Wednesday, April 30, 2008


Woke up with yet another sinus infection. I mean really, who gets this many?!

me. :(

So with my brain throbbing, someone behind my eyes kicking them foreward out of my head, someone else behind my ears pushing my molars and ear drums out - I made my way to the Advil. Yay Advil.

Of course, I my desperation for pain relief I forgot to eat a cracker, or anything.

Enter squeezy, queazy Advil-stomach. UGH!

I'd say I'm a knucklehead but the thought of knuckles and my head hurts too much to think about.

I have a lunch appointment at 11:30 and work from 4-10.

Wish me luck.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Show her da Love!

I spoke to V last night at length via e-mail exchange (her phone craps out more often than not) and she shared that she's feeling homesick for her home, her family and her friends. Nightmares, worries, just a head full of "what ifs" that are wearing on her mind and making school and focusing even more difficult. And she needs to focus on school and relaxing after studying! She should be able to have fun and blow off some steam when she's able ~ despite the stresses of Tech School and the other demands on her time.

She needs to have faith and confidence in her path, yet right now she feels doubt and worry. She needs to feel loved and supported in her goals.

I, of course, am worried about her.

Knowing my daughter as I do, I know that a big steak dinner, a good laugh, a good cry, huge hugs and a full night's sleep would work wonders!! :)

Barring that... a show of love and support would certainly help. To that end I am finally posting her name and address in a permanent spot on this blog. Keep it clean and use it for only positive messages, please. Abuses can only do her tremendous harm.

If there's anything you're inclined to say or to send to let her know she is supported and cherished, especially over this next 8 or 9 weeks of Tech School, won't you please? Just a card to let her know that you're FINE and that she needn't worry would be great. Even if she doesn't know you!

If you want to send something and need more ideas:
Music is life to her, so CDs are perfect. Heck - she likes so many different styles - make her a mix disc (mix-tape?!)!
Photos are always welcome.
Beef Jerky. She loves it and is missing red meat something awful.
Silly things! (somehow a Slinky comes to mind!)
Draw her a fun picture (C'mon Marta, Nancy, Tillie & Hannah!)
Chicken Noodle soup (healthy please, not Campbell's red label)
Peanut Butter and Saltines - a favorite snack

If you send a simple postcard to let her know that she's loved and supported, then you have blessed her day beyond words.
And for that I thank you deeply.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Bits, buds, pups and flops

And now, for something completely different...
Some post-Passover levity!

(Thanks for the link Gayle. Don't forget to turn off the playlist sound first!)

Hope you enjoyed that. It had me cracking up... Exfoliate?!

In other happenings...
I spent some time out in the garden before heading to work on Sunday.
This prolific little patch of pink lilly of the valleys and fern started from 5 lilly pips and 4 fern plants. Only 3 years later they look like this...

There are now more than 50 lilly of the valley and about 20 fern!

Which reminds me of a song my mom used to sing in the car. (Yes, we all sing. Singing in the car is almost as good as singing around a bonfire!) I was reminded of this song because Patty of my Chant Group (Women With Wings West) suggested a song for spring and started this one! Shades of many happy miles came flooding back to my memory.

White coral bells upon a slender stalk

Lillies of the valley deck my garden walk

Oh how I wish that I could hear them ring.

That will happen only when the angels/fairies sing!

*Sigh - smiling*

Around the side of the house by the garage are some paper whites (narcissus) which I harvested for a tall thin vase.

And in the back garden there are some rather spectacular white and salmon colored, double ruffle jonquils (daffodils). I cut some for another vase.


News from Avivah. Saturday found her in Lompoc at a local fair with a few of her wingmen, some of whom were working at the fair as community outreach. She played a game (a Dart game, ironicly enough - she hates playing darts) and won! Her dorm room now has a puppy named Beethoven. Here's his headshot. Looks cute and cuddly, yes?

Here he is across her bed... BIG PUPPY!!! LOL


Saturday I took Joshua with me to the mall to get a couple things for which V had asked. While there we had a discussion about him 'gauging' his ear pierce. He wants to work down to a 14. Not that big a deal. I think I shocked him when I bought him a 16 and a 14 gauge split hoop and helped him put the 16 in. You never know what you can do 'til you ask, right!?

He also got a new pair of flip flops. This is the kid who managed to lose ONE flip flop in San Antonio. I've often marveled at people who lose one shoe. I mean, how does that happen? and Hmmmm, was it the flip or the flop?? Anyways, on the new ones, the bottoms around the sole look like Converse All-Stars! They're very cool.

Speaking of flip flops... I have a warning for everyone that was passed along by my friend Vicki. Do NOT buy cheap WalMart flipflops!! The link is from snopes and is not for the squeamish. WalMart flip flops. Just don't do it ~ Please.

As for me: I have decided to try a new product that came out on the US market last summer I think. They're called FitFlops and are supposed to work the muscles in your legs and tush, building core strength as you walk and go about your daily business. Sounds good to me (even though I can't wear them to work).

I ordered my pair (in red like the pic) from BathandBodyWorks . Once they arrive I'll start wearing them for an hour each day. I'll keep you posted on this grand experiment as it goes along.

