'd know I knew and that I wanted to send him as much electronic love as possible. We will probably never discuss the gut-stomping sadness. And I'm okay with that.

So on my commute last night I felt the need to check in with my fellow Junior Officer attachees one more time (the wives and girfriends, near and far). One after one, I called, "Hey, how are you doing? Everything okay?" 

Mrs. Wookie: Anchorwoman. I'm Wookie Burgundy?

I couldn't tell you EVER that I'd give two shits about anyone other than myself. I'm a rock star that doesn't need to be plagued by people's issues. But this deployment has made me realize that I've got waaay more life skill to offer than I ever expected. The Homecoming date has always shifted. It's gone back and forth. When it would shift further out, I was the beacon of rationality. "Ladies, this is a good thing. You don't have to shave your legs yet." or "Ladies, think about that tax-free income!" Not that I'm trying to diffuse the situation of having a loved one deployed, but I'm a reminder that life doesn't revolve around the service member. You are your OWN life. You can handle a deployment and the changes in schedule. Yes, I also send out email reminders of the wine sales that occur at the local grocery stores. Yes, I know I'm awesome.

I've offered up my guest room to whomever. I will delivery wine to the moms that can't get outta the house. I'll prep the freezer meals with my just-up-the-road mom who's preparing for Baby #2 while Husband is on the USS Ship Happens. I'll give you hugs and let you use up all my Kleenex. And I'll let you have a tampon (seriously, "Can I borrow a tampon?" is not an effective sentence. Are you really going to return it?).

Plus, my efforts help me from not cleaning my house. :) That skill is just awesome.

Thursday, September 19

The amazing transformation in one year.

I picked up the phone, still at my desk, unsure who was on the other line. It was an (805) number. It could have been anyone really. It could have been a telemarketer. It could have been a fellow deployed family calling from an odd number. It could have been Manson.

So I answered.

"Hi Ashley, it's Ben. I'm calling from the ______ Therapy Center with our 1-year follow up. Do you have a moment?"

Has it really been a year?, rushed through my mind.

"Yeah, sure. I'm at work, so you'll just hear some typing."

It was nearing 4:30, and this typically is when we're rounding out our day. I'm sending tracking information to my customers for their recent purchases, I'm hustling quotes for projects of my West Coast customers still in the office. And we're rocking out as a division to the local radios since incoming calls and leads are usually null.

But I was taken back to the day when I nervously sat outside the office unsure of what therapy would be like when I was a crumbled remain of a human after the loss of my first fur baby. I sat there and chewed on my nails. I sat there and stared at the boring carpet. I sat there and didn't hear the first calling of my name. "Ashley, come one in." OH wait, me? 

From the moment I was in his eyesight, I felt the burning eyes of judgement and analysis. I felt the review of my every moment. Where did I sit on the couch? Did I cross my legs at the knee or ankle? Did I shift towards him showing interest in the conversation? I sat on the far right. I sat with one leg tucked under the other. I sat leaning back on my left side. And I stared at the piles of files on the cabinet. The desks were lackluster and I didn't feel like this one of those luxury therapy suites like you see in the movies. Instead I felt that the therapy office felt like my life: ho hum.

We went thorough the basic questions of my growing up. And then, So, tell me, why are you here?

But this phone call to check-in reminded me how far I've come. While it was absolutely the most painful adult life experience yet to happen, my answers to the life questions is a rebounded "I'm great." There's no longer a lingering pain in my heart. Despite the deployment and the inability to land any further information of than, "They're still deployed," I was happy to report that I couldn't be in a better place in life.

Therapy: Would I do it again?

Honestly? Probably not. As a highly rational female, my therapy discussions involved dissecting my emotions to the rate that the therapist would agree and offer the words of, "It just takes time." Thank you. I'm well aware of the steps of grieving. Time is what I want to pass in a heartbeat so I no longer hurt. I want to feel comfortable again in my own home. I want to not be forced to sleep in the guest room since the master bed felt inconsolably empty without Aviator and English Bulldog. But instead my instincts took over. I pushed myself into work. I found projects that required my undying attention. I hustled hard and pushed for records projects and sales. I aimed for complete exhaustion by end of work day so all that was left was dinner, a cocktail, and the need for an early bedtime. So by the time that the work-ups were completed and the shove-off date of the USS I'd Like Jade Earrings (Please), I couldn't have been stronger. I'm like a man. Please, just let me figure my own shit out, put my head down, and get through my pain. And I got there (finally).

