Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Turning Forty - Smelling Like a Rose

Today I came home to a fun surprise. The hubs left me a rose with a note. I will be 40 on April 13th of this year and he has decided to start the celebration early. As you can see in the picture he included a small note card with the rose that says “Sweetie: Today begins your 2 week celebration of your 40 years of life!!” I cried, of course, as his timing was perfect. My goal is to update my blog daily so you can celebrate right along with me. What’s a birthday celebration without inviting a few friends along for the ride?

I especially love the hubs' resourcefulness: the pink egg-shaped note card holder doubles as a chocolate crunch Easter candy.

I will also go ahead and answer someone's question ahead of time in regards to the piece of furniture in the background since I have friends with great eyes and curious minds. We bought that piece a few months back, on super sale, from The Oriental Place. It is a Chinese cabinet that is only about 60 years old - they used it to store their linens and things during the off-season.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The Dog Days of March

I know the saying is “The Dog Days of Summer” but the dog days have arrived early here in the House of Traquair. My precious pup, Socks, has been scratching her ears and elbows more than a cat living in a house with a brand new couch. She has been driving us crazy and I have tried everything. Visit to the vet months ago and washing the ears out with newly purchased cleaner. Saying “No” and “Stop That” until I’m blue in the face and nothing works. So my dear pup and I head to the vet for another appointment. This appointment was actually a follow-up regarding her thyroid issue. We went to get a blood draw and left an hour and 15 minutes later with $175. worth of services and medication. Now, for those of you non-military types, I know this is cheap, so I’m not complaining – just making a point! The tech listened to my list of canine related complaints, took a swab of her ears and left for the lab. She had to really dig because she said her ears were clean. Of course, I had flooded them with cleaning solution and bathed her the day before. I will revisit the bathing story a little later.

The vet shows up on the scene, checks over my furry companion and then in walks the tech. My sweet hound doesn’t have one ear infection, she has three!!!!!!!!!!!!! Ugh!!! And now we know why she couldn’t stop scratching. We left the vet clinic with refills of thyroid meds, antibiotics to give orally, ear drops, and spray for her elbows.

Socks is very excited to report that she is having the time of her life with her new meds schedule. All she knows is if she puts up with this new routine she gets extra goodies and food – or at least she thinks so. Her mom, that’s me, is a little smarter than that since she still has to take meds to maintain her thyroid condition. Now to my point. This is our new medication schedule for the next ten days:

Wake up early to give Socks her first thyroid pill of the day. It has to be given to her 1 hour before breakfast.

Spray her elbows and walk her. Feed her one hour later.

Administer her first antibiotic of the day. Big red pill that doesn’t go down as easy as the thyroid one.

Spray elbows 2 more times throughout the day. Works best right before we go out to walk. She hates this part and now tries to walk away from me before I get the cap off the bottle.

Late afternoon: 2nd and final thyroid pill of the day. Feed dinner one hour later.

Administer her 2nd antibiotic of the day. She now thinks these are treats!

Several hours later, feed a small amount of wet food then administer 3rd antibiotic of the day.

Then our night cap is 5-8 drops of goopy stuff in both ears. Does not get a treat for this so she doesn’t like it as much! Then we start all over in the morning!!!

And, in a perfect world, I would brush her teeth and her coat every day. She is shedding an entire dog onto my hardwood floor which requires more housekeeping!!

Are you exhausted yet???? How do you all do this and raise children?

Friday, March 20, 2009

"I am the Lord, and I do not change." Malachi 3:6

My last post was about change. More specifically, the fact that I hate change. Then God was sweet to remind me that “His faithful love endures forever”. I received a great devotional book at our recent women’s retreat and it’s my new favorite.

Brenda Pace, our retreat speaker, co-authored The One Year Yellow Ribbon Devotional – Take a stand in prayer for our nation and those who serve. On March 11th Brenda addresses this subject. Brenda recalls a time her family went looking for “something” and it was no longer there. Then she goes on to write:

Change is a reality of life. In the book Future Shock, author Alvin Toffler wrote about people needing zones of stability when they experience swift changes. In other words, they need things that will not change. I can’t think of too many things this side of heaven that meet that criterion.
Today’s Scripture offers the greatest zone of stability there is in the declaration “I am the Lord, and I do not change.” We can rest in the fact that he’s always been the same, he is the same right now, and he will always be the same. God is perfection, and there is no need for change. Scripture also tells us of three other things that will not change:

God’s love: Psalm 136 repeats the refrain “His faithful love endures forever.”
God’s Word: “The grass withers and the flowers fade, but the word of our God stands forever” (Isaiah 40:8)
God’s purpose for your life: “I cry out to God…who will fulfill his purpose for me” (Psalm 57:2).