Last of today's tidbits is a picture I received attached to an e-mail from Tim. This is Avivah's friend and ~ as of last weekend ~ new Airman, Travis P. Congrats!


Please don't forget that your love and light is still needed by AF dad John and his family as he recovers from major abdominal surgery. Your prayers and positive energy are also needed by Sharon G., AF Mom Corinne, AF Mom Michelle (PA), AF Mom Lolly, her son Tommie (deployed) and many others.

I hope it's a good day for you.

Saturday, April 26, 2008


Peggy's son Corey proved it...
And now Avivah has confirmed it...


Minot AFB, ND

and in other news....

Avivah aced her Block IV test.

The proudest cage monkey mom ever

Thursday, April 24, 2008

+/-, Alphabet soup & a Cage Monkey

With all that good news I suppose there had to be some less-than-good news too, eh?

1) I left one of my favorite sweaters at work yesterday. Got in early today to find that last night, one on my Assistant Managers had... Thrown it out. Seriously. Who does that?! I was so desperate that I even went dumpster diving. It's a clothing store with one dumpster, nothing icky there but cardboard and store trash. But no luck. :(

2) I was SOOOO ticked off about my sweater and having a very frustrating time of it today that I ticked off someone I love. Some days I need to hide in a hole.

3) AF dad, John, has developed Ileus. "A temporary arrest of intestinal peristalsis. It occurs most commonly after abdominal surgery, particularly when the intestines have been manipulated." AKA: His guts hurt and he's terribly nauseus. Yuck! The information I read says that it usually passes in 48-72 hours. I'm hoping for *now* or sooner. Keep the faith John & Hallie. Sending lots of light from Michigan to Maine!

4) I got so frustrated writing about how frustrated I was that I knocked over my open bottle of nail polish. The blog was open while I was on the phone and polishing. I multi-task. Sue me. Or better yet, spill my polish... oh wait... just did that. Well chit then!
So, since there's always a balance this must mean that there's more good news to share. Well there is!

V passed yesterday's Block III test with flying colors! She takes the Block IV test tomorrow morning.
These seem to be going really fast, then I realize that there are at least 13 Blocks in her 13 weeks there at Vandenberg!
Fly V Fly!

And now, for our ABCs and the mystery cage monkey...

You thought you knew your ABCs? HAH! These are military ABCs and you ain't seen nothin' yet!

V had asked about Peggy's son, Corey, who is at Minot (a base at which she may end up). She said: "Is he MMT? FMT? EMT? PMT? MHT?"

My ever-intelligent response was: HUH?? (of course I dashed off a note to Peggy!)

V had also shared that she is a Missle Monkey and a CageGirl... SQWEH??? This is her response:

MMT- Missile Maintenance Technician, Missile Monkeys

FMT- Facilities Maintenance Technician, Janitors

EMT- Electrical Maintenance Technician, Sparkchasers

PMT- Honestly, i don't have a clue who they are.

MHT- Missile Handling Technician, no known nickname.

The nicknames are all in good fun. No one gets 'bent' over them.

But Wait. It gets better... she writes:

Each MMT dispatch team goes with 5 people in it. A Team Chief, two Topsiders, a Cageman, and a Boardman.

Team Chief is the senior Ranking member of the team.

Topsiders are usually the heftier people on the team, the larger ones.

Boardman is the tallest of them all.

And the Cageman is the smallest, lightest, and best memory.

Hence, me.


So there you have it. I am the proudest Cage Monkey's Mom ever!!!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Good News Fairy

1) Joshua's caught up in all his classes and is out celebrating a stunning sun-shiny afternoon then off to the gym. I'm heading back outdoors in a sec myself. Time to plant the Morning Glories! (a pic from last year's garden)
2) AF dad John is very much in love with his new mistress, "Ms. Epidural" the pain pump. He's doing well so far, but taking it day by day. Thank you all for sending whatever positive energy you did.

3) Got an e-mail from Avivah this morning that had one particularly faboo line in it (among others): "I'm doing well in class, top in my class actually." Hot Damn!!

Speaking of "hot"... (Not that it compares in good newsness to #2 or 3)

We've been struggling and roasting at work with a heating/cooling system that just doesn't keep the store livable for us or our customers. Put it this way - we've all been in sleeveless tops since the first spring day it hit 60. So today we took the bull by the horns... We propped open the DOOR! LOL It helped a lot.

So in short... it's all good!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Prayers and Tree Hugs

First off today, please hold AF Mom Hallie and her family in your thoughts as her husband (AF Dad) John undergoes major surgery this morning. The pic above is for you Mr. Hallisicle! May you be held safely.

Their sons are A1c CJ who is stationed at Hurlbert Field in FL and HS student, Connor. I'm sure the boys are both worried out of their mind about their dad. John does not heal well and has been prone to post-surgical infection so everyone's quite concerned that this be complication-free.

Light, thoughts and prayers go out to John, Hallie, CJ and Connor this morning.

Today is Earth Day! Go hug a tree or better yet, plant one. Whatever you do, take a moment and remember that we are all residents of one address.

