Archive for the Photos Category

Veteran’s Day #NaBloPoMo

I hated formations. I would do everything I could to get out of a formation. When I couldn’t, I was generally irritable and borderline (if not outright) belligerent. I knew there was some real work I could be doing rather than standing until my toes went numb. There was one when I was overseas that pissed me off to no end because while it was done with good intentions, the execution had the opposite effect. Because really, who wants to get up on the 4th of July and go stand in formation in order to improve patriotism. In “peacetime.” Having a lack of respect for a authority (which is not one of my good character traits), I pushed the envelope for that one. I dug out the worst uniform I owned which was one of my initial issued ones from basic, which I had worn at my first duty assignment. The pants were more faded than the shirt because that was one of the distinguishing marks of working in a combat comm unit in Oklahoma. You spent a lot of time outdoors in the heat with the BDU blouse off in just a tshirt. I found the worst looking BDU hat to wear, and probably found some mud to wade through and stick to my boots. Several of us carpooled, and so SSgt Nemec had 2 specialists and a senior airmen with her. I went all out to be a good role model. ;) When we got ready to leave, our division superintendent and commander were standing right in front of my car having a conversation. I said something like, “Hey y’all. Watch this!” I popped in a CD, skipped to the song I wanted, cranked up the volume, and blasted Fortunate Son. Despite that boldness, I was too scared to look as was Darrel and Val. But Emily looked, and gave a great description of the reaction. The commander pretended nothing was happening, but the superintendent’s jaw dropped in complete disbelief. Score! But, after all that, all of us disgruntled soldiers and airmen went to Pop Bellies for breakfast which made getting up worthwhile.

Fast forward a year later, and I still hate formations. And we all got tagged with one we couldn’t get out of. By all, I mean the entire organization, just like the 4th of July one. Only it was a workday, but a Friday, and this one required service dress/class A’s. Darrel managed to break something, so he had to stay and fix it while the rest of us dutifully gaggled up in front of headquarters. Now the occasion for this one was this. Every year the 303rd Bombardment Group who were based at RAF Molesworth during World War II would travel back to the UK for a reunion. That year was going to be their last reunion since it was so much harder for them to travel at their age. So the powers that be decided the JAC should greet them as they arrived. I was tired of standing long before they finally arrived. Let me tell you, I was not prepared for what I was about to be a part of. Yes, my uniform was sharp because I didn’t have crappy looking blues. My shoes were clean and shiny. And I snapped to attention and a sharp salute. What I wasn’t prepared for though was what I was about to see. I don’t know how many cars and buses drove through us. I have no idea how many WWII vets were in them. But there were a LOT, and I don’t think there was a dry eye among them. I know my eyes were leaking. I was filled with such pride to be able to honor those men – the heroes who made it. It was so humbling to watch those tear-filled men salute us back, and I was and still am so glad I didn’t get out of that one.

303Grifn

Because of that one, I didn’t balk at going to the Memorial Day service the following year at Cambridge American Cemetery. Talk about another humbling experience. To walk among so many men who didn’t make it back. Utterly heartbreaking.

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Today I specifically want to remember family members who served before and with me. I don’t think there was a war since our countries founding that I didn’t have an ancestor serving in. Unfortunately, I can only put names to those since WWII. I have multiple uncles, cousins, in-laws, and a niece who have served in each branch. It’s great that my husband and I are among so many veterans among our families.

I’m going to try a little something #NaBloPoMo

Since I didn’t blog at all in October (I did do a lot of journaling), I thought I would give NaBloPoMo (National Blog Posting Month) at try and see if I can actually blog every single day in November. And to start it off, I’m going to recap October – mostly in pictures. ;)

My therapist told me I needed to get away an chill out because I was winding down September about to breakdown. So I spent the first weekend in October in and around Wilmington because what better way to chill out than on the beach!