Things in this life are made to change. Gospel writer Luke (21:33) reminded us that heaven and earth will pass away. We can count on creation changing, but the Creator will remain the same. – Brenda

At the end of each day both authors include a prayer and I have loved incorporating it into my prayer life. Here it is: Thank you, Lord, for your unchanging nature! It fills me with confidence when things around me are changing at breakneck speed. I look to you today for my stability and my confidence. I pray for military families who are experiencing rapid changes in their lives because of deployments and military training. Be their ever-present help in time of need. Amen.

This devotion gives me hope in my ever-changing world and reminds me to put my hope in Him – my faithful Creator, the Everlasting God, El Olam!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Starbucks, Sweet Conversation and Sayonara

I hate change. When I was younger I thought I loved change and I looked forward to it. I had grand thoughts
of creating change in my life by traveling or moving. Now those grand thoughts have given way to reality – I don’t like change! It’s funny, because God has a way of growing us whether we want to or not and He prepares us without revealing the story line. We moved a lot when I was younger – maybe God’s preparation for the military life that I would marry into. Either way, I have learned to cope with change through embracing it and realizing that it is inevitable. I embrace it because without change I wouldn’t have the fantastic friends I have because we move every three years. Without change, I would not have 15 years of growth in our marriage and I don’t believe our marriage would have survived my lack of growth. Without change I would still be in the 80s singing “I’ll stop the world and melt with you” while wearing high-wasted jeans and walking around with mall hair. Would that truly be a bad thing? I was skinnier back then!!!

Anyway, change is inevitable, especially as a wife of a Marine. I’m use to saying goodbye to other military spouses and we know that the same change that separates us may also, down the road, reunite us. Yet saying goodbye to my civilian friends is hard and that’s what I had to do this week. As you know, I am a member of the Okinawa International Women’s Club. Through this cultural organization I have become friends with some wonderful Japanese and Okinawan women. Three of the members on the Japanese side are moving back to mainland Japan for their husband’s jobs. It’s great news for them but sad news for us. Two of the Japanese ladies were willing to join Jennifer and myself for coffee at Starbuck’s so we could say goodbye on a smaller, more intimate scale. If you have ever tried to have a conversation with someone who’s first language is not English, in a group of over 13 women, you know that smaller groups are a must if you are going to really be able to talk. We met the Yukos, as we call them, at the Starbuck’s in American Village and spent three hours having a blast.

The first bit of fun was when Jennifer ordered water – who orders water at Starbucks? My friend, Jennifer, does. She usually only drinks water and since they didn’t have a sugar-free option, like you all do in the states, she opted for water. I had to take pictures of each of us with our yummy liquids – calories and all.

Yuko One, as we call her, is a mother of two and has a dog named March. She is a beagle and they call her March because that's the month they got her in. Gotta love the logic there!!! Her oldest daughter just graduated from High School and she laughed when we told her she didn't look old enough to have a graduating daugher!

Kyoko Two has been married for 13 years and will be moving to Tokyo at the beginning of April. She also has a dog but I can not remember her name for the life of me. It's Japanese and definately fits her personality as she is a tiny dog. She also has a great smile and a great sense of humor. We started calling the Kyokos One and Two because we were getting them confused. Kyoko One was in the group first so she earned the title of One and Kyoko Two was happy to be second as each time we called her name she held up her hand with two fingers - looking a lot like the peace sign they always use when we take pictures of them!!

Kyoko Two is one of our group's fashionistas and I couldn't resist taking a picture of her super cute shoes! She always dressed so hip and yet she is very humble!

Not only did we enjoy our coffees and water, we enjoyed some baked goodies, too!!

We spent the next few hours talking about where we lived in the states, where the Yukos were moving to in Japan, a Japanese wedding and the differences between our cultures. What makes conversing with them so funny is how long it takes us to answer some of the most simple questions. We ask them a question and it takes both of them, along with their electronic translator, to answer the question - usually several minutes later. Then I found myself always turning to Jennifer before I answered a question – as to get her opinion first. Our three hour conversation probably could have been summed up in an hour if we had been talking to Americans. I love how we laugh at everything that was said and we were a sight for all the other Starbuck’s fans who had the pleasure to visit that morning. I really could go on forever about the conversations we had but just know that we had a blast just getting to know these sweet women and we will miss them terribly!!!

Because of our time together I have a greater appreciation for the culture I live in right now and I will always have a special place in my heart for the Yukos and Okinawa! Sayonara my sweet friends!