I shared my body, my peace of mind, my time, my humor, my breakfast/lunch/dinner/snacks, and my personal space with her. I’m not sharing my cookie! P.S. I sat in my car alone and ate the ENTIRE cookie.
Then I did something nice (read: made plans, changed other’s plans, rescheduled the changed plans, updated the newest plans) for a group of people and they thanked me with Girl Scout cookies.
The following emoji indicates the remainder of May’s weather: 🥵 I can’t run outside in this. I can’t even walk! All. Month. Long. My fear is if it’s this hot in May, what will July look like? Please send us rain.
And, like any half-brained person in the midst of triple digit temperatures, I scheduled a Day of Service volunteer opportunity for 2 squadrons and 1 group. AF lingo. I’m supremely pleased with the turnout – 18 people – and the nearly 10 full bags of trash we removed from the sides of a 2-mile stretch of highway. I can’t speak for other states, but Texas has the Adopt-a-Highway program where organizations can “adopt” a stretch of public highway. The intent is for each organization to host quarterly cleanup days to maintain Texas roadways. Admittedly, I had no idea my squadron owned a piece of land until a few weeks ago so my tentative plan is to offer a volunteer opportunity twice a year. Read: when it’s cold outside and the threat of snakes is virtually nonexistent.
Oh hell no! If you need me, I’ll be anxiously scanning every piece of dry land for slithering inhabitants. Texas, please stop being so difficult.
I ask you –
Do you hide from your children when eating snacks? You can lie to me but not to yourself!
Does your state have something similar to the Adopt-a-Highway program?
Snakes: “look, friends” or “run for your life”! Obviously – run for the hills screaming like a banshee.
Haven’t done one of these in awhile. Probably because I’ve had other things to share. Important things, like…I don’t remember exactly what, but I’m positive they were more important!
Garmin Fitness adopted me. Bless their hearts. I saw where a running friend (who doesn’t really know me at all but alas we’re friends) was also “adopted” so I took a gamble and submitted my own info. Then, they said ok, we guess you can be a part of our club. And here we are!
We have some truly creative people in our squadron. A spouse made these for everyone for May 4th. Get it, get it. Since we’re the force support squadron – you get it, right?
I stayed up wayyyyyy too late one Saturday night to attend a dining in event with some truly amazing women! There was alcohol, food, shenanigans, and a skit. Video exists somewhere. Team JENGA ruled the night. Except for those 42 women with nerf guns; they had it out for everyone.
The next day – ahem, whole week – I was reminded why I don’t stay out late. Or take shots. Meh. But, the fun was priceless!
I ask you –
Cinco de Mayo – yay or nay? I adore chips and salsa.
When was the last time you stayed up late? And until what time was that?
Occasionally I accept as a compliment what people say when it fact it isn’t. That’s a you problem! For example, someone in my office stated “You’re always doing something.” I saw them smile as the words exited their mouth so, naturally, I thought it was a good statement. Maybe it was, maybe it wasn’t. I have no idea. But it got me thinking – am I doing too much?
My predominant belief is I should/like to give my time and effort to select things. In the Navy, we were encouraged to participate in everything. The problem here is you can’t give even 60% of yourself to 10 obligations. Hello, short stick. I chose (and often got dirty looks) for giving my time to 2-3 collateral duties. Those duties deserved my attention. Fast forward to the Air Force, the duties are called additional duties yet the volun-told status is still in effect. This is why… I take the initiative to cultivate and choose my own additional duties.
Introducing the Resilience Training Assistant (RTA). After a very involved two-day, interactive, emotional course, they felt I was qualified for certification. Yippee! I recognize resilience is a military buzzword; however, it is something I truly believe in because it can be used to reframe the culture of mental health stigma, as well as foster the conversations between military personnel both up and down the chain of command and within all branches. Yes, I know that’s a lot to ask. At the time of viewing the list of qualified personnel on base (nearly 40 people), I only recognized 2 of the names. TWO. Clearly there’s a problem because it means I didn’t know them from resiliency efforts, but from other duties.
