Day 325-Met-I'm No Angel, I Fight Temptation Too

When I went Paleo two or three years ago, (has it really been that long?) I was totally gung-ho, everyone was proud of the willpower I had and I was proud of myself for sticking to it. Fast forward to today and I have to admit, I’m struggling just a bit.

Is it because it’s summertime and I just can’t stay away from the chips, salsa, and margaritas? Maybe. If that was all, I wouldn’t be worried as much, yet I have noticed that other sneaks have become more frequent and they aren’t just alcohol. Sometimes, my body just wants a carb and instead of making a healthy choice, I grab the easy thing like a bowl of cereal instead of fixing myself an egg, or God forbid, dipping into that left behind bag of Chex mix!

I know how to snack healthy, I have just gotten lazy. I need some motivation like I had when I started this whole journey. Back then it was my first cruise that motivated me, plus the desire to get the sugar and other toxins out of my body. I quit smoking and started vaping, now I’m not even vaping nicotine anymore. I have added CBD oil to my routine and I’m sleeping better. Maybe it is also increasing my appetite? Hmm.

Well, I simply have to fight back. I need to dig deep and remember the reason I started getting healthy in the first place. Yes, I am going on another cruise in September, yet I am not worried about that. I’m worried that I have let the Devil back in and he is reeking havoc on my body. (The Devil being sugar!) For instance, I snuck a brownie bite the other night when I was finally alone. Now, why did I do that?? I’m not fooling anyone and I’m only hurting myself. Why am I not motivated to exercise and take care of myself?

Sugar is as strong as heroin to kick once you introduce it back into your system. It causes a plethora of problems, one being candida. I don’t want that again!! It took me forever to get that out of my system, it had become systemic and that is a nightmare I don’t want to go through again. Yeast infections, constant pain in my joints, skin problems…no! Ok, that is my motivation, I will get back on track, start trying to find a way to get more exercise in and go back to no sugar in my diet.

It is really tough, that means no chips, cereal, bread (I don’t eat bread anymore EVER) ok, that’s a lie, sometimes here lately, I have even had a bite of my hubby’s bread. Yikes! How has this happened?? It starts with being honest with myself, and how can I teach others how to live a healthy lifestyle if I have fallen off the wagon myself? I have a pool, I have been doing some legwork but not every day. Since my knee has been hurting, I stopped walking, but since I started taking some new supplements, I noticed that the pain has lessened significantly and the inflammation has gone down. Maybe I could start walking again! I can also do some exercises on this big round ball I’m sitting on, ha!

I need to get strict with the “diet” again, nothing from a bag or a box, eating only whole foods like meat, eggs, salads, fruit, and nuts. Like I said, I know what to do, I just need to “do it”!  I weighed myself and I haven’t gained that much, it isn’t about that though. It’s about the flab, it’s about the danger of candida and other issues developing again. I want to be proud of myself again. I want to help others do the same and live healthy lives. Ok, self. This has been a great talk, now get out there and make a difference.

 

Day 318-MET-I Never Knew My Father, However, My Dad Is My Hero

Welcome to another installment of My Essay Tuesday, the day I write an essay on some aspect of my life, past or present.

My Dad, on his game.

I never knew the man who sired me, my mother never wanted me to. I guess he was a pretty bad guy, then again, I only have her word to go on. The story is, she had a relationship with this man, got pregnant with me and before she could have me, he was sent to an overseas post. In the meantime, she discovered he had an entire other family, wife and kids that she never knew about! She said that he tried to come see me and sent gifts after I was born but she wanted nothing to do with him after that, I grew up never even seeing a picture of him.

When my Mom met my Dad, he stepped into her life and stepped up to the plate, adopting me as his own and then three years later they had my brother, Kevin. My Dad had met this other man and even threatened his life if he ever bothered my Mom and me again, so the story goes. It’s not that I don’t believe her, I mean my Dad backed up the story, I just know how she could skew the truth when it suited her purposes. Either way, if it is true, then he is someone I am better off having never known. Still, I was curious of course, never having known what he looked like or why I might have some of the traits I do, as any child would naturally be.