Bright blessings to everyone. I'm headed outside!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Passover and HELP!

Last night was the first family holiday we've celebrated without Avivah. The first Seder of Passover.

V and I text messaged as the family all arrived at my mom's house and then I called her. I sat out on the front porch talking and chatting just fine... and then my 3 neices, Hannah, Isabel and Tillie ran by laughing and playing and having a great time. Soon my nephew Hunter joined them.

One question I really hated hearing the answer to was if V had found a seder to attend there at Vandenberg. The answer was No. She asked the Chaplain and he knew of none. Ouch.

As V and I talked, Hannah came over and sent a hello to V...
Tillie came over (I get called "Aunie Lela" now), blessed me with some rocks and then a huge smile when I told her I was talking to "her Viva"...

It crept up... and then it GOT me.

I had to finish the conversation (promising to call back) saying I had to go light the holiday candles. HA.

The hole in my heart that V's absence creates started a good cry that began at "Love you" and barely made it through "bye".

I know how much she adores her little cousins (and No, Hunter, you're not little any more, but she adores you too!) and would have loved running around with them. I know how happy she would've been to meet Mike's daughters, Sarah and Cassy (Mike is Karen's bf) who all came from MD to be here. I know how she and her brother gab and snark through the seder with each other. (LOL) I know how much she loves her Grandma and Grandma's cooking! I know how much she loves the songs we all sing together for Passover. I know how much I love her voice.

And I know how much I miss her.

I pulled it together and on with the ritual we went.

I called her again after dinner, taunting her (good naturedly) about the tower of Passover rolls on the table and saving her a mocha bar. She then shared that she really misses "cooked food". Huh?!

Here I thought that "The Breakers" their Dfac (dining facility) had good "cooked" food for them 3x a day. She says it's not that good and it's far away from them. (a 10 min bus ride) So it cuts deeply into the short times they have to eat, especially breakfast and lunch.

She said she misses proteins the most. My little 'meat and potatoes' kid is living on energy drinks (shudder) and Ramen noodles for lunches. Breakfasts are a disaster. Dinners are hit and miss depending on her time and duties.

We talked about a few things that she might be able to make in her dorm room (which she would prefer) but we ran into a few obstacles...

  • She has a very tiny fridge (a dorm sized cube)
  • No freezer to speak of (a tray of ice cubes + 2" maybe)
  • Very limited space to store dry goods
  • No sink (except the bathroom)
  • A shared microwave - on every other floor
  • The Commisary is about a 9 block walk each way

We agreed that I'd once more venture into her bedroom here for her bag of Tupperware (we were both reps, so we believe in the stuff!) and get her soup mugs and a couple other pieces to help them store foods more effectively (and pest free. It is a dorm after all.)

Gods bless Grandma, who jumped at the chance to send food to her granddaughter. There's a box of Matza and three kinds of cookies all ready to go out to V on Monday. I'll add some canned soup and a few other things...


Avivah needs ideas of things she can make, given the above limitations, that are nutritious, quick and easy. If it's "cooked food" then all the better! I'll probably send her a Tupperware microwave steamer to help.

Please comment, e-mail and call me with ideas. I really want to help her if I can.

If you want to send her something yourself just ask me for the address. If it's helpful, you sure have my blessing. If you have a FoodSaver or something like it and can vacuum pack REAL foods safely, PLEASE let me know. I'll send you whatever funds you need to mail V (and Latoya, her roomie) a couple of home-cooked meals.

Friday, April 18, 2008

The YUMMY One *updated

A couple people have asked me off-blog for the recipe to the "Yummy" charoset recipe my sister likes. So here it is!

Cinnamon & Ginger Charoset
½ C. pitted Dates
1 ½ C. dried Apricots
2 Apples - I used Fuji
1 C. Pecans, chopped
1 1/2 tsp. Ground Cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp. Ground Ginger
¼ C. Orange Juice

I add a splash of sweet red wine too.
*Make that a BIG splash, like 1/2 C.
(Mogen David or Manichewitz, or a vintage commonly known as "Jewish Robitussin")

Micro-dice the dried fruits by hand. Use a very sharp knife and ignore the fact that the dates look like beheaded cockroaches. Grind (mini food processor) the pecans to a coarse meal. Peel, core and grate the apples. (full size processor or by hand ~ I was lazy this time).

Ok, NOW you're ready to combine all the ingredients, mixing well in a large bowl. Taste and adjust. Mortar-like? Perfect.

Cover, refrigerate overnight and serve.

It also occured to me that this shouldn't be named after the spices, but rather the large amount of apricots used. I propose: Apricot Ginger Charoset Enjoy!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Block II

Avivah just messaged me saying she got a 95 on today's Block II test.
I was all excited for her and she... wasn't.

She wrote: "not good enough to do what I want to do". When I questioned her, she said it doesn't endanger her job, but it's not the 'top of the top', the 'best of the best' that she wants it to be. So she's disappointed in herself.

Ok, I wanna know...
Who took my child and replaced her with this over-acheiver?! I need to go out there and look for the POD! Not that I'm complaining! (Well, maybe a tince.)