The next hurdle is attending the Master Resilience Trainer (MRT) course at Maxwell AFB. Genuinely looking forward to a TDY. In the meantime, there’s a huge need to provide this curriculum to squadrons, groups, and all personnel. My vision is to ensure the word resiliency doesn’t go the way of other buzzwords, aka out of sight/out of mind. I want people to talk to each other when they’re hurting, when they’re struggling, when they need help. Billions of dollars a year are spent on (I’ll say it) completely useless things – why aren’t we spending money and time on changing culture instead? It costs nothing to empower others.
“If you’re self-aware enough to be self-deprecating, your IQ must be high!” – Will Lannon
We’re going to spark a revolution!
I ask you –
Have you ever heard of Resiliency Training?
What are some buzzwords in your profession?
Tell me about a time you participated in a culture-changing curriculum!
Allison of The Broad Running Broad published a great article in early April on the popular InsideTracker. You can check it out here.
Seems all the running influencers are somehow a part of the biomarker and nutrition tracking app, Inside Tracker. The premise is you submit your labwork to them, it’s analyzed for nutritional, hormonal, etc deficiencies and then a customized plan is sent to you detailing how to improve your health. The fine print though. Turns out you can pay upwards of several thousands of dollars per year for their customized plans and labwork costs. Until now I hadn’t heard anyone share the deep, dark details.
And, on that note, the Navy really distorts what health and fitness looks like. Probably all branches but I’m only speaking to my own. Maybe distort isn’t the correct word, but it certainly played into my distorted views. I haven’t looked lately – there’s no reason to – but the height/weight requirements are completely impractical. Truth time. I currently weigh 150 lbs. That’s a lot in my little, distorted, unhealthy mind. I don’t like that number. I don’t like it at all. However, I’m liking how my clothes (still) fit, I can run, I can keep up with mini, I can do my job without restriction, I can LIVE. So what’s the problem? Well, nothing, I guess. Again, it’s just a number! Kel! It’s just a number! Ugh. I hate how society places value on the number on the scale. How many times have I said it doesn’t matter – but that stupid voice inside my head says something is wrong.
Deep breath. I’m trying. There’s a fitness friend I follow along with in social media who also weighs the same. It was a bit of a news flash when she casually stated her weight. It clearly doesn’t define her. But going back over her story, she seemed to have struggled many years ago, too. Hmmm. I’m sensing a pattern here.
Nonetheless, I’m sticking with my plan of “training” for a 10k and strength training 3-4x a week. Last week was the highest mileage week since December…a whopping 8 miles! Tell the press! Or is it hold the presses? Meh. I sincerely feel strong this time around. It’s incredible how much we rely on our back end to propel us forward when running. Of course I knew all this. I just had to break something before being reminded.
Isn’t that always how it goes? The little things creep up on us and, then, BAM. We’re in over our heads with lab work plans and physical therapy and who knows what else. Meh.
I ask you –
Have you heard of InsideTracker? Have you tried it?
What things in your life do you believe you may have a distorted view of?
Tell me your word du-jour! Lately mine is “meh”, but I use “whackadoo” daily.
During our recent trip to OKC, on the itinerary was a trip to the Oklahoma City Memorial. If you’ll recall, I once wrote an extensive graduate paper on terrorism. My field of study. The paper was submitted electronically and earned me a lot of attention. By attention I mean it was embargoed by the federal government and multiple three-letter agencies, never returned to either my professor or self, and I was investigated. On the bright side, I got an A before my professor ever received it and the joke is it ended up on (then) President Obama’s desk. Anyway… I’ve always wanted to visit.
Not only is it a uniquely designed memorial, but also a touching testimony to survivors and the families of those lost. No matter what damage was done that day, people all over the world have an opportunity to pay their respects. Photos online do not begin to compare to the solemn reverence of this memorial. Mini was intrigued by the chairs – big for adults, small for children.
I wasn’t prepared for the emotions to overwhelm me. I really had no reason to not be able to speak around my tears – at the time, we lived hundreds of miles away. Yet watching it on television in 1995 (I was 9 yrs old) is an engraved photo in my mind, but it does nothing to prep your heart for the magnitude of 168 lives needlessly lost. 168. Many other tragedies since easily surpass that number. But it’s people. And no number of people killed due to acts of terrorism is acceptable.
