Wednesday, July 31

A little inspiration.

If we don't change, we don't grow. If we don't grow, we aren't really living.
-Gail Sheehy 

I'm a big advocate of being a "creature of habit." I love the same ol' boring routine, with the slight changes in plans that are formulated far in advance. Uncle Sam never knows it, but I have my life always planned out at least 2 years. I can tell you Christmas this year will be in sunny California thanks to Christmas landing on a Wednesday and my work schedule being, "You're working Tuesday and Thursday, so enjoy!" And I can tell you Christmas for 2014, if we're back on the East Coast, will be with Mr. Wookie's side of the family (whom I love and adore, and don't see enough of) in either North Carolina or Ohio.

Ah, yes...and then there's Murphy who likes to take a big, steaming dump on my plans and throw a NASA-sized wrench into my pretty little day planner that's marker'd in my daily, monthly, and yearly plans. 

Murphy, you suck.

But then you have to think of that age-ol' adage that your mother constantly nagged at you in your childhood, "Everything happens for a reason."

Yes, Mother, like I neeeeeeeed another reason for a 4th vodka tonic in one evening.

So for the near future I'll play coy and mess with you, dear readers. I practice my anxiety-sparing breathing techniques, I enjoy a glass of wine after I crawl into bed and troll YouTube for Louis C.K. clips, and feed the ulcer that's developing on the right side of my stomach.

August 2010 in North Carolina
Mr. Wookie acts as an Illegal Alien at the local Home Depot and, "Me gusta trabajar."

Monday, July 29

Meow Monday: Nelson Mandela Kitty

It's been more of a habit than we'd like, but this Little Girl (<- her nickname since the name on her "birth certificate" by Mr. Wookie isn't my first choice) has become quite the carrier kitty. So maybe Nelson Mandela is a bad reference. Maybe more like Robert Downey, Jr. (you and outta the slammer quite a bit). 

There have been some "life developments" that caused me to pretend I didn't own a cat, and thusly forcing this furry feline to take up residence in the garage of a wife of a fellow deployed aviator. I would sneak into the garage like a ninja, then sneak back out, then text, "The kitty has landed." She would then go into the garage and love up on this sweet little thing who barely tops the charts at 8lbs. Why the garage? Because she owns TWO cats that top 15LBS each - and. they. don't. like. her. So the garage it is so I don't pay for facial reconstruction surgery.

After work, I would make the extra drive past my own home to come get my "child." It was kinda like doggy day care...but feline...and free.

Then after I pick her up and closed all the doors, I open the crate so she can get comfortable again. One long cry denotes that she's had enough of the back-and-forth of homes. So she lays in my lap while I try my best to keep the thighs parallel while driving a manual transmission (easier said than done).

And yes, I took all these lovely photos while cruising around town. America's Next Top Mobile Photographer? Why yes please. You can't match this skill. But you can easily surpass it.

Tuesday, July 23

Mrs. Wookie's 1st shoe purchase of deployment.

Mommy McD, I know what you're thinking?? "You bought one pair of shoes for each month he was detached last year, why only 'just 1 pair' now?"

Well...see...last year I was a hot mess sleeping that slept in the guest room because my own bedroom was too painful to be in (the concept of sleeping in my own bed without a dog had me balling my eyes out at night), so the guest room was my escape. Oh, and last year I bought shoooooes galore to help fill me void of slobber and band-aid my feelings.

This year we're in a much better mindset to tackle life and Murphy's Laws bullshit.

So last Friday I dabbled my way over to the Naturalizer Outlet on my lunch break just to see what was there (Outlets: because who pays full price anymore?).

Hello red-with-white-polka-dots flats. How are you? You come here often?

It was barely over a year ago that my red leather flats took to a meeting with The Shoe Maker and went towards the Light. It was 4th of July, the squadron was gone and I was filling my weekends with family events that thankfully got me in the shower, presentable, and out of the house. It was late that night and it was cloudy, and I was being summoned into the beach tide by two sisters who may have nearly convinced me to procreate if it wasn't for their meltdowns (good Lord, girls have meltdowns - how my parents survived three of us, I don't know). So there my red flats died in the California surf. Drowning in a blaze of...glory...suds and frigid West Coast water.