Like, is he responsible for my love of music, he was a drummer so I heard. What about my height, they called him “shorty” so my guess is yes. I’m four foot nine, about 100 pounds, give or take a pound. Was he handsome? I will never know, yet I know my mother had good taste in men, even though her luck was not great until my Dad came along and rescued her, just like my husband rescued me. We were alike in our struggles with men, I had a habit of picking bad boy loser types and evidently, so did she. My mother went through a marriage that ended in divorce, the fiasco with my “father”, a rape that produced a child, for which she was sent to a home for unwed mothers until she had my half sister, and then my Dad walked into her life. He was her hero and I consider him mine as well.

I was two and a half when he adopted me and he is the only Dad I have ever known, therefore he is my Dad in every sense of the word. I was raised with my brother, I knew I had three sisters from my mother’s first marriage, yet I never understood why they didn’t live with us. We saw them from time to time, when either they got to visit us, or we made a trip to Biloxi (my birthplace). No one ever told me the story except to say they lived with their daddy and their new stepmom. Then when my mom passed away, none of them, and I have four, came to her funeral. Wtf??? I was beside myself with anger and grief. I did not and still do not understand what could be so bad that your children don’t come to your funeral. My mom had her faults but I loved her and now, I don’t want to hear the story and have my view of her ruined forever.

Now, that family that my “sire” had at the same time he impregnated my mother? Don’t know them, don’t feel related to them, but my mother always worried that I might meet them someday, being the world traveler that I was. I only know his last name was Foster and trust me, I have never met a guy with that last name. She thought it might be just my luck to accidentally meet and even possibly date my “brother” but luckily, that never happened. I’m not even sure how many other kids this man had. According to Mom, he also had a bad temper and would beat her if she didn’t give him her money when he wanted it. Yeah, not a good guy at all.

Now I’m at a time in my life when I’m spending a lot more time with my Dad than I ever did, could be getting to know him even better and here is, hardly able to speak anymore because of some problem no doctor seems to be able to figure out. I finally got him good hearing aids, but that didn’t fix his speech. He is tired of going to doctors and I don’t blame him, or he might go to a speech therapist. He tried that once a few years ago, it didn’t do much to remedy the situation. My dad is a saint, I wish I could help him but I just try to spend quality time with him, take him to see his doctors and help him around the house. He took care of my mother through years of her illness, never complaining although that’s all she ever did. He worked and took care of her until he was eighty years old! Now he should be enjoying his retirement, and I guess he is, but he would love to be able to speak better. It’s like he has had a stroke or has Parkinson’s, yet the doctors checked him for all that and cannot find anything wrong.

I love my dad and wouldn’t trade him for the world, he has been my teacher, a friend, and my supporter. He is generous to a fault and true to his faith. He was in the Knights of Columbus, and still attends church when he feels well enough. His eyesight and coordination may be starting to bother him, he prefers I drive him around unless it’s a close place and I have no problem with that. My oldest boy lives with him, an arrangement that suits them both. When the time comes for us to do something different, he would be welcome living with us, although I can’t ever see him wanting to leave his house. I will get him a nurse or whatever he needs when the time comes but who knows? He may outlive us all.

 

Day 313-MET-How I Reward Myself For a Job Well Done

When I have a long day of writing tasks in front of me, or a heavy load of housework to be done or both, I have found that what motivates me is looking forward to an episode or two of my latest obsession…whatever series I’m addicted to at the moment on Netflix.

I have done this a few ways, either I wait until evening time and watch with my hubby, or I take a break during the time I have at home alone. Say I’m washing clothes and cleaning house before I start writing for the day. I might sit down while folding clothes and watch an episode. Then I move on to the next task, looking forward to the next break so I can catch another episode.

I’m pretty sure there are enough series to keep me watching something for an eternity, but here are my latest obsessions: The Walking Dead, Orange is the New Black and Queen of the South. With several seasons under my belt of each of these series, I’m fully vested in finding out what comes next and how they all end. My sons were the reason I got started with series like these in the first place, shows like Sons of Anarchy, which started on a regular network, can now be found on Netflix, along with another great series, Breaking Bad. I never finished that one, some day I need to go back and start it from the beginning and get through it to the end.