Again, the photos here do no justice to the emotional journey of looking at mementos left on the fence once used to guard the damaged building after it was bombed. Or how it feels to touch the granite wall of children’s hand prints created by children from multiple states in response to hearing of the children whom would never come home. My collegiate career focused on the acts themselves, the mindset of the guilty, the way it has played into future events; my publications didn’t address the emotions or the very real loss. Interestingly, this is common in people who study subjects considered unempathetic, like child abuse, law enforcement, or terrorism. There’s a switch that must be deactivated. I can’t imagine what it must be like to visit the 9/11 Memorial.
All this being said, hug your kids tighter, say a few extra I love you’s, and visit places you’ve always wanted to see. As I get older, I’m appreciating history more and more. Probably because I know one day we all will be history ourselves.
I ask you –
Have you been to the OKC Memorial or 9/11 Memorial?
What’s the chance this very post will be flagged before publication? Listen, I don’t have time to plead my case.
It doesn’t happen as often as we’d like but occasionally I get to catch up with one of my very best friends, Sam. She and I were inseparable for several years, especially during the formidable early-Navy days. In fact, it was a running joke how if you saw one you would see the other; even around people we’d never met before, our easy banter and knowledge of the other’s life led them to believe we’d been friends since childhood. The military has a way of helping you get to know someone really quickly. Because if you’re going to trust your life with someone, you best know a few things first. Anyway, Sam and I were thick as thieves. No word yet on any actual thievery but admittedly we did a lot of shady stuff. Don’t ask about the 4am inspection. We learned together how to navigate some really tough situations and live to tell about it. Sam was always my go-to for great advice. Even now, our conversations pick back up right where we left them. Those are the friendships I value the most. Can’t forget the Joker. We have countless inside jokes, memories of late nights and even later coffee dates, too many tears, and laughter that can be heard miles away. No matter our distance, a best friend like her is hard to come by. She hails from the great state of Illinois now; however…
Further good news is Sam may be visiting Texas in the upcoming months for some military required training and you know what that means! Batman and Robin Reunited!
Reminiscing about the Navy is like taking a manic car ride down a crowded street in Mexico. Let me improve your image. A clown car overfilled with good idea fairies on a dirt road between overgrown buildings surrounded by pedal carts. A hell bus, if you will. Different story for a different day. Being in the military is like living another life, like having a separate personality, like being one person in a skewed reality. At times, it’s lonely while simultaneously so loud you can’t hear yourself think. There’s no outlet. A constant circus meets board room. So if debilitating anxiety is for you, I’ve found the place!
Unrelated but on an equally uplifting note – Jamaica has a bobsled team for the 1st time in over 20 years!! Check out the full story here.
Everyone knows one of my all-time favorite movies is “Cool Runnings”; which, by the way, is more than 30 years old. Geez, I’m old. You can guarantee I’ll be tuning in to watch Jamaica hurl themselves and their light-as-a-feather bobsled down a sharp concrete chute in February. “It’s bobsled time!!”
I ask you –
What’s your oldest friendship?
Will you be watching the winter Olympics?
Tell me a nickname your friends called you! Clearly, I’m Batman.
My workplace is offering a class on how to deal with stress. Upon discussing possible attendance at said class, my co-worker stated she was offered the same class at a different job, but the class was cancelled. Cue the stress jokes. How does a class on being stress-free get cancelled?! The whole incident just speaks of stress!
I was approached at my desk by a kind woman who was having some computer issues. She explained she is accustomed to using Navy-supported technology resources. Upon further discussion, she explained she’s from Charleston and works with SPAWAR, now known as something else I continue to mispronounce. It was so nice to chat with someone who understands Navy lingo. Toward the end of our conversation, I secretly hoped she would have to use me as a verification source for her account just so we would another opportunity to speak about Navy stuff. I don’t miss it. Just sometimes.
From another source: “I’m sure most of you saw that former member of the Monkees singing group, Michael Nesmith, passed away a few weeks ago. Maybe their heyday was long before many of you were born. The Monkees were the TV answer to the Beatles in the mid-1960’s (I can recall watching each new episode each week); whereas the Beatles were known as the ‘Fab-Four’; the Monkees were the opposite as the ‘Pre-Fab Four’, a made for TV group, and though the Monkess could play instruments, all the songs were written and played by studio wizards like Neil Diamond and Glen Campbell and the Wrecking Crew. When the Monkees got their way to play their instruments on later albums, they fell off the rock-world. Mike Nesmith enlisted in the USAF and took his tech training as a B-52 mechanic here at Sheppard in the 1960 timeframe and was assigned to Clinton-Sherman AFB, OK. As a side note, his mother invented Liquid Paper, the correction fluid used extensively in the typewriter days.”
