Ouch, my heart

It’s as if my little Beach Rose had been in danger for the last 3 days and we’ve finally gotten her to safety.  Now I can breathe.  Now I can relax.  Now life is worth living again and there’s meaning and I’m interested in it.

Because the last three days have been a living hell.  My whole body has ached to hold her.  My heart’s been in shambles.  The tears haven’t stopped streaming down my face.  The hurt has been giant.  The feeling of loss and depression surprising and crippling.

Sure, I have time again.  Time for myself.  Time to be selfish.  Head to the beach with just my chair & a book.  How long has it been since I’ve been able to sit & read quietly with the backdrop of waves crashing?  Time to shop.  When was the last time I was able to spend a day at the outlets?  Time to clean, thoroughly clean, the house.  Date of last window wash?  Can’t remember.  That she can draw her name with her finger on most of them, and I can see it, is not the best sign.  Maybe I can focus on a stronger exercise routine.  Hang out with friends.  Family, even.  Cook.  Bake.  Quilt.  Garden.

Who cares?

None of that matters.  None of it.  I’d rather live in a messy house, with barely a stolen hour of time to myself every other month, wearing the same clothes from 5 years ago, without the svelt body of someone who exercises lots, and with no social life or hobbies, than have to spend this much time apart.

Is it really necessary?  It wasn’t this way when I was young.  The days were not as long.  I’ve thought about alternatives…maybe I can keep her with me, maybe somewhere else would offer shorter days, maybe I can go backwards in time till I reach this point again & then go back in time, ad infinitum…

And now I have 4 days of normalcy.  Of her in my arms.  Of her safe at home.  Of holding, squeezing, kissing, loving, loving, loving…until I lose her again…and then what????  Now what???

And for what?  Is this worthwhile?  Does she need to be doing this?  Would she be alright if I kept her with me for a while longer?

Or do all of these thoughts and feelings point to the obvious fact that this is MY issue, not hers.  And that I need to be the unselfish parent, and encourage and promote and cheer…

as she walks back into her kindergarten class on Tuesday?

 

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The Secret to Crispy

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Can you just picture a limp, soggy piece of bacon?  Or damp fried chicken?  After all the time and effort you put into the prep: cutting or breading or soaking?  How devastating!

The secret to crispy has to do with what you’ve probably been using all along.  The paper-towel-oil-absorber.  Caution!

When you take something greasy out of a pot or pan, do place it on the paper towel to soak up excess grease.  Just be certain that it’s only for a few seconds…

If they stay on the paper towel they’ll steam and get soggy, lose their crispness.

The secret is to transfer them off the paper towel lined plate and onto a cooling rack, in under a minute.  Tada! Crispy!

 

Matterhorn

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Matterhorn, by Karl Marlantes

 

This book is epic.  One of those that every human being should read.  Just so that we are reminded how lucky we are to be free and alive and that we owe our lives to our veterans.  Just so that we are forced to live a day in the life of a combat veteran.  Or picture being their Mother, Father, sister, brother, relation.

This book is tough.  It doesn’t give it to you gently.  There are no holds barred.  And it’s necessary.  Necessary for us, the readers, to truly live out and feel what these Marines (and all military) went through, and still go through.

It is amazing to see the bonds of brotherhood that are forged from the beginning of training, strengthened to that of steel in combat and honored throughout their lives.  To be a witness to the self-sacrifice made in the name of  brotherhood and country was an inspiration.  I  cannot believe that men and women willingly put themselves through the type of hell described in this book;  the forces of nature, the diseases, the wildlife, and of course the imminent dangers of war.  For the love of their country.  For the loyalty of their brotherhood.

And to really, truly get an idea of what takes place during a battle is terrifying.  It appears that all their boot camps and hell weeks and training are superfluous.  Luck is the only reason any of them ever come home.  Luck.  Lucky to have been out of the line of machine gun fire.  Lucky to have stepped to the right rather than the left onto a mine.  Lucky to have been in the back of the line heading in to ambush, rather than the front.  Lucky to have mess hall duty rather than radio operator duty the day of the battle.  You name the situation…luck is what kept you alive out there.  The only reason those soldiers need the training is to understand their weapons, inside and out, and commands, and for the sake of the relationships made.  Otherwise, the benefit to training is solely for officers.  Officers are the ones that need to be able to strategize; about position, tactics, rescue, etc.

It’s a scary thought…that the only reason your son or daughter will make it out alive is because luck was on their side.  And it’s a horrible reality for the survivors to carry with them for the rest of their lives; that they were luckier than their brethren, which is why they made it.

You can also completely imagine yourself metamorphosing into a killer, filled with hatred for those who have brought this situation upon you and yours.  I was horrified to realize that I had come to the point where I was cheering when I heard the Marines in Bravo Co. had killed another “gook”.  But, naturally, I wanted it to end.  And I ached for those lost lives, the maimed, their loved ones and the Marines left alive to finish fighting and live with guilt for making out of the bush for the rest of their lives.

It is devastating to hear that 22 veterans, a day, are killing themselves.  But I can see why now.  What they go through is nothing we can even closely relate to.  The horrors they witness, the conflicting emotions, the fear, the doubt, the nightmares they will relive forever.

My takeaway from this book is that I am one of those who is fortunate enough to live, and to live freely, because of our veterans.  And I can never thank them enough.

 

Keep Your Food Warm…

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A little secret I just found out myself in the last year, which is just priceless…

after you’ve cooked, fried, braised, melted, etc your food, place it in the oven at 200 degrees to keep warm!  So fantastic!  Fry batches of french fries, donuts, chicken and then pop it in the warm oven while you work on the next batch or the rest of your dinner.

And did you know that most dinner plates can withstand a 200 degree oven, as well?  That means that you could have a nice hot meal all laid out on a plate waiting in the oven when everyone finally decides to come to the table for dinner.  Nothing’s ruined by getting cold!

The Edge of Lost

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The Edge of Lost by Kristina McMorris

What a fun book to read!

Not brilliant literature, by any means.  But, not your average clichéd chic lit.  A nice balance between the historical  and the storytelling.

A story that compels you to turn the pages and find out what happens next to the beloved protagonist.

A bit incredible, this novel is less than brilliant because of this, as well as the way that all loose ends are tied up with a pretty bow at the end.

However, a good meaty read definitely worth sinking your teeth into!

Don’t Take Your Life For Granted…

My New Year’s promise to myself…

  • breathe in the sunshine
  • stop & smell the roses
  • be thankful, every day
  • be grateful for the things I have
  • consciously stop wanting more
  • embrace the present
  • no hard feelings with family
  • Love boldly
  • Hold On Tight to What I’ve Been Handed…

 

Here’s the song to start the New Year right with!  Embrace these lyrics and live, love and laugh with everyone you love, while you can…

Hold On Tight by Greg Holden