Beach therapy. #beach #sand #ocean #sun

A photo posted by Martha (@dragonlady42) on

I hit a small beach at Ft Fisher, and there was hardly anyone down there but fishermen. That was fine as I wasn’t going in the water anyway because the red devil went with me to the beach. It was a good chance to relax, and had a friend tell me when I got back that I looked at lot better than I did before I left. I really enjoyed doing what I wanted when I wanted. I even enjoyed getting sunburned in October.

Um, ouch. #burn #worthit #yesiaminpajamasat5pm

A photo posted by Martha (@dragonlady42) on

Then I got called out by my daughter’s therapist for my avoidance, and after making a remark to Petra, she told me I needed to call my sponsor. Of course I didn’t. ;) But, I did make a plan to stop avoiding and had a family meeting and made Jamie get her learner’s permit.

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She also started crocheting again and I took this hat.

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Looks like I’m wearing my thug eyes.

I’ll finish this off with Halloween. Chad was the Ultimate Warrior, and I failed to get a picture of him. Jamie was an Adventure Time character, but since I didn’t get a shot of Chad, I won’t post that one. I, however, decided to go as Stevie Nicks. The $6 Walmart wig doesn’t really capture her hair in any era, but the witch dress kind of hearkened back to the White Album/Rumours era when combined with the top hat.

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Warner Bros Records

Warner Bros Records

Ok, perhaps I didn’t pull it off. Oh, well. People just thought I was a witch, and that’s ok. One of the baristas asked me where my broomstick was. Haha! 12 hours was way too long to wear a wig and I had a splitting headache by the time I got home.

There was a lot in between the beach trip and Halloween, but that all went into my journal. And therapy sessions.

So we will see if I can pull off this whole blog post a day thing in November.

New babies

Since I haven’t been able to motivate myself to actually write anything, here are some cat pictures since Amber hatched again over the weekend.

Newborns:

She had one more after that:

And her remaining 2 from first litter just because:

Adventures in Arkansas

I really should have sat down and written last night when I had things to say. Or at least made a note of what I wanted to write about like I suggested to Petra. Haha! But in my defense, I was sick as a dog from the flight back from Arkansas. But Enterprise hooked me up with a sweet rental car:

I almost didn’t make that trip. I really didn’t want to. I didn’t want to face my mom’s health issues because avoidance is my default action (or inaction as it were) when I can’t practice full on denial. But I plucked up the courage to do it anyway. Oh my word. Her short term memory is completely gone. She had a stroke while she was in the hospital recovering from pneumonia (and she has COPD), and while the memory issues could be attributed to Alzheimer’s, her inability to say the right words is not something she had prior. It was hard. Hard to listen to and watch her struggle to get out what she wanted to say, and hard to figure out what she meant. But she gets around fine, and I wore her out! Because that’s how I roll. ;) She’s in the nursing home for rehabilitation, and they let me check her out and run her around.

I took her to the Veteran’s Walk of Flags by the hospital first. We did not walk the whole thing.

But my cousin Sharon was interviewed later that day while she was there:

Flags Flying for Veterans In Morrilton Today

It is such a beautiful and humbling display, and I feel honored that I now have a flag among so many others. I am so very grateful to Sharon for making sure all the Eoff family veterans got flags.

Then we went out to the Bishop family reunion and I didn’t take a single picture of any of my family. :( I did take one down at the creek:

Because the reunion isn’t just complete without a walk down to the creek. It was the thing to do when I was a kid, and it still is at 44. Not that I got off the bridge because the possibility of falling and getting wet doesn’t appeal to me anymore. Mainly because I didn’t want my phone ruined. haha! But I had a great time, and didn’t get glutened. Mom seemed to know everybody and that was great! I had a good talk with my sister-in-law even if it was short and kept semi on the down low given what I shared with her. And throughout the weekend I got to have really good visits with family and a couple old friends and my mom’s neighbor. And then after I dropped Mom off Saturday night and left the nursing home, I drove around town and bawled.