She wants to be as successful as she possibly can be at this.

Do I tell her to relax? To study harder next time? Not to worry? To go see if she can retake it? All experienced advice is accepted.

And now, the rest of the story

Remember back to my post of March 16 (here) when I told you a funny story?

Well that was a little more than 6.5 weeks ago.

Today Ryan, Rebecca and Russell too, will come over Hydration Hill in the Airman's Run. They will stand in the Coin Ceremony and become Airmen. They will get to see their families and hug them for the first time in 6.5 weeks. Tomorrow they will officially graduate BMT.

I have a lump in my throat just remembering what was only a few short weeks ago for me too. It's an incredible experience.
Jackie and Ken, Cheryl, Tammy, Gary and Vanna...
Enjoy every second, AF Moms and Dads! I'm right there with you.
Yesterday evening I got a phone call. It's Jackie, Ryan's mom. I ask, "Are you guys all set?" Not knowing their flight times and that San Antonio is an hour earlier than us here in MI. Turns out they were already all snug as bugs in their hotel.

For some reason the hotel's internet connection wasn't working in order for them to ask the group and *I* got chosen to be the one to whom a question was posed. YAY! I was so tickled to help you have no idea.

Directions were given to the easiest gate to Lackland AFB to access the BMT Reception Center. After they get a base map they can do what they please, but there's a simple way and a less-simple way for the first time.

I could feel their excitement not only for Ryan, but they will get a chance to see another Airman (Ryan R.) who has been at Lackland for his Tech. School for way too long. (His mom, Judy, is on our list.) This Ryan's been ill so he's sort of "on hold" which I know is terribly frustrating. Jackie and Ken have gotten permission and made arrangements to take Ryan R. off base for a short while! I can't imagine how excited they all are, or how appreciative Judy must be right now, knowing that her son will be with a loving AF family for a day.

Last but not least for today is a BIG Birthday Shout Out to Ken O. (Jackie's husband, Ryan's dad) who will have the blessing of celebrating his day with his new Airman.

Happy Big Birthday, Ken!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Dream Sheet

Well Monday came and went and Debbie reminded me that I never asked Avivah what she ended up with on her 'dream sheet'!

So I asked this afternoon.

It looks like this:
1) Malmstrom, MT
2) Minot, ND
3) FE Warren, WY

No one's laying odds as to which assignment she'll be given, but that's how she ranked the bases from which she had to choose.

Just in case you were curious.

Passover Prep

So I get a request, as I am the family charoset maker, from my sister Julie. She said, "Make the YUMMY charoset this time!"

YUMMY one???

I make the traditional one and one unusual one every year. How am I supposed to remember which one that is? So I call my sister. Turns out it's the one with dates, apricots and ginger. Ok.

On a whim, I ask Avivah via text message (pop-quiz time!)...

Me: OMG funniest thing ever. Aunt Julie wants me to make the "YUMMY" charoset this year. Which one is THAT?!

V: The Apricot one!
Me: How the hell did you know that???
V: Mind control?


And so it goes.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Golf lesson

YeeeHawww! Today was the first time back on a driving range since the cold weather settled in. It felt a little silly, starting all over again after having forgotten anything I had started to learn last season. After a while it felt a little more familiar and overall it was a good time.

Best part was that Joshua came with for the first time! :)
Worst part was that Joshua is a golf NATURAL. Sheesh!

Kid's never had a hand on a real golf club - ever - and he caught on as fast as a California wildfire!

Put it this way... My first lesson (May 6 of last year) I used a 7 iron. That's it - just one club. It took me weeks of practice to move to a 5 and a putter and slowly begin to try the other clubs. Heck, I've yet to try several of my own clubs.

Joshua gets a 5 minute quickie on holding a club, how to stand and swing and he smacks it... 75 yards, dead on. No slice, no hook, nothin'. Three clubs later he's still doing well!

Yes, he had a few 'practice swings" and a few "practice shots", but all in all... fantastic! He's an absolute natural.

Me? I'm geeked. His comment later at home? A very calm, "That was fun."

Both kids! LoL

She promised me she'd do it, but I doubted. Nope! V called yesterday evening just as happy as can be. She was walking down the street at Vandenberg ~ talking on her phone ~ in her civvies! LoL

She's officially a Phase 2 at Tech School. Yay! This means she can carry her phone (but still cannot use it during the duty day), wear civilian clothes outside of her dorm and personalize her dorm room.

I have a box all set to go tomorrow that has her wolf blanket, the chenille throw Aunt Karen gave her, her specially painted box from Nancy, some jewelry and other random pieces.

If there's something you really want to send her for her room (no candles, lighters, incense or open flame of any kind allowed) then send away!

She also had her first Block Test for block 1 yesterday. Though she's had progress checks all along (about 10 per week at an average of 99.9%) this one carries more weight. She and most of her class (with a couple exceptions) got a 95%! The one question they all missed wasn't in their training materials or notes. She's going to ask to be taught that today.

Pretty cool, eh?

