Friday, September 23, 2011

Dear California,

I am realizing now that I am home, I have left you all in suspense, wondering what I am doing with my daily life...Okay, that's probably not really true, but one thing I've been doing is counting my blessings that I live in California.

Since arriving back here almost 2 weeks ago, I have felt like I am in a state of euphoria. Sure, our state might be going broke, we might have earthquakes from time to time, and some undesirable air-quality in Los Angeles, but I'll take my poor, shaking, polluted-haze of a life in Southern California to that of anywhere else in the country. Everything just seems more beautiful since being back. Even the strip malls seem pristine and nice, compared to their Southern counterparts I visited in Alabama. The weather is gorgeous; Joaquin and I love being able to go outside once again without feeling like we are in a sweat house. Taking the dogs for walks, which was just part of our normal routine before leaving, now feels like a huge luxury, and even the Pasadena heat does not feel that bad compared to what we came from in Alabama.

Before I left, I questioned whether our small-ish house was ready to welcome another resident once the baby comes, and after living in our shoebox apartment in Montgomery, I feel like our house is Buckingham feels huge. Okay, so the closets are still a little cramped, but all in all, it's nice to have some breathing room and it feels wonderful to be home.

I've been on a nesting craze trying to get ready for the baby girl's imminent arrival. We are setting up a playroom for Joaquin (and his future sister) in the detached office, and that is turning out to be a bigger project that I'd originally envisioned. We are also getting a new couch for our living room, so we will have a comfortable place to receive guests once the little one arrives. I think because I am not doing a full nursery this time around (the kids will share a room) I am transferring my nesting instincts to the rest of the house, unfortunately for our budget and my husband...

There is some sort of magical gratitude and newfound appreciation for home that overcomes you when you are traveling. I've experienced it while touring Europe and other countries, on trips when I've been in magnificent places, and yet still home seems like a paradise. Mainly because it's home. It's familiar and it's yours. Our 5 weeks in Alabama ended up being a good experience --- I use the adjective good here, not because my thesaurus is out of reach and I can't come up with more a descriptive, less banal word, but actually because it seems the only way to describe it. It wasn't great, terrible, life-changing, monumental, inspirational, miserable, fabulous, or anything else...It had its special times, and it had its "why me" times, but all in all, the positive outweighed the negative, leaving me satisfied with my label of "good." One other wife whom I became close with, and also struggled at times with their temporary situation, said of being a military-spouse (her husband is former full time Active duty) and of living in Montgomery, "Well, it certainly will make us stronger."

In some poetic way, perhaps it did. I guess doing anything you really aren't choosing to do might make you stronger. I knew we'd make it through, and of course though dramatic adventures we did have, we did manage to have a lot of fun along the way. We were able to visit with relatives we seldom see in Memphis, which was terrific, AND we even met some new relatives for the first time, who of all places, live just outside of Montgomery. (I will post on this later, because this was a highlight of the trip.) The best part was the new friendships we made, and for those, I am extremely grateful. But in terms of me being a stronger person, if anything, it has strengthened my bond with California. Of course this is where our families live, and this is where I've always lived, but there is something about this state that just grounds me here and makes me feel like myself.

Being back in my own bed was one of the best feelings of all...and now it is 4:00 AM, and even though I cannot sleep, I know the cause of my insomnia is not my pokey mattress or my fear that ants are going to crawl on my face while I sleep...(Did I post about the ants in our apartment? Yes, we had 'em.) My insomnia rather comes from the overwhelming thoughts that I am to become a mother once again, that we haven't settled on a name yet for the baby, and other wandering ideas that come in and out of my head when I should be sleeping.

Still, I remain awake, blissfully happy to be back home, even if I will feel tired all day tomorrow, at least I know I will feel tired in California, and that's good enough for me.

Tuesday, September 06, 2011


It's Tuesday morning, and I once again am finding myself shockingly happy to be back in my Montgomery home.

After a truly wonderful weekend in Memphis with Kiko and Joaquin, where we visited with relatives, ate, saw the famous Peabody Ducks, ate, walked on Beale Street, ate some more, etc. I am feeling grateful we made it home safely and unharmed after driving through a treacherous storm last night. The drive home really made me miss my all-wheel-drive SUV that awaits us back in California, because that would have made us feel a lot safer driving through the storm last night. I can't keep track whether Alabama and Mississippi were getting remnants of Hurricane Katia, or if this was that tropical storm Leo effecting the Louisiana and other coastal regions, but whatever it was, there were downed trees, flooding, and accidents all along our 5 1/2 hour drive back to Montgomery from Memphis.

I am anxious to post pictures of our trip, because it was a really fun getaway. But for the moment, I am still shaking off the drive and really feeling happy we are safe and sound in our apartment. I dropped Kiko and Lt. Luongo off this morning at base around 6:30 and fortunately was able to get Joaquin back to sleep.