Archive for the Semi-confessional 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.

Hitting the wall again #NaBloPoMo

I ran into a friend at Starbucks last week. “You look tired.” Well, at least I looked like I felt. It was another one of those days that the alarm went off and I thought there was no way I would be able to get up. But I did, after only hitting snooze once, and was even a little bit early to work. Would have been earlier had I not had the conversation in Starbucks. I think I told her, “I need a wife.” But really what I need is another licensed driver and a second vehicle, and that won’t happen until after Thanksgiving. Next day a co-worker told me I looked like crap. Again, I looked like I felt.

Pretty sure I am burnt out. I’ve been burning the candle at both ends for a long time. It’s caught up with me. I wake up as tired as I go to bed. It’s like I’ve hit the wall.

I did something I didn’t want to do and stepped down from the worship team at church for a while. I didn’t give a time frame, but right now I am thinking a couple of months. I’m counting on Jamie getting her license and giving her Mom’s car to drive to take some of the pressure off of me to take everybody everywhere. At the very least, she will be able to take herself to her appointments. That will be less time I have to take off from work which means less time I have to make up at work since I am in the hole for leave and will be close to the max I can go in the hole after Thanksgiving. Anyway, back to the worship team, it’s not like it is really that big of a commitment. I was only doing a couple Sundays a month. But, over the past 3 or 4 months, I haven’t had the time nor the energy to put in the practice time I needed to. In turn, as much as I LOVE playing and singing with the band, I felt unprepared. And the last couple Sundays I played I couldn’t even keep the songs straight. Especially that last Sunday. Losing my place in a song is one thing. Playing the wrong song is a whole different thing.

I am mentally exhausted, I am emotionally exhausted, and I am physically exhausted. Perfectionism has run me into the ground. Thinking I have to know everything, do everything, and be perfect at it has beat me. That constant feeling of not being “good enough” or “strong enough” or “doing enough” has had a heavy toll.

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!

Learning

I wrote a pretty lengthy post last week, but I couldn’t come up with a title for it. Then, after a few hours I decided the whole thing sounded whiny so I just scrapped it into the draft oblivion. So I decided instead of pissing and moaning I would just share some stuff I’ve been learning/coming to terms with lately.

1. It’s ok to be vulnerable with friends. In fact, if they are really your friends, it is pretty safe, and it helps build the relationship.

2. You shouldn’t ever hold on to guilt that isn’t yours. Ok, you shouldn’t ever just hold on to guilt at all, but you can only make amends for what you do.

3. You can’t earn grace and you don’t deserve it. It’s not an entitlement. Neither can you lose it.

4. Relationships are more important and more valuable that material things, but are harder to make and keep. Which makes them more valuable.

5. You don’t have to know everything. It’s impossible anyway.

6. You can’t do everything. And nobody is self-sufficient.

7. Hurt people hurt people. That doesn’t make it ok, but keeping that in mind helps considerably in being kind and loving to people who have hurt you. I don’t advocate allowing physical abuse, however.

And knowing is half the battle

Petra (who needs to blog) diagnosed me as an Aspie. And then I took like 3 or 4 Asberger’s/Autism tests, and I scored pretty stinking high on all of them as being on the spectrum. I also tested likely to be dyslexic and something else with a similar d name that I can’t remember and can’t be bothered to search my email for. She also diagnosed Jamie with Asberger’s, and Jamie took the tests too and self-diagnosed. What have I done with that? Not much besides mentioning it to our therapists, and I wasn’t really able to convince any of them. But all that said, it explains some things beyond just being introverts.

I had a session with my therapist last week, and I ended up telling her the one thing I haven’t ever told anybody. I really hadn’t planned on dropping that little skeleton to her, but it came out. And I didn’t even have a meltdown in the process, though I think my tear ducts are broken. ;) Anyway, after talking though the whole situation, she told me that I seemed to have a kind of survivor’s guilt even though I was not one of the victims. Just collateral damage.

Not being one to just sit on that, I looked up survivor’s guilt and it is a facet of PTSD. Then the lightbulb turned on, and it was as if all the pieces finally fit together as to what the heck is wrong with my head. It’s no longer “What the heck is wrong with me?” Now I know. Now I understand. Finally. This is why I either overreact or shutdown. This is why I bounce wildly between high and low and angry. This is why my fight or flight is so extreme with flight being default. This is why I am such a control freak.

But knowing is half the battle. Now that I know the why, I have a long road ahead of continuing to process and let go of what wasn’t mine to being with and own what is mine.

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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.