Now, I don’t like to fly, and have been terrified of flying since 1999. So as I drove up to RDU to leave, I thought I would try a little something different than I normally do. See, normally the DragonLady doesn’t get on a plane sober. Granted, last summer I flew sober, but I was a wreck the whole time. This time, drinking wasn’t an option I was willing to entertain so I prayed and asked God to remove my fear of flying. You know, it worked. I was not at all scared coming or going. Even with the turbulence and thunderstorms around Charlotte. And no, I didn’t ask God to give me a good rental car. That was pure bonus. hahaha!

You can’t hear if you’re not listening

There is a story behind that picture. I was scheduled to play at church this past Sunday, and there were several emails throughout the week regarding the song lineup. The first had to do with one particular song (video below) that only really had 3 instrumental parts: drums, bass, and keyboard. Bradford said that I would be playing keyboard. I laughed at that part of the email. He added not to worry that the keyboards would be tracked, and I just had to look like I was playing. Which made me laugh more because if I could fake playing a trumpet in college, I could definitely fake play keyboards. After listening to the song I thought that if I still had a keyboard and the time to practice (and the sheet music), I could have played it for real. But people thought I was really playing. Those who mentioned to me how cool it was that I play keyboards too got to hear the truth that I was keysyncing (like lipsyncing). And that was the only song I didn’t screw up. :cheesy: And I was glad to do it because otherwise I would have only been doing vocals, and I couldn’t do the clapping right. Plus clapping hurts my hands. Regardless, it gave me something to do with my hands.

Before rehearsal last Thursday as Bradford led us in a devotional, he summed up Pastor’s Nate’s sermon from the previous Sunday (which I missed).

Just because God is silent does not mean He isn’t active.

My experience has been that whenever I am going through a hard trial or a period of depression, God is not only silent, but He seems absent. I feel like I am completely alone and overwhelmed. Once it passes, I can then see that God was there the whole time working while I was wallowing in fear and/or self-pity. I’m starting to see, or hear, that He isn’t always silent in the pit.

I usually have ministry hangover the day after I play at church. Yesterday was no exception, and life compounded it. I felt it when I (finally) got out of bed, and I started praying while I showered. My shower is my “prayer closet” because generally speaking, I can be alone without interruption. This is also why I named my shower “the confessional.” So I was praying and as it progressed, I began praying about my self-will. I don’t remember what I asked, but I remember hearing the answer. I have already been set free.

Jesus is stronger than my self-will.

I have a hard time remembering that. Partially because of self-will. Partially because of bad theology. But hearing it helped. I immediately felt peace. And then life reared its head again, and the peace was gone. But over and over and over all day, I went back to my prayer time and reminded myself of what God spoke to me, and it got me through.

Pastor Benji said something during his sermon Sunday morning that really made an impression on me.

If I didn’t already know what the Bible has to say about my self-will, I don’t think I would have heard God’s voice as I did.

But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you. (John 14:26 ESV)

But additionally, I don’t think I would have heard it if I hadn’t been willing to hear something that might not be what I want to hear. Nor do I think I would have heard it if I wasn’t willing to give up my self-will. And I wouldn’t be willing to give up my self-will if living according to my will worked.

Living the dream

One line. At :28. By Blair. :)

So there I was right, on my way to the dentist to get my permanent crown when I had a thought. The thought was 2 years in the making, but I was finally going to go through with it. Probably. To ensure I would, I texted Petra to see if she had anything going on. See, it also wasn’t something I was going to do solo. haha. She didn’t so I told her what I was planning, and she was all like “I gotta see this!”

I decided to get my nose pierced.

I’m pretty sure we had discussed it before, but it seemed to genuinely shock her. But, she was going to base her decision on my experience.

With his finger all up in my nose. :)

With his finger all up in my nose. :)

What is up with that spare tire I am carrying around?

What is up with that spare tire I am carrying around?