Also yesterday, I had asked Joshua to rake and bag the leaves just from the patio.

After school he helped his best friend Tyler put his room back together after having been painted. He went to visit his gf. He went to the gym. That's a heck of a lot of plans when you don't start til after 3pm, but he still had to be in for the night by 10pm.

I didn't hear a peep from him all evening. Then...

At 9:25... in the dark... here comes a crew of teenagers!!! They had it raked, bagged and at the curb in 30 minutes and they were gone.

Not what I had expected but way to go, Joshua!

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Wait 10 minutes, it'll change & new-new

Yesterday it was kinda chilly and on/off rainy.

This morning it is snowing sideways.

Temps in the mid 60's by Thursday.

Ah, Michigan.

Guess I'll have to wait just a little bit longer to break out my new duds.

I'm bring the baby red maple tree into the garage when I leave for work in a little while. Still haven't decided where it's going to set its roots but it sure isn't going to do it today! Brrrr!

I was looking back at yesterday's post and seeing that I used the phrase "new-new". To explain: It's not just something new to me, like getting a used car, but newly created or brand new.

When I was younger we said "back-back" or "the way-back" to indicate not the back seat of the car, but the area in a station wagon or hatchback where we were able to ride or put things.

Cars with trunks don't have back-backs. My PT Cruiser does! :)

Funny how doubling a word makes it mean something different. Maybe it's a family thing?!

Saturday, April 12, 2008

New Clothes

I don't do this often - try next to never - but with some financial help from Tim and a once-in-a-blue-moon discount at work, I have updated my spring/summer wardrobe! Yay!

I'm a bargain hunter par excellence, enjoying browsing through Salvation Army, Value World, Council Thrift and any number of gently used, pennies on the dollar stores, but this was a sale not to be missed (55% off). I got NEW clothes! Not just one or two items, not irregulars, seconds or past-season clearance deals, but carefully chosen new-new.

I was working with a customer yesterday who hated her body (trust me, she was no where near as bad as she made herself out to be) but in the right colors and with a little fun, I found her three great outfits that she was in tears over. This lovely woman then confided in me that she hasn't ventured out to buy herself anything nice looking in maybe 10 years. Ok, I was near tears too. She was so sweet and so appreciative. It really touched me that I'd made a difference in how she perceived herself. Really, it's about wearing the right things and how you carry yourself in it! Large or small it's about who you project yourself to be.

And although I know you're not ever going to read this: Marcia, You're going to look great and FEEL great at your daughter's law school graduation next month! I know she'll be thrilled to see her mom and after the hugs she'll be dazzled at how good mom looks in her new outfits! (No black!) It was a tremendous pleasure helping you.

So now I have crops and capris with a couple tops to interchange, along with some things I already have that will work. Everything is fine for warm weather, for work or going out, for day and for evening. No jeans or 'frumpy stuff'!

It kinds feels like school shopping did back when I was in elementary school. I'm practically giddy!

Friday, April 11, 2008

Whadda YOU wanna do??

It occurred to me that in V's search for information on the three bases and surrounding communities she has to rank, lies the question... What does she LIKE to do? And... What does she WANT to do?! Does she even know? I mean, how can you know what you don't yet know?!

Is snowmobiling FUN? I don't know.
Skiing? Dunno
Surfing? Dunno
Rapelling? Dunno

There are so many things I've never tried, or to which I was never exposed, that I'm not sure if I'd like them or not. How can it be any different for V, or anyone?

Joshua knows that he like a lot of things (Zip lines, ropes courses, luging, snow boarding and more) because he's been exposed to them and was willing and interested in trying.

I know there are some things that I really enjoy and would look for opportunities to do wherever I was - camping, tending my garden, singing, attending concerts, walking, shooting - but I never KNEW I harbored a yearning to learn to golf. I DO! What made the difference to me? Someone exposed me to it and I was willing to give it a try.

Therein lies the key.

My gut instinct is that V is willing to try many things and will find that she enjoys a lot of them too. Of course she may hate them, but she'd try most things once before deciding that.

I know from personal experience (4 years on a Reservation, living in 1/2 a double-wide trailer and other experiences,) that *I* can make the best of anything I'm dealt. I can immerse myself in something completely different from that which I am familiar and enjoy it. It was a good lesson.

But V? Can she be happy wherever she's plunked? Will she let herself find and try new things to do that she enjoys (or won't try again)? She'll find out! I think she is excited to have the opportunities and experiences that being somewhere completely new will bring. Besides, with the AF, like it or not, there will soon come a time for change to a new base as she learns and grows and goes where she is needed.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Fresh Air, Info and Laughs

I spent all morning on Tuesday (before work) outside cleaning out gardens, picking up some of the fallen maple branches from the front yard and piling them up, raking the leaves that hand't made mulch of themselves yet off of the garden spaces. It felt GREAT to be outdoors working again!

Lookie what I found... FLOWERS!!

As I made my way to the gardens around the front of the house I was met by Mr. Mooch in the window. He chittered and talked to me, though I'm sure I was getting a lecture about how awful I was by not letting him out to chase the birds and squirrels he loves to watch (aka: stalk!).