Two deaths last year. Damn, 2012 f**king sucked.

But hey, it's a new year. And I turn...29...again. ;) And I've got red shoes on my side.

Monday, July 22

Military Monday: Mrs. Wookie talks career.

Today I'm joining in on the link-up fun with Eights on the Move and Ashley's inquiring about the militarily attached ladies (and few gents) and how we hustle for the dollars when Uncle Sam has a firm grasp on how life is lived, moved, deployed and such...

Ashley, thanks again for the invitation. I appreciate the looking out for me as Mr. Wookie is "bobbing up and down in the open ocean" (his words, not mine).

As a military spouse/significant other, how are you able to contribute to your family? Do you have a full or part time job? Are you in the military too? Stay at home mom? Stay at home wife? Student? 

It's no surprise that as a ball-bustin' redhead attached to a naval aviator, Idon't take 'no' for an answer when it comes to my employment. While I'm currently on Cloud 8 for work right now (Cloud 9 will never exist, because eventually I'll have to give notice and relocate), I've had low strides of temping in a call center, being paid far below what I'm worth, and sitting at home without any income (which just drives me crazy!).

We are both BIG advocates for DINKdom (dual income, no kids) and using your Bachelor's/Master's degrees if you got them. Nothing drives me MORE bonkers than (typically) women who have an education, no children, and SIT AT HOME ALL DAY. Listen sister, there's nothing for you to do when he's deployed minus swallow up his money. So why don't you pass the time a little faster, pad the wallet, and get a job? (Sorry, I know it's a little harsh - but SERIOUSLY!?!?). He's a grown man and can handle ironing his uniforms, making his lunch, and wiping his ass. And don't get me started on, "I have my Master's, but I couldn't find work after barely looking, so I decided to get pregnant instead." Because that's a good way to use the $__,000 invested in your not using it.

While you don't need to "Lean in" and completely diss your family, we are in the modern age where women are graduating college at a larger rate, are holding higher positions, and are pretty much kicking ass and taking names on the homefront. Never before have there been this many "Mr. Moms" (which is awesome!). The days of 1950's gender roles are gone (see ya!), and the new era that's 'in' is one of 50/50 household division, smart women with real careers (being a secretary till you got married is just a joke), and ladies making conscious efforts against the "maternity gap." You can have your cake and eat it too.

In between, all of the above? Have you used any of the military programs designed to help spouses/significant others find jobs? Did you work before & decide otherwise because of moving/timing/orders? Do you wish you could work but can't because of your particular circumstances in the military? Are you totally living it up with your dream job?!

Regarding any military programs out there for spouses/significant others, I can say 'no' I've never used them and probably never will. This may just be my bias, but I feel that the military's resources are slightly outdated when it comes to assisting the families. (Obviously as not-a-spouse, these are only my opinions from the "outside"). When we first moved to California, I saw the ads for employment assistance through the Fleet & Family Service Center. They were full of classes like, "How to write a resume." or "How to navigate LinkedIn." No offense, but I'm on a different level than all of that. I've been to college. I've worked the entry-level positions. What is Fleet & Family really going to offer to me?

So instead I hustled all the employment agencies, networked with working spouses (which is rare in the Officer realm of the Navy), interned, temp'd, and didn't give up until I landed where I'm at now (which is a sales rep for an e-commerce/web division). My job is amazing and challenging - and Mr. Wookie loves hearing about my day(s). And if you would have told me I'd be working in sales in my late 20's, I would have slapped you across the face and made you take me out to dinner. Now, I can't imagine not working in sales.

And I will continue to make connections for any other working spouse (enlisted or Officer) who's wanting to do more/better because I feel that there's just not a lot of support for the educated spouse (which is fine - I don't need your support, I have a home bar). ;)

However, the sun will eventually set on sunny California and our extended timeframe with his squadron. And I'll be starting over again somewhere else, pursuing my next feature on the ol' resume, and dusting off the bank account that enjoys the bi-monthly deposits of green. And just like that, my drive kicks into gear and I accept the challenge of (Awesome) Employment or Bust.