Oh. My. Word. At least he warned me about what to expect. The actual piercing didn’t really hurt that bad. It was getting the ring in that was the issue. You know, because I’m not going to be normal. I have really thick cartilage. So it took some work to get the ring in. Then Petra says, “You have blood on your boob.” Wait. What? When he got the bleeding pretty much stopped and I looked down, I was all like “Holy crap!” It wasn’t just on my boob. It was all down my shirt. I said I was going to wear it to rehearsal like a badge of honor, but I didn’t. I changed.

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We both wished she had gotten a shot when the needle was sticking through. And it was a HUGE needle. I commented that it was like blood donation needle. Because it was. Petra now refuses to get her nose pierced. I called her a puss. I mean really. She’s had 7 kids. What’s a big needle through the nose? ;) She’s getting tattoos first though. If she has no reaction to the ink, then I will feel it’s safe(ish) to get one. And maybe by then I will figure out what I want. Besides the mushroom cloud tramp stamp, that is. ;)

This is hilarious!

H/T to Stephen Altrogge.

Random Randomness of Random

I should just go ahead an announce a blog hiatus because every time I have ever done that I’ve been able to write. It’s not that I don’t have anything to write, it’s just organizing thoughts into something coherent. Of course, there will be no coherency in this post just because. ;)

I took off work Friday so I could take the hubster to court. Told him early in the week that I had the day off. Late Thursday night he informed me that he had another ride. Alrighty then. He nearly got arrested due to the county rescheduling and not letting anyone know but him. So he goes back in June and I will not be his transportation this time.

Since I had the day, I took care of some bidness at the insurance agent, and went to Chapel Hill to pick up my race packet for the Tar Hell 10 Miler.

I love how fancy it’s all personalized. More on the race later.

I was a little hungry and definitely thirsty, so I stopped in Pittsboro at Chatham Marketplace, and they had what I wanted. I decided to have some fun and sent my sponsor a text saying, “So I picked up a 6 pack for lunch…” I followed that up with this pic:

6-pack

After eating the second one, I sent Petra a text saying that I had just had a mouthgasm. Yes, it was that good.

About the 10 miler. I woke up at 4:30 am with abdominal cramps from hell. Same thing happened about a month ago. So rather than treating it as a stomach bug, I took some ibuprofen and the pain was gone around noon. I don’t know what is up with that crap, or the hot flash from hell that had me up from 2-3:30 this morning. My knee is hurt also so there was a valid(ish) reason for not racing other than the fact that I haven’t run in so long I don’t remember the last time I ran.

After the meds kicked in Saturday, the good idea fairy showed up and convinced me that since it was such a nice day it would be a great idea to wash and wax my car. I’m pretty sure running 10 miles would have been less painful. 4 hours, and I am still sore today. I got some good sleeps that night and didn’t wake up until 9 yesterday.

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Oh, and Amber hatched Easter Sunday:

2 are already spoken for, thank goodness. She had 4, but one didn’t make it.

Enjoy your Monday.

In which I take a break from the heavy stuff

I had to surrender to something over the weekend. KitKat.

I don’t know what on earth got into her, but she is different. I have accused her of being demon-possessed and have called her the spawn of Satan. She is just that eat up. But here lately, there has been a change in her attitude toward me. It started a few weeks ago where she started making a bee-line for the master bedroom whenever I opened up the door. One day she darted in there as I was on my way to the bathroom, and didn’t have time to pick her up and throw her out. And it is really hard to poop when you have a cat trying to get in your lap and to get you to pet her. I assumed she was just hungry because she gets friendly when she’s hungry.

It happened again, though not when I was pooping, that she wanted in the bedroom. I assumed she was hungry and refilled the food bowls – none of which were empty. Soon she was meowing and scratching on the door. So I gave her fresh water. No sooner did I get in bed than she was meowing and scratching on the door again. Crazy cat. This got more and more frequent, and rather than rename her “Dammit KitKat,” I gave in and put a food and water bowl and a litter box in the bedroom and let her move in.

Oh my word.