Yesterday I got a text message from V that let me know just how well she knows her ol' mom here. It said: "Need the research Goddess. Help!"

Well Ok! :)

I asked 'what for' and she explained that she has to rank her next base assignment (request) in preference order. Her "Dream Sheet" is due on Monday. Despite the presentations they were given on their options, she suspected there was much more to know, so she turned to her mom. (Insert "awwwwww!" here)

Hey, I raised my kids to believe that knowledge is power. Unfortunately, they still think that MOM's knowledge is their power. LOL Of course, you can tell how upset about it I was, right? ;)

Her base choices are fairly slim (3) given her job but I did a bunch of research and e-mailed her a dozen times with it all. I also reached out to my AF list and one very special, uber-connected contact that I have (Hi Stef!) but you, Dear Reader, are welcome to help too! If you have any info on Minot, FE Warren or Malmstrom AFBs and the surrounding areas, please share!

She also had a couple weird muscle things happen that she wanted to share and we talked a bit about that and I sent her info on those concerns too. (Di, she may call you. One is running related.)

Later in the evening she and I had a chance to talk and I reminded her that she owed me a picture of her with her newest coin. ~ If you read V's blog you already know that she was the first in her class to "coin"! ~ She whined that she looked terrible, they'd just come back from a very windy PT and she didn't want me to blog anything that awful looking of her. Qui? Moi?!

So instead I give you the pics she sent of the work detail she and two of her Wingmen had recently. They had to clear the shelves in a Child Development Center in order for the shelves to be relocated (the building is being demolished and the CDC is moving else-base).

You let three young adults loose with a room full of little kid toys and this is what happens...

Dog puppets eat Weebles while Airmen Stand idly by and giggle...

Look out, Airman driving! (Speaking of which, remind me to tell you about the 32' big rig she's learning to drive. Seriously.)

Can you see the headlines?

Airman Posessed by Demon Power Ranger!

So there you go, V. I did NOT post a windblown, tired looking pic of you with your new coin!

Tuesday, April 8, 2008


In all the hustle of V's BMT grad I haven't told you yet that we got a bit of good news.

Drum roll please...................

Joshua made the Dean's List!

We're very proud of him. I think he'd even admit to being just the slightest bit proud of himself too.

He seems to be figuring out that he is a very capable young man when he chooses to be.

happy dancin momma :)

Monday, April 7, 2008

Two calls

Talked with V yesterday...
It seems one of the other females in her group was going through a break-up and V was asked to help. Now, my girl has the most interesting of skills in interpersonal relationships so they really called the right person and it was good that it was another female. So far so good right?

I guess the problem arose when a select few males took the opportunity to get protective and possessive over "their turf". I'd call it "posturing for position". Oh, silly little men.

Little known to these unsuspecting males, that does NOT sit well with my daughter! She has a bf and is enjoying her independence and this experience while maintaining her relationship.

I think what she told me she said upon perceiving these feelings of "ownership" or being told she was part of someone's "turf" was, "So, do you have a receipt?! Do you see a collar on me?! No, I thougt not, so... BACK OFF!" Wow, was she irritated. On the other hand, I think she handled herself with aplomb!

Talked to V later yesterday evening...
She was hanging out with a bunch of new friends and they'd ordered pizza and were going to watch a movie. She was giggling and sounded great.

She may be a USAF Airman, but she's still my girl, still moody and still as awesome as ever. Here's a pic of her in civvies... You gotta notice the dress blues tan (that was a burn last weekend)! Cracked me right up.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Monday Morning Surprise

V text messaged me that she was leaving Lackland on a bus for the airport at about 0300 (She'd been up and had sent me a message at 0145 but I was out like a light). I woke to her message this time and responded and we went back and forth a bit.

V's flight wasn't til 7. Grandma's was at 7:30am and our was after 8am so we were up and at the airport early too. Unfortunately, not early enough to see V off... or so we thought.

V's flight was at 7PM!

They get all the graduates off base as early as possible for the new trainees to arrive - regardless of their flight time. They can store their luggage at the USO but they can't check it or go through security until 4 hours before their flight. There's really nothing for them to do. All day long.

She was truly exhausted now as her flight stayed up talking all night and were excited about their day to come. That plus, though they fed them, it was hours later and nothing was open at her terminal yet. She was starving, exhausted and incoherent. This poor kid was running on empty in so many ways. :( It breaks my heart.

Surprise! To our delight she was able to walk over to our terminal in time to spend about half an hour with us. Starbucks was open and I got her a cocoa, a sandwich and a muffin and we just enjoyed each other's company.

While we were there another new AF mom and two teenagers came over to say hello. Get this... They're from a town just 15 minutes outside Vandenberg!!! V exchanged numbers with the mom (Hi Molly!) and I invited them to the AF parents list. V called them this weekend and left a message. What a great connection she's already made... and in the airport too! It was B'shert.
Teaching Moment!

B'shert is a Yiddish word.

In English it is closest in meaning to "serendipity" but not very close. We don't have a word for its full meaning. In love relationships we say "soul mate" but that's lame. It means much more than that.