My conversation ended with Ben. He was ecstatic of my progress. And I went back to work. The time clocked down on my punch-out from the office and my ride home was anything but uneventful. I was proud at my accomplishment. I was proud of my ability to surpass the undreamt reality that we faced. And I was incredibly proud that the hurdle that was one a mountain, was now a beautiful molehill of slobber and unconditional love that changed my life.

Tuesday, September 17

You want me to watch your child?

It seemed to hit me hard this weekend when I rode my beach cruiser hybrid home from dinner with a fellow deployed family that LIFE really does continue whether the husbands/boyfriends are home or not. It had me thinking - there are babies conceived juuuuust before deployment and the countdown begins immediately of, "Will you be home or will the fellow ladies act on your behalf?"

I was a great fill-in husband this weekend with a short trek to Costco for some dinner staples. Oh, and there may have been some new pillows, a blanket, and crafting table also throw on the 'aircraft carrier' cart.

And with the latest and greatest in recent deployment schedules, worldly happenings, and the recent 30%-off wine sale at Ralph' may include something so much more than me than I expected out of this deployment.

Sunday night I rode my bike to a fellow family's house that's now within "bike-a-bility" since the great, unexpected relocation of 2013. I'm now living a stone's throw from the beach (literally like 50 yards); which is within 1.5 miles from the other "Ashley" (<also my real name). So onto my bike I strolled. My backpack teamed of a bottle of wine, Mexican rice fixings, and the great company of another red wine fan (who's European with her pregnancy and does enjoy red wine with dinner). And the Jack Johnson streaming from Pandora was the soothing soundtrack to my peddling.

Then, after the 2-year-old daughter hit the hay, the topic turned to the impending due date of Baby #2 for this family. Who will win? The boat into dock or the baby into arms?? Who can be called on? Who lives closest? Who can handle the pets? Who can handle the 2-year-old?

You're ::looking:: at her.

It's me. So that night we made a legit plan. I'm the first call-to-action should Baby #2 announce that, "The thundercats are a-go" and it's past 5:45pm. I'm a 4-minute car ride away (when you count the walk to the car, garage door, and stop signs). I'm a rational person with basic life decisions. I'm a great companion and snuggle bunny to a little daughter that loooooves Nick Junior and snuggling on the coach with a blanket. I'll make snacks and meals for the little one and ensure she's in bed on time. I will hold down the fort while another wife handles the driving to the hospital and doula-like support until the actual doula arrives.

Holy shit...I'm scared and excited all it one.

The mom-to-be-for-the-second-time is excited for the arrival since she'll have a clue onceithappens whether she's on her own or not. The boat is...somewhere. And babies abide by their own plan. So the most that can be done is assume the location of a certain USS 'Staches Be Growin' and to focus on your impending plan: childbirth sans husband. And then prep the nurses/family to send the fastest Red Cross message of, "Baby girl born, _#, _oz, happy as can be (when considering the circumstances)."

So that night I began the realization that my phone will be turned up to ring the loudest possible.

Monday, September 16

Military Monday: Party Time (Yes, please!)

Is it really Monday again?!? I haven't even gotten over the awe that I assisted in draining a lot of wine bottles this week. It was the weekend of indulgence, but that's not because Homecoming is nearer. It's because my weekend was spent with ladies who also crank out those paychecks and needed bonding DINKdom-style by traveling the California coastline and enjoying the fermented grape juice that's to offer.

But let's get to Ashley's "Military Monday" this week, shall we??

And yes, that elephant of the Enlisted vs Officer was a big one. But it seems that the blogosphere is modernized and realizes that there are always fantastic women associated with each rank. Then there are the bitches. But who cares about them? :)

This week's theme: PARTY TIME!

And what does the aviation community do best?? P.a.r.t.y. Why? Because they gotta!!

What's been your favorite military-related party to throw or attend? I'm not talking fancy schmancy balls with gowns & updo's. I mean the low-key, Pinterest-abled parties! :)

While I do love a good Hawkeye Ball (it's the annual event that celebrates the community and passes along the great honor of Hawkeye Pilot of the Year and Hawkeye Window Licker [NFO] of the Year), it's the informal events that really take the cake since the true personalities are at their highest potential. My absolute favorite events are called "Hail and Bail" - it's where the newest check-ins are hazed and welcomed, while the outbound aviators leave their quips of wisdom and mockery for those left behind.

We're nearer and nearer to Mr. Wookie's Bail which makes me very nostalgic for our time in California.

