Friday, October 10

Rules for enjoying your California duty station.

"Just living is not must have sunshine, freedom, and a little flower." -H. C. Anderson

July 2013, rooftop patio in North-of-Malibu, California
missing him, but definitely not needing him
about 2 blocks to the ocean

Tonight our plans will include a 'winging party' (hello new pilots and NFOs with those beautiful wings and their designation to Mr. Wookie's old squadron in California) which starts at 8pm (ugh - seriously?? so late!) which is a stone's throw from our home. I'm seriously so excited. I'm exciting to meet the guys, meet their ladies, and wish them the BEST on their trek to California and the plans for work-ups early next year, and a deployment shortly after (go team, go!).

California is a dream location and one should embrace it. I know it started slow for us there, but dammit...I would give $1,000 away to move back. I left amazing friends, amazing weather, amazing happiness for the outdoorsing type (that we are), and a lackluster BAH since Uncle Sam thinks California is cheap (okay that part wasn't great). And Mr. Wookie is still very missed as the 'squadron gentleman' and keeper of the team's JOPA spirit.

But at our departure, the squadron was undergoing a solid adjustment to more family-oriented lifestyles. The new check-in couples were either pregnant or had children and choosing to live on base. We're not those people. While we're not going to bash your choice to procreate, but it's apparent we're going to have different social schedules. You want to have playdates at the park before naptime; we're going to be up before the crack of dawn to hike in a National Park. And the only base housing I would accept would be O-6 Housing in Bangor, Washington - Mr. Wookie's mom's home back in the day was BEAUTIFUL. Just beautiful.

Rule #1: Embrace the culture - whether the mountains, museums, scouting out the real vs fake boobs, the Mexican food, SkidRow, migrant workers outside Home Depot, limited military exposure, the celebrity stalkings, surfing, and SUNSHINE!

Rule #2: Embrace the local entertainment. Yes, there may be a raging wildfire that attacks the Santa Monica mountains - but don't fret. It's due for a burn. It was 20+ years since it had been cleared to the dirt and, of course, it'll happen during deployment. So that week I took my lunch out to the grass and enjoyed the scenery. It's been over 10 years since that was my occupation, and I have the utmost respect for all involved. It's definitely a 'no sissies, allowed.'

Rule #2.5: Don't live in the California mountains. Der.

Rule #3: Embrace the ebbing and flowing of your family. One day, it may decrease with the sudden passing of your pooch. But then 10 days later, it may (unexpectedly) expand with a homeless little gatita. Then the man of the house may go to live on a boat for months at a time. Then you'll stop showering. And then you have zero water bill. ;)

Rule #4: Embrace the beach. Don't live in suburbia nightmare-ville when you can get that anywhere in the country. Aim for the beach. Or golf course. Or anyplace with a high enough rent that you avoid the riff raff. How many times will you have this opportunity in life? And no, Virginia Beach is not the same.

It's unfortunate I already have 2 trips(!) scheduled to be back in the land of In 'N Out, high sales tax, outlet stores, and friendships; I'll be couch-shlumping and proud. I like to think of myself as Glenda, The Good Witch - I invade on my friends with wine, stories of the frigid East Coast, babysitting of little girls I actually like, and painting parties. And I try to recruit them back to the Navy's armpit. Misery loves company.

Tuesday, October 7

Hello 31. Nice to meet you.

"It's a helluva start, being able to recognize what makes you happy." -Lucille Ball

This was the start to my morning. Or actually the sounds of footsteps slowly creeping upstairs as to not slosh coffee about while I slumbered into a slow wake-up at the refreshing age of 31. I registered the mug setting down on the stack of books loaded upon my nightstand. I lessened my partial sleep when I heard the shower water gush into the wall and the slink of the curtain rings across the railing. I'm warm in bed, I thought. Do I move? Well yes, Ginger, there's toasting coffee on your nightstand. Can't let that get warm. 

