Feb 13, 2011

Comings and Goings

Tonight the main body of the 95th MP Battalion out of Mannheim, Germany will be returning home after a year-long deployment to Iraq. There are "Welcome Home" banners hanging in windows, on fences, and across carports all over post. Families of the 95th are just hours away from reuniting. It is such an exciting time. 365 days have passed. Some of those days were much longer than others, and my guess is that today is the longest of all. I am filled with so much joy for all these families, most of them I don't even know. But I am so happy for their year of trials to be over and for a new chapter in their lives to begin.
As my neighbor and friends here are preparing to welcome their husbands home, the mood is quite different at another friend's house. Tonight, my friend and her kids are saying goodbye to her husband and their dad as he is just beginning his deployment.
I'm sure this happens every day. As one unit is returning home, another is leaving. One family is experiencing sheer joy, while another is in pain. One family is tearing off that last paper ring that marked the "days until dad gets back" and another is busy cutting and rolling 365.

Feb 9, 2011

Its a bad thing.

I was introduced to two websites recently (SteepandCheap.com and CleanSnipe.com) by two different people whom I view as drug dealers. The websites are both are evil and I consider them to be crack or some other highly addictive and expensive drug.
I watch the websites like an episode of Deadliest Catch or Amazing Race. I sit on the edge of my seat waiting for the next deal to pop up. I can't look away. And I buy things. Things I shouldn't buy. Like a coat and footwear.
Monday I bought a coat for Matt. Really. It is a snowboard jacket and I don't snowboard so there is no false pretenses with this purchase. And today I bought footwear....for me. However, it was slippers. That doesn't count against my vow not to buy shoes does it? I don't think so. Remember my favorite ever in the whole world slippers? Well, since they are no longer available and the ones that I am currently wearing are falling apart as I type, I bought a new pair of replacements.
I would like to claim that the websites made me do it, but that would be like saying crack makes you smoke it or snort it...or whatever you do with crack. I guess my weak willpower made me do it. So, I asked myself "self, why do you do it? why do you shop?" and self replied "the thrill of the hunt, the scammin' deal, and the new product arriving in the mail". Is shopping considered a hobby? Pastime? Special skill-set? Spiritual gift? I went too far with the last one didn't I?
I think if I calculated all the time I spent online on the hunt for winter boots for Eli or a screamin' deal on a pair of thermal bike tights for Matt, or whatever the hunt of the day is, I would be embarrassed to admit the total. I heard somewhere that what you do in your day reflects what is important to you. Vomit is welling up in my throat as that really sinks in. I would never claim that shopping is important to me, I don't think it is important to me, but if my actions reflect my heart....my heart is in desperate need of that surgery that cleans out all the important tube things.
I am awake for 15-16 hours a day. I need to evaluate how I spend those hours and determine if the way I spend the hours in my day are a true reflection of who I am or who I want to be. I pray that I will use the time that God gives me, in my day, and on this earth wisely. That the things I do will be a reflection of the things that are really important, the things that moths cannot destroy and thieves will not steal. The things that will last.



Feb 8, 2011

Freeze Frame

I'm so impressed by special effects used in movies where cinematographers mess with time. Sure it is cool when everything switches from real time to slow-motion to showcase the action hero's ability to dodge 50 bullets fired simultaneously at his head but it is especially interesting when some of the people in the scene are moving at real time while others are paused or when some are fast speed and others at real time. I find the whole thing intriguing. Ah the wonders of the digital age.
I recently found myself in a freeze frame type moment. Unfortunately, the stop-motion thing was only in my head and not actually playing out in real life, but it still had a pretty cool effect.
The other night some friends were over and the house was bustling with wild kids, music playing, friends chatting, the fire pit crackling....and food. I realize food makes so sound or movement but it sure does add to a good evening. And then suddenly my head put myself in "pause" mode. I stopped and looked around, everything else was still moving but I was the one standing in the middle of a sea of action...taking it all in but not taking part.
It was in this moment that I realized how completely blessed I am. We live 200 yards from our best friends, in quite possibly the most secure neighborhood for a kid to grow up in, with dozens of other great friends nearby. I have a really fabulous, kind, loving husband, two quirky but wonderful boys, great friends and family back in the States, a stable income, a free house with free heat/water/trash pick-up, I get to stay home with my boys, and stay home to randomly hang out with friends. The kids run on over to their friends' houses - no need for special play dates or planning. Fast Food has a new meaning - dinner at Mika's tonight. And I really could go on and on.
In this moment of cinematographic/psychotic special effects, I was seeing the whole picture. Not just the fact that we are living in Germany and traveling throughout Europe, but I see the little things that are actually much bigger. There is so much laughter, so much love, so many many blessings.
Then just like the movies, a bullet hit me square in the head when I wasn't looking and blamo slow-mo gone and death ensued in real time. I didn't actually die but I was brought back to reality when people started calling my name wondering why I was just standing there.
It is easy for me to notice all the things in life that are going wrong, but really, the list is so much longer if I take the time to note all the things that are going so right.

Feb 6, 2011

Addiction

My name is Clarissa and I have a sickness. I am addicted to jackets and shoes.
I seriously cannot let myself buy another pair of boots, or shoes (except for one black pair of dressy heals) for the rest of the year. I know, that was a strong statement, but it is necessary. I have an abundance of great shoes. I'm not talking cheap Payless Shoe Source fall apart shoes, I'm talking genuine leather, make your feet happy shoes. I have red shoes, yellow shoes, plenty of black and brown shoes. I have clogs, slip ons, ties, strappy sandals, high heals, flats, knee high boots, mid-calf boots, snow boots, rain boots, running shoes, Converse, flip flops, slippers, and I even have a pair of hiking boots which is simply dumb because 95% of all our adventures involve subways and town squares neither of which require ankle support. I am ashamed about the number of cows that gave up their flesh to support my shoe problem. No more shoes. Except for that one pair of black dressy shoes because I need to replace a pair that I have that are hurtin' - not just hurting my feet but they look rough, not my feet, the shoes.
And with the jackets. This is not an intentional thing. Deeply discounted jackets practically throw themselves at me. Last week I happened upon a seriously adorable navy peacoat that made me gasp it was so cute, and then when I saw the price tag and found out it was €15, I nearly ran to the cashier to buy it before someone else noticed that I was practically stealing. It is that cute. Then just this week I was visiting my favorite coat at the PX here on post and noticed it was on sale. I couldn't justify spending $148 on a coat because I really don't need another winter coat, but love it so much I regularly try it on and pretend it is mine. So, a few days ago I was enjoying my visit with this shimmery blue North Face puffer coat and I found out it was on sale for $67. Uh oh. I walked around with it for about 30 minutes and then snatched it up. I know it isn't a scammin' deal like the navy peacoat, but it is so cute and look at that discount. How can I walk away from that? A stronger person would. A stronger person has. And from now on, I will be that stronger person...unless...no - regardless of how cheap a coat is, I won't buy it.
How will I do this? No more looking. That's it. No shoe-googling no coat visiting. I'm done.

At this point after reading this, you might be thinking to yourself "wow, there is a good 10 minutes of my life that I will never get back". To which I say "I'm sorry". In order to buy back a little of that lost time, I will offer you some advise: don't watch "Buried". It might be the most ridiculous movie I have ever seen. Since the movie is 100 minutes and this posting only sucked up 10 or so, you are back in the positive.