The short answer is that these events ooze camaraderie.

The long answer is that events like these are how call signs are created. They can get crazy. And there's nothing I love better than people watching. :) Oh, and the college rule may or may not apply: Don't fall asleep with your shoes on. ;)

Have you thrown one for your significant other? Or attended one with an awesome theme for someone ranking up? Maybe a fun retirement party? Or a going away party for some great military friends?

To answer Ashley's questions, no, I've never thrown one of these legendary parties. I've only attended. And Rule #1 of Hail and Bails: NO PICTURES. So I can only pique your interest with the entertainment value that happens. They're rowdy and morale boosting. And it's a time when you can watch the spousal counterparts interact as a whole. And yes, I've seen quite a bit. I've seen "Flip Cup" by a new mom with her baby in the Ergo, I've seen Junior Officers get drug into the trampoline to play, "Break the egg," and I may or may not have hid behind a suburban with seasoned wives while we enjoyed cigars and made sure no children saw 'mommy' smoking.

While there's not a lot going on while our guys are away, other than wining and whining with shared dinners on the weekends; their (now eventual) return will bring a new wave of Bails since there are three aviators slated to check-out before it's Mr. Wookie's time. He's in the final 4. Eeeeeeeeek. And I can only assume the drastic length that JOPA (Junior Officer Protection Agency) will resurrect to "make up for lost time" since boarding that USS When You Coming Home? back in the Spring. And yes, I'm all in. :)

The military lifestyle is something different. And within each community (aviation, sub, surface, nerds nukes, etc.) is their own breakdown of tradition. The aviation community is a family of living large where "work hard, play hard" is a common weekend occurrence. There have been times where Mr. Wookie will take off in the very early morning for a day of deep-sea fishing and not return until well after dark. There are other times where there's an impromptu golf tournament between Officers, winner takes all the $$$. And then there's the good, ol' fashioned BBQs on the water where the Jimmy Buffett is on the Jambox, the coolers are stuffed with beer, and the shit is shot while taking in the California sun.

And I wouldn't trade this life for the world; despite the ulcers, annoyance, tears, and Bevmo receipt that comes with the territory. :)

Wednesday, September 11

In less than 30 days is my birthday. Gulp.

In a far, far away land, in an alternative universe lives a Mrs. Wookie of my dreams. There are magic potions to avoid any signs of aging, wet nurses, surrogates, and trust funds assist the necessary procreation for redheads, and I have an unlimited gift card to Bevmo.

But sadly, I don't live in that reality.

I'm developing minor lines winging from my eyes thanks to excessive smiling (oh, such a curse - the smiling!), I sense the metabolism slowing slightly with the creep-age to the brink of Metamucil, and I'm starting to panic that my Roth IRA doesn't have $100,000.00 in it like I imagined when I opened it back at the start of my 20's.

But sadly, life's goes on.

Birthdays are meant to be exciting; they're meant to be looked forward to; they're meant to bring loved ones together in celebration. And a little gift gifting ain't hurt no one.

So I've got some questions for you, dear readers. Please, help an about-to-turn-30 Mrs. Wookie out! Leave yo' comments!

Dear Parents,

I want a dutch oven for my birthday.



The Sheriff and I have discussed dutch ovens a bit. He has a 7-qt Le Creuset (purchased by the kids jointly thanks to a MEGA deal), but he's got a decent dinner guest count in Hometown, Oregon. I a boy that's deployed (until when?? Who knows). And there's no getting pregnant tomorrow - I don't own a turkey baster...nor the above-mentioned wet nurse, surrogate, or trust fund.

So here's my conundrum. What size do you I get? I struggled fitting my 3-lb pot roast (with potatoes and carrots) into a cute little casserole dish the other week. Will this fit in the 5qt? Do I aim large and get the 7-plus qt despite not having a Duggar-sized crew at my dinner table??

Aaaaaand, what about THE COLOR CHOICES!?!! I'm a Libra. Deciding what coffee creamer to use in the morning is a chore. Spending $100+ (I mean, with my parents spending $100+) is not the time to be flippant on color options.

Oh the turmoil of this almost-birthday girl. Never have First World Problems been so nail-biting.

And the question continues: Does size matter? What do you own?

Monday, September 9

Military Monday: Enlisted vs Officer

Thanks to the crippled Eights On The Move, she brings us a poignant open communication on the biggest elephant in the room when it comes to the military.

Enlisted vs. Officer

Dun dun dun. Let the cat fighting begin!! Will someone hold my weave?