A scene from my current favorite Netflix series-The Walking Dead

I’m making my way through season 4 of The Walking Dead right now and season 5 just came out of Orange is the New Black…I can’t wait to see that! My hubby isn’t into either one of those, so we had to pick a series we could enjoy together (now that all of our regular network shows are reruns for the summer) and that is Queen of the South. It is about two Mexican drug cartels who are warring with each other and the girl who gets unwittingly shoved into a position where she finds herself in the middle, just trying to survive. It is awesome and like the other series I’m watching, new stars are popping up every season.

I resisted watching The Walking Dead, in the beginning, so now I’m having to play catch up. It’s fun though, and totally worth it, this show is the bomb I’m telling you! so much action, intense characterization, great story line-I didn’t want to watch it because I’m not into zombies. Well, it turns out that zombies are really secondary to the show anyway, yeah, there are some gross parts as they get their heads chopped off or a knife driven through their brains, but I just look away when that gets too bloody for me. Oh, who am I kidding, I’ve loved horror shows since I was a little kid. I’m not bothered by much, yet it does get pretty intense from time to time. There is drama, romance, and comedy tied up in there too. Something for everyone really.

So I suggest you get yourself a Netflix account, find a series you can love and follow and use that as your motivation to get things done. Then you can reward yourself with a nice, exciting episode and revel in your guilty pleasure, if only for a little while. Everyone needs a break sometimes, right? Oh and that thing that all the kids say? Let’s watch some Netflix and chill? Well, that’s dead right? Doesn’t apply to me anyway, most of the time I’m enjoying my Netflix alone with a snack and my puppies curled up next to me in my comfy chair. That’s just how I roll.

Day 306-MET-Why I Occasionally Worked As A Waitress

Photo credit:pixabay

 

I have been in the medical field in one form or fashion since I was 16 years old, why then, did I pick waitressing anytime I was between jobs and how did I perform the job at a level similar to my phlebotomy positions? I guess it came down to my basic work ethic, I wanted to make my boss proud of me, I wanted to be proud of myself for a job well done, and ultimately, I wanted to make the most money that I could in the short time I knew I’d be at the job. These were temporary positions every time.

The first time I ever waitressed was for my best friend’s brother Kent, he managed a country western bar in Ft Worth and a couple of his girls had called in sick. He asked his sister Kaye if she and I wanted to make a little money and help him out in the process. I timidly agreed, I had never waitressed before, so I was nervous. He was calm and sweet, telling us just to relax and be nice to the customers, it wasn’t that hard to deliver drink orders, we would be fine. And, we were! I recall making good tips and Kent was so appreciative we helped out when he was in a bind.

Since my normal job was phlebotomy, taking blood from clients at the cancer center, (or wherever I was doing the job) waitressing seems like such a leap from the strict medical environment I was used to. Really, it is strict in its own way, menus to memorize, making sure the orders are brought out correctly and delivered to the right table, always remaining cheerful, even when you wanted to dump food or drink on a customer’s head sometimes…it was not easy work, just less life threatening I guess.  I remember coming home from a waitressing job I had at Bill Martin’s Seafood restaurant one time, my feet hurt so bad, my hubby actually sat on the couch and rubbed them for me. So it was physically harder, but the tips made up for it…some of the time.

I’ve been a cocktail waitress, a seafood waitress and a waitress for a pie pantry called Tippin’s, which is no longer in business. When I was in the army, I even had a brief career as a waitress in a nightclub, but running from the boss’s constant attempts to touch me had me seeking other employment quick. Not to mention the customers always wanting to pinch or slap my butt, I prefer food waitressing to any of that nonsense. I found that the tips were better the fancier the restaurant, however, the menu was harder to memorize as well. Just like any job, the better the opportunity for earning good money, the harder, more challenging the job is. So don’t forget your servers people!! They are working hard for you, not to mention, also putting up with a lot of crap, whether it’s from the boss, other employees that may be jealous for one reason or another, or just grumpy customers who are never satisfied. I was glad the job at Tippin’s didn’t last long, by the way, the food was so good, had I stayed much longer I would have been the size of a large house.