And while I may just embrace this age since 30 seems so young and juvenile (cue laughing - but not enough laughing to deepen any wrinkles on my face). When we were out at the concert on Saturday night, I embraced my life, "I'm going to be 31 on Monday." 

"No way. You look like 22."

Ummm, yes. I am. But I have the boobs, thighs and ass of a 31 year old. Trust me. And the mirror.

Thanks to my Ginger mama for the lack of pigment which forced me to slather with sunscreen since the age of 6 months while my chubby body enjoyed the Oregon summers. Sunscreen is your friend and helps you look far younger than the DH wives, XO wives, and CO wives you'll meet. This is a good thing. Life's about competition - they drive a minivan, I'm just now competing with crow's feet.

This weekend I also treated myself to an impromptu 'You want flowa?" shellac manicure at the salon.

"Bitch, throw the hairtie."

Eventually I crawled my ass out of bed and walked the 24 steps to my desk to begin 8 hours of countdown until I could get to presents and dinner. Because what's the point of growing a year older if I don't get cool shit to compensate for the decline in my skin's elasticity?

Mr. Wookie was exceptional this year as he was not only present for this event, but he strengthened the "happiness factor" that I felt was missing in my life. He's sensed and heard about my uncomfortable-ness with moving back here. My social circle is non-existent, minus the cat. The lack of sunshine, beaches, and In N Out is just cramping my style. So his sole effort was supplying a reason to "fall" for Virginia. I've also been complaining about the change in seasons.

So what did I get?!?!?

He bought me a new hammock - one that's not destroyed by the sun's rays after 3 years in SoCal beams. He also 'splurged' on the deluxe hammock pillow for that extreme laziness and relaxation. The best part? The hammock is navy and white...and my 'car blanket' is navy. [A car blanket is that shoddy/outside-okay blanket you keep in your trunk for baseball games, picnics, and galore that you don't mind getting dirty.] So my new challenge while being here is 'How long can I lounge in my hammock? At what degree will I force myself in?'

Stay tuned.

He bought me those shove-in-the-ground wine glass holders...and yes, I've already used them from my hammock's reach.

He bought me a new book...

(This trend is amazing!)

He bought me a stinking monthly trial subscription to Stumptown!! He mentioned that while it's crisp in the morning, we can warm up with fancy coffees to try - we're also buying a half-cord of wood, but that's not a birthday present...just a winter necessity.

And I'm still waiting on my finale gift, which is coming from overseas, and has to go through Customs. Damn. He's said it's the heaviest. Dun dun dun!

So after the pomp and circumstance of flowers on the table, wrapping paper on the floor, and a new Chilean Malbec in the decanter, we trekked the half-dozen or so blocks to a swanky little dinner joint over by the hospital. I had the duck; he had the tenderloin. We split the recommended wine for the evening. And we gawked at the amount of people still out at this hour (it was past 7pm - we're old, what can we say?).

So here I am, 31 and unbelievably happy. I never thought being this side of 30 would have been this great. Join me, will you? You bring the wine. I've got the wrinkle creams.

Sunday, October 5

Goodbye 30.

"Our wrinkles are our medals of the passage of life." -Laura Hutton

My thirtieth year in life was an event. Last night was too - we crushed The Legwarmers at the NORVA.

The 30's. It's definitely not a young person's game. You have to earn 30 (gag). And I've never been happier to accept another year into this decade that was built with an amazing round of 20's. Yesterday I honored my birthday with a trip to Ulta and picked up of a couple things:

It's my thing to pick up a new lip color on my birthday. And at $16, it was a dollar cheaper than advertised. Hello fall-esque deep pink!

I'll gladly accept wrinkles based on one condition - they were earned for laughter and smiles. Though I won't accept them without a fight. Thank goodness I've still got time for the Real Housewives of Hampton Roads amount of Botox, fillers, lifts, lasers, and such.