Aggravating my condition

I have asthma. I’ve probably had it my whole life, but wasn’t diagnosed until I was 29 and even then not officially until I was 30. That was also the first time I heard a doctor say “Oh my God!” during an examination of me. The official diagnosis that is when she listened to my lungs and immediately put me on the mist. Then she allergy tested me. Then she referred me to an allergy specialist who submitted me to the medical board to determine whether or not I was medically fit to remain in the Air Force. I was hoping to get the boot, but alas, I was only put on profile restricting me to stateside assignments only. That also meant I couldn’t deploy which I was ok with, but that played a big factor in my decision to get out when my time was up.

When I was allergy tested, I tested positive (very positive) to 5 of the 8 molds used. The doctor went over the results with me ending with, “I don’t remember which of those 5 are outdoor and which are indoor, but both are covered and as long as you live in England, you are screwed.” That explained the foxhole incident when I was in mob school. I was given enough medication to survive without constant wheezing, and even got to the point by the last couple years there that I rarely needed albuteral because I was rarely having attacks. But harvest season was a whole different ball game. Harvesting killed me. Despite the daily steroid inhaler and the addition of allegra, I would be hitting the albuteral every couple of hours. Harvesting kicked up enough stuff into the air to aggravate my condition.

I have several conditions that get aggravated. The one that gets aggravated the most I think is my self-centeredness. Being honest with myself aggravates it even more than other people do, and other people aggravate it a lot. I mean, really. Other people just will not do what I want, when I want, and the way I want. The nerve. ;) Being honest with myself aggravates my condition by showing me how self-destructive my self-centeredness is. Particularly when my self-centeredness is feeding off of self-pity.

I think self-pity might be my drug of choice. It hurts to the point that I can’t take the pain, and so then I have to numb it with something. But my off button doesn’t work, so that my self-medication is just as destructive. It aggravates my condition. But it is familiar, and there is comfort in familiarity no matter how insane it is.

“I’m not crazy…”

“I’ve just been in a very bad mood for 40 years.”

You know you have reached a new level when your therapist’s eyes get real big, her mouth drops open, and she says, “Oh my God!” For once I had the migraine BEFORE I had the appointment with her. It’s usually after. Because that’s where everything gets brought out and processed rather than putting stuff away for later or never. It’s draining.

I decided that one more incident may land me in a psych ward. Seriously, there is just too much. My sponsor got a middle of the day crazy call from me, and I couldn’t even articulate what I was really feeling. But I was freaking out. Turns out it was a panic attack, but it was unlike my normal panic attacks. And I was a far cry from being able to process what I am able to reason out when I have some sense of mental stability.

There was crazy all right. A bazillion frantic “What am I going to about X, but then what about Y, and there just isn’t enough time for Z, but I have to do them all?!” Prayer wasn’t working. Meditation wasn’t working. Saying “Crisco’ll do you proud every time,” every time I passed a Crisco for US House sign wasn’t helping.

So it was call my sponsor or let the crazy keep building unabated and walk into work like that. Granted when I did get to work, one of the trainers asked me if I needed a hug. I wasn’t ok when I got there. I wasn’t ok when I left, but I did what my sponsor said and it helped.

I suspect that my body is addicted to adrenaline. That would explain why after a time of really high stress, I am plagued with panic attacks. Also it would explain the depression that follows the panic attacks which is yet to come. But I can’t say adrenaline is my drug of choice. Because it never has been.

Thanks for letting me share. Enjoy some Clairee and Ouiser.

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.

)

Facing Fear, 2

I was listening to the radio one morning back in December, and by radio I mean SiriusXM. I reached the point where there is just so many times per day I can listen to Sleigh Ride by the Ronettes, and if I never hear that Christmas song by John & Yoko I would be fine. Anyway, I gave up on the Christmas stations, and went through my usuals, and ended up on 80’s on 8 which I am sure is a complete shock to anyone who knows me. Granted, I did spend a few more seconds on 70s than normal listening to Truckin’ by The Grateful Dead and wondering (again) what is the appeal to the Dead. Just like Pink Floyd. Anyway, Van Halen was playing on the 80s, and more specifically, Van Hagar. And I thought to myself, “You know, as much as I hate to admit it, I like Van Hagar better than classic Van Halen.” Even though I am such a non-fan of Sammy Hagar. I resolved to go public with that, and those stakes got upped even higher in the office that morning over Nelson. Yes, I was a fan, and still listen to them from time to time.

What does that have to do with anything? More than I like to admit. When I wrote about facing fear, I wasn’t entirely sure what I was going to have to face. Well, one of those things is caring too much about what other people think about me to the point that I will try to change things as asinine as what kind of music I like to “fit in” with others. And now roughly 3 months later since I started this post, I have a good idea.

I have to completely change the way I think about almost everything.

While that is kind of frightening, it is also surprisingly liberating. I don’t have to continue to be bound by destructive and paralyzing thinking patterns born out of seeking approval from others. Of course, on the flip side of that, I have to figure out who I am. That’s both scary and exciting.

But necessary.