I’m glad I had the opportunity to serve people as a waitress, it taught me a lot about dealing with the public, which helped me in my job as a phlebotomist. I cared about my “patients” just like I wanted to please my “customers”. Sick people can be grumpy as well, I learned to handle them gently and tried not to inflict any extra pain that what their disease or ailment was already delivering. I learned to keep a smile on my face, even if I was sad that day, or hurting inside because I knew the truth of their illness (that they were likely going to die soon), I could not let that knowledge transfer to my patients, so I smiled instead and asked them about their lives. I got to know them without getting too close, getting close was dangerous for my heart, I couldn’t stand for it to be broken repeatedly. I made the mistake one time and it took me forever to get over it. I felt like the loss was just as devastating as losing a loved one, my heart could not bear that more than once.

Waitressing taught me lots of other skills and lessons too, organization, working well with others, the customer is always right (even when they’re not), memorization, balance, how to properly set a table, dishwashing, menial tasks, food prep and more. Maybe that helped with all the hats I had to wear in my regular job as a phlebotomist as well, there was a lot more to my job than simply drawing their blood and labeling the tubes. I learned to be painless yet efficient, I worked quickly to get the room cleared so the doctors could get their results faster, I did other chores like specimen processing and data entry, dealt with cranky co-workers who always seemed to “have it out for me” and most of the time I kept a smile on my face. It is easier and takes less energy to be happy than it does to emit anger all the time. I had to be careful though, I’ve been told I wear my emotions on my face, my boss could always tell when I was stressed out or something was wrong.

I never got told that as a waitress though, maybe it was because I always had short assignments or maybe I felt happier and more at ease in that role. Was it because I knew it was temporary, cause it sure wasn’t easier, I don’t know. It was always the job I picked as my go-to, in-between job though. It was the only other skill I had besides phlebotomy and I knew I could handle it. I guess I owe a debt of gratitude to my best friend’s brother Kent for that very first waitressing opportunity because, without it, I would have never had a second career possibility. Would I choose that job as my in-between today? Probably not, but it’s nice to know I have it in my arsenal just the same. When my husband stops doing what he does and becomes a famous chef in a five-star restaurant, my skills will come in handy. 😉

 

 

 

 

Day 299-MET-Why I Decided To Become A Writer

The summer after my mom passed away, we were on vacation in Crystal Beach, Tx. and as I lounged on the sun deck catching up on emails and such,  I came across one of those ads for “Become a barefoot writer.” I have to admit, I was intrigued and maybe part of me was looking for something different to do with my life. When you experience loss, you sometimes need something to fill that hole, for me that was writing. At first, after reading that article and several others, it was all about how to make money as a writer. All the content I was reading had to do with becoming a copywriter and how I could make a good living as a writer, from anywhere in the world, as long as I had a computer and an internet connection, in my pajamas if I wanted! Well, who doesn’t want that dream? Anyway, since then my focus has changed and while I’d still like to make money, I realized that I can’t do that without providing a service to others at the same time. You have to give your readers something of value. Something they want or need. Help them solve a problem, fix what’s broken or offer some product or service designed to assist them some way.

Thing is, somewhere along the way I discovered that I love to write. Also, that I’m addicted to learning. I take more classes and read more material than I get words written. I’m struggling with my blog and website, but I keep trying and keep writing content and someday, maybe I’ll figure out how it all comes together. I’ve taken classes on copywriting, essay writing, marketing, social media, blogging and affiliate marketing. You would think that by now, something would have clicked and I would have it all put together and working like a well-oiled machine. Not. But I will get there if I keep my focus true and never give up on my dream. So far, I’ve written one article that paid me some money. Maybe I need to get back to that, write some how-to articles or step-by-step tutorials and submit them to some publications that pay. That way, I get compensated for providing something people may want or need.