I like this definition: "When relationships of destiny insinuate themselves."

Something Divinely "meant to be."

Though I don't know if he was intending to, Rumi comes close to an explanation of b'shert: "This being human is a guest-house. Every morning a new arrival. A joy, a depression, a meanness, some momentary awareness comes as an unexpected visitor."

Molly coming in to V's life and the fact that I was there to meet her and make this connection too was B'shert. Divinity intended for us to meet and for me to feel that V had a "home" and an AF mom nearby if she needs one.

End teaching moment. I'm in tears.

Thank you Molly. It means the world to me to know that you are there for my baby.
So now... (sniff)
This was the last glimpse we had that weekend of V... and her muffin.

Not very flattering, but this mom thinks she's absolutely the most beautiful young woman I've ever seen.

and Sunday on Sunday

Once more on the base at 0900 for Base Liberty, V met us at the BMT Center lot with her hands full of things to take home with us. Then it was on to the mini mall to pick up flight shirts and my necklace (grin). We were all curious about the other mini mall so we headed there too.

The mini mall on Fenmoyer is oddly the same as the other, but different. There's a gas station out front, the only one I saw on base, with a convenience store. There are more little shops, a smaller "baby comms" (mini commisary), and more (and different) restaurants in the food court. They're due to add a coffee shop there soon too, called Green Beans, I think.
A note to the public-bathroom-phobic among you (and I know a few of you are, so don't make me name names!): These washrooms are not nearly as clean or big as the ones at the mini mall close to the BMT Center.
Tim finally found a shirt he liked and got it. Yay! (He doesn't wear regular t-shirts much, neither do I, so this was a very good thing.) Then V got a craving for a plain vanilla ice cream sandwich and guess what? There's an ice cream vending machine right outside this mini mall! It made for one tail-waggingly happy V.

After that we headed to check out the real BX, which is the size of a WalMart, with a JC Penney attached, a full food court, tons of kiosks and more little shops to browse. It was here at a kiosk that I bought our blue star banner for our front door. In the main BX we found these cool massagers. I have a family of funny people! This reminds me of the Beatles pic on Abby Road. LoL

V found a massage chair while Grandma and I browsed. I brought her back this huge squishy stuffed sheep. V found out that when you hug it tight enough it makes... a farting sound! Seriously. She cracked up. We all did.

Then she taked to her best bud, Pete and she chatted with him for a while. I tried to get this pic to you Pete, but your phone doesn't get pics, so here it is!

We had lunch at the food court there and then it was 1330 and time to leave for Chapel. I had a super time there and we met a bunch of really nice trainees. Lots of them were curious and wanted to see Avivah's Airman's Coin. You could see the desire in their eyes. They'll soon have their own.

We enjoyed our Chapel time tremendously. When it was over (and we were still inside the building) I handed my phone to a couple of trainees who were so appreciative of the chance to call home. I nearly cried listening to these young Airmen-to-be tell their moms and dads "I miss you" and "I love you".

Justin, V's bf, also attended Chapel and we were able to visit a little with him. As I write this today he is now an Airman spending his Sunday Base Lib with his mom, Cheryl. I snapped this pic of him on the way out of Chapel. Lookin' sharp there, Male!

Also walking with Justin to their next stop is another male whose name I never got (Justin, help me here). He asked me if I'd take a pic of him with my camera phone and send it to his parents - in Ann Arbor, Michigan! Small world. So of course I did. I got back a text message that said "Thank you, but I don't know you" So I responded that I was standing right beside their son, that he looked strong and proud and was anxious to see them the following weekend. Dang, here come those tears again.

After Chapel we met up with Grandma and Joshua to go bowling! 35 lanes of non-smoking, bright, clean bowling alley. What a joy!

Now, I DO NOT bowl. I make the same motions as someone who bowls (badly), but make no mistake: I'm thrilled to hit any pin that's actually in my own lane!!!! Here are a 2 pics from that little adventure/debacle.

Joshua won, Grandma and V tied, then Tim and then... me.

We dashed over to the mini mall because V decided that a rolling bag would be easier for her to handle with her military duffle than her small bag and stuffed-full carry on. Grandma stepped in and it was a gift to V.

Unfortunately, it was now time for our last Lackland Goodbye to V. Yes, I cried. I told her how incredibly proud I was of her and that she was on to her next wonderful adventure... and I cried some more. Darn it, still doing it now and then... like now.

And off she went. *sniff!*

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Saturday (a week ago)

Saturday morning and back at Lackland AFB for 0900. V, and all grads, have a Town Pass until 1930. She greeted us by handing us a big white envelope which contained...
Gorgeous, eh?!
V had to pick up the flight t-shirts she'd ordered and we wanted to do a little souvenier shopping on base so we headed to the mini mall. I bought 2 Lackland coins and a squadron coin for AF mom Michelle (Mailing those soon, promise!). I got V her squadron coin and a BMT coin and got myself a couple t-shirts. I tried to get a coin display box with her grad info engraved on it (future gift) but was told that they didn't fit some of the oversized coins. Rats. J got an Under Armor shirt with V's sqadron logo on it. Looks spiffy on him!