Never have I ever… considered I would be starting a new year without running. It feels lonely, like watching everyone get on the bus to do something fun and I can’t go. If you’re sick of hearing me talk about how I can’t run for awhile, then keep scrolling. But seriously. I feel genuinely left out. Strava has no problem reminding me of upcoming or current run challenges. The Facebook event tracker rubs it in even more with their stupid ‘your friend is attending race whatever’. Oh, shut up!
And I’m over here with my yoga and walking. Be so jealous. Did that stress-free class ever get rescheduled?
I ask you –
Would you attend a workshop on stress management?
What are you doing for fitness goals in January?
Note: I only posted about the Monkees for the final sentence on liquid paper because it was so random to me.
Yes, I was aware that children, for a short time, were considered mail-able. It seems weird, but doctors used to prescribe cigarettes for pregnant women, so maybe it’s not too weird.
We recently celebrated my elder child’s 30th birthday, and of course I was reminded of the circumstances of how I was alerted to her arrival. For you see, I was cruising around South America at the time and communications between me and the States were irregular and crude.
I knew she would be along pretty soon, and it was after a very long midnight watch up in the gun director that I settled into my rack for a precious 3-hour nap before the endless cycle of events of a warship underway, the next go round of eat, work, and watch. With great surprise my then-Senior Chief (RIP) thrust his hand past the blue-curtain barrier that defined my sacrosanct rack with a just barely not growled “Here! Read this!”
I had been handed, of course, the long awaited for birth announcement. And now, here it was, a telegram for the love of God, sent to me by the Red Cross. Sleep was out of the question, and I walked fore and aft, bilge to bridge making the announcement to anyone who would listen. I finally ran out of people to tell, and I ended up on the port side main deck, smoking a celebratory cigar while watching the wilderness of the Andes Mountains slide aft. I’m sure there are things about that day that I have long since forgotten, but I still have that telegram up in my study where I keep a number of priceless mementos of my life to remind me of that amazing morning.
There’s a wide variety of trinkets and tchotchkes in that cache of memories, an unsurprisingly number amongst them are letters: Honest-to-God, sat-down-with-pen-and-paper letters written at various times and delivered to me (via paths that can only be guessed at) to whatever ship I was on and wherever I was. Those letters are occasionally pulled from storage, their decades-old creases unfolded so that I may again experience an echo of the thrill I enjoyed when I first received them so long ago. A few of them still are redolent of the fuel-oil, paint, and steel smell of a warship underway and it’s that odor that instantly transports me back to a very different time and place.
Today’s Sailors feel they are lucky. E-mails back and forth to the home-front are everyday events, phone calls common, and video chats with loved ones unremarkable. Keeping up with the day-to-day activities of the household and families has never been easier or more immediately possible for the Sailor.
And, I think it safe to say, that very, very few of the Active Duty folks would willingly return to my Morse code and semaphore way of doing things. Hard to blame them, really. If I could have been part of a video call back in 1985, well, let’s just say I might be missing parts of my anatomy. Running your life/marriage via mail that makes it way home via a wandering and unpredictable path (Say, over to an oiler, then to an amphib, and finally over to a series of Air Force Base storage areas) sometimes takes longer than the deployment. Indeed. Stories of mail arriving home after the Sailor used to be very common.
And it is also true that we could on occasion call home by radio, thanks to ham radio operators and long distance phone calls. It was called the MARS system, although it was probably easier to call the planet than it was to call home. MARS was wonderful to have, but weird. We had to use Navy radio techniques (“Over”) which were hard to teach to small children, and there was a very long list of things that were taboo to talk about on the radio. Imagine phoning home and then being prosecuted. Ah, the perils of military life.
But emails and phone calls can’t be kept, cherished, and handed down like the letters and other messages I have from those long-ago days. It might be fun to see a new e-mail in the inbox in the morning, but every morning? I wonder. And, I wonder if that experience can match the intense feelings of anticipation and joy (and sometimes desolation) when the Boatswain’s Mate of the Watch passed “Mail Call!” Remember, that would sometimes happen only twice a month.