But the other dream is creative writing and I can’t seem to get away from that. I want to someday write a book. I mean the kind with a plot and characters and a beginning, middle and end. That’s why my blog is such a confusing mess right now because I can’t make up my mind exactly what kind of writer I want to be…still. I’ve been at it almost three years now, playing around on other publications like Medium and Prose because I think I can do it all and really, I can’t. Or I shouldn’t. I should pick one thing and run with it, I just have to do some soul searching and decide which one resonates with me the most. Follow your heart they say. But what if my heart wants it all? I’m like a spoiled brat or petulant child, I want it all and I want it now! Well, I will make this promise to you, I will figure it out. If I keep writing and studying, someday it will all click and I will devise a way to write what you need to read,  you will either learn something, get the advice you need, be entertained, or be helped in some other way and maybe I will earn a little something. Isn’t that what it’s all about? Then again, maybe I will finally write a novel and it will become a best seller…talk about a dream!

I still need your thoughts, suggestions, and feedback. You have to tell me what you want and/or need. Do you want me to keep the blog going just as it is, or do you want to see some changes? Do you like articles, recipes, tutorials or reviews? What subjects do you want me to write about? Writing, alternative health, Paleo/Whole30 or something completely different?  These are the things I need from you, then I will be able to better design my blog to help you. Thanks for reading and following along, have a good day and I’ll be waiting for your responses on the patio.

Day 293-MET-That Time I Got Poop On My Face

It was one of those vacations we as a family wait for all year long. Our annual pilgrimage to Port Aransas, when the kids were still young enough to be enchanted by Mother Nature and Dave and I wanted to show them how great being at the ocean was. We were broke that year, but determined to take a break from work and show the kids a good time. We ended up getting a no frills, lower end condo that year (still a condo though, no hotel for us!) and it was tight, but cozy.

Dave and I were still young enough to want a little romance and would steal a few moments when the kids were otherwise occupied. It was following one of these trysts, we were hanging out in the parking lot, trying to decide what to do for lunch and the kids had been snacking on some cheese-its. The next thing I knew, there were seagulls encircling our heads, it was all fun and games watching Josh throw crackers to the hovering birds, Chris cracking up as they snatched them right out of the sky. This was new to them and they were having a blast…right up until the moment one of those damn gulls pooped and it landed right on my cheek!

A flock of seagulls

At first no one could speak. The boys, Dave included, all just stared at me, open mouthed as shocked as I was. Then, as I realized what I had running down my face, I started to cry just as they started to laugh at me. Let me tell you, I did not find the humor. As soon as they saw me crying, they quickly shut up and came over to console me. I couldn’t figure out how it happened, I was sitting on a parking curb underneath the eves of the condo! How did that bird’s poop make a diagonal trajectory to land right on my face? Anyway, it rather spoiled the mood and once we all recovered I think we decided to stay inside the condo for lunch that day.

Now when we go to the beach, I am leary of anyone feeding the gulls and I stay as far away as possible. Yes, I got over it, but that doesn’t mean I ever want it to happen again. Imagine if you will, a stinky, slimy substance is running down the side of your face as your whole family sits and stares at you!! Rather embarrassing indeed, and although my hubby was kind enough to clean it off my face, I was so hurt by them laughing at me. I have to admit though, if the tables were turned, I’d probably have done the same. Damn seagulls! Can you imagine what it was like on the set of Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds? Getting pooped on must have been a regular occurrence. I’ll have to research that someday. 😉

Photo credit: Wikipedia

Day 286-MET-I Used To Do My Own Nails

I could do this but it looks so much prettier when they do it!

I’ve been doing my own fingernails since I was twelve years old (maybe younger) but lately I’ve decided that the salons do a much better job. I spent tons of money on polish, gemstones, decorator kits, stickers and whatnot, all to try and copy what they can do. Most of the time I got lots of compliments and people would remark that I did a great job, saying they could never hand paint tiny designs like that. As I’ve grown older, I don’t want to mess with it as much, plus, I would rather have gel nails most of the time and the salons just do it better and faster than I can. Oh, I have the equipment and all, my results just don’t look as professional.