She is loving and playful. I had no idea that she knew how to cat. She’s still scabby and gross, but her personality makes up for it. It is so weird.

“Laughter through tears is my favorite emotion.”

While I will use a quote from Steel Magnolias at the drop of a hat, I can’t say that one is entirely true. Namely because I am not a big fan of tears. Sometimes I just get so overwhelmed that I just know a good cry will help. Problem is, sometimes I am totally distraught, but yet just too numb to have the meltdown I need.

On top of all the life going on around me, I got sick last week. At one point, I was real close to going to the ER. But the pain finally became less frequent and less severe thankfully before I had to take my daughter to her appointment. Now she had been asking for a bank account forever, and I told her I would take her to the bank after her appointment. So we did, and through the course of talking to the gentlemen setting everything up, he got to telling us stories. We laughed until we cried.

I felt so much better.

Someone told me that I should find something that will make me deep down belly laugh hard when I feel like I need to cry and can’t because I’ll get the same emotional release I need. I am definitely a believer now. Of course I have to over-analyze everything I do and experience, and this was no exception. I will, however, spare you that introspection and analyzation and just leave it as is.

Sometimes, I just need to laugh and laugh hard. Even when I hurt.

Play on

If music be the food of love, play on;

Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, 1602

I was reading someone’s blog recently, and not only do I not remember whose blog it was, I don’t remember when. Could have been yesterday or several days ago. Anyway, the writer had a list of tips for bloggers, and one was write about what your passion is. Or something like that. That’s too broad of an area for me to niche. I may just be too ADHD. ;)

One Friday evening 2 or 3 weeks ago, James was sick and we were hungry, but I didn’t want to cook, and so I went to Lowes Food. As I was checking out, the young lady ringing me up asked, “Don’t you sing at New Hope?” She’s a New Hoper too, turns out, and I am slowly but surely losing the anonymity I used to enjoy in Sanford due to not knowing very many people. But, alas, I’ve made it. I’m a rock star. :cool: Of course, I’m not really, but it’s actually better because it isn’t about me.

I was in Food Lion the other night, and walked through the store singing along with whatever song was playing. I have no idea what it was, but it is just kind of funny to me that I feel comfortable enough to sing out loud (albeit softly) in a store. And without my kids. Even though I don’t remember the song, I remember just hearing it made me feel good. I’m sure it was from the 80’s. Did this yesterday at Food Lion also, and at one point even felt the need to apologize to the gentleman within earshot. ;)

A few mornings ago I was listening to the songs that were scheduled for the following Sunday on the way into work because I was on the schedule, and, oh, by the way, that was the closest I had come that week to practicing. One of the songs was a newer song containing an older hymn, Just as I Am. Since I knew the hymn portion, I was practicing the harmony vocals when just out of the blue, meltdown. 2 blocks from the front gate. Really? I didn’t melt down during any of the services that day, so it was all good. I did, however, have waaaayyyy too much coffee that morning resulting in my Beavis Cornholio impression for which I quickly apologized due to the inappropriateness of quoting Beavis & Butthead at church. I think they found that more humorous. I was off the chain.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. I have always loved music and all kinds. Now, one of my goals for this year was to get a sponsor. I have one now, and Friday she told me to take some time over this weekend for myself just to relax. Well, who has time to relax when you are the only one with a driver’s license, and shopping needs to be done? I made the time. First of all, I shopped alone. This meant I was alone in the car for most of my running around which meant I could play Fleetwood Mac loudly and sing along just as loudly as I wanted. And I did it with the sunroof wide open. It was fabulous. Later at home, I sat on the front porch journaling and instagramming until sundown.

Music has a way of lifting my spirit when I’m feeling down. I can hear certain songs that will put a smile on my face no matter how down I feel. I can listen to certain genres and relax, which is why I often listen to classical when I am driving to and from work, and even sometimes at work. These are things I need to remember when I get into a funk or worry cycle, and then just listen to the music.

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