What are your experiences with each side of the military and their spouses/significant others?
My (girlfriend-based) experience has only been personally on the Officer side of the line, and even then it's evolved over the 10 years that Mr. Wookie has been associated with the Navy (4 years at ROTC, 6 years Active Duty). At first, which I understand, there's a strict demarcation between Enlisted and Officer because there are ALWAYS people who cross that line, start relations, and then one of the careers suffers (typically the Officer's). So it's made known that there's ZERO fraternization. Apparently it's difficult to find attractive fellow Officers so instead let's risk our occupation for a little peenplay. Seriously??

However with that, at least from my viewpoint, that this "no excuse" can also come off as cold and disheartening when in social settings. It's like you don't know how to act around each other, so you just follow what's in the Command. It wasn't until we've been a couple years in this California station (and after a welcomed Change in Command to a Skipper that likes to blur the lines and consider everyone family), that there's been a strong support "between the lines." There are family outing for the entire squadron when non-deployed, we attended an "All Khaki" Dining Out ('khakis' are upper Enlisted and all Officers) right before deployment, and there've been a few "squadron family days" during deployment (however, there's just not a lot of young married guys in the squadron so they're very limited to Chief's families).

The "line" is best when fully supported by the Command that one is not better than the other. An yes, O-1 will always be the most awkward ever. Yup, they're an Officer - but they don't know anything yet in terms of 'big Navy' (no matter if they come from that academy, OSC, or ROTC). Even if yo' momma is a retired O-5 like Mr. Wookie. But if they play their cards right, respect their Chiefs, get hazed a little by JOPA, then they should settle in just fine. Thankfully Mr. Wookie avoided the O-1 awkward phase by being buried with flight school.

What are your opinions on the benefits and drawbacks? Or - is there really no big line drawn in the sand from your experiences?
As far as my personal experience is concerned, I've only ever had active involvement with the Enlisted personnel within his tour here in sunny California - and it's been okay (not terrible, not awesome). Mr. Wookie's squadron has A LOT of single, young Enlisted guys. Obviously with those Enlisted families that do exist, they're deep in raising children and running their households.

I do not raise any two-legged children, so there's just not a draw to develop any further friendships. It's natural to seek similar to one's own lifestyle. Also, typically those raising families are mid-30's. I'm fighting turning 30 with every fiber of my being and will stick with, "I'm 27" until the crow's feet get worse (or I get Juviderm). 30 just sounds awful, old, and borderline requiring Metamucil. Can I pass?

Does your significant other's command blend the two seamlessly? Do you participate in the events together? Wives clubs? Treated differently for various aspects of military life? 
And like above, with not a strong showing of Enlisted families, there's not a large parameter of Enlisted wives. Our Command does not have an FRG or any sort of faux-council committee (I say that because it makes me laugh the Commands that have FRG's that think they're like the Senate. "Excuse me, do you have the talking wand??" Seriously?? Who wants to be a part of the C**t Committee?? I'd pass faster than wind).

The (actual name) Officer's Support Club only includes Officer's spouses/girlfriends and currently is treated more like a social club than a 1950's don-the-aprons "Spouses group" where there's tiered seniority. Yes, there are meal delivery schedules when babies are born and there are flowers sent when Grandma Gustav passes away. But there's no longer the reign of bitchy Department Head wives who felt that "girlfriends" have a free pass to be shit on. And if I ever meet that stupid bitch who thought she was hot shit - I'll snatch kick her. Hard. When we finally PCS, I will be leaving a solid group of ladies that have come from clique-y and judgmental (thanks to bitchy ladies PCSing away) to awesome and entertaining. I will miss them. But my work here is done.

The support group is for SUPPORT. It's hard enough to deal with certain parts of the military life. Yes, there's a signing on for having babies by yourself (use birth control), MOVING YOUR HOME BY YOURSELF (live on a yacht), and looking for work every 3 years (inherit a trust fund). But it is nice to bitch about your day while someone else pours a solid glass of wine. That's just nice. And I'm an excellent pour-er.

Thanks Ashley for the great conversation this week! I look forward to the other responses!

Friday, September 6

Let's view one of the "NOPE!" homes. Shall we???

Okay, so you found out we got the news of YOU GOTTA MOVE, BITCHES!!

And you found out that somehow the stars aligned and I conquered this challenge.

But let's talk about the CRAP that was toured in between old dwelling and new granite, shall we?????