Sunday, July 21

I buy half of Oregon when I'm there.

Whenever I make a voyage back home, I always try to take advantage of the LACK OF SALES TAX that my great state offers. And I always leave a little room in the carry-on for these purchases. Yes, some people bitch about the concept of an income tax. But I don't. Sales tax just ruins my day when I have to pay an additional 8.25% to shitty California when they're the next Detroit. But I do it because I can grocery shop on my lunch break at work and enjoy my evenings of crafting and passing the deployment time.

But enough of my distaste for that and deployment survival. Let's move onto my purchases!!!

It was Sunday, July 7th, at 2pm, that we ventured out to the local outdoor gun range to test out some firearms that Dr. Stacey's step-dad was offloading in order to dwindle his personal militia stash. Knowing I was in the market for a small handgun for home defense, a few items were brought out to test. I've been doing extensive research in the handgun department, spent ample time at my local range testing and judging, and just not loving what I was firing. That and being an Oregon resident in California makes for an interesting purchasing set-up. So the Sheriff and I agreed that a sale in Oregon would be ideal while I was up for my vacation.

Mrs. Wookie, we didn't know you're Republican!

I'm not. We're Independents. :) We like guns and recycling. It's the best of both worlds.

So the email that was sent to Mr. Wookie on the boat a couple months ago, "Hey babe, just an FYI: I'm buying a gun while you're gone" finally came into fruition. He couldn't be more supportive. He can only imagine what it's like to be left on land while he's not home. He's my support. He's my burly man. He's my housemate that likes to clean the kitchen (seriously, it sucks without him!). And if I'm bringing in a new toy for him to play with, he's a 'yes.'

But back to the gun range which cost $5/shooter on the honor system. Oh, Oregon, so trustworthy!

Option #1: Great. Option #2: Nope. Turns out I hate revolvers. Option #3: same. Option #4: No Glocks.

So after waiting 3 days before any large-scale purchase (shoes are the only item that don't get this treatment), I gave the go-ahead to get it! EEEEEeeeeeeek! So excited. While 'she' still is in Oregon and yet to have a name, there's a new additional to the Wookie & Co. arsenal.

Now who's joining me at the gun range on Wednesdays?!?!? (It's Ladies Night then!)

And of course, any trip to Oregon couldn't be without some purchasing of Beaver Gear to add to my collection. Yes, I tried the shirt on in the aisle at Target because I was too lazy. Yes, I'm wearing a skirt like a Duggar. Yes, I went shooting in the skirt earlier that day. Yes, I need therapy. It's called 4 ice cubes, 1.5 ounces of Stoli vodka, and 2 ounces of tonic. Garnish with a lemon wedge.

Saturday, July 20

It's true. I'd move back in a heartbeat.

If it weren't for this boy I can't get out of my head, I'd still be living in the greatest state North of California. Oregon has everything. It has mountains, rivers, oceans (notice I didn't say 'beaches'), fishing, hunting, hiking, lesbians, straights, urban Portland, Voodoo Donuts, Oregon State University, manners, great beer, awesome family, decent weather, and no sales tax for when you get shit-faced with her sisters at a wine event and require Advil and Gatorade.

The 4th of July this was lackluster compared to past, but still a blast. I enjoyed a delicious cup of "coffee" while Dr. Stacey and I waited for the free fireworks at the local county fair grounds. We watched redneck children light off spinny grass (which subsequently didn't spin. Shocker). We watched a home start to catch fire because people are morons who don't understand fire safety. And my neck wretched trying to eyeball any cute firefighters that may have transferred into town (I'm against any dating of people who also grew up in the town. There needs to be fresher water in the dating pool in Hometown, Oregon).

That Saturday was spent hiking another trail of beauty and mystic wonder.

And the ol' lesbian shoes got their second helping of Oregonian trail.