My mom... well she found a kiosk with these cool engraved necklaces and ordered me one as an early Mother's Day present! We didn't pick it up until Sunday, but I can't resist showing y'alls now. ("y'alls" is a new V-word)

This is side 1:The bottom has her name and grad date.
And this... is side V! I love it. Thanks again, Mom!
Errands now done we sat down to figure out what we, well mostly V, wanted to do with our day. As exhausted as she was, she chose going to the Riverwalk in San Antonio.

Exhausted: On top of the excitement of graduating, her family being there, the regular stresses of BMT and packing her things up for parts unknown, V was also pulled every night for the past two weeks straight to do a two hour EC (entry control) shift! How she kept up her health is beyond me.

Once by the Alamo everyone wanted to browse the shops on Alamo Plaza. We made our way to Riverwalk Mall and browsed some more and then made our way down to the river - right from the mall.
Again, here is my very tired Airman on the riverwalk.

I treated the five of us to the scenic boat tour of the river. The guide was funny and the sights were pretty. It was relaxing, so it was perfect.

Next was lunch at Casa Rio where as soon as we sat down ~ Mariachis came to serenade us!! This is V doing her own version of "Ay yai yai yai", which I think went more like: "Oy vey vey vey!"

And then she tried her best to ignore them. LOL Silly girl.

Kinda tough when a trumpet, 2 guitars and 3 singers are blaring right behind you ~ INDOORS!

After an excellent lunch we walked around on the river. I got V a pair of sunglasses and we had fun wandering the oh-so-tacky souvenier shops.

V craved ice cream and Grandma obliged...

Soon it was time to make our way back to the hotel for some relaxing, and V also need to "square away" her civvie bag. We were chattering away in the van and suddenly, mid-sentence, V was silent. This is what I saw when I turned to look...

Poor Baby! The rest of us silently cracked up.

I realize now that I have gotten my days confused already and it's today that was the day of PT and pool. (Yep, as tired as she was.) Instead of editing the posts, I'll admit that my CRS disease kicked in.

Friday afternoon we just chilled in the room because V wanted to do a whole lotta nothin'... with her hair freshly washed and down, her bathrobe on and her stuffed panda bear in her arms.

THIS however is the goodbye hug on Saturday... (I know because V's civvie bag is on the table!)

And off she goes for the night, mostly to stay up late to clean and pack.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Back to Friday

After Graduation Parade, Flight 324 had to gather for a special picture to be taken because they'd made AEF Excellence (Honor flight for Field Week). We watched as the Airmen arrived, lined up and had their picture taken.

The flight had to think of a slogan to put on the bottom of the picture. What did they come up with? Get this: "Pain is no obstacle. Give Me More!" Yep, it's really there on the pic. LoL They got in order and posed, pic snapped and we were on our way to the shuttle busses with our Airman to go back to the BMT Center and to Open House.

This is us on her flight pad in front of the Knights Emblems. Ignore that both parents had puffy eyes and tear-streaked splotchy faces. They were happy tears, really. That red thing behind J is something they use to clean their M16s.
Yes Karen and Nancy, this is Avivah AND her clean locker...

AND her neatly lined-up shoes...

AND her perfectly folded drawer.

Really Truly.

She gave T and I an official AF Parent Pin and a government (form) letter of thanks. (What did I do?!)

A few more details got wrapped up for our time together and we were on our way to picnic in the lovely little park we'd seen the day before, just across the street from the BX. If you know V you know this was a happy little grin, so I'm thinking: "Be afwaid, be vewy afwaid!"

Once at the picnic grounds, I think V finally kinda relaxed a little. We all did.

Out came, errr, ummmm... lunch. This was V's show to run, remember?! So we all went with it ~ and had a darned good time too! To protect the innocent ~ and the incurably clumsy ~ this is the only picture I'll show of the experience. Suffice to say we all had a lot of fun and V was tickled that we did.

After lunch we'd promised her that we could stop back at the Parade Grounds to get pictures of her with her "baby", the SR-71 Blackbird. If this plane wasn't already decomissioned, I'm positive she would have waited for a guaranteed AF job of working on it! It's a beauty.

V and the Blackbird. Cuts a striking figure, doesn't it?

Just in case you doubted that this little jaunt didn't make her insanely happy... I give you the most adorable pic of her we took there. :)

After that it was off to our hotel for a swim and some hanging out time. (I thought it was too chilly, but the kids? Oh no, mom.) This is V beginning the process of taking her hair down...

9 minutes, 15 bobby pins and two hair bands later it still didn't move much!

Into PT gear for a brief workout (very brief. The equipment at the hotel was shoddy.)

Then it was off to the pool... which by the way, proved to be too cold! :-P

The parents weren't hungry and V wanted to shower, wash her hair and relax in civvies a little longer, so J and V enjoyed a pizza in the room. We gabbed and tossed around ideas for Saturday's Town Pass. No decisions were made, which was fine with me.

Soon it was time to bid V good eve. I didn't take a pic of that. I'm already tired of goodbyes.