It was possible to tell by holding that the letter had power. You were holding something she had held just a while ago. That letter had been in your house! Your daughter can write! All of those things so very far away. A talisman of home, a status hard to convey onto an e-mail.
Mail and its service seems to be failing, albeit slowly, and the whole process is probably doomed. Sad I suppose, but such is the inexorable march of time. I try to remember that everything in the world today will someday be gone and considered either quaint or no longer understood, enigmas from the past like Stonehenge or the Antikythera Mechanism. One of my more ridiculous thoughts is of my great, great grandchildren attempting to decipher those letters found one day moldering away in dusty old box. “Jeez,” I can hear them say, “Who was this guy? Why didn’t he just flash over and see Grammy Lynn instead of doin’ this? And what’s a ‘ship’?” Sic transit Gloria mundi.
 My days in the Navy started before Desert Shield/Desert Storm. Mail services had been archaic/slow for years, but improved drastically after American service members started going to the Middle East in serious numbers. I’m not complaining, it’s just the way it was. And, we could always tell when Oprah or Sally Jesse Raphael had a story about the folks in the Persian Gulf as after those shows, we would receive a mountain of mail on the fantail addressed to Any Sailor/Soldier.
As always, a huge thank you to my friend, Dan, for his sole contribution to this RoF special piece. I know I have many other friends/family with stories for days of their time and I’d love to post them, too. Please contact me if you have a contribution or if you have a story but are unable to put it into words that make sense – I’m hear to listen and write on your behalf. Always! -Kel
My new phone screen! Sometimes we just need a reminder. And a little smile. Amazing what one small change can do to perk us up in this rather dismal world. Not always dismal. Just don’t watch the news.
I read a great quote: don’t mistake my free time for being available. Or something like that. You get the point, right? As a mom, human, type-A personality, it’s easy for me to fall into the trap of fully completing my calendar then dreading all the things I now have to do. Really, I think this is the norm. There lies an expectation to constantly be doing, going, succeeding, moving forward lest we be considered lazy, inconsiderate, sloth-like.
As I mentioned before in this POST, prioritizing what we want and need sometimes means saying no. Haha easier said than done.
Cake reminded me of a few things. Specifically how the Navy has cake for literally every event. Change of command – let’s have cake. Promotion ceremony – the CS’s bake a cake. Suicide awareness month – we’re having cake. Cake makes everything better. Even suicide? Come on. (I am absolutely not making light of very real issues; I am making light of the preponderance of cake available at events dealing with personal trauma.)
As for priorities, sometimes balance is the goal. Other times, we eat cake until we’re stuffed and regret the decision dearly. I can’t be talking only to myself.
I ask you-
When was the last time you changed your phone background?
If you had to choose only one, would you pick cookies, cake, or ice cream? This is hard for me because I adore ice cream, but I think I would have to pick cookies haha
Tell me what balance looks like for you! A cookie in each hand!
The adventures in Bonnywood Manor are some of my favorites to read. Brian’s humor is the best!
In keeping with more office-themed things, here’s a few nuggets: my title should be changed to calendar girl. But not the sexy, mildly inappropriate calendar girl you may have immediately been considering. More like I play Tetris with calendars and am on standby for changes at a moment’s notice. In fact, a wonderful co-worker called me with these words – “Let’s play a game!” – which really wasn’t a fun game at all because it involved moving around days’ worth of events to accommodate some last minute silliness. Good thing I love her.
Also, as the reigning queen of dad jokes, it’s my sworn duty to entertain strangers with punny, simple jokes. To my own delight, of course. I feel like our security team draws straws on who has to deal with me when my car rounds the bend. I’m on the “do not engage” list. Occasionally they laugh with me (at me?) and I congratulate myself on a job well done. I’ll be here all week, folks!
Lastly, soon they’ll be requiring IQ tests in my workplace. Hahah, I wish. Short of missing a few crayons, inability to decipher which floor we’re on, and following basic computer instructions, I think it’s going well! It’s just a three ring circus without a grandmaster.
Clap, clap. Ohhhhhhh, cabana boyyyyy!!!
I ask you –
Want to join my circus?
Are you the problem child of your organization? Be honest!!
Please check out fellow blogger, Brian Lageose. He’s hilarious!