And that night was complete with the family killing a plethora of wine bottles at a local music/wine tasting event. I had my hair done by Baby Sister, I put on my finest Duggar dress, and enjoyed myself a slightly-early "deployment halfway" present of free wine (thanks Dad!) and a safe ride home (thanks Baby Sister!). And let's not mention my lack of a hangover.

Friday, July 19

So there I the Motherland of Orygun.

If there's any question to the "bat shit crazy" status that may inhabit my heart about my homestate, it's confirmed when 2 days before I was to be home that WE'RE HIKING AT DAWN!!!! Okay, okay, dawn in Hometown, Oregon is 'round the crack of 5:00am. But still, we were at Dr. Stacey Kervorkian's house come 6:30am for some sweat, laughs, and ice cold refreshments atop Pilot Rock. While it's not a ball-busting endeavor, it made for a great start to my unofficial halfway party to myself.

So in celebration of the 4th of July, while Mr. Wookie was enduring Groundhog's Day aboard the USS Boat Food Sucks, I was breathing deeply in the smells of eco-friendly people, rocking a headband like Uncle Si from Duck Dynasty, and enjoying the company of a friend not seen in YEARS. Oh, and getting The Sheriff out for a mid-morning stroll with his FAVORITE daughter. I'm high on the trust fund ranking. Trust me. I have large eyes. That's winning. ;)

In parts, it did get a little treacherous. While the hike was considered "easy," the footing was not. There wasn't any blood, but there were a few curse words.

But the Sheriff did have refreshments waiting at the top. :)

The Sheriff's "selfie."

Do you like Flock of Seagulls??

And this is the most we made of the ascent. I'll be honest, I got scared. We're on the flattest part of the whole rock formation. It would (smartly) require technical gear to traverse the steep vertical of flat rock that made it to the top. And thaaaaat's something that didn't fit in my overhead compartment. Next time.

"Make it look like you're clinging for life, falling off the rocks??"

Oregon. You treat a girl right.

And the hike out. Apparently one beer, early in the morning, after the uphill of a hike isn't right. I get excited and need to take 'walking' pictures of our traverse out.

I miss you already, Oregon.

Wednesday, July 10

Vacation ruins even the best feministic work ethic.

The sludge to LAX.

Even before the boat shipped out and a Mr. Wookie joined the Navy's latest endeavor in "The Global Force for Good" (or whatever their sad marketing attempt is to sign up for uniforms, boat food, and sketchy port calls), I knew I had a calling for "the Motherland" for my unofficial "halfway" present to my sanity. And after checking the calendar at work for the July 4th closure, I noticed....hmm...July 5th, also closed. Boom. PURCHASED!

Oh shucks. I have tickets to Oregon for 4 full days of awesomeness, no sales tax, family, beer and wine, and celebrating the (slightly short, but who cares) "halfway" of this deployment (and their already-been-pushed-back "homecoming" date). And with that, I made lodging arrangements for the little lady feline of the home to kick it at the fellow house of a Junior Officer's family.

So come July 3rd, in the afternoon...I started to panic. Where we live, is a slight drive to LAX. On a great day, you can bust it out in 1:15 on both the Pacific Coast Highway (if you want those beach views) or inland on the 405/101 (if you like views of The Getty, etc.). But on a holiday, I'm fearing the worst. Come 2pm, I start to panic. I start stalking Google for traffic updates on both paths. Eeeeek. Black and red stripes = MEGA TRAFFIC. My palms get sweaty. I reach for a Xanax (damn, no prescription). My stomach starts to eat itself into knots.

I'm at a loss. So I text my boss. :) "I'm getting super anxious about making the drive to LAX, can I skirt out early?" Aaaaaaaaand, the Rooster is Golden.

At 3:30pm, after I had changed my voicemail, out-of-office reply, and forwarded my emails since I was to be out on Monday also, I started my pilgrimage towards the nightmare that is SoCal living. And what I was fearing would take 3 hours, only took 2+ hours. I was able to leisurely park my car, shuttle in, and land myself at a sports bar for a couple hours indulging on vodka tonics and a Greek salad (opa!). There I was...on vacation. And damn, it felt good. Can I go back yet??