Lately, I’ve been sorta sad about my increase of gray hair and I’ve been curious about whether I should keep coloring, just let it go or do it at home myself. It’s kind of like the nail thing, I know the salon does a better job, but it’s so expensive! Now, I know a lot of you ladies would say, just fugetaboutit…everyone goes gray sooner than later. It’s like fighting wrinkles, a never ending battle, but I’m just not ready! Remember, I’m a fifty-six- year old rocker that still likes going to concerts and parties, I don’t want my grandkids to call me grandma, and I like my nails to have color on them at all times! Gray hair is just not part of the deal in my book…not yet anyway.

My salon professional said I barely had any gray that she could see, but I say she was just being nice. I have a tiny fountain of it coming out of the top of my head and my sideburns look like salt and pepper. Not as distinguished on a woman as a man, let me tell you. I was at the local Walgreen’s the other day, and I spotted this cool kit that lets you not only dye but adds highlights as well. It was under $20 and I just thought, “I have to get that!” but I still haven’t done it yet. I used to dye my own hair a long time ago, when I was young and brave, I wonder can I do it again without turning my ears red or brown, or blinding myself in the process.

I don’t know about you guys, but I refuse to go down without a fight. I want to appear young for as long as I can pull it off, I just want to do it at a discounted price. 😉

 

Day 280-MET-How About The Time I Almost Died?

Back in 1980, I was stationed at Ft Carson, Colorado and had just gone through a devastating experience. My body must have been in a weakened state following that and I somehow came down with mono. Now, back in my day, they called this condition/disease/affliction the kissing disease. Well, I certainly had not been kissing anybody and by the time my friend found and rescued me, I was pretty near death.

All I knew was I was sick, sicker than I had ever been in my life. I had checked with my doctor, who told me I had strep throat, isolated me to my room at the barracks, and it was there that I continued to deteriorate. Everyone knew where I was but no one came to visit, I assume for fear they would catch the horrible thing that I had. I must have had a mini-fridge or a cooler in my room, I remember getting some ice cream because my throat hurt so bad, but it melted and I was left with some milky foam…not appetizing at all.

I must have been in isolation close to a month when my friend finally called me to check on me, when I answered her in a strangled, high pitch squeal she couldn’t even understand  she said,  “I’m coming and I’m taking you to the hospital!” All I could think was it was about time someone finally cared about whether I lived or died. I had wasted away up there, I lost 14 pounds due to the fact that my tonsils had swelled to the point of touching, I could not get any food down at all. I was managing water and broth and the doctor had given me medication to numb my throat, yet the antibiotics he gave me were not working at all.

Once my friend arrived and carted me to the hospital, I discovered the reason nothing was working was because they had been treating me for the wrong thing. I had mono, not strep-I remember the doctor saying, “I’ve got good news and bad,” and I asked him, “Am I gonna die?” He laughed and said no, but I would be going home for awhile, I was that sick! He said I needed a mother’s love and would need about another month to get well. I had to get my top’s (sergeant) permission to leave, walking out on the parade field to get my paperwork signed, he saw me and his mouth fell open at my appearance. He did not even recognize me!  (Note: Mono is a virus like Ebstein-Barr and that’s why antibiotics weren’t working)

My parents were so concerned about me, they babied and cared for me for three weeks and nursed me back to health. I must have been super sick to get a medical leave, they thought and they were right. I was so sick I even developed hemorrhoids from all the diarrhea and strain on my body. My mother said it was unheard of for a 19-year-old to have those, and gave me the medicine to fix it. I guess my weight looked ok to them, what they didn’t know was that I had gained about 15 pounds from drinking and so when I lost that weight, I was actually back to my normal size. When I learned to drink, it was white and/or black Russians and sloe gin fizzes that were my choice at the time. One night I drank 15 black Russians…it’s amazing that didn’t kill me itself! I had been dancing, so I thought I was burning it off. I was so stupid, moving actually makes you absorb it more!

Soon enough, I was better and had to go back to Colorado. My Dad put me on a bus (really?) and two days later I was there, and again I was put on light duty. My body took another two months to fully recover, and then I was back to my wild child self again. I pretty much maintained my weight after that, I decided the pudgy look was not a good one on me. I kept the weight off by dancing like a maniac and stopped drinking the sugar laden, milky beverages I had grown accustomed to. I didn’t stop drinking, however, I just switched to a less caloric choice. Rum and coke I think it was. Anyway, that’s my story and I’m lucky to have survived. Thank God I had at least one friend willing to break the rules that day (I was in isolation, remember) or I’d have surely been a goner!