1.) There was a shit-hole on the beach with carpet that ran halfway through the room and then exposed concrete below. Oh and the shared wall with a dad and his two young daughters.


We're outta here.

2.) There was a gorgeous view overlooking the ocean that was just outside our comfort zone above BAH. Aaaaaaaand, there was a coyote literally in the backyard last week. Ummm....Mittens would be d.i.n.n.e.r.

3.) There was a beach house with an awkward bathroom situation for the top floor.

Awkward bath-only situation here. Ummmm?

4.) There was a drug house that had so much stuff leftover from the last tenants I'd fear for a drive-by.

5.) There was a GORGEOUS beach-front property that has ZERO cell phone reception, zero storage, and zero safety. I wasn't comfortable with the access to the home. I felt very vulnerable.

6.) And there was the place that turned out to be our new home. I toured it and LOVED it. And even did the 'no no' - I thought of furniture arrangements....before the application was even submitted. Tsk tsk tsk.

Oh, and did I mention that Mr. Wookie had pretty-much NIL internet connection on the boat for this whole situation. So not only can I successfully cry myself through this situation, I can choose a house that meets his approval after the lease is signed (thanks babe, for the POA). He finally got decent internet after it was all done - and needless, he was VERY happy with my work.

Oh, ya, because you were going to dump me when you got home? Pssssssh. I'll burn your shit, you know that!

So in about 4 weeks, we had new digs found, an application approved, and the movers scheduled to help with all the big stuff. And then I prepared for the million after-work trips moving every other box that was under 50-lbs. Mr. Wookie has to love my tenacity when it comes to saving money - yes, moving via his Jeep is an investment in gas, but I'm MUCH cheaper than professional movers. I only cost Red Bull, Cheerios, supportive emails, coffee, deoderant, bobby pins, vodka, and an Asian pedicure.

Thursday, September 5

The Yays & Nays of a Mid-Deployment Move

Yay for the "circling of the wagons" that is the extended military family. One email to 3 people (the CO's wife, XO's wife, and our "Knives Group" President) had me connected and CC'd to 2 new families in the area collecting their HHG that week. I promised wine and the swift stealing of boxes for their kind donation to my situation.

Nay to our property manager "trying to help find a new place." You said you'd help to make yourself feel better, but in don't give a shit and I'm just another liability to get off your chest. Suck it. I don't need your help. I got myself and my very-determined personality. If I can build a career around Uncle Sam, I can find a new home in a non-stabbing neighborhood.

Yay to Mr. Wookie being the most supportive ever with the situation. His humor in the situation definitely helped break the tension and ulcer forming that was going on in my stomach. "Babe, just think, you won't be bored during deployment." Seriously. True love.

Nay to the very limited stock of rentals that were potential homes. Our location in California is awesome - but with that, you do have to be sure to stay out of the "Mexican strawberry-picking ghetto" that is the Just-North-of-Malibu area. And with that, you typically do have to pay over BAH to ensure safety. Oh, and throw in, "I have a female cat." and you're met with NO PETS. Awesome. Just awesome.

Yay to the stars aligning with a 2-bed, 3 bath, w/ loft condo that's a football throw to the beach to help end our stay in sunny California. Mr. Wookie got what he wanted (beach), and I got my safety (hello gated community!). And a little granite in the kitchen neeeeever hurt anyone.

Nay to the CREAM CARPET that's in the condo. Dear owners, I drink red wine. I also spill wine before I begin to enjoy it. So there goes the new rule: No red wine indoors. Boo.

Yay to the 5-lbs that was lost over the 3 weeks of home searching as I lost any appetite because of the stress. I may or may not have bragged some more to Mr. Wookie about my looks.

Nay to the lack of concentration at my desk while at work. Who knew the brain needed nutrients?

Yay to my boss being completely understanding in my frazzled state of mind. Seriously. Awesome.

Nay to the panic that poor Mittens suffered in the "What's going on in my home?" She's barely a year old and already has a move under her belt collar? She's starting to shape into a solid Navy brat.

Yay to the pain and torment that is moving without muscle being over. Yay to the superb professional movers that were hired for the heavy stuff that I couldn't lift alone (appliances, big ass furniture, etc.). Yay to Mr. Wookie meeting me "halfway" in the moving process - he wanted to sponsor movers for the entire process while I wanted to pay other Junior Officers from a sister squadron to help. So in the end, we hired pros for the big shit and I used Mr. Wookie's Jeep for a 2-day push of the remaining boxes of stuff.