 

Day 273-MET-How I Lost My Virginity

Most of us have done it, at some point in our lives. Difference is, no one really wants to talk about it. It is a very private thing. Especially if the experience was…less than enjoyable. I don’t mean the fumblings of young lust in the back of a car, less enjoyable- I had something a bit darker in mind. The day I arrived at  Ft Carson, Colorado for my first permanent party station in the Army, I was a mark…I just didn’t know it at the time.

What I remember about that arrival was the pure wonder of a young girl seeing the magic of the mountains for the first time, after just enjoying her first ever commercial flight on a huge Delta airplane, gliding into Colorado Springs and thinking the mountains looked so close! I immediately fell in love with the place and could not wait to get this new chapter in my life started, even though I was a bit nervous as well. This wasn’t basic training, or AIT anymore, this was the big time. My permanent duty station, it could mean anything from a nine to five type job in a medical facility to going off to war. More than likely it meant getting stuck working in the tool cage and learning how to fix army vehicles, but I’d find that out much later.

Here is where I would be tested, on everything from how I managed the cold weather to using what I had learned in basic and AIT (for me that was kind of a basic medical school) and applying it in the field. Unfortunately, upon arrival and after checking in to my new duty station, I discovered my new company was about to ship out to California for some kind of desert training. On top of that, I was injured and got to start my first month on light duty due to the fact I was stuck in a cast from my shin to my thigh. My knees had a nasty habit of dislocating at the slightest turn and I was recovering from the latest in a long line of those occurrences. Still, my top sergeant was kind and felt sorry for me and assigned me a cush job when we got to Ft Irwin.

While in California, in fact, the whole time in the military so far, it was as though virgin was written on my forehead or something, men seemed to look at me as some sort of challenge they needed to conquer. I had so far maintained my status as a card-carrying virgin, although it had not been easy. I had experienced many close calls, always hearing my Dad’s voice in the back of my head that I should not give myself away until I was married, not to mention my own voice saying “Don’t do it, you’ll be seen as a slut.” Yet I was young and wild and free and the feeling of freedom was as intoxicating as heroin and I was addicted. Still, nothing had changed my status until we got back to base in Ft Carson.

I had previously been wined and dined and had gone out on many dates, treated like a lady and had been made to feel special in several different scenerios…what ended up happening was nothing like that. The asshole that finally slew the dragon was evidently known around the base as a player that somehow knew you were a virgin and made it his mission to change that. I never saw it coming, never had a chance. How he lured me in must have been that he appealed to me on some kind of bad boy level, I really don’t remember. Somehow, he coerced me into his barracks, into his room and then ultimately into his bed. He was such a dick, I didn’t even like him but there was just something, almost as if he was shaming me into it, making me feel like a coward if I didn’t. I don’t know how else to describe it, and then quickly, painfully and with no real softness or feeling…it was over. He had got what he came for and I was dismissed. I felt dirty and humiliated. An afterthought…never to be seen by him again.

Oh wait, before that, I made him take me to my friend’s place in Fountain. He dropped me off and then he was gone.  I remember to this day the song that was playing on the radio…”goodbye stranger, it’s been nice. Hope you find your, paradise. ” A song by Supertramp, and I remember thinking that my life was changed forever.  Little did I know how true that was, a few weeks later I discovered I was pregnant, just my luck. First rattle out of the box and I have to be a fertile Myrtle. I won’t go into details about what happened after that, suffice it t say, it was the worst experience of my life-something I regret doing to this day. I got through it with the help and support of my friends and life went on.

I wish I had had a better first-time story, but that is the way of life. Not everyone gets the sunshine and roses, blissful, “it was so wonderful” first-time experience I guess, I like to think it taught me a valuable lesson. Not all people are good. I had to stop viewing the world through rose-colored glasses and get tough. For a while after that, I saw no one for fear it would happen again, and just because I saw myself as damaged somehow. It didn’t last long though, I liked the boys way too much. That time in my life was my short period of freedom, away from my parents, free to make my own choices, good and bad, and eventually, I got back in the saddle. Colorado was too beautiful to waste my time crying over some arrogant ass, I was off to find my next adventure and explore everything with new and curious eyes, even if those eyes were now wide open.

Day 266-MET-We Did New Orleans With Children!

Oh my goodness, this place was hot, and I don’t mean just in the sense of live music, let’s party, in your face, good times hot, I mean 126 degrees in the center of town hot! Add to that, I love big crowds, throbbing dance music and crazy people, my husband…not so much. This is the scenario you must picture when I tell you the story of our trip to New Orleans with children.

The kids were young, Josh had just turned 15 and Chris was 13, yet I still saw them as babies. It was our first vacation somewhere other than Port Aransas and we set out to cover New Orleans, Biloxi, Lucedale and Vicksburg in one week. We wanted the kids to see what New Orleans was all about, the people, the history, the music, the food…well, they got all that and a whole lot more. We wanted them to get some culture but what they got was an eyeful, and we were seriously doubting ourselves as fit parents by the end of that trip.

Luckily, we did not go during Mardi Gras, we went in the middle of the summer and I cannot tell you how bad the city smells at that time. Think stinky trash meets dried puke from last year’s Mardi Gras meets hot port-a-potty, and you’ll be pretty close.  The heat made it unimaginable and dragging two impressionable boys around sin city seems so wrong right now yet it seemed like a cool adventure at the time. We visited the cemetery- not my idea- but they enjoyed it. Cemeteries creep me out, this one was ok during the day. It was interesting to see that no one is buried below the ground, due to the high sea level. The boys thought it was cool and marveled at how big some of the tombs were. We took lots of pictures and I think even they realized the historical significance of that place.

Later, after experiencing some delicious beignets and coffee, we ventured into Jackson Square and saw live music, magic and a  “freak” show that I will never forget. Of course, my boys thought the freak was awesome and seeing it may have had a profound effect on Josh, he really got into it the way some kids want to run away and join the circus.  I think he still views  what that guy was doing as a viable way to earn a living. Which it is not, unless you’re a drug addicted homeless person looking for your next meal.  Anyway, they ate it up and wanted to see more but we had to move on. Next stop was Pat Obrien’s so Mama could get a Hurricane…oh Lordy what a mistake that was! Alcohol and heat do not mix.

Let me remind you, it was 126 degrees-however we were not aware of that until,we were back at the hotel-and I believe I consumed one and a half hurricanes and they just about dragged me back to the hotel (I still say it’s because it was so hot) and once there I laid down on the bed in the cool air condition and that revived me a bit. Later on Dave and I visited the casino and the boys were actually good, hanging out in the room playing video games and watching tv. What is comical is that when we were walking around Bourbon Street, Josh was wary of the people coming up to his dad and acting like they knew him, or the street performers painted silver and standing still as statues, yet the “freaky” guy in Jackson Square didn’t seem to bother him at all! Kids. Go figure. Chris was more like me-eyes wide open, taking it all in…some things he should not have seen at his tender age (strolling past open bars and viewing half naked ladies within) but his Dad just took it in stride. He figured it would have been much worse had it been night time and just kept walking and trying to get their attention redirected to something more…historical.

All in all, it was a very memorable trip, we had a lot of fun despite the heat and I cannot wait to go back again. We tried at some point to go to the aquarium, but the line was too long, it was Africa hot, and we decided it would have to wait until next time. Of course, there hasn’t been a next time since the hurricane ravaged New Orleans, some day we will go back-maybe even this summer, but you can bet, it will be an adults-only kind of trip this time!

(PS-I’ve torn the house apart looking for our pictures and found only the Vicksburg pics and one other from New Orleans, I will have to add the pictures later, sorry)

(PPS-Joshua had a life-changing event, but that actually happened in Vicksburg on our way home-remind me to tell that story some day 😉) Never mind, he said no way could I tell that one